Saturday, December 22, 2007

TERRAX versus GREEN LANTERN
Unholy Alliances (DC/Marvel)
Where:
Green Lantern/Silver Surfer When: December 1995 Why: Ron Marz How: Darryl Banks

The story so far...
The day begins as simple as it can for any cartoonist-slash-intergalactic lawman. Using his alien ring, Kyle Rayner stencils designs, when he is rocked without warning from his drawing table by an explosion! Thus, the Green Lantern charges his ring before flying to investigate!

As Kyle Rayner discovers the granite alien Terrax, he could not possibly conceive the interdimensional ballet occuring across space. In another world, a chrome warrior suffers a similar fate, happening upon a destructive warrior that appears to be more machine than super-man.

The truth can wait! As protector of truth, justice, and the space ways, Green Lantern must summon all his powers to defeat the cosmically charged Terrax.
Still inexperienced, Rayner may be facing the biggest challenge of his short career, but little does he know, the grand plot designs an ally in the wings!

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Terrax 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Green Lantern 3 (Straight A)
Speed: Terrax 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Terrax 6 (Generator)
Agility: Green Lantern 2 (Average)
Fighting Ability: Terrax 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Draw 7 (Solar Power)


LIKE THE SCOTTISH, PUNY HUMAN! FREE AND BREEZY!!!- On the planetoid Birj, Tyros was the tyrannical ruler of the city Lanlak. It was his legendary callousness that brought him to the attentions of the space faring devourer, Galactus.

Believing the betrayals of his former heralds to be weaknesses brought about by their underlying compassion, Galactus seeks an alternative to mercilessly scour the universe for sentient planets upon which he can feed.

Granted a portion of the legendary power cosmic, Tyros was reborn as Terrax the tamer!
Along with the standard benefits of cosmic power; super strength, durability, ability to survive travel through space, energy blasts; Terrax' inherent abilities to manipulate most forms of rock and earth, were further enhanced.
Terrax was also granted a cosmic axe, which contributed greatly to his already impressive fighting skills.

Ultimately Terrax' selfish ambitions would see him turn on his master as many before, leading him to become a feared warrior in his own right.

- Having succumed to the effects of the Parallax entity; Earth's most famous Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, would lead a grief stricken rampage against his fellows in a bid to gain power enough to resurrect his obliterated city.
At the cost of the few survivors, the Guardians of the Galaxy would pool their energies to create one final, immensly powerful ring, which would be sent out into the universe with the last surviving Guardian from Oa; Ganthet.

The ring would come to be the inhereted by Kyle Rayner.
The young graphic artist's imagination would make him an ideal recipient, his creative mind opening up a realm of possibilities to the ring's powers of solid manifestation. These iconic Green Lantern powers would come to Rayner with the added responsibility of being the last of the Corpsman - a footnote that would continue to be a part of his education right until the return of the Corps.

The Math: Terrax Ranking: Green Lantern (#255)

What went down...
Knocked from his desk by a powerful explosion, Rayner charges his ring before leaping into action as the crab-masked Green Lantern! He soon discovers the blast to be for his benefit, designed to lure him into the open of his Greenwich Village stomping grounds, and into the sights of Terrax the tamer!

Despite being a completely alien quantity to his interdimensional foe; Terrax declares war on the Green Lantern, as the described "only obstacle" in his quest to conquer the parallel universe.

Taking exception to the notion of having the universe conquered on his watch, the inexperienced Green Lantern summons his ring's energies into an energy blast, but is struck by a rising stream of earth before he can discharge it!

This panel scan is doing nobody any favours...Turning metaphor into reality, Rayner visualizes Terrax' cosmic strength and earth-moving abilities and returns them in kind, fashioning his ring's power into a literal bulldozer. The make-believe machine ploughs through the rubble caused by Terrax' attacks, but is swiftly cut down by the cosmic axe he grinds.

Rayner ejects to safety, inventing advanced weaponry to fire green bolts.
Alas, they go to waste, easily absorbed by Terrax' cosmic axe, as he drifts through the air atop a psionically manipulated chunk of earth.

Unable to stem Terrax' charge, Rayner is again reduced to defensive, narrowly escaping decapitation as the cosmic axe continues to press it's advantage as the superior weapon.

Rayner spits wit, mocking his foe's intent to inflict injury. It's quickly the Green Lantern who is made the fool, suffering a chunk of rock to the back of the head, highlighting Terrax' experience as a well rounded warrior.

... but THIS panel shows off the neato Terrax textured colours.As Terrax closes in for the kill, Rayner manages to slip in a final gag, a reference to Superman. At that moment a massive beam of energy blazes down from the sky to knock Terrax off his feet -- not the heat vision ray of Superman, but rather the unlikely energy projection of Thanos!

Recognising his attacker as the man who actually sent him to the DC universe; Terrax launches a renewed attack, this time at the mad Titan!

Thanos, riding on board a giant throne, catches the cosmic axe inches before it strikes his head.
In a display of power that is not lost on the Green Lantern, Thanos channels his own energies back through Terrax' axe, sending feedback that flash fries the former herald of Galactus!

With Terrax unconscious, Thanos reaches for dials on his throne, to send the cosmically powered warrior back to the universe he belongs in.

From here, the mystery behind Thanos' appearance is revealed. Courting the interests of Kyle Rayner, Thanos dismisses Terrax' claims of familiarity as the rantings of a deluded madman with aspirations of impossible universal conquest.

Proving his intergalactic intelligence to be well researched; Thanos makes an attempt to recruit Rayner and his GL power ring in an effort to maintain the balance of reality. He plays to facts vaguely true, declaring a rift created by a DC character, who has crossed over in an effort to pursue his own agendas -- the fallen Green Lantern -- Hal Jordan!

The hammer...
Two years into the Infinite Wars and somehow we're still servicing the introduction of characters onto the site. Unbelievable!
Under represented entrants include today's winner, Thanos; the assisting Kyle Rayner; and Infinite Wars first-timer, and the narrowly defeated -- Terrax!

It's the holiday season and we're running late again, so, as is often the case in these situations, I'm going to say I'm going to try to wrap this up reasonably quickly, but will probably take more paragraphs than is necessary.

Riffing on the opening sentiments, it's just amazing that two years of Infinite Wars still affords us so many opportunities to have 'firsts.'
Whilst swathing about in the Christmas festivities, it dawned on me that the last two Decembers [2005, 2006] we didn't do the X-Mas thing. Sure, there were a lot of reasons why, but if you're like me and are curious what filled that void, the closest posts were: Dark Knight Returns #4; Spider-man Unlimited #1; and Superman/Batman #21. Not terribly festiv!

Projecting ahead, on the best-case assumption, we'll have a whole bunch of materials for you to read on Christmas Day, and if you haven't already, you should use the 'older posts' tab at the bottom of the front page to check out the mass of materials that have been all over the Infinite Wars lately.

One of those materials has been the Fantasy Fights, which have provided a point of inspiration in the absence of alternatives. It was during Round 9, earlier in the week, that the continued lack of representation for the character did nothing to reflect his status spinning out of Countdown, the Search for Ray Palmer specials, and of course, Sinestro Corp Wars, which featured a spotlightingthat saw Rayner's role to Jordan reversed, as he became compromised as the Parallax host.

Did someone order an ABSORBASCON Christmas?...Financial constraints have kept the Infinite Wars from making direct reflections of the comics atmos, so consider this, all you Rayner fans, a faint gesture to represent the character's ascendance in 2007. For the critics, the obligatory Lantern-gets-hit-in-head shot.
It's not quite 'unmngha', but I think it does the job.

My outsider perspective of the character's Countdown role in the second half of '07 would be comparable to what 52 did for Black Adam, making him our site-sponsored MVP.

This crossover issue has been requested in the past, and as a special entry I've held off until this point, but there's an added layer of personal significance that makes this one of my favourites.

As far as these things go, it's got a lot going for it!
It precedes the ever popular DC vs Marvel mini-series to introduce iconic elements of that story, while also setting the scene for a Silver Surfer rematch which recalled their meeting, and presented them with familiarity.

It also packs an interesting array of characters. Sinestro Corps fellow, Hank Henshaw, is present as Terrax' misplaced counterpart in the Marvel universe; while the Parallax-Hal Jordan plays the Thanos to Silver Surfer's hero spot.

As a story there isn't a lot to it. We've come to refer a great deal to cause-and-effect comics, and contrivances aside, this is very much a case of that in it's simplest form. The cosmic scope lends a believability to the extension of desires that sees the villainous quotient of Parallax and Thanos attempting to exploit foreign powers for their own maniacal gains. Fights ensue.

For me, it was one of the first times I really felt convinced by digital colouring. While it lacks the grit of contemporary colouring styles, Digital Chameleon's work compliments the standard superhero pencils of Darryl Banks, presenting confident colours, and a hand tailored attention that sets it apart from lesser digital efforts characterized by lazy gradiant effects.

It's interesting to see experimentation in the Silver Surfer, using coloured lines in place of traditional blacks for details in his face and reflections. It's highly questionable whether or not the effect is successful in capturing the chrome of the character, but it's a design I wasn't familiar with prior, and quite enjoyed.

Likewise, my scans fail to capture the delightful dotted colouring of Terrax. It's a colouring style I've seen years prior in Marvel's work, but it's on the palette of this vibrant prestige format paper that the well contrasted palette of cosmic blacks, and bright colours, really show off those finer details. Like the Surfer, I'm not sure the dotted pattern achives any kind of granite effect for Terrax, but it's an intriguing visual that gives him a suitable otherworldy quality.

For me this comic represents not just a really fun time, but also a moment of personal triumph. It was at the peak of an Australian summer heatwave, without any kind of air conditioning, that I was gripped by an allergenic fever.

Upon arrival at a hotel the change was almost instant, and although still a little shakey, I decided to wander down to the hotel newsagency. It was quite a novelty, this tiny winding store, with it's location adjacent to the side-entrance valet drop-off. It was there that I first encountered and bought this comic, and despite fever yet to come, it remained a beacon of that positive change.

And there you have it, folks. DC and Marvel; Green Lantern and Silver Surfer; uniting their powers to do great good in this world!

Hopefully this little entry will satisfy many of you, particularly those who've been searching for this, and more Thanos, in the Infinite Wars. I know some of you are out there, and even though Rayner failed to pick up the win, there's still plenty of fodder in this special alone, so no doubt we'll be seeing more in the future. For the time being, happy holidays all, and stay tuned!

The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 6.5

There'll be plenty more from this very special DC/Marvel crossover, but while you wait, remember to check out more from the Infinite Wars Fantasy Fights! Be sure to hit up the poll and vote for who you think will win overall, and feel encouraged to lodge your opinion in the comics section here, or anywhere else!

2 comments:

John Terry said...
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