What’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER?
Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book news that’s dropped in the previous week. Thanks to Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. for reporting it as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness. It’s also the place for interviews, previews, and special reports.
Hey folks, Stones Throw back with some more updates on the week in funny books. Strap yourself in, bucko, it’s sure to be a wild ride!...@ J. Michael Straczynski’s first project for DC has been revealed – he’ll be taking over THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD from Mark Waid, who leaves with #14. His first story is a team-up between Batman and the Spectre…
@ DC jumps aboard the election bandwagon in October with a four-issue miniseries, DCU: DECISIONS, written by Judd Winick and Bill Willingham and with art by Stephane Roux, in which Green Arrow endorses a Presidential candidate…
@ Brad Meltzer writes a one-issue FINAL CRISIS tie-in, DCU: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, to bridge the one month gap between # 3 and 4 of FC. Adam Kubert will provide the art…
@ On the subject of FINAL CRISIS, getcher five-page preview here, courtesy of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY…
@ Mark Millar is organizing a seven-city ”Tour of Duty” to promote his new Image book WAR HEROES. It’s likely he’ll just be sitting in comic shops rather than seeking out active combat situations though…
@ Hey! BONE fans! (And, let’s face it, who isn’t?) Get your BONE on at Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio which is holding a 3 month BONE exhibition right now! Details here…
@ The original artwork for AMAZING FANTASY #15 (Spider-Man’s first appearance, don’tcha know) has been donated to the Library of Congress. See the whited-out finery here…
Now, on with the fights!
ROUND THREE / BRACKETS ONE & TWO
Sixty-four of comic bookdom’s best fighters enter, only one will be crowned THE SECRET TOURNAMENT OF INFINITE @$$-KICKERY Champion. It’s comics’ version of March Madness, only it lasts a bit longer. Ambush Bug here yet again, on behalf of the @$$Holes at AICN Comics, welcoming you all back to a contest unlike any other: boiling fanboyism down to its basics...whether one guy can kick the other guy's @$$.
We’re down to our Sweet Sixteen. The remaining heroes are the best of the best. Some of them were born to win this match. Others are just lucky so far. Round Three is about to begin, but before we move on to this week’s fights, let’s see the winners of last week’s bouts.
The Kingpin towered over Deathstroke, the visible height difference reflected in the marble pillars surrounding them.
“You sure you don’t want to leave the body armour on, Slade?” Fisk propositioned, negotiating his tree trunk arms from under red suspenders.
“I’m sure you’ll have enough excuses for losing, Wilson,” Slade smirked, his one eye trained on his opponent.
“Wilson...” The Kingpin mused, strolling toward Deathstroke, “first in my name, and last in yours...” the last words were a grunt as the Kingpin’s arm shot through the air at Deathstroke’s masked face.
Shards of marble exploded off the pillar where Deathstroke’s face had been; a simple duck and a sidestep later and Slade’s knee was in Fisk’s back and Fisk’s head in a choke hold.
“My life is war, Fisk, you wanna try and take it you’ll need more than money and brawn” Deathstroke hissed fiercely in the Kingpin’s ear, tightening the hold.
After Fisk had thrashed a bit he let out a gurgle. Deathstroke’s grim smile turned into shock as he realised that Fisk was laughing.
“her her her, and you will need more brawn than that to take me, little man...” Fisk stopped his thrashing, stepped on Deathstroke’s grounded foot and leaned back.
Deathstroke realised then that he had made a fatal mistake, Fisk’s neck was too thick and muscular for his choke hold to even get close to crushing the oesophagus.
Fisk fell, full weight on Deathstroke, the bulk of his body sliding up and covering Deathstroke’s mask.
Deathstroke could not get enough leverage to move the bulk. Fisk lay there looking bored at the ceiling until Slade went limp.
Kingpin picked himself up, “You’re a military genius, Slade, impressive combat record and cold blooded killer but people like me give the orders and write the cheques. Business is a killer.”
The two combatants entered the ring, dressed in appropriate fighting gi's. Connor Hawke, dressed in green, looked over his opponent, clad in red.
Looking her square in the eye, Connor noticed that Echo was returning the gaze rather intensely, as if she couldn't take her eyes off of him. "May the best artist triumph." said Connor.
Echo replied with perfect articulation and her ever-piercing gaze: "Best of luck, archer."
"Why was her gaze so intense?" thought Connor. Most fighters he knew took a "soft focus", allowing all senses to come to the front.
Trying out a hunch, Connor took an unusually deep bow to Echo. His head was at so low an angle that Echo couldn't possibly see his mouth moving. "Echo, there's a spider on your back." Echo, not hearing him and not knowing he spoke, had no reaction. Connor glanced back up and noticed the stony gaze of Echo. "Ok then."
Echo, channeling ninja techniques learned from Elektra, leapt at Connor with a lightning-fast flurry of open hand strikes aimed at the neck and arms. Connor, scrambling to dodge, deflected most of Echo's hits, but not before a strike landed square on his left deltoid, paralyzing the arm. Connor fell, rolling backwards. As he came up on one knee, out of breath and cradling his defunct arm, Echo moved in slowly for the killing blow. Connor's mouth was facing the floor, out of sight of Echo. The young archer spoke in a clear, loud tone:
"Echo, if you can hear me, protect your eyes."
Echo advanced slowly and methodically, preparing for the final blow.
"Next time, archer, play to your strengths."
As she drew breath for the strike, Connor moved with a quickness that belied his downed state. Whirling around quickly, his right hand perfectly forming the Shiva Claw Strike, Connor blinded Echo. Echo screamed in pain as she staggered around the ring.
Connor came up behind the poor blind and deaf girl. Focusing his strength and chi, Connor launched an open palm attack to match the handprint on her face, knocking her out cold.
"Next time, Echo, hide your weaknesses."
Connor left the ring, ashamed for his brutality and, strangely, thinking about Helen Keller.
WINNER: CONNOR HAWKE
Cleveland screams with the birth-agony of emerging, hellish sentience. It strains, roars and restructures itself, twisting every plane of reality; Tremont is in the Cisuralian Epoch, the Cuyahoga River is burning in 1952. Akron has been drained for sustenance, and Ohio’s 148th Field Artillery combats tentacled Browns Stadium rampaging through Tower City Center.
In the midst of the nightmare, two chosen warriors fulfill the prophesy Howard the Duck found carved into a truck stop bathroom stall while he worshipped the porcelain god: ‘The man with the demon’s mark shall battle the duck who walks for the living city’s fate. And Toby Keith rules.’
Howard smooths crimson-flecked feathers. “Had enough yet, Scarface?”
Jonah Hex wipes blood from his mouth, galled that a talking waterfowl is giving him a run for his money. The street shakes and cracks. A Restructuring Wave passes a block away, warping a Wyandot Indian hunting party into metrosexuals.
Hex swings his foot at the short duck. Howard dodges and doles a Quack-Fu flying kick to Hex's midsection. The gunman blackens a bleary eye, and Howard smashes his head under Hex’s chin. Both stagger back like boxers in the twentieth round. Another Restructuring Wave approaches, shredding concrete and turning the landscape into a caustic swamp. Howard launches himself off a car fender and dropkicks Hex into the wave’s path. A ragged scream echoes as the gunman’s devolved into a Sahelanthropus tchadensis.
"He ain’t hairless no more,” Howard snuffs, dabbing his bleeding beak. “Stupid friggin’ cowboy.”
A hand snatches him by the throat from behind. Time-tossed Jonah Hex from the post-apocalyptic wastelands of 2051AD, now East Cleveland adjacent, wrings Howard’s neck like a chicken until it snaps.
“Been waitin’ a long time to do that,” Hex grins, throwing the carcass to a wandering Borophagus. “Here. Eat up, ugly.”
WINNER: JONAH HEX
Natasha Romanov smiled as she bent down to begin to crack the old-style floor safe. Child’s play. But the safe door was unlocked. She swung the door open to be greeted by an ancient cathode countdown timer, glowing faint orange within the safe: 4:29? 4:28…
As she turned to leave, a figure stepped out of the shadows. Snake-Eyes held up the data disk for the Black Widow to see. He pointed to a non-existent watch on his wrist, then jerked his head toward the door.
He didn’t look like one of the Hand, but still, he had the vital data. The Black Widow did not hesitate to attack the unknown ninja. Snake-Eyes knew the Avenger, of course, and didn’t expect her reaction. That unexpected strike allowed her first blow to land, almost dislodging his visor.
The Widow was good, better than almost anyone he’d ever seen. Snake-Eyes admired her seamless blending of multiple fighting styles with a teacher’s eye. That uppercut was pure US Army; Captain America must have taught her that. He dodged or blocked a flurry of blows and kicks, each just a fraction slower than they could have been. At her prime, this might have been a close fight. But this had to end, and quickly. Snake-Eyes took a blow that cracked a rib, to allow him close access. Two swift nerve blows disabled her right arm and left her stunned. He leaned in and quickly rendered her unconscious.
Even in the scant light of the laboratory, Snake-Eyes admired her beauty. He hoped Scarlett looked that good at her age. He glanced at the timer as he slung the Avenger over his shoulder. She’d slow him down, but they might just make it out in time.
Congratulations to all the winning participants. Winners will move on to Round Four. Be sure to check out this week’s bouts. But first, the rules:@ To even the playing field, contestants are powerless and weaponless upon entering the ring. They must win on fighting prowess and character alone! @ Check out the fights listed below and send a 300 word (or less) fight scene to us determining who the winner is and how the fight should play out. (Remember: it’s best to SHOW, don’t TELL, in these submissions. That means write the scene as if it is happening, don’t tell us what will happen…it makes for more interesting readin’, don’t cha know!). @ Be sure to indicate the winner of each match in the subject line of your email. @ Submissions are judged by a select group of @$$Holes (hint: we’re looking for the most entertaining one to win, not necessarily the one that has been done and over done in comics before. ORIGINALITY RULEZ!). @ Winners of each match will be announced in the column a week later (that means if the fights were introduced in Monday’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER Column, the winner will be announced the following Monday, same for Wednesday’s reviews column). @ Submissions can be sent in to @$$Hole HQ via the link below until midnight Friday. @ THIS CONTEST IS NOT FOR PROFIT but done out of love for Fan Fic, comic book store trash talk, and online comic book debate. @ Have fun and enter as many times as you’d like! There can be only one winner, it’s up to you who that turns out to be!
Here are this week’s combatants! Be sure to follow the links to find out how our fighters have gotten this far!
Even though he was clubbed like a baby seal with KGBeast’s stump in Round One, he was able to leave that match the victor. In Round Two, his match-up with Bane proved to be equally brutal. In Round Three, USAgent faces a different foe, the She-Devil with a Sword. Red Sonja put down Batgirl in the first round by forgetting the pain the tiny martial artist inflicted on her. In Round Two, she went toe to toe with Wildcat and proved to be the boxer’s better. In Round Three these two warriors--one from Ancient Times, another from today--will face off.
The Black Panther proved to be King of the Jungle when he swiftly took care of Broze Tiger with some fancy martial arts of his own. T’Challa then went on to reluctantly take out Catwoman in Round Two. This time, the King of Wakanda will face his toughest challenge yet with Lady Shiva. This mistress of martial arts easily found Elektra’s weakness in his first match. In Round Two, she used sex rather than violence to sweep the leg of the Legion of Super Heroes’ Karate Kid. Both combatants are crafty and capable.
BLACK PANTHER VS LADY SHIVA
Due to a technicality, Nightwing, who was bested by Blade in the first round, was given a second chance because the vampire hunter used weapons to win. Nightwing seized that opportunity to advance even further by teaching pretty boy Initiative star MVP a thing or two about fighting. Now this former Boy Wonder will face the Marvel counterpart of his mentor, Batman, as he confronys Moon Knight. Moony outsmarted Jason Todd in the first round and shuffled Red Robin out of existence. In Round Two, he went up against a fellow merc, Silver Sable, and introductions were made between his boot and her face.
MOON KNIGHT VS NIGHTWING
when he served Richard Dragon in the first round. In Round Two, the Master of Martial Arts took out Ka-Zar the Savage with a powerful roundhouse. This time, his foe is a former teammate from his recent stint with the Heroes For Hire. The Black Cat has relied solely on her powers of seduction thus far in this tournament. First she felled Batwoman, who couldn’t avert her eyes from the crafty feline’s curves, then she tamed the savage beast in Wolverine, leaving him asleep, defeated, yet fully satisfied.