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The Order #8: Review

Feb 2008
Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson

Story Name:

8: Holly --or-- Search and destroy

Review & Comments

4 stars

The Order #8 Review by (October 21, 2015)
Dept of misleading covers:- At no point in this or any issue do the Order try to rescue Mullholland Black from the Black Dahlias, in a speeding car or not. Mullholland's parents are obviously based on Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, though her history starts diverging when it isn't only her father who dies. M-Day was the aftereffect of the House of M event, when Scarlet Witch depowered most of the mutants in the world. Obadiah Stane was Tony Stark's main corporate opponent for Iron Man #163-200. He took over Stark International and sent Tony into the downward spiral of alcoholism that resulted in James Rhodes taking over as Iron Man. #200 was when Stark took back the IM role, Stane donned the Iron Monger armour but lost and committed suicide. Stane's son is invented here, and we'll be told his name Ezekiel in next issues story-so-far page. All the Black Dahlia's apart from Cut/Wendy are killed here.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The Order #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue's flashback interview is Pepper Potts talking to sullen punk teen Mulholland Black. The embedded flashbacks show her junkie grunge band parents who overdosed and died leaving her an orphan ward of the state. In a juvie ward she developed her mutant power to the psychic energy of places. But M-Day took all that away. The only time she brightens up in the interview is at the prospect of the Order process giving her her old power back. In the last bit of the interview at the end of the issue she's asked what she'd do if she got the power back. She says she'd get revenge - she says she's kidding, but not really.

Now Holly has been captured by her old girl gang the Black Dahlias. They've used SPIN Tech to remove her Order power and delivered her to Gen'l Softly of the military organisation SHADOW. She's naked in a containment tube, raging at her old leader/lover Wendy. And we see that SHADOW is composed of many identical copies of Softly.

Another Softly is being led in the desert by wolves with green glowing eyes (next issue will say they were gamma-mutated) to where Aralune and Supernaut are hiding after being zapped by SHADOW's defences in #6. The Supernaut suit was completely wrecked, and paraplegic Milo Fields crawled out of it to to drag unconscious Becky Ryan to a cave to hide in. Aralune's malleable body was reduced to a blob. She gradually resumed human form, but is only now showing signs of partial consciousness.

Milo devises a desperate plan. He persuades Becky to blob-out again. He lies amid her substance and asks her to connect to the ports he used to control Supernaut - he intends to try to control her 'body'. But he didn't expect her substance to completely enclose him.

Next we see a golem-like form attacking Softly and the wolves. Softly is mostly shocked by the golem's voice. Not that it is monstery, but that it is a male/female amalgam that offends his sense of right. The golem quickly disposes of the wolves, but is then blasted by eye-beams from the General. A scan reveals that Softly is a robot, so the golem feels no need to hold back.

But still the Softly-bot gains the upper hand. Until Anthem, Calamity, Heavy and Veda come to the rescue. Anthem fries the robot with a couple of lightning bolts.

Pepper and PR-woman Kate Kildare are talking by video-link to boss Tony Stark, who tells them the SHADOW organisation doesn't exist (ie it's not a governemnt agency or a known villain group). There was a 1950's government project SHDO led by a Gen'l Sam Softly who matches the description of the Order's enemy. But he died back then. Super Human Development and Operation were 1 of many groups charged with duplicating Captain America's Super Soldier process. The intention was to create a squad of temporary superhumans in each US state. Ie like the Order expanded to the rest of the 50-State Initiative.

This doesn't explain how and why dead Softly is leading an assault on the Order.

At this point the team arrive carrying the golem body of Becky/Miles and the incoherent head of the Softly robot. The medical staff take the body into their care. Pepper and the team compare notes with Stark, who agrees that they need to work out who's funding SHADOW. Tony tells them that SHDO's base was near California's Salton Sea.

In that very place we see a Softly, Wendy of the Dahlia's, the Infernal Man from #1 and the dismissed Order member Maul (recruited in #4) report to their boss, who turns out to be the psychotic son of Obadiah Stane. He particularly wants Wendy to bring Holly over to their side.

Back at the Order's Bradbury Building HQ the medics have revived and separated Becky and Milo. But their close union is described as the equivalent of having sex, and it's had 2 lasting consequences. They're now a couple, and Milo has regained the use of his legs.

Back at SHADOW HQ we learn that the Dahlia's superpowers are courtesy of drugs from SHADOW (the 1's we saw in #6), in a process similar to that which created the Order members. Wendy believes that Stane wants the process available to anybody, not just Tony Stark's super-police. SHADOW medics are giving the other 4 girls a top up when something goes drastically wrong. The visuals suggest Mulholland is responsible, as she breaks out of her tube cage. She says that  removing her Order power has somehow triggered the resurgence of her identical mutant power. Her psychic connection to places taps into all the people who died in experiments here, and fuels her power.

Barry Kitson
Barry Kitson
Brendan McCarthy
Barry Kitson (Cover Penciler)
Barry Kitson (Cover Inker)
Barry Kitson (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

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