Colossus hits stuff

On a side note before we begin, there’s a fantastic discussion on my Pixie Pt. 1 article about Greg Land’s tracing pictures and other art when he draws comics.  While I really want to comment, I realize that my success here also comes from me using the works of other people, so I can’t really criticize without being a huge hypocrite.  Either way, I adore reading the comments.

Last time I brought up Colossus, he had been fully influenced by the Phoenix Force — turning him into a total jerk.  He verbally abused his on-and-off girlfriend Kitty Pryde and almost physically destroyed the entire school she taught at.  That’s not fair to Colossus, so I’m going to make it up to him today with Uncanny X-Men #504-507, written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Terry Dodson.

At this point in X-Men history, poor Colossus recently lost dear Kitty.  As in to save Earth, she phased into a giant planet-sized bullet sent hurdling into space.  You can read more about it in a previous article.  And while Colossus’ steel exterior is unbreakable, his heart sure isn’t.

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Meet Piotr (Peter) Resputin, the son of a poor Russian farmer.  Professor X contacted Colossus once his mutant powers manifested — super strength and the whole metal skin thing — and now he’s an X-Man.  But with his love Kitty (Katya) forever lost to the bowels of the universe, all that meaning and purpose has disappeared as well.  Luckily his teammates have some ideas.  Practical ideas.

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And hit stuff he does.  That’s why I named the article that.  But despite the order from Colossus’ bosses/buddies to go inflict some mindless violence on those deserving of it, another box on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has to be met first.

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Even former Russian gangsters decide to pack up for the good ol’ USA once in a while.  The old man has a super cool mutant power — upon touch his tattoos show all the inner secrets of the person grabbed. An information broker gaining his infomation from extortion and violence.  And most importantly, Colossus has a personal connection to this man.

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Dude’s a total jerk, shirt or no shirt.  Oh, did you catch Magik’s cameo?  That was before she claimed her throne as queen of Limbo, made weapons out of the souls of others, and became half-goat.  While nowadays only the first two apply, I never want you to forget she once had farm animal legs.

If you don’t mind me skipping some, Colossus figures going undercover as our antagonist’s lackey would produce plenty of people to punch and even more evidence to put away his extortionist for a very long time.  And like all good superhero secret missions, this one starts with Colossus proving his worth. By punching.

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Bad guys admire guts.  So Colossus gets hired.  And then immediately fired:

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With a dock full of women under his care, he takes them to the only place he knows can keep them safe: the X-Men’s mansion.  Because while Cyclops doesn’t really want to take care of dozens of former slaves, his moral obligation will force him to say yes.  It’s the same reason Spider-Man has to leave dates early if a police siren goes by.  The same reason Mr. Fantastic has to pause his research when a dimension is in trouble.  The same reason Wolverine has to put down his beer when a fight breaks out.

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Colossus and Emma Frost make for a strange superhero team up.  Besides their steel/diamond armor, they don’t have much in common — though lately Colossus has been showing off just as much skin.  But if one unbreakable, unstoppable mutant is going to be a tough fight for our bad guy’s henchmen, two’ll make it completely impossible.

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We all know what has to happen next.  Colossus has to to make his former extortionist pay for what he did to his own family and presumably thousands of others across Russia.  If these past few articles have taught supervillains anything, it’s that making enemies with people who can punch through mountains will never, ever be a good idea.  Unfortunately for Colossus, his pride demands he avenges au naturel.

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For an arc that mainly revolves around Colossus redeeming his past by using restaurant supplies, it wraps up on one of the most beautiful comic book moments of the past few years.  Whatever the Phoenix Force did to poor Colossus, I hope all the damage’ll be undone one day.  Y’know, because of fate and destiny and all that.

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Kitty returns to Earth from her bullet prison fifteen issues later.  But you know what would help ease Colossus back into his normal crime-fighting, X-Men-filled life?  Closure.  Like the closure that lasts forever.

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Pixie and the X-Men’s revenge, Pt. 1

It’s a normal California evening for dear Pixie — a well-deserved night of fun for our teenage X-Man.

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Yeah, welcome to the world of mutants.  As the X-Men symbolize minority discrimination in comic books, we can all probably relate to their struggle for acceptance on some level.  And while we don’t have the ability to lift buildings or summon lightning storms, we can certainly take solace that those who get attacked for being different have the ability to retaliate.  And by retaliate I mean destroy the hopes, dreams, and definitely internal organs of anyone who dares target them.  So yes, these bigots took down a young girl in a surprise attack, but they know she has teammates, right?  Big scary teammates with superpowers and grudges.  Meet the new breed of X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #501-503, written by Matt Fraction & Ed Brubaker and drawn by Greg Land.

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Y’see, while angry humans beating up child mutants certainly exists in the Marvel world, they usually don’t have the equipment or organization that these angry humans do.  Turns out bigotry goes hand-in-hand with self-loathing:

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The glowing eyes dude is named Empath (real name Manuel de la Rocha).  He premiered originally as one of former supervillain Emma Frost’s Hellions — students trained at the Hellfire Club — with his mutant power being able to manipulate the emotions of others.  But despite the X-Men unaware of this secret base, it won’t be hidden for long.  You’ll notice that the X-Men’s interrogation tactics have evolved since the 1960s.

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Spoiler alert: he tells them everything.  While the X-Men have only recently moved to San Francisco, adding to the badly needed superhero population in the West Coast (before currently only Moon Knight, the schizophrenic with no superpowers), it’s important to make sure the city knows that attacks will no longer be permitted.  Not on innocents and definitely not on them.  Y’know, because they have people who can do this:

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This’ll be abrupt, but I have twenty eight pictures to show you and I’ve learned over the past year and a half that readers don’t really want to read through over two dozen images (I know I don’t, and those usually don’t even include paragraphs of text).  So we’ll stop here and I’ll continue tomorrow.  Heads up: motorcycle chase.


The origin of Electro

With Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming out soon, I figure that maybe a few of you would like to know more about the supervillan (and I hope my shameless pandering’ll increase hits), I have his updated origin story from Amazing Spider-Man #422, written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by Joe Bennett.  I’m aware that the movie’ll change his background.  We, as readers, should be fine with that.  Look, the best part of fictional characters is that they’re fictional — they can have hundreds of different interpretations simply because they’re not real.  We can’t give Nelson Mandela laser eyes in his biopic, but if Electro and the Human Torch become African-American in the movie version — seriously, who cares?  Fiction allows us to do that and it’s foolish if writers/artists/directors/actors don’t take advantage of that.  On that note, here’s Electro’s comic book version of his past:

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Back story may be necessary, but the issue doesn’t want to spoil the twist at the end.  If you don’t know Electro (real name Max Dillon), think of him as an evil Thor — except without the godhood, the hammer, the muscles, the good looks, the helmet, the royalty, the combat experience, the moral integrity, the Avengers, the likability, and the love interests.  I guess they only have the electricity thing in common.

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Abusive fathers also factor into Sandman, Doctor Octopus, Norman Osborn, Hammerhead, Bullseye, Iron Monger, Sabretooth, and Red Skull’s childhoods.  And many others I’m sure I missed.  See what happens when kids have deadbeat dads?  They turn into supervillains.  Let that be a lesson to new parents out there.

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Y’see?  Electro never stood a chance.  His parents ruined him from the second he popped out the womb.  While nowadays Electro’s main punishment comes in the form of superpowered punches, until his costumed debut most of the damage was done in emotional pain.

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Back in the 1960s, we could all suspend our disbelief about chemical spills or gamma bombs or radioactive spiders or lightning strikes that could give people superpowers.  Because of how technology has progressed, we have trouble stomaching all that in the modern day — luckily most of these miracles have been described as simply that: “Daredevil’s splash with radioactive goo triggered his heightened senses that would have killed any other person under only a sliver of different chemical combinations!”  I’m cool with that.  The Avengers also fight with the Norse god of thunder, so my explanation standards tend to be low to begin with.

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Over this week, you’ll be seeing a new Electro.  A supervillain worthy of his wildly powerful ability. Thanks to a pair of supervillains, one of whom’s power seems to involve fancy dialogue lettering, Electro gets his spark back.  And poor Spider-Man’s going to roast.

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The amazing Mary Jane Watson

If you’ve read the most recent issue of Superior Spider-Man #28, written by Dan Slott and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli — and you really should be reading that series — you noticed once again, Spider-Man’s ex-girlfriend/demonic pact maker being a total badass:

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Despite her only superpower being super good looking, her years and years at Peter Parker’s side has pretty much scattered any remaining fear she could once feel.  How many times has she been thrown off buildings?  Chased by supervillains?  Been kidnapped and held hostage?  Nothing can scare this woman anymore.

Today, we’ll take a look at the most recent time she’s been totally awesome in Amazing Spider-Man #670-672, written by Slott and drawn by Humberto Ramos.  Remember the Marvel event Spider Island where everyone in the city gains Spider-Man’s powers?  Then they turn into giant spider monsters? We jump halfway into the event, where only one solitary New Yorker remains unaffected by all these spider enhancements.

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And her current outfit still covers far more skin than most female superheroes’ costumes.  Look, I know so many comic book readers rose up in anger after Mephisto dissolved Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage.  But c’mon, we’re all intelligent people, right?  The status quo always returns, just like superheroes when they die.  It may take another five years, a decade, maybe even longer, but the two are destined to get back together.  We all know they’ll end up married again, so can’t we just enjoy a single Spider-Man for a while?  Seriously, after my friends and family, there’s nothing I love more than superheroes, and we must trust that the writers know what they’re doing — negativity only drains creativity and passion.  From everyone.  Stop the angry YouTube rants.

Oh, and Mary Jane punches spider monsters:

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Darn tootin’ she is.  And the reason she spawned those powers so late in the arc?  Spoiler alert: it’s a gross reason.

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So like most Spider-Man stories, our hero can’t win the day on muscles alone.  He has to use all that scientific genius he possesses when he’s not chucking around trucks.  But you know a delicate procedure like reversing and halting the mass extinction of a city can’t be disturbed and distracted by an army of man-spiders.  Spider-Man needs a bodyguard.

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Gorgeous last panel.  Mary Jane singlehandedly holds off the oncoming horde as Spider-Man saves the city/brags about it.  Even though Superior Spider-Man ends in five issues, hopefully that’ll still be plenty of pages to have Mary Jane take on some more goblin baddies.  Plus, now we can see Doctor Octopus re-learn the lesson he’s realized so many times before: there’s always someone smarter than him.  And just like Breaking Bad, no matter how awful a person Otto Octavius reveals himself to be in the next few issues, I really want him to win.

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More Magneto: hero/villain

So a little detour to start us off, but remember last article when Magneto locked the Nazi Red Skull in a hidden bunker, never to be heard from or seen again?  While punches and flying shields can cause Red Skull physical pain, nothing compares to Magneto’s emotional punishment.  Sitting in that dark silent bunker with no food and only a little water, our spiteful Nazi has plenty of time to sit, hallucinate, and contemplate his life’s decisions in Captain America #369-370, written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Ron Lim.

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Can you detect an upcoming theme?  I mean, no one knows where he is and Red Skull has no way to signal for help.  Though you claim suicide as the coward’s way out, you know who else committed suicide?

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Over the next few decades, Red Skull’s disembodies hallucinations have branched out on their own. His daughter becomes Sin and later the next Red Skull.  Arnim Zola develops an entire alternative dimension and even fathered/created a few kids.  Though luckily, no Hitler developments.

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He gets rescued next issue.  Let’s not worry about how.

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Anyway, let’s continue onto our main event.  Y’see, Magneto’s philosophies have changed over the years as our culture and times have evolved.  He remains in that tiny category of supervillains who happen to be simultaneously sympathetic and evil (Mr. Freeze, Bane, Man-Bat, Two-Face — really most of Batman’s rogue gallery).  In X-Men #85, volume 2, written by Joe Kelly and drawn by Alan Davis, our featured supervillain attempts to satisfy both his desires and morals.

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I’d like to tell you that Bill Jones argues an exciting and suspenseful battle of words with the disguised Magneto.  By not revealing that information, I could definitely amp up the suspense.  But look, dear Bill Jones doesn’t stand a chance — Magneto stacked the deck against him from the very beginning. Magneto’s cheating, and even Magneto himself doesn’t realize it yet.

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You think Bill Jones scored a knockout punch, right?  The most average man in the city unfortunately holds no hatred in his heart for the filthy genetic freaks that’ll kill his family and eat his children.  But as the bell rings to start round two, Magneto brings out the big guns.

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Poor Bill Jones didn’t realize that Hitler’s a sore spot for Magneto.  As you can imagine, the game goes in a different direction.  If reason and logic won’t convince Magneto that he’s right, then he’ll stick to what he knows — fear and bitterness.  Now Magneto’s cheating.

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See?  That’s what makes this issue genius: Magneto simply manipulated the situation until he received the answer he wanted, instead of accepting that maybe his ideals aren’t so accurate. Supervillains tend to have a bit of an ego on them.  And what about Bill Jones’ final cry?  Surely Magneto must realize his mistakes.  He’ll shake Bill Jones’ hand and apologize while maintaining eye contact.  That’s the reasonable, intelligent decision after Magneto essentially poked Bill Jones until he yelled to stop.  Right?

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Oh well.


Magneto: hero/villain

I don’t think any comic book character has crossed the good guy/bad guy line more often than Magneto.  Every decade he decides to once again terrorize humankind or once again aid the human-protecting X-Men.  Though despite his alliances, his motive never changes: mutants rock, non-mutants suck.  More of the former, less of the latter.  What’s Magneto’s opinon on his constant team switching?  I don’t know if anything concrete has come out, but you do get a glimpse in AvX: Consequences #4, written by Kieron Gillen and Mark Brooks.

To get you caught up, in the aftermath of the Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men, Colossus is on the run for his crimes he committed as part of the Phoenix Five.  Storm can’t convince him to return to his buddies.  Colossus’ arch-nemesis will always be Colossus.

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Much like how history is written by the victors, Magneto adheres to a similar philosophy.  So, when the textbooks get written centuries in the future, what title will Magneto receive?  Honestly, I have no idea.  But I did collect a few ambiguous examples of both.  First up: Captain America #367, written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Kieron Dwyer.

Quickly name some of the biggest Marvel supervillains — Magneto, Doctor Doom, Loki, Green Goblin, Mandarin, Kingpin, etc.  And Red Skull, who as you can imagine might not get along with one of the members of this list.  Y’know, because Red Skull’s a Nazi and Magneto’s a Holocaust survivor.

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No telepaths needed to read their minds.  Red Skull hates mutants.  Magneto really hates Red Skull. But as the two argue, Red Skull does defend his ideals with an unfailing confidence that most delusional psychopaths possess.  It’d be admirable if it wasn’t for the whole Nazi thing.

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Look, it can be difficult to argue that Magneto hasn’t turned into a smaller scale Hitler himself, at least with the goal of exterminating/ruling over mankind with his fellow superior mutants.  But despite all the political and moral arguments one could make demeaning Magneto’s speech, allow me to present my own ironclad argument: screw Nazis.  As you expect, Magneto totally wins their little chase.

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Red Skull’s hallucinations and almost-repentance begin two issues later, which we’ll cover later. But I do want to make sure we cover one of Magneto’s more evil moments, like that famous one from the early ’90s when he went full on bad guy.  Wild carnage abounds in X-Men #25, volume 2, written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.  Heads up, it’s going to get wordy.

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Y’know, the moment where Magneto figures, well, time to be a Hitler.  Ends justify the means and blah blah blah.  Then he fights the X-Men for forty pages:

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Do you know the horrifying pain Wolverine experienced when he got pumped full of adamantium? Turns out it hurts way more coming out.

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Despite Magneto’s power, he really doesn’t stand a chance against his old friend Professor X.  It’s only because dear Xavier holds back and instead sends in squads of teenagers that Magneto can even secure victories.  Because if the professor were to ever snap, like say when adamantium rips out of his teammate’s body, poor Magneto can’t possibly defend against that level of psychic attack.  Y’see, when the Hulk gets angry, he can punch dudes into space, but mind powers work differently and the results tend to be far more cruel.

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As many subtly awful things Professor X did during his time running the X-Men, we should applaud him just for the fact that he could have done so much worse.  Like erasing the entire brain of anyone he chooses ever.

As much as I’d like to take sides between Professor X and Magneto, my own identity as a bald Jew puts me in a tricky spot.  On Monday, I’d like to continue exploring some powerful Magneto moments. Hopefully.


The updated origins of Bucky

Captain America’s teenage sidekick, almost a necessity during the 1940s, became a superhero the same way most sidekicks did: through sheer luck.  Batman just happened to be watching Dick Grayson’s circus act as tragedy struck.  Jimmy Olsen just so happens to be working at the same newspaper as Superman’s alter ego.  Toro’s parents coincidentally worked for the creator of the android Human Torch.  And Bucky’s origin, as seen in Captain America Annual #1, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, begins the same way:

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I love two things about this: Captain America off-handedly mentions Nazis would have killed Bucky, and Captain America immediately buckles to Bucky’s blackmail.  But that story doesn’t hold up anymore — origins constantly get modernized, and Bucky remains no different.

First, for those who don’t know, let me briefly explain Bucky (real name James Buchanan).  At sixteen years old, he ran around the army base as a sort of mascot.  Then he fights the entirety of World War II on the front lines next to Captain America (bright blue costume), Namor (wore only a speedo), the Human Torch (fiery android), and Toro (fiery human) as part of the superhero team the Invaders.  As the war ended, Captain America and Bucky get famously blown up attempting to stop an enemy airplane.  Bucky dies and Captain America joins the Avengers after a few decades encased in ice. We can talk about the revolving death door for superheroes, but it took Bucky over forty years to return to the land of the living.  And in Captain America & Bucky #620, written by Ed Brubaker & Marc Andreyko and drawn by Chris Samnee & Bettie Breitweiser, we get his updated beginnings:

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Can you see the difference yet?  This Bucky happened to be a combat prodigy right from the beginning, not some bumbling kid who stumbled into Captain America’s changing room.  And trust me, he gets the training we expect from superheroes who fought tanks and Nazi supervillains on a daily basis.

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Of course Bucky has crazy military skills.  He spends four years of WWII in daily combat in next to the shiniest beacon of American pride the Germans could shoot at.  If you take a look at the superheroes with no powers, their resumes all look relatively the same: an unbeatable foundation of combat training.  Batman used his teenage years to study ninja martial arts.  The Punisher rocked the Vietnam War.  Hawkeye spent his entire adolescence as a circus archer.  Black Widow has had Soviet espionage training since practically her birth.  Hard work can usually make up for an inability to shoot eye lasers or bench-press trucks.

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If you’d like to feel old, that would make Captain America roughly 24 when he joined the Avengers. Still, a little modernization of our favorite superheroes is appreciated — especially as writing and storytelling in comics has shifted over the past fifty years.  But the names and costumes?  Those are forever.

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Speedball’s cat Niels/Hairball

And Aunt May’s dog Ms. Lion.  The two act as a furry buddy cop dynamic, but I’m focusing on the more popular one to shamelessly increase hits.  Though, I use the word popular lightly, as Niels doesn’t even get a full page in the Marvel Pet Handbook (written and drawn by everybody):

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The above picture provides the finest example of comics as a glorious literary art form.  A cat wanders into an ongoing experiment, gains superpowers, and fights crime.  And we don’t question a single freaking thing.  Here’s some proof from Speedball #2, written by Stan Ditko & Roger Stern and drawn by Ditko:

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Speedball spends his series searching for the cat in between smacking criminals with energy bubbles.

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Yes, comics were weird in the ’80s.  And the decades before that.  The ones after that too, to be fair. But now Niels treks out on his own, taking the superhero name Hairball to correct injustice perpetrating throughout the Marvel universe.  Today, we’ll be using scenes from Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1-4 and Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #1, all written by Chris Eliopoulos and drawn by Ig Guara.

Oh, and now Niels can talk.

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The rest of the Pet Avengers roster consist of Lockjaw, Redwing, Lockheed, and Zabu (all given a full page in the Marvel Pets Handbook) along with new character Frog Thor — who while a frog, is not Thor.  I’m ignoring the other characters today, but they deserve an introduction.  The giant teleporting dog Lockjaw lives with Black Bolt and the Inhumans on the moon.  The superhero Falcon’s pet Redwing has a telepathic link that allows his master to see out the bird’s eyes and vice versa.  The alien dragon that befriended Kitty Pryde Lockheed can do all the normal tiny dragon things.  And Zabu’s a sabretooth tiger living in the Savage Land with Tarzan-esque humans Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil.  He doesn’t join until next issue.

If you don’t know who Ms. Lion is, you’re not alone.  The dog showed up in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon from the early ’80s.  You’re completely caught up.

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So now they go on adventures.  Surprisingly suspenseful and action-packed adventures.

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The pets decide to gather the Infinity Gems, the jewelry with the power to remake the universe into whatever its owner desires.  Turn people into tuna.  Water becomes chicken broth.  D0gs now speak Mandarin.  Anything the heart wants, except for one small problem — a certain supervillain won’t let go of the notion that the Infinity Gems belong to him.

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Like all good superhero team origin stories, they must work together to defeat a foe tougher than any one of them alone.  Only it turns out to be Thanos, an invulnerable superbeing that the entire galaxy fears.  Also, he’s holding Bo, President Obama’s dog.  Social commentary or celebrity guest star or whatever you want to believe.

Witness our feline pal heroically become the superhero we all wish him to be, instead of a whiny cat with an orbit of glowing rainbow balls.  You can click the image for a larger version if needed.

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Thanos versus the unified animal super team begins now.  For the future and whatnot.

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I’m not going to show you the fight, I’m sorry.  But you can probably guess the outcome.  While Hairball, Ms. Lion, and the others show up in series like Avengers vs. Pet Avengers, one-shots like Tails of the Pet Avengers, and a few other publications, I want to highlight one more moment with the world’s angriest cat and happiest dog.

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Let’s not take this problem lightly (see what I did there?).  Hippos weigh over a ton and even real Avengers like Captain America can’t just toss an animal that size back in its pen.  This dilemma involves a carefully crafted solution.  Or zero impulse control.  Either works.

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And the second adventure begins the next page.  I’m not one to bash pet owners, but Aunt May should probably keep better track of her dog or at least splash herself with radioactive goo — she’s practically the only member of the Spider-Man family not to be an Avenger nowadays.


Ms. Marvel’s cat Chewie

Here’s a superhero topic no one has ever asked for nor desired to see.  I have chronicled every appearance the cat of Ms. Marvel has made (real name Carol Danvers, now goes by superhero name Captain Marvel), including those that only include the animal as apartment decoration (most of them).  In order of chronological appearance, our dear kitty shows up in:

Giant-Size Ms. Marvel one-shot, written by Brian Reed and drawn by Roberto de la Torre
Ms. Marvel #4, written by Reed and drawn by de la Torre
Ms. Marvel #5, written by Reed and drawn by de la Torre
Ms. Marvel #13, written by Reed and drawn by Aaron Lopresti
Ms. Marvel #15, written by Reed and drawn by Lopresti
Ms. Marvel #17, written by Reed and drawn by Lopresti
Ms. Marvel #25, written by Reed and drawn by Adriana Melo
Marvel Pets Handbook one-shot, written by everybody and drawn by everybody else
Captain Marvel #9, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Filipe Andrade
Captain Marvel #10, written by DeConnick & Christopher Sebela and drawn by Andrade
Captain Marvel #11, written by DeConnick & Christopher Sebela and drawn by Andrade
Avengers: Enemy Within #1, written by DeConnick and drawn by Scott Hepburn
Captain Marvel #17, written by Connick and drawn by Andrade

You’re welcome, world.

Chewie first appears in an alternative dimension.  You can read an older article I wrote for that whole story, but here’s the cat parts:

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After mystical mayhem across worlds, energy fields, and assistance from Doctor Strange, Danvers defeats the evil bearded wizard — her only prize the satisfaction of a job well-done.  And a cat.

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For the next few years, the cat serves as background, like an adorable lamp or something (plus one appearance in one of those Marvel encyclopedia issues).  Oh, and if you prefer drama with zero context, please enjoy.

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At long last, our cat gets used as more than just a reminder of Captain/Ms. Marvel’s home life. Chewie gets upgraded to the next level: prop.

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Isn’t Captain Marvel wonderful?  And the first issue of the new Ms. Marvel came out today as well. Inhuman DNA mixed with a quick-witted teenager dumped in a bowl of social commentary and eventual fistfights if you’re into that kind of thing.

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Spoiler alert: she does it anyway.  Captain Marvel has never been the paradigm of healthy living. Further appearances revert the kitty back to piece of background, but Chewie’ll always be in the foreground of my heart.

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We’re done.  It’s anti-climactic, isn’t it?  Tomorrow, we’ll delve into another superhero’s cat, but this one can shoot energy balls and talk.  Comics are weird.


Hellcat’s return, Pt. 1

Hey, remember this super depressing scene from the ’90s when Patsy Walker killed herself?

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That’s from Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Peter Gross.  Turns out Walker shouldn’t have married a demon, because y’know, they tend to do a bunch of evil stuff. Not a trustworthy group, the hell-dwellers.  Except besides those few sad years in the early ’90s, Walker, a former soap opera comic star turned superhero Hellcat, has pretty much been a positive, fierce, and wonderful role model for female comic book readers.  Or if not in the past, at least since Thunderbolts Annual 2000, written by Fabian Nicieza & Norm Breyfogle and drawn by Kurt Busiek, when Hawkeye (tricked by Hellcat’s ex-husband Daimon Hellstrom — not Hellstorm) rescues her from her eternal damnation.

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Bobbi Morse, the superhero Mockingbird who also died in the early ’90s, happens to be battling demons down in Hell alongside Hellcat.  Though poor Mockingbird has to wait nine more years before she returns to the land of the living.  While Avengers Annual 2000, written by Busiek and drawn by Breyfogle, contains a good forty pages of Hellcat adventures, it’s the beginning I really want to show you.  To get you caught up, they included the complete history of our heroine complete with annotations:

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If you want to talk about character progression and growth, you can’t find anyone better qualified than dear Patsy Walker.  Starring originally in teenage drama comics, she became a superhero, then the fearless wanderer of the demonic afterworld.  And thank goodness for that last part especially, because in the miniseries Hellcat #1-3, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Breyfogle, she gets warped right back to her home she spent as punishment for her suicide.  Sin’s still sin in the Marvel world, even under the influence of a horrifically bad marriage and uncontrollable insanity.  She really shouldn’t have married a man who’s affectionately known as the Son of Satan.

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For scale of just how bad her situation is, she’s under attack by Dormammu, a demon so powerful that Doctor Strange wets himself every time he makes an appearance.  Dormammu, the monster that the other demon lords shudder at the thought of.  So what superpowers does Hellcat have to defend herself with?  Oh, you mean she’s a normal human wearing a cat suit?

And I’m sorry for being mean to Doctor Strange, I just wanted to add some suspense.

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Essentially, Hellcat finds herself in the middle of a demon war.  Dormammu plans to take over the dimensions claimed by Mephisto, Pluto, Hela, and Hellcat’s ex-husband Daimon Hellstrom.  Because demons tend to be lying, manipulative, selfish creatures, Hellcat pretty much has to end this war herself.  Superheroes always get the short end of the problem solving stick.

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And the plan?  Good ol’ fashioned teamwork.  Well, that and the combined powers of the most powerful sorcerers that Hell has ever produced.

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To reward her bravery and intelligence, Mephisto and the others grant her safe passage home.  I’m kidding — she has to truthbomb her way out of Hell before Mephisto chains her up like slave Leia in Jabba’s Palace.  Demons don’t understand gratitude.

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We’ll stop here today.  I have a good fifteen pages and four hundred-ish more words left to show you, but by asking around, I’ve learned over the past 300 articles that people usually don’t have the time to read articles that require scrolling the length of Wolverine’s back hair (long).  Those spreadsheets won’t fill themselves out, or whatever people do in offices.  Next time, more Hellcat and Daimon Hellstrom!


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