The Book of Iron Fist, Chapter 1

So that didn’t happen the way it should have, did it? Days turned into weeks and here we are. “Real life” and National Novel Writing Month have taken up the majority of my time, but here I am on a Saturday afternoon, ready to churn out some awesome content for the fifty people that visit this site. It is for you, my fabulous fifty, that I venture into the depths of the 1970’s. I shudder at the thought.

I must confess that I love Iron Fist. As cheesy as some of these stories are going to be, I’m going to love every minute of it. And you will too. I promise. Let’s get started.

The time: May 1974. The place: America. The fad: Kung Fu.

If the thought of what happens when 1970’s America falls in love with Kung Fu doesn’t tell you all you need to know, then I can’t help you. Roy Thomas, the living god, saw a Kung Fu movie once and said “I’m going to create Iron Fist.” So he collaborated with Gil Kane and BAM! a legend is born.

Marvel_Premiere_15-01

Look at that cover. Kung Fu action in the Mighty Marvel Manner. If that doesn’t say it all. And only twenty-five cents!

Our story begins with a white guy wearing pajamas striking a karate pose. Wait, that’s Iron Fist. Wait, Iron Fist is me! Here are the first words of the entire Iron Fist story.

secondperson

Second person. Bold choice. Ok, then. We are all Iron Fist. Let’s hope we don’t fuck this up. Anyway, Iron Fist, I mean we, are fighting four guys. And these men aren’t even black belts. Look at that. They are red belts, which is one belt lower than black.

redbelt

Red belts, the whole lot of them. This is called the “Challenge of the Four” and already I am not impressed with the difficulty. Why is pajama-clad Iron Fist, I mean us, fighting, anyway? As the narration tells us, it is his day of destiny. His final test.

After a couple pages of the narration calling out moves Dragonball style (Sword Hand! Blow of the Hammer! Cock Ring! Elephant Kick!), Iron Fist clears the lot of them. He has passed the Challenge of the Four! Before the next test begins, though, Yu-Ti, the August Personage in Jade, and head of the mystical city of K’un L’un (that’s where we’re at right now) tells him to think before the next test. So Iron Fist thinks. But of what? His horrendously depressing origin story, of course! So we have a Wayne’s World style flashback.

Ten years ago, Danny Rand (Iron Fist, I mean us. It’s your new name, get used to it) is hiking in the Himalayas with his mom, his dad, and his dad’s business partner. I’m sure that happens all the time.

vacation

Doesn’t that look like the family vacation of your dreams? I know you want to go to Disney World, son, but your Dad wants to hike through the most dangerous mountains in the world with minimal supplies and no experience to find a magical city. Doesn’t that sound better than Disney World and their $8 beers?

Shockingly, the three inexperienced adults and the helpless little kid have trouble trekking around unsupervised in the Himalayas. Heather (that’s your mom) and Danny (you) go tumbling off the mountain! Luckily, we’re all tied together. But the combined weight pulls Wendell (that’s your dad) over as well! Somehow Harold Meachum (that’s your dad’s business partner. You might not trust him. Up to you, really) holds up your dad, who is now dangling over the edge of the mountain.

Thank god. Now he can pull us all up. I knew working on your core muscles was a good idea, Harold. Wait…

dick

WHAT. A. DICK. Well, everyone, my apologies. We’ve just witnessed the cold blooded murder of our father. I would say we need time to process it, but we’re still clinging to a ledge precariously close to death ourselves, so pull your shit together! I’m sure we can talk some sense into Harold and he’ll save us.

crazywoman

Or Heather will start ranting like a god damned lunatic. “Let my son grow up to kill you with his own two hands” is a strange way to ask for help. I think she meant to say “Please get us off this god forsaken frozen rock.” Ah, what the hell. Let’s just throw rocks at the asshole. Although I have to admit, killing your husband right in front of you is a hard sell for an “I’ve always loved you!” moment.

So anyway, we’re stuck on this outcropping. But we don’t get to see what happens because Wayne’s World style, we are back in the present and Iron Fist is ready for his final challenge. The “Challenge of the One.”

So the “One” named “Shu-Hu” is this enormous masked karate guy. Danny unloads on him but it gets him nowhere.

fight

I love that art. So good. The next page is more of the same. Iron Fist trying to fight this giant and getting slapped around for his trouble. He gets hit in the head a bit too hard and we have another flashback. We’re back on that god damn outcropping. Heather tells Danny that they need to get moving and maybe find crazy daddy’s crazy magic city before they fucking freeze to death. So they start wandering around and then stop to rest. It is at this moment, Danny Rand has the most justified hesitation in comicbook history.

hesitation

Look at that. Who can blame him? Promise you won’t hate your batshit father who drug us out here with no supplies and no experience. Promise me, honey. And in the next panel we see a nature scene. A lovely pack of wolves. They start chasing Danny and Heather. Uh oh. So the two haul ass while the wolves give chase.

Suddenly, a bridge appears out of nowhere. Run for the bridge, Danny! I think they are going to make it. Oh no! They are getting too close. What’s going to happen?

wolves

This is some fucked up shit. People think Batman had tragedy in his life. Danny Rand in the span of one day saw his father get his body mangled like a doll falling down a jagged cliff and now his mother is torn apart by fucking wolves right in front of his fucking face. Fuck you, Batman. You ain’t seen shit. Geez, I am missing the 1960’s Dr. Doom antics already. This shit is dark.

About ten seconds too late, the gates of K’un L’un open and they chase off the wolves, all with bellies full of Heather. Nice timing, assholes. We are then thrown back into the present where the One is ready to kill Iron Fist after shooting a knife out of his hand. So he’s a robot. Ok. Danny is on the verge of defeat, but remembering that he is probably a psychotic adult after seeing wolves rip his mother apart as a child, he goes berserk!

beatdown

See? Berserk. He’s had enough. He is going to beat the shit out of this ugly robot giant. He drops a few mental blocks and starts hitting harder than what he thought before were his hardest blows. But the robot stays on its feet. If only Danny had a trump card he could pull out at moments like this.

IF1

What’s this? Calling on some unknown reserve of power?

IF2

His hand smolders and glows until it “becomes like unto a thing of Iron!” That is fucking horrible English. But what can it do?

IF3

Only kick major fucking ass. The Iron Fist kicks so much fucking ass, your ancestors feel it. The stupid robot tumbles to the ground, humiliated, and Iron Fist has won! But what has he won? On the last panel, Yu-ti says he has the right to choose between immortality and death. What a cliffhanger! But the choice is easy, right? Only an idiot would choose death.

Next: Danny is an idiot.

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks. Also, if you like what you read, subscribe!

The Next Great Superhero Project

And we’re back. I have to tell those that are expecting the next installment of the Doom Retrospective that while the series is not finished, I wanted to give other characters similar treatment and so Doom is on a tiny hiatus. What makes the Doom Restrospective fun is that villains, especially in the Silver Age of comics, are easy objects of ridicule. They many times come across as moronic caricatures of evil. It’s a blast. One of the downsides, however, is that villains appear only seldomly, and there are so many issues of other heroes and villains being lolworthy, that I decided I wanted to focus on a hero for a bit. This will keep the narrative a bit smoother and allow me to take the reader on a ride with the character by following their adventures issue to issue. The question then became what hero on which to focus?

Honestly, it was an easy question. I wanted to write about a character who is one of my favorites but also one that does not have a million appearances. People like Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Wolverine have their own solo titles plus they are in team books like the Avengers and X-Men. Trying to track down and then write about all those appearances would take time and effort that I simply can’t afford. Shockingly, I settled on my favorite superhero of all-time, a C-lister at Marvel but an A-lister in my heart.

Also my desktop wallpaper for three years and counting.

Also my desktop wallpaper for three years and counting.

Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist. Lots of appearances, but his first thirty are lined up really neatly and then even after that, he only starred in Power Man and Iron Fist for 77 issues. It’s a way more manageable number (ignoring guest appearances for now), and in fact, I think Doom has nearly as many appearances as Danny. Ok, so that’s the plan. Now, some words of warning. One, Danny was created in the 1970’s, so while there will definitely be some ridiculous and head-scratching moments, the overall goofiness of the 60’s is not going to be present. Therefore, my musings will be slightly more serious. Second, I love Iron Fist, so I will happily gush about how awesome he is and only make fun of him when he truly deserves it. Third, the 70’s were a crazy time. You’ll see.

So stay tuned, Iron Fist is on his way!

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks. Also, if you like what you read, subscribe!

The Doom Retrospective, Part 13

Adult language ahead.

I have to admit that things have not been going all that great for our hero. Two issues ago, he was humiliated by the walking sand trap, Thing, and last issue, he attempted to ruin the wedding of Reed and Sue, only to have the Watcher break his oath of non-interference and give Reed the ability to not only save the day but erase Doom’s memory of the event altogether! I think we can all agree that maybe Victor needs a break from taking on the Fantastic Four. Stan Lee must have thought the same thing, because Doom’s next appearance was in Avengers #25 (February, 1966). Before we examine this tale, however, let’s go to the scoreboard.

Record vs Fantastic Four: 1-8

Record vs. Spider-man: 0-1 (Doom’s scheme was thwarted)

Times Avoided Capture: 10 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)

Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0

Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)

Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 4

Issues since the accursed Flash Thompson was replaced by the more accursed Watcher on top of the “waiting for swift and unspeakable retribution” list: 1

Our tale opens with the Avengers returning home after a battle with Kang the Conqueror. I don’t care about any of this because this is not a Kang Retrospective. As the team arrives, Doom spies on them with his television. This is now a recurring theme for Doom. He really likes just watching heroes in their most intimate moments. Doom has decided to lower the bar a little. His plan is to strike fear in the hearts of the Fantastic Four by thrashing the Avengers. The Avengers were clearly the B-list team in Marvel at this point, especially so since this is during the “Kooky Quartet” days – Captain America, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Surely, such a weak lineup will be easy pickings for Doom.

Doom monologues about how he and Kang might be the same person. Stop it. Just stop it. I skip ahead to the Avengers back at HQ, in-fighting as usual. You think Johnny and Thing are bad? Watch Captain America and Hawkeye go at it:

fighting

All the boxes are checked here. Wanda swoons like a schoolgirl at the Living Mummy, Captain America.  I like how Captain America just can’t help himself.

Cap: Fuck you, Hawkeye.

(thinking): No, I mustn’t lose my temper. Nothing to be gained..

Cap: Eat my ass, you penny-ante Robin Hood.

Never change, Cap. The scene then shifts to Cap chafing under the strain of leadership. He feels overwhelmed by it all. He’s just a relic of the past! Steve Rogers has no identity of his own! Yeah, whatever. Cap’s whining is thankfully ended by the arrival of a strange letter from the far off and exotic land of “Europe.”

What is in this letter? Why, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have received a letter from their long lost Aunt in Latveria! Oh happy day! What a coincidence as well, since Doctor Doom wants to destroy the Avengers and he also lives in Latveria. How fortuitous. Wanda and Pietro run off to tell Hawkeye, interrupting his practice and causing him to mess up a shot. Can you believe a guy can be a superhero with just a bow and arrow? I can’t. Anyway, this causes your typical kerfuffle.

asshole

Trust me, Hawkeye. I understand. I often wonder how I can be such a giant asshole. Except, unlike you, I don’t actively repulse women. We turn our attention to Doom, who sees through his pervision that the Avengers are heading to Latveria. All is going according to plan. This calls for a pimp strut.

pimp

Nobody struts around like Doom. Although, calling Latveria comic-opera seems a little degrading. Stay positive for once in your life, Victor! Doom decides to take my advice and show some generosity.

cripple

I think your bedside manner needs a little work, Doctor. Here you are, cripple. Have a penny. I have a scarred face so obviously your miserable life forever in a wheelchair is very similar to mine. As all of this is happening, the Avengers arrive in Latveria and are promptly arrested. As they sit in jail, Cap “remembers” that Dr. Doom rules Latveria and this must all be a trap! Play the sad trombone. How can you forget Doom rules Latveria?! Simple minded peasants. Well, anyway, the four promptly escape but decide they have to be careful. They are law-abiding Americans who respect the rule of law, after all, and Doom makes the laws here. Ah, the black-and-white 1960’s comics era.

Doom is monitoring everything, of course, and the Avengers are acting just as he expected. Time to pull out his ace card!

dome

Pulling a cartoon lever and having a giant plastic dome cover his entire country. What the fuck. I mean, the genius of Doom knows no bounds! The Avengers are trapped like hamsters! The Avengers immediately put all of their prodigious might against the dome – an arrow and a hex bolt which earlier turned off a television – and shockingly the dome holds! Clearly, it is indestructible.

The Avengers are then spotted by the civilian population and are immediately turned on.

radio

Latverian radio shows tells us we need to destroy costumed intruders. I would love to listen to a clip from Latverian radio. Is it Doom pointing at things and then destroying them for an hour? This is you, Reed Richards! Then the sound of glass breaking. This is you, Captain America! Then the sound of piano being overturned. This is you, Thor! Then the sound of a cat getting kicked. I could listen to that for hours.

Shockingly, the Avengers escape what looks to be about a dozen unarmed peasants and make their way to Castle Doom. As they enter, Doom strikes a menacing pose to welcome them.

jest

You will pay for your insolent jest, Hawkeye. Doom does not keep office hours, cretin! Scarlet Witch demands an explanation and Doom basically says “Ok.”

plan

The accursed Fantastic Four. Yes, always that accursed team. Doom’s every waking moment, even in the shower as he scrubs his delicates, all of them are dedicated to seeing Richards humbled. This is a tad creepy, to be frank. The Avengers have heard quite enough, and the fight is on. Doom handles them like children. A beam of light saps Hawkeye’s strength. A magnetic field traps Cap’s shield. A device nullifies Wanda’s hex power. And Quicksilver just gets slapped around. Doom clearly has the upper hand.

arrow

Or I should say he did until he gets hit with an arrow?!?! Stan Lee can’t even remember past issues and Doom is sent running from an acid arrow. What is this shit? Not only does it send him running, he has a meltdown a few panels later. Head in hands, he laments that he underestimated the Avengers’ power. Really? You just shit your pants over an arrow, Victor. I think it has more to do with your lack of preparation than the power of the Avengers. Still, Doom has one final attack planned. The Avengers flee the castle and hole up in a cave to plan their next move.

Meanwhile, the mother of the boy from earlier asks if the dome can be raised in order for the boy to see a doctor who can cure him of his crippleness. Doom denies the request, of course. Cannot risk the Avengers escaping! The scene then shifts to America where we see the accursed Fantastic Four listening to the radio. An announcement is made that Latveria has accused the Avengers of spying. I believe it. Too many Latverian radio shows.

The Four race off to their rocket to head to Latveria. Only thing to do is to get clearance to take off.

denied

Which is promptly denied. Man, the 60’s were rough for superheroes. Aunt May shutting down Spider-man every issue. And the FF can’t even take off. You see, Doom is a world leader! It would be an international incident! Back in Latveria, Quicksilver overhears the poor mother sobbing that she can’t take her boy to the doctor because of this dome over the whole country. This blasted dome. Pietro tells the other Avengers and they decide it is time to take the fight to Doom. For cripples everywhere. Cap decides to open the fight by throwing his mighty shield.

shield

Yes. Doom’s supreme intellect. His matchless armor (Suck it, Iron Man). His dazzling skill. What is a mere shield to Doom?

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Look on in awe and fear, Captain America. Doom effortlessly catches your shield and sends it back at you with irresistible force. He is more than a match for any of you cretins. Doom uses rocket harpoons and a mesh net to fight the Avengers. For having matchless armor, it does jack and shit. All of his weapons appear out of the walls, mad scientist style. Finally, the net slows the team down and Doom pulls out a big honking disintegrator gun. But when he pulls the trigger, nothing happens.

witch

The accursed Scarlet Witch. At best, your power flips switches. At worst, you have the power to induce forgetfulness? Laziness? Sloppiness? You’re terrible, Scarlet Witch. I will continue to mock your power no matter how many times you make me forget to flush the toilet.

The team piles on and finally they are able to pull the lever that removes the dome from Latveria. The Avengers know they can’t take Doom, so they have to figure out an escape. How will they do it??

sneeze

By making Doom sneeze. This is some crazy shit. Doom has a sneezing fit and the Avengers escape. The end. A fucking sneezing fit. Take a good look at this people, you will probably never see Doom sneeze on panel again. A fucking sneeze arrow. Hawkeye caused Doom all sorts of trouble with an acid arrow and a sneeze arrow. This is the fucking worst. How long can I keep this up?

Next: Back to fighting the Fantastic Four. And this time, it’s one of Doom’s most famous arcs. Victory will certainly be Doom’s!

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks. Also, if you like what you read, subscribe!

The Doom Retrospective, Part 12

Well, this is awkward. I’ve been running from my responsibility here on the Doom Retrospective. I’m not going to lie. Last issue was a trial. I took a break. Examined my priorities. Sat on a bench and reflected on my life. The usual. I realized Doom deserves better. This isn’t the end! This is just the beginning of a new era of Doom dominance. This is Victor von Doom we are talking about. I’m sure the accursed Thing will pay many times over for what he did last issue, which we will never speak of again. Now, the scorecard.

Record vs Fantastic Four: 1-7

Record vs. Spider-man: 0-1 (Doom’s scheme was thwarted)

Times Avoided Capture: 9 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)

Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0

Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)

Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 4

Issues Flash Thompson has awaited swift and unspeakable retribution: 6

Doom got busted up in issue 40, but he does make a cameo shortly thereafter in issue 43 (October 1965). His hands seem to be healing nicely.

Hands

Fuck you, Thing. Your nancy-grip left nary a scratch on the hands of von Doom! Look at those hands. Still virile. Still powerful. Still so lithe. Soon Thing will be mightily spanked by the hands of Doom!

The very same month, Fantastic Four Annual #3 hit the newsstands. The wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm! Yes. The perfect opportunity for revenge!

theplan

Doom’s hands are in perfect condition. Look how swiftly he tears that newspaper to bits! That will be your fate as well, Richards! He wants to protect his perfectly healed hands so much, he kicks his secret door open. His plan is simple and elegant. Fan the flames of hatred for the Fantastic Four. Richards is so insufferable, I’m amazed he needs to invent such a wondrous machine to inspire hated of that insipid man.

We then head to the festivities. Socialites are here. Even that fop, Tony Stark.

stark

Look at Thing immediately creep on and then alienate Stark’s date. You can hear the utter revulsion in her voice. You’re a fucking creep, Thing. Also lurking in the audience is the dastardly Puppet Master, who is in control of some poor slob of a guest. Of course, Thing doesn’t know what the fuck is going on.

fury

Luckily, Nick Fury and some SHIELD goons are there with their bullshit made-up tech to cover your ass, Grimm. You piece of shit. The Puppet Master takes off, confused. He has sworn to never attack the FF again, yet something compelled him to do it. Perhaps someone is pulling your strings, Puppet Master? Eh? As the Puppet Master escapes, we see the Red Ghost sulking about. Thing runs to tell Richards that someone is out to get them but then decides not to ruin his wedding day.

professorx

Some cunning shown by Thing here. With Reed murdered and out of the way, Sue will look for some shoulder to cry on. Mayhap a misshapen freak rocky shoulder, Ben? Keep dreaming, wretch. Sue can do a lot better than a talking litter box. Even Professor X is giving Thing major side-eye. Like get the fuck away from me, freak.

The danger he senses is the Mole Man. Charles summons the X-Men and they fight off the little Moloids. Boy did the X-Men suck then. Angel is jumping on moloids because his power doesn’t allow him to do anything useful in a fight. Hmmm. Tony Stark. Nick Fury. Professor X. The entire X-Men team. I think I am starting to see a flaw in Doom’s plan. I’m sure it will still work out.

Thing is now convinced he has to warn Reed. As he climbs the stairs, he hears Alicia scream and it’s not at his grotesque appearance for once. He busts in and Sue is fighting the Red Ghost and his super apes. Is it any wonder Doctor Doom took once he was introduced? Jesus, these FF villains fucking suck. Anyway, Reed and Johnny hear the commotion and bust in. Business is picking up.

The team struggles with apes, Jesus this sucks. Anyway, the Red Ghost is ready to strike an almost assuredly deadly blow on Reed’s weak mind, when the unexpected happens.

doctorstrange

By the Whorey Hostess of Denny’s, it’s Doctor fucking Strange! He just up and banishes their asses to hell. Reed is concerned. Some unknown enemy is sending all these villains after the team. Who could it be, Reed? Who could it possibly be, you idiot?

Doom is satisfied with himself. His machine has produced the desired results. We see villains heading to the wedding, compelled to attack. The Mandarin. The Black Knight. Kang the Conqueror. The Gray Gargoyle. The Awesome Android. Wait, Kang? Doom’s machine is so amazing, it travels through time and dominates Kang’s weakass mind. I’m still so angry about Doom’s last appearance that I am taking it out on poor innocent Kang. But seriously, fuck all these guys.

Thor is flying to the wedding and is attacked by the Super Skrull. They fight.

superskrull

I admire the Super Skrull’s confidence there. Not only does he possess every power known, every single one, even floating, he is also the greatest warrior in the galaxy. Such an unbeatable foe. Unequaled in the Marvel, DC, and Mortal Kombat universes. The team sees the explosion of the fight…

omen

And Sue is showing her cold feet. Look, Reed. An omen that our wedding should be called off. She wants out so bad. Good move, Sue. Reed tells his lawyer, Matt Murdoch, to tell the guests the wedding is running a bit late. He immediately tells his own hangers on, Foggy and Karen, to do that for him. He runs outside, now as Daredevil, and sees Hydra attacking! And they have a giant bomb with them! One of these worthless goons has to be able to get the job done.

While Daredevil is fighting Hydra, the Avengers show up. Jesus. Captain America is immediately attacked by Cobra, the Executioner, and the Enchantress. Where is security to clear out all this riff-raff? While Cap fights for his life, Mr. Hyde watches the action from afar like a sex offender before deciding now is the time to end the Avengers. Luckily for Captain America, Hawkeye is there to save him! But who will save Hawkeye from the Enchantress? Spider-Man, of course. Jesus Christ. This isn’t even a story. It’s just nonsense.

We cut to Black Knight who decides to help Hydra against Daredevil. Who is that flying in to save Daredevil? It’s the Angel!

mandarin

In one of the most embarrassing moments for a super-villain ever, the Black Knight needs saving from Angel, whose sole power is to be a giant pigeon. The X-Men show up to save his ass, and villains are crawling out of the woodwork.

villains

Look at that motley crew. Electro, Mandarin, Unicorn, Melter, Beetle. A real winning lineup there. Again, is it a shock that Doom rose above this shitshow to become #1 stunner at Marvel? Outside the Baxter Building, all hell is breaking loose.

madness

Black Knight sucks so bad, Reed is kicking his ass from one hundred feet away. Still, Doom’s moment of triumph is growing closer. Beast will be the first to die since nobody wants to see close-ups of his fugly feet anymore. And who is that weirdo staring at me from the corner? I’ll see that face in my fucking nightmares.

The Mad Thinker and Awesome Android show up, slapping around Iron Man. Quicksilver takes out the Top. It’s craziness. Down at the docks, fortune smiles on Doom.

attuma

Attuma rolls up with an entire army! What a happy accident. Who needs the treacherous douche Namor when you can get an army? We turn the page and see Daredevil STILL driving around with Hydra’s bomb truck….

bomb

Poor Attuma. He just pulled a Santino Marella in the Royal Rumble. Poor guy. Maybe next wedding, Attuma. Back to the Baxter Building, Reed is lamenting that the heroes don’t have the power to defeat the villains. What are they going to do? That’s easy. Have the fucking Watcher show up and take Reed away from the battle. Where does he take him?

watcher

To his home, of course. Fuck you, Watcher. Non-interference my ass. I have sworn not to interfere but I am going to go read this book while you ransack my home for weapons. What a douche. Fuck you, you overgrown bald baby. Kickass Kirby art, though.

So Reed finally understands one of the devices. Probably the equivalent of a Watcher’s Fischer-Price toy because it’s Reed. Watcher, my “non-interfering” ass, sends Reed back to the fight with weapon in tow. What does it do?

victory

Changes time, of course! Curse you, Richards. You win this round. Even Doom will forget his role in this. So close to victory. Eat a dick, Watcher, you mutant Gerber baby. Victory was Doom’s! So the wedding finally happens. An iconic moment in Marvel history. And two wedding crashers gets turned away at the door.

theend

All’s well that ends well. In all seriousness, an iconic issue. A huge moment in the early Marvel age. One of the greatest Marvel comic issues ever. But Doom will return and the Watcher just nudged Flash Thompson one spot lower on the revenge list. You will pay for your meddling, you walking fat cue ball.

Next: Doom fights the Avengers!

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks. Also, if you like what you read, subscribe!

Ready Player One or The 80’s Were Amazing and I am Old

I know I am a little late to the party, but I just finished the book and I wanted to give The Doom Retrospective a tiny break. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book review and I think Ready Player One is a worthy work to break my critic’s drought.

Published in 2011 by Ernest Cline, the book has developed into sort of a geek cult sensation. Honestly, as a huge nerd that grew up in the 80’s, I felt this book was written specifically for me. It’s not hard to understand that feeling when you consider that Mr. Cline is only five years older than me. It was also his first novel, which he published at the age of 39. The bastard. My window to match his feat is rapidly closing.

021915_ReadyPlayerOne_Cover

Climbing up towers of double-wides would make me avoid reality as well.

As you can probably guess, I really enjoyed this book. It is set in a not-too-far off dystopian future (2044), where global warming, wars, an energy crisis, and a stumbling economy have contributed to a world that is hardly habitable. Our main character, Wade Watts, lives in a mega trailer park and spends all his time in the OASIS, a virtual reality video game that is so revolutionary that it has supplanted the real world. People shop there, fall in love there, get married there, and even go to school there. It’s creator, James Halliday, is Willy Wonka, holding a contest inside the OASIS to determine his successor after his death.

The book really strikes the proper chord of nostalgia and forward thinking. Wade is obsessed with technology and the past. Throughout the book, he goes to great lengths to avoid the real world and the present time. As the book progresses, however, he starts to realize that the outside world still does hold some value (friends! love interest!). There is a political agenda here too, aside from the aforementioned worldly ills, race and sexual orientation are mentioned in the book, but they seem sort of just tacked one, like Cline wanted to call attention without really exploring the issues. Did I mention that a completely amoral corporation is the villain? Or other hunters of the prize team up to take down said evil corporation? All the boxes are checked here.

As for the writing, most of the time I didn’t notice it, which is a pretty high compliment. For a novel that is steeped in fanboyish obsession, the story could have been laughable, but Cline’s prose gets out of the damn way and lets the story flow. It’s not Steinbeck, but the book is well written.

The real draw of the book is just how much fun Cline obviously had writing it. Any major cultural touchstone from the 70’s and 80’s is fair game. Movies, comics, Dungeons and Dragons, music, and video games. It’s all in here. And they aren’t just mentioned. There is a page of nothing but Monty Python and the Holy Grail dialogue. There are pages describing games like Zork, Black Dragon, and Tempest in detail. I owned Zork and I loved that game. So bonus points there.

Overall, nothing in Ready Player One is revolutionary. Willy Wonka. Evil corporations. Virtual reality vs. the real world. Contemporary ills that lead to dystopian future when ignored. Nerdy loner growing as a person. Every bit of this book is recognizably drawn from somewhere else, and can even be a bit tropey and clichéd, but the prose is steady and Cline’s enthusiasm jumps off the page. I don’t feel changed by the book, but I still loved it.

8/10 1UPs!

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you like what you read, subscribe!

The Doom Retrospective, Part 11

As always, there be adult language and adult joke ahead. You have been warned.

Last time on the Doom Retrospective, our hero was facing off against a powerless Fantastic Four and a superhero that can’t even see! Nothing can stop Doom now! Nothing! Before we get to his final victory, let’s take a look at the scorecard.

Record vs Fantastic Four: 1-6

Record vs. Spider-man: 0-1 (Doom’s scheme was thwarted)

Times Avoided Capture: 8 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)

Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0

Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)

Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 4

Issues Flash Thompson has awaited swift and unspeakable retribution: 5

Let’s hop right into it. After last month’s barnburner of an ending, the Fantastic Four desperately race to the Baxter Building, a building now firmly under the control of Doom! All the Mighty Marvelites must have been beside themselves waiting a full month for FF # 40 to come out, dreading that the series would be over complete with the final panel showing Doom parading the desecrated corpses of Johnny, Ben, and Richards through the streets of New York, while Sue came to grips with the new man in her life. Secretly wanting it oh so badly. I digress.

The issue opens with Doom gloating over his impending victory. Instead of eliminating them quickly, he decides to play with his food. Excellent, Victor. Make them suffer.

rep

Doom is not above ruining the team’s rep before killing them. Years from now, that woman will tell her grandchildren that a drone almost hit her in the face. That man will regale his friends with the tale of how Reed Richards was invading the privacy of innocent citizens well before September 11. It’s all your fault, Richards.

Doom discovering Reed alive has given him new life. He decides that once Reed is dead, he’ll take over the world. Reed really brings out the best in Victor. Daredevil, using his accursed blindness powers, discovers the drone and takes it out in short order.

DDgun

Wait, what? With a gun? Hidden in his billy club? So much for the criminal justice system. Daredevil is going to let God sort ’em out. The Punisher is still over a decade away and here is a blind man packing fucking heat. Excelsior!

After gunning down an unarmed drone in the middle of the street, Daredevil runs off to distract Doom, calling the Lord of Latveria “Doomsie.” You will die for your impertience, Daredevil. Reed meets up with Johnny and Sue in a purloined taxi. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

taxi

At Herochat, there is a meme that Thing will always do things like steal a taxi to expedite his escapes from the Hulk. It seems like the whole team is into it, however. The FF are nothing but a cowardly bunch of criminals. Reed is in a real hurry to get to something called “The Stimulator.” I think I can see Sue blushing ever so slightly. Looks like that machine has more than one use, wink wink.

They reach the building and forge ahead, immediately running into a trap designed by Reed himself. “Mr. Fantastic” carries Sue through the electrical blasts and directs Johnny through it at the same time. Torch, that sniveling sycophant, claims there will never be another guy like Reed. Richards’s minutes are numbered, insect.

Meanwhile, Daredevil has sneaked up on Doom. Is our hero caught unawares?

rope

Of course not! Doom left you just “enough rope,” cretin. Another Victor zinger. Not quite up there with the sun giving them a warm reception, but good enough for the likes of Daredevil. Doom quickly turns the tables, using a model rocket ship that Reed built to chase DD around the room. The accursed hero dodges at every turn. Doom deduces he is using far more than just sight, but what could it be? Once again, Doom shows his superiority over Richards. Here they are side-by-side.

dumb

Doom at least works out that there is something more than vision going on here, while Reed is more like “Dur hur!” and staring at Daredevil’s tight vigilante ass. I hate you, Reed Richards. Fugly Ben Grimm shows up and now the whole accursed party is here. Reed keeps babbling about the “stimulator.” Is he going to give them their powers back or are we going to watch Reed jack it for 5 panels?

Back in the control room, Doom flings machinery around and Daredevil shows that his billy club has more powers than fucking Mjolnir.

mjolnir

Green Lantern Spider-man and this god damned Odin-blessed billy club. No wonder Doom can’t beat these guys! Daredevil is like a more competent version of Thunderstrike. And for those that don’t know who that is, well, let’s just say he was a symptom of what was wrong in the 90’s and we are all glad he’s dead.

As the Four race to retrieve Reed’s sex toy, Daredevil does the unthinkable and lays his hands on the personage of Doom!

trouble

You are in trouble now, simpleton! Doom shall crush you like the bug you are. Daredevil is being trounced so thoroughly that his similes stop making sense. Held by a bulldozer?!? Just as Doom is about end Daredevil, in bust the powerless Fantastic Four.

wrestling

How does that feel, Thing? You want to die? You want Doom to end it all for you? How does it feel that Richards treats you as little more than fodder? He was willing to see you die so he could get his hands on his sweet “stimulator.” And of course he uses it on himself first. What a dick. He could have shot Ben first but Reed wants Doom to Gorilla Press Thing Ultimate Warrior style. Reed turns the gun on Johnny next, still no Ben. Suck it, Thing. Three of the four have their powers back? Does Doom panic?

powers

Of course not! This victory will be so much the sweeter! Swatting Torch away like a fly, Doom triggers the in-floor refrigeration unit, freezing the team in place, including the accursed Daredevil. Unfortunately, in one last bullshit heroic moment, Reed stretches and releases a steam vent, freeing the heroes. Bah! No matter. Only delaying the inevitable.

Reed decides that the full might of the Fantastic Four is required to beat Doom. He turns his gun on Ben.

thing

Oh, that is rich. I love it. Ben doesn’t want to be the Thing and Reed does not give two flying fucks. Oop. Too late. Already pulled the trigger, you ugly gargoyle. Welcome back to being a fucking monster. Reed might as well have kicked him in the nuts and spit in his face while he was at it. Who’s the villain here?

While Reed is fucking Thing over, Doom is rigging the building to blow, killing everyone for miles around to boot. An enraged Thing, knowing he is impotent to attack his true enemy, decides to take on Doom instead. We’ve seen this play out before, moron. Doom is going to whip your ass, Thing.

force field

Look at Thing hurt his little hand. Why do you do this to yourself, Thing? Just roll over and die. Thing is too stupid to quit. He comes at Doom again. But Doom is master of all! His armor is supreme! He uses an “instant hypnotism impulser” in his gauntlet, which tips Thing off balance. Doctor Doom then issues a royal beatdown on Thing, destroying him with words as well.

beatdown

Ugly One. Orange-skinned misanthrope. Misshapen body. All true statements. Doom is ethering you, Thing. I am sure the next page is Grimm killing himself. Thing, knowing he can’t kill himself lying prone, wills himself to overpower Doom’s device. Look at how strong his suicidal tendencies are!

suicide

I think Doom should stop the fight and call a hotline. Thing obviously needs help. In an ultimate sign of mercy, Doom decides he will help put this ugly pile of shit out of his misery. Using “intensified molecules,” he blasts pebbles that turn into boulders, pummeling Thing. The grotesque monster won’t give up though, busting out of those boulders.

neanderthal

Again, Thing dares to lay hands on Doom and pays for it immediately. I am really enjoying this. Look at Doom dominate Thing! Doom unloads on the foul beast, forcing the idiot to crawl towards him. I’ll give Thing credit. He’s too dumb to collapse and too ugly to die.

collapse

Look at that. He agrees with me completely. You’re a mental trainwreck, Thing. The brute miraculously muscles through Doom’s defenses and again lays his misbegotten mitts on the Lord of Latveria! Let’s watch Doom humble him again. This shit never gets old.

nooooo

Wait, what? This must be some sort of mistake. Let me look at that again.’

nooooo

Huh. It’s still the same.

What the fuck?!?! No, no, no. Not the fucking Thing! Even Torch would be better. Not Thing! Bah, Doom doesn’t need gadgets to snap victory from the jaws of defeat. He still has more than enough power to destroy you all! This is just the darkest moment before the shining dawn of Doom’s triumph!

humbled

Doom. Slinking off. Defeated. Humbled. Humiliated. FUCK. What the fuck is going on here? Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, you fucking hacks. You smear this shit on the page and call it a comicbook? Suck it. All of you can suck it. The book ends with Thing quitting the team because he’s a fucked up ugly monster, and nobody cares. I hope you die, Thing! I hope you fucking die next issue.

I’m done. My ticker can’t take this any longer. That’s not even how diplomatic immunity works!

Next: Fuck this shit.

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks.

The Doom Retrospective, Part 10

As the readers coming to the site grow incrementally, I think it would be best if I gave a warning that there be adult language and adult humor in the Doom Retrospective. Ye have been warned.

When last we left out hero, brave Doctor Doom had finally defeated the accursed Richards, overpowering him with pure brain power and banishing him from existence forever!! I will not go into the meaningless details of how that ended up not being true. Just know that chicanery and the accursed Stan Lee and Jack Kirby played important roles in this unjust and tyrannical reversal of fortune. Let’s go to the scorecard.

Record vs Fantastic Four: 1-6 (It counts. Fuck you, Richards, Lee, Kirby. Eventually, Doom will win for real! So swears Doom! Check out Major Spoilers, by the way, great site.)

Record vs. Spider-man: 0-1 (Doom’s scheme was thwarted)

Times Avoided Capture: 8 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)

Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0

Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)

Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 4

Issues Flash Thompson has awaited swift and unspeakable retribution: 4

With Doom believing himself triumphant, he was given a rest, going on hiatus for a full 10 months, the longest he had ever gone without an appearance. With the Marvel Universe really hitting its stride and new heroes and villains coming into their own, the days of Doom heroically carrying the banner of super-villainy were at an end. But you can’t keep Marvel’s number one stunner out of the funny pages for long, and so in Fantastic Four #39 (June 1965), Doom makes his triumphant return.

Our story opens with the Fantastic Four fucked up from an encounter with the Frightful Four! This is a story I don’t care about (except for Sandman. Go Sandman!) and won’t read, so let’s continue. It appears the team took a nuclear explosion, shielded only by a Sue Storm force field. After drifting out in the ocean for 24 hours, they are rescued. Caught up? Good. Shit, Reed wants to have a dream and recap the last issue for you. Fine, Reed, you selfish asshole.

exposition

Now are you caught up? Reed’s analytical mind causes even his unconscious mutterings to come out as splendid tales of derring-do. What a damned showoff. By the way, Thing was turned back into Ben Grimm by the explosion and nobody cares. Shame he survived.

At breakfast the next morning, the Four are greeted with an inconvenient truth.

grumpy

They’ve lost their powers! And look at Reed sulk. He doesn’t care that he still retains his intellect, he’s more upset that he lost the ability to grow his penis to Doom-like proportions. Sue seems to be handling it pretty well.  When they return home, Reed is trying to give them their powers back and “cure” Thing by returning him to his rightful status as a boil on the ass of humanity. We are also treated to an experimental page by Kirby.

cuttingedge

Look at those special effects. Fuck Avatar. This is the real deal. And look at Thing, the poor bastard actually wants to be a monstrosity again. Better to be a walking gargoyle who will die alone than to be an anonymous loser who will die alone, eh, Benji?

Reed is stumped, so he decides to mimic the Four’s powers through science. He makes Johnny a suit that can allow him to “flame on,” but he can’t fly as well as he used to.

And Thing?

bumbler

Useless, as usual. I could read a comic filled with nothing but Thing screwing up and Reed berating him for it. It must be hard to be surrounded by fellows that are barely legally competent. Trust me, Doom understands. I kind of like dick Reed. What about Sue?

harder

Whoa, there, Reed. Settle down. I think there is some pent-up sexual frustration going on there. You’re not thinking clearly. I’m disappointed he didn’t berate Sue for claiming an invisible woman was a “power of nature.” How dare you question me, woman? First, invisible airheads aren’t a part of nature. They are abominations. You’re an abomination, Susan. And second, I’m Reed Richards and I can do anything (except beat Doom in a fair fight.) We leave the Four in shambles and turn to a familiar scene in Latveria. Doom is berating his servants and yelling at the magician that is trying to entertain him. Bah! Your cheap parlor tricks do not impress Doom, a man who has dabbled in dark arts far beyond what your mortal ass is capable of understanding. The magician, rightly fearing for his life, tries to impress Doom with hypnotism.

hypnosis

Uh oh. A spell dissolving? Let’s watch realization hit Doom like a careening bus.

uhoh

Doom is so angry, the very metal of his mask quivers and changes with his expression. I fucking hate that. Iron masks can’t move like that. That’s amateur hour, Kirby. Doom rightly blows a gasket, slaps around the hired help, and immediately jets off to New York. That was strangely satisfying, even with the stupid mask moving. Some two-bit magician just signed Reed Richards’ death warrant.

We return to the Fantastic Four and find their lawyer walking into their warehouse. Their lawyer, of course, is Matt Murdock, Daredevil, the Invalid without Fear! It warms my heart to see someone who probably should have been euthanized years ago after being deformed with radioactive gunk lead a more productive life than Ben Grimm. Suck it, Thing. So why has Reed called the team attorney? To prepare for the worst.

DD

Daredevil is so taken aback, he develops split personality and starts talking to himself. This is some serious shit, Reed. With two sentences, you have completely destroyed Matt Murdock’s psyche! Before Reed can investigate just how badly Matt’s brain is damaged, someone attacks the base!

While the FF’s new Reed-invented powers fail, because Reed is not Doom, Daredevil springs into action, assisting the team. “Mister Fantastic” is simply stumped by this turn of events.

dumbreed

My blind lawyer was here and now you’re here, Daredevil. And you can see in the dark and you’re using Matt Murdock’s cane. I don’t know who you could possibly be, Mister, but I’m glad you just randomly popped by. Eat a dick, Reed. I can’t believe Doom keeps losing to you. Speaking of which, where is Doom? And who is piloting that mysterious ship?

ship

Yes, Richards, while you are flummoxed by the man behind the Daredevil mask (which doesn’t even have eyeholes!), Doom is building ships beyond anything you have ever seen! Doom, the consummate showman, takes this whole thing up a notch.

showman

Look at that. That is the sweetest damn floating sign. Doom must have worked hours on that. Eat it, Richards. You are outpowered, outperformed, and straight up outclassed by Doom. Reed poops himself because the team is powerless, but the Cripple without Fright swears he will fight against Doom with Matt Murdock’s cane. I’m actually feeling pretty good about a Doom victory at this point.

Not only has Doom built a space-age ship, he has remotely taken control of all of Richards’ accursed vehicles housed in the Baxter Building. First, it’s the Fantasti-car. The four stand around helpless and Daredevil busts his ass to make sure they don’t die. I am amazed at what the handicapped are truly capable of doing. Daredevil leads them back into the warehouse where they are hiding from Doom, who is stymied?

hidden

Yes, Victor, when something is hidden from you, you cannot see it. Are we sure this isn’t a Doombot? My fears are assuaged when he calls Reed’s greatest inventions children’s toys. That’s the real Doom all right. Doom unleashes the vortex machine and launches a tornado at the hapless heroes.

Untitled

Nice work, Daredevil. I can feel the building falling apart, but I can’t figure out how! If only this tornado level wind and intense air pressure crushing my super sensitive eardrums would die down so I could figure it out! Despite his brain still being addled from Reed’s bombshell earlier, DD leads them through the warehouse, escaping certain death. The five decide to split up. Good plan, powerless people and blind guy.

Reed and DD head to a construction site while the others fan out. Reed techno-babbles his way to defeating the vortex.

babble

Who knew that a spinning column of air had such a unique chemical makeup that only the right combination of chemicals stored in a construction site could…you know what, I’m done defending this shit. Fuck you, Reed.

We cut back to Doom, who is mighty confused as to why the FF keep running instead of using their superpowers to fight back. Curiouser and curiouser. Watch, Richards. Watch a first rate mind at work.

smart

BOOM! You can’t figure out how in the world Daredevil is using Matt Murdoch’s cane and Doom is dropping knowledge bombs on your ass. Whose is the superior intellect, Richards?!?! What will Doom do with this knowledge? He decides to toy with them. He wants it to last “as long as possible.” I think when Doom masturbates he chokes himself while looking at a picture of Reed. And maybe Sue. And maybe Thing. Not Johnny, though.

Doom fires Reed’s overly simplistic missiles at the FF and Daredevil saves Reed. “Mister Fantastic” cannot for the life of him figure out if Daredevil has any super powers. Daredevil decides to distract Doom while Reed figures something out. I have not seen any other members of the FF in about three pages and I don’t miss them. Let Reed just have the book at this point.

The issue ends with all five heroes desperately trying to reach the Baxter Building and defeat Doom. Here’s a spoiler: No way they win this time. They are powerless. Daredevil can’t even see! Doom has the entire arsenal of the Baxter Building! Victory will be Doom’s! No way the FF escape from this. What a humiliation if Doom blows this.

Next: The humiliation of Doom.

As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. You can also send your comments to thenonicheblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter at John_S20. If you really want to stalk me, you can find me posting fairly regularly at Herochat.com, known for its mature and frank discussions about comicbooks.