The Family Life (Summers-Grey)

Now, while many heroes and villains have hooked up, or married, I am primarily going to focus on larger families for the Family Life series. This one is going to heavily focus on the Summers-Grey family (As close to royalty as mutants get for lineage).


Now the Summers family (which heavily includes the Grey family, though the girls tend to keep the Grey last name) is huge and convoluted in comics. So let’s start with the main man who founded the legendary modern family:

Christopher Summers (Corsair): He is the leader of the Starjammers, space-pirate do-gooders. He has worked with the X-Men on several occasions, and even attented Scott’s first wedding. He has one wife (Katherine Ann Summers). He also has three children, Scott, Alex and Gabriel.
Corsair

Alex Summers (Havoc): The middle brother, Alex became the mutant known as Havoc. He has worked with both the X-Men and the Avengers. He has also worked with the Starjammers and other groups as well. He has no children, or wife.
Havoc

Gabriel Summers (Vulcan): The youngest Summers brother, Gabriel had an unconventional birth. He was ripped from his dying mothers womb, and incubated (without the knowledge of his father) by the Shi’ar. Eventually he became the Emperor of the Shi’ar empire, and fought a civil war before ultimately losing. He served on the X-Men briefly as well. He has a wife, Cal’syee Neramani (also known as Deathbird), but no children.
Vulcan

Scott Summers (Cyclops): Scott is the eldest brother. He was one of the first X-Men, and has led various incarnations of the X-Men. While it’s with Scott that the Summers/Grey family gets complicated, most of that comes from his grandchildren. So, let’s start with his two marriages. Madelyne Pryor (The Red Queen), his first wife, and clone of Jean Grey. Jean Grey (Marvel Girl/Phoenix), second wife. And his only child, Nathan Summers (Cable). His son also has a clone (so sort of has a second son) Stryfe. Scott also has an alternate reality daughter who plays a major role in the main universe, Rachel Grey (AKA Marvel Girl, Phoenix, or most recently, Prestige).
Cyclops

Nathan Summers (Cable): Nathan is the only actual son of Scott, but he does have a brother/clone. His mother was Madelyne Pryor. Nathan has served on the Avengers, X-Force, X-Men, the Six Pack, the New Mutants and several other groups. Much like his father, he has had two wives. Aliya Dayspring (also known as Jenskot, his first wife), and Hope Summers (his second wife, not to be confused with the other Hope Summers). He has a clone/brother named Stryfe. He also has 3 half-siblings from alternate realities. Only two of these have significant impact on the 616 universe those. His half brother is called Nathanial Grey (known as X-Man). And his half-sister, Rachel Grey (Prestige). He has two children, neither of which are actually his. There was Tyler Dayspring (Genesis) who was his step-son/son (it’s complicated) from his first marriage. Hope Summers was his adopted daughter (first mutant born after M-Day, him and his second wife Hope Summers, adopted the baby and raised it).
Cable

Stryfe: A clone of Nathan Summers, he has all the same powers. He was created by an alternate reality Rachel Summers and raised by Apocalypse. He did not have a wife, though he did have a child with Aliya Dayspring (Cable’s first wife), known as Tyler Dayspring/Genesis, who was raised by his adoptive father (and technically speaking, father) Cable.
Stryfe

Tyler Dayspring (Genesis): Tyler Dayspring was the offspring of Aliya Dayspring and Stryfe (clone of his adoptive father Nathan/Cable, his mothers husband). He eventually took on the name Genesis and tried to become the new Apocalypse after Apocalypse had died. He has no known children or wives.
Genesis

Nathaniel Grey (X-Man): An alternate reality son of Scott and Jean (from the Age of Apocalypse timeline). He was actually one of the most powerful mutants known, up until his powers were blown out by the Omega Machine. In which case he trained his mind to make use of what powers he has left (limited telekinesis) but also to use his brain strategically, making him an effective leader and strategist. He has no wives or kids, but was last seen in a relationship with Dani Moonstar.
X-Man

Madelyne Pryor (The Goblin Queen/The Red Queen): Madelyne Pryor was a clone of Jean Grey who was created by Mr. Sinister. She eventually married Scott Summers (they divorced, when Jean Grey was revealed to be alive. And  by divorce, I mean Scott left her in the middle of the night, having only married Madelyne because of her similarity in appearance to Jean in the first place). She has one child, and a clone of that child (Nathan Summers, and Stryfe respectively).
Madelyne_Pryor

Jean Grey (Marvel Girl/Phoenix): Jean was another member of the original X-Men who fell in love with Scott. In between various deaths she married Scott (becoming his second wife). In the 616 universe they never had any children (though she is genetically speaking, the mother of Nathan Summers, despite not actually being the mother). In alternate realities, there were 3 children between her and Scott. 2 of which have any major impact on the 616 universe. Nathaniel Grey (X-Man) and Rachel Grey (Prestige). The third daughter was known as Rachel Summers (Mother Askani) who played a limited role in the creation of Stryfe.
JeanGrey

Rachel Grey (Prestige): Rachel Grey has been known by several aliases. In the 616 universe she served briefly as the Phoenix, and also took her mothers name in the early X-Men days (Marvel Girl) before finally settling on Prestige (on recommendation of Kitty Pryde to take an identity that is all her own). She has served on the X-Men, Excalibur, and Starkammers as well as other teams. She has no husbands or children, but she is currently in a relationship with the Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler).
Rachel Summers

Rachel Summers (Mother Askani): Another alternate reality version of Rachel Grey, this one ultimately became known as Mother Askani. She formed a clan known as “Clan Askani”. She was responsible for cloning Nathan Summers giving us Stryfe. Her parents are Jean Grey and Scott Summers, but no known children or husband.
Mother_Askani

Hope Summers: The adopted daughter of Nathan Summers and his second wife Hope, Hope was named after her (adopted) mother when she died. She is the first mutant born since M-Day and was the main cause for the whole Avengers vs X-Men event (as she is one of the most powerful hosts of the Phoenix which was coming to Earth). She has served on both the X-Men and X-Force. She has no children or husbands.
Hope Summers

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(Un)friendly Fire: Villains vs Villains

So for the third and final part of my Friendly Fire series, is going to be a twist. While heroes fighting heroes seems a bit odd, because they should be on the same side, it doesn’t seem as odd (though it should) when we see villains fighting villains. But let’s get down to these less than friendly battles between some of our less than heroic characters.

Joker vs Red Skull (Batman and Captain America)
So the first one I’m doing is one of my favourites. It was a one-off crossover between DC’s Batman and Marvel’s Captain America, in which Joker and Red Skull teamed up. You know, until Joker found out Red Skull was an actual Nazi and not just using it as some set-up/joke. The two fight on two different occasions. The first one Red Skull takes, but the second one is more of a stalemate. My take is that with a 1-0-1 record in their only meeting, Red Skull takes the win.
JokerVsRedSkull

 

Magneto vs Apocalypse (Age of Apocalypse)
So Magneto hasn’t always been a villain, but he is definitely seen on the wrong side more often than not. Apocalypse on the other hand is a villain that even most villains dislike. So this showdown of Magneto, the Master of Magnetism (and arguably one of the biggest badasses in Marvel) vs Apocalypse, one of the first mutants known to mankind (and a strong believer in Survival of the Fittest). In the Age of Apocalypse, Magneto eventually sided with the X-Men. But, the final showdown of the AoA was a clash of the two titans of X-Men villains. While the fight was initially a stall for Bishop to rectify the past (and prevent Xavier from being killed), Magneto channelled all his power, his love, and his hatred into the fight, and he literally ripped Apocalypse in half. Winner: Magneto, hands down, plus he finishes off with a pretty good thought.
MagnetoVsApocalypse

 

Black Adam vs Psycho Pirate (Infinite Crisis)
In the sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, you see Black Adam and Psycho Pirate on the opposite sides. Lex Luthor is creating multiple universes in an effort to create the perfect Earth. This had a coalition of heroes and villains fighting those who supported Luthors attempt. Among the resistance was Black Adam, and he goes up against the emotion manipulator Psycho Pirate (who was trying to stop resistance by manipulating their emotions against it).  Unfortunately, Black Adam has no time for emotions, and he ends the fight quickly, killing Psycho Pirate by jabbing his fingers that far into his eyes. Winner: Black Adam.
Black-Adam-kills-Psycho-Pirate-Infinite-Crisis

 

Dr. Doom vs Thanos (Secret Wars)
One of the newest events of Marvel was Secret Wars. Where Dr. Doom took over the universe and became God Doom. During one encounter with Thanos, the two shared very heated words. Both of them have been literal gods, and Thanos claims that Doom is a weak god. Doom responds with a brief attack. Doom reaches his hand into Thanos, grabs his spine, and disintegrates Thanos. Winner: Doom.
DoomVsThanos

 

Kingpin vs Red Skull (Captain America: Streets of Poison)
The final entry is Kingpin vs Red Skull. Kingpin is a straight up beast, and an underrated powerhouse (seriously), while Red Skull is definitely a capable fighter (with modified super-serum in his body too) is a hell of a fight. The two get into it in a submission only hand-to-hand fight that saw them stripped down to their underwear (because neither trusted the other to be clothed and not carry weapons). While Red Skull used many of his strongest hits to points normally vulnerable to people, Kingpin is so well protected by his body mass (let me be clear, it isn’t all fat), that they didn’t even phase him. When Red Skull tried blinding him, he got in too close, Kingpin set him in a bear hug, and collapsed on him until Skull cried uncle. Winner: Kingpin
Kingpin vs Red Skull

 

 

Ultimately, this just goes to show that Heroes don’t always get along, and neither do villains. As much as they team up, their own personal goals often get in the way.

Friendly Fire: Hero vs Hero (DC)

Last week we did Hero vs Hero fights in the Marvel Universe. This week, we delve into DC.

 

Batman vs Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman: The Hiketia)
This comic run I know I’ve talked about on at least one other occasion on this blog (and even more so on other forums). But it is such a good run. Wonder Woman has pledged to protect someone who has formed the rite of Hiketia (basically subservience for protection, on condition that the truth was told). This someone killed a criminal, in Gotham. And Batman would not let her go, not without a fight. This battle was good, and they both got some good hits in. But the Bat was beaten by the killer of Gods. As skilled, and intelligent, as Batman is (and much to many fans dismay), prep time does not always equal a victory. When your opponent is Wonder Woman, prep time only delays the inevitable. Batman does not wish to harm Wonder Woman, and has no interest in fighting a friend. Wonder Woman on the other hand, also has no desire to fight a friend, but has a sense of duty to the gods, herself, and her upbringing that overshadows her desire to not fight a friend. The victory goes to Wonder Woman.
WWVBat

 

Damian Wayne/Robin vs Dick Grayson/Nightwing (Injustice)
While not necessarily canon (Injustice does take place in an alternate universe after all), the latest Robin fights the first. During a confrontation between Batman and Superman, Nightwing (at Batman’s side) ended up sparring with Robin (who was on Superman’s side). Damian throws one of the billy clubs at Dick, like he has often (even in this series before), but Dick failed to do what he always did before. Catch the billy club. This time, it struck him right in the temple, followed by a collapse with his head hitting the ground. It was a near instantaneous death blow. One in front of Batman, Superman, and others in attendance. While in their previous sparring matches in the series, Damian and Nightwing were a closer match, this shows how Damian is a force to be reckoned with, as unlike Batman and most his proteges, he does not have the moral compulsion against killing. Damian wins by death.
DeathOfNightwing

 

Superman vs Shazam (Kingdom Come)
In Kingdom Come, you see a futuristic reality where the altruistic heroes we know and love are aged and outdated. The second and third generation of heroes don’t exactly have the same morals the first generation of metahumans did. Killing in the name of justice wasn’t unheard of. This lead to three factions rising. The Justice League, consisting of most of the old guard heroes, which often imprisoned hero and villains to indoctrinate them for new morals. The Outsiders were lead by Batman, some of the second and third generation heroes, as well as other more outsider first generation heroes such as Green Arrow and Blue Beetle. The third major faction was the Mankind Liberation Front, which was headed by Lex Luther, and includes many other villains (including a child of Batman, and Talia, not named Damian). But, one of the big fights you see, is a brainwashed Billy Batson (Shazam) fighting Superman. The fight itself allowed the showcasing of strength Shazam has. He is very much Superman’s equal in almost any physical way (so much so that he has been mistaken for Kryptonian), but he also has many magical abilities as well. And these he showcases and uses to his advantage (as Superman is weak to magic), nearly killing him in this fight. So Superman uses a different method of fighting, he appeals to Billy Batson (the child) rather than Shazam. Ultimately, Billy sacrificed himself for the greater good, giving Superman the ultimate victory, but the fight itself hands down went to Shazam. Anyone who can nearly kill Superman without turning him near human (with Kryptonite) deserves mention in the win column.
fights-superman-shazam

 

Jason Todd/Red Hood vs Tim Drake/Robin (Teen Titans)
Another set of Robin vs former Robin on this list. The Bat Family has a lot of pent up rage issues.  This one is their first meeting, in Teen Titans. Jason Todd wishes to gauge Tim Drake, partly because Jason is a bit insane, and partly because Jason was always told he wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t tough enough, but Tim Drake was the opposite (while not Dick Grayson, Tim was still considered a near perfect Robin). The fight had Jason wearing an adult version of a Robin costume (not his Robin costume though, his didn’t have pants), which screams to his abandonment issues. But, both members of the Bat Family got their hits in, as well as some trash talk. Jason, as the Red Hood gets the nod as victor. Tim is the better strategist, but Jason is stronger, and larger, ultimately getting him the upper hand.
robinredhood9.jpg

 

Superman vs Batman (The Dark Knight Returns)
While I really wanted to avoid using the same hero twice, one just does not do a DC Hero vs Hero fight without mentioning Superman vs Batman. Polar opposites in general attitude, but also, best friends (and often bitter rivals). The Dark Knight Returns was a rather dark run, in a future where most superheroes don’t exist. Batman gets into a fight with Superman, and uses a heavy armored suit to enable him to fight on a near equal ground with the Kryptonian. Though he does use Kryptonite in the fight as well, Batman only uses it so he can himself get away. The fight ends with Batman faking his own death, and Superman, though even he knows that Batman isn’t dead. Batman wins, but Superman could easily have taken it if Batman didn’t have some help earlier on from Green Arrow.
DarkKnightReturns3.jpg

Friendly Fire: Hero vs Hero Marvel Edition

Alright folks, this is going to be another multi-part series of mine. This one based on the common comic trope of the Hero vs Hero fight (though part 3 is a bit of a twist). I mean we all know of the DCEU Batman v Superman movie, or the MCU Civil War movie. Or the comics, where it’s pretty common to see heroes fighting eachother before teaming up and fighting the real bad guy. So I’m going to delve into that a bit. For this I’m looking at small scale fights, nothing big (like Justice League vs Batman, or Hulk vs the World). I’m talking 2-3 combatants total. So let’s get started with the Marvel Edition.

 

Hulk vs Iron Man, Mark 49 Hulkbuster (Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man)
Alright, there have been tons of Hulk vs Iron Man over the years. It’s just a fact. Two geniuses, both formerly in the weapons industry (both even worked on the gamma bomb that turned Banner into Hulk), and they both have some ego issues as well. But I chose this one as it is one of the most recent, but it’s also Hulk when he is on the more intelligent side. The Mark 49 Hulkbuster (The black and silver edition) was a last resort in the fight. Because Tony’s previous response, was throwing an entire weaponized city at the Hulk (which failed, horribly). Sadly, other than the start, and the result, most of the fight is off page. But it doesn’t change how brutally Tony got manhandled. The Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man series was a side story during Original Sin, about how Tony was responsible for the creation of the Hulk, and Hulk wanted his revenge. Eventually Tony won, via a talk genius to genius. But the fight itself was hands-down Hulk.
AlwaysTheOptimist(OriginalSinHulkVSIronMan)

 

Punisher vs Ghost Rider (Thunderbolts)
The final arc of the 2013-2014 edition of Thunderbolts (the Red Hulk lead team) was called Punisher vs The Thunderbolts. One of the best fights in this run is Punisher vs Ghost Rider. After Red Hulk gets framed for attempting to murder Punisher, he goes around and does what he does best…. punish. Ghost Rider was an interesting one, because while Punisher wanted to go after Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze himself (not a spirit of vengeance) was a good guy. So he did his research (Batman isn’t the only one who uses prep time to his advantage). He reads up and studies with Dr. Strange at the Sanctum Sanctorum, with Elsa Bloodstone at Bloodstone Manor, with various vampires in Brighton (where Vampires go to just relive whatever era they were sired in), and at a Satanic Church which hosted Zadkiel (an Angel that Ghost Rider sent to hell). He used every trick in the book, including Zadkiels sword (after he, well, re-killed Zadkierl and sent him back to hell), Uru shivs (yes, knives forged from the same material as Thor’s hammer), Spirit guns, before finally choking Ghost Rider out (to the point of decapitation) with his own chains. Of course, Ghost Rider did some damage too, a knife in Punisher’s ribs, and the Penance Stare (which, fun fact, does NOT work on Punisher. Because all the people he’s killed, he doesn’t feel guilt or remorse, as such, he does not feel the pain he’s inflicted on others). The after-fight scene was a rather drastic shift in tone, with Johnny Blaze getting up, calling Punisher a son of a bitch, and thanking him (while kissing him on the cheek) for freeing him from the Spirit of Vengeance. Punisher won this, though I know many who would argue that it was a weak win (seeing as it was Ghost Riders own weapon that defeated him, leading to the question of “Why has no one tried this on him before?”)
IRegretNothing(Thunderbolts)

 

Wolverine vs Cyclops (Schism)
Schism was an interesting storyline, because it was when the X-Men split into two groups. Cyclops and his school on Utopia, as well as Wolverine and the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning (in the old X-Mansion). It all started when Wolverine objected to Cyclops using the young students as soldiers, and just grew from there. One of the young X-Students Idie (aka. Oyo. Mutant powers include Pyrokinesis and Cyrokinesis) was ordered by Cyclops to “Do what’s necessary” when a museum was attacked, resulting in her killing multiple members of the Hellfire Club. It doesn’t help that other than being mutants, being on the X-Men, and a love for Jean Grey, these two have nothing in common. And they also hate each other. One of the lines that really drove home Wolverine’s point as he left the team was this: “And then there’s Idie. Kid became a killer this week and don’t seem nearly as bothered by it as I’d like her to be. She seems to think it’s all part of being an X-Man. That tells me we failed her Scott. We failed ALL these kids.” In their big showdown near the end of the event, it was actually Cyclops who threw the first punch (or, you know, optic blast). Wolverine had multiple chances to kill him in their fight, but he always refrained from crossing that line. That’s not to say Wolverine had it easy. Cyclops literally blasted his face to the point where there was nothing left but the adamantium bone. Wolverine did put his claws through Cyclops’s hand, and left him more than battered, bruised, and broken. This really goes out to a draw, with the edge to Wolverine. I doubt Cyclops could actually kill Wolverine (though he was pushing that level in his mindset. You know, having ordered assassinations of people, putting together death squads, and using child soldiers), but Wolverine wouldn’t have killed him. Beat him close to death, but not actually killed him. They both got some real good hits in, the reason I’d give the edge to Wolverine is he would have lasted longer in the fight, and definitely recovered quicker (as in next day fully healed while Cyclops was probably 50% bandages at this point).
CyclopsVsWolverine (Schism)

 

Spider-Man (Peter Parker) vs Spider-Man (Miles Morales) (Spider-Men)
This one is a fun one, because it’s not often you see heroes fight after a reality jump. But that is exactly what happened. Peter, while fighting Mysterio, got sent into another universe (from Earth 616 to Earth 1610 (the Ultimate Universe). Naturally, he’s confused, as everyone seems to know his costume as Peter Parker. And he ended up running into Miles, the current Ultimate Universe Spider-Man. After their initial introductory fight, Peter gets to meet the Ultimate Nick Fury, and they eventually get Peter back to his own reality. But it doesn’t stop the two of them from fighting, from Miles attempting to unmask Peter, and Peter (during the fight) unmasking Miles (and realizing he is like 14 years old). This fight goes to Spider-Man (Miles) but Peter was also woefully unaware of Miles abilities, while Miles had a pretty solid idea of what Peter’s abilities were.
MilesAndPeter(Spider-Men)

 

The Unstoppable Colossus vs the Thing (AVX: VS)
The final part of our Friendly Fire: Heroes vs Heroes Marvel edition is the X-Men’s Unstoppable Colossus vs the Fantastic Four’s Ever-Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing. Now, Avengers vs X-Men was a pretty intense series, and loaded with hero vs hero fighting. But keeping to the smaller scale of events (and trying to avoid the same hero twice) I ended up with The Unstoppable Colossus (for those who are unaware, Colossus did have the power of Cyttorak, the same entity that gives Juggernaut his powers) and The Thing seemed like a good one. Mostly because it’s two of Earth’s top 10 physical heavyweights, with both having gone against Hulk multiple times and holding their own pretty damn well (WWH excluded). Colossus is almost exclusively used by the X-Men to fight heavy hitters from every other team, and he is also incredibly durable. The Thing is Fantastic Four’s answer to heavy hitters, with incredible durability of his own. And it was one of the big fights in the series. Colossus and Thing duke it out with Thing getting the early edge. Colossus gets a few big hits in, and then get’s the bright idea. They are fighting on the moon. Outside of the Blue Area, there isn’t air. Colossus does not need oxygen, Thing does. A few big hits, and then a knockout punch. Though Colossus did muse that even though he won, he did feel like he lost. Colossus wins big.
ColossusVsThing

The Defenders: What We Know

So, this Friday (August 18th), the newest installment of the Marvel/Netflix collaboration, The Defenders comes out. So here is what we know we can expect, and a couple things the rumour mill says we can expect (with no confirmation).

 

Elektra is Back
We know Elektra (played by Elodie Yung) from Daredevil Season 2 plays a fairly important role. She has been confirmed to appear in all 8 episodes. We don’t know to whether she stays a villain or becomes a hero, but we do know that she will be working for The Hand for at least some of the season (Daredevil Season 2 ended with her being in a Hand Resurrection pod).
NetflixElektra

 

The Supporting Cast
The supporting cast from the previous 4 Marvel/Netflix series are going to be returning. As mentioned above, Elektra is confirmed, but she isn’t the only one. Foggie Nelson, Karen Page (Daredevil/The Punisher), Misty Knight (Luke Cage), Colleen Wing (Iron Fist), Claire Temple (Daredevil/Iron Fist/Luke Cage/Jessica Jones), Madame Gao (Daredevil/Iron Fist), Trish Walker (Jessica Jones, though she did cameo in 1 episode of Luke Cage), Stick (Daredevil), Malcolm (Jessica Jones), Jeri Hogarth (Jessica Jones/Iron Fist), and Turk (Daredevil/Luke Cage/The Punisher) are all confirmed as returning characters. As you can see, you are going to get a lot of interaction from not only the big-4 stars (Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist) but their supporting casts play a role as well. This will really help cement the shared universe these guys are in.
SupportingCast.jpg

 

High Pace
While all the series before were 13 episodes, and took place over a couple weeks/months, The Defenders is a little different. It is only 8 episodes (being a mini series), but the entire series takes place over a couple days. Finn Jones (Danny Rand/Iron Fist) in an interview stated that “There is a real time, frenetic energy about the show”. With all the events taking place over a couple days, it also means that there likely isn’t likely to be a few episodes of exposition of how they got where they were, which means every episode is likely far more action packed than the individual series.

 

The Villain
The Villain (only known as Alexandra) is played by the legendary Sigourney Weaver. Beyond her being the main villain, appearing in all 8 episodes, and that she leads the hand, nothing else is really known. Even her leading The Hand was a secret until fairly recently, as both Sigourney Weaver, the rest of the cast, and the directors, producers and crew, have all been pretty tight-lipped about her role. But, there is a reason I highlighted the legendary aspect to Ms. Weaver, and that is because no matter what her role, you can be sure she will stand out as an amazing aspect of whatever show (or film) she is in.
SigourneyWeaver

 

Big Names NOT Appearing
Jon Bernthal’s Punisher and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin will not be appearing in Defenders. D’Onofrio confirmed he would not be appearing in the show over twitter, stating something along the lines of “Marvel is exercising extreme caution with his appearances, wanting him only available for special occasions.” After all, Kingpin is one of the most resilient, strongest, and capable, crimelords/villains in Marvel Comics (having gone toe to toe with Punisher, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Red Skull, Captain America and many others, often barely being stopped from killing them). Not to mention, having Kingpin would definitely detract from Sigourney Weavers role. Bernthal’s absence as Punisher is a bit more debated. Especially since you get constant conflicting reports of him showing up in the show, and him not appearing at all. And as much as I would love Punisher to appear, with the show taking place over a couple days (and Punisher being incredibly difficult to track down), I doubt he appears. This is based around the original 4 heroes, and Punisher may not fit the theme they are going with. A lot of the confusion of his appearance was linked to a teaser trailer where it showed Punisher walking down a hall, but that itself was just a teaser to the upcoming (November if rumours are true) Punisher series, and a convenient time to tack it on (since the trailer it was tacked on to was released at one of the major Comic-Cons. By the time the actual trailer comes out, Con season will for the most part be over, so this way they ensured people were still talking about it).
PunisherFisk

 

Rumours about Defenders
This section is dedicated to various rumours about the show (other than the Punisher one addressed above).

One of the more interesting ones is actually about Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). To become leader of the Hand, which worships “The Beast” and has a thing for immortality, you have to be pretty ancient. These rumours often include Alexandra actually being The Beast, or perhaps a gender-swapped Mephisto.

Another rumour is that there will be some tie-in or at least easter-egg to the recently released Spider-Man Homecoming movie. This is heavily due to the fact that until Spidey’s brawl with The Vulture, most his work has been fairly street-level, and in New York (just as all the work The Defenders have done).

Iron Fist finally gets his costume. While we’ve seen Daredevil wear his red with devil horns costume, a throwback to Luke Cage and his tiara/yellow shirt costume, and Jessica Jones in her jeans/leather jacket (and throwback costume to her old costume in comics, as Jewel), we’ve yet to see Danny Rand/Iron Fist wearing his iconic Green/Gold or his White/Gold costumes in either a flashback or currently. One rumour is that we see him wearing something similar to his Green/Gold costume (though some liberties may be taken with it).

Another rumour is that Claire Temple will die. This is one of the more out-there rumours, but it popped up when it was revealed she was NOT to appear in the Punisher Series. There has also been talk of “scheduling problems” (in regards to the Punisher series) but naturally, some see this as Claire being killed off. Personally, I don’t think this happens (or if it does, they manage to steal a Hand resurrection pod for her or something), but it’s always possible.

Hearthstone

Today’s blog takes a brief break from comics and into the great realm of gaming. Anyone a fan of Magic the Gathering should like this game. It combines many of the monsters, beasts, spells, and characters from World of Warcraft.
Hearthstone

 

There are 8 specific classes each with unique spells, minions, and abilities. Every class has 1 class ability, that relates to their class in WoW, but also to the kind of cards that are class-specific. There are several styles of deck you can theme around, based around card abilities. These card abilities often provide different bonuses, and in some cases, violate the standard rules (as card abilities take priority over the general rule). One example of this is the ability Charge: Normally minions can not attack the turn they are summoned, but if they have the Charge ability they can attack the same turn they are summoned.

 

They also do daily quests so that you can get some gold (and sometimes free booster packs) with which you can purchase booster packs, Arena Tickets, or current Solo-Adventures (previous solo adventures can only be purchased with real money unfortunately). These quests can range from “Win 3 games with a Hunter or Druid”, “Play 20 Taunt Minions”, to even “Play 30 Priest Class Cards”. They can vary from rewarding you 30 gold to 100 gold. You also receive 10 gold for every 3 wins you get in Standard, Wild, Ranked, or Tavern Brawl play. This ensures that you do NOT have to spend money to play the game and get stuff out of it if you don’t want to. It may be incredibly difficult to get full collections of cards, but while receiving duplicates through booster packs you can disenchant them for “Arcane Dust” that you can use to craft specific cards you want.

 

For game styles, there is a few separate game types you can play. Standard Play: It uses all the basic cards, as well as cards from the current expansion as well as the previous expansion. Wild Play, uses all cards from all expansions, as well as basic. Ranked is the same as Standard and Wild, except on a bit more of a competitive level, with rewards upon hitting certain levels of play. Arena is a competitive style of play that actually costs 120 gold to play. In this style, you get to play until you hit 3 losses. The more you win, the better rewards you get, including booster packs, gold, and single cards. In this method, you usually don’t break even value wise until you get multiple wins. With Arena, you also don’t get a full choice of cards, but you build a deck “draft” style. It gives you 3 choices for hero class, and then you get to pick 1 of 3 cards (at random) until you have built your deck. And finally, there is Solo-Adventures. This mode lets you play various single-player scenarios, each with different wings. As you beat each boss in a wing, you unlock additional cards (the older adventures will be under Wild cards now, with new adventures being Standard currently), and the final boss of each wing will unlock a legendary (and in some cases, as well as additional cards).
Hearthstone

 

Let’s talk about classes and their abilities (as well as some of the more common themes in each deck).

  • PriestPriest hero power is to heal a target for 2 health. Pretty self explanatory the use of this. Common card themes for Priest decks are to increase health of creatures, and to have effects like healing yourself or other creatures. They do have some direct damage spells as well, as one of the themes and specs of Priests in WoW was “Shadow Priest”, a damage oriented spec. Priests also have a unique card allowing them to take control of an enemy minion. Due to the cards high cost, it is a late game maneuver only, and a high risk one if the opponent doesn’t have any strong minions to take control of.
  • Paladin: Paladin has the hero power to summon a 1/1 “Silver Hand Recruit” minion. They serve a use as they can attack, and help fill the board if you are waiting for a bigger card to play. Common themes of Paladin deck’s are “Divine Shield” (first time they take damage, they do not actually take damage), as well as a decent amount of healing and damage abilities.
  • Druid: The Druid hero power grants them 1 attack (for one turn) and 1 armor (stays until it get’s hit off, providing a buffer before actually losing health). This is particularly useful for doing a small amount of damage to either the enemy hero, or to an enemy minion (particularly useful against minions with 1 attack so you don’t actually lose health, just the armor). A common theme throughout Druid cards are “Choose One” cards. Allowing you to make one of two choices suited to what you need at the time.
  • Hunter: The Hunter hero power allows you to do 2 damage directly to the enemy hero. This is not very versatile, but has great usage if the enemy has a lot of minions preventing you from directly attacking the opponent with your cards. As should be obvious with the Hunter theme, Beast minions are a huge part of their play. But so are Traps (cards that are hidden until various conditions are met. Such as an enemy minion attacking you, or the other player summoning a minion).
  • Mage: The Mage power allows you to do 1 damage to a target of your choice. While not as effective as the Hunter power when it comes to damaging the enemy hero, it is far more versatile when it comes to being able to take out enemy minions (if you’re one health shy of killing one, or to help wear down cards with special effects). A huge proponent of Mage decks tends to be spells. There are a lot of direct damage spells, and Secrets (same as Traps) that activate on various conditions.
  • Rogue: The Rogue has a hero power allowing you to equip a low damage weapon. This allows the Rogue to take an active part in damaging the enemy hero, or minions. A common Rogue mechanic is called “Combo”, where cards gain additional effects for every card you played before it that turn. They also have a lot of abilities that involve direct damage, either to the enemy player, or to minions (sometimes only under certain conditions).
  • Shaman: The Shaman ability allows you to summon a totem to the battlefield. These totems have various effects, ranging from increasing spell damage, increasing damage of other minions, or acting as a Taunt minion (Taunt forces characters to target that creature instead of others). Shaman also has a unique effect on many of their cards called “Overload” which basically allows them to pay a portion of their cost the next turn (there is a number next to Overload meaning how many Mana Crystals are “locked” and unable to be used the next turn). These minions and spells are more powerful than their initial cost, so you pay a little the next turn.
  • Warlock: The Warlock has a double edged sword as a hero power. It allows you to draw a card (helping you get the cards you need) but in turn, it does 2 damage to yourself. A regular mechanic of Warlocks is to discard a card as an additional cost to the spell or minion. It also has a fair bit of cards that require you to sacrifice your own minions. Warlocks involve a fair bit of risk-reward analysis in their play, but if they can get ahead early in the game, it’s very hard to take control back.
  • Warrior: The Warrior basic ability is the antithesis of the Hunter. Instead of doing any damage, it actually causes the Warrior to gain 2 Armor. While offensively speaking, he is useless. But defensively speaking, it makes him far harder to kill, as they have to get through the armor before they can actually hurt him. Warriors tend to have two options in playstyle. Either incredibly defensive (augmented by the hero ability) or very offensive. Their cards tend to have a wide emphasis on direct damage and weapons, with minions with a lot of Enrage (Gain stats every time they take damage), Taunt, and Charge effects.

 

All in all, especially for a free to play game, it provides a good option for those who enjoy Trading Card Games (such as Magic the Gathering, it’s closest comparable, or Pokemon).

Recap and Review of Planet Hulk

So with the new Thor Trailer dropping (check it out. Seriously. It’s great), and the fact that there are aspects of the Planet Hulk storyline in there, it really made me want to re-read Planet Hulk. As such, I did. And am doing a recap and review of it. In a slightly different format from my past ones. I’m going to break this down into story arcs and cover it that way.

 

Prelude
The prelude to the Planet Hulk series takes place in a couple of issues. This takes place over Fantastic Four issues 533, 534. and 535, as well as Amazing Fantasy volume 2 issue 15, and New Avengers – Illuminati Special. It also takes place over the Incredible Hulk volume 3 issue 88-91. Over the course of these 10 comics, Hulk regresses from a relatively intelligent, and in-control hero to a raging bordering on mindless monster. This lead to Nick Fury sending Banner into a mission that only the “Hulk” could do. Which was part of a plan the Illuminati set up, to send Banner/Hulk to an uninhabited planet where he could live his life in peace, without risk to himself or to anyone else. Unfortunately, things backfired. He ended up on a wrong trajectory, and BOOM! Sakaar. And plenty of other people. And a corrupt government. And here is where our story starts.

 

Planet Hulk – Exile (Incredible Hulk issues 92-95)
This arc is about the start of the Planet Hulk event. He ends up on Sakaar, and pretty quickly gets shut down and captured. Except, unlike Earth, no one wants to capture him to use him as a weapon. They capture him, to use as a gladiator in the Arena of the Red Emperor. And they do so via a machine known as the Control Disk (something that basically allows them to control people to a limited extent, limit their powers and capabilities, as well as kill them if they misbehaved). You are also introduced to a pretty solid supporting cast. The Grey Shadow Warrior Hiroim, Korg the Kronan (his species, and he himself, has fought Thor before. Fun fact, Korg is one of the few people who can actually keep a good fight going with the Hulk at normal levels of anger, which puts him into strength categories in the range of The Thing and Luke Cage), a member of the Brood (as such, they generally don’t have names, but you are informed that it is a she), and Miek (one of the species known only as the Natives. Supposedly because the insectoid race he is a member of is the native race to the planet Sakaar), and Arch-E 5912 (an android), as well as antagonist Caeira Oldstrong (for those familiar with Hulk lore, she eventually becomes Hulk’s wife, and is the mother to his two children, Skaar and Hiro-Kala). You also see a rather iconic battle as Silver Surfer, Herald of Galactus and Hulk, fight eachother in the Arena. In a match where neither are fully powered, Hulk wins, heavily because of his huge advantage in physical size and strength (which even while restricted, is still much stronger than most. Silver Surfer has some of his strength, but he does not have much access to the Power Cosmic, which definitely is a handicap for him). Another fun fact here, this gladiator fight scene appears to happen in the Thor Ragnarok movie (with Thor taking the place of Silver Surfer). This scene also appears in the 2010 animated Planet Hulk movie, with Beta Ray Bill (one of my favourite Thor supporting characters) taking the place of Silver Surfer. During this fight, Hulk hits Silver Surfer in his Control Disk, breaking it, and setting him free. Surfer offers to take him home, but Hulk chose to stay on Sakaar. These issues really start setting up the comic. You meet the characters central to the story, as well as set things up for the next bit.
HulkVsSilverSurfer

 

Planet Hulk – Anarchy (Incredible Hulk issues 96-99) 
In these issues, you see Hulk (the Green Scar) and his Warbound (his monsters as the Empire refers to them) start a civil war with the Empire. After escaping the arena, they travel, they save a few villages, and they fight. A lot. During this, Miek actually undergoes a metamorphosis to what they call “King Miek”. He goes from small and scrawny (and somewhat cowardly) to rather large, much stronger, and bloodthirsty. In one village that Hulk and co. save, they find out that the village headman (elder/mayor type scenario) was the one who killed Miek’s father, but unbeknownst to everyone initially, he actually enslaved all of Miek’s original hive that weren’t killed. As they find this out, they free them, and gain an army of the Natives as well as various freed Imperials (the red skinned inhabitants of Sakaar), and others who dislike the emperor. Hulk and Caiera Oldstrong get into a heavyweight showdown which showcases briefly how strong Caiera is, while showing everyone on Sakaar just how durable Hulk is (She hits him with a blow containing the strength of Sakaar itself, which would have killed almost any other being encountered on Sakaar. Hulk get’s knocked down, but proceeds to get up and make a comment about her power before knocking her miles away). You also get the start of the war with the Red King, as Hulk and co. save a farming village from a Spike attack. You discover that the King controls the spikes (which means he is responsible for wiping out an incredibly large but unknown number of people of all races), which leads Caiera to defecting as the King’s personal shadow-guard to Hulk’s side. The final issue ends with Hulk delivering an ultimatum to the Red King “We are coming for you”. This series is where the story starts to pick up heavily. You start to see more of Hulk and Warbound vs the Empire. You see heroics and hatred. Bloodlust and anger. And you see sadness, especially with Caiera. Miek becomes a savior, and a king. He also becomes bloodthirsty, and as much as he “fights for friends”, he also fights for vengeance. Miek’s personality heavily changes in this part of Planet Hulk, and keep that in mind because it heavily impacts the future. Of both Sakaar, and Earth.
HulkVsCaiera

 

Planet Hulk – Allegiance (Incredible Hulk issues 100-103)
The first issue of this series (100) doesn’t advance the story a whole lot. But it tells you some of Hiroim’s background, and a bit more about the prophecy of the Sakaarson (which is expected by this point, to be Hulk). But you also find out that the Warbound march to gain potential allies, the Shadow Elders (of which Caiera and Hiroim are members of). The rest of these issues pick up pretty quickly. As the end of Anarchy said, Hulk was coming for the Red King. And come for him he sure did. Hulk and the Red King actually had a pretty intense brawl, but as we all know, the angrier Hulk gets, the stronger he gets. But we also see some unexpected allies, the leaders of the Spikes revealed how they came to be stuck on Sakaar, and why they attack organic organisms. They also work out a deal with Hulk to ensure they don’t attack anyone else. You also saw the Shadow Elders forge an alliance with Hulk, who is currently King of Sakaar. This alliance involved taking Caiera as his wife, who had asked Hulk to let her know all of him. Which is how she met Bruce Banner. This series was one of my favourites in the Planet Hulk series. You see a huge shift in the balance of powers on Sakaar. Hulk saves the planet from literally falling apart by shifting the tectonic plates, becomes King, and get’s married to the former King’s personal bodyguard (who he thoroughly enjoys the company of). But the best part is the last bit of issue 103. Where Brood and Meik discover something about Hulk. His ship that crash landed, and a video from his “friends” in the Illuminati who sent him away.

 

Planet Hulk – Armageddon (Incredible Hulk issues 104 &105)
This last bit is short, but to the point. It is summed up rather accurately by the chapter title. Armageddon. The ship that sent Hulk to Sakaar had a warp core malfunction. This meant an explosion that ultimately destroyed Sakaar. Few made it out, but most the ones who did were his Warbound. but they do have a working spaceship. And they are off, for vengeance. After all, he is the one who will unite Sakaar (via his Warbound, and his 3 days as King) as the Sakaarson. But he is also the Worldbreaker. With his world destroyed by humans, now he goes to break their world.
HulkAndCaiera