Monday, July 02, 2007

For Better and For Worse! (Marvel comics)
Marvel: Heroes & Legends #1 When: October 1996
Why: Stan Lee & Fabian Nicieza How: Marie Severin

The story so far...
Reed Richards and Susan Storm have finally decided to tie the knot, but damned if the dreaded Dr. Doom will allow a peaceful day for the wedding of his mortal nemesis!

Better known to the world as Mr. Fanatstic and Invisible Woman, they find themselves beseiged by the greatest villains of their past on what should have been the happiest day of their lives!

Lucky for them, friends of both bride and groom are there to help protect the innocent from the menace of Dr. Doom's orchestrated mass attacks!
One such force providing aid is the magnificent mutants of Professor Charles Xavier's school for gifted youngsters! Good thing too, because the citizens of Manhattan need their help!

Previous Form:
Beast (#31): Crucial in X-Men victories over Xorn and Lizard.
Cyclops (#87): Mixed results as team leader of the X-Men.
Angel (#88): Helped talk Ghost Rider down, after getting badly defeated.
The X-Men [#1]: Victories over Wolverine, Nimrod, Magneto, Xorn & The Lizard.
The Executioner: Skurge has not yet been featured on the site.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Executioner 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Beast 6 (Genius)
Speed: Beast 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Executioner 6 (Generator)
Agility: Iceman 7 (Unlimited)
Fighting Ability: Executioner 7 (Born Fighter)
Energy Powers: Cyclops 5 (Lasers)

It wasn't long ago that we established the standard for these wacky inter-character match-ups with the X-Men fighting the Lizard [X-Men: First Class #2]. I think it's safe to say this entire book resets that standard, and here's a great example of a villain and heroes you never expected to see together!

Actually, the X-Men aren't complete strangers to Asgard, but we'll at least assume at this point in their careers, (the story being set in the sixties), they haven't had a great deal of experience with much of anything.

As far as big bads go, Skurge; aka The Executioner, isn't someone you want to bump into in a poorly lit alley! Asgard is well known for it's warrior bruisers, but Executioner has always been just a little stronger, and a bit more durable than your average Asgardian. Not to mention how he puts that brawn to use, possessing a powerful axe with various unique abilities, including projecting fire and ice!

Ice? Well, the X-Men's Iceman can handle that, no problem.
The rest? Well, even with a big brain like Beast or a steady leader like Cyclops, that's a tall order! Sure, Sentinels pack a punch, but they aren't gods!

Like so many brain-V-brawn battles we've seen before, this one will probably come down to smarts. The X-Men need to maneuver themselves into finding some way of incapacitating Executioner, and for my money you'd have to be consider some sort of multi-pronged physical assault, that would provide sufficient diversion for the ol' telepathic attack.

Executioner hasn't come this far to go down like a punk, though.
There's every chance he's going to be able to resist the plucking of mental chords by Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, but next to all the other options...? Go with it!

The Math: X-Men (Total) The Executioner (Average)
The Pick: The Executioner

What went down...
Already on the streets tending to the overflow of villainy, the X-Men are in prime position when The Executioner shows up on the scene!

Apparently well versed in human-mutant relations, the Executioner is well aware that victory could very well provide the guise of a hero, being that mutants are so feared and despised!

The Beast, doing the most to engage the menace, narrowly avoids a swipe from the double-edged battleaxe, and a timely wall of ice provided by Iceman stems further assault from the Asgardian goliath.

While the Executioner extracts his powerful axe from the ice, the Angel swings around in the sky to make himself useful (for a change)!

The surprise of the lift knocks Skurge's helmet from his head, and leaves his axe lodged in the street below, having dropped it as his arms were hoisted from underneath him.

Airborne, the Executioner struggles with his fate, while the Angel playfully mocks him.

Continuing to struggle against the far weaker Angel, Executioner's requests for an early release become all too feasible.

With a cunning smile Warren Worthington III lets loose his grip, and leaves the Executioner to plummet several stories Earthward.

Though the Asgardian rightly touts his ability to survive such a fall with ease, he doesn't anticipate the sure teamwork behind the X-Men's maneuvers.

Executioner's landing atop a parked car reduces it to scrap metal, making it the perfect fodder for Marvel Girl! Using her powerful telekinesis, she contorts a lamp post around the car, wrapping Executioner up like a gift for super-authorities.

Celebrations are short-lived as another looming threat interrupts the glow of victory. Though few are there to witness their deeds, one boy walks away a convert -- X-Men fan forevermore! Yeah, go team!

The hammer...
Despite the overwhelming odds (and potential short term nature of their job), the X-Men emerge victorious! Full stats to the whole team, even though Cyclops appears completely uninvolved!

The ranking stats are one of the fun little features of this particularly website, but it strikes me that as much as we talk about the dominance of Spider-man and Batman, the team stats get completely overlooked! If I wasn't thinking about it now, I'm not sure I ever would've imagined the X-Men were such an indomitable force. Which is silly, when I realy think about it... Huh, wacky!

So, with the relaxed schedule for July, I'm now one update away from being officially caught up on updates! Yay! If you missed the lo down in the Punch-Up, you won't know that I could potentially still fall behind as I continue the constant of Ultimate Alliance Mondays, but for the most part, it should be smooth sailing for a little while!

So, I'm generally not a big fan of revised versions of stories, or even reprints on the whole. I'm by no means an obsessive collector, but I just struggle to appreciate things that aren't in their original form. Still, with a site like this, you start to look at the material more than the nature of the beast.

This is the second time we've reviewed this issue, the first being the Grey Gargoyle entry for MUA Mondays. It's a comic positively made for this site, featuring villains from Batroc the Leaper, down to the Unicorn. It really is a smorgasboard of mini-fights, all leading up to one big mega-splash page.

I don't know about this month, but at some stage I'd like to sit down and do a DC vs Marvel style recap for the rest of the action. It just seems wrong not to appreciate things like the Batroc/Cyclops result just prior to the battle featured here, along with all the other fixes of varying lengths.

In the nearest future, I'm simmering gently with a range of prospects for July entries. I couldn't narrow it down, but I'd like to bring it back to some solid one-on-one fights. I really couldn't say, but it'll be fun finding out. Stay tuned!

The Fight: 3.5 The Issue: 6
NEXT WEEK: Who can put a stop to the menace of Ultron?!

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