Friday, January 27, 2006

"Franchise Part 2: The Away Team"
Batman #647 When: January 2006
Writer: Judd Winick Artist: Doug Mahnke

The story so far...
It began when a man called Hush set into motion events that would throw the Dark Knight's life into chaos, as his foes were arranged like game pieces in formation against him.

Hush would later be revealed to be Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Thomas Elliot, but betrayal would have two faces.

Orchestrated to disorientate the Batman further; Clayface masquaraded as the deceased Robin, Jason Todd.
When a new face in Gotham going by the Red Hood moniker, Joker's one-time alias, began stalking the streets, Batman's fears would be realised.

Alive once more by means unknown, Jason Todd began fighting a fatal one-man war against the criminals of Gotham, organizing his own sense of order.
When the villains united with Gotham's new boss, Black Mask, Jason Todd had for him one mighty enemy in the shape of The Society.

Tale of the tape...
"The Society" is a fairly broad label for what is, in this case; Captain Nazi, The Hyena and Count Vertigo.

Strength: 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: 2 (Normal human)

Captain Nazi is perhaps the most influential character in this particular scenario.
In combat he is designed to go head-to-head with the likes of Captain Marvel, which is a considerable advantage over the other human-level characters involved in this fight. He also has the ability to go uneffected by Count Vertigo's powers, which means he is potentially able to sweep the pot once Vertigo gets into action.

On the flipside, Captain Nazi could also single handedly lose the fight.
Though impressive in his own right, the animalistic Hyena is only minimally effective against disciplined and able fighters, as is Count Vertigo.

Ultimately, Captain Nazi is the lynchpin in this particular attack, and his intelligence arguably leaves him prone to attack from the tactically superior Batman. Particularly considering the history Red Hood and Batman share, offering them superior sycronisity in their fighting.

Of course, Red Hood's hostility toward the Batman could prove an issue.
You would however have to assume the administered powers of the Society would be the bigger threat, and the two would maintain alliance brief enough to thwart them.

Maybe next time, the Society should send Deathstroke, instead of having him give orders to the lackeys.

What went down...
Lured out by threat to his order of drug dealers; Red Hood is ambushed by Black Mask's Society goons. Captain Nazi and Hyena drop from the rooftops, but Red Hood is defiant in the face of adversity.

He scoffs the hired heavys, as he nimbly backflips over them and opens up with his twin pistols.

Hyena and Nazi dance in and out, taking shots at the young vigilante, between gun fire. Todd avoids the attack, but his hail of bullets barely even scratch Captain Nazi -- so he steps it up with high explosives.

The blasts topples the mighty Captain Nazi, but leaves Red Hood open to the agile and ferocious Hyena. The feral mind of the creature fixes in on the Red Hood, "Slow. Too slow. Weak and slow." "Yeah, or, y'know, stalling."

Four darts bury themselves into the Hyena's back, and the Dark Knight detective makes his presence known, dropping down from the rooftops above.
Red Hood kicks the Hyena off of him, and for the first time since his apparent death, Jason Todd sides with the Batman against evil.

Captain Nazi rips a post from the street, and swings it like a giant club at the dyanmic duo. They each dodge, and Red Hood dives at Batman, not to attack, but instead to execute a maneuver they've each practised dozens of times. A maneuver they honed as Batman and Robin.

Red Hood tosses razor tipped projectiles, and Captain Nazi blocks them easily with his forearm, as he was supposed to, leaving him vulernerable for the Batman to toss attaching explosives to his chest. He drops the powerline post, as he is again toppled by explosion.

Captain Nazi still stirs, but before either Batman or Red Hood can finish him, the world begins to swirl.
"Damn it to hell. There's three of them."

The floor rushes upward to meet their faces, as the effects of Count Vertigo's powers of disorientation take effect. Powers designed to affect the eyes and ears, attacking the physical rather than mental. Thus, Batman drops shields over his eyes and ears. Contingencies designed for the likes of the Scarecrow, but just as effective here.

Switching to sonar, Batman directs Red Hood toward the equally affected Hyena, while he tackles Count Vertigo, clutching only fabric. Not a miss timed step, but rather an ingenious piece of planning.

As Captain Nazi - unaffected by Vertigo's powers because of cybernetic implants - attacks the Red Hood, he's able to toss darts charged with hard stimulants at the feral Hyena.
The Batman swoops down, and using Vertigo's fabric to mask his own scent to the creature, he beats Hyena into a frenzy. Until he follows the scent back to Vertigo, and is pulled back before he goes beyond incapacitating the Count.

Nazi still has Red Hood wrapped up, forcing Batman into a stand-off with his grappling gun. Nazi calls his bluff, but Red Hood mercilessly recognizes the potential to end it, and drives a tazer into Nazi's cybernetics.

Red Hood mocks the Batman for his apparent surprise at the lethal resolution to the fight.

"Did you actually think this would go any other way?! Just be happy I only killed the Nazi!"

Red Hood chastizes his former mentor for his predictability, as he scales a fire escape, making his escape. The alliance of convenience, ended.

The hammer...
I have to acknowledge, this issue was a little while coming, because it's been one of the fights I've been most impressed with out of all the comics I've read recently. That's pretty high praise, considering all the mayhem going on in the respective Marvel and DC universes, which are largely the focus of Secret Earths.

Needless to say, Batman and Red Hood won this one.
As always, if anyone has any dispute to that, they should feel welcome to drop a comment.

I've really been surprised just how much I've been enjoying Winick and Mahnke on the flagship title. Winick's initial offering, with the Scarecrow, really didn't do a whole lot for me, but with the new on-going structure the title really has me tickled pink.

One of the most attractive elements I've found, is just the allusion of structure in Gotham right now. I often drift into rants about what I call a chess board continuity, where even if every piece isn't in play, it's still on the board. This, to an extent, is exactly that, and I'm enjoying it a great deal.

Perhaps the only thing more exciting than all the action, will be the conclusion to the on-going tussles between Batman, Red Hood, and Hush.

Red Hood - Kill; with tazer to electronics. (Captain Nazi)

The Fight - 6
The Issue - 5.5

NEXT WEEK: Street fighting! Don't miss the punch-up!

Friday, January 20, 2006

"Marvel Zombies Part 1 of 5"
Marvel Zombies #1 When: February 2006
Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Sean Phillips

The story so far...
As previously seen in Mark Millar's Ultimate Fantastic Four, in an almost identical alternate reality, the heroes have succumbed to a deadly plague that renders them little more than zombies.

With food supplies running thin in this world, Reed Richards attempted to reach out to his counterpart of the Ultimate universe, to lure him into a trap. Eventually the Magneto of this bizarre world was able to thwart plans of immigration, trapping the evil Fantastic Four in another dimension, but damning himself to remain with the infected in his own.

Tale of the tape...
Though infected with a zombie plague, this world really isn't so different from our own... well, y'know... their Magneto isn't, at least.

By and large most of Magneto's strengths are much the same, however in this particular scenario he is considerably drained, considering he's already taken part in events prior.

Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Energy Powers: 6 (Mass Destruction)

This stamina rating is obviously not at all indicative of the punishment Magneto's strength has already taken, but it does reflect his uncanny ability to constantly find something more in the most dire of situations.

Though in ruins, the fact that Magneto faces his adversaries in a city is no small factor. With a limitless supply of metals at his whim, Magneto potentially has at his fingertips an entire arsenal of ammunition. Which means if he can stay alive long enough to gather his energy, he's a pretty good chance.

Of course, staying alive is considerably easier said than done, when a dozen super heroes want to maim and eat you. Super heroes like; Daredevil, Spider-man, Moon Knight, Giant-man, Captain America, Luke Cage, Angel, Wolverine, Nova, Falcon, oh yeah, and the Norse God of thunder - Thor.

As daunting as that sounds, on paper, Magneto is always a very good chance.

What went down...
So... Magneto, dented helmet and all, stumbles around infront of some of the most powerful heroes undead. Not exactly a place you want to be, but then, there is that cuty of metal I was talking about...

Magneto summons up his strength and hurls anything he can find at the closing zombies. Shang Chi, Nova, Thor, Nighthawk, Cyclops, Daredevil and Moon Knight all take damage, giving Magneto the chance he needs to flee. Let's be honest, when you're in a city overrun by super powered zombies, cowardly is probably out of the equation.

Spider-man, out of webfluid, falls behind leaving Captain America to take pursuit to Magneto - shield in tow. I'm pretty sure the accompanying image should adequately inform where that headed. Metal shield, good one, Cap.

Magneto takes the shield and runs, finding temporary refuge in an alley amongst the ruins of New York City.

While laying low, the mutant master of magnetism receives word from Asteroid M, which has presumably survived zombie incursion. Intending to find a way to reach his satellite base, Magneto heads for the cover of the sewers, but [Not like this!] he's spotted by zombie Hawkeye.

Magneto decapitates the archer with Captain America's shield, but not before taking an arrow to the gut for his trouble.
Cap is there to retrieve his shield, giving Magneto the opportunity to toss him aside, as more zombies arrive on the scene.

Magneto uses the very arrow sticking out of him, as a weapon, sending it hurtling through Thor's throat. With the little strength he still has, Magneto fights for his life, whipping a car door at Giant-Man, before pulling a building down on he, and others.

Sadly, it's the least threatening of the former heroes that goes unchecked.
Under ordinary circumstances Wasp's offensive abilities in the field are questionable, but here she is the unseen missile that is Magneto's undoing.

As she grows to human-size and chomps down on his neck, the other heroes prepare to take their pound of flesh. As the zombies fight over their meal, Magneto is helpless to watch them tear him apart.


Thor and Hulk play tug-of-war with Magneto's body, Hulk eventually pulling his leg off. The heroes have their long overdue fiest, and one of the most powerful mutants on the planet is no more.

The hammer...
Magneto got eaten, so I'd have to think the zombies probably won this fight... Yeah... if you want to dispute that result, by all means, drop a comment!

I've been focusing a lot on fairly recent comics, and I have to admit, this was among the books I got only last month, for Christmas.
There's a very good reason for that, and that's by and large beause the comics have just been so damned good.

The novelty alone made this too attractive a comic to pass up, regardless of execution, which was pretty reasonable. It's an interesting concept, because it's so obvious. When I first heard about the UFF arc, my initial reaction was the mundane realization that nothing quite like mass zombie attack had ever really been done in big-two super hero comics.

In the delicate world of franchises and fickle fans, I can see why something like this might not work in the core universes, so I'm quite pleased with this mini-series on principle alone. It's one of the few praises I've had for Marvel over their last year of decimation of quality.

The Fight - 5.5
The Issue - 5

NEXT WEEK: Tag team action - Batman and Robin? Be here!

Friday, January 13, 2006

"White Messiah"
Marvel Comics Presents #49 When: 1990
Writer: John Fligueroa Artist: Ron Wilson

The story so far...
This is probably a particularly obscure choice, considering it's only an eight page short story from an issue of Marvel Comics Presents. That's probably largely the appeal of it, because I've been focusing on fairly recent stories.

It's a hot time in the old town, as Daredevil pursues a tip from his good friend, Tony.

Very little about this case is any different than others. Men who deal in drugs and money, meeting at a remote dock location, where they believe themselves to be unseen. This time, however, it's Daredevil who is mistaken, as his stealth is challenged by the man called Scope, nicknamed so for his escape from everyone from the NYPD, to Interpol.

Tale of the tape...
I don't pretend to be any kind of Daredevil afficianado, but I've always liked the character, and with Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev on the title, I've grown to be a fan. That being the case, and Daredevil being one of the better fighters in the Marvel universe, this is the first chance to list a character who will probably show up on Secret Earths more than once.

Daredevil's prowess as a fighter is, of course, quite well documented, which directly contrasts his opponent on this particular occasion. As far as I know Scope had never appeared prior to this short, and has never appeared since, which is probably part of the appeal of discussing this story.

Stamina: 5 (Marathon Runner)
Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: 5 (Martial Artist)

DD's greatest skill as a super hero is his martial arts training, and condiitioning that allows him to execute his attack to the fullest extent. That, coupled with his keen radar senses, make for a stealthy and effective fighter, greater than perhaps even the Batman.

Being a somewhat mysterious threat, Scope can be assessed only superficially as a large, presumably powerful man, with a lotta henchmen, who have a lotta guns. Nothing DD hasn't tackled before, so you'd have to think Daredevil, lurking in the shadows, would have overwhelming odds in his favour...

What went down...
"Gentlemen, before we proceed, there's someone behind those boxes..."

The mysterious criminal called Scope tips his boys off to Daredevil's presence, as he lurks behind some crates, surveying the situation with his radar senses.
As the villains turn their machine guns toward his hiding place, Daredevil is forced to spring into action.

Daredevil is swift and confident, knocking at least six nameless goons down with various strikes, and pressure point attacks. The high-caliber weaponry forces him to be precise, and efficient.
With the pawns flattened, Daredevil gives Scope a chance to make his move.

The gangster opens his trenchcoat, revealing two metallic baseball bats - his weapons of choice.

Daredevil senses the metal by the heat they emit in the summer's night, as Scope twirls them in anticipation. DD tosses his billy club, striking one of the bats dead centre in mid-twirl. Scope mocks the statement.

As DD retrieves his club, Scope makes his attack, nailing him with both bats.
The Daredevil recognises the threat, "This guy is too big -- too powerful!" and acts on it accordingly. He throws his legs out from his grounded position, and turns it around, his boots finding jaw.

He holds nothing back, taking Scope out with old fashioned fists. Nothing fancy.
Then Scope fights back with another weapon. His words cut deep, as he draws parallels between he and Daredevil. He calls them brothers, and reveals himself to possess a radar sense similar to DD's own, even though Scope is sighted.

Though the battle is over, the war rages on as the police arrive to take Scope away. Daredevil's justice is served, but Scope's words stay with him.

"You, The Punisher, all of you white messiahs can think about something... the harder you push, the harder the streets push back. The image of the future isa child of the streets, rising and spitting in your masked face."

The hammer...
This might not be as obscure an issue as I think it is, but it's got a dear place in my heart. This is actually one of the few comics to survive my childhood through poor treatment (despite many good intentions), moving, and just unfortunate accidents. The latest chapter in the life of this comic has seen the tattered cover slip away from the staples that bind the book's pages together.

Even though I enjoyed this rendition, I've never been a huge Wolverine fan, although I was a very big fan of Erik Larsen's Spider-man through the late eighties, and early nineties. As a younger reader I actually remember being attracted to this comic purely because of the cover, which is very similar to another old favourite, with Punisher in-tow (an issue of Amazing).

As far as the fight goes, I think we can forego the moral victories and safely award the win to Daredevil. Though Scope put up a good fight, and could potentially do it again, this was a short story, and Daredevil put him down quick.

I don't really know if Scope ever appeared again, even though he threatened as much. A quick glance at turns up no mention of the character, and I can't say I ever remember hearing from him again. Of course, as I said previously, I'm no Daredevil afficianado.
If anyone knows more about Scope, drop a comment and fill me in!

Assuming he didn't ever show up again, and no one resurrects him any time soon, he's definitely a character I'll keep in my back pocket as I climb towards the goal of writing. I think he's a superb character, and really sticks in my mind, as part of this obscure, but memorable story.

The Fight: 3.5
The Issue: 4

NEXT WEEK: Magneto faces perhaps the greatest threat to mutant supremacy, ever! Be here Friday!

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Hush Chapter Five: The Battle"
Batman #612 When: April 2003
Writer: Jeph Loeb Artist: Jim Lee

The story so far...
Someone has it out for Batman. Someone good.

Hush, Jeph Loeb's return to Batman, and Jim Lee's return to monthly comics work. This was the year long maxi-series that had everybody asking questions about who was out for Batman, and how they were so successfully manipulating the pieces against him.

Already the victim of battling a mutated Killer Croc, and having undergone brain surgery, you'd think Batman had reached the worst of things to come. That was, of course, before the mysterious Hush brought Metropolis into the picture. Before Poison Ivy entered the picture, and before Superman fell under her influence.

Tale of the tape...
For Secret Earth's readers, this just might be the rematch of the century.

Last time we talked about two very different characters. Characters that were much older, older than their ages even, aged by a world far darker and stark than anything the DC universe has seen. Earth-2 Superman's head would probably explode, if he saw the DKR universe, and how pathetic his counterpart had become.

In this particular scenario, things are very different.
Superman's weaknesses largely remain the same. He's still a boy scout, and what's left of his homeworld is still poison to him. Of course, the major difference is, this time Superman's not himself. This time Poison Ivy has her mits into him, and he's not particularly inclined to talk things out anymore.

The other difference is, this wasn't arranged.
Batman didn't have time to rig a suit to the city's power, and he didn't have time to plant his allies. Hell, he doesn't even have the familiar shadows to retreat into.
Metropolis, the city of light and purity doesn't favour the Batman, even if he is with Catwoman.

What went down...
Half way through Jeph Loeb's annual mega event, Hush was really starting to heat up, and things were only getting bigger.

Love or hate the conclusion, one thing remains irrevocably impressive about the character who was introduced to us, as Hush. He did the unthinkable, he didn't just recruit a massive Bat-villain team-up, his scheme was precise as surgery, and as big as art. As big, as Metropolis. As big as Superman!

As the dust settles, the Superman lowers himself to the ground, with Poison Ivy by his side. Hopefully that's information enough for you to realise Superman has become the victim of the vivacious villainess.

Apparently the glowing red eyes are more than just jazzy artwork as directed by Jim Lee, and coloured by Alex Sinclair. It tips Batman off to an incoming attack, giving him necessary time to hurl Catwoman out of harm's way, and disappear underground, into the water exposed by Superman's burning blasts.

Batman's most unbeatable asset is his mind, and ability for preperation.
From that wonderful belt of tricks, the Dark Knight produces two tiny oxygen filters, flicks over to nightvision, and turns on his boot sole propellors, and they're on their merry way. Just the usual fare for a night on the town with a lady.

The Superman's will is strong, he resists the command to kill, but Poison Ivy offers a reminder of her power. It's questionable whether even a super man can resist the lure of Poison Ivy, but Batman's plans largely rest on it.

Both he and Catwoman make their way through led-lined Lexcorp sewer systems, and prepare for the impending attack. From his belt, Batman produces something once entrusted to him by the man he's about to attack - Lex Luthor's Kryptonite ring.

Bats sets up a series of explosives, and clarifies his plan with Catwoman, "Any of the three of them." "It'll be the gal. If we want to get a reaction from him, it has to be the gal."

I don't think it tales the world's greatest detective to figure out who the three are. Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and "the gal" - Lois Lane.

As thunderous blows echo and roar through the tunnels, Catwoman springs into action, leaving Batman to pay the piper.
As resistent to X-rays as lead is, Superman is inevitably able to bust his way into the systems.

Batman, Kryptonite ring at the ready, welcomes his Finest counterpart with a right, sending the Superman reeling. With super speed the ever present threat, it's evident Superman is still able to resist Ivy's control.
As futile as it is, Batman tries to use that resistence to break through. He warns that he opened a gas main, rendering heat vision out of the question, with an entire city block at risk of total destruction.

Sonics are next, rattling the super hearing of Krypton's last son.
He still has the clarity of mind to unleash his arctic breath, freezing the Batman's ring baring right hand. The Dark detective, ever ready uses a flare to blind his opponent, giving him the opportunity to fire his grappling hook, and leave Superman for dust as he lunges for the electric mains.

"Clark. About the gas main -- I lied."

Supes fries, blacking out the city.
It's not enough to slow the Superman down, though. In fact, the pain actually serves to rattle him enough to get angry. As he bursts out of the ground, Batman has only one option left - the gal.

High above the street, Catwoman teeters with Lois Lane held hostage.
"You can save her. Or fight me. It is your choice."

Of course, Lois has the stroke of genius to choose a flag pole as her time of resistence, elbowing Catwoman in the gut. Batman assures himself that if it were necessary, Catwoman could catch her - but it isn't.

The boy scout prevails, and Ivy's hold is broken.
The rest is history. Ivy goes back to Arkham, and... Krypto makes an appearance.

The Hammer...
Well, whatta ya know? Batman wins, again!

Alright, as far as rematches go, this probably wasn't the most unpredictable, but it was still a bloody good fight.

Actually, predictability was probably an unfortunate monkey on the back of the Hush twelve part storyline, but it wasn't all bad. In fact, taking each chapter as it came, it served it's purpose. It generated sales and hype, and it was very enjoyable.

This was the event that lured me to DC for the first time since I was a small child. I haven't looked back since, so I certainly owe this series that much.
I think breaking this issue down, it really accomplishes the narrative that some of Millar's fight issues failed at.

I think Loeb's success with furthering the story through this particular fight, really comes from the relationship between the two characters, and the ramifications the fight has on the larger threat. If Hush could manipulate and control Superman, what else could he do to as suburban a hero as Batman?

As a fight, it was a little brief, but it did what it set out to do.
This wasn't at all the DKR fight, if anything it's an obvious son-of-DKR. Does Loeb owe a lot of his successes to Frank Miller? Maybe, but I think this fight really stands on it's own.
It moves within the confines of this established world, and doesn't utilize the luxuries of manufactured convenience that the DKR fight had.
The fight: 5
The issue: 4

Poison Ivy - Posession by mind control. (Superman)
Batman - Multiple critical blows. (Superman)
Catwoman - Assist; kidnapped Lois Lane as distraction.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

So, there you have it. Another year of comics behind us.
I could delve into the hits and misses of the past year, but this blog has only one month's worth of entries behind it, so I figure it might be a little soon for that.

Assuming I don't have a drastic change of heart, the monthly punch-up will come at month's end, and zoom in on one of the many characters covered.
Entires are roughly made every Friday, and generally feature fights at random, with the occasional theme.

Naturally you can expect a lot of the usual suspects turning up. Batman, Hulk, Daredevil, Superman and kin, but with any luck things won't become too tired and repetitive.

In the coming year I hope to elaborate further on discussing the comics, to keep this more than just a simple recap. I would very much like to provoke conversation on the various comics, but I guess that's going to depend on time, energy and material.

Beginning with March this year we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest battles (on paper) in comics history. I am of course referring to 1996's monumental event - DC versus Marvel/Marvel versus DC.
If any fights are going to spark debate and conversation, it's probably going to be one of these!

As should always be the case, anyone amazing enough to be reading the site should feel welcome to recommend a fight to be covered. The third entry made this month, The Justice League vs Deathstroke, was actually recommended on several occasions via posters on a message board I frequent, so it really can happen.
Of course, this blog is largely reliant upon my humble collection, so don't get your hopes up.

Of course, discussing the past, present and future isn't the sole purpose of the monthly punch-up. Believe it or not, I'd actually like to try to make Secret Earths an interesting site. Which is why it's going to deteriorate into a list of stats, and silly role playing, every month. If you have any better suggestions, yeah... I could really use them.

Real Name: James "Logan" Howlett
First appearance: Incredible Hulk #181 (1974)
Group affiliation: Avengers, X-Men
Enemies: Sabretooth, Omega Red, Magneto

Wins: 1 Losses: 1 Ties: 0
Assists: 0 Kills: 5 Rank: #4

Strength: 3 (Trained athlete)
Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Speed: 3 (Trained athlete)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)
Energy powers: 1 (None)

Fight history:
- Wolverine versus The X-Men w/ Captain America and SHIELD
- Wolverine versus The Invaders

As the guy with the most fights behind him, I guess it seemed like a pretty logical place to start. I know, I know... Wolverine, it's terribly clichè, but what can I say? I'm a website starting out who wants to whore the guy out as much as Marvel do, besides! Blame Millar for putting the guy through such a compelling storyline.

Each week I try to analyze the potential of the character in his given situation in the tale of the tape section. So, I'm not going to waste time repeating that info here, as tempting as it is. For these spotlights, I figure I'll try to shepherd my enthusiasm for comics into talking about the characters.

Wolverine's not a bad character to start with.
Even though he's certainly not one of my favourite characters. In fact, I'm going to cut straight to the chase and acknowledge being one of the guys who's just fed up with seeing Wolverine everywhere, and in everything.

As a kid I really didn't read much in the way of the X-Men, so it really wasn't until the early nineties that I became familiar with Wolverine. I remember being incredibly fond of the 1990 [pre-Uncanny] X-Men annual, and always thought he seemed like a more interesting character than I had given him credit for in a back-up story.

The benefit of fifteen years of hindsight really crushes the control, and leadership I thought I saw in the character at that point, as Patch. I guess the problem with becoming such a popular character was that he would essentially be frozen stagnant, or victim to ill conceived gimmicks.

In the mid-nineties the Fatal Attractions crossover really caught my interests, and I remember one of the most spectacular things I'd seen in such a mainstream comic was Wolverine popping his bone claws for the first time.
Holy geez, it's really not that shocking, but at the time it blew me away. A massive picture of Wolverine on his knees, with blood gushing down from his... little claw hole thingys.

Wolverine #75 is probably one of my favourite Wolvie stories, if for no other reason than that moment of total helplessness. It was really quite a thrill too, because this was a time when I had no access to the internet, and didn't read any of the rumor magazines, or anything. So, the conclusion to Magneto ripping the adamantium off his bones was really up in the air. Very exciting!

I missed out on the instant sell-out, Origin, and didn't revisit the character until Grant Morrison's New X-Men. As someone who wouldn't call himself an X-Men fan, I guess it's interesting that for a few years I'd be buying pretty much just an X-title, Mutant X, and be brought back in a big way by Morrison's X.

I think Morrison's treatment probably earns it's praises largely away from Wolverine, who really gained very little from New X-Men other than acknowledgment of his true name (as learned in Origin), and the Weapon Plus bombshell.
Obviously Weapon Plus was a really big deal, but in the grand scheme it really meant very little. Especially to the quality of Morrison's fantastic work. Work that I might even call the greatest X-Men of all time.
I thought the deconstruction of everything Morrison set up was the first of many bitterly disappointing decisions to come from the House of Ideas, which have yet to be rectified.

As evidenced by the fight entries for Wolverine, I came back to have a look at the Millarchy of Enemy of the State, and Agent of SHIELD.
I think it's fair to say these storyarcs offered far less than Wolverine's brief spotlight in New X-Men, but sometimes it's just nice to be reminded exactly what it is that Wolverine is supposed to be best at.

Apart from supplying this litle page with all manner of fodder, I think Millar really succeeded in stripping Wolverine down to the ferocity so many love, and let it rip. As flimsy a story it was, it supplied one of the rare instances where Wolverine could actually go on a killing spree. Really fun to read from time to time!

Next week: THE REMATCH: Superman versus Batman!

The Batman
2. Mr. Fantastic
3. Captain America
4. Wolverine
5. Green Arrow