Show Notes 09: Thrills & Chills

Remember the podcast, last ish? -Ed.

This podcast contains adult language and spoilers for the X-Men arcade game, Amazing Spider-Man for PlayStation, the Maximum Carnage story arc, The Death and Return of Superman, all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

0:00 – Our sincerest apologies to Stan Lee for this impression.

0:09 – Oh God, I said “true believers” twice!

1:10 – For more on Batman games, check out our Arkham Knight episode.

2:22 – Stan Lee’s epic voiceover – in which he did a much better job than I did – can be heard in this video.

3:38 – As far as I can tell, these songs are no longer available on either the new or the old Information Society websites.

4:10 – Actually, the X-Men lineup that appears in the arcade game is from Pryde of the X-Men, an unsuccessful pilot for an X-Men animated series from 1989. The game was intended as a spinoff from that show.

4:29 – I was wrong about this! During the first boss fight, in which Magneto is really Mystique, he only uses punches and kicks.

5:31 – This is the classic Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #133, entitled “Wolverine: Alone!”

5:46 – I had to look up the actual speech here; it’s so good:

“Hey, bub, I know what you’re thinkin’. ‘He’s hurt, an’ he’s five meters away from me, an’ I got a full clip of ammo in my rifle. Question is: Can I kill Wolverine before he can reach me an’ cut me into shish-kebab with those freaky claws of his?’ Well, bub, Wolverine is virtually unkillable. Wolverine’s claws are adamantium, the strongest metal known – capable of slicin’ through vanadium steel like a hot knife through butter. An’ five meters o’ floor ain’t much distance at all – fer me. It’s your play, hero. I’m waitin’.”

7:24 – Spider-Carnage was the final villain from the 1994 Spider-Man: The Animated Series. A version of Peter Parker from another universe who fused with the Carnage symbiote and became an omnicidal maniac, he stole interdimensional portal technology from The Spot and tried to destroy the entire multiverse.

11:10 – Secret Wars ran from May 1984 to April 1985. Secret Wars (vol. 1) #8 (December 1984) revealed the origin of Spider-Man’s black costume, but it had already appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Marvel Team-Up #141, back in May. The outfit had been designed in 1982 by a 22-year-old fan named Randy Schueller, whose design was bought by Jim Shooter for $220.

13:03 – Links:

Maximum Carnage fills a stunning fourteen issues across five different Spider-Man titles. The full list of Spider-Man’s allies includes: Venom (a very popular anti-hero at this time), Captain America, Black Cat, Nightwatch (who?), Cloak, Dagger (those crazy kids need to learn to stay away when Spidey comes a-callin), Iron Fist, Deathlok (the Destroyer!), Morbius, and Firestar.  Knowing the story only by reputation, I had not heard about this gem: “Taking advantage of the lull, the heroes acquire a device from Stark Industries which projects feelings of love and hope into the villains, overwhelming them.” Oddly, the Wikipedia page omits the visit to Cletus Kasady’s childhood home to confront the source of his psychosis, which may mean that it’s not included in the trade paperback.

20:10 – Cyborg was a kid named Vic Stone who was partially eaten by a gelatinous monster from another dimension in a portal mishap. Afterwards, his super-scientist dad fixed him up with (as you might suspect) cyborg implants that kept him alive and gave him superpowers. At first he was deeply conflicted about his new, inhuman appearance, but he’s mostly adjusted since then. He was a long-standing member of the Teen Titans, until DC decided to really start pushing the character in 2011: in the Flashpoint world, he took the place of an absent Superman as the world’s most beloved hero, and since the New 52 reboot he’s been a founding member of the Justice League.

Cyborg Superman first appeared in the aftermath of Superman’s death in 1993, and claimed to be simply Superman, rejuvenated and mechanically rehabilitated through advanced Kryptonian technology. He turned out to be Hank Henshaw, one of four astronauts killed by radiation in a pastiche of the Fantastic Four’s origin story. Pissed at Superman for not saving him, he created a clone Superman body from Kal-El’s spaceship and teamed up with Mongol to simultaneously conquer the Earth and discredit Superman.

In terms of sheer size, the Death and Return of Superman isn’t exactly a svelte young hipster. The Death of Superman alone is seven issues, from Doomsday’s introduction to the actual climactic battle in Superman (vol. 2) #75, an issue which made the debatable decision to fill each page with a single splash panel. The full story arc ran for a whopping 48 issues over the course of an entire year. Contrary to popular myth, the story sold very well – it was only after Superman’s swift resurrection that fans began to take out their dissatisfaction on DC’s pocketbook.

Batman once said to Superman, “The last time you inspired anyone… was when you died.” Batman is mean.

20:50 – Here is Max Landis’ short film, “The Death and Return of Superman.” Incredibly, Doomsday is played in this film by actor Elden Henson, recently much more famous as (fun-lovin!) Foggy Nelson in Marvel’s Daredevil series for Netflix. I had originally typed “Foggy Belson,” who is considerably less fun-lovin.

21:04 – Bloodwynd was an African-American superhero with vague necromancy-based powers derived from a dark ritual performed generations ago by slaves to kill their evil master. Wow, that’s really what it was. Except that the entire time he was with the Justice League, he was actually just the Martian Manhunter disguised as this guy. I think the real Martian Manhunter active at this time turned out to be the vanguard of an invading evil Justice League from another dimension, allowing Bloodwynd to shed his disguise and save the day.

21:51 – First appearing in a 1989 annual, The Eradicator was an ancient android created by a dying race as an ark for their culture. He crashlanded on Krypton, damaging his programming so he thought he had to preserve Kryptonian culture by destroying everything else. Superman later ran into him in space and brought him back to Earth for some reason, and had been forced to destroy him by the time of Death of Superman (though it obviously didn’t take). At the end of Return, Eradicator takes a blast of concentrated kryptonite dust for Kal-El. The blast kills Eradicator, but with the secondary effect of blasting all his Superman-powers into the weakened Superman, giving him the strength to defeat Cyborg.

23:52 – The “yellow space parasite” PK is referring to is the yellow fear entity, Parallax (also the main villain of the Green Lantern movie), who was retconned as having been imprisoned in the Green Lantern Corps’ main battery on Oa. The Parallax name was first used by Hal Jordan when he turned on the Corps and tried to reboot the universe. The retcon is that he had been possessed by the entity Parallax (in an eerie parallel of Marvel’s Dark Phoenix Saga). It was also explained that the captive Parallax had always been the reason for the Corps’ weaksauce weakness to the color yellow. This retcon led not only to Hal Jordan being able to return as the main Green Lantern, but to the idea of a broad emotional spectrum of several color-coded entities, each leading their own Lantern Corps.

24:36 – It’s really that ridiculous.

25:19 – For the Man Who Has Everything was written by Alan Moore (and drawn by his Watchmen partner, Dave Gibbons) and first appeared in Superman Annual #11 (1985). Gibbons was selected first to draw the annual, and when told he could choose the writer, he requested Moore, with whom he was currently in the planning stages on Watchmen. For those interested, it’s collected in DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, and as we mentioned, there’s also a very good adaptation in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.

26:11 – Spider-Man (the movie) was released on May 3, 2002.

31:58 – I’m actually okay with Andrew Garfield’s performance as Peter Parker; it was the scripts of those movies that let him down.

33:38 – Here’s an AMA by Jamie Fristrom about his new swinging game.

35:03 – What I called “Spidey in the Suburbs” is actually titled, “The Commuter Cometh!” and appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #267, written by Peter David. It is, unsurprisingly, the only appearance of the Commuter.

38:33 – It appears that Doc Ock’s motivation in his early comics appearances was always a bit sketchy: he turned to a life of crime due to brain damage from the same accident that fused his mechanical arms to his body. He does try to continue his nuclear physics work in some early appearances, or commit crimes to get the money to do so, before succumbing entirely to a career in taking revenge on Spider-Man.

41:40 – Aunt May died in Amazing Spider-Man #400, which bears the ever popular title, “The Gift.” She first reveals to Peter, on an outing to the top of the Empire State Building, that she’s always known he’s Spider-Man. Dig this J.M. DeMatteis dialogue:

“Peter… how does it feel? … Swinging over the city. Almost flying, really. How wonderful, to be so light. So free. … It’s funny. I’ve known for years. How could I not? Living under the same roof with you all that time – I’d have been an idiot not to know. But Peter, I could never really let myself know. Whenever I thought of you out there – putting yourself in such danger, risking your life again and again – I just pushed it down… pushed it away. Denied it. After Ben died… you were all I had. I couldn’t bear to lose you too. It’s no wonder… he frightened me so. It’s no wonder I couldn’t bear to even hear the name… Spider-Man.”

41:49 – Ugh. Aunt May was resurrected three years later in a story arc inaptly titled, “The Final Chapter.” (checks) Yeah, they’re still doing Spider-Man. Actually, it was the final chapter of “The Gathering of Five,” a story arc whose main purpose seemed to be bringing back Norman Osborn… who had already returned in the Clone Saga three years earlier. A character delivered the cryptic message to Peter and Mary Jane that “May” was alive and Osborn’s prisoner, leading them to believe it was their missing daughter, Mayday Parker, while setting up the lame twist that it was actually Aunt May, and her death in a much better-written issue had been a fake-out.

47:28 – PK had a brilliant idea for a Batman: Arkham sequel in which Batman would constantly say his next objective – such as “I have to find the Penguin!” – and enemies would be able to hear him, breaking stealth. For some reason, Rocksteady decided to make the next game themselves.

48:50 – It turns out the saga of Ultimate Spider-Man’s place in the comic called, well… Ultimate Spider-Man – is much more complicated than we thought. “War of the Symbiotes,” a very loose adaptation of the game’s events, appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man #123-128. But before that, it was believed that the game took place between issues #71 and 72. Confusingly, comics between #71 and #123 both make reference to the game’s events… and contradict them. Ain’t comics grand?

54:06 – Before you listen to us do our best (or worst) impressions, watch it here.

55:40 – At this point, Batman goes back in time and becomes each member of the Village People.

1:00:56 – That’s from the classic episode, The Great Brain Robbery. If you watch only one episode of Justice League…

1:01:25 – Here are a few highlights of Hal Jordan’s career.

1:01:30 – This is the concept of the Elseworlds story In Darkest Knight.

1:10:19 – Christopher Daniel Barnes. I was wrong about Rino Romano – he starred in Spider-Man Unlimited, but didn’t appear as the wall-crawler in Shattered Dimensions. The third was Spectacular Spider-Man’s Josh Keaton. And the fourth, from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, was Dan Gilvezan.

1:11:35 – God Hand (which we talked about in much more depth in the Hardcast) was sort of a modern, 3D update of the SNES era excuse-plot brawlers.

1:14:13 – And get into it we did, in episode 11, Sub-Zero, Shut Up Right Now.

1:16:30 – R.I.P., Alan Rickman.

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