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Back in the day, the Big Two of comic books (Marvel and DC) were known for homaging each other in various ways. The most notable of these homages was during Halloween, when both companies would do stories set in Rutland, Vermont. You see, every year, Rutland holds a special Halloween parade, in which people mostly dress up as superheroes. It was started by the late Tom Fagan, who was a local writer and comic book fan. It would be used as a setting for several Marvel and DC stories in the 1970s.

Another way they paid homage to each other was by creating pastiches. One of the most notable pastiches was Marvel's Squadron Supreme, who were essentially an homage to the Justice League. I looked at their 12-issue mini-series last year. DC also did homages to Marvel characters. One example is the one we'll look at here. So join me as we take a look at Superman battling a twisted take on the Fantastic Four in Adventures of Superman #466!

The cover is awesome. You got the Man of Steel battling two of the "Fantastic Four". What I love is the "Invisible Woman" of the bunch is all like, "Oh my God, watch it, you rockbrained idiot! You nearly trampled me!", while the "Mr. Fantastic" of the four is all like, "What is going on? Why are we fighting Superman?" It's a great cover, I love it.

"The Limits of Power"

Writer: Dan Jurgens

Artists: Dan Jurgens (Layouts), Dick Giordano (Finished Art, credited as "Sludd" Giordano)

Inker: Dick Giordano

Colorist: Glenn Whitmore

Editors: Jon Peterson, Mike Carlin

The story begins at a NASA control center in Houston, Texas. They're monitoring the space shuttle Excalibur as it attempts a problematic reentry.

On the reentry, the crew of four astronauts are exposed to bizarre radiation. Sound familiar? The shuttle explodes and crashes into a wooded area. Two of the astronauts, a man named Hank Henshaw and a woman named Terri, find each other. The dialogue suggests they are a husband and wife team. The two are alright, but Terry notices Hank's hair is now completely white. Hank asks about the other two astronauts, man named Jim Garrison and Steven...I'm giving him the surname "Tempest", because why not? If we're going to rip-off the FF, let's go all out. Steven calls out for help, as the radiation caused him to...get a new look.

Hank theorizes that the radiation mutated Steven Tempest, causing the destruction of his original body...and the creation of a new body composed of radiation. Steven freaks out, worried that he's going to die. Terri realizes Jim is missing. They quickly find him, and much like Steven Tempest, Jim Garrison is not a human being anymore.

Yeah, this...Thing, for lack of a better term, is no cantankerous idol of millions with a speech pattern like Jimmy Durante. Instead, much like Steven, his body was destroyed. Instead of forming a new one out of the radiation itself, his new body was formed from the ground and spaceship wreckage around him. And unlike Steven, he's in constant pain.

Hank reminds the crew they were experimenting with radiation out in space when they ran into trouble. Propriety demands they return to NASA, but they're too far away. Metropolis is closer, and since the experiments were also funded by Lexcorp, they should go there. How Hank knows where they are and that Metropolis is closer is beyond me. Steven discovers that he can use his new energy powers to create platforms, and he uses this ability to transport the others there. Terri wonders if this is the right thing. Hank assures them that it is. Jim needs help as he is clearly in agony, and unbeknownst to the others, Hank suffers from radiation sickness.

In the Big Apricot, Lois Lane is getting a visit from her sister Lucy. Lucy is teasing her older sister about making dinner for Clark. Clark Kent arrives, and Lucy takes that as her cue to leave. As she heads out, she thinks about looking up Jimmy Olsen again. The doorbell rings, and Lois goes to the door, thinking it must be Lucy. Lucy tends to be a bit forgetful with her keys. But it's not Lucy, it's Perry and Alice White. Perry has arrived to give some papers for Lois to study, presumably for a story she's working on.

Alice is rather icy towards Clark, as she felt Clark stabbed Perry in the back. You see, Clark had taken an editorial position for a while at Newstime, a competitor magazine. He then quit and returned to the Daily Planet, and Alice felt Clark's taking that job was a metaphorical finger to Perry as Perry White was the one who found Clark and made him into the reporter he is today. Geez, Alice! If Clark was being offered a better job, why not take it?!

Meanwhile, in a park, two men are meeting. These men? Morgan Edge, alleged criminal. Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim, head of Intergang. If you ever watched Superman: The Animated Series, you may be familiar with Mannheim (voiced by Bruce Weitz) and Intergang. They're basically an organized crime syndicate that uses technology from Apokolips. Mannheim assures that Edge's legal troubles at the time will handle themselves...provided he stay out of trouble. Edge says he needs no help, but Mannheim intimidates him and states that Edge had better stay away from Daily Planet reporter Cat Grant. If he does, he'll be alright.

Steven Tempest unknowingly flies over this scene as he and the rest of the Excalibur crew fly into Metropolis. Terri notices that Hank doesn't look well. Hank admits this, and wonders if he'll create a new body, much like Steve and Jim. But now's not the time for thinking. The astronauts arrive at Lexcorp's front door, and the overeager guard basically tells them, "get out or I'll blast you." Hank pleads to let them use the lab. The guard is alerted that they are contaminated by radiation. The guard panics and calls for some heavier backup.

Perry White gets a tip about the astronauts arriving in Lexcorp, and asks Lois to check it out. Clark will stay behind and watch the dinner. Clark agrees. When the others leave, he decides to go investigate himself. After all, this sounds like a job for Superman. Superman arrives, and sees the astronauts brawl with some armored Lexcorp guards.

In typical Superman style, the Man of Steel tries to calm everyone down and figure out what is going on here, although he does think that if they are angry at Luthor, they may have a darn good reason. Steven thinks Superman is about to be blasted by one of the guards. He tries to fight back, but accidentally hits Superman. It's not helped by Jim hurling another guard at Superman. Steven loses it and starts blasting everyone. Superman uses one of the guards' battle suits to contain him. Garrison then smacks the Metropolis Marvel with a lamppost. However, Hank Henshaw is able to calm everyone down and explain himself.

Henshaw explains they were doing some experiments in space, but then they got hit with some unusually intense solar flares. Superman realizes that some days earlier, he destroyed a Kryptonian artifact called The Eradicator into the Sun [In Adventures of Superman #465 (April 1990)]. It leads him to wonder if maybe he's at fault for this. Was that the reason those solar flares hit? Either way, Superman pledges to help in any way he can.

Elsewhere in Metropolis, one Cat Grant (you may know her from the Supergirl live-action series) gets a visitor.

Meet Jose Delgado, the Gangbuster. He was on his way to tell Lois he was rooming at the local "Y" for a while, but he also has some news for Cat. You see, established earlier, Morgan Edge is on trial for his connections to Intergang. Cat was one of the people who exposed him, so her ex-husband fears that they will target her. As such, he hired Jose to be her bodyguard. Cat is not too happy about this, but Jose reminds her that Intergang are bad news. Both she and her son Adam are in danger, so he's sticking to her. Besides, he already spent the money Cat's ex paid him, so he might as well do the job.

Back at the Lexcorp labs, Henshaw is having some frustrations. He's running out of time. Terri's starting to fade into another dimension, Garrison is in agony, and he has no idea what to do to help them. Henshaw himself...doesn't look so good.

Hot dang, he looks bad. His skin is melting off, and he has no time to rest. He looks like the next hot new horror monster. You know, I think this is what happened to Jim and Steven, but Henshaw's just undergoing the process much more slowly. Superman suggests they ask STAR Labs for help. Luthor is not there to help, and the Man of Steel is no scientist. Man, he could use that Pre-Crisis super-intelligence right now. Henshaw angrily refuses, saying only he can find the answer.

 

Terri starts to fade away, and Steven breaks out of his improvised warsuit prison, more powerful than ever. He flies into the sky, ranting about how powerful he is and that he can do anything. Superman pursues him into space, but is having trouble keeping up. Yeah, at this time, there was an effort to instill limits to Superman's power. Steven flies towards the sun, ranting that he hears it calling to him, wanting to join with him. He ends up getting torn to shreds...somehow.

Superman realizes the other three astronauts still need help, so he flies back down to the Lexcorp lab, thinking maybe he can get the JLA or Titans to help...but he's too late. Henshaw is almost a skeleton. He's still holding on, though. But for not much longer. With his dying words, he pleads for Superman to save Terri, as it's too late for him or Jim. He tries to tell him how to save Terri, but dies before he can finish. Superman notices that he can barely see Terri. She's almost finished being transported to the other dimension.

Jim is able to point out a radiation chamber. Superman deduces that Hank must've been trying to use that equipment to save himself, Jim, and Terri. Yeah, because adding more radiation will help. Terri gets in the chamber by going through the door. Meanwhile, the pain-addled and teary-eyed Jim heads towards an MRI booth.

Henshaw's plan ends up working, and the radiation restores Terri to normal. With that problem solved, Superman and Terri race to find Jim and see if it's still possible to help him. Henshaw may have thought there was no way, but Superman is not the type to give up on helping someone. They do find Mr. Garrison...what's left of him.

 

 

As shown in the panel, Jim basically the MRI booth to commit suicide. He was so in pain that he must have felt that it was the only option he had left. Terri is heartbroken. Her husband and two comrades are dead. Where can she go from there? Personally, I can imagine that she is still employed by NASA or Lexcorp, so I can imagine that, after a mental break to deal with all of this, of course, they can still give her something to do. Superman vows to help all he can. He blames himself for this, as he thinks that his throwing the Eradicator into the sun caused the solar flare that helped make this whole mess.

Terri indicated that could not have been possible because...the solar flare that caused this mess occurred yesterday morning. Superman did toss the Kryptonian artifact into the sun the same day...but he did it during the afternoon, so he couldn't have caused it. Yeah, minor error there. According to Superman earlier in the book, he tossed the Eradicator several days earlier. It was just a tragic accident. Superman takes Terri to a hospital. After this, he heads home.

Back in his apartment, Superman is back in his guise as Clark Kent. He uses a bit of heat vision to finish the soufflé that Lois was making earlier to perfection. Lois arrives, and she wants to tell him about some happenings at Lexcorp. Lois, are you talking about that battle earlier? Because Clark was there. As Superman. I'm assuming that she stumbled on something else.

You see, earlier in the issue, Clark had wanted to talk to Lois about their relationship. Earlier in the story, Clark had wanted to say something to her, but Lois wasn't interested. She wasn't a fan of the word "relationship", and she just wanted to see where things went with them at this point. The whole experience with the astronauts reminded Clark that life can be shorter than one thinks. Lois may want to let their relationship proceed at its own pace, but sometimes you have to give things a push, to take a chance. If it fails, at least the attempt was made. Lois is confused by what Clark means, but he explains by kissing her. Lois returns the kiss.

The story ends with Jose Delgado witnessing this and walking away.

 

 

This was actually a pretty good issue. As a "done-in-one" issue, it was very enjoyable. The Superman creative team, paying homage to the Fantastic Four, with tragic results. Honestly, I would have loved seeing these four stick around for a while, perhaps even try to be heroes alongside Superman, but the radiation slowly driving them mad. But I get why it's a done-in-one, and it's a very enjoyable one.

Jurgens and Giordano make quite the good art team in this book. The characters are very expressive. Also, I love their designs for the transformations for Steve and Jim. They're very reminiscent of the Human Torch and the Thing, but also have something original about them. Like they were pastiches that had the potential to evolve into original characters in their own right.

This story would introduce Hank Henshaw, would become one of Superman's biggest headaches later on. But wait, didn't he die here? Well, not exactly. His body disintegrated, but his mind survived. He became a disembodied consciousness that had the ability to build new bodies out of mechanical parts. He used this power to possess the "birthing matrix" that rocketed the baby Kal-El to Earth. Configuring it into a rocketship, he would use it to explore the cosmos. He would learn of Superman's tossing the Eradicator into the sun. This, combined with the time in space, would cause Henshaw to develop a hatred of Superman, and a desire for revenge against the Man of Steel. After Superman died battling Doomsday, Henshaw saw an opportunity to make Superman pay for the loss of his crew. He would use his powers to become one of the four impersonators of Superman that showed up afterwards. It was here that Hank would be in his most recognizable form: The Cyborg Superman.

Hank Henshaw would also be associated with Green Lantern, particularly the Hal Jordan incarnation. As part of his scheme of revenge against Superman, Henshaw would destroy Hal's hometown of Coast City. This tragedy would eventually drive Hal to go insane and become Parallax, leading to the rise of Kyle Rayner as the (at the time) sole Green Lantern. Green Lantern: Rebirth retconned this by saying that Parallax was an entity of living fear that took advantage of Hal's grief to possess him.

Interestingly, Superman would team up with the actual Fantastic Four in a 1999 crossover. Appropriately enough, Hank Henshaw was one of the villains of that crossover. I have that one, and I just may take a look at it one day for this blog.

I love this era of Superman, and I don't think it's talked about very much. It's a real shame. In my opinion, late 80s-90s era Superman was a hidden Golden Age for the character. Fun stories and great art. If you can find some of it, get it. This issue has been collected in trade form, particularly in the 2013 trade Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis. It has a team-up story that would make a great story to look at on Halloween...

Next time, the Crisis on Infinite Earths rages on, and we see the fall of another major hero...

In August, Aspyr Media published a dungeon-crawler game created by an indie studio called Digital Continue. The game was called Next Up Hero. It focused on a group of heroes with various talents and abilities fighting monsters. If one hero died, the next up could call up that dead hero as a computer-controlled "echo" to help them fight. The game was originally published for Steam, X-Box One, and the PlayStation 4. But now, it's also coming to the Nintendo Switch, joining its rather impressive library of indie games. Let's take a look at the trailer for it!

 

 

Dungeon Maker 5000, huh? Man, those RPG Maker guys are really branching out. I gotta admit, I am intrigued at the idea of making your own dungeons.

Heh heh, the kid is like your stereotypical gamer, always going for the hard mode.

I admit,  I do like the look of the game. Very colorful.

Heh heh, in this game, when it's said death cannot stop a hero from bringing justice, they mean it.

Hey, co-op play! I wonder if this is new for the Switch version.

So, one of your fellow heroes is down. What do you do? Do you try and retreat to get them help? Nope, MAKE THE GAME HARDER.

Well, this looks like a ton of fun. I hope it has a demo, so I can give it a try. But still, it looks like a real blast to play.

Back in January, I took a look at Avengers #263 (January 1986). It was the first part of a three-part story that had the goal of bringing back Jean Grey, one of the original five X-Men, who had seemingly died as a result of the Dark Phoenix Saga storyline. This three part story is also unique because it was set over three books: Avengers, Fantastic Four, and the first issue of a book that would make its debut: X-Factor. We have looked at the first part of this story, now let's take a look at the second part, as Marvel's First Family witnesses the rebirth of the Phoenix!

The cover is pretty awesome. You have Jean front and center, and the Fantastic Four recoiling from her. It gives the impression that Jean is imposing and frightening. It makes sense, considering Jean was believed to have been the Dark Phoenix at the time.

"Like a Phoenix!"

Writers: John Byrne, Chris Claremont

Pencilers: John Byrne, Jackson Guice

Inker: Terry Austin

Colorist: Glynis Oliver

Letterer: John Workman

Editor: Michael Carlin

Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The story begins with the FF returning home from an adventure in space. This comes from the events of Fantastic Four Annual #19 (November 1985), where they and the Avengers failed to stop a bomb from going off that stripped the Skrulls of their species' ability to shapeshift. They got that power back, as Secret Invasion clearly showed. The Avengers returned to Earth, but the FF decided to play "Star Trek" and do some space exploration for a while.

She-Hulk remarks that with all the detours that the group has taken, she had wondered if the FF would ever return home. Yeah, at the time, the Sensational She-Hulk had joined the Fantastic Four, as the Thing had opted to stay on Battleworld after the events of the first Secret Wars. The two of them attempt to land their craft at JFK International Airport, but they're told to divert to La Guardia instead. The air traffic controller explains an incident happened, but the Avengers had it handled.

Since Avengers Mansion doesn't have a landing place for their craft, they'll have to land at La Guardia and take a taxi. Heh heh, keep in mind, the Fantastic Four are famous celebrities. The idea of them having to call a taxi to get to the headquarters of another team of superheroes is hilarious to me. In case you're wondering, the FF have been staying at Avengers Mansion at this point because their old headquarters, the Baxter Building, was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278 (May 1985). The group arrive and Cap recounts the events of Avengers #263 to him. He then shows Reed the cocoon.

The thing is now inert, showing no measurable activity. Reed reaches out to touch the coffin, but like others in the past, is sent flying. Good thing Sue is there with her forcefields. He suggests Sue use her powers to make invisible things visible to give everyone a look at what is in that thing. Sue warns there may be nothing in there at all. As she tries to use that power, she notes she feels a resistance, like something is fighting it. But Sue is able to reveal what is in the pod.

Yeah, if you read Avengers #263, you'd know it was Jean in there. Nobody recognizes her, which makes more sense than you think. The Fantastic Four encountered the X-Men for the first time in Fantastic Four #28 (July 1964). During that time, the X-Men were wearing their original costumes, which included masks. The two groups would meet again during the events of X-Men: The Hidden Years #8-9 (July-August 2000), but Jean still had a mask as part of her costume. Captain America worked with Jean during the events of Captain America #172-174 (April-June 1974), battling the original Secret Empire. If you want to learn more about the original Secret Empire storyline, I reviewed the climax of that storyline right here. None of the heroes at that point ever saw Jean unmasked, so it does make sense they have no idea who she is.

Johnny Storm, bored with the idea of waiting around while Reed does research, decides to go out on a date. She-Hulk agrees, as she wants to catch up with her beloved Wyatt Wingfoot. Despite this, She-Hulk admits she does find Hercules rather impressive. The next morning, Jarvis arrives to give them some breakfast, and Reed realizes they've spent the last eight hours at this mystery without  break.

The time wasn't a complete waste, though. Reed managed to lock on to Jean's brainwaves, and he thinks she may be in a form of suspended animation. As for the pod's defensive energies, Jean's unconscious mind is the reason for them. Jarvis surmises that maybe she has superpowers. Remember, none of the heroes here have ever seen Jean Grey unmasked. They have no idea she was in the X-Men. Reed is going to try and wake her up, using a "gentle bio-radiant stimulation of her conscious mind". That's when the craziness starts. First it's Jarvis's coffee, and then it's give Sue Storm-Richards one heck of a wake-up call.

Sue realizes Reed did something in the lab again, and she'd better get down there. In the lab, Cap, Hercules, and Reed are been sent flying around, but it's not the pod. It's Jean herself. Reed activates a device that causes the pod to break apart, releasing Jean Grey.

The original X-Men member is back, still thinking she is dealing with the events of X-Men #98-100 (April-August 1976). She is confused when she realizes she's not at Steven Lang's SHIELD satellite, and Lang himself isn't there. Reed explains who he is and she's in Avengers Mansion. Jean isn't convinced. After all, last time she saw the Fantastic Four, they wore blue costumes, not black ones. The FF's suits were turned black due to the properties of the Negative Zone causing an inversion of their costumes' colors when they came back to Earth from it in Fantastic Four #256 (July 1983). Reed tells her he'll explain if she puts him and the other heroes down.

Jean refuses, believing that they're robotic duplicates. At the time, Jean had just had an encounter with the X-Sentinels, robotic duplicates of the original X-Men created by Steven Lang. If he could create robotic simulacrums of the X-Men, he could do ones based on other heroes, too. She's knocked to the ground by an invisible battering ram. Jean tries to attack the arriving Sue, but her powers do not work on the First Family of Superheroes' matriarch. Sue explains that her powers are working, it's just her forcefields are able to cancel them out somehow. Taking advantage, she traps Jean in a force bubble, and the other three heroes fall to the ground. With that, Jean gives up.

Reed realizes that Jean is Marvel Girl of the original X-Men. Jean demands to know why Lang is doing this. She will not beg. She will not grovel. She is an X-Man, and she is stronger than that. Cap explains that Marvel Girl vanished years ago. Reed orders Sue to drop her forcefield, saying they can convince her they are the real deal by putting themselves at her mercy. Jean is left confused...and very tired.

Jarvis gives her a chair so she can rest, and offers her some tea. Jean is very confused, and recalls the last things she can remember, the Sentinel attack on Christmas Eve, Steven Lang's attempt to kill her, the battle with the X-Sentinels, her seemingly sacrificing herself to help get the other X-Men back to Earth, that kind of thing. She knows something else happened, but can't remember. Reed does recall that Sentinel attack, and Cap claims the government disavowing any knowledge or support of Lang's little genocide attempt.

Sue points out that none of it explains how Jean ended up in the bottom of Jamaica Bay. She suggests that Reed try the Bio-Stimulator again, but Reed refuses. He said he would not have used it in the first place if he knew Jean had mental powers. To use it again could give her permanent brain damage. I'm guessing people with mental powers have some sort of sensitivity to the system or something like that, I have no idea.

Jean suggests they take her to Professor Xavier, as he may be able to help her. He's one of the most powerful telepaths on Earth. If he can't help her find her lost memories, no one can. She needs the X-Men. Cap says that is not such a good idea right now. Recently, after an attack by the superhuman Nazi twins known as Fenris, Xavier got badly hurt. Evidently, his injuries were so severe he needed to go to space to heal. As such, he handed over the Xavier Institute to Magneto. Jean takes it well.

Sue confirms it, having seen the X-Men and Magneto work together during the first Secret Wars. Jean is shocked and horrified. The change seems to be a bit much for her. It's kind of understandable. She's lost several years, and her old friends have seemingly joined up with their oldest and greatest enemy. She begs the heroes to take her to her parents' home.

Reed advises against this, saying that he has no idea about her family's status, and they may not take her suddenly being around after seemingly being dead for years. Sue tells Reed that Jean is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and she needs people she loves and trusts around her right now. She can empathize, as she's still dealing with the mental trauma of the Psycho-Man's emotional assault on her in Fantastic Four #280-282 (July-September 1985). Jean needs familiarity in some form. Reed relents. Hercules agrees to come along, as he feels it is ignoble to ignore a woman in need. Cap agrees to come along as well, but he has to check something first.

Some time later, Reed, Sue, and Hercules take Jean to her family's home in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Yes, it's a real place. However, Sue only keeps getting an answering machine. Hercules notes the door appears to be locked. So, he deals with this problem the only way he knows how.

Hercules in the 80s tended to be a bit of a lunkhead. Jean tells him off and shows a key hidden under a fake rock. The group go in, and Hercules find a odd-looking little crystal ball with Jean's image in it. When he picks up the ball, he ends up getting...feelings. He feels Jean's essence, everything she is in it. Reed realizes the ball is a "holempathic matrix crystal", an advanced device that transmits a person's essence upon touch, a very intimate device. This was given to Jean's family by Lilandra, Queen of the Shi'Ar in X-Men #138 (October 1980). Why they didn't take it with them when they clearly moved out is anyone's guess.

However, the Grey family's forgetfulness is a benefit for Jean. Reed suggests that Jean touch it, as it may help fill in the blanks of her memory. Jean Grey is naturally a bit frightened to take the device. Back at Avengers Mansion, Captain America is trying to do some research on Jean, but he's drawing a blank. He then realizes she was in the X-Men...with the Beast! And Beast was an Avenger himself once! Cap then recalls a file Henry McCoy made about Jean. He basically recaps the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix Sagas, expressing that if Phoenix were to return, humanity could be doomed.

Jean is scared of what the crystal will reveal, but Reed assures her that she is strong enough to handle it. She is one of the original five X-Men, after all. Jean, feeling reassured by Reed's words, touches the alien device. Reed, Sue, and Hercules find themselves in the memories of the crystal, silent observers. The device replays Jean's sacrifice to save the X-Men from re-entry...but something else happened. A weakened Jean, dying from radiation poisoning, starts seeing a strange light and hearing an equally odd celestial music, like the stars themselves are singing a soothing song to her.

She refuses to quit, as Scott and the X-Men need her to get the shuttle safely to Earth. A being of pure light approaches her.

Reed theorizes Jean was visited by some energy being while she was dying in the shuttle. Hercules notices that everything has seemingly paused, which Reed believes is the energy being causing time to go still somehow. The being explains that she has come in response to Jean's need for aid. The being wonders how Jean is able to endure the radiation like this, and Jean remarks she is too stubborn to quit, and she wants to save the X-Men...especially Scott "Cyclops" Summers. The being explains that it is "the Universe", basically some kind of cosmic being. She came to help. Jean wants her to save the X-Men...and admittedly, she's scared of dying. The being tells her she can help...but at a price. The energy being touches Jean, and this happens.

Bit of an error there, as the Phoenix is shown wearing the red Dark Phoenix costume whereas when "Jean" first re-emerged as Phoenix, she wore a green costume. But there is an explanation for it. More on that later. Jean faints from this. Reed theorizes that Jean gave the Phoenix her essence, while the Phoenix provided the cocoon as essentially a healing tank for her body so she could recover from the radiation poisoning. Phoenix forced itself to believe it was truly Jean. This thing leaves Jean confused. How can she be sure of who she is? Is she Jean Grey, original X-Man...or is she Phoenix, the being that got drunk and corrupted by her power and destroyed a planet full of innocent beings? Captain America arrives, thinking he can help answer that.

Cap believes the being that crashed the shuttle was Phoenix, believing it was Jean, but was actually a being of pure evil. But Jean was able to stop it. Reed recalls the being knew the risks of taking a human form. Jean fears that her humanity turned the Phoenix evil, maybe it somehow drove it insane. Cap believes that the being's power rebelling against Jean's will caused it. When the Phoenix took Jean's place, it duplicated her down to the atom, imitated her so perfectly even a telepath like Charles Xavier didn't notice. Sue sums it up: She gave the Phoenix humanity. She gave it a soul. Phoenix willing to kill itself on the Moon rather than let it rampage again, and to Cap, it shows the power of the human spirit, that it can triumph even over the cosmic-level power of the Phoenix.

I love Jean's face in this panel. I know it's supposed to be relief, but I can't help but imagine that she's also fangirling out a bit about Captain America talking to her. Next comes the epilogue. Jean is staying at Avengers Mansion in the meantime. She's decided to save contacting her family and friends until she can figure out a better way to explain her return to them. She's also dealing with her telepathic power being damaged. The story ends with Reed Richards picking up the phone and making a call. As for who Reed is calling? Well, you'll have to read X-Factor #1 to find out!

This comic was...perfectly fine. Admittedly though, I do find the attempt to explain and differentiate the Pheonix from Jean is a bit awkward, but there is a reason for that. You see, Jim Shooter had ordered a last-minute change to the ending of this comic. Chris Claremont and Jackson Guice had stepped in to provide the new ending.

John Byrne's original ending had established that the Phoenix being was always malicious. The reason why it acted as Jean for so long was because in an attempt to stop Phoenix, Jean telepathically transmitted all her memories into the being. The changes from this version Shooter ordered angered Byrne, and he demanded his name be taken off the comic's credits. It does make the book a bit disjointed as a result. If you want to see some of the original Byrne pages, I'm sure Google has them, and they've also been reprinted in X-Factor Epic Collection Vol. 1: Genesis and Apocalypse.

Some may find the callback to previous stories a bit of a slog. Me, though? I love it. I love when previous stories are called back to and built on. It gives the feeling that these events had an impact and that they mattered. I love continuity and history. I love the callbacks.

Both Guice and Byrne turn in some great art. Byrne is in his prime here, and admittedly, I didn't notice Guice's different style at first. I thought it was Byrne at first.

Do I recommend reading this? Well, for the historical value at the very least, I say so. It was a controversial moment at the time, as some fans felt bring Jean back weakened the impact of the Dark Phoenix Saga. This story would also lead to further retcons and reinterpretations of the relationship between Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force, making things more confusing. To me, this is a forebearer to how confusing and crazy the X-Books will get continuity-wise in the future.

Next time, we travel to the DC Universe, as Superman deals with a certain..."fantastic" foursome...

Mark Wahlberg is a CIA agent who has to get a very important asset 22 miles to an extraction point. Sounds simple, right? Well, in these kind of movies, it never is. You see, Wahlberg also has to deal with terrorists who want to prevent them from reaching the extraction point. In the form of dying. So let's take a look at the trailer for the upcoming film Mile 22! Warning, there's some NSFW language in this trailer.

 

 

 That puzzle must really suck to do. There's no picture.

"We live in a world of wars". Sounds like somebody's been playing too much Call of Duty.

Hi, Ronda Rousey! Somebody's gonna lose an arm in this movie.

Wait, Overwatch? I'm so disappointed that this won't be like the game. I wanted to play the game, but it has no single-player campaigns. WHY?!

Southeast Asia. There are countries there. Which one? Thailand? Laos? Vietnam? Singapore?

9 pounds. That's a LOT of radioactive isotope.

Dude, needles make me nervous too, but I don't go beating the tar out of everyone in the hospital!

Why does that dude want to go to the US? Well, I'm thinking Disneyland. Who doesn't want to go to Disneyland?

So, Mile 22 is the name of the extraction point? Okay.

Yeah, this film's plot is just going to be an excuse to have lots of explosions, shooting, fighting, and Mark Wahlberg making one-liners.

I'm personally not expecting this film to revolutionize action movies. But I am hoping it at least is a fun ride. I'll be happy if it's that at the very least. 

Heh heh, it seems that over the last week, various fighting games have had put out trailers for me to comment on. First, it was Tekken. Next it was Street Fighter. And now, another iconic fighting series has put out something special, and this one is my favorite series: Super Smash Bros. The latest game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, is on the way. We've already got a Nintendo Direct announcing the game, but now they put out a new Direct with some special surprises. Let's take a look! Warning: This is about a half-hour long. So keep that in mind before you play it.

 

 

 

It was a dark and stormy night...

Cool boots, bro.

Yeah, I don't think you're in the mansion anymore, Luigi.

OH MY GOD! THEY KILLED LUIGI! YOU B******S!

Flail to the face! 

OH YEAH! SIMON BELMONT HAS FINALLY COME TO SMASH! Castlevania was one of the only major NES franchises that never got to get any representation in the Smash series, so it's so AWESOME to see Simon here! And it does make sense. Simon Belmont was the protagonist of the first NES Castlevania game. I think his appearance here is supposed to be a nod to Super Castlevania IV, the first game in the Castlevania series for the Super Nintendo.

You all have no idea how awesome this is. I have played a couple Castlevanias. I do enjoy them, despite their being ridiculously hard.

And we got Richter, too! Richter Belmont is Simon's descendant, and he's from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which was originally released in Japan for the TurboGrafx-16 (called the PC Engine in Japan) in 1993. It was remade for the Super Nintendo for the West in 1995 as Castlevania: Dracula X. The original TurboGrafx-16 version is often considered the superior version. I'm guessing that Richter will be Simon's Echo Fighter.

Poor Luigi. Be glad you're a male there, pal. If you were a woman, Carmilla will never leave you alone.

Hi, Mr. Sakurai! Hope you're doing okay.

I can imagine that they'll make up for Simon not being fast by making sure he and his whip can hit hard. And he looks like a tank. He can take a hit. I hope. And his Final Smash is cool.

And with a new fighter comes a new stage. Dracula's Castle. I imagine the vampire of the house must get annoyed about the Smashers brawling in his home. "Hey! All of you! Get out of my house! And don't set that on fire! That's an antique!" And hitting candlesticks to get items is a nice touch. Just like in the source games. I also love the monsters plaguing the stage idea. They want you out of Dracula's home before you break all his candlesticks.

Why is Carmilla crying like that? Did they catch her peeping on the female fighters again?

And 34 tracks! This stage will have 34 music tracks! The team must've really wanted to go big for finally getting to use Castlevania in Smash. Thank you Konami!

Dracula is fed up of all these people coming into his house and beating each other up in it. They also end up wrecking the place, and the castle is already a money-sucking pit. Drac doesn't need the extra stress on his bank account.

And speaking of Dracula, his son Alucard from Symphony of the Night will be an assist trophy! Awesome! I was hoping that Trevor's companions from Dracula's Curse will be assist trophies as well, but I can work with this.

Two new Echo Fighters, huh? Alright!

The first is Chrom, from Fire Emblem Awakening. Based on his usage of Aether, I'm assuming he's an Echo of Ike.

The second is Dark Samus, who first appeared as the titular villain of Metroid Prime. I love her look in this game. Sleek, simple, and intimidating. She's not here to save the day. She's here to bring the pain.

Switching between having the Echo Fighters displayed separately and having them "stacked" with their counterparts? That seems a bit...needless to me. I'd just have them displayed separately.

Hey, lots of old stages returning, huh? I would love to see the Mushroom Kingdom stage from Melee come back. I never was fond of the Brawl version that made it into a desert. And man, those old stages look great.

With Super Mario Odyssey, it makes sense there'd be a stage based on that game. And Paulina performs live for you! Hope she doesn't accidentally get knocked around.

103 STAGES! SAKURAI, YOU AND YOUR TEAM ARE CRAZY! I can imagine being able to turn stage hazards off would be handy for tournaments. And the morphing stage bit would make for some fun unpredictability.

800 MUSIC TRACKS?! SAKURAI, YOU AND YOUR TEAM ARE INSANE! Listen to them on the go, make your own playlists. Ha ha, that is cool!

Hey, I like being able to create my own custom rulesets. If I get to play with friends, I can set it up much faster. Very convenient.

Sudden Death is going to cause some heart attacks.

Gotta be quick on the draw with the Final Smash meter!

5-on-5 battles make me think of Survivor Series.

Heh heh, Smashdown. Gotta get gud with multiple fighters to win here!

Banana Gun! Two items in one! Shoot an opponent, then leave a trap. The Killing Edge is one weapon you should pray YOU get, and not your opponent. Bombers seem like less frightening Bob-Ombs. Does Death know these fighters have uh, borrowed his scythe? Oh, I can imagine the Ramblin' Evil Mushroom causing much frustration. The Rage Blaster is a funny-looking weapon. I like the idea of it doing more damage in the hands of a fighter that has more heavy damage. Desperation, and all that.

Oh, God. We're going to get fanart of Bayonetta pole-dancing on the Alolan Exeggutor, aren't we? Heh heh, the big palm tree is just so happy to be here. I always hated Abra in the original Pokémon games, but he'll be my best friend here. It makes sense for Solgaleo and Lunala to be here, as Sun and Moon/UltraSun and Ultra/Moon are the latest main series Pokémon games. And they're bringing the pain. And do NOT mess with Mimikyu. Hi, Pyukumuku! And Vulpx bringing the heat, while its Alolan counterpart brings the cold. Marshadow hits hard. I can respect that. And Ditto would be great to fake out your opponents for a second I wonder if any of the previous helper Pokémon will return.

Assist Trophy time! How ya doin', Zero? Must be nice having the break from fighting Mavericks. And Knuckles will knock you out, without chuckling. And Krystal is here, too! Fox and the gang will be happy to see her here! And I'm going to hate the Klaptrap. Getting chomped on like that must hurt. Kapp'n is going to give you a ride...to PAINVILLE. And Chef Kawasaki is going to cook up some destruction. I expected Raiden, but Grey Fox is cool, too. Nikki is the most hilarious assist so far. And yay, Shovel Knight! I love that game! Shovel Knight in this game makes me happy. Oh, look. Here comes the Moon from Majora's Mask OHMYGODIT'SCOMINGDOWNRIGHTONTOPOFOURHEADS! And Ashley from the WarioWare series is here, too. Her theme song is catchy. I'm hoping we see some old Assist Trophies return, too.

A special guest, huh? Who could it be? 

Rathalos from Monster Hunter?! Okay, at this point, I think game companies are just calling Nintendo and basically saying, "Hey Nintendo! Can you put this character from our game in Smash, please?" That's what I think. And why is Rathalos both a boss and assist trophy? LOOK AT HIM. You want to tell THAT he can't be a boss and Assist Trophy?

Main menu looks nice.

Sakurai has one last surprise for us.

Oh Dedede, you troll. And those facial expressions will be memes, if they are not already.

KING K.ROOL IS HERE, BABY. DONKEY KONG COUNTRY REPRESENT!

Heh heh, old pirate outfit. I'm betting his big belly will be used a lot in his fighting.

I'm think he's going to eat Pikachu, Ness, and the Inkling girl later.

Was that his Final Smash?

Oh man, this Direct was incredible! New characters, new features, they are really going all out with this one! Sakurai and his team are passionate as anything, and it really shows. I said once that Super Smash Brothers has evolved from a simple Nintendo fighting game to a tribute to video games in general. You really get that vibe for this game. I want this game! I want this game so bad! I am so excited for it!

Yesterday, I did a Tekken trailer, and today, I'm doing a Street Fighter trailer. Funny how life works out, huh? Anyway, a new character is coming to Street Fighter V...well, an old character, but with a new look. The King of Muay Thai himself, Sagat, is coming to SFV! Let's look at his trailer!

 

 

 Sagat likes tigers. Did you know that there is a species of tiger native to Sagat's home country of Thailand? Yup, the Indochinese Tiger. You know, it's a shame he never appeared in a Marvel vs. Capcom game. I think he'd like Tigra.

Aww, look at the ferocious jungle cat. He's so cute.

Sagat is not one for quipping. And where did he get that poncho?

I see Sagat is still totally not mad about Ryu scarring his chest. In Street Fighter lore, Sagat's big chest scar was caused by Ryu.

I have to admit, I love the music in the background.

Hey, he's got his classic Street Fighter II look, too! Awesome!

Tiger Charge! Tiger Charge! You all know Sagat likes to call all his attacks "Tiger _". He likes tigers. I don't blame him. Tigers are awesome.

Sagat is the King of Muay Thai. You come at the King, you best not miss. His having one eye will not help you.

Hey, he comes with a new stage, too. That's nice. King's Court is beautiful. I love the giant Buddha statue. He's just chilling while people are beating and blasting the tar out of each other in front of him.

I like the new costumes. And I'll have to look at the trailer for G at some point. He's a new character, so I am curious about him.

It's great to see Sagat make his comeback. I am curious as to what he was up to during the events of this game, and hopefully, his appearance will explain that.

In 1994, Bandai-Namco released Tekken (Japanese for "Iron Fist") in arcades, and would bring it to the original PlayStation a year later. The game would be highly praised for its characters, controls, and presentation. The game would even get into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first game released on the PlayStation to sell over one million units.

Nearly twenty years later, the Tekken series has seven mainline games and numerous spinoffs. It also has become the best-selling fighting game series in history. The franchise has also had movies, comics, and the Tekken series has crossed over with the Street Fighter series in video game form.

The latest game in the main series, Tekken 7, has crossed the crossover-mania in video games lately. First, the character of Noctis from Final Fantasy XV has been announced to be a playable fighter, and now...we're going to get some more playable characters...including another big surprise. Let's take a look!

 

 

Ah, the Mishima family. Settling issues the only way they know how: By trying to murder each other.

Hey, footage from EVO. EVO is short for Evolution Championship Series, an annual event in which professional gamers take each other on in fighting game tournaments for glory and presumably prize money.

I have to confess, I'venever played a Tekken game. I'm more of a Super Smash Bros. guy myself. Hey, Tekken X Super Smash Bros.. That would be one heck of a fun crossover. Nintendo, Bandai Namco, get on this! Please?

Hey, Anna Williams is in! She and her sister Nina, the blonde in the wedding dress, are...not on the best of terms usually. Between the Williams sisters and the whole dysfunctional Mishima clan, one can't help but wonder if the creators of this game have a thing against families.

Anna got herself some new tattoos. I can imagine she spent many an hour in the tattoo artists' chair. Considering Anna is described as narcissistic and arrogant, I can bet that artist deserved a medal for enduring her.

Yeah, the Williams sisters' meeting up often does involve heavy weaponry. Just be grateful she didn't break out the nukes.

When it come to creating characters for fighting games, creators will draw from real life. For example, Fei Long from the Street Fighter series is basically Bruce Lee. Lei Wulong is another such character. He's an homage to Jackie Chan. You can see that in the ending of his part in the trailer. The whole thing with him shaking his hands like he hurt them after hitting the screen. That's classic Jackie Chan.

I have to admit, I was surprised to see this guy in a Tekken game. Yes, Negan. Arguably one of the most famous characters from the Walking Dead franchise, Negan became famous because of his brutality, twisted sense of humor, and love of profanity. He was portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the TV series. He is also known for his trademark weapon, a bat with barbed wire wrapped around it he named "Lucille". I wonder if Morgan will voice him for the game.

Honestly though, I'd think the Mortal Kombat series would be a better fit for him. I'm not the first to notice this, and it makes sense. That series is known for its brutality and gore, and it would allow a character like Negan to go all out and knock some heads off, quite literally. I am curious about how he got here.

I have to admit, I was surprised by Negan in this game. Anna and Lei Wulong make sense, as they are long-running characters. I also have to admit, I love the current trend of crossovers in video games. I think it's really cool seeing characters from one series meeting other series' characters. The possibilities of it are endless. I can't wait to see what crazy crossovers come next!

Back in May, I gave my thoughts on the trailer for the animated adaptation of The Death of Superman, the 1990s storyline in which Superman...well, died saving the world from the monstrous Doomsday. And considering Superman's death was adapted, it makes sense they would adapt aspects of his return to animation. So, let's take a look at the trailer for Reign of the Supermen!

 

 

 

Well, this is a unique way to start a trailer.

Was Death of Superman really the best-selling graphic novel of all time? And who is that guy doing the intro?

Heh heh, just like the comics. Four mysterious replacements for the Man of Steel in the wake of his death. It does make sense that with the Man of Tomorrow down for the count (He'll be back), someone would try to step up. Superboy is funny. Spoiler Alert: The one in the lower right? He's Steel

Lois Lane cleans up nicely.

Who is this guy?

And who is this gray-haired guy?

So, the glasses guy is named Tim Sheridan, who I presume wrote this adaptation. Okay. Hope he did a good job.

I get the feeling this and the previous animated movie handled Supes's death a lot better than Batman v Superman did.

Jimmy Olsen looks like Tintin.

It is an interesting question. With the moral center gone, who steps up? Who will lead the heroes now? Who will be the guiding voice?

Ah, it's a two parter, like they did with Dark Knight Returns. Sweet. Gives more room for better fitting everything in.

Ah, so the guy with the cap is Sam Liu, the director. I wonder how one directs an animated movie. I am genuinely curious.

Return of Superman did introduce a new Superboy to DC canon in the comics, as Crisis on Infinite Earths wiped Clark Kent's adventures as Superboy out of canon...only for Infinite Crisis to restore that part of Superman's history to canon. And yes, the future Conner Kent/Kon-El was a bit bratty when he started out.

Mike Carlin? That name is familiar. The same guy who edited for DC back in the day?

In the comic story, it was suggested Steel was the one who had Superman's soul, as he was arguably the one "replacement" that acted the most like Superman.

The Eradicator to me represented Superman's being an alien, if that makes sense. He lacked Superman's inherent humanity.

The Cyborg Superman is supposed to represent Superman's power, huh? Okay. And Jerry O'Connell is voicing him? Sweet. I hope he captures the Cyborg Superman's hatred of the real Superman. Seriously. The Cyborg despised the Man of Steel. Claimed Superman ruined his life.

Hey, the Eradicator's Superman logo. Is that a nod to the classic Earth-2 Superman's chest symbol?

 

 

 

Because if that is, that's clever. Kudos to the designers.

Ah, Bibbo. Always nice to see him, especially when he's fanboying over his "fav'rit" superhero.

I have to admit, this trailer is awesome. I love the presentation. The quotes from the people involved in the making, and little teases of the four "Supermen", they really stand out. I have yet to see Death of Superman, but when I see that, I'll give this a shot. I just wonder where the rest of the Justice League is and how they're dealing with this?

Spider-Man. The Wall-Crawler is one of my personal favorite superheroes. I first got into the character thanks to the 1990s animated series. The series to me sold Spider-Man as one of the coolest characters ever. He had awesome villains, his quips were funny, his adventures had plenty of drama, and I still hear C.D. Barnes's voice in my head when I read Spidey's books.

With the passing of his co-creator Steve Ditko at the age of 90, I thought it would be a nice way to honor him by taking a look at the comic that introduced Spider-Man to this world, undoubtedly one of the most famous of his creations/co-creations. Spider-Man was introduced not in his own book, but in another comic: Amazing Fantasy. The series was originally titled Amazing Adult Fantasy, a science-fiction anthology title that was billed as "the magazine that respected your intelligence".

With issue number 15, the title was slated for cancellation. So, considering that the book was on its way out, publisher Martin Goodman reluctantly agreed to let Stan Lee and Steve Ditko publish a story about a new kind of teenage superhero. At the time, teenage heroes like Bucky and Robin were sidekicks. This one would have no mentor, forced to learn the superhero thing through trail by fire. This one would also deal with issues regular folks dealt with like struggling to make ends meet and dealing with feelings of inadequacy. This new character was found to be quite relatable by young readers, and Amazing Fantasy #15 would turn out to be Marvel's highest-selling comic at the time. He would be such a hit that he would actually get his own comic, one that is still going strong today, over 700 issues and over 55 years later. And with that out of the way, let's look at Amazing Fantasy #15!

 

 

The cover has become rather iconic in its own right, homage and parodied. Spider-Man grabbing someone as he swings by. I'm guessing that guy did something he should not have been doing. The dialogue on the cover make me chuckle. Spidey, that guy is right near you. He can hear you. You just told him your secret identity.

"Spider-Man!"

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

Letterer: Artie Simek

Editor: Stan Lee

The story begins with a young teenage boy named Peter Parker being woken up by his Uncle Ben. He gets dressed and goes downstairs, where his Aunt May is making him his favorite breakfast: Wheatcakes. Basically, Petey likes his pancakes.

Peter Parker is a good kid, very smart, with a talent for science. However, he does have his troubles. One of them is when he asks a pretty girl named Sally Avril out for a date. However, Sally isn't interested in the nerdy Parker, especially with the handsome football player Flash Thompson around.

 

 

Heh heh, some time in Southeast Asia will fix Flash's attitude. He also get to use the Venom symbiote in the future...and now I'm sad. Anyway, Peter wants to see an exhibit at Midtown High's science hall, but nobody wants to go with him. The dejected and slightly embittered Peter goes to the exhibit, which is demonstrating radioactivity. Yeah, that totally won't cause some problems. I mean, it's not like if something goes wrong, the school would end up contaminated by radiation or anything. During the exhibition, a spider ends up getting irradiated. Of course, little spiders aren't meant to be irradiated, and the dying spider crawls away. It manages to make its way to young Parker's hand and bite it.

 

 

Peter then feels slightly ill. But instead of telling the scientists he got bitten by a radioactive spider (because you know, that could totally be a bad thing), he simply leaves to get some air. The dazed Peter wanders out onto the street, feeling that something weird is happening to him. He nearly gets run over by a car, but he leaps away from it...and sticks to a wall. He discovers he can crawl up the wall as easily as he can walk down a street.

He manages to make it up to the top of the building quickly, and grabs a steel pipe to help pull himself up...only to crush it like it was made of tissue paper. The young nerdy kid discovers that he's gained powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. But this leads to another question. Now that he's got these cool powers, what should he do with them? Put on a fancy suit and fight crime like those Fantastic Four guys? Nah. Peter's a teenager, and he sees a bit more of a...selfish use for his new power.

 

 

I can imagine that today, there are quite a few laws about that. To hide his identity, Peter creates a costume, complete with mask. He challenges the wrestler, one "Crusher" Hogan, to fight him. The young man is easily able to defeat the wrestler, and the crowd is loving it. A man in the crowd notes the future Spider-Man and thinks he's exactly what he's looking for. He's a TV producer, and he wants to put this kid on TV. Peter is intrigued by this.

He secretly develops the costume he would use as Spider-Man, and builds a pair of wrist-mounted webshooters. He comes up with the name Spider-Man, as it's as "good as any". Now he's got himself a gimmick. Spider-Man then appears on TV, using his agility and newfound webshooters to perform various tricks. The crowd is amazed, and Peter is given lots of offers for future media appearances and interviews and the like. Peter then spots a thief being chased by a policeman. However, Peter is not interested in playing the Good Samaritan, and lets the thief run by.

 

 

The cop is furious at Spider-Man. He could have done something to slow the man down, even something as small as trip him up. But Peter's like, "Fighting crime is YOUR job, officer! I'm outta here!" A few hours later, in a scene I think is a bit superfluous, Aunt May and Uncle Ben got Peter a gift: A microscope. Peter is overjoyed, and vows to always make sure they're happy, but as far as he's concerned, the rest of the world can go hang.

Some days pass, and Spider-Man has become a bit of a celebrity, becoming a TV sensation. This mysterious masked man who can perform the amazing feats of strength, agility, and can spin webs and crawl on walls like a real spider. What a hit! But as always with the Webhead, the good times will come to an end.

Peter is returning home from a personal appearance, when he sees a police car in front of his home. He wonders what is going on, and the cop has some sad news: His Uncle Ben had been shot. And he is now dead. Peter is horrified, and enraged. The cop tells him Ben had surprised a burglar, but they have the malefactor cornered in an old warehouse. Peter puts on his Spider-Man costume and heads to the warehouse.

The cops are in a standoff with the burglar. However, Spider-Man is able to sneak into the warehouse and surprise the criminal.

 

 

Between his powers and his webbing, the Wall-Crawler is able to easily get the drop on and take down the criminal. When he gets a look at the criminal's face, the burgeoning superhero is horrified.

 

 

It's the same criminal he let escape days earlier. The Web-Swinger then ties up the burglar with his webs, and leaves him for the cops. Peter is left emotionally distraught. If he had not been so selfish earlier, then maybe his Uncle Ben would still be alive. The costumed teenager on this night has learned a hard lesson, one that would become his maxim: "With great power, must also come great responsibility." The story ends with him walking into the night, his thoughts on the events that just transpired, and a new legend being born, one that would continue to swing by over 55 years later.

Amusingly, the comic has an ad saying readers should pick up the next exciting issue of Amazing Fantasy to read another Spider adventure. His next appearance would be his own book.

This was really good. Lee's writing is bombastic, and it's pretty clear "The Man" loves words. Spider-Man's origin has been expanded upon over the years, but the basic story has always remained intact: teenager gets powers and learns a hard lesson about responsibility. Lee wanted this new hero to resonate with the intended audience, and considering Spider-Man has become arguably Marvel's flagship character, I say he succeeded. The story does do some jumping a bit, but that's kind of part and parcel of comics of this era. Lee wrote this as one of three stories, so he didn't have the full comic's length to work with.

The origin has become iconic, having been retold and expanded upon numerous times over the decades, and even retold and adapted into various media. At it's heart, Peter's story is the story of a kid who gets great power, and learns that with it comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Peter's struggles to fit in resonated with readers, and today, that identifiability has helped propel Spider-Man into a cultural icon.  

Ditko's take on Peter Parker really helped sell the idea that Peter was this shy, nerdy kid. John Romita Sr.'s interpretation of the character may be more famous, but it was Ditko that really helped codify the character as an identifiable everyman. Ditko would pencil the first 38 issues of Spider-Man's own book, helping to create many of the characters and rogues that are still part of Spidey's life today.

Goodbye, Mr. Ditko. Spider-Man was only one of the amazing characters you had a hand in, but he's one of the reasons I love superheroes. Next time, we look at the Fantastic Four witnessing a fiery rebirth....

Back in April, I gave my thoughts on the first Venom trailer. I remember thinking it was interesting, but I still had some reservations. Anyway, the second trailer is out, so for my first blog entry of the month of August, let's take a look!

 

 

Welcome to San Francisco! Come see the Golden Gate Bridge! And please try not to annoy the big overmuscled "sym-BUY-oat" guy. He will eat you, and the City of San Francisco has no legal liability in the event of being consumed by angry "sym-BUY-oat."

Hi, Eddie.

That symbiote is yellow. I think that may be Scream. But she's yellow-and-red, not yellow-and-black.

Okay, that eye thing is...creepy.

Well, that guy is...optimistic, isn't he?

Aw come on, that symbiote has got to find a better way to take over people than that! That's just wrong!

When Eddie Brock became Venom in the comics, he was an angry, ANGRY dude. SO it's kind of weird to see him as much more of a milquetoast.

Was that bit with the reflection a nod to the 90s Spider-Man cartoon? In that cartoon, when Spider-Man was wearing the symbiote suit, he saw Venom in a mirror, foreshadowing him.

Look like Eddie is going to have to learn to live with his new buddy.

I have to admit, I do have a bit of trouble understanding what Venom is saying sometimes. Dude, close your lips. You don't need to keep your teeth out all the time.

Venom threatening to eat people. Yeah, in the comics, Venom has been known to eat brains. Brains contain a certain chemical (likely phenethylamine) to survive. It's also found in chocolate. Would be funny to see Eddie buying lots of candy bars to keep Venom on the level.

Symbiote vs. Symbiote action?! I am for that!

Oh God, Venom's threat there is hilarious! He sounds like a teenager trying to sound like a badass! And he just ate that dude. Yeah, that dude was totally consumed.

I have to admit, I am a bit more positive about this movie after seeing this. I still am not fond of his story being separated from Spider-Man. As I said before, Venom starting out was a twisted dark mirror of the Wall-Crawler. One of the few regular villains Spidey faced that he was actually afraid of. I would love to see that Venom face Tom Holland's Spider-Man. Would be a great test for the young wall-crawler. Ah, well.

Seeing this trailer does think this film may be fun, so I'll give it a shot.

In 2016, A team called "Dodge Roll" developed and Devolver Digital published a game called Enter the Gungeon. Originally released for the Xbox One, it also managed to make its way to the Nintendo Switch. Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell roguelike video game in which you play as one of six adventurers, each with their own unique special ability, as you make your way through a randomly-generated dungeon to find a special gun that would allow them to defeat their pasts.

I have it for the Switch, and it is a fun game, with many different weapons to choose from, and enemies all having a gun theme, from walking bullets to a Rambo-esque bird boss. That's as far as I tend to get before I get my butt kicked. This game is hard.

Recently, it has been announced that an expansion for the game has come out called Advanced Gungeons and Draguns, a play on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. The expansion is meant to bring in new weapons, bosses, and enemies, as well as some adjustments for new and experienced players alike. They've released a trailer for it, so for my final blog entry of July 2018, let's take a look!

 

 

Hey, cool animation! It's funny seeing a medieval-style knight toting a gun.

Heh heh, boxing glove gun. Eddie Valiant would be proud.

I hate it when enemies disguise themselves as walls. Seems inherently unsporting to me.

Hey! That rat just stole all those weapons! Get it! Kill it with fire!

Well, all's fair in love and war, cloak guy. At least, I think that's a guy.

Well, rat! You reached a dead end! Whatcha gonna do? Oh yeah, he's got the guns.

Wait, I think this part is going to show some of the new features of the expansion. Creating barriers would be handy if you end up in a room without any tables to flip over.

Combining weapons, too? That's another awesome feature. Imagine the combinations one could make from the guns in the game, even better if different combinations have different effects.

And you can shoot from cover now? Oh, that'll save me from a hit or two.

Hey, Cloak Guy is okay!

Oh, I like this! I really do! I enjoy Enter the Gungeon, so I will definitely get this expansion! I like the new features, and the idea of more weapons to fight the monsters of the Gungeon appeals to me. I hope this game will get more expansions in the future.

Welcome back to the Akiba Region, as we enter the eleventh entry in my Text Play of Pokémon Mega Adventure!

Last time, we liberated the Sunnyvall City Power Plant from Team Prime, so now we have to get ready to face the Sunnyvall Gym.

It's here that I realized a bit of a problem. You see, this Gym is an Electric-themed Gym. Which does make sense. The Power Plant is the big feature of this town, which attracts a ton of Electric-type Pokémon. Naturally, the big strategy to counter Electric-type Pokémon is to use Ground-type Pokémon, as Ground-type attacks are super-effective against Electric-type Pokémon, and Electric-type attacks have literally no effect on Ground-type Pokémon. Yeah, lightning ain't going to fry a Diglett or a Geodude any time soon.

Which leads me to my little problem. You see...I don't have many Ground-type Pokémon at my disposal right now. Just Drillbur and Geodude. And my Geodude evolved into Graveler. And since I can't trade so I can evolve it further into Golem...yeah.

Ahhh, I really could use you right now, buddy.

And most of the Pokémon I caught around the Power Plant area are Electric type...which makes sense, as Power Plants tend to attract them. I wonder if the workers give them batteries...

So, I'm forced to research other options. Thanks to Bulbapedia, I learned that Electric-type Pokémon are resistant to Electric attacks, so that's handy. Got plenty to choose from there. Also, Grass and Dragon are resistant to Electric-attacks. I would have loved to bring Rowlet out here, but it's also Flying, so I can't really take that chance. God, I wish I could have a Golem right now...

Well, happily, I do have plenty of Grass and Dragon Pokémon to pick from, so it's not a complete loss. I'm hoping Deino can learn better Dragon attacks than Dragon Rage, as Dragon Rage always does only 40 HP in damage. Great for early on in the game, but grows more useless with time. I can bring back my Grovyle. He could be useful. Also, my Aron knows Mud-Slap, which is a Ground-type attack...but it's also part-Steel, which makes it weak to Electric...

It's one thing I do have to give this game credit for. It's making me actually have to put some real thought into building teams for taking on Gyms. In the end, I decided to go with this.

I could have sworn I had a Gible. And I am still rather mixed about keeping Butterfree on board. Butterfree is a Flying type, which makes her vulnerable to electricity, but her moveset is really helpful, she's fast, and she's been one of my team powerhouses. And I am going to have to do a LOT of grinding to catch up Deino with the rest of the team.  Good thing I have an Exp Share!

The thing is, it's an older-style Exp Share. In Sun and Moon, the Exp Share is given early on, and it allows one to grind up your whole team much quicker. I'm guessing that's where some of the criticism of those games being "too easy" comes from. I found that handy as anything myself. Made preparing new teams for doing the trials so much easier.

Considering I still had a ways to go before I was ready to take on the Gym, I decided to check out that shortcut between Floroma Town and Sunnyvall City. The entrances are guarded by cops, who could have been helpful at the Power Plant. This leads me to a complaint. The Floroma Town end of the Underground Path is blocked by rocks. You can use Rock Smash to smash them. That's not the problem. The problem is, these rocks constantly respawn. You HAVE to bring a Pokémon that knows Rock Smash with you on the Path so you can use it.

I do get that the game is trying to get you to use Rock Smash, but this really would have been better if either we were given an item like a pickaxe, or there was instead another barrier that was permanently removed when we got far enough into the game. It feels less like a convenient shortcut and more like a choice between having to go the long way with lots of wild Pokémon battles or the short way, which needs a Pokémon who knows a specific move. Which way do you want to be inconvenienced? It's kind of annoying. It feels wasteful to me.

The cops told me that bad things can happen in the Underground Path. I think they're bored. Only thing I found there was a Gengarite.

The inside of the Sunnyvall Gym is really cool-looking, with laser barriers and the like. There's a cop near the entrance, saying that Gym Leaders have been threatened by terrorists. Is he talking about Team Prime? I can see them threatening Gym Leaders, considering their antics at the Power Plant.

I decided to try and take on one of the trainers at the Gym, a scientist named Max. My Drillbur wrecked most of his Pokémon, but his Dedenne turned out to be a real pain. Fortunately, my Bulbasaur's combo of Leech Seed and Poison Powder helped beat that. After I won, he explained that if I wanted to face Volkner, I had to find the switch that turned off the laser barriers in one of the bins next to him.

 

 

The next Trainer I faced was an Engineer named "Cyber". Yes, Cyber. I bet his parents were really into cyberpunk. My Drilbur wrecked most of his Pokémon, but his Pikachu proved to be pretty tough thanks to its Double Team and Electro Ball. Managed to hurt Thundra, my Shinx, pretty good.

After some grinding, I went back to the Gym. The third Trainer I faces was a Super Nerd named Dentis. I'm guessing his name was supposed to be Dennis. My Drillbur took care of his Electrike, and my Grovyle and Bulbasaur took care of his Helioptile. They also took down his Stunfisk.

The fourth Trainer I faced was a Scientist named Kaiber. ...where do these names come from? He starts out with a Tynamo. Tynamo has the ability Levitate, which allows this Electric-type Pokémon immunity to Ground-type attacks. Luckily, Drillbur also knows Rock Smash. Took a beating, but Drillbur was able to take it down. Next was Elekid. A bit of a challenge, but I was able to beat it. And then there was Electrode. But I had that handled. After that, I managed to find the second switch to shut off the second laser barrier.

I figured I had better do some more grinding if I want to face Volkner. I also decided to look through my boxes for any more Pokémon that could help me face him. And much to my shock, I remembered I caught one of these babies.

 

 

Yes, a Sandshrew! I had a Sandshrew! Sandshrews are Ground-type, so Electric attacks will be useless against her! But I have to grind her up to make her any sort of threat to whatever Volkner is packing. So, I have to work on that. And that's where I think I'll end this entry. Next time, I should be ready to take on Volkner! Wish me luck!

Back in April, I gave my thoughts on the Mega Man X Legacy Collection coming to Nintendo Switch. My own experience with the X series is rather limited. I do remember playing the first X game and enjoying it despite being very hard. But now, the collection is out! So, let's take a look at the launch trailer! 

 

 

It may not be 2017 anymore, but we're still celebrating Mega Man hitting the big 3-0, baby!

Mega Man X and Zero tend to be the main two protagonists of the series. In fact, Zero was intended to be the main character of this series. But the design was far too different from the classic version of Mega Man, so he was made to be the secondary protagonist. I think that was a smart move. It would have been too shocking to see Zero as the main character of this game series that was supposed to be a future version of Mega Man's world.

Axl first appeared in Mega Man X7, which came out in 2003 for Japan and the US, 2004 in Europe. It got...mixed reviews. The fact that X had to be unlocked to play as him and the issues with the 2D and 3D playing styles meshing had something to do with it.

Sigma is the big bad. And he had been pretty much the major if not only big bad of the X series. He's this series' Dr. Wily...if Dr. Wily was a robot corrupted by a virus that made you evil. 

Vile is basically Sigma's flunky. He got to appear in that 1990s Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon alongside Mega Man X boss Spark Mandrill.

The X-Hunters appeared in Mega Man X2. They were the main villains of that game.

Dr. Doppler is from Mega Man X3. He was a robot that supposedly found a cure for robots going wild, or "Maverick". He was possessed by a viral Sigma.

Iris went crazy and tried to kill Zero after her brother Colonel, who led an army of Maverick Hunters, tried to create a nation of robots. It was supposed to be tragic, as she and Zero had feelings for each other, but only became a meme. "WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOOOOOORRRRRR?!"

Dynamo was a mercenary. That's pretty much it.

Gate tried to use a  virus to create his own utopia. Pretty much your standard "build a new world on the ashes of the old" villain.

Red was the leader of a group of vigilantes who lost it when fellow member Axl got fed up with his going too far and quit. Yeah. That's his motivation.

Lumine? I have no idea what her deal is. I really do not.

X Challenge mode seems like a fun way to challenge yourself. It's really funny seeing the early X games' Mavericks fighting alongside the later X games' ones, considering how the graphics advanced over the course of the series.

So this collection has X7 and X8 being given HD remasters? That's pretty neat.

Yeah, I'm going to have the most fun with Museum Mode. I love looking at concept art and listening to music.

I hope that the "Day of Sigma" film is fun to watch.

Oh, commercials! That's awesome! And Trailers! That is sweet!

I can imagine the X series got a surprising amount of collectibles.

Well, this sounds awesome! I love it when companies release game collections like this, and I have been wanting to play Mega Man X again, so I think I'll add this to my game collection.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths rages on! Five Earths have been saved, but at great cost. Villains are vanishing, the heroes are overwhelmed, and chaos reigns supreme!

When it comes to a big event like this, there will be blood shed. We've seen some heroes give their lives over the course of this miniseries, like Kid Psycho and Nighthawk. But this would be the first time we saw a major superhero fall in the line of duty. So with that, let's take a look at Crisis on Infinite Earths #7!

 

 

The cover has become one of the most iconic covers of the miniseries, even though it was a giant spoiler at the time. Like many other famous covers, it has been parodied and homaged by other comics from other companies. There have been comics beforehand that depicted someone holding another person's body before, but I think it was this that made it really famous. I'm guessing it was the crowd of mourning heroes in the background.

"Beyond the Silent Night!"

Writers: Marv Wolfman, Robert Greenberger

Penciler: George Perez

Inkers: Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway

Colorist: Tom Ziuko

Letterer: John Constanza

Editors: Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Robert Greenberger

The story begins with Lyla and Alexander Luthor...right where they were in the last issue, floating on a rock in space, watching the five Earths.

 

 

However, they would not be alone. Pariah appears, and he wants some answers. He wants to know why he's involved in this. He's witnessed so much death, and he feels he's atoned for his own sins. That will be explained, I promise you. He believes that the Monitor must have known a way for him to get some peace after all he's been through. Lyla tells him if he takes her and Alex to Earth, all will be explained.

On Earth-S, Dr. Sivana and Ibac are plotting some conquering, but Captain Marvel spots them. However, before he can do anything, the two villains vanish. In a little funny moment, Dr. Sivana taunts the Big Red Cheese by saying goodbye, even though he admittedly had no idea what is happening. He's joined by Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel Jr, Beast Boy, and Tawky Tawny, who are just as confused as he is. It's revealed they were transported to Brainiac's Skull Ship.

The heroes are joined by Kole, Mary Marvel, and Uncle Marvel. And in an another small funny moment, Beast Boy grumbles about the many different Marvels. I could only imagine him flipping a table in frustration if at that moment, Mar-Vell, Monica Rambeau, and Carol Danvers showed up, ha ha. So many Marvels...a-hem. Back to the story.

Lyla appears to the heroes and explains they must talk. She explains that the Psycho-Pirate's emotion-manipulating powers were why he seemingly went crazy and attacked Supergirl and the other heroes last issue. She needs his help, and the good Captain Marvel tells her she has the entire Marvel Family at her back. But Lyla needs one representative of each of the various surviving Earths.

On Earth-2, the new Wildcat approaches the Earth-2 Green Arrow, Atom, and Liberty Belle. She has some nerves about introducing herself, as they are legendary heroes, and she is a rookie. She hears Atom talking about Ted, and it convinces Yolanda that maybe she should show herself when she feels she is worthy.

On Earth-4, Pariah is talking to the heroes there. The Ted Kord Blue Beetle (RIP Steve Ditko) agrees to go with the mysterious interdimensional traveler. On Earth-X, Starfire recruits the Freedom Fighters to help save the remaining Earths. Lady Quark is on another Earth, watching the chronal chaos and listening to the Supermen of Earths 1 and 2 talking to Alex Luthor. We also see the Enemy Ace facing a pterodactyl. Later, Lyla, Alex, and Pariah have gathered a group of heroes from the five Earths together on a asteroid in space.

 

 

Lady Quark of Earth-6, the Supermen of Earths 1 and 2, Uncle Sam of Earth-X (Originally from Earth-2), Captain Marvel of Earth-S, and Blue Beetle of Earth-4. Considering where they're going, you'd think they'd have picked Captain Atom instead. Lady Quark is burning from some revenge on the enemy for the destruction of her world and family. Earth-2 Superman reminds her that they're fighting for what is right, not for revenge. Quark snaps that the elder Superman has no idea what it's like to be the sole survivor of a world.

Superman tells her they need to talk. Uncle Sam notices Pariah and tries to talk to him. He asks if he needs any help, but Pariah says there can be no help for him. Uncle Sam tells him that everyone's been down on occasion, but a good man will always rise up. Lyla explains that this Crisis began ten billion years ago, on a little planet known...as Oa, home of the Guardians of the Universe, the bosses of the Green Lantern Corps.

They were immortal beings who lived in what could be described as a Utopia. Their world was a paradise. They strove to improve themselves and innovate. But even the Oans were not immune to the darker nature of the soul. One in particular...was Krona. Krona was obsessed with learning the origins of the universe. There was a legend that to find the beginning of the universe would doom it because reasons. Uncaring of the warnings of his fellow Oans, Krona continued his work.

 

 

But then an explosion, and something evil was unleashed, which was chronicled in Green Lantern #40 (October 1965). This event gave birth to the anti-matter universe...and the multiverse. Oa was the only planet to not have counterparts in the multiverse, but it does have a sister planet in the anti-matter universe: Qward.

The Oans punished Krona by turning him into energy, Krona vowing his revenge on Oa. Out of guilt for Krona's actions, they wanted to create a force for good to protect the universe. Their first attempt was the Manhunter robots, but that did not go so well. Their next attempt was more successful: The Green Lantern Corps.

A group of Oans felt that the Corps did not go far enough in stopping evil, feeling evil should be exterminated. Those Oans would go on to become the Controllers. Lyla reveals that Oa and Qward both have moons, and on those moons, life sprung. On Qward's moon, the cybernetic monstronsity known as the Anti-Monitor arose. On Oa, the Monitor spawned. The Anti-Monitor took control of Qward and created the Thunderers. The very elite of the Thunderers, the best of the best, were remade into his Shadow Demons. The Anti-Monitor ruled the anti-matter universe, but he wanted more.

The Monitor and Anti-Monitor became aware of each other, and they ended up battling for a million years. The battle ended in a stalemate, as they were of equal power.

 

 

The two would end up literally knocking each other out, and they stayed out for nine million years. Both of them ended up immobile, unable to move or react. The Earth-2 Superman asks a question. If the Anti-Monitor was in this state for so long...what woke him up? Pariah admits that the Anti-Monitor's waking up, and all the carnage he's caused since...is his fault. He's the reason for it. And it was all because of his pride. Before he was the Pariah, he was a scientist. A brilliant one. One that was practically a miracle worker.

 

 

Much like Krona on Earth-1, Pariah wanted to learn the origins of the universe. However, this Earth also believed in the legend that if one managed to learn the origins of the universe, it would end up destroying everything, because reasons. Not happy with that explanation? Too bad. Yes, the universe is that paranoid about people discovering what created it. Pariah's assistant Sondra thinks he's gone a bit crazy, that he's lost his humanity in the process of making his discoveries.

Pariah goes on to perform his experiments and research anyway. And one can guess what happens next.

 

 

Pariah sees the hand holding the universe in it. And true to the prophecy, a wall of white appears and starts consuming everything. Only Pariah himself survives, thanks to his being in an anti-matter chamber. With his universe destroyed, anti-matter filled the void, which allowed the Anti-Monitor to not only wake up from his slumber, but also grow stronger.

This event also woke the Monitor. Determined to protect what remained of the matter worlds, The Monitor found Pariah, who had been floating alone in his chamber for millions of years. The Monitor then fashioned his satellite, and used it to follow Pariah around wherever he went. With every matter universe destroyed, the Anti-Monitor grew stronger, while the Monitor grew weaker.

Superman wonders where Lyla fits into this. She explains her story. While the Monitor was looking for heroes to help him stop his evil counterpart, he saw her floating on a piece of a ship that had sunk. He took her in, and raised her as if she was his own daughter. She laments that after all he had done for her, she murdered him. The Earth-2 Superman comforts her by reminding her she was under the Anti-Monitor's control. He is curious about Alex's origins.

A furious Lady Quark vows to kill Pariah, but Uncle Sam tries to calm her down. As far as the Spirit of America is concerned, the man has already suffered enough. Later on, as Earths grow closer to merging, we have some character moments as a team of heroes are brought together to attack the Anti-Monitor right where he lives.

Deadman tries to recruit the Spectre and Phantom Stranger, but they can't help because their magical abilities will be useless in the anti-matter universe. Power Girl laments that she wasn't chosen to help, but Huntress assures her that if the group of heroes fail, they'll be able to fight. Firebrand, Doll Man, and the Human Bomb decide to pray for them. Peacemaker doesn't like the mission, feeling he should have been chosen in the place of Captain Atom. Nightshade reminds him he was chosen because Atom was the most powerful hero on their Earth. Beetle agrees, but wishes they could help, too. Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and Beast Boy worry for them.

The chosen superhero strike team are waiting in space. Lady Quark wants to know how they're going to reach the Anti-Monitor. Pariah explains that he and Alex Luthor are going to combine their powers to open a portal. In a bit of a plot hole, Pariah warns that he can transport to wherever danger or evil lurks, but cannot take people with him...despite his rescuing Lady Quark in an earlier issue. I'm going to assume that means he can't take everyone all at the same time.

 

Alex, using his unique physiology, opens the portal.

 

 

Pariah leads the heroes through the portal. Once they reach the antimatter universe, there's now one question. Where is the Anti-Monitor residing? Pariah spots a glowing asteroid, sensing the evil of the Anti-Monitor there. They fly ahead to find that the Anti-Monitor's home...is a fortress.

The Anti-Monitor spots them, and demands the Psycho-Pirate use his powers to make them his slaves. Problem, though. When the Anti-Monitor amplified his powers to emotionally attack three of the surviving Earths earlier...he ended up burning them out. He needs time to recharge them, but until then, the Psycho-Pirate is powerless. Infuriated, the Anti-Monitor gives the Psycho-Pirate the back of his hand, then goes to deal with the heroes himself.

In the fortress, the heroes are separated. Supergirl notices her X-Ray vision isn't working right, which Superman think may be due to the different physical laws of the anti-matter universe. This leads Captain Atom to wonder if his powers will work. Firestorm remarks to the Ray that he's frightened, and Ray tells him they all are. Lady Quark remarks it was far too easy to get into the fortress, and Earth-2 Superman agrees. Quark's suspicion proves to be dead on as Pariah gets grabbed by a statue.

 

 

Pariah insists E-2 Supes and Lay Quark go on without him, as he is invulnerable to harm, but the heroes refuse. A rock monster punches the elder Superman, and the elder hero discovers that not only did it actually hurt him...it managed to make the Kryptonian bleed. The Anti-Monitor sends more rock monsters to fight the heroes. Captain Atom's powers are more effective in this universe, but the monsters can reassemble themselves if they are blown apart. Supergirl is able to deal with the monster by shattering it and using her super-breath to blow the pieces away from each other.

The rock monsters have all the other heroes tied up, but the Earth-1 Superman is able to barge through. He tries to catch up with Dr. Light and Pariah, who managed to go ahead. They had to hurry, because the five Earths only have hours left before they begin their fatal merging. A piece of rock falls on Pariah, much to Dr. Light's horror. This is where Superman catches up. Dr. Light tells him Pariah is dead...and she intends to avenge him. Superman tries to tell her that Pariah cannot be killed, but she charges ahead, not hearing him. The Man of Steel pursues the Japanese scientist, as he doesn't want her to face the Anti-Monitor alone. He manages to catch up to her, and she's found a machine.

 

 

The Anti-Monitor has one sweet entertainment center. But in all seriousness, Light believes this is what the Anti-Monitor is using the reduce the vibrational rates of the Earths. Superman asks if she's sure, and she's like, "Back off, Superman. I'm a scientist." Kimiyo wants to study the machine, seeing the tech is something that could help Earth. Superman insists on destroying the machine, as it's too dangerous to keep functioning. But he gets ambushed by the Anti-Monitor. Supergirl hears his scream and flies to help.

The Anti-Monitor knocks the Man of Steel aside, and Dr. Light tries to engage the evil menace. The scientist admits that she did not want to be a part of this at first, but now...things have changed. She tells the Anti-Monitor his now-deceased "brother" created her to destroy him. And she's going to make that happen. However, the Anti-Monitor is in his own domain, and here...he is supreme. He blasts Dr. Light, and hands the Metropolis Marvel the mother of all beatdowns as Supergirl rushes towards him. She nails the Anti-Monitor with a super-powerful Mighty Punch that would make any boxer anywhere shed a tear of pride.

 

 

Doctor Light is in awe of Supergirl's fearlessly charging in and laying a beating on the Anti-Monitor. The two have a brawl, and Supergirl is actually doing some damage, smashing and badly damaging the Anti-Monitor's cybernetic body. Supergirl gives Doctor Light some instructions: Get Superman, gather the other heroes, and get the heck out of the antimatter universe as fast as possible. She'll hold off the Anti-Monitor. The Girl of Steel smashes the Anti-Monitor into his vibration machine, completely wrecking it. She continues to wail on the villain, and you get the idea that she could take him down completely on her own.

Doctor Light wants to help, but Supergirl yells at her to get out. And she pays for the distraction.

 

 

He manages to hit the Maid of Might with an energy blast that mortally wounds her. But Supergirl managed to beat the Anti-Monitor so badly that he actually needs to back off and heal up for a while. His body had been destroyed, so he flees into a rock and...yeah, this is NOT intentional...rockets away, crowing that he will stand triumphant at the dawn of time. A little bit of foreshadowing there...

With the Anti-Monitor gone, the fortress is starting to crumble apart. The heroes find and gather around the wounded Superman, who is desperately trying to keep the dying Supergirl awake. But Supergirl has accepted her fate, happy that her beloved cousin and the Earths are safe. Her final words are telling Superman she loves him. And with that, the Maid of Might takes her final breath. Superman is heartbroken and furious. He wants to kill the Anti-Monitor, but his elder Earth-2 Superman calms him down by reminding him that Kara gave her life for a chance for the Multiverse to be saved, and that must not be wasted. The heroes flee the collapsing fortress, returning to the positive matter universe.

A memorial eulogy is held for the Maid of Might in Chicago. Continuing the thread of their conversation in issue 4, Batgirl talks about it not being superpowers that make a hero, but their courage and their desire to do some good. She also says that Kara Zor-El will not be forgotten. Yeah, when this all ends, Supergirl will be erased from continuity. And seeing Batgirl speak publicly at a funeral is interesting. I don't think modern DC writers would ever write a member of the Bat-Family doing something like this.

At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman sits with Kara's body, wrapped in what I am presuming is her cape. He reminisces about her arrival on Earth as a teenager, secretly practicing her powers every night (and having her own adventures as Supergirl before her "debut"). The Man of Steel is hurt, and he grieves, but he will live on. The story ends with Superman saying he will miss her forever, and takes Kara Zor-El's body to the sun, her epitaph being an excerpt from Robert G. Ingersoll's "Declaration of the Free".

 

 

This issue is powerful, and probably the best single issue of the miniseries. There is a massive exposition dump, but it's worth going through. The highlight is obviously, the final battle and death of Supergirl. Her death is considered the gold standard of superhero deaths for a reason. We see at her funeral that she was beloved by many, and Superman's private service for her is touching. It's even more tragic from a meta perspective when you keep something in mind: DC wanted her dead because they saw her as redundant.

At this point, it seemed that much of Krypton survived with Superman, like Supergirl, the Phantom Zone criminals, the Bottle City of Kandor, and even Beppo the Super-Monkey. Considering the job of Crisis was to essentially "houseclean" the DC canon, DC saw it as an opportunity to make Superman the sole survivor of the destruction of Krypton. Dick Giordano, executive editor of DC at the time, was the one who proposed Supergirl dying. He felt the character was poorly conceived, and despite the near-thirty years of stories about her at the time, he still felt she was unimportant. Some blame for her death was also put on the critical and box office failure of Kara's live action film debut in 1984. Personally, I don't think that film's bombing was completely the reason, but I can imagine it at the very least contributed to the idea that Kara was redundant.

I have said I had a bit of a theory regarding this in an earlier issue's review. Well, here's what I think: I think Lady Quark was meant to die here. Think about it. She made her debut in this miniseries. She had been wanting revenge against the being who destroyed her world and killed her family. As such, she had nothing to lose fighting the Anti-Monitor at this point. The only problem with the theory admittedly is that well...we don't really know much about her or her world. As a result, her death would not be given as emotional a reception as Supergirl's was.

Kara Zor-El would not stay gone forever, though. Over the next couple of decades, DC tried to introduce new Supergirls [some I did talk about in my reviews of Action Comics #644 (August 1989) and Supergirl #1 (September 1996)], but in Superman/Batman #8 (May 2004), Kara Zor-El would be reintroduced into DC canon. She's managed to stick around, despite DC half-booting their universe twice over again. The pre-Crisis Kara would appear a couple more times: In Christmas with the Super-Heroes (1989) as a ghost counseling Deadman, and the Many Happy Returns storyline during Linda Danvers' time as Supergirl.

In Convergence, the original Kara Zor-El appeared again, helping stop the Anti-Monitor and saving the multiverse. She, alongside the Pre-Crisis Barry Allen and Hal Jordan as Parallax, went off to find a place in the universe for themselves. If you are confused, I do not blame you. DC has been making canon confusing since 1985.

Despite the behind-the-scenes stuff, this is regarded as the best Supergirl story ever written by many people. And Marv Wolfman has gone on to say he misses Kara, too. He certainly had her go out on a high note.

Next time, in honor of the passing of Steve Ditko, we take a look at the debut of Spider-Man...

The DC Extended Universe is rolling on. We looked at the trailer for its sixth film, Aquaman, but now we're also getting the trailer for its seventh film, and this one is focusing on a boy given the power of a god. That's right, the original Captain Marvel, aka Shazam is coming to the DCEU! Let's take a look at the trailer!

 

 

The trailer begins with a view of the city. I'm assuming its Fawcett City.

Oh, he's going to be the jerky Billy Batson of the New 52, isn't he?

Hey, Freddy Freeman is wearing an Aquaman shirt. ...does Arthur authorize those? Like, is he involved in the making of them?

Heh heh, an actual joke. I think DC may finally be learning from their screw-ups.

I'm guessing Freddy Freeman is going to be the big superhero fanboy. Nice.

And we got some bullies. And some hinting as to why Billy Batson gets to have the Power of Shazam.

Looks like they're keeping his origin true to the comics. Good.

Man, Zachary Levi looks so awesome as the World's Mightiest Mortal! This is good! My hopes are going up!

Shazam dancing is hilarious! And so is that bit with him trying to fly. Don't worry, Cap. You'll get it. Just listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

Yep, the bullies getting some karma.

Yeah, I'd wait a while before you launch the Shazam Phone Charging Service.

Hey, Dr. Sivana! Can't have the World's Mightiest Mortal without his archnemesis, the World's Wickedest Scientist.

"I'm bulletproof. You're dead." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, this is spectacular! I'm loving this! Between this, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, I think the DCEU is finally taking some steps in the right direction. I'm loving that they're keeping in mind that he's still a kid. Shazam should be unabashed fun, and I think this film may understand that. I can't wait for this one! Bring on 2019!

Aquaman. In the DC Universe, the man born Orin, but named Arthur Curry by humanity is the King of the Seven Seas. He was among the many iconic superheroes that first appeared during the Golden Age of Comics [More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)]. Since then, Aquaman has become one of DC's most stalwart superheroes. He's appeared in various media, including cartoons and now...his own live action movie.

Jason Momoa has portrayed the King of the Seas in Batman v Superman and Justice League, but now gets to shine on his own in his first solo live-action adventure. The trailer is out, so let's take a look!

 

 

It was a dark and stormy night...typical night in the DCEU if Batman v Superman indicated anything.

With Aquaman's dad being a lighthouse keeper, one could argue that Arthur Curry's life could embody the phrase "Started from the bottom, now I'm here".

I'm guessing the woman is Aquaman's mom. Aquamom. Yes, she was the Queen of Atlantis, but I'm still calling her Aquamom.

Yeah, don't mess with Arthur. It makes sharks angry. Angry sharks are nothing to mess with.

Sudden submarine.

You know guys, when Jason Momoa busts into your submarine asking permission to come aboard, the proper response is, "Yeah, sure. Want some snacks?" And they learn this the hard way.

Hi, Mera. Hopefully you'll get to do more in this movie than just be a fanservice moment like in Justice League. Seriously, I think she was only in that movie so there would be some cleavage. God, Justice League could have been so much better...

Orm wants to declare war on the surface world again, huh? Well, I get his anger. If I was named Orm, I'd be angry at the world too.

HOLY TOLEDO, ATLANTIS LOOKS SO AWESOME!

ARTHUR CURRY LIFTING A SUBMARINE TO THE SURFACE. THIS IS ALSO AWESOME!

Hey, Black Manta! How's it going, pal?

Hey, I actually laughed at that bit with Mera and the parachute.

Well, I have to admit, this looks like it could actually be fun. The DCEU has been getting a lot of criticism for being overly dark and gray, but between this and Wonder Woman, it looks like they may finally be learning from their mistakes and being willing to let their films have some fun and color in them. I just wish they did this film before Justice League. Would have helped establish Aquaman and his world so Justice League didn't have to do it. Ah well, what's done is done. I'll give this a shot.

In 1984, Japanese manga writer/artist Akira Toriyama created Dragon Ball, a manga (Japanese comic) series inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. It told the tale of Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed martial artist who was searching for seven magical artifacts called the Dragon Balls. When put together, they could summon a dragon that could grant a single wish, making them very attractive to various villainous people and monsters.

Dragon Ball would go on to be one of the world's most popular manga franchises, selling 142 million copies in Japan alone, and another 250 million worldwide. Many in the manga industry credit Dragon Ball for them for becoming part of it, and its anime adaptation helped popularize Japanese animation in the United States. I myself was among them. I was a big fan of the series (thanks to Toonami airing it), and it made me a fan of anime.

Like many a franchise, it has been brought to video games, merchandise, and even movies. Dragon Ball has had many animated films, and this newest one, based on the newest incarnation of the anime (Dragon Ball Super), is bringing back a beloved character. Let's take a look!

 

 

That's our Son Goku. Eating his way out of house and home and always looking to fight someone stronger. I wonder what happens when he finally runs out of people to fight?

In case you are wondering, a "Saiyan" is an alien being in the Dragon Ball universe that have a thing for fighting. They're supposedly extinct, but a couple have survived. Goku is one.

Ooh, boy. They're bringing in Broly. Broly is canon. Goku is in for a night of pain. Who is Broly? Well, Broly first appeared in the 1993 animated movie Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. He was a Saiyan that was born rather insane, and had a real hatred for Goku. Why did he hate Goku? Well...to paraphrase Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, his reason is "so dumb...but he's so cool! BUT IT'S SO DUMB!" He hated Goku because when they were in baby ward together, Goku cried. A lot. Broly was a baby, too. Yeah, it's dumb.

Broly would be a popular character despite his dumb motivation and his non-canon status. But now, he's a canon character. Gotta admit, I like his spiffy uniform.

Love that smirk from Vegeta when he blocks that punch. The Prince of All Saiyans is in a fightin' mood.

Broly is going to wreck everybody. Just like his non-canon counterpart did.

OHHH, THAT BROLY POWERING UP EFFECT IS SO COOL! LET'S HOPE HE GOT A NEW ORIGIN THAT ISN'T DUMB.

Well, I'm hyped. I can't wait to see this! Please give Broly an origin that doesn't suck. This is a second chance, writers. Do it right this time.

In 1954, a Japanese science-fiction film was brought into the world. It was the ultimate expression of the fears of the nuclear bomb. The bomb created a giant dinosaur/dragon-esque monster that stomped Tokyo to the ground. That monster's name? In his homeland, he's called Gojira, but you may know him...as Godzilla.

After 64 years, Godzilla has become an international film icon. He presides over the longest-running film series in history (33 and counting), has appeared in various other media including comic books and cartoons, and has played a variety of roles from force of nature to anti-hero to outright heroic character. He spawned a franchise full of monsters about as iconic as he is, including allies like Mothra, Rodan, and Anguirus, and arguably his arch-nemesis King Ghidora.

The United States has embraced the King of the Monsters with their own films: A 1996 movie that was not received very well, a 2014 reboot that was critically and commercially acclaimed...and a sequel.

That's right! Legendary Pictures is bringing the King of the Monsters back to American shores with a follow up to 2014's Godzilla (Which is a great movie). He's also bringing a couple of old friends with him...and an old enemy. So, let's take a look at this trailer!

 

 Hey, it's Millie Bobby Brown, from Stanger Things! I heard that was good.

Mass extinction event, huh? Eh, nothing the Earth has been through before.

Oh my God, those clouds are angry...and quite hungry.

So, basically, the Earth is tired of humanity's foolishness, and decides to send up some monsters to break our stuff. Gotta admit, that's a twist.

Oh, that dragon head looks familiar...if it lets out a bell-like laugh, I'm out of here.

What as that, a giant turtle? That can't be Gamera. He's not even a Toho monster!

You know that was Godzilla saying "I'M BACK, MOTHATRUCKAS!" He looks good, must've been hitting the gym.

HOLY COW, THAT WAS MOTHRA! THAT WAS MOTHRA! WE GOT MOTHRA! Yeah, that turtle-head thing may have been a Mothra larva.

AND RODAN! THAT WAS RODAN! After this movie, Godzilla must've called them and said, "Hey guys, I'm doin' a sequel! Get over here and you guys can be in it!"

Screw your planes, that's Rodan!

Oh God, that's King Ghidorah. If there is any kaiju in Toho's monster zoo that could be considered truly evil, it's this golden-plated three-headed destroyer. I would not be surprised if he was the villain in this movie.

Long Live the King, indeed.

I love that final shot with Godzilla and the fighter jets streaking through the sky alongside him. Really gives the impression that he and the humans are working together against a bigger threat.

I have to admit, I am hyped for this. I loved the 2014 Legendary Godzilla, and I think this one will be a ton of fun. Especially since we'll be seeing more monsters from Toho in this.

I'm only worried about one thing with this movie. Four monsters in this movie might be too much. Justice League showed the dangers of having a film packed with famous characters without proper buildup, so I worry that this film will suffer because it won't have enough room to give the monsters their due. Otherwise that, I am so looking forward to this film!

Captain America. The Star-Spangled Man with a Plan. One of the Marvel Universe's most respected superheroes.

But how did Captain America come to be? What happened to remake frail Steve Rogers into the Sentinel of Liberty? Well, his origins were told in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941). In 1981, for Cap's 40th Anniversary, Roger Stern and John Byrne would re-tell the origin, giving it more depth. According to Stern himself, he and Byrne wanted to streamline the origin, as there were several takes on it at the time.

Issue #255 would end up being the final issue of their nine-issue run. Work was started on issue number ten, but I believe they both got booted off the book before work was completed. I have talked about Stern and Byrne's run before in my reviews of Captain America #248 (August 1980) and Captain America #250 (October 1980). It's one of my favorite runs on Cap's book, so it's always fun to return to it.

So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Captain America #255!

 

 

The cover is pretty awesome. It's the perfect way to celebrate an anniversary like this. You have Cap and Bucky front and center, in front of Cap's first shield. The images of the planes dropping bombs and him punching Nazis are a reminder of just how long Cap has truly been around, both in and out of universe. It is a callback to Cap's roots as one of the many superheroes of the Golden Age. I just love this cover so much.

"The Living Legend"

Writer: Roger Stern

Artist: John Byrne

Inker: Joe Rubinstein

Letterer: Joe Rosen

Colorist: Bob Sharen

Editor: Jim Salicrup

Editor-In-Chief: Jim Shooter

The story begins with a trip to the White House. The time: June, 1941. A courier from G-2 (The US Army's intelligence arm) has come to the White House to deliver something to the then-president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What is the item?

 

 

It's a dossier. A complete dossier on Operation: Rebirth. Roosevelt takes the dossier and starts looking through it. He learns about Operation: Rebirth's one success: a young man from the Lower East Side of New York City named Steve Rogers. Rogers grew up during the Depression, his father dying when Rogers was young. His mother? She had to struggle to keep a roof over their head. Despite this, the future Captain America was able to keep up with his schooling. Perhaps due to his need for some sort of escape, Steve Rogers became a fan of fantasy novels.

Rogers would also develop another talent: Art. Yup, in the comics, Steve Rogers is a talented artist, even had a job drawing a comic book for a while. It was homaged in Captain America: The First Avenger with a scene of Steve drawing himself as a dancing monkey. However, kids can be cruel, so he kept this talent hidden. The Depression wore on, and Sarah Rogers worked hard to provide for herself and her son. However, pneumonia would claim her life.

On his own, Rogers supported himself by finding a job as a delivery boy. One day, he went to a theater to watch a movie. During that time, theaters would play newsreels before a movie, and Rogers would see a newsreel showing the Nazis rampaging through Europe. The sight lights a fire in the young man. Inspired by his newfound desire to stop the Nazis, Steve tries to volunteer for military service, but is found too frail to serve. Rogers begs the doctor to pass him, and a general overhears this.

 

 

 

He introduces himself as General Chester Phillips, whom you may know from Captain America: The First Avenger, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. Phillips asks Steve if he really is serious about wanting to help his country. Steve confirms he is. In a short time, the young man is on his way to Washington, D.C., where he is taken to a small curio shop in town.

An old lady demands that the group identify themselves. You see, the curio shop is a front, a way to hide a little project called "Operation: Rebirth". And the old lady...is not an old lady.

 

 

Underground, Steve Rogers is introduced to a Professor Reinstein...in reality, the biochemist Abraham Erskine. It was believed he died in a car crash last year, but it turns out that it was obviously faked, so he could work for the American government in secret. The doctor and his assistant warn Steve about this little experiment here. It could give Rogers the strong body he needs to help stop the Nazis...but it could also kill him. Steve is willing to take that risk.

Over the next few weeks, Steve is subjected to testing, while Erskine refines his serum. Eventually, the serum is ready to go. A group of men are invited to watch the experiment, including General Phillips, and a man known as Special Agent Clemson. Erskine injects Steve with some of the serum, and then he gives Steve a big test tube filled with an oral form of the compound. Steve is intended to he the first of a new breed of super-soldier, a new group of fighting men that will defend the world from the Nazi menace!

Finally, Erskine uses a machine to blast Rogers with "vita-rays". Steve's body undergoes an incredible transformation.

 

 

From zero to hero in seconds! Charles Atlas would be proud. I think the "millions of cells" line also came from the original Golden Age comic. Kudos to Stern and Byrne for finding a way to incorporate it. Steve is in awe of his change. He's gained the power to match his convictions. The diginitaries are amazed and delighted by this...except for one.

 

 

The dignitary, revealed to be Nazi spy Heinz Kruger, shoots into the chamber, killing Dr. Erskine. Erskine left no backups or notes on how to recreate the super-soldier serum because reasons. Erskine dies in Steve's arms, and the enraged Rogers grabs the spy. Kruger taunts Rogers, and gets knocked into some machinery, shocking him to death. But thanks to Kruger, Steve Rogers is now the only Super Soldier. The comics have established that over the years since Operation: Rebirth, there were attempts to recreate the Erskine serum, but the results were...let's just say it never ended well.

Since Rogers was the only Super Soldier, they had to change their plans. For the next three months, Steve Rogers would be trained by some of the finest athletes and martial artists the world had to offer, while also being taught the finer points of military tactics and strategy. This would mold the young man into one of the world's greatest fighters and strategists.

There's a very special mission for Rogers. Colonel Phillips explains to him that over in Europe, there is a special agent wreaking havoc and terror. His name? His actual name was unknown, but he is referred to as the Red Skull. Some in the Nazi high command fear him even more than Adolf Hitler himself. What Phillips wants Rogers to be is the counter to the Skull, a figure that will inspire hope and the fight for liberty. The colonel gives Rogers a package. What's in the package? A special uniform made just for him.

 

 

Three nights pass. A car is driving a colonel to a top-secret location out in the back roads of Maryland. The car gets a flat. The driver investigates and finds that someone has put a bunch of spiked barbs on the road. A group of fifth columnists ambush the car, planning to kidnap the colonel. But the colonel has a Star-Spangled guardian angel.

 

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA LEAPS IN ON A MOTORCYCLE AND SMACKS SOME FIFTH COLUMNISTS WITH IT! AWESOME! Cap easily beats the holy tar out of the kidnappers, even foreshadowing his getting a throwable shield in the process. He introduces himself, and rides away. The next night, a group of Nazi Bund leaders are meeting in a New York warehouse. They're discussing the rumors they heard of some new government super-agent. Cap bursts in, conforming the rumors. He easily beats the men down, allowing FBI agents to take the Bundists in.

The leader of the Bund escapes, but Cap pursues him. He is able to chase the man to an alley's end. The Bundist leader grabs a pipe and takes a swing at Cap. The Sentinel of Liberty is able to dodge the pipe, but it catches the wings on Cap's mask, and knocks it ajar. A newspaper man nearby manages to get a picture, but Cap's secret identity is thankfully still intact.

 

 

As Cap knocks out the Bund leader, he thinks he's going to have to get his mask redesigned to prevent this happening again. That adventure would help deal a severe blow to Fifth Columnist activities in the US.

The dossier than recounts an adventure in which Cap foiled an attempt to steal a new bomb-sight from the Grumman aircraft plant. The thieves were Axis agents posing as US Armed Forces personnel. Two weeks later, Cap foiled an attempt to bomb some shipyards. And last week, Captain America foiled one incredible plot: An attempt to destroy Hoover Dam, back then known as Boulder Dam. The nation owes a great debt to the good Captain.

Roosevelt is eager to meet Cap, and the man himself arrives. The President notices that Cap's costume has changed. The mask is now connected to the rest of the suit. Which makes Cap happy, as 1) He won't have to worry about his mask being knocked ajar anymore, and 2) he has some protection for his neck. Roosevelt also has one more new gift for the Captain.

 

 

Yup, a brand new shield! It's his iconic round shield. A better, stronger shield, created in an accident with unique properties. Roosevelt tells Cap that the Army has devised a way for him to move about secretly, while still being available for special missions. What's the plan? Well, it involves the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan to go to Camp Lehigh...

 

 

Basically, Steve is undercover as a Gomer Pyle-esque private, clumsy and unrefined. A young man tells his drill sergeant, Sgt. Duffy, that a 'Colonel Feeney' wants to see him. But the recruit is playing a prank. There is no Colonel Feeney, like there is no spoon. He and Rogers become friends. Who is this guy? One James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. Yup, the future Winter Soldier himself.

Bucky would eventually go on to discover Cap's identity, and become his sidekick. The story skims over his adventures with The Invaders, his battles with various supervillains and super-Nazis, the supposed death of Bucky and his falling to cryogenic suspension. And finally, his discovery by the Avengers and becoming one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

 

 

I got that scan from Google because as I have said before, my tablet scanner hates double-page spreads, and would murder me if I tried another one. The time: Today. At an apartment building in Brooklyn Heights, a red-gloved hand opens a window. Captain America has returned home. He's tired, but he has some ad storyboarding work to get done. He turns on the TV for some background noise, and he listens to some news.

As the broadcaster rattles out the headlines, Steve Rogers thinks about how tired he is. He wonders if this double life thing is really worth it. The newscaster then makes another announcement: Captain America saved 5,000 lives at MSG by calming down a panic of some kind. With the network's broadcasting day concluded, the TV starts blaring the national anthem. The story ends with Cap deciding it's worth it.

This issue is actually really good. It manages to expand on Captain America's Golden Age origins, and basically gives us a look at Cap's early days as the Sentinel of Liberty. The story is really just a big flashback, so I would not expect any "current-day" action from Cap. However, this origin retelling provides plenty of action in the form of seeing some of his early adventures. It feels a little like a Golden Age comic, with several stories. Also, it's fun seeing Cap beat up Nazis. John Byrne does some great artwork here.

I love Roger Stern and John Byrne's run on Cap's book, and its a real shame that it was so short at only nine issues. But there's some fun stories in that short run, and I highly recommend it. I you want to read it, I recommend tracking down the trade paperback Captain America: War and Remembrance. The run was originally collected under that name in 1990, but it was reprinted in 2007, I believe. If you love Cap, you'll enjoy this run.

Next time, we return to the DC Universe as the Crisis on Infinite Earths rages on, and we see our first major casualty...

In April 2017, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Networks announced that they were creating a streaming service called "DC Universe". This streaming service would broadcast some of the media content focusing on DC's characters over the years, including Batman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, Teen Titans, and the Superman quadrilogy starring the late Christopher Reeve.

Also, the service will have original series focusing on various characters like Swamp Thing, Harley Quinn, and the Teen Titans. And there's a trailer out for the Titans series. Let's take a look. I cannot believe I am typing this, but this trailer is a bit NSFW. I know, I can't believe it either. You have been warned.

 

 

Ah, so this series, focusing on characters that are popular with children, is going to be for mature audiences only. I cannot see how this won't be a disaster.

 

 

So, we have what I am presuming is Raven, going...somewhere. She looks like she fell into a Hot Topic.

The Flying Graysons. Yeah, this Robin is going to be Dick Grayson.

Flashback to Robin's origin. Just because. Emo music in the background. Just because.

Robin just...shot some dudes. Are the creators confusing Dick Grayson with Jason Todd?! JASON TODD is the gun-toter! And he stepped on a dude's neck. Because that is something that Dick Grayson would totally do.

And Robin cursing. This show is going to try way too hard to be "mature" and "adult", isn't it?

I've seen set photos, and Beast Boy wasn't green in them. Did they correct that?

Starfire just immolating dudes. Remember, these characters? They are popular with children. Children love these characters.

I'm all for Hawk and Dove getting exposure, but Hawk is supposed to be the brutal one, not Dove. Dove is the peaceful one. That's how it works. And I get why they're using the Hank Hall/Dawn Granger combo. While the original team was Hank and his brother Don as Dove, Hank and Dawn were the longest-lasting incarnation of the "Hawk and Dove" duo.

Raven's getting tempted...

Why do we see Robin, Hawk and Dove having proper superhero costumes, but Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven don't have those? I'm hoping it's a story reason.

Man, this trailer is making me facepalm so hard. Don't get me wrong, there can be times when the Titans' adventures can be darker, and even outright scary (Trigon, anyone?), but this...this just seems so...overboard with it. It feels like it's trying to imitate the Nolan Batman trilogy, but lack any levity. It feels so...edgy for the sake of being edgy. It's ridiculous. I wish DC well with their streaming service, but if this is a preview of their original stuff to come...they're shooting themselves in the foot.