Where Does the MCU Go From Here?

SPOILER WARNING!

SERIOUSLY… SPOILER WARNING

With the closing of Endgame the MCU finds itself without two of it’s founding members, Iron Man. Thor has gone full Big Lebowski and has also joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hemsworth signed on for Phase 4; Cap has gotten old and retired with the love of his life Peggy while also passing the Captain America mantle onto Sam/Falcon. Nat is gone, Vision is gone, Clint has retired (again), and Banner is healing from his use of the gauntlet. The Avengers have all but disbanded with each hero going their separate ways leaving the MCU in a “State of Uncertainty”. I put that in quotations because while the studio wants us to feel it’s uncertain, it’s all but uncertain. Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy all have another film confirmed along with a new Avengers film set to come out in 2022 (most likely), that will leave some time for them to establish a new big bad for the team to fight.

This week I want to take some time and highlight who the most prominent villain options are for the next phase of the MCU and what they could do. I will also give a very brief overview of each villain.

Here we go!

KANG THE CONQUEROR

Kang the Conqueror

With the introduction of time travel into the MCU, Kang is one of the fan favourites to become the next big bad that the Avengers must defeat. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963 in The Fantastic Four.

Kang comes from the 31st century where time travel has been perfected and a council oversees all aspects of the timeline to prevent meddling by an outside force. Here’s where it gets confusing… Kang’s real name is Nathaniel Richards, a long possible descendant of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. He time jumps a lot between his time and ancient Egypt on Earth before he misses his mark when returning home and arrives on a worn torn planet he doesn’t recognize. He reinvents himself as Kang the Conqueror and resolves to take control of the Earth at an earlier point in the time stream to stop that future from happening. This puts him on a direct collision course with the Avengers and their heroics.

Kang represents the epitome of the MCU embracing the whole time travel concept. While some people didn’t enjoy or even understand the rules the MCU establishes in regards to time travel, Kang could help provide clarification. He could arrive and tell the Avengers that by their meddling with the stones and the time stream they’ve set something on a path that he needs to stop. Have him first become a begrudging ally and then have him turn villain when his machinations and actual plan of conquering is discovered. Like I said, this guy will only work if the MCU wants to fully embrace the upside aspect that time travel creates.

THE BEYONDER

The Beyonder

The Beyonder is a villain that could work within the context of the MCU but would take it on a very different path from the one they’re currently on. The Beyonder was originally created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck in 1984.

The Beyonder is an individual of massive cosmic power that can warp and shape reality to whatever he wants. He is classified as Agender, meaning he doesn’t have a singular gender but he has been drawn as a male and one of his aliases is Frank (no, not Frank Castle). His origin is complicated but here’s the cliff notes… Owen Reece accidentally accessed a pocket dimension called the “Beyond-Realm”, which is where he got his molecular manipulation powers; Owen Reece is Molecule Man in Marvel comics. While some of the energy escaped and gave Reece his powers, the rest gained sentience and became the Beyonder. The Beyonder is responsible for the Secret Wars story line from the 80’s where he created Battleworld and brought various villains and heroes there to fight to the death to determine who was the best.

He is a being of near unlimited power that can make whatever he can dream of. This would represent a significant threat for the Avengers to fight as he can make/remake anything he chooses. This would definitely lean into the cosmic side of the MCU but it would move it away from the track it’s currently on. While I would love to see Secret Wars played out on the big screen, there are not enough well established villains and heroes to really do it justice.

GALACTUS

Galactus

The Devourer of Worlds… ’nuff said.

But seriously, Galactus is the top choice for many now that Disney owns Fox and all of the characters previously owned by Fox (Fantastic Four, X-Men, Galactus, etc) have come home.

Galactus was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966 and has been one of the big bad entities in the Marvel comic universe ever since. Possessing the Power Cosmic and an insatiable appetite for consuming planets, this guy is one not to be messed with. He is a cosmic entity of massive proportions that must feed on energy to survive. He was there at the birth of the Marvel comic universe and he will be there long after the heroes of the earth are gone. He is one of the constant forces meant to keep balance on a universal scale. He consumes energy rich planets to maintain the balance of life, something Thanos was trying to accomplish. Thanos once said that he “…is nothing compared to Galactus”.

Galactus would definitely open up the MCU on a massive cosmic scale as this guy is something that all the galaxies in the Marvel comics universe fear and know. The only drawback to this guy is how incredibly powerful he is. There is no way that the Avengers would be able to beat him without introducing some new uber powerful members to the team.

ANNIHILUS

Annihilus

This guy is my personal choice for where Phase 4 should go. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1968 and has been a main villain of the Fantastic 4 and the Avengers since his first printing.

Annihilus is an Arthrosian, which is a race of insectoid-like beings from the planet Arthros in the Negative Zone. They grow tough chitinous exo-skeletons that are capable of withstanding bullets and most physical attacks. Some of these beings are able to fly and while some are also able to breathe fire. Annihilus was one of the first Arthrosians to be created, but he is also the only one to discover their creators’ ( Tyannans) crashed ship and learn their secrets. He used this knowledge to become leader of the Arthrosians and eventual ruler of the entire Negative Zone (a universe parallel to the main Marvel universe composed entirely of Anti-matter). Annihilus has millions of insectoid soldiers which are referred to as an “Annihilation Wave”, which he has used to attack the main Marvel universe on more than one occasion, most notably the Annihilation event. Annihilus has many powers that make him a formidable enemy: Super strength, Super speed, Super reflexes and agility, his exoskeleton in nearly impervious to almost all physical damage, he can fly up to 150 mph and he can survive in the vacuum of space.

Annihilus would be a great villain to have the new team go up against because it would also open up a whole new aspect of the multiverse for the Avengers to explore. The only downside is that he is an uber powerful tyrant with a nameless/faceless army that is nearly endless (sound familiar?). I just really think that he would be unbelievably awesome to see on screen and for as strong and as ruthless as he is, he doesn’t get a lot of recognition.

ULTRON

Ultron

If Annihilus is my first choice, Ultron is definitely my VERY close second choice. I know what you’re going to say “But Tristan, we already got Ultron in Age of Ultron and he wasn’t that good”. True, we did get him in Age of Ultron, but in my mind that wasn’t a good representation. James Spader killed it as the voice of Ultron, but they made him look too human and act too human. He is supposed to be an emotionless robot that is smarter than anyone else and who believes humanity had it’s time and needs to be gone.

“The savage monkeys are rage-filled and claustrophobic. Climbing over one another to nowhere. Confused by logic, they dismiss it. Choosing instead to bend their knees to the convenient fantasy of custom-built gods. 99.9% of these primate dullards are propped up by the accomplishments of the .1% of cerebral mutations who give them everything. And what do the fleas do with these advancements? They brutalize one another over imaginary deities. They slaughter their neighbors for resources, for conveniences. They are hopeless. Vicious. Filthy. Selfish. Fearful. A fungoso infection for which there is only one cure–The rage of Ultron” – Ultron

When Roy Thomas and John Buscema created him in 1968, I don’t think they realized the villain they were making. Every time that Ultron shows up he has upgraded himself somehow to make sure that he can’t be beaten the same way again. Each body that Ultron upgrades himself to has various different abilities and powers and it’s almost impossible to list them all. He stands as one of the greatest achievements of Hank Pym (yes Hank made him in the comics, not Tony) but also as one of the greatest threats to the universe as a whole. BRING HIM BACK!

DR. DOOM

Dr. Doom

Doctor Victor Von Doom is my third top choice for the new villain that vexes the Avengers, he was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is primarily a villain of the Fantastic 4 but has gone against the Avengers on more than one occasion.

Victor was born in the small country of Latveria to his father Werner Von Doom and his mother Cynthia. Doom’s mother was killed by the demon Mephistocles (the one who made Johnny Blaze the Ghost Rider) when a deal they bartered went wrong. His father died when he fled with young Victor into the wilderness to escape their country. Victor resolved to learn all he could about magic and technology so that he could one day make Mephisto pay for what he did to his mother. He attended school in the USA where he met Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. Reed and Victor never really saw eye to eye and their intense rivalry began there at the university. He developed a machine that could project an astral form on oneself into another dimension, he was hoping to use it to free his mother from Mephisto. Reed went over his math and pointed out a flaw in some of his calculations, but Doom ignored him thinking Reed was trying to upstage him. The machine exploded scarring Doom’s body and his face and he was expelled from the school for unethical experimentations. He blamed Reed for his scarring and expulsion. He traveled the world and eventually found a Tibetan village that helped him to construct a suit of armour to protect himself. He returned to his homeland of Latveria and overthrew the government declaring himself king. He has used the resources of Latveria to help his experimentations and further his power.

Doom would make an amazing character to bring in to the mix, but the problem here is that in order for his story to be told properly, the Fantastic 4 need to be there. Kevin Feige has said that while there are plans to bring them and the X-Men into the MCU, it won’t happen for quite a few years yet (ball parking a 2024-2025 inclusion). Doom has made some great storylines, at the culmination of the MarvelNow! run on Avengers, Doom became God Doom. He had the power of the universe and Celestials at his disposal not to mention Molecule Man, that’s how he made the new Secret Wars. I think it would provide a really different dynamic, especially if they leaned into Doom being the Diplomatic leader of Latveria giving him diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Like I said, it’s a very cool idea, but it would need the Fantastic 4 to properly do it and that’s something that’s not likely to happen for a few years.

NORMAN OSBORN

Norman Osborn

Norman Virgil Osborn was born in Hartford Connecticut to his mother and failed inventor of a father. Norman’s father was abusive and took out his frustrations on him. His father claims he was swindled out of money and inventions by business partners and that’s why he was a failure. Norman resolved to never be like his father and became obsessed with power and wealth. He was first created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1964 where he appeared as the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Norman studied at Empire State University where he became good friends with Professor Mendel Stromm. They decided to go into business together following Norman’s graduation; and since Norman was fronting most of the money for the start up, they called the company Oscorp Chemical. Norman married his college sweetheart Emily Lyman and they had a son, Harold “Harry” Osborn. Emily grew very ill following Harry’s birth and died not soon after. Norman, unable to process his grief, threw himself into his work and left little time for Harry. Stromm was caught embezzling from Oscorp and was arrested making Norman the CEO of the whole company. When he was going through Stromm’s notes he found a serum that Stromm had developed that would make him superhumanly powerful. Before he could take it though, Harry found out what his father was doing and switched some of the chemicals because he was tired of being ignored. When the serum exploded in his face and Norman inhaled the fumes he was hospitalized. He woke from his coma thinking “more clearly than he ever had before”; but, the insanity was not far behind. He developed the persona of Green Goblin to kill Spider-Man to prove himself as someone who could unite all the gangs of New York under one ruler. Norman has been battling with his insanity ever since and has managed to beat it on a couple of occasions.

Norman like Doom would make for an interesting person for the Avengers to go against because he’s human. He doesn’t have an alien armada that can wipe out the Earth, all he has are his wits and a whole lot of influence, think Kingpin on steroids. Not only is he a super powerful business magnate, but he is also a supervillain in his off time. He has become the Director of SHIELD which he renamed to HAMMER, he has led the Thunderbolts and he has even led the Avengers (really a bunch of villains posing as the Avengers, actually called the Dark Avengers). The most recent story I read with him actually took place at the end of the Superior Spider-Man run where he became the Goblin King and nearly took over all of New York. The main issue for Osborn, is that he needs to be established as a Spider-Man villain first off, like Doom needs to be established by the Fantastic 4. Once they do that, then they can have him mucking stuff about for the Avengers, but since the new Spider-Man villain is Mysterio (from a parallel Earth apparently), that won’t happen for at least a few years.

There you have it, those are the most popular options for the big bad of the MCU for Phase 4. My top three are Annihilus, Ultron and Dr. Doom but Osborn is a close fourth. I just hope that whatever Kevin Feige has planned, it’s something that’s a worthy successor to the Infinity Saga. See you next week!

“Whatever It Takes” – Avengers Endgame

I spent a large portion of the week waffling over two separate ideas for this week’s post and then my oldest friend Malcolm sent me a golden nugget that I could use… the new Avengers Trailer! Now for those who haven’t seen it, this isn’t a regular teaser like the last one they published, with all the heroes looking defeated, this is a full blown trailer! Check it out below:

Oh boy! So many goodies! Let’s dive in!

THE TRAILER

This one like the previous teaser starts with an exposition by Tony as he drifts through space following the defeat of the Avengers on Titan. He reminisces about how everything started with him 10 years ago (which we now know is false, thanks Captain Marvel) and how it’s going to end with him alone in space. He expands on how he has let Pepper down and hoped he would be able to pull one last amazing surprise out of the bag for her (implying his evading certain death on multiple occasions), but this time he sadly won’t.

While this exposition is going on we are shown black and white shots of Tony after he crashed during his initial escape from the Ten Rings in Iron Man from 2008. The interesting thing is that despite the rest of the shot being black and white, every instance of red is vibrant to show a great contrast.

Black Widow and Ronin/Hawkeye

We switch perspectives to see Steve’s beginnings with Peggy Carter voicing over saying ” The World has changed… none of us can go back. All we can do is our best… and sometimes the best we can do is to start over”. We are then shown shots of Steve in a support group for survivors of the snappening and a nice wholesome shot of Clint Barton (Hawkeye/Ronin) teaching his daughter how to shoot an arrow like him. This is a great shot that further highlights Clint as a family man and a nice Easter Egg to female Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) in the current Marvel comics. The final shot of Steve’s sequence comes from Peggy’s funeral where he was a pallbearer. Again, with keeping in the theme of Tony’s exposition, it’s in all black and white except for the colour red on the flag draped over Peggy’s casket.

Hawkeye training his daughter

Thor’s exposition comes accompanying black and white shots of Asgard, his father and him, and him watching as the other heroes disintegrate following the snappening. The colour red is again amplified in the bleak black and white frames.

We shift back to Steve saying that he has been telling everyone they should move on, but then he finishes with saying “…some do, but not us”. The colour returns to the trailer to show him sitting at a table in Avengers HQ with Black Widow and Bruce Banner. We see Scott Lang standing in front of his ex wife’s/ daughter’s home which looks like it hasn’t been touched in a while and staring at some missing flyers posted to the telephone pole.

Widow delivers a great line saying ” Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everyone who is not in this room, to try.” We are shown some various scenes of the heroes looking angered and resolved that they are going to try to set things right.

Steve responds by saying “We will. Whatever it takes”; which is echoed by Widow, Hawkeye, and Tony voicing over shots of them each individually. The Avengers theme blares through the trailer as we finally see the Avengers walking through the hangar at the Avengers HQ wearing their white Quantum suits. Cue the title card! The purple Avengers symbol is now being put together as the title ‘Endgame’ appears in a flash of purple light.

The final shot of the trailer shows Thor walking up behind Captain Marvel, her turning around and standing her ground as he calls Stormbreaker to him. When she smirks at him as he stands there resting on his hammer he looks up to the others in the room and says “I like this one”.

MY THOUGHTS AND PREDICTIONS

Oh boy. This trailer gets me super excited to see this movie! Although, for the first time in a LONG time, I will not be able to see it opening night. I’m going to have to wait a full 4 days before I’ll be able to see it! I digress…

First thing that’s very evident from this and the previous teaser is that despite having lost everything the Avengers are not going to let this slide. That should be evident, because they’re the Avengers, but this shows that while they may accept that they finally lost a fight, the war is far from over.

Captain America in his Quantum suit with Nebula in background

It’s sad to think that this is going to be the last time we see the original Avengers on screen together. We know all of their contracts have officially run out. There may have been some back room extensions on certain contracts (Scar Jo and her Widow solo film), but Chris Evans has stated that he is officially done as Captain America. RDJ is amazing as Tony Stark but let’s be honest, Marvel can’t afford to keep him around much longer. We have Captain Marvel and Black Panther set to take over as the leaders of the team following the departure of the founding members. They will be joined by newcomers: Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Scarlett Witch, Ant-Man, Vision and maybe Hulk will stick around.

One theme that is running throughout the Marvel comics is the belief that the Avengers are invincible. This belief is held by the population of Earth and even some of the Avengers themselves, that no matter what happened they will pull through because of who they are. The MCU has taken this concept and incorporated it into their version of the team.

Infinity War showed us that while they may be Gods among humankind, they are far from infallible. Thor’s hubris led to Loki’s invasion of Earth, Tony’s narcissism created Ultron and despite their best efforts, they could not stop Thanos from getting all the stones and causing the snappening. As I’ve said before, they may be down, but they are far from out.

Tony said it best in Avengers from 2012, ” You’re missing the point. There is no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it’s too much for us, but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it.

BONUS

Rocket and War Machine

My new favourite power couple from this trailer is Rocket and War Machine! I don’t know what they’re looking at in this scene, but if Rocket is smiling it’s either really really good or really really bad, there is no in between…

Avengers:Endgame is released on April 26, 2019. See you next week!

Secret Empire – Captain America’s Greatest Betrayal

“We were supposed to be heroes. We were supposed to stand for something. It’s hard to say when it all started going wrong, but at some point, we let the fight become about us, not the world we’d sworn to protect. We found ourselves divided, and under siege. So many threats, so many dangers but the one that would end us, was the one we trusted the most.

Funny how the world can change in a day. How something so horrible can sneak up on you so quickly. And Stark was right. We’d won so many times against impossible odds. We started to take it for granted. Started to believe we were destined to come out on top. But something felt different this time.

We’d been pushed beyond our breaking point, slowly, methodically. And just as we were thinking we’d almost survived it, they struck the real blow.

As the battle began, there had already been suspicions. Whispers. Some knew who it must be, Hydra’s New Secret Leader. There was only one person who could’ve orchestrated all this, after all. Even still, they refused to believe… Until they saw it with their own eyes.

And so we fought. We fought because we believed we were right… And we fell because we were wrong.

We thought we were there to stop him, but the truth is… We were right where they wanted us to be. They had made plans for us… Found ways to turn our most powerful against us, again and again.

Later, when the stories were told, they’d all remark on the same thing.. how quickly it happened. We thought we were so strong, so unbeatable. That we could never collapse so quickly. So completely. So when we did, all we could do was watch it unfold, helpless as the day we were born. And with the world slipping away around us, we gazed into the face of our enemy, finally seeing them for what they really were.

They were stronger.

They were more powerful.

In that moment…They were worthy.”

Victorious Cap lifts Mjolnir

This was the moment, the moment when all the readers of Marvel Comics and the heroes contained within knew, that the world they knew had changed forever…

Captain America has been one of the most stalwart comic characters in all of history. He never wavered in his beliefs and he could bring out the best in everyone regardless of circumstances. So why did Marvel use this opportunity to make him evil? To answer that we have to go back to the prelude to Secret Empire.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The First thing you have to understand is that the history that we know since the beginning of Marvel Comics publication, was in fact false. The Nazis and Hydra were the victors of WWII. Captain America was a double agent trained by Kraken and Madam Hydra to act as the Allies’ saviour while secretly providing the Axis with information that could be used to win the war. This worked for pretty much the entire war before Cap’s double nature was discovered, and resulted in a much different world than we know. The ace in the hole was this, The Cosmic Cube. Now after the allies had driven Cap away, they had discovered the Cosmic Cube and its reality warping powers. (The Cosmic Cube and the Tesseract from the MCU are two VERY different artifacts).

Following his exile from Allied territory, Captain America had arrived to Japan high up in the mountains and entered a cave where he was greeted by his father figure/trainer Kraken. Kraken explained that this was where Hydra had begun and where it will continue its legacy. Captain America is led inside where he sees a pool and an old man stirring the waters. He is shown a vision of the allies preparing the Cosmic Cube to alter history and he is told that by submerging himself in the pool he will be protected from the change. Kraken went on to say that he would wake up in a world unfamiliar to him but that he would retain all of his memories and ideals.

As the allies began their change, Captain America submerged in the pool and was bombarded with memories and history that collided with his own. He awoke in a world where the allies had won and where he had been lost in the arctic for 70 years following his foiling of Red Skull’s final plan.

Now while there were various ticks and nods to Cap’s true nature through the beginning of the run by Nick Spencer. If you read the culmination of the previous 2016 event titled Avengers: Standoff! Cap’s change came as less of a surprise (Red Skull influenced the sentient Cosmic Cube ‘Kobik”, to rewrite Cap’s history making him a champion of Hydra as it restored Cap to his youthful appearance). In the first issue of Marvel’s new Steve centered comic run titled Captain America: Steve Rogers,is when his allegiance alteration is confirmed. In the final panels of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 (July 2016), Steve pushes his longtime ally Jack Flag from an airplane to fall to his apparent death, Rogers then turns to Dr. Selvig and says “Hail Hydra”.

Cap’s official turning point

WHAT CAME AS A RESULT

The opening to Secret Empire showed us one of the most complete and utter defeats of the Marvel heroes we have ever seen. The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Ultimates, Hyperion, Quasar, Captain Marvel and her Alpha Flight Space Program are trying to stop a Chitauri invasion of Earth and are fighting a losing battle. While they can beat the Chitauri en masse, the aliens just keep coming in endless waves. Iron Man and Iron Heart are attempting to repair the planetary shield to stop the invasion but they are not having any luck. The Defenders, Uncanny Avengers and some of the X-Men are attempting to quell a breakout from the Supervillain rehab center Pleasant Hill, with some success. One of the SHIELD helicarriers has gone missing and Hydra forces are waging a large attack against SHIELD all around the globe.

Nitro (the supervillain famous for starting the Civil War event, the REAL one, not the MCU version), exits the facility and proceeds to detonate himself in downtown New York City causing massive damage. The rest of the villains are teleported away while Baron Zemo and Blackout drop the entirety of the island of New York into the Darkforce dimension bringing on an endless night. The President then awards Steve Rogers (the Director of SHIELD) control over the United Stated military to help combat these threats. Once Steve has the power of the United States Armed Forces behind him, he sets his plan into action. He activates the planetary shield locking Captain Marvel and the ‘heavy hitters’ outside the planet at the mercy of the Chitauri. He crashes the missing helicarrier, now filled with Hydra soldiers, into another helicarrier and uses the hypnotic suggestion of Dr. Faustus to cause the defending SHIELD agents to become hypnotized and unwilling to fight. Iron Heart and her Tony Stark AI realize that the next target would be Washington D.C and have all the heroes rally there to defend it. Hydra sieges the city in an attempt to destabilize the government and the spirit of the American people. Steve Rogers, Now Hydra Supreme Commander, arrives and asks the Avengers to stop fighting and join him. When they refuse, his army moves in and attacks. He uses undisclosed methods to take out Thor, Vision and Scarlet Witch while the rest of the heroes are slowly beaten, one by one. As he stands victorious above them he reaches down and lifts Mjolnir high into the air. 

RAMIFICATIONS

This turn for the The Captain left a sour taste in a lot of fans mouths. Not only did they take one of the greatest heroes in all of comics and turn him into a Nazi, they also ripped down everything he stood for just to get some more sales and provide even a small semblance of competition to DC Comics with their Rebirth Initiative.

The bit that really stuck with most fans was the blatant disregard for the original creators of the character. Joseph Henry “Joe” Simon born Hymie Simon and Jack “King” Kirby born Jacob Kurtzberg, who created the character, were both of them members of the Jewish faith, both of their families having experienced persecution at the hands of the Nazis in WWII. By turning their creation of a man who stood for what was right and fought for the little man, literally against the Nazis, into a Nazi commander who took over the world, showed blatant disrespect to them.

Steve Rogers as Supreme Commander of Hydra

With all the backlash that Marvel experienced after writer Nick Spencer affirmed that this was not some trick, and that this was the original Captain America, they were (in my opinion) forced to rectify the situation. I won’t spoil what they did, but it kind of just sugar coated the entire ordeal and really ended up making the entire event a terrible run. Not only did they sugarcoat the run, but they kept the Hydra Cap! He still exists in the main Marvel universe (Earth-616) and is going to stir some shit up later on, they foreshadow that at the end of the run.

There’s a lot of things that I’m not a fan of with this event but one thing I can say for sure is that despite its flaws, it’s incredibly well written. The exposition and character development in this story is top notch, and as made evident from the opening speech of this post which was taken directly from Issue # 0, it delivers some hard hitting dialogue.

Cap vs. Cap

When all is said and done, the main betrayal of Captain America is not to any one hero, his long time friends and allies or the universe as a whole, it was to the fans and the legacy of the character. Marvel has worked very hard to rectify this situation and bring the faith of the fans back. I know that, personally, I haven’t purchased any Marvel comics since the release of Secret Empire because of how far out in left field they took it. I will be purchasing in the future, especially the new Moon Knight run but with their new Legacy imprint, I feel like they’re finally listening to the fans and going back to what worked for them for decades.

Hydra Cap armoured for battle

That concludes this post! check back soon for my review of Aquaman and Bumblebee!

My Top 10 Favourite Heroes/Anti-Heroes

This week for my blog post, I decided to do a list of my top 10 favourite heroes from DC and Marvel combined. It’s not going to be a secret that you’re going to see a lot of anti-heroes on this list, given how much I love them, but there will be some clean cut heroes on here too. I should preface this by saying that this list is my own opinion and can fluctuate from time to time.

So let’s dive in starting at the bottom and work our way to the top.

#10. Captain America

Cap

Steven Grant Rogers was born in Manhattan, New York on July 4, 1920, to his parents Sarah and Joseph Rogers. He grew up a frail young man during the depression with his father dying during his childhood and his mother dying of pneumonia during his teen years. He attempted to enlist during the WWII draft but was denied due to his size and medical ailments. He was eventually chosen for the “Operation: Rebirth” the Super Soldier project headed by Dr. Erskine where he became Captain America. Captain America was responsible for helping to turn the tide of the war in the favour of the allies before he was tragically lost somewhere over the arctic. He lay frozen in ice for over 70 years before being discovered and thawed by the Avengers. Captain America has gone on to head the Avengers for decades and remains as their most constant member.

Why Captain America?

Chris Evans said it best when asked during an interview for the original Avengers as to why he chose to play him, he said” He’s the epitome of who you wish you could be. He’s good for the sake of being good”. We’re just going to ignore Hydra Cap and that Secret Empire garbage for a moment (like seriously? why?) and focus on what Evans said. He is the epitome of who you wish you could be. Captain America is one of he few heroes who has remained largely incorruptible during his comic run, and that is something we as people aspire to. Everyone is good, the choices you make dictate how the world sees you, and Captain America always makes the right choice. He might not always end up on the side of the law (Civil War anyone?), but he is always on the right side. This quality is something that everyone strives towards and gives them an objective to maintain which is something that is needed by a lot of people. But not only is he good for the sake of being good, he also has an ability to inspire. Captain America always believes in the best in everybody and he uses this belief in the people to inspire them to be the best version of themselves. During the Original Infinity War comic, he stood up to Thanos, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he convinced hundreds if not thousands of SHIELD agents to stand up for what was right and to fight against the Hydra agents that had infiltrated their organization and in Disney’s Avengers Assemble his stand against Thanos and the Black Order convinced the entire population of New York to rally behind him and the Avengers to buy the time needed to win. No matter who you are, there is no denying that Captain America deserves a spot on everybody’s top 10 list.

#9 – The Flash

wp-1455385093781-461x700

Bartholomew Henry Allen “Barry Allen” was born in Fallville Iowa to his parents Henry and Nora Allen. Barry was actually one of twins born to the Allens but his brother was whisked away and given to another family, the Thawnes, who’s child had died during childbirth. The Allens were told that the second baby had been born still and that Barry himself was lucky to be alive. When Barry was a young boy his mother was murdered in their home and his father was framed for the murder. Henry Allen was convicted of life in Iron Heights Prison and Barry struggled without any parental figures in his life. He eventually developed an aptitude for the sciences and went to school for Forensic Science. He graduated and earned himself a job at the Central City Police Department in the Forensics lab. He was working late one night when a lightning bolt struck him after he had tripped and been covered in a cocktail of chemicals. This provided Barry with super speed and allowed him to become the superhero known as the Flash. The Flash has been a mainstay in the Justice League lineup for decades and is one of the voices of reason during the League’s debates.

Why The Flash?

Like Captain America, Barry has one underlying quality, the ability to make you believe in hope. No matter how bad things seem to get, Barry will always be able to get you to believe in not only yourself, but the others around you and trust that together you will find a way to succeed. It’s this ability that earned him a spot as a deputized member of the Blue Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night story arc. When the Black Lantern Corps took over the Earth and resurrected all the dead heroes, the live remaining heroes were vastly outnumbered and fighting a losing battle. It took the combined might of all the Lantern corps and having each of their rings deputize a new hero to even hope of turning the tide.Barry was inducted into the Blue Lantern Corps for his embodiment of hope and he used that power to help the other heroes believe in themselves. Barry has also been responsible for one of the greatest story arcs in the past 30 years… Flashpoint. This was literally the tale of how not to mess with the timeline. He changed one little thing, he saved his mom, and it brought the world to the brink of annihilation. It also is worth noting that he is the most underplayed hero in all of DC comics. He can time travel with ease, run faster than people can process a thought, and even outran death and existence. He’s seriously OP.

#8 – Green Arrow

Green-Arrow-Rebirth-Comic-Ending-Review

Oliver Jonas Queen was born to his parents, Moira and Robert Queen. He was a natural archer from a young age practicing frequently with his bow and arrow. When he killed his first animal, Ollie was briefly traumatized by what he had done forgoing his archery for quite some time. When he was on vacation with his parents on a safari adventure, he witnessed his parents get mauled to death by lions. He was raised by his uncle and eventually inherited his family’s company, Queen Industries. Unable to accept his responsibility not only to his family’s legacy but his City as a whole, he became a thrill seeking party boy. One day while on his yacht, he fell over the side of the boat and washed up on the shore of a deserted island. While on the island Oliver honed his hunting and marksmanship skills using a bow he had been holding when he fell over the side of his yacht. China White, a ruthless drug smuggler was using the island to grow and distribute her heroin around the globe. Oliver witnessed the slave labour being used by White to produce her drugs and resolved to shut the operation down. After dismantling her entire operation on the island, Oliver used their radio to signal the authorities and arrange rescue for himself and all the workers. He returned to Seattle as a renewed man and began his crusade to fight for the little guy and the disenfranchised.

Why Green Arrow?

There’s no way to sugar coat it, Oliver Queen was a dick. He was. But through his own personal tragedy and his crucible on the island, he emerged as the hero that Seattle and himself needed. He had the life most people dream of, a literal unlimited bank account, supermodels hanging off his arm, and the ability to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. It takes a lot to take someone like that and forge them into the hero he is today and that’s why I like him so much. He was a fallible rich playboy who almost paid the ultimate price but he got a second lease on life and decided to do more than drink himself to death. Not only is he a great hero, but he also is one of the most left leaning heroes and that adds a great mix to the line-up. He not only fights to protect his City as Green Arrow but he actually got himself elected mayor to help everyone in his hometown lead a better life. He  also lost all his money and was forced to live in a downtrodden tenement building for quite some time, which also helped to provide him with a new perspective on his life and the way he lived. Plus.. I mean come on… epic goatee.

#7 – Daredevil

e651e5ee559b21b4427086192fc55706

Matthew Michael Murdock was born in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City to his father Jack “Battlin'” Murdock. Matt was raised by his father for his entire life never knowing who is mother was. His father was a struggling boxer and was paid by a gangster known as “The Fixer” to throw some fights for bigger pay days. One day, Matt was walking down the street and saw an old blind man step out into the road in front of a speeding truck. Matt grabbed the old man pulling him to safety and the truck swerved, losing a canister of the radioactive liquid it was carrying. The canister broke on the ground and sprayed Matt in the eyes effectively blinding him. While he was blinded, it also provided Matt with heightened other senses and a form of echolocation enabling him to see without his eyes. When his father is murdered by the Fixer and his goons, Matt dons a costume made out of his father’s old boxing gear and nearly beats the Fixer to death. Realizing it’s not what his father or his faith would allow, Matt let the Fixer live and called the authorities. He went to law school where he met his best friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, with whom he opened a law firm. By day he defends the people of Hell’s Kitchen as Matt Murdock Attorney at Law and by night, he defends the people of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil the Man Without Fear.

Why Daredevil?

Matt Murdock is one of the few superheroes that has a disability and that makes him top tier in my books. Not only does he have a disability, but he is also a deeply conflicted individual. Matt is one of the most devout Catholics in all of comics, Marvel and DC included. For someone as devout as he is, dressing up in a red devil costume and beating on criminals seems like something way out in left field. To balance his lives, Matt regularly attends confession and seeks guidance from his local priest whenever he can. Not only is Matt one of the most conflicted characters, but he is one of the most human, in that he makes mistakes… plenty of mistakes. You could argue that every character is human and makes mistakes, but for the likes of Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman or even Iron Man; their mistakes are few and far between. Matt follows his heart more often than his head and that has gotten him into some deep water over the course of his comic run. One of the best runs in all of Marvel came from Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil with the Born Again story line. Matt has his identity sold to the Kingpin by his junkie ex girlfriend Karen Page, and has his life turned upside down. He loses everything: his firm, his money, his friends, his home and sinks into a deep depression. The run truly shows how hard some people who suffer from depression need to fight everyday to get out of bed. I highly recommend reading it!

#6 – Punisher

Punisher 1

Born Francis Castiglione to his Sicilian Immigrant parents in Queens New York, Frank had a very uneventful childhood. In his teen years he studied briefly at the seminary before leaving to marry his girlfriend Maria who was pregnant with their first child. He eventually enlisted in the Marine Corps where he rose to the rank of Captain. Through his tours of service, he was assigned a Native American scout named Phan Bighawk, who taught Frank about guerilla warfare and how to effectively survive in the wilderness. During his third tour, Frank legally changed his name from Castiglione to Castle. While on leave after his third tour, he took his family on a picnic in the park which would prove to be a fatal mistake. When the Castles accidentally stumbled onto a mob hit, the mobsters murdered Frank’s wife and children in front of him and thought they had killed Frank as well. Frank recovered from his wounds and vowed to spend the rest of his life waging a one man war against crime and the organized families around the world. He has been waging his war ever since and has come into conflict with the Avengers and multiple heroes on different occasions. For the most part, the Avengers let him be as he never causes collateral damage and only kills criminals.

Why The Punisher?

The Punisher is one of my favourites for one simple reason, he represents the farthest someone can go before they cross the line between Anti-Hero and Villain. Not only that, but he represents how the justice system isn’t always perfect. Granted that while he is a vicious operative, he also has a strict code. A prime example of this code was shown during the Civil War comic arc when Spider-Man is nearly murdered by Jack O’ Lantern and The Jester. Despite being ordered to bring him in alive, the two villains decided to beat him bloody before murdering him, Punisher stopped that. He shot both villains in the back of the head and then brought Spider-Man to Captain America’s bunker demanding medical attention for the young hero. When he sees two villains attempting to side with Captain America and the Anti-Registration forces, he shoots them in front of Cap and his entire team. Cap goes ballistic and begins savagely beating Frank; but the thing is, Frank never fights back. He never once raised his hand or tried to defend himself, even when Cap shouted for him to. Frank simply took the beating and said “No, not against you”. His reverence for Captain America is linked to his fierce loyalty to his military training. During the Punisher: War Zone story arc, after defeating all of the Avengers with non lethal tactics, Cap arrives and demands that Frank stand down; Frank immediately discards his weapon, drops to his knees with his hands on his head and says “Yes, sir”. The thing that probably makes The Punisher such an attractive character is that he has no powers, he is just a man that used the tools and training at his disposal to make a difference in the world. Sometimes he might need a definite course correction, but he sees the world in a different way than most and sometimes his brand of frontier justice, is exactly what is needed.

#5 – Ghost Rider

John_Blaze_(Earth-1610)_001

Johnathon “Johnny” Blaze was born to his parents Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale who were performer’s at Quentin Carnival. His mother left his father when he was young, taking his two younger siblings with her. Johnny and his father remained as a stunt act alongside Craig “Crash” Simpson. Johnny’s father died shortly after his wife left with their children, leaving Johnny an orphan. Craig and his wife took pity on Johnny and adopted him into their family. Johnny and Roxanne, Craig’s daughter, grew very close and became inseparable. Eventually Crash developed cancer and began to deteriorate rapidly. Johnny, seeking not to lose another father figure, turned to the occult. Johnny found a spell that would allow him to summon Satan himself, but in reality it summoned the arch-demon Mephistocles “Mephisto”. Mephisto cured Crash’s cancer, though Crash died immediately after performing a stunt. When Mephisto came to collect Johnny’s soul, he was driven away by Roxanne and her love for Johnny. Johnny eventually would turn into the Ghost Rider after being bonded with the demon Zarathos. Johnny changes every night into the Ghost Rider and would hunt evil wherever he saw it, damning the evil doers to the depths of Hell.

Why Ghost Rider?

Ghost Rider is in the top 5 for one reason, just because your powers come from a dark place, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to use them for. Johnny got his powers from being bonded with a demon after selling his soul to an arch-demon. Granted, he did some dark things, but he did them for the right reasons. He had watched his biological father die, he repressed the memory of his mother leaving with his siblings, and his adoptive father was dying of cancer; he was done losing people and would do whatever he could to stop that from happening. Despite his efforts, Crash died and Johnny nearly lost his soul.  It was Roxanne’s love for him that ended up saving his life and helping to forge the Ghost Rider into the hero he was. Traditionally, the Ghost Rider is a mindless bounty hunter in the employ of the Devil to track down problematic individuals and send their souls to Hell. Due to Johnny retaining his soul, he was able to battle the demon he was bonded with and this allowed him to retain control over himself. Not only is Johnny one of the best Anti-heroes in all of Marvel comics, but he’s also one of the most powerful having battled World War Hulk to a standstill, plus… he just looks badass!

#4 – Spider-Man

Spider-MAn

Peter Benjamin Parker was born in Queens to CIA operatives Richard and Mary Parker. Peter was orphaned at a young age when the Red Skull had an operative named “The Finisher” murder Richard and Mary in a plane crash while also framing them for treason. Peter went to live with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben who raised him for most of his life. Peter became an honours student in science at his high school, but was bullied by the high school start football player Eugene “Flash” Thompson. One day while on a school field trip, Peter was bitten by a spider that had been irradiated by a particle accelerator canon. This spider bite, changed Peter’s DNA giving him spider-like powers. He used these powers to fight anonymously in an underground wrestling ring to earn some extra money. One night after he got stiffed on his money, Peter let a thief who had stolen money from the wrestling boss go free stating that it wasn’t his problem. For several days Peter continued to wrestle under the alias of Spider-Man, until he arrived home to find his Uncle Ben had been murdered and the police had cornered the assailant in a warehouse. Peter rushed there using his new powers to discover the man who had murdered his uncle was the thief he had let go. Peter vowed from that day on, to use his abilities to help people and become the hero he knew he could be.

Why Spider-Man?

Peter Parker represents the inner child that we all have still inside of us. He is the youngest Avenger and he believes in the good of people. Like the Flash, Peter has a way of inspiring others to be the best version of themselves. When Peter’s world came crashing down after his uncle’s murder, he took the pain and sadness he felt and used it to turn himself into a hero. He wasn’t perfect, by far. He stumbled, he fell, but once he got the hang of things he became one of the greatest heroes of all time. In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Peter Parker Spider-Man is regarded as the greatest hero the world ever had, and that’s taking into account Captain America and Iron Man and Thor. Mostly Peter is on this list because of the fact that he never quits and despite being a kid with amazing spider powers, he still suffers all the problems regular teens and 20 something do: being broke, having a crush, failing a class, etc.. His costume is also one of the most iconic suits in all of comics.One of the main reasons peter wears a mask, as quoted by Stan Lee, was so his opponents couldn’t see when he was afraid. Peter embodies the statement of “With great power, comes great responsibility”, he constantly tries to be the man his uncle knew he would be and he tries to help everyone as best he can. Peter is the ultimate good guy, and his comic history has shown that when everything is going to crap, you can always count on Spider-Man to lighten to mood and provide you hope.

#3 – Deadpool

Wade

Wade Winston Wilson was born to his parents in Canada, but not much is known of his childhood. Wade himself has stated three different stories for how he grew up, all that is clear is that he left his home at a young age and enlisted in the armed forces. He enlisted in the American army where he was sent to Special Operations training camp, which he failed out of due to his inability to follow orders he believed conflicted with his moral code. He also spent some time working for the CIA on a blacklist team carrying out missions all over the world. Wade was then diagnosed with over 30 inoperable cancerous tumors. He declined chemo not wanting to prolong his suffering and moved back to Canada. When he returned to Canada he was contacted by Department K, a secret branch of the Canadian government, and asked to join the Weapon X project. It was in this project that Wade received his healing factor courtesy of fellow Department K agent, Wolverine. Dr. Killbrew and his assistant Ajax, tortured Wade and several other “rejects” from various superhero programs placing them in a “Deadpool” the bet on when they would die. Wade eventually broke out of the center with his powers fully manifested and began his life as a mercenary for hire taking the code name of Deadpool.

Why Deadpool?

Deadpool is one of my favourite heroes for two reasons… one, his humour is hilarious, and two, he’s Canadian! Not only is he Canadian, but he is also played PERFECTLY by Ryan Reynolds. Those two points aside, Wade is so high on this list because of a couple of things. The first is his unwavering moral code, as shown in X-Force. When the team was tasked with killing Apocalypse, nobody batted an eye; when Apocalypse was reincarnated into the body of an 8 year old boy named Evan, Wade said no. Wade admits that he isn’t a hero, knows that he can never measure up to people like Captain America or Spider-Man but he absolutely refuses to kill a kid, no matter the cost. Wade did not have a very good childhood, and he is a firm believer that your destiny is not decided for you, that your actions dictate who you are. He brought this out in this comic run when because of his belief in Evan, Evan stayed on the good path and even ended up going to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. He also showed this quality in Deadpool 2 with Russel (Firefist). Cable was convinced Russel would go bad and nothing could change it, but Wade believed that if he could help  Russell to learn to forgive and let Karma take it’s course he could change the future, and Wade was right. Another and perhaps the actual top reason he’s so high on this list is because despite everything he’s done, deep down he’s a good person. He’s not a hero, far from it; but, he is a good person who wants to do the right thing. Captain America has been Wade’s idol ever since he was a young boy, no matter what he did he wanted to be like his hero and still strives to earn Captain America’s trust to this day. Not only is Deadpool a good person deep down, but his antics are just awesome!

#2 – Moon Knight

Moon_Knight_Head

Marc Spector was  born in Chicago Illinois to his Rabbi father and deeply Jewish mother. Marc did not have the best childhood. He would constantly get into fights to which his father was not happy with and took it upon himself to discipline Marc as he saw fit. The tension between Marc and his father got so bad that at the young age of 16 Marc left home, lied about his age and enlisted in the Marines. He fought through several campaigns with the Marines before being recruited into a CIA Blacklist team. After spending several years working for the CIA, Spector left and began a life as a mercenary. It was during his mercenary career he met lifelong friend Jean Paul “Frenchie” Duchamp. While working as a mercenary his boss heard of riches in an Egyptian tomb and attacked the dig site taking everyone hostage. Marc didn’t agree with his actions and challenged him to one on one combat. Marc lost the fight. Bushman (his boss) made off with all the riches and left Marc and the excavation team to die in the desert. The diggers took Marc’s body to the base of the statue of Khonshu where Marc died. As he was crossing to the other side, the Egyptian God Khonshu offered Marc a second chance at life if he became the moon God’s Avatar on the earth. Marc accepted the God’s offer and woke up as the Moon’s Knight. He returned to the USA where he invested his earnings he had amassed during his mercenary career garnering himself quite the substantial fortune. Marc adopted several identities to help keep his true identity a secret, Steven Grant billionaire entrepreneur, and Jake Lockley NY cab driver. This strain on his already fragile mind as well as the influence from Khonshu caused Marc to have a mental break and develop Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder. Marc condition is so advanced that his mind will seamlessly switch to whichever persona/identity is best suited for the task at hand.

Why Moon Knight?

Again, like Daredevil, Moon Knight is a hero with a disability. While Daredevil’s disability is obvious as he can’t see with his eyes, Moon Knight’s is inside of his mind and that’s something you don’t see a lot in comics; a hero who battles with their own psyche as much as with villains. The thing that interests me about Moon Knight so much is that he himself knows there’s something wrong but he isn’t sure what it is. He has all of these identities in his mind for different purposes but he doesn’t see anything wrong when he just flips between one or the other. He knows that he has D.I.D/M.P.D. but he has refused to seek treatment as it doesn’t impair his daily life. One thing that really makes Moon Knight pop as a favourite is that he doesn’t try to hide. Most heroes that operate at night time wear colours that can blend into the darkness of their surroundings, not Moon Knight, he wears white. When he was asked about it he said that he “wants them (bad guys) to see him coming because when they see white, their hands shake so bad they couldn’t hit the moon.” Mostly, the thing that makes Moon Knight top in my books is his brutality. Being a heavyweight boxer in the Marines and proficient with most firearms and martial arts weapons, he has no shortage of butt kicking gear. Not only does he have no shortage of gear, but during the Civil War event he also went a little… overboard. While most the heroes were concentrated on stopping each other, Marc let his inner animal out on the crooks and villains of his city. He would viciously beat them to “mark his territory” and anyone he took down, he would brand with a crescent moon on their forehead. Not a nice brand like Batman from B vs. S, no, he would carve the crescent into their forehead… marking them as someone that is on his “list” and ruining their criminal reputations. Moon Knight also understands, like some of the other on this list, that while you should try and save everyone, some people need to be stopped permanently for the greater good.

#1 – Batman

3992118-3428764860-30774

Everybody knows Batman’s story, but for those who might need a refresher….

Bruce Wayne was born into the Wayne family and was set to inherit his family’s company from his father when the time came. When he was 8 years old, Bruce Wayne, and his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, left the monarch theatre after a showing the the Mark of Zorro late at night. To save time, they decided to cut down an alley (Park Row), Joe Chill was waiting in that alley and held the Waynes up for Thomas’ wallet and Martha’s pearl necklace. Chill ended up shooting Thomas and Martha dead in the alley and fleeing into the night leaving Bruce to watch over his dead parents until help arrived. Bruce refused to believe it was a random act of violence and spent the next several years looking for some conspiracy that would explain his parents hadn’t died for nothing. When no conspiracy could be found, Bruce resolved that his own fear was a contributing factor in his parents death and resolved to never be afraid again. He traveled the world educating himself in every science and martial art known to man as well as becoming extremely proficient in detective skills. He was gone for over 8 years on his quest for knowledge. When he returned to Gotham he crafted the identity of the Batman, a symbol who could use fear to strike at the criminals in his City to make sure that crime did not go unpunished. Bruce utilized the Batman to combat threats both big and small in his City to ensure that no other child’s parents were taken by a random act of violence.

Why Batman?

It’s no secret that I love Batman and for a myriad of reasons, but the most prevalent one is that he’s just a man. In a world of literal Gods, superpowered aliens, demons from other dimensions and Lords of magic, Batman hold his own.  Not only does he hold his own, he commands the respect of all these beings. Bruce Wayne represents the peak of human conditioning, not just physicality but emotionally and mentally. He is the representation of what a person could achieve with 100% determination to their goal and this something we can all admire. His unwavering dedication to his goal is inspirational and has made him a symbol the world over. Not only is he just a man, but he makes mistakes and those mistakes have consequences. His most obvious mistake is his allowing the Joker to stay alive. Granted, he can’t kill the Joker without becoming like the Joker and the Joker can’t kill him because then he will lose the only person who matters/can keep up with him, but this tit for tat that they have going on has real consequences for hundreds if not thousands of people. Red Hood/Jason Todd brought this fact up during the Under the Red Hood arc. He raises the point that if Batman had just killed the Joker for the things he did all those years ago, he wouldn’t have been beaten and murdered, Barbara wouldn’t be paralyzed, and graveyards of victims would still be alive. Bruce for all of his hate towards the Joker, says probably one of the most human things he could, he tells him that while he wants to kill Joker for what he’s done, if he does go there, he will never come back. This statement shows how fragile Batman’s moral code and sanity are. He has drawn a line for himself and sticks to that line, because knows that if he ever crossed it, even for someone who deserved it like the Joker, he would never be able to go back. He nearly crossed the line once during the Hush story line. In this arc, Joker had apparently murdered Bruce’s longtime friend Tommy Elliot. When Batman found the Joker over Tommy’s body holding a gun, he flew into a rage and began beating the Joker citing all the horrible things he did as his reason for finally ending him. The only thing that stopped him was Jim Gordon telling him that if he killed the Joker he was no better than him and that Jim would be forced to bring the Batman in for the murder. While Batman might “work alone” his allies are the ones who help to keep him straight, like Jim Gordon did in Hush; and ironically, they’re also the ones best equipped to reign him in or take him down if he ever goes rogue. With everything that Batman is, the most important piece is that he’s a symbol, a symbol for justice, a symbol for fear, and most importantly a symbol that anybody can be a hero.

 

There you have it, my Top 10 favourite Superheroes/Anti-Heroes! Agree or not, drop a comment! See you next time!

The New 52 – A Bad Footnote in DC Comics History

Many of those that are familiar with DC Comics know that their New 52 printing didn’t bode so well with fans for a myriad of reasons. While I had always been a fan of comics, I personally got into collecting them with the New 52 launch and amassed quite the collection before the Rebirth initiative. The New 52 began on August 31, 2011 and lasted until May 25, 2016 when DC Comics revamped their comic universe with the release of the Rebirth printing. Before we dive into specifics as to why the New 52 didn’t work for a lot of people, let’s look at how it came to be and what it did right.

HOW THE NEW 52 CAME TO PASS

So the New 52 was created in the wake of the Flashpoint Paradox and Infinite Crisis which served as the resets for the DC Comics Universe.

In Infinite Crisis (without getting bogged down in unnecessary details), Earth -3 Lex Luthor and Superboy Prime tried to recreate their respective universes, that had been destroyed, by smashing other universes together (just go with it). Every time that it didn’t work, the newly created universe was destroyed. It took the combined might of all the heroes of the Earth and the Green Lantern Corps to finally win; but by that time, the entire DC multiverse had been reduced to just 52 universes.

In The Flashpoint Paradox, Barry stopped an attack by the Rogues on the Flash Museum, only to be taunted by Reverse Flash that no matter how fast he was, he could never save the one person who mattered. Despite the counsel and warnings of the other heroes about what could happen, Barry ran back in time and saved his mother from getting murdered, which off set the timeline. Things get crazy: the Atlanteans and Amazons go to war, Bruce gets killed in Crime Alley causing his father to become Batman and his mother to become the Joker, Superman lands in Metropolis and is taken to a secret underground bunker, and Barry never gets his speedforce powers. Eventually the heroes figure out what went wrong and during the battle for the planet between Atlantis and the Amazons, they try to set things right. Barry eventually makes it back and rights the timeline which sets us to the beginning of the New 52.

WHAT IT DID RIGHT

When the New 52 was originally announced it was supposed to be the big push DC Comics needed to revitalize their stagnant sales. While the first few issues of each book were very well done, some of them were quite exemplary, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman is the best example. While the rest of the New 52 printing saw some measured success, Batman sales sky rocketed. The Justice League titles began with a great re-introduction to the classic team with Cyborg being a founding member. Geoff Johns, the Creative Director of DC Comics, personally had a hand in crafting the excellent Justice League run as well as notable input on several other works being produced under the New 52 banner.

The thing that really struck me as something that was done well was the age of the heroes. The New 52 started with their numbering back at issue 1, which gave DC the opportunity to rejuvenate the heroes and make them younger. When the stories all begin, we are shown much younger and uncertain versions of our heroes as they navigate their universe. Probably one of the best things, is that when Justice League begins, none of them know who each other are. There is quite a few memorable panels from the first few issues of Justice League where the heroes are learning who each other are and coming together to work as the team the world needs.

Batman meets GL

It also helped to establish these heroes as inexperienced and without the prejudices they have been given after their decades long runs in previous printings. It brought a naivety to the heroes that hasn’t been seen in some time. It also helped to show some important interactions from a different light. It allowed for a romance to blossom between Superman and Wonder Woman which provided an interesting dynamic to later issues of Justice League when the shit hit the fan. One of the best things that it did right (in my opinion) was Forever Evil.

Forever Evil is the title given to an event that took place after Justice League issue #23 following the conclusion of the Trinity War. Pandora’s box, which was being fought over in the Trinity War, was revealed to actually be a boom tube device that opened a portal to the Earth-3 (evil Justice League Universe) which allowed the Crime Syndicate through. When the Crime Syndicate defeats the Justice League, the fate of the world falls on Lex Luthor and some other villains to stop the Crime Syndicate and save the Justice League.  This event was for me one of the best parts of the entire New 52 as it showed that some of the villains are not quite as evil as once thought. The standout characters are obviously Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, and Black Adam; with Sinestro providing some great input as well.

Forever Evil

Endgame, Death of the Family Court of Owls. Nothing else needs to be said except that those are some of THE BEST Batman stories to come out in the past 20 years. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo took, arguably DC Comics most popular character, and gave him  a run worthy of his reputation. It has everything superheroic you’re looking for as well as some great moments that firmly anchor the Dark Knight as a flawed human.

WHAT IT DID WRONG

It’s no secret that the New 52 was a miss for a lot of fans. Due to some terrible re-designs and some massive changes to characters traits some of the properties didn’t fare so well under the new publishing. Lobo was a big sore spot for a lot of people. Gone was the massive muscular bounty hunter we had known for years and in was a scrawny emo looking character that looked like he could be blown over by a medium sized wind. Here’s what I mean…

Lobo

The second thing that it did wrong was the creation of 2 different Justice Leagues, the original Justice League and the Justice League of America. The main League consisted of the core members (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman & Cyborg); however the Justice League of America was created by Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor to counteract the Justice League should they ever “go rogue”. Each member of the JLA was chosen specifically to counteract a member of the main league’s power set.  This unnecessary addition of a second league was meant only to create conflict with the main League and set up the Trinity War event. While I did enjoy the Trinity War, the entire thing could’ve been streamlined by adding the JLA members to the League itself, and having the split come that way. The explanation that is given in the run as to why the League has closed off membership is because apparently as Batman put it ” We tried that once.. it ended very badly”.

martian-manhunter-vs-the-justice-league

As I said, this unnecessary division of the League and the formation of the JLA was an interesting take but ultimately it fell in on itself and was nowhere near as successful with readers as originally thought.

3 Jokers. Yes, 3. This revelation came from the Darkseid War Part II when Batman sat on the Mobius Chair and became the God of Knowledge (yes, the literal embodiment of knowledge in the DC universe). He wanted to test the chair to see how effective it was and asked it who killed his parents, when he got the right answer he then asked it what is the Joker’s real name. We later find out that the chair told him there are three different Jokers. This revelation comes shortly after Endgame where we are led to believe that the Joker is one of the immortal beings on the planet. While some fans (like myself) thought it was a cool spin and added some answers to the Joker’s varying abilities over the years; there were plenty, who thought this took away from the essence of the character. The Joker isn’t supposed to have a backstory or a name, he’s just supposed to be the eventual ying to Batman’s Yang. As the heroes rise to prominence there will always be someone to challenge them at every fiber of their being, this is what the Joker represents. Making him into three different people takes away from his overall characterization and his accomplishments in the comics.

God of KNowledge

3 Jokers

While some collector’s didn’t mind, one of the big issues with the New 52 was the restarting of the numbering for each individual issue. While I didn’t find this an issue (as someone who just got into comics at that time) long time collectors did find it to be irksome.

THE FUTURE OF DC COMICS

It’s not secret that DC Comics is crushing Marvel in sales; however, NOBODY can compete with the gargantuan franchise that is the MCU. DC Entertainment has gone through a major revamp since the critical failure of Justice League and is doubling down on creative efforts to maintain the DCEU continuity as a whole. That being said, the future of DC Comics is easy to see as it’s been in publication for quite some time now, RebirthRebirth was the complete re-vamp of all DC Comic runs to coincide with the original numbering. reverting back to their pre-Flashpoint characterizations and numberings allowed Action Comics to finally reach it’s 1000th issue just a few months ago. It also served to put the original classic characters back in the driver’s seat for some heroes while keeping some of the fan favourites of recent years, Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, and Wally West as Flash are prime examples.

While Rebirth was a soft reboot of the comic continuity there were several aspects of the New 52 that remained, such as Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle and the Court of Owls in Gotham City.

Most of the Rebirth stories thus far have proven to be quite good, some (like with the New 52) have really knocked it out of the park, Tom King’s run with Batman, James Tynion IV’s run with Detective Comics, and Ben Percy’s run with Green Arrow are some of my favourites. Rebirth has firmly locked DC Comics in as the top seller from the major companies, even prompting Marvel to release their Legacy imprint, which functioned much the same was as Rebirth did for DC.

Legacy

As for right now, DC doesn’t seem to have much to worry about with their comic sales and have begun to actually incorporate the New 52 into their Rebirth arc. The event titled Doomsday Clock brings the Watchmen into the main DC continuity and postulates that the entirety of the New 52 was created and overseen by Dr. Manhattan himself. I’m waiting for the run to finish so that I can read it myself, but with Geoff Johns headlining the event, I have faith that it will be as amazing as his Justice League run in what has been coined by some as “DC’s Bad Footnote”.

250px-Dooomsday_clock_01variant

Most Underrated Heroes Vol. 9 – Wolverine

This installment of underrated heroes may seem to be a little ironic considering I am going to be talking about probably THE most popular member of the X-Men, Wolverine. Wolverine was already a popular character in Marvel comics for decades before Hugh Jackman brought him to the silver screen with his iconic portrayal. While there have been 5 different Batman actors, 3 Spider-Man, 2 Hulk, 2 Captain America and 2 Superman… there has only ever been 1 Wolverine. While Jackman’s run with the character finally came to an end last year with James Mangold’s Logan, his run in the comics recently got revived to bring back the classic character. Following the iconic story arc of The Death of Wolverine, Logan was put on ice while his cloned daughter, Laura Kinney (X-23), took the mantle over for several years.  Logan’s history has spanned decades from his first inclusion in Marvel Comics in The Incredible Hulk #180 from October 1974 to his recent return in 2017.

wolverine-defends-superior-spider-man-from-the-avengers

Let’s dive into everyone’s favourite Canadian…

*This is a brief overview of the important aspects of his history, not a complete recount*

HISTORY

Wolverine was born James Howlett in Northern Alberta Canada (rumoured to be Cold Lake) in the late 1880’s to wealthy landowners John and Elizabeth Howlett. He was born very small and frail, often getting sick for extended periods of time. During his early years, it is revealed that his father is not John Howlett as he thought, but actually Thomas Logan, the groundskeeper of the Howlett Estate. One day after Thomas’ older son, Dog, attempted to rape James’ young friend Rose O’Hara, James told his father John Howlett what had happened getting Dog in trouble. In retaliation for James telling Mr. Howlett what had happened, Dog murdered Jame’s puppy which resulted in him and his father being expelled from the Howlett grounds. Thomas returned later that night with Dog in tow, in order to take his former lover, Elizabeth Howlett, away with him. There was a scuffle and Thomas shot John in the head with his shotgun. James, who had entered the room to see what the commotion was, witnessed his father’s murder and his mutation manifested. He sprouted three bone claws out of each hand and attacked the Logan’s with the ferocity of a wild animal. After killing Thomas Logan  and scarring Dog’s face, Elizabeth suffered a mental break and drove James away before taking her own life with the shotgun.

Rose and James fled the estate and hid in a shed where Jame’s powers continued to manifest even more granting him his heightened senses and healing factor. Rose and James attempted to return to James’ grandfather for help but were turned away and told to get on a train and leave town. With his newly discovered powers and the trauma he suffered, Jame buried the memories of that night under deep layers of psychosis and became a partial amnesiac. James and Rose ended up working in a stone quarry in British Columbia under the guise of cousins to avoid suspicion, it was also during this time that James adopted the name of Logan, to hide his true identity. As the months wore on James became more and more ferocious and his senses continued to heighten until they reached the superhuman level he would continue with for decades. As he grew up, he earned the respect of the other miners because of his work and his ethics but as he grew older he became to resemble Thomas Logan in appearance rather than his birth father, proving that John Howlett was not his father.

Wolverine

As he continued to work in the quarry he became a favourite of the foreman, Smitty, who took a liking to Logan for his work ethic and efficiency. This brought him into conflict with another miner, Cookie, who had been the foreman’s favourite before Logan arrived. Cookie saw to make things difficult for Logan by bullying him, cutting his and Rose’s rations and even shortening a fuse on an explosive Logan was using resulting in the deaths of five men. Logan took this in stride and hunted deer in the woods, sharing the rest with the neighbours making him even more popular than Cookie. Finally, during a cage match night, Cookie fought Logan. It was during this fight that Logan earned the name “The Wolverine” due to his ferocity while fighting. Rose and Smitty became engaged and Logan, who had developed feelings for Rose, put his feelings aside for Rose’s happiness.

Old Man Howlett (Logan’s grandfather) hired Dog to track and find Rose and James so he could reconcile with them on his deathbed. Dog tracked Logan to the small town outside of the Quarry and fought him in the street. Besides being the physically stronger and larger combatant, Dog was defeated by Logan. As Logan unsheathed his claws to kill Dog and end the memory of his past, Rose jumped between them and was killed by accident. Logan fled the town and ended up living with a pack of wolves for several years.

In 1907, Logan was away hunting for his pack when a genetically modified polar bear was released into the Southern Canadian wilderness by Nathaniel Essex (Mr. Sinister). The bear overwhelmed Logan’s pack, killing them all and feasting on their bodies. When Logan returned, he went to battle with the bear and emerged victorious.  A circus promoter and his trackers eventually captured Logan and promoted him as “the missing link between man and beast” during their circus. While one of the trackers, Clara, believed Logan had a soul, Logan refused to acknowledge her and accepted his new life as penance for killing Rose and failing his pack. Eventually Nathaniel Essex convinced the Circus promoter to being Logan to his lab so he could authenticate “the specimen”. Once at the lab, Essex killed the promoter and began experimenting on Logan to test his healing factor. The two trackers Clara and her brother Saul, eventually helped Logan escape and Clara began teaching him to be a human again. Saul grew jealous of their bond and sold their location to Essex. Clara is apparently killed in the attack and Logan allies with Saul to take down Essex’s men. It is revealed that Clara and Saul are mutants with their own healing factors and that Clara wasn’t dead but had learned of Saul’s betrayal. Enraged at Saul, Logan drowned him in a vat of chemicals. Clara rejected Logan saying ” the man inside wasn’t worth as much as an animal” and left him alone. It is later revealed that Clara’s last named was Creed and she informed her older brother Victor Creed (Sabertooth) of what Logan had done.

wolverine X force

Logan moved around North America working odd jobs and eventually made his way to the fruit orchards in California. It was here that he had a brief romance with a Mexican migrant worker. They made love in a fruit orchard before she left, never revealing her name and never seeing Logan again.

Logan had many romances with many women and fathered a lot of children. One of which, Romulus, the immortal mastermind of the Lupine, began to erase and alter Logan’s memories with his telepathic powers to make him suitable for Romulus’ needs. As he traveled the world, Logan came into contact with the Hand and Sabertooth. He fought Sabertooth and believed to have killed him unaware of Sabertooth’s healing factor. Logan then returned to Canada and fell in love with a Blackfoot native woman named Silver Fox. On his birthday, under Romulus’ orders, Sabertooth attacked and raped Silver Fox leaving her for dead. Logan confronted Sabertooth at the local bar and attacked him. Logan was beaten and in his rage reverted to his mindless feral state. Sabertooth convinced Logan that the local people didn’t want him there and thus hired him to kill Silver Fox because “she was the only thing keeping him there”. Logan proceeded to murder the whole down before he snapped out of his rage and realized what he had done.

In 1914, WWI had broken out in Europe, and Logan enlisted in the Canadian Army. He was assigned to the Devil’s Brigade, a special forces unit often used by Romulus. Logan fought and defeated a man named Lazaer, on the battlefield of Ypres in 1915. Lazaer was actually the Angel of Death, Azrael, who thought he had killed Logan by stabbing him in the chest with his sword before Logan turned the table stabbing Lazaer with the sword he pulled out of his chest. Logan was launched into a depression as ‘punishment’ for denying the natural order of things with his healing factor. For several years after the war, Logan roamed the earth as he saw fit and under the unknown guidance of Romulus. He partook in conflicts throughout the Middle East and Asia before returning to Canada before WWII.

In 1939 when WWII engulfed Europe, Logan once again enlisted in the Devil’s Brigade under his former commander Silas Burr. Burr was working for Romulus during both World Wars to influence Logan to Romulus’ will. Unaware of Burr’s connection to Romulus, Logan joined his company again and partook in D-Day and the liberation of the Netherlands. He aided Captain America during several mission to disrupt an alliance between Hydra and the Hand, joined Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos, and stopped a young Black Widow from killing the Jonin (Leader of the Hand). In 1942 Logan was captured by Japanese forces and taken to a prison camp outside of Nagasaki. Logan and another soldier escaped the camp and Logan fell in love with a Japanese woman named Atsuko. Lt. Warren (the other soldier Logan escaped with) attacked him and murdered Atsuko, as Logan and Warren fought, the atomic bomb was dropped leaving Logan as the only survivor.

Following the war, Logan took refuge in Japan and engaged in Bando Saburo, in order to learn to be a man again and not the animal he had been before. He fell in love and married Itsu Akihiro, the two of them conceived a child unknown to Logan. After being banned form the village for accidentally stabbing someone, Logan returned to his house to find his wife murdered by Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier). While Bucky was working for the USSR, Romulus had ordered him to kill Itsu and remove the unborn child from her womb. The Child was given to a Japanese family and raised without Logan knowing. The child was named Akihiro but eventually took the name Daken and fell to Romulus’ manipulations. Logan believing his child had died, moved back to the United States for a few years before returning to Canada for the Weapon X program.

Wolverine Avengers

During the Weapon X program, Logan was experimented on by several doctors under the leadership of Dr. Abraham Cornelius, and had Adamantium (an indestructible metal) grafted to his skeleton; it also coated his bone claws with the metal making them razor sharp adamantium claws. To test his efficiency in combat, he was released on the nearby town of Roanoke with brutal efficiency. In order to turn him into a mindless killing machine Logan was hypnotized and told he was nothing but a mindless killing machine and that being a man disgusted him; eventually, Logan broke free of this programming and escaped the facility with the help of the Winter Soldier. On his way out of the facility he slaughtered nearly everyone in the complex having once again reverted to his animalistic berserker state. He wandered for many months potentially years before he was discovered by James Hudson ( to whom he was related on his mother’s side), founder of Department H. He was brought back to sanity and joined Department H, a superhuman division of the Canadian government. He worked for years on spy missions and assassinations before being set to take control of Alpha Flight (the Canadian Government’s superhuman team). Wolverine fought the Hulk and was then approached by Charles Xavier and asked to help him rescue the X-Men from an island being named Krakoa. During the flight to Krakoa, Romulus instructed Wolverine via telepathic link to assassinate Charles Xavier, before he could finish the task, Xavier cleansed Romulus’ control of Wolverine’s mind leaving him 100% in control of himself for the first time in a long time.  Wolverine saved the X-Men and decided to stay on with the team, formerly resigning from Department H and the Alpha Flight.

Logan remained on the X-Men for years going through many events and even losing his healing factor until his death in 2014 during the event titled The Death of Wolverine.

DEATH

The Death of Wolverine began when he met with Mr. Fantastic. Reed assured him that while he would be able to reactivate Logan’s healing factor it would take him time and not to fight while he did it as using his claws could kill him. Logan promised not to use his claws and departed from the Baxter Building to return to Canada. When he returned to British Columbia, Logan was attacked by AIM agents, mercs and ninjas all trying to collect a bounty that had been placed on his head. The various bounty hunters mostly took each other out with Wolverine mopping up the rest. He left a note with a local bartender that if anyone is looking for him they could find him on the island where he has fought the other bounty hunters. Nuke and several of his mercs showed up to collect the bounty and Wolverine but failed in their attempt. After dispatching the underlings it was just Nuke and Logan left for a final fight. When Nuke got the upper hand, Logan headbutted him with his adamantium skull until Nuke gave in. Wolverine then interrogated Nuke and found out the bounty was for him to be brought in alive had been placed on his head by Viper, the Queen of Madripoor, Logan’s ex wife and former lover.

Wolverine disguised himself as an arms dealer and traveled to Madripoor to get an audience with Viper to find out why she put the bounty on him. When they met, Viper saw through his disguise right away and ordered her guards to take him down. Logan defeated the guards with ease and then demanded an answer as to why she had put the bounty on him. Viper explained that she had put the contract out for a third party and told him she would reveal the name if he could beat her “pet”, a chained up Sabertooth. Logan and Sabertooth fought with Sabertooth landing a lucky slash on Logans eye severely injuring it in the process. Lady Deathstrike showed up and nearly killed Sabertooth before Logan stopped her. When he found out the bounty wasn’t just on him but anyone from the Weapon X program, Kitty Pryde arrived and phased her hand through Lady Deathstrike’s chest, threatening to kill her. As Logan passed out from his wounds, Kitty let Lady Deathstrike go injected him a regen serum that healed his injuries and brought him back to fighting strength.

Wolverine 4

Wolverine and Kitty then travel to Japan under the instruction of Deathstrike who had mentioned Lord Ogun had taken up the contract. Upon arrival in Japan, Logan is beset upon by Kitty who was under the control of Lord Ogun. Kitty/Ogun fought Logan and ended up throwing Logan through a house during the fight. This allowed Logan the time to don some samurai armour and grab a sword to even up the fight. Eventually Ogun was defeated by Logan taunting him and Kitty was released from his control. After Kitty regained consciousness  she told Logan that she heard the name of the man who put the contract on him, Abraham Cornelius. Logan tracked Ogun to a factory complex where he was melting the body of Cyber (Silas Burr) because Cornelius was paying a hefty price for his adamantium skin. Ogun offered to provide Logan with the location of Dr. Cornelius and more regen serum if Logan left him alone. Logan responded saying he was done living forever and to tell Cornelius he was coming. Ogun revealed the location of Cornelius’ lab in Paradise Valley Nevada, and Logan set off to confront the doctor.

When Logan arrived at the laboratory complex, he used improvised fake claws to kill the guards and stormed the lab. When he entered the lab proper, he was greeted with Cornelius experimenting on innocent people claiming he was “getting it right”. Logan demanded to know why he was doing this and Cornelius responded with ” I want to be known for more than making a killer unkillable”. Cornelius stated that his creations were perfect and all he needed was Logan’s healing factor to make them unstoppable. Logan then cut his hand with a knife showing Cornelius that he had lost his healing factor. Cornelius ordered one of his test subjects, Sharp, to kill Logan while he taunted him from behind protective glass. During the fight with Sharp, Logan tricked him into breaking the protective barrier between him and Cornelius before knocking him out and crushing his armour. In fear of his life, Cornelius activated the Adamantium bonding process on the rest of the patients and attempted to flee the facility. In a desperate attempt to save the other patients Logan unsheathed his claws and sliced the leads from the Adamantium vat to the patients, coating himself in molten Adamantium. He injected the patients with doses of the regen serum, which had been created by Dr. Cornelius to supplement Logan’s healing factor, before heading off after the doctor. Logan caught up to the doctor on the roof of the complex and stabbed him through the chest with his claws as he asked Cornelius “…what he ever did besides killing?” With Cornelius dead and the lab destroyed, along with all the research data, Logan knelt down on top of the complex in the sunset and contemplated his life as the Adamantium hardened before he finally died of suffocation.

RESURRECTION

In Marvel Legacy #1, Logan is somehow resurrected and broken out of his Adamantium coffin. It is unclear how this happened, and even Logan himself is unsure. It is revealed that he is also the keeper of the Space Stone;which he defends from Loki, Frost Giants, and Ultron infected aliens.

Wolverine and Space Stone

POWERS & ABILITIES

Almost everyone on the planet knows Wolverine’s powers and abilities, but some people might not know all of them…

  • Regenerative Healing Factor – Capable of healing almost all damage done in mere seconds
  • Contaminant Immunity – Immunity from almost all poisons, sicknesses, diseases, medicines and alcohol
  • Decelerated Aging – Wolverine is Well over a hundred years old but retains the appearance and physicality of someone in their mid 20’s
  • Telepathic Resistance
  • Superhuman Strength – able to hold the weight of a dozen men with a single arm and lift a 955lb bear over his head and throw it
  • Superhuman Speed – Able to move at speeds capable of blitzing oppenents before they can pull their trigger fingers, able to keep up in a fight with Spider-Man
  • Superhuman Durability – Due to his healing factor and Adamantium skeleton he is virtually indestructible
  • Superhuman Stamina – Due to his healing factor he is able to fight at peak performance for over 24 hours straight, able to hold his breath for extended periods of time for combat underwater
  • Superhuman Reflexes – On par with Captain America, able to dodge bullet fire at close range, able to dodge Cyclops’ optic blasts with ease
  • Superhuman Agility – Able to dodge bullets and jump over 30ft in the air with a running start
  • Insulated Weather Adaptation – Immunity to climate and weather conditions, able to sleep nude in arctic temperatures with no damage
  • Animal Empathy – Able to sense basic emotions of animals and communicate with them
  • Superhuman Acute Senses – able to see incredibly great distances with clarity, perfect nightvision, enhanced hearing, incredible sense of smell akin to that of a wolf, able to track enemies over great distances by scent alone, able to detect lies being told by someone from the chemical change in their scent when lying
  • Retractable Bone Claws – 3, foot long retractable claws on each hand that extend through the skin between his knuckles. Dense enough to cut through woods, metals and some rock. Coated with Adamantium during his time in the Weapon X program to made them virtually indestructible.
  • Adamantium Poisoning Immunity – Due to the fact that Adamantium is a heavy metal, anyone using it without a healing factor will suffer from heavy metal poisoning.

In addition to his powers Wolverine is also: a Master Tactician, Master Martial Artist, Expert Marksman, Master Swordsman, Expert Acrobat, Master of Advanced Covert Ops, Skilled Mechanic, and Multilingual ( fluent in English, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Cheyenne, Lakota, and Spanish. He is also proficient in French, German, Thai, Vietnamese, Farsi, and Portuguese)

Wolverine 2

His only weaknesses are: Sensory overload from his heightened senses, Decapitation or severe spinal damage inhibiting his brains ability to trigger his healing factor, Adamantium Allotropes, and Drowning.

WHY THEY’RE UNDERRATED

So Wolverine isn’t exactly that underrated in the classical sense, but when he is compared to literal Gods and beings with universal level power, he tends to be put on the back burner. Logan has seen his fair share of combat and use throughout his comic career.  During his most popular time in publication he was in January of 2009 where he appeared in 24 different issues of Marvel publications ranging from X-Men to Avengers and even Alpha Flight. The Death of Wolverine story line sold incredibly well and brought one of the most recognizable faces of Marvel comics to a close, at least for the time being.

Wolverine is one of the most popular characters in comics the world over. While Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man retain the top three spots, Wolverine would be at least number 5. He is by far the most popular X-Men character and I for one, really enjoy every time he’s included in the Avengers story arcs.

Mostly, Logan has shown time and time again that regardless of what the Joker from DC Comics says, it takes more than one bad day to turn the sanest man alive into a complete psychopath. I’m not saying Logan was a poster boy for pinnacle mental health his whole life, he definitely had lapses, but he always managed to bring himself back. Also, make no mistake Logan is definitely not opposed to killing but despite a few moments in his history, he didn’t enjoy doing it. In Punisher:War Zone from 2012 by Greg Rucka, Logan was shown the be sympathetic to Frank and his crusade. So much so, that when it came time for the final battle he was asked to sit out by Captain America. While Logan obeyed Cap, due to the respect Logan had for Steve, he did make a point of saying that sometimes the only way to stop bad people is to kill them.  Logan also starred alongside 2 of my favourite characters, Punisher and Ghost Rider, in a one off story called Hearts of Darkness. It’s a brutally violent comic that pits the three heroes against Blackheart and an army of demons to save the soul of a little girl.

Hugh Jackman did an amazing job bringing the character to the big screen, and helped to make fans out of some people who might otherwise have never read a comic book. While his over 6 foot frame was a little much, for most people it wasn’t a big issue. As I said before, while many other heroes got cast and re cast, there was only ever one Wolverine and that was because of how awesome a job Hugh Jackman did. He brought the tortured nature of ol ‘canucklehead as well as his ferocity to the screen in a manner that was completely unique.

Wolverine 1

I really do think Logan should get more solo adventures and team ups with various other heroes. While I did enjoy X-23 (Laura Kinney) as the Wolverine following the death of Logan, she never had quite the same air of badassery as Logan himself. Logan represented the level of animalistic nature in all of us that sometimes can come to the forefront if pushed enough. He dealt with his consequences and never tried to hide what he did from anybody. This got him into some hot water a couple of times, but you can’t always please everyone. I am very happy that he was brought back and that we are also keeping X-23 as Wolverine so that we can hopefully get a bit of a mentor mentoree relationship.

Most Underrated Heroes Vol. 7 – Blade

This week for my most underrated hero, I decided to focus on someone that is vastly underused and under-appreciated, Blade.

Blade first came to prominence during the late 90’s & early 2000’s when the Daywalker was given his own trilogy of movies starring Wesley Snipes in the titular role. Following the film trilogy, a Television series was ordered with Kirk Jones, in the role of Blade. The live action show lasted only one season before being cancelled by Spike TV (the network it aired on) due to budget limitations. a limited but successful anime show was also released starring Blade.

Snipes Blade

Blade has been a secondary character for most Marvel publications and has never really been given his time in the spotlight. His lack of use is definitely linked to the mature themes his comics are made with; focusing on a Dhampir who hunts vampires and their familiars, often with brutal efficiency.

Blade was created in July of 1973 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan as a supporting character in the title The Tomb of Dracula. 

HISTORY

Blade was born in 1929 in Madam Vanity’s Brothel in the Soho neighbourhood in London England. He was born Eric Brooks, to his mother Tara Brooks and (at the time) an unknown father. Due to complications experienced during labour, Tara was forced to seek medical help from a local doctor. The doctor is question was a vampire named Deacon Frost. Frost began to feed on Tara during her childbirth and as such passed along some enzymes to her unborn/being born child. Tara was killed in the process and before Frost could kill Eric, he was driven off by the other workers of the whorehouse. Eric was then gifted some vampiric abilities such as the ability to: sense supernatural creatures, immunity to complete vampirism, and an extremely prolonged lifespan.

Eric grew up calling Madam Vanity’s home, but one night while walking home, he stumbled upon an elderly man being attacked by three assailants. Despite only being 9 years old, Eric decided to help the elderly man and ran to his aide. It wasn’t until he had joined the fray that Eric realized the assailants were vampires. The elderly man used a silver sword which was hidden in his cane to dispatch the vampires and save them both. After the ordeal the old man introduced himself to Eric as Jamal Afari, a famed jazz musician and vampire hunter. Jamal moved into Madam Vanity’s and began to instruct Eric in vampire hunting, hand to hand combat and music. Blade became very proficient in hand to hand combat techniques and the use of edged and bladed weapons. He trained himself to Olympic level fitness and was soon proficient in dispatching most younger vampires by himself. He was soon given the nickname of “Blade” by his fellow vampire hunters and the vampires that he would hunt. After several successful solo hunts, he believed he was untouchable and that he could take down any vampire he wanted. In his hubris, he joined a street gang that was headed by a very powerful vampire named Lamia. The battle with Lamia was grueling and cost Blade his then girlfriend, Glory.

Blade_7

This  loss and the subsequent loss of Jamal to Dracula, hardened Blade’s resolve to rid the world of vampires. Jamal was resurrected by Dracula as a vampire, forcing Blade to battle and kill his mentor and father figure.  Blade then tracked Dracula across Europe and Asia even allying with several other hunters who called themselves Ogun Strong’s Vampire Hunters. Dracula murdered most of the hunters except for Blade and one other before they were able to stake him. In memory of one of his fallen comrades, Blade adopted the use of Teakwood daggers as his preferred weapon.

After tracking a resurrected Dracula to Paris, Blade crossed paths with Quincy Harker the son of Johnathan Harker, and his vampire hunters: Rachel Van Helsing (daughter of Abraham Van Helsing), Taj Nital, and Frank Drake. Reluctantly, Blade allied with these hunters on several occasions and even took on Dracula once more with their help. When Dracula defeated the hunters, Blade became aware that he was immune to a vampire’s bite. After coming to this realization, he decided to hunt down Deacon Frost alone and get revenge on him for the murder of his mother. During his solo career, Blade fought Dracula, Morbius the Living Vampire, and the Legion of the Dead.  While tracking Frost, his target fled to the United States and thus, Blade ventured into the underbelly of Boston, Massachusetts. It was during this solo career in the USA that Blade encountered notable Private Detective, Hanibal King. Blade allied with King due to a mutual hate for Deacon Frost (the man who had turned King into a vampire) and they hunted Frost together. Eventually they caught up to Frost and put him down for good, disbanding his supporters in the process.

King and Blade would go on to team up with previous Blade ally, Frank Drake and assist Dr. Strange in combating many threats, most notable the Darkholders.  They also assisted Dr. Strange in the casting of the Montesi Formula which was meant to destroy all Vampires on Earth. While the spell worked for a time it eventually dissipated and his former ally now turned vampire Taj Nital attacked him, forcing Blade to kill him. The vampire Lord Varnae rose to power, causing Blade and his allies to stop him. During the ensuing battle, King and Drake appeared to have been killed, before Blade killed Lord Varnae. Blade drifted around the USA hunting vampires and allying with various other hunters before he ended up in Louisiana, where he discovered an alive Hannibal King. The two once again, allied together to take down a resurrected Deacon Frost and Ulysses Soujourner, the latter of which had Morbius under his mental control.

Blade tracked Morbius to New York city where he allied with Spider-Manto take him down. During the battle, Blade was bitten by Morbius. Due to Morbius being a biological lab accident, his unique form of vampirism reacted with the enzymes in Blade’s blood. This reaction provided him with all the strengths of a vampire except sunlight did not affect him. It was after this that he was given the title “Daywalker”.

SHIELD attempted to use Blade’s blood to clone vampire operatives with UN support. The project was title Project: Silvereye and was shut down by Blade and a couple of allies. Blade and several hunters then all banded together to stop Dracula from becoming a God-like vampire Lord before Blade returned to New Orleans. Blade was once again forced to battle a resurrected Dracula (he just never dies) and put him down apparently, for good. After his most recent battle with Dracula it was revealed his father, Lucas Cross, was responsible for the latest Dracula resurrection. Cross kidnapped Blade and tried to force him to feed on a virgin girl to fulfill a prophecy. Blade bit his own hand off to get out of his restraints and rescued the girl before fleeing the SHIELD Helicarrier, Pericles V, where they were being held.  Blade would eventually begin the prophecy by feeding on a virgin girl after biting an evil vampire priest.

Blade was then hired by Dr. Doom to perform a task which involved travelling through time. During his adventure, Blade freed his captive father and fulfilled another part of the prophecy his father was trying to get him to start. Upon completion of the mission for Dr. Doom, Blade was given an elixir that Doom claimed would cure a Vampire of their need to feed but would also remove the blood lust hunters receive for killing vampires. Blade decided to give the elixir to Hannibal King and continue on his mission alone.

Blade Anime

During the first Civil War story line, Blade became allied with SHIELD which allowed him access to their technology. He used this tech to aid him in his hunt for vampires and even gave himself a “gun hand” to replace the one he was force to gnaw off. During his tenure as an operative of SHIELD, Blade fulfills a prophecy he believes will restore the souls to the extant vampires. He was wrong. In reality, the prophecy returned all vampires ever killed to life, bringing the world into peril. Following the conclusion of Civil War, Blade was recruited into Vanguard ( a superhuman black ops team run by the US government). Having been forced to return his “gun hand” after leaving SHIELD, Blade was given a cybernetic hand when he joined Vanguard. The team did not last for long before it was disbanded and Blade returned to England and joined MI-13, to combat supernatural threats. One of the members of his MI-13 team was named Spitfire, a vampire. When Blade tries to kill her, the two fight and eventually end up working together. After a mission together, Blade is trying to apologize for attempting to kill her, she kisses him; beginning a brief romance for the two of them.

Blade assisted the X-Men during the Curse of the Mutants arc when Dracula’s son and his vampires appeared in San Francisco and turned Jubilee. He butted heads with the mutant leader Cyclops, when the latter planned to resurrect Dracula to assist as well. Blade was quoted as saying “You don’t dig up Hitler to help get rid of Saddam Hussein”; however, Cyclops was not deterred and raised Dracula anyways. Blade was knocked unconscious by Cyclops when he tried to kill Dracula during the final battle. After the victory, Dracula returned Jubilee to the X-Men; however, Jubilee was still a vampire. When Blade went to “end her misery”, Wolverine stood between them and told Blade that it wasn’t going to happen. Blade left saying that sooner or later, someone is going to have to kill her and it will be harder for one of them to do it than it would be for him.

Not long after the end of the story arc, Blade was invited to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to teach a class on killing vampires.

Prior to the Secret Empire event, Blade actually joined the Mighty Avengers by using Hawkeye’s identity of Ronin. Once he was discovered, he was kicked off the team for his methods and violent tendencies.

During Secret Empire, Blade was trapped in New York when it was isolated by a Dark Force dome. Due to the fact that the sunlight can’t get through the dome, the vampires living in New York declared open season and began attacking the human population indiscriminately. Blade went to war with vampires inside the dome to protect the citizens of New York. Following the event, Blade’s whereabouts are unknown.

 

POWERS & ABILITIES

Blade is not fully human. Due to his mother being fed on by Deacon Frost while she was giving birth to him, Blade is a Dhampir. A Dhampir is the term given to an offspring of a male vampire and human woman. While this isn’t 100% the case, it makes the most sense given the mutation Blade underwent while being born.

Due to being a Dhampir and having been bitten by Morbius, the powers Blade presents are as follows:

  • Superhumanly Acute Sense – All of his sense are as acute as those of a regular vampire which is greater than those of Wolverine .
  • Superhuman Strength – Able to lift about 1 ton
  • Superhuman Speed
  • Superhuman Agility
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Regenerative Healing factor – Stated by Wolverine during Civil War to almost be on par with his own. Blade cannot regrow limbs or organs.
  •  Prolonged Lifespan – while not fully immortal he has not aged since his introduction in comics.
  • Immunity to Vampire Vulnerabilities – immune to sunlight, silver, garlic, and religious symbols such as crosses and crucifixes.

In addition to his Powers listed above, Blade also has the following accolades:

  • Master Martial Artist
  • Expert Marksman
  • Expert Swordsman
  • Weapon Proficiency – Proficient with every form of weaponry known to man
  • Multi-lingual
  • Expert Driver
  • Sorcery Skills

In addition to all of his powers and abilities Blade is still plagued by one weakness, the “thirst” aka need to feed. In order to avoid having to feed on human, Blade has developed a serum that provides all the nutrients of blood without him having to attack someone. He keeps this serum on his person at all time. One dose is good for 24 hours of enhanced combat and he can ingest extra as needed to heal from severe wounds. If he is unable to take his serum he will become physically weaker and his self control will strain until he attacks someone to feed on them. Going without feeding or taking his serum for an extended time would prove fatal.

Blade_Marvel

Blade’s normal loadout consists of: Teakwood daggers, Adamantium Stakes, Kevlar body Armour, Automatic Sub-machine guns customized for hollow point garlic filled silver bullets, various UV weapons, garlic and silver injection weapons and his titanium forged acid etched sword.

 

WHY THEY’RE UNDERRATED

Blade is underrated because he brings an entire sub genre to the forefront, vampires. In the Marvel comics with time travelling villains, alien invasions, demons from another plane attacking cities and the bounty hunter of the devil himself riding around on a motorcycle… vampires seem to be left on the back burner. Not only does he include vampires, but he also includes all sorts of horror themed creatures like werewolves and ghosts that could also provide some awesome stories. The biggest factor that keeps Blade from joining the main Marvel heroes is the fact that his stories are very mature themed. I mean, a half vampire slaughtering full vamps as they feast on innocent people? Seems pretty mature themed to me.

I really think Blade is underrated just because a lot of people don’t know about him. Apart from the Wesley Snipes movies, most people probably didn’t know there was a television show or even an anime series dedicated to the character. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Blade movies; Snipes did an amazing job with them. I will confess that I have never seen the live action show, but I did watch the anime and it was pretty awesome.

If they included Blade in more publications or gave him his own run instead of relegating him to secondary character/ supporting character, it would really help to bring him into the mainstream. Blade has all the hallmarks of a great hero if given the chance. He is a half vampire with a drive to eradicate the species because of what they did to his mother. He fits in with the Avengers (powers-wise) and can hold his own against extremely powerful enemies like Lilith.

The mere fact that Blade hasn’t been included in more mainstream events is an issue. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that in a world saturated with white superheroes, he is one of the few prominent African American heroes. The first African American superhero we were given in mainstream media release, was Michael Jai White’s portrayal of Al Simmons “Spawn” in 1997. Blade was next with his first movie in 1998; then after the two subsequent Blade movies, it wasn’t until Hancock in 2008 we were given another African American hero. With the release of Black Panther last month, the world rallied behind the King of Wakanda and made it one of the best movie opening weekends of all time. There is definitely a call for more diverse heroes in mainstream culture and Blade would be a perfect example of a hero that already has an established career with doing well in media releases.

I know the release of the new Marvel Legends figures included the Defenders from the Netflix Marvel releases and… Blade! With Punisher season 2 beginning filming and Jessica Jones season 2 due out in a couple weeks, my fingers are crossed that maybe just maybe they’ll cross paths with the Daywalker himself.

Blade and Punisher