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Strikeforce #6: Review

Feb 2020
Tini Howard, Jacopo Camagni

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Strikeforce #6 Review by (February 21, 2020)
Ghost told Moonstone his origin, including his murdered girlfriend, in Thunderbolts #151. But it doesn't make sense that the unnamed corporate villains there were Roxxon since he worked for them a lot afterwards. Marvel Fandom Wiki suggests that the suspicious girl had her consciousness saved by Roxxon just in case.

The recent Ravencroft #1 presumably happens after this story because Wilson Fisk introduces Karla Sofen as an actual member of staff there. (But this is only in 1 panel at the end of the issue so there's room for a more detailed explanation of her status.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Strikeforce #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Taking time off from hunting the Vridai, most of the team have been lured by the Ghost to investigate a hospital where Dr Karla Sofen (Moonstone) is murdering patients to experiment with trapping their spirits. Ghost and Moonstone want the power of Spectrum to stabilise the results.

We start with a flashback several hours. Karla, using the name Dr Sophien, and Ghost consider patient Mr Schafer who has donated his body to science. Moonstone intends to use him in Project Aaru, named after the Ancient Egyptian heaven, to create a digital heaven for uploaded consciousnesses, which should prove a money-spinner.  He's not dead yet but when a nurse interrupts to inform Dr Sophien that Mr Schafer's family are here she tells her to inform them that he just passed.

Ghost went invisible while the nurse was present but now comes back. He asks the Doctor whether Schafer actually donated his remains to Aaru, or just to science in general? And how can the subjects report that it doesn't work, or they wind up with no 'heaven'? Karla's reply is to threaten to destroy a computer chip if he doesn't follow orders. This chip contains the consciousness of his old girlfriend which she found in a lab of the Roxxon Corporation who murdered her. She claims that this chip was what gave her the idea of project Aaru in the 1st place. And Ghost meekly switches Mr Schafer's life support off.

At the end of last issue Spectrum tried to return the ghosts Karla Sofen had created back to their bodies. But now we see that the result is more like zombies attacking our heroes. And Monica Rambeau now claims it was actually Moonstone that resurrected the bodies but without their spirits. And she has now left left our gang to deal with the problem.

Spectrum was with Angela and Blade but the Asgardian Goddess has left them at some point. Monica tells Blade *not* to cut *these* zombies to pieces as is his wont because she still hopes to get them back to life. Blade reluctantly complies and just breaks bones instead. Spider-Woman and Winter Soldier are elsewhere in the hospital but Spectrum has contacted them and told *them* not to kill anyone either.

Blade heads off to find Moonstone and stop the problem at source. Spider-Woman, who's got separated from Bucky Barnes, reports that Moonstone has found *her*, along with Ghost. As superstrong Karla Sofen beats her up Ghost sinks through the floor. Jessica Drew reports that he's heading for the basement and unhappy Moonstone has gone chasing after him.

Now we have an interlude with the other 2 members of our cast who were left to guard the Vridai leader Count Ophidian who was supposedly in a coma. Last issue Wiccan got Daimon Hellstrom to admit that *he* was magically keeping the Count asleep. And that he had been working as a ritualist for the Vridai to help them find a home. Then Billy Kaplan suggested to Daimon that they wake Ophidian up and agree to *both* acts as ritualists for the Vridai.

Now Hellstrom has removed his spell but the Ophidian is still asleep. Billy tries to wake him but the body crumbles to dust! Wiccan theorises that the fungal Vridai Count created an exoskeleton and at some point escaped from within. Daimon suggests they teleport away before angry Blade returns. But goody Wiccan says he might be able to track Ophidian down by locating an alternate reality where they have found him and see where that was. (This sounds rather like quantum computing - try all possibilities in different universes and locate the 1 with the answer.) But Billy warns that Daimon might see something in that future he doesn't like.

Back at the hospital Angela has met up with Winter Soldier and they've found Ghost in the basement. But he tells them he wants to help them defeat Moonstone, and explains what she's doing. He also explains how he was only working with her because she has his girlfriend trapped in a microchip. So they strike a deal whereby he'll get the chip.

Back at Blade's place Wiccan has located the Count still in the building. But Hellstrom saw a future where Angela and his sister Satana sat laughing on the throne of Hell while he himself was being tortured. Billy explains that he can do stuff like that because in the future he's going to be the Demiurge, which Daimon knows refers to the 'extraplanar dominus of all reality'.

Anyway they head down to *their* basement where they find the cowering child that is the real Ophidian, still afraid of his nanny/advisor Birgit (see previous issues). Hellstrom thinks it's an act but Billy believes him. Wiccan says they'll get the Vridai home (to Svartalfheim), but Ophidian says that the problem is they don't *have* a home anymore. (Which I think Daimon already explained last issue!)

Back at the hospital Spectrum has reassembled with Blade and Spider-Woman. She has corralled some of the 'ghosts' and needs Moonstone to produce the appropriate bodies so she can get them back together. Jessica is all for it but Blade continues to insist you can't bring back the dead. (Anybody would think he didn't live in the Marvel universe.) Monica is at least willing to compromise on uploading them to Sofen's digital heaven.

Now Moonstone joins them and, in between fighting them, reveals that her machine doesn't work. She really intended to do what she promised, for mercenary reasons of course, but now she's cutting her losses and just wants to get people to invest in the idea (then she'll run off with the money presumably).

But Angela arrives with Winter Soldier and Ghost. She uses her mind-controlled ribbons to bind and gag the woman. Spectrum reaches an energy hand into Sofen's neck to temporarily disable the Moonstone that powers her. Ghost retrieves his lover's chip. And the team deliver Karla to the authorities.

We next see her incarcerated in the Ravencroft Institute For The Criminally Insane. But a doctor frees her from her restraints and offers the psychiatrist a job treating other patients. But later he tells his aides that humouring such a dangerous villain is the only way of controlling her.

Meanwhile Spectrum has freed the spirits Sofen was experimenting on and senses that they have gone to their rest. Blade has arranged for the Avengers to contact their families. Ghost has left. Jessica has heard from Billy and Daimon about the current Ophidian situation, and they're off to deal with that.

Jacopo Camagni
Jacopo Camagni
Juan Jose Ryp (Cover Penciler)
Juan Jose Ryp (Cover Inker)
Juan Jose Ryp (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Sabino.
Editor: Wil Moss. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric Brooks)

(Karla Sofen)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)

(Jessica Drew)
Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

(Bucky Barnes)

Plus: Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), Wiccan (Billy Kaplan).

> Strikeforce: Book info and issue index

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