Monday, September 18, 2017

Comparing the legacy of Supergirl and Spider-Woman

Supergirl and Spider-Woman are both the female counterparts of iconic heroes who wear blue-and-red costumes, but that isn't the only similarities these two superheros share.
The Originals: Kara Zor-El and Jessica Drew were the first women to become Supergirl and Spider-Woman respectively. Both women became superheroes due to their parents trying to save them from radiation poisoning. Kara Zor-El was born on a chunk of Krypton that had been converted into the floating city of Argo after the planet's destruction. When meteorites pierced the atmospheric shield of the city, they unleashed Kryptonite radiation in the ground. Dying of exposure to the lethal radiation, Kara's parents sent her to Earth to live with her cousin Kal-El aka Superman in the city's only escape rocket. On Earth, she was found by her cousin and assumed the identity of Supergirl. Jessica Drew lived on a mountain that had high levels of uranium in the ground. When she showed signs of radiation poisoning, her father put her in a pod that infused her with spider-DNA since spiders had radiation resistance. Jessica hibernated in the pod for years when she emerged as a spider-powered adult. Despite having no connection to Spider-Man, she was called Spider-Woman.  Both woman became iconic heroes for a while until it was decided they both had to die. Kara died fighting the Anti-Monitor, while Jessica died fighting Morgan Le Fay (Jessica was revived but lost all her powers in the process)

                               
Psychic replacements: When Kara died and Jessica was de-powered, each was replaced by a new hero using the Supergirl and Spider-Woman names. Both women used psionic energy to mimic having Kryptonian and spider-based powers. Linda Danvers became Supergirl when she merged with a protoplasmic lifeform called Matrix. After the merge, Linda found that she had telekinesis; a power she used to fly, surround herself with a protective shield that mimicked invulnerability, boost her strength, and fire psionic force blasts. Julia Carpenter was tricked into being part of a government experiment to create superheroes. An injection of spider venom mixed with plant extracts turned Julia into the the new Spider-Woman with the power to create webs of solid psychokinetic energy. Her psionic powers also allowed her to cling to walls by psychokinetically bonding her fingers and toes to any surface.
Both Linda and Julia recieved new powers that ended up with the two getting sidelined. Linda briefly became an Earth-born Angel of Fire while she was Supergirl. She lost her angelic abilities, only to have them unexpectedly returned and then she was trapped in Hell. Julia became Madame Web when Cassandra Webb died in her arms and gave all her psychic powers to Julia. However a cosmic event involving all the spider-powered heroes in the multiverse caused the new Madame Web to fall into a coma and awaken after the event ended stripped of all her powers.


Third try was not the charm: Cir-El and Mattie Franklin were the third Supergirl/Spider-Woman iterations. Cir-El was the genetically engineered daughter of Superman created by an evil organization to be their own Supergirl, and Mattie gained super-strength and flight from a evil magic ritual and used those powers to assume the mantle of Spider-Woman. Both Cir-El and Mattie had unusual powers. Cir-El could fire a blast of red solar radiation from her entire body, while Matte gained the power to sprout psychically powered spider-legs from her back after fighting an evil version of Spider-Woman. However they weren't popular with the fans and both were quickly gotten rid of.

Back again: Kara and Jessica were brought back as Supergirl and Spider-Woman with new origins. Kara was now placed on a ship along with her baby cousin when Krypton was exploding. She was supposed to take care of her cousin, but her ship crashed into an asteroid and Kara was trapped in suspended animation for decades. She was eventually freed by the asteroid's destruction and she finally made her way to Earth where she became Supergirl. Jessica Drew was revealed to have been exposed to a bio-energy beam containing spider-DNA while in the womb due to experiments her father was performing for HYDRA. Her powers were returned and she once again became Spider-Woman.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Marvel Boy/Justice Costume History


Vance Astrovik had no idea that in the future he would be an astronaut lost in the depths of space in the 30th century with psychokinetic powers. And he had no idea that his future self would travel back in time to prevent his timeline from occurring. When young Vance met future Vance, the temporal anomaly unleashed young Vance's latent mutant DNA and converted it from a talent to create psychokinetic blasts into full-blown telekinesis. Dubbing himself Marvel Boy, young Vance donned a navy blue-and-white costume similar to the uniform worn by his future self and joined the teen hero team, the New Warriors. However when his bigoted father began viciously beating him for being a mutant, Marvel Boy lashed out with his telekinetic powers to protect himself and blasted his father through a wall, killing him. Marvel Boy was arrested for negligent homicide and sent to prison. When he was released for early for good behavior, he decided to christen himself Justice, wearing a padded blue-and-white costume with red goggles and a red scales emblem belt. Justice rejoined the New Warriors and was made the new team leader, and he celebrated by designing a new white costume with navy blue-and-light blue trim with gold triangular emblems. When he was offered membership in the Avengers, Wasp gave Justice a costume that resembled his original Marvel Boy costume with elements of his last costume. Later Justice would leave the Avengers and reform the New Warriors, and changed the hue of his costume from navy to teal and added gold trim to his costume. He also wore a black-and-white version of this costume with a jacket
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The Costume History of Firestar



The mutant mistress of microwaves, Firestar began her career under the tutelage of Emma Frost aka the White Queen. Emma provided Angelica Jones with training in her mutant ability to control microwave radiation, and gave her a fiery yellow-and red costume and large flame-shaped mask that would become her most iconic and well-known look. Realizing Emma intended to use her as an assassin, Firestar left and joined the teen hero-team, the New Warriors. There she would decided to update her look to a red-and-gold leotard over a black bodysuit with gold googles. When Firestar was offered membership into the Avengers, Wasp gave her a gold-and-black bodysuit with orange flame trim and a fiery mask as a welcoming present. However Firestar found the plunging neckline too revealing and modified her costume, changing the trim to red and filling the neckline with a red flame design. Firestar left the Avengers and tried to retire from heroics, but was offered a teaching position with the X-Men. There she wore a stylized version of her original costume, with longer gloves and boots, a smaller mask, and a red collar. During a stealth mission, Firestar sported a black-and-grey version of her X-Men costume. When she fought the god Tanaraq Firestar was transformed into a fiery goddess in a "costume" of pure flame.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Legacy of Superwoman

While most people know Supergirl, Superwoman isn't as well known. And there have been quite a few of them. A side note, this post will focus on the Superman-related Superwomen and not the Earth-3 evil counterpart of Wonder Woman known as Superwoman. The first Superwoman appeared in a dream where Lois Lane gained the powers of Superman. The first official Superwoman to appear was Luma Lynai, Superwoman from the planet Staryl. She possessed powers similar to a Kryptonian, but only under an orange sun. She tried to live on Earth with Superman but found that yellow sunlight was toxic to her. Later, Kristin Wells, a time-traveling descendant of Jimmy Olsen, would take on the mantle of Superwoman, using futuristic technology to emulate superhuman powers. Dana Dearden was the the next to take on the identity of Superwoman, however the public called her Obsession. Dana was an obsessed Superman fan who used stolen magic artifacts to obtain the powers of gods and goddesses so she would be his perfect match. While not officially called Superwoman, Sharon Vance was the female version of Superman's electric blue phase. A childhood friend of Clark Kent from Smallville, Sharon became Strange Visitor (a being of living electromagnetic energy) and had to wear Superman's old electric containment suit to control her powers. Lois Lane's little sister Lucy became the next Superwoman, after the military gave her a costume that allowed her to mimic Kryptonian abilities until the suit was taken from her. Lisa Jennings was a school teacher who became the next Superwoman after gaining Superman-like powers from exposure to radiation from a Kryptonian sunstone. In the new 52 continuity, Lois Lane and Lana Lang both became Superwoman when the two women gained superhuman powers after they absorbed energy released from the dying body of the New 52 Superman. Lois developed Kryptonian-like powers similar to those of Superman while Lana developed solar-fueled electromagnetic powers similar to those Superman possessed during his electric powers phase. In another reality, Lois Lane became Superwoman for a day when Superman gave her a serum that gave her his power for 24 hours. In a reality where every DC character was the opposite gender, Laurel Kent was Superwoman, a gender-reversed version of Superman. In the 31st century, Elna Kent is the descendant of Superman and Lois Lane and the Superwoman of her timeline.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Harley Quinn Costume History

After Harley's Quinn big screen debut in Suicide Squad, some people were less than thrilled with Harley's "costume" of a red jacket and short-shorts. Let's look at the actual costumes Harley has worn in the comics and video-games. Harley Quinn began her career as a cartoon character in the Batman animated series in the 90's. A criminal psychiatrist turned villainous sidekick, Harleen Quinzel's love for the Joker led her to don the now iconic red-and-black jester costume of Harley Quinn. Her popularity resulted in Harley being added to the pages of DC comics. In the New 52 continuity, the Joker threw Dr. Harleen Quinzel into the same vat of acid that Batman threw him into. The chemicals bleached her skin and gave her two-toned red-and-blue hair. Donning a skimpy red-and-blue bodice with matching stockings, Harley Quinn was the Joker's girlfriend. However, his increasingly sadistic behavior drove Harley away from Gotham city. Harley strove to create her own identity and redesigned her look into a roller-derby uniform with elements of the original Harley Quinn jester costume. She also died the blue parts of her hair black. Later, Harley was made part of the Suicide Squad and sported a more militaristic version of her roller-derby costume. She also died her hair back to blonde. In the Injustice video game/tie-in comic continuity, Harley's look is a combination of her classic and new 52 costumes. Harley first sports red-and-black hair along with a jester themed red-and-black vest over two-toned stockings. Later she dies her hair back to blonde and dons a two-toned red-and-black jacket and with matching leather pants. In the Arkham Asylum/City/Knight games Harley first wears a modified nurse's uniform. Then she wears a red-and-black leather halter top with matching pants. Finally Harley wears a black Gothic Lolita-style dress over what appears to be the leggings of her classic jester costume.

Friday, August 5, 2016

May "Mayday" Parker Spider-Girl/Woman costume history

Like her father, Spider-Man, May Parker has also worn quite a few costumes. May's first Spider-Girl costume was the Spider-Man costume worn by her "uncle" Ben Reilly. When her costume was badly damaged, May bought a black-and white version of her Spider-Girl uniform from a costume shop. After the death of her father, May wore his classic Spider-Man costume as Spider-Woman. Realizing the costume made her dwell her father's death, May designed a new Spider-Woman costume that embodied both the Ben Reilly and Peter Parker Spider-Man costume with a few new elements thrown in, such as large webs under her arms. In the Earth-X reality, May is Venom, and the symbiotic costume she wears is black with red web/vein patterns and a large red spider-symbol. In the year 2020 AD, May wears a Spider-Girl costume that combines the costume of Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) with that of Spider-Man.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Superheroines who should be added to the MCU

Despite the success of the Marvel movies, one of the complaints is the lack of female heroes with actual powers. While Marvel is adding Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel to their cinematic universe, here is my top 10 list of characters who could definitely add some girl-power to the movies. Side note; since Fox still owns the movie rights to the X-Men I won't be including mutant characters on this list.

1. Spider-Woman. A former Hydra agent turned hero, Jessica Drew isn't just a female version of Spider-Man. Her powers of flight, venom blasts, and pheromone manipulation already set her apart from Peter Parker, and she isn't your average superhero. Her day job of being a private detective/bounty hunter means that she fights crime almost 24/7. And lets be honest, despite her popularity she hasn't even been on TV since her short-lived cartoon in the late 70's. Spider-Woman deserves some screen-time folks.

2. Madame Web. Julia Carpenter aka Spider-Woman II, aka Arachne II, aka Madame Web II, is another Spider-based character who has no connection to Spider-Man save the name. A single mother who underwent government experiments to earn money and ended up with psionic spider-powers, Julia shows that being a mom doesn't mean you can't be a superhero. In fact she has even been a longtime Avenger. Her current powerset of precognition and psychokinetic webs would give the MCU their first psychic superhero.
3. Spectrum. The first woman to be called Captain Marvel (and later Photon and Pulsar), Monica Rambeau was a New Orleans Harbor Patrol officer who gained the power to become any form of electromagnetic energy (from light to x-rays). Her wit and determination and unique powers would make her a welcome addition to the MCU.
4. Crystal. With the rise in popularity of the Inhumans, Crystal seems like a perfect candidate for a movie adaptation. A former member of the Avengers and Fantastic Four, Crystal is no stranger to superheroics, and her power to control the four elements (wind, water, earth, and fire)  make her a literal force of nature.
5. Firebird. Bonita Juarez gained the power of pyrokinesis from contact with alien matter. Able to psychically create and control flames, Firebird really does bring some much needed firepower to the MCU.
 
6. She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of the Incredible Hulk and has a similar powerset. But unlike her cousin, She-Hulk retains her intellect and humor even when she is green and smashing.

7. Black Cat. With Spider-Man being brought to the MCU, hopefully that will mean we will get a movie adaptation of his love interest/enemy/crimefighting partner Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat. Her cat-like speed and agility combined with her supernatural power to cause bad luck (and her hi-tech arsenal of cat-themed gadgets) ensure it would be amazing to see this super-powered cat burglar on the big screen.
8. Sister Grimm. Nico Minoru's magical ability to cast one-time usage spells with a single word combined with her Gothic style would be a cool addition to the MCU.
9. Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is such a popular new addition to the Marvel universe, this Inhuman-borne polymorphing hero (who was given her codename by Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel herself) would do well in the movies.

10. Angela. Aldrif Odinsdottir is the sister of Thor who actually started her comic book career as a supporting character in the Image Comics' Spawn series. Now part of the Marvel Unvierse, this avenging angel was revealed to have been the daughter of Odin and Freyja trapped in an realm called Heven by the Queen of Angels and raised as one of their own. Now free and aware of her Asgardian heritage, Angela explores the Nine Realms. Her ties to Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy give the angelic war goddess multiple movie properties to be a part of.