Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Here we go!
Here is the Master List!
100. Superboy Prime vs. Teen Titans (Infinite Crisis)
In Infinite Crisis #4 by Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez, the Superboy from Earth-Prime (who has been trapped in a sort of multiverse limbo since the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths) travels to the home of Jonathan and Martha Kent to try to make some sense of the modern DC world (and Alex Luthor’s plans for it). When there, he confronts Conner Kent, the Superboy of this world. After an awkward interaction, Superboy Prime (being a bit of a chump) decides to take out his aggression on Conner.
Conner is pretty out-classed, but help is on its way, in the form of pretty much every Teen Titan (or Titan-related character, period)!!!
They hope to settle things peacefully, but, well, things go a bit awry.
Prime proceeds to take apart the Titans pretty easily (and viciously, killing another Titan and tearing the arm of one), and the day is only saved by the combined force of the Flashes, who take Prime into the Speed Force basically.
99. Skurge vs. the Forces of Hel
Skurge, the Executioner, had always been a bit of a lackey in the Marvel Universe to the Enchantress.
In the pages of The Mighty Thor #362, by the great Walt Simonson, Skurge got his chance to make a better name for himself.
In this issue, Thor wants to free some mortal souls that Hela has wrongly stolen to Hel, the Norse underworld. Thor, his compatriot Balder and a group of Asgardian warriors (armed with swords and M-16s) seek to rescue the mortals. Skurge, looking for redemption, goes along on the mission.
They rescue the mortals, but are now being chased by the hordes of Hel and they make their way for Gjallerbru, a bridge right outside the border of Hel with Asgard.
Thor plans on staying behind to hold off the forces while the rest escape (because Thor is cool like that). Skurge knocks Thor unconscious from behind. What’s going on!??
As it turns out, Skurge wants to do it himself. He stays behind at the bridge, along with a few M-16s and, well…check it out…
Skurge dies in holding the bridge, but that second part is more important – he holds the bridge.
And in doing so, Skurge went from being a pretty minor villain to being an all-time great hero.
How amazing is the panel of him batting away at the hordes of Hel with the empty rifle?
98. Squadron Supreme vs. Redeemers
Mark Gruenwald and Bob Hall’s Squadron Supreme maxi-series was a great precursor to a number of modern comics, in that it tackled the subject of what would happen if superheroes just decide to fight crime in a more “realistic” manner. What if they really just tried to, say, end poverty? Starvation?
Well, in this series, the Squadron Supreme decide that is just what they will do, and spend the series doing so.
However, their former teammate, Nighthawk (who was also President of the United States for a time) believes this to be foolhardy – that they should serve the public, not rule over them. For the entirety of the series, Nighthawk searches for help from various sources (including Captain America and the Avengers) until ultimately, in the last issue, he confronts the Squadron himself, along with a group of former villains (who took issue with the behavior modification aspect of the Squadron’s plans for making Earth a Utopia).
The battle is a long and bloody one, and Nighthawk does not live to see it end.
Upon his friend’s death, the Squadron’s leader, Hyperion, ends the battle when he comes to realize that his fallen friend was correct.
97. Superman vs. Batman (New Frontier)
One of the more intriguing parts of the Darwyn Cooke mini-series, The New Frontier, was the quickly referenced fight between Batman and Superman in the early issues.
The fight is only barely shown, so Cooke took the opportunity in his New Frontier Special #1 (coinciding with the release of the New Frontier direct-to-DVD cartoon movie) to show the entirety of the fight, which involves Superman trying to take in Batman for the government.
The fight is about as clever as a Superman vs. Batman fight can be, and there is beautiful artwork from Cooke. It is also quite interesting to see how Cooke fits Batman’s methods within the time restraints of the era. The introduction of Kryptonite was a nice touch, as well.
96. Thanos vs. Warlock, Captain Marvel, Avengers, Thing and Spider-Man
Jim Starlin was given the chance to wrap up his Warlock/Thanos storyline in two Annuals of other books, Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.
In the first story, Warlock is still attempting to defeat the mad god, Thanos, who is trying to destroy the stars to please Death, who Thanos loves. Thanos’ armada is right outside of Earth, so the Avengers and Captain Marvel show up to help out Warlock.
While the Avengers battle Thanos, Warlock meets his demise by basically merging with the Soul Gem that he carried on his forehead. At the end of the Annual, while Thanos appears triumphant, Warlock is actually pretty happy in the afterlife with his friends Gamora and Pip the Troll (who both were killed earlier, as well, and had their souls enshrined in the gem).
The Marvel Two-in-One Annual involves Spider-Man and the Thing getting involved in the action, freeing the Avengers and taking the fight to Thanos, for an amazing couple of full-page spreads by Starlin of all out brawling.
Ultimately, Spider-Man frees the Soul Gem from wherever Thanos had it being held, and Warlock (through the Soul Gem) takes out Thanos once and for all (well, so we thought at the time), turning him to stone.
And the day is saved, and Jim Starlin’s cosmic epic was an end – for now!
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