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Why i like Paul O'Brien

Three unrelated snippets:

Chamber may be on the cover, but he's only actually in three pages of the issue. And that's a non-speaking part. Then again, it looks like all Chamber's parts are going to be non-speaking from now on.
That said, one of the things that made Wolverine distinctive in the first place was that he wasn't invulnerable. Instead, he got pretty badly mauled a lot of the time, because he knew the injuries would get better and was prepared to put up with them. This ought to seem rather painful, but there's been a drift over the years either to treat Wolverine's healing factor as an exotic form of invulnerability, or to write him as so spectacularly hard that he doesn't feel the pain.
What if Wolverine was the Punisher? What kind of a story idea is that? If that's all it takes to get a pitch commissioned these days, I should give this writing lark a go. Here's some. What if X-23 was a man? What if Captain America was allergic to cats? What if Daredevil was an accountant? What if Wolverine had a pet monkey... in space? That one's a five-part miniseries.

Of course, you have to respect anyone who is going to devote his life to reviewing comics, MTV videos, and the WWF.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 1:14 PM | Comics | Link

Thor vs. the X-Men

Wham! Krackathoom!

Thor wins.

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 4:30 PM | Comics | Link

Iron Man vs. the X-Men

Now that we've established Wolverine's power level, we can move on to showing that Iron Man could single-handedly defeat a team of 6 X-Men. By showing this, it should be evident that an Avengers vs. X-Men showdown is a no-brainer.

Let's clear up a few things: Iron Man's armor has been non-magnetic for some time. It was clearly established in an issue of West Coast Avengers when they fought Magneto, but it really had to have been true for some time before that. Iron Man fights so many technologically based foes that someone like MODOK* would have tried shooting a magnetic ray at him years ago. On the other hand, Wolverine and Colossus are very vulnerable to magnetism, and there's nothing they can do about it. Iron Man could easily toss them off the battlefield without even getting close. Iron Man also been immune to mind-control since the issue of the Thunderbolts where Zemo took control of the world. This eliminates obvious choices like bringing in Polaris or Professor X to get rid of IM in one shot. He also absorbs most forms of energy and uses it to super-charge his armor. It is possible to overload his armor this way, but it's not easy, especially in an open battlefield situation where he can just let loose. Cyclops' force beams would still do damage since they are physical, but Havok's solar blasts and Bishop's guns could be absorbed.

I think a fair scenario would be in these sorts of comparisons is: the two sides appear on the battlefield with no time to plan. They see each other, and they must attack. The teams should be typical members, not tailored specifically to defeat their opponent(s). But in this case where the X-Men are so overwhelmed, we can try to balance the situation by not sticking them with members rendered useless based on Iron Man's immunities or by sticking them with characters that are always useless, like Gambit or Jubilee.

So i'm thinking a good team to try and take out Iron Man would be: Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Iceman.

The X-Men's best bet is to get Iron Man on the ground where Shadowcat can phase through him and disrupt his armor. She can float, but she can't fly fast enough to catch IM. Their best strategy would be for Rogue to absorb Shadowcat's power and fly after him, but Rogue hates using her powers that way and they rarely do things like that except as a last resort. If Cyclops were team leader instead of Storm he may order that move, but I took Storm instead of him based on powers. Cyclops is very vulnerable and Iron Man could take him out very easily, probably before he'd formulated a strategy.

So we have to assume that Iron Man comes in first with a big blast or rocket, and Jean Grey manages to get a force shield up in time. Rogue and Storm fly up and attack. Iceman is running interference and slowing IM down with ice. The goal is to damage and distract Iron Man enough that Nightcrawler can teleport onto him and bring him down for Shadowcat to finish him off. Iron Man can absorb Storm's lightning and power his armor with it, but Storm won't know that at first and that's how she'll begin the attack. She might also figure out that she should cloud up the sky to prevent Iron Man from powering his armor with solar energy, forcing him to run on battery. In the meantime Rogue is the biggest danger. She has Ms. Marvel's powers, putting her in Iron Man's league, power-wise. She tends to lead with her chin, though, and that gives Iron Man a slight edge. If Jean Grey were holding him with telekenisis he'd be in big trouble, but she is still recovering from the initial blast. Storm is just switching from lightning to wind and doesn't want to interfere with Rogue's assault. Rogue charges in and punches Iron man, probably pretty badly, at the same time getting knocked away with a repulsor blast, sending her to the ground, stunned, for a few seconds.

In the meantime Iron Man can either focus on Storm or Jean Grey. It'd be smarter to take out Storm since she is the leader and getting rid of her would mean the X-Men wouldn't be attacking with any great strategy, but Tony is probably annoyed with getting tossed about by Jean's TK by now. He can't get through her forcefields with energy beams or rockets, but he can hit her with sonics or lasers and once he directs his attention to her she is down.

Rogue has recovered and is ready to fight by now, but is a little more cautious, probably looking for a big tree or a rock to attack with. In the meantime Iron Man can release a heatseeker at Storm, freeing himself up long enough to get his armor repaired from Rogue's punch (with nanites, or at least re-routing energy circuits, depending on which armor he is wearing). Iceman rushes to help Storm.

Now Rogue gets her rematch. She begins her attack with her weapon, which Iron Man destroys, leaving him open to her follow up attack. Iron Man takes a few heavy punches, but gets the better of Rogue with a number of powerful blasts. She's hurting bad when Storm and Iceman show up to succor her.

It wasn't worth doing before, but now that Iceman is right in front of him, he gets melted with a microwave beam. Storm, alone and without lightning, is easy prey. Nightcrawler has been waiting for Iron Man to be damaged enough so that it is safe to teleport in and grab him, but things aren't going as planned. While Iron Man is chasing Storm this is going to be his best chance. Most likely he'll go for the back, avoiding the obvious repulsor rays on the chest and appendages, but Iron Man charges his whole body with electricity, frying the elf before he can attack or teleport again. IM then finishes off Storm with no distractions.

Iron Man and Rogue are both damaged but Rogue has lost all her support. The sky is clearing up, no more ice, no TK. She'll probably stay on the ground and throw rocks. If Kitty can get to her in time they can try their desperation strategy, but most likely Iron Man blast Rogue before it gets to that. Iron Man probably can't defeat Kitty as long as she is phased (although he'd definitely give sonics a try and it would probably work), but she can't hurt him either. He's got a villain in his gallery called the Ghost who has similar powers to hers, so he has experience targeting a phased opponent, tagging her when she eventually solidifies.

If Rogue and Shadowcat do merge, Kitty is now passed out, and Rogue is distracted by the mind-meld. She's already beat up while Iron Man has been repairing, and she's flying woozy and distracted. Iron Man wins.

As far as I can see it, that's best case scenario for the X-Men. Replace any of those X-Men with anyone else (except maybe Iceman) and it's an easier fight. Rogue is the most dangerous opponent but she's got mental problems and isn't a very disciplined fighter. Her invulnerability isn't up to repeated energy blasts.

It's not an easy fight for Tony, but he wins in the end. And even if i've taken a few liberties in his favor, this is still the warm up. Throw in any other Avenger, let alone 4 more, and it's over in a hurry.

Rejected X-Men:
Original Team
Cyclops - too vulnerable, and easy enough to let IM's autopilot and radar dodge his shots in the air
Beast - Can't get off the ground to attack physically.
Angel - useless
Archangel - less useless. maybe i should have replaced Iceman with him, but he would interfere with Rogue's attacks

Early Additions
Havok - Iron Man is immune to his attacks.
Polaris - Iron Man is immune to her direct attacks. Throwing metal objects isn't very effective either.

All New, All Different Team
Wolverine - Vulnerable to magnetic rays
Colossus - Vulnerable to magnetic rays
Thunderbird - useless, dead
Banshee - Iron Man is immune to his attacks
Sunfire - Iron Man is immune to his attacks

Fall of the Mutants Team
Psylocke - Iron Man is immune to her psychic attacks. Can't get off the ground to attack physically.
Longshot - A contender to replace Iceman due to the +1s his teammates would get, but essentially useless
Dazzler - Iron Man is immune to her attacks

90s and beyond
Gambit - Useless
Jubilee - Useless
Bishop - Iron Man is immune to his attacks
White Queen - Iron Man is immune to her psychic attacks. Can't get off the ground to attack physically.

Who did i forget?

*Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 2:25 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link


Let's establish something basic. Wolverine is a Spider-Man level hero. This isn't to say he isn't a tough guy; Spider-Man is a tough guy. Wolverine is pretty fast (Spidey's faster) and has peak human strength enhanced by adrenaline surges (Whereas Spidey can lift cars). Wolverine is very resilient, with his unbreakable skeleton and his regeneration, but we shouldn't assume that his regeneration means that he's invincible. In D&D, Trolls are considered terrifying because they regenerate 3 hit points per round. That doesn't mean they laugh off attacks; it means that after you finally knock them down you have to make some special effort to keep them down. Wolverine's regeneration is possibly better than a trolls, but not by a ton (Whereas the Hulk once rebuilt himself from a crispy skeleton in about a minute). Wolverine can be hurt, and he can be knocked out. He was knocked out a bunch of times in Secret Wars when he was fighting higher level villians than he was used to with the X-Men.

Wolverine was created in a version of the super soldier program that created Captain America. The point of the super soldier programs were to create an army of better-than-average fighters, but they keep not being able to replicate it so they end up making one better-than-average fighter in each attempt. Wolverine typically fights ninjas and other thug level bad guys. And he kicks their asses, no doubt. But put him up against the type of people the Avengers or the FF go up against and he's out of his league. His archenemy is Sabertooth, who's been trounced by Iron Fist, Daredevil, and the Black Cat. When Spider-Man fought Wolverine, Wolverine won, barely, and mainly because Peter was so thoroughly shocked/traumatized by Wolvie's ferocity (He thought he was dealing with a good guy that he was having a disagreement with so he was pulling his punches. If he were treating Wolverine as a bad guy, the outcome would have been different). Even as a member of the New Avengers (which consists of Iron Man, Sentry, and a bunch of street level fighters), they've fought rogue SHIELD* agents, ninjas, and some X-Men villians. When they went up against the Wrecker, they got beaten silly until Spider-Woman's pheromones kicked in.

Now i know what you're thinking. I hear it all the time. "But Wolverine fights the Hulk." Look, lots of people have fought the Hulk. Few people have ever beaten the Hulk. Wolverine first appeared in Hulk 180-181, where they team up to beat the Wendigo, and then Wolverine sucker punches the Hulk and still can not beat him. Wolverine can barely get Hulk to notice him. In the end, Wolverine can't win and the Hulk gets bored and wanders off. The next time they fight, the Hulk is in his weakened grey state, and the fight is a draw. The next time they fight, Wolverine is bone-clawed, so i won't count the fact that he loses against him. After that, the Hulk is enhanced by Apocalypse, so again we can discount it. There's never been a definitive fight where Wolverine even comes close to standing up to the Hulk.

I know that this will lead to charges that I hate mutants. But the truth is i've always liked Wolverine. He was one of my favorite characters when i was a kid, before he was overexposed in the 90s. Street level characters are much more interesting than the mega powerful ones anyway - that's why i prefer Marvel over DC in the first place. Wolverine fights desperately, gets the crap kicked out of him, and pulls through - barely - in the end. That's what makes him fun to read. In order to set up the same sort of struggle for, oh, let's just pick Iron Man totally at random, you'd have to increase the threat level to the point where it is a world threatening menace every time.

*Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division (or maybe Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage and Logistics Directorate).

By fnord12 | December 19, 2005, 11:11 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

They hate Bendis??!!?

I was bored yesterday so i was reading the marvel newsgroup and i accidentally read a spoiler and now i know who Ronin is.

But boy do the message boards hate Bendis. Oh my god. They hate him. They say he's all style over substance, and that his pacing is terrible. I get the pacing complaint (and sometimes i agree a little) but i don't get the style over substance complaint at all. That was Marvel's problem in the 90s with the Image guys. Bendis's plots are pretty substantial, i think.

They're also complaining because New Avengers was supposed to be like the JLA "back to the big guns" thing that Grant Morrison did. And they're mad because Spider-Woman, Power-Man, Ronin and Sentry don't fall into either "classic avengers" or "marvel big guns" categories.

But Marvel doesn't have any "big guns" the way DC does, except for Spider-Man and the Hulk. They added Spidey, but the Hulk doesn't work well on a team book.

Spider-Woman at least had a cartoon in the 80s and i figure has some recognition.

Other characters that may have some mainstream recognition:

  • Blade had 3 movies. But he's got a very narrow motivation (hunting vampires) and isn't about the join a super-hero team.
  • Daredevil has a movie (and the Elektra spin-off). But they explained in-story why DD isn't going to join the team.
  • The Fantastic Four. A movie and a cartoon in the 90s. They have their own team. *Please* let's not have any of them join the Avengers again.
  • The X-Men. Movies and cartoons. They have their own team. And we got Wolverine, their most popular member.
  • The Punisher. A movie in the 80s and another recently. Like Blade, it would be silly for him to join a team.

So i don't see what other "big names" they could add to the team. I suppose they could try and make the Hulk work, but that's about it.

I'm not really sure why everyone hates Bendis. I didn't realize that they did. He's the best writer Marvel has had in a long time. He's great with dialogue, and he clearly has a love of the marvel universe. He's been putting his New Avengers in all sorts of traditional Marvel scenarios: a super-villian jail breakout, the savage land, a SHIELD and Hydra encounters, and a fight in Japan the Silver Samurai. Classic stuff.

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 12:46 PM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

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