Greetings from the Odinson,
It’s that time of year when the weather starts to cool down, leaves begin to fall, and the denizens of the land begin to prepare for the time honored tradition of All Hallows' Eve. This is a time of change. But it is also a time when the ghosts and goblins and all those things that go bump in the night claw their way up from some dingy tomb and stalk the land once more. In honor of Halloween, every week this month, the Odinson will be dedicating this space to the macabre and supernatural. What better way to kick-start this endeavor than with a Supernatural Fight Night?!
Whether they be monsters, slayers or something in-between, this list will settle once and for all, who is the toughest supernatural critter roaming the earth.
Hellstorm vs. The Darkness – Daimon Hellstrom is the Son of Satan. His mother was a mortal woman who was driven mad when she learned the true identity of her husband was in fact Lucifer himself. Hellstorm’s demonic heritage grants him superior strength and magical powers. He wields a mystical trident that was forged in hell and is able to engulf his enemies in hellfire, a magical energy that burns a person’s very soul. Hellstorm is able to travel between dimensions, and he gets around on a fiery chariot which is pulled by three giant flaming stallions.
Jackie Estacado was a hitman for the mob, a trained assassin with expert knowledge in the use of guns, knives, and the martial arts. Now as the possessor of the Darkness, Estacado is the master of shadow and the gloomy places sane men dare not go. He is able to summon a legion of diminutive demons from the dark. These little monsters swarm over his enemies and tear them to pieces with their demonic claws and teeth. The Darkness grants Estacado supernatural strength, speed and endurance. He can move from one shadow to any other shadow in the world, and he can also sprout bat-wings and fly.
WINNER: The Darkness - This is a really close call. Physically they are pretty even. Hellstorm possesses the supernatural ability to exorcise demons, but would this ability have any effect on the Darkness? In the end, though Hellstorm may have ruled over a portion of hell, the Darkness is a universal force for chaos whose scope of influence knows no bounds.
Buffy Summers vs. Witchblade – Buffy is the Chosen One, the one girl in all the world with the power and skills to defend mankind against the vampires and the forces of darkness. She possesses supernatural strength, speed, and agility and super human fighting skills. Buffy has a team of sidekicks called the Scooby Gang comprised of Willow, the world’s most powerful witch and computer expert, Xander, the master of mirth and the backbone of the team, and Giles, Buffy’s Watcher whose knowledge in arcane lore is second to none and a seasoned practitioner of the mystic arts.
Sarah Pezzini is a tough New York City Police Detective who possesses the ancient mystical artifact known as the Witchblade. The Witchblade is the sentient offspring of the primal forces of chaos and order in the universe – the Angelus and the Darkness. It has been passed down for centuries from one woman to the next and is a stalwart defender of the balance between light and dark. While wearing the Witchblade, Sarah Pezzini can create nearly impenetrable body armor and magical weapons such as swords, maces and shields. The Witchblade can project mystical energy and deadly shrapnel to take out enemies from a distance.
WINNER: Buffy - The problem with putting the slayer on a list like this is that Buffy has faced off against every single big bad monster, demon, and hell god ever to spawn from the pits of hell, spell book, or get up off a laboratory table. Bottom line, there’s really not anything in the worlds of the supernatural that Buffy can’t handle. (Except for bunnies...)
Blade vs. Alice – Blade is the Daywalker. Like Vampire Hunter D, Blade is a Dhampir, a half human/half vampire. He possesses all the supernatural powers and strengths of the undead, but none of their weaknesses. Armed with an arsenal of deadly weapons designed solely for the extermination of vampires, Blade seeks to rid the world of their kind and wipe them all out without mercy. Blade possesses supernatural strength, speed and the ability to heal virtually any wound. His combat prowess is so proficient that Blade can stand his ground against half a dozen or more vampires at the same time. He can mow down dozens of undead at a time with his rapid-firing machine pistol that fires specially made silver bullets. But his favorite weapon of choice is his custom forged sword with a booby-trapped hilt and an acid-tipped blade.
In a world overrun by the walking dead, Alice is mankind’s last hope for survival. Injected with the T-Virus, Alice’s exposure to the virus had an unusual effect. Instead of mutated her into a flesh-eating monster, it imbued her with super human physical and mental abilities. Now after escaping the Apocalyptic chaos of Raccoon City, Alice and her small band of survivors scour the earth in search of the source for all the evil, the main headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation. Her superior strength and agility allow Alice to take on monstrous foes. She can single-handedly dismember and exterminate dozens of zombies at a time and even go toe-to-toe with the monstrous Tyrant and the hulking Nemesis.
WINNER: Tie - I know it’s a copout, but not only are these two monster-bashers extremely evenly matched, once they realize they’re basically fighting for the same thing, humanity’s survival in the face of the undead Apocalypse, they’ll team-up. And when that happens, there aren’t enough vampires and zombies in the world that can stop this supernatural dynamic duo.
Dracula vs. Hellboy – Count Dracula is the King of Vampires! In life, he was a vicious warlord that impaled his conquered enemies on pikes and dipped his bread in their blood as he ate lunch. In death, Vlad the Impaler became the Prince of Darkness and the most notorious creature of the night ever to stalk the earth. This master vampire possesses the strength of twenty men; he can transform into a wolf or giant bat, and into bone-chilling mist. He can overpower lesser minds with his charismatic vampire stare. And he has centuries of knowledge and know-how at his disposal, making him a most cunning adversary.
Hellboy is the child of the Apocalypse. His Right Hand of Doom holds the key to ushering in the End of Days. However, he’d rather just have a beer, watch the tube and play with his kitties. Hellboy does use his demonic strength to investigate the paranormal. He is nearly indestructible and completely invulnerable to fire. His sidearm is a hand-cannon that can punch a hole through a T-Rex. And his Right Hand of Doom hits with the force of a Mack truck.
WINNER: Hellboy - Though Dracula is smarter than Hellboy and physically they are relatively evenly matched, it’s the vampire’s aversion to fire that will ultimately be his undoing. As these two supernatural juggernauts battle, sooner or later, a fiery blaze will break out in their wake and with it the key to Dracula’s defeat.
Doctor Strange vs. Dr. Fate – Doctor Stephen Strange was an arrogant surgeon whose hands were mangled in a automobile accident. He was taken in and trained in martial arts and the mystic arts by the Ancient One, a centuries old wizard. So adept at sorcery is Strange that he eventually took on the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. His magical powers are vast. Feats such as telepathy, teleportation, and astral projection are child’s play to him. Doctor Strange can call upon the Vishanti, cosmic entities of mystical authority, to augment his already great magical powers. He also possesses powerful magical artifacts like the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto and his cloak of levitation. So strong is Doctor Strange in the ways of magic that he can do battle with some of the most powerful mystical foes in the universe including Dracula, the In-Betweener, Nightmare, Mephisto and the Dread Dormammu.
Kent Nelson was the orphaned son of an archaeologist that was raised by an ancient wizard named Nabu and trained in the mystic arts. Armed with the mystical Helmet of Nabu, the Amulet of Anubis and the Cloak of Destiny, Nelson became the earthly avatar of the Lords of Light - Dr. Fate. Fate possesses super human strength and the ability to manipulate mystical energy. He can fly, turn invisible, pass through solid matter, create light and darkness, project his thoughts to others, and project magic missiles, lightning bolts and fireballs from his hands. Alongside the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate is the premiere mystical force for good in the DCU.
WINNER: Doctor Strange - Don’t get me wrong, I think Fate is infinitely cooler than Strange, but when it comes to the world of magic Doctor Strange is the Master of the Mystic Arts. He IS the Sorcerer Supreme!
Next week the Odinson continues his count down to Halloween with a look at monsters in comics.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
Entries for month: September 2012
September 28, 2012 · 1 Comment
Greetings from the Odinson,
September 21, 2012 · No Comments
Greetings from the Odinson,
As Avengers vs. X-Men comes to its cataclysmic finale, what will be the repercussions of this unprecedented event? The Phoenix Force came to Earth, the very same cosmic entity that possessed Jean Grey and nearly destroyed the world in The Dark Phoenix Saga and nearly helped Darkseid destroy two worlds in Marvel and DC Present: The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans. The Avengers saw the Phoenix Force as a threat while the X-Men saw it as salvation. These opposing views set Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Children of the Atom against each other in a war of heroes for the ages. Lines were drawn and sides were chosen and after witnessing the events of AvX #1-11, it’s pretty darn clear whose side was right, but is it the side that’s victorious? But I’m not here to talk about who wins in the end, as one of my colleagues here in the Lone Star Comics office likes to point out “when heroes fight heroes, nobody wins.” No, I’m here to talk about the repercussions of this event.
The Marvel Now announcement already holds the answer to one of the major repercussions that will come as a result of AvX – a merging of philosophies. Marvel’s two biggest franchises, the Avengers and the X-Men will merge into one super mega group known as the Uncanny Avengers. The Odinson believes that this is a positive result that will come out of AvX. This will give fantastic characters like Havok, Rogue, and Cannonball a chance in the Big Leagues to become the stars longtime readers always knew they could be. Marvel Now is just the natural progression of the Marvel Universe as previous glimpses into Marvel’s future have shown us (see Avengers #267 and The Last Avengers Story). For more on my thoughts about Marvel Now see The Odinson Takes a Look at the Next Stage of Marvel Evolution.
One of the major repercussions of AvX is the falling out between Storm and the Black Panther. Africa’s two premiere super heroes were a match made in heaven. They complimented each other perfectly. T’Challa is the king of a nation with powers and abilities beyond those of ordinary men, and Ororo is a strong, powerful and beautiful woman that keeps him grounded. During Civil War, another major event that nearly tore the Marvel Universe super hero community asunder, it was the Wedding of Storm and the Black Panther that was a beacon of hope amid all the chaos and fighting. However, in the pages of AvX, Storm, a longtime member of the X-Men, and Black Panther, a longtime member of the Avengers, were forced to choose a side and in doing so not only did we witness Storm vs. the Black Panther on the battlefield but apparently the tragic end to their marriage. I for one still hold out hope that they will reconcile, but before that can happen the Black Panther has another pressing matter to attend to – Namor.
Wakanda is a highly advanced nation in Africa and in over 10,000 years it has never been conquered. In Wakanda there is a mountain, and within this great mountain resides a seemingly endless supply of the mineral known as vibranium. Vibranium is a super metal that can absorb sound and kinetic energy. It is used to forge the most powerful weapons on Earth. Captain America’s nigh invincible shield is made of vibranium, as is the entire arsenal in the Wakandan army. Plus, Wakanda is protected by the Black Panther, the ultimate human possessing skills, strength, speed and intelligence far superior to normal men. And on top of that, the Black Panther has allies – the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. But none of that mattered in Avengers vs. X-Men #8 when the Savage Sub-Mariner, empowered by the Phoenix Force, came to Wakanda and burned the nation to the ground.
Once AvX comes to a close, there is no way Prince Namor is getting away with declaring war on Wakanda. T’Challa will have a bone to pick with the “good” prince and I don’t think Namor is going to like what the King of Wakanda has to say. Could this mean that there will be yet another war in Marvel’s future? If the last ten years of Marvel storytelling has taught us anything it’s that every event naturally progresses into the next. From Avengers Disassembled to House of M to Civil War to Planet Hulk to World War Hulk to Secret Invasion to Dark Reign to Siege to The Heroic Age to Fear Itself to Avengers vs. X-Men, it has all followed a natural trajectory. This brings us to the next chapter, could it be The Wakanda/Atlantis War, a major companywide event pitting two major super powers against each other and drawing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with ties to both sides right into the middle of it? The Wakanda/Atlantis War could be the modern day version of the classic Kree/Skrull War.
A couple of other characters that have a lot to answer for are Magik and Colossus. In AvX #9, these two once promising heroes were actually taking joy and feeding portions of the souls of their prisoners, heroes mind you, to demons of Limbo. Now I’ve been reading comics a long time and those sound like the actions of super villains, not heroes. Colossus used to be an unassuming strongman who, though not possessing an abundance of confidence, did possess an abundance of courage and heart. But ever since Fatal Attraction, where he began to question his path in the world, the character has been on a steady downward spiral. He seemed to have broken out of this funk with his ultimate sacrifice in Uncanny X-Men #390, when he gave up his life for the greater good of mutantkind. But that proved short-lived. Ever since his return in Astonishing X-Men, one bad decision after another has brought him to this point. With his spirit broken and his conviction at its lowest and with the dark influence of two cosmic forces, Cyttorak and the Phoenix Force, tearing his soul apart, where does Colossus go from here?
Magik, his sister, is a girl whose whole life has been manipulated by others. When she was but a child, the demon Belasco brought her to Limbo and warped her into the Darkchylde. She eventually defeated her demonic mentor and became ruler of the stygian dimension of Limbo, but her darker side always played just beneath the surface. Could her experience with the Phoenix Force have finally pushed this heroine over the edge? If her actions in Avengers vs. X-Men #11 are any indication the answer is yes. The next few months will be very important in these two characters’ development for the future, for at this moment, they both could either go down the path of redemption or darkness.
This brings me to Cyclops. Has there ever been a bigger rise and fall from grace than the one this hero has taken? One would be hard pressed to find another hero in the history of comics that has been kicked in the jewels more times than Scott Summers. Life has dealt him a bad hand over and over again and for the longest time his life was defined by the old adage whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. But every man has his breaking point.
When Scott was just a boy, he and his brother, Alex, parachuted to safety as his parents seemingly died in a plane crash. Later he would find out they were actually kidnapped by aliens and his father became the space pirate known as Corsair. When the boys landed roughly, Scott received a head wound. It is this wound that causes Scott not to be able to control his mutant power and forces him to wear that ruby quartz visor. Scott spent his early years in an orphanage where later he discovered his life was being manipulated by the arch villain Mister Sinister.
When Scott became a teenager he enrolled at Xavier’s School for the Gifted and became a member of the X-Men: First Class. In the beginning he was a skinny, shy kid, but as the years passed Scott, now known as Cyclops, became a stalwart leader of men. His confidence grew, as did his physique, and he was able to make noted troublemakers like Wolverine, if only for a moment or two, toe the line. But then tragedy struck once again as the events of the Dark Phoenix Saga saw Cyclops lose the love of his life.
For a while Cyclops was a bit aimless, until he met Madelyne Pryor, a red haired woman with a striking resemblance to his deceased love Jean Grey. They were soon married and had a baby together. In Uncanny X-Men #201, Cyclops attempted to make a come back and even challenged Storm, who at the time was powerless, for leadership of the team. Storm won, and after the birth of his son, Scott decided to take an extended leave of absence from the X-Men. But then Jean Grey returned.
Now this is the moment where the first chink in Scott’s good guy armor manifests itself. The moment he hears about Jean’s seeming return from the grave, Cyclops all but abandons his wife and baby and reforms the original team of X-Men into the fighting force known as X-Factor. This not only revealed a bit of selfishness on Scott’s part but more importantly it left Madelyne and her baby vulnerable to an attack by Mister Sinister and his malevolent Marauders. The repercussions of his actions would lead Madelyne down a dark path where she would discover that she is but a clone of Jean Grey, goes mad and becomes the Goblin Queen, and ultimately dies trying to murder her estranged husband and child in a battle with the X-Men (see Inferno).
A few months later, Cyclops would have to give up his baby boy, who had been infected with a techno-organic virus, and send him to the future to save his life. Scott would not see his son again until he was a full grown man named Cable. He did, however, get to glimpse into a small window of Cable’s life as a young man during The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, but it was a very small window.
Cyclops did what a lot men do when they’ve been hit by a truck load of tragedy, he dove head deep into his work. Starting with Mutant Genesis and throughout the decade of the nineties, Cyclops forged the X-Men into an elite fighting force and they became one of the most prominent super hero teams in all of comics, even surpassing the Avengers and Justice League in popularity. The decade culminated with the X-Men at the height of their powers and Cyclops making the ultimate heroic sacrifice to bring the threat of Apocalypse to an end once and for all (see The Twelve).
Cyclops returned from death only to watch as the love of his life was once again brutally taken from him (see Eve of Destruction and Planet X). And then, M-Day happened. With just a few words of magic the mutant race was brought to the edge of extinction. It was at this moment that something inside Cyclops broke. He became a desperate man, albeit with good reason. His people were on the verge of going the way of the Dodo. In all the world, where once there were millions of mutants, now there were only 198.
Then a ray of hope, as the first mutant since M-Day was born (See Messiah Complex). Her name was Hope and Cyclops believes she is the savior of the mutant race. Now Cyclops had a new mission and it was no longer Xavier’s dream. He moved the X-Men from the east coast to the west and refurbished Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay into Utopia. Cyclops is one of the most determined men in the world and he will do whatever it takes to save mutantkind, whatever it takes. At this point, Cyclops has taken on an isolationist point of view and the X-Men have become his cult followers. And woe to anyone that would try to invade their mutant Utopia, just ask the Dark Avengers, Nimrod (Bastian), and the Vampire Nation.
As the victories began to stack up, so too seemingly did the arrogance of Cyclops. So confident was he in his newly assembled Extinction Team, a team of elite X-Men consisting of Colossus, Magik, Emma Frost, Storm, the Sub-Mariner, Danger, and Magneto, that in Regenesis Cyclops declared they were Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Which brings us up to the present where Cyclops, now empowered with the Phoenix Force, the very same power that took from him the woman he loved all those years ago, has decided that he will remake the world in his own image and nobody will stand in his way. Not the Avengers, not his former mentor Professor Xavier, not even his fellow X-Men, nobody will stand in his way. It is a strange day indeed when a lifelong hero like Cyclops and a known mutant extremist like Magneto are in the same room together and Magneto is the voice of reason.
Avengers vs. X-Men definitely rocked the Marvel Universe. Loyalties shifted and new enemies were made. The aftermath of this mega event will see the forging of new alliances in Uncanny Avengers. But what will become of Storm and Black Panther’s marriage? What will be T’Challa’s requital to Namor’s attack on Wakanda? Where do Magik and Colossus go from here? The fall from grace of Cyclops, though not quick, was definitely sad and hard to watch, and will definitely lead to CONSEQUENCES.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
September 14, 2012 · No Comments
Greetings from the Odinson,
Way back in 1938, in Action Comics #1, the Man of Steel burst onto the scene and started the super hero craze that is still going strong to this day. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, not only was Superman the first, but he was the inspiration for countless numbers of copycat supermen. He is the ultimate super hero archetype with super strength, speed, ability to fly, chiseled features, broad shoulders, and a long flowing cape, Superman not only sets the standard with his heroic actions for all other heroes to follow, but his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, set the standard for a lot of creators that followed them.
The worlds of comic books are flooded with Superman-inspired heroes. When teenager Bill Batson utters the word SHAZAM, he is transformed into the adult super hero Captain Marvel, a mighty champion for justice with a cape who has super strength, speed, and the ability to fly. Then there’s Gladiator, an alien hero with a cape, super human strength, speed and the ability to fly who also has heat vision. Hyperion, Supreme, Mister Majestic, The High, and Sentry are all thinly veiled Superman-inspired creations. And they all have, you guessed it, super strength, speed, the ability to fly, and (wait for it) a cape. Superman gets his powers from the golden rays of Earth’s yellow sun. Hmmmm. Seems to me like there’s another super man flying around out there with a very similar set up. Oh yeah, StormWatch’s resident super man Apollo.
Another character that inspired a plethora of knock off characters is none other than Wolverine. It’s easy to forget that when the Avengers and X-Men’s feral little berserker first jumped onto the scene way back in Incredible Hulk #180-181 that he was one of the most unique super heroes ever created. He was the quintessential bad boy/loner/rebel with an eye for the ladies and a list of vices as long as your arm. In his very first appearance, this furry little mutant proved he was, without a doubt, one of the toughest men alive by surviving an all out brawl with both the mighty Hulk and the cannibalistic Wendigo. What makes him tough is the fact that his bones are laced with Adamantium, the world’s strongest steel, making his bones virtually unbreakable. What makes him nearly un-killable is his mutant healing factor, a super power that allows Wolverine to recover from mortal wounds as fast as a normal man can get over the sniffles. His five senses are sharp and heightened to superhuman levels. He’s a trained assassin who has mastered most forms of armed and unarmed combat. And on top of it all, he has six razor-sharp foot-long blades made of Adamantium that can cut steel like a hot knife through butter that retract from the back of his hands.
Now let’s see, berserker rage, bad boy attitude, claws, and a healing factor, who else does this remind me of? Oh, I don’t know – Sabretooth, Ripclaw, Warblade, Wild Child, Dingo, Feral, Bloodwulf, Cougar, X-23, Lady Deathstrike, Deadlock, Daken and Romulus, just to name a few. When we were first learning about Wolverine, one of the coolest and most unique things about him was his super human ability to heal. Nowadays, not only does every name on the above list of knockoffs have a “healing factor” but everyone from Savage Dragon to Deadpool to Deathstroke has a “healing factor.” Modern day comic creators have turned one of the coolest ideas for a super power ever into a cliché. Like Superman did with super strength, speed, flight and the cape, Wolverine has almost made the healing factor a prerequisite for the modern day super hero.
Once upon a time, Superman and Wolverine were the most unique ideas for a super hero ever conceived. Now they are the most imitated. It’s said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. There’s a reason why Superman and Wolverine are two of the most popular super heroes in the history of comics. They were the first and are the most original of their kind.
Here’s a list of some of the Odinson’s picks for Most Unique Comic Characters.
Absorbing Man – Crusher Creel was a small time hood who was empowered by Asgardian black magic and given the ability to absorb the properties and power of anything, and I do mean anything, he comes in contact with. That “anything” description puts him on a level above other power absorbers like Amazo, the Super-Adaptoid, Parasite, and Mimic, because not only can Creel absorb powers, he can absorb literally anything. His ability, if not his brains, make him an A-Class super villain that has gone toe-to-toe with the Hulk, Thor, and the Avengers. He even once stormed the gates of Asgard and challenged the nigh omnipotent power of Odin himself.
There are seemingly no limits to Creel’s ability to absorb. He can take on the properties and power of fire, concrete and steel; he’s even absorbed the strength Captain America’s nigh indestructible shield, Thor’s invincible hammer and the Hulk’s immeasurable strength. His only limitation is his lack of intelligence. He is routinely outsmarted by his foes. But make no mistake, every time this Big Bad shows up, the Odinson is front and center because I can’t wait to see what unique way the Absorbing Man will be using his power this time.
Spawn – What I find so unique about this Todd McFarlane (Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man) creation is not so much his powers, which as far as I can tell Spawn can do anything he thinks of because he deals in magic, but it’s the story behind the character. Al Simmons was an elite Black Ops agent that worked secretly for the government. He was a world class assassin that over the course of his highly successful career racked up embarrassingly large number of kills. Suffice it to say, he was not your quintessential “good guy.” One day he was betrayed by those he worked for and murdered. But Simmons was not ready to leave this mortal coil behind.
Al Simmons was a murderer, so he went to where all bad men go when he died, to hell. There he made a deal with the reigning devil to be able to see his beloved wife, Wanda, one last time. The beast agreed, and sent Simmons back to the mortal world as a Hellspawn, a supernatural agent of hell. Simmons got his wish; problem is now his face is burned beyond recognition and his new form is so other worldly that he dare not approach anyone less they run from him in terror. And the cherry on top of the devil’s little ruse? Simmons had been gone a long time, and in that time Wanda had remarried and had a baby with Simmon’s best friend, Terry Fitzgerald. Aw, the pathos.
Now simply known as Spawn, Al Simmons roams the seemingly endless back alleys of the city, protecting his territory and the homeless people society has forgotten about against mobsters, monsters, demons, cyborgs, avenging angels and anything else that dares venture here unwanted. As the story further unfolds, Spawn learns that he is to play a major role in the final battle between Heaven and Hell. What role that is yet is unclear. And both sides, good and evil, will pull at him to ensure that when Armageddon does go down, his power will be on their side. But all will soon learn that this Hellspawn is a very different breed, and Al Simmons walks a path all his own.
Jack Hawksmoor – Easily my favorite character from the pages of StormWatch and later Authority, Jack Hawksmoor is one of the most unique heroes ever conceived. He is reported to be the “God of Cities.” Genetically altered by a sophisticated super race from the future, Hawksmoor is in complete empathic link with all the cities of the world. He draws his powers from the city itself. His abilities present themselves in many different forms including super human strength, speed, agility, the ability to manipulate matter and heal infrastructure with his mind. He can communicate with cities as if they were sentient beings. They can warn him of imminent danger and provide Intel on events occurring around the world. Hawksmoor can travel from city to city anywhere in the world by going to sleep in one place and waking up in another location.
However, he does have an Achilles Heel. Like Aquaman when it comes to water, Hawksmoor cannot long survive outside the city limits of an urban setting. He is psychically and physically connected to cities and to leave them behind altogether would destroy him. He does not wear shoes because the soles of his feet have adapted into the most effective urban footwear. Because of its great size, Hawksmoor is able to live onboard the space ship the Authority call home. It is large enough to be a city, so his powers can cope with him being there. Jack Hawksmoor is a natural born leader. He abhors violence but is not afraid to take a life if it means saving others. He’s smart, collected and cool under fire, and his distinctive power set always brings a unique aspect to the adventures of the Authority (now, once again, called StormWatch).
The Vision – The Vision is truly a masterpiece of a comic book creation. Not only his powers, like Jack Hawksmoor, but his story, like Spawn, make him unique. It all starts with Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket). Pym is a founding member of the Avengers and a brilliant scientist. One day, in his lab, he created Ultron, an artificial intelligence in the form of a robot. However, a flaw in Ultron caused the robot to turn on his creator and seek out the extermination of the human race. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assembled and defeated the mechanical threat.
Ultron proved to be every bit as creative as his own creator though. By using the deactivated body of the World War II android hero the Human Torch and combining it with brain patterns based on the deceased Wonder Man, Ultron brought his ultimate creation into the world – the Vision. The Vision was designed to destroy the Avengers, so Ultron armed him with the powers and abilities to be able to do just that.
The Vision has complete control over his body’s mass. With a thought he can become as hard as diamond or as intangible as air. In his diamond-hard state, the Vision is extremely heavy and nearly immovable. He has super human strength and is nearly impervious to harm. In his intangible state, the Vision can fly and pass through solid objects. This allows him to walk through walls like a ghost. On the Vision’s forehead is a jewel which absorbs solar radiation and allows him to project beams of intense heat. One of the Vision’s most devastating attacks is to reach his intangible hand into an opponent’s chest then slowly solidify it, causing his adversary to suffer uncontrollable seizures.
The Vision’s unique power set almost proved too much for the Avengers to handle, but when the super android discovered just how cruel his creator actually was, he turned on him. The Vision helped the Avengers to defeat Ultron, and for his bravery was offered a spot in the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. On that day the world learned “Even an Android Can Cry.” The Vision’s unique story does not stop there. He would go on not only to become one of the most stalwart members of the Avengers but he would also develop a romantic relationship with the Scarlet Witch. The Vision and Scarlet Witch for years made the most unlikeliest of couples, for she was a mutant and he was an android. Both started out on the wrong side of the law but through their trials and tribulations somehow found each other.
Talk about unique, get a load of this family tree. Ant-Man created Ultron. Ultron created the Vision using parts from the original Human Torch and Wonder Man. The Scarlet Witch’s brother is Quicksilver and her sister is Polaris. The Scarlet Witch's father is Magneto. Quicksilver was married to Crystal, a member of the Inhumans Royal Family, and they have a daughter together named Luna. Polaris is romantically tied to Havok, whose brother is Cyclops, who with Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey, are the parents of Cable. Rachel Summers is the daughter of a future incarnation of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Ant-Man was married to the Wasp. Ultron, Pym’s “son”, created the robot Jocasta, the Vision’s “sister”, in the image of the Wasp. The Grim Reaper is the deranged brother of Wonder Man. The Young Avengers Speed and Wiccan are the improbable offspring of the Vision and Scarlet Witch, made possible somehow by her chaos magic. The Scarlet Witch studied magic under the tutelage of Agatha Harkness, who at one time also served as nanny for the Fantastic Four. Crystal, Quicksilver’s ex-wife, served for a time in the FF and was romantically linked with Johnny Storm, the second Human Torch.
And you thought your family tree was complicated. I bet there are some real fireworks going on at this family reunion. It’s all just pieces to the puzzle that make the Vision one of the most unique characters in all of comics. All of this plus his costume just so happens to be one of the coolest designs ever.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
September 07, 2012 · 1 Comment
Greetings from the Odinson,
I love the old Atomic Age sci-fi monster movies of ‘50s. Films like Them! (1954), Godzilla (1954), Tarantula (1955), and The Blob (1958) are cornerstones in the sci-fi horror genre. And it all goes back to the original sci-fi monster Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a tale about a madman who challenges the forces of nature and creates a monster using dark forbidden science. Now the Odinson is not from that era, but these are the kind of movies or stories that transcend eras. Science Fiction/Horror can sometimes be even scarier than supernatural horror, although Ghost Stories do give me the creeps.
The reason is that no matter how fantastic or outlandish the premise may be for a story rooted in science fiction (i.e. space aliens, giant monsters, pandemics) there’s always just a smidgen of truth or little fact, no matter how small, that makes this premise, no matter how outlandish, almost plausible. And that’s scary, whereas supernatural horror can always just be chalked up to make-believe flights of fancy. Don’t be silly, son, unicorns don’t exist. Or. The only thing I hate about living in Santa Carla is all the damn vampires. Supernatural horror, no matter how bloody or gory it may get, can always simply be dismissed as fantasy.
Most of the time supernatural horror goes hand-in-hand with comedy and is used as metaphor for life. Vampires and werewolves are constantly used to explore sexuality, changing moods and personalities, and the fear of the unknown. Zombies are a metaphor for the humdrum everyday world of modern society and how if one is not careful, that mundane way of living can destroy, or devour, as the case may be. Nobody got this better than Joss Whedon did with his seminal creation Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Week after week on this show, Whedon and his posse of creators took the horror as metaphor to a whole other level. High school was hell, literally.
Science fiction explores the philosophical dilemmas of man. Man playing God is a huge subject explored in the worlds of science fiction horror. Doctor Frankenstein scoffed at the laws of nature when he challenged the very meaning of life and death itself. In Aliens, even though the introduction of the Xenomorph to humans could cause the end of mankind, a soulless corporation still seeks to exploit this dangerous new species and use it as a biological weapon. The spark that leads to ruin doesn’t always have to come from a place of greed or malevolence either, sometimes it can originate from good intentions. In I Am Legend (the movie adaptation), when scientists attempt to cure cancer they unleash a pandemic far, far worse as the majority of the world’s population is suddenly turned into flesh-eating, sunlight-fearing zombie/vampire-like monsters.
There is one title though that melds all the best qualities of science fiction and supernatural horror together into one big beautiful cobweb laden, fog enveloped melting pot, and that’s Swamp Thing.
I was first introduced to this bizarre creature with the 1982 film Swamp Thing, starring Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow) with Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) and Dick Durock in the dual role of Alec Holland and Swamp Thing. The film led me inevitably to the comic series The Saga of the Swamp Thing. As a kid I was fascinated with this series. On the cover of Saga of the Swamp Thing #1, there is the iconic image of villagers chasing the monster with torches and pitchforks. The cover of Swamp Thing #2 actually has a photo of the Swamp Thing from the movie.
As the story goes, scientist Alec Holland and his wife had established a lab in the swamp to create a restorative super formula that could turn deserts into fertile farmland. They succeeded, but not without a cost. When corrupt men tried to steal Holland’s formula his wife is murdered and he is doused in the chemical and set afire. Holland ran screaming in agony and dove into the dark, cool waters of the marsh. When he did not resurface, the bad guys and the world presumed him dead, along with his miracle formula which was destroyed in the fire. But the chemicals of the restorative formula interacted with the swamp itself and Alec Holland was reborn as the Swamp Thing.
Now Holland roams the wetlands, quagmires and boggy depots of the world, venturing from swamp to swamp searching for a place in the world (see Roots of the Swamp Thing). Stories of the swamp monster have spread far and wide and Holland has become synonymous with other legends like Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster. While passing through the small boggy town of Limbo, the Swamp Thing happens upon a disturbing situation. An apparently deranged man holds a gun to a child’s head with every intention of pulling the trigger. He is raving madly about witches and the devil. The Swamp Thing intervenes and stops the attempted murder suicide. But the man is killed by his own gun in the struggle and the Swamp Thing is too late to save the child’s mother.
The Swamp Thing quickly discovers that the child is mute, which suits him just find, for though Holland retains his capacity for thought, his mossy exterior struggles to put words together. The two are soon chased from town perceived to be a witch-child and her monster. What follows is a cross-country adventure dipped in conspiracy that eventually leads to an apocalyptic battle for the fate of the world.
Saga of the Swamp Thing #3 is, with out a doubt, one of my favorite vampire stories in comics. It’s a straight up horror story in the same vein as Salem’s Lot. As Holland and his young friend Casey travel cross-country via a boxcar on a train, they are suddenly set upon by a group of blood-suckers. During the scuffle, the Swamp Thing and Casey are separated, as he tumbles out of the moving boxcar and she continues down the tracks, but not before it is revealed that this strange mute little girl does possess psychic powers. Holland finds himself stranded in a small town that has been overrun by vampires. He meets a small group of desperate survivors whose numbers are dwindling by the night. But the true horror of the tale comes to light when Holland, and the reader, realize the lengths one man will go to stop the threat of a vampire plague sweeping across the country.
In Swamp Thing #4, as Holland tries to find his missing friend, he comes face-to-face with a demonic serial killer of children. In Swamp Thing #5, Holland learns that he is dying. This explains why the wounds he’s accumulating are not healing, but when he learns the consequences of his possible salvation he decides the cure maybe worse than death. As the story moves along, Holland meets new allies and encounters dangerous new foes. But in Swamp Thing #9-10 the story takes a shocking turn when he learns a terrible secret about his mute companion, Casey. It seems that this unassuming little girl just may actually be the beast that ushers in the Apocalypse. Since Holland saved her life (in SotST #1), he now feels responsible, and if Casey succeeds in her unholy mission, the End of Days will be the Swamp Thing’s fault.
In Swamp Thing #11-12, in order to stop Casey, the Golem, an ancient creature of Jewish legend is unleashed. But when this mindless juggernaut becomes misdirected, it falls to the swamp-born strength of the Swamp Thing to stop it. Meanwhile, the Beast of the Apocalypse draws ever closer to its terrifying goal, as the creature usurps the life of yet another one of Holland’s friends. Running out of allies and running out of time, in Swamp Thing #13, Holland finally comes face-to-face with the Beast. In the climatic battle, the Swamp Thing, his friends, his enemies, the Golem, and the Beast of the Apocalypse all collide in a battle for the future of the world. It’s a battle not everyone will survive.
Then in Swamp Thing #20-21, master scribe Alan Moore takes the reins of the series and transforms the mossy man-monster into a force of nature with a destiny much grander than anyone ever suspected. And the rest, as they say, is history. The Swamp Thing is the ultimate horror comic book. Len Wein and Berni Wrightson used science fiction to create a modern day Frankenstein Monster (see Roots of the Swamp Thing), Martin Pasko and Tom Yeates wrapped that creation in a supernatural blanket (see The Saga of the Swamp Thing #1-13) and Alan Moore cultivated the creature, breathed new life into him and took the Swamp Thing to places undreamed of (see Saga of the Swamp Thing HC Vol. 1-6).
Like all truly great horror, science fiction or supernatural, Swamp Thing is an allegory about life and death, a metaphor for man and his place in the world. And, The Saga of the Swamp Thing also just happens to be one hell of a fine read.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell