Tag Archives: Marvel

Daredevil: Born Again

61jeSrdkf9LFans of the Daredevil tv series on Netflix may be hearing rumors about the third season containing elements from the Born Again storyline. To long-term fans, this means they are somewhat in the know about what is to come for Matt Murdock.  For others, this is just the title of a long forgotten storyline.  Let me clear it up for you, this is quite possibly the best Daredevil storyline ever written.

From the very beginning of this story, we witness Matt Murdock, losing his girlfriend, his money, the attorney license he had spent a great chunk of his life earning as well as his home. Everything apart from Gloria leaving him is caused by the Kingpins interference when finding out Daredevil’s civilian identity.  Rather than killing Daredevil he takes everything away from him and makes him less than a man.

One of the key elements of this story is just how vulnerable Matt is.  We see him fall so far that he ends up sleeping on the street and witness his inner turmoil.  We see his inner thoughts become erratic and paranoid and out of this madness, he attacks the Kingpin only to be beaten and left for dead.  This is where the storylines title comes into play, alongside the Catholicism portrayed in this story and the expression of being born again unto God, Daredevil literally dies and is revived of a new life free of all of the material shackles.

One of the greatest elements of this are the roles in which the supporting cast play.  First of all, there is Karen Page who has fallen from grace.  Last seen in the pages of Daredevil leaving hells kitchen to pursue an acting career, it is revealed that she is addicted to heroin partly due to her becoming a pornstar in the adult film industry.  It is this fall from grace that leads to her selling the identity of Daredevil to score more heroin.  Another character is Ben Urich who is also beaten by the Kingpin but not in the same way as Daredevil.  He is psychologically terrorized by the Kingpin after investigating Matt Murdock’s case.  Fearing for his life he steps back as a journalist, this too builds to an iconic moment where he says enough is enough a stands up against the Kingpin as only he knows how.  With journalism.

The final act of this story is incredible.  Due to the Kingpins obsession with destroying Daredevil, he enlists the help of a psychopath named Duke who ends up destroying Hell’s kitchen with heavy artillery.  This destruction is so cataclysmic that it draws the attention of the Avengers.  Captain America is disgusted by the use of the American flag by Duke in his mindless acts of destruction and assists Daredevil in preventing Duke from causing more destruction and endangering more lives.

There are two reasons why you should read this story now, the first is because if you want to know what to expect in season 3 of Netflix’s DareDevil, this is the story that will reveal the most plot possibilities. Secondly, this story is often ranked in top 10 marvel storyline lists and for good reason.  It’s a brilliant story, filled with lots of action and drama and there’s much more to it than a hero putting on a costume and beating the villain.

Purchase Daredevil: Born Again

Recommendations

Shadowland

Daredevil: Guardian Devil

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Iron Man: Iron Monger

Iron_Man_Vol_1_200Can you remember the time when Tony Stark wasn’t Iron Man? Not a lot of people can but it was once the case.  There was a storyline where Tony Stark succumbed to his alcoholism again and took his suit out for a joy ride.  He was so wasted that James Rhodes – who later became War Machine – took the suit from him and took over the role.

The Iron Monger story is the final chapter in that storyline and builds towards Tony Stark becoming Iron Man again.  Obadiah Stane also known as the Chess Master had been setting up a series of events that would weaken Stark’s resolve and pushed him to drink.  In doing this he stole Stark’s company leaving him close to broke and put an end to Iron Man.  The Iron Monger story picks up when Stark is again sober with a smaller start-up company.  James Rhodes is still Iron Man but is at first threatened by the idea that Stark wants to become Iron Man again.

The stories in this collection are your standard Iron Man stories from that time period but what makes it different is Stark’s inner conflict about whether he should become Iron Man again.  Everyone around him like Hawkeye keeps telling him that he should be Iron Man and that the Avengers are at a disadvantage without him.  He himself feels that putting on the suit is what led to him becoming an alcoholic in the first place.  Due to unforeseen events, he ends up wearing the original clunky Iron Man suit.  He continues to deal with several situations while James Rhodes uses the up to date, high tech suit to deal with the regular villains of each issue.  They even tussle with each other at one point, meaning that Tony Stark has to outwit his own high tech weaponry while struggling with an out of date suit.

The best part of this story is its conclusion, Obadiah Stane kidnaps all of the people from Iron Mans past such as Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan and fights Stark in his own specialized suit called the Iron Monger. Wearing a brand new suit with a new design, Tony Stark takes up the mantle of Iron Man again and battles against the Iron Monger. Many fans reading this will be familiar with some of the elements in this story as it was the storyline that was re-imagined for The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Iron Man movie.

This is a good story which tries to weigh up the pro’s and cons of being a superhero and how it can affect the man behind the mask when he tries to live a normal life.  However, it does lack in some aspects and falls short, especially when compared to Daredevil Born Again and Wolverines first Solo outing which were both written around that time period.  This story needed a bit more emotion and plot to make it stand out.  It’s a good Iron Man story that is more suited for die-hard Iron Man fans but if you are a casual reader who is more accustomed to the modern way that Marvel stories are told you may wish to give this one a miss.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars

Marvel_Super_Heroes_Secret_Wars_Vol_1_1Marvel crossover events have become a thing to expect every year especially with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe bringing in more and more fans to the comic book platform every year.  These events have become so popular that it makes sense that one of its most groundbreaking storylines known as Civil War was used as the main plotline for Captain America: Civil War.  Now I know what your thinking.  Why is he talking about Civil War?  This is a review about Secret Wars.  Well, it’s simple.  Without Secret Wars there never would have been Civil War

Secret Wars was the first true crossover event that put a whole bunch of Marvel heroes and villains and had them duke it out.  It had been attempted a year prior, in a three-part story called Contest of Champions but it wasn’t a true crossover.  It basically showed every character possible and then handpicked a couple and had them compete in a mediocre challenge.  The story was very basic and it wasn’t anything to get excited about.  However, despite a few minor flaws, Secret Wars did it right.

Overall Secret Wars is a great story but like most things, it does have a few problems, mainly due to the time period in which it was written.  Now first of all the whole point of the story was to sell Marvel toys so nobody expected the story to knock your socks off but the writers created a masterpiece.  It starts off very basic, a bunch of heroes and villains find themselves on a mishmash planet constructed by various parts of other planets called Battleworld.  The heroes find themselves on one side of a battlefield while the Villians are on the other.

To list who is involved, on the side of the heroes we have three members of the fantastic four, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch & Thing, the Invisible Woman is absent because she was heavily pregnant with baby number 2 – that’s not a joke.  Captain America, Iron Man (James Rhodes, not Tony Stark as he was ruining his business by drinking heavily – again that’s not a joke) Thor, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel and Wasp of the Avengers are present.  Then we have Rogue, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Lockheed the Dragon and Professor X as members of the X-Men.  To round out the team Spider-Man and Hulk and also the questionable siding of X-Men villain Magneto being present on the heroes side.  Not a bad team.

Now on the villain’s side, we have Doctor Doom, Kang the Conqueror, the Enchantress, Doctor Octopus, the Lizard, Ultron, and Galactus.  Not a bad start but the next bunch are questionable.  We have the Molecule Man, Absorbing Man and the Wrecking Crew which consists of Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball, and Wrecker.  These villains may have been much popular in that time period but I do find myself questioning why other great Villians like the Mandarin, Red Skull or the Sandman weren’t used.  Even the addition of the Hobgoblin who in the year prior had been kicking up a fuss in Spider-Man’s comics for the past year may have been a nice addition.

Eventually, a new Spider-Woman joins the side of the heroes and the villains get Klaw, Volcana, and Titania but that comes much later in the story.

Looking across the battlefield and analyzing each team they all hear a voice from above that states “I am from beyond! Slay your enemies and all that you desire shall be yours!  And that’s it, the war begins.  Goodies versus baddies.  It’s all very generic in the first half of this 12 issue epic.  There are a few plot points thrown in followed by a battle and this formula continues for quite a bit and to some readers, especially reading this thirty years later, may not be impressed. However, I advise you to keep at it and you will see that the story takes a hard left turn and veers off in a completely different direction especially in the final act of the story.

Now I must warn you if you’re a Spider-Man fan and are reading this story for the first time because it is commonly known as the story where Spidey famously finds the black symbiote suit, which as many know eventually leads to the creation of the villain/anti-hero Venom.  You may be disappointed for 2 reasons.  First of all, the way in which he gets the suit is so fleeting that its barely noticeable and secondly, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is more of a secondary character in this story which is understandable due to the number of characters in the story.  He has a few standout moments but the key players in this story are Captain America, Mr. Fantastic, Magneto and the X-Men.

The same can be said on the side of the villains too, Galactus poses a threat in one issue but Doctor Doom is the main villain throughout the whole story and this is one of the stories that shows readers why he is rated as one of Marvel’s most deadly villains.  Sadly, there is a lot of wasted potential in this story.  First of all, villains like Doctor Octopus, Ultron, and Kang the Conquerer are nowhere near as dangerous as they were often depicted in previous stories and there is a strange moment where you almost feel sorry for the Lizard.  Its almost out of character for him and I don’t believe they ever showed that side of him again.  (Correct me if I’m wrong).

Now one of the best things about re-reading this story, especially with the knowledge of future events in the Marvel timeline is the hostility between the X-Men and the Avengers.  The X-Men go off on their own and align themselves with Magneto which later leads to an argument about the Avengers being heroes that judge mutants the same as everybody else and treat them as outcasts.  This would be touched upon again decades later in the Avengers Versus X-Men crossover event which changed the arrangement of both X-Men and Avenger Teams but it’s nice to see this idea was actually planted way back in the 80’s and grown over time.

There are some great ideas behind this story, for example, the Beyonder placing Magneto on the side of the heroes indicating possibly for the first time that Magneto isn’t your stereotypical villain as he has good intentions but his actions and methods label him as the enemy.  The actions of Doctor Doom also show why he is considered more dangerous than other villains and how his thirst for complete power has been instilled into from his weakness and events from his past that he couldn’t control.

This story may be a little dated and fall short in some places but if you read it knowing that this was Marvel’s first attempt to bring all of their heroes together you will appreciate that they did a remarkable job.  This was the blueprint in which they improved upon that led to such great stories such as House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion.  It was also the first time that one of these stories would impact each character once the event had passed in major ways, this too would also lead to later events creating massive changes in the Marvel universe.

Buy Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars

Recommended Events

Onslaught

Fear Itself

World War Hulk

 

All trade paperbacks are linked to Amazon. If you purchase through these links I will receive a small percentage of the purchase.  This does not affect the price.  I also recommend you look around at alternatives as prices may vary from site to site.

 

Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin

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As a Spider-Man fan, I’ve always loved the green goblin as a villain, not just because he took the life of Gwen Stacy but because his interactions with the wall-crawler were always unique.  His brand of insanity while also knowing Peter Parker’s identity made him one of Spider-Man’s biggest threats.

When first introduced, the Green Goblin’s identity was never revealed.  It took quite some time before we found out that the man behind the mask was Norman Osborne.  This hidden identity would become something of a trend in the storytelling of the Green Goblins.  They had redone this plotline to an extent having the audience believing that Norman’s Son Harry had become the Green Goblin again only to reveal that his therapist was actually behind the mask.

Jump forward some years and the Green Goblin had been absent from the pages of Spider-Man so rather than bring back the Green Goblin they decided to update his gimmick and create a new villain called the Hobgoblin who is less mad, does not laugh as often and is much more methodical in his plans.  Re-using the secret identity of the villain trope, a great story is told. The identity of the hobgoblin is always questionable especially with the re-emergence of older characters such as Harry Osborne.  However, as a long-term fan, it’s difficult nowadays not to know who the Hobgoblin is under the mask but this is still a great read.

The story starts off with an everyday run-in for Spider-Man but when a criminal escapes into the sewers and Spider-Man does not pursue him, this little misstep leads to a whole bundle of trouble as the man stumbles across one of Norman Osborne’s Green Goblin Hideouts.  Through the use of the re-designed Green Goblin technology and Osborne’s Journal, the Hobgoblin starts his reign of terror.  This story has it all, blackmail, deception and a rare close quarters fight for Spider-Man within an armored truck.  This is certainly worth a read.

Buy Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin

Recommendations

Spider-Man: Death of the Stacy’s

Spider-Man: Son of The Goblin

Spider-Man: A New Goblin

 

All trade paperbacks are linked to Amazon. If you purchase through these links I will receive a small percentage of the purchase.  This does not affect the price.  I also recommend you look around at alternatives as prices may vary from site to site.

 

 

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