Friday, August 31, 2007

Infinite Wars: Deadshot vs Manticore

Trial By Fire (DC comics)
Suicide Squad #2 When: June 1987
Why: John Ostrander How: Luke McDonnell

The story so far...
They're a group of despicable, ruthless, back-stabbing criminals -- and they're going to save the world in ways the heroes wouldn't touch. Or at least, that's the plan, when this ragtag group are sent into situations best described as: suicidal.

Headed up by Amanda Waller; the team are sent into the field for their first mission to infiltrate the headquarters of the terrorist group aptly named The Jihad, and use the intelligence gathered to systematically take them apart -- by any means.

The only problem with this team is that they're expendable, untrustworthy, and all too aware of their situation. Heading into Northern Qurac, there's a traitor in their midst, and they'll gladly sell the team out if it means surviving!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Infinite Wars: Black Adam vs Captain Marvel

Black Reign (DC comics)
Hawkman #24 When: Late March 2004
Why: Geoff Johns How: Rags Morales

The story so far...
Having attempted to prove his redemption through serving with the Justice Society of America; Black Adam soon comes to realise that the effective betterment of the persecuted will not be achieved through the good intentions of the Golden Age heroes.

Gathering a band of the willing and likeminded, Adam sets about righting the wrongs of his time with the JSA, fighting and executing his way to his homeland of Kahndaq.

With the aid of his fellows; many connected to the Justice Society themselves; Adam wages a coup against the oppressive rulers of the once proud and ancient Middle Easter country. Their militia no match for brute super strength, Adam liberates the Kahndaqi people, who are none too happy when the JSA, led by Hawkman, come to interfere in the rule of their new hero.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Infinite Wars: Marvel Zombies vs Galactus

Marvel Zombies Conclusion (Marvel comics)
Marvel Zombies #5 When: June 2006
Why: Robert Kirkman How: Sean Phillips

The story so far...
Earth 2419: A frightening twisted version of the Marvel Universe, infected by the decay of an alien virus that turns all infected into decomposing, viracious zombies.

With the Earth's population decimated by the super powered zombies, food supplies begin to run low.
Failing to follow their zombified Fantastic Four into a parallel universe, the zombies finish the last active snack, Magneto, before the heavens present a miracle.

His arrival affected by unknown elements of this universe, the Silver Surfer shows up in present-day to assess the viability of the Earth for consumption by his master -- Galactus: Devourer of Worlds.

The Surfer's defeat paves the wave for the wrath of Galactus, but the devourer who knows no satisfactions appears to have met his match. Having ingested portions of the Silver Surfer's cosmically powered carcass, the Marvel Zombies have absorbed his cosmic power, and prepare to turn it against it's master!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Infinite Wars: Batman vs Ra's al Ghul

(DC comics)
Batman Begins When: June 2005
Why: Christopher Nolan & David Goyer How: Christian Bale & Liam Neeson

The story so far...
Having witnessed the murder of his parents by a desperate armed robber in a theatre back alley, Bruce Wayne grows into a man of great guilt and anger.

Channelling his rage, he uses his inherited fortune to traverse the globe, escaping his celebrity status as a Wayne to face the criminal element on it's own terms, and take it on one man at a time.

During his time abroad Bruce Wayne is confronted by a man named Henri Ducard, who promises to foster his power and hone his efficiency to become a true force of justice. Representing Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Shadows, Ducard eventually reveals a plot to use Wayne as a pawn in the destruction of Gotham; something Bruce Wayne, now Batman, will do anything to stop.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Infinite Wars: N'Garai Demon vs Kitty Pryde

Demon (Marvel comics)
Uncanny X-Men #143 When: March 1981
Why: Chris Claremont & John Byrne How: John Byrne

The story so far...
It was long ago that the grounds of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters saw the sprouting of a demonic totem connecting to the world of the N'Garai -- a Cairn, the bridging gateway for these demonic creatures to spew forth into our world and wreak havoc.

Storm and her fellow X-Men were able to overcome the N'Garai who attacked them, but months later a N'Garai demon emerges once more on the grounds on Christmas eve, seeking to bring misery to the mutants of the X-Men mutant academy.

Alone in the mansion while the other X-Men spend down time with their loved ones, Kitty Pryde decides to direct her misery toward training in the Danger Room. Her session is interrupted by an alarm alerting her of the intrusion, and her investigation leads her to the greatest workout of her career -- one-on-one battle alone against a N'Garai demon!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Infinite Wars: Wolverine vs Sabretooth

Evolution Chapter One: First Blood (Marvel comics)
Wolverine #50 When: March 2007
Why: Jeph Loeb How: Simone Bianchi

The story so far...
They used to be friends, but over the decades the bloody feud between Wolverine and Sabretooth has grown to be one of the most bitter and thoroughly twisted conflicts in comics.

Having carved his way through lies and deceptions, Wolverine knows he isn't Sabretooth's son, clone, time travelling counterpart, or any other relation -- but he still just can't put his finger on what is true.

With glimpses of an ancestral history as a backdrop, Wolverine confronts Sabretooth at Xavier's Mansion, where he's staying as a member of the X-Men, not for the first time. Wolverine's mission? To finally put an end to the bitter hatred that inevitably brings these two monsters together, time and again.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Infinite Wars: Fantastic Four vs Paibok the Power Skrull

Whatever happened to Alicia?! (Marvel comics)
Fantastic Four #358 When: November 1991
Why: Tom DeFalco How: Paul Ryan

The story so far...
After the Beyonder's secret war, the Fantastic Four's Thing opted to stay behind and continue his adventures. It was this act that nearly put a vital snafu to a secret plan launched by the Skrulls to infiltrate their enemies team.

Posing as Thing's blind girlfriend, Alicia Masters, the Skrull soldier named Lyja was forced to take a harsh turn, steering the affections of the Masters girl to an unlikely suitor -- Johnny Storm!

When Thing returned he eventually learned to live with the loss of his love, and was witness to the marriage vows of Johnny and Alicia, or so they thought. With Lyja revealed, the furious Johnny Storm leads the Fantastic Four on a mission to space to retrieve the captive Alicia, but little does he know the overseeing officer in the matter is a Skrull familiar, yet very different...

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Infinite Wars: Sabretooth vs Jubilee

Rites of Passage (Marvel comics)
Adventures of the X-Men #7 When: October 1996 Why: Ralph Macchio How: Andy Kuhn

The story so far...
In their last confrontation, Sabretooth and Wolverine battled in the snowy ranges of Alaska, where the X-Man was able to out maneuver his old foe to send him hurtling down an icey ravine.

Having finally clawed his way back to the surface, Sabretooth is madder than ever, and intent on getting revenge on his arch-nemesis.

Stalking his way across America, Sabretooth returns to the X-Mansion he once infiltrated under orders of Magneto. Ironically, the X-Men are abroad in Russia tending to matters concerning the master of magnetism, leaving Professor Xavier and Jubilee alone in the mansion -- with Sabretooth!

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Infinite Wars: Sinister vs X-Men

The Tempest: Part 4 (Marvel comics)
Ultimate X-Men #49 When: September 2004
Why: Brian K Vaughan How: Brandon Peterson

The story so far...
A mysterious serial killer called Sinister has been murdering mutants throughout the Manhattan district, raising the concerns of the X-Men. Though reluctant, Professor Charles Xavier solicits the deployment of six of his most notable and seasoned students in the pursuit of the killer.

Though Wolverine and Storm track Sinister to his lair, they are horrified to discover the killer has already eluded them, and unbeknownst to the youthful X-Men left behind, he's coming for them.

Unable to detect Sinister's presence, Professor X is unable to prepare his mutants for the threat that is coming for them. Dazzler, Angel, Kitty Pryde, Rogue and Ice Man will have to fend for themselves, or die trying.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Infinite Wars: Power Man & Iron Fist vs Constrictor & Sabretooth


The Jade Tiger! (Marvel comics)
Power Man & Iron Fist #66 When: December 1980 Why: Mary Jo Duffy How: Kerry Gammill

The story so far...
Colleen Wing and Misty Knight are the freelance private investigators behind Nightwing Restorations. The job has taken them into the criminal black market trade of rare and exotic artifacts.

When they find their way into the bowels of the criminal's lair, the Nightwing investigators find themselves biting off more than they can chew as they stare down the menace of hired mercenaries, the Constrictor and Sabretooth!

Though Colleen Wing manages to escape, Misty Knight is thrown into the airtight safe that houses the many rare goods. Thus, Wing must seek out the aid of the Heroes for Hire, Powerman and Iron Fist, to formulate a rescue mission!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Infinite Wars: Annihilus vs Fantastic Four


World War 3 Part 1: Life in Wartime (Marvel)
Fantastic Four #13 When: November 1997
Why: James Robinson How: Mike Wieringo

The story so far...
Two very distinct worlds collide as battles with cosmic forces undo all that is, and redefine it as all that could be. Marvel's mightiest heroes, having been trapped in a parallel universe of Franklin Richards' creation, soon find themselves thrust into yet another existence, this time along side the heroes and villains of Wildstorm.

This new world leaves behind the threats of Galactus and Damocles, creating it's own new history of turmoil.

Asia and Europe have fallen to alien invaders, as the Daemonites and Skrulls form an unlikely alliance with a traitor to all humanity -- Dr. Doom. Together, their technologies and inherent abilities allow them to infiltrate the rebellious remaining walks of life, creating a grim new world of distrust, chaos and war.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Infinite Wars: Super-Skrull vs Fantastic Four

Retribution (Marvel comics)
Fantastic Four #6 When: April 1997
Why: Jim Lee & Brandon Choi How: Jim Lee

The story so far...
Reborn in a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards; the Fantastic Four are destined to relive their origins all over again as they unwittingly encounter familiar shadows of the past, also reborn in this new world.

Accosted by Victor Von Doom, a student from Reed Richards' days in college; the Fantastic Four and Black Panther find themselves the reluctant guests of castle Doomstadt. There, Doom is holding a mysterious chromed alien hostage, but this is not the limit of the extraterestrial presence.

Hidden within SHIELD and disguised as Agent Wyatt Wingfoot; a cosmically sleeper soldier of the Skrull empire has finally exploited his position, an alliance with Doom allowing him access to the herald of the Skrull Throneworld's destruction. Betraying Doom to use his machines, Kl'rt has absorbed the Surfer's cosmic power, and now prepares to turn his imitative Super-Skrull abilities against him.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Infinite Wars: Thor vs Hulk

THOR versus HULK
"... Let no man tear asunder!" (Marvel comics)
Avengers #5 When: March 1997
Why: Rob Liefeld & Jeph Loeb How: Rob Liefeld & Ian Churchill

The story so far...
Trapped in a pocket dimension created instinctively by the powerful son of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman; the world's greatest heroes are reborn in new lives in the wake of the epic battle with the creature called Onslaught!

As though destined to relive key events in their lives, Bruce Banner is again exposed to a massive dose of gamma radiation, turning him into the incredible Hulk.

A mindless and rage-filled beast, the Hulk seeks the one opponent he can never reach: Bruce Banner! Following beacons of Banner's work, the Hulk charges Avengers Island where a live gamma reactor core is housed. Having demolished much of the building and the few attending Avengers themselves, Hulk stands supreme, but a certain thunder gods would have words with him...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Infinite Wars: Sasquatch vs Wrecking Crew

Alpha To Omega (Marvel comics)
Omega Flight #1 When: June 2007
Why: Michael Avon Oeming How: Scott Kolins

The story so far...
Suffering a defeat that saw the death of most of it's members, Alpha Flight came to an end with the attack of the being known as The Collective.

The only survivor, Sasquatch, retreats from the life led as a superhero to return to his first love of science, but as the Americans begin to crack down with the advent of their Hero Registration Act, problems begin to creep across the boarder to Canadian soil.

The Canadian government, with aid from the US, seeks to reform the team around Sasquatch as Omega Flight, the last chance to prove once and for all Canada is worthy of a super team. However, before the team can gather, Sasquatch finds himself thrust back into action as the Wrecking Crew roll into mapleleaf country, looking to raise rabble without opposition.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Infinite Wars: Flash vs Captain Cold

Book Two: Strange Adventures (DC comics)
DC: The New Frontier #2 When: April 2004
Why: Darwyn Cooke How: Darwyn Cooke

The story so far...
America is changing as the decades bleed from the forties, to the fifties, to the sixties and the emergence of world influences. Men of power are changing in both the White House, and the ranks of the superhero community.

The old guard are forced to come to terms with the new breed of heroes emerging, and the strange new events and threats that accompany them. Among the new blood, Martian Manhunter, the Flash and Green Lantern, all bringing with them vibrance and youth to a jaded post-war tier.

As alien presences begin to press greater influence on this world, the heroes and their villains take shape, and are inevitably drawn to one and other in the common goal of justice. This is not the story of an end to the old ways, but rather to the hope of a new frontier.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Infinite Wars: Hulk vs Avengers

"That which gods have joined together..."
(Marvel comics)
Avengers #4 When: February 1997
Why: Rob Liefeld & Jeph Loeb How: Chap Yaep & Ian Churchill

The story so far...
Believed dead, the Avengers and Fantastic Four survive their battle with Onslaught when Franklin Richards whisks them away to a pocket dimension of his own creation, housed within the tiny avatar of a blue ball.

Within this dimension the heroes are reborn, as though their fates were predetermined to play out again as destiny decided them. For Bruce Banner, his transformation into the Hulk begins again as he falls victim to a terrorist attack on one of Tony Stark's gamma nuclear bases, which exposes him to massive amounts of radiation.

Intent on destroying Dr. Banner, the Hulk survives a battle with Iron Man and begins his trek toward any totem that might signify his other. Attracted to a similar nuclear power source on Avengers Island, the Hulk finds his next battle with the few stationary members of Earth's mightiest heroes!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Infinite Wars: Shi'ar Imperial Guard vs X-Men


Superdestroyer (Marvel comics)
New X-Men #124 When: May 2002
Why: Grant Morrison How: Igor Kordey

The story so far...
Cassandra Nova, a malicious Shi'ar mummudrai, had her first encounter when drawn to arch-nemesis Charles Xavier in the woom. There, Nova duplicated Xavier's DNA to sustain a physical form, but with his mutant fetal brain developing in fantastic ways, Xavier became aware of the creature's viciousness and attacked, resulting in the Xavier twin being stillborn.

Decades later Nova would set into motion plans to annihilate all that her "twin" held dear. It would be Nova that would set off events that decimated the mutant nation of Genosha, before facing Xavier and his X-Men herself, taking possession of her nemesis' body before her own was crippled, thus leaving Xavier in the incapacitated body.

Under the guise of Xavier, Nova continued her scheme to destroy Xavier, linking up with Lilandra of the Shi'ar to convince her the mutants had become infected and would need to be destroyed for the good of the universe. Thus, Lilandra reluctantly sends her army to Earth, where they descend upon the X-Mansion.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Infinite Wars: Batroc & Captain America vs Mr. Hyde


Cold Fire! (Marvel comics)
Captain America #252 When: December 1980
Why: Roger Stern How: John Byrne

The story so far...
Having escaped prison with a little help from Batroc the Leaper, Mr. Hyde hatches a plan for revenge and fortune, after revealing the promised riches that saw him freed were little more than an enticing lie.

Muscling Batroc into helping him further, the two steal themselves a Roxxon fuel tanker and prepare to turn it into a floating weapon if the United States don't meet their demands. Demands that include the surrender of their shared nemesis -- Captain America!

The Captain attempts to spring a plot of his own, but when things go wrong he finds himself at the mercy of the deranged Mr. Hyde. It's only the morbid intervention of Batroc that keeps him alive long enough to be fastened to the head of the ship, pointed directly at New York City. Is this certain doom for the star-spangled hero, or does peril present unlikely hope? Stay tuned!...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Infinite Wars: Diamondhead vs Nova

MONTHLY PUNCH-UP #20 (August 2007)
Alienation (Marvel)
Where: Nova #2 When: July 2007
Why: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning How: Sean Chen

Quick Fix...
After an ill-fated attempt to get comics on my birthday, I had to settle with a small stack of very low priority books.
On the higher end of the scale was Nova, which has been a series getting some fairly positive reviews, despite the relative obscurity the character has endured over the past decade.

It seems it's not just canonically that Nova has outgrown his New Warriors past. In the wake of the Annihilation Wave, it actually seems surprisingly reasonable to see Nova in a title role. In fact, if the character were able to consolidate his appearances into a secured position as a Marvel A-lister, it might turn out to be a refreshing step forward.

That said, it's hard to know exactly what made these reads so disappointing.
It might have been the fact that they were about the best of the bunch, which omitted many higher interests, like World War Hulk. It might be that the art is put to shame by Adi Granov's simple, but effective cover art. It might be that the interior colour palette is a darkened array of colours, with a motley dark inking job that lacks conviction where shadows are present.

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