Wisdom #6

Issue Date: 
July 2007
Story Title: 
The Rudiments of Wisdom – part six: Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow

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

Brief Description: 

Alistaire Stuart and Pete Wisdom are smack-dab in a Martian invasion, H.G. Wells style, on London. Luckily, they are joined by the rest of MI-13, the Skrull Beatles and Oberon’s forces, as well as Captain Britain. However, MI-6 member Clive Reston brings grim news: the Martians have turned Maureen into their portal. Elsewhere, a Martian scientist has done just that. After killing Ransom, he explains that they invade parallel Earths in an attempt to weed out the versions of Maureen’s son, Jonathan, as in each reality he will grow up to oppose them. Together, Pete and Captain Britain save Maureen but the problem persists: as long as Maureen lives, more Martian troops will teleport in. Maureen decides to kill herself, but can’t do it. She’d always hoped death would come as a surprise while she was still able to hope. Pete tells her to hold on: Alistaire has found a solution. While she turns away, hopeful, he shoots her in the head. And with that, the invasion is over. Elsewhere, Jonathan Raven learns of his mother’s death and, together with Shang-Chi, he begins to train. Weeks later, Pete finally reaches Kitty Pryde and tells her about how special Maureen was.

Full Summary: 

Wisdom’s narration:

We are the Martians. H.G. Wells didn’t say that. But that’s what his novel meant. They’re the British past. Here to do to us what we did to the world. They came through the interdimensional portal in formation at high speed. The dead must number in the thousands. The London I saw in my terrible dream. Only in Britain could this be the result of bureaucratic infighting.

Martian tripods lay waste to London and its citizens. In the Docklands, Alistaire Stuart snarls at Pete to snap out of it. He explains that the Martians rule an entire parallel Earth which they invaded six years ago. But they only have one entrance to this universe. If they can…

Pete interrupts him with a warning, telling him to move his elderly arse and he hotknives a Jack the Ripper who had been sneaking up on them. He surmises that Ransom brought the Rippers back. Victorian Martians. Jack the Bloody Ripper. This bloody country. Like him. Never gonna escape their past. Funny he should mention that… comes a voice, ‘cause the Skrull Beatles have reformed, Sir. Before them stand John the Skrull, along with the other Skrull Beatles decked out in Sergeant Pepper style uniforms.

Hang on, he was always a good boy, Skrull Paul protests. He means reformed like luncheon meat, Skrull George helpfully explains. He could just do with a bit of luncheon meat, muses Skrull Ringo.

And he found them an army, comes the voice of Captain Midlands, as he joins them along with armed ordinary citizens. Just like in the Blitz. Ordinary Londoners defending what’s theirs. The Martians won’t like it up ‘em. He informs Pete that Tink is gonna catch up with them. She’s got ‘summat to sort out. Sorry he mentioned the war. He knows Pete doesn’t like it. Pete tells him to mention what he wants. Maureen’s the key to all this– They fight their way to the dimensional portal. They close it. They save her. His nightmare will not come true.

Martian invasion command, Wapping, where Maureen and Ransom stand surrounded by armed guards, in front of one tentacled Martian. So, Maureen, surmises, they are either Martians or Blancmanges. Marching on the capital. Well, awkwardly shuffling. If they ever invent the wheel, then they’ll be really scary. Isn’t she scared? Ransom asks amused. Oh yeah, Mo replies. But while she’s mouthing off, she’s feisty heroine. Nothing bad happens to feisty heroine.

The Martian lifts up a human who is joined with him via the tentacles. He acts as his translation slave. He informs Mo that she is the mother of Jonathan Raven. Power of her bloodline is visible through the universes. Mo gets aggressive as she demands to know what this is about her son. The Martian laughs. Family. Silly humans. Only safe as their property. On their Earth, Jonathan is raised in slave pens. But he is a precog. He has seen their future. On their Earth unless his will broken Raven will challenge them. On all Earths. Always. Everyone of them is dangerous. Ruling council finds Earths. So first he urged them on this first expedition. Now. Before Killraven is grown.

They are afraid of her son? Maureen snarls bravely while the Martian’s servants hold her back. They should be. They want to see what he does to his monster toys? She has photos. The Martian scientist comes closer, bearing a kind of silver glowing metal circlet. It is fitted around her head and energy flows into her. The human informs his Martian master that the dimensional gateway is now fused to the subject’s brain.

Ransom addresses the Martian, stating that he brought her here as ordered. Their beautiful Victorian future is there. Where does he fit in? What’s his reward? His master speaking through him, the slave replies that Ransom knows them through “fiction.” Does he remember where humans “fit in?” The Martian’s tentacles grab Ransom and begin sucking from him. But they are his destiny! Ransom protests. Ever since the lightning! The Martian sucks him dry and his corpse falls down. With the tentacles almost lovingly cradling an unconscious Maureen, the slave remarks that the dimension doorway is a part of her now. They are safe now. They are happy now.

Elsewhere, Pete and the others keep on fighting the Martians and their servants which are everywhere and are protecting all approaches to their command centres. In the air, the Skrull Beatles find they can’t get through either and Skrull George protests that they were supposed to be the alien invaders. It’s a right liberty, this lot jumping in.

But the cavalry comes in the form of Oberon and other giants from Otherworld. Tink asks Pete if he remembers that contract of theirs? It included a mutual protection treaty. For Avalon! For Otherworld! For Earth! Oberon shouts as he single-handedly fells a tripod. Best contract he ever entered into, Pete admits. That’s a good way to put it, Tink replies. Like she said at the time. She gonna try and help him save his girl then? Pete asks. Yeah, but don’t tell Dad, Tink agrees.

Alistaire watches his scanner. While they are finishing this, lot of tripods one comes through every five minutes. For the last three hours. The military are on their way. They’ll be too late. Oh, fantastic, Pete moans. They’ve got an army made up of Beatles and Faries to fight H.G. Well’s Martians and bloody Jack the Rippers… Who’s next? Dick van Dyke? Mr Bean? John Cleese and his dead parrot? No, Captain Britain, the foremost British superhero replies as he smashes through another tripod.

Pete muses that every British person thinks he’s got the same accent as them. The air around him is warm like a summer meadow. He smells of honey. He’s seen grown men weep at the sight of him. So he greets him with a You tosser! Took your time, didn’t you? Spot of bother at the polo club, was there? Charming as ever, Captain Britain replies and tells Sir Clive Reston to bring in his chopper now.

Reston and MI-13’s scientist O come in. Sir Clive tells Pete that his lack of trust in Pete’s department caused this and he won’t blame Pete if he feels… Hitting him, Pete asks if he won’t? Great.

Feeling better? Sir Clive asks. Yeah. Because he may wish to do that again. He orders O to tell them. O explains that he did a kabbalistic/Higgs field analysis of the Martians’ dimensional gateway. It has a human component. Miss Raven’s power establishes a channel between her and the mind she’s controlling. The Martians laid a trap for her inside Ransom’s mind. And sent the signal that guided them here down that channel. They’ve hardwired it into her. Does Pete know what that means? Sir Clive asks. It means they get her to the best telepath in the world, Pete replies. His number’s in Pete’s mobile. Captain Britain has a forcefield right? Okay then… take me to the Martians.

Amidst the battle, Cap flies Pete to the Martian command centre, asking what he thinks of the view. He’s seen better, Pete replies unimpressed. At least Reston’s lot are keeping some of the flak off them.

Reston, Oberon’s troops and the rest of MI-13 are battling. Firing at them with a very large gun, Sir Clive orders the Skrull Beatles to lure the tripods over here. He doesn’t feel very alluring, Skrull Ringo tells Skrull John. Does he feel very alluring? And less of the banter, Reston orders. He’s a very clean man, isn’t he? Skrull John observes. So when this is all over are they still gonna be the Skrull Beatles then? Ringo wonders. He quite fancies being the Skrull Monkees for a bit, John decides. The dialogue’s easier, George agrees. As long as he gets to be Peter Tork, Paul decides.

As Captain Britain is fired at by two tripods, he drops Pete onto the command centre platform. Wisdom lands smack-dab on the Martian scientist who tries to absorb him. Several hotknives take care of that though, and the Martian. Wisdom fells the guards holding Maureen and takes off the head set. The two kiss and Maureen decides she may have been hasty about them breaking up. She tries to tell him about the thing the Martians put in her but is interrupted by Captain Britain, who tells them to come all aboard the skylark. Friend of his? Maureen asks. Nah, Wisdom replies as Cap takes them back.

Five minutes later, they all gather at an abandoned warehouse where Stuart has some grim news for them: killing their scientist and taking Maureen has changed the Martians’ tactics not at all. The Martians are trashing their air raids. They don’t seem worried that they freed Maureen. Maybe because she’s not so important? Wisdom asks hopefully. O replies that this isn’t the case. Miss Raven’s cell structure has changed. She is their gateway now. It can’t be reversed. Maureen can feel it. She can feel them using her. They know humans, sir Clive remarks as he takes a gun, pointing it at Maureen. They think humans are too weak to do what must be done.

Wisdom destroys the gun with a hotknife. Try that again and he’ll take Reston’s fucking arm off, he threatens. Maureen interjects. They haven’t got much time. Where is her son? Reston explains that they followed the original plan. Shang-Chi’s taken him out of the country. They won’t find him. All right, she decides and asks Pete to come up on the roof with her please. And would he please bring along a… she hesitates… a gun?

On the roof, they look down on the devastated London. There’s red weed now, she observes. Like in the book already. Looking at the gun, she thinks about her son. Why can’t she just do it? Pete asks her to let him find another way. There is magi. They could send her to Avalon. It’s still Britain and he knows it, Maureen replies. They’d finish them off there and then come after her. And take their dreams too. And Oberon didn’t have any suggestions. How long would it take for them to find that magic? Every second she waits, people die. She has to do it now. She doesn’t want her little boy to know she committed suicide. She doesn’t want to keep thinking about it. She’d always wanted it to be by surprise, with hope in her head. Out of a clear blue sky…

Pete interrupts her. He tells her he just got a text message by Alistaire Stuart. He’s thought of something. He can sort her out. Maureen is relived. So the two of them have the whole future together now? She’s going to have time to show him what a good man he is. Yeah. He tells her to go ahead downstairs. He’ll be a sec. He’s gotta piss. Maureen runs ahead and Pete shoots her in the head.

Moments later, all Martians disappear.

The others come to the roof and find Pete cradling Maureen’s corpse. Captain Midlands and Tink try to comfort him. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make,” announces Skrull John thoughtfully.

At the MI-6 Safehouse in Prague, Shang-Chi informs Jonathan Raven of his mother’s death. Later, he trains Jonathan in combat. With his choice of weaponry and the bandana, Jonathan becomes already somewhat reminiscent of his possible future self Killraven.

Somewhere near Cardiff weeks later, Pete phones Kitty Pryde. Kitty heard of her death and of how special Maureen was. Pete tells her he doesn’t know why he called. No, he hasn’t talked about it to anyone. But that’s no why he… Well, if she wants to hear… It’s a long story. Yeah she can do that. She can go and get a cushion…

Characters Involved: 

Pete Wisdom

Captain Britain

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

Sir Clive Reston, Alistaire Stuart (members of MI-6)

O (MI-13’s scientist)

Skrull George, Skrull Paul, Skrull Ringo


Warriors of Otherworld


Jonathan Raven

Humans slave


Other Martians<
Martian scientist

on the phone:

Kitty Pryde

Story Notes: 

H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” from 1898 is an early science fiction novel describing the attack of the Martians on Earth. Eventually the invaders are killed by microbes against which they have no immunity.

Killraven is a freedom fighter in a post-apocalyptic future of the Marvel universe. He first appeared in Amazing Adventures #18 (1973) by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams. Killraven and his compatriots have their adventures in a nother parallel world (Earth 691) where Wells’ Martians returned in 2001 and subjugated humanity.

The line Skrull John quotes is the last line from the Beatles album “Abbey Road.”

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