Tuesday, 24 March 2020
It was well overdue. Having uncovered a few more previously unknown video game appearances, I decided to do a little tweaking to my original Evolution of Spider-Girl in Video Games video. Unfortunately, I no longer have the raw video files to completely remake and update it as I wanted to, so I've been forced to use the uploaded video itself as my starting point, with a few (hopefully subtle) edits spliced in.
Here's the video and it's description:
A small updated look at the video game appearances of May 'Mayday' Parker aka the Amazing Spider-Girl. I will likely revisit this again in the future if I can get better footage of some of the games featured. The years noted are the year the character appeared (has far as I've been able to ascertain) and are not necessarily the year the game was initially released.Here is a list of the games appearing in this video:
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010)
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (2011)
Marvel: War of Heroes (2012)
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Spider-Man Unlimited (2014)
Marvel Heroes 2015 (2015)
Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2015)
It's still a Spider-Girl World!
Until I unlock the skills and time necessary to produce as many videos and blog posts as I want, I remain
Sunday, 22 March 2020
I’ve recently had the opportunity to watch through the entirety of the 1980’s classic animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. This experience, combined with the knowledge that it’s a favourite of arias-98105, has prompted me to take a quick look at a character who originated on the show: Angelica Jones aka Firestar in the MC2.
The character of Firestar was created for the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series, from an initial sketch by comic artist extraordinaire John Romita Sr that was refined and finalized by Rick Hoberg. Making her debut in animation with the first episode ‘Triumph of the Green Goblin’ in September 1981 which was followed shortly after with her first comic appearance, an adaption of the episode in December 1981’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #1. But as for the first appearance of Angelica Jones as Firestar in the Main Marvel Universe, that took a few years with Uncanny X-Men #193 in May 1985.
While Firestar would have a superhero career alongside teams including the X-Men, Hellions and most notably the New Warriors, it was her eventual membership as an Avenger that we will be discussing today, particularly as it relates to the History of the MC2 Avengers. As I’ve detailed in previous posts, it appears the events surrounding Heroes Reborn and Heroes Return unfolded in the MC2 just as they had in the Main Marvel Universe. However, with the start of the third volume of the Avengers series, it becomes less clear how closely the two worlds mirror each other after this point. What is likely is that in the MC2, the Avengers team reformed much as they had in Avengers vol. 3 #1-4 with Firestar and her main squeeze Justice joining the group officially in Avengers vol. 3 #4.
I mention all this to lend context to the limited information we have available regarding Firestar in the MC2. In the Main Marvel Universe, Firestar received a new costume designed by fellow Avenger Janet Van Dyne aka The Wasp. This costume was not well received by Angelica, who found it too revealing and soon made modifications to better suit her tastes (Avengers vol.3 #8). Here’s the original costume as well as the first (Avengers vol. 3 #8), second (Avengers vol. 3 #9) and third (Avengers vol. 3 #13) modifications made to it:
As I’ve discussed previously, we know the original Avengers team’s last mission was nearly 12 years prior to the events of A-Next #1, as mentioned by Jarvis when he recounts the details to the new Avengers. Both Firestar and Justice are seen amongst the assembled Avengers during the flashback where it is decided the team must venture through the portal to the alternate world to halt Doom’s multiversal threat. While it is difficult to discern from this cameo, Firestar appears to be wearing the second or third modified variation of the Avengers-era costume mentioned above, so we know she was by that point a well-established member, either one who was on the then-current roster or simply returning for this major emergency summons (A-Next #7).
Along with her fellow assembled Avengers, Firestar agreed to and embarked on the grave mission which saw only seven members return through the portal. While we don’t get a 100% confirmation, it’s assumed Angelica Jones died along with almost all of the Avengers who went on this final mission, including her lover Justice. Despite the sobering tragedy of such a massive loss, the team did succeed in saving their Earth from the threat of Doom (A-Next #7).
While I believe it’s extremely unlikely that Firestar is somehow alive on the alternate Earth ruled by Doom, it should be noted that the reports of Captain America’s death were greatly exaggerated as revealed in A-Next #10. So that is something to consider, if you are so inclined! A huge thank you to arias-98105, who is a big Firestar fan and provided invaluable help with image research, costume information and fact checking!
It’s a shame so many of the Avengers died, but it’s an even bigger shame we never got to see younger heroes like Firestar and Justice reach their full potential in the MC2. At least Speedball made it!
Until I become Amazing Friends with Iceman and Spidey and rent a room from Aunt May, I remain
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Now that I’ve done a post about Bluestreak’s Costumes and discussed both Blue’s and J2’s approximate age as part of a series about the members of A-Next’s Ages, I figured it’s a no-brainer to take a quick look at the different costumes worn by Zane Yama through the years. This should be fun!
For starters, Zane’s most iconic costume is his original J2 costume, which sort of appeared in What If #105, but let’s be honest, that was originally intended to be Zane’s father Cain Marko aka the original Juggernaut as an Avenger. A happy accident led to this retroactively being the first appearance of everyone’s favourite bulky boy hero J2, and I’ll always be grateful for that!
It’s revealed in J2 #1 that the transformation from Zane Yama into his hulking, muscular form doesn’t come with clothes provided:
The first J2 costume makes its proper debut in J2 #1 and A-Next #1, designed by costume designer extraordinaire Ron Frenz. While Zane spray paints an old set of armour belonging to his missing father, he adds regular footwear and poignantly his dad’s favourite shirt as personal touches.
While Zane retains this costume throughout both the J2 and A-Next series, I’d be remiss not to point out the wonder that is…The Masked Midget! This brilliant disguise of young Yama’s has a couple variations, likely depending on whatever colour and design of balaclava or ski-mask is available at the time (A-Next #2, J2 #10).
Whether it counts or not is debatable, but I’ll err on the side of caution by including ‘The Day Juggie Lost Nearly 1000 Pounds’ during his battle with the villainous Parody:
There’s also the masterful mystery man known only as ‘Patch’. I wish I had more information to give you on this character, but he’s shrouded in mystery and intrigue! Thanks, Wolverine! (A-Next #10)
Boy, J2 #10 is a treasure-trove of alternate looks for Juggie Junior, isn’t it? Here’s Sir Jugalot from one of ‘J2’s Funny Fairy Tales for Fools and Felons’ in all his noble glory:
After saving his father Cain Marko from captivity in another dimension, Zane returns his father’s shirt in the pages of Wild Thing #2 and is seen without it in the series subsequent issues (Wild Thing #3-5).
As an aside, it's in Wild Thing #3 that we get another transformation for J2, only this time 'Juggie Goes Ape!' Or as I like to call him the Juggernape.
The no-shirt-around-waist iteration of the J2 costume would stay the norm throughout the characters appearances in Spider-Girl with the exception of a fantasy sequence dreamed up by Felicity Hardy wherein J2 can briefly be seen with a fancy F5-style belt (Spider-Girl #52).
When Ron Frenz became the regular artist on the title and redesigned ol’ Juggie’s costume in Spider-Girl #58, added a new piece of civilian clothing; cargo shorts!
This would become the standard design from this point onward, showing up throughout the Last Hero Standing, Last Planet Standing, Amazing Spider-Girl, Avengers Next, Fantastic Five and American Dream series.
Allowing for a few minor colour changes, these cargo shorts remains the same red-brown colour, though the MC2 story seen in Spider-Island #1-5 clearly depicts Zane rocking blue pants.
That’s it, that’s a wrap! I’ve got nothing else. Let me know if I’ve missed anything or if you have any questions. I’ll keep doing these costume posts as long as people are interested! What’s your favourite J2 costume? Who’s should I cover next?
Until I stop liking shorts even though they are comfy and easy to wear, I remain
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
I thought it might be fun to work out the approximate ages of the various members of the MC2’s Avengers. Keep in mind this isn’t definitive unless it’s spelt out on the page and is merely a rough estimate based on in-universe information or- where necessary- statements from the creative teams involved in the characters creation and development.
For the second entry in this fledgling series, I thought we might take a look at someone I mentioned in the first entry about Bluestreak’s age: Zane Yama aka Zane Marko aka Juggernaut Junior aka The Masked Midget. Or, you could call the kid… J2!
While he first appeared as a cameo in What If #105 alongside other Avengers, he literally wasn’t the same character he would become when the MC2 began in earnest. It’s not until the first issue of both his solo series J2 and the A-Next series that we would truly meet Zana Yama, a young teenager who we learn is the son of the unstoppable Juggernaut, Cain Marko. Within his titular title, we get various hints and clues as to the timeline of events leading up to Zane’s father’s disappearance, which in turn help us work out Zane’s age.
The first such example comes from J2 #1 where we learn of Zane’s familial relation to Cain Marko. Zane notes he’s had recurring dreams about his father since he was ‘a little kid’. It’s also notable that Zane’s mother Sachi Yama was married to Cain for ‘a few years before he was zapped into some weird alien dimension’ and that afterwards she reverted her surname back to her maiden, along with Zane’s.
There are also a few further details in a later story within the same issue which show Zane recalling being taken to Central Park or the movies by his father when he was ‘only a kid’. Clearly Zane was very young when this occurred (J2 #1).
Over in the A-Next title, Thunderstrike is shocked to learn J2 is actually ‘just a kid’ and worries about endangering a minor. Zane mentions that his father disappeared before he was ‘old enough to know who or what he was!’ (A-Next #2) It’s interesting to note that Zane has nightmares about his father and here even refers to him as a monster, despite knowing him well enough. Clearly Zane is conflicted about how to he feels about his father based on his father’s history, the word of his mother and his own foggy memories.
Zane at times shows less emotional maturity than his fellow Avengers, as evident when he has a momentary panic at the sight of Mainframe being torn in half during a battle with the Defenders (A-Next #3). When forced to make an emergency landing in a Quinjet, J2 notes he can’t wait to get his drivers licence (A-Next #4).
When Cyclops recounts the last days of the Juggernaut, he notes that Zane (as J2) is ‘probably too young to remember the absolute bewilderment which greeted the news that the Juggernaut had been invited to join the X-Men’. This indicates again that Zane was a very young boy when his father disappeared (J2 #7).
We get the full story of the Juggernaut’s disappearance and capture in J2 #12 when he is reunited with his son, though we don’t get many more specifics that can help give us an approximate age. But given the MC2 is around 15 years in the future, Zane is a teenager and his father went missing when he was still very young (say, around 3-4 years old?) we can really start to pin things down.
As I mentioned last post, Bluestreak has an unrequited crush on J2 which she still retains well into their friendship throughout the run of A-Next, J2, Wild Thing and Avengers Next, even hanging out with him in his civilian identity of Zane. I used this to help narrow down Blue’s age then and I believe this also helps work out Zane’s age now too.
But let’s move on to some creator comments now, because I think the recent interview with Ron Frenz on Adam Chapman’s Comic Shenanigans podcast will clear the matter right up! Here’s what Ron had to say:
‘It was a lot of fun doing that character and juxtaposing between this good-natured 13, 14-year-old and the powerhouse that he could become. In that second issue we did that thing where he has to occasionally turn back to Zane so we did the thing with the ‘masked midget’ where he put on a ski-mask. He was a wonderful character to play with.’
Expanding on this later in the interview, Ron also added:
‘What was always interesting to me how people feel the need to ‘ship’ characters, to pair them off and everything. We had suggested in the run at one point in the run that there was an attraction between American Dream and Thunderstrike and somebody wrote in and said ‘now all you gotta do is get Cassie and Zane together’ because there was scene in the fourth issue where he’s feeling dejected and she goes out to talk to him and says ‘No, everything’s fine, you saved my life, you were scared but you came back. You saved my life and you’re an Avenger and blah, blah, blah’ and everybody somehow saw that as this was going to be the beginning of them being in a relationship. Zane is, like, 14 at the best! Cassie is a scientist working in a lab with her father, she’s gotta be in her early 20’s! Really?! So that was always bizarre to me when people would do that.’
Here’s the moment Ron is referring to:
I think that’s a pretty definitive answer, one that helps to make sense of the History of the X-Men in the MC2 as well! So, without even having to guess this time, I can say Zane Yama is 13 or 14 years of age throughout the published stories of the MC2.
Until I run out of steam, revert into my puny human form and don a ski-mask to hide my secret identity, I remain