Sunday, December 31, 2017

We try to serve many masters here on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths, but the tie that binds everything together is the cumulative tally of wins, losses, and draws -- the basis for our Fight Club Rankings!

There were several surprises in the ranks, with Gorilla Grodd being the biggest mover of the year! Professor Zoom, Vindicator, and Moondragon all made significant gains with their appearances, as well. Multiple defeats recorded pushed Nightcrawler and Lady Deathstrike into the biggest declines of the year, with Killer Frost falling towards the bottom.

The best of plans were mislaid in 2017, resulting in a heavily abbreviated year. The big losers of the cut-off were Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Thor, Hulk, and Vulture, whose roles in major movie releases were earmarked for featured battles never recorded. Hulk was most impacted, unable to answer the rising rankings challenge of Wolverine and Superman. Wonder Woman and Thor might have made a bigger impact on the Top 20, had their moment in the sun been reflected.

The list below spotlights all the characters who made featured appearances on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths in 2017. This includes featured fights and Hero of the Week, where omitted characters were granted relevant presence. Note: some rankings changes are simply a product of movement elsewhere on the list. Flash back to the 2016 Rankings Recap to see how your favourites are trending!

#1 (--) Batman (Bruce Wayne)
#2 (--) Spider-man (Peter Parker)
#3 (--) Iron Man (Tony Stark)
#4 (+1) Wolverine (James "Logan" Howelett)
#5 (+1) Superman (Kal-El)
#6 (-2) Hulk (Bruce Banner)
#7 (--) Captain America (Steve Rogers)
#8 (+1) Power Man (Luke Cage)
#9 (-1) Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards)
#10 (--) Thing (Benjamin Grimm)
#11 (+1) Invisible Woman (Susan Storm)
#12 (-1) Daredevil (Matt Murdock)
#13 (+1) Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
#14 (-1) Wonder Woman (Diana)
#15 (--) The Flash (Barry Allen)
#16 (+16) Iron Fist (Danny Rand)
#18 (-1) Venom Symbiote
#19 (-1) Deadpool (Wade Wilson)
#20 (-1) Black Adam (Teth-Adam)
#21 (-1) Ryu
#24 (-1) Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange)
#25 (-1) Thor (Odinson)
#28 (+1) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
#30 (-2) Robin (Tim Drake)
#31 (--) Hawkman (Carter Hall)
#33 (+7) Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd)
#34 (-1) Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
#38 (-1) Hawkgirl (Shiera Hall)
#40 (-1) Red Hood (Jason Todd)
#43 (--) Juggernaut (Cain Marko)
#46 (--) Black Canary (Dinah Lance)
#57 (--) Morbius (Michael Morbius)
#58 (--) Aquaman (Arthur Curry)
#62 (+46) Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
#66 (-1) The Punisher (Frank Castle)
#72 (-1) Elektra (Elektra Natchios)
#77 (+57) Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner)
#87 (-2) Firestorm (Jason Rusch)
#88 (-2) Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)
#91 (-1) Jessica Jones
#92 (+143) Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
#96 (-2) Deathstroke (Slade Wilson)
#99 (-2) Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)
#100 (-2) Blazing Skull (Mark Todd)
#102 (-2) Sinestro (Thaal Sinestro)
#103 (-13) Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)
#105 (-4) Cable (Nathaniel Summers)
#110 (-3) Captain Marvel (Billy Batson)
#111 (-2) Venom (Eddie Brock)
#125 (+46) Drax (Arthur Douglas)
#127 (-3) Black Panther (T'Challa)
#128 (+15) Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson)
#134 (+161) Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne)
#141 (-3) Donatello
#142 (-3) Leonardo
#156 (-3) Raphael
#157 (-3) Michaelangelo
#198 (-5) General Zod (Dru-Zod)
#200 (-3) Gravity (Gregory Willis)
#204 (-3) Ultron
#221 (-3) Hellboy (Anung in Rama)
#278 (-1) Rorschach (Walter Kovacs)
#288 (--) Atom (Ryan Choi)
#299 (+1) Domino (Neena Thurman)
#300 (new) Tenshinhan
#301 (new) Ibis the Invincible (Amentep)
#302 (new) Reactron (Benjamin Krull)
#303 (new) Harry Leland
#304 (new) Donald Pierce
#305 (new) Son Goku
#306 (new) Star-Lord (Peter Quill)
#313 (+2) Mary Marvel (Mary Batson)
#323 (-95) Effigy (Martyn Van Wyck)
#352 (-49) Thanos
#355 (+464) Gorilla Grodd
#374 (-7) Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva)
#376 (-10) Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln)
#400 (-8) Typhon
#464 (-8) Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)
#500 (-8) Green Lantern (Venizz)
#515 (new) Tempest (Joshua Clay)
#516 (new) Negative Woman (Valentina Vostok)
#518 (new) Energizer (Katie Power)
#519 (new) Groot
#520 (new) Major Victory (Vance Astro)
#521 (new) Rocket Raccoon
#522 (new) Bug
#523 (new) Mantis (Brandt)
#524 (new) Gamora
#534 (-19) Vulture (Adrian Toomes)
#542 (+120) Moondragon (Heather Douglas)
#543 (+35) Jack Flag (Jack Harrison)
#577 (-20) Cloak (Tyrone Johnson)
#600 (-19) Wildfire (Drake Burroughs)
#620 (-19) Shocker (Herman Schultz)
#700 (-18) Valkyrie (Brunnhilde)
#711 (new) Nebula
#769 (new) Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw)
#800 (-17) Dormammu
#833 (new) Taopaipai
#835 (new) Man Mountain Marko (Michael Marko)
#836 (new) Eel (Edward Lavell)
#837 (new) Ravan
#838 (new) Ox Princess (Chi-Chi)
#839 (new) Ego The Living Planet
#841 (new) Brainiac (Vril Dox)
#842 (new) Matrix
#843 (-335) Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)
#852 (new) Murray Reese
#853 (new) Wade Cole
#854 (new) Angelo Macon
#855 (-109) Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln)
#877 (-326) Lady Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama)
#878 (-32) Toad (Mortimer Toynbee)
#879 (-32) Red Hulk (Thunderbolt Ross)
#880 (-32) Brick (Danny Brickwell)
#881 (-31) Killer Croc (Waylon Jones)
#882 (-31) Dan Hibiki
#883 (-31) Lizard (Curt Connors)
#884 (-31) Zangief
#885 (-36) Sabretooth (Victor Creed)
#886 (-32) Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff)
#DNR Chinese Hero (Wah Ying-hung)
#DNR Major Kusanagi (Motoko Kusanagi)
#DNR Ironheart (Riri Williams)
#DNR Forager
#DNR Black Manta (David Hyde)
A heavily truncated year of featured fights did nothing to diminish the quality of 2017's superhero smackdown! Monthly themes inspired by films, television, and video games provided the framework for some all-time classic combat -- and a few unexpected hits, as well!

You can jump to the 20 Most Popularly viewed battles of 2017, or simply check out the complete chronological list of links below! Some of the most interesting battles were the ones that went under the radar!

Be sure to hit the G+ button at the bottom of your favourite fights and use social media sharing to help spread the word. Secret Wars on Infinite Earths is made possible by your support! You can do the same for the entire catalogue of past battles by visiting the Secret Archive! That's where you'll find hundreds of battles indexed by publisher, series, and issue number!

#1 Spider-man versus Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-man #230)
#2 Vixen & Martian Manhunter versus Professor Ivo (Justice League of America #261)
#3 X-Force versus Iron Man (Contest of Champions II #1)
#4 Deadshot versus Batman (Detective Comics #474)
#5 X-Men versus Deathstroke (Uncanny X-Men and New Teen Titans #1)
#6 Taopaipai versus Tenshinhan (Dragon Ball Vol. 15)
#7 Green Lantern versus Killer Frost & Effigy (Green Lantern #127)
#8 Mary Marvel & Ibis versus Black Adam (Power of Shazam #11)
#9 Supergirl versus Reactron (Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #9)
#10 X-Men versus Hellfire Club (X-Men #132)
#11 Wolverine versus Hellfire Club (X-Men #133)
#12 Lady Deathstrike versus Wolverine & Vindicator (Alpha Flight #34)
#13 Lady Deathstrike versus Wolverine (Uncanny X-Men #205)
#14 Sabretooth versus Iron Fist (Iron Fist #14)
#15 Man Mountain Marko & Eel versus Heroes for Hire (Power Man & Iron Fist #92)
#16 Tombstone versus Luke Cage & Iron Fist (Power Man & Iron Fist #1)
#17 Bronze Tiger versus Ravan (Suicide Squad #2)
#18 Name-Withheld-Upon-Request versus Son Goku (Dragon Ball Vol. 15)
#19 Thanos versus Guardians of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy #25)
#20 Fantastic Four versus Ego The Living Planet (Fantastic Four #235)
#21 Silver Surfer versus Nebula (Secret Defenders #10)
#22 Drax versus Thor (Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21)
#23 Superman versus Brainiac (Adventures of Superman #519)
#24 Supergirl versus Gorilla Grodd (Supergirl #3)
#25 Flash versus Green Lantern (Green Lantern #40)
#26 Doctor Fate versus Hawkman (All-Star Squadron #4)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It was a year dominated by live-action adaptations, major motion pictures, a return to HOTW's video games roots, and a comics industry struggling with its own identity!

With major upheaval of the past few years yielding mixed results, both DC and Marvel dabbled in returns to a more iconic past. The phenomenon of replacement heroes was a frequent topic, as was the toll of heavily marketed 'event' stunts, still regularly built around the demise of iconic heroes. Neither company went all-in on their iconic past, continually allowing movies and television to overshadow the source material.

In 2017, Hero of the Week grappled with many of the big issues of the day, maintaining a through line when the regular schedule of Friday Night Fights took a hit. Weekly notes meant moments were captured as they happened, even if publishing slipped slightly out of sync.

Marvel edged out DC at the end of the year, with major stories giving them a few more heroes to consider. 2017 was also the year we touched on characters from other publishers - and parts of the world! Enjoy the complete list of the year's Heroes of the Week below! You can find more by navigating with links in each entry, or flash back to the full list of 2016 HOTWs!

#1 Son Goku (January 2nd)
#2 Chinese Hero (January 9th)
#3 Jessica Jones (January 16th)
#4 Black Adam (January 23rd)
#5 Reverse-Flash (January 30th)
#6 Black Canary (February 6th)
#7 Black Lightning (February 13th)
#8 Cheetah (February 20th)
#9 Wolverine (February 27th)
#10 Doctor Fate (March 6th)
#11 Iron Fist (March 13th)
#12 Firestorm (March 20th)
#13 Major Kusanagi (March 27th)
#14 Ironheart (April 3rd)
#15 Ego The Living Planet (April 10th)
#16 Cable (April 17th)
#17 Cloak (April 24th)
#18 Ultron (May 1st)
#19 Captain America (May 8th)
#20 Forager (May 15th)
#21 Venom (May 22nd)
#22 Gorilla Grodd (May 29th)
#23 Red Hood (June 5th)
#24 Black Panther (June 12th)
#25 Wonder Woman (June 19th)
#26 Thing (June 26th)
#27 Spider-man (July 3rd)
#28 Cyborg Superman (July 10th)
#29 Sabretooth (July 17th)
#30 Mister Terrific (July 24th)
#31 Vulture (July 31st)
#32 Shocker (August 7th)
#33 Domino (August 14th)
#34 Ghost Rider (August 21st)
#35 Hawkman (August 28th)
#36 Black Manta (September 4th)
#37 Sinestro (September 11th)
#38 Hellboy (September 18th)
#39 Silver Surfer (September 25th)
#40 Catwoman (October 2nd)
#41 Rorschach (October 9th)
#42 Juggernaut (October 16th)
#43 General Zod (October 23rd)
#44 Punisher (October 30th)
#45 Captain Marvel (November 6th)
#46 Raphael (November 13th)
#47 Morbius The Living Vampire (November 20th)
#48 Deathstroke (November 27th)
#49 Thanos (December 4th)
#50 Atom (December 11th)
#51 Mister Fantastic (December 18th)
#52 Hulk (December 25th)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Real Name: Dr. Robert Bruce Banner
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk #1 (May, 1962)
Fight Club Ranking: #6

Featured Fights:
- vs HERCULES: Tales to Astonish #79 (May 1966)
- vs CRYPTO-MAN: Incredible Hulk #205 (Nov 1976)
- vs EGGHEAD: Defenders #43 (Jan 1977)
- vs DAREDEVIL: Daredevil #163 (Mar 1980)
- vs SPIDER-MAN: Marvel Treasury Edition #25 (1980)
- vs THE STALKER: Incredible Hulk #335 (Sep 1987)
- vs SUPER-SKRULL: Incredible Hulk #374 (Oct 1990)
- vs METALLO: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs SUPERMAN: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs MOLEMAN: DC versus Marvel #4 (Apr 1996)
- vs IRON MAN: Iron Man #2 (Dec 1996)
- vs THUNDERBOLTS: Incredible Hulk #449 (Jan 1997)
- vs AVENGERS: Avengers #4 (Feb 1997)
- vs THOR: Avengers #5 (Mar 1997)
- vs DEADPOOL: Deadpool #4 (Apr 1997)
- vs GREEN LANTERN: Unlimited Access #1 (Dec 1997)
- vs JUGGERNAUT: Marvel Adventures #14 (May 1998)
- vs SILVER SURFER: Incredible Hulk #95 (Jul 2006)
- vs US MILITARY: World War Hulk #3 (Oct 2007)
- vs SENTRY: World War Hulk #5 (Jan 2008)
- vs HERCULES: Hulk VS Hercules: When Titans Collide #1 (Jun 2008)
- vs RED HULK: Hulk #6 (Nov 2008)

Don't they know it's Christmas time at all? I sure don't! As the last Monday of 2017, this installment of Hero of the Week carries the weight of an entire year. It was a big one! Hollywood dominated much of the discussion. Even as we do our best to say nothing at all about November's Justice League, there was also Thor: Ragnarok -- the movie that demands we celebrate the Hulk!

There was a lot to like about the hodgepodge of Thor: Ragnarok. For one: it was a Marvel movie with an aesthetic -- something we've talked a lot about wanting in Hero of the Week.

At times that aesthetic veered into dubious CG backdrops, but there was an energy that recalls the big, thrash metal lines of Walt Simonson's spired arenas. Vibrant colours were a welcome change of pace. Even if Thor himself got a downgrade that elicits flashbacks to James Remar's Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Granted, the "new look" for Marvel's thunder god was a lot less silly.

The presence of Hulk, and the loose adaptation of Planet Hulk, was by far the most intriguing pitch in the extensive advertising campaign.

It's easy to say Planet Hulk should've been its own faithful film adaptation, but if rights issues mean a Hulk solo film is difficult to unlikely, repackaging him as a support player is a great way of elevating lesser material. For what it's worth, there was a pretty decent animated Planet Hulk film that probably renders a live-action version a tad redundant.

The animated Planet Hulk didn't have access to Silver Surfer, so a substitute for the famous Incredible Hulk #95 fight had to be found. Intriguingly, they chose Beta Ray Bill - a character I really would've loved to have seen in Thor: Ragnarok. It's a fun link in the chain to Thor taking that spot.

Marvel movie overlord Kevin Feige told Crave Online that there was a small appearance by Bill, who can be seen on the totem of former champions (along with Man-Thing). He also says it didn't do the character justice, so it's better to wait until they can. Which is a philosophy I can definitely get behind! Beta Ray Bill is a great character, with a story that could definitely fill out a future movie!

I could probably talk a whole lot more about Beta Ray Bill, but for now we celebrate Hulk, who will be back on Earth for a major role in next year's Avengers: Infinity War. Which has already shown Hulk running into battle with Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther, and the heroes who'll stand against Thanos. Which seems to rule out any kind of World War Hulk fallout from his trip to space. At least for now.

That brings us to the end of a big year of Hero of the Week! Be sure to stick around for a recap of all of this year's HOTWs! Thanks to everyone who's followed along. With any luck we'll have better luck with a smooth publishing schedule in 2018! Cheers!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Real Name: Reed Richards
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (November, 1961)
Fight Club Ranking: #9

Featured Fights:
- vs EGO THE LIVING PLANET: Fantastic Four #235 (Oct 1981)
- vs AHAB & INVISIBLE WOMAN: X-Men Annual #14 (1990)
- vs JUSTICE PEACE: Fantastic Four #354 (Jul 1991)
- vs PAIBOK: Fantastic Four #358 (Nov 1991)
- vs DOPPELGANGER: Fantastic Four #366 (Jul 1992)
- vs SUB-MARINER: Fantastic Four #412 (May 1996)
- vs MOLE MAN: Fantastic Four #2 (Dec 1996)
- vs SUPER-SKRULL: Fantastic Four #6 (Apr 1997)
- vs ANNIHILUS & DEFILE: Fantastic Four #13 (Nov 1997)
- vs ICONOCLAST: Fantastic Four #2 (Feb 1998)
- vs SUPER-APES: Fantastic Four #3 (Mar 1998)
- vs FRIGHTFUL FOUR: Marvel Adventures #12 (Mar 1998)
- vs WOLVERINE: Wolverine #22 (Jan 2005)
- vs SINISTER TWELVE: Marvel Knights: Spider-man #11 (Apr 2005)
- vs SECRET AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)
- vs GOMDULLA: Spider-man Family #3 (Aug 2007)

If you've been watching the sands of Marvel Comics over the past few years, you may've noticed something changing of late. Back in September I started wondering if an increase in X-Men and Fantastic Four related publishing might be the signal of a new deal between Disney and Marvel licensors: 20th Century Fox. As it turns out - I may've been right.

Variety has reported that wayward Marvel properties could finally be brought back into the fold as Disney acquires FOX's intellectual properties in a mere $52.4 billion dollar deal.

Granted, this is much bigger than my half-baked questions about Silver Surfer finding a spot in next year's Avengers: Infinity War movie. It muddies the creative waters with the practical impositions that come with such a major proprietary deal. You don't simply drop a sack full of billions of dollars on Fox's counter and walk out with a multi-media empire. This deal will take time.

The obvious excitement is the possibility that Marvel Comics might end their two-year drought of publishing Fantastic Four: the comic that launched the Marvel Age. Or that the Fantastic Four might finally get a decent cinematic representation, one that's faithful to the beloved characters, and overlaps with the rest of Marvel's movie empire. Good old fashioned fear & loathing of mutants would be a welcome change from the bogus Inhuman hate seen in the television branch, as well.

All of that's great -- but there is the small matter of Disney's blossoming corporate stranglehold that threatens to dominate an already lagging 21st century culture.

The deal includes many of FOX's other popular properties (I think of Alien), and really will see Disney gobbling up more of Western culture's biggest pop franchises. Which, after the acquisition of Marvel and Lucasfilm a few years back, means they've got a very deep bench. Which is only slightly nauseating if you dwell on the dearth of exciting new ideas in our world.

As already discussed, I'd love to see Silver Surfer crashing unannounced into the Marvel movie universe. I think everyone clings to the vain hope Disney could somehow deliver a Fantastic Four that wasn't mangled beyond reason - or pleasure. I do spare a thought for the world at large, though.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Real Name: Ryan Choi
First Appearance: DCU: Brave New World (August, 2006)
Fight Club Ranking: #288

Featured Fights:
- vs KILLER MOTH: Justice League: Cry For Justice #1 (Sep 2009)

After many months of anticipation - Injustice 2 has finally unveiled its smallest downloadable fighter: The Atom! As reported on Mortal Kombat Online, the new trailer reveals the Ryan Choi incarnation of the character, fighting in search of his missing mentor and predecessor: Ray Palmer.

In the context of a fighting game, there aren't a whole lot of differences between the two generations of Atom. Some might consider it a small blessing that Ray Palmer's spared the NFL Superpro looking design NetherRealm Studios has saddled the character with. Not that their usual junk action figure aesthetic is solely to blame - several of their DC designs are hindered by inspiration from their CW television counterparts, or movie compatible New 52 updates.

The look is a suitably small complaint when seeing the Atom in action! Small characters have a troubled history in fighting games, but it looks like Atom is going to be a whole lot of fun! It seems NetherRealm have done well to take standard issues into consideration. Though he'll fight at a variety of heights and scale, the Atom shouldn't permanently frustrate like Gon or Yoda in Namco's Tekken and Soul Calibur series.

It's hard to say if it's deliberate reference, but when Atom goes half-pint, it reminds of the Golden Age Atom, whose short stature was his trademark. The real fun kicks in when the character becomes a mere glowing blue dot scrambling across the battlefield. That's about the closest you can practically get to the molecule-riding Atom we love from comics -- and it looks like it'll be fun to play with!

Long time comics readers will think fondly of Ray Palmer riding phone lines to get from one destination to the next. I hope we can all appreciate the meta value of Atom being downloadable content, added to the game only after travelling through your connection.

Injustice 2 has done a really good job of putting together a fun cast of characters who pull from all corners of the DC Universe. Some of the favourites are still missing: the sequel has lost the likes of Martian Manhunter and Captain Marvel from the first game, and never went for the natural choices of Steel or Bronze Tiger. Small sacrifices when you consider just how much it's added!

About the only other complaint I'd have for Atom is that his moves include a sequence that takes him giant-size. I just don't associate the character with that.

Atom's great hook is packing the punch of usual mass into the head of a needle, or riding electrons at microscopic level. If you want a fist as big as your body you can leave that to Atom Smasher. The super-move in I2 just compares unflatteringly to Ant-Man, who many unread gamers will know from the recent movie(s). It would be great to see NRS sharpen up their references, throw out the New 52 books WB may or may not have comped them, and tap more iconic and definitive references.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Technically a year of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths ends at the conclusion of November. Which means it's already time to look back at the best battles of a big year!

Our glorious schedule was cut to ribbons in 2017, but that didn't stop "The Comic Book Fight Club" featuring an amazing array of truly satisfying statements in superhero smackdown! Today we spotlight the twenty most popular battles as determined by your direct traffic to each file!

Simply hit the cover pics below to discover legendary battles featuring: Wolverine, Batman, Thor, Superman, Supergirl, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Thanos, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Martian Manhunter, Drax, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Deadshot, Brainiac, Gorilla Grodd, the warriors of Dragon Ball, and so many more!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Real Name: Thanos
First Appearance: Iron Man #55 (February, 1973)
Fight Club Ranking: #352

Featured Fights:
- vs TERRAX: Green Lantern/Silver Surfer (Dec 1995)
- vs AVENGERS & JUSTICE LEAGUE: DC versus Marvel #4 (Apr 1996)
- vs DRAX: Annihilation #4 (Jan 2007)
- vs GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Guardians of the Galaxy #25 (Jun 2010)

Holy toot! The new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War finally lifts the lid on one of Marvel's most anticipated theatrical releases! There's a whole lot to unpack, but it goes without saying that the man of the hour is Thanos. The Mad Titan has been threatening for years - now he's coming to Earth!

There are a whole lot of pregnant images flickering through the packed 1 minute 44 second preview!

"Get this man a shield" serves double duty to forecast a new-look Captain America, and stir excitement for February's long awaited starring turn for Black Panther! There's also the usual bait and tease of familiar faces in peril, or new gear. An armored Spider-man, a concerned Iron Man, and a rampaging Hulk back from last month's space battles with Thor in Ragnarok.

One of the things that most interested me is what looks like the insectoid hordes of the Annihilation Wave! There was a lot of fan debate over whether the first Avengers film's mystery character "The Other" might actually be some version of Annihilus. This may lend some vague credibility to the theory, even if the Negative Zone villain is kept plausibly available to debut another day.

It was pretty much a given the movie would have little to do with the Infinity War of the comics. Evil doppelgangers of our favourite heroes might be interesting, but it's a concept that wears thin, and could tread on future plans for Skrull invasion [circa Captain Marvel].

The presumption, then, was that the movie would borrow most of its cues from The Infinity Gauntlet, but that now seems more likely for the former "Part 2" of Avengers 4. There are a few allusions to the Gauntlet story. Iron Man taking a thorough butt whooping, being one of them. Heroes rushing into streets flooded with panic -- another familiar scene to the 1991 story.

That little peak of Bruce Banner lying beneath a hole in what may or may not be Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum rings true of the beginning of The Infinity Gauntlet, as well, even if it may mean it's time to give up on those Silver Surfer theories I had.

There's bound to be more teasers and theorizing as we await next year's biggest blockbuster. For now, we commemorate anticipation with a humble entry into Hero of the Week!