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)

Marvel character highlight #10: Dr. Strange

NAME: Stephen Vincent Strange

AFFILIATION: Avengers, Squadron Supreme, Defenders

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Overall, the most Supreme mastery of magic and mystical energies than anyone else on Earth. Astral projection, telepathic communication and possession of mystical objects that enable flight as well as invisibility.

BACKGROUND: Stephen Strange was a master surgeon who was brilliant yet arrogant. Strange injured his hands, depriving him of his livelihood. Using all of his money and resources, Strange went broke and became an alcoholic. Seeking a cure to restore the use of his hands, Strange journeyed to Tibet and met with the Ancient One. Strange stayed for years, training alongside Baron Mordo in a competition to succeed the Ancient One as sorcerer supreme of Earth. When Mordo revealed himself as a traitor, Strange took the position as apprentice. After the Ancient One died, Strange took on the full title and position.

RELATIONSHIPS: Ancient One, mentor; Clea, lover

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (multiplatform), The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (PC), X-Men the Animated Series (television), Spider-Man the Animated Series (television), Dr. Strange (film), Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme (animated film)

Marvel character highlight #09: Cable

REAL NAME: Nathan Christopher Charles Summers

AFFILIATION: X-Men, New Mutants/X-Force, Six Pack

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Telekinesis and telepathy. Enhanced eyesight through his techno-organic eye and enhanced strength and durability in parts affected by the virus. Cable is also proficient in most weaponry created.

BACKGROUND: Cable is the son of Scott Summers (the X-Men’s Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor, a clone of the X-Men’s Jean Grey. When Cable was born, Pryor tried to sacrifice the child who was already supposed to be a weapon for Mr. Sinister to use against Apocalypse. Sinister had created Pryor to continue his manipulation of the Summers bloodline. Shortly after Pryor committed suicide, Cable was infected with a techno-organic virus by Apocalypse. To save the child, Cyclops sent him to the future with the Clan Askani, headed by a future version of Cable’s sister, Rachel Summers or Mother Askani.

While in the future, Mother Askani did two things: First, she halted the spread of the virus so that it is just on the left side of Cable’s body; and two, she created a clone of the child. This clone, later stolen by Apocalypse, was raised to become Stryfe. Once the child was healed, and had been raised by Scott and Jean in the future, he defeated Apocalypse and Jean and Scott returned to the present time. Cable later was framed for an assassination attempt on Professor Charles Xavier by Stryfe, who lead a rebel group against him. Cable married and had a child, Tyler, but his wife was killed by Stryfe. Cable then traveled to the 20th century when Stryfe fled there. He founded Six Pack and reformed the New Mutants into X-Force. He also destroyed the present-day Apocalypse and rescued and cared for the mutant messiah infant Hope.

RELATIONSHIPS: Madelyne Pryor (Goblin Queen), mother; Scott Summers (Cyclops), father; Jean Grey (Phoenix), mother; Rachel Summers (Phoenix), sister; Alex Summers (Havok), uncle; Christopher Summers (Corsair), grandfather; Katherine Summers, grandmother; Gabriel Summers (Vulcan), uncle; Nate Grey (X-Man), genetically identical alternate reality version; Stryfe, clone; Aliya, wife; Tyler, son; Hope Summers (adult), wife; Hope Summers (infant), adopted daughter

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: Marvel vs. Capcom 2

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: X-Men the Animated Series (television), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (Sony PSP), X-Men 2: Game Master’s Legacy (Sega Game Gear), X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse (GameBoy Advance); Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (multiplatform)

Marvel character highlight #08: Marrow

NAME: Sarah; last name may be Rushman

AFFILIATION: Morlocks; Weapon X, X-Men, Gene Nation, S.H.I.E.L.D.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Rapidly re-grow the protruding bone spurs that protrude from her body, and which she uses as weapons. She also possesses two hearts and enhanced durability, making her difficult to kill.

BACKGROUND: She was a young mutant who left her normal life behind to journey into the sewers controlled by the Morlocks. Marrow survived the Mutant Massacre, which killed nearly all of them. After a number of encounters with the X-Men, Marrow joined with the group. However, her fiery personality and natural savageness meant that she never fit in at Charles Xavier’s school, and she left under mysterious conditions. More recently, she was recruited by the newly formed Weapon X program, who have boosted her mutant powers so she has control over her appearance.

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: X-Men Legends (multiplatform)

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).

 

Marvel character highlight #06: Rogue

Name: Anna Marie

Affiliation: X-Men, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Special abilities: Absorbs — sometimes permanently — the life force and psyche of an individual that she touches with skin-to-skin contact. With absorption from mutants, Rogue can temporarily or permanently use the powers of the individual, depending on the length of time that she maintains contact.

Background: Rogue began life in the Mississippi bayou. At the age of 14, she began seeing a young man named Cody Robbins. When she kissed him for the first time, her mutant powers manifested and caused him to fall into a permanent coma. After she ran away from home, Rogue was taken in and raised by adoptive mother Mystique, leader of the Evil Brotherhood of Mutants. Within this home, Rogue committed crimes under the guise of Mystique and her brood. It was then that she encountered Carol Danvers, better known as the mutant Ms. Marvel. During a fight with Danvers, she permanently absorbed Marvel’s powers and gained super strength and flight. She also gained her psyche, which slowly took over Rogue’s body.

After several battles with the X-Men, allies of Ms. Marvel, Rogue joined the group to learn to better control her powers. She also had begun wearing a protective suit to avoid accidentally hurting others. Her admission to the group was rocky at first, but she soon was trusted enough to lead as a field commander and her own team. Rogue has been at times depowered and maintained a relationship with fellow X-Man Gambit. This relationship has proved to be a popular and frequent partnership among the group of mutants.

Relationships: Remy LeBeau (Gambit), lover; Erik Lesherr (Magneto), lover; Raven Darkholme et al (Mystique), adoptive mother; Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler), adoptive brother; Graydon Creed, adoptive brother.

First versus game appearance: X-Men vs. Street Fighter

Appearances in other media: Marvel vs. Capcom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (arcade), X-Men vs. Street Fighter (arcade), X-Men (Genesis), X-Men: Mojo World (Game Gear), X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 (PlayStation), X-Men: Next Dimension (PlayStation 2, Gamecube), X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (multiplatform), Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro (PlayStation),  X-Men Legends (multiplatform), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (multiplatform), X-Men (film), X2: X-Men United (film), X-Men: The Last Stand (film), X-Men the Animated Series (television), X-Men Evolution (television), Wolverine and the X-Men (television).

Marvel character highlight #05: Colossus

Name: Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin

Affiliation: X-Men, Excalibur, Acolytes

Special abilities: Covers his entire body in an organic metal outer shell that renders him impervious to most damage. While in his transformed state, he has superhuman strength and endurance.

Background: Piotr was born and raised in Communist Russia. He manifested his mutant powers during adolescence while saving his sister Ilyana from a runaway tractor. He used these powers to help his people on their collective farm. He was brought to the attention of Professor Charles Xavier during the attempt by the second genColossuseration of X-Men to rescue the first generation from the sentient island of Krakoa.

He remained with the team after the rescue and has been a member off and on ever since. Colossus briefly joined with the start-up British team of superheroes, Excalibur, and has even been a part of Magneto’s Acolytes. Rasputin was instrumental in the research and creation of the Legacy Virus cure that ravaged the mutant population. His “death,” along with the death of Ilyana, was the catalyst for the elimination of the mutant plague.

Relationships: Ilyana Rasputin (Magik/Darkchylde), sister; Mikhail Rasputin, brother; Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), lover; Callisto, lover

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

Appearances in other media: The Uncanny X-Men (NES), X-Men: Madness in the Murderworld (PC), X-Men (arcade), X-Men II: Fall of the Mutants (PC), X-Men: Children of the Atom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (arcade), X-Men: Reign of Apocalypse (GameBoy Advance), X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (multiplatform), X-Men Legends (multiplatform), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (multiplatform), X-Men: The Official Game (multiplatform), Marvel Ultimate Alliance (multiplatform), Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (multiplatform), X-Men the Animated Series (television), X-Men: Evolution (television), Wolverine and the X-Men animated series (television), Pryde of the X-Men (television), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (television), X-Men (film), X-2 (film), X-Men: The Last Stand (film)

Comic property review: “Punisher War Zone”

Photo courtesy of ComicBookResource.com

Third time’s a charm for Punisher

“Punisher War Zone”
Marvel Knights, 2008

If you can ignore the fact that this is the third attempt at bringing Frank Castle’s tale to big screen, you will love Punisher: War Zone. This is really what every Punisher film so far should have been: Gory, over-the-top action punctuated by the loss that Castle suffers.

With his family and humanity lost to senseless gang violence, Castle has to go the route of the Punisher. There is no other way and Lexi Alexander does an excellent job digging into the motif of Castle’s desire to lose himself in death. Using quick action shots, detailed costumes and a penchant for showing the worst ways to kill a man, War Zone achieves the effect that should have already been achieved by two previous actors: Death by Punisher.

War Zone’s Castle, Ray Stevenson, has the look of a man consumed with rage and revenge. He wears Castle’s raw emotions on his face well, and he makes an excellent dark anti-hero mired in a cesspool of a city.

Dominic West (who was also in last quarter’s review subject 300) is also excellent. Villains have become his strong suit and Jigsaw is a testament to his ability to take a character, immerse and make himself unrecognizable. Doug Hutchinson is a surprise standout as well. Having impressed us in his previous soap opera roles, he plays mentally insane well here. The other characters are rather stereotypical but they don’t necessarily get in the way of the story.

Overall Punisher: War Zone should have had a better draw in the movie industry. It received a bad rap because of its late-to-the-party status and drama surrounding production, but it really is a good adaptation of a comic book franchise and deserves to put ahead of the other attempts to bring the Punisher to the big screen.

How we grade
We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in case of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Casting: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Like the comics?: 10/10
Overall rating: 9

Marvel character highlight #03: Sentinel

NAME: Sentinel

AFFILIATION: Sentinel program

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Mutant tracking

BACKGROUND:  Scientist Boliviar Trask, as a way to stop the perceived mutant threat to humanity, created the original Sentinels. Trask received government-funds to research his work into eliminating mutants and this was the Sentinels prime objective. Trask was invited to debate Professor Charles Xavier, one of the world’s strongest mutants, in a televised debate on mutant-human relations. Trask remained unconvinced of the lack of threat most mutants posed and revealed his Sentinels to the world. The robots then kidnapped Trask and took him to their leader, Master Mold, where Trask was directed to create more.

Eventually, after Trask was given a mindscan of the X-Men who came to rescue him, he realized that mutants were peaceful and that the Sentinels had to be destroyed.

Trask then sacrificed his life to stop the Sentinels and Master Mold in a massive explosion. Other Sentinels have been created and reprogrammed by numerous people including Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club, Bastion, Cassandra Nova and Apocalypse.

RELATIONSHIPS: Boliviar Trask (creator), Larry Trask (creator), Bastion, Nimrod, Master Mold (leader)

FIRST VERSUS GAME APPEARANCE: X-Men: Children of the Atom

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA: X-Men: The Last Stand (film), Marvel vs. Capcom (arcade), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (arcade), X-Men (arcade), X-Men the Animated Series (television), Spider-Man the Animated Series (television), X-Men: Evolution (television), Wolverine and the X-Men animated series (television), X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES), X-Men Legends (PlayStation 2/Xbox), X-Men: The Official Game (PlayStation 2/Xbox), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (PS3/Xbox 360), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PlayStation 2/Xbox), X-Men: Next Dimension (Xbox/PlayStation 2/GameCube)

Comic property review: ‘300’

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Hot, sweaty, loud: ‘300’ gets it right

‘300’

Warner Bros., 2007

You don’t have to know much about the ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae to enjoy what Frank Miller’s 300 has to offer. You also don’t have to have a lot of testosterone or Y chromosomes to enjoy the slick visuals, fight scenes or lack of clothing that the Spartan faithful wear. This isn’t a particularly deep film but it doesn’t aim to be. It aims to be loud, cool and sweaty. And that’s exactly what you get in the comic book adaptation directed by Zack Snyder.

300 has been faithfully recreated frame by frame by Snyder, the illustrious comic book screen master who has brought forth visions such as The Spirit and Watchmen. 300 was one of his first attempts to bring a comic to life and it’s well done. Because Snyder doesn’t stray too far from the source material, everything has a grimy comic sheen draped all over it. The comic book goop the film is mired in doesn’t betray the direct lift of material; it actually enhances the beauty of the visuals. This film is undeniably gorgeous and it knows it. Even the green screen material doesn’t detract from the beauty of the film. Usually it’s obvious that folks are employing it in a scene but 300 more than covers its tracks and has a grand time doing it.

Also gorgeous are the various actors that make up the principal cast. The abs are fabulous, hair is perfectly coiffed and no one is out of shape or unable to fight. The beautiful people of the world apparently all fought in the Spartan army against the god king Xerxes and only one lived to tell the tale. That previous comic book sheen comes full circle in many of the visual elements, and the folks who kill the Persian army in stylized sequences featuring no less than six gruesome deaths are no exception. The History Channel was actually heavily involved in the costuming phase of the production and that attention to detail is evident throughout.

The actors themselves aren’t bad. While I’d not believe them as Greeks, the enthusiasm that comes across on the screen is infectious. No one phoned it in here and the dramatic portions are appropriately heartbreaking.

There isn’t much to dislike about 300. A small quibble is that the pacing makes it drags near the end. While the end battle is appropriately melodramatic and wrought with tension, it was a little too drawn out. As Elvis once recommended, a little less conversation would have been nice.

We’re action buffs and 300 definitely satisfied that need. Besides, the many quotable scenes such as “This is Sparta!” more than make up for the dragging of feet at the conclusion. 300 has earned its rank among great comic adaptations and action movies alike.

How we grade
We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in the case of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of maximum of 10 per category, and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Casting: 8/10
Plot: 8/10
Like the comics?: 10/10
Overall rating: 8.6