Saturday, January 31, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 6

#6.The Sinestro Corps War

Throughout the years, the tarnished former Green Lantern, Sinestro, has always served as a uniquely qualified nemesis for Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns thanks to his yellow power ring, which the Green Lantern's green rings were powerless against. After both he and Jordan returned to active duty in “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” Sinestro re-grouped and returned in “Sinestro Corps Special” #1, this time in charge of a whole corps of allies specifically recruited for their ability to instill great fear. The ensuing Sinestro Corps War was written mostly by Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons, with art by Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and many others.

Their first task was to launch an assault on Oa and free two of their prisoners, Superboy Prime and the Cyborg Superman, and in the attack, they also captured Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, who was at the time host to the powerful Ion entity. Sinestro and his group manage to separate Kyle from Ion and then use the Parallax entity that had corrupted and turned Hal Jordan into a villain to corrupt and turn Kyle Rayner into a villain! They take Parallax to their new headquarters, on the planetary attack device now containing their central power battery– Warworld!

Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner travel to rescue Kyle, but are themselves captured, with Jordan sent to Sinestro and his allies. Ultimately, they are rescued by the remaining members of the Green Lantern Corps and they discover that Sinestro is also in league with a resurrected Anti-Monitor! At this point, Hal realizes that Warwold is on route to the Milky Way – Sinestro's main target is the planet Earth!

Hal manages to free Kyle from the control of Parallax, and the pair head for Earth.

The Guardians of the Universe take this time to determine a few important things. First, they determine that the Daxamite Green Lantern, Sodam Yat, will be the new bearer of the Ion entity. Next, they will for the first time amend the Book of Oa! Their first change – Green Lanterns can now use lethal force!

The ability to use lethal force makes a significant difference in the Green Lanterns battle against the Sinestro Corps, and soon they have most of the Sinestro Corps under control. The more pressing problem is Superboy Prime and the Anti-Monitor, not to mention Sinestro himself!The

final battle takes place in “Green Lantern” #25.

Sodam Yat, with aid from most of the superheroes on Earth, fights Superboy Prime to a standstill, but ultimately one of the Guardians sacrifices his life energy to propel Superboy Prime to another dimension.

Guy Gardner and John Stewart manage to destroy Warworld and the central yellow power battery, and the ensuing explosion destroys the Anti-Monitor, as well.

In Coast City, Kyle and Hal (with an assist from the people of Coast City) defeat Sinestro and arrest him. At the close of the war, we learn another effect of the change to the Book of Oa – before the change, Sinestro would have just been sent to prison, but now that lethal force has been authorized, he is to be given a sentence of death!

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 7

#7. The Ultimates vs. the Hulk

Almost half of the Ultimates' original line-up consisted of people who gained powers while attempting to recreate the serum that gave Captain America his original powers during World War II. Hank Pym's experiments resulted in him being able to grow to giant sizes, and his wife shrink to the size of a wasp (hence her nickname, the Wasp). Later, it was discovered that Wasp was actually a mutant and Hank just used her powers to reverse-engineer his growth abilities. Dr. Bruce Banner was slightly more talented, and his attempts to replicate the original Super Soldier Serum led to him creating a formula that he tested on himself. Instead of making him a Super Soldier, it instead turned him into the rampaging green monster known as the Hulk.

When the actual Captain America is found and the Ultimates were formed, Banner's curiosity got the better of him, and in “Ultimates” #4, he injected himself with a mixture of his formula and Captain America's blood (which they now had ample supplies of). The resulting formula transformed him into the even more monstrous and powerful gray skinned Hulk.

He then went on a monstrous rampage in New York City, angry that Banner's ex, Betty, was dating Freddy Prinze, Jr. The Ultimates found themselves on their very first mission – to take down one of their own!

Writer Mark Millar and especially artist Bryan Hitch went to town with the battle in “Ultimates” #5. Each of the Ultimates took a turn with the Hulk and he handled each of them pretty easily. First he teaches Giant-Man about the whole "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" routine. The Wasp distracts him for a second with one of the more unusual fighting techniques – she flashes her breasts at him. This sets up Iron Man's battle with the Hulk, which does not end well for Iron Man.

The whole time, the battle is doing tremendous property damage to New York.

Surprisingly, Captain America manages to hold his own against the rampaging behemoth, especially as Cap is not particularly inclined to fight fair, including a kick to the groin.

Ultimately, it is the Wasp who saves the day by crawling into the Hulk's ear and using her sting power to blast his skull repeatedly from the inside until he collapses and reverts back to Bruce Banner. As SHIELD agents come by to arrest him, Captain America gets in one last shot, kicking the helpless Banner in the face.

The Ultimates had faced their first public battle and came out on top!

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 8

#8. Spider-Man vs. Juggernaut

Spider-Man lives by the credo "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility," but often, Spider-Man's sense of responsibility will conflict with his common sense, getting him into trouble when he tackles problems that are seemingly beyond his grasp. In few occasions is this more evident than when Spider-Man took on the unstoppable Juggernaut in “Amazing Spider-Man” #229 and 230 in a story (written by Roger Stern and drawn by John Romita, Jr.) appropriately titled "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut."

During this time period, Spider-Man was friends with a psychic known as Madame Web, a blind woman stuck in a chair that worked as a life support for the frail woman. In “Amazing Spider-Man” #229, Juggernaut and his partner in crime, Black Tom Cassidy, have traveled to New York City to capture Madame Web, figuring that with a psychic on their side, they could not be beaten. Before their ship docks, Juggernaut gets bored so he leaps from the ship and just walks to the city. Juggernaut is a walking behemoth who is covered in a powerful suit of armor. Due to a magical ruby that gave him his powers, the Juggernaut is super strong and nigh invulnerable.

Meanwhile, Madame Web has had a vision of someone coming to harm her and she enlists the aid of Spider-Man. He sees the Juggernaut coming, but although he gives it his best, he cannot slow him down. At Madame Web's apartment, Spidey uses the building's backup generator to shock Juggernaut with thousands of volts of electricity. It does nothing. Juggernaut proceeds to Web's apartment where he takes her from her chair, not knowing it serves as a life support for her. When he realizes his mistake, he drops her and then turns to rejoin Cassidy on the boat.

Spider-Man is distraught that he let Web down. As she is taken to the hospital, he vows that he will make Juggernaut pay for what he did! The next issue is filled with Spider-Man's attempts at holding to his promise.

Spidey uses an I-beam and a wrecking ball from a local construction site against the Juggernaut. They achieve nothing.

Spider-Man's next plan is to drive a gasoline truck into the Juggernaut, with Spidey leaping from the truck before it hits, causing a giant inferno. Spider-Man's first instinct is horror – he feels that he just murdered the Juggernaut! However, his fears are allayed as the Juggernaut calmly walks out of the inferno, but now he has a new fear – he's finally made the Juggernaut mad!

With his webbing depleted, Spidey's only hope is to cling to Juggernaut's back and try to slow him down, which does no good, especially as the Juggernaut uses this time to continually pummel Spider-Man.

Suddenly, Juggernaut realizes something – he's sinking! During the melee, they walked into a patch of quick drying cement! In the muddy concrete, the Juggernaut cannot get any traction to pull himself out, and only sinks deeper! Spider-Man leaps away as the Juggernaut sinks fully into the concrete – the unstoppable Juggernaut was finally stopped!

For now, of course.

BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM

This is beginning to look like a Batman game I might actually buy. Based on the Batman universe we know and love from the comics, it takes place in Gotham's famous nut house who's residents are a who's who of the caped crusaders rogues.

The game play looks to be part open world exploration inside the asylum and part stealth action, think die hard only in a looney bin filled with villains that he put in their ready to do the old batsy in.

Plus they've signed Kevin Conroy ( the voice actor for Batman from T.A.S ) and Mark Hamill as the Joker ( also reprising the roll he mad famous in T.A.S )

here's a clip, enjoy:


TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 9

#9. Avengers vs. the Masters of Evil

A variety of Masters of Evil battled the Avengers over the years, but it was not until the fourth installment of the group that they finally achieved a taste of victory little seen by earlier incarnations.

The seeds of the group were seen well before they sprung into action, as Baron Zemo, the son of the original Baron Zemo (and founder of the first Masters of Evil), put together a group that he truly felt could compete with the Avengers on a level that his father's Masters of Evil never could. His strategy was based the notion that to compete with the Avengers, you had to outnumber them, so he slowly collected a practical army of super villains.

In “Avengers” #273 (by writer Roger Stern and artists John Buscema and Tom Palmer), Zemo's plan was put into action once he added the villain Blackout to the team, who was finally someone who could neutralize Captain Marvel, as Blackout was able to access an extra dimensional black matter that traps energy, which is what Captain Marvel consists of.

The Masters lure Hercules out of the Avengers Mansion via a date with a woman, leaving it to Jarvis alone. They then attack the mansion and overpower the defenses and at the end of issue #273, they have control of the Avengers' very home! When Black Knight returns home that night, he is quickly overpowered.

Their next move is to fake an emergency call to Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel shows up quickly, but Blackout sends her into the darkforce dimension he taps into, trapping her (and seemingly killing her).

Captain America gets into contact with the Wasp after he is also lured by an emergency message that he felt seemed odd. They both realize that someone has taken over the mansion! They go to warn Hercules, who has arrived home from his date heavily intoxicated. He insists on barging into the mansion, where he is overpowered by the sheer numbers of the Masters of Evil and is beaten to the point of near death. Cap and Wasp are forced to follow him in and Cap is taken prisoner, as well.

While in the mansion, the Masters force the captured Cap and Black Knight to watch as they pummel the defenseless Jarvis in front of them.

Finally, the Avengers begin to fight back. First, Wasp gains aid from Thor (who had recently moved to New York) and the heroes Doctor Druid and Ant-Man II. They begin an attack on the mansion while Cap and Black Knight eventually escape custody and begin fighting back within the mansion, taking down the Masters one villain at a time. Eventually, even Captain Marvel escapes from the darkforce dimension.

The battle eventually comes down to Baron Zemo using Cap's famous shield versus Captain America himself. It is here that we learn the real reason for this whole Masters of Evil plot – Zemo just wanted to get at Captain America. Meanwhile, Cap is driven by his anger over seeing Jarvis beaten to a pulp in front of his eyes. Ultimately, Cap defeats Zemo, but in the fight, Zemo is accidentally knocked off the mansion's roof. Cap shouts for him to grab his hand to be saved, but Zemo refuses, and falls to the ground, seemingly dead.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sequential Storytelling with P. Craig Russell # 3

Here's another chapter with Mr. Russell discussing parallel narratives.

enjoy:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 10

#10. Electra vs Bullseye

You have to imagine how confused Matt Murdock, Daredevil, was when he encountered his former college girlfriend, Elektra Natchios, after years of not seeing her, only to discover she was now a professional assassin! And yet that was the situation when she came back into Matt's life in the classic “Daredevil” #168, the first issue of Frank Miller's classic run on the title as both writer and artist of the comic.

Daredevil and Elektra re-kindled their romance while still staying put at the opposite ends of the whole "morality" spectrum, what with her being a murderer and he being a superhero. Still, he could not deny his feelings for her, and she could not deny the affect that he had upon her. That would explain why, when sent by her new employer, the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk, to murder Matt's law partner, Foggy Nelson, Elektra could not bring herself to murder Matt's best friend.

Sadly, choosing not to kill Foggy was one of the last things Elektra managed to do before being killed herself!

You see, the Kingpin's last personal assassin was the villain Bullseye, the man who can turn any ordinary instrument into a deadly object – and when he was using actual weapons, he was even deadlier! When Bullseye was put into prison that left an opening that Elektra filled.

In the double-sized “Daredevil” #181, by Miller and his art finisher, Klaus Janson, Bullseye escapes from prison and determines that he wants to get his position back, even if that means going through Elektra. Heck, especially if that means going through Elektra.

After she decided not to kill Foggy, Bullseye struck. Elektra warded off his initial attack and then went on the offenssive herself. The two sparred for a bit before breaking off to both regroup. Bullseye was shocked at how capable she was. In Elektra's next attack, she even managed to draw blood using one of her trusty sais. However, Bullseye ultimately was able to gain the advantage and knocked her head against the ground. While she was momentarily dazed, Bullseye pressed his advantage, and as he told her, "Put up…pretty good fight, toots…you're pretty good. But me…I'm magic" he threw a playing card directly into her throat, slicing her jugular. As she stumbled, clutching her injury, Bullseye walked over to her and using one of her own sais, he plunged the blade deep into her chest, sending the blade directly though her, lifting her in the air and then throwing her down.

The whole scene took maybe six pages to tell, but Miller filled all six pages with such movement and power that it felt like many more. Elektra managed to crawl to Matt Murdock's apartment before dying in his arms. Daredevil would soon get revenge for Elektra's murder later that issue.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 11

# 11. Spider-Man Vs The Green goblin

Spider-Man as a character, is known for his humor, but his history is filled with tragedy. In his very first appearance, his beloved Uncle Ben is killed by a burglar that Peter Parker encountered earlier in the day, but didn't bother stopping because it wasn't his job. It was there that Spider-Man learned his life-long credo, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." None of his past woes, though, could prepare him for the tragedy he suffered in “Amazing Spider-Man” #121, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Gil Kane.

The Green Goblin was a thorn in Spider-Man's side for a few years before he discovered that the Goblin was actually Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend, Harry! Norman discovered Peter's identity, but due to amnesia forgot both Peter's identity and all his actions as the Goblin, and he seemed to be acting normal. However, stress due to Harry's drug problems brought all the memories rushing back, and Norman decided to take his revenge on Peter Parker by kidnapping Peter's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.

The Goblin left Peter a note telling him he had Gwen and Peter tracks them to the George Washington Bridge, where the Goblin has an unconscious Gwen at the top of one of the bridge towers. After a pitched battle, Peter races to rescue Gwen, but Norman reaches her first and throws her off of the bridge! Peter valiantly tries to save her with his webbing, but it is too late – she's dead.

As the Goblin begins to gloat about how Peter's death will be even easier, Peter shouts, "Wrong, Goblin! You're the creep who's going to pay! You killed the woman I love, and for that, you're going to die!"

In “Amazing Spider-Man” #122, after a furious battle at the Bridge, the Goblin escapes. Eventually, Peter tracks him down to an abandoned warehouse where the Goblin hears him, and decides to wait by the entrance, to surprise him when he enters. Peter figured he'd be there, though, so he surprises the Goblin from a side entrance, taking the Goblin's glider out of commission.

The two fight from a distance for awhile with pumpkin bombs and webbing flying back and forth at each other before eventually getting in closer to trade blows. Spider-Man ultimately gets him against a wall and begins to batter him into submission in a blind rage. Eventually, though, his conscience gets to him – he cannot lower himself to the level of the Goblin – he cannot kill him! He drops the battered Goblin to the floor and tells him he's going to jail. The Goblin uses this opportunity to use a remote control to send his barely operating glider flying at Spider-Man, its sharpened point ready to impale him! At the last moment, though, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense alerts him to the danger and he leaps out of the way, sending the glider directly into the Goblin, impaling him against the wall, killing him.

Gwen's killer was dead, but Spider-Man certainly does not feel any better about justice perhaps being served.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 12

#12. The X-Men vs Shi'Ar Imperial Guard

As mentioned in the fight between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club (which was handled by the same creative team as this battle – Chris Claremont and John Byrne), the end result was that Phoenix had her mind messed with so much that she eventually snapped and basically became a separate entity, calling itself Dark Phoenix.

The X-Men battle her in “Uncanny X-Men” #135, but she quickly defeats them and flies off into outer space. Her traveling makes her yearn for sustenance, which she gets by entering and imploding a star, soaking in the energy of its destruction. She does not care that the destruction of the star also destroys the planet it orbits. A starship of the Shi'Ar Empire notices, though, and challenges Dark Phoenix.

She destroys the ship easily, but not before it gets off a message to the Shi'Ar Royal Throneworld, where the Empress of the Shi'Ar Empire, Lilandra (Professor X's current lover) springs into action.

Meanwhile, in “Uncanny X-Men” #136, Dark Phoenix returns to Earth where her teammates and her love, Cyclops, await her with a device meant to shut down telepaths. She destroys it and once again takes care of her teammates with ease, but Cyclops manages to calm her down by appealing to her still human side. At this point, Professor X attacks, and he and Phoenix have a telepathic battle, where ultimately, due to the aid of whatever vestiges of Jean Grey remain in Dark Phoenix, he manages to shut Dark Phoenix's powers down.

The X-Men do not have a moment to rest, though, as they're instantly teleported to a Shi'Ar battleship orbiting Earth, where the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard and Empress Lilandra demand Jean Grey be delivered over to them for punishment for her actions as Dark Phoenix. Professor X utters a Shi'Ar ritual challenge, which Lilandra is duty-bound to accept. Therefore, in “Uncanny X-Men” #137, the X-Men will fight the mighty Shi'Ar Imperial Guard for the fate of Jean Grey.

The next day, the teams meet on the Moon for their battle. The X-Men are heavily outnumbered and outclassed by the Guard, who are made up of the most powerful heroes of the Shi'Ar Empire. Although the X-Men fight valiantly, they are slowly picked off, one by one, until only Cyclops and Jean remain free. When Cyclops is taken out as well, Jean begins to panic and the limits Professor X placed on her begin to crumble – Dark Phoenix frees herself and wants revenge. The X-Men stand ready to battle Dark Phoenix, but Jean manages to take control long enough to intentionally trip a defense mechanism laser, killing herself so that Dark Phoenix can hurt no one else ever again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 13

#13. Hulk vs Thing

When the Hulk guest-starred in Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's Fantastic Four #12, it was the first time Marvel's heroes had crossed over at all (it came out just before “Amazing Spider-Man” #1, which also featured a hero crossover). However, while there was a small skirmish in that issue, the fight everyone wanted to see – the super strong Thing versus the super strong Hulk – did not happen until the twenty-fifth issue of the “Fantastic Four.”

In the issue, the Hulk is on the run, like normal, when he discovers that he has been replaced on the Avengers by Captain America. He determines he will travel to New York City to destroy the Avengers.

Once in New York, the Human Torch tries to slow the Hulk down, but he is no match for the Hulk. Mr. Fantastic had just come down with an illness and while the Thing and the Invisible Girl wanted to stay with him, he insisted that it was more important that they try to stop the rampaging Hulk.

Once in battle, Sue's force field proved no match for the Hulk, and she and Johnny were taken out of the fight, leaving the match Marvel fans had been waiting for – the Hulk versus the Thing!

Their fight takes up the rest of “Fantastic Four” #25 and a large chunk of issue #26, as well! Right from the get-go, the Thing realizes he is in real trouble as the Hulk is a great deal stronger than expected. In addition, this was during a time period where the Hulk was no dummy, so in fact, he was the one often coming up with crafty ways to fight his opponents, which meant even worse trouble for the Thing!

Practically the whole fight is done in pages with five, six and sometimes even seven panels per page, allowing Kirby to draw a very long fight in just a few pages. The Thing uses everything he can think of, but the Hulk not only shrugs it off, but goes on the offensive against the Thing. For the first time that he can recall, the Thing is on the defensive from an opponent.

At the end of the issue, the Thing appears down for the count. He even notes that maybe this is good for him, as he had begun to think he was unbeatable and the Hulk helped show him that was not the case. Still, he slowly rises from his injuries and evokes a now familiar name for the first time in the comic book, "Well, like my dear ol' Aunt Petunia used to say... 'you can only die once!' And that's the only way he'll stop me now... by killin' me!!"

In the next issue, the Hulk does not kill the Thing, but nor does the Thing fare any better. Eventually, the Avengers show up and they have their share of problems with the Hulk, too. Ultimately, the issue ends in an anti-climax, as during one of the fights the Hulk is thrown nearby water where he transforms back into Bruce Banner and floats away. The Avengers and Thing leave not knowing if they could have defeated the Hulk, but they should feel good knowing that they would encounter him again. In fact, the Thing/Hulk match-up would present itself many more times over the next forty plus years.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 14

#14.Wolverine vs. the Hulk

Todd McFarlane was a struggling artist trying to make it at Marvel Comics in the late 1980s, and it was not going so well. He was given a fill-in issue that, had it not turned out well, was probably going to be his last issue at Marvel. However, his work on the “Incredible Hulk” #330 was considered good enough that he was accepted as the book's regular artist. Writer Peter David soon joined the book, and the title began to gain some momentum. It featured the Hulk, who was now back to his original status – gray and turning into the Hulk at night. It also featured Rick Jones and SHIELD agent Clay Quartermain, who had gone rogue when he learns that SHIELD plans on killing Bruce Banner if he is captured. So the three men are on the run from SHIELD in a hi-tech RV, driving through the American Midwest.

While the title was beginning to get some critical acclaim, it still needed some sales help (the book's poor sales was why they were willing to give the book to two fairly untested creators in David and McFarlane), so the book featured guest stars, none more memorable than Wolverine's appearance in “Incredible Hulk” #340.

Wolverine was originally introduced in the pages of “Incredible Hulk,” in a storyline in Hulk #180 and 181. That was the classic green Hulk, though, who was much more powerful. The gray Hulk was craftier, but was weaker in the strength department. In “Incredible Hulk” #340, the Hulk takes a break from the RV for some fresh air and leaps through the sky, inadvertently clipping a passing airplane.

The X-Men also happened to be traveling to Dallas at the same time, and the X-Man Rogue rescues the plane. Wolverine figures Hulk is causing trouble, so he hunts Hulk down, and they have a brutal battle.

Wolverine delivers many blows, and the fight appears done as he guts the Hulk. However, the Hulk's healing factor brings him back into the fight, and he clearly is taking this battle quite personally. "You’ve…spent years laughing at me, taking advantage of me. I was the dumb green giant…but now I want to start giving it all back,”

Before the fight can be finished, though, Quartermain breaks the fight up, as they have to keep moving. Hulk and Wolverine go back to their respective camps, both ready to fight again another day.

This issue of “Hulk” drew so much attention that McFarlane was soon the regular artist on one of Marvel's biggest titles, the “Amazing Spider-Man,” where he went on to become one of the most popular artists in all of comics (Peter David did not do so bad staying on the “Hulk,” either, as he spent the next thirteen years writing the title).

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 15

#15. The Superheroes of the DC Multiverse vs. the Anti-Monitor

“Crisis on Infinite Earths,” written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez, was one of the first major crossovers, and it dramatically changed the face of the DC Universe. You see, for years, there were different Earths, each one having their own heroes. Earth-1 had the heroes introduced in the Silver Age. Earth-2 had the heroes introduced in the Golden Age. Earth-X had the heroes DC Comics had purchased from Quality Comics. So on and so forth. Rather than a single universe, DC had a multiverse.

Well, in the multiverse, there were two powerful beings watching everything – a Monitor and his parallel – an Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor wanted to destroy the entire Multiverse. The Monitor gathered together a number of superheroes to help save the multiverse, which was slowly being destroyed by the Anti-Monitor – one Earth at a time.

In the ensuing conflict, more and more heroes got involved, and the Monitor himself was killed. In one early battle, Superman's young cousin, Supergirl, died fighting the Anti-Monitor. Her death managed to cause the Anti-Monitor to retreat, leaving five Earths left in the multiverse to fight against the Anti-Monitor.

Later, in an attempt to stop the Anti-Monitor from using an anti-matter cannon to destroy the remaining five Earths, the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, raced so fast that he turned into a beam of energy that stopped the cannon.

Eventually, through the intervention of the Spectre, one combined Earth remained. The Anti-Monitor was not done yet, though, as he transported this last Earth to an anti-matter universe in one last attempt to destroy the Earth. This took place in the last issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths. A gigantic assortment of heroes led by the Superman of Earth-2, Alexander Luthor of Earth-3 and the Superboy of Earth-Prime managed to finally defeat the Anti-Monitor (with an assist from the villainous Darkseid, of all people!) and sent him into a star, killing him, saving the last remaining Earth.

Monday, January 26, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 16

#16. Batman vs. Guy Gardner

The Justice League of America fell apart during the mid-80s, when most of the members of the team were killed by an old nemesis of the League, Professor Ivo. After the crossover “Legends,” a brand new Justice League was formed, made up of mostly superheroes that had never been in the League before, such as Mister Miracle, Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle and Doctor Fate, along with old League stalwarts such as Martian Manhunter, Batman and Black Canary. One new member had a certain idea of how he was going to be involved with the team, and that member was Guy Gardner, a member of the Green Lantern Corps. He felt that he should be the leader of the team.

In the very first page of “Justice League” #1, by writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire, Guy is shown waiting for the rest of the members of the new League. He is dismayed, though, when he discovers that the rest of the team tends to look to Batman for leadership.

Over the next few issues, the other Leaguers soon grew tired of Gardner's constant complaining, but they also did not appreciate Batman's churlish handling of leading, either. He could have dealt with Gardner in many different ways – he chose to treat Guy like a child, only enraging Guy even more.

The relationship came to a head in quite a humorous fashion in “Justice League” #5, when Guy decides to finally decide once and for all who is in charge. In the issue, he challenges Batman to a fist fight.

Batman agrees, and after Guy takes a swing, Batman proceeds to knock Guy unconscious with one punch.

This greatly amuses Blue Beetle, and it confuses Martian Manhunter and Black Canary, who enter the room to see Guy out cold on the floor.

Beetle's repeated "One punch! One punch!" has become a catch phrase forever associated with Giffen and DeMatteis' Justice League.

Monday, January 19, 2009

STREET FIGHTER 4 TECHNIQUE VIDEO WITH "PRO'S"

Courtesy of 1UP.com

A nice video with some kids who have spent quality some time with the game.

( We'll see how good these "pro's" are once they face the mighty GRANDAIZA!!! )

still a cool video.

enjoy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: JORDI BERNET TORPEDO RETURNS!!!

A GRANDAIZA exclusive! ( my very first )

I just got the scoop straight from Jimmy Palmiotti ( who's worked with Jordi Bernet on the current Jonah Hex series) he's currently translating the entire run of Enrique Sanchez Abuli's TORPEDO to be released some time in 2009.

The entire series, over 500 pages will be released by IDW publishing in Hardcover volumes with the first arriving on store shelves sometime in 2009.

The story revolves around Luca Torelli, a charismatic Mobster circa 1932 with a pension for trouble and hot broads.

The series was developed by Enrique Sanchez Abuli and Alex Toth, but creative differences forced Toth to leave the book and Bernet took over artistic duties for the rest of the series.

I recommend this series to anyone who's ever enjoyed a nice 30's gangland story with a dark sense of humor and kick ass art.

Buy it, read it, love it and please support the good books, God knows that they're few and far between.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 17


#17. Deathstroke vs. the Justice League of America
( Identity Crisis )

In “Identity Crisis” #1, Sue Dibny, the wife of the Justice Leaguer Elongated Man, is found murdered. While the entire superhero community searches for her murderer, a secret is revealed. Years earlier, the super villain Dr. Light managed to gain entry to the Justice League's headquarters when only Sue was home. He proceeded to assault Sue. When the League arrived, they were so angry that they determined to perform a mystical lobotomy on Dr. Light. Now, years later, when Sue turns up dead, they presume that Light must be the murderer.

When they go to get him, though, they discover that Light has retained the protection services of Deathstroke the Terminator.

Deathstroke the Terminator was known as the most successful mercenary in the business. While in the United States military, Slade Wilson was experimented on so that his entire brain was attuned to fighting – this makes him faster, stronger and having possibly the best tactical mind in the world.

He tangled with the Teen Titans for years, but over time, he slowly became more of a neutral figure than a bad guy. He even gained his own title that lasted five years.

In “Identity Crisis,” Meltzer wanted to bring him back as a strict villain, and achieved this feat by having Deathstroke face off against almost the entire Justice League in “Identity Crisis” #3 (the "Big Three" of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were missing).

Elongated Man was the first one Deathstroke took out, as he got the drop on him. This is when he announces that Light is under his protection.

The Flash attacks first, but Deathstroke sets off a number of explosive charges. The Flash evades them easily, but they were just designed to lead him directly into Deathstroke's sword.

Deathstroke next turns his attention on the powerful sorceress, Zatanna, by punching her in the liver before she can cast a spell (Zatanna needs to speak her spells out loud – and backwards – for them to work). Her mouth fills with vomit.

Hawkman comes in for an attack, but Deathstroke quickly detaches Hawkman from his winged harness.

He then moves on to Green Arrow, who fires an arrow that Deathstroke blocks. Deathstroke then swings his sword at Arrow, who dodges it, but then realizes Deathstroke was not aiming at him, but at his arrows – he has cut off the tails of all his arrows, effectively rendering them useless!

Deathstroke continues on to Black Canary, who is about to unleash a sonic cry, but Deathstroke cuts her off with an airtight rubber mask (he also snaps handcuffs on her arms).

He next scans the field of battle for the Atom, and using his keen eyesight, sees the microscopic hero and uses the electrons from a laser pen to disorient the Atom, forcing him to grow to regular size, just in time to collide with Hawkman, who was attempting a ground attack now that he was wingless.

Green Lantern attacks next, choosing to punch Deathstroke for some reason. After breaking his knuckles, Deathstroke then uses his powerful willpower to attempt to take control of Lantern's ring.

At this time, the fight is undone as Green Arrow, overlooked as not being a threat, uses one of his ruined arrows to stab Deathstroke in the eye. The enraged Deathstroke loses track of his strategy and begins pummeling Green Arrow, which gives the other Leaguers time to recover and then they all gang up on him and take him down.

Still, for a minute or so, Deathstroke had effectively shut down the Justice League!

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 18

#18.The Avengers vs. Ultron
( Ultron Unlimited )

Ever since he was accidentally created by the Avenger Hank Pym, the evil artificial intelligence, Ultron, has been a thorn in the Avengers' sides. Over the year, the robot has continually updated himself, becoming more powerful and dangerous each tim. But possibly his most dramatic battle with the Avengers came with the nineteenth version of Ultron, in the pages of Kurt Busiek and George Perez's "Avengers" run – the storyline that ran through "Avengers" #19-22 and was titled "Ultron Unlimited."

The concept of the storyline is that Ultron has decided that he does not want to simply wipe out humans from Earth – he wants to repopulate the world with his own people: robots. He begins this attempt in horrific fashion as he enters the small European country of Slovenia and proceeds to slaughter the entire human population in three hours. He sends a message to the horrified public watching at home – do not come into this county or suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, he has also kidnapped the Avengers that he considers "family" and intends to use their brainwaves to base his new world population of robots on, much like the way he earlier based his intended robot bride Jocasta on Wasp's brainwaves, the android Vision on the brainwaves of Wonder Man and the robot Alkhema on the brainwaves of Mockingbird.

It is during this story that we learn for the first time something that probably should have been evident to readers earlier (it's somewhat surprising it took decades until Busiek came up the concept), which is that Ultron's mind was based on the brainwaves of his creator, Hank Pym, who happens to be among the Avengers kidnapped by Ultron.

The Avengers ultimately decide to invade Slovenia, resulting in many interesting battles within the country as the small band of heroes seem to be overmatched by Ultron's apparently unending supply of robot drones (hence the "Unlimited" part of the story's title). During the course of this war, the Avengers have to face off against all the earlier Ultrons, each of whom was enough to fight them to a standstill in previous years.

Ultron is quite confident that his minions are more than enough to defeat the Avengers. That same confidence leads to one of the coolest dramatic entrances ever (and winner of a Wizard Award that year for Best Moment) when the Avengers burst into Ultron's lair, looking quite ragged, with Thor speaking for the entire team when he declares "Ultron, we would have words with thee!"

This turns the tide, and ultimately, Hank Pym is able to redeem himself and save the day.

Sequential story telling with P. Craig Russell # 2

here's the second episode with Mr. Russell

Learn, draw & enjoy:


Friday, January 16, 2009

GAME NIGHT with STREET FIGHTER 4

Courtesy of 1up.com

The kids over at 1up play the game, show you the game in action and answer some question.
(complete with trash talking)

over 1 hour long, the game drops Mid February.
( I can't wait till next month!!)

Highlights:

CAMMY vs DAN @ 22:00 mins

KEN vs SAKURA@25:10 mins


enjoy:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

YOOOOOOOO JOE

Courtesy of Robot Chicken


G.I. Joe at it's best! "it's fumbles, it was always fumbles!"


(Clip below)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 19

#19.The X-Men vs. the Hellfire Club

The X-Men were at a relatively stable point in their lives at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga (the book's creative team during this time was Chris Claremont and John Byrne). The team had finally reunited with Professor X and Phoenix, who had believed that the rest of the team had died months earlier in a battle with Magneto. With the team together again, Professox X felt it was a good time to go about adding new mutants to the school, and sent the team after a young teenage mutant in Chicago known as Kitty Pryde.

Unbeknownst to the X-Men, Phoenix had been manipulated by the evil mutant, Mastermind, during the time that the rest of the group had been missing. Mastermind felt that his control over Phoenix would allow him access to the Hellfire Club, a society club that secretly consisted mostly of evil mutants, particularly the "Kings" and "Queens" of the Club.


The X-Men encountered the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost, when they tried to recruit Kitty Pryde in "Uncanny X-Men" #129. Frost was also attempting to recruit Kitty for her group's purposes. Instead, Hellfire Club agents end up capturing the X-Men sent to Chicago – Storm, Wolverine and Colossus. Kitty Pryde, meanwhile, stows away with the bad guys to see if she can help her new friends. In the next issue, the other X-Men who had been in New York meeting another new mutant, the singing Dazzler, are notified by Kitty of the situation. They travel to Chicago to rescue their friends in "Uncanny X-Men" #131, where Phoenix and Emma Frost have a powerful telepathic battle. The X-Men rescue their friends, but Frost escapes.


In the next issue, the X-Men decide to take the fight to the Hellfire Club, especially when they learn that Warren Worthington, the former X-Men known as the Angel, actually has a membership in the Club!


Cyclops, Storm, Phoenix and Colossus attend a Hellfire Club function (while Nightcrawler and Wolverine sneak into the Club through the sewers). However, once there, Mastermind completes his work on Phoenix, transforming her into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, and she turns on her teammates. After a pitched battle, the X-Men are all captured, save for Wolverine who is seemingly killed. However, in perhaps the most famous Wolverine scene ever, we learn at the end of the issue that Wolverine is not actually dead. He has survived, and now he wants revenge.


The next issue sees Wolverine make his way to the prison where his teammates are being held, and he severely injures the Hellfire Club guards blocking his way in what was a pretty shocking fashion for the time the story was published. Meanwhile, Cyclops attempts to free Phoenix, but Mastermind begins a fight with Cyclops on the mental plane, and defeats the X-Man – almost killing him. This action causes the brainwashed Phoenix to begin to fight her programming.


In the final issue of the arc, Wolverine finally appears to save his friends, and Phoenix has turned back to the side of the heroes. She helps Cyclops escape, and the X-Men have their rematch with the Hellfire Club, which the X-Men win. However, Mastermind has pushed Phoenix too far – she snaps and becomes the Dark Phoenix.



TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 20


#20. The Avengers vs. Korvac


Michael Korvac was born in 2997 and was a computer technician on the moon when the alien invaders known as the Badoon conquered the Earth. Seening an opportunity present itself, Korvac collaborated with the Badoon, betraying the people of Earth. Later on, as punishment for falling asleep at work, the Badoon grafted Korvac's upper body to a machine.



The cosmic being known as the Grandmaster captured Korvac and brought him to the present as a pawn in a game involving Doctor Strange and the Defenders. Korvac spends his time studying the Grandmaster's power and uses the new abilities gained from his study when he returns to his own time. He then kills his Badoon masters and attempts to destroy the Earth's Sun.


The heroes of that time, the Guardians of the Galaxy, manage to defeat Korvac (with the help of a time-traveling Thor), but Korvac escapes to his past (our present) and discovers the base of the world-eating Galactus. While there, Korvac gains great cosmic power, and recreates himself as a man named...Michael. The Guardians travel back through time to capture Korvac. In the meantime, the Collector (brother to the Grandmaster) realizes that Korvac is a threat, so the Collector transforms his daughter, Carina, into a being powerful enough to combat Korvac. However, his daughter instead falls in love with Korvac/Michael, and the two go to Earth and begin living a quiet live in Queens, New York.


The Collector then tries to capture the Avengers (and the Guardians) in an attempt to protect them from Korvac, but when Korvac finds out about his plot, he kills the Collector.


The Avengers travel to Queens where they discover Michael and Carina living quietly. After they confirm that he is, in fact, Korvac, the Avengers wage a tremendous battle that leaves almost all of the Avengers dead. Finally, though, Captain America and Wonder Man weaken him enough so that the Vision, Iron Man, Thor and the Guardian Starhawk could really hurt him. During this battle, Michael realizes that Carina is losing her faith in him (seeing a guy kill a whole bunch of superheroes will do that to you), so he decides to kill himself. Carina goes nuts and attacks the Avengers, as well, but Thor manages to kill her.


Michael's last act before dying is to resurrect all the dead heroes.


The storyline was written by Jim Shooter and David Michelinie, and was drawn by George Perez and David Wenzel. It took place over "Avengers" #167-177.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 21


#21.The Ultimates vs. the Chitauri


Introduced in the pages of "The Ultimates" by writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch, the Chitauri are an alien race made up of shape shifters who slowly infiltrate a planet and, through the use of highly placed figures of power, manage to effect worldwide change. One of their earliest attempts at taking over the Earth was through their support of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. It was here that Captain America first fought against the Chitauri, as he helped end their plans to win the war for the Nazis through the creation of a nuclear bomb carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile was launched at the White House, but Captain America managed to climb on to the missile and destroy its guidance system, forcing it to crash harmlessly in the Arctic Ocean. Tragically for him, however, he crashed with the missile and ended up frozen in suspended animation.

Many decades later, Captain America was revived and instated as the center of a new team of superheroes known as the Ultimates. Financed by the international peacekeeping group S.H.I.E.L.D., the Ultimates consisted of a few heroes who gained powers mostly in attempts to recreate the serum that gave Captain America his abilities.


In the ensuing decades since World War II, the Chitauri had been slowly putting together a new scheme to take over the Earth. In order to achieve their objective, they infiltrated many key areas of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Nick Fury, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., suspected this and had a secret group of operatives directly under his command weed out some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. spies.


This forced the Chitauri to accelerate their plans, luring a large group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the Ultimates to a small Micronesian island. Once there, the Chitauri dropped a nuclear bomb on the island. Through the efforts of Iron Man and Thor, the Ultimates and a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were saved, but many more S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were killed.


Thinking the Ultimates were dead, the Chitauri infiltrated the Ultimates' headquarters and took it over, taking the Wasp prisoner. The Ultimates then launched their counter-offensive, including a clever usage of the rather insane (but also insanely powerful) Hulk, by sending the rampaging monster after the Chitauri by implying that the Chitauri had questioned the Hulk's sexuality.


In the ensuing battle, Captain America encountered one of the Chitauri he had fought against during World War II. This villain, known as Herr Kleiser, was a Chitauri leader. Cap decided to fight him head on, even though the alien was significantly more powerful than he was. When it seemed that Cap was defeated, Kleiser taunted him by asking him for his surrender, leading to Captain America reacting with anger and one of the more famous lines of the series - the politically incorrect, "Surrender? SURRENDER? You think this letter on my head stands for France!"

At this point, the Hulk shows up and finishes Kleiser off by eating him. The Ultimates have saved the Earth from aliens and cemented themselves as worldwide heroes.


RAH MEDICOM Space Adventurer COBRA

courtesy of collection DX


Due out in July 2009 is Buichi Terasawa's "Space Adventure Cobra". Standing at 12"

this guy retails for a whopping $206 USD. ( ouch )


Cobra




TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 22

#22 X-men vs Marauders


While it is a part of comic book reality nowadays, back in the late '80s there had never been a crossover between the popular X-Men related comic books. In fact, until the early 80s, there was only one X-Men title, "Uncanny X-Men!" But by 1986, there was the regular "X-Men" title, there was "New Mutants" (detailing the next generation of mutant heroes) and "X-Factor" (starring the original five members of the X-Men), and in the fall of 1986, the first X-Crossover took place detailing the "Mutant Massacre."


The Mutant Massacre featured the Marauders, a team of vicious killers employed by the newly introduced X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, going into the New York sewers, where a community of mutants known as the Morlocks lived (the Morlocks were mutants who tended to be disfigured or were otherwise unable to fit in living with "normal" humans). At this point, the Marauders proceeded to murder as many Morlocks as they could. The X-Men entered the tunnels to save the Morlocks, and engaged in a dramatic and deadly battle that lasted from Uncanny X-Men #211 to #213 (all three issues were written by Chris Claremont, with John Romita Jr. drawing the first issue, Rick Leonardi the second and Alan Davis the third).


The X-Men suffered critical injuries soon after entering the battle, when the teleporting X-Man Nightcrawler, who was recovering from a recent injury and had only recently regained the ability to teleport, used his powers to disable one of the Marauders. However, he was unable to use his powers once he was finished, leaving himself vulnerable to the Marauder Riptide, a mutant whose power involves sending barrages of razor sharp blades flying people at high speeds. Nightcrawler was severely injured by Riptide.


This led to one of the most dramatic moments of the war when the X-Man Colossus determined that the only way to stop Riptide was to use deadly force. As Riptide continued to pummel the X-Man's metal body with blades, Colossus forged forward until he was able to snap Riptide's neck.

At this point, Colossus collapsed due to the wounds he incurred during his fight. As it turned out, he was so injured that while he could survive in his metal form, he could not transform back to his human form. Meanwhile, the X-Men suffered another casualty when Kitty Pryde was injured and trapped in her intangible form.

While the X-Men return to their home to recover with the Morlocks they manage to save, the deadliest of the Marauders, the evil Sabretooth, makes his way to the X-Men's home. During the course of his journey, Sabretooth tangled both with Wolverine and ultimately with the telepathic Psylocke, who was staying with the X-Men at the time.


In the end, the X-Men managed to save many Morlocks (X-Factor also saved some, in a separate excursion into the Morlock tunnels), but the team was forever changed, with longstanding members Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler leaving the team and new members like Psylocke joining the group. The most important change for the team was that they no longer had any illusions of safety at their home, and soon left the X-Mansion entirely.



Friday, January 9, 2009

Sequential story telling with P. Craig Russell # 1

Courtesy of Lurid.com

Here's something that I thought you all might find interesting.

Mr. Russell will be doing new installments every Monday.

enjoy:


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 23

# 23 Invincible vs Omni-man

Mark Grayson thought he had basically a perfect life. Since he was a kid, he knew his father was secretly Omni-Man, perhaps the most powerful superhero on Earth. His father was also part of an alien race known as the Vitrumites, a race that Mark's father claimed traveled throughout the universe on a mission of kindness and enlightenment.

When Mark was 17, his life got even better when he discovered that due to his half-Vitrumite heritage, he had powers similar to his father! Soon he began wearing a costume and acting as a superhero known as Invincible.


Seven issues into the "Invincible" series by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Cory Walker, the pre-eminent superhero team of the world, the Guardians of the Globe, were viciously murdered. The dramatic twist at the end of the issue (Walker's last issue as artist - Ryan Ottley took over the art chores with issue #8) was that the murderer was none other than Omni-Man!


In "Invincible" #11, Mark discovers that his father is a murderer and also learns that the Vitrumites are actually an evil race of predators. In fact, Omni-Man was sent to Earth in order to prepare the planet for a hostile takeover. We flash back to the happy origin Omni-Man had given Mark in Invincible #2 and learn the truth behind all of his father's seemingly heroic actions over the years. After explaining himself, Omni-Man looks to his son and tell him that as a half-Vitrumite, Mark is expected to join his father in the domination of Earth. As the truth dawns upon Mark, he realizes that his father truly views the people of Earth (including Mark's mother) as mere animals to be herded and ruled over.

Mark refuses his father's offer of partnership, and what follows in "Invincible" #12 is one of the bloodier superhero fights in the history of the medium.


In reality, Invincible cannot compete with his father's powers, as it is essentially an adult beating up a child, but Mark refuses to either give up or to join his father. He just keeps at it, as their battle travels the globe, with Omni-Man killing thousands throughout the course of the fight.

Ultimately, Mark is left battered and near death by his father who, at the last moment, for some unspoken reason – perhaps due to some spark of a familial bond – decides to spare his son and flies off into outer space, leaving behind a bloodied Invincible.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 24

#24. Batman vs. the Leader of the Mutant Gang

In the ensuing years, Frank Miller's classic 1986 tale of an older Batman returning to fix the problems of Gotham City has taken on the name of the collection edition, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” However, at the time the comic was released, the four book series was simply labeled “Batman: Dark Knight,” with each of the four individual books given their own sub-title. The first book, detailing Batman's' determination, after a 10 year retirement, to once again don the cape and cowl and bring justice back to the streets of Gotham, was titled “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.”

However, while Batman may have returned in the first issue, it was not until the battle in the second issue that you could say, as the book's title puts it, “Batman: Dark Knight Triumphant.”

Perhaps the biggest source of terror in Gotham was a gang calling itself the Mutants, consisting of the most vicious and violent criminals you could imagine. Miller makes a point of depicting them performing random acts of murder just to show how truly wretched the state of living was in Gotham.

Batman finds out where a gathering of the Mutants was taking place and shows up in his new, tank-like Batmobile, taking the gang apart with machine guns filled with mercy bullets. The powerful hulking leader of the Mutants challenges Batman to face him man-to-man, and a prideful Batman accepts his challenge. So Batman and the much younger, stronger thug engage in a truly brutal display of hand-to-hand combat with the end result being an almost certain defeat for Batman. Luckily for Batman, neither he nor the gang leader counted on the intervention of Carrie Kelly. Kelly, a young girl who had recently taken to wearing a homemade Robin costume after Batman saved her from some Mutants, manages to distract the gang leader before he can finish Batman, giving Batman enough time to use one of his gadgets from his utility belt to knock the gang leader out before Batman passes out himself. Kelly gets Batman to the safety of the Batmobile and the pair escapes.

While the Mutant leader is arrested, Batman manages to ask Commissioner Gordon for one last favor. First he has Carrie spread the word amongst the Mutants that they would be having another meeting. Next, Batman has Gordon release the Mutant leader. The gang leader then, naturally, meets up with his gang – however, Batman is waiting for him. This time, Batman is not foolish enough to fight him directly, but instead uses the shadows and all the tricks he learned over the years to cripple the gang leader in front of all the gathered Mutants.

Having defeated their leader, Batman now has the undying allegiance of all the Mutants, who soon begin wearing bat-shaped makeup on their faces and re-name themselves the Sons of the Batman.

For awhile, at least, the Dark Knight was triumphant.

Monday, January 5, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 25

#25. Fantastic Four vs. Galactus

In the first five years that they worked together on the Fantastic Four, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby combined to create many different worlds for the Fantastic Four to explore and many different villains for them to fight, so for the storyline leading to the fiftieth issue of the book, they knew they needed something special, something more than just a super villain. So what they came up with was Galactus, who was, effectively, God.

An almost omnipotent being, Galactus actually lived by draining the life from whole planets. He first came to Earth in “Fantastic Four” #48, along with his space faring herald, the Silver Surfer, with the intention of destroying the Earth so that he could feed.

For the first time since he formed the Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic could not come up with a solution. Their only strategy was to attempt to keep Galactus from setting up the machinery he needed to devour the Earth. Galactus, though, had defenses against such attempts, including Destroyer robots and his powerful herald, the Silver Surfer. In the ensuing melee, the Thing managed to knock the Silver Surfer clean across town. In the next issue, “Fantastic Four” #49, the injured Surfer is aided by the Thing's kind girlfriend, the blind sculptress Alicia Masters. Due to Alicia's kindness, the Surfer finds himself doubting Galactus' mission for the first time. Perhaps there is something worth saving on this planet.

Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four have no luck stopping Galactus' machinery from completing, so the cosmic being, the Watcher, who is duty-bound to only watch events of great importance, finds that he just cannot stay uninvolved, so he sends the Human Torch on a mission through space to find the one item that can stop Galactus.

In “Fantastic Four” #50, the final part of the Galactus trilogy, the Surfer, thanks to Alicia's kindess, has found a conscience. He is now determined to stand up for the people of Earth, and he turns on his former master and tries to stop Galactus, but Galactus is too powerful. The Surfer is tossed aside and the Earth appears doomed. However, the Surfer's defiance bought the Torch enough time to retrieve the device the Watcher sent him to find – the Ultimate Nullifier, a device that could erase the entire universe. A device that even Galactus fears.

After Mr. Fantastic threatens to use the device, Galactus agrees to leave the Earth alone and departs, but not before he punishes the Surfer by binding him to Earth, keeping him from ever soaring the celestial skies again.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 26

26. Morpheus vs Choronzon

The final fight of our journey is not a traditional matter of fisticuffs or energy blasts, but rather a battle of wits, between Morpheus and the demon Choronzon.

Morpheus was captured for a number of years, so during this time, he lost his totems of power - a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby.

He needed to get these items back, but since he was imprisoned for so long, he was too weak to just TAKE them, so when he encountered the demon who had the helm, he had to instead challenge him to a game of wits.

Each person would think of something and the other would name something more powerful until one could no longer name something more powerful than the other.

Here, then, is Neil Gaiman’s brilliant piece of writing showing Morpheus defeating Choronzon (Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg do a fine job on the art, too).


Choronzon: I am a dire wolf, prey-stalking, lethal prowler.

Morpheus: I am a hunter, horse-mounted, wolf-stabbing.

Choronzon: I am a horsefly, horse-stinging, hunter-throwing.

Morpheus: I am a spider, fly-consuming, eight legged.

Choronzon: I am a snake, spider-devouring, poison-toothed.

Morpheus: I am an ox, snake-crushing, heavy footed.

Choronzon: I am an anthrax, butcher, bacterium, warm-life destroying.

Morpheus: I am a world, space-floating, life nurturing.

Choronzon: I am a nova, all-exploding… planet-cremating.

Morpheus: I am the Universe — all things encompassing, all life embracing.

Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?

Morpheus: I am hope.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 27

27. The Final Battle of Civil War

Like the Dark Phoenix battle, Civil War involved heroes fighting against themselves.

The Superhero Registration Act forced heroes to split into two camps - those willing to register and those unwilling. The registered heroes were led by Iron Man, and they were tasked wit hunting down the unregistered heroes, led by Captain America.

Cap’s heroes also kept on being superheroes at the same time they were on the run.

Ultimately, after a daring escape from the Registration Camp’s prison, the heroes have one final confrontation in New York City, and Captain America’s forces actually seem to have the battle won, but then Cap notices something - the people of New York are rooting AGAINST him.

He then realizes that they’ve been battling in the middle of New York and causing countless amounts of damage. Cap then decided it was time to surrender, so he gave himself up and was arrested (and later, he tragically was killed while in custody).

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 28

28. Legion of Superheroes vs. The Forces of Darkseid



The Great Darkness Saga involved the Legion of Super-Heroes fighting against some dark beings serving their dark master.

The Legion eventually learns that the dark beings are reverse-clones of powerful beings of the 20th Century like Superman and a Guardian of the Universe.

There is also a mysterious young boy who is being targeted by the dark beings. The Legion protects the boy and fights against the dark beings.

Mon-El confronts the dark master, who has already defeated Mordru and the Time Trapper and taken power from them (so he’s REALLY powerful right now) and the dark master hits him so hard he goes into a coma.

Mon-El recognized the dark master from his time in the 20th Century, but he was knocked unconscious before he could warn the rest of the Legion. Seeing the Daxamite Mon-El, the dark master is hit with an idea. The dark master travels to Daxam where he uses his power to turn the Daxamites into thralls of his power and also takes them to a yellow sun where they are now all Supermen.

Now that he is on the precipice of conquering the universe, we learn that the dark master is Darkseid!

The Legion has its hands full fighting against the brainwashed Daxamites (but Element Lad helps by adding some lead to the game).

Ultimately, though, it is the young boy who saves the day, as it turns out to be Highfather, Darkseid’s opposite.

Highfather is not powerful enough now to stop Darkseid himself, but through a series of machinations, lets loose the populace of Daxam (now free of Darkseid’s control and none too pleased with Darkseid) on Darkseid, forcing him to retreat from his plans of universe domination.

That’s just a VERY brief description - there are a LOT more twists and turns than that - this Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen storyline was so good that it was hard for them ever to meet this level of quality again, although they sure tried!

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 29

29. X-Men vs. Dark Phoenix


After their battle with the Hellfire Club in Uncanny X-Men #135, Phoenix has officially flipped her lid and become Dark Phoenix.

The X-Men battle against her in Uncanny X-Men #135, but she casts them aside like they’re children compared to her might. After the fight, the ex-X-Man, Beast (now an Avenger) comes to help the team out in Central Park where Dark Phoenix left them.

The X-Men regroup and decide to try to get her into a MacGuffin device, but she ruins that plan easily and once again kicks all their collective behinds. Cyclops is left standing, and he tries to appeal to the human essence within Dark Phoenix, and he begins to break through, but Professor X never turns down an opportunity to attack someone, so he begins a telepathic assault on Dark Phoenix which is a major battle of the minds.

Ultimately, with the help of the Jean Grey persona within Dark Phoenix, Xavier is able to shut down Jean’s telepathic powers and silence Dark Phoenix…for now!

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 30

30. Thor vs. The Midgard Serpent



In Norse mythology, Thor is destined to fight the Midgard Serpent (also known as Jormungand) and kill it, but die himself soon afterwards.

In the comics, Thor’s battle with Jormungand is basically the climax of Walt Simonson’s epic run on the title, although there are two issues afterward that serve as the ending of the run.

The dramatic battle happens after Jormungand disguises itself as Fin Fang Foom, and finally, we get to Thor #381, which is the last issue of Thor written and drawn by Simonson (he was not even the regular artist on the title at this point, Sal Buscema was, but he came back for one last issue).

The entire issue detailing the fight is done in full page splash pages.

It is epic and it is amazing, and when it is all over, the impossibly strong dragon is dead, and Thor seemingly is, as well (of course, things aren’t always as they seem).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 31

31. JSA vs. Dynaman



The Golden Age tells the story of how the Golden Age heroes dealt with the coming of McCarthyism during the 1950s.


This out-of-continuity mini-series by James Robinson and Paul Smith is a strong window into the sort of storytelling approach Robinson was soon to bring into Starman, although this story is perhaps a bit darker than his Starman work.


The main plot of the comic is that Tex Thompson, the Americommando, has returned from the War to become a U.S. Senator. Thompson then puts together a new team of heroes for the 1950s after the Justice Society disbanded. Among the heroes was Dan the Dyna-Mite, the sidekick to the hero TNT, who is a bit lost in the world after the death of his mentor. Dan is experimented on until he becomes the ultra-powerful Dynaman.


The rest of the series catches us up with various heroes and how they’re dealing with Post-War society, but also hints at a hidden agenda by Thompson - a sinister hidden agenda. Essentially, Thompson and Dynaman are slowly becoming dictators of sorts in the US.


The actual agenda is fully revealed in the lead-up to the climactic battle in Golden Age #4. We learn that Thompson was actually possessed by the JSA villain, the Ultra-Humanite, back in the war. And the Ultra-Humanite uses his mind-transfer abilities to put someone else’s consciousness in the body of Dynaman. That person? Adolf Hitler!!


As the various characters all find this out at around the same time, they all converge upon Dynaman for an epic battle that takes up most of the fourth issue of the Golden Age (and since the book is 48 pages long, that’s a lot) as basically all the Golden Age heroes take him on at once.


While they rack up a LOT of deaths, they are ultimately successful in taking him down.


Amusingly, the hero who gets in the last punch is a young Captain Comet, who was the first post-World War II hero created at DC (Comet debuted a good five years before Barry Allen and a good four years before Martian Manhunter).

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 32

32. The X-Men vs. Magneto (in the Volcano Base)



The All-New, All-Different X-Men first faced off against Magneto in Uncanny X-Men #104, where he trashed them badly in a manner of seconds before a distraction saved them.


Now, a year later, he showed up again in Uncanny X-Men #112 to finish what he started. He takes the team apart very easily, challenged only by Phoenix, who he is surprised to find such a formidable opponent. Sadly for her, her powers cut out at a bad time, and she is taken in. Wolverine is the last X-Man standing, but that does not last long.


At the end of #112, Magneto has the X-Men captive and he plans to have them held in captivity for the rest of their lives with a robotic Nanny taking care of them (similar, I suppose, to what happened to him when he was reduced to infancy).


Claremont and Byrne continue the story in the next issue where Storm’s pickpocketing experience helps her out as she picks the lock on her chair. When Magneto comes back to the base (which is underneath a volcano in the Antarctic, natch), he discovers that the X-Men are free.


While the first time around, the X-Men tried fighting him one on one (and got beaten easily), this time, Cyclops is coordinating their attacks telepathically through Phoenix, and their hit and run style of attacks are disorientating Magneto enough so that he is having a hard time using his powers.


However, during the battle, the base is damaged, and the lava from the volcano begins to seep in. The X-Men all dash for the exits, with Beast and Jean being the only ones who make it out to the surface alive - or so they think.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 33

33. Superman vs. Lex Luthor (All Star Superman #12)



In the final issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, Lex Luthor has the powers of Superman (for 24 hours) and Superman is near death and powerless (after Solaris turned the sun red - the sun is now turning blue and it is major trouble).


However, Superman is a lot more than just his powers.


So first off, Superman (who seemingly died at the end of All Star Superman #11) comes back to life for one last battle, and his only way to fight Luthor is through a gravity gun and, of course, his wits, which are a lot better than people give him credit for.


While Luthor thinks he is on top of the world, Superman is secretly using the gravity gun to warp the time around Luthor, so that the 24 hour time limit approaches much faster than expected. As the powers run out, Luthor experiences the world as Superman sees it, and it almost drives him mad.


Now, Superman fights Luthor on the same level, and he naturally beats Luthor up badly, as Superman is awesome.


Superman is now almost dead (when he dies he converts to a sort of living solar energy), so his last act (after kissing Lois, of course) is to fly into the sun to fix it.


An amazing final battle for an amazing final issue of an amazing comic book.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 34

34. Daredevil vs. Bullseye (Daredevil #181)



Talk about an impressive issue! This is, I believe, the only issue on the entire countdown to get TWO fights on to the countdown!


In any event, this issue is most famous for the fact that Bullseye kills Elektra early in the issue, but Frank Miller and Klaus Janson give us another memorable fight later in the issue when Daredevil gets his revenge on Bullseye.


Miller even works in a big plot about how Bullseye discovers Murdock is Daredevil, but then feels this theory is disproven later on in the story - it’s quite interesting.


But then the fight - a typically cinematic fight sequence by Miller and Janson with little to no dialogue and finally, at the end of the battle, Daredevil is triumphant and Bullseye is hanging from a ledge. Will Daredevil save the man who just murdered his lover?


Ultimately, Daredevil is just too nice of a guy and he goes to save Bullseye, but Bullseye is having none of it, and lets go, plummeting to the ground below, suffering a broken neck.


I prefer not to think of the fact that Miller was only 25 when he wrote and drew this issue.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 35

35. Jesse Custer vs. Jody



To say that Jesse Custer had a rough upbringing would be a massive understatement. Jesse’s grandmother, Marie L’Angelle, was upset that her daughter ran away from home, so she sent her two enforcers, Jody and T.C. to go find her. They found her married and with a child. Jesse’s father fought Jody bravely, and may have won had it not been for the fact that T.C. held Jesse at gunpoint. Jesse then watched as Josy murdered Jesse’s father in front of his eyes, then called Jesse a crybaby for weeping.


While Jesse hated Jody, it was Jody who more or less raised Jesse from youth to adulthood, teaching him everything he knew about, well, everything. Finally, as a young adult, Jesse was given his chance by Jody to take him on - Jody proceeded to beat him severely, breaking his arm and jaw.


Years later, Jesse also ran away from home and began seeing Tulip O’Hare. Jody and T.C. came after him and told him that if he came back, Tulip could live. Jesse came back.


When Jesse gained the Word of God and left home, he came back to his hometown of Angelville, where Jody proceeded to shoot Tulip in the head (God revived her later).


Finally, though, Jesse took on Jody one-on-one and defeated him, breaking Jody’s back and strangling him to death (the revived Tulip took care of T.C. and the fire took care of Marie).


Jody’s last words were “Prouda you, boy.”


Man, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon created some impressively vivid background characters, didn’t they?

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 36

36. Ultimates (and friends) vs. The Liberators



In the second volume of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates, there had been a set-up of the Ultimates being set-up, as the evil Loki was helping to manipulate events so that the team would find themselves in disarray, just in time for an invasion of America by a group of super-soldiers from the various countries that President Bush considered the “new Axis” (Iran, North Korea, etc.).


The Ultimates were down and out, but, as they are wont to do, they came back from the dead and put together a defense of America including basically every hero in the Ultimate Universe to save the day.


Loki does not take this well, so he brings down a load of Asgardian bad guys, but Thor responds by bringing in a load of Asgardian GOOD guys and there is an epic (and mostly off-panel) battle and when it is all said and done, the Ultimates are victorious!


However, they do partially agree that their attitude early on in the series, where they were getting involved in foreign countries, WAS over the line, so they split from the United States government and go at it alone (funded by Tony Stark, Iron Man).

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 37

37. Daredevil vs. Nuke



The battle between Daredevil and Nuke at the end of Born Again is a nice bookend to the beginning of Born Again - Kingpin just did not know when to draw the line.


The basic concept of Born Again is that Kingpin, due to information gathered by the now addicted to drugs Karen Page, knows Matt Murdock is Daredevil. So the Kingpin systematically takes apart Murdock’s life (his law practice, his money, everything). However, the Kingpin does not know when to call it quits, so he blows up Matt’s apartment - thereby informing Matt that these events are not all just horrible, horrible luck (which it appeared at the time) but an actual attack on Matt by the Kingpin.


After awhile of Matt being on the run and in hiding, the Kingpin just can’t live with just sending Daredevil into hiding - he needs to FINISH him, so he pulls strings to get Nuke, America’s current “Super Soldier” and has him attack Hell’s Kitchen to draw Daredevil out. Daredevil must, for the first time since the beginning of the storyline, return to his costume and stop Nuke, which he does (it is extremely painful, though, as Matt can experience, through his extra senses, all the innocents being killed around him).


After Daredevil captures Nuke, Nuke escapes and this time, Captain America (who is pissed over the idea of Nuke) gets involved as well, and Daredevil and Cap team-up to take Nuke down, who sadly dies in the process. Daredevil takes Nuke to the offices of the Daily Bugle and drops his dead body there, as evidence of the Kingpin’s connection to the military.


Obviously, that’s not enough to send Kingpin to JAIL, but it sure as hell tarnishes his reputation, so as the storyline ends, Matt (who has forgiven Karen) is happy while the Kingpin is fuming, knowing he went too far and got burned for it.


What an amazing storyline by Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli. It very likely is their finest work together.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 38

38. Superman vs. Mongul



It’s Superman’s birthday and Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman are going to visit Supes at his Fortress of Solitude to give him some presents. However, the villainous Mongul has already beaten them to the punch by giving Superman the Black Lotus, a flower that attaches to people and forces them to live their happiest fantasy.


Now, Superman is able to fight the Lotus a little bit, and that is why his dreams of an unexploded Krypton are filled with not-so-happy memories, specifically that he is an ineffectual bureaucrat in this life.


Eventually, the Lotus is taken off of Superman, and boy, is he mad at Mongul!


Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons (these two would later do some comic about a smiley face that some people think is okay) handle the fight beautifully, particularly Superman’s rage.


That “Burn” line is perhaps the most badass thing Superman has ever done.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 39

39. JLA vs. Avengers



The basic concept behind the beginning of JLA vs. Avengers is that Krona and the Elder of the Universe known as Grandmaster decide to have a little competition, and as part of their competition, the Justice League and the Avengers have to compete to collect a certain amount of items (all notable items from Marvel and DC history, stuff like the Spear of Destiny and the Ultimate Nullifier). Since both teams are after the items, they have to split up and they have conflicts over who wins each item.


Each match-up is handled very well by writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez, but none match the coolness of Batman vs. Captain America, where the two spar for a little bit before each man realizes that they are too evenly match, and decide instead to work together and break the news to their respective teams that they are all being played for patsies.


Great scene.

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES # 40

40. The Battle of Fabletown



Throughout the first year or so of Bill Willingham’s Fables, he has established the concept of so-called Fables (people we think of as fictional characters) living in seclusion in “Fabletown” in New York while their homelands are held captive by the evil “Adversary” who has turned the homelands into his evil Empire.


The first two years of the book was basically setting up the concept behind the series, and telling some engaging stories featuring the characters within Fabletown, of course, primarily the Big Bad Wolf (Sheriff of Fabletown) and Snow White (the Vice-Mayor of Fabletown, or whatever her title is). The two had just gotten together when the events of the Battle for Fabletown took place.


The Adversary’s forces launch an attack on Fabletown, using magical wooden soldiers (think Pinocchio) who are pretty darn impervious to harm.


The Fables steel themselves for the attack and set up blockades, etc.


Then the battle commences, and many Fables that readers thought would be around for a long time are killed and many more are wounded.


However, in the end, through magic and ingenuity (and don’t forget fire!), the Fables fight off the invasion.

TERMINATOR SALVATION

This movie could be a steaming pile of shit and you would still find me on line,ticket in hand, on opening day.

I don't care if time travel in the terminator universe doesn't make a whole lot of sense. ( if they delay judgment day any further, John Connor will be 106 years old by the time skynet's online )

I don't care that Arnold isn't in it. ( that's actually a plus )

All I want to see for my $12 bucks are shiny red eyed robots big and small doing what they do best,Terminating humans ( oh and Batman is in it )

here's the trailer for those of you who haven't seen it..

bon appetite

Friday, January 2, 2009

TOP 100 COMIC BOOK BATTLES: # 41

41. Batman vs. Joker (Killing Joke)

This is the fight that is most notable for something in the fight that had nothing to do with fighting at all.

In this one-shot by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, the Joker breaks into the home of Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara (who had just recently retired as Batgirl). When Barbara answers the door, the Joker shoots her in the torso, paralyzing her for life. He then kidnaps and tortures Gordon for hours in an amusement park, all in an attempt to drive Gordon insane. Part of the torture involves showing him pictures of his bleeding daughter in various states of undress. Twisted stuff.

Batman shows up, and saves Gordon, and Gordon shows that he has not been broken by the Joker. He tells Batman to bring the Joker in by the book, to show that their way works.

Batman then goes in and, naturally, beats the Joker up and takes him into custody.

Before he turns him over to the police, though, he tries to break through to the Joker and try to get him to stop his madness. The Joker (throughout the story, Moore has been giving the readers a possible origin for the Joker) tells him no, and points out that he and Batman are basically just opposite ends of the same coin - two men turned based on one bad day - basically what he was trying to recreate with Gordon.

Finally, right as the book ends, Joker tells Batman a joke, and the book ends with both men laughing.

The joke, for the record:

See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum…and one night…one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So like they get up on to the roof, and there, just across the narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in moon light…stretching away to freedom. Now the first guy he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren’t make the leap. Y’see he’s afraid of falling…So then the first guy has an idea. He says “Hey! I have my flash light with me. I will shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk across the beam and join me.” But, the second guy just shakes his head. He says…he says “What do you think I am, crazy? You would turn it off when I was half way across.”

So yeah, this fight is more known for the fact that it was the one where Batman and Joker laugh together more than anything else.