Shatterstar #4

Issue Date: 
March 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: 

As Tina Cooke dies, Shatterstar arrives at the amphitheatre with Pug-Smasher. The Grandmaster introduces himself to Shatterstar, but Shatterstar is unimpressed. He hands Pug-Smasher to the gladiator who killed Tina and instructs him to take Pug-Smasher to safety. Shatterstar informs the people of Horus IV who watch his every move with interest that he is here to rescue his tenants, when the remaining members of the Death Sponsors arrive. Shatterstar battles them, while remembering the night that Sovereignshard arrived at his quarters to kill him – only Shatterstar killed him instead. Shatterstar makes quick work of the Death Sponsors, begofe Gringrave arrives and reveals how she orchestrated the attack on and capture of Shatterstar's tenants, forced Shatterstar to send Rictor away and murdered her own teleporter. Shatterstar and Gringrave fight, while Shatterstar's imprisoned tenants watch on a monitor from their cell. Shatterstar asks Gringrave why she did this – to increase her popularity and ratings – but Gringrave reveals that shev did it because Shatterstar betrayed her, and everything they shared. Shatterstar remembers Gringrave coming to him after he killed Sovereignshard, and revealing to him that she manipulated this encounter to result in Sovereignshard's death. After shoving several blades into Shatterstar, Gringrave tells him that she didn't want him to leave – because she loved him. They hold each other – then suddenly Shatterstar falls backwards onto a blade that is sticking up from the ground, impaling himself and Gringrave on it. He pushes Gringave's lifeless body off him, then staggers across the battle arena, vowing to rescue his tenants, when suddenly, the Grandmaster appears, and boasts that he is God here – that power over life and death is his to bestow – and he suddenly reduces Shatterstar to a pool of blood! 


Full Summary: 

Horus IV, an alien planet where inside a large amphitheatre, filled with a huge crowd of citizens of this planet, the woman known as Tina Cooke lies motionless on the arena floor, she stares at a widening point of light with a sort of detached curiosity. She has seen this swirling-lights phenomenon described by people on TV as near-death experience, she doesn't feel the pain of the wound in her chest – nor does she hear the choked apologies and pleadings mumbled beneath the breath of the man who put his sword through her chest, Xeus, the gladiator who stands nearby, then walks over to her and takes her hand. Moments from Tina's life flicker by. But she focuses on the last few in line, the moments when she was inspired by her friend, Shatterstar, to fight for the freedom of her neighbors, when she received great powers and became a hero. She smiles, knowing in life that some are bit players, some are recurring characters – and some are leads, images burned into the infinite black forever. Like Shatterstar, whose holographic image appears above the battle arena in the ampitheater, and is the last thing Tina sees before she closes her eyes.

Right now, Shatterstar is making his way across the city, blood-covered swords in hand, he has travelled across the universe in pursuit of his kidnapped tenants. At his side is Pug-Smasher, who he has already rescued from being sold as meat on the backstreets of Horus IV. Pug-Smasher currently holds a stick, with the head of his attacker, Deadair, attached to it. Beaten, exhausted by extensive use of his mutant super-powers of manipulating frequencies of bioelectricity, Shatterstar arrives at the amphitheatre just as Tina Cooke's soul departs her body, bound for whatever heaven her godless home univese can muster. As the doors to the amphitheatre open, the crowds see Shatterstar and begin to chant his name, for only minutes before, the crowd had voted that Tina Cooke of Earth-1218 should die. As they watch Shatterstar arrive, they see the wisdom in their decision. Shatterstar knows that the stakes have been considerably raised. He looks up at a holographic projection of himself that appears over the battle arena, before turning to the control booth, and calling out 'Blue man in the podium – who are you?'

The “blue man” is of course the Grandmaster, he grins as he introduces himself, and boasts that he is a god here. 'So said Mojo V' Shatterstar mutters. 'So say all in the podium seats, safe behind the glass' he frowns, before turning his back to the control room, as the Grandmaster calls out 'I am no “Mojo”. The ultimate power over -' he begins, but Shatterstar declares that he doesn't care and asks the Grandmaster to do as gods do and be silent. The Grandmaster smirks and falls silent, as Shatterstar turns to Xeus and remarks 'You are the gladiator who took her life'. 'The audience demanded... yes. I am Xeus. She died at my hand' the gladiator admits. Shatterstar falls silent, and stares at Xeus, who stares back at him. Shatterstar then informs Xeus that his performance is over, and thrusts Pug-Smasher towards him, instructing him to take his friend from the arena and keep him safe, as this isnt his fight. 'Do you understand?' Shatterstar asks. 'Yes, brother. I promise' Xeus replies, taking Pug-Smasher, and covering Pug-Smasher's face as Pug-Smasher begins to protest.

A hover-camera darts around Shatterstar as he addresses the people pf Horus IV, announcing that he is no longer a gladiator, but a landlord, and that he will not pose for their cameras, will not kill for their entertainment. At that moment, the surviving members of the Death Sponsors – Lead-In, Cancellator and Sweepzweak – drop down from above. Cancellator grins at the thought of the approaching battle, while Shatterstar declares that the Death Sponsors killed his tenants, that they were on hand when one of them died – they led her to her doom – and he will have his revenge! The Death Sponsors land around Shatterstar. They are loyal to nothing but ratings and each other – and two of them are already dead. Canellator slams her fist into Shatterstar's face, while the strange looking Sweepzweak attempts to confuse and delude Shatterstar's mind, as the long-haired Lead-In hovers away from the others and uses her powers to make Shatterstar's pain last longer, rolling back time for five seconds with each attack. Shatterstar swings his increasingly heavy blades, and travels back many seconds more in his own mind....


The Wildways, where a dancer-door opens, and the purple-clad Sovereignshard and several other warriors find themselves in a seemingly abandoned area. 'We're past the managers and agents. This is it, Sovereignshard. Shatterstar's quarters!' one of the other warriors calls out. Sovereignshard tells the others that they know what to do – and they have to do it quick and quiet. Suddenly, a loud voice announces 'Brought to you by Mojomunch sour cream marshmallow it's Rumble Royale!' Sovereignshard and the other warriors then find themselves surrounded by holographic copies of Shatterstar himself. 'It's Mojo team-up! It's fight night! It's Infinity Crisis!' the voice announces as the holographic Shatterstar's leap into action. 'Starring Shatterstar' the voice repeats over and over. 'He's everywhere!' a bearded warrior calls out. But as Sovereignshard shoves a sword through one of the Shatterstar's he tells the others warriors that these are old episodes of Shatterstar's greatest hits, that he is playing his holo-cache.

'The cancellation of a major star. Reunion with Gringrave. An alliance with Windsong. Special episode featuring a flashback. To the villainy of the heinous X-Men!' the voice calls out as the battle continues. 'Listen to him! He knew we were coming!' Sovereignshard exclaims, realizing that someone tipped Shatterstar off. 'Mutant monsters from spiny space get primed to palpitate!' the voice declares as Sovereignshard tells the other warriors again that someone got to Shatterstar, that he knows they are here to kill him – and an instant later, one of the holo-Shatterstar's – or possibly the real one – shoves his double-bladed sword through Sovereignshard's chest. Shatterstar pulls his sword back out, and Sovereignshard falls to the blood-soaked ground, while an applause echoes through the chamber.


'Bravo, Gaveedra-7. Bravo' Gringrave claps as she enters the battle arena, wearing a pink costume, just as Shatterstar uses his swords to decapitate Sweepzweak, whose head flies through the air, a strange mix of blood and circuitry trailing behind it. Cancellator lies motionless nearby, blood oozing from her stomach, while Lead-In lays still in a pool of blood. 'That taut, firm body. The handsome face. The blinking black star. You cut the ponytail, but I don't mind. You've still got it' Gringrave calls out, while the audience smile as they watch her. 'And all that talk about not being a gladiator anymore? About not wanting to kill for them? Just a stylish makeover' Gringrave exclaims as she holds the palms of her hands to the sides of her face, creating an even larger smile thanks to the tattoo markings on her palms. Strange robots flank her, and the crowd begins to chant her name in excitement.

Gringrave dances her way close to Shatterstar, 'You're back, baby. Of course, just like back on Mojoworld... I helped get you here' Gringrave smiles as she places her face next to Shatterstar's, although Shatterstar barely reacts to her, before hanging his head as Gringrave continues to dance around him, boasting that it was she, like a great bard, who conceived this tale. 'I, Gringrave of the Wildways, ranneth this show!' she exclaims, revealing that she made sure it wasn't easy, but also wasn't too hard, that she gave it style and substance and drama most addictive. Gringrave continues, informing Shatterstar that she was responsible for bringing the mercenaries to his new abode, and she who set the pieces into play that guided him to scorn his punkish lover, the noble Rictor, by murdering her own teleporter. 'Of course, that wouldn't have made for a good narrative! But oh, how excited was the aged man, Mr Taylor...believing he did something useful before my knives opened him gullet to stern' Gringrave smiles wickedly. This revelation causes Shatterstar to lash out, lunging his sword towards Gringrave, who grabs it with her bare hands, and yanks it from Shatterstar, kicking him in the face, the brave warrior falls backwards. Referring to his current gray and red costume, Gringrave tells him that she wished he had worn the white shirt, as she wants those in the cheap seats to see the blood stains.

As the audience watch the battle in awe, several others can see the fight play out on the screen in their cell – Goldon, Crimzor and the End Woman, three more of Shatterstar's tenants. Suddenly, Xeus enters the cell and tosses Pug-Smasher towards the others. 'He dumped me aside to fight them himself! He's not insane! He's an idiot!' Pug-Smasher declares. Goldon tells Pug-Smasher not to say that, reminding him that Shatterstar came here for them, that he is doing this for all of them. 'Isn't that right, Crimzor?' Goldon asks, turning to his friend. 'Yes, Goldon, For us. All of us' Crimzor responds.

Back in the arena: 'All of this. This theatre. All of these lives endangered and ended' Shatterstar utters as his sword clangs against one of Gringrave's golden blades, before he slams his foot into her, kicking her backwards. 'You traveled across billions of miles and a hundred years. For what, Grin?' Shatterstar asks. 'So you could be a “star” again?' he enquires as he slices his blades through one of Gringrave's strange robots, and as Gringrave gets to her feet, he leaps towards her and knocks her aside once more. Blood trickles down Gringrave's body as she gets back up and reveals 'No. Because you took it all away from me, Star. Because you betrayed me and everything we shared!' Gringrave then hurls one of her blades at Shatterstar, triking him in his shoulder. 'After I took you under my wing. After I taught you to fight. How to be loved by the audience. After I taught you to avoid being hurt! I taught you how to kill and how to live!' Gringrave snaps, asking Shatterstar if he doesn't remember her lessons, while throwing another blade at Shatterstar, striking him through his hand. Gringrave then goes up behind Shatterstar and shoves a blade through his stomach. 'I remember' Shatterstar utters.


Shatterstar stands over Sovereignshard's body, clapping echoes around him as Gringrave approaches him, telling him that was a good show, a perfect illustration of her final lesson. 'What...what do you mean?' Shatterstar enquires. 'A little job for Mojo V and Spiral' Gringrave responds as a recording appears on several holographic monitors that glow around the duo, the monitors depict Sovereignshard telling Windsong that Mojo wants to make Shatterstar her husband – to breed the great Shatterstar and Windsong – to create an army of perfect clones. A voice can be heard declaring 'I won't let that happen. I won't. We will rescue him and bring him to the Cadre Alliance'. Gringrave tells Shatterstar that that is a simple ending, as Sovereignshard's voice on the recording boasts that while Mojoworld sleeps, Shatterstar's reign over the arena will end. 'The perfect motive for you to murder the man who wanted to set you free' Gringrave explains, shattering the holo-projector, and the recorded message with it. She turns and starts to walk away, 'Every one of us, every gladiator does it to make a good show. It doesn't take much. But sometimes you need to give yourself justification to fight' she calls back to Shatterstar, who still stands over the body of Sovereignshard.


Shatterstar falls to his knees, blood pouring from several wounds on his body as Gringrave stands over him. 'And for all of your lessons, you would have let Mojo use my body had I not rebelled and joined the Alliance. You would have let them make an army out of my blood to conquer other worlds' Shatterstar utters, telling Gringrave that she did it so that she could please Mojo, so that she could be a bigger star – so she could have a bigger audience. 'Oh, Star. You sad, silly boy' Gringrave remarks as she kicks one of Shatterstar's swords away from his reach. Shatterstar falls onto his hands and knees, as Gringrave touches his face and tells him that he has never understood people, that they are too complex, so he has always tried to simplify them. She looks Shatterstar in the face and informs him that she didn't care about Mojo or the audience – that she didn't want to leave because she had broken her own rules. 'I didn't want you to leave... because I love you' Gringrave utters as she and Shattestar embrace, sitting up on their knees. Gringrave smiles with Shatterstar's arms wrapped around her – then suddenly, Shatterstar hurls himself, pulling Gringrave with him, towards one of his swords which is sitting upright – blade pointed straight towards them – as Shatterstar plunges down onto the blade, pulling Gringrave down on it, too – straight through her body, spraying blood up into the air.

The audience look on in shock, awe and excitement, when suddenly, Shatterstar  pushes Gringrave's body up off his own, back through the sword, he drops her lifeless body to one side, then sits up, the sword still sticking through his own body, 'I – I promised' Shatterstar utters. He gets to his feet, the blade now removed from his body, a trail of blood seeping behind him as he walks across the arena towards the cell door off to the side, while the crowd scream his name. 'I promised I would hunt the Death Sponsors. I would avenge Mr Tayor. I would kill Gringrave. And now... now I will rescue my tenants' the weakened Shatterstar utters as he edges forward, while inside the cell, his tenants watch him on a screen. 'I told you, Crim. I told you' Goldon exclaims.

Suddenly, a blur of light, as the Grandmaster materializes next to Shatterstar. 'A perfectly angled blade, bypassing your major organs. Impressive. But this episode isn't over yet' the Grandmaster announces, reminding Shatterstar of who he is, he declares 'I am God here' and boats that the ultimate power over life and death is his to bestow – as he casts a hand towards Shatterstar, who is suddenly torn apart, his blood splattering across the arena sand in awesome display....

Characters Involved: 


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



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




Citizens of Horus IV



in flashback:





Written By: