The Best European Superheroes

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I’ve been reading some troubling Brexit related news stories lately, and whilst it may be in vein, I am still committed to the Ideals of a united Europe. The EU has done so much for all the people who live in Britain, a minimum wage, maternity leave, so pretty good health and safety laws, and yes even some pretty good superheroes. So here is a look at some of the finest heroes from the European Union.

 

Banshee

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The emerald Isle’s very own Sean Cassidy, one of the second generation of X-men gifted with his very own sonic scream. Banshee died trying to prevent a plane crash before being resurrected in service to the twins of Apocalypse.

Crimson Fox

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IVivian and Constance D’Aramis shared the role of Crimson Fox to allow each something of a normal life, Crimson Fox originally appeared as part of Justice League Europe serving as a long time member until the death of both sisters.

Captain Britain

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Brian Braddock was a physicist working at the Darkmoor Nuclear Research Centre when the facility is attacked by the The Reaver Brian tries to find help by escaping on his motorbike. Although he crashes his bike in a nearly fatal accident, Merlyn and his daughter Roma appear and they give him the chance to be the superhero Captain Britain. He is offered a choice: the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. Considering himself to be no warrior, he rejects the Sword and chooses the Amulet. This choice transforms him into Captain Britain, the defender of the realm, Captain Britain has had a long career serving as founding member of the superhero team Excalibur, and serving with the Knights of Pendragon, The Avengers, the counter intelligence group MI13 and even as the leader of the ill fated Captain Britain Corps.

Empath

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Empath is a Spanish mutant appearing in Marvels X-Men titles coming from the town of Castille, Empath is recruited into the Hellions and then serves along with the X-Men until he betrayed them.

Wild Huntsman

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The reincarnated spirit of a Germanic Warrior, aided in his crusade for justice by his trusted hound, Donnerschlag, and his horse Orkan. He served as a member of the Global Guardians

The Best of DC’s Elseworlds

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Elseworlds is an imprint of DC comics, the basic premise of which is to take familiar characters from their comic roster and put them in altered surroundings, time periods, or imagine them with an altered backstory. The imprint came about in 1989 with the publication of Gotham by Gaslight, which re-imagined Batman in the Victorian Era and pitted him against none other than Jack The Ripper. Over the years DC has published 100’s of these so called imaginary tales, and here is a look at some of my favourite ones.

Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty

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The story follows a feud between the Wayne family and the immortal Vandal Savage, a feud which starts in the 13th century and ends in the 24th Century. The story is split into three parts, Dark Past which features a knight named Joshua Wainwright during the Crusades, Dark Present which features Bruce Wayne in the 20th century as Batman, and Dark Future , which features Brenna Wayne as Batwoman.

Superman: Red Son

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In Red Son, Superman’s rocket ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm rather than in Kansas. Instead of fighting for “… truth, justice, and the American Way”, Superman is described in Soviet radio broadcasts “… as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.”

Superman & Batman: Generations 1,2 &3

In which Superman and Batman age in real time from their first appearances in the 1930’s all the way through to the 30th century, the 3 series explores the dynamics of the two main characters, as well as their impact on their legacies.

Kingdom Come

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This story is set in a future that deals with a growing conflict between the visibly out-of-touch “traditional” superheroes, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes, in many cases the offspring of the traditional heroes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.

JSA The Liberty Files/ Unholy Three

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The Liberty File Set in Egypt, 1942, the Bat (a.k.a. Batman) has been ordered to work with two new partners, the Clock (a.k.a. Hourman) and the Owl (a.k.a. Doctor Mid-Nite), as a group codenamed the Unholy Three. Their mission is to find Jack the Grin (a.k.a. the Joker), a smuggler who has stolen information about an unidentified German secret weapon.

And in its sequel, The Unholy Three  set In 1948, with the war over, the Bat is now fighting criminals in Gotham City. He had briefly worked with the Clock and Mister Terrific, but Sloane blamed him for his fiancee’s death and said he couldn’t work with him. The Clock also retired to his civilian identity of Rex Tyler and returned to running his company. The Bat and the Clock are re-activated as government agents when two former KGB agents, the Parasite and Steelwolf, are working for an unknown employer. They are killing superheroes and seeking a plan called the Trigger. The Bat and the Clock are introduced to Clark Kent (a.k.a. Superman) a new agent who, despite his inexperience, is placed in charge of the group.

Comic Review: Son Of Superman

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Crossing off another of the 30 comic books that I want to have read by the time I turn 30, here is a little review of the Son Of Superman. The story takes place outside of the regular DC Comics Continuity and sees the development of Superman’s Son and how having powers affects his life after Superman has been absent for 15 years and then returns to find his old friends in the Justice League completely corrupt under the influence of Lex Luthor and The US Government.

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It was a fun little story, but it wasn’t anything special, although there are some elements here that appear in the 2006 film Superman Returns. The Art was OK, again nothing special, but overall it was enjoyable, just nothing to shout about either.

Worst Sidekicks

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Following on from yesterdays post on the best comic sidekicks here we have a look at some of the truly worst sidekicks out there, and just to give you a hint about the breadth I had for this piece, my selection was limited to pretty much every sidekick ever.

Robin 

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They’re called trousers Batman all minors should wear them around grown ups who are not their parents

D Man

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The homeless hero was once Captain America’s sidekick, Cap wisely let D Man go his own way.

Ebony White

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The first time I saw Ebony White, I thought he was meant to be a golliwog (massively racist children’s toy) a sidekick to Will Eisner’s Spirit, the creator has gone on to justify his creation by saying, hey it was the 40’s if Al Jolson could do it why couldn’t I.

Bob Agent Of Hydra

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Bob Agent of Hydra, Alias Bob Something who cares, height 5’10, weight 181 lbs, Affiliation: Hydra, kidnapped sidekick of Deadpool. Powers and Abilities: None, he’s just a guy who works for hydra so IE if he dies they have two more people to take over from him. Weapon of Choice: Cowardice.

Kid Flash/ Wondergirl/ speedy/ Aqualad 

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All the teen titans were pretty shit if we’re being hoinest, why is it that comic writers are deluded enough to think that a teenage version of a superhero is going to be effective in any way, both in terms of story and in terms of sales?

Comic Review: Spiderwoman Shifting Gears Volume 1: Baby Talk

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*BEFORE WE BEGIN, WARNING THERE MAY BE POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*

**SERIOUSLY, THIS IS A COMIC REVIEW THERE’S BOUND TO BE SPOILERS COMING**

***LAST CHANCE TO TURN BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SOME SERIOUS SPOILERS***

I can’t claim to have been a massive fan of Spider-woman, my only real exposure to the character came from Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure as writer of the Avengers, where for the most part she was in fact a shape shifting alien impostor. That being said I did come across the character in the recent Spider-verse crossover event, and I was pleasently surprised at the way the character seems to have been developed since. So when I got an absolute fortune in Amazon vouchers for Christmas, I decided I would catch up with some of the latest exploits of Spider-man, and the various other spider related super heroes such as Silk, Spider-Gwen, and yes you guessed it Spiderwoman.

So when I picked up Spiderwoman Shifting Gears: Volume 1, Baby talk, and about 30 other different comics, one of the first things that struck me about this volume was that its very, very rare for there to be a pregnant superhero. Superheroics are not something that goes together with the idea of a pregnant woman. Spandex is not something that goes well with pregnancies, nor does the idea of acrobatic fight sequences with alien super fiends.

However, that being said this is volume is actually pretty close to my recollections of being around a pregnant woman, admittedly I’ve tried repressing those nine months of my life, but like a war vet with PTSD those memories just keep coming back to haunt me. Things such as the diabetes inducing levels of niceness that people subject pregnant women to, to the way being pregnant just seems to invite strangers to make all sorts of, way too personal and way too condescending, questions about the state of your life and how completely unprepared you are for this massively life changing situation you know find yourself in.

But if you discount what the story does get right, it does leave a lot that even superpowers wouldn’t explain away. Most glaring is the super powered fire fight with alien invaders just moments after going through a non anaesthetised emergency cesarean section. The mother of my child could barely lift a cup of tea for a week after receiving the above procedure, even after receiving a boatload of morphine, somehow I don’t think irradiated spider blood would do much to change the situation.

The writing, by Dennis Hopeless, is rather smooth and flows nicely, it doesn’t rely too much on established continuity, which is good for the casual reader like myself, it doesn’t really need you to have read every issue that Jessica Drew, our ersatz Spiderwoman, has ever appeared in, but it does have a few little treats in store for those that are devotee’s of Miss Drew and the wider Marvel universe.

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Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Volume 1: Baby Talk

The Art Provided by Javier Rodriguez is fantastic, its a lot less cartoon like than has become the norm in many Marvel books at the moment (Spider-Gwen I’m looking at you), colour wise the book seems to focus on some nice pastels for backgrounds which contrasts nicely with the sharp colouring used for the foreground and characters, it gives the book a whole vibrant look, that makes the action scenes pop and even lends something extra to the quiet character driven moments.

Overall I would recommend the book and would give it a 4.5 out of 5 starts. The only reason it does lose half a point is that the last issue of the collection, issue five (the volume collects issues #1-5), feels a little rushed, it seems that it is trying to set up a new status quo for the character before something new begins. The next volume may make the payoff of this more apparent, but until I read that, I won’t know, and that, is where I feel this volume lets itself down.

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

 

Best of British

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With Britain talking tough about leaving the European Union, no matter where you stand there’s a lot of patriotism floating around the media sphere. So getting in the patriotic mood, here are the 10 best British Superheroes.

V

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The eponymous hero from Alan Moore’s dystopian masterpiece V for vendetta. V has gone from comic book antihero to the symbol of revolution and is the face of almost every anti government movement from anonymous to occupy.

Pixie

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Pixie (Megan Gwynn) is a mutant” from a Welsh mining town. Her mutation grants her pixie-like eyes, colourful wings, and “pixie dust” which causes hallucinations  as well as the ability to use magic and the use of a magical weapon called the “Souldagger.” Pixie is currently a serving member of the X-men after graduating with honours from the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

Godiva

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Dorcas Leigh is a socialite from the United Kingdom with the power to control her hair’s movement. she has served with DC’s Global Guardians and in DC’s New 52 continuity was a founding member of the Justice League International and the Global Guardians, forming a close bond with Chinese team mate the August General in Iro

Captain Britain

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Brian Braddock was a physicist working at the Darkmoor Nuclear Research Centre when  the facility is attacked by the The Reaver Brian tries to find help by escaping on his motorbike. Although he crashes his bike in a nearly fatal accident, Merlyn and his daughter Roma appear and they give him the chance to be the superhero Captain Britain. He is offered a choice: the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. Considering himself to be no warrior, he rejects the Sword and chooses the Amulet. This choice transforms him into Captain Britain, the defender of the realm, Captain Britain has had a long career serving as founding member of the superhero team Excalibur, and serving with the Knights of Pendragon, The Avengers, the counter intelligence group MI13 and even as the leader of the ill fated Captain Britain Corps.

 

Union Jack

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Union Jack is the name of three fictional superheroes appearing in the Marvel Universe comic books published by Marvel Comics and Marvel UK. Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins, the first Union Jack first appeared in Invaders #7 (July 1976), a second incarnation from the same creators appeared in The Invaders #21, and a third incarnation was created by Roger Stern and John Byrne for Captain America Vol. 1 #254 (February 1981). Following The Invaders, Union Jack has been featured as a regular character in ongoing series Knights of Pendragon, New Invaders and Invaders Now, as well two self-titled mini-series.