North Korea: Craziest Country In The World

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When Superheroes Go Bad

In honor of Uncanny X-Force receiving a perfect 10 for issue #18's conclusion to The Dark Angel Saga, we wanted to take a look at other heroes whose fall from grace made for a great read. There are many reasons why a supposed good guy might go bad – fear, brainwashing, cosmic birds – but what makes them so exciting is just how far down we get to see each hero fall.

Some of these stories are well over 20 years old, but just to be safe: there be spoilers here.


Angel

Rick Remender started Uncanny X-Force with an arc where the secret strike team of mutants killed a child version of Apocalypse. Little did they know, Angel was the heir to big, blue, and ugly, which led to The Dark Angel Saga. Angel transformed into a rather badass version of Archangel and rallied his own Four Horsemen in an effort to wipe out the world and rebuild it in his twisted image. He almost succeeded, too. This embodiment of Apocalypse was determined and put forth his plan with deadly accuracy, but he forgot about a little thing called love.


Angel's lover Psylocke went so far as to become his new Death, and almost succumbed to evil herself, but in the end she was able to break free and defeat him with the mysteriously powerful Life Seed. The taint of Apocalypse was eradicated, but it left Angel without any memory. The entire Dark Angel Saga was enthralling, exhilarating, and extremely violent from beginning to end, and that is what has made it an instant classic. In fact, we recently gave it the distinction of being the Best Story Arc of 2011 in our end-of-the-year awards. Uncanny X-Force continues on, and we cannot wait to see the consequences of Angel's actions and how Psylocke will deal with erasing the man she loved.

Terra

The Teen Titans got a new member who was cute, powerful, and held the affection of Beast Boy (then known as Changeling). Little did they know, Terra was secretly acting as a mole for Deathstroke the Terminator. In New Teen Titans #34 it was revealed to the readers that she was a traitor, but it wasn't until the final issue of The Judas Contract (Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3) that her true motives were revealed to the team. Terra was tricked into thinking Deathstroke had betrayed her and therefore she set out to kill him and the Titans by collapsing his underground lair, but in her rage she only ended up killing herself.


Terra was a great character who provided a lot of friction to the team. Once readers found out she was evil, every issue leading up to her eventual demise had a juicy layer of tension on top. Beast Boy fell for her but Raven hardly trusted her in the first place. Even though Raven was right, it was Beast Boy who took it the worst because he truly believed her to be a hero up until her final moments.

The Sentry

Readers' first introduction to the Sentry came when Marvel revealed a lost Stan Lee Silver Age super hero. It was a hoax, but it was also a theme for the Sentry that what you see is not exactly what you get. The Sentry was said to have the power of "one million exploding suns," and while we are still scratching our heads to what that means, he was a likeable character named Bob who slowly discovered he not only had super powers, but he once had ties to Marvel's most famous heroes. However, as he began to recover his memories, a dark force called the Void was also regaining its powers.


In a one-shot called The Sentry vs. The Void, it was revealed that the Sentry and the Void were two parts of the same person. It turned out that Reed Richards and Doctor Strange made Bob and the entire Marvel Universe forget he was the Sentry in order to rid the world of the Void. At the climax of the issue, Bob once again sacrificed the memory of his life as a super hero to defeat the Void. It might have started as a hoax, but it ended up being an incredibly well-done thriller that also paid homage to Marvel's Silver Age.


After the destruction of his hometown of Coast City, Hal Jordan cracked and went mad in an attempt to find enough power to restore it. Using a Green Lantern ring for that purpose was forbidden, but that did not stop him from making a green beeline to Oa, killing many of his Lantern brethren on the way. In a last ditch effort to stop him from assimilating the Central Power Battery, the Guardians of the Universe resurrected Sinestro to do battle. Jordan broke the neck of his nemesis, destroyed the Guardians, and absorbed all of the power within the battery before naming himself Parallax. He crushed his old ring beneath his boot for good measure.


Hal Jordan's fall is one of the ugliest on this list. Readers felt for him as he tried to deal with the murder of the seven million people in his hometown, but in his rage he ended up becoming a murderer himself. While he would eventually go on to exonerate himself due to the influence of the fear entity Parallax, the Emerald Twilight story arc remains one of the most intense, brutal, and nasty stories in Green Lantern history.


Turns out that Bucky's aw-shucks image as Captain America's sidekick was all a ruse. While Cap was taking the fight head on during a mission, it was Bucky's job to sneak in the back and use his training as an assassin to take out high profile targets. Ed Brubaker transformed Bucky from a joke into something cool and dangerous, which made his return after his apparent death all the more nefarious.


The Winter Soldier - an elite Russian assassin with a domino mask and a robotic arm - was committing countless assassinations, and it was up to Cap to stop him. Cap came to realize it was Bucky, but he could not talk any sense into him because of the extensive brainwashing by the Soviets. It took the power of the Cosmic Cube to bring back Bucky's old memories, which caused him to feel tremendous guilt for the atrocities he had committed.

Eventually Bucky came to terms with what he had done, even going on to don the mantle of Captain America himself. But his story of manipulation, identity, and second chances has defined him as a forever-troubled character with a violent past.

Superboy Prime

Superboy Prime's story has a lot of complexities, but one attribute of his has always stayed constant: he likes to whine. And whine and whine and whine. He comes from a universe where DC Comics publishes stories about superheroes, and he just happens to be named Clark Kent and discovers he has Superman's powers. Through a lot of elaborate plot devices, he helped save the universe, and then he wound up in a pocket dimension. From there, he secretly watched the world's heroes lose their way and, in his mind, become aberrations of the heroes he grew up reading about in comics. It drove him insane.


And so he punched the wall of reality during Infinite Crisis. Yup, the infamous punch that brought Jason Todd back to life and changed several origins. After a mind-bending journey through time and space – where he destroyed existences and battled himself – he somehow wound up back at his home. Unfortunately for him, everyone had read about his villainous exploits in the comics and knew how evil he was, giving him yet another thing to whine about.


A group of youths accidentally witnessed their parents murder a girl in a sick ritual, revealing them to be a horrible group of super villains called the Pride, so the kids ran away (hence, Runaways). Little did they know, there was a traitor amongst the Runaways that was still loyal to the evil parents. This traitor was unknown for a bulk of the series until Alex systematically took down his peers in a stunning display. How could he? He was their leader!


As part of the Pride's ritual for the Gibborim, only six people were allowed into a new utopian world, and Alex planned for those spots to go to his parents along with his love interest Nico and her parents. Too bad for him, Nico's response to his plan was a punch to the face. She helped rescue her friends and fought against Alex, which resulted in the magical Gibborim killing both Alex and the Pride.


Matt Murdock has had it rough. He lives a life full of pain and misery as both Matt and Daredevil, plus he was played by Ben Affleck in the movie adaption. Things got to their worst when he became the new leader of the Hand ninja group in the Shadowland storyline. He constructed the Shadowland temple from the ruins of a building in Hell's Kitchen and dolled out justice how he saw fit while wearing his new black duds. His most shocking action came when he murdered his greatest rival Bullseye the same way Bullseye had once killed Elektra.


Murder doesn't really fly within the superhero community, so Daredevil was besieged by the likes of Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Iron First, who discovered that he was being controlled by the demonic Beast of the Hand. After his best friend Foggy failed to get through to Matt and most of the heroes had fallen in battle, Iron Fist managed to deliver a healing chi blast to the possessed Daredevil.

This gave Elektra a chance to help purge the demon from Daredevil and whisk him away to safety. While the event received mixed critical reception (landing on IGN's Worst Comic Book Events list), it was a landmark event for the character that showed just how dangerous Daredevil could be.

The Plutonian

Daredevil eventually turns his life around and puts a smile on, all thanks to Mark Waid. But Waid is also responsible for one of the most heinous superhero stories ever told: Irredeemable. It stars the Plutonian, the world's greatest and most powerful hero. However, after becoming fed up with his personal relationship and the harsh criticism he faced from society, he snapped. However, when a Superman-class being snaps, it's not quite the same as a regular Joe throwing a tantrum. He killed his entire hometown of Sky City with a population of over three million people and then went on to sink Singapore into the ocean. Irredeemable? Sounds like the perfect title to us.


Waid has built a whole series that examines the concept of the fallen hero. Plutonian had the best powers, a girl, and a world of respect, but not the mental capacity to handle the hardships that come with being a hero. If you thought sinking Singapore was bad, just wait until you see what he does to a group of villains who try and recruit him, or a young super hero who attempts to reason with him. One thing is for sure… it ain't pretty.


The mother of all fallen hero stories: The Dark Phoenix Saga. Even Remender's storyline borrows in name from this classic epic superhero tale, and with good reason. While Jean Grey embodied the Phoenix for nearly two years, it was not until she fell under the influence of the Hellfire Club that she began to show her darker nature. Mastermind did his job a little too well and the Phoenix completely succumbed to evil, transforming into the Dark Phoenix and going off to devour a star.


She was just having a snack, but at the cost of billions of lives that inhabited that star system. This caught the attention of the Shi'ar Empire, who wanted to execute her for her murderous actions. In X-Men #137, the X-Men fought the Shi'ar Imperial Guard in a trial-by-combat, and when Cyclops took a hit, the Dark Phoenix emerged once more. In a desperate act of heroism, Jean Grey took control long enough to kill herself with a Kree disintegration weapon.

Uatu the Watcher closed out the story with the now famous words: "Jean Grey could have lived to become a god. But it was more important to her that she die... a human."

Kim Jong Il dead: 17 bizarre details about the Dear Leader's life

Kim Jong-il




















Kim Jong Il has died of heart failure at the age of 69 - after 17 eccentric years as North Korea's 'Dear Leader'.

The dictator issued strange decrees and fed the personality cult around him. Here are 17 of his weirdest moments...

1. His official biography claimed his birth was foretold by a swallow and led to the appearance of a double rainbow along with the emergence of a new star in space. He went on to spread the myth among his subjects that his mood could control the weather.

2. You may not be aware of this, but Kim Jong-Il was the world's greatest golfer... According to an official government handout marking his 62nd birthday, Kim celebrated by demolishing a par 72 course in just 34 strokes, managing a world record five holes-in-one on the way. To top it all, the superhuman round was apparently the first time he had actually played the sport.

3. In 2006, German giant rabbit breeder Karl Szmolinsky was contacted by Pyongyang, asking if they could buy 12 of the bumper bunnies. Having seen the massive rabbits in a newspaper, Kim planned to set up a breeding programme to boost meat production in the famine-hit country. Despite Szmolinsky warning the rabbits would make the situation worse - they only yield about 15 pounds of meat and have a huge appetite for carrots and potatoes - Kim insisted the animals should still be sent. Szmolinsky claims once the animals arrived Kim ate them himself as part of his birthday celebrations.

4. In 2004, a former chef for Kim revealed the North Korean leader employed staff to make sure the grains of rice served to him were absolutely uniform in size and colour.

5. In 2010 Kim Jong-Il banned the World Cup from being broadcast in North Korea unless the national team won. The communist country's state-run TV stations were ordered not to broadcast live matches or games involving other nations, with only heavily edited highlights of North Korean victories permitted to be screened.

6. Hacked off by the lack of film-makers in his native land, in 1978 Kim arranged for two South Korean directors to be kidnapped from Hong Kong and brought to him. They tried to escape but eventually relented, making a string of movies for him including the cult Godzilla rip-off  Pulgasari.

7. After being told by doctor's to give up smoking in 2007, Kim quit then decided he needed to go one step further to protect his health and so outlawed fags for the rest of his compatriots with a nationwide ban.

8. According to Russian emissary Konstantin Pulikovsky, who travelled with Mr Kim by train across Eastern Europe, Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks. Where did all his food go? An official biography on the North Korean state website declared Kim Jong Il did not defecate. The biography has since been removed.

9. After suffering a back injury following a horse riding accident, Kim was prescribed painkillers. Fearful of becoming addicted, he ordered a half-dozen of his closest staff to receive the same injection under the logic that if he became dependent, he wouldn't be the only one.

10. As well as being something of a foodie, Kim knew his booze. According to Hennessy, Kim was one of their single biggest customers, importing £350,000 worth of the cognac every year.

11. In 2004 he claimed to have invented the hamburger.

12. One of his unofficial titles was The Central Brain.

13. He once wrote six operas in two years.

14. He has collected more than 20,000 foreign films - with his favourites including Rambo and Friday 13th.

15. He was a keen roller-blader.

16. During a 2001 visit to Moscow by rail he had roast donkey flown to his train every day.

17. In the 1950s he built an entire city called Kijong-Dong that was designed only for propaganda. To this day it has no residents.

Top 5 Lies Guys And Girls Tell

National Handwashing Awareness Week (4 - 10 December)

Dog People vs. Cat People: The Surprising Differences

Morning Links

Dog people: 15% more likely to be extroverts
Cat people: 11% more likely to be introverts

Dog people: 36% more likely to use a pop song as a ringtone
Cat people: 14% more likely to cling to friends at a party

Dog people: 67% more likely to call animal control if they happen upon stray kittens
Cat people: 21% more likely to try to rescue stray kittens

Dog people: 11% more likely to say they'd support cloning, but only for animals or pets
Cat people: 17% more likely to have completed a graduate degree
 
Dog people: 18% more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle
Cat people: 25% more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite Beatle

Dog people: 9% more likely to think of zoos as happy place
Cat people: 10% more likely to send messages on Twitter

Dog people: 30% more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions
Cat people: 21% more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns