Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Here’s the next five!
Here is the master list!
85. Authority vs. Kaizen Gamorra
If you’re going to go about things a bit differently, you usually need one major moment to draw people’s attention to your comic, and the Authority’s initial battle against Kaizen Gamorra was that event.
Kaizen Gamorra had been a major part of the Wildstorm universe basically ever since it began. His island of Gamorra was a major spot for both genetic engineering, cybernetics and, oh yes, terrorism.
When Warren Ellis took over Stormwatch, he revealed that the Kaizen Gamorra we had seen was not the REAL Gamorra, and when Ellis installed the real one, things got even worse.
The first strike by Gamorra was when he used a virus to mutate and kill 233 passengers on an airplane. Stormwatch retaliated by invading Gamorra and killing exactly 233 citizens of Gamorra.
Later, after Stormwatch disbanded, Gamorra revealed he had been spending his time building an army of superhuman clones. He planned to unleash them on the world, destroying three major cities. His first victim was Moscow, which his army of superbeings razed to the ground. The newly-formed Authority, however, managed to stop Gamorra’s crew in London, with only minimal casualties.
In the third battle, there were NO casualties – other than the evil clones.
Gamorra hid on his island behind his super powerful force field that no superhero could burst through – not even Majestic!
And it was here that Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s Authority really began to stand out. Recently, the Authority had gained a gigantic inter-dimensional craft called the Carrier. Well, the Authority member Midnighter decided what they had to do was to just crash the entire thing on the island of Gamorra!
Widespread superhero action had never been THIS vivid before!
Gamorra’s last words as he and his cloning plants were destroyed were “I only wanted to have some fun.”
84. Punisher vs. Barracuda (Let’s count them as one big battle)
People really did not specify which Punisher/Barracuda battle they meant, so since they were so close together, I’ll just count it as one fight with two rounds!
Barracuda, introduced in The Punisher MAX #31, is basically what the Punisher would be if he were a big black psychopath.
Barracuda is ruthlessly efficient and able to survive all sorts of terrible situations, at the same time, he also manages to have a sick sense of humor about things, as well.
He was a successful gangster who the government enlisted for special ops when they saw how efficient he was at killing people.
While fighting the Punisher, Barracuda lost an eye and all the fingers on his right hand – but that did not stop him none!
Barracuda was so popular that he was given his own mini-series, filled with violence and mayhem. He then returned to get his revenge on Frank Castle in a storyline where he kidnaps the Punisher’s child (who Castle did not even know existed) to lead Castle into a trap. What follows is issue upon issue of maniacal violence as two men who just don’t know how to quit lay into each other over and over again.
Garth Ennis and artist Goran Parlov (who handled the art on all Barracuda stories, including the mini-series – save one issue by Howard Chaykin) manage to make Barracuda, through all his insanity, a pretty lovable sociopath, really – in a horrible, twisted way, of course.
83. The Ultimates vs. Thor
There was an air of mystery around Thor for much of the first series of Ultimates which was only intensified in the second volume. Was he really a Norse god or was he just a super-soldier with a fancy hammer designed by the government?
Loki, disguised as a representative from the European Defence Initiative convinced the Ultimates it was the latter, especially as the team was already distrustful of Thor – thinking he was the traitor in their ranks who revealed to the world that Bruce Banner was the Hulk (forcing the Ultimates to kill Banner to avoid bad PR). In fact, he had already quit the team, figuring that they would begin to get involved in foreign countries – something he was firmly against.
Once Loki convinced the team Thor was nuts, they traveled to bring him into custody – the following battle in Ultimates 2 #5 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch is quite a sight to see.
Thor takes on the entire team and things only get worse when they make him mad. He totally holds his own until Quicksilver manages to jump 50 feet into the air and snare his belt, which supposedly is where his strength came from, artificially.
Surprisingly (including to Thor) this gambit works (all part of Loki’s plan), and Thor is taken into custody.
Eventually, he will be freed and help the team beat down Loki.
82. Flash vs. Zoom (First Battle)
The new Zoom was Hunter Zolomon, a criminal profiler who, due to a poor judgment resulting in his wife’s father’s death, lost his wife, his father-in-law and the full use of his legs. Now in Keystone City behind a desk as a profiler, Zolomon became friends with Wally West, the Flash, as the two interacted often.
Later, Zolomon was attacked by the villain Gorilla Grodd, and in the resulting fight, Zolomon was left fully paralyzed. He turned to his friend Wally to ask Wally to use the Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time and stop the attack before it happens. Wally refuses, saying he is not allowed to mess with time like that.
Infuriated, Zolomon tries it himself – it backfires, but the resulting explosion puts Zolomon out of place within the timestream. He can now alter the effects of time around him, giving him the illusion of super speed.
The now clearly insane Zolomon figures that Wally’s problem was that he just wasn’t a good enough hero to help out Zolomon. If he was a better hero, he clearly would have done Zolomon the favor he asked. So he tried to think – why WASN’T Wally a good hero? Then Zolomon “figured” it out – Wally had not had a personal tragedy!
Now calling himself Zoom, Zolomon figured he’d fix that by killing Wally’s pregnant wife, Linda!
Ultimately, Wally was able to borrow speed from other speedsters to match the effect of Zoom’s time travel, and he managed to save his wife, but not before Zoom caused Linda to miscarry the twins she was carrying!
While Wally and Linda grieved, Zoom was trapped in one of the rifts in time and space that he created from his powers – he was forced to re-live the moment where his father-in-law was killed – over and over again.
81. Deathstroke and Terra vs. the Teen Titans (The Judas Contract)
In the first issue of the New Teen Titans, a villain named the Ravager is given the assignment of killing the Titans. He fails, so the next issue, his father, Deathstroke the Terminator, takes the assignment. He, too, appears to fail.
Instead, after his initial failure, Deathstroke decided to place a sleeper agent within the Titans, in the form of the junior grade sociopath, Tara Markov, otherwise known as the superhero Terra!
The Titans eventually open their arms to Terra and she becomes a member.
The famous Judas Contract storyline by Marv Wolfman and George Perez details Terra’s betrayal of the Titans, as Deathstroke finally delivers on the contract his son took in the first issue, by delivering to the villainous H.I.V.E. organization the Titans (save Dick Grayson, who escapes).
Dick meets up with Deathstroke’s ex-wife, who has with her Deathstroke’s OTHER son, the heroic mutant known as Jericho. Dick teams up with them to rescue the Titans. In the process, Dick takes on a new superhero identity (he had just recently quit being Robin), becoming the new hero known as Nightwing.
Nightwing, Jericho and Deathstroke’s ex-wife help free the Titans from the deadly grasps of H.I.V.E. Eventually, Jericho saves the day by using his mutant ability, which allows him to possess other people’s bodies, and possesses his father and frees the Titans. Terra sees this and not being too bright, decides that Deathstroke has turned on her, so in one last sick move, she brings down the entire H.I.V.E. facility that they were at down to the ground, killing herself in the process (the Titans survive, though, natch).
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