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Comic Book / War of Kings

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"The king with no words has screamed in defiance, and his cry has split the universe in half. It's starting... The war that ends everything."
Starhawk, Guardians of the Galaxy #10

War of Kings is a Marvel Comics Bat Family Crossover of the year 2009. It follows events of the Secret Invasion: Inhumans, X-Men: Rise And Fall of the Shi'Ar Empire and X-Men: Emperor Vulcan storylines, and plot elements in various other titles, like Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy or Annihilation: Conquest. Darkhawk gets involved as well.

After their home on the Moon was attacked by Skrulls during the Secret Invasion event, The Inhumans chose to leave for space, where they not only had revenge on the green shapeshifters, but also attacked their own creators - the Kree Empire. With the Kree's defeat, the Kree leader, Ronan, gives up his position, announcing Black Bolt as the new king of the Empire. This doesn't escape the sight of another cosmic monarch - Vulcan, Emperor of the Shi'Ar - who quickly finds an excuse to start a war between the two space nations. So big a conflict cannot avoid involving third parties; the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Corps and Blaastar's army from the Negative Zone are all brought into the conflict.


Following this event, Marvel put out a series of comics under the title Realm of Kings, which served as a bridge to their next event, The Thanos Imperative.

War of Kings provides examples of:

  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Fraternity of Raptors. Black Bolt destroying the Skrull fleet reactivates them.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Gorgon loses a leg to the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, but it's quickly re-attached. Ch'od loses a hand to a Portal Cut, but gets a new one pretty quickly.
  • Anyone Can Die: Lilandra, Black Bolt, Vulcan, a whole Nova cohort and a good Guardians of the Galaxy regular. Black Bolt gets better, and the Guardians turn out okay in the end.
  • Arranged Marriage: Crystal and Ronan. Gradually (through this and the Realm of Kings follow-up event) evolves into a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • Assimilation Plot: Black Bolt plans to turn all living beings in the Universe into Inhumans. Eventually Crystal talks him out of it.
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  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Black Bolt and Vulcan, full stop.
  • Badass Normal: Star-Lord, Jack Flag, Major Victory.
  • Bad Future: This event caused at least one. Adam Warlock's attempts to fix the Fault cause him to become the Magus, which starts overriding every other possible future as well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Vulcan and Black Bolt battle with Black Bolt coming out victorious. Crystal disables the T-Bomb from its original intent and seems to convince Black Bolt the plan was flawed. But before she, Lockjaw and Black Bolt can escape Vulcan revives and Black Bolt is forced to stay to battle him. During the fight the bomb is set off by Black Bolt's voice, leaving both kings lost and a gaping hole in the fabric of the universe which is a tunnel to something... bad. Not to mention the Fraternity of Raptors still lurking in the shadows.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Lilandra has a rather awkward one in the final page of issue #2.
  • The Brute: Blastaar.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Shi'ar Death Commandoes reappear towards the end, defending the ludicrously corrupt Chancellor Araki.
  • Cain and Abel: Vulcan and Havok. Sort-of inverted as the good Havok is older.
  • The Caligula: Vulcan. Man, he even resembles Caligula physically.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Parodied.
    Smasher: Accessing hyper-strength upload from my exospecs.
    [Drax punches Smasher in the face.]
    Drax: Accessing fist.
  • Cassandra Truth: Peter Quill tries to warn the Inhumans about the damage the war is causing the universe. Medusa tells him to get lost. Out of the entire royal family, only Crystal listens to the Guardians, and that's after Phyla holds her at sword-point.
  • Catchphrase: I AM GROOT!
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Skrull captain, first introduced in the prologue one-shot and apparently killed, becomes important in Darkhawk's tie-in series.
  • Clear My Name: Subverted. Darkhawk is first going to stop his new Arch-Enemy, then clear his name.
  • Cool Aunt: Lorna, for Luna's daughter Crystal.
  • Cosmic Being: At last, one (Oblivion) has a short appearance.
  • Deal with the Devil: Actually, with Death.
  • Discard and Draw: Nova. Also, Phyla-Vell, who gives up the title of Quasar to become the new Avatar of Death.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Strontian is to Gladiator what Supergirl is to Superman, only she's completely insane. Phyla is one for Thanos.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: General Ka'radum warns Vulcan against killing Lilandra because of this. It's enough to stay his hand.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: While observing a hospitalized Ronan, who was injured in the Shi'ar attack on Hala, Polaris quips to his wife Crystal, "That'll teach him to marry you.". Crystal is understandably unamused.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Shi'Ar steal some Kree Nega Bombs, which cause these.
  • Enemy Mine: Gorgon and Starbolt on Saakar.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Keep in mind while reading this one that the speaker is so crazy he genuinely believes what he's saying.
    Vulcan to Black Bolt: You act so noble, but you're a genocidal monster! And I am not going to let you do this!
  • Evil Counterpart: Strontian to Gladiator
  • Evil Mentor: Talon, for Darkhawk.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Even Vulcan found Black Bolt's Assimilation Plot insane. Yes, Vulcan.
  • Eye Scream: Vulcan had already lost one of his eyes to Gladiator a few years before, but it was replaced with an artificial eye. During their final fight, Black Bolt destroys it.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Adam Warlock, though not willingly on his part. Phyla, a little
  • Flying Brick: Black Bolt, Gladiator, Strontian, Nova, Vulcan. Most of them have other powers as well, but still.
  • Foil:
    • Take a good look at Black Bolt and Vulcan. Black Bolt and Vulcan. Black Bolt and Vulcan. Black Bolt and Vulcan. Got it?
    • A subtle theme that Vulcan eventually makes explicit is that the war is making Black Bolt much less of a Foil to Vulcan.
  • From a Single Cell: Vulcan is killed by a point-blank blast of Black Bolt's voice. A few pages later he gets up again.
  • From Bad to Worse: Things were already bad after the Annihilation War and the Phalanx Conquest. Then the Shi'ar and the Kree, the last two big empires left, go to war, endangering reality itself, which is on the brink of collapse. And then Lilandra is killed, throwing the Shi'ar empire into turmoil. And then, in the last issue, Black Bolt causes the T-bomb to go off, opening the fault and quickly causing the creation of the Magus, who is the herald for a far worse threat.
  • Fusion Dance: Richard and Wendell. Also Worldmind and Ego.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Vulcan. Blastaar also fits, but he's not got as much resources or skill as Vulcan.
  • Gambit Roulette: Drax and Phylla's adventure and all its results were planned by Oblivion
  • Giant Mecha: The Inhuman Chorus Sentries, which are equipped with and powered by Black Bolt's voice. They're very effective.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Aside from a massive blood spurt, what Gladiator does to Araki isn't shown.
  • Green Lantern Ring: The Quantum Bands.
  • Grand Theft Me: What the Fraternity Of Raptors does with their hosts. Humans are slightly immune because their methods are designed for older species.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gamora. Female Kree are blue skinned.
  • Happily Arranged Marriage: Crystal and Ronan eventually become this, though Ronan already had a soft spot for Crystal in the first place.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gladiator, eventually.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The Skrull possessed by Talon killed himself in order to get rid of him. Sadly, it doesn't stop him from coming back.
    • Black Bolt's original intention for the T-bomb may be interpreted as one of these.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Lilandra returns to the Shi'ar and vows to overthrow Vulcan, gaining a large amount of support from her people! Then Talon and Raptor kill her.
    • Crystal talks Black Bolt down from detonating the T-Bomb. Then Vulcan gets back up again, and attacks Black Bolt, forcing him to kill them both.
  • Human Aliens: The Shi'Ar look like humans with weird hair; the Kree, and Strontians (Gladiator's species), look like humans but with different skin color. Phyla, Smasher, a few other members of the Imperial Guard and at least one Nova Corps member look like humans, or have very small differences.
Hypocrite: Medusa is perfectly fine with setting off a T-bomb to turn everyone into an Inhuman despite protests from Crystal and Ronan that such an action is too extreme and could also leave the Kree, who are incompatible with the Terrigen Mists, as an evolutionary dead end. However, it never occurs to her that Black Bolt will have to sacrifice himself in order for this plan to work and when she realizes this, she is furious.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Lilandra is the Gwen Stacy for many characters. Suki is also one for Robbie Rider.
  • Jerkass: Medusa spends most of her time being snide, sarcastic and demeaning towards everyone else. She also shows some signs of jealousy when Crystal is more liked by the common Kree.
  • Know When to Fold Them: When the Inhumans invade Kree space, Ronan immediately capitulates to them.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Subverted. The Guardians never had a weapon able to harm Gladiator, they only made him think they did. Gladiator's powers are directly related to his confidence. If he believes you can beat him, you can.
  • Large Ham: Vulcan, Blaastar, Groot and of course the largest of them all - Catastropus.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Shi'Ar Chancellor Araki, who helped Vulcan seize the throne and ousted Lilandra, as well being The Man Behind the Man for the Shi'Ar death squad, is finally killed by Gladiator.
  • Mad Scientist: Maximus the Mad, quite naturally, though this time he's behaving himself. The Inhumans make good use of his inventions in the war. At one point he gets frustrated because they're asking him to do too much.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Oblivion and Maelstrom
  • Mêlée à Trois: Kree Empire vs Shiar Empire with the Nova Corps, Star Jammers and Guardians of the Galaxy caught in the middle trying to stop it but usually just getting into fights.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Issue #2 shows protesters blaming the Shi'ar attack on the Kree planets on the Inhumans rather than the Shi'ar themselves.
  • Mythology Gag: Blackbolt's plan to transform people into Inhumans is the same one he used on a smaller scale in Earth X and would later be used again in Infinity.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Several of these already existed due to the events of Annihilation, and the war is making them worse. It's part of the reason the Guardians of the Galaxy get involved. The very end of the event causes a truly massive one, the Fault, which spreads over several light-years.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The Inhuman attack on the Skrulls frees Talon from his interdimensional prison, which eventually causes the death of Lilandra.
    • The detonation of the T-bomb breaks the universe, and is retroactively responsible for the return of the Magus.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Guardians' roster.
  • Only Sane Man: Crystal, for the entire Inhuman royal family, with Gorgon a distant second.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Black Bolt and Vulcan.
  • Portal Cut: This is how Ch'od loses his right hand. He tries to grab Lilandra as she is taken through one of Voyager's portals but it closes around his arm.
  • Psycho for Hire: Strontian is a pyscho with all the powers of Superman.
  • Redshirt Army: The revived Nova Corps get slaughtered en-masse by Shi'Ar forces. Needless to say, this gets Nova angry.
  • Retcon: The origin of the amulet that gives Darkhawk his powers (along with parts of his history).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Gladiator, after Lilandra is killed, goes after her former chancellor, the man who arranged for her removal from power.
  • Running Gag: Horrible things happening to Smasher of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Blaastar. Vulcan did it a long time ago.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Starhawk's mission. The Guardians who'd got transported to a Bad Future were trying to do this by sending a message into the past, but it didn't work.
  • Space Police: The Nova Corps would like to be this.
  • Space Romans: Vulcan wears a Roman-style outfit, and it seems like he was trying to incorporate some elements of Roman culture into the Shi'Ar.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Magus for Adam Warlock.
  • Title Drop: Issue #5 is called "Rage and Blood and Fire". Lorna references the title in her dialogue when Alex tells her the Awful Truth that Vulcan might be the only that can quell the riot on Chandilar.
    Lorna: Then this is the way the world ends. In rage and blood and fire.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Phyla Martyr, for the Guardians of the Galaxy. It gets them into trouble when she holds Crystal hostage.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Darkhawk
  • Treacherous Advisor: Talon
  • The Voiceless: Black Bolt, of course. Throughout the whole event he only utters two words: "Now" and "Goodbye" He yells NO! to attack Vulcan.
  • Wham Episode: Lilandra dies. Gladiator becomes Majestor of the Shi'ar.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Many characters did this in response to Black Bolt's plan.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Worldmind went mad because he was blocking the Nova Force from driving Richard crazy too much.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Rachel Grey makes Blackcloak's head explode, in revenge for killing her family years before.


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