Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #4

Issue Date: 
October 2011
Story Title: 
Title: Youth in Revolt, part four

Sean McKeever (writer), Mike Norton (artist), Veronica Gandini (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Lauren Sankovitch (editor), Tom Breevort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)


Brief Description: 

Gravity recalls his time as a child, seeing Spider-Man on television and learning what it meant to be a hero. He remembers battling the Rhino, and his time on the Initiative. But now, heroes are not as clean-cut – some of them even kill. He puts his mask on and leaps across the United States, all the way to Las Vegas, where sensors in a geo-science lab are monitoring earthquakes in the area. From the rubble of the ruined city, Hardball and Komodo emerge. Komodo confronts Hardball about letting those people in the tunnels die, but Hardball reminds her they gave them the opportunity to get to safety and they refused. Nonstop, Telemetry, Rage and Debrii are all safe, too, but find themselves confronted by the Order and Desert Stars teams, who Prodigy sent in to assist. Nonstop and Debrii get into an argument about the dead civilians, before Gravity arrives on scene, slamming into Hardball, he knocks him into a nearby hotel, and relentlessly attacks him. Hardball fights back, unaware that their fighting is causing some tremors around the city. The other heroes start to evacuate as many people as they can. Prodigy watches Hardball and Gravity fighting on some monitors, and really starts to feel the pressures of leadership. He takes a few minutes to calm down, but his hands start to shake. Cloud-9 and Thor Girl arrive in Las Vegas. Cloud-9 goes to talk with Komodo, while Thor Girl attempts to separate Hardball and Gravity, but is knocked back by their energies, as they continue to fight each other without restraint. Telemetry communicates with Prodigy and alerts him to the seismic damage that Hardball and Gravity are creating. Hardball knocks Gravity back and tells him he wants to get back to helping people. This angers Gravity, who gets back up and punches Hardball, telling him that he never helps people, just himself. They fight and argue some more, Gravity getting into hysterics as he tells Hardball that he doesn't deserve to breathe the air that dead heroes Cap and Nomad breathed. Komodo rushes over to Gravity as he prepares to blast Hardball at close range, but his blast is released at Komodo, knocking her back. He goes over to check on her, but Hardball uses this opportunity to lash out at Gravity again, despite Telemetry warning him not to. There is a massive rumbling after Hardball releases his powers...and the city around the heroes begins to collapse on top of them.

Full Summary: 

In Gravity's memory:

Growing up, there was no greater inspiration to Greg Willis than Spider-Man. Spidey and those first Marvels, they were ideal heroes, they saved lives daily, even when it meant risking theirs. And they never killed. He watches Spider-Man on the television, saving lives, and when Greg found himself with powers of his own, he moved to Manhattan with the goal of doing his best to live up to those ideals, and found himself tangling with the Rhino. How quickly things went off the rails, for first Greg died, and then he was reborn and became the cynical leader of a team of government-mandated “heroes” in Nevada, the Desert Stars, and together, they took on Warhead. But now, with every life lost on his watch, he feels a growing rage – not just with himself, but with the cold and unfair nature of it all. Now, as heroes kill and villains kill more than ever, those simple ideals he once worshipped are becoming a whisper, a forgotten memory.


Now, Greg “Gravity” Willis decides that he can't take it anymore, he has to do something. And putting on his ruined costume, he flies out of his bedroom, from state to state – Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, he swiftly moves across the United States with a very determined look on his face.

Las Vegas, meanwhile, inside the UNLV Technology Building for Geoscience and Nuclear Medicine, some seismic monitors pick up several anomalous fault activities, and identifies them as being a very high hazard-risk.

Outside the city, at a ruined bridge, Melati Kusuma a.k.a. Komodo watches as Roger “Hardball” Brokeridge emerges from the rubble and shouts at him 'Do you know what you've done? Babe, you – those people, you – why'd you have to do that?' she asks, still in shock. Hardball points out that no one else was gonna do it – it had to be done. 'People died just now! Innocent people! How could that be the right thing?' Komodo asks, wide-eyed. 'We gave those people the opportunity to run. They chose to stay' Hardball reminds her through gritted teeth.

Komodo turns from Hardball, 'You know, I can't – I just can't deal with your cold, self-centered – I've gotta go help or – or something' she utters, while nearby, Madeleine Michaels a.k.a. Nonstop, Elvin Haliday a.k.a. Rage and Deborah Fields a.k.a. Debrii find themselves confronted by Two-Gun Kid, Johnny Dee and Supermax of the Desert Stars, and Veda, Supernaut, Calamity, Anthem and Aralune of the Order. Anthem announces that Prodigy called them in, and asks how they can help. 'Wish I had an answer for you' Debrii replies. 'But when your chosen decision-maker takes out a whole buncha homless folk...' Debrii remarks, her voice trailing off.

'Hey, it sucks what happened to those people, Debrii, but if Hardball hadn't acted to get Juggernaut out of town, who knows how many more -' Nonstop begins, to which an annoyed Debrii turns to her, 'Uh-huh. So killing innocents is acceptable?' she snaps. 'Wow. Interrupting me and putting words in my mouth. I hard that so much' Nonstop exclaims. 'Tell you what I'm about to do to your heart, Nonstop -' Debrii threatens as they young women stare each other down. 'Hey!' Hardball shouts. Everyone turns to him, as he points out that Juggernaut's rampage did major damage to the strip, so they need to get over there now. 'Let's just press pause on all this and -' he suggests, before something strikes him, blasting him into the top of a nearby building. 'MURDERING IDIOT!' Gravity shouts as he strikes a punch, sending Hardball careening back towards another building, but Hardball uses his energy to steady himself, and re-gaining his balance, moves to clash with Gravity who continues to surge towards him.

Hardball strikes first, knocking Gravity through a large glass roof of a nearby building, Hardball drops down after him, landing inches from the surprised Gravity, who quickly gets to his feet, and levitates a lot of rubble, warning Hardball that he is going to pay for those innocent lives. 'Wrong time to pick a fight. But that's you in a nutshell, isn't it, Gravity?' Hardball responds as they punch each other. 'Bad timing, bad ideas, bad decisions...' Hardball tells Gravity, who shouts 'SHUT UP!' as he smacks his head into Hardball's and pushes Hardball back, when suddenly, there is a loud rumbling.

Outside, Telemetry a.k.a. Marina Zane has rescued several civilians and has them on a psionic platform as she helps to evacuate the city. 'Holy...that tremor came from Hardball and Gravity!' she remarks. 'Don't they know the city's too fragile for all that raw power?' she asks, while Johnny Dee and Two-Gun Kid are nearby, guiding civilians to safety. Johnny Dee tells Telemetry that she is welcome to try and talk sense to them, but he puts better odds on them successfully evacuating everyone. 'Hey, d'you feel that?' Rage asks Debrii as he lifts up some rubble, and she uses her power to move smaller rubble beneath it. 'Yeah, Rage. It's called an alpha male super-powered slugfest!' Debrii replies. 'Not the one before – just now' Rage explains. He looks around and adds that it was a new quake that came from the southwest. 'They're north, so -' he starts to say, before Debrii announces that there are survivors down here. 'Keep a path open!' she tells Rage.

In Virginia, Ritchie Gilmore a.k.a. Prodigy stands before several monitors that display footage of the trouble in Las Vegas, specifically Hardball and Gravity's battle. 'Unacceptable. This is unacceptable' Prodigy declares, before a voice over the communication system announces that they have massive riots growing nationwide from the reports of Captain America's death and the Paris massacre. 'Please advise' the voice adds.

'I -' Ritchie begins, hanging his head. 'Sir!' a soldier calls out as he enters the room where Ritchie stands solemnly. 'You've left your post, soldier, and I'm busy' Ritchie replies. The soldier informs Prodigy that those federal agents who are locked up keep demanding that they be released. They say they have jurisdiction over you and -' the soldier begins. Ritchie grits his teeth and closes his eyes, frustrated he instructs the soldier not to talk to them and leave them alone. 'But, Sir – if I might speak freely -' the soldier starts to say, but Prodigy spins around and furiously shouts 'You will do what I damn well tell you and that is all you will do!' Before the voice over the communicator speaks again, 'Sir? Please advise -', to which Prodigy starts to walk out of the room, 'Give me half a second to think, would you?', while the soldier looks at him in shock.

Ritchie slams the door open to the restroom, and washes his face with some water. 'Six months. Keep it together, Ritchie. Keep it -' he tells himself, going wide-eyed as one of his hands starts to shake. He uses the other hand to steady himself then looks in the mirror: 'You're in control. You're in control' he declares.

Back in Nevada, Komodo struggles to lift a large chunk of rubble when her friend Cloud-9 a.k.a Abby Boylen appears above. 'What are you doing? You're never gonna lift that' Abby declares. 'I have... to... try' Komodo calls back. Abby asks her if she even knows if anyone is down there, to which Komodo replies 'No, but – wait. Why are you wearing that, Abby? What are you doing here?' Komodo asks, confused at seeing her friend in costume. 'Right this second? Stopping you from ripping your arms out of their sockets, even if they do grow back' Abby replies. She drops to the ground and tells Komodo that she saw what happened, and that she can't let her feelings for Hardball make her feel guilty about any of this. 'The only thing you can do right now is help us stop them' Abby declares, as Komodo gives up on trying to lift the large piece of rubble. Suddenly, there is a rumbling, and Komodo asks 'Stop who? What's happening?' to which Abby asks her 'You mean you don't know?'

Nearby, Thor Girl flies towards Gravity and Hardball, who are still fighting, their battle caught on a cell phone by a man who watches from a few feet away. 'You must stop at once lest you place more innocents in danger! Please -' Thor Girl calls out, before she is knocked back through the air by their exploding energies. 'HOLY ####!' the man with the cell phone gasps as Thor Girl careens past him. Anthem is using his powers to clear some rubble, and announces 'Soon as everyone's evac'd, we need to formulate a plan to separate those two! Gang up on them if we have to, or – THOR GIRL!' he gasps as she lands several feet away from him, breaking up the ground upon impact.

Gravity holds Hardball down, 'You're gonna pay for everything you've done, Hardball! The betrayals, the murders...!' Gravity warns him. 'You... are such a damn... boy scout!' Hardball retorts as he knocks Gravity back with a surge of energy. Hardball spins around and punches Gravity, 'It's all white hats and black hats to you! No room for grey!' he exclaims as he strikes a blow at Gravity's jaw. 'You make me sick!' Hardball adds as he slams Gravity backwards, causing the other hero to land against a car.

Telemetry is supervising the rescued civilians, when the loudest rumbling yet is heard. She touches her communicator and declares 'Prodigy! Finally! I had to patch through nine network hubs to – what? I'm not blaming you, I'm just -' she begins, before saying 'Listen, Hardball and Gravity -', but Prodigy interrupts her with something, so she tells him that they have been too busy getting civilians out of the way to deal with them, but that they have had massive shockwaves from their fight, so she logged into a seismic monitoring system. 'Yes, that's exactly right! They have to be stopped now!' Telemetry declares, taking flight.

Hardball punches Gravity again, then stands over him, 'That it? Think maybe I can get back to helping people now?' Hardball asks. 'Helping people?' Gravity retorts as he leaps up and kicks Hardball in the face, followed by a punch, then another, blasting Hardball backwards. 'HELPING PEOPLE?!' Gravity shouts. 'You don't help people. You help yourself. Always yourself. It doesn't matter who you hurt who you kill...!' Gravity declares as he moves closer to Hardball, grabs his throat and raises a fist, charged with energy. He asks Hardball what he doesn't get about being a hero. 'We're supposed to hold ourselves to a higher ideal!' he exclaims, adding that it is not reality, but something worth striving for.

'I make you sick? I've seen so many people die, and you – to you it's, what, some kinda math problem? Some joke? What?' Gravity asks, as he grows more and more enraged. 'You're a disgrace. You dishonor every hero living or dead that came before you!' he tells Hardball, adding that innocent people, good people, they die, and a cold-hearted monster like Hardball just keeps on living. Gravity starts to cry, 'Cap's dad. Nomad...' his voice trails off, before readying himself to unleash the power around his fist, he exclaims 'You don't deserve to breathe the air they breathed'. Gravity continues, 'You deserve -' he begins, when suddenly, a voice calls out'NO!', and distracted, Gravity fires his pent-up energy in the direction of the voice – striking Komodo and knocking her back.

Gravity suddenly stops. 'No. Oh, no' he utters when he realizes what he has done. 'KOMODO!' Gravity shouts as he rushes over to her, but she doesn't move. 'Sorry. I'm so sorry I didn't mean -' he begins, and Komodo stirs. 'I swear I wasn't I didn't mean to og please Komodo be okay be okay' Gravity exclaims. He doesn't notice as Hardball has stood up and starts to move towards him. Gravity thinks back now about that wide-eyed kid that he was taking the bus to New York for the fisrt time, and cringes. 'Hardball, don't! You'll -' Telemetry calls out, but he doesn't listen to her, he moves closer to Gravity, who thinks to himself 'I don't cringe because he was so naive... but because I'd hate for him to see me now. I'd hate for him to see that he'll one day become a -' Gravity's thoughts are cut off, as he turns around and throws up a force field as Hardball's super-charged fist slams into him, followed by a mighty KA-THOOOOOM!

The seismic moniyot detects sustained activity, and civilians looks scared as there is another rumbling. Nonstop, Debrii and Rage are knocked about by the rumbling, while Hardball and Gravity both lie motionless on the ground. 'No, please...' Cloud-9 utters as she hovers above. 'No!' she gasps as buildings all around the city start to collapse....


Characters Involved: 


Thor Girl

Hardball III, Nonstop & Telemetry (all Heavy Hitters)

Prodigy III


Cloud 9


Debrii & Rage

Johnny Dee, Supermax, Two-Gun Kid (all Desert Stars)

Anthem, Aralune, Calamity, Supernaut, Veda (all The Order)





In Gravity's memory:

Gravity at various stages


Supermax, Johnny Dee, Two-Gun Kid (all Desert Stars)





Story Notes: 

Gravity died in the limited series, The Beyond! He returned to life in Fantastic Four (1st series) #545-546.

Several civilians did not want to abandon the storm water drains under the bridge and were therefore caught up in Hardball's explosion in his attempt to defeat the Juggernaut last issue.

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