The wrap up to Straczynski and Weston’s ‘The Twelve’ is bittersweet. Blue Blade and the Fiery Mask are dead, as is Dynamic Man, whom the rest of the heroes had to kill when they learned of his true nature. (See ‘The Twelve’ #11 issue) Rockman is… gone. They are unsure if he is dead or if his old “origin” turned out to be true and he found his subterranean society. Mr. E retired. The Witness has likewise gone missing. And Captain Wonder was badly scarred in their battle with Dynamic Man.
The Phantom Reporter has suddenly fallen in love with the Black Widow, but due to the dark nature of her powers, she must depart. The Laughing Mask, earlier in the series, was determined to have killed a mob boss back the 1940s and must atone for this crime. In this issue, the government makes a plea deal with him; they will consider his time in suspended animation as time served, so long as he works for them, controlling the robot Electro, carrying out military missions.
Mastermind Excello reveals his secret origin, basically he was shot in the head by a radioactive bullet, granting him mind-reading abilities, but every time he uses his powers, he gets closer to dying.
The Phantom Reporter hears from The Witness, who signs up with S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite his injury, Captain Wonder continues to function as a super hero, hiding his scars behind a gold half-mask. While rescuing a group of kids from a cave-in, he appears to receive a message from Rock Man, telling him that he has found his princess.
Rick (The Phantom Reporter) packs up and moves into a new apartment, funded by E.X.C. Enterprises. He is also reunited with Black Widow, wearing a snazzy new costume. The biggest turning point for Rick is his decision to torch the manuscript he has been working on pretty much from the start of this series. (Basically, it’s the narration for this comic.) The next day, Rick and The Black Widow go to E.X.C. Enterprises. Rick learns something startling about his new love. They also discover that Mastermind Excello is the founder of E.X.C. Enterprises and wants to use his wealth to further fund their crime fighting efforts.
So things didn’t work out for all of the heroes. But a handful are stepping into their new modern lives and moving toward the future. It was a somewhat melancholy wrap-up to this book. And honestly, I doubt we’ll see these heroes integrated into the larger Marvel Universe, which is too bad. There was potential there, but the several years’ gap between the 8th and 9th issues kind of scrapped their momentum. Regardless, though, this was a good book with a very nice story. Strczynski tends to tell better tales when they are finite and this is a fine example of that. If you missed out, this will definitely make for a great trade, so I highly recommend picking it up.
THE TWELVE #12
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Chris Weston
Cover by Rivera