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The Order #2: Review

Aug 2007
Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson

Story Name:

2: Becky --or-- teenager of the year

Review & Comments

4 stars

The Order #2 Review by (June 2, 2015)
Each issue will have an interview like this 1 (and last issue's), usually with a prospective trainee. The interview will occupy the opening 2 pages of the issue, with a standard layout:- Each page divided in half. Each half consisting of 4 talking head shots of the interviewee followed by an illuminating flashback panel showing the raw truth about their past. The interview will usually extend into the 1st panel on page 3, and will usually also occupy the last few panels of the issue. Sometimes there will be more panels interspersed in the body of the comic. Next issue says that the attacking Russians were all robots, which explains why the Marvel Chronology Project doesn't bother listing them. As well as robots of Crimson Dynamo, Gargoyle and Mongu there is Ursa Major and Iron Maiden. The 'golem' is more of a problem (and not just because there are only 5 sleeping controllers). The MCP Calendar suggests it might be a copy of Ultimo. lists both Gargoyle and his son Gremlin, but I don't think they mean 1 of these to be the golem. Gargoyle and Gremlin look the same, so I think are just hedging their bets. Pepper Potts says this lot were the 1st iteration of the Soviet Super-Soldiers. It is true that Ursa Major and a Crimson Dynamo were there. But Iron Maiden and Mongu were never part of that group. Neither was Gargoyle, but his son Gremlin did join later and this robot is more likely a copy of him. Mongu was in fact a 1-off villain in #4 of the short-lived 1st Hulk series. Gargoyle was also a 1-off in Hulk's very 1st issue, because his other appearance in Rampaging Hulk #4 is non-canonical. (That whole set of untold Hulk tales were later declared the invention of alien film-maker Bereet.) Gremlin is also mainly a Hulk villain but with a few appearances to his credit. Iron Maiden was invented as an enemy for Black Widow, and has made a few generic apps since then.

The sacked 4 supposedly had their powers removed. So why has Avona still got her sword? Someone will ask that very question next issue. I've spotted a cameo of Anthem, Calamity and Veda in Avengers: Initiative #5, which would fall between this issue and next.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The Order #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We start and finish with a flashback to Becky Ryan's interview to train for a possible place in The Order. Pepper Potts is the interviewer. Team leader and ex-TV actor Henry Hellrung recommended her. Becky describes her life, accompanied by other flashbacks showing the reality.

Becky is a pop star with a horde of female teen/pre-teen fans. Her father had her in 'show business' from an early age - Ms Texas at 8 years old. A flashback shows her unhappy, but as she says it led to greater things including a platinum album by 13. She emphasises a wholesome view of her work, and brushes over the blatant sexuality a flashback reveals. She denies being exploited and insists that she was in charge of her career. Pepper notices her toying with a cookie but not eating any, and questions her commitment to a size zero figure. We see Becky with (presumably) dieting drugs and vomitting into a toilet.

Becky gets very defensive and accuses Pepper of making fun of her. But Pepper replies that she thinks Becky's life has always been controlled by others. Now she's offering her a chance to be whatever she wants to be, and to let her fans admire her for heroism rather than a model figure and a glitzy life. But Becky's response is that what she wants is to not let anybody down. And she asks if that was the right answer.

Now she's leaping into a fight as Aralune, punching a Russian bear with a jetpack. The rest of the team figure they'd better join in against the other foes. Armoured Heavy hits a metal golem(?) while even-more-armoured Supernaut takes on a Crimson Dynamo. Team leader Anthem trades blasts with a bald gnome, Speedster Calamity buffets a bearded giant and Veda sends her own golems against an armoured female.

Young Mulholland Black panics and doesn't know what to do. Combat coach Heavy suggests a simple earthquake will suffice. She uses her psychkinetic link to LA to draw on the power of the 1994 Northridge earthquake and directs it through her mallet (though we don't actually see it doing anything). Meanwhile equally-young Becky has transformed into a monster who takes the bear down with a Hulk-like handclap. (Yes, she's a shape-shifter and can now become anything she wants.)

The armoured Russian woman is decimating Veda's golems, so Calamity rushes forward and throws her out to sea.

Monitoring the situation from base, Pepper has looked up their foes in a Stark database. They are cold war warriors, the 1st version of the Soviet Super-Soldiers. Alongside an early Crimson Dynamo she identifies the little bald 1 as Gargoyle and the big hairy 1 as Mongu (who's actually a robot with a normal(?) man inside). And SHIELD info says they're nuclear-powered, so maybe the team should stop hitting them.

The data (or just Pepper's theory) says that they've been asleep for decades to be activated by nuclear war. And yesterday's fight against Infernal Man has woken them up.

Now we have a different flashback. 6 weeks ago Henry and Pepper persuaded Kate Kildare to become The Order's PR person. We learn that she helped Henry rebuild his reputation after his drinking got him sacked from his TV show. They are worried that the public will hate them, in the post-Stamford New Warriors disaster climate. Kate is more worried that they'll just be ignored.

Now Kate is holding a press conference about the sacking of 4 members last issue for bringing the team's name into disrepute, and their replacement by Aralune, Mulholland, Supernaut and Veda. A reporter is worried about the fact that the sacked 4 got drunk - couldn't they have done some damage in that state? Kate assures him that their artificial powers were designed to switch off under the influence of substance abuse. Another reporter asks what will happen to the sacked 4. But then Kate and the reporters get alerted to the current battle.

But we cut to a subway car where the sacked Avona is lying in a pool of blood. The AI in her sword is reporting it's lost its psychic link to her.

Back at the battle Gargoyle blasts Heavy in the face. The rest of The Order form a defensive ring around him. Except Calamity who races off across the ocean to a destination given him by Pepper - Drenkov Island. This is what the US government assumed was just an abandoned Soviet listening post. But it's where the cold warriors came from.

Pepper has discovered that 1 of the attacking Russians is a walking A-Bomb remote-controlled from the island. The state-of-play text page at the start of next issue will say that they are all robots controlled by the 5 Russians Calamity finds in suspended animation in a tankful of chemicals. They are running the show in their sleep. Pepper tells him to unplug their life-support.

James Wa freezes, unable to kill the 'Nukeonauts' in cold blood. So Pepper sends Supernaut rocketing to join him. Meanwhile the Crimson Dynamo suit opens to reveal the nuclear bomb inside, which glows and emits a warning siren.

Supernaut arrives at the island and tells James to go. Ex-soldier Milo Fields knows the enemy are soldiers too, and will have accepted the risk of being killed. Grateful Calamity leaves and Supernaut orders the sleeping Russians to cease or be destroyed.

The bomb is still about to go off. Aralune changes form again to a giant jellyfish and surrounds the Crimson Dynamo suit. The bomb explodes but she contains it (an atom bomb!). Then Becky Ryan reverts to human and collapses. Supernaut returns to see if his action saved the day. Only to find that it was Becky instead.

Later Henry checks in on Becky. He's worried that it was actually an attempted suicide rather than a heroic act. Her psych tests had indicated that she was sick of her previous life. But it seems that she really did want a chance to do some good with her life.

Kate is having a drink after another press conference explaining how the Teenager of the Year just saved Los Angeles from an atomic bomb. She's approached by Chester Chez with advanced warning of a news item that will break the next morning. It's a video of a topless Rebecca Ryan.

Barry Kitson
Mark Morales
Dean White
Barry Kitson (Cover Penciler)
Barry Kitson (Cover Inker)
Barry Kitson (Cover Colorist)


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