Tag Archives: Thanos

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #5

Due to there being a 3-way tie for 5th place in the poll, it took awhile to actually decide a top 5. But we finally have it sorted out. So without further ado, let’s get started on the countdown of the greatest collection of villains, as voted on by you.

We begin our journey with Marvel’s primary supergroup:

The Avengers

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Earth’s Mightiest Heroes don’t have quite as lenghty a list of major adversaries as some of the other protagonists in the poll, but the level of a threat that their villains typically pose is quite high. Which makes sense considering that the whole point of The Avengers is to deal with threats that no hero could handle individually.

 

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Atop their list would be Ultron, an android bent on the annhilation of the human race. Created by Hank Pym, and given his brain patterns, Ultron is as brilliant as he is powerful. Equipped with an army of drones that all share a hive mind, a myriad of laser weapons, the ability to control and/or transfer his memory and personality into other mechanical devices remotely, and an exoskeleton made of the virtually indestructible metal adamantium, it’s not difficult to see why he has remained such a constant thorn in the side of The Avengers.

 

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Not far behind Ultron on the list of Avengers baddies would be the maniacal Kang the Conqueror. Using time-traveling technology from the 30th Century, Kang (who is a decendant of Mr. Fantastic, with connections to Dr. Doom as well) travels from one time period to the next attempting to establish himself as ruler. Even though he possesses no actual superpowers, his genius-level intellect, his knowledge and skills in physics and engineering, and armor and technology from far more scientifically advanced times, Kang has been a major villain for several of Marvel’s heroes, but most notably The Avengers.

 

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Essentially the antithesis of The Avengers would be the Masters of Evil, a team of major, and sometimes not so major, villains banded together to destroy their heroic counterpart. While the team has gone through several incarnations, it is usually lead by prominent Captain America big bad Baron Zemo. The first villains to really bring the fight to The Avengers instead of the other way around, they have attacked The Avengers Mansion on several occassions.

 

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It would be very easy to dismiss The Taskmaster as a major player, but that would be a mistake. While he has no superpowers outside of “photographic reflexes”, the ability to absorb, recall, and replicate knowledge and information instantaneously. This allows him to mimic and predict the movements and tendencies of any hero he sees. His in-depth observation of The Avengers has allowed him to replicate the hand-to-hand combat skills and athleticism of Black Panther, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Captain America, as well as Cap’s abilities with his shield, the marksmanship of Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the swordsmanship of the Black Knight. It may not seem like much, but he has proven time and time again to be a threat worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

 

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While he is most notably a villain of Thor, Loki has been a significant adversary of The Avengers as well. In fact he inadvertantly lead to the creation of the team. He had used The Hulk as a puppet to try to get revenge on Thor. Eventually his deceit is discovered and Rick Jones, Hulk’s sometimes sidekick, reaches out to Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp to assist them in defeating Loki. From that moment on, he has remained a fly in the ointment of The Avengers.

 

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Arguably the greatest single threat to the Marvel Universe was Thanos when he wielded the Infinity Gauntlet. Granted virtual omnipotence from the Gauntlet, heroes (and even a few villains) from across the galaxy joined forces lead by The Avengers in an attempt to stop Thanos from destroying all life in the universe. Even after his defeat in the Infinity War, The Avengers have continued to battle The Mad Titan over his obsession with death.

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 11

50. Thanos

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Possessing incredible superhuman strength and endurance, telekinesis, a brilliant scientific and strategic mind, and an obsession with the embodiment of Death, the being known as the Mad Titan is one of the most formidable in all comics. Unique among major villains in that he is not the nemesis of any one particular hero. Through his callousness and attempts to impress Lady Death, Thanos has crossed paths with virtually all cosmic heroes, and just about all of the Earth-based ones as well. Never was he more powerful than when he located all six of the Infinity Gems and created the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him control over reality, time, space, power, the mind, and the soul. He was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent…basically the most powerful being to ever exist.

49. Scarlet Witch

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The daughter of Magneto and twin sister of fellow mutant hero Quicksilver. As her name would imply, Wanda Maximoff has the ability to cast all sorts of spells and hexes, but what makes her truly powerful is her ability to alter and control reality itself. So incredible is this power that in the “Decimation” story arc, with the utterance of the simple phrase “No more mutants,” Scarlet Witch wiped out about 99% of the world’s mutant population. With her mutant genetics, she has had short stints with some of Marvel’s X-teams, but she is most often portrayed as a long-standing member of The Avengers. Her tenure with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes eventually lead her to a romantic relationship with the android Vision.

48. Loki

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The Norse god of mischief, Loki is the adopted son of Odin and brother of Thor. Loki desires for nothing more than power and control. He believes that his brother is a brash, hot-headed, brainless warmonger who is far less fit for the throne of Asgard than he. Because of this the relationship with his adoptive brother is almost always one of contention, though they have worked together one more than one occasion. Loki is also responsible for the creation of The Avengers, as events he set in motion necessitated several of Earth’s heroes banding together to stop them.

47. Captain Marvel (Shazam)

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DC Comics’ Captain Marvel, though due to a lawsuit with Marvel Comics, he is otherwise known as Shazam. When the child Billy Batson utters the word “Shazam!” he transforms into an adult with power that rivals that of Superman. He is virtually immortal and invincible, can shoot and control lightning, has a genius-level intellect, can fly, and possesses superhuman strength and speed. While Captain Marvel is typically regarded as a character from a bygone era, he was never more modern or relevant (or dangerous) than he was in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s masterpiece Kingdom Come, when he is manipulated and controlled by Lex Luthor into a climactic showdown with the Man of Steel…a fight that eventually leads to the death of nearly all of DC’s heroes.

46. Archie Andrews

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Another iconic character from a simpler time. The last holdover from the days of wholesome, strictly family-friendly comics. Portrayed as the all-American boy-next-door, Archie Andrews and the comic that shares his name epitomized the look and feel of the 1940’s and 50’s. Unlike most comic characters, whose appearances change slightly depending on the artist, Archie and the rest of the gang from Riverdale have remained mostly the same throughout the vast majority of their 70-plus years of existence. Only in the recent years was a change made to make the characters appear more current. The cartoonish style in which the characters were drawn has become synonymous with the characters themselves, leading people to refer to it as the “Archie-style.” Archie is also notable in that he is the only major comic character to have an entire publication company named after it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

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Sorry I haven’t been around much lately guys. Had a death in the family and needed to focus on that. But I’m back! And what better way to make my long(2 week)-anticipated(not really) return, than to review the biggest comic movie of the summer: Guardians of the Galaxy!

Before I was able to see it, I had heard nothing but wonderful things about the movie (with the exception of one guy on here that seemed rather angry over a lot of nothing). I had heard from several people that it was the “greatest Marvel movie EVER!” Very lofty praise considering how epic and groundbreaking The Avengers was, and how downright amazing Captain America: The Winter Soldier was. I tried to take these comments with a grain of salt since some of those I heard this from where the same people that said X-Men: Days of Future Past was the greatest Marvel movie ever. And as you’ll recall, I disagreed with that view. Now that I’ve seen Guardians, I have to disagree with the claims that it’s the greatest too. But don’t fret, dear reader…the movie is awesome! It would only rank 3rd on my list of Marvel movies, and probably 5th among comic movies as a whole!

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The story is pretty basic and nothing particularly innovative, but it works very well at being an introduction into this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without the help of any established or major characters, it was a smart move to keep the script mostly light-hearted and funny. It always helps to not take yourself too seriously in a movie that has talking trees and raccoons.

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Speaking of which, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, absolutely stole the show. His voice work was great and fit the character to a tee. James Gunn did an excellent job writing for him too, making Rocket equal parts badass and comic relief. I also liked Groot a lot more than I thought I would. I was wary of how they were going to endear a character that can only say, to quote Rocket, “‘I’, ‘am’, and ‘Groot’. Exclusively in that order.” But the CGI team did an incredible job in conveying his emotions and feelings through his facial expressions, and Gunn used, to great effect, Rocket’s interactions with Groot to get across the things that expressions could not. Well done.

Star-Lord

I thought Chris Pratt was great. Take the best parts of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds and sprinkle in some 80’s pop culture references, and you have Star-Lord. Pratt was funny and engaging, and turned out to be quite the leading man…something I was unsure he could be.

Gamora

While I’m still not blown away by the look of Gamora (it’s the markings around the eyes that just aren’t quite right), Zoe Saldana was very good in the role. I do feel that Gamora was a little underwhelming as a fighter at times, considering she was supposed to be a walking weapon, but that’s not Zoe’s fault. She was still a very powerful, independent female character that girls can latch on to (my friend Justin’s daughter said that Gamora was her favorite character when we got out of the theater).

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The actor I was most impressed with was Dave Bautista. I’m a huge fan of wrestling, so I’m very familiar with his work as a professional wrestler, but I have to admit, I’d never seen a single movie he’s ever been in. I had very low expectations for his ability as an actor, but he was a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t Oscar-worthy or anything, but he did a good job with what he was asked to do.

Ronan

Ronin was a good, yet somewhat inconsistent, villain. Despite these small inconsistencies, he was a complete juggernaut in battle, which definitely put some suspense into the final showdown. I enjoyed Nebula quite a bit, and look forward to where they take the character next. But the real gem of the baddies in Guardians came in the form of Thanos. We finally got to see him fully on screen. While I still think he looks too small, the voice was perfect. And to say that I’m excited for what’s coming next with him, would be a gross understatement.

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Even if you’re not a fan of the comic, or of comics in general, I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy, especially if you’re a fan Star Wars and/or Firefly. It’s a fantastic sci-fi flick, loaded with both humor and action, and one of the greatest soundtracks ever. And even if you haven’t seen the rest of the MCU movies, there aren’t many connections to the other films. And the ones that are there, aren’t so drastic that you lose anything by having not seen them. So what I’m trying to say is: Go see this movie! It’s worth every penny!

Oh! And if you’re a comic fan, make sure you stick around for the post-credits stinger. Nothing really building towards another movie, but a great, funny moment for geeks to enjoy!

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We Finally Have Our Thanos

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With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out later this summer, and Guardians members Drax the Destroyer and Gamora having deep connections to him, one could guess that Thanos would be popping up in the film. Interestingly though, with only a few months left until the release of the movie, no one had been announced as playing the character. This lead most fans, myself included, to believe that either Thanos wouldn’t actually be seen on screen and only be mentioned, or that they were saving it for a surprise (possibly even just a stinger cameo again like in The Avengers).

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Last week, both of those theories were shattered like Thor after Thanos turned him to glass in The Infinity Gauntlet, when it was officially announced that Oscar-nominated actor Josh Brolin will be providing the voice of the Mad Titan. Apparently, Thanos will only appear on screen as a hologram.

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I’m not sure how I feel about the casting of Brolin. It’s nothing against his acting ability. He’s a very good actor and has been in some great films (True Grit, No Country for Old Men, and Milk, just to name a few). I’m just not convinced that he really fits the character. He’s not particularly tall (5’10”), muscular, or intimidating…three things Thanos most definitely is (Thanos is 6’7″). Brolin’s voice isn’t really what I envision when I think about what Thanos would sound like.

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Of course a lot of this can be covered up/altered using visual and sound effects. And it’s yet to be revealed whether Thanos will be physically played by Brolin, or if he will merely be providing the voice and motion-capture work like James Spader is for the CGI-created Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because of this, I’m staying cautiously optimistic about the character’s representation. Brolin is a top-notch actor, so kudos to Marvel Studios for bagging another big time Hollywood personality to play such an important character in their Cinematic Universe. I’m definitely excited to see Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet story arc finally getting to be presented to the world on screen.

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Captain America: The Best of Us

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Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Captain America is one of the most iconic characters in all of comic books. Having debuted in 1941, his history is almost as old as the superhero genre itself.  So on the eve of the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’ll give you my perspective as to why he might be the greatest superhero of them all.

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Principles: The entire character of Captain America is a symbol of doing what’s right. He was created a year before the attack of Pearl Harbor forced the United States into World War II solely because Joe Simon and Jack Kirby opposed the actions of the Nazi Party. The cover of the very first Captain America comic features the titular character punching Adolf Hitler in the face. This decision was extremely controversial at the time. Many opposed the US getting involved and felt that this could possibly cause retaliation from the Germans. But Simon and Kirby refused to sit quietly while Europe was locked in a bloody battle for freedom. This set the tone for the character that they created, and that still lives on to this day. Regardless of what is popular or safe, Captain America always stands up for what is right.

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Lack of Superpowers: One of the most intriguing things about the Star Spangled Avenger is the fact that, while he has no actual superpowers, he is one of the most respected and feared individuals in the Marvel Universe. True, he had his physiology pushed to the absolute peak of human potential by way of the Super Soldier Serum, but nothing about him is remotely superhuman.

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Intangibles: What he lacks in superpowers, he more than makes up for with his unwavering moral code, a brilliant tactical mind, an incredible fighting prowess, and relentless courage. This lack of abilities has not deterred or prevented him from going toe-to-toe with the likes of The Hulk, Dr. Doom, or Iron Man. He even stood up alone to Thanos while he was in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, making him practically omnipotent. Even the god of thunder Thor, has stated that Captain America is the only human from whom he will take orders…the ultimate sign of the respect that Steve Rogers garners.

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Longevity: The fact that a character that was created to be a symbol of American patriotism in the face of a World War has stood the test of time speaks volumes to its appeal. The fact that he has remained relevant even now in a time where Americanism is not considered something to be valued or proud of, is an incredible testament to the undying hope for the ideals upon which his character is founded.

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So, let’s all give a heartfelt salute to the Sentinel of Liberty and show Hollywood (and the world as a whole) that Captain America is and forever will be the best of what comics has to offer, by throwing down your hard-earned cash to see his new movie.

 

You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy (Part 3)

“The 25 Greatest Comic Book Villains of All-Time” countdown rolls on…

20. Juggernaut (X-Men)

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One of the X-Men’s oldest and most dangerous foes. Unlike most X-Villains, Cain Marko, who is the stepbrother of X-Men founder Charles Xavier, is not a mutant. After suffering abuse from his father and seeing him favor Charles, a deep resentment grew inside Marko towards the man that would one day become Professor X. When he discovered the Gem of Cyttorak, Marko was transformed into a “living Juggernaut.” With his nearly unmatched strength, invulnerability, and the inability to be stopped by any force when he is in motion, he finally had the means with which to kill his stepbrother. Juggernaut is the personification of destruction. He can and will destroy anything that gets between him and his objectives, whether it be a building or a person. His only true weakness is a vulnerability to psychic attacks, so he wears a special helmet that blocks telepathic abilities. While he has mostly been an antagonist of Marvel’s mutant teams, he has also gone toe-to-toe with Spider-Man multiple times, and has squared off against the likes of the Fantastic Four and Dr. Strange.

19. Kingpin (Daredevil/Spider-Man/The Punisher)

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Marvel’s number one crime boss. Originally created as a villain for Spider-Man and has crossed paths more than once with the violent vigilante The Punisher, but he really came to prominence as the nemesis of Daredevil. In a realm of super powered beings and over-the-top personalities, Wilson Fisk represents a real-world type of bad guy. He’s a cruel, methodical lord of organized crime who operates under the guise of an unsympathetic, greedy, shrewd (but legitimate) businessman. He will utilize whatever means are at his disposal to get the deal done…whether it’s intimidation, blackmail, threats of violence (or actual violence), assassination, or corporate attorneys. Being responsible for the death of Daredevil’s love interest and fellow crime fighter, Elektra, when he hired the assassin Bullseye to kill her, assured his inclusion among the worst villains comics has to offer.

18. Cobra Commander (G.I. Joe)

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While most people know of Cobra Commander as the always outsmarted and outmatched antagonist from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, the character was handled much much differently in the comic book of the same name. In the comic, Cobra Commander is ruthless, brilliant, and extremely treacherous. He is the most dangerous terrorist in the world. He has an unwavering desire for world conquest, a hi-tech arsenal produced by the greatest weapons manufacturers (Destro’s M.A.R.S.), some of the greatest scientists in the world under his employ the create all kinds of chemical, biological, and technological weapons and gadgets, and an army of highly trained soldiers completely loyal to his cause. He has assassinated world leaders, created chaos and uprising around the world, and was even granted political sovereignty for Cobra Island (the headquarters of his criminal operations). He has also proven to be just as dangerous to those within his organization as those outside it, torturing and/or killing those whom he feels have failed or betrayed him.

17. Thanos (the Marvel Universe)

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The villain known as the “Mad Titan” is unique among the top big bads in that he isn’t really the arch-enemy of any particular hero. His obsession with and worship of the embodiment of Death has lead him to battle with most of the Marvel Universe. He killed Drax the Destroyers family. He cruelly trained Gamora to become a killing machine. He has even gone up against the planet-eating Galactus. But his most heinous act of villainy occured when, with the power of the Inifinity Gauntlet, he wipes out of existence half the life in the universe…all in an attempt to prove his affections for Death (because nothing says “love” like universal genocide). In an effort to stop Thanos, the vast majority of heroes (and even a few villains) in Marvel comics joined forces. During the ensuing battle, Thanos killed almost the entire army that had assembled against him, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor, Captain Marvel, Cyclops, Iron Man, and Vision. Eventually the Gauntlet was taken from Thanos and the lives of those he killed were restored, but his actions solidified him as one of the greatest, most maniacal, and deadly adversaries that comics has ever produced.

16. Dr. Octopus (Spider-Man)

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Dr. Otto Octavius is Spider-Man’s most enduring foe. In fact, Doc Ock was once considered the Wall-Crawler’s arch-enemy. Dr. Octopus has been a thorn in Peter Parker’s side almost as long as the latter has donned a costume. Octavius is obsessed with defeating his nemesis. So much so that when he couldn’t kill him on his own, he brought together five more of Spider-Man’s more dangerous enemies to create the Sinister Six. He has even infiltrated the Web-Slinger’s personal life, at one time being married to Peter’s beloved Aunt May. The strangest chapter in their long history is that now Otto Octavius and Peter Parker have had their minds swapped, so Dr. Octopus is now actually Spider-Man. While I’m not a fan of the move, Marvel has certainly added another interesting layer to this battle.

To be continued…tomorrow #’s 15-11.