All posts by symbifan777

Death in the Family-The Death’s Head Family Tree

Death's Head II vol 1 1_kindlephoto-303255741You never find out how truly popular you are until you’re dead. At least, that’s what it was like for the time-traveling, cybernetic, bounty hunter called Death’s Head. But, for that to make sense, you have to visit the past (or would that be future?)

3017305-death's_head_(earth-trn234)_from_iron_man_vol_5_9The Death’s Head cyborg was created some time in our near future in the pocket dimension of Styrakos. Originally built to house the consciousness of his creator, Lupex, the mechanized being soon slew his “father” and set up shop as a “freelance peacekeeping agent” for pay (or bounty hunter for those brave enough to call him that!). He went on to create quite a reputation until, as with all things, he finally met his match.

3f75f9a109e9cdd1c450e5e6f7374c9fEnter the Minion cyborg. Minion, created in the year 2020 by the scientist, Dr. Evelyn Necker of A.I.M, was built to destroy a future threat to the universe, Charnel. To do this, Minion was supposed to kill each subject in it’s database and absorb the subject’s abilities/knowledge. It did this successfully until it came into contact with Death’s Head. After a fierce battle, Minion actually defeated the bounty hunter but, when attempting to absorb his traits, accidentally absorbed Death’s Head’s entire personality! The process was so complete in fact, Minion, by all counts and purposes now was Death’s Head! Now with a new, more brutal and sophisticated body, (plus a sexy, female sidekick named Tuck) Death’s Head II went back to business as usual. It wasn’t until two other cyborgs, Death Wreck and Death Metal, appeared on the scene, that the idea of an actual family dynamic was introduced.

DEATH HA JAN94Let’s begin with Death Wreck. A prototype for the Minion cyborg, created with mostly junk, car parts, and a poor homeless wino for the frame, this cyborg was accidentally reactivated by a man searching for Death’s Head II. Dimwitted and with a drinking problem from his previous life, this creature was built for power. Next, would be the Death Metal cyborg. This being was created from living, liquid metal from an alternate timeline. Originally seen as more of a villain type, Death Metal soon got its mind to function properly and became a hero when it truly counted. This cyborg had the ability to create bladed objects or energy-firing weapons anywhere on its body. A true living weapon!

Death_3_Vol_1_1All three of the “Brothers Grim” operated solo for a short time, but came together against the resurfacing threat of Charnel, cooperating as a team (or family?) to defeat him once and for all, saving the universe. Little is known what happened to the “Death’s Head family” after that day. I, personally, would like to think they remained together but, as with even non-cybernetic families, this may not have been the way things turned out in the end. Well, there you have it. One cyborg is destroyed, and a family is born from the ashes. But a family, be it genetic or cybernetic, is still a family nonetheless.ff4f12a1b2901b055548b722b969f83b

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What’s in a name? The history of Stryfe.

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Before I give Stryfe his time in the light, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about myself this time. My name is Jason Miller. I’m a 38 year old nerd that lives in Iowa. I have two children, Jade and James, and a loving fiance, Renee. I have been interested in creative writing since I could spell and have collected comic books most of my life. Though, back then, it was all horror or comedy. It wasn’t until my grandpa bought me issue #6 of the 1990’s Darkhawk title by Marvel Comics, that my true love affair with superhero comics began. And now, 25 years (And hundreds of thousands of dollars in comics) later, I have been given the opportunity to share my love of this era in comics history with all of you, through the Unspoken Decade, as an author. Who would have thought one comic book could make that much difference in one boy’s life?

Stryfe. Even the name invokes fear and dread. To fully understand this Marvel madman, you have to delve into his origins. After all, one is not named Stryfe without good reason.

62a5b1c9d22b37225dea7bba3af91838Stryfe began his life basically as a back-up plan. I’ll explain. In the far-flung future the mutant tyrant, Apocalypse, held dominion over all. His will was absolute and none could oppose him. Or so it seemed. A small band of resistance fighters, led by the mysterious Askani, needed a savior. One who could put an end to all of this death. The answer finally came in the form of an infant named Nathan Summers. Nathan was the son of Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean “Phoenix” Grey. You could tell by his parents alone that this was to be a very powerful mutant child. The problem was, Apocalypse believed this as well. He struck quickly and decisively, infecting Nathan with a virus that would not only halt the boy’s growing mental powers, but eventually kill him. Desperate, Askani has the child cloned to perhaps salvage their last hope. She also goes to work on young Nathan, trying to if not cure him of the virus, maybe halt it’s progress. She succeeds in the latter, saving the to-be savior of mutantkind. As for the clone? He is kidnapped by the very monster he was created to destroy, Apocalypse. Lacking a name, Apocalypse names the child Stryfe. Stryfe, as can be expected, is treated as nothing more than a weapon as he is believed to be the original child. He was raised for the sole purpose of one day becoming the vessel in which Apocalypse would transfer his essence to further his total domination of the planet. Stryfe knew this. His soul was forever tainted by his situation. And in his inner rage, plotted the downfall of not only Apocalypse, but his “brother” and all that he stood for. Finally, as his own body was now failing, the day came when Apocalypse decided it was time. To Apocalypses dismay, the procedure failed as they discovered Stryfe was a clone. Afterwards, Apocalypse was attacked and killed by the true Nathan Summers (Now calling himself Cable) and Stryfe uses this distraction to go into hiding.

197797-109571-stryfeHe would emerge later as a fierce warrior and egomaniacal madman himself. Striking out with his own army, he attacks Cable’s people and what is left of Apocalypse’s regime again and again. Though despising both armies, he centers the bulk of his rage upon Cable. It should be noted that no one knows that the leader of this faction is actually a clone of Cable save for Stryfe himself. Wearing spiked silvery armor, complete with masked helmet, his identity remained a secret. At one point, he uses this to his advantage by seeking out Cable’s wife, Aliya, and conceived a child with her, Tyler. Stryfe would later kidnap Tyler and brainwash him into being a loyal follower, renaming him Genesis.

eb97c1579235f351aa6ccfb0c59a6ce0Finally, seeking to alter the future, both Cable and Stryfe would end up time-traveling to the then present day. Stryfe would assemble another army, this time called the M.L.F (Mutant Liberation Front), and Cable would take over leadership duties of the New Mutants (Later called X-Force). The two would clash many times, one time revealing Stryfe’s true face to Cable under the helmet. More battles were fought, but one in particular would prove to be Stryfe’s “masterpiece”. The event was known as the X-Cutioner’s Song. Stryfe, dressed as Cable, entered a rally in support of mutant rights, and shot Professor Charles Xavier founder of the X-Men and face of the peaceful coexistence for mutants and humans. This caused all of the mutant teams at the time to clash leaving Stryfe ample time to strike again. This time, he struck at the past incarnations of his “parents” and Apocalypse himself! He was finally stopped by Cable. Cable thought, by killing Stryfe the conflict would be over. He couldn’t be more wrong. You see, by killing him, Stryfe had had the last laugh after all. A virus was released at the point of his death that would claim the lives of countless mutants for over a decade before being cured!

As with all comic book villains, Stryfe would not remain dead. He plagued the Marvel Universe many more times. But, he would never again be the threat he once was. In my opinion, had he only been treated like a real person at the beginning of his tragic life. Stryfe would never have been a threat in the first place. He might have even used his power and mind for the betterment of his world. But, sadly, this was never to be. He is and always will be Stryfe, in purpose and name.

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It’s Reigning, It’s Pouring

Death_of_Superman_01It began with the ending. That’s the way I remember it. Superman, the symbol for truth, justice, and the American way was gone, beaten to death by the creature known only as Doomsday. As comic fans surrounding the globe mourned the passing of DC’s iconic superhero, they couldn’t help wondering, “Is this it?” and “Who will fill his big, red boots?” Well, as it turns out, we wouldn’t have to wait long! Introducing “Reign of the Supermen”! Before the “Big Red S” could grow cold in his tomb, four oddly familiar (and some not so familiar) beings arrived in Metropolis, claiming to be the resurrected Man of Steel! 

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Cyborg_Superman_002We will begin with The Man of Tomorrow. This Superman resembled a type of cybernetic Kryptonian with a very familiar costume and powers. He acted very much like the Superman we had known but exhibited lapses in his memory. He did remember Doomsday though and the first thing he did was to chain the creature to an asteroid in the furthest reaches of space. This Superman starred in “Superman,” which was written and drawn by Dan Jurgens.

 

Eradicator_SupermanThe second, the Last Son of Krypton, looked exactly like Superman but with very different powers. This being had the ability to produce blasts from his hands of pure solar energy. He wore sunglasses to protect his sensitive eyes from intense light but, more importantly, he wore black like an executioner. He also dealt out punishments to criminals as such. This Superman starred in “Action Comics,” which was written by Roger Stern with artwork by Jackson Guice.

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Next, the Metropolis Kid (he hates being called Superboy). This Superman was seen escaping the cloning labs of Project Cadmus with the Newsboy Legion. Oddly enough, he only appeared to be around fifteen years old. He donned a leather jacket, sported a skater-style haircut, and had an attitude bigger than he was. His powers involved only a type of telekinesis. This Superman starred in “Adventures of Superman,” which was written by Karl Jewel with artwork by Tom Grummett.

 

f01ac7a56a1ec5dae93d3a93e3c09b6aLastly, there was the Man of Steel. This armored avenger was clad entirely in a metal suit of armor and carried a sledgehammer. He seemed to have no powers of his own, looked nothing like Supes, and acted the most human of the bunch. He was also the first of these supermen to in fact say he wasn’t Superman. He crawled from beneath the city’s wreckage, ready to finish off Doomsday. This Superman starred in “Man of Steel,” which was written by Louise Simonson with artwork by Jon Bogdanove. 

 

Steel_Act_of_God_01Now that the stage was set, and the players were all present, it was time for the story to commence and for fans to wonder, “Who is the real Superman?” Starting with the Man of Steel, this character was a true hero! Take one half Iron Man and one half John Henry from folklore, and you get the amazing  John Henry Irons. Irons, once saved from a fatal fall by Superman, promised to make his life count for something. When Superman fell in battle, and a new weapon nicknamed the “Toastmaster,” (Who named this thing?!) was beginning to kill people in John’s neighborhood, he created a high-tech suit of armor with a familiar design on the chest to take the fight to the gangs and honor his hero’s legacy. It turned out that Irons had created the weapon long ago for the military and felt responsible. Though he was later proven to not, in fact, be Superman reincarnated, Steel remained a hero long after the “Reign of the Supermen” and even joined the Justice League for awhile.

adventures-501The Metropolis Kid, though obviously only a young clone of Superman spliced with unknown human DNA, stated for anyone to that would listen, that he was the only true Superman. He even went so far as to legally obtain the rights to the name! When this “Superman” wasn’t trying to pick up women, or grandstanding for crowds, he actually did some good for Metropolis. After the “Reign of the Supermen” Superman, with permission from the nameless youth, rightfully reclaimed his name and dubbed him Superboy. Though reluctant, Kon-El, as he was later named, accepted the moniker. Later, Superboy remained a hero even after dealing with the fact that the human DNA used to create him, was Lex Luthor’s!

 

maxima 203-Eradication-A2Next would be the Last Son of Krypton. (My personal favorite!) Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Punisher and Superman had a secret love child? That would be our boy! This being was later found out to be the (once thought destroyed) Kryptonian computer called the Eradicator in energy form plus dead tissue from the corpse of Superman. This Superman was actually thought to be deceased at the end of the “Reign” storyline, but, as we all know, energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. The Eradicator would surface many times throughout the years. Never with the same look, but always with the same “anti-hero” attitude.

s-l1600Finally, what about that Cyborg Superman? He was really the real deal, right? You, and apparently, then President, Bill Clinton, couldn’t be more wrong! This creature was actually once a man named Hank Henshaw. Henshaw, a madman with the limited ability to absorb the properties of whatever or who ever touched him, had a real hatred for Superman. So much that, after absorbing Kryptonian DNA and technology while in space, seemingly masqueraded as his enemy only out of pure spite! This genocidal maniac, with help from the villainous Mongul, destroyed the then Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s hometown, Coast City, to build a giant “Engine City” in its place! His next stop would have been Metropolis had it not been for the intervention of the above mentioned “Supermen” and…..Superman himself?!

That’s right, fellow comic fans! After recovering from his wounds from the Doomsday fight this whole time in a healing chamber within the Fortress of Solitude, Superman was back! There was a collective sigh of relief in the DC Comic’s Universe plus, in the real world we live in. The hero that every child (whether they want to admit it or not!) had looked up to as they grew up, be it by tying a towel around their necks in place of a cape or jumping off their roofs in order to fly, had returned from the great beyond! And I, for one, would never take him for granted again.

Dedicated to my dad, who thought I was Superman when it came to my writing and now flies like him in Heaven.

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