Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comic Book Death

Overview
Comic book death refers to the death of a comic character, but despite death being a serious subject, comic book deaths are rarely taken seriously or are treated meaningfully. You see, usually a writer will kill off a character to create dramatic tension or gather publicity, or simply they want to kill off a character they don't like. But, usually some previously unestablished plot device will "resurrect" the character. Because of this, when a character dies, the readers don't feel a sense of loss, but simply wonder for how long or what plot device will bring them back. As Prof. Xavier (of the X-Men) said "in mutant heaven there are no pearly gates, but instead revolving doors." The term "comic book death" doesn't apply to characters like Multi-Man and Solomon Grundy, who have the power to come back from the dead.
Notable Examples
The two most notable comic book deaths were Superman's (in Death of Superman) and Jean Grey (in the Dark Phoenix Saga). But whereas Superman's death was intended not to be permanent, Jean's death was intended to be permanent, but she was "resurrected", so she could join the X-Factor. Peter Parker's Uncle Ben is one of the few characters to be dead and stay dead.
Parodies
In Astonishing X-Men #6, Emma Frost said "Jean Grey is dead." To which Agent Brand replied "Yeah, that'll last."
In Next Wave: Agents of Hate, two characters were talking about Magik. One mentioned how she died, to which, the other one said, "So what? The X-Men come back to life more than Jesus". In the Great Lakes Avengers, Mr. Immortal (whose power allows him to resurrect himself from the dead) dies and comes back to life in every one of his appearances. Also in the GLA miniseries, to further poke fun at comic book deaths, a character dies in every issue.
Resurrections
Commonly, to "resurrect" a character that "died" it's reveal something happened off-panel that creates the illusion that the character died (on-panel), or they were simply put into a coma or suspended animation. Another method is that it is revealed that the person who died was an impostor. Some times the characters really die and are brought back to life (such as when Martian Manhunter was turned into a zombie via a Black Lantern ring). Rebooted timelines or recreations of characters has been known to "resurrect" some characters.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_book_death

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Local Comic New of Texas

Hello, readers. I have decided to complain about a comic book-store related article in a magazine. I know normally I talk about comic books. But since is this my blog, I can do as I want. In the Dallas-Fort Worth magazine, D Magazine, there was an article that claimed the "Best Comic Book Store" is Zeus Comic and Collectibles. I think that is ☠☠☠☠-ing untrue. I believe Titan Comics is superior to Zeus (despite what happen in Greek mythology). Despite what the magazine says Titan is not a "well-curated mix of of books and toys" nor is it good for a "causal fan" of comic books. Zeus does have a lot of comics. However, they are so crammed together you can't leisurely skim through the comics. The only thing there that are easy to look through are the toys and Essential Marvel / DC Showcase paperbacks. Titan has a greater amount of comics and you can easily skim through them. And the staff is very kind. If you are ever in Dallas, visit both and see for yourself. I highly recommend Titan Comics over Zeus.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Extremists


History

The Extremists were an homage to several Marvel Comic villains akin to how the Champions of Angor were homages to the Avengers. The original team were from the planet Angor in another dimension.
Destruction
They were destroyed along with all other natives of Angor (minus the Champions of Angor) in a nuclear holocaust they created. However, before this, a theme park made robot copies of the Extremists for a ride. The robots were too accurate. They went on rampage and tracked down remaining members of the Champions of Angor and tried to destroy them. It turned out Dreamslayer was the real deal and was the only one of the real Extremists to survive. The Heroes (with the help of Mitch Wacky, the owner of the park) turned off the robots, while Silver Sorceress defeated Dreamslayer.
Breakdowns
The robots were sent to "Madame Clouseau's" (spoof of Madame Tussauds) in London. Maxwell Lord (possessed by Dreamslayer) restored the robots, during the Breakdowns storyline. Despite dying from being shot by an arrow, Silver Sorceress managed to defeat Dreamslayer again and (since his magic was powering the robots) the robots were stopped in the process. Queen Beatriz, later, tried to create an army she based on the team's armor, only to be stopped by Captain Atom and Extreme Justice.
New Extremists
Dreamslayer, trapped in the astral plane, was contacted by an villain called The Overmaster. The duo created a villain team call the New Extremists. This was intended to be a "lead-up" for the Judgement Day storyline. After the Overmaster got what he wanted, he sent Dreamslayer back to the astral plane, but the New Extremists are assumed to still be at large.
Extremists Return
In Supergirl, an villain called Twilight activated Extremists robots, but the titular character stopped them. How the robots were rebuilt hasn't been revealed. This version of the team appeared in the JLA/Avengers crossover.
Earth-8
After Infinite Crisis, on Earth-8, the Extremists are revamped as a group of villains that refused to comply with a law stating superhumans must register themselves to the government. In Countdown # 29, Donna Troy, "Bob" the Monitor, Kyle Rayner and Jason Todd meet this version of the team. The Extremists capture the heroes only to be interrupted by the arrival of Bob's brother, Monarch and Forerunner. In the confusion, the heroes escaped. The Extremists refused to join Monarch's army and Lord Havok tried to kill Monarch. Jason killed Barracuda. The team had a mini-series. In issue 1, it's revealed they are superhumans that refused to submit themselves to the goverment's Megahuman Act (a parody of Marvel's Civil War). They battled against the Mega-Militia, led by Tin Man (Iron Man spoof). The team based themselves in a country called Slovekia. After refusing Monarch, Monarch sent forces to attack Tracer and places important to the team. In Countdown to Final Crisis # 13, Superman-Prime rips open Monarch's suit and, as a result, destroys Earth-51, while Lord Havok (using some power he stole from Monarch) teleported his team to a hidden moon based.
Members
The Extremists
  • Lord Havok (Doctor Doom)- An arrogant villain with hi-tech armor. He is the team leader.
  • Dreamslayer (Dormammu)- A sorcerer (and a very powerful one), who is possibly a demon. In Extremists, he is (in fact) a she. She has her own religion (even has followers).
  • Gorgon (Doctor Octopus)- An overweight man, who has tentacles coming out his head and two metal claws. In Extremists, he can turn people into "Extremist form",which is shorter than his original version.
  • Tracer (Sabbertooth, but the Earth-8 version is similar to Wolverine)- Feral and has blades attached to his arms. He also has superhuman senses (hence the name).
  • Doctor Diehard (Magento)- Magnetic manipulation. He wears a red cape and a helmet that exposes his face. The Earth-8 version has a school for "Zen-Men" (Professor X homage).
  • Carny (Arcade)- Has a robot copy that appears in Extremist Vector storyline. His first "real" appearance is in Lord Havok and the Extremists # 1, where Hovak killed him for not serving him.
New Extremists
  • Brute- A not-very-smart powerhouse
  • Cloudburst- A man with weather control
  • Death Angel- She has (possibly) poisoned claws.
  • Gunshot- He is a " taciturn weapon-user." Enough said.
  • Meanstreak- Able to shoot energy bolts. She is very vicious.
Earth-8 Extremists
  • Earth-8 versions of Lord Havok, Dreamslayer, Doctor Diehard, Gorgon, Tracer and Carny.
  • Barracuda (Namor)- A fish-like being.
References:
DC Encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremists_(comics)
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20071105144233/marvel_dc/images/thumb/7/71/COUNTDOWN_PRESENTS_LORD_HAVOK_AND_THE_EXTREMISTS_1_pg_17.jpg/250px-COUNTDOWN_PRESENTS_LORD_HAVOK_AND_THE_EXTREMISTS_1_pg_17.jpg

Thursday, August 12, 2010

General Glory

Joseph Jones
He was a World War II soldier, that Lady Liberty gave "superior abilities", when he said:
"Lady of Liberty, hear my plea — 
For the land of the brave —
And home of the free!"
Similar to Captain Marvel, saying this would transform him into a superhero. Under the authority of Agent Newkirk Sharp, he became a government agent. Sharp made it so a General Glory comic would be made, so people would think he wasn't real. Akin to Captain America, he disappeared on a mission in the Arctic. Albeit, he returned to America (in his Joseph form) and had little memory of his past. It turned out Sharp drugged him for some reason. Many years later, Guy Gardner outbid him for a General Glory comic. But, he got Guy to let him read it (he paid Gardner). When he said the magic words, he transformed into General Glory. Then, he was arrested. It turned out Sharp framed General Glory for his own purposes. But, Glory exposed Sharp. Glory became an on / off member of the Justice League. He died of old age. This version of General Glory says "Stars 'n' Stripes!", when shocked, a parody of various superhero ejaculations (such as Superman's "Great Krypton!").
Donovan Wallace
One time when Glory turned into Jones, he had a cardiac episode and was sent to a hospital. He was in the same one as Donovan Wallace, who was a cop crippled by gangsters. Due to not being able to turn into Glory, Jones told Wallace about his superhero career. Despite being skeptical at first, Jones convinced him. Wallace tapped into the same energy that souped-up Jones and became the second General Glory. He used this to arrest the gangster that crippled him. He returned to Jones. Jones was having a heart attack, so he gave his power to Donovan to kept his legacy alive. As a result, Donovan regained his ability to walk. As Wallace become the second GG, Jones died. It turned out Donavan was going to have a wedding, but it was ruined by the Nazi-themed Fourth Reich. This team (with Vandal Savage) plotted to destroy all patriotic superheroes. In the 52 series, Martian Manhunter made a memorial for the JLA near Happy Harbor (were the JLA was originally based). There was statue for the dead members of the team, Glory included.
Powers and Abilities
Joseph Jones
He has super strength (enough to lift a tank) and durability and was an Olympic athlete in all other areas and seemed to be ageless, but only as Glory. Jones had no super powers. So becoming "normal" lead him to die from old age. When he was alive, he could give "long winded" patriotic speeches. This actually prove useful to the JLA, when villains attacking the JLA decided to kill him instead, so they wouldn't have to listen to his speech.
Donovan Wallace
Donovan had the same powers as Jones, but he had some weapons and powers Jones didn't. He had a sharp star (for throwing) that came back to him like a boomerang and could fly via golden bird wings.Trivia
  • General Glory was intended to a parody of Captain America.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Glory
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__p6Clhn9WDI/RkKmdQfuOdI/AAAAAAAABCU/fYYFm2hJ0TA/s320/05-09-2007+09%3B52%3B45PM.JPG

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Captain Thunder

Captain Thunder was homage to the original Captain Marvel. However, this was odd, because DC Comic owned the rights to the Cap.
History
Young Willie Fawcett (reference to Captain Marvel's original publishers) appeared in Metropolis, but for some reason didn't recognize it's famous hero, Superman. When he saw a robbery, he rubbed his belt and yelled "Thunder" and turned into Captain Thunder! His name was reference to Captain Marvel's original name. Oddly, Cap. Thunder helped the robbers. Then, he fought the Man of Steel, before turning back into Willie. Willie wanted help from Clark Kent (who he thought was Superman's friend). He explained he gained his powers from an Indian (reference to the Wizard Shazam) and he is Captain Thunder. He went on and said he fought the Monster League of Evil (Monster Society of Evil homage) across 1,953 dimensions and, after imprisoning him, they did something to him. Clark, believing the story, but still unsure if Willie is Captain Thunder, took him to the police station to find out if he had been reported missing. Willie (seeing a crime) instinctively transformed into Captain Thunder, but the evil persona took control. Superman tricked Thunder into using his wisdom. Figuring out what happened (removing his evilness), he goes home.
Powers
He had power similar to Captain Marvel, but his powers are from:
  • Tornado: Power
  • Hare: Speed
  • Uncas (Indian Warrior chief): Bravery
  • Nature: Wisdom
  • Diamond: Toughness
  • Eagle: Flight
  • Ram: Tenacity

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cain and Abel

Publication History
At first, Cain and Abel were EC Comic-esqe horror comic hosts in House of Mystery and House of Secrets, which ran from the 1950s to the early 1980s. During the 1970's, they co-hosted a humor / horror anthology comic called Plop!. On a letter page in Weird Mystery Tales # 3, Destiny claimed Cain, Abel and Eve were not their Biblical Counterparts. The duo and Eve hosted Secrets of Haunted House, until it became Destiny's title. House of Mystery was canceled. Cain appeared in the mostly-reprint Welcome Back to the House of Mystery series. The House of Secret series (along with The Witching Hour) were merged with The Unexpected, due to the infamous DC Implosion. Neil Gaiman revamped them for his new Sandman-series.
Fictional History
House of Mystery / House of Secrets
Cain and Able were care-takers of the House of Mystery (Cain) and the House of Secrets (Abel). Cain usually told tales to various people that stayed at the House of Mystery, while Abel (in the early issues) told his to his "imaginary" ("imaginary" was always written in quotes) friend Goldie, but he always appeared to be alone. Abel claimed Goldie was a ghost. Notably, Abel was very nice (even to his brother) and it's unclear why Cain was abusive. Both of the houses they worked at / lived in were on opposite sides a graveyard. Cain had a dragon-like gargoyle, who ate that reality's version of real-life writer Paul Kupperberg and editor Jack C. Harris. The houses were in a small town in Kentucky. Abel had to temporally move in with Cain, as the House of Secrets was being transported at the time. The final issue of House of Mystery, the titular house was torn down.
Pre-Sandman
In 1985, Alan Moore revamped them so they could retell the Swamp Thing's origin. In Blue Devil #20, Cain is seen taking care of the "House of Weirdness", until the titular character moves in. During the Crisis, after finding the House of Mystery, Elvira tried to find the-then-missing Cain. It's revealed he was still at the House of Weirdness with Blue Devil. In Swamp Thing #49-50, they watched a fight in Hell and acted like commentators. They made some less notable appearances, in which Cain tried to restrain himself from killing Abel and failed.
Sandman
It's implied, in a conservation between Cain and Lucifer (that was post-crisis), that Cain and Abel are their Biblical counterparts. It should be noted pre-Crisis Destiny claimed they were not. It's became even more unclear if they are their Biblical counterparts in this series. In this verison, Cain and Abel are inhabants of the Dreaming. This verison of Cain is much more aggressive towards Abel than past verisons, but Abel usually came back to life (due to being a dream). Cain hurts Abel, due to a " macabre form of obsessive-compulsive disorder". Despite abusing him, Cain seems to care about him. As such in The Sandman: The Wake, he became upset when Abel permanently died, to the point he conviced the new Lord of Dreams to bring him back. In Sandman # 2, Cain gave Abel a gargoyle, but got mad when Abel didn't want to give it a name that started with "G". So, Abel decided to call the gargoyle "Goldie". Despite usually being comic relief, the duo did play some imporant roles in the series.
Later...
Both Cain and Abel were main characters in the new House of Mystery 2008 Vertigo series.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain_and_Abel_(comics)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a4/Cain_%26_Able.jpg

Friday, August 6, 2010

Champions of Angor


Origins
The Champions of Angor was a pastiche / parody of the Avengers. The team first appeared in Justice League of America #87, written by Mike Friedrich, who's friend Roy Thomas introduced a Justice League pastiche in the Avengers comic at the same time. The Champions' planet, Angor, was attacked by robots. They defeated them and decided to track them to their source. The Justice League had been attacked by robots too and were tracking them to their source. The two teams met each other and had a fight, because they thought that the other team was the enemy. Members of the Champions in this story included:
  • Wandjina (Thor)- He was the leader. He has super strength and weather control. His name comes from an Australian weather spirit.
  • Silver Sorceress (Scarlet Witch)- Laura Neilsen is a powerful (albeit unpredictable) magic user. Her costume has a bizarre headdress.
  • Blue Jay (Yellowjacket)- Jay Abrams can shrink and fly.
  • Jack B. Quick and later Captain Speed (Quicksilver)- Harry Christos is a speedster.
Later...
In the post-Crisis Justice League International, the team reappears. In issue 2, the team (minus Jack B. Quick) tried to destroy the Earth's nuclear weapons (apparently Angor had a nuclear disaster that killed everyone but them). Wandjina stopped a nuclear meltdown in the fictional country, Bialya, but got himself killed in the process. The others gave themselves up to Russian authorities. Wandjina would later be reanimated by Queen Bee II as a weapon. In Justice League Europe #15, Blue Jay and Sorceress escaped from jail. Double S went to Angor and Blue Jay went to the League. It was revealed that a group of villains called the Extremists caused the nuclear disaster. The Extremists kidnapped Sorceress and tried to take control over the Earth's nuclear weapons. It turned out that these guys (except one) were actually Extremists-robot copies for an amusement park (although they did cause the disaster). The owner turned them off. Dreamslayer (the one that wasn't a robot) was defeated by Sorceress. Sorceress and Blue Jay joined the Justice League. In Justice League Quarterly # 3, the amusement park owner went back in time to try to stop the robots from destroying Angor. Members of the Champions (called the Justifiers at this point) that weren't seen before were introduced. They included:
  • The Bowman (Hawkeye)- An archer that is womanizing and likes the "Black Widow types".
  • Tin Man (Iron Man)- He is has hi-tech armor and a heart condition.
  • T.A. (Wasp?)- Hero with metal wings
There was also an unnamed homage to Goliath and several non-Avenger members, including Spider-Man, Cyclops and Wolverine. Later appearances of the team had them downplay their pastiche roots. An unconnected team called the Justifiers are mentioned in Final Crisis.
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champions_of_Angor
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2b/Heroesangor.jpg

Monday, August 2, 2010

Superman Red and Superman Blue

"The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue!"
In an "imaginary story" (non-cannon stories, usually taking place in another realities), in Superman # 162, Superman decided to increase his intelligence, so he could finish his list of unaccomplished goals, such as returning Kandor to it's normal size. He did so via a machine powered by kryptonite. It made the Man of Steel 100 times smarter, but it also spilt him into two Superman-beings: Superman Red and Superman Blue. They successfully restored Kandor, but they didn't stop there. They re-created Krypton (dubbed "New Krypton") and in the process destroyed all existing kryptonite. The duo made an "anti-evil ray", designed to remove criminal tendencies from people. They used satellites to emit the ray causing not only Mr. Mxyzptlk and Lex Luthor become to good, but even Communists. The now-good Lex created a serum able to cure all known illnesses and placed in the water supply. Now that Earth became a paradise, Superman-Blue married Lana Lang, Superman-Red married Lois and even Jimmy Olsen married Lucy Lane at the same wedding. Superman-Red decided to go live on new Krypton (giving up his powers), while Superman-Blue stayed on Earth and started "Super-Family". This version of Red and Blue were seen in Infinite Crisis # 5, when Lex tried to fuse all the alternate reality Supermen together and in Superman / Batman # 25 in an army of different versions of Batman and Superman.

"Superman Red/Superman Blue"
The next version of the duo began in a 1998 storyline, where Superman got electric-based powers, later it forced him to wear a blue containment suit. He could turn the powers "off", but became as vulnerable as a normal human. Some fans call this version "Electric Blue Superman". In the Superman Red/Superman Blue one-shot, the Cyborg Superman created a trap that split Superman into a rash Superman Red and a cerebral Superman Blue. The two started to differ from each other so much, that they didn't want to turn back into the "normal" Superman. Both Supermen fought over Lois Lane, so she kicked them out her house. Perplexed, both Red and Blue went to Antarctica to see if the Kryptonian tech could help solve the issue. But, they found a woman called Obsession, previously known to have romantic lust for Superman at an insane level. Then, Maxima (another super-powered Superman-admirer) came to the scene. Although Obsession liked the idea of two Supermen, Maxima was completely opposed to it. The two woman fought over this. The Supermen stopped the fight by separating them. After battling the Millennium Giants, the two Supermen fused together. Why this happened is very vague: Superman felt "rewarded" for saving the Earth, but he later claimed to haved turned back when his "electromagnetic energy dispersed". However when he was battling Brainiac 13, in a later comic, Brainiac 2.5 manage to turn him into the "Electric Blue Superman" to stop 13.
References:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b8/Supesredblue.jpg