Tag Archives: Venom

Top o’ the Lot: Disabled Marvel Characters

Top o' the Lot Image UpdatedOne of the inherent qualities of Marvel comics is the way it showcases people overcoming challenging obstacles while dealing with inherent flaws. Whether it was a nerdy kid dealing with new found coolness or a doctor struggling with his own anger issues, Marvel Comics have always had a way of showing that heroes could be just like us, and, logically, we could be just like heroes, no matter our flaws. But, when the obstacle our hero must face is a bit more apparent and specific it adds an additional layer of importance that makes the real-world comparisons that much more significant to society as a whole. When a reader can walk away from a book with some perspective, knowledge, and a bit more understanding…well, it’s just one of the things that makes comics great. So, without further ado, we present another installment of Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Disabled Marvel Characters.

Honorable Mention: Curt Connors

Curt ConnorsCurt Connors was a gifted battlefield surgeon until a blast injured his right arm and it had to be amputated. Driven by this loss, Doctor Connors worked on a serum that would regrow his lost limb, the same way reptiles are able to regrow lost appendages, and one experiment-gone-wrong later, The Lizard was born. The long-time Spidey villain is one of THE most popular of the wall-crawlers Lizardmenagerie of badguys, but good ole Doc Connors only gets a mention because of his alter-ego’s popularity and the inherent nature of the villain’s origin within the context of this List. It could be said that Connors disability, or rather the desire to remove it, drove him mad, leading him to throw caution and commonsense out the window and take the path toward villainy. But it’s cooler to look at the Lizard as an even worse disability than the one Connors was trying to fix…makes you wonder.

5. Misty Knight

Misty KnightMercedes “Misty” Knight was an officer with the NYPD who lost her right arm while saving uncountable lives preventing a bomb attack. Unwilling to take a desk job because of her stubborn perseverance and drive to make a difference, Misty retired from the police force only to be given a bionic arm by Tony Stark granting her great strength and allowing her to take up her super-heroic shenanigans once again. Personally, I love the hair, and her on again/off again romance with Danny Rand notwithstanding, Misty is a great character, and she’s a respectful representative of the hundreds of police officers injured every year protecting American streets.

4. Husk

Paige Guthrie, the mutant known as Husk, has had a unique and important story during Husk2her relatively short history. Created in 1984, Husk is the brother of X-Man Cannonball, and when his mutant power revealed itself, Paige did everything she could to find out if she herself was a mutant. Upon finding out her power was the ability to shed her skin, Husk went into a deep depression, an illness that had yet to be dealt with in quite this way prior to Paige. Since then Paige has continued to be used as a tool for writers to deal with this serious and often ignored state of mind that can very easily become debilitating. While this use of the character has been seen as Husk1recently as Wolverine & the X-Men, Husk’s ability to shed her skin and become anew is such a creative and appropriate way to deal with something as serious and misunderstood as depression I knew she had to be a part of this list. In this case, like many other Marvel characters, Husk’s true power is over us, the readers.

3. Daredevil

Blinded as a child by a radioactive substance that falls from the back of a truck (in Hell’s Kitchen, New York no less), Matt Murdock becomes the Man Without Fear, Daredevil, as his other senses become supercharged due to the same accident. A sonar-like hearing, heightened sense of touch, and even super-smelling make Daredevil one of the coolest characters in all of comics, but also one of the most compelling. As Matt Murdock, the character known as Daredevil is a lawyer by profession, and the way he used his disability to help hide that alter-ego was a fascinating take on the whole context. I’d be in for a beating if I didn’t put Daredevil on this list, and his stock is in no fear of sliding as a Daredevil TV series is due out on Netflix in the next year or so.

2. Professor X

Professor X 2Any Marvel Comics fan worth his weight in adamantium recognizes the statement Stan Lee was making with 1963’s The X-Men, and it’s heralded as one of the most timely pieces of fiction supporting the entire equality movement of the 1960’s. While race, gender, and overall social equality were relatively blatant, the Civil Rights movement also empowered disabled groups to take direct action against discrimination, poor access to help, and Professor X 1inequality, demanding a social solution instead of the failing medical model. With all issues regarding equality, it’s been an uphill battle, with the Americans with Disabilities Act coming in 1990, with room for improvement still apparent today. Despite being bound to a wheelchair, Charles Xavier was by far the most powerful mutant in the world (at least until the Phoenix came along), and while his depiction made for a great role-model, his example and the perspective he provided was landmark. Professor X is still at the height of his popularity, with the current blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past making about a billion bucks at the box office.

1. Flash Thompson

Flash ThompsonAlthough Eugene “Flash” Thompson may be best known for bullying Peter Parker in High School, the way Marvel has utilized the character relatively recently has been nothing short of Spectacular in its own right. Leaving his job as a P.E. teacher, Flash re-enlists in the Army out of pure selfless patriotism to fight in the Iraq War. While on patrol, his platoon is ambushed, with Flash taking several bullets to his legs. Despite his wounds, Flash still manages to save his commanding officer, but winds up needing both his legs amputated below the knees. Although this earns him the Medal of Honor, Flash quickly sinks into a depression, only to be called back to duty for an experimental military project called, Agent Venom. That’s right, through the magic of science and more than a bit of the willpower only a war veteran could have, Flash becomes an all-new, all-heroic version of the villain known as Venom. Now a super-soldier in his own right, Flash/Agent Venom has recently taken to the stars in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s been so fun. Flash Thompson’s story of bravery, injury, loss, and unwillingness to give up symbolizes the heart of our fighting men and women in uniform, and is an example of the mettle our armed forces show each and every day. Agent Venom1

See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Guardians of the Galaxy 14

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #14
Brian Michael Bendis (WRITER) • Nick Bradshaw (ARTIST)
100th issue ANIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
• 45 years in the making! It’s finally here!!! The 100th issue of Guardians of the Galaxy! (Okay it’s actually the 101st, but we had an X-Men crossover to get through! Sheesh!)
• It’s an all-star celebration of the most popular super team of 2014 as cosmic captain Brian Michael Bendis welcomes Nick Bradshaw (WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN) to the team!
• As the GOTG gets ready for new members VENOM and CAPTAIN MARVEL, there are unexpected dangers that promise to tear the team to its core.
• Plus in this special double sized anniversary issue…two special back up stories by former GOTG writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning!
48 PGS./Rated T …4.99

Despite being bogged down in an event or three, and only being just over a year on the shelves, I have adored this volume of Guardians of the Galaxy way too much for it to be a Bendis book. It’s not that I don’t like Bendis; I loved his New Avengers up to a point; but he’s been writing a team for so damned long that it’s hard to believe that he can still come up with refreshing ideas. But he’s been doing it, and this ish 14 was no different. Actually, now that The Trial of Jean Grey storyline is finally done, issue #14 gets back to the business of the Guardians, intros some new members and immediately makes them important, and act as a great jumping on point for new readers while remaining entertaining to long-time fans. Better yet, this is an anniversary issue or some such, and comes with two really fun back-up stories. All this culminates into an enjoyable comic book experience.

The Good

Although Bendis jumps right into already established concepts from his run on this book, he brings them into the issue by recapping them, while still making the book interesting to long-time readers, which was an amazing feat. Starlord and Kitty Pryde’s relationship is addressed, Rocket and Groot were showed off, Gamora’s backstory (the most story-centric of them all) was seamlessly added, and Drax acted as a great way to bring Venom into the fold and make it seem both relevant and interesting. And Venom’s intro into the Cosmic Marvel Universe may become an important part of the entire series, as Flash seeks out his symbiote’s origin. I’ve never really cared about Venom’s origin, but set in the backdrop of the Guardians, it may be fun to find out. Nick Bradshaw was showing off in this title, and he was a great choice for this issue. His transition work, action panels, and attention to detail worked well in this anniversary ish. Although Captain Marvel was a last page reveal and did nothing in the book besides show up, it’s cool to see her, and the Andy Lanning Groot backup story, and Dan Abnett future Guardians tale made up for it quite a bit.

The Bad

There really wasn’t a whole lot wrong with this ish in the context of it being a jumping on point for new readers. Although, I am not a new reader, and things like Starlord arguing with his daddy, yet again, and the same bounty hunter getting the drop on Gamora, yet again, seemed more like retelling for the sake of new readers than anything geared towards those reading from ish #1. Although everything is still done to move an existing story forward, even for Bendis, it was a slow, rehashed, yet entertaining, progression to the last page. The backup stories were so good that Marvel needs to give readers more of those. Short, backup stories should come back to comics, but I fear that will come with a price increase, and it just shouldn’t.

The Verdict

While only dotted with wildly entertaining new elements, Guardians of the Galaxy #14 is a fantastic place for new readers to get on the bandwagon that is this franchise. But, if you’ve had your seat on the wagon for awhile this isn’t as good of an issue as it could be, and the story catchup was an unnecessary distraction. That does nothing, however, to take away from the totality of awesome that was this issue. The Venom stuff alone would make the issue redeemable, but the Captain Marvel reveal, Bendis’ skill in intertwining new elements and old while pushing the story forward, Nick Bradshaw’s great work, and those amazing backup stories, make this ish well worth the $5 price. If you haven’t been reading this, now is the time to jump on, and if you have been reading it, you’re in for an informed treat of a comic.

Story: 4.5 Out of 5
Art: 4.5 Out of 5
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5

Top o’ the Lot: Spider-Man’s Villains

Top o' the Lot Image Updated

We continue with our series of Spider-Man lists and posts leading up to the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film, and this time we tackle the villains that loved to tackle Spidey. And, boy, are there a ton of villains to choose from! There’s two obvious way to approach this list: The easy way, and the hard way. From my very first entry in this Lot, you can tell I’m going the hard way. So, without further ado, we shake a sinister fist, have heard just about enough wisecracks, and start to think about committing crimes in Cleveland instead of New York, as we run down our slanted and biased list in Top o’ the Lot: Spider-Man’s Villains.

Honorable Mention: The Sinister Six

Yeah, this list becomes a bit tougher to get through when you immediately take the Top Six off the board Sinister Sixfrom the start. But it had to be done! There are far too many really cool Spidey villains to leave any of these guys off the list, and, thankfully, Marvel wrapped them all up in a nice little package in 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. If they could do it with the good guys, why not the bad guys? And the Sinister Six was the Marvel’s villainous version of the Avengers. The team was led by Doc Ock, and with Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, and Vulture all teaming up against the Web-slinger, but Spider-Man ended up winning at the end…again. There may have been other versions of the team, but nothing beats the original, and the lineup is about as classic Spidey villain as you can get.Sinister Six2

5. Scorpion

Scorpion Former Private Investigator turned guinea pig, Mac Gargan was hired by J. Jonah Jameson to discover how Peter Parker gets such good picture of Spider-Man, but was later entered into an experimental procedure where he gets the characteristics of some kind of animal. And in Mac’s case, it was a scorpion. Scorpion had amazing strength, could stick to stuff, and that suit gave him some great perks, but Mac was a moron and Spidey was always able to outsmart the lummox. That’s a shade of green that cannot be ignored, and the direct ripoff of Spidey’s powers makes Scorpion a villain that I always enjoyed seeing get his ass handed to him.

4. Mister Negative

Mister NegativeThis is a relatively new villain to the Spidey-verse is kind of a ripoff of Kingpin Wilson Fisk, but there’s enough of a twist that it gives the character a standalone quality all his own. Martin Li may seem like a good intentioned philanthropist, but he’s secretly the head of Chinatown organized crime syndicate. Yeah, that old bag. He didn’t hang around very long, but he was an integral part in a lot Peter’s renewed family struggles of late, but his Superior replacements hasn’t had to deal with good old Negative. And with a name like that, I couldn’t help but give him a spot on this Lot.

 

3. Rhino

RhinoThe Russian muscle with the super strong polymer suit, Aleksei Sytsevich was just a poor immigrant trying to make his way. Rhino may have been just a lumbering hulk of a beast in the early days of Spider-Man, but later in the series Rhino became an emotional torn character with a ton of heart that readers could really relate with. Forgiveness aside, Rhino remains one of the greatest Spidey villains of all time. Yes, he only really had one move – run straight ahead – but he did it so well. Spidey saw it coming just about every time, though, and Rhino always ended up serving time behind bars…and then escaping…repeat…

2. Venom

Venom2Arguably the most recognizable of all of Spidey’s foes, the alien symbiote known as Venom famously began his life in Marvel Comics as a really big help to Spider-Man. Spidey first acquired the symbiote in the Secret Wars, and he loved it! Great fit, sleek color, and great enhancements, including an endless supply of webbing, what wasn’t to love? Little did Mr. Parker know that the alien was making him *pinky to cheek* eeeevvviill! He eventually rid himself of the black goo, but all kind of folks have donned the symbiote since to varying degrees of strangeness. Eddie Brock is, of course, the most famous of the human half of the beast known as Venom, but one time Scorpion Mac Gargan also wore the black monster suit, before Venom got nerfed with Flash Thompson waring the thing. It’s not the the new Flash/Venom is bad, but I like my Venom a whole lot more villainous, and Flash is anything but. Still, Venom represents in this list, and he’s earned the next to the Top spot o’ this Lot. Leaving the one, the only…

1. The Green Goblin

Was there ever really any doubt? No other Spidey villain could have possibly filled out this Green Goblin2list, and that includes every single member of the team in the Honorable Mention slot. Norman Osbourne takes super-hero potion, becomes insane, tries to take over New York as a criminal warlord. But, as always, Spider-Man foils Gob’s plot, and this sets into motion one of the most exciting and recognized superhero rivalries in all of popular culture. He was the first to figure out Spidey’s true identify, he was the mastermind of the Clone Saga, and he killed Gwen Stacy, Peter first and one true love (Ouch! It still hurts). Good old Gob’s continues to do his work in other parts of the Marvel U throughout his storied history, but nothing will ever top being Spider-Man’s number 1 nemesis. Green Goblin makes the top, because that’s exactly wear he belongs.Green Goblin1

 

See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.

 

Top o’ the Lot: Spider-Man’s Suits

Top o' the Lot Image UpdatedIt’s been a crazy couple of years for Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, and the next couple of years promises even more craziness. We’ve seen Peter go from swearing to make sure No One Dies, to being offed himself by Otto Octavius in the fan-frenzied swap that became Superior Spider-Man, to coming back from the dead (like we knew he would) some time in the next couple of months or so. The future is even crazier with Learning to Crawl being announced, and an idea so crazy that writer Dan Slott needs every single Spider-Man that has ever lived to tell the tale. There’s a sequel to yet another Spidey film due out soon, and I’m not sure the character has ever been as popular as he is right now. And that popularity is well-deserved. Spidey’s been a mainstay in comics for, like, ever, and the Web-Slinger (almost) never fails to impress. With so much going on with Spidey Spider-Man Logolately it’s easy to know he should get some attention in the Top o’ the Lot, but deciding what to focus on is another problem altogether. Spider-Man and Peter have so many aspects to their lives that the possibilities for Spidey lists are endless. With endless possibilities comes endless lists, and, since I have the time, this’ll have to be a series of lists, and I might as well start somewhere. So, without further ado, we build a backpack out of webbing, stick our street clothes to the Chrysler Building, and run down a slanted and biased list of Spider-Man’s coolest threads in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Spider-Man’s Suits.

Honorable Mention: The Classic Red and Blue (With Web Armpits!)

Amazing Spider-Man 1 It’s impossible for me not to put this suit on the list. It’s too classic, too important, and too damned cool to keep it off. Every other suit that has come after this has some part of it’s elements, not matter how far apart, taken from this very first suit. The web-shaped lines, the Spider logo, the subtle blue/blackness, even those crazy web armpits, have been copied again and again, and can be seen in just about every iteration in the rest of the Lot. It’s a slanted and biased list, yes, but I haven’t completely lost my mind just yet, and this suit has to have at least a mention in a Top o’ the Lot o’ Spidey’s Suits. Peter built it best way back when, and although other suits are more streamlined and high-tech, you never forget your first.

5. Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Pater Parker’s suit was pretty awesome, but it wasn’t really anything different, Ultimate Spider-Maneither. Mile Morales’ suit, on the other hand, is beautiful, new, and different, and stands as a testament to Miles’ harder, more direct approach to taking on the persona of the Web-Slinger. The almost entirely black suit, with blood red spider accents on the mask, chest, back, and hands is so subtly different, yet so obviously “Spider-Man” that, from a fashion standpoint, this suit quite deservedly could be at the number 1 position in this Lot. But being in the Top isn’t just about fashion, and this great looking suit lacks any bells and whistles, doesn’t have nearly as a good of a story behind it, and comes from a universe I really couldn’t care less for. I do really love that design though.

4. Superior Spider-Man

Superior Spider-ManIf you haven’t heard by now, you probably deserve to have it spoiled anyways. For quite some time now, Peter Parker’s body has been scientifically possessed by the persona of Doctor Octopus. But, some of Peter’s good qualities rubbed off on Doc Ock, birthing the All-New Superior Spider-Man. The debate about how good or bad this title has been will continue until the end of time, but there’s almost no debating how nice the suit change from Amazing to Superior was. Sure, it’s the same old deign with nothing more than a pronounced darker black being used in the primary, but there was an emotional attachment to the change that really helped signify the overall change from Peter to Octavius. I have to admit, I’m going to miss it.

3. Black Suit

Secret Wars 8Back in Black

There’s no denying this one! Whether it was the debut during Secret Wars, the whole greatness of the symbiote suit, or the return of Peter’s darker side during Back in Black, the all black suit is the epitome of the the fan-favorite uniform of the web-slinger. It screams emotion in all of it’s forms – whether it was Peter’s struggle with Venom to Peter dealing with his own internal struggles – and also had some pretty high-tech alien perks that came along with it. Sure, there was that whole being taken over by an alien, but Oh, the power! Good on you, Peter!

2. The Future Foundation Whites

Spider-Man FFFor a minute or two, during Hickman’s run on The Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm presumably died protecting the rest of the fam, and Spidey joined the team to take his place. In remembrance of The Human Torch, the team retired the traditional blues for bit, and started wearing these badboys. Not only did this have the emotional tie-in because of Peter and Johnny’s friendship, but the suit, created by megamind Reed Richards, was all kinds of high-tech. While it had all of the FF’s communications tech built in, the suit was made of unstable molecules, and its color could be changed with just a thought from the wearer. But I’m so happy Peter decided to keep thinking the way I do, because those whites were awesome! But nothing beats the tech and look combo in the tippy Top spot o’ this Top o’ the Lot.

1. Iron Spider-Man Suit

Iron Spidey Suit2Iron Spidey Suit1Again, for only a brief time, Tony Stark went all Bruce Wayne on everyone, and decided to take Peter Parker under his wing as a protege. This quickly led to Tony building an advanced Spider-Man suit for Peter, and, Oh, Man, was it ever awesome! Not only did it have all kinds of Stark Tech built-in, which aided Spidey in detecting badguys and communicating with allies, but Tony threw in some extra spider arms just be safe. Yeah, I’m not sure what the hell Stark was thinking, either. I thought he was off the sauce! Either way, this suit also had a huge impact on an important part of Spidey’s life, Marvel’s Civil War, and the change away from this suit has a big does of feels to it. The suit was later worn by a whole team of weird clones that made up the team of the Scarlet Spiders, but I think Marvel is trying to forget about that. But I’ll never forget this suit, and that’s why it sits at the very Top o’ this Top o’ the Lot.

Scarlet SpidersSee a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.

 

“Venom” and “Sinister Six” Flicks are a GO!!

Sinister Six Venom

According to a Sony Press Release we have lots of Spidey-family love to look forward to over the next few years.

A brain trust of writers – Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard – is on the job, and those names are amazing! This is going to be huge!!