Aquaman – Diving Into A Review

Aquaman has hit the big screens in most countries now, only the U.S and Australian releases await. I have been to see it twice already. It’s no secret that I was waiting in huge anticipation for this film and for those of you that have read my posts before will know that Aquaman is my favourite character; I have a strong affinity with him. So today I will be writing my review of Aquaman. My short review is an 8.5/10 film, a rebirth for DC films with a new direction, brilliant visuals and attention to comic-accurate substance. While the film is not without issues, it’s nothing major, and the cast deliver great performances; bringing the hidden realm of Atlantis into a great spotlight. With a compelling story and setting up events to come. To read my full non-spoiler review, keep on reading!

As mentioned above, it’s no secret that Aquaman is my favourite character however I will write this review with fairness, for, it was not a perfect film. Me and a friend were talking about comic-book film reviews and we agreed (liking different styles of films) that in all fairness, we will probably never have a completely perfect, 100%, 10/10 comic-book film due to how subjective they are. Maybe even more so than non-comic films, however this doesn’t excuse the issues I do have, but let us get to it! The Aquaman Review:

Timing! Aquaman is a long film, clocking in at 2 hours, 22 mins. That is longer than most films these days not just comic-book films however I think, due to the nature of what the film includes, it needed to be around this length – maybe a little shorter. A vast amount of the film is spent exploring the mythos and legends of Atlantis. While you could argue that the film doesn’t need that, I would disagree, the tales of Atlantis are pretty vital to the characterization of Aquaman and his conflicting thoughts between the kingdoms below the surface and the surface itself. It isn’t something that could be captured with a quick dabble into the backstory or a montage of scenes, however this does bring me onto the first issue I have. After the first 10 minutes of the film; in which the past-event are shown, setting the story up. The next ‘part’ of the film dashes from one scene to the next. It feels as though not enough time is spent in each part with the exception of the present-day opening scene wherein we see Arthur’s first tangle with the man to become Black Manta – that bit is awesome. While the length of the film isn’t an issue; exploring the ocean and its history is a big task, I feel some of this beginning part could have had us see more time in certain places, the beginning half has more scenes as we set the tone and story but only a handful of the scenes we see really find their feet. It’s not a big issue, it didn’t ruin the film for me, just a matter of editing and timing.

Moving on to the cast! Jason Momoa looks very different to the New 52 comic-series Aquaman that this story is adapted from. Normally I would be totally against someone looking so different, however Aquaman has constantly been the joke of DC and a refreshing new take on the aesthetic of Arthur is welcomed by me. Many only know Aquaman through the jokes thrown at him from popular-television series’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Family Guy’, or from the rather comical ‘Super Friends’ – the likes of which cast him as the joke of DC comics. Momoa’s aesthetic on the character is different, yes, but needed? Probably also yes. He’s portrayal of Aquaman’s personality was spot on, the script was excellent and Jason Momoa played into this extremely well. He gave off the exact feelings that Aquaman gave to me while reading; a complex character with an enriched backstory that gives depth to the way he feels and reacts to those around him; a skilled warrior and brave, yet kind, and merciful. Amber Heard was a brilliant choice for Mera, I can’t imagine someone else playing her better than Heard did. The two I was most worried about though were the antagonists of the story; Orm as the primary and Black Manta as the secondary. Patrick Wilson as Orm, Arthur’s half brother, and the man to take the title of the revered, and feared ‘Ocean Master’ was incredible. Wilson gave me shivers watching his performance, his and Momoa’s chemistry was tangible! Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s portrayal of David Hyde aka Black Manta was also excellent; Manta’s development was something I particularly loved in the film and it was tied together nicely. The antagonists and protagonists alike felt compelling!

The visuals. To the eye, Aquaman is totally stunning and this plays a part in the rebirth for DC films that I mentioned earlier. DC films have until now, been known to look dark and grainy almost, but Aquaman was a totally new look and feel for the film. It was full of comic-accurate substance, and the crew and cast had taken time to pay homage to so many comic moments. It wasn’t dark and shot through stylized filters as many of the previous DC films have been – it was in fact the opposite, full of vibrant colour both above the surface and below. Apart from a few long-distance shots, the CGI was also fantastic. Coming onto the choreography now, included in the visuals, the fight sequences were excellent. Sometimes pitting beings of power such as Aquaman can be hard to pull off but the choreography was sublime, mirroring strength, skill, finesse and agility. I was especially impressed with how well the combat flowed under-water, if you hadn’t already noticed, most of the film is under-water so getting this detail right is pretty important. Which it did.

The story. The story was long but in-depth and detailed, which I think is needed for Aquaman’s first solo adventure – maybe more than most characters out there as Atlantis, made up of seven kingdoms, is a vast world of its own. The story of the film was immersive, I felt totally enthralled by the myths and legends of Atlantis and the personalities of the past, present, and also of those to come! The story is an adaptation of the New 52 Aquaman arcs ‘Throne of Atlantis’ and ‘The Trench’, and works remarkably well as it encompasses elements, plot, and themes of both arcs. James Wan did a terrific job of bringing it to the screen with the help of the screenplay, written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, with the story also being written by Geoff Johns – a widely considered comic legend responsible for re-inventing Aquaman and Green Lantern in the DC comics. I feel that parts of the story could have been shorter or tied in with other parts, this would have reduced the length of the film and also have stopped the film jumping from one scene to the next but on the whole – I felt it was well written and well executed. It had a nice layer of humour which didn’t feel forced, the action was crafted well, so was the elements of suspense, great character development, and there were a few plot twists hiding in the murky waters.

The Soundtrack. For the most part I thought the soundtrack was brilliantly used however there were a few tracks that felt out of place; either a totally different genre to the other music, or just unsuited for the events of the screen such as a Pitbull track used as Mera and Arthur come out of the ocean. The OST added layer upon layer of excitement for me, working with great chemistry for the events unfolding but a few of the other tracks didn’t quite feel suitable.

Homage to the comic. This is a big part of why I enjoyed the film so much. There are many parts of Aquaman stories that I thought would never make it to the big screen but they did, and they did well. Particularly Aquaman’s golden costume and Orm’s Ocean Master costume. I felt they would never make it to the big screen because they were created in a different time, I didn’t know how they would adapt them to be fresh, new and stylish for the world they were set in however James Wan pulled it off brilliantly. There is also a huge amount of reference to the art-work of Atlantis in the comics in the styling of the city of the film. The film also is full of Easter eggs to key Aquaman/DC moments; some for fun and some which played a more serious role in shaping the character I love.

For me, Aquaman takes a place right at the top with my other favourite comic-book films and this is partially down to my love of the character, the emotional connection and affinity to him, however the other reasons are stated above. Many people, including myself, wanted DC to take a more light-hearted approach with less grey and dark filters and styles, which this film certain did. To end then, I give Aquaman 8.5/10. It’s a fresh new film for DC, kicking off the rebirth of DC’s universe. This film got the contrast between the light-hearted humour, and also dark, more serious moments just right! It’s not a perfect film, but to me, a life-long fan, it felt like a perfect Aquaman adventure for the big screen and a great rebirth for DC’s film verse.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for our next competition, coming soon! Peace out.

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The League of DC Villains

We have returned! Thank you so much to everyone reading and sharing the posts! Every read and share helps grow the page in one way or another. My post after this will be my favourite Teen Titans stories and will also feature a competition ran through the Facebook page so if you’ve not given it a like yet, you can find it here. Today though I will be listing my top ten DC villains! I’ve always preferred DC’s comics, it’s not that Marvel don’t have some excellent stories – they do – I just grew up much closer with DC, and I ultimately prefer their writing style, characters and villains in particular.

So to get started, let us kick off the list with a relatively unknown entry!

10. Poison Ivy

A brilliant botanical biochemist, Pamela Isley is a fervent eco-terrorist out to save the world’s plant life by any means necessary. She often finds herself at odds with Batman and has had a relationship with Harley Quinn.

Poison Ivy’s origin was significantly retconned after DC’s universe-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths story-line in 1985. Pamela Isley was now the beautiful daughter of wealthy PoisonIvyparents from Seattle, but she was emotionally quite distant from them. Intellectually brilliant but shy and withdrawn, she immersed herself in advanced botanical biochemistry in college, proving to be a exemplary student with an unusual affinity for the world of plants. Unfortunately, Isley became seduced by her college professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue who injected her with a deadly plant-based poison, which caused her physiology to dramatically transform. Isley nearly died twice from the poisoning, and it also resulted in her never being able to bear children. A further side effect of the poisoning was that it drove her insane to the point where she believed she was the ‘mother nature’ of the plant world, and all plants were her ‘children’ and she trained them to respond to her. Isley dropped out of college and moved to Gotham City but Isley’s psychotic mentality finally overcame her. Her first criminal act was to hold the city hostage with deadly plant spores of her own creation until the city’s leadership gave her a massive sum of money. Unfortunately for Ivy, this was the same year that Batman began operating in Gotham. She was imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. The encounter sparked Ivy’s ongoing obsession with Batman. Poison Ivy is the ultimate Eco-terrorist, pathologically devoted to protecting the natural world at any cost. Her skill set is incredible complete immunity to virtually all types of toxins and poisons, and she often employs them as weapons. Her expertise as a biochemist has allowed her to develop mutant plants and to create and bring to life plants that were long thought to be extinct. Ivy’s connection with “the green world” is said to be on par with supernatural beings such as Swamp Thing.

Recommended Reading: Batman: Poison Ivy, Batman/Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow, 

9. Lobo

The last of the Czarnians, Lobo is known and feared across the universe as a bounty hunter who never misses his mark. Super-strong, immortal and unkillable, the Main Man has frequently clashed with Superman, although they have on the very rare occasion they found themselves on the same side.

Lobo is insane and immensely fun. Kind of a cross between Superman and Deadpool, and his origin events serve only to prove this. Post-Crisis, Lobo was born on the peaceful Loboplanet Czarnia. By some accounts, he tore out of his mother’s womb. By others, his mother told him to find what he did best before he killed her. Other accounts claim his parents became hermits due to the evil they unleashed. At the age of two, Lobo requested a song to be played continuously on station Cosmic Rock Zombie. It was “I Killed My Folks (No Accident)” which Wolfman Wilf played non-stop out of fear for his life. Lobo had become fed up with being like others, and set out to establish his own identity. This meant a wardrobe change. By age 16, he had killed half the planet’s population. By age 17, he had engineered a plague that caused irreversible neural damage and excruciating pain for days before the victim died. Having no plans to rule a dead planet, Lobo set out to find employment to feed his space dolphins. One of his contracts from Manga Khan was to kill the Justice League. It is said that Czarnians can only be truly killed by other Czarnians (though this does not matter to Lobo either way, as he cannot die by any means). Furthermore, Lobo has been banned from entering either Heaven or Hell. Lobo can survive unaided in the vacuum of space. Lobo has superhuman strength, stamina and durability – often trading blows with Green Lanterns and Superman taking little to no damage. Lobo can track people via smell across solar system and he can also smoke cigars in airless space, just because. He also usually uses guns or explosives that are ridiculously big and loud, and has at times shown to have an ability commonly referred to as “Bottomless Satchel”. Meaning he can pull guns, explosives, ammo, etc. out of no where or out of something that was smaller then the item itself.

Recommended Reading: Lobo’s Back’s Back, Lobo: Unbound,  Deathstroke (2012), #9-12.

8. Court of Owls

A clandestine organization older than Gotham City that decides to take it over. However, to succeed, they will have to face numerous obstacles, including Gotham’s dark knight– Batman.

The Court of Owls aren’t so much one person as an organisation however I could not leave them off of this list. The Court of Owls is a secret organization centuries old with CourtofOwlsimmense power and influence embedded into the very architecture and history of Gotham City. The court would select a trained and strong athletes taught by the Haly’s Circus, and the few chosen ones would become their Talons (assassins). In fact, Dick Grayson was supposed to one of their Talons as we find out later in the Night of Owls story arc, but Bruce adopted him before the disaster could happen. The myth of their existence has been past down for generations in an old Gotham nursery rhyme, which reads:

“Beware the court of owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadow perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them or they’ll send the talon for your head.”

The Court of Owls was a nursery rhyme, a myth, a legend, something to scare off the kids to be good. After all, something so old, if it was true, The Batman would know, right? This becomes the beauty of the concept of this mysterious new threat. The Batman can’t accept that something so large, so organized, so lethal, can be existing for so many time, even before his own birth, and still remain out of his all-knowing sight of his city. Moreover, you get to know about the history of the Wayne family, quite beyond of Thomas Wayne, and how the Waynes had been always relevant architects in some way or another about the way of how Gotham City is. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo pulled out all the strings for their run of the New 52 Batman and with it came the spectacular, dark, gritty, emotional setting of Gotham of which the Court fits right into the shadows of. The Court of Owls weaves a deep tale into the mythos of the Wayne family, Gotham, and Batman himself.

Recommended Reading: New 52 Batman Vol 1: Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Forever Evil: Arkham War #1-6

7. Atrocitus

One of the five survivors of the massacre in Sector 666 and founder of the Red Lantern Corps, Atrocitus anointed the Red Lantern in blood and harnessed the power of rage and red light.

The Lantern Corps have created several very interesting characters; heroes and villains alike, the whole spectrum is fascinating when you look into it. Two upon this list are AtrocitusLanterns and we come to the first. Atrocitus (real name Atros) was born on planet Ryut, and was a survivor of the infamous Massacre of Sector 666 committed by the “Manhunters” not to be confused with Martian Manhunter. The Manhunters were the original army of the Guardians of the Universe, which, after the massacre that killed trillions were destroyed and replaced by the Green Lantern Corps. The massacre wiped out  life in an entire space sector (including his wife and his daughter) except for five life forms. These five became the terrorists known as the “Five Inversions”, led by Atrocitus, and sought revenge against the Guardians of the Universe and gained powers through dark magic. Through rituals and sacrifices, they discovered a black power so dark it was beyond the power of the Guardians’ light. Atrocitus’ pure and undying rage over the destruction of his homeworld, and the slaughter of his family allowed him to become the first Red Lantern. Atrocitus is an absolute machine and severely underrated. He’s one of the strongest Lanterns ever to have existed, he even killed an enemy of the corps – who was fighting droves of Lanterns – with his own bare hands. Even without his ring he has proved difficult for both of Sinestro and Hal (who had their rings) at the same time. He’s a fantastically interesting character.

Recommended Reading: New 52 Red Lanterns Vol 01: Blood And Rage, Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Blackest Night #5-6.

6. Black Manta

A notorious pirate, hunter, and assassin, Black Manta is one of the most ruthless and feared super villains on Earth, and Aquaman’s mortal enemy.

Black Manta was a mercenary and treasure hunter who worked alongside his father. He was hired by Stephen Shin to collect the blood of Arthur Curry in an effort to prove that Black Mantahe was actually an Atlantean. Curry was defended by his father, Thomas Curry, and in the ensuing fight Curry’s father died of a heart attack. Enraged, Curry tracked him down and snuck onto his boat in the middle of the night. He killed Manta’s father, believing him to be Manta himself. Manta abandoned his career as a treasure hunter to seek his revenge against Aquaman. In the New 52 Manta really came into his own. Manta begins to engage in an escalating series of attacks on Aquaman and Atlantis. Following the kidnapping of Mera and the son of Aquaman and Mera, he fights and defeats Aquaman, turning him over to King Karshon. In return he receives information about the City of Lost Tribes, which he easily conquers. The son of Aquaman and Mera dies later on and this causes Aquaman hunts down and defeats Black Manta, nearly killing him, but decides to spare his life, turning him over to the authorities instead. From this, Black Manta went on to appear in a number of big events, building quite a reputation among fans and with other characters. Manta has no superhuman abilities himself, he’s honed skills to near perfection, and is one of the world’s best divers and treasure hunters. Black Manta is one of the world’s best assassins, and is accounted one of the deadliest and most highly-disciplined killers alive. He has developed his own fighting style, usable both on land and at sea, and is very intelligent, and experienced in numerous relevant fields, such as mechanical engineering. He designed his own suit that grants him a variety of superhuman abilities and traits.

Recommended Reading: Forever Evil,  New 52 Aquaman #57-63, Rebirth Aquaman Rebirth Vol. 2 Black Manta Rising.

5. Sinestro

Once considered the greatest Green Lantern in any sector, Sinestro came to believe that the only way to ensure order in the universe was through the reign of fear. Founding his own Corps on that basis, Sinestro became one of the deadliest threats the Green Lanterns have ever faced.

Thaal Sinestro, originally an anthropologist from the planet Korugar, had a natural affinity for order as displayed by his meticulous reconstructions of ancient ruins. It was Sinestroat one of these reconstructions that a wounded Green Lantern, Prohl Gosgotha, crash landed. He gave his ring to Sinestro who barely defeated the lantern’s pursuer, a Weaponer of Qward , at the cost of the very ruins he had restored. When Gosgotha requested his ring back after the battle so that it might keep him alive Sinestro instead allowed him to die and took his place. The Guardians, unaware of his actions, allowed Sinestro to become the Green Lantern for sector 1417. Even as a Green Lantern Sinestro was cold, arrogant, egotistical, and harsh. He also will do what ever it takes to preserve order in the universe, a trait that expelled him from the Green Lantern Corps. He is also a master strategist and manipulator. Though he does have his good traits, such as genuinely caring for his daughter and wanting to bring order to the universe. On Qward, he forged a new power ring out of the yellow impurity that Green Lantern rings were not able to effect – With help from his new allies, the Weaponers of Qward. Sinestro assembled an army of yellow-ring-wielding fear-mongers dubbed the Sinestro Corps, as an attempt to bring to the universe the order that the Guardians couldn’t, starting the event called Sinestro Corps War. He revealed the corps was part of his plans to have the guardians allow the Green Lanterns to use deadly force and become feared. Sinestro was given a sentence of death by the guardians and was to be sent to Korugar for the sentence to be carried out. En route to Korugar a group of Sinestro Corps lanterns attempted to free Sinestro, but were stopped when Atrocitus and his Red Lanterns attacked both sides. During the battle a Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, appeared and informed Hal Jordan that Sinestro must survive to face the upcoming Blackest Night. Sinestro is an extremely skilled Lantern and an interesting, deeply complex character, with a tragic history concerning his life, his people, and his family.

Recommended Reading: Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, New 52 Green Lantern #1-6, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn.

4. Darkseid

Worshipped as the “God of Evil”, Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in existence and the supreme monarch of planet Apokolips. Considered as one of the Justice League’s worst adversaries, the greatest enemy of New Genesis and one of the greatest threats to the DC Multiverse, he seeks to bend everything and everyone to his will and remake the cosmos in his image, while searching for the Anti-Life Equation.

When the Old Gods fell in Ragnarok, the New Gods filled the void. But this was a cycle, and the power, methodology and ultimate fate of the Old Gods remained within the New DarksiedGods. All that is Darkseid’s has been taken by him through blood and force. It is unsure how Uxas evolved into the embodiment of evil that he is now. But it is known that two key events propelled him on his path. First, Uxas killed his mother, Heggra, to wrest control of Apokolips from her after Yuga Khan, his father, was trapped on the Source Wall in his attempt to unlock the secret of The Source. Then Desaad betrayed Drax, Uxas’ brother, as he was trying to master the Omega Effect. Uxas then killed his brother, rightful heir to the Omega Effect. With power and a drive to accomplish his goals without regret or remorse, Uxas took up his God Name: Darkseid. At one point, and for the only time in his life, Darkseid fell in love. He took as his wife a woman named Suli, a scientist who believed in using power not for conquering but for the common good. Queen Heggra, terrified that Suli might “corrupt” her son, had Desaad assassinate her, but not before she bore Darkseid a son named Kalibak. Upon Suli’s death, Darkseid had Desaad poison his mother as revenge then eternally turned his back on the concept of love. Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Multiverse and has conquered entire universes through his immeasurable powers, iron will, cunning intellect and the military might of the entire realm of Apokolips that worships him as the God of Evil. While thought of as just like any other New God, Darkseid is in fact an entity as a result of the host bonding themselves with the Omega Effect.

Recommended Reading: Final Crisis, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus, The Great Darkness Saga.

3. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch-nemesis, is one of the most brilliant men alive, whose hatred of “interfering aliens” pushes him down the path of a sociopath. His genius intellect and brutal focus often puts him at odds with the Man of Steel himself. Lex Luthor is arguably DC Comics’ most iconic villain.

Lex Luthor is the son of Lionel and Letitia Luthor, they have a thing for ‘L’ in the family. They were wealthy residents of Metropolis. As a teenager, he spent years in Smallville Lex Luthorwith his Aunt Lena. There he encountered Clark Kent and first became jealous of Superman. Lex Luthor is not a metahuman, but is an intellectual genius, one of the smartest people on the planet, often (usually by himself) said to be able to turn the world into a Utopia free of crime a sickness if not for his obsession with beating Superman. Lex however suffers from a self-obsessed and narcissistic personality that causes him to lack empathy with the rest of humanity. Lex blames Superman for the world not recognizing his status as the greatest person alive. Luthor is a complex man. While he freely admits to being ‘evil’, he considers Abraham Lincoln to be a ‘great man’. Furthermore, Luthor has on occasion performed acts of great nobility, such as saving the lives of millions on a dying world for which he is considered a hero there, however, mostly when he commits acts of heroism it is to further a plan. He is however the smartest man on DC’s Earth. He has mastered seemingly every known form of science,  including space travel, biochemistry, dimensional travel, biochemistry, cybernetics, synthetic polymers, communications, mutations, transportation, holography, energy generation, quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, nano chemistry and more. He’s a brilliant strategist and manipulator, as well as an unrivaled inventor; his creations revolutionize the world. He’s a villain but on several occasions has worked with the Man of Steel, Justice League, and recently has taken up the role of Superman due to augmented armour. He’s a brilliant enemy for Superman, and a key ingredient for DC comics’ success.

Recommended Reading: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #1-5, “The Black Ring” Action Comics #890-900, Forever Evil.

2. Black Adam

The original champion of the Wizard, Black Adam’s disdain for morality and hunger for power were punished with eternal imprisonment within the tomb of Ramesses II. Following his escape, he usurped the throne of Kahndaq by force, and has become one of the most powerful enemies of Billy Batson, the superhero known as Shazam.

Teth Adam was born to the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II in the neighboring (fictional) land of Kahndaq. While there are contradictory accounts of the circumstances of Black Black AdamAdam’s early history, certain elements are consistent: While serving as high priest to Ramses II, the wizard Shazam sought a successor to his godly powers. Impressed with his virtue and martial heroism, he chose Adam. Having determined to make Adam his successor, Shazam’s intentions were altered by the intervention of his half-demonic daughter Blaze. Blaze struck a bargain with the god Set so that when Adam speaks the word “Shazam,” instead of becoming the avatar of the wizard’s deific patrons, he becomes the avatar of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. “Teth-Adam” (Mighty Adam) then served the Egyptian pharaoh as his champion for many years. This service however, drew him away from his family and home country of Kahndaq, which was attacked in his absence, resulting in the murder of his family and the devastation of his people. The attack was carried out by a rogue priest who used the Orb of Ra to give himself seemingly magical abilities, and plotted conquest in league with the immortal villain Vandal Savage. The two villains were defeated with the help of the Justice Society’s time-travelling members. After multiple adventures with the Justice Society, Adam became discontent with what he felt was the Society’s ineffectual and reactive approach to evil-doers. Black Adam is shown to be a proud and stern champion from another, more brutal age. He is portrayed very much as a sort of Nietzschean anti-hero, who does not hesitate to follow his own concepts of justice, whether or not they are in conflict with those of others. Black Adam is gifted with a panoply of powers that appear to correspond to and match, if not exceed, those of Shazam. He is blessed with the powers of the Egyptian Pantheon and has often showed his prowess formidably. He’s been an enemy of the Justice League and Billy Batson aka Shazam more often than not and in an event from the 52, he, fought an entire ensemble of heroes including the JSA, Teen Titans, multiple Lanterns, and magicians by himself. When writers know what they’re doing with him and other respected characters, he has often proved a nightmare for the likes of Superman and Martian Manhunter too.

Recommended Reading: 52 Omnibus, Black Adam: The Dark Age, New 52 Shazam: Volume 1.

1. Deathstroke

Genetically engineered to surpass all human limits, Slade Wilson was once a soldier but after a genetic experiment gained enhanced powers. Having tangled with the Teen Titans, the Justice League, and even Gods themselves, Deathstroke the Terminator is a force to be reckoned with.

At the age of sixteen, Slade Wilson was determined to enlist in the U.S Army. He soon showed talents and skills in guerrilla warfare far superior to that of any other soldier Deathstrokeand was quickly promoted over and over by his superiors. Slade trained under his commanding officer, Captain Adeline Kane, and quickly amazed her, demonstrating he was an expert in combat and had impressive talents and skills. Slade mastered several combat styles and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Some time later, Slade Wilson began a romantic relationship with Adeline and had a son with her. Soon after the birth of his first son, Grant Wilson; The Army asked Slade to be a volunteer of a secret medical experiment, Slade discovered that the experiment had worked and he had been granted enhanced strength, speed, senses, stamina, intellect and reflexes beyond that of any ordinary man. After a life-long friend was sent on a suicide mission and his superiors refused to help, Slade went in and rescued his friend but was discharged from the army for disobeying orders. Fed up with the army and it’s code of blind loyalty, Slade created the costumed persona of Deathstroke the Terminator. What sets Slade apart from the other supersoldier subjects of comics is the advancements to his strategical thinking. After the experiment, his mind acted like a computer, increasing his brain power to 300% above human levels – this increase, combined with his incredible fighting prowess and advanced weaponry, including Nth metal armour and blades, made him a match for almost anyone in DC. He has regularly tangled with whole teams of heroes including the Justice League and Teen Titans, regularly proving his worth by beating Batman and the entire Bat-family at times. He’s one of DC’s most ferocious hand to hand fighters and has even beaten god-like beings and gods themselves. Slade Wilson is an incredibly interesting character and when he’s well written, he’s so diverse and entertaining.

Recommended Reading: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Deathstroke #1-8 (2011), Teen Titans: Trial of the Terminator.

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There we have it! I hope you enjoyed the read, we hope at least some of these characters are among your top DC villains as well! So the next post will be on my favourite Teen Titans stories and we will also be running a give-away through the facebook page! Until next time!

 

Caught In A Spider’s Web

Hello and welcome back. My posts on Iron Man stories and desired characters to be introduced in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe Phase 4 went down really well, the MCU one became one of my most viewed posts so thank you to everyone who gave it a read! I am soon to be running a competition through our Facebook page, found here – Page Runner. Be sure to give us a like and stay tuned for a coming-soon give away. For now though, in this post, I will be listing ten enemies of the wall-crawling, web-spinning, Spider-Man that I love!

So let us begin!

10. Tombstone

The cold, tall and monsterous looking Spider-Man villain who takes pride in his grim and death-like appearance, Lonnie Thompson Lincoln is a criminal enforcer who uses methods of intimidation and murder under the deserving nickname of Tombstone.

Lonnie Thompson was constantly bullied by other children, this eventually led Lonnie to take the wrong path in life. After high school, Lonnie steered further down the wrong Tombstonepath as he landed himself a job with major crime bosses and gang lords as an assassin, nicknaming himself Tombstone. Lonnie was trapped in an airtight test chamber which contained an experimental gas, this was absorbed into Tombstone’s bloodstream and had a mutagenic effect on his body, enhancing his strength and heightening his other physical abilities. Tombstone is relatively unkown – only appearing in 244 issues so far but he did briefly appeared in the 2018’s PS4 ‘Spider-Man’ which may have helped shed some light on him. Tombstone has rock-like skin which makes him invulnerable to many penetrating weapons, bullets, and projectiles. He is capable of lifting a maximum of 6 tons and has a wealthy amount of impressive durability feats. He’s a vicious fighter and killer. While Tombstone isn’t the most complex characters, he’s one that deserves a little more limelight.

9. Mysterio

Quentin Beck was an expert in designing special effects devices and stage illusions, as well as a master hypnotist and magician, and an amateur chemist. He also possessed a wealth of knowledge in hand-to-hand combat techniques that he learned as a stuntman. One day, a colleague joked that the easiest way to become famous was to take out a costumed hero. It was here that Mysterio was born.

Rather than choosing the path of becoming a hero, Mysterio opted to become a villain instead and chose Spider-Man as his target. He viewed Spider-Man as a relatively Mysterioinexperienced and weak hero, and felt it would be easy to take him down. After Spider-Man foiled Mysterio’s first plot, Mysterio later joins the Sinister Six in an attempt at revenge on Spider-Man, and battles him using illusions and robots of the X-Men. In other encounters, Mysterio has faked the death of Spider-Man’s Aunt May, and made deals with demons from Limbo. Despite this, however, Mysterio was constantly beaten by Spider-Man and usually arrested. He joined Doctor Octopus’ Sinister Six on several occasions, but this never gave him the edge against his foe that he desired. Mysterio has had no actual superpowers, though he is very accomplished illusionist, athlete, and hand-to-hand combatant. Their main threat came in the form of advanced technology mixed with great skill at illusion. Gadgets of his have included spring-heeled boots, hologram projectors, radar sensors, and various hallucinogenic gasses. My favourite of his creations was a gas that nullified Spider-Man’s ‘Spidey Senses’.

8. Scorpion

Mac Gargan was a private investigator that J. Jonah Jamesonhired to keep tabs on Peter Parker and Spider-Man, to see if the two had any connection with one another. J. Jonah Jameson paid Mac Gargan to undergo a procedure by Dr. Farley Stillwell in order to defeat Spider-Man. Gargan gained a mechanical power-suit to give him a durable exoskeleton with cybernetic stinger. He became the Scorpion!

The experiment later came to affect Mac Gargan’s mind, forcing insanity. He blamed J. Jonah Jameson for his destroyed mind and tried to kill him, forcing Spider-Man to Scorpionintervene. Gargan has attempted numerous times to get Spider-Man and Jameson, but Spider-Man always gets to save both their lives. Scorpion later worked with Roxxon Oil being told that they could help him, but in reality all that he was getting were upgrades on his costume with the promise that he could now defeat his enemies. Mac became bonded with the Venom symbiote for a while but during an arc called Big Time, he returned now separated from the symbiote, in a new scorpion outfit created by Alistair Smythe with immense upgrades. Scorpion is often manipulated and gets enraged easily which often causes him to blunder. Scorpion has an obsession with both Spider-Man and Jonah. J Jameson accusing them both for his unfortunate life, and although he’s often defeated, I find the stories featuring him highly enjoyable to read. Scorpion also has been a part of the Sinister Six and the Masters of Evil.

7. Carnage

Carnage is the offspring of the alien symbiote Venom. It bonded with the crazed serial killer, Cletus Kasady, who had developed a love of killing since an early age. Thus creating one of Spider-Man’s most murderous, brutal, and lethal adversaries.

The symbiotes reproduce asexually, once per generation. The children are then of no consequence to the parent. Thus, the Venom symbiote felt no need to inform Brock of the Carnageexistence of the new symbiote when the Venom symbiote returned to bond with an imprisoned Eddie Brock again. This Venom offspring got into a cut on Brock’s cellmate Cletus Kasady, an insane serial killer, thus bonding with his blood and transforming him into Carnage (also causing his symbiote to turn red). Cletus Kasady is a sociopath and a homicidal sadist. He is a deeply disturbed individual with a dark past. He was born at Ravencroft where his heart stopped for a few minutes, until he was revived, and then as a child, he killed his grandmother by pushing her down a flight of stairs, tried to murder his mother by throwing a hair dryer into her bath, and tortured and killed his mother’s dog with a drill. So this with the symbiote combined makes for quite a unfortunate character to come up against. Carnage is stronger than Venom and Spider-Man individually, he’s far more vicious with a more deadly array of capabilities and thus Spider-Man has always needed help in fighting Carnage.

6. Lizard

During an experiment Dr. Curtis Connors accidentally turned into a ferocious reptilian monster who seeks to turn humans into lizards like himself. The Lizard is one of Spider-Man’s oldest and deadliest foes while ironically, his alter ego is a close friend and former teacher of Spidey’s alter ego Peter Parker.

Curtis Connors was born in Coral Gables, Florida. He was a gifted surgeon who was enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent off to war. He would perform emergency Lizardbattlefield surgery for the injured G.I.’s, until an unexpected blast hit his arm and it had to be amputated. Connors went back to a civilians life and became a research scientist. Due to his missing limb and the ability of lizards to regrow lost appendages, Connors became obsessed in reptilian limb regrowth and studied reptilian biology extensively. Connors tried to parlay his expertise in reptilian biology into a cure. Instead, he cursed himself with this uncontrollable transformation. Ever since, Connors has struggled to maintain his humanity and prevent the cold, emotionless lizard side of himself from taking control. He’s lost everything because of that struggle – his career, his family, and nearly every tie to his human life. He even murdered his own son in a particularly brutal period of transformation.

5. Kraven

A famous big game hunter, who became a mercenary and later, developed an intense obsession with restoring honor to his name. Kraven has been known as a major threat for Spider-Man and leaving a legacy during his demise.

The young life of Sergei Kravinoff was very difficult as the son of Russian Aristocrats in Volgograd and St. Petersburg, Russia. With Dimitri becoming the illegitimate son of KravenSergei’s father, Sergei would torment his talented half-brother in response from the beatings he received from his own alcoholic father. Life would hit hard for the Kravinoff’s when the Bolshevik Revolution forced the Kravinoff’s into immigration. His father died and his mother was placed into an asylum as both Sergei and Dimitri were forced into becoming orphans. Upon visiting his mother, Sergei would gain arachnophobia after seeing his mother mentally tormented in a spider-infested asylum and be the first step for developing an unstable and obsessive personality. As a young adult, Sergei found a natural talent of hunting in Africa. Changing his name to Kraven, Sergei pursued his talents as he increased his hunting and survival skills throughout the safari. Kraven was offered the greatest hunt of all which was to hunt Spider-Man. In a very famous story called Kraven’s Last Hunt, Kraven killed Spider-Man… kind of.He kidnapped Spider-Man, shot and buried him, before going on a vigilante spree as Spider-Man. It was later revealed that he used a tranquilizer dart and Spider-Man was still alive. Kraven is a tremendously skilled hunter and fighter, he doesn’t even use traditional hunting weapons like guns and spears, preferring to take his prey down with his bare hands, and after visiting a witch doctor in Africa, Kraven took a potion that increased strength, reflexes, and stamina.

4. Venom

The Venom symbiote bonded with Spider-Man during his adventure in the first “Secret Wars” on the Beyonder’s makeshift planet called Battleworld. While Venom is considered an anti-hero, he is best known as an enemy of Spider-Man; having many clashes with Spidey.

Venom is of a race of alien symbiotes that are formed from a thick, liquid, organic material. They, as their symbiotic nature suggests, depend on other beings to help them Venomsustain their life force. In exchange for this relationship, the symbiote offers great powers to its host. The symbiote itself is sentient and has chosen different hosts throughout the years; among them were Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and Eddie Brock. Later on however, the lists of hosts grew to include Mac Gargan, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), Rocket Raccoon, Black Bolt, and General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross aka the Red Hulk. The current host is Flash Thompson. It has been revealed recently that Wolverine became the first host of Venom, yes, James “Logan” Howlett was the first superhuman that the symbiote bonded with. However, this was only revealed a few weeks ago, it has long been thought/known that Spider-Man was the first host. Regardless, there aren’t many characters who have clashed with Venom as much as Spider-Man. Symbiotes empower the natural abilities of a host to the point where they far exceed that of normal members of the hosts’ species. These abilities include the following: superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, durability and a healing factor. The symbiotes also have shape-shifting abilities and can create weapons and tendrils from its body. Seeing as Spider-Man was the first host for a long time, Venom seems to have retained a lot of the characteristics from this time.

3. Electro

One of Spider-Man’s most dangerous enemies, the electric human dynamo known as Electro has constantly been a major threat for the Amazing Spider-Man, almost killing him on several occasions. Electro was one of the original members of the Sinister Six, formed by Doctor Octopus.

Maxwell Dillion was born in Endicott, New York where his father was a struggling accountant and had difficulties on keeping a job.  Because of this, Maxwell and his family Electroconstantly found themselves moving which also caused Maxwell to become a reclusive child seeing how it was hard for him making new friends. Later in life, Maxwell was hit by a bolt of lightning seemingly killing him. However, Maxwell later discovered that he gained some form of electric powers. Maxwell then went on to further his powers which ultimately ended in him killing a man. After this incident, Maxwell had dreams to use his powers to fulfill his selfish needs and goals and decided to take a career as a costumed criminal and to be known as Electro. There’s a good argument to make that Electro is the most dangerous and most powerful of Spider-Man’s enemies. He has the ability to control, manipulate, and project electricity by command. After his accident, Electro’s body has mysteriously developed itself into a transformer that could store and discharge electricity at his command. Via his now-changed body, Maxwell’s physical attributes also increased. His powers are so great that Magneto even reached out to him, asking him to assist the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Electro is dangerous to Spider-Man, almost killing him a number of times.

2. Green Goblin

The amoral industrialist Norman Osborn was transformed by an experimental serum into the maniacal Green Goblin, and has endured over the decades as Spider-Man’s most dreaded archenemy.

For those that read my favourite Marvel villains, they’ll know that Norman Osborn was the only one of Spider-Man’s ‘rogues’ on it. However, that was for Norman Osborn and GreenGoblinnot the mantle of Green Goblin. In regards to Spider-Man villains, Green Goblin takes second place. Norman was born to a comfortable, good life, until his father took his problems out on him and locked Norman in an old building where he encountered a “Goblin-like creature” and from there on wards, Norman was never the same. He devoted his time to science and ultimately becoming the Green Goblin. Green Goblin is a formidable enemy, even before exposing himself to the Goblin serum, Norman Osborn was highly intelligent, with expertise in a variety of scientific fields. Afterwards however his intelligence was advanced considerably, and with this he created advanced technology; the Goblin Glider, Goblin Armour, and other gadgets. The serum also gifted Norman with superhuman physical attributes and an accelerated healing factor. All of this combined creates a formidable foe, and on top of this, Norman is an expert manipulator; giving him even more tools at his disposal to fight the wall-crawler. Norman Osborn has all the makings of a great villain. He is the father of Peter’s once-best-friend Harry, giving him an intimate personal connection. He got his powers as a result from a science experiment, just like Peter. And worst of all, he is responsible for the death of Spider-Man’s first love, Gwen Stacy.

1. Doctor Octopus

A former nuclear physicist and atomic researcher, Otto Octavius’ life changed forever when one of his experiments went horribly wrong. He emerged as anew as Doctor Octopus.

Otto Octavius was raised in an oppressive household, with an overprotective mother, and a harsh, abusive father. Otto became obsessed with schoolwork after his father’s DoctorOctopusdeath and then applied himself even harder to his studies in science. Soon after inventing a chest-harness with four arms, a radiation leak in the lab caused an explosion, which fused the harness and limbs onto his body and also caused mutations in his brain, which allowed him to telepathically control the arms. Driven insane by the accident and the damage it had caused to his body and mind, Doctor Octopus became dedicated to a life of crime.  Otto is an incredibly intelligent character, with genius-level intellect related to the field of atomic physics and radiation. He holds a PhD in nuclear science, and is skilled as an inventor and an engineer. He is also an excellent tactician, as well as being a charismatic leader. With the combinations of his tactical skill, the prehensile and electronic arms, and the skill he has over them, he is a deadly adversary. Otto has been to engage multiple people in battle. Doctor Octopus became the leader and creator of the original Sinister Six and has led the team on a number of occasions. He wears an armored body suit because, while capable of dishing out an enhanced beating. Otto Octavius has even engaged with the Avengers; causing them serious issue, when the symbiote – Venom – bonded with him, and he was for a time, Spider-Man after transferring his mind into Peter’s body. As a scientist, Doc Ock is as brilliant as they come, making him a match for Peter’s mind. He has been leader of the Masters of Evil and is capable of coming up with threats that put the whole planet, not just New York City, in jeopardy. Doctor Octopus is truly an interesting, complexity character, and a dangerous antagonist.

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So there we are! I’ve really enjoyed this list, Spider-Man’s enemies are some of the more interesting “Rogue” galleries. Be sure to give our page a like, linked at the top of this post to keep up-to-date with competitions, posts, and news! Hope you enjoyed the read! ❤

 

I am Iron Man

Stan Lee passed away a few days ago and I was deeply upset for most of the evening after I found out. Tony Stark aka Iron Man is one of Lee’s most successful creations and while it’s no secret that Iron Man is not among my top characters, I’ve still read a lot of comics over my life and some of his have hit the spot. Just right. Just there. Iron Man has been one of the pivitol roles within the MCU and will most probably continue to have one throughout Avengers 4, after that, it is uncertain.

In this list I’ll be going into my five favourite Iron Man stories from fifth to first place with a little about each too. Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook page – Page Runner and give us a like there. We’ll be running a competition fairly soon through the page too, working out the details as we speak!

Let’s begin the list!

5. Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D

Director of S.H.I.E.L.D is a great place to start for this list! Director of S.H.I.E.L.D is written by Daniel Knauf and illustrated by Roberto De La Torre.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D takes place right after Marvel’s Civil War event and in the fallout of events, Tony Stark takes up the mantle of the director of the Strategic Director of SHIELDHomeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division from Nick Fury whom has gone missing since the catastrophic events of Civil War. The story adds such a refreshing approach to the character, for the most part he’s quite disliked after the events of Civil War. During the story we see Tony struggle with the burden of command both in the position of director and as it effects his life elsewhere but we also see him do what he does best, lead. Tony deploys his strategic insight into the command role, as well as this we see a major death that shakes the plot to the core. Later on in the story there’s a Stark and Fury team up which has a great reference to the Man from U.N.C.L.E, and we get an alternative look at Shield, Iron Man, and Fury with character profiles.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D is a great look at the character in a totally new light. We see a brilliant approach to his time in the armour, and also as the Director of a world protection organisation. And of course, there are other supporting characters that all impact the plot and character’s overall development. Definitely worth the read.

4. Demon in a Bottle

This story right here is a classic. A must read for Iron Man readers, whether you’re a fan of him or not I would still argue, that you should read it. Demon in a Bottle is written by David Michelinie and illustrated by John Romita, Jr.

Demon in a Bottle is such a powerful story, the plot focuses on Tony as he deals with alcoholism, addiction and selfishness which is revealed to be a reason that he lost Stark Demon in a BottleInternational. As well as the personal demon that he can’t shake, Justin Hammer is also building an army of super-villains. While bidding for the contract to build an electronics plant in the Communist country of Carnelia, Hammer loses the bidding contract to Stark Industries. Hammer reacts in a personal manner with a vendetta against Tony Stark. Hammer plans to ruin Stark’s reputation by defaming Iron Man. Hammer has his engineers build a hyper-sonic frequency which is integral in his plans to ruin Stark. This device transmits a signal that could breach the refractory coating of Iron Man’s armor and take control of the armor. Hammer’s tests on the suit cause havoc and chaos to Tony while in use of the armour such as during an underwater battle with Namor, the test causes the sealing plates in Iron Man’s helmet opens which allows water to flood into the armor through his mouth and eye slits. Everything adds up over time and Iron Man aka Tony Stark falls off the wagon.

Another great reason to read this story is the fantastic art work by Romita, Jr. The art really delivers the man behind the armour on another level. David Michelinie does a brilliant job of provoking emotion and conflict of your view on Tony Stark.

3. Stark Resilient

Stark Resilient is the story on this list that I’ve read the most, countless times. Stark Resilient is written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Salvador Larroca.

Fraction and Larroca are a powerhouse team and they deliver a worthy story in Stark Resilient. Stark Resilient takes place right after the events of Stark: Disassembled, and is Resilientthe story of how Tony Stark rebuilds his life from scraps, his friendships, and his company. Stark Resilient is a follow on from Stark Disassembled, not to be confused with Avengers: Disassembled, which is a follow on from World’s Most Wanted – which is later on this list. The story centres around Tony as he rebuilds his life after returning back to society. Tony recently promoted Pepper Potts to Stark Resilient C.O.O (Chief Operating Officer) in hopes that he can spend more time working on his new business plan which is to bring free repulsor energy to the world, however, Justin Hammer is working to put Tony out of business but rebuilding Hammer Industries and provide resistance. Stark Resilient was a nice twist to the story for we see Tony Stark’s business more than ever, seeing his plan of action both inside the armour and outside as appearances are everything in his world. In Stark Resilient we also are introduced to the Bleeding Edge armour, which is still arguably Stark’s best tech.

It’s also nice to see Tony wanting to help mass populations rather than working with the Avengers in a battle. Fraction’s story provokes emotion and is full of suspense, and well-written action, while Larroca’s art packs a punch in it’s own right.

2. Extremis

Iron Man: Extremis was the beginning of a new era for Iron Man. It pushed Tony Stark to face up to a new era of terrifying technologies that threatened to overwhelm mankind! Iron Man: Extremis is written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov.

This is one of the most satisfying Marvel stories I’ve read. It came out a few years before the first movie, and the films would use several of the ideas and themes put forward mgn_IMextremis_f_cvr.inddfrom it.  It also brilliantly set up a phase of Tony Stark in the comics for Civil War and its aftermath through Matt Fraction’s great run on Invincible Iron Man, Ellis set out to re-establish Tony Stark as the chief technologist of Marvel Comics’ twenty-first century and do this without being too fantastic but also grounded in reality. Within the story, where Tony attempted to stop the villain known as Mallen, who was powered by the Extremis-virus which is essentially a super-soldier serum, Tony was fatally injured. With no other choice or options, Tony convinced the co-developer of the Extremis-virus, Maya Hansen, to inject him a dose of Extremis to heal his injuries. Tony later modifies the virus so that the crucial modular layer of the Iron Man suit was compressed and stored in the hollows of Tony’s bones. That modular layer was directly wired into Tony’s brain, allowing him control over the new armor systems with thought and even interface with other technologies.

Granov’s art brings a new and different technique; balanced precariously between hyper-realistic and fluidly just-out-of-focus, and Warren brings his A game, presenting a compelling read that wastes no time on filler panels, just keeping us sprinting alongside the characters trying to keep up.

1. World’s Most Wanted

After the events of Secret Invasion, Tony Stark suffers through Dark Reign as the most wanted man in the world. The Invincible Iron Man: World’s Most Wanted is written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Salvador Larroca.

During the hit story-line Secret Invasion, the Skrulls uploaded a virus that destroyed all Starktech, including the conduit that linked Tony to his Extremis suit. This suit became Most Wantedharder and harder to control. Stark uploaded a virus to destroy all records of the Super-Hero Registration Act, and thus prevented new H.A.M.M.E.R. Director Norman Osborn from learning the identities of his fellow heroes. One copy remained however, in Tony’s mind. In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, Iron Man is no longer the hero he used to be, and Tony Stark’s entire life is torn apart.  Osborn had him hunted as a fugitive, the story sees Stark travelling worldwide on his quest to wipe out his mental database, going so far as to inflict brain damage on himself while revisiting scenes and people important to the Iron Man mythos and all the while being hunted and attacked. Osborn, wearing his Iron Patriot armor, finally catches up to the debilitated Stark who is wearing his Mark-1 armor, and a raging battle ensues, ultimately out-gunned, and against superior tech, Osborn besats Tony savagely, reducing him to a commatised state. Pepper Potts was able to broadcasts the beating worldwide, costing Osborn credibility and giving Stark public sympathy.

The Invincible Iron Man: World’s Most Wanted is full of action, suspense, plot twists and character development, and it expands upon the Iron Man mythos in many incredible ways, showing a new and different side to Tony, and what he is willing to do, how far he is willing to go to protect those he cares about

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So there we have it! Don’t forget to check out some of our other favourite stories from characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Aquaman, and the Green Lanterns! More is to come too! Don’t forget to give us a like on Facebook too so you can keep up to date with news and competitions. Hope you enjoyed the read. Rest in peace Stan Lee!

Coming to an MCU Near You

Phase 4 is approaching and all us comic book fans can’t wait! Of course, new characters will be introduced and with the Fox-Marvel deal finished I imagine we will see the Fantastic 4 and X-Men at some point in the next few years. However there are other characters that many want to see. Marvel have said they are bringing a heavy focus to the cosmic side of Marvel and this is so exciting! In this post I will list 10 characters that I would love to be introduced in Phase 4! I have also set up a page on Facebook. Please send a like over to us at Page Runner I will be running competitions through it as well as using it to share comic-book news!

Let’s get started: here are ten characters (excluding the Fantastic Four and X-Men) that I would love to see joining the MCU in phase 4, counting down to the one I want the most!

10. She-Hulk

Jennifer Walters was shot by mobsters but her cousin Bruce Banner saved her life by giving her a last minute blood transfusion of his own irradiated blood. From that point on Jennifer Walters was able to transform into the Sensational She-Hulk; a recurring member of the Avengers.

SheHulkShe-Hulk would be an excellent addition to the MCU. Banner is bound to have more of his blood hidden away somewhere for science reasons. Tony Stark may even have helped research into the DNA to find out more about Banner’s alter-ego, the Hulk. Jennifer Walters could be introduced while Banner is still alive or even after, and her transition into becoming She-Hulk could be adapted closely from the comics. With the Avengers roster to be surely shaken up after Avengers 4, and the rumour of the Secret Invasion story-line playing a part to come, Jennifer Walters’ She-Hulk could become a valuable member, as well as maybe having a cameo or appearance with the Fantastic 4.

9. Wonder Man

In the comics, Simon Williams was made into a being of pure ionic energy by Baron Zemo and became the impossibly, powerful Wonder Man. Meant to aid the Masters of Evil in their campaign against the Avengers, Wonder Man found himself sympathizing with the heroes and joined their team instead.

Wonder ManSimon Williams could be introduced in any number of ways, maybe even starting as a cameo of small appearance, setting up to be a villain before turning to join the heroes in whatever comes their way. Wonder Man is extremely powerful; able to go head to head with the likes of Captain Marvel, Thor, Namor etc but also battles insecurities, making him a complex character that would present an interesting opportuinity on-screen. Wonder Man would make a great Captain Marvel villain in her sequel film (we’re bound to get one) before joining the heroes’ side later on. I feel he would work best while based on Earth but he has been a member of various cosmic teams including the Guardians of the Galaxy, and funnily enough, the character of Simon Williams has actually been teased in a series of jokingly placed Easter eggs in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. II with film posters featuring the character.

8. Spectrum

After being exposed to extra-dimensional energy, Lt. Monica Rambeau gained the ability to manipulate all energies of the electromagnetic spectrum. Monica has served alongside the Avengers in various incarnations and operated as their leader for a time.

SpectrumMonica Rambeau became a lutienant in the New Orleans police force before becoming superhuman after being bombarded with extra-dimensional energy. Monica Rambeau would make a brilliant addition to the MCU. She has taken many alter-egos, most famously for “Spectrum” but she took the title of Captain Marvel at one point too, she has been a part of the Avengers and led them once too, as well as being a part of the A-Force and various cosmic teams. She has a wide range of fantastic powers that would be brilliant on-screen and with the right writing, she could integrate perfectly with both stories focused on earth and off-planet. It’s been rumoured that Monica Rambeau has been cast for the 2019 Captain Marvel film, presumably as a cameo for now, but at the moment, it is just that; a rumour.

7. Miles Morales

Originally created in the Ultimate Universe, this version of Spider-Man is a 16 year old kid named Miles Morales from Brooklyn who takes on the Spider-Man identity after Peter Parker’s death.

4924976-miles_moralesWe didn’t even get Tom Holland’s Spider-Man too long ago so some may think it’s too early to be considering another one however I think the introduction of Miles Morales would work well. The difference this time is that the two could co-exist together. Miles Morales’ Spider-Man is a wildly popular comic-character despite being relatively new, and with the approaching focus on the cosmos, there could easily be a way to gain a glimpse of an alternative universe based upon the Ultimate Universe of 616 Marvel, and from this, a way to bring Miles into the MCU. A Parker and Morales team up would work wonders, the character’s introduction and team-up with Parker would work especially well if Spider-Man becomes key to the MCU in Phase 4.

6. Norman Osborn

The amoral industrialist Norman Osborn was transformed by an experimental serum into the maniacal Green Goblin, he has also taken the mantle of Iron Patriot as leader of the Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts.

OsbornThis one makes a lot of sense on many fronts, and realistically, Osborn is one character we are very likely to see. Norman Osborn is the archenemy of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man is a character that we are sure to see more of in Phase 4, especially with the success for both Sony and Marvel achieved in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Far From Home. However Norman Osborn is a key member of the Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts, a possible script for the Dark Avengers may be in production as we speak after rumours began to circulate in late October. Norman Osborn in the MCU could tie earth-based heroes together with an Avengers/Dark Avengers story, as well as hint towards a future for the Thunderbolts team, in wake of the Avengers absence.

5. Namor

Namor the Sub-Mariner is the Marvel ruler of undersea Atlantis. The offspring of a sea captain and an Atlantean princess, he has been both a hero and a villain to the surface world. Namor is one of Marvel’s oldest published characters with his origins in The Golden Age of Comics.

NamorNow I said above that I wouldn’t be including the Fantastic 4 or X-Men and I meant it, I did not say there would be no mutants. Namor is a must-have in the MCU now that the Fox-Marvel deal is taking shape. Namor would be an excellent villain for the Black Panther sequel, pitting Atlantis against Wakanda and the rulers against each other, he would also serve as a great introduction of mutant-kind. Namor has clashed with other heroes though, as well as other villains. He’s rather an anti-hero wanting to protect and better Atlantis. Namor also would bring Atlantis into the fold, which, like Wakanda is a hidden city and would bring new opportunities along with it. Something particularly interesting that Namor could bring is the Illuminati. The Illuminati are a shadow-organisation made up of some of the world’s most brilliant characters, Namor being one of them. Namor would serve well in part of a team or solo.

4. Nova

Richard Rider was a young teenager when he was granted the power of a Nova Centurion. He eventually became Nova-Prime, leader of the Nova Corps, where he established himself as a universally cosmic hero of immense power.

NovaSo this one makes the most sense when thinking of the cosmic side of Marvel. Richard Rider has been an Avenger before and served plenty of time with the New Warriors but he’s most famously known for leading the Annhilators, and there’s a huge comic-book crossover story called Annihilation of which he is rather centric but even with that aside, he plays a huge part in other massive stories such as Secret Invasion, War Of Kings & Realm of Kings, Secret Avengers, and the Thanos Imperative. The mantle of Nova Prime has already been introduced in the Guardians of the Galaxy films with a character called Irani Rael, played by Glenn Close, holding the title. However, after the events of infinity War – where Xandar has seemingly been destroyed and I presume the Nova Corps with it, the title could be passed on to another. Potentially a last survivor or a new-found character completely, along with gaining cosmic powers associated with it.

3. Galactus

Galactus is the infamous “Devourer of Worlds” famously so because he eats planets. His powers are nearly omnipotent. He has appointed a number of entities as his Heralds, imbuing them with the Power Cosmic.

GalactusGalactus is the only survivor of the universe that existed before the Big Bang. He was actually born billions of years ago on the planet Taa. Galactus is one of the desirables for the next big-bad after Thanos and frankly, he’d make an excellent one. Galactus is immensely powerful and would be one of the best choices for the cosmic side of Marvel and Earth-bound heroes to unite. Galactus would make a great overarching villain combining the Fantastic 4, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy or another space-based team. He’s been an enemy for much of the Marvel Universe. A character closely attached to Big G is also Silver Surfer, who would make a great addition to the MCU.

2. Gladiator

Kallark, codenamed Gladiator, was once the Praetor of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, the most faithful servant of the Shi’ar throne. After the Shi’ar-Kree War, with the apparent death of Lilandra and Vulcan, Kallark is elevated to the position of Majestor by consensus of a desperate Shi’ar populace.

GladiatorGladiator’s placement into the MCU would be perfect. Gladiator is an interesting character that could easily be the main star in a film or a secondary character in another’s. Introducing Gladiator could lay the ground work for an adaptation of War of Kings or even a new team – the Annhiliators, joining with Nova as mentioned previously. Now that the future of Guardians of the Galaxy is uncertain, another cosmic team’s presence would be doubly effective. Gladiator could be mixed into the new phase, appearing a few times, with connections to Earth-based characters and cosmic. In a fairly recent story titled ‘Infinity’, Kallark played a key role in the story as part of an intergalactic council made up of many leaders including himself, Captain America, and the Skrull Emperor Kl’rt. Incorporating him into the mix would bring a powerful but relatively unknown character to the front, something I think the MCU would benefit from as it has before.

1. Doctor Doom

The brilliant scientist with the iron mask which conceals his now scarred face. Master of science and sorcery, Victor Von Doom is the monarch of Latveria and seeks the betterment of mankind through world conquest!

DoomFor those that saw my favourite Marvel villains, they’ll know that Doctor Doom is not in fact in first place, he was actually third behind Magneto and Galactus, with that in mind however I think Doctor Doom would be an incredible character to bring into the MCU. More so than any other. Doctor Doom is an almighty villain who has a times worked with heroes and heroic teams i.e the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom could easily be introduced as the next Avengers villain; he’s brilliantly intelligent and powerful, a sorcerer to rival Doctor Strange. He also has connections to many cosmic characters including Silver Surfer and would you look at that – Galactus. Doctor Doom could be introduced in a Black Panther sequel just as well as in a Fantastic Four film.

Honourable mentions go to:

  • Adam Warlock. Adam Warlock was hinted at in the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the future of the Guardians is up in the air at the moment so we do not know if we will see Adam Warlock anytime soon – although I imagine we will.
  • Phyla-Vell. Phyla-Vell is the daughter of Mar-Vell who Jude Law is playing in the upcoming Captain Marvel film. Phyla would be a great addition to the cosmic side of Marvel, especially if an Annihlators or Thanos Imperative, styled team, was considered.
  • Captain Britain. There is rumoured to be a Captain Britain film in development at the moment, or at least the project is rumoured to be taking pre-production shape. Captain Britain an interesting and powerful character, set in the United Kingdom, which would bring a new area to the MCU as well as lay the groundwork for an Excalibur film once the X-Men had been introduced.

So there we have it! The top ten characters I want most to be introduced in Phase 4, excluding the Fantastic Four and X-Men teams – which I want more than anything; especially the X-Men. My next posts will be my favourite DC villains with some recommended reading material for each, and favourite Spider-Man villains. I will also be hosting more competitions in the near future. Hope you enjoyed the read!

Marvelous!

The Armours of Iron Man post went down well, thank you to all who viewed it! Today I am starting a new series of posts centered around villains. It’ll start today with my favourite Marvel villains, there will be a DC one too, and then I will be going into my top villains associated with various heroes and a little bit of recommended reading for each. I put it to a vote in one of the lovely communities on Facebook that I’m a part of to which out of DC and Marvel we were starting with and the votes came in – Marvel. So without further ado, here comes my ten favourite Marvel Comics villains!

10. Bullseye

Bullseye is a leading antagonist in the third season of Netflix’s Daredevil. Very little is known about Bullseye’s past. He claims to have grown up in the Bronx with a brother Bullseyeand an abusive father. The only time they spent with one another as a family was when they would shoot air rifles together. Even at a young age, Bullseye had excellent accuracy. This was demonstrated when he killed a pigeon by throwing a yo-yo.

Later, while still at a relatively young age, attempted to kill their father by setting the apartment on fire. As a result, he and his brother were split up placed in foster homes. While in high school, Bullseye became a talented pitcher and was offered a college scholarship. He instead chose to join minor league baseball. With a perfect pitching record, it is possible that he was on his way to be a Major League Baseball player but instead he became bored and killed a batter who mocked him. This was a revealing moment for Bullseye, in his moment he found the pleasure that killing brought him. Lester, Bullseye, is a psychotic villain with an ‘incredible’ gift – seeing as he doesn’t have any actual superpowers and yet has killed people with throwing cards, pens, and even demonstrated dangerous ability with a paperclip. A defining moment in Bullseye’s history however, is when he killed Elektra; Daredevil’s lover, and Daredevil broke Bullseye’s spine. Bullseye then received surgery and had his spine, ribs, neck, skull and fists laced with adamantium. Bullseye has served with the Dark Avengers under the guise of Hawkeye, and in the Thunderbolts. He has also clashed with Punisher and Daredevil on a regular basis.

Recommended Reading: Daredevil: Born Again, Punisher vs Bullseye, Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1-5

9. Loki

Loki is the God of Mischief and Prince of Lies. He’s the adopted son of Odin. He’s typically the archenemy of Thor. Loki is the birth son of the Frost Giant Laufey, the former King of Lokithe Ice realm. Odin declared war and killed Laufey. This was also a prophecy told by Odin’s father, Borr.

Loki became jealous from an early age of the affection Odin showed his older brother Thor. He began studying Asgardian magic and science, both of which he would become very proficient in, eventually becoming one of the strongest sorcerers in the Asgard. In his youth, Loki tried again and again to gain advantage over his older brother Thor.  Odin loved Thor so much that he was preparing his greatest gift to the young Thor – Mjolnir, an immensely powerful hammer. Loki was immensely jealous, and he showed his first signs of evil. He interfered with Mjolnir while it was still being made-he caused the handle to be made too short. As a boy, he wanted Mjolnir’s power which would someday be Thor’s and often tried to steal it. Loki grew angrier with each passing day, he was truly venturing down the path of evil for his hate for Thor and desire to rule Asgard manifested along with his sorcery and mischief. He became jaded and finally made a vow-to be the most powerful god in Asgard, and to kill his brother Thor. Loki is best known for fighting Thor, and other heroes in the Marvel Universe. Most notably the Avengers, he was the reason they came together in the first place (Much like in 2012’s film The Avengers, also dubbed Avengers Assemble), although he’s fought many others. However Loki was an enemy of Thor and goodness before he entered the Marvel Universe and became known. He’s a skilled sorcerer and a really interesting character, he often flits back and forth between villainy and heroic acts, but more often those heroic acts are to further his villainous life. He often plans and manipulates heroes and villains alike, he orchestrated the event of Siege; manipulating Norman Osborn’s inner demons, and the Norse Gods, which ultimately destroyed Asgard and led to Sentry killing Ares.

Recommended Reading: Trials of Loki #1-4Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery, Vote Loki.

8. Ultron

Ultron was created by Henry “Hank” Pym to be a technological landmark. However, Ultron soon intellectually surpassed his “father” and eventually entered into conflict Ultronwith the Avengers after organizing the Masters of Evil. He has clashed with the Avengers numerous times, he is driven by his pure hatred of all organic life and his desire to witness its total destruction.

Hank Pym decided it would be a great idea to based Ultorn upon his own thought and memory engrams. It was a thrust into Artificial Intelligence that no scientist had ever taken before, not even Reed Richards. Ultimately it was not a good idea, to put it lightly. Dubbing the A.I. as Ultron-1, he hoped this represented a new era in scientific discovery. However something went horribly wrong, and Ultron became more than sentient and rebelled against his programming. Ultron has taken many forms or versions and it certainly one of the most powerful Avengers villains, he’s up there with the most definitive, seeing as Ultron is a creation of one of the founding members of the Avengers. He has also clashed with cosmic based characters however, especially during an event called Annihilation which tied together many characters across the galaxies.

Recommended Reading: Avengers #54-#58, Mighty Avengers #1-#6, Age of Ultron.

7. The Maker

Reed Richards has been a villain, it might surprise some, and an incredibly cool one at that. “The Maker” is the Ultimate Universe’s version of Reed Richards who was once the Makerleader of that universe’s Fantastic Four. He is now known as Maker and resides in Earth-616 after the events of Secret Wars.

In the Ultimate universe, Mr. Fantastic is 20 years younger than his mainstream counterpart and is the leader of The Fantastic Four. He is also insane. No other way to put it. Unlike his 616 (main Marvel) universe counterpart he was born into a normal family but demonstrated an extremely high intelligence as a child. It was shown that he was the first to teleport objects into the N-Zone before any scientist on Earth could. In his verse, an accident involving a N-Zone experiment replaced Reed’s cells to a single cell which could duplicate almost all of his human body’s function, which allows him to stretch any part of his body, he also could stretch his brain to further improve his intelligence and ability to mutitask. He started out as a some-what hero in the Ultimate Universe but after an event that killed his father essentially drove him mad, he came upon an idea and figured out how the world should be and was willing to do what he thought was right, regardless of the consequences. After a conflict with a team of heroes he was flung into the N-Zone, of which, he returned from and took over most of Europe. In the events of the second Secret Wars, Reed Richards, still under the guise of The Maker, learns of the incursions that are incoming and begins to manipulate The Ultimates into prematurely attacking Earth-616, in the hopes that he can use it to his advantage. Conflict ensues. The Maker is such an interesting take on Mister Fantastic, who I love for his intelligence but am not overly a fan of. His 616 counterpart is the most intelligent man in Marvel, rivaled only by Doctor Doom, however The Maker is far, far above 616 Richards in terms of intelligence. He is also much more powerful, and skilled with his ability.

Recommended Reading: Ultimate Doom #1-4, Ultimate Comics #1-4: The Republic Is Burning, Ultimate Comics #5-6: The World.

6. Apocalypse

Apocalypse is one of the very first mutants. It’s often contested who actually existed first out of him, Selene, and Namor but regardless, he is one of the first. He is also one of the Apocalypsemost powerful mutants ever, and so interesting. Apocalypse believes that only the strongest (whether mutant or superhuman) should survive. His body is a mix of organics and powerful celestial technology from space.

The story of Apocalypse began in 3000 BC Egypt during the First Dynasty. Born gray-skinned and blue-lipped with natural facial markings. He was abandoned as an infant, but found by a band of desert nomads, whose leader, Baal, saw the child’s potential power and raised him as his own, naming him En Sabah Nur which means ‘The First One’. He was taught in the philosophy that the tribe lives and dies by: survival of the fittest. Baal and Nur would become the only two survivors of an attack that drove them to hide in a cave before it collapsed. Baal eventually died from lack of nourishment after weeks of deprivation but before he died, Baal revealed advanced alien technology hidden in the cave, left behind by the deity-like aliens known as Celestials. Vowing revenge on Rama-Tut, En Sabah Nur entered the Pharaoh’s city posing as a slave and drew the romantic attention of Ozymandias’s sister, Nephri. On seeing the mutant’s true appearance, Nephri rejected him and turned to her brother for protection. Heartbroken, En Sabah Nur’s rage caused his mutant abilities to fully emerge. Rampaging, he renamed himself Apocalypse. Apocalypse is a formidable mutant, worshiped through time as a god for his prowess and abilities, and for his biblical incarnation of the apocalypse with his four horsemen. He is one of the greatest threats to Earth, the X-Men have had to throw full force attacks at him to stop him.

Recommended Reading: Fall of the Mutants, Apocalypse: The Twelve, Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender #1-35

5. Norman Osborn

Note I put Norman Osborn, not just Green Goblin. Norman, the crafty man, has taken a few identities in villainy and the character of Norman himself is so interesting. Norman OsbornOsborn is most famous as the Green Goblin , Spider-Man’s most famous enemy, and also as Iron Patriot, leader of the Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts.

Norman Osborn was the son of the wealthy business man Amberson Osborn. He had a comfortable, good childhood until Amberson lost most of the family fortune due to the failure of his invention company, Amberson then became an alcoholic and violent, abusive to young Norman and his mother, they would each often become the targets of his violence. The physical and psychological abuse by Amberson to compensate for his failures caused Norman to realize that only the strong survive and that he will never be weak. This realization caused him to kill the family’s dog, seeing it as one less problem in his life. He’s a bit unhinged. On one stormy and thunderous night, in order to ‘cure’ his son’s fear of the dark, Amberson locked Norman alone in one of the family’s dark empty houses where Norman encountered and feared a “green, goblin-like” monster. It is this monster that gripped onto Norman’s mind, slowly taking a hold. Norman is highly intelligent but also vastly unhinged and battles paranoia as well as multiple personality later down the line. The Green Goblin first appeared as a villain determined to rule the underworld and in order to do that he needed to prove himself by defeating New York’s newest hero, Spider-Man. Then, later on, Norman became the director of the ‘Thunderbolts’ and even the Avengers where he formed his own ‘Dark Avenger’ team. He’s a deeply interesting man with some very excellently crafted stories.

Recommended Reading: Thunderbolts, Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis, Dark Avengers, Vol. 1 by Brian Bendis

4. Thanos

The Mad Titan. I’m sure most of you have seen Infinity War by now and are well aware of who Thanos is. Thanos is a villain to just about everyone for not many saw his efforts Thanosoto erase half of the universe as a positive ordeal. Thanos has been a villain of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Annihlators, Galactus, Fantastic Four and others. Basically, you get the point.

Thanos is an Eternal who was born on Titan. He was born with a deviant gene that gave him the leather-like purple skin and also vast powers. He rapidly became the most powerful of the Eternals and later on, after seeking a courtship with Death herself, slaughtered his own race. True to his beginnings, Thanos ever seeks out the mysteries to power for personal use or as a ward from enemies seeking retribution. Yet even the quest for power is dwarfed by endeavors or errant missions for Mistress Death in an attempt to curry her favor. Always Thanos seeks power – but is forever wed to his quest to be found worthy as Death’s cohort. He has succeeded on multiple occasions, but has been consistently defeated. Most often though, as in the case of the Cosmic Cube, The Infinity Gauntlet and lastly in the story told in Marvel: The End – it is a result of a deep psychological construct. In critical moments during these events, Thanos provides a window to his enemies into his subconscious which belies the belief that he does not deserve or even want the power he seeks.

Recommended Reading: Infinity Gauntlet #1-6, Infinity Vols 1 & 2, Thanos #1-6: Thanos Returns.

3. Doctor Doom

There is no way that Doctor Doom was not going to get on this list. The one of the most interesting, intelligent and powerful characters Marvel has to offer. Victor was the child Doomof Gypsy travelers in the fictional country of Latveria, a small European country in Marvel’s universe.

Victor’s mother was killed by Mephisto when she called upon him/summoned him and left Victor with his father, asking him to protect him from Mephisto. Victor’s father was a doctor who was called upon by King Vladimir of Latveria to treat his wife. He was unable to do so, so Werner fled with Victor but died soon afterward trying to protect his son. Victor later discovered his mother’s mystical books and artifacts. With them, he was able to teach himself sorcery. He made several unsuccessful attempts to free his mother’s soul from Mephisto. Victor excelled in science, developed several inventions and was eventually given a scholarship to Empire State University. While attending this school, Victor met Reed Richards, who would later become his enemy, Mr. Fantastic. Victor designed an invention to rescue his mother. Richards attempted to warn Victor of an error in his calculations. However, Von Doom’s arrogance refused to let him listen. The machine then exploded, scarring his face and led to his expulsion from the university. Von Doom later went to Tibet and found an old order of monks. He practiced their ways enough for him to become their leader. Von Doom then asked them to make his first suit of armor.As Doctor Doom he became the leader of Latveria and used his immense intellect and inventions to turn Latveria into a thriving nation. Over time, Doom would perfect his mystical abilities to become one of the most feared characters in Marvel; rivaled in intelligence only by Reed Richards, he has clashed with beings of immense power including Galactus, Thanos and the Celestials themselves. Doom has worked along side heroes too to further his own advancements as a villain. Doctor Doom is one of the most formidable characters Marvel has to offer.

Recommended Reading: Fantastic Four: Books of Doom, Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman volume 1, Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: Reboot.

2. Galactus

The Big G! One of Marvel’s most powerful characters. The dude literally eats planets, I mean, c’mon! Galactus is such an insane, interesting concept. He’s famed “Devourer of GalactusWorlds” – tell me you wouldn’t love to have a title like that. You’re lying if you said you wouldn’t.

Galactus, known prior as Galan, was actually born billions of years ago on the planet Taa and was one of the planet’s chief scientists. Taa was a paradise world, the most technologically advanced in all the universe. Galactus was born during the last years of his universe just as the Big Bang was approaching. Galan flew into the terminal point of the universe as a sort of last act of Heroism to his people and a vastly powerful cosmic being combined with him to create Galactus, Galactus learned to control his power and created a unique body suit to help regulate his immense energy levels. During a space war his ship was fired upon and he awoke after laying dormant for hundreds of years and with this incubation complete, he fed off the energy of the world below him but he also has the power to create so he reconstructed the world. When completed, it was enormous, planets orbited it as though it were a sun. The world-ship became Galactus’ home and he named it Taa II. It is believed that Galactus is the balance between Death and Eternity. Galactus isn’t actually in Marvel Comics a huge amount but I just absolutely love the concept.

Recommended Reading: Annihilation volume 1 #1-6, Galactus: The Devourer #1-6.

1. Magneto

Magneto is widely considered one of Marvel’s defining villains. Hell, he’s one of the defining Marvel characters full stop. A superbly crafted character with the most tragic Magnetoback story; all which gives him the fuel to flourish.

Magneto is a survivor of the Holocaust where he also lost his parents and sister before his eyes, and was set in to clear the chambers after executions, and was ‘examined’ to explore the depths of his powers. The Holocaust is a parallel concept to how mutants are treated by homosapiens out of fear. Magneto fights to make mutant kind the dominant species for he fears that the humans will try to destroy them if not. He and Professor X are in-fact based on Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr who were two prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement in America. I still believe to this day that Magneto is the best character in the X-Men mythos. Magneto is fiercely loyal and protective of his own kind, a fearsome leader, brilliant strategist and has been as much an enemy of the X-Men as a part of them. Magneto’s protectiveness of his own is very similar to myself and he’s just such a superbly written character.

Recommended Reading: X-Men: Magneto Testament (2008) #1-5, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #147-150, X-Men Vol. 2 (1991) #1-3.

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Many who know me may have been expecting Winter Soldier to appear on this list and while Bucky did debut as a villain, he’s long since been considered an anti-hero or hero. An honourable mention goes to Emma Frost too, known also as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Emma Frost has transitioned from one of the X-Men’s deadliest foes into a central figure on the side of the mutants… So there we have it! My top ten Marvel villains. Next week will be the top ten DC! Other posts will be continuing as usual!

I am Armour Man

Hello again! I’ve started a few new projects over the last few weeks and unable to focus long enough for a blog but I’m back. As of next week I will be starting a new series of posts on top 10 characters such as villains associated with a hero, the first post will be my favourite Marvel or DC villains. Today though, I will be blogging about my favourite Iron Man armours. I love the Hall of Armours and he has so many fantastic creations, the imagination is really spectacular around some of them, and so let’s break down my top 10 Iron Man armours with a little bit about them!

Now to clarify, these are not the ten most powerful or best, merely my ten favourites and a lot of these armours are known as other names so you’re going to read “is better known as” a few times. Let’s begin!

10. Model 13

Model 13 first appeared in May, 1994, Iron Man #304.

Iron_Man_Armor_Model_13_(Hulkbuster)Model 13 is better known as the Hulkbuster Armour. It was designed, as you may have worked out, to be a fail-safe measure for use against the Hulk who was rampaging through America. There isn’t a huge amount of ultra-imaginative tech to do with this suit, it was designed to be rugged but manned like any other suit. Under the bigger, stronger, outer-shell was a smaller suit and instead of a single cohesive unit, each piece of the armor was a stand-alone system that could be interchanged when desired.  The Hulkbuster armour is immensely strong, not quite as strong as Hulk though, who is up there with the most powerful! The suits design was meant to absorb damage thrown by Hulk’s brute force and while it was less mobile or versatile, it was nothing short of a tank, it even had some adamantium armaments included too. I also really love the appearance of it; taking a classic approach with the armour plating but merged with the evolving times of design. It looks sort of similar to Juggernaut too.

There’s not a huge lot to this suit, it’s a tank, and it went head to head with Hulk for a while. That’s cool.

9. Model 29

Model 29 first appeared in October, 2004, Iron Man vol #4.

Model 29 is better known as the Extremis Armour. The Extremis Armour is one of Tony’s most famous suits, it was worn by Tony in the Civil War arc, which is one of the most Extremisfamous Marvel events. In an attempt to stop a villain known as Mallen, who was powered by the Extremis-virus which is essentially a super-soldier serum, Tony was fatally injured. With no other choice or options, Tony convinced the co-developer of the Extremis-virus, Maya Hansen, to inject him a dose of Extremis to heal his injuries. Additionally, Stark had been working on an experimental Iron Man Armor that was tougher and lighter than his then-used design. However he was facing problems with programming and accessing the new suit’s control systems. In order to combat this obstacle, the Extremis dose was modified so that the crucial modular layer of the Iron Man suit was compressed and stored in the hollows of Tony’s bones. That modular layer was directly wired into Tony’s brain, allowing him control over the new armor systems with thought and even interface with other technologies.

Due to Extremis, Stark’s mind could now directly access satellite networks, security systems, and other digital technologies. The armour’s under-most layer could also heal the wearer within reason, and repair damage to the suit. The armor had a degree of adaptability to support and protect the wearer. Something called the ‘neutral net’ could counteract or adopt similar effects to superhuman powers, which, if you have read Civil War or even just watched Captain America: Civil War, you will have seen in action when Tony’s suit can’t keep up with Captain America’s ferocious fighting style and so the suit copies and adapts to it.

8. Model 8

Model 8 first appeared in November, 1985, Iron Man #200.

Model 8 is better known as the Silver Centurion Armour. Tony actually intended this armour to be used by James Rhodes aka Rhodey who ended up with the War Machine Iron_Man_Armor_Model_8armour. Instead, Tony wore it himself to fight against Obadiah Stane, and he won, so he kept using the Silver Centurion armour for many months after. It was used extensively against other armor users during the first Armor Wars until being destroyed and dismantled by a character known as Firepower, Tony used another version of this armor when he was facing the Mandarin’s attempt to unleash Extremis on a large scale as his other suits had been shut down.

After Tony underwent a moral inversion, Pepper activated an artificial back-up Tony had made of his mind in the event of him ever being compromised in this kind of manner. Although the armor that the suit was using initially was destroyed, the A.I. then transferred itself into a model of this armor. This suit included a back up power charge, rigid armour plating for increased protection against projectiles, refractory coating blunted lasers and other energy attacks. Other weapons included a heat lance, cutting lasers, an electric shock, and a tractor beam.

7. Model 43

Model 43 first appeared in February, 2013, Iron Man vol 5 #3. 

Model 43 is one of Iron Man’s stealth armours. It was created after Tony learned that the Extremis virus had been sold to various people around the world, and he decided to Iron_Man_Armor_Model_43track down the samples to destroy them to stop it falling into the wrong hands. One of the samples was being held in a secure location; a massively protected mansion belonging to a drug lord. Being powered by the R.T. node, the Model 43 suit possesses  camouflage capabilities by using lightbending technology, it can create holograms for disguise, and can use non-fatal, silent weaponry. It can use repulsors, but at roughly 10% the max output.

The suit can withstand a blast from the spectral mandarin ring, which is powerful enough to destroy the bonds between atoms. While the plating is thinner, and not designed for direct combat it is still bullet proof as is standard with Tony’s armours and can lift just under a tonne. The suit can also be upgraded with parts to account for combat situations. The suit can camouflage, and also create illusions. The colour scheme and plating design for Model 43 are ominous and eerie, the suit looks frightening; more so than most of his other suits. It’s a suit that hasn’t appeared too much in comics, only in thirteen issues but I sometimes prefer the stealth approach and I feel it should be used more often.

6. Model 42

Model 42 first appeared in January, 2013, Iron Man vol 5 #1.

This version of the armor is a test-bed for new suits, and is composed by “smart-metals that align to a sub-dermal ghost of a skeleton”. When Tony Stark returned to Earth, after Model42deciding to take time to clear his mind, he started creating many new technologies for himself. One of these being this new armor, primarily used by Tony to test new technological developments. It is more versatile in this sense, but less effective than rigid armors with their dedicated systems. It has a circular chest plate over the arc reactor, and like the Bleeding Edge armor, secondary repulsors are featured all over the armor.

The newest model’s composition allows the user of the suit to attach/de-attach different kind of modules depending on the situation.  The suit can also be retracted into a “backpack” to allow its user’s arms and legs mobility, but easy to immediately reassemble. Tony used technology given to him by none other than Rocket Raccoon to create the “Stark Omniversal Multitasking Software” allowing him to remotely control the armor on Earth via his Deep-Space Armor. The armor features regular weaponry such as repulsor rays, employing the latest version. In order to access the modular ability, this armor can be accompanied by a mobile armory controlled by Stark’s newest A.I. and be adapted to use different technologies. The suit also has wrist-mounted missles, repulsor miniguns, and counter-shields. The suit is also black and gold, striking a new pose for Iron Man.

5. Model 1

Model 1 first appeared in March, 1963, Tales of Suspense #39.

The first, the original, the Mark I. How could this suit not make the list if we’re being totally honest? This armour has the most history, which I’ll abridge. This suit of armor was created by Tony, with the help of Ho Yinsen, when he was captured by a terrorist cell in Afghanistan while overseeing the testing of some weaponry. The armour was created Iron_Man_Armor_Model_1_MK_Ito be a peacemaker, to keep Tony’s heart beating when shrapnel became stuck in his chest but it also doubled as a means for Tony to escape his captivity and avenge Yinsen, who had died at the hands of their captors. The suit was upgraded with gold plates when Tony returned to America because Tony realised that the grey armour terrified innocent people just as much as his enemies, so after a comment about how the armour would look like a knight in shining armour if gold, Tony painted it as such.

The suit’s shell is made of threads of “mono-crystaline iron coated with tetrafluorethene plastic”, knitted together using a 3D mechanical loom. The armor’s first versions were powered by a flat array of miniature batteries built into its chest plate. The batteries could be recharged by plugging the chestplate into any electrical source. The combination of hard and soft parts allowed the bulky armor to be folded and unfolded like clothes, without losing its durability. Jet boots were the armor’s main transportation system. The suit’s offensive capacities were nothing close to the likes of future armours but still impressive, considering, in the words of Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane performance “Tony Stark built this with a box of scraps. In a cave.” The suit enabled tony to pick up multiple men with ease and break through armoured doors, it was equipped with flamethrowers, and could be electrically charged to stop being touched. It was resistant to small-arms fire, and even a cannon ball once. An electrical force field could also be created to protect the armor from energy damage.

There’s something so beautiful about the simple design of the Model 1. It had sleek, rounded plating, that shone brilliantly with the right artist. It slightly resembles the Iron Giant robot too, or rather the Iron Giant resembles the Model 1 armour. It’s not the most flamboyant, or most dangerous, but it is where it started for Iron Man.

4. Model 51

Model 51 is better known as the Model-Prime Armour which first appeared in July, 2015, Free Comic Book Day Avengers.

In terms of power, the Model-Prime armour is the strongest. The main purpose of this suit is to serve as an all-in-one tool set. The Model-Prime is one of Tony’s most fantastic creations, essentially merging all of his suits into one; able to change shape, colour, and weaponry for the task at hand.

Model=PrimeThe armor can be commanded to separate and reconfigure themselves into any form and color. This ability allows the limbs of the suit to take the form of different tools, and even allow the entire appearance of the armor to be modified. The suit is also connected to the user’s brain synapses and when not in use can be collapsed down to a bracelet which then, when activated, forms and covers the entire body. The armour has taken on a Hulkbuster-type physique, stealth armour attributes, and even a design based off samurai warriors. The suit can adapted to any task at hand, including stealth operations, heavy lifting, and orbital flight. The suit has been shown to take little to no damage from various powerful attacks and even resists EMPs, different types of weaponry can be created on the spot thanks to the armor’s primary shape-shifting function. The scales on the surface of the suit can be commanded to shape themselves into blades, guns, cannons, and the armor’s shape-shifting features can enhance its user’s strength even further by increasing in mass. It’s a beast. It’s also so nice to look at, aesthetically, it’s the most pleasing. One of them at least.

3. Model 4

Model 4 first appeared in April, 1976, Iron Man #85

Iron_Man_Armor_Model_4Model 4 was the first Iron Man armour I saw in comics and is featured in one of my favourite Iron Man stories – Stark Resilient Part 2: Visionary Men. It is the classic Iron Man red and gold, with the iconic design. This armor was created by Tony Stark shortly after the previous model (model 3 surprise surprise) was damaged beyond repair battling a character known as ‘The Freak’.

Model 4 was not only created to be more flexible and more durable but also it returned to a nose-less face plate. Big issues right here. Model 4 underwent several maintenance works and became one of the longest used models. The armor’s structure was improved with 3D knitting. In addition, a force-field helped keep the armor rigid. Repulsors were standard weaponry on Model 4, the variobeam/uni-beam was capable of various effects, and a tractor beam could be used to pull or tow objects. The most recent version of the armor was able to use pulse bolts, and of course, had a range of other gadgets and weapons available. I love the simplicity of the design 

2. Model 37

Model 37 first appeared in June, 2010, Invincible Iron Man #25.

Model 37 is better known as the Bleeding Edge Armour. Model 37 is just insanely cool! Rivaled only in imaginative spark by my first place choice. The suit was the first to be entirely powered by Tony’s R.T Node (the arc reactor) in his chest, which had recently Bleeding Edgebeen upgraded significantly. The high output of the node had/has greatly augmented Stark’s intelligence and provided him with superhuman-level multitasking and learning capabilities and thus, Bleeding Edge was born. The Bleeding Edge suit was originally called an upgrade of the Extremis armour by Reed Richards, which Tony corrected, informing him it was “what comes next”. It is this suit that served as inspiration/adaptation for Tony’s armour in Infinity War.

A lot of people seem to think this armour is one of Tony’s most recent designs, and I can understand why. The entire armor is kept inside Tony’s body until mentally commanded, at which point it manifests itself as the Iron Man Armor. The armor is made up of Nano-Machines that can now be commanded to turn into any type of structure upon Stark’s skin. For example, the nano-machines can turn into clothes, other armors, or even different beings completely, by having the nano-machines change their properties into whatever Stark wants them to be. Unlike earlier armors, this new armor does not appear to rely on motors and servos for motion. Instead, the nano-machines create a second layer of artificial muscle over Stark’s body, upon which additional structures are assembled. This also enables the armor to self-repair and be almost invulnerable, as the armor is capable of transforming and healing itself. The suit can create weapons and defenses upon command, limited really only by Tony’s imagination – similar to that of the Lantern Corps rings. Known weapons include energy blades, uni-beams, and standard equipped repulsors, while known defenses include straight-up force-fields and gravity locks. In terms of fascinating technology this is one of the two most interesting, it’s also pretty strong; providing Tony with many capabilities.

1. Model 50

Model 50 first appeared in January, 2015, Superior Iron Man #1.

Model 50 is better known as the Endo-Sym Armour. That’s the last time you’ll read that, sorry for so many of them. The Endo-Sym Armour is so freaking cool, it’s one of the Anthony_Stark_(Earth-616)_from_Superior_Iron_Man_Vol_1_1_004strongest suits of armour, and it’s definitely the coolest in terms of technology. The Endo-Sym Armor is a full liquid smart-metal which hardens instantly on connection with the user’s body. The suit is based off symbiote biology, acting in a similar way to Venom and the other symbiotes when attached to a host, so it doesn’t rely on tech for the initial bonding process with its user, the start-up is completely psionic. Stark has stated that the suit can “feel” him the same way he can “feel” the suit, and referred to it as “alive” and it can be activated remotely, Tony even could attach the suit to someone else upon psionic or voice command.

The armour is white and the repulsors are blue but they change to red when offensive measures are activated. The repulsors as part of the Endo-Sym armour are incredibly powerful, bypassing even the energy absorption powers of Havok. The suit can absorb electromagnetic energy and is also capable of withstanding the lightning called down by Storm, which caused little to no effect on the suit. The Endo-Sym armour has increased thrusters, one behind the elbows of each arm which allow for stronger force in the punches, it can take a larger physical form much like the Bleeding Edge and Model-Prime armour, the suit allows Tony to lift up to 20 tonnes and hit super-sonic speeds of flight. When the main faceplate is removed, a graphene layer replaces it, to allow for bulletproofing of the face while providing an unobstructed view of said area of the head. The suit has a series of other offensive and defensive capabilities.

This suit was such a wild idea and it paid off dramatically, and as the imagination goes behind his suits; this idea of merging the symbiote biological features with Stark Tech shifted things for the character with lasting ramifications; for better or worse.

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So there we have it, my favourite Iron Man armours! I will be starting a new series of posts from next week as mentioned at the start. I hope you enjoyed the read and have a great day!

 

Respect Thread – Thor

I’m finally recovering from a cold that drained me, saw Venom last night too and really enjoyed it. A lot funnier than I thought it would be. Now I’m back I’m going to be doing a respect thread for Thor Odinson, as you may have guessed from the title. Thor is a Marvel flagship and one of the most powerful. Here I shall be delving into Thor, his powers, and Mjolnir, all which attribute to his tremendous skill set. So let us begin the thread!

Thor is one of the strongest among Marvel’s roster, and while with most characters it depends on the writer to relay the exact strength, Thor’s strength has been quite consistently powerful. His MCU counter-part is much weaker. In terms of physical strength Thor is among the top ten of Marvel’s ranks without going into the characters of Celestial-level strength. He often uses Mjolnir to assist him in battle so many of his feats are with the aid of that however he has also achieved some absolutely mind-blowing feats solo. Firstly, talking about Mjolnir: Mjolnir was forged of the metal Uru, by Eitri the troll, for Odin and was given to Thor by him and is extremely durable and it said to be stronger then the virtually indestructible metal Adamantium. Mjolnir was granted mystical energies by Odin himself and has been shown to be able to survive being in extreme environments such as the heart of the sun itself and energy blasts that could have destroyed an entire galaxy.

Thor is physically the strongest of the Norse Gods, being the son of Odin and Gaea, and as such is the God of Strength. His strength is incalculable in the sense that the upper limit, if one exists, is unknown and there seems to be nearly anything he can’t do through applying his strength. Thor has physically overpowered and defeated the strongest of foes including the Abomination, Gladiator, the Thing, even stalemated Savage Hulk. Classic Thor has feats such as punching through Silver Surfer’s force fields, reversing the World Engine which which was moving Yggdrasil; the great tree that connects the nine worlds, and lifting the World Serpent; the snake that in Norse Mythology, consumes the world. Modern Age Thor also has very impressive feats, including holding a moon together with his bare hands, stopping it from being destroyed, while sealing the surface with the magic lightning. While using Mjolnir however, he has far more feats, which I cannot possible list all of. Classic Thor is shown to destroy an entire planet with a single blow! Modern Age Thor, while using Mjolnir, has crippled the devourer of worlds – Galactus himself, used it to fend off the Phoenix Force after his entire team were left unconscious or dead, and one of my personal favourite feats is Thor with Mjolnir taking down Bor; Odin’s father, the fight was an almighty affair. The likes of which are shown in order below:

 

 

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Along with ridiculous strength comes incredible durability/invulnerability. Thor’s physiology is a product of his half-Asgardian/ half-Elder God heritage grants him a level of invulnerability that is not common among those of his race. Thor has been shown to be immune to all human diseases as well as its poisons and toxins. He has also sat in the core of the Sun, and he is immune to temperature extremes. He does not require air, and has been able to withstand planet-shattering attacks, he also withstood the weight of a score of planets, and much more. Though Thor is one of the most invulnerable of Marvel’s heroes, he is not immune to all forms of harm and can be defeated by a being whose power matches or exceeds his own, or by high order magic manipulation. Some of his feats in this field include tanking lightning thrown from Zeus and continuing to fight, engaging in a fight with Silver Surfer, who throws an immense amount of energy at him but he stands up and returns the fight there too, taking blasts from a pissed off Galactus who concentrates the energy into the point of his hands, and if that was enough being blasted by Thanos with a beam strong enough to destroy a planet. Shown below:

 

 

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Now, moving onto a few other fields. Thor, although a planet-buster level, is also remarkably fast and agile. He has superhuman speed, senses, reflexes, and agility. The senses are one we’ll tackle first because, though rarely displayed Thor possess some god like senses. He’s able to see as far as the edge of the solar system and track objects traveling faster than the speed of light. He can also hear cries from the other side of the planet. surferblastdodge.jpgHis speed and the other field of achievements however, are of much greater quantity. Thor has sensed and dodged a mental-blast from Phoenix, outmaneuvered an attack from the super-sonic-fast Silver Surfer. It also is a common misconception that Thor and the other Gods of Asgard are truly immortal. Thor and the other members of his race do age but at a rate so slow that to other beings they give the appearance of immortality. Thor has been stated to be thousands of years old which makes his life span incomparable to that of the human beings which he protects. When the Asgardians consume the Golden Apples that are cultivated by the goddess Idunn, they are able to maintain themselves in their physical prime.

Now we get to weather control. Thor as the god of thunder and son of Gaea was bornLightning fists with the natural ability to control weather since birth. Thor normally relies on Mjolnir to control the weather with devastating degree and release blasts of lightning. Mjolnir allows him better more precise control over his powers and allows him to better regulate his power output, and can act as a shortcut to access his natural powers. WorldStormThor can also discharge lightning bolts from his hands that are lethal and raw in power, also engulfing his hands in lightning to amp his punches. This is compared to using his powers without Mjolnir which seemingly require more effort to summon and are more raw and unregulated in their nature. Being the son of Odin grants vast power but also being the son of Elder Goddess Gaea has granted the ability to control the Earth and has displayed this ability by creating very powerful earthquakes. Thor also displayed this ability when he created a chasm in Africa between two different areas to prevent the enemies of one side from entering the territory of the other. MikaboshiOne of my favourite weather related feats is the ability to summon and have vast control over huge storms is able to summon huge storms, rain and lightning from the sky and also creating weather to there where normally isn’t any. Thor has been shown to create a storm so vast that it almost covered the world and he even hurt Mikaboshi with a blast of god-lightning. Thor is also, surprisingly, a great combatant. A lot of people think he just uses his immense strength to batter enemies but Thor is one of the most trained and experienced warriors in all of the Marvel Universe. Even when Thor had been stripped of his powers and made into a mortal, he managed to save Captain America while using Cap’s own shield.

Thor at one point had access to an unlimited amount of power that was known as the Odin-Force. The Odin-Force was the power that Odin himself had wielded before his death that was then passed onto Thor. The Odin-Force was comprised of Odin’s power as King of Asgard combined with the powers of his brothers Vili and Ve. These powers added to the powers Thor already had made him virtually omnipotent. Obtaining the Odin-Force made Thor one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel Universe. When Thor possessed this power he was able to achieve a number of feats that have not been duplicated by any other being in the Marvel Universe. Thor was able to destroy Captain America’s shield with a look, teleported Asgard over New York City, recreated the moon after it has been nearly disintegrated, as well as defeat the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange. It should also come as no surprise, due to the fact that Thor is a War God, he has had great experience with devising plans of war. While I wouldn’t put him up with the greatest tacticians like Thanos, Doctor Doom or Black Panther. I would put him in the ranks just below those. Thor also has a small degree of matter manipulation, force-field creation, and energy absorption and direction.

Thor is truly a force to be reckoned with. One of Marvel’s strongest, and best flag-ship characters. I’ve really enjoyed writing this post, I hope you enjoy reading it! My favourite Doctor Strange stories is coming soon, I’m having a bit of an unknown issue with publishing it and visibility! Have a great day!

 

 

We Are Venom!

Yo! So Venom hit cinemas today and I’m very excited for it! Today I will be doing my five favourite Venom stories in honour of the release and also a competition, the details of which are at the bottom of the blog. So without further ado, let’s begin the count down of my favourite Venom stories.

5. Spider-Man: Birth of Venom

Spider-Man: Birth of Venom is written by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by David Michelinie.

Starting at fifth place, the story is what the title says – gives us a look at the origin and ‘birth’ of Venom, the story was published in 2007 which is a good few years after

Birth of Venom

Venom arrived to the pages of Marvel Comics so this is a re-imagining of said origin. Venom is definitely one of my favourite anti-heroes/villains, This collection showcases the history of the black “suit” extensively which is a precursor to the Venom story-line. A big majority of this story deals with that suit’s origin and only the last bit of Venom himself however his reveal comes as more of a twist to readers than it does an expected development. A cool tie in is the issues from Amazing Spider-Man showing Peter learning about the suit and what capabilities it has while fighting crime, which also follows into an amazing dream sequence wherein Peter is attempting to claw the suit from his body at the clock tower. The story features some cool Black Cat cameos too

Tom DeFalco and David Michelinie come together, combining great pacing and artwork that stands the test of time. While it’s not the best Venom story, it’s definitely one of the greats.

4. Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage

Maximum Carnage is written by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Mark Bagley.

Oh, Maximum Carnage, a joyful, happy story of love and comfort. Not. Maximum Carnage is a terrifying story; a brutal horror story with violence and carnage. Now it may

Maximum Carnage

look as though this is a Spider-Man story, and technically it is but Venom plays a huge part in it. Carnage, in case you don’t know, is the ‘offspring’ of Venom and is much stronger than Venom. Maximum Carnage starts off after the Carnage symbiote has been destroyed and Cletus (Carnage’s host) is presumed powerless while locked up in the Ravencroft Prison, however the symbiote mutated his blood before its destruction, and this enables Cletus to generate a copy of the symbiote and break out; calling himself Carnage again, and frees Shriek who is another symbiote in the process. The pair of them then go on a killing spree and also recruit other super-villains along the way. In order to try and take them down Spider-Man has to team up with other characters including Captain America, Deathlock, Morbius the vampire, and you guessed it… Venom. Things do not go to plan, Venom is left to try and tackle Carnage alone and Shriek uses her psychic powers to turn the population of New York into a blood-thirsty, ravaging force. As the story progresses, a way to defeat Carnage and Shriek is revealed which is partially down to Venom’s strategy.

Maximum Carnage, although a Spider-Man story, explores Venom’s savagery while also his strategic prowess when tackling other symbiotes of which Carnage is one of the worst. Tom DeFalco writes a harrowing story which is accompanied by Mark Bagley’s terrifically brutal art which captures the goriness and haunting events that transpire.

3. Venom: Space Knight, Volume 1: Agent of the Cosmos

Venom: Space Knight, Volume 1: Agent of the Cosmos is written by Robbie Thomson and illustrated by Ariel Olivetti.

This story earns it’s place at third, not for it’s epic storytelling but for the sheer amount of fun that comes with it. I didn’t think I’d ever have as much fun reading a story about

Agent Venom

Venom as I did with this. Flash Thompson is Agent Venom. Soldier. Veteran. Double amputee. Guardian of the Galaxy. SPACE KNIGHT. Host to a powerful yet newly tamed alien symbiote. All fun and games, ah, such fun! Flash Thompson is serving as an ambassador of Earth and an agent of the cosmos, kicking ass, he travels across the galaxies helping the helpless and thrashing those that prey upon them, he changes from guardian to gladiator as he’s forced to fight in an alien arena. He has to use his advanced powers to adapt and think of a way to brave an emergency on a planet filled with enormous volcanoes when the Space Knight’s symbiote suit is weak to and afraid of fire. Venom has been built up in the Marvel Universe as a symbol of dark savagery is stripped away of it’s rage and then Flash Thompson is able to use the symbiote to do good for the galaxy. We also witness an enemy return to try and corrupt the symbiote, but will it bite? Read it and see.

This is a great adventure story set in space, colourfully written with action and humour. With Ariel Olivetti turning in some of his warmest and endearing artwork I’ve yet seen from him. This is one gorgeous book! Absolutely so much fun.

2. Venom: Lethal Protector

Venom: Lethal Protector is written by David Michelinie and illustrated by Mark Bagley. The Venom: Lethal Protector story is one of two Venom stories being used as source material for the adapted feature film.

The Lethal Protector is widely regarded as one of the best, and one of the most famous Venom story-lines and for good reason. It only ran for six issues but my lord they

Lethal Protector

managed to write a good story in a short amount of time, the series marked the first time that Eddie Brock starred in a series is the main character and showed Venom’s progression from villain status to anti-hero. The story takes place after Spider-Man and Venom have tangled in a web of violence but decide upon agreeing to leave each other alone on the condition that Venom commits no crime. Eddie moves to San Francisco and takes up with a group of Californian homeless people who live in abandoned subway tunnels but shortly after this, the father of one of Venom’s victims seeks out Eddie (and the symbiotic partner) with a task force of super-powered mercenaries to en act revenge. Spider-Man heads to San Francisco after seeing misleading television coverage of Venom to confront him but instead winds up fighting alongside Venom against the Symbiote offspring of Venom himself: consisting of Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Agony.

Venom: Lethal Protector is a Venom classic, there’s no other word for it. It’s Venom’s transformation into the vigilante role and sees the ditching of his obsession to kill Peter Parker/Spiderman and the artwork is beautifully crafted. David Michelinie and Mark Bagley bring the story and artwork together to forge a brilliant tale, easily taking second place.

1. Venom: The Complete Collection

Venom: The Complete Collection is written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Tony Moore.

Rick Remender is one of my absolute favourite Marvel writers, having written such stories as Uncanny X-Force: The Apocalypse Solution, Uncanny Avengers: The Red

Rick Remender Venom

Shadow, and Avengers and X-Men: Axis – which are all brilliant and you should read but back to his work on Venom. Rick Remender’s Venom, It doesn’t get much better than this for Venom. The host here is Flash Thompson, once Peter Parker’s bully at high school, he grew up fast and joined the army, meanwhile Venom has been separated from his host and lands into the hands of the government. After trying and failing to bond the symbiote with another host, resulting in the candidate’s death, the government decided to approach another candidate. Around this time Flash was approached by the Department of Homeland Security as a candidate to be bonded with the parasitic alien in order to create a new super soldier. Flash agreed and became Agent Venom, controlling the suit with a combination of sedatives and strength of will. The story, particularly in the first 12 issues, explores such an incredible emotional range of Flash; the likes of which have rarely been seen before, then you get him dealing with his father and his dying days. It was really well done here and Flash truly came out as a complicated and interesting character, and then over the course of the last arc, Venom and Flash have to go on the run and are forcibly made to join the ranks of Jack O’Lantern which leads up to an inevitable showdown. The complete collection also features the What If? Venom/Deadpool in which Deadpool bonds with Venom and THAT is a HUGE amount of fun, just, really, bravo Remender.

Remender deploys brilliant writing; I think his work on Venom is his best, the story is gripping at times as well as emotional and action-packed. The art is just superb, Tony moore out-does himself; simply staggering. The pair working together really just compliment each other on every level, creating the best Venom work ever.

So there you have it! My favourite Venom stories! Hope you enjoyed the read.

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So the competition – to be in with a chance of winning Web of Venom: Ve’nam #1 signed by Donny Cates (with a certificate of authenticity) all you have to do is click the link below and fill out an entry form with your email, if you’re successful then you’ll be contacted when it ends! Please share to any Venom lovers as any extra readers for the future will be greatly appreciated! Other competitions will come in the future too.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eb8f9ce51/?

Gotham Is… Gotham Is All Of Us

So the Green Lantern Stories thread went down well, thank you all for your shares and likes! It all goes a long way to a (for now) small-time blogger like myself! I’m returning today to post the top five Batman stories. Batman is one of the two most famous comic characters ever created, and a major DC flagship. My interest in Batman has come and gone, however the stories below, I completely adore! So on that note, let us delve into my favourite stories of the Caped Crusader of Gotham!

At the bottom of this post there are the first details of a competition to be held next week.

WARNING: This post’s fourth entry has mature content.

5. Batman: The Black Mirror

Batman: The Black Mirror is written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Jock.

My first entry of the post is The Black Mirror in which we see a familiar face don the mantle of Batman, no it’s not Bruce Wayne, it’s Dick Grayson the former Robin-turned-Black MirrorNightwing. Bruce Wayne is alive and well however he’s traveling the world, establishing a ‘Batman Incorporated’ idea, a global team of Batman characters to be financed by Wayne Enterprised, that will assist local police forces around the world. Anyway, back to our Batman. Writing about Dick Grayson as Batman isn’t easy, it’s not like just doing it as if Bruce was still in the suit. Dick is different, he reacts different and he treats people differently; he has a completely changed idea of being Batman and what that means. As well as this, the art style changes to account for Dick’s Batman with a talent for gymnastics. Accompanying that is the flip-side, Dick come to the realisation of how truly ‘lost’ Gotham is; how dark and menacing it is, and how hard the fight must be fought. To make matters even worse for the now Caped Crusader, a darkness returns from the past. Dick Grayson is threatened on all levels; fighting the aftermath of his own past while also confronting this newly returned evil of Gotham’s history.

Batman: The Black Mirror is a fun tale but grizzly at times too. Scott Snyder certainly does a great job of exploring a new side to Dick Grayson, creating memorable moments in the history of Batman. Jock’s art is dark but refreshing, brilliant strokes and colour draws you in and doesn’t let go.

4. Batman: Hush

Batman: Hush is written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee.

Batman: Hush is certainly one of the most mysterious and extensive Batman stories, I know, a lot of his stories feature around mystery; he is a detective after all. In Batman: HushHush, Bruce is plagued by a mysterious figure, who stalks him, calling himself Hush. The story includes a large number of Batman villains including Joker, Catwoman, Ra’s al Ghul, Scarecrow, and Killer Croc. It also incorporates one of Batman’s biggest allies, Superman. Hush is extremely dangerous, as time goes on, it is revealed they know Batman intimately and exploit every weakness and predictable response until the very end. This is a character driven story, and it explores the characters’ realities under and out of the mask; exploring their emotional and personal, real, fragile and caring humans under their masks. It is revealed that Hush is in fact, Tommy Elliot, a friend of Bruce Wayne from their childhood. Tommy despised both his abusive father and his frail, submissive mother, who came from poverty and willingly endured every abuse dealt to her and her son to keep her lavish lifestyle. Driven by his desire for independence and wealth, Tommy severed the brake line of his parents’ car, causing a crash that killed his father and injured his mother; his mother, however, was saved in an emergency operation by Dr. Thomas Wayne, which enraged young Elliot. When Tommy finally revealed himself to a worn-out Batman, the Dark Knight was saved only by the intervention of Harvey Dent, whose Two-Face persona had been unwittingly wiped out by Tommy when he repaired Dent’s disfigured face. Once again on the side of the law, Dent shot Hush twice, throwing him off a bridge.

Themes of love and loss run throughout, new love mirroring old love and magnifying loss. Loeb’s brilliant narrative shows that both Tommy Elliot and Bruce suffer loss, it binds them together. Yet Batman, apart from professional support, is essentially alone. His pain and thirst for revenge fuel his passion. But at some point the “monster of fear” can’t always be an absolute. Jim Lee’s penciling is unrivaled for this story. If I was rating the stories for their art then Hush would be right at the top. The art and writing combined make a truly mesmerizing tale, as beautiful as extensive.

3. Batman: The Court of Owls

New 52 Batman Vol 1: The Court of Owls is written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo.

Among the many, many famous Batman writers, Scott Snyder has to take a place. The New 52 Batman series created and written by himself and Greg Capullo is a brilliant Court of Owlsseries, but none of the stories are greater than Volume 1: The Court of Owls. A series of brutal and horrific murders shock Gotham to the core and Batman begins to realise that the source of these murders lies much deeper than the usual filth of Gotham. He discovers a conspiracy hiding an organisation established in the 1800’s known as the Court of Owls; previously nothing more than an urban myth. Batman has to dig deep to find the Court and what they ultimately want. Crime rings and organisations have never been much trouble of Batman, even the League of Shadows, but the Court of Owls are something else. A new enemy, powerful, political, and skilled with a vast shadow and long arm. The concept of The Court of Owls is executed flawlessly. The idea of Batman fighting an urban legend was such an interesting and delicious parallel, considering many of Gotham’s residents consider Batman himself to be an urban legend!

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s creation marks one of the best entries into Batman’s entire history. Snyder’s writing captivates the brilliance of the Court, and yet the fear that comes with them and Capullo’s art is simply stunning. I could pick up this book again and again just to admire the art-work. This book well and truly earns its third place ranking.

2. The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.

The Killing Joke is a one-shot DC graphic novel, created by Alan Moore, and widely regarded as one of the best, it serves as an origin story for the Joker himself. Moore and Killing JokeBolland explore Joker’s source and psychology, the story became famous for its origin of the Joker as a tragic character; a family man and failed comedian who suffered “one bad day” that finally drove him insane. Joker’s real name remains unrevealed throughout this story, which starts showing us his career as a failing comedian after leaving his engineering job. However, being desperate to support his pregnant wife he falls into the clutches of crime; donning the infamous Red Hood costume, a mantle that has been adapted by many characters but only two of significance, during an altercation with Batman, the comedian jumps into a pipe to escape and is swept through the facility, once outside, he discovers to his horror that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk-white, stained his lips ruby-red and dyed his hair bright green. The engineer’s disfigurement, compounded with the loss of his family, drives him completely insane and marks the birth of the Joker. The story then jumps to present day where a series of events have been locked into place creating one of the most gripping conflicts between Batman and Joker, and sparking one of the most traumatic, horrific and gripping events of Batman’s career. The story features one of the most harrowing moments of DC’s history; the moment where Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter and side-kick to Batman known as Batgirl, is paralyzed and raped by Joker. An event that laid the groundwork for her to develop the identity of Oracle.

The Killing Joke is a dark and haunting tale, written to perfection. Alan Moore is no stranger to comics, he is the mastermind behind Watchmen. Brian Bolland’s dark style of art perfectly captures the themes set in place. This story is as much about Joker, if not more so, than Batman but it is a story that defines who Batman is.

1. Batman: Under the Red Hood

Batman: Under the Red Hood is written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Doug Mahnke. Under the Red Hood is considered an all time great, and iconic comic.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is one of my all-time top comic-book stories. It saw the birth, as you will, of Red Hood – one of my absolute favourite comic characters, along Under the Red Hoodwith one of Batman’s greatest challenges; facing his greatest failure. Batman is confronted with a hidden face from the past, the return of the vigilante Red Hood. This time however, Red Hood is far more dangerous with a completely new set of skills and appears on the scene of Gotham. After a run in with him, Batman learns that  Jason Todd, the former Robin killed by the Joker in ‘Batman: A Death in the Family’, is revealed to have been resurrected by Ra’s al Ghul in the Lazarus Pit. But the pit changes him and his emotions and he becomes the new Red Hood. Red Hood becomes a new crime-lord in an attempt to draw Batman out into the field, Black Mask teams up with members of the Society of Supervillains and launches an attack on Red Hood. When Batman arrives, the pair defeat Black Mask’s hired hit-villains, but the Red Hood’s deadly tactics leave Batman and Red Hood to end on bad terms. It is revealed that Jason Todd has kidnapped Joker and savagely beaten him, just as Joker did to him before his death. Then enters Batman. The following fight is brief but brilliant; a savage-like Jason Todd pushes Batman to his limits and afterwards the two enter into a brilliantly written debate over Joker, Joker’s life and the mind of Jason as he cannot fathom why Joker is still alive after taking him away from Batman.

The best part of this story-arc is in understanding the motives behind this antihero. The revelation that he is the once dead Robin, Jason Todd only makes things much more intriguing as it brings Batman to visit other superheroes in order to understand what it was like to come back from the dead. The interaction between those heroes and Batman highlights the uncomfortable nature of the subject and the complicated relationship he has with others. Cleverly integrated, this offers us more insight into Batman trying to make sense of everything before the big revelation and how he has dealt with the loss of Jason Todd. Batman: Under the Red Hood is unmistakably one of the greatest story arc to have graced the Gotham lore. Judd Wick masterfully introduces a character who shakes the very foundation of Batman, writing with grace and skill. Accompanied by Doug Mahnke’s superb artwork, these two create the haunting tale of Red Hood and give tremendous depth to it.

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So there we have it! My favourite Batman stories. If you have any suggestions  of characters you would like to see, like and comment on what those are and I’ll try my best to fit them in! Also, to celebrate the release of Venom in cinemas next week I will be doing a special top five Venom stories accompanied by a competition to win a copy of Web Of Venom: Ve’nam #1 signed by Donny Cates. Hope you enjoyed the reading!