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Monday, June 22, 2015

The Black Vortex Road Trip

My wife and I have been reading a series called "Legendary Star-Lord," but we were a few issues behind. We were really enjoying it until Issue 9, when suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of a story we hadn't been reading called "The Black Vortex." This is a thirteen issue series that runs through several Marvel titles, and we wondered if we really wanted to read it. But then we perused the checklist, and found that we had picked up a couple damaged issues from other Marvel series in the discount box that also belonged to The Black Vortex sequence. So we headed off to our normal comics store to find the missing issues. We purchased the two issues we were missing, and a few of the middle chapters that linked the "Legendary Star-Lord" issues we had previously bought, and then got down to some serious reading.

"The Black Vortex" is a series about an artifact discovered on an alien planet that imbues the volunteer with a huge amount of power. The long-term effects of wielding huge amounts of power bring to mind the old adage "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," but our heroes, including Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy, are faced by super villains who have already been powered-up by the Black Vortex. So it's a real test for them. Do they risk taking on the power, knowing what it can do to them? Can they trust themselves to only use such power for good?

On a subsequent visit, we found our local shop didn't have two of the remaining issues we needed. As we would shortly be heading off to England, we decided to call around and see if any other shops had them, and if so collect them now, rather than wait until after our return, when we might only find the back issue boxes marked up at a much higher cost. So it was time to get on the phone, and then head off on our Black Vortex Road Trip.

Our first stop, at a store about ten miles away, netted us one comic, "Captain Marvel " Issue 14. It's a story written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who cowrote the second Richard Castle/Derek Storm graphic novel with Brian Michael Bendis. I've never read any Captain Marvel comics before, but she's involved in the series, so maybe I'll emerge with a greater knowledge of her. 

A few blocks later, we wondered if we had taken a wrong turn and ended up in England. For there was a British telephone box on the corner. Or at least it looked like a telephone box, only it was a little small. Hm. You don't suppose someone was having a little fun with a utility box, do you?

About twenty miles from home, we found the other issue we needed: "Cyclops" Issue 12. For the longest time, I wondered what the title might refer to. Images from science and Greek mythology sprang to mind, but nothing else. Then my wife reminded me that Cyclops was a member of the X-Men, and he was also part of the group being tested by the Black Vortex.

Oh well, I guess I'm not into Mutants.

As we were in the neighborhood, we stopped into my favorite place for fish and chips. It's not exactly British fish and chips, but it's a special treat, and whetted my appetite until we get to the United Kingdom.

The second comics store also offered us another surprise: a Jo Grant action figure. Plucky, pretty, and loyal, she accompanied the third Doctor across time and space for three years. I wasn't expecting to find her in the second comics shop, but then, you never know what'll happen when you pick up a comic book, and where it may take you. Especially when you're dealing with a source of immense power such as the Black Vortex. 

I'm guessing she found our car a little different from the TARDIS, but hopefully she enjoyed the twenty mile drive home. We'll have to find her a comfortable place to live. Perhaps next to a Dalek? I wonder if she'd like that?

All stories have the power to transport us to faraway realms, don't they? Our love for English stories certainly keeps us returning to England, where we hope to make many fascinating discoveries this year. What will we do with the power we gain from the discoveries we make this year? Time will tell if we can handle the power we glean from them in a responsible manner.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to pick up the next issue, and utter these important words. "I submit to the Black Vortex..."

Dragon Dave

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