Saturday, January 28, 2006

Unnecessary Guide to Nextwave

Warren Ellis is basically not following any set continuity or anything like that with his new team book, Nextwave. However, what he IS doing is working off the basic continuity of each established character, so I think it might be slightly worthwhile to give a primer to the established characters Ellis is using, even though it is certainly unnecessary to one's enjoyment of Nextwave #1.

Here goes!

Monica Rambeau (Currently using the superhero name Pulsar, but when Nextwave began, she was going by Photon. She used to be known as Captain Marvel).

Monica was a lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol who accidentally gained superpowers in this Amazing Spider-Man Annual.

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Captain Marvel possesses the power to transform her body into any form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and every wavelength in between, simply by willing it. By assuming an energy-form, she gains all of that energy. For instance, if she becomes light, she is blindingly bright. Some of her energy-forms permit her to pass trough solid objects. All of her energy-forms enable her to fly. In all energy-forms except visible light, she is invisible. The electromagnetic spectrum is compriside of cosmic-ray photons, gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves, and radio waves.

Basically, she's super powerful.

Right after her introduction, she joined the Avengers as a member-in-training.

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She served as a member for quite a long time (under the pen of her creator, Roger Stern).

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Eventually, she even became LEADER of the Avengers!!

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However, as relayed in an old Urban Legends Revealed, the editor of the Avengers decided that he wanted Captain Marvel out as leader, and also shown to be not that good of a leader, presumably to show how not EVERY hero can make a good leader (unlike Captain America).

So Monica was de-powered (she has since regained her powers) and sent off into limbo.

Besides a couple of trademark-saving specials, that is where she has remained.

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Except, of course, for the time she showed up to give up the name Captain Marvel to the next Captain Marvel.

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Monica at that point in time took the name Photon (she has since moved on to the name Pulsar). Currently, she has been working with her parents on a business in New Orleans. At least up until Next Wave.

Tabitha (Currently going without a codename - formerly went by names such as Boom Boom, Boomer and Meltdown)

Tabitha Smith is interesting, as she made her first appearance as a throwaway character in Secret Wars II!!

She then became one of the various mutants who hung out with X-Factor (like Rusty Collins and Skids).

After a few run-ins with X-Factor, she showed up in Fallen Angels under the name Boom Boom.

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Her powers are as follows:
Meltdown can create balls of energy of an unknown kind, which she calls her "time bombs." These "bombs" explode with concussive force. She can produce marble-sized "bombs" which have little concussive impact and which she uses for playing pranks. She has produced "time bombs" ranging up to the size of beach balls, which, when they explode, can smash tree trunks and even metal objects. To at least some extent Meltdown can control the amount of time between the creation of one of her "bombs" and the time it detonates. She can also mentally muffle the sound of the detonation to a limited extent. The limits on her power to create and control her "time bombs" are as yet unknown.
She then went back to X-Factor, and eventually all the young mutants who X-Factor let hang around for their protection formed their OWN little group, called the X-Terminators.

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Most of the X-Terminators (well, at least the older members) then ended up joining the New Mutants, Boom Boom being one of them.

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She was one of the few members who stayed with the team when they became X-Force (although her former X-Terminator teammate Rictor also later joined X-Force, as well as her Fallen Angels comrade, Siryn).

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She later changed her name to Boomer, while she was romantically involved with Sam Guthrie, her teammate, Cannonball.

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Later, after a brutal shock to her system when, after caring for Sabretooth for months (after he was lobotomized), she learned that he was faking his injuries (or at least was faking them for a good period of time), and watched him not only escape from X-Men custody, but gut Psylocke when Psylocke prevented Sabretooth from murdering Tabitha. This event echoed Tabitha's past life with her abusive father, and the shock caused her to redo her look, and get a new name - Meltdown!

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She was later a member of Warren Ellis' reworked X-Force team.

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Besides a few cameos, that was her last signifcant appearance in comics.

Aaron Stark (Currently going with a codename - formerly went by names like Machine Man and X-51)

Aaron Stack first appeared in Jack Kirby's series, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Soon, he gained his own 19-issue series from Marvel.

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Basically, a team of scientists developed a series of robots. One of the scientists, a Dr. Able Stack, took number 51 home with him, and programmed him to basically be Able's son, Aaron Stack.

However, the robots mainly were lame, so they were ordered to self-destruct. Able managed to save Aaron, but he died in the process. In honor of his "father," X-51 tried to live a human life, and basically lived the life of an adventurer, while always one step ahead of the government.

He has arms and legs that can expand and stretch, with weapons that can come out of his hands. He is also super strong.

Here is a cool series dealing with an alternate universe. It does not really tie in, I just love this Barry Windsor-Smith cover...hehe.

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Recently, Machine Man was seemingly destroyed by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but ended up surviving by merging with a dying SHIELD agent named Jack Kubrick (I know, I know).

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That is basically the last anyone has heard from Machine Man until this series.

Elsa Bloodstone (Always has gone by her real name)]

Elsa's father was Ulysess Bloodstone (seen here)

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He lived for 10,000 years, due to the alien gem that was embedded into his body, which gave him superhuman strength (about 5 tons) and vast regenerative powers.

He gained the gem from the alien who killed his tribe 10,000 years ago. He tracked down the alien for years, becoming a famous soldier of fortune and hunter in the meantime, often fighting monsters sent after him BY the alien.

Finally, he killed the alien, but also perished in the process.

A few years later, in the Bloodstone mini-series...

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his daughter Elsa gained the Bloodstone gem, and as a result, has all the same powers her father had.

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The final member of Nextwave is a new character named the Captain, who is supposed to represent all the minor characters named Captain _____ over the years.

Well, that's it! Hope some of y'all learned SOMEthing!

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Anonymous Scott said...

I thought Boom-Boom showed up in X-Factor once or twice before she surfaced in Fallen Angels.

1/28/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I love that Avengers cover, where they try to make Janet's lunch all dramatic. We need more of those in comics. "See - Wolverine's epic trip to the throne after a luncheon of burritos!" That's how you get the kids back to comics.

Chris Sims over at The Invincible Super-Blog did a funny retrospective of the Bloodstone mini-series. As you can tell from the covers, she doesn't wear many clothes.

1/28/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Nessor Sille said...

I thought Tabitha changed her name to "Meltdown" after her aborted attraction to the brain-damaged Sabretooth?

No, really. That was why she changed.

Nextwave Monica definitely seems to be a different character from Stern Monica...having powers when she was a little kid, and having Warren's tongue-in-cheek take on what he calls "The Wise Black Person" cliche.

1/28/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sims said...

Don't forget that Monica was totally taken out as leader of the Avengers by a bald guy in a bathrobe who was later burned alive in a dumpster, also courtesy of Warren E.

And isn't Machine Man named Aaron Stack?

1/28/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machine Man is, in fact, named Aaron Stack.

1/28/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

That reads like the history of rubbish comics and Machine Man.

"In This Issue - Colonel Wankshaft GOES WILD!" every third issue. I think every X-chap went wild between August 1989 and Jun of 1998 - including Artie and Leech!

But look at that Pollina cover: Meltdown looks like Ultimate Jean Grey, before they pissed her potential away on Phoenix-based shenanigans.

It's Monica Rambeau I feel sorry for. Shoved to the sidelines, and for what? So that someone could bring back the white male Captain Marvel? Yer arse.

Nextwave was the bomb-diggity, though. So it's not all bad news.


1/28/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just what are "cosmic-ray photons" supposed to be, anyway? Is that some of Ellis' patented science hogwash, or something from an old Marvel Universe entry?

A photon's a photon.

1/28/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous arizonateach said...

I am very, very, very sad that Fin Fang Four seems to be out of the picture.

1/29/2006 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Johnny B said...

And don't forget Boom-Boom's highest-profile gig, on the X-Men: Evolution TV show...

1/29/2006 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous thekamisama said...

love it or hate it, a marvel book with a lettercol is something to celebrate

1/29/2006 01:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

I am very, very, very sad that Fin Fang Four seems to be out of the picture.

Okay, did anyone really think that any of the Marvel Monsters one-shots were "in continuity"? For that matter, does anyone think Nextwave is "in continuity" either, to the extent that it will be referenced by "core titles" or the next Great Big Worldchanging House of Infinite Civil Crisis Event?

Having established that, can we please try - try - to remember that you can enjoy a comic book because it's good and not because Joe Quesada says that it "counts"?

1/29/2006 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Nik said...

I just hope Machine Man/Aaron Stack does the stretchy-arm thing in Nextwave. You can't beat the stretchy arms.

1/29/2006 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger plok said...

"Fin Fang Four" IS continuity, damnit! I mean I will always have affection for the monstrous orange Fin Fang Foom, of monster comics-style zero continuity, but the clever way this Marvel Monsters Group thing addresses how Marvel emerged from Timely is genius to me. Who would ever have imagined that a mainstream Marvel mag would dare to discuss comics-criticism style metafiction junk like this, and still keep it all within regular Marvel time? I am going to blog on this so HARD by next Friday it'll make all you commenters weep... right after my piece called "Crisis On Infinite Roys." For shame, everyone but "arizonateach"! This is the best thing to happen to Marvel since Sub-Mariner got his beard burnt off, or since Captain America got thawed out from his ice-block! To see FFF beat Reed Richards in a game of chess renews my faith in the essential newness of Marvel, and makes me think there are still fresh stories to tell there.

And having said which, let me express my solidarity with lungfish anyway: good stories, man. That's something continuity must always take a back seat to. Make it up, and make it good: everything else is secondary.

Which is why Marvel Monsters Group should be considered as in-continuity. Because what the hell. Why not. It complexifies things with no damage, and it's fun. So let's have it.

1/29/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, I personally took the call for Fin Fang Four being in continuity as "I really liked it, so I would like to see more of it" rather than "Marvel must reference every comic it makes and work them all together into one cohesive narrative!!"

But that could just be me.

1/29/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous arizonateach said...

Brian and plok said everything I needed to say (but plok said it way cooler), but for what it's worth, if you ask me what Fin Fang Foom I'd rather see -- the passive-aggressive, drinking tea with his finger up, head chef, chess-playing Fin, or a Fin who exists to be the target genitalia and underwear jokes, well, I think the answer to that has nothing to do with continuity. Warren Ellis, god bless 'im, did the character a disservice. I just shake my head at the fact that Ellis gets a pass, like Morrison does, because he's Ellis.

I wanted to see more of that other Fin Fang Foom.

1/29/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

If Ellis "did the character a disservice" by making fun of Fin Fang Foom then so did Scott Gray by turning him into a midget chef. You tear out the core of the "giant monster" concept once you make him tiny. And if I ran into the anally-retentive wackjob who was actually offended by "Fin Fang Four" - and you know that he's out there - I'd tell him he was off his rocker, too.

This is why I hate "continuity" discussions more than any other aspect of comic fandom. How can you derive any pleasure from these books if page after page you keep thinking to yourself, "Yes, but does it count? Is it really happening?" All that should matter is that the comics are good. Jesus F. Christ, we're talking about a giant alien dragon who wears purple underpants, people. If you can't poke fun at Fin Fang Fucking Foom, who can you poke fun at? Must everything be sacred?

1/29/2006 09:10:00 PM  

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