Or – “This Is The End, Beautiful Friend… The End.”

nw10.jpgreviewbubble.jpgI admit it. I initially only bought this title because of the presence of X-51, aka Mr. Machine, Sir MacHinery, Machine Man, and Aaron Stack. One of Kirby’s lesser-known creations, the big purple guy with the taillights for eyes first bowed in the 2001: A Space Odyssey series in 1978, and has never actually had a run that lasted more than 12 issues consecutively. His “Space Odyssey” run was three issues, his first book, titled Machine Man, ran 19 issues, but there was a break of almost a year between the two halves. The 1984 limited series was four issues, and his run as X-51 (part of Marvel’s ill-fated M-Tech line) was only 12 issues. So it’s kind of fitting that Nextwave didn’t break the dozen mark either. Honestly, though, they’ve made a pretty awesome quilt out of some torn, Liefeld stained, and f-ed up chunks of Marvel cloth. Hopefully Nextwave will show up in the future and stay this cool. I have hope…

nw1.jpgI’m actually going to miss recapping this book as much as reading it. There are so many levels of humor (visual, verbal, situational, broiled, fried, shrimp fondue, shrimp cocktail, shrimp salad) and the visuals are completely unique, at least at Marvel. Honestly, for all the heat I give Joey da Q, Quesada and editorial made a real leap of faith in green-lighting this series at all. A minor X-character, a robot who has tanked two separate series, one of the least-seen Avengers, one of Marvel’s myriad ’90s-era miniseries queens, and an unknown quantity aren’t exactly going to make a sure thing, saleswise. It’s a testament the fevered brains of Ellis, Immonen, and company that the damn thing was ever any good to start with. Last time, the team fought their way through wave after wave of baddies, only to have Aaron impaled by the mysterious and uber-evil Number None, who proceeds to monologue about his unbeatability. How will they get out of this one?

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I seriously want to have a Kirby Killotron installed in my left hand, if only so I can open up the Hormel chili without external implements. Aaron proceeds to Cuisinart Number None’s entire head, but the evil genius is still standing. Monica (aka Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar, etc) orders him to open up the chest cavity, figuring that something is up, but unsure of what they’ll find. The whole team gasps, recoiling in shock, and The Captain asks “What IS that?”

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Awww. Ain’t he cute? In a creepy, horrible, evil, disfigured and disturbing kind of way? And the little pink hoverchair is the cutest death-machine since Aaron himself. The only thing better would be if this MODOK was an Elvis like last issues were. Monica is stunned, believing that MODOKS can’t reproduce. L’il Modie fires back, “Can too! A MODOK and a MODAM made sweet monkey love by the light of a rack of World of Warcraft servers and I was the result!” I KNEW that WoW was evil, and THIS is proof!
The l’il guy claims to have founded S.I.L.E.N.T. and the Beyond Corporation all by himself to prove himself to an absent MODADDY and a neglectful MODAMOMMY, rushing at Monica… who slaps him away as easily as a full-grown superpowered woman could slap down a toddler in a flying chair. (What? Not all metaphors have to be complex!) MOBABY disappears in a puff of logic…

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Hee. Tabby’s gonna get herself killed. Monica points out that THIS is the moment they’ve been working towards, that if they finish this one, their work as a team is done… and they all realize that it could also mean the end of the team. None of them seem terribly happy about that prospect, but they press on as Aaron looks at the enormous gaping tear in his robot chest (“The hole makes me strangely attractive to myself.”) Um… Eww? The follow the l’il guy to the bridge of the enormous deathship known as State 51, only to see him get his head (or his whole body, in this case) ventilated by a bullet, as the REAL mastermind steps out of the shadows…

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Oh my word! It’s Devil Dinosaur! Nothing is scarier than a T-Rex with a gun. Well, maybe an allosaur with a chainsaw on his head, but… bygones. Monica orders Aaron to start scanning the ship for weaknesses, and tells Tabitha and Elsa to be ready, causing Devil D to freak out, and start screaming. He hates the stupid monkeys, and wants to just kill them all, and the team completely ignores him. He rants some more, and Monica finally turns to him. “So, you did this all just to play victimize [humanity]… to play with them, right?” Devil Dinosaur isn’t sure what she’s getting at, but Ms. Rambeau plays the dozens for real…

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Heee… When faced with giant gun toting carnivore thunder lizard, attack using psychology. Good to know. The big guy breaks down in tears, and shows her a picture of himself with a hairy humanoid on his back, a fuzzy guy we all know as Moon Boy. “Look at him there! ‘I am the MONKEY! Carry me around like an animal while I spread my MONKEY JOY!'” screams Devil. So he ate him, and apparently got quite the tummyache. Monica doesn’t buy his threats, but DD tells her that he cannot die. “I’ve been burned, shot, beaten…”

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And BANG, the team is in ass-kicking mode. Monica sets off a microwave pulse, Elsa shoots the gun out of the dinosaurs hand, Tabby covers their exit with small explosions, and Aaron and The Captain rip the whole compartment off the ship. With one good hard kick from The Captain, the entire spherical section rips free and rolls off the side of State 51, plummeting two miles to the ground, with Devil Dinosaur cursing the “monkeys” all the way down.

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Um. I’m tentatively calling that one a “win” for Nextwave. With the Devil they know out of the way, the team has a moment to consider what comes next. After all, they’ve done what they set out to do, and Beyond is gone. Whaddayagonna do now?

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“They’re going to Disneyland.” I’m curious to see where the appearances of Monica in Civil War fall. (I’m presuming AFTER the events of this series). And given the events of CW #7, I wonder about the disposition of the team in the new Marvel U. The Captain & Machine Aaron have appeared in solicitations for The Initiative, but those may not be representative of what’s really going on in the book. Ellis has stated that the plan is for more Nextwave in the form of limited series, but how and when are still up in the air.

This was an excellent capper to a series that has always been fun and frenetic. There’s continuity issues galore, if you care to worry about them (notably the upcoming appearance of Devil Dinosaur in ‘Heroes for Hire’) but there’s really no need. Occasionally, you just need a book like this to happen. There’s no need for a slow burn, this book is all about the fireworks. All in all, I judge this to be the best thing Marvel has put on the stands in many a year, and I urge them to follow through with the limiteds, regardless of the post-Civil War landscape. The world needs more Nextwave, dangit! Issue twelve is an awesome piece of work, earning four gold stars. They’ll need the cash to repair the cavity where Aaron’s chest used to be.
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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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3 Comments

  1. February 26, 2007 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    Actually, if you check the new cover for the Initiative, (seen at http://marvel.com/news/comicstories.855), then you’ll notice ALL of Nextwave is part of the Initiative. Presumably, as this is ‘The Fifty-State Initiative’, Iron Man will give them permission to patrol State 51.

    Monica has also bene appearing, with her Nextwave Costume, in Black Panther.

  2. February 26, 2007 at 4:04 pm — Reply

    I had heard about the Panther appearances…

    I wonder about the Initiative, though, and whether the uniqueness of Nextwave can survive long within it.

    Not to mention the logistical issues with 50 individual super-teams and the continuity thereof.

  3. February 27, 2007 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    Hey, add one more state and you’d have ‘The Fity-Two State Initiative’ – and Morrison comes back to Marvel at long last!

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