An ultimate character, a Wildstorm character, a DCU character and a Fable.
169. Ultimate Spider-Man (23 points)
Year first appeared: 2000
Love this comic. It’s been consistent and fun, though, I am a bit weary of what it will be like Post-Ultimatum. But, unlike most cases, I have faith in Bendis for this title. Ultimate Spider-Man was the first series to be published in the Ultimate Marvel line. Publisher Bill Jemas wanted to reinvent the Marvel Universe because he felt that, with over 40 years of back-story, it had become inaccessible to new readers, and he wanted to start with a reinvented Spider-Man. Initially, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada was skeptical because 1998's Spider-Man: Chapter One, a previous attempt at re-envisioning Spider-Man's early adventures, had failed both critically and commercially.
Marvel writer David Mack suggested indie writer Brian Michael Bendis, whom Jemas and Quesada chose to write the new series. Marvel approached veteran Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley, who initially was not interested in joining the project and turned it down several times before signing.
The original Amazing Fantasy #15 story was only 11 pages long, but Bendis retold it as a 180-page, seven-part story arc in which Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man only after issue #5. Bagley was at first wary of Bendis' notoriously slow pace in advancing plot, describing it as a "real shock" at first. Previously, Jemas intended the comic to feature single-issue stories only, but Bendis chose his own way.
The first several issues were greeted with enthusiasm from fans and critics, sold well, and gave Ultimate Marvel a boost in credibility. After the release of Ultimate Spider-Man, Quesada and Jemas broadened the Ultimate Marvel line with Ultimate X-Men, The Ultimates and Ultimate Fantastic Four. Ultimate Spider-Man #1 was voted the "ninth-greatest Marvel Comic of All Time" in 2001 by readers of Wizard: The Guide to Comics. In addition to critical success, Ultimate Spider-Man grew to outsell the flagship Spider-Man title, Amazing Spider-Man. Bendis would later describe issue #13, in which Peter tells Mary Jane his secret identity, as his favorite issue because it shows the trust the Ultimate Marvel office had in him.
As the series progressed within the next two years, reception and sales stayed strong, helped by the fact that Bendis and Bagley quickly found chemistry and liked working with each other. Eventually, several 'mainstream' characters were introduced into the story. Bendis, disliking the mainstream version of Venom and its extraterrestrial origin, completely reinvented the character.
On August 16, 2006, Mark Bagley announced he would be leaving the book as of Ultimate Spider-Man #110. Bagley and writer Brian Michael Bendis worked on the series together since it began. Artist Stuart Immonen, already famous in the Ultimate Universe for his work on Ultimate X-Men, took over after Bagley. Issue #111, named "The Talk", introduced readers to Immonen's art for the first time. The issue was divided into two parts, with Bagley covering the art for one section, and Immonen doing the other. Issue #133 of the series is the final issue of the series but it will be re-launched as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man
168. Backlash (23 points)
Year first appeared: 1993
"Great concept...I do really miss Slayton."
I always did love this dude’s look.
Thanks to his Kherubim genes, Marc is virtually immortal and has accrued three thousand years of combat experience. He is an expert martial artist and trained in the use of most weapons. His agility is superhuman. Exposure to the Gen-Factor released several latent powers, including the ability to generate psychic energy whips out the backs of his hands. He can use these whips for various purposes; in combat he uses them to constrict his opponents, shocking them with the energy running through the whips or to cut through objects. He can also use the energy whips as grappling hooks. The whips are very durable, but beings of great strength can break them, causing painful psionic feedback. He can also transform his body and clothes into mist - as well as being useful for infiltration and defense, this also allows him to swiftly heal most injuries, which tend to vanish after transforming to mist and back. While he could at first use this ability at will, when the Gen-Factor was flushed from his system, his ability to use this power was restricted to only once or twice a day. However, his energy whips had doubled in power as a result. When first exposed to the Gen-Factor, Marc had extensive psionic powers including telepathy and telekinesis, but these powers waned over the years and even completely disappeared together with the Gen-Factor removed from his system. It is possible that his telekinetic powers contributed to the strengthening of his psionic whips, which are actually just a visible mental projection that allow Marc to manipulate matter with his mind. For instance, if one did not see the whips, it would appear that Marc was picking up an object, or slicing an object in half with telekinetic abilities, so it can be argued that Marc's stronger psi-whips are due to his telekinetic powers becoming part and parcel of his psychic energy whips. Although he had not been seen using his abilities since the loss of his leg during the Wildcore tragedy, based on events in recent stories, it is apparent that Marc Slayton retains his powers in some form. He still has the ability to turn into mist, though he can only do it once a day, for a limited time, and can only 'take along' things very close to his skin, i.e. a costume, since his loose shirt, pants, and cybernetic leg remained behind when he used this ability to escape to safety while being attacked by a monstrous creature. This is a serious denigration of this ability, as Backlash was once capable of turning several people into mist along with him. He also uses his psi-whips, which now appear to have reverted to their purple hue (they were originally pink, then purple, and finally yellow after the Gen-Factor was flushed from his system, when they took on a more erratic, "energetic" appearance along with the shift to being yellow). His most recent use of the whips revealed little, except for the fact that Slayton's narration explains he is "never unarmed" and that the whips maintained their previous "high energy" appearance, unlike the more "flaming tendril" look that they had prior to the Gen-Factor leaving his body.
I may most likely be in the minority in this, but I really wished they brought the Wildstorm U into DCU proper. I think they have fun characters that could intermingle well with the DCU characters. It couldn't hurt right? Hell, what’s happening to them now? Nothing. Shame, because Wildstorm characters, in my opinion, were damn good. Anywho.
167. Supergirl (23 points)
Year first appeared: 2004
Can someone post the animated gif where all the heroes talk about sleeping with her? I dunno the origin of that, but its fucking hilarious lol
In the final days of the planet Krypton its citizens were plagued by extra-dimensional phantoms displaced by accessing the Phantom Zone as a humanitarian means of incarcerating criminals - but ironically the phantoms were possessing those in the living world driving them and the planet further into madness. Happening upon a means of destroying the phantoms with Sunstone crystals, one of Krypton's chief scientists, Zor-El, implanted them within himself and his daughter Kara, as a defense against the invading entities.
Convinced that accessing the Phantom Zone caused the seismic tremors shaking the planet, Zor-El pleaded with his brother Jor-El to discontinue using it as a means of incarceration. Discounting his bother's theories as ghost stories, Jor-El declined and the plague of phantoms continued. Whether fact of an illusion of Zor-El's mind, the result in the end would be the same - the destruction of Krypton, for which Jor-El had a plan to save his only son, Kal-El (Superman).
Believing that if Kal-El left the planet, the phantoms would follow him, Zor-El sent his daughter to the same coordinates with the mission of killing her cousin and ending the phantoms' motivation of revenge against Jor-El for breaching and abusing their dimension. Arriving decades after Kal-El landed on Earth and was adopted as the son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kara Zor-El's ship was discovered in Gotham Bay by Superman's ally Batman and she was soon spotted wandering the city naked and confused.
Her memories jumbled and confused, the only clue to Kara's origin and purpose were inscribed upon her craft in Kryptonian, "This vessel carries my daughter Kara Zor-El from the now dead planet Krypton. Treat her as you would your own child for you will see the treasure she will be for your world."
Trained by the warrior women of Themyscira Kara Zor-El learned to control her new solar-spawned abilities and embarked upon the path of a hero - calling herself Supergirl.
166. Frau Totenkinder (23 points)
Year first appeared: 2002
Frau Totenkinder (German for "death of children") appears to be one of the oldest of the European Fables. The woman who would become Totenkinder was originally born to and became the shamaness of a tribe of prehistoric people. After an affair with the son of the chief (who was shortly thereafter married to the “princess” of another tribe to prevent a inter-tribal war) left her pregnant, she was driven out of the tribe by her ex-lover lest his new in-laws discover that the child she was carrying was his and the war between the two tribes begin again. Totenkinder exacted her revenge by sacrificing her own newborn child to gain power and cursed her ex-lover with boils and warts. She discovered that by sacrificing a child each year, she could gain magical power. By sacrificing two, she could remain ever youthful.
Totenkinder lived down through the ages, the witch of many European legends. Helpful to those that were kind to her, vengeful to those that were not. Because of her initial bad experience with the son of a ruler, she cursed many princes such as the Beast and Ambrose, and the Frog Prince. Because she would still occasionally have feelings for young men, she allowed herself to age. Retiring to a house deep in the woods that she would glamour to look like a gingerbread house once a year to attract a child for sacrifice. But Hansel and Gretel outsmarted her when she was weak, burning her in her own oven.
It was there her skeleton, still alive, was found by Snow White and Rose Red while on the run from the Adversary’s army. Rose pulled her out of the oven and she and Snow nursed the old woman back to health. When Totenkinder told them who she was, Snow immediately became distrustful and disdainful, but Rose continued to treat the old woman kindly. The three traveled on together for a while, but were separated. How Totenkinder found her way to the Mundane world is unknown, but she arrived many centuries ago and began weaving spell about her to connect herself to her new world and protect herself and Fable Town, becoming the Fable community’s most powerful witch (though other’s have been seen).
When the Adversary attacked Fabled Town with a horde of wooden soldiers, Totenkinder and the witches and magicians of Fable Town were initially tasked with keeping the battle from being noticed by the Mundane humans living nearby, but Totenkinder went to the Mayor’s penthouse apartment and called the orchestrator of the battle, Baba Yaga (in the guise of Red Riding Hood), to the roof for a magical duel. King Cole investigated noises coming from his patio and saw the two monstrous demon-like figures locked in mortal combat. Totenkinder won the battle and confined Baba Yaga deep in the caverns of the Fable Town municipal building for interrogation.
Since the Beast has taken over as sheriff and spymaster for Fable Town, Frau Totenkinder has been much more involved in its events. She likes the good-natured Beast more than his colder predecessor (Bigby Wolf) and has altered his enchantment so that he can transform at will (though it is unknown whether or not he knows that it was she that cursed him in the first place). She was instrumental in defeating a D’jinn brought by group of emissaries from the Arabian Fable Lands. She also has her own network of spies in the Fable Lands and has kept the new Mayor, Prince Charming abreast of information they gather. But while she has been very helpful in recent events, it is implied that Totenkinder is a wildcard playing her own deep game.
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