Comics 411 6.11.14: Marvel's Fathers and Sons Edition
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 06.11.2014
Do Cyclops and Cable have the most twisted father and son relationship in the Marvel Universe? Plus news and thoughts on Deathlok getting his own series again, the approach of Batman Day, reviews for Iron Fist #3 and Batman Eternal #9 and more!
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!
Click and read my interview with Playboy'sMiss May, Dani Mathers!
Did you see the cameo in this Constantine trailer? Pretty cool!
COVER VS COVER!
Last week we had to covers from 100 Bullets by Dave Johnson. I asked if you could only buy one, based on the cover, which would you buy?
B (Bottom) 77.21%
A (Top) 22.79%
Not even close! I guess I know why most of you come to 411mania now! This week we're going old school again. Two Flash covers. Both outside the norm of what a comic book cover usually is. Which one would you buy?
Last week the poll centered on Worst Batman Villain! Who took it?
PENNY PLUNDERER 32.99%
POLKA-DOT MAN 18.37%
KITE MAN 12.59%
CRAZY QUILT 10.54%
CALENDAR MAN 6.12%
KILLER MOTH 5.44%
TEN-EYED MAN 4.76%
The Penny Plunderer finally gets his two cents worth of fame! Actually, I've grown to like him and secretly hope someone can reintroduce him into the DC Universe. Seriously. Start your Penny Plunderer fan-fic now! I know adding the Penguin ruffled some feathers but I wanted to include at least one A-list Batman baddie on the list and he fit the bill to me. Let's see what you have to say!
Ron Gamble: "Kite Man's real name was Charles Brown? Really? He could be defeated by a Kite-Eating Tree and having a little girl pull a football away while he's kicking!"
Mac D: "I wouldnt say the Penguin isn't the greatest Batman villain ever but I wouldn't call him the worst. He has always been middle of the ground. Always seems like a credible threat but has never done anything truly memorable to Batman. His status gets elevated because it seems like the character always pops up in TV and Movies."
Shadowhendrix: "Penguin is pretty great when written properly. His portrayals in the Arkham series as well as no-man's land are pretty much are perfect. Hes one of batman's few sane foes who has just enough flair to be considered a mythic figure in Gotham rather than just a tough gangster. He's not top tier, but he's several leagues above the bottom tier of bat-villains. The low end of batman villains is really bad stuff, I can't even begin to pick the worst."
Michael L: "Agreed on the Penguin. He's pretty much a slightly refined thug, with nothing truly special about him (aside for his penchant for a variety of umbrellas). However, in that role he could do some pretty awesome things--with my favorite highlight being Penguin's role in the No Man's Land series, where he was able to take advantage of the earthquake to set up his own mini-kingdom--at least until he was double-crossed by Two-Face.
As for bad Batman villains, I was never that much of a fan of Killer Croc, or the Mad Hatter, with both of them coming across as a bit too cartoonish, and not really making up for it in terms of either cleverness (Riddler) or sheer insanity (Joker)."
Pat: "There are no bad villains; only writers who use them badly.
Penguin, when in the hands of a decent author, is a fascinating character with complex motivations, an interesting look and a position within Gotham society that opens up many story options.
Professor Pyg on the other hand is a one-dimensional psycho-surgeon with a pig's face - but Morrison created him so presumably he gets a pass?"
Dougie2876: "I feel like the last five choices are all whacky silver age villains. I don't think they should really count as that's just the way comics were in the silver age. And Anarky was a great character. Alan Grant is extremely underrated. Of those listed, I'd go with Cluemaster who is just redundant. But the really winner has to be Professor Pyg who is just incredibly terrible yet prevelant for the last year or so for no reason whatsoever. Yet another incredibly bad Grant Morrison idea that will eventually be retconned."
Kyatollah: "No love (hate) for the Condiment King? That had to be the worst Batman villain I've ever seen. This is a Batman villain that Bat-Mite would probably be able to beat hand-to-hand."
W. Ryne Hall: "You should look up the Batman Villain Project. Batman has a TON of bad villains, and with that said, no way does Penguin belong on a list of his worst villains. Hell, considering how often he's been seen in non-comic adaptations, and how easily he's recognized, he seems to be one of the more recognizable and popular members of the Batman rogues gallery."
Cactus: "Penguin, Killer Moth, and Anarky have at least had respectable story arcs or lovable portrayals (Killer Moth in the Teen Titans cartoon). Also you make Anarky sound way goofier than he is; he debuted as a 12 year old, but was fairly quickly retconned into being 16, and then there's all the stuff he made (MAX the AI, a jerry-rigged boom tube transporter, his base in Washington DC.) I also love Calendar Man the way he was depicted in Long Halloween.
My vote for worst Batman villain, of those 10, is Kite-Man or Penny Plunderer."
JS Bragg: "I can get behind all of those as bad (never liked Penguin) except Anarky."
BoycottWWE: "Anarky, hands down."
Wrestling Fan: "Calendar Man was redeemed by The Long Halloween. Cluemaster redeemed by his time in the Injustice League and Justice League Antarctica.
Otherwise, yeah, those are some sad bad guys."
VT_JizzyFingerz: "Pretty Hard to be any lamer than Clock King (-_-)"
Great points all around! Father's Day is almost here and what better way to celebrate than taking a look at some of the twisted Father/Son relationships in the Marvel? I combed through and found some of the bigger daddy/son relationships that begs the question: Should this character be having kids? Who did I miss? Vote and comment below!
One thing that stood out was how often time travel plays into these relationships. Lesson: Don't time travel if you want to be a good dad!
Marvel's Most Twisted Father & Son Dynamics!
Let's start with some Norse family drama. Thor and Odin's relationship is a mix of emotions and stems from them being stubborn and so alike. Thor and Odin employ the "tough love" technique, especially when you consider how Odin banished Thor to Earth to teach him a lesson. Add Loki to the mix and I wouldn't want to be around the table on Thanksgiving. Some of you might ask why I didn't put Loki in this spot and I answer that the dynamic between Loki and Odin is pretty clear cut. Loki is the wayward son and Odin in the loving but disapproving father. With Thor, Odin does some funny things to show compassion to his son.
Read House of M.
Just know that when you have two of Marvel Universe's most arrogant and aggressive types, you're going to have trouble.
Once upon a time, Cyclops had a son who got really sick with an alien virus. What does he do? Abandons him by sending him into the future to be cured. What did we get? Cable. You'd think Cable would hold a grudge against dad but while he wasn't a fan of Cyclops, he didn't make it his life's obsession to kill him.
MR. FANTASTIC/NATHANIEL RICHARDS
Here's another one that has time travel in the mix. Reed Richards's father was investigating traveling through space, disappearing while his son was a child, to a far future where he rebuilt humanity before returning to the present day with a simple aim: To remove his own grandson from the timeline for the good of mankind. Reed wasn't cool with the idea of losing his son to his father and drama ensued. Reed's relationship to his son, Franklin, isn't the best either but never reached this level of family fiasco.
BARON ZEMO/BARON ZEMO
The Zemos! Follow this one closely. The the rivalry between the two Baron Zemos is centered on Captain America. Son Helmut has been mentally tortured by his father Heinrich's legacy from beyond the grave and has seeked to outdo him as he tried to complete his father's dream of destroying Captain America. What's this? Another time travel footnote? Yes, thanks to the help of time travel, these two met face-to-face as Helmut traveled through time meeting various earlier Zemos. It wasn't the Field of Dreams moment.
Who could have guessed that the Hulk would be an absentee father? And he is partially responsible for the death of his baby mama? You really can't blame Skaar for traveling to Earth with the intent to kill the Hulk. The two did eventually clash but Skaar realized that maybe his dad wasn't all bad, after all.
LEGION/PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER
It's no secret that Professor X is a terrible dad. Just ask his son, David. David was raised halfway across the world, never meeting his father until he grew up and become an Omega level mutant capable of destroying the world. Even after he did meet pops, he was sent to Muir Isle to stay, separate from his father. He did the only thing a normal kid would do. Traveled back in time and accidentally changed reality.
Pity Harry Osborn. When you have a dad like Norman, it's nearly impossible to have a normal life. Both as the Green Goblin and himself, Norman has made the lives of Harry and just about everybody he cares about miserable, mixing his fatherly attention with both dismissal and disdain.
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Iron Fist #3
The deconstruction of Danny Rand continues in Iron Fist 3. Kaare Andrews is single handedly destroying everything we know about the Living Weapon and where he will stop no one knows. And if history is any indication, it can only get worse.
This is a dark, dark story. Really dark. From Danny Rand's origin to the current day there is no break from the sadness. And just when you think things can't get any worse it does. K'un Lun has been destroyed by a mysterious hooded figure and Iron Fist's surrogate father (spoiler alert) has lost his head. Literally. While in denial of any guilt at first his tears and rage betray his depth of feeling for the place that made him a weapon. As a final insult his promises of vengeance are met with scorn and he is ejected from the only home he ever new.
The overall theme of Iron Fist is the internal struggle of Daniel Rand. Is he a man or a weapon? Can he be someone who doesn't choose who dies, but rather who lives? That may be the greatest challenge of all for someone who rejects life even for himself.
As I stated earlier Andrews (handling both writing and art) is really putting his stamp on this character. He is definitely adding depth to the legend of Iron Fist but at the same time tearing him down to be reborn as a different character. Whereas I am not a fan of the artwork I can't picture any other artist doing this story justice.
So where does Iron Fist go from here? He has no home, no family and seemingly no hope. This comic can be a brutally emotional book but well worth the investment.
This issue starts with Carmine Falcone, the once-exiled crime boss has now returned to Gotham to retake his old territory, admonishing his bought and paid for new police commissioner Forbes about the injuries that some of his men have suffered at the hands of one of Gotham's vigilantes. Forbes tries to plead his case that Batman has gone low profile since the police department declared war on him and assures his boss that the problem is under control. Falcone corrects him, saying that if Batman isn't very visible it's because he's because he wants to be, and that he's likely off looking into something else. Which takes us to…China
Batman reconnects with Mr. Unknown, his former Chinese associate from Batman, Inc. to find out why Falcone left China to come back to Gotham. After leaving Gotham, Falcone went to China and became a huge crime boss. Why he would leave that to come back to Gotham is a question that Batman needs answering. The official story is that Falcone became embroiled in a gang war, and came out on the losing end so he fled back home. The two vigilantes go to the headquarters of the new boss to get answers, caped crusader style. While they're coming they're spotted by a female spy of some kind, who is looking to get inside the building herself. And then it gets messy when they all meet up with the boss they were looking for.
The mystery woman gets wounded, badly, before the Dark Knight is able to deliver the kind of beatdown he's famous for. He gets the boss to talk, and he reveals that he didn't defeat Falcone in the gang war at all but that Falcone saw his chance to take Gotham back for himself and left China, paying his rival off and allowing him to say he won the war as a cover story. Batman and Mr. Unknown pick up the wounded woman and get out of the building. On his way back to Gotham Batman informs Alfred that he's bringing back the woman to stay with them. When Alfred suggests that's not a good idea, Batman reveals that the woman is Alfred's daughter.
I like the way the series is going; they're giving a different member of the Bat family a showcase every week and this time we got Mr. Unknown from Batman, Incoprorated. We've already seen issues featuring Batgirl, Red Robin, and Batwing, and have gotten an introduction to Stephanie Brown aka the Spoiler. We also got an appearance from the Spectre a few weeks ago We haven't seen the jailed commissioner Gordon for a few weeks so I figure we'll be getting back to that soon. And what's going to happen when some of the other Bat villains decide to weigh in on the business with Falcone? Professor Pyg has already made his presence known and the Penguin is looking to get revenge for Falcone's strikes against him. And just what is the deal with Alfred's daughter? We'll see.
Deathlok! Marvel announced that it would be launching a new ongoing Deathlok series in October. For the past decade, Deathlok has been featured primarily as a supporting character or guest star in books like Wolverine and Uncanny X-Force, but this new series comes on the heels of the character's live-action debut in ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. This new comic series spins out of the current Marvel event title Original Sin, and a short story in this Wednesday's Original Sins #1 will serve as a lead-in to the ongoing launching in October.
Series writer Nathan Edmondson says that the series will feature ""excitement and thrills on a par with any James Bond opening or Jason Bourne set-piece nestling alongside some touching character interludes." Edmondson will be joined by longtime Marvel artist Mike Perkins, who has worked extensively for the publisher on both Captain America and their adaptation of Stephen King'sThe Stand. Perkins is well-known in comic circles for being a big fan of the Deathlok character, and tells THR that this new series ""is not just a long-held dream come true for me– although thatplays a massive part in my excitement – it's also a chance to introduce a new player into the Marvel Universe, albeit borrowing some existing tropes."
Edmondson says that the series will parlay what fans of Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. see of Deathlok into the comic, but that the character itself will be a different man in the Deathlok technology. The title's namesake will be Henry Hayes, is a "father and a medic who doesn't know that he's a machine," and compares the tone of Deathlok to Manchurian Candidate and Robocop.
Batman Day! Batman turns 75 this year and DC Comics is celebrating all year long, but the day before Comic-Con International: San Diego officially kicks off will be the big one, with "Batman Day" in retailers across the US. To help the celebration, the publisher is releasing a free Batman Detective Comics #27 "Special Edition." The issue's cover has Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Brad Meltzer, Bryan Hitch, Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, and Chip Kidd all credited.
In addition, DC Comics is releasing a Batman 75th Anniversary timeline poster to select retailers (it won't be available for sale), which includes 42 major events in Batman's history, from Stephanie Brown as Robin to the live action TV series, the birth of the Animated Series and more. There will also be capes, bookmarks, and masks for retailers to give out for free. Grayson #1 and Robin Rises: Omega uncoincidentally launch on July 23, 2014, as well, so there's something for Bat-fans to buy when they're in stores getting their freebies.
Valiant! Valiant Comics has been steadily making a name for itself in the world of superhero comics and building its readership thanks to fan favorite titles such as XO Manowar, Unity, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, and other classics from the company's past. Valiant has invested in top industry talent to ensure the best possible results in art and storylines.
This summer, Valiant continues to impress with its company-wide event, Armor Hunters. This event will kick off June 11, 2014 with the release of Armor Hunters #1 (of 4) and will include two tie-in issues in Unity #8 as well as XO Manowar #28. From there, readers can expect tie-in issues from Armor Hunters: Harbinger as well as Armor Hunters: Bloodshot. While the event won't include every Valiant title, the events from the first issue of the series promise to have wide-reaching effects that will branch out across their shared universe. Newsarama sat down with the series' lead writer, Robert Venditti and here are the highlights:
On where the idea for the Armor Hunters came from: "The determination to make th big, event-styled cross-over came from Valiant. They have to put something like this into their publishing schedule. I would never presume to write a story and say "Hey, everybody let's all jump on to this!" And that's a part of the fun in the challenge when they come and talk to you. They wanted an event mini-series that can stand alone but also tie in multiple other titles and asked, "What do you have in mind for that?" I've never done that kind of story before. I've done a cross-over with Green Lantern with "Lights Out," but that was going from one book to another all within one month. This is a multi-book, four-month storyline, so it's a much larger endeavor.
With everything I take on, I try to get outside of my comfort zone and do something that I haven't done before. I'm always hoping to challenge myself and grow as a writer. This was an opportunity when they came to me about doing it that I was very excited about it and was able to work in some ideas that I had been kicking around since I started on XO but now on a much larger scale."
On the process like for putting the cross-over together: "It all started off with Warren asking me about what sort of ideas I had for this sort of large scale event. And we went over some ideas I had and he had and we got a core concept in place. Then we had a writers' retreat at Valiant back in October of 2013, and we talked about the idea, presented it to the other writers in very broad manner. Instead of saying "Writer X, you have to be involved," and "Writer Y, you have to be involved," it was more of looking at it and asking them how they saw their characters fitting into it or not fitting into it at all. Everybody had an opportunity to be a part of it if they wanted to and stay out of it if they wanted to. We all got to talking, and you've got guys like Dysart, Pak, Kindt, Van Lente, all of these talented writers in the room and the story just grew out of there and became better and better."
On "entry points" for new readers: "That's a huge focus for Valiant for all of their books – not just this but every issue they put out on a month to month basis is always a new entry point for readers. That's something that is a big focus for Warren and for Valiant as a whole. So it's maintaining that and making each individual storyline tie-in – the way Unity ties in and Harbinger ties in or the way Bloodshot ties in – and yet still stand alone and tell a complete story. If you read them in conjunction with the event series, you get this sense of a larger picture in place. So it's something that, with most of us having been Valiant writers for quite a while, we're almost trained to think that way when it comes to these books, and so it's always been a part of the mission statement. We had that in mind from day one."
Transform! Take a look at the next chapter in the Transformers saga as the Dawn of the Autobots continues!
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #30: Dawn of the Autobots John Barber (w) • Andrew Griffith, Casey W. Coller (a & c) • Griffith (c)
Here's the write up:
"GALVATRON THE BARBARIAN! From Cybertron's ancient past came the warrior-king, GALVATRON. Once, he united CYBERTRON and ushered in a Golden Age. Now, he wants to do the same to Earth…but OPTIMUS PRIME has a problem with that plan."