The Undertaker Comic Part 2: Brothers (and Sister) of Destruction

November 9th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Last time, I discussed the first few issues of Chaos Comics’ Undertaker, as well as the specials that came from it. The Undertaker, Paul Bearer and a newly-created character the Embalmer each hold a Book of the Dead and are going to war over who can get all three Books and become the ruler of Stygian, Hell’s prison. Meanwhile, Kane is sneaking around, watching the Undertaker and Mankind is able to see that some of the wrestlers in the WWF are really demons in disguise.

Just for shits and giggles, for those of you reading who don’t follow wrestling or haven’t followed it for long, here’s a list of some of the Undertaker’s silliest storylines:

– Fought a nearly 8-foot-tall dude who wore a muscle suit with fur covering the shoulders and crotch. Their “epic” battle at Wrestlemania 9 ended with this big dude, Giant Gonzales, chloroforming the Undertaker. This got Undertaker a win via disqualification and they always have to sidestep this fact when they go over how the Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania and show a highlight reel.

– A match was set for Survivor Series of Lex Luger and his patriotic American guys vs. Yokozuna and his evil foreigners. Due to a last-minute injury, they needed someone to step into Luger’s team. This spot was filled by the Undertaker, who proceeded to do a lengthy promo that compared his gimmick to what America is all about. He ended it by growling, “Let freedom RIIIIIIIING…” and opened up his jacket to reveal a 1776 American flag stitched on the inside. Lex Luger saw this and got way too pumped about it.

– Undertaker had a match against Yokozuna where you won by stuffing your opponent into a casket. Just about every bad guy in the WWF came out to help Yokozuna by ganging up on the Undertaker and shoving him in the casket. As the casket is wheeled away, the big screen above the entrance shows a camera inside the casket, where the Undertaker promises he will return. Then he (or Marty Janetty in an Undertaker costume) flies off into the heavens on strings.

– The Undertaker delivered a Dominos pizza to Leslie Neilson as part of the lead up for the Undertaker to fight his evil doppelganger.

– The Undertaker had a rematch against Yokozuna, this time with Chuck Norris there to make sure nobody interfered this time.

I can go on with this for days. To be fair, I do really love the Undertaker and he has had his share of kickass moments. Like that time Paul Bearer did an interview from the safety of his own home and Undertaker burst in, yelling, “Did you think I forgot where you live?!” and pummeled the everloving hell out of him. Then it cut to the arena’s locker room, many miles away as Kane went into a hysteric crying rampage and Mankind had to try and calm him down. That was neat.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 3

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

We’re finishing off the trilogy of World Championship Wrestling articles here at 4th Letter, but first I want to talk about blame.

Ever since the moment I picked a couple of these issues up at New York Comic Con, my fellow 4L guys and my comic-reading friends all asked me the same question: why? Why would I do this to myself? Why am I always the guy on this site willingly reading comics I know are going to be lousy? The truth is, it’s all hermanos’ fault.

He and I are similar in terms of comic-reading background. He and I read stuff in the 90’s, only to break away from comics due to the Marvel Cloneslaught disaster. He got back in the game before I did and had more reading experience. He would be the one who would suggest comics that I would eventually follow obsessively. He suggested I read that Deadpool issue where he Shoryukens Kitty Pryde. He told me to read Kingdom Come. He told me that the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League is good stuff. And I won’t even tell you how many times I had to hear him push Flex Mentallo in my direction before I submitted.

A problem arises from that. It gets annoying discussing things when he’s read pretty much everything I’ve read and more. Where’s my upper hand?

So I had to dig deep in the opposite direction. Has hermanos read the comic where Venom fights Carnage inside the internet? What about the one where Skeletor controls Superman’s mind and makes him beat up He-Man? Did he read Super-Villain Team… wait, hold on. Super-Villain Team-Up turned out to be pretty great. But he didn’t read the Tekken comic, did he?! And he’s a better person for it because that thing is a stinking turd on the level of the Doom comic.

But the Tekken comic review will be for another day.

I think I’m just stalling because the cover of issue #9 features the Steiner Brothers with the blurb, “The Steiner Brothers are cruisin’ for a bruisin’! Part 2 of 4!” At least Jesse Ventura is in the upper-corner logo. That’s as good a reason as any to keep moving forward.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 2

April 14th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

We continue our look at the adventures of our Friendly Neighborhood Steve Borden. First, another wrestling history lesson.

This Ghoul storyline looks like it’s really meant to be a mix between two “mystery man” storylines WCW had done a year or so before the comic came out. The first was the infamous Black Scorpion storyline. WCW had done Sting vs. Ric Flair to death. They needed to give Sting a new rival. They came up with the Black Scorpion, a masked man with a distorted voice that would appear in taped segments, taunting Sting. He would bring up their past and how intimately they know each other. Then he’d do magic tricks because, you know, he’s mysterious and stuff.

WCW didn’t actually have any good ideas of who the Black Scorpion would turn out to be, so in the end, they just made him Ric Flair, thereby totally defeating the purpose of this storyline.

The other “mystery man” storyline involved a wrestler called the Halloween Phantom, who defeated the Z-Man at the pay-per-view event Halloween Havoc before unmasking. The following issues are more in tune to this one.

As any wrestling fan can tell you, most of these stories turn out to be convoluted messes by the time they’re done. Kind of like the Clone Saga, now that I think about it.

The next issue (we’re on #4, if you’ve lost track) begins with the new tag team of the Diamond Studd and Stunning Steve going up against the fictional cannon fodder Jersey Jerry and Mangy Matt. First a little something on Stunning Steve.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 1

April 3rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Chances are, you already know what World Championship Wrestling was. If not, you at least remember the days when World Wrestling Entertainment was referred to as the World Wrestling Federation. WCW was the WWF’s competition and for quite a long while, relegated itself to being a distant second.

Though the company leaked money for many years, it stayed afloat because it was billionaire Ted Turner’s pet project. He kept the fed around because it amused him. Sure, it had its talented wrestlers and a couple personalities like Big Van Vader and Cactus Jack that I admired, but I could never really get into it at that age. I was strictly WWF. Maybe it was just a sense of being loyal. Maybe it was the feeling of blandness that clouded a show that didn’t have the Undertaker and Ted Dibiase. Maybe I was turned off by the rules that dropped the entertainment potential like a rock (like being disqualified for throwing someone over the top rope, being on the top rope or even backdropping your opponent).

That’s in the past. The product would finally get the shot in the arm it needed in the mid-to-late-90’s and would, for a while, dominate the WWF. This lasted for only a few years before the WWF got its act together and fought back, using wrestlers that WCW discarded. Two of which appear heavily in this series I’m about to review. WCW lost its momentum thanks to a lot of amusingly bad decisions, many of which came from hiring the wrestling equivalent of Chuck Austen to write the shows. It eventually drowned on its own suck and was bought by Vince McMahon, who incorporated WCW and fellow beaten wrestling fed ECW into his own company, like some kind of Crisis in Infinite Arenas.

I’m getting ahead of myself. This 12-issue comic, released by Marvel, took place during 1992-93, years before the New World Order would turn the tide. At the time, WCW had its share of problems. Their golden boy Ric Flair was off in the WWF. Another mainstay, Sid Vicious, was also playing for the winners. WCW had talent, but it didn’t have much in terms of big names.

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