Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ridiculous Villains In Comics

Ridiculous Villains In Comics
Written By Teddy McHugh

I can’t remember how I thought of this topic, but once it came to mind I knew I had to run with it.   Throughout my time reading comics I have come across characters that are just so unusual that I can’t help but laugh.  Sure most of them are used as an entryway to the real villain of the story or in books that are meant to be a little off from the norm.  But these villains can be really fun to see pop up.

Stilt-Man-

I really don’t know which is more ridiculous.  The fact that there is a character named Stilt-Man, or the fact that there have been three different men to use the monocher and a Lady Stilt-Man.  

Stilt-Man first appeared in Daredevil #8 in 1965.  Wilbur Day was a scientist who stole his mentors hydraulic inventions and made it into a pair of telescopic stilts that were attached to a suit of armor.  He took the name Stilt-Man and began using his suit to rob banks.  He has had a very long and very unsuccesful criminal career.   During Civil War Day was killed and hasn’t been seen since.

But with Day gone a new criminal adopts the name and begins “terrorizing the Marvel universe” with about the same amount of success as his original namesake.  This incarnation was last seen being defeated by Superior Spider-Man.  As for the third man to take the name Stilt-Man.  He was a small time criminal that was chosen by a small group of other small timers who obtained a version of the stilt suit that had been upgraded by the Tinkerer.  Michael Watts used the Stilt-Man armor to take on The Punisher who just about killed him.  The only saving factor for Watts was that Rhino convinced Frank Castle not to by telling him “You punish the guilty Frank.  Not the stupid”.

Stilt-Man is officially a legacy character.  But the fact remains that he is still a ridiculous character that is just a fun villain to watch your favorite heroes defeat at the beginning of an issue before they go on to face the big bad.

Mr Edison/The Inventor-

When G. Willow Wilson relaunched Ms. Marvel in 2014 she introduced Marvel fans to Kamala Kahn, a Pakistani teenager who was affected by the Terrigen Mists during the Inhumanity event.  And at the end of her first arc as Ms. Marvel it is revealed that there is a new mastermind in town that is a clone of Thomas Edison.  And what could possibly be ridiculous about an evil mastermind that is a clone of Thomas Edison?  How about when said clone is in the body of a giant cockatiel.  

Though I will admit that the site of this character is mildly creepy, Mr. Edison is definitely on the ridiculous side of comic villains.  Even Wilson admits said herself that Mr. Edison “Is kooky and Miyazaki-esque”.  I love the idea of this character and hope that he will get to have more appearances in the future.

M.O.D.OK.-

A giant head with little arms and legs who runs A.I.M. whose name is an acronym for Mental/Mobile/Mechanized, Organism, Designed, Only for, Killing.  M.O.D.O.K. could be an interesting villain I guess.  But he has always just comes across as a joke villain for the heroes to beat and throw out catchy one liners over his unconscious body.

M.O.D.O.K. has mental powers as well as technological weapons built into a mechanical anti-grav chair that houses his unusual body.  But ridiculousness aside I am a sucker for M.O.D.O.K. stories.

The Fiddler-

One of the many Flash villains that fall into the absurd idea category.  The Fiddler or Isaac Bowen first debuted in All Flash #32 in 1947.  The Fiddler is a talented musician who taught himself to play special notes that would hypnotize any who heard it, shatter glass or even put up a barrier.  All of which he would use to pull off crimes in Flash comics throughout the ages.

I have not personally read any issues where the Fiddler makes an appearance except in the issue of Villains United where he was killed by Deadshot shortly after joining the Secret Six and his return as a Black Lantern in the Secret Six tie-in for Blackest Night.  But my research brought me across the character and from the name I had to dig deeper.  He even drove a fiddle-mobile, a custom made car in the shape of a fiddle.  

Prism-

I was given a hint from my buddy Tony to take a look at X-Men villains if I want to find more ridiculous characters for this article.  That tip lead me to this gem of a character.

Prism is a member of the team the Marauders who absorbs light into his crystalline body and can release it into intense flashes of light to blind opposition.  He is basically a living flashbang grenade.  But Prism didn’t have a very long life in the Marvel universe.  He was accidentally killed by Jean Grey in X-Factor when she slammed him against a wall with her telekinesis.  Then he was resurrected by Mr Sinister only to die again at the hands of demon police at the beginning of Inferno.

Spoilsport-

Another standout from the mutant corner of Marvel.  Spoilsport is a female mutant whose powers are completely based around her inline skates.  When she uses them she can defy gravity to reach high speeds to move up walls and across ceilings.  And on top of that she dresses like a schoolgirl, pigtails and all.  Though now she is depowered thanks to Scarlet Witch and M-Day.


There are plenty more of these ridiculous villains floating around in comics.  And if you ever want a little laugh at the absurd side of  comics I highly suggest you go looking for the more obscure and ridiculous villains.

Thank you for reading this article.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please leave them in the comments section.  And as always… Keep Reading Comics Fans!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Characters I Hope To See More Of In Comics

Characters That Should Be Used More In Comics
By Teddy McHugh
In the constantly cycling climate of comics there is a long list of characters that come and go based on the whims of editors and writers,  Whether they die to save the people they love just to get resurrected later.  Or they are just put to the side because the new creative team doesn’t have any plans for them, it is just part of how comics works.  Well I decided that I want to put together a list of the characters that I personally would like to see make a comeback, or in some cases just be a bigger part of their respected universe’s.  But keep in these are just my opinions,


Nico Minoru-

Nico made her debut in the Marvel Universe in Brian K. Vaughn’s The Runaways.  But the first time I encountered her was in Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover when she was trapped in Arcade’s Murder Island with a bunch of other teenage heroes.  Nico quickly stood out to me as a character that needs to be in the spotlight.  Throughout the two books Nico was used really well as a character who wants to do good in spite of her evil lineage.  It is that internal battle that makes her one of the most compelling characters that is barely used.  The last time she was seen she was fighting alongside most of the fellow survivors of Murder Island and their later encounter with the new Masters of Evil.  

Then you have her unique powers.  Nico uses a highly powerful magic that is based on her using words for power, but she can never use the same power word twice.  So as she goes she is also struggling to find new words to get the right effect.  But Nico’s powers also have a darkside to them.  When she loses her temper she can use blood magic like she did in Avengers Arena, but at what kind of cost to herself.  Tapping into such a dark power has to leave a mark on the user in my eyes.


Thunderstrike-


I am a huge fan of the Asgardian section of Marvel, so I would really like to see the return of this long defunct character that came out of a strange time in Thor comics.  Thunderstrike first came into being when Eric Masterson became the alter ego for Thor in Thor #408, but he would later take the title Thunderstrike when he began wielding an Asgardian mace called Thunderstrike.  As a side note, the title of Thunderstrike would later be handed down to Masterson’s son Kevin.
I have a couple of ideas for this one.  Marvel could either bring back Eric or Kevin Masterson to reclaim the role.  Or what I think would be an interesting idea, bring in a new person to carry the mantle.  In fact I would love to see a kid in their late teens or early twenties wield the Mace and be part of a new Young Avengers team while also figuring out his/her place in the world.  Sure, Thunderstrike’s powers are practically the same as Thor.  But there is potential to give the character his own place in the larger Marvel universe.


Bart Allen-

He has been known as Impulse, Kid Flash, and even The Flash for just a couple of issues.  Bart Allen has always been my favorite Flash character.  I respect that Barry, Wally, and Jay all lead the way for Bart, but there was always just something that made Bart a lot more fun to read to me.  

I realize Bart was in the new 52 for a while as part of the Teen Titans, but I choose not to recognize that as part of my head continuity.  The new 52 made Bart into a criminal from the future.  And on top of that he was written horribly.  Almost as bad as Tim Drake.  

I would like to see DC bring back the Bart Allen that I love to read.  He was fun loving, and did what came to his mind often without thinking.  Which earned him his first hero name Impulse.  But it was also that fact that often got him into so much trouble.  Or at least ridiculed for some of his poor decisions.  Like getting a Green Lantern tattoo in the first issue of Geoff Johns Teen Titans run, which quickly faded till it was gone because of his super fast metabolism.  When Convergence is wrapped up I would love to see Bart returned to being that fun loving member of the Teen Titans.


America Chavez-

America Chavez first crossed my path when she showed up in volume 2 of Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.  She was the one character on the team that never took any of Loki’s crap.  Now I have only read that particular book and not the series that she made her first appearance.  But the way she is written by Gillen makes her a relatable strong female character that a lot of series seem to not want to use.

America Chavez is never used as the victim which comes off as a breathe of fresh air in the current comic landscape.  One of the more interesting facts about Chavez is her unique power set.  Chavez has the ability to  travel between  dimensions by punching  star shaped holes through the barriers between.  As well as possessing extreme strength, durability and the ability to fly.  

Now I have heard that she has briefly reemerged in the recent A-Force book.   But America Chavez is an overly confident, some would even say cocky, teenager that has a lot going for her if she is used properly.  That would make her a great character for female readers to latch onto.  And in the proper hands she could even be as popular as Kamala Khan.  One thing's for sure, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.



 

Bane-

When Bane first debuted in comics he was a fairly one note villain who wanted to destroy Batman in every way possible.  So Bane released every villain in Arkham knowing that if he just came right at the Batman he would never succeed.  The rest of the villains were meant to be a distraction to wear Batman down so when Bane made his move Batman would be severely weakened.  Needless to say his plan worked, and in the Knightfall arc Bane broke Batman’s back.  Bane continued to be written as a well educated musclebound beast until he was defeated by Bruce Wayne’s replacement in the Batsuit Jean Paul Valley.  Otherwise known as Azrael.  Sadly, after that Bane became little more than a dumbed down steroid junky in a constant state of roid rage.

Then in 2008 Gail Simone brought Bane into Secret Six, and Bane became an intelligent character again.  Simone made Bane have a sensitive side and best of all she gave Bane a standard he now lived by where he refused to use Venom.  He also instituted a set of rules within the Secret Six as he took over leadership when Scandal Savage, the original leader, showed no remorse about possibly sacrificing the life of another member of the team.  As Secret Six went on Bane continued to be developed into a much stronger character than he had been.  And there is a great bit halfway into the series that shows what happens when Bane uses Venom, and it shows exactly how Bane sees the world when the Venom takes hold.  I haven’t read any of Bane’s appearances in the New 52, but from what my research turned up it looks like other than a costume change his character has only changed a little.  He still battles his addiction to the Venom compound.  But at the same time it sounds like he is back to being a mustache twirling villain.

These are just some of the characters that I would like to see get their chance in the spotlight.  I’m sure that you readers have characters that you wish would get a bigger spot in their respective universes.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  But with the constant state of change within the main publishers there is always a chance that the ones you want to see more of will pop back up sooner or later.

Thanks for reading this article.  If you have any comments Questions or suggestions feel free to let me know in the comments section.  And as always… Keep Reading Comic Fans!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review of Starlight

 


This weeks review is of a book I was hesitant to read even though I had been hearing good things about it since its release.  You see I am not a big fan of Mark Millar's books after a certain point.  After Superman: Red Son and Ultimates to be more specific.  That said I am a huge fan of the pulp heroes like Flash Gordon, so I decided to give this one a chance.

Starlight
Written By Mark Millar
Art By Goran Parlov
Released By Image Comics

Starlight is the story of Duke McQueen(a great name by the way), an old man who saved another planet forty years ago, and just recently lost his wife to cancer.  The problem is that after Duke saved the planet he returned to his life on Earth.  So for the past forty years Duke has been dealing with everyone he knows and cares about except his wife calling him crazy and doubting everything he claims to have done.  So with his wife gone all he has are his two sons who think he is crazy and/or are too busy with their lives to spend time with him.  After being left alone with a dinner that he was preparing for his kids and grandkids Duke is reflecting on his life since returning when a cloaked spaceship arrives at his house.  A ship piloted by a teenage boy from the planet who claims that Duke must return because there is a new and far worse threat now ruling over the galaxy called the Broteans.  What follows is a fun pulp sci-fi adventure with some of the best Millar work I have read for quite sometime.

Lets start with the Main character of Duke McQueen, whose name invokes to legendary actors that I am big fans of.  John Wayne who had the nickname “The Duke” and Steve McQueen.  and coincidentally I feel the character design for Duke McQueen makes him resemble both legends.  McQueen when he is younger, and Wayne in his present day appearance.  But looks aside, the character of Duke McQueen is a fun and relatable character.  Duke faces very real problems before he makes the journey back to space.  Duke wants nothing more than to have his family together around one table on the anniversary of his wife’s death, but because his sons are embarrassed of their father and his tales or space travel and toppling dictators, they can’t be bothered to make it to his house for dinner.

As for the rest of the cast of characters.  There is a decent group of supporting characters that all bring their own unique personalities and quirks.  For example Krish or Space Boy as Duke refers to him is a peppy teenager who has a dark past with a high ranking official in the Brotean hierarchy.  The main villain comes off a little over the top at points, but it serves to make Starlight feel more like Ming in the 80’s Flash Gordon movie.

The Goran Parlov art isn’t the best I have seen from him, but it is amazing just the same.  Parlov brings both the world to life beautifully.  Whether he is drawing the boring midwest town Duke lives in, or the sweeping landscapes of the foreign planets he visits in the past and present.  Parlov manages to make everything look lived in and beautiful.

Ratings: 4 Out Of 5

I really hope that Millar and Parlov do a second volume of Starlight.  I’m not really sure how they will do it, but there is a lot of possibility for more stories in this universe.

Thanks for reading my review.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other books to read.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Thoughts On The Future Of The MCU!!!



My Thoughts On The MCU Going Forward
Article by Teddy McHugh

I am going to break this into a couple sections to make it easier to make my points as clear as I want them to come across.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Avengers: Age of Ultron.  By no means did I think it was a perfect movie, or even a particularly well thought out movie.  But it hit on all of the right beats to make for a really fun action flick starring some of my favorite comic characters.  

However there were some serious problems within the movie that bugged me a lot.  For example the fact that Ultron comes off as a powerless villain after all is said and done.  Whedon tries to make the viewers believe that he is this big threat to the Avengers and the world, but it seems like whenever Ultron and the Avengers face off the Avengers handle him with very little problems.  In fact the only time I felt that Ultron came out for the better against the Avengers was when Wanda and Pietro, mostly wanda though, take apart the team on the barge off the coast of Africa.  

Then you have the glaring plot hole of Stark’s Iron Legion.  At the end of Iron Man 3 Tony destroys all of his suits and tells Pepper that he is done building armor.  But suddenly he has a major army of suits that run themselves, or maybe Jarvis runs them that was a little unclear.  But the fact remains that Stark has an army of Iron Man suits that just go completely unexplained.  The lack of explanation makes them nothing more than a plot device to explain how Ultron gets an army so quickly.  And as a side note, why did Ultron need a fully moving mouth?  His mouth probably bothered me more than it should have, but it just didn’t make sense to me.  But to me Ultron was the most effective as a threat when he was a bunch of spare parts put together from destroyed Iron Legion suits with James Spader’s voice coming out of it.

I did however really like the addition of the twins.  I thought both Pietro and Wanda brought some interesting new angles to the movie.  Their backstory was compelling and made sense as to why they would agree to be part of the Hydra experiment.  I was very hesitant when Marvel announced the addition of Scarlet Witch into the MCU.  In comics Wanda has a power set that can be used to do whatever the writer wants her to be able to do.  Whether that be to just move things with her mind or being able to destroy the entire world with a single word.  So I was happy when they made her powers just a strong telekinesis and the ability to play on the fears within a person’s mind.   

On the whole I got the feeling that Age Of Ultron was nothing more than a placeholder movie between Marvel Phase 2 and Phase 3.  Especially with the forming of the new line-up of Avengers that is unveiled at the end.  A line-up with which I am still deciding how I feel about.

The Future Of The MCU

The announcement of the upcoming line-up of Marvel movies is both exciting and scary at the same time to me.  I am excited because of the potential each of the characters being introduced brings to the table.  But I am worried by the fact that the more characters Marvel brings in the more convoluted the universe becomes.  I already feel that the MCU is getting kind of confusing.  And I personally feel that the addition of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show has made more complications for the greater MCU.  In fact I wish Marvel would have looked at the cluster shmozz that was the Matrix sequels.  Where to get the whole story you had to watch the Animatrix, play the Matrix video game, as well as a couple of other hoops to jump through that I can’t exactly remember.

Black Panther-
I like the fact that we are getting a Black Panther movie, and the groundwork for Black Panther that was laid out in Age of Ultron was kind of fun.   Black Panther could bring an interesting depth to the already deep MCU.  I am really interested to see how they set up the nation of Wakanda, and what will make them decide to join the battle going on in the universe that Marvel already has built.  T’Challa has a great backstory in the comics so I am excited to see how they will adapt it for the movie universe.

Captain Marvel-
Captain Marvel is one of two additions to the MCU that I am most excited for.  For starters the addition of another strong female character that could serve to give female fans someone to root for.  But Carol is also a complex character that has a history of being strong even through her weakness.  Carol Danvers is a badass fighter pilot who has Kree powers given to her by the original Captain Marvel.  And the best part to Carol Danvers being introduced is the potential to see her interacting with the other Avengers.  As a side note Marvel has the perfect chance to cast Katee Sackhoff as Carol Danvers.  And that is always a plus in my book.

Dr. Strange-
This is the movie that intrigues me the most.  Up until now the MCU is highly based in science.  Even Thor has been explained with mostly a science angle.  So I can’t wait to see how they finally bring a completely magic based character into the universe and make him work.  I’m not completely sold on Benedict Cumberbatch being cast as Stephen Strange.  However I am optimistic that he could make it work.  But the other interesting factor to a Dr. Strange movie is buddy aspect between Strange and Wong, his helper.  With the proper casting of Wong there is the potential for an on screen chemistry the likes of which he has with Martin Freeman on Sherlock.

Spider-Man Coming To The MCU

I am happy that Marvel got shared rights to the Spider-Man film rights.  Sony has really mishandled the franchise for the last three films.  Thats right I said it!  The only good thing about the Amazing Spider-Man movies was Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.  Other than that I felt that the movies were pretty forgettable.  That said I am not happy to see the famous web-slinger get folded into the MCU.  I fully understand that I am in the minority on this one though.

First of all, it looks like we are going to be getting the origin story of Peter Parker again for the third time in thirteen years.  I for one am really hoping they do a opening credit montage that gives the origin ala Incredible Hulk.  I also am still trying to decide on how I feel about the decision to make Peter Parker so young.  Not to say that Asa Butterfield, who seems like the front runner right now, is a bad actor.  I’m just not sure about making Peter that young.  I really like the struggling photographer for the Daily Bugle version of Peter Parker the most.  I feel it is a much more fun point in the Spider-Man legacy.

But my biggest concern though is how well will Spider-man fit into the universe that Feige and company have been building?  Spider-Man could be a serious tipping point on the tight-rope act that Marvel films are already on.  Because in my opinion Spider-Man is a character that works the best on his own.  With the partial control Marvel has now on the Spider-Man character I think they can help make a stronger product.  But I still feel that Spider-Man works best on his own.  Or maybe have him make appearances in the Netflix shows where he can team up with the Defenders and even bring a little humor to the dark toned MCU right now.  

My Worries About The Future Of The MCU

As I stated before, I feel that the MCU is getting way too bogged down at points.  And with the announcement of 16 characters being major players in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War I am even more worried that Marvel is walking a very thin line.  Then compound that with the fact that it seems like they are trying to make it pretty close to the comic book arc of the same name.  But what about the fact that in the current MCU none of the heroes have secret identities so how can a registration angle really work in the MCU?  And that is just in the foreseeable future.

What about the fact that everything is currently starting to push towards the Infinity War?  I can’t help but worry a little about their decision to take on such an ambitious storyline.  A two part movie that will most likely involve all of the characters from the movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and possibly the characters from the Netflix shows.  That makes it an even more ambitious proposition than just being an intergalactic war with a warlord who wants nothing more than to woo death.  Oh and the warlord possesses a glove with six ultra powerful gems in it that makes him nigh unbeatable,

But these are just my thoughts on the possibilities of the MCU.  And I should state that even with all of the concerns I have expressed in this article, I remain very optimistic that Marvel won’t let me down.  After all they made a giant talking tree and a talking raccoon not only believable but into the most popular characters of the last couple of years.

As always thanks for reading.  This site has been a great outlet for my thoughts on an industry that has been bringing me a lot of entertainment for years.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please leave them in the comment section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!   

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review of John Constantine Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits







I have been wanting to read this arc for a while now, but I just recently found a copy to read.  It was part of the basis for the Constantine movie starring Keanu Reeves.  Given that isn’t a good thing to compare to in most people’s eyes.  But I didn’t think the movie was as bad as some.

John Constantine Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
Written By Garth Ennis
Art By Will Simpson
Released By Vertigo Comics


This trade follows John Constantine, a scam artist who deals with the occult, as he faces the toughest battle of he will ever face.  Lung cancer.  Smoking 30 cigarettes a day has finally caught up with him.  However John doesn’t plan on going down easily,  he is going to go out fighting.  But just in case his schemes won’t work he decides to visit all of the people he cares about one last time, as well as making a new friend in a cancer patient named Matt.  But the more John fights to change his fate the deeper he digs his grave.  

This series brings in some truly interesting characters to interact with John.  Including one of John’s good friends who made a deal with “The First of the Fallen” so that he could get the greatest collection of alcohol ever collected.  Of course both John and his buddy are hoping the other could help get them out of the jam they are in.  John drinks with his good friend until the end.  And when he finds out that the deal that was made is void if The First doesn’t claim his soul by midnight on the night he dies and his soul goes to heaven, Constantine  does a nice thing for the first time in his life to ensure that his buddy will be free.  

The best parts of this series though are where it is just John dealing with his mortality, which is obviously a concept that he never thought would be a concern.  These moments serve to make John a more relatable character.  Then there are the really touching moments that involve John and Matt just sitting together and talking about life and where they made their mistakes.  Matt gives a good view of what John is on his way to becoming,  A cranky old man who lost anyone and everyone that meant something to him who is dieing a slow and painful death.

Rating: 5 Out Of 5
This was a dark and emotional trip that only Ennis can produce.  The art comes off a little rough at points but it only serves to help the nature of the story it’s representing.  I highly suggest this arc to anyone wanting to get introduced to the comic version of John Constantine.

Thank you for reading my review.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the site please leave them in the comments section.  And as always… Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Frustrating Moments In My Time Reading Comics

There are moments in comics that will stay with you for as long as you live.  Some for good and some not so much.  This article is going to focus on those less than great moments.  More specifically the moments that frustrate you to tears.  Whether it be one of your favorite characters acting against the typical behavior that they are known for.  Or just a massively bad plot twist that just makes no sense in the grand scheme.  I am not going to guarantee that this article won’t get angry.  In fact this article is being written to let out some of the rage that has built up over the years of reading comics.  The inspiration for this article came from the amount of backlash that came from the reveal that Bobby Drake/Iceman from the past is gay.  Even though the character has never been portrayed as gay in comics up until now.  The fact that Bendis made Bobby gay doesn’t bother me.  However, the explanation of why past bobby is gay and the Bobby in the present isn’t was extremely frustrating.  Because the excuse that Bendis gives is that Bobby made a decision to not be gay, and that to me is insulting. Keep in mind that these are just the ones that I have personally read and all of them have taken place since I got back into comics.


Frustrating Moments in Comics


Colossus Becomes The Juggernaut-

During the events of Fear Itself Cain Marko becomes possessed by one of the hammers of Cul, the Asgardian God of Fear.  So in an effort to stop Cain, Magik and Colossus go to Cyttorak looking to have him step in.  They argue that Cain is no longer working for Cyttorak, so he needs to step in and free his avatar on Earth from being controlled by another deity.  Cyttorak agrees and removes the powers that Cul gave him.  And in a twist Cyttorak also removes the Juggernaut abilities from Marko and gives them to Colossus.  This leads to some really bad stories involving Colossus.  Like Peter and Kitty breaking up because he can’t always control the Juggernaut force.  But one of the biggest downsides to Colossus becoming the Juggernaut was the costume change.  It combined Colossus’ normal costume with the helmet and bracers of Juggernaut.  


The Phoenix Five-

 When Avengers vs. X-Men started it had a lot of promise.  It was going to be the event that “Changed the Marvel Universe”.  And in some ways it did.  After all AVX set up Marvel Now.  Which has had a lot more good than bad.  And up until about the halfway point AVX wasn’t doing too bad on delivering.   Then Tony Stark built a device in an attempt to stop the Phoenix Force from reaching Earth, where it will possess it’s next host, Hope Summers.  But the device doesn’t work the way it was intended to.  Instead of getting rid of the Phoenix Force it broke it apart.  And then the “ Kick The Raptor” moment happens.  Instead of taking one host like it was supposed to it takes five.  Leaving Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Magik and Colossus all with the power of the Phoenix and referring to themselves as the “Phoenix Five”.  That name is so amazingly cheesy that on a podcast the week they first debuted one of the hosts called them the “Phoenix Force Five” as a joke.  Then in the next issue they were officially called the “Phoenix Five” and even the hosts of the podcast couldn’t believe the name.   Sadly though the wheels fell off this particular wagon even further.  Because you would think with all of the previous history Cyclops has with watching Jean Grey being consumed by the Phoenix, he would do everything he can to protect the world from the threat he and the other four avatar’s pose.  Instead he and the others start forcing the world to change.  And when Xavier goes to Cyclops to plead with him to see that what they are doing is wrong, he kills Xavier.  I don’t care how far gone Scott would have been, I still don’t think he would have killed his mentor.  And on top of that all of the characters that were possessed were poorly written from that point on.

Who Is Red Hulk?-

In 2008 Marvel decided that they wanted a new Hulk character, so they made the Red Hulk and kept his identity a secret.  Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness were tapped to be the creative team to bring Red Hulk to life.  And they did a pretty good job.  Red Hulk tracked and stopped many of the classic Hulk villains all the while the mystery of Red Hulk’s identity was still protected.  Now I can understand doing one maybe two arcs while teasing the identity, but Loeb kept the mystery going for around twenty issues.  That is well over a year of comics where they just kept pushing the mystery of who Red Hulk really was.  So when the reveal was finally made nobody really cared anymore.  Then you throw in the fact that he was revealed to be General “Thunderbolt” Ross a man who was supposedly killed by Red Hulk early in the run.  And how did they explain Ross being the Hulk and killed by the same Hulk?  The ultimate Marvel death reset button, Life Model Decoy.  The L.M.D. is a source of seething anger to me.  Whenever Marvel wants to use the death of a character for a publicity stunt they know they can always use the L.M.D. to reset the status quo.  But there were other pretty bad side effects of this arc, like the introduction of Red She-Hulk who is Betty Ross.  Now I will admit that both Red Hulk and Red She-Hulk were somewhat turned around by Jeff Parker, and I liked the idea that Betty becoming Red She-Hulk allowed her and Bruce to actually have a relationship.  But it still made no sense that either of the Ross’ would become a Hulk.


DC’s New 52-

I have never been the biggest fan of DC on the whole, but when DC announced they would be rebooting their universe in an attempt to streamline it for new readers I was optimistic.  I was originally signed up for 8 or 9 books when the New 52 started and there were a few gems in the mix.  But as the issues added up it was clear that DC may not be making the same mistakes as before.  Instead they were making all new and in some places even bigger mistakes.  Didio and Lee put a lot of trust in creators that were not to be trusted like Rob Liefeld.  They had too tight of an editorial control over books with a lot of potential and could have really made DC a stronger publisher.  Characters that were really liked were either mishandled or written out of continuity completely.  But the biggest sin committed in the New 52 to me was the fact that the books that needed to a clean slate the most like Green Lantern didn’t change in the slightest.  I have always been really interested in the idea of the Green Lantern books.  But I have found that ever since Geoff Johns has had his meat hooks in the Green Lantern corner of DC universe the books have been way too convoluted and uninteresting.  I even gave some of the books a look after Johns left the main book, but it still felt like the new writers were at the mercy of Johns control.  Then you get into the whole fact that the reboot changed it so there have been a whole army of Robins in a short time of Bruce being Batman.  And Tim Drake was never a Robin in current continuity.  Hell his name isn’t even really Tim Drake.  So I have to say that the New 52 has been a complete debacle in the long run.  

Marvel’s Fear Itself-

In 2011 when I was just getting really deep back into comics Marvel launched Fear Itself, a publisher wide crossover.  It was written by Matt Fraction and was drawn by Stuart Immonen.  It focused on the return of Odin’s brother Cul, who is the god of fear.  Cul is released from his cell at the bottom of the marianas trench by Sin the daughter of Red Skull, who has been possessed by Skadi.  With his release Cul, or the Serpent, drops seven hammers which transforms the people they are meant for into heralds of the Serpent.  combined with Sin who also wields a hammer the six become Cul’s generals known as The Worthy.  The worthy were made up of Hulk, Juggernaut, Thing, Absorbing Man, Titannia, Attuma and Absorbing Man.  As the Worthy rampage around the world the amount of fear grows.  And the more the fear spreads the stronger Cul gets.  


Now I am a huge fan of everything Asgard in the Marvel Universe.  So when I heard the pitches for this series I was really excited.  Fear Itself and Matt Fraction’s Mighty Thor were the first two books I ever put on my pull list at I Like Comics.  And for the first 4 or 5 issues I really enjoyed the event.  But then you get to issue six, and the problems start adding up.  Problems like characters doing things that seem very out of character, and making giant logic and story leaps.  Another large problem in Fear Itself was when the Thing cleared of his possession by Franklin Richards with a single touch of his hands.  It bothered me because with that one simple throwaway moment take away all threat to the Worthy then just drop it like it is nothing.   I mean if Franklin can do that why not just bring him in and let him wipe the other members?  The excuse they give in the book is that  Franklin made a promise to his parents to not use his powers anymore just a little before Fear Itself started.  But if he makes the exception once why not just go whole hog?  But that is just the beginning.  By the time Fear Itself was done Bucky-Cap and Thor are dead, Paris is turned completely turned to stone by Grey Gargoyle, and Cul is locked away in the Asgard dimension and guarded by Odin.
But then there were .1, .2, and .3 issues.  And in those issues Odin Snaps his fingers and Paris is restored with no side effects, Thor is revealed to be still alive in a dimension between life and death, and Bucky is revealed to still be alive, and that the dead body everyone saw was actually a L.M.D.  That’s right people the L.M.D.’s make another appearance on this list.  This move makes me think that Marvel just had no faith in the series.  Then there was also the fact that Ed Brubaker was originally supposed to be a co-writer on the event, but had to drop off for reasons that are still not clear.  What saved the event to me on a small level was the Journey Into Mystery tie-ins and the 11 issue series that followed the main event series called Fear Itself: The Fearless.  But the damage was already done.

Thank you for reading this article.  This really helped get some of the things that have bothered me since I got back into comics off of my chest.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for the site.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…..  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!!