Nova vs. Nova

In Nova’s solo series, he contains the entire power of the Nova force — like the Hulk of cosmic laser blasters.  So how can the stories create a challenge for him?  Easy.  Make him evil, then have someone else fight him who’s way weaker.  The stakes have risen!  Unfortunately, like all Marvel universe robots, the group called the Phalanx is using the post-Annihilation Wave chaos to take over the galaxy.  They inject mini-robots into any living thing and boom — instant ally.  We pick up in the middle of that with Nova #5-6, written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and drawn by Sean Chen & Brian Denham.

Richard Rider, the Nova we all know and love (unless your Nova is Sam Alexander — it’s like the Robins, it’s fun to pick sides), sustained some major damage during his last fight and now lies unconscious on a destroyed Kree outpost.  How sad.  But Worldmind, the super computer living inside his helmet, realizes the Kree can’t protect Nova on their own.  If Rider dies, so does Worldmind. Figuring if something isn’t broke don’t fix it, the computer just makes another Nova.  Meet Ko-Rel, the Kree medic who became a Nova despite Worldmind not doing the whole asking-for-permission thing.

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I know the Cosmic Marvel alien species can be confusing.  Here’s a quick reminder of the big three: Skrulls are green, Kree are blue, and Shi’ar sort of look like human birds.  I know there are exceptions — the Skrulls can change into anyone, some Kree are pink, and the Shi’ar Empire is a collection of hundreds of weird alien groups.  But as a basic rule of thumb, it’ll work.  Oh yeah, and that whole protect Richard Rider thing?  Robots can’t get to him, but it’s not terribly hard for the deadliest woman in the galaxy.

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Now they’re both Phalanx-infested evildoers.  Also, Gamora’s classic costume borders on wildly sexist.  High heels, and essentially a voodoo prostitute’s swimsuit with a cape.  If we’re going to dress the women like that, Rider should be showing one of his balls.  That’s only fair.  Anyway, poor Ko-Rel is tasked with taking down the fully-Nova-powered evil Nova.  If Nova’s the Hulk, then Ko-Rel’s Bruce Banner.  And I’m talking Bruce Banner with all science doohickeys.  It’s more like Rider vs. a Ko-Rel/Worldmind team up.

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Let’s admit it, a rocket chase through the city in a 2D, panel-format is tricky.  Comics do many things better than movies, but chase scenes aren’t one of them.  That said, I applaud this one.  Also, if you want to know why AIs cause so much trouble in the Marvel universe, they have all that ruthless calculating mumbo that we slow emotional humans can’t complete fast enough.  More importantly, remember that scene from The Avengers movie where Black Widow gets trapped in the bottom of the helicarrier with the Hulk?  That same look of fear on Scarlett Johannson’s face applies here for poor Ko-Rel.

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Did I mention Ko-Rel has a son named Zam?  This probably isn’t the best time to bring that up.  But related to the fight, just like how Spider-Man defeats the tougher, bigger opponents, he uses the stuff around him.  Like the technologically-advanced city that’s somehow powered by a volcano or something.

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See Ko-Rel’s proper moral standing?  A inspirational force of good in the infinite darkness of space’s abyss!  As the Phalanx virus corrupts Nova, an ally comes forth who understands and enacts the righteous goals and love of the proud Nova Corps.  Rider doesn’t die, as he still has 30 issues of his solo series left, but how much better will his adventures be with this interesting, complex new Nova at his side?  And of course, by now when I go on long pseudo-poetic tangets of what should be, it’s always the opposite.  Always.  It makes the storytelling plot twist stab-in-the-back far more dramatic, and in this case, literally.

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Luckily, her final words start the slow beginning of freeing Nova from Phalanx’s control, but you can buy the books for that.  So what do the Nova Corps and Green Lantern Corps have the most in common?  Definitely the fatality rate.


Guardians of the Galaxy vs. Angela

Brian Michael Bendis writes the best dialogue in comics.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise — I’m very biased.  But I read once that someone had the gall to claim Bendis “tells” stories instead of “showing” them.  That’s crazy talk.  His genius extends far beyond the written word into the second most important part of comics: the fights.  Have you read this week’s issue of Miles Moralies: Ultimate Spider-Man #4 yet?  Brilliant battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin.  It flowed, it made sense, and the art shines.  So keeping with our theme of Guardians of the Galaxy, how about another example of Bendis’ fight scenes from Guardians of the Galaxy #5-6, drawn by the equally phenomenal Sara Pichelli.

While the movie focused on a select five superheroes, the modern team has had a rotating roster since its creation in 2008.  We’ve already mentioned Phyla-Vell and Adam Warlock previously, but characters such as Bug, Jack Flag, Mantis, Moondragon, Cosmo, Captain Marvel, and Venom have also occupied slots on the team.  In our story today, Iron Man has joined our dear quintet for a few issues for a little vacation (that ultimately shatters everything he knew about his past and forever changes the status quo, but that’s another story for another day).

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Meet Angela.  She replaces Iron Man on the team later on.  She first appeared in Image’s Spawn series.  As you know, the other comic book companies aren’t too fond to share their characters — something about profit or whatever.  Todd MacFarlane, who wrote Spawn, asked Neil Gaiman to write an issue during which the two of them worked together to create Angela.  Cue some legal fights over who actually owned the character and in 2012, Gaiman gained full ownership.  Thus when Gaiman returned to Marvel (and hence Marvel buying Angela from him), she could re-spawn (sorry) with a brand new company.  Now she’s Thor’s sister, so she’ll be around for a while.

Oh yeah, and the Guardians of the Galaxy battle her.

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The dialogue on that last panel reference an off-panel scene between Star-Lord and Thanos.  They’re doing their own thing somewhere else right now.  But Angela and Gamora are pretty well-matched, with our antagonist having a slight advantage.  Gamora’s the most dangerous woman in the universe, right?  Angela’s like that, just with a more Xena: Warrior Princess-ish touch.

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That last panel’s great.  You see the oncoming Guardians through the sword’s reflection.  More importantly, see the Star-Lord costume?  No Iron Man today, as the Spartax empire (led by Star-Lord’s dad) wrecked the suit in an earlier issue.  Tony Stark has to slum it as a replacement superhero.

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I want you to click the last page to see a larger view.  Pichelli’s art sparkles here and Bendis’ layout of the page allows a 2-D medium to show the many different moments going on at once.  But the Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t complete without their grumpiest, most shirtless member of the crew. Just remember that Tony Stark wears a highly-evolved metallic armor into combat for him to be effective — not this guy:

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I know we should probably talk about Uatu the Watcher observing the fight with eyes like he just came from an anime convention, but it’s irrelevant to our brawl today.  Look, Angela didn’t exist in Marvel comics before a few issues ago.  She legitimately popped in from nothingness, much like how Batman and Superman exist in a separate DC universe that never interacts or even knows about the Marvel universe unless Jubilee wants to make out Robin or something.  Of course Angela’s entrance would get the Watcher’s attention — that’s most of his job description.  By the way, I know this article will be incredibly out of date in a few months, but here’s my guess on who killed Uatu: Fin Fang Foom. I’ve seen How to Train Your Dragon enough times to know how dangerous those winged lizards are. Especially dragons that wear short shorts.

Anyway, Tony Stark just shot Angela with a space gun.

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For more Angela stuff, read volume three of Guardians of the Galaxy or the ongoing Original Sin miniseries Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm to see her battle Thor, another superhero with equally gorgeous hair.  Also, when you finish that, go read everything Bendis has ever written.  I adore him.


Punisher vs. Thor

For a man like Punisher who’s so grounded in human limits and reality (to a certain extent), he’s more similiar to Thor — a Scandinavian thunder god who can fly and shoot lightning — than we think. Thor’s hammer isn’t for carpentry, after all.  Ever since Punisher’s teenage years and when Thor was an adorable godling, these two have been entrenched in the soldier lifestyle.  Hell, I bet Thor’s killed more people than Punisher could dream of.  But today, they have to fight, as (are you sitting down for this?) the Punisher is currently on the run from the law.  Time for Avengers to take care of this matter, hence our upcoming conflict from Punisher: War Zone #3, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Carmine Di Giandomenico.

Frank Castle currently hides in Nicaragua, and by hides I mean wrecking havoc on every weapons trader he comes across.  For a man wanted by every enforcement agency in the known world, he leaves quite a mess everywhere he travels.  So, after the Punisher bested Spider-Man and Black Widow, a more powerful force needs to be called in.  All that’s left is for Thor to find his prey.

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We can be honest here, right?  The Punisher doesn’t stand a chance against Thor.  Not a freakin’ chance.  No weapon or device in his arsenal can even scratch Thor, much less take down the strongest Avenger.  Seriously: Castle could shoot with him with every bullet, rocket, grenade, mine, and whatever alien guns he’s using — it wouldn’t even make Thor bleed.  So being the smart soldier, knowing his time with Thor holds only one conclusion, he’ll have to use the thunder god for something useful instead.  After all, Thor’s better against these weapon traders than every bullet, rocket, grenade, mine, and alien gun the Punisher possesses.

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You remember that scene from Avenging Spider-Man #4 where Hawkeye explains to Spider-Man that he can never, ever miss an arrow shot, because on a team with gods, wizards,  Iron Men, super soldiers, and more, a single missed shot would only make him a normal man instead of a superhero capable of competing on the same level as his other teammates?  It’s relevant.  Punisher most likely spent weeks tracking these men down, finding their weaknesses, engaging in long firefights, watching out for flanking, etc. — and Thor takes down the whole camp in seconds with a single lightning strike. Damn right Hawkeye never misses.

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Now comes the philosophy part of our battle.  I guess the “vs.” in the title is misleading, huh?  No more punches get thrown, but we do get a very revealing moment as we all realize that of course Thor understands everything about Punisher’s mission.  Captain America understands the horrors of war, and Wolverine understands the necessity of killing, but Thor gets why he fights.  While our thunder god may not be on the same intelligence level as Tony Stark, he has a wisdom gained in his thousands of years that the others occasionally lack.

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I’ve made it my personal mission in my own life to never take advice from anyone wearing a cape, but Castle will just have to obey.  It’s not like he can run away.  And that al-Qaeda beard of his won’t let him book any escape flights anyway.  Let Thor rant about war for a while, because it’s most likely the topic he knows the most about anyway.  That or mead.

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“I fight in a war,” the Punisher states, but how amazingly poignant is Thor’s response to that line? “No, you have made a war so that you may fight.”  Just as that exact same reasoning can apply to a multitude of heroes (Batman), we know the end result.  The Punisher’s comics must continue and thus any sense Thor makes will be thrown to the wind.  And oh my goodness does it.  Two issues later and Castle fights Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, and Thor all at once. It’s an eight page battle, which is seven pages longer than Superior Spider-Man lasted when he tried to same thing.

Thor’s plea falls on deaf ears to the Punisher.  As Plato puts it, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  That’s more Punisher’s style.


Invincible vs. Conquest

You know Invincible, right?  Normally I only cover DC or Marvel (if just because that’s where the entirety of my knowledge lies), but we forget that on the fringe edges of the comic book universe, other superheroes fight baddies in their own fictional worlds as well.  Like Invincible, the teenage Superman-esque superhero created by Robert Kirkman (who you know as the writer of the Walking Dead).  It premiered in 2003, and is still going strong over 100 issues all linking to one coherent and beautiful story (both those statements also apply to the Walking Dead).  But since plot seeds get planted dozens of issues before they sprout, a cast of characters that would take many paragraphs to explain, and twists that break and repair your little heart time and time again, it’s sort of difficult to find a good Invincible story to show you all.  Luckily, my dear friend Mark Johnston pointed out something that I can touch upon — the primal emotional brutality of the fight scenes.  Let’s take a look today at one of those from Invincible #61-65, written by Kirkman and drawn by Ryan Ottley.

Luckily, the beginning of this arc gives us a thorough explanation of the past few issues.  Y’know, the arc where Angstrom Levy sent dozens of evil versions of Invincible to totally wipe out large portions of the population.  One of the joys of a world not attached to DC or Marvel is that ability to destroy it and reshape it as much as the writer wants.  This should take care of any major back story:

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There’s Invincible (real name Mark Grayson) sitting bedside next to his girlfriend Atom Eve, who received some injuries during the last battle.  Think of Invincible as a younger Superman-type half-alien superhero — definitely the strongest on his planet, but with a surprisingly more complicated family life than the Man of Steel.  His girlfriend’s a human with pink forcefield powers.  There.  No more beating around the bush, let’s get to the set up.  I really shouldn’t write these things at midnight.

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Long story, but think of the Viltrumite people as Kryptonians and this dude as an uglier General Zod flunkie.  Time for some punching, but if you haven’t done so, you should stop here and read the first twelve issues of Invincible.  It’s not as if you won’t understand today, it’s just that the first twelve issues are really, really good.

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Doesn’t this remind you a little of the Man of Steel movie finale?  In about five images, it won’t, but hasn’t enough time passed that we can admit the movie wasn’t that bad?  A great Superman story? No, not really, but as a standalone action flick?  Totally awesome.

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I’m always secretly excited when the bad guys are drawn to be physically imposing.  Conquest (the supervillain’s name) dwarfs Invincible, despite somewhat comparable abilities.  Good.  I don’t think it’s a jock-versus-nerd mentality as much as simply that bigger dudes are scarier dudes.  How frightening would Galactus be if stood only five-foot ten?  That and it would take him way longer to devour the world.  But I promised you brutality.  Blood and gore, right?  Here’s your first taste:

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Remember when Superman died fighting Doomsday?  It wasn’t as if his buddies weren’t around, it’s that Superman was the only person on the entire planet who stood a chance of defeating this behemoth.  And trust me on this, because Doomsday’s first six issues or so consist entirely of the monster tearing superheroes in half.  So when Conquest flies down to Earth, Invincible has no choice — he’s legitimately the only one with enough power to take this dude down.  There’s no Kryptonite in the Invincible universe, my friends.

Still, what sort of superhero fight would it be if our protagonist’s loved ones didn’t intervene?  Miracles can happen and whatnot, especially when the world is watching Grayson getting his face caved in.

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Time for our hero’s lady to save the day!  She’s a superhero too, gosh darn it, and deserves a piece of action just as much as the Grayson does.  If Invincible and Conquest equally match each other’s strength (maybe Conquest a tad higher), the best plan would be to throw a wrench in the fistfight with some other type of cool superpowers.  Let’s watch.  Remember, even godlike Superman sometimes needs to be saved by the human Batman (though Invincible and Atom Eve tend to make out a bit more than Superman and Batman).

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Oh.

By the way, if Superman decided not to hold back, that’s exactly how his fight against Batman would go.  You can imagine Invincible’s response to Conquest shoving his arm through his girlfriend’s body.

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Listen, Atom Eve isn’t dead.  She doesn’t die here.  But Jason, you say, isn’t that a huge spoiler that ruins almost all the suspense of the story?  Kind of.  But she lives, and I’ll tell you why it’s important you know that: if you want to go back and read the series Invincible, you’d start at the first issue.  But I’m showing you sixty three issues down the line — that means every time you see Atom Eve, her relationship with Invincible, and all the phenomenal build-up, that gnawing little thought burrowed in the back of your brain tells you that she’s going to die.  Why get too attached then?  It’s a spoiler that ruins the experience, so she totally lives.  I promise.

Unfortunately, I’m not giving you the end of the story — go buy the book for that.  Here’s a taste:

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I love this series, and I get just as excited each month about this as my Marvel/DC comics.

Have a great weekend, you deserve it.


Aquaman’s Eel problem

About four years ago, I remember watching Saturday Night Live discuss one of President Obama’s triumphant debates over the Republicans.  I forgot the context and the reason, but Seth Meyers made this joke:

Come on, Republicans … you thought you could take down Barack Obama by debating him?  You realize debates are why he’s President, right?  Seriously, all you guys do is complain how Obama is “all talk,” and then you invite him to a forum that is literally all talk. That’s like saying, “Let’s see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water.”

Y’see, each of the DC superheroes has their strengths and weaknesses — some physical, other personality — but those downsides are what make the characters so interesting.  And Aquaman?  So maybe he’s not so great to plop down in the Middle East, but may the DC gods and goddesses help whoever decides to challenge him in the ocean.  The supervillain Eel learns this lesson the hard way today in Aquaman #21-22, volume six, written by Will Pfeifer and drawn by Patrick Gleason.

So currently, Aquaman patrols the city known as Sub Diego.  It’s part of San Diego when an earthquake submerged half of it and all of a sudden its inhabitants could breathe in water and no longer breathe air on the surface.  You can read an old article I wrote on it for more details.  But much like all other great DC cities, the mobsters, criminals, and supervillains still make their home there — even if they now live underwater.  Time for Aquaman to show these baddies who they’re dealing with (spoiler alert: Aquaman).

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I’m not saying that a killer whale makes for a better sidekick than, say, Robin, but Hollywood did make four Free Willy movies.  So let’s consider Sub Diego simply a wetter Gotham City.  They even have their very own criminal mastermind, out to take control of the city’s underworld (though isn’t everything sort of considered the underworld now?).  Meet Eel (real name Mortimer Coolidge), a telekinetic so insignificant that he only appears in six issues total.  Three of those are alternative reality Flashpoint issues, so they don’t even count towards canon.  But despite his lousy future, he’s still full of delightful supervillainy ambition.

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When Aquaman has to face the new head of Sub Diego’s mafia — an experience he probably didn’t have to face often in Atlantis — who does he turn to?  Who in the DC universe has fought mobsters more times than Superman’s saved Lois?  And it’s a bunch, because she falls out of a lot of buildings. Aquaman turns to the only other humorless member of the Justice League who, unlike Aquaman, cannot ride his sidekick.

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Can we take a moment and appreciate the cool upwards angle of the Batcave in that first picture?  But let’s talk about Batman’s comment (and ignore him handing Aquaman a deus ex machina) before we continue.  I kinda do think Batman enjoys the “chase,” but that’s only because his entire self revolves around fighting bad guys.  Batman can’t exist in a world without crime, and his claim does apply to most of the Justice League as well.  Hal Jordan lives for the “chase.”  So does Wonder Woman. Green Arrow needs it.  Definitely Nightwing.  Probably not Martian Manhunter, but he has other major issues to deal with.  It’s hard to be a superhero and not enjoy the adrenaline rush that goes with it. Either way, time for Eel to realize the folly of his ways.  Water plus Aquaman equals this:

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Eel’s telekinesis only works around water, but when the local superhero bursts through walls like a fishy Kool-Aid man, what chance does Eel possible have?  On that note, our dear Aquaman makes the mistake all good superheroes do once in a while: he underestimates his opponent.  Mainly because what type of fight would this be if it’s over in a single page?

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Round two, my friends.  Despite Coolidge’s second wind, his opponent wildly outclasses him.  Since I already shamelessly plugged another one of my articles earlier, have you read the article I wrote on mismatched superhero battles?  I should tell you that my self-esteem relies entirely on my blog’s hit count.  Oh yeah, and Aquaman pounds on Eel.

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Look, all these other pages still likely hasn’t convinced you of Aquaman’s water superiority.  It’s just a normal fistfight at this point.  But y’see, Aquaman can’t lose.  Like he had the fight wrapped up from the moment Eel dropped into the water way back in Sub Diego’s origins.  We’re in Aquaman’s house, and his house is disgusting.

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I hope Batman’s taking notes.


1980s Cyclops battles, Pt. 2

We continue our ongoing series where Cyclops has to laser eye blast his fellow X-Men (and a sentinel).  Scott Summers, ever the formidable leader, realizes that sometimes being in command means kicking your team members in the face — though that probably is more effective on a superhero team than, say, an accounting office.  Still, today in two more battles Cyclops has to face all by his lonesome, he shows once again why he’s the undisputed champion of the greatest genetic mutated team of superheroes in the Marvel universe.

Well, maybe not undisputed.  Y’see, in Uncanny X-Men #201, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Rick Leonardi, Cyclops adjusts to married life outside the X-Men.  He achieved the dream — he escaped the superhero life, let those he mentored continue the legacy, and happily married the love of his life.  But you know that fine line shatters the second it’s stepped on.  Storm wants his title, and Cyclops’ll have to fight to keep it.  It’s like the UFC only with illusions, no rules, and far less humping.

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Punk Storm aside, Cyclops doesn’t stand much of a chance against Storm.  She can summon lightning, fog, blizzards, hurricanes, electromagnetic fields, cosmic storms, hail, and so much more. He’s quick on his feet, but optic blasts can’t take down the Hurricane Katrina of X-Men.  I’m serious, he’s tried before — Cyclops forms a rainstorm in his underwear.  But here’s the catch today: Storm’s de-powered.  No weather control, just face punching.  It’ll be embarrassing if the original X-Men loses to Storm’s kung fu — mohawk or not.

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Most UFC fighters don’t think about philosophy during their fights.  Probably.  Look, Cyclops has a lot going on right now, maybe too much to handle leading the team he originated on.  Or maybe like any good leader, he’s just multitasking his problems.  Optic blast here, marital problems there, Storm laser blasted here, the wife cool with his yellow underwear there.  But Storm, not having to worry about angering her significant other, takes the initiative — superheroes are always too kind to blatantly destroy huge sections of buildings to win minor battles.

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While I early went on a full paragraph about Cyclops’ leadership skills and deserved command of his team, he “retires” for five years until 1991.  He hangs out with the X-Factor team in the mean time, a spin off giving the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) a chance to shine one more after getting overshadowed by Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Rogue, etc.  But embarrassing lost to Storm or not, Cyclops retains his awesomeness in X-Factor #14, written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Walter Simonson.

You know about the sentinels, right?  Mutant-hunting killer robots that zap X-Men into dust, right? Meet Master Mold, the ultimate sentinel.  This baby’s a walking talking armory with defense capabilities far beyond those normal boring sentinels.  Think of the best Decepticon and the least angsty Gundam mushed together into one giant ass-kicking robot.  Cyclops has to solo this thing.

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Cyclops’ power gets frequently misunderstood.  Think of it as a long-range punch in the face instead of anything melty.  Concussive energy instead of heat.  But for all the intensity of his laser eyes, he’s going up against an enemy powerful enough shoot off Cyclops’ pants.  Thank goodness he wore his uniform underneath.

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Cyclops, currently under police investigation and possible arrest for blowing up a house (long story) only increases his eventual bail by elbowing a policeman.  I know it’s to save the guy’s life and whatever, but superheroes don’t “chonk” law enforcement — that’s part of the deal of being superhero. Cops’ll occasionally shoot and slander superheroes, but our good guys’ only option is to dodge the bullets and shed those tears underneath the masks.  Though to be fair to Cyclops, he does make a fair (though grim and pessimistic) point in the next few panels:

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See the lesson here?  Save the cops from a deadly giant robot and they’ll forgive your crimes. Education doesn’t end when school does, y’know.  On Friday, we venture over to DC for a few weeks. I figure we should try to even the two companies’ coverage a bit.


1980s Cyclops battles, Pt. 1

Cyclops has a tough job — we don’t give him enough credit.  The X-Men are a wildly diverse, ragtag group of superheroes forced together solely because of that mutation floating in their genetics, and Cyclops (real name Scott Summers), whose job can be best described as attempting to herd cats, must keep his people from clawing each other as much as dodging battleships Magneto occasionally throws at them.  Thankfully, Professor X chose well.  We’ll take a look at four of Summers’ leadership decisions/fist fights from the glory 1980s X-Men days starting with Uncanny X-Men #127, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne.  I know this issue came out November 1979, but that’s close enough, right?

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Get ready for some tough love.  Wolverine, a character mostly defined at this point by his irrational confidence, has finally faced that precious fear that other mutants feel when they can’t fully heal within minutes.  I know that growing back organs and hair and skin for Wolverine is supposed to be just as painful as losing them, but it’s not as if he makes much of an effort to dodge anything.  Y’know how the fastest way to a point is a straight line?  It’s like that with him, only with having to dig bullets out of his shoulder later.

But Cyclops, desperate to pull his team back together — as leadership demands — hits Wolverine’s immediate nerve: his masculinity.  Though, if you want to make Wolverine angry, it’s not as if it’s hard. Say a few mean words about Jean Grey, Canadians, his past, his height, his body hair, motorcycles, leather jackets, beer, meat, the outdoors — pretty much anything, really.  The dude has anger issues.

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Cyclops realizes the best way for his team to regain that fighting spirit is to fight with spirit is to chuck X-Men at other X-Men.  It’s not a good plan on paper, but it’ll work itself out.  Plus, I’m sure Cyclops has wanted to punch Wolverine for dozens of issues by now.  Still, all it would take for Wolverine to start flailing is to talk some smack about Nightcrawler, Weapon X, his costume, his breath, his claws, his accent, wild animals, the time he fought the Hulk, grilling, classic cars, etc.  I’m saying Wolverine’s always angry.

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See how easy they all forgive Summers for his stunt?  Wolverine admits Cyclops’ awesomeness!  In front of other people!  With complete sincerity!  Cyclops decides to attack his team as a way of saying, “Look, we lose all the time.  But see?  We still have some fight left in us, so get it together.” And then they go beat up Proteus, even Nightcrawler who took an optic blast to the chest.

In our second story from Uncanny X-Men #175, written by Claremont and drawn by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr., Cyclops gets married to Jean Grey clone Madelyne Pryor.  More importantly, the X-Men get mind-zapped into believing Cyclops is the evil Phoenix out to destroy them.  So Summers, being a man of action, makes the only correct decision — he kicks all their asses.

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We know Cyclops isn’t a powerhouse.  His optic blasts can do insane amounts of damage (see Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men), but the guy doesn’t have any super strength or agility to back it up. Luckily, our hero leads the X-Men.  That helps with strategy when having to fight the X-Men.

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Mohawk dog-collar-wearing Storm is right.  Phoenix could ignite the planet into a second sun if she had one really bad day, so losing an X-Man or two to stop the crazy woman from destroying all life would be an acceptable sacrifice.  Y’know, except that it’s not Phoenix they’re fighting.  And Cyclops pulls some serious Batman-mojo pre-planning to defeat his entire team of people whose powers all outclass his.

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While yes, Cyclops does control the shape of the Danger Room, he doesn’t control the car-crushing steel fist of Cylcops going into his skull.  So illusions can be useful in the initial attack, but if Cyclops can’t laser blast his way past five violent X-Men at once, he’ll be spending his honeymoon confined to a hospital bed.

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Want to learn some Russian?  The word “tovarisch” means comrade, as in the never before uttered sentence, “Can you scent our quarry, tovarisch?”  When did Colossus start talking like a Victorian British nobleman three whiskeys into his annual fox hunt?  Remember his earlier scream, “Murderess! Have you come to gloat over your butchery?”  Colossus must have learned all his English from Shakespeare plays.

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And success!  By the way, it’s fascinating to see how Russian-born Colossus talks compared to American-citizen Rogue.  She uses words like “ah’d’a” while Colossus’ vocabulary stems entirely from SAT booklets.

On Wednesday, Cyclops continues punching X-Men — this ol’ timey stuff is fun to read.


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