Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Showcase: Tomax and Xamot

Tomax and Xamot...or is it Xamot and Tomax?
    This episode of Saturday Showcase is brought to you by my childhood and my love of G.I. Joe.  When I was young, G.I. Joe was the cartoon I could not miss.  I always loved watching the adventures of my favorite "toys" going into battle.  One day, I was introduced to the twins that lead the Crimson Guard. The twins are Tomax and Xamot and they were my favorite COBRA baddies next to Zartan and his Dreadnoks.  I loved them so much, that when I first saw them on the screen I had to go to Toys'R'Us to get them so I could include them into my after school battles against the joes.

On the run
    Fast forward to a trip at my local drug store only to browse through the comics only to see Tomax and Xamot had made their first appearance in the comics.  I was so excited because I love the way the twins interact with others.  For example, when one gets punched the other feels it.  That, for some reason, always stuck with me through the years and allowed my battles as a child to be entertaining to say the least.  

    I must apologize, I have spent this entire post talking about my love of the twins without giving you any facts.  Tomax and Xamot were first introduced in 1985 for the Real American Hero series that promoted the G. I. Joe toy line.  They also made their appearance in Marvel Comics in 1985 with their first appearance being in issue # 37.  They have gone on to star in other comics from the Joe Universe as well as make appearances in the G.I. Joe app Battleground. (An app they should bring back by the way)

G.I. Joe #37 (July 1985)

First appearance: 1985
Voiced by:  Corey Burton (Tomax) & Michael Bell (Xamot) - G.I. Joe
                    Stephen Stanton (both) - Renegades
Affiliation: Cobra
Specialty: Crimson Guard Commanders
File Name: Tomax Paoli & Xamot Paoli
Birth Place: Ajaccio, Corsica
Abilities: Infiltration, Espionage, Sabotage, Propaganda, & Corporate Law
Subgroups: Crimson Guard; Extensive Enterprises

Twins on the Hunt (Photo by Unknown)

    Well, I could go on and on about the Crimson Twins, but I feel I am biased and you should make your own decisions about how bad ass Xamot and Tomax were.

Until next time, get your READ on or in this case, watch some classic cartoons.  COBRA!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Showcase: Jigsaw

   What do you think of when you hear Batman and the Joker, Spider-Man and Venom, Wolverine and Sabretooth, or even Superman and Doomsday?  I think of the battle of Good Vs Evil but put to the extreme.  One is the Ying to the other's Yang.  When you think of the Punisher, you cannot help but think of Jigsaw.

    With the 2nd season of the Punisher coming to Netflix on the 18th, I decided to showcase the importance of William Russo aka Jigsaw.  We were first introduced to the mob boss Jigsaw back in '76.  His first appearance was in issue #161 of the Amazing Spider-Man series.  He made his first full appearance one issue later in Amazing Spider-Man #162.

That time Frank got himself arrested to get his hands on Jigsaw.
    When he was first introduced, he was a terror on the streets and didn't care who got in his way.  This is still true in later years, but he was much more to Frank.  He was an obsession, the one that got away you might say.  I mean, what fun would the Punisher titles be if he successfully killed everyone?  So, naturally you need a nemesis that can escape and resurface to tackle Frank head on anther day.

    One of my favorite Punisher/Jigsaw story-lines is the time that Frank got himself arrested on purpose so he could get his hands on Jigsaw.  That was the first issue of the Punisher I ever owned.  In fact, I still own all issues of that series as well as it's reintroduction as a graphic novel.

Amazing Spider-Man #162
    One thing is for sure, I am glad they changed his look.  When he battled Spidey, he was in a god awful outfit.  At least, in the Punisher titles he had some class and knew how to dress the part of a leader of a secret organization.  

    It's no secret that the Punisher is my favorite character in the MARVEL universe. With that said, William Russo aka Jigsaw will always have a place in my heart as a great antagonist.  I loved the portrayal of Jigsaw by Dominic West in the film Punisher: War Zone and I have enjoyed the life that Ben Barnes gave Billy on the 1st season of the Punisher Netflix series.  I cannot wait to see his take on the Jigsaw persona in season 2 (Available 1/18/19).

Ben Barnes as Billy Russo aka Jigsaw
    I hope my showcase has intrigued you into learning more about the character.  I could say more but I want you to do your research on this one.  The only way you can truly understand the Punisher Vs Jigsaw dynamic is to pick up key issues of the Punisher series and read them for yourself.

Until next time, get your READ on!

Here's Billy!
Vital Stats

First Appearance:

Cameo Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #161 (October 1976)

Full appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #162 (November 1976)

Created by Len Wein & Ross Andru

Experienced street fighter

Exceptional strategist and tactician

Highly charismatic criminal organizer

Wears a special exoskeleton

Required Reading:

the Amazing Spider-Man issues #161-162, & #188

the Punisher Vol. 1, #1, & #4-5

the Punisher Vol. 2, #35-40, & #55-56

the Punisher Vol. 3, #2-4, & #9-10

the Punisher War Journal Vol. 1, #61

Punisher War Journal Vol. 2, #11, #18–20, & #22–23

Daredevil Vol. 2, #61-64

(Jigsaw has been in many titles, but these titles are the ones I would read.)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday Showcase: Ikari

    Ikari is one of those characters who had potential to be a major player in the Marvel Universe.  I understand, he was created to challenge and possibly assassinate Daredevil, but he had so much more to offer.  I mean Bullseye started as villain for Daredevil but has since had fights with New York's finest heroes like the Punisher as well as Spider-Man.  So to limit Ikari to just Daredevil was a mistake in my opinion.  That is why he is the focus of today's Saturday Showcase.

    Ikari was first introduced in 2013.  He was created by the team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee.  His first appearance was Daredevil Vol. 3, #25 and he was the assassin hired by Bullseye to help Lady Bullseye kill the Daredevil once and for all.  Ikari was also paid by the Kingpin to kidnap Foggy Nelson and Kirsten McDuffie , friends of Matt Murdock, to serve as an insurance policy that the Daredevil would have to fight Ikari.  This was no ordinary fight, it was a fight to the death.

    Matt and Ikari fought for hours and Ikari almost got the job done until someone interrupted the battle.  Who was that someone?  Well, it was none other than the Shroud.  You see, the Shroud's girlfriend was taken by the Kingpin and he wanted revenge.  I believe Fisk thought the Shroud was broken down and would have helped him, but in the end he ruined Fisk's plans and killed Ikari with a Darkforce construct (Daredevil Vol. 4, #17).  Ikari's body disappeared from the ambulance, but his severed head was later seen hanging on the wall of Kraven's trophy room (Captain America #697).

Death at the hands of the Shroud
    Here is what I feel should have happened.  I feel, Ikari could have been stopped without the Shroud killing him.  I think Ikari would have been a good villain to introduce to Moon Knight, the Punisher, Spider-Man or even Iron Fist.  His name means fury in Japanese for Pete's sake!  It wouldn't be the first time a villain was introduced in one title and then become a mainstay in another.  For example, Sabretooth was introduced as an Iron Fist villain way before he took on Wolverine or the X-men.  

  All I am saying is, they had a kick ass villain and they just kill him off after 2 years. Sure, it's the world of comics and it wouldn't be unheard of for Ikari to come back but that would mean a back story to explain what happened.  Unless of course they bring him back in the next Secret or Infinity War, LoL.  I really hope we see him again but until then, get your READ on!

Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday Showcase: the Orb

1st Orb
    Today's showcase spotlights one of my favorite villains to ever face the Ghost Rider.  Some of you may recognize the Orb from his roll in Marvel's Original Sin story line of recent years, but I knew about the Orb way before that.  You see, growing up I was a huge fan of the Marvel Team-Up series and that is when we first set "eyes" on the Orb.

    The first Orb was created by the team of Len Wein and Ross Andru back in 1973.  His first appearance was in Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1, #15 (Nov '73) to be exact.  His alter ego was that of Drake Shannon, a motorcycle stunt driver who had stock in the show that starred the great Johnny Blaze.  When his partnership with Crash Simpson was over, Drake became obsessed with taking over the show and all the fame and glory that went with it.  With a powerful helmet, that looked like an eyeball, he was able to control others but that wasn't enough to face the Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider.

Marvel Team-Up #15
    In 2008, we were introduced to a new Orb.  This Orb's identity was more mysterious but he was the brainchild of the team of  Jason Aaron and Tan Eng Huat.  Seen as a successor of the original Orb, he took his place as the villain to Ghost Rider.  One way you could distinguish the two Orbs was the simple fact that the 2nd Orb never knew when to shut up.

Highway through Hell
    As I said before, the Orb was resurrected by the Original Sin story line by Marvel in witch one of the Watchers was murdered and his eyes stolen.  It was said that the holder of the eye would have vast power and know what the Watchers knew.  It was in this story line that we found out all the secrets of the Marvel Universe.

Original Sin
    The Orb is a unique character.  Sure, he may look goofy with a Giant Eye for a disguise, but he has proven time and time again that he should not be underestimated.  That is why he has my respect and that is also why he is today's showcase.

I got my EYE on you!
Alter ego: Drake Shannon
Partnerships: Justin Hammer
Helmet is capable of powerful laser blasts. 
Can also project illusions and hypnotize people.

Alter ego: Unknown
Doctor Midas
Use of ray gun
Possesses an eye of Uatu

Until next time, get your READ on!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Saturday Showcase: Ocean Master

Ocean Master (New 52)
    This weekend the film Aquaman was released.  In honor of its release, I decided to showcase the one and only Ocean Master.  Usually I try to showcase individuals that some may not have heard of or know enough of, but any DC Comics fan knows exactly who is the Ocean Master.

First appearance: Aquaman #29 (September 1966)
    Orm Curry is the half-brother of Arthur Curry (Aquaman).  He was created by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy and first appeared in Aquaman #29 back in 1966.  Orm is one of those characters that can leave you guessing.  What do I mean?  Well, when we were first introduced to the character Orm, he was Arthur's human half-brother, but when the New 52 got it's hands on him he became Atlantean.  So, you can almost say that the Ocean Master and Orm are actually two different people.

Human no more
    I am a fan of the original version of Ocean Master.  The story-lines were more creative and had a little more imagination.  I mean, he was an Ocean Master who was born on land.  
   However, during the New 52 Throne of Atlantis arc, King Orm totally kicked ass!  So, I ask you, which version of Orm is your favorite.  If you find yourself confused, just do what I do and blame all these events on the Flash. (LoL, of course I am referencing the "headache" that is now known as Flashpoint)

Time for War
   All I can say is that I am ready to see Aquaman and I know the films version of Orm will do the Ocean Master justice.  From what I have seen and heard, Aquaman will be the best live action DC movie ever.   Do yourself a favor, go see the movie and then go to a book store and find you a trade or two that star the brothers of the sea and their battles to be.  

Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master aka King Orm
More about Ocean Master

-skilled military tactician-
-magical manipulation-
-utilizes mystically-powered trident-
-Atlantean physiology grants:
superhuman strength, stamina, and endurance
-ability to survive in aquatic environment-
-telepathic mind control over marine life-

Team Affiliations:

Anti-Justice League
Injustice Gang
   Secret Society of Super Villains

Game of Waves

Until next time, get your READ on!