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We Care a Lot Part 12: A Factory of Loose Ends

May 17th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Last time on We Care a Lot, I covered the last days of Venom’s solo series. In my last few articles, I totally forgot to cover an obscure comic dedicated to him by the name of Uncanny Origins #7. Uncanny Origins was a somewhat short-lived series where each issue went into the backstory of a random Marvel character, featuring cartoony art by Dave Hoover. Each issue cost only a dollar, so you can’t really hate on it too much.

Bob Budiansky writes through Venom’s origins and story up to his Lethal Protector days.

“He thinks of himself as a superhero – dedicated to defending the innocent from evildoers everywhere. But the reality is that he is a grotesque parody of everything he believes himself to be, a superhero in his mind and his mind alone… for no good deed he does in the present can ever erase the evil of his own wretched past!”

Aw, come on. Don’t be so pessimistic.

The opening couple pages are interesting in that they’re new to us. We see Eddie Brock, smarmy as hell, visiting his ex-wife at a restaurant. He’s pretty high on himself for his successful Sin-Eater stories, but that just pisses off Ann and makes her leave less than a minute into their meeting. Everything always has to be about Eddie. Eddie defends himself, claiming that he’s doing the public a service with honest reporting, but she won’t listen.

Then we see Eddie being called to work and the subsequent firing. From there, it shows the events of his first appearance from his side. After his initial defeat, we get a montage page about how he has lost to Spider-Man again and again, until it gets into how Venom is out to be a good guy. It recreates the events where Ann gets Venom to leave Spider-Man alone and that’s the end of the issue.

I do like how Budiansky helps bring a little understanding to Eddie’s rage by showing another reason the Sin-Eater situation has ruined his life.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! What’s this about girls on girls?

Enough of that. Let’s get to the real article.

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We Care a Lot Part 10: The Symbiote Who Loved Me

April 15th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Previously in the Venom series, our anti-hero got in a dumb adventure with Wolverine that ended with Venom saving the life of a government guy by the name of Agent Daryll Smith. As you’re about to see, Smith would be a major part of Venom’s latter day good guy exploits.

There are only 11 months of his series left. The sad truth is, Venom has nothing to do as a character at this moment. He left San Francisco behind, his ex-wife has walked away from her supporting role and he doesn’t have any real long-standing villains to build up against. He’s just hanging out in New York City, dealing with whatever comes after him. Even the Hunger made a point of how monotonous it’s getting.

What Venom needs is direction.

On Trial (Venom #50-52) is again by Larry Hama, with Josh Hood doing art. It’s always interesting to see the change in the Marvel landscape through this series. If you look back, you see so much change in the previous four years. We saw Peter Parker’s fake parents, Scarlet Spider, Spider-Ben and now we’re back to a story with regular, old fashioned Spider-Man. Not only that, but we have several namedrops of the whole Heroes Reborn garbage.

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We Care a Lot Part 4: Father of the Year

November 30th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Um… let’s not make eye-contact. Just move on.

To bring us up to speed, Venom left his life in San Francisco as a Lethal Protector to the secret underground city behind so he could visit New York City and throw down with Carnage. Carnage was already taken care of, so Venom fought the newly-christened Scarlet Spider, who knocked him out and led to his apprehension. Now Eddie Brock and the symbiote are separated and incarcerated by the government.

This brings us to Separation Anxiety (Venom #23-26) written by Howard Mackie and drawn by Ron Randall.

In a bout with splitting hairs, I always found it interesting that they named a videogame after this story. For one, the game’s story isn’t based on Separation Anxiety, but Lethal Protector. Second, the game is meant to be a sequel to Maximum Carnage, even though that story came after Lethal Protector. Third, even though Carnage had nothing to do with Lethal Protector, they toss him in as the final boss for the hell of it. Hey, they did have those sprites lying around from the last game.

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Ultimatum Edit Week 1: Day One

November 7th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

If we are here not to do
What you and I wanna do
And go forever crazy with it
Why the hell are we even here?

There was never any good old days
They are today, they are tomorrow
It’s a stupid thing we say
Cursing tomorrow with sorrow

When we stand here in a row
Looking like a bunch of heroes
I know that-ah deep inside
Nothing more but bunch of zeros

— “Ultimate” by Gogol Bordello

We couldn’t stay away.

After the job that ManiacClown and I did with Jeph Loeb and Joe Mad’s Ultimates 3, we decided that we would give the follow-up event Ultimatum a shot. When I say we’d give it a shot, I don’t mean that we were sure we were going to target it from the very beginning. More that we were going to give it a shot of being passable and leaving it alone.

As it got closer to the release, we knew that although it was nice to be generous, it was going to be all for naught. Between the Ultimate Captain America Annual that showed Ultimate Black Panther’s origin and the laughable X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover written by Loeb’s Heroes buddies, we could tell that the writing was on the wall. Loeb was referring to Ultimatum as the story that would destroy the Ultimate universe and sadly, he’s already been doing that. Ultimate Spider-Man remains the only thing worth reading.

The Loeb backlash has already started somewhat. He’s been axed from Heroes. From what I understand, those burned by the first six issues of Hulk have left in droves. Don’t they realize that Hulk, who has become Joe Fixit again for no reason, is fighting Sentry, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel because they’re sort of Marvel’s version of the DC Trinity? That’s compelling stuff! I’m not even sure how well Ultimatum will do in the long run, since it’s not really latching onto Millar’s Ultimates run’s success like Loeb’s last foray. And, you know, there are far better comic events going on with Secret Invasion and Final Crisis. Then again, now that he’s off Heroes he has more time to write comics. Stupid double-edge sword.

Enough rambling. Let’s get down to business.

Join us tomorrow for more exposition!

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Gavok’s New Years Resolutions for 2008

January 1st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

As if you didn’t know, 2007 is over and done with. It’s a new year and a time to access the future. It’s time to come up with goals and hopes for 2008 and to plan for the next 365 days. Here are my New Years Resolutions:

– I resolve to finally write that series of articles about Venom’s bizarre history as a comic character, featuring such things as Venom and Carnage fighting inside the internet and the guest appearance of cyber-ninja Mace, the most forgettable shoe-horned superhero I’ve ever seen. Okay, I remember him, but that’s not my point.

– I resolve to lose about 20 more pounds. Funny thing, back before I decided to go on a diet months ago, I was going to start a ridiculous internet campaign for me to play the part of Seymour from the very end of Watchmen. So when you do watch that movie in theaters and you see that chubby guy reaching for a journal, remember to reflect on what could have been. I know I will…

– I resolve to continue to get on Wanderer’s case for never writing anything for the site. Then I’ll get depressed when I remember that he has about 29 legitimate writing jobs and I just work retail.

– I resolve to read and review every single comic starring Mr. T.

– I resolve to set aside at least a minute every day to roll my eyes at this Spider-Man: Brand New Day crap.

– I resolve to finally get going on my own comic book concept so that in a couple years, I can read it and make fun of it on this very site.

– I resolve to not fight the Monarch because I hear from a good source that he is badass.

– I resolve to lead my team to victory in the 8th Annual 4th Letter vs. Funnybook Babylon Charity Volleyball Game.

– I resolve to receive a restraining order from one Matt Fraction.

– I resolve to discover the storage freezer where writer Len Kaminski is kept. Really, that guy was totally awesome back in the day and he’s completely vanished from the face of the Earth. What the hell happened to him?!

– I resolve to make more jokes about how much Wyatt Wingfoot sucks. More like “WyamIreadingabout Wingfoot?” am I right?

– I resolve to get around to reading Sentences by MF Grimm so I can show hermanos that I’m, uh, down.

– I resolve to finally review what I consider to be the all-time worst comic book issue of all time. It may kill me, but I’ll do it.

Have a happy new year, people.

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Planet of the Symbiotes: History Before it Repeats Itself

October 26th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

If it wasn’t for the fact that Frank Cho apparently needs ten hours to draw each female butt cheek and get it just right, the current arc in Mighty Avengers would be long over and we would be getting ready for the symbiote invasion. That’s not stopping New Avengers, where the underdog superheroes have already been possessed by the liquid nightmares. Not too much of the story is revealed yet. We still don’t totally understand what is going on and how all this came to be. Instead, New Avengers focuses more on the Hood hanging back with old Luke Cage villains and a Punisher bad guy Bendis has taken a shining to.

We do know that in the story, we will eventually see what looks like the Carnage symbiote take over Wasp and become giant. Bendis has also spilled the beans long ago that Doctor Doom is behind this for some reason. The first place my mind goes to is the old Spider-Man arcade game from the early 90’s. Not only did that game feature a 40-foot Venom, but the gist of the plot is that Doom was trying to take over the world with an army of symbiotes.

But that’s not what this article is about. This is about the first time New York City was under siege by the toothy, gooey monstrosities. As much as it might pain you to do this, let’s take a trip back to 1995, for the Planet of the Symbiotes.

The story thus far: Venom was in the midst of his anti-hero run, which only I enjoyed, apparently. Though stationed in San Francisco for a while, he relocated to New York City because the crossover potential was stronger. Enter Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider. This clone of Peter Parker heard Venom was in the area and made his superhero debut by defeating him. By removing the symbiote from Eddie Brock with his impact webbing (remember that?), he was able to dominate Venom in a way Spider-Man never could at that point. Eddie and the symbiote stayed separated for quite a while, until getting involved in an adventure with his colorful symbiote children introduced in the Lethal Protector story. Eventually, Eddie and the symbiote became one again.

Here’s the thing that few people realize about Eddie Brock, or at least Eddie Brock in the 90’s. Eddie never really was all that crazy. He was never the picture of perfect mental health, yes, but he wasn’t a raving lunatic. All of that came from the symbiote and being Venom. When the symbiote and its influence were taken away during that period of time, Eddie had time to reflect. He realized all the death he’s caused and how pointless his hatred of Spider-Man was. He didn’t intend to ever wear the costume again and instead just wanted to die. After being forced to don the symbiote again, the subtle control over his actions returned. This time, he’s more aware of it and wants to investigate it.

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5 Questions from Tom Foss, 8 from Carnage

June 27th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Not that Carnage.

Before I get into it, though, I’ve got half of an idea in my head. Boxing, the NBA, and the NFL are mostly black (except for quarterbacks :doom:). What if you had a series of superteams, like say one in each of the 50 states, that were run like a sports team? Try outs, scandals, all stars, cocky all-stars fresh out of high school… There’s something there, but I can’t quite grab it yet. Any Given Sunday in a comic book universe.

First is Tom Foss‘s five questions:
1. You’re given the keys to the Marvel Universe, and your only order is to take one “What If” storyline from the entirety of the series and make it canon, along with whatever alterations occur to the universe as a result. Which story do you choose?

Geez. I’d probably pick Gavok’s #1, What If Iron Man Sold Out. It was an awesome story, one of the few What Ifs I owned as a kid, and had great art. It hit all my buttons– it was set just pre-apocalypse, semi-fascist, and had heroes coming back to be true heroes.

Actually, yeah, that’s it for sure. What If Spider-Man Kept the Power Cosmic was another great one, but it kind of takes my favorite superhero out of the runnings for further stories, so no dice. What If the Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm was great and I’d like to see that one. It was practically Annihilation III in terms of scope.

2. Who watches the Watchers?

The police. Peeping tom perverts always get theirs.

3. What five Marvel characters do you think are most likely to actually be Skrulls?

Sentry’s wife, the secret masters behind SHIELD, the secret masters behind HYDRA, and I don’t know. I haven’t really given specific Skrulls much thought. I’ll have to post my theory on why Nick Fury went underground, though.

4. Who are your top three, back-of-the-OHOTMU, favorite guilty pleasure Marvel characters?
1. Jubilee (who remains the only character I have a continuity nerd story pitch for)
2. Darkhawk
3. Terror, Inc.

Ugh, I was so impressionable as a kid.

5. Which Avengers base is/was the best?

I couldn’t pick if I tried! I only recently became an Avengers fan. So… I figure Stark/Sentry Tower? I don’t know. The mansion is just kinda blah.

Spencer Carnage is up next.
- I have to post these rules before I start.
– I have to tell you eight facts about myself.
– I have to tag eight people to participate.
– I’m supposed to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read my blog.
– And the tagees need to write their own blog post, telling us eight things and posting the rules.

Ugh, eight things. Okay. Deep breath and
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The Top 100 What If Countdown: The Finale

March 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I feel kind of silly making this article since it was supposed to be done months ago. There are several things that kept me from finishing it, but I’m going to take the easy way out. All the time I usually use to write these What If articles was really used to pretend I was writing for Lost. I love writing Sam the Butcher’s dialogue the most.

Starting it off, here’s a series of sig images I made for the Batman’s Shameful Secret sub-forum at Something Awful. I guess they worked.

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Real Talk: Supreme Power’s Nighthawk

February 17th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Let me tell you a story.

This had to have been back when I was in the fifth grade, in Mrs Washington’s class. There’s this program called DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Basically, they explain to you that you should narc on your friends if you catch them with drugs and that if you try weed just one time you’ll immediately find yourself toothless, hooked on crack, in prison, insane, and stupid.

From Wikipedia:

The U.S. Department of Education concluded in 2003 that the DARE program is ineffective and now prohibits its funds from being used to support it.[5] The U.S. Surgeon General’s office, the National Academy of Sciences,[5] and the Government Accounting Office also concluded that the program is sometimes counterproductive in some populations, with those who graduate from DARE later having higher rates of drug use. Studies by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum [6], and by the California Legislative Analyst’s office [7] found that DARE graduates were more likely than others to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco and use illegal drugs.

Sorry, the mean-spiritedness is just deafening sometimes. I’ll do better, I promise.

Anyway, our DARE officer was a cop we called Officer Wood. At some point during the class, I ended up asking him a question about the Black Panthers. I wasn’t quite as “conscious” back then as I am now, but I knew a little bit about a little something. I even used to have one of those leather Africa medallions. I know that some of you folks know what I’m talking about. I was curious as to what Wood would say.

“The Black Panthers were worse than the Klan,” he told me.

That’s stuck with me in the years since then. He’s practically taken on bogeyman status in my head. I realized that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should keep your mouth shut. Arguing from a position of ignorance makes you an idiot, and no one likes idiots. If you want to speak, you’d better know first.

Other than that, though, I realized how perception informs things. I doubt that Officer Wood knew what he was saying. The Panthers, like Malcolm X, have been villainized in the years since they were active. They weren’t about killing white people, or even hating them. They were “The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense” and were an anti-police brutality group. They weren’t angels, granted, but they weren’t the frigging Klan, either. To Officer Wood, though, they were.

This brings me to Nighthawk, from J Michael Stracyzinski’s Supreme Power. Supreme Power sometimes feels like kind of a retread of JMS’s other series, Rising Stars, at times, but it remains one of his better works.

Nighthawk, though. Hm. Problematic.
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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Cab to Cat

February 6th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to the fifth installment. Took me longer than expected, but a lot of these guys are big names. If you reach the end of the article, Batman will reward you with his greatest quote ever.

CABLE

New Mutants #87 (1990)

Originally, Cable appears in Uncanny X-Men #201 (1986) as a baby, but I figure it would probably make more sense to show his real introduction. The story begins with a terrorist act by a team of Stryfe’s henchmen in some facility. The only one I actually recognize is Four-Arm. After they leave, a new figure enters through a hole in the wall.

Cable tracks Stryfe’s team on their next mission, where they plan to kidnap a couple kids out of a government facility. He takes the battle to the enemies, but their numbers eventually overwhelm him. He’s left to die and the mutants get away. The issue ends with Cable in military captivity, thinking about how he went at this the wrong way. He’s going to need help.

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