Friday, March 5, 2010

Avengers Week: Day Two

And we’re back. Today I’d like to touch on a few members f the Avengers. Now I can’t talk about all of them because there’s so many characters associated with the team that’d I’d be here all week (Also I’m no expert on the comic so I may end up talking a lot of nonsense). I’m going to keep it small, concentrating on characters that provoke a strong emotional response in me.

Avengers Week

Day Two

Captain America: Steve Rogers was a skinny little punk who was just too dang puny to enlist in the US Army during World War II, but when Uncle Sam asked for test subjects to try a new super soldier serum he jumped at the chance to serve his county. He gained no superhuman powers but rather gained peek human conditioning making him stronger, faster and more capable than the average American slobs could ever hope to be thanks to steroids. Rather than becoming a baseball player Rogers’ joins in the fight against the axis and punch Hitler in the face as Captain America.

The default leader of the team, despite being an obvious loner

Cap was not a founding Avenger but he was sort of reintroduced in the Siler Age in an early issue and kind of has retroactive founder status. He’s also the poster Avenger; when most comic fans think of this team they think Captain America. He’s usually leading them because every other Avenger is horribly incompetent in that function. Also despite his flag waving colors he’s actually not an agent of the American government though he is usually on good terms with law enforcement agents. Rather he represents the spirit of America which means he has, on occasion, beaten the crap out of government guys and wage war on the country. Though usually he’s pretty chill.

Unlike his “Ultimate Marvel Universe” counterpart who enjoys beating his friends half to death and declaring that the “A” on his forehead doesn’t stand for ‘France”.

Thor: In Norse mythology Thor was a lunk-head who really liked killing giants. In Marvel Comics he’s a superhero. I totally get it. (Marvel’s) Thor apparently was a big dumb jerk walking around Asgard like he owned the place so his father Odin banished him to Earth in the form of crippled guy (Donald Blake) to teach him some humility. Since then he’s become one of the world’s most steadfast champions, while still making time to occasionally beat up giants (Presumably he only barely tolerates Giant-Man).

A founder of the team (His evil brother Loki was the threat that brought them together) Thor is a longer member who always is ready to fight by the side of his mortal friends. A lot of fans seem to dislike Thor because, as the powerful god of thunder, he is hard to relate to and therefore not that interesting. These are the same people who also think Superman is lame. Allow me to offer a rebuttal: shut up, Thor is awesome! Jerk…

Iron Man: Another founder Tony Stark was a brilliant scientist and billionaire industrialist who was kidnapped by some foreign menace (Who that menace was depends on who America is currently fighting) during which his heart was punctured by shrapnel or somehting. Luckily, being a genius, Stark built himself a high tech suit of armor that was one part heart regulator one part communist killing machine that he must use or else he dies. He poses as his own bodyguard Iron Man (Because everyone in the Marvel universe is a gullible twit) and fights the Red Menace that threaten the forces of capitalism.

Iron Man is one of the most sinister and manipulative beloved heroes in the Marvel universe whose many acts of heroism included collaborating with the evil Kang the Conqueror to destroy the Avengers from within taking control of the superhero community and turning them into an army for America faking his death in order to avoid prosecution for his evil deeds stopped the sinister Mandarin from unionizing Stark’s employees doing something undoubtedly evil.

Uh…let’s move on.

The Scarlet Witch: Part of Cap’s Quirky Quartet Wanda Maximoff is a mutant and the daughter of X-Men villain Magneto. She spent her early appearances as a mutant terrorist with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and also pretty much doing nothing but being weak and sought after by her male teammates (Thanks for the female empowerment, Stan) and yet somehow she and her twin brother Quicksilver tricked Captain America into letting them join the Avengers during a point when he was the only current member. Over the years Wanda has become a more powerful and dynamic character but she’s hindered her ability to win me over as a fan as she at some point married a damn robot. And she knew it was a robot beforehand. Dude, really? Anyway I’d tell you what her powers are but apparently the writers like to keep going back and changing the nature and the scope of her abilities. At some point she could a) manipulate probability, b) control Chaos Magic, and c) alter reality as she saw fit.

Noted technophile and obvious loner. Don't leave alone with toaster

In the last decade writers remembered that at some point she had magic children (With her wind-up husband) that she ended up losing (becuase they weren’t real or something) so they decided to have it be the focal point of her going crazy-bananas and killing half the Avengers and depowering 90% of all Mutants. I assume this happened because modern Marvel doesn’t like empowered women either.

The Vision: AKA “That Robot Wanda Married”, the Vision is an android built by the villainous robot Ultron who in turn was built by incompetent scientist Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant-Man). The Vision was supposed to destroy the Avengers from within but was convinced that if he turned to the side of good then he’d get to make-out with the Scarlet Witch (So I assume, anyway). I guess he's a robot who can love. He’s one of those guys that I can’t see outside of the Avengers books, nor would I want to. He has many powers including density control and flight which makes him among the most useful teams members. He also sometimes weeps in order to show that “Even an Android Can Cry” so he’s kind of a wussy. These days he’s technically dead; killed by his crazy, reality warping ex-wife (HINT: Wanda). The current version of the Vision is actually a sentient suit of armor built by Kang the Conqueror as a gift for his less-evil teenage self (So confusing). This version of the Vision prefers making out with teenage girls.

Here's a picture of the Vision:

Meh. Close enough

Hank Pym/Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellow Jacket/The Wasp (For some reason): Hank Pym discovered a new type of sub-atomic particles (Dubbed “Pym Particles) that allow size change or something. He soon becomes Ant-Man, the most useless hero in the 1960s Marel Universe. Later he becomes Giant-Man, a less useless but still pretty useless identity. A founder of the team Pym is usually regarded as one of the higher ups of the team, but due to repeated instances of critical science failure (Getting stuck in giant form; creating a murderous robot and forgetting about it) and several bouts with insanity (Caused by Critical Science Failure) he’s something of joke.

Once while insane and not his normal self he hit his then-wife the Wasp which became his most well-known character trait despite it never happening again once he was cured of his crazy. Even Marvel takes jabs at that every once in a while. Frankly I think there are plenty of other lame and horrible things that Hank has done for us to make fun of, but that’s just me.

Recently Pym has donned the identity of The Wasp as the original one was recently killed. Am I the only one who finds this creepy?

Spider-Man: Yes, eventually Spider-Man joined the Avengers after several decades of being too untrustworthy and dangerous. It happened in 2004, I believe, after the Scarlet Witch killed all the other more reliable heroes and presumably Captain America and Iron Man were desperate. Bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining super powers instead of dying of radiation poisoning Peter Parker became Spider-Man in order cash in and make that mother loving money. After he accidently allowed his Uncle Ben to be murdered he wised up and became a superhero for real. He’s usually the moral center of the Marvel Universe, often speaking as the everyman. He once made a deal with the devil to keep his 80 year old Aunt May alive kind of against her wishes was definitely never ever married to Mary Jane Watson.

I’m not sure why it took so long for them to pull the trigger on letting Spidey join the team, but frankly after decades of him not being associated with them it almost felt…wrong to have him there. But even so it is nice to see my former favorite superhero except for that time he proved to be dangerously irresponsible by making deals with beings of pure evil favorite superhero on a team that’s supposed to be made up of the best Marvel has to offer.

Fun Trivia: Did you know that Spidey is a way worst wife beater than Hank Pym? One time, after learning that he was a clone of the real Peter Parker (SPOILER: That turned out to be a lie) a far more-sane-than-Pym Spider-Man “accidently” hits a PREGNANT Mary Jane so hard that she was knocked across a room, meaning he used his Spider Strength! Good grief! Luckily she and Spider-Man were never married so this probably didn’t actually happen.

Seconds before he backhands her for making a tuna melt again

Wolverine: Wait this can’t be right. Isn’t Wolverine that guy from the X-Men comic books that spends most of his free time not being a team player to the X-Men? A guy who’s superhero mantra involves the phrase “If someone attacks me why shouldn’t I brutally rip their guts out?” This must be a typo! Alas, the baffling popularity of Wolverine led to his inclusion to the Avengers during the same run where Spider-Man joined. So literally after decades of telling Spidey that he was just too much of a loose cannon to join their team they finally allow him to join but just a few hours later they also let a guy who has little problem with attacking his other team’s leader when it suits his mood (And while he was trying to sleep with his wife).

Of course Captain America makes the point of “Hey, this guy murders people. Therefore he shouldn’t be allowed to join the Avengers.” To which Iron Man counters with “Sure he can; we need guys like him on the team.” Excuse me? Guys like what? Guys who don’t really believe in the whole “Justice System” thing? Guys who think “taking orders is for chumps”? Guys who will periodically shut his communicator off so he can go ridding of on some adventure (Filled with murder) without telling anyone and when he finally comes back and is asked where he went and why his response is displaying his razor sharp claws and uttering “I go where I wanna go”?

The only team player ever to be an Avenger is here!

Well the answer is apparently “yes, guys like that” because I don’t think Cap ever argued the point again after that. So we currently live in a world where Wolverine is a regular member of the Avengers. And also on the X-Men at the same time. And also with his own solo series. And two more solo series. And a Mini-Series.

Squirrel Girl: Nope, she was never an Avenger proper (She is a member of the Great Lake Avengers though). Which is a shame, but I assume if she ever joined she would overshadow her teammates in every issue and make them all look bad. Although if they ever make a cartoon called “Squirrel Girl and the Avengers” I would be down like Charlie Brown.

Yeah right. They wish they could afford her

This weekend I will have my reaction to the Avengers: United They Stand cartoon as part of the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show. Check back, won’t you.

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