Sunday, September 30, 2007

Infinite Wars: T.Hawk/Fei Long Double Feature

Where: Street Fighter II #3 When: February 2006
Why: Ken Siu-Chong How: Alvin Lee

Quick Fix...
Okay, I'm going to start this entry way off on a tangent.
Earlier today I spent a disturbing amount of time sifting through google hits, conventional and blogsearch, looking for dates and issue numbers. I couldn't find them.

I do my best to make sure Secret Wars on Infinite Earths is a multi-layered and enjoyable reading experience, several times a week. If I might not always live up to that lofty expectation, I always find great pride in including explicit and relevant information for cross searching needs.

Now, let the minutes show that it is indeed Sunday, and therefore we must address today's pressing Street Fighter business. On today's agenda, two of the new warriors that made their debut in the revision title, Super Street Fighter II.

Full Article:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Infinite Wars: Superman vs Preus

Old Man, New World (DC comics)
Action Comics #824 When: April 2005
Why: JD Finn How: Ivan Reis

The story so far...
Suffering the stress of a clash with Gog and a synthetic yellow form of Kryptonite, and the lurking threat of Doomsday; an aged Superman struggles against the xenophobic charge of Kandor's General Preus.

Having captured both the inquisitive Jimmy Olsen and the Justice League's Martian Manhunter, Preus uses Olsen's signal watch to lure Superman to his desert base where he commands an army of zealous white-supremicists.

Facing overwhelming physical odds, Superman will courageously do combat with his disillusioned Kandorian counterpart, but at the end of the battle, Preus' greatest weapon may prove to be humanity's own capacity for self-destruction.

Full Article:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Infinite Wars: Batman vs Catwoman

Date Knight (DC comics)
Solo #1 When: December 2004
Why: Darwyn Cooke How: Tim Sale

The story so far...
A string of clues lead the Dark Knight Detective to a Gotham City museum exibit, where someone has broken in; neutralized the nightguard; disabled security systems; and breached the defenses of an expensive cat artifact. So why is the statue still in it's case?

It seems Catwoman wants to play, and the perfect way to get the attentions of her Bat-themed lover is a midnight burglary, complete with scented clues to lead him to their rendezvous.

The sassy Selina Kyle leads the Batman on a pursuit across the Gotham skyline, in a date night only she could provide. Will the Dark Knight pursue criminal justice, or when the cheque arrives, will he do the gentlemanly thing? Mmmreow, stay tuned to find out!

Full Article:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Infinite Wars: Saviour vs Superman

Scarlet Salvation (DC comics)
Action Comics #713 When: September 1995
Why: David Michelinie How: Kieron Dwyer & Denis Rodier

The story so far...
Three years prior, the world watched in horror as the alien creature Doomsday fought Superman to a stand-still, the two dying in the street by each other's hands.

Having returned after the destruction of Coast City, Superman returns to resume his battle for truth, justice and the American way -- but not everyone is convinced!

After a sinister plot orchestrated by the Kryptonian cybernetic fiend, Braniac; a doubt is cast in the minds of all when an illusion is cast to reveal Superman still dead in his coffin. Though the truth was eventually revealed, deranged serial killer, Ramsey Murdoch, remains unconvinced. Believing himself to be a self-proclaimed saviour, Murdoch prepares himself to destroy the one who poses as Superman.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Infinite Wars: Fantastic Four & X-Men vs Ahab, Invisible Woman & Cyclops

Days of Future Present Part 4: You Must Remember This (Marvel comics)
X-Men Annual #14 When: 1990
Why: Chris Claremont How: Art Adams

The story so far...
For humanity there exists a dark potential future.
A time where mutants have been hunted to near extinction, and humanity lives enslaved by the robotic Sentinel armies that police the streets so vigilantly.

Franklin Richards and Rachel Summers, refugees from this dark time, escape back to seek protection in a more placid time where their parents stood triumphant and hopeful against these evils. Unfortunately for them, their time travelling escape is not the only shift made from this future.

Dr. Roderick Campbell, the man-Sentinel known as Ahab, follows the two mutant rebels back through the timestream, hoping to use the environment to manipulate a final showdown with his longtime targets. Unfortunately for him, the mutants are far from extinct in this time, and despite his advanced technology and many powers, he may find himself overwhelmed...

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Infinite Wars: Ryu/Ken Double Feature

KEN versus RYU
Stage 01 (UDON/Image)
Where: Street Fighter #1 When: September 2003
Why: Ken Siu-Chong How: Alvin Lee

Quick Fix...
Y'know, in it's own way, UDON and their Capcom books are a really interesting look at "independent" comic books.

I do this blog thing for many reasons, one of the important ones being the enjoyment I get from taking a little time to discuss, review, and observe these pieces of entertainment that I find so joyous. Of course, as much as I'd like to derive world dominating noteriety from this blog, I'm not so sure there's a long future for me in comics review.

What I do feel very strongly about is writing and creating comic books.
Sure, that's not an unusual aspiration. Most fans and their silly photographed cats want to write comics, but I like to think there's something inevitable about comics and I. I'm not one to believe in destiny, but I think if you plucked anyone who's known me through my lifetime, none would be shocked to learn I had found fate in a creative field. It's just one of those cosmic things.

That said, it's not like capability, flair and know-how instantly get you the job.
As submission processes become less common, and technology becomes more readily available, the intrepid fan pursues the dream of self-publishing to a quality unparalleled in the previous two decades of small press.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Infinite Wars: Batman Double Feature

QUICK FIX DOUBLE FEATURE: Under the Influence/Ones We Love
As the Crow Flies Part Four: Shotgun (DC)
Where: Batman #629 When: August 2004
Why: Judd Winick How: Dustin Nguyen

Quick Fix...
So, Galactus and I might not have a lot in common, but there is one indisputable commonality: We're both sticklers for rules, especially our own.

Which brings us to now. Up against the wire, I feel an obligation to turn in a Street Fighter post for Sunday, a Marvel Ultimate Alliance post for Monday, and, well, okay, that's really about all... But still, here we are, as the clock ticks over to Sunday (here in the future), and I'm starting a post for Saturday! Egads, what sinister plot could provoke such madness?!

A couple of days ago The Fortress Keeper had some interesting things to say about the state of Batman, with a particular slant towards an evolution away from the grim and gritty mania that has gripped the character for the best part of three decades. I, of course, subscribe to that classic take within reason, actually fairly disinterested in progress being made by Grant Morrison to return the hairy chested love-god to his globe trotting throne; but I digress...

Inevitably one travels from Batman's world and state of mind, to the relationships important to his life.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Infinite Wars: Despero vs Justice League

Crisis of Conscience: Part Four (DC comics)
JLA #118 When: Early November 2005
Why: Geoff Johns & Allan Heinberg How: Chris Batista

The story so far...
With their dirty little secrets exposed, the Justice League is imploding into itself in a maelstrom of disapproval and mistrust. The revelations over Zatanna's mind-wiping practises regain their relevance when members of the Secret Society of Super-villains discover the true identities of the heroes.

Unknown to the league, the foe responsible for awakening the minds of the Society, Despero, is hurtling toward Earth in pursuit of a helpless Martian Manhunter. Unable to locate the league, the Manhunter plummets Earthbound with one member in mind -- Aquaman!

Will J'onn J'onnz find the assistance he needs, or has the inner turmoil of their actions exposed a weakness in the League, and allowed Despero the opportunity to finally seek a final revenge on those he has called enemy?

Full Article:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Infinite Wars: Hawkman/Black Adam JSA Double

Black Reign: Part Two (DC)
Where: Hawkman #23 When: Early March 2004
Why: Geoff Johns How: Rags Morales

Quick Fix...
Lately we've been talking a bit about harsh justice, and it's application to the superhero world, and this entry gives us the opportunity to take a look at that theory in practise.

It's a particularly interesting topic, given all the different angles. Generally speaking, the sacred cows [like Wonder Woman] are protected from the moral ambiguity of lethal justice, yet, oft times it's these vintage characters that are more likely to be identified with harsh enforcement reflective of the war-torn times they were created in.

The debate rages on between the two schools of thought. For many the definition of a superhero is to be above the moral ambiguity average humans, soldiers, or heroes are regularly faced with. It means not being forced to pull the trigger to save innocent lives, instead using the fantastic to end danger.
We recently discussed a similar argument of whether or not Captain America ever used lethal force during his times in the frontline of the Second World War [Captain America #405].

The morally ambiguous hero got a bit of a tarnished reputation, passing through the eighties and nineties with the baggage of excess, and poor interpretation. The posterboy becomes characters like The Punisher, who more overtly straddle the line of what's right and wrong with a stonecold attitude toward life and death. For the most part these characters do good, eliminating the evils that evade justice by conventional law, but there is always that underlying negative of what we know in reality of the vigilante.

Full Article:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Infinite Wars: Doppelganger vs Thing

By Reed... Betrayed! (Marvel comics)
Fantastic Four #367 When: August 1992
Why: Tom DeFalco How: Paul Ryan

The story so far...
The Magus, with the aid of mysterious cosmic power, has created an army of sinister mirror images of the greatest heroes of the Marvel Universe in a bid for total domination!

Forced to face their inner shadows, the great heroes fight themselves for their own existance. For Thing, his doppelganger comes at a time already overcast with inner turmoil. Ex-girlfriend and teammate, Sharon Ventura, returns as he comes to terms with the reveal that his greatest love, Alicia Masters, did not marry the Human Torch. Instead, it was another dark diversion, the undercover Skrull Lyja, who married the Torch, which leaves Thing unsure of his feelings for his former flame.

The Puppet Master is sure of his feelings, desiring the happiness of his daughter, but will his love stop him taking advantage of the Thing's predicament, or will he use his fantastic telekinetic controlling clay to save the Fantastic Fourman?...

Full Article:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Infinite Wars: Guile vs Birdie

Stage 01 (UDON/Image)
Street Fighter #1 When: September 2003
Why: Ken Siu-Chong How: Alvin Lee

The story so far...
His name is Bison, and he is the megalomaniacal leader of the world's most vile criminal organization -- Shadaloo. Involved in every facet of criminality, Shadaloo funds Bison's desires for world conquest, and his interests in fostering the martial arts and his psycho power.

It was during an investigation into Shadaloo that Bison uncovered and brutally murdered Charlie, partner of Interpol agent, Guile. Ever since, Guile has had the burning desire to personally put an end to the Shadaloo empire, and the evil M. Bison.

Patiently working his way through the various branches of Shadaloo, Guile and agents like him pick apart the pieces of the puzzle, working their way closer to the source. Wannabe street toughs, like the English street fighter, Birdie, represent the lower rungs, all useful for tracking back to Bison.

Full Article:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Infinite Wars: Avengers vs Galactus

The End of the Matter: What If The Silver Surfer Had Not Betrayed Galactus? (Marvel comics)
What if...? #70 When: February 1995
Why: Chuck Dixon How: Joe Barney & Don Hudson

The story so far...
So it was, when the devourer of worlds came to destroy the Earth, that the Fantastic Four stood against him. Toppling his gleeming herald, the Silver Surfer would come to land on the balcony of an inner city studio belonging to the blind sculptress, Alicia Masters.

Though blind, she would see something inside the Silver Surfer thought long dead, and with an awareness of all things great on the planet Earth, the Silver Surfer remembered what it was to be Norrin Radd, inhabitant of Zenn-La. Thus, he rebelled and proved to be the crucial factor in defeating the devourer of worlds, Galactus.

Alas, there are other worlds, where events such as this deviate in minor, but devestating ways. Just such a world saw the Silver Surfer remaining steadfast, forcing the Fantastic Four into retreat in the wake of Uatu's death, and the wounding of Reed Richards. With the FF absent, other heroes are forced to pick-up the slack, but can they possibly stand against the might of Galactus?...

Full Article:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Infinite Wars: Catwoman Double

The One You Love Conclusion (DC)
Where: Catwoman #49 When: January 2006
Why: Will Pfeifer How: Pete Woods

Quick Fix...
So, we dared to touch upon the nasty subject of Amazons Attack [Wander Woman], a series that has done absolutely nothing for the otherwise rising star of writer, Will Pfeifer.

In light of that, I thought it was probably worth zooming in to check out some of Pfeifer's much better work, namely picking up the slack on Catwoman after fan favourite writers Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker left the title reinvigorated. Tag neglecters might also like to backtrack to the only other entry from Pfeifer's catalogue, the first issue of Captain Atom: Armageddon, reviewed earlier in the year.

But back to Catwoman. For those not terribly interested in the character or the title, it's probably hard to appreciate the situation Pfeifer was put in. The pressure almost certainly didn't come from the company, as this was among several maneuvers that really positioned Pfeifer as one of the up-and-comers at DC, but for fans and an industry, this was potentially a recipe for disaster!

Full Article:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Infinite Wars: Wonder Woman Double

Infinite Crisis (DC)
Where: Infinite Crisis #1 When: December 2005
Why: Geoff Johns How: Phil Jiminez

Quick Fix...
Okay, so the lazy schedule has helped me quickly correct, but if I'm to impress the various important establishments like the BBC, and various other publishers of print and media hitting up this humble blog, I've got to hit the hard issues before they go stale.

If the feminist blogging community has been anything to go by lately, I actually probably have until about 2025 to catch this one, so maybe I'm getting in early. Alas; I'll endeavour to kill the joke no more, and get straight to the topic at hand -- Amazons Attack!

Haven't they just?

Full Article:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Infinite Wars: Doppelganger vs Mr. Fantastic

The Enemy Within! (Marvel comics)
Fantastic Four #366 When: July 1992
Why: Tom DeFalco & Paul Ryan How: Paul Ryan

The story so far...
Adam Warlock, a cosmic weapon who reached omnipotence, purged himself of emotions to create two gestalt entities. From all his good came The Goddess, and from his negative emotions, The Magus.

Seeking total domination over the Marvel Universe, the Magus uses his fantastic cosmic power to exist in a pocket reality, manipulating the pawns of his game from afar.

To the bewilderment of Thanos; a man whose motivations are similar bit distinctly different; the Magus wages war on the heroes through the creation of doppelgangers using items resembling the fabled cosmic cubes. Crucial to his war on the heroes, the battle between dark shadows and crucial figures within the superhero community. Figures like Reed Richards!...

Full Article:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Infinite Wars: Vega/Dhalsim Double

The Tournament Begins (Group TAC/Capcom/Manga Entertainment)
Where: Street Fighter Alpha When: 1999
Why: Shigeyasu Yamauchi, Joe Romersa, Reiko Yoshida, & Kirk Thornton How: Kazuyuki Ishikawa

Quick Fix...
With the various goings on around the place, we've had an influx of new readers. Some of them have actually arrived here because of previous Street Fighter entries, but for those who haven't, let it ring out through the village: I'm as keen on superheroes as I am on beat 'em ups!

Okay, so maybe not all beat 'em ups, but I think I've got the basics covered. SF, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Dead or Alive. Sure, I can stretch to some of the others, but this would undoubtedly be my core, with DOA bridging the familiarity gap between those I'm less aware of, like the SNK series, and those I love, like Street Fighter!

Some fans might ask, why Street Fighter?

Full Article:

Friday, September 07, 2007

Infinite Wars: Wolverine vs Captain America

Dances With Werewolves (Marvel comics)
Captain America #405 When: Late August 1992 Why: Mark Gruenwald How: Rik Levins

The story so far...
Having escaped the feral clutches of lycanthropy before, Captain America finds himself once again strapped to the table of the evil Dr. Nightshade. Intent on turning him permanently, she injects her formula, incurring immediate results.

The feral Captain America proves strong enough of will to resist the influence of Dredmund; Nightshade's partner in crime, and self-proclaimed lord of Werewolves.

Confused and disorientated, the turned Captain America sprints into the surrounding Massachusetts wilderness, his super-soldier body origins giving him an edge against the opposing werewolves. Unlucky for him, werewolves aren't the only feral creatures in the wilderness: Enter the Wolverine!

Full Article:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Infinite Wars: Hawkeye/Captain America Double


The Axis Of Evil (Marvel)
Where: Ultimates 2 #10 When: March 2006
Why: Mark Millar How: Bryan Hitch

Quick Fix...
Credit where credit's due, sure, but if you're an avid follower of the Infinite Wars, you'll probably have sussed by now that I'm really more of a character, story and leg man. Sure, creative teams are a part of the equation, but for me, a comic doesn't live or die by a writer, artist, or sychophantic obsession.

Well, okay, that last part isn't true. Maybe you get an extra look in if you've got some solid Sub-Mariner or Super-Skrull action going on -- but even then, I'm not about to sell the house to fund my comics obsessions. (Venting!)

Still, given the nature of the medium and it's intent on milking anyone or anything for all they're worth, certain creators are recurring factors in mainstream superhero comics. Then you break it down to the common denominator of our big action smackdown format, and you refine those commonalities down to this man -- Mark "Yarrrrrrrrr!" Millar.

Full Article:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Infinite Wars: Doppelganger vs Captain America

Dark Dawn (Marvel comics)
Captain America #408 When: October 1992
Why: Mark Gruenwald How: Rik Levins

The story so far...
The deadly Nightshade teams with Dredmund, lord of the werewolves, in a sinister scheme to turn the people of Massachusetts into werewolves -- including the super-soldier himself, Captain America!

Fortunately for him the combined might of he, Man-Wolf John Jameson, Wolfsbane, Wolverine and others sees the day saved, but before Cap can be cured of his lycanthropy there's another shocking surprise in store!

Unbeknownst to he, a secret war is being waged by the evil spirit of Adam Warlock, Magus! Creating sinister doppelgangers of Earth's greatest heroes, Magus sends his shadows out to do battle with their counterparts. Suffering fatigue of battle and Nightshade's cure, can Cap defeat his dastardly doppelganger, or is it curtains for America's greatest warrior?

Full Article:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Infinite Wars: Dark Claw/Flash Double Feature

Face To Face (Amalgam)
Where: Dark Claw Adventures #1 When: June 1997
Why: Ty Templeton How: Ty Templeton & Rick Burchett

Quick Fix...
I mentioned in the Punch-Up that there was a Ra's Al Ghul related entry I was originally interested in, and I also mentioned a little Two-In-One action coming. Hopefully you've been able to surmise that this entry answers both of those references.

I found myself flicking through this particular issue because, tangentially stemming from all the Al Ghul talk, I started thinking about Ra's-A-Pocalypse; the composite character that borrows elements from Marvel's Apocalypse character, and marries them with the DC character [hence Amalgam].

The resulting character is, though hardly elaborated on, a delicious little conceptual of a Darwinism-extremist. In this case there are trace elements of themes specifically explored in episodes of the Batman animated series, which provides half of the inspiration for this issue's adventure format.

Full Article:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Infinite Wars: Captain Marvel vs Macro-Man

MONTHLY PUNCH-UP #21 (September 2007)
"Once Upon A Time...!" (DC)
Where: Legends #1 When: November 1986
Why: John Ostrander & Len Wein How: John Byrne

Quick Fix...
From one Ostrander [Suicide Squad #2], to another!
I guess we're loitering around the eighties a bit more than usual on the Infinite Wars, but with good reason!

I did have something else in mind for this month's quick fix, but it occurred to me that it might have come across [Hawkman #24] that I was anti-Captain Marvel, too busy being caught up in Black Adam hype.
Okay, so maybe I am caught up in Black Adam hype, but that doesn't mean I can't Shazam with boy Billy! Red and yellow is A-OK with me, chief!

Here we have, so I'm told, Captain Marvel's first DC appearance after the reboot event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which gave DC the opportunity to arrange their house in order, under the pretense of streamlining and starting over.

Like a Civil War some twenty years later; Legends would bring together characters of varying status within the DC Universe, and put them under a microscope of cynicism and mistrust of the superhero element. Of course, why anyone would feel the need to cast a net of cynicism over stories about a pre-pubescent host of a politically charged talkshow, escapes me.

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