Shatterstar #3

Issue Date: 
February 2019
Story Title: 

Tim Seeley (writer), Carlos Villa (penciler), Juan Vlasco & Carlos Villa (inkers), Gerardo Sandoval (flashback artist), Carlos Lopez (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Yasmine Putri (cover artist), Carlos Lao (graphic designer), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)


Brief Description: 

Shatterstar's tenants are led to an amphitheater on the planet Horus IV, where one of them, Tina Cooke, attempts to make a run for it and escape – only she runs straight into the Grandmaster. He is quite fascinated by this woman who comes from a reality where there are no such things as gods and super heroes. He decides to take her back to his control room with him, while the citizens of Horus IV watch Shatterstar's exploits on large screens. Shatterstar himself heads to a seedy area of Horus IV, where a man and two women make a pass at him. He isn't interested in them at the moment, and his mind wanders back to the time when he revealed to Gringrave that Mojo had arranged for he and Windsong to be betrothed, and Gringrave's hostile reaction. Back to the present, he finds his tenant called Pug-Smasher, held captive by the Death Sponsor called Deadair, who was planning to sell him. Shatterstar and Deadair fight, until Deadair escapes with Pug-Smasher, leaving Shatterstar battling some other warriors. Meanwhile, the Grandmaster sees how Tina Cooke is obsessed with Shatterstar, and offers to make her into a champion. Her fellow tenants, currently held in a cell, are shocked when they see on screen that Tina has been given powers and armor, and enters the gladiatorial arena to fight the warrior called Xeus. Shatterstar finds Deadair, and as he defends Pug-Smasher, is reminded of Gringrave's revelation that Windsong and Sovereignshard had planned to kill him – a crime of passion. Shatterstar gains the strength to fight back against Deadair, seemingly killing him, while at the same time, Tina Cooke discovers that her newfound power is no match for Xeus, and she to is seemingly slain in the arena, to the delight of the audience, and the horror of Shatterstar and the other tenants who see her killed on screen – and the Grandmaster plans his next move.

Full Summary: 

The planet called Horus IV, where the tentants of Manor Crossing, Earth, are shackled and led through a city by the alien warriors known as the Death Sponsors. 'Look, Tina! My brother and I are on television!' Goldon calls out to Tina Cooke, as he looks up at a billboard that hovers above the city, depicting him and Crimzor.

'Yes, Goldon. Our first time... and likely last' Crimzor mutters. 'You're primetime now, plot fodder. Move it, and don't get any ideas, or you'll get an early kill fee from the Death Sponsors' the tall woman called Cancellator warns the hostages. 'So many messages from our sponsors. Airwave overload. Jingle salvo. This planet gives me skullthrob!' the Death Sponsor called Sweepzweak calls out, while clutching his head. Suddenly, the frightened human woman called Tina Cooke begins to run, so the warrior Gringrave tells Sweepzweak to keep his eyes on the game.

Still clutching his head, Sweepzweak announces that he sees signals, so many, before giving his apologies to Gringrave, calling her a most valued showrunner. 'While you're kissing my ass, one of Shatterstar's tenants is getting away' Gringrave scowls. Tina makes it into an alleyway, 'Oh god, oh God' she utters, looking back over her shoulders. 'You're looking for God?' a figure standing in the shadows at the end of the corridor asks. Tina crashes into him and falls backwards, 'Then you've found' him the Grandmaster boasts, introducing himself to Tina as the player of games and maker of wagers. 'What – what do you want with me?' Tina asks. 'I'm your host, Tina Cooke of Earth-1218' the Grandmaster replies as he runs a hand through Tina's hair. He remarks that her home universe is quite fascinating – strict rules make gods and super heroes impossible, leaving it filled with weak little people like her viewing other worlds through screens.

The Grandmaster offers to make Tina a deal – he wants her to tell him in great detail what it is like to live in this strange place he has never been, and in exchange, she may ask him any question she would like, and he will answer it. 'A-anything?' Tina asks nervously as she gets to her feet. 'I am an Elder. All knowledge that does and has ever existed is mine to access. Anything' the Grandmaster responds. 'Okay. Where's Ben? Where the hell is Shatterstar?' Tina asks. The Grandmaster smiles – that was not the question he expected, but it is a welcome reminder nonetheless. His eyes crackle, before announcing that this is an excellent time to check in with their revenge-seeking interdimensional gladiator-detective-landlord. 'What the – holy heck?' Tina gasps as she finds herself transported to a control room with the Grandmaster, as the Grandmaster tells her that so they can answer each other's questions, she can sit at his hand while they watch. 'Welcome to Shatterstar. Episode 3' the Grandmaster tells Tina, while the citizens of Horus IV watching Shatterstar on large screens in an arena cheer in excitement as Shatterstar appears on the monitors.

Shatterstar places a red mask over his face as he recalls that upon arriving here he learned that the  mercenary Death Sponsors had split up, with the majority of them leading his tenants to the ampitheater, while the man-beast called Dead-Air has taken Karl Snortenthau, deemed weak and thus unfit for the arena, as his payment. Shatterstar does as he has done many times before – considering his options as he holds lives in his hands. He enters some sort of nightclub, where all sorts of humanoid aliens are enjoying themselves. Shatterstar's decision is made quickly – his tenants were set to fight for their lives at scheduled times advertised around the city, whereas Karl's fate in the “Vice district” known as Sah'damn... was uncertain.

Shatterstar hopes that the helm and marks he has procured would conceal his identity and translate alien languages.  Everything else would be left to Shatterstar's particular skill set. A scantily clad woman with green hair approaches him and kisses him, while another woman approaches Shatterstar from behind and lifts up his shirt, revealing his rippling abs. 'The people up on the Mount live other people's lives. We down here in Sah'damn live out own. In every way we can' a shirtless man remarks as he wraps his arms around Shatterstar and moves his lips towards Shatterstar's. 'What is your desire, beautiful stranger?' the woman behind Shatterstar asks. 'What pleasure of the flesh can we four provide each other?' the man asks. Shatterstar informs the three that he is not here for flesh today – he is here for the meat.


The Wildways:'

‘Meat' Shatterstar declares as he looks in a mirror. 'That's all we are, Gringrave' he tells the other warrior, who is sitting cross-legged on the floor. Gringrave smiles at Shatterstar and tells him that she wasn't listening, that she was deep in concentration, envisioning how each of their opponents would die. 'What did you say?' she asks. Shatterstar glances through a window where a woman wearing a green costume is stretching. Shatterstar calls her Windsong - “The Savage Siren” and remarks that of all their allies in the seaon finale battle royale, Mojo V has decreed their genetic materials shall be mixed to produce new offspring – she is to be his wife. 'What? But we play so well together, Shatterstar' Gringrave exclaims, standing up and wrapping her arms around Shatterstar. She tells him that she is concentrating deeply with her eyes open, envisioning a scenario.

Gringrave pulls out a knife and holds it to Shatterstar's face:'Windsong dies today, after one of my blades haphazardly careens off your sword into her pale throat' Gringrave suggests, calling it a tragic accident that will prevent her for siring Shatterstar's seed. Shatterstar grabs Gringrave's wrist and pushes her away, reminding her that Windsong and Sovereignshard are their allies, and points out that what she is suggesting is a crime of passion, and that she has forgotten her own lessons. 'One mate is as good as another. Mojo treats us as meat – because that is what we are' Shatterstar tells Gringrave, looking her in her eyes, before he turns and walks away, 'We have no feelings. No attachments no love' he reminds Gringrave as he leaves the room.


Pug-Smasher is bound and placed on a table, looking up in fear he exclaims 'You're only proving my point! Capitalism is cannibalism!' The scantily-clad horned member of the Death Sponsors called Deadair grins as he remarks 'See? Just like I said. It talks. Never shuts up, in fact. You're clients'll love it. It's worth at least 100,000 tetras'. An elderly man with a white beard called Bess looks at Pug-Smasher and admits that otherversal fare is such a rare delicacy in these difficult times, but it is a small morsel and it is preachy. 'Perhaps I'll be moved to purchase it, if I can sample a bit for myself?' Bess grins as he raises a small knife. 'Bess, I would have a word with you...' a voice calls out. 'That word is “aarghmm”!' Shatterstar exclaims as he appears and a low hum activates Shatterstar's bioelectric field, which slams into Bess, knocking him backwards and causing him to feel the gladiator's rage.

'I did the snatch and grab! I get the pay!' Deadair calls out as Shatterstar knocks the table where Pug-Smasher lies over. 'He's mine!' Deadair exclaims as he knocks Shatterstar backwards with his wings. 'No, Deadair. He signed a lease. For at least the next year, the New York State Attorney General's Office says... he is mine!' Shatterstar calls back as he extends his bioelectric field again, rushing towards Deadair, who stands ready for the fight.

'No need to ruin a perfectly good fight scene with incessant narration' the Grandmaster remarks as he turns to Tina, asking her if she was a “banker”. A strange creature approaches the Grandmaster and holds out a trinket, 'For your approval, Grandmaster. The commemorative collectible retro-action totems, Sir'. The Grandmaster waves his servant away and declares that he will see to it later, before he asks Tina if “banker” is not just another name for a supreme gambler who plays with other people's money. 'Yeah, yeah, I guess' Tina replies as she looks at the viewscreen. 'But you found the duties tedious. Unfulfilling. You wanted something more meaningful. You wanted to escape' the Grandmaster remarks. The Grandmaster grins as he realizes that Tina likes to watch Shatterstar, to see him battle for the life of another, willing to confront any evil from this winged brute to Galactus himself if need be – so powerful, so pure – so unlike anything she could have ever been on her own world. Tina doesn't answer, she continues to watch the screen, as the Grandmaster opens the trinket that his servant brought him, and energy crackles from it. 'Hm. But what if? An interesting notion. What if you could fight for the lives of your neighbors? For Ben Gaveedra?' the Grandmaster asks. He points at Tina and smiles, asking her 'What if using great power to win a battle against evil could get you and your neighbors sent home to Manor Crossing in Queens, New York? What if you could be their champion, Tina Cooke?'

Meanwhile, Deadair has taken Pug-Smasher and runs through the nightclub, 'Out of the way, cretins!' he shouts at the partygoers. 'Yip! Let me go and  I'll smash your imperialist skull!' Pug-Smasher exclaims, while one of the partygoers points at Shatterstar and tells others 'He struck me! Find him! Gut him! We'll make a buffet of his body!' he shouts, and Shatterstar finds himself lunged at by another alien. A fight ensues, but Shatterstar is an expert fighter, and kicks, punches and slices his way through his opponents. 'I have no time for this' Shattrstar declares as he extends his bioelectric field again, knocking back all of his attackers. Shatterstar rushes up a flight of steps, while outside, Deadair tells Pug-Smasher 'I hope you're afraid of heights, alt-world scum'. Pug-Smasher just barks at him, when suddenly, Shatterstar leaps through a large window, out into open air, and straight towards Deadair – shoving one of his blades into Deadair's back in spectacular display.

At the arena, the screen suddenly pauses, and a voice-over informs the large crowd that they will return to their program soon, but that in the meantime, they have a special unscheduled event for their pleasure. The Grandmaster's image appears on the monitor and he announces that the time has come for a Contest of Champions. A man wearing red, blue and gold armor enters the arena, and the Grandmaster introduces him as the Dove of Destruction, Sire of the One Sun, someone who is untemptable – Xeus! Imprisoned in a cell, Goldon, Crimzor and the End Woman listen to the Grandmaster's voice, he declares that the challenger is from Earth-1218 – Tina Looke! With that, Tina enters the arena, wearing a pink costume and carrying a shield, energy ripples around her head as she punches Xeus in the face.

Back in the Vice District, Shatterstar, Deadair and Pug-Smasher have all fallen to the ground. Deadair gets to his feet and exclaims 'Forget the money. My payment will be smashing the wet, wall-eyed thing into giblets. The scantily-clad warrior approaches Pug-Smasher and prepares to stomp on him – until Shatterstar leaps between them, 'No!' he calls out, Deadair's foot strikes him, as Shatterstar rolls and takes Pug-Smasher in his arms to protect him. Deadair raises his foot over Shatterstar's body as he mutters 'Pathetic. Putting those high-end lab genetics between me and that alt-world beast'. His foot slams down on Shatterstar's back, but the hero resists, even as Deadair tells him that he used to watch him in the pits, he and Gringrave, and that they entraptured him. His strikes Shatterstar in the back again, as he tells him 'Your savagery. Your total commitment to the game. Your worship of winning. Za's Vid, you were amazing. What happened to you? What made you lose faith?' Deadair asks, while Shatterstar narrows his eyes. 


'You don't believe me' Gringrave calls out, which causes Shatterstar to smile. He dodges her as Gringrave lunges at him, reminding him that she has had his back in a thousand battles, and after each one, she gave him her body – yet he doesn't trust her to bring him the truth? Shatterstar tells Gringrave to stop. 'It's just...what you're saying...' he begins, grabbing Gringrave's wrists, he remarks that with all the tube feed pirates, gladiator security is tighter than Mojo's waistband during season finale – anyone seeing anything he's not charging for. 'How would you even get this vid?' Shatterstar asks. Gringrave pulls away from him and claims that it's Spiral – she sometimes likes to watch her. 'Sometimes I perform for her...privately. In exchange, she gives me little peeks' Gringrave reveals, before telling Shatterstar to go ahead and watch it, to see for himself.

Shatterstar looks at a screen, where Windsong can be seen, asking Sovereignshard if there is any other way. Soveriegnshard, who is wearing a purple jacket with spikes on his shoulders steps into view and tells Windsong that there isn't, and that Mojo wants to make Shatterstar her husband, to breed the great Shatterstar and Windsong. 'We can't letthat happen. I won't!' Soveriegshard declares, grabbing Windsong by her shoulders, he announces that tonight, while Mojoworld sleeps, Shatterstar's reign over the arena will end. 'What...what is this? Shatterstar asks. 'Don't you recognize it? Or do you no longer see attachments and feeling at all? It's love, Shatterstar' Gringrave explains, turning away, she tells him that this evening, it will lead to a crime of passion.


'It's a crime, what you've become, a travesty against Za's above!' Deadair exclaims as he kicks Shatterstar in the face. Shatterstar suddenly grabs Deadair by his ankle, and sends his bioelectric vibrations up Deadair's body, shocking the scantily-clad gladiator with a powerful surge of energy. The energy travels through bone and muscle through armor into Shatterstar's blade still sticking into Deadair's back, exiting through it with devastating results – Deadair's body then falls to the ground, and as Shatterstar gets to his feet, one battle ends.

While in the arena, another reaches its fevered crescendo, as Xeus smashes his fist into Tina's face, knocking her backwards, she falls to the ground. Xeus stands over her, he tells her that power is not the same as skill or experience, and that she fought admirably, but that it is time to end this charade, she needs to stand down. 'No!' Tina replies, wiping her mouth, she then lunges forward, boasting that she is going to save them, that's how the stories go. 'I'm the -' she begins, but as she reaches Xeus, he knocks her back, doing as he has done many times before, considering his options as he held a life in his hands. 'The... the hero...' Tina gasps. Once, before his world had fallen, Xeus traveled to other worlds, disguising himself as a god, bringing awe to natives – he missed the sounds of eager worshippers. He could not resist the call of their prayers – and the same goes for now, as the crowd call out to him, he responds by striking Tina at close range, slamming his fist into her, the sound is a mighty SHRAK, followed by the sound of the crowd erupting in applause.

In their cell, the End Woman and Goldon turn away from the screen that was showing them the battle, they cover their faces with their hands, while Crimzor continues to look at the screen from under his hood.

In the Vice District, Shatterstar and Pug-Smasher see a large billboard depicting Tina's face, now with a red cross stamped across it. Shatterstar hangs his head and begins to cry.

In another room, Gringrave places her gloved hands to her face, giving the impression of a large grinning smile, and as the strange trinket box glows behind him, the Grandmaster holds up figurines of Shatterstar and Gringrave while looking very pleased with himself....

Characters Involved: 


Tina Cooke, Crimzor, End Woman, Goldon, Pug-Smasher



Cancellator, Deadair, Lead-In, Sweepzweak (all Death Sponsors)




Citizens of Horus IV




in flashback:






Story Notes: 

Windsong had previously appeared as a holographic projection in X-Force (1st series) #30.

Written By: