Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Adam Kubert
With a trip down memory lane to the days of Grant Morrison's New X-Men, and more specifically, the Imperial arc, Jonathan Hickman lays the ground for the origin and premise of new Avenger recruit, Smasher. Hickman does more than anchor the character's roots to that storyline; he grabs the Superguardian concept, also introduced by Morrison, and turns it into an entire system that perfectly fits the idea behind the always cool Shi'ar Imperial Guard.
Covers by Dustin Weaver and Carlos Pacheco
The issue is filled with exciting moments, such as Smasher's first contact with the empire, her brave charge against the enemy along with her new teammates, and the most amazing rapport-building exchange with The Hulk; that one is an instant classic. Adam Kubert's pencils flourish in this chapter, and Frank Martin's colors bring the art much closer to that of Jerome Opeña in the first three issues. The large scope of the overarching plot is once again enforced by the time the story concludes. You've got to read this one.
Majestor Gladiator and the Imperial Guard. Art by Adam Kubert and Frank Martin