Archive for September, 2006

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Malibu Kombat: Part 2

September 30th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

We’re seven issues into the MK series, meaning it’s time to talk about Goro: Prince of Pain. Yes, indeed. Here comes the pain. As you might remember from the last article, Goro was last seen beating up other MK characters until vanishing with no explanation. From there, the story split into Blood and Thunder #4-6 and Goro: Prince of Pain #1-3.

Prince of Pain starts off with Goro wandering around a major US city at night. He comes across a couple cops, who are too stupid to shoot him. Suddenly, a talking crow named Rook appears out of nowhere and vaporizes the cops with green laser vision.

We’re only just getting started. Rook lures Goro to the being that summoned him. He is Zaggot, a green-bearded wizard with a love for all things chaotic. He is completely insane and screams pop-culture nonsense that Goro isn’t meant to understand. Somehow, he’s still not awesome by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t understand it either.

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4thletter is for… dumb criminals.

September 29th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

So, I’ve been asked certain questions more than once. “What’s your phone number?” is one. “What does ‘4thletter’ mean?” is another. “What’s it stand for?”

It gets kind of embarassing to go “Well, uh, my first name is David, which starts with D, the fourth letter, and I was feeling really uncreative when I need to come up with a gmail account, and then the web address just kind of followed, and I’m a hopeless narcissist who doesn’t want to give Gavok credit for anything, so…” all the time, so here we go!

Explanations! Collect them all, because this is definitely a series.

Fun fact for our readers: we are probably going to come in just 200 megs short of my bandwidth limit tomorrow, despite having less than half a gig of actual files stored on the site! Pretty impressive. Traffic is higher than it’s ever been, as well, so we’ll see how this goes in October.

Good times. Gavok’s got more What If coming for ya, and I’ll hopefully have a review of the recently-concluded The American Way out of Wildstorm. It did some interesting things with race and politics and was overall one of the best minis of the year.

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Malibu Kombat: Part 1

September 29th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

In the last article, I covered Malibu’s horrific attempt to do a comic based on the hit fighting game Street Fighter 2. As some of you might know, that wasn’t Malibu’s only attempt at a fighting game comic. Along with their forgotten attempt to make Virtua Fighter’s story look appealing (cancelled after the first issue), Malibu tried some of their magic on the Mortal Kombat series. As a series of mini-series and one-shots, the Malibu Mortal Kombat run went on for 26 issues in total. All-in-all, that’s nothing to laugh at.

But there is stuff to laugh about. Oh, believe me. There is plenty of stuff to laugh about.

This series isn’t to be confused with Midway’s promotional one-shots that came out as prologues for their respective games. Series co-creator John Tobias wrote and did the art for comics based on the events prior to Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2 and Mortal Kombat 4. You might remember seeing advertisements for these during the demo mode on old MK and MK2 arcade machines (ah, nostalgia), while the harder-to-find MK4 comic came with a pre-ordered copy of the PC version of MK4. These three comics were all decent enough and succeeded in what they were trying to do.

The MK2 one also had a fantastic depiction of the second Sub-Zero, who was shown as being less of a mysterious assassin and more of a tech-savvy businessman with a heart of gold.

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Malibu’s Street Fighter Comic: Here Comes an Old Challenger!

September 28th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

(Note: I originally posted this article about a year ago, but it fell off the site when hermanos redesigned it. Since we have Mortal Kombat Armageddon coming out in a week and a half, I thought now would be the best time to repost the Malibu comics articles. Expect to see the Mortal Kombat articles back over the next few days)

Street Fighter 2 is probably the most defining videogame in my life. When it came out, I was downright obsessed with it. I’d still be obsessed with it if Capcom would get around to making a new installment. Instead, they give us crap like Capcom Fighting Evolution, which defines itself for the wrong reasons. It actually is Capcom fighting the very concept of evolution.

Back in the 90’s, there was a lot of silly Street Fighter crap that came from the United States. Who can forget the live action Street Fighter movie starring Van Damme and Raul Julia? Or the awful American cartoon? Or the GI Joe action figures? Even worse was the 3D rollercoaster ride where Ryu and Ken blast M. Bison in the balls with a double hadoken.

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Spider-Man: No Laughing Matters

September 27th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

“I am not what I was before,” the silence says. “I am anger, I am madness, I am the spider. And God help you if you get in my way.”

This is gonna be a long one. Get a sandwich, come back, get reading.

Even moreso than the X-Men and Fantastic Four, Spidey is Marvel’s flagship character. He’s their everyman. Reed Richards is a super genius who has enough game to woo Susan Storm and convince her, her brother, and Ben Grimm that stealing a spaceship to go into outer space is a good idea. The X-Men are a bunch of freaks and outcasts with perfect bodies, and nobody likes the Avengers.

Don’t even get me started on those freaking Avengers, all right?

Spidey is the guy that every relates to and loves. He’s probably the most human out of Marvel’s big characters. He’s had girl trouble, family drama, tragedy, and upswings. He’s led a real life and ended up marrying a wonderful girl. He’s easy to relate to. He’s the guy that we’re supposed to identify with when tough choices come up. His role in Civil War, at least outside of the main (crappy) miniseries, shows this. He is us. His set of experiences are pretty much universal, except for that whole crime-fighting thing. Let’s look at that. The crime-fighting, I mean.

Spidey is a jokester. He’s constantly cracking wise. It’s been pretty well-established that jokes are his way of both coping with the incredible danger he finds himself in every day and throwing villains off balance. I mean, seriously, I can barely stay calm when some jerk is telling me unfunny jokes, imagine if some guy were telling jokes and punching you. Disorienting for sure. The joking is coping because it allows him to maintain control of a sick situation. It takes his mind off the fact that Carnage is about to murder a schoolbus full of children. It lets him focus.

Spidey also believes in the innate goodness of man. I’m reminded of the scene in “Return of the Green Goblin” where he sits down and just has a heart-to-heart with Norman Osborn about his life, their relationship, and Gwen Stacy. He remarks that Norman can never win because Gwen will always be greater than he is. Her smile and her spirit will always overpower Norman’s hate and crazy. Norman killed her, but her memory defeats him. In his heart, Peter believes that almost everyone can be rehabilitated. Evil exists, but it has nothing at all on good. Good will win out in the end, because that is the way it is. That is the way it has to be. Right?

What happens, though, when you push him to the edge? Not in a battle, I mean. When battles get serious, Peter gets desperate. What happens when you make Peter Parker genuinely angry? What happens when he gets close to that breaking point, or possibly just past it?

What happens when the jokes stop?
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What’s So Civil About War, Anyway

September 27th, 2006 Posted by Wanderer

Civil War is really fucking stupid.

I think I could fix it.

Let’s see if you agree.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 14

September 26th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

The new Marvel solicitations have been released, detailing the new What Ifs. One is based on Deadly Genesis, which doesn’t interest me since I haven’t read that yet. The other, which looks to be awesome, is Age of Apocalypse. This time, Legion did kill Magneto… but he also killed Xavier. Judging from the cover, this could be very interesting.

35) WHAT IF THE AVENGERS FOUGHT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR WITHOUT RICK JONES?

Issue: Volume 1, #20
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Alan Kupperberg
Spider-Man death: No
Background: I myself haven’t read the Kree-Skrull War arc, but I get the gist of it from Wikipedia and the Watcher’s introduction. It doesn’t sound very good, all in all. The important parts to note are that the Super-Skrull had captured Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Captain America, Goliath (Pym), Iron Man, Thor and Vision off to save them. Rick Jones somehow got captured by some Kree guys as the Kree’s fleet prepared to invade Earth. In the end, Rick met with the Supreme Intelligence, who betrayed the Kree. He stimulated Rick’s mind so that he mentally projected memories of his childhood heroes (ie. the Invaders and the like) to beat up the Kree fleet. Sounds retarded, but it was the 70’s. This version of the story is far better. There’s a part of the original story where Rick Jones was brought before Ronan the Accuser. Rick stole a guard’s staff and attacked Ronan, only to do no damage. Ronan noted Rick’s courage and figured he’d make a good slave. In the Tom DeFalco version, Ronan is more pissed than amused and kills the boy with his cosmic hammer dealy. He calls for the fleet to make way to Earth and decimate it.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 13

September 22nd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

I mourn this image, not for the loss of Timothy Leary, but for the loss of Vaudeville Silver Surfer. You’d think that with Keith Giffen writing Annihilation, we’d see him make a comeback.

40) WHAT IF… STARRING SABRETOOTH: SCREAMS IN THE NIGHT!

Issue: Volume 2, #87
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Frank Teran
Spider-Man death: No
Background: Sabretooth was, for a time, a captive in the X-Mansion with Xavier hoping he could mentally fix what’s wrong with him. One time, when most of the team was out on a mission, a power failure in the mansion allowed Sabretooth to escape. He didn’t get too far, though. When he went after Jubilee, Bishop went up against him and knocked him out with a powerful blast. Our story here begins with Jubilee crying over the shredded-up body of Bishop. Uh oh.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 12

September 18th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

This is a longer one than usual. I just had to rank two two-parters so closely together, didn’t I.

45) WHAT IF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HAD NOT MARRIED MARY JANE?/WHAT IF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HAD MARRIED THE BLACK CAT?

Issue: Volume 2, #20-21
Writer: Danny Fingeroth
Artist: Jim Valentino
Spider-Man death: No
Background: Peter Parker had proposed to Mary Jane. It was a battle with a Spider Slayer involving them both that convinced Mary Jane to say yes. That’s all well and good for her, but how would things have turned out if that adventure didn’t go so smoothly? In this reality, the Spider Slayer strangles Mary Jane a bit longer than normal and although she’s rescued, she is still injured. Peter keeps having flashbacks to Gwen’s death and can’t bear to see the same thing happen to someone like Mary Jane. For her own protection, he leaves her at the alter.

Look at that last panel. Man. I will never, ever forgive John Byrne for turning Sandman evil again. But enough of that.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 11

September 15th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Here it is, the halfway point. If my taste is to be trusted, this should be getting better, so read on.

50) WHAT IF… STARRING QUICKSILVER: THE QUICK AND THE DEAD

Issue: Volume 2, #96
Writer: Chris Wozniak
Artist: Chris Wozniak
Spider-Man death: No
Background: We all know that Magneto is the father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but even before that he had another daughter named Anya. Since the village Magnus and his family stayed in resented them and believed witchery was afoot, they set fire to their house and ended up killing Anya. Magneto tore his neighbors apart and left. His pregnant wife couldn’t take being with him and ran off. This issue talks about what would have happened if Magneto could’ve saved his daughter. The clincher? Anya was human!

Magneto’s stance against humanity stays more or less the same, but he has this need to shelter his family from bloodshed, even if he’s the one doing the slaughtering. Magneto’s wife soon gives birth to twins and Magneto is happier. Not only are they mutants, but he has a son to pass on his legacy. The years pass and we see that Anya gets the short end of the stick. She’s normal. She isn’t special.

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