Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Many Hosts of the Phoenix Force


Jean Grey (Phoenix) may be the best known host of the Phoenix Force, but she isn't the only person to wield the cosmic flame of creation. Her daughter Rachel Grey (Marvel Girl) and son Nate Grey (X-Man) both have manifested the Phoenix Force, as well as Emma Frost (White Queen) and her daughter Celeste. Charles Xavier once channeled residual Phoenix Force energies, and Hope Summers has manifested the Phoenix Force firebird. In the 30th century Giruad of New Haven became the Phoenix Force's host, while Wolverine was given temporary Phoenix powers when he touched a bullet forged from a Phoenix Force fragment. In an alternate reality future, Franklin Richards (son of Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four) was the host of the Phoenix Force. In another alternate future Psylocke was shown to be among the Phoenix's hosts. In a parallel dimension, Storm became the Phoenix Force's host instead of Jean Grey. Quentin Quire hosted the Force in two alternate futures. When iron Man developed a device to shatter the Phoenix Force, he unknowingly separated it and forced the Phoenix fragments into Cyclops, Colossus, Magik and Namor, as well as Emma Frost again. In a divergent timeline where the Iron Man wasn't able to separate the Phoenix into pieces, Magneto became the Phoenix. Iron Fist briefly came into contact with the Phoenix Force. When the Phoenix Force was pulled into the Ultraverse it possessed a young pyrokinetic named Amber Hunt. And Spider-Man briefly manifested Phoenix powers when he fought a robotic duplicate of Rachel Grey as Phoenix.
The Phoenix Echo...if the Phoenix Force is too much to handle, this pale blue "shadow" of the Phoenix Force seems to be more "user friendly". First (and only) used by Rachel Grey aka Marvel Girl, the Phoenix Echo was created when a sword containing a fading shadow fragment of the Phoenix Force was used to attack Rachel. As daughter of Phoenix (and once was the Phoenix herself), Marvel Girl possessed a natural spark of the Phoenix Force, which called to the piece in the sword. When the two combined inside Marvel Girl, she manifested a Phoenix Echo (a burning bird effect similar to the Phoenix Force, only the flames were blue instead of gold). Her Phoenix Echo made her almost as powerful as her mother, until the Phoenix Echo left to rejoin the Phoenix Force.
Psionic constructs are a relatively new comic term. Essentially they are physical manifestations of mental powers. The best known psi-construct was the telepathic psi-knife (and later telekinetic psi-katana) of Psylocke. And her body-swapped double Revanche had a psionic sword. Later, Cable gained a psimitar ( a psionic energy spear) and Jean Grey (after she assumed the codename Phoenix) developed the power to manifest a psionic firebird ( a sparkly pink version of the Phoenix Force effect). And most recently Kid Omega manifested a psionic shotgun. Also some characters mental powers ONLY manifest as constructs, Bunker of the Teen Titans projects his psychokinetic energy as bricks, and Fixx of X-Factor has some telepathic talents that manifest as fairies. The psi-contructs aren't limited to heroes, the Black Queen of London's Hellfire Club can generate psychic skinning blades on mental chains.
Quentin Quire...Kid Omega or Kid Phoenix? I wasn't a big fan of Kid Omega when he first appeared. I mean sure I liked his power set (omega-level telepathy, hyper-intelligence, and later he developed telekinesis), but he was a mean little punk who irritated me even before he started a riot at Xavier's Institute. However this borderline psycho has grown on me thanks to the new comic series "Wolverine and the X-Men". I mean if you think Psylocke making a psychic knife and sword is cool...Quentin can make psionic shotguns. And in two futures it is shown that Quentin will be a host of the Phoenix Force (and I loved his future Phoenix costume in WaXM 4) and I do have a weak spot for any Marvel character who has the Phoenix.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nightwing Costume Evolution


Dick Grayson was the original Robin, sidekick to Batman. When Batman dismissed the need for Robin, Robin decided to become his own hero and fly solo. Taking his father's dark blue-and-robin's egg blue trapeze artist costume and accenting it with yellow feathers (as a nod to his yellow cape as Robin) and a mask, Robin left the nest as took flight as Nightwing. Later Nightwing's girlfriend Starfire would modify it, making the yellow feathers a wing emblem, adding a utility belt, and adding yellow cuffs to the gloves. Starfire also installed functional glider wings under the arms to allow Nightwing to fly short distances in the new costume. When Nightwing left Gotham to further remove himself from Batman's shadow, he became the hero of the city of Bludhaven. Feeling his suit was too bright for a vigilante, he developed a black suit with a blue wing emblem similar to Batman's bat symbol, and mini-utility belts hidden in the cuffs of the gloves and boots. Later, Nightwing would streamline his suit into a sleek black costume with a robin's egg blue bird emblem, and a mask that resembled Batman's bat symbol. Finally, after the events of New 52, Nightwing's suit is a black armored body suit with a red bird emblem that is very similar to the Batman bat symbol.

Gosei Green, an unsung hero. In addition to loving comics...I love sentai and Japanese cartoons. One such show was Goseiger. In the series, there were three sets of two heroes...two air, two land, and two water Goseigers (or Power Rangers if the sentai ever gets adapted). The Blue Goseiger (Gosei Blue) was a water (Seaick) hero had a giant blue shark mecha  (or Zord as they are called here in the states) called Gosei Shark, and the second of the Seaicks was Gosei Green..who had a five second battle scene in a flashback where it was revealed that he died before the Goseigers all teamed up. Green's suit was a recolor of Blue's, and his mecha was a recolor of Blue's second Dolphin mecha (Green's mecha was called Gosei Porpoise).
The Phoenix Force...power incarnate...the thing that got me reading comics. In 5th grade a kid brought in the "Dark Phoenix Saga" trade and I fell in love with Jean Grey and her Phoenix Force...and through her, I fell in love with comics. To this day my favorite heroes are still the bearers of the Phoenix (Jean, Nate, and Rachel Grey)