Sunday, 25 June 2017

Super Sunday Special: Marvel's Best Battle Cries

Battle cries are a cornerstone of superhero comics. Today let's have a look at seven of the best cries Marvel heroes have uttered over the decades.


The famous rallying cry used by Earth's Mightiest Heroes is also one of the best-known exclamations of the entire Marvel Universe, and has even been used by Superman and the Justice League during the Avengers/JLA crossover. It was first shouted by Thor in Avengers #10 and used regularly ever since, more often than not when the team was already assembled and ready for action. It's so popular in the Marvel Universe that even the press has occasionally asked the team to shout it at conferences. Little known fact: before settling on "Avengers Assemble!", Stan had Iron Man cry "Avengers Attack!" in #12 and Captain America use "Avengers Away!" in #11, suggesting he was testing things out. Like the names of several Marvel characters, all three cries are alliterative.


Namor's famous battle cry is the most regal-sounding of this list. Imperius Rex is Latin for "Imperial King", which doesn't really mean anything but points out Namor's royal and cultured background. Namor was created back in the Golden Age of comics, but the battle cry is a later addition, first seen in Tales to Astonish #70, which for a while became Namor's book shared with other characters. As it can be expected, the cry is an idea of Stan Lee, who liked the way it sounded.


Probably even more famous than Avengers Assemble! until the Avengers were popularized by movies and cartoons, "it's clobberin' time!" is the battle cry of the Thing and highlights his gruff and colloquial tone. Like many other sentences in this list, it was created by Stan Lee and first used in Fantastic Four #22 against the Moloids of the Mole Man. Considering the FF were a bi-monthly title to begin with, over two years went by before the famous cry was created, but this isn't too surprising as the Thing was a character that evolved and changed a lot in the early issues of the title. Due to the colloquial nature of "clobberin'", in Italy the cry has always been rendered into "รจ tempo di distruzione!" ("it's destruction time!").


The famous cry of the Incredible Hulk originated in Tales to Astonish #88 by (you guessed it) Stan Lee and Gil Kane. Most readers think the Hulk was a dumb brute from the start, but actually in his first several appearances his intellect wasn't too bad. It was only some time later that he started using a more simplified speech pattern.


Thor uses a lot of battle cries, more than any other Marvel character, including "For the Realm Eternal!", "For the All-Father!", "For Odin!", and "For Honor and Glory!". His most famous one, "For Asgard!" was first used in the Tales of Asgard backup feature of Journey Into Mystery #110. In more recent times, Thor's attachment to Earth has resulted in him also using the battle cry "For Midgard!". The choice would usually depend on the situation, with Thor favouring the former against the enemies of the Golden Realm and the latter against mortal foes. However, he could also shout "For Midgard!" in Asgard against certain large-scale threats to show where his true loyalties lie, as seen for example during the Simonson run.


Doctor Strange is another character with more than a few battle cries, usually coinciding with the deities he invokes for his spells. This one more or less means "In the name of the ancient Hoggoth", the latter possibly being the oldest magical being in existence. The sentence dates back to the Lee-Ditko years and was first used in Strange Tales #120, but the deity was first mentioned in Strange Tales #116. 


The last entry is also the oldest. The Human Torch's famous battle cry predates all the others, first appearing in Fantastic Four #4 by Lee and Kirby. Funny enough, in #3 an angry Thing orders Johnny to flame off, perhaps suggesting Stan already had the sentence in mind.

And this is it, mostly because researching when each cry was first used takes forever. A few honorable mentions - not included because they aren't really battle cries - are "Oh My Stars and Garters!" (the Beast), "Nothing can stop the Juggernaut!" (Juggernaut) and "To me, my X-Men!" (professor Xavier). 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Ant-Man: "The Man in the Ant Hill!"

Tales to Astonish #27 (1962)
By Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

Background: Horror and gruesome sci-fi tales had been very popular in the '40s, until the publication of the book Seduction of the Innocent by psychologist Fredric Wertham in 1954 resulted in a public outcry and later on in the creation of the Comics Code Authority. The now self-regulating publishers were forbidden to depict violence and gore in crime and horror comics, as well as sex or sexual innuendos. Sci-fi and horror stories survived but only in very toned-down form. This is one of those stories.

So, What Happens? Ridiculed scientist Henry Pym has created a serum that can shrink objects to miniature size or restore them to normal. He dreams of using it for the good of mankind, but first needs to try it on a living subject and decides to test it on himself. It works so quickly that the antidote is now out of reach, so he panics and runs out in the garden, where a colony of ants take notice and attack. He tries to hide inside the ant hill, where he almost drowns in the ants' stores of honey. Saved by a different ant, he finds a matchstick and lights it up, keeping most of the colony away. After fighting off another ant with a judo move, Pym finally exits the ant hill and sees the antidote on the window ledge. The ant that had saved him earlier helps him again, this time carrying him up to the ledge so that he can access the serum and go back to full size. Realizing the danger, Pym destroys all the chemicals.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Many Shields of Captain America

Taking a short break from the reviews to introduce a few different sections of the blog, today let's have a good look at the many shields Captain America has used over the years. 


The Sentinel of Liberty was introduced a lot earlier than most other Marvel superheroes, in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941). In fact, it was so early that Marvel wasn't Marvel yet, and was going by the name Timely Comics. The Pearl Harbor attack hadn't happened yet, but War World II was raging in Europe with many American volunteers fighting on England's side, and Timely started introducing a few superheroes for propaganda stories. Cap was created by Joe Simon and a young Jack Kirby, and had a shield from day one. Only, his original shield was triangular in shape, and only used as a defence weapon. It was bulletproof and made of steel or titanium steel (depending on the sources) but couldn't really be effectively thrown. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Super Sunday Special: The Big Three - History Of a Friendship

The following essay was originally written by me for Assembled! 2, a book by Van Allen Plexico and the rest of the AA Boards published in 2009. I was moderator of the boards back then, and we were all offered the chance to contribute to this and the unfortunately unpublished Assembled! 3. I decided to chronicle the 45+ years of friendship between Cap, Thor and Iron Man, from the early days until the original Civil War. For various reasons, it took a while for the book to be printed, by which time it wasn't completely up to date anymore and some changes were necessary, but the following is the essay as it was originally written. Incidentally, two more contributors - Doug and Karen - have gone on to create the Bronze Age Babies blog. I recommend you check it out
When I awoke, decades later, the first thing I heard was a deep, jovial howl. Thor’s laughter. And then another voice. Educated. Proper. But hollow – as if it was spoken through a metal pipe… They were the future. The Avengers.” (Captain America @ Avengers V3 #63).
Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, often referred to by readers as “The Big Three”. The history of the group owes a lot to them: they are founders – retroactively in Captain America’s case – have been team leaders and served some of the longest stints of membership, and when you see them interacting with each other, using their real names, asking or giving advice, or discussing private matters that they hide from everybody else, you can almost feel how close they are.
But it was not always this way: like every real relationship, the friendship between Captain America, Thor and Iron-Man has evolved through the years, starting as simple respect between “colleagues” and going through good and bad times, moments of confidence and of betrayal, of support and of hostility. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss how this evolution occurred throughout the 500+ Avengers issues, and to try to understand what makes the Big Three essentially like each other, and where their disagreements stem from.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Avengers: "The Price Of Victory"

Avengers #277 (1987)
By Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer

Background: The Masters of Evil have invaded Avengers Mansion, badly beating Hercules and Jarvis. Led by the Wasp and helped by Thor and Doctor Druid, the Avengers are counter-attacking.

So, What Happens? The final battle between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil rages on. Thor faces Goliath in a fight so fierce it completely compromises the structural integrity of the mansion, while a shieldless Captain America squares off against a revived Wrecker, who now has the strength of the entire Wrecking Crew. Meanwhile on the roof Zemo orders Blackout to send the entire building in the Darkforce dimension, but Druid's telepathy gives Blackout enough self-control to resist the Baron's mental commanding, until the effort causes a cerebral haemorrhage that kills him instantly. Inside, with some help from Wasp, Cap holds the Wrecker at bay long enough for Thor to finally defeat Goliath, whose giant body topples on top of the Wrecker, putting him out of commission. Moreover, the damage to the building is enough to make Zemo's ship collapse alongside the rest of the third floor, with Yellowjacket inside. The girl survives, but faced by Captain America and the US Army prefers to surrender. On the roof, Druid recovers and Captain Marvel also arrives, easily destroying Zemo's guns. The Baron is alone and only has Captain America's shield for defence, but Cap shows up and asks to fight him alone, in revenge for everything he's done. The duel isn't just physical, as Cap confutes Zemo's claims about the Baron's father and remembers everything the Zemos have done to him, killing Bucky and injuring Hercules and Jarvis. Eventually, in his blind rage Zemo jumps at Cap, only to hit his shield and fall off the roof, refusing any help. Some time later, the defeated Masters are taken away by the army and the medics. Inside what's left of the mansion, Captain Marvel finds Captain America crying over the destroyed contents of his footlocker, including the torn photo of his long dead mother, the only memento Steve had of her. Now that the battle is won, he suffers the loss of his memories and of the mansion itself, which for a long time had been his home. Sharing his pain, Monica encourages him to salvage the past and build towards the future.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Avengers: "Revenge"

Avengers #276 (1987)
By Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer

Background: The Masters of Evil assembled by Baron Zemo have taken over Avengers Mansion, brutally beating Hercules, imprisoning Captain Marvel and capturing Captain America, the Black Knight and Jarvis. With the help of the new Ant-Man, the Wasp is ready for a counter-attack.

So, What Happens? The Wasp's call for help is answered by Thor, who is once again ready to join the Avengers, and heard by their erstwhile ally Doctor Druid, who owes a lot to the team and decides to go and help. Elsewhere, a furious Captain Marvel finally exits the Darkforce dimension thanks to the unwitting help of the Shroud, whose powers tap the same energy creating a door out. Monica immediately flies to Janet, who's ready to launch an assault and take the Mansion back. Inside, Hyde is still beating poor Jarvis up, but the heroes cause a blackout that allows the Black Knight to finally summon the Ebony Sword. He immediately frees Cap, and together the two start pummelling Hyde, who's then finished by the Wasp and Thor once Captain Marvel digs an entrance tunnel underneath the building and the Darkforce casing. Outside, Druid mentally commands Blackout to lower the barrier and enters the building, while inside Yellowjacket warns Zemo that Thor and Captain Marvel have arrived, convincing him to order a hasty retreat without warning all of his allies. Unprepared, the Masters start falling, as Ant-Man takes down the Fixer while Thor - who's leading the attack together with Captain America - uses Mjolnir to draw the Wrecking Crew's power back through the Wrecker. However, they haven't reckoned with Goliath, who grabs Thor from behind. On the roof, Moonstone panics at the sight of Captain Marvel and tries to fly away, but in her confusion she hits a cliff head on and breaks her neck. Monica tries to help, learning that Blackout is not under her control but Zemo's. Meanwhile, the Baron - who now carries Cap's shield - has reached the roof of the Mansion and shot Doctor Druid from behind. Alone with Blackout, he orders him to send the entire mansion in the Darkforce dimension.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Avengers: "Even A God Can Die!"

Avengers #275 (1987)
By Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer

Background: The Masters of Evil (Baron Zemo, Moonstone, Blackout, the Wrecking Crew, Tiger Shark, Yellowjacket, the Fixer, Mister Hyde, Absorbing Man, Titania) have conquered Avengers Mansion, capturing Jarvis, the Black Knight and Captain America. With Namor away for personal reasons, Captain Marvel imprisoned in the dark dimension and Hercules seemingly killed, the Wasp is the last Avenger standing.

So, What Happens? The Masters of Evil keep ransacking Avengers Mansion, but all Zemo is interested in is breaking Captain America's spirit. Seeing that his enemy is still confident that the Wasp will turn things around, Zemo orders the Absorbing Man and Titania to go to the hospital where she's keeping vigil on Hercules to finish her off. Meanwhile, a distraught Jan receives the visit of Scott Lang, who has succeeded Hank Pym as Ant-Man, and tearfully confesses to him that she feels responsible for what has happened. For a moment it looks like Hercules has died because from his injuries, but later the doctors find a weak pulse. Suddenly the Absorbing Man and Titania attack the hospital, a seemingly unstoppable force for Wasp and Ant-Man, but a determined Janet fights like never before, making the most of any advantage, situation and enemy weakness, so incredibly eventually the heroes triumph. Meanwhile, Zemo destroys some old photos and properties of Cap, but when that's not enough to break him, he orders Hyde to kill the prisoners starting from Jarvis, who suffers a brutal beating at the hands of Mister Hyde. What Zemo doesn't know is that the Wasp is ready for a counter-attack, and that Captain Marvel is still alive in the darkforce dimension. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Avengers: "Divided... We Fall!"

Avengers #274 (1986)
By Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer

Background: The current Avengers' roster is Captain America, Wasp, Black Knight, Captain Marvel and Hercules. Namor has recently taken a leave of absence. Wishing to get revenge on Captain America by killing those closest to him, Baron Zemo has assembled a the new Masters of Evil, who have broken in Avengers Mansion and captured Jarvis. The Masters are: Zemo, Moonstone, Goliath, the Wrecking Crew, Tiger Shark, Mister Hyde, Blackout, the Fixer and the new Yellowjacket

So, What Happens? Upset because of his unrequieted love for the Wasp, the Black Knight returns to Avengers Mansion and is attacked by the Masters of Evil, quickly falling in battle against Mister Hyde. Zemo then lures Captain Marvel at the Mansion with a fake summoning, and before Monica can realize it's a trap and escape, Blackout imprisons her in his Dark Force and makes her disappear. The Baron makes sure everything is going according to plan, keeping the Masters in line and using special circuitry hidden in his headband to control Blackout, but unbeknown to him Captain America is visiting the Wasp's New Jersey estate, to report about a recent battle against the Trapster and Whilwind. Steve had already contacted the Mansion and spoken to someone who sounded like the Wasp, but her apparent lack of interest had made him suspicious so he visited her in person. The two heroes realize something is amiss at the Mansion, so a short time later Janet enters the Avengers HQ at wasp size, seeing the Masters trash the place before finding Jarvis, who explains the situation and warns her that a trap has been prepared for Hercules. Minutes later, a heavily drunk and drugged Hercules returns to the Mansion. Steve and Janet manage to stop him from entering and inform him of what's going on, but Herc, who was already unhappy with the Wasp's leadership, is too drunk to listen or wait for any reserve Avenger to arrive and attacks head on, forcing the other two heroes to follow suit. Cap and Janet are quickly captured by the Mansion's own security system, reprogrammed by the Fixer, and the Wasp is the only one who manages to escape before the estate is encased by Blackout's Dark Force. Meanwhile, Hercules defeats Tiger Shark and holds his own against Mister Hyde and the Wrecking Crew, but Goliath turns the tables and the combined villains completely thrash the hero, who's too drunk to fight back. Whilst Zemo enjoys goading and beating a tied up Captain America, Herc's lifeless body is thrown out of the Mansion. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Avengers: "Rites Of Conquest!"

Avengers #273 (1986)
By Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer

Background: The current roster of the Avengers is Wasp (team leader), Captain America, Black Knight, Hercules, Captain Marvel. Namor has recently left for personal reasons.

So, What Happens? At a bar, Hercules is having a good time showing off and chatting, but he doesn't know that his drinking buddy is the Wrecker, who takes advantage of Herc's short temper to learn of Namor's absence and play up the hero's dislike for the Wasp's leadership. After nearly causing an accident, Hercules goes back to drinking, while the Wrecker reports to his boss Baron Zemo, who has assembled an army of villains and is getting ready to strike the Avengers. However, keeping his underlings in line isn't easy for the Baron, with the Wrecker and others complaining for the lack of action while Moonstone, confident of the crucial importance of her role, starts threatening to wrestle the leadership of the group from him. Moonstone's role is to control Blackout, a near catatonic man capable of tapping into an extradimensional dark force, perfect for neutralizing Captain Marvel whom Zemo considers the most dangerous Avenger. A quick demonstration shows that Blackout can indeed do the trick, but also that he's under Moonstone's complete control, and therefore a further potential threat to Zemo. In order to make Moonstone think twice about betraying him. Zemo arranges a little brawl between Piledriver and Mister Hyde, only to calm the latter down with a powerful sedative and make it look like he's completely obedient to him. Unaware of the sedative, Moonstone is impressed and wonders if the Baron has some secret power. Meanwhile, the Black Knight accompanies the Wasp to an evening gala, but the presence of the Paladin ruins his evening as he's jelous of his flirting with Janet. Thanks to the Fixer, Zemo watches everything through the local cameras and notices the Knight's reaction, planning to use it to his own advantage. Ready for his plan to start, Zemo summons his Master of Evil: Moonstone, Mister Hide, the Wrecking Crew, Blackout, Tiger Shark, the Absorbing Man, Titania, Yellowjacket, Goliath and the Fixer. With a powerful speech, the Baron rallies them against the Avengers, promising to defeat and humiliate them. He also proves his leadership to Moonstone, taking control of Blackout away from her thanks to the circuitry inside his new headband modified by the Fixer. When all the Masters accept to follow him, Zemo orders them to attack Avengers Mansion overnight, quickly battling past the building's defences and capturing Jarvis, who is covering for Hercules on monitor duty, like Zemo had planned. With the local traffic diverted and no witnesses around, within minutes the Masters take control of the Mansion and get ready for phase two of their plan.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Super Sunday Special: The Costumes Of The Black Widow

(because listing all the costumes of the Wasp would have taken forever)

Nowadays, Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova owes a lot of her popularity to her portrayal by Scarlett Johansson in the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, she's actually one of Marvel's oldest characters, dating all the way back to the Silver Age and debuting in Tales of Suspense #52 (1964).

Originally, the Black Widow was a Soviet spy with very little combat training. More of a femme fatale than a fighter, she would rely on her beauty to steal state secrets or manipulate others into doing so. For this reason, her original outfits were regular dresses, albeit glamorous and elegant, complete with jewellery and accessories. She was also a smoker, occasionally seen with a cigarette holder, and her hair was black instead of red.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Spider-Man and Superman: "The Heroes And The Holocaust!"

Marvel Treasury Edition #28 (1981)
By Jim Shooter, John Buscema, Joe Sinnott

So, What Happens? In New York, Spider-Man stops a robbery near a construction site. His spider-sense warns him of something else going on in the area, but the arrival of the police forces him to leave, unaware that Doctor Doom is observing the scene because the site is a cover for one of his schemes, a plan he has spent years, money and resources to prepare and that now is close to fruition thanks to the unwilling help of the Hulk, who has been guided towards a certain area in Metropolis. The following morning, Peter too goes to Metropolis to look for the Hulk, after Jameson refuses to buy his latest Spider-Man photos. Meanwhile, in Metropolis the population is aware that the Hulk is getting near leaving behind a trail of destruction. Seeing him getting closer, Clark Kent creates a distraction at work to run away and face him as Superman, unaware that something is causing the Hulk's growing rage. The short fight is witnessed by Spider-Man, who takes photos from the top of a nearby building, and for a moment it looks like the Hulk is the victor as he punches Superman miles away before smashing the ground around his own feet. Before Spider-Man can jump in, Superman returns and this time holds his ground whilst using his microscopic vision to notice a miniature drone buzzing around the Hulk and emitting an ultrasound noise to drive him mad. Superman grabs and destroys the drone, quickly calming the Hulk who reverts to Bruce Banner. The hero then flies away, without noticing that the Hulk's last punch had shattered the Parasite's underground prison, freeing the villain like Doom had planned all along. An almost starved Parasite steals some energy from Peter Parker to get away, leaving a tired Pete to be helped by Superman's young pal Jimmy Olsen. The two become friends and Peter is invited to the Daily Planet, where he meets Lois and Lana Lang, and sells his photos to Perry White. Jimmy eventually convinces Peter to stay in Metropolis for a while, just when Superman, having learned of the Parasite's escape, visits New York to investigate since he already suspects Doctor Doom to be behind such an elaborate plan. A quick visit to the Latverian embassy confirms his ideas since Doom, protected by his diplomatic immunity, has no qualms about revealing his plans of world domination. After escaping a kryptonite trap, Superman leaves the embassy but decides to stay in New York for a while and work freelance for the Daily Bugle, much to Jameson's delight. In a curious turn of events, Superman and Spider-Man therefore end up switching cities for a few days, even though their personal fortunes don't change as even Jameson hails Superman as a real hero while Spidey is quick to find out that the Metropolis police isn't any more trusting towards him than its New York counterpart, and that even at the Planet he's the victim of the local jock's pranks. As time goes by, and despite some signs of rebellion from the Parasite, Doom's plan also moves along with the capture of the Hulk. Meanwhile, a tingling of his Spider Sense and the memory of what happened in New York makes Spider-Man investigate a construction site in Metropolis, where he finds the entrance for a massive underground complex and Wonder Woman fighting Doom's soldiers. Watching everything from his monitors, Doom takes advantage of the situation and briefly pits Diana against Spider-Man, but Peter uses his superior speed and reflexes to prove he doesn't mean her any harm. Before they can compare notes however, Diana is felled and captured by Doom's soldiers, taken to his main base and put in a stasis tube next to the Hulk, both kept alive to serve as sources of power for the Parasite. Doom's elaborate plan is to use a number of underground stations built all over the world to emit a certain radiation that will turn any fuel into sand and make most weapons useless, so that the planet will have no choice but to submit to him in order to benefit from his special fusion reactor. Overhearing everything but also uncertain to be capable of stopping Doom, Spider-Man goes out to get help and runs into Superman, who decides to face the monarch and the Parasite alone. Still, after some soul searching Spidey follows  and the two heroes face the Parasite and one of Doom's robots, destroying the latter only to be defeated and captured when Doom uses a kryptonite dust and Spidey's powers are absorbed by the Parasite. Unbeknown to the Parasite, Doom's full plan is to feed him the Hulk's, Wonder Woman's and Superman's energy in order to both kill the heroes and turn the Parasite into a crystal that will stabilize Doom's reactor. However, the Parasite has absorbed Spider-Man's powers, including his spider-sense, warning him of the threat before Doom can put his plan in motion. His short-lived rebellion allows Spidey to use his web to clean the Kryptonite dust off Superman, who in turn frees him. Neither of them however is aware that the Parasite has accidentally broken the reactor's master control panel, starting a chain reaction that could destroy the entire planet. Doom takes notice and flees, but only after Superman has ripped one of his gauntlets off to hit the Parasite without having his strength absorbed. When the Kryptonian realizes what's about to happen, he flies to hold the generator off for a few minutes and slow the reaction, trusting Spider-Man with fixing the controls. Both heroes are in a pinch, Spider-Man with no idea of how to make sense of the machinery and Superman fighting the pain of being burned alive to hold the reactor at bay, but eventually the spider-sense clues Peter on how to operate the final lever and the reaction is stopped. Superman immediately pursues Doom, but can't reach him before he enters his embassy, regaining his diplomatic immunity. The following day, Clark is back in Metropolis, explaining to his friends how Superman rescued Wonder Woman while the Hulk got away on his own, and adding that Superman would trust Spider-Man with his life. Meanwhile, a homesick Peter Parker is back at the Bugle, where he can enjoy annoying Jonah Jameson once more.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

X-Men: "He Only Laughs When I Hurt!"

Uncanny X-Men #124 (1979)
By Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin

Background: The X-Men have been imprisoned in Murderworld by Arcade.

So, What Happens? While Arcade tells his origin story to Colleen Wing and his other prisoners, Cyclops and Wolverine face a brainwashed Colossus and end up flying against secret revolving doors taking them elsewhere in Murderworld. Scott lands where Nightcrawler is and helps him against the deadly bumper cars, while Logan ends up in Banshee's room and manages to cut an exit through the wall, only to be attacked by robots of the Hulk and Magneto. Elsewhere, Storm is about to drown but manages to find an underwater pipe and use her lightning to break free. In the main control room, Arcade realizes he has lost Cyclops and Nightcrawler, but is unaware that Scott has run into Wolverine and Banshee, and more importantly that Kurt is right outside. The elf breaks in and destroys the control panel before being downed by gas, right whilst water from Storm's broken prison is cascading through the rest of Murderworld, taking the unconscious Ororo with it to the room with Wolverine and the others. With the team almost reunited, Cyclops saves Ororo with mouth to mouth resuscitation, only for the four of them to be attacked by Colossus, who quickly despatches Banshee and Logan before grabbing Cyclops and Storm by their necks. Both too weakened to fight back, they manage to get through to him with words and break the brainwashing. Finally, Arcade concedes the contest and unceremoniously ejects the five X-Men, Nightcrawler, Colleen and the other two prisoners from Murderworld, miles away in an abandoned amusement park. Logan would prefer to go back and finish the fight, but the others convince him to let it go for now and call it a victory.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

X-Men: "This One Will Kill You!"

Uncanny X-Men #123 (1979)
By Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin

Background: The current X-Men roster is Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Banshee, who however has recently lost his powers.

So, What Happens? After a brief meeting with Spider-Man, Scott Summers and Colleen Wing are kidnapped by Arcade, who a short time later also gets Nightcrawler, Colossus and their dates for the opera, Wolverine, Banshee and Storm. Spidey, who had met Arcade before, tries to warn the X-Men but is too late. The heroes awaken in full costume inside the balls of a gigantic pinball machine, only to be shot out and separated inside the new Murderworld. Cyclops finds himself inside a room with three doors, whose wall will squash him if he opens the wrong one; Colossus lands in a dark room where an alleged KGB colonel accuses him of having betrayed Russia; Wolverine is in a hall of mirrors where he's attacked by deformed android copies of himself; Nightcrawler is attacked by deadly dodge-em cars; Banshee by replica war planes; Storm, finally, is in a room where her elemental powers are reflected against her. Cyclops is the first to break out of his trap and find Wolverine, but the two of them are assaulted by a brainwashed Colossus, now calling himself The Proletarian and bent on killing them.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Fantastic Four: "The Red Ghost And His Indescribable Super-Apes!"

Fantastic Four #13 (1963)
By Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko

So, What Happens? At the FF's lab, Reed has discovered a booster fuel powerful enough to win the space race and send a manned rocket to the Moon. Since the fuel came from a meteor similar to the one that fell in Siberia some time before, Reed fears the Soviets are close to achieving the same results and wants to build the rocket as soon as possible to reach the Moon and explore its mysterious Blue Area, but Ben convinces him to take the entire team along. Unbeknown to the Fantastic Four, a Soviet scientist named Ivan Kragoff is about to undertake the same journey together with his three trained primates: a strong gorilla, a baboon capable of using firearms and a orangutan who can use and repair machines. The two spaceships depart at the same time, but Kragoff has purposely neglected to equip his with radiation shields so that he and the monkeys can be bombarded with cosmic rays and get powers like those of the Fantastic Four. In space, the FF see the Soviet ship and the Torch flies off to investigate, discovering that the cosmic rays have indeed been effective, giving superstrength to the gorilla, the ability to morph into almost anything to the baboon and magnetic rays to the orangutan. The latter sees the Torch and uses his powers to hurl him back to Reed's ship, where he reports to the rest of the team. However there is little time to ponder as both ships are about to land on the Moon, where they immediately discover that the Blue Area is an ancient abandoned city, built by some long-gone civilization and with a breathable atmosphere. Whilst Reed, Sue and Johnny go off to investigate, the Thing is left behind and attacked by the apes and Kragoff, who has discovered the power to turn intangible at will and now calls himself the Red Ghost. However the battle is interrupted by the powerful and mysterious Watcher, a gigantic alien living in the Blue Area and belonging to a race of observers pledged to watch but never interfere. Refusing to let America and the Soviet Union bring their war to the Moon, the Watcher orders the conflict to be limited to the FF and the Red Ghost. As soon as Ben has started explaining the situation to the rest of his team, the Watcher transports them all in the abandoned city and a battle begins, with the Red Ghost proving victorious thanks to the powers of his apes and kidnapping Sue. However, the Invisible Girl manages to turn the tables, feeding the ravenous monkeys and breaking Kragoff's hold on them just in time to save the rest of her team from a trap. The Red Ghost flees into the Watcher's house, but is angrily expelled by the powerful alien, who crowns the Fantastic Four the victors and before departing promises human beings will never be alone in the vastness of the universe. While Kragoff tries to escape his apes, the FF return on Earth.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Super Sunday Special: The Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Breakout

Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes Episode 01... di jamal_yusufi

Background: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is an animated series spanning two seasons and 57 episodes (including five introduction episodes, each formed by four micro-episodes) written by Chris Yost and Joshua Fine. Despite using material from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as black Nick Fury, Jarvis as an AI or Hawkeye and Black Widow as two special agents of SHIELD, the series is not set in that continuity, instead being mostly based on the classic comics by Lee and Kirby. Most Avengers are introduced gradually over the course of the seasons and wear their classic costumes.

So, What Happens? Don't ask me, watch the episode embedded up here :) "Breakout - Part 1" is the first full episode, or episode 6 after the introductory micro-episodes.