Dark Reign is here!
It starts off with Emma Frost having a nightmare of Kitty Pride calling out for help, but she can't find her. She wakes up to a Thunderbolt Agent giving her a message from Norman Osborn. She travels to Avengers Tower and to the Sub-Basement where Dr. Doom is sitting across a table. He tells her not to try to enter his mind or she will feel his wrath. Namor shows up followed by the Hood who suddenly appears on the table. He aims a gun at Emma for trying to enter his head, but she forced him to aim the gun into his mouth. Loki appears suddenly the same way that the Hood did and soon Norman enters through the door.
Norman then begins to explain how he is not going to run things like Nick Fury or Tony Stark. They tried to shut them out, when they should have been working along side of them all along. Dr. Doom starts asking what is in it for him, and Norman tells them that all of them will be given what they want. The Hood ask , "Okay, but say...when it's time to pay the Goblin and we tell you to go @#$% yourself...because that is, historically, what we do.."
Norman replies to him, "Well, if I may, I don't see you that way. I see you as men and women of honor. Or I wouldn't have called this meeting at all. However, if any of you would sink to your basest instincts...you must know that whatever you have gained from this relationship can easily be take away. Like that. By force.
Doom then points out that they don't like or trust him so why should they and Norman goes on to say, "Yes, well, I wasn't done with that point..In such a case as one of you turns on me, or each other, in payment for the kindness I have shown towards you..I have my friend.."
Norman gestures towards a cracked open door where you can see the figure of a man, but can't tell who it is. Norman then asks Emma to read his mind to see if he is lying and she says no. Emma then asks why she is there cause she is not like the rest of them and Norman says,
"You're not? Since when, Dear. You are Emma Frost. White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Leader of the X-Men. You are the spokesperson for a powerful people who are dying out. It's time to make some bold moves on behalf of your people or they will be gone. The mutant population is decimated and if you don't want to be rounded up into Canadian Concentration Camps..which, by the way, is an idea being proposed, righ now, by those who propose such things...You need to tap into your own true self and make some tough decisions. Also, for me, it's nice to have a psychic on the team. It keeps everybody relatively honest. Except I'm sure Doom here has guards and magic stuff blocking everything. But that's okay...I know what you want, Victor. You want Latveria. And you cam have it. As of today, right now, you're exradited back to your homeland. See, there is an arguement that says that when Tony Stark arrested you he did so under the influence of a Skrull Virus and that means you we're unlawfully imprisoned and are free to go pending further international investigation by a World Court."
Anyways he goes on saying the only thing he is asking for is their loyalty and the Hood wants to know what they get in return. Norman says
"Immunity. You get pinched, you walk. And you get to live your life unpunished. For all the pain in the ass they are, look at what happened to my Thunderbolts...Look, where they are now. Lokk where they got me. I was--two years ago I was instititutionalized, now I'm in charge of the whole damn thing. I'm saying, you guys get over yourselves and the world loves a second chance. I'm offering you a get out of jail free card. As long as you don't kill a puppy on television...you understand."
The Hood asks what about the Avengers and Norman tells him you will find out in a week. Doom asks about Tony and Norman tells him he won't be having a good year. And he tells him that Tony has signed the Tower and the Avengers over to SHIELD so SHEILD would pay for it and he lost it. Namor asks Loki what she says and she says that she wants Asgard and that she wants it back in the heavens where it belongs. Norman says that he has to go to a lunch and that he will stay in touch.
After everybody else leaves Namor and Doom are left along and Namor says,
"Are we alone?"
"What's the move here?"
"It is as before. Let him set us up. He will soon implode. Then when its all this is over...you'll get the seas, I'll get the land."
"And if he doesn't?"
"It's his nature. He will."
But if he doesn't?"
"Then we'll have a batlle on our hands un likes of which this dimension has never seen."
Norman is then back at Thunderbolts Mountain. Swordsman is there and he confronts Norman about his plan and how he is being left out. Norman tries to explain but Swordsman keeps cutting him off and Norman finally says, "You're not letting me finish a sentence." Norman then grabs Swordsman sword and rams it through him and shoves him off the mountain. Norman than starts screaming, "I AM IN CHARGE! ME! ME! ME!"
They then show Emma having that same dream again and she wakes up screaming.
Overall I give this issue 4 stars. It really gives you a fell for how the Marvel Universe is going to be now. Norman is running the show and its his world. Not everyone is happy about it, not even his own allies. I can't wait for this thing to really kick off.