Top 10 Fantastic Four Villains

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The Fantastic Four are well-renowned for being the first family of Marvel Comics; it was the title that started the Marvel universe as we know it, and the first to show some major aspects of the Marvel U, such as Subteranea (home of the Mole Man and his Atlas/Timely-era monsters), Atlantis, the Negative Zone, Latveria, Wakanda, the blue area of the moon (where the Watcher lives), and Attilan (home of the Inhumans). The book has always gotten credit, especially from the Lee/Kirby era, for exploring new areas of the universe. But what it doesn’t often get credit for is the great villains it has introduced. Sure, everyone knows Dr. Doom, but there are a ton of great FF villains that don’t normally get their due. It was actually difficult to reduce the list to ten, but here are my votes for the ten greatest FF adversaries.

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Top 10 Marvel Events

Over the last few years in particular but really going back all the way to Secret Wars, Marvel has made a habit of telling huge, earth-shattering crossovers. Some are great, and some are… not so great (looking at you Secret Wars II!). However, when they’re good, they’re GOOD. Here is a list of my 10 favorite Marvel events.

 

10. Fear Itself

fear itselfProbably one of the less popular on the list, but you have to admit that Fear Itself really swings for the fences.

The story centers on the return of The Serpent, the Asgardian God of Fear and Odin’s older brother (and by Asgardian law the true All-Father). This dude feeds off of fear, so the more afraid people are in general the stronger he gets. Not such a great combination when you see how he goes about spreading fear.

He is resurrected by the Red Skull (not Schmidt, but his daughter, Sin, the ‘new’ Red Skull), who finds an ancient Asgardian hammer that was created by the Serpent ages ago. When she grabs the hammer she is transformed into an avatar of the Serprent, and gets crazy, Thor level strong. Her awakening frees the Serpent, and a bunch more hammers drop to Earth, and are eventually grabbed by Atuma, the Absorbing Man, Titania, the Grey Gargoyle, the Thing, the Juggernaut, and the fucking Hulk! Each one of them loses their personalities in the hammers and basically do whatever they can to spread fear around the world, mostly by destroying every damn thing in sight.

The Avengers respond, and spread themselves perilously thin to combat the menaces. The Red Hulk is trounced by the Thing; Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, the Protector, and Ms. Marvel BARELY survive the Hulk, and just manage to save some people from him before he jumps away; the Grey Gargoyle turns every person in Paris into a statue and beats the holy living shit out of Iron Man; Titania and the Absorbing Man throw down with War Machine, Iron First, and the Immortal Weapons; Dr. Strange and Namor confront Atuma; and the X-Men are only able to ‘defeat’ the Juggernaut when Colossus agrees to become the new Juggernaut when he meets the demon Cytorrak (who grants the Juggernaut his powers pre-hammer)! Finally the Red Skull leads and army of her Hydra bastards to Washington, DC where they lay siege to the city, and she claims her greatest victory when she stabs Captain America (at the time Bucky Barnes) through the chest!

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Poor Bucky just can’t stop ‘dying’.

The destruction they cause spreads panic and fear everywhere, especially when Avengers Tower falls. This makes the Serpent strong and young again, and he basically takes over the Earth.

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RETRO SPOILER ALERT! – First Appearances Can Be Deceiving – GOLDEN AGE (1 of 4)

“First Appearances can be deceiving…” (Spoiler Alert – #2)

Click here for Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe!

“In the beginning there was the word, and the word was <SHAZAM!>” – John 1:1, New Testament, Biblical quote (altered, obviously)

One of the things I absolutely love about comic books is the intricate history, not just the current ‘in-cannon’ history of the stories themselves, but the history behind the stories, the history of the characters, and their creators. What started in newsstands and drug stores eventually evolved into bestselling graphic novels, and smart phone downloads.

In this (retro) installment of ‘Spoiler Alert’, I (ERIK-SMASH!) will be discussing the initial appearances of many of the world’s most famous super heroes between both MARVEL and DC comics! Furthermore, I will be delving into the differences between their initial appearances and today.  One big difference between DC and Marvel over the years is that DC characters almost always started out in their own separate worlds and eventually crossed over into the same continuity, whereas Marvel characters have always been a part of the same world from day one. However almost all these characters started out in a series that was not titled after them.

Back in the day, it was not uncommon for single comic issues to have Multiple (complete) stories rolled into one, whereas today you’re lucky to get One story in a single issue, since most stories are stretched between several issues and later collected into a trade paperback, so most of today’s comics are the equivalent of a chapter. Anyone who already knows a bit about comics knows that Superman first originated from Action Comics 1 (1938) and Batman made his debut in Detective Comics 27 (1939), while Marvel’s Spider-man (created by New York comic gods STAN <the man> LEE and Steve Ditko) first swung into the pages of ‘Amazing Fantasy’, Issue #15, in 1962. But did you know that Wolverine first appeared in the Incredible HULK?! (Issue 180, 1974)

Real quick note about DC and Marvel. The two competitive companies are akin to Microsoft and Apple in that both are very similar in a lot of ways, both have been known to copy one another, there are a few differences in the way they get things done, but it all comes down to the fact that both of them pretty much do the same basic shit. A key difference right now would be that Marvel’s live action films are kicking ass left and right (Iron Man, Spider-man 2, X-Men: First Class, Daredevil, THOR, ‘The INCREDIBLE’ HULK, etc), in comparison to DC’s few and far between with a few notable exceptions (The DARK KNIGHT Trilogy), even though they have just as much potential, but take their animated films and DC is far superior in quality thus far with their new line of PG-13 movies directed to an older audience (Superman Doomsday, Wonder Woman, Batman: Under the Red-Hood, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: Doom, etc), also, obviously, with a few notable exceptions (Hulk vs Wolverine).

Also, one cool thing about all these first appearances is that if you can get your hands on one of these issues, (I’m talking first printing) especially the older stuff, it’s going to be worth a lot more than your average comic. For instance, Action Comics #1 recently sold for a whopping $2.6 MILLION!!! It originally only sold for a measly 10 Cents (talk about inflation). But that’s a rare case seeing as it’s not only one of the rarest comics of all time, but it is the original super hero comic of all time! So yeah, if you’re ever perusing a vintage collection of comics in a random flea market keep your radar out for these diamonds in the trash.

Now that we’ve got those honorable mentions out of the way let’s buckle our seat-belts and set our Flux Capacitor for the 1930’s because when it comes to history I like to go chronologically. We’ll be skipping the Victorian and Platinum Ages that led into…

THE GOLDEN AGE (1938-1956)

—“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”  – Superman narrator / radio announcer (from the 50’s TV series)

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