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2012 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads
Topic Started: Jan 5 2012, 05:47 PM (7,653 Views)
Erick Von Erich
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I'm Big E and I tell it like it is
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Defenders #51
#51 is the long-waited (?) "Nighthawk solo issue", as he has a run-in with the Ringer. Ringer has a little bit of leftover Scorpio, as he laments about society. Nighthawk's jetpack is damaged in the fight, grounding him for the next few issues.

Valkyrie enters ESU as a student and has trouble filling out the administration forms. Along the way she meets Ledge and Dollar Bill. Ledge is worthless, but Dollar Bill, a film freak, comes into the Defenders fold as a foil/sidekick/comic relief.

Also features the book's first appearance of Lunatik. A homicidal, seemingly random, villain who runs around bashes the brains out of people at LSU. He'll become a recurring problem for Val at ESU over the next year's worth of issues.

Defenders #52-56
Another fairly famous arc, "The Presence". A soviet villain "Codename" Sergei" had been stalking the Red Guardian since her exodus from the US and Defenders. He's obsessed with her and wants to set off an a-bomb to turn both of them into "ultimate atomic beings" (or something similar).

Namor hears about the plan to detonate a Russian atomic bomb in the ocean; so he returns to NY to recruit the team to fight it. Nothing much happens, though, in terms of fighting. The bomb goes off, the Defenders are sent fleeing and Sergei becomes "The Presence", an incredibly powerful radioactive villain. The Red Guardian is affected as well. While Pres loves his new powers, he's upset that the Red Guardian doesn't truly love him...so he flies away.

The Defenders are full of radioactivity, so they wander around Russia, until they're picked up the locals and sent to a hospital. Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner and uses his knowledge of radioactivity to save Hellcat's life. They're all sent back home and Namor disappears.

Starting with issue 50, the team becomes an official foursome with Nighthawk (leader), Valkyrie, Hellcat and Hulk. They remain the core group for the next 30-40 issues or so. While Valkyrie was always something of a fanboy heartthrob since her debut, they go a little further with Hellcat as she becomes something of a sex symbol. Artists take to rendering her very voluptuously, with plenty of buns n' boob shots of her skintight yellow suit. It's tame by today's standards (nowhere near, say, "Vampirella" books), but in the 70's it was prime spank-bank stuff.

Finally, they begin introducing the recurring subplot of making coffee. Hellcat has trouble with it at at their Long Island HQ and it becomes a running gag that the coffee machine is the team's greatest foe.
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Erick Von Erich
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I'm Big E and I tell it like it is
[ *  *  * ]
Defenders #57
A one-shot issue guest-starring Ms. Marvel and written by Chris Claremont. Deals with some leftover AIM villains from Ms. Marvel's title and their new robot, "Warbot".. who looks like a buck-toothed version of the Beetle. Pretty much a basic "Marvel Team-Up", but Clea takes another active role with the team.

I forgot to mention a quick back-up of Clea that ran in issue #47 or so. A 5-pager where she was abducted by a villain named Nicodemus-- a small-time sorceror who wanted to rob all of Dr. Strange's power. He absorbed all of Clea's powers, then wanted to keep her around as his little plaything (implied to be in a sexual manner, that is). But she clubbed him in the head with a statue and that was it. Very random story and seemed liked something that would've appeared in the bi-weekly anthology series "Marvel Comics Presents", circa 1989.

I talked about Clea, earlier... she's kinda' hot, as long as her hair's not rendered like a bowl of soft-serve ice cream.
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Erick Von Erich
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Defenders #58-60
The semi-famous "Blue Oyster Cult" issues, as Devil-Slayer temporarily joins the team to fight Vera Gemini and her mysterious "cult". It all starts when a rooster-looking "Harvester of Eyes" steals Dr. Strange's Eye of Agamotto to bring about "Xenogenesis" (birth of a buncha' demons) to the world. It'll begin a massive "Career of Evil". Let us not forget that Devli-Slayer used to be a "Reaper" (but Don't Fear Him) for the Cult's "Agents of Fortune". BOC, themselves, make a brief appearance in issue 60, gambling with Vera for the fate of the world.

It may sound silly, but it's not any goofier than the usual Marvel mystical mularkey.

Strange re-joins, temporarily, but he's more of a device to get the plot rolling. Along with Devil-Slayer, he leaves after issue 60.

Dollar Bill tags along with the team on the "front line", so to speak. He films everything and will use it to promote the team in the next arc.
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Erick Von Erich
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Amazing Spider-Man #699-700
Doc Ock is in, literally, his final hours of life. Through the use of the deux ex machina of "Octobots", Ock switches bodies with Spider-Man and begins living as "Peter Parker", even getting back with Mary Jane. Meanwhile, Peter is trapped in Doc's old body and does his best to fight his way out.

Peter's able to recruit Scorpion, Hydro-Man and the Trapster to help him, with the ruse of "Doc Ock" paying them 6 million bucks. "Spider-Man" is always one step ahead of him and Peter can't get a break.

It all culminates in issue 700 with a pretty big event..... so SPOILER space is being added (click away now if you don't wanna' know):




















"Spider-Man" puts the entire supporting cast (MJ, Aunt May, JJJ, Jay Jameson, Horizon Labs goons, even Glory Grant) in a safe house and waits for "Doc Ock" to arrive. Doc's frail body is falling apart by the second, but he manages to grab Spidey and fall out a window.

In a final effort, Peter makes a connection with his memories...which stir up inside "Spider-Man's" body. Doc Ock can't handle it and is humbled as he's hit with all of the death, loss and "power and responsibility" stuff Peter has faced. Ock does a face turn and suddenly realizes what it means to be Spider-Man.

Peter then dies in Doc Ock's body, as "Spider-Man" promises to carry on in his name. With all of Peter's memories and his "advanced intellect", Ock promises to be a "Superior Spider-Man".

So there's the new Spider-Man: Otto Octavius inside Peter Parker's body with all of his memories. That's...completely unexpected. Kinda' tough to have the new version of your hero revolve around a brain swap. Also tough to have to root for Doc Ock, who's pretty much been portrayed as a scumbag.

I see several ways how they could bring back Peter, though. They could write that the Doc Ock thing simply wears out after awhile and the real Peter comes back to the surface. He was there all along. Or, that Ock had some sort of back-up "Octobot" of Peter's consciousness, which zaps itself into Spider-Man's body at some point. Heck, even have the Jackal bring back a clone and mess with that. Since the brain swap involved a lot of science-y stuff, all ya' gotta' do is whip up some techno-babble stuff and things are back to normal. There wold just be a lot of damage control as Marvel wold insist: "Peter was there, all along".

Frankly, it feels very random to me. I don't get why they suddenly decided to "kill" Peter Parker. He's "died" before ("The Other"), so it's no big deal. Honestly, if something like this would've happened in the 70's or even 80's, it would've just been in-line with the main title and not a "NEW #1" or anything. "The Brain Swap Saga" it would've been known as. Yet now they'll always have a "Doc Spidey Era" in Spider-Man's timeline. Whether it sits next to Ben Reilly and Mephisto remains to be seen.

The hardest thing to get around is the fact that The Villain Won and basically raped the hero. Doc Ock was dying, but then hopped into Peter Parker's body, let him die and took over as Spider-Man. Even getting down to some heavy petting with Mary Jane. They can throw in all this stuff about Peter's memories making Ock "heroic", but it's a very hard sell. But...Marvel will still make money off of it, albeit temporarily.

I don't feel ripped-off or anything. Even though I got back into Spidey around 2007, my interest has kinda' waned since then. I'll still pick him up, occasionally, but it hasn't had that "MUST READ/Can't Wait for Next Month" vibe for me.
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Erick Von Erich
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I'm Big E and I tell it like it is
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Just remembered-- I think there was a Fantastic Four arc in the late 90's into 2001 or so, where Reed Richards and Dr. Doom switched bodies for a spell.


Defenders #61
The team finally makes an effort to go after Lunatik. They publicly decide to unveil a statue of Spider-Man on ESU's campus... since they just KNOW that'll bring Lunatik running. Flimsy reasoning, but whatever. Spidey shows up, of course, and things don't go as planned. Lunatik escapes while the heroes bumble around and the statue is completely hideous.

Hellcat shows off her new Shadow Cloak, which she picked up in the Devil-Slayer arc. It's basically MAGIC and can summon demons and other junk. She'll use it on rare ocassions for the next few years, as the plot demands.
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