Monthly Archives: May 2015

Avengers Members

Group Avengers
Not even all of the Avengers

While the current movie team has had a relatively simple history, the comic book version of this classic squad has had more lineup changes than King Crimson. Today we’re going to take a look at all the characters that have joined and left the group since its inception.

The Sixties

The heroes that started the team in September of 1963 are some of the most famous: Iron Man, Thor, Henry Pym (the original Ant-Man), Wasp (Who would eventually become Ant-Man’s wife), and Hulk, of course with Nick Fury. Captain America was found encased in ice in March of the following year, and given retroactive founder status thanks to his real-life age. Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch joined in May of the next year, followed by Swordsman in September . . . who was expelled in the same issue, to be later readmitted in 1973. Hercules joined in October of 1967, Black Panther joined in May – and Vision in November – of 1968. Black Knight joined at the tail end, December of 1969.

The Seventies

The seventies’ first addition was the current-member Black Widow in 5/1973. Mantis joined in 9/75, Beast, Moondragon, and Hellcat joined in 9/76. The last three were all on probationary status for a varied number of months. Two-Gun Kid joined in 8/78, Ms. Marvel, now Captain Marvel, joined in 5/79, and Falcon joined in 6/79.

The Eighties

During the eighties, things became more complicated. Wonder man, probationary since ’77, joined officially in 4/80. Tigra joined in 9/81, and She-Hulk in 7/82. Captain Marvel joined in 5/83, Starfox in 5/84, Namor in 12/85, and Doctor Druid in 4/87. From 84-87, Hawkeye left the Avengers and began the West Coast Avengers, recruiting Mockingbird and War Machine in 9/84, Thing (from the Fantastic Four) in 6/86, Moon Knight in 6/87, who would leave quickly, and Firebird in West Coast Avengers Annual #2. After the Marvel universe event Inferno, Demolition Man, Forgotten One, Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman, U.S. Agent, Quasar, and Human Torch before the decade would be over.

The Nineties

The complications increase in the nineties. In the first year heroes Sersi and Stingray join. Spider-Man, Sandman, Rage, Machine Man, Living Lightning, Spider-Woman, Crystal, Thunderstrike, and Darkhawk are made UN Charter recruits, though some would not last. After the Heroes Return event, Justice joins the Avengers in May of ’98.

The Aughts

Triathlon and Silverclaw join in 2000, Jack of Hearts in 2001, Ant-Man (Scott Lang, the character we’ll see in the upcoming movie) joined in 2002, and Captain Britain joined in 2004. The New Avengers, thanks to a massive super-villain breakout, is formed of Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man, Wolverine, Sentry, and Echo. The Civil War, which pitted hero against hero, had the New Avengers become an anti-registration group, and had the following members join the original Avengers: Ares, Amadeus Cho, Jocasta, Stature, and Vision. Only Amadeus Cho and Stature survived, though Stature was resurrected.

The New Tens

After the events of Dark Reign and Siege, Captain America (James Barnes) and Spider-Woman joined in May of 2010, while Valkyrie, Sharon Carter, Nova, and Ant-Man (a third, Eric O’Grady) joined the Secret Avenger at the same time. Power Woman joined the New Avenger in June of 2010, Flux joined the Avengers in September of 2010, Protector (a.k.a. Marvel Boy) joined in December of 2010, while Doctor Strange joined the new Avengers at the same time. Red Hulk joined the Avengers in June of 2011. After the Fear Itself event, the teams were shifted by Captain America. Daredevil, Storm, Quake, Captain Britain (a different one), and Venom joined the Avengers and the Secret Avengers.

In 2012 the Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men took place, and following that the teams were again shifted, along with a number of new additions. Havok, younger brother of Scott “Cyclops” Summers, joined in October of 2012. In December, Cannonball, Sunspot, Manifold, Shang-Chi, Captain Universe, Smasher, and Hyperion joined. In January of ’13, Rogue joined. In February, Sunfire. In July, Doombot and Victor Mancha. In the Infinity storyline (which might find itself drawling parallels to the upcoming Infinity War movies), Abyss, Ex Nihilo, Nightmask, and Star Brand joined in October of ’13. Alexis the Protector joined about the same time, as well as: Ronin, Blue Marvel, Power Man, and White Tiger. Finally, Kaluu joined in November of ’14, Doctor Voodoo in December, and Sabretooth in January of this year.

And you told us all that because:

I could write more. I could write forever. Marvel’s history is long, complicated, and difficult. There are side-teams, spinoffs, betrayals, evil teams, and more deaths and resurrections than most soap operas. Hopefully you’ve stayed though until now, because there is a point to all this: Even for me, someone who spent a long time reading comic books as a kid, the Avengers are too dense. Marvel in particular is too dense. Have you ever seen a timeline of the X-Men? There are just too many characters to have anything be meaningful. At the end of Age of Ultron, the Avengers’ B-team is just short of assembled: Scarlet Witch, War Machine/Iron Patriot, Falcon, Vision, all of which you can find in the list above. While these characters were at least partially set-up, how can we be sure that Marvel won’t continue to add new characters without giving them the time they need to become something the viewers can connect to?

By the movie’s climax, there were 12 heroes: Captain America, Iron man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, War Machine, and Falcon. That’s not even counting villains or non-heroic personnel. Who will we see in the next Avengers? Spider-Man? Doctor Strange? Black Panther? The entire cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy? It’s impossible to have a story when there are two dozen characters to deal with, and I hope Marvel realizes that.

The movie Avengers
The movie Avengers (Ant-Man was a founding member, you recall!)

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The Infinity stones, and an Age of Ultron Plot Hole?

The six Infinity Stones
The six Infinity Stones

Age of Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor 2 spoilers!

What are the Infinity Stones? Constant readers of the Avengers comics can probably tell us in greater detail. They were once known as Soul Gems, until Thanos decided Infinity Gems sounded cooler. The Marvel Cinematic Universe refers to them as the Infinity Stones.

The Stones are indestructible; not even the most powerful weapons can destroy them. If someone had the power to combine their forces, that person would become unstoppable – but no one who has even attempted this has survived. They were created by “cosmic entities, and each possesses unique capabilities. Contact with the stones in lesser beings results in illness or instant incineration, such as when Jane Foster became ill in Thor 2, or when Carina was blown apart in Guardians of the Galaxy.

How many have the movies encountered so far? Thor tells us in the Age of Ultron. He says that the Mind Stone (The item held inside Loki’s staff and the item used in Vision) is the fourth Infinity Stone encountered lately – a hint at the greater conflict that has been building between the good guys of Marvel and Thanos.

But wait. Four? The first was the Tesseract, seen frequently in Marvel’s Phase one. The second was the Mind Stone, as seen in Age of Ultron. The third was the Reality Stone (The red goop from Thor 2), and the final one was the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s easy to see how Thor would know about the first three . . . but how did he know about the Power Stone?

The Collector
The Collector

In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone (better known in the movie as the Orb), is given to Nova Prime Irani Rael at the end of the movie by the Guardians. In the movie we neither hear nor see any mention of the Asgardians, Thor, or the other Avengers. We are aware of the relationship between Taneleer Tivan, better known as the Collector, and the Asgardians (Sif and Volstagg give him the Reality Stone at the end of Thor 2), and of course Tivan hired Gamora to retrieve the Power Stone for him in Guardians. Other than the fact Tivan knows both groups, we see nothing to indicate information has been passed.

Is this a plot hole? Possibly. At the end of Thor 2, Thor renounces his claim to the throne, choosing to go to Earth and spend his time with Jane Foster and the Avengers. If the release of the movies coincides with the time they take place, then it is at this time the Guardians of the Galaxy encounter and hide the Power Stone. So why does Thor know of its use and appearance in Age of Ultron? Likely, it is a nod toward unseen events, and future movies, but that doesn’t explain how Thor is aware of the events from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thanos' end game
Thanos’ end game

We can look at the options for the line: Thor discusses the three stones that he knew about, leaving out the purple Power Stone and, possibly, telling a less-attentive audience there have only been three stones revealed so far. Or, he says the line that we hear in the movie, which contains factual information that he couldn’t know. It falls to a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation, and the filmmakers ultimately went with the one that keeps the audience from thinking something false. This of course ignoring the possibility of changing the line altogether.

So what of it? I don’t think we’ll see anything explaining the hole in future movies, thanks to its rather small importance. Still, it’s interesting to see a hole in such a tightly-written series. However, that isn’t the only plot hole people have noticed – though a number of those are “Why didn’t X scientific fact come into play?” which is a different creature.

Anyway, we hope you’ve enjoyed this little treatise. Come back soon for more information about comics, movies, and costumes!

Moon Knight Character Corner

Moon Knight
Moon Knight

Normally, for the semi-regular Character Corner, we feature popular superheroes in the public eye, or perhaps those that are soon to be featured in one of the many movies or television shows that are currently being produced. But this time we’re going to take a look at a lesser-known hero in marvel’s catalogue: the cloaked and supernatural Moon Knight!

History:

Marc Spector’s father Elias, a Jewish Rabbi, escaped to America when Hitler’s army invaded Czechoslovakia. His son was born in the US, and Marc’s mother died soon afterward. As a child, Marc was upset that his father never fought against persecution, and ended up leaving home to become a professional fighter. After punching his father for entering a ring during a fight, Marc enlisted in the US Marines. After two tours of duty he became a field agent with the C.I.A., and worked with a number of people, including his brother Randall, whom he killed after exposing a gun-running scheme.

Afterward, Spector became a soldier-for-hire and met Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp; the two traveled the world taking a variety of jobs. They eventually worked for a Sudanese man named Raoul Bushman. Bushman massacred a village and killed an old and friendly archaeologist named Peter Alraune, and Spector revolted. Running to safety with Alraune’s daughter Marlene into the Egyptian tomb Bushman had been searching for; he challenged Bushman and was mortally wounded. Marlene and the work crew laid him to rest underneath and idol of Khonshu, the Egyptian god of vengeance. Khonshu appeared before Spector’s vision and promised him a renewed chance at life in exchange for acting as the deity’s avatar.

Bushman himself escaped, but Spector captured his men and began his life as the heroic Moon Knight. He, Frenchie, and Marlene moved to New York, taking the idol, and began to fight crime using a costume, equipment, and his personal fortune. He began to develop multiple personas, useful in his life as a crime-fighter, and his original personage of Marc Spector became fractured, weak, and small. He fought a variety of criminals until Bushman re-appeared, paying Midnight Man, a common foe, destroy Moon Knight’s idol of Khonshu. Since Moon Knight believed the idol granted him his powers (strength, agility, speed, as well as others) he lost his self-control and was threatened with the idea of being consumed with his multiple personalities until Marlene produced another idol, which she said was the original.

Moon Knight in the shadows
Moon Knight in the shadows

Spector’s high-stress life began to take a serious toll, and, after the death of his estranged father (and, natch, the fight with a Kaballah-powered villain named Zohar that used his father’s body as a power source), suffered a mental breakdown due to his many multiple personalities. He decided to abandon them, settle down with Marlene, and attempt to find a measure of peace.

This, of course, wouldn’t last, and Moon Knight re-appeared when he went to Egypt and met with three ancient priests of Khonshu, who granted him new weapons. He joined the West Coast Avengers, but he never felt truly welcome in the group. He soon returned to New York and continued fighting crime on a non-cosmic level (which had been a worrying trend, including time travel, the ghost of murdered villains haunting a team member, and the aforementioned ancient priests), choosing to rely on human ingenuity and strength over mystical powers.

But: He underwent a near-death experience, found his brother Randall was still alive, and that Randall had been trying to take over the spot of Moon Knight – at one point taking the powers for himself. Randall Spector, known as Shadowknight, was defeated by Spector and the Punisher.

After his headquarters at Spectorcorp was destroyed, Moon Knight was killed. Khonshu wasn’t finished with him, however, and brought him back to life. An attack by Seth, another Egyptian deity, using Bushman and other villains on the UN brought national attention to Moon Knight, he would help Black Panther reunite with his own patron deity Bath, and he even gave up mistrust of teams to try and bring in the Punisher, due to the latter’s increasing brutality.

Spector haunted by Bushman
Spector haunted by Bushman

Marc Spector’s fragmented life became worse after finally killing one of his personal demons, Raoul Bushman, in combat. The battle left him with broken knees, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. One of his alternate personalities, Jake Lockley, became the dominant one, and this tenure of Moon Knight was a struggle against his violent nature; he was hounded by a small, imaginary tormentor, a man in a Moon Knight costume with a bird’s skull who goaded him to kill.

Some time later, Moon Knight went to Mars with the Secret Avengers.

Later still, Moon Knight’s fragile mental state shattered completely. Approached by Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man in Los Angeles, he was told villains were congregating in the area. Moon Knight investigated, and found Mr. Hyde, a shape-shifting villain, selling an Ultron head. Moon Knight was able to recover the head, and gave it back to the three heroes that had approached him originally. Unbeknownst to him, however, the three heroes are mere hallucinations. Believing himself to be Spider-Man, Spector, confronted the criminal Snapdragon. His Wolverine personality took control halfway through the fight, but he was defeated.

Slowly, Moon Knight comes to realize the full strength of his multiple personalities and, after moving back to New York, discovered with the help of a psychologist that he did not, in fact, have what is known as dissociative identity disorder, but instead his mind had been “colonized” by Khonshu since becoming Moon Knight. Khonshu’s four aspects took on the alternate personalities that manifested, and these apparent personalities were Spector’s brain’s way of making sense of the intrusion. His psychologist, Ellisa Warsame, used hypnosis to remove Khonshu, but took the powers for herself, leaving him in an undisclosed prison. He was blamed for the actions Warsame committed, but defeated her and regained Khonshu’s power.

Moon Knight's fragmented personalities
Moon Knight’s fragmented personalities

Abilities

While Moon Knight’s strength, endurance, and reflexes are enhanced depending on the phase of the moon, he is also a superbly-skilled fighter (both unarmed and with weapons) thanks to his years in the marines, as well as a driver, pilot, and – thanks in part to his multiple personalities – can resist mental manipulation and psychic attacks. At the current time, Moon Knight has stated he has no supernatural powers. Who knows if he’s telling the truth.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun superhero and costume information!

New Superhero Costumes

We’ve just gotten the new costumes in, and we’re working hard to get them uploaded. We also have a very special announcement to reveal and the end of this post!

We’ve already shown the cool new costumes from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, but that’s not all! We’ll have the heroic thief Ant-Man, as well as the villainous Yellow jacket from Marvel’s next film Ant-Man. He may be small, but he packs a punch! If you’re looking for an outfit that helps you become not just powerful but pretty as well, we’ll have a huge number of Harley Quinn, Gamora, Black Widow, She-Ra, and other strong women.

There’s no small amount of new costumes for kids, as well! Characters from movies like Avengers or Ant-Man, television shows like Power Rangers, classic superhero titles like Wonder Woman, Batman, and Spider-Man, and even video games like Mortal Kombat X and Sonic Boom. There are even generic superhero items if you want to make your own unique costume.

And speaking of unique, here comes the special announcement! Official Costumes is lucky enough to have an exclusive, one-of-a-kind costume, the Pink Batgirl Womens Costume! We noticed that there were no outfits for an adult superhero fan that wants to look pretty and powerful at the same time, so we had one of the our vendors create this special costume. You can only find this outfit from Official Costumes, and we’ll only offer it for a limited time. We don’t have the item in stock yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it arrives.

Thanks for reading! Come back often for more fun fan and costume information!

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