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Comics 411 4.30.14: Worst Spider-Man Villain Edition
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 04.30.2014

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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week. Check out my Hollywood gossip (and anything else!) Hollywood 5 & 1 and my weekend movie recap The Big Screen Bulletin!

Say what you want about DC, I love their DC All Access stuff.


It's real simple, each week I'll take two covers and you vote on your favorite. Some weeks the covers will be random, some will be themed, some will be classic, and some will be ones you've never seem. Have fun with it.

Last week we had Batman took center stage. Bruce Wayne has seen better days but which cover said it best?
The results came down to this:

Detective 59.95%
Batman 40.05%

Pretty well contested with Detective Comics coming out with a solid win. Nice. OK, the silhouette is a standard comic book cover technique. Used to portray drama, tension, and mystery. Two of my favorite covers that exemplify this are the ones below. Which once do you think works best?

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Which X-Men team was the best? I asked you and this is how you responded:

Blue and Gold 46.1%
All-New, All-Different 18.72%
Astonishing X-Men 10%
First Class 5.89%
Team Outback 5.03%
New X-Men 3.64%
Magneto's X-Men 3.47%
80s Excalibur 2.95%
X-Factor 2.0 2.77%
New Mutants 1.04%

WOW! I made it known in the comments last week that I was WAY OFF in my predictions. I knew Blue and Gold would do well but didn't expect them to get 46% of the vote! Wow. I need to compose myself. Here's what you said:

mj: "Blue and Gold. No contest."

Nuke Dukem: "There are so many great X-Men lineups that it's difficult to narrow the list down to one as being the "greatest." In the end, I'm going to have to go with the X-Men Blue and Gold teams. Aside from the original lineup, those teams are iconic to the X-Universe and are the lineups in the comics I read growing up."

Benjamin J: "Got a soft spot for Whedon/Cassady's Astonishing X-Men. So knowing that Claremont/Lee's Blue & Gold teams would run away with the win here, I thought I'd throw some love Astonishing's way."

Gold Any Ranger: "Sadly my favorite X-team line-ups aren't a choice. The team between All New, All Different and Magneto's. Professor X was still there, and the team was Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Kitty and Rogue. And X-Force 1.0, (Cable, Domino, Cannonball, Boom Boom, Warpath, Feral and Shatterstar)."

Earl Chatterton: "I loved the 80s X-Men teams...to me, the best lineup was the teams that included Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, Kitty, Colossus and Nightcrawler. Thats always the best combo....a real extended family.
I LOVED the early Claremont/Davis Excalibur. Kitty was my favorite female character, and no one drew her better than Davis. The book was so funny and unusual, and the characters were so well developed. The Rachel-Kitty-Kurt stuff was perfect. But once it became just another X-book (damn you 90s!) I lost interest with the book, and really comics in general soon after. The Liefield-ish of the mutant books and things like the Spider-Man clone saga just killed my interest back when I was a teenager."

APrince66: "Gotta say Blue and Gold. I always loved Psylock, Gambit was 90s cool, and Bishop always interested the heck out of me."

Anthony: "Team Outback for me."

Joe: "Best line up isn't even on here. Right after the all new group. Cyclops, Pheonix, Woverine, Nightcrawler, Collosus, Storm, Banshee. The team that made the X-Men."

Jonberg: "Has to be Morrison's New. The first time in years the team had been interesting, new and relevant rather than tired stereotypes. No mention of Claremont's awful filler team with Sage, Marrow, Maggott, Thunderbird III and the like?"

Erik DiMera: "The 1975 x line up with Storm with Claremont is how everything turned around...saved the franchise. Made it what it ended up being. The Blue and Gold teams is the symbol of the franchise though. It was followed with the cartoon the following year."

Kyatollah: "For what was listed, I had to go Blue/Gold, with Astonishing and Magneto's neck-in-neck for second and third. If we opened it up to AU stuff, I'd say the lineup from X2 was pretty cool, along with Evolution. My ideal team would look like this:
Wolverine, Storm, Beast, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue, Psylocke, Havok, Kitty Pryde, Colossus"

Solomon Grundy: "I was never a huge fan of Bishop or Jubilee and didn't like many of storylines of the Blue and Gold team era.

Admittedly my formative comic years, when I first got into comics, was with the heroes and stories of the All-New, All-Different team so I'm a little biased. I also remember reading the old Excalibur books. As a young kid the name of the comic alone I thought was cool, unfortunately that often didn't translate once the comic was opened and read."

Craig L: "Astonishing and the original Ultimate X-men line ups for me."

K. Bett: "Started reading with the blue and gold, i still have a habit of creating characters on champions online with blue and gold motifs"

CyberVenom: "Best X-Teams, barring alternate realities? Nice! Here's my 10, this time in order!

10. X-Force (original lineup)
9. New Mutants (original lineup)
8. Excalibur (original lineup)
7. Astonishing X-Men (Original lineup)
6. X-Factor Investigations (Original team)
5. X-Force (Black and Grey Ops team, original version)
4. New X-Men (Frank Quitley art for the win)
3. All New/All Different
2. Jim Lee/X-Men #1
1. The Original Team (First Class)"

Jack Revenge: "It was so close between First Class and Blue and Gold. I voted Blue and Gold this time. Ask me tomorrow, and I'd probably vote the other way."

RipStamps: "Had to go with blue and gold. Excalibur is pretty awesome tho."

redhotrash: "I wish Rogue's team would have had a bit more time together. Rogue, Sabretooth, Mystique, Cable, Cannonball, Lady Mastermind, and Iceman. Such a cool line up that fell apart really as soon as it took off."

Good stuff guys. Thanks! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is upon us and it looks to be filled with bad guys! It looks like Spidey will be fighting Electro, Rhino, and Green Goblin. With the Sinister Six in the works, expect some more bad news for Spider-Man to pop up in the movie as well. While a list about his GREATEST foes would be east and fun, let's flip it around and focus on the WORST his gallery has to offer!

This was a TOUGH one. Spider-Man's history is filled with forgettable and zany characters. This list could be 100 easily but I got it down to 10. I fully expect the comment section to be brimming with who I missed! Have at it! I tried to keep the list to some of the more notable characters who've gotten some love in the comics instead of the one-and-done guys.

Kangaroo's powers include jumping and boxing. That's all you need to know.

When I first put this list together in my head, Mindworm was the first one who popped up. Mindworm's a superhuman mutant with limited telepathic powers who was briefly a minor enemy of Spider-Man. He had an oversized cranium and was extremely intelligent. Horrible look, name, and overall just a wasted character. While he was killed by a street gang, he popped up in the MC2 universe. I have no idea why.

The Iguana
The Iguana is exactly like the Lizard. The one twist was that he gained human intelligence by night, a hypnotic stare, and a weakness to blinding light. So you could beat him with a flashlight. Iguana was always trying to get Spider-Man into the dark but he ultimately lost to Spidey when he was hit by the same device that changed his physiology, and exploded.

Hubert and Pinky Fusser are twins. Both born with dwarfism, one becomes a nuclear scientist, and one becomes janitor. An accident strikes Hubert (the scientist), his brother Pinky rushes to assist. The resulting radiation causes them to become one, a Fusion - a twin-headed radioactive being which contains both of their personalities. As Fusion, Hubert wishes to pursue plans for extraordinary research which are bad. Pinky wants to end the madness. Just like I do.

The Walrus has the "proportionate speed, strength, and agility of a Walrus". That means he's stronger than an average human, is able to hold his breath under water, and is able to resist cold temperatures. OH! He's also slower, less agile, and much dumber than an average human.

I'm not the biggest Lizard fan but he sure inspired a lot of imitators. Stegron was Vincent Stegron, a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who teamed with Curt Connors to visit the Savage Land and study dinosaur DNA. Vincent wasn't the nicest guy to work with and he ended up stealing Connors's Lizard formula. He mixed it with some dinosaur DNA and, POOF, he turned into a stegosaurus-type that could CONTROL DINOSAURS! His weakness was cold weather so don't expect him to turn up in Spider-Man 3 during any snow scenes.

Do you remember Spidercide? A Multiplicity-esque clone of a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone of Peter Parker. I might have missed a few clones in there. Thank the Jackal for this mess. Spidercide was designed to convince readers that the Peter Parker they had been reading for years was actually a clone, and that Spidercide was the original Parker. Remember, if you can't craft readers an entertaining story, make up some garbage to trick them in a horrible way.

Styx & Stone
Medical experiments on the homeless. That's what we can thank for Styx and Stone. Gerald Stone was a scientist trying to cure cancer. A noble goal but he ended up turning a homeless man into living cancer. Stone knew this wasn't cool so he did what any one would do. He went out and and became a mercenary to fund his search for a cure. Oh, he grabbed a rocket launcher and hover-sled as well. Several terrible adventures later and these two are still an embarrassment.

Big Wheel
This guy hired Rocket Racer to steal evidence that he had embezzled from his company. Then Jackson Weele became a supervillain. Weele started riding around in a giant metal wheel with guns on it. Don't tell Michael Bay because I'm pretty sure he'd use this guy.

The Fly
Spider-Man was bitten by a radio-active spider. Harlan Stillwell was hired by J Jonah Jameson to create a new super hero to rival Spider-Man and he went with...a fly. In case you didn't know, a fly is a spider's favorite meal.

NOTE: I know I missed some big ones. A poll like this has way too many to mention. That's why I leave it up to you to list YOUR pick for Worst Spider-Man villain. There's almost no wrong answers because I've had friends make interesting cases for the Vulture, Venom, and Green Goblin. Vote and comment below!

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Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! If we can get enough people doing a weekly review on a consistent basis, I would love to spin it off into it's own column. One step closer to getting a Comic Book section back at 411mania! Take it away, RobF and Rob Bonnette!

Elektra #1

By RobF

Another week, another Marvel reboot. This week we turn our focus to a character with a turbulent past both comically (as in comics) and personally. She has worn many hats in her career (hero, teammate) but now she returns to her most successful: Assassin. The team of W. Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo use dynamic artwork and a strong narrative to make Elektra one to watch.

The issue starts with a quick synopsis of Elektra's past. It's a complicated one so I appreciate the summary. We are led right to the meat of the story. Elektra seems to be at a crossroads in her life and like most of us she returns back to a familiar environment while she sorts it all out. For her it's simple: acquire a target and assassinate. But this victim is no pushover. It's the master assassin Cape Crow, a killer of killers, a badass that Sabretooth, the Taskmaster and others have failed to curtail. And apparently as an added challenge he has taken up residence on Monster Island. I had to read it twice to make sure I understood it. Monster Island. There's a twist I was not expecting.

I think what makes this issue above average is the artwork. Michael Del Mundo is the perfect artist for Elektra. His dreamlike atmosphere is laden with beauty and brutality. It is reminiscent of Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz's' Elektra series but it doesn't run from the comparison. Mundo uses it as a template and then runs with it.

Of all the reboots Elektra is easily my favorite. I came into this series with extremely low expectations and was pleasantly surprised at the results. I am anxiously awaiting #2 and what comes next.

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Batman Eternal #3

By Rob Bonnette

This weeks issue starts of with a well know Bat-sidekick from the pre-New 52 world, Stephanie Brown. When going to her dad's house to get her IPad, she stumbles across her Dad in a costume meeting with some other costumed crooks planning a job. An unseen figure knocks her out, as her Dad and his cronies bicker over getting busted by his daughter. (An Easter Egg is dropped during a phone conversation between Stephanie and her Mom as she walks to her Dad's house. When her mom warns her not to go there because her Dad is busy with his friends, Stephanie retorts 'what am I gonna do, spoil his game night with his friends?' Stephanie was known as the Spoiler in the old universe and will be here as well.) Later on, Stephanie's Dad (known as the Cluemaster) draws a gun to put down his interloping daughter, but she manages to escape by triggering a gas cannister on his costume and running off.

We move on to the Gotham City Police Department, where Commissioner Gordon is still in a holding cell. The newest member of the force, Lt. Bard, comes to visit him and voices his support along with the hopes that Batman will find out what really happened when Gordon shot at the fleeing henchman in the subway tunnel and caused the subway crash. Gordon, not convinced of his own innocence tells the youngster that he better accept the fact that things very well may have happened as they appeared and the Gordon is indeed guilty. While this is going on, the other big names in the department are talking shop about how things are going to go now that Gordon is out of the picture for the time. It's here that we get another look at Major Forbes, who ran down Gordon in issue #1 for being a boy scout and throwing his lot in with Batman. Forbes continues down this road, and at this point it's clear that he isn't kosher.

Batman is unable to figure out what really happened in the subway tunnel, so he goes hunting for answers. He crashes the Penguin's casino, assuming that the current boss of Gotham is somehow involved. When Penguin denies any involvement Batman informs that the old boss, Carmine Falcone is back in town. Penguin ran him off years ago, but now he's back for revenge and to reclaim the city's underbelly for his own. While this is happening, Falcone is meeting with the Mayor reminiscing about the good old days when he ran the place and how those days are going to be back; it's here that Forbes becomes a big player. The Mayor and Falcone ask Forbes a few questions to gauge his loyalty, and he passes the test. The Mayor goes on to appoint Major Forbes acting commissioner while Falcone's men being raiding the Penguin's weapons caches to begin war for they city.

While Batman races around the city to put down each incident as they happen, Forbes grounds the police force on the grounds that they have better things to do than police a gang war. He then draws a Bat symbol on the whiteboard and declares that the force is now at war with the Dark Knight. We close with Stephanie Brown, on the run, calling her Mom for help and saying that she thinks he Dad is trying to kill her.

A lot of major developments happened in this issue. Falcone's circle has been revealed, and includes the Mayor and the acting Police Commissioner. The police have been taken off the field and pointed towards Batman and his contemporaries. And we got a glimpse at someone who will be a player for the good guys in the future.

Read more from Rob HERE!

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Death of Wolverine! Marvel has been teasing a radical new development in Wolverine's history with this summer's story arc, 3 Months to Die, which robs Wolverine of his healing factor, the mutant power that has kept him alive and kicking through decades of fatal injuries. The storyline will culminate in a 4-part miniseries in September called, simply, Death of Wolverine. Written by Charles Soule and drawn by Steve McNiven, Death of Wolverine #1 hits on September 3. The next three issues of the series will follow every week ensuing, climaxing with Death of Wolverine #4 on September 24.

Michael Marts, an executive editor at Marvel overseeing the project, explains that the idea to kill off one of the most iconic characters in comic books emerged out of Marvel's semi-annual creative retreat, when Marvel writers and editors come together to discuss major projects. "For a long time, no matter who Wolverine was battling, he's been the eternal victor," says Marts. "He almost always comes out on top. Now he finally comes up against an adversary that he cannot win against, he cannot fight. What does that mean for this character who's been around for hundred years?"

What are your thoughts on this latest "Mainstream Hype" storyline?

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90s! Announced at Sunday's Wolverine: 3 Months To Die panel at Chicago's C2E2, the upcoming four-part series Deadpool Vs. X-Force will revisit the heady days of 1990s and show the never before seen first meeting between Cable's team of mutants and Deadpool. In comics their first meeting was in New Mutants #98 by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, but in this new story by Duane Swierczynski and Pepe Larraz we learn the whole story. Swierczynski talked with Newsarama and here are the highlights:

On the story and line up: "You never forget your first time! Although in this case.. they sort of do. Unknown to all parties involved, Deadpool met Cable and the rest of X-Force before the events of New Mutants #98. But their battle was shocking and disturbing, every single fragment had to be scrubbed from their collective memory banks. Finally, the truth can be told... in four action-packed comic books."

"It's the classic lineup - Cable has tapped Warpath, Boom-Boom, Cannonball and Domino to tackle this new threat. What's weird is, I've actually written about most of these guys before, in different series. But never as a team, and never in a situation like this."

On how it fits in with New Mutants #98: "Well, it fits in just before New Mutants #98. To say more risks a visit to Spoilerville. But the trouble starts with Cable senses a huge disturbance in the timespread, as if it's on the verge of collapse. He plays detective, of sorts, and traces it back to the only man alive with the technology to cause such a disruption - a man grieving over the loss of his grandson. And it turns out that this same man hired a certain mercenary (cough cough Deadpool) for a personal mission that has the potential to totally rewrite American history. If there's even an America left, after the dust settles."

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Doomed! The last panel for DC Comics at C2E2 2014 focused on Superman, with creators coming to talk about the upcoming Doomed crossover. Here are the highlights from the panel"

* Action Comics was first up, by the pair of creators on the dais, and Greg Pak said they've been having "a ton of fun" on the series so far and that the Doomed storyline has a prelude in issue 30 of that series, on stands now. The already infamous scene from that issue of Doomsday killing polar bears was shown. "That's not even close to Doomsday at his worst," Pak said. "You'll see a Doomsday you've never seen before. There are enormous comic book fights like you've never seen before, the wonderful supporting cast. Everything you thought it was going to be happens in the first issue, and all the others after that are going to be a surprise."

* Charles Soule noted that they've been planning this Doomsday story for about eight months. The creators promised that the individual books will still be readable and make sense, and not ignore their own supporting casts, but the whole will be a consistent story. "The drum can't be beaten enough that this is not Superman vs. Doomsday from back in the day," Kuder said. "It is not a retelling of that story." Pak added that it has a bigger, new emotional arc that wasn't there before. "If you love Superman, you'll love this story, I promise," Pak said, "Also, Krypto's in it!" which drew applause.

* Superman/Wonder Woman was next and Soule talked about issue 7, on sale now, which gives the characters one brief moment of peace before Doomed shakes things up. "They persevere and try to find a way to be together despite the things that come in the way of that, like Doomsday!" The series' crossover issues will have some guest stars. Lois Lane and Batman both show up in #8, and Lois is back in #10 with some "big interaction with Wonder Woman. I love Lois Lane and Wonder Woman both as characters, and I want to do some really cool stuff for them, respect them both a lot," said Soule.

* Aaron Kuder is writing an arc of Superboy, which came from him doing the Parasite villains month issue. "When they offered me Superboy, it's hard to tie into. It's about Jonathan Lane Kent, who is the son of a future version of Lois and Clark, who was then taken and brainwashed by Harvest to be this killer warrior who wants to kill all metahumans. Now he's dying, and he has to deal with his mortality." The book, Kuder said, is then about "how can someone stay angry when they're dealing with their own mortality?"

* Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee was next, and Snyder apologized for it being late. "We overestimated our ability to do a hardcore monthly schedule. We decided it was better to be a little late and let Jim just go to town on it." Issue 8 and issue 9 will have extra pages, he announced. Issue 7, which Lee has finished drawing and comes out in May, takes the character of Wraith further. Snyder said that Wraith is meant as a doppleganger of Superman's early years, when he was more involved in the war effort and was killing enemy combatants. The issue is "basically just an oversized brawl, and becomes this game of 'can Batman stay alive long enough'?" "Lois is a huge part of 7 and 8, and really becomes the hero of these scenes. The question is can Superman ever beat Wraith, and the answer is, not without Lois," Snyder said.

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Infinity Man! DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, just returned from his appearance at Chicago's C2E2, and talked to Newsarama about his new Infinity Man and the Forever People series. DiDio will be reunited with Keith Giffen on Infinity Man, a new ongoing series starting in July that brings concepts from Jack Kirby's New Gods into the New 52. Here are the highlights:

On the difference between Infinity Man and the Forever People and O.M.A.C.: "You know, that's a great question, because when we went with O.M.A.C., we specifically went to tell a very traditional and, for lack of a better term, old-school comic book. We looked at the comics of the '60s and '70s that we loved, and we tried to capture some of the crazy kinetic energy of those books, and just really out-of-control situations that seemed to have no rhyme or reason, but we really had a lot of fun telling those stories.

When we're going with Infinity Man and the Forever People, this is also capturing a lot of that same crazy energy, but there really is a much more structured sense of the story, plus an interactivity with the rest of the DC Universe that the original O.M.A.C. story had touched upon, but never really fully embraced."

On the storyline: "it's a story about control, and people identifying what control is and what it means to them, and then ultimately either rebelling against it or embracing it. That's what's at the heart of it. And it's the heart of so much that goes on in the world today. And it's in various layers, because it wasn't just about looking at the Forever People, but also looking at the New Gods as a concept, which is starting to play much bigger throughout the DC Universe.

We start with Highfather and who Highfather is, and his sense of control over everything else. The big picture is that, you know, we're exploring a lot more aspects of the multiverse than we've ever done before, which I think is really exciting, because you can see so many different creators getting involved, and really looking at all the facets of the DC Universe coming together.

But when you look at the New Gods, the New Gods are what we call a singularity a single form within all of the multiverse. So while you have multiple interpretations of every other character in these other dimensions and other worlds, the New Gods there's only one version of the New Gods, and they exist across all planes. New Gods exist vertically through all the horizons of the various levels of the multiverse.

So that puts them at a different level, and a difference level of understanding. And it also makes them feel, in some ways, superior to everyone else. But even that superiority comes with challenges of who they are, and as they try to exert control through the multiverse, they find out the multiverse is not as willing to accept it as they are willing to give it. And they see themselves as good force, but sometimes when trying to good, you don't realize how it might affect others. And that gets to the heart of the Forever People story. The Forever People are, basically, for all intents and purpose a New Gods version of the Peace Corps.

They went to Earth, trying to make change here, to advance our civilization, similar to what you might have seen in 2001 with the Monolith. But in trying to advance our civilization their way, it creates more problems, and because of those problems, it forces them to really examine the reason for their being, and whether or not they're doing the right thing. And that creates an interesting challenge among the members of the team too."

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Before I say GOODBYE!
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That's all the time I have. See you next week!


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