In the Last Hero Standing mini-series, we saw the mischief wrought upon the MC2 Universe by Loki, where he pitted the heroes against one another in an all-out brawl. This ended with the Hulk destroying half the city under mind control and the death of Captain America. With their foremost hero dead, Thor rose the Captain's essence up into the heavens as a new star, which has attracted the attentions of an old threat...
Mr. Fantastic hovers over what was once a beautiful planet, taking readings with complicated-looking devices. He states that something has recently stripped the planet of all its life and energy, and hurries back to his ship at his wife's request. The two briefly squabble over Reed's choice of a vacation spot, and then Reed explains that he's found a trail of planets with the life sucked out of them headed through Shi'ar space and towards the Milky Way galaxy. An alarm suddenly goes off, and Reed examines the readings. His probes detect an alien ship pouring energy into the sun at the center of this galaxy, and it suddenly implodes, sending a shockwave out across the galaxy. Reed radios the headquarters of the Fantastic Five, but he is cut off as the shockwave reaches his ship...
Far away from Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman's ship, a cosmic being flies through space. He is identified as Dominas the Wavemaster, and he reaches the Shi'ar empire, effortlessly destroying their satellites. Turning his gaze to the Throneworld, he enters the atmosphere and issues a warning to the inhabitants: That their world has been targeted for destruction, and they must evacuate or die. Gladiator of the Imperial Guard steps up to defend his planet, but Dominas swats him aside, and repeats his warning.
At the Fantastic Five Headquarters, the Human Torch receives Reed's distress call and gathers the rest of the team for a rescue mission. Lyja, Psi-Lord, the Thing and Johnny jump aboard their own starship and head off, leaving Doom to stay at the base. Doom attempts to contact the Avengers, and Jarvis promises that he will do his best to get in touch with them.
Meanwhile, the Avengers enjoy a throwaway fight scene with the Red Queen and her Revengers, a collection of villains both familiar and unfamiliar. J2 grapples with Sabreclaw, Mainframe exchanges energy bolts with Ion Man, Magneta offends the Scarlet Witch with her costume's imitation of Magneto, and Killerwatt attempts to shock Thunderstrike. The Red Queen admits defeat and orders Ion man to create a diversion for them to escape. He does, and at that moment, Stinger gets the distress call from Jarvis. Abandoning pursuit of the Revengers, the Avengers return to the mansion.
In the White House, the president meets with the Vision to discuss Mr. Fantastic's distress call. When prompted, the Vision informs the President that the Avengers are currently made up of teenagers, not counting Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man. The President disapproves of the team's current lineup and decides not to alert the public of the danger to earth quite yet.
In Hawkeye's dojo, American Dream states that she's lost faith in the Avengers as she spars with Hawkeye and Freebooter. Hawkeye defends the Avengers, but American Dream says they're a joke and that it might be time she moved on. Hawkeye tells her she's making a mistake and that there's nothing more important than being an Avenger.
At Midtown High School, the upcoming PSAT's prompt May Parker's friends to discuss their futures. Avoiding the discussion, May says she has to go, then gets into costume and web-swings off.
Meanwhile, on the Imperial Throneworld of the Shi'ar Empire, the royal court rush to evacuate their Majestrix Lilandra. Galactus had arrived, and the Imperial Guard battle him and his herald, Dominas. Unfortunately, it's too late, as Galactus activates his elemental converter and sucks the life clear off the planet. Lilandra watches in horror from her craft in the heavens.
On the streets of New York, Spider-Girl is taking out a couple of muggers when she gets a call from Stinger saying she's calling in all reserve Avengers. Meanwhile, Galactus broods over his hunger to his herald, who suggests he feed again. Galactus explains that with the birth of a new star (Captain America's constellation), he can escape his cycle of seeking out and consuming energy and finally evolve to the next level. But first, he says, he must acquire one more thing, and so their next destination is Asgard.
Finally, the Fantastic Five come out of a wormhole to the source of Mr. Fantastic's distress call. But where there used to be a living galaxy, there is now nothing, the galaxy drained completely of its energy.
Well. Heck of an opener, huh? As always, Pat Olliffe's pencils are fun, and that's the most praise this book is gonna get out of me. I realize that this is the first issue of a five-part arc, so it's mostly setup, but this is ridiculous. Every turn of the page introduces another pointless five-second conversation. So much is going on in this book, and yet nothing is happening. And the dialogue is awful...everyone sounds the same, besides Galactus. I find it hard to picture Reed Richards using the phrase, "Whatever!" to his wife.
I also like the tie-in to the series that preceded this one, Last Hero Standing, with the Captain America constellation. DeFalco, if you were planning this sequel all along, I don't want to hear it. I'd rather pretend you're just making it up as you go along.
Two webs. It's mostly setup, and it could get better, but I've got to have some space to go down from here, just in case.