Thursday, October 18, 2012
Written by Daniel Way
Penciled by Alé Garza & Matteo Lolli
Inked by Sean Parsons & Don Ho
Colors by Guru eFX
Review by Matthew Burke
If you are a fan of Deadpool from the 90's then guess what? T-Ray and Slayback have returned! This issue is similar to the Joe Kelley run on Deadpool, including all of the crazy thoughts. Alé Garza and Matteo Lolli's pencils are even reminiscent of the old comics, slightly resembling Ed McGuinness' pencils but still has a more modern look that also looks a bit like Paco Medina's work. The pencils still have an originality to them, really giving us a modern Deadpool and upgrading the look of the returned villains.
Danger could not come at a worse time, as Deadpool has lost his healing factor. It turns out that an Agent Allison Kemp has come back for revenge after becoming a tetraplegic after getting caught in an explosion that Deadpool caused. She's looking to put the hurt on Deadpool, resurrecting two of his arch enemies, the aforementioned T-Ray and Slayback. As Deadpool deals with being broke (and having gas from some meatloaf) T-Ray and Slayback have a discussion with agent Kemp about their new directive. While the two are just looking for revenge, agent Kemp is more pragmatic about how to deal with things, and she means serious business. Rather than having their need for revenge lead them to fight with clouded judgement, agent Kemp forces them to train in a danger room analogue so that T-Ray and Slayback can be ready and focused for Deadpool when the time comes.
The virtual training room scene is pretty fantastic; showing us that Kemp really knows Deadpool, not holding back on the theatrics. The craziness really makes us think that it is that the image is the real deal. Meanwhile, Deadpool has a chance to find Taskmaster to see if there is a job opportunity for him, and Taskmaster is forgiven by Deadpool for selling him out. That is, after Deadpool throws a grenade at him, making the count three people in this issue who didn't die from a grenade blast. Taskmaster tells Deadpool about the return of the his old nemesi, who then promptly leaves to find them and most likely put them six feet under (again).
This issue is a cool throwback to the Deadpool comics of old. We get to see some modern takes on the old art, and the return of some old villains, but this comes to us in a fresh way.
This issue isn't particularly great, but I would suggest you buy this issue if you have been keeping up, or if you loved the old 'pool comics. If you were planning to jump in, I would implore you to buy the prior issue first to catch up.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Or: Why Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman is the Best Comic I've Ever Read
Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman was originally pitched in 1998 by Morrison with Mark Millar and Mark Waid as "Superman Now." After originally being greenlit, DC eventually declined the publishing of this limited series. Morrison states that he originally got the idea outside of a San Diego Comic Con when he met a Superman cosplayer who struck him as most realistic. He had what he claims is a "shamanic" moment when he began to ask the cosplayer questions who actually answered as though he were Superman. Thus, Superman's new story began to form. This story has everything I could have wanted from a Superman comic, as I was never a fan of Superman growing up. Grant ended up blossoming in me a love for the man of steel. I will spend the following paragraphs explaining to you why I love this limited series more than any other comic that I own.
Warning: MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW
Now, how about we start with issue #1's
Let's move further, shall we?
The Story So Far: Our writer begins with our man's stripped down origin. We see 4 simple panels: Superman's planet during it's apocalypse, a concerned Jor-El and Lara Jor-El, the rocket that brought him to earth, and his adoptive parents, the Kents. We are only given the simple, elegant and ephemeral words: Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last Hope. Kindly couple. His whole origin summed up in four sentences, it's all so simple, this is what birthed the man who became so complex, so beautiful, it's just all that was what made him who he became, in the comics and in our world. I want to also focus on the third panel. The words last hope evoke more to me than it would seem. He's the last hope for the future of Krypton, the last hope for the continuation for his family line. He is the last hope for the continuation of his whole species (forgetting the bottled city of Kandor.) He's not only all these things, but he is also the last hope of his new home, Earth. He continues to be the hero and protector of Earth and it's personification of hope and resolve. It's so elegant.
Lex's Evil Plot: We're all familiar with Lex Luthor and his vendetta against Superman. He doesn't trust and alien on Earth, he doesn't like him and he doesn't want him to continue to be what he thinks is a danger to Earth. Lex has realized that he's getting older, he's going to die and he's failed at every attempt at killing superman, this time, he needs the ultimate idea. He's built a robot supermen, he's contracted other villains to do his bidding, he's used kryptonite to weaken and kill him, he's even built his own mechanical suit to fight Superman himself. Why have all these plans ultimately failed? They weren't planned well, they weren't thought out and they were just too obvious for Superman not to find a flaw in, but what is something that even Superman himself not save himself from? Lex realized a way to turn his own powers and his own body against himself. Superman gets his powers from the yellow sun, which his cells turn into the powers that he uses now. Lex hypothesis a way to get Superman so close to the sun that apopstisis begins to occur in his body, cell death. Although Superman's powers are amplified, he learns that he has one year to live. Checkmate Lex.
Love Story: We've seen the story evolve between the bumbling reporter Clark Kent and beautiful Lois Lane. We haven't, however, seen it unfold like this. When Clark reveals to Lois that he is the man that he is Superman, her love, she is incredulous. She still follows him to his Fortress of Solitude for some r&r on her birthday. Superman's heart is not only shown to the world, he also saves enough for his girlfriend. Her whole experience is nothing short of interesting, she receives singing flowers from Alpha Centauri 4, he allows her into all of the rooms in the fortress, including the ones no one else is allowed in, save one. What is this room? Lois begins to not only be suspicious, but paranoid. Superman reveals that the room she was not allowed in was actually a room where he had his "superbots" creating a serum for her to have his powers for 24 hours. She would be able to have the experience that all of us have dreamed about, he did it all for her. He even made her a suit to go with her new powers. They end the most beautiful night of their lives with one final kiss on the moon. You just can't beat that romanticism.
The Unanswerable Question: This one moment in the series is one of my favorites. Atlas and Samson appear to Lois and Superman during their adventure together, it turns out that they've stolen something from a menacing character called the Ultra Sphinx. The Ultra Sphinx holds Lois in a state of quantum uncertainty, and for Superman to save her, he most answer to unanswerable question. We all know it, "What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object." To even wrap your head around it can rattle your brain, we've all been asked it, and we've all been stumped by it. Here's the real question, can the immovable object and the unstoppable force actually exist? Superman laughs at such a ridiculous question with the simple answer: "they yield."
The Death of Pa Kent: Superman meets a three-piece Superman squad in issue #6, the Superman of A.D. 85,250, The Superman of the 5th Dimension (which we learn in Batman R.I.P is the imaginary dimension) and the Unknown Superman of A.D. 4500. This is all when Pa Kent is still alive, mind you. The Superman squad arrives to chain what is called the Chronovore, which eats time out of living objects. During this fight, Superman notices an irregularity in Pa's heartbeat, he immediately leaves the fight, hoping to save Pa. "I CAN SAVE EVERYBODY" Superman cries, but Pa is already dead. Let's rewind, though, who was with Pa last? The bandage-clad Superman of 45,000 A.D., did he kill him? Nope, turns out this was our universe's Superman coming back to say goodbye for the last time, knowing that Pa's time was coming, saying "It all comes out right in the end." To me, this is one of the most touching moments in comics. We also meet the same Superman further in the future, but I wont give that away.
Lex's Heart Stopping Moment: Turns out, Lex, who was sent to the electric chair, had one more move in his plan, making sure that Superman would die, makes his own "superman cocktail," giving himself powers for 24 hours. Making sure he will win this last showdown, he is aided by the Tyrant Sun. When confronted about the truths that sent him to jail, Lex imparts some questions upon Daily Planet editor Perry White: "Is that right, mister White? Funny, I don' see the truth anywhere around, do you? I mean, what color is it? Can I touch it? Nah, I don't think so." Even though we all have our ideas of truth, can we really define it? Can we impart an immortal and immutable truth upon anyone? I'm not so sure. While Lex is understanding what it is to be Superman, he enters the state of mind that comes with all of the powers, which isn't solely physical. Moments before he looses his power he has an epiphany, he finally understands how Superman sees the world. "I can actually see the machinery and wire connecting and separating everything since it all began..." Lex, with Superman's eyes, can actually see the mechanics in the universe, down to the smallest particle. There is a beauty to it, how humanity fits into the actual scheme of things, like we are all connected in property. It's all so easy to understand... if you can see it.
Ultimate Super-Moment: Superman is known for being a good man (or alien) he uses his strength to save the world, while making an example for the living. The funny thing is, Superman doesn't use his strength as often as you would think throughout this series, he uses his mind to solve the problems. I personally think that Morrison is trying to show us that any man can be a Superman. He doesn't need super-strength, laser eyes or even flight. He needs to be a man of good, a man of ideals. This leads into my favorite part of the series. On one page, we see a goth girl crying, dropping her phone off of the high ledge of a building that she is readying herself to jump from. As she gets ready to jump, we see a familiar "S" behind her. "It's never as bad as it seems." "You're much stronger than you think you are...trust me." Are the few words that Superman speaks to her. The man who spends most of his time saving the world, the most requested man on earth... still has time to reassure people that they are just as strong as him. Life isn't as bad as it seems, we've all had bouts of depression, but if we could have just heard those words spoken so softly, it would have made it so much better. Grant is further proving that it's not strength that makes a superman, it's being the best person you can be. This page makes me cry every time that I read it.
Okay, ready for things to start getting a bit complicated? Good.
Earth-Q: Since Superman knows he is dying, he decides that he would create a mini earth called earth-q. The reason for this, is that he wants to see if a world without a Superman could survive. A world without heroes or powers, a world of man. "...When i'm not around anymore to protect them from the mad scientists, and monsters and themselves... can they survive their own self-destructive urges?" "There was only one way to study a world without Superman...I had to make one." Thusly, earth qwewq was born, and when it was born "it breathed in." We'll get to that part later. First, I want to talk about what we see in Earth Q. The first time we look in, we see tribes of ancient men (sorry, i'm bad with history) and the clock reads 11:59:59 pm. The next look we get looks like an Aztec or Mayan civilization, and the clock reads 11:59:59:914 pm, the next we see what looks like a civilization similar to Greece, with a philosopher speaking to a crowd and still, the clock only reads 11:59:59:980 pm. The last two peeks we get are the most interesting, at 11:59:59:996, we see what looks a whole lot like Nietzsche, writing about his "Ubermensch" or Superman, which is an idealized person, a goal for people to set for themselves, much like what Grant is trying to give us through Superman, not the actual superhero. Why is there a guy like Nietzsche in earth q? Most interestingly, and only at 11:59:59:998, we see the words "this is going to change everything" over the original action comics cover Superman, with the quote coming from the man himself, Joe Shuster. He created OUR world, we live in his universe. But let's get back to that. What. the. Fuck.What the fuck is going on with the clock? Centuries seem to pass but the clock only moves in milliseconds. Why is this? Well, in order to help people fathom how old the earth is, anthropologists assert this idea: If the time on our clock were proportional to the time that passed from when the earth was created to now, then if earth was created at midnight on one day, we'll say that that is the time that Superman created qwewq (his time), then civilized man has only existed since 11:59:59 on that same day, which makes the earth very old, but also makes sense in this story. We see the growth of their earth pass in Superman's time, not theirs.
Superman Answers the Question: If God created the universe, then who created God? Grant Morrison gets to play around with this question a little bit with the use of Earth Q. Since Supes creates the world, then that would make him their God, most likely, but with Joe Shuster actually creating Superman in Earth Q, does that make him Superman's god? I don't think so, I think the answer is that Superman, by proxy, created himself. It's cyclical, earth q creates him, but he already created earth q before he was created there. Fucked up, right? I think it's pretty fun.
Willing your Creation to Life: When we see that Superman created earth q but Joe Shuster (from earth q) we may conjecture that Shuster and Seigel willed their creation to life. This is very familiar to Grant Morrison's other comic, Flex Mentallo. In Flex, Wally Sage, a loser in his time, sees a character when he is a child. Later in his adolescence, he creates that same character, named Flex Mentallo. This character lived out of time just like Supes in All Star. We also see something like this in another of Morrison's comics, at the end of his run on Animal Man, AM meets his writer, Grant Morrison and has an existential crisis when he learns that his whole life is a story and who ever writes it decides what happens or how it feels, Grant actually brings him out of the DC universe and into ours. Grant has expressed his idea that he wants to make the DC universe a living breathing thing, just like earth q in all star. This is his way of doing it, he brings all of these characters out of the shell that they live in to be with us. He has said that these heroes from the comics are just as real as any of us, just because they are written doesn't make them imaginary, they are alive, they do things, they feel things, they have exploits. For example: in All Star, we see panels of Superman switch from Quitley and Grants beautiful art to what look more like raw sketches, but when it is shown, it doesn't change a single thing about his existence. My favorite part about Flex was that the universe needed saving, but all of the heroes were gone. Flex was looking for them, since he was willed into creation by Wally, but the others were gone. It turns out that the superhero universe was about to be destroyed so they made themselves fictional in our (Wally's) universe. To come back, they go to Wally when he was a child (since they still didn't exist in the fictional universe) so that they could enter his brain and create and transmit certain ideas directly into his reality so that they could come to life. Superman is another example of this, he is putting these ideas of himself out there, so that he can continue to live, even though he is dying. In Flex, Grant writes "Comics are...crude attempts to remember the truth about reality." It's in plain writing, Superman and the DC universe are a way to him of recovering the truth of the truth about the DC Uni.
This comic is a great combination of love, idealism and heroics. It is a beautiful story with beautiful art, it's got a message and it has a little hint of reality in it's own fiction. I suggest you read this comic, it will change how you feel about Superman.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
It's been a long time since I've even been back here, but something has really been irking the hell out of me lately. There's been a recent influx of self-proclaimed comic book nerds, which is all fine and good, but it's now become ritual for them to talk shit about comic book movies because they aren't a precisely accurate adaptation of the comics that they are based on. "That was nothing like the comics" has lately been the credo of comic book nerds.
I like to go see movies, especially comic book movies. I like to read comic books. What I don't like to do, is cavil at how unfaithful a movie is to it's source material. I understand disparaging a movie if there are major discrepancies that make it indiscernible from the comic it purports to be based on. This, however, isn't always the case.
There are different forms of published comics that studios use: limited series comics, ongoing comics, and "graphic novels." I use quotations around the last form because I don't like the term at all. I hate the fact that people have to say "graphic novels" because of the stigma that comes with reading comics, since many of the users of the term think that comics are only for kids, only about superheroes and always unintelligent, which are all erroneous and unfounded.
Thusly, graphic novels are commonly used to make books with pictures for adults. Once again, untrue.
The main problem with making movies based on a limited-run comic book or "graphic novel" is that there may not be enough material to fill a two hour movie. On his blog, Warren Ellis posted some notes about the release of Red, the Bruce Willis movie based on Ellis' comic of the same name. He conceded that he fully understood and accepted the changes the studio made to the original plot and characters. From adding a larger main cast to changing it from a serious book to a comedy. He makes a very good point, "the film has the same DNA." I think this, so far, holds true for pretty much every comic book movie in regard to its source material. Any comic book being adapted to film that had a planned-limited run will inevitably run into trouble with running time, needing to expand it more since there won't always be a long enough story to translate into a long enough movie. Since panel time versus running time on screen are not equivalent.
There are an array of reasons that comic book movies come out different from the comics themselves. A general moviegoing audience, which is different from the comic book demographic, won't always be as receptive to every comic book movie. For certain comic books, the studio may need an audience with a certain taste, it may be too confusing or it could just be a different direction than a studio wants to go in, but still has great characters and a good overall plot. The movies may also have screenwriters that want to write their own take on the character. If we watch an exact reenactment of a comic book on film, there is almost no point in it existing for comic book fans. It has almost made itself redundant to those who have read it and know every panel and word without needing to see the movie. Despite this, creating a nearly absolutely faithful movie is next to one that embellishes on the stories that already exist on the list of movies that work best.
The point is that the movie rights to these comics are being to studios, with which they decide what to do. Some writers do have problems with this, some will do anything to sell their comics to studios. They always do their research too, so it's not as if your father who wants you to sell your comic book collection decided to bullshit his way through a movie script. The character choices and plots are consciously made for what is considered best for the movie. It's not like this is "The Producers."
Sometimes there are comic book movies that are just plain stupid, bad, not very good or just lackluster even if everyone ignored the source material, and that's a justifiable point to make. Hell, directors may not even be opposed to using a comic book to guide their movie without even given it or its writer credit. The most common contentions that people tend to have with these movies are canon related ones. I remember when X-Men 2 & 3 were coming out and amateur comic book critics were citing the 90's X-Men cartoon to juxtapose actual Marvel universe canon to the movie canon. This was funny to me because the X-Men cartoon is also an adaptation of the comics, and wasn't always exactly parallel to the X-Men comics. Adapting ongoing comics are hard, like X-Men, Superman, Batman, The Justice League, etc. are hard, because you are taking up to 70 years worth of comics and putting it into two and a half hours max. Maybe a trilogy, but that still would only skim the surface. Even adapting from an arc, like say, the Phoenix Saga; you're going to have problems covering everything. It is just convoluted and would be overly confusing the do it exactly the same for a movie. Crossovers, huge events or what have you are helpful and hindering at the same time when you try to write one cohesive movie plot for them.
When the directors and writers completely get something wrong in the canon like Cyclops' younger brother being at least 20 years older than him and taking his spot on the original X-Men team without the original X-Men, Donald Blake never having existed, or casting a role in a movie for almost every single character ever written in by one writer and completely changing them, there is one thing I think that all of us should keep in mind: this is not the same goddam universe as the one that we are juxtaposing them to. They can still be really entertaining and fun movies. They could even be amazing movies, but if their only fault is not sticking to the exact source material of the comics, then I think that is a job well done still.Imagine it like this: you watch X-men first class and the canon is totally screwed up from the comics and the other X-Men movies, damn, that sucks. Nope, it doesn't, the Movieverse is from a different continuity, and the movies are splitting timelines from an alternate reality. Then you watch Green Lantern, which actually looks really accurate, yes Ryan Reynolds is a good choice for Hal Jordan, they're both funny womanizers. Anyway, you have the entire multiverse of worlds that the Movieverse might be, our world even exists in the multiverse. They're all similar, just not in every single way. So think of the Movieverse in any continuity as just an alternate version of the comic books that you love so much.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I was at my friend's house the other day, and he had a little collection of magazines on the table. Mostly Stuff and XXL (yes, he's black), and I noticed the Punisher skull on a guy clad in all black. Then I notice the guy with the guns and gear is none other than white-rapper Eminem. That's right, but it gets worse. There was half of the first issue of a 2-part limited series in that issue of XXL of a Punisher & Eminem comic book.
Because you didn't ask for it, and no one ever would!
At one point, Eminem actually gets the upper hand on the superbly trained Vietnam soldier turned mass murder, so maybe the situation might be ostentatious, but at least the writing is believable. I'm sure somewhere in the Marvel office, there are plans for a Hannah Montanna superhero comic where she learns a lesson on duality from Spiderman.
Speaking of Marvel, they posted a picture of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in Iron Man 2. In my opinion, the character is lame and his later appearance as Backlash was more of something out of an S&M video, but whatever.
I hope he doesn't expect to win an Oscar for this one.
Monday, June 1, 2009
It's M.O.D.O.K week comic fans! With Dark Reign in full effect, we'll be seeing more old characters come out of the woodwork. This means even the lame ones are going to come back in a more serious manner, like the "Mental Organization Designed Only for Killing." If you're familiar with the Marvel villain, then you probably know how pitiful this revitalization of the character is going to be. If you're not, then you're in for a good laugh.
For the sake of transience, i'm going to call this character by his "human" name: George. I know it's not that nefarious sounding, but he changed it to M.O.D.O.K after his (amazing? no, probably not) transformation. He used to be a lowly employee at Advanced Idea Mechanics, or A.I.M if you like acronyms you can pronounce (which they happen to really like) and then after they created him into a weapon he became their "Master." A.I.M is a terrorist organization that can be compared to Hydra in the way that an autistic twin is to his un-afflicted older brother. Created as a side-branch of Hydra by monocle wearing Baron von Strucker, it became somewhat of a running joke to fans and writers. Hell, even artists had fun drawing those funny yellow bee-keeper suits.
Yellow is SO gaudy!
Granted, the creation of A.I.M was in the 60's in issues of Tales of Suspense, but I think it might have been savvy and timely to maybe reshape the group to make them more threatening players in comics. Agents of A.I.M use ray-guns and fight in huge groups, normally taking on, and failing, to beat one hero that breaks into whatever branch they may be located. Their epic war cry? "I just joined for the dental plan," as their teeth are smashed in. The only thing they have to be proud of are their inventions, sans the giant floating head with limbs like twigs.
Despite fellow creations like the Super-Adaptoid (sounds lamer than he is), the Cosmic Cube of enormous power, George is just goofy and has yet to actually kill anyone. I take that back, M.O.D.O.K once killed another A.I.M creation M.O.D.A.M (Mental Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers), formerly, and I can guess why: S.O.D.A.M. Who was just a female mutated agent. Somehow A.I.M couldn't think of any way to better improve their first creation, except to ADD EXTENDING METAL ARMS, super innovation A.I.M! Yet despite all that genius work, it failed to even kill the West Coast Avengers, another group that became a joke of it's own to readers and writers alike. The team was located in L.A. which, despite amount of shallowness, moral depravity and lack of intelligence, is normally devoid of super-villains.
"You're welcome for saving your butt, Michael Bay, now I want to show you an idea I had for a movie, which would require no thinking at all, just cool special effects. Yes you say? I knew you'd be interested."
I'm just not sure how M.O.D.O.K can stay a very pliable villain in the Marvel U. Despite being #100 of IGN's top comic book villains, he still actually needs a floating wheelchair to even be in range to attack. The guy isn't even high profile enough to make an alliance with cool villains, one time he actually made machinations with a guy named Rocket Racer and a girl named Nightshade, which sound more like a blaxploitation film than a comic book character. Once, M.O.D.O.K was captured and used as a tool by the U.S. Military, which makes him one of the only villains to ever loose to less than one superhero. When most take on a whole team at once, he was threatened by humans. Amongst the others who defeated him, there was the Serpent Society (they said "because he ssssssssssuckssss." i'm sorry I really had to. That group is a joke too), Iron Man, Captain America, Namor, Dr. Doom & Ms. Marvel. Deadpool actually took him once, but M.O.D.O.K later forfeit to aid Deadpool in saving Cable, which is just odd.
Quintessentially, M.O.D.O.K is just a satire of that brainy kid in high school you wanted to beat up for always knowing the answer in class. He's even got the bowl cut to top it off. Unfortunately, I feel like beating George up is a hate crime, no matter how advanced it is, it's still a wheelchair! So I salute you, Marvel writers, who still think this character should be taken seriously! Try as you might, the second I see that giant grin, i'll not be able to hold my own back!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
(Not Starship Troopers 3)
The coldest and most obscure depths of space in the Marvel Universe were considered to be drained of all life (and cash prospects) until a little story called Annihilation came along and was completely sucked into the undertow of the ocean that was called Civil War by Mark Millar. Bumper stickers, t-shirts and messageboards were filled with dissent on who was with Captain America or who was with that faux-superhero Tony Stark. The debate was on whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D and new top cop Stark had the right to procure the secret identity of Marvel's heroes and set up teams in every state(see:50 State Initiative). All this had it's affect on earth, actually only pretty much USA, and unlike what we Americans believe, that's not world changing. We aren't the center of the universe anymore, and one man learned that and knew it better than anyone, Richard Rider (or Dick Rider if you want to be ephemeral, yet hilarious about it). Richard got his power from a Intergalactic Police Force much akin to the Green Lantern Corps. that imbued a portion of the "Nova Force" power into it's centurions.(The Universe Resistance) (The World Resistance)
The Lone [Dick] Rider
Without getting to in-depth, in fact I can surmise it into just saying that his background story is almost exactly Hal Jordan's Green Lantern beginnings: dying alien, chosen at random, joined police force to protect the world, blah blah. By the way, yes I did use the Dick Rider joke twice, i'm not funny, give me a fucking break. It's not like i'm a comedian.
(Nova, after he lets the entire Nova Force enter his body)
Background: Anyways, this guy fought on Earth with the New Warriors and was even on their reality television show taking down bad guys for a while. Then, he was promptly called back by the Nova Corps. because and intergalatic prison that held Galactus-level (that's eating worlds without chewing strong, if you didn't know) aliens had been blown up by an unknown source, and the Corps were mobilizing to oppose the impending threat. This was all happening at about the same time that Rider's ex-teammates were shooting their reality show, trying to take down clandestine supervillains who proved much too strong for them, and Nitro blows up a square mile including a full elementary school. Enter: Civil War.
Civil War vs. Cosmic War: Which is More Devastating?
(Guardians of the Galaxy)
While Mark Millar fleshed out the story of warring heroes separated by the Superhero Registration Act. Writers Christos Cage, Simone Furman, Keith Giffen, Javier Grillo-Marxuachm Stuart Moore and current cosmic lords of Marvel, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning devised one of the most superlative story lines in recent memory. Granted, it is quite interesting seeing that alcoholic prick Tony Stark or as we endearingly know him: "Shellhead" (really original take on Spiderman's "Webhead", and Captain America's "Winghead", and Thor's "Helmet Head" pseudonyms.) appointed himself president pro-tem of all super powered beings, without possessing any himself. Unfortunately, for Millar, the affects would only reach our borders, leaving the rest of the world (& universe in this case) as it was prior to this event (for the most part). While Annihilation was just that, it was a story about the possible eradication of all man-kind, and bug-kind. In fact, there is an mini-comic called "What If: Annihilation" in which the Annihilation Wave continues to be unstopped and is reaching Earth during one of the Civil War battles. The conflict ends completely after everyone fighting gets a lecture about how childish and temporal their struggle is from Nova, who is disgusted at their selfishness. Only when the two heroes from opposing sides join forces with Nova, and sacrifice themselves, do they stop the wave. Which is to say, you know, feeble altercations and such, greater meaning, universe isn't centered around us. Which sounds almost like a commentary on the U.S. for foreign policy, not only do others need our help, but it can overcome us if we don't work together in this world (political philosophy type junk).
(From "What If: Annihilation")
While Civil War was pretty much composed of all the superheroes in the Marvel 616 Universe like Captain America, Wolverine, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men sort of, and so on, Annihilation pretty much dealt with characters that have each almost single-handedly defeated our combined heroes. Thanos and Annihilus being the antagonists in this story encompasses every fear any one has had about the universe ending. Thanos, as you know has come close to ending all forms of life several times, even while contending with several heroes. I mean the guys got Death personified at his side. Annihilus is at the head of the Annihilation Wave of millions maybe billions of killer bugs and sentient ships that are ravaging the universe, and despite being a failed Fantastic Four character, holds a lot of merit. He is an insectoid creature with armor capable of withstanding energy blasts from Galactus himself. In fact, he's captured Galactus and Silver Surfer and has the power to hold them against their will, that's pretty powerful. If thats not bad enough, his right hand man Ravenous wields the negative-zone equivalent of the power cosmic that Galactus and his heralds posses. One character who is integral to the story is Drax the Destoyer, and his alternate-life daughter, Moondragon. The only reason Drax exists, is to kill Thanos. The only reason that happened is because Thanos killed him (those two are encouragable). Moondragon's lover Phyla-Vell, or Quasar or Captain Marvel also appears pretty much wielding every power possible, except the power to be in a hot lesbian relationship. Moondragon just doesn't do it for me, with the baldness and pacifist stuff. Of course, all past and current heralds to Galactus appear (Silver Surfer, Firelord, Stardust, Gabriel the Air-Walker, The Fallen One, Red Shift, Terrax the Tamer and Morg the Exectutioner (or as I like to call him "Morg the botched skin-graft), it also includes Paibok the Power Skrull, Gamora (hot!) who fucks Nova on their days off from killing bugs, Ronan the Accuser, Star-Lord & Skreet the Chaos Mite, who despite her size (and goofy hair) is incredibly strong. All those people and this book still doesn't get much attention!
(Guardians of the Galaxy)
(Galactus and His Heralds)
The best part about this book is that it does what most limited series do in the Marvel Universe don't do, it follows up and the ramifications are far reaching. Unlike Civil War and Secret Invasion and other recent crossovers, it isn't as easily forgotten and is not unmentioned when it is over. This book leads to relationships, hardships, powers, enemies and new threats that are directly under the Annihilation umbrella. Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett are currently writing a book called Guardians of the Galaxy which has spawned from some of the heroes of Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest. They are like the Avengers, but fight galactic and alien threats far greater than that composed of Earth villains. They aren't just psychotic goofballs with sideways corn-rows (hint hint, see? I can be tentatively funny, too). Also, these great writers took of Brubaker's story of the Omega-Level powered third Summers brother (Deadly Genesis) who defeated the Shi'ar Empire and became the leader himself, trying to encompass all empires and lengths of space into his own domain and coming across Blackbolt and the Royal Family of Attilia and the Kree(Rise & Fall of the Shi'ar Empire, War of Kings). It's affects are imprinted on the blackness of space, unlike the fall apart of the Avengers, then getting together, falling apart again, the failing of the Initiative, Skrulls hardly being around, etc. You don't get that kind of consistency with Earth-based books anymore, change happens just as much as stability. So seriously, check out the things that are happening in Marvel's cosmic storyline, you might find something you like, or something somewhat entertaining like hot alien babes and Raccoons that wield laser pistols named after Beatles songs and make friends with a giant tree (i'm being serious, look it up).