The Contest of Champions (and Avengers and X-Men and Alpha Flight and…)

August 3rd, 2007 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Superhero vs. superhero. Over the past couple years, it’s almost become the new status quo in the Marvel Universe and still gets a good amount of play in DC here and there. Whether it’s hatred, misunderstanding, bureaucracy or mind-control, it’s everywhere. With things like Daredevil vs. Punisher, Civil War, World War Hulk and pretty much any inter-dimensional crossover like Marvel vs. DC, JLA/Avengers and Captain Atom: Armageddon there are many miniseries based on the simple idea of our favorite heroes duking it out with each other.

It makes sense. There’s a certain feeling of bragging rights and uncertainty that comes from these fights. If there’s a story about Superman fighting Parasite, then there isn’t much mystery. We know Superman is going to come out the winner because Superman is our heroic protagonist. But toss him in against another heroic protagonist like Captain Marvel, Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern (on a good day) and we don’t know what to expect.

Originally conceived as an Olympic tie-in until the US pulled out of the Moscow Olympics, the Contest of Champions was not only the first hero-on-hero miniseries, but it was the first big crossover miniseries. This is the comic that would set the trend for Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. It was only three issues and normal-sized, but I’m sure at the time it seemed really epic. Even now, I’d say the first issue had that feeling. I can only imagine what it would be like back in the 80’s to see all these superheroes together in the same room.

The writing credits go to Mark Gruenwald, Bill Mantlo and Steven Grant with Romita Jr. doing the art. So it’s got that going for it.

Our story begins with the Grandmaster facing down the Unknown. The Unknown is a cloaked figure mentioned as being female. Back then, I suppose this might have been something of a mystery, but immediately it seems blatantly obvious that Unknown is Death herself. The two have a whole game decked out to settle a dispute and decide to use Earth’s heroes as pawns, since that’s the best cluster of super-powered beings in that corner of the universe.

The Avengers are all exercising together. I realize how much it must suck to be Iron Man in the old Avengers. Since everyone was so paranoid about secret identities back then, Iron Man had to exercise while wearing his armor. That had to be rough.

Former Avenger and current Defender Beast is there visiting and being a nuisance by hopping around and almost knocking people over. He makes a little gamble about how he could last a minute against all six of the Avengers in the room (Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man). They accept and the game of “Catch the Blue Guy” gets interrupted when they all start glowing red and vanish.

Stuff like this happens all over the planet. Some Russian superheroes like Vanguard and Crimson Dynamo go after the Red Ghost, only to turn red (heh) and vanish. Fantastic Four are at a classy banquet about to make a speech, only to vanish. X-Men are in the Danger Room and Nightcrawler isn’t the only one to BAMF away. Spider-Woman’s in the clutches of a villain and gladly disappears. Hulk gets ready to pound on Doc Samson, but doesn’t get the chance. The Eternals, Shanna the She-Devil, Dr. Strange, Son of Satan, the visiting Inhumans, etc. Everyone’s taken.

Then we get a mighty interesting page. Comics like these are usually a nice time capsule of what a comic company’s world was like at the time, featuring obscure plot eras and characters. Sometimes that can be jarring, which is why I always liked Mark Millar’s decision to not make a mention of Danny Rand being Daredevil during Civil War. Here we get a series of superheroes from around the world who are turned glowing red and pulled from Earth. As I later checked, it wasn’t my ignorance of the times that made these guys seem new. They really were new characters. At least, most of them. Some like Arabian Knight and Sabra had made their debuts only two years before.

Once that’s through with, we’re treated to a really swank two-page spread of all the heroes together and confused. Except for Falcon, who seems like he had just watched a puppy get run over.

Thank God nobody was using the crapper.

The following few pages are probably the most entertaining of the entire mini. Characters mingle while trying to figure out if anyone has an idea of what’s going on. Rom Spaceknight shakes hands with Scarlet Witch. Machine Man and Vision bond over how androids are the lowest rung when it comes to social acceptance. Iceman reunites with his old girlfriend Darkstar. So on and so forth.

Sasquatch: So, Beast, you are one of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”?
Beast: And you’re Sasquatch, huh? Do they call you “Big Foot” for short?
Sasquatch: No, they call me “sir”!

Shamrock: You wear the emblem of Great Britain!
Captain Britain: And you, the green of Ireland!
Narrator: Shamrock and Captain Britain, divided by their countries’ enmity, eye each other suspiciously!

(Spider-Man hangs upside down while Spider-Woman leans against his knees)
Spider-Woman: So we meet again, wall-crawler!
Spider-Man: It must be kismet, wall-crawler!

(Human Torch flies down behind an unaware Hulk)
Human Torch: It looks as if every hero on Earth is here, Ben!
Quasar: I had no idea there were so many of us. What should we do?
Thing: I dunno. Sell “Super Hero Convention” t-shirts? Hey, Torchie. This is my other junior pal, Quasar!
Quasar: Pleased to meet you.
Hulk: Hunh! Suddenly Hulk feels hot!

Moondragon and Xavier figure out that they’re in space with their mental scans. This leads to both more mingling and this pair of panels that feels very different thanks to the past couple years of Marvel retcons.

The Grandmaster and Death show themselves and the exposition is given. Earth and all its inhabitants have been frozen in place. If the heroes don’t play ball, it’ll stay like that. There is a treasure called the Gleaming Golden Globe of Life that has been split into four pieces. They have been hidden in different spots on Earth. Grandmaster and Death will each pick twelve heroes (four teams of three) and have them fight over the pieces. If Grandmaster’s team wins, Death will resurrect his dead brother the Collector, plus he promises that he will not bug Earth for something like this again. If Death’s team wins, Grandmaster will die and Death will add a little more juice to the sun so that it stays alive for an additional million years.

Grandmaster’s team is made up of Captain America, Talisman, Darkstar, Captain Britain, Wolverine, Defensor, Sasquatch, Daredevil, Le Peregrine, She-Hulk, Thing and Blitzkrieg.

Death’s team is made up of Iron Man, Vanguard, Iron Fist, Shamrock, Storm, Arabian Knight, Sabra, Invisible Woman, Angel, Black Panther, Sunfire and Collective Man.

Here we go again with another story about Cap’s team vs. Iron Man’s team.

They tried really hard to make this diverse. Only 1/3 of the combatants are American. All other countries get one representative, except for Canada and USSR, which get two. To simplify things, they give us a brief mention of Grandmaster using his powers to make everyone able to communicate with each other despite any language barrier. That’s awful nice of him.

Not only is this the moment the first issue ends, but it’s the moment where a lot of the excitement ends. These are the remaining characters to look at. Spider-Man, Hulk and the rest sit the rest of the comic out. Some of the fun factor that comes with our favorite heroes fighting it out amongst each other is pulled away to make room for all these new international characters. It’s like that Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects game where instead of putting someone like Nightcrawler into the game, they used a boring original character with similar powers.

Hell, it reminds me of the beginning of X-Men: Endangered Species. Remember how cool the end of the first story was with all those villain geniuses called together? Then the next backup story just has most of them immediately dismiss themselves from the group for the sake of blueballs.

Thankfully, there is still fun to be had.

The final pages of each issue are a short who’s who of all the heroes who had been brought to the space arena. It’s pretty cool, but at the same time, by the time they get to the W’s in the third issue, we already know not to care about most of these unused characters.

Issue two begins with the first battle. A major flaw here is the cookie cutter way each fight begins. A variation of this happens eight times throughout the comic:

1) Heroes realize where they are.
2) Heroes introduce themselves to each other.
3) Somebody thinks they should work as a team.
4) The other two disagree and leave the person from #3 alone.
5) One of the heroes in each group can fly and will fly away to inevitably meet up with his/her airborne counterpart from the other team.

It’s kind of lazy, really.

Round One: North Pole

Grandmaster’s team: Talisman, Daredevil and Darkstar.
Death’s team: Sunfire, Invisible Girl and Iron Fist.

The Talisman used here is not to be confused with the member of Alpha Flight. Instead, he’s an aborigine shaman from Australia with powers of reality distortion and the ability to use an astral form.

Darkstar and Sunfire fight it out first in the skies with Darkstar getting the advantage of the first attack. Beneath, Talisman senses that Sue is nearby, but can’t actually see her. He uses his reality distortion powers around himself, which does catch Sue and causes her to lose her perceptions. Meanwhile, we’re given quite a treat with the first meeting between Daredevil and his one-day replacement Iron Fist.

Reminding me of Ryu from Street Fighter, Iron Fist is far more interested in the fight itself than the surrounding contest. Daredevil momentarily gets an advantage by tossing a snowball in Iron Fist’s face, blinding him, but Fist still keeps the fight going and compliments Daredevil’s heavyweight boxer style.

The hotheaded Sunfire is being held at bay by Darkstar’s powers. The idea of getting bested by a woman gets his so angry that he overwhelm’s Darkstar with an explosion from his body. Not only does this knock Darkstar out of the sky, but it interrupts the other fights. The explosion causes cracks in the ice beneath. Sue Storm uses the cracking ice as an anchor into reality as Talisman runs for his life. The cracking ice causes a chasm to appear between Daredevil and Iron Fist, with the force momentarily knocking out Iron Fist.

It comes down to Invisible Girl and Talisman going for the piece of the Golden Globe, with Daredevil nearby on a floating piece of ice. Talisman uses his distortion powers again, knowing full well that even his teammates will be affected. Sue is able to power through it and make her way to the prize. Before she can grab it, Daredevil – himself affected to an extent – steals it away with his Billy club.

Grandmaster: 1
Death: 0

Round Two: Wild West Ghost Town

Grandmaster’s team: Defensor, She-Hulk and Captain Britain.
Death’s team: Iron Man, Arabian Knight and Sabra.

Arabian Knight has a flying carpet, so he’s awesome. I hear a new version of him showed up in the Union Jack miniseries. I should probably read that.

Iron Man is already given a headache as Arabian Knight and Sabra refuse to work with each other. Arabian Knight is angry because not only is Sabra Israeli, but she’s also a woman! Iron Man is more than happy to split up and do his own thing.

On the other side…

Yes, that’s right. Despite being Brazilian, Defensor speaks Spanish-laced-English.

While hopping around, She-Hulk ends up fighting Arabian Knight. She-Hulk is in full-blown angry feminist mode and Arabian Knight looks down at women, so this is pretty bitter on both ends. She-Hulk bodyslams Arabian Knight onto his own flying carpet and continues to fight Sabra.

Meanwhile, Iron Man searches for the prize inside a saloon. Defensor breaks through the wall with his shield and yells, “Stand your ground, enemigo!” (because he’s Brazilian). Iron Man tries a repulsor blast, but it bounces off the shield and hits Iron Man instead. Since that didn’t work, Iron Man takes the fight to him, barroom brawl style.

Captain Britain and Arabian Knight duel on the flying carpet, with Britain’s magic scepter taking on Arabian Knight’s magic scimitar. I wish I had a magic scimitar. Above them, She-Hulk spikes Sabra down with a punch. Captain Britain and Arabian Knight move their fight so that the carpet can catch Sabra. Despite having her life saved, Sabra still tosses verbal abuse at Arabian Knight. Captain Britain takes advantage of Arabian Knight’s rage and knocks him out with a smack of the scepter to the back of the head. As Captain Britain leaps her way, Sabra steals Captain Britain’s scepter and causes him to fall to the ground below.

Captain Britain is ready to maneuver into a landing, only for this to happen.

Ouch. Moments like these make me wonder what Grandmaster and Death were thinking when picking these teams.

“Let’s see… This guy with the surfboard has the Power Cosmic and is easily more powerful than everyone else on the plate. And this gentleman is a hammer-wielding god who is nearly as strong. Hm… nah. I’m going to pick the guy whose power is holding a shield. Not even throwing a shield like the hero Grandmaster picked. Just holding one.”

Iron Man meets with his friend She-Hulk. Things start out civil until Iron Man’s chivalric attitude pisses off She-Hulk and causes her to run over and strangle him. He strangles her back, but adds a jolt from his gauntlets. She-Hulk is unconscious and Iron Man focuses on making sure she’s okay. Behind him, Arabian Knight enters, finds the prize himself and is happy at how he gets the glory while Iron Man’s too busy sharing compassion with the enemy.

Grandmaster: 1
Death: 1

Round Three: Chinese Village

Grandmaster’s team: Wolverine, Thing and Le Peregrine.
Death’s team: Vanguard, Angel and Black Panther.

This was back in the day where Wolverine wasn’t the wise and fatherly cynic, but “RARGH! LET’S FIGHT TO THE DEATH!” In his very first meeting with the Thing, he gets ready to fight him until Le Peregrine makes it known that they’re supposed to be fighting the other three guys. Wolverine reacts to this news by taking out a cigarette and shooting some smoke rings. Those were the days, weren’t they?

Heh. “Old timer”.

Le Peregrine’s profile says that his name is French for “Falcon”, which is very apt. He really is the French counterpart of Sam Wilson. He has no actual powers, but is skilled at using his wings for flying and, as an added bonus, he is a black belt in mid-air combat.

Black Panther and Angel catch up with each other’s goings on as Vanguard scoffs at how undisciplined their opponents are. They begin to argue over who should be leader and Black Panther takes a second to be awesome.

Our two teams of three pair up. Black Panther discovers a graveyard of sorts filled with stone statues of fallen soldiers. Wolverine makes an attempt to sneak up on him, but is surprised that Panther ducks his attack. Le Peregrine fights Angel in the air and does a damn good job smacking him around. Thing tries clobbering Vanguard, but is knocked back by a force field.

“You are as arrogant as every American I’ve met – but I am the foremost hero of the Soviet State… and my weapons turn the aggressive might of an enemy back upon him!”

“Then they’d best starting working overtime, red – ‘cause I’m as aggressive as they come!”

Wolverine and Black Panther maneuver and attack each other like jungle predators, showing that they are more or less evenly matched. The only thing setting them apart is that Wolverine has ceased underestimating his enemy, while T’challa continues to be surprised at Wolverine’s skill. Wolverine pins down Panther and actually tries to shove his claws into the king’s throat.

Angel’s getting his ass handed to him, so he decides that he should try arming himself. He picks up a staff and lets Le Peregrine chase him. Angel flips, lands on top of Le Peregrine and begins to strangle him with the staff. Le Peregrine fights back by wrapping his legs around Angel’s midsection and applying pressure. Angel counters by just wailing on the back of Le Peregrine’s head until they hit the ground. Due to better judgment, I will not make any jokes about how A stands for “Angel” and not “France”.

Aw, nuts.

Vanguard can’t believe that Thing keeps getting up. While in disbelief, Vanguard has his weapons knocked out of his hands by the rocky hero. Vanguard is still pretty tough, so he stands his ground and trades blows with Thing.

“Yer usin’ yer head, I gotta admit! Mebbe someday you’ll even be in a class with me!” He punches Vanguard into the distance with a nice KPLOW! sound effect. “When that day comes, be sure ta visit me in my nursin’ home, huh?”

Thing moves on to find Wolverine still trying to overpower Black Panther and kill him. Thing voices his disagreement, as Panther is his buddy and this is only a game. Wolverine sticks to his judgment. As Wolverine yells back at Thing, Black Panther powers out and kicks Wolverine off of him. Thing lets it be known that he would really, really love to beat the tar out of Wolverine, but they are supposed to be teammates.

Wolverine stops the bickering to mention that he smells something weird nearby. Black Panther sense the same and figures it to be the prize they’re looking for. It’s buried underground, right beneath Thing. Thing punches a hole in the ground, grabs it and gladly gets the hell out of there.

Grandmaster: 2
Death: 1

Only one match left. Logic would dictate that it would end with Death getting a second point, therefore tying the game. Which makes me question why the two decided on an even number of games anyway.

Instead, something less than expected occurs. Read on.

Round Four: Jungle

Grandmaster’s team: Sasquatch, Captain America and Blitzkrieg.
Death’s team: Storm, Shamrock and the Collective Man.

Shamrock is an Irish girl with the same powers as Longshot. She’s just really lucky, which goes with her four-leaf clover symbol.

Collective Man is a Chinese man with the strength of five men and the power to split himself into five separate versions of himself. He comes across as a cross between Ragman and Multiple Man; more the former with his ability to use the power of everyone in his homeland for a concentrated strike.

Blitzkrieg is just a German dude with electric powers and the ability to fly. He looks like some kind of amalgam of Iron Fist and Electro. What I like about him is that outside of the name, he doesn’t beat his nationality into the ground. Nearly everyone else in this comic has Steve Rogers Syndrome where they’re not only heroes, but they represent everything about their country and in some cases wear its flag. They needed an Italian superhero with a chef hat and twisty mustache to go with this.

“Ey, Spider-Man-ah! When-ah Pasta Puncher hits-ah your eye-ah like a big pizza pie-ah, that’s amore!”

…Right! Contest of Champions article!

Already, Storm’s team has the advantage.

Captain America swings on vines like Tarzan in his search for the final piece of the Golden Globe. Shamrock, with her costume helping camouflage her in the wild, makes some attempts to slow him down. They fight on the vines and Cap gets his hands on the young lass. She twists out of his grasp and seemingly falls to her death. Instead, luck is on her side and some undergrowth breaks her fall. Cap goes after her, but a python chooses to attack him while completely ignoring Shamrock.

One of the Collective Man guys fights Sasquatch and gets thrashed. The other four arrive and they merge into the more powerful Collective Man. He’s still too weak to take on the big, fuzzy monster. Sasquatch has no idea on what he should do now that he has the little Chinese dude pinned down. Collective Man, meanwhile, channels the power of ten thousand people from his homeland. With one punch, he knocks Sasquatch skyward. The strain of the attack is too much and Collective Man passes out.

That leaves Blitzkrieg and Storm in the skies. Blitzkrieg can control electricity, almost like a Green Lantern controls light, but Storm controls lightning AND other forms of nature. She forces Blitzkrieg away with some mighty winds and flies off to find the prize. As it turns out, Blitzkrieg ends up near Captain America, who has taken care of the pesky python.

The two use teamwork to find the prize. Captain America stays on the trees as Blitzkrieg uses his powers to create a vortex and pull the golden piece from its hiding spot. Captain America may have the prize in sight, but what he doesn’t have is the luck of the Irish.

Grandmaster: 3
Death: 1

Grandmaster gets more points and therefore wins the right to… wait. Wait a second. Let me check something.

Yeah, right there. Shamrock is on Death’s team. Now let me double check.

There she is. Getting the prize and winning a point. And yet, Grandmaster gets the point here.

You said it, you rotting son of a bitch.

Let’s just play along and accept that they just wrote themselves into a corner and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Grandmaster won. Now what?

Grandmaster’s mysterious opponent who is obviously Death puts the Gleaming Globe of Life together and gives it to the winner. She makes a suspicious note about how using it is his choice. Several heroes think about how much they don’t trust the Unknown. Wolverine can smell decay and Talisman can sense that somebody is about to die.

Talisman disagrees with what’s going on based on how resurrection is against the natural order. He uses his reality-distorting powers and has Invisible Girl sneak over during the confusion and pull back Unknown’s mask. Big surprise, it’s Death. The shock is magnified by Talisman’s powers and everyone near flies back due to the pure fear that comes from her bare skull.

With this comes another, more unexpected shocker.

Death shows that there is another choice. If Grandmaster wishes, he could just use the combined life forces of all of Earth’s heroes to bring the Collector back to life. Grandmaster refuses. These heroes fought for him and as part of his deal, he will no longer use them as pawns. He gives his own life, fades to dust and the Collector appears nearby.

“I… live!?! What has transpired here?! That is the uniform of my brother in that smoldering pile of ashes! ‘Twas your doing, Death! I’m certain! I will force you to restore him… even if I must collect every hero in the cosmos to fight you!”

“You would lose.”

Death leaves with her arm around the Collector, suggesting that they could gamble on a game, much like she and the Grandmaster had just done. This sets up a sequel that will not exactly come to pass.

The heroes are sent back home. Beast points out that they’ve been gone for nearly an hour, which means he totally hosed the other Avengers in their little game from earlier. Haha! Oh, Beast!

So ends the Contest of Champions. It had some cool moments and I’m glad I read it. Still, there were so many parts that made me shake my head. Not just the Marvel counterparts of the Ethnic Superfriends and how they overshadowed the more interesting heroes, but also the gigantic botch at the end of the story. Some of the fights were well put together, but repeating the same opening bit for each fight got really old by issue #3.

This wouldn’t be the end. The JLA/Avengers comic from several years back had an issue called “A Contest of Champions”, which featured a similar storyline. The Grandmaster and Krona of DC compete in a scavenger hunt, using the two super-teams as pawns in their game.

As for the various international heroes? They all got a little play here or there, some more than others. Blitzkrieg joined a German superhero team, only to be killed off by Everyman. Everyman also killed off Defensor during his marathon of murder. Arabian Knight was killed and his mantle was taken by two others. Shamrock’s powers began to fail her and she quit the hero business, opting to instead be a hairdresser. Collective Man is one of the 198 mutants that survived M-Day with his mutant gene intact. Talisman only got a short team-up with Dr. Strange before being completely forgotten about. La Peregrine showed up here and there, including a small role in Civil War, where he protects France from American superhero immigrants trying to escape registration.

I guess the moral of the story is that Defensor sucked and now he is dead. My life is better for knowing that.

Seventeen years later, Marvel would do a second Contest of Champions. A sequel? Not so much. Other than the title and the concept of heroes fighting heroes, there was no connection between the two. That review will be for another day.

And if anyone from Marvel reads this, please hire me to write a Pasta Puncher MAX series.

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6 comments to “The Contest of Champions (and Avengers and X-Men and Alpha Flight and…)”

  1. Yeah, I read the Contest of Champions in tradepaperback form a few years ago, and I quite liked it. As I recall the trade brought up the massive cock-up regarding the score, but I can’t really think of what it was that they said about it.

    My favourite part of the story would’ve been the Grandmaster taking it on the chin at the end and sacrificing his own life rather than backstabbing the superheroes.
    Didn’t he get brought back to life in a sequel or something?

    Good observation on the semi-Illuminati group bunching together ‘Vok. It’s an interesting little coincidence, and I have to wonder if Bendis or anyone’ll touch on it at some point.
    p.s – is that Batman hanging around in the shadows between Reed and Iron Man?

    Where did that panel of Captain America saying things are retarded come from? It’s not a shop, is it?

  2. Runaways, issue #1.
    That’s not really Cap, its a guy playing an online game AS Cap.

  3. Cool. Didn’t know that the Contest of Champions issue in JLA/Avengers was a homage to this one.

  4. There was a sequel of sorts to the Contest. It played out in annuals for the Avengers and West Coast Avengers- 15 and 2, I think. Long explanation of events follows.

    The story starts off with the annual softball game, when the Silver Surfer crashes through the Astro Dome, followed by a bunch of light. The light kills off the EAC, so the WAC head into space (with Surfer’s help) to find out what happens. They speak with the Collector, who talks about how the Gamemaster restored him to life in the CoC. He gives them a poison so they can die and rescue the EAC.

    From here, there are a bunch of one on one fights, with the WAC knowing they have to come out on top to restore the EAC, and the EAC having been tricked by the Gamemaster into thinking they have to win. Highlights of the fights include Iron Man proving old age and experience trump youth and power by beating Captain Marvel, and Thor pwning the very arrogant Wonder Man.

    So, WAC emerge victorious, 4-3, and everybody gets restored to life… uh, no. Seems the fighting was so fearsome that Death had to keep an eye on things… which gave the Grandmaster a chance to imprison Death (I think he make some mention about throwing the CoC just so he could set this up). Onto the EAC annual.

    New game. The GM makes five bombs, each one powerful enough to destroy one fifth of the universe (after which, the GM can rebuild it as he desires). The Avengers will get a chance to stop him, but they’ll be up against various dead friends and foes. Five more fights ensue, with the Avengers destroying the bomb in all but one case.

    However, only Cap and Hawkeye survive these fights. The GM muses that he’ll only need four bombs this time- hey, you didn’t expect him to play fair, did you? And, he’s got a lot of new additions to his team. Hawkeye loses it for a few, then offers the GM a new wager: he’ll stick an arrowhead on one of his arrows, and the GM picks between two arrows to find the one with the head. All of the universe resting on one pick, and the GM can’t pass up a gamble like that.

    GM pulls an arrow from Hawkeye’s hand and… it’s the wrong one! “NOOOO!” he cries. “YESSS!” cries Death, who is able to escape now that the GM is distracted. She kicks the GM out of her realm, permanently (so, he’s back alive, and she’s closed the door to any of the Elders of the Universe). Cap is amazed the GM picked the wrong one, when Hawkeye reveals he held onto the arrowhead and it separated from the arrow as the GM pulled it out.

    Death restores all the Avengers to life and sends them back to their softball game. And Cap asks Thor to keep an eye on Hawkeye. “He cheats.”

  5. It sort of looks like Shanna is topless in the “Illuminati” pic.

  6. […] The Contest of Champions paved the way for the event miniseries that Marvel and DC have become dependant on. The star-studded scavenger hunt wasn’t the greatest story in the world, but it was still memorable and classic for being the first step. Naturally, there would one day be a sequel. […]