The Black Vortex Is Coming!

“The Black Vortex is an ancient artefact with the power to unlock the cosmic potential within yourself.  Imagine the metamorphosis that turned Norrin Radd into the Silver Surfer — or Jean Grey into Dark Phoenix — available to you.  This is an artefact with the ability to change any character, or alter the Marvel Universe forever.”

Sam Humphries, writer of ‘Legendary Star Lord

The Black Vortex is coming!  As Humphries asks, “What happens when one person submits to the Black Vortex and becomes a titan of the cosmos?  What happens when a whole team does it?  Or a whole planet?”  The history of this legend will be unveiled in an Alpha issue, with the story concluding in an Omega.  And, as we eagerly await its arrival, I want to take a quick look at the story so far, and explore the exciting possibilities and teasers we already know!

Legendary Star Lord

In many ways, this is the core book of ‘Black Vortex’ – this is Sam Humphries’ baby!  He pitched the event at two Marvel retreats, and Marvel jumped on board.

Whispers have spread across the galaxy of a new villain on the cosmic stage, known as Mr. Knife.  Only when he was captured by Mr. Knife did Star Lord learn Mr. Knife’s true identity – his own father, J-Son, the deposed tyrant!  Brutal and efficient, he runs a team known as the Slaughter Squad.

Slaughter Squad
They’re a pretty lethal group – and look to be very promising villains!

Under Mr. Knife’s leadership, in #5 the Slaughter Squad retrieved the Black Vortex itself.

Star Lord’s relationship with Kitty Pryde has been struggling – long-distance relationships and holo-dates make for an awkward time – but when Star Lord was captured on a holo date, Kitty decided to go to her man’s rescue.  In #7, she’s been very much successful, pulling off a daring raid!  Needless to say, things got more than a tad romantic.  In #8, Kitty made the decision to stay with Star Lord in space, and she nudged him in the direction of stealing the Black Vortex from his father.

Don't spoil it
Aaaaaaw. Ain’t love grand.

As Star Lord heads to gather the Guardians, his father has found his final pawn – Thane, son of Thanos.  Here’s the interesting catch, though; Kitty rescued Star Lord partway through a brainwashing process, and who knows if it was partially successful?  Meanwhile, unknown to the couple, a member of the Slaughter Squad pursues them…

Creepy
Seriously, this villain looks AWESOMELY creepy.

Cyclops

ANXM Cyclops made the decision to stay in space, travelling with his father Corsair and with the Starjammers.  Unfortunately, in #6 things took a turn for the worse; the Starjammers were captured by rival pirate Malafect, a somewhat bloodthirsty and brutal figure.  He left the Starjammers to die, and flew off with a dying Corsair.  As part of a ruse, Cyclops was taken on as a junior crew-member.

Ouch
This was the ruse.

Cyclops redeemed himself; he managed to rig an SOS for the Starjammers, and then began to get in Malafect’s good books.  He inadvertently pointed the pirates to what they thought was a passing medical ship, and they did what pirates do…

Pirates
I kinda never thought I’d see Cyclops in this kind of piracy scene, y’know?

It turned out the ship was something else entirely, packed with Shi’ar Accipters, some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy.  Cyclops, who’s not a fan of the Shi’ar, wound up taking most of them down single-handedly.  The vessel was transporting a Shi’ar starcracker, with the Shi’ar attempting to trade it for the Black Vortex.  The Captain’s daughter, Vileena, gave him a reward for his good work…

Reward
Looks as though Black Vortex has a fair bit of romance in it!

Cyclops and Corsair have now escaped, but the Starjammers are still prisoners, and they’re now on the run from Malafect and his crew…

It seems pretty clear that, whatever else happened, Cyclops is about to come into collision with the Guardians of the Galaxy and his old allies in the All-New X-Men.  But don’t bet on his returning to Earth any time soon – interviews have hinted that he might just stay in space when this is all over, with this being described as the “first reunion”.

All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy

What part will the rest of the All-New X-Men play in this story?  Well, their beloved Professor K is already out in space, and they’re going to follow.  First they have to get back from the Ultimate Universe, of course!

Bendis is working on a game-changing storyline in the X-Men books at the moment, and it looks as though the All-New X-Men will return to find the X-Men united once again.  Certainly the solicits and interviews have highlighted roles for Storm and Beast (as well as Magik), who will head into space with them!

Black Vortex alt cover
One cool alt cover!

He’s strongly hinted that some of the ANXM will get a ‘power up’ (and that there won’t always be a price to pay), and there’s been discussion of a Beast with cosmic-level intelligence.

As regards the Guardians, they’re a little preoccupied in their own title too.  They’ve been dealing with the Venom symbiote, which got a power-boost ready for ‘Secret Wars‘.  And, incredibly, Captain Marvel has just stumbled on a new twist – on Spartax, where J-Son was deposed, a new campaign began – and yes, he won it without even being part of it!

A New President
Wonder what his dad will think of this…

Ed McGuinness has created designs for at least two of the Guardians – although apparently not everything’s been used by the writers, mind – and they look thrilling.

Gamora VortexDrax Vortex

Plus another design strongly suggests that Ronan the Accuser will play a major role:

Ronan

The two teams were linked together last year in Bendis’ ‘The Trial of Jean Grey’, laying the foundation for their future interaction.  We’ve been teased that there’ll be some great scenes between ANXM Iceman and Groot, and that there’ll be friction between Storm and Gamora…

And the rest!

We know that the young Nova is going to play a role in this story, although it’ll only cross into one of his issues (apparently it’ll be “hilarious”).  Nova’s in trouble right now, though; his helmet was damaged during ‘AXIS’, which means his powers are unpredictable.  Weirdly enough, for his heroism he’s been officially declared an Avenger (which I kind of thought happened at the end of ‘AvX’).  And he’s got Carnage on his way – a Carnage who knows his secret identity… Still, given that Ed McGuinness’ sketches included a Nova who had been cosmically enhanced by the Black Vortex, who knows?  That might not give him much trouble…

Nova Vortex

And meanwhile, Captain Marvel is going to matter too, with a particular big moment for Kelly Sue DeConnick.  Carol has become the Avengers’ emissary into the wider galaxy, also working a lot with the Guardians, so it’s pretty obvious why she’s going to get drawn in for an issue!

And one more thing…

With Jonathan Hickman stepping down after ‘Secret Wars’, several of the famed ‘architects’ have moved on.  Brian Bendis is left, but this event is spearheaded by a new would-be ‘architect’, and will give us a real sense of how Marvel will work in the aftermath of ‘Secret Wars’.  Stay tuned!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. healed1337 says:

    I’m looking forward to this event more so than Secret Wars, partly because I’m reading every series that ties into this besides Nova. The concept of the event is fun, and the build up in Star Lord is good so far. I don’t like everything Sam Humphries writes (I thought his Uncanny X-Force was just OK), but I look forward to see if he can pull off leading a crossover.

    Like

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of UXF either, but I’ve been enjoying Legendary Star Lord 🙂 I’m really hoping this’ll be a cool event – ironically because Bendis isn’t the lead, it has potential to actually have a resolution, unlike BotA 😛

      Like

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