Sunday, November 30, 2008
And while Ben does most of his traveling in the company of his family and friends, he's also known to engage in the odd side-trek to a lost continent, the Savage Land, Monster Isle...pretty much any place that promises to pose an interesting time.
Unlike Daredevil, for instance, the Thing has no set 'stomping ground' to limit the backdrop for his adventures. In fact, the Marvel-Two-in-One series made a point of dropping the Thing into various exotic locales (the better to foster exotic team-ups, natch) with every new issue.
Picture this: the Thing is enjoying an evening out with Alicia Masters, at a fancy art exhibit in London, when a band of hi-tech thieves busts in and swipes a particular exhibit. The Thing easily handles most of the goons, but the rest escape.
He heads off in pursuit (still clad in his tux), and follows in a chase sequence straight out of The Mummy Returns, double-decker buses and all, with the Thing leaping from bus to bus, train car to train car etc. until they reach oh, say, the Thames, where a boat is waiting to transport the exhibit out of the city.
The Thing thumps the remaining thieves even as the macguffin is loaded and the boat crew blast the Thing with a strange weapon, straight out of the megalomaniac's handbook. When he recovers, they're gone, but the Thing knows where they might be going. The strange weapon was similar to one he'd seen in the Black Panther's Wakandan laboratories...We go from London to Wakanda, where the thieves have hired a variety of muscle to hinder the thing's relentless pursuit (there are some interesting African super-villains in the MU, so it'd be a shame not to use them here...and, of course, there would be aid, if necessary, in the form of the Black Panther or Storm or even a new African super-hero), but to no avail.
Then, from Wakanda, we go to China (the thieves aren't Wakandan, you see, but are working for a renegade British ambassador with BIG ideas ), where the Thing confronts the architect of the theft, and encounters a menace greater than he expected (the diplomat intends to awaken/control Fin Fang Foom with the macguffin and, say, conquer Hong Kong for his own personal fiefdom), leading to a climactic brawl. Which is pretty much how every Thing comic should end, when you think about it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Well. That was quick. This one-hit wonder brought to you courtesy of Claremont, Bogdanove, and Austin, from Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men, issue # 4.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This was done years ago, long before Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Brad Meltzer’s Justice League relaunch, or the Venture Brothers’ paid a visit to the Ice Station Impossible. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what MY Doctor Impossible was supposed to be, but over the next five weeks, you can make up your own mind as we serialize a slightly reworked version of the first issue here at Action Age.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
So, finding myself in possession of some extra cash, I purchased the first four Brubaker/Epting Captain America trades, collecting the story arcs The Winter Soldier and Red Menace, mainly on the strength of the praise I've heard on the interwebs and otherwise.
After finishing all four, I can safely say the praise was well-founded.
Brubaker is a solid writer. He knows what we want (as opposed to what he thinks we want) and he strives to give it to us in such a way as to be both entertaining as easily accessible. He's boiled Captain America down to its basics with this reboot, playing down the super-heroics in favor of politically-tinged espionage thriller, while still bringing in classic elements of previous runs on the title. This isn't to say that he indulges in the odd continuity-porn that afflicts some comics writers, or writes simplistic re-treads of older stories. Instead, Brubaker takes familiar elements and wraps a new story around them, resulting in an appropriately mythic feel to things. It's not the Captain America story so much as every Captain America story.
He also makes an interesting choice in dispensing with the Red Skull early on, only to bring him back almost immediately (though in a much-altered state) in order to add an internal layer of conflict to another character, which helps to broaden said character's own story arc immensely. In fact, that's the name of the game with Captain America-story arcs within story arcs. Every character has somewhere to go, someone to talk to, something they need done. Even the most throwaway characters get a bit of fleshing out, if not a name. That's unusual in graphic storytelling, and it lends itself to a meaty quality in the books that's hard to define. Brubaker's writing is mentally stimulating, while at the same time, filling. He satisfies, but also leaves you wondering where he's going next.
All in all, that makes Captain America a nice addition to any collection, I feel.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier volume 1
Captain America: The Winter Soldier volume 2
Captain America: Red Menace volume 1
Captain America: Red Menace volume 2
Sunday, November 23, 2008
CBR has finished tallying the votes for the Top 25 Comic Battles. It's an interesting article, with a few unexpected appearances (at least by my reckoning), and a few omissions of battles I would have otherwise expected. For instance, take the gem to the left.
Secret Wars #10 (in a twelve issue series), wherein we have perennial villain-with-a-back-story Doctor Doom take on the omnipotent Beyonder for a chance at ultimate power.
It was the ultimate fight in a limited series devoted exclusively to characters kicking the crap out of each other. Well, insofar as they could do so in a series based around a toy-tie-in.
I mean, just look at that.
Still, it was an interesting article and it got me thinking. Reading back over it, I noticed that the majority of the battles were what you could call 'classics'...most of 'em were over ten years old, at least. Which means most of the stories on the list came before the relatively recent trend towards decompressed storytelling in comic books. Is it because decompression doesn't lend itself well to the bombastic bellicose brawls of the Bronze Age and beyond? Or maybe it's because the big battles we have now aren't so much visual feasts as they are confused messes (ie. 'realistic'), books like Annihilation, and Invincible aside. Then again, perhaps the big visual brawl is on it's way back in...look at Iron-Fist for instance. Wall-to-wall kicks to the head and super-hero fight sequences.
There is hope for the future.
Friday, November 21, 2008
This Bronx Backhand courtesy of 2004's What If...Dr. Doom Became the Thing? one shot, from the pens of Karl Kesel and Paul Smith.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Super-heroes have to have someone or something to fight, whether through a down and dirty street brawl, a battle of wits or a more spiritual conflict, it's the conflict that captures the reader's attention and propels the story forward.
Ben Grimm is the Kevin Bacon of the super-hero set in the Marvel universe. Only bigger and more orange.
He knows everyone.
Good guys, bad guys, cosmic guys, you name it, the Thing has had a beer with them, played poker with them or punched them in the head.
Don't believe me? Pick up either of the two Marvel Two-in-One Essentials and see for yourself. There is no match-up, however whacked-out, which is theoretically impossible.
The Thing vs. Wolverine-easy to do.
The Thing vs. Fin Fang Foom-who doesn't want to see that?
The Thing vs. the Hypno-Hustler-it practically writes itself.
With the Thing as protagonist, there's a limitless supply of external conflict. He can have a punch-up with just about anybody up to, and including Galactus and it won't seem unfeasible in regards to the internal story mechanics. Too, add in the Thing's celebrity as a member of the Fantastic Four and you have a character tailor-made for bouncing new villains off of, ie Cauldron, the Scalding Man.
Imagine, say, the participants of the Great Game attacking the Thing, hoping to score big points and big bucks for beating the "Idol o' Millions" or alien 'knights errant' challenging the Thing to combat, based on his reputation among the Skrull. Better yet, if simple physical conflict isn't interesting enough, based on his history with the bad guys (Sandman, the Mole Man, and the Constrictor to name three) imagine SHIELD calling the Thing in to talk down a super-villain holding hostages or threatening the city.
The Thing is sociable as far as super-heroes go. He's got more connections than the average Hollywood agent and he's got more enemies too. While this makes for a fairly reactive story mechanism, it ensures that you always have a story to tell, which is probably the most important thing in regards to comics.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Who are: Four members of the original Mighty Marvel Bullpen who were at Big Apple Con last Saturday, slingin' Stan Lee stories and making the new guys feel inadequate.
At least that's what I like to imagine. It makes up for the fact that we're losing these guys a lot faster now, as age creeps up on them. Though, I have to say, Roy Thomas looks stunning for his age.
Nothing much, really. I just felt like starting a comics blog. Somewhere that I could lay out my opinions (such as they are) and see what happens (probably nothing). An open forum for free and honest discussion.
Well, not really.
Mostly, it's so I can post pictures of the Thing punching the Hulk on a weekly basis. Well, punching anyone really, I'm not picky.
If you enjoy that kind of thing, stick around.