Monday, October 31, 2011

Vision & The Scarlet Witch #1

For Halloween, I bring you Vision & The Scarlet Witch #1, from a 1982-83 four part Marvel Limited Series by writer Bill Mantlo & penciller Rick Leonardi. I picked this up a couple weeks ago at BAM! for a buck, but had no idea about the storyline, so pertinent to the holiday until I read it last night  :)

One of the oddest pairs in comics, synthezoid Victor Shade and magic-wielding mutant Wanda Maximoff are freshly retired from the Avengers & ready to settle down together in New Jersey. Bearing a parting gift of a druid spell book to Wanda from Captain America, the Avengers butler Jarvis arrived at the couple's new home ahead to help unpack.

But the ancient tome is more than would appear on this Halloween night, and three trick-or-treaters are made servants of a spirit trapped within it's pages that seeks the ScarletWitch's magic to set it free- Samhain, the eternal embodiment of All Hallow's Eve!

Vision and Jarvis must free the kids from the apparitions that have taken them over before getting to Wanda, who's caught in a struggle with Samhain. But the Vision is caught struggling against one of their spirit attackers in an intangible state & unable to assist, so Wanda must hold her own against the druid deity. Realizing the hex power of her mutant abilities won't alone be enough, Wanda resolves that a combination of those with the real magic she was taught by Agatha Harkness might defeat Samhain. Casting a spell while sweeping the book from which he came into the fireplace, she dispatches the evil spirit, who was really still bound to it by a magic mightier than it's own. 

Samhain gone, the children are all freed from his spell unharmed, and Wanda, the Vision & Jarvis are safe at home once again. The battle took a mental toll on the Scarlet Witch though, and her acutely aware, android husband is particularly sensitive to his lover in spite of his inhuman physiology. Pretty mushy stuff, huh?!  :D

*See my post on the 9" Famous Covers Vision & Scarlet Witch dolls!
Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Other Plans??

Unless you had OTHER PLANS for the next few minutes, swing over to Batman the Animated Toys and see if Batgirl can outsmart Talia in my post on The Batman & Robin Adventures #9 comic book! 

Marvel Universe Wave 16

I found these Wave 16/Series 3 Marvel Universe figures about a week ago at Target on sale for $6.99 each- wasn't dying to get these, but at that price I went for it. They are all good characters I've read about in the last year, and I've been on a X-Men kick lately.  They turned out more interesting freed from their packaging.

Ultimate Magneto:
I like the color scheme on this Magneto, styled after his look in the Marvel "Ultimate" universe. I've heard some criticism of the paint apps on his face, and yeah it looks a little dirty, but not all that bad. I like the details in his outfit, defined in dark paint. His helmet is sculpted well and the "blowing cape" sculpt is unique, it's shoulder harness painted in a contrasting glossy black. I really like him- he looks like a baddie  :D

Absorbing Man:
I looked pretty hard for the black/metallic variant, but to no avail. Hasbro should've made them all like that- it looks so much more impressive. Still, this is a fun figure with the jail pants & wrecking ball. The paint apps on the flesh is nice as well, adding definition to his muscles and overall color to his pallor. What really stuck out on this guy was his individually sculpted fingers, which have tiny fingernail indentations- really detailed!


I was the least enthralled by Bobby here, and while somewhat plain he's more interesting up close. His color is a nice icy shade, and they painted his eyes the same silver as his boots/gloves. Again, any more X-Men are welcome to my Marvel Universe collection. 

I found these two Iceman figures while shopping the dollar comic bin at BAM! on Tuesday- pretty cool as I'd just bought an Iceman, but I didn't buy them...

Another Wolverine?? This makes six I have, and Slangards recently claimed Hasbro produced  35 Hasbro Wolverines in this scale to date, painstakingly listing them on Joint Junkie!  I still wanted this Astonishing Wolverine- the snarling expression on his face is great, and there's some nice detail in the outfit, particularly in the sculpted seams, gauntlets & boots. The paint apps on the flesh is nice as well, adding definition to Logan's bulging biceps.

Marvel Universe Wave 6 Wolverine, Wave 16 Wolverine, Sentinel Wolverine...

Astonishing Wolverines: 9" Hasbro Wolverine, 3 3/4" Marvel Universe Wolverine, 2 3/4" Marvel Heroes & Villains Wolverine mini-figure:

 More Later- Make It FUN!
*See the Marvel Universe visual checklist at ItsAllTrue.Net

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Avengers Annual #17: The Evolutionary War Part 11

My last two posts were on Fantastic Four Annual #21 and X-Factor Annual #3, two comics I found in the dollar bin at BAM!.  As stated previously, I realized later that I've had this Avengers Annual #17 from the same series since my youth! No wonder these looked so familiar & appealing to me  :D   Lookit this bitchin' cover, will ya!

This issue is the end of the "Evolutionary War" story arc, spanning across 11 different titles, and is an interesting period in that Steve Rogers, stripped of his Captain America status by the U.S. federal government, is now a rogue hero going by a new alias, "the Captain" (I posted about this back in July).  The Avengers have been disbanded, but several reserve members answer an emergency call to the now empty Hydro-base, former island headquarters of the former team of heroes.

When the Hulk captures one of the High Evolutionary's "gatherers", the Avengers learn that a genetic bomb beneath the Pacific Ocean will soon be detonated, dangerously hurtling mankind's biological evolution forward in an unpredictably trajectory. With the help of Hercules, Beast, Hulk, and Falcon, Cap seeks out the warring Atlanteans and Lemurians in the Sunda Strait to put aside their differences and  assist in the fight against the Evolutionary's mad plan to reactivate the ancient volcano Krakatoa in order to fire his bomb.

The Avengers soon discover the ani-men have been enlisted alongside the purifiers in the Evolutionary's plot, and turn them against one another, using the similarly animalistic Beast to spread a quick rumor among the human purifiers. The Evolutionary discovers our heroes' plot, and temporarily cages them- short work escaping for the likes of Hercules, Beast, & the Hulk!

Cap then resolves that the only way to conquer their foe is to use the Evolutionary's instruments to evolve Hercules' powers above & beyond that of the villain. At first the Hulk violently insists that he be the one to undergo the accelerated evolution, but the Evolutionary shows up and simply teleports him to a random, out-of-the-way locale. A battle of the gods ensues, the Evolutionary discorporating from a fatal blow, but not before zapping the technology harness strapped to Hercules' body, causing him to grow/evolve at an uncontrollable rate until dissipating into the great unknown.

With the help of Yellowjacket, Jacosta  takes one for the team by plugging what's left of herself into the ship and taking one for the team, destroying the gene-bomb in the process before the ship reaches Krakatoa & ground zero!

The 11th and final chapter of the history of the High Evolutionary, "Beyond Life", concludes this book, telling a story of the High Evolutionary's dawning awareness of the awesome powers of the Beyonders, who took the artificial planet he created for observation, placing it alongside other heavenly oddities, rendering his finest creation nothing more than "an interesting if primitive experiment by a talented provincial".  Driven insane by the prospect of this idea and unable to destroy himself, the Evolutionary lures the Hulk to smash him into oblivion. The green-skinned goliath obliges, but after he stomps off, we see that it will take more than the Hulk to destroy the High Evolutionary.

Matthew Peterson had all kinds of interesting Marvel contextual/historical tidbits on this issue at MajorSpoilers.Com- go read! I'd certainly buy any of the other eight installments of this story arc, if given the oppurtunity at a reasonable price ( one dollar was good!). I sure love thumbing through these old annuals- there's so much good stuff to read from the past that I wonder why I'd want to buy any new comics-
More Later- Keep It FUN!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fantastic Four Annual #21: Evolutionary War Part 6

Continued from my previous post on X-Factor Annual #3: Evolutionary War Part 1, this Fantastic Four was the other Evolutionary War installment I found at BAM! the other day. It's quite a skip from part 1 to part 6, but I feel these stories can be read independently, and the bulk of this Fanstastic Four Annual centers around Crystal, now a member of the F.F. and her family of Inhumans in "Crystal Blue Persuasion"!

The never-dull domesticity and unrest are resumed at the Fantastic Four Headquarters upon return from their adventures in the spaceways, revealing a budding romance in full bloom between The Thing and his female counterpart, Shary, while the tension between Johnny Storm & his old love, now F.F. partner Crystal. But their rest is short lived, as Black Bolt & the Inhumans appear to retrieve his young cousin and take her back to their home city Attilan, on the Moon, where her husband Pietro (Quicksilver) awaits.

Back on the Moon, the Evolutionary runs into The Watcher, who makes his presence & knowledge of the Evolutionary's transgressions known.  "Do you object to my designs?" asks a confrontational Evolutionary. "It is not for me to object or approve! I just watch!"

Crystal puts up a fight, and Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, and Gorgon take on the Fantastic Four! An evenly matched battle comes to a draw when word gets back that Atillan is under attack by the High Evolutionary and his army, after the terrigan mist for it's mutagenic properties. Back on the Blue Area of the Moon, the battle rages until the Evolutionary realizes his army is no match for the two mutant superhero teams, and must retreat, a knowing pair of Watchers there to quietly witness. Realizing her presence on Earth is tearing the Fantastic Four apart, Crystal acquiesces to Black Bolt's wishes for her to return to her family. 

In the next story included in this 64 page annual, Crystal attempts to reconcile with her husband Pietro, and adjust to life as an Attilan princess again. Pietro's mind had been controlled by Black Bolt's evil brother Maximus, turning him against his sister Wanda, the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and everyone else, only to be undone by Maria Pym putting a mental block in his mind which temporarily removed his power of speed and shattering Maximus' spell. But after assuring Crystal of his unshaken love, a private telecommunication with a former enemy reveals a secret grudge to be avenged through a dubious alliance!

And finally, the third story "Silver and Crimson"  is a tale from the High Evolutionary's history. Attacked by a werewolf, Edgar Wyndham builds the suit of armor he will use later as High Evolutionary to use against the beast. He confronts and captures the creature after it attacks his subterranean helpers inside his Wungadore Mountain citadel, no doubt interested in the origins of it's genetic makeup! Of course we know what sick & twisted ways Edgar Wyndham will process that information as the High Evolutionary!

This was a fun book! There were all kinds of Fantastic Four history I knew nothing of inside this annual, some of it pretty cheesy, but interesting from a historical standpoint nonetheless. I read about F.F.'s meeting the Inhumans, and Johnny's teenage crush on Crystal when I read the Marvel Essential :Fantastic Four Vol. 3 last winter, but knew nothing of his marriage to Alicia (Ben Grimm's ex-girlfriend), nor Crystal's marriage to Quicksilver. I didn't know she joined the F.F., nor of the female Thing, Shary, and that Mr. Fantastic & the Invisible Woman were retired in suburban bliss! *GASP*  Zany!

More Later- Make It FUN!