Monday, July 03, 2006

Ridiculous Ways To Die, Part the Fourth

Meet the Grasshopper. His real name is Doug Taggert, and he works part-time as security for Roxxon with some light superhero work on the side.

He's pretty much what would happen if Spider-Man and Iron Man had a kid. Or maybe the Fabulous Frog-Man and War Machine. It doesn't much matter.

Anyway, while two members of the ill-fated Great Lakes Avengers traveled from Milwaukee to New York on a recruitment drive, Doug ran afoul of Batroc's Brigade. Batroc the Leaper, for those of you blissfully unaware, is a running joke of a stock Marvel villain. He and his Brigade are Ringmaster and His Circus of Crime-level bad guys - they'll succeed for as many pages as the plot dictates until everyone involved remembers that they're total losers and they end up beaten to a pulp by, say, Hawkeye while the rest of the Avengers have a good laugh. Also, Batroc speaks in a heavy French accent, pronouncing his own name with a "ze" between "Batroc" and "Leaper." And Taskmaster says he's gay. Stee-rike three.

The Brigade consists of Batroc, Machete and Zaran, at this point. Batroc is an acrobat. Machete transforms into a gigantic dragon with mind control powers. Hah, I'm just fucking with you; he's got a sword. Zaran wears a cowl without a shirt and throws wee little sais. I'm serious, like half the time, they're drawn like they should be used to pick up pieces of pineapple at a wedding, not murder people. Not really a wrecking crew, but they're trained killers and Doug is a man in a robot grasshopper suit with a meager two week's experience as a superhero.

His mighty grasshopper suit manages to outleap the Leaper, though, and things are looking up for the novice hero... until the GLA arrives.

The Great Lakes Avengers are a group of well-meaning, if kind of incompetent, heroes from the midwest. Introduced in West Coast Avengers by John Byrne ostensibly to give Hawkeye something to do after he quit the team, they kicked around for a few years as a one-note joke (THEY ARE NOT PARTICULARLY GOOD AT BEING SUPERHEROES, TEE HEE) until She-Hulk's Dan Slott wrote them a mini. Sure, he pretty much used it as a soapbox to bitch about everything he hates in comics, but that's what I do here in my spare time. He made a career out of it. Admirable.

The members that show up to give 'Hopper an assist are Flatman, Doorman and new inductee Squirrel Girl. In mid-fight, Doorman asks Doug if he wants to join the team because he has a shoddy sense of timing.Keep in mind how cold of a day in Hell it has to be for a sentence like "no one turns their back on Zaran and lives!" to actually pay off in Zaran's favor.You'll note I didn't explain the GLA's powers above. Helps for the payoff here. Flatman is basically a two-dimensional Mister Fantastic, both in terms of physical appearance and, to a lesser extent, characterization. Squirrel Girl is a mutant with a furry tail, buck teeth, climbing claws and the ability to communicate with squirrels. She has defeated Doctor Doom. Alone.

And Doorman... well, Doorman's a low-grade teleporter. He leans up against a wall and you can walk through him and the wall. Not exactly Nightcrawler, but it still doesn't bode well for whomever's standing behind him when a sai is thrown at his head.See, it seems his power is reflexive. Whoops.

And getting hit in the face with a sai thrown by an assassin who has never actually managed to kill anyone I can think of after said sai has teleported through the face of a member of a joke superteam is a fairly Ridiculous Way to Die.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this scene,
nice parody of the way northstar died during enemy of the state,
but I think the way the second grasshopper died is better.