Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm neither American, nor 'of colour', so I wouldn't presume to fully appreciate the gravitas of Martin Luther King Day, but there's a certain universal truth to that broad notion of a 'a dream.' As human beings we all have an opportunity to be touched by injustice or segregation, and in comics, where humanities best and worse traits are exaggerated, minorities of any kind become a hot topic.

I'm not going to enter into any kind of philosophical or political debate, make creative assumptions, or cast any aspersions. Instead, I invite everyone to join me in taking a look back at five issues that feature some of the top rating characters from the Infinite Wars rankings, because that's what brings us all together. That, and good old fashioned punching and kicking. HAH!

Power Man & Iron Fist #90 (February 1983)
"The Untouchable!" Busiek/Cowan

Tired of the money hungry business design of the Heroes for Hire; Luke Cage accepts a quarter from a small boy when he learns of a musclebound menace plaguing small businesses on his turf.

Helping the people soon proves difficult when he and his partner, Iron Fist, learn that the unchecked robber is none other than Unus; the untouchable Italian mutant!

After suffering an embarassing defeat at the hands of Unus and his inherent impenetrable forcefield, the Heroes for Hire take time to regroup, before going on the hunt for a rematch, and this time they've got a strategy! Sweet Christmas!

Iron Man #271 (August 1991)
"Dragon Flame" Byrne/Ryan

Replacement Iron Man, James "Rhodey" Rhodes, has inhereted the battle of a lifetime as the menace of the Mandarin returns to plague the gleeming golden avenger!

Suspicious of the identity of this Iron Man, Mandarin pits the monstrous might of one of IM's oldest foes, the ancient alien dragon called Fin Fang Foom, against the supposed impostor!

Never one to back down from a fight, Rhodey must call upon every trick in the Iron Man arsenal as he faces off against a foe whose name literally means, "He whose limbs shatter mountains, and whose back scrapes the sun!" UH-OH!

Marvel versus DC #3 (April 1996)
"The Showdown of the Century!" Marz/Jurgens

Omnipotent entities - brothers - have forced the greatest champions of the Marvel and DC universes into mortal battle, and dangling over their heads is the obligation of an entire universe's existence!

The weather goddess, Storm, soon finds her hands full as she stands face to face with the Amazonian princess, Wonder Woman! Having gained possession of the enchanted hammer of Thor, Wonder Woman looks unstoppable, at least until she surrenders the weapon in the name of a fair fight! Even without the mighty Mjolnir, Storm is forced to bring all her powers to the table in this epic showdown from the classic DC/Marvel mini-series!

Black Panther #19 (October 2006)
"World Tour" Hudlin/Eaton

It was the wedding of the decade when the ultimate superpowered couple of King T'Challa of Wakanda, aka; Black Panther, and the African X-Woman, Ororo Monroe, aka; Storm, were united in matrimony!

With royal power comes royal responsibility, and as a show of goodwill, the couple opt to tour the super powers of the world to garner relations in a world of change, suspicion, and a superhuman registration act in the United States.

First stop on the honeymoon tour is Latveria, where T'Challa begrudgingly meets with a concerned Dr. Doom, and inevitably finds discussions more than a little tenuous!

52 #42 (April 2007)
"Man Ain't Nothing but a Man" Johns/Morrison/Rucka/Waid/Giffen/Batista

John Henry Irons is the ultimate self-made man.
Though his greatest accomplishment in life may have been gaining an education that took him from the ghettos, it came with the cost of his soul, as he designed advanced weaponry eventually found in gang violence.

Having cleaned up the mistakes of his past with Superman-inspired armor of his own design, Steel hangs up the armor to return to the less perilous world of science, where he can continue to do good without endangering his family.

A sound theory; at least until work conducted for Lex Luthor is revealed to have a sinister underplot, and John Henry is forced to don the Steel armor once more to save his niece, Natasha!

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