Hickman's Avengers Explained

I also posted this on my own blog here! http://www.powerdownkids.com/2013/07/06/hickmans-avengers-explained/ It contains more images.

Okay so I like to consider myself a pretty smart guy, but if there's one writer out there who can confuse me, it's Jonathan Hickman. His stories are great, but his Avengers series has been moving at light speed introducing new concepts and characters incredibly quickly so it can be rather difficult to stay up to date on everything that's been happening. There is also the New Avengers series, which itself deals with some pretty complicated stories. Based on what Hickman has done in the past, you can be pretty damn sure that both of these books are only going to become more intertwined as time moves on. Obviously it goes without saying that this post will full of spoilers.. so ya know.. don't be spoiled or something. I don't really delve into what's actually happening in the story, more just what certain things mean, who people are etc. So I took it upon myself to read over the past 15 issues of Avengers, and the last 7 of New Avengers and just try to straighten out everything that has happened so far in Hickman's Avengers, emphasis on the word 'try'.

The Illuminati - The team was originally formed in the aftermath of the Kree-Skrull War by Iron Man, Namor, Mr. Fantastic, Prof. X, Black Bolt and Doctor Strange, because Iron Man realized that together they could have stopped the war. Black Panther was also party of the group, but he wasn't too pleased with the idea of the secret council of super humans running the world, so he told the group to disband and he left. The group (obviously stayed together) and got up to a few shenanigans back then; most notably they were the ones that decided to send the Hulk to another planet (which eventually led to Word War Hulk). Shortly after the end of Civil War it is revealed that Mr. Fantastic had gotten his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet. It’s around this time that Captain America is offered membership in the group and the Illuminati decide to split the gems between them, each member taking one gem for safe keeping. Also during the event’s of Avengers Vs X-Men Namor was infused with a portion of the Phoenix and attacked the Avengers in Wakanda (that is the technologically advanced African nation that Black Panther used to be king of, now he is second to his sister). Now Black Panther is the king of Necropolis, Wakanda’s city of the dead, which serves as the Illuminati's base of operations. After Prof. X’s death in Avengers Vs X-Men, Beast has taken his place on the team.

Black Swan – She first appeared in New Avengers issue #1 where she destroyed another Earth and was defeated by Black Panther. In issue #5 she tells the team her back story. She was born Yabbat Ummon, third sister to crown Prince Dadingra. Her brother was heir to the throne of ‘The Hidden City’ and ‘Keeper of the Great Hey’. She said that the key unlocked the planets greatest treasure, a library of worlds, basically a nexus, which would allow someone to navigate the multi-verse. Black Swan described it as a gift from Sinnu Sarrum, the ivory kings. Legends on her world said that only ‘The Great Ladies’ whom no one had ever seen could find their way between worlds in there. Her brother would open the door every day hoping the ladies might appear. Then one day an incursion happened, the sky turned red and the black priests killed everyone except Yabbat, she took her brothers key and escaped to the library of worlds where she was greeted by three women, Black Swans, who raised her as one of their own. They informed Yabbat that their world was an offering to Rabum Alal. The Black Swan also informs the Illuminati that the library of worlds has since been destroyed and the black swans have scattered.

Incursion Basically the multi-verse is contracting. Something happened on an Earth in an alternate reality which caused that universe to die earlier than it should have. This has resulted in the universe tightening and essentially causing other realities to start pushing into each other. The point these realities touch at is Earth of course. Basically meaning that the multi-verse is going to continue to contract and Earths are going to continue to push off each other. Unless someone intervenes and destroys one of the Earths, both will be destroyed. When the two parallel Earths touch off each other it creates a sort of localized area where both Earths exist side by side for a period of time (a few hours). This is called an incursion. They can happen anywhere in the world. The Illuminati have managed to set up an early warning system to notify them in advance of when and where one will happen.

During an incursion, within the localized area where both Earth exists the sky either turns blue or red. If the sky turns red it would seem that a variety of different things can happen, but that's more or less dependent on what the people on those respective Earths will do. Although Black Swan mentioned that when the sky turned red on her world, that the black priests descended. These are probably people that worship Rabum Alal. If it turns blue it means ‘Sidera Maris’ or mapmakers. Mapmakers are some sort of life form that evolved in the multi-verse. They move from Earth to Earth devouring as they go. It was revealed by Black Swan in issue #5 that this is all happening because that first universe that died earlier then it should have was destroyed by the birth of Rabum Alal, the great destroyer. Of course this is brushed off by the others as gibberish, but it obviously is indicative of something. My guess is that blue glowy tentacle type monster that we saw destroying the Builders way stations in Avengers is Rabum Alal, or else it's just Thanos again.

The Illuminati have been building a number of weapons/defense systems in order to defend their Earth from incursions. These include rebuilding a version of Black Swan’s planet bomb from New Avengers #1, a dyson sphere to harness the power of the sun and some mystical solutions from Doctor Strange.

The Builders - The oldest known species in the universe. Ex Nihilo described them as a perfect people. Originally they worshiped the universe, however the later grew beyond that, abandoning their beliefs, deciding instead that they would shape the universe. To this end they created ‘aggressive systems to direct, shape and control the very structure of space and time.

The Garden. The Garden is a team, consisting of an Aleph, and siblings Ex Nihilo and Abyss. Ex Nihilo appears to be the leader. They travel from world to world, either evolving life or destroying it.

The System. A system is process put in place by the builders. Essentially it was created to shape the universe. The first system they created were Gardeners, robots called Alephs that were sent out across the universe to purge species that were deemed unsuitable for the builders universe, and preserve species that were found worthy of evolution. Each Aleph carries two seeds, and each two seeds are different, when life is found worthy of evolution the Aleph.

Hyperion - An incarnation of Hyperion from Earth-13034 was saved from his dying universe by A.I.M. Hyperion was liberated by the Avengers and subsequently joined the team to battle the Garden. It is revealed in his origin issue that this Hyperion's Earth was destroyed by an incursion. Hyperion is extremely strong, can shoot lasers from his eyes, fly and is near indestructible. The full limits of his powers have not been stated. This Hyperion has taken a strong interest in the hatchlings from the Savage Land origin bomb site, and has stated that the most significant moment of his life was not the destruction of his old world, but the gaining of a new one. It would also appear that him and Thor are quite friendly, possibly due to having similar power levels and perspectives.

Captain Universe - Captain Universe is the physical manifestation of the Uni-Power once it possesses a host, granting immense power to the end of protecting the universal balance. The current host is Tamara Devoux. She became Captain Universe after she was involved in a car accident which left her in a coma for 10 years. The Uni-Power then possessed Tamara to become sentient on Earth due to the planet being "significant." It chooses Tamara specifically as it states that both she and the Uni-Power are dying.

Smasher Isabel "Izzy" Kane is the first human member of the Imperial Guard of the Shi-ar empire. Smasher possesses super strength, the ability of flight, and penta vision. Penta vision allows for powerful laser like blasts from Smashers eyes although excessive continual usage may harm her retina. She initially begun as one of forty three Smasher class sub-guardians but was recently promoted to a Superguardian.

Manifold – A man with the ability to bend time and space, allowing for teleportation to anywhere. He is a member of the Avengers. A manifold from another universe was shown in New Avengers #1. He was killed by Black Swan who later informed Reed Richards that a Manifold only has his powers in his home universe.

Aleph – Alephs are robots, also called Gardeners, that were part of the Builders first system, who were sent out into the universe to purge it of life that was deemed unworthy of existing in their universe. Each Aleph carried with it two seeds, and each two seeds in each Aleph is different. When an Aleph finds life worthy of existing in the builders universe, it releases it’s seeds and they grow into life forms such as Ex Nihilo and Abyss. The Aleph that was seen in the Avengers series was destroyed by Captain Universe.

A.I.M. - Advanced Ideas Mechanics is an organised group of international science-terrorists. They became involved in the events of the Avengers as they were investigating the sites of Ex Nihilo’s origin bombs.

Infinity Gauntlet - The Gauntlet is basically a glove which has 6 ‘infinity gems’ embedded in it. It grants the user omnipotence and omniscience. There is one in every parallel universe, but the gauntlet and gems are only effective in their home universe. Prior to the current events of New Avengers the Illuminati separated the 6 infinity gems, keeping one each. But in order to stop an incursion they reassembled the gauntlet. They were successful in stopping the incursion, but the gauntlet and gems were destroyed in the process, except for the time gem which vanished.

Terrax – A herald of Galactus from another universe. He is currently the prisoner of the Illuminati. It would seem that Galactus took note of the Infinity Gauntlet shattering when Captain America used it so it's possible that if Galactus plays into this story that Terrax will be involved.

Ex Nihilo – Literally meaning ‘Out of Nothing’, Ex Nihilo is the first major that the Avengers face off against. Along with his sibling Abyss he was one of two seeds carried by an Aleph that was grown when the Aleph found life worthy of preserving. He came to Mars with the intention of terraforming it, and Earth. He turned Mars into a lush jungle planet and sent a number of ‘origin bombs’ to Earth which completely changed the environment and life forms that they came into contact with. Ex Nihilo has stated several times that he wants to build worlds, not destroy them. It was revealed later in the series that the origin bombs he sent to Earth were part of his plan to do something new, make the Earth sentient. This is part of the reason that the builders system is broken and in conflict.

White Event – A white event occurs when a world is on the verge of ascending on a universal scale. A white event creates/alters heralds/avatars to shepherd the ascension. A Nightmask always acts as a forerunner, Adam who was created by Ex Nihilo became a Nightmask. The white event that happened on Earth in Avengers #7 was described by Captain Universe as not being a normal white event. Nightmask said after it happened that the machine is broken, the universe is broken. The white events and everything that happens as a result of them is part of a system that the Builders put in place to assist in the evolution of the universe. It would seem that they are or rather were initiated from space stations that the Builders created in the superflow of each universe. Since those stations were the damaged, the white event did happen occur properly, and as a result not all of the avatars that should have been created, were created.

Origin Bombs These were organic delivery systems that Ex Nihilo sent from Mars to Earth in order to transform the Earth to prevent its destruction at the hands of The Builders system. There were 7 sent in total. The bombs landed at a variety of sites around the world including Japan, The Savage Land, Croatia, Norway and India. The Savage Land site was where some highly evolved hatchlings were born. Tony Stark said that they were not like anything else on Earth and said that they were possibly like Thor, i.e. immortal. Various members of the Avengers then took the hatchlings to different places in order to teach them various things.

Ex Nihilo explained to Starbrand and Nightmask that he tried something new with the Earth, that he designed each of the origin sites to serve a different purpose, to make the world sentient. The Croatia site was for self-awareness, but since Starbrand destroyed that it’s safe to say that the world is now alive without a brain. The Australia site was for communication, the Japan site for reproduction, the india site for self-repair, the savage land site for self sustenance and the Canada site for evolution. Whatever landed at the Norway site was not discovered by the Avengers and it was taken by AIM, it would seem after the events of Avengers #15 that this site is for defense. There was also one origin bomb that was destroyed by the Avengers in issue #1, it's yet to be seen if this will play some role in the series.

Nightmask – Also known as Adam, he was an advanced Human created by Ex Nihilo during his efforts to terraform Earth. After the battle between the Avengers and The Garden, Nightmask is taken back to Earth under the custody of the Avengers. When the white event happened, he was altered and he will now act as a shepherd for the ascension of the universe. He is now on Tony’s dyson sphere with Starbrand on the other side of the sun to the Earth.

Starbrand – A Starbrand is an avatar created by a white event. It is a planetary defence system created to protect a planet as it evolves. The current and only Starbrand was created by a broken white event. When he was given the starbrand he was at college, which was destroyed, killing everyone there except him. After a short battle with the Avengers, Nightmask teleported himself and Starbrand to the Superflow, to show him the partially destroyed Builder station that responsible for creating both of them. After this they visit Ex Nihilo on Mars who reveals to them that he has done something different, he has attempted to make the Earth sentient. Starbrand and Nightmask return to Earth and destroy the Earth's consciousness. After another battle with the Avengers they are sent to the other side of the sun to Tony Starks Dyson Sphere (which was shown in New Avengers as one of the fail safes the Illuminati have built to help protect the Earth).

Other factoids

  • Captain America disagreed with what the other members of the Illuminati where planning, so he was kicked from the group and had his memory wiped.
  • Black Panthers sister is now the Queen of Wakanda. Wakanda and Atlantis have been formally at war since AvX.

Other links!

These two are both pretty useful!

http://ifanboy.com/articles/decoding-jonathan-hickmans-avengers/

http://imgur.com/r/comicbooks/R5V77Ap

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9 of the Best Standalone Star Trek episodes

Star Trek is such a fantastic show. Many people consider it to be all about technobabble and aliens in terrible costumes but they’d be wrong. Star Trek is as thoughtful and clever as the best fiction on television. There is a very good reason that the show is still as popular now as it was 20 years ago. With the new movie out, and the availability of the shows on Netflix, I thought why not shed some light on the best standalone episodes of this iconic franchise that you can just sit down and enjoy without much prior knowledge. Really if you've seen either of the new movies you should have more than enough backstory to enjoy these episodes to the fullest.

The Inner Light – Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5 episode 25

This one will get you right in the feels, and get you hard. The Inner Light doesn’t just rank up there with the best episodes of Star Trek, it’s up there as one of the most intelligent and well crafted pieces of science fiction ever made. It also requires little to no back story and can be enjoyed by just about anyone. Basically Picard wakes up one day in another place, living another life. It’s a simple story, but the best ones usually are.

The Measure of a Man – Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 2 episode 9

Widely considered to be one of the best episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation. ‘The Measure of a Man’ details a court case which will decide if the android Data is in fact a sentient being with the same rights as a living, breathing person, or simply property of the Federation. I know that sounds like a lot of set and character involvement but I assure you that you can come in cold and love it. Patrick Stewart gives a wonderful performance as Data’s friend, and he’s backed up by the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Johnathan Frakes. If you thought Star Trek was superficial entertainment, this episode will change your mind.

Latent Image - Star Trek: Voyager – Season 5 episode 11

A fantastic episode of Star Trek Voyager that deals with similar themes to ‘The Measure of a Man’ (artificial intelligence and the nature of the soul) but this time through the visor of medical ethics. Robert Picardo gives a spectacular performance as the starship Voyager’s emergency medical hologram, known simply as the Doctor. Unlike Brent Spiner (the android Data from Star Trek The Next Generation) Picardo was not limited to emotionless facial expressions and purely analytical and local statements of fact, which adds great weight to the events of this episode.

The Visitor – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 4 episode 3

I’m not a particularly big fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it never quite grabbed me the way the other shows did, although not even I can ignore how great this episode is, and where it ranks amongst all of Star Trek. It’s another “what if” story that Star Trek is so fond of, and it’s done so well. After a freak accident, Benjamin Sisko (the protagonist of the show) is apparently killed, leaving his son Jake to spend the rest of his life trying to find him. Basically if you only ever watch one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, watch this.

Where No Man Has Gone Before – Star Trek – Season 1 episode 3

The second pilot of Star Trek the original series made after NBC rejected the first. Obviously since this is a pilot you can pretty much go into it without any prior knowledge. The episode is far from perfect of course, and it won’t leave you thinking the same way that ‘The Inner Light’ will, but it’s certainly very enjoyable.

First Contact – Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 4 episode 15

Another great and intelligent episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (there are so many). It revolves around Picard and the crew of the Enterprise deciding if an alien race is ready to be made aware that they are not alone in the universe. The species that the Enterprises are assessing are rather similar to humanity today, making this episode all the more interesting.

Blink of an Eye - Season 6 episode 12.

One of my personal favourite episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. After becoming trapped by a planet where time moves faster, where Voyager becomes a god to the race of aliens. This episode is pretty light on the action side of things, but is very clever and tells a very captivating story about deities.

Year of Hell – Star Trek: Voyager – Season 4 episode 8

Okay so this one is a bit of a cheat since it’s a two parter. But this episode contains exactly the sort of story that everyone wanted from Star Trek Voyager. ‘Year of Hell’ follows Voyager through a year of Janeway and her crew trying to cross through the territory of some pretty powerful enemies. Basically it’s David vs Goliath, only Goliath beats the crap out of David like 5 different times. This really is a rare episode, it has all of the action that you’ve come to expect from the Abrams Star Trek movies, but not at the cost of great acting and intelligent storytelling examining deep moral questions.

City on the Edge of Forever – Star Trek - Season 1 episode 28

The penultimate episode of the first season of the original Star Trek, it won the Hugo award for best dramatic presentation in 1968, and it still holds up. The episode is involves Kirk and the Enterprise discovering a portal through time, that leads to them accidentally changing history. ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’ has made it onto countless best episode/top 100 lists and is a must watch for anyone who even remotely considers themselves a Star Trek fan.

In a mirror, Darkly – Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 4 episode 18

This is probably the strangest addition to the list, again it’s a two parter (big whoop wanna fight about it) and it’s set in an alternate universe where the Federation are total dicks. It’s difficult to find a great standalone episode of Star Trek Enterprise. The show only really shines in the third and forth seasons, and then it’s all long form stories. The mirror universe had featured in Star Trek before, but so infrequently that this may as well be a completely standalone story. It’s a very clever story, and I guarantee you will leave you with your jaw on the floor.

Honorable mentions

Sins of the father ST:TNG

Tuvix - ST: VOY

Lineage - ST VOY

The Omega Directive - ST: VOY

The Trouble With Tribbles - ST

Space Seed - ST

The First Duty - ST: TNG

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What I've come to realize after 2 years of reading comics...

I wrote this for another blog that I'm doing. I just liked it and I wanted to get your guys opinion on it since I'm a relative newbie to the comics world!

About 2 years ago now I started reading comics, mostly because the onslaught of superhero movies peaked my interest I guess, plus I’m a man so explosions, fighting and the likes obviously interest me and given that I also love science fiction me and comics are really a match made in heaven. Starting out though is a rather daunting task, made easier by the likes of Marvel’s Ultimate line, and DC’s New 52 initiative, but still intimidating even at the best of times. Realistically even if you've seen every Marvel/DC movie, you are still going to need to spend a bit of time on Wikipedia or comic vine reading up on whatever title/character you’re planning on jumping into. It is, of course, worth all of that research and more, but I didn't realise that right away, in fact it took me a bit of time to realise just how much more, and just how much of an accomplishment it is to create a great comic book.

For the longest time after I started reading the Marvels Ultimate line (which was where I started my love affair with comic books) I treated comics as being an incredibly simple thing, words with pictures, 2 separate creations, 2 separate mediums, which were united for the purpose of giving me a book and a story that’s a nice short entertaining read. I saw the writer as being the core of the book and only thought of the art as being there so the writer doesn't have to describe the setting or what’s happening. Thinking back on it now I can’t believe I was ever that dense...

It has only been in the past 12 months or so that I've come to view comics, not as a clumsy mesh of two mediums but rather a medium in their own right, at least when done correctly. A comic is not composed of two or three separate pieces, it’s one single creation, a single story being told simultaneously in both a visual and written way. Many writers in the industry have mastered this, and are clever enough to know when not to say something in order to give the artist a chance to shine (Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's work on Batman demonstrates this masterfully). However the writer/artist dynamic goes beyond filling in gaps in the dialogue or just giving a setting. Bendis and Pichelli do a fantastic job of showcasing this in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. There are certain issues in particular, which if you didn’t know better, you would assume they were constructed from start to finish by a single person with a singular vision, as opposed to an entire team. It sounds a bit odd to say it (or type it actually) but reading Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was the first time I was blown away by how a panel layout can punctuate dialogue and really serve a much greater purpose than simply breaking up a scene, or splitting up a page for the ease of the reader. In a lot of ways the panel layout is the crux of the entire book and when done well it will pull your eyes through the book so organically that you don’t even notice the reveal at the bottom of the right hand page. A panel layout creates the flow and dictates the speed at you’ll read the book, it still amazes me when creators manipulate this to give the feeling that an action scene is happening faster than a romantic one. The creation of a great comic though has so many more factors that are all of the utmost importance. There's the lettering which again is something I've only come to appreciate lately and is so incredibly important when giving characters a voice, colouring (if you think this isn't important imagine reading the walking dead in colour and how different that book that would be), a good editor, enthralling cover art and that's just what I've learned from reading, I’m sure there's a million more things actual creators have to worry about that we (or me anyway) don't pick up on.

Then of course there is, in my opinion anyway, the biggest challenge for comics creators, the monthly schedule. Pretty much all of the other comic readers I know prefer to read things in trade (i.e. when the issues of a particular story line have been collected together in a single book) and it is often the case that certain comics, even great amazing comics, read better when collected (The Manhattan Projects for example, I love this book so much, but reading it on a monthly basis can be difficult). Ideally a comic should both feel and read like a single chapter of a larger story while at the same time feel and read as a standalone story, it should leave you wanting more but also leave you satisfied with the story you've just read (all the while balancing the multitude of things I've already mentioned). I see this as being the most difficult thing to achieve for a creative team and I never judge a book harshly if it can’t achieve it, but any time I find a creative team that can deliver it consistently I absolutely shout it from the rooftops, which is why if you take a look throughout this site you’ll see I push Saga at literally every opportunity. Saga is for me the epitome of what a comic book should aim for. It achieves that highly sought after (and slightly paradoxical) quality of reading equally great as single issues and together as one volume (at least for the 10 issues so far) and it manages to master every other thing I mentioned above while telling one of the most engrossing stories I've read... well ever.

I did get into comics because of the movie adaptations, but they're just adaptations of the characters and are in no way representative of the medium, adapting Saga to film for example would be like trying to adapt a Quintin Tarantino film to a book, you might get the story across but that's not what makes those films great, its the direction, the dialogue, soundtrack, acting and the countless subtleties that make a Tarantino movie a Tarantino movie, in another medium it becomes something else entirely. I suppose this whole article has just been my plea to the average non comic reading joe who has seen and enjoyed The Avengers, 300, The Dark Knight, The Walking Dead, Kickass and so many others to do yourself a favor, go and pick up some comics and give this medium a fair chance. To all the comic readers who have read this, I hope this all hasn't sounded too pretentious since I've never actually written a comic. I think, and perhaps I'm wrong here, that more than any other medium comics suffer from a lack of understanding. Lots of people look but not everyone sees, they assume comics to be a simplistic thing, I was guilty of the same crime as I'm sure countless other current readers once were. But comics as a medium are as infinity varied and complex as film or the written word and a perfect example of something being more than the sum of it's parts, it is an entirely different and distinct medium for delivering entertainment, and if you ask me it's one of the best.

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So I just got around to reading the Hickmans fantastic four #588.

And against all odds I actually found Johnny Storms death rather moving, even though I knew it was coming, even though I knew it was going to be undone, even though this is comics and everybody dies all the time....

587 and 588 were actually moving,

I think a lot of that came from Val and Franklin though.

Man... Hickman is awesome....

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X-men Legacy and Wolverine and the X-men restored my faith in AvX

I don't normally read Legacy, I'm glad I did this week, great issue. And finally, we have a version of the X-men for AvX that are sympathetic and who's logic you can follow in their decision to back Cyclops and Hope. In both of those books, where the teachers at the school are discussing their reasons for what their doing, it's easy to see that these guys are making sense. I was especially happy to see Rachel's decision, given her history, and to see Scott And Wolvy have a mature discussion about this, that didn't involve the word "SKINT"

I'm not going to be too overly optimistic about the rest of the event, I'm sure it'll have it down points, as most do, but I am going to keep reading, and not just because I need to understand whats happening in the Marvel universe, but actually because these two books got me really really interested in what's going down here, beyond the point of view of "huh, who'll win that fight". I just hope that the X-men are portrayed in the rest of the event as they are here in these books, similarly though I really really hope that it doesn't take away from the avengers also being the good guys, I don't want another Civil War where there was a clear good and badish.

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This idea I have for a Superman story that my drunk friends loved

Like I said my friends loved it so I figured Id post it here, who knows, someone who can actually write might run with it.

Basically the idea I have is for a short story arc, maybe 2 issues, even 1, where it looks at the limitations of Supermans powers, but not in a way would think.

Story opens with him defeating some nameless super powered villain (doesn't matter who) in Metropolis, crowds go crazy, everyone is like "We love you Superman". Superman waves at the crowd and is about to fly away when some distraught woman starts calling for his help from the crowd. She's like "I saw your battle on TV Im so glad i got here time" etc etc "I need your help superman" Basically her 3 or 4 year old daughter has gone missing and she's asking Superman for help, he obviously being the boy scout he is, agrees. What comes next doesn't matter a whole bunch, but basically Superman is trying to find this kid, and he gets really invested in it, he asks for Bats and maybe the leagues help help but they're all like "sorry lad, I'm busy" doing this or that, which pisses superman off a bit because he's gotten really invested in finding this kid. Then as the story goes on the League calls superman for help and he just snaps at them and is like "I'm Busy". The story ends with the police stopping the search for the child. Superman goes up to watchtower where the Justice League are licking their wounds after getting their asses handed to them, they still defeated whatever it was but they're all injured and they're all pissed at Superman for not coming when he calls. Then they're be a scene with a very angry Batman and Superman, Kal-el is all like "You go looking for missing people or looking at murders all the time" and Bats is like "Well I'm just one man, your more then that, you can't think in terms in single lives, you need to think in terms of cities, countries, planets."

The story ends with Superman realising the the true limits of his power aren't an upward limit, but a downward one, (that makes sense to me but it might not to you guys) essentially that he can't ever worry about single lives because having such a big power level, means that he always needs to think in big terms. That he can't assign more value to one life or another, that he always needs to take the option to save the most lives, and spending all the time he did trying to find that kid was wrong, because really, he was sacrificing other lives.

Like I said my friends were drunk and it was 4am when they said that they liked it, what do you guys think?

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My five favourite things about The Avengers. Spoilers duder...

  1. Hulk and Cap. Both characters are portrayed fantastically well, we all knew what the expect from Thor and Iron Man, but I was really surprised just how well these characters felt like real. Their own movies didn't do a great job of showcasing them, but The Avengers would not be as great as it was without them here. Plus man when Banner first Hulks out and is trying to kill Black Widow, that was actually kinda scary. I was impressed.
  2. The team dynamic. The New York fight sequence in particular show cases this. Cap was in command and every character was used to their strengths, Cap dealing with ground troops, Hawkeye being the groups eyes and ears on top of a building while also offering support, Iron Man dealing with aerial targets, Thor and Hulk dealing with the big guns and Black Widow going to shut down the device. There was logic and strategy to it. You don't put Black Widow on screen, fighting right next to Thor, it wouldn't make sense. Joss Whedon played to each characters strengths, and weaknesses. On top of all that, the shots of the Avengers back to back in the middle of New York being surrounded by aliens was probably the most iconic thing I've ever seen in a super hero movie, or even most movies. Sure it's kinda cheesy, but it's really not until you see those shots that you realise just how amazing this movie is. It's easy to take a super hero and give him/her a movie to themselves, but to get this many larger then life characters from across 4 different franchises, pull them into one and make it work. That's a Mightily Incredible achievement.
  3. SHIELD. The helicarrier, the tech, Maria Hill being all Hill-esque and finally we get the Nick Fury I've been longing to see, the ass kicking super spy. Samuel L Jackson was a great choice to portray Ultimate Nick Fury, and Agent Coulson, what a man, sucks he had to die, but realistically someone had to, and he was the best choice, his character was the one that tied the movies together.
  4. Loki. He monologued, but it wasn't not cliché. His motivations aren't unlike those which he had in Thor, and the character felt consistent across the movies. But more than that, he was understandable as a villain, granted his plans are a bit mad, but it wasn't Joker Syndrome which so many villains get nowadays where they just want to destroy the world for no apparent reason.
  5. Humour. Joss Whedon is arguable the god of defusing tension and seriousness with humour. He already had the craft mastered from Buffy, Angel and Firefly, and once again it works like a charm here
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AvX Vs #1 - I finally understand why people hate Marvel events.

I never understood why people didn't like Marvel events, the only ones I've read were Civil War and Schism, the latter of which is barely even an event and the first I read in trade so I suppose I've never really had that much experience. I only really starting getting into comics properly about a year and a half ago, and Fear Itself didn't seem that interesting to me. The more I read of AvX, the more I can understand this hatred by fans. Take AvX vs 1 for example

Inside the front cover of the book there are a bunch of questions and answers, which are there basically to help people understand whats going on in the book. Makes sense I think, then I read the second one,

Q:So this is part of a big event book that is the centrepiece of the Marvel Universe, with continuity connectivity to all corners of the super hero world?

A: NOPE! This book is about AWESOME BRAWLING! You want PLOT! LOOK ELSEWHERE, CHUM. You want a KNOCK-DOWN, DRAG-OUT WHUPPIN'? WE GOT YOU COVERED

So apparently this book isn't in continuity? WHAT!. I normally try to not be bothered by whats and whats out of continuity when I can, but something like this where you have Magneto vs Iron Man, thats a pretty big deal I think, and to have that outside of continuity is.. well.. a bit insulting to the readers. And they obviously are outside of continuity, there are some differences to what happened in AvX #2 (which I also had problems with but I was able to over look them because issues 0 and 1 were good) so this really does seem like its outside of continuity... which really grinds my gears.

Then there were the winners of the two fights, which grinds my gears even more..

Magneto Vs Iron Man.

Iron Man wins. Which I don't have that much of a problem with, I'd prefer if Magneto had won, but Tony Stark is a genius. Fair enough. The problem for me was how it all happened. The fight didn't seem to make that much sense. Iron Man pulled out all this big guns, and Magneto was still standing. Naturally Magneto was wearing a suit of metal himself to protect him even further he was also drawing on the magnetic fields of other planets to increase his power, or something and then the phoenix destroyed one, and Magneto was like Oh No its coming, we need to get Wanda and Iron Man punches him in the face and it's over. So this book, outside of continuity, which states at the beginning has no plot in it? Kinda seems important to me plot wise for Magneto's character that he's now going to going to be against Cyclops it would seem.

Namor vs The Thing

The Thing wins. This fight was completely idiotic. Read it if you want, I'm not going to go into too much detail, but it made no sense, Namor beat the freakin hulk before, and the Thing beats him by pinning him down with some giant fish teeth. Ya... I know... idiotic

All in all, I wanna love AvX, I really really do. I loved issue 1, like I got up super early and went to the comic book store to get it, but then Marvel pulls this kinda crap and I'm like whats the point in reading this if its just going to be pulp. I'll keep reading the main series, it's kinda hard to avoid with all the tie in's, as for this series. I'm hoping I won't get it again, but when the next issue rolls around my heart, and longing for this event to be high quality may just over rule my mind telling me how bad it is. :(

118 Comments

What if this was the only blog suggesting changes to the new 52?

This is just something that's been running through my head lately so I think it best to get it out.

Change 1, Justice League, a solid book. But the origin story of something like this is so huge I think hell.. just give its own series as Justice League Origins or something... while having Justice League, basically where it is now starting off. And do it well, like really really really flesh it out, really throw the spot light on all of the characters, both individually and working together. Take longer then 6 issues on it, And maybe I'm just a big conspiracy theorist, but I think the second wave of the new 52 was planned right from the beginning, which I think should have been when the series finished. With a really detailed, really well put together Justice League origin story that can last us for years to come. Maybe it's just me but I think that could have been absolutely fantastic, plus it would probably have made DC a butt load of cash.

Change 2, Chloe Sullivan. This one is simple really. Put her in Superman and Action Comics. If for no other reason than it's a useful tool for a writer to have someone who Clark can talk to about his abilities, and what's going on. Not everything needs to be internal monologue. Plus you know if they want to explore her character a bit, I wouldn't be opposed to it.....

Change 3, Bump Batman Dark Knight in favour for a Bat book which centres around the Bat family as a whole. No, I'm not talking about Batman Inc. More in the same vein as DC presents, but dealing with certain Bat characters, or even certain things about Gotham in short arcs. I think it would be a nice way to explore what is and isn't still in continuity for DCs most popular character. Plus it would give writers and artists that aren't that well known a chance to play in the big leagues, if only for a few issues. Its something which I don't think anyone would be opposed to, especially since it could give DC a chance to show something of Cassie and Stephanie without too much effort.

Change 4, Alter Detective Comics. Make it a younger Batman. Not Batman year one, but Batman back in the early days, before every second person in Gotham is a super villain. Batman dealing with regular crime. Him honing the skills that made him the detective that he is in the other comics. Tony mentioned this before, but I remain adament that I had the idea first! Essentially make this more of a crime book then a super hero book.

Change 5, This is just me indulging myself but....... for the love of god reboot Guy Gardner. I think it was Corey saying that they could have rebooted him as a teenager. Switch things up a bit, maybe throw him on the teen titans. Green Lantern is a relatively well known property after the movie and show and stuff so why not make the most of it. Plus this would give over Green Lantern Corps to be a John Stewart book, which all us Justice League cartoon fans would freakin love.

These are all pretty small changes, just around the characters and books I personally like, and there is a million of these things out there. However like I said, gotta get this crap outta my head.... so I can focus on my statistics assignment which I have yet to start. FML

5 Comments

Nolan, Batman, some numbers and the Detective

Christopher Nolan's Batman movies are insanely popular, and no doubt entertaining. However when I think of the movies I always come back to one specific thing about his portrayal of Batman. To quote Amanda Waller in the JLU episode 'Epilogue', in reference to Terry Mcginess,

"There are similarities, but more then a few differences too, you don't have his magnificent brain for instance"

Which in a lot of ways describes my feelings on Nolans Batman, is it really Batman if you take away what he's best-known for?

Google of course has more than a few links to the scripts to Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which between them has the word "detective" a total of 33 times, with only 4 of those actually being words of dialogue, all from the The Dark Knight, and never once in reference to Batman, the other 29 are used for describing scenes, or a character e.g. 'The Detective looks around as he...' . Ra's Al Ghul addresses Batman as 'Detective', in recognition of his intellect, and in a lot of ways their relationship is unique amongst all of Batman's rogues gallery, because more than anything else it's always an intellectual battle between them, as opposed to Batman's traditional physical conflict. When Ra's referred to Tim Drake as 'Detective' in Red Robin (the issue number escapes me) that was a pretty big deal for the character, essentially Batman's intellectual equal, Ra's, putting Tim on the same level as his mentor, a huge moment for his character, or any character in the DCU.

When adapting a story from one medium to another, there are always difficulties, some things that work in a comic or any written material just won't work on the big screen, and so a story often needs to changed, and that's fine, because at the end of the day it's not the events that your trying to portray, its the character, and a particular story which tells us something about that character, the world or even ourselves.

Batman is in a lot of ways synonymous with a detective, or at least in the comics he is, he defeats his foes by out smarting them, the martial arts, the gadgets, the cars, the planes, they're tools, nothing more. Yet, with Nolan's Batman this is not the case, he doesn't defeat Ra's by outsmarting him, it was never an intellectual or even moral conflict, Ra's was essentially a run of the mill super villain, who Batman eventually bests in a physical confrontation where upon he leaves him to die, similarly with the Joker, Batman had been following the trail the whole way through the movie but he didn't outsmart the Joker in the end, it was never a question of Batman putting the pieces of this scheme together and solving the mystery in the way that shows like House, Sherlock and Luther (Who's writers could make a pretty damn awesome Batman movie) seem to manage on a weekly basis, he just used some (morally grey) technology to find out where he was... and then he pounded him good. Sure a few times in the movies he examines a bullet and does a bit of CSI-ing but you never see the mind, the intellect that is so incredible important to Batman, a trait that can put a mere mortal on equal ground with gods, and supermen, a trait equally as character defining as the death of ones parents, a trait that when absent leads me to question if this is the same character we've been reading all these years. Or maybe I'm just insane...

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