Just got back from watching the Amazing Spider-man 2 and felt like venting some thoughts.
Nothing negative to report really, I'm quite easily pleased and went into it with fairly low expectations. So long as Garfield and Stone remained as magical together as they were in the first one, that alone would make it an enjoyable experience.
Something to know about me is that I tend to avoid trailers. I apply this rule quite strictly to Marvel Studios films, as they have yet to release a movie that I did not enjoy (this rule has been in effect since Incredible Hulk, which I watched too many trailers for and totally ruined for myself). I'd like to recommend that strategy to you guys, while it does require running out of the room whenever a trailer comes on or jamming your fingers in your ears in the cinema, the payoff is worth it, as I go into each film totally unaware of what is going to happen.
I'm less strict with non-Marvel productions, as they haven't quite won my trust, but while I didn't put my head between my legs whenever an ASM2 trailer came on, I didn't pay much attention to it. As such I was totally not expecting that ending, but very pleased.
Yes, the movie has its problems, all movies do. But overall, as a big fan of the character, I have to say this is quite possibly my new favourite Spider-man movie, because it tackled a story I believe is absolutely fundamental to the character and did it excellently. Most superheroes end up being defined by an important death, the death of the Waynes drove Bruce to become Batman, the death of Bucky drove Captain America, Superman has to deal with the death of his whole world, and Peter is haunted by Uncle Ben. Obviously Ben is an incredibly powerful influence on the story of Spider-man, but I believe that Gwen's death is equally intrinsic.
Superhero comics often verge on soap opera, the love stories often occupy the focus of the story. Every superhero has been in the situation where their love interest is in grave peril and they must rescue her. Most of them succeed, but Gwen is perhaps the most famous example of a superhero failing in that regard. Every day Ben's memory pushes Peter to be a hero, but the romance is an equally important part of the story of Spider-man, and Gwen's death continues to shape that aspect of his character. Before her, the idea that something might happen to the people he loved was an unrealised fear. Now it is a reality, and his relationships are shaped by that knowledge.
As I said, the chemistry between Andrew and Emma is what makes these movies as enjoyable as they are. Which is why I was not expecting that ending, not yet. I thought the studio would not want to risk losing that chemistry, so I assumed they would save that ending for the end of the trilogy, if they ever actually followed through at all. But they didn't. They told the story as it originally was, a story that I personally regard as one of Peter's defining moments. I just want to commend the makers of this movie on their bravery for making that choice, for not playing it safe and letting Peter and Gwen captivate us for another couple of films, and for not pulling any punches with that beautifully brutal scene.
One of the friends who saw the movie with me, a girl who knows little about comics, quite loudly exclaimed as Gwen was falling to her doom "she'll be fine!" because it does always work out fine. Especially with Spider-man, as Raimi's trilogy showed Mary Jane in peril every freaking movie, but never with any consequences. The average audience for this movie were unprepared for everything to not be okay, and the reactions of my sobbing friends as that tragic scene unfolded gave me great joy. For as the finale reared its head and Peter realised he could never stop being Spider-man, regardless of what it might cost him; that he would continue to risk his life and his heart for others, I feel that my friends caught a glimpse of why I love this character so much.
Just my thoughts, needed to put them somewhere :) oh, on a final note, I'm so very glad that after all these years Sony finally decided to utilise Spider-man's wonderfully colourful rogues gallery properly. Not every villain has close ties to Peter Parker, many of his most marvellous villains are simply super powered thugs who cannot be the main villain, but nonetheless deserve the chance to shine in a movie. I am very glad that Rhino got that opportunity, to simply provide Spider-man with someone to punch without needing some dramatic backstory for his criminal behaviour. Power and responsibility, that's the message of Spider-man. Characters like Rhino show us what happens to a man who gains power, but has no sense of the responsibility.
"This is highly unusual, Jason..." the professor frowned, running his fingers through his bushy white beard. "You're an excellent student, well on your way to a first class degree with only a year to go. This time next year you could have a job in one of the finest hospitals in the country. Why exactly do you want to defer your final year?"
"I want to see the world, sir." Jason replied, looking at the ground and blowing his floppy black hair out of his face.
"Hm. Most students take a gap year before university, or after... Not partway through... Are you sure about this? Coming back to us after a year, it might be difficult to maintain the high standard you've built throughout your studies," as he peered over the top of his glasses, the lecturer eyed his favourite student with a look of genuine concern. "This could jeopardise your career, young man."
"I'm aware of that, sir," the twenty two year old finally looked up with a calm smile on his face, "But this is just something I have to do. I really feel like I'm starting to discover myself right now, like I'm finally figuring out who I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to do... I need to take some time off to figure everything out."
His tutor sighed for a moment and looked from the paper on his desk to Jason's face, then back again. "I expect to see you back here next September, Mr. Oakley," he said finally, as he leaned forward to sign his name on the form. "You have a lot of potential. Don't waste it."
"Oh, I'm fully aware of my potential." Jason answered with a smirk as he retrieved his form and made his way out of the office.
One Day Later...
"You gonna kill yourself, Jay?"
Jason looked back from his perch on the edge of the university rooftop to see his gum chewing best friend approaching with his hands in his pockets.
"Cause all the grovelling you had to do to defer your last year would seem like a waste of time if you were just gonna jump anyway."
"Oh, I intend to jump, Abdu," was the cocky reply of the man on the edge. "But no, I'm not gonna kill myself."
"Right, so you're just trying to break your legs?" Abdullah shot back, sitting down on the edge next to his friend and leaning over the side to observe how far the fall would be. "Some kind of experiment, is it? Got bored of stitching up other people so you wanna try and stitch up yourself?"
"Something like that." Jason said quietly, which caused Abdullah's smile to disappear fairly quickly.
"Look, man, you know I'm always game for a laugh, but this is getting a little too real for me."
"You believe in destiny, Abdu?"
"Uh, yes. Well, I believe in the 'all-powerful-will-of-Allah' kind of destiny, not your brand of 'me-and-that-girl-over-there-are-destined-to-produce-spawn' destiny." The young doctor-to-be spat his gum over the side of the building and watched it plummet to the ground below. "Don't ask obvious questions Jay, we both know that we're in this job cause we felt called to do it, to help people."
"That's the thing. I feel like I'm being called to something else. Like there's another way to help people."
"What, you mean like--" Abdullah began, before something shot into his mouth and he entered a coughing fit. Rolling away from the edge of the roof, he spat out his gum... The same piece he had just ejected mere moments before. "What the..." He stared at Jason, who was laughing.
"I've discovered something, Abdu, something incredible." He pulled Abdullah to his feet and grasped him by the shoulders. "I need answers, and I can't find them here. That's why I'm going to America. And you're going to join me."
"Defer your final year too. If they were willing to let me go they'll definitely do it for you. Meet me in New York, that's where I'm going. I know you have the money for it, I've never seen you spend a penny." Jason stepped away from his flabbergasted friend and moved back towards the roof. "Trust me, you're gonna want answers after you see what I can do."
"Which is?" Abdullah finally exclaimed in exasperation, apparently oblivious to the fact that his discarded gum had started to levitate.
"This." Jason waved his hand with a huge smile over his face, as he ran towards the edge of the building. With a leap, he began to fall, but in the wrong direction. He soared into the skies and left a cloud of dust behind him, along with a very confused companion.
So I'm starting up RPGing in the CVnU, so I need somewhere to put my old bio from Prime:
Name: Jason Timothy Dodd
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Blue
Height : 5'7"
Birthplace: Vine City
Martial Status: Single
Group Affiliation: (currently) Leader of Champions of Peace (formerly) Founder/Leader of Vine Titans, Member of Ice Dragons
Known Relatives: Stephanie Kelly Dodd (Mother/Deceased) Richard Damian Dodd (Uncle/Deceased) Mother Nature (Foster Mother) Unknown father
As long as Humans have walked the face of the Earth, so too have the Fundamentalists. Both similar races, both evolved in almost exactly the same way, with one key difference. While humanity has its fair share of mutants and those with spectacular genetic abnormalities, all Fundamentalists are born with gifts. Innate powers that grant them mastery over anything and everything, the fundamental forces of nature. Back in the days when the Earth was young, Fundamentalists were pure and without emotion, mating with others out of desire to keep their race alive. But with their close resemblance to humans, it was inevitable that the two races would eventually cross. Human-Fundamentalist hybrids were born and, unlike their almost-holy predecessors, these creatures obtained the traits of the bad side of humanity. When people with the power to crack the galaxy in half have sinful emotions like anger, the world is certainly not a safe place.
So two elder Fundamentalists, a man and woman who had found the key to immortality, decided to intervene. They took away the powers from the rest of their kind, allowing the Fundamentalist race to vanish. However, within the last couple of centuries, the Fundamentalists have returned, albeit with a fraction of their former power. Based in Natura City, under the Grand Canyon, they lie dormant, waiting until the day they can seize the Earth as their own. The two great elders, still alive, are now known as Father Time and Mother Nature. Mother Nature keeps the Fundamentalists in check in their city, while Father Time journeys through time itself, seeking moments when his presence is needed. Recently, many Fundamentalist families have moved to live outside the city, including the Dodd and Rayne families. Some leave in order to enjoy the company of humans, in disgust of their own race. Others leave to exert their dominance over humanity, though the elders do not put up with too much of this.
The Prophecy was made two hundred years ago by Father Time, during a council of Fundamentalists not long after their return to prominence and the founding of Natura City. It is recorded as:
"Back when the Earth was young and our people were new, Mother Nature and I saw fit to take away the powers of our great race. You had grown rebellious and violent, prone to childish fits of anger. But we did not seek to permanently destroy our people. Now, even the most powerful of you have only a fraction of the powers your ancestors possessed. Someday, all that will change. Two boys will be born, alike, and yet unlike in many ways. Their birth will signify the return of our once great race and they will command all the powers of their ancestors. One day, however, the boys will make a choice. Both will sacrifice their young lives, one seeking to end the world, the other seeking to save it. This is destiny. This is fact. I have seen it happen with my own eyes. The boys will be born with the mark of the crescent moon, which signifies their destinies. One is Lucifer, the Morning Star, who shall bring about the day of destruction. The other is Hesperus, the Evening Star, who will end the day of destruction and bring about the night of tranquility. Two boys. One fate. The mark of the crescent moon will signify their arrival."
Jason Timothy Dodd was born on April 30th 1994, with the mark of the crescent moon on both his palms.
Damian David Rayne was born on April 30th 2000, with the mark of the crescent moon on the backs of both his hands.
The Story of Eclipse
On April 30th, 1994, a woman named Stephanie Dodd gave birth to a baby boy. She never told anyone who the father was, not even her brother, Richard. The boy was named Jason. But the birth was anything but ordinary, because Ricky and Steph weren't human. They were fundamentalists, born with natural superhuman abilities. They expected Jason to be born with the powers typical of their kind. What they didn't expect was for the child to be the prophesised chosen one, the one who would someday save the world, at the cost of his own life. But the dual crescent-moon birthmarks on Jason's palms gave away his true nature: he was the chosen one, fated to be one of the most powerful men on Earth, but also destined to die at a young age.
Ricky and Steph were part of an acrobatic circus act based in Vine City, so Jason was raised within the circus. As he grew up, he excelled at gymnastic and acrobatic feats, due in part to his subconscious control over gravity. He also proved himself to be something of a prodigy, as despite the fact that he was home-schooled by his Uncle, Jason became an incredibly intelligent boy. He was also quite a talented inventor from a young age and even went so far as to create a few gadgets to assist his parents in their act.
As soon as Jason was old enough to understand, he was told of his destiny. His mother and uncle saw no reason in keeping it from him. This was a blessing, in a way, as Jason grew up with the belief that every day could be his last and he should live every day accordingly. There was never a wasted moment with Jason, every second of his life had a purpose. This is a philosophy Jason holds onto throughout his life, despite the fact that it doesn't give him much of a social life. At the age of 8, Ricky and Steph started including Jason in their act. But at the age of 10, the boy's life was changed forever.
On April 30th, 2004, Jason's 10th birthday, his parents died. In the middle of a death defying stunt, his parents lost consciousness and plummeted to the ground. Everyone else assumed the fall killed them, but Jason knew otherwise. He was watching the routine and, as they fell to the ground, he slowed their fall with his powers. They shouldn't have died... But they did. No cause of death was ever found. Jason was distraught. He fled from the circus and unleashed his power upon the city. He continued his rampage until one day, he was stopped by a stranger. This stranger taught Jason the values of a hero and that, instead of giving into the pain caused by the death of his parents, he should use it as a motivator to help others, so that no-one else would have to feel his pain. Through the man's teachings, Jason decided to take up a superhero persona and, taking his name from him birthmarks, embarked upon his career as Eclipse.
He lived on the streets, rarely washing and only eating whatever food he was given by grateful citizens. Jason Dodd the boy was now missing, presumed dead, but Vine City had itself a new protector, the crimson avenger: Eclipse. Many citizens were able to piece together the obvious clues, but none interfered. Though many were aware that the child of the Dodd's had become a costumed vigilante, they decided that it was for the best. After all, the boy had no known living relatives and he was making a real difference to the city with his heroics. Better for him to live the life of a hero than go into foster care. Over a year later, Eclipse's life changed yet again. He was found by his people.
The fundamentalists took him to the City of Eden, a place hidden deep under the Grand Canyon. There, Eclipse met Mother Nature. But here he also discovered what his people were really like. They were arrogant and self-important, treating human kind as little more than cattle. As someone who had dedicated himself to protecting heroes, Eclipse could not accept this point of view. When he spoke up, the so called "wise" members of his race scoffed and patronised the boy, acting as though he was merely a foolish child. But Jason was a very intelligent boy. He did not take well to being patronised. He left the City of Eden to return to his home, shunning the rest of his kind and blocking them out of his life. Before he left, he told the wise ones one piece of information, which troubles them to this day. "You say humans are inferior because they are weak, that our people are more powerful than they could possibly imagine. You forget that I have power beyond your wildest dreams. So, how should I treat you?"
For the next few years, Jason remained the protector of Vine City. At the age of 15, he met a group of likeminded heroes. All were summoned to Vine City Jail by the supervillain called Madros, who was searching for a worthy apprentice. They were: Arach-Knight, wise cracking teen with spider-like powers; Solor, a survivor born of a different race on a different world; Emerald Lantern, latest recruit for the Green Lantern Corps; Sicily Boss, a deadly character with a bark as bad as her bite; and CellPhoneGirl, an innocent young girl, new to the world of superheroics. When all of the six had taken their place, Madros set off his trap, detonating the prison. The criminals were set loose and the group of teen heroes had to work together to hold them back. During these events, Jason discovered the shocking truth that Madros was behind the death of his parents. After the jailbreak, the group decided to band together and set up base in Vine City as the Vine Titans, with Eclipse as their leader.
The original team didn't last for long, but a new wave soon arrived. Before long only CellPhoneGirl and Eclipse remained out of the six founders. Jason, in the end, couldn't handle the strain of leading a team. It was too constricting, prevented him from being able to do his own thing. There were too many wasted moments when he was team leader. So, he left, seeking to leave Vine City for an entirely new home. But he was stopped by the criminal Madros. Ambushed and defeated, Eclipse was injected with nano-bots, designed to kill him and then self-terminate, leaving no trace. The same way his parents were murdered. Eclipse was forced to work for the madman under the threat that he would detonate the nano-bots. For a long while, Eclipse did all his master commanded, even fighting the hero Gerald the Sloth and joining Invado of Per, a team led by the villain Dreadmaster. Then, Madros commanded Eclipse to infiltrate the Vine Titans.
Jason made his way into Vine Titans Tower, but as soon as he did, disaster struck. The Titan called Moonglow accidentally hurled the team back through time, to World War 2. Forced to fight for his life with some of the new recruits, Jason soon rediscovered his inner hero. Upon returning to the present day, to find that Moonglow was dead, Eclipse left the team again, so he could settle things with Madros. He confronted the villain in his lair and used his power to destroy the support beams that held the base up at the same time that Madros activated the nano-bots. But at that moment, three of the Vine Titans, CellPhoneGirl, War Killer and Uchiha Hotaru, arrived to try and save Eclipse. They all escaped the base, but Jason was dying. Knowing that Nighthunter, an authority on nano-bots, could save his life, Jason teleported to Ice Dragon Island, where Jake Hamilton, the Nighthunter, saved his life. From that moment, Nighthunter became Eclipse's mentor, unintentionally becoming the father figure Jason had lacked throughout his life. On his 16th birthday, Nighthunter gave Jason the gift of a nano-suit, similar to his own.
Eclipse served with the Ice Dragons for a while, but deep down he knew that they weren't his real family. After an adventure in which Jason encountered a future incarnation of himself, the future Eclipse warned Jason that he should return to his family, or the consequences would be dire. So, with little other choice in the matter, he left the Ice Dragons, but still maintained a close relationship with Jake, his teacher. Eclipse met up with the Titans next during an earthquake disaster in Vine City, but never attempted to rejoin the team. However, he met a girl named Talon, who was using the alias of Fulcrum at the time, and after a bout of amnesia on Fuclrum's part, Jason tried to help her rediscover who she really was. But when he found out the truth himself, he wasn't too happy.
Shortly afterwards Jason was recruited to lead a strike team into the headquarters of the Order of Santa Camisia, to retrieve the bodies of Sha and Sovereign Son. As the latter was the mentor of his mentor, Eclipse saw it as his duty to accept. It didn't take long for the team to be located by the Order and soon Eclipse and War Killer came face-to-face with Talon. But shockingly, she saved War Killer's life, simultaneously betraying the Order. Gambler, the leader of the Order, came down upon the three heroes with his powerful rage. They put up a good fight, but oddly, as soon as Eclipse made physical contact with the King of Kings, his nano-suit teleported him away to a power-negating room. A video recording from Nighthunter explained this was a fail-safe, as Jason was not ready to contend with a threat like Gambler. But soon a more powerful threat entered the room: Final Arrow. The evil creature proceeded to tell Eclipse that he expected great things, and also that he would be seeing a lot of him in the future.
Fundamentalists are called so because they can control the fundamental forces of nature. Most Fundamentalists can only control one or two fundamental forces, usually gravity or electromagnetism, but Eclipse has the power to control all four. He has the potential to become as powerful as Father Time and Mother Nature, unlocking the key to immortality as they have. Unfortunately, his destiny means that immortality is pretty useless. Nonetheless, Eclipse does have four powers at his disposal:
GravityGravitational Force Manipulation:
Like most Fundamentalists, Jason was born with the ability to control the force of gravity. Due to training from his parents he has learned to utilize this power in many ways. Firstly, Eclipse is almost constantly using this power subconsciously, allowing him to be light on his feet and more agile than any ordinary human. He can use gravity to increase the power of his physical attacks and even levitate himself and other objects. His powers work on two main fields, personal gravity fields and general gravity fields. By focusing on an individual gravity field he can affect that individual/object, allowing him to do anything from making them heavier/lighter to levitating them or even crushing them into a tiny mass. By affecting the general gravity field of Earth, Eclipse can control the environment, causing everything to fall up to the ceiling or any other point he chooses. He can make everything lighter/heavier and turn off gravity completely. Effectively, Jason's control over gravity is a form of telekinesis. Recently he has started implementing this power as a way of enhancing his strength.
ElectromagnetismElectromagnetic Force Manipulation:
This is a power used by fewer Fundamentalists, but is still relatively common. It allows control over the force of electromagnetism. Eclipse could use this to magnetically levitate/throw metal items around, but with his control over gravity this is unnecessary. He focuses more on the electrical aspect of it. This can range from creating electrical sparks, to full currents of electricity, to summoning the power of lightning. There are also a few more specific uses to his power, of which he has only exhibited one so far: teleportation. By focusing on the electrons which make up his body or the bodies of those around him, Jason can accelerate those electrons past light speed, allowing teleportation through time and space. However, due to negative encounters with time travel, Jason avoids that aspect and focuses instead on teleporting through space. Another specified use was exhibited by his grandfather, the Thunderbird. Thunderbird was blinded early in his life and used his electromagnetic force control as a way of sensing the electrical activity around him, seeing without eyes. A more obvious use is an electromagnetic pulse, which Jason recently implemented against the villain DaggerKlutz.
Nuclear Strong and Nuclear Weak Forces:
These two powers work in tandem with each other, mostly, but Eclipse has not yet mastered any use of them, due to the obvious lack of a teacher. However, Mother Nature used this power to permanently bind the molecules which made up Jason's signature extensible bo-staff, hence making the staff indestructible on a molecular level. Recently, Eclipse has explored these powers a little more and can now create a Nuclear forcefield that will nullify the strong force on anything it makes contact with. Also, after being summoned to do battle with Ninjans, Eclipse used the same method as Mother Nature once did in order to make his own body indestructable. His skin is now inpenetrable, though his bones and organs remain mostly the same as before, albeit slightly more durable.
Abilities and Equipment
When Jason first became a superhero he had barely any control over his powers, so he had to rely on his abilities and equipment to gain the upper hand. Many of these gadgets are no longer used, as Jason places more trust in his powers. As a inventing prodigy, Eclipse was able to create a variety of crime fighting gadgets:
Jason's most used gadgets, these crescent-shaped pieces of red metal act as multi-purpose boomerangs. With his control over gravity, Eclipse can influence the flight of his crescent-rangs. Their uses include grapplying-rangs, flash-bang-rangs, electroshock-rangs and many more. (NOT IN USE)
Jason's boots contain a large metal plate hidden in the sole and toe, adding extra power to his kicks.
Jason developed tracers as a child, which he can plant on enemies and track using a tracking device on his belt.
Jason had upgraded his motorcycle, christening his creation Thunderbird in his grandfather's honor. The new bike is faster than the old one, with crescent-rangs loaded within, ready to fire, along with a multitude of other useful gadgets. (NOT IN USE)
An extensible bo-staff, able to shrink down to an inch or extend up to six feet, Jason has been using his staff as a weapon for years, becoming quite adept in using it. Also, the staff has been 'blessed' by Mother Nature, who used her powers over the Nuclear forces to make it indestructible on a molecular level. (NOT IN USE)
A birthday present from his mentor, Nighthunter, Eclipse has a nano-suit in place of a superhero costume, one which takes on a new form by responding to Jason's thoughts. Currently Eclipse uses a costume he came up with on his own, signifying his new role as a leader of heroes.
From the Crater, his base in Vine City, Eclipse is able to monitor all criminal activity from his newest invention: Big Bro. It consists of a circular metal plate surrounded by multiple flat-screen-monitors, which rotate around the plate on rings. The device can only be activated by Eclipse's nano-suit and works thanks to a series of tiny cameras Eclipse placed at strategic points throughout the city, allowing him to watch out for crime and, sometimes, use his powers to stop crime without even having to leave the Crater.
While under Madros' power, Eclipse was forced to use the villain's weapon of choice, a broadsword. Taking inspiration from his new mentor, Nighthunter's sword, Eclipse had his own weapon made. It is a large, heavy sword, but also light due to Jason's power over gravity. Unless he wills it, only another Fundamentalist would be able to lift the sword. Eclipse often creates a Nuclear forcefield around the blade, so anything it comes into contact with will be separated on a molecular level. The sword itself is also indestructable.
Jason has picked up a lot of hand-to-hand skills from his time on the streets of Vine City, and his skills were fine-tuned by Nighthunter to make Eclipse a powerful hand-to-hand adversary, even without his powers. His fighting style relies mostly on speed and particularly kicks, along with blows from his staff. Nowadays Eclipse has learned to use his gravity powers to increase the strength of his blows.
Eclipse was born a child prodigy, developing quite an impressive mind despite never going to school. He is a keen inventor and excellent strategist, often using his brains to outsmart the foes even his impressive powers can't beat.
Geraldthesloth - When under Madros' control, Eclipse fought the hero archer known as Geraldthesloth. Early on in the battle, Eclipse's left forearm was pierced by an arrow, a cut which remains visible to this day.
Uchiha NeVann - In the first round of the King of the Vine tournament, Eclipse went up against Uchiha NeVann. After a long battle with the Shinobi, Jason was defeated when NeVann summoned a powerful air pulse, which exploded on contact with Eclipse and splintered the skin and flesh of his chest. The Teen Wonder retains several scars on his chest from this encounter.
Warsman - When Kaligar Roxom declared war on the planet, Eclipse was one of the heroes who went to meet him. Eventually, Warsman flew straight at Eclipse as the young hero summoned a field that would separate the atoms of anything that touched it. Warsman lost an arm, but a splintered bone penetrated the field and created a scar running horizontally across the right side of Jason's neck.
DaggerKlutz - While fighting the leader of the Vine Syndicate for a remote that would end the mind control the villain had over the entire planet, DaggerKlutz fired a barrage of energy bullets near the end of the fight. Many of these wounds healed but one burrowed its way into Eclipse's right shoulder, leaving a deep, hollow, round scar.
(OOC: This is an RPG for my two characters Eclipse and Hesperus. It's not FanFiction because I created both characters. This takes place after the Champions of Peace RPG 'Fate of the Dragons' and before 'Our World Aflame' and 'The Beast Within'. Feel free to comment, there's only going to be one post and I'll edit the following chapters into it. Enjoy! And when you're done, go read Paragon's Blog-RPG, Snow Patrol)
Chapter 1: Falling into Old Habits
Champion Tower, 30th April 2011
"Happy Birthday, Jason!" Charles Barnes grinned as he patted his friend on the back.
"Shhh!" The young hero known as Eclipse hissed, wobbling on his crutches as he glanced around quickly. "Please, try not to tell the whole team. The last thing I want is any fuss. I had a party with the Ice Dragons last year, and that's enough to last me a lifetime."
"At least you got one awesome present!" Blair chuckled, her enchanted hair shimmering as she tugged at the Teen Wonder's spectacular nano-suit, currently in the guide of the teen's civillain clothes.
"I also got an ice sculpture of myself..." Eclipse cringed, lowering himself down into the sofa as his friends sat down around him.
"Any plans for today, hero?" Laura asked, leaning back against her boyfriend.
"Oh, you know, visit Mom and Uncle Rick, like I do every year." The reason Jason never celebrated his birthday was because it was also the anniversary of the death of the only family he had. They had been murdered 7 years ago and every year since the boy had visited their graves on his birthday.
"We can stop there on the way, then." Laura nodded to the others.
"On the way?" Eclipse frowned.
"They're only here for one night." CellPhoneGirl tossed him a ticket. "What do you say, Circus boy? Feel like going home?"
Jason smiled. It was the circus he was raised in. They had been performing every night on his birthday since the death of their star performers, but he had never had the courage to actually attend. "Sure." He grinned. "Sounds like fun."
'There he goes.' The young assassin glared at the crippled hero Eclipse, as he made his way to a jet, laughing with his friends. 'The only thing standing in between me and a normal life. I'm one year older today... But that just means I'm one year closer to my own demise. Unless I eliminate Jason Dodd.'Hesperus was the son of Surreal SaDiablo, a renowned assassin, and Thomas Rayne, an extreme Fundamentalist. Damian was born with crescent markings on the back of his hands, just as Jason was born with similar markings on his palms. According to their people, these markings meant the boys had an intertwined destiny, and both would die either trying to destroy the world or save it. In Damian's eyes, it was Jason who was the harbringer of the Apocalypse, and if he killed him in advance of their destiny, it could all be avoided. While he originally joined the Champions of Peace in an attempt to kill his enemy, Hesperus soon came to enjoy being a hero, and his attempts to take Jason's life came to a halt as he embraced his new life. He even began working with his former foe on a regular basis. Until recently, things were going well between the two boys. Until two days ago, when everything changed again...
"Be aware of everything." Jason instructed as they waited in the dark. "This guy is very dangerous, and always prepared for everything. You need to be totally aware of your environment."
"Oh, give it a rest, mother." Damian groaned as he leaned over the edge of the rooftop. "According to you he doesn't even have any powers, just immortality and a lucky coin."
"He doesn't need them." Eclipse replied grimly, levitating above the surface. "All he needs are his traps... And his words. He was once the sworn enemy of the Vine Titans. He could take on all of us at once."
"Yes, I can see how you, Sunshine and Stripes would be incredibly difficult to take down." Hesperus rolled his eyes as he checked his gauntlets were secured properly. Damian's battle-gear included bladed gauntlets on his arms and legs, to take the place of his swords if he lost them.
"Just be careful." The teen hero smiled, as he grabbed the shoulder of his younger counterpart and teleported them into the building opposite in a flash of light. "Hello, Madros."
And there he was. It had been over a year since Eclipse had last laid eyes on the man who ordered the death of his family; the man who forced Jason to become his apprentice; the man who unintentionally caused the formation of the Vine Titans. His face was still as disturbing as ever, half of it the image of the perfect man, clean-cut hair, dazzling eye and bright smile, while the other half was a demonic, malformed mess of burnt flesh and protruding muscles, with a bulging eye and yellowing teeth. For the last few months, Eclipse had been battling his new arch-nemesis, a bumbling yet brilliant villain named DaggerKlutz. But the relationship between Patrick Back and his nemesis had never been particularly fierce, Patrick had always seemed like more of an attention seeker than a full fledged supervillain, whereas Madros had done his best to ruin his foe's life completely on numerous occasions. Now, DaggerKlutz was gone... Whether he was dead, or something else entirely, Jason had no idea. Yet in some ways, Eclipse missed his arch-nemesis. He certainly preferred the Bald Baddie to his current opponent.
"Jason. It's been too long." The maniac grinned as he sat at the head of a table, it was a meeting with his lieutenents, who had all leapt from their seats to defend their master. All of them had some sort of burn on the right side of their face, the opposite side of Madros' scars. The more serious the burn, the greater their loyalty to him. "Ah, and you brought a new friend!"
"Screw you." Hesperus growled as he withdrew his swords, vaulting across the table and swinging his blades towards Madros' head. The villain responded swiftly with his own weapon, a two-handed broadsword, which he swung up from below his seat and smashed into Damian's katanas, sending both of them straight up into the ceiling, where they became embedded.
"I warned you about his swordplay!" Eclipse shouted angrily as he used his gravitational powers to blast the various thugs out of the way, simultaneously using his electromagnetism powers to divert and reflect the barrage of bullets heading his way.
"Why else do you think I wanted to take him on like this?" Damian smirked as he used his bladed forearms to parry a swing from his opponent. He leaned to the left, dodging a heavy blow of the sword, and struck out with his leg. The kick missed its target as Madros shifted his leg slightly, but at that moment the boy activated the blades on his legs, causing them to extend and tear through Madros' lower right leg. Then, hooking his foot around the madman's leg, Damian pulled back towards himself, causing Madros to fall flat on his back, his broadsword clattering to the ground on his side. Hesperus then kicked away the sword and, withdrawing his leg blades, pressed one knee against his enemy's chest, holding his forearm against the villain's throat. "Checkmate." "Nice work." Jason flew over to the two of them, having dealt with all the henchmen easily. "And Madros, before you try any of your tricks: I took out your snipers earlier; I deactivated all the bombs in this building; my nanobots have shut down the bombs strapped to your chest and blocked your emergency distress signal."
"Then it seems I am beaten. Congratulations. You've won." Madros grinned maliciously, blood trickling from his leg. And yet, as Eclipse handcuffed his old foe and prepared to transport him to the Champions of Peace holding cells, the teen had a horrible feeling that Madros had only just begun.
"Why did you do it?" Damian asked simply, standing before the bars in his brightly coloured costume, his domino mask tucked into his belt as he stared at the villain with crossed arms. "I'm curious. What drove you to kill Jason's parents?"
"I have lived many centuries, young Rayne." Madros replied, still grinning despite his hands and legs being cuffed together, now dressed in a plain prison jumpsuit with the Champions of Peace emblem on it. He ignored Damian's surprise at the fact that the maniac knew his name, and continued. "And while I have no powers, I am able to survive in my line of work through recruiting help. In my experience, the younger an apprentice, the better. That way they are easier to mould, and also have the potential to serve me for much longer. The choice to kill his family was one made not by me, but my enchanted coin. It indicated to me that if I killed the Dodds and took in their boy, I would be able to bend him to my will. So I gave the command that they were to die and that the boy was to be sent to me. My plans did not work out quite that way, but it mattered little as I had already found a new apprentice by that point. It was only 5 years later, when that servant outlived his purpose, that I directed my attention towards Eclipse yet again."
"How would that plan have worked, anyway?" Hesperus frowned. "You kill his family, so he joins you?"
"Of course I wouldn't have mentioned that particular detail. No, I believe my intention was to show the boy evidence that his parents were involved in some rather unsavory activities and their deaths were retribution from a local criminal gang. If he felt the desire to seek vengeance, I would have assisted him in achieving his revenge on the gang, and so brought him over to the side of reason. Instead, the boy was brainwashed with heroic nonsense and turned to a life of idiocy and waste."
"Living as a hero is not a waste." The boy replied firmly. "We both have limited time here, we should spend that time trying to help others."
"Ha!" The villain laughed. "You're starting to sound like him yourself. Is that how you truly feel, Damian Rayne, or are those simply his words on your tongue?" There was no reply from the young assassin, so Madros pressed on. "You think you're taking the hard road, don't you? I know about you, Hesperus, I know your history. You are born of liars and killers, from both sides of your family. You may have been tricked into believing such people are 'evil' by your current associates, but such thinking is impractical. What does one gain from helping others? Happiness? Gratitude? Peace? What use are any such emotions when a hero risks their life on a regular basis? My life, a life which has led to me being labeled as a villain, is a self-centered one. There is nothing on this Earth more important than self preservation. Why should any of us care what happens after we die? I have lived a very long time, Damian. It saddens me to think you won't even live a fraction of that time. If only there were some way to avoid your destiny..."
"There is," Hesperus blurted out. "if I simply killed Dodd, then our shared destiny could never come to pass! I would have my freedom from this curse! I--" The boy paused and considered his words. It had been a long time since he had thought of such things. "I have learned how to be a hero under these people... And as much as I despite admitting it, I feel whole when I am here. Through their teachings, I have been able to find my path."
"And what have they taught you?" Madros whispered. "That throwing your life away is the best option for you, a 10 year old boy with a great future ahead of him? There is only one obstacle in your way, Damian. After Dodd is dealt with you can choose whatever path you like, whether that is a path of idiocy or reason is up to you. But unless you take him out of the picture, you won't even have the privilege of such choice. How would your mother feel, knowing that you threw your life away for nothing? How proud would your father be, if you lived long enough to gain his inheritance, if you were able to bring new glory to the Rayne household? To not kill the hero would be suicide. And only a fool would take his own life. Are you a fool, Damian Rayne?"
Hesperus stood silent, gritting his teeth behind his lips, as Madros' words tore through him. "He's been manipulating you all along, you see. Trying to save his own skin. That's all that really matters to him. Did you know I once made him turn on his closest friends simply by threatening his life?" Damian was silent, his fingernails digging into his palms. "You have to kill him. It is the only way." Madros smiled. "And to do that, you must release me. I have resources, child, things beyond your wildest dreams. Together it would be all too easy to bring Dodd to his knees. On your own? Clearly, you wouldn't stand a chance."
"No." Damian growled, leaning towards the bars with a face full of contempt. "Jason Dodd is a great hero... And you? You wouldn't last two seconds against him." The young killer then turned away from the villain, who was grinning like a cheshire cat. As he made his way towards the elevator, Damian muttered to himself. "... But you're right... Unforunate as it is... His death is unavoidable."
Chapter 2: Lessons in Life and Death
"Sire, he awakens!" A voice shouted, as Jason returned to consciousness, the throbbing pain in his head suddenly clear once again. He heard a pair of footsteps coming his way, and opened his ears blearily.
"Wh--where am I?" The young hero groaned, his eyes not yet adjusted to the light. As they began to focus, Jason had to blink several times to be sure of what he was seeing. Leaning curiously over him was a knight, clad in shining metal armor, with a servant girl at his side.
"Odd, he seems not to know how he came to be here..." The knight mumbled to his servant, before leaning closer to examine the teen's face. "Where is it you come from, young man?"
"Uh... America... I'm with the Champions of Peace." Jason responded, noticing the strong English accents of his new acquaintances. This seemed to puzzle both of them, and they looked at each other with great concern. The hero attempted to search for his COP communicator to prove his claims, but upon looking down, he found that he was naked, covered only by a bedsheet. He tried to summon his nanosuit, but was shocked when nothing happened. His suit had been bonded to his central nervous system for a year... It always answered his call.
"We know not of such a place." The knight stroked his chin, "But you say you are a champion? That is surprising, for one as young as you..."
"What the hell did you do with my suit?!" Eclipse exclaimed, attempting to throw himself out of bed and onto the knight, only to find himself plummeting headfirst into the floor. He often forgot that he could no longer walk, but he could always catch himself with his gravity powers. Today, however... Nothing happened. Jason's face hit the stone ground hard, his head bouncing up from the impact as blood spurt from his nose. Breathing choppily, taken aback by his loss of power, Jason attempted to lift himself up using his arms, before he found himself being hoisted back into his bed by the metal-clad stranger.
"You are a cripple." The knight noted, removing his helmet to show a handsome face, surrounded by smooth black locks and a mustache. "And yet you claim to be a champion. You become more and more interesting in each passing moment."
Jason stared at the face of his new acquaintance for a moment. He seems almost familiar, and yet... Different. It was a face that he had seen as a child, but with more imperfections. Several cuts of the face, wrinkles caused by stress, not age, and even the odd mole. "Who are you?" Eclipse gasped, wiping away his bloody nose with his forearm. "And where are we?"
"Why, I am Sir Lancelot!" The knight replied, smiling, despite Jason's look of absolute shock. "And we are in the land of Camelot!"
"Oh." Jason replied, suddenly groaning and putting his hands on his head. "Now I remember how I got here..."
Champions Tower, an Hour ago/Centuries in the Future...
In his solitary room in Champions Tower, Damian was crying. While many of his team-mates had chosen more comfortable lodging as soon as the apartment block was complete, Hesperus desired no such thing. He liked his solitude, he enjoyed having the tower to himself the majority of the time. It was used for recreation and planning by the other Champions, but Hesperus was there at all times... He often referred to himself as Lord of the Tower. Yet today, on his birthday of all days, the young assassin could not contain his emotions. The pain and anger, kept bottled up for so long, always leaking out in small doses of venom, leaping from the boy's tongue to sting his comrades. Frustration, desperation, loneliness, Damian sometimes felt like he had no direction at all, like he was stumbling through life, jumping from one mentor to another and shifting his moral code to match. Crumpled in his hand, soaked in tears, was a letter. It read...
In the course of your life you have been many things to those around you, son, traitor, friend, brother, destroyer and today you enter the time of your true manhood. I have let you thus far, follow your own course and find the direction you so long to seek. You have assisted your family when required and been a loyal and faithful servant to your mother and to those above you.
In all these things I am honoured to call you son, but there is something your mother must remind of you. On the day we pulled you from your fathers grip you were connected to one who is the death of you, his mercy has been your undoing for some time and your mother is concerned for your well being. You will of course obey your resolve in all things and your betters in others, so to this I leave your decision to your own decree and trust you will make the decision required of you.
The writing of his mother soothed Damian's soul, but when read in addition to the comments he had received from Madros, the words cut deep. She was concerned... Worried... Afraid that her son would lose his life, simply because he lacked the courage to take another's. It would be selfish, then, to let such cowardice hurt the only person in the world who truly loved and accepted him. No matter the cost, Damian was decided. Eclipse had to die. The young killer had learnt much in his time on the Champions of Peace, he had learnt how to be a hero, in his own way. While taking the life of a hero like Jason would be seen as an act of villainy, Hesperus knew he was justified. He still felt the desire to help those in need, to eliminate those who would take advantage of the weak, to punish those who deserved it... But if it came down to a simple choice between his life and Jason's, there was no choice at all. After all, Dodd had no family. What did he have to live for?
Eclipse was smiling, hobbling into the Tower on his crutches, having just returned from the best birthday he'd ever had. It began with a trip to the cemetery, like all birthdays, where Jason and his three best friends all paid their respects to his deceased family. Then, taking the night off from heroism as their team-mates covered for them, War Killer, Talon, CellPhoneGirl and Eclipse went to the circus. Upon arriving they were invited backstage, and for the first time in 7 years Jason Dodd saw the people he grew up with: Sanchez the strong man, who taught him how to throw a punch; Tyrone, Dmitri and Omar, the clown trio who taught him to have fun; Teresa the gymnast, mentor of the Dodds and occasional co-star; Gunter the lion tamer, who was Jason's teacher in the place of a mainstream school; and many more. In the wake of his family's death, Jason had never had the courage to return. But now, thanks to his friends, he finally had. Now he could die in peace.
Suddenly, Jason stopped walked, leaning back onto his crutches as he almost jumped out of his skin in fright. A moment ago he was in the clean, shiny entrance hall of the Champions Tower, but after a single step forwards, he found himself in the cold, dark, rainy night once again. Lightning lashed across the sky, as Eclipse realized he was standing on the roof of the Tower. It was a small space, barely enough room to stand, but as he looked backwards, the Teen Wonder shuddered. "I thought you were past all this." Jason shouted over the thunder, as the small figure behind him stood, arms crossed over his crimson chest. "I thought you'd changed."
"This is nothing personal, Dodd." Hesperus replied loudly as the harsh rain tore into his face."I've even come to tolerate you recently... But I didn't make the rules." Jason tapped his crutches against his legs, as his nano-suit began to rush all over his body, and attached itself to the crutches at the hip. Letting go of his walking aids, Eclipse was able to support himself while keeping his hands free, and use his nano-suit to change direction."Either you die, or both of us die. I don't have a choice." And without another moment of hesitation, Damian swiftly withdrew his dual blades, attempting to cut through his foe's neck and abdomen. But Eclipse was the student of Nighthunter, he had been trained to anticipate such attacks. As quickly as his younger counterpart had pulled his blades from their sheaths, Jason had grabbed his old extensible bo-staff from his belt and swung it across his body, so it smashed into the two swords and parried them away.
The young Rayne didn't miss a beat, however, and immediately spun with the momentum of the block, taking a step forward and attempting to plunge the katana into Dodd's stomach. The crutches, reacting to their master's mental command, leaned to the left, so Eclipse dodged the attack, and retorted by swinging the staff up, attempting to strike his opponent in the chin and knock him off balance. Simultaneously, he attempted to summon a lightning charge, but Damian, sensing the distortion to the electrical field, was able to use his own powers to cancel out the move. Leaning backwards to avoid the strike from the staff, Hesperus planted both hands on the surface of the roof and brought his left heel up swiftly. Eclipse was leaning forwards from his own attack, so was completely unprepared when Damian's foot smashed into his throat, causing his jaw to smash into the rest of his face. Feeling as if his teeth were going to crack, the young hero attempted to stumble backwards to regain his balance, but with no control over his legs, he simply toppled over, falling off the edge of the Tower.
As Eclipse hurtled to the hard ground below, he tried to use his control over gravity to fly, or at least slow his fall. But the two boys shared exactly the same powerset, so Hesperus was able to block every one of Jason's abilities. Grabbing another gadget from his old utility belt, Jason aimed towards the sky and let loose with his grappling hook. The projectile blasted up into the air, rocketing up past the top of the Tower. It went so far that the hook continued up into the air, snapping off the cord which held it and spiralling into the dark sky. Damian looked on with a sneer.
A few moments later, the 11 year old assassin felt a sharp pain to the back of his head, as the remains grappling hook collided into him, knocking him off balance so he, too, began to fall towards the ground below, his swords falling with a clatter onto the roof. Attempting to fly or teleport out of danger, Hesperus cursed as he realized his powers were being blocked too. Extending the blades on his arms and legs, Damian swung his limbs backwards, embedding his forearm blades in the wall of the Tower. He continued to fall for a while longer, his blades slowing his fall, until he eventually came to a halt with a look of anger and humiliation on his face.
Just below the dangling Hesperus was Eclipse, held securely in place on the vertical wall of the Tower thanks to his crutches. He lashed out with his bo-staff, which was long enough to cover the gap between the two Champions, while the younger boy's legs were not. Damian kicked out, trapping the bo-staff between his legs. Acting swiflty, he yanked his arms out of the wall, and slid down the pole before his opponent had a chance to move it, smashing his foot into Jason's chest as he fell. The powerful blow dislodged the crutches, and both fundamentalists once more plummeted towards the ground, this time tangled together. As the wind howled and their bodies fell like ragdolls, the two fighters were locked in a fierce battle. Eclipse was gripping his former student by the wrists, preventing the killer from driving the arm-blades into his chest, while Hesperus instead lashed out with his leg-blades, hacking away at his foe's own legs. Unable to feel anything below the waist, Jason was only aware of these attacks through the blood spatters spiralling through the air, but he felt no pain from them.
It wasn't long before they began to near the ground. Eclipse was trying to slow their fall with his control over gravity, but Hesperus was stubbornly disabling the powers of his brother in destiny. It wasn't until they were around 10 feet above the ground that the boy relinquished control, allowing Jason to slow their fall. It was enough that the impact didn't kill either of them, but they still crashed into the ground harshly, a few feet away from each other, having separated just before they hit ground.
"You... You have to die... Can't you see that?" Damian gasped, getting shakily to his feet as he limped towards the body of his enemy. "You say you're a hero, willing to sacrifice yourself for anyone... Why won't you sacrifice yourself for me?" Hesperus didn't have the strength to fight yet. He simply stood over Jason, eyes full of pity, his tears invisible under the rainfall.
"What happens if you're wrong... What if you're not Hesperus, the Evening Star?" Jason panted, seizing his crutches as he pushed himself up to his feet. "What if you're the Morning Star, the cause of all the destruction? If I'm dead I won't be around to stop you... I can't take that risk. Don't you care about that?"
Damian's brow became wrinkled as his temper returned.
"If I don't kill you, then I'll be dead before I even hit puberty. And that's a risk I can't take, whether I'm Hesperus or not."
Hurling himself at Eclipse, the assassin made one last attempt to tear his foe's head from his shoulders. Refusing to surrender, Jason lifted his crutches, falling backwards as he tried to smash them into the boy's head and knock him out before he could land an attack. The two of them seemed to be moving in slow motion... Getting slower... And slower... Until suddenly, time froze altogether, and a great white light engulfed everything...
"This fighting accomplishes nothing." A deep voice boomed, a voice familiar to Eclipse as that of Father Time, one of the two elder Fundamentalists. "You both have much to learn before your destiny can come to pass. Neither one of you is ready for fate to claim you. But you cannot learn your lessons here, with the weight of destiny heavy on your shoulders. You shall both be given time, relief from your burden, until you have lived and learned all that you need. Use your time wisely, it will be gone sooner than you realize. Treasure this peace I have granted you, however fleeting it may seem, as it is the only peace either of you shall ever have until you pass from this world into whatever follows. Goodbye, sons of destiny." 71 Comments
This is a section on my bio, but I realize that it's right at the bottom and not many people randomly read bios anyway.
Basically, whenever I battle someone, I make sure that Eclipse retains a scar from that battle. Here's the scars I've collected so far, if I left you out and we have battled, just remind me here and I'll make up a new scar. I'll keep this list updated every time I finish a battle.
GeraldtheSloth When under Madros' control, Eclipse fought the hero archer known as Geraldthesloth. Early on in the battle, Eclipse's left forearm was pierced by an arrow, a cut which remains visible to this day.
In the first round of the King of the Vine tournament, Eclipse went up against Uchiha NeVann. After a long battle with the Shinobi, Jason was defeated when NeVann summoned a powerful air pulse, which exploded on contact with Eclipse and splintered the skin and flesh of his chest. The Teen Wonder retains several scars on his chest from this encounter.
Warsman When Kaligar Roxom declared war on the planet, Eclipse was one of the heroes who went to meet him. Eventually, Warsman flew straight at Eclipse as the young hero summoned a field that would separate the atoms of anything that touched it. Warsman lost an arm, but a splintered bone penetrated the field and created a scar running horizontally across the right side of Jason's neck.
While fighting the leader of the Vine Syndicate for a remote that would end the mind control the villain had over the entire planet, DaggerKlutz fired a barrage of energy bullets near the end of the fight. Many of these wounds healed but one burrowed its way into Eclipse's right shoulder, leaving a deep, hollow, round scar.
Oh, and feel free to share any scars your character has picked up on the Vine :P
This is Eclipse starting up what shall be a monthly blog titled 'Forbidden Travels' and today, I discovered the awesomeness that is: Comic Book Grab Bags.
So today, I took my monthly trip to my (relatively) local comic store, Forbidden Planet. Now, it hadn't been a full month since my last trip, but I really wanted the next issue of Red Robin and my mum and little sister were going to Southampton anyway. We got there, had lunch and then headed to GAME, where I wanted to see what I could get for a few old games I didn't play anymore/never bothered to play in the first place. These were 6 PS3 games (Fallout 3, Sonic Unleashed, Spider-man 3: Collector's Edition, Prince of Persia, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Transformers: The Game) along with three PS2 games (Superman Returns, Burnout Dominator and X-Men: The Official Game). So we got there, asked the chubby dude at the counter what they were worth in store credit (so I'd be able to pre-order Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, obviously) and, after telling us he wouldn't accept the PS2 games and singing along to Elvis Presley's "Little Less Conversation" like the rest of us, he added em all up and said to us: "£19". Now, I know some of you may not live in Britain, but let me explain that for you. Your average PS3 game costs £40. I was offering them 6 games, in excellent condition, which they would no doubt sell as 'Pre-owned' games for at LEAST £10 each. And in return, they were offering me under half the price for ONE game in store credit. Our response? "Screw that, we'll sell them in a car boot sale and get £50-60 for them"
So, after that, we went our separate ways: my mum and sister to wander around looking in various shops and me to wander the aisles of Forbidden Planet for the next few hours or so, occasionally sneaking a peek at a comic I wasn't going to buy. After spotting a humorous t-shirt on the ground level ('With no power comes no responsibility', heh) I went downstairs to where the comics are kept. I asked for my pull list at the counter and (thank you to the Viner called Nobody for recommending it) added Shadowland: Powerman to the list, for that extra dose of Danny Rand I've been missing since the cancellation of his ongoing series. I didn't have many comics there because, like I said, it was less than a month since my last visit. But my beloved Red Robin was there and I was happy, especially as it's cheaper than ANY of the Marvel titles I have on my list at $2.99!
But as I was marvelling at this incredible bargain, searching for any old school Heroes for Hire/Power Man and Iron Fist books and seeing what the gang was up to in the most recent Secret and New Avengers comics (neither of which I bought, of course, I just wanted to see whether Danny had finally landed a major part in an Avengers storyline by Bendis and witness for myself the epic Nova-Steve moment) I spotted an even bigger bargain. Grab bags. I had never noticed them before and, in fact, the only reason they caught my attention at all was because of one cover: The Amazing Spider-Ham. Upon further investigation, I discovered these grab bags were a miraculous £1 each and contained four issues, making each issue 25p each. AMAZING! They were wrapped in plastic and you were only able to see the comics on the outside, the middle two were a mystery. There was a limit of five per customer, but I only grabbed the most interesting looking four. And I have to say: WOW! The value I got in this deal is amazing. I will definitely be picking these grab bags up every month from now on. 16 comics for £4! Here's what I got:
Red Robin #15 - My favourite comic at the moment and possibly my favourite ever. This book is so much better than the other two Bat-books I collect: Batman and Batman and Robin (always looks stupid when I write that...) and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Marcus To is an incredible artist, with a style that just screams 'comic book' to me and Fabian Nicieza has the formula for how to write an ongoing book all figured out. Pure awesome.
Shadowland: Power Man #1 - Picked this one up after it was recommended for me by Nobody to satisfy my need for Danny Rand (wow, when I put it like that it sounds like I have a major man-crush) and I was not let down. Iron Fist is EPIC.
Shadowland #2 - In my mind, Iron Fist is the main protagonist in this series and everyone else is just trying to steal his spotlight. Daredevil even went so far as to kill Bullseye in the last issue in order to gain my attention. But alas, no DD moment in this book could compare to the epic-osity of the revelation that Danny's soup kitchen has the Iron Fist symbol in the place of an O in the word 'soup'. Talk about blowing your secret identity. Still, I guess Luke ruined the whole secret identity schtick as soon as he abandoned his costume and started hanging out with Danny Rand AND Iron Fist. What are friends for?
The Amazing Spider-man #639-640 - OMIT took an unexpected twist here, but definitely left me intrigued for the next issue. Still, I see this storyline as a breather after the Grim Hunt's intensity, so it was a nice couple of issues.
The Amazing Spider-Ham: 25th Anniversary Issue! - I collect the Pet Avengers comics. Currently they don't have a mini-series, but I have all the Pet Avengers comics to date. Couple that with my love of Spider-man and animal-related puns and you can figure out very easily that OMG THIS COMIC WAS AWESOME! I'd pay the £4 for this one alone, the others were just nice bonuses.
Red Hood: The Lost Days #1 - This was one of the mystery issues and an excellent surprise. I was considering buying this series but decided against it, hoping that it would be collected in a trade when the series was over. So getting the first issue for 25p was a very nice surprise indeed.
The New Avengers #60 - This was a nice little story where Luke Cage tries to steal Iron Fist's limelight by having Norman Osborn plant a bomb in his own chest. Talk about attention seeking. Nice art too.
The New Avengers #64 - The art wasn't as good as #60, I missed the three issues in between and this is a Siege tie-in (I didn't read Siege) so all in all, I was utterly baffled by this comic.
Iron Man: Legacy #1 - From the cover I expected this to be one of those really childish Iron Man comics created to tie-in with the movies. I was pleasantly surprised. I suspect it WAS created to tie-in with the movies and, as far as I can tell, takes place either in the past or out of continuity, but still, a nice comic. Written by Van Lente, so I guess that was a given really.
Tails of the Pet Avengers: The Dogs of Summer #1 - As I have Pet Avengers on my pull list, this comic was saved for me last month. However, after flicking through and realizing barely any pages were drawn by Ig Guara, I decided it wasn't worth $3.99. But 25p? Yes please. Now I can live happy in the knowledge that my Pet Avengers collection is still complete.
Nation X #4 - The less said about this, the better. I haven't been following X-Men, but this was the fourth issue in a limited series and as far as I could tell, the four short stories told in this comic were completely self-contained, making me wonder what the purpose of this series was. There was a random story with Doop that made no sense whatsoever, a story with Emma and the Stepford Cuckoos, a story in which three students (Match, Rockslide and a girl I didn't recognise) attempt to steal food from the Utopia food store, which was being guarded by Warpath (they fight and Warpath cuts off Rockslide's head, before they noticed that Warpath has been stealing food himself. Oh, the hilarity!) and finally a story between Storm and Namor. Basically this comic was either confusing or irrelevant.
Avengers: Initiative #34: I have yet to read this one, but it's another Siege tie-in so I won't get my hopes up.
Invincible #1 - This showed the return of Invincible and is the first Invincible comic I've ever read. Probably the first Image comic too. All I can say is that I can see why people like this series so much and I'll be sure to try and find some trades for the older runs. An excellent comic.
Doomwar #4 - I skimmed through this one. Come on, it's issue 4 of 6, there's no point in me even trying to understand it. All I got was that Deadpool shows up at the end.
Young Allies #2 - Is this an ongoing? Gravity is pretty cool and unlike most Marvel comics it's $2.99, so I might consider getting it. Art is really good here. A nice comic.
Brigade #1 - Where Image impressed me with Invincible, they let me down with this. I skimmed through but paid enough attention to notice that every character in the book is a blatant rip-off of someone else. In particular one Kung-Fu character with a glowing green fist. THIS Iron Fist fan is not amused.
Electric Ant #1 - Haven't read this one yet, but after skimming through I'm not sure I want to. Not really my style.
Zeus Unbound - Awesome cover. Other than that, wasn't too interested.
I also got two Transformers comics which my sister read for me. She confirmed that they were as crap as they looked, so I didn't bother reading them. Still, even with those two disappointments, Grab bags were an excellent idea. I'll be sure to grab as many as I can carry (and maybe send in other people to buy them for me and flout the '5 per customer' rule) next month!
Twice today, I have come across spoilers for comic books I am reading. This annoys me to no end. I only get to go to my comic store once a month, not once a week. So most of the time, people end up talking about stuff that I haven't read yet. And they spoil it. It's fine if they give me warning, I totally understand that after you've read a comic or watched a movie or done anything at all, you feel the need to talk about it with other people. But seriously, on these forums we have a spoiler BUTTON. If you want to spoil something and give people a warning, all you have to do is press a freaking button.
Usually I'm good at avoiding spoilers. With Iron Man 2, for example, I managed to avoid pretty much all information about the movie once filming had started. I do this with most comic movies now, I might watch the initial trailer and read about the casting decisions, but once the movie has started filming, I avoid all information, because they're all spoilers. I'm probably one of the few who went to see Iron Man 2 who was surprised by certain scenes, because I didn't watch the trailers.
But today... I had someone reply to one of my messages with a spoiler. Considering I get a PM whenever that happens, it's hard to avoid. There was no spoiler warning or anything, just a statement concerning Batman & Robin and the events of the recent issues. Which actually came out two days ago, it turns out. I got an apology from the guy and he figured out how to hide his spoiler. Then, when on the main page, I noticed a link to a thread about the identity of Oberon Sexton. So I felt like joining in the speculation, having no idea that Sexton's identity was revealed in the recent issue of B&R. And one guy literally says: "Spoiler Sexton is ______" with the big space being replaced with his true identity. No punctuation, no spoiler hide, nothing. He gave the spoiler warning so close to the actual spoiler that I physically couldn't avoid reading it. Wouldn't have been so bad (I was skeptical at first) but then a couple of posts later, someone else agreed with him, not giving any warning whatsoever.
I was actually incredibly interested to find out Sexton's identity. And I'm sure, had I read the comic myself, it would have been a delightful surprise. But having been told who he is already... It's just going to take away from the issue, for me. And that sucks, because B&R is a great comic. Just needed to rant about this.
I'm currently collecting Amazing Spider-man, Batman, Batman and Robin and Pet Avengers. Originally, Immortal Iron Fist was part of that list, but as it got cancelled and Pet Avengers is another mini-series, I'm looking to start collecting another title. So, what better place than Comicvine to get opinions on what else I should collect?
I previously collected New Avengers and Red Robin (and Hulk, but let's not get into THAT) but had to drop them cause I couldn't afford to keep up with all the comics. But now with Iron Fist going disappearing back into obscurity I can afford a fifth ongoing title. Feel free to suggest whatever you want, but I'd like to stick with Marvel for now and any DC titles you suggest MUST be Bat-related. Here's some I was considering...
Thor - Well, I WAS interested, but with JrJr taking over... Not so much, lol Avengers - See above Secret Avengers - Love Brubaker's writing, love Deodato's art. The roster? I don't know em too well New Avengers - Can't remember the artist on this one, so I'm undecided Red Robin - I'm curious to see what Fabian will do, and I did enjoy the issues when I first picked it up Captain America - Brubaker is awesome Invincible Iron Man - Fraction is awesome
I haven't really done reviews before... I once did a review of Jeph Loeb's Huk series, from issues #1 to #11, I think, for something called Viner's Voice. Don't think that's still around, hehe. But today I just randomly decided that I should review this month's comics. I say this month, because I don't have the oppurtunity to visit my local comic store every week, I have to wait a month. It's a blessing, not just a curse though, since it means I get to read the tri-monthly Amazing Spider-man issues back to back, which means less annoying cliffhangers! Yay!
So, hi, I'm Matt, I'm 17 going on 18 and I'm an RPGer. I mainly stick to that section, occasionally venturing into the forums for my favourite characters or maybe the Off-topic board. I started collecting comics back in 2007, when the upcoming World War Hulk event got me so excited that I finally found a somewhat local comic store. I'd always been into the superhero thing, just never had a comic store nearby where I could buy the comics themselves. So, I started my collection with the first issue of World War Hulk and ASM #539 (ooh, looks like I got the variant cover too, lol). After WWH finished I jumped onto Hulk, picked up some Immortal Iron Fist trades and soon added IF to my pull list too. I collected the Pet Avengers mini and started collecting New Avengers too, around #500. I also picked up my first DC comics (excluding the free Blackest Night comic) in Red Robin, Blackest Night #1 and Batman, but couldn't afford so many comics (mostly cause of the amount of Spidey comics, but I couldn't bear to part with the web head) so I had to drop some. So I ditched NA, RR, Hulk and BN (actually only got the first issue, heh). Nowadays I'm reading the Amazing Spider-man, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed, Batman, and (as of today) Batman and Robin. So if you're interested in any of those series, keep an eye on my profile for (hopefully) monthly reviews! We'll start with the one on my pile with the third coolest cover, the gosh darn Batman.
Written by Tony Daniel Pencils by Tony Daniel Inks by Sandu Florea wih Norm Rapmund (they needed two people to ink it?) Colours by Ian Hannin
Those are all the important people, anyway :P
The story itself, I liked. I liked the whole jumping around in time through flashbacks, which is odd cause that stuff usually really bugs me. I liked the interaction between Dick and Babs, that was great. And Black mask, also good stuff. And one little touch that I LOVED? I mentioned this in the Batman Reborn thread, but I'll repeat it here. Kitrina's friend, the one with one leg? Looks suspiciously similar to a certain girl from the first issue of Battle for the Cowl, also by Tony Daniel. Damian took her on a joyride, then Babs catapulted her out of the Batmobile and she was supposedly eaten by Killer Croc. I really disliked that part of the story. Because to me, it suggested that Babs had just sent an innocent girl to her death. But Tony won me back here. The only evidence we had that the girl was eaten was her shoe, which coupled with the peg-leg girl here means that Croc only bit off a foot. Tell me it's a coincidence all you want, the girls both look exactly the same and have the same necklace. And how random would it be to give a character who appears in three panels a peg leg if there wasn't a story behind it? It's an easter egg and I loved it.
However, he story here has one major flaw. Too many characters. This arc in general has suffered that problem, there are too many characters and too much all happening at once. The Falcones, Kitrina, Catwoman, Huntress, Penguin, Mad Hatter, Black Mask, Dr. Hurt (I think? See? Too many people!), Fright, the Reaper, Doctor Death... Theres too much. Tony Daniel could have easily split up all these stories and have three or four seprate story arcs. That would have been much better. The amount of characters is really confusing to the story. Another nitpick I have is Daniel's portrayal of Damian Wayne. Damian is one of my favourite characters at the moment, but Tony Daniel does not write him well. There was the same problem in Battle for the Cowl. He makes Damian seem stupid, childish and, in some ways, the same way Jason Todd has been shown as Robin. Damian is not simply a Jason clone, despite what many Viners say. Read Morrison's stuff and you'd recognise that. Read Tony Daniel's stuff and you'll end up agreeing that Damian is simply a new Jason. Nitpickings aside, I enjoyed the issue and it was much better than the previous one. Tony really sucked me back in at the end too, what a climax!
3 out of 5
In the previous issue, I had some problems with the art. It seemed messy at times, rushed, no doubt because of Tony pulling double duties as writer and artist. This issue was a vast improvement. The fight scenes were well drawn and all the characters were drawn well (though I'm not a huge fan of the way Tony draws Batman's "ears" sometimes) and besides a few minor concerns, I liked the art in this book. The colours were much better, for one thing, it was much easier to tell what was going on, which was a problem last issue, especially when Reaper attacked that car. I couldn't figure out what had actually happened there, the image was too confusing. But yeah, overall, the art was pretty awesome. No major complaints from me.
4.5 out of 5
This arc has dragged on for too long, and I was incredibly relieved to see "to be concluded" instead of continued a the end of the issue. However, while I have some issues with the arc as a whole, this issue itself was good, if a little confusing due to a character overload. The ending got me excited to see the next issue, but too many characters and the confusion of the rest of this story arc brought down the rating.
7.5out of 10
The Amazing Spider-man #621
Written by Dan Slott Pencils by Michael Lark Inks by Stefano Gaudiano Colours by Matt Hollingsworth
And some other random people, lol
It's Dan Slott writing Spider-man. I enjoyed every speech bubble. Honestly, I really enjoyed this issue. There was some great banter between Spidey and Cat, the scene in the vent was hilarious. I'm intrigued by this new, negative Aunt May, though I do hope it doesn't last too long. But seriously, Harry got OWNED. There was a great conclusion to the story between Carlie and her dad, a hilarious scene in an air vent between Pete and Felicia and an awesome (if unfortunately short) fight scene. Spidey's dialogue, throughout the issue, is excellent. Still not a fan of Carlie Cooper as a love interest, but the teaser at the end was cool. The saying goes "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", but when it comes to comics, I use the reverse. The isue was great, so I didn't have much to say about it except that. It was great. But Carlie Cooper constantly reinforcing the fact that she is a potetial love interest bugs me, so that brought down the rating.
4.5 out of 5
Very nice. Reminded me of David Aja, in a very good way. I like the cut of Lark's gib. Every character was drawn very well. Heck, he even drew Cat constantly bending over in order to please the perverts. No, seriously, I can only count two panels, both long-shots, where Felicia was standing up straight, lol. Same as above, I have nothing bad to say, so I won't say anything at all. But the last panel... Well, let's just say that I don't like the way a certain villain was drawn :P
4.5 out of 5
A nice little break in between the chaos of the Gauntlet, this issue was well written, well drawn and generally a good read. It's a Spidey issue that you could probably pick up without having followed the series, since Slott does a nice job of explaing what happened in previous issues. A great comic, all in all.
9out of 10
The Amazing Spider-man #622
Written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Weisman Pencils by Joe Quinones and Luke Ross Inks by... Actually, the inkers weren't credited in this issue! :O Colours by unnamed dude and Rob Schwager
Plus some people who didn't contribute much at all... Oh, and the cover is crap.
First part? Boring filler. Which is a shame, because I like Morbius. Again, nice interaction between Spidey and Cat (though in the last issue, Cat gave the blood to Spidey... So I'm not sure how she sold it) but other than that... The story just didn't do anything for me. I like Van Lente and I like Morbius, but something was just... Off. I didn't enjoy reading the first part. It was a little confusing at times and generally not that great. Now, part number two? Now we're talking. This was fun read, so I obviously don't have much to complain about. A great little story about good ol' Flash Thompson.
1st part: 2 out of 5 2nd part: 4 out of 5
Ugh. Part one was crappy. Maybe that's what put me off the story? Heck, one panel literally had no texture at all. Generally not that great, though certainly not the worst art I've seen on this title. Part number two... Heck yeah! Luke Ross is awesome! Though I don't like Pete with long hair. That's all I have to say. Great great art for a great great story.
1st part: 1.5 out of 5 2nd part: 4 out of 5
Part one sucked and I didn't enjoy reading it much at all. Part two was awesome and I read it three times.
1st part: 3.5 out of 5 2nd part: 8 out of 5
Well, I'm done for now. Out of time, so I'll have to review the rest of this month's comics some other time. Look out for Part 2 soon!
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