Top 5 on the Strip: Spider-Man’s weirdest foes

J. Jonah Jameson

What’s the deal with some dude putting your paycheck in your hands and then constantly snatching it away because he wants to fire you on a whim? We couldn’t work for J.J. Simply put, there’d be a labor dispute, and he’d be sued a million times over. All because he was having a bad day.

Mysterio

Spider-Man’s foes, though grounded in reality most of the time, sometimes give us the distinct impression that there’s problems afoot in the world that we don’t know about and don’t want to know about. Case in point: Mysterio’s head is screwed up, figuratively and literally. All we know is that in one version, he’s a special effects master and in another, he’s an android, sent by the special effects master, from a different dimension. Right.

Venom

Eddie Brock’s version has made our Top 5 list before and for pretty much the same reason: He’s weird and awesome. Anytime you go around screaming “We want to eat your brains,” you make a list of weird. And also, referring to yourself in the plural third-person point of view because your body has bonded with an alien symbiote automatically means you qualify for the crazy.

Doctor Octopus

The guy has four tentacles welded to his back that he can telepathically control to kill. That’s all that needs to be said about him.

Green Goblin

Dear Norman Osborn, We at GI would like to thank you for being sufficiently crazy and paranoid because you mixed chemicals that gave you a green hue and sent you on a killing spree. We do appreciate the myriad crazy attempts you and your (equally crazed) offspring have made over the years to kill Peter Parker. But, please, do us a favor and lose the tights the next time you’re resurrected. Sincerely, Gaming Insurrection folk

Marvel character highlight #11: Dr. Doom

Name: Victor von Doom

Affiliation: Parliament of Doom, Dark Cabal, Knights of the Atomic Table, Fantastic 4, Masters of Evil, Future Foundation

Special abilities: Genius-level intellect, with specialty in scientific and technological matters, superhuman strength (while wearing the Doom armor), diplomatic immunity as head of a foreign sovereign state, and mastery of mysticism and magic enough to hold his own against a Sorcerer Supreme.

Background: Doctor Doom began his life in the nation of Latveria, which he now rules over as dictator. His mother was killed in a botched agreement with Mephisto, and his father was killed after they fled the area after a noblewoman died in Victor’s care. Doom’s genius allowed him to attend any school of his choice in the world, and he was offered a scholarship to State University in New York. It was here that he met his eternal rival and former best friend, Reed Richards (later Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four), and Ben Grimm (later the Thing of the Fantastic Four).

While enrolled in school, Doom began working on a device that would allow him to retrieve his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s realm. However, he miscalculated during its construction, which Richards attempted to warn him about. The device exploded, scarring Doom’s face horribly. After the accident, he was expelled for unauthorized experiments and left the country to travel the world.

Doom made it to a Tibetan village, where he mobilized the monks living there to create a suit of armor. The magically forged suit allowed Doom to conquer his native country and overthrow the leadership. With his base of operations set, Doom set about improving the country and eventually taking over the world.

Because he blames Reed Richards for his life-changing accident, Doom has clashed with him and the Fantastic Four numerous times in his quest to rule the world. He has also fought the Silver Surfer, teamed up with Loki of Thor’s home world of Asgard, teamed up with Marvel heroes to stop the entity known as Onslaught, and even participated in a secret war on another planet where he obtained a small portion of the Beyonder’s cosmic powers.

Relationships: Fantastic Four, rivals; Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), wife in alternate reality; Morgana le Fay, lover; Valeria, lover; Doombots, self-created clones

First Versus game appearance: Marvel Super Heroes

Appearances in other media: Fantastic 4 (film), Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (film), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (multiplatform), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (multiplatform), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (multiplatform), The Marvel Super Heroes (1966, animated), The Fantastic Four (1994-96 animated), The Incredible Hulk (1996-97, animated), Spider-Man (1994-98, animated), Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (animated), The Super Hero Squad Show (animated), Iron Man: Armored Adventures (animated), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (animated), Ultimate Spider-Man (animated), Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom’s Revenge (PC), Spider-Man (arcade), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES), Fantastic 4 (multiplatform), Marvel Ultimate Alliance (multiplatform), Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (multiplatform), Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (multiplatform), Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet (multiplatform), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (multiplatform), Marvel Super Hero Squad: Comic Combat (multiplatform), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (Facebook game)

Top 5 on The Strip: Dr. Strange foes

Baron Mordo — Baron Mordo started as Strange’s competition to become an apprentice to the Ancient One. Because of jealousy, Mordo eventually betrayed the duo leading Strange to take the position and in time become the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Mordo led a life of crime as a regular foe of Strange but later turned over a new leaf and fought a cancer diagnosis.

Dormammu — The dread lord has been a longtime adversary of Strange. Dormammu rules over the Dark Dimension, which he conquered by force and by overthrowing the established leader. He has challenged Strange many times in an attempt to take over the Earth realm but has lost. He is a being of immense power and a master of chaotic magic.

 

Mephisto — Basically, Mephisto can pose as the Devil, but he is not Satan and does not rule over Hell. He is a ruler of a hell dimension and has established himself as a broker of souls. Mephisto, father of Marvel stalwart Blackheart, is responsible for the the creation of Ghost Rider.

 

Nightmare — Nightmare rules over the Nightmare World in the Dimension of Dreams. He is capable of manipulating the dreams of humans and gaining control over them. Nightmare is a demon attempting to take over the realm of the awake.

 

Shuma-Gorath — Shuma-Gorath is one of a race of creatures — known collectively as Shuma-Gorath — that take the shape of a cycloptic tentacled eye. In Strange’s time, Shuma-Gorath attempts to enter the mainstream dimension through the mind of the Ancient One. This results in Strange having to kill his master to prevent Shuma-Gorath’s manifestation. Shuma-Gorath again tries after Strange absorbs him and begins to turn into him. It is eventually killed but resurrects itself through Chaos Magic.

Top 5 list: Worst comic book movies

Chances are, if you’re comic book fanatics like we are at Gaming Insurrection, you’ve seen one of the movies on this list. If you soak up overacting, tired drama and nonsensical plots with hamfisted writing, you’ve seen everything on this list and probably have them memorized. These are five of the worst comic book movies ever made. This list is also not definitive because there are more where these came from.

 

Vincent Perez and Mia Kirschner star in The Crow: City of Angels.

The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

You know how the first Crow movie was awesome because Brandon Lee was in it and seemed to embody Eric? Unfortunately, someone thought making a second movie and continuing the franchise after the death of the star was a good idea. It wasn’t. Not only did the filmmakers manage to besmirch the memory of Lee with a terrible, unattached story, but they also made a mockery of the original screenplay and concept, which came from the pain of a tragic event in author James O’Barr’s life. And don’t get us started on the ridiculous acting from Vincent Perez, who has managed to ruin another favorite series of ours, too: Queen of the Damned.

 

Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell star in Batman & Robin.

Batman & Robin (1997)

The fourth Batman movie is among the list of the worst movies overall ever made. Nothing makes sense about the movie. Between Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger overacting and George Clooney underacting, nothing works. Even though we’re fans of Alicia Silverstone, an “it girl” of the day, she really didn’t do much for the film, either. Most tellingly, Clooney is NOT Batman. He’s not Batman material, and he never will be. As a matter of fact, we’d venture to say that this is the reason for the Batman reboot with Christian Bale. Clooney, an OK actor otherwise, will forever be known as the man who ran Batman into the ground.

 

Jennifer Garner stars in Elektra.

Elektra (2005)

If you can watch a trailer and nothing in those 30 seconds makes you want to watch a movie, you know it’s doomed to fail before it even gets started. That’s the case with Elektra. Jennifer Garner can’t act. That’s a fact, plain and simple, and she looks nothing like the Marvel character whatsoever. So, Elektra was a waste. And you know Hollywood knows it because there hasn’t been a sequel. At least she and her husband, Ben Affleck, have something in common: Both starred in bad comic movies.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 was released in 1992.

TMNT 3 (1992)

We’ve covered extensively why this movie was a failure on all fronts, but it bears repeating: The movie sucks. It has nothing to do with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in any way, shape or form. Lyndsey really did sit through the movie in theaters in 1992 when it was released and at no point in the first 20 minutes did she think she was in the correct movie. While we’re delighted with the return of Casey Jones in the film — after he was strangely missing in the second movie — there should have been something better for him to return to.

 

Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellan star in X-Men: The Last Stand.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Gaming Insurrection as a whole doesn’t get mad at movies often, but X3 managed that feat about half the way through. Nonsensical plot points, altered established canon, blink-and-you-missed-it character cameos and a disjointed focus make for one of the worst comic book films ever. We’re not asking for much, but DO NOT change character backstory for the sake of a lead actor. That is a cardinal rule for movies based on established properties, and the X-Men have a well-discussed history that should not be changed in a penultimate film. We love Hugh Jackman, but no. Double no for making a relationship that never happened in the comics a prominent focus of your film. And triple no for screwing over Professor X. Director Brett Ratner should be left atop an ant mound covered in sugar for the travesty that is X3.

Marvel character highlight #07: Magneto

Name: Unrevealed; uses the name Erik Magnus Lehnsherr

Affiliations: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Charles Xavier, the X-Men, the New Mutants

Special abilities: Ability to manipulate magnetism and all forms of electromagnetic energy

Background: Little is known about the origins of the master of magnetism. What is known is as a boy, he was imprisoned in the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, Poland. Sickness and malnourishment prevented his mutant powers from emerging at that time. Though his family perished there, Magneto managed to survive. After World War II, Magneto wed Magda, and they had a daughter named Anya. When Anya was trapped in a burning building, a crowd prevented Magneto from rescuing her. Enraged, Magneto attacked the crowd with his powers. Afraid of her husband’s display of force and super abilities, Magda fled from him without telling him that she was pregnant. Magda gave birth to twins, Wanda and Pietro, and she was presumed dead. Feeling mistreated his entire life, Magneto subscribes to the theory that mutants can only be free if they enslave the rest of the human race.

Relationships: Magda (wife), Scarlet Witch (Wanda, daughter), Quicksilver (Pietro, son), Vision (son-in-law), Rogue (Anna Marie, wife in alternate reality), Charles (son in alternate reality)

First versus game appearance: X-Men: Children of the Atom

Appearance in other media: Marvel’s X-Men (NES), X-Men (arcade), X-Men (Sega Genesis), X-Men: Children of the Atom (arcade), X-Men 2: Clone Wars (Sega Genesis), Marvel Super Heroes (arcade), X-Men vs. Street Fighter (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (arcade), X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (multiplatform), X-Men Legends (multiplatform), Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (multiplatform), X-Men: The Official Game (Nintendo DS), Marvel Ultimate Alliance (multiplatform), Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (multiplatform), Marvel Super Hero Squad (multiplatform), Marvel Super Hero Squad: Infinity Gauntlet (multiplatform), Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (multiplatform), Spider-Man (TV series), Fantastic Four (TV series), Spider-Man (TV series), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (TV series), Pryde of the X-Men (TV), X-Men (TV series), X-Men: Evolution (TV series), Wolverine and the X-Men (TV series), The Super Hero Squad Show (TV series), X-Men (film), X2: X-Men United (film), X-Men: The Last Stand (film).

 

Strip Talk #07: What makes up heroes or villains?

Lyndsey Mosley, editor-in-chief

I’ve often wondered what makes a character a hero or a villain in comics. What makes a character “good” and another “bad”? How does the writer who creates the characters sit down and decide “I’m going to make this person evil personified” and another “the greatest hero to have ever lived.”

I’ve always wondered about those who are obviously at the different ends of the spectrum, such as Superman or Apocalypse. Superman is the embodiment of all that is good and righteous in the world of comics. He has a sense of right and what is morally acceptable in the universe ascribed to him. He can do no wrong, and he is considered the paragon of what is “All-American” and apple pie. Then you have someone like Marvel’s Apocalypse, a 5,000 year-old-mutant who is hell bent on world domination and survival of the fittest. Who came up with the idea that these two characters are the stations of their particular ideologies?

And what about the middle men, as I like to call them? Those anti-heroes who follow a fine line between good and evil? Say what you will about Magneto or Batman, but they have their points to be made about what they’re trying to accomplish, and they will accomplish it through any means necessary.

The case of Magneto is especially complex. Here you have a character based on a real figure, Malcolm X. His nemesis, Charles Xavier, is based on also real Martin Luther King Jr. Who’s to say that Magneto is necessarily a villain?

Examining the character traits of comics’ heroes and villains is an interesting bit of research for those who want to dig deep into the minds of man. Sometimes, it seems, not every case can be made for strictly good and bad.

Lyndsey Mosley is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She ponders the nature of heroes and villains at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

PlayPlay

Top 5 list: Best Shredder quotes edition

Oroku Saki. Villain. Genius. Comedic mastermind? The 1987 animated version of the Shredder was crucial to the mood, tone and popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whether it was James Avery’s classic quick delivery or the timing of a well-placed oral jab to those Turtle boys, Shredder always seemed one step ahead in his plans and his verbal jousts. Here are five of the best one-liners from “guy who never has to look for a can opener.”

“Tonight I dine on turtle soup.” – The penultimate quote has made its way into the 1987 animated show, the comic and the games.

“Sayonara you shell-backed simpletons.” – This insult, thrown out to the Turtles as Shredder was getting away for the millionth time, made Lyndsey pause a VHS and ask her mom: 1. What is a simpleton? 2. What does sayonara mean? and 3. Why is Shredder so awesome? Educational and inspiring.

I borrowed your Alien Express card. I never leave the Technodrome without it.” – Referring to co-conspirator Krang’s ability to pay for technology, Shredder evoked modern advertisement to explain how he gets away with borrowing stuff and never paying for it during the seven seasons he wreaked havoc on New York City.

“Creatins” “Blasted turtles” “Fools” “Wretched reptiles” “Idiot(s)” – Shredder’s favorite words to describe his help, his nemesis and his help. In that order. Watch a video of his quotes on YouTube and these will show up quite often.

“Blast that grotesque ganglion!” – A nice way to refer to Krang. Shredder was capable of big words that required viewers to think. It’s nice to have an intelligent super villain who could make you laugh while hatching world domination plans.

Marvel character highlight #04: Juggernaut

NAME: Cain Marko

AFFILIATION: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, X-Men

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Unstoppable force once moving, superhuman strength, endurance and immortality through the gem of Cyttorak.

BACKGROUND: Cain Marko became part of Charles Xavier’s family through the marriage of his father and Xavier’s mother. Cain bullied Charles at any opportunity because of several factors, including the fact that his father was abusive and because Cain was jealous of Charles’ success and intelligence. Later, Cain joined the army and was sent to Korea. It was here during an expedition that Cain stumbled upon the Gem of Cyttorak, an artifact of a lost civilization. Upon reading the inscription, Cain was transformed into a living avatar of the gem. He was lost in a cave-in shortly after that took years for him to dig his way out of. The gem, however, sustained him. He has no need of food, water or oxygen. He is immortal and once moving is an unstoppable force through the magic of the gem. He is not, however, a mutant. According to classified documents on the X-Men adversaries, Cain is a mystical being and avatar of a god. He has menaced the X-Men since though in alternate universes such as the Age of Apocalypse, he has been part of the group that he hates with all of his being. Juggernaut is also known as a freelance worker for hire, sometimes teaming with Black Tom Cassidy or working with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

RELATIONSHIPS: Charles Xavier, stepbrother. David Heller (Legion), uncle.

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: X-Men vs. Street Fighter

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: Marvel vs. Capcom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (arcade), X-Men Legends (PlayStation 2/Xbox), Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Wii/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3), X-Men the Animated Series (television), X-Men: The Last Stand (film), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PlayStation 2/Xbox), X-Men: Next Dimension (Xbox/PlayStation 2/GameCube), X-Men: Evolution (television), Wolverine and the X-Men animated series (television), Spider-Man & The X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge (SNES), Uncanny X-Men (NES), X-Men (arcade), Marvel Super Heroes (arcade).

Top 5 List: Most useless villains edition

Every villain has a uselessness level. On a scale of 1 to 10, if you make good on your master’s plans and actually accomplish the death of a superhero, you’re closer to 1. If you can’t get the job done, you’re moving a little higher on the scale. And trust us, both comic powerhouses have a few on the higher end.

Locomotive Breath/Marvel

Locomotive Breath (Marvel)
Fought: War Machine
Useless level: 6
With a name like Locomotive Breath, it’s only a matter of time before you have put up or shut up. He did neither and that’s why he only appeared in two issues before disappearing back into obscurity. He may have been an Eternal but, really, his name stops any serious discussion about misdeeds cold.

DeSaad/DC

DeSaad (DC)
Fought: Superman
Useless level: 1
As the right-hand man to Man of Steel arch nemesis Darkseid, DeSaad actually did some pretty nasty deeds in the name of evil and his master’s wrath. If he’d only broken off a little sooner, he could have avoided the beatdown Darkseid liked to inflict for failure. Otherwise, DeSaad was a bad man that played both sides of the coin when it came to the chance for more power.

Quintesson/Marvel

The Quintessons (Transformers)
Fought: Autobots and Decepticons
Useless level: 3
More annoying than useless, the Quintessons were actually dangerous. They served as the judges, jury and executioners for the warring factions that used to live on Cybertron. If you want to see the extent of their usefulness, watch the 1986 animated movie. They weren’t too bad there and actually served a purpose such as condemning everyone to die.

Silvermane/Marvel

Silvermane (Marvel)
Fought: Spider-Man
Useless level: 4
Silvermane is actually kind of cool. He employs a bionic body, aging and de-aging abilities and takes on Kingpin for control of his criminal empire. Because of his age, he takes on his criminal name. Not bad, old-timer. Not bad.

Edgar Plunder/Marvel

Edgar Plunder (Marvel)
Fought: Captain America
Useless level: 7
OK, the name is a keeper but he was still useless. If you’re going to fight Captain America at least have the sense to do something amazing. But he hasn’t. He’s done nothing remarkable other than have an impersonator that was killed by the Punisher. Boring. Who hasn’t been killed or threatened by the Punisher?

All photos courtesy of the Marvel and DC Wikia sites