Previously in my uber-cynical breakdown of superheroes becoming horrible people, I looked at some of the paragons of the DC Universe. Now it’s time to take a look at the Marvel Universe.
Archive for Spider-Man
This week, I continued looking at some Hulked-Out Hero books and was sad I did. Basically, as part of World War Hulks, a bunch of Marvle heroes turned into Hulk-like beings. There were a few mini-series that were these Hulked-out superheroes slugging it out for no reason. They mostly revolve around jokes about how the Hulk’s speech patterns sound stupid.
The bad news is that this week’s reviews are about the weakest of the miniseries. Next week I’ll do Captain America versus Wolverine, which was actually pretty decent. Until then, take the rare moment to enjoy me giving level-headed criticism instead of acting like a chimp with poor impulse control.
Forty-eight combatants have been eliminated, and only sixteen remain. Let’s see who is capable of fending off one more foe in order to advance to the next bracket.
Round One: Vince and Jules versus Picard and Riker
Vince has unfortunately been surfing around YouTube, where he has found the atrocious “Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise” musical meme. (Am I going to link to it here? Hell no!) He’s been singing that all day, and it’s finally pissed Jules off beyond repair. By shouting really loud, Jules tears a hole in reality that allows him and his hitman buddy to go into the distant future and start shooting up the USS Enterprise. Picard issues an immediate red alert and has Counselor Troi try to read the emotions of the attackers. The sheer amount of rage emanating from Jules is enough to make Troi’s head explode, which send Commander Riker into a roaring rampage of angst as he throws himself in the fray to avenge the death of his lover. Riker, being the manly Kirk-wannabe of The Next Generation, fares fairly well, but is outmatched against the two goons, and the tide of battle starts to turn against him.
From the bridge, Picard eventually figures out what caused the two hitmen to attack the ship in the first place. He gets on the communications system and starts singing more irritating yet catchy tunes, which causes Vince to drop what he’s doing and sing along. Aggravated, Jules shoots Vince while Riker beats a hasty retreat. Once safely aboard the bridge, Picard and Riker order the saucer section of the Enterprise detached and issue a self-destruct command to the remainder. Jules is caught in the explosion, and his vaporized molecules get scattered across the dark emptiness of the universe. Picard then orders Riker to begin the long, tedious paperwork needed to secure yet another Enterprise for the next mission. Winner: Picard and Riker.
One of the oldest traditions in superhero comics is that the good guys don’t kill. There are exceptions out there, such as Wolverine, who is currently leading a child-killing death-squad in X-Force (okay, they only killed one child so far, and the repercussions are being handled pretty well) or the Punisher, whose body count is somewhere in the thousands. But in general, superheroes haven’t killed since the Silver Age or even before. But the question is, why? Certainly some villains (*cough*Joker*cough*) deserve their necks snapped. Why is it that these guys who dress up in pajamas and pursue vigilante justice don’t do what sometimes needs to be done?
In an attempt to answer that question, or at least look at how the code against killing developed, here’s a look at some of the more iconic superheroes and why they don’t kill.
Here we have the 32 winners from the first bracket, fighting to achieve more glory and move one step closer to the championship.
Round One: Gregory House and James Wilson versus Sam Gamgee and Frodo Baggins
I will not turn this round into one big gay joke. I will not turn this round into one big gay joke. I will not turn this round into one big gay joke.
House takes a look at the two hobbits and decides that it would be fun to whack them around the hospital parking lot with his cane. Wilson tries to argue that doing so is against everything ethical, but House counters with the fact that Wilson regularly supports his wildly dangerous and unethical behavior, not to mention the many times that he himself has outright broken the law and performed morally repugnant acts such as sleeping with one of his terminally ill patients, lying to law enforcement, and spiking his best friend’s coffee with antidepressants. In the end, Wilson is forced to admit that yeah, hitting some hobbits around like golf balls does sound kinda fun.
What they lack in stature, however, the hobbits make up for in spirit. Plus, they’ve been to Mount Doom and back, so they’re hardened by battle. Sam and Frodo double up on House first, who they correctly assume to be the alpha of the group, and target his knees. House isn’t exactly a guy who can move quickly, and once the hobbits get underneath the reach of his cane, the doctor is out. Once House is dealt with, Wilson immediately backpedals and starts claiming that he was on the hobbits’ side all along. Sam and Frodo don’t buy it. Sam goes after Wilson with an iron pot, and Frodo wields House’s own cane like an oversized quarterstaff as the two friends beat Wilson to within an inch of his life.
Then they go back to the Shire and make mad, passionate love to one another. Damn it…I almost made it through the whole round. Winner: Sam Gamgee and Frodo Baggins.
Comic book deaths are a punchline these days. A few years ago when Captain America died, no one expected the death to last more than two years, even though Marvel swore up and down that it would stick (sort of like how Spider-Man unmasking during Civil War was supposed to stick and not get retconned away thanks to a deal with the Devil). Despite the fact that a comic book death currently translates into little more than a cheap sales gimmick, there have still been some really good ones over the years. Even if they didn’t stick, they were chilling, touching, or otherwise hugely influential. What follows is my totally biased opinion of the best deaths comics has had to offer.
And so we begin the Ultimate Tag Team Tournament. We kick off with 32 rounds of chaos, which will weed out the lower rung right off the bat.
Round One: Wallace and Gromit versus Pinky and the Brain
Wallace and Gromit have been hired as pest control at Acme Labs, which is having trouble with a pair of lab mice gone rogue. The mice are, naturally, Pinky and the Brain. The two duos initially take each other on based on IQ, but that leaves Gromit and the Brain facepalming repeatedly as they witness the illogical verbal merry go-round that is Wallace talking to Pinky. It goes something like this:
And so on.
To solve this dilemma, Gromit and the Brain put a hold on their battle to take out the intellectual midgets of the pair. Gromit sets a mirror in front of Pinky, convincing him that there’s another lab mouse in the area, and Pinky strikes up a conversation with his reflection. While Pinky is suitably distracted, Gromit gets an encyclopedia and crushes him. He then goes back to face off against the Brain.
Unfortunately for Gromit, the Brain has used the temporary distraction to gain a sizeable advantage. Wallace, despite his idiocy, is an inventor, even though most of his gadgets have horrible bugs in them. The Brain is also an inventor and a genius, and while Wallace was yammering about cheese, the Brain took control of some of his inventions and jury rigged the bugs out of them. The result is that Wallace’s Techno-Trousers have been used as a key building piece in an atomic powered death-bot piloted by the Brain. The invention breaks down quickly, but not quickly enough for Wallace and Gromit to avoid being disintegrated. The Brain then drags Pinky’s half-conscious body out of the area, making sure that his tag-team partner will be rested and ready for the next bracket. Winner: Pinky and the Brain.
If DC Comics made a dollar for every time Superman killed Lois Lane during the Silver Age, they’d probably be the second-largest comic book company in America or something. Superman used to kill Lois Lane on a monthly basis. I didn’t think anyone could be more of a dick to the woman he loved until recently when Spider-Man sold his marriage to the Devil. So now I’m wondering who the bigger dick is. Why not pit the two sides against each other in a fight? Will Superman kill Lois Lane in the first round? Will Spider-Man use Mary Jane as bait? Will the women team up to throw off the shackles of their spandex-clad oppressors? Let’s find out.
I recently managed to convince my mother to check out the film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Whether she likes it remains to be seen, but I know I enjoyed it, even though it wasn’t particularly faithful to the previous incarnations of Douglas Adams’ work. Of course, since I’m a fan of pretty much all things Hitchhiker-related, I didn’t expect it to be true to the other sources anyway. Following its release, a lot of fans complained about how the film strays from the book, but relatively few folks seem to realize that the book isn’t the one true source anyway.
Every once in a while I stretch my virtual legs and take a stroll down a random path in cyberspace, just browsing through various Internet sites and seeing where I end up. Most times, this results in me trying to gouge my eyes out with chopsticks because I’ve stumbled across some ungodly porn site. One day, I happened across a site called Women in Refrigerators. The site presents a list and reactions of the various women who have been killed, brutalized, or otherwise made to suffer in comic books. The title of the site comes from an issue of the Green Lantern comic in which Kyle Rayner comes home to find his girlfriend killed and stuffed into a refrigerator by a villain. Now the site itself doesn’t seem to have too much of a particular agenda, but it makes the same mistake that a lot of people do when they try to show discrimination against one particular group: they don’t compare and contrast to other groups.