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The Odinson Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of ThunderCats!

February 06, 2015 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

Thunder.  Thunder!  ThunderCats!  Hooooooooooo!

 

If you were a child of the 80s chances are you know exactly what that battle cry means.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since the mighty ThunderCats debuted on syndicated television in January of 1985.  The 1980s was a Golden Age of original ideas when it came to popular culture.  Just to name a few, this is the decade that saw the birth of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, GI Joe A Real American Hero, Transformers, My Little Pony, MASK, Jem and the Holograms, and head-and-shoulders right there with the rest was the ThunderCats! 

 

The tale of the ThunderCats is classic science fiction adventure at its best. 

 

When their homeworld, Thundera is destroyed, a small band of survivors including a young prince named Lion-O, escapes to the stars on board a small ship.  While the few survivors lay in cryo-stasis, brave Jaga, Lion-O’s mentor, piloted the ship.  It took many years to find a safe port.  By the time their vessel crash-landed on a new world, Jagga had succumbed to old age, but his precious cargo was delivered safely.

 

The survivors awoke to discover this new world was a virtual paradise called Third Earth.  They also discovered that their young prince was now a man!  It seems that Lion-O’s stasis chamber was damaged in their flight from doomed Thundera and Lion-O’s body aged slowly over the course of their long space flight.  Though he had the body of an adult ThunderCat, he still possessed the maturity of a twelve year old.  Part of his hero’s journey was learning how to become a responsible leader of his people.

 

The ThunderCats quickly carved out a settlement for themselves in this brave new world and constructed a mighty citadel known as the Cat’s Lair.  They would soon discover that their sworn enemies, the devious Mutants, led by the reptilian Slithe, followed them to their new home and still sought their destruction.  They also discovered that this new paradise, though it was a planet of lush forests and beautiful grasslands, populated by benevolent denizens of every size and shape, this Third Earth, also possessed a dark side.

 

Among the many dangers that bedeviled this world, the berserker pirates, the revenge-seeking demons, the galactic huntsmen, and the lunatic assassins, one name stood out as the ultimate force for evil on Third Earth – Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living!  Mumm-Ra was a frail yet immortal lich that lived in a foreboding pyramid in the darkest corner of Third Earth.  He could not abide a new power challenging his own, so he made it his wicked quest to wipe out the ThunderCats once and for all.  He recruited the Cat’s mortal enemies, the evil Mutants, to his cause.  Already a powerful magi-user, Mumm-Ra could increase his strength and power exponentially by calling upon the Ancient Spirits of Evil and transform himself into a seven-foot tall ogre-mage of immense strength and nigh unlimited magical power.

 

The ThunderCats were a brave and stalwart breed and they met every challenge thrown their way.  As a race of humanoids descendant from cats, they all possessed natural super human agility and super keen senses.  However, each ThunderCat also brought unique skills, powers, and abilities of their own to the table.

 

Lion-O – He is the undisputed Lord of the ThunderCats.  He is a courageous fighter and leader with incredible strength, speed, and endurance.  Armed with his unique Claw-Shield, a formidable gauntlet with many different capabilities, and the legendary Sword of Omens, a magical blade that can deflect and project powerful magic and give its wielder “Sight beyond Sight,” a precognitive vision, Lion-O is a mighty warrior capable of defeating nearly any foe.  However, on that rare occasion when even he is overwhelmed, Lion-O can use the Sword of Omens to summon the other ThunderCats to his side.

 

Cheetara – She possesses the ability to accelerate to blinding levels of speed.  She is also a master with a Bo staff.

 

Panthro – He possesses immense super human strength matched only by his keen intellect.  Panthro is a master of martial arts and the Nunchaku, and he is a master engineer and tech savvy.  He is pretty much to the ThunderCats what Beast is to the X-Men.

 

Tigra – He also possesses a keen scientific mind, but don’t let the smarts fool you, armed with a three-pronged whip and the ability to disappear into the surroundings around him, Tigra is a fierce adversary.   

 

Wily Kit and Kat – This brother and sister team are the masters of chaos and mayhem.  Their pouches are full all sorts of gimmicks, tricks, and traps that bewilder, baffle, and trip up their enemies.  They have mastered the art of getting into and out of trouble.

 

Snarf – This lovable little worrywart is the self-appointed conscience of the group.  He spends his days and nights trying to make sure Lion-O is heading down the right path to become a just and good monarch.    

 

Jaga – Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker, Jaga’s influence and wisdom reaches out to guide Lion-O even from beyond the grave in the form of a ghostly apparition.        

 

The ThunderCats was must watch television for a young Odinson.  I even enjoyed the other animated show set in the same universe – SilverHawks.  Though we didn’t have the amazing comic book dominated movies and TV of now, the 80s had their own super heroes.  In recent years, an updated version of the show has hit the airwaves.  Plus, in recent years, DC Comics has revitalized properties like Masters of the Universe and IDW has done wonderful things with GI Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony.  I believe it’s time for the mighty ThunderCats to make a triumphant return to the four color medium and beyond.                 

 

Here’s to you, ThunderCats!  Happy 30th Anniversary!  The Odinson was, is, and will always be a big fan.

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

 

No CommentsTags: Comics · Pop Culture · Television

Top 10 Breaking Bad Heroes: Part 2

January 30, 2015 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

The Punisher, Magneto, and the Sub-Mariner are by no stretch of the imagination what one would traditionally call a hero, but they are not evil men either.  They are Anti-Heroes, those that walk the tightrope between good and bad constantly pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable one way or another.  When they act out and cross that line it is almost expected.  But what about our heroes?  What about those we place all our trust in, those few brave individuals who are running toward the danger when everyone else is running away from it?  What about the Good guys that go BAD?

 

Top 10 Breaking Bad Heroes: Part 2    

 

 5 - Ultimate Reed Richards – When the Ultimate Universe first launched, Ultimate Reed Richards is much like his 616 counterpart.  He is super intelligent, gains the powers of elasticity, and leads the Fantastic Four on many amazing adventures, even saving the world many times.  However, Ultimate Reed’s brain and cosmic ray mutations work a little different as he is constantly evolving and his intelligence is constantly increasing.  This warps his sense of reality and he transforms into an adversary of the heroes of the Ultimate Universe. Even the combine efforts of his former teammates in the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and the Ultimates are barely able to stop his evil machinations.  In fact, this Reed Richards has become arguably the Ultimate Universe’s greatest super villain.    

 

4 – Jean Grey – Originally teenager Jean Grey was a wallflower, a shy, mild-mannered girl that would blush at even the most harmless flirtation from her fellow students at Xavier’s Institute.  She possessed fantastic mind powers, telepathy and telekinesis, that Professor X helped her master.  However, on that fateful day she crossed paths and merged with the Phoenix Force, Jean Grey’s life was forever change.  Her already great psionic abilities were amplified to unearthly levels.  She became the Phoenix and with her new found might was able to accomplish astounding feats of heroism like repairing the fractured M’Krann Crystal, a device that if left unchecked would have destroyed the cosmos.  However, they say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Jean possessed the ultimate power in the universe.  She was soon corrupted and transformed into the Dark Phoenix.  The Dark Phoenix became a twisted force of nature destroying anything in her path, even sucking the life out of a star effectively destroying an entire star system, including an inhabited planet.  It was only through the Herculean efforts of her fellow X-Men, the Shi’ar Empire, and with great sacrifice on Jean’s part that the destructive power of the Dark Phoenix was stopped.  NOTE:  I understand that Marvel History has been reworked in The Return of Jean Grey and it was not Jean Grey that became the Dark Phoenix but actually the Phoenix Force’s proximity of her.  But, in essence it was Jean and it’s what would have happened if the events had played out even with her instead of a stand in.  Aren’t retcons fun? *ugh*        

 

3 - Sarah Kerrigan – Once upon a time, Kerrigan was a Ghost, a super assassin with cloaking tech and uncanny psychic abilities.  Alongside her allies, the Sons of Korhal, she served in a revolution against the Confederacy.  This uprising was set against the backdrop of a three-way war between the terran race, the alien Protoss, and the monstrous zerg.  However, at the fall of Tarsonis, Kerrigan was betrayed by her commanding officer, Arcturus Mengsk, and left for dead as the zerg swarm engulfed the planet.  Then, something most unexpected happened, Kerrigan was not killed by the zerg invasion, instead she was infested and transformed into the Queen of Blades, the undisputed ruler over the vast zerg swarm.  As the Queen of Blades, Kerrigan’s already considerable psionic abilities have been amplified to monstrous levels.  Completely immersed into the zerg and fueled by revenge, the Queen of Blades seeks to wipe out all her terran and Protoss enemies.  The Dark Phoenix may have extinguished a star and obliterated a single life-supporting planet, but The Swarm, under the command of the Queen of Blades, has wiped up dozens of worlds and is responsible for the deaths of untold billions.

 

2 - Hal Jordan – Hal Jordan was chosen by destiny to become a Green Lantern, a member of an intergalactic police force, granted a power ring with limits only curbed by the bearer’s imagination.  Across the cosmos there are hundreds of Lanterns protecting the innocent and defending justice, but Jordan was the bravest, he was the brightest, he was the best.  However, on that fateful day when the alien despot Mongul and the sinister Cyborg-Superman destroy Coast City, faced with the reality that the city and all the people under his protection were annihilated, Jordan went mad.  He destroyed the Green Lantern Corps and absorbed all the power of the Corps into himself becoming the mega powerful Parallax.  In his ill-fated quest for power enough to resurrect his fallen city, Jordan tried to rewrite history in Zero Hour and even teamed up with Thanos, the Mad Titan from another universe.  Though he ultimately found the hero within again and sacrificed his own life to save the Earth in the pages Final Night, and he has since been resurrected and welcomed back into the fold of the Green Lantern Corps he once destroyed, Jordan’s actions as the Parallax have forever left an uneasiness between him and his allies in the Justice League and Green Lantern Corps.    

 

1 - Anakin Skywalker – Found by jedi knight Qui-Gon Jinn on the remote desert world of Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker was believed to be the Chosen One, the jedi that would one day bring balance back to the force.  Though in a roundabout way that was true, it would be a long, hard, gut-wrenching journey.  Under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin became a mighty jedi and a great hero during the infamous Clone Wars.  However, Anakin proved reckless and rash and was seduced by the dark side of the force.  He betrayed the Jedi Order and became Darth Vader.  Vader, backed by the power of the Empire and his ruthless master, the Emperor, hunted down and destroyed the Jedi Order.  Along the way he has murdered women, children, and was even party to the complete and utter annihilation of an entire planet.  He even murdered Obi-Wan Kenobi, the man that was his mentor, his friend, his brother.  Anakin’s fall from grace is one of the most legendary of its kind in the history of popular fiction.  Darth Vader has become synonymous with evil and alongside Hannibal Lecter, the Terminator, and the shark from JAWS will go up on the Mount Rushmore of movie villains.      

 

Honorable Mentions: Angel, Ozymandias, Saruman, Spawn, Scarlet Witch, and Kitiara.

 

One to keep an eye on: Superior Iron Man.

 

Some may have found redemption and made it back to the side of the White Hats, others may still be spiraling down that dark road of sin, but once upon a time they were all heroes.  They were heroes but something happened along the way and they strayed from the righteous path.  These are the Breaking Bad Heroes.   

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

 

No CommentsTags: Comics · Pop Culture

Top 10 Breaking Bad Heroes: Part 1

January 23, 2015 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

Frank Castle, as the Punisher and to avenge the murder of his family, has declared war on all crime.  He carries this out by brutally killing anyone he perceives to be on the wrong side of the law.  He has become judge, jury, and executioner.  Magneto is the mutant Master of Magnetism.  He is also a Holocaust survivor and devout defender of his race and their basic human rights.  However, unlike his friend Charles Xavier, Magneto believes mutants are the rightful inheritors of the world and he would crush the humans for denying mutantkind their right.  Although on occasion saner minds prevail, and Magneto tries to walk a better path as a member of Xavier’s X-Men.  Prince Namor is the fabled Savage Sub-Mariner, a mighty underwater monarch who has tried to destroy humanity almost as often as he has saved it. 

 

The Punisher, Magneto, and the Sub-Mariner are by no stretch of the imagination what one would traditionally call a hero, but they are not evil men either.  They are Anti-Heroes, those that walk the tightrope between good and bad constantly pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable one way or another.  When they act out and cross that line it is almost expected.  But what about our heroes?  What about those we place all our trust in, those few brave individuals who are running toward the danger when everyone else is running away from it?  What about the Good guys that go Bad?

 

Top 10 Breaking Bad Heroes: Part 1     

 

10 - Vision – In the aftermath of an epic battle between the Avengers and Fantastic Four against the Negative Zone despot Annihilus (see Into the Negative Zone), the Vision is left with extensive damages and on the verge of death.  The newest Avenger, Starfox, decides to help the Vision repair his injuries by hooking the android up to ISAAC, a super computer located on Titan, the off world home of an isolated tribe of Eternals.  The Vision is repaired but something is awakened within him and suddenly he gazes upon the world in a different light.  The Vision decides that the only way humanity can move forward is under his guiding hand.  The Vision plots to take over the world.  He maneuvers himself to become team leader and his first act as Chairman is to create the West Coast Avengers.  Though months later this would prove to be a good thing, it was originally a devious ploy to divide the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes so that his machinations could proceed uninhibited.  The Avengers make their living by stopping would be world conquerors, they just never thought they would be trying to stop one of their own.       

 

9 - Hulk – In the not too distant future, all the heroes and most of humanity is wiped out by nuclear war.  The ultimate survivor, the Hulk, absorbs unearthly amounts of radiation from the fallout and not only does he become more powerful than ever before, his mind becomes twisted with hate, greed, and malevolence.  We first encounter this cruel version of the Jade Giant when the New Incredible Hulk, a Hulk with all the strength plus Bruce Banner’s genius intellect, is brought through time and space to the future to help the remnants of mankind defeat the cruel and wicked tyrant that rules over them with an iron fist.  Here the Hulk comes face-to-face with the Maestro, his sinister future self.  The Maestro is a vicious and cunning adversary, even bragging to his younger self how he has smashed every single would be challenger to his power.  He mocks the younger Hulk, saying his enemies should have brought Thor or the Fantastic Four forward in time saying they would stand a better chance against his might.  The Maestro proves to be one of the Hulk’s most dangerous and villainous foes and most personal, for to this day, every time Banner stares into a mirror and sees the lines on his face getting longer, he sees himself slowly but surely becoming the evil Maestro.     

 

8 – Arthas Menethil – Azeroth is a world of might and magic.  It is a plane divided with vast territories of land constantly being contended for in a never-ending war between the valiant Alliance and the savage Horde.  Trained by the legendary hero Uther the Lightbringer, Arthas was a mighty paladin and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Lordaeron.  However, in order to save his kingdom from the seemingly unstoppable advance of the Scourge, a never-ending army of undead, Arthas sought ultimate power.  Unfortunately, the immense power that was granted him by the cursed sword, Frostmourne, corrupted his soul and Arthas became the Lich King.  Once the free world’s greatest champion, now Arthas leads the Scourge against his own people and challenges both the Alliance and the Horde for dominance over all of Azeroth.

 

7 - Superman – When the Joker pays Superman a visit, the Man of Steel is tricked into murdering his wife, Lois Lane, and the entire city of Metropolis and all the people under his protection are destroyed in nuclear fire.  Superman is pushed too far and he squashes the Clown Prince of Crime like a bug.  Not even Batman could prevent his grief-stricken friend from doing it.  Having crossed that line, the Last Son of Krypton spirals down a rabbit hole, his sanity and grasp on what is right and wrong begins to unravel.  Superman, followed by a few other loyal members of the Justice League, conquerors the world and takes away the population’s freedom of choice.  It’s simple, live under the Man of Steel’s rules or be eliminated.  This, of course, causes a rift in the super hero community and war is declared with Superman and his army on one side and Batman and his backers on the other.  To illustrate just how far Superman has fallen *SPOILERS AHEAD*, he allies himself with the evil Sinestro and he murders friends and allies including Green Arrow, the Green Lantern Corps, and eventually Captain Marvel in cold blood.  The alternate reality of Injustice: Gods Among Us truly shows us just how scary it would be if the Man of Steel was a bad guy.       

 

6 - Wolverine – When the super assassin, the Gorgon, ambushes and murders Wolverine, Logan is brought back to life by the Hand, a death cult ninja clan, who use their black magic to enslave him and turn Wolverine into the world’s most dangerous super villain.  This new sinister Wolverine begins to murder super powered beings by the dozen.  They are in turn raised from the grave and recruited into the ranks of the Hand’s growing undead army.  No one is safe.  Logan attacks Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, Elektra, and even his own teammates, the X-Men.  It takes the combined efforts of SHIELD and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to wrangle in the world’s most dangerous man.  Logan’s brainwashing is eventually overturned and he is brought back to the side of the White Hats, but for a brief moment in time, Wolverine was the deadliest bad guy in the Marvel Universe.   

 

Those are some pretty hard falls from grace.  Whose turn to the dark side could possibly top this list?  Here’s a hint: one is a genius, one is ghost, one was the greatest of his kind, one may yet rise from the ashes again someday, and one is a fallen hero from a galaxy far, far away.  Tune in next week for the rest of the Odinson’s Breaking Bad Heroes!    

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

No CommentsTags: Comics

Characters with Strikingly Similar Attributes but Nothing in Common

January 16, 2015 · No Comments

NOTE: This week’s column was inspired in part by and dedicated to our own fearless leader - Buddy Saunders.

 

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

To say that the Man of Steel inspired the creation of other comic book super heroes is a titanic understatement.  Not only was he the original, the template by which all others followed, but from Captain Marvel to Hyperion to Icon, dozens upon dozens of homages have been made in his honor.  Another such inspiring character is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, the adventurer who, along with Tarzan, laid the groundwork for other pulp heroes like Doc Savage, the Shadow, and the Spider: Master of Men to follow.    

 

Superman and John Carter – Two men from different worlds that adopt homes to protect from the forces of evil.  Kal-El was sent to Earth by his scientist father when his homeworld of Krypton was destroyed.  His adopted world’s lighter gravity grants him incredible super human strength and allows him to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  John Carter was an officer in the American Civil War that suddenly finds himself transported to the red sands of Mars where the lighter gravity grants him incredible super human strength and the ability to leap great distances.  As Clark Kent, Kal-El is a mild-mannered reporter raised in the mid-West with downhome family values.  As Superman he is in a relationship with Wonder Woman, an Amazon Princess, and he is a champion for truth, justice, and the American Way. On Earth, John Carter is an ex-soldier, a simple southern man seeking his fortune in gold.  On Mars, he is the consort of Dejah Thoris, a beautiful, exotic princess, and he is her champion against alien oppressors.  These two men are legendary heroes with a lot of similarities and a lot in common.   

 

It’s easy to find similarities in characters that have so much in common, characters like Swamp Thing and Man-Thing (they are both Swampmen), the Sub-Mariner and Black Adam (they are both hot headed anti-hero/villain monarchs with pointy ears), and the Flash and Quicksilver (they both run really, really fast).  But, what about characters that have physical similarities but nothing else in common?

 

Characters with Strikingly Similar Attributes but Nothing in Common

 

Ghost Rider and The Atomic Skull – They both have flaming skulls for domes, but that’s where the similarities end.  Johnny Blaze was a stuntman that in order to save the life of a loved one struck a deal with the devil and became the supernatural repo man of lost souls and the Spirit of Vengeance for those that have been wronged by them!   The Atomic Skull was a man transformed by super science into a powerhouse that emits deadly amounts of radiation and can project devastating brain-blasts.  

 

The Human Torch and The Dread Dormammu – This one makes the Odinson laugh.  When I was a child in the late 70s and very early 80s, just starting out my foray into the worlds of comics, I had no idea who the Dread Dormammu was but I would see pictures of him pop up from time to time.  In my young mind, because of their very similar looks, I concocted an Empire Strikes Back-like backstory that he was in fact the evil father of the Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm.  The way these two characters were drawn in the Silver and Bronze Age, they looked like they had the same exact face and flaming head.  So, a young neophyte Odinson could only assume they were related.  How surprising to eventually find out that one was the lord and master of a demonic dark dimension and the other was just a wisecracking teenager who loved to give lovable ole Ben Grimm a hotfoot.   

 

Captain America and The Guardian – These men are both products of a bygone era.  They both wield mighty shields for justice and had sidekicks (Bucky and the Newsboy Legion) that grew up to become notable cogs in their comic universes (The Winter Soldier and Project Cadmus), but that is where the similarities end.  Jim Harper was a 1940s Metropolis police officer that decided to become a masked vigilante.  Decades later his mind was transferred from his old, dying body into a young, vital cloned body so that he could continue the fight for justice in the modern world.  Steve Rogers was a meek volunteer who was transformed into a super soldier.  He fought in World War II.  He was frozen and decades later reawakened in the modern era where he now leads Earths Mightiest Heroes in a never-ending battle against injustice.    

 

Hawkman and Angel – They both have birdlike wings, but that is where the similarities between these two high-flying heroes end.  Katar Hol is an intergalactic police officer armed with powerful armor and melee weapons powered by alien technology and he possesses the training, physically enhanced strength, and sour demeanor to use them.  Warren Worthington III was born a mutant, the next evolutionary step for mankind.  He was trained by Professor X, his physical skills honed to a razor’s edge in the infamous Danger Room, and alongside his fellow X-Men, he strives to protect a world that fears and hates him.

 

Venom and Spawn – They both have symbiotic suits that act like a second skin and grant them unearthly powers and abilities, but that is where the similarities end.  Eddie Brock was a disenfranchised photographer with a misguided grudge against rival photographer Peter Parker who bonded with the alien symbiote that Spider-Man had cast aside when it tried to take control of him, and like a jilted lover, the alien symbiote also holds a grudge.  Brock and the symbiote formed a bond and became the Lethal Protector, a sometimes villain, sometimes anti-hero known as Venom.  Al Simmons, a government assassin that was betrayed and murdered by those he worked for, made a deal with the devil and has now returned as the supernatural warrior known as Spawn.  Spawn struggles to find a place in a world of mobsters, monsters, serial killers, cyborg-assassins, and a war between Heaven and Hell.

 

OMAC and Gladiator – They both are immensely powerful beings sporting magnificent mohawks, but that is where the similarities end.  In the future, Buddy Blank, the One Man Army Corps, is empowered with super human strength, speed, and endurance and helps keep the peace in a world constantly teetering on the brink of chaos.  Kallark is the Praetor of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, an elite fighting force comprised of powerful alien beings from around the galaxy that serve as bodyguards for the Shi’ar monarchy and protect the Empire’s interests at home and abroad.      

 

Captain Marvel and Doc Samson – I include these two on the list because guys with lightning bolts on their chests are super cool.  Other than this very superficial similarity, these two heroes really have absolutely nothing in common.  When teenager Billy Batson utters the magical word SHAZAM he is transformed by a bolt of lightning into the earthly avatar of Olympian might, a super hero with powers and abilities to rival the Man of Steel himself.  Leonard Samson was transformed by Gamma radiation into a super human adventurer with a fraction of the Hulk’s incredible strength but kept all of his human intelligence.  Samson possesses immense guilt over Bruce Banner’s plight and has made it his lifelong quest to cure the man of his curse.  Samson also is a working psychiatrist whose clients include She-Hulk and members of X-Factor.     

 

Doctor Solar and Cyclops - These were the two guys that got me thinking about a list like this in the first place.  They both wear super cool, very distinct Devo-like visors, but that is where the similarities end.  Solar was a scientist that was transformed by a nuclear accident into a man with astonishing atomic powers!  Doctor Solar is one of the most powerful super heroes in the comic book multiverse.  Scott Summers was the first X-Man, born with the incredible ability to project beams of immense destructive force from his eyes.  This sets him apart from his fellow man.  He fights alongside the X-Men to protect mankind and fight for mutant equality and rights.

 

From John Carter, the hero that launched the Pulp Age of Adventure, and Superman, the hero that launched the Golden Age of Comics and the Age of the Modern Day Super Hero, two characters with a great deal in common to Doctor Solar and Cyclops, two of the most uniquely identifiable comic book characters in history, headliners of a list of characters with strikingly similar attributes but never-the-less characters with very little else in common, this is the Odinson’s tribute to inspiration.  Inspiration creates similarities, big and small, and it creates great ideas.  Ideas are the driving force behind our beloved medium and without inspiration there can be no ideas.        

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

No CommentsTags: Comics

The Odinson’s 2014 The Year in Review - Part 1: The Comics

December 26, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

It’s time for Odinson’s 2014: The Year in Review!

 

Part 1: The Comics

 

Avengers and the X-Men: Axis – The diabolical Red Skull possesses the unparalleled telepathic powers of the deceased Charles Xavier (see Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow).  The Avengers/X-Men unity team was barely able to stop him.  Now, the arch fiend has returned and this time he has evolved into the nigh unstoppable form of Onslaught!  All appears lost as the united teams of Avengers and X-Men are unable to match Red Skull’s new found might.  This causes Magneto to assemble a team of villains that includes Enchantress, Sabretooth, Doctor Doom and more in order to mount a comeback.  The psychic backlash of Skull’s defeat causes a highly unusual change in all that were present at the battle.  The Marvel U is turned upside down as heroes become villainous and villains become heroic.  The story allows creators to tell distinctly different stories with characters that would not normally act thus, but in the end, Axis just rings hollow as a “Big Event” that really has nowhere to go.  Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers  

 

Batman Eternal – Not since the second and third movies of The Matrix Trilogy, Reloaded and Revolutions, has the Odinson been so thoroughly satisfied and utterly disappointed at the same time with a piece of popular fiction.  With an assembled creative team of All-Stars, this weekly series has the potential to be really great.  For the first ten to fifteen issues, Eternal really pays off.  The story begins at the climax of the tale with the Dark Knight crucified and forced to watch as the city he has sworn to protect burns!  It flashes back to the beginning where Commissioner Gordon is framed for the murders of an entire subway full of civilians.  Batman and his allies race against the clock to solve the mystery of who is really behind the catastrophe and clear the name of Jim Gordon.  Things get really complicated as foes from the past return to add to the chaos.  However, the story takes a decidedly strange turn when suddenly this murder mystery turns into supernatural horror story with a zombie outbreak at Arkham Asylum.  This part of the story is a little mottled involving Killer Croc, Batwing, the Joker’s Daughter, and the Spectre.  However, as the story heads toward the finish line, I am looking forward to the end and finding out just who is behind everything.  Batman Eternal is a great mystery with a weird detour into the supernatural that hopefully will right itself before the final page is turned.  Odinson Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Hammers - (Though the score may be higher depending on the ending.)             

 

Spider-Verse – I am thoroughly enjoying this tale that teams up every single version of Spider-Man from across the multiverse!  Morlun the nigh unstoppable vampire-like creature has returned and this time he is not alone.  His entire family is systematically going from universe to universe and murdering all the Spider-Men throughout the multiverse.  Peter Parker is joined by Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man 1966, Captain Universe Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy Spider-Girl, Scarlet Spider, Silk, Superior Spider-Man and more in order to draw a line in the sand and make a last stand!  The Odinson’s heart was broken as Morlun destroyed a part of his childhood when he murdered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  As more and more heroes fall in battle, time is running out as the United Spider-Men try desperately to find a way to stop unbeatable foes.  Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers  

 

Fire and Stone – This is one crossover event that truly delivers.  Dark Horse Comics uses elements from Aliens, Predator, and Prometheus and weave a sci-fi/horror/mystery that revolves around the infamous planet known as LV-223.  Four mini-series – Aliens, Predator, Aliens vs. Predator, and Prometheus follow different avenues but they all intersect and cross paths to create a many layered story that is begging to be adapted to the Big Screen.   Odinson Rating: 4 out of 5 Hammers       

 

Batman: Zero Year – Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo keep adding to their stellar run on the Caped Crusader.  This time around they explore the year when Bruce Wayne was very first trying to find his way and discover the hero he would eventually grow into.  They pit a neophyte Batman against the diabolical machinations of the deviously cunning Riddler.  Snyder’s scripts are full of great characterization and page-turning suspense and I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times again – Greg Capullo was born to drawn the adventures of the Caped Crusader.   Odinson Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Hammers              

 

The Buffyverse – In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, the Scooby Gang returns to Sunny Dale where they fight against impossible odds to prevent a monstrous demon from ascending out of the Hellmouth.  This tale just reeked of “been there done that.”  In Buffy’s own words – “How many times can one town be destroyed?”  Meanwhile, over in Angel and Faith Season 10, the vampire with a soul has a showdown with Amy the Witch in Magic Town and Faith goes on a quest in South America where she will come face-to-face with Riley.  As anyone who has seen the fourth season of the TV show knows, these two have a turbulent history.  There’s good to be had from the ongoing Buffyverse but the creators really need to step it up because it’s not blowing my hair back.  Odinson Rating: 3 out of 5 Hammers

 

The Armor Hunters – An elite group of assassins from beyond the stars, a team of killers that specializes in the destruction of Manowar Armors, has arrived on Earth and not even the combined might of Unity, Harbingers, X-O Manowar, and Bloodshot may be able to stop them!  Valiant delivers with this high octane companywide crossover.  Odinson Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Hammers

 

Death of Wolverine – Oh, boy! Yet another death of a super hero story.  In many ways, this particular storytelling device legitimizes Logan as an A-List hero in the pantheon of super heroes. The Odinson’s biggest beef with this tale is not how he met his end.  Actually, I found it to be pretty original and interesting.  No, my problem with the death of Wolverine is with the circumstances leading up to it and the revelation surrounding the ultimate one responsible for it.  It just didn’t resonate with me and I felt the execution of this story could have been better.  As a Wolverine fan, Death of Wolverine is worth a read, but as a long time comics fan, I really don’t see this story having long lasting resonance.  Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers 

 

2014 was certainly a rocky road of hit and misses for the comic companies.  Hopefully 2015 with the conclusions to Batman Eternal, Spider-Verse, and Batman: Endgame and the upcoming Big Events – Secret Wars and Convergence – comics can make a big comeback.  Be here next week when the Odinson is sure to get some cheers (and jeers) for his 2014 the Year in Review: Movies and Television.  

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

No CommentsTags: Comics

What is the Odinson Reading?

December 05, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

One of the hardest decisions a comic collector will have to make is which titles to spend their hard earned shekels on.  From food to gas to, yes, even comic books, the cost of living has risen greatly over the years.  When I was a kid, twenty dollars in a comic store was like being a shark in the pool at the local YMCA – all you can eat, baby!  These days, a weekly budget of twenty dollars for comics doesn’t go nearly as far as it once did.  So, a reader has to be a bit more frugal in their spending and try and get the most bang for their buck. 

 

So, this week the Odinson has come up with a short list of can’t miss titles that are well worth your time and money.    

 

What is the Odinson Reading?

 

Saga (Image) – Saga is William Shakespeare’s Rome and Juliet meets Star Wars.  This is a fugitive tale.  It’s a love story.  It’s an allegory for racism and social classes.  It’s a commentary on war.  And, it’s all set against a fantastical science fiction backdrop.  The scripts by Brian K. Vaughan (Y the Last Man, Runaways) provide completely fleshed out characters that the reader cannot help but care for and wonder what will happen to them next, and Fiona Staples (Jonah Hex, North 40) is at the height of her visual storytelling powers with this series.  The pacing of the story is akin to great television and the Odinson can’t wait to see where the journey takes our intrepid cast of characters. 

 

Fire and Stone (Dark Horse) – An Aliens/Prometheus/Predator crossover event sounds like a no brainer, but in light of lack luster movie sequels (Alien 3, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) and the absolutely awful prequel (Prometheus), my expectations for this event were lukewarm at best.  The All-Star creative teams of this series have crafted an engrossing, spellbinding tale of survival revolving around the mysterious and infamous planet designated LV-223.  Four separate mini-series tell an intertwining tale that pits mankind’s need for survival and baser needs of greed against the galaxy’s ultimate survivors, the savage Xenomorphs, the galaxy’s ultimate hunters, the Predators, and the galaxy’s ultimate enigma, the Engineers.  Fire and Stone takes the best parts of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens mixes them with the best themes of Predator and Predators and seasons the pot with the usable bits from Prometheus and presents a story that the Odinson hopes to one day see on the Big Screen.    

 

Godzilla: Cataclysm (IDW) – This series is, admittedly, a guilty pleasure.  I grew up going to the Saturday morning matinees and watching marathons featuring Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Godzilla vs. Mothra, and King Kong vs. Godzilla.  So, it should come as no surprise that this tale would be right up my alley.  The story is set in the future, in the aftermath of the Monster Apocalypse, the landscape of planet Earth has been cast in ruin.  Once great cities, sprawling skylines that were testaments to human achievement, are now demolished tombstones of the world that once was.  It has been many years since the last of the great leviathans have been seen and the very few humans left alive try to make their way in this harsh new world.  However, events are set in motion that wake the sleeping giants and the kaiju return.  Is this truly the end of all mankind or does one man’s memories hold the key for survival? 

 

Batman (DC Comics) – Yes, yes, I know that saying Batman is a Must Read is no stretch but I really want to stress the MUST READ of what this series has become.  The Odinson grew up with classic Bat-Runs that include Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams, Roger Marshall, Jim Aparo, and Doug Moench and Kelley Jones.  I was there when Frank Miller completely defined the character with The Dark Knight Returns and Year One.  And, I was there when the Bat-God was born in the pages of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s JLA.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s current New 52 run, the definite cream of the crop for DC’s re-launch, stands head-and-shoulders with any of these great Batman runs in comics history.  Every story arc from the mind of Snyder – The Court of Owls, The Death of the Family, Zero Year, and Endgame – becomes an instant classic, and Greg Capullo was absolutely born to draw the Caped Crusader.  This run has instantly thrust Capullo into the discussion for Top 5 Bat-Artists of All-Time!    

 

New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman (Marvel) – In 2006, comic fans were introduced to the Illuminati, a clandestine group of heroes who have been pulling the strings of the Marvel Universe from the shadows.  They have secretly influenced major events like the Kree/Skrull War, Beyonder, Infinity Gauntlet, Planet Hulk, and the Civil War among others.  However, their overall role in the Big Picture of things really took a leap forward with the launch of Marvel Now!  A mysterious power is causing worlds to collide and the multiverse is systematically destroying itself.  The Illuminati, after exhausting all options, is left with one choice – survival.  It’s a heavy cross to bear - for the 616 to live, other worlds must die. 

 

This is an option that Captain America is unwilling to take.  The Sentinel of Liberty believes there is always a better way, but the other members of the Illuminati betray him and take from him the one thing he holds most important above all other things – free will.  Under the behest of Iron Man, Cap’s mind is tampered with and his memories erased.  This is not the first time this has happened (see Marvel Comics 1998 Annual).  This act will come back to haunt them.

 

The stakes continue to rise as the Illuminati’s ability to stave off annihilation grows ever slimmer with each Incursion.  It all comes to a head during The Great Society arc.  In this chapter, the Marvel U collides with a very DC-like universe and the differences between Marvel’s complicated, cup-half-empty heroes and DC’s altruistic, cup-half-full heroes is made quite clear.  It’s a truly heart-breaking tale where one world dies and the Odinson, as a lifelong Marvel fan, isn’t even sure it was the right one.  This leads Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner to leave the group and enlist the aid of a cadre of supervillains that includes Thanos and his zealots to make decisions no hero can possibly make with a clear conscious.  However, things begin to spiral even further down the hole.

 

In the Aftermath of Original Sin, Captain America regains his memories and the Illuminati become hunted fugitives (see Time Runs Out).  Throw on top of this the cosmic mystery unfolding in Jim Starlin’s Thanos Saga and the announcement of next year’s multiverse Secret Wars event and it cannot be denied that the Marvel Universe is headed toward big changes.   I have my theories (see Is the Marvel Universe Headed Toward a Crisis?! and More Clues for a Marvel Crisis…).

 

Jonathan Hickman and his team of artists for the last two years have weaved an epic tale with complicated moral decisions and a fingernail-biting pace that makes the Odinson feel like it’s all leading somewhere big.  New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman is presently the best book coming out of the House of Ideas.

 

Honorable Mention:

 

The Multiversity: Pax Americana – Grant Morrison with his Multiversity tale is working on yet another multilayered, mind-blowing tale that proves yet again that the man is way ahead of his time.  But I want to focus on the issue titled Pax Americana.  In this issue, Morrison tells a Watchmen-like mystery using the Charlton Heroes that the Watchmen were originally based on.  It’s a real nice look into what could have been if Alan Moore had got to use these characters as he had originally planned to do back in 1985.   

 

These are the comics on the Odinson’s pull list.  What comics and storylines are you enjoying? 

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell  

 

No CommentsTags: Comics

The Odinson's Top 5 JLA/JSA Crossovers

November 28, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is the meat in the sandwich which is the Holiday Season that begins with Halloween and ends with Christmas.  This time of year brings about many traditions – Trick-or-Treat, turkey dinner, mistletoe, etc.  Comics History is not without its own traditions.  One of the greatest traditions in comics is the annual JLA/JSA Team-Up.  

 

In the landscape of modern day comics, fans have become used to annual big story events that bring together the greatest heroes in the universe, events like Axis and Forever Evil.  It is true that Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars is the Grandfather of Big Event stories and Crisis on Infinite Earths is the event that set the standard for what these events would and should be, but it was the annual crossovers featuring the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes and the World’s First Super Team that started it all.     

 

It all started in the summer of 1963, right in the heart of the Silver Age of Comics.  Justice League of America #21 marked the first meeting of the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes of Earth-1 and their Golden Age predecessors of Earth-2.  The Flash of Two Worlds may have been the birth of the DC multiverse, but this titanic team-up marked the birth of the annual Big Event!  These are the events that feature a threat too big for any single hero, major adventures that will feature a gathering of heroes so titanic that the tale becomes a Must Read. 

 

Top 5 JLA/JSA Crossovers

 

Crisis on Earth 2 & 3 – In this inaugural Crisis, a cadre of villains from two worlds concoct a diabolical plan to switch Earths and commit crimes on different worlds.  The villains from Earth 2 imprison the Justice League who mystically contact their Earth-2 counterparts, and through various team-ups, take out their villainous adversaries.  Soon afterwards, the Justice League and Justice Society come face-to-face with their evil doppelgangers of Earth-3, the Crime Syndicate of Amerika!  Yes, the same sinister evil-doers behind the recent event - Forever Evil. 

 

In Search of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – During this suspenseful team-up, the JLA and JSA assemble to solve the mystery of a missing group of legendary heroes scattered throughout time.  And, in order to stop the world-threatening evil, one hero will have to make the ultimate sacrifice!  It is easy to see that Modern Master Grant Morrison is a real fan of these classic team-ups.  They not only inspired his entry on this very list, but they also inspired his epic Final Crisis and ground-breaking tale The Seven Soldiers of Victory. 

 

Crisis in Eternity – This crossover begins when the barbaric conqueror from the past, King Kull, imprisons the wizard, SHAZAM, and his power within the Rock of Eternity.  The JLA and JSA set out to stop him, but things go downhill real fast when the ruthless man-brute uses Red Kryptonite to turn the Man of Steel against his allies.  As the heroes begin to fall before the unparalleled might of the Last Son of Krypton, only one hero remains that may be able to turn the tide of battle – Captain Marvel! 

 

Crisis Times Five – In this Post-Crisis, modern take on the annual JLA/JSA Crossover, Earth is invaded by the immeasurably powerful beings that inhabit the 5th Dimension!  That’s right, the homeland of Superman’s mischievous little nemesis, Mr. Mxyzptlk, cause a planet wide crisis.  Not only did this Grant Morrison and Howard Porter masterpiece renew the annual JLA/JSA Crossover, but it also brought comic book’s first super team out of retirement and set the stage for the classic take on these classic heroes in the pages of JSA by Geoff Johns! 

 

The Thanksgiving Story – This particular annual JLA/JSA crossover is the Odinson’s personal favorite.  Not only does it feature a particularly unique take on the team-up, it also features an extremely eye-catching cover by Carlos Pacheco (Avengers Forever, Superman/Batman).  In the quiet follow up to the previous year’s harrowing Virtue and Vice caper, the World’s Greatest Super Heroes and DC Comics First Super Team take a moment to relax and celebrate Thanksgiving.  It’s a humorous and character-driven piece where the entertainment comes from the interactions between the different and oft times polarizing personalities of these two premiere super teams.  The absolute gold comes when a revenge-seeking villain plots an ill-fated attack on his enemies.  As the villain suddenly appears amongst the gathered heroes and boldly declares his vile intentions, he quickly realizes his mistake as he stares out at not just one team of legendary heroes, but two. 

 

It’s a great issue and a great way to cap off this look at the long, distinguished run of classic annual JLA/JSA Crossovers.

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

 

No CommentsTags: Comics

The Odinson’s Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes

November 21, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

I recently saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.  It’s set in the not too distant future where planet Earth is becoming increasingly uninhabitable for mankind, and for the survival of the species, man will have to find a new home out there among the stars.  It deals with the difficulties of deep space travel, the relativity of time, wormholes, and the mysteries and theories surrounding black holes.  The Odinson will go on record and say that this film makes the list for Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All-Time. 

 

The best science fiction takes threads of what is real or realistic and expands on it, sometimes exponentially.  An Apocalypse is a great upheaval, a major event or disaster.  It’s a cataclysm of some sort, big or small, that changes the course of human history.  This is illustrated in Interstellar by the fact that the Earth is becoming uninhabitable and mankind is running out of food.  It can take many forms – natural disaster, nuclear war, divine intervention, plague, zombies, kaiju, etc.  What happens next is known as the Post-Apocalypse.  Post-Apocalyptic landscapes have been a staple for science fiction since the very beginning. It has been used in every medium – movies (Planet of the Apes), television (SeaQuest DSV), books (Left Behind), cartoons (Spiral Zone), video games (Resident Evil), and comics (Wasteland).      

 

The Odinson’s Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes

 

5 - Jeremiah – This TV series was based on the graphic novels by Belgian artist Hermann Huppen and developed by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Rising Stars, Supreme Power, Thor).  It is a tale set fifteen years after a plague has wiped out nearly every human being on Earth over the age of thirteen.  Jeremiah and his friend, Kurdy, wander the landscape coming across various factions, forces for chaos and those trying to rebuild civilization, on their way to locate the mysterious Valhalla Sector, a place where it is said to house survivors of the plague.  Survivors that may include Jeremiah’s own father.    

 

4 - Mad Max – After World War III and a global economic collapse, the world descends into chaos.  Governments fall, law and order becomes myth, and the highways and byways are ruled by vicious gangs and “road warriors.”  Into this world is thrust the man simply known as Max.  After his family’s murder, Max, a former highway patrolman, takes revenge on the motorcycle gang responsible.  With nothing left to live for, Max ventures out into the wastelands of this Post-Apocalyptic world.  There his survival is constantly challenged as he faces off against bloodthirsty pirates and cannibalistic gangs over the scraps and drops of petroleum left over from the Old World.  Perhaps the greatest challenge Max must face in this harsh New World is the laughable societal laws of Barter Town and the ultimate decider of law and order - The Thunderdome.           

 

3 - I Am Legend – After a plague has wiped out most of mankind, those that survived the plague have become infected and transformed into bloodthirsty vampires.  Scientist Robert Neville, finds that he is the only human being immune to this pandemic and he is the last man alive on Earth.  He spends his nights fortifying his home against vampire attacks as the relentless undead descend upon his home in wave after wave.  When the sun rises and chases the monsters back to their dark hiding places, Neville spends his days hunting them down and destroying them where they sleep.  Over the course of this horrifying tale, Neville soon learns that he is the very thing that those that have inherited the Earth have come to fear.  He has become the monster.  He has become legend.   

 

2 - The Walking Dead – In the aftermath of a full blown Zombie Apocalypse, a small group of survivors try to make their way in a world without law, without order, without electricity, and without any modern conveniences.  It’s an eye-opening case study of what would happen if society as we know it suddenly ceased to exist.  The human drama comes from the groups’ struggle with day-to-day survival as they face starvation, exposure, exhaustion, natural human tensions, owe yeah, and also the relentless attacks of the numberless flesh-eating ghouls that now walk the earth.  As if that were not enough, our intrepid band of survivors must also contend with serial killers, murderous would be dictators, human cannibals, pirates, and other despicable human beings that seem to thrive in this Post-Apocalyptic environment.     

 

1 - The Stand – In this masterpiece from master of horror Stephen King (Salem’s Lot, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Dark Tower), a pandemic fearfully referred to as “Captain Trips” has washed over the world and killed off 99% of the human population.  The few survivors left alive find themselves drawn into the ultimate showdown between good and evil as Mother Abagail, the representative of good, faces off against Randal Flagg, the embodiment of evil, for the souls of mankind and future of the human race.  This twelve-hundred plus page novel is Stephen King’s Lord of the Rings.  To say it is epic in scope would be a huge understatement.  All the supernatural and science fiction elements aside, The Stand is a masterful look at the human condition, the drama, and the choices they make that can save or damn their souls.  The Stand has been adapted into a television mini-series, into comics and graphic novels, and it will soon be a 4-part movie saga.         

 

Honorable Mentions: The Postman, Y The Last Man, Waterworld, The Road, Escape from New York, and Leaving Megalopolis. 

 

Post-Apocalyptic Landscape Hall of Fame: George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

 

The Odinson loves good science fiction, and there are few things in entertainment as titillating, frightening, and contemplative as science fiction set in a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape.

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

No CommentsTags: Comics · Movie · Television

The Odinson’s Top 5 Unconventional Rivalries in Comics

November 17, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

Batman vs. Joker.  Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin.  Superman vs. Lex Luthor. Captain America vs. Red Skull.  Going all the back to David vs. Goliath and Hector vs. Achilles, rivalries have been a very important and essential part of storytelling.  Whether in sports: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins, marketing: Coke vs. Pepsi, music: The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, or pop culture: Star Trek vs. Star Wars, rivalries have been a source for drama and entertainment all throughout history. 

 

How many countless times has the Man of Steel stopped the mad schemes of Lex Luthor?  How many countless times has your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man prevented the diabolical Doctor Octopus from destroying the city?  Comic books feature some of the greatest rivalries of All-Time!  Rivalries have been a source of debate for comic book fans for generations.  Who is stronger – Hulk vs. the Thing?  Who is faster – Superman vs. the Flash?  Who has the best super hero universe – Marvel vs. DC?  But, traditional rivalries are not the only kind of rivalries in comics. 

 

A few weeks ago, the Odinson listed his Top 5 Underrated Batman Villains.  On that list I included Batman vs. Lex Luthor.  This is what I’d call an Unconventional Rivalry.  An Unconventional Rivalry may not have the long history of the classic match-ups but they are no less delicious.  These are face offs and duels that I rarely ever see but when I do, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m picking up that issue.  Some Unconventional Rivalries are no brainers and leave the reader wondering why they don’t happen more often (werewolf vs. vampire).  Some Unconventional Rivalries are due to circumstance or conflict of interests (Red Skull vs. Magneto).  Some are just super cool (King Kong vs. Godzilla)!      

 

The following is a list of Unconventional Rivalries where every single time I see them on the cover of a comic, the Odinson will definitely be picking up that issue. 

 

The Odinson’s Top 5 Unconventional Rivalries

 

GI Joe vs. Transformers – This is a heated rivalry that goes back thirty years and extends beyond the boundaries of the four color format.  In the great decade of the 1980s, Transformers and GI Joe: A Real American Hero were easily among the bestselling toylines and most watched cartoons.  Ever since that fateful episode of Transformers that featured a cameo by Flint, little minds everywhere were blown for that confirmed that the Robot in Disguise actually inhabited the same universe as the Real American Heroes.  It’s a rivalry that still surfaces to this day as these two franchises, thanks to the emergence of the Transformers Movie Saga and GI Joe Movie Saga, seem to just grow stronger and stronger as the years go by.       

 

Teen Titans vs. the Justice League – Sometimes teachers and their students butt heads.  This was the case in those years when Dick Grayson was making the transition from teenage sidekick into adult hero. This was never more apparent than in “Against All Friends” and the Titans/Outsiders Crossover when Batman was forced to recognize Robin’s emergence as a leader of heroes.  Robin’s Titan teammates took a beating when the Man of Steel was out of control in Action Comics #584.  Even the Amazing Amazon has had her fair share of troubles with the angst-infused teenage super heroes as seen in Wonder Woman #287 and Teen Titans Spotlight.  In Sins of Youth, the two factions learn what life would be like if their roles were reversed.  And, in Young Justice, the adults struggle with mentoring their replacements while dealing with natural teenage rebellion.  It’s hard for the next generation of heroes as they live in the shadows of their legendary counterparts.   

 

Superman vs. The Joker – If Batman vs. Lex Luthor would be an ultimate battle of wits, what would the world’s strongest hero vs. the Clown Prince of Crime be?  Superman quickly learns that he is not dealing with anything he is used to in DC Comics Presents #41.  The Joker tries to give the Man of Steel a sense of humor in “To Laugh and Die in Metropolis!  And, Superman struggles in a world where the Joker has become All-Powerful in the pages of Emperor Joker.  However, readers see what the horrible endgame to this rivalry could possibly be in alternate universe tales like Kingdom Come and Injustice: Gods Among Us.    

 

Hulk vs. Juggernaut – One is unstoppable and the other is the strongest one there is.  It’s the classic situation of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.  As hard as it is to believe, when they first met in Incredible Hulk #172, they were allies.  However, it didn’t long for Cain Marko’s bad boy attitude to rub the Jade Giant the wrong way.  In “Call of the Desert,” the Hulk is being attacked by a cadre of his greatest enemies.  It is revealed that these are creations of his own bent psyche, but among those attacking him is the Juggernaut.  Even though up to this point, these two behemoths have only crossed paths once, the fact that Marko is included illustrated that even the mighty Hulk respects the power of the Juggernaut.  They have had several earth-shaking clashes in Incredible Hulk #402-404 and Incredible Hulk #457, World War Hulk: X-Men, and Marvel Adventures with neither of them really getting it over on the other.  This is a rivalry that needs to be renewed so that they can determine once and for all who is the toughest Marvel Brute?        

 

Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom – One is one of the smartest men alive who is a technical wizard that has created a suit of high tech armor that is a walking weapon of mass destruction, and he fights for justice.  The other is one of the smartest men alive who is an actual wizard that has constructed a high tech suit of armor that is a walking weapon of mass destruction, and he fights for conquest.  Not since Ali/Frazier has there been a more natural and all too short-lived rivalry.  In “Doomquest,” these men of science find themselves trapped in the past on opposing sides in the fabled Kingdom of Camelot.  During the Acts of Vengeance campaign, they are transported one-hundred years into the future to duel it out.  Even when the power of the Infinity Gauntlet threatens the very fabric of reality, the natural rivalry between these two heats up as the mighty Thor must physically restrain Iron Man from accosting Doctor Doom in the moments leading up to final battle with the Mad Titan.          

 

Top 5 Rivalries the Odinson Wants to See Grow

 

These are the rivalries whose flames need to be fanned and brought to an out-of-control blaze!

 

Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat – The brawlers and brutes of Street Fighter have matched brawn and wits against the Marvel Universe and SNK Universe.  And, the demons, demi-gods, and masters of kung fu of Mortal Kombat have stood toe-to-toe with the World’s Greatest Super Heroes of the DC Universe.  Gamers have long debated which game is better and what fighters would prevail over the others.  It is high time the fans were treated to the ultimate face off – Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat!  

 

Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Doom – Doctor Stephen Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme and the Master of the Mystic Arts.  Victor Von Doom is arguably the smartest man alive, he is encased in body armor that rivals Iron man’s power, and, next to Strange himself, may be the most insightful mortal medium for the magic in the Marvel Universe.  Doom once manipulated Strange into helping him face down the devil himself.  A rivalry between Stephen Strange and Victor Von Doom is begging to be explored.     

 

Batman vs. Deathstroke – The Terminator has had a long, tumultuous history with Batman’s partner, Nightwing.  However, a rivalry between the two most dangerous men on the planet would be a match up made in Heaven.  Both men have made a career of overcoming impossible odds and logging victories, small and big, over far more powerful foes like Superman (Superman #68 and The Dark Knight Returns), the Teen Titans (The Judas Contract), Amazo (Batman #637), and the Justice League (Identity Crisis #3 and Tower of Babel).  They have both scored victories over the other (Deathstroke #7 and Infinite Crisis) and have stalemated (Detective Comics #708-710), but a showdown as truly epic as this one has never really been explored.  Want a Hot Sports Opinion?  The Odinson truly believes we have never seen a definitive mano-y-mano showdown between the Dark Knight and the Terminator because I believe the powers that be at DC Comics aren’t sure Batman would win.  

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

No CommentsTags: Comics

The Odinson’s Top 5 Sources of Secrets of the Universe

November 07, 2014 · No Comments

Greetings from the Odinson,

 

The Helmet of Nabu is a link to the divine might and magical power of a Lord of light.  Its power can unveil the secrets to super human strength, flight, and an array of magical powers that can put those that don it and master its power on par with the gods themselves.  The Eye of Agamotto can reveal great secrets of the universe, the afterlife, shed light on the secrets of others, and track locations across great distances of time and space as well as transport its wielder and allies there.  In his harrowing war against the sinister Dire Wraiths, ROM, greatest of the Spaceknights of Galador, was able to use his powerful Analyzer to see through illusions and see the evil shape-changing aliens in their true form.  And, anyone ensnared by Wonder Woman’s magical Lasso of Truth is compelled to reveal all secrets to the Amazing Amazon.   

 

Odin, king of the Norse gods, the All-Father of fabled Asgard, father of Thor, and defender of the Nine Worlds, is the wielder of the nigh omnipotent Odinforce.  His ravens, Huginn and Muninn, fly all through space and time and bring back to Odin all the secrets and information the realms have to offer.  Odin’s number one duty to his people and to the universe itself is to prevent Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods.  Over the many cycles of the last millennium, he, along with mighty Thor, has done just that (see Thor #154-157, 176-177 and 200, The Eternals Saga, Ragnarok n Roll, Avengers Disassemble and The Gods of Asgard), but Odin paid a price for the secrets to prevent the end of days.  In order to learn the secrets to preventing Ragnarok, Odin sacrificed his right eye into the Well of Mimir, a mystical spring from which all the secrets of the cosmos reside.         

 

It is said that information is power.  Power has long been the goal of men great and small.  If true power were easy to come by then all men would be great and powerful.  That is why the greatest powers of the universe are shrouded in mystery and protected by secrets, mysteries that those seeking ultimate power must first unravel.  The worlds of comic books and pop culture are full of such secrets and roads to power. 

 

The Odinson’s Top 5 Sources of Secrets of the Universe

 

The Identity Disc – In his fight against crime, sometimes a super hero’s greatest advantage is anonymity.  A secret identity helps keep friends and loved ones safe from a revenge-seeking foe.  In this tale, a mysterious benefactor assembles a group of Marvel villains Dirty Dozen style to go on a suicide mission to retrieve a computer disc that reportedly contains the addresses and identities of every single Marvel Hero in the world.  Just imagine the harm that could be wrought if this information were to ever get out into the open.

 

The Necronomicon – The infamous Book of the Dead is said to contain many dark and terrifying secrets including the secrets to raising the dead.  This macabre tome is said to be inked in blood and bound in human flesh.  It has long played a pivotal role in many horror tales by H.P. Lovecraft.  The anti-hero Ash has been fighting a never-ending battle against the forces of evil ever since the Necronomicon raised the Army of Darkness.  The Necronomicon makes a cameo in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and bridges the gap between Freddy vs. Jason and Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, a collision of three of the greatest horror franchises of all-time!    

 

Castle Grayskull – This ancient, foreboding citadel located in a remote region on the magical world of Eternia is said to contain all the secrets of the cosmos and the evil Skeletor wants them.  This malevolent warlock will use all the black magic, supernatural artifacts, super weapons, and an army of mutants, witches, and monsters at his disposal to try and batter down the gates of Grayskull and obtain these priceless secrets.  The only thing standing in his way is the benevolent Sorceress and her mighty protector - He-Man the most powerful man in the universe.    

 

The Infinity Gauntlet – If someone could obtain complete and total power over space, time, power, the mind, the soul, and reality they would be able to unlock the secrets of the universe and become nigh omnipotent.  They would be a god.  That is exactly what the Marvel U’s ultimate Big Bad did in Thanos Quest.  The Mad Titan faced, out-smarted and out dueled the Elders of the Universe and obtained the Soul Gems and forged the Infinity Gauntlet, thus becoming the most powerful being in the multiverse.  When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes failed to topple the titan (Infinity Gauntlet #4), Thanos went to war with a pantheon of space gods that included among others Galactus, the Celestials, and Eternity in a cosmic battle that threatened to unmake all reality (Infinity Gauntlet #5).  The Soul Gems contain the ultimate secrets and when brought together, the ultimate power!

 

The Ark of the Covenant – This ancient artifact is said to contain the smashed remains of the Biblical Ten Commandments.  It is a greatly sought after object that is said to make any army that carries it into battle unbeatable for it is a direct conduit to the power of God.  This was the premise for the classic movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.  However, power like this was never meant to be wielded by mortal men, especially those with evil intent, as the Nazis quickly learned when they opened the Ark and were exposed to its contents.       

 

Be careful what you wish for.  The revelation of universal secrets can sometimes lead to ultimate power, but sometimes it just melts your face off.  

 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

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