Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Paul Pelletier
I've been singing War of Kings praises since it first began and have had little, if anything, bad to say about the main series (some tie-ins were a little weak though). Why do I bring this up now, in the final issue of the event? No, I don't think this issue was bad. However, I do think I'm being a little biased towards the series, in general and want to let that be known out front.
For instance, the whole T-Bomb final solution that Black Bolt has devised - that's retarded anyway you look at it, yet I'm more than willing to over look it because I've just been having fun with the book and story and it doesn't stand out too bad to me. But, seriously, let's give the entire universe Inhuman powers and everyone will magically play happy now? I'd probably bash the hell out of that in any other book. When Vulcan, the Superboy Prime of the Marvel Universe (I jokingly refer to the end of this issue as sending Vulcan and Black Bolt off to Earth-Prime for a bit), makes a valid case against someone's plans, as he did in this issue, there's something seriously wrong. But, as I said, as dumb as that final plan is, I just plain enjoyed this event from start to finish and don't seem to have the heart to fault the book for that. Your mileage may vary.
Another major problem I can see people having with this issue is that the aftermath of the fight between Black Bolt and Vulcan/the surrender of the Shi'ar is completely missing from the issue. It's like if Star Wars ended with some cheering just as the Death Star blew up. Sure, the movie (and this issue) would be great ending at the climax, but there's no epilogue to take us down off the high. I'm not sure if they started writing the book and decided there wasn't enough pages to do what they wanted, so Marvel commissioned the War of Kings: Who Will Rule? epilogue for September or if they weren't allowed to expand the issue count midway through or what, but that's the short and long of it - good, but abrupt ending. Personally, as with the other major problem (the T-Bomb), I have no problem with this. Marvel wants to give me more War of Kings? Sign me up. I don't mind it taking place in an epilogue issue a month later. Again, your mileage may vary in that regard.
Now, with my two major complaints about the issue out of the way, what did I really think about this issue? As you can tell from my reluctance to outright bash it, I loved it. Black Bolt is awesome throughout, kicks the crap out of Vulcan, there's some drama with Medusa and the other Inhumans, Crystal gets to continue to shine, as she has throughout this series (who the heck would think Crystal would be one of my favourite characters by the end of this series?) and the ending, while leaving things open ended, was definitive enough for me to be a good conclusion to the War of Kings.
Speaking of the ending, it looked like the Guardians of the Galaxy were right about the T-Bomb tearing a hole in space. I suspect this will lead to the Badoon coming back to the Marvel Universe to follow up on their future versions from the Guardians series (they were a threat in the old Guardians book in the future, too). I think the last time we've seen one was in a random She-Hulk issue and then they'd been missing for years. They hold a huge amount of territory in space and are quite powerful, for those wondering. Easily up there with the Shi'ar (pre-Vulcan), Skrulls (pre-SI) and Kree (pre-Annihilation).
Verdict - Must Read. Call me biased if you will, but any perceived faults with this issue are just washed away by how much I enjoyed everything. I do wish the aftermath was touched on more in this issue, but the epilogue has been scheduled for a while and I'm not going to complain any more about it until I read that, as I assume that will answer any lingering questions and transition us into the next year or two worth of cosmic goodness.