Thursday, 17 June 2021

Loki in the MC2


With the new Loki television series new streaming on Disney + the present might be the best time to take a look at the Asgardian God of Mischief himself. So, here is a post dedicated to Thor’s adopted brother and everyone’s favourite trickster: Loki in the MC2.


Loki made his MC2 debut early on, in the introductory A-Next #1 where we saw the formation of the next generation team of Avengers. Just as he did in the original Avengers #1, Loki inadvertently helped bring these heroes together. Attempting to steal the enchanted mace of the original Thunderstrike using his rock troll minions, complications arise when Mainframe, Stinger, J2, Jubilee, Jolt and Speedball assemble to defend Kevin Masterson, the rightful inheritor of the mace.


Transporting the heroes to Asgard’s Isle of Silence and capturing them, Loki stood poised to harness the maces magical energy against his many enemies, only for Kevin Masterson to leap into the centre of Loki’s spell and grasp the Thunderstrike mace. Immerging from the ensuing explosion, Kevin Masterson finds himself transformed, merging with the mace to become the powerful hero Thunderstrike. The heroes escape to the surface only to find themselves overwhelmed by the trolls’ sheer numbers, but thanks to Kevin signalling for help the group are rescued by Thor and Loki flees. Following this, the assembles group are returned to Earth and some of the heroes’ band together to re-form the Avengers and history repeats itself, all thanks to Loki.


When next we see Loki Laufeyson again, he masterminds a plot to bring an end to the age of heroes he helped start. To do this, Loki sends the trolls to kidnap various heroes and -using a dark crystal- turns them against the remaining heroes (Last Hero Standing #1-#3).


With his plan nearly uncovered, Loki not only targets Doctor Strange and removes him as threat but also turns the incredible Hulk into his pawn too. With Hulk under the influence of Loki, he launches a vicious attack on all the heroes indiscriminately. Loki’s spell requires the sacrifice of a human life by a hero to bind the ensnared heroes permanently (Last Hero Standing #4-#5).


When Thor arrives alongside Captain America and a small group of other heroes including Spider-Girl, the final battle takes place. Thor battles Hulk and Captain America is left the last hero standing to oppose Loki. Managing to break Loki’s spell over the heroes by targeting Loki’s dark crystal, Captain America is still slain by the God of Mischief. Fortunately, Thor has not killed Hulk so the spell is not completed. Thor casts Loki to Limbo as punishment for his actions, with a repentant Hulk accompanying him at the last moment (Last Hero Standing #5).


That’s the last we see of Loki in the MC2, but it’s worth mentioning his daughter, Sylene makes her presence known not long after wards in the pages of the Avengers Next mini-series. If there’s interest, I’ll cover Sylene in a future post. She’s also an interesting character.


Until I fulfill my glorious purpose as God-King, I remain



Thursday, 10 June 2021

Allan Family Tree


Now that I’ve covered the Osborn Family Tree, I’ve opened the door to detailing the various families that intersect with it. The most obvious place for me to start was with the Allan Family Tree, and so here we are!


As mentioned previously, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Allan first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 as an unnamed student and was identified as Liz Allan in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #4Liz developed a crush on Peter Parker while they were in high school together, admitting this to him during their graduation in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #28. After this, Liz would not be seen for several years, save a cameo in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #30.


When we saw Liz next, it was over 100 issues later in Amazing Spider-Man #132-133, her surname was misspelt as ‘Allen,’ we learned what she had been up to during her long absence and we learned of a familial relationship previously unrevealed. That’s right, Mark Raxton aka The Molten Man is Liz Allan’s stepbrother. After graduating high school Liz became a Nurse (or Nurse Aid, according to some handbook entries) to provide him with care until he later escaped. This relationship between the two characters would become a reoccurring plot point as time went on.

Mark Raxton first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #28 as the assistant to Spencer Smythe (see here)  who attempts to steal an experimental liquid metal alloy only to end up with it coated on his skin as The Molten Man. While a reoccurring villain initially, Raxton would attempt to rehabilitate in Web of Spider-Man #62 and afterwards worked to redeem himself while reconciling with his stepsister and her new family.

Now, the pertinent question is how are Liz and Mark stepsiblings? Let’s take a look at Liz’s parents to work it out. Mr Allan, Liz’s father, first appears in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #17 when his Avenue Dinner Club is offered as the location for Flash Thompson’s Spider-Man Fan Club. Technically, the character is misidentified as ‘Mr. Brant’ but this an obvious writing error, something the Official Marvel Index to the Amazing Spider-Man (1985) clarifies along with listing his next appearances as Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #28. This latter appearance is also the first time we meet Mrs. Allan…or at least see the back of her head. While Mrs. Allan isn’t identified by first or last name here, the aforementioned Index identifies her as ‘Mrs. Allan’ and ‘Liz Allan’s mother; formerly Mrs. Raxton, the Molten Man’s mother’.


The issue with Mrs. Allan being both Liz and Mark’s mother is simple: having a shared mother would make them half-siblings rather than stepsiblings but they’ve consistently identified as stepbrother and sister for decades. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I think I have the solution. When discussing Mark in Web of Spider-Man #62, Liz states ‘when we were kids, he and his stepfather, my Dad, were always fighting’. From this we know for sure that Mr. Allan is not Mark’s biological father.


 The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update ’89 #5 profile for Molten Man lists a ‘Mr. Raxton (first name unrevealed, father, deceased)’ and ‘Mrs. Allan (first name unrevealed, stepmother)’ among his known relatives. From this we can deduce that Mark’s father died at some point and that Mrs. Allan is in fact his stepmother. Now the question becomes who is Mark’s mother, then? Untold Tales of Spider-Man #21 features the following seemingly throwaway line from Liz: ‘since my folks split up, I get to see him [Mr. Allan] every other weekend—and when he can spare the time.’ The relevant detail here is that Liz’s parents are no longer married and she no longer lives with her father. This story takes place prior to Liz’s high school graduation in Amazing Spider-Man #28.

Further confusing this point is the profile for Liz in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man 2005 -which isn’t strictly canon to this family tree due to their post-divergence publication date- but does provide us with first names for both Mr. and Mrs. Allan: Wilson and Doris, respectively. Notably, however, Doris is given the surname Raxton, despite being listed simply as Liz’s mother. Molten Man’s new profile in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #7 hardcover similarly lists ‘Doris Raxton (mother)’. So what’s the truth?


I posit that there are actually two ‘Mrs. Allan’s’: Doris Raxton Allan- Mark’s biological mother and Mrs. Allan (first name unrevealed)- Liz’s biological mother. Mark Raxtonis born to Doris and Mr. Raxton and Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Allan is born to Mrs. Allan and Wilson Allan. At some point will Mark is young, Mr. Raxton dies. Liz’s parents separate or divorce and eventually Wilson and Doris get together and after some time marry with Doris either legally or otherwise adopting the surname Allan. This does leave it vague as to which Mrs. Allan was seen at Liz’s graduation, but that’s a minor issue!


Well, what do you think, does my explanation work? Let me know. Make sure to check out the Osborn Family Tree to see how this all connects to the MC2’s Normie Osborn. Looks like I’ll have to consider related Family Tree’s for Foggy Nelson and Brenda Drago soon, too. So be sure to look out for that one somewhere down the line.


Until I stop obsessing over such trivial details as a supporting character’s own supporting characters, I remain