Back at it, here goes!
- Character Summary: Bruce Banner – Nerdy, Scientist type; Fairly reclusive and lacking in social grace; tends to have an air of nervousness about him, which may be do to the fact that if his emotions get out of control he turns into a GIANT GREEN RAGE MONSTER AND SMASHES STUFF.
- Common Themes: Beast within; Who is in control; The innocent fugitive and the misunderstood beast; redemption and contrition; War and Anti-War philosophy (subtexts); Counterculture and rebelling against popular discourse (subtexts)
- Good For: Hulk stories are typically surprisingly deep, and I honestly think people shy away from them due to the assumption that they’re just big beat-em-up tales. I recommend everyone pick up and read at least one Hulk story or series.
- Go To Series: World War Hulk, Hulk: Destruction, Hulk: The End, The Incredible Hulk (2012), Hulk: Gray
- Stand Out Stories: Planet Hulk, The Brute That Shouted Love at the Heart of the Atom, The Lone and Level Sands, The Intelligent Hulk Saga (Collected in Trades “Pardoned” and “Regression”)
- Character Summary: Originally known only as “Him,” Warlock was created by a group of scientists to be the perfect human being. What these scientists didn’t know was that “Perfect Human” would ultimately mean “God-Like Yellow Guy that can fly through space and defy just about every law of the physical realm we have ever grown to accept ever.” Throughout his life(?), Warlock does crazy shit ranging from fighting with Spider-Man on the moon, protecting the infinity gems, bringing people back to life, and hanging with teenagers. This dude is essentially so rule-breakingly cool that the writers had to send him to a place called “Counter-Earth” to keep him from mucking up every other story line on main earth. Warlock is also an integral part in many cosmic stories, particularly pertaining to those pesky gems.
- Common Themes: Space, SPACE, SPAAAAAAAAACE; What it means to live and experience life; The power of friendship
- Good For: People who like SPAAAAAAACE; People who love the silliness of retro comics; People who drop quite a bit of acid when reading…
- Go To Series: Warlock; Warlock and the Infinity Watch
- Stand Out Stories: Infinity Gauntlet; Infinity War; Infinity Crusade; Blood and Thunder
- Character Summary: Hank Pym, Super science nerd boy and generally unstable dude; Hank was responsible for developing a chemical containing what he creatively named the “Pym Particles” which allowed things and people to change size because of science stuff; He also went on to develop a helmet that allowed him to psionicly communicate with Ants after his first experience with the particles left him fleeing for his life in an anthill; Throughout his career, Pym has changed his name more than Sean “Puff Daddy P Diddy Puffy SeanJohn Elizabeth” Combs, taking on the guise of Yellowjacket, Giant-Man, Goliath and sometimes just Dr. Pym; He also has a tendency to “give up” the mantle only to come back a few months later; He also has a tendency to have severe mental break downs and get kicked off of teams, then beating his wife in his frustration and sending deadly kill bots after his friends so he can save them and get invited back to the team (however, unsurprisingly he fails and his wife instead saves the team, furthering his embarrassment); Similar to a lot of their female characters, it’s always felt that Marvel can’t decide how to use Pym, in that sometimes he hates violence and super-heroing, while at other times he seems to revel in it or even tries to be more badass; The one common theme, however, is a warning against the dangers of meddling in science; Pym’s creations have often been shown to be dangerous or volatile, most notably the deadly robo-villain Ultron, but even the particles he uses are said at times to cause severe trauma with extended use.
- Common Themes: Science and the dangers of meddling; The taxing strain of being a superhero; Alternative views of safety or protection; Defining one’s self
- Good For: People who like fairly unstable characters; People really into grounded sci-fi (less space, more atoms and molecules)
- Go To Series: Avengers (Vol 1); Avengers Forever; Tales to Astonish
- Stand Out Stories: Tales to Astonish #27; Tales to Astonish #35; Avengers (Vol 1) #227-#230; West Coast Avengers (vol 1) #17 -21; Avengers (Vol 3) #19-22
- Character Summary: Nicholas Joseph Fury; Generally badass soldier during World War II that kicked major ass as the leader of the “Howling Commandos;” Fury would eventually sustain life threatening injuries and be injected with something called the Infinity Formula, essentially a watered down Elixir of Immortality that keeps the person alive but does not halt the decay of mind and body, which equates for a lot of Nick Fury’s crankiness later in his life; After his military career, Nick took up a life of Super-human and alien fighting espionage with the CIA before eventually taking on the position of Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Fury is known for keeping nearly everyone out of the loop when it comes to his plans, often having many different parties involved only to a small capacity, with a big “oh snap” reveal at the end of the story arc showing that what seemed like a plan falling apart to the hero we’re following was actually a well organized series of plans created by Nick Fury; As stated above, Fury does get quite cranky and difficult to deal with, making his alliances very shaky, even with S.H.I.E.L.D. or his Super-Human connections; Fury also has a tendency to undertake very controversial missions that he deems necessary, often due to his ability to see threats far beyond the scope of many other people in his field; Ultimately, however, Fury is a dangerous, unstable man with a dangerous set of skills, a dangerous web of intelligence, and, as it proved to Thor, a dangerous wealth of knowledge.
- Common Themes: Espionage; Unclear alliances/ grey area morality; Super-Humans as soldiers and weapons
- Good For: People interested in the more militaristic and governmental side to superheroes; People who like Espionage and war movies; Fans of the Mission Impossible movies
- Go To Series: The Ultimates (different universe, ultimately the same character); Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos; Fury; Secret Warriors
- Stand Out Stories: Original Sin; Strange Tales #150-158; Secret Warriors #1-6; Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Character Summary: Namor Mckenzie, generally just known as Namor, sometimes known as the Sub-Mariner (pronounced like “in,” not “een”); Namor had a human Daddy and a Atlantean Momma, making him already a pretty cool hybrid, but he gained extra abilities thanks to his Pops carrying the X-Gene, making him a blend of Atlantean and Mutant; This gave him an extremely well rounded bunch of abilities, from super EVERYTHING to flight to underwater bidness to radioactivity absorption; Namor was the first Superhero Marvel had created (fun trivia) and thus is one of the more general examples of Superhero power sets; His range of abilities make him a formidable foe, and he would be much more daunting to the world of Supervillains if he was such a serious dick; Namor’s allegiances with heroes has changed and altered over time, mainly due to his ever standing loyalty to his home, Atlantis, his wavering trust in surface people, and his general inability to not be a pompous, royal ass to the people around him; His time on teams such as the Avengers or Defenders is often rocked by feuds with teammates and generally looking down on others; However, Namor has played a role in many serious story lines, and has in more recent times worked closely with the X-Men during their schism drama and the return of the Phoenix Force
- Common Themes: Royalty; Dedication to one’s heritage; Overcoming pretensions and ignorance; bigotry and snootiness
- Good For: People who like regal characters; Fans of more old-fashioned supers; People who like their male heroes in a pair of scaly man-panties and little else; People who like oceans, fish and other aquatic riff raff
- Go To Series: Sub-Mariner (Vol 1); Namor: The Sub-Mariner; The New Avengers (Vol 3); Uncanny X-Men (Vol 2); The Defenders (all volumes)
- Stand Out Stories: Sub-Mariner: The Depths; The Saga of the Sub-Mariner; Dark Reign: The Cabal