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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Comic Book Questions

    Unlike the trivia game, which rocks BTW, this actually a thread to get your comics questions answered. It probably will go much more slowly, but oh well.

    I'll start since I know Rich is a fan of all things DC.

    Who is John Constantine? I know he has a title called Hellblazer and that he helped Dream retrieve his bag of sand, but that's about it. Is he related to Johanna Constantine also of the Sandman titles?

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    http://www.insanerantings.com/hell/faq/

    I think that might answer your questions.
    Anyone else want to add anything?
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    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    I don't read that book, so I am giving you the "general DC" perspective.

    Constantine was a character created by Alan Moore in the pages of Swamp Thing in the 1980's. He was Swampie's "Deep Throat" character, giving him bits and pieces of mystical knowledge, just enough to tease the creature into going someplace new and doing what Constantine needed him to do. He was a magician, but more of a "magically knowledgeable guy" rather than full-on spellcasting wizard. Anyway, he became popular for his attitude, kind of a British ornary bastard, and began popping up in other mystically-oriented DC titles like Sandman. Eventually, he got his own series, Hellblazer.

    I would assume he is related to the Johanna Constantine character you mentioned, but I don't know for certain.
    Rich Burlew



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    I have a question. Could someone give me some backstory on Jean Gray's transformation into Phoenix? I don't know much about how it happened in the comics. Was it similar to how it happened in X2?


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    Eh...not overly.

    Basically, the X-Men were on this space station (it doesn't matter what they were doing there) and it was about to blow up, so they all hopped on a space shuttle and it was heading into the atmosphere, and somehow there was a contrivance that one person had to stay and pilot the ship while everyone else was safe in the radiation-protected hold. So Marvel Girl (as she was then known) piloted the ship because she could use her telepathic skills to "borrow" the knowledge. The ship crashed into the ocean, but Jean seemed to die of radiation poisoning...

    ...until a minute later, when she burst out of the water and declared she had been reborn as the Phoenix, because a cosmic entity had resurrected her and her powers now kicked ass and she didn't have to call herself "Marvel Girl" anymore. After that, she got more and more powerful each issue until she went all Dark Phoenix and started eating planets.
    Rich Burlew



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    And then it got complicated . . . *::)

    I have two questions, which might be pretty major undertakings.
    What is the current state of the Marvel universe?
    What is the current state of the DC universe?

    I know that both were going through some of those massive changes on the scale of Crisis on Infinate Earths when I got out in the mid-nineties. Has anything major happened to the two universes after Zero-Hour (DC) or Heroes Reborn (Marvel)?
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Comic Book Questions

    X2 seemed to be dealing with the more modern incarnation of what was known as the "Phoenix Force" which apparently Jean could tap into. Once it fully manifested itself her Psionic abilities started rivalling those of beings like Galactus.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Jean was piloting the shuttle because the computer was fried. The reason SHE was piloting it was because it was going to go through some serious radiation storms or something on the way down, and the regular, human pilot would never survive. So she stole his knowledge, with the idea that she could use her force field to block some of the rads (how a telekinetic barrier would do this is beyond me, but....), and telepathically K.O.ed Scott to keep him from stopping her.

    Everything pretty much went as described after that.

    The Phoenix Force, back then, was described as the most potent psychic force in the universe. In game terms (if people care), as Phoenix, Jean had access to Class 3000 powers of Energy Creation, Energy Manipulation, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Matter Transmutation, etc, etc. Pretty much anything she wanted.

    Power corrupts, and absolute power.... She went nuts (with help), and the dark side of her personality (hey, everyone has one) took over.

    Eventually she ate a star, causing it to go supernova, killing six billion people or something, and generally getting the entire galaxy ticked off/terrified of her.

    Then they ruined the ending of that storyline later by twisting the entire thing around in a 'happened, but not really' sort of way. I'll avoid spoilers, in case they actually get to movie X6 and decide to do the same thing.
    \"I\'m overdressed.\" He quips. \"Though I suppose if you\'ve come here to beat me up, I may as well look my best for the ambulance ride.\"&&&&Eight, to Five, Protocol Seven

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by WampaX
    I have two questions, which might be pretty major undertakings.

    What is the current state of the DC universe?
    The short answer is, that kind of huge crossover event has fallen out of favor over the last few years.

    The long answer is long. I'll start from the beginning for the uninitiated...

    In the beginning, DC had Superman (1938) and Batman (May 1939), both of which were huge, and a number of other heroes who were, to be honest, less popular. In 1939, though, DC had an innovation: They took all of the less popular heroes and put them in a single team, called the Justice Society of America, in More Fun Comics #3. This was a landmark in comics history, as it was the first superhero team ever, as well as the start of the shared-universe concept. Superman and Batman never appeared in the JSA issues because they had good enough sales on their own; indeed, as heroes became popular enough to boost the sales of their solo book, they were rotated out of the JSA and replaced with lesser heroes.

    Things were going great for DC until the late 1940's, when superhero comics fell out of favor. Supes, the Bat, and Wonder Woman stayed in print, but the majority of other DC heroes titles were phased out and replaced with Western, Horror, and War stories. And the Golden Age of the superheroes was pretty much over.

    Until 1956, when comics legend Julius Schwartz convinced DC to revive The Flash. Except rather than keep the Golden Age character, Schwartz created a new guy with a new costume and the same neame and powers. The title picked up the old Golden Age numbering, starting with issue 105, and was a success. He soon followed the same formula to create a new Green Lantern, Atom, and ultimately, a new JSA: the Justice League of America. The Silver Age was a huge boost to comics and new characters were introduced monthly.

    Then, things got complicated, at least in the stories. Schwartz was so enamored of the Golden Age Flash that he published a story where the current Silver Age Flash travelled to an alternate dimension, where the Golden Age Flash and all his old JSA buddies lived (until this time, DC had simply pretended those stories hadn't happened). The story, "The Flash of Two Worlds" was a huge success, and soon the Flash was popping over to "Earth-2" every year. In time, the whole JLA was zipping across dimensions to visit their JSA friends, to the delight of readers.

    But there was a catch; Earth-2 had its own Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman—the ones that had been around in the 40's—that were different than the ones in the JLA. DC started to publish comics that took place entirely on Earth-2, which caused confusion in their readers. Various titles began introducing dozens of other worlds: Earth-3, where the heroes were villain, Earth-X, where WW2 never ended, Earth-S, where Captain Marvel and the other characters purchased from defunct Fawcett Comics lived, and perhaps worst of all, Earth-Prime, where the authors and artists of the characters lived, allowing for wince-inducing crossovers between a hero and the guy who wrote him. Since dimension-hopping stories boosted sales, there were a lot of them, and the editors didn't really work too hard to keep things consistent. By the early 80's the DC continuity was a mess.

    Enter Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. This was a year-long miniseries in which all the DC worlds were crunched together into one continuous history. Now the JSA had lived on the same world as the JLA and been their inspiration, among other changes. The Silver Age Flash was killed off, largely because his solo book had taken a nosedive into soap opera silliness. Plenty of other characters were killed off too, allowing creators to clean house of decades-old baggage and straighten out what "really" happened.

    And it was good...for a time. Unfortunately, the editors at DC used the Crisis as a clean slate to "reboot" a number of heroes, including Superman and Wonder Woman, as if they had just arrived. Soon, more contradictions arose, and there was the sticky issue of whether or not characters remembered that there used to be a lot of alternate worlds. Toss in a few ill-conceived "future timeline" mega-crossovers (Monarch, anyone?) and in less than 10 years (1994), it was time to clean house again. The Zero Hour miniseries had the heroes go back and restart the Big Bang, and rewrote the history as one continuous flow, with no indication that anything weird had ever happened. Of particular note, the Legion of Super-Heroes, which took place in the 30th century, was completely wiped out and restarted as if no Legion comic had ever been written.

    That set things pretty straight, until Alex Ross created Kingdom Come. This was a beautifully painted miniseries that delved into a dark near-future of the DC universe, where older versions of the JLA heroes leave retirement to combat a new generation of younger violent "heroes". It is rightly a modern masterpiece, but it caused a new wrinkle: it existed wholly outside of traditional history, which flew in the face of all the reshuffling DC had done with Crisis and Zero Hour. DC thus create the Elseworlds imprint, which was a way of saying, "These stories are just pretend." (Which is kind of silly, since it's ALL just pretend.) Elsewords stories flourished and were enormously popular, but fans wanted to see things like the Kingdom Come characters interacting with core DC versions of themselves. In 1999, DC released The Kingdom, a 7-issue series that revisited the Kingdom Come era and found a way to "mix" it with standard continuity. They invented soemthing called "Hypertime" which amounts to them saying, "Every story happens, y'know, somewhere." Frankly, it was a cheap ploy to milk Kingdom Come's success that was not well-received. Today, you pretty much never hear the word "hypertime" in DC comics.

    Since then, DC has shied away from the big multi-character crossover series, and focuses on making their core titles good and putting out the occasional Elseworlds series. The most important recent development is the surge in JSA popularity over the last 2-3 years which began with Starman in the 90's. JSA is one of DC's top books now, and the old heroes are getting more play in the DC universe than they have since the 1940's. There's also a trend to bring back characters that were killed off or retired; Green Arrow and Hawkman were both raised from the dead (literally) and now have high-selling solo books.

    So that's DC, I guess. Confusing, ain't it?
    Rich Burlew



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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Thanks Giant, that was a bit more than I expected, but will be helpful to the un-innitiated.

    Anyone want to try and tackle Marvel?
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Another one for Giant. I know that Mr. Miracle was a new God and that his name was "Scott Free" what is\was his story?

    *I just found him an interesting character in the few times I saw him.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    My knowledge there is limited.

    He was the son of Highfather, the ruler of the New Gods, who was traded to Darkseid as part of a peace treaty. (Darkseid's son, Orion, was sent to New Gensis in return.) Scott was raised as a warrior in Apokolips' army, but was still "good" and wanted freedom. He escaped with the help of one of Darkseid's other warriors, Big Barda (member of the Female Furies), who fell in love with him. The pair escaped to Earth, where Scott was taken in by a circus escape artist. He learned the craft and using his advanced slien knowledge, extended it to new levels. Thus, he became the "greatest escape artist ever". Of course, all that happened as backstory; the meat of the book was him on Earth fighting Darkseid and escaping amazing traps. After Kirby stopped writing the series, he eventually kind of merged into regular DC continuity and even joined the Justice League in the late 80's.

    Basically, from a comic publishing point of view, "Mister Miracle" was the part of Jack Kirby's Fourth World setting that intersected with Earth. The "New Gods" book usually dealt only with New Genesis and Apokolips.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Stormy, I've got a Dr. Strange Q for ya.
    What was up with the eyepatch? What caused him to need it and when did his eye heal back?
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Crap, I'm not at home. I believe I have the issue where they discuss his needing the eye patch (or maybe that's Nick Fury.)

    I'll double check when I get home tonight if you don't hear anything.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Deep Breath.

    During the second Strange Tales series, Dr. Strange became a black magician. *This was due to his destruction of all of his items of power, to keep them from the slimy mitts of the alien sorcerer Urthona (a fabulous story arc). *It turns out later that most of them weren't destroyed after all (cheesily - an attempt to bring the series back on line), but stolen at the time of destruction by Agamotto - one of Dr. Strange's White Magic patrons (and 1/3 of the Vishanti). *You'd think the giant caterpiller would have told him, but nooo.... *

    Unfortunately, this weakened him, and he was forced to use black magic to defend himself and the world from the released beings of power (the destructions of the items broke lots of seals - thus royally confusing people who later found out the seals hadn't been broken, but ripped off by Agamotto. *Major continuity issue, there). *Under the mentorship of an old enemy of his former master (and black magician), *Kaluu, he fought a number of Elder Beings and old ones.

    During his first battle as the disciple of the Black Magician, against the creature Ghaszash Nyirh, Dr. Strange disobeyed Kaluu's commands, and took a spear of dark magic in the eye. *It destroyed the eye, but his master wove an eyepatch that would trap the energy, allowing him to summon it for use.

    Eventually, Dr. Strange battled Shuma-gorath, a monstrous, Cthulunoid old one, for the earth, giving up his own spirit in the process in order to gain the power to battle this being (stealing it from the Chaoslord Arioch, a blatant Elric ripoff). *He did the impossible, slaying the old one, and managed to return to Earth. *In the process, it seems he purged the darkness from his spirit, and became a white mage again.

    In the next Dr. Strange series (Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, occurring after Strange Tales, volume 2), he received a gift from Agamotto, in addition to his stuff - his eye was 'replaced' with the eye of one of his former foes, Silver Dagger. *

    Phew. *That's the short form. *:) *For more information, see Strange Tales, Volume II.

    Further questions? *More detail would have to wait until I got home from work and checked my issues...
    \"I\'m overdressed.\" He quips. \"Though I suppose if you\'ve come here to beat me up, I may as well look my best for the ambulance ride.\"&&&&Eight, to Five, Protocol Seven

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    Ah, I was just confused by the eyepatch during the Atlantis Attacks Annuals that I've been re-reading. Thanks for the info.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
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    How does Doc do?

    I think I developed a case of "Too Much Information". Sorry. :)
    \"I\'m overdressed.\" He quips. \"Though I suppose if you\'ve come here to beat me up, I may as well look my best for the ambulance ride.\"&&&&Eight, to Five, Protocol Seven

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    He joins with Thor, the Thing and Quasar to combat an embodiment of Set within the giant Serpent Crown that is created. Since he didn't get an annual that year, he doesn't get much big screen time. Mainly figures out where and when to strike and runs some exposition.

    I will not, however, regale you with the details of the GIGANTIC crossover as even I do not own all the annuals.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Okay, so I saw the "Eclipso" episode of Justice League this last weekend and am just curious as to how the origin shown there synchs up with the origin used in the original DC comics.

    I noticed a distinct lack of super strength, energy blasts, and imperviousness on the part of those taken over by the Heart of Darkness unless they already possessed such abilities.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    Sorry if this is off topic but I have a question. How exactly did Black Cat lose her powers (claws, strength, agility)?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogotter
    Sorry if this is off topic but I have a question. *How exactly did Black Cat lose her powers (claws, strength, agility)?
    It's not off-topic at all, but I don't know the answer. As far as I was aware, the Black Cat's only "superpower" is the ability to grant bad luck to people. Her agility and strength were just gymnastic training, and she wore claws on her fingers. However, it's more than possible that at some point in Spider-Man lore she actually did gain strength and agility, so never mind. ;)
    Rich Burlew



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    Quote Originally Posted by Tae_Kwon_Dan
    Okay, so I saw the "Eclipso" episode of Justice League this last weekend and am just curious as to how the origin shown there synchs up with the origin used in the original DC comics.

    I noticed a distinct lack of super strength, energy blasts, and imperviousness on the part of those taken over by the Heart of Darkness unless they already possessed such abilities.
    The Eclipso in Justice League had almost nothing in common with the comic book version. In the books, he is a literal vengeance demon, trapped in a black diamond that was shattered into 99 pieces. Dr. Bruce Gordon collected them all and willingly injected himself with some kind of extract, and this turned him into Eclipso. As Eclipso, he could release people's evil side, essentially turning them evil, as well as shoot darkness bolts and take a beating.

    (Oh, and Eclipso the HeroClix has Mind Control, Impervious, and Barrier, not super-strength.)
    Rich Burlew



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  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogotter
    Sorry if this is off topic but I have a question. *How exactly did Black Cat lose her powers (claws, strength, agility)?

    Thanks.
    I got this one!

    Black Cat's enhance probability manipulation also came with an increase in speed and agility. It was a result of the Kingpin's scientific experiments on her, at her request (silly girl!).

    Unfortunately, her bad luck also affected Spiderman. Gee. Setup, anyone? Spiderman, not understanding the source of the bad luck (and also having broken up with the Black Cat) did a very wise thing (wait for it). He went to Dr. Strange! :) The two had cooperated a couple of times previously, so who better to ask about 'bad luck'?

    When Dr. Strange mystically removed his bad luck...poof. There went the Black Cat's powers, the cause of said bad luck.

    Dr. Strange comes through again!

    \"I\'m overdressed.\" He quips. \"Though I suppose if you\'ve come here to beat me up, I may as well look my best for the ambulance ride.\"&&&&Eight, to Five, Protocol Seven

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    Alright Giant,
    I noticed on the DC unleashed thread that you were pretty happy with all the Us in the set so you are probably knowledgeable about this question.

    Who are Mr. Bones and the General?
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    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Bones was born with transparent flesh and a cyanide touch. As an young adult, he was forced into being in a supervillain group by the scientists who engineered him, and they fought Infinity Inc. once or twice before the whole thing was broken up. Bones was kind of "adopted" by the Infinitors, though, since he was an unwilling villain, and kind of served as an unofficial member. Unfortunately, Inifinity Inc. member Brainwave went nuts and psychically controlled Solomon Grundy into using Bones' cyanide touch to kill the original Star-Spangled Kid (aka Skyman, leader of II). Traumatized that he had been part of his friend's death, he disappeared.

    When next he showed up, however, he had been recruited into the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), a shadowy government agency that monitors all superhumans. Eventually, he has risen to be the director of that agency, and has since clashed with the JSA and his former Inifinity Inc. allies.

    ------
    The General is a simpler story, and not one of the ones I am overly looking forward to. Basically, he's a literal army general who manipulated the JLA and got his brain put into long-time JLA foe The Shaggy Man (an indestructable artificial life form that could only be trapped or outsmarted, not destroyed). Of course, being a military guy, he gave the Shaggy Man a military crewcut (hence the bald look of the figure). The JLA kicked his ass anyway.
    Rich Burlew



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    Ah, amazingly, I have one of the JLA issues with the Shaggy Man. They shot him off on a missile ride.

    Follow-up Question. What/who are Infinity, Inc.?
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    Heh heh. Fear for your sanity, WampaX, for once again we must tread...Pre-Crisis!

    Back in the day, there was Earth-One, where the JLA lived, and Earth-Two, where the heroes from the Golden Age, the JSA, lived. JLA stories featured frequent trips to Earth-Two, and they were very popular, but the problem was that the E2 heroes were old. They had fought during WW2, after all, and it was the early 80's. The editors at DC had a running title called All-Star Squadron, which followed their WW2 exploits, but modern readers couldn't relate to fighting Nazis anymore.

    So they introduced a new concept called infinity Inc. The comic focused on the children/heirs/replacements of the aging JSA in the present era. So you had Jade, daughter of the Golden Age Green Lantern; Hourman II, son of the original Hourman; Nuklon, godchild of the Atom; Huntress, daughter of the deceased Earth-2 Batman; etc, and led by the former child hero, Star-Spangled Kid, now grown up and named Skyman. The book ran for a few years to middling sales, up through the Crisis. After that, though, editors made the decision to scrap it as a means of pruning the Earth-2 references wherever possible.

    Recently it has had something of a critical appreciation, especially since the new JSA series uses many of the characters created during Infinity Inc. Nuklon, Jade, Obsidian, Northwind, Hourman II, a new Star-Spangled Kid, Power Girl, Hector Hall, Brainwave, and others have all made their way into the pages of JSA.
    Rich Burlew



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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant
    Recently it has had something of a critical appreciation, especially since the new JSA series uses many of the characters created during Infinity Inc. Nuklon, Jade, Obsidian, Northwind, Hourman II, a new Star-Spangled Kid, Power Girl, Hector Hall, Brainwave, and others have all made their way into the pages of JSA.
    Hector Hall? But, but he's dead. Even his ghost got sizzled in Gaiman's Sandman!
    \"But we must think of the golfers! Our retrorockets will scorch the green for at least 100 yards!\" &&-Batman, on why not to pursue the Joker.

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    Reincarnated. In JSA #1. His soul was plucked from some limbo and stuck into the body of a child composed of equal parts Order and Chaos so he could serve as the new Dr. Fate.

    No, I don't know what that really means.
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    Default Re: Comic Book Questions

    Well I couldn't say much about whats going on in the Standard Marvel Universe, however I do know that Marvel is currently do a re-launch of many of there titles (X-Men, Spider-man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Daredevil) under a new "Ultimates" line.

    There like the old titles, but slightly darker (generaly), more realistic, and perhaps even more over the top (though this may very from series to series). They all seem to be concurent in a new "ultimates" universe.

    As far as the individual comics go, "Ultimate X-Men" gets a hearty thumbs up from me, being an excelent read with good art. "The Ultimates" (the Avengers re-launch) is also very good. The Spider-man and Fantastic Four are also pretty good, if thematicly diffrent from the re-launches of the X-Men and "The Ultimates", which makes it kind of hard to integrate their more lighthearted atmosphere with the darker and grity ones. I've only read a little bit of new "Ultimate Daredevil and Electra" but what I read was pretty good.
    If at first you don't succeeded, try, try, again. Then quit. Their's no point in being a fool about it. http://myweb.cableone.net/MaxMahem/

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