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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hard Core Heroes

I like mainstream comics -- I really do. I can totally dig some of the stuff that Superman deals with. The X-books rarely disappoint me completely. Spider-man, of course, almost always has some depth to it.

(I don't, however, actually buy comics anymore. Since I'm satisfied with the Big Two, and since I don't need to read an entire series to figure out the plot and enjoy the individual episodes, I make do with reading a selection of mags off the rack at any of the local big-box bookstores. Easier on the pocketbook, and no one at the stores ever seems to mind.)

In a recent X-book -- I don't remember the title, since it doesn't really matter -- I read the culminating chapter in the current X-tinction Agenda story line. The story itself was okay (and the ending a little confusing -- how/why Professor X disappeared, and why the greatest telepath on the planet couldn't notice the fact that someone was about to shoot him in the head are both mysteries that probably weren't meant as such), but what really struck me was the action involving Wolverine's X-Force group.

For those who don't know or haven't been following, Cyclops put Wolverine in charge of a sub-group of the toughest, nastiest and mostly sharply-armed of X-men, reusing the name originally taken by the New Mutants while under the tutelage/influence of Cable. This special team consists of (aside from the aforementioned Canuck) Warpath, Mlle. Hepzibah, X-23, and Wolfsbane. (At least, I think that's the roster, but I'm not 100% certain of it. Those who want to know can, of course, look it up.)

Now, in the middle of all the other frenzy going on in this issue, there was also a mutant-eating, regenerating, big-toothed grey beast called Predator X running rampant. (Oh yeah, and it grows bigger with every genetically-enhanced meal.) Wolverine and his crew are sent to deal with this big nasty, and discover quickly that their claws and knives (and space-grenades) aren't hurting the darn thing any faster than it can heal the damage. Being the team leader, and the best there is at what he does, our hero Wolvie climbs up onto some sort of promontory above the beasty's head, and then yells to get its attention. When the beast looks up, Wolverine jumps at its head. What happens next? What else? Predator X opens wide, and swallows the ol' Canucklehead whole. Of course the whole team freaks out, but I'd already guessed at this point what was going to happen -- I've seen Men In Black, too.

So, what does happen when you swallow an regenerating berserker with unbreakable bones and foot-long claws sticking out of each fist? Yep, you guessed it: a terminal case of heartburn. Wolverine very handily disembowels Predator X from the inside, and crawls out of the corpse, covered in yuck, but triumphant.

Okay, so if you're anything like me, you immediately see the humour in this. This move is so over-the-top, it's so blatantly, fanboyishly hard-core, that you can't help but chuckle at the audacity. At the same time, though, the long-time comic-reader in me thinks: "Hey, that was pretty cool. Good thinking, Wolvie."

In fact, I liked it so much, I've been inspired to write a series in the same vein. Call it "Hard Core Heroes". It's about a team called Hero Force, made up of the toughest of the tough, the heroes that are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and do it hard core. I figure as long as I take it seriously enough that the characters believe in themselves (and therefore the readers do, too), while avoiding the tongue-in-cheek camp, then it'll be cool and funny at the same time.

I already have some of the characters sketched out. I think people will really like it. I know I do -- but then again, I'm the one who's writing it.




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