Marvel Handbook

Hi everyone. Welcome back for another edition of the Handbook.

We’ve got an action packed issue here, Daron. We got a ton of questions and I did answer Joe’s from last week. So I think if you have anything to say I’d say it quick.

I’ll make my complaints quick. Daron’s off traveling the globe again, so it’s Chris joining you, Jim. I’d ask how you are, but you won’t see the question until this sees print. So, I won’t waste the time.

Then let’s start

Crap I hate when I skip an email.

Yeah, that’s a silly thing to do. šŸ˜‰

Joe’s from last week.


Great column, I’ve only just started reading it since last week, but I enjoy it, even though most of it is way over my head. I haven’t gotten into comics in almost 15 years (I’m 34 it’s been a while), and I have a few questions.

Thanks Joe. I’m sorry about last week. Not paying attention as usual. lol

And he’s the Nexus’s Marvel brain. Jeez.

1. How did Abomination come to be?

Origin: born Emil Blonsky, he was a Russian spy looking for information on the secrets of gamma radiation. He found out more than he bargained for when he stood in front of a gamma ray machine and took what for Bruce Banner may have been a fatal dose of gamma radiation.

It bombarded him with a more concentrated and intense dosage of gamma radiation than Banner received from the nuclear explosion that turned him into the Hulk. Like Banner, Blonsky had some unknown genetic factor in his body that saved him from being killed by a great dose of gamma rays. Instead, the radiation had an immediate mutagenic effect upon Blonsky, transforming him into the monster whom General Ross’s daughter dubbed the Abomination.

Since I’m a Hulk fan, I can actually add a bit here. Abomination is actually stronger than Hulk on the baseline. The thing is, the angrier The Hulk gets, the stronger he gets. While Blonsky can take him out early in a fight, as it goes on, Hulk is far more powerful.

Hulk is the srongest one there is!

We should pretend it’s the ’90s and promote this very brief guest appearance of The Hulk. That should increase readership.

Thankfully, it doesn’t work for Marvel anymore, so it won’t work here.

Alright, my tangent is over. Sorry!

What about Doc Samson, is he still around the Marvel Universe?

Origin: Samson came to General T.E. “Thunderbolt” Ross with a plan to cure Ross’s daughter Betty, who had been transformed into a crystalline form through a blood transfusion with the Sandman. Samson had technicians devise a cathexis ray projector that would drain off gamma particle energy and psionic energy from Bruce Banner as he transformed into the monstrous Hulk. The cathexis ray succeeded in turning Betty Ross back to normal, employing Banner’s psionic energy.

However, most of the psionic energy drained from Banner as well as a considerable amount of his excess gamma radiation remained within the cathexis ray projector. Motivated by scientific curiosity, and probably by a desire to gain superhuman powers for himself, Samson irradiated himself with the energies remaining within the projector. The result was that the slight, brown-haired psychiatrist was transformed into a massively muscled, green-haired superhuman with gamma-boosted strength.

He is still around too.

He sure is. He showed up in one of the most recent issues of Hulk, #81. Which was the last part of “Tempest Fugit”, a.k.a. Peter David’s excellent return to the character.

I always loved the psychological aspect of the Hulk series, especially when Banner went insane, have they ever touched on the topic of it again, or has the reset button been pushed on it?

They touched upon that a few ways.

Maestro is Hulk’s possible future version

Devil Hulk came about as well

Then there was Savage Banner

So they have done that a few times

Check out Peter David’s “Tempest Fugit” they touch on a great many of these aspects. David’s scripting there makes you not quite sure what did and didn’t happen. Great work on PAD’s part. Essentially this left it up to the reader to decide what they want in and out of continuity.

What happened with The Leader?

Actually he died for a time but of course he tried to come back. But he hasn’t been seen since The Incredible Hulk #32.

Actually that’s not right, Jim. Remind me to dock you an hour’s pay. šŸ™‚

The Leader showed up at the end of last summer when Bruce Jones’s run was wrapping up. The Leader was the mastermind behind the X-Files-esque storyline that ran through the forty odd isssues of Jones’s time on the title. While he was in shadows throughout the run, which started with issue #34, we didn’t see him until issue #75. The whole story wrapped up in issue #76.

As a note, don’t go anywhere near the end of this run. The early issues were quite good, but Bruce Jones’s story really lost steam over the last fifteen or so issues. The resolution was miserable.

‘Nuff Said.

And finally, the last Hulk question: Other than intelligence (as Banner Hulk) and strength, did the Hulk have any other sort of powers that have been discovered?

Depends on which Hulk with many incarnations it’s different

Strength: Averge human,
Intelligence: Genius

Strength: This incarnation can lift a minimum of 100 tons. This incarnation represents the epitome of the “madder he gets, the stronger he gets” and thus for all practical purposes has no strength limit.
Intelligence: Child-level

Mister Fixit
Strength: Mister Fixit can lift approximately 75 tons. This incarnation does possess the “madder he gets, the stronger he gets” ability but at a much slower rate since this incarnation has some level of intelligence and reasoning and would not “lose control” as easy as the Savage Hulk.
Intelligence: Normal

Professor Also known as the “Smart Hulk”. Easily my favorite incarnation of the character.
Strength: This incarnation can lift over 100 tons.
Intelligence: Genius

Strength: This incarnation can lift over 100 tons.
Intelligence: Genius

Savage Banner
Strength: Normal human strength.
Intelligence: Child level

Ultimate Savage
Strength: This incarnation can lift in excess of 100 tons. Although an increase in anger does not increase his strength, as in the case of the Savage Hulk, his strength increased as more and more energy from the Heroes Reborn Universe was channeled into him although this did deteriorate his overall health. His strenght was also augmented at one point by Apocalypse.
Intelligence: Normal

Banner Controlled
Strength: This incarnation can lift approximately 100 tons. Due to the fact that Bruce’s brain is controlling the body and he is trying to stay in control, he can not fully tap into the unlimited strength of the Savage Hulk whereas the “madder he gets, the stronger he gets.”
Intelligence: Genius

Heroes Return Hulk
Strength: This incarnation can lift in excess of 100 tons. This incarnation’s strength increased as his anger increased.
Intelligence: Normal

Guilt Hulk
Strength: unknown
Intelligence: unknown

Devil Hulk
Strength: unknown
Intelligence: unknown but at least normal human intelligence

2. I admit it, I’m a huge fan of the Clone Saga. After reading a few sites online, I feel like I must be the only one. Anyways, what ever happened to Ben Reilly? Did he ever come back, is he still out there? I always thought that he would have made a more fitting “Spider Man” or at least a continued run with a Scarlet Spider comic, since he was basically the Peter that I enjoyed. Single, free to play the field and all of that jazz. Also on a related note, what were your thoughts on the Scarlet Spider/Ben Reilly?

Ben is dead. He turned into a pile of goo after he jumped in front of a goblin glider impaling himself,

He won’t be back I don’t think unless you count the Ultimate version. Too many people didn’t like Clone Saga and that includes the current writers who have taken it out of continuity.

3. On a personal note, I’m really wanting to get back into reading comics, and I’m wanting to know if there are any comics that you can recommend? I’m looking for something that I can jump into without 500 pages of backstory. I’m looking for something that is virtually new so I won’t have to buy 100 other comics from 5 years ago to understand the story.

Easy question

My top 5:

1. Young Avengers
2. Supreme Power
3. Astonishing X-Men
4. Black Panther (don’t need the back story really here)
5. Shanna The She-Devil

Hey they are all recent past 1-2 years and easy to get trades for anything you missed. I would also include something like Ultimates. Some other books are easy to get into as well even without reading all the back issues.

Cap, Iron Man, New Avengers are among them.

Jim nailed some good ones.

Young Avengers and Astonishing X-Men are both quite good. I’d also recommend picking up Marvel’s Digest trades of Spider-Girl. That’s a great book with a classic feel. Each Digest only costs $8 and includes 6 issues. You can’t beat it.

Now, if you want to read something other than Marvel, well there’re a lot of great books out there.

Vertigo’s Preacher, Y: The Last Man, and Fables are a few that come to mind immediately as books to grab the first TPB of and see if you like.

Thanks for the question.

Thanks for the time and keep up the superb work on the column!

Sorry about last week Joe. My mind was elsewhere.

Seems to happen a lot around these parts!

Colin emails

I too, was/is a huge fan of the X-Men cartoon. One of my favourite episodes ever was the Iceman episode (too bad it doesn’t look like it was on that list of VHS eps). It got weird at the end though, with X-Factor showing up and fighting the X-Men. Scott and Alex fought, and were dumbfounded as to why their powers had no effect on each other, as they didn’t know they were brothers.

Good episode as well.

In the comics, when Havok joined the X-Men, did he and Cyclops know they were brothers, or was this revealed shortly thereafter?

Alex and Scott knew they where brothers the whole time. Never had the funny questions. They grew up together for a good part of time and knew about each other quite well

Was there ever a plan to revisit this relationship down the road in the show? Or did they just have X-Factor in as another in the long line of cameos that frustratingly go nowhere?

Actually, truth is, if they made a 6th season as planned, they would’ve had an episode to clear it all up for the cartoon as well.

Is the episode where Archangel infiltrates Apocalypse’s Ship on VHS? I can’t recall the name of it.

The episode Obsession

Archangel has become obsessed with destroying Apocalypse, who he blames for ruining his life. A sympathetic Rogue joins his reckless, Ahab-like quest, against the warnings of the other X-Men, who have their own, more indirect plan to stop Apocalypse. In the end, the X-Men have Apocalypse in their grasp, only to have their plan ruined by Archangel’s unthinking vengefulness.

Not on tape but you might find it on tv.

Did the comics ever explain fully how Angel’s original wings returned (still the worst move EVER)? Were the metal wings a “cast”? Did his then-unknown healing factor do it? Did Apocalypse know of his healing factor? Did Ozymandias just use some crazy Egyptian voodoo to magically transform the wings? Did Warren just want to be a sucky loser who has to use some sort of weapon because he’s not threatening in the least to most enemies the X-Men can come up against, again? I mean c’mon, the only threat he’s good against now is back alley thugs. Those eeeeevil metal wings could at least inflict some serious damage.

Actually the metal was there to let them heal over time in a way. You see in Uncanny X-Men #338 Archangel’s wings began to crack more and finally shattered, revealing his original, feathered wings underneath. Ozymandias told him it was one last gift from Apocaylpse if I remember the quote right.

What Jim said! I always enjoyed the cartoon, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it…I couldn’t help in the least.



Loren emails

Hey Jim and Daron (or whoever is Co-Pilot today),

Been reading the Handbook for a while now and let me just say I think its great and very informative. Just thought I’d add my two cents in for the Magneto Heritage debate. Take this for what it’s worth but in the first X-Men movie, young mister Lensherr is speaking polish. This has been confirmed by my Polish roomate. The Poles were also put into concentration camps along with the Jews, and anyone else who did not live up to “Nazi Standards” *shudder*, so it makes sense that he could be Polish. That’s all for now,

Wow thanks. That does help a lot. Explains the movie history at least. I think we have close to what might be fact with the character at least now.

I think so, Jim. I’m pretty certain of his Polish heritage.

Abdul emails

Hey Jim and Daron what’s poppin? Thought I’d write in response Chad’s question about the X-Men cartoon appearing on DVD. I read in Wizard where Kevin Feige or Ari Arad said something along the lines that no plans for a DVD were in the works but you can go on ebay and buy a “bootleg” DVD with all the episodes. I’m certain the quality probably isn’t that great and you won’t get the luxury of extras and commentaries but it’s a start if that helps you Chad.

Might help. At least it gives him something to look for. Also, Toon Disney is showing X-Men the cartoon at 11pm every night. You could set up a tape and just watch it.

I would recommend setting the timer and recording the show. The Nexus cannot in anyway promote buying bootlegs from Ebay. That’s just not legal. šŸ™‚

Of course there’s the old axiom: Cop didn’t see it. I didn’t do it.

So, proceed at your own risk.

Jon clarifies the Clone Saga more

Regarding the Clone Saga question:

I’m the other fan of the Spider-Man Clone Saga, liked pretty much the
whole story, except for Spidercide. Spidercide was a terrible idea.

Anyway, nobody really answered the question as to what happened to
him. You were silent, Jim, so I assume you didn’t want to re-live the
painful memories… so, I figure since I actually know what happened,
I’ll be nice.

During the “Revelations” storyline, where Norman Osborn came back from
the dead, Ben had a fight with the Green Goblin… he was still
Spider-Man at this point. I’m not digging the comic out right now,
because I’m lazy, but I believe Ben jumped in front of a flying pointy
object that was meant for Peter (who’d just gotten his powers back)
and, basically, sacrificed himself. Peter saw him start to
deteriorate, so he grabbed him and took him off to the top of a
building… meaning that Ben was, in fact, the clone. He crumbled to
dust in Peter’s arms. At the end, it turned out that the whole thing
had actually been masterminded by Osborn, including Aunt May “dying”
(it was an actress hired by Osborn to act like she was Aunt May, and
Pete never noticed at all) and gettign the “who’s the clone?” test
results switched around.


Thanks Jon. I really didn’t want to relive it, but it was more my fault since I added the email and just plain forgot to get the answers into it.

I feel good saying that I never read a single issue of the Clone Saga. I’m indeed the lucky one!

Beej emails

Hey Jim, big fan of the Handbook. Wondering if you could help me out with something.

Did Iron Man have any major enemies aside from the Mandarin? A buddy of mine and I were discussing the concept of an Iron Man movie and trying to figure out who the villains would be, and the only one we could think of was the Mandarin.

I can go throw a good list together. Shell Head’s greatest foe is Mandarin but there are many others. In fact, a lot appeared on the Iron Man cartoon.

Some of my favorites they could do

Justin Hammer (with an army of henchmen like Blizzard, Whiplash, Beetle among them)
Count Nefaria
Madame Masque
Obidiah Stane

Others they could do

Crimson Dynamo
Fing Fang Foom
Living Laser
Radioactive Man
Titanium Man

Let’s not forget Tony Stark’s greatest enemy: sipping whiskey. The lush!

Also, those rings Mandarin had: were they Infinity Gems?


Mandarin are the ten rings which he wears on his fingers. The rings’ operations cannot be explained by contemporary Earth science, but they served as near-limitless energy sources for the warp drive engines of the starship of Axonn-Karr, a dragon-like alien of the Makluan race. The Mandarin learned how to convert the rings to his personal use, and to make them respond to his mental commands. The fingers on which he wears each ring, and the known functions for which he uses each ring, are given below.


LITTLE FINGER: “Ice Blast” – The ring emits waves of cold which can be used to stun an opponent. The ring usually causes the air in the path of its blast to turn to ice, and can lower an object’s temperature to nearly absolute zero.

RING FINGER: “Mento-Intensifier” – The ring magnifies the wearer’s own psionic energy, allowing him to place one or more people under his mental control and to transmit orders to them mentally. This ring can affect only one person at a time and only at a distance of ten feet.

MIDDLE FINGER: “Electro-Blast” – The ring emits electricity in amounts and intensities mentally determined by the wearer. The maximum voltage attainable is not known.

INDEX FINGER: “Flame Blast” – The ring emits infrared radiation, or heat, at intensities mentally determined by the wearer. Usually the heat produces flame through incandescing the molecules in the air in the path of the blast. The heat beam can be used to trigger chemical explosions. The maximum amount of heat it can generate is not known.

THUMB: “White Light” – This ring can emit various forms of energy along the electromagnetic spectrum.

Right Hand

LITTLE FINGER: “Black Light” – The ring can create an area of absolute blackness that seems to absorb all light used within it. Although “black light” is a term used to refer to ultraviolet radiation, the darkness created by the ring is probably a form of the “darkforce” used by Cloak, Darkstar, and the Shroud.

RING FINGER: “Disintegration Beam” – The ring emits a beam of energy that destroys all Ponds between the atoms and molecules of the object it strikes. This ring needs twenty minutes to recharge after use.

MIDDLE FINGER: “Vortex Beam” – The ring causes the air to move about at high speed in a vortex. The vortex can be used as an offensive weapon, as a means of levitating objects, or as a means of propelling the ring’s wearer through the air.

INDEX FINGER: “Impact Beam” – This ring can project various forms of energy, most frequently that of fast neutrons with the concussive force of 350 pounds of TNT. The ring has also been used to project intense sonic vibrations and to create magnetic waves to attract or repel objects. The ring may be capable of emitting other forms of energy as well.

THUMB: “Matter Rearranger” – This ring can rearrange the atoms and molecules of a substance, or speed up or slow down their movement, so as to produce various effects. The ring has been used to condense water vapor in the air to liquid water, to solidify gasses, and to create lethal poison gas from the air. The ring cannot transmute elements, nor can it rearrange the atoms and molecules of Iron Man’s magnetic-beam reinforced armor.

The Infinity Gems are 7 gems once possessed by the Elders of the Universe and then Thanos before Adam Warlock took them and gave them to others to protect.

Time Gem – Control over the flow of time.
Space Gem – Control over space, allowing instantaneous travel across vast distances.

Power Gem – Increases physical strengh and endurance.
Soul Gem – Control over the soul.
Mind Gem – Allows mind control and vastly enhances the holder’s intellect.
Reality Gem – Control over reality itself, creating and uncreating matter and energy.
Ego Gem – contains the consciousness of Infiniti, when merged with the other gems reforms the cosmic entity the gems were once part of. Also grants the wielder the ability to manipulate dimensional energies.

Man, I think I’ve gone cross-eyed! That’s way too much continuity for a character that’s not that interesting!

Thanks for the help.


KSM emails


Dude! I can’t believe you didn’t come up with the Ultimate Nullifier as Marvel’s premiere weapon.

Now I like the Infinity Gems as much as anybody, and they are the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel 616 universe, but weapons they ain’t. For starters, two of them can’t be used as weapons at all. The soul gem cannot hurt people. The reality gem, while awful good at distorting reality (which could have really bad but totally unpredictable effects on all of space time) cannot even be effectively used without help from the other gems. So one can’t be used to hurt people, and the other can’t be aimed. So they can’t be weapons.

You could make an argument for the other four, but I basically have always seen them as tools. They are not inherently designed to hurt people, and you’d have to bend a couple of them pretty far to utilize them for that purpose. I guess you could erase someone from existence by using the time gem to kill an ancestor of theirs, and then theoretically knit the timeline back together to prevent other paradoxes, but that seems as big a reach as beheading a kid with his Safe-tee Skool ruler. It could be done, but it’s clearly not what the object was designed for.

The ultimate nullifier’s purpose, if I remember right, is to totally erase the target from existence (with the risky side-effect of possibly taking the user into oblivion with it). That’s gotta rate top weapon in the MU. I don’t know how such a thing could be trumped.

Clobberin’ Time,

Ah but the Gems are more powerful together or singly. They aren’t weapons as you stated but they are some one the most powerful things in the Universe. Hell I’d take one of them and take down most anyone. It’s a great option to have. Although nothing wrong with the Nullifier. I’d list it second

I’d list the Iron Man armor third likely. Different armors for different things and it is a Weapon.

Most dangerous weapon in the Marvel Universe is Rob Liefeld’s pen. I know that was a cheap shot, but I had to!

Lorenzo emails

Concerning Shatterstar’s mutant ability, in issue 28, vol 1 of X-Force, Shatterstar does display his mutant ability, the ability to resonate a vibratory shockwave throught the metallurgic properties of his sword. It does leave him exhausted, though. Just thought to help out, since I actually do have that issue

Cool. That does help. Now we have an issue, so I’d say it’s a power alright. I guess it’s a mutant power. So thanks.

You’re getting a lot of help from others this time out, Jim.

Oh and everyone who’s emailing for more information on X-Men Fox cartoon there’s a site: Pazsaz

Which actually gives you a little on each episode and as I said check out Toon Disney every night at 11pm. Last I knew they where showing them all in order.

There we go folks. A good amount of emails held off a possible House of M guide for this week with the bios. I’d rather hold that off anyway so I don’t see why worry about it. But that’s it for this week. Boss, you care to sign off first or last it’s up to you.


1. question of week: Which Fantastic Four power would you like to have?

2. Have fun seeing Fantastic Four the movie on Friday everyone.

I won’t see it after the sham signing 20th Century Fox had with the cast at Jim Hanley’s Universe in NYC. It was nothing more than a photo opportunity. Really bad treatment of the fans by Fox. So, now they don’t get my money.

3. Also Win a copy of Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 signed by Mark Millar, Greg Land and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada at!

Sorry about venting there at the end. Guess I’m just a bit bitter!

Jim, as always it’s been fun.

That’s it for me. Reporting from the my corner of the Marvel Universe I’m Jim Trabold. Have a great week and see you at the movies and the comic shop.

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