Month: February 2007
I remember reading the first few appearances of Scourge (probably in Amazing Spider-Man #277) and thinking he was a cool villain. That seems against everything I wrote yesterday, since Scourge could easily be an early version of the dark/extreme hero/villain trend of the 1990's.
Here was a villain (hero?) that went around killing C and D grade Marvel villains and shouting the phrase "Justice is Served." Aside from the Punisher, that was unheard of at the time. I don't think it was the violence of the character that intrigued me, but the mystery. Scourge popped up through many Marvel titles, for several months, exterminating villains here and there. The mystery of Scourge culminated with the massacre at the "Bar with No Name," which was a hangout for Marvel's villains. He was tracked down and defeated by Captain America in issues #319 and #320 of that series. Cool end for a cool story.
Or so I thought.
Another person assumed the identity of Scourge a few years later in Captain America and the pattern was repeted numerous times. The concept became even more diluted when it was revealed that Scourge wasn't a person, but an organization whose members assumed the role of Scourge. One was cool, but like anything, too much is never a good thing.
Purpose: The elimination of the criminal element through assassination
Modus operandi: The use of subterfuge to get close to targets, then elimination by whatever lethal means are possible
Extent of operations: Nationwide, perÃ¯Â¿Â½haps worldwide
Relationship to conventional authoriÃ¯Â¿Â½ties: Unrevealed, Scourge is generally believed to be a single individual, rather than an organized group
Base of operations: Southern California estate of Angel I
Former bases of operations: Mobile
Major funding: The personal fortune of the elderly millionaire who claims to have been the 1940's costumed hero Angel I
Known enemies: Captain America, USAgent, Dr. Karl Malus, Red Skull, (former) Enforcer, Miracle Man, Hate-Monger III, Megatek, Melter, Titania I, Basilisk I, Hammer, Anvil, Fly, Death Adder, Blue Streak, Wraith, Bird-Man II, Turner D. Century, Cheetah, Commander Kraken, Cyclone, Firebrand I, Grappler, Hellrazor, Hijacker, Jaguar, Letha, Mind-Wave, Mirage I, Rapier, Ringer I, Shellshock, Steeplejack II, Vamp, Red Skull II (all deceased)
Known allies: (former) Red Skull
Backwards ball-cap: check! Long Hair and Braids: check! Unnecessary Spikes/Blades: check!
It's an extreme 1990's character, so much so, his name is X-Treme.
What a fitting name it is. Not only does this character convey the "extreme" feeling of comics in the 1990's, he also serves as an example of the trend that killed (thematically, anyway) Marvel's line of X-men comics in the same decade.
If one of something is good, then two must be even better (continue ad nauseam). With the success of Uncanny X-Men in the late 80's and Wolverine becoming the star of the line, more and more X-men related titles were introduced. There were 2-3 books featuring the X-Men (Classic X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men), one book featuring the original five X-Men (X-Factor), student X-Men (New Mutants – later X-Force), X-Men in England (Excalibur), a solo Wolverine title and more limited series and specials than I can remember. If you wanted a new "X" title, just take a word and add "X-" in front to make it work.
Sadly, almost 20 years later, the majority of the X-books are still a mess and not worth reading. The one bright spot in the line is Astonishing X-Men (yes, it's another book) written by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.
Go ahead, you know you want to read more about X-Treme.
The New York Comic-com was this past weekend and I couldn’t be happier about one surprise announcement made by DC Comics.
Jann Jones announced a new project: Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, a three-issue limited series. "It's a very important year for Captain Carrot," Jones said. The project will be written by Bill Morrison and drawn by Scott Shaw! The villain of the story will be Ra's al-Pica.
I remember reading Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew as a kid and thinking it was just the coolest idea. An entire world that mirrored the DC universe, but populated by talking animals. It's very similar to one of DC's hallmark ideas, the multi-verse. The idea that any number of alternate universes exists, some with minor variations and some with major ones. I've always loved alternate time-line stories and DC has always used them creatively.
Marvel Comics does them as well, but they bounce back and forth with no explanation or connection. They've never attempted to link or explain them. They just use the "alternate time-line/universe" character when it's convenient.
I could go on all day about Marvel vs. DC and maybe one day I will, but for now, I can't wait for some new Captain Carrot.
Comic book heroes were "extreme" in the 90's. Superman had long hair, Batman was replaced, Spider-Man was a clone, but the easiest way to make a standard hero "extreme" was to accessorize.
Cable (created by Rob Liefeld) from the New Mutants started this trend with his big shoulder pads, many pockets, and numerous ammo belts. Almost every hero in the 1990's received some sort of extreme makeover which usually involved adding pouches, pockets and belts to their costume. Many people also stopped reading comics at this time and the huge audience that had built up dwindled to almost nothing. Only in the past 2-3 years have comics returned to 1/3 of the number of readers as they had before the 1990's.
Powers and Abilities
Strength: Superhuman Class 10
Speed: Enhanced human
Stamina: Enhanced human
Durability: Enhanced human
Agility: Enhanced human
Reflexes: Enhanced human
Fighting skills: Extensive training in military combat techniques and the martial arts
Special skills and abilities: Highly skilled in devising weaponry and cyborg body parts. He is also an extraordinary combat strategist.
Superhuman physical powers: Cable is believed to be a mutant whose physical abilities and intelligence are enhanced
above the normal human levels. His cyborg left arm and shoulder possess even greater strength than his organic ones. Cable's bionic right eye can see into the infrared portion of the spectrum.
Superhuman mental powers: The psionic ability to control his cyborg body parts
Special limitations: None
Source of superhuman powers: Presumably mutation, cyborg body parts