War of Kings: Warriors #2

Issue Date: 
October 2009
Story Title: 
Growing Pains (1st story), Rite of Passage (2nd story)

1st story: Jay Faerber (writer), Adriano Melo (penciler), Maria Benes (inker), Nei Ruffino (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer)
2nd story: Jay Faerber (writer), Ramon Perez (artist), Nathan Fairbarn (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer)
Paul Renaud(cover artist), Michael Horwitz (assistant editor), Bill Rosemann & Ben Morse (editors), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

1st story:
Shortly before the wedding of Ronan and Crystal, there have been minor acts of terrorism and vandalism pepetrated against monuments connected with the Inhumans. Crystal offers to take a look into it. She examines the site of the latest attack and, with the help of her elemental powers manages to track the perpetrators, who attack her (with no success). When Crystal tries to talk reason into them, one young woman, Fenn-Ra, listens and tells her the next bomb is hidden a museum which is meant to be closed. Crystal however knows that her daughter’s class is taking a trip there. Crystal hurries to the museum, finds the bomb and manages to protect everyone from the detonation, her daughter and Kree children both. Crystal chose to betray the vandals, hoping they have learned their lesson. Fenn-Ra later thanks her, as her daughter was on that trip as well and Crystal has hopes for the future as she sees the kids playing together.

Full Summary: 

1st story:
Hala, homeworld of the Kree, one week before the wedding of Crystal to Ronan the Accuser:
Not everyone seems happy about the Inhumans’ presence and rule as a statue of the Inhuman Royal Family is blown up.

The Royal Family gathers. Speaking for their king Black Bolt, his wife Medusa announces that this is the second such terrorist attack. A third will not be tolerated!

Her younger sister Crystal advises her not to lose all perspective. They blew up some stones. Before that, they wrecked an empty transport ship. They haven’t harmed or killed anyone.

Medusa chides her to take this seriously. They cannot allow these actions to escalate. When Crystal doesn’t agree, Medusa criticizes her for all the times she spent on Earth among humans.

With a gesture, Black Bolt breaks up the argument. Crystal apologizes. Ronan the Accuser, Crystal’s fiancé, interjects, remarking they are dealing with a small subset of the Kree population. This faction is not happy about living under Inhuman rule, and it is the Krees’ nature to fight back. If it pleases them, he will conduct an investigation and deal with the perpetrators.

Crystal suggests that while her daughter Luna is on her class trip, she can look into it. Medusa asks why. Doesn’t she have other concerns with her pressing nuptials? That’s why she wants to do it, Crystal explains. Once she marries Ronan, she supposes the Kree will look at her as an ambassador between the two races. She thinks it’ll send a clear message if she takes responsibility.

Medusa translates that Black Bolt thinks this is a noble gesture on her part. The job is hers. Crystal thinks to herself she can just hear her adding: “don’t screw it up!”

And hours later, Crystal examines the site of the explosion. The explosive didn’t leave behind any components that authorities could use to track them down. But then she notices something perhaps only she can utilize. Footprints near the base of the statue. Her control over the four basic elements lets her isolate them and so she knows that there is soil present that’s not indigenous to the park. She bets it’s from the boots of whoever planted the bomb.

A quick comparison reveals that this soil is an exact match for the soil in a certain garden. She flies there and knocks at the door. A young woman opens. Crystal introduces herself and remarks she is sure she knows why she here. The girl introduces herself as Fenn-Ra and asks Crystal in. Inside are several young Kree, reaching for their weapons.

Crystal immediately dodges their fire, though. While she and the girl were talking, she used her control of the air to detect five additional sets of lungs in the room. They were taking fast breaths, which means they were excited, ready to attack. She uses air and earth control to disarm them, while trying to assure them that she is not here to fight them. She understands they are upset about Black Bolt taking over as their leader but she urges them to think about it. Ages ago, the Inhumans were created by the Kree with the sole purpose of being weapons used to defeat the Skrulls. Guess what? Mission accomplished. They defeated them.

And so they assume, their “prize” is to rule the Kree Empire, one of the Kree asks as he fires a gun at her. Crystal literally fires back, then explains that leading the Kree isn’t a prize, it’s a responsibility that Black Bolt doesn’t take lightly. This is a balance between their two societies.

They will never submit to Black Bolt’s rule! another woman cries and fires her gun. Crystal raises an earth shield to protect herself. She keeps hearing them use the word “rule.” Black Bolt doesn’t want to rule them, he wants to lead them. There is a big difference!

Having taken care of all of all her foes, Crystal continues that this is a difficult adjustment for all of them. But if they give the Inhumans a chance, they will see that the Kree Empire under Black Bolt’s leadership will see the dawn of a new era of prosperity. She could have them arrested and executed, but there is another way. She was asked by Black Bolt to deal with the anti-Inhuman protests. She very much would like to tell him there will be no more. Can she tell him that?

Fenn-Ra, holding a child, tells her she wants to believe what she said. Another rebel orders her to be silent. Crystal urges Fenn-Ra not to listen to him but to the voice within her. Is this her daughter? She looks a little younger than her own. Fenn-Ran introduces her as Liv-Ra and tells Crystal there is another bomb they planted. It cannot be deactivated as the remote detonator was damaged in the fight. The bomb is in the Kree heritage museum. She doesn’t know where exactly. Crystal is shocked, as she recalls her daughter’s class will be there today. She flies away.

Outside the museum a warden tells her the museum is closed to citizens today. Where is the school tour? she demands and the warden repeats himself. Crystal displays fire and he tells her they are in the Supreme Intelligence exhibit at the center of the museum.

Crystal runs inside, wondering what to do. She can’t risk evacuating the children. She might risk sending them straight toward the bomb. The museum is vast and she doesn’t know where the bomb is exactly. Then, however, she sees an exhibit about the Inhuman Royal Family opening next week. As symbolic targets go, she can’t think of a better one.

She wildly looks around the room. She concentrates on the elemental forces and notices a disturbance in the airflow. She finds something in a small replica of Attilan. Behind this there is a bomb, bigger than the one at the statue, big enough to take out the entire museum. Worse, the countdown is almost finished. She jumps toward it and, a moment later, it explodes.

Security guards run toward the room and find the rests of the bomb surrounded by a rock shield. Crystal emerges from it and asks if everyone is okay. Later, she happily hugs her daughter.

Fenn-Ra joins her, explaining she wanted to see if she was all right. Crystal introduces Luna to Fenn Ra and her daughter. Fenn Ra goes on to thank her. There were also Kree children in that museum. Crystal tells her it wouldn’t have made a difference. She would have stopped that bomb even if her daughter was safe at home. A Kree life is as worthy as an Inhuman life.

Fen Ra admits she didn’t realize Crystal felt that way. She thinks her friends assume she and her family feel differently. She will try to correct their misguided opinions.

Later, Crystal reports to her sister, who demands the names of the Kree involved in the bombing. Crystal refuses. She explains she is not condoning what they did, but they didn’t intentionally endanger anyone. The museum was supposed to be closed. Besides, she thinks she made some serious progress with one of them. And she will be more effective at changing their minds than either of them.

Medusa calls her an optimist and admits she envies her for that, for the fact that she tries to see the good in people. Sometimes she fears she is too trusting. She hopes that trust isn’t misplaced. Crystal agrees and admits that Medusa is in a difficult position. It can’t be easy trying to merge two completely different civilizations. And she understands she is asking her to take a risk. But she thinks it’s a risk worth taking. Medusa finally agrees, hoping she is right.

On the next day, Fenn-Ra visits Crystal. She’s been talking to her friends, making them see. Most of them still cling to the notion that the Inhumans are outsiders and not fit to rule. “Most,” Crystal points out. So some are changing their way of thinking. Her sister recently called her an optimist and she thinks she’s right. Because she sees good things in the future of their two races and the reason why is right there. She points at their daughters playing together.

2nd story:
The Starjammer, days before the wedding of Crystal and Ronan, en route to the Kree Empire:
Havok tries a pep talk on the dejected crew, telling them they are going to defeat Vulcan and restore Lilandra to the throne. Mockingly, Ch’od asks who he is trying convince. This might as well be a suicide mission. Isn’t that right? he asks Lilandra, but Lilandra’s thoughts are elsewhere, in the past, fifteen years ago at the Chandilar Academy.…

Lilandra’s memory.
A holographic jungle, two young Shi’ar women are fighting. One, Kren, defeats the other and the exercise is at an end, the hologram disappears.

The instructor Nassis addresses cadet Lilandra, who sits in a corner reading and tells her she is next to fight Kren. Lilandra would rather have someone else take her place. Not a chance though.

The hologram this time is of iceplates swimming in the ocean. Kren immediately attacks with her lightsaber. Lilandra tries to get some distance between them, but in vain. Kren mocks her, taunting that Lilanda’s mighty Neramani family is the ruling class, but that doesn’t do her any good now, does it? Angrily, Lilandra shouts she doesn’t need her family to deal with Kren. The other woman kicks the sword out of Lilandra’s hand, telling her apparently she needs someone because she is not up to the task. Better luck next time, your majesty, Kren mocks as the simulation ends.

Instructor Nassis asks Lilandra what just happened. Lilandra complains that she’s been studying all the classic moves. Has she been practicing them or merely studying them? the instructor asks. She’s been reading about them, she admits. Nassis sighs and tells her that she cannot learn how to fight simply by reading and studying. She was sent here to learn how to be a member of the ruling family. She is smart, but she lacks cunning; she lacks the killer instinct.

Later, Lilandra walks through the hallways with her friend Freena, who tries to cheer her up. Freena didn’t hear instructor Nassis, Lilandra rants. Her voice, that perfect mix of pity and condescension. She hates being compared to the rest of her family! Gee, really? Freena asks and rolls her eyes. She hadn’t noticed, because she never ever mentions it.

Lilandra apologizes. She just feels she was banished to this school like she is some sort of embarrassment that the rest of the family wants to keep hidden. So what? Freena asks, there’s plenty of stuff she can do that Freena bets no one else in her family can do. Like what? Lilandra asks. Like… she tries to think, well, who else can rattle off the roster of every Imperial Guard going back ten cycles? And who else knows which environments are hostile to each race in the Shi’ar empire? And don’t even get her started on trees. She can probably tell them which tree is native to each region on Chandilar, can’t she?

Laughing, Lilandra gives up. The girls keep on joking when suddenly they find panicked students running into the opposite direction. Among the runners is instructor Nassis, who tries to grab the girls. They are here in the school, she shouts, the Brood!

Nearby, Brood warriors are attacking and killing Shi’ar. The instructor grabs her sword, trying to protect her students and fend them off. The Brood disarm her, stating she will make a worthy host for their eggs.

Some of the students have hidden in a room. They can hear Nassis’ screams as she is killed. Freena asks another instructor what they should do but the woman has no ideas. The youngsters panic except for Lilandra who is lost in thought. Here is what they are going to do, she decides.

She opens the door. “Over here!” she calls to the Brood and runs away. The Brood follow her as she races through the corridors until she reaches a certain room where she closes the doors. She is trapped now with them, the Brood state. No, they are trapped with her, Lilandra retorts.

“Begin simulations designate 397,” she orders and a volcanic landscape appears, frightening the Brood who fear the fire. Using that moment, Lilandra draws her lightsaber and attacks the Brood. She jumps to another rock, shouting Freena’s name. “Open the door!” she orders She runs outside and orders her friend to close it again. The Brood are trapped.

Later, the captive Brood are carried away. The other cadets marvel at what Lilandra did. How did she know the Brood were afraid of volcanoes and fire? She read it somewhere, Freena replies. So where is she now? another girl asks. She said something about getting back to work, Freena replies, and in the training room Lilandra practices with her lightsaber

Ch’od addresses Lilandra, breaking her out of her reverie. This is pretty much a suicide mission, he repeats. No, she states decidedly. They may be feeling beaten and demoralized at the moment but all of them have the power to stand and fight. It is simply a question of what they are willing to sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if heir enemy has superior number or firepower. She knows the odds seem insurmountable. She fought hard to gain the honor of leading the Shi’ar people and she’ll fight as hard to regain that honor. But they are going to fight. They are going to fight hard and more than that, they are going to fight smart. That is how they are going to win that war!

Characters Involved: 

1st story:
Black Bolt, Crystal, Medusa (all Inhuman Royal family)
Luna (Crystal’s daughter)

Ronan the Accuser

Fenn-Ra (Kree freedom fighter)
Liv-Ra (her daughter)

Other freedom fighters

2nd story.
Ch’od, Havok, Korvus, Marvel Girl III, Polaris (all Starjammers)

in Lilanda’s memories:
younger Lilandra

Freena, Kren and other cadets
Nassis and other instructors

Brood warriors

Story Notes: 

Both stories take place before War of Kings #1.

1st story:
The story is narrated by Crystal.

2nd story:
There’s a continuity mistake here. It was revealed in Uncanny X-Men #157 that the Shi’ar had never encountered the Brood before that story.

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