Friday, May 29, 2009

Rise of the Olympian Part 7:
Compound Fracture (DC)
Wonder Woman #32 When: July 2009
Why: Gail Simone How: Aaron Lopresti

The Story So Far...
Created as a living weapon of pure malevolence by Cheetah and the scientists of The Society, the creature known as Genocide has successfully bested Wonder Woman and her Justice League allies in their every encounter.

As a dark mirror to the Amazonian warrior for peace, Genocide has spread death and destruction to everything she touches, using the Lasso of Truth as a weapon of negative psychic energy to manipulate and disorientate Wonder Woman and her friends.

Having fought off the advances of Zeus' new chosen warrior, Achilles, she now returns her attentions and fury to the evil mirror using her own gifted Lasso as a weapon against the ones she loves. Having learnt the dark truth about Genocide, only one Amazon can survive, but will it be Wonder Woman?

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Genocide 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Wonder Woman 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 5 (Superhuman)
Stamina: Genocide 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Genocide 7 (Living Weapon)
Energy: Genocide 3 (Explosives)

- The creature called Genocide was designed as a weapon of pure malevolence, fashioned by T.O. Morrow and the most brilliant and deranged scientific minds within the membership of The Society. Approved during Libra's reign over the union of villains, and overseen by Cheetah, the golem-like creature was created using a similar mystic ritual to animate clay with life that gave birth to Wonder Woman. By collecting samples of soil from the darkest corners of the Earth, the taint of genocidal attrocities committed over the past one hundred years embued the creature with vile inclinations when given life by the magic of Felix Faust.

From this tainted Earth was born a creature as powerful as Wonder Woman, only as despicable as she is kind. Genocide possesses abilities additional to Wonder Woman's strength, speed, and endurance, including using the Lasso of Truth as a conduit to amplify negative psychic energy. Through this technique Genocide can channel concussive blasts, amplify negative emotions, and cause erratic behaviour.

Panel Edited for dimension, but not content. WONDER WOMAN IS REALLY THAT BAD ASS!!!- Commanded by the Greek gods to carve a child from clay; the Amazonian Queen, Hippolyta, bore witness to the animation of this child as her daughter, Diana. The child was enchanted with abilities comaprable to those of the gods themselves; fantastic speed, strength, agility, and endurance. With the teachings of Gaea and the peaceful Amazon warriors to guide her, Princess Diana grew to be their greatest champion, as powerful as she was gentle -- Wonder Woman!

When the Princess was of age she was the natural choice of the warrior women of Themyscira to carry their message of of peace and harmony to the world of man. There, she served not only as a diplomat, but as a founding member of the Justice League whose legend grew to be one of the greatest heroes on Earth.

Math: Genocide Ranking: Wonder Woman (#13)

What Went Down...
Crash landing in the busy streets of Washington DC's business district, Wonder Woman leaves a streaming crater from her crash landing. Responsible for her sudden descent - Genocide - a twisted version of herself tainted by the dark magics of Ares and her deadliest enemies. With only a moment's pause, Wonder Woman compells local law enforcement to clear the area, doing her best to protect the innocent from the carnage that will be unleashed.

Moving at incredible superhuman speeds, Wonder Woman charges along the main street with the conviction of a hero out of patience. She brings both fists colliding into either side of the head of a flat-footed Genocide, following rapidly with an elbow to the jaw, and raking nails that rip Genocide's spiked visor from her face.

Urbana crumbles as Wonder Woman charges Genocide's body through cement and ponders the necessity death might play under the stakes at hand. Genocide is not ready to go down without a fight, however, reversing the momentum with a swing of Wonder Woman's hair! The evil creature defies any expectation of stupidity, denying Wonder Woman's ability to out-think her. References to the torture of Etta Candy - WW's friend - and knowledge to be used to hurt others become Genocide's weapons in a secondary psychological assault.

With superhuman strength, the creature tosses Wonder Woman like an overgrown discus with sufficient force to penetrate a nearby bus. The toss leaves a clump of the Amazon warrior's hair clutched in Genocide's hand, held with a grim boastful prophecy of Wonder Woman's death.

Genocide's actions had made as many enemies as Wonder Woman's had friends, inviting the interference of Agent Tom Tressman and TO Morrow pilotting an invisible helicopter from the Department of Metahuman Affairs. With the best of intentions they fire a missile into the empty street, but even unconventional weaponry, such as a probability bomb invented by Amos Fortune, proves grossly inefficient against the evil Morrow helped to conceive. The dust stirred by the explosion helps to obscure Genocide's retrieval of a populated city bus -- which she hurls as her own missile toward the copter!

Before Wonder Woman can take flight to save her fellows, Genocide snags her ankle and drags her back down to Earth. The grappling, however, serves to bring Wonder Woman into close quarters, where she unleashes a fierce left-right hook combination. With the beast staggered, she pulls the tiara from her head, using the sturdy metal to slash violently at Genocide's throat!

While Genocide clutches her gushing throat - Wonder Woman leaps to the aid of the bus full of people, forsaking the helicopter to crash. The Shield emerges to help evacuate bystanders to safety, but a recovered Genocide is able to retrieve Tom Tressman from the chopper wreckage. She uses the stolen lasso of truth to force upon Tressman revelations about Wonder Woman's true feelings toward him, crushing hopes of romance.

Wielding her tiara as a weapon once more, Wonder Woman charges, slashing Genocide's arm to break the tendons that control her grip on Tressman. With the Agent freed, Wonder Woman delivers an uppercut that props the monster into the air. From there, she clutches the stunned beast and flys hard and fast for the Earth's outer atmosphere. It is the beginning of her end game!

Flame engulf Amazon and abomination alike as they burn on a pointed reentry.
Fighting on the way down, the duo crash through the Earth to the subway system below, where serendipity brings a speeding train to collide with the monster.

Unrelenting in her follow through, Wonder Woman takes full advantage of the train, catching the airborne creature to fly it back toward the streets. A fist provides the punctuation to drive the fiend through layers of concrete to the surface. Even so, such a blow is still insufficient to finish the power concerned.

Genocide strikes back with another blow, fighting as if the stakes were of a terran fist fight, rather than the high speed airborne struggle they are locked in. They continue to trade blows, a choike hold, a polish hammer, an elbow to the nose, and a headbutt that finally puts the beast on the back foot.

Emitting a regret detected by the creature's tainted use of her lasso, Wonder Woman leaps around onto Genocide's back and in spite of the terror and conflict inflicted upon her and her friends, apologises. With storm clouds gathering to provide a dramatic backdrop, Wonder Woman clutches the lasso of truth in her fists and rips it from Genocide's body, reclaiming it from the tainted golem.

The agony, or perhaps even mythic implications, of the lasso's removal is enough to send Genocide's limp body hurtling toward the ocean depths below. Wonder Woman could save her, but chooses not to. It is a revenge fitting for a monster whose sole purpose was to spread the evil it was born from. This, however, is not the end for Genocide. Eventually Wonder Woman attempts to recover the body, but finds none, for it has already been claimed in the name of Ares.

Genocide will return.

The Hammer...
Well, for the second time actually, I give you your winner: Wonder Woman!

Yes, I actually already wrote the last third of this article a few days ago, but a nasty mishap with a loose sleeve, a touchpad mouse, and Blogger's auto-save function, meant I faced the demoralizing task of doing it all over again. As you can imagine, the first version was much better.
Still, in taking some time to find the positive, I realise it's given me opportunity to reflect more upon the details of these closing thoughts.

As tends to be the case, there was a bit of a patronizing tone to the original discussion I wrote. It's a bad habit I'm sure I share with many other commentators who feel the need to constantly discuss Wonder Woman like it's a puzzle that needs solving, rather than a comic series to be reviewed.
What probably doesn't help is the fact that: Wonder Woman needs fixing.

She isn't necessarily broken, but as a franchise, WW just isn't performing to a standard that you would expect of a character generally sharing banners and lunchboxes with Superman and Batman -- DC's superhero holy "Trinity".

There's a tendency to look past the on-going series toward fabled projects like Adam Hughes' All-Star Wonder Woman, or Grant Morrison's promise to make-up for Wonder Woman's diminished role in Final Crisis with a story of her own. Like a lot of other readers, I'm thrilled by the prospect of a special project like those, (particularly Morrison's), but is this really the tactic to elevate the character to the status she deserves?

I wouldn't say there's been an excess of pressure on Gail Simone, but it's difficult not to look at her work with added scrutiny. Like every writer who tackles the character, [Simone] shoulders the baggage of previous attempts to revamp the series for a modern audience. Though not in the echelon of A-list writers, Simone's work has garnered cult fandom sufficient enough to make her appointment to the series feel like a statement. It hasn't appeared nearly as conceited a shift as recent efforts, like the ill fated white bodysuit secret agent escapades in Allan Heinberg and the Dodsons' relaunch, but there's a feeling that Simone has been given the opportunity to elevate her own status off the back of recentering the Wonder Woman title.

Aaron Lopresti's clean and (usually) attractive artwork might not boost the book into the top ten sales as instantly as other names, but he does well to serve the return to good old fashioned superheroics that defines this run.
There's a sense that maybe Simone (and/or DC editorial) is trying to hang the hat of the title on an epic that balances elements from various periods, combining mythology with superheroes. I don't know how successful the story is at building the gravitas it aims for, but it feels so much more productive by investing in this type of basic forward movement, rather than sitting, waiting for the short-lived fruits of a messiah like Hughes or Morrison. In this respect, Simone has arguably been the writer picked to oversee the most successful incarnation of the series in recent times. One that doesn't indulge an unhealthy obsession with creating the next important 'graphic novel' or Dark Knight Returns for Wonder Woman.

It isn't all glowing praises, however...
Genocide, the character who stars in this particular issue, is just a little too ridiculous to be the kind of heavy-hitting villain Wonder Woman has lacked. Like some of the worst characters to come out of the nineties, Genocide boils down to spikes, a gaudy costume, and a bad attitude. She is to WW what Doomsday was for Superman, and Bane for Batman. Not that this character had the misfortune of actually being sold as indefinitely successful against her prospective foe, unlike those villains that killed and crippled DC's other leading heroes. I guess there are some advantages to being the struggling icon, particularly when your creator had the foresight to mandate a regular publishing schedule.

Time will tell if Genocide becomes one of those wacky creations that finds artistic balance through later context, or is damned to the annals of shame like the many burly harbingers of doom that came before her/it. [I'm still a little unclear on the revelation of the whole future-tainted-Wonder-Woman situation...]

I like Wonder Woman as a character a great deal, so it's nice to at least feel compelled to buy the comic. From our pseudo-sports league perspective, Wonder Woman's finally fighting her way into the top ranks, but you need only look at our archive of reviews to see how little of that has come from the Wonder Woman series itself. It's a predicament that speaks to the nature of Wonder Woman's struggle as a marketable hero, always present by association (ie; JLA), but never quite successful as a solo presence. Who knows if we'll ever actually get to see that long promised Wonder Woman feature film, or if it'll avoid the pitfalls of being mindless drivel with Hollywood's latest 'hot young thing' in an invisible plane and star-spangled panties. You'll forgive me if I consider Megan Gale a massive Australian bullet dodged, pretty though she may be.

I don't know if Rise of the Olympian will be the trade paperback [*ahem* "graphic novel"] that everyone will have to have on their shelf, but it's produced some of the better issues I've seen in recent times. It might be a bit of an underhanded compliment, but by being slightly less ambitious than previous revamps, it feels like things are finally heading in the right direction. It'll take time before I look at Wonder Woman as a must-read from month to month, but it's been fun at least indulging in some Amazon fisticuffs with super-villains. More than I could have said of other recent tales. [Don't tell Greg Rucka I said that!]

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 4.5

Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti continue their run on Wonder Woman monthly. Unfortunately, at the time of this posting, I was unable to find any collected editions containing this issue, but you'll find previous chapters of "Rise of the Olympian" in the trade posted to the right (containing issues #20-#27). You'll also find plenty of other stories, including a few with Wonder Woman in them, in the Infinite Wars Amazon Gift Shoppe. If Wonder Woman were to endorse any online store, I'd like to think would be the most fitting. Not only that, by using purchase links provided on the site, you help sponsor truth, justice, and future reviews! Check out the Secret Archives or character tags at the bottom of posts to navigate your way to more materials.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mountain Dew® is proud to introduce Game Fuel:
Two limited-time-only flavors inspired by the
hit video game World of Warcraft.
Choose Your Side with Alliance Blue, or Horde Red. Only from Mountain Dew® Game Fuel™, get a free 14-day-trial of World of Warcraft, or an in-game battlebot pet.
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.

Advertise here! Contact for more!

The Independents...

FEB094438 2000 AD #1633 $4.50
MAR094402 2000 AD #1634 $4.50
MAR094066 ARCHIE #597 $2.50
MAR092424 DEAD AT 17 ULTIMATE ED TP $24.99
MAR094079 DELLEC #0 $1.99
MAR094037 GLAMOURPUSS #7 $3.00
NOV082260 GODLAND #28 (RES) $2.99
MAR092411 POWER UP GN $12.99
MAR090069 USAGI YOJIMBO #120 $3.50

The Corporates...
MAR092538 DARK REIGN ELEKTRA #3 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
MAR092542 DARK REIGN HOOD #1 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
MAR092573 IMMORTAL IRON FIST #26 $2.99
MAR090159 LAST DAYS OF ANIMAL MAN #1 (OF 6) $2.99
MAR092553 MS MARVEL #39 DKR $2.99
MAR090216 STARCRAFT #1 $2.99
MAR090142 SUPERMAN #688 $2.99
FEB092578 WOLVERINE #72 $2.99
MAR090169 WONDER WOMAN #32 $2.99

The Spotlight...
Throughout 2009 at we've gradually been seeing the lasting effects of Civil War undone as Dark Reign puts the fear of the boogey man into the power-run-amok concept. The Initiative, born directly of decisions made under the Stark regime of Civil War, was always going to be one of the most direct transition points for this shift of "status quo" in the Marvel Universe. Colliding the Thunderbolts model that has been an under current of Dark Reign -- the Initiative and it's morally ambiguous trainers now become a potential private army for Norman Osborn's HAMMER agency. That is, of course, assuming the wolf-in-sheep's clothing doesn't decide to devour Taskmaster and his Initiative allies. This is one of those books that had great high concepts, but just never looked seasoned to my tastes. With previews showing off Taskmaster and the gang -- and that flavour of B-list villains that Dark Reign's been great for -- I'm ready to finally take a look.

- FEB090180 GREEN LANTERN #41 $2.99
It's been one of the hottest titles of the last few years, but I've got to admit, two years of anticipation for Blackest Night has begun to weigh heavily on Green Lantern. As much as the War of Light has condensed massive amounts of introductory concept into the pages of the series, it just feels like we're dragging our feet a little ahead of the main event. GL Corps has been the stand-out title, housing much of the major battling between the different Corps of light. That said; with the twist that there is in fact only one Orange Lantern, and the knowledge that Hal Jordan will probably be grabbing one of those rings, it's an intriguing situation to be in. It's just a shame the balance of plotlines has maybe erred a little too far in favour of this one. Not that Geoff Johns hasn't done well to keep a tab on B-plots.

- MAR092535 NEW AVENGERS #53 DKR $3.99
The search for the new Sorcerer Supreme continues in New Orleans as Brother Voodoo emerges as the chosen candidate! With Son of Satan on hand for the battle with The Hood, you just can't escape the on-going revival of seventies icons a lot of the current crop of writers probably have reverence for. It's great to see Brother Voodoo elevated above a punchline, and the story's actually been energetic and character-filled enough to distract from the fact that we're losing Dr. Strange (as Sorcerer Supreme). Hopefully the demotion is a blessing in disguise for the Doc! Maybe he can finally get back into some stories without the baggage and fear of being Marvel's totemic magic-guy! It's Marvel, so we can probably expect him back in the position in a couple of years. Am I right?...

- MAR092601 X-FORCE #15 XMW $2.99
Intellectually, everything about this book is wrong. I know this.
With the brief exception of the Mike Allred (X-Statix) abberation, X-Force is historically a highly dubious 100+ issue series best known for being the golden goose of Rob Liefeld's tyrannical empire. Worse still: poster-villain of that very period - Stryfe - is apparently the driving force behind these issues. Yet, for some bizarre reason, this might actually be the most interesting X-book out there right now. I don't quite understand it, myself.


Know Your Trade...
MAR092424 DEAD AT 17 ULTIMATE ED TP $24.99
MAR092668 ESSENTIAL X-MEN TP VOL 09 $19.99
MAR092411 POWER UP GN $12.99
DEC082421 X-MEN HC INFERNO $75.00

Monday, May 25, 2009

This Is How We Do It (DC)
Where: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1
When: July 2009 Why: Joe Casey How: ChrisCross

Strength: Razzle 4 (Enhanced)
Intelligence: Most Excellent Superbat 3 (Straight A)
Speed: WS Sonic Lightning Flash 6 (Mach-Speed)
Stamina: WS Sonic Lightning Flash 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Shy Crazy Lolita Canary 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Most Excellent Superbat 4 (Trained)
Energy: Big Atomic Lantern Boy 5 (Lasers)

Math: Super Young Team
Ranking: Draw (Not Ranked)

Longtime readers know 2009 has been something of an experiment for the Infinite Wars, marking the first year we've actually followed the goings on of the weekly shipping list, as it happens [albeit, severely behind update schedule]. In many ways, this has been the concept of the comic book fight club living up to it's claim. In our monthly punch-up updates, the top five has gradually morphed around the biggest hits of each week, creating a reflection on superheroes that's been more topical, if not more accurately reflective of their successes in comics.

Unfortunately, by waiting for the best hits of the week, it means we've all but lost touch with subjects like the 2008/2009 mini-series epic, Final Crisis.

You'll need a good memory to recall just how the hype-bubble of anticipation built around DC's summer epic, only to burst amidst thoroughly disappointing confusion and mediocrity from readers.

A mere storytelling device -- one you would have thought readers from the internet age could've appreciated; rapid fire observation of 'the important bits' -- managed to completely kill the buzz that surrounded unique concepts like; Jack Kirby's returning forgotten hero, Sonny Sumo, and the Japanese heroes with powers of pop-culture, The Super Young Team.

Unfortunately, by not getting past the second issue in our reviews of Final Crisis, we haven't had an opportunity to really dig in to all the wonderful possibilities that the series presented. Sure, we managed to get out some articles about what the Justice League could've looked like post-FC [Justice League: America, Resistance, Task Force, International]; but the passion and excitement the story stirred has somewhat passed us by -- a fact that already speaks volumes about the effect Final Crisis Aftermath is having...

I can't claim to be any kind of expert on Japan, but I know enough about the potential of vague archetypes to anticipate the prospect of any degree of filtered Japanese pop-culture references in "our" Western corporate comics -- particularly in the hands of a competent and mindful writer. Despite the obvious dominance of American super-heroes; there was a wonderful international awareness about Final Crisis, one that seems to be of the many strengths of writer Grant Morrison, who helmed the series, and created the Super Young Team who were actually first divised (apparently) during his time on 52, along with the Chinese super-human government heroes seen in 52 and Checkmate, Great Ten.

What we ultimately got in the pages of Final Crisis was a glimpse -- a tease of a concept that was crying out for elaboration. A Final Crisis Sketchbook gave eager readers the chance to learn more about the story behind the story of the Super Young Team, but it seemed unlikely a corporate company could invest in such a niche concept, let alone find a writer competent enough to carry it off. For the time being, it looked as if the characters would live and die within the span of a few issues, not unlike Sonny Sumo's initial four-issue career in Forever People.

Enter Joe Casey: well-known buddy to Morrison and previously boy wonder to the Scot's stylish 2001 revamp of the X-Men franchise for Marvel ["New X-Men"].

Morrison - described as 'taking a break from superheroes after Final Crisis' - might not have been tackling his creations straight away, but given the past success found with Casey's tandem work on X-Men; not to mention his own penchant for modern writing and referencial story beats; things looked good when DC announced their line of four single-title Final Crisis Aftermath series. Sure, some of the excitement of the initial series has dissipated, but that could always be recaptured by new stories with the characters, right?...

While the passion to articulate the words might have faded, I still maintain that Final Crisis was one of the most significant and delightful series we've seen from DC or Marvel this decade. It played with the superhero platform (super-genre) in so many ways and on so many levels that it really had the potential to be looked back upon as a landmark moment for the industry. It could have been a handbook for what's expected of company comics, providing wholely acceptable and fiction based easy-outs for the the awkward pressures of franchise maintenance, all while embracing, revelling in, and embellishing the superhero concept.

Super Young Team were a part of expanding the horizons of the American superhero, giving it a chance to be reobserved with a double-whammy of outside influence, and outsider interpretation. I would've loved to have been reading a high intencity comic revelling in the hi-tech landscape of Tokyo City, soaking in the bright lights reflected off super-sentai helmets, all while awaiting a cliffhanger ending to a battle with kaiju monsters from space. Concepts as iconic as any Gotham City showdown with mentally ill clowns, but with an extra spice added to our steady consumption of a diet of superheroes.

Alas; while Casey latches on to the vaguely metatextual observations introduced by Morrison across the entire Final Crisis story, it lacks any of the imagination or exotic context to give it an extra spark. Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance goes so far to as actually position the Super Young Team in American management, with American party guests, dancing in their American (styled) headquarters.

Nothing about the energy of the issue -- of which there is plenty to go around -- feels as if it connects with those original concepts. Also disappointing, but not without it's blessings, is the absence of the short-lived fan-favourite and ally of Super Young Team, Sonny Sumo, who seems to have faded back to obscurity after his brief liaison with stardom throughout the latter half of 2008.

Structurally, Casey puts together a reasonably fulfilling first issue script.
I've griped in the past about certain styles and issues that have fallen well below what I would expect of a professionally written first issue, but this one bounces straight into it's ideas with generous helpings of introduction and some action.

On the action front (around which we structure posts on the Infinite Wars) -- the Super Young Team confront their first post-FC nemesis on the dance floor.

While a drunken Rising Sun shouts more [RE: Final Crisis #2] about the virtues of the previous generation and the unqualified power of Generation Y; the super-human promoter of Super Young Team's coming out party starts trouble when he demands unrestricted access to Shiny Happy Aquazon's pants.

As a side-note; before the promoter literally transforms into a scaley-beast, he makes a reference to his opinion that anime and manga as fads are over.
While that might be true to some extent, at least in the United States; it feels like an unfortunate kick in the face of exactly what this issue needed. I can't help but wonder if this was a deliberate reference by Casey to his direction, or just a subconscious attitude seeping through into the pages he was writing.

When the intentionally lame-named Razzle reveals himself to the audience, Shiny Happy Aquazon snatches the liquid from nearby drinks to construct an aquakinetic weapon (that's her power, duh). Before she gets a chance to use it, however, the jealous secret admirer, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, fires off a blast of radioactive energy from his funky chest porthole!

While Aquazon pines about having her moment of glory stolen, the rest of the team leap into the very public display of action. Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash uses his legitimate super-speed to whip Razzle into a frenzy, leading Shy Crazy Lolita Canary to deliver a modulated sonic scream that sets the skeezy villain up for a flying martial arts kick delivered by Most Excellent Superbat.

As you can no doubt tell from the colourful panels above, it's a pretty decent little action scene, far more than we might have expected of the poseurs whose biggest powers in Final Crisis seemed to be being Japanese and having a car.

ChrisCross does a nice enough job with the art, even if what he has to draw isn't terribly exciting in the scheme of expectation. Vast expanses and generic extras are mostly occupied by an a spectrum array of colour provided by Snakebite.
Those (disco) colours, and the haze that accompanies them in some scenes, can be seen in all of the panels above, perhaps most graphically applied to the shots of Big Atomic Lantern Boy and Most Excellent Superbat.

This, by no means, is a bad comic book, but after everything we were inspired to imagine, it inevitably falls flat. Creating superheroes from the familiarity of the medium and the referencial methods we use in comics strikes me as a way of the future, but this is not how you take them forward.

An appearance by the ghostly image of a mythic legacy character - "Ultimon" - is one of the high points that promises something a little more ethnic of the next issue, but there's a danger it only ties back to a more American conspiratory plot-twist. There are clear signs here that the four-issue mini-series has a specific story to tell that will involve conflict around the world, but I'd much rather be seeing an on-going series written by Grant Morrison. Something quite unlikely, should the book fail to sell strongly. Tragic irony.

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 3.5
Winner: Super Young Team
(w/ Shiny Happy Aquazon)

You'll find collected editions of Final Crisis Aftermath and the original Final Crisis series available online at Amazon! These, and collections featuring other issues reviewed in the Secret Archives, are available in our Mecha Magnificent Online Store. By using purchase links provided on the site, you help sponsor future entries in the Infinite Wars.
In coming months we will no doubt return to Final Crisis to elaborate further on issues not yet reviewed on the site. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Living in Darkness: Part 5 (Marvel)
Punisher #5 When: July 2009
Why: Rick Remender How: Jerome Opena

The Story So Far...
When opportunity presented itself, Norman Osborn branded former Director of SHIELD and man in whom the people put their trust, Tony Stark, a traitor and coward. A conspiracy of events, including the secret invasion of disguised Skrull aliens, created the circumstances through which the former Green Goblin was able to elevate himself from directorial position within the Thunderbolts, to the head of a newly formed intelligence agency replacing the corrupted SHIELD.

Recognising Osborn for the man he truly is -- (rather than the man records show was once wrongly accused of being a super-villain) -- the Punisher sets out to do the thing he knows best: wage a bloody war on the bad guys!

Standing in Frank Castle's way is a network of allies Osborn has formed both on the right and wrong sides of the law. After clashing with membership of Osborn's Avengers, he now faces the ire of card carrying powers from Osborn's secret Cabal, forcing him into a much less public fight with the self-proclaimed "Kingpin of super-villains," Parker Robinson, aka; The Hood. Joined by whiz hacker "Henry," Punisher attempts to turn the tables on his pursuer, but the Hood's demonic powers will provide a twist Frank Castle could not possibly have a contingency for, bringing him face-to-face with an old friend and new enemy...

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Mr. Hyde 5 (Superhuman)
Intelligence: Punisher 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Mr. Hyde 3 (Street Wise)
Stamina: Mr. Hyde 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Razor Fist 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Razor Fist 5 (Martial Arts)
Energy: Punisher 4 (Arsenal)

- When his family was murdered by the mob for witnessing a gangland execution, Frank Castle dedicated himself to a zealous one-man war against all organized crime as The Punisher.

Drawing upon his extensive training as a soldier during the Vietnam War; Castle adopts the death's head skull as his symbol, dealing death to gangsters, drug dealers, kidnappers, and any other criminal who crosses his path.During his career as the Punisher he continues to hone his abilities while also amassing a wealth of standard and unusual munitions, including supernatural and super-science weapons stolen from super-villains he has defeated. Combined with a rare tactical mind for warfare, and his skills in hand-to-hand combat, Frank Castle's arsenal makes him a formidable opponent even for superhuman targets.

Prominent enemies include; Jigsaw, Kingpin, Bullseye, Barracuda, Ma Gnucci. Violent activity in New York has made Punisher a regular sparring partner (and sometimes ally) for heroes such as Spider-man and Daredevil, as well.

Most recently, Castle has set his sights on Norman Osborn; the former Green Goblin who usurped Tony Stark's position as the head of the foremost intelligence agency connected to super-powers. Punisher's attempts at assassination have earned him the attentions of Osborn's allies, including members of the Avengers and the legion of villains operating under the leadership of The Hood.

- The Hood's Super-Villains are: Brothers Grimm (Grimes), Mr. Hyde, Grizzly, Razor Fist, and Microchip.

A series of attacks on rival criminals and low rankings superheroes earned Parker Robinson the role he sought as Kingpin of Super-Villains in New York City. Tigra and the The Owl were among the first key victims in a showing of strength that gained The Hood the trust and loyalty afforded by cult status within the ranks of the underworld.

The Hood's immediate associations include the demonic sorceror who sponsors his powers, Dormammu, as well as members of the secret organization called The Cabal. Their ranks include Norman Osborn, Dr. Doom, Loki, Sub-Mariner, and Emma Frost.
Among the prominent figures holding membership within Hood's syndicate of villains are; Jigsaw, The Wrecking Crew, Madam Masque, The Wizard, Crimson Cowl, The Controller, Electro, Grey Gargoyle, Night Shift, Living Laser, Scarecrow, Nitro, Mr. Hyde, Purple Man, Razor Fist, and Tombstone.

Math: Punisher (Avg) The Hood's Gang (Ttl) Ranking: Punisher (#101)

What Went Down...
Having infiltrated The Hood's base via the use of Ant-Man shrinking technology and a strategic pizza delivery, Punisher successfully storms the villain's street level security, enabling him to go straight for the prize -- The Hood himself!

Following instructions from his tech-advisor, Henry; Punisher navigates toward the basement level of the Hood's establishment. There, Frank Castle comes face-to-face not with the red garbed Kingpin of Supervillains, but rather, his former ally and tech-support, Microchip. His once dead ally attempts to persuade Castle to abandon his violent quest, dangling the prospect of resurrecting his family like a carrot infront of a mule.

Before Castle can send his former partner back to the grave, he's ambushed by one of the tricks of the Brothers Grimm! They, along with Grizzly, Razor Fist, and Mr. Hyde, emerge from the shadows to defend Microchip and Hood's interests.

With Henry piping instructions in his ear, it becomes apparent the Punisher had not entered the fray without anticipating such an arrival. Armed with a stolen alien ice gun, he swiftly incapacitates Mr. Hyde and the other villains within constructs described as having a molecular desnity greater than a small sun. Despite this trivia shared by Henry, Mr. Hyde is able to break free of the ice!

He flings Punisher like a ragdoll, effortlessly sending the vigilante hurtling across the basement space. With blows that have rattled the Hulk and Thor, Hyde swings wildly at the scrambling Punisher, destroying computers and other incidental scenery in his wake. The Punisher evades each strike narrowly, scrambling while Henry formulates a back-up plan.

Cool under pressure, Castle dives for the tiny gun he'd used with dramatic effect in his entrance into the building. Though small, the advanced weapon packs a mighty punch, bathing Hyde in the explosive discharge of his fire.

Though impressive in scope, the weapon fails to phase the immensly powerful Mr. Hyde. Smouldering with his clothes in tatters, Hyde promises a grim fate for the intruding vigilante. Clutching his prey by the ankle, Hyde again tosses him across the basement, this time triggering an explosion from the impact delivered to Punisher's backpack of munitions.

With his weaponry options drastically reduced and his own body suffering the impact of the assault, defeat and even death appear to loom over the Punisher as Mr. Hyde steps over him. With seconds to spare, Henry orders Castle to activate his stolen Ant-Man helmet's external speakers, allowing the tech-whiz to pipe "dungeon metal" at a high frequency uniquely effective against Hyde!

Uneffected by the high pitched Three Inches of Blood concert, a battered Punisher rises to his feet to return to the foyer of the building. The Hood watches from behind the safety of bullet proof glass, while Punisher goes about planting C4 around the criminal headquarters, unable to reach the villain himself.

The Hammer...
With a well earned strategic victory, Punisher is your winner!

If you've been following sporadic activity on the site throughout 2009, you'll know that for the first time in the blog history, we've been focusing on releases from each week. That fact is slightly ironic, given the fact that preoccupation and lack of energy have seen the site slip well over a month behind schedule. Hopefully that'll change sooner than later, but I would hope the spirit of the content makes up for the lack of punctuality. On that subject, you might be surprised to have seen this week's entry overlook the more prominent and inevitable battle in Battle of the Cowl (#3). I'm sure developments in the Bat-books will become a regular talking point in the coming weeks, but one of the most interesting things about blogging the Infinite Wars based upon fights from each week is the opportunity to deliver a very naturally diverse selection of titles. I've made little effort to avoid repeat posts, happily following the most fitting and interesting battles that I've read in whichever title they've happened to be in.

Punisher was a title I tried with it's first issue in January, but was unimpressed with. The series debuted with a somewhat arbitrary #1 to signify the title's relaunch, sans War Journal, a mere two years after that successful relaunch.
As with the War Journal relaunch, the series promises to deliver Punisher stories intrinsically linked with the Marvel Universe itself, in this case, following on from the developments established as "Dark Reign" -- described by Marvel as a "status quo" rather than an event. To that end, they've done very well to live up to their claim, firmly establishing the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' motiff of repositioning Norman Osborn as the ruling denominator of the Marvel Universe.

To Marvel's further credit, a title like this really has been necessary. Over the course of the past decade, the character gradually became increasingly detached from his shared universe origins as he became part of mature reading imprint brands that somewhat divided editorial control over the character. It began with Marvel Knights, but became completely sequestered when the freedom offered by the MAX imprint saw the character's exploits become chiefly adult in nature.

Most of you will know straight away that I'm the kind of guy that loves the concept of the shared narrative of a corporate superhero universe. I must say, I do have a fondness for the more adventurous nature of stories that isolated Punisher. This blog doesn't always adequately convey the multiple dimensions of my interests, or the potential of these characters, but a Punisher free to push the boundaries from concepts derived from he and his world is a good thing. Garth Ennis commands immediate association with the character for his unmistakable style that arguably led to the character's surgical removal from the Marvel U.

All of that said -- I'm glad Punisher's back in the thick of things again (again).

Perhaps because of the subconscious influence of the MK/MAX work - or the fact that Punisher is essentially a murderer fighting in a world of immortal intellectual property licenses - War Journal took the character into seperatist deviations once more. If anything has seperated this version of the title from that one, it's that the topical nature has been returned, all the while the story manages to be tailor made to fit. The first arc has thrown Frank Castle against opponents we knew he would never succeed against, but with this second story arc, the odds changed dramatically as Punisher fixes for a rumble with an army of resurrected D-list villains previously murdered by fellow gun-toter, Scourge of the Underworld.

This isn't the sex and drugs of the MAX comics, but casual fans of the character can rest assured that the compromises are kept to a minimum. The white boots and gloves might be there, but this isn't quite the pacified Punisher you might get carried away with imagining. The location of the Marvel Universe affects the character in ways that really feel like coming home for fans of the character's popular solo exploits in the eighties and nineties. It's a threat of violence with a twist of Marvel iconography that just wouldn't work in the MAX world.
Spending the issue in an Ant-Man helmet pretty much sums it up. It's referencial, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but with all the zealous direction that makes the Punisher an uncompromising character. (Albeit, with mostly non-lethal results).

A lot of the credit has to go to the art team.
Jerome Opena gives his lines, which are presumably inked by him as well, a suitable roughness that differentiates it from what could be considered a Marvel superhero style. Granted, these days, a lot of the major books will carry rougher art styles and dark colour palettes, but Opena's work walks a line of the emotive competence of the MAX artists, with an accepting flair for Dan Brown's injections of the primary colours that come with fighting super-villains in Marvel comics.

Rick Remender succeeds far beyond his first issue, but I'd be expecting an improvement from the second arc. There's a sense of a common style persistent amongst comics written by certain Marvel writers that can sometimes feel a little lazy. It's competent, but has an air of expected praise for a consistency of tone, rather than the strength or depth of the content. There's a sense at times that Frank Castle has become a passenger in his own title because of this, but between writer and artist, this issue succeeds in dancing somewhere between a classic Marvel style, contemporary tone, and the musky indifference of writers like Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, some Brian Bendis, and a few others. Fans of those names have percentage odds of enjoying the book, but ten years from now, might find themselves looking back with a desire for more protein.

I don't want to be negative about the book, because it definitely turned out to be a pleasant bet on uncertainty. I really hope Remender can continue to grow even more comfortable in the book and capitalize on the rather delicious premise of the resurrected "mort" villains. It was certainly a delight to see the likes of the Brothers Grimm, Razor Fist, and the other villains, even if only in a conceptual cameo role. Fanboy delight aside, I think when these characters aren't so awful that they're redesigned in every appearance, they become the true custodians of the Marvel Universe, telling it's tale through their occasional visits in more involved chunks than anything Spider-man or Wolverine could ever hope for.
I really enjoy the obscure history these characters accumulate, which can be found in example by following some of the character tags on the site. Many, (like Mr. Hyde), haven't got a massive catalogue of examples on offer, but I think you'll note quite quickly how intriguing it is to observe these characters through their various contexts and appearances. In that respect, maybe it's not so bad Frank's killings are restricted to nameless goons and pizza enthusiasts.

NOTE: For more Punisher pizza antics, check out Deadpool: Suicide Kings #2!

The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 4.5

Punisher is released monthly by Marvel comics and begins a brand new storyline, "Dead End," with issue #6! For more information about releases check out the weekly shipping lists, or enquire at, your local comic store, or one of the many other comics sites online. If you've got a hankering for some more readings, check out the Gift Shoppe, where you'll find collected editions from most issues reviewed in the Secret Archives on sale via Amazon. By using purchase links on the site, you help punish overpriced retailers and sponsor future justice on the Infinite Wars!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mountain Dew® is proud to introduce Game Fuel:
Two limited-time-only flavors inspired by the
hit video game World of Warcraft.

Choose Your Side with Alliance Blue, or Horde Red. Only from Mountain Dew® Game Fuel™, get a free 14-day-trial of World of Warcraft, or an in-game battlebot pet.
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.

Advertise here! Contact for more!

The Independents...

NOV083941 BLACK TERROR #4 $3.50
MAR094165 BOYS HEROGASM #1 (MR) $2.99
FEB094190 COMPLETE DRACULA #1 (OF 5) $4.99
MAR092449 INVINCIBLE #62 $2.99
MAR092402 OLYMPUS #1 (IMAGE ED) $3.50
MAR094367 TALES OF TMNT #58 $3.25

The Corporates...
MAR092546 AGENTS OF ATLAS #5 DKR $2.99
MAR092559 CAPTAIN AMERICA #50 $3.99
MAR092567 HULK #12 $3.99
MAR090140 OUTSIDERS #18 $2.99
FEB090244 RESIDENT EVIL #2 (OF 6) (MR) $3.99
MAR092550 SKRULL KILL KREW #2 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
MAR090144 SUPERMAN BATMAN #60 $2.99
MAR092588 THUNDERBOLTS #132 $2.99
MAR092523 WOLVERINE NOIR #2 (OF 4) $3.99

The Spotlight...
- MAR090132 BATMAN BATTLE FOR THE COWL #3 (OF 3) $3.99
The final chapter of this mini-Bat event promises to wrap up with a cagey reveal that we all know is coming. Best guess, you'll have to wait for Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely before you actually see Dick Grayson as the new Batman, but we'll almost certainly get something close to a reveal when he confronts rogue-ward and phony killer-Batman, Jason Todd. Can't help but feel this was an event we could've done without. Tony Daniels adds a mid-nineties awkwardness to the story's visuals and script with an aesthetic and pace that reminds us of the most frivilous moments in comics. It's not that I dislike this comic, but I doubt it's value at $3.99, and wonder whether or not it wasn't a good premise bungled into the short break between Morrison's ill defined conclusion to Batman RIP, and his seperatist Batman & Robin. Like Countdown was to Final Crisis; it feels a lot like a disassociated take on a story that Morrison didn't actually want to bother with. We'll see.

Still on Morrison; and after the massive mixed reviews of Final Crisis, the hype that accompanied the first few issues feels like a forgotten daydream. Some of the most exciting forethoughts came from the introduction of the Japanese heroes who worked with Sonny Sumo to bring an end to the darkest day on Earth. I really hope Sonny Sumo gets a chance to return to action, but I'm not sure if I should be expecting that. So far Aftermath series have been of varied quality, but you would expect Morrison-buddy, Joe Casey, to hook into the pop culture poseur cypher tapped in the original Final Crisis series.

- MAR092552 PUNISHER #5 DKR $2.99
The Punisher's tour through the Marvel Universe continues as he stalks the top dog of the super-villain union, The Hood! Doubtful that he'll get very far, but anyone who saw the preview with ol' Frank utilizing the Ant-Man helmet (and presumably Pym particles) to great effect, will probably want to pick this up. Seems like the series will be touch and go, struggling with the old issue of throwing a murderous vigilante into a world where characters are essentially kept immortal by corporate necessity. As far as Dark Reign tie-ins go, it's making good use of the landscape, despite being utterly incidental.

Everybody knows by now that the X-Men are the trashy corner of the Marvel catalogue. History has been a monkey on the back of the X-Men books, whose fans ensure a minimum bouyancy of sales, regardless of the quality of the books. Grant Morrison was once again the catalyst for positive change, but when his work was demolished upon departure, the X-books began a slide toward utter mediocrity as evolution was sacrificed to try to create a nostalgic rerun of past glorys. Chris Claremont attempts to literally go home again as he picks up where he left off in the original Jim Lee early nineties revamp of the title, which veered off after disagreements saw him leave after the third issue. X-Men Forever promises to be another hideous failing for the once dominant brand, but at $4.99, Alpha is well worth the cost to relive the past in it's own context. Reprinting X-Men #1-#3; this is a chance for those who missed out to get a grasp of one of the last defining moments in X-history. A decent enough Magneto story with all the underpinnings of what gave us the legendary nineties cartoon series and created a cross-media phenomenon. To this date, X-Men #1 is still one of the highest selling single issues ever. So give it a go, but do so with appropriate context.


Know Your Trade...
FEB090239 HEROES TP VOL 02 $19.99

Monday, May 18, 2009

Final Fight: Bonus Story (UDON)
Where: Street Fighter II Turbo #6 When: May 2009
Why: Ken Siu-Chong How: Eric Vedder

Strength: Draw 4 (Enhanced)
Intelligence: Mike Haggar 3 (Straight A)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Draw 5 (Martial Arts)
Energy: Draw 1 (None)

Math: Mike Haggar
Ranking: Zangief (#740)

If I remember correctly, I mentioned at the beginning of May's entries that I was planning to be a little bit more ambitious with the schedule. For Infinite Wars, that meant trying to incorporate more quick fix entries to expand content. As it happens, we weren't the only ones trying to be more ambitious, it would seem.

UDON unleashed the first glimpse of their Capcom licensing expansion in the form of a four page short story summing up the life and times of "Macho" Mike Haggar. The story acts as a disconnected prequel to what will almost inevitably be a new Final Fight series from the studio-cum-publisher. UDON are actually playing coy for the time being, teasing fans with artwork and appearances of characters in the Street Fighter II Turbo series, while petitioning for e-support.
Ostensibly this is the confirmation of another Capcom sourced series.

I have to confess to being distracted this month with a side-project.
Yes, I've been cheating on you with a younger, sexier subject, but it isn't entirely irrelevant to today's quick fix! Truth be told, sometimes the rewards for running a blog like this are few and far between. I love comics and keeping a reader like you informed and entertained, but for the second or third time, the gamers have embraced me enough to seduce me to maintain regular free-flowing updates on a blog at (recently featured on the front-page "Popular Blogs" list).

If you look closely at the panel above, you'll notice a handful of colourful characters from the other games. If I'm not mistaken, squinting into the middle of the pack will reveal Dan Hibiki just below Zangief's boot, and possibly even the enigmatic Street Fighter III character, Q, shrouded in shadow on the right. More interesting, however, and pertinent to the posts I've been making on 1up, is the presence of characters from the early nineties Saturday Night Slam Masters games (known in Japan as Muscle Bomber)!

The burly bearded fellow on the left is Kimala the Bouncer (Jumbo Flapjack in the United States), the masked lucha libre giving thumbs up is El Stinger (Stingray in the United States), and with him, Aleksey Zalazof (Biff Slamkovich in the US).
These guys, along with Zangief and Haggar, have been part of an experiment I've been conducting on the 1up blog to try to stress test a theory that Saturday Night Slam Masters would be viable as a retro revival, complete with modern wrestling game mechanics like an indepth storyline driven career mode.

To test this theory, I've decided to take a shot at writing a year's worth of real-time results for Muscle Bomber's feature promotion, the Capcom Wrestling Association.

If you've read any previous Street Fighter entries on the Infinite Wars, or somehow remember me as a writer for, then this fact probably won't come as a huge surprise. Even less so if you've hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on me, and know I dabbled in a little bit of online text-based fantasy wrestling. Ouch!

Should you find yourself curious about this combative experiment, then you can find all the mammoth "kayfabe" (in-character) write-ups at the following URLs:
- Undisputed Muscle Bomber Comeback!
- CWA: The International Blowout Preview
- CWA: The International Blowout
- CWA: Saturday Night Slam Masters (06/13)
- CWA: Saturday Night Slam Masters (06/20)

The results combine characters from various Capcom properties, including Street Fighters like R. Mika, Zangief, Alex, and El Fuerte; Final Fight characters like Sodom and Hugo Andore; and the ten SNSM originals and four characters added to the numerical Slam Masters sequel. Storylines and characterization bridge from what's established in the game canons to contrive prowrestling-style feuds, while inventing new details, and even borrowing a few ideas from the likes of UDON, ie; El Fuerte's fandom for R. Mika, as revealed in a previous Turbo back-up!

Mike Haggar also features in a non-wrestling role, building on the canon that will be elaborated upon should UDON go ahead with their expected Final Fight comic series. As the Turbo back-up story reveals, Haggar was a famous prowrestler (in the Saturday Night Slam Masters games), but first appeared on the streets of Metro City as a retired-fighter turned city Mayor, intent on cleaning up the crime ridden streets with his own brand of piledriving street fighting.

Final Fight was the side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Capcom in 1989 as a follow-up to the very first Street Fighter arcade game. In fact, some early artwork reveals their original intentions, billing the game as Street Fighter '89: The Final Fight!

Haggar appears alongside Cody Travers and Guy; two protagonists who found their way into the Street Fighter canon as playable characters in the Alpha series. They appeared opposite Final Fight villains, Sodom and Rolento, who also trainsitioned from their roll as Mad Gear Gang sub-bosses in the scrolling fighter, to be fully playable.

Though Haggar's history in wrestling was reflected in his distinctly burly moveset, it really wasn't until the first Slam Masters game in 1993 that this facet of his character was really elaborated on. Interesting, considering that would effectively render the wrestling fighter a prequel to his adventures in Final Fight, barring an unforseen dismissal from his celebrated position as Mayor of Metro City.

Though his "Macho" monikker suggests reference to wrestling great, Randy Savage; it would not be surprising if some influence came from eventual Governer of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura. While it would not be until 1998 that Ventura would reach his famous role a Governor, in 1990 he was elected as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, a position he remained in until 1995. Final Fight was released in arcades in Japan in 1989, but I can't be certain if plot details such as Haggar's role as Mayor were present then, or instated right around the time Ventura was as well, making them a topical reference to the time. Either way, there's curious symmetry.

As depicted in the panels featured earlier, UDON have Haggar stepping in to the ring with Russian rival, Zangief! While gamers never got the chance to have the dream battle, the tale pans out in favour of Haggar, seeing the fight finish with a 360 lariat that follows the finishing spinning piledriver!

Console gamers with Street Fighter IV got a taste of the action with the alternate costume downloadable content that garbs Zangief in the trademark belt/slacks get-up of the Macho Mayor. It was a fitting scenario, given their shared use of the two trademark moves depicted in UDON's short story battle, but has already started rumors about possible appearances of Haggar and other characters in a potential sequel or SFIV iteration.

Producer and driving force behind the Street Fighter revival, Yoshinori Ono, showed some reluctance in interviews about potentially including characters from other Capcom fighters in the the fourth numerical instalment. Second generation Street Fighters like Fei Long and Cammy White, along with prominent Alpha inclusions like Sakura and Rose, all made their way to console versions of the game despite dedication to SFII aesthetic. Given Capcom's propensity for churning out interative re-releases of their Street Fighter games, often boasting the addition of new characters, it seems of reasonable plausibility.

No word yet on when (or if) a Final Fight series will emerge, but back-up stories will continue to be featured in monthly issues of Street Fighter II Turbo. Characters from the Final Fight franchise will also be appearing in the Street Fighter story itself, as some already have. As has been a regular theme in more recent times, we would caution that UDON should carefully consider their choices when adding clearer detail to the Final Fight narrative, suggesting perhaps the consideration of a writer other than sole contributor, Ken Siu-Chong.

The Fight: 4 The Story: 4
Winner: "Macho" Mike Haggar

For more game talk and fantasy Saturday Night Slam Masters results, check out, and the recent post recap to help catch you up! Be sure to leave a thumbs up!
Street Fighter II Turbo is currently appearing monthly via UDON comics, along with other Street Fighter and Capcom titles. You can follow (archival) information in the Infinite Wars Shipping Lists, or keep in touch via the UDON website! You'll find other issues of the Street Fighter comics in the Secret Archives, with complete links in the online store to collections featuring those issues reviewed. By using purchase links provided on the site, you help sponsor future entries on the Infinite Wars. Triumph or die!