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?

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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.

Wonder Woman

Yo! Hope you all have had a pleasant few days since my last post. Today I will be talking about my favourite Wonder Woman stories, partially because of the up-coming Justice League film and partially because… Well it’s Wonder Woman, do you need another reason?

Let’s get started on this wonderful list.

Number 5.

5th on the list is Wonder Woman: The Circle. The Circle is written by Gail Simone, Bernard Chang, and Ron Randall, and illustrated by Terry Dodson, and Bernard Chang.

The Circle

The Circle is Wonder Woman’s first good story after the DC event of Infinite Crisis. While Batman and Superman’s stories really hit the ground running, Wonder Woman took a little longer to find its feet, so to say. Gail Simone found a nice balance in The Circle however, it roots Diana as a hero well and also makes the most of her relatively unusual status as an agent of the Department of Metahuman Affairs. The Circle is a great new take on Diana both in and out of the Wonder Woman guise, and builds up our feelings with excellent new relationships between her and the other Amazons, with her mother in particular. The writing and art compliment each other greatly to achieve a new feel for this strong and independent warrior, and an agent of peace.

Number 4.

#4 is Wonder Woman: The True Amazon. The True Amazon is both written and illustrated by Jill Thompson.

The True Amazon

The True Amazon is a story that captures Diana’s personal story of growth. Wonder Woman is often portrayed as one of the most compassionate, most loving, and most kind heroes in the entire DC universe but this didn’t happen over night, they were a result of a long and painful journey of learning and writer, and illustrator Jill Thompson sets out to show us the true nature of the Amazon princess. The story might be a bit of a shock to those who love Diana in her kindest ways for the tale starts us off with Diana as a spoiled bratty figure, moulded by years of attention and the promise that she’ll become the greatest Amazon warrior ever, and only through the friendship of another Amazon called Alethea does she learn to over-come early tragedies and grow into the famous ambassador of peace and truth that she is best known for. The story is a wildly different approach to the iconic character and Jill Thompson captures this brilliantly in both artistic direction and writing talent. I thoroughly recommend it.

Number 3.

3rd place on my top 5 is Justice League: A League of One. A League of One is both written and illustrated by Christopher Moeller.

League of One

A League of One is a Justice League title, however, it’s a spin off in its own right. The story features Wonder Woman under the spot light as she chooses to undergo the crusade against a mythical dragon to save the League for the prophecy states that the dragon – Drakul Karfang will kill them all and she believes it falls on her to kill it. Christopher Moeller delivers a fantastic story about mythology, bravery, and sacrifice and the story just beckons for his artistic talent in this classic appearance of Wonder Woman. Christopher Moeller is an artist for Magic: The Gathering, the table-top card game. So the interesting tale mixed with his unique art style makes a truly fantastic tale, it’s inspiring and heroic.

Number 2.

2nd place on the list Wonder Woman: Year One. Year One written by Greg Rucka and illustrated Nicola Scott.

Year One

Year One is truly an outstanding story, deciding between 1st and 2nd place on this list was probably the hardest ranking that I’ve had to make. Year One is the most recent of Wonder Woman’s stories – hitting stores in May of 2017 and is the second volume in her Rebirth series. Book 1 of the series titled ‘Lies’ was a story about Wonder Woman’s origin but she discovered that someone had been manipulating her memories while Year One is what actually happened to her in her past. Greg Rucka is up in my favourite comic-book writers ever and the art is utterly gorgeous, some of DC’s best at current in my opinion. Year One is all amazing, I don’t think I can really fault anything – it re-imagines some of her classic enemies like Ares and features lovable favourites such as Steve Trevor and Etta Candy. Nicola Scott really comes into her own with the art for this story, a brilliant palette with masterful illustrations and inking. This story really is a Wonderful tale and a truly must read.

Number 1.

The big one, 1st place on the list is Wonder Woman: Blood. Blood is written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated Cliff Chiang.

Blood

Wonder Woman: Blood only just narrowly edges out Year One as my favourite Wonder Woman story, it’s so incredibly close. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang compliment each other’s work in this story to create an unbreakable fusion. Blood began a saga wherein Azzarello and Chiang fundamentally cemented Diana’s place in the DC universe, and forged an outstanding relationship with the Greek Gods. The story shows a truly heartbreaking story and is one of the tales that Patty Jenkins used for inspiration in the Wonder Woman film of 2016. The story is a painful journey for Diana and re-loaded us with a heavy feels ride, both the story and art brilliantly and drastically re-imagine the Greek Gods and avert is done a path that none of us would expect in a DCU setting, the series also delivers a twist to Diana’s origin that shakes it to the core. Although this story is now void, and has been swept under the rug so to speak with the events of Rebirth, it is still a must have for any Wonder Woman fan; new or old, and that is the reason it just edges out ‘Year One’ on my list.

I hope you enjoyed the ranked 5 of Wonder Woman stories. With the up-coming Justice League film, my next ranked list will be of the Justice League stories. Watch this space, have a good day, and be excellent to everyone.

Respect Thread – Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch is quite the character, and most people now know her from the MCU adaptation instead of the comics. I’ve never been too keen on the MCU version of Wanda but instead of complain about that I’m going to reveal her to you all in a respect thread, with examples of what she really can do in all her glory!

Wanda Maximoff is the Scarlet Witch, a mutant with probability manipulation and reality-warping abilities. The Scarlet Witch is Quicksilver’s twin sister, the mother of Wiccan and Speed, and the ex-wife of the Vision. She’s also infamously known for causing the Decimation which is otherwise known as the infamous ‘M-Day’. Scarlet Witch has appeared on both the Avengers and the X-Men, one of her most devastating arcs was Avengers vs. X-Men. During Avengers vs. X-Men, Wanda finds herself on the side of the Avengers, her powers being the only thing capable of hurting the Phoenix Five. As the Phoenix avatars grew stronger, however, Wanda’s hex bolts became less and less effective. Tony Stark deduced that it would require the efforts of both Wanda and Hope Summers to stop the Phoenix.

The Scarlet Witch possesses the mutant power of affecting probability fields. The Scarlet Witch possesses the mutant power of affecting probability fields. By a combination of gestures and mental concentration, she creates a hex-sphere, a finite pocket of reality-disrupting quasi-psionic force, which upon reaching its intended target, causes disturbance in the molecular-level probability field surrounding the target. Thus, unlikely phenomena will occur. Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful mutants ever existed, in terms of raw potential there are very few who can contend with her; she has been shown to tangle with the likes of Hope Summers, the Phoenix Force, Doctor Strange, the Avengers, Professor Xavier and more. On top of already being vastly powerul, she is often in a mentally unstable state of mind and this only increases her damage output for she has been known to lose control completely and cause universe-altering events. Among the many phenomena she is able to cause are: the sudden melting of gun barrels, the spontaneous combustion of any flammable object, the rapid rust or decay of various organic and inorganic materials, the poltergeist-like deflection of an object in flight, the sudden evacuation of air from a given volume, the disruption of energy transmissions and fields, and so on.

In the events before House of M, which will very much be of key focus in this post, during the events of Avengers: Disassembled Wanda resurrected Jack of Hearts and made him blow up the Avengers mansion without being anywhere near.

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These phenomena occur practically instantaneously after the completion of her hex, but they are limited (for the most part) to line-of-sight range. Scarlet Witch’s hex-casting ability had a 20% unreliable factor and she is limited in the range of sight, although she has been able to overcome the latter limitation on occasion via extreme concentration and magical enchantment. Wanda is a living focus point for magic on Earth, she has trained with Professor X, Doctor Strange, Agatha Harkness to calm her mind and on how to use magic effectively, this practice is separate to her mutant power but the mixture of the two is what makes her so incredibly dangerous, and powerful. She has a special affinity for the natural elements and materials that true witches utilise in their spells: the four elements of alchemy, wood, organic substances, etc.

In House of M we get probably the best look at what a unhinged Wanda is capable of. A brief summary of House of M – Wanda is struggling with her mental state, family issues with her father, and her longing for a peaceful life with a husband and children. After an… incident… Wanda re-creates the universe into the World of M; wherein mutant kind are the dominant species over homo-sapiens (so the roles are reversed), and the mutant kind control and dominate the world. Wolverine however, wakes up the morning after the universe and time-line changed only to remember fragments from the old universe. Slowly but surely he manages to convince others that this new timeline is a false one, and their memories of this one are also false.

Inside this new timeline and universe Scarlet Witch is found by Doctor Strange who tries to reason with her in his astral form, but Hawkeye intervenes and threatens Wanda’s children (which are part of this world she created) and Hawkeye… well, Hawkeye was erased from existence and Doctor Strange was powerless to stop it.

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After a confrontation of the resistance against Magneto, Wanda and the others, Scarlet Witch has an emotional breakdown and causes the world to revert to normal with the one detail changed… No More Mutants.

Scarlet Witch’s powers have shown to actually evolve, allowing her to surpass any limitations and effect reality with her magic. In House of M we saw that her limitations were removed altogether as she broke the fabric of reality, this time attempting to rid the world of the mutant gene. 91.4% of the world’s mutant population lost their powers overnight with just 3 words.

If you haven’t read House of M, you really should. Like, really should.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Next respect thread will be the Punisher, along with a Punisher Easter Egg list from the TV series, and blth will be posted next Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Thunder and Lists

Today, I will be releasing my top 5 Thor stories! I’m very keen to see what becomes of Thor in Avengers 4 seeing the spectacular updates of his character to Infinity War.

To the list! Top 5, bare in mind that I love a lot of Thor stories, he’s definitely one of my favourite characters in Superhero comics and it was fairly hard narrowing it down to just these 5.

Number 5.

5th on this countdown is Thor: Ages of Thunder. Ages of Thunder is written primarily by Chris Eliopoulos, Joe Caramagna, and June Chung, and illustrated by Patrick Zircher, and Clay Mann.

AgesofThunder

Ages of Thunder is a really interesting approach to Thor, it’s an origin story but very different to something that you might expect and while it might be quite a jolt to readers who are not familiar with that era or of what to expect, it certainly is a very interesting way of exploring the character’s long, immortal lifespan. It took me a few reads of the arc for it to earn it’s place here on this list but I really do feel it’s an essential story for Thor readers, if at the very least to see a different perspective of the story. Ages of Thunder is very much a bold version of that which in Odin saw fit to banish from Asgard in order to teach him humility. The art is very gritty which appealed greatly to me as I was so used to clean and calm artwork for the Thunder God, and the writing, while not easy at times; is definitely great.

Number 4.

Coming in at number 4 is Thor: The Eternals Saga. The Eternals Saga is written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Keith Pollard, John Buscema, Arvell Jones.

ThorEternals

Between the end of the Lee and Kirby run and Simonson taking over of Thor comics there was a shortage of great stories with the one big exception of that statement being the Eternals Saga. The Eternals Saga combines the Asgardian God in a new light with the Kirby-created Eternals – the Eternals are a race of superhumans in Marvel comics and they possess a vast array of god-like powers. Although Kirby was not involved personally with this story, his art and incredibly presence is felt all-throughout, and the writing brought something new to Thor – it was a fresh take upon the supreme God of Thunder with a truly incredibly capturing story.

Number 3.

Into the big 3 now, at 3rd place is Thor: Goddess of Thunder. Goddess of Thunder is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Russell Dauterman. Jason Aaron makes quite a name for himself on this list, he is certainly one of the best Thor writers right now.

GoddessOfThunder

Goddess of Thunder caused quite a stir when it was released. The idea of Thor being a woman seemed to ruffle some feathers. I personally loved this change, not to say that I don’t love Thor as the classic character but this was such an interesting concept. Basically to summarise it – Jane Foster (a frequent secondary character in Thor and a love interest of the classic Thor character) gets diagnosed with cancer and accepts an invitation to Asgard where she receives therapy from the Agardian healers. During the Original Sin story-arc Thor loses his ability to wield Mjolnir, and then later on, an unidentifed woman picks up Mjolnir and this lady turns out to be Jane. Now being the Goddess of Thunder – her cancer is held at bay as well as taking on some seriously kick-ass powers. The story is so interesting, I kept it short in summary but you really should read it, and the art is so gorgeous, Jane Foster as Thor isn’t sexualized in design and the cosmic-feel of the magical energy entrusted in her looks so brilliant with the shock-colour pallette, this coupled with more amazing Jason Aaron writing really is a smash-hit story.

Number 2.

2nd place is Thor: Unworthy Thor. Unworthy Thor is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Oliver Coipel.

UnworthyThor

The story of Unworthy Thor was well overdue, since he list his worthiness in Thor: Goddess of Thunder it was left wide open as to why and we finally got answers. After losing his hammer after being declared unworthy, Thor no longer calls himself that; now he calls himself simply Odinson. He learns of another Mjolnir which has been left by Ultimate Thor after the ‘Secret Wars’ story-arc, and well, this other godly weapon attracts the attention of many villains who want it as well. The story of Unworthy Thor is a totally new concept and executed brilliantly, blending a superb combination of dark events and Thor’s classic humour and hot-headed-esque. The art-work is perfect for Thor, second only to ‘God of Thunder’; the art work is gritty and murky, and the design of Odinson himself is new and fresh, these concepts perfectly fits Aaron’s writing. Unworthy Thor well deserves second place on this list.

Number 1.

At 1st on this list is the mighty Thor: God of Thunder. God of Thunder is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic.

GodofThunder

Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic rebooted the Thor franchise as part of 2012’s Marvel Now initiative. In this series they introduced the terrific villain, Gorr the God Butcher. Now, Jason Aaron is something of a God when it comes to writing Thor. He is definitely up there with my all-time favourite Marvel writers, but that’s another list for another time. Thor: God of Thunder is truly a must-read and if you have not read it yet, do so, go now and get it. The art is utterly sublime and the writing is truly imaginative; the writing combined with the art makes for a staggering, un-paralleled, imaginative story that I really believe is one of Marvel’s best stories to-date. With a unique approach to the comic-story, split into three time-lines/time-streams, we witness three great angles and takes on the character, hot headed but well-meaning Thor of youth; Thor the Avengers we know and love from the comics; and Thor, the spitting image of his father. It’s candidly one of the most invested stories, and the palette is utterly gorgeous.

That concludes my list of best Thor stories, hope you enjoyed. Have a great day, and if you become the God/Goddess of Thunder – do some cool things with it.

Respect Thread – Aquaman

With the Aquaman film debuting (and being thoroughly enjoyable), I’m re-posting my Aquaman respect thread. He’s a highly underrated character. Aquaman is in the forerunners for this category, he is often only thought of for his ability to ‘talk to fish’ (which actually isn’t accurate in how he does communicate with aquatic/marine life). So I’ll be kicking off the Respect Thread posts with the one and only Aquaman.

Aquaman is a very famous character in DC comics. If you’ve read Justice League at all you’ll have seen him; The son of an Atlantean queen and a lighthouse keeper from the town of Amnesty Bay. He would grow up to become King of Atlantis and a founding member of the Justice League. Aquaman has superhuman strength, stamina, speed, durability, agility, reflexes, senses, reactions, and a healing factor. He also has marine telepathy and doesn’t require oxygen, and next I’ll be running a breakdown on these powers.

Superhuman Strength

Aquaman’s strength is on a category that allows him to defeat and hold his own in a physical fights against brute powerhouse characters like Olympian, Slig, Wonder Woman, Triton, Lobo and even hold his own against Superman.

12049340_1332917406722234_7200018601678540997_nHe can easily lift over 100 tonnes, including an oil rig and an entire city block, he has been shown among other things lifting a transatlantic ocean liner (around 160000 tons) on land and even went up against Legendary Hero, Hercules, and held his own.

Superhuman Durability

Aquaman’s enhanced physiology enables him to withstand heavy impacts that would kill any normal human and gives him the ability to function normally on the ocean floor. 5495114-aquaman+fight+4Aquaman’s durable enough to the point where he can trade hits with powerhouses like Wonder Woman and Despero, resist powerful energy based attacks that would harm or kill most superhumans (such as Amazo’s heat vision), Neutron’s nuclear blasts, and even a fall to Earth outside of Earth’s atmosphere. He has been able to fight in a dimension with multiple suns for hours and be unaffected by The Trenches paralytic venom that would incapacitate a normal human.

Superhuman Speed/Reflexes/Agility

On land, Aquaman has displayed his superhuman speed, agility and reflexes against meta-humans like Deathstroke, the Talons, Power Ring, and even Wonder Woman holding his own against them all, even Deathstroke was highly impressed.5062907-aquaman+speed+2 In/underwater Aquaman is said to be the fastest swimmer in the comicdom, having the ability to reaching speeds of 10,000 feet per second (20,000 under stress, Mach 17,7). He has also been shown to dodge gunshots at point blank, and even multiple lightning bolts from weather wizard. 5062922-aquaman+speed+3Although Aquaman can not fly, His leaps are so fast that allow him to cover the distance between Boston harbor/port and Boston centre/bank district near instantly and land precisely infront of a speeding vehicle (that would make his leaps at least High Hypersonic, Mach 10).

Superhuman Reactions/Senses

Arthur also has the ability to see, hear and smell much greater than human capacity and possesses superhuman reflexes 15 times greater than a normal being. While no speedster, Aquaman’s reflexes are superior even to metahumans such as Deathstroke the Terminator.

4876035-aquaman+hearing+1He is capable of seeing far deep as 36,000 ft below the ocean floor with a clear sight. He also possesses super human hearing, able to hear the heartbeat of a living being through the bulk of a submarine.

Marine Telepathy

Aquman is most formally known for his Marine Telepathy, although this power is most often and most easily used on marine life, Aquaman has demonstrated the ability to affect any being that lives upon the sea or even any being that’s evolved from marine life. His telepathy works best on marine life, but that has not stopped him from using mind control on other telepaths.

4876046-aquaman+describes+his+telepathy+with+fishHe’s such an achieved telepath – having communicated to aquatic creatures all his life – that he can engage in mind to mind communication and mind domination who are non-aquatic life (as seen on Steel, Vixen, Martian Manhunter and even the White Martian Zum), His control was so fine he could even control the bacteria and plankton inside another person’s body.

Master Combatant/Tactician/Natural Leader

Aquaman is also a master combatant and expert tactician/leader. Aquaman has trained with the Atlantean army (and at some point he was the one training his most skilled warriors), Justice League, specifically Batman and Hawkman. Batman, Bronze Tiger, Deathstroke and even Wonder Woman (widely known as DC’s best fighter) have all been extremely impressed by his talents and capabilities. 2913282-justiceleague7He is skilled in many forms of armed and unarmed combat.12670728_1332917803388861_831226107864880685_n Aquaman has an advanced strategic sense and had natural leadership qualities, having led Atlantis and it’s army multiple times, as well as the Justice League and the Others. He has also come up with effective attack strategies against Justice League opponents such as Darkseid and even managed to end an alien invasion on his own after uniting all of Earth’s underwater Kingdoms.

Trident of Poseidon

Finally, Aquaman also has an indestructible trident of Poseidon that he gained after the events of Maelstrom. It was given to him by the Greek God himself, further increasing his already impressive powers. The new Trident allows Aquaman to control and channel the power of the storm. 5072663-aquaman+trident+1Such as generating tsunami’s, calling down lightning, conjuring ice and making the earth tremble as well as enabling instant teleportation anywhere using water as a medium, even to different planets (although it happened by accident, due to Aquaman not being completely focused) and enables unaided flight.

12923309_1332929000054408_452389153439229034_nThe Trident is also indestructible, having been forged by Hephaestus the Greek God of Fire and Smithing, creator of Wonder Woman’s indestructible Lasso of Truth and Weapon procuring Bracers. The Trident can also shrink down to the size of a Short Sword, making it easier to carry or hide, not that Aquaman does this much.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the thread or at least learned some things. The respect threads will be every Tuesday so stay tuned. Next week’s respect thread will be Marvel’s ‘Scarlet Witch’. Have a good day, and be excellent to each other.

The Man of Tomorrow

So I’m writing this the day after Halloween celebrations, hope you all had a good night – whatever it was that you did. Kicking off my second post with my favourite Superman comic titles, while I’m not a huge fan of Superman in the large part, I do think that a select few Superman titles are among the best of DC’s arcs. I will be creating various lists for favourite comic titles in the future but I’ll be kicking it off with my favourite Superman story arcs, starting with 5th.

Number 5.

Starting the list off is Superman: Last Son of Krypton written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, and Illustrated by Adam Kubert.

Last sonSuperman: Last Son of Krypton or ‘Last Son’ is a five-issue story arc from the monthly series ‘Action Comics’. Geoff Johns is probably my favourite DC writer, and one of the all-time greats in my books, and Last Son’s story is no exception. My favourite thing about Superman: Last Son is that it includes the original character, Christopher Kent and adapts the classic Superman villain, General Zod of Krypton into the regular DC universe continuity. Superman: Last Son follows Superman as he finds a small boy, arriving to earth in a similar fashion that he did and also from Krypton. Clark and Lois adopt the boy and name him Christopher. Several major DC characters are part of the story including Lex Luthor, Bizzaro, General Zod, Lois Lane, and Mon-El. Superman: Last Son is a fascinating comic with some really interesting concepts about truth, justice, and our reactions to alien-life, should we ever encounter it. The art feels very peaceful with beautiful blues, reds and yellows, yet delivers atmospheric emotions in times of action and the story, written by Geoff has earned it the place of 5th on my top 5 Superman stories.

Number 4.

At 4th we have Superman: Brainiac written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank.

BrainiacSuperman: Brainiac is also a five-issue story arc, and also published in the ‘Action Comics’ series. While Lex Luthor stands as Superman’s most famous adversary, I’d argue that Brainiac is among the most dangerous that the Man of Steel has encountered and this story is a superb showcase. Brainiac is the definition of a classic example of an unstoppable villain; an intellect that makes Stephen Hawking seem dim and extraordinary powers to rival that of Superman himself; while Superman stands for all good that alien life could be, Brainiac stands for all evil that alien life could be which makes him a perfect enemy for Superman even on the level of an idea. Superman: Brainiac is a suspense filled story with twists and turns that see Clark struggle with inner choices and external struggles. Geoff Johns’ writing of this title really sets it aside from so many other Superman books, and Gary Frank’s strokes and use of alien-like colours provide an atmospheric feel.

Number 3.

Coming in at 3rd place is All-Star Superman. All-Star Superman is written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely.

All StarAll-Star Superman is a twelve-issue story arc is the story that shows us what is on the Man of Steel’s bucket list. After a mission to stop a shuttle from collapsing into the sun, Superman is blasted with a dangerous level of solar radiation, and it is diagnosed that he has less than a year to live. Superman then decides that he will set off to tie up the threads of his life. The story is quite an exhilarating but emotional read, especially if you were to have a connection with Superman, and the art surpasses anything I thought it could. The issues are episodic and ultimately culminates with an ending that will have you, like me, placing it among your favourites.

Number 2.

2nd place on the top 5 is Superman: Birthright. Superman: Birthright is written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu.

BirthrightThe story of Clark Kent in this tale is the set of events that became the official Superman origin, replacing John Byrne’s 1986 Man of Steel. Superman: Birthright follows a young Clark as he grows up with extraordinary powers, and takes on his day-job with the Daily Planet, all the while learning more and more of his true origin, encountering Luthor’s evil plans, and learning the extent of his powers, the series also is one of the major inspirations for DC’s cinematic 2013 Man of Steel film. Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu work together to create staggering art with a heart-felt story.

 

Number 1.

In 1st place is Superman: Red Son. Superman: Red Son is written by Mark Miller and illustrated by Dave Johnson, and Kilian Plunket.

1497745-superman_red_sonSuperman: Red Son is a three-issue, prestigious comic. It is such an incredible story; the art is gorgeous, the writing is tremendous and the concept is a rather unique idea. The story merges alternative versions of DC superheroes and alternative versions of political, historical figures such as Joseph Stalin and John F. Kennedy.  In Superman: Red Son, Clark’s capsule crashed into Soviet Russia instead of the USA, and he becomes a weapon in the Soviet’s army, and instead of fighting and standing for truth, justice, and the American Way; he is described as a “Champion of the common people who fights a never ending battle for Stalin and Socialism”. Mark Miller has been the author of some outstanding works but Superman: Red Son is my favourite of his. The art is inspiring, a brilliant blend and brush of a darker palette; the colours achieve a tremendous accuracy and create a thoroughly eye-grabbing story.

What are your favourite Superman stories? If you had to narrow it down to 5 titles, which would they be?