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Before I do this week’s Cover Count (and it is coming, and should be weekly for a bit), I’m going to discuss my idea for an Iron Man arc.  I’ve been meaning to do this recently, largely since the Iron Man movie is out, but just kept getting sidetracked.  No longer!

Essentially, it goes like this.  A guy mad at Tony Stark makes a deal with the devil (or Mephisto, maybe) to acquire abilities to defeat Iron Man.  As a balance to Tony being a man of technology, this villain, aptly named Faust, would be able to generate and control the four classical elements (fire, air, water, and earth).

The finer details, though, have gone under revision pretty much since I had the idea.  At first, I wanted the villain to be a new guy.  A cheesily-named character called Phillip Faust who previously worked for Stark.  Due to an accident that wasn’t his fault (though evidence pointed to the contrary), he was fired from Stark Industries.  The result was that, in fairly quick succession of the following months, he lost practically everything.  So, he makes a deal to get back at Stark in exchange for his soul.  It’s not enough just to fight Iron Man, though.  He provides a moral dilemma.  He steals the materials to make several standard bombs and one gas bomb.  He places the standard bombs around the city.  He places the gas bomb within the headquarters of Stark Industries.  Essentially, the dilemma would be that Iron Man could save the city or his staff.  He’d succeed at both-well, mostly–and be the hero he is.

That all seemed a bit cliche and dull.  So, I tried to think of a better option.  Eventually, I settled on one of the scrapped members of the Order being angry enough at Tony to try this.  But I soon scrapped that idea when I realized the character I wanted was going to be used again.

More recently, I decided that the best option might be to use a depowered mutant.  They actually liked their power and enjoyed using it.  Based on how House of M seemed to work in Tony’s favor to pass the Superhero Registration Act (as there would be no mutant intervention for preservation reasons), this unnamed depowered mutant could make the jump in logic that Tony had something to do with them losing their powers.  This time, however, I reworked the fight.  It would be a straight slugfest, with nature versues the toils of man.  In the end, Faust (as I would still like to call the character that) would defeat Iron Man, slowing stripping Tony of his armor.  But that was all in the deal.  Faust was allowed to beat Iron Man.  No one else.  So, no longer with armor, Tony would still act defiantly and attack Faust with a pipe (as they would be within the ruins of one of Tony’s buildings at the time).  Faust’s deal didn’t extend to Tony, only to Iron Man.  No Iron Man, and Faust falls quite fast.

Now, this story idea was developed before the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. thing and I probably should have included that since.  Ah well.  I’ll save that for the next revision.

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I haven’t made a post in a while!  But I just had a weekend filled with ideas.  I’ll talk about just one of them.

For those of you who have been reading Countdown (you poor, unfortunate saps like myself), you know that the characters went through a war with Monarch, got an Earth destroyed, got trapped on Apokolips, and then ended up on another Earth, only to get that one destroyed–essentially–as well.

In issue #4, Bob the Monitor mentions how the second Earth was a recreation of the first.  Earth-51 was destroyed in the Monarch war.  Then, off-panel, and presumably while everyone was fighting on Apokolips, that Earth was restored.  The heroes of Countdown left Apokolips, ending up stranded on the new Earth-51, which led to a plague affecting almost all of the residents of the planet.  Earth-51 died twice.

So, I was hit with a moment of inspiration.  As I read Bob’s narration, I had an idea.

Imagine, if you will, that Earth-51 is an Earth doomed to disaster.  Every time it gets to the Heroic Age, a utopian version of pre-Crisis DC, some problem arises.  It all started with the Monarch war.  Due to the energies unleashed in that fight, the Earth is now trapped in perpetual doom.  Whenever it gets to that exact point, it faces some catastrophe.  The first in this loop would be the virus.  The world goes insane, eventually leaving only Kamandi as the sole survivor.  In time, though, the damage becomes worse and worse and the Monitors are forced to restart again.

Now, there’s a guy on this planet who is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and like Dream Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Every night, he dreams of disaster.  Initially, he only had the dream of the Monarch war, two nights before the virus was unleashed.  When Earth is reset anew, he gets two dreams.  One of the war, one of the virus.  Two nights.  There is a night without dreams, and then the world dies again.  He dies again.

He wakes up, just having had a dream of his own demise once again.  It is two days before the end of the world, and he doesn’t realize it.  Not yet.  That will take several more cycles.  But eventually, after numerous disasters, he will have enough dreams to piece it together.  In each dream, there is of a previous catastrophe.  In each dream, he sees his death through his own eyes.  He determines that his Earth is going to die and he must put a stop to it.  He doesn’t know what the disaster will be or what will be needed to stop it.  He can leave clues to himself, though.  Since he sees his own death, he simply has to make sure there are clues at his death scenes regarding his work for his next self to catch.

It is a story of a man who is trapped in never-ending disaster, knowing his world is on the brink of demise.  People think the man is crazy.  He thinks he’s crazy.  And he has to stop it from starting again by preventing the new random problem, sight unseen.  Every issue, a new catastrophe awaits.  Every issue, the man gets one step closer.  Every issue, the man wakes up, screaming in agony at having watched himself die once more.

It is the story of Earth-51.

DC has done two year-long weekly series.  Both times, DC has dropped the ball.

Here’s the idea: in each issue of their third series, Trinity, they should include a playing card.  They cards would be unique, if only by having a cool DC logo on the back.  Preferably, they would have characters on them, presumably someone who has a spotlight or prominence in that issue.  The cards don’t even have to go in order.  (It might actually be smarter to go out of order, to help with the surprise.)

So, c’mon, DC!  Give me and other collectors a fun reason to buy the whole series!   Please?

Across the Internet, I go by “Acro” in various forms. When I used instant messenger, those were the first four letters of my account name. It is part of my username on both of the message boards I frequent. It is part of my Imageshack account. I even started using it for various gaming purposes. And, of course, I use it here.

Why “Acro”? I could give you the whole story, as I have given it to others in the past, but I’m nothing if not a bit paranoid. Bendis’s idea to have a secret Skrull invasion was announced several months after I expressed it as a good method of explaining why characters acted unusally in Civil War. I cannot say with any certainty that he read my post and got a moment’s inspiration. I highly doubt it, as he has expressed that this idea has been developing for a while. However, this is not the first time that I’ve had an idea for something in media and have it used before I can do anything with it.

So, that’s why I can’t tell you the full story. It’s the same reason I don’t ramble off all the details of that Superman story I’ve talked about or the stories I’ve mentioned for other characters. I’m a bit paranoid that if I reveal them, they won’t be mine to use anymore.

In any case, Acro is an idea. I would say one of the greatest, if not the greatest, idea I’ve ever had. This idea was formed in a child’s mind, largely inspired by the shows and movies I craved at the time. But Acro is only part of the idea, a label if your will. That label was formed on a fluke.

There was a Lego figurine and he had no hair. He needed a name. (My brother and I always named the Lego people.) I chose the name Joe, as no other figurine was named Joe. Liking repeated sounds, I quickly stumbled through some potential last names. Eventually, I settled on Afro. The guy had no hair! Call him Afro! It’s funny! Well, to me as a kid anyway.

I don’t know the specific reason that eventually morphed into Acro. I think it was learning about Greek civilization, about what “acro-” means. But I know I changed the Afro part because I had developed an idea, I still liked the repetition, and I wouldn’t use the same name. It’s a new idea. It needs a new name.

Really, though, this idea fits into a much larger idea. One that started as a TV concept and is now a comic book one, still bouncing around in my head. There is a large cast of characters. There are superheroics. There is a maniacal villain.  There’s a more recent idea (not mine, but related) that involves an anthology.

Over the years, I developed the big idea. I’ve got a lot of plans for it. Epic stories, the name of the comic, the format in which it’s presented, etc. I know so much, yet can reveal so little. Paranoia will do that.

The major downside is that I don’t have an artist. I can draw, but not with any great speed or finesse. Almost nothing I’ve drawn has a background. And even if I had one, I wouldn’t know who to approach with the idea. It’s not suited for Marvel or DC. At Image, I might have to incorporate it into that pseudo-universe they have. But I know that that doesn’t always happen, so it might a safe bet. It doesn’t suit the nature of any other well-known name company I can think of .

If Acro and larger therein never see the light of day, trust me when I say it’s one of my greatest ideas ever. It holds a special place in my soul. One day, though, I hope it will come forth. Then maybe you’ll see. But it’s a big story. So, if it ever comes, I recommend getting in early. It will be well worth it.

Most who know my love for comic books also know my love for that giant starfish in the sky named Starro the Star Conqueror. For those of you who don’t know Starro (and shame on you!), he first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28. This was also the first appearance of the Justice League of America!

He’s a giant starfish from space with a variety of powers, from the standard traits of a starfish to firing laser beams from his tendrils to being able to absorb massive amounts of electricity. His signature power, though, is his ability to create miniature duplicates of himself that latch onto people’s faces, allowing him to control their minds.

Over the years, he’s fought multiple incarnations of the Justice League and resurfaced from death repatedly as well. Also, he’s had other battles against Aquaman (which was not shown on-panel), Superman and Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, and even Marvel’s Avengers.

Recently, after a long hiatus, he has resurfaced. In multiple titles, no less! There is a Starro plot over in Teen Titans, where he hasn’t actually appeared yet, though his miniatures have. He had a brief cameo in Superman/Batman #41 as part of a dream sequence, offering Superman muffins. Soon enough, he will appear in the Captain Carrot and the Final Ark mini, as shown by his presence on the final issue’s cover.

Amongst all this frenzy, I am reminded of my only problem with Starro. He has no origin. He’s not like the mysterious characters whose lack of an origin is a key part of their character. Starro just shows up, wrecks havoc, and gets killed or knocked into space. Where does he come from?

I wrote a 22-page story once detailing his origin. I did so working off the theory that if he’s called “the Star Conqueror”, he has to have conquered something, right? But then I hit this problem of his conquered worlds never having been noticed. If there were a Starro Empire out there, wouldn’t we have seen it? I thought of a way around that. Not that I’ll reveal it here, of course.

Another reason for the story was to explain how he got from his frozen, tiny state in Justice League Europe to his return to a full-grown appearance in JLA/Avengers (Avengers/JLA). Given that Infinite Crisis has occurred since I made my story, I don’t know if the either of those stories are in continuity anymore. But I could adapt if they aren’t.

In fact, I recently thought that instead of a single spotlight issue, I could incorporate the idea into the Legion, through a few ways. There would be a lack of communication and someone would go to investigate and, viola, they find the Starro Empire.

Who shares my love for Starro? What are your ideas?

In Infinite Crisis, DC killed off the Freedom Fighters.  One Year Later, there was a new group with the same name, many of them like former Freedom Fighters.

It seems to me that DC dropped the ball here.  If they were going to kill off and relaunch the Freedom Fighters, they could’ve taken the time to develop a completely original team.  I’m not saying the current team is uninteresting or even that it’s poorly conceived.  But there doesn’t seem to be much point to killing off a few characters just to replace them with different versions.

I came up with concept for new Freedom Fighters team recently.  The team has traditionally fought for freedom, whether it be the freedom of Europe from the shadow of the Nazis or the freedom of Earth from the Imperiex attack or even the freedom of America from the Secret Society (which got them killed).  I think it would a neat idea to form a group of Freedom Fighters who are fighting not only for the freedom of the people but for their own freedom.

Uncle Sam is really just a spirit acting through a mortal shell.  It takes over some patriotic Samuel in a time of need and goes to work.  Sure this could frustrate him, especially after Infinite Crisis.  His actions lead to that man’s death.  Might he desire the ability, the freedom, to act without possessing someone?

Something similar can be said for Deadman.  In his case, though, he’s stuck in Limbo.  He cannot completely die, for some unexplained reason.  He is forced to fight the good fight by possessing others and acting through them.  He, too, is endangering those lives.  In the Forever People this was counteracted.  He got a cool robotic suit that could contain him and that he could operate.  It has never been referenced outside of that title.  However, if you set that aside, he’s not just a character who wants the freedom from having the possess others, he’s a character that wants freedom from Limbo.  He wants to either be alive or be dead.  He’ll do what he thinks needs to be done until his state changes, but it is something that nags him.

And just to briefly provide one more example, either Human Bomb needs to wear a containment suit because of his power.

There are others, I’m sure, and they likely offer more diversity not just in abilities and personality, but in what they want to be free from.  I hope you get my point, though.

DC could have used the opportunity of a revamp to actually revamp the team and concept.  Given that the current group seems popular enough to get a second mini, that likely won’t happen soon.

Hank Pym constantly gets the short of the stick in life.  He is constantly reminded of his beating Janet van Dyne, despite that happened years in his past.  He just can’t move past it.  He is also constantly reminded that he created one of the most destructive being the Marvel universe has ever seen.  There’s really no getting past that one, especially since Ultron has a tendency to not stay dead.  It’s no wonder the man has had a mental breakdown.

He’s retired from heroism, it seems, to right his wrongs by assisting the Initiative.  To help train and improve superheroes and supervillains from across the U.S.  It’s probably for the best.  He hasn’t been an interesting hero in a while.

Which brings me to the point of this entry.  Hank Pym used to be a man who was constantly improving his superhero identity.  At first, he was just fine being Ant-Man.  Then he realized he needed more and became Giant-Man, though he remained able to shrink and control ants just as Ant-Man could. He built upon his initial abilities.  His next real new identity was Yellowjacket.  He stopped growing, although that made a certain amount since he was stuck as a giant for a while.  He could still communicate with insects, could now fly, and added stingers.  He was still building.

I don’t admit to knowing the full history of the character, but he did eventually stop building.  When Busiek wrote him, he could grow and had a vest of useful items that he could enlarge.  He could shrink, but rarely did so.  He no longer communicated with insects, flew, or used the stingers.  Eventually, he reverting to being Yellowjacket, losing the vest and the desire to grow large.

If Pym were to return to superheroics, I would want him to build upon everything by tying it all together.  A man with the ability to grow, shrink, fly when shrunk, and communicate with insects as well as having a vest of a variety of useful items and those stingers.  I don’t know what to call such a character.  Goliath seems a bit played out, those it certainly expresses the magnitude of the idea.  Whatever his name would be, I think if he became what I describe, he’d be a force to be reckoned with.

In the last entry I discussed my problems with Superman. In another entry, I revealed some of my ideas for a great Superman story. In this entry, I’m going to show how I would handle the problems mentioned last issue within that great story.

My first problem is that he lacks limitations. One of the first ideas I had for my story was to enclose Metropolis. If Superman can’t leave Metropolis, his hearing and sight are effectively limited. Also, his speed is constrained by a lack of distance. Of course, his hearing and vision and speed would all be normal. I don’t mean to state otherwise (yet) and you shouldn’t infer as such.

Now, that still leaves him being a really effective protector of Metropolis. Barricading him isn’t enough. He would eventually find a way out. Would he still be as effective if the sun were blocked and he had to face an assortment of crisis in quick succession? Even he would begin to run ragged, I think. Incorporate the fact that the mysterious figure running everything is messing with Supes’s senses every time he tries to learn more about said figure and I think I’ve neutralized just about everything.

The second problem was a lack of variety amongst his villains. My notion is simply to not include two villains that are the same. Intergang, Cyborg Superman, Bloodsport, Bizarro, and various others would be involved. There would be magic and mental tricks, too. Kryptonite would be used twice, at a maximum.

In all the great action, I neglected to introduce new supporting characters. However, I think putting emphasis on other supporting characters makes up for it. I’d bring back Dan Turpin, who would interact with Lupé (both of them being SCU agents). The initial plan was to use both Steels and Krypto, though I’m not sure how well I could do that these days. Even Superman’s Justice League allies would appear, attempting to help Superman out of his dilemma. If I took the time to read through a bunch of Superman issues, I’m sure I could find at least a few more characters (like Bibbo Bibowski) that I could include, if only briefly.

That would be my method for dealing with Superman. I just hope Superman fans would like it.

For quite some time, I’ve had an idea for a Superman arc. It would be ten issues long and involve Superman fighting such rogues as Bizarro, Intergang, Bloodsport, Hank Henshaw, and a few others.

There would be a new occupant of LexCorp Tower, a mysterious figure with a grudge against Superman. His company would have grown rapidly in short span of time. With no one ever having interviewed him, Perry White would send Clark to get the exclusive. And then all kinds of crazy things would happen, the most notable (and earliest) would be it snowing in Metropolis in the middle of July.

The main idea is that this mysterious figure wants to run Superman into the ground, with as many threats as he can release, all while the sun is blocked. The real treats are the clues left for the figure’s origin and Superman fighting in a modified Steel suit.

Unfortunately, due to recent events, the story has changed a bit. Superboy clearly can’t be in the story any more. I don’t know if I can use Natasha (Steel II). That would depend on how she finishes 52. The use of John Henry would depend upon the same. Supergirl wasn’t around when I wrote it, so I might have to explain why she doesn’t show, as I wouldn’t want to use her. (Maybe not.) I’d have to change the dialogue for Bizarro or provide an explanation of his reverting back to backwards-speak. I’m not sure what the state of the hero community is (in regards to whether certain characters would work together), so that might cause a slight change.

The main problem I’ve had is that I want to use Dan Turpin, but his departure from SCU was never explained and I haven’t seen him in years. Also, my initial story had a plot point I never explained adequately. A big problem I thought about later on would be that I didn’t include enough with Lois. I find that her relationship with Supes shouldn’t be excluded from a story that affects him as it does.

I don’t want to give away too many details of the story, so that it can maintain as much of its value as I’d like, despite the fact that it will probably never be made.

In any case, that’s what I’d do if I were writing Superman.

Seeing the movie has inspired me to do an entry on what I think should be done with the character. I don’t really know what all’s been tried.

The idea I’ve had for quite some time is to localize him. Plenty of popular heroes have homes, a base from which they travel to all adventures. I believe Blaze needs such a place. He needs some sort of country town where he can reestablish a private identity while having no hinderances in regards to his alter-ego.

A nice aspect to the story would be if that particular town had paranormal trouble. Maybe it just happened to be located near a rift between dimensions. That would allow for Ghost Rider to sometimes be needed in town and sometimes be needed elsewhere. He has to be mobile, though. A hero with a motorbike shouldn’t stay in one place. With his wicked speed, he should be able to reach most places with relative ease and short time.

How would he know to leave? The only thing I can think of to make this work would be to give him a sense much like Cosmic Awareness. Johnny would sense trouble and would travel to handle it. But being mobile means that his private life needs to be static. His job needs to be something he can leave whenever he needs to. He can still have friends and maybe even a few that know he’s Ghost Rider. Such things might allow for some nice drama outside his heroic battles.

It’s only a rough idea, but I think it could work.