He is alphabetically out of order because I only just learned that he is a "major" Spidey foe. He eats Spider-Man's eyeballs and is even rumored to be coming in Spidey 4. He is Morlun
When Spider-Man met a similarly-powered man named Ezekiel, Ezekiel explained to him that Spider-Man's powers were not an accident, and that the spider that had bit him did so voluntarily to pass its abilities onto Peter before it died. This made Spider-Man a "totem", a bridge between man and beast, with the properties of both, hence why so many of his foes were animal-based; on some level, they were trying to become totems, and resented Spider-Man for being the 'real deal' while they were only 'imposters'. Ezekiel then warned Spider-Man that as a totem, he was in danger from those who would seek to destroy such beings. One of those, who showed up soon after, was Morlun.
Little is known about exactly what Morlun is and where he comes from. According to Ezekiel, as long as totemistic forces have walked the earth, there have also been those who have fed on them. While Morlun and his brothers (it is not known how many there are in existence, but Morlun is not the only one) can subsist on the life forces of normal humans and non-totemistic superhumans for a time, they always crave a pure host... and Peter fit the bill perfectly.
After Peter's meeting with Ezekiel, Morlun and his hapless minion Dex subtly began tormenting Peter from the shadows, stalking him and wreaking havoc with his spider-sense. Morlun finally revealed himself when Spider-Man was investigating a fire at the wharfs, punching him with what Spider-Man claimed was the hardest punch he had ever felt. Morlun then taunted Spider-Man, telling him that he would eventually kill him at the time and place of his choosing, and now that they had made physical contact, he could find Spider-Man wherever he went. Spider-Man fought back, informing Morlun that he was the first opponent Spider-Man had ever faced to actually 'tick him off', but Morlun laughed off his attacks and brutally battered him. Peter tried to flee, but Morlun was able to find him easily and resume the fight. Spider-Man finally got away after Morlun burned down the building they were fighting in, asking Ezekial for help, but Ezekiel told him it was no use. Morlun would find him once again, and kill him.
Morlun relentlessly attacked Spider-Man over the next few days, endangering the lives of innocent citizens if Peter tried to flee. Finally Peter managed to briefly escape with a sample of Morlun's blood, which he discovered contained the DNA of every genus in the animal kingdom. Realizing that Morlun's DNA was pure, Peter realized a weakness he could exploit. Luring Morlun to a nuclear power plant, Spider-Man injected himself with a dose of radiation that would kill a normal human being, but was only enough to weaken him thanks to the radiation already in his blood from when the spider bit him. When Morlun arrived, he prepared to feed, only to be burned instead by the radiation in Peter's blood. Peter explained that he wasn't a pure spider totem as Morlun had guessed, as the spider that bit him- whether mystical or natural- had been changed by the radiation it had been exposed to earlier. While Morlun could feed on the spider, he couldn't digest the radiation, and, when fighting with Spider-Man, Morlun began to disintegrate, and he pleaded for Spider-Man to spare his life, saying he was merely doing what was necessary for his survival, and that it was nothing personal. While Peter debated whether or not to let a monster like Morlun walk free, Dex suddenly appeared and shot Morlun, causing him to crumble to dust.
Recently Morlun returned, determined as ever to feed on Spider-Man. This time he overpowered Peter and tore his eye out, feeding on it. Peter was taken to a hospital, but true to form Morlun tracked him down. Peter's wife Mary Jane Watson tried to defend Peter with a scalpel, but Morlun simply laughed and broke Mary Jane's arm. Seeing his wife in danger caused something to snap within Peter. He suddenly burst from his bed, his body mutated into a hideous man-spider hybrid. With raw animal aggression he overpowered Morlun, paralyzing him with sharp spikes from his wrists, and sucking the life force out of him with a bite to the throat. A stunned Morlun stammered that things weren't supposed to end this way before dissolving into ashes. Peter then reverted to normal and apparently died in Mary Jane's arms, only to be reborn in a cocoon, now embracing the duality of species his powers afford him. In this sense, Morlun's actions actually helped Peter make this leap, albeit unintentionally.
What more can be said of Batman & Robin? This turd of a film is one of those movies that is so bad its good. You can sit around and laugh at how bad the dialog is, how many one liners Freeze alone throws out, and how many Bat-Butt close ups director Joel Schumacher felt the film needed. Well, actually this film was painful from 1997 until 2005 when Batman was resurrected. The fact is, if this film hadn't been so utterly terrible, we may have never been given the gem of Batman Begins. To that we all owe Joel a bit of gratitude. Had B&R earned a bit more than $107 million, or had it sold some more toys, we could have gotten Batman 5 AKA Batman Triumphant. This film would have featured the Scarecrow and Harley Quinn and the alleged return of the Joker. While the film sounds actually sorta interesting, I am sure they would have found a way to make it unbearable. Anyways, there is a fan edit of B&R ala the Jar Jar mitigated Phantom Edit. Batman & Robin De-Assified is just over an hour in length, but maintains the whole plot. Imagine that, half the movie was one-liners and butt shots.
As if trying to kill Batman wasn't enough for one summer, DC also released the movie Steel in 1997 based on a character from Superman's supporting cast and starring Shaquille "KAZAM" O'Neal. I haven't seen this one (I don't think hardly anyone has given its $1.6 million box office), but it is based about John Henry Irons weapon designer and Iron Man ripoff who becomes a man of "steel" to fight crime.
The year wasn't all bad though as July produced Sci-Fi / Action / Comedy Men in Black. This film generated $251 million, though it unfortunately led to a subpar sequel. Anyway, this is Will Smith doing his Independence Day / I Robot thing as a wisecracking hero. The Men in Black comic was published by Aircel Comics, owned by Marvel. This film's success helped to whet Marvel's appetite for big screen adaptations of every and any Marvel character.
Even Image comics got in on the action with the Todd McFarlane character Spawn. This little devil dealer earned $55 million in spite of fairly negative critical reviews.
On the small screen, DC was also trying to kill its franchises with an atrocious, though fortunately rejected, pilot for a Justice League of America live action series. Absent were Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, though Fire, Ice, Flash, Atom, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, and The Martian Manhunter were on hand to battle - of all threats - The Weatherman.
And that folks, was 1997. 'Twas the year DC tried to kill itself and little comic companies had bit hits.
From now on, I plan on making a post when I add films to my ever growing sidebar of Films on Tap. Hopefully this will keep up the awareness of what we geeks have to look forward to.
Todays additions are:
Gatchaman - Coming 2008 from the makers of TMNT. The original Gatchaman story revolves around five young superhero ninjas engaged by the International Science Organization to oppose a group of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the Earth's natural resources. To do so, the ninjas battle various giant monsters deployed by Galactor to capture rare resources.
Astro Boy - Coming 2009. Also from the makers of TMNT. Astro Boy follows the adventures of a robot created in the image of a child but with extraordinary powers. Lost in a complex future world, Astro Boy must learn to find his place. With the help of his friends, he discovers how to use his powers for good.
Other Nerd Bait
The Mummy 3 - Coming 2008. Maybe not the coolest franchise, but Jet Li as the new Mummy has me interested.
The Players: Starring the biggest "little person" in Hollywood - Warwick Davis (aside from Willow, he was Wicket in Star Wars, The Leprechaun, Flitwick in Harry Potter, and next he is going to be in Narnia), Written by George Lucas, Directed by Opie Cunningham, and also starring Val Kilmer.
The Take: $57 Million
What's a Willow?: Willow Ufgood is the name of Warwick Davis' character. Its a pretty lame name for a dude, but he is a Nelwyn (halfling), so maybe to them its a tough guy name.
Why you should see it: George Lucas wrote this after being unable to acquire the rights to the Hobbit. It has plenty of adventure, little people (like Willow), even littler people (Brownies), and the Han Soloesque Madmartigan (played by Kilmer). Its an epic fantasy with monsters, battles and a great score. This is a truly under appreciated movie which creates a rich fantasy world of swords and sorcery. And even though it was written by GL, there arent any Jar Jars here.
According to Superherohype.com, Wolverine may be squaring off against Sabretooth in his upcoming solo adventure. Now don't get me wrong, Sabretooth is cool - in the comics. I was less than impressed by Tyler Mane in the role in 2000's first X-Film.
So, I guess I wouldn't mind another fight between the two, or flashbacks with them both and Silver Fox and Maverick. I just hope Sabreboy keeps the growls to a minimum and fits into a good story.
Last week, I ran a story that Superman: The Man of Steel would be delayed due to Bryan Singer's new project. Well, there have been plenty of folks at Warners claiming that the Singer project would not delay Superman. This is actually believable. For example, Chris Nolan directed the amazing The Prestige between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. So, for now 2009 still looks to be... er... "Super."
Anyways, this morning, The Superman Homepage posted a rumor about the bad guys in the Super sequel. Supposedly, the gattling gun guy from Superman Returns (the dude that shot Superman in the eye, but didn't get a super smack it the face back) is going to be transformed into meanie Metallo. For the uninitiated, Metallo is like the stereotypical "hooker with a heart of gold," only he is a "cyborg with a heart of kryptonite." Maybe we will see some punching after all - IF this is true. The story also claimed Brainiac will be coming to Earth. So far the story sounds to be a much improved over the "radioactive shard island real estate caper" of SR. Lets just hope the kid is kept under control.
As of Sunday, March 20, Ghost Rider's domestic box office cruised past $110 million - the films purported budget. When accounting for inflation, the Rider is slightly outperforming Daredevil.Considering the great sales of toys and DVDs that superhero films usually spur, this milestone is another important step in assuring a Ghost Rider 2.