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Alternate Takes 12.01.12: Comic Book Knockout, Week 4

December 1, 2012 | Posted by Shawn S. Lealos

Welcome to Week 230 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

DC Comics rebooted their entire line with the New DC 52, starting almost all their heroes over from scratch. Marvel is undergoing the Marvel Now movement, which isn’t rebooting origins, but is starting new stories from scratch, and might even be changing who wears the costume of Spider-Man. With all these changes, one thing stays the same. There are a ton of classic storyline out there from years past that fans can pick up and read and these classic stories will never go away.

We are starting a new Comic Book Knockout and this one will focus on actual storylines and arcs from the classic era and the new era of comic books. This is the same as the past Knockouts, except it should be easier to understand that you are voting for you favorite stories because character arcs can’t beat each other up. Week 2 presents the No. 15 seeds against the No. 2 seeds, ranked like the college basketball March Madness tournament.

There are eight storylines competing this week, but there are 64 total throughout the tournament, so if anyone comments that “such-and-such” should have been in the tournament and its exclusion makes this invalid, I will delete the comment based on stupidity. With that said, vote away and let’s see if all of the top seeds make it to Round 2 or if someone pulls an upset.

Week 4 Results

No. 3 Kingdom Come beat No. 12 House of M, 134-127
No. 3 Age of Apocalypse beat No. 14 Whys and Wherefores, 204-56
No. 14 Planet Hulk beat No. 3 Maus, 190-73
No. 14 Reign of the Superman beat No. 3 The Great Darkness Saga, 121-119

A couple of notes about last week. First, I was happy and surprised when Kingdom Come barely beat out House of M. I think the X-Men story was a great tale, but the fact that it lose means that Kingdom Come is a book a lot of people must have read. I like that. The second closes matchup came when Reign of the Supermen beat The Great Darkness Saga by two votes. I am a huge fan of Death of Superman, but never cared as much for Reign, but you spoke.

I was not surprised in the least that Planet Hulk beat Maus because I would almost guarantee that 95-percent of the readers have never read Maus and a large percent of those had never heard of it. As I said last week, if this tournament can turn people on to new stories to check out, I succeeded in what I set out to do. My big disappointment was the margin of victory between Age of Apocalypse and Whys and Wherefores. I figured there would be more “Y! The Last Man” fans, but either there aren’t or people just love that X-Men storyline a lot (deservedly so).

On to this week.

No. 4 “Sinestro Corps War” by Geoff Johns vs. No. 13 “The Death of Jean DeWolff” by Peter David

Sinestro Corps War – One of the coolest villains, and the main nemesis of Green Lantern, is his former mentor Sinestro. This story runs from Green Lantern #21-25, Green Lantern Corps $14-19 and a special Sinestro Corps standalone comic. This presents the attack and war between the Yellow Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps. It starts when Kyle Rayner brings a yellow ring he found to Oa, where it then transports him to Sinestro and goes wild, killing a number of Lanterns while freeing Superboy-Prime, Nero and the Cyborg Superman. The battles cover the entire galaxy, and even hit Earth, with Superman, the Justice Society, Parallax and the Anti-Monitor getting involved and hinted to the upcoming Blackest Night storyline.

The Death of Jean DeWolff – This is the first Spider-Man story on the list. Running from “Spectacular Spider-Man” #107-110, the story starts with the murder of Captain Jean DeWolff, a side character in the Spider-Man comics. The killer, Sin-Eater, then messes with both Spider-Man and Daredevil throughout the story. Both men make bad choices that tests their morality, such as when Daredevil lets Sin-Eater escape to preserve his own secret identity and later when Spider-Man wants to kill Sin-Eater for murdering Jean. This was Peter David’s first storyline and it helped launch his career to the moon. It stands the test of time as a comic that asks what happens when superheroes have do make the tough decisions.

No. 4 “The Judas Contract” by Marv Wolfman vs. No. 13 “Avengers Forever” by Kurt Busiek

The Judas Contract – Deathstroke’s origin is revealed here in Teen Titans #42-44. This is probably the best story to come from the teaming of Marv Wolfman and George Perez and is all kinds of awesome. After Wally West and Dick Grayson retire from active service a new member named Terra joins the team, but what no one knows is she is there as a spy for Deathstroke. Once she learns all the team’s secrets, she reports to Deathstroke and he one-by-one beats all the Titans. With Dick realizes that Deathstroke has them, he decides to return to action and takes on the new mantle of Nightwing. Yep, this is the story where Nightwing is born, and it is awesome.

Avengers Forever – The story is from the series “Avengers Forever,” a 12-issue series, and attempts to tie together all the continuity from the last 40-years into one story to streamline the entire Avengers universe. The series takes seven Avengers from throughout time and sends them bouncing around time to save Rick Jones. These include the psycho Hank Pym Yellowjacket, the doubting 1975 version of Captain America, the Kree-Skull War Hawkeye, the current (at that time) Wasp and Giant Man (also Pym), a future version of Thunderbolt’s member Songbird and the original Captain Marvel’s son. The series then touches on almost all the major events in Avengers history and ties them all together. It is a lot to take in, but it is almost a love letter to Avengers fans.

No. 4 “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore vs. No. 13 “The Kindly Ones” by Neil Gaiman

V for Vendetta – This story is well known thanks to the movie adaptation, as Alan Moore creates an alternate reality story where the mysterious terrorist V plans to blow up the government, choosing anarchy over dictatorship. The entire story is about using everything in your power to preserve your freedom in the face of a government that demands control. The movie was really good and the comic was brilliant, with amazing art by David Lloyd.

The Kindly Ones – Ahh, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. This is 13 issues and presents Sandman defending his realm from the Kindly Ones, who are out to kill him and destroy everything he holds dear. There is also a story involving Rose Walker (From “The Doll House” storyline). The artwork in here is amazing. Instead of being cartoony or lush, it is more expressionistic, with pointy looking people and a very disorienting feel. The art fits in well with the story, which pulls together various threads left dangling from “The Doll’s House” and “Brief Lives.” If you need any other reason for including it, this features the end of Morpheus and (outside of “The Wake”) ends the Sandman storyline.

No. 4 “Kraven’s Last Hunt” by J.M. DeMatteis vs. No. 13 “From Hell” by Alan Moore

Kraven’s Last Hunt – If there is one Spider-Man story that I would point out as the best, it would easily be “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” The villain of Kraven was always awesome to me. He wasn’t some petty criminal or a mastermind who wants to take over the world. He was simply a hunter who wanted to bag the biggest and best prey, and Spider-Man was at the top of the food ladder. In this storyline, Kraven finally succeeds and takes out Spider-Man. This is the one storyline where Spider-Man was solidly beaten and he only lived because this was just sport to Kraven and after Kraven won, he had nothing left to live for. It is powerful, very well written and one of the best comic stories of all time.

From Hell – Forget about the Johnny Depp movie adaptation. “From Hell” is one of Alan Moore’s masterpieces as he examines the story of Jack the Ripper and creates some great fiction based on the real tragedies. What is great about the series is that, while it is fiction, it is clear that Moore put a lot of time into researching the topic before writing it, making it very realistic in depicting the real events amongst the supposition of his plot. This is engaging, entertaining and interesting to the very end.

January 29, 2013

The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

February 1, 2013

Bullet to the Head

Directed by Walter Hill

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

May 3, 2013

Iron Man 3

Directed by Shane Black

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pierce, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, William Sadler

June 14, 2013

The Man of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni, Lawrence Fishburne

June 28, 2013

Kick-Ass 2

Directed by Jedd Wadlow

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Morertz, Nicholas Cage, John Leguizamo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Clark Duke

July 19, 2013


Directed by Robert Schwentke

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Bridges

R.I.P.D. is an upcoming action-comedy crime film set to be directed by Robert Schwentke, based on the comic book Rest In Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov. The film will star Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as Nick Walker and Bo, respectively.
July 26, 2013

The Wolverine

Directed by James Mangold

Starring Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Brian Tee

August 2, 2013

Red 2

August 2, 2013

300: Rise of an Empire

September 13, 2013

I, Frankenstein

October 4, 2013

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

November 8, 2013

Thor 2: The Dark World

May 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

July 18, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

May 1, 2015

The Avengers 2

November 6, 2015


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Shawn S. Lealos

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