Wednesday, October 01, 2008

MONTHLY PUNCH-UP #34 (October 2008)
It's been in contract negotiations for quite some time now, but finally the Infinite Wars is proud to make an announcement!
Hot off the heels of September, we're pleased to officially confirm October as the month following! We here at Infinite Wars feel this is a real coup for Julian calendar enthusiasts!

In conjunction with our decision to comply with the conventions of the modern calendar, October 31st will mark Halloween. This may or may not contribute a flavour of spooktacular posts throughout the month, which could allegedly include sensitive subjects, such as; vampires, zombies, gods, and monsters.

Those curious about recent delays on the Infinite Wars can cease and desist all queries on the matter! I've been busily tending to my pet project, a little movie script that's been getting a lot of attention from all the right people.

is the tale of a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been forced to retreat from the surface world, [which has been reduced to a barren, cavernous wasteland] by terrorism and climate change. In this grim future, one man emerges as the reluctant saviour of humanity, chosen to combine his skills of diving into caves and shooting freethrows, in order to save the world.

I really shouldn't speak out of turn, but it was conceived and written with veteran actor, Shaquille O'Neal, in mind, whom I feel rivals Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne as one of Ireland's finest exports.

Anyway, the pay stinks and the hours suck around here, so I'm gonna go get back to S-A-D and let someone take care of the procedural stuff. Ciao!

#1 (+5) Divine Judgment
#2 (-1) The People's Team
#3 (+1) The Legends
#4 (+7) Makin' it w/Cap'n
#5 (-3) The Ghost Walkers
#6 (+3) X-Party
#7 (+6) The Elite Fleet
#8 (+2) The Corps
#9 (-1) The Black Death
#10 (-5) The DC Illuminati
#11 (-4) The Knights of Right
#12 (-) The Revolution
#13 (-10) The X League

Join the list! Draft a team today!
2008 Fantasy League...
Global economy has been a tumultuous affair in September, and it turns out the Infinite Wars Super Stock has been just as unforgiving! Despite very little downward pressure, the real winners this month were those with minimal losses!

Rafael and his Divine Judgment has finally knocked Rokk off the winner's podium, picking up his second Fantasy League victory in our sixth months of competition!

While the long overdue debut of Apocalypse in the Infinite Wars sponsored a swell for the team (and crushed the X League); Divine Judgment will no longer have the buffer of an unranked player to absorb natural pressure on the lower ranks. Still, with Halloween on the horizon, the supernatural flavour of Rafael's drafts may provide another round-winning performance, as we creep and crawl into October!

It's unfortunate trading players isn't easier, because Hercules made his long promised charge, exploding up the ranks with a She-Hulk team-up that improved his value by over three hundred points [She-Hulk #30]!

The original heroes from the Mortal Kombat franchise still pose the most value of available drafts, continuing their presence in the lead up to the November 10 release of Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe. Series champion, Liu Kang, is yet to convert in the Infinite Wars, while MKII's Jax is yet to arrive, making them value bets!

Because trades are so cumbersome, the Infinite Wars will implement more bonus point opportunities in October!
To better reflect the contemporary atmosphere, the weekly Shipping List will now join supplmental materials in contributing a small boost to relevant teams.

To add greater interactivity to the hunt for bonus points, there'll also be a brief poll to draft a new Infinite Wars home team! Ten (available) supernatural horrors are up for the role, with the top five making up our October team.
Defeat this control group to share in an equally divided bonus purse! Yay!

October Home Team Draftees:

EDIT: With a spectacular one voter the October Home Team will be:
Goro, Morbius, Deadman, Dr. Occult, and Sandman. Yay!

The Fantasy League isn't an exact science. Points are derived from the daily goings on in the Infinite Wars, and refined through the Super Stock [found further into this post]. While we try to represent key events in the community, weekly comics aren't the focus of our reviews, meaning our superhero fight club resembles something like a stock market, more than a precise sports league.

There are no prizes and no real losers here. The Fantasy League is designed to build a greater sense of community around the combative corners of the Infinite Wars. You should, of course, follow team sponsor links to familiarize yourself with some of the sites in this corner of the blogosphere, because as illustrated by the league -- we're all here for pretty similar reasons.

The Fantasy League can be as involving or stagnant as you like it to be, and every month you get the chance to spend your points on perfecting your team. The sign-up post will keep you informed when it comes to the availability of characters (those already drafted are struck out).

The category restrictions of the draft are now replaced by point values for those already playing. Everyone must have five characters on a team, but you can now sell a character (at half value) to use your points to draft new characters.
This is where it gets a little complicated, because it's just too time consuming to post full lists for the values of characters each month. You can request a character value in the comments section of this post, before trading through e-mail in the same fashion as your original drafting.

Values are based upon the total number of characters in the Super Stock rankings, with character dropping a point in price from top to bottom. Currently we have 539 characters ranked, making that the value of top-ranked character; Spider-man. If Daredevil is ranked #10 that values him at 530, Wonder Woman (#40) is 500, Darkseid (#176) is 364, She-Hulk (#231) is 309, and so on.
Unranked characters are a flat 100 points, making them mixed investments, given no movement return on their first month of entry.

To keep proceedings fluid; all trades should be completed by October 08!
If you're happy with your team, or not keen on over complicating things, just sit on your stocks and let them mature! I think the Fantasy League has been a very fun addition to the site, and hope to see more teams emerging in the coming months. If you're already reading/playing, suggest it to a friend!

Spider-Boycott 2008: Week 42; Month 9
Bitten by a radioactive spider; Peter Parker gains the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider. After the death of his Uncle Ben, Peter learns that with great power must come great repsonsibility. Thus, this tortured hero launches himself into a selfless career as Spider-man!

The Amazing Spider-man earns the attentions of many enemies, but when the Kingpin launched an attack on his foe, Peter's Aunt May was caught in the crossfire! With the elderly May in critical condition, Peter proves unable to find sufficient aid from his superpowered fellows, leading him to accept an unlikely deal from devil, Mephisto: Erase the romance and marriage to Mary-Jane Watson, and save the elderly woman's life.

Originally posted June 1st:
It was the premise for a story that had been brewing off-the-page since the promotion of of Joe Quesada to Editor-In-Chief. Ultimately the task befell J. Michael Straczynski in a story that will go down in Spider-man infamy.
Five decades into the history of this character, a poor excuse for a story saw this deeply responsible man make a deal with a devil to save a frail old woman. In reality, the move was little more than a nostalgia driven cop-out for the development of a character that had matured and grown with earlier audiences.

The result was Brand New Day, the follow-up that relaunched Spider-man with a revised history more garbled than the revisionist standard of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The erasure of Spidey's big screen romance was allegedly to refresh and simplify the character, but instead resulted in a vague deconstructed history, and the return of standards and motiffs thirty-years old.

The site has been without Spider-man for five months, and at this point the Boycott is more incidental than ever. I have very little interest to discuss or read what has been an uninspiring relaunch of the Spider-man title(s). This running section of the Punch-Up is now mostly academic, an exercise in tracking the monetary response measured by camps of fans each with strong opinions.

This modern gestation of a post-internet industry seems to be in the second stages of it's development. Vocal minorities now represent the basless claims of the blindly positive, as much as unmotivated shit-stirrers and provacateurs.
While the sales figures are not indicative of quality or relevance, they provide some assemblance of a mean average of opinion. I'm not terribly interested in Amazing, but I am interested in the reactions to this continued fiasco.

(Dec 07) Amazing Spider-man #545 OMD [124,481] +24.11%
(Jan 08) Amazing Spider-man #546 [136,109] +9.34%
(Jan 08) Amazing Spider-man #547 [108,485] -20.29%
(Jan 08) Amazing Spider-man #548 [105,122] -3.1% (-15.55%)
(Feb 08) Amazing Spider-man #549 [101,112] -3.81%
(Feb 08) Amazing Spider-man #550 [90,874] -10.12%
(Feb 08) Amazing Spider-man #551 [88,084] -3.07% (-16.21%)
(Mar 08) Amazing Spider-man #552 [89,835] +1.99%
(Mar 08) Amazing Spider-man #553 [82,648] -8.00%
(Mar 08) Amazing Spider-man #554 [81,072] -1.91% (-7.96%)
(Apr 08) Amazing Spider-man #555 [86,902] +7.19%
(Apr 08) Amazing Spider-man #556 [78,458] -9.72%
(Apr 08) Amazing Spider-man #557 [77,057] -1.79% (-4.95%)
(May 08) Amazing Spider-man #558 [76,966] -0.12%
(May 08) Amazing Spider-man #559 [74,206] -3.59%
(May 08) Amazing Spider-man #560 [74,012] -0.26% (-3.95%)
(Jun 08) Amazing Spider-man #561 [72,372] -2.22%
(Jun 08) Amazing Spider-man #562 [71,409] -1.33%
(Jun 08) Amazing Spider-man #563 [70,792] -0.86% (-4.35%)
(Jul 08) Amazing Spider-man #564 DD [68,882] -2.7%
(Jul 08) Amazing Spider-man #565 DD [69,182] +0.44%
(Jul 08) Amazing Spider-man #566 DD [68,912] -0.39% (-2.66%)
(Aug 08) Amazing Spider-man #567 [68,130] -0.13%
(Aug 08) Amazing Spider-man #568 NWD [93,395] +37.08%
(Aug 08) Amazing Spider-man #569 NWD [77,950] -16.54% (+13.12%)

It didn't take Destiny* to predict the boost in sales for what could be described as the first major storyarc in the post-OMD Amazing Spider-man -- New Ways to Die.
[A rare X-reference, folks! Get it while it's hot!]

Retail investment in the Eddie Brock/ Thunderbolts story proved short term, but a steep drop in second-issue orders still managed to support the first month-end rise in sales since the maligned reboot. It follows the short Daredevil arc that slowed dipping sales and proves there's still some life in the series when the right cards are laid out!

I was trying to think-up subjects that could replace Spidey in the monthly sales watch. With very little demanding to be discussed in mainstream comics right now, I'm not sure there's anything more interesting to talk about, particularly now that we're seeing BND double-back to conceits resembling pre-OMD, Marvel Universe hoohah. It's interesting to see how retailers (and by extension, readers) respond to the shifting focus. Maybe we'll throw a poll up for noone to vote in...

The 2008 Top Five...
2008 vs Season Winners:
#1 2007 Spider-man
#2 2007 Batman
#3 2008 Batman
#4 2007 Captain America
#5 2007 Mr. Fantastic
#6 2006 Batman
#7 2007 Thing
#8 2006 Spider-man
#9 2006 Iron Man
#10 2006 Wolverine
#11 2008 Superman
#12 2008 Iron Man
#13 2008 Phantom
#14 2008 Hulk
#15 2006 Daredevil
Season 2008 continues to spread itself thinly on the Infinite Wars, and some surprising characters have been casualties in the ranking diversity!

Despite the recent flux of X-features, Wolverine sinks to #218, positioning one rung above dead last (#219), and the year's most bankable franchise character - the Joker!
With the Infinite Wars inspiration machine on life support, not a lot is driving any particular character forward in our superhero smackdown. Video games are gradually stealing the show in the latter part of the year, giving Mortal Kombat the legs to challenge for a top five spot by year end.

With only a couple of months of competition left in Season 2008 the favourites should be solidifying, but it's interesting to note the difference in trends! 2008's current season leaders pale when compared to the year end top fives of the last two seasons!

ARTWORK: Ed McGuinness#1 Batman (-) (31) (DC)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Joker]
Win Percentage: [68.57%] Features: [35]
2006: [#1] 2007: [#2] Cumulative: [#1]

In only four of our monthly recaps has Batman been absent.
Considering his nearest rival for rank appearances, (Spider-man), has appeared in only eighteen monthly listings, that's a pretty overwhelming statistical reflection on our habits!

What is there really left to say at this point? Batman's wide cultural relevance continues to sponsor personal fandom on the Infinite Wars. If villains are as important to the presence of a hero on the site, then Batman has one of the richest wells to draw from, with a crossover appeal that touches the entire DCU.

Batman has been the face of renewed efforts to solidify DC's presence in the video gaming market. Recently revealed covers push Batman as the face of DC in the much discussed MKvsDC game, placing the dark knight front-and-centre on both the thoroughly ordinary regular cover, and the cliched, but welcome, Alex Ross divided rosters design of the Collector's Edition.

ARTWORK: Jim Lee#2 Superman (-) (9) (DC)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Flash]
Win Percentage: [56%] Features: [25]
2006: [#7] 2007: [#13] Cumulative: [#5]

It might be because we aren't there every Wednesday, but it feels like 2008 has really struggled to deliver stand-out characters through the major events. Final Crisis shares the spotlight, divvying it up into a lot of individual stories, one of which throws Superman into the 31st century to combat his evil 'real world' alternative, Superboy-Prime.

In the case of DC's lynchpin event, the major icons have been fairly specifically pushed to the periphery. Superman's status in the top five rightly reflects efforts like Geoff Johns' conceited efforts to revamp Action Comics and the Man of Steel's villains, but does so without any flashy headline to hang our hat on.

Major events have dictated the course of both corporate publishers with a wide spectrum of results. A return to more personal stories is probably welcomed by a good many, particularly those fondly remembering the injection of character-driven writing in superhero comics at the turn of the decade.
It isn't a design helping push the Infinite Wars toward duplo-scale references to characters and stories, but it's probably something that will benefit the DC comics to come. Especially if editorial can maintain a character based unified objective for the DCU, moreso in the vein of 52, rather than the central nervous system Countdown became.

ARTWORK: Adi Granov#3 Iron Man (-) (13) (Marvel)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Wong-Chu]
Win Percentage: [62.5%] Features: [24]
2006: [#3] 2007: [#11] Cumulative: [#3]

Genre sites like Newsarama have begun banging the Oscar drum as loud as they can, and they're looking back to Robert Downey's turn as everyone's favourite drunken playboy, Tony Stark, whilst doing so!

With Spider-man becoming a faint memory, it looks like Marvel are backing Iron Man to rival the success DC have had with The Dark Knight. Iron Man 2 is currently slated for a 2010 release, providing the first blow in May, to follow up with Thor in July. Most recently they've announced confirmation of a second IM sequel projected sometime after the Avengers film, which hits 2011 after Captain America joins the big screen conversion.

Apparently we on the Infinite Wars were more optemistic about the Iron Man franchise than other outlets, not at all surprised by it's success, or the subsequent shadow cast by The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's Joker.
Honestly, I wouldn't bet my house on Ledger's success with the Academy, but I can't imagine Iron Man even coming close. As good as Downey Jr might have been, IM simply shares too much in common with it's snubbed summer counterparts. Still, this all does point toward Iron Man's longterm value to Marvel as a brand, even despite the lingering antaganism left over from Civil War.

ARTWORK: John Cassaday#4 Phantom (-) (4) (King Features Syndicate)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Jungle Thieves]
Win Percentage: [100%] Features: [4]
2006: [NR] 2007: [NR] Cumulative: [#23]

The Olympics gave us the opportunity to revisit the Ghost Who Walks, and just in time for Frew's sixtieth anniversary of publishing the Phantom in their native Australia!

The Phantom remains a presence in the Infinite Wars as a personal favourite and a trinket of superhero history. Trainspotters will know about Dynamite's plans to add the golden age hero to their stable, joining Moonstone as a contemporary American publisher investing in the character.

In the direct market Moonstone's output remains a barely noticable blip on sales charts, so we'll be very interested to see what competition between the companies can do for the character. Adding the Phantom to a line-up already boasting Project Superpowers might just take advantage of a captive audience roughly fifteen times as large as Moonstone's Phantom readership. A subject we might like to look closer at next month in the Spider-Boycott analysis.

ARTWORK: John Romita Jr#5 Hulk (-) (10) (Marvel)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Hercules]
Win Percentage: [58.33%] Features: [24]
2006: [#6] 2007: [#10] Cumulative: [#4]

I cannot say I'm feeling particularly positive about the Hulk right now. After World War Hulk took the character on a high that demanded an immediate lull - Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness have seen to the creation of a new character, "Rulk," and a screeching halt to all momentum the green goliath had.

A sixth issue of the relaunched Hulk-title failed to uncover the identity of Rulk [also known as; Red Hulk] which has me well and truly miffed. I could've sworn we were guaranteed - at the beginning - that definitive answers would be delivered at this point. Instead, we simply know who this character probably is not: neither Rick Jones, Doc Samson, or General Ross. Instead, merely an agent of the latter two, who are apparently disappointed with Rulk's failure.

Already a solid number-three in the film stakes, Hulk might just find himself overtaken by Frank Castle, who launches into cinemas in December, boasting a hardfought R rating. Here's hoping Marvel can salvage the character's situation sometime before expected crossovers in the feature films. Of one thing we have no doubt; such a circumstance will no doubt ensure quantity, if not quality.

Cumulative Super Stock...

Hercules leaps dramatically up
the rankings like/with a bullet! A truly
Herculean effort up three hundred places!
[She-Hulk #30]
1. Batman (-) (DC)
2. Spider-man (-) (M)
3. Iron Man (-) (M)
4. Hulk (-) (M)
5. Superman (-) (DC)
13. Black Adam (-) (DC)
16. Ryu (-) (C)
17. Flash (-) (DC)
19. Catwoman (-) (DC)
20. Thor (-) (M)
22. Green Lantern (-) (DC)
23. Phantom (-) (KFS)
25. Iron Fist (+2) (M)
27. Storm (-2) (M)
28. Beast (-2) (M)
32. Sonya Blade (+19) (Mid)
38. Dhalsim (-1) (C)
39. Ken Masters (-1) (C)
43. Wonder Woman (-1) (DC)
44. Archangel (+26) (M)
50. Elektra (-2) (M)
51. Etrigan (-2) (DC)
60. Spitfire (-1) (M)
69. Blade (-1) (M)
72. Dr. Strange (-) (M)
77. Phoenix (-) (M)
82. Ice Man (-2) (M)
85. Raiden (-) (Mid)
87. Deathstroke (-) (DC)
100. She-Thing (+1) (M)
103. Thorion (new) (DC/M)
114. Mephisto (-) (M)
118. Orion (-) (DC)
121. Deadman (-) (DC)
123. Dr. Occult (-) (DC)
128. Doppelganger (-) (M)
150. Franklin Richards (-) (M)
153. Monolith (-) (DC)
154. Sandman (-) (DC)
161. Hellboy (-) (DH)
179. Apocalypse (new) (M)
181. Chun-Li (-1) (C)
182. Darkseid (-1) (DC)
185. Colossus (-93) (M)

Colossus suffers a devestating blow
to his campaign, after an unsuccesful
showdown with the immortal, Apocalypse!
[Uncanny X-Men #295]
200. Medusa (-2) (M)
215. Lex Luthor (-2) (DC)
222. Hercules (+314) (M)
223. Captain Marvel (-3) (DC)
229. Super-Skrull (-3) (M)
238. She-Hulk (-2) (M)
239. Scorpion (-2) (Mid)
242. Kano (-7) (Mid)
243. Joker (-3) (DC)
246. Liu Kang (-3) (Mid)
250. Equus (-3) (DC)
252. Lei Wulong (new) (N)
253. Bryan Fury (new) (N)
254. Yoshimitsu (new) (N)
300. Stepford Cuckoos (-6) (M)
350. Turk (-6) (M)
400. Yurrd (-6) (DC)
433. Loki (-6) (M)
448. Hammer (-6) (DC)
462. Gouken (-6) (C)
475. Captain Marvel Jr (-6) (DC)
500. Nighthawk (-6) (M)
542. Bran the Blessed (new) (M)
543. Warpath (new) (M)
544. Elixir (new) (M)
545. X-23 (new) (M)
546. L'ok D'saad (new) (DC/M)
551. Sabretooth (-14) (M)
574. Taskmaster (-13) (M)
575. Zangief (-13) (C)
576. Quicksilver (-18) (M)
577. Magneto (-14) (M)
578. Dan Hibiki (-14) (C)

The Hammer...
Well, you had to earn it, but it's finally here!
The Infinite Wars is still playing catch-up and if you haven't been playing along closely, you might have missed some articles of interest! We would encourage anyone with the processing power to skim back over September content in full, but in particular you might have missed our Q&A with Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe producer, Hans Lo.

That's just one of the many articles to find it's way to the site, hopefully reminding us all that content is still here, despite the difference in dates! If you'd like to complain about the Infinite Wars being behind schedule, feel free to make a donation with the PayPal button at the top of the page. It won't be refunded, but at least then you can have an appropriate sense of entitlement!

I've got a short little stack of features ready for the October card that include a range of spooky themed entries. Fridays are your guaranteed hit, but hopefully we'll find the time to slip in a few more stats for the next Super Stock!
"Big ups" to everyone still with us [even with the dry-humor], and we'll see you soon. Take up the [following] offer, you cheap bastards! Cheers!

The Kirby Martin Inquest is still on sale online for the low price of $1.99!
Production on Nite Lite Theatre properties has really slowed so your support is vital to the future success of the story and other concepts. I really hope you can find your way to online purchasing links (via and grab yourself (and a friend?) a copy!


Ciao for now!

- Mike Haseloff; Commanding Officer
Mike Haseloff is the off-spring of the evil Mike Haseloff.
Though he soon followed in his father's footsteps, he was not, in fact, born evil, but rather corrupted by humanity's darkness. Eventually the threat of global annihilation forced him to team-up with his mortal nemesis, and together they killed his enemy's mysterious brother. Unfortunately he was just a messenger and two far more powerful warriors were coming to destroy the Earth, so Mike Haseloff took his enemy's son in order to train him to unlock his incredible potential! The time spent with this young warrior opened Mike Haseloff's heart.

September Hit Count: [9596/148306] (+5.05%)
Hit count may reflect late August content.

No comments: