Now this was a real interesting comic! I liked it a lot – I even found the re-print of TIH #393 pretty ingenious. So, let’s begin with the first scene where the Winter Guard is fighting a joker named Presence. He is talking to the new Darkstar – see, his daughter was the old Darkstar and he had heard of her passing – but this new woman came in and took her old code name – which doesn’t sit well with Presence. As the others are trying to fight a huge tentacled monster – Red Guardian breaks free to take Presence down. They are also told that the monster was actually a man – a man named Igor Drenkov… the same man who created the Hulk by not stopping the countdown many, many years ago. Well, the team tells Darkstar that she is the only one who can stop it – by eating it. She absorbs the monster until it is gone. But she can feel it – feel it inside of her – but not the monster… the man, Igor.
They continue the issue with the reprint of #393 – where Igor is caught in a nasty memory of the day he created the Hulk. The day he let the countdown continue. The Winter Guard is there to take Igor back to Russia with them – but the Pantheon is there to stop them. That is… until they disappear – the Winter Guard that is…
Igor is still walking around until he finds Banner’s old lab. Igor goes in to look for the formula to the Gamma Bomb – but is interrupted by the Hulk appearing! I’ll cut to the chase here – since it’s a reprint anyways… The Winter Guard shows up to protect and take Igor back to Russia, unharmed. But the Hulk – and the Pantheon – are there take them on. I love Keown’s art and this being re-printed in the middle of this issue makes it all that more bothersome that he doesn’t draw ANY comic on a regular basis. In the end, the Hulk is torturing Igor wanting him to regret his actions – but Igor laughs this off saying if he’s to be tortured with the creation of the Hulk and all of his destruction – then shouldn’t he get credit for all the good he’s done as well?
We return to the original story where Darkstar is confused about her place on the team or why she is seeing Igor’s memories. She goes to take some time to herself but the team heads out to fight another set of villains. The fight is great – it makes me want to see more of this team! But Darkstar, still back at the base, is still having visions of the past. She wonders why – and she goes to talk to Presence to find out – but he tells her she has power that is too good for her – she’s just a vessel with power she does not deserve. With that Darkstar takes off to join her team. She arrives to see the Winter Guard having some trouble… she swoops in and releases the monster within – the monster that Igor had become – the one that the swallowed in the beginning. But the monster comes out more powerful and… Gamma Charged! She destroys the other team – but now the Winter Guard is left to defend themselves against their once team mate. They realize how to beat her and – if you want to know, go buy this great issue, because it’s worth the read!
All in all a solid issue! Grade: B+