A Strider92 Rant: No Kill Codes. Yay or Nay?

I came across this post and it got me thinking. In hindsight I could have replied there but it was going to be a long-a$$ post so I decided to do it here.

Yay or Nay?

Its quite an interesting question really. The whole no-killing code was something that dates back right to the golden age of superhero comics. In-fact at one point it was almost a prerequisite that to be a hero you mustn't be a killer no matter the circumstances. Now however that is far from true. Recently we've had quite an influx of more laxed heroes who are prepared to do anything if it means wining and keeping the people they love or the world safe. So why has this happened? Why aren't characters such as Superman or Spider-man still out there in abundance (they are still there of course but for every strict no killer I can name I can name about 4 all-out killers)?

I think the culprit is simply the time that's past and how society has changed between then and now. I know for a fact that as a kid I wasn't exposed to as much brutality in film, literature and other general entertainment media as I am now. Heck I remember that Stephan Sommers "The Mummy" used to creep me the hell out and yet now that seems pretty tame in comparison to some of the things i've watched now that have the same rating. For example I recently saw "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" (which wasn't great imo but thats another topic) and in that I was watching people's heads getting blown off, crushed, people getting torn apart literally limb from limb and heck even at one point a forced suicide. This was only rated 15 and it was all VERY graphic. There is no way that a film like that would have passed for a 15 rating back when I was a kid not even close. Another thing that made me notice this was when I saw my nephew (he's 10) and he wanted to watch Taken (which is an awesome movie btw!). All the way through that movie he didn't bat an eyelid not even at the part where the guy is getting tortured.

Now you may be wondering where i'm going with this! The hero in this was doing all the things he did to get his daughter back and save her from prostitution and whatever other nasty things the people had planned and he went on to murdered a LOT of people even tortured one and yet all the way through the movie you couldn't fault the guy because he was trying to save his daughter. The whole thing was based on "the end justifies the means". Now as a kid like probably everyone who is reading this now was taught that killing is wrong (duh!) however no matter how you looked at this movie there is no way that the hero despite the fact he was killing people left right and center was bad. So somewhere along the line the whole "No killing-code" became void because if he hadn't have done what he did he would have failed and the ending would have been very sad. Not mention due to the more graphic violence we are being exposed too its less shocking when the hero kills someone.

Oh
Snap!

This can be seen in comics too the most recent on which I came across in Constantine. As usual ol'John is getting picked on by those pesky cultists until one of them attempts to poison him. He then confronts the woman responsible who then tries to kill him yet again using some demonic voodoo crap and ol'John doesn't even hesitate to kill her by incinerating her entire body. I don't know about you guys but I can't really reproach Constantine for what he did here because if he hadn't of reacted he'd have been flash fried not to mention he wasn't initially going at the situation lethally. He even tried to interrogate her pretty calmly until she went all cultist on him. So how can we have a go at Constantine in this kill or be killed situation frankly we can't but what we also have to remember is who Constantine is. The guy is a stupidly powerful magic user and had he wanted to i'm sure he could have taken this cultist out without killing her. However at no point reading this did I think "Oh my god what a bad person. He murdered that psycho-murdering-demon-worshiping woman in cold blood." I believe my thought at the times was "That'll teach the demon-worshiping-cultist!

Wrong order?
Clean up in aisle 6 please!

The reason "No Kill Codes" seem outdated is because media does have a much bigger habit of using "the end justifies the means" approach. Meaning that someone who stands by a strict set of values not to kill is less likely to get the job done than someone who doesn't. A very good example of this (no matter how much it pains me to say it) is Superior Spider-man. Prior to Superior Peter Parker was a guy who wouldn't even kill in self-defense no matter the circumstance. The "Power and Responsibility" line kept him from doing it. Now of course he's been taken over by Doc Ock and is going about the whole Spider thing a tad differently. Now a quick bit of back story. Well before Superior began Spider-man apprehended a murdering psychopath called Massacre. Who had murdered quite a few people. Spider-man of course captured him and gave him to the police even saving his life when the police tried to gun Massacre down.

Click, Click
Boom!

Now back to Superior. Massacre breaks out of jail and proceeds to kill everyone in a fast-food restaurant children and all. Now had Peter simply have put him down back when he fought him the first time all the innocent men, women and children in that restaurant would still be alive. So I put it to you guys. One life of a psychopathic mass-murderer or the lives of those men, women and children he brutally killed prior and post Superior? I think I know what most people's answer would be. Of course SpOck then came along and did what everyone else was thinking. He took Massacre down in a way that he could never hurt anyone again. So here we can see that "No Kill Codes" are sometimes very very inefficient and end up causing so much more harm than they prevent. As much as I hate to admit SpOck is far more efficient than Spider-man. Suffice to say how we view what our heroes does and how they do it has changed. What does grind my gears some times is when people refer to comics such as say Punisher or even the scans I provided of Superior as "Dark and Gritty". They aren't. In most cases they are the cold truth (albeit exaggerated). We see it on the news sometimes that someone out on bail has gone and murdered another 3 people. The reason "No Kill Codes" seem outdated is because of how our society has evolved, changed and how we view things. Back when I was young I would never have seen the kind of scene we had with Massacre on the TV or otherwise and yet now we hear about this kind of thing on a not so rare basis in the entertainment media and more scarily in the real media as well. Inspiration for comics (especially street level ones) are being drawn more and more from the reality of what we are seeing. So we are judging the scenario's we see in the comics as we would in reality because we've seen them on the News and other media. So that when we do see a villain such as Massacre get his just deserts we aren't off-put because if someone had done the same thing to a real-life mass-murderer all his later victims would still be alive. Now I must stress i'm not debating whether this is right or wrong i'm just stating what i'm seeing.

Whats the bet at least one of them had a kid?

Another prime example of this is Batman and the Joker. Batman won't kill due to the whole thing with his parents and because he feels partly responsible for what happened to him. Now Bruce is Batman because of what happened to him as a child and he wants to do his very best to prevent what happened to him ever happening to another child a noble cause yes however all in all he's horribly inefficient when it comes to the Joker. How many people has the Joker killed? and how many times has he Bruce put him back in Arkham or prison? I honestly don't want to try and guess at either. He won't kill the Joker because its against his code and yet by not doing it he is causing the perpetual misery of what happened to him as a child to befall the children of the mothers and fathers Joker has murdered. Its madness. No matter how rigid you are there comes a point when something has to give. Especially as Bruce must be able to relate to all the orphaned children he has indirectly caused by not putting Joker down the 4th, 5th or whatever time the Joker broke out and went on a killing spree.

What this whole thing comes down to is that "No Kill Codes" are horribly inefficient now. They are a noble thing to try and achieve but very misguided when you considered the magnitude of how keeping someone like the Joker or Massacre alive completely contradicts what you are trying to achieve by using those set of values.

Before comics went "Dark and Gritty" (or drawing stories from reality as i'd call them) we didn't have the same level of psychopathic, mindless violence we see now. Before it was stereotypical for a hero to be fighting a mad-man as he attempts to take over the world not a psychotically twisted individual who wants nothing more than to inflict pain simply because he or she can. The way villains are portrayed now is far more disturbing than before and the reason for this is in my opinion is that writers are no longer taking their stories completely from fantasy. We don't see the classic "i'm going to take over the world" very often now its murder, mutilation and butchering that is basically very exaggerated forms of what we see on the news. Because writers seem to be drawing more and more from reality it puts us more in the situation of the hero. For example how would any of us cope with taking down a villain that is going to pull the earth out or orbit and let it freeze over? We have absolutely no idea at all because we will never be put in that situation and cannot relate to it but how would we react to being around a homicidal, maniac who kills people simply because he/she can? We all would have a very good idea we'd probably be angry, upset etc....

That is one of the reasons heroes like Superman can get away with having a "No Kill Code" because they are put in situations we will never ever ever find ourselves in EVER! Characters like Batman, Spdier-man and Daredevil have a much harder time due to the more realistic foes they have. For example we're never going to have to fight Darkseid (at least I hope not!) or H'el but there is always a VERY slim chance that one day you might get attacked by a psychopath. Because it is a real-life threat (albeit a very small one) we look at people like the Joker and Massacre far more personally.

Another thing with the Classic "No Kill Codes" superhero's like Superman and Spider-man is that to lash out in anger and really want to kill something it always had to be a monster and by monster I don't mean figuratively I mean physically and mentally. A good example of this is Spider-man Vs Shathra:

Here we have Spider-man probably the most far gone he has ever been. He is actually going in to kill her but this is whats interesting. In the 4th scan we see Peter refer to Shathra as a "Monstrous, inhuman, thing" this is further enforced by how she looks. Suddenly he's no longer fighting someone like Scorpion or Vulture he's up against something that he doesn't consider human and thats when he lets loose. Because of Spider-man's strict "No Kill Code" the writer had to turn Shathra into something less than human so that Spider-man could truly lay into her. All through this issue I did not feel one inch of empathy towards Shathra because she was what the writer set out to portray her as BUT through that entire arc she did not kill 1 person! Thats right her slate is even cleaner than the Vulture. All she did was attack Spider-man personally. So why should he react in such away when he's been present for one of Massacre's shoot-outs and not been anywhere near as angry? The reason for this is because that although "No Kill Codes" are declining the writers still want to keep people like Spider-man and Superman as the epitome of good so the only time they can truly lax out is against a monster that is both physically and mentally not human in such a way we cannot relate to it and say "Hold on a sec how come he killed that guy and not that guy?"

Conclusion:

Are "No Kill Codes" outdated? The simple answer is yes. They are the classic ideal of being good no matter the circumstance and all in all are rather inefficient in today's media. HOWEVER does that mean we want them done away with? HELL NAW. Imagine having your child growing up not having fictional characters like Superman, Spider-man or Batman who try to do good no matter what? While ineffective, contradictory and sometimes out right hypocritical, heroes that follow the "No Kill Code" are in general far more interesting than ones who don't because they have to live with the consequences of what they do and don't do. Batman, Spider-man and Superman have never woken up and gone "Well i've killed all the bad guys the city is safe!" No! They wake up knowing that through their actions some people might get hurt and that sense of responsibility is what motivates them to fight harder and stronger because they know if they fail its their fault. All in all "No Kill Code" characters have a far more emotional connection to what they do and that's why we like them!

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Ian Nottingham Respect Thread

Thought i'd make a respect thread for my favorite Top Cow character!

"Due to his S.A.S training and other such training Ian is a master of hand to hand combat so much so that he can take on people vastly superior to himself such as the Witchblade."

Ian Vs The Witchblade:

(Ian actually lost this fight when the Witchblade freaked out but given that he was fighting an Artifact completely unarmed this is one impressive feat).

Ian Vs Assassins:

Ian Vs Nogawa:

(Disarms and kills one with Chopsticks!!!)

Takes out a team of supers with ease that were giving the Witchblade trouble:

Speed:

"Ian's Speed and reflexes are by far his most powerful attribute."

Catching bullets is a standard feat for Ian:

Deflecting bullets with his sword:

Moving as a blur to the Witchblade:

Pulls a Batman by disappearing without Sara realizing:

Killing a bunch of guys with some impressive speed:

Strength:

"Ian has a degree of superhuman strength that allows him to fight creatures like the Witchblade."

Slicing a car in half:

Slicing a car in half.......again:

The Blood Sword:

"Ian is currently the bearer of the Artifact known as the Blood Sword"

Slicing through a bridge and using energy projection:

The Blade is capable of killing the Angelus despite the fact the Angelus has survived far worse than decapitation with ease:

Thats all i've got at the moment i'll update this later when I have more scans :)

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A Strider92 Rant: Thoughts On Superior Spider-Man

Well we've had quite a few appearances from Superior now and I felt it was time I gave my opinion on it. When Slott first announced what he was doing I like i'm sure many other people banged their head against the desk in disbelief. The idea seemed completely awful. Unlike quite a few people I wasn't so opposed to Peter getting replaced (as a lot of people were) my main problem was with how Slott did it.

  • A supervillain becoming Spider-man.....I could handle that sounds interesting.
  • Doc Ock becoming Spider-man........less interested now but I guess i'd give it a shot. A much cooler villain could have fitted this purpose better. (Alistair Smythe or Eddie Brock anyone?)
  • Someone taking over Peter Parker's body.......Now you're pushing it!

But the combo of all 3 made me hate the idea before it had even begun. However being the Spider-man fan-boy that I am I bit the bullet and gave the first issue a shot and I was honestly surprised by what I got. Although the idea I still found distasteful the story was executed pretty well. The further the series went the more I got to realize that it wasn't so much the story that was bad but the timing that was badly off!

Allow me to explain:

So that happened!?
Anyone else getting deja vu?

1. At the time of 616 Peter's death Ultimate Peter Parker (one of the best things about that universe) had barely climbed into his grave. People including myself were still sad at his departure and when it happened again 616 it left a bitter familiar taste in my mouth that had barely been washed away since the first time.

Oh that Kaine!
Oh that Pete.....wait what!?

2. Scarlet Spider another spider-themed series had also barely been going a year before Superior occurred. Scarlet Spider represented what Peter Parker would be like if he had a slightly less lenient view on how to deal with criminals and it was pretty refreshing to see. Superior Spider-man completely made that series redundant by doing the same thing only a year after it had begun and that really REALLY annoyed me.We had only just got a series where the possibility of Spider-man's morals not holding him back has been created and what happens in the ongoing title not a few months later? We get the same damn thing. now we have to really violent Spider-men which detracts from the variation we previously had.

3. The story happened on the 50th anniversary and i'm sorry but you've got to be one cold son of a ***** to do something that awful to a character on its 50th. Not to mention due to the movie reboot the series was already going to have problems as new readers who come from the films are going to have no idea whats going on when they see Friendly Neighborhood Spidey shooting people in the face or snapping their necks.

We had heard from Slott prior to the event that nothing like this had ever been done but forgive if i'm wrong but killing Peter and replacing him with a colder more violent Spider-man which are the main themes of Superior all happened before Superior that same year. We had Pete die in the Ult-verse and Kaine become a more violent version of Spider-man. Suffice to say this series biggest problem was timing. Slott highly misjudged (in my opinion) when to launch this series. If he had left it maybe a year or two before putting this on the table I could almost guarantee people would have been less pissed off. Granted a lot of people would still be a annoyed but the backlash would have been far less violent.

Bad-
A$$!

Ok having got that off my chest I can talk freely about the rest. Despite the awful timing this series has turned out a pretty top notch story and scenario. There are many things I like about Superior Spider-man but the one thing I like most is seeing him use his intelligence to its fullest. Slott touched on this previously in Amazing Spider-man but in Superior, Spider-man is not just a big physical threat but a very dangerous intellectual one as well. SpOck has shown that he can use his brain and thats pretty fun to see. Thus far my favorite moment in the Superior Spider-man series was SpOck taking over the Ultrons! Not only was it a credit to SpOck's intelligence but also a little nod to Ock's old ability of controlling machines.

Respect my authoritah!

Another thing that has been interesting is Spider-man's villains reactions to this new Spidey. Although a lot of classic villains have yet to turn up a few of them have had the misfortune of falling on this new Spider-man and have seen (and felt) the difference. I especially like the instance of some of the surrendering before even putting up a fight. This is something that villains would never do when faced with the old "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man". I'm actually itching to see how the Green Goblin takes this new Spider-man after the teaser in issue 4.

Cocky and Corny
Cold and Calculating!

Although Slott's writing has been ok on Superior Spider-man its over in Avenging that Superior's character really shines. Now I may be a little biased due to Yost being my favorite writer but Slott seems to treat Ock as if he's writing a cheesy villain whereas Yost has thus far portrayed SpOck as far more cold calculating and controlled which in my opinion is how SpOck should be. He doesn't need to run around spouting big words and monologuing he needs to be calculating and articulate which is exactly how he is portrayed in Avenging. Superior in Avenging seems far more scary than the one in Superior. What Thor said about Spider-man regarding his enemies as problems to be solved is the exact type of cold behavior I would expect from SpOck and the SpOck i'm seeing in Superior does not have the same cold logical mind and speaks like a corny 80's villain. Its as if Superior Spider-man is U rated and Avenging is R rated in comparison. If Slott really does plan on making Superior a longtime running status quo he needs to take a leaf out of Avenging and make SpOck more threatening and less corny. Another thing to point out is that what keeps most people reading Superior is Pete's ghost hanging around and yet a lot of people still consider Avenging the superior (hah pun) title. Despite the fact ghost Peter has yet to make an appearance in it. That in itself says something.

Homo Superior?.....PUHLEASE!

Another thing i'm loving about this series is the humor. When I heard about what Slott was was going to do I thought all the humor from Spider-man would be gone and fortunately its not true. The humor is still there its just changed. Pete's humor is more slapstick and observational whereas SpOck has a much more caustic and sarcastic sense of humor and generally insults his allies and enemies in such an arrogant condescending way its hilarious. (Something tells me SpOck isn't joining Scott Summers mutant revolution!) Although he's mean and downright insulting sometimes I am growing to like this dry callous sense of humor and I think it fits the character well.

Boob-shot!!!!

I also quite like that Superior despite being villainous still has enough of Peter Parker's personality left in him to make him question his every move. For example he shows legitimate concern for Screwball when he thinks he's hurt her due to the fact he knew she wasn't really a villain and just someone out playing around........until she and her mate Jester pissed him off and he beat them to a bloody-pulp of course......but we'll ignore that for the moment!

Overall I think Superior Spider-man is a good idea with a lot of potential however it was executed prematurely and unfortunately is paying the price for it. Having said that i'm really enjoying the series as a whole and i'm interested to see where this leads especially as its been hinted that Spider-man may become the new leader of "The Hand". Superior Spider-man in charge of an army of nigh-unkillable ninjas? Sounds both awesome and bizarre at the same time!

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Independent Titles Worth Trying

I recently went on a major independent binge as a friend of mine lent me a load (it began this morning and is still going on now lol). Seeing so many great titles that are largely unknown made me feel a little sad so I thought i'd make a list of the ones that in my opinion deserve some recognition. These titles are in no particular order:

Executive Assistant Franchise (Aspen Comics):

EA: Assassins #8

The reason i've written franchise and not a single comic title is because this is not a single title and has branched out into many others in the past that all interconnect. The franchise on a whole whole focuses on a group of people called Executive Assistants. This is of course a codename for people (mainly women) who are trained as what can only be described as Assassins/bodyguards. They are basically raised and trained to serve anyone their masters decide. The initial series that kicked of this franchise was called Executive Assistant: Iris and since then branched out into many other singular titles featuring other Assassins such as Lotus, Orchid and Violet.

Current:

This franchise currently has two titles on-going which are Volume 3 (at least I think its 3) of EA: Iris and a recently created title called Executive Assistant Assassins which unlike the other titles focuses on multiple assassins at the same time (although Lily seems to take most of the spot-light).

Why Should You read It?

Although the story can be sometimes quite hard to grasp or even disjointed at times (i'm generalizing here. EA: Assassin's has been pretty consistent thus far) it is for the most part very appealing and the mix of writers that appear on it bulk out the universe Aspen has created and makes it diverse. This series is designed for people who like action with a bit of mystery thrown in. As in all series it has its ups and downs but in my opinion it hasn't been a bad series and deserves a bit of recognition for the effort put in.

The art for the most part has been above average in nearly every title:

Head turning stuff huh? (Hah!)

Harbinger (Valiant Comics):

Harbinger is part of Valiant's thus far incredibly successful attempt at rebooting its titles. Having not read the original Harbinger series from back in the 90's I can't really compare the two (not sure if this is a good or bad thing) but from a new readers point of view this series has thus far been of a VERY high caliber in both story and art so much so that they make quite a few of Marvel and DC's big titles look bad. The story follows Peter Stanchek a boy who possess powerful pisonic abilities.

Current:

Harbinger is currently on its 9th issue so not that far ahead and has getting increasingly good as the series has progressed. I won't go into details to prevent spoilers for people who haven't read it yet.

Why Should You Read It?

There is absolutely no reason you should not give this a shot. It has been consistently brilliant both in writing and in art since it began and the fast-paced story-line keeps you interested in everything that is happening. I actually dropped a comic off my pull-list to make room for this series (Snyder's Batman. Which pained me because I love Capullo's art) but I do not regret it in the slightest. I've gotten much more enjoyment out of Harbinger than I have a lot of the big mainstream titles.

Bloodshot (Valiant Comics):

Another part of Valiant's reboot. Bloodshot follows an amnesiac soldier with nanites running through his body that grant him superhuman abilities (most notably his healing factor, invisibility and a sonic scream). Again I have not read Valiant's original series of this so I cannot compare them. The series kind of reminds of Jason Bourne (most likely because of the whole amnesia thing) and is on a whole a very good series. Like Harbinger it favors fast-paced story-telling and action.

Current:

Bloodshot is a series I really can't say much about without spoiling it as the story is driven by Bloodshot not knowing who he is. Like Harbinger Bloodshot is also only on his 9th issue so if this interests you at all I recommend giving it a shot.

Why Should You Read It?:

Bloodshot's most notable feature is its writing. The story has been brilliant thus far and doesn't look like its going to drop in quality any time soon. It blends the "military experiment gone wrong" scenario in with an in-depth story and a sympathetic character. Although the story-line and writing deserve a lot of praise this does not mean that this on-going is lacking in art at all in fact the art in it has been consistently well above average.

Haunt (Image Comics):

Created by Todd McFarlane (Spawn) and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) with art from Greg Capullo (Batman) Haunt probably had one of the best starts in life that an independent comic could get with 3 top tier creators working on it and it didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Daniel Kilgore and the ghost of his dead spec-ops brother Kurt. When the two join it coats Daniel in a type of living suit (well honestly what did you expect from the creator of Venom and Spawn?) which enhances Daniel's abilities to superhuman levels and can allow Kurt to force his way into control.

Current:

Unfortunately at issue 18 the original creative team left their creation and moved on to other projects. Since then the new one has been ok but nowhere near as good as the big 3 that left. It is still a solid series but it may put you off reading after issue 18 with the slightly abrupt changes in morals and personality of the characters. The series is still on-going and just hit its 32nd issue.

Why Should You Read It?

The first 18 issues deserve to be read simply for the awesomeness that was McFarlane, Kirkman and Capullo because lets be honest that is a killer team for a dark supernatural style book. As I said the new creative team is ok but not as good. Don't let this put you off starting it though it deserves to be given a shot. The art in it originally was of course brilliant thanks to Capullo and because of the dark setting Haunt has it really allowed him to get gory.

Ouch

Halcyon (Image Comics):

Halcyon is a five-part series released in 2010. Although it was only a limited series it was still a very good read. Oculus the biggest threat the world surrenders himself to the authorities and due to this he renders hero's completely void as there is no longer a global threat for them to fight and things quickly spiral out of control as the hero's begin to descend into darkness realizing that having no enemies makes them nothing.

Why Should You Read It?

Quite hook she's got there

The series brings up a very unusual and interesting subject about the hero-complex and how super-hero's view themselves. Something this unique doesn't crop up very often and deserves to be read if for no other reason than to break up the monotony of predictable story-lines. The art is also above average.

Luther Strode (Image Comics):

This began in a six-part limited series called "The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode" and was the picked up again in another 6 part series called "The Legend Of Luther Strode". It follows a young man called Luther Strode who through a desire to become muscular tries out an exercise routine called the Hercules Method this unlocks his talent giving him superhuman abilities.

Current:

The second six-part series is currently on issue 4. It is worth starting out with the first series "The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode" before moving on as jumping in on the current one will only confuse you (I know it did me).

Why Should You Read It?:

Although the storyline may sound very weird it is actually portrayed really well. Much better than I thought would have been possible especially for such a strange concept. The art is also very good and unique compared to a lot of the styles we are currently seeing in comics. like the story it almost feels like a bizarre style but it fits the characters and really gives them a sense of power. This series was brought to my attention by k4tzm4n's best weekly battles so if you'd like to see a bit of what you're missing feel free to go look. The fight scenes in this series are very brutal. You have been warned!

Robyn Hood (Zenescope Comics):

Having never read anything from the "Grimm Fairy Tales" universe I wasn't really sure what to expect when I jumped into this. Not to mention i'd heard a few other their titles were ermmm.....a bit "Classic Witchblade" in regards to female characters so I was a little apprehensive about trying it out but i'm glad I did. The story follows Robyn a girl who discovers she has a connection to the the "Myst" (through some very unfortunate circumstances) which gives her supernatural abilities with the bow (inhuman speed, accuracy etc..). The story actually takes place in modern times and in the "Myst" which is back in the medieval ages. The story sounds far-fetched but it is actually executed extremely well and a lot better than what I had previously feared. One of the things that surprised me was how strong in character Robyn was portaged to be.

Current:

Robyn Hood volumes one was a five-part series back in 2012 and by popular demand is starting up again in May 2013 in a new volume called Robyn Hood: Wanted. Which unlike the first volume will only take place in the modern day. So if you want to catch up before the new series begins you have a month to read the five-part first series.

Why Should You Read It?

This comic has something in it that is very hard to come by and that I never thought I would find in this comic and that is a very strong female lead. Robyn is without a doubt the most powerful female lead in terms of personality and morals that I have read in a LONG time. The art in it is also very good.

Irredeemable (Boom! Comics):

Ever wanted to know what would happen if the worlds most powerful hero became the villain? Irredeemable gives you exactly that. The Plutonian who was once the biggest force for good has now gone insane and is now destroying everything in his path with the other hero's powerless to stop him. What caused his sudden change and shift in morals is explained as the series progress's. Not only does Waid give the Plutonian and intriguing dynamic but also a great and unique power-set. One which I honestly didn't see coming and I don't believe has been used prior or post this series.

Irredeemable finished in 2009 with a total of 37 issues.

Why Should You Read It?

Due to the fact that this an independent universe it shows with horrifying detail what would happen if the greatest hero fell from his duties and turned to destruction something that cannot be done with say Superman in DC for obvious reasons. Here however the character is completely free to do whatever he wants without restraint and that in itself is refreshing. Coupled with some stella artwork it is a series that I think everyone should read to truly appreciate the thin line between hero and villain.

Thats it for the moment. I plan updating this as I go through more of the indie titles so feel free to check back here from time to time if you're interested in more recommendations.

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Last Man Standing 2013

Well the reprint of Dan Luvisi's Last Man Standing: Killbook Of A Bounty Hunter comes out this summer! So if you missed this amazing graphic novel nows your chance to pick it up!

Here's some of the stunning art from this book:

The reprint will feature art from other artists and winners of Luvisi's competition some of the art looks absolutely gorgeous:

We've even seen what is supposed to be some preview art for the Last Man Standing comic series that starts this year as well from Mr. Luvisi himself:

Suffice to say the art interiors look like they will be positively stunning. Dan has done a brilliant job on his characters backgrounds and Gabriel and Dante in particular are brilliant creations.

Even before the comic series has started LMS has already snagged a movie deal from Paramont Pictures so hopefully if its as good as it looks we'll see Gabriel in all his badassness on the silver screen!

Anyone going to be picking up this comic when it starts?

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A Strider92 Rant: Spider-man Misconceptions

I thought i'd take the time to shed some light about some of Spider-man's more confusing attributes as i've seen a lot of the same mistakes being made over and over again so here goes.

The Symbiote did NOT make Spider-man stronger:

Shapeshifting

This is one of the biggest misconceptions there is about Spider-man. Due to the Ultimate Universe, The Movies and the TV shows a lot of people think the Symbiote actually made Spider-man stronger, faster and enhanced his anger/took his morals. In fact it did nothing of the sort. When Spider-man first encountered the Symbiote on Battleworld and took to wearing it as his suit it did not enhance his abilities or take away his morals.

Here is the list of abilities the Symbiote actually gave him:

  • Organic Webbing
  • Change it's outward appearance
  • A telepathic connection allowing Spider-man to call it to him and communicate with it

And yep thats pretty much it. Its thanks to things like the 90's TAS:

That people think it augmented his abilities when in reality 616 Spidey had no augmented abilities or aggression.

(fun fact: Spider-mans Black Suit was actually a rip-off of Julia Carpenter's original Spider-woman costume)

Spider-man's Spider-sense ISN'T just a warning of danger:

This is another common misconception. Spider-man's spider-sense is far more complex than just a danger warning sense and its full potential is often overlooked or largely unknown in battle thread in particular. His Spider-sense does not just warn him about the impending danger but actually forces him to avoid it. If it was a simple warning of danger it would not differ from DareDevil's radar sense but it does work differently.

I'll use DD's radar sense as the example to illustrate the difference as the two have been compared quite a bit. If someone points a gun at DareDevil he can tell via his radar sense when the man is going to fire and when to avoid the danger. So in a sequence it would go something like this:

Trigger is about to be pulled> DD senses it> thinks about moving to avoid> his body responds to the information collected by his brain and moves

Or more simplified:

Danger> Danger warning> Think about moving> Move

Now Spider-sense works differently in 1 respect and that difference makes it phenomenally different. That difference is that Spider-man does not need to think about moving. When his danger sense goes off it forces him to move automatically and without need for conscious thought or decision to do so. So in Spider-man's case:

Trigger is about to be pulled> Spider-man senses it> His body reflexively responds

Or:

Danger> Danger warning> Move

Now this may seem only a small difference but the effect is very very big. Whereas most people have to make a conscious decision to react Spider-man does not his body automatically chooses the optimum way to avoid getting hurt without having to think. So to put it simply his spider-sense can and does react faster than his enemies or even himself can think. Now you can really see how fast his reactions are when using his Spider-sense and that it is not a simple warning of danger. Here's some scans that illustrate the point:

In the first scan he says "put your reactions on auto-pilot" inferring he does not need to think to react. In the second it states it outright in the first box.

Spider-man is a NOT 10 tonner:

The generally accepted strength level for Spider-man is 10tons but this is far from the case. Even when not under duress Spider-man has performed feats over the 10ton range for example:

Here Spider-man is under no kind of duress and manages to bring down a huge portion of a building into the river now you might say something like "All he has to is break the supports and the building comes down by itself" however you also have to take into account the level of strength required to do that with pressure of the entire building holding it in place. What makes this even more impressive is that he is also pushing against the pressure of the water.

Here's another that is far simpler to analyze:

I'm sorry but look at the size of that thing and without anger, motivation or duress he is keeping it off the ground with hardly any trouble. Now helicopters range in weight from only a few hundred kg to the massive people carrier ones that are in the high end multiple ton region.

With motivation anger and duress his true strength does emerge from time to time:

My point is that he is used as a 10tonner when really he can and has without anger and duress used his full strength when he has to. So him being a 10tonner without becoming strained is wrong it would take visibly more than 10tons before putting him under strain.

Spider-man does NOT use hairs on his fingers to stick to walls:

Although this one is less common I have seen it crop up a few times so I feel I should address it. Although real Spiders do use small hairs in order to grip to things Spider-man does not. Spider-man 2099 (O'Hara) uses fibrous claws made up of these hairs and so is closer to how a spider would truly climb than Peter. This myth came from the first Sam Rami film where we see the shot of the hairs growing on Peter's fingers. If you have never asked yourself how Spider-man clings to walls in the comics then this seems like a reasonable conclusion to jump to however 616 Peter's clinging powers work differently.

In the comics Peter in fact uses Electrostatic force to cling to objects. The ability manifests itself in the form of mental control over the flux of inter-atomic attraction between molecular boundary layers. So he is in fact using this to force attraction between molecules and is not limited to his hands and feet (any part of his body can stick to any surface including places like his back or chest). Something that when you think about it is VERY big deal. He essentially sticks to things using this form bio-electrostatic force on a molecular level not simple surface adhesion. To illustrate the point Kaine, Peter's clone uses this ability offensively:

The reason it burns is because Kaine can use his ability to stick to walls in the same manner as Spider-man but is instead is using the ability to repulse/break down the molecular bonds that he would normally try to attract in order to stick to surfaces. Once you actually look at the enormity of what is being done here then in theory Kaine is in fact breaking down what he touches on a molecular level. This is essentially tactile molecular manipulation.

If this truly is the case (which it does seem to be) Spider-man's ability to stick to walls and Kaine's ability to use his burning touch could be considered a molecular level attack and given that even Carnage felt his burn twice despite the fact he has thrown down with much stronger and more powerful opponents and not been hurt in the slightest it does make sense an attack that is attacking the symbiote on a molecular level would undoubtedly hurt like hell.

Spider-man does NOT have peak human level durability:

Now Spider-man isn't the most durable guy on the block and unlike people such as Luke Cage he is not bullet-proof. However simply because a bullet doesn't bounce off him does that make him human level of durability? Of course not. Spider-man is far more durable than say Captain America or Batman. Honestly I could go into details and show countless scans but it is so much easier just to post this one scan and let you guys dispel the illusion yourselves. I've put it in a spoiler block as the scan is so damn massive:

SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content.

Now Rhino is an 80tonner and not only was Spider-man not ko'd after that but still on his feet. The kind of beating he took there would not have ko'd someone like Cap or Batman but killed them outright.

Another example is Spider-man grabbing onto a missile flying out god knows how far and fast and having it blow up in his face again well beyond peak human:

If you need anymore convincing when visiting a doctor the man told him that the injuries were humanly impossible for any normal human to survive:

Spider-man's webbing:

Now you may be wondering why this doesn't have a more specific title well the reason that is, is because a lot of how it works and how strong it is, is large unknown or inconsistent so to go over this i'm going to use what has been given to us by Marvel/Spider-man themselves. First is how strong his webbing is. Now one thing to bare in mind is that Spider-man has used organic webbing in the past (notably post-Disassembled) so the strength has varied with the different versions. I however will only be addressing his artificial webbing as it has more quantifiable feats and thus is easier to gauge.

Spider-man's webbing is stated to have a tensile strength of 120lbs per square millimeter:

This means that to break a mere millimeter of it you would need to apply 54kilos worth of force and a staggering half ton of force for only 1 centimeter (this information was found on another site but I checked it out myself and it seems to be right). Now Spidey's MO is to incap people and if a single centimeter strand takes half a ton of force to break imagine if he where to coat you it in it? 2 centimeters would require 1 ton of force, 4 centimeters would require 2 tons and so on. if you where coated in the stuff it would undoubtedly require a high range tonner to break out of it (80-100tons) and given that he can change the thickness of the strand it is theoretically possible for him to create a strand only a mere centimeter long that could take up to 10tons of force to break thats just a single centimeter!:

One argument that comes up a lot is that people can cut Spider-man's webbing and this is true to a certain extent. Something people tend to forget (or might not even know) is that his webbing is sticky all over not just the tips. This means that attempting to cut or tear it will only result in getting more and more caught in said webbing:

Tearing/cutting just makes it worse!

So if someone like say Wolverine were to attempt to cut it they would just end up getting more caught up and worse off for it.

I'll probably update this as I find other things that I feel need addressing crop up. If you have a suggestion go ahead and post it below :)

53 Comments

The 40k Vs thread

Suggested by and this is thread is for 40k chars vs other 40k chars to save clogging up the forum with random threads. If any Mod feels this should be in Off-Topic or anywhere else for that matter feel free to move it.

Round 1:

Leman Russ

Vs

Konrad Curze:

  • Morals On
  • Standard Gear
  • No Prep

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next round begins after a majority vote as been decided.

47 Comments

Peter Stanchek Respect/Feat thread.

Due to their not being a lot of issues of this rather than break it down into different categories like I usually do (Durability, strength etc..) I will show the feats with the issue number as their aren't really enough feats to categorize yet.

Name: Peter Stanchek

Class: Omega Level Harbinger

Powers: Various Psionic and Telepathic based abilities many of which are undiscovered

Harbinger #1:

Shows his telepathy by being able to hear the thoughts of ever person he walks by and makes a cashier give him all the money in a till then forget him:

Makes Kris fall in love with him:

Harbinger #2:

Peter cuts loose and takes out a lot of soldiers using telepathy and telekinesis, deflects bullets without looking, sends a van flying with TK and pulls a helicopter out of the sky:

Harbinger #3:

Shows Peter's powers were strong even as a child. Accidently throwing a kid like a ragdoll, putting both his dad and a doctor into a coma and flight:

Has a brief fight against a Harbinger with electrokinesis:

Harbinger #4:

Beats down a pair of Harbingers with Super-speed and pisonic manipulation. In the training it is revealed that ontop of Telepathy and Telekinesis Peter also has something called "the sting" (an attack that hits a persons mind), thought transference and impact psychokinesis:

Show he can communicate with a persons brain to awaken their abilities or to check if they are living:

Throws Ingrid around with no problem and was able to detect that people had been mind wiped:

Harbinger #5:

Sees through Ingrid's illusions and forces his way into her mind:

Fights Hidden Moon a Harbinger who can negate other Harbingers powers:

His scream damages the buildings around him and demonstrates flight:

Peter attacks the Harbinger Foundation. Pulls part of a building down and demonstrates forcefields:

Harbinger #7 (Pete didn't do much in 6):

Uses his powers to activate another Harbinger and to create a forcefield to protect him from her pyrokinesis:

Harbinger #8:

Creates another forcefield:

Harbinger #9:

More forcefielding against helicopters and flight:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

this will be updated as more feats when more issues come out and more feats become available!

11 Comments

A Strider92 Rant: Women In Comics

Well i've seen a lot of posts made about this very topic. Here's an example:

http://www.comicvine.com/forums/off-topic/5/feministrights-nomenclature-cont/747294/#28

So I thought i'd throw in my two cents on the matter.

So here goes:

The one that seems to crop up a lot is:

  • "All the women look like supermodels"
Kaine (Scarlet Spider #1)
Black Canary

True they do I won't try to defend this but this is also the case with male characters. Take a look at characters like Captain America, Gambit, Nightwing and many many others. All of these are on model level of fitness/physique in realistic terms. The point in comic heros is they are supposed to represent the best of us not just mentally but physically as well and the stereotypical view of this is the kind of things you see in comics (supermodel style men and women). Whether this is right or not is not what i'm arguing about i'm just pointing out that women are not the only ones to fall prey this trend. Its just a woman's physique is more pronounced thus a lot more visible and obvious. This tread does happen to both sexes and is not unique to just female characters. The most notable male comparison to this that has happened recently was in Scarlet Spider #1. Everyone's favorite Spider-man clone went swinging round Houston topless for 4 whole pages. I'm not arguing that this sort of thing isn't more common in female characters but i'm just trying to point out it is not unique to them.

Another example of the whole model physique in men is Captain America. He went to the army as a normal guy and they turned him down because he wasn't fit enough so what happened next? He took an experimental procedure to make him uber-fit and give him model style looks in the process. Then it was fine for him to be in the army. What kind of message does that send? Steve obviously wasn't stupid but because he wasn't physically imposing they basically said no and yet we all know that in the real world you don't have to be supermodel level of physique to get into the army you just need to be disciplined, intelligent and reasonably fit but not peak human sort of level.

So yes while women are a victim of this supermodel look so are men this is not unique to women and is seen in both male and female characters and yet in men this is complained about FAR less.

  • "Female superheroes wear revealing clothing"
Yes! (Mockingbird)
NO! (Witchblade)

This is a point I will completely agree with. Female costumes are often very revealing (especially street level characters for some reason). The biggest culprits are classic Witchblade (that was so revealing it was hilarious), Red Sonja (Witchblade levels of hilarity), Lady Death (lol that's all i'll say) and few others. The ones I just mentioned are blatantly obvious and quite obviously sexist and I have no problem saying that something should be done to make them more practical and less sexual. However I have seen people complain about women in spandex which I will address.

I do not see the need to pull up women in spandex as revealing. Again quite a few male characters wear spandex. Nightwing, Spider-man and Batman for example. It is essentially meant to be a second skin and for some characters like Spider-man who thrive on agility this is essential for him to move around. The same goes for Nightwing. This is the case for a lot of women characters as well and yet it seems to be instantly seen as revealing because it's skin tight. Why can't it be seen for the practical use for which it has been chosen? We don't get all iffy when we seen Nightwing's or Batman's abs through their costume and yet we seem to when we see anything with female characters. That to me tells me that we the readers are putting to much work into objectifying the person in question than the actual portrayal itself. The phrase never judge a book by its cover never rang so true (however this doesn't excuse Witchblade or any of the blatantly sexist ones).

Why this happens:

Sara's Pichelli's Ultimates
DeConnick's Captain Marvel

Now this is just my opinion. Comics are only based on realism to a certain extent. The point in your stereotypical comic heroes is that they are supposed to represent the best of us. There in lies the problem as the comicbook world is dominated by men. You ask me to name 5 female artists or 5 female writers i'll have a lot of trouble. I can name a few such as Kelly Sue Deconnick (she would write an awesome Spider-man imo! As soon as Slott's run is over I want her as the ongoing writer) or Sara Pichelli (who is a fricking awesome artist) but for every 1 female member of the comic industry I can name about 4 male ones (i'm only talking about Marvel here as my knowledge on DC talent is very bad) and due to the number difference it means that men are more likely to get the bigger mainstream titles such as The Avengers etc... Its not that they are better its just law of averages.

I'm not going to sugar coat it men are men and we unfortunately are creatures that are biologically programed to look for certain things so what we see as best is likely very different from a woman's perspective so whats happening is that process is being placed into the comic art industry. Artists have the opportunity to create a character that is supposed to look how they envision he or she should look and 99% of the time with male ones that is always going to be some sort of drop-dead gorgeous model because that is how they have built them up.

If we put a woman in the same position there is no kind of sexual agenda thus they are more likely to build something realistic based on how they think there character should act and look. I'm not trying to defend what the male artists do sometimes i'm just trying to point out how and why it happens. Maybe if you put an all female creative team on a male character the same thing would happen except the other way around? I can't say because I honestly can't think of an all female creative on a male character which speaks volumes for itself really.

The main problem is simply that there isn't enough women in the comic industry thus its like having a double headed coin. There simply isn't enough variety. Women think about things differently to men and see things differently to what we do (much to our dismay most of the time :p) but that is the sort of thing that is essential in an industry that thrives on both male and female characters. Sometimes you need that female input as it gives the characters more depth.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Honestly in my opinion the main problem female characters have to deal with is not how they look or what they wear but how they presented as characters. In real life women are less physically imposing than men. However this isn't real life this is a place where a giant runs around eating planets for "tuh lolz" and yet we still find that women are in general treated as physically inferior. A prime example is that at one point Spider-man was actually denied a female villain because they didn't think she would be threatening enough. That there speaks volumes. How many villains can you think of that are women who have actually gone into a slug-fest with a male hero opponent? I can hardly think of any. With the women as the hero and the man as the villain yes that happens quite a bit. With two women one villain and one hero yes that also happens a lot but the woman as the villain and the man as the hero? Nope that hardly ever happens. Women seem to be given powers that allow them to take the battle without having to get down and dirty (i'm generalizing here). Telepathy is a prime example. Telepathy is almost becoming a stereotypical female power.

The reason they don't seem to get into vast physical confrontations with a male opponent when the woman is the villain seems to be the chivalrous concept that men shouldn't hit women (which I agree with) however if this women is evil, psychotic and downright disturbing beyond all reason I do not see the problem and yet it hardly happens. Women especially as villains in comics are fighting a battle to be equal with their male counterparts but its not mainly because of how they are dressed or how they look its how they are treated in comparison to men.

Every now and then someone comes out who breaks the mold. JMS for example did what had been denied to Spider-man previously gave us not just my favorite female Villain but my favorite overall villain EVER. Shathra. She was everything you need from a good female villain. No female sexual undertone (like villains such as Poison Ivy have), able to match the male hero in physical ability, smart and deadly. Not only did she outsmart Spider-man but hunted him like a dog, emotionally hurt him and even when Spider-man's morals went of and he hit her with everything he had he couldn't scratch her. Heck he dropped a building on her and Shathra didn't budge:

Round 1:

Round 2:

But the best thing about her was that even though she was a woman she physically went toe on toe with the male hero and throughout all of her battles you never felt that Spider-man shouldn't be hitting her because she's a woman because she was physically tough enough to take anything he could dish out and evil enough that the whole "shouldn't hit a woman" didn't come into play. This to me is one of the few occasions i've seen women treated equally to men even though in this case the woman was the villain. As all you saw was how her character played with Spider-man and nothing else.

Conclusion:

To conclude while women do seem to suffer from revealing costumes and stereotypical supermodel physiques this overshadows the true problem. The fact that in physical ability women are still treated as inferior even in a made-up universe. Because people are busy obsessing over how the character looks they forget to look at the deeper problem. Don't get me wrong i'm not saying that the costumes shouldn't be dealt with. What i'm saying is that this is not the main problem. We are instantly judging the character on how she looks and not seeing the rest. There's your problem!

58 Comments

Kaine/Scarlet Spider Respect Thread

Being a Kaine fanboy since his appearance in his classic version I have hard copies of his every appearance so I thought it was time to break out the scanner. Thanks to Morpheus_ as well as he already had some of the Classic scans so I only had to scan the ones he didn't!

Classic Kaine:

An imperfect clone of Peter Parker who due to his degeneration was significantly superior to Spider-man il almost every aspect.

Strength:

Easily slaps around Ben Reilly who stated even with both hands he couldn't hold back Kaine's 1:

Pulls down half a building with ease:

Pulls down a big part of the street from in the sewers:

Beats down the Rhino with brute force:

Taking on multiple Spider-man clones and 1-shot killing them with ease:

Durability:

Takes a direct 10ton punch from Peter head-on and doesn't even feel it. Peter states in surprise that it should have taken his head off:

Takes a bullet with no ill effects. This is also a speed feat. Look how far Kaine is from Shannon and yet he manages to get behind her before the cop fires and before he can finish his own sentence. Thats some wild speed:

Strength feat (tossing car 1 handed) and what is most likely his biggest durability feat. Taking a massive explosion without a scratch:

Speed:

Briefly blitz's Spider-man showing that he is indeed as fast or faster than him:

Fights:

Kaine roflstomps Spidercide (Spider-man clone):

Kaine Vs Ben Reilly (beats him pretty easily):

Kaine Vs Peter Parker (again wins quite convincingly even though he was holding back):

Kaine Vs Spidercide, Ben Reilly and Peter Parker (They don't do much better together than they did separately Kaine makes light work of them. Although I will point out that Ben Reilly wasn't actually KO'd in that last scan just faking it):

Kaine Vs Grim Hunter (Spoiler Grim Hunter ends up dead!):

Kaine Vs Doc Ock (Spoiler Doc Ock ends up dead!):

Kaine and Peter Parker Vs the Sinister Seven. Kaine initially takes them all on at once until Peter turns up to help:

Kaine Vs Carnage (Kaine has a brief scuffle with our resident psycho in which Kasady actually admits Kaine hurt him!):

Other:

  • Classic Kaine possessed something called the "Sting Of Kaine" which took the form of Wolverine style claws protruding from his wrists. It is unknown what they're full usage was.
  • Classic Kaine's spider-sense was far better than any of the other Spider-men and bordered on complete pre-cog.

Scarlet Spider (Current Kaine):

Good speed and strength showing. Kaine stops the car despite how far away he was and despite how close the car was to hitting the woman.

Dodges a ton of bullets with seeming ease:

Hell of a speed showing here. Bullets are fired and Kaine manages to pin then use an enemy as a meat-shield before the bullets hit. That's some wild-a$$ speed:

Catches an arrow despite having his back turned and no spider-sense and a little bullet dodging. Good reaction feat:

Scarlet Spider uses spiders to look over an entire city for a bomb:

Uses stealth to kill Assassins:

Fights:

Scarlet Spider Vs Salamander:

Scarlet Spider Vs The Assassin's Guild:

Scarlet Spider Vs The Rangers:

Scarlet Spider Vs Venom:

Scarlet Spider Vs Carnage: Round 1:

Scarlet Spider Vs Carnage: Round 2 (heck of a durability showing from Kaine here):

-There was actually a part in the Venom part where Kaine took another shot at Carnage but it didn't amount to anything. He just sucker punched him and helped Venom kill the other symbiotes no 1v1. Still wanting to go a third round with Carnage shows good durability and stamina.

Scarlet Spider Vs Carlos and Esmerelda Lobo (Kaine is actually winning until he starts holding back):

After his resurrection Kaine deals out some retribution on the Wolves:

Scarlet Spider Vs Wolverine:

23 Comments