One List To Rule Them All

So today’s the day. I’m 25 years old and you can betcha ass I’m gonna have me some Colin the Caterpillar cake. I’m also now going to share with you my favourite comic arcs from Marvel and DC comics. Now, lets be clear, Marvel and DC both have a LOT of extremely good arcs, so narrowing my favourites down to ten was pretty hard, yo. If you don’t like my list… well, that’s fine, you’re allowed to not. This will have spoilers!

Starting at 10th place! Lets begin!

Number 10.

10th place is Flashpoint from DC comics. Flashpoint is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Andy Kubert.

The story centres on Flash, and he wakes up at his desk and the whole world has changed – Aquaman and Atlantis are at war with Wonder Woman and the Amazons, the

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war is threatening the whole world. So imagine Bruce Wayne died in the alley instead of his parents! In the Flashpoint universe exactly that happened, and then his mother went mad with grief and her descent into madness ended with her becoming the Joker and his father became the Batman but a far darker Batman than we had previously seen; a Batman that kills, drinks and preys on criminals. Superman is a prisoner of the U.S government and has never seen the sunlight, Shazam exists but in this world is made when a combination of teens shout ‘Shazam’ and transform into Captain Thunder and other new-but-altered faces. This story packed such a huge punch, it was so refreshing and an interesting concept. Plus when you find out who is responsible for this new timeline, you’ll be so surprised.

Flashpoint is a crazy story full of twists and turns all the way through. Gorgeous art work by Andy Kubert, fantastic pencilling and brilliant proportions, Geoff Johns outdid himself yet again with the story. ‘Ol Geoff makes a few appearances on this list.

Number 9.

9th place is Thor: God of Thunder, Vol 1: The God Butcher from Marvel comics. The God Butcher is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic.

Now, this one may be of a surprise, even to my close friends. This is the most recently published story on the list, published in June 2013. Personally I’m not one of those people

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that think because something is recent, or new, that means you can’t include it in your favourites of something. Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic are an almighty force when creating comics. One of the best writers of recent Marvel history and certainly one of the most incredible artists right now. Thor is one of my favourite characters and while he has many good stories, God of Thunder captured something exquisite in my eyes. I was transfixed upon the pages as soon as I picked up the first issue. In this series they introduced the terrific villain, Gorr the God Butcher who is as terrifying as he is amazing, and certainly one of the best villains the God of Thunder has ever faced. God of Thunder is split across three timelines within Thor’s life and the story is looked at from these three times. In the past, we see Thor as he follows the bloody wake of murdered gods across the depths of space and throughout the realms. In the present, Thor discovers a forgotten cave that echoes with the spilled blood and forgotten voices of the gods, including his own, and finally; thousands of years from now, the last God – Thor of a ruined Asgard makes his final stand against the God Butcher’s berserker legions. God of Thunder, Vol 1: The God Butcher is a must read.

With beautiful pastel colours that bring a true sense of mythology from the pages and into your mind, and Jason Aaron’s superb story telling, this is one of the best Thor stories. No, one of the best Marvel stories ever written.

Number 8.

8th place is Hellblazer: Original Sins from Vertigo comics and published by DC comics. Original Sins is written by Jamie Delano and illustrated by John Ridgway.

This is where it all started. The first volume of Hellblazer set the tone for the decades of John Constantine stories to follow and it was a pretty darn good start. Original Sins is a

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comic that blends horror and fantasy, venturing well and truly into the realm of magic, hell, angels, and demons. John Constantine is an unconcerned, somewhat amoral occultist and con artist with a British working-class background. He’s a hero, of sorts, who manages to come out on top through a combination of luck, trickery, and genuine magical skill. The Original Sins collection is a loosely connected series of tales of John’s early years where Constantine was at his best and at his worst, all at the same time. This comic is what made me fall in love with John Constantine. This volume of Hellblazer is very noticeably late 80s, which is when it was written. The whole thing is very closely tied to a lot of the issues at the time, both politically and socially, and both in the UK and the US (homophobia, Margaret Thatcher, Vietnam, etc.). This doesn’t negatively affect its readability, though, in fact, it enhances it. Origin Sins is a gritty and murky collection of stories, the book makes your skin actually crawl as you read it and there’s some pretty grim stuff in it about Constantine and his enemies. The art is utterly staggering as well, the combination of bold pen-work and pastel/faded paint brings the feeling of a somewhat disturbed setting. Ultimately, if you want to truly see Constantine at work, the original Vertigo/DC Hellblazer run is the place to start. The whole run is considered, in my eyes, one of the best runs in comics ever but Original Sins stands out beyond all for it’s bold approach on the start of what will be an iconic and classic character.

Jamie Delano is a superb writer and creates such an atmospheric tale of Constantine, and truly defines his character. This writing combined with John Rdigeway’s beautiful art work makes for one of the best comics I’ve ever seen.

Number 7.

7th place is Avengers: The Children’s Crusade from Marvel comics. The Children’s Crusade is written by Allan Heiberg and illustrated by Jim Cheung.

The story was an emotional ride from start to finish. I remember picking it up and being completely blown away by the final result. Allan Heinberg, who is very familiar with the

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Young Avengers, bringing huge success to Marvel Comics with their series was the obvious choice for this story. He perfectly blended the different teams and characters, and gave Wiccan a brilliant spot-light. Jim Cheun is no stranger to Marvel and I think the perfect choice for the art of this story. The story in a comic is nothing to the wrong artist and Cheun nailed the incredibly complex theatrics. The Children’s Crusade focuses on Scarlet Witch’s children and her father, Magneto, as they search for her and are followed by the Avengers and Young Avengers after the disaster of Avengers: Disassembled and House of M. The story gives us significant focus on Doctor Doom too. Doom reveals that the entity of the Life Force had passed onto him, giving him supreme god-like powers, even surpassing those of Beyonder, and reveals that he was also responsible for Wanda’s actions in Disassembled and House of M. Wanda and Wiccan successfully remove the entity from Doom during a battle between himself, the Avengers, Young Avengers, X-Factor, and X-Men. The story goes on a little longer but there’s some really excellent things I’ve not mentioned and you’d much rather read them there than here for the first time, I assure you.

Allan Heiberg and Jim Cheung explore the fascinating characters of Scarlet Witch and her family through this heart-felt tale with brilliant art and an unforgettable story. You get a good feel of how powerful Wanda truly could be in this story.

Number 6.

6th place is Batman: The Killing Joke from DC comics. The Killing Joke is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.” That quote will remain with me for

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the rest of my life, one of the best lines in comic history. The Killing Joke isn’t officially canon for the origins of the Joker being unknown are one of the things that make him so dangerous, but if there were to be an origin story, this is the one I would choose. It’s such a simple idea, but so real and powerful. I mean one bad day is all it takes. One push, one snap, one descent into chaos and it’s over. Once you’ve crossed that threshold then things will never be the same again. And the Joker, being the sly and brilliant villain that he is, wants to share the experience with the world. The Joker was once normal or as normal as people can be, in a world like theirs/ours. He had a girlfriend and a job, he was a stand up comedian but money was tight and so he took up a job with some crooks and it went badly wrong. Joker fell into a vat of acid while trying to escape from a robbery dressed as the original Red Hood (something that is then referenced by himself in Batman: Under the Red Hood when comparing the new costume to his original one) and then his girlfriend left him after seeing him, that was his bad day. One bad day. The Killing Joke is almost two stories running parallel to each other and yet woven together at the same time; the story of how Joker came to be who and how he is, and the separate story of how Batman, Gordon, and the world came to know Joker. The Killing Joke is not one for the feint of heart, the story contains many brutal features of violence, torture, even rape but my god is it a good story, and the ending, the whole story really defines itself by the ending. The last page, last few panels. The end is suggestive of two things and both will leave you gasping for more.

Alan Moore delivers an insane story and creates a path of entwining chaos, and poetic beauty nonetheless. Brian Bolland’s exceptional talents for the gritty and murky stories stand out here as the obvious choice but that doesn’t make his art for The Killing Joke any less staggering. A beautiful tale, told to use through exceptional storytelling and exceptional art.

Number 5.

Top 5 now! 5th place is Watchmen from DC Comics. Watchmen is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.

Watchmen originated from a story proposal Moore submitted to DC. I’m sure many of my friends were expecting this story to be on the list so if you were, have a chocolate button

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or something on me. How could Watchmen not be on this list, it is one of the greatest comics ever written. depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s and their presence changed history so that the United States won the Vietnam War and the Watergate break-in was never exposed. In 1985 freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most former superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and moral struggles of the protagonists, and one in particular known as Rorschach, as an investigation into the murder of a government-sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement, and World War Three with the Soviet Union is approaching on the horizon. Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout the series and added recurring symbols such as a blood-stained smiley face (the smiley face badge was that of the symbol of the Watchmen). Watchmen, simply put, is iconic.

The powerhouse team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created a truly fantastic masterpiece. A gritty crime-horror thriller with the superhero aspect mixed in. The illustrations draw you in almost as soon as you pick up the book, and the story will have you questioning your own morals in this past that is almost as dystopian as many future science fiction stories of nuclear holocausts.

Number 4.

4th place is Aquaman: Throne of Atlantis from DC comics. Throne of Atlantis is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

We all knew it was coming. Aquaman is my favourite superhero character so to think this story wouldn’t be appearing would be daft. Throne of Atlantis is one of defining

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Aquaman arcs. The story centres around the rivalry of Ocean Master and Aquaman as to who should rule and lead Atlantis. During the conflict of brothers, Ocean Master attacks the surface and the Justice League is called to aid the humans on the surface. Aquaman has to decide whether he will stand with the Justice League or his brother. The story is a show case of Aquaman’s complex characteristics as both a leader and a warrior and explores his moral struggles as he tries to lead a kingdom that does not want him. The story serves as a cross over with the New 52 Justice League too.

Geoff Johns has worked miracles with this character, he shaped this character from the joked-about, throw-away Justice League member to a truly incredibly character with an intense backstory and fully fleshed out powers that rank him high on the list of super powered beings. The story here was gripping. It was both action packed, and emotional with suspense and passion. The art, meanwhile, was truly breathtaking. Ivan Reis and Geoff Johns are an incredible team for the New 52 Aquaman run. They did justice to every one of the great DC characters as well as the undersea world itself.

Number 3.

Into the top 3 now. 3rd place is The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk from Marvel comics. Planet Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan.

If you’ve read my favourite Hulk stories you’ll know why I rate this story so high. If not or you don’t remember, I will now explain. after my dad passed away a few years ago, I

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carried it virtually everywhere with me. It served as such a massive inspiration for me to get through every day tasks when my depression, anxiety, and PTSD almost broke me. Every so often, there comes a tale; with equal parts passion and pathos, that not only redefines what a character has meant throughout the already established comics and story-lines but also re-establishes the hero as a dominant force for storytellers, readers, the company’s universe, and (arguably) the entire comic book industry. Planet Hulk is that tale. The story of Planet Hulk is that of tremendous heart-break and incredible action, with superbly written characters and the most gorgeous, cosmic-level of art work. Planet Hulk is a story that will change the way you see Hulk and the way you think he sees the world, his friends, and his family.

Greg Pak delivers some of his best writing, and accompanied by the tremendous illustrations of Juan Santacruz, Planet Hulk evolves into a timeless Hulk story that will remain one of the best Marvel, and best Superhero-genre stories of all time.

Number 2.

2nd place is Sinestro Corps War from DC comics. Sinestro Corps War is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

This is to date my favourite Green Lantern story ever, even surpassing the likes of Blackest Night and Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns. Sinestro Corps War centres

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on the Green Lanterns of Earth, primarily Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart, as well as the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as they engage in a war with Sinestro and his Yellow Lantern Corps. Using his power to insight fear he attracts many extremely powerful beings to his ranks including Cyborg Superman, Akrillo, the Anti-Monitor, and even Parallax the entity of fear. Kyle Rayner, possessed by Parallax, assists the Sinestro Corps in cutting a swath of evil across the universe. Hal Jordan must battle his way through and escape from the Sinestro Corps’ Citadel to join the fight against fear. Also, one of the Book of Oa’s prophecies comes true, the Green Lantern Corps makes a last stand that reveals the reincarnation of one of their fold! The Sinestro Corps War is a massive undertaking. Sinestro Corps War is one of the most brutal wars in superhero comics, many Lantern Corp members fall on both sides and the galaxy is plunged into chaos. We see the Guardians have to take a proactive approach to things and the foundation is laid for future storylines, especially the Blackest Night.

My man Geoff Johns wrote an excellent story which landed Sinestro Corps War 2nd place on this list, and to be considered one of the best Green Lantern stories ever written across the fanbase. Ivan Reis is no stranger to those who have read my other lists, he has made regular appearances and the illustrations for Sinestro Corps War were truly outstanding.

Number 1.

1st place is the Injustice from DC comics. Injustice was written primarily by Tom Taylor and illustrated by a number of artists, including Jheremy Raapack, Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo, and Tom Derenick.

Injustice is set in an alternative universe, set over 5 years and basically the writers were given almost complete control over it. It. Is. Mental. It was inspired by the video game

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Injustice: Gods Among Us, the game starts at the beginning of the fifth comic year. The story of the comic starts with Joker tricking Superman into killing Lois and his child, and then by killing the Joker as revenge, sets off a nuclear bomb in Metropolis that was rigged to Joker’s heart beat. The bomb explosion kills millions of people. Superman then decides to take those who will join him, and create a world of peace by policing it. The Justice League divides into Superman and his policing regime and the resistance led by… you guessed it. Batman. Over the course of 5 years we are shown the rise and fall of many great heroes and villains as a war breaks out on earth between the two sides. Many elements of the DC universe are dragged into the war too, including Trigon; the lord of hell, Spectre; the voice of God, the Lantern Corps, Greek and Norse gods, new Gods, and more. The story is a superb piece of writing by Tom Taylor. I fully recommend Injustice years 1 – 5, every year has amazing pacing, brilliant turns and twists, supremely gorgeous art, and a heart-pounding emotional ride from the first pages to the last.

Tom Taylor really blew my expectations out of the water. I was curious but also cautious when I learned it would be ‘based on a video game’ but Oh. My. Darkseid. It was utterly brilliant and the various artists packed so many wow-factors into the comic. Every single year had brilliant and stunning art, which flowed together beautifully, none of it felt out of place.

So there we have it! My favourite stories from across DC and Marvel comics, these are all subject to change of course and move up/down the list as more comics are released but this is the order that they’ve been in for a few years now. Hope you all have a great day! I’m gonna enjoy me some Colin the Caterpillar Cake, and Black Panther later! ❤

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The Strongest List There Is

Yo! Back today with my favourite five Hulk stories. There’s a few on here which will be expected, although maybe not the order, and a few that are will surprise. Also, I’m so freaking excited for Black Panther. Not long now my friends, and enemies, and anyone else reading this! As usual, the list will contain some spoilers about the stories.

Let us begin, starting at number 5 on the list.

Number 5.

Number 5 is The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the Monster. Return of the Monster is written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by John Romita, Jr.

The story is when Bruce Banner/Hulk is believed to be responsible for the murder of a child, he flees both the police and the attentions of a sinister organisation with an Return of the Monsterunknown agenda. This read was a surprising pick up for me, Bruce Jones focuses more on Banner rather than Hulk for the first half, and while this was surprising, it wasn’t in a bad way. It was a refreshing change rather than Hulk being in the spotlight and only seeing Banner as a back character. It also features the character ‘Mr. Blue’ who was in the MCU (just) film The Incredible Hulk. Return of the Monster is a much recommended read for fans of Hulk or simply fans of Marvel comics alike.  It is written smartly, rarely showing “Mr. Green” and instead, deciding to focus on Bruce Banner.

The story is suspenseful and grounded with clever twists, and sets the tone for pretty much the whole of Bruce Jones’ run. John Romita, Jr.’s art is beautiful, the illustrations are gorgeous and particularly bold. John Romita, Jr. makes an appearance more than once on this list.

Number 4.

Number 4 on the list is World War Hulk. World War Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by John Romita Jr.

I’m sure more people would think this to be higher ranked on the list. World War Hulk is one of the most famous Hulk stories, hell, one of the most famous Marvel stories ever World War Hulkwritten. So imagine a day that Hulk turns on the world he came from, that’d be scary huh? I present: World War Hulk. World War Hulk takes part just after the events of Planet Hulk, and Hulk is returning to Earth to enact revenge on the Illuminati and Avengers for banishing him into space and to Sakaar in the first place. World War Hulk is a story where we get a glimpse of how powerful Hulk is or could become, his strength has never been fully measured for it is infinite but World War Hulk comes pretty close. Hulk returns to Earth and is challenged by the defenders of the planet that include the Avengers, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Four, and he defeats them time after time. The conflict eventually leads Sentry to engage Hulk in New York and their battle rages so long that it threatens the entire Eastern sea front. Sentry eventually stalemates Hulk being the only being strong enough to stop the World Breaker. Lots of details in between those events but that’s the gist and the book is utter carnage. I loved seeing a good look into Hulk with no limits, you really feel that he is a world-threatening being in the rage that he has. The story also shows us Hulk’s son, Skaar, not to be confused with Sakaar – the planet he was born on. They have an interesting father/son relationship to say the least.

The story of World War Hulk, written by Greg Pak was so intense, with every turn of the page I was anxious as to what would happen next and while Romita Jr.’s art is often in debate, he really came into his own for this story. The illustrations; textures, and shading are the perfect addition to the chaotic story. I definitely recommend this story as a follow up to Planet Hulk, although you could easily read it as it’s own story.

Number 3.

Number 3 is Hulk: Gray. Gray is written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale.

Before becoming the Green Monster that everyone knows today, Hulk was grey (gray for the Americans reading this). Hulk: Gray tells the story of what happened during the Hulk Graydisappearance of Bruce Banner in the Gamma accident, and then after he reappears when everyone thought the Hulk killed him. Gray also shows us the area in time and the events of the romance between Banner/Hulk and Betty Ross, as well as getting a look at how Betty must see a connection between Hulk and General Ross.   A conversation between Bruce Banner and Leonard “Doc” Sampson is the reasons that Banner’s memories return, the story is written from Bruce’s perspective and it timelines the Hulk’s first days. Gray is one of my most read stories, I find myself re-reading it every other month or so, it really packs a punch (no pun intended, well, maybe a little) and it was totally refreshing compared to the kind of writing for Hulk at the same time.

Hulk: Gray is a wonderful read. I found it completely fascinating, and I flew through the pages. It’s both heart breaking and gripping, and an excellent gateway for Hulk fans. A take on his origin like no other. The Eisner Award-winning team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale really produced a masterpiece of writing, with beautiful art; textures, gradients and shading that perfectly mirror the tragic origins and events that followed, it will stick into your mind forever.

Number 2.

Getting close to the best now, 2nd place is The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect. Future Imperfect is written by David Peter and illustrated by George Pérez.

Future Imperfect is a terrific concept. The Incredible Hulk travels to an apocalyptic, post-holocaust, dystopian future that is a world ravaged by war and chaos, to face his ultimate Future Imperfectchallenge…himself. So, this story is essentially Hulk vs Hulk only the Hulk in the future is called Maestro, he’s a tyrannical ruler, and is vastly more powerful, skilled and intelligent than Hulk. Maestro was unable to put down all the rebels in his city (in the future he is from), and eventually a small group manage to use Doctor Doom’s time travel device to bring the Professor Hulk forward from the past in the hopes that he will be able to defeat the Maestro. The Hulk only wins via fighting dirty, so to speak, he barely defeats Maestro. The story is an amazing idea of pitting the strongest there is against the strongest there is.

David Peter really blew me away with the writing on this, for a story which in concept is just two immensely powerful beings hitting each other over and over, he did a terrific job. Future Imperfect is a heartfelt tale with surprises, and intelligent storytelling. George Perez’s artwork is incredibly detailed and really quite breathtaking, the textures, and drawings really were an outstanding addition to the story; bringing a real sense of dystopia.

Number 1.

1st place on the list is The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk. Planet Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan.

What a story Planet Hulk is. I’ve read this story so many times, and I am emotionally attached to it for more than one way but the biggest reason is that after my dad passed Planet Hulkaway a few years ago, I carried it virtually everywhere with me. It served as such a massive inspiration for me to get through every day tasks when my depression, anxiety, and PTSD almost broke me. Every so often, there comes a tale; with equal parts passion and pathos, that not only redefines what a character has meant throughout the already established comics and story-lines but also re-establishes the hero as a dominant force for storytellers, readers, the company’s universe, and (arguably) the entire comic book industry. Planet Hulk is that tale. Planet Hulk is one of my all time favourite main-stream comic-book stories. It’s difficult to talk about without giving too much away, and I by no means want to give too much away but the basics (and a little more) are that after being deemed too dangerous on Earth, the Illuminati decide to send Hulk into space, and to a beautiful and peaceful world where he can remain for the rest of his days. They tricked Hulk into thinking he was being sent into space to destroy a rogue satellite which instead was owned by S.H.E.I.L.D, after this, and finding out their real plans Hulk begins to smash the ship which he was sent into space on, sending it off course. The ship goes through a wormhole, leading Hulk to the planet Sakaar, a harsh war-filled planet. Hulk is captured and becomes a gladiator for the king. As the story progresses, Hulk befriends other gladiators and ignites a war between the slaves and the royal family. All three parts of the start, middle, and end are almost flawless. I remember that I could not put the book down once I started it. Planet Hulk served as a major inspiration for the MCU film Thor: Ragnarok.

The story of Planet Hulk is that of tremendous heart-break and incredible action, with superbly written characters and the most gorgeous, cosmic-level of art work. Planet Hulk is a story that will change the way you see Hulk and the way you think he sees the world, his friends, and his family. Greg Pak delivers some of his best writing, and accompanied by the tremendous illustrations of Juan Santacruz, Planet Hulk evolves into a timeless Hulk story that will remain one of the best Marvel, and best Superhero-genre stories of all time.

There we have it! I hope you enjoyed the read! I’m sure many of you didn’t see that order, or a few of those stories on the list coming. 1st and 2nd place on this list were incredibly close again, much like my Avengers list, Future Imperfect was a 4/5 Green Monsters and Planet Hulk was a 4.7/5 Green Monsters. My birthday is next week, the 17th, and on it I will be publishing a collective of my top ten Marvel and DC arcs, Planet Hulk will be seeing you there.

As always, peace. ❤

Respect Thread – Martian Manhunter

It’s that time again! Respect Thread time! Really appreciate those who read my last post, it was one of the highest viewed so far which is very positive! Martian Manhunter is very much a gem of DC comics and one of the most capable, most powerful heroes but a huge amount of people don’t know much (if anything) about him apart from his rather questionable choice of outfit. The dude can literally change his physical form to anything he chooses and that’s what he went with.

Right! To the matter at hand. J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter is one of the last two survivors of the Green Martians. J’onn was supposed to become the next leader of his people and take a Rite of Passage wherein he was to detach himself from his people and understand what it meant to be truly alone. When he returned J’onn found that the paradise he once knew and called home was nothing but ashes. Standing in the burning ruins of the civilisation he once knew, J’onn adopted the name “Manhunter” as he is now alone and in search for the being behind his misery. It was later in fact revealed, after he thought he was the last survivor of his race, that his twin brother was responsible for the annihilation of his people and destruction of his planet. Martian Manhunter has been a member of the Justice League, the Justice League of America, and Stormwatch among other affiliations.

Martian Manhunter possesses powers and abilities common to all Martians but has shown to be the most powerful of his race, largely due to be from his training as a Manhunter of Mars, and also his years as hero of Earth training with other members of the Justice League such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.DurabilityBlast

Martian Manhunter possesses incredible superhuman strength and durability, his strength is easy comparable to that of Superman and he has shown able to overpower beings like Lanterns and Superboy-Prime, and his durability means he has taken punches from Superman, Despero, and Mongul, he once ever withstood a blast that incapacitated the entire League long enough to download all the details of the confrontation to an alternative League. He can also increase his invulnerability by altering his density to become super dense.

He has the ability to fly at vast speeds, easily keeping up with many experienced Lantern Corps members, and has exchanged blows with Barry Allen in a speed-blitz brawl.FlashFight He has superhuman stamina, agility, reflexes and speed. He can even utilize his telepathy at super speed, able to create a telepathic conference room for the Justice League to discuss matters in the privacy of J’onn’s mind in just an instant. He has a healing factor that is even capable of recovering from limbs being cut off.

Martian Manhunter’s greatest weapons though are the control over his own molecular structure and his telepathy. Martian Manhunter has vast shape shifting abilities that stem from complete control of his molecular structure. He is able to take on any shape he pleases, often taking the human guise of Detective John Jones. It has been revealed in the older comics, that he takes the powers and weaknesses of whoever he turns into, he has often shown to grow an extra pair of arms to supplement his fighting abilities and his strength. When increasing his size, J’onn often borrows mass from matter around him and incorporates it in his body, expelling it when he returns to his normal size. Martian Manhunter has used the power to imitate other characters too such as Mera during a battle with Black Adam, phased through the atmosphere, and also phased through Aquaman’s trident of Poseidon.

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He has elongated parts of himself into bladed weapons during combat. His density is also variable and changes as he wills it. He can use this ability to become intangible and move through objects or allow attacks to fly by harmlessly through him or to become extremely dense to add more mass to his blows and increase his invulnerability. J’onn’s control over his own molecular structure also allow him to adapt his visibility, granting him the ability to become invisible at will.

J’onn is the most powerful telepath on earth, being able to effect even the Spectre and Doctor Fate with his telepathy. Aquaman has stated that Martian Manhunter’s telepathy exceeds even the telepathy of other members of the Martian race.

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He has even read all the minds of every single person on the planet at the same time and is capable of linking the minds of all superheroes at once from a distance of the moon to all corners of the earth. He has used his powers to make charcters think he’s beating them up, and has even erased all the memories of himself from the minds of the Stormwatch. His telepathic abilities also allow him to create realistic illusions; telepathically trace and locate people; shut down peopleSupermanJonnz‘s minds; brain blast; mental shield; influence thoughts; mind control people; manipulate memory; astral projection; possesion; induce sleep; reprogram or reorder minds; and transfer information directly into people’s brains. Even the likes of Superman himself has stated that J’onn is the most powerful being on the planet Earth, and says there’s no one he’d be more afraid to face in open combat and that’s not a compliment Superman throws around lightly.

So there it is! Martian Manhunter is one of the most incredibly gifted characters across DC and Marvel for that matter.  It’s a real shame his own series didn’t last long and that they’ve not started another of his own. I’d love to see him more in the Justice League stories, maybe a regular addition to the team! Hopefully he’ll be a part of the next big DC event.

As usual, I hope you enjoyed the post! My next post will be a list of my top 5 Hulk stories, I’ve been reading and re-reading more of Hulk recently and it dawned on me that he’s such a famous character and I’ve not done a list yet. If you have any characters that you’d love to see me do a respect thread for, or to list their favourite characters, just leave a comment, or inbox me if you know me. Peace ❤

The List To Avenge

So I’ve taken on a job as an early morning cleaner, the pay is good and I get the day  to myself so it’s all working out. Today I’ll be writing a list of my favourite Avengers stories. The Avengers are a key part of Marvel Comics and one of the most famous elements of pop-culture due to the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers roster boasts an enormous number of members and has dealt with threats all across the world, even handling galaxy-threatening beings such as Korvac, Thanos, and the Skrull invasion. As usual the rankings are just my opinion (and there will be some spoilers to events in stories mentioned) and before we start I’ll just say that Avengers vs X-Men is not on the list – I view that more as a story about the X-Men than Avengers for it focuses on Hope and the Phoenix Force. So let us begin the countdown!

Number 5.

5th on the list is Uncanny Avengers: Red Shadow. Red Shadow is written by Rick Remender and illustrated by John Cassaday.

Uncanny Avengers: Red Shadow was a brand-new concept of X-Men and Avengers teaming up. Captain America creates a team of  line-up of both classic Avengers and X-Red ShadowMen including Captain America, Havok, Rogue, the Scarlet Witch, Thor and Wolverine, three X-Men and three Avengers; with Scarlet Witch sticking to her role as an Avenger. The team was created in response to the events of Avengers vs. X-Men; – Cyclops says to Captain America during the events of AvX that he didn’t do enough to help and it’s haunting him so with the landscape and feelings of the world changed as much as they did, Captain America recognises that he needs to do more afterwards. Red Shadow features the funeral of Charles Xavier who was killed by Cyclops, under the influence of the Phoenix, in the war of AvX. Combining ex- Brotherhood of Evil Mutant characters was a nice touch, and Red Skull was an excellent choice for the villain of the story, it restores the feeling of him as a threat to both the Avengers and X-Men, and the team is nicely woven together with plenty of twists and turns, friendships and fist fights.

Rick Remender did a brilliant job of the script. The story was both heart wrenching and action-packed with suspense, and gripping atmospherics. The art work was also very nice and accompanied the story brilliantly, John Cassaday explores the depths of the new team line up with vibrant and bold colours to capture the conflict with in.

Number 4.

4th on the list is Civil War. Civil War is written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven.

After almost a year of growing conflict in the Marvel Universe the time to choose a side came about. After an incident involving the New Warriors and a group of super-villains Civil Warthat caused the deaths of hundreds of people, most of which were children at a school, superheroes across the US were to be registered and monitored, and the government would decide what they could and could-not act on. Tony Stark aka Iron Man who was responsible for the actions of the New Warriors took up the stance of Pro-Registration and Captain America took up the stance of Anti-Registration. One thing led to another and soon enough it was a full out war. This concept is one of the most interesting in the superhero genre in my opinion; a story where villains are not the enemy but pitting superheroes in the public eye and exploring the American ideology of freedom and truth. Captain America and his Secret Avengers believed that to register would be to give up their freedom which was their right, and that being controlled or restrained by the government would make them unable to act when they needed to on some occasions while Iron Man and his Avengers believed that it was in everyone’s best interest to register; that it would restore public trust in the superhero community. Naturally you find yourself taking a side as you read and I won’t lie, I leaning much more towards the side of Captain America. This is the comic that the Marvel Cinematic film of Civil War was directly influenced by, although the story of the film was changed to line up with the bigger MCU plans.

Mark Millar created an extremely atmospheric script. The story is full of twists; delightful and sincere a like, the concept was fleshed out in such a way that it makes the story one of the all time greats, not just in Avengers stories, but across the entire Marvel comics. Steve McNiven’s bold use of colour and smooth textures are a treat for the eyes, capturing the emotion flowing through the pages. He really paints a picture. 

Number 3.

3rd on the list is Avengers: Disassembled. Disassembled is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated David Finch.

Avengers: Disassembled is one of the most definitive Avenger arcs, it’s many of my friends’ favourite Avenger story. Brian Michael Bendis’ writing saw the destruction of the Avengers Disassembledtraditional Avengers roster as well as exiling several key members of the team. The story is attracted a heavy amount of controversy over the plot’s continuity and the deaths and vilification of classic Avengers members. A few key aspects of the story are retconned later on in the events of ‘Children’s Crusade’ as well as ‘AXIS’. Scarlet Witch is a huge player in Disassembled. After learning from Wasp that she had actually had children but they had been hidden from her, and her memories erased of them, Wanda went to Doctor Doom to see if he can restore her children to life. To do so, they summon a mysterious cosmic entity which merges with her and puts her under the control of Doom. Wanda then launched a reign of terror onto the Avengers in a plan of revenge. She blows up the Avenger Mansion, she deconstructs Vision, kills Hawkeye and many other team mates. The story features the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man,  Ultron Robots, the Kree,and Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange declares Wanda to be insane due to her possession of reality-altering abilities that were beyond her comprehension or control. He was aghast that she had been allowed to live her life without checks and balances, saying anyone who had such a powerful control over probability would have lost their grasp on reality and after a confrontation, Magneto leaves with Scarlet Witch for Genosha.

Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch were a power team on this story. Bendis’ script was heart-breaking, and full of emotional twists and surprises, one of the most gripping page-turners I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. David Finch’s art staggering here too, capturing the heart-wrenching story of betrayal with brilliant contrasting colours and bold, gorgeous shades and textures.

Number 2.

2nd place is Siege. Seige is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel.

While Siege is probably not one of the most famous Marvel stories, it certainly should be in my books. Imagine a story wherein Asgard –  the home of Norse Gods – is destroyed by Siegea singular being. I present: Seige. The for the story arc it’s a part of, started in Disassembled, so it’s kind of fitting to have it just after Disassembled in my ranking, and is followed through various other titles. In Siege, Robert Reynolds aka the Sentry’s other personality; Void, destroys Asgard which causes it to plummet towards Earth and crash and then Loki manipulates Norman Osborn to go, with his Dark Avengers, and try to claim the throne for Loki meanwhile Captain America leads his own Avengers to rebel against Norman Osborn and battle the Dark Avengers which leads to an all-out assault between the two forces and the Asgardian gods and warriors also join the fight; eager to defend their home. When Osborn is finally taken down by Captain America and the Avengers, he reveals that he was the only person keeping Sentry in check. The Avengers mount an offensive against Sentry/Void but are overwhelmed by his superior power. Loki, trying to redeem himself for the carnage he has caused, re-energises the Avengers using the Norn Stones and then Sentry rips Loki in half. They finally manage to bring Sentry down after a tremendous battle. Siege explores the raw power that Sentry has as well as his other personality of the Void, and in the process gives us a chance to observe that idea of what would happen when the home of the gods lands among the mortals of earth.

Seige was also written by Brian Michael Bendis and during his prime of Marvel writing. Much like Avengers: Disassembled, the story is full of emotional twists, surprising turns, and is a rather sincerely themed event. Olivier Copiel does a brilliant job of fleshing out the battle between gods and mortals, really vibrant colours with a dystopian-feeling group of textures. I’ve read Siege many, many times and I would gladly pick it up again.

Number 1.

The big 1. 1st place is Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. The Children’s Crusade is written by Allan Heiberg and illustrated by Jim Cheung.

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is a miniseries, which starts with Magneto learning that the Young Avengers were going to search for the still missing Scarlet Witch after the ChildrensCrusadeevents of ‘Disassembled’ and ‘House of M’ and two members of the Young Avengers; – Speed, and Wiccan, may be reincarnations of Wanda’s children. Magneto arranges to meet them, saying that he wants them to finally know their grandfather. The Avengers learn of this and try to stop him but are unsuccessful, and Wiccan takes Magneto and the Young Avengers away, the Avengers, Quicksilver and Wonder Man following behind them. Wiccan eventually finds Wanda but Wolverine tries to kill her but fails as she is saved. The story goes on to explore various timelines during and before the events of Avengers: Disassembled and restoring Wanda’s powers. Beast asks Wanda if she can reverse the “No more mutants” spell. She is unsure a reverse spell would work. They meet up with X-Factor Investigations, which has many clients who are de-powered mutants. Rictor volunteers and has his powers restored, However, a battle ensues between the X-Men and the Avengers over what to do with Wanda, forcing her and the Young Avengers to flee back to Doctor Doom. It is revealed that Wanda’s enhanced powers were a result of her and Doom’s combined attempt to channel the Life Force in order to resurrect her children, but it proved to be too much for Wanda to contain and overtook her. Doom reveals that the entity of the Life Force had passed onto him, giving him supreme god-like powers, even surpassing those of Beyonder, and reveals that he was also responsible for Wanda’s actions in Disassembled and House of M. Wanda and Wiccan successfully remove the entity from Doom during a battle between himself, the Avengers, Young Avengers, X-Factor, and X-Men. The story goes on a little longer but there’s some really excellent things I’ve not mentioned and you’d much rather read them there than here for the first time, I assure you.

The story was an emotional ride from start to finish. I remember picking it up and being completely blown away by the final result. Allan Heinberg, who is very familiar with the Young Avengers, bringing huge success to Marvel Comics with their series was the obvious choice for this story. He perfectly blended the different teams and characters, and gave Wiccan a brilliant spot-light. Jim Cheun is no stranger to Marvel and I think the perfect choice for the art of this story. The story in a comic is nothing to the wrong artist and Cheun nailed the incredibly complex theatrics.

 

There we have it. I hope you enjoyed the read! Honestly, it was extremely close between first and second place. I rate Siege at 4.3/5 and The Children’s Crusade at 4.5/5, both are absolute must-reads for Marvel fans. Next week I’ll be sharing a respect thread of Martian Manhunter!

Respect Thread – John Constantine

Guess who’s back… It’s not Eminem. It’s me! Today I’ll be doing a respect thread of John Constantine aka the Hellblazer. Constantine is quite underrated on many levels, he’s a brilliant strategist; always with a trick up his sleeve (ahh puns), and a confident leader. Constantine made his main debut with DC/Vertigo’s series Hellblazer, where he earned the name but he’s also appeared in various DC teams such as Justice League Dark, and Batman’s resistance in Injustice. Today I’ll be delving into the layers of John Constantine. As usual, this respect thread will contain spoilers from various moments in the character’s history.

Let us begin!

First off, a little about Constantine. John Constantine had an awful childhood. He had a twin which he strangled in the womb and then his mother died in childbirth which his father blamed him for, and this lay the foundation for friction between the two of them. When he wasn’t running away from home Constantine was looked after and raised by his older sister Cheryl Masters. Known as “The Constant One,” John is a descendant from a long line of magic users. Fascinated by the occult from a young age, John threw himself into learning magic to escape his unhappy family life. He eventually moved in with roommate Chas Chandler, the two became best friends. From the start of his introduction, Constantine has been a chain smoker but does not take any other drugs, and he once called his friend a “dirty lowlife bastard” when he found a needle with a nondescript drug in it. He has a harsh view on the world, himself, and only really cares for a few individuals. One of the reasons he isolates himself though is so he can always be a step ahead, by not being close to people he feels he can maintain a steady plan of action for those around him.

John Constantine is very much of the attitude of ‘Brains Over Brawn’ while he has been known to engage in combat with someone he would much rather outsmart his opponents than engage on a physical level, if he does end up in a physical fight then he’ll often fight dirty or utilise magic to gain the upper-hand. Constantine is actually a master strategist, he is extremely manipulative without needing magic and is a master con-artist. Constantine has actually escaped Hell itself, outsmarted Merlin and the angel Gabriel too.

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During the third year of the DC alternative universe event Injustice Constantine orchestrated a plan that even outsmarted quick thinkers like Batman and Wonder Woman. Constantine Though his manipulation is not drawn out over long periods; he prefers to make instant decisions, relying on his miraculous brain to get himself out of tight situations rather than preparing for things long in advance. Constantine also has supernaturally good luck; referred to sometimes as “synchronicity wave travelling”, it resembles a form of localised, low-level reality warping, granting him enormous luck and explaining how he has survived all that he has survived. Constantine can also sense evil and other magic nearby, similar to that of Spider-Man’s danger senses, and see ghosts and sense auras too.

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What Constantine is most famous for is his use of magic. While he’s not one of the most powerful sorcerers in the universe, he’s certainly one of the most gifted; the First of the DevilRespectFallen (the Devil) notes that Constantine is the most formidable adversary he has faced. having mastered many forms including Divination, Demon Summoning, Cursing, Golemancy, Occlumency, Necromancy, DraculaRespectVivimancy, Illusion, and various stage magic tricks like hypnosis, sleight of hand, and escapology. Dracula himself stated that John is the most intelligent, devious and best master of the occult he has ever met. Constantine as Hellblazer also has the ability to resurrect himself in Hellblazer: Pandemonium where he was killed and later came back by leaving the afterlife, as one does. He also showed the ability to resurrect himself in the Hellblazer Rebirth.

In the New 52, John Constantine managed to take away Billy ‘Shazam’ Batson’s powers to use for himself, can summon the Phantom Stranger against his will and banish him again just as easily.

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He has out-matched the Spectre (who uses the power of god) by dodging his attacks and being unable to be possessed by Deadman, he’s had his soul ripped from his body and carried on battling regardless and has demonstrated matter manipulation by separating Swamp Thing from the Green. His blood is also tainted with demon-blood which as well as being a handy defence against Vampires, also gives him increased longevity – slowing his ageing and also a slight healing factor. While not enjoying the use of firearms, he is a talented marksman, and owns a .357 Magnum, which he has used on occasion. Though he relies on his supernatural powers and holy magic, wands, and even magical chainsaws. Yes, magical chainsaws.

So that’s all we have for today! I hope you enjoyed the read. Next week I’ll be doing another respect thread – Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, and also a list of my favourite five Avengers stories. Peace.

Atlan-lists

Yo! I thoroughly enjoyed my last post of favourite fifteen characters from across Marvel and DC comics. Today I’ll be following that up with my favourite Aquaman stories. One of the reasons he’s an underrated character is that his stories don’t get much traction, or they didn’t used to. The New 52 Aquaman series really stepped up the game with Geoff Johns carrying a significant fan crowd with his name but there have been a few gems before Geoff took over, and so, without further ado let us begin.

Number 5.

Brightest Day. Brightest Day was written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, and primarily illustrated by Patrick Gleason and Ivan Reis.

BrightestDay CoverOkay, so, this isn’t technically speaking an Aquaman arc, more-so a cross over event. But Aquaman’s story within the Brightest Day arc is so damn good. Brightest Day served as a second-chance for characters both in the context of the story after Blackest Night and with in the DC comic-verse, Aquaman was one of several characters that took centre stage in the universe for the story and then remained in good standing for their own series’. Brightest Day begins with Aquaman and Mera reconnecting after his resurrection but Arthur has yet to enter the water, cautious and fearful of his Black Lantern past. When Aquaman and Mera go to save a group of people from pirates, Aquaman uses his powers to summon dead creatures of the deep, who kill the pirates against his command. Also in the story we learn that Mera originally was sent to Atlantis to assassinate Arthur but but ended up falling in love with him after spending time with him to gain his trust.

Brightest Day is one of the single best stories in comics, Geoff Johns worked wonders with it and the prequel event, Blackest Night, it was both heart wrenching and powerful, and joyful. The art-work mirrors the beautiful story-telling, it’s both haunting and beautiful.

Number 4.

New 52 Aquaman Vol 4: Death of a King. Death of a King is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

Death of a KingDeath of a King is set in the aftermath of Volume 3’s Throne of Atlantis. Aquaman is juggling repairing reputation with the surface while continuing his fight for the throne below. The majority of people from Atlantis follow him but not all respect him, he has to prove himself. As you delve into the story of this volume you discover the roles of other major characters in Atlantis and how their views of Aquaman and Mera, and if they were to rule together, are deeply entwined into Atlantian culture. Then, by the end you a greeted by a reveal that was both sad and horrifying. Especially for Arthur.

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis ended their run of Aquaman here and it was a fantastic run together. The artwork for Aquaman since volume 1 of the New 52 was a brilliant and well needed change, and Geoff Johns set the tone and theme of writing in stone that would solidify Aquaman’s resolve for the future.

Number 3.

Aquaman: American Tidal. American Tidal is written by Wil Pfeifer and illustrated by Patrick Gleason.

American TidalAmerican Tidal also goes by the name of Sub Diego, which is a major feature of the story when San Diego falls victim to horrendous earthquake and tens of thousands die as huge parts of the city crumble into the sea. . Aquaman must investigate why while helping the survivors adjust to life underwater. The story does an excellent job of showing Aquaman’s amazing powers in a way relevant to the story as he uses his strength and speed to help rebuild San ‘Sub’ Diego. It was quite a dark toned story which was a large surprise, there were event a few scenes of quite graphic gore which I wasn’t expecting but I think it was actually refreshing to see the horrors of an event such as this. It raises some moral questions for the main characters about what they would be willing to do, in order to save those they could.

Wil Pfeifer has a very definite style of writing and when it was announced I was very unsure if it would fit Aquaman’s role but I was blown away by it. It was deep and meaningful, a real page turner. Patrick Gleason’s art was also a surprising turn for me but the destruction and horrors that unfold after the earthquake were a fitting story for Gleason to illustrate.

Number 2. 

Rebirth Aquaman Vol 2: Black Manta Rising. Black Manta Rising is written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Philippe Briones and Brad Walker.

Aquaman aka Arthur Black Manta RisingCurry is a man of two worlds; – half human and half Atlantian. He constantly is torn between the duty as king and the Atlantian people, and his role on the surface and as a member of the Justice League. The story of Aquaman over volumes 1 & 2 addresses Aquaman’s conflict within himself through the idea of, certainly in my mind, one of the coolest concepts for an Aquaman story: war. I’ve always wondered about how a full scale war would play out between Atlantis and the surface under Arthur’s rule and command and we finally got to see it. Black Manta ignites a war between Atlantis and the surface by aligning himself with a secret, terrorist organisation and attacking human kind in the name of Atlantis.

Dan Abnett really outdid himself in the story, I was constantly torn between Aquaman’s own conflicts as he went to deal with them, the techniques for installing tension and twists in the story were so impressive, I couldn’t stop turning the pages but I was also nervous to for I wasn’t sure I would like the outcome. It was gripping. The artwork, particularly the use of colour grades and design of Atlantis’ society fused to make a truly memorably story.

Number 1.

New 52 Aquaman Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis. Throne of Atlantis is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

Throne of AtlantisThrone of Atlantis is one of defining Aquaman arcs. The story centres around the rivalry of Ocean Master and Aquaman as to who should rule and lead Atlantis. During the conflict of brothers, Ocean Master attacks the surface and the Justice League is called to aid the humans on the surface. Aquaman has to decide whether he will stand with the Justice League or his brother. There are similarities to Black Manta Rising above in the concepts of the story; conflict between the surface and Atlantis, Arthur’s two worlds but this one focuses more upon the throne itself and cementing Aquaman’s rule into the history books. The story is a show case of Aquaman’s complex characteristics as both a leader and a warrior. The story serves as a cross over with the New 52 Justice League too.

Geoff Johns has worked miracles with this character, he shaped this character from the joked-about, throw-away Justice League member to a truly incredibly character with an intense backstory and fully fleshed out powers that rank him high on the list of super powered beings. The story here was gripping. It was both action packed, and emotional with suspense and passion. The art, meanwhile, was truly breathtaking. Ivan Reis and Geoff Johns are an incredible team for the New 52 Aquaman run. They did justice to every one of the great DC characters as well as the undersea world itself.

So there we have it. My top five Aquaman stories, and I highly recommend them to anyone; hard-core Aquaman fans or not. Hope you enjoyed the read, my next post will be a respect thread to John Constantine aka the Hellblazer. Peace.

Welcome Back

So I’ve been away from my blog, here, for a while. I took a little bit of a dive with self confidence and I was unemployed which didn’t help but I’m back now and shall try to continue with weekly posts. Today, to kick things back off again I will be sharing with you favourite fifteen characters from across DC and Marvel; top ten is so mainstream. Most of them will be of no surprise to my friends but I’m sure a few will. I’ll also include a little about the characters and why they’re my favourites.

We’ll be starting at 15th place.

15th. Green Arrow.

Playboy. Survivalist. Archer.

Oliver Queen was a spoiled, thrill-seeking playboy, until he was left stranded on a deserted island for several years. There, he trained to become a master archer in order to survive. After his return home, he used his new-found skills and his wealth to became the costumed vigilante known as Green Arrow.

The skills he’d learned on his adventures, and ironically his time in the Boy Scouts as a Green Arrowchild, enabled him to survive. After months alone, he realized he was happier alone on the island than he had ever been in his life. Hunting to survive and living on his own filled the void that he’d been trying to fill with thrill seeking, partying, and going from one woman to the next.When a plane came towards the island Ollie signaled it, only to have them opened fire. Using his bow Ollie managed to gain the upper hand and downed the plane. He was able to get off the island when some drug smugglers mutinied and took over a cargo ship. Using the vast wealth of his company he created gadgets, and various weapons including special arrows, and vehicles similar to that of Batman’s tech, gadgets and vehicles. Ollie also gave himself a suit upgrade which is bullet and knife proof.

Green Arrow is a master archer, considered by even the superhuman members of the Justice League to be the “greatest archer in the world.” Green Arrow himself states he never misses , and has shot at targets without directly looking at them. Black Canary once said she saw Oliver shoot 39 arrows in one minute. Oliver’s aim to so good that he has shown to be able to hit a drop of water coming out of a faucet. While he’s not such a great hand to hand fighter compared to the likes of Batman, Deathstroke, Wonder Woman etc he was trained by one of Deathstroke’s trainers and became a master of several martial arts, although he prefers to keep his distance. He’s got a natural talent for strategy, as well as being at peak human conditioning, a skilled acrobat, free runner, and pilot.

14th. Lex Luthor.

Arguably DC’s most iconic villain. Lex Luthor. Superman’s arch-nemesis.

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. 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 unrivalled inventor; his creations revolutionise 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.

13th. Black Panther.

T’Challa. King of Wakanda. The Black Panther.

T’Challa aka Black Panther is one of the most intelligent and best martial artists in the world. He’s a distinguished Avenger, and a member of the Illuminati. He’s King of Wakanda, which is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, thousands of BlackPantheryears ago a huge meteorite crash landed in Wakanda, the first king of Wakanda, Black Panther Bashenga, harnessed the mineral and used it to nurture his nation. Thousands of years later, under the ruling of Black Panther T‘Chaka, Wakanda’s level of technological and economic achievements continued to excel far beyond those of the modern world. T’Challa’s father hid Wakanda from the outside world as so it would not be manipulated by outsiders, and his father was later assassinated by a scientist called Ulysses Klaw. T’Challa then defeated his uncle, King S’yan, in a once-a-year ritual that allowed anyone of Wakandan royalty to become king/queen by defeating the current ruler in hand-to-hand combat and became king. He later on became an Avenger after introducing himself to the world outside of Wakanda and then a member of the Illuminati along with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X and Namor who formed a secret government team to make sure a world-wide invasion would never happen.

T’Challa is one of the five most intelligent people on Marvel’s Earth, he’s also one of the top five best martial artists. When he became king he also ate a Wakandian herb which significantly enhanced his strength, speed, stamina, senses, agility, reflexes, and healing factor. He’s also a master tactician, acrobat, marksman, hunter and tracker, inventor, and a natural leader.

12th. Swamp Thing.

Alec Holland. The Avatar of the Green. Protector of the Green.

Swamp Thing is somewhat of a hidden gem in DC comics. Alec Holland was a botanist working on secretive formula to convert deserts into forests, or at least make vegetation grow from desolate areas. He was almost murdered when a bomb planted by agents working for a competitor exploded his lab. He was splashed with burning chemicals in SwampThingthe fire and so, he sought to put it out into the swamp where his lab was, that he was studying and using for the formula and is found by a giant humanoid plant-creature who saves him by making him the Avatar of the Green and transforming him into The Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing is the protector of the Green, and the world’s plant life. As well as having his own series he is also a recurring character of the Justice League Dark; a Justice League that fight against supernatural foes that the normal JL struggle against.

Swamp Thing has complete mastery over all forms of plant life and can command vegetative matter to do his bidding. Through this power, he is in constant communication with the very essence of the Earth, and serves as the Plant Elemental for the entire planet. He also has superhuman strength that is tied to his connection to Earth, his strength is nearly incalculable, he has the ability to resurrect those when connected to the Green, flight, powerful chlorokinetic abilities and theoretically so long as there is some vestige of plant life on the planet Earth, Alec Holland will always have a vehicle through which to house his consciousness, thus rendering him effectively immortal. I’m a huge fan of the complex magic structure of the DC universe, I think it creates some of the most interesting characters.

11th. Wonder Woman.

Due to the film’s massive success and even before that, it’s hard to not know who Wonder Woman is. She’s an Amazon Princess with powers of a god, probably because she’s the daughter of Zeus. As one of the longest continually published comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s history has undergone some changes over the years, WonderWomanthough a few elements remain consistent in all of her depictions. She is the princess of the Amazons, a race of women who live free of men on Paradise Island (later dubbed Themyscira). After growing up on this island, Wonder Woman (whom the Amazons named Diana) journeys to man’s world on a mission of diplomacy and peace.

Wonder Woman is a monument to passion, bravery, peace and an icon for women all over the world. She’s one of the fiercest warriors in DC and arguably the best hand to hand fighter – having been trained by some of the most brilliant warriors in all history. She’s also blessed with divine powers that grant her superhuman strength, speed, durability, stamina, and reflexes. She’s on par with Superman and one of the strongest heroes in DC. Wonder Woman has a healing factor, can fly, and has the Lasso of Truth which forces people in contact with it to tell the truth, Bracelets of Victory which are indestructible, and a royal tiara which when worn allows her to damage enemies with magic too. When faced with a larger threat, Diana will wear her Amazon battle armour for added protection as well as use martial weapons such as swords. Technically speaking as well, as re-imagined under the George Perez 1980s reboot, the iconic costume is in fact simply the breastplate of this armour. She will also additionally use a shield for added defence when she deems it necessary. Bad. Ass.

10th. Rogue.

Anna-Marie. Mutant. Rogue.

Anna-Marie was born to an incredibly beautiful mother and her lover. They got married extremely quickly which damaged the relationship and tried to repair their relationship by Priscilla getting pregnant. Unfortunately the young couple was whisked into a nature-loving commune where they joined in an insane plan to reach “the Far Banks,” a Roguedreamland from Native American mythology, where the rules of the physical world no longer applied. Owen had planned to sacrifice Priscilla to the spirits of the Far Banks, but she took control of them and closed the mystical place behind her as she vanished. Grief stricken, Owen pleaded with Priscilla’s sister Carrie to aid him in raising his daughter. Anna-Marie, who had been nicknamed Rogue, didn’t have a pleasant childhood with her aunt as Carrie used a rough education on her in an attempt to prevent her from making the same mistakes her mother made. Then on top of all of this, her powers manifested one night when she was with a love interest called Cody. If you don’t know what Rogue’s powers are then let me explain – she has the power to drain a living being’s essence upon physical contact. She absorbs their memories, personality traits, and if they have powers themselves; those too. Her powers manifested while she was kissing Cody who was left in a deep coma and she was chased by mutant haters into a swamp where she found Mystique. Rogue actually initially started off her time as a super-powered mutant as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, not the X-Men, which she joined afterwards and has since become a veteran of the X-Men, and has been a member of the Avengers too, with time and much training she now has vast control over her powers. Since gaining control of her powers she is able to touch people without hurting them or absorbing their powers.

9th. Thor.

Thor shouldn’t really need much explanation. God of Thunder, son of Odin and Gaea, he loves his hammer. You know the guy. He’s so interesting though and the writing behind his development has been so varied. Many know him from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but he’s so much more than that in the comics. After centuries of defending ThorAsgard from its enemies, Thor became too proud and grew headstrong. It was because of this that he was banished to Midgard (Earth) by his father to teach him some needed humility. Made mortal and given the form of the handicapped human doctor Donald Blake, Thor learned what it was like to be small and frail and how to be humble and truly noble despite being mortal. After this he was deemed worthy again and became the God of Thunder once more.

Thor is one of the strongest physical powerhouses of Marvel but also a significant asset with magic. He is blessed with divine powers from his bloodline, so as well as his vast superhuman strength he also can manipulate and control the weather, fly, resurrect beings, create force-fields, manipulate matter, and absorb and project energy. Possibly his greatest asset though is Mjolnir which is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. It is made from Uru metal which is said to be as strong and durable as adamantium, it has been shown to withstand temperatures as hot as the centre of the sun and withstand energy blasts that could have destroyed an entire galaxy. When in Thor’s hands, to say it would be capable of destroying mountains is an understatement. Thor has clashed with other immensely powerful beings such as Bor (Odin’s father), Hulk, the Midgard Serpent, and even Galactus (we’ll be getting to him later). Thor is also one of the original founding members of the Avengers. He is truly a fascinating character.

8th. Constantine.

The Hellblazer. John Constantine is a con-man and sorcerer born in Liverpool, U.K. He is well-known for his scathing wit, endless cynicism, ruthless cunning and constant chain smoking. A roguish counterculture anti-hero, Constantine is also a strident humanist driven by a heartfelt desire to defend mankind from the forces of evil. John Constantine Constantinehas not had what one would call a pleasant upbringing; he had a twin which he strangled in the womb, then his mother died in childbirth and his father blamed John for her death which caused great friction between the two of them for most of his early life. Constantine is a descendant from a long line of magic users. He was fascinated by the occult from a young age, and threw himself into learning magic to escape his unhappy family life. As well as just saying how it is, Constantine has the skills to match his claims. He is very much brains over brawn in style and while he does possess considerable skills as a sorcerer and vast magical knowledge, he would much rather outsmart an enemy; he even conning the devil himself.  Some examples of the magic John has used are Divination, Demon Summoning, Cursing, Golemancy, Occlumency, Necromancy, Vivimancy, Illusion, and various stage magic tricks like hypnosis, sleight of hand, and escapology. John has also shown the ability to resurrect himself in Hellblazer: Pandemonium where he was killed and later came back by leaving the afterlife. He’s battled opponents as powerful as Trigon and Lucifer, ventured into the afterlife and hell, and then back again too. Constantine is a cunning strategist too, he’s led the Justice League Dark on several occasions. He’s witty, sarcastic, brutally honest and always has tricks up his sleeve. What’s not to love?

7th. Galactus.

The dude literally eats planets, I mean, c’mon! Galactus is such an insane, interesting concept. He’s famed “Devourer of Worlds” – tell me you wouldn’t love to have a title like that. You’re lying if you said you wouldn’t. Also, get this, Galactus (who’s real name is Galan) is the sole survivor of the universe that existed before ours; before the big bang.

He 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 Galactusuniverse.

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 is empowered by the virtually limitless power of the Power Cosmic. This means that Galactus manifests a range of powers and abilities depending on his need and desire. The true form of Galactus is not known. He is perceived as the species of whoever is looking at him. To a human, he appears human. To an alien, he would appear the same as them. Galactus’s true form is a golden glowing humanoid body of energy; he is immensely powerful, one of the most powerful in the Marvel multiverse. He can manipulate matter, energy, creation and all universal sources and when he eats planets his power levels spike. I love him for the supremely awesome concept that is him, and that power.

6th. Black Adam.

Black Adam is without a doubt one of the coolest comic-book characters. He was once, thousands of years ago, enslaved as a gladiator for a Pharaoh known as ‘Mighty Adam’. Now a complex anti-villain with extremist Newdesigns to free the world of oppression known as ‘Black Adam’

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 Black Adamdetermined 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, while his counterpart and nemesis – Shazam aka Billy Batson, the other of two champions of The Wizard (who took the wizard’s chosen name) gains the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. The chief distinction between the power of Billy and that of Adam is that Adam’s powers are provided by the Egyptian, rather than the Greek, pantheon. Black Adam is one of the most powerful characters in DC and a fearsome enemy for anyone, even supervillains such as Darkseid and Sinestro give him a wide birth for his ferocity. He has the full power of all those gods he becomes the avatar of. He has taken on the Justice League alone before as well as multiple Green Lanterns, Firestorm, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, the Marvel family, the remaining Teen Titans, the JSA, and many others at the same time. Black Adam’s brutality and magical prowess makes him truly something to behold.

5th. Winter Soldier.

“Who the hell is Bucky?” Well I’ll tell you. James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was Captain America’s partner, they served together in World War II and were part of the Invaders along with Namor and Jim Jammon; the original Human Torch. In the last days of WWII, Bucky hopped on a plane carrying a bomb and hoping to disarm it, Captain America’s Winter Soldierbody was frozen in a state of suspended animation for years but Bucky’s body was never found. This is because he had been found by the Soviets, experimented on, and brainwashed to return 50 years later as The Winter Soldier; a deadly assassin. Through conflict with none other than Captain America, Bucky’s brainwashing broke down and he turned to the side of good. He’s taken the mantle of Captain America, has been an Avenger and led them, and he’s made for an effective weapon and spy of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bucky didn’t take the serum like Captain America but he was enhanced by the Soviets as well as given a cybernetic left arm which could produce EMP’s and electric bolts. Due to his training with the S.A.S, United States Army, Captain America, and the Soviet Special Forces, Bucky is an experienced and deadly fighter, proficient in several types of armed and unarmed combat and very capable of mixing them to create a unique style. He’s also a master marksman, and has knowledge of almost every firearm known to man.

Bucky is shown to deal with mental health issues over the course of his career – PTSD and Depression especially. He has breakdowns and flashbacks of his time being ‘enhanced’ by the Soviets and he has struggled to deal with what he did while in their brainwashed state. I’ve always admired his character, his transition from evil to good and how he’s always very aware of what he was, but tries to be the best he can be to make up for it; he’s kind and caring, and protective. He battles inner demons and I too had PTSD after my dad died, Winter Soldier was one of the characters that, while I already loved, I grew to love even more.

4th. Deathstroke.

Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke the Terminator is one of the most badass characters ever. One of the most feared assassins in the DC universe, a master tactician, and superb fighter. Deathstroke is a genetically engineered super-soldier with enhanced strength, Deathstrokespeed, stamina, dexterity, durability, reflexes, senses and an accelerated healing factor. When you couple this with his combat efficiency and intellect, what you get is an insanely skilled soldier. Slade’s brain power is a factor of 9 times more powerful than a peak human which makes him a strategical genius, he has some incredible feats like injuring the Flash when he was running at near light-speed speeds, taking on the Teen Titans alone, battling gods such as Ares, and god-like beings such as Superman and Wonder Woman (without Kryptonite). Even before the super-soldier serum Slade was considered one of the best hand to hand fighters and since the serum and more training, he’s held his own against the likes of the League of Shadows, Wonder Woman, and Richard Dragon. Deathstroke has a healing factor but it isn’t anywhere near as strong as Wolverine’s or Deadpool’s which means he has to rely on his skill and efficiency in battle which he definitely does.

You can’t not love the guy. Fun-fact, you may have recognised the surname. Slade Wilson and Wade Wilson are not related, but Wade Wilson (Deadpool) was originally created as a parody of Deathstroke. I prefer Slade.

3rd. Batwoman.

Into the top 3 now, so be prepared for incoming fanboying.

Batwoman aka Kathy Rebecca Kane. The very definition of badass. A gay icon in comics and a warrior by any standard. Batwoman doesn’t get enough credit or recognition in my books, her father was in the military and all her life she wished to join too. When her Batwomanfather was supposed to be deployed overseas, Kathy was abducted but her father came to rescue her which he succeeded in doing however Kathy’s sister and mother were killed during the rescue. She later joins the military herself, but is forced to release after it is discovered that she is in a relationship with another woman. Kate encounters Batman when he comes to her rescue and he inspires her to take up a vigilante role for herself. Her father helped her train in martial arts, unarmed and armed combat meaning she is quite the combatant and easily capable of holding herself against attackers. She developed her own weapons to fit her unique style of military-esque combat.

Batwoman is a testament to bravery, hard work, and capability, she’s my favourite member of the Bat-family and I love the times she teams up with Batman, he has said that he holds her as an equal which he doesn’t do that often.

2nd. Magneto.

Magneto is an alpha level mutant with the ability to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum, he can perceive the magnetic forces of the Earth as well as the bio-electrical Magnetopatterns of all living beings. He also has one of the, if not the most tragic back story. He 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. When he first joined up with the X-Men it was with sincere motive to atone for his terrorist past. He also mentored the New Mutants for a while. 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 loyalty and protectiveness of his own is very similar to myself and he’s just such a superbly written character.

1st. Aquaman.

The main man. Arthur Curry, King of Atlantis. A key member of the Justice League and hugely underrated.

Aquaman is the son of two worlds, his mother was the Atlantian queen and his father was a lighthouse keeper. Aquaman is often written off as a character who can just ‘talk to fish’ or joked about being useless which is grossly inaccurate. Aquaman aka Arthur Curry is loosely based upon King Arthur – think Aquamanabout it for a little bit and I’m sure it’ll come to you. Both are King Arthur by name, both have indestructible weapons and are shrouded in magic, and mysterious pasts. As with most comic characters, he is based upon other things/people too but King Arthur of Camelot is to me the biggest inspiration. Aquaman has vast superhuman strength – he once lifted a 300,000 tonne cruise liner, and superhuman agility, dexterity, durability, senses, reflexes, stamina, and healing. He has marine telepathy (which is often the cause for jokes around him) but he is such an achieved telepath that he’s even used it to communicate with beings such as Steel, and Martian Manhunter. He’s a master combatant; having trained with Atlantian special forces and characters such as Wonder Woman and Batman. Plus he has an indestructible trident which he can use to summon lightning or ice storms, he’s a natural born leader and strategist and has often proven his bravery, loyalty, and proficiency in battle. He’s one of the most underrated and interesting characters in Marvel/DC for sure.

Not many of you know this I’m sure but I was born with a genetic predisposition called Klinefelter syndrome (feel free to look that up, it’s rare), otherwise known as ’47’, where males are born with one or more extra chromosome. Now I know I’m not half Atlantian or heir to some kick-ass magical throne but I’ve always related to that concept of being from two worlds – K.S/47 is so rare that I’ve never met anyone else who has it, and I’ve never not had it so there’s things to do with it that I really struggled to deal with while I grew up. Aquaman has always been the comic and character I’ve gone to when down in a tough spot. ON-TOP of that, when my dad died a few years back, Aquaman’s stories was one of the main elements that kept me going. It might sound silly to some but it’s crazy how far a work of fiction can go into keeping someone going. Aquaman’s father helped train him mentally and physically to prepare for the worst, and my dad heavily helped me with my K.S.

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So there we have it, friends and strangers. Family too. My favourite fifteen Marvel/DC characters. I’ll try to be more regular again with my posts again; respect threads and favourite character arcs. I hope you enjoyed the read!

One Batch, Two Batch. Penny and Dime.

Second part of the day’s double feature; the Easter Eggs from Netflix-Marvel’s Punisher. I spotted 23 Easter Eggs in total, however, some of them were very small indeed so on this list I’m going to list 15, and those 15 are the biggest from the ones I saw. The Punisher was excellent, for me it narrowly edges out Daredevil Season 1 to take the top place in the Netflix-Marvel shows.

This post will have HEAVY SPOILER content. You’ve been warned.

We will start at number 15.

15. Stan Ori.

Stan Ori only appears for a small time in the show, the character in the comics also doesn’t appear much but he was originally a villain and enemy of Punisher. Frank Castle killed his son for being a corrupt cop and then Ori sent a hitman after Frank which doesn’t end well for Ori or the assassin. Stan Ori in the show is also a big supporter of the gun-control movement, which is very relevant to the real-life America so this was a nice way to tie in real debates to fiction.

14. A Man with a Plan. (and a van).

A simple but effective Easter Egg was giving Frank his ‘Battle Van’. The Battle Van, appearing in 1975, was an important part of Frank’s war on crime, it allowed him to travel around the city as he looked for or hunted criminals and also allowed him to set up temporal bases from the back of it. It was modified in the comics to be faster than usual and was armour plated. While we did not see those modifications in the show, maybe we will next season.

13. The Dogs of Hell.

The Dogs of Hell are a big part of Daredevil season 2, their involvement in the events that led to the murder of Frank’s family are what ultimately leads Punisher and Daredevil to that famous roof-top scene where the two vigilantes debate the use of violence and killing. The Punisher series starts with Frank clearing up loose ends to do with the murder of his family (or he thinks it’s tying up loose ends).

12. Agent Orange.

In Marvel comics there is a character who goes by the name of Agent Orange who had telepathic abilities but it is also the name of a herbicide chemical that was used in Vietnam. In Punisher’s original origin story, Frank served in the Vietnam war, not Afghanistan.

11. Welcome back, Frank.

In the year 2000, Marvel published a 12 issue run of The Punisher by writer Garth Ennis which was also known as The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank which features the Gnucci crime family predominately as Frank hunts them down.

At the end of the first episode of the Netflix series, Microchip says “Welcome back, Frank” after Frank walks out of the basement where he killed what-do-you-know – Gnucci associates so what Micro says is a clear reference to the classic comic series.

10. The Castiglione Connection.

In the comics, ‘Francis Castiglione’ was Frank Castle’s name at birth, and he changed it to illegally enlist in a third military tour during the Vietnam War. While there is no “Pete” Castiglione in Marvel comics, the surname is a clear nod to this part of The Punisher’s origin story.

9. Diamond Select Toys.

In episode 4, Frank engages some criminals in a garage and one of the ones he kills lands straight onto an old pin-ball machine and then lays, in the exact pose of that from the Punisher Diamond Select Toys.

8. Sympathy for the Devil.

At one point, Billy is described as “A man of wealth and taste” and this is an exact word to word quote from The Rolling Stones’ track “Sympathy for the Devil”. There’s some pretty clear connections between Billy and the song’s un-holy character.

7. Turk Barrett.

Turk Barrett makes a one-scene appearance as Frank goes after him looking for a weapon stash, this was a nice nod to the rest of the Netflix-Marvel universe – specifically Daredevil where Turk was first introduced.

6. Brett Mahoney.

Another character from the Daredevil series, Brett Mahoney who started off as a policeman and is now a detective. His appearance lasts a little longer than Turk’s and has a little more depth too because Brett Mahoney worked on the ‘Punisher Case’ in Daredevil season 2 where Punisher debuted in the Netflix-Marvel universe.

5. Chaos Under The Streets.

The New York Bulletin has served us a few Easter Eggs over the course of the different shows, in season 1 of Daredevil we see a few headlines about the battle of New York between the Avengers and Chitauri/Loki. This time around though we see a headline ‘Chaos Under The Streets’ which is Karen’s article on the battle between The Hand and Defenders in The Defenders season 1. This also is a nice touch because it supplies a timeline as to when Punisher takes place.

4. Foreshadowing the Jigsaw.

At one point of the show Agent Madani and Billy Russo are seeing each other and one time, while together, she sees him in his morning skin-care routine and then later on says that not everyone can be as pretty as he is. While this one could be just an off hand remark, considering Billy Russo becomes the villain ‘Jigsaw’ who is known for his horrendous looks, I’d say it’s more than just a comment. It’s foreshadowing Billy’s fate.

3. Mobey Dick.

This was personally one of my favourite Easter Eggs from the show. In the early episodes we see that Frank is reading more and more as it helps him get to sleep, one of the books is Mobey Dick – the story of a legendary Captain, Ahab, as he hunts for the White Whale. It’s a clever parallel between Ahab and Frank Castle.

2. Rumble in the Jungle.

In the fourth episode, Lewis, an ex-soldier who’s struggling with PTSD and the American Justice system sits down with his father to re-watch a Muhammad Ali fight with George Foreman which was titled ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and while that title could be an Easter egg towards the Vietnam War which Frank served in, it was also the same year that Punisher debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #129, 1974.

1. Jigsaw.

Nothing Saw related here. This was one of the best Easter Eggs across the board of the Marvel-Netflix shows because it is a multi-layered one.

This entire show was sold as a Punisher story but it wasn’t… Think about it. It’s actually a two in one origin story. Firstly it is setting us up for the Punisher that we know and love from the comics – after the murder of his family has been resolved he takes on the permanent mantle of the Skull which he only actually used 2 or 3 times in this series, but actually in a way, more importantly – The season is actually primarily a villain origin story – Jigsaw aka Billy Russo. The final fight in the series takes place at the exact location where Frank’s family were murdered in the Netflix-Marvel universe which serves as a chilling irony for Billy’s disfigurement.

So that’s it, these are my top 15 Easter Eggs of the show. Unfortunately there was no Moon Knight Easter Egg, and I still very much hold out hope for the future that we will see him. Either in his own show or featuring in another character’s show. Like I said at the start, there are more Easter Eggs than this, however, I found these 15 the most significant.

How did you find Punisher? Where does it rank compared to the other Netflix-Marvel universe shows?

Respect Thread – Punisher

Marvel-Netflix’s Punisher debuted Friday so today I’ll be running a double feature for the main man, Frank Castle. This morning’s post will be a respect thread and in the afternoon – a list Punisher Easter Eggs from the show, and I have a pretty good eye.

Let’s get started. Frank Castle aka the Punisher was a dedicated US Marine, excelling in every way. He’s just a man. No superhuman serum, no genetic weapon experiments, everything he learned to do was under the same body as everybody else.

Castle has an extensive background with weapons and hand-to-hand combat and is in peak physical condition. His missions are always well planned, and carried out with the utmost preparation and attention to detail. He is able to access and adapt to just about any situation and turn it to his advantage using only his skills and killer instinct. While a Marine, he also received training from the Airborne School and U.S. Navy SEALs as well as cross-training with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment during the Vietnam War. During his training, Frank developed skills in multiple forms of martial arts such as Nash Ryu Jujutsu, Ninjutsu, Shorin-ryu Karate, Hwa Rang Do, and Chin Na.

SurgeryBoth Nick Fury and Tony Stark have commented on how extraordinarily high his pain tolerance is. Once he intentionally been hit by shrapnel just so he could use it as a weapon. He does not take painkillers, as he feels that their benefit of dulling pain is not worth the side effects of drowsiness and slowed reflexes. He has shown exceptional feats of pain tolerance and endurance other than the shrapnel weapon. PainBlastHe tanked a shotgun blast to the body, lost a rib entirely and carried on fighting, has removed a knife from his chest and carried on fighting, has had a rifle stock broken over his head and still got up. He is also an accomplished knife fighter, and his hand to hand combat techniques are extremely deadly. He was also able to show impressive skill in hand-to-hand combat against Daredevil, US Agent and Black Widow. He improvises his fighting skills with a series of lethal maneuvers. He is more than capable of killing up to a dozen enemies unarmed. He is very rarely unarmed, so these skills aren’t used often but it is a well-known point that the less options he has to hand, the Punisher only becomes more dangerous.

He knows and is skilled with just about every type of firearm known to man, even able to grasp the most advanced weaponry from SHIELD and other hi-tech organizations.Weapons He often repairs and crafts his own weaponry and tech, and has incredible learning instincts. He has been shown to operate the Green Goblin’s Glider, as well as Whiplash’s Weapons.

Castle is also an excellent military tactician/strategist, able to create effective plans on the spot and has repeatedly outwitted even SHIELD, HAMMER and the Avengers – a true master of both conventional and guerrilla warfare strategies. Frank using different tactics has been shown to be able to defeat characters that are quite capable of killing him in a heads up fight. PunisherSpidermanHe has floored Spider-Man who as we know has lightning fast reflexes, and sense. The Punisher, through strategy, has been able to defeat Spider-man, Daredevil, and Wolverine when they teamed up against him on three separate occasions. Frank has peak Olympic level strength, stamina and speed, when coupled with his marksman ability, fighting skill, and tactical ability makes him one of the most dangerous people in the Marvel universe.

Punisher has defeated the Hood’s Gang single-handedly and even put down the Hulk. His methods include combat assaults, bombings, ambushes, going undercover using different identities, using the enemies’ money, weapons and supplies against them, creating rivalries between different gangs, and using the city of New York to his advantage, fading in and out of sight with considerable ease. He has taken strikes and blows from Daken, while returning blows.

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All these skills, apart from those he learned in the military, he taught himself through decades of waging war against criminals. He has a natural mind for warfare. He has assisted SHIELD, the NYPD and many superhero factions – such as the Thunderbolts, who do the jobs the likes of the Avengers don’t see as an immediate world threat, yet would be in short time. He is a reconnaissance and survival expert, armourer and gunsmith. He modifies his own weapons and is also a demolitions expert.

Frank is a skilled programmer and hacker, being capable of programming things strong enough that the U.S Government and Microchip have had problems breaking into; as well as hacking into several key files from the police to assist his crusade.

That’s all for today! I hope you learned a thing or two and enjoyed the thread! Later today will be my list of Easter Eggs from the Netflix-Marvel show, and next Tuesday will be my next respect thread of Green Arrow.

 

A League of its Own

So Justice League hit the big screens here at midnight last night and I’m off to see it tomorrow night but today’s post will be my top five Justice League stories. Justice League is one of the series that first ignited my love for comics. Aquaman is my favourite character and Justice League is one of my favourite fictional teams. Regardless of how good the film is, comics will always be my true love.

Number 5.

Kicking off this list is JLA: Tower of Babel. Tower of Babel is written by Mark Waid, and illustrated by Howard Porter.

BabelTower of Babel is an excellent story. Within it we learn of the Justice League’s weaknesses both as a team, and of the individual members. The story exposes that Batman has files on how to take down each member of the Justice League of America, and it appears at the start that he might have been planning to use them. The files are stolen by Ra’s Al Ghul who uses the plans to defeat the League and stop them from stopping him. Batman also includes that he has a weakness too, which is any of the members of the League. He knows and we know that if any of them really wanted to kill him, they could. Tower of Babel provides a thought-provoking story with plenty of turns and twists, betrayals, suspense, and action.

Number 4.

At 4th we have Justice. Justice is written by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, and illustrated by Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite.

JusticeAlex Ross is definitely best known for his art style, but his story telling is also amazing. Justice is one of the best stories for two reasons above all – first being that it serves as an update to the classic 1970-1980’s cartoon ‘Superfriends’, and second that it’s a brilliant example and tale of the classic good versus evil. Justice is the story of the Justice League versus the Legion of Doom whom after several supervillains have a nightmare that the world ends via a nuclear war that the Justice League failed to prevent, go about trying to remove the Justice League so that they can do a better job. In summary. It’s a pretty basic concept but it is raised up high by Alex Ross’s iconic art style as noted above, which in its own right served as one of the DC Comics benchmarks. Ross, Krueger, and Braithwaite team up to remind readers that even the simplest of concepts can evoke pathos and grip attention.

Number 3.

3rd place is Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. Throne of Atlantis is written by Geoff Johns, and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

Throne of AtlantisGeoff Johns has made quite a name for himself with comic-books, primarily standing out for his work on the Green Lantern titles, and it’s no secret that Geoff Johns is my favourite comic-book writer so it was no surprise he would make his way onto this list, twice. Throne of Atlantis is a must read for Justice League readers and also Aquaman readers individually. Geoff Johns writes the tale of how the world is almost consumed by a war with Atlantis, Aquaman has to choose sides between his fellow Justice League, and the people of Atlantis who he rules and protects to uncover a treacherous plot and betrayal to try and rid him of the Throne and wage a devastating war with the surface in the process. Ivan Reis beautifully illustrates Geoff Johns’ captivating story, Throne of Atlantis is part of the New 52 run and while New 52 had its flaws, the Justice League series was not one of them, the entire run was virtually spotless and re-vamped the League’s members into mythological titans.

Number 2.

Almost at the top now with 2nd place’s JLA: Divided We Fall. Divided We Fall is written by Mark Waid, and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, and Paul Neary.

3092973-1388_400x600Divided We Fall takes place as part of Mark Waid’s JLA run and is set as the next story after ‘Tower of Babel’. In Divided We Fall, after Batman’s files on how to defeat the Justice League; if he ever needed to, are released the heroes of JLA are divided amongst themselves and fighting while they also have to band together to deal with the Super-villains ‘Queen of Fables’ and Doctor Destiny. While the story might not seem as gripping, or dramatic as others on this list, it proved as a fantastic way to explore the characters and explore the ways that make them relatable. The artistic tone of Hitch, and Neary also adds something to this story; we get a look at this war-torn Justice League while using bright and emotive colours, giving a sense of contrast in the way we view the heroes.

Number 1.

The big 1. 1st place is Justice League: Darkseid War. Darkseid War was written primarily by Geoff Johns, Francis Manapul, Peter Tomasi, and Tom King, and illustrated by Francis Manapul. 

Darkseid WarDarkseid War was arguably the coolest modern comic-arc, it was the final part of the New 52 series and boy did it go out guns-blazing. Utterly gorgeous illustrations and a beautiful, poetically brutal story. Darkseid War brought together some of the all-time greats, in my opinion to tell the story of an ultimate collision between the Dark God and Ruler of Apokolips, and universe warping Anti-Monitor. The story brings together the Justice League as they bear witness to an unimaginable scale of destruction, a battle between literal gods unfolds before them. Justice League, Darkseid, Orion, Anti-Monitor, a Parademon Army, The Crime Syndicate, Death, and more all converge into this fantastical tale. Geoff Johns makes his place to first on this list as well as 3rd, with the help of Manapul, Tomasi, King and others he cements this Justice League story into the history books with plot-twists, fantastic imagery, brutal battles of wits, and an unfolding story full of conspiracy, mythology, and hidden monsters.

Hope you who read this had a great time and learned a few things or two. Next on my ranked lists will be favourite Flash stories, and on Tuesday there will be a double feature of Netflix-Marvel Punisher Easter eggs, and a Punisher respect thread. Stay tuned, and be excellent to each other.