Domino Effect

Greetings and salutations, Denizens of the Unspoken Universe! The Symbifan is back in the hizzy! (That’s my failed attempt at humor. Don’t worry. There’s more to come.) I thought I’d return to the Marvel Universe for this article. But not the Marvel Universe you know and love. No. For this particular article, I dare to ask the question…….”What if?”

This story begins as most tales of alternate realities begin, with the Watcher! The Watcher is a cosmic being blessed/cursed to bear witness to important events in the history of the Marvel Universe, yet he can never intervene, no matter how much he is compelled to. (So he’s pretty much a godlike peeping tom with excuses as to why he can’t step up like a real man. Oh! Burn!) But the Watcher not only sees one universe, he sees all of them from his hidden perch atop the Earth’s moon. It seems that in most cases, history can and will change drastically as the result of one single changed event. Like so…..

In the Marvel Universe we know a frail, yet patriotic, young man from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers, would become the only super soldier when the scientist who created the unique serum, Dr. Erskine, was shot to death by a German spy. But things in this universe went down slightly different as Rogers was fast enough to push his creator to safety, causing the bullet to miss its intended target! This moment would change this universe forevermore. (You ever try to say “super soldier serum” five times fast? It’s impossible! Did you try it just now? Ha! Made you do stuff!)

The U.S. government would now go on to create severel more super soldiers with Rogers, AKA Captain America, and a young Nick Fury leading them. Before long, World War II was at an end, with America being the ultimate victor of the conflict. The war over, Rogers and Fury began their long journey home. However, their ship was attacked by some remaining Nazi U-boats. Only Steve would survive to return to the States. (Seems a bit shifty to me. Hmmm.)

Steve Rogers would return as the biggest hero in American history. He would go on to create more super soldiers to serve in his world police force, S.H.I.E.L.D. His popularity grew until he was even elected as President for an unheard of three consecutive terms. It all seemed like the beginning of a fantastic new era for America. But all was not as it seemed. President Rogers had a twisted idea of “human perfection”. His ideas of a “master race” mirrored Nazi beliefs as his men began to exterminate not only those that he saw as potential superhuman threats to his dream, but citizens that were deemed as “undesirables”! (Like people that don’t reply when you say, “Excuse me.” Ugh! That really toasts my buns!)

One of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most feared soldiers/hunters was a man named Frank Castle. He wears devastatingly powerful armor, created by a man named Tony Stark. With it, hes been dubbed the Iron Man. It’s during his mission to execute the famed Sub-Mariner in the North Atlantic that a startling discovery is made…..a block of ice that seemed to contain the frozen body of Captain America! (Cap just seems to be destined to enter the new world with horrible brain freeze no matter what!)

Iron Man uses Namor’s confusion to his advantage, stunning him with several repulsor blasts. He then hauls The Sub-Mariner and the frozen man onto a waiting S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. Namor is placed within a containment cell while a quickly-melting Captain America is laid out on a slab. Castle gets involved in a heated conversation with the two super soldier pilots, making him completely unaware that the man dressed in red, white, and blue has opened his eyes! (It’s on now! Yeah! Go, Cap! Sorry. I got a little too hyped there. It’s all of the caffeine admittedly.)

Captain America’s time frozen in ice has done little in slowing his fighting prowess! He quickly not only disarms and defeats the soldiers, but Iron Man as well! He then quickly frees the aquatic prisoner. They move in on Castle. Cap is quickly brought up to speed on the recent state of his beloved country and that it seems as though he is the cause of all of this horror by Namor. Castle states that he was only following orders as Cap is his childhood hero. Rogers then asks if this is the America that Frank truly wants to fight for. His reply is to incinerate the two super soldiers! Namor flies into a frenzy! This man can hardly be trusted! Captain America separates the two and states that they all have a common goal here. If this war is to be won, they will all need to work together. Both men agree and the Avengers are born! (Frank Castle with Iron Man armor is the stuff of nightmares. Just sayin’.)

The trio commandeer the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft and use the computer systems aboard to search for others with extraordinary skills to aid them in their cause. This search takes them to the vast wilderness of the world’s 51st. state, Canada. They exit the ship and it doesn’t take long before they find the one they’re looking for, a mysterious man from Cap’s past that goes by the name, Logan. Logan wastes zero time for pleasantries, but instead attacks! As he fights, his body goes through a strange metamorphosis, sprouting long, white hair all over a huge, monstrous form! (Hey! My hair’s turned white too. I want super strength to go along with it! Of course, my hair’s the side-effect of raising two teenagers.)

The Avengers throw everything at the rampaging beast, but to no avail! Logan roars that he’ll destroy anyone who works with a monster like Steve Rogers! That’s when Cap finally says that he’s the real Captain America and that if he joins them, there will be no shortage of super soldiers to maim and kill. And just like that, Logan replies that he is now known as the Hulk and that he’ll join them. (That didn’t take long. I don’t want to say that Wolverine’s a psycho, but maybe some medication wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.)

Unfortunately, the Avengers would arrive too late to recruit their next man. Hank Pym and his wife had been murdered. Their bodies still lie on the floor. But before they can take their leave, Iron Man catches a burglar as he’s breaking into the house! The burglar says that his name is Sam Wilson and that he detests having to steal in order to live. But in this country, a black man’s lucky not to be sent to a death camp, let alone get honest work. Captain America is then struck with inspiration. He hands Wilson one of Pym’s costumes and pills that Pym was going to use to alter his size. Sam takes these items and becomes the mighty Giant Man! (What’s that you say? Where’s Scott Lang to take up the mantle, like in the Ant-Man movies? Isn’t Pym supposed to be an old man? Read a comic, people! Damn!)

(I omitted a part here involving Magneto that I felt served no purpose to the present story. I am not, nor have I ever been, a mutant-hater. That is all.) The team uses Castle’s security clearance to gain access to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. But as they rush by, they witnesses great power humming within a nearby room. Looking in, they see a man with long, blonde hair and body armor, shackled with energy cuffs! The super soldiers are seemingly attempting to drain not only him, but the power from a large hammer held firmly in his grip! Cap and his allies spring into action, fighting off the soldiers and freeing the prisoner! He claims that he is the Norse god, Thor, and he will help them.

While more super soldiers enter the room, Iron Man shouts that Cap needs to find the room that holds the super soldier serum and destroy it. With the heroes covering his escape, he follows Castle’s directions to navigate the humongous helicarrier. He finds many soldiers along the way, but always he triumphs and moves ever onward. Soon, he finds the lock to the correct door. He scans his fingerprints. The device confirms that he is the President of the United States and opens. Inside, even Captain America must gasp. Standing there is none other than his un-aged creator, Dr. Erskine! (Crap! I want some of that de-aging serum! I pop more than Rice Crispies when I stand up!)

Cap approaches the older man. To his surprise, the good doctor is beyond pleased to see him. He comments how proud he is of him and his good work. How his serum helped in saving America. That’s when the forlorn superhero turns on a wall of television screens. The several news channels report on the horror that the United States has truly become. And at the center of it all, President Steve Rogers. Dr. Erskine then drops to his knees and sobs. He had been blissfully unaware of the outside world for decades. This sad moment is interrupted however by the sudden appearance of President “Steve Rogers” with a loaded gun! (That’s heartbreaking. Decades with no t.v.? How can he be expected to keep up with the such educational programs like DC’s Peacemaker, starring John Cena? Those monsters!)

Captain America doesn’t have to wait long for an explanation on just who his doppelganger is. He is none other than the Red Skull! The Skull was thought dead near the end of World War II, but he had his top scientist place his mind into a cloned body of Rogers! He then ordered Nazi U-boats to fire upon Cap and Nick Fury’s ship, trading places with the real Captain America in the confusion! The rest, as they say, is history. (Don’t you just love when the villain explains their entire master plan? It’s idiotic in practice, but us readers enjoy the explanation. Villains: Catching up slow comic fans since forever. Amen.) The Red Skull then tells a distraught Dr. Erskine that he’s no longer needed. The Skull has figured out the super soldier serum for himself!

The Red Skull aims the handgun directly at Cap’s face! But Erskine moves suddenly in front of the hero, taking a bullet to the chest! A bullet that perhaps should have hit its target so very long ago. (As Metallica might say, “Sad But True”. What? I already admitted earlier that I was old!) Enraged, Captain America throws himself at his evil double! The two scuffle until the true patriotic super soldier picks up the cloned madman and hurles him into a power generator! The body convulses and sizzles until it falls lifeless to the floor! But the threat has not yet ended. Cap returns to his allies. The battle continues to rage between super soldiers and the Avengers!

More and more heavily-armed super soldiers continue to flood into the room! The heroes know in their hearts that they won’t survive this fight. But, like true warriors, they’ll go down fighting! That’s when Captain America calls out a battle cry that seems to empower his loyal comrades, “Avengers assemble!”

Time passes as time does, and America slowly begins to become what it was meant to be, a home for people of all races and religions to come together as one people. And though the heroes that fought to make this dream a working reality once again perished during that epic battle so long ago, the people will never forget their sacrifice.

Well, that’s it. With this story now concluded, this very tired Symbifan is gonna go to bed. Later, alligators! After awhile, Loki Crocodiles! Lol! Until next time.

Messenger of Fate

You’ll all think I’m crazy, but I want a Fate action figure ASAP! That said, I’m aware that this particular 90’s DC character isn’t winning any popularity contests with the fans. But you know what? I like him, so I’m writing about him. (Sticks out tongue in defiance!) Seriously though, if you’ve never actually read his title and base all of your feelings on the misconceptions that Jared Stevens as an embarrassment to the mantle of Doctor Fate, you’re really missing out. I love Dr. Fate too. But there had to be room for both characrers in a comic universe so vast and diverse. Anything can happen in a work of fantasy afterall. Now that I’ve said my peace, I present to you my thoughts on “Fate” issue #0! Enjoy, Unspokenites.

Demons seem to pollute every corner of this place. Ash and brimstone poison the very air. The horrific creatures writhe and slither everywhere. Their sheer numbers make one wonder what’s up and what’s down in this living hell. That’s when Jared Stevens startles awake. He’s seated on a rickety, small plane with two others. The men remark on his health but he dismisses their concern. They are thieves and drug runners. He on the other hand deals in the theft and sale of relics and antiques. (That’s a man with morals right there. At least he doesn’t run drugs. Of course, he did arrange to help these other drug runners in the transport of said drugs…..Oh well. No-one’s perfect.)

One of the men asks if the pilot can be trusted. Jared replies that he trusts him completely. He owes him one. Just then, the subject of their conversation enters the cabin and opens fire on all three of them! The criminals drop, riddled with holes! But Jared dives to find cover! The pilot promises that he wasn’t paid to take Stevens out. If he surrenders, he won’t be harmed. Positive that this is a blatant lie, Jared pulls a knife from his boot and throws it at the traitor’s hand! It hits home and the pilot drops the gun! That’s when one of the others uses his last breath to fling a grenade at their attacker! (A grenade?! Who carries a grenade onto a plane in case of emergencies? A man that thinks ahead, that’s who!) The plane quickly explodes into flames, hurling Jared Stevens through burning shrapnel and the night sky beyond! He crashes down in a forested area, apparently uninjured!

After quickly checking himself for injury, he then makes sure the bag containing the relics he recently stole are likewise unharmed. Seeing that everything’s intact, he sighs in relief. However, this relief doesn’t last long as he’s suddenly aware that he’s not alone. An almost-skeletal, elderly couple walk slowly towards him! (I’d scream like a little girl here! Too many zombie flicks growing up!) In a gravely voice, the man says that they have been on his trail in order to reclaim what is rightfully theirs! Before Jared can say much in his defence, symbols that he recognizes as Egyptian ankhs appear in the man’s eyes as he says that this matter will be better settled at the Tower! Stevens then loses consciousness.

After the trio has mysteriously disappeared, a vehicle drives up. Two suited men emerge and scan the area. They seem annoyed as one comments that they have arrived too late. Their boss will be most unhappy should they not find their prey soon. It’s then that the two shed not only their clothes, but their skin, revealing horrific, demonic forms underneath! The bigger of the two places a clawed hand on the ground. He comments to the other that residual magics have been left behind, magics that can be followed. (Things have really heated up, Unspokenites! We’ve got two naked demons in the mix now! See? Symbifan hooks you up when he tells a story!)

Jared Stevens shakes his head as he tries to regain consciousness. He sees that he is bound by rope and seated in some type of stone room without windows. The elderly couple stands before him. The man speaks. They are known as Kent and Inza Nelson. He states that the items that Jared has in his possession are none other than the helmet, cloak, and amulet of the mystical avenger known as Dr. Fate! He continues that he and his wife used to be merged into one being and that combined, they were in fact this hero! (Can you imagine merging bodies with your significant other? Ugh! The chick flicks you’d have to endure!) It seems that a recent event involving time separated and aged them, casting the artifacts back to the place of their origin, Egypt. That’s where Jared found them and took them, seconds before the rightful owners were to reclaim the powerful artifacts.

The couple then place the helmet between them. Inza looks to Jared and comments how it’s a shame that he doesn’t believe in any of this and uses his talents on petty crime. She could see him being destined for much more. (Forshadowing, or is this old mummy actually hitting on poor Jared? And right in front of her hubby! Talk about a cougar!) Especially with the one who is coming. A dark one known only as Kingdom. Kent and Inza then concentrate, using every bit of their combined willpower to try and become how they once were trying to make Dr. Fate live again! Jared frees himself with his hidden knife. He warns the elderly duo to return the artifacts to him! Thats when the demons burst through the stone wall!

They’re the demons from earlier! They have tracked the three humans to this place and now, they’re out for blood! The demons announce that they are called Bloodstain and Thunderspawn (Do you think you can become a successful doctor or lawyer with a name like Bloodstain? Well…..maybe. Moving on.) And they’re here to kill everyone in this room! The couple attempt to use what’s left of their arcane powers to ward off the demons but alas, they break right through their weakened magical forcefield! Jared tries to attack physically, but is knocked aside as if he were as light as a feather! One of the evil creatures hurls a strange orb at the heroic couple! It states that this object will remove what is left of their already ebbing lifeforces! Unfortunately, it hits its targets!

As the sphere takes the life that’s left within the bodies of Kent and Inza Nelson, Kent stares Jared Stevens straight in the eye with a surprising look of peace upon his face. He says that he is content that his time is over, because his legacy will live on! Then, the two legendary heroes disintegrate in a blinding flash of light! The bigger of the two demons complains that his lust for death has not yet been sated. He grabs Stevens by his arm! The other demon notices that Jared has the amulet of Dr. Fate in that very hand and warns his evil partner not to destroy the relic! But this warning comes too late! The amulet is crushed along with Jared’s arm! The result is an earthshaking explosion! (There’s alot of flashing and explosions in this scene. Readers with sensitive eyes may wish to look away.)

Jared Stevens crawls from the rubble, clutching his utterly ruined arm in anguish. He hears sounds of what must be an epic battle being fought nearby. He curiously investigates. A large humanoid is fighting a man dressed in crimson, his arm wrapped in golden ribbons. He also brandishes a large golden blade. He hears the man call the large being Kingdom. It appears as though this Kingdom is winning. As the man falls, he utters through his pain that though Kingdom has defeated Dr. Fate, he will not fall so easily! That’s when Jared spies this hero’s face…..it’s his own! (Surprise! What? You knew?! Look, just because this comic originally came out in 1994 doesn’t mean that you have the right to be a smarta$$!) Jared awakens. He clears the strange vision from his head and wraps his damaged arm in the mystical cloak. He then grabs Dr. Fate’s helmet and leaves this disastrous scene behind him. He needs time to process all that has transpired and hide from any demons that might still be nearby.

Later, Jared Stevens’ ex-wife, Holly, returns home. Noticing signs of a break-in, she grabs a butcher knife and slowly looks around. The man sitting in the darkness of her living room speaks, scaring her half to death. Then, fright becomes anger as she recognizes the voice. Assuming that her ex-husband is once again in hiding from some illegal activity gone wrong, she demands that he leave immediately. That’s when he takes her by the shoulders with shaky hands and says that he needs to hide somewhere safe and collect himself after all that’s transpired. She then sees him fully as he steps out into the light. A long, red ankh completely covers the right side of his face! Little does she or he know it, but a hero was born this night! It was fate.

End.

The Armageddon Agenda (part 3)

Wow! With the overwhelming success of part 2, I’d be crazy not to complete my look back at the TMNT/Mighty Mutanimals crossover event from Archie Comics! It truly brings a tear to this old nerd’s eye. Anyway, all of that emotional stuff aside, I really should get to the article. I don’t want to keep my fan waiting…..

The heroes are beaten, battered, and held captive by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Null looks on with grim satisfaction as the combined teams are held firmly in place by hi-tech restraints and dangle from large posts that are fixed in the hard ground. On a nearby cliff, Death looks on as he plays with his marionettes, the very instruments that he’s using to control his fellow Horsemen. Jagwar demands to know why Null is doing all of this. Why summon the Horsemen? Why destroy the rainforest? Why kidnap his human mother? (Notice how he asks about his mother after asking about the rainforest? Great son she’s got there! Sheesh!) Null’s answers are simple. Since his last defeat at the heroes’ hands, he has decided that his ultimate revenge would be the death of all life on Earth. Plain and simple. (Overreact much?) And the one to press the button that would destroy them all will be their trusted friend and ally, Kid Terra! As for Jagwar’s mother, she will be a part of his harem when all is said and done!

A very smug Null then strolls off to his hidden prison to fetch Terra. But when he enters the chamber, all three of his captives are missing! All that remains are untied ropes! Outside, the changeling bird/woman, Azrael, swoops in, surprising the confused Horsemen and freeing half of the mighty band of heroes by tricking War into smashing the poles they’re held on! Raphael, Mondo, Jagwar, and Screwloose immediately throw themselves into combat with the titanic villains as Donatello busies himself with freeing the other half of their heroic group! With the Horsemen occupied, it doesn’t take long before Michelangelo, Ninjara, Splinter, Leonardo, Man-Ray, Wingnut, Dreadmon, and Leatherhead are likewise freed! (Whoa! That’s a lot of characters to keep track of in one scene! Good thing I’m an excellent writer. I know because my mommy tells me so!)

Death continues to look on from a distance and control the other powerful monsters, but his actions do not go unnoticed. Kid Terra and Juntarra have spied this through the use of Kid’s binoculars and make a move to help the situation. Kid Terra moves on the Reaper while Juntarra silently approaches Null. Terra strikes death straigh in his grinning face but the creature only laughs! Just then, before Juntarra can stop him, Null fires a single, well-aimed shot from a concealed handgun! Kid Terra falls from the cliffside, dead before he hits the ground below! (Sob. I’m sure he’ll be fine. This is a comic book after all. Sob. No-one ever stays dead in a comic book. I mean, look at Spidey’s Uncle Ben for example…..Harder sobbing.)

Azrael joins Juntarra and the two women disarm Null while Screwloose checks on Terra. While he feels for a pulse, Death comes up from behind and swings his deadly scythe at the mosquito-like alien, knocking him aside! Meanwhile, Ninjara has joined the other two females in surrounding Null! Ignoring all of this, the Reaper reaches down towards Kid’s still form and begins to pull the human’s soul from his body! As the Horseman attempts to perform his grisly work, an unnoticed Screwloose spies the discarded marionettes! Guessing as to their use, he uses all of his might to crush the puppets to mere fragments! While on the battlefield, the Turtles and Mutanimals see three of the notorious Four Horsemen fall to pieces until nothing remains! (Trust a mosquito to be the end of even the Biblical Four Horsemen! Those things seem to be the bane of all existence! And you thought that only cockroaches would remain at the end of all things!)

Null uses this confusion to pull his firearm free of the changeling female! But rather than fire it, he turns to leave! As he does this, large, bat-like wings sprout from his back, ripping their way free of his expensive suit! He then shoots into the shy with a final word that this changes nothing. He will have his revenge one day! (Why do villains always leave with that line? For once, I’d like one of them to say, “Wow! You really beat me and foiled my evil plan. Good job, guys. Should I turn myself into the authorities now, or after brunch?”) Meanwhile, Death has pulled Kid Terra’s soul free of his corpse with a maniacal laugh! But the Reaper has forgotten his scythe! Juntarra picks up the weapon and swings it with deadly efficiency at the enemy! The blow shatters the Horseman ‘s skeletal body! Kid Terra then gasps for air as his soul returns, bringing him back from death! (Ha! Told you! Sniffle…..)

Beaten, Death reforms upon his pale steed and races off to parts unknown. While Terra recovers in the care of the heroes, the Ninja Turtles ponder just how they’re ever returning to New York from this far away place. But, this is a matter for another time. Afterall, they just survived an encounter with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! After that, everything else is a cake walk!

End.

Dedicated to my biggest fan and the one who brought me into this world, my mother. Thank you for always being there, mom. I love you with all of my heart.

The Gimmick Era Has Never Been Covered So Well.

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