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Comics

It fits

I was just thumbing through the original Secret Wars #1, and the heroes have all just been transported to the battleplanet. There's only two members of the "illuminati" present - Mr. Fantastic and Professor X (Namor, Dr. Strange, and Black Bolt were not taken by the Beyonder, and the person in the Iron Man suit is James Rhodey due to the fact that Tony Stark is drunk in a gutter somewhere). So what's interesting is that Xavier and Richards sort of confer and decide who is going to be their leader while they are stuck there. They eventually settle on Captain America (of course) but i just like the way it's the "illumnati" characters who take charge and decide who their field commander will be.


By fnord12 | May 28, 2006, 11:58 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



What if 'what if' actually was?

Marvel sometimes runs a series called What If? that speculates on alternate plotlines that could have occured in the Marvel Universe. Technically, these alternative storylines actually do occur within the marvel multiverse, but in alternate dimensions, and sometimes these stories are visited by dimension hopping characters from the "real" marvel universe. For the purposes of my personal collection, i don't integrate What Ifs into my "in continuity" comics.

But anyway, i've been looking over the list of What Ifs, and i've realized that a lot of them aren't quite so "what if" anymore. To be fair - these stories usually take place at a specific point in time. So the question of "What if Phoenix had lived?" is really "What if Phoenix had lived at this particular point in time?", and it's not nice of me to mock them for bringing her back later. But i will anyway...

  • What if the Hulk had the brain of Bruce Banner? It's happened many times, most notably in Bill Mantlo and Peter David's runs. Nowadays he's in a constant state of flux where sometimes he has it and sometimes he doesn't.
  • What if the world knew Daredevil was blind? Sort of. His identity is public. But maybe they just don't believe Matt Murdock is blind.
  • What if the Avengers fought evil in the 1950s? They're working on it.
  • What if Rick Jones had become the Hulk? Well, he became a Hulk during the transitional period at the end of Al Milgrom's run and the beginning of Peter David's.
  • What if the Hulk had become a barbarian? It's happened right now in Planet Hulk.
  • What if Phoenix had not died? She didn't die, she was just preserved in a cocoon at the bottom of the ocean.
  • What if Spider-Man's clone lived? Heh. It did live. For a while they tried to play it like Spider-Man was the clone, and then they brought back the "real" Spider-Man. That didn't go over well. Then they had the real Spider-Man retire, letting the clone take his place. That didn't go over well. This is generally considered the worst period of Spider-Man ever.
  • What if Elektra had lived? The Hand... Daredevil's love... something.
  • What if Richard Ryder had not lost the power of Nova? He never lost it, he just had self-confidence issues. Then Night Thrasher threw him off a building.
  • What if the Beast and the Thing continued to mutate? The Beast turned into a lion and the Thing turned into Pineapple Man
  • What if the Hulk went berserk? Ummmm....
  • What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? In Oeming's Thor, he found the forge that made Thor's hammer, and made a bunch more. Close enough?
  • What if Iron Man had been a traitor? Well, he was retroactively revealed to have been a pawn of Kang for 3 decades. Does that count?
  • What if the Fantastic Four's second child had lived? I read it, and i still don't know how she's back.
  • What if Phoenix had not died? What if Phoenix rose again? They were totally chomping at the bit to bring her back.

Also, some of the crazier premises:

  • What if Nova had been four other people?
  • What if the Avengers defeated everybody?
  • What if Thor battled Conan the Barbarian? I just wanted to say, Conan would totally get his ass kicked.
  • What if Wolverine was lord of the vampires? What the--?
  • What if War Machine had not destroyed the Living Laser? The Wikipedia description for this says "The issue allows the reader to choose from three different endings." You love a choose your own adventure.
  • What if Wolverine became the Punisher in the 1920s? No really, what the--?

And some of the ones i may actually want to read:

  • What if Dazzler had become the herald of Galactus? I know, but the story this was based on is one of my first Galactus appearances, so i guess it's a nostalgia thing.
  • What if the Avengers fought the Kree-Skrull War without Rick Jones? I always thought the way this story ended, with Rick Jones shooting a bunch of WWII super-heroes out of his head, was really cheesey.
  • What if the alien costume had possessed Spider-Man? When i was 10, Spider-Man's black symbiote costume was so cool, so Venom was always something of a let-down for me.
  • What if the Avengers had fought Galactus? Where were they during that fight, anway?
  • What if Rogue possessed the power of Thor? Based on when they fought in Avengers annual 10.


By fnord12 | May 22, 2006, 10:27 AM | Comics | Comments (11)| Link



What's this now?

I read the Morrison run, and i guess i just missed that "low-key" line in House of M, but i had no idea about all the creator in-fighting that's apparently been going on:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyphon Wasn't that the Sublime entity controlling Magneto? I thought that was ultimately the explanation for everything that happened. Especially for the Magneto Lovers.

According to Morrison's last X-Men arc, Sublime was a sentient bacteria that had spent the history of the world trying to take over. Sublime was "animating" John Sublime of the "third race" people; Sublime was also the drug "kick". Apparently, Morrison's intent was to get rid of Magneto, as he had become somewhat of a joke. And, as I've stated ad infinitum on these boards, Claremont (because apparently he created (sic) Magneto and needed him for Excalibur, for reasons no one can explain to me) wussily brings him back. Bendis saved the day in one of his (uncharacteristically) low-key, offhand moments in House of M (he implied that the Magneto of Morrison's run was a construct of Wanda's.) I don't love it, but it sits a lot better than Austen's Xorn I/ Xorn II fiasco and doesn't give Claremont the satisfaction he probably wanted.


By fnord12 | May 18, 2006, 1:27 PM | Comics | Link



Krakathoooom!


I knew Michael Avon Oeming as the guy who draws Powers. I like his art, but it's very stylized and i think it might seem "too cartoony" in the wrong setting. When i initially heard he was going to be writing some Thor comics, i passed. I have a low opinion of artist-turned-writers. This is a result of the Image era, and it isn't fair to let them spoil everything for everyone else, especially as some of my favorite writers started off as artists - John Byrne, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson. Also, i have this impression of new comic book creators who start off in the indie or vertigo areas and then come in to work on mainstream superhero comics. My impression is that they really don't like or care about that characters, they're only comic in to do it for the money, or to "subvert" the stories and are not really intersted in adding to the marvel legacy - they're sloppy with continuity and characterization, for example. Warren Ellis and Grant Morrision are the two that have really solidified that impression for me, but it's also been true of others like Paul Jenkins and Peter Milligan. On the other hand, creators who are overly respectful and concerned about making sure they don't contradict anything already written tend to write stories that are boring and precious - the low end of Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid, for example. I know our new friend Jake won't agree, but i think Bendis has found the right balance between those two extremes.

So i stayed away from the Oeming Thor story when it first came out, but as a result of newsgroup buzz and previews of things that were going to happen in Fantastic Four, i ended up getting the trade. And lucky i did, because it's fantastic. Not only is the Thor story an engaging epic adventure, but it is sooooo embedded with Thor comics history. Very "respectful". The Marvel Thor is different in many ways from the original Norse myths, and it's clear that Oeming is very familiar with both and was able to integrate them whereas other writers might have accidentally wound up contracting one or the other. The subject of the story is Ragnarok - the death of the gods in Norse myth. Of course every writer of Thor has done a Ragnarok story, and each time the Gods have struggled and narrowly averted it. This time... it's different (trying not to give too much away). It's very interesting idea and it looks at the Thor/Donald Blake connection in a new light. I just don't know how they can ever bring Thor back from the dead after this.

One thing i will say, looking at that cover of the trade, is don't get too excited by Captain America and Iron Man being in the picture. They're not a central part of the story.


Based on the strength of that, i then got the Beta Ray Bill trade by the same team. Beta Ray Bill, for those of you who don't know, is "the horse who looks like Thor". He's a cool character even if he looks silly to your cynical eyes. This story is not quite as good as the Thor saga but it's a good read and very long time reader friendly while still being a good read on its own right. You've got to love stories where the main characters are fighting so hard that they are destroying small planets around them. Again i won't say much about the story since i know you'll want to read it, but i will say this: In the Annihilation mini-series, currently in progress, a bunch of heralds of Galactus show up, and three of them i had never heard of. Initially I complained about all the extra heralds (I mean, Galactus had the Silver Surfer for thousands of years, and then in the course of a few years, Marvel Time, he's picked up like 6 more). Well, it turns out that one was from the mediocre but not terrible Galactus The Devourer story that Louise Simonson wrote a few years ago (which i read but apparently forgot all about the herald. I mean, come on. "Red Shift"? How about "Short Shrift"? That'd be a good name for a herald) and the other was from this book (the third i'm still not so sure about).

Oh, and the art is terrific on both. The artist's name is Andrea Divito. Haven't heard of her before, but it's a great classic style, not too trendy or stylized, but not old school comic book, either. Maybe one day she'll write her own fantastic Thor book.


By fnord12 | May 15, 2006, 5:22 PM | Comics | Link



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