Thursday, June 01, 2006

Well, everyone in the present will know I'm a month and a half behind on updates right now, and frantically trying to catch up before the end of July.

Still, I don't think that's spoiled what has been a super month of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

After three long months of mad Mondays, I have to say it's been very nice to officially wrap up the DC versus Marvel entries. Though I probably slacked off a little, and ended up with some tedious entries for tedious battles, it was still a lot of fun as a retrospective. Bizarre to think it's been ten years already!

I wonder if we'll still be talking ten years from now.
Speaking of which, I've noticed hits have slowly begun creeping back up, and the page is even turning up a few extra search results, so feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you're thinking about the world of comics!

On a more practical note, no doubt you'll have notied the regularly updated top ten creator list to the right of the main page [currently topped out by Ron Marz].
This list is a fun little addition in a similar spirit to the monthly top five heroes/villains. Like the top five, these results are all calculated mathematically, in this case based on ratings of issues. It's for this reason that Ron Marz has shot to the top, despite only being featured as part of the DC versus Marvel madness.

When Secret Earths began back in December of 2005, we didn't feature ratings for each issue. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining balance, retroactive ratings will be allocated over the next month.

Coming in June:
As you might have guessed from the post-title, this month is all about Hulk on Mondays. Spinning out of his fisticuffs with Superman, I've rummaged through my modest collection to pick out some interesting, but perhaps less traditional Hulk battles.

(June 05) Hulk smash! The card opens with a most unlikely of encounters between an incomplete green goliath, and a certain merc with a mouth who needs a litle gamma irradiated blood to help with his acne problem.
(June 09) This one's all about keeping it current. A brand new villain does away with a cold oldie, in the beginning of a storyline from DC that establishes a new order in the streets of Gotham.
(June 12) Hulk smash! Following on from last Monday, this entry elaborates on the condition of an incomplete Hulk as he tackles an entire team of puny humans. Well, there's at least one chick who isn't puny... but don't tell Hulk.
(June 16) This extreme issue was one I just had to include. With an upcoming film to take inspiration from this story, we'll showcase a fight from a redefining chapter in a certain golden Avenger's history.
(June 19) Hulk smash! The Hulk takes on a top five stalwart in the first of the upper card showdowns. Rampaging in New York, can Hulk find peace, or will justice be forced to turn a blind eye to the man behind the monster?
(June 23) This one is simply made for our website.
Two of the most powerful (and wholesome) enities in the DC universe are going to go head to head on Secret Earths at last! Shazam!
(June 26) Hulk smash! In the headlining Hulk ho-down, the final piece of the incomplete Hulk puzzle is revealed - and it's going to pound a certain Avenger mentioned previously into paste. Which isn't so bad, since his heart could give out at any moment!
(June 30) Finally, Hulk month rounds out with a showcase of the cousin!
An appeal earned She-Hulk the right to a rematch against Champion of the Universe, and her three months are up! Will training be enough to take the greatest fighter in the cosmos, or will brain trump brawn? (Gee, can y'guess?...)

So, how's that for a slice of fried Hulk? I thought so!
Now, on to business if you don't mind, puny human!

The top five...
Ah yes, the top five. Some believe the greatest accolades in comics come from the Eisner awards or Wizard Fan Votes, but alas, the greatest honor is to be one of the listed results beneath the top five super heroes and villains.

After six months of entries, the top five has begun to settle out as more popular and more successful characters begin to take a stride ahead of the pack. Some of these results may surprise you, others may enrage you, but know this... Though Wolverine may appear in eighteen issues a month, he can never take your freedom.*

#1 Batman (-) (6) (DC Comics)
It's probably become a bit of a bore, and as trailing challengers begin to slip away, Batman's dominence seems to only further assert itself.
From the very beginning we all knew to expect dominance by the batty-one, but it may still come as a shock to know Batman has reigned number one every month thus far.

Perhaps a challenge is in order to regular readers: Name your challenger. Who has the skills and the stature to deserve to knock the mighty Dark Knight off his lofty pedestal? Better yet -- who has?

- Batman versus Superman (December 23, 2005)
- Batman versus Superman (January 06, 2006)
- Batman & Red Hood versus The Society (January 27, 2006)
- Batman versus Captain America (May 15, 2006)
- Batman versus Bullseye (May 22, 2006)

#2 Superman (+79) (new) (DC comics)
Well, faster than a speeding bullet, Superman manages to speed his way from the very bottom of the rankings to the very top.
Understandably a contender, Superman no doubt owes far less to his on-the-page fighting prowess, as much as he does to his stature as an industry and cultural icon. Taking a starring role in the Marvel versus DC activities, Superman racked up the victories.

With the beginning of June promising a big budget summer blockbuster from Warner Brothers, Superman may be returning to screens, but he's only just arriving at Secret Earths. Although, one imagines he'll be around for a while.

- Superman versus Batman (December 23, 2005)
- Superman versus Batman (January 06, 2006)
- Superman versus Hulk (May 08, 2006)
- Superman versus Juggernaut (May 22, 2006)
- Superman & Hulk versus Metallo (May 22, 2006)
- Superman & Hulk versus Moleman (May 22, 2006)

#3 Daredevil (-1) (5) (Marvel comics)
Well, after giving such hopeful chase to the Batman, ol' horn head hits a wall of circumstance, despite being still undefeated.
Not popular enough to be among the featured champions in DC versus Marvel, Daredevil goes two months without a feature here on Secret Earths.

Those close to the character know to never count the guardian devil of Hell's kitchen out, no matter how down on his luck he may be.

Though currently in jail, Daredevil is as good as he's ever been in the hands of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. It's almost certain you'll see red johns featured in the coming months, and the slow climb will begin anew.

- Daredevil versus Scope (January 13, 2006)
- Daredevil & Elektra versus Bullseye (February 17, 2006)
- Daredevil versus Turk (March 10, 2006)

#4 Wolverine (+1) (3) (Marvel Comics)
Well, as much as you have to hate the over saturation of the character, he more than earns his way on a website like this.
Chances are the killer Canuck will take a breaker from feature on Secret Earths, but the scalps he's already taken might just keep him in the top five for a while.

Wolverine's greatest failings, like a Daredevil, is his capacity for failure. In Wolverine's case, that's largely dependent on a wreckless flaunting of his mutant healing factor. Those defeats will hold the character in check, for now.

- Wolverine versus X-Men w/ Captain America (December 02, 2005)
- Wolverine versus The Invaders (December 30, 2005)
- Wolverine versus Lobo (April 17, 2006)
- X-Men (inc. Wolverine) & Juggernaut versus Nimrod (April 28, 2006)
- Wolverine versus Killer Croc (May 22, 2006)
- Wolverine versus Deathstrike (May 26, 2006)

#5 Zatanna (-2) (4) (DC comics)
Well, an impressive fourth week in the top five for Zatanna.
The simple fact is - Zatanna will not last. This character, as interesting as she is, is completely under my radar and will not likely appear again for quite some time.

As it is, I think I'm just surprise and impressed that a third-tier character like Zatanna maintain a presence here. As I've said before, I try not to project results, making the month end as much of a surprise for me, as it is for you. Fantastic to see some diversity in the list.

- Justice League (inc. Zatanna) versus Deathstroke (December 16, 2005)
- Zatanna versus Zor (February 24, 2006)
- Justice League (inc. Zatanna) versus The Demons Three (April 07, 2006)

Ones to watch...
Well, privvy to the complete rankings list, it's always a bit of fun to speculate where characters might end-up in the next few months. Consider it, also, a mini-game to bet against friends on odds of characters rising, with cookies, or spare change.

#8 Captain America (+1) (Marvel comics)
Last month Cap sat as favourite to rise, and while he wasn't able to work his way into the top five, he remains a lurking threat - quite literally. As the Civil War continues to boil away in the Marvel Universe, Captain America remains at the forefront of every fanboy's conciousness.

#9 Hulk (+33) (Marvel comics)
While Planet Hulk hasn't quite grabbed me in, June is Hulk month, so to expect him to walk away any less than number five would be ludicrous. Of course, the question is really just how far can Hulk go?

The time period in question features an incomplete Hulk, so victories will be in question. Still, with rumblings already making their way across the net about the Hulk's return from space, it's almost a guarantee Hulk will hit top five before the end of the year.

#22 Iron Man (-5) (Marvel comics)
Despite slipping, Iron Man's rise to the top is overdue.
Not only will Tony Stark lead one of the factions through the Civil War event, but news continues to percolate regarding the film, to be directed by Jon Favreau.
Iron Man is a property to watch, and is truly ascending to the top of the Marvel universe.

#69 Captain Marvel (-4) (DC comics)
The Big Red Cheese is going through some changes in the wake of Infinite Crisis, and it's much bigger than noticing lightning bolt shaped hair in strange places.
Though Marvel have managed a dominating plate in the stakes, DC's golden oldies remain steadfast.

#89 She-Hulk (-18) (Marvel comics)
Caught in the middle of Civil War, the second season of this book continues to show why Dan Slott is one of the most exciting talents in comics today!
Thing may have been given the shaft, but She-Hulk's still fighting the good fight, and let's be honest. A superhero gets a scheduled rematch? After losing?
Pffft, I'd take those odds!

The hammer...
Well, this may be the June punch-up, but this post is going out in the middle of July. So, I have to give a big thanks to all still checking the place out, and just enjoying it for what it is.

Secret Earths remains an elitist-free zone for enjoying superheroes, and superhero comics in the silliest, and most enjoyable way possible: With stats!

Sixteen entries in half a month would be a big ask, but even though July 21st is my birthday, the seventh month won't feature Mad Mondays. This will help catch up on entries by cutting the load.
The addition of themed entries may return once things are back on track.

Until then, thanks again folks.
Stay tuned! Got some great, green action for June!

NEXT: Hulk month kicks off with a crotch impalment. Now you've gotta tune in!
May Hit Count: 1270** (+172)

* Tony Stark and SHIELD will be taking care of that.
** Hit count was recorded May 31. Hits for posts made may be reflected in June count.

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