Tag Archives: Ron Lim

The World You Have Always Known is Born Part 6-MC2 Universe featuring Wild Thing!!!

 

The days start getting shorter, kids go back to school, the baseball season tightens up (My cherished Kansas City Royals are in first place as I write this!  What?!?), and even The Unspoken Decade is not immune to the end of the season as we wrap up the MC2 summer today.  I know you have had all sorts of fun, folks, but all good things must end, and this one ends with a WILD THING!

Wild Thing you know already because we met her in our J2 write up, part 2 of the MC2 summer, and if you don’t, well I just provided a link for you to check it out via the hyper magic of the internet!  When last we saw her, we were informed that she is the daughter of Elektra and Wolverine and that she has psychic claws in lieu of her father’s adamantium ones.

In all honesty, I was sort of dreading this title, as I was worried we would get more of the teen hero trope that permeated almost all of the line except Fantastic Five,  where the teen is confused, upset, and uncool despite having nearly limitless power.  I liked it in J2 and Spider-Girl, but it was getting tiring by A-Next.  Thankfully, though, I was wrong here, as we get something similar, but the trope is warped just enough to keep the teen interaction interesting.  Larry Hama does a fantastic job on the title with dialogue and serviceable plots that definitely would have interested folks new to comic books.  We even get to start the entire shebang off with that lovable invention of the 90’s, the Zero Issue!

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #0 - Page 1
The mask makes her look a great deal more related to Batman than Wolverine.

Tom DeFalco wrote this issue, and it is just straightforward action.  One should expect nor be given no less, as a cover with Hulk vs. Wolverine vs. Wolverine’s daughter must deliver action.  We are also graced with the creature that first brought us Wolverine and first brought Hulk and Wolverine together – WENDIGO!!!!

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #0 - Page 3
Just imagine how f’n hilarious it must be for Wolverine to have a cigar hanging out of his mouth, informing you how important it is to stay in school and get a good education!

My brother used to love Wendigo when we were growing up.  Our primary exposure to the guy was the X-Men arcade game, where he jumps at your character(s) over and over again, screaming ‘WENDIGO” as though he is utterly frightened that if he stops you or he will forget his name and he will somehow cease to exist.  My brother used to love yell “WENDIGO” and follow that up with a much more quietly said “to the bathroom.”  He’d then cackle as though he had invented a joke so funny Rosie O’ Donnell was going to discover his humor and offer him a spot on VH-1 Stand-Up Spotlight.

But back to Wild Thing. She shows up here and attacks Hulk for no discernible reason, only to discover he is working with Dr. Strange.  Her behavior earns Wolverine the ultimate punishment, a verbal rebuke from Dr. Strange about kids.

Oh, no big deal, guess I'll just hit the Hulk.
Oh, no big deal, guess I’ll just hit the Hulk.
Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #0 - Page 6
Dr. Strange is one of those folks who doesn’t have kids who likes to judge the way parents raise theirs.

 I want to address one of my big pet peeves with superheroes here, and that is when they express incredulity in a world of amazement.  Wild Thing makes a comparison of the Wendigo to The Blair Witch Project (a very hip and contemporary reference for DeFalco to make.  Remember that movie and how big the build-up was?) as though the curse of the Wendigo is somehow a ludicrous assertion.  Keep in mind she has no problem believing in Dr. Strange, and keep in mind that her FATHER, Wolverine, is the one who has told her it is real.  Why would she doubt this?  Why does every hero do this?  Why does it bother me so?

The rest of the issue has some fun action, but the last page reminds us this ain’t your Daddy’s Marvel Universe!

Wolverine shows excellent parenting skills by grounding his daughter for wanting to fight Hulk.  He's definitely Superhero Father of the Year material.
Wolverine shows excellent parenting skills by grounding his daughter for wanting to fight Hulk. He’s definitely Superhero Father of the Year material.

Of course, no teen ever believes their parents allow them any fun.  MC2’s parents really hammer the belief home and make it seem as true as the fact that Waffle House is beyond delicious.  Also, can you get over Dad Wolverine?  Because I cannot.  The idea of the most savage killer and beloved maverick in Marvel Universe history doling out punishments for things like ignoring instructions is just beyond uproarious.  It would be like Kim Kardashian chastising someone for drawing fame from the reality show business. You’d be like, “Really?!”

Larry Hama does the writing on the ongoing series, and he brings a charm that I think DeFalco could not match in his #0 issue.  Hama inverts the entire “uncool” teen thing, by having the so-called “cool girl” constantly attempt to make our hero look bad but never succeeding at it.  That’s a nice change of pace from what we have seen thus far in J2 and A-Next, and it’s the first original treatment of our teen heroes attempting to fit in since Spider-Girl.  First, though, let’s not forget what a badass Wild Thing is supposed to be, and let’s help you remember via a close-up on her psychic claws.

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #1 - Page 1
“Party Time!” she said to no one in particular.

 Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #1 - Page 2 Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #1 - Page 3

I haven't seen this much hate toward immigrants outside of a Minutemen rally.
I haven’t seen this much hate toward immigrants outside of a Minutemen rally.

You really hate Cameron until you find out that her father isn’t just a bad father, but he is actually the world’s worst father combined with the worst aspects of all of those 1980’s yuppie villains.  He’s not above negotiating anything, so his natural first reaction to his daughter’s kidnapping is to try and get the kidnapper to lower his demands.  Shrewd is one way to put it, but I’d probably just call him an asshole.  That is, if I was being nice.

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #1 - Page 10
How would you even cash in these stock options that you got via ransom? “Hey, I need this 20 thou real quick!” Also did folks ever really say thou for thousand?

The dynamic between Rina (Wild Thing) and Cameron continues in one of my favorite moments of the book.  Of course, part of it being one of my favorite moments is the fact that Elektra is going shopping.  Not just shopping, mind you, but shopping at the mall.  Not just shopping at the mall, mind you, BUT SCHOOL CLOTHES SHOPPING with her DAUGHTER at the mall.

I am sure that during all that groundbreaking work he was doing, Frank Miller was secretly pining for a day when his creation Elektra could finally reach her true potential as a Mom, shopping at the mall with her daughter.  I bet he always intended her character to be fulfilled by driving her daughter (who looooooooooooooooves video games) to the mall for some clothes.

You know, I was being facetious, but with what we know about Mr. Miller and his paeans in favor of fascism, maybe that is what he thought.  If so, brilliant, sir, brilliant.

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #2 - Page 1

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #2 - Page 3
Just like every mother and daughter, Elektra and Wild Thing have those “growing pains” arguments about the best way to train for assassin purposes.

Cameron continues her attempts to spoil Rina’s social life faster than a wet tomato in the sun, but they all continue to backfire.  I do have to agree with Cameron, though, in that other than for our entertainment, there’s not much of a reason for John and Colin to be so interested in Rina.  Her Dad does ride a Harley, though, so her Mom has to up the cool ride quotient, lest Josh and Colin not be down with Rina any longer.

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #2 - Page 4
It would take a car that cool to keep teen boys from making fun of you for going to the mall with your Mom.

Now is where we stop reading a comic book and Larry Hama and Ron Lim start giving us a plot that would have seemed more at home in a 1980’s movie than a comic book.  Elektra has a few errands to run prior to taking Rina school shopping, one of which is just stopping at this MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL and saying hello to an old pal.  Then he asks her to help teach his class Sai technique, because why wouldn’t a martial arts school in the mall be teaching deadly weapons to its clientele?  Also, why wouldn’t Josh, Colin, and Cameron stumble upon this and find another reason for the two boys to be enamored with Rina?

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #2 - Page 10

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #2 - Page 11
The big dude shouting BRAVO! like he is at the opera is the best thing I have ever seen in my life.

 

I have to mention one other moment, where Wolverine and daughter howl at the moon.  LITERALLY.

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #4 - Page 1 Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #4 - Page 2

Wild Thing - Daughter of Wolverine #4 - Page 4
Wild Thing, don’t try and hide it; you’re totally baying at the moon. It’s cool; we’re still friends.

That’s basically the book.  Hama does a fantastic job with dialogue on a fun title.  This one ain’t gonna change your life or make anyone write one of those articles for the New York Times designed to convince mainstream folks that comics are now high class entertainment.  On the other hand, it is a fun romp where we get to see an inversion of the “uncool kid” trope done well along with Ron Lim’s splendid pencils.

I think my only real complaint of this book would be that we don’t get to see Elektra and Wolverine interact.  I don’t know if they are divorced, married, together, etc.  I would have enjoyed seeing their interaction, if for no other reason than it probably would have inspired at least four more snarky jokes.

The MC2 summer is over, folks!  I hope you were able to enjoy a sunbeam or two along with this look back at an innocent imprint for a decidedly non-innocent time.  I had a lot of fun looking back at it, and I am sure you did too.  All in all, the verdict is positive.  Not just positive, but much more positive than I had imagined the verdict to be.  When I first picked these up, I was sort of dreading them.  I figured they’d be hokey, silly, and awful.  While they were hokey, and they could be silly, they were never awful.  In fact, I feel like if they had gotten the push to a market for kids like MC2 was intended to do, they’d have taken off.

As it is, they no longer go Unspoken.

 

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The World You Have Always Known is Born-MC2 Part 2…J2!!!

Hey everybody!  Hope you enjoyed the first part of the MC2 Summer here at The Unspoken Decade!  It only gets hotter from here!  Last week, we talked about the  cornerstone of the MC2 Universe, Spider-Girl.  This week, we tackle J2, which is appropriate, because J2 does a lot of tackling.

If you figured out that J2 is connected to the Juggernaut, quit reading this immediately and go apply at your nearest police department; the force could use someone with those detective skills.  They have lots of tough cases that only a mind like yours could crack!  Ok, that was harsh, but indeed J2 and Juggernaut are connected, as J2 is the son of the original Juggernaut, just as Spider-Girl is the daughter of Spider-Man.  That’s a trope that we see time and time again in the MC2 Universe.  (Should I say universe or imprint?  I have wrestled with this a few times, and I can’t decide.  Opinions in the comments, please.)  I have no issue with that, as I am sure that is what the majority of readers wanted to see.  I was more interested in seeing things venture into the unknown in my favorite titles, especially J2.

My favorite super villain is Juggernaut.  From the moment I saw Juggernaut, I was completely mesmerized.  Few characters have a look so appropriate and striking.  When you see Juggernaut, you think Juggernaut, even if you don’t know that’s his name.  I’m fascinated by the ferocity and strength that is summed up simply in the catchphrase we have all come to know and love:  “Nothing Stops The Juggernaut!”  (If you said “I’m The Juggernaut, bitch”, I am unsure we can be friends anymore, and congratulations for ruining comic books.)  The real question here, though, is does J2 measure up?

Even if he does not measure up to Juggernaut, he will always have the admiration of ECW star Raven for continuing the legacy of tying flannel around one's waist.
Even if he does not measure up to Juggernaut, he will always have the admiration of ECW star Raven for continuing the legacy of tying flannel around one’s waist.

 

If you don’t know who Raven is, you are missing out, big time  Take some time, get the WWE Network, and then check him out on ECW.  If there is anything more 90’s than the comic books we have been talking here at The Unspoken Decade, it’s definitely professional wrestling.

Speaking of wrestling, we learn quickly that Juggernaut is gone, but he made a face turn before he disappeared.  Despite the fact that we are told instantly that this is indeed the progeny of The Unstoppable Juggernaut, he is nowhere to be found!  That was a letdown to me.  I had hoped to see Juggernaut, yelling at his kid to mow the lawn or remarking about how when he had the Crimson of Cyttorak, he used it the right way.  Something about crotchety Dad Juggernaut makes me laugh so hard that I scare kittens.  That’s literally true.  We just got a kitten, and my bellowing made it seek sanctuary in the kitchen.

We do see Zane Yama-Marko, Juggernaut’s son, and we quickly see more of him than he would have cared for us to see.  We also see more of him than we would have cared to see.

You never forget your first time.
I wonder if that volleyball player in heat would have been so excited about J2, giant and naked or not, if she had heard him crying for his Mama just a second or two earlier.

The above picture shows you the first time that Zane is able to morph into J2!  I’m pretty sure this isn’t what they meant when they say “You never forget your first time.”  J2 has all the power of his Dad, but none of the experience.  In fact, just like May Parker, he’s still in high school!  Unlike May Parker, though, who has both the jocks and the nerds in her corner due to her physical and mental prowess, Zane is an out and out dork who aspires to approach ladies. No one would have confused me with Don Juan during my high school days, but even I was aware that talking about math was uncool as hell.

Did he expect her to reply like it was some sort of hokey Valentines Day card?   Like sh
Did he expect her to reply like it was some sort of hokey Valentine’s Day card? Like she was going to say, “Zane, my favorite equation is adding you and me “2”gether!” or something?

Zane may be more like Spider-Man than Spider-Girl other than, you know, not having his powers and all.  But just like a young Peter Parker, Zane is burdneded by a lack of social graces at school, and the lack of a male father figure at home burdens him as well.  He does have the good fortune of having a best friend with the greatest name in history: Montana Gold.  I think she has a crush on Zane as well, but he is blinded by the stunning Talia, who is rendered amazingly by Ron Lim.

Lim is the 90’s to me.  In my first days of collecting, I was exposed to his work on The Infinity War, where he drew, well, everyone in the Marvel Universe except The Punisher, who I wish I could have seen in a crossover in that event, if for no other reason than to see Punisher in a spot he had no business being.  Sort of like how I just slapped him into this J2 article.

Due to the fact that Ron Lim drew everyone in that book, his take on many of Marvel’s characters became the take on them in my eyes.  He was the first guy to draw Alpha Flight for me, and because of his rendering, they continue to have a soft spot in my heart to this day.  And if he could make me an Alpha Flight fan, just imagine what a fight between J2 and The Incredible Hulk drawn by him could do.

When it comes to getting beaten up by The Hulk, it's like father, like son for J2.
When it comes to getting beaten up by The Hulk, it’s like father, like son for J2.

Ron Lim being fantastic aside, J2 was easier for me to relate to while also being very easy to cheer for.  He was trying to find himself in a brand new world, something I could certainly identify with. I was 18 and about to turn 19 when I picked these comic books up off the shelf, not much older than Zane.  I had been where he was at just a few years prior.  I was starting 9th grade, I had never kissed a girl, I was too smart for my own good, and I was about as secure as pile of money inside a wet paper bag on a casino floor.  Thanks to Upward Bound, I was able to find myself.  (Upward Bound is a terrific program for impoverished kids who want to attend college.  Check it out and support it all you can!)  I somehow channeled all of my passion for nerd stuff into being cool-no small feat in the 90’s.  It ain’t like today, kids.

But here I was, now a freshman in college, and I was overwhelmed.  A blind dolphin 7,839 miles from the ocean could not have felt more lost than I did.  I attempted to use my charm at college, but everything was going wrong in my attempts to make new pals.  Zane couldn’t make any pals (other than the excellently named Montana Gold!) either, which somehow made me feel a bit better about my own predicament.  Don’t worry folks, for the both of you who are, I eventually figured out how to make friends in college:  ALCOHOL.

Zane didn’t have that option, what with this being a family friendly comic and all (STILL CODE APPROVED, KIDS), but he did have his mother.  J2’s mom is great, working hard as a single mom and being an assistant district attorney, but she is also leery of J2 and wants to know what his connection to her missing husband is.  Zane, being J2, keeps the secret from his mom despite her efforts to find out as much as she can about him.  Can you imagine how awful that must be?  When I was a teenager, my mom’s constant forays into unraveling all my secrets were awful enough; I can’t imagine how much more terrible that would have been if I had a secet identity my mom was also looking into.

J2 #2 - Page 2

That classified shtick would never work if she knew that was her son.
That classified shtick would never work if she knew that was her son.

J2 also saw the debut of an MC2 character who would get her own title:  Wild Thing!   Wild Thing is the daugher of Wolverine of and Elektra, but I am loathe to say more here;  it’s an MC2 summer, and she will be getting her own entry! You don’t have to wait that long to see her, though.

J2 #5 - Page 1
Even in an alternate Marvel future, Wolverine still guest-stars to boost sales.  Hell, they just used his LOGO to boost sales here.

J2 is also a member of A-Next (the next entry here in the MC2 summer!), but he obviously has many ties to the X-Men family as well.  That’s evidenced not just above, but also when the Uncanny X-People guest star, or my favorite, when we are introduced to Magneta, Mistress of Magnetism!

J2 #6 - Page 1J2 being the connection between the Avengers/X-People is another way that MC2 harkens back to the old days of the Marvel Universe.  I find it similar as to when Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver joined the Avengers.  Marvel has always felt special in the way its characters are tethered together, and these little touches in the MC2 Universe kept that feeling alive.  J2 being the connection between the two groups made perfect sense, as he can easily transfer between them.  I have no problem believing that he would be with the X-People (That’s what they are called now, folks, and to make that name even worse, Jubilee is their leader.  She’s the worst!) in the morning while then turning around and going toe-to-toe with some of the hardest hitting super villains in the galaxy with A-Next at his side.

J2 just succeeds on all levels.  I think that Tom DeFalco’s magnum opus was the MC2 line, in particular the Spider-Girl title.  That’s definitely the best of the bunch, but J2 is my favorite.  This title seemed to speak directly to me when I picked it up off the shelf in 1998, and when I read it now it brings me back to a more confused but somehow simpler time.  How, nostalgia, how you bring the dichotomous together!

For real though, if you see this in a dollar or quarter box, snatch it up!  You won’t be let down as you get to see J2 try and find his way in the world, his way with girls, and then finally, he tried to find his Dad!  These are twelve solid issues that will leave you with the same sort of smile you get now when you think of Joey Lawrence laying a “Whoa!” on you.  OK, the smile J2 brings will be better than that!

Next week, Angel Hayes is back as she takes a gander at…The Inhumans!  Sound the trumpets!  Here comes Marvel Knights!  And in two weeks, the MC2 summer continues with A-Next!!!