Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wow! Remember that time the Skrulls infiltrated the entire Marvel Universe and used their machiavellian powers to confuse, divide, and conquer the heroes using their guile, intelligence, and subterfuge? No? Me neither.

At the beginning, it had all the promise of a Skrull invasion done to the fullest extent possible, but instead, Marvel's line-wide Secret Invasion crossover has come to an inauspicious conclusion failing to do much more than set up the next event. Dark Reign allegedly springs from the consequences of the Invasion, but anyone reading a small handful of peripheral titles (ie; Thunderbolts) would probably tell you that's a lot of retro-justifying fooey!
Instead of a true universe-wide infiltration, we now find ourselves reflecting on a central plot sloppily bookended by scenes that seem to highlight some of the glaring weaknesses of the story, devoid of irony or self-awareness. It seems the only success the Skrulls endeared in their "invasion" was the disruption of any shred of cohesion in key titles, like Mighty Avengers.

Financial crisis and a fast-emerging sense of good judgment meant the Infinite Wars never got around to touching upon the "Secret Invasion," and I can't say I feel any regret.

If you're anything like me and are feeling the sting of disappointment, fret not!
We might've done it once before, but in the interest of delivering old fashioned Skrully goodness, we serve up for you a host of previous features starring those shape-shifting aliens. Sure, it might not be the grandious thriller Secret Invasion wasn't, but at least we aren't wasting eight-issues of overpriced paper on it. Ohhh! Feel the Skrully-Human Torch-cloned burrrnnn!

Incredible Hulk #374 (October 1990)
"No Autographs" David/Keown

If you thought the Skrulls were new to disguised infiltration, then you have a lot to learn, friend!

Watch as the Hulk, Rick Jones, and Betty Ross come face to face with an incursion led by none other than Kl'rt; the Super-Skrull champion granted the powers of the Skrull's most hated Earthbound enemies -- the Fantastic Four!

Typical human compassion not found in the warrior-born Skrull elite... is on full show, as Rick Jones endures the psychological torture, while, as Bruce Banner; the Hulk walks helplessly into the alien invader's trap, lured by the helplessness of a lost little girl. It's clobberin' time!?

Fantastic Four #358 (November 1991)
"Whatever Happened to Alicia?!" DeFalco/Ryan

After the Beyonder's secret war, the Fantastic Four's Thing opted to stay behind and continue his adventures. It was this act that nearly put a vital snafu to a secret plan launched by the Skrulls to infiltrate their enemies team.

Posing as Thing's blind girlfriend, Alicia Masters, the Skrull soldier named Lyja was forced to take a harsh turn, steering the affections of the Masters girl to an unlikely suitor -- Johnny Storm!

When Thing returned he eventually learned to live with the loss of his love, and was witness to the marriage vows of Johnny and Alicia, or so they thought. With Lyja revealed, the furious Johnny Storm leads the Fantastic Four on a mission to space to retrieve the captive Alicia, but little does he know the overseeing officer in the matter is a Skrull familiar, yet very different...

Mighty Thor #465 (August 1993)
"Holy Sacrifice" Marz/Zick

When Adam Warlock took possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, he sought to attain ultimate indifference of judgment by expelling evil and good from his body.
These portions became the beings known as The Goddess and The Magus, respectively.

Though the Goddess was borne of good, she sought resolution against a sinful universe. Thus, she reached out to those mighty and of faith, and gathered them as her army against evil, and those who did not believe.

Though much of the Skrull race was persuaded by the Goddess' touch, the Super-Skrull was not so easily manipulated. Disgusted by the mania of peace that had been bestowed upon his people, he sets out on a mission of war.
A mission that would bring him into conflict with one of the Goddess' most powerful followers -- The Mighty Thor!

Fantastic Four #6 (April 1997)
"Retribution" Lee/Choi

Reborn in a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards; the Fantastic Four are destined to relive their origins all over again as they unwittingly encounter familiar shadows of the past, also reborn in this new world.

Accosted by Victor Von Doom, a student from Reed Richards' days in college; the Fantastic Four and Black Panther find themselves the reluctant guests of castle Doomstadt. There, Doom is holding a mysterious chromed alien hostage, but this is not the limit of the extraterestrial presence.

Hidden within SHIELD and disguised as Agent Wyatt Wingfoot; a cosmically sleeper soldier of the Skrull empire has finally exploited his position, an alliance with Doom allowing him access to the herald of the Skrull Throneworld's destruction. Betraying Doom to use his machines, Kl'rt has absorbed the Surfer's cosmic power, and now prepares to turn his imitative Super-Skrull abilities against him.

New Avengers #27 (April 2007)
"Revolution" Bendis/Yu

The heroes of the Marvel Universe have been wrapped up in the Civil War, but whilst acting on behalf of the New Avengers in Japan, Ronin, aka Echo, finds herself unsure of where she stands and who she can trust in the battle.

As she infiltrates the Japanese underworld under the guise of an innocent woman, she stalks them as a symbol in the form of Ronin, someone they would never suspect could be breaking them up from right under their noses.

Wise to her game, Elektra and her clan, The Hand, intervene and although Echo sends out for help from her friends, she finds herself forced to confront the deadly assassin and her undying hoardes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Cypress Hill feat. Roni Size - Child of the Wild West (2002)

Four years after the first film showcased the potential of the comic book crossover, Blade returned to screens for a much anticipated sequel! The Daywalker faced off against a brand new menace - genetically engineered super-suckheads called "Reapers" - forcing him to temporarily work in league with vampires against this new common enemy.

Not unlike the '97 Spawn film; Blade II came with a soundtrack featuring some of the world's best artists in collaboration, including: Mos Def, Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim, Ice Cube, Paul Oakenfield, Busta Rhymes, Redman, Gorillaz, Groove Armada, the Crystal Method, Moby, and more!

The best of the bunchundoubtedly had to be the Cypress Hill/Roni Size track, Child of the Wild West, which not only brought a tech-hop sound to the promotional circuit, but also a bloody good video!

If you find yourself in agreement you might like to sound off on the Pandora Message Board! The "music genome project" gives users the chance to tour the music landscape without the risk of ill-placed investment - more vital than ever in today's failing global economy! The Pandora Message Board (and Infinite Wars: Smash Hits) are sponsored by Energizer Advanced Lithium!
Lighter, longer lasting, and perfect for portable devices! Booyah!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Torment Part 6: Release (DC)
Superman/Batman #42 When: Early January 2008 Why: Alan Burnett How: Dustin Nguyen

The Story So Far...
After negotiating his way out of his imprisonment within the mythic Source Wall, the New God, Darkseid, finds himself with only a fraction of his titanic power.

In an effort to reclaim the Omega Power; Darkseid has his loyal minion, Desaad, recruit the fear obssessed villain, Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka; Scarecrow. The Gotham madman aids in the manipulation of Superman - the man originally responsible for trapping Darkseid in the Source Wall.
With Superman under his control; Darkseid damns him to an act of irony, sending the Man of Steel to recruit the staff of the Highfather - a conduit for the power Darkseid seeks, housed at the Source Wall.

In an effort to find his ally, Batman travels into space to face the overwhelming odds of a New God on the planet Tartaros. There he finds a valued ally in Bekka, the fighting wife of the New God, Orion. Together they track Darkseid to the threshold of the Omega Force where they share one final passionate exchange, before an act of treachery by Desaad affords them the ultimate time to strike...

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Darkseid 7 (Omnipotent)
Intelligence: Darkseid 5 (Professor)
Speed: Superman 6 (Mach-Speeds)
Stamina: Darkseid 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Batman 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Darkseid 7 (Warrior)
Energy Power: Darkseid 5 (Lasers)

- After witnessing the street murder of his parents, the young Bruce Wayne's destiny was forever shaped to be one dedicated to an ideal. Having spent his formative years studying the various sciences, martial arts, and crime fighting techniques, Bruce is ultimately inspired to become the one-man war on the criminal element in Gotham City: Batman.

With the planet Krypton on a path toward destruction, a scientist, Jor-El, bundles his only son into a rocket ship designed to take him far from the impending doom. The young Kal-El would be rocketted far from his home to come to land on the planet Earth, where a yellow sun would grant him the powers to become the man of steel - Superman!

Known affectionately as the "World's Finest," Superman and Batman are among the most senior superheroes in the DC Universe. As founding members of the Justice League of America, the duo maintain a tense relationship built of mutual respect and recognition for each others unique skills. Batman's brilliance is matched only by Superman's empathy and natural superhuman abilities, which off-set the Batman's reliance upon man-made technologies.

- Born to Yuga Khan and Heggra; the New God named Uxas would ultimately change his name to Darkseid as part of a reinvention that would include the assassination of his mother, and ascension to ruler of the planet, Apokolips.

In his desire for universal domination Darkseid seeks the Anti-Life Equation; an ability that will grant him omnipotence over all thought and being. This quest has brought him into regular conflict with the denizens of a distant planet called Earth. It is Darkseid's belief that the recesses of the human mind retain lost fragments of the Anti-Life Equation.

Darkseid's power rivals and maybe even dwarfs any of his New God peers, or even those from other pantheons of godly order. Ungauged levels of strength and invulnerability provide a baseline for the enduring despot, with other abilities, such as his Omega Effect, providing a lethal projectile offensive said to be inescapable and nigh impossible to survive.
Also at Darkseid's disposal are the endless hordes of his parademon soldiers, fiercely dedicated, and willing to die in his name.

Math: Superman/Batman (Ttl) Darkseid (Avg) Ranking: Batman (#1)

What Went Down...
Having reenergized the powers of the Omega Force through his traitorous minion, Darkseid claims the Highfather's staff for himself, squashing the brief moment of rebellion by Desaad. Just as Darkseid punishes his underling with an Omega Beam, a ship explodes through the wall, pilotted by Bekka and Batman!

The dark lord's daughter-in-law leaps from the ship alone, armed with a futuristic gun that has little effect on the New God. Darkseid easily disarms his son's wife with an Omega Beam, playing unwittingly into a diversionary tactic that has Batman charging the New God under the invisible veil of Bekka's phasing tech.

The Dark Knight launches into a flying kick that connects with the titan's jaw and successfully stuns him enough to knock the Highfather's Staff from his grip! The moment Batman takes hold of the powerful object, he gains vision to see Superman moving faster than a speeding bullet, but not at all.

When Batman snaps back to reality he finds the staff has disappeared, but in it's stead is Superman, who, by means unknown, was able to escape the confines of the Source Wall! Darkseid gloats over Bekka as she tends to the human with which she experienced love - a distraction that proves the despot's undoing!

The Man of Steel collides with Darkseid with devestating voice, exacting revenge for his manipulation. Reeling, the New God suffers a combination of strikes, two more that spray more blood from his mouth as his face contorts in line with the super-fast swing of Superman's fists!

On his knees, Darkseid chooses to flee from battle, rather than run the risk of being trapped by Superman within the Source Wall once more.
His exit coincides with a disruption in the planet Tartaros as the break in the Source Wall caused by Superman's escape begins to suck away at the universe. The planet itself, a vile construct of war, is sucked in to fill the gap, becoming one with the cosmic barrier.

The destruction allows Bekka to open a boom tube, providing the heroes a method of escape.
On Earth, Orion claims his wife. The New God has only a stern gaze for the Dark Knight that came to know her love, unaware that he is about to carry his wife to her doom as Darkseid's true plans carry on in secret, and death is brought to all the New Gods.

The Hammer...
Like a boss battle in MKvsDC, the winners are Superman and Batman, but not without the assist from site debutante, Bekka!

If you've been following the site in our seemingly endless November, you'll know we've been banging the drum for the crossover video game release, Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe. Following the cues of the merged final boss, we thought it would be fitting to wrap up with a shot of Shao Kahn, and today, Darkseid!

Traditionally I can't say I've really been much of a New Gods/Darkseid fan, but 2008 proved that I'm pretty easily won over. It's been a big year for ol' stone-face as he marched through both the MK and DC universes! One of the highlights of the year was undoubtedly his supposed death at the hands of Orion [Countdown #2], to say nothing of his total domination of the Earth, in Final Crisis.

As has been a tradition for DC over the last few years, it's interesting the way this seemingly innocuous cosmic arc of Superman/Batman plays a much more significant role in the landscape of the DCU in 2008 (connecting to Death of the New Gods, and by relation, Final Crisis). It reminds me a little of Brian Azzarello's Superman story, For Tomorrow, which forecast elements of Project OMAC/Infinite Crisis, albeit, a bit more obvious to anyone paying attention.

If one were to buy in to the popular theory that Final Crisis is preparing the landscape for an ascension of heroes to New Godhood, then this story might take on even greater significance. I still find myself a little less than convinced, even with the recent "death" of Batman in RIP, but as an adventure to connected events, it's certainly a story that leaves you believing in Batman's ability to become a creature of far greater cosmic significance.

Burnett (and presumably, editorial) deserve credit for tackling some of the big ideas that have rumbled implicitly beneath the Bat-mantle -- namely Bruce Wayne's sexual and romantic desires. Here he finds a moment of both with Bekka, referring in his own pensive internal dialogues to the way he has channelled those impulses into "the Almighty Will."
Bekka emerges naked from warm vats that stave off the threat of hypothermia to console the notably disturbed (and unmasked) Batman, which creates the slightly hilarious scene of Bruce recoiling into the shadow with a dramatic, "No, Bekka. Stay back...!"

By focusing on the human cost paid by Bruce Wayne in order to function as The Batman the story implies an interesting dual point. While it highlights the underlying humanity that is within Wayne, it quickly replaces that comment with the suggestion that he can exist on the same level as (New) Gods, completely removed from humanity! It is a very interesting perspective to observe.

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are all departing once again, but is it simply a vacation this time, or something more? We saw the trio take time out during 52 to recharge, but what if this time around it is to leave behind the DCU to ascend to a new purpose? As disappointing as it would be to lose these legends, do they not deserve the implied next stage? It would surely be a very bold move from the corporate DC Comics! More palatable that the veiled threat of another line-wide Crisis reboot, also!

I've got to make at least one mention of Dustin Nguyen's artwork!
I really enjoy his heavily stylized take on the character! His figures balance an energetic cartoon style with the emotive darkness one expects of a good Batman. Some of those shadows sometimes feel almost Mignola-esque, but are unmistakably Nguyen's! The digital colours on this issue's cover don't do the artwork justice, but interior colours, by Randy Mayor, do the trick!
This is polar opposite to Nguyen's recent pseudo-painted treatment on Detective Comics, but that's a review that will have to wait for another day...

We'll leave you with these vague ponderings as we press ever onward toward today! The next big checkpoint is the December Punch-Up where we'll be bathing in the statistical ramifications of all our Mortal Kombat/DC Universe posturing!

The Fight: 3.5 The Issue: 5.5

You can check out the collected edition of this hidden DC gem, as well as collections of the many other issues reviewed in the Secret Archives, by checking out our Amazon Gift Shoppe! With the holidays barrelling down on us it's the perfect way to shop for that comics fanboy in your life, or maybe even yourself! By using links provided on the Infinite Wars, or deviating from the same, you help sponsor future entries with every purchase you make! So take full advantage of Amazon's prices and convenience! Yays!

Wednesday, November 26, 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.


The Independents...
SEP084244 2000 AD #1611 $4.50
SEP084245 2000 AD #1612 $4.50
SEP082218 BODY BAGS (ONE SHOT) (MR) $5.99
MAY082196 BRIT #10 $2.99
JUL080020 END LEAGUE #6 $2.99
AUG082263 SAVAGE DRAGON #141 $3.50
JUL082211 WALKING DEAD #55 (MR) $2.99

The Corporates...
SEP080146 BLUE BEETLE #33 $2.99
SEP082327 CAPTAIN AMERICA #44 $2.99
SEP082331 DAREDEVIL #113 $2.99
SEP082369 NOVA #19 $2.99
SEP080203 PUSH #2 (OF 6) $3.50
SEP080118 REIGN IN HELL #5 (OF 8) $3.50
SEP082377 SHE-HULK 2 #35 $2.99
SEP080108 TEEN TITANS #65 $2.99
SEP080098 TRINITY #26 $2.99
SEP082385 TRUE BELIEVERS #5 (OF 5) $2.99
SEP082391 X-FORCE #9 $2.99

The Spotlight...
- AUG080132 BATMAN #681 RIP (NOTE PRICE) $3.99
The eagerly anticipated conclusion to Grant Morrison's fanboy opus, Batman RIP, concludes here! Can the Dark Knight survive the mysterious Black Glove's personal crusade to mentally break down the caped crusader? Has the Joker's ominous prophecy brought a grim end to the Batman? Is it time for the next generation to inherit the throne? Or will it be the consumate strategist who has the last laugh? Brace yourselves for a lot of "huh"'s as the year's biggest story wraps up in the pages of Batman, leading in to Final Crisis!

- SEP080145 BIRDS OF PREY #124 $2.99
Still milking The Killing Joke reference. If anyone wants to, feel free to let us know if/when the Joker came/will come face-to-face with Barara Gordon.

- SEP082340 HULK #8 $2.99
Art Adams draws Hulk pounding on Wendigo, and Frank Cho draws Rulk butting heads with the Lady Liberators (Thundra, Invisible Woman, She-Hulk, and Valkyrie). I swore I wouldn't be fooled again, but... but... but... Am I strong enough, Infinite Warriors? Are any of us?!? So.. much.. combat!

JSA continues to boil over the page limits of the regular series, this time to explore the wish fullfilments of the one true Gog! A now sane Starman's true mission is revealed, Dr. Mid-Nite catches up on some belated "articles" (wink, wink), Sandman catches up on some shut-eye, and Citizen Steel steps up to get his wish granted -- whether he wants to, or not! Embrace change, Gog loves you!

Brown-costume Wolverine throws his claws in the ring as he does battle with the master of kung-fu himself, Shang-Chi! Just the kind of gratuitous guest appearance this series has been waiting for! Booyah!

- SEP080164 WONDER WOMAN #26 $2.99
It's not all that often a Wonder Woman solicitation jumps out and grabs you, so I consider this a rarified and crucial moment in Gail Simone's tenure on the series. Aaron Lopresti returns to pencilling duties, which can only be a good thing, to draw a major epic in the WW mythos! The emergence of a Wonder Man?! All kinds of hoohah on the horizon as Wonder Woman clashes with Genocide and enters a Final Crisis-feulled epic!

Know Your Trade...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Top 25 Liberating Ladies
#1 Invisible Woman (Marvel)
#2 Wonder Woman (DC)
#3 Catwoman (DC)
#4 Storm (Marvel)
#5 Sonya Blade (Midway)
#6 Hawkgirl (DC)
#7 Rogue (Marvel)
#8 Tara (Marvel)
#9 Spitfire (Marvel)
#10 Sheeva (Midway)
#11 Wasp (Marvel)
#12 Kitty Pryde (Marvel)
#13 Black Canary (DC)
#14 Zatanna (DC)
#15 Elektra (Marvel)
#16 Hellcat (Marvel)
#17 R. Mika (Capcom)
#18 Black Cat (Marvel)
#19 Phoenix (Marvel)
#20 Black Widow (Marvel)
#21 Lyja (Marvel)
#22 Tabitha Smith (Marvel)
#23 She-Thing (Marvel)
#24 Powergirl (DC)
#25 Stargirl (DC)
One need only look at the vast audience featured on When Fangirls Attack, or the slew of recent covers that have undergone tweaks before release, to recognise that the "fangirl" has officially landed!

This vocal group of readers may be characterized by their subjective take on mainstream superheroes, but make no mistake. Their money is just as green as yours and mine, and with the increasing popularity of genre fiction and manga within the comics medium, the female readers are becoming relevant enough to command their own niche interests in the descriminate world of corporate-thinking.

If you haven't been reading Hulk books lately, you might be blissfully ignorant to the latest team banging heads at Marvel comics, but chances are you're no more savvy than anyone else.
Maybe I missed something vital, but this group appeared to come out of absolutely nowhere, and guess what -- they aren't Skrulls!

The original team lasted briefly when the Enchantress, disguised as Valkyrie, united the powers of Medusa, Wasp, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch, to thwart the do-gooding of Earth's mightiest mortals, the Avengers. It was a manipulation that vaguely mirrored the Loki-born legend of that superteam, but alas, the Lady Liberators were not to have the lasting effect of that other heroic collective.

The new team presumably revives the brand for maintenance reasons, clashing first with the rampaging Rulk. The idea, which clearly makes some gesture to appeal to gender equality in the male-dominated arena of superheroics, appears to have stuck.

Invisible Woman, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, and Thundra - in descending order of noteriety - make-up the core assembly of the new team, but many of Marvel's heavy hitting superheroines have joined the unofficial line-up. Storm, Hellcat, Tigra, and Black Widow have all made appearances, making the group versatile, if not one of the more interesting gatherings.

With the recent cancellation of She-Hulk, one wonders if this new grouping might have legs, and could indeed know how to use them, functioning as a versatile replacement for the solo-title.
In this post-Secret Invasion/pre-Dark Reign hanging space, it's hard to predict much of anything, but you can be sure this superhero fan will be keeping a curious eye on the Lady Liberators! In the tradition of the Defenders, it just seems so wacky it might even work!

Here, just a small selection of previously reviewed titles featuring the superhero smackdown that makes these Liberators serious players in the Marvel Universe! Note the first appearance of Thundra, as well as a little Hellcat to finish the list. Speaking of lists, you can follow the current top twenty-five ranked fighting females via the list above!

If you've been reading the adventures of the new Lady Liberators, have theories about the future of She-Hulk, or any other related subjects, I'd be very interested to hear from you. Sign-up is not required for comments, so speak freely, and let me know how this team came to be!

Fantastic Four #129 (December 1972)
"The Frightful Four -- Plus One!" Thomas/Buscema

Having returned from taking a licking at the hands of the Moleman, the FF are in pretty bad shape, and they get a little more lopsided when the hotheaded Johnny Storm announces he's going to live with Crystal in the Great Refuge.
Yeah, great timing kiddo. All this, and Sue's had to take the wheel while Reed snoozes, and Ben just made a woman-driver gag...

The fun doesn't stop for Marvel's first family, and before too long Reed and Sue are at each other when Agatha Harkness appears to tell them to collect their son Franklin, as she has matters of the utmost urgency to attend to.

You can't blame ol' blue eyes for taking a brisk stroll to clear his head, but it turns out that might just not have been such a great idea, when a scream rings out into the cold night air.

Defenders #43 (January 1977)
"This World is Mine!" Conway/Giffen/Janson

In an effort to capture a powerful mystic gem, known as the Star of Capistan, the villainous genius Egghead forms the self-proclaimed Emissaries of Evil. With Rhino, Solarr, and the insane Cobalt Man, Egghead draws his plans against the protector of the gem, Omar Karindu.

The Defenders become involved when Karindu arrives in New York to summon the aid of his old friend, Dr. Strange. Alas; unbeknownst to Karindu, the gem has already been able to exert it's will over the Sorceror Supreme; transforming him into the super powered, Red Rajah! A fact that also escapes Egghead's attentions, as he sends Solarr and Rhino into battle against a force they can't hope to defeat.

Meanwhile; the Defenders a potential disaster when they prevent the Cobalt Man from detonating a nuclear explosion in downtown Manhattan! Cobalt Man's failure prompts Egghead to finally resort to his own means, and so, the evil genius gathers his inventions of science for an assault on the Sanctum Sanctorum!

Fantastic Four #2 (February 1998)
"Be it Ever so Humble..." Lobdell/Davis

After the battle with Onslaught, the world believed the Fantastic Four and Avengers had perished, but to the delight of the world, the heroes returned a year later to the world they had left behind.

Unfortunately for the Fantastic Four, life had moved on in their absence, and their base of operations had been liquidated and revamped as the headquarters for the new team of super heroes: The Thunderbolts.

In need of a home, Reed Richards moves his family to his storage facility on the highliy appropriate Pier 4, but even as he gives his loving wife a new tour of their base of operations - something sinister is lurking in the shadows. Peril waits not for the Fantastic Four, as the Invisible Woman finds herself targetted by a mysterious assassin from another world!

She-Hulk #8 (December 2004)
"Engagement Ring" Slott/Bobillo

She-Hulk, having been appointed to the Magistrati, is employed to travel to the planet Skardon, where might makes right.

There, she is to employ her strength as She-Hulk to battle Tryco Slatterus, the Champion of the Universe. Entering the ring for legal battle, She-Hulk attempts to succeed where the Gladiator, Adam Warlock, Beta Ray Bill, the Silver Surfer, and Drax have all failed.

Needless to say, things don't go well, and the fight is stopped before She-Hulk is pounded into a mushy green paste. Using the brawn of her legal brain to request a rematch with the claim that the fight had been stopped while she was still able to go on, She-Hulk earns herself an 'appeal' in three months -- in the ring!
Now she just has to figure out that paste situation...

Spider-man Family #1 (April 2007)
"Catfight" Van Lente/Manfredi

Watch out, Rama-Tut! There are a couple of new cats in Chi-town, and they're about to come head-to-head in an afterhours catfight at the museum!

Black Cat is looking to drum up some business for her new security service, by personally testing the vulnerabilities of the museum's protection. Little does she know, Chicago is home to the heroic Hellcat!

It looks like Hellcat is going to have to defend her territory, but is this rookie hero's kung-fu a match for the cagey guile or the crafty Black Cat? Or will passing this Black Cat's path prove to be a turn of luck for the worst? Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Beastie Boys - Intergalactic (1998)

With their 1998 album, Hello Nasty, the Beastie Boys challenged invaders from Uranus to put their beats on trial. Their style proved sufficient to exile the aliens with undeniable style. Leading their lethal arsenal, Intergalactic!

The award winning accompanying video features loving parody of the kaiju and sentai traditions of Japanese SFX entertainment. While typically a niche interest, who could forget the famous battles between SHIELD and Godzilla, or any other number of crossovers we've seen with American comics and the mysterious East.

I've had both legs dangling in the kaiju pool, taking in classics like Godzilla vs King Kong, while investigating new and exciting ideas. Naturally, if I'm kaiju-goo-goo, then you're doin' it too. Hush hush, eye to eye.

If you like the Beastie Boys and want to check out some new music in that vein, then Pandora might very well be the service for you. If you haven't noticed, Energizer have teamed with the free online radio service, to launch a brand new message board community. The new Advanced Lithium battery has portable devices (and giant-size robots) in mind with it's longer lasting power and lighter build.

International readers might have a special motivation to sign-up, particularly now that Pandora has been forced to restrict access to users outside the US. You might like to sound-off on the boards, and let them know you're disappointed! Fight for your right to party, etc etc.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Death Moves (Malibu/Midway)
Mortal Kombat: Battlewave #6
When: August 1995 Why: Charles Marshall
How: Vinton T. Heuck

The Story So Far...
Held once every generation; the sanctity of Mortal Kombat was intended to be Earth's saving grace. By pitting their greatest warriors against the forces of Outworld in controlled one-on-one contests, they fend off invasion. Representing their evil emperor, Shao Kahn; Shang Tsung and Outworld's fighters need only win ten straight tournaments to be granted freedom to attack Earthrealm.

Lust for power led Shang Tsung to deviate from the course of traditional combat and pursue the powers of a mystic book called the Tao te Zhan. With the tournament compromised, Earth's greatest champions were forced into battle Goro outside of the rules, only to be flung into the depths of Outworld upon the champion's disappearance. Both hero and villain united their efforts to curtail the unleashed forces of the Tao te Zhan, but the Emperor is not so easily curbed.

In his bid to claim the realm of Earth, Shao Kahn takes full advantage of the kidnap of Sonya Blade. Intent on marrying her as a means of crossing the threshold between worlds, Shao Kahn has his minions manipulate the special forces agent's mind, but he failed to account for her friends...

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Shao Kahn 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Shang Tsung 5 (Professor)
Speed: Reptile 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Raiden 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Smoke 7 (Formless)
Fighting Ability: Goro 6 (Warrior)
Energy Power: Raiden 6 (UWMD)

- The Earthrealm warriors are: Raiden, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Jax, Johnny Cage, Bo, Sing, Sang, Kung Lao, Sub-Zero, Kitana, & Baraka.

As one of the key realms of the universe, Earthrealm is a land of great promise and potential. Protected by the god of thunder and lightning, Raiden, the Earth stands steadfast against it's opposition, survived by the courage of generations of warriors pledged to light and justice.

Among the great champions to spring from Earthrealm was the warrior called Kung Lao, who first earned victory in a tournament with Outworld. Kung Lao's reign may have been brought to an end by the Shokan Prince, Goro, but decades later his descendents carry on the flame. Liu Kang, accompanied by Kung Lao II, follows in his ancestors footsteps to become the new champion of Mortal Kombat.

- The Outworld warriors are: Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung, Goro, Kintaro, Reptile, Mileena, Smoke, Jade, Kano, & Scorpion.

The realm of Outworld was once the domain of the fabled Dragon King, whose desires to become immortal proved his undoing. Shao Kahn, once an advisor to Onaga, poisoned his master to usurp the throne. In doing so, Kahn destroyed one horror only to become a far worse alternative. His desire for power sees the invasion and conquest of many realms, such as the once beautiful kingdom of Edenia, which was merged into Outworld by the tyrant.

Shao Kahn's most recent preoccupation is Earth where the sorcerer, Shang Tsung, acted as an emmissary of Outworld in the tournament called Mortal Kombat. Ten victories in the tournament would earn Outworld the right to invade Earthrealm without the intervention of the gods. A warrior named Kung Lao once held the title, but his reign as champion was undone by a Shokan prince called Goro.

Outworld is home to many violent species, some displaced by the destruction or assimilation of their home realms. Within Kahn's empire are the nomadic mutant creatures, the Tarkata; the four-armed powerhouses, the Shokan; and the horse-legged Centaurians.

Math: Earthrealm (Ttl) Outworld (Avg) Ranking: Shang Tsung (#19)

What Went Down...
Having endured the hypnotic suggestion of Reptile - Sonya Blade is on the verge of accepting Shao Kahn's hand in marriage when a solitary voice echoes into the tyrant's chambers. Unintimidated by the collective of evil, Liu Kang stands proud, confident as the champion of the Temple of the Order of Light.

Goro, former champion of kombat, charges his newest nemesis with evil intent, but Kang is ready. He leaps the descending fist of the four-armed man-dragon and counters with a skillful kick that staggers the beast!

Shao Kahn's other minions descend with overwhelming numerical superiority, but just as they do, a hurricane wind and thunderous roar usher the arrival of Earth's protector god -- Raiden! Shang Tsung shoos his own allies away, intent on exacting revenge for one of his greatest opposers.

Coming to aid in the scrap are two more of Earth's destined warriors - Sonya's Special Forces partner, Jax, and the actor with a special affection for her, Johnny Cage. Together with Cage's bodyguard, Bo, the trio make an immediate impact against Reptile, Smoke, and Kano!

Just as Goro steps up to make the save, yet another warrior makes a dramatic entrance, this time the merged mortal whose soul is comprised of both living and dead -- Siang! Having been manipulated with the use of a rare gem, Siang again falls beneath the mystic control of Prince Goro, who himself was responsible for killing one of the brothers, Sang.

The rebel collective of Kitana, Kung Lao, Sub-Zero, and Baraka, enter to complete the opposition of Kahn's sinister plot. The Lin Kuei ice warrior, Sub-Zero, quickly renews his vendetta with the ninja whose spectre remains bound to torment so long as he lives. Scorpion is quick to sting, but finds an opponent at the ready!

While the blood fued boils on, kombat spills throughout Shao Kahn's throne room. Kung Lao battles Reptile, while the many other combatants tackle their own foes. The mutants Baraka and Mileena; Princess Kitana and her former ally, Jade; Bo against the combined prowess of Goro and Smoke; and Jax a double-team by Kintaro and Kano! It is a fitting conclusion that mirrors the struggle between realms that gathered these warring factions.

Baring witness to this bitter clash of nemesis', Shao Kahn achieves a moment of clarity. Recognising the passion that drives them to attain physical superiority, he questions the value of any attempt to bring the two sides together.

Even as he observes the mutual hatred shared by denizens of the opposing realms, Shao Kahn is set upon by his would-be bride, the Earthrealm agent he'd attempted to brainwash! Free from her programming, Sonya topples the Emperor with a jump kick to the back of the head!

It begins with a cackle and ends with a booming speech.
In an effort to bring about a conclusion, Shao Kahn declares a challenge to decide the superior force. Thus, Mortal Kombat begins anew, pitting the fighters from both worlds against each other in a race for a sacred artifact...

The Hammer...
After what really amounts to a series of dramatic introductions, we can only conclude that neither force gained certain enough a blow to obtain victory. Ergo, it is a draw for all concerned!

Now well into December, it seems we have quite a bit of catch-up to do. While this means we won't get to milk quite as much out of the month of Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe as originally intended, let it never be said that a Friday went unrepresented in the Infinite Wars!

MKvsDC Super Stock
#1 Batman (DC)
#2 Superman (DC)
#3 Shang Tsung (MK)
#4 Wonder Woman (DC)
#5 Catwoman (DC)
#6 Green Lantern (DC)
#7 Shao Kahn (MK)
#8 Sonya Blade (MK)
#9 Flash (DC)
#10 Raiden (MK)
#11 Kano (MK)
#12 Darkseid (DC)
#13 Deathstroke (DC)
#14 Kitana (MK)
#15 Sub-Zero (MK)
#16 Captain Marvel (DC)
#17 Lex Luthor (DC)
#18 Scorpion (MK)
#19 Joker (DC)
#20 Baraka (MK)
#21 Liu Kang (MK)
#22 Jax (MK)
The idea behind this post was to preceed next week's entry (which will feature Darkseid) with the classic MK boss who put the "Kahn" in Dark Kahn. Admittedly, impatience leaves us with a pretty vague entry for the character, but it's yet another opportunty to indulge in the vast cast of characters that Mortal Kombat has to offer.

Malibu Comics by no means made any kind of delicate effort to weave an intricate story of subtlty and subtext, but we should give them some credit. In practise it proves to be a fairly cumbersome idea, but I rather like the motivation behind Battlewave's interpretation of Sonya as famous captive of the Emperor during MKII.

Presumably inspired by the background that had many fans buzzing with theories in 1993; Sonya, in a subplot pulled straight from modern living, finds herself as the ticket for Kahn to be allowed what amounts to a visa into Earthrealm.
When put alongside established fact from the series - such as Kahn's wedlock to the Edenian Queen, Sindel - you can imagine the scheme as a trump card in the complicated game of the Elder Gods' rules.

What will be lost on neophytes is the fact that the second MK game exists as part of a farcical tournament that serves as little more than a distraction.
The much maligned cinematic sequel, Annihilation, revealed to unfortunate mainstream audiences the core plot of MK3/Trilogy pertaining to the resurrection of Sindel in Earthrealm. If we consider these backdoors into Earth as a routine practise for the conquerer, it stands to reason he might just as likely marry to gain entry into realms, as he is to fight. Whatever works, eh?

Man-slut doesn't really do this boss character justice, however.
Multiple fake-out deaths and a string of varying characterizations have left Kahn in a bit of a state. Back in the day you might have been naive enough to take his lauding exclamations as an acknowledgment from an honorable warrior, but cries of "excellent" and "outstanding" should never have taken away from his menace!

Kahn dealt super-power blows at a cut-price to gamers who made it far enough to enter his arena. Like Bison/Vega before him, Kahn represented the stuff of legend to fans who believed Mortal Kombat's digitized graphics, cartoon gore, and mythologically inspired storyline was king of the arcade.
As much as is possible in storylines dependent on such big and loud plot-twists, I like to think of Kahn as a respectable warrior who is as cunning as he is powerful. A character who is master not only of harsh hand-to-hand combat, but also the dark mystic arts that allow him insight into his allies, enemies, and the world around him.

It's characters like Shao Kahn that gave me fairly high hopes for the meeting between Mortal Kombat and the DC Universe. It felt like an ideal opportunity to take advantage of a T-rated audience quite possibly trained to indulge further in the story and character driven events that surround the DC characters. It was disappointing that the series, largely unrecognised or mocked by other fanbases, could not rise to the challenge.

If Midway can fight to live another day, it will be very interesting to see where they take the series in it's first focused step into this current generation of consoles. With iterations that improve in some way the previous fight engine, Mortal Kombat appears to have a plan for the future, even if this type of scenario has crumbled to mediocrity before. With financial destruction looming, the future of MK remains a very interesting subject.

While we play catch up, be sure to tune in daily for the annual DC/Marvel Fantasy Fight polls, and much more in the Infinite Wars!

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 3

For more on Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe, check out the official website, our Q&A interviews with Jimmy Palmiotti and Hans Lo, and our series of character spotlights and discussions: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, clues special, bonus one, two, three, four and Dark Kahn spotlight, Final MK cast, Final DC cast! ALSO: C2C editions Mortal Kombat vs DCU, Finish Him...!, Heroic Brutality, Heroic Fatality, Mooortal Kombaat!

Don't forget! The holidays are right around the corner! For the fanboy in your life, the Infinite Wars Gift Shoppe offers a range of the titles derived from the many issues reviewed in the Secret Archives! You'll not only find a great Amazonian deal, but also help sponsor the site by using purchase links provided! Cheers!

Wednesday, November 19, 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.


The Independents...
SEP084251 ATOMIC ROBO DOGS OF WAR #4 (OF 5) $2.95
AUG082250 DYNAMO 5 #18 $3.50
SEP080042 GOON #30 $2.99
JUN082263 INVINCIBLE #55 $2.99
SEP082238 LUCHA LIBRE TP VOL 01 $14.99
AUG082235 WALKING DEAD HC VOL 04 (MR) $29.99

The Corporates...
SEP082383 AGE OF SENTRY #3 (OF 6) $2.99
AUG080122 AMBUSH BUG YEAR NONE #4 (OF 6) $2.99
SEP082322 AVENGERS INVADERS #6 (OF 12) $2.99
JUL082278 FANTASTIC FOUR #561 $2.99
SEP080150 FLASH #246 $2.99
SEP082355 MOON KNIGHT #24 $2.99
SEP082410 PUNISHER MAX #64 (MR) $2.99
SEP080132 ROBIN #180 $2.99
SEP080166 SPIRIT #23 $2.99
SEP080107 TERRA #2 (OF 4) $2.99
SEP080097 TRINITY #25 $2.99
SEP082399 X-MEN WORLDS APART #2 (OF 4) $3.99

The Deep Dish...
- SEP082336 GHOST RIDER #29 $2.99
Okay, apparently this is the much anticipated showdown between the spirits of vengeance, Johnny Blaze and Dan Ketch. Apparently we jumped the gun a few months ago... And apparently to differentiate the two Ghost Riders, Danny's flaming skull is blue. Fair enough!

The Kingdom Come tie-ins continue as JSA rolls out another character specific special and a new chapter sure to further complicate the identity of the titular villain? According to solicitations, at least, Magog was once Lance Corporal David Reid, until he was resurrected as the herald of the one-true Gog! I'll be honest -- I have no idea what's going on -- but it all looks very good!

Okay, I know you're out there! Ravenous Tigra fans, you demanded retribution, and it's coming from the ever reliable Marvel Adventures line! A great source for classic superhero comics, this is a title those reviled by New Avengers #35 need to pick up!

- SEP088005 SPIRIT SPECIAL #1 $2.99
If you're eagerly anticipating Frank Miller's solo directorial debut, then the Spirit Special is a great opportunity to get a first-hand look of what the character began as. Featuring works of the late great Will Eisner, the Spirit Special dedicates itself to the traditional work upon which Miller appears to be putting his distinct style on.

- SEP080119 TANGENT SUPERMANS REIGN #9 (OF 12) $2.99
Batman's battles with Superman remain some of the most popular on the site [Dark Knight Returns #3, Dark Knight Strikes Again #1, Batman #611, Batman #612, Superman/Batman #23] but as the Dark Knight teams with his Tangent Universe Earth-9 counterpart, and his team of Outsiders, it's a chance to experience the classic rivalry in a whole new way! Great for alternate universe buffs, fans of the Stan Lee reinvisionings, or anyone keen to explore more of the post-52 multiverse!

- SEP082386 THUNDERBOLTS #126 $2.99
Keen to keep an eye on the Thunderbolts over the next few months! Alright, the theory that they're the Dark Avengers might not be spot on, but you've got to admit. The thought the team that began as villains masquerading as heroes might actually be officially placed in the spolight as the Avengers is delicious! It's like Baron Zemo's sinister plot finally coming to fruition in ways the promise of Warren Ellis' run on the title never fulfilled, but might finally be able to without the baggage of the writer's name!

Transplanted: The Dark Avengers as Thunderbolts -- Super-Patriot (aka; Robbie Baldwin), Ms. Marvel (aka; Dr. Karla Sofen), Wolverine (aka; Andreas von Strucker), Venom (aka; Mac Gargan), Hawkeye (aka; Lester surname unknown).

Know Your Trade...
SEP082238 LUCHA LIBRE TP VOL 01 $14.99
AUG082235 WALKING DEAD HC VOL 04 (MR) $29.99