Captain America vs. Giant Man

After a week of love, romance, and all that other gross mushy stuff, let’s take a week off for punching. We’ll get back to emotions and feelings next week.  Today, we start with Ultimate Captain America battling Ultimate Hank Pym from Ultimates #8-9, volume one, written by Mark Millar and drawn by Bryan Hitch.

Y’see, since Ultimate universe isn’t part of the canon Marvel universe, they have the freedom to do whatever they please with the characters.  Like instead of a mentally ill Hank Pym backhanding his wife Janet Pym once and then spending the next thirty years attempting to redeem himself, Ultimate Hank Pym has a history of abuse and just ended the previous issue by unleashing thousands of hungry ants onto the shrunken Janet Pym.  That tends to be a bit more calculating and vicious, and the good captain would like to have a word.

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Please keep in mind this isn’t the normal flag-waving moral paragon back in our canon universe.  Sure, he’s all that here, except for this Steve Rogers coming clean off a 1940s Nazi-shooting, explosive-ridden war zone that he never really recovered from — less superhero, more soldier.  At least his personality anyway: he calls Hank Pym a meatball in two pages.

So when a former Avenger almost kills another Avenger with an army of killer insects, he’ll have to answer to Captain America.  And once again, by answer I mean get punched in the face.

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While meatball doesn’t really have much of a crippling derogatory effect, compared to Captain America’s 0% body fat and perfectly sculpted super soldier build, we’re all meatballs by contrast.

Nick Fury’s screaming at the beginning today rings true – there is an alien invasion upcoming and savagely beating a drunk Giant Man will solve nothing but potentially bruising Captain America’s fists. And he needs those for punching.

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Keep in mind this was Captain America’s goal the whole time.  He picked up a lift with SHIELD so he could jump kick a naked 60-foot man.  A man who could swat the captain across an entire football field with one well-placed slap.  Though now at least it’s a fair fight.

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If you haven’t read the first two volumes of Ultimates, you’re missing out.  Every issue plays out like a movie, and as you just saw, a weaponless Captain America scaled a two-story building to ride Giant Man’s nose into a construction site.  Vibranium shields are for wussies.  Oh, and did you see that Giant Man just chucked a bulldozer at Captain America?

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While no problem was solved or lesson was learned, Hank Pym totally deserved it.  Spouse abusers and whatnot.  For more of this delightful Captain America, allow me to self-plug an article I wrote about him here from way back in the early days of the blog.  On Wednesday: Spider-Man!


The complete story of Bill and Kelda, Pt. 4

The end of our tale has arrived.  It’s been full of passion, heartbreak, and lightning bolts.  We pick up immediately where we left off as Kelda, in an attempt at redemption or to lessen her guilt or simply out of moral integrity, visits Bill’s parents to tell them about their son’s death.  Of course they’re upset, but not as much as a squad of Norman Osborn’s trigger-happy soldiers lying in wait on the front lawn. Because while Bill’s family forgives Kelda, inspires her to move on, and patches up her gaping emotional wound, it’s Kelda herself who has to take that baby step forward to being happy once more. Though impaling bad guys with ice spears must be at least a little therapeutic.

She arrives at Asgard in the aftermath of Siege, the event that turned Asgard into a pile of magical rubble.  Oh, and how do you feel about thrilling plot twists?

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Bill died a hero’s death, even killing one of the grosser-looking Asgardian traitors as Bill breathed his final breaths.  And in the Norse mythology which Thor’s Asgard is based on, soldiers who die valiantly in battle spend eternity in Vahalla — where they war in the morning and dine in the evening.  Repeat forever.  It’s Viking Heaven.  And damn right does Bill deserve a place in these halls.

Now, our protagonists live in a world of magic and aliens and miracles — if there is any universe where Kelda can find a way to reunite with her soulmate, it’s Marvel’s.  But despite her ability to summon tornadoes with the flick of the wrist, her necromancy isn’t at the same skill level.  Or probably allowed. And as you know, when all avenues have been explored and favors called in, those desperate enough often turn to more unethical methods.  Like Kelda lighting child Loki on fire.

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Yes, that’s definitely not the Kelda we remember.  But standing next to Kelda, the chief witch or shaman queen or druid boss or whatever she’s called has offered our hero a deal: if Kelda’ll help her with one tiny harmless spell, she’ll bring Bill back to life.  Y’see, Thor died during the Marvel event Fear Itself.  Taking advantage of this opportunity, the evil magician lady used Kelda to summon forth Tartarus, a dude who took Thor’s place in the mind of all of those who knew him.  Except child Loki.

Look, I understand that for all the good Kelda represents, it’s odd to see her as an villain’s accomplice. Though the sheer number of superheroes have done some vicious things for their loftier goals is staggering.  Seriously, the Avengers and X-Men alone have been to Hell dozens of times just to pull one of their buddies free.  If they can make deals and punch demons, why can’t Kelda dabble in the dark arts for her true love?  We all know that Bill’s worth it.

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Poor Kelda’s too obsessed to notice the wizard lady’s lying.  That’s the problem with working for supervillains — they so rarely keep their promises.  Plus, as most supervillains partnerships end, we can only look forward to blood and tragedy.  Our goddess has done so much and sacrificed even more for a mere chance of a reunion, but we as readers know the only way this can play out — and it’s so frustrating to watch.

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I wish I had better news, but even goddesses can’t survive their faces getting ripped open.  It’s a wildly (and maybe unnecessarily) violent death for Kelda, but we must remember that she died pursuing truth.  And justice if she hadn’t gotten knifed.  Tricked or not, Kelda died fearlessly facing down vile and horrific opponents, and well, there’s a funny thing about a death like that.

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While big-time superheroes can never sail off into the sunset to their expected bliss (it’d hurt profits), minor characters don’t have those same shackles.  Our two lovers are free to experience an ending that they deserve.  That we deserve.  So as our love story concludes today, I have never been more excited to announce that we finish the only way I would ever accept — brilliantly, romantically, and eternally happy.

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See you on Monday!  I hope you have the best weekend!


The complete story of Bill and Kelda, Pt. 3

We don’t need a lengthy introduction, right?  Bill died at the hand of Asgardian traitors and Kelda’s out for revenge on those that killed him.  Like Loki and Doctor Doom.  But y’see, while Loki’s the god of trickery and mischief, the evil doctor doesn’t bother with smokescreens and wild goose chases.  You want him?  He’s in that giant castle with his likeness plastered on it.  Go get him.

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Kelda is no pushover.  She has all that Asgardian super strength and durability as well as that whole summoning lightning and ice from the heavens thing.  But let’s be fair: Doctor Doom’s normal battles are when he fights the entire Fantastic Four at once.  To be the arch-nemesis of an entire team of superheroes takes some tremendous skill.

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Doom’s not exactly a shoulder to cry on.  Remember that one story where he sacrificed his childhood lover just for a fraction more of magical power?  Dude isn’t terribly sentimental, but this conversation does bring up an interesting point — Doctor Doom knew who Bill was.  Someone told the ruler of Latveria and quite possibly the Marvel universe’s busiest supervillain about a sword-wielding human in a backwards baseball cap running around the Latverian forest.  In a way, to have a baddie of Doom’s fame speak of Bill brings about a weird sort of honor in itself.

But honestly?  Blast the crap out of Doctor Doom — that’s not the eulogy Bill deserves.

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See the gorgeous symbolism?  A Doombot rips her beating heart out, just like Bill’s death did emotionally.  Oh, and if you’re unsure, Asgardians totally need their hearts to live.  Look, despite her being ambushed/sudden organ removal, we knew that Kelda could never take down Doctor Doom. The man has complete mastery of both technology and magic, hundreds of robots who can do the same thing, and his monologues only occur after he’s disabled his opponent.  Also, did you know Doctor Doom doesn’t wear pants?  I never thought about that until right now.

Luckily, Kelda’s death wouldn’t serve the purpose Doctor Doom hopes it would.  He’d much prefer to use her to mock and belittle Thor and friends instead of simply stuffing her body in a demon dimensional portal or something and forgetting about her.

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So you know who doesn’t take teasing very well?  A superhero who has absolutely zero fear of anything Doctor Doom could ever do or say?  Someone who’s major decision process hinges on how tough it’d be to clean blood off his hammer?

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Kelda survives.  Loki saves her life actually.  He mainly does it to further his evil plot which I’m not going to cover, but she does survive because of Loki’s interference.  Though what kind of life could she enjoy now?  She has lived for thousands of years and will live for thousands more, yet that brave bumpkin from Oklahoma brought forth a passion and devotion inside her that she may have never felt previously (y’know, because it would take that level of commitment to attempt a zapping of Marvel universe’s most powerful supervillain).

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Recall the first part of our story: Bill essentially abandoned his friends and family to pursue a new life with Kelda in Latverian Asgard.  Which means no one back in Broxton, Oklahoma knows about his death.  Because Asgardians don’t have an official means of alerting loved ones of a death in battle – they light the corpse on fire in a boat — our mourning goddess has to fulfill the responsibility herself. Now’s a good time to get your tissues ready.

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There’s no worse conversation when two parties disagree despite only the truth spoken from both. But unfortunately, Kelda falls victim to one of the many unspoken superheroes laws — anything done that’s honest and kindhearted will be interrupted by combat.  Every time.  Every situation.

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Norman Osborn, complete with his evil Avengers and the full force of the American government, launches an attack on Asgard at this exact moment.  And I don’t care what anyone says, I adored Siege.  But as we reminisce on how compassionate and loving Bill was — the same reasons Kelda fell in love with him (much like how the horizon loves the sunrise) — those admirable traits of his were totally inherited.  The Cobbs won’t let anyone be gunned down on their front lawn, even the woman indirectly responsible for their son’s death.

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Her strength and will has finally settled on the correct direction.  We wrap up today with not a complete redemption from Kelda, but definitely the glimmer of one. Tomorrow our tale ends and you can finally rest easy as the final fates of Bill and Kelda engulf your sweet dreams of hope and romance. Because trust me — even after four days, three thousand words, and seventy eight images — our finale’ll be worth every single moment.


The complete story of Bill and Kelda, Pt. 2

Let’s not delay this love story, shall we?  As we left off, Bill Cobb Jr. (human diner chef) joined his love Kelda Stormrider (Asgardian ice goddess) aboard the teleporting Asgard. Y’see Loki, in all his primal trickery, manipulated current Asgardian king Balder to exile Thor and bring all the gods and goddesses to Latveria.  If you ever forget, Latveria is the tiny European country ruled by Doctor Doom’s iron fist.  Also, a fine place for hopes and dreams and freedoms to die a brutal death.  But can you argue the power of love?  It makes men do strange things, like sending Bill into the midst of angry Asgardian politics when his only real brush with danger before this is getting too close to the grill. Still, you see what Kelda looks like — that’s a level of beauty only possible on a fictional scale.

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We forget that despite Bill’s whole mortality and public school education, he does have a unique advantage his Asgardian roommates do not — perspective.  This man has lived on Earth his whole life. He’s seen all the footage and Internet websites and Mr. Fantastic wrapping around his arch-nemesis like a rack of spinning shawarma.  Doctor Doom’s only language consists of open threats, veiled threats, and backstabbing.  But all these Asgardians?  They don’t meddle in the affairs of the silly Midgard mortals, and Bill may be the only one in the entire city that realizes the approaching danger.

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Yes, I imagine you can probably see where this is going.  Bill’s a unbreakable pillar of moral integrity and bravery, but he’s also a young kid in a backwards baseball cap with zero kung fu experience.

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Idioms tend not to have the same effect on foreigners.  And while Bill alone stands absolutely no chance of winning a fight against three giant, muscular, eye patch-wearing warriors, he doesn’t fight this battle alone.  Because sure, he can’t win, but his girlfriend can.

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Are you sad that there’s less flirty banter than the first part?  Don’t you worry, because a near-death experience prompts Bill and Kelda to lie in sensual anticipation with the three most romantic symbols of Asgardian culture: a bed, fine clothing, and heavy weaponry.

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Kelda’s genuinely funny, a quality you don’t see from too many Asgardians.  I mean it.  Go back and read her jokes — they’re delightful.  And yes, I bet that Bill’s mission could wait until morning, but that’s not how heroes work.  Because despite not being super, Bill still possesses that trait all superheroes have that won’t let them do anything enjoyable or fun until only after every major gnawing feeling has been removed or dealt with.  And sadly for Kelda, love has trouble rising from any pond drenched in the rotting aura of Doctor Doom.  I’m saying that evil dude’s up to something.

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With all the gods’ beauty and adventures and mead, it turns out that being thousands of years old can create some emotional disconnections.  Of course, Bill has that passion and fiery spirit Kelda has been searching millenniums for — he’s one of our two protagonists, after all.

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And this is where everything goes really, really bad.  To simplify Doctor Doom and Loki’s plot, they capture and dissect Asgardians to use their organs as parts for god-weapons, immortality, and other mad scientist stuff.  But the truth won’t come crashing down that easy.  First, Bill has to fight.

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Remember yesterday how I mentioned that not all Asgardians get cool lightning or ice powers? Poor Balder does inherit some minor superpowers, but this fight’ll have to rely on his sword and skill alone. Your sadness welling up deep in your heart aside, Bill’s sacrifice is not in vain — it’s time for the supervillains to be revealed.

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As despairing as this is, it’s totally a risk Bill knew he’d have to face.  He’s fighting gods while he’s wearing jeans, for goodness’ sake.  And truthfully, Bill’s the perfect type of character we read comics for — the underdog unrelentingly pursuing justice against odds far beyond his own capability.  At least his death will inspire others in a far more visceral manner than his life ever did.  And of course, break Kelda’s heart.

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Bill and Kelda’s love story is far from over — I have over thirty images left to show — but Bill’s demise does bring about two important life-altering realizations: Balder’s realization that Doctor Doom and Loki plan the destruction of the entire Asgardian people and, most importantly, no one murders Kelda Stormrider’s lover without feeling the full unimaginable force of an actual weather goddess.

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Tomorrow, my friends.  I can’t wait.


The complete story of Bill and Kelda, Pt. 1

Superheroes stories are essentially dramas with lots of punching and primary colors. We can argue all day about morality, role in society, or literary value, but what’s the point in denying we love comics the same way middle-aged women love Keeping Up With the Kardashians?  And yes, our entertainment form has subjectively far more quality, but everyone craves stories.  We choose to get ours through superheroes — let’s embrace our common traits judgement free.  So today, in my largest collection of pages I’ve ever gathered on this site (78 pictures laid out over four articles), I hope to present to you a love story guaranteed to make your heart soar and soak your face with tears.  Most likely.

Please make these comics part of your collection: we’ll be using Thor #2-12Giant-Size Finale, and 600-613, volume three, written by J. Michael Straczynski & Kieron Gillen and drawn by Olivier Coipel, Marko Djurdjevic, Billy Tan, Richard Elson, & Dougie Braithwaite.  Also, The Mighty Thor #8-12, written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Pasqual Ferry, Pepe Larraz, & Giuseppe Camuncoli.

Now forgive me, because enormous amounts of back story’ll be needed before we begin.  I’ll be fast. Okay, so originally when Thor premiered back in the 1960s, he shared a body with normal dude Doctor Donald Blake.  When Blake tapped his walking stick, he turned into the thunder god.  As comics have evolved, Blake was no longer needed and disappeared in 1968, but he’s back now — still sharing that same ol’ Thor body.  The reason provided?  Y’know, Ragnarok — the Norse Armageddon and the death of everybody Asgardian.

Luckily, Thor/Blake returns to life and decides to bring Asgard to Earth (Midgard).  So they do, right next to a rural town called Broxton in Oklahoma.  In quite possibly the greatest Thor stories ever told, Straczynski (and later Gillen) revives all the gods, presents a new status quo for Thor and friends, famously allows Thor to have some “words” with Iron Man, resurrects a wonderfully conniving Loki, and so much more.  Oh, and most importantly, we meet some new characters, like local diner cook Bill Cobb Jr.

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There’s a beautiful dynamic in Straczynski’s new Asgardian home — the small town folks who have probably never ventured far from their hometown now work and live alongside actual living, breathing gods.  So when Bill wanders around at night, the people (immortal gods) he’ll meet could be anyone’s guess.  Thankfully, he meets this one:

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Right?  I’m glad Doctor Thor is back (for a few years at least).  If you don’t mind, I should explain how Asgardian gods work in the Marvel universe.  Like Thor, they all receive enhanced strength, durability, and super long lives due to those golden apples of Idunn.  But their longevity only applies to natural causes, as a sword or fireball or alcoholic stupor can cut their lives dramatically shorter.  Most Asgardians only have those abilities above — like Thor’s buddies Volstagg, Fandrall, Hogun, and lover Sif.  They can fight like maniacs, but no ice beams or snow storms blasting from their hands.  Though Kelda can.  Think of her like an Aryan Asgardian Storm.

Despite Bill’s probably sub-par education, he isn’t a fool.  When a god sort of flirts by providing an invitation to explore the magical city of Asgard, Bill won’t dare refuse.

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As Kelda mentioned during their late night chat, this is for many Asgardians the first time they’ve had to chance to chat with a human.  Fish out of water humor and whatnot.

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Don’t be afraid to root for Bill.  Despite the trademark backwards baseball cap, this man’s a proper southern gentleman.  The dude’s fearless around nine-foot shirtless gods and equally romantic around his gorgeous Asgardian crush.  But yet Bill fails to make a move.  If an eternally youthful, prettier Iceman falls for him, why should he hesitate?  Intimidation, I’m sure, but at least for Kelda’s sake I imagine it’s just nice to have a man treat her with a compassion the nine-foot shirtless gods rarely do. Though honestly, I think Bill just chickened out:

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Y’see, while romance emanates in the Oklahoma air, the Asgardian politics protruding throughout the main story are far less sexy.   Loki, now a female, has been putting his gorgeously manicured fingernails into all sorts of manipulated stews.  Since Odin’s not around (sorry, I probably should have told you earlier), Thor rules the best he can.  Loki has different ideas, and successfully places Baldur on the Asgardian throne, exiling Thor, and moving the entire city of Asgard to Latveria.  Y’know, Doctor Doom’s pad.

So, the blossoming star-crossed love between Bill and Kelda remains star-crossed once more.

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We all know it doesn’t end here.  While Bill in real life would chalk up his loss to fate and eventually marry some pretty local girl, we’re reading a comic book story.  Wonderful, majestic, and exciting things happen in comic books that would never occur in our own world.  I mean, the whole dating a goddess thing for one, but this tale has just begun for our two lovers.

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Next time, Kelda fights Doctor Doom.  How’s that for a teaser?


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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Thing loves Invisible Woman

Well, in the Ultimate universe.  For those not up to date, the early 2000s brought us an entire different Marvel universe, where all the heroes de-aged back to when their voices still cracked.  It went well for a good decade or so until Ultimatum event came around.  Because the Ultimate universe isn’t technically canon, the writers have free rein to destroy and mutilate their world and characters as they see fit.  And oh my goodness, did they.  If your name wasn’t attached to a series title, you were almost certain to perish during the event — and even that didn’t save the majority of X-Men.

But rising from the remains of Ultimatum allowed for ideas that could have never gone to fruition before. Like our two characters in the title.  And a new supervillain that terrorizes the entire Ultimate universe for years and years: Mr. Fantastic.  But I’m jumping ahead of myself to build suspense.  Today, using the following comics, we’ll be analyzing how Ben Grimm and Sue Storm fell in love.  And explosions and punches and angry outbursts:
Ultimate Fantastic Four Requiem, written by Joe Pokaski and drawn by Robert Atkins
Ultimate Enemy #1-4, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Rafa Sandoval
Ultimate Mystery #1-4, written by Bendis and drawn by Sandoval
Ultimate Doom #1-4, written by Bendis and drawn by Sandoval

Think of Enemy, Mystery, and Doom each as an act in a much larger story.  Also, Bendis is a genius, I love his comics unconditionally, and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.  We start at the funeral of Sue and Johnny Storm’s father — one of the unfortunate Ultimatum victims.

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Let’s backtrack a bit.  Just like all that delightful canon stuff, Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman get together over the course of Ultimate Fantastic Four and form a meaningful and lasting relationship. But just no children, because they’re eighteen years old.  During Ultimatum, Sue overexerted her powers attempting to hold back the New York City flood.  And then she almost died.  Unfortunately, Mr. Fantastic abandoned her to go beat up Namor and that whole “save the world” thing, leaving the Thing and the Human Torch to save dear Sue’s life.  They totally do and Reed totally saves the world, but their relationship couldn’t survive Reed being a jerk.

Anyway, a new day rises and it’s time for Sue to get a job.  Ultimate Sue is a super genius on par with Mr. Fantastic – a character change I can definitely get behind.

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See where Ben’s leading here?  Newly single Sue and and a lovesick orange rock monster alone in a factory/laboratory with nothing between them but years of traversing dimensions and solving fancy science problems.

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So everything instantly becomes terrible and awful on a catastrophic scale.  And I mean instantly — I cut off the bottom two panels of the page above that show Sue being eaten by a giant sludge thing. Sadly, superheroics demand that evil be conquered before declarations of love get answered.  And trust me, a lot of superheroics are needed:

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Halfway through, something amazing happens.  You know the brief mentions of Thing’s rocks falling off?  If we think of those as a coat instead of armor, the Thing receives the best gift of the entire series when his rocky wardrobe’s removed: a superpower without the depression of being a mountain monster

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Right?  How great is that?  Plus super strength looks way cooler with a purple aura to it. Regrettably, love once more has to take a backseat to punching and world saving.  Great power, great responsibility, etc.

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That’s Ultimate Nick Fury disguised as normal Nick Fury.  Now, in order to have a successful relationship, there can’t be old boyfriend drama still lingering.  More importantly, what better way to appreciate sexy purple Thing than with a reminder of how bad her previous choice was?

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All those explosions, bad guys, and skyscraper-sized goo attacks?  Meet the new Reed Richards, far eviler than the old Reed Richards.

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A force bubble in the brain immediately kills her opponent.  Just one flick of the wrist.  Let’s all take a moment and be glad she fights for good and righteousness.  Though with Mr. Fantastic’s stretchy organs, the instant aneurysm doesn’t have the same effect.  Anyway, to initiate readers to the new big baddie of the Ultimate universe, the whole series leads up this climax.  And the Human Torch discovers a secret.

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While Reed Richards can certainly take down the toughest of the superheroes, even he can’t take down all of them.  With the former Mr. Fantastic defeated (momentarily), it’s time to get back to the juicy stuff — after all, it’s been twelve issues since Ben’s love declaration.  It’s time for Sue’s response.

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There’ll never be a better ending than a happy ending.


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