War of Kings #6

Issue Date: 
October 2009
Story Title: 
War of Kings

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Paul Pelletier (penciler), Rick Magyar & Andrew Henessy (inkers), Wil Quintana (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Brandon Peterson (cover artist), Michael Horwitz (assistant editor), Bill Rosemann (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan fine (exec. Producer)

Brief Description: 

Vulcan confronts Black Bolt aboard the Inhuman ship that carries the T-bomb and the two do merciless battle, while on Attilan Black Bolt’s family is arguing what to do. Crystal and Ronan insist the bomb has to be stopped, while Medusa wishes to follow her husband’s wishes. Fed up, Crystal uses Lockjaw to teleport away. Aboard the ship, the heavily injured Black Bolt has managed to kill Vulcan. Crystal and Lokckjaw materialize aboard and Crystal uses her elemental powers to neutralize the Terrigen. However, there is still a functioning, very unstable bomb, so she suggests they get out of there. When Lockjaw begins the jaunt, a reforming Vulcan drags Black Bolt away. He madly pounds away at Black Bolt, who finally uses his voice to incinerate him and overload the bomb, which explodes, literally creating a tear in reality and doing horrible damage to the Shi’ar fleet, which surrender to the Inhumans. The Inhuman royal family has to face the fact that they have won a pyrrhic victory. On the Shi’ar world Chandilar is chaos. Polaris and Havok leave, realizing there is nothing they can do, now that Lilandra is dead. There is nobody to unite the despairing Shi’ar. However, the desperate mob have already found someone they put hope in – their hero Gladiator.

Full Summary: 

Black Bolt piloted a T-bomb rocket into the space between the Kree and Shi’ar realms. The ship is building power to detonation level, but then Vulcan shows up intercepting it and the combat between those insanely powerful monarchs begins. Vulcan notes that Black Bolt is using transformative electron manipulation. Bet that takes down just about everything, he remarks. Trouble is, he is an omega level energy manipulator himself, which means…

Black Bolt punches him on the nose.

Vulcan blasts at him, calling him a mute freak. Black Bolt fends off the blow and strikes in return, pushing Vulcan into the wall. So why isn’t he using that famous voice on him? Vulcan mocks. Is there something in here he is afraid of damaging? Or setting off?

Swatting Black Bolt away, he notes this craft is some kind of superweapon. They intend to blow the Shi’ar off the map. And Vulcan thought he was supposed to be the dangerous one. Black Bolt acts so noble, but is a genocidal monster. He is not going to let him do that! He hits Black Bolt again
A warning is displayed on a computer screen. The explosion is supposed to occur in four minutes. But energy instabilities have been detected.

Meanwhile, back on Attilan, they get the same readings. Crystal demands of Maximus what “instabilities” mean in this context. The king’s brother isn’t sure. Black Bolt and Vulcan are really going at it. The mechanism of the T-bomb is very fragile; it’s barely coping with the energies they’re unleashing at each other. There is a danger the energies might set off the bomb prematurely.

When Gorgon angrily asks Ronan if he is questioning Black Bolt’s wisdom, Ronan reminds him that he put the fate of his species into the Inhumans’ hands. Medusa furiously asks Karnak if her husband is going to kill himself and why they didn’t bother to tell her. Karnak explains he thought she knew. He thought it was obvious. Not everybody sees things as clearly as he, she shouts. Karnak should have told her! She uses her hair to smash him into the wall. He believes, the question is, he replies, why didn’t her husband tell her. The others fall silent. Medusa sets him down. Her husband never tells her anything, she says in despair.

Ronan addresses her and demands they stop this now. The T-bomb is a mistake. Medusa refuses. She cannot imagine life without him but the T-bomb is her husband’s plan. Universal uplift, ending racial strife by elevating all lifeform into the Inhuman physical state is his vision. This is what he lived for. No one will be permitted to interfere with Black Bolt’s plan. She cuts him off, insisting these are the sacrifices that come with royal birth. Oh, for God’s sake, Crystal explodes. Someone has to do something! With the help of Lockjaw, she teleports away.

Chandilar, the Shi’ar throneworld, is in ruins. Amidst the conflagration stand the two former X-Men and current Starjammers, Havok and Polaris, realizing that the wounds the imperium has taken tonight will take years to heal. Even Vulcan, if he’s still alive, hasn’t got the strength to save this, Havok announces sadly. Lilandra might have been able to do it, but not his brother. Not anyone now, he thinks. They hug as they wait for the Starjammer to take them away.

Standing elsewhere in the ruins is Gladiator, the former praetor of the Imperial Guard. He takes up the imperial scepter lying in the ruins… He begins to walk aimlessly when suddenly cries for help reach him. The desperate people ask him for help. One of them points out he is bearing the Imperial Scepter. The pleas become more urgent as they all address him as majestor. And Gladiator stands there silently.

Back on Back Bolt’s ship, the battle is becoming more desperate. Firing energy at Black Bolt, Vulcan shouts that he’s not going to lie down and let him detonate this obscenity in Shi’ar space. He came here to kill him! Single combat! King versus king! He’s shutting this thing down! He hits and hits him, shouting he is beaten and his doomsday weapon is finished.

Black Bolt strikes back, which only further enrages Vulcan. He grabs Black Bolt’s hair, getting ready for a final lethal strike.

Black Bolt’s eyes begin to glow and, with all his strength, he shouts “NO,” leaving Vulcan little more than a skeleton. Black Bolt can barely stand as the system warns of an energy overload.

That moment, Crystal appears courtesy of Lockjaw. She apologizes to Black Bolt, while rendering the Terrigen crystals inert with her elemental powers. While this is no longer a functional uplift device, it is still a functional bomb, she points out, and they should leave. She helps him up, explaining they must let the weapon detonate harmlessly in the empty gulf between the Kree and Shi’ar territories. As she drags him back toward Lockjaw, she lectures that transforming all species against their will would not have resulted in peace. Can’t he see that? They don’t have the right! It’s tyranny comparable to Vulcan’s aggression.

The system is about to overload. Sometimes, she continues being a king is about having the strength to make a hard decision and sometimes it’s about having the strength not to. He is a king, not a god.

They both touch Lockjaw as he begins the teleportation process, glowing with energy. That moment, a partially reformed Vulcan shoves Black Bolt away with a cry of rage. Crystal can only shout her king’s name as she and Lockjaw teleport out.

Omega level! Vulcan shouts madly as he pounds on Black Bolt. He can’t kill him! He just rebuilds himself! He thinks he’s going to turn this weapon back and send it back to Attilan. Imagine this baby going off in his front yard! Imagine his precious family incinerated in the blast shock! What has he got to say to that?

Black Bolt opens his mouth. There is an energy overload and the ship explodes. The shockwave expands, reaching event the Shi’ar fleet and Attilan, both of which are raising protective shields.

Maximus finds a rift: the T-bomb blew a hole in space and time! It will be all right, Medusa pleads. Crystal went to get him.

Another Inhuman comes with an urgent communication, a signal from Admiral Ka’ardum whose flagship is crippled and adrift. He reports that the warfleet sustained 87 percent losses. He’s suing for an immediate ceasefire. They are willing to surrender unconditionally!

Good, Medusa decides, though her heart is elsewhere. The next moment, Lockjaw and Crystal appear, but they are alone. Where is her husband? Medusa shouts. Crystal explains that he’d defeated Vulcan; had killed him. They were beginning to ‘port back but Vulcan wasn’t dead. He’d reformed somehow. He tore Black Bolt away from Lockjaw, He… Both sisters are silent before Medusa breaks down, asking what have they done. They’ve won, Crystal declares, tears running down her face.

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Polaris (all Starjammers)


Black Bolt, Crystal, Gorgon, Karnak, Maximus, Medusa, Triton (all Inhuman Royal Family)

Ronan the Accuser


Admiral Ka’ardum

Shi’ar soldiers

Shi’ar people

Story Notes: 

The story leads into the War of Kings: Who will Rule? one-shot that serves as an epilogue.

Issue Information: 
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