Greetings from the Odinson,
Before I get started, I want to take a moment to address a comment sent in by a gracious Lone Star Comics customer. A few weeks ago, I did a column on the writer/artist Jim Starlin (see The Odinson Talks About Jim Starlin). In it I discuss three seminal tales from this marvelous creator and the overall motif of his body of work. Here is the comment I received.
As an avid admirer of Starlin's art and writing prowess (I own copies of most of the books/series mentioned.), I thought that this was a great read; not to mention that it's an exceptional primer for anyone wanting to pursue an interest in his work. To get one started, I highly suggest finding copies of his Captain Marvel & Warlock series work (The 4 Warlock issues of Strange Tales are cool books to have in one's collection too!), not to mention The Death of Captain Marvel GN and the Infinity-Gauntlet (and related books/series) family of books. Truly, a Master of the comic book arts! (Keep up the good work Jim!) – Mark. T
NOTE: Mark is referring to the Adam Warlock stories from Strange Tales (1951-1976 1st Series) #178-181.
There are two things the Odinson takes from this comment. 1) Mark is definitely a Jim Starlin fan, sincere and knowledgeable. 2) This is easily one of my all time favorite feedback comments I’ve ever received since I started So Sayeth the Odinson back in 2005 (for the Mycomicshop weekly email) and 2011 (for the Mycomicshop.com blog). I wrote back to Mark to show my appreciation for his comment and I’d like to take a moment to share with the rest of you what I said.
I just wanted to thank you for your comment. In a few short words, you completely encapsulate everything I'm trying to accomplish with these columns. You said "…it's an exceptional primer for anyone wanting to pursue an interest..." That is my goal with every single column I do. I'm trying to get people who are fans, who are not fans, or who may be potential fans to look at comics, stories, characters, or creators again, in a different light or for the very first time while adding a bit of my own enthusiasm to help convey the excitement I get when I read these comics, graphic novels, or watch these TV shows and movies.
And there you have it folks, the mission statement of the Odinson. I love comics, movies, music, and pop culture in general. And while doing this column if I can convey that love and appreciation, maybe pass on a little knowledge or share in the fandom of other fanboys and girls and at the same time, hopefully, entertain a little, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Thanks again Mark.
Now onto this week's subject.
Justice League #12 hit the stands last week and features a highly eye-catching cover. It seems DC Comics is finally doing what they have been teasing at for years. The Man of Steel and the Amazing Amazon have finally struck up a romantic relationship that will play out in the New 52 over the next several months. I for one say it’s about time. Superman and Wonder Woman get together as a couple. It just makes sense.
Even as a child growing up and watching the Super Friends, in my head, Superman and Wonder Woman were always together. He’s the world’s greatest super hero and she’s the world’s greatest female super hero. They go together like Romeo and Juliet, Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Ross and Rachel. I understand longtime fans pining for the days of Lois and Clark, but it’s the same situation as the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson relationship. Every possible story that can be told about this relationship has been written and the Superman/Lois Lane dynamic has been looked at from every angle imaginable. It’s time for new stories, new romantic interests, and new horizons.
Superman and Spider-Man’s history with Lois Lane and Mary Jane are wonderful and romantic. And they’re all still there to be revisited. The Odinson is a major supporter of continuity, but if one good thing comes from reboots like Brand New Day and The New 52 it’s that we have a fresh start and can explore many different avenues with these classic characters and maybe discover something new and exciting.
There have been several occasions when DC almost pursued this plot but at the last second pulled back. I would imagine it’s hard to match up Diana with someone. She’s so beautiful, powerful, and smart that there are very few suitors out there that readers would agree were her match. I’ll be the first to admit that the Odinson is not an expert when it comes to Wonder Woman’s love life. I, of course, know about Steve Trevor, the daring soldier that melted Diana’s heart and helped introduce her to the world outside of Paradise Island. I also know that JLA for a time hinted at a budding romantic relationship between Diana and Batman, but that was fleeting.
That’s another reason why Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple makes a ton of sense. They match each other perfectly. They’re both powerful, iconic, and, as the conversation and moment they share in Justice League #12 illustrates, they have a lot in common. They both know what it means to be the icon and hero to everyone else but at the same time feel alone. They both know what it feels like to be an outsider, even among their friends and teammates. Wonder Woman was raised on an isolated island of myth and magic by a tribe of warrior women and never saw her first man or the modern western world until she was an adult. Superman is the last survivor of a doomed planet, an alien with godlike powers walking amongst mere mortals. There’s a connection there that they share.
Justice League #12 isn’t the first time Superman and Wonder Woman have embraced in a passionate kiss. I remember back in Action Comics #600, seeing these two iconic heroes locked in an romantic embrace on the cover made this an absolute must-buy issue. It also didn’t hurt that the story was written and drawn by Modern Masters John Byrne and George Perez. In this Post-Crisis DC Universe, Superman meets Wonder Woman for the very first time in the pages of Legends. Then over the course of the next several months (i.e. Superman #5), Clark can’t seem to get that mysterious raven-haired beauty that helped in the campaign against Darkseid out of his mind. So he asks to meet with the Amazing Amazon (in Action Comics #600) and after laying a super smooch on her, the two icons decide they are better off as friends. Oh, and they team-up to take on Darkseid for one more round. It’s a good issue.
If ever there was a time when these two could have hooked up it would have been in Action Comics #761. By magical means, Superman and Wonder Woman are transported to the mystical realm of Asgard where they spend a thousand years waging war with the gods and have nobody but each other as company. But Clark’s love for Lois would not allow him to stray and Diana’s respect for their friendship would not allow her to push the issue. This is followed up by a great little tale in Wonder Woman #170, where Lois Lane spends a day with Wonder Woman and both gain even greater respect for each other and discuss their relationships with the Man of Steel.
In two alternate DC future timelines, Kingdom Come and The Dark Strikes Again, Superman and Wonder Woman are in full bloom romantic relationships, even having children together. I saw an interview with Frank Miller once where he voiced the same opinion as the Odinson, saying that of course Superman would be with Wonder Woman, she’s the only person that can match him.
The attraction between these two characters is even evident when they fight. By the time I’m done reading Superman #210-211 or the Infinite Crisis tie-in tale Sacrifice I feel like shouting “Hey, you two! Get a room already.” In The 18th Letter, a story from Legends of the DC Universe #30-32, a madman will stop a war if Wonder Woman spends one night with him. As Diana makes her decision, Superman arrives to give his advice. But his reaction to her way of handling the situation is not good. Yes, he is concerned for his friend, but is there something more bubbling just below the surface here? Could jealousy be playing a role in his reaction?
For 75 years DC has toyed with the notion that there could be a romantic tie between these two icons. But, and understandably so, Superman’s romance with Lois Lane was always at the forefront. There just never seemed to be the right moment for Clark and Diana within the confines of continuity. Perhaps Alan Moore said it best in Superman Annual #11 with his classic tale For the Man Who has Everything. In this story there’s a brief embrace and kiss between the two and Superman asks why they don’t do that more often. And Wonder Woman says it’s probably too predictable.
That may have been the thinking that has kept these two kids apart now for the better part of a century. But one year after the launch of DC Comics The New 52, the time is right to finally explore new possibilities. And that includes a romance between two of the biggest super hero icons in the history of comics.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Entries for month: August 2012
August 31, 2012 · No Comments
Greetings from the Odinson,
August 24, 2012 · 1 Comment
Greetings from the Odinson,
The worlds of comic books and pop culture are full of entertaining animals. Brave ones too. From Lassie to BJ’s pal, the Bear, from Air Bud, the slam-dunking Golden Retriever, to Clyde the two-fisted orangutan, there are many brave, funny, and smart critters around either making us laugh or saving poor little Timmy from that darn well, again. Animals even come in the anthropomorphic variety like the Looney Tunes, Disney Ducks and Mice, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters. But there is another kind of animal, a select breed that stands out among the rest. They are the Super Pets!
These pets are more than just household animals kept around for companionship. These are the brave critters that fight alongside our heroes for truth and justice and will stop at nothing to see that evil is punished. From the dragon Lockheed, loyal friend to Kitty Pryde, to Bubo the golden owl and funny little companion of the legendary hero Perseus, there are many brave critters ready to take up the fight for good.
But these following are the elite Super Pets:
Zabu – Zabu is the mighty companion of Ka-Zar, Lord Plunder of the Savage Land. He is the last known surviving saber-toothed tiger, but this fact does not curb his bravery in the face of unbeatable odds. Whether it’s a monstrous rampaging T-Rex or a pack of out-of-control Savage Land Mutates, Zabu is always the first into the fray and always the last one standing.
Redwing – Redwing is the companion of the high-flying hero known as the Falcon. He is an excellent hunter and loyal friend. Through their special mental bond, Falcon can see through Redwings eyes, a helpful trick for special reconnaissance missions. Redwing’s speed and sharp claws also make him a feared enemy of evil and a great asset for the fight for justice.
Krypto – Krypto the Super Dog! He’s the loyal companion of the greatest super hero of them all Superman. Originally from Krypton, Jor-El, Superman’s father, used Krypto to test his rocket ship to see if it would be safe for baby Kal-El. Though his rocket was knocked off course, eventually it did land on Earth and Krypto was reunited with Superboy. Powered by the rays of the yellow sun, Krypto is stronger, faster, and possesses abilities far beyond those of average dogs. Like Superman, he even has heat vision. Evil doers beware for this doggy has bite, a bite that can chomp steel to be exact.
Lockjaw – Lockjaw is a huge bulldog from the secret lost city of Attilan and loyal companion to the Royal Family of the Uncanny Inhumans. Other than his great size and bite strength, Lockjaw also possesses a sort of sixth sense allowing him to detect when and where trouble will go down. By vibrating the cosmic tuning fork embedded on his forehead, Lockjaw can teleport himself and others over great distances, even to other worlds and dimensions. This massive canine hero is a natural born leader in the animal kingdom and fantastic judge of character. In his many interactions with humans, he has befriended some of the world’s greatest heroes including Spider-Man and the Thing.
Scooby Doo – Scooby Doo is a lovable Great Dane with an insatiable appetite for food, an infectious laugh, and a knack for solving mysteries. Together with his best friend Shaggy, the handsome Fred, brainy Velma, and the beautiful Daphne, Scooby Doo drives across America in the Mystery Machine and solves mysteries. Though most definitely not fearless, give him a Scooby Snack and Scooby Doo will face any obstacle. Whether it’s The Creeper or Ghost of Captain Cutler, Scooby and his gang of ghost hunters always seem to be able to come out on top.
DynoMutt – This bionic pooch is the loyal companion of the world renowned super hero the Blue Falcon. Dynomutt’s entire body has been altered by science to be able to adapt to any situation. His limbs can extend and stretch to great lengths, and anything he needs, from screwdrivers to helicopter blades to flamethrowers, his insides seem to be able to produce any gadget to meet the challenge of any situation. Though Dynomutt’s whimsical attitude and absentmindedness often trips up Blue Falcon, he seems to always come through for his buddy in the end.
Man’s best friend is an understatement when referring to this menagerie of Pet Avengers, DC Super Pets, and Hanna-Barbera standouts.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
August 17, 2012 · 1 Comment
Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson took a break last weekend, sat back and read some back issues from his extensive comics collection. Three stories were randomly selected. I was really enjoying the stories and it didn’t even dawn on me until I reached the third story that all three were written by the same man – Jim Starlin, and those three tales were Batman: The Cult, Cosmic Odyssey, and Thanos Quest.
Most people may know Starlin as the man who composed The Death of Captain Marvel. But he has contributed so much more to the world of comics than just that seminal tale. Along with fellow writer Steve Englehart he co-created Shang Chi, the Master of Kung Fu. He helped make Adam Warlock a super cool cosmic hero. He was the scribe on one of the coolest Batman stories (Ten Nights of the Beast) and one of the most important Batman stories in history (A Death in the Family). But his ultimate creation is none other than the supreme Big Bad of the Marvel Universe – Thanos.
Batman: The Cult is an extremely original tale, for it shows a side of the Caped Crusader the comics fans up until that point had never seen before – utterly defeated. In this dark tale, Starlin presents the Dark Knight Detective with a mystery. The homeless population of Gotham City is disappearing at an alarming rate and the police suspect foul play. Batman’s inquiries lead him below, into the sewers of Gotham where he discovers a death cult operating below the radar of the world above, an army of brainwashed souls going forth and taking the law into their hands, committing murder.
Severely outnumbered, Batman is captured and brought before the cult’s charismatic leader, Deacon Blackfire, a large man whose origins may, or may not, stem from the supernatural. This is where the story takes a turn, as over the course of several days of torture and reconditioning, and the use of a mysterious substance, the Batman is broken. He’s broken, beaten, and utterly under the thrall of this new villain.
Jim Starlin takes the Bat to a place undreamed of, and pushes the man behind the mask to his physical and mental limits. It’s the ultimate hero’s journey as Batman is brought down lower than he’s ever been before and now must somehow find the courage and fortitude to fight his way back to self. Almost twenty-five years later, this tale is as powerful and riveting as the day it came out. Featuring beautiful, dark art by Bernie Wrightson, Jim Starlin’s Batman: The Cult is well worth another look.
The next tale in my Jim Starlin trilogy is Cosmic Odyssey. Set in the Post-Crisis DCU, and featuring some of the best artwork from Mike Mignola’s career, Odyssey features prominently Darkseid, the lord of the dark world Apokolips. When the dark god discovers Metron’s battered remains he learns that the knowledge-seeking New God has unlocked the mystery of the Anti-Life Equation. But in doing so, the Anti-Life has reached the DCU and plots its ultimate destruction.
Darkseid, knowing he does not have the power to stand alone, begrudgingly unites with Highfather and the New Gods and along with a group of cosmic super heroes that includes Superman, Starfire, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern John Stewart, they mount a defense. What follows is truly epic. We witness the lengths one hero will go to in order to get the job done no matter what. We see the ultimate failure and the consequences when a hero allows his ego to rule the day. And we get to see Batman be one step ahead of everyone as he recruits the help of a mysterious key player that will ultimately decide whether or not our heroes stand triumphant.
At this point in his career, Jim Starlin, with runs on Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, and his Cosmic Cube Saga, had already established himself as an accomplished author of cosmic classics. But Cosmic Odyssey is the natural progression that led him to his next and quite frankly his ultimate cosmic epic. The last tale in my Jim Starlin must read trilogy, Thanos Quest, is actually one chapter in an overall grand scheme that culminates with the death of the entire Marvel Universe. It all starts with Rebirth of Thanos.
The cosmic embodiment of Death in the Marvel Universe is feeling a bit jilted and under appreciated by the Powers that Be. So to regain her hold over reality she recruits her most loyal disciple from the grey mists of the afterlife and charges Thanos with killing off half the universe’s population. The Mad Titan sets out on his macabre mission and quickly ascertains that there is one thing in all the cosmos that may be able to challenge him and thwart his mission, and that is the power of the Silver Surfer. So in Silver Surfer #34-38, Thanos and Norrin Radd play a cosmic game of cat and mouse culminating with the Mad Titan’s supposed demise. With the Surfer thinking him destroyed, Thanos is free to pursue his Mistress’s desire. This brings us to the next chapter in Starlin’s ultimate cosmic epic – Thanos Quest.
Thanos Quest is a tale of a mad god’s ultimate quest for ultimate power. Thanos is easily one of the most powerful creatures in the cosmos, but killing off half the population of an entire realm of existence is a Herculean task that could take many lifetimes, even for someone as powerful as Thanos. So the Mad Titan devises a diabolical plan - he will assemble the Soul Gems, baubles with power over soul, time, space, mind, reality and power. There is just one small problem; the Soul Gems are in the possession of the In-Betweener and the Elders of the Universe, cosmic beings of immeasurable power whose origins predate history. It is nothing short of spectacular to watch the ultimate super villain out-maneuver, out-smart and out-Big Bad these galactic villains. By story’s end, the Marvel Universe trembles, for now the Mad Titan has assembled all six Soul Gems and with them gained ultimate power.
The story picks up again in Silver Surfer #44-50, as Norrin Radd and a rejuvenated (in power if not brains) Drax the Destroyer discover the mad scheme of Thanos. With the Soul Gems, now re-dubbed Infinity Gems, assembled into the ultimate artifact of power, the Infinity Gauntlet, even the Surfer and Drax’s own considerable might pales before the power of Thanos. Knowing they cannot defeat the Mad Titan alone, the Sentinel of the Spaceways rockets across the cosmos in a mad effort to warn the heroes of Earth about Thanos. Thus begins the most cosmic battle ever seen. And it all happens in the pages of Infinity Gauntlet.
The peaceful decorum of Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is disturbed when the Silver Surfer, utterly exhausted from his ordeal and mad dash across the galaxy, crash-lands into his living room. Meanwhile, on the far side of the universe, Thanos accomplishes his Mistress’s wish with one single snap of his fingers. Suddenly, all across the Marvel Universe, people begin to fade away from existence. Thanos has effectively annihilated half of life in all reality.
He uses his godlike power to erect a shrine to Lady Death, who to the dismay of Thanos, refuses to acknowledge his victory. Meanwhile in Asgard, powerful forces begin to align against the Mad Titan as Odin has assembled Zeus and all the Sky-Fathers from across the pantheons of immortals. But their defiance is short lived as Thanos lashes out with the limitless power of the Infinity Gauntlet, destroying the fabled Rainbow Bride, effectively trapping the humbled deities in Asgard. The shockwave of this attack causes catastrophic results on Earth. The island nation of Japan is completely lost to the tsunami created in the shockwave’s wake.
What’s left of Earth’s heroes assemble at Avenger’s Headquarters. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and a few others are joined by the X-Men Cyclops and Wolverine, Cloak, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, the Hulk and surprisingly Doctor Doom, though Doom’s presence does not sit well with some. The recently reborn Adam Warlock, a genetically created super man, has arrived to lead the assault on Thanos.
What follows over the next few dozen pages is the biggest, most spectacular cosmic battle ever seen, as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Powers that Be in the Marvel Universe, a group of cosmic titans that includes the Stranger, Chronos, Galactus, the Celestials, and more, engage Thanos and the nigh omnipotent power of the Infinity Gauntlet. The heavens tremble and the very fabric of reality is threatened by the power unleashed. Somehow, miraculously, and due in no small part to the calculated machinations of Adam Warlock, the Marvel Universe survives and the day is won. Utterly defeated, Thanos goes into exile. Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch become the caretakers of the Infinity Gems. And everybody lives happily ever after.
Not quite. Jim Starlin’s ultimate cosmic saga reaches its zenith in the pages of Marvel Universe: The End.
In the not too distant future, Akhenaten, a being of immense cosmic power, attacks Earth and crucifies its heroes. The only ones left alive to oppose his dark power are the Defenders, Doctor Doom, and Captain Marvel. But even their combined might cannot win the day alone. So, they do the unthinkable and recruit Thanos. But will the Mad Titan save the Marvel U, or help usher in its ultimate destruction? For the ultimate ride and cosmic adventure, Jim Starlin truly delivers with his celestial saga that plays out in the pages of Rebirth of Thanos, Thanos Quest, Infinity Gauntlet, and Marvel Universe: The End.
Jim Starlin is a fantastic writer with a fantastic imagination. His work is so engrossing. It’s amazing how integrated his work is into the modern history of comics. Jim Starlin paved the way for modern cosmic classics like Annihilation and The Sinestro Corps War. There is also a greater underlying motif to his work – life, death and rebirth. Whether it’s the Dark Knight facing his greatest weaknesses and overcoming the urge to take the easy way out or John Stewart wracked with guilt and overcoming utter depression, Starlin gets to the heart of a character. He grabs hold of the heartstrings and pulls with all his might. There are only two things that people can be 100% sure of in life – we are born and one day we all will eventually die. Batman’s ascension and return from the brink, the Anti-Life Equation, or even the epic journey of Thanos are all beautiful analogies exploring this one great truth.
Whether it’s Batman: The Cult, Cosmic Odyssey, or Thanos Quest the reader can be sure about two things: 1) Jim Starlin is a master of his craft and 2) they are in for one hell of a ride.
NOTE: If you like these tales, the Odinson recommends these other fine works by Jim Starlin: The Death of Captain Marvel, Batman: A Death in the Family, and The Weird.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
August 10, 2012 · No Comments
Greetings from the Odinson,
Over the last few months the Odinson has been discussing a lot of “What If” battles (see Rogues of the Marvel U vs. the Rogues of the DCU and The Villain War). It’s really not surprising since big battles seem to be the motif of the day (i.e., AvX). Besides who doesn’t get excited when the next issue featuring a Thor vs. Hulk brawl or a Superman vs. the Flash foot race comes out? If the Olympics remind of us of anything every four years it’s that we love competition.
Marvel has announced MARVEL NOW, not a reboot, restart, or re-imagining of the Marvel Universe, but the ultimate jumping on point. Much like DC Comics The New 52, the Marvel line of books will all re-launch with issue #1. The flagship title of this undertaking will be Uncanny Avengers. For the first time in comics history, the two greatest super powers in the Marvel Universe, the Avengers and X-Men, will merge into one uber fighting force for justice. And the Odinson, for one, says it’s about time.
For one reason or another, these two teams have always seemingly been at each other’s throats. Going all the way back to the misunderstanding in Uncanny X-Men #9 to the warrant for Magneto’s arrest in X-Men vs. Avengers to the difficult decision on what to do about the Scarlet Witch in House of M and The Children’s Crusade, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Children of the Atom just never seem to be on the same page. And that is very strange since they both seemingly want the same things, a world free from tyranny and injustice, and their histories are so heavily intertwined that they are practically one big family by default.
Steve Rogers and Logan’s friendship goes all the way back to the harrowing days of World War II (see Uncanny X-Men #268 and Our War). Magneto, once the X-Men’s greatest foe, is the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, both longstanding members of the Avengers. The Beast, a member of the X-Men First Class, is just as recognized as a member of the Avengers due to his longstanding membership with both franchises and his best friend is Wonder Man. Rogue made her debut in the pages of Avengers Annual #10 and actually forced Ms. Marvel into temporary retirement when her mutant ability stole Ms. Marvel’s Kree-born powers. Later, in Uncanny X-Men #164, the former Ms. Marvel is transformed into the cosmic heroine Binary through alien technologies of the Brood, a perennial X-Men villain. And because Rogue absorbed so much of Ms. Marvel’s psyche, from time-to-time Ms. Marvel’s will can assert itself within Rogue’s mind (see Uncanny X-Men #269).
The connection between these two storied franchises does not end there. During The Asgardian Wars, Loki, god of mischief and half-brother to the mighty Thor, challenged the X-Men and their understudies, the New Mutants, in new ways. Alpha Flight, a Canadian super team that played a role in the campaign against Loki, has a member in their ranks known as Marrina. For a time, Marrina was the consort of Prince Namor, a former Invader and Avenger and current member of the X-Men. Captain Britain, the UK’s greatest champion for justice, is the older brother of Psylocke, the X-Men’s telepathic ninja. During the Mutant Massacre, it’s Thor that rescues Angel from the torturous clutches of the evil Marauders (see Thor #373-374). Wolverine, the most popular X-Man in history, debuted in the pages of Incredible Hulk #180-181, and he has had a longstanding feud with the Hulk, a founding member of the Avengers, since then. The Black Panther, King of Wakanda and longtime Avenger and ally of Captain America, is now married to Storm, next to Cyclops the recognized leader of the X-Men. Rachel Summers, the daughter of Jean Grey and Scott Summers, is from the Days of Future Past timeline where she is romantically involved with Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue Richards. Ice Man, Beast and Angel (all X-Men) were teammates with Hercules and Black Widow (Avengers) in the San Francisco based super team The Champions.
Even when it comes to their foes, the Avengers and X-Men’s histories are intertwined. The diabolical Count Nefaria started as an Avengers foe in Avengers #13, but it wasn’t long before he was plaguing the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #22. He would return many times to challenge our heroes, most famously in Uncanny X-Men #94 and Avengers #165-166. Doctor Doom, the Marvel Universe’s premiere Big Bad, has crossed swords with both franchises (see Uncanny X-Men #145-147 and Emperor Doom) and was a big player during his courtship of the Scarlet Witch in The Children’s Crusade. Apocalypse, one of the X-Men’s greatest foes, once brainwashed the Incredible Hulk and made him one of his Four Horsemen (see Incredible Hulk #456-457). The Black Knight and Exodus have history together. During The Dark Phoenix Saga, the X-Men fought the Shi’ar Imperial Guard for the fate of Jean Grey. During Operation: Galactic Storm, the Avengers fought the Shi’ar Imperial Guard for the fate of the galaxy. Plus, in Avengers #263, it’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that discover a strange object at the bottom of the Hudson that leads to the Return of Jean Grey to the Marvel Universe proper. The Mighty Thor has had knock-down drag-out brawls with both the Juggernaut and Gladiator, two of the X-Men’s strongest adversaries. Iron Man and Captain Britain are both members of the Hellfire Club, a private rich man’s club with an Inner Circle that secretly plots world domination. Emma Frost, former member of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle and Cyclops’ current squeeze, has been romantically linked to both Tony Stark and Prince Namor. It was while fighting Onslaught, an X-Men foe, that the Avengers and Fantastic Four both got transported to the Heroes Reborn Universe. And, upon returning from the Heroes Reborn Universe, Captain America’s very first sparring partner was none other than Lady Deathstrike (see Too Serve and Protect), Wolverine’s longtime foe and coincidentally the daughter of Lord Dark Wind, the criminal genius that developed the process of bonding Adamantium to bone (see Daredevil #197-200).
There is no doubt that the Avengers and the X-Men share so much. And these are just the connections I can think about off the top of my head. I’m absolutely positive that there are many, many more that I didn’t list. That’s why the long over due merging of the two franchises is brilliant. It just makes sense.
One thing that has always bothered me is when in the pages of New X-Men the psychotic Cassandra Nova unleashed an army of Sentinels that laid waste to the mutant island nation of Genosha. There is no way Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would stand idly by and allow an entire nation of human beings to be obliterated. It just wouldn’t go down like that. I really can’t stand the direction Cyclops has been heading in lately, but I do have to agree with his argument to Captain America that the Avengers have not done enough when it comes to the safety of mutants, a race on the verge of extinction.
In the aftermath of AvX, Marvel Now will start the healing and bond these two great franchises like never before. The Avengers, Justice League of America, and the X-Men are THE premiere super hero franchises in comic books. These are the Major Leagues. Marvel has two of the three in its stable and now that they are merged, the Uncanny Avengers will set the standard for the rest of the world to follow.
This merging opens the doors up to so many possible storylines, relationships, platonic and romantic, that we’ve never seen before can be explored. How does the teaming up of the Avengers and X-Men affect the world around them? Will the populace, that has so feared mutants, project that fear onto their heroes? How will this merger affect the super villain community? Will Apocalypse, Ultron, Kang, and Mister Sinister feel the need to consolidate their power? In Time and Time Again, the time-traveling villain Kang visits a future where the ranks of the Avengers consist of Captain America, Hercules, Wasp, Storm and Colossus?! Was this merger already foretold over two decades ago? Let’s hope though that it ends better for our heroes this time around than it did for that group.
What an exciting time to be a comics fan, and it all starts with MARVEL NOW.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
August 03, 2012 · No Comments
Greetings from the Odinson,
A few weeks back, the Odinson pitted the Villains of the Marvel Universe against the Villains of the DC Universe in a no holds barred battle royal for the ages (see Rogue War). That was fun. So much so that other villains from across the multiverse have decided they want in on the action and a shot at the title belt. So without further ado, the Odinson Presents:
The Villain War
The Red Ribbon Army vs. Cobra – The Red Ribbon Army is a paramilitary group bent on world domination. Cobra is a criminal-terrorist organization bent on ruling the world. The Red Ribbon army has plenty of firepower, tanks, planes, and bombs, and they have many soldiers under the command of special operatives and officers like Commander Red, a diminutive leader with delusions of grandeur; Adjutant Black, a loyal soldier to the cause; General Blue, a clean freak with psychic powers; Doctor Gero, a mad scientist and expert in robotics; Captain Yellow, a tiger-man and expert pilot; and Colonel Violet, a strong military woman in a man’s army. From the Firebat to the Rattler to the HISS tank, Cobra has some of the deadliest combat vehicles in the world and an army of fanatical soldiers to support them. Their inner circle is comprised of some of the most sinister villains around – Cobra Commander, an ambitious man with big ideas and, unfortunately, little courage; Destro, an arms dealer that wears an iron mask; Zartan, a master of disguise, infiltration and assassination; Storm Shadow, a super ninja; Doctor Mindbender, a mad scientist and brilliant biochemist; and the Baroness, a cunning beautiful woman trained in counter spy tactics and the art of seduction.
WINNER: Cobra. It takes the world’s greatest special forces unit, GI Joe, to keep Cobra in check. The Red Ribbon Army is routinely defeated by a single boy, Goku, the strongest boy in the world, but still a single boy.
Predator vs. Terminator – The alien Predator is the galaxy’s greatest hunter. The cyborg Terminator is Sci-Fi’s greatest killing machine. The Predator scours the universe looking for the most dangerous game to pit its strength and skills against. The Terminator was created by Skynet, a super computer, for one purpose and one purpose only – the total annihilation of mankind. The Predator is a seven-foot tall alien with sweet dreads and armed with an array of weapons including retractable steel claws, throwing buzz saw, a cloaking device and a shoulder cannon that can cut a man in half. The Terminator’s body is comprised of a hyperalloy combat chassis with a microprocessor, and is fully armored. It’s very tough to hurt and even tougher to bring down. The Terminator has complete files on anatomy and an adaptable AI that makes it more efficient at its job. Anything can be a weapon in the mighty metallic hands of a Terminator.
WINNER: Terminator. The Terminator’s sensors and scans can see through the Predator’s cloak and its armor is tough enough to take a few blast from the alien’s shoulder cannon. Pretty good battle, Terminator wins.
CLU vs. Agent Smith – CLU is the ruler of the Grid, a virtual computer world where survival is the order of the day, and a villain with aspiration to rule the world of man. Agent Smith is a sentry program in the Matrix, a virtual computer world designed to enslave mankind, and a villain with aspirations to destroy all humans and anything else that gets in his way. CLU is a great warrior who was able to defeat Tron, the virtual world’s greatest protector, in combat and he has the ability to create computer generated weapons of war like light cycles and light jets with his mind. Agent Smith has super strength and speed and can shatter a cinder block with a single blow. He also has the uncanny ability to assimilate any other sentient program, usurping control and replicating himself to create a virtual army of Agent Smiths.
WINNER: CLU. This was probably the hardest contest on this list for me to decide. But CLU defeated Tron, his world’s Neo class hero, and Agent Smith always ultimately loses to the power of the One.
Venger vs. Mumm-Ra – Venger the Force of Evil is a demon sorcerer that seeks to rule the realms of Dungeons and Dragons and gain ultimate power. Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living is an ogre-mage and the most powerful source of evil on Third-Earth. Venger has powerful minions like the Shadow Demon, Kelek the wolf-riding wizard, and an army of orcs and goblins at his disposal. Mumm-Ra has the Mutants of Plun-Darr under his thumb and can call upon the Ancient Spirits of Evil for power and wisdom.
WINNER: Mumm-Ra. Venger is too easily distracted by his pursuit of the magical weapons of children and his feud with Tiamat the dragon to ever really get anything done. Not to mention, Venger was once a good soul that fell down a dark path. Mumm-Ra is the ultimate servant of evil and would never waver when victory was within his clawed grasp.
The Decepticons vs. the Inhumanoids – The Decepticons are giant transforming robots from the far off world of Cybertron that have come to planet Earth to steal its natural resources to help further their war effort against their hated enemies, the Autobots. The Inhumanoids are monstrous creatures that rise from the depths of the earth to plague mankind with suffering. Led by the mighty Megatron, the Decepticons can transform into powerful weapons of mass destruction like tanks and jet fighters. The Inhumanoids are led by the mighty Meltar, an unstoppable juggernaut of death and destruction. His minions include the ghoulish D’Compose, a skeletal giant with the power to turn his victims into zombies, and Tendril, a Lovecraftian terror that crushes its prey with its many tendrils.
WINNER: The Decepticons. Another close battle, but the militaristic Decepticons are more organized and their firepower coupled with their team work would eventually overwhelm and chase the nigh indestructible Inhumanoids back to the bowels of the earth from whence they came.
Aliens vs. V.E.N.O.M. – The Xenomorphs are the galaxy’s most adaptable species and one of the greatest survivors in the history of Sci-Fi. They are a hive species with claws that can rend flesh, a scorpion-like tail that can spear prey, a retractable mandible that can strike from a distance, and they have acid for blood. V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem) is the special weapons offshoot of Cobra, and like Cobra, V.E.N.O.M. is a group of terrorists bent on world domination. Its special operatives pilot spectacular transforming vehicles. For example, V.E.N.O.M.’s leader, Mile Mayhem, pilots the Switchblade, a stealth helicopter that can convert into a fighter plane for more firepower.
WINNER: Aliens. If Colonial Space Marines can’t defeat the Xenomorphs, then nobody can.
Viltrumites vs. The Walking Dead – The Viltrumites are a race of super men and women with powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary men and women. They are basically evil Kryptonians, think the three super villains from Superman 2 and you’ll get the picture, warmongers with the physical strength to move mountains and the ability to survive almost any injury. The Walking Dead are just that, reanimated corpses stalking the earth for human prey. Though immensely powerful, the Viltrumites are on the verge of extinction and their numbers are quite small, whereas the Walking Dead’s numbers are seemingly endless, and everyone alive has the potential to join their living dead legions.
WINNER: Nobody. Everybody loses, for if even one Viltrumite somehow gets infected the multiverse would be engulfed in an Apocalyptic end of times scenario not seen on this scale since the Marvel Zombies.
Other villains waiting in the wings, ready to add to the chaos and destruction wrought by those on this list are The Ax Gang, SPECTRE, Skeletor and the Evil Masters of the Universe, the Daemonites, the Zerg, the Borg, Darth Vader, Dracula, and the shark from Jaws.
Oh, the horror. The horror! This has truly been a villainous showdown for the ages.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell