Who is Nighthawk?

This week Pat delivers a follow up to his Defenders piece by shedding light on what many could consider one of Marvel’s Batmen. Read more to learn more about this charcter.

Last week in my essay about the Defenders, I made mention of Nighthawk (aka Kyle Richmond) a lot. For 10 years he was a major part of the Defenders and the Marvel Universe. But today, he is largely forgotten and not familiar with the younger generations of fans and readers. So who is Nighthawk? The short answer is that Nighthawk is Batman!

 

Now before you chop my head off read further to see why.

As the Avengers approached their 70th issue, writer Roy Thomas decided to do something special to mark the event. So he created a new character: the Grandmaster, a powerful immortal alien who was obsessed with gambling. Usually the Grandmaster’s wagers involve gladiatorial contests where he is betting on or against the Avengers. This time, he was making the wager with Kang the Conquerer, a time traveling analog to Doctor Doom. Kang chose the Avengers as his champions, so the Grandmaster pit half the Avengers (Yellowjacket, Wasp, Black Panther and Vision) against the Invaders. (Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and the original Human Torch) The other half of the Avengers had to fight the Squadron Sinister, four villains that were analogs of the Justice League. So Thor fought Hyperion (Superman), Iron Man fought Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern), Goliath fought the Whizzer (the Flash), and Captain America fought Nighthawk (Batman).

A couple of years later, Nighthawk returned. But this time it was a different Nighthawk. This Nighthawk was a member of the Squadron Supreme, a group of heroes from an alternate earth that greatly resemble DC comics the Justice League. The members of the Squadron Supreme are greatly susceptible to telepathy. This is what allows for them to be taken over by telepathic villains that use them to attack the Avengers. Eventually Mark Gruenwald wrote a 12 issue miniseries about the Squadron Supreme that he viewed as his greatest achievement.

But the Squadron Sinister were still in the Marvel universe. Doctor Spectrum had a re- match with Iron Man in his own book. Nighthawk would go on to fight Daredevil in his book. In Defenders #13, the Squadron Sinister where re-united as henchmen of Nebulon the Celestial Man who had a scheme to melt the polar ice caps and flood the entire world. (Back then, nobody thought we would actually do this to ourselves out of neglect). Nighthawk turned against Nebulon and his comrades and helped the Defenders defeat the Squadron Sinister. He was then offered membership in the Defenders.

After this, the Squadron Sinister broke up. Hyperion went on to tangle with the Squadron Supreme’s version of Hyperion, becoming the Bizarro to his Superman.

But Nighthawk became, throughout the 1970’s one of the most constant members of the Defenders. So much so, that during the time that Doctor Strange was absent from the book, the Defenders met at Nighthawk’s house. Many people like to compare the Avengers and the Justice League to each other, but with the exception of Hawkeye and Quicksilver, most of the Avengers don’t really resemble the Justice League. On the other hand, many of the members of the Defenders do resemble the Justice League. Sub- Mariner is similar to Aquaman, Valkyrie resembles Wonder Woman’s powers and personality, Hellcat is like Catwoman, and Nighthawk is Batman. At one point both Nighthawk and Moon Knight were in the Defenders. So there were two Batmen!

Sadly after nearly 100 issues, Nighthawk’s run in the Defenders came to end in issue #106, and as we do our best to avoid dropping spoilers we recommend you discover the details yourself. Only a short time later, Nighthawk returned to the Defenders. But this turned out to be the Squadron Supreme’s Nighthawk. Our Nighthawk was well and truly dead. But it should never have been in doubt. A telepath was in contact with his mind at the moment of his death.

 

In more recent times, Nighthawk has been brought resurrected. But he has not been a major player in the Marvel Universe like he was as a member of the Defenders in the 1970s.

thank you for reading and please let me know your thoughts in the comments section and make sure you subscribe to out Facebook Page so you will always be up to date on the happenings in our dimension.

Nerd Dimension Podcast TOS EP 4 , MOVIES !!!

Another show from the trio nerdos so tune in to hear their take on movie, movies and more movies !!!

Your favorite Nerds have succeeded in sending out another signal from the dark depths of  the dimension they are voluntarily trapped in. Stream their latest show and hear them go in on bad movies and praise some old favorites. The team recorded a long one this time around for all of our fans who said they wished they were a bit longer. Let us know what you think in the comments and please share with those you feel may enjoy our content.

Who are the Defenders?

The premier piece from our latest contributor Pat. Read about a Super Hero team that never was really a team and learn something new about The Defenders. The show sucked but like with most things, the original content is was way better!

Who are the Defenders?

 

When The Defenders television series was just announced by Netflix, a friend of mine asked me who they were. This seemed a bit odd to me because they were such a major superhero team for Marvel Comics in the 1970’s. But now they have become forgotten. So allow me to remind you. . . .

The Defenders started as separate team ups between Doctor Strange and the Incredible Hulk, and Doctor Strange and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. This was followed by a three way team up of the Hulk, Sub-Mariner and the Silver Surfer. Finally, all four of them were given their own book: the Defenders. The prequel team-ups had been written by “Rascally” Roy Thomas, who continued to write stories about them in Marvel Feature. But once the Defenders got their own title, the writing chores were handed off to “Stainless” Steve Englehart. Several of the Early issues were inked by Bill Everett, the artist who co- created both the Sub-Mariner in the 1940’s and Daredevil in the 1960’s. From the beginning it was obvious that The Defenders would have a different vibe that the other team books. The Avengers were a semi military organization. The Fantastic Four were a Family whereas the X-men were more of a school club. The Defenders however were something entirely different and new to comics, they were the Non-Team. They had no set members or roster to speak of. In fact, when Valkyrie asked to become the fifth member of The Defenders, the Sub-Mariner told her that she could not join The Defenders because, The Defenders were not a Team. Each issue hit the shelves and you never knew who would be in The Defenders that Month. In one of the later issues The Defenders were Doctor Strange, Iceman and Mister Fantastic. A cover of one the early issues shows The Defenders (Doctor Strange, Valkyrie, Nighthawk and Yellowjacket) being rescued by The Defenders (Hulk, Luke Cage, Daredevil and the Son of Satan). At one point The Defenders held a television interview and the next day twenty heroes (including Iron Fist) showed up at Nighthawk’s home, asking to sign up and join The Defenders. At the same time, two different groups of villains banded together and proclaimed themselves to be the ‘real’ Defenders! Still even though the membership was constantly in flux, (there was an extended period in the middle of their run where Doctor Strange was absent) There were certain heroes who showed up in the pages of the Defenders more often than others did.

That list of Heroes is: Doctor Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, the Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Son of Satan, Gargoyle and Beast.

Some of their Major Stories include: the Avengers/Defenders War (When Steve Englehart wrote both books, and in which Hawkeye was a Defender), a crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy (Which writer, Steve Gerber spun off into their on series), the ascension to cosmic power levels of the Red Guardian and the Presence, the Six Fingered Hand saga (written by J.M. DeMatteis) And the liberation of the Squadron Supreme’s world from the mental domination of the Overmind. (Also by J.M. DeMatteis)

But unlike other comics, The Defenders had almost no recurring villains. Xemu the Titan fought them a couple of times in their early issues. Nebulon the Celestial Man fought them three times. Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants only fought The Defenders one time. But this was a major turning point in the mutant mastermind’s life, as the battle left him reverted to childhood. When, a few years later in the pages of the New Uncanny X- men, he was restored, it was to the peak of his powers.

After the 100th issue, the Beast became a regular member of the Defenders. This worked out so well that Iceman and Angel were brought in too. This changed the whole feel of the group under writer Peter Gillis’ tenure, which lasted a couple of more years before the book was canceled and the original X-Men re-united in the pages of X-Factor.

In the decades since, there have been a few attempts to revive the Defenders and reintroduce them to new fans. Though many of the heroes who have appeared in the Defenders did appear on television screens in the 90s (Silver Surfer, Mister Fantastic, X-men etc.) it was not until recently that Luke Cage, Dr. Strange and Iron fist  recently releasing theatrical releases and Netflix shows. But prior to the live action shows and the Cumberbatch film Fist and Cage had been getting more spotlight through starring in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series with Dr. Strange having a recurring role, Marvel obviously doing good in setting up these characters with the younger audience. In the realm of comics none of the attempts after print cancellation lasted as long as the original run. So when, in the recent Doctor Strange film, the Evil Eye, the McGuffin from the Avengers/Defenders war was used as a club; I was brought back to the early days of the Defenders.

Book and photograph property of Nerd Dimension

Hope you enjoyed my piece on the Defenders and will look forward to my next one that will have me shed light on Nighthawk.

Please be sure to rate, comment and subscribe to our social media pages and leave feedback here on Nerd Dimension in the comments section.

Image return ! Saga Volume 1 (Comic Book Review)

Nerd Dimension bring you a review of the award winning first volume the internet were talking about. Have Image reclaimed the throne for different and dark again?

I first learned about Saga through some of the pages I am a member of on social media and saw other members uploading panel pictures and praising this book as something the industry has been needing for years. I had not heard Image were planning to come with something big in ages and missed the first run but then again I am biased. To this humble blogger their best work will always be their franchise player, Al Simmons aka Spawn (something I recommend to anybody looking for a darker comic and anti-hero dishing out tons of carnage). Image developed a reputation for publishing the books the other big companies shied away from.

When I decided to do some research it seemed to be a Space Opera meets Fantasy as you have two protagonists fleeing with a baby across space while being chased by the two of biggest armies in the universe. Did not seem too original, granted, I still decided to keep digging and especially with all the great reviews I had read. I learned that the writer, Brian K. Vaughn had worked for both DC and Marvel comics in his career, writing for X-men, Green Lantern, Batman, Spider-man and Captain America. As well as working with big names in the world of comics he also worked on 3 seasons of ABCs smash ‘Lost’ and worked on Showtimes adaptation of Stephen Kings ‘Under The Dome’ I was surprised to see that his illustrative counter part and partner in comics, Fiona Staples was nowhere near his status or caliber. When I was googling her and trying to find out more about her I did not see her tied to any of the major titles or franchises.

It was not until I was in Comics Heaven in Stockholm when I managed to get my hands on a hard copy and immediately fell in love with the artwork. It looked good and my research told me what the story was supposed to go like. I avoid reading spoilers for anything including comics as to best experience the book. I read the volume in one sitting and was immediately hooked by the first chapter. The way Vaughn created this interesting setting with far from perfect characters was interesting. The conflicts and set up is done just right and the subject matter is not for kids. One of my favorite characters has got to be the Freelance ‘The Stalk”. The adult content of the panels was refreshing to see coming from a big publisher but it was not cheap if you understand what I am getting at. They did not use nudity of obscenities to mask a poor plot, it all comes together like a great stew sprinkled with just enough to make it a hearty read.  The 13 awards the book received in 2013 only reinforces my claim of the quality of this first installment.

It was interesting to me how the writer managed to create these characters who did fit certain RPG archetypes yet managed to have them come off as unique to his setting. The language used by the different players in this grim universe adds a dose of reality along with slight twists that actually make sense. Not being a big fan of campy comics I see myself continuing to read this series.

The things I did not like was the lack of explanations for humans, it appears that regular humans do not seem to play a big role in this setting and I sadly cannot divulge  much more without spoiling the first issue. The coloring at times seemed a little dull but not enough to put you off from reading. I do see the coloring as an aid for setting the tone but still I would have preferred different palettes for some of the scenes. Now a minor warning to some, this is not capes and chaos but rather a mash up of several modern genres by splicing together high sci fi, low fantasy, intrigue and a hefty load of dystopia.

All in all I give this first volume:

7.5 out of 10

 

Conclusion: Saga has succeeded in being a fresh and did manage to get the comic community talking and has maintained it fanbase and following years after the release. When other books fizzle out or fail to keep the pacing Vaughn managed to script a book that reads like a movie and Staples delivers panels that match that narrative. People coming to this book will have a different experience from the usual and I urge those who enjoy Sandman and Preacher to skim through some of the pages as it is not the run of the mill book.

 

Saga FC Vol1

So until next time, never dog ear your pages when there is always a receipt lying around to be used as bookmark. Just be sure it is not the bill from the BDSM spot you went to last week.

 

Nerd Dimension Podcast : The Couch Coop Convo

New podcast up, twist up, flip the cap and lay back as the nerds take you for another joy ride through fun fantasy and f##kery

 

In this episode our three terrible hosts discuss couch coop titles, some of the best games, a few undiscovered gems and give you their usual spiel. Apollo is still the overbearing intellectual, Gus is always trying to bring the balance as Mike continues to throw out crazy comments like they are going out of style. So sit back, relax and enjoy  🙂

 

Why I chose Pathfinder over Fifth Edition

I remember the feeling I used to get as a kid, watching movies of knights defeating dragons and other monsters in epic encounters on-screen from the safety of my couch fort. Thinking to myself, how awesome it would be to wield such powers and possess such courage. That and how they kind of did their own thing, not really answering to anybody or anything but themselves and their code of honor. I guess everybody enjoyed imaging themselves as the hero in a story at some time in their childhoods. I was lucky to have been a kid in the 90’s so we got to read those ‘choose your adventure’ books which to an infant was pretty cool, next best thing as you didn’t want your Gameboy getting confiscated in french class. As a kid I loved being able to take a different path in the story and loved nervously flipping through the pages to see what fate awaited me.  Whether I was plowing through a swamp, wrestling with lizardfolk or rescuing the princess it made for good reading to a kid with a wild imagination and a family that could not afford the newest toys and consoles.

My first introduction to Dungeons & Dragons was the animated series that was running on TV when I was reading these books and comics. I never got to watch the entire season back then but I tried to catch it whenever it was on  TV and my brother and I would pick which class we were and the next day make our own pretend adventure. The many different roles in the party and the new quests were interesting to me and I never had heard of the role playing game at the time. As I moved up through grade school my brother would take a deeper interest in certain fields of fantasy but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I first saw someone playing a role playing game in the pen and paper sense. Until then I thought it was strictly a console thing to describe games like Zelda and Diablo. It seemed pretty fun to me but after 15 minutes as a spectator I started getting bored  because I did not really know what was happening and the party were not using miniatures or other aids to help me visualize what was happening. I did hear some cool words such as Fireball, Enchanted weapon and Rebuke Undead but apart from that I did not get a grasp of how the game was actually played. The only thing I understood was that the GM was a referee of some sort and I figured he was having the least fun- As Dungeons & Dragons was never really that popular at the schools I went to and the crowds I was in it would not be until college that I got my first real opportunity to play D&D and it was the 3.5 edition.

I was intrigued by the mechanics of 3.5 and all the  well illustrated books available for it at the time. I started reading more about it, reading the fiction of the talented RA Salvatore and rewatching the first movie. Good thing I remembered that movie in a better light as kid because that movie could have put off a lot of people, just saying if it was not for Jeremy Irons it would have been even more unwatchable. I played the most of this version of D&D and I loved how it gave me, as a player, so many options and the flavor was there in spades for a curious would be Dungeon Master. I have such fond memories of fudging rolls just to get the party past the last demon so they could rest before tackling the next puzzle or minion I had lurking in the shadows behind the next corner. The supplements and companion books allowed me to always throw something new which at times overwhelmed me as a rookie DM just starting out and beginning to tell the story. The writing and artwork made it fun to read and as a player it was fun to pass the books around and see what was coming at you instead of relying solely on my descriptions which can at times put a lot of people off if they lack the vocabulary and language skills. Not for nothing but there are only so many times a ‘big’ ‘scary’ orc, insert other generic baddies or ‘dark’ corridors that are ‘just’ corridors can ya take before calling in with scurvy at the next session.

With the release of D&D 5th Edition I was curious about seeing what Wizards of the Coast had in store for their fans after fumbling with 4th edition so bad they aided in the creation and extension of their prior system under a new publisher (Paizo). The sales were poor and critics slammed it for being entirely way too focused on combat and minimizing the roleplaying aspect of the game. Wizards announced that they were going back to their roots with D&D and re-released the classic Red Box and Basic Set which sold well and helped create anticipation for the new system. They said they wanted to make the new edition feel like the older ones and not be so rules heavy as to allow for the easier introduction of role players and Dungeon Masters alike.

I played it shortly after it had come out and was fortunate enough to get official print outs,folders and merchandise to test the game with. I was given the privilege to run a game for a friend and I decided to get ready. I loved the artwork and the covers for the books and approached this new system with a positive attitude. I got to run the game with the hardcover books and was given some pregenerated characters and a module provided by Wizards of the Coast for free legal download.

The game ran smoother than I had expected but at times I found myself looking for stats and things that were not there or even important. I noticed earlier that alignment was not stressed as much in 5th edition and the minions were falling left, right and center in most of the combat encounters. I mean, the party were really cutting through them and gave me the feeling that the PCs were kind of over powered in this version. It did not feel as suspenseful at the third and final conflict but all in all it was far easier to explain to new players compared to the prior editions and other RPGS I had played at the time.

After returning to 3.5 for a year or so I would spend some time away from the table in which I had heard more about Pathfinder and how it was the same thing just a little easier and it was new. I thought that it would be hard or illegal to deliver the same experience but then remembered the OGL and learned that Paizo and WOTC at one time collborated together. Long story short I liked the idea, the conversion kit made it easy for me to use my older books if I wanted to.  What also got me was the under dog story and how their entire business model was based on servicing an existing clientage that Wizardz were not trying to keep or get back.

Pathfinder gave me what I loved in 3.5 concerning resources but in practical pocket editions and paperbacks at affordable prices. Paizo were smart to offer PDFs something that 5th Edition is not going to ever do so it made it easy for me to snatch some decent books at a good price. As a publisher they managed to streamline the original system their game was built on and compress the information without taking away from the game. As a result you do not need a lot of books to start because you can run a game with two books as they have a Core Rulebook which is a players handbook and gm guide in one and a Bestiary (a monsters manual). Also for the classes you have Ultimate Combat which covers all your combat feats, adding some new ones and new classes and so does Ultimate Magic. These are big books but worth every penny and if you are buying this for a party, pennies well spent indeed. DISCLAIMER : Roleplaying does not require hardcopies of the material but for me and most players I know it is the preferred way of playing. We are in no means saying you HAVE to play with these books, merely saying that if you are interested in buying then these are the things we recommend you consider!!!

To be entirely honest I feel if you have already played rpgs and have a party I recommend you start the investment with

  • The GM Screen
    • Well written and is built just high enough to conceal without taking up too much space. It also features a gallery of charts with everything you might want to check on the fly.
  • The Game Masters Guide
    • The pocket edition is affordable if you do not mind the small text and provides you with everything you need to craft a campaign and really spends time in the first few sections introducing new Game Masters to the role in a more fun way than 3.5 and in a simpler language as well.
  • The Core Rulebook
    • The players handbook for Pathfinder and really has everything you need to know as a player if you want to run the core classes. Printed on good materials and will be durable for being passed around in paperback with great artwork.
  • Bestiary
    • A resource that both the players and GM can benefit from as it gives you a visual which is always better than something you print out on paper or show on a cellphone screen. There are more than seven of these on sale but all you really need is the first one to run all your standard monsters.
  • BONUS Material

We recommend that you consider looking at the Ultimate Combat or Magic which works out to be pretty cheap if you break it down on a party level and you can always use it as it really provides you with EVERYTHING you would to know for those casters and the combat orientated classes. To the same note the Advanced Players Guide could be your best bet if you want that little extra in customizing characters as it adds a little for everyone and is pretty cheap and also comes in a pocket version. Also for GMs we suggest Ultimate Campaign as it is a rich source of stats that are well set out to be plucked for use in the writing of you next campaign, but this can be purchased in PDF.

Apart from having great products at decent prices Paizo also offers accessories such as face and items cards that aid Game Masters in telling the story along with a wealth of content available online both free and on sale at their website. Sure it costs you money to buy these books but you don’t have to if you don’t think your group may not stick with it keep the budget low but if you believe in it then propose the idea of pooling your resources because once you have these books you are set for a long time. Paizo have made so many things from mats to minis that you can really get all your gaming needs from one spot. As a Game Master I wanted a system that had support and a publisher that made it as easy as possible for me to tell me my story and Paizo has been able to do that. From offering accessories to the Pathfinder Society that has organized play world-wide yet there are other online communities where you can track down potential players and games.

5th Edition just seemed so basic to me coming from 3.5 which a lot of players do say is crunch heavy (lots of modifiers and numbers you can add to a roll) but after a few sessions you have learned what to look for and when. 5th Edition does not offer many resources and do not offer PDFs on sale. Along with this I feel 5th edition focused on getting a whole new generation of role players, it feels and plays like it was designed with the new player in mind. Which is great and its similarities to the older, DM heavy style of play from AD&D went over well with some of the veteran players. Our group just wanted something we already knew worked and from my research I saw that this would be the system I run for the next 3 to 5 years. That does not mean I think 5th Edition is bad, I just feel that for this generation of players you need options and restrictions to make it both easier for the GM to run and more fun for the players to create their story and characters. Pathfinder gave us both and a decent price where as 5th Edition came off as entirely uninterested in the their older following from 3.5.

I saw that Pathfinder offered me a system that I did not require me to learn an entirely new system from scratch and gave me an affordable price point for entry. I saw that I could get more bang for my buck in a game which already had a lot of things happening and offered me the support and accessories I would need moving forward. Paizo won me over and this is just my preference. At heart an RPG should be players playing out a story in a fun, interesting and exciting way that they want to repeat. Pathfinder is the system for us and I hope by discussing the things I liked I may have helped some people in making their decision.