Ultimate Handbook #232

Hi all. Another week another Handbook. Well two weeks I think. I‘m lost. I know I‘m here and I‘ll assume Daron is. Hey Daron you here bud?

Indeed I am unkind sir.

I‘m good and ready to go. Sorry it took a bit. Had to get one or two more questions in to finish up. Didn‘t want a short column. Either way let‘s start.

What exactly do you mean by either way?

Oh nevermind, let’s do this thing…

Jagjiwan emails

Hi Jim,

Love the column, keep it up. My question is about Taskmaster. I sense a lot of love for the guy in your column and the comic book fanbase in general but is it me, or does the guy always get his butt handed to him? As a guy with so many skills, he isnt really portrayed as the bad-ass he’s supposed to be. I mean, when Moon Knight beat him a while back, TK was reduced to a snivelling coward. Come on! This is THE Taskmaster and Moon Knight…well…is a C-Level hero in the Marvel pantheon. Or there’s cases where Deadpool humiliates him or Invisible Woman breaks him in Civil War. I’m relatively new to the character but love his background…where are TK’s cajones?!

I understand that TK is more of a teacher than someone who usually gets his hands dirty but I’d say he needs to get his rep bolstered. I mean, I know that bad guys are supposed to lose but if you look at Deathstroke in DC, who is a similar kind of assassin character, the guy rarely has clean losses and is feared beyond reason. I think TK should be portrayed the same way as sometimes he’s shown as a goofy, wise-cracking hitman like a Deadpool-lite or something. What do you think?

Moon Knight is NOT C-Level. The fact he has his own title means he atleast is B-List. Taskmaster is C-list villain wise himself. He isn‘t a main villain for any hero and he‘s not on level with some other characters considered B. Deadpool= B list. Sue is B-list to.

Well he has his past of defeating guys too. He is not always winning and willing to retreat quickly. Most times it‘s a factor of little respect. To get him the respect he needs to reach B-level. The right writer is needed to help do this. Who? Maybe Brubaker could do it. Matt Fraction also could do it.

I’m going to have to go on record as disagreeing with my somewhat esteemed colleague here. First off, as mush as I love the guy (his current title notwithstanding) Moon Knight is DEFINITELY a C-list hero…possibly bordering B-list ONLY because he does have a title (all be it a REALLY bad one!). And Secondly, Tasky really is a B level villain but for whatever reason has been portrayed as a C level villain for the last few years.

Jag’s comparison to Deathstroke was spot on (who himself is an A-list villain who gives Bats a run for his money). Marvel really should work on getting Tasky up to this level. It’s not like they have a lot of cool/interesting villains anymore (not with most of them turning hero in the last few years).

Glen emails


What is the history and status of The Frankenstein Monster in the Marvel Universe?

Sometimes he’s green, sometimes that weird gray, sometimes he can talk, others he can’t. His intelligence waxes and wanes.

Is the Frankenstein in Marvels: The Lost Generation the same creature that kayoed Orson Randall in The Green Mist of Death special? Is the one that Kang summoned in an issue of the Avengers the same one that joined the Legion of Monsters? Is the Bride of Frankenstein running around somewhere? Is he a skrull?

Note they are the same character. Allow me to give a history lesson:

In 1788, Victor Frankenstein left his family estate in Geneva, Switzerland to study natural science at the University of Ingolstadt. While there, he became obsessed with the idea of recreating life from dead tissue and began robbing graveyards in order to acquire body parts. He stitched the various body parts together and subjected the patchwork creature to chemical treatments and electrolysis. Frankenstein succeeded in bringing his creation to life. Horrified by the creature’s grotesque features, Victor abandoned his creation and returned to Geneva. The monster was left to fend for himself.
The creature wandered the forests for days and nearly died of starvation. He eventually came upon a grizzly bear, which he wrestled and killed. After consuming the raw meat, he skinned the carcass, and fashioned a makeshift coat, which he continued to wear for several years.

As weeks passed, the monster continued wandering the countryside, doing his best to avoid human contact. The entire time however, he nursed a hatred for the man responsible for his miserable existence – Victor Frankenstein.

His travels eventually brought him to a small cottage owned by the De Lacy family. The monster observed the family for several days, and discovered that the family patriarch, was an old blind man. Here was a being who would not shriek in horror at the monster’s grotesque form. The Monster concealed himself in a stable for several days until he had a chance to catch the old man alone. As luck would have it, a wolf had entered the cottage and threatened to kill old De Lacy. The monster rose to his rescue and killed the beast, then slowly nursed De Lacy back to health. Before long however, De Lacy’s children returned to their cottage, and mistook the monster for a savage murderer. Shouting their lamentations, they chased the monster away from the house, back into the woods.
Eventually, the creature found his way to Geneva, where he learned that his creator’s family lived. Still nursing a deep-seated hatred for all things Frankenstein, he decided to exact his revenge by brutally murdering Victor’s young brother, William. To further compound the tragedy, he framed the Frankenstein servant, Justine Moritz, for the crime. Justine was sentenced and hanged for the crime, but Victor knew that the true murderer of poor William, was his own pathetic creation.

Victor met with the monster for the second time in a mountain cave far to the north of the family estate. The monster told him of his experiences and demanded that Victor use his scientific prowess to create a mate for him. Victor felt he had little choice but to acquiesce, so he set upon creating a female version of the Frankenstein Monster. The monster kept a close vigil over Victor’s work, and even assisted him by providing a fresh human heart for the creation. Victor brought the second creature to life, but was so disgusted by the sight of it, that he immediately destroyed it before it had barely taken its first breath.

The monster was outraged. His need for revenge against Victor Frankenstein intensified and he satisfied this need by strangling Victor’s close friend, Henry Clerval. He then tracked down Victor and his new bride, Elizabeth on their wedding night, and brutally murdered her as well.

Consumed by grief, Victor endeavored to track the creature down and finish him off for good. He chased him as far as the North Pole, but by this point, Victor’s health had declined significantly. He contracted pneumonia and passed away without ever having seen his task to its conclusion.

Despite his hatred for Victor Frankenstein, the monster was eerily distraught over the loss of the only “father” he had ever known. Now, he yearned for nothing more than his own destruction – if such a thing was even possible. He began walking across the frozen plains in search of a good place to build himself a funeral pyre. As he journeyed, he entered warmer climates and discovered a small tribal camp. A community of brute Neanderthal men discovered the monster and attacked him. None of them however, could overcome the monster’s strength and he easily battered them back. The tribe’s chieftain recognized the creature’s great strength and ordered his warriors to stand down. He invited the monster to stay with them and he became an honorary member of their tribe.

Some days later, a nomadic tribe of rival barbarians stumbled upon the community and raided the camp. The monster joined forces with his Neanderthal friends and fought back, but most of them died in the battle. The barbarians tried their best to destroy the creature, but ultimately failed. During the raid, the Neanderthal chieftain was mortally injured. The monster took the dying man and traveled far away with him so that he could die in the tradition of his people. After erecting a funeral pyre for the Chieftain, a massive quake erupted beneath him. The monster fell off of the icy precipice and landed into the frigid waters below. The extreme temperatures rendered him inert, and remained trapped in the ice for the next hundred years

In January of 1898, explorer Robert Walton IV mounted an expedition to the North Pole. Walton was the great grandson of the explorer who first encountered Victor Frankenstein in 1798. His crew and he came upon the frozen remains of the Frankenstein Monster. Walton recognized the creature from stories passed down to him, and ordered it brought on board. Several superstitious crew members too umbrage with Walton’s command and formed a mutiny. During the conflict, a fire broke out in one of the ship’s lower cabins, and the intense heat thawed out the Frankenstein Monster. Revived, the creature lashed out and took a young cabin boy named Sean Farrell as hostage. To make matters even worse, Walton’s ship struck an iceberg, killing several crewmen. Both Walton and Sean Farrell passed away, but before he died, Walton told the creature that the last living descendent of his creator was still alive.

Forging a small wooden raft for himself, the Monster began a personal voyage to track down the last Frankenstein. The first leg of his journey brought him to a small hamlet in Scandinavia. While there, he discovered the local citizens preparing to execute a comely young woman named Lenore. Empathizing with Lenore’s persecution, the Monster rescued her only to discover that the reason the villagers tried to kill her was because she was a werewolf. The Monster fought with the werewolf under the light of the full moon, and ultimately ended her existence using her father’s silver-tipped sword.

The creature’s quest eventually brought him back to the land of his creation – Switzerland. Returning to Ingolstadt, he entered the dilapidated Castle Frankenstein where he discovered a misshapen horde of mindless servants. These pathetic beings were the slaves of a military man named Colonel Blackstone. Blackstone had taken residence in Castle Frankenstein and had acquired a giant mutated spider that possessed the ability to steal the souls of others. Blackstone captured the Monster with the intent of having him converted into another mindless slave, but the Monster managed to free himself, and Blackstone was killed during the scuffle.

Leaving Ingolstadt, the Monster continued his journey throughout the Bavarian countryside. There he met an old gypsy woman named Marguerita who told him that she knew information concerning the last Frankenstein. The Monster remained with Marguerita for a short time, until he discovered that Marguerita was in fact a vampire. The vampire tricked the Monster into helping her resurrect the lord of all vampires – Dracula. Enraged by her treachery, the Monster slew Marguerita and fought with Dracula. Dracula attempted to drink the Monster’s blood, but the long period of inactivity had greatly weakened the vampire and he was not prepared for a protracted battle with the Frankenstein Monster. He did manage to wound the Monster’s throat, rendering him temporarily mute. Dracula fled from the cave and returned to Transylvania.

Moments after the battle, Vincent Frankenstein, the grandson of Victor’s brother, Ernst, entered the cave along with his hunchbacked giant assistant, Ivan. Recognizing Vincent as the last Frankenstein, he attacked him and would likely have strangled him to death, had Ivan not intervened. Ivan’s strength was prodigious enough to keep the Monster at bay. Frankenstein calmed the Monster down, and told him that he may be able to transplant his brain into a normal human body. The monster, though still suspicious of Vincent’s motives, agreed to go with him back to England, In the basement of a London townhouse, Vincent Frankenstein prepared the Monster for surgery. The creature quickly realized that Vincent actually planned on transplanting Ivan’s brain into the Monster’s body, an act which would certainly mean the end of the Monster’s own life. In a moment of selflessness, Ivan refused to be a party to the death of another creature, and betrayed his master. Vincent shot Ivan and ran from the cellar. Vincent died soon after, but not because of the Monster. It was actually his maid, Betty, who took Frankenstein’s life for failing to heal his ill wife, Lenore – a woman that Betty held great affection for.

The Monster left the London estate, little realizing that Vincent was not the last of the Frankensteins as he had believed. Moments before she died, Lenore Frankenstein gave birth to a son, Basil.

With no true direction in his life, the Monster returned to Switzerland. He found himself in an encounter with some wild dogs, who forced the creature to fall from an icy precipice into the cold waters below. Once again, the Monster was placed into suspended animation, and remained frozen in a block of ice for several decades.

For full history go here: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/franknst.htm

night vision asked

How do you feel about the two Avengers team? Do you consider Mighty to be the A List and New to just be Street Level?

I like the fact there’s 2 main Avengers teams now. I don’t consider either team to be a B-list team. They both would be A-list.

While the Mighty Avengers face threats like Ultron and the symbiotes and Doom

New take on threats like the Hood, the Hand and symbiotes. of course both will face the Skrull problem to.

I feel, I can’t comment on this since I recently dropped pretty much all Avengers related titles…

mickeys4life asked

Why does Marvel insist on ending long running titles just to restart a new series from issue 31? examples: Thor, Avengers, Hulk X2, Amazing Spidey(since brought back to original numbering). Don’t they realize that alienates fans?

Fun fact: Marvel actually considers that number ones actually bring in newer readers. Why? Because some people are afraid to jump on board a title at issue number 500 and some thinking that they can’t catch up. Now this little fact is pretty funny. They went back to old numbers underneath for a time or along with the new numbering to help not alienate old readers and some titles went back to the old numbering fully. Also the fact that new readers used to jump on at any point in the past.

Fun Fact #2: There are no NEW readers in comics, and relaunching/renumbering books doesn’t do squat. The only people who apparently don’t know this are the companies continuing to try these inane attempts to garner “new” readers.

kacangpool asked

mm, for the longest time i’ve been curious about sales figures published by diamond. these figures tend to be republished on newsarama and publisher weekly with add-on analysis and stuff. tom broovert, brian bendis, matt fraction, brian wood, ivan brandon all spoke against these figures indicating that they are inaccurate. still they get published, and comics shop do rely on them to plan purchases. what’s your take on this?

Well I work for a comic shop. We use the figures ourselves for orders but more then anything we use our figures for orders more. Anymore you can’t go by the diamond numbers. Why? Because each shop is different. for instance the shop I work for we sell certain titles better then others. Even better then listed but some titles we can’t sell worth anything that are on the list. We don’t order many of stuff that just don’t sell. Now that is the case with most shops. Also the known factor of when something sells out at diamond it doesn’t mean it’s sold out at the comic shop. Sometimes Diamond will post a sell out and we’ll have like 20 copies left.

– are the figures really way off? if so why?

The numbers could be off because of the reason I stated above and of course the factors of how many books are actually published by the companies. For instance they publish more New Avengers then say Marvel Adventures. Now this isn’t always figured into the full numbers.

– what do these figures really entail?

The figures Diamond uses are mostly what they still have in stock in their warehouse (BTW you should see that place. It’s huge) Not the total issues comic shops sell or have to send back.

– do they include only sales in america?

The numbers should include both US and international sales. I’m not certain for sure if they count both in the posted numbers.

– are you privvy to the actual figures?

No I am not actually. Sorry. I’d have to do major research of get connections with diamond to get them.

– do you know the actual volume a title has to sustain per month to remain ongoing?

Actually in a way I do. It mostly has a lot to do with the amount of issues made of said title. As stated before there’s certain titles that they print more books of then others. They have to be able to keep the numbers where they are for months. If they go down too far (this figure goes from they must sell at least 75 % of the titles printed or some times they can go a bit lower. For instance you know that even though a title like Thor per say or Hulk could go down in sales for let’s say 3 months you can say save the title.

Additionally, each company has different standards for their books as far it’s publishing life. And then internally they have different goal for different books therein. For example is DC sell say 20,000 copies a vertigo book they’d probably look at that as a success, while if that were a mainstream Marvel book it would probably be cancelled within a month or two…

Michael emails

Hey, I noticed in the last addition #231 that Cory asked about a flashback in Punisher War Journal #15. Didn’t this take place in the earlier issues of that series? It was when he was posing as a white supremecist to get in with Hate Monger. He was driven to kill the reporter who was trying to expose Hate Monger. I believe it was done though a brainwashing technique used by the Hate Monger, and Frank ended up killing her.

Great. Thanks for the Assist

I also have a question about Lady Deathstryke. Any clue how she appeared in MC when last we saw her was the last issue of Civil War where she was being sent to 42?

Thanks guys!

Sure can help out:

The actual part of how she escaped or was freed was not shown but with her connections to Purifiers. She likely had them free her somehow.

Having allied with the Purifiers to destroy mutant-kind, Deathstrike leads the new Reaver team against the New X-Men, gravely wounding Hellion in the process. Her armor was destroyed by X-23 and Rockslide. She appears again in pursuit of Cable and the mutant newborn where she battled X-Force and X-23 again and X-23 apparently kills her.

My bet is we will see her again

Brand New Day synopsis

Amazing Spider-Man #554: Spidey saves Crowe before fighting Freak in a fight and dropping his camera. The building collapses in a blaze and Spider-Man removes his costume and comes out in a robe with his camera. Pete helps Betty after taking pictures to Bennett. Pete gets down to his last costume. Harry ask Pete to a party. Spider-Man goes to see Jonah and gives him a heart attack telling him about Bennett. Lily gives Pete a hard time and then Pete goes to see Curt Connors about Freak.

Initiative synopsis

Captain America #36: Cap fights the Serpent Squad as a senator watches. Crossbones gets involved after Sin is injured. Skull and Faustus meet. Widow helps out Cap capturing most of the Squad. Cobra escapes with Sin. Cap tries to calm the crowd getting no where. News hits on the new Cap. Tony denies knowing about it. Widow and Bucky talk over things. Sharon finds Steve’s body.

Iron Man #27: Tony wakes up as SHIELD contacts him. Maya wakes up and talks with Tony. Rony meets Hill and Dugan. Gyrich and the Commission on Superhuman Activities meets about Stark. In Myannon we find Kooning. Tony meets with Maya again. Jiang and Dugan meet. Kooning meets Xing about Mandarin. Mandarin is revealed to be talking to Maya and not Tony.

Order #9: Heavy’s origin is revealed. Heavy is given command as the group attacks the Men from Shadow. Mulholland uses her mutant powers and hammer to fight until Ezikiel Stane takes her out. Pepper loses contact with the group. Stane uses Mullholland to take out all the power and attack the team. Heavy starts dying without power.

Secret Invasion Synopsis

Captain Marvel #4: Titan: Mar-Vell’s body is dug up. The Skrull tells Mar-vell he’s a sleeper Skrull. Mar-Vell goes mad. The Cult continues its move and Mar-Vell finds them. Mar-Vell and Julie Starr meet as the place explodes. Tony has Carol take the Nega-Bands to fight Mar-Vell. She uses them in the fight and sends herself to Africa and Mar-Vell to the Negative Zone. Mar-Vell escapes.

Ms Marvel #25: Past: Carol working for Nasa investigates the Skrulls. Present: Tony tells Sum about Carol being a Skrull. Ms Marvel runs into Aim and fights them. Past: Skrulls capture Mar-Vell and Carol. Present: Carol meets with Will Wagner who calls Carol’s publicist after as she meets with Carol. Ms Marvel runs into a Skrull and fights him. Carol calls Will who is talking to Skrull Carol and Carol arrives to find Will dead as Sum enters to arrest her.

New Avengers #39: Wolverine and Maya talk. Maya meets Daredevil who turns out to be a Skrull and fights her until Wolverine helps take him out. Clint and Maya talk and wind up in bed together.

She-Hulk #27: Jen and Jaz argue on a drive until they stop some thieves. She-Hulk goes to see Larry in jail. Jaz checks on She-Hulk. She-Hulk goes to the trial. Mallory Book comes to help. Iron Man also helps out. Iron Man gives She-Hulk a note before her and Mallory argue.

Aftersmash Synopsis

Incredible Hercules #115: Modok’s goons attack a truck in Texas. The aliesn of Sakkar escape as the power goes out in the 42. Jones is told of the virus. In the behemoth Cho and Hercules argue as Ares attacks them and is thrown out after a fight with Herc. Herc and Cho discuss things and in the end Cho stops the virus. Herc and Cho go to Vermont to see Athena.

Warbound #4: Korg and Hiriom fight to take down the dome. Warbound fight the Leader. Kate is told the truth by the Leader. The fight ends as children are used against the Warbound. Korg wins the fight and the dome starts going down until they find out the truth. The robot deathsquad atack.
Miek tells Kate about Brood and her past and fears

Damage Control #3: Robin wakes up. Damage Control deals with the building, Arch-E talks to the scientist. Damage Control has all it’s people learn of the trouble and go to deal with it. The heroes are defeated by the building. They talk to the building and agree to his terms. Tony and Hoag meet after.

Divided We Stand

X-Men Legacy #209: Magneto checks on Xavier as Karima arrives and talks to him. In Xavier’s mind him and Magento fight. Magneto and Karima agree to use their powers to help Xavier. The acolytes argue over Magneto. Mags and Karima use their powers together. In Xaviers mind he sees the Brotherhood. Xavier wakes up and runs into Frezy who attacks them. Karmina fights her until Magneto stops Frenzy. Xavier and Magneto talk until Exodus confronts both and ends up fighting Xavier.

I say see everyone next week or two and keep those emails coming. I‘m ready to answer more stuff. So send those emails.

That sounds good to me.

1. Digital comics Comics you can read online

2. Marvel is in the process of adding new bios and added a ton of new ones. Check them out here

That’s it from here. As always reporting from my corner of the Marvel Universe I’m Jim Trabold. Make Mine Marvel.

Oh and don’t forget, the Pittsburgh Comicon is coming up quick, April 25th-27th. I will of course be there with my usual entourage, and we’d love to see you all there as well. There’s no better show to really meet creators and get stuff signed or sketches done. Feel free to email me if you’re interested and or have any questions:

Thanks all and see ya soon.

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