Tag Archives: X-Men

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.

apocalypse

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.

mr-sinister

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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Reader’s Poll: Who Has the Best Rogues Gallery in Comics?

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What good is a hero without great villains? No matter how incredible or interesting the protagonist in a story may be, if he/she is not met by equally incredible or interesting antagonists, the story just feels flat. Aside from Star Wars‘ Darth Vader, who is without a doubt the coolest bad guy in pop culture, there’s no better place to find villains than comic books. So which hero has the best rogues gallery? You as the reader get to determine which ones I write about. Vote below and I’ll feature the top 5 vote-getters in a future post (might be a multi-parter).

 

25 Greatest Comic Book Movies (Revised) – Part 2

As I said yesterday, I’m going to try to get these out quickly. We saw a few changes to the list last time, and there will be a few more today. The Amazing Spider-Man went into a freefall dropping drastically down the list. Today, we’re going to start off with one that rose a few spots.

20. Watchmen (2009)

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The more I watch this movie, the more I appreciate it. While it’s not a perfect adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterpiece graphic novel, it remains extremely faithful to the source material in most respects. Zack Snyder, while not the greatest director in the business, he is incredible at framing and capturing visuals, and his skill is on full display here. But even beyond that, the acting, especially that of Jeffery Dean Morgan (The Comedian), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach), and Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) is top notch.

 

19. X-Men (2000)

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The film that started the superhero boom in Hollywood, and launched the career of Hugh Jackman. Bryan Singer masterfully crafted a compelling and emotional story with just the right amount of humor to keep it from feeling too heavy. With Halle Berry’s accent slipping in and out, and the dumbing down of Sabretooth, the movie isn’t without it flaws. But there is plenty more that is done right than done wrong. Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Professor X is particularly spot-on.

 

18. Hellboy (2004)

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Slightly campy with plenty of dark humor, Hellboy is just a fun movie to watch. The fact that there is so much great philosophical content on top of that, just makes it even better. Amazing make-up and visual effects add to the greatness as well. And if there was an actor more destined to play a comic character than Ron Perlman was destined to play Hellboy, I don’t know who they are. John Hurt also gives a noteworthy performance as Professor Broom…and adds to his resume of movie deaths (sob). Seriously though, this guy is more certain to die in a role than Sean Bean.

 

17. Sin City (2005)

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Despite being essentially blackballed by mainstream Hollywood for insisting that Frank Miller (creator of the Sin City comic) be given co-director status, Robert Rodriguez churned out an outstanding adaptation of Miller’s noir series. Fantastic performances across the board, over-the-top violence, and visuals and dialogue taken almost 100% from the comic series make for an extremely engaging ride.

 

16. V For Vendetta (2006)

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In spite of major differences from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, this movie is still amazing. Much more story-driven than typical comic book fair, and punctuated by Hugo Weaving incredible portrayal of the titular V. Highly quotable, deeply political, and refreshingly smart for a movie based on a comic. Watching this movie has become a bit of a tradition for me, as I watch it on Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) every year.

 

Probably won’t be posting over the long weekend. Will try to get the next installment out on Tuesday. Hope you are enjoying the ride so far. Have a safe Independence Day, and see you guys back here next time.

 

Greatest Comic Artists – Part 1

Comic books have given us some incredible stories…stories that we remember for the rest of our lives. But regardless of how great a comic writer may be (and there are some truly great ones out there), it would just be a story without great artwork to go with it. The art in a comic sets the tone, conveys the emotions the characters are feeling, and helps fill in the gaps of the story that dialogue can’t. Here’s the first installment of some of the best:

Jack Kirby – (Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America)

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Where else to start on a list of the greatest comic artists than with The Godfather of comic artists himself? There is a reason one of the comic book halls of fame is name after this man. He was the artist behind some of comics most iconic characters, having co-created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and the Avengers. He helped usher in the modern era of comics, where characters stopped looking like cartoons, and took on more realistic qualities

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Charlie Adlard – (The Walking Dead, Savage, Judge Dredd)

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No one makes use of shadow quite like Charlie Adlard. Which is useful considering the work he’s most known for, The Walking Dead, is published in black-and-white. He also does a fantastic job giving each character a realness that few artists can.

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Neal Adams – (Green Arrow, Batman, Deadman)

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Possibly the greatest cover artist in the history of comics. But while he is prolific at creating cover art, he is still an incredible talent drawing panel-to-panel. Arguably the quintessential Batman artist, and most definitely the definitive artist for Green Arrow.

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John Byrne – (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman)

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While he was the artist (and writer) behind the Fantastic Four’s “Second Golden Age”, he is most known for his extensive work with Chris Claremont on The Uncanny X-Men during the late 70’s into the early 80’s. He was the pencil behind benchmark X-Men stories like “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past.” There is no artist more widely associated with the X-men…except maybe the next guy…

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Jim Lee – (X-Men, WildC.A.T.s, Batman)

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Hands down my all-time favorite comic artist. When I think of the X-Men from the comics, the 90’s versions of the characters are what immediately come to mind. Jim Lee’s fantastic art and stories are the major reasons for that. He also helped start Image Comics with his WildC.A.T.s and Gen13 franchises. He has also had long, impressive runs drawing for Batman and Superman as well. He is also a current co-publisher for DC Comics.

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Olivia Munn & Fanboy/girl Rage

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During an interview to promote her upcoming movie X-Men: Apocalypse, Olivia Munn stated that she was offered the role of Vanessa Carlysle in the X-Men spin-off Deadpool, but turned it down because she didn’t just want to be the “girlfriend”. She instead chose to play the ninja assassin Psylocke in Bryan Singer’s mutant swan song on the premise that the character would be more than just eye candy. As fanboys are prone to do, they went nuclear meltdown stupid over her comments. This fact didn’t surprise me. But what did, was the negative reaction I’ve seen from several fangirls. One would think that a woman choosing a part that she felt was more empowering over one she felt was going to be relegated to being the love interest would be a rallying point for female geeks. But instead she’s being attacked for it.

 

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A good portion of the flack has been directed at Munn’s perceived lack of knowledge of who Vanessa will become in the Deadpool franchise. We comic book fans have got to remember that the actors playing the roles aren’t necessarily fans of the character they’re being offered. We may hold these characters near and dear to our hearts, but that’s not always the case with actors. For some of them it’s just a job. Sure you have Ryan Reynolds who loves Deadpool and fought very hard to see him brought to life on the silver screen. And while I’m not sure how big of fans they are of the characters they’re playing, Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr have taken their roles as Captain America and Iron Man very seriously and use them to do a lot of very cool, charitable things. But to some it’s just a chance to flex a little acting muscle or play a part they find interesting, and yes, get paid well to do so.

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Some have stooped to calling her intelligence into question for choosing to be in a franchise that for all intents and purposes seems to be on the way out (though of course I know they’ll never stop making X-Men movies) instead of being in the blockbuster debut of the Merc with the Mouth. First off, there was no way she could have known how well Deadpool was going to do at the box office. No one could have. I guarantee that Ryan Reynolds himself didn’t think it would be as successful as it ended up being. Second, actors turn down roles that ended up being huge all the time. This is not exclusive to Olivia Munn. And third, by her turning down the part, we got Morena Baccarin playing Vanessa, and she did an incredible job. So if Munn does as well with Psylocke (and I truly believe she will), then we the audience are the winners.

 As a big fan of the X-Men as a whole, and Psylocke specifically, I’m very happy with her decision. Had she not made it a point to make sure that Psylocke was presented as a lethal warrior, it would have been very easy for that character to end up just being a sexpot. While yes, sexuality is a major part of her personality, it is far from her defining characteristic. It’s 2016; why can’t we be happy that an actress is choosing to play the role of a women that is completely confident and powerful in both her sexuality and her ability?

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Admittedly, I love Olivia Munn. I’ve been a fan of her since Attack of the Show. She seems very fun, genuine, and likable in every interview in which I’ve ever seen her. She’s an attractive woman that is super into geek culture, and who’s public profile is rising…something fanboys should be embracing, not tearing down. 

100 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time – Part 15

Because I’m kind of just ready to move on to other things, instead of just giving a 5 character entry with descriptions, I’m just going to list the Top 30 with a picture. Sorry if you were enjoying it in the original format. Maybe one day I’ll go back and finish it that way. But until then, here goes:

 

30. Jesse Custer

Jesse Custer

 

29. Dr. Strange

Dr. Strange

 

28. Green Goblin

Green Goblin

 

27. Darkseid

Darkseid

 

26. Thor

Thor

 

25. Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

 

24. Rorschach

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23. The Thing

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22. Martian Manhunter

 

 

21. Jean Grey

Jean Grey

 

20. Cyclops

Cyclops

 

19. Deadpool

Deadpool

 

18. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor

 

17. Mr. Fantastic

Mr Fantastic

 

16. Catwoman

Catwoman

 

15. Daredevil

Daredevil

 

14. Nightwing

Nightwing

 

13. The Flash (Barry Allen)

Flash

 

12. The Hulk

Hulk

 

11. Wolverine

Wolverine

 

10. Iron Man

Iron Man

 

9. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

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8. Magneto

Magneto

 

7. The Joker

The Joker

 

6. Dr. Doom

Dr Doom

 

5. Superman

Superman

 

4. Captain America

Captain America

 

3. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

 

2. Batman

Batman

 

1. Spider-Man

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100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 13

40. Sinestro

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Nemesis to the Green Lantern. Sinestro is a former member of the Green Lantern Corps himself, but after abusing his power, he was excommunicated and vowed vengeance. To achieve that end, he took up a yellow power ring fueled by fear instead of courage like the green counterparts. He has been the constant thorn in the Corps side for the last 50 years of its history.

39. Green Arrow

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DC Comics’ resident archer. While his mastery of a bow and arrow, and quiver full of gimmick arrows are practically identical to Marvel’s Hawkeye (though to  be fair, Green Arrow came first), their personalities are extremely different. Oliver Queen has made himself a crime fighter with a hard political edge, reminiscent of Robin Hood after whom his costume is fashioned. His political views border on pure anarchy, but is typically tempered by his more centered friends like Batman and Black Canary.

38. The Human Torch

Human Torch

The youngest member of comics’ “First Family”, the Fantastic Four. Since his first appearance, Johnny Storm has been one of the more popular characters in Marvel. His friendships with Spider-Man and Daredevil helped add to his popularity as he was featured fighting along side of them multiple times. His care-free attitude and cool (well, not so much) powers have made him an exciting and endearing character.

37. Optimus Prime

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The fearless leader of the Autobots and by far the most popular of the Transformers. Aided by the success of the movie franchise, Optimus Prime has become arguably the most iconic robot in all of pop culture. A courageous heart, a brilliant strategic mind, and a fighting prowess matched only by his sage-like wisdom are what make him such a truly compelling character.

36. Mystique

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One of the X-Men’s most formidable enemies, and the mother of Rogue (through adoption) and Nightcrawler. With the ability to shapeshift into literally anyone, down to voice, fingerprints, and retina , she is almost impossible to track. Add in her incredible skill with firearms and hand-to-hand combat, along with her willingness to do just about anything to ensure the preservation of mutant-kind, and it’s easy to see why she is one of the greatest villains in comics.