Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
(Note: I tried to post this last night but the server went down – it didn’t even save my last changes! Luckily, I copied and pasted it all to a word document and now I’m finally able to post it! -BC)
Here’s the next five!
Here is the master list!
80. Spider-Man vs. Venom (First Battle)
Talk about making an entrance!
Both Todd McFarlane (who had just become the regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man with Amazing #298) and Venom made quite the impression on readers in Amazing Spider-Man #299, when Mary Jane came home to find a sinister looking monster wearing what looked to be Spider-Man’s black costume!
In Amazing Spider-Man #300, David Michelinie and McFarlane gave readers the full scoop on this dastardly new villain of Spider-Man’s – it was made up of the alien symbiote that Spider-Man had brought over from Secret War. It made the user (Eddie Brock) extremely powerful and undectable by Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense. Most importantly, the symbiote and Eddie (calling itself, collectively, Venom) knew Peter Parker’s secrets from having bonded with it!!!
So Peter’s family were in danger from this new monstrous villain who quickly became one of Spider-Man’s most prominent baddies. While Venom did nothing to Mary Jane in #299, he left with the clear threat that he COULD have, just like he COULD do bad stuff to Aunt May, as well.
In their first battle, they fight it out in an abandoned building where Spider-Man learns of how Eddie became Venom, and after being fooled into thinking he knocked Venom out, Spider-Man finds himself blindsided and captured.
He awakes webbed up to the bell of the church where Spider-Man first got rid of the symbiote. Venom’s plan is to kill him with the deadly sound of the bell. The clapper begins and only Spidey’s super-strength is able to keep from being killed the first two rings – but it is clear he can’t last very long. So he hold on to the bell and lets it rip him from the webbing and he continues the fight.
The key is when he discovers that Venom’s webbing comes from the symbiote itself, so he forces Venom to use up enough webbing that it is weakened and cannot produce any more, at which point Spider-Man knocks Venom off of the roof to the ground below – victory, Spider-Man!
Spidey gets the Fantastic Four to come by and take Venom into custody.
79. X-Men vs. Cassandra Nova
While Venom made a notable entrance, Cassandra Nova was even more impressive, as she first showed herself by tricking a relative of the original Sentinel makers to give Nova access to the Sentinels. At which point Nova launched an assault on the mutant haven of Genosha. The small island nation had 16 million mutants. When the Sentinel attack ended, it had about 100.
And that was not even the most dramatic of Nova’s plans!
Her next step was to take control of the body of Professor Charles Xavier, who it turns out, was the twin brother of Cassandra Nova! She died in the womb, but managed to survive as pure malevolent energy, until finally becoming corporeal.
Now in control of Xavier’s body, after a bit of mischief at the X-Mansion (like breaking Beast’s spirits completely) she travels to the Shi’Ar Empire, where she quickly takes over the entire empire and lays waste to most of it and sets her sights on Earth!
Luckily, the X-Men are able to defeat the invasion as well as trap Nova in a body where she can (seemingly) do no more harm.
A great storyline by Grant Morrison and various artists (most notably Frank Quitely).
78. Thing vs. The Champion
I guess this is another notable entrance!
The Champion showed up in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7, by Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson, and declared that he was going to fight the best of Earth in a boxing match, and if they beat him, he would spare Earth – otherwise, he would destroy it!
He collected the most powerful heroes of the world, but most of them are disqualified for one reason or another (Thor, for instance, can’t box when he has a hammer at all times, lest he turn back into Don Blake).
Eventually, all of Earth’s heroes are eliminated except for the Thing, who, while quite strong, is nowhere near the Champion’s league.
However, unlike the others, Ben Grimm knows how to box, and he manages to stay in the game for a couple of rounds while taking a gruesome beating. The Thing, though, refuses to quit and just keeps plugging away until the match is called.
The Thing will have none of it and mocks the Champion. Though the Thing can barely stand, he says he will never stop fighting until he can’t fight anymore!
The Champion is so impressed that he declares Earth saved!
The world rejoices as the Thing collapses and enjoys one of the nicest horrible hospital experience you could ever imagine.
EDITED TO ADD:
For GarBut, I’ve added a picture of the Champion.
GarBut wanted a shot of the Champion getting punched by the Thing, but I don’t think that’s really what this comic is about – it’s not about Thing punching his problems away, it’s about his perseverance!
That said, how about a wicked shot of the Thing getting ready to rumble by Ron Wilson?
Thanks to the Leader’s Lair for the scans.
77. Mr. Fantastic vs. Doctor Doom (Timeslip)
This story was one of the last ones that Walt Simonson told during his Fantastic Four run (in fact, was it the very last?) and it was perhaps his best one!
Fantastic Four #352 is a battle between Doctor Doom and Reed Richards, only it takes place through the time stream (the story is called Timeslip), so they are constantly going back and forth through time in the issue, so what Simonson does is tell the story by having small notations telling the reader where they are in time. You have to go all throughout the issue to different pages to follow the fight as they leap around in time.
It’s an absolutely fascinating idea, and Simonson even works the cover into the fun, as well (note the time stamp on the cover) – that cover counts as one of the fight scenes in the book.
Pretty awesome, no?
Is Simonson’s Fantastic Four collected in trades?
76. Captain Britain (and friends) vs. The Fury
The Alans, Moore and Davis, respectively, introduced the Fury in the pages of Marvel UK’s Marvel Superheroes #387 in 1982, but soon brought him over to a brand-new title called Daredevils (which was mostly designed to reprint Frank Miller’s classic Daredevil run).
The Fury is basically an unstoppable killing machine. In one of its first appearances, it wipes out the entire superhero population of an Earth (one of the many Earths of the multiverse – the “regular” Marvel Universe is 616).
Captain Britain travels to confront the Fury, and the Fury (as shown above) KILLS HIM!
That’s how tough the Fury is. Luckily, Captain Britain is revived by Merlyn and sent back to the 616 Earth.
But here’s the thing about the Fury – it always adapts to whatever it needs to do to kill someone. Well, when it senses that Captain Britain is still alive, it actually adapts itself to inter-dimensional transport!!! So it travels to Earth-616.
Captain Britain puts together a group of super-humans (the inter-dimensional mercenary group, the Special Executive) to fight the Fury.
The battle was fierce and many heroes lost their lives but the Fury was seemingly immobilized at the end of the battle.
That did not last long and the Fury soon returned, but after another fierce battle, the Captain Britain Corps member Captain UK (each dimension has their own version of Captain Britain) finally succeeded in (seemingly) destroying the Fury after Captain Britain severely weakened the beast (Captain UK struck before it could repair itself, because each time it repairs itself, it upgrades itself and makes itself even deadlier!).
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