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

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