Tag Archives: Apocalypse

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #3

Following The Avengers at # 5 and The Flash at #4, coming in third in our countdown is Marvel’s merry band of mutants, the X-Men. There probably isn’t a more diverse group of villains that those of the X-Men. They have enemies ranging from those capable of destroying entire solar systems to super-powered assassins. This is a rather lengthy list, so I’ll try to be brief with all of them.

The X-Men

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Obviously first and foremost among X-Men baddies is the Master of Magnetism, Magneto. Rarely does a villain and hero represent such diametrically opposing ideas as the X-Men and Magneto. For most of his time in comics Magneto has sought to subjugate mankind under mutant rule, while the X-Men fight to be accepted by and live in peace with humans. He even formed his own group of mutants to fight for his cause called the Brotherhood of Mutants. While he is the oldest and most persistent villain to Professor X’s team of mutants, he has on multiple occasions been a part of, and even lead, the X-Men.

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Much like Magneto, Mystique has been a major antagonist to the X-Men both as an individual and as the sometimes-leader of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood’s roster has always been in a constant state of flux, the most prominent members include Toad, Mastermind, The Blob, Pyro, Avalanche, Destiny, Sabretooth, Sauron, and even briefly Magneto’s twin children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch before they reformed and began fighting for good instead of evil.

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Jealous of of his step-brother, Charles Xavier, and what he perceived as preferential treatment from their father, Juggernaut hated Professor X long before he found the Gem of Cyttorak that granted him superhuman strength, near invincibility, and unstoppable momentum while in motion. His only real weakness is to psychic attacks, so he (like Magneto) wears a helmet that keeps telepathic mutants from being able to attack him psionically.

sentinels

Created by Dr. Bolliver Trask as a means to exterminate the mutant population, Sentinels have long been a major threat to not only the X-Men but all mutants. Their level of threat was never more on display than in the “Days of Future Past” story arc, where it is revealed that in the future, after a US Senator is murdered by a mutant (Mystique), the Sentinels wipe out the vast majority of mutants and other super-powered beings, and the few that are left are rounded up into internment camps. In a desperation move, the future Kitty Pryde is sent back to the present to stop the assassination from taking place.

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Bent on creating an army of mutants to fight for him in what he believes to be an inevitable war between humans and mutants, Apocalypse is one of the most dangerous baddies the X-Men face. To create this army, he pits mutants against one another in battles to the death, many times against their will. Those that survive he brainwashes, enhances their abilities, and often mutilates their bodies into better weapons. There is no better example of than when Apocalypse captured Angel, turned his skin a pale blue, ripped his wings off, and replaced them with metallic ones with razor sharp feathers that could be thrown at an enemy. Born in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse is believed to be the very first mutant.

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Obsessed with DNA and creating the perfect mutant, Mr. Sinister is one of the stranger big bads of the X-Men. While he is a brilliant physicist and biologist, Sinister is also a serious threat in battle as well. He is essentially immortal and has the ability to control his body down to the molecular level, he can change the consistency, density, strength, and appearance of any part of body, making him virtually indestructible. The one thing that has shown to consistently hurt him are the optic blasts of Cyclops, leading him to focus his obsession for perfection on Scott Summers, his wife Jean Grey, and the future version of their child, Nathan Summers, better known as Cable.

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When Jean Grey became bound with the entity of pure psionic power known as the Phoenix Force, her already considerable telepathic/telekinetic abilities were enhanced to virtually limitless levels. The Phoenix Force lay dormant inside Jean until muniplulation from Mastermind and a telepathic battle with the then-evil Emma Frost of the Hellfire Club brought it to the surface, becoming the Dark Phoenix. After nearly killing them and draining a sun to rejuvenate itself (killing all life in the solar system surrounding it), the Dark Phoenix was immediately recognized as one of the most dangerous beings in the universe. There are very few beings in comics that can match the Phoenix Force in terms of sheer power. It can destroy all creation in all dimensions of existence if it so chose. This has put it at odds with the X-Men and other peoples throughout the galaxy. The difference is, the X-Men are concerned with not only stopping the Phoenix but also saving their friend in the process.

 

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100 Greatest Comic Characters of All-Time – Part 3

The countdown continues with a very Marvel-mutant-heavy installment.

90. Grendel (Hunter Rose)

Hunter Rose

Successful author by day, assassin by night. Hunter Rose is basically the opposite of Nathan Fillion’s character on Castle. The monicker of Grendel has been passed down to to 3 other individuals, but Rose is by far the most recognized and established of them. With a truly compelling, complex story and one of the coolest masks in comics, the fact that there has yet to be a movie based on Grendel is an absolute travesty.

89. Psylocke

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Betsy Braddock has one of the more convoluted backstories in comics, but that twisting-turning history is part of what makes her so intriguing. Essentially, British X-Men member Betsy had her mind swapped with that of a Japanese assassin from The Hand. Her Asian face with a British voice, her incredible hand-to-hand combat skills, her very distinct (and skimpy) costume, and a personality that oozes sexuality, come together to create one of the most captivating characters in all of comics.

88. Apocalypse

Apocalypse

One of the X-Men’s oldest and most dangerous foes. Obsessed with the idea that there is an inevitable war brewing between humans and mutants, Apocalypse works to create an army of the fittest mutants with which to enslave humanity and establish himself as ruler. This has lead him to kidnapping, and experimenting on, the X-Man Angel…turning him into the blue-skinned, metal-winged Archangel. Few villains have ever been given the treatment of showing readers what the world would be like if they actually won. But Marvel’s mini-series Age of Apocalypse did just that.

87. Bane

Bane

Obviously most well-known for his breaking of Batman’s back. Bane is a true test of The Dark Knight’s skill. He has a genius intellect, is a master strategist, is in peak physical condition before he uses the steroid Venom to give him supernatural strength and speed, and a mean streak a mile wide. Batman is known for his rogues gallery, and Bane being the first of 4 villains to make this list proves just how fascinating it really is.

86. Kitty Pryde

Kitty Pryde

Kitty Pryde has been an integral part of the X-Men team for decades, and has been a major player in several of the bigger story arcs in the team’s history. But never was she more important, or interesting, than in the Days of Future Past story. The future Kitty is sent back in time into the body of her teenage self in order to stop the assassination of a US senator at the hands of the Brotherhood of Mutants…an event that would have meant the hunting of not only mutants, but all super powered beings. The tension she embodies in that story along with the gut-wrenching sadness she expresses in the God Loves, Man Kills graphic novel are the perfect examples of why fans love her so much.

Comic-Con Reflections

With the San Diego Comic Con taking place last week, let’s take a break from covering all the comic-y things that happened during my hiatus to discuss the geek avalanche of trailers and announcements from the weekend.

  • The Walking Dead

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We’ll start off with the thing I was looking forward to most: the trailer for Season 6 of The Walking Dead!!! I have to say that even with the high level of anticipation, the trailer did not disappoint. The new season looks like it’s going to be very interesting. Can we infer from what was shown that Alexandria is going to split into 2 camps: those that support Rick’s willingness to kill those that are dangerous, and those that side with Morgan and his conviction that “all life is precious?” Are these 2 friends about to rip their sanctuary apart? Also, for those of us familiar with the comic, there seems to be an allusion to a pretty major event coming. Will it remain true to the comic or will this be another case of misdirection by the writers? I for one can’t wait to find out.

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  • Deadpool

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What an absolutely amazing gift the world was given with the red band trailer for Deadpool. As a huge fan of the Merc with a Mouth, my excitement level for this movie was already through the roof. After seeing the leaked trailer, I can hardly contain myself. This movie looks fabulous.

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  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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As I’ve stated before, I will not be watching this movie. David S. Goyer (the writer for BvS) burned a bridge with me when he insinuated that Stan Lee was some kind of pervert for creating She-Hulk, and insulted comic book fans for caring about Martian Manhunter. I vowed that day that I would never again give my money to anything with which Goyer is associated. I didn’t watch a single episode of Constantine because he was the executive producer, and (sorry to all those out there that enjoyed the series) I was extremely happy that the showed got cancelled after only one season. With all that said, the trailer looks cool enough, though I can’t say I enjoyed the way Lex Luthor is portrayed in it.

  • Suicide Squad

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I’ve been pretty critical of the idea of this movie from the start. You’re asking a lot of the audience to be invested in a movie based around a bunch of former villains, none of which have ever been seen on screen as a villain, trying to gain some form of redemption by working for the government. Then came the leaked sizzle-reel. I admit I actually was intrigued by it and felt my excitement level for the movie rising. That was until the end where we see Jared Leto’s Joker for the first time. It turns out that the picture posted on Twitter earlier this year was not actually a gimmick, but is indeed the way the Clown Prince of Crime will look in the DCU. I can’t express how stupid this looks. The Joker is not a crappy hip hop artist like Wiz Khalifa or Lil’ Wayne. He should not be covered in, to quote Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mickey Mouse tattoos…and he most certainly shouldn’t have a stupid grill in his mouth. No. Just no.

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  • X-Men: Apocalypse

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Yet another project that I was really looking forward to. Apocalypse has always been one of my favorite villains in the X-Men universe. And even more than that, I have loved the character of Psylocke from the moment I started reading X-Men comics. So when they announced that she would be in this movie, I was sold. Then Olivia Munn was perfectly cast to played her, and my little fanboy heart grew three sizes that day. Now that I’ve seen the leaked footage and the promotional photos from Entertainment Weekly, my excitement has leveled off a bit. On the one hand, Munn looks fantasic (big surprise), like Psylocke jumped off the page of the comic. But on the other, Oscar Isaac’s titular villain looks like a weird mash-up of Ivan Ooze from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie and the Djinn from The Wishmaster. Here’s an idea of how Apocalypse should look:

Apocalypse

There you have it folks. The biggest news from Comic Con. Some of it is very good. Some of it is very bad. But all of it is at least getting people talking about the world of comics. I’m out kiddos, see you next time.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review (With and Without Spoilers)

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As I said last time, I’m a huge fan of the “Days of Future Past” story arc in X-Men. So going to see the movie based on that story was a highly anticipated moment for me this summer. Aside from the fanboy in me that loves the characters and the story, this was going to a movie event unlike any other: seeing two timelines in the same franchise thrown together. Critics and movie-goers have been raving about the film. It opened to a huge weekend. All of this had pushed my expectations level even higher than it already was.

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Sadly, my expectations weren’t really met. Let me first say, I didn’t hate this movie. I didn’t even dislike it. I enjoyed it and was entertained by it. But I just couldn’t help but feel a little let down.

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There was plenty to like in this installment in the successful X-Men franchise. The acting is (for the most part) top-notch. Patrick Stewart is great reprising his role as the older version of Professor X. Peter Dinklage was excellent as the antagonist Boliver Trask. Nicholas Hoult is very good as The Beast. But the real stars are James McAvoy as the younger, angrier Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto, and the lovely (gotta love a Kentucky girl!) Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. The action is fast paced. The visual effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen. There’s a good balance between drama, action, and comic relief. The writers did a nice job of blurring the lines between good and evil in the fight for acceptance for mutants.

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Hugh Jackman, however, was a little underwhelming this time around as Wolverine. Maybe I’m just too used to him playing the character that it takes too much to impress me….I don’t know. I was very disappointed in the actual Sentinels. The Nimrod Sentinels in the future were awesome, but the originals from the 70’s were pretty lame. The biggest problem I had with the movie were the multiple, giant plot holes (more on these in the spoilers section). They tried very hard to do some ambitious things with the script, and some of it worked, but a lot of it either fell flat or just left even more things unexplained.

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I’d encourage anyone to go see the movie. I wholeheartedly disagree with those claiming this is the best X-Men film yet (I’d probably place it 3rd or 4th) and even more so with some I’ve heard say it’s possibly the best movie based on a Marvel Comics property. It’s not even close. But it is a very fun, entertaining ride.

 

***Warning: SPOILERS BELOW!!!***

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Plot holes, plot holes, plot holes. This movie suffers from several of them. How exactly does Kitty Pryde have the ability to send someone’s consciousness back in time? How did her powers evolve into that? I’ll give Bryan Singer credit for pulling off what is essentially a retcon in a movie series. He righted a lot of the wrongs perpetrated in the awful X-Men: The Last Stand, and has basically hit the reset button for future movies. Cyclops and Jean Grey are both alive again, which is a great thing. Now hopefully Scott Summers can finally get the movie treatment he deserves!

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However, in resetting the timeline, they’ve left a ton of lingering questions. With Jean alive and still a part of the team, did the events in 1973 change the history of Jean having the dormant uncontrollable power that we saw in previous films? Or did Professor X do a better job of helping her control it than he did before? The final shot before the credits shows that the William Stryker that takes Logan is actually Mystique…so is Mystique the one that creates the Weapon X program? If so, why would she do that? If she did, how are she and Stryker seen on screen together in X2? Or are they saying that the events of that movie never took place? If those events never took place, does Wolverine not have adamantium fused to his skeleton? After the climactic battle, Magneto and Mystique leave separately and are not on good terms as each shot the other at one point during the movie. So how/why to they end up back together and just as close as ever at the beginning of the first film?

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I was really looking forward to seeing the Sentinels in action. Unfortunately, the ones in 1973 weren’t really shown as being particularly formidable, and spent more time under the control of Magneto than they did as being a threat to all mutants.

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Then there’s the stinger. We get a tease of what’s coming up next in the series: Apocalypse…complete with the Four Horsemen. I have to admit that I’m extremely excited about this prospect. Apocalypse is one of my absolute favorite villains in all of comics. I’m a little disappointed to see them bringing in the telekinetic powers of the character, as I think he’s pretty freaking awesome without them, and have thought they were terribly unnecessary since they first brought them into the comics.

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Even with all the questions left unanswered, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I just feel it could have been better. However, it looks like the movie franchise about our favorite mutants is going in a much better direction.

You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy (Part 2)

I have to say that creating this list was harder than I thought it would be. There are just so many great villains in the realm of comic books that it pained me to leave some of them off the list. But enough about my nerd heartbreak…let’s get to the list. Without further ado, here is the first installment of my 25 Greatest Comic Book Villains:

Honorable Mentions (if you were looking forward to seeing these baddies on the list, sorry. They didn’t quite make the cut.): Black Adam, Brainiac, Bullseye, Captain Cold, Catwoman, Deathstroke, General Zod, Kid Miracleman, Mr. Sinister, Negan, The Riddler, The Shredder, Ultron.

25. The Governor (The Walking Dead)

governor

 While current TWD big bad Negan is actually more of a clinical sociopath, in terms of causing pure mayhem, The Governor reigns supreme. He cut off Rick’s hand. He tied up Michonne and preceded to repeatedly, violently rape her and forced Glenn to listen while he did it. He kept his zombie daughter on a leash and fed his enemies to her. He brutally hacked Tyrese’s head off. He orchestrated the attacks on the prison where Rick’s group had made a home, directly causing the deaths of Hershel, Axel, Rick’s wife Lori, and their baby Judith. Needless to say The Governor was a depraved psychopath who enjoyed the suffering of others. Had his campaign of terror not been cut short by way of a bullet to back of the head, he might have ranked even higher on this list. The version of this character on the television show, is quite the villain in its own right.

24. Bane (Batman)

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The “Man Who Broke the Bat”. The Dark Knight was the untouchable protector of Gotham City. Countless criminals had tried their hand at eliminating the Bat, and all had come up short. Then along came Bane. Not content to merely kill Batman, Bane set out to humiliate and cripple him so he could “rule” Gotham. He broke all of Batman’s foes out of Arkham Asylum to weaken and study him. He deduced Batman’s true identity, and attacked him when he was at his weakest and most vulnerable…inside Wayne Manor. In the ensuing fight, Bane broke Batman’s back. A genius-level intellect, an indomitable will, a masterful strategic mind, sheer ruthlessness, and superhuman strength, speed, and endurance courtesy of the steroid Venom combined to make Bane the perfect match for Batman.

23. Ozymandias (Watchmen)

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While not a villain in the truest sense, his death toll is surpassed only by those with the power to destroy entire planets. Most villains understand that what they’re doing is wrong but just don’t care; Ozymandias believed that the atrocities he commited were for the greater good. He manipulates everyone around him, friend or foe, in an effort to cover his tracks and assure his plan comes to fruition. He is referred to as “the world’s smartest man”, and it’s that intelligence paired with his strength and speed being pushed to the peak of human ability, that makes him believe that he is best suited to determine the future of the planet. His ultimate goal was to create a utopian civilization; his methods were murdering millions in a staged alien attack that would bond the world together against a common enemy. His callous and overly-logical defense of these actions secure his place along side the worst of the worst.

22. Venom (Spider-Man)

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Possibly the most popular member of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. The symbiotic organism that became Peter Parker’s black costume eventually attaches itself to Eddie Brock, a reporter who had been revealed a fraud and disgraced by Spider-Man. They’re mutual hate for him (and Brock’s cancer that caused him to produce excess amounts of adrenaline) formed an immediate bond between them. Then they set out on destroying the life of their common enemy. They terrorized Peter’s wife Mary Jane, attacked Peter both in and out of his costume, and actually managed to defeat Spider-Man on more than one occasion. Eventually the symbiote finds a host in Spider-Man villain Scorpion, to continue his crusade against his former host.

21. Apocalypse (X-Men)

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En Sabah Nur believes that a war between mutants and humans is inevitable, and to ensure that mutantkind wins that war, he strives to create an army of the greatest, most powerful mutants. Obsessed with the idea of “survival of the fittest”, he pits mutant against mutant in fights to the death. The mutants who survive these encounters are viewed as worthy of his army…he then manipulates their genes and alters their bodies to prepare them even further. Of course his ultimate goal is to rule the world once this inevitable war is over…if you’re going to dream, dream big right? Oh, and to top it all off, to ensure that this war takes place, Apocalypse sets the wheels for it in motion. Apocalypse has physically and mentally tortured several of the X-Men in an attempt to assimilate them into his army, most notably Angel. He ripped Angel’s wings from his body replacing them with metallic wings comprised of razor-sharp blades, and altered his skin into a pale blue color making a normal life practically impossible.

Come back tomorrow for #’s 20-16.