Animator Greg Wiseman has had a long string of animated series that have pleased fans but have always seemed to be cut short due to other factors. He was forced off Disney’s Gargoyles and saw his Spectacular Spider-Man cut short due to the Spider-rights going to Disney.
Then there was Young Justice, an animated series set in the DC universe about a team of superhero sidekicks going on covert missions for the Justice League.
One of the mainstays of the superhero team is that someone is the member with superhuman strength. There may be more than one, but there is always at least one member of the team that is the team’s muscle, usually physically larger than the rest, and the one sent in when the team just needs someone pounded into dust.
That’s actually how today’s entry got his superhero name.
There’s been quite a few short stories during these last few months of Secret Wars. I’ve liked a handful of them, but a lot of them have missed the mark badly. (Ryan would beg to differ, but we all know what Ryan’s like.)
I’ve already looked at Secret Wars Battleworld1 and 2 and Secret Wars Journal Parts 1-3 in some detail. After the cut I will finish those series with Secret Wars Battleworld #3, Secret Wars Battleworld #4, Secret Wars Journal #4 and Secret Wars Journal #5. As well, I’ll also look at the equally unimpressive Secret Wars Secret Love #1.
When I was 17, I drank some very good beer. I drank some very good beer I purchased with a fake ID. My name was Brian McGee. I stayed up listening to Queen. When I was 17.
During my 17th year Marvel also launched their new universe that was set 107 years in the future. Featuring alternate or future versions of characters such as Spider-Man, Punisher, Doom, X-Men, Fantastic Four and some new characters like Ravage, the year 2099 would become synonymous with Marvel.
The breakout character of the bunch had to be Miguel O’Hara, 2099’s new incarnation of Spider-Man. Spidey had a new kickass suit designed by Rick Leonardi and prolific comic book writer Peter David was on board to flush out Miguel’s story. The title proved so popular that Spider-Man 2099 #1 is still the highest selling comic book written by Mr. David.
While the line would eventually peter off, Spidey maintained his popularity and is now back as a mainstay in the Marvel Universe of the present. After the cut, a spoiler-free look at how this is working out for Miquel in the All-New, All-Different Marvel.
The Marvel Crossover House of M posited a world where the Scarlett Witch, temporarily insane, would first change the planet to one where mutants were in charge, and then after some stress changing everything back to a world where hardly any mutants still had their powers. Wolverine alone knew the changed world was wrong, because Marvel and writer Brian Michael Bendis seem incapable of doing a massive crossover storyline that doesn’t give Wolverine a major role, and he found a way to make the other heroes he needed remember with the help of a young girl named Layla Miller. Layla had the power to make people see the Scarlett Witch’s changes weren’t right.
Last week, I wrote up about the “Planet Hulk” storyline. In that write-up, I mentioned how the Hulk has on occasion been a character that creators have been allowed a certain amount of experimental leeway with. One such writer is a personal favorite of mine, and one of the better Secret Wars spin-offs was a retake of his earlier work.
The writer is Peter David. The work was the two-part Future Imperfect mini-series.
In an event that is rife with ideas and revisited storylines from the 70’s on up, there is still room for it to be unique. One of those new ideas is that of The Shield. A planet wide border wall that keeps the likes of Marvel Zombies, Ultron and the Annihilation Wave from overruning the more “civil” domains on the rest of Battleworld.
The Shield and the domains it protects the rest of the planet from, are also where anyone that defies God Doom and his rules are cast. Sentenced to either serve for the rest of their days as a defender of The Shield or to fight to stay alive against the horrors on the other side.
This concept has been the backbone of some great series (Siege, Marvel Zombies, Infinity Gauntlet) but also of some that started with great set ups and promise and fell flat (Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies, Red Skull).
After the break I’ll look at this weeks biggest movers including Red Skull as well as get Tom and Ryan’s thoughts on the most over and underrated series.
It’s hard to make a corporately-owned superhero intellectual property something distinct. The temptation is to generally keep the character in the form fans recognize him or her in the most and try to give him or her some exciting adventures to please the fans. In fact, the more high profile the character, the less editorial is going to allow a certain level of meddling. Second and third stringers can be used for that sort of thing.
That’s sort of what makes the Hulk a unique character. Though often depicted as just a big, stupid brute who doesn’t understand how to use personal pronouns, the Hulk has often been used as a more experimental character, someone whose intelligence and setting can fluctuate depending on the story’s needs. The Hulk is high profile enough for Marvel to always have a Hulk book of some kind in publication, but not enough for them to really care as much about what he’s doing as they are, say, Spider-Man. That’s led to some interesting Hulk runs and experiments in the character. Writer Peter David played with the idea Bruce Banner had Multiple Personality Disorder and had different Hulks appearing at different times until Doc Samson figured out how to merge them into a composite being that was always the Hulk. Paul Jenkins developed this concept further, and had a run complicated by Bruce contracting Lou Gehrig’s disease and needing to find some sort of cure before he had to become the Hulk permanently. Even Bruce Jones, a writer whose comics I don’t much care for, initially had an interesting run where Banner was on the run from some conspiracy that seemed supervast and complex until Jones wrapped the whole thing up in two issues by saying it was just the Leader the whole time, which ended something cool in a lame manner.
And then there’s the Planet Hulk storyline, which may have been one of the most ambitious Hulk storylines ever done.
I mentioned when I covered Future Imperect #1 in part 8 of this series that I had not read the original source material. It’s on a long list of “to reads” that I have, but I don’t believe you need to have read it to enjoy this series. I think all you really need to know is that The Maestro is an evil future version of the Hulk who has pretty much killed all the other heroes. (Edit: or not…see Tom’s comment…) He’s not a very nice guy.
After the break I’ll look at the remaining issues of this series: Future Imperfect #2, Future Imperfect #3, Future Imperfect #4 and Future Imperfect #5. Currently sitting in the number 14 slot in our Secret Wars Power Rankings, the series is a good read.
The comic book version of Green Arrow is best known as being one of the few heroes with a distinctive political point of view. Who does Superman vote for? Who knows? Green Arrow is an out-and-out bleeding heart liberal, and that’s probably one of his defining characteristics.
Except he wasn’t always that way. The character existed for a good twenty years before his political perspective came up at all. Prior to that, he was the standard white bread DC hero who did good because it was good and if he ever had a thought deeper than which arrow to use at any given moment, he sure didn’t share it. In point of fact, the guy was a Batman rip-off, living as a millionaire playboy with his sidekick and ward in a big mansion with a cave and a car and a plane underneath his home. It’s not much of a memorable era for the Emerald Archer.