Well, that escalated quickly.
This issue starts off pretty modestly. Carol is trying convince the Supreme Intelligence to allow them to take the Black Vortex to save their friends, and the Intelligence (somewhat reasonably, if you ask me) tells her that their friends made their choice knowing the consequences. He would really just like to have the Vortex under lock and key again. (Again, it's really hard to argue with this sentiment.) The teams realize that the conversation isn't going their way, so they attack the Intelligence and his guards to provide cover to Nova to steal the Vortex. The problem is that J'Son and the Slaughter Lords arrive. One of them swipes the Vortex from Nova, and the two spend the rest of the issue trading possession of it between them.
Then, J'Son's fortress eats Hala.
Yup, J'Son destroys Hala. Schiti does a great job of conveying the gravity of that event, with a two-page spread that really grabs your attention. The only problem with it is from a narrative perspective. Bendis never tells us why J'Son felt the need to destroy Hala. It wasn't to get the Vortex; at the time of destruction, one of his Slaughter Lords already had it. Bendis seems to make it about revenge, since J'Son blames the Intelligence for his role in his downfall. To that end, I certainly get his hatred of the Intelligence. But, are we really supposed to believe that J'Son has so embraced his role as a villain that he's willing to destroy a planet? Before, he really just wanted revenge on Peter. It wasn't even like he sent the Slaughter Lords to kill everyone at the orphanage, something that he could've done to toy with Peter's emotions. He pretty specifically just wanted to get his revenge on Peter. But, now, he's destroying planets? It's a pretty big leap.
We're halfway through this event at this point, and I'm still honestly not sure where we're going. Other than the Intelligence, everyone wants the Vortex, but their motives still aren't really clear. Sure, Carol argued that she wanted it to save her friends, but we don't know what she planned on doing with it after that. Does J'Son want the Vortex so that he can destroy most of the galaxy in revenge for losing his kingdom? It's just a jumble (if not a mess) at this point.
** (two of five stars)