Sentinel Comics #134: The Blade of Atlantis
LAST TIME (SC #133) Legacy had led the Freedom Five to finally uncover Baron Blade’s plot to use lost Atlantean technology to power his Terralunar Impulsion Beam. Unfortunately, this left four of the Freedom Five halfway around the world and unable to make it to Atlantis before the dastardly beam’s activation (loyal readers will recall that Tachyon’s super-speed had been temporarily lost along with her memories back in SC #124). With Visionary and the Inhuman Tempest lost in space and time thanks to Grand Warlord Voss (SC #130), and with Fanatic trapped in an alternate reality of Omnitron’s creation (SC #125), the task has fallen to Absolute Zero to lead a team of unlikely allies to save the world in…
Sentinel Comics #134: The Blade of Atlantis!
But first, a word from our sponsor, Space-Biff!
Sentinels of the Multiverse from Greater Than Games, LLC, is a stupendous cooperative card game for one major reason. Not only does it ooze theme and allow for both strenuous tactical thinking and laugh-out-loud heroic antics, but it’s simple. The rules can be explained in maybe two minutes, so long as everyone is paying attention (that means you, Allen):
There are three phases, one for the Villain, the Heroes, and the Environment. The Villain goes first. Any in-play cards are resolved and a new card is drawn and resolved. Then the Heroes go. Each hero picks a card to play, uses one of their powers (from cards already in play), then draws a card. Once all the heroes have had a turn, the Environment phase resolves in the same way that the Villain phase did, potentially helping or harming the Heroes or the Villain (or both).
That’s it. This simple procession of revealed and resolved cards gives rise to compelling strategy and story, and it takes maybe three game rounds before everyone is zoned in and developing strategies of their own. And because the game is totally cooperative, it’s nonthreatening even for new players.
And now, an introduction to our Heroes!
The current leader of our heroes is the chilly Absolute Zero, everyone’s favorite janitor-turned-crimefighter (SC #11), and living proof that even those with menial careers can one day hope to acquire superpowers (take note, kids!). After recovering from the cryo-explosion that dropped his core temperature to zero degrees Fahrenheit and joining the Freedom Four (and thus renaming them the Freedom Five), Absolute Zero has been handling the Five’s affairs overseas. His recent journeys have taken him to the exotic continent of Africa, where he has searched tirelessly for the ruins of Atlantis, and made a few new friends along the way.
Second in our lineup of heroes is the man formerly known as Dr. Blake Washington, Jr., now known as Ra after discovering the Staff of the Sun God and inheriting the mantle of the ancient superhero! (SC #14) When not fighting crime and trans-dimensional warlords, he enjoys tanning and… well, mostly tanning. While hunting for more artifacts in the deserts of Egypt, Ra was recruited by Absolute Zero to save the planet he has sworn to protect.
The final hero in our lineup is the former Chief Aata Wakarewarewa, transformed into Haka by mysterious tribal forces when he was betrayed and murdered by a rival chieftain! (SC #30) His Craigslist advert claims he now fights crime to gain eventual redemption, and that’s good enough for Absolute Zero.
On to the adventure!
Arriving at Baron Blade’s secret outpost somewhere off the coast of Madagascar, our unlikely band bickers incessantly. Thank goodness there are no females to feud over! What kind of threats will they face among the Ruins of Atlantis?
Our heroes emerge from the water cautiously, worried that Baron Blade will have erected some sort of beach defense. Sure enough, he has, though the defenders have already been rendered unconscious by the toxic seaweed that infests the entire shore. Absolute Zero decides to act his part as leader, freezing the tangle of weeds that is slowly crawling up the beach and choking our heroes with poisonous fumes! This leaves Absolute Zero drained, but he refuses to be beaten, so our heroes scout farther inland and finally locate their opponent’s camp.
The Terralunar Impulsion Beam is well-protected. Two Mobile Defense Platforms shield it from a short distance, and five soldiers armed with electric halberds patrol the camp. As our heroes investigate further, they are discouraged to find that the Beam itself is well-shielded by a living force field that will dramatically reduce any damage they try to inflict upon it.
Absolute Zero, still drained from his manhandling of the toxic seaweed, orders Ra and Haka to assault the camp and bring down the Defense Platforms if possible. Ra jumps into action, bringing out the very Staff that imbued him with his godly powers and wreaking havoc on the Baron’s hapless minions. Ra refuses to kill any of the minions he wounds, however.
This isn’t due to misplaced morals—real heroes hate that stuff. No, Ra refuses to kill his victims because Haka has learned the powers of Savage Mana, which let him absorb the life-force of those he defeats in battle. Thus, Ra weakens their opponents for Haka to finish off, storing their energy in anticipation of a powerful blow of toxic energy. He hopes that this use of dark magic doesn’t mess with his quest for redemption (get ready for the 10-issue Haka’s Shadow limited series, coming this spring!).
Sure enough, Ra’s solar flames and Haka’s brutal Taiaha blows carve their way through the enemy. Unfortunately, it seems that in this mythical place Baron Blade’s henchmen are the least of our heroes’ concerns…
The defenses of Atlantis have been activated! Fortunately, they don’t discriminate—intruders are intruders, after all. So while beams of electric energy are crackling off of Absolute Zero’s suit, they’re also knocking one of the Baron’s Mobile Defense Platforms out of the sky! The appearance of the legendary Kraken of Atlantis is concerning, but our heroes manage to hold their own against the tentacled monster.
This entire time, Absolute Zero has been struggling to maintain his suit’s integrity against so many external attacks. Once the last of the Blade Battalions and Defense Platforms have been disposed of, Zero has managed to route his suit’s power to stable levels.
With the camp’s defenders destroyed and Absolute Zero powered up, our three heroes were able to focus on the Beam generator itself. It was well-shielded, but it couldn’t stop attacks from three of the Multiverse’s greatest heroes!
Within minutes, Absolute Zero, Ra, and Haka had forced their way through the living force field and smashed the Beam generator, ending Baron Blade’s plan to crash the moon into the earth (for the time being). As our heroes celebrate—and watch Haka do an actual haka war dance—they hear a terrible noise from above. With terror, they realize that the fight is only half over…
Baron Blade is here, wearing the battle-armor that he developed while exiled on Mars! (SC #110) And he’s arrived at an inopportune time: All three of our heroes are badly wounded after their fight amidst the pillared ruins of Atlantis, and Baron Blade is energized by the lost Atlantean power source!
What will happen to our heroes? Find out in the stunning conclusion, SC #135: Hero… to Zero!