Friday, June 16, 2017

Divide and Conquer!

Big news in this issue, gang. Big and sorta sad news. Warren Worthington III, better known to comic aficionados, as the Angel has changed his uniform. He’s back to wearing his new classic uniform, though this time it’s red instead of blue.

(I don't know where the halo is in the above costume, it's usually in the middle of his chest, but it's not there. The Angel looks like a bit of an asshole here, doesn't he?)

It’s about damn time Angel looked presentable. He looked like an asshole flying around, chest showing, headband on in his yellow and red Ronald McDonald togs. Seriously, he looked like this:

I for one am glad that we don’t have to look at this monstrosity of a uniform anymore. But, you know what, you guys? I’m actually a little sad too. That ketchup and mustard creation really brought home the spirit of the Champions. The spirit of the 1970s, the Me Decade, where if it felt good, you did it. Extra wide bell bottoms, garish shirts, cocaine addictions, sloppy sex in bathrooms? Whatever man, just keep on truckin’ and we’ll let our kids pick up the pieces.

Let’s give it up one last time for the Baby Boomer generation, they had the fun and passed along the check to us! And oh yeah, now they’re super scared of everything, so they elected a monstrous sentient Cheeto to really bring the whole shithouse down. You fucked up drugs, casual sex, rock and roll, the economy (TWICE!), might as well fuck up the entire government on your way out! Thanks again guys. Great work.

Anyway, Rampage shows up at the Champions headquarters armed with photos of the Titanium Man hauling Black Widow and her former mentor Alexi Bruskin AKA The Commissar* somewhere. This really pisses of Ivan**, who despite almost dying at the hands of Rampage decides to go for round two. He hit him pretty hard. Rampage was popped so hard that Hercules was pumped for Ivan.

(Would you look at how god damn thrilled Hercules is in this pic?) 

* I wish that this story was written in the early 80s, just someone could have said, “Don’t turn around. Uh-oh! Der Kommissar’s in town! Uh-oh!” After the Fire, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

** There’s a number of strange things about Ivan: he looks like a French Stan Lee for one thing. But the other thing is that his voice doesn’t match his personality. What I mean by this is that Ivan is Russian as the Kremlin, but he’s written in such a thick American East coast way. Like he lived all his life in Brooklyn. He uses idioms like “pal” and “dough” and “ain’t”, I’m surprised he hasn’t yelled, “It’s clobberin’ time” yet. And that’s fine, Russians—all foreigners—assimilate into the US and use the day’s slang. But not in comics, especially not in comics from 1976. Ivan is Russian, so he would speak in a bastardized version of the mother tongue, like the X-men’s Colossus. Lots of “da’s” and “nyet’s” and his syntax isn’t peppered with slang. The lack of racism (probably not the right word, but you get what I mean) in Ivan’s speech is kind of off putting.

Ramapage decides that he’s had about enough of this bullshit and hits his self-destruct button, which is a gigantic red dot on the middle of his yellow uniform. He’s been hit in the chest a bunch of times, but he’s never exploded. I’m not sure why this time is any different. But it is! And he blows up. But it appears that Griffin and Darkstar had something to do with this, so Rampage isn’t totally crazy.

The Champions kick Rampage when he’s down (vocally) and Ivan tries to get him to spill the beans about the Black Widow, but Rampage dies. Sort of. Not really because the Ghost Rider yells at Angel for being a rich prick (“You don’t know what it’s like to be broke – what it can do to you!”) and then takes their fallen foe to the hospital.

After GR bolts, Champions PR man (I think they called him the team’s financial manager two issues ago, but whatever they’re the same job, right?) Richard Fenster is all like, hey we have a big launching thing to do in a few hours, what are we going to do? Angel says, “Now might not be the time to do that, Dick (no offense meant, that’s his name!)” and Ivan loses it. He thinks that Angel wants to break up the Champions instead of look for Natasha.

Which, to be fair, sounds like an Angel thing to say but Ivan leaves to find his “tsarina” on his own. Hercules grabs a file cabinet and Ice Man grabs a broom to tidy up, while WW III bitches about his ripped costume. The rich are different than us, indeed. Anyway, Hercules tells everyone not to worry, the team launch is going to be awesome “especially if there are ladies in the audience” because the Prince of Power is going to be there too.

I fucking love Hercules.

Cut to: the villains in their liar who have just spilled their plans to Natasha. Griffin wants to kill everyone, especially the Angel (can’t say that I don’t blame him). Titanium Man tells him to chill out when another Russian super villain makes his entrance by blasting TM. It’s the Crimson Dynamo and he’s the son of Ivan Petrovich. YES! The same Ivan who speaks like he’s from the Boogie Down and who just cold-cocked Rampage. It’s just like Huey Lewis says, it’s a small world after all.

While this is going on, Ivan (yup, Crimson Dynamo’s dad!) has figured out where Black Widow is by reverse engineering the black pearl that they got last issue (don’t ask) and Ice Man is tagging along. Remember what we talked about a few entries back about how weird it is that everyone keeps calling Angel and Ice Man “kids” or “youths” or “young ones”? Bobby Drake has finally had it up to his icicles and told Ivan to knock it off.

Ghost Rider drops Rampage off at the hospital and now he’s talking like a demon again and NOT like Gene Autry. There’s a lot of inconsistencies in voice in this issue, which is a bit distracting.

The Angel gets his new uniform and it looks pretty good, though he says that it reminds him of when he was with the X-Men. Awwww. At least Dick is in a tuxedo. Hercules is just chilling in a skirt and sash.

I’m not sure whether the comics had anything to do about this or whether I was just used to red being their primary color and blue being an accent, but in the mid to late 1990s the Angels baseball team were purchased by Disney (who also own Marvel) changed their name from the California Angels to the Anaheim Angels. When they changed their name, they changed their uniforms. They were pretty damn ugly, but their main color scheme went from red with dark blue accents to periwinkle with red accents. It looked like shit and a few years later, they went back to a uniform that was more red.

(Above is Chuck Finley and the upper image is how I remember the Angels looking the most. The second image is sorta like a two or three season look, which I liked but it's not the "traditional" Angels uni.)

(This is Mo Vauhgn in that shitty Anaheim Angels look. Man, I loved Mo Vaughn and was pretty bummed when he went to California. He was a horrible free agent acquisition by them.)

(This is Mike Trout in their most current uniforms. They won a World Series in 2002, so I doubt that they'll change these togs any time soon. But, that was 15 years ago. It doesn't seem that far away. I remember being on a plane to a conference to Vegas when the pilot told everyone that the Angels won the World Series.)

Those periwinkle uniforms sucked (those aren’t even real vests, those are just blue sleeved jersey) and the Angels teams weren’t very good either but I could never get past the blue uniforms. They didn’t look like the Angels. And WWIII doesn’t look like the Angel in his blue togs either, he just looks like the Angel clad in red. Which is kind of weird because if you think of the color red, you think of fire. Angels aren’t in fire, that’s where the devil and his demon horde hang out. Angels live in the sky, so they should be more in tune with the color blue.

Yet for both the baseball team and the comic book character, I think that they look best in red. Weird.

Anyhow, Angel and Hercules go out and meet the people of Los Angeles. California Governor Jerry Brown is pissed that only two of the heroes are there, “I understood that there were five of them!” and things are going pretty well. Until Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo and the Griffin show up. This is a nice cliffhanger because shit’s going to hit the fans next issue, kids.  

All-in-all, not a bad issue. It kept me interested and laughing. Can’t ask for more than that. The cover was sort of a dud, but the color scheme was cool. I also like that they showed Rampage blowing up and sending Champions everywhere. Update: the vest rating system will stay despite Angel's new uni. Three vested Angels out of five.


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