Tagged: Quicksilver

John Ostander: Annotating H4H, Part 2


This coming week, Marvel is issuing the second part of my work on Heroes For Hire and, as I did when the first volume came out, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it and why I made some choices that I did and what I was thinking when I created the stories.

Background info: my run on H4H began in 1997 and ran for 19 issues. The team was a corporate entity, hiring out groups of superheroes for various missions. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were the core, with the Original Human Torch, Jim Hammond, running the business. Lots of characters cycled in and out, the most constant being White Tiger, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Black Knight and Thena of the Eternals. We also had lots of guest stars such as Hercules, Wolverine, Shang-Chi, She-Hulk and Deadpool who, not surprisingly, was featured on the cover.

Deadpool is probably one of the main reasons Marvel is gathering this collection right now, along with the fact that Luke Cage and Iron Fist both either have had or will have a series on Netflix that will lead into the Defenders miniseries. And, maybe, the fact that I wrote Suicide Squad and that movie is now out on DVD, Blu-Ray, and so on. Ah, name recognition!

Often the guest stars would appear depending on availability and also on with whom I wanted to play. That accounts a lot for Deadpool’s appearance. ‘Pool is a lot of fun to write; he has a deep streak of whacky and I like whacky.

In fact, the entire series has a deep streak of whacky as best exhibited by the narrator. The voice of the narrator started normally but rapidly developed into sort of a character of its own. I was influenced by Stan Lee’s way of talking to the reader, calling them “effendi” and promising to get them caught up when the story started in the middle of a fight scene (which is one of the best ways ever to start a comic). My narrator would complain about not being told what’s going on and once panicked when there was a crash and it appeared all the heroes were dead. She-Hulk, who was also a lawyer, later broke the fourth wall and fired the narrator. We had a new, normal narrator after that; even the font changed to establish this was not the “same” narrator.

I have no idea what readers thought but, hey, I was amusing myself.

Smack dab in the middle of this we had a five-part crossover with the Quicksilver book that I was writing along with Joe Edkin. That year, Marvel was doing “paired” Annuals and, since I was involved with both H4H and Quicksilver, they got paired. Joe and I had inherited a storyline involving the High Evolutionary, the Knights of Wundagore, Exodus and the Acolytes, and ultimately Man-Wolf. In retrospect, Joe and I probably should have wound up that storyline sooner than we did and gone on to our own ideas. We hoped that linking the Quicksilver book with H4H would create an event and would help increase the readership of Quicksilver.

It didn’t work out that way. Quicksilver actually got canceled and I think we hurt H4H in the process. There were just too many characters and plenty of switching sides. Maybe we should have had a scorecard.

The pencilers on the series were generally top notch. Pachalis (Pascual) Ferry was our regular penciler and he’s terrific. Very flowing artwork but with a sense of energy and excitement akin to Jack Kirby. Excellent storyteller, too.

My other favorite penciler remains Mary Mitchell for a lot of good reasons. I first encountered Mary at a Chicago Con; incredible storytelling skills, a great sense of architecture and place, and even minor characters seemed to have a real life. They all had their own stories and we could have followed those but we were following these other characters instead. I helped her get some of her first jobs and she eventually came to live with Kim Yale and me. She stayed during Kim’s fight with breast cancer and stayed after her death. Much later, she and I became a couple and still are but at the time of her doing the story in this volume, we were just good friends.

The story was a solo adventure of the Black Knight who was a favorite character of mine and who I had brought into the group.

Another favorite character that I brought into the comic was Mrs. Arbogast, the older and sometimes acerbic secretary who had worked for Tony Stark. She has a dry disdain similar to Alfred in the Batman movies.

We had lost some readership but it was growing again but this was the Ron Pearlman era when the company was owned and operated by bunch of people who clearly didn’t know what they were doing. One underling decided he would curry favor by saving money by canceling a bunch of books – including H4H. We didn’t really warrant it. Said underling then left the company a short time later. Such is life.

I’m proud of my work on H4H. My approach was consciously different from my work at DC; a bit looser, a bit more in what I considered to be “the Marvel manner.” A plot might not complete in one issue but end at the start of the next issue and we would then plunge into the next story. Sometimes the pace was a bit breathless and that was all by design. I wanted H4H to be fun and the best way to make that happen was to have fun myself. I did and I think it shows. If you take a look, I think you’ll have fun, too.



Tweeks: Avengers Age of Ultron Squeee-view

Of course, we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening weekend and of course you did too — or else why do you watch a comic geek vlog? But in case you didn’t get to it yet, do that soon and be careful watching our video, because you know….SPOILERS!

What we’ve done this week instead of a classic review is to answer some questions our friends asked us after the movie. If you haven’t been reading the comics and or watched all the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s offerings, you might have had these same questions as well. And if you already know everything there is to know about Marvel, maybe you can kindly (very nicely & respectfully because we are only kids & we can’t be expected to pass the 7th grade AND read & see everything in a time span that started before our parents were even born) expand on our points. We also talk about Avengers: Infinity Wars and our favorite MCU ships (#CaptainCarter #ScarletVision) and the one that sank during Ultron (you gotta watch to find out).

The Law Is A Ass


Georgia_Dakei_(Earth-616)_from_X-Factor_Vol_17_001See, now this is why people need lawyers.

I’ve written this column long enough and covered so many topics that the “this” to which I alluded in my first paragraph could be just about anything. But in this case, the “this” happens to be All New X-Factor #7. And the “people” happen to be the members of the all-new X-Factor – Polaris, Gambit, Quicksilver, Cypher, Warlock, and Danger. So let us proceed there with all due haste.

The story opens with a young girl named Georgia Dakei. Georgia is the daughter of Scott Dakei who is, himself, a piece of work. Not just because he’s a fictional character so is, by definition and like all fictional characters, a piece of work. Scott is an anti-mutant bigot and an ultra-conservative multi-media mogul who owns a half dozen major newspapers and a major news network. So Scott’s Rupert Murdoch. In addition to being a media mogul, Scott writes best-selling spy thrillers; which also makes him part Bill O’Reilly,  part Glenn Beck, part William F. Buckley, and part every other conservative pundit who has turned to writing action thrillers. Finally, Scott is a paranoid who lives in constant fear of what he believes is an over-reaching government that’s poised to attack him at any moment. Because of his extreme political views, not because it doesn’t like his books. So Scott lives in a heavily-fortified underground compound in New Mexico called The Bunker. Seriously, the man’s got a bunker mentality and lives in a compound called The Bunker? That’s a little more on the nose than Pinocchio playing Liar’s Poker.

Georgia lives in The Bunker with Scott, where she is home schooled and completely shut off from the rest of the world. Like most teenagers, Georgia is naturally rebellious. She just happens to have a little more to rebel against; i.e. her cut-off-from-the-rest-of-the-world lifestyle which she calls boring and frustrating and depressing. The problem arose, when Georgia called her lifestyle boring and frustrating and depressing on a live video blog, against her father’s express orders and warnings. And when her father found out about it in the middle of her blog, he reacted violently. He physically yanked Georgia off screen and his bodyguard shot Georgia’s computer to turn it off.

The all-new X-Factor saw Georgia’s blog and decided to get involved. They determined that Georgia was a girl in trouble so decided to go to New Mexico and, if Georgia wanted to leave, to take her from The Bunker even against her father’s wishes. After all, as Quicksilver put it, “It’s not kidnapping if she wants out.”

And that’s where the whole X-Factor needs a lawyer thing comes in. See, a lawyer – like me – knows where to find the pertinent criminal code statutes that define kidnaping in New Mexico. Okay, you probably know where to find them, too; the Internet. But a lawyer – like me – knows how to interpret those statutes to determine whether taking the girl from her father might still be kidnaping even if the girl “wants out.”

Kidnap in New Mexico is defined in New Mexico Statute § 30-4-1 as unlawfully taking, restraining, transporting or confining of a person, by force, intimidation or deception. Now when X-Factor arrived at The Bunker, it was met with resistance in the form of multiple machine guns that Scott Dakei had ordered discharged at the team. When that didn’t kill them – come on, they’re mutants and the heroes of this comic, you expected some puny machine gun fire to take them out – Quicksilver reacted physically by knocking Scott and his bodyguard unconscious. That covered the “by force” part of the definition. So, if X-Factor actually transported Georgia from the Bunker after using force to get into it, would that be kidnaping?

Well, no.

See, I cheated a bit. I didn’t give you the full definition of kidnaping in New Mexico. It isn’t enough merely to take a girl by force. To kidnap her, you have to take her for the purpose of ransom; to use her as a hostage or shield; to enslave her; or so that you can inflict death, physical injury, or a sexual offense on her. As X-Factor didn’t have any of those motivations for taking Georgia, their taking her wouldn’t be kidnaping.

But wait. There’s more. And not just a second Ginsu knife.

The “more” is the part where the lawyer – not like me; me – tells X-Factor they need him because he knows you have to look at more than just one statute. See there’s always the possibility that, even if X-Factor wasn’t kidnaping Georgia, they’d break some other New Mexico law by taking her from her father. A lawyer would know that it was necessary to read the other statutes in New Mexico’s criminal code – such as NM Stat § 30-4-4 – and determine whether X-Factor’s actions might violate one of them – such as NM Stat § 30-4-4.

So what is NM Stat § 30-4-4 and why, as you’ve probably already guessed, would X-Factor violate it, if they took Georgia from the Bunker?

NM Stat § 30-4-4 is the Custodial Interference law. It says if a person who does not have a right of custody over a child under the age of 18, which Georgia is, maliciously takes a child from someone who has custody over the child, which Scott has, the person is guilty of Unlawful Interference with Custody; a felony of the fourth degree.

I don’t think that any court would be too hard pressed to find that if X-Factor knocked out Scott Dakei – the malicious part – and then transported his daughter away from him, the members of X-Factor would have unlawfully interfered with Mr. Dakei’s custody. Do you?

So, did X-Factor take Georgia away from her father and break New Mexico’s Custodial Interference statute? I can’t say.

No, really, I can’t say. Telling you whether X-Factor took Georgia and broke the law would be a spoiler and I’ve used up my allotment of SPOILER WARNINGS for the month.