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  1. #1
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Default '90s Reinventions/Polishes That Worked

    The 90s get a bad rap in comics, but there were some awesome things in the medium and, specifically, at Marvel in those years. Not everything was excess pouches and why do you hate pouches so much, anyway? Pouch-hater.

    Larry Hama and some very talented artists took Wolverine from being an uber-violent jerk with a heart of gold to being a heart of gold who also had a lot of problems and a closetful of trauma. And, the whole time, he was still so cool, nobody seemed to notice that the jerk was gone and what we were left with was an introspective, helpful guy who kept to himself mostly because he didn't want to drag anyone down with him, and who sought out company because hey, he likes people, especially women. Larry Hama made Wolverine the moral high ground of the X-verse without ever drawing attention to it.

    Meanwhile, over the course of the late 80s and early 90s, Hydra had become a goofy joke, repetitive, doomed to failure, a joke even when they were trying to genocide half the planet with a weird mega-bomb or chemical weapon. Nobody cared. Fury stopped caring somewhere between his second and fifth death in the 90s, Jessica Drew was past all that noise, and the Crippler still cared, but nobody cared about the Crippler. Cue Heroes Reborn.

    Lee, Lobdell, and Portacio amped up Hydra hardcore in Iron Man. It was effective even with all its members dying, because they were just brainwashed fodder. Hydra didn't care how many of its agents had to die and if SHIELD or whomever wouldn't kill them, Hydra would just do it themselves. Suicide bomb cult led from beyond the stars or outside sanity, wherever the new Mandarin was from. And, it was scary.

  2. #2
    Latverian Tourism Bureau Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    For me, it was Doom 2099. It wasn't so much that the character was re-invented but that he was the focal point of the series with IMO a good supporting cast to interact with. Except for a brief encounter with some Fantastic Four avatars in a game simulation, Moore was able to steer clear of the usual rivalry with Reed and give Doom a renewed sense of purpose. In this version of the future of the MU, you didn't need much convincing that Doom could be a better option than the corrupt megacorps. John L Moore was succeeded by Warren Ellis with issue 24 and 25 and the series really took off a at that point with the One Nation Under Doom arc. Glad to see Marvel will be producing a TPB on this early next year.
    "...Doom's enemies have not the mettle to challenge him host to host, tooth to nail... As economic and military options fail them, they resort to simple rudeness."

  3. #3

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    I'm probably in the minority here, but I really liked the Onslaught crossover. I thought that was a lot of fun. In many ways it was a pre-cursor to what would happen in the 2000s. It would make Charles Xavier less ethical than he's been in the past, which would be explored in greater depth with future stories. I recently collected the TBPs for the Onslaught Saga and it still resonates in that it utilizes the whole Marvel universe. It set the precedent for what events like Civil War and Avengers vs. X-men would eventually do and for that I think it deserves some credit.
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  4. #4
    Swordsman Supreme R0NIN's Avatar
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    I know some will think I'm crazy, but Black Knight in the 90s was THE Avenger. While I like the Ebony Blade his Neural Sword let him use a sword to the full extent of his ability without worrying whether he was going to kill anyone. They showcased his leadership skills and even his intelligence and tech skills. It was an awesome time to be a Black Knight fan.

    Also not so much a reinvention but 90s Shatterstar was IMO a much more interesting character. He was a interdimensional time traveling Alien Gladiator/Samurai. He had an interesting unique weapon, and a unique personality. He loved TV and fighting. I feel like he's been turned into a completely different character now. He wears white leather and sings show tunes and has lame Wolverine claws and teleports.
    I like swords.

  5. #5

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    Untold Tales of Spider-Man reinvented some of Peter Parker's early years and was an absolute masterpiece of continuity and spider-man writing.

  6. #6
    My dead head. Blind pugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    For me, it was Doom 2099. It wasn't so much that the character was re-invented but that he was the focal point of the series with IMO a good supporting cast to interact with. Except for a brief encounter with some Fantastic Four avatars in a game simulation, Moore was able to steer clear of the usual rivalry with Reed and give Doom a renewed sense of purpose. In this version of the future of the MU, you didn't need much convincing that Doom could be a better option than the corrupt megacorps. John L Moore was succeeded by Warren Ellis with issue 24 and 25 and the series really took off a at that point with the One Nation Under Doom arc. Glad to see Marvel will be producing a TPB on this early next year.
    I hadn't heard that. That's great news.

  7. #7
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Abnett and Kordey really revised how you could look at a number of military and corporate figures from 60s Marvel, including Trask, Ross, Starr, in what was, I think, the first grand conspiracy attempt at framing the Marvel Universe, and also probably the smartest.

    It didn't get picked up so much, and future attempts at similar have introduced new figureheads, instead, but that it as these guys who'd seemed ineffectual for decades of comics, that the point was for them to seem ineffectual, that was creepy. It made going back and reading the old comics suddenly darker and sicker.

    And, to take this back to the thread that inspired it, horror had some great touch ups in the 90s, with the new Ghost Rider title and its many reinventions leading the charge. Some worked better than others, but on the whole, they were strong reinventions. The guys in Nightstalkers wouldn't have been interesting without the earlier Dracula work, sure, but they were deliberately built on those comics, with Blade's sad instability and need for vampires to kill, Hannibal trying to live in a facade, and so on.

  8. #8
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    Onslaught was one of those villains that really set the stage for the uber-powered event villains to come. The writing was inconsistent, but there were so many "oh SH!#" moments during that story that It became really hard to imagine the Heroes actually winning.

    The problem with him, in fact, was that his legacy is of increasingly cosmic threats that all seem to be team-breakers. I prefer masterminds to gods, and I think Onslaught set the standard of what villain constitutes an event villain. Sadly, those tend to be gods, not masterminds.

  9. #9
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Onlsaught was a good change from how Event villains had been, previously, in that he dealt with different characters in different ways. Secret Wars 2, Infinity Gauntlet, Inferno, tended to have the same MO for every encounter, every interaction. Onslaught, mostly because for the longest time nobody knew what Onslaught was or why he was, had different kinds of interactions, he had different sorts of attacks. He didn't punch Jean Grey, but he did punch Jugggernaut Ontario to New York, and when it was impersonal it was impersonal to the attacked but still held personal meaning for Onslaught (who was slowly concretizing to yes, this is Xavier/Xavier-infected-by-Magneto), like the Sentinel gambit.

    That's very different from: make evil doppelgangers of everyone and unleash them to humiliate and then replace people; that sort of universal MO.

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