Marvel elements and minerals other than Adamantium

The Marvel Universe is a home to several different types of fictional elements and minerals. However, since Marvel Studios does not own the copyright to the X-Men, and their associated elements and minerals, Adamantium has only appeared in the X-Men films, and the Wolverine films. This post is a short list of some of the fictional elements, minerals, and substances that appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe other than Adamantium.

Vibranium – Mined in Wakanda, used by Black Panther, Captain America, and Ultron.

Black Panther’s claws and armour are woven and developed from this raw material. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ultron created a powerful shell for its memory and software to reside on. Despite the strength and durability of this element and it’s derivative alloys – Captain America’s shield is the most well known example – the shell broke. Three other elements working together were able to destroy Vibranium. These are “Badassium”, Uru, and an Infinity Stone.

“Badassium” – A New Element from Tony Stark.

This is the new element Iron Man created after following an encoded schematic left to him by his father Howard Stark. He hacked together a particle accelerator in his basement, and used the stream of particles to forge this new substance. Although there is no reliable source for this, Stark wanted to patent his new element as “Badassium”.

Energy from this element, housed in his armour’s arc reactor, was able to damage Ultron’s Vibranium shell.

Uru – Mythical and magical, the alloy or element Thor’s hammer is made out of.

Thor’s hammer Mjolnir (“Mye-Mye”) is made out of this mythological metal. Uru requires the kind of heat found in the heart of star to become malleable and manipulated. The elements or mineral refined into Uru can only be found in Nidavellir, one of the nine realms. The magical side of the element means that objects are created with enchantments that allow a spiritual bond to form between the carrier, and the Uru object. Thor’s bond with Mjolnir is an example.

Lightning channelled through the hammer, along with Stark’s  New Element, was also able to damage Ultron’s Vibranium shell.

Infinity Stones – A complete mystery, possibly a mineral like other gemstones, but could be anything.

It’s not clearly stated what mineral these stones are made from. They are referred to  as “singularities” by the collector. The term singularities has a wide range of meanings. For example, the state of the universe before the creation of stars and planets is sometimes called a singularity. Based on this information, the Infinity stones could be made of anything. The Vision carriers  the Mind Stone embedded in his forehead. He can fire a powerful beam of gold energy using the stone.

Gravitonium – A new element discovered in a mine on Earth.

in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, scientist Dr. Franklin Hall studied gravity, and developed a theory that an exotic material could control gravity. Eventually, he discovered Gravitonium in a mine. After a series of event in Agents of SHIELD season one, Hall was trapped inside the Gravitonium, and the element was stored away. It is likely the Doctor will return at some point in the future.

Outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there remains an extensive list of imagined and fictional substances. One article on Wikipedia attempts to round up and catalogue these elements and minerals. I have just one follow up question – are there any other elements, minerals, alloys, or other substances that stand out, or should be catalogued?

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Death of Wolverine #4 – Comic Review

In his final moments, Wolverine stands out as a monument for popular culture. Death of Wolverine #4 offers:

  • Cinematic artwork that manipulates time across the pages
  • Frankenstein themes, and insight into Wolverine’s character
  • Scientific information: binomial classification of animals
  • Themes of time passing, and milestones
  • A comic suitable for older readers, particularly at college level

Cinematic artwork with clean design choices appear throughout the comic book. Wolverine receives a fitting end rendered expertly in the comic’s opening and conclusion

Throughout this comic, artwork is cinematic. Moment to moment transitions are expertly rendered. watching each panel progress the story feels like watching a moving image. Wolverine acts on instinct. Only small internal dialogue boxes appear. This design choice keeps the artwork flying through to the conclusion.

Another strong artwork choice manipulates time. Wolverine steps into a room, and sees the space as he knew it decades ago. The page artwork, a memory, is saturated in peach light. Turning the page warps the reader to the present day. Everything is in the same place as it was in Wolverine’s memory: only decades have passed. The light is now cold blue. A man standing behind a console has aged, his beard now white when it was once brown.

Age, time passing, and milestones that mark the passing of time, are a key theme of this comic. In setting chosen for Wolverine’s final appearance is Paradise Valley, Nevada. Monolithic stone mesas standing in the red sand for thousands of years are literally milestones. It’s fitting that Wolverine, a milestone in the Marvel Universe and popular culture, receives his ending, interred and laid to rest, here.

The core character conflict introduces Frankenstein themes. The villain of the comic brings scientific information into the core conflict.

The confrontation that marks out the action in this comic is between a scientist and his creation. Another tie back to Frankenstein themes. A now elderly scientist associated with the military program that created Wolverine wants to correct his mistakes at all costs.

Without spoiling the characters identity, the confrontation provides some insights into the Wolverine. Scientific information appears; mammalian taxonomy – sometimes called “latin names” – the binomial names for living creatures appear at the centre of the core character conflict.

A wolverine is called Gulo Gulo. This is Latin for Gluttonous Glutton. Wolverine’s have insatiable appetites and is apparently the only animal that “kills for pleasure”. The scientist criticise Wolverine, and tries to take one last swipe at his confidence.

The villain’s plan is horrific. It’s worth pointing out these scenes contain semi-graphic surgery artwork.

Milestones in Wolverine’s life appear in the final scenes. The weight of time passing – Wolverine’s long history – receives an acknowledgement

A bright sunset closes the comic. Panels featuring key moments from Wolverine’s life are placed along the top of a two page artwork. The sunset panel acts as a base. Milestones in Wolverine’s life are laid out here. His time as a soldier in World War Two, His time in Japan, His time at the Jean Grey School.

Despite capturing moments in time from across the Marvel Universe, The comic takes place in about an hour or less. Despite such a short amount of time passing, Death of Wolverine #4 manages to show the significance and weight of time and milestones.

Spoiler Warning:

  • Wolverine is eventually trapped in a downpour of molten adamantium. Inside the metal, entombed, Wolverine himself is turned into a milestone – a metal monolith.

The final pages of the comic contain a gallery of cover artwork collecting the variant covers of all the Death of Wolverine comics. Finally, a page at the end of the comic provides the creators space to reflect on the passing of Wolverine.

Death of Wolverine #4 is published by Marvel Comics ($4.99 USD). Charles Soule (W). Steve McNiven (P.) Jay Leisten (I.) Justin Ponsor (C.) Chris Eliopoulos (L.) Cover artwork by McNiven, Leisten, and Ponsor.

Ms. Marvel #6 – Comic Review

When Kamala Khan started her super hero career as the new Ms.Marvel, she probably never guessed that she would receive some valuable insights from not only the leader of her mosque, but also one of her favourite heroes: the X-man, Wolverine. What Ms.Marvel #6 offers:

  • Artwork that emphasises lighter and funnier moments, with great depiction of shape shifting
  • A great comic for high school students studying heroes, and super hero, with a roundup of qualities such as self respect, courage, strength, honesty, and compassion.
  • A useful comic for classes looking at religion and the role of faith in comics.

Ms. Marvel has the ability to shapeshift – her fists grow, and she can morph into big objects: a couch for example. Deep in a gloomy and dreadful sewer, She fights a giant Alligator.

Kamala Khan disguises herself as a couch. Her face appears in the arm rest. Shapeshifting powers depicted here are clever. Kamala can shrink and grow, and also take shapes that allow her to blend in. Her main use of her talents is growing giant fists. The concepts depicted in the art make the comic light and funny despite the darker settings – Kamala tracks a villain into the sewers.

Kamala calls out “Power Attack” before she strikes out at shadow in the dark tunnels. The lettering is big, red, and punchy at this moment. The artwork also refreshes a classic urban legend: In the sewers hide giant alligators. The giant green reptiles rise out of blue water.

Kamala’s conversation with Sheik Abdullah fills the core of the book with meaning. Instead of a heavy lecture, Sheik Abdullah listens to her, and gives her meaningful advice to help take the tension within her family down a notch.

Kamala’s has no problem smashing an exploding robot, but a summoning to see the Sheik Abdullah – head of her local Mosque – has her running scared. It’s true to life: being called before some community elder of any kind is a scary prospect.

In Wolverine, Kamala finds some common ground. At least, Kamala claims they have common ground, when she loudly tells Wolverine she’s a fan, and that they are “twinsies”. Despite the first impression, Wolverine starts to show her some wisdom of a different kind – information about fighting, and mutation.

One of the characteristics of a Super Hero story is that a hero can inspire the cast around them, and the readers, to be better – to live up to big qualities and be the best version of themselves. It’s likely Ms. Marvel will begin inspiring those around her.

Sheik Abdullah listens. He is a community leader, and in that position attempts to understand Kamala, instead of reciting a lecture. He gives her wisdom:

“If you insist on doing this thing you will not tell me about, do it with the qualities befitting an upright you woman: Courage, strength, honesty, compassion, and self-respect”

It’s good wisdom for a superhero comic. One of the facets of the Super hero stories is that the central hero acts as catalyst – inspiring people to be better. To be the best version of themselves they can. It’s great to see a Ms. Marvel, which is a relatively new Marvel comic, tell a story about a young hero attempting to live up to these qualities. It’s likely Kamala will act as a catalyst, and begin inspiring both the cast surrounding her and readers.

Two popular culture references. When meeting Wolverine, Kamala describes him using the Doge Meme, saying: wow, such athletic, very claws, so amaze! Broadly speaking, Ms.Marvel’s abilities resemble those used by Pirate Captain Straw Hat Luffy from the One Piece anime and manga series.

Ms.Marvel#6 is published by Marvel Comics. ($2.99 USD). G. Willow Wilson (W.) Jacob Wyatt (A.) Ian Herring (C.) VC’s Joe Caramagna (L.) Cover Artwork by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson.

Uncanny Avengers #20 – Comic Review

in 2012, a new team of Avengers and X-men began working together. Their goal: show unity and solidarity in the face of mutant discrimination. The new, Uncanny Avengers were overwhelmed by a new pair of villains called the “Apocalypse Twins”. The twins alarmingly caused the Earth’s complete destruction, and whisked away all the Earth’s mutants to a new Earth: Planet X. Wasp, Thor, Havok, Wolverine, and Sunfire survived the assault, and now plan to use time travel to save the Earth from it’s early destruction.

Uncanny Avengers #20 offers:

  • A vast array of colours, and a artwork of a sweeping, futuristic city
  • A diverse cast of  characters from alternate worlds
  • Themes of family conflict
  • Values: emotional control, and rationality
  • The comic is suitable for High School and College students studying themes of family conflict, and rationality under pressure.

Colourful backgrounds contrast with the varied costumes worn by the super heroes. Characters from a broad set of alternate realities sport a diverse set of colours across their outfits. A sweeping, futuristic city appears, and dissolves.

What is most visually striking in this comic book are the vibrant costumes. Characters from alternate realities gathered here sport red, black, blue, white, grey, and silver costumes. The effect strikes a bright note when contrasting colours are used for the backgrounds in fighting sequences.

The blue and silver costume of the new, Lady Avalanche stands out against a bright orange background.

While most of the comic artwork is bright and detailed, most of the scenes take place inside metal walled rooms. Later, however, a vista of futuristic buildings appear. The sky is bright white. Later, these buildings dissolve, and the effect is striking.

Fire effects also impress here. Sunfire unleashes reams of flame, while Kang the Conqueror summons a burning cloud of energy when he activates his time-traveling abilities.

There is a diverse cast here: May Parker is Spider-woman from another world. The Beast takes down the Blob, and the Summers brothers find common ground.

Other than showing off a diverse range of heroes from parallel worlds, the interaction between characters strengthens this comic book. Diversity brings conflict. It also allows unity.

The Summers brothers bond despite being separated by the circumstances: this version of Scott Summers is old and cynical. Alex Summers from the mainstream Earth has been fighting for years. He’s tired. The brothers still share a moment where they

An alternate Spider-Woman called May Parker has a strong character voice. Chirpy and charming at first, she shifts gear into a serious tone when she fires electric webbing over her foes. The Blob shows misogyny. And vanity. He lords himself over the X-men, and makes a point about the Wasp being a woman, rather than just being an Avenger. Dr. Hank McCoy, the beast, summarily stomps him into the floor.

It seems despite the time and place, the brotherhood of evil mutants will appear to challenge the X-men.

A theme of family conflict runs throughout the comic. It’s purpose is to build up emotion. The comic places value on controlling emotion. The value has greater impact if the consequence of losing control is higher disasters.

The key dramatic moments of the Uncanny Avengers #20 centre around families. Janet Van Dyne and Havok might lose their daughter if they wipe out this alternate future. Wolverine is confronted with his son, again. The Summers brothers reunite, again. Kang the Conqueror is faced with stopping his estranged, adopted daughter.

Why is this theme here?

Emotion.

family interactions – where more is at stake – point to emotional control and rationality under pressure. In this case, the pressure is extreme at the moment the heroes must place all their trust Kang. He promises to send them back in time to save the Earth. Sunfire’s trust problems boil-over when the pressure reaches its highest. Wolverine quickly stops him.

The message here is about emotions, rationality, and control under pressure. With their families under threat, the Uncanny Avengers face higher anger and fear. By having the Avengers overcome these emotions, value is placed in emotional control. Without control, there would  be disaster.

A popular culture reference is Psylocke and Kang combining their abilities to send the Uncanny Avengers back in time to prevent the Earth X future from occurring. The process is similar to Rachel Grey and Kitty Pride combining their abilities to time travel in the X-men: Days of Future Past story arc.

Uncanny Avengers #20 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Rick Remender (W.) Daniel Acuna (A.)  VC’s Clayton Cowles (L.) Cover artwork by Daniel Acuna.

Battle of the Atom – Comics Review

Battle of the Atom #1: Chapter 1

All New X-men #16: Chapter 2

X-men #5: Chapter 3

Time travel in popular culture can be like playing a dangerous Jenga game. Pull out too many bricks from the foundation – the past – and the future might collapse.

In the latest X-men crossover comic book from Marvel, Battle of the Atom, the consequences of the X-men‘s experiments with time are close to catching up with them. Maybe Beast bringing his past self, along with younger Jean, Cyclops, Iceman, and Angel, to the present was not a great idea.

(This review includes some spoilers for Battle of the Atom parts 1, 2, and 3)

Battle of the Atom #1 is Published by Marvel Comics ($3.99). Brian Michael Bendis (W.) Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger (A.) Marte Gracia (C.) VC’s Joe Caramagna (L.) Arthur Adams & Peter Steigerwald (Cover Artists.)

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All New X-men #15 – Comics Review

All New X-Men #15: Jean Grey and the Beast?!

(Some spoilers for Issue #15 of All New X-men follow in the review below)

Iceman is flirting with a girl around his age he met at a carnival. Her ice cream starts to melt, and precipitously dips toward the ground. Using his abilities, he chills it, saving the ice cream. A teenage boy hanging out with them stops and stares: “You’re a mutant?” he says, before walking away, fists clenched. Another girl remarks it’s a shame he isn’t more progressive. Despite the efforts of Marvel superheroes, and the changes observed in the respect and equality garnered by minority groups in the real world, it seems mutants will always be feared and hated in Marvel Comics.

What this comic book provides is an insight into characters who don’t hate and fear mutants. Characters who are supportive, or neutral toward mutation and its consequences. Several of the characters in this comic are impressed by Scott Summers and Iceman’s abilities, rather than intimidated.

Art

Guest artists provide a good character artwork with some unusual background choices. At the carnival, rides, sideshows, and attractions are brought to life in a colourful style, which does result in characters looking younger than expected. The following panels have no detailed background – black, orange, and primary blue, yellow, and red colours fill the space behind characters. There’s some loss of depth, and no sense of space because of the missing backgrounds. While it was likely unplanned and unscripted, the rectangle backgrounds of colour could be compared to Mark Rothko’s abstract paintings of the 1960’s, which would be an ideal reference considering X-men comics were first published in the 1960’s. Other important features are the panel arrangements for Jean Grey’s scenes. Grids of six to eight panels capture moment to moment emotions – an effective art choice, which delivers some humor and tension.

Cast

Beast receives some particularly interesting development – with two versions of beast interacting, Jean Grey receives a unique perspective on his life. The older beast laments on missed oppurtunites from his youth. His youth, incidentally, is happening nearby him in an adjacent room, as the younger beast prepares for the future, studying his older self’s adventures. There are references to Jean Grey and the Phoenix, and Rachel Summers meets a younger Jean. Wolverine comments that other team members need to stop borrowing his cars, jeeps, and motorcycles

Themes, Ethics, Values.

The value of courage, and the ethics of overcoming boundaries appear in All New X-men #15. Several characters are faced with a boundary, and a decision whether to challenge it, or go along with what’s been planned for them. Jean Grey, Scott Summers (Cyclops), and Bobby Drake (Iceman) all make the choice to challenge the boundary, demonstrating courage in the face of intimidation. Psychology today writer Melanie Greenberg (Ph.D) compiled six attributes of courage with references to popular culture such as A Game of Thrones, The Wizard of OZ, and the Hobbit. The character’s actions correspond to some of these six attributes. Scott and Bobby show trepidation at leaving the X-men‘s school for a day trip to a carnival in an effort to enjoy themselves while they can, but do it anyway. Jean feels fear at confronting Beast after she figures out he has fallen in love with her. Despite her fear, she kisses him.

Pushing past boundaries, and breaking with traditions does live up the turbulent, 1960’s background the X-men were created under. Artist of the 1960’s rebelled against decades of imposed restraint and constraint – to mention Mark Rothko again, Rothko’s luminous, abstract rectangles polarised gallery visitors and audiences. Separating Jean Grey from Scott Summers represents a break in popular culture. Like Mark Rothko’s convention defying abstract work, the comic book is unafraid and undaunted to defy character connections set in stone by decades of X-men comics published by Marvel. It’s a brave statement, but whether this is a short term shock, or a lasting act of change, is another matter entirely.

 A bit more on All New X-men #15

A shocking story combined with interesting character tension, only let down in places by some unusual background choices. The dramatic results of time travel continue to challenge X-men comics of the past fifty years.

All New X-men #15 is published by Marvel Comics. $3.99 USD. Brian Michael Bendis (w.) David Lafuente (a.) Jim Campbell (c.) VC’s Cory Petit (l.)

Comics Review – Uncanny Avengers #9

Uncanny Avengers #9

Wolverine walks through a cold forest – red blood on white snow. Apocalypse’s children, Uriel and Eimin, bring to life long dead characters as their master plan unfolds, but Captain America and Havok might have a way to stop them – if they can keep the Uncanny Avengers together.

Wolverine’s forest is a bad dream. Secrets kept by the X-force team are slowly working their way to the surface, and the dream is the first step in Wolverine’s past actions coming to light. Most of the comic book involves the Uncanny Avengers, separated, finding their way back to the mansion.

The villains of the comic book are dabbling in resurrection, and the destruction of the universe – there are some spectacularly creepy scenes where they use “Death Seeds” – items from the a villain called Apocalypse’s back story – on a troupe of mummies, who shamble from their graves as life returns to them.

Art

Commanding and stylish, the art is sprightly and powerful at the same time. Emphatic body language and a wide colour palette. The avengers costumes look incredible. Punchy, primary colours fill the panels: Rogue’s green, Scarlet Witch and Thor’s red, Sunfire and Wolverine’s yellow, and Captain America’s Blue.

Characters

There are several disagreements between key characters: Captain America berates Wolverine, and Wasp joins in – she won’t have her ethics compromised by having Wolverine stay on the team. This debate is about lethal force. Wolverine and Thor state that when at war, killing to protect innocents when there are no other options is acceptable. Despite having fought in World War II, Captain America unequivocally rejects their argument. This argument about lethal force is brought up as a distraction, however: it fits in with the non-violent themes of the comic, but the villains Eimin and Uriel are using it to divide Marvel’s Avengers.

Ethics and Values

Satyagraha describes Mahatma Ghandi’s theory and practice of non-violent resistance. He arrived at this theory after a experiencing racism in South Africa, which makes this non-violent ethic relevant to a comic book about overcoming minority discrimination.

Wonderman and Wolvering discuss briefly the benefits of Gandhi’s theory of non-violent resistance. Later Wonder Man preaches to Hydra agents about non violence. He quotes Martin Luther King Jr on non-violence of the spirit: “you not only refuse to shoot a man, you refuse to hate”.

I had a mixed reaction: yes, letting go of rage to find peace cannot be a bad thing, but what happens when the hydra agents run away and regroup? The comic delves into the value of non-violence, and the ongoing clash between violent and non-violent solutions.

Assimilation and Pride returns as Wasp, Wonderman, Sunfire, Rogue, and Scarlet Witch assay and critique Alex Summer’s controversial speech. Questions are raised: Should minorities be seen as people first without any separate features, or is this assimilation, and covert shame?

Rogue insists that Summer’s speech was about shame. Scarlet Witch argues its a way of thinking that evaluates people based on what they do, not how they are born. The debate raises questions about identity loss, and what is normal.

A bit more on Uncanny Avengers #9

Not knowing the back story of X-force, or the Apocalypse mythology from the past decade of X-men comic books, made most of this issue difficult to understand for readers entirely unfamiliar with Apocalypse and his family. What the villains are doing now made some sense though – the safety of the Earth, and the current timeline are at stake.

Uncanny Avengers #9 is published by Marvel Comics. Writer: Rick Remender. Artist: Daniel Acuna. Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.