Monday, June 30, 2008

A final crisis may be brewing in the DC multiverse, but after last week, fans of the company learnt a new threat will attack in the unlikely medium of video games! Worlds collide as Midway and DC confirmed what the gamers were waiting for; their joint venture: Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe!

Over the past few months the Infinite Wars have served up a fantasy fight armada of characters who could potentially match-up in the collision of worlds, but we can't help but think there are still plenty of DC names unmentioned! To find out who made the previous cut, you might like to track back through our previous rounds: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

As of now we know we'll get the opportunity to pit Sub-Zero, Batman, Scorpion, Superman, Sonya, the Flash, Shang Tsung, and Catwoman against each other in 'kombat,' but those confirmations only raise more questions! Questions that will slowly be answered through announcements at July's E3 and San Diego International Comic-Con!

We'll be keeping an eye on news updates throughout July, but in the meantime, let us cast our eyes back to some of the DC heroes and villains overlooked in our sixty-strong line-up of the Fantasy Fights! Because we kinda copped out in week ten to go with an Alan Scott/Ermac allegory; each of our bonus rundowns will lead with a Green Lantern and unfold into a vague theme!

ARTWORK: Alex RossGreen Lantern (Hal Jordan)
Year One: [1959] Group Affiliation: [Green Lantern Corps]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#21]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [75%]

Round 1!
Hal Jordan was a second generation test pilot whose daredevil antics and heart of gold earned him reputation far beyond bar stories shared with friends. When an alien spacecop named Abin Sur suffered mortal wounds after crash landing on Earth; his power ring sought a suitable successor of unwavering courage and moral integrity. With his dying breath, Abin Sur saw Hal sworn into the fold of the Green Lantern Corps as the guardian of Sector 2814!

Jordan would quickly earn acclaim throughout the galaxy as one of the greatest of the Green Lantern lawmen, eclipsing even his assigned mentor, the great Sinestro! This would, however, only make for a greater fall when Jordan succumbed to an ancient evil, Parallax, which appeared to drive him to megalomania in the wake of his home city's destruction. He would eventually return as the human host for The Spectre, before being resurrected during the violent return of Parallax and Sinestro.

Round 2!
Looking back over the Fantasy Fights, you can really see a pattern of non-commital in the percentages. Seventy-five percent doesn't really reflect the odds of a Green Lantern appearing in the game because, like the Flash, it's a legacy that typically defines each era. The is who rather than if!

Despite being a franchise fifteen years old, it's sometimes easy to discount how young the modern MK audience skews. Most of this generation will best recognise either Kyle Rayner as the comic book Green Lantern; or seventies icon, John Stewart, as the token African-American from TV's animated Justice League.

Each of the alternates makes for a compelling argument, but with Jordan's triumphant return in 2004 [in Green Lantern: Rebirth] and his current role as titular protagonist in the monthly Green Lantern, I've got to imagine he's the character with the highest odds.

Finish Him!
The MK team will have to be smart to make Green Lantern a truly unique experience. If they're clever, they'll achieve something fantastic, but the pitfalls of a passive experience, Capcom-esque specials, or interchangable green grapples/projectiles are omnipresent!

A projectile (the infamous giant fist?), energy shield, and possibly dash attack are all but guaranteed. Homogeny in the special-fest that appears to be MKvsDC's gameplay suggests a makeshift teleport, no matter how inappropriate, is probably going to be a glowing green shoe-in. Some sort of stun/snare free hit, built around a ring projected grapple seems feasible, making one start to wonder if Rayner or Stewart might not be the more suitable choice. If presentation will be the balancing factor in the catalogue of special moves, the animation potential of Jordan's ring projections is probably more limited in conceit than the other options.

And what of fatalities? It was announced that characters known for killing will retain some sort of fatality maneuver. With the Green Lanterns recently incorporating lethal force into their law enforcement vocabulary, will it be on the cards? Honestly, I don't think so, but you never know!...

ARTWORK: Alex RossThe Spectre (Crispus Allen)
Year One: [1940] Group Affiliation: [The Heavens]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#63]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [50%]

Round 1!
When police detective Jim Corrigan is murdered by crooks, the hard-boiled lawman finds himself refused passage to the peaceful planes of the afterlife. Instead, he is forced to return to the land of living as the human conscience of the spirit of vengeance; the Spectre!

Corrigan's first outing sets the tone for a vengeful career as the longest serving host to the Spectre. After decades of servitude Corrigan is allowed to pass on, leaving the responsibility of the vengeful wrath of God to a new host, Hal Jordan. This tortured spirit found himself at odds with the vengeful nature of the Spectre, eventually resulting in the speration of the two, and the resurrection of Jordan.

This period granted freedom to the Spectre to run rampant on the world's magic, seeing it as an unpredictable and chaotic force known for causing many problems. The Spectre was eventually bound to a new host, another deceased detective, this time the GCPD officer, Crispus Allen.

Round 2!
Very nearly my choice for matching up with Raiden; the Spectre represents a respectable allegory to the often surly protector god of MK's Earthrealm. Given the disconnect between Raiden's godly abilities and the restrictions of gameplay, issues of balance shouldn't be quite as confusing as some find them. Even so, I can empathise with the conceptual tangent, and was the reason for going with Captain Marvel.

I put Spectre's odds at even because, at the end of the day, no matter how iconic this Golden Age stalwart may be, he isn't exactly vying for a summer blockbuster!
The sheer scope of the character actually makes some sort of story-based appearance in the game reasonably probable. As a cosmic force his involvement isn't always an aggresive one, but remains in keeping with his broad awareness.

Finish Him!
As a character, Spectre is nigh omnipotent! He's the sort of vengeful spirit with a reputable penchant for ironic punishments, which lends the character to diversity in the presentation of his battles. For the heroes of the series standard elemental and ethereal attacks make a lot of sense, as do spooky teleports!
However, when fighting the wicked, Spectre could fullfil a variety of unique situations. Imitating the special powers of his opponents would be a reasonable method of combative punishment, but for a more expansive next-gen experience, tailored attacks for villains would be very unique. Better still, customized ironies in fatalities to reflect suitable punishments for his enemies would be a treat!

I've come across plenty of ill informed people tossing around the theory that characters fit "perfectly" into the MK asthetic. I'm not really sure that's the most artful approach to this meeting of distinct brands, but if it is, few characters make as much sense as the Spectre, on both asthetic and practical levels!

ARTWORK: Patrick GleasonMongul
Year One: [1995] Group Affiliation: [Not Applicable]
Win Percentage: [00%] Cumulative Rank: [#435]
Fighting Ability: [6] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
Mongul was a physically powerful alien from the planet Arkymandryte who formed an empire around his rule of the gladiatorial Warworld! His desire for worthy combatants eventually brought him into conflict with Krypton's last son, Superman, who succeeded in besting him and destroying Warworld. In an act of defiance Mongul travelled to Earth where he teamed with Hank Henshaw (the Cyborg Superman) in an effort to rebuild Warworld. Their alliance resulted in the total destruction of Coast City, but ultimately proved unsuccesful.

When Mongul arrogantly declined an offer of power from the demonic lord, Neron, he was swiftly destroyed for his insolence [during Underworld Unleashed].
Years later the threat of universal destruction at the hands of Imperiex would bring Mongul's son to Earth! He would briefly attempt to train with Superman, before returning sometime later in an antagonising role against the Justice League. Despite narrowly avoiding execution at the sword of Wonder Woman [Infinite Crisis #1]; Mongul Jr survived to begin a quest to collect the yellow Qwardian powerrings of those who chose not to serve him.

Round 2!
As far as Superman villains go, Mongul's been a great Green Lantern foe!
We've discussed the prevelance of gladiatorial aliens in the Superman rogues gallery, (if you can even call it that), and Mongul doesn't really do a lot to stand out. Most MK fans are probably going to lean toward the more visual qualities, and hard edge of a Doomsday, not that that's any better.

On-going developments in Green Lantern Corps that tie in to the development of the rainbow of power rings in the universe has been a solid step forward to significance for Son of Mongul. I'm not sure events as contemporary as that will have much influence on a character's viability in the game, but with that in mind, the vague motivations of this brawling character almost seem like an advantage!

Even less motivated than the conspicuously specific Doomsday; Mongul might be the more plausible sub-boss in scenarios that imagine Darkseid representing the DC portion of a catastrophic union, with a burly bruiser in the sub-boss spot.

Finish Him!
When you boil it all down to function: Mongul hasn't got much going for him.
Essentially, as of now, he's a combination of Superman and Green Lantern, which is very interesting in a comic where the results are limitless, but in the pared down world of Mortal Kombat, I'm not so sure.

Obviously he's a character more inclined to play the fatality card, and while comparable to two more recognised characters, the prospect of a GL-powered Superman probably has a lot of potential in the right hands. Unfortunately, the critic in me has to imagine the MK team won't be putting in the kind of hours that can realise graphic diversity between two ring wielding villains.

I hate to say it, but I almost think Doomsday is the better choice... Ugh!

ARTWORK: Ethan Van SciverCyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw)
Year One: [1990] Group Affiliation: [Sinestro Corps]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [20%]

Round 1!
Aboard the LexCorps space shuttle Excalibur: four adventurers plot a course for deep space, but when their shuttle is bombarded by cosmic rays, the quartet find themselves altered in disturbingly dramatic ways!

Leader of the team, Hank Henshaw, is forced to watch helplessly as his friends gradually buckle under the stresses of their strange cosmic transformations. Two of the crew, forced to construct bodies of earth and steel, are driven to end their own lives; while Henshaw's wife is at first rescued (with help from Superman)from gradually fading into another plane of reality.

Having initially suffered no ill effects, Henshaw eventually finds himself rapidly decaying, and is forced to transfer his consciousness from his decrepid body, to LexCorps technology. Able to download himself into a robotic body, Henshaw returns to his wife, who is driven mad enough by his appearance to take her own life. Such are the circumstances that eventually lead Henshaw to leave the planet, only to return to seek perceived revenge on Superman.

Round 2!
Y'know, for a tragically stupid character, the Cyborg Superman is actually not without his redeeming qualities! Once you get past the grim FF origin and god awful era of the cyborg-mullet, there's a clunky charm to the character, reflected immediately in the utterly descriptive, and slightly retro name!

Like a lot of other characters, Cyborg Superman received a breath of fresh air as a welcome part of the Sinestro Corps War! Henshaw not only aquired a Qwardian power ring, but was also granted the distinction of commanding his own squadron of custom designed Manhunter. Like the traditional GLC Manhunters, these robotic drones come with unique capabilities tailored to defeating power ring wielders, including the ability to drain them of their power! This revamp alone is enough to get me really chuffed about the character!

Finish Him!
Again, like so many other characters, Cyborg Superman falls by the wayside of being a less iconic version of another character. Moreso than the super-strong Mongul, Cyborg Superman represents a Superman with a GL powerring. He quite literally serves that function with shades of the T-1000 shining through.

If MKvsDC were to incorporate some sort of Konquest-style adventure game, Henshaw would have to be a shoe-in. While he offers very little to the two-axis fighting arena, his role in a more expansive environment could facilitate a minion filled boss battle as players negotiate an army of Manhunters, all controlled by the central menace - the Cyborg Superman!

On the plus-side for the Superman references, this character offers a loophole for anyone who would want to perform fatalities as big blue. During the Reign of the Supermen storyline after Superman's brief death; Henshaw was the most convincing of four characters who attempted to fill the void of Superman [Steel, Superboy, Eradicator], his interest being disgracing the hero. The perfect angle for a head ripping, heat vision roasting, leg pounding fatality?...

ARTWORK: Ivan ReisSinestro
Year One: [1961] Group Affiliation: [Sinestro Corps]
Win Percentage: [50%] Cumulative Rank: [#192]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [35%]

Round 1!
Once an archaeologist on his home planet of Korugar; Sinestro was confronted by a fallen warrior from space whose ship was damaged in combat with a Qwardian villain. The mortally wounded spaceman granted Sinestro his powerring, inducting him into the Green Lantern Corps in the heat of battle!
The fallen Lantern managed to survive his ordeal, but Sinestro, seeing opportunity for great power, left him for dead, taking the mantle for himself.

Sinestro went on to be the Green Lantern of Sector 1417, where he eventually came to enforce order with an iron fist. His dicatorial rise would eventually come undone at the hands of Hal Jordan - a young Lantern he was charged to mentor.
The rivalry between Jordan and Sinestro would run deep as the disgraced Korugarian was exiled from the Corps and went on to suffer numerous defeats at the hands of the Earthman.

Round 2!
Sinestro's return in Rebirth began a chain of events that saw the expansion of the brand to an entire Sinestro Corps! Representing the yellow fear, (to the Lantern's green will), Sinestro and his gang dramatically improved their stock, elevating the villain to brand new heights through the Sinestro Corps War.

Despite an epic battle that saw the entire Sinestro Corps invade Earth (and battling the combined powers of the GL Corps, JLA, and JSA!); Sinestro and his group have largely remained segregated since forming, as is becoming a trend for cosmic villains in superhero comics. Granted, Sinestro recently held membership with the united Society of Super Villains, but explaining away the the absence of the yellow Corps seems more trouble than it's worth.

Then there's that matter of being obselete, once more. Again, as with other characters, the degrees of interest would be in the details, but it seems unlikely that that level of concentration will go in to MKvsDC. So, barring the use of interchangable skins (Sinestro being an alternate for Green Lantern), it would just be more of the same -- only yellow.

Finish Him!
Like other villains; Sinestro has the attraction of being a Green Lantern-style character more likely to kill his opponents without prejudice. Given the far-out capabilities of the powerrings, that could make for some truly diverse and interesting deaths.

Still, it's very difficult to make an argument for Sinestro appearing when our list of DC potentials will exceed one hundred upon completion. Again, we come back to the attraction of a Konquest adventure mini-game, which could have facilitated greater exploration in the merging of realms. A bit like some of the side stories in DC versus Marvel; the meetings of groups and ideals could have been expanded upon, even allowing for a clash between the MK universe, and the Sinestro Corps. An adventure format also favours Sinestro far greater than the hand-to-hand fighting arena, even though he's no slouch.

ARTWORK: ???Aquaman (Orin)
Year One: [1941] Group Affiliation: [Deceased]
Win Percentage: [75%] Cumulative Rank: [#38]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [45%]

Round 1!
Born to Queen Atlanna and the mysterious sub-aquatic mystic, Atlana; Orin was outcast from the realm of Atlantis by reason of superstition that believed his unusual blonde hair bore the mark of curse. Abandoned on the surface world, Orin was forced to raise himself, until a kindly lightkeeper named Arthur Curry took him in as his own.

Taking his adopted father's name, Orin returned to the seas as Arthur Curry, where his many adventures revealed to him the history of Atlantis. Being united with his family would only bring grief to Orin who would form a fierce rivalry with his half-brother Orm, and would discover his mother inprisoned only to see her die. After exiling himself to the surface world, where he becomes the hero Aquaman, Orin returned to take the throne of Atlantis, dividing his time between the realms of the ocean depths, and the surface.

Round 2!
I'm a Sub-Mariner fan, but as much as I'm inclined to indulge the jokes, I do have an affection for the classic Aquaman. Alas; as the mysteries of the deep have withdrawn, so too has the popularity of subaquatic fiction. With powers not particularly practical on the surface world, Aquaman has been allowed to languish under confused creative directions, and severe parody.

Because of his fallen star, I expect Aquaman's odds to appear to be the least of the fabled 'big seven.' Despite his obscurity, even Martian Manhunter mounts a bigger pledge from fans than the monarch from the sea. Which is sad, because I do wonder if Aquaman might not represent an especially unique situation!

Aquaman has had his share of grim, emerging as a battle hardened warrior from the deepsea. The MK fighting arena might be the perfect opportunity to develop that into something more substantial, creating a unique Atlantean warrior's fighting style. Then there's the thought of an underwater fighting arena -- something I'm not aware of existing in any of MK's counterparts!

Finish Him!
Y'know, it doesn't seem particularly fair, but the thought of fights on the ocean floor; where Aquaman might gain the advantage of freer movement; is a really attractive prospect. I'm racking my brains, but I can't think of any other beat 'em up that's ventured to the bottom of the depths, let alone had any reason to!

Aquaman comes with a lot of ready-made MK-style special moves including trident weapon attacks, and the mystic properties of his water replacement hand!
Traditionally a straight-arrow, I also wonder if there might not be opportunity to graft fatalities onto the character. Much like Wonder Woman; there's an emperial regality to this character that seems medieval and suitable for just killing. Is it worth dividing lethal finishers between characters, and allegiance?
Maybe we should just expect the spontaneous summoning of a whale to finish opponents off. Lord knows it's the only logical way he wins most fights!

ARTWORK: Michael TurnerFlash (Wally West)
Year One: [1959] Group Affiliation: [Justice League America]
Win Percentage: [60%] Cumulative Rank: [#28]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [Confirmed]

Round 1!
During a fateful visit to his criminologist uncle's police laboratory; a bizarre series of events that once conspired to give Barry Allen the powers of a speeding Flash were to bestow a gift upon the young Wally West! Doused in the same chemicals as his uncle, Wally too was given the ability to tap into the properties of the speed force to move at fantastic speeds!

When Allen gave his life to thwart the Anti-Monitor's plans to destroy the universe; West chose to honor his mentor by retiring his role as Kid-Flash, to succeed his uncle as The Flash! In doing so, the new Flash inhereted not only the public responsibility of protecting Central City, but also upholding the ideals of his predecessor. To this end, Wally West has been very successful!

Round 2!
MK boffins already know the Flash was confirmed quite some time ago, but since he wasn't a part of our sixty-plus list, I figured it would be good form to throw a mention out there. Some truly bizarre tweaks to the design of the costume haven't made identifying this Flash any easier, but I think it's safe to assume we're looking at Wally West.

These entries have mostly been about informing both fanbases, and especially now that we're about two weeks behind schedule, I haven't wanted to talk too much about contemporary details, but Flash raises some interesting points.
With the initial concept being quite jarring, and disappointment a traditional trope of MK releases, it's been hard to get away from the negatives involved in each information release. Designs have been no exception.

What many of the younger MK fans won't be conditioned to appreciate is history. Despite the ebbing tides of trend in comics, history is something we as an industry have been very successful at understanding, and holding on to. It's a context that colours many stories specially for those who understand the broader spectrum of characters. In the case of the Flash, there's a legacy that branches back to the Golden Age of the 1940s (with Jay Garrick).

The Wally West design was inherited from the already much-talked about Barry Allen, and it's the MKvsDC design that brings me to that fifty-year tradition. In those six decades of the Flash few tweaks have been made to the now classic design created by prolific artist, Carmine Infantino. Among the few tweaks have been the presence of gloves, and the depth of red, which was given a more solid sheen in the wake of elaborations on the speed force.

One might suggest the last thing the Flash costume needed was more lightning bolts! In an explosion of branding excess, the MK team have, for unknown reasons, felt it necessary to label wristless gloves with a Shazam-esque bolt, whilst adding gold armbands with embossed bolts that are nigh invisible during basic in-game modes.

The red and yellow Infantino design is the quintessential superhero costume. It is an example most modern masters would look to when offering a sense of definitive branding in a superhero. Over developing and distorting that design really doesn't seem like a brilliant way to endear the fans anymore than tweaks in the MK designs, which, have unfortunately become present with Shang Tsung.

I don't want to break the flow by devolving into negativity, so I'll finish with a wacky theory I've had. It's been said that there's still clue(s) on Ed Boon's personal website that point to details in the games. I don't know how likely a case it is, but one wonders if allusions to the collision of worlds might not means more than just the DC Universe we know... It certainly seems MK's Earthrealm and Outworld are involved in the clash, which leads one to wonder if another of the DC multi-verse might not be represented by some of these heroes... Mmm!

Finish Him!
The disconnect between characters and their in-game functions remains a hurdle for many fans, but with the Flash, what you see is what you get. Thanks to previews featured on we know much of what you'd expect of a speedster is presen!

Some might count a flurry of punches (delivered at super-speed) as the most important Flash-special for a game like this [as pictured above] and it looks as though it's there, hopefully to be reprised in the close-quarters boxing mode!
The Flash doesn't kill, but phrasing suggests we might see characters like Flash finish their opponents with a super-sized combo, previously dubbed brutality in other games. Personally, I'm inclined to expect something a bit more creative, putting brutality down to incidental phrasing, rather than any confirmation.

ARTWORK: Ed McGuinnessGorilla Grodd (Grodd)
Year One: [1941] Group Affiliation: [The Society]
Win Percentage: [75%] Cumulative Rank: [#38]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
When an alien spaceship crashed in the wilds of Africa, strange alien forces bestowed advanced intelligence upon the gorilla population of the immediate vicinity. Two apes, Solovar and Grodd, developed mental powers advanced to the point of telepathic capabilities. So began the rise of Gorilla City, where the stranded alien was adopted as the leader of this secret society.

When explorers discovered Gorilla City, violence provided the aspiring Grodd with an opportunity to manipulate events to his advantage. Using his telepathy he persuaded one of the explorers to kill the alien leader for him. In an effort to thwart the plans of his evil counterpart, Solovar was able to telepathically reach out to the Flash, who arrived in time to successfully save the day.

Round 2!
Grodd's rivalry with the Flash, as was the case with many villains, carried over from Barry Allen to Wally West, making Gorilla Grodd a reasonably logical inclusion to MKvsDC!

Grodd might hate the hairless humans, but that doesn't mean he's above teaming with the likes of Shao Kahn in the interests of furthering his own goals! Further emphasising his suitability in cataclysmic events of an interdimensional nature is this desire to cleanse the world of humanity in order to expand the gorilla nation to total world domination!

One probably doesn't expect Gorilla Grodd to have a realistic shot at appearing in the game, but one of the now ancient teasers was the presence of four African animals. Allusions to character animalities from the past, or maybe something more literal? A gorilla was among the four!

Finish Him!
Like so many others, the success of Gorilla Grodd would hinge on developments in the basic fighting mechanics. Essentially a super-strong brawler; Grodd would need a sense of primal individuality in his style that would reflect his physical strength in a way representative of gorilla anatomy.

Specials revolve around a mix of primal physical attacks and telepathic manipulations. Free-hits aplenty seem likely for moves designed to seize control of opponents for self-inflicted damage; visual deceptions that surround the true Grodd with fakes; and other mental attacks could be unique, and fun!

For MK fans, Grodd may provided the best fatalities yet, allowing for any number of fanged munching and body ripping finishers.
We've seen biting fatalities before, but Grodd could potentially be the first kombatant to prepare his meals!

ARTWORK: Michael TurnerMurmur (Dr. Michael Amar)
Year One: [2001] Group Affiliation: [The Society]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [30%]

Round 1!
Dr. Michael Amar was once was respected surgeon until he succumbed to the nagging presence of insanity. Compelled to kill, the knife-wielding expert slaughtered his way from Central City to Keystone, until police were finally able to thwart his efforts with the aid of criminologist Barry Allen, and Amar's own compulsions to blurt out his crimes.

When it became apparent Amar's blood was resistant to the poisons of lethal injection; Murmur joined the ranks of the super-prison, Iron Heights.
Whilst incarcerated Amar amputated his own tongue and sewed his mouth shut in an effort to silence himself. After fashioning an anonymous mask, the Doctor adopted the persona of Murmur, which he took with him after escaping Iron Heights with the use of a flesh-eating virus.

Round 2!
If there's something MK fans can get behind it's probably a gothic, knife-wielding maniac with a penchant for black leather, straps, and spikes. Enter: Murmur!

Despite being one of the most prominent villains created for Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver's Flash: Iron Heights; Murmur hasn't been especially significant in his intergration to the DCU at large. Brief team-ups with The Society and Hush have lent some credence to the character's presence as a villain, but otherwise did little to raise his profile with mainstream readers, the latter coming in a Man-Bat mini-series, while the former amounted to little more than Infinite Crisis cameos.

Finish Him!
Obscurity - if not the T rating - will work against Murmur's presence in a game like this. However, against the competition of mainstream icons like the Joker, there's an argument of combative superiority working in favour of the otherwise generic themed killer. Murmur has a similarly twisted wirey frame, demanding a creative wire-skeleton for the character's animations, but brings an established expertise with knife fighting to the table, moreso than standardized versions of Joker.

Fatalities, obviously, are a given, ranging everywhere from throat-slits, to T-rated abstractions like the less graphic murmur virus. It's this quality that probably rounds out Murmur's perfection of the MK style, which might even list as a negative. Comic fans will be more inclined to appreciate themes of juxtaposition, which Murmur would not be a part of.

ARTWORK: ???Zoom (Hunter Zolomon)
Year One: [2001] Group Affiliation: [The Society]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#141]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [20%]

Round 1!
A troubled homelife revealed a sinister secret when Hunter Zolomon's father was exposed by his mother as a serial killer. The police were forced to kill Zolomon senior, leaving Hunter to seek answers to the criminal condition during his college years studying psychology and criminology. Motivated by a desire to stop men like his father, Hunter's career culminates as an FBI agent specializing in gimmicked villains like the Rogues of Keystone City.

During an Iron Heights prison break launched by Gorilla Grodd; Zolomon was wounded, his injuries leaving him paralyzed from the waist down!
Having established a close relationship with the Flash as a result of his work, Zolomon asks the hero to use the time travelling cosmic tredmill to prevent the attack on the prison. When Flash refuses, Zolomon breaks into the Flash museum to attempt the feat himself. Zolomon's efforts result in an explosion that leaves him displaced from time and capable of limited manipulation of the same.

Freed from willing inprisonment; Zolomon is inducted into Alexander Luthor Jr's Secret Society by Cheetah. His mission becomes that of forcing the Flash to become a better hero by imposing the challenge of his villainy, and the sense of suffering Zolomon felt when his wife was killed in a car accident during a period of induced coma (perpetrated by Flash).

Round 2!
Zoom's perception of his actions as prompts to raise the bar of heroism have been expanded to include a wider target base than just Flash! Warring with Wonder Woman and other members of the Justice League; Zoom was successfully inducted into the Society of Super-Villains, a position he continues to hold even as the team undergoes leadership changes in Final Crisis.

Though a spin-off of former Flash stalwart, Professor Zoom, Hunter Zolomon is yet another fine example of Geoff Johns' defining contributions to the Flash mythos. His revamps are responsible for revitalizing the group that is arguably one of the greatest collections of villains to oppose any single hero!

That role as unsung foes means their role is diminished, but MK fans might like to remember these guys when weighing up the villain base for a game under threat of being flooded by Batman characters. With Flash confirmed, there are some great inclusions that would make a lot of sense, but one gets the increasing feeling this game is as much a character mash-up, as it is a story.

Finish Him!
One would be inclined to once again default to the factor of repetition.
While he's certainly threatened as much, I'm not sure Hunter Zolomon's Zoom is especially inclined to kill, making that differentiating justification less likely.

Zoom's speedy powers as a result of time anomoly offer some variations in the intrepretation of Flash's abilities, also. For that matter, the Zoom build could be unique for the presentation of flickering and distortion.

One might argue specials should amount to much the same as Flash's, but if the hero's abilities are more visual and tangible in nature, Zoom offers the opportunity to explore the broader spectrum. Focusing on time displacement, he could adapt free-hit concepts into teleports, bullet-time combo opportunities, and other interesting adaptations of super-speed skills.

ARTWORK: ???Count Vertigo (Count Werner Vertigo)
Year One: [1978] Group Affiliation: [Checkmate]
Win Percentage: [00%] Cumulative Rank: [#335]
Fighting Ability: [2] Appearance Odds: [25%]

Round 1!
A congenital inner-ear defect meant Werner Vertigo was born with the tragically ironic condition of loss of equilibrium. An electronic device was implanted in his head to artificially compensate, but Vertigo soon found himself capable of far more than mere balance. The device proved capable of interrupting the perception of others, granting him the ability to control the disorienting effects of vertigo!

A brief career as a thief gave way to decades of manipulation as Vertigo fell into membership with the Suicide Squad, before being captured by Vlatavian rebels who attempted to control him in an effort to overthrow their dictator ruler.
Since, Vertigo's mental stability has been affected by poisons and his own bipolar disorder, seeing him take membership with the Suicide Squad, Vlatavian Government, Injustice League, the Society, and ultimately, Checkmate.

Round 2!
Definitely among the obscure, Count Vertigo is not a character I expect to see. This inclusion rounds out our ambitious attempt to discuss in depth eleven more characters, offering the opportunity to touch upon the Suicide Squad/Checkmate corner of the DCU, while also proposing gaming diversity.

Since his inclusion in Checkmate I've found Count Vertigo to be a delightful curiosity, but his history is less than encouraging. Such a garbled plot probably isn't out of place in the MK universe, but as far as putting solid feet first, this would not be DC's!

A common theme is the disappointing lack of an adventure mini-mode!
One can't help but feel characters like Vertigo and the field-agents of Checkmate could have played successful counterparts to MK's Outerworld Investigation Agency, of which Sonya and Jax are members. Presumed pending announcements of a comic series might fill this void, but for gamers, it doesn't look to be getting too obscure in the depth of characters available.

Finish Him!
I'd just about submit Count Vertigo as one of the characters I'd be especially happy to see madeover. Losing the cape and scaling his outfit to something more utilitarian would make a nice visual start to adapting a character whose greatest potential is in the presentation of his super powers.

The effects of his vertigo abilities lend themselves most obviously to free-hits based on disorientation of other characters, but the extent of these moves is where the diversity is. Screen blurring, shuffling opponent's control inputs, staggers, and other moves could compliment a well rounded fight style, and flight abilities.

Honestly, even as the person submitting the ideas, I can't see the appeal of a Count Vertigo versus a Martian Manhunter, but the point's there to be made. If, as it appears, story isn't steering character selection, one can't help but feel diversity of powers like this is a better use of the mash-up than the inclusion of someone like Captain Marvel. Again, quantity is arguably the issue, making it much harder to justify obscure inclusions. Lord knows Shuma-Gorath was a gut buster!

And on that bombshell, we finally wrap this thing up!
Stay tuned as we continue to play catch-up on our week's updates! Vishanti!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Last week all about Hulk's better acquaintances with the heroes of the Marvel Universe(s)! We were able to see a side of the Hulk that seems little more than a distant memory. The past couple of years have seen the green goliath segregated into his own adventures of Planet and World War - each a direct consequence of clashes with the Illuminati!

Sure, Hulk used to spend his time stomping around with the Defenders and Avengers, but that doesn't mean it was always tea and biscuits! Tensions between the incredible Hulk and his superheroing counterparts have always been a vital part of what makes him such an interesting character!

It's said that there are only ten or so stories to be told in fiction, so when it comes to dressing the basic mechanic of of a plot, colourful characters like the Hulk help keep the batch spicey. He represents the epitomy of the attraction of a shared superhero universe where geography provides but the circumstances for the many agendas of Marvel characters to meet.

In the tradition of Frankenstein's monster; Hulk is essentially a creature of good heart. His Hyde-like temperment and psychological triggers create a language for a creature misunderstood but completely incapable of pacifying situations of confrontation. It is the ultimate scenario for the superhero slugfest!

Daredevil #163 (March 1980)
"Blind Alley" McKenzie/Miller

Before industry giant, Frank Miller, was able to strip away the layers of Daredevil to reinvent a gritty urban masterpiece, he was forced to pay his dues! Recalling the great traditions of Stan Lee; here we see an exceptionally unlikely meeting as a troubled Bruce Banner finds his way to New York City -- home of Matt Murdock; aka, Daredevil!

Though blind, Daredevil is able to see through the physical shift of his friend in need, and does his best to facilitate a quiet passage through NYC for the good doctor. New York, however, proves to be a harsh mistress, and it's not too long before cars are being tipped in the street as a result of a run-in with the New York subway!

This is undoutedly a gross mismatch of combatants, but this is exactly the kind of treasure superhero fans love to read!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is comics!

Marvel Treasury Edition #25 (1980)
"Spider-man vs Hulk at the Winter Olympics" Mantlo/Gruenwald/Grant/Trimpe

So, what was it about 1980, eh? The Summer Games of the Twenty-Ninth Olympiad are set to kick-off in August, making this an especially topical clash between Hulk, and 2008 absentee - Spider-man! Could it be a sign, true believers...?

While America's brightest talent do their best to represent their country's sporting dreams against the world's top sportsmen and women; the Mole Man and Queen Kala wage their own wintery struggle of supremacy beneath the surface!

Hapless witnesses to the Winter Olympics; Hulk and Spider-man soon find themselves recruited as subterranean gladiators in an effort to not only name a supreme underworld ruler, but also rescue the kidnapped medal winners of the United States Winter Olympic Team!

Thor #5 (March 1997)
"... Let No Man Tear Asunder!" Liefeld/Loeb/Churchill

There are characters who, when paired with the right opponent, just have a certain chemistry that assures something big will happen. Hulk's thrown down with Marvel's heaviest hitters, but when it comes to waging war on gamma-irradiated muscle, the godly powers of Thor are rarely matched for sheer awe!

So great is the rivalry between these two battling warriors that their struggles continued in a world where Earth's mightiest heroes (and some of their gods and villains, too) were reborn into a world without history!

Having been taken in by the Avengers; a world weary Thor is none too pleased to find the green goliath rampaging through the island headquarters of the Avengers, leaving strewn the bodies of their greatest heroes, including Captain America!

Deadpool #4 (April 1997)
"Why is it, to save me, I must kill you?" Kelly/McGuinness

Famed for the many contrasting personalities that define the Hulk's transitions through time; the Hulk's identity crisis took on a literal bent when, during the events of Heroes Reborn, he quite literally divereged into two seperate entities!

While the reborn Banner found himself locked in mortal battle with gods and monsters; the portion of his being that represents the Hulk found itself trapped without a soul, and a worsening condition that was making him weaker - and more deadly - than ever!

This, of course, would be the perfect time for the merc' with a mouth to discover a life threatening condition that could only be treated by a swig of the Hulkster's home brewed gamma-blood! It's a story of Deadpool and goliath with a happy ending for all concerned... except Hulk!

World War Hulk #5 (January 2008)
"The End of World War Hulk" Pak/Romita Jr

The grand daddy of them all! The ultimate battle!
If World War Hulk began as an excuse to make up for a few years of quiet with a big, stupid, massive superhero smash-up, then it was the Hulk's battle with the Sentry that was the culmination of these "ideas!"

The Sentry's secret history in the Marvel Universe saw him befriend the Hulk, with whom he formed a close relationship, in part due to his calming influence. If you were expecting a similar conclusion to WWH, then you're a damn idiot who's about to get caught in the crossfire!

After running through Black Bolt, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, and other members of Marvel's mighty stable of heroes; Hulk comes face to face with the only being capable of dwarfing them all with his power of a million suns!
When the Sentry is let loose to save the world from Hulk; who will save the world from the Sentry when he loses control?

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Danny Elfman - Batman Theme (1989)

Christopher Nolan's eagerly anticipated follow-up to Batman Begins hits cinemas July 18, and in celebration of the event this was to be the first of our five-week look at soundtracks from the feature films that were. I had intended to pull the video for "Partyman," which, I feel, is the unsung hero to Prince's better recognised Batdance. Alas, it was not to be!

The diminutive popstar may have hit the big five-oh (that's 50!) last month, but it seems his legal escapades haven't slowed! YouTube videos devoid of sound lie scattered across the internet like decapitated heads on pikes, warning off any would-be pirates of the funk-pop soundtrack.

Fortunately, Danny Elfman's iconic Batman march more than suffices for our purpose galleria! The theme marks Elfman's first major forray into work as a soundtrack artist, which some would say, is his bread and butter. Others, of course, would point to Oingo Boingo royalties... but I digress!

The Batman theme remains one of the most iconic tracks to come from superhero cinema, mixing the right amount of brooding pathos with the inspirational swell of victory. Elfman's Flash collaborator, Shirley Walker, would later dwell further on the brooding dirge qualities of the theme for the gritty, deco animated series.
So successful is the theme that it even won Batman a Grammy! It's not quite a giant penny, but that's pretty neat, all the same!

Again, I really would've liked to have brought you some of the Prince soundtrack, particularly as it was he who provided music for Jack Nicholson's clown price Joker, to which Heath Ledger is already compared.

From this experience I suppose we can take solace in the things we've learned; Prince has many things in common with Galactus! Both are closely associated with the colour purple; despite this association, both are said to be sexless creatures that appear in different forms to each person; and when either makes a decree, it is cosmic law! Party like it's 1999? Still retired nine years later!!! Law!

Friday, June 27, 2008

World War Hulk #3 When: October 2007
Why: Greg Pak How: John Romita Jr

The Story So Far...
After an emotionally unstable Scarlet Witch unleashes her powers in an event that threatens reality, and tears Earth's mightiest heroes apart; a secret sect of superhero powers dubbed, The Illuminati, are forced to reconsider the potential threats they harbor within their own number.

Recognising the erratic rampages of the Hulk as a longstanding and overlooked threat on their back porch, the group, though morally divided, conspire to lure the jade giant into a craft that will rocket him into deep space. Their message is one of peace, but for the Hulk, it is the beginning of a dark period in his existence.

After crash landing on the planet Sakaar, the Hulk becomes a gladiatorial warrior amidst an ethnically diverse alien community. He rises through the combative ranks and recovers from his initial wounds to become the new ruler of Sakaar, leading a rebellion by might. As King, Hulk would find love and sire an heir to his throne, but his happiness would sour when the ship that brought him to Sakaar detonates in an explosion that kills thousands, and sets off an environmental chain of events that would destroy the planet.

Rallying the survivors, the Hulk leads his Warbound to Earth where he seeks revenge against Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and the other heroes he believes responsible for the carnage. Hulk gives the innocent time to clear, and swiftly takes Manhattan, leaving the military no choice to turn their weapons to New York City.

Tale of the Tape...
ARTWORK: John Romita JrARTWORK: John Romita JrStrength: Hulk 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: General T. Ross 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Hulk 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Hulk 6 (Generator)
Agility: Hulk 2 (Average)
Fighting Ability: Hulk 6 (Warrior)
Energy Power: General T. Ross 4 (Arsenal)

- In his career as a life-long military man, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross's defining moment would come as head of the Gamma Bomb Project, designed to test and develop a new radioactive weapon for the United States.

Sabotage during the testing phase of the project would result in the mass exposure of one of the scientists working on the project, Dr. Bruce Banner. The accident would radically alter Banner's genetic composition, giving birth to the rampaging behemoth that would become Thunderbolt Ross' green whale; the incredible Hulk.

The Hulk's constant ability to overcome and escape military opposition has earned Thunderbolt Ross his share of disgraces. In the pursuit of his foe, Ross has held memberships with SHIELD, Hulkbusters, and even allied himself briefly with the gamma irradiated villain, the Leader, which would eventually result in his dishonorable discharge for treason. Even so, General Ross prevails in parallel to his violent counterpart, always ready to step into battle with the Hulk.

- Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a slight and insignificant scientist, lives slavishly dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, as funded by the United States military.
Though Banner justifies his goals as means for peace, he becomes one of America's leading weapons designers after inventing a gamma radiation bomb.

During preperations for a test launch in the desert, Dr. Banner spots a reckless youth on the testing ground, and in a moment of magnificence, knowingly throws himself on a bullet that would grant a far crueller fate than death.
Bitterly aware of the Communist conspiracy of his fellow scientist, Banner struggles to usher he and the boy to safety while his colleague continues to countdown the launch.

After succumbing to an ordinarily lethal doses of gamma radiation, Dr. Banner soon finds himself undergoing a horrific transformation. Originally by night, but soon triggered by rage or unease, Banner discovers the superhumanly strong alter-ego within himself, dubbed simply - the Hulk! As the Hulk, Banner's brilliance is reduced to a childlike lumbering, while his slight frame conversely comes to possess size, strength, and durability never before imagined.

Hulk has no specific known weaknesses, but is fiercely protective of the few who earn his favour. Though generally good hearted, Hulk is prone to wild rages and varied personalities, including the calculating persona adopted during his time on the planet Sakaar, where he adopts a military savvy.

The Math: Hulk Ranking: Hulk (#5)

What Went Down...
With Mr. Fantastic and Black Bolt among the many heroes already felled; General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross takes grim responsibility for taking down an opponent he has watched through many revolutions. For Ross; World War Hulk is the event he has spent decades attempting to avert, and anticipated as leaders have continued to pardon the Hulk at his changing whims.

A rain of missiles fired from attack copters signal the military's entry into the skirmish. In the middle of a ruined Manhattan street, the Hulk does not see the attack coming. It does not seem to matter much.

The spray of munitions leaves the Hulk bathed in his own blood, but the raging warrior remains unmoved by the military forces. With a defiant leap, Hulk launches himself at one of the passing choppers, using the power of his bulging muscles to crush the machine in a mid-air bearhug!

Hulk's mid-air attack is cut-short as the jade giant suddenly stops.
Watching on, General Ross and his men are unaware of the struggle beginning within the Hulk, as Dr. Strange makes his astral presence felt in the battle. [That, however, is a battle for another day, folks!]

Having plummeted to Earth in a trance state, Hulk experiences an out-of-body experience within his own mind, courtesy of Strange. The Warbound are forced to protect their fearless leader, forming a protective phalanx around him, until he emerges once more with the bile of vengeance on his breath!

The behemoth throws himself into the heart of the battle, this time turning his destructive attentions to the earthbound machines of war used by the military. Like so many times before, Hulk effortlessly bends the metals of their tanks, turning their weapons against them in the most barbaric of ways.

A tank canon quickly becomes a giant-sized club for the rampaging Hulk, who smashes through three tanks, before launching the barrel as a missile that destroys a hovering chopper.

Soldiers move in bravely to face the Hulk at the frontline, but their bullets do little to phase the target. With a simple clap of his mighty hands, the Hulk sends a shockwave that fells the entire platoon of puny humans.

Renewed fire from the above suddenly pours down upon the Hulk as General Ross personally interjects from a mounted gun turret aboard his helecopter. Like all other weapons used in the skirmish, it proves ineffective in stopping the Hulk, who once again uses his powerful limbs to leap skyward.

Ross meets his arch-nemesis without fear, drawing a pistol as they both tumble at the whim of gravity. With nothing but animosity for the Hulk; Ross unloads his entire clip point blank into Hulk's eye, declaring the infinite scope of a military dedicated to rising again and again in pursuit of Hulk's death.

They fall, and fall, until they hit the ground.
What happens during impact is unclear, but against all odds, Thunderbolt Ross survives. An act of fate, or perhaps a mercy from an incredible Hulk who, despite his volitile nature, remains a force for good.

Bruised and beaten, Ross joins the Warbound's prisoners in the gladiatorial arena of Madison Square Garden. World War Hulk continues...

The Hammer...
Better late than never!
As is plainly evident, Hulk walks away with yet another comprehensive victory against the establishment, after dismantling the toy soldiers of the US Military!

Much like the feature film that debuted in June; it probably helps to know you aren't in for a complex psychological analysis when you approach World War Hulk. That, however, as previously noted [World War Hulk #5], is not to say that there aren't some interesting underlying elements beneath all the smashing, bashing, and destruction of New York City!

For many fans, it's Sam Elliot's performance as General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross that provides the resounding voice of approval for Ang Lee's otherwise maligned feature film, Hulk. With that in mind, it was always going to be a point of comparison when William Hurt stepped into the role for the detached 'sequel.'

One finds many cues from Elliot's Ross in the pages of World War Hulk, which I find quite interesting. It's here on the page that we're explicitly reminded of the distance put between Ang Lee's version of Thunderbolt Ross, and what we knew from the source material. Like so many others, Elliot's Ross marks one of the few examples where license taken might be more favourable than the original version of a character.

The iconography of a starchy moustache and militant dedication to destroying the Hulk remain much the same, but it's Elliot's physicality that brings new life to the role. Traditionally a bellowing, pudgy General in the comics; Elliot's Ross becomes far more present in every battle, despite rarely engaging the Hulk personally. I'm inclined to think to Frank Miller's intentions as he describes them for Jim Gordon in Batman: Year One. It's his notion of making Gordon Captain, rather than commissioner, to give the illusion that he was fighting on the frontlines as much as Batman, that helps infuse the relationship between supporting and lead with a sense of tangibility and importance.

While Ross' role is of antagonist, I feel the same can be said for making him a physical presence as a commanding officer. It not only places Ross stylistically in range of action pieces, but also alludes to a more even footing in the arch-rivalry between two very big, but very different, characters.

William Hurt reverts the character back to less involved roots.
Perhaps as is in the inclination of the actor, he appears to approach the role with a characteristic distance that only further emphasises the differences between his, and the far more involved Sam Elliot version of the character.

Hurt ultimately takes this more traditional role in an effort to facilitate the graduation of Emil Blonsky from soldier, to Hulk's sinister gamma-irradiated counterpart, Abomination. In this respect, it's easy to forgive the structural shift in the Thunderbolt Ross character, but that can't change personal preference.

Inspite of the endless cycle of reptition, I still kinda like Thunderbolt Ross.
[Greg] Pak deserves credit here for painting one of the most pragmatic and agreeable versions of the Ross character in years. As is the case across the entire series, he fleshes out the superhero-fight vehicle by investing in the [not-so] subtlties of the characters. His Ross becomes less arbitrary than previous versions that provide abstractions of establishmentarian figures and sentiments of brainless war mongers -- instead embodying a damned soul who sees what we, the reader, do not.

For a book like this, Pak rather cleverly references the tumultuous history of the Hulk, recalling his shifting roles as hero and villain, and the concessions that have had to be made to allow that. For those of us who still indulge in the heroic qualities of Hulk - perhaps even now in Jeph Loeb's post-WWH romp - Pak's Ross is the counter balancing realist. He sees the constant threat the Hulk has represented (and fulfilled) over the decades, and manages to remain unmoved by incidental, or trinket, efforts to the contrary.

Unfortunately changing whims, and the luxuries afforded to 'superstar' creative teams, mean this Ross has quickly been undermined by certain qualities in the recent Red Hulk series. As with the film, I'm pretty willing to forgive these shifting tones, but again, they do little to change my personal preference.

As Warren Ellis jetisons from his run on Thunderbolts - one can't help but see potential for the post-Norman Osborn team! It was the Baron Zemo-led team who got their start antagonising Hulk in their first appearance [Incredible Hulk #449], and despite a lasting association with the green goliath, the team has remained unassociated with General Ross against all odds! Could it be time for a promotion for the former overseer of the Hulkbusters?...

I've said nothing of Romita Jr's pencils which are at their bombastic best here, fully indulged with sweeping splash in a series with an explicit premise. Those like me who are typically not fans of Romita's excessive use of lines might find the grimey destruction of New York a welcome justification for the dirty style. Ultimately, love it or not, you have to acknowledge a certain skill for the entertainment quality of JRjr's work here. Together with Pak's underrated effort to elaborate on the smash fest, the team are quite successful!

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 5

Enjoyed Edward Norton and the CG troop in "Incredible Hulk"? Tittilated by the prospects of a Hulk/Iron Man showdown? Want to know more about Hulk's mindless rampages through the Marvel Universe? If you've been unconvinced until now, hopefully the Infinite Wars has helped sway your decision. By using Amazon purchasing links provided, you help sponsor future entries in the Infinite Wars! Which is good for everyone! Except puny humans who hurt Hulk... What won't hurt are the low prices you'll find on World War Hulk, and all other titles reviewed and available in the Infinite Wars Amazonian Gift Shoppe! Hulk is cheapest one there is!!! Grrr!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

IN STORES: JUNE 25, 2008
You can probably find complete shipping list updates on most major comics sites. Consider this an opportunity to either do all your info-shopping in the one place, or get a speculative perspective on what might be worth checking out. These are untested reads. Secret Wars on Infinite Earths can offer no guarantee or endorsement of quality. These are simply titles that may be of potential interest. Some items may ship late.

The Infinite Wars now has a gift shop!
Now you'll find Amazon purchase links to hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and other collections, not only on regular entries -- but also new releases at the bottom of the Shipping List, and now a whole catalogue of potential purchases via the Infinite Wars: Amazonian Gift Shop. [Men are also welcome!] By shopping with Amazon via our purchase links, you not only find yourself a great deal, but also sponsor future entries on the Infinite Wars.


Thin and Crispy...
APR082192 ALETHEIA #2 (OF 3) $3.50
APR082264 DAREDEVIL #108 $2.99
APR082267 FANTASTIC FOUR #558 $2.99
APR080213 JSA CLASSIFIED #39 $2.99
APR082276 MARVEL 1985 #2 (OF 6) $3.99
APR082302 MS MARVEL #28 SI $2.99
APR080260 PROGRAMME #12 (OF 12) $2.99
APR080165 TRINITY #4 $2.99
APR082162 VIX #1 (OF 3) $3.50

The Deep Dish...
- APR082263 CAPTAIN AMERICA #39 $2.99
ARTWORK: Steve EptingARTWORK: TBAIn 2007 the unthinkable happened: Captain America died!
Worse still, he was assassinated, all in a revenge scheme by his arch-nemesis, the Red Skull! [Captain America #25]
Much has changed since Cap's death and the end of the superhero Civil War, including the emergence of a new sentinel of liberty, one who once fought beside the Captain, and before he died, fought against him -- Bucky Barnes; the Winter Soldier!
With a time displaced WWII Captain arriving with his fellow Invaders in the present day, a disbelieving man-out-of-time will come face to face with his successor, and the legacy he may never have intended to leave behind! Fight! Fight! Fight!

- APR080166 FINAL CRISIS #2 (OF 7) $3.99
ARTWORK: Alex RossARTWORK: Ed McGuinnessThe first issue didn't do big things for me [Final Crisis #1]; in fact, I was surprised just how pedestrian Grant Morrison's all-setup issue turned out to be. The Scot promises to turn up the wacky in issue two as he introduces Most Excellent Superbat and the Japanese heroes, the Super Young Team! That, plus some action as Batman is the first of the heroes to fall before the assault of the fallen New Gods -- and what's the deal with that Flash cover? Hopefully we'll start to get some answers as the Final Crisis juggernaut slowly begins creaking into motion!

- APR080210 GREEN LANTERN #32 $2.99
ARTWORK: Ivan ReisIf you read Sinestro Corps War but are still relatively new to the world of the Green Lantern, then this origin recap proves to be the perfect place to get to know pink, moustached, and eggheaded! Geoff Johns continues his reinvention of GL as he recaps the secret origins of Hal Jordan, and the early adventures that made him the Lantern he is today! Not only that, but the ever competent writer begins to lay the groundwork for 2009's blockbuster epic, Blackest Night, tying Jordan's early adventures with the event that promises to introduce a Corps of the undead!

- FEB082223 HULK #4 $2.99
Wow, is it really only the fourth issue?
We here at the Infinite Wars whole heartedly endorse the method of solving all your problems with extreme violence. Punch is good. But it's a whole lot more interesting when you know who it is that you're punch. Okay... Maybe that isn't always true, but in this case, we'd like to get the "mystery" of the Red Hulk over and done with... Please, Mr. Loeb? Can't we open just one present on Christmas Eve? Pleeeease?!

- APR082265 IMMORTAL IRON FIST #16 $2.99
ARTWORK: David AjaWith all the Mortal Kombat hoohah going on around here; fans of the beat 'em up franchise will want to consider going back to track down the collected edition (or issues) of Seven Capital Cities of Heaven; before diving into these latest issues. The new creative team take the opportunity to bring Iron Fist back to his roots and reestablish the hero as an urban presence, but there's still plenty of obstacles for the master martial artist -- deadly obstacles! If martial arts tounaments and secret best fighting is up your alley, give it a go! Hyeaaahhh!

- APR082295 MIGHTY AVENGERS #15 SI $2.99
As the Secret Invasion gets into full swing, we finally get vital information on the infiltration of a key-Skrull impostor! Hank Pym has never been the most stable of characters, but it seems he's just one of many trusted heroes lost in the invasion of the Skrull!

- APR082306 SHE-HULK 2 #30 $2.99
ARTWORK: Jim CheungARTWORK: Adi GranovHe might just be the sleeper hero of 2008, and key to his victory was his World War Hulk sympathies for a Hulk who felt he had been wronged by the heroes of the Illuminati!
If teaming with the Hulk was a good career move, then you've got to think when Hercules comes to blows with She-Hulk, it's going to be a pretty good thing! Sure, unlike Captain America, you won't have the insular guarantee that this opponent doesn't just turn out to be a Skrull impostor, but heck! Peter David writing a gamma irradiated smackdown? Why the heck not, true believer!?!

- APR080182 SUPERMAN #677 $2.99
ARTWORK: Alex RossARTWORK: Jim LeeThe Green Lantern stops by as James Robinson continues to blaze as he attempts to breath new life into Superman!
Not entirely sure I'm feeling what reads like a deliberate attempt to play to Superman's roots as a Southern-bred boy from Kansas; but, previews paint a foreboding threat to Lois Lane that's too intriguing to miss, suggesting perhaps a new entry into the legend of Women in Refridgerators! Will this be the second-coming of Superman? I'm not entirely sure Robinson has the rounded game necessary to make that happen, but it should be interesting finding out!

- APR082312 THUNDERBOLTS #121 $2.99
ARTWORK: Terry DodsonWarren Ellis finally closes the door on his lagging run on Thunderbolts!
If the series, starting with Faith in Monsters could be summed up as an exercise in letting the madmen run the asylum, then it's probably safe to say the biggest nutjob of all has finally been let loose. I don't know about anyone else, but from the minute Osborn started popping pills and giggling hysterically everytime he misheard things as Spider-man, I've been waiting. It strikes me as amazing that Ellis dragged his heels to hand this major moment off to the next writer. The onus might be on me, for maybe wanting Ellis to be Mark Millar, but it feels like, at the end of the day, the company work constantly falls short of the ideas I feel Ellis is associated with. If you're buying last week's comics, it might be worth checking this out, just to see how it ends!

Know Your Trade...
APR082179 LOADED BIBLE TP VOL 01 (MR) $16.99
APR082348 MARVELS PREM HC $24.99