Category Archives: 90s Marvel

The Case of the Venomous Offspring (part 1)

RCO001_w_1463374424-1-1-1-1We’re gonna eat your brains! Sorry. But when it comes to the “Father of Symbiotes,” I feel almost giddy! Why, you ask? Simply put, this is my jam, baby! I mean, look at my pen-name, Symbifan. I like to think of myself as an authority on the subject of Venom and all of the other Marvel symbiotes. (God knows I’ve spent enough money on comics over the years!) All of that said, welcome back to the Unspoken Decade and boy, do I have a story for you! So, without further ado…….

rco005_1463374424-1We begin our tale in sunny San Francisco. (Venom had recently left New York as per his deal with the Amazing Spider-Man.) But not all of the city is bright and cheery. Like anywhere else, some of it is dark and dangerous. Down in one of those places, an alley to be exact, a local thief is angered that his mugging of a young woman has born little money. He threatens to take his payment in other ways. As he flashes a knife, he comments with glee how he loves seeing fear in his victim’s faces! That’s when he hears a monstrous voice from behind him agree! Venom attacks the thief with savagery and brutality! It takes no time at all before the criminal is pinned by his throat to a wall by the Lethal Protector! Voicing disgust, he sends tendrils of symbiotic goo down the man’s throat until his eyes roll back into his skull! Presumably dead, Venom drops the street filth and turns to the victim. The anti-hero picks up the fallen purse, apologizes for this whole ordeal, and pats her on top of her head before leaping away. The woman promptly screams and runs away in terror! (That’s some gratitude for ya! You try to help a girl out! I mean, he had a mohawk in the 90’s! He kind of deserved to die, right?)

rco007_1463374424-1-1Eddie Brock and his symbiotic other then make their way through the city, via webline. Once they’re sure they’re out of sight, the symbiote camouflages itself as street clothes and Eddie Brock emerges. He rounds the corner from the abandoned alleyway and joins the rest of the San Francisco populace. He enters a motel and inquires about a room, but it seems that he was sighted after all, as two police officers enter after him, guns drawn and ordering him to put his hands in the air! (And wave ’em like he just don’t care! Woot! Woot! Sorry, I’m in a mood while writing this. A mood….to DANCE!) Instinctively, the symbiote slithers up his hands and webbing fires from both of his fists! Webbing both weapons, he swings both officers into opposite walls, knocking them out! Now fully covered by his symbiote from head to toe, Venom politely cancels the aforementioned room. The terrified clerk shakingly complies.

Meanwhile, on the isle of Manhattan, Peter Parker goes about his work within the walls of the Daily Bugle newspaper office. It’s here that he learns of Venom’s run-in with the San Francisco Police Department. Thinking back, he remembers how the Venom symbiote was on Earth in the first place because of him. He also remembers how it was Eddie Brock’s hatred for him and his alter-ego that called the abandoned symbiote to him, thus creating Venom. He feels that everything that Venom has done or ever will do is his responsibility. (Talk about a martyr complex! Geez! Am I the only one who gets annoyed at how much we, the readers, are reminded of Uncle Ben’s words? Broken record much? Ugh!) That said, Spidey decides it’s time for a trip.

rco015_1463374424-1-1The next day, Eddie takes a stroll through a local park when he suddenly becomes aware that the local homeless are being harassed and beaten by well-dressed goons! (Well, they are dressed nice. But one does have a mohawk. What is it with that? Did thugs in the 90’s have a certain dress code they had to follow that encouraged these early 80’s punk hairstyles? Inquiring minds want to know!) Enraged, Brock demands that they leave the people alone. In reply, “Mr. Mohawk” pulls a handgun! This does him little good, as Venom crushes the weapon easily! He starts systematically fighting his way through the villains, but a red-clad boot comes seemingly from out of nowhere and slams into Venom’s back, knocking him flying! Spider-Man is here!

The two begin duking it out until Venom finally gets through to the wall-crawler that these aren’t police officers, as he suspected, but rather criminals that he’s fighting! Spidey wastes little time in joining Venom in battle when the men begin shooting! When the dust clears, Spider-Man finds himself alone. Venom is gone. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location, a sinister man watches this all on the local news with keen interest. He lifts a phone and commands someone on the other end to assemble “your men.” (Hmm. Who is this mystery shady character? What is his agenda? Does he wear boxers or briefs? No? Not important? Okay, moving on….)

rco016_1463374424-1Where is Venom? He walks, as Eddie Brock, with the homeless people he has just saved. Where are they, you ask? Beneath San Francisco. In a hidden sanctuary within the sewers! They explain there is a whole secret society here and, if the council approves, he is welcome to live here. But before he can answer, huge mechanized suits of armor drill their way through a nearby tunnel wall! (Only in comics, ladies and gentlemen!) Brock shifts into Venom and stands in front of the crowd of innocents. The men within the armor waste no time and attack! Venom is lifted by powerful robotic arms and shot with lazers! Hating the heat, the symbiote fights back! The vigilante begins to win the day too until sonic weapons are used! Hating loud noise even more, Venom begins to weaken! (Hey! Superman’s weakness is a rock, okay! Don’t be so judgmental.)

The armored monster then raises two large fists above its head in unison and brings them crashing down on our hero! The force of the blow not only damages Venom but the ground beneath him! Both hero and villain crash through the floor and fall through to a hidden chamber! When both come to, they look in wonder as it appears that they have not only fallen through the ground, but back in time itself!?

rco023_1463374424-1To be continued…..

…..right now! Issue two begins with the armored villain and Venom continuing their brawl within the strange antique city. A second bad guy, a complete copy of the first, falls through the opening and comes to the aid of the other goon! The suspicious man from last issue, Treece, is mentioned to be their boss! Some of the villagers come to Venom’s rescue with weapons of their own. This angers the goons and they retaliate with lazer blasts, killing several of the people! Venom flies into a murderous frenzy, smashing the head of one and impaling the another through the chest! Soon, all that remains is smoke and death.

rco004-1It is later revealed that this part of the underground city is not accessed through time travel, but is rather a city from the past that fell during the big quake of 1906 and was paved over and forgotten. It was later discovered by a homeless man and has been a secret sanctuary for those less fortunate ever since. (Aww! No time warp? And I was all ready to dance in my Dr. Frank-N-Furter costume! Get it? You’re not “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fans?! This younger generation with its cell phones and video game consoles….sob….)

While this is going on, elsewhere in San Francisco, Spider-Man hacks a police computer database and finds the home address of Eddie Brock’s father! What’s he up to? Later, Eddie Brock is taken before the council. It takes little time for them to reach a decision. Their ruling? He cannot stay! Even though he saved several of their lives, they are afraid of him. Upset, he calls upon his symbiote and becomes Venom once again. Shooting webbing, he swings back up to the surface world. Meanwhile, Peter Parker knocks on the front door of the Brock residence. Asking about Eddie, he is answered by a door slammed in his face!

rco012-1-1Venom does some searching and soon finds the corporate headquarters of this Treece. Easily breaking in, he crawls along the ceiling, and while examining the building’s rooms he discovers a scale model of the park that he saved the homeless from earlier that day. The model depicts the park, only newly renovated as a gift to the city. This type of renovation would require all of the city’s “undesirables” to be removed from above and below! But before he can examine further, security guards burst in and open fire! (Damn! Look at all of that drool in the photo above! Talk about giving away your position! He’s gotta be leaving a huge slimey trail! Reminds me of a giant slug cosplaying as a ninja! HA! I amused myself!)

rco014-1They state aloud how they followed his drool trail to locate him. (Ha! Told you! And it’s not just because I’ve read this miniseries a million times. I’m just that smart.) Venom tells them, as they are doing the work of others, they may be innocents and are allowed to leave with their lives. They answer with even more gunfire! Venom falls! They foolishly approach, thinking their prey deceased. Venom then leaps to his feet, firing the bullets his “other” has just absorbed right back at them! Those who aren’t gunned down are beaten mercilessly by the Lethal Protector!

Meanwhile, Peter approaches Mr. Brock Sr., this time in his Spidey gear, through an open window. He demands to talk. As this is going on, Venom finishes with the guards and turns to leave through a window. He is then blasted out of the air by a group of heavily armored people! In front of them stands a mysterious blonde man! The man says, with a sinister smirk upon his face, that The Jury has come to destroy him!

To be continued…..

rco017-1Third issue. We begin where we left off. Only now, the armored men have attacked our hero! He is struck down by a sonic weapon, shocking the symbiote to its core! Eddie Brock manages to stumble across the right words and asks why he’s being attacked. The blonde man replies that he is Orwell Taylor, and that during one of Venom’s escapes from The Vault, a prison for supervillains, he had murdered this man’s son! He has since studied Venom thoroughly in order to take him down for good! He even assembled friends of his deceased son that either served as guards within The Vault as well, or with him in the military! He calls them The Jury! (Boy, this sure seems like a lengthy explanation since Venom is nowhere near death and quickly regenerating. I’m reminded of Disney’s “Incredibles” and the villain’s joke about “monologuing.”)

rco004_w_1463374524-1Venom uses this opportunity to lash out at his captors, his strength fully renewed! (See?! What did I say?!) He battles The Jury with great skill and quickly leaps to freedom! Meanwhile, Mr. Treece surveys the damage done to one of his offices by your friendly neighborhood symbiote. He is not pleased. He makes it clear to one of his cronies that Venom must not find out the true purpose of the park rejuvenation project.

rco012_1463374524-1At the home of Mr. Brock Sr., Spider-Man is told only that he cut ties with his son long ago and to leave immediately. (Nice guy, huh? Ah. Reminds me of my own dear papa. Maybe I should become a supervillain turned anti-hero. Now if I could just locate an alien symbiote….)  As Spidey turns to leave, he is approached by the housekeeper. She tells him that she wants to help.

Elsewhere in San Francisco, Venom is having a moral dilemma. He did kill the man’s son after all – isn’t he in the wrong? Is there no hope of his becoming a hero? Deep in thought, neither he nor his “other” sense the oncoming assault from The Jury! And attack they do! Well-coordinated and high-tech blast after blast either hit our hero dead on or miss him by a fraction, all along the length of Golden Gate Bridge! Two of The Jury members strike out at the same time, with their armored fists, sending Venom sailing through the air! Looking off the side of the bridge, they see no signs of him. Deciding to attack him further at a later time, they flee, leaving Venom clinging to the undercarriage of a car, camouflaged and relieved!

rco016_1463374524-1The housekeeper begins her tale of young Eddie Brock. She tells how Eddie’s father only loved one person in his life, Eddie’s mother. When she became pregnant, he was happy, until she died during childbirth. Raising the child alone and secretly blaming him for his mother’s death, the man became more and more bitter. Nothing the child could do, be it sports or schoolwork, pleased his father. When Eddie landed the job as a reporter and broke the story of his career, still nothing. When Eddie lost his job, after the story ended up being false, his father cut all ties. (Great guy! I wonder who gave him parenting advice, Charles Manson’s father?!) Spider-Man takes his leave as the old woman finishes. He wonders, is he actually not only getting to know his enemy better, but is he also beginning to understand him?

rco018_1463374524-1Venom detaches himself from the car, reverts to Eddie Brock mid leap, and lands on the sidewalk some distance away. As he walks incognito, he suddenly becomes aware that a metallic orb is hovering in the air behind him, following his every move! Before he can react, it drops to the ground beneath him and lets loose an intense sonic shriek! The loud sound starts to cause the symbiote to retreat away from its human host! (Have you ever found it amusing that when stuff like this happens, the human host has just enough symbiotic goo left to cover his or her naughty bits? Hey, if the rest of it retreats, where does it retreat to? I think a proctologist might be involved.)

rco019_1463374524-1A man boasts from behind that the orb was a sonic grenade, and then raises a rifle to finish the job. Venom tries to reason with the man, arguing that Eddie understands why The Jury is doing this, that the man he killed was a good man. But if he were to die, many good people would perish beneath the sewers. This makes the man hesitate. He does so long enough that Eddie can call the symbiote to cover him and then quickly reach out to crush the weapon! He then defends himself against an onslaught of blasts from the armored fists of one of the other Jury members! This battle doesn’t last long, though, as a missile explodes, knocking Venom’s foe unconscious! Looking up to the source of the projectile explosive, Venom sees a hovering helicopter! Someone is actually helping him!

rco021_w_1463374524-1A megaphone from within the copter announces that his savior offers him sanctuary and a proposition. Curious, Venom shoots up a webline and boards the craft. Once inside, he is met with a screen, on which is a black-haired man with a goatee. The Man introduces himself as Roland Treece, and he wants Venom to act as his head of security! Venom asks if this includes the park project. He is assured it does. Obviously smelling a trap, Venom agrees. (We all know that this is gonna go sideways for the V-Man, don’t we? The question is how.)

Our hero is taken to a secluded compound in the Mojave Desert. (Sounds bad already, huh? I’m guessing he’s gonna be forced into slave labor. A symbiote could make a lot of tennis shoes in an hour, after all!) Anyway, one of Treece’s men points Venom in the right direction, stating that the boss will meet him inside. Done playing games, Venom encircles the man’s throat with a symbiote tendril and forces him ahead as a hostage. It does him little good as the man breaks free when the walls surrounding them burst into flames!

rco023_1463374524-1-1A voice tells Venom that he can blame him for this predicament if he wishes. He introduces himself as Carlton Drake of the Life Foundation. He states that Treece, a board member of his, told him that Venom could possibly be of help to him. Venom roars that he would never help the likes of him! Drake replies that he isn’t interested in Venom….but his offspring!

To be continued….

This article is dedicated to my nephew, Blade Miller. He has grown up beyond even my greatest expectations and is a big Marvel symbiote fan as well. I love ya, kiddo, and I couldn’t be more proud of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blood Loss: A Tale of Wolverine?

RCO001_1467447586SNIKT! That’s right, Legions of the Unspoken! Symbifan has returned with yet another article about my favorite time in comicdom history, the grungy 90’s! And, as I have hinted above, this is an article about everyone’s favorite clawed mutant, Wolverine! You may be asking yourselves, why no part 2 to the Justice League article I wrote last? (I know. I sense an instant literary classic there too!) Well, you see, I have my reasons. And since I hold nothing back from you, my loyal readers, trust me when I say that all will be explained at the end of this article. Be patient. That’s all I ask. As you know, Wolverine is not known for his patience, so let’s begin with our story, shall we?

We begin with two unsavory types play poker within a decrepit old boat as they wait to reach their destination. A bigger scary man sits almost completely concealed by shadows. Across from him sits a weaselly small man that is this ship’s captain. The bigger man, sure of victory, plays his hand; a full house. The captain then plays his, four aces! But, before the good captain can celebrate, he is hauled over the table by powerful hands! As this occurs, another card drops from the “victor’s” shirt sleeve! It is the last time he will ever cheat at cards…..or breathe again! (You’re welcome for the mood I set there. Make sure to pause to let the goosebumps go down.)

RCO007_w_1467447586-1Meanwhile, within the forests of Madripoor, the man called Logan hunts a deer alongside an aging gray timber wolf. Does Logan hunt for trophies or food? No. He hunts most probably to keep his inner beast calm and pacified. (Apparently this means running around in the woods completely nekkid! I mean, there are cleverly positioned bushes and deep shadows to cover Wolvie’s junk, but come on! Modesty, bro!) The wolf, unsure of it’s company, continues to stalk it’s prey regardless. It finds it’s moment and pounces, ending the life of the deer in one fatal slash of claws! (Damn! You’d think Bambi would be safe since this whole Disney/Marvel merger! As it turns out……) Wolverine notices the trouble that the old wolf is having with devouring it’s meal. Cautiously, the mutant creeps forward and uses his adamantium claws to more easily cut up the deer meat for his companion. After a short pause, the wolf nudges some of the raw meat towards our hero. They then both feast until sleep overtakes them. Wolverine is awakened a short time later by a strangely familiar scent coming from the city below.

RCO009_w_1467447586-1Later, now wearing his familiar costume, (Thank God!) The clawed mutant warrior enters the home of his ally and sometimes lover, Tyger Tiger. This unannounced visit is met with a dagger thrown directly at his face! Slightly amused, he snatches it from the air. The two then decide to communicate more verbally. Logan asks if there are any new criminals that have recently entered the city. Tyger replies that indeed a General Coy has been making new drug connections. As he turns to go and investigate this, Tyger Tiger decides that now’s the perfect moment to break her off a piece of that Wolvie-pie! They make love into the night. (Only Wolverine can turn a B & E into sex! I think this might be an unknown mutant power of his.)

At the docks, a man approaches our dark mystery man. He calls him Cyber and states that his boss, General Coy, looks forward to doing business with him. Cyber says the same about whoever he is working for. As they shake hands, a metallic hand is seen in the moonlight, belonging to the Man called Cyber.

RCO010_1467447586-1We next find our hero using his unbreakable adamantium claws to scale the outside wall of the aforementioned General Coy’s penthouse. As this is going on outside, we find our two criminals beginning a meeting of sorts. As pleasantries are exchanged, Cyber’s attention suddenly shifts. He says that he senses something. Something from his past. (I’m reminded of Darth Vader here when he says, “I sense something. A presence I haven’t felt since…..” And then he just walks off, sentence left lingering!I know Sith Lord’s are supposed to be evil but, rude much?!)

RCO003_w_1467447646-1By this point, Wolvie has just about reached the top of the criminal compound. He enters without a sound, guards completely unaware of him. In the meantime, Cyber begins slowly taking off his hat and trench coat while he explains to the crime boss seated across from him that he possesses certain psionic abilities that allow him to pick out familiar brain patterns. He continues by saying that he has just sensed another man who he thought dead long ago. As the villain continues to disrobe, he reveals that most of his body consists of a metallic alloy of some sort! (Wouldn’t this be an uncomfortable meeting? First the dude starts talking like Darth Vader, now he’s taking his clothes off! I feel sorry for General Coy here!)

RCO007_1467447646-1

Just as the mutant tracker locates the office, Cyber crashes right through the wall! The two square off. Cyber speaks of how he thought Wolverine was dead. The hero looks momentarily confused. Recognition then crosses his features and he grits his teeth as he roars the metal man’s name in rage! They clash! The ol’ canuckle-head begins slashing wildly with his claws but Cyber merely looks amused as zero damage is done to his silvery hide!

Cyber then reveals that he has claws of his own as needle-like metal fingernails extend from his hands! Before Wolverine can react, Cyber cuts our hero! Cuts him deep! Bleeding profusely our hero is forced to retreat. He throws himself through a nearby window as Cyber looks on pleased.

RCO009_w_1467447646 (1)-1Later, Logan finds himself slowly dragging his terribly wounded form up a nearby cliffside. He is unsure why he’s doing this or where exactly this rocky formation came from. His only thoughts are of escape. While this is going on, in another part of Madripoor, Tyger Tiger wonders where Wolverine is. He should have returned from General Coy’s long ago. Just then, a redressed Cyber crashes his fist through her door! Unafraid she asks the madman if he would care for some tea. He replies that he would. (Cool scene. Personally, in the same instance, I’d have offered some Kool-Aid. You know, just to throw him off his game.)

RCO003_1467447700-1The exact time this is going on, our pal Wolvie lies in a forested area. While his body bleeds, his mind drifts. It, oddly enough, drifts back to a 1950’s looking diner. He sits upon a pink Cadillac speaking to a young girl named Janet. He tells her that he’s not used to having to work so hard to get a girl. To illustrate this, he calls out and several women surround him in an almost cartoon-like fashion. He then tells them to go, returning his attention to the blonde. She replies that perhaps he should ask one of his worshippers to the upcoming dance instead of her. Plus, there’s this other guy…..To save face and show off a bit, Logan lets his claws loose, betting that this other guy posesses nothing as cool as his adamantium claws.

RCO008_1467447700-1-2-1-1That gets her attention! She seems mesmerized by the shiny but deadly instruments of death. She admits that this other guy has nothing like these, but happens to be older, a teacher in fact. This completely enrages the furry mutant! He demands the name of said teacher. She admits that it’s the gym teacher, a Mr. Cyber. Logan slashes wildly at the air, vowing to put a stop to this right away by removing him from the picture in a most final way!

(Anyone else confused?) Finally, Cyber sits in the living room of Tyger Tiger, sipping his tea. He speaks of a deal he’s attempting to finalize with General Coy for a new type of hallucinogenic drug that is so addictive, one can become addicted by simply smelling it! The villain continues by adding that a drug this powerful could make one into a powerful player in the world of crime. She seems interested. Too interested. (Ah! I get it! Wolverine’s stoned out of his gourd! Uh…..um…..say no to drugs, kids!)

The next part of our Wolverine epic shows him still in the woods barely able to hold his internal organs in with his forearm. But, as this is going on, he continues to hallucinate. He dreams of arriving at a high school. A girl he must know approaches and tells him that the coach just left with Logan’s girl, Janet. But, before the mutant can race off in his car, Cyber and Janet pull up next to him in a bigger vehicle. (It should be noted here that the “cars” or “vehicles” I’m speaking of are…..well…..I guess you’d call them weiner-mobiles. Now, before you laugh yourselves silly, remember that this is just a hallucination. By the way, Wolverine dreams of Cyber’s weiner-mobile dwarfing his in size. Ponder the hidden meaning there, folks!) After exchanging challenging words, Cyber races off with Wolverine in hot pursuit!

RCO003_1467447767-1Meanwhile, Tyger Tiger and Cyber sit in the living room of her apartment haggling over the cost of keeping this new drug from General Coy and putting it into her own hands. A price is not agreed upon and Cyber grows aggitated. Within the dream-world, Cyber pulls ahead of our hero easily, but instead of just winning or escaping, he turns quickly and smashes his vehicle into Wolverine’s with full force! Minutes later, within the firey destruction, Logan walks from the wreckage, the dead body of Janet held in his arms! He places her carefully on the ground and unleashes his claws as Cyber approaches. Both appear ready to fight!

RCO008_1467447767-1Next, we find Tyger Tiger seemingly alone in her apartment. Cyber has gone but she now aims a gun at an intruder of some type! As it turns out, it’s the timber wolf from earlier on in our tale. She senses that the wolf wishes her to follow it. Back in the dream-world, Wolverine and Cyber rush each other, slicing and dicing as they meet and then take opposite sides. Suddenly, Logan quite literally falls to chopped-up pieces! (Don’t you hate that in anime? You know, when two rivals rush each other and then end up on other sides. One then looks back and the other’s head falls off. Nobody’s weapon is that sharp and precise, people! Ugh! Anyway, returning to our story…..) Cyber spits down on the pieces of our hero and turns to leave.

RCO005_1467447818-1Back in the real world, the old timber wolf has led our leading lady to the wounded Wolverine at last! He remarks that he’s just about healed when he suddenly catches wind of Cyber’s scent upon her! Still confused and reeling from the drugs, he turns to attack his savior! She soon talks him down, though, and helps him walk away from the bloody scene, towards a more safe area to speak further.

RCO007_1467447818-1Back at the headquarters of the crime boss, General Coy, Cyber finishes up his business. He has sold the drugs. The General seems worried that there will be retribution from Tyger Tiger and her “friend”. Cyber replies that he’s counting on it!

RCO003_1467448063-1At the home of Tyger Tiger, Wolverine is now safely letting his mutant healing factor do it’s job. As this goes on, she asks the question upon everyone’s minds: Who is Cyber? In true Wolverine fashion, though, he is cryptic and uncooperative. He tells her very little. Tyger tells him how she is supposed to meet Cyber at midnight for the purchase of his powerful hallucinogen. It’s imperative she know what she’s gotten herself into. Logan tells her that if she’s involved with Cyber, she’s already lost. Tyger is understandably confused. Is this not the famous scrapper from the Weapon X program? It’s then that he admits that Cyber has beaten him in the past. Not just beat him physically, but mentally. If she’s goes up against that madman, she’ll have to do it alone. (Shocker, right? Who would have ever pegged the deadly Wolverine for a coward? That’s it, I’m burning my Wolverine Fan Club membership card right now!)

RCO010_1467448063-1-1Midnight comes. Tyger Tiger and General Coy stand on the docks, opposite one another. Both have their own personal armies surrounding them. Before much can be said between the two, Cyber interrupts from the shadows. Looking, you can glimpse the villain standing upon the corpses of the aforementioned armies from minutes ago! He steps down slowly, admitting that he did in fact bring the drugs, but he won’t be selling to either of them! He will now be the authority in Madripoor! Tyger starts to stand up to him but is hit with a metallic fist for her trouble! That’s when we hear the familiar SNIKT noise from the shadows! Wolverine came after all and, by the look on his face, Cyber had better begin to pray! (P. S. I never got around to burning that membership card.)

RCO006_1467449343-1-1Claws are unleashed from both combatants’ bodies as they begin to square off. Wolverine remarks how his claws are longer. (Ohhhhh! Burn!) Tyger Tiger and General Coy hold handguns aimed at one another as the two clawed men lunge at one another! The two beat and slice the holy hell out of each other as the fight moves onto the top of a nearby truck! Meanwhile, Tyger and the General have moved their standoff inside. It soon becomes a battle of words between both parties. The hallucinogen from Cyber’s claws work into his system as he fights to crash through the windshield of the truck that Cyber has taken control of. At one point, he even pictures the truch and driver to be a gigantic rushing bull! (Whoa! That must be some great stuff! Cheech and Chong would be so jealous! And Logan’s getting this stuff for free!) As the two continue to bicker, Cyber suddenly loses control of the vehicle! The truck careens off of an cliff!

RCO010_w_1467449343-1The two, of course, survive the horrendous fall. As Tyger Tiger and General Coy decide how to best explain the loss of so many of their  men to one man, Wolverine and Cyber continue their brawl! Cyber leaps from tree to tree in pursuit while Wolverine dodges and moves every time the madman attacks. Finally, his luck runs out and he’s cornered. Cyber pins Wolverine to a tree, telling him that he’ll never hurt him with his adamantium claws as his skin itself is adamantium! He finishes his threat by spitting in our heroe’s face! All this does is anger the ol’ canuckle-head further and he breaks loose of Cyber’s grasp, slashing out one of Cyber’s quite vulnerable eyes!

RCO006_1467449401-1He then continues his assault until Wolvie’s friend, the timber wolf, pounces from a nearby ledge, knocking Cyber down into the mangled wreckage below! The hallucinogens within seep into the open wound where his eye once was! (To say Cyber was now “tripping balls”, as the kids like to say, is an understatement!) The battle-hardened warrior then leaps to solid ground. Tyger Tiger awaits him. He takes her in his arms and kisses her passionately.

END.

RCO010_1467449401-1-1And now for the real reason I wrote this article. Five years ago today, my stepfather passed away from a heart attack. He had had a severe one some time before and recovered from it. Unfortunately not enough. The stronger one from earlier had weakened his heart to the point where the second one took his life. Now, I know that when the death of someone you care about hits so suddenly and from seemingly out of nowhere, the shock you feel is unbelievable. But you see, my stepdad was always my Wolverine. He looked and healed like the character so that’s what I called him.

But sometimes heroes pass away and they don’t return. Sadly, this was one of those times. My dad always encouraged me to write. I know he would be proud of me and this article. This article isn’t about the “blood loss” from Wolverine’s body. Its about the loss of my “blood”. My family. My father. The question mark in the title hints that this article isn’t about Logan at all. That is correct. This is dedicated in the memory of Bobby Allen Metz. He is and will always be my hero. SNIKT!

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Not Those Guardians, Not That War

Greetings, Legions of the Unspoken!  Dean Compton is back with you here to delve into some more 90’s goodness.  I am excited that spring is finally sprung, baseball is in full swing, and that some small indie film called Avengers: Infinity War has dropped.  You probably haven’t heard of it because it’s so obscure and there’s been almost no build-up.

OR IT’S THE BIGGEST FILM MARVEL HAS BROUGHT US YET! WHICHEVER!

We’re all very excited.  Those of us who braved the speculation crashes of the 90’s have been waiting for this movie for around twenty-five years.  If you had told me then that one day there’d be a movie based on Thanos’s exploits with the Infinity Gems, I would have thought you were Mephisto, prince of lies.  Or at least Zarathos or maybe one of those weird demons from Hellblazer or something.  Alas, here we are, though, on the precipice of what is hopefully a monumental moment for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

‘Round these parts we are more interested in the then, than the now, and one of the things that really interested me as I first started my deep dive into comic books some 27 years ago (it’s mega unfair that it has been that long) was the entire Infinity Gauntlet saga.  My first big exposure to superheroes outside of cartoons was the Impel Marvel Trading Cards, series 2 in particular, and the Infinity Gauntlet card captured my attention.  There was Thanos, basking in all the glory that comes with omnipotence.  I didn’t know what had happened, and sadly, I was too late to keep up with the original saga month to month.  Lucky me, though, as The Infinity War was about to break out!

One of the things that attracted me to Infinity War was the epic gatefold covers, many of which depicted the mightiest heroes in the Marvel Universe in a tumultuous struggle with sharp-toothed doppelgangers that looked like they had stepped out of a mirror universe from Tales from the Darkside or something.  What appealed to me even more was that the saga was so large that it burst out of the mini-series like the insides of a tomato hitting the ground, spilling out into almost every other Marvel title!  Most of you will brush this off as a lame sales grab, and, well, it was definitely a sales grab, but it was a sales grab in the best way!

Did you want to see more of Wonder Man’s inner struggle during the Infinity War? How would Sue Richards deal with the seeming death of her husband? Perhaps you wanted to see what happened to Sleepwalker during this struggle?  (Based on sales, you probably didn’t.)  The crossovers meant you could, and they meant that you could try out other titles you hadn’t really given a shot to before.  I know we’re all tired of them now, but this was still a new concept to me then.  Sort of how when I was 16 I was like, “GODDAMN, I CAN’T WAIT TO DRIVE!” but fuck, now I’d almost rather do anything else besides drive, like, y’know, writing crappy articles like this.

One team that I hadn’t gotten a handle on from the Marvel Cards I had seen was the Guardians of the Galaxy.  I don’t recall seeing any of the GOTG (yes, I’m lazy – this article is free, y’all) in the Marvel Universe Series 2 set (cue up dude in the comments proving me wrong), so when I saw the Infinity War crossover issues, I was intrigued.  Who were these guys?  They’re from the future?  Why does that Rambo-looking dude have Captain America’s shield?  (For those of you coming in here who aren’t big pads, big guns, no feet 90’s comic book fans, the GOTG were originally a super-team from a possible Marvel Universe future that eventually diverged.  You’ll see no Star-Lord, Gamora, or Rocket Raccoon here.  Get ready for Major Victory, Nikki, Charlie-27, Starhawk, and more!)

I had already picked up a GOTG issue where they fought a street gang of folks based on The Punisher (which is just as awesome as it sounds), but these issues got me very interested.  An added bonus is this is one of my first experiences with The Inhumans, one of the most underrated superhero groups of all time!

 

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I can’t be the only person who’s a sucker for superhero comics featuring sidebars of the faces of the characters located therein!

The issue takes off with Major Victory, the leader of the GOTG, berating the rest of the team for heading into the past on a mission of pure genocide against the Badoon.  The Badoon are the raison detre for the GOTG, as their attack on our solar system basically wiped out humanity, so the original GOTG united against them and their tyranny!  Somewhere along the way, though, Starhawk convinced them to go back in time and destroy the Badoon before they can destroy humanity.  Major Victory, being the guy with Cap’s shield, doesn’t think too much of this plan, but before he can thoroughly chew the team out, their newest member, Talon, stumbles in.  I’d say he seems sick as a dog, but he’s sort of a cat, so that seems wrong.

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Starhawk is giving Talon a death stare here; what’s he so mad at our cat pal about?

Talon collapses as the team tries to take him to sick bay, but as he does, he tells them to get him to the moon.  Specifically, he wants to go to Attilan, which is the secret city that is home to none other than the Inhumans and their royal family!

The GOTG speed off in that direction, but they have no way of knowing that one of the first blows of The Infinity War has been stuck.  The headquarters of The Fantastic Four (notably good pals of The Inhumans and in particular the royal family), Four Freedoms Plaza, has been blown up by unknown forces, and the fate of the FF and many other superheroes there is unknown!  So to say the least, it really isn’t the best time for a group of superhumans that The Inhumans have no idea exists to teleport into Attilan.  I know this is gonna shock you, but that’s exactly what the GOTG do!  Of course, The Innumans act calmly when Major Victory tries to explain their presence.

 

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Just kidding, y’all; these heroes are gonna fight!  MAKE MINE MARVEL!

The Inhumans and the GOTG punch on each other a bit while telling each other their names, which is legit my favorite kind of fight.  Major Victory is aware the fight is usless, though, and he unleashes a mighty psychokinetic blast that somehow convinces Black Bolt that the GOTG are the good guys.

 

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If the Care Bears were a part of the Marvel Universe, this is totally what their stare would be.

The Inhumans take Talon to the Randac Medcal Center, which, honestly, is what all medical centers should be called henceforth.  As he gets the care he needs, the other Inhumans explain to the GOTG about the explosion at Four Freedoms Plaza, and how they don’t have any idea what may have caused this tragedy.

The two superhero squads (See what I did there?  Now that theme is stuck in your head.)  don’t have a lot of time to discuss the explosion because just as the conversation starts, an array of doppelgangers of both the Inhumans and the Guardians rudely interrupts them.

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Regardless of who they are doppelgangers of, Doppelgangers are always rude.

These doppelgangers from the Infinity War are great.  The razor teeth look genuinely creeped me out back in the day, and to be honest, that look is still sort of unnerving now.  The Infinity War doppelgangers look like the people that are just like us that live on the other side of mirrors.  You can say they’re fake, but let’s be honest — deep down, we all believe in that world on the other side of the mirror, and it sprang to life in the Marvel Universe during the Infinity War.

The good news for the Inhumans and the Guardians is that these doppelgangers go down easy for now.  After Talon reveals a big secret about the future of the Inhumans to the Royal Family, the Guardians split for Avengers Mansion on Earth.  Major Victory has no recollection of these events, and if something has happened to The Avengers, then the Guardians are going to get to the bottom of it!

While the Guardians are teleporting down from Attilan, Doctor Octopus has assembled a ragtag group of villains together in the wake of the explosion at Four Freedoms Plaza.  Doc Ock has information that not only did Four Freedoms Plaza explode, but that nearly every superhero in the city was inside the building when it blew up!  He suggests the group (consisting of Doc Ock, Powderkeg, Jackhammer, Oddball, Titania, the Abosrbing Man, and Yellowjacket [Rita Demara]) attack and loot Avengers Mansion while the heroes are away.  Of course, he is just using these folks, and the good bad doctor plans to abscond with all of the advanced Avengers technology himself!

As this meeting is happening, the Guardians arrive at Avengers mansion, only to be met by the fiercest resistance possible from a slightly out of shape butler and his vacuum cleaner!

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This Jarvis is so much better than movie Jarvis. Fight Me.
Jarvis opens up to the Guardians that the explosion at Four Freedoms Plaza didn’t kill the assembled superheroes and that a task force of heroes has left Earth via mystic means.  Other heroes remain behind for now.  Charlie-27 suggests that the Guardians head that way, when a member of Avengers Mansion security bursts in to alert the Guardians and Jarvis about Doc Ock’s villain team just outside the mansion!  The Avengers security team beefs up with some weaponry while the Guardians of the Galaxy face off with what Jarvis is calling another incarnation of the Masters of Evil!  Talon points out this is a dumb name, but he’s a cat dude named after a bird’s foot, so I dunno that he is in a position to hurl that sort of insult.  Then again, Absorbing Man just calls his group that on the next page, so I guess it’s all fair game.

 

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It’s a rule in the Marvel Universe that anyone who has Cap’s shield is automatically in charge of the situation.

The Guardians spring into action with only Charlie-27 really having a lot of problems. Since he had to take care of the Masters’ most powerful member, I suppose we have to cut him a bit of slack.  Nikki has no issues with Yellowjacket, and she notes that Yellowjacket’s heart didn’t really seem to be in the fight.  There’s a lot of struggle elsewhere, and while the fracas is going on, Doc Ock sneaks off to engage in a contingency plan.  Starhawk, meanwhile, is being confronted by his doppelganger, and in what’s only a minor league asshole move for the guy if you have read a lot of GOTG, is looking forward to being absorbed by his doppelganger until he realizes that by doing so his own free will would be subverted.

 

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Starhawk is supposed to have new omniscience as “the one who knows” but he seems to be the only one during the entire Infinity War crossover who doesn’t know that getting absorbed by the doppelgangers is a really bad idea.

The Guardians take out the Masters of Evil, although they need the help of Yellowjacket’s face turn to get the job done.  Nikki and Yellowjacket take off during the battle for the inside of Avengers Mansion, and when the other Guardians finally catch up to them, they’ve been overcome by Doc Ock and a few members of the Masters of Evil we hadn’t seen yet!

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More intimidating fat dude: Kingpin or Doc Ock?

With that it’s on to Guardians of the Galaxy #29 to wrap up the Guardians involvement in the Infinity War, and this time the war comes home!  And by the war coming home, I mean a bunch of doppelgangers of both the Guardians and the Masters of Evil are gonna be such a big deal in the last part of this story that they are the only fucking thing on the cover.

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The one on the bottom left looks like a Morbius doppelganger.  RISE OF THE MIDNIGHT SONS CROSSOVER, Y’ALL!

Also, while we are looking at this cover, how could you even tell which one of those Shockers is the doppelganger?  Both have weird looking eyes, and neither have those sharp ass teeth that should have clued Starhawk in that merging with the doppelgangers is a bad idea.

Another bad idea would be to turn your back on any member of the GOTG, even one who you had previously thought defeated.  Doc Ock has no knowledge of the Guardians, so he and the other Masters of Evil are surprised when Nikki and Yellowjacket come back from their unconscious state and turn the tables on the Masters of Evil!

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Make your own “they shocked the Shocker” jokes here.

Both teams soon have bigger problems on their hands, and I mean this literally as Gargantua’s doppelganger teleports onto the scene.  Other doppelgangers of both the Guardians and the Masters of Evil start arriving left and right, leaving Doc Ock and Major Victory no choice but to have their teams join forces to attempt to repel these ungodly abominations, although Gargantua needs no encouragement to take the fight right to the razor toothed mirror men!

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Fucking Ouch

The fight seems endless, as more and more doppelgangers pour out of portals, threatening to overwhelm hero and villain alike.  Due to the actions of Galactus in another comic book, the doppelgangers all disappear like a bad memory.  Really, though, shouldn’t that be a good memory?  We forget the good stuff all the time, while we continue to torture ourselves with the bad memories late at night when we should be sleeping.  All apologies for that; it’s a tad morose to be in an article highlighted by an evil giant punching through the chest of his more evil doppelganger.  I won’t let it happen again, folks

Anyhow, with the day saved, Doc Ock is of the mindset that the Masters of Evil should take out the Guardians and resume with their plan to take over Avengers Mansion.  The Masters of Evil treat Doc Ock the way you treat your pal who just doesn’t know when the party’s over and turn on him faster than a new superhero universe popped up in the early 90’s!

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Never mind that Shocker joke you made earlier; dude himself had it covered the whole goddamn time.

All’s well that ends well, and if the bad guys are gonna chase themselves off, I reckon it doesn’t get much better than that.  Yellowjacket also stays behind, and soon she’ll head back to the future with the Guardians and even join the team!  Before she gets to bask in the glory of being in Marvel’s premiere 31st century super hero squad, there’s just one more task to complete.  Jarvis takes his duties seriously, and he insists that the Guardians of the Galaxy become the Custodians of the Castle as Jarvis walks right up to them and demands they take part in repairs and cleanup!

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Did the Fantastic Four really start like what?  A janitorial crew?  I don’t recall that, but with all the retcons they’ve had, who fucking knows?

Jarvis getting the Guardians to clean up Avengers Mansion might be the greatest moment in the history of the Marvel Universe.  Fight me if you disagree.  Or better yet, fight my evil doppelganger.  The one with the teeth.

Hope everyone enjoyed this look back at Infinity War!  It’s definitely a fun part of the larger crossover, although it could have used a bit of Thanos or Warlock to really spruce things up and make it feel more like a part of the larger crossover.  It would have been nice, but it wasn’t really needed.  Other than that minor oversight, this is a great example of how a larger crossover should spill into a book.  No one who just read this felt ripped off because some of the events wrap up elsewhere.  If you were a regular reader of Guardians of the Galaxy, it developed characters further (some of which aren’t mentioned in this write-up.  Go read the book, people!)  These three issues also did a great job displaying the Guardians to a non-regular reader.  All in all, for all the flak that 90’s crossovers get (some of which is deserved), this shows you how that 90’s mega-epic could work in a spin-off crossover if done right!

Everyone, enjoy the movie.  It’s amazing that we’re gonna get to see this, right?  Just try and remember being a teenager in 1992, eyes wide open over Thanos’s shenanigans in the Marvel Universe then, and try and think about that young person would feel if they knew what they were gonna see.  We’ve got our tickets for Saturday!  I can’t wait!