Tag Archives: Spider-Man

Vengeance for the Rider (Part 2)

Why hello! I didn’t see you there. You appear to be the fans of that Unspoken Decade website. What a coincidence! I happen to be the author of several articles from the site you so love! That’s right! I am the Symbifan, and I was just about to begin the second part of my musings over the small period in time in which Vengeance was the replacement for Ghost Rider! Aren’t you lucky? Well, take a load off and I’ll regale you with my thoughts on the subject….

RCO003-1Our story begins with pain. Pain for the assassin known as Dread as Police Lt. Michael Badilino unleashes fury with his fists for the cop-killer. As his fellow officers attempt to hold the enraged man back, Dread simply smiles and offers nothing but ridicule. (Pretty tough talk for a man dressed in purple jammies! I know. I know. I said that in the last article. But come on! Seriously?!) Finally, Badilino is forced from the room by the others from his strike force. As he stomps through the police station, presumably to get some air, he is stopped by his Captain. The senior officer tells him that since he was the one who captured Dread, the Mayor wants him to be the one to talk to the press about the case. Against his will, as he is not the public speaking type, Badilino begrudgingly complies. (Ha! Go figure! A flaming skull-headed vigilante doesn’t like talking to the press? Nah, I’m sure he’s friendly! After all, he is always grinning!)

RCO004As Vengeance’s alter-ego does his best to answer the questions fired by a frenzied press, no one notices anything spectacular about a certain photographer for the Daily Bugle. And why would they? He seems to blend in perfectly with the crowd. Yes, no one would suspect that this mild-mannered agent of free speech has in fact saved this city more times than he could ever count. For this is Peter Parker, AKA The Amazing Spider-Man! (Wow! Quite the build up there! And I bet you had no idea I was gonna name Spidey as the photographer in his civilian identity, did you? What’s that? It was obvious?! It was the “mild-mannered” comment, wasn’t it? Hey, it could be Superman in disguise! Oh yeah, wrong company. Moving on….)

RCO009As Peter Parker takes his measure of the hero before him, something strange is occurring in the room Dread occupies in the police station. His body is mending! As the assassin heals, he mentally calls out to a creature he calls Rak. (The name makes you male readers wince in pain, doesn’t it?) He calls for aid. Rak seems to be the very same creature from last issue that Vengeance had trouble defeating! The monster answers Dread’s mental summons for help and leaps down to the crowd of unaware reporters below! As chaos quickly errupts, Parker slips away to change into an outfit more befitting the situation! Meanwhile, Badilino opens fire on the monstrosity but to no avail! Rak merely advances! The creature then backhands him away as simply as batting away a fly! It is then that Badilino changes himself. A moment later, Vengeance has entered the scene!

RCO013-1Vengeance wastes little time stomping toward his prey but is soon met by everyone’s favorite wall-crawler as he swings down to help! Both heroes have few words for one another but rather leap into action like the pros they are. It looks like the monstrosity known as Rak will be quickly defeated since it’s now outnumbered! But wait! The odds quickly change as Dread has escaped! The killer wastes little time and strikes out at our flame-headed hero while Spider-Man battles the behemoth known as Rak! It seems like a good strategy: divide and conquer. The only problem is that the two heroes begin to argue over whether the villains’ lives should be terminated! (I bet you know which side Vengeance takes in this debate! Damn blood-thirsty Spider-Man! Just kidding!)

As this conflict goes on, Dread seizes his opportunity and runs Vengeance through with his sword! It matters little to the dark vigilante, though, as he easily snaps the weapon in two and backhands Dread a good distance away! Vengeance then lets loose a huge blast from his chest cavity, seemingly from his injury! By this time, the villainous duo decide a retreat is in their best interests! Telling Spider-Man to handle the crowd, Vengeance makes a hasty retreat himself on his demonic bike. He speeds off in pursuit!

RCO022As the hellish biker roars down the streets in search of his prey, he is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the web-slinger who states that there is a better way. He placed a spider-tracer on the evil-doers during the scuffle! (Good ol’ Spidey! Now that’s an experienced hero right there! Makes me sorry I called him blood-thirsty earlier as for a goof. Oh well, as you now know, no one is safe from the sarcasm of the Mighty Symbifan!) The villains are soon tracked to their hideout where they are hooked up to strange machinery. They seem to be regenerating! Vengeance, being the stealth type, (Yeah, right!) kicks in the wall! Spidey catches up soon after and the battle begins!

RCO025The heroes and villains are soon caught up in mortal combat! It doesn’t take long for our heroes to gain the upper hand, however, when Rak is stabbed by one of Vengeance’s detachable shoulder spikes! Spider-Man then clocks Dread a good one, sending him sailing through the air and to the floor! Vengeance then attempts to stab Dread through the heart with another spike! This, of course, starts a back-and-forth verbal battle between the two heroes about the subject of murder. It doesn’t go on for long before the mysterious Hellgate makes an appearance at last! (Well, in astral form anyway. Wussy!) Hellgate catches his two minions up in an energy wave and they disappear! He then threatens Vengeance that he has now become an interest to him. Soon after, Hellgate disappears as well, leaving the heroes to go their own ways.

Later….

RCO003-1The last part of our journey takes us to Manhattan where a hostage situation is taking place at a convenience store. One hostage is already dead, two police officers wounded, and several still are being held against their will inside. As the surrounding officers go to move in, Vengeance arrives and strolls right in, straight through semi-automatic gunfire! As the barrage of bullets pass through Vengeance’s fiery form, the biker vigilante systematically takes the foolish criminals apart with brutal force! One of them actually gets the “wise” idea to use a machete where bullets have failed! (Dumbass, right?! Even Vengeance comments on it! That’s as stupid as throwing the gun at an enemy after firing an entire clip! God, I always hated that! Moron!) This, of course, does nothing but amuse the new Spirit of Vengeance.

RCO015After, Badilino decides that he just needs to take some time off from everything. The stress of his daily police duties along with his “night job” have finally taken it’s toll. He leaves the station and heads straight to Cypress Hill Cemetery. Meanwhile, the villain known only as Hellgate orders two of his operatives to bring Vengeance in alive! (Yeah, good luck with that, boys!) Returning to the cemetery, Badilino sits in deep thought at the mausoleum where Ghost Rider’s remains lie. But what’s this? Within, the empty eye-sockets of the grinning skull suddenly light up with an eerie glow! While this is happening, Hellgate’s operatives move into position. Sensing something awry, Badilino reaches in his jacket for his gun. While pulling the weapon free of it’s holster, it is seized and crushed by a large, green hand! Turning, the Hulk is revealed! (That’s right, folks! Things just got real in a very big way!)

Badilino bolts into the mausoleum, only to emerge moments later as Vengeance! The Hulk states how he’s only there to investigate Ghost Rider’s sudden disappearance, but his words fall on deaf ears as he’s blasted through a gravestone by hellfire! Understandably mad, the Hulk returns with a earth-shattering uppercut, sending the demonic warrior sailing through the air!

RCO019Hellgate’s operatives witness all that has transpired and decide to let the green behemoth tire Vengeance out before moving in. (Hmmm. These goons may not be quite as stupid as most henchmen are!) Vengeance returns with a low blow with what appears to be all of his might! (Yeah, that one hurt to even look at the picture, I’ve gotta admit!) Really mad now, Hulk attempts to retaliate when, unexpectedly, one of the henchmen gets antsy and fires at Vengeance! (Forget what I said earlier.)

RCO021_w-1With the proverbial cat now out of the bag, the operatives now start blasting at both combatants! Vengeance wastes little time and leaps to attack! The two are ready for this, however, and hold him in stasis in an energy field! This doesn’t last long as the Hulk uprooted a lamppost and strikes both assassins midflight! He then reaches down and lifts Vengeance to his feet. Surprisingly, the two fly back for more! This is easily halted by a well-timed sonic clap and two thrown shoulder spikes! The fight is soon over. Later, the two heroes sit in the graveyard as the veteran hero, the Hulk, gives Vengeance some advice: “Control the power. Don’t let it control you.” Well said words from a man who knows. As the two leave in friendship, the skull of Ghost Rider secretly flares to life, igniting into blazing hellfire!

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Well, that’s it, fellow Legions of the Unspoken. Ghost Rider would return as the Spirit of Vengeance, and Vengeance himself would take second fiddle to the bigger star. I, however, would never forget the short time that Vengeance was “The Rider,” even though most other fans did. My reasoning is that even fictional superheroes deserve their own day in the sun. Don’t you think? We all do.

(This article is dedicated to my own personal hero, my son, James Miller. No matter what life throws at him, he perseveres and overcomes. I wish I could be more like him. Interesting note, he has a large Vengeance action figure that looks down at him from his dresser. A gift from his biggest fan, me.)

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SBTU Presents: The 1991 Marvel Holiday Special!

 

 

 

Hello Legions of the Unspoken!  We’re proud to once again be a part of the Super Blog Team Up, this time taking a look at Christmas stories!  Dean and Emily set down and had a nice long chat about the 1991 Marvel Holiday Special!  Take a listen, and then take a gander at what the other SBTU folks have cooked up for you during this special time of year!

 

 

Check Out the Other Players in the Super-Blog Team Up!

Super-Hero Satellite-4th Annual Holiday Special

Chris is on Infinite Earths-Christmas with the Super-Heroes

Between the Pages-The Ghost of Supergirl Past

The Retroist-Christmas Knight

The Crapbox Son of Cthulhu-Impact Winter Special

Maximum Carnage: A Symbiote Fan Reflects (pt.2)

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Welcome back, fans of the Unspoken! Tis the season to be more loving and giving. So, what better way for me to show you my love and be more giving than to give you my last installment of the Maximum Carnage epic?! What’s that, you say? Get on with it? Well then, let us begin.

02-03This part of the story begins with J. Jonah Jameson actually looking concerned about his hometown and stating how someone needs to do something. When he enters his office, lo and behold, a chance to do just that appears because Spidey and Co. are there and have something they haven’t had in the past seven issues…a plan!  They want ol’ Triple J. to publish an article with an invitation for both teams to finish this at Carnage’s home sweet home, the orphanage he grew up in.

Jonah, being the epic ass he is, immediately begins badmouthing everyone there and saying how he won’t help out in the slightest. (Oh how quickly we change our minds, eh fellow Symbifans?!) This is until Venom’s long, Gene Simmons-like tongue darts from his mouth, making a slurping noise! Jonah has an immediate change of heart.

08 Later, while in the midst of his murderous spree, Carnage spies a newspaper and impales the man reading it. Reading it himself, he of course takes the bait! (Not there the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, is he?!) He immediately heads there. Upon arriving at the rather decrepit old orphanage, Carnage takes his cohorts on a type of trip through memory lane. As he reminiscences about past horrors, he gets too wrapped up in his own thoughts, leaving himself vulnerable as Spider-Man and Co. make their presence known! But before the battle begins, we’re taken back to the place where our “friendly neighborhood cyborg” AKA Deathlok is still pinned to a skyscraper! (Seriously, the dude is STILL there!) But, thanks to the iron fist of….well….Iron Fist, he is broken free and taken to safety.

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We now take you back to our battle already in progress. All hell has broken loose! Heroes and villains alike are being thrashed everywhere you look! Venom takes this time to blast Carnage with the Spidey Gang’s “liberated” sonic blaster but to no effect! The same can’t be said for Firestar’s microwave blasts, though! (She’d be great for gas station burritos! …and now I’m hungry.) Anyway, Carnage falls! He is beaten! Venom moves in for the kill but is stopped by Spider-Man. As this occurs, Shriek takes this moment to kind of “pimp slap” Cletus, clawing his face. This draws blood and Carnage is back to full power!

01-02Yes folks, Carnage is at full strength and boy is he pumped! After teasing the good guys a bit at their failure to put him away (childish, right?!), the battle begins anew! During this, Shriek actually begins monologuing about how her power, amped by the chaos that is Carnage, has actually been driving the day-to-day citizens into crazed mobs! (She actually says this all out loud like a mad scientist in an old comic book! The funny part is that she even catches herself doing this and laughs at how she’s  “talking to herself like some comic book character!” Oh, the irony!) But I digress. Spidey begins to wonder if perhaps this is what is making most of his team act so violent. During the battle, Venom and Spider-Man notice that Carnage shies away from Firestar’s microwave heat blasts.

14_kindlephoto-107253095Venom tells her to pour it on and finish him once and for all. The shocker? Spider-Man agrees! Reluctant, Firestar begins her attack. It starts to work. The threat of Carnage is about to end! That’s when Spidey comes to his senses and makes her stop. This enrages Venom and he knocks Spider-Man flying. He advances on Shriek but the sonics of her blasts prove to be too much for his symbiote. He falls. Shriek and Carnage then beat the holy hell out of Venom and swing off to torture him more at their leisure! Meanwhile, Team Spider-Man lies broken and bleeding. Spidey prays for hope. That’s when hope arrives…in the form of Captain America! (Hold for applause!)

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As Spider-Man, Firestar, and Captain America regroup at the near-empty Avengers HQ (Those Avengers! Never around when you need ’em!), Spider-Man’s ribs are finally put on the mend with the help of some Stark tech. While checking the computer files on Carnage’s “family outing,” Cap realizes that the Avengers computer network is being hacked by an outside source! Pulling the culprits on-screen, they discover it to be Deathlok and Iron Fist! (Now, You mean to tell me that Tony Stark has the technology to heal Spider-Man’s ribs but his computer isn’t somehow protected against hackers?! Gosh, the people of the Marvel Universe should really feel safe! Good one, Tony! Sheesh!)

web-of-spider-man-103-0203Anywho, all involved decide upon an alliance, but first, Spidey decides to check up on his wife. (About time, Mr. Parker!)  As this is transpiring, what’s left of Team Spider-Man are on the hunt for Carnage and Co. plus the captured Venom. The trail, however, turns cold until Carnage’s “family” attacks from the rear!

web-of-spider-man-103-16_kindlephoto-116577682Morbius is nearly destroyed by Carrion’s touch, and Black Cat is beaten down by the combined might of Demogoblin and Doppelganger! Things would have turned deadly real quick if not for the timely intervention of the new hero, Nightwatch! While this is going on, Venom is at the mercy of Carnage and Shriek within the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Sonics are fired on him again and again as he is chained above a roaring fire! (And all of us symbiote fans know just how much symbiotes love loud sound and flame!)

Spider-Man has arrived home to his distraught wife. The loving reunion doesn’t last long, though, as the radio comes to life with a news report about an attempted breakout at the police precinct with hostages caught within! Spidey arrives on scene and does his thing with experienced grace and determination. Meanwhile, the battered superheroes leave to lick their wounds and rethink their methods. How will good triumph over evil with almost all of Team Spider-Man injured?! Easy. Spidey arrives with new back up! Things are starting to look up!

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When we last saw Venom, he was being turned into a living s’more by Carnage and Shriek. Now? He’s just being roasted alive by Carnage alone. (Seriously, this is like the Deathlok thing all over again! Someone, help the poor guy out!) But, while Carnage toasts Venom literally, Morbius and Nightwatch suddenly crash through the Statue of Liberty’s torch! They have Demogoblin and Doppelganger on the run!

amazing-spider-man-380-001anpymgold_kindlephoto-133376001We then cut scene to Spidey and his new crew. They speed through the New York skies, trying to find any sign of Team Carnage. They don’t find all of them, just one of the most dangerous…Shriek! Somehow, this little minx has managed to sneak off on her own and is using her considerable power to create utter chaos in the good citizenry! The heroes strike with precision and force, and, truth be told, it’s almost a stalemate until….Wham! (Not the band. The sound effect. Sorry, Deadpool.) She’s knocked out by a certain iconic shield thrown by Captain America! (Were you expecting someone else?!) Shriek is captured!

We then cut back to the action within Lady Liberty. Nightwatch and Morbius aren’t doing that badly as a team! As Carnage watches on, protecting his hostage, Demo and Doppel are being whupped! That is, until the sun starts to rise outside, and all good vampires (even living ones like Morbius) have to retreat for the day. Nightwatch grabs the blood-drinker quickly and flies away to safety.

amazing-spider-man-380-009anpymgold_kindlephoto-133541005Meanwhile, with Shriek incapacitated, Spidey and Friends begin to calm the angry mobs. Yes, things are finally looking up! That is until Demogoblin and Doppelganger arrive on the scene and free her from capture! But the heroes are ready this time! Having superior teamwork on their side, they begin to triumph! Even the populace, tired of being used, start to get in on the action! They actually throw things at the villains! This enrages Shriek and she turns her powers up to eleven! Even the heroes are having trouble resisting it! But they eventually do, just in time to see themselves surrounded by the same New Yorkers they just freed!

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The next part takes us back to the horrific scene within Lady Liberty. As Venom continues to roast, he finally begs for mercy! (Can this be true? Can the “Lethal Protector” really be a total wussy?!) Cackling with glee, Carnage raises his stolen sonic blaster to cause even more pain. Venom sends tendrils of his symbiotic other down the barrel, causing it to malfunction! He then snaps his manacles, smashes Carnage a good one in the face, and swings to freedom! (We didn’t doubt ya for a minute, V-Man!) At that moment, in a familiar church, the missing Cloak sits vigil, awaiting….what? Even he isn’t sure of the answer.

But back to Spider-Man and the rest of the heroes. Team Spidey is definitely losing this one, folks! For every crazed New Yorker they subdue, ten more rise to take their place! As Shriek watches with her new “family” from the rooftops, she soon decides to join in herself.

07That’s when Carnage himself appears! Angered that the lot of them have been maiming and killing without him, he attacks the ringleader….Shriek! This makes Doppelganger angry and he strikes out at “daddy dearest”! But alas, Carnage is too strong for the little guy and beats him within an inch of his life! (Jerry! Jerry!) To add insult to injury, he then kicks the limp form from the rooftop. It lands on the unforgiving concrete below! (Talk about tough love!)

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Demogoblin then decides he’s sick of this little gang himself and turns to go.  There’s only one problem with that. While this was all going on, Shriek lost mental control of the crowd below! This is also when a blinding light hits the villains. Turning, they see (drum roll please!) Dagger has returned!

22Both sides of this war stand transfixed by the light that is Dagger! No one moves. That is until Shriek…well, shrieks in outrage that the victim of her proudest murder is not deceased after all! ( You know, that’s just gotta suck! I mean, ya try and murder some people…) Shriek files into a frenzy, attacking Dagger with all she has. What does Dagger do? She shows her the light! She actually starts to heal Shriek’s tortured mind! (Hippie!) It starts to work too until, at the last moment, Shriek gets even more crazed and lashes out with a furious blast! Spidey is there to rescue her this time, however, and gets her to safety.

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It takes mere moments for the villains to recover and turn to strike. As they do, they notice that the heroes have fled?! Only Spider-Man stands as the last line of defense! Carnage laughs maniacally as he leads the charge! All of them then take turns beating the hell out of our hero! Spider-Man just keeps pulling himself back to his feet! (Now that, folks, is the very definition of a hero! Sorry. Something in my eyes….sniffle.) That’s when a blast of energy hits Shriek from behind.

14_kindlephoto-179254406Turning, they see Deathlok strapped to a high-tech weapon of some sort! Spider-Man has dubbed it the “Good Bomb.” It releases amplified calming alpha waves from the hero’s minds! Sounds lame, I know, but the effects are fantastic! Carrion is hit so hard that he returns to his human form! Demogoblin sees the error of his ways and turns to flee in terror but collapses instead! Shriek drops to her knees in horror! But Carnage? He resists the power of the machine for so long and so hard that his heart stops! He drops, defeated. Team Carnage is finished at last! The villains are taken to the proper authorities and the heroes disperse, understandably exhausted. Spidey sits in Central Park, lost in thought. That’s when an angered Venom appears! It seems the V-Man is ticked because he was tortured with no help and was robbed of his chance to defeat Carnage himself. Or was he? Carnage pulls himself from a fountain near the two heroes, alive and kicking!

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And now, the finale of Maximum Carnage! As I said, Carnage is alive! How? We don’t know for sure. Spider-Man theorizes that, in a moment of desperation, Carnage created a copy of his symbiote and placed it on a nearby victim. (After 14 parts to this story, let’s just roll with it!) However this happened, he’s back and wastes no time in attacking both Spidey and Venom at the same time!

spider-man-unlimited-02-01It’s mostly between Venom and Carnage with Spider-Man caught in the middle, trying to talk some sense into the both of them! (Yeah, great plan, Spidey! I’m sure they’ll listen to reason, shake hands, and enter police custody after singing a round of White Lion’s “When the Children Cry.” Damn, just dated myself!)  Back to the action! Carnage, still disoriented from the weapon from earlier, takes a real beating at the hands of Venom, so he retreats. Spider-Man then tries to reach out to Venom. Venom then “reaches out” himself…with his fist, shattering both sides of Spidey’s ribs before perusing Carnage! (Ugh! Again with the ribs!)

This time, though, he does the smart thing and goes to the damn hospital. While there, he meets up with his wife and goes home to rest up a bit. While this is going on, Carnage is losing it! I mean, more than usual! He even crashes through the wall of the cell he once shared with Eddie “Venom” Brock, where the nightmare that is Carnage began, to find some solace! He finds none as Venom crashes in after him, beats him down again, and forces yet another retreat!

spider-man-unlimited-02-14_kindlephoto-186982734Meanwhile, more rested, Spider-Man is ready to head back out. MJ then approaches him. Now, you expect another argument but, surprise, surprise, she actually gives him a kiss for good luck! (Kind of late in the game to give your approval here, Mary Jane! I mean, 14 issues!)

Carnage, on the other hand, is in the fetal position within the orphanage he grew up in, surrounded by the ghosts of his past! (Man, that weapon sure messed him up, huh?!)  This doesn’t last, though, as Venom finds him once again! But when the beating becomes near-lethal, Spider-Man interrupts! As Venom and Spidey have words, Carnage retreats for the third time! (Jeez! Someone stop this madman! Am I right, readers?!) This forces yet another uneasy alliance between the two. They swing off in pursuit. Where is ol Carnage this time? Why, digging up the corpse of his mother at a nearby graveyard of course!

spider-man-unlimited-02-30This time he is attacked by both Spider-Man, Venom, and the returned Black Cat! But, even though Spidey gets in the way again and again, Venom hits Carnage so hard, he starts to regain his senses! This is about to take a turn for the very worst! Or is it? Venom, sensing the danger, crashes Carnage and himself through the fence of a nearby power company! The result is a massive explosion! That’s about it. Carnage is defeated at last, Venom lives to fight another day, and Spider-Man, looking to the gravestones near him, decides it’s time to put this whole mess behind him and go home.

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Dedicated to my mom, Pam Bowen-Metz, who has always believed in my writing talent, even when I didn’t. I love you, mom! Thank you for 38 years of continued support!