This week, the Ultimate Comics gang discusses Super Bowl ads, lots of Superman news, and Scarlet Johansson’s best “assets”.
Ulticast Activate! is the official podcast of Ultimate Comics and the NC Comicon.
The year was 1984. In a windowless warehouse building on the outskirts of Palm Springs, California, an unknown purveyor of grindhouse cinema was beginning principal photography on what would be its last movie ever.
The movie was called Vandroid, a sci-fi action spectacular about a home-made humanoid robot gone awry. According to a press release at the time this hugely ambitious production was set to feature, “fast paced action with audacious stunts, jaw-dropping special effects and a raft of memorable characters – all backed by an atmospheric synth score.”
Sadly, Vandroid would not be completed according to plan. A few weeks after filming commenced, a freak fire raged out of control, destroying the studio. The courts found the owners innocent. Insurance checks were cut. And the masters for the film were lost forever. Only the screenplay and a handful of promotional materials have survived.
Now, nearly thirty years later, Vandroid will emerge from the ashes with the release of a restored soundtrack and the publication of a comic book series based on the original screenplay.
Published by Dark Horse, the five issue comic mini-series Vandroid will be released in February 2014. Ultimate Comics is proud to be the official retailer of the Vandroid comic and to be able to offer the Vandroid #1 Van-Club Exclusive Variant & Van-Club membership pack!
Renegades (5): Pete Stanchek, Faith, Torque, Flamingo, Kris Hathaway
Injustice League (12): Doctor Light, Catwoman, Joker, Deathstroke, Poison Ivy
A group of kids, each with incredible psychic powers, but kids. Untested, unproven, on the run. They’re scrappy, but do they have what it takes to be the victor against a group of career super criminals?
A team of true villains, each one has gone more than a round or two with Batman, heck with the whole Justice League. What they lack in raw power, they more than make up for with experience, and ruthlessness.
Deathstroke glares at the teenager, contemplating what their powers could be. He’s seen a number of these battles, and if he knows one thing about this bizarre tournament, he know to expect the unexpected. A good mantra anytime you’re stuck with the Joker to begin with anyway. He knows to be cautious. Test the opponent, don’t tip your hand too early. He turns to address his team and he sees Joker casually strolling across the dirt.
“Helloooooooooooooooooooooooo!” The Joker calls across his walk. “There seems to be some sort of miscommunication. You see, we’re all BAD GUYS! Heeehoo-haha! You look like nice kids, so I’ll tell you what. Give up now, and I’ll let you in on the joke!”
“The Renegades pause, stunned. They wait for their reluctant leader to respond. “You’re bad guys? Well guess what. We can be bad too.” He grits his teeth and pushes out with his telekinesis. The Joker flies back to return to his team.
Catwoman bends of the tumbled Joker, “How’d it go?”
“Peachy, AHAHAHA!” The Joker flips up, “NOW it’s a PARTY!”
“Looks like at least one of them has TK. That helps to know.” Doctor Light snickers, rubbing his hands together. “Let’s see their mental focus against this!” He flies up and over his team and blast down on his opponents with a blinding white light.
The Renegades shout at the blast, and Flamingo responds, “Think you’re something special? Here’s something special!” Her unique powers afford her the ability to adjust to the light. She loses no time in tracking Doctor Light and focusing her psionic pyrokinesis on his person.
“AHHH!” DOctor Light falls to the ground in flames.
“Looks like they’ve got at least one burner.” Deathstroke shares with the remainder of his team. “Who’s next?”
“I’ll take the big one.” Poison Ivy crosses the lines just as the Renegades begin to regain their vision. She walks right to Torque and smiles flirtatiously. Torque giggles and smiles at the gesture. She blows him a kiss, golden dust flying off her palm. “You don’t really want to fight me, do?”
Uh… no… I don’t think that I do.”
“That’s right, but this meanie just hurt our friend!” She gestures towards Flamingo.
As he reaches out, Kris tries to stop him, “Torque, NO! STOP! TORQUE!” The howling has no effect on Ivy’s persuasion. Torque grab Flamingo and tosses her across the field, she lands bluntly at the feet of Catwoman, who makes quick work to make sure that she’s unable to get back up.
“Me-ow.” Let’s keep this going.” Catwoman cracks her whip behind her as she rushes in, pulling the Joker with her. “Let’s get to it crazy pants.”
The Joker slingshots himself past Catwoman, “I’m so unprepared! What do I even have for new friends?” He rummages through his pockets pulling out a flower which lands on the ground and melts.He drops three sets of chattering teeth that walk around in different directions and explode harmlessly away from any involved parties. He continues fishing around until he pulls out a revolver with a comically long barrel. “Here we go now!” He opens the revolver and empties six bullets onto the ground. He bends down and picks them up, one by one. He walks around his four enemies and hands them each one bullet. “Now, here’s a little game I like to play. It’s called Joker roulette. We each hold one bullet, BUT… ONE of the bullets has a joke written on it! Right on the tip! Just take a look!” He holds his bullet up to his eye. “See just like this!”
Kris bluntly asks, “Why?”
“Well it’s really quite simple, you win this game, and I quit, I’m leader of this WHOLE team, and if I quit, you win!”
Torque stares it down, “I don’t see anything.”
“I guess you that means you’re not the loser!” Joker chides, “go on everyone check!” Cautiously they each hold up a bullet to their face. Stancheck first, then Faith, then Kris Hathaway, after seeing her friends safely do so, skeptically raises her hand.
“WAIT!” The Joker holler. “I just remembered, have ONE EXTRA bullet here! You’ve had a few check already, let’s make things interesting! If you win here…”
“I’ve got nothing.” Kris checks confirms. Looks like we win, we’ll just have to fight.
“NO NO NO! That can’t be right, you must have cheated!” He hold up the last bullet to his face and burst out in laughter. “Ooooh hoo hoo! Turns out this one DOES have the joke written on it!” he holds it out, “want to give it a read?”
“Why not?” Kris snatches the bullet to inspect it. The tip of the bullet simply reads, “HA”. but as she reads, just before she can question it, PAFF, it shoots out a green vapor. Kris begins to giggle, then laugh, then she buckles over with uncontrollable fits of howling, she falls to the ground clutching her gut until her lack of breath causes her to pass out, with a giant grin across her face.
“YOU SON OF A BITCH!” Pete screams, awoken from his self inflicted stupor.
“Finally! You get it!” The joker begins to laugh as Stanchek punches him the face over and over again. As Joker giggles become gurgled with blood his aggressor’s eyes glow yellow.
“That can’t be good.” Catwoman remarks, whipping out at Faith, pulling her close, and hiding behind her.
“Give me hand big guy?” Poison Ivy sends her golem to attack the Renegades leader. It’s no use. Pete pushes him aside with a brush of his hand from a yard away. Torque flies across the stadium and hits the wall. He drops and the hard light projection around hm fades, revealing the small young boy inside.
“Didn’t see that.” Poison Ivy states, “Looks like we’re power on power now.” She takes a knee and reaches into the dirt. “It’s perverted, it’s alien, but it’s there.” A sprout of black wood pops up through the ground. It grows into a vine, wrapping itself around Stanchek. It continues to thicken until it’s a tree trunk, blanketing the psiot.
“Pete!” Faith calls out, shaking Catwoman and rushing to her captive friend. She begins kicking and scratching at the ever advancing plant.
Catwoman climbs the tree and leaps off tackling Faith. “Looks like you’re the last one left!”
“Fine! Because you’re the bad guys, and good guys ALWAYS win!” Faith traps Catwoman in her companion field and rises above the rest of the battle, “I’d drop you, but I know you’d just land on your feet.” Faith pick up speed flying towards the wall. She angles up at the last moment and dumps her passenger. The momentum carries her into the wall, and she collapses, out cold. Faith turns her attentions to Poison Ivy, who’s still reaching into the twisted detritus of the Deadside.
Taking a direct path, Faith zooms down, fist first, and socks Ivy in the nose. The hit combined with effort put into forcing life from the undead Earth is too much. Faith turns to face her final opponent.
Deathstroke has been waiting, very patiently, to see what his opponents could do. “You’re a flyer? That’s it, isn’t?” Kind of wish I could fight the other guy. He dashes in, bulls a small cylinder out, and it expands in his hand. He plants the quarterstaff into the ground and leaps high, matching altitude with Faith. He pulls out his sword and slashes.
Faith floats down, fighting through the injury. Luckily her companion field pads the strike just enough to keep her fighting. A scratch on the stomach, but the surprise that it was able to push through her forcefield was enough to ground her. Before she can gather herself, Deathstroke leaps in again, pounding the back of her head with his quarterstaff.
“Pete…” she purses though her mind before blacking out, “Pete, fight…”
“I think I just won.” Deathstroke looks around seeing all of his foes vanquished. Then he notices it, the black tree glowing from within. It explodes in a burst of ebony debris. Pete Stanchek floats encased in his psychic shields.
Deathstroke pulls out his guns, pops in his armor piercing rounds, and goes full auto. Each round bounces off the glimmer husk. He stabs at him with his sword. The sword bends around. He tosses a grenade, and it bounces off the top of the shell and rolls off, exploding quietly behind. Underneath his mask, Deathstroke smiles, “This is the fight I was looking for.” He pulls a knife and drives at the teen. Pulling back the blade he’s stopped entirely.
“I can feel it.” Peter Stanchek calmy reads. “Your armor gives you some resistance. Your training even more. Your mind… your mind makes itself almost impenetrable.” His eyes squint as he pushes past. “But your mind is not Harada’s, and mine is stronger than his.” He pushes through. Deathstroke drops, and the final member of the Injustice League drops.