Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas Village 2018

A Writing American Hero
Here Comes Stan Lee Claus

I originally didn’t want to involve superheroes two years in a row for the annual Christmas carnage atop the frozen Norwegian wastes of Sluttbordet Plateau.  However, with the passing of Stan Lee, this is unquestionably the year a Marvel tribute is needed.

Cobra forces once again are perched atop the plateau.  “Weren’t they defeated by the Justice League?” I hear an outburst or readers cry.

Would you believe, a couple of readers?

Would you believe, it’s just one? (Hi, Mom!)

Yes, Cobra was defeated, but in the Mighty Marvel Manner, the Watcher asks:

“What if Marvel heroes and villains co-created by Stan Lee 
joined in the annual snow covered battle?”

No wormhole is needed this year, as Larry Hama’s awesome, defining, better than the cartoon in every possible way except the song, and currently still running G.I. Joe A Real American Hero comic book run started in June of 1982 for Marvel Comics.  It’s currently being published by IDW…and putting that particular box in my collection under more and more internal strain as time passes.

General Hawk, naturally, stands atop the “Hiss Elimination Sky Striker” mobile launch platform, conferring on battle strategy with the Marvel brain trust of Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic.)  Meanwhile, accomplished pilot Scott Summers (Cyclops) works with Ace to upgrade the jet’s systems.  Grunt, eager to share and add to his engineering knowledge assists the pilots but keeps an ear open to anything Reed has to say.

Nearby Bombstrike spots a landing zone as Wild Bill works to modify a captured “High-altitude Escape Suppression Strafer” chopper to air lift Cover Girl and Shipwreck on the Wolverine Missile Tank into action. It might have been cool to have Wolverine himself driving the Wolverine Missile Tank, but he was created by Wein, Thomas and Romita, with the key early development by Claremont and Byrne. Hama had some key runs too, maybe I could have stretched it that way? (Yes, folks, the comic book geekiness is going to flow more freely than usual, if that’s possible, this year.)  Clutch is driving the RAM Cycle onto the launch trailer for a test run.  Jean Grey (Marvel Girl under Lee and Kirby, later Phoenix by Claremont and Byrne…See?) has a much simpler solution- using her telekinetic might to lift the vehicle atop the plateau.  If I had a bigger budget, she’d probably just unleash the Phoenix force and end the whole shebang in about three seconds.

Hank McCoy (Beast) is too top heavy to converse with fellow Marvel scientists, or enter combat in the snow.  Heck, he makes those crappy Spy Troops figures that I need to dis once a year look stable.  Plus, he’s also both an X-Man and Avenger. Instead of developing a thesis length internal monologue to determine which group he belongs with during the altercation, Hank is bonding with Junkyard and Freedom while Mutt and Spirit look on.

Oh no!  Major Bludd has led a Blue Ninja Battle Android Trooper, Firefly and Generic Cobra Ninja 57-B on a covert mission behind enemy lines. With the element of surprise, and without Batman to stop them, these ninjas will be able to inflict some damage on even the strongest…

Oh, Daredevil (Matt Murdock) found them.

Never mind.

Speaking of sneak attacks, Zartan and the Dreadnocks have tried to flank the Joe base, stopping to pick up the Lizard (Dr. Curt Connors), along with Croc Master and his pet Señor Twinkles McFluffernutter from the everglades.  However, before reaching the camp, they’ve been stopped by the rest of the Fantastic Four.  The Thing (Benjamin J. Grimm) has “Clobberin’ Time”ed the Swamp Truck to a standstill, sending Zartan and Croc Master flying.  Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) is engaging the Lizard, while Dreadnock Torch realizes he’s completely outclassed by Johnny and surrenders. Storm’s sister, Susan Richards (the Invisible Woman) has the remaining Dreadnocks and attack leader Cobra Officer Bertram puzzled as to why all the oxygen has been forced out of their lungs.  Fantastic Four ally and Inhuman queen Medusa (Medusalith Amaquelin-Boltagon…I kid you not) came to help fight, but ended up trading unusually behaving (and fruity smelling) hair care tips with Zanya.

At the base of Sluttbordet Plateau, Barbecue monitors his fire truck with the help of the inexplicably appearing large monitor lizard. (HA!)  Realizing their planning skills aren’t needed after two possible realities of superhero aid, Flint and Lady Jaye share some quality time together in the medical bay.  
Along the side of the truck, Storm Shadow is involved in a deep and meaningful conversation with Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff (Hawkeye and Black Widow) about the philosophical merits of switching sides from the bad guys to the good guys…

Not to mention the practical merits which include never facing prosecution for all the crimes committed as a bad guy.

Up on the ladder Peter Parker faces Otto Octavius is a classic Spidey vs. Doc Ock suspended battle.  Spider-man is aided by his amazing friends Iceman and Firestar (Bobby Drake and Angelica Jones.)  Firestar is technically a cheat since Stan wasn't involved in her creation.  However, since it was his narration of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends that she was created for where I first “met” Stan, Angelica gets a pass.  Not to mention the fact that since it’s me doing all the work setting this up, and swearing and moaning when they keep falling over, I'm allowed a cheat.
Oh, Jinx is helping out too, because it's a federal law that a ninja needs to be on the ladder.

On the beachhead at the top of the ladder is Beachhead.  Gosh, I am witty, for about the fifth time with that joke.  Stalker was about to lead the attack there, but amazingly, I remembered to give Breaker a gun this year, and he’s chasing after “Cobra the Enemy.”  The Enemy is running because of an amazing aerial battle between a Televiper in the Trubble Bubble and Wild Weasel in the stealth Raven against Duke wearing his jetpack and Tony Stark himself, Iron Man!  
The sky battle was so amazing; I’m never going to figure out how to stage or photograph anything like it. The Raven is so stealthy, even the wreckage is invisible. Wild Weasel makes a run for it while Tony holds the Televiper at bay wearing my personal favorite armor, the Silver Centurion, debuting November of 1985 in Iron Man 200, purchased in the Denville Stationary Store!

Now you know.
And knowing…
The extraneous comic book trivia in my head…
Is a fairly significant battle in and of itself.

Back behind them Scarlett has landed the “Helicopter Extraction Shipping Service” to unleash the Heavy Weapons Team into the fray.  Roadblock and Gung Ho have already captured a couple of Vipers while Bazooka guards the vehicle’s entrance.  Given the fact that he’s guarding it with a rocket launcher, the odds of it tumbling over the side in flames have increased considerably.  
Flash provides cover standing atop the stationary rotors, because it just isn’t the Holiday Season in the McGinley house without the sounds of,
*Stream of festive profanity*
A couple of times a day.

Blain, Mac and Billy, offended that the Predator posts have been interrupted for the holidays, are sulking behind the transport ‘copter.

She Hulk (Jennifer Walters, Lee’s last Marvel co-creation) has knocked over the Oversized Armored Combat Snow Plow, sending an Iron Grenadier scurrying for a quick exit.  Snow Job (Yes…Snow Job) has taken advantage of the chaos to finally get the drop on his arch enemy (since they’re the only two dressed properly for the snow covered Sluttbordet Plateau) Snow Serpent.  A Cobra Claw armed with the U.L.G. also thought he  had the drop- on She Hulk.  Snake Eyes, emerging from the “Helicopter Extraction Shipping Service” and his katana beg to differ.  I suppose his Uzi also begs to differ, in a longer ranged, louder fashion.

The original Combat Snow Plow was smashed and the Advanced Combat Snow Plow was stopped in its tracks while unloading due to a well-timed, leaping arrival from the Incredible Hulk.  His tiny noggin indicates this is the version from the sixth and final issue of Bruce Banner’s original comic where the Hulk transformed, but kept Banner’s head. Then he had to wear a Hulk mask over it to hide his identity.  That was also the issue where a suggestion from Steve Ditko led the Hulk’s transformations to be fueled by stress and anger instead of nighttime or a ray.

No really, I’m not making this up. 
Additionally, the Jade Giant’s arrival has pulverized a Battle Android Trooper, and caused two Crimson Guardsmen to soil their nice red uniforms.  The Desert Trooper, sick of spending each year half dead lying on the ground from hypothermia and other embarrassing injuries has had enough.  He’s leapt onto the nearly unstoppable monster to prove he can make a valuable contribution to this year’s battle.

Wait, is that the Cobra Bazooka about to fire on the Hulk?  Boy, I hope Bruce brought some Brillo pads to clean the big, dust colored stain off his back.

Between the Joe beachhead, armored avengers and gamma irradiated rage behemoths, Scrap Iron stopped trying to augment the Advanced Combat Snow Plow a while ago, and is racing to drive onto the couch nearby mountain range.  Tomax and Xamot, more attuned to white collar crime, are close to overtaking him.  Up above, Victor Von Doom, the Lord of Latveria, and Serpentor the Cobra Emperor discuss the unworthiness of those they rule over with iron fists…

Not Danny Rand, the metaphorical kind of iron fist.
They also trade the addresses of dry cleaners who specialize in getting minion blood out of green capes.

Lastly, over at the Cobra Command Vehicle, Destro and Cobra Commander discuss mask adhesion problems with the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) and Baron Zemo (Helmut Zemo…who you think should wear a helmet instead of a mask, working his name in better. They should really get me to write stuff.)
With them is the Baroness, fitting into this crossover perfectly as her real name (which I am still not making up) is Anastasia DeCobray.  She is the only member of the Cobra Command group paying any attention to the struggle, that may explain the staggering losses the ruthless terrorist organization is sustaining.

Perhaps if the Baroness’s name was Ruth, they’d have more allies.
(HA HA! See what I did there?  Did I mention I’ve been really stressed lately?)

Skulking behind the Command Truck is Quentin Beck, better known as Mysterio!

Is he aiding the villainous forces, setting up a huge trap to turn the tables?

Has he been coerced by the heroes to infiltrate the enemy camp?

Is he a wild card, pitting enemies against each other to distract them from his master plan?

Has he created the illusion of the whole battle on Sluttbordet Plateau to distract YOU from his master plan?

Is he there solely because Stan Lee’s awesomely insane notion of a special effects wizard who one day decides to slap a fishbowl on his head and become a super villain using his movie magic expertise is one of my favorite bad guys?

Who knows?

Until next year...

Have an Excelsior Christmas!
Yo Joe! And ‘Nuff Said!

Don’t fret DC fans, with his awesome movie out, Anabelle has maintained our “Aquaman in the Can” tradition.

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