Wisdom #5

Issue Date: 
May 2007
Story Title: 
The Rudiments of Wisdom – part five: Bows and Arrows against the Lightning

Paul Cornell (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Guru eFX (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Grimsdale tries to distract Reston, who finally comes clear about their interest in Maureen. It was when MI-6 and Stuart found a probe from another world. Wisdom’s MI-13 team is staying put, but they all sense there is something in the air. Tink decides to call her father, Oberon, while Skrull John wants to put the band together. Elsewhere, Wisdom is bribing and threatening his way through the intelligence community to find Maureen. When everything fails, he frees Ransom to lead him to her. Unfortunately, Ransom now has far better control over his powers and a sense of purpose. He escapes Wisdom by having him fight robots from another dimension and then finds Maureen in an MI-6 safehouse, which he has run through by an Aztec train from another reality. He kidnaps Maureen with a magic carpet (from yet another reality). Maureen takes over his mind, which is unfortunately what he wanted her to do. In his mindscape with both of them together, a door opens and his masters come through. Wisdom and Stuart stare in horror as a tear in reality opens and Martian tripods from another reality begin their attack.

Full Summary: 

Joint Intelligence Committee Briefing Room:

Sir Mortimer Grimsdale is putting the screws on Sir Clive Reston from MI 6. And eighteenthly, Sir Clive… he enumerates. Sir Clive interrupts him. They’ve been at this for two hours. And most of these points are… well… trivial. Oh well, he was hoping he’d guess, Sir Mortimer admits. Sir Clive and Jack Tarr made sure he overheard their pub conversation. They wanted him to think their interest in Maureen Raven was about recruiting her for MI-6.

Sir Clive takes out his mobile phone and Mortimer orders him to keep it switched off. Sir Clive states he doesn’t know what he… Angrily, Sir Mortimer interrupts him. He is the Joint Committee Chair. Sir Clive will not lie to him. Sir Clive gives in. He’ll tell him about the operation. What’s Wisdom doing?

Back in a, pub Wisdom has beaten down two men. His hands aglow he asks where Maureen Raven is. Standing at the counter, Alistaire Stuart replies that he thought she was recuperating at home. Pete grabs him by the lapels, informing Stuart that Tarr took her. Stuart is working with them – he’s MI-6. Where is she? He has kicked down doors and hacked files and bought drugs for half the intelligence community. Nobody knows. If Stuart doesn’t tell him, he’ll be shitting out of new holes.

Straightening his jacket, Stuart seems surprised that they actually took her. He doesn’t know where she is. He gives Pete his word. He can’t tell him why, but he urges Pete to trust him…

Does he know how few people he trusts? Pete asks. And he asks him to trust him after everything. Nah, mate. He’d rather make a deal with the devil. With that he leaves.

A little later, he demands entrance at the Vault in Shoreditch to see the newly imprisoned James Ransom. He walks past a prisoner being led away who insists that he was a member of the Knights of Pendragon. Approaching Ransom’s high-security cell, he reminds himself to be the good cop, not the bad cop. Be nice to him.

With that thought clearly in mind, he kicks Ransom in the naughty bits as way of a greeting and asks where she is. Grabbing him, he reminds him that both he and Mo said there was some sort of mental link between them. He can find her and he will because he doesn’t have a lot of time for someone who manufactures Jack the Rippers on an industrial basis.

Is she gone? Ransome asks delighted. The poor love. He and her are vital to them. She’s their target, their link. What is he talking about, Pete demands. Who are “they?” He’s said too much, Ransom replies. It’s not time quite yet. These doctors say he’s mad. They want to keep him here. If Wisdom gets him out, he’ll take him to her.

MI-6 safe house, Green Park:

Jack Tarr has brought Maureen Raven there. Tied to a chair and fitted with a helmet to suppress her psychic power, she is helpless. However, Tarr goes out of his way not to harm her. He assures her that her son is fine and that they were going to send someone, but Wisdom had him looked after. He brought reasonable Coq au Vin and this place has a fine cellar. He certainly knows how to show a girl a good time, Mo replies sarcastically. She should warn him about her allergies, though. She’s tied-up intolerant.

Tarr apologizes, but none of them have any options now. Refusing the food she informs him that if she could make her powers work with this thing on, she’d give him “options”. By which she means she’d kick his arse. What are they hoping to achieve?

Taking a sip of wine, Tarr replies that things are happening. They are improvising. Get her out of the country. It’s too dangerous here. He thinks? she asks. Wisdom’s gong to be through that door in a minute. Not dangerous to them Tarr specifies. For the world. If he told her, she might come willingly. Not that they’d trust her. There was this capsule…

Tarr’s tale:

It appeared in one of the Dockside developments in Wapping. It was Stuart’s OP back when he led what’s now MI-13. Tarr and Sir Clive of MI-6 gate-crashed his show. They worked out it was from a parallel universe. They’d nearly made it to theirs. An advance party. Tech looked like a dead end. But they were trying. Reston persuaded Stuart that only MI-6 had the resources to fight foreign threats like that. Stuart tried to dissolve MI-13 that day.

The present:

If Grimsdale and Wisdom had let him, MI-6 would be in control of the weird stuff now. And Maureen wouldn’t be in this mess.

Elsewhere in a limousine are Ransom and Wisdom. Ransom explains that he likes fantastic Victoriana. “Steampunk” the kids call it. The future that never happened. Just give the driver the directions, Wisdom orders him curtly. Touching his temples, Ransom goads that he can feel her. If only he could, he laughs. He and her, they’re meant to be together. Wisdom aims a hot knife just a fraction below his naughty bits and suggests Ransom take the piss, He’s not worried about getting the car messy.

Angrily, Ransom threatens that Pete is going to regret that. In that time, he had time to refine his powers. There’s a thumping nose outside. Here they come now, Ransom warns. The fifth mechanized Roman infantry of the Britannia Garrison. Saying hello from a parallel universe.

Suddenly, giant robots with Roman-style helmets have appeared. One of them grabs the car and Wisdom and Ransom fall out. Ransom instantly makes a run for it, shouting he’s going to find her and them! Meanwhile, Wisdom tries to fend off the robots. Moments later, they have disappeared and so has Ransom.

At the MI-13 Ops Room, Tink looks outside, remarking that something’s wrong. Where’s Pete got to? Pouring himself a cup of coffee, Sid asks if this is a fairy thing. He can feel it too. Something’s up with the world. Has her old man been in touch with her about Wisdom chucking her?

It’s not Oberon, Tink assures him, as she lies down on the sofa. She hasn’t told him. This feeling’s from Oberon, though. It’s him becoming aware of a change in the worlds… broadcasting it to them. Maybe warning them. She picks up the phone, deciding to call him and see what’s going on. Has she got a good price plan for calling fairy land, Sid asks.

Outside, Skrull John makes a call he’s long put off… to Skrull Paul. What does he mean “John who?” he protests. It’s his old mate from the Skrull Invasion. Yeah, he’s been getting the feeling too. His Skrull ears are pricking up. Something’s coming. Something alien. So, do they like this world enough to defend it? Is it time for him to say the words like? Okay then… the password is love, man. Let’s get the band back together.

Ransom! Wisdom shouts in helpless fury, before telling himself enough amateur dramatics. Checking Ransom’s whereabouts on his wristwatch tracer, he muses that that’s the thing about giving someone a good kicking: they don’t notice the little details like planting a bug on them. He begins to run.

Ransom, in the meantime, is nearing a certain MI-6 safehouse in Green Park. He’s asks a construction worker if he has seen a redhead. While he engages the man in conversation, MI-6 picks him up on their camera and call for the security alert. Ransom grins he knows she’s within the building. He doesn’t control them. He feels his way around universes finding bits he can use. Right now he’s finding… there it is… a universe where in this very spot there’s an Aztec railway line. It runs the other man over and runs through the building.

Tarr is caught under some debris unconscious. Maureen has taken the opportunity to free herself, though she is still wearing the power inhibitor. She urges him to wake up. She can feel who’s doing this. That moment, Ransom finds her. There she is. The completion of his life. Pete comes just in time to see Ransom sweep Maureen away on a magic carpet ride from Universe 412. They’re going to meet their destiny, he shouts to Pete. They’re gonna make this world so much better.

Pete shouts after Maureen, promising that he will rescue her. Tarr awakes, weakly moaning that this is Pete’s fault. He led him there. His fault. Pete moves the debris off Tarr, as he agrees that it is. But he’s gonna do something to…

Bad karma, like Shang-Chi said about him, Tarr accuses Pete. End of the world will be his fault. Supporting Tarr, Pete asks why MI-6 took Maureen. And where is he taking her?

Tarr weakly replies that they were trying to stop them meeting again. Her and Ransom. He’s taking her… to let them in.

On the carpet high above London, Ransom takes off the rest of Maureen’s ties. As she takes off the helmet, she asks whether, apart from being an entertaining nutjob, does he have any other skills? Does he know how to fly this thing? He booked it, Ransom replies, so he just calls out their destination. They’re going to Wapping. Now he knows what she is thinking…

This is what she is thinking, Mo replies and concentrates. She’ll drive. She takes over his mind.

She finds herself back on the white plane, which isn’t where she wanted to go. Standing next to a door, Ransom smirks that she did exactly what they knew she would do. They prepared him for that. They’ve been talking to him all those lonely nights. He grabs Maureen by the arm. He’s their new way to travel, he continues ranting. He provides the power; she gives them something to aim at. They know her. He opens the door and tentacles slide out. Here they come. The new master of their world! Does she recognize them yet?

At the J.IC. briefing room in Whitehall, Sir Clive explain that they didn’t trust what remained of MI-13 with that knowledge. Specialist unites like that always fail. They knew Sir Mortimer and Wisdom were close, so…

Sir Mortimer interrupts him. When this is over, he will express his displeasure through official channels. And possibly meet him in the basement with a cricket bat. But now all he wants to know is, how long have they…

There is a flash of light. Reston grabs his cellular. They are here.

High above London there is a tear in the sky. Welcome, gorgeous dark things of the British psyche! Ransom shouts. Welcome, another sort of us! Your second kingdom awaits you!

On the ground, Wisdom and soldiers are getting ready to get closer to it. Stuart comes running, shouting that Pete doesn’t know what that is. He should have trusted them. Angrily pointing at him, Pete retorts Stuart should have trusted him. What is this thing?!

It’s them, Pete, Stuart, states, as giant Tripods begin to come through and fire lasers. It’s the Martians.

Characters Involved: 

Pete Wisdom

Captain Midlands, John the Skrull, Maureen Raven, Tink (Wisdom’s MI-13 team)

Sir Mortimer Grimsdale

Professor Alistaire Stuart, Sir Clive Reston, Jack Tarr (all MI-6)



Story Notes: 

One prisoner claims to be a member of the Knights of Pendragon. He might be the original Albion. “Knights of Pendragon” by Dan Abnett was published by the shortlived Marvel UK line. The first series was a tight eco-thriller with Arthurian overtones, especially referring to “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” The second series unfortunately lacked that quality.

Sir Mortimer overheard Sir Clive and Tarr’s pub conversation in issue #1.

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