Friday, October 12, 2007

The Untouchable! (Marvel comics)
Power Man & Iron Fist #90 When: February 1983 Why: Kurt Busiek How: Denys Cowan

The story so far...
For young Italian-American Angelo Unuscione, discovering he would face a life of solitude for being born different - a mutant - was a blessing many others of his kind would not find. In fact, Unuscione, it was the very nature of his gift.

Calling himself Unus the untouchable; Unuscione embarks on a career in crime, using his mutant ability to project an invisible impenetrable forcefield around himself to success.

Being "untouchable" made Unus a difficult crook to catch, and as a result embued him with an inflated sense of confidence. So smug is Unus, he would actually stroll into a diner, make small talk about business, and then demand the contents of a register -- with an armed policeman right next to him! Will he be so bold when he faces the Heroes for Hire, or has he met his match?...

Previous Form:
Power Man (#23): A personal victory over Constrictor, & Skrull-Elektra with the Avengers.
Iron Fist (#45): Mixed interactions with Sabretooth, Skrull-Elektra & Daredevil.
Unus: Making his debut in the Infinite Wars.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Powerman 5 (Super Strength)
Intelligence: Iron Fist 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Iron Fist 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Unus 6 (Generator)
Agility: Iron Fist 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Iron Fist 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Iron Fist 3 (Explosive)

- Scientific experimentation saw vounteer ex-con, Carl Lucas, undergo unforseen physical alterations when the process was interrupted by the tampering of a vengeful guard Lucas had encountered in prison. His strength and durability enhanced, Lucas decides to turn his life around for the better, becoming the hero-for-hire, Luke Cage: Powerman!

- Cage's strength has been measured at various levels throughout his career. Despite initially exibiting a greater power in the defensive, he has since developed his strength to be able to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Thing!

- Wealthy entrepreneurial heir, Danny Rand, would inheret more than his father's fortune after he and his mother's death. Taken in by martial artists from the secret city of K'un L'un, Danny Rand would grow to achieve the skills and mastery of Lei Kung, enabling him to achieve the power of the Iron Fist.

- The power of Iron Fist's training gives him the ability to channel his life energy, chi, making his fist an invincible offensive force.

- As the Heroes for Hire, Powerman and Iron Fist would form a lasting friendship, and accumulate years of experience facing the most dastardly threats money can object to. As leading proponents of the anti-registration act, they would become members of the Secret Avengers, where Luke Cage would mature to take a senior role as defacto-leader.

- Unus possesses the inherent mutant ability to project a forcefield which has withstood even the blows of the Hulk! Over time his powers would appear to become unstable, filtering even oxygen from his personal space, but traditionally Unus has been seen to have complete control over his forcefield.

The Math: Powerman & Iron Fist The Pick: Powerman & Iron Fist

What went down...
Having just robbed a diner and candy store with a wooden baseball bat, Unus casually strolls down the street counting his cash. The concerned son of the candy store owner brings the threat to the attention of Luke Cage.

Bemused by Cage's arrival on the scene, Unus casually remarks upon recognising the infamous Powerman. Non-plussed by the hero-for-hire's intervention, Unus invites Cage to begin proceedings by hitting him. Confused, but happy to comply, Cage throws a mighty left at the taunting crook.

Unus returns the favour instantly, throwing his weight into a swing of his bat. Against the super-durable hide of Luke Cage, the wooden slugger may as well be kindling. Even so, the Italian remains cool in the face of adversity, "I'd do it again -- but I don't have another bat."

Undeterred by the apparent stalemate, Cage resumes his efforts, throwing his weight into yet another devestating blow that has no effect, instead throwing the backlash into Cage, who finishes on his behind.

Iron Fist arrives on the scene, recognising their opponent as the former member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Unus the Untouchable.

Taking the analytical approach of a keen martial artist, Fist goes in search of key pressure points that can be exploited in Unus' invisible barriers. Though he strikes with incredible skill, he finds no such weakness.

Unus, boasting the ability to lower his forcefields to allow himself contact with Iron Fist, snatches the hero's leg out of the air, and turns him into a human ballbat. Making note of Iron Fist's more mortal strengths, he slams him head-first into a brickwall!

With Cage still rocked by his previous attempts, and Iron Fist having visions of K'un L'un; Unus makes his getaway down a nearby manhole. A determined and disgruntled Powerman rips the hole wider to make pursuit, but doesn't have any luck catching up to his impervious foe.

Errr... How you say, even I can't believe I won!?The hammer...
Well, geez. On the memory of Unus' escape, I was all ready to call this one a draw, but it wasn't to be. Having rattled Iron Fist like a maracca master, Unus walks away with the win!

If you're part of the organized riots orchestrated by Bahlactus, then you'll do well to rest assured: a rematch is on the horizon! PM and the Fist get one more chance to takedown a supervillain who would take candystore money from a baby-daddy. Will they answer the call? Stay tuned!

Much like this conclusion, UNUS went down the tubes...Meanwhile, after a steady stream of Infinite Wars we're running a little later than planned once again. You'll notice we've finally joined the majority of our Blogspotting peers and finally upgraded to the new layout customizer.
I've managed to keep things looking the same, for the most part, but it now grants us the much-desired "older posts" link located at the bottom of your browser (if you scroll all the way down). This, in turn, means we can also lighten the load on your browser by reducing the numbers of features on the main page, still giving you free access to find the missing posts on your own time.

In other words: Things are the same, but a bit spankier, and with a hiccup or two to inevitably be ironed out. If you spot anything, do us a favour, and drop a comment to let me know. Hopefully things are pretty much the same, because I like to think a process of evolution over twenty-something months has got things pretty much the way I like, all functiony-like.

Because I'm thoroughly distracted by these events, we won't engage in the pseudo-intellectual repartee typical of the Infinite Wars. Honestly, if I want to sleep at all tonight, I should probably forego even the factoids occasionally featured.

I will at least do you the grace of justifying today's post as an inspired follow-up to yesterday's mortal martial arts montage [Mortal Kombat: Blood & Thunder #4], which got me in the mood for a little Powerman and Iron Fist action. What can I say? I'm only human people. It can't all be philosophies of justice!

Although, I would like to mention that I'm very interested in the prospects presented by the new Captain America that will debut in the pages of the no-longer-titular series. Particularly interesting is the fact that he carries a gun, presumably indicative that it's Bucky Barnes, but time will tell.

We'll probably talk more about the new Captain America in the coming months, but we won't be able to do it in detail unless one of you fine online retailers (or publishers) decides to take up sponsorship to buy yourself advertising. Hey, don't look at me like that people, it's just business!

Top 25 "Foreigners"
#1 Wolverine (Canada)
#2 Superman (Krypton)
#3 Black Adam (Kahndaq)
#4 Venom Symbiote (Unknown)
#5 Thor (Asgard)
#6 Silver Surfer (Zenn-La)
#7 Storm (Kenya)
#8 Sub-Mariner (Atlantis)
#9 Elektra (Greece)
#10 Etrigan (Hell)
#11 Batroc (France)
#12 Wonder Woman (Themyscira)
#13 Black Widow (Russia)
#14 Black Bolt (Attilan)
#15 Lyja (Unknown)
#16 Rayden (Heaven)
#17 Sinestro (Korugar)
#18 Bizarro (Bizarro World)
#19 Noob Saibot (China)
#20 Phantom Stranger (Unknown)
#21 Zauriel (Heaven)
#22 The Spectre (Heaven)
#23 Doppelganger (Nothingness)
#24 Rainbow Mika (Japan)
#25 Sakura Kusanago (Japan)
Bringing Unus to the table does go lengths to rekindle my interests in two subjects: Mutants and Foreigners. Through talking about characters like Wonder Woman, the tangential point of absurdity in American-centric adventures was raised.

In a call-back to the fun we had in the Punch-Up this month, I'm going to again use the twenty-plus months of Infinite Wars statistics to put a theory under the microscope. Today's subject being, top rated characters who were not born in the United States.

I think it's already clear to anyone reading that the ratio of American to International is grossly out of wack. Our statistics aren't going to make any major revelations on the back of that, nor are they going to be an encompassing analysis of the top International characters. It does, however, on the back of popularity, make some vague commentary by way of the fact that the twenty-five are dominated by alien entities.

Reminding us that the truth is out there, but it's much too scary to deal with in a superhero comic, so we'll just do aliens and made-up countries, instead.

Notable omissions from the list include; Black Panther (Wakanda), Magneto (Poland), Crimson Dynamo (Russia), Banshee (Ireland), Baron Zemo (Germany), Colossus (Russia), Nightcrawler (Germany), Sasquatch (The fictional nation of French-Canada) and, of course, Dr. Doom (Latveria) who is the subject of our Mondays in October!

The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 5.5
[An oldy, but a goody! Early Kurt Busiek that, though it could not know it at the time, distills the argument for why Decimation was such an error of judgment on Marvel's part. There's an unwritten rule that mutants stick with mutants, and when a character like Unus shows up in an unexpected place like this, we remember what's so great about this sub-special evolution, beyond it's role as a thinly veiled analogy.]

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