When last we left Frank, he was going after the villain group The Six-Fingered Hand (a group of demons from the classic Defenders series re-imagined to be more of a mob group in this alternate Marvel Universe, hereafter known as AMU) as they were responsible for the death of his family (this is the Castle we all know). He’s still on the hunt for them but takes a bit of a side route to find them…
The AMU appears to have its own Hulk. It’s still Bruce Banner, but maybe the ability to perform the experiments in space allowed for other updates to be done to the character… like the fact that he has 4 arms. This Hulk is a tad more violent in that we see “archive footage” of him taking out the AMU’s Fantastic Four – Reed tied into knots, Sue out for the count, Ben with his rocky arm torn off, and Johnny getting beaten by the bloody torn-off Thing-arm (that’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever write). To take down the Hulk, General Ross and Major Talbot, members of the Galactic Military, decide to forgo sending the experienced Avengers Federation after the gamma beast but instead send the Hulkbusters, led by Leonard Samson (in a variation of his classic outfit with the lightning bolt on the chest). This doesn’t quite last, though, as this Hulk does something the regular Hulk never could: kills Samson, by strangling him with his own long hair, no less!
Fast forward to Frank, who has been ambushed by other AMU baddies who are after him. First, The Leader, a lackey of the Six-Fingered Hand. With him, Sabretooth (come on, like you don’t LOVE that fact that Texeira is drawing Sabretooth) and Deadpool (who seems to be showing up everywhere, but at least this is an alternate universe so this version is not overused… but now I expect him to show up in one of the Deadpool Corps books…) They’re about to take out Frank when he fights back by attacking Sabretooth with laser-like Wolverine claws. Obviously, he heals (as it appears the Leader has surrounded himself with healing lackeys who can put the Energizer Bunny to shame in returning for more punishment), when the Hulk shows up and steps on the Leader. (I never – NEVER – saw that scene in the old Hulk comics…) Deadpool, who appears to be able to grow extra appendages each with a built in weapon like some techno-organic modification, attacks the Hulk… who promptly tears off his head and throws it into space. Sabretooth goes for revenge… and the Hulk bits him in half and spits the upper half of his body into space. Now it’s Frank turn to be on the receiving end…
But since this series would be amazingly short if he was killed right away, his robotic companion Micro shows up and distracts the Hulk, allowing them to make a getaway to their ship with the crushed body of the Leader (who is still alive but is now confined to a bed and unable to move). Frank threatens to throw him out of an airlock if the Leader doesn’t say who brought him into the fold. He gives in and admits it was Doc Ock (remember from last time: he really does have octopus legs). Frank then has Micro throw The Leader out of an airlock (he simply said HE wouldn’t do it). They capture Doc Ock and get info on where the remainder of the Hand’s leaders are going to be… and then there is no more Doc Ock. So let’s review the leadership:
- The Sym-Brood-Ant Queen (deceased)
- Doctor Octopus (deceased)
- The Green Goblin
- The Red Skull
So we know what happens the rest of the series as Frank hunts them down. But Tieri has to throw in one additional twist… who the real leaders of the 6-Fingered Hand are. And since I ruined everything else, I’ll change tactics and do as my good friend Uatu requests and not spoil the ending… or will I?
This was still a fun book. I think the first issue was better, but it was different and we hadn’t seen anything like it before. This definitely moved the story along, but I think they tried to introduce too many other Marvel heroes into this AMU. I would say that is one of my two complaints about this book. (I’ll cover the other shortly…)
Overall, though, this book still remains one of my little secrets that I love. It’s a way of re-imagining some of the Marvel characters in a way that does not impact canon, but is a side story. The writing is solid, the artwork is great, and we still have the same personalities of the characters we know and love.
So what is my other gripe? This is issue #2 of a 4-issue mini-series. It’s half over. Come on, Marvel, let Tieri keep going with this title and just cancel all Punisher MAX titles as this one is more enjoyable and entertaining than those books right now! Or do them both, but simply keep this one going!