Marvel Handbook

Hi everyone I’m Jim Trabold. Welcome back for another edition of the Handbook.

Hey Daron how’s it going?

Other than being sick since Friday, I guess I’m good. How about you?

Going good here. I think we have a light week ahead of us but a good week. Plus I’m thinking we’re going to have something of a debate.

Let’s start up.

Ratcat posted

Here are a couple of questions for you Jim.

What are the current whereabouts of War Machine and US Agent?
I haven’t really heard anything about ether of them since I started reading again. Are they dead? Retired? Or are they in that wonderful place known as limbo?

Both are different stories

U.S. Agent himself after leaving the team known as Force Works and the Avengers. U.S. Agent next appeared leading the Jury who were hired by Edwin Cord, President of Cord Industries to capture the Thunderbolts, now headed by his brother-in-arms team mate Hawkeye. (He is now wearing his original uniform and having and Eagle shaped shield.)

Since his team was not well experienced as the Thunderbolts, his team was defeated. Agent clashed ideas with Edwin Cord when his team was not permitted to aid in the Graviton situation, citing he is not Anthony Stark and that their funding is for the capture of the Thunderbolts only. Agent next met Hawkeye’s team when he was contacted by Citizen V and fought with the with the Thunderbolts and defeated the new Secret Empire. In the aftermath of the battle Agent’s team stayed to deliver the Empire into Police custody while the Thunderbolts took off to catch the escaping elite members of the empire

On a mission Agent was severely beaten by the super-soldier known as Protocide. He was saved by S.H.I.E.L.D agents and was even given enhancements. He was hired by the Commission to spear head a new government team called S.T.A.R.S., with the position of a super-human marshall. (His Judge Dread look from his mini series) Agent was instrumental in ending the Maximum Security threat posed by the newly evolved Kree by rounding up most of the aliens that were stranded on Earth and rallying them against the Kree.

The U. S. Agent was assigned by Dell Rusk, The United States Secretary of Defense to form a New Invaders unit as an elite strike force that Dell Rusk himself selected. It will be the first counter measure to stop a new threat that had emerged from the ashes of Hitler’s Third Reich, the Axis Mundi. An extension of the threat of what the original invaders battled in the forties, but more universal in scope.

Now War Machine

After his leaving Stark:

Rhodes, however, continued to use the War Machine armor in a solo superhero career, and it eventually was replaced by a symbiotic alien suit, known as the Eidolon Warwear. When Stark died during a battle with Kang the Conqueror, Rhodes rejoined Stark Enterprises (which was bought by Fujikawa Industries) to protect his old friend’s legacy. To prevent Stark’s armor technology from being misused, he used the abilities of his alien armor to erase all trace of Stark’s designs from the Fujikawa systems, but the armor was destroyed in the process. Rhodes gave up his superhero career and started his own salvage company.

Later, perhaps unsurprisingly, Stark once more returned from the dead, forming a new company, Stark Solutions and taking up the Iron Man identity once more. The two men were reconciled and Rhodes and Stark teamed up again to stop a new villain (also calling himself War Machine) who was wearing what looked like a version of the old War Machine armor, including a heavily-gunned exo-suit, but was in fact not based on Stark technology.

Rhodes has appeared as one of the main characters in the comic series The Crew. Basically Rhodey is bankrupt and only has the War Machine gauntlet left. Rhodey would be able to wear a kind of holo-armour. This wouldn’t be as powerful as the old armor but it would be able to give him the power of flight or various weapon enhancements.

Also, with a brand new Moon Knight series coming soon could you tell me what Marc was up to the last time we saw him on a regular basis?

Ok so with Moon Knight I suspect your asking for after Marc Spector the Moon Knight series in the 90s

Moon Knight died if you recall. That’s right he was dead. He came back for his a new series called Moon Knight The Resurrection War.

The Moon Knight led a successful crime-fighting career in the New York area, battling such foes as the Midnight Man, Morpheus, the Jester, and the Black Spectre. He also vanquished his old enemy Bushman in battle. However, the strain of maintaining four separate identities began to take its toll. Finally, at Marlene’s behest, he retired all of his false identities so that he could concentrate on his true identity of Marc Spector. He legally transferred ownership of his mansion from Grant to Spector, and then became a world-traveling dealer of fine art. Symbols of his abandonment of his Moon Knight persona included his putting the statue of Khonshu, which he had acquired long ago, onto the auction block.

A few weeks later, Spector began having vivid dreams that Khonshu was summoning him. These proving to be irresistible, he boarded a flight to Egypt to investigate their significance. Three priests of Khonshu told him that being Moon Knight was his destiny. Not able to help himself, he donned the new Moon Knight costume they had for him and accepted their new weapons. The priests, who claimed to be unable to leave the tomb, assigned him the task of returning to them the statue of Khonshu which he had sold. In the process, he encountered his counterpart, the champion of Anubis, the jackal headed god, and defeated him. Since returning the statue to them, he has acted as the agent of the priests of Khonshu, traveling the world at their bidding to battle the forces of evil.

Daredevil tried to form a group of heroes (Marvel Knights), to which Moon Knight became a member, as well as the financier. The team didn’t last long, and Spector went Bankrupt. He decided to retire as a Superhero and spend time with Marlene.

He has appeared a few times since though in costume.

Beadle posted


Just a couple of things on the Hero-Killers list:


Count Nefaria killed Thunderbird I

That’s giving Nefaria way too much credit. You can’t kill someone by running away. T’bird ripped open the plane, causing it to crash and killing himself (but sadly not for the Avengers & X-Men, Nefaria himself). I’d hardly say that makes Nefaria a hero-killer.

Good point. I gave him some credit though. Just for sport.


Fantomex killed Darkstar

Did he? I thought it was the monstrous creature that was Weapon XIV that killed Darkstar, and Fantomex (Weapon XIII if memory serves me right) was trying to help the X-Men to stop it. The only argument was that the X-Men didn’t want to kill it, but Fantomex did. I could be wrong though (wouldn’t be the first time – I think I’m up to 5 times now, although I was only a child when the first two happened so I’m not sure they count).

Ok that made me have to reread. Yep rereading the book. She was possessed by Weapon XII. The X-Men didn’t want to kill her but Fantomex did so in essence he did kill her.

PS. Loved the Morituri re-cap.

I loved the series myself. Thanks.

Wolverine0712 posted

With the Iceman talk in another thread, could you give us a history of him. I vaguely recall a time when Emma was trapped in his body with him.

Iceman is a mutant with the ability to emanate intense cold which manifests as ice formations, and the mental ability to shape those ice formations into whatever structure he can imagine. He is often seen to project cold from his hands in the form of “ice blasts” which can cause an enemy to be completely engulfed in ice in a matter of seconds. Perhaps his most ingenious use of his abilities is the creation of a sort of ice slide along which he can slide very quickly.

He slowly became aware of this power as it emerged in his adolescence, but kept it secret from everyone but his parents, who believed people would turn against young Robert if they learned of his power.

The elder Drakes were correct, Bobby was walking with his date, Judy Harmon, one night after they saw a movie together, when they were attacked by a bully named Rocky Beasely and his friends. One of Beasely’s allies held onto Drake while Beasely himself started to force Harmon to go with him. To save Harmon, Drake used his mutant power to temporarily encase Beasely in ice. Beasely was soon released unharmed, but Harmon was shocked, and the news of the incident swept through Drake’s Long Island community, enraging local townspeople enough for them to form a lynch mob.

The mob broke into Drake’s home, and he began using his powers to fight them off. But there were too many opponents for the young Drake, and the town’s sheriff took him into custody for the youth’s own protection.

Learning of the incident, Professor Charles Xavier, mentor of the X-Men, dispatched Cyclops, the first and at that time only member of the team, to contact Drake. Cyclops broke into Drake’s cell, but Drake refused to leave. The two began fighting using their powers, and their fight spilled out into the streets of the town. Eventually the two exhausted young mutants were captured by the lynch mob, which nearly hanged them. Cyclops and Drake broke free, and were saved when Xavier used his great psychic powers against the mob.

Drake’s parents consented to Xavier’s proposal to let Bobby enroll in his special school for superhuman mutants, and allowed Xavier to use his powers to erase their knowledge of their son’s powers. (They regained this knowledge years later.) Xavier also permanently erased all knowledge of Drake’s abilities from the minds of the townspeople. Thus, given the code name Iceman, Bobby Drake became the second member of the X-Men.

During that time, Bobby became involved with Lorna Dane, who eventually manfested powers herself and became Polaris. She also became involved with Havok, which caused Bobby to storm off on his own for a short time. After Krakoa, when the original X-Men left the team.

Years later, Drake left the X-Men and joined the Champions of Los Angeles, a short-lived team of adventurers. After the Champions disbanded, Drake became a full-time college student, although he briefly rejoined the X-Men to battle Arcade. Later he joined his fellow former X-Men the Angel and the Beast as members of the Defenders.

With the apparent demise of some of the Defenders, the team was disbanded, and Drake took a job as an accountant. However, he soon left that job to join the other four members of the original X-Men as a member of their new organization, X-Factor.

During his tenure with X-Factor, Bobby’s powers were increased by Loki to the point where he was freezing everything he touched, so he was given a belt which helped him control his power.

When Professor Xavier returned to Earth after an extended absence in outer space, Iceman and his fellow X-Factor members rejoined the X-Men. Shortly after he rejoined the X-Men, Iceman confronted Mikhail Rasputin, who forced Bobby into his full-ice state with his reality-warping powers.

Emma Frost, the White Queen, took mental possession of Iceman’s body and was able to activate the full extent of his powers, turning his body into all ice. Since then, under Frost’s prodding, Iceman has learned to transform his body into its “ice” state on his own.

Iceman has never realized the true potential of his abilities, and even went through a period of deep depression after Emma Frost, the former White Queen of the Hellfire Club, took over his body and used his powers at levels which Iceman himself had generally been unable to reach. The White Queen believed that Iceman had the potential to be one of the most powerful mutants on earth.

Bobby Drake infiltrated the presidential campaign organization of Graydon Creed, the head of the anti-mutant organization Friends of Humanity. After Drake’s father spoke out against Creed’s bigotry, he was nearly killed by Creed’s thugs. Distraught, Bobby Drake left the X-Men for a time to be with his mother and convalescing father.

Bobby left the X-Men to help his family as his father healed. When he heard about the start of Operation: Zero Tolerance, however, Bobby left his parents and sought out Dr. Cecilia Reyes, a mutant listed in Xavier’s files, and saved her from some Prime Sentinels. Running for their lives, they (with a little help from Marrow and Sabra) managed to hold out long enough for S.H.I.E.L.D. to come and arrest Bastion and shut down Operation: Zero Tolerance.

They then returned to the Mansion, and although Cecilia and Marrow stayed, Bobby left again. He reunited with the other members of the original class for a while, and was later captured by the Four Horsemen because he was part of The Twelve. Following the defeat of Apocalypse, Iceman appeared briefly in Genosha with Wolverine, where he tried to convince Polaris to leave, and then got caught up in a N’Garai invasion

Months later, Bobby was one of five people selected by Prosh to go on a number of time-traveling adventures, supposedly to discover information vital to saving humanity. During these jaunts, Prosh pushed Iceman’s powers to their ultimate potential, allowing him to quickly travel great distances through water and to reform himself after being vaporized, among other things. Bobby was then instrumental in defeating the Stranger, who had corrupted Prosh’s programming and was trying to accelerate humanity’s evolution so he could control eternity. Now with nearly complete control of his powers, Bobby rejoined the X-Men as a full-time member.

Polaris broke up with Havok, and Iceman admitted that he still had feelings for her. The two have engaged in mild flirtation, but nothing serious has happened yet. They do seem to be beginning a small relationship, however.

In “House of M” #8, it appears that Iceman is among the many thousands of mutants who have lost their powers due to the magics of the Scarlet Witch.

Blake asked

What were Marvels first ten comic titles?

Alright now here’s a little factor. Marvel didn’t start as Marvel. Marvel was originally Timely. Here’s the story:

Timely was the predecessor to the Marvel Comics that we all know and love today. Timely was where Joe Simon & Jack Kirby created Captain America. Timely was where Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner became famous. Timely was where Carl Burgos’ Human Torch became famous. Timely Publications was not as important, during the Golden Age, as All-American/National (the two companies that eventually became DC Comics), Fawcett, or (arguably) Quality, but they were the source from which Marvel Comics sprang, and so Timely has a place of historical importance. Marvel didn’t come out right after Timely died though. It became Atlas comics first. But your asking for the first 10 Marvel titles so I’m noting that.

In the year 1961 it became Marvel comics officially. Editor/writer Stan Lee and freelance artist Jack Kirby helped created what we know as the Marvel Age with Fantastic Four. But officially Marvel started before that. Marvel comics first ten books officially would be Timely but for this we’ll list the first 10 official Marvel comics. Which I’ll consider the Marvel Age with heroes (not listing romance titles that went into the Marvel Age. I will list a few titles though that helped intro some of the heroes into the Marvel Age)

List not counting Timely:

1. Strange Tales (June 1951)
2. Journey into Mystery v1 (June 1952)
3. Tales of Suspense (January 1959)
4. Tales to Astonish (January 1959)
5. Amazing Adventures/Fantasy (June 1961)
6. Fantastic Four (Nov 1961)
7. Incredible Hulk v1 (May 1962)
8. Amazing Spider-Man (March 1963)
9. Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (May1963)
10. The Avengers V1 (September 1963)
10. The (Uncanny) X-Men (September 1963)

With Timely:

1. Marvel Comics (Oct 1939) (Becomes Marvel Mystery Comics)
2. Ziggy Pig and the Silly Seal (Jan 1940)
3. Daring Mystery Comics (Jan 1940)
4. Mystic Comics v1 (Mar 1940)
5. Red Raven Comics (Sept 1940) (Becomes Human Torch Comics)
6. Captain America Comics (Mar 1941)
7. Sub-Mariner Comics (Mar 1941)
8. All Winners Comics v1 (Jun 1941)
9. Young Allies Comics (Jun 1941)
10. USA Comics (Aug 1941)

What are their top ten selling comic titles, from begining to now? (would have to do by percetnages from each year not number sold each year)

Ok that be hard. But how about a top ten in Marvel comics titles sold (not every year to much a hassle) Plus hell I’m not sure I can do it anyway. I don’t have all the numbers. But I can go on theory. Here’s my top

1. Amazing Spider-man
2. Uncanny X-Men
3. Fantastic Four
4. Incredible Hulk
5. Captain America
6. Avengers
7. Iron Man
8. Thor
9. Daredevil
10. Wolverine

I really don’t have the numbers on me so it’s not easy for me to do.

Steve emails

Hey Jim and Daron,

Good job on the handbook, keep up the fine work.

Since it keeps on going, I felt I had to throw a couple of items in on the Iron Man vs.. X-Men argument. First, I agree with Daron that these types of arguments are mostly about what rules are set up for the battle. In this case most of the shell head fans seem to be fighting the battle on large open plains with no cover and plenty of head room, the fight would be much different in say a series of underground tunnels, which would restrict Iron Man’s flying and provide places for the X-Men to place ambushes where they could get close. Same question on prep time, obviously if Iron Man can go to the armory and pick special armor, why can’t the X-Men get certain members.

Another issue that has been argued is Iron Man’s targeting of his firepower, I am not sure that his armor is as accurate as claimed. A while back, Tony had developed the computer systems to a level where they achieved sentience due to an accident (lighting strike). After dealing with the living armor, Tony scaled back the level of sophistication and complexity in the armor to avoid this happening again.

Also each armor is not necessarily “better” than the previous armor. Each time Tony builds a suit of armor there are a number of variables that he has to take into account. As an example, the Hulkbuster armor is incredibly powerful and resistant to damage, however it is also, much slower than the regular armor and eats up much more power. If Tony took this into battle against the X-Men, he would be vulnerable to hit and run attacks, that could eventually damage him enough to leave him vulnerable.

Finally, the X-Men seem to be underestimated. As a general rule, these are battle hardened heroes, who are used to going up against foes of incredible power. Their costumes are designed to act as battle armor, to give them protection, which combined with their intense training would allow them to avoid the worst of Iron Man’s attacks. Also they are incredibly well trained in their powers. Some examples, Cyclops has been shown to be incredibly adept at using his force beam to strike multiple moving targets or make bank shots. If given an opportunity Iceman could cover Iron Man with sufficiently hard ice to slow him or stop him long enough to allow the ranged attacks of Cyclops or Havoc to damage the armor.

In the final analysis, who would win? Whoever the writer (or the editor) decides will win this battle, the issue is that there are too many variables to have any kind of definitive decision.

Hope that helps.

Well that last part about the writer makes sense to. I remember the old feuds about Punisher/Wolverine. You know the old Garth Ennis vs. Frank Tieri. Ennis had Punisher beat the crap out of Wolvie in so many ways and Frank got pissed and had Wolvie show Frank who’s boss.

Hey Steve, thanks for the great email. You perfectly summed up what I’ve been saying this whole time (and even a couple things I don’t think I explained as well as you did hear.) What you said about the various writers is right on. Depending on the story any writer is trying to tell, he/she will have who ever win this fight based on how it moves their story along. Lastly, great points on some of the specifics of the armors. I’ll admit to not being a big Iron Man fan and so don’t know a ton about the inner workings of the armor. But based on what you said about it, I definitely think Tony would be in for a major fight”¦and the Hulkbuster Armor would just be suicide”¦

Well I got a small bone to pick with my editor. Daron I told everyone it wasn’t my top ten favorite artist or writers. It was most productive. You know I love Peter David’s work. He’d be in my top ten in five seconds.

Just to show my top ten favs (currently):


1. Brian Bendis
2. Peter David
3. J. Michael Straczynski
4. Ed Brubaker
5. Brian Vaughan
6. Mark Millar
7. Paul Jenkins
8. Warren Ellis
9. Garth Ennis
10. Fabian Nicieza


John Romita Jr
2. Chris Bachalo
3. Frank Cho
4. Salvador Larroca
5. Michael Wieringo
6. Mike Deodato
7. Pat Lee
8. Paco Medina
9. Scot Eaton
10. Aaron Lopresti

Is that better?

I wasn’t questioning who you’re favorites were, I was in fact questioning how you thought Brubaker, BKV, or PAD shouldn’t be on the list of most productive writers.

J G Emails

The whole Iron Man/X-Men debate was pretty cool. In fact, thats one of the reasons why i love this column, as you never know when one question can turn into a month long debate.

Also, i too completely forgot about Forge. Even though he’s not an X-Man at the moment (as far as i know, i haven’t caught up) he’s still an X-Men ally, so if the team needs some extra help, they’ll probably look to him.

Yep Forge wasn’t added into the battle. Not really thought of. But with Forge the battle changes a whole lot. Still brings up Prep time.

Alrighty then, question time…I was reading over your past columns and there was this one where you guys talked about if the Hulk can take on Doomsday. Yeah the column is a good couple of months old, but it certainly got me thinking…

Although the Hulk may not be able to defeat Doomsday, he’s certainly the only hero out of the entire universe that can at least go toe to toe with the guy (and i mean he’s the only mortal human guy that can do that, i’m not counting cosmic beings at this time). Proof of this is the Onslaught crossover. Jean taps in the savage side of Hulk so that the heroes could have a slight chance of winning. So once she did that, you see him pummeling the crap outta Onslaught. Granted, Onslaught was being overwhlemed by the heroes up to that point, but he was still powerful enough to wipe the floor with everyone.

Dont feel like going through the entire scene and everything, but it shows Hulk is probably the only mortal that can go up against Doomsday

Well I think strength wise and mortal wise Hulk would be most likely to do it.

Thor is cosmic
Surfer Cosmic

Strange might be able to send him elsewhere though. He’s still human after all
Jean with Phoenix Force is cosmic.

Hercules would be half a god so won’t count him.

So most likely Hulk would be the only one that could go toe to toe in brute force at least.

Blaine emails

Love the column.


Being that 411 was originally a wrestling site, and November has the annual Survivor Series, who would you have on a four man, Marvel Survivor Series team? Anyone in the Marvel Universe qualifies, but keep in mind that this is a team and they have to get along enough to work together.

Hmmmm interesting question. Alright let’s try a team that might work

Spider-Man (He has experience wrestling)

The Thing (Again experience here)

Captain America (Likely the best fighter in Marvel. He will be able to lead the group)

I’ll rule out Cosmic for my team. If I didn’t I’d use Thor here. But instead I’ll use:


Now onto House of M in it’s last week

Spider-Man House of M 5

We start with the Death of Gwen Stacy from Pete’s diary. We find out the diary is everything from his 616 life. Him marrying MJ, The death of Gwen and Uncle Ben, and other things

The Stacy’s and Parker’s talk about Pete being mentally insane to them.

We move to an abandoned building where a group of humans hide from the mutant police.

Spider-Man shows up defending the humans there and making the guards leave with second thoughts. The humans there go after Spidey who is forced to run

Spider-Man calls his uncle Ben they meet at an overpass and talk. Of course the old speech comes up to. “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility.”

Ben takes Peter’s camera, snapping a picture of Peter, in costume, hanging dead.

We see the reactions of some of the other characters like Rhino, Crusher Hogan, some random humans and the likes of J. Jonah Jameson and Norman Osborn.

In Genosha Magneto finds a webbed paper with a note from Spidey. “If you want me to stay dead ease up on the humans

We end with Pete and his family fishing.

House of M 8 (the beginning of Decimation.)

We see the World waking from the House of M

We start with Layla Miller who wakes up in her room full of Marvel character posters.

Then to Spidey waking up with a headache. MJ sitting there.

The Avengers (Spidey, She-Hulk, Falcon, Warbird, Spider-Woman and Cage) all seem to remember what happened.

Sentry, Cap and Iron Man don’t remember. AS they all talk Doctor Strange shows up looking like hell.

We then go to Xavier’s. Emma Frost wakes up outside to screaming inside the mansion. We find out some of the students are now powerless. Among them are Wind Dancer, Tag and X-Men member Iceman.

Of course only a few X-Men remember House of M. (Emma, Cyclops, Kitty and Kurt among them)

Kurt goes looking for Logan and finds him outside lying down with his whole life now remembered.

Emma goes to Cerebro and learns that most of the mutants on Earth are no longer mutants

No signs of Xavier are found either.

The news comes out with reports of thousands of mutants now made powerless. The Avengers watch this.

Dr. Strange cannot locate Scarlet Witch. Spider-Man ask Strange to remove his memories of the House of M but Strange cannot.

A signal is found at the old Avengers mansion. The Avengers go and find Hawkeye’s costume stuck to the wall with arrows. The Avengers smile.

We go to Genosha where Magneto is powerless. The Astonishing X-Men talk to him but he don’t know Wanda is. They leave him to die a human

We then hear from Henry Pym on the news saying “These powers could not simply vanish, they are contained somewhere; and that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The question remains, as Hank Pym said, “What will be the reaction?”

We see Wanda likely now powerless in Wundagore living a peaceful life.

We end with an image of the earth with a bright light in space above. (theories go to the missing powers or Phoenix.)

That’s it for this week. What do you think Daron?

Good stuff as always, I particularly enjoyed having my side reinforced in the debate this week 🙂

Cool. How about I sign off first. You can have the last word.

Well after a long wait the House of M ended. I personally enjoyed it. I look forward to Decimation as well. No links for fun polls this week. But I’m going to give you readers something to email about.

Along with your questions (Give me a question in your emails as well) tell me what you thought of House of M. Also feel free to respond or comment about the article as always. You want to debate something feel free to.

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


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