Greetings from the Odinson,
It’s time for Odinson’s 2013: The Year in Review!
Part 1: The Comics
Age of Ultron – The unthinkable has finally happened. For years, the robotic killing machine known as Ultron has returned after each defeat more dangerous than before, and the Avengers have always been able to stop him, but not this time. Ultron is back and this time not even Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can stop him. In fact, the battle has already happened, and the world’s heroes have been dismantled and scattered across the globe. The story begins when a small band of survivors mount a desperate counterstrike.
Ultron is, without a doubt, one of the scariest Big Bads in comics and one the Odinson’s all time favorite super villains. And, moving forward, I believe writers and editors will be hard pressed to top the scenario that was laid out in this Big Event storyline. The story starts off truly epic. Our heroes’ backs are against the wall, and they are thrust into an impossible situation. Where the tale falls apart for me is the use of the convoluted, overused plot device known as “time-travel.” Yawn! Plus, the scene in the present when our last survivors mount a final assault on Ultron’s stronghold seemed poorly thought out, especially for an attack led by Captain America and Nick Fury. That whole part and the final solution just seemed like a give up to the Odinson.
The creators do get a B+ for effort though. The set-up was great, the artwork for the tale was amazing, but the climax of the tale just didn’t deliver. Age of Ultron did however set-up a couple of very interesting developments. Because of the time-traveling shenanigans of the Marvel Heroes, rifts in time and space have been torn open and the walls between realities have been toppled. The mighty Galactus of the 616 has invaded the Ultimate Universe in the pages of Cataclysm and the Spawn-hunting angelic warrior Angela has invaded the 616 in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy. Both of these unexpected arrivals could mean major changes in both universes. Odinson Rating: 3 out of 5 Hammers
Trinity War/Forever Evil – It all starts when the New 52 is rocked by a three-way battle between the Justice League, the government-sponsored Justice League of America, and the supernatural Justice League Dark! When the world’s greatest hero seemingly commits an act so unimaginable that the very fabric of the DCU is turned upside, Batman, the Phantom Stranger and others embark on a quest to discover the terrible truth. What they uncover is a dark conspiracy that unfolds before them and leaves the world shrouded in darkness.
In the aftermath of Trinity War, the World’s Greatest Super Heroes are no more and EVIL takes power in the DCU. Right out of the gate it gets really bad! With the Justice League gone, Nightwing and the Teen Titans easily defeated, and the world’s communications and power gone, the Earth falls into chaos and disorder. The delicious twist to this epic tale is that the only ones who can save us are the very individuals whom we’ve been afraid of for so long. For years Big Bads like Lex Luthor, Black Adam, Black Manta, and The Rogues have been the scourge of the DCU, and you know that they would never share the world. As The Chronicles of Riddick have taught us – “In normal times, evil would be fought by good. But in times like these, well, it should be fought by another kind of evil.” Bring on the Bad Guys! Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
Infinity – When the Avengers assemble and blast off to the far side of the galaxy to deal with a coming threat, Thanos invades Earth. Will the Avengers survive their ordeal against an ancient evil that has brought the mightiest universal empires to their knees? And how will Earth survive the Mad Titan when its mightiest champions are not home to defend it?
What is Thanos looking for? A king will fall! And the outcome of the final battle will change the landscape of the Marvel Universe forever (see Inhumanity)! The writing and artwork in this event is top notch. This is a truly epic adventure worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
The Star Wars – A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…the tale of Star Wars was very different. This is the Star Wars that could have been. Dark Horse adapts George Lucas’ original screenplay for the story that would one day blow the minds of movie-goers and revolutionize the sci-fi/fantasy genre.
The Odinson is very excited to read Lucas’ original vision and I’m glad Dark Horse is putting this out. But I am here to say that what we ended up with in 1977 was by far and away the best Star Wars. Odinson Rating: 3 out of 5 Hammers
Death of the Family – The Clown Prince of Crime returns and oh, boy, is he deadlier than ever. The Joker knows a secret and it just may destroy the Bat-Family. One by one, the Progeny of the Bat falls. And as Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Red Robin go M.I.A., the Dark Knight Detective races against the clock to protect his own. Nobody is safe in this nail-biter. Not even the Joker’s own girlfriend, Harley Quinn.
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo continue to hit on all cylinders as they explore the Joker’s twisted point of view on what his relationship is with the Caped Crusader. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
When Worlds Collide – On the Mount Rushmore of video game icons, alongside Mario and Pac-Man, you’ll find Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. This amazing crossover sees these two video game legends team up to take on an army of their toughest adversaries and the diabolical team-up of their greatest foes Doctor Ivo and Doctor Wily! This crossover event is a no-brainer and simply a must read for video game fans. Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers
Afterlife with Archie – What happens when the zombie apocalypse invades Riverdale? Get ready for an Archie story the likes of which have never been seen before. When Jughead is infected with a zombie virus, his legendary appetite turns from hamburgers and pizza to brains! The sunny landscape of Riverdale quickly descends into horror and madness as the plague of the undead washes over Archie’s world and the Riverdale Gang’s daily routine of mischief turns into a fight for survival. This is a bold direction for a classic and a wonderful twist for longtime Archie fans and fans of the zombie genre alike. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
Wolverine: Killable – This is a tale that has been long overdue. Once upon a time, Wolverine was the best there was at what he did, and what he did was not very nice. He was the most feared fighter in the Marvel Universe. The problem is he has the most ridiculous of all super hero powers…a healing factor. I’ve talked at length in the past about how much of a crutch this particular super power is. It’s lazy storytelling. If there is no danger of your main character getting hurt or dying then there is no drama.
Well, Logan’s legendary ability to heal is no more. When Wolverine’s mutant healing factor goes away, the ole Canuckle-Head sets out on a quest to get it back. However, he will have to learn to survive without his greatest asset. I’m very excited about this tale because hopefully Logan will learn once again that he is one of the greatest fighters in the world and he doesn’t have to take shots and blows that would kill a normal man in order to win a fight. Guys like Batman and Daredevil get by just fine without a “healing factor” and Wolverine can too. Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers
The comic companies really delivered some twists and turns in 2013. I’d have to say it was a pretty darn good year for the four-color format. Be here next week when the Odinson is sure to get some cheers (and jeers) for his 2013 the Year in Review: Movies and Television.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Seasons Greetings from the Odinson,
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Christmas is almost here and it’s time for Odinson’s annual Christmas List of Ideas for that special someone on your shopping list. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and I have picks for everyone. Use this link to see the shipping schedule in order to get your package there by Christmas Day (Holidays Shipping Schedule).
If Thou art reading this column then chances are ye have someone in thy life, a friend or family member, who is a collector. And for some, collecting is not just relegated to comics and graphic novels. Nay, the realm of collecting stretches far and wide and includes many, many different and unique items. Fear not! The Odinson has assembled the finest list of enchanting collectibles to meet thy Holiday shopping needs.
Collector Tumblers and Cups – The Tumbler brings back that magical time from your youth when you’d enjoy a nice meal alongside your favorite super heroes, cartoon characters, and All-Stars of pop culture. They look fantastic displayed on a shelf and they’re as varied as the taste of the collectors themselves. For your DC lover there are Batman and Superman Tumblers and a JLA Pitcher! For your Marvel fan there are Spider-Man and Hulk Tumblers and even Tumblers of more obscure characters like Shang Chi, the Master of Kung Fu and Adam Warlock. For that child of the 80s there are the Goonies and Masters of the Universe Tumbler Sets and for that child of the 90s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set. For the horror fan there are the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th Tumblers. There’s also a plethora of classic cartoon characters like Droopy Dog, Woody Woodpecker, and Dudley Do-Right as well as Donald Duck, Garfield, and the cast of Looney Tunes. There are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Star Wars and the Odinson’s personal favorite Tumbler – Space Ghost! Check out our extensive list of Collectible Glassware and I’m sure you’ll find the right glass for that special someone.
DC Comics Chess Figurine and Magazine – With this amazing item you get three gifts in one, a fantastic figurine of your favorite DC hero or villain, a collectible magazine full of all sorts of wonderful information like origins, lists of greatest adventures, allies, and foes, and another piece on the road to assembling the ultimate chess set. Each figurine is handcrafted and painted and looks amazing when displayed on the shelf or this unique Chess Board.
Classic Marvel Character Statues – Not to be outdone, Marvel (along with their friends at Dark Horse) present a series of mini statues of their Marvel Characters as they first appeared when the Marvel Age exploded onto the scene back in 1961. These are your favorite super heroes as they were originally conceived. There’s the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange based on the art of Steve Ditko, Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four, X-Men and the Mighty Thor based on the art of Jack Kirby. These collectible statues are perfect for that Marvel fan that has been around for years or even the new fan that appreciates the history of the House of Ideas.
The Knight Rider Electronic KITT Replica – This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest collectibles to cross my desk. Any fanboy that grew up in the 80s remembers the distinct voice of KITT, the awesome super car from the classic action/adventure TV series Knight Rider. This is a 1/15 scale replica of the very crime-fighting car that Michael Knight drove in the series. And even more amazing, it actually speaks! Featuring working lights and sound effects, with a push of the button let the nostalgia begin as this replica speaks to you in the very same and distinct voice from the show. I cannot do this item justice with words alone but this collectible definitely gets the Odinson’s stamp of approval. It’s really cool. NOTE: If this item meets your fancy you may also want to check out other model kits based on iconic pop culture vehicles from Smokey and the Bandit, Ghostbusters, Miami Vice, and Back to the Future.
The Mighty Thor Bottle Opener – It goes without saying, but this is a must have for any fan of the Protector of Earth Realm and Scion of fabled Asgard. This replica of mighty Mjolnir may not grant you the power of Thor but it will surely give you the strength to pop the top of your favorite beverage. Plus, it just looks really cool.
Power Battery and Ring Prop – Speaking of Cool. The Blackest Night tale introduced the many different colors of the DCU’s Lanterns, and now you can possess them all with these amazing Power Battery and Ring props. Even more amazing is that a special key activates the power of the Corps. Just turn out the lights and marvel as your Batteries and Rings light up the darkness with the power of their righteous glow.
Collectible Magnets – When I was a kid, magnets were used to display my mighty B+ in math on the refrigerator so all the world could see. Now, magnets have become just as collectible as anything else. Whether it’s a DC icon like Superman or Wonder Woman or a mighty Marvel hero like Captain America or Thor or even pop culture icons like Knight Rider or Game of Thrones, with our diverse selection of collectible magnets, you can be sure to find the right magnet for that special person in your life.
Doctor Who Monster Invasion Card Game – This specially packaged item features a magazine filled to capacity with fun Doctor Who facts and information and comes with a pack of nine official Doctor Who trading game cards. But the gem of this particular item is that it also comes with a 9-in. tall replica of the Doctor’s most prized possession – the TARDIS! Not only does the TARDIS look super cool on your mantle but pop it open and you’ll find six compartments for storing and protecting your Doctor Who trading cards!
Collector Buttons – Now here’s a gift idea where you can really let your imagination take over. Peruse our extensive selection of collectible buttons and pick which flair best defines your favorite fanboy or girl. Don’t just settle for the classic Batman Logo, find the color scheme you want. Pick your favorite DC Hero or Marvel Hero and let the world know by proudly wearing his or her button. The Caped Crusader has an amazing assortment of buttons from which to choose. You can also choose which Lantern Corps represents you. Choose your favorite Mortal Kombat kombatant and win the tournament. Perhaps you want to share your favorite quote from the Princess Bride or go old school with the classic 80s lineup of the X-Men. This is your chance to find the fanboy flair that best represents you.
Superman Forever and Batman: The Dark Crusader Mini Statues – Now these are truly incredible. Based on the artwork of Alex Ross, these gorgeous statues present the World’s Finest at their finest. There is nothing more iconic in all of comics than Clark Kent saying those magical words “This is a job for Superman!” and ripping open his shirt to reveal the most powerful symbol for justice. And almost equally as iconic is the Dark Knight Detective, standing high atop a skyscraper, this dark avenger overlooking Gotham City as his ebony cape billows majestically in the wind. Both statues stand about 6 ½-in. tall and would make fine editions to any collector’s shelf or display case.
There you have it folks, an astounding list of gift ideas for the upcoming Holiday Season. Be sure to get your orders in on time (see Holidays Shipping Schedule) and have a wonderful and safe Christmas Vacation.
Merry Christmas, from the Odinson
Greetings from the Odinson,
They are Canada’s answer to the Avengers. Touted as Canada’s premier super-team, Alpha Flight first made the scene during Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary run on Marvel’s Merry Mutants in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120-121. Sent by the Canadian government to retrieve an AWOL Weapon X, Alpha Flight tangled with the Children of the Atom in a super-hero brawl for the ages. Later, in Uncanny X-Men #139-140, members of Alpha Flight teamed up with Wolverine and Nightcrawler to corral the deadly man-beast known as the Wendigo. Sasquatch also aided the Incredible Hulk against the Wendigo in a classic match-up of Marvel Monsters in Incredible Hulk #272.
In 1983 these Canadian heroes from north of the border were given a chance to shine in their very own on-going series (see Alpha Flight [1983-1994 1st Series] #1-130). Helmed by the capable hands of industry legend and creator John Byrne, this first series is highly under rated. It introduced a couple of new members to the team - the tumbling Puck and the aquatic beauty, Marrina. This series also introduced some Marvel mainstays like Wild Child, Lady Deathstrike, and the villainous Master of the World. It embedded the team into Marvel Lore by giving it connections to Wolverine, the Sub-Mariner, and the Hulk. The series kept its readers on their toes proving that in the dangerous business of super-heroics no one was safe. Main characters frequently met their untimely ends throughout the series. And Alpha Flight featured the first openly gay super hero in mainstream comics.
The original (and best) lineup was comprised of the monstrous Sasquatch, the mystical Shaman, the super-fast twins, Aurora and Northstar, the divine Snowbird, and their leader, Guardian. Guardian actually made his debut before the rest of the team in Uncanny X-Men #109 under the guise of Weapon Alpha. Guardian is actually the scientist James Hudson, a Canadian contemporary for Hank Pym, and over the years it has been revealed that he has a history and longtime friendship with Wolverine.
Along the way, the team has been joined by many other colorful characters like Shaman’s daughter, the mystic known as Talisman. The robotic Box added his mighty mechanical strength to the cause. The saber-swinging Nemesis helped out the team in a particularly peculiar caper. And, Hudson’s own wife, Jennifer, took command of the team as Vindicator after his seemingly untimely death in Alpha Flight #12.
There have been a few of less than stellar follow-up series like Alpha Flight (1997-1999 2nd Series) #1-20 and Alpha Flight (2004 3rd Series) #1-12. Ultimately the team met an untimely end when it was murdered by the powerful force of nature known simply as the Collective in the pages of New Avengers.
Omega Flight injected some new blood in the Canadian super-team. U.S. Agent, Arachne, and Beta Ray Bill joined surviving Alphas – Talisman and Sasquatch – and the Collective – the man responsible for the deaths of the original team. This first story arc was a fun romp of adrenaline-fueled action and adventure. The team was forced to battle not only the blue collar villains of the Wrecking Crew, but they also had to face down possibly the team’s greatest adversaries from their past – The Great Beasts.
Impossibly, the original members of Alpha Flight returned to the Marvel Universe in a solid effort by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. This tale of betrayal and triumph has ties to the Marvel event Fear Itself and tests the loyalties of the team members.
Throughout the years Alpha Flight has faced down The Great Beasts, the robotic Sentinels, the god of mischief Loki, and the Beyonder, a being of unimaginable power. They have fought side-by-side with the Avengers to free the undersea Kingdom of Atlantis from the tyrannical rule of the warlord Attuma. They fought the Asgardian Wars alongside their allies the X-Men and New Mutants. They helped the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing save the world. And they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Rom, greatest of the Spaceknights of Galador, on the frontlines of the Wraith War. They ARE Canada’s premiere super team and if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s First Family should ever fall, they are the Marvel Universe’s last line of defense against the forces of evil.
I leave thee with a fact not all of you may know…super star artist, co-founder of Image Comics, and current DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee made his triumphant professional debut as a comic book artist in the pages of Alpha Flight #51.
This is Odinson bidding thee, farewell
Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson got a chance to make it over to the theatre last weekend and see the debut of Thor: The Dark World and I have just one thing to say about that – A++. Dark World is easily the best of the Marvel sequels (at least until the amazing looking Winter Soldier hits theatres in 2015). The plot revolves around the return of an ancient enemy from the past, the dreaded dark elves, who seek not only revenge on Asgard, but they want to extinguish the light of life throughout all the Nine Worlds. It is truly a grand epic worthy of the Son of Odin.
The dark elves are a sinister race of demons from before recorded history, a ruthless enemy defeated long ago by Odin’s own father Bor. But now they have returned and seek to destroy the light of life and unless the mighty Thor can find a way to stop them, they will succeed. Ironically, the key to victory lies within the mortal Jane Foster, the beautiful young scientist who has captured Thor’s heart.
The leader of the dark elves is the cold, calculating Malekith the Accursed, a sinister villain who first came to my notice in the pages of Thor #344-349. A creation of the Master Thor Scribe Walt Simonson, Malekith is a devious villain that plots from the shadows and strikes without warning. Most of the cast from the first movie is back for this go around, and if Thor is going to have any hope of stopping Malekith’s devious plot, he’ll need all the help he can get.
The Odinson is joined once again by his earthbound allies, Jane Foster, the spunky, wisecracking Darcy, and the brilliant Dr. Erik Selvig, who is a little worse for wear after as he puts it has had “a god in his head” (see Marvel’s The Avengers). Thor’s quest to save the Nine Worlds could not possibly be successful without the bravery of the Warriors Three and the lovely Lady Sif. But the delicious twist in this adventure is that in order for Thor to be able to win the day, he’ll have to set aside his differences with his devious step-brother – Loki. Now what tragic event transpires that could possibly unite these mortal enemies against a common foe?
The beautiful Rene Russo returns as the Queen of the Gods, Frigga and the incomparable Anthony Hopkins returns as Odin the All-Father. In fact the cast is loaded with fanboy goodness. Idris Elba (Prometheus, Pacific Rim) returns as the stalwart Heimdall. Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, GI Joe: Retaliation) returns as the voluminous Volstagg. Zachary Levi (Chuck) takes over the role of the swashbuckling Fandral and nails it. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (The Mummy Returns, Lost) steps into the role of the monstrous Kurse. And the great Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra) gives a wonderful performance as the film’s Big Bad, Malekith.
Without giving up any spoilers some of the highlights for the Odinson in the film were seeing Fabled Asgard once again; I am just amazed every time I see this magical realm up on the Big Screen, a place I could only read about in books and comics before. I love the back and forth between Thor and Loki. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have an onscreen chemistry not seen since the Lethal Weapon movies. Seeing Heimdall in action was fantastic. It was awesome to see the monster Kurse unleash his furious strength on the Asgardians. Kurse has always been one of those scary few – like Thanos, Mangog, and the Destroyer – that actually poses a threat to the life of the thunder god. The final battle between Thor and Malekith was truly amazing and does the standard set by the classic Superman II proud. But hands down, the most thrilling moment in the film was a humorous exchange between Thor and Loki when the devious god of mischief transforms himself into a familiar face form the Marvel Pantheon. It’s a moment that drew a deafening cheer from the movie-going audience and brought an ear-to-ear grin to my face.
Thor: The Dark World is absolutely a worthy sequel in the Marvel Movie Universe and well worth your hard earned shekels. And as usual, stay for the credits boys and girls because there IS a nice surprise. With the ever expanding Marvel Movie Universe reaching out beyond the stars with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie set for release in 2015, I for one can’t help but wonder if possibly the mighty Beta Ray Bill may make his triumphant debut in the next Thor movie?
Odinson Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
NOTE: I have to say, it was absolutely wonderful NOT to have sit through another two hour superhero origin story. Both Thor movies have really nailed it. They are just great adventures with the characters I love. I’m so glad the origins of Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, and the Hulk are out of the way for the movie going audiences. Now, hopefully, we can just see amazing super hero adventures without the bogging down of origin stories I’ve seen and read about a billion times over the last thirty-plus years.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Greetings from the Odinson,
Adam and Eve, Samson and Delilah, Romeo and Juliet…. Ever since time began, there have been power couples, ultimate stories about men and women that set the standard for all others to follow. There are examples of this throughout modern day comics and pop culture.
DC Universe: Superman and Wonder Woman – He is the Man of Steel and she is the Amazing Amazon. Superman is, without a doubt, the greatest super hero in the history of comic books. He is the ultimate man - strong, fast, handsome, smart, and charismatic. And Diana Prince is his match in every way. Wonder Woman is as iconic and recognized around the world as Superman. She is an inspirational figure that spans generations. Wonder Woman is, without a doubt, the ultimate female super heroine.
Legendary Universe: Hercules and Xena – Before Superman, there was Hercules. The Son of Zeus was the original “super-man.” His staggering accomplishments, feats of strength, and stories of bravery are legendary and the only woman whose own legend could match his in the ancient world is Xena the Warrior Princess. Trained by Ares, the god of war himself, to be the ultimate conqueror, Xena began her legend as a scourge against the ancient world. But a chance encounter with the Son of Zeus, gave Xena a change of heart and she spent the rest of her life as a champion of mankind and a protector of the innocent and down trodden.
Whedonverse: Buffy and Angel – Buffy Summers is the Chosen One, the one girl in all the world that can defend mankind against the vampires and the things that go bump in the night. Angel is the vampire with a soul. Once upon a time, he was Angelus, the worst creature of the night to ever stalk the earth. Now, cursed by gypsies to feel remorse, he spends every night trying to make up for all the atrocities he committed as a soulless beast. They are the ultimate star-crossed lovers for if Angel were to ever feel one moment of pure happiness he will lose his soul and revert to his demonic ways and the only time this tortured man feels true happiness is when he is in the arms of the woman he loves – Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The Hyborian Age: Conan and Red Sonja – He is the mightiest barbarian of fantasy/sword and sorcery whose strong sword-arm knows no equal, except perhaps for the red-haired woman known as the She-Devil with a Sword. Conan is a mighty warrior destined to become king by his own hand. Red Sonja is a warrior maiden who has never been conquered by a man. Individually their exploits are legendary. Together they are the most unstoppable duo in the annals of myth and legend.
Filmation Universe: He-Man and She-Ra – He is the Most Powerful Man in the Universe and the defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull. She is the Princess of Power and the leader of the resistance on the far off world of Etheria. They are twin brother and sister. He-Man leads the brave Masters of the Universe against the evil warlock Skeletor and his small army of witches, mutants, and monsters. She-Ra leads the brave resistance against the cyborg demi-god Hordak and his empire of monsters and war machines. In the ranks of the Masters of the Universe they are the greatest male and female heroes.
Marvel Universe: Captain America and ???? – Steve Rogers is the Sentinel of Liberty. Empowered by the Super-Soldier Formula, he was transformed from a crippled man into the ultimate man, fast, strong, more durable than any normal man. Trained and forged in the harrowing days of World War II, Rogers is the ultimate strategist, the ultimate fighter. But none of this is what makes him the ultimate male. In a world of super scientists, gods of thunder, human spiders, and gamma-powered monsters, what makes Steve Rogers the ultimate man is his courage. Captain America is the undisputed leader of the super hero community. But in the Marvel Universe, who is Captain America’s female counterpart?
The Marvel Universe has such a rich pool of strong female characters. Nothing exemplifies this more so than Chris Claremont’s triumphant long run on Uncanny X-Men where the females were the undeniable stars of the series. The DCU has Wonder Woman. The Whedonverse has Buffy. But who is the Marvel Universe’s ultimate example of Female Power?
The Odinson’s Choices for Marvel’s Ultimate Woman
5) Invisible Woman – Susan Richards in many, many ways is the ultimate female super hero. She is beautiful, powerful, and super smart. She’s come a long way from the days of being the proverbial damsel in distress to now being one of the most respected and well liked female super heroes in the medium. She is the Mother Figure of Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four. In many ways she is the matriarchal figure of the Marvel Universe. A lot of other heroes, female and male, take their cues from the Invisible Woman.
4) Ms. Marvel – Carol Danvers is a career military woman, a fighter pilot, astronaut, and super-woman extraordinaire. Her human physiology was merged with alien DNA and now she possesses super human powers and abilities beyond those of ordinary men and women. She’s strong, fast, and able to channel cosmic energies. Ms. Marvel is anything but a one-dimensional character. She has had her flaws. She was used by the time-traveler Immortus in a diabolical time-spanning plot to destroy the Avengers (The Child is Father to…?) and she has struggled with alcoholism (see Live Kree of Die). But none of these things have prevented her from overcoming her shortcomings and standing side-by-side with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Her predecessor, Captain Mar-Vell, was one of the most inspirational heroes in Marvel History, so now Danvers has a high standard to live up to and seems to be doing just that. Whether defending Earth as the new Captain Marvel alongside the Avengers or exploring the galaxy and fighting the Brood alongside the X-Men as Binary, Carol Danvers is easily one the greatest female super heroes of all time.
3) Jean Grey – She was Charles Xavier’s first and arguably greatest student. With psionic powers of the mind, Jean Grey possesses telekinesis, telepathy, and empathy. She is the one mortal woman capable of possessing and controlling the cosmic power of the Phoenix Force. She has died and rose from the ashes like her namesake on several occasions (and due any day for another resurrection). Jean Grey is a pivotal figure in the history and story of mutants in the Marvel Universe. If she didn’t spend so much time in the grave, Jean Grey could quite possibly develop into the greatest female super hero of them all.
2) Kitty Pryde – As comic book fans we have had the pleasure of watching Katherine “Kitty” Pryde grow up right before our eyes. She’s come a long way from her first introduction as a scared, timid little girl on the run (see Uncanny X-Men #129). Along the way, she’s discovered courage within herself she didn’t know she possessed (see Uncanny X-Men #143). She has faced life-shaping events like being taken away from friends (see Uncanny X-Men #151), betrayal (see Uncanny X-Men #183), and the death of the man she loves (see Uncanny X-Men #390). She has learned from all these life experiences to become one of the strongest mutant leaders in the marvel Universe (see Astonishing X-Men). In the not too distant future of X-Men: The End, Kitty Pryde is shown to even one day become the President of the United States. It is through his relationship and bond with Kitty Pryde (see Kitty Pryde and Wolverine) that Logan finds within himself a kind of peace and ability to overcome his berserker nature and even develop fatherly and mentor relationships with other young women like Jubilee, Amiko, and X-23. Whether she’s called Sprite, Ariel, or Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde is definitely one the best female super hero role models in comics today.
1) Storm – She’s a thief. She’s a super hero. She’s a queen. She’s a Goddess. Ororo Munroe may be many things to many different people but there is one thing she most certainly is and that is one hell of a woman. She’s a fierce fighter (see Uncanny X-Men #170), she’s a bold leader (see Ghosts), and she is a resourceful and skilled warrior (see Uncanny X-Men #215-216). Her mutant ability to control the weather is second only to the Thunder God himself. She has led the X-Men, filled in for the Fantastic Four, and fought in the ranks of the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Storm is one of the few mortals alive that can claim to have defeated Wonder Woman in one-on-one combat (see Marvel vs. DC). Her beauty has captured the hearts of many powerful men like Dracula, Loki, Bishop, and Forge. But it was T’Challa, King of Wakanda and the legendary Black Panther, to whom she wed (see The Bride). Storm is bold, beautiful, and powerful. She is the ultimate female.
Honorable Mentions: She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Black Widow, Emma Frost, Elektra, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and the Wasp.
The Odinson believes that what hurts the Marvel Universe’s ability to produce an Alpha Woman is actually their strength. From The Lady Liberators to the Daughters of the Dragon to the X-Women to the Fearless Defenders…NO comic book or fictional universe in the history of pop culture has more great female characters than the Marvel Universe, strong, smart, beautiful role-models that set the standard for all others to follow. DC Comics may have the ultimate female super heroine in Wonder Woman, but the Marvel Universe is populated with hundreds of “wonder women” that give as good as they get and are as fleshed out and in some cases even more interesting than their male counterparts.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Greetings from the Odinson,
Once upon a time Cain Marko was known as the Unstoppable Juggernaut! Marko is the step-brother of Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men and Marko’s sworn enemy. During the Korean War, Marko discovered a hidden temple in the jungle and within its cavernous tombs discovered a glimmering crimson gem. When he touched this jewel and recited the incantation that was etched in its stone dais, Marko was empowered and transformed into a human Juggernaut, the earthly avatar of Cyttorak, a demonic entity of immense mystical power and stature.
The Juggernaut is encased in nearly invulnerable battle armor and nearly impossible to hurt or damage. He is immune to all sickness and disease and does not require food, water, or oxygen to live (he’s probably sustained by the immense mystical energies which reside within him). His super human strength allows him to rend steel with his bare hands and swat aside tanks. Only guys like Thor and the Hulk can rival his physical strength. On top of everything else, the Juggernaut is surrounded by an impenetrable force field that prevents any harm whatsoever from befalling him. Only magic of great power like possessed that by Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme (and to be honest, it was the cosmic titan Eternity that defeated Marko, not Strange), and Thor’s mystical hammer, Mjolnir, can penetrate Marko’s force field.
The Juggernaut is a foe of such immense power that even the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes like the X-Men, Spider-Man, Beast, and Doctor Strange could never truly defeat him – not physically anyway. For years and years the Juggernaut’s only weakness was mental assault (i.e. Professor X’s telepathy), and in order to even get to this weakness, our heroes would have to survive his devastating assault long enough to remove his protective helmet.
In the classic cartoon episode A Firestar is Born, the Juggernaut stood up to the combined might of the X-Men and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He has single-handedly defeated the mighty Colossus on several occasions (see Uncanny X-Men #102 and Uncanny X-Men #183). Only the Hulk/Thing rivalry has been more one-sided. Even the legendary British super hero, Captain Britain, proved to be little more than a nuisance to the might of the Juggernaut. In the Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut storyline, the Amazing Spider-Man nearly killed himself as he threw everything he had at the Juggernaut and all he accomplished in the end was to slow the villain down for a bit.
Only heroes as strong as the Mighty Thor and the Incredible Hulk can truly claim victories over the Juggernaut (and Superman if you include Marvel vs. DC). When the Odinson was a kid, anytime the Juggernaut showed up in a book it was a major event. A young Odinson was amazed and astonished to discover just how our heroes could possibly hope to stop a villain who was by all accounts unstoppable. So this brings me to the question of the day…
What ever Happened to the Unstoppable Juggernaut?
The first chink in the Juggernaut’s invincible armor occurred in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #194. Here the Juggernaut is attacked and completely humiliated by the super sentinel Nimrod. Nimrod’s futuristic weapons and super science prove to be more than a match for Cain Marko’s mystical enhancements, and for the first time in Marvel History, the Juggernaut is laid low on the field of battle and defeated.
Over the next few years the Juggernaut fought to stalemates with some of the mightiest heroes in the Marvel U including Hulk, Thor, and Spider-Man and the X-Men. But then…Onslaught!
Juggernaut’s next defeat, and perhaps his greatest, came at the hands of Onslaught, an arch villain of immeasurable psionic power and an entity comprised of and given life by the dark desires and powers of both Professor X and Magneto. Onslaught smashed into Marko with a blow so powerful that not only did he send Marko sailing across country like a runaway comet, but his attack actually placed the Juggernaut in a coma. This is a feat so mind-boggling because up unto this point, the Juggernaut was completely impervious to physical assault. And to add insult to injury, Onslaught imprisoned the Juggernaut in the Crimson Jewel of Cyttorak, the very gem that grants Cain Marko his power.
The straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back is the events of The Eighth Day. In this tale, several other mortals around the world are empowered by beings like the demon Cyttorak, each with powers and abilities equal to Juggernaut’s own, and they plan to enforce their demi-godlike powers on the world of man. Juggernaut defies his supernatural benefactor’s wishes and with the help of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, stops the diabolical scheme.
Enraged by Marko’s betrayal, Cyttorak saps the Juggernauts power, making him vulnerable and susceptible to defeat. In the years that follow, the Juggernaut flounders as a character and even seeks refuge in the ranks of his one-time hated enemies, the X-Men. He has an affair with the She-Hulk, and becomes little more than a shadow of his former unstoppable self. The once mighty Juggernaut becomes a punching bag for the Marvel Universe and is served up as easy pickings for C-List characters like Skaar, Son of Hulk. During the events of The Gauntlet, Spider-Man finds the Juggernaut once again knocked unconscious, this time by the cosmically powered Captain Universe. There is one brief moment during World War Hulk when Marko makes amends with Cyttorak and gains his full strength once again to take on the gamma-power of the Hulk, but the moment is fleeting.
And finally, the ultimate demise of the Juggernaut happens in the pages of Fear Itself when Marko is seduced by the power of the Serpent, an ancient enemy of the Norse Gods. Marko seizes one of the Hammers of Power of the Serpent and is transformed into Kuurth, Breaker of Stone. His former benefactor, Cyttorak, finds this affront so insulting that he not only takes back the power of the Juggernaut from Cain Marko, but he bestows his crimson gift upon perhaps Marko’s greatest rival, Colossus, who turns around and uses the power of the Juggernaut to help defeat Kuurth and stop the Serpent’s mad scheme.
Now, Cain Marko is no longer empowered by Cyttorak, no longer empowered by the Serpent, and no longer relevant on any level to the Marvel Universe. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once upon a time, Cain Marko was the Unstoppable Juggernaut, a villain whose very presence was a threat to even the mightiest heroes in the world and whose might could only be contained by such heavyweights as Hulk and Thor. The Odinson longs for those days when the Juggernaut’s footsteps shook the earth and unnerved even the bravest of heroes.
I leave you this week by pointing you in the direction of an absolute must-read story for any Juggernaut fan. The Kingdom of Cain, a tale from the pages of What If…? #94, features a cautionary tale about immortality and just what a curse being “UNSTOPPABLE” can truly be.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Happy Halloween from the Odinson,
It’s All Hallows Eve! Fall is in the air. The ghosts and goblins are out and about. It’s that time of year when the nights get longer, and the days get shorter. It’s that time when grisly ghouls from every tomb claw their way up from the depths of hell and plague mankind and haunt our dreams.
If tales like Night Screams, Cry Vampire, Crossover, and Mephisto vs.… have taught us anything, it’s that super heroes make the worst monster fighters. Heroes like Superman, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men may possess powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary men and women, but they are ill equipped to handle the dangers that stalk the night – the vampires, zombies, ghosts and goblins that plague mankind after the sun goes down. So who steps up to the plate and protects us from the things that go bump in the night?
The Odinson has the answer.
There are those better suited to handle the macabre and supernatural threats that arise.
The Marvel Universe is home to perhaps the greatest champion of the supernatural in all the multiverse – Doctor Strange. Stephen Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme. He was trained by the Ancient One to become the Master of the Mystic Arts and he is an archmage capable of defending the realm of man against the most powerful and dangerous supernatural threats the multiverse has to offer.
Next to Buffy Summers, there is no one equipped to handle the vampire threat better than Blade. The Daywalker possesses all the strength and speed of the blood-sucking monsters he hunts and none of their weaknesses. The macabre Man-Thing, a shambling mass of swamp and muck, is the mute protector of the Nexus of All Realities. Other supernatural avengers in the Marvel Universe include Brother Voodoo, Werewolf by Night, Zombie Simon Garth, Frankenstein’s Monster, and, of course, Ghost Rider.
The DC Universe has perhaps the greatest collection of supernatural protectors in the entire multiverse, so many in fact that the Odinson knows that he will miss a few. There’s the wizard SHAZAM who utilizes his superhuman agent Captain Marvel to protect the Rock of Eternity. Dr. Fate is the earthly avatar of Nabu, a Lord of Light, and next to Doctor Strange is arguably the greatest practitioner of magic in the multiverse. The enigmatic Phantom Stranger has walked the shadows for centuries forever cursed to atone for a sin he committed long ago. Zatanna has mastery over the powers of chaos magic. John Constantine is a con man, a backstabber, and a liar, and is also mankind’s first line of defense against the dark forces which threaten to engulf the realm of man.
The Swamp Thing is an elemental force of natural and Mother Earth’s greatest protector. Amethyst is the protector of the magical realm called Gemworld. Arion is the greatest wizard of the lost kingdom of Atlantis. And Jason Blood is cursed to walk the earth as the eternal host for Etrigan the Demon. Other DCU supernatural protectors include Madame Xanadu, Pandora, Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE, Doctor Occult, The Shadowpact, and, of course, the Spectre.
The Image Universe is home to Spawn, the central key figure in the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. His decisions and actions will determine the outcome in the final battle between good and evil. The Dark Horse Universe is protected by Hellboy and the supernatural agents of B.P.R.D. The hours between dusk till dawn in the Valiant Universe are patrolled by Shadowman. The quaint little California hamlet of Sunnydale resides atop the Hellmouth, a portal to the underworld. Luckily, California also just so happens to be the home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Scoobies, Angel Investigations, and Faith, the premiere monster hunters of The Whedonverse.
Other supernatural avengers joining the fight against the macabre and monstrous are Lestat de Lioncourt, Axe Cop, Harry Dresden, Cal McDonald, Mandrake the Magician, and the Goon.
Now that is a list of monster fighters that would make even Abraham Van Helsing proud. So sleep tight boys, and girls and know that you are safe, as these and other supernatural avengers keep the world of man safe from the things that go bump in the night…at least for one more night. ;-)
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Happy Halloween from the Odinson,
Revenge is a powerful notion. When someone has been wronged in such a grievous way that they have been pushed over the brink, sometimes vengeance can be the only recourse. Whether it’s John Rambo taking vengeance out on a small town sheriff for wrongful prosecution, or the Daywalker, Blade, seeking out Deacon Frost, the vampire that bit and murdered his mother, vengeance is a powerful motivator and can sometimes drive individuals to extremes.
When ten-year-old Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered before his eyes by a two-bit purse-snatcher, he vowed vengeance on all crime and dedicated his life to become the crime-fighting Caped Crusader known as Batman. When Vietnam vet Frank Castle’s family was gunned down in a crossfire between two mob families, Castle became the Punisher and swore vengeance on those that would harm the innocent. But sometimes, vengeance can take on a more supernatural guise.
Top 5 Spirits of Vengeance
05 – Victor Crowley – Due to a curse placed on him by his jilted mother, Victor Crowley was born deformed. Tormented by others his whole life, Crowley was accidentally killed by his father on Halloween night. Now, he has returned from the grave as a vengeful spirit that haunts the swamps of Louisiana. Though he can die a thousand deaths, he always returns angrier and more vengeful than before. All those that enter the swamps near the Crowley house never return and the legend of Victor Crowley grows.
04 – Pumpkinhead – When a man’s son is accidentally killed by a motorcycle-riding teenager, he seeks out a witch in the woods and using the dark arts summons the legendary spirit of vengeance known as Pumpkinhead. This creature of darkness is a grotesque monstrosity unstoppable in its single-minded quest for revenge. Its existence on the mortal plane is sustained by the vengeance-seeker's own blood, thus the only way to stop this demon is to destroy the one who summoned it.
03 – The Spectre – He is the Wrath of God! Imbued with immeasurable powers and abilities, the Spectre stalks the world of man and passes judgment on the wicked and amoral. His punishment is swift and executed in unusually macabre ways. For instance, he may drown a murdering bank robber in a sea of money or turn an animal abuser into a mouse trapped in a room full of hungry cats. The Spectre is trapped within the mortal host body of police detective Jim Corrigan so that his immense power of vengeances never rages unbridled and out of control (though this did happen when the Spectre was tricked by his evil rival Eclipso in the pages of Day of Vengeance).
02 – Ghost Rider – When stuntman Johnny Blaze made a deal with Mephisto in order to save the life of a loved one, his body, mind, and soul were forever merged with the demon Zarathos. When innocent blood is spilled, Johnny Blaze and Zarathos transform into the spirit of vengeance known as the Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider is an unstoppable force for vengeance usually seen riding through the night atop a flaming chopper, his fiery skull cackling manically as he seeks out evildoers. He is able to blast his foes with soul-searing hellfire, rend them limb-from-limb with his supernatural, demonic strength, or pummel them senseless with his otherworldly chain. But the Rider’s most terrible weapon is his Penance Stare, a ghostly glare that causes an evildoer to feel every bit of the pain and suffering of his victims.
01 – The Crow – Some people believe that the crow carries the soul of the departed to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens and a sadness is carried with it and that soul can’t rest. And sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right. This was the case with Eric Draven. He and his fiancé were murdered on Devil’s Night, the night before Halloween - the night before their wedding. The crow brought Eric’s tortured soul back to the land of the living and empowered him with supernatural strength, speed, and macabre immortality so that he could seek vengeance on those that murdered him and his beloved. Eric was not the first Crow, and he will not be the last.
So remember boys and girls, do unto others as you would have done to you. In other words, treat others the way you want to be treated, for if you visit harm on another, one cold dark night, you may find yourself face-to-face with a Spirit of Vengeance.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Happy Halloween from the Odinson,
Aw, the Odinson’s favorite time of year is upon us. Fall. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and fall means Halloween! Halloween is the Odinson’s favorite time of year. This is when all the ghosts and goblins come out of hiding and for one magical night of the year they rule the world. The Odinson has a Halloween tradition. Every year while I am handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, I watch John Carpenter’s Halloween and The Crow, two of my all time favorite movies.
Halloween is the perfect time to watch scary movies. The only problem is that you have to decide from which Era of Horror your delightful fright will come.
The Odinson’s Eras of Horror
Universal Monsters (1923-1958) – Ah, these are the classics, an era when horror was portrayed with elegance and style. The gothic settings and ambiguous time periods of the Universal Monster movies make these must see ventures timeless and just as entertaining today for modern horror fans as they were seventy years ago. With actors like Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces, the charismatic Bela Lugosi, the incomparable Boris Karloff, and the manic Lon Chaney, Jr. the rock stars of the monster world – Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, and the Wolfman – came to life and became pop culture icons for many generations to come. To this day, if you show a seven-year-old a picture of Bela Lugosi, they say – “Dracula!”
About ten years ago, these classic films were digitally re-mastered and re-released in a DVD collection with documentaries and behind the scenes features to die for. The Odinson’s personal favorites from this classic era of horror are Dracula (1931), The Wolfman (1941), Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943), and House of Frankenstein (1944). And, without a doubt, a must-see chapter of this era has to be Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). It’s an all-star event that caps off one of the greatest horror eras in history.
The Atomic Age (1950s) – In the years following the end of World War II, mankind lived in the shadow of the atomic bomb. The threat of nuclear destruction and the uncertainty of the unknown washed the land with a paranoia that led to some of the most inspired horror movies in history. Features like Them! (1954), Tarantula (1955), and IT Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) played on the people’s fears of nuclear fallout and the effects it might have on the world around them.
But no film explored this fear more so than Godzilla (1954). This science fiction monster movie introduced the world to Godzilla, a mutated dinosaur that stood a hundred stories tall and breathed atomic fire. On a good day, Godzilla would defend mankind against the invading alien Kaiju, but on a bad day, the mighty Godzilla was just as big a threat to the world as anything else. Whole cityscapes would be left in ruin in the beast’s wake. Godzilla has starred in dozens of movies over the course of six decades, and is the undisputed King of All Monsters!
The Golden Age of the Slasher (1974-1996) – It all started with that chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), a new kind of horror film loosely based on true events that featured a cannibalistic family that preys on a group of young people. For the next twenty years, a new era of horror would rule the cinema and a new kind of monster rock star would be born. Names like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Leatherface would become icons of the genre and have recognition not seen since the classic Universal Monsters.
If The Texas Chainsaw Massacre started it all, John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) set the standard for all others to follow. The writer/director set a mood with camera work, music and the disembodied-breathing of his masked boogeyman that to this day is the benchmark of slasher horror. Like the Universal Horror Era that came before, the Golden Age of Slasher Movies hit its apex with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek deconstruction look at the genre. Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) dissected and broke down just what it was that made these types of films so entertaining while at the same time poking fun at the absurdity of it all, even taking jabs at his own expense.
Sci-Fi Horror (1968-Present) – Sci-fi horror is a different kind of animal all together. It’s usually a morality tale dressed up in the future and more times than not ends with an O. Henryesque spin to it. Sure there were probably sci-fi horror films before it, but the one that really launched this genre has to be Planet of the Apes (1968), a sci-fi adventure with perhaps the most iconic O. Henry ending in cinema history.
For the Odinson, this genre took shape in the form of Alien (1979) an intense thriller that told you …in space, no one can hear you scream. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) features a Ten Little Indians scenario with mood-setting music, an isolated backdrop, and top drawer acting. Another must see film in the sci-fi horror movie genre has to be Event Horizon (1997). This terrifying movie wrapped in a science fiction bow answers the question about what happens when man tampers with things that far beyond their comprehension. Reach for the stars, but be careful for you never know what may reach back.
Zombie Apocalypse (1968-Present) – To say that the Zombie Apocalypse genre is a phenomenon is a huge understatement. The origins of this phenomenon can be traced back to the Richard Matheson novel I am Legend, a story about the last man on Earth’s daily fight for survival against the vampires that have overrun the world. But the grand daddy of all zombie movies is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). This unique film set the stage, established the rules, and launched a genre that is still going strong to this day.
The Apocalyptic world Romero created in Night has been followed by a Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), and Survival of the Dead (2010). Not only has this long running film series captivated and terrified audiences for five decades, but it has inspired a slew of fans and filmmakers alike. Inspired by Romero’s template modern zombie classics like 28 Days Later (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Zombieland (2009), and World War Z (2013) have continued the tradition began all those years ago in Night of the Living Dead. (NOTE: I know 28 Days Later is technically not a zombie movie but it does fall into this genre and was inspired by it.) The Walking Dead is a top selling comic series, a best-selling graphic novel series, and one of the highest rated television shows in basic cable history. The Walking Dead is the zenith when it comes to Zombie Apocalyptic Horror.
So pop some popcorn, grab a loved one and settle in for a chilling night of horror movies. Pick the Era of Horror that best suits your needs but keep one eye over your shoulder because you never know what may be creeping up behind you.
THEY’E COMING TO GET YOU BARBARA. Yes, I mean you, Barbara, sitting there in Sandusky, Ohio. Look out!
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Greetings from the Odinson,
This last week saw the premiere of the Joss Whedon-run television show Marvels’ Agents of SHIELD, and the Odinson has just one thing to say about that – A++! What a triumphant debut. This should come as no small surprise as Whedon has a marvelous history of Top Drawer material spearheading shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, and helming must see Big Screen movies like Serenity and Marvel’s The Avengers. He is, alongside Stan Lee, George Lucas, R.A. Salvatore, and Kevin Smith, one of the Odinson’s Top 5 favorite writers. And SHIELD has his stamp all over it.
The show has all the hallmarks of a Joss Whedon experience. It introduces a fairly large cast of characters in a rather short amount of time, but does so in a way that the viewer instantly identifies with each of them and becomes genuinely interested in what will happen to them. There is plenty of the signature Whedonesque sense of humor. I laughed out loud no fewer than five times. The bit with the “truth serum” was absolutely hilarious. And, as a longtime comic book fan, Lola’s surprise at the end was greatly satisfying.
Agents of SHIELD, like all of Whedon’s work, does an amazing job of balancing the humor with the drama and action. At no point does the tale let up. The show does an amazing job of tying itself nicely into the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while at the same time carving out its own little niche. From start to finish it is high quality entertainment and the hour passes by all too quickly. Agents of SHIELD does the most important thing entertainment can do – it leaves you wanting more.
Originally SHIELD was an acronym meaning Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division and SHIELD was frontline of defense in the Cold War. SHIELD Agents were super spies fighting a never-ending battle against tyranny, Communism, and terrorist organizations like Hydra and AIM. In the TV show, SHIELD stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. This modernized version of the super police force represents the government’s attempt at policing the super-powered community that inhabits the Marvel Universe. They are still super spies, but they now specialize in the supernatural, the alien, and the spectacular. They are a cross of Marvel Comics SHIELD, The X-Files, and the Men in Black.
SHIELD has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe since it debuted in 1965 in the pages of Strange Tales #135. They have always been operating in the background and have been major allies and sometimes antagonists for our heroes. Here are the Odinson’s Top 5 favorite SHIELD stories.
5) Nick Fury vs. SHIELD – Colonel Nick Fury is an old war horse forged in the battlefields of World War II and tested against the most diabolical criminal minds the terrorist community has to offer. He can command super soldiers, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with gods, and stare down giant green monsters. But now he faces his greatest challenge yet – his own men. Something is rotten in the halls of SHIELD and somehow Fury has become Public Enemy number one. This cigar-chomping man of action sets out on a quest to get to the bottom of this mystery that will leave this beloved crime fighting organization forever changed.
4) Ground Zero – The Incredible Hulk, alongside Rick Jones, Betty Banner, and Agent of SHIELD Clay Quartermain, race against the clock to stop the government from harnessing the apocalyptic power of the Gamma Bomb. Along the way our motley band of heroes must survive the devious attacks by Redeemer and Rock, two former Hulkbusters transformed into cyborg-Hulk-killing-machines, Half-Life, a sinister creature whose leech-like abilities can render even the Hulk powerless, and the mastermind behind it all – the diabolical Leader. This amazing Hulk adventure also features the definitive Hulk vs. Wolverine throw down for the ages.
3) SHIELD by Jim Steranko – Steranko with his psychedelic, mind-blowing artistic style helped define Nick Fury and the Agents of SHIELD for decades to come. In these classic fast-paced adventures, Nick Fury and his amazing spy team face down the world’s most notorious criminals including Hydra, Yellow Claw, and Scorpio. Under Steranko’s watch, SHIELD became the influential Marvel mainstay it is to this very day.
2) The Hunt for Godzilla – It is unfair just how great this Mighty Marvel Monster Tale truly is. When the mighty leviathan, Godzilla, rises out of the ocean off the coast of Seattle he becomes both mankind’s greatest threat and last hope against the alien monsters threatening our world. On the creature’s monstrous journey across our great nation, Godzilla faces The Champions, the Fantastic Four, Devil Dinosaur, the Avengers, and Cowboys (yeah, that’s right cowboys). He battles the giant monster invasion of Dr. Demonicus and fights against and alongside the Earth’s robot protector Red Ronin. It falls to Agent of SHIELD Dum-Dum Dugan and his crack team of super spies to try and wrangle in the King of All Monsters.
1) The Howling Commandos Reunion – In this 2-part tale with art by the great Mike Zeck, Steve Roger’s reunion with his old buddies from World War II is interrupted when an Army general is kidnapped by Hydra. Captain America reunites with Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos and they are joined by Agents of SHIELD Dum-Dum Dugan, and Gabe Jones and these heroes of yesteryear storm the headquarters of their sworn enemies and face down the evil Baron Von Strucker, a criminal mastermind from their past. This particular tale has a very special place in the heart of the Odinson. This is the moment young Odinson became a lifelong fan of the Sentinel of Liberty. I love this 2-part tale!
SHIELD is the backbone of the Marvel Universe. Whether Captain America needs a hand in hunting down The Winter Soldier or Wolverine becomes an Enemy of the State, SHIELD is right there in the mix and heavily influencing these major events. Fans of Joss Whedon and Marvel Comics can rejoice, Agents of SHIELD is good…really good. And the Odinson cannot wait to see what they do next.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell