Thursday, December 2, 2010


The blog hit that caused a sensation two days ago travels through time . . . for vengeance! This time, walk with me as we voyage through Issue 3, featuring "The Collector to Dracula," which I believe is the beginning and end of the shame spiral.

COLLECTOR--The Collector, yet another one of the utterly interminable Elders of the Universe, is either an unfortunately obscure meta-commentary on the people who read comics or the original A & E Hoarder. His real name is "Taneleer Tivan," which sounds like something too rude to even put in the Kama Sutra.

COLOSSUS--Under "known superhuman powers" they somehow left out Colossus' power to "bust out intangible underage girls." I've often wondered how all the male comic fans who fell in love with Kitty Pryde at an impressionable age felt about that, if they thought of it at all.

CONSTRICTOR--The Constrictor is one of those villains who has become upper midcard by virtue of who he hung around with (Sabretooth, pre his miring in Wolverine's backstory) He also happened to be one of the only mid-tier villains who survived the Scourge pogrom. Have they done anything with the Constrictor since? I ask because I really can't be bothered to look it up, because even if they have it's probably stupid.

CONTEMPLATOR--Yet another of the anti-interesting Elders of the Universe, the Contemplator is apparently the Universe's oldest infantilism fetishist. Seriously, he looks less like a big Buddha and more like a big baby.

CONTROLLER--In this day and age, the Controller would do his evil by waggling himself at TVs, I suppose. The Controller controls people and this somehow makes him super-strong, because science, that's why. I'm sure Matt Fraction has used him in Invincible Iron Man, but I'm sure it was god-awful, as pretty much everything Fraction's done on the book has been.

CORRUPTOR--The Corruptor--not so be confused with the Controller--controls people by touching them, or in the odd unpleasant case, rubbing up against them. Naturally, because no one in the Marvel Universe understands the concept of "low profile," he decides to bugger around in a purple cape and gets punched out by Nova. Ass.

CRIMSON DYNAMO--How many Crimson Dynamos are there, now? I believe that everyone in Bethesda, Maryland has now been one. Anyways, the Crimson Dynamo was Iron Man's filthy commie arch-nemesis back when you couldn't throw a Marvel Comic at another Marvel Comic without hitting a communist of some kind. Nowadays, of course, the Dynamo is just a random mook for hire, which is a bit of a shame--"Crimson Dynamo" is such a meal of a name.

CRYSTAL--Pity Crystal--she always loses the "fuck/marry" game. The Human Torch will fuck Crystal, but he'll marry a Skrull. The Black Knight will mess around with Crystal, but he'll only get seriously involved with Seri (srsly!) who will mind-meld him and make him crazy or something. In fact, the only guy she's been married to was Quicksilver, who immediately lost his shit and acted crazy. This means something I'm sure, but I will leave it to When Fangirls Attack to work it out.

CYCLOPS--Being this is 1983/84 we haven't got to the point where Cyclops suffers his most severe blemish on his character--leaving his wife and his infant child so he can go canoodle with his undead girlfriend who looks like his wife who he married in large part because she looked like his dead girlfriend. Everybody got that? Cyclops gets tarred with the brush that he's a "dull" character. What these people miss is just how utterly fucked-up a character he really is, and how that makes him virtually impossible to be dull.

DAILY BUGLE--Oh man, if ever you wanted to know the exact position of Betty Brant's desk in the offices of New York's leading paper edited by a guy with a Hitler tache, well, this is the entry for you.

DAREDEVIL--Daredevil is a blind guy with a stick, which immediately gives him all the powers of Han Solo, and Han Solo took out Boba Fett, so that's nothing to sneeze at. This may cost me some points, but I gotta be honest--The constant stream of Frank Miller imitators on Daredevil has really soured me on the character. I feel like I need to read more Born Again fanfiction like I need to be attacked my a demonically possessed vacuum cleaner.

DAREDEVIL'S APARTMENT--Not exactly the Batcave, is it? Funnily enough, nowhere in the floorplan for Daredevil's apartment do they show the room where he keeps all of the Karen Page porn he bought up. He has a thing for snitches on the 'ron, you see . . .

DARKSTAR--Darkstar is Russian, and was part of that wave of characters who were Soviets, but not necessarily the dirty filthy commies of yore. Darkstar, like Cloak, used Darkforce, which was a handy catch-all to explain whenever pencilers put "X's" in their pics for the inkers. Grant Morrison killed off Darkstar in X-Men, and to my undying shock but not surprise, there was an uproar. This stunned me because I could not believe that anyone anywhere would possibly give a shit about Darkstar.

DAZZLER--Dazzler was the first character I could remember that they rolled out and pushed her to the moon. Mind you, this was despite the notable handicap that she was a disco singer who premiered years after disco was considered dead and she really wasn't the strongest character ever created (really y'all--I read the issues where she was a member of the X-Men and even for a Claremont character she whined enough to power a small city) and yet . . .Dazzler went on for quite some time in the 80's. Someone was reading the fuck out of this book. Nowadays, they'd probably cancel it after issue 5.

DEATH ADDER--I always thought Death Adder was utterly rad, even though he looked absolutely nothing like the snake he was based on. Sadly, a couple years after this, he would be killed off by Scourge, having become redundant as Mark Gruenwald was rolling out 20 snake-themed villains for the Serpent Society. Labour turnover is a stone cold bitch, y'all.

DEATHBIRD--In addition to be an interesting anthology by Harlan Ellison--oh, wait. Deathbird is a member of the alien race known as the Shi'ar, and as near as I can tell, she's pretty much the least successful successful usurper, because damn near every Deathbird story goes like this: X-Men visit the Shi'ar, Shi'ar have been conquered or in the process of being conquered by Deathbird, X-men stop her, leave, and the whole process repeats. There's a lesson in here about the constituency getting the government it deserves, but it involves bird people and Chris Claremont and I just can't be bothered right now.

DEATHLOK--From his entry: "Deathlok met the enigmatic Godwulf, a vigilante living in a post-holocaust New York of an alternate future," which is one of those sentences that contains everything I love and dread about superhero comics. Also, apparently the first thing to go in the future will be our spelling.

DEFENDERS--If the Avengers can be said to be Marvel's A-Team, I would probably say the Defenders are about the Q-team. Composed less of Marvel's best and brightest and more of whoever decided to show up that day, the Defenders usually fought demons, crazy assholes from an alternate universe (who would later join up) and sometimes having to keep Doctor Strange from getting out of line when he gets the wrong kind of weed in his hookah and runs around town quoting Rush's 2112 (this is not a joke, this actually happened) It kinda sucks to be a Defender, I guess. That said, Seebelow's old "Ask the Defenders" feature was all kinds of awesome.

DEFENSOR--I can't really say that Defensor is the combined form of Hot Spot, Blades, Groove, Streetwise, and First Aid because I already made that joke when I wrote up Contest of Champions. Defensor is from Argentina, as we are made aware by his pencil-thin mustache and van dyck beard, because how else would you discern his ethnicity? Defensor found a set of vibranium armour in a cave, beat up the cave dwellers who owned it, and took their stuff. Defensor is a bit of an asshole, really.

DEMONS--Is there anyone in this entry who wouldn't make a killer metal band name? In fact, most of them are. Except for Allatou. Allatou sucks.

DESTINY--The newer Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (the high fructose corn syrup to the original's cane sugar) actually distinguished themselves by having a few heavy hitters on the team--Avalanche, Pyro, the Blob. Of course, they also fielded Destiny, who is a blind, unarmed, geriatric woman. I don't need to have the mutant power of precognition to see a broken hip, soiled Depends, and a life in a old folks home in her future.

DEVIANTS--It sucks to be a Deviant. First of all, you look like a frog shit out the bastard son of a goat. Second, you get the worst name possible--"Tode," "Ransak," "Sluice"--and your arch nemeses are the boring-ass Eternals. On the other hand, one of them is named "Broop," and that makes me happier than I can possibly express.

DEVIL-SLAYER--As you might guess from his name, Devil-Slayer is a fishmonger. Devil-Slayer has the ability to teleport through his cloak. His first instance of doing so, was when he teleported to Marvel comics from another company.

DIABLO--In the entire Marvel pantheon, Diablo stands alone as jobber villain emeritus. He is, without question, the Barry Horowitz of the Marvel Universe. Need to establish your super heroes bona fides? Have him or her punch out Diablo, and because Diablo premiered in the early days on Fantastic Four, your white meat babyface now has instant heat. I should also add that Diablo once again reinforces the "latino=pencil thin 'tache" stereotype.

DOC SAMSON--Given the rates of recidivism, Doc Samson should probably be getting disbarred or whatever happens to gamma powered shrinks any day now, because I can not think of one patient he's helped. I think it also came out lately that he has some kind of multiple personality disorder thank to Jeph Loeb, but Jeph Loeb has that effect on everyone.

DOCTOR DOOM--Oh yes, the good Doctor. When written well, Doctor Doom transcends being a super-villain and can be complex, tragic, oddly heroic, and interesting as a 'tweener character. When written poorly, Doctor Doom skins the flesh off the only women he loved, dresses up in it and tries to send Reed Richards' kid to Hell. It's gilding the lily--Doom's already got enough layers, he's already a powerful enough opponent who can be a physical threat as well as an indirect threat. He's a character imprisoned in his own hubris--ruler of a nation and a slave to his character flaws simultaneously. Anything else diminishes, rather than adds to, the character.

DOCTOR DOOM'S CASTLE--Few things say "rampaging egotism" like calling yourself Doctor Doom, living in Castle Doom, in the city of Doomstadt. God, I love comics sometimes.

DOCTOR DRUID--You won't hear me say this very often but Warren Ellis had the right idea when he had Druid killed and burned in a trash can. Of course, it wasn't his idea, but I thought the shock value would draw some eyes as we meander through the doctors of the Marvel Universe. That Dr. Druid is important at all is thus--he was a pre-Fantastic Four attempt at a superhero and then he was brought into the MU proper where he did nothing, then he ended up in the Avengers and betrayed them all and then he was revealed to be the prototype for Dr. Strange (because that isn't kicking a man while he's down, no sir) and the Warren Ellis burned him in a garbage can. That I just gave you a thumbnail sketch of Dr. Druid's history rather than recounting any affection I have for the characters should tell you something about how innately compelling Doctor Druid isn't.

DOCTOR OCTOPUS--One of my many problems with Spider-Man 2 (it's not as good as it's been built up to be. Believe me because you know I'm right) was that they never did what I consider the classic Dr. Octopus moment--that into page where Spider-Man's all trussed up in his robot arms and he's slapping the shit out of him. If I remember my early Spider-Mans, Doc Ock was the first guy who really owned Spidey, and I think the initial heat from that has sustained his rep in ways that the Looter could never hope to achieve.

DOCTOR STRANGE--My esteemed brochacho Rusty Shackles hates Doctor Strange, and I will not seek to dissuade him of that. I will, instead, mention that Doctor Strange, even discounting the trippy imagery, is a repository for more fucked-up shit than Grant Morrison thinks of on a Red Bull bender.

1. His entire origin is that he's an asshole surgeon, gets his hands messed up, meets a Chinese guy who tells him he can have a long and meaningful career hanging out in his mansion, louging around in his pajamas all fucking day. In other words: Hugh Hefner's origin.

2. The time in Defenders where he spent two issues quoting 2112. Something about the idea of Doctor Strange, long an icon of "head" culture, quoting an album containing many great "head" songs . . .it feels like a circle being completed.

3. Most importantly, Doctor Strange pimped his fucking girlfriend out to Ben Franklin. Yes kids, not a dream, not a hoax or an imaginary story, but Clea, long his main squeeze, eventually decides, "You know, traveling through time with Stephen is such a bore. What I'd really like to do is go reverse cowgirl on a founding father of our great nation." That she picked Ben Franklin, who was to French whores what Jack Palance was to one-armed pushups makes it all the more perfect, somehow.

DOCTOR STRANGE'S SANCTUM SANCTORUM--Doctor Strange's babe lair/crack house sits on the corner of Bleecker and Fenno. The ECW Arena sat on the corner of Swanson and Ritner. Tell me--where would you hang out?

DORMAMMU--I can say nothing here that would top my brocephus Rusty Shackles' assessment of the Dread One on a War Rocket Ajax podcast: "He's a BK Griller." I laughed then, I laugh now.

DRACULA--Dracula appears twice in the Handbook, because he and every vampire got deaded in between the start and finish of the Handbook's run. I can add nothing to Dracula's history that Abhay Khosla didn't already cover.

DEONISTS--The Deonists had a thing for collecting gods and using them as fuel sources. Then they tried that shit on Thor. No one's heard from the Deonists since.

DIRE WRAITHS--This is the Stay-Puft male version of the Dire Wraiths, not the later pinkish Freudian Oedipal nightmare female Wraiths. In any case, while these guys did way better with the whole "shapeshift and infiltrate" thing than the Skrulls ever did. Unfortunately, they tried that shit on ROM and when you step to ROM, he brings the pain. Until Parker Brothers takes the rights back.

DRUFFS--The Druffs are cute cotton candy things that piss off the Skrulls. Is there anything that doesn't piss off the Skrulls?

ELAN--Another in a seemingly endless parade of one-shot aliens that annoyed the Fantastic Four, the Elan's representative was called the Infant Terrible. I sometimes wonder what kind of drugs Stan and Jack were on back in the day, but sadly I know the answer is "coffee and Alka-Seltzer."

EPSILONI--"Most of the Epsiloni race was destroyed by robot hunters, but there are still some members in captivity off homeworld." Oh god, the Inhumans are at it again.

ERGONS--You know, if you're apelike, red, have no neck, and are a raging asshole, you're either a member of the Ergon race of Jeph Loeb's idea of a sensational breakout character.

FLB'DBI--Oh god, my sides. The Flb'Dni come from the planet Jhb'Btt, proving that someone at Marvel was quite the fan of musical comedy and tons of peyote.

GEGKU--As you can tell from the name, the Gegku are lizard people. One of them is named Count Igwanus. Things like this are why, despite the fact that they sometimes make me insane, I do love comics.

That's it for this time. Once again, I invite you to come along, belong and feel the fizz of coo-coo Cola--no, wait, I mean, if you'd like to guest-write one of these hit and run bits on a character, let me know by commenting on these here entries. Join us next time when we take on issue #4, "Dragon Man to Gypsy Moth." YOUR HEART IS POUNDING WITH ANTICIPATION, I KNOW IT IS.


C. Elam said...

This was the very first one of these books that my wondering eyes discovered, so it is with a tear in my eye and a song in my heart that I read this deconstruction of these guys. Also, you've made me recast Clea as a porn star, and that's really...not something I was expecting this morning.

Also, got a little something for you:

ELDERS OF THE UNIVERSE--While these write-ups have done an excellent job of beating these guys with a lead pipe in their individual entries, I just want to point out how impressed I am that SOMEONE decided to gather together a bunch of second-rate characters and make them into a "race" hinged on the high concept that they are eccentric old men...FROM SPACE. What I'm trying to say is that we were this close to seeing Howard Hughes as a cosmic villain dubbed "The Hider".

Kazekage said...

I read about that time she had sex with Ben Franklin and I knew from that point I was gonna have to mention it. Then again, Doctor Strange and Clea's relationship is all kinds of messed up, when you get down to it. Like Crystal, she constantly ends up on the wrong side of the "fuck/marry" divide.

Awesome! It'll go up in the next batch! Thank God you saved me from having to write more about the god damned Elders, as I cannot stand these tools. :)