My Marvel Weapon Five

I'm probably one of about five people excited by this teaser which strongly implies the return of Thunderstrike, a Marvel hero from the ‘90s who was based off of the mighty Thor. For a time, architect Eric Masterson was bonded with the god of thunder by Odin, in order to save his life. The two could switch forms, and during a time when Thor was banished, Eric was in control of both bodies. When Thor returned, Eric had proven himself as a hero, and so Odin granted him a new weapon, a mace with the inscription “The World Still Needs Heroes”. By striking an enchanted walking stick on the ground, Eric could turn it into the mace and himself into Thunderstrike. Created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, Thunderstrike went on to have adventures in 24 issues of his own comic, as well as appearing in the Avengers. Readers knew he'd reach an untimely end someday, as Eric once glimpsed it himself during a time travel story, but no one expected it would be so soon. Other legacy characters based off of original ones have had successful runs, including Beta Ray Bill(an alien with Thor's powers) and War Machine(armed with gray Iron Man armor with military weapon enhancements).

At some point after I stopped collecting comics, Eric's son Kevin apparently took up the mace in an alternate future. The teaser image with a silhouette resembling Kevin seems to strongly imply that he's about to become Thunderstrike in the mainstream Marvel continuity, kind of a Captain Marvel scenario in which a young boy can switch to the body of an adult hero. This has me thinking about the various artifacts of the Marvel Universe, and My Five favorite Marvel weapons:

5) Mjolnir:
As much as I liked the Thunderstrike spin on the character, I still have to respect its roots. The Masterson saga was really an homage to Marvel's original take on Thor, in which Odin decided to teach him humility by banishing him to Earth in the form of a lame doctor by the name of Don Blake. Blake, fascinated by Norse mythology due to repressed memories seeping to the surface, eventually found a walking stick in a cave while vacationing in Norway. Upon striking the stick on the ground, it transformed to its true form as the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, while Blake regained his true form and memories as Thor. The hammer can summon storms, is nigh indestructible, and can only be wielded by a worthy few other than Thor himself. When he throws it, it will always return to his hand. It also allows him to fly in a pretty innovative way, which Stan Lee himself can explain better than I can.

4) Captain America's shield:
Captain America's trademark weapon is of course an indestructible red, white, and blue shield made of a vibration-absorbing Vibranium alloy. Though Cap carried a gun in his early appearances, and the current Cap does so as well, through most of his appearances his shield is all he needs. While a defensive item might seem too passive for a superhero, it is important to note that Cap uses it offensively as well, tossing it at his foes and timing the ricochets so he can retrieve it. And maybe, just maybe, I put it on this list because I used to run around my yard as a little boy doing the same thing with a beat-up garbage can lid, singing the theme from the ‘60s cartoon: “When Captain America throws his mighty shieeeeeld....”

3) Silver Surfer's cosmic surfboard:
The metal which coats his skin allows him to survive in the vacuum of space and subsist on cosmic energy, but his mode of travel is pretty nifty(and perhaps influenced by the ‘60s in which the character was created). Made of a similar material to his own metal skin, the board obeys his mental commands, carries him through space or planetary atmospheres, and is indestructible. I see a pattern forming along with Cap's shield and Thor's hammer, with indestructible weapons that always return to their user. Mostly it would be pretty cool to fly around on a surfboard that I couldn't fall off of and which would come back to me if we were separated.

2) Quantum Bands:
Quasar's weapons mark him as Protector of the Universe, and come with advantages and disadvantages. They can harness energy, teleport him through a Quantum zone, create shields and constructs limited only by his imagination, and allow him to fly. But they can never be removed so long as he is alive, and require someone with great patience and balance of character less the energy overload and destroy the wearer, a fate suffered by previous wearers of the one-of-a-kind artifacts. Fortunately, they can bend light so he can hide them while in his civilian identity. And to my knowledge, only once early in his career as Protector did a villain try to remove them by cutting off his arms. The bands still couldn't be removed, at least until he expired and the arms fell out. But he got better, because...well let's just say “comics”, so I don't end up writing another five paragraphs about this, and move on.

1) The Infinity Gauntlet:
Soul. Time. Space. Reality. Mind. Power. Six gems of immense cosmic power each control one of those aspects. Separately, they were quite powerful, but when the mad Titan Thanos gathered them all and fused them to his own gauntlet, he gained godlike powers and found that the gems were greater than their sum, allowing him to simply will half the universe from existence, and build a floating temple in space in honor of Death, whom he loved. Did I mention he was a little mad? The Infinity Gauntlet series was one of the great crossover events from my collecting years, memorable as it took place in the Summer spanning my transition from high school to college, where I met other like-minded fans. It was an epic tale in which the good guys were clearly out of their league facing impossible odds, yet somehow triumphed. I don't know if the Infinity Gauntlet seen at this year's San Diego ComicCon will factor in to any of the upcoming live action movies, but I'm pretty excited by the possibility. If I went back and told the me of 20 years ago about it, his head would explode. But I won't, because of paradoxes and whatnot. Also, I don't have a Time Gem.

What Marvel weapon would you wield? Think you could handle a suit of Iron Man armor? Crazy and self-destructive enough to unleash the power of the Ultimate Nullifier? Maybe you'd like a Cosmic Cube to grant your wishes? The weapons of Marvel are as vast and diverse as its heroes and villains, and I've certainly only scratched the surface here....



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