Civil War was an Marvel event that began after a battle between Nitro and the New Warriors results in the death of 60 school children. In response the U.S. government tries to institute the “Superhuman Registration Act.” With this tragedy and the events that saw the Hulk go on another rampage (killing 26 adults and 2 children) the Act became necessary. Sympathy for mutants fell in public after M-Day, when 90% of the mutant population became depowered. The public support for the bill was 50%.
Tony Stark was against the act until the events between Nitro and the New Warriors. The public began to hate the superhero community. The New Warriors were called “baby killers,” and Hindsight (Carlton LaFroyge (Earth-616)) began leaking their secret identities, resulting in many of them being lynched. Human Torch was beaten into a coma outside a Manhattan nightclub. Many of the superheroes are apprehensive that they should become “civil servants,” or “Super cops.”
Captain America disagreed with the act claiming that ” heroes needed to be above direct government control, because when politicians could control the heroes, they could decide who the villains were.” What follows is a very interesting conflict that splits the superhero community. Ultimately we get what the event promised, a fight between the worlds greatest heroes. While it’s never in question whether any major would die, there was still concern about who would get harmed. The most important aspect of this event was whether you agreed with one side or the other. I was more on the Captain America’s side but I could see the other side as well.
I don’t really have too many series that I’ve followed to completion, but one that I did was Thor: God of Thunder. Written by Jason Aaron and Penciled by Esad Ribic, the series focuses on Thor and his encounter with Gorr the God Butcher. The series is part of the larger “Marvel NOW! (2012) event,” and part of the “The God Butcher” story arc. What initially drew me to this comic was the magnificent art style of Esad Ribic. The story tries to flesh out who the God Butcher is.
I found the story to be great from start to finish. It combined mystery and action with an interesting villain. The God Butcher is the opposite of what Thor is. He’s rather heartless and aims to destroy the world of Gods. The God Butcher feels like he’s a threat. Most of the time in comics you can predict the ending. Obviously, Thor will win, but reading the series allowed you to think that it wasn’t going to happen. The biggest problem with this series is the multiple timelines. Jason Aaron bounces occasionally back between them and it can be confusing (also the older Thor looks exactly like Odin).
The art of Esad Ribic is a really impressive. I lack the words to describe what makes his art so great but you have to decided for yourself. The color in this series is profound. Ive Svorcina appears to use pencils or watercolor (although it’s probably all computers) that give the pages a soft look. The contrast between the blues and reds are really impactful.
The Modern Age of Comics is generally considered to have begun from the mid-80’s to today. The age followed the Bronze Age and is noted for having more dark and complex stories and characters, like Batman: The Dark KnightReturns and Watchmen. Horror, Fantasy, Mystery and Science Fiction became more mainstream at this point. Alan Moore’s Swap Thing and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman featured some elements from these genre’s. Many characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk and Wolverine got costume changes.
Antiheroes rose in popularity and characters became more sophisticated, focusing less on being good or evil but more nuance. In Marvel, Galactus became a force of nature that didn’t have any person malice towards the worlds he consumed. In 1996 Marvel declared bankruptcy resulting in “X-books” being cancel. However, with the X-Men movies being released in the early 2000’s and a new animated series, X-Men: Evolution the X-Men series increased in popularity. I believe that the Modern Age will end up being know for an increase of diversity. Heroes like Miles Morales and Kamala Khan will be one of the legacies of the Modern Age.
My favorite non-human race is the Inhumans. Mostly because I’m the most familiar with them and they have a lot of variation among their race. This variation exists both in their powers and how they look. Created by the Kree, the Inhumans are ruled by their King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa. They have a caste system, which is determined by the genetic development, physical and mental ability after exposure to the Terrigen Mist. Once an Inhuman is assigned to a place in society they cannot move in society.
Inhumans aren’t permitted to engage in racial combining. Crystal broke this rule when she married Quicksilver, a mutant. The Inhumans tend to isolate themselves from other races, but they have come into conflict with other races before. Black Bolt once declared war on the United States during the events of Son of M. The average lifespan of an Inhuman is 150 years, they’re greater than the average human in speed, strength and other physical abilities. However, most Inhumans being raised in a pollution and germ free environment they have a hard time dealing with Earth’s pollution.
Iceman is one of the original X-Men. Born in New York, Bobby first discovered his mutant abilities when he found himself unable to stop feeling cold. When a bully, Rocky Beasely orchestrated an assault on Bobby and his girlfriend Judy Harmon his powers finally emerged. The town of Fort Washington organized a lynch mob and broke into the Drake household. Sensing that the situation was becoming dangerous Bobby was taken into custody. Professor X discovered this story and sent Cyclops to recruit Bobby. He became the second member of the X-Men.
In the X-Men: Animated Series, Iceman was portrayed as a troublemaker that left the team after becoming feed up with Cyclops and Professor X’s rules. Iceman seems to have maintained his comical personality, often cracking jokes. Drake is an Omega Level Mutant. He can manipulate his external and internal body temperature. When his body temperature decreases, so does the surrounding moisture. Bobby has learned to increase his coldness allowing him to change from a snow like appearance to a more crystalline ice. He also has thermal vision, as well as cryokinesis (ability to generate, manipulate and fully control ice, snow and cold temperatures.) Despite being one of the original X-Men, Iceman is largely a minion character. However, I always found him to be one of the coolest (LOL) X-Men.
Marvel video games can be hit or miss. When I was a kid Marvel games were largely limited to the arcade. One of my all time favorite games were “X-Men: The Arcade Game (1992),” a side scrolling fighting game. The goal of the game was to basically fight through waves of Sentinels and other villains like Pyro and Juggernaut in order to stop Magneto. Up to six players could play and like many arcade games I would end up playing with random players. Ultimately, I wasn’t very good at games then so I never got very far in that game. However, it was impact on my childhood and my first memory of a Marvel game.
I haven’t played the latest Marvel Spider-Man game which I hear is great. Regardless, my favorite Marvel game is Spider-Man 2. The game was not only a Marvel game but even worst a video game based on a movie. The history of good movie games isn’t great, so my expectation for this game was low. Spider-Man 2 is a open world action adventure that was published by Activision and developed by Treyarch. It was released for basically every console at the time. What makes the game so phenomenal is how the gameplay was able to emulate Spider-Man so closely.
I spent over a hundred hours largely swinging through NYC, travelling from Manhattan to Liberty Island. You felt like you WERE Spider-Man and of course it was fun. Like most open world games I got distracted from the main story and barely finished it. However, that is the point. It didn’t matter that I followed the linear story because I didn’t care to have the game end. With the realistic NYC environment, variety of crimes to stop, variety of Spider-Man powers and the realistic swing mechanics, Spider-Man 2 is my favorite Marvel video game.
As I’ve mentioned before the X-Men: The Animated Series was my primary introduction to X-Men and Marvel. Although there was an animated series for the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Fantastic Four as well. The series debuted in 1992 and ended in 1997. The series spanned 5 seasons and 76 episodes. The first thing that I will always remember about the series is the theme song that was composed by Ron Wasserman. The show had the line up from Cyclops’s Blue Team, that featured Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, and Professor X.
The series focused on social issues like divorce, Christianity, the Holocaust and AIDS. Of course as a child a lot of this stuff was over my head, but had some impact on my views of the world. Many of the series story arc’s were original, several of the story-lines were direct adaptations of comic book events. In season 1 the series adapted, “Night of the Sentinels,” “Enter Magneto,” “Captive Hearts,” “Come the Apocalypse,” and “Days of Future Past.” Season 2 saw the adaptation of, “Whatever It takes,” “Weapon X,” “Legacy Virus.” Season 3 adapted my all time favorite arc the “Phoenix Saga,” and the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”
The series fell apart (in my opinion) after this season with season 4 & 5 focusing on “One Man’s Worth” and the “Phalanx Covenant.” Overall, this series marked a moment in my and many other lives became familiar with Marvel and comic books. The series had tremendous influence on me and presented X-Men as being more people with cool powers. It also has a lot of humor (which was mostly Wolverine one liners). I would recommend this series to anyone (up to season 3 (LOL)), you can stream the series on Hulu. If you want to read another take on the series effect check out this article.
Technicality this day’s challenge is “the best form of transportation.” I’m going to cheat a little and choose two. One is a technology and the other is a mutant power. I have always found the X-Men’s iconic Blackbird. While a conventional means of transport the Blackbird is both in real life and in Marvel a cool means of transport. The original Blackbird was modeled after a scaled up version Lockheed SR-71. It was often destroyed during the many X-Men missions, at great cost to Professor X. It has also been upgraded with Shi’ar technology. The software for Cerebro was added as well as the addition of a cloaking device and the ability to fly in space.
The second form of transportation the “Stepping Discs” from Magik(Illyana Rasputina). She can mentally control these “discs,” which permits her to transport herself and others teleport “across interstellar distances or through time.” She must use the dimension Limbo as a midway point. She has teleported herself across continents, planets and even galaxies. Magik is also able to teleport through time and space. She has managed to teleport into the future and past by days or centuries. Obviously compared to the Blackbird, Magik’s discs are far more useful and varied. She has complete control of where she and others go, where the Blackbird is severely limited.
The number of “universes” in the Marvel is extraordinary. From a quick glance apparently there’s at least 10,000. Check here if you would like to count. There are multiverses, megaverses, dimensions, realms, realities, and alternate-realities, all that is collected within an Omniverse. Also, the Omniverse apparently includes Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image, Dark Horse, Archie, Harvey, Shueisha, Boom Studios, Rebellion, Dynamite, IDW, Graphic India, Derby Pop, Vertigo, Oni Press, Udon, Valiant, it even includes anime and manga not to mention our own world. Obviously, this is all made up, which doesn’t make the concept any less impressive.
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 17 the Omniverse includes “every single literary, television show, movie, urban legend, universe, realm, etc. ever . . . including fan-works. None of this is to be confused with the concept of “continuity.” Realities such as Earth-616 are considered a “single reality,” a continuity. For the record Earth-616 is the mainstream Marvel Universe. The reality of Earth-616 is that it has gone through ” eight different incarnations, all triggered by different instances of multiverse renewal, which constitutes in the destruction and re-creation of everything there is.” The beginning of the Earth-616 begins at the seventh incarnation that is marked by creation of Galactus.
While I found reading about the various Universes to be fun it’s time consuming. I certainly won’t recap it here. However, what is clear is the amount of love and effort that has been put into creating worlds, despite there extraordinary characters and stories manage to somehow feel real. If I had to choose ONE Universe it would simply be the Earth-616 because it’s the one that’s most familiar to me (by the way OUR Universe is Earth-1218). However, there are more Universes that I find interesting:
House of M (Earth-58163)
In the House of M, Magneto becomes leader of the world’s mutants. Mutants control the world and are racist towards humans. They control governments, businesses and culture. Humans like Spider-Man and Captain Marvel are the exceptions. This is all the result of the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff’s) reality warping abilities getting out of control. The X-Men and Avengers consider killing her, but Wanda changes the world be that can happen.
Amalgam Universe (Earth-9602)
This Universe is a parallel one that was a combination of Earth-616 and New Earth (DC). Two entities known as the brothers (each represent Marvel and DC) pit combatants from each universe against each other. The winner would destroy the other universe. To prevent this the Living Tribunal and the Spectre combine the universes together resulting in heroes that combined together like, Doctor Strangefate. He’s was a combination of Doctor Fate, Doctor Strange and Professor X.
The Wastelands (Earth-807128)
In this reality the villains united fifty years prior to Old Man Logan. America is divided up by them an renamed Amerika. Logan kills The Red Skull, many heroes died fighting Galactus, who became a power source. Hulk impregnates She-Hulk and they have inbred children. Most of this universe is the same as Earth-616, except Logan is much older than he is in Earth-616.
Even a casual comic book fan knows that in the comic book universe death is cheap. Chances are that most of the prominent characters have die at least once. Professor X has died 4 times, so has Wonder Woman, Wally West (The Flash), Rogue, Iron Man and Superman has bit the dust 5 times each, Batman and Thor (a God) both died 6 times, with Jean Grey (the Phoenix) dying let’s just say over a dozen times. So basically the effects of death is minimal. It is probably more important how a character dies and how he or she is revived at this point.
Comic book writer Geoff Johns stated that, “Death in superhero comics is cyclical in its nature, and that’s for a lot of reasons, whether they are story reasons, copyright reasons, or fan reasons.” Danny Fingeroth suggested that ” the nature of superheroes requires that they be both ageless and immortal.” Sometimes this aspect of death in comics are noted in universe. Professor X has stated that “in mutant heaven there are no pearly gates, but instead revolving doors.” As a result I don’t care about comic book death.
That said their are some deaths that are notable for one reason or another. There use to be a saying that ” Nobody stays dead except Bucky, Uncle Ben, and Jason Todd.” Of course both Jason Todd and Bucky have been resurrected since. However, Bucky does have the record for the character that had the longest death before coming back. Uncle Ben however, remains one of the few characters that seems to have remained dead. Marvel prefers to have characters return to their “core character concept.” For Spider-Man, Uncle Ben is part of his core archetype, so he will stay dead. Finally, some characters death do manage to have impact. Captain America has died 11 times. His last death in 2007 made real-world headlines. He returned in 2009.