Web of Spider-Man #36 first appearance of Tombstone




FROM THE VAULT 

The Toylab Vault holds a large collection of comic books and every once in a while one is pulled out, and dusted off.  Lets see what secrets it holds...


Published: In March 1988
Writer: Roy Thomas
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Alex Saviuk
Cover/Artist Alex Saviuk, Keith Williams
Inker: Keith Williams
Colorist: Janet Jackson
Letterer: Rick Parker


Notable For:
First Appearance: First appearance of Tombstone
First Appearance:  Phreak

Through the late 80s and 90s there were three primary Spider-Man monthly titles.  There was the main flagship comic the Amazing Spider-Man and two other titles.  The 2nd major title was Spectacular Spider-Man which had a focus on some of the secondary characters in Spider-Man's life.  Then there was Web of Spider-Man, which had the unfortunate position of having to focus on the third tier characters.

While it may seem weird as a kid, I always liked Web of Spider-Man the best of the three.  Yes it was the red headed step child of the three but I always like the focus on some characters who had never had a chance to really be fleshed out.  One of the characters who was given a time to shine was Joe Robertson.  Joe "Robbie" Robertson is one of the oldest black characters in all of comics but he did not always get much time to shine but that began to change with Web of Spider-Man #36.


The Toylab Copy:
Our copy of this is pretty good.  There is some ever so slight creasing on the binding that I would say holds it back from a NM book.  It was signed at Denver Comic Con 2016 by Web of Spider-Man artist Alex Saviuk.  Alex also did a Spider-Man sketch for us on The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows white cover.

Alex Saviuk sketch and signature


Story:
The story begins with Spider-Man swinging toward home and where he picks up MJ.  He complains about how hard his day has been (Most Spidey days are like this though) and she explains how her hunt for an apartment is going.

Meanwhile the issues main villain Phreak is created by kids in a school basement.  One of the kids is experimenting with a new exoskeleton thingy and when the power is accidentally turned on he gains electrical abilities.

Then things get INTERESTING!!!

A mysterious man is being followed by sinister looking pale man,...TOMBSTONE.  Robbie Robbertson sees Tombstone and looks upon him horrified.

Tombstone is thus introduced immediately as having a person connection with Robbie Robertson.  This connection is not expanded on here.  In true comic form we have to wait to see more of Tomb Stone and the connections he has to Robbie.

Another scene shows the new Tarantula undergoing treatments to gain powers.

The rest of the comic involves Phreak kidnapping MJ (Man it stinks to be Spider-Man's girl friend) but good news the webslinger is hot on his tail.  Spider-Man ends up punching him into an electronic sign where he shorts out.  One of his friends to school promises to take care of him and hauls him away.




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The Toylab Vault - Full of special comics
 

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Who is the Wasp AKA Janet Van Dyne?


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Who is Wasp



Janet Van Dyne is a super hero who uses pym particles to give her similar powers as Ant-Man.  She is a longtime member and founder of the Avengers and former wife of the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym.  Janet is credited with coming up with the name the, "Avengers".  Hope Van Dyne will take over the mantle the Wasp in the film Ant-Man and Wasp.  Hope Van Dyne is played by actress Evangeline Lilly.

Alias: Wasp

Real Name:  Janet Van Dyne, Hope Van Dyne

First Appearance:
Tales to Astonish #44



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Bio:


Janet Van Dyne is a wealthy debutant living luxuriously off the fortune of her father, the renowned scientist Vernon van Dyne.  When an alien kills her father she contacts her friend Hank Pym to help her get justice for her father.  Hank reveals his identity as Ant-Man to Janet.  He then sets her up to undergo a biological process using his famous pym particles.  This process allows Janet to not only shrink to the size of an insect but to also grow wings.  The two insect size super heroes battle and defeat the alien that killed her father.

Hank and Janet become crime fighting partners using the guises of Ant-Man and Wasp.  As their crime fighting career goes on the two begin developing strong feelings for one another.  The two partners along with the heroes Hulk, Thor and Iron Man form the super hero team the Avengers.  Janet coined the name the Avengers as the name of the Super Team.  Janet and Hank are also present when they find the frozen body of Captain America and revive the WW2 hero.  While on the Avengers super team Janet is known for using her skill as a fashion designer to develop new costumes.  She also often makes comments about the other male members to try to make Hank jealous.  Her primary reason for fighting crime at this time is to try to gain the attention of Hank.

After battling a huge assortment of bad guys, both Janet and Hank decide to hang up their crime fighting identities for a time.  Hank pursues science and Janet her fashion career.  Janet succeeds in creating a successful fashion line.  The two are pulled back into the super hero world when Attuma kidnaps Janet and it is up Hank to save her.  The two rejoin the Avengers.

Hank grows mentally unstable over the guilt of creating the robotic menace, Ultron.  However, Janet continues to have feelings for him.  After being exposed to various gases in a lab experiment Hank experiences a schizophrenic, inhibitions reducing, psychic break with himself.  He feels that he is a new person and has actually killed the old Hank Pym.  He takes on the name of Yellow Jacket and kidnaps Janet and proposes marriage to her.  Janet realizes that Hank is not really Hank but she also is somewhat flattered and enjoys Hank without his inhibitions.  Eventually, Hank is snapped out of his funk and returns to normal.  However, Janet accepts the proposal for marriage and Hank does not retract it.

The marriage of the two is initially happy.  However, Hank continues to emotionally degrade into a deep depressive state.  This eventually leads Hank to become verbally and later physically abusive toward Janet.  The abuse comes to an apex when Hank becomes overly aggressive during an Avengers mission.  Captain America wants to hold a trial to kick Hank out of the Avengers.  Hank devises a scheme to create a robot with a hidden weakness to attack the Avengers.  He reasons that once he exploits the weakness in front of the rest of the Avengers he will be seen as a hero again and welcomed back.  Janet is appalled by this plan and tries to stop him however, he very forcefully strikes her.  Hank's plan totally implodes and ends with him being kicked out of the Avengers and divorced by Janet.

Overtime Janet has evolved into an intellectual and savvy leader of the Avengers.  Perhaps due to her own maturity (Or changes in how female characters are written) she is now emotionally deeper and less obsessed with the whims of the men around her.  She is shown as being more heroic, and self sacrificing,   She has had other relationships with other characters over this time like Hawkeye ,Paladin and Black Knight.



As part of the West Coast Avengers Janet found herself once again working with Hank Pym.  Hank had returned to mental stability and the two rekindled their love.  However, this time Janet turned down Hank's marriage proposal.  The two have had continued on and off again relationship but have never remarried.

Janet was seemingly killed during the Skrull invasion.  She was infected with a serum that forced her to grow huge and become transfused with massive amounts of energy.  Thor was able to save Earth by absorbing the energy but Janet was seemingly killed.

Later the Avengers learn that she was not killed in the explosion.  She was only shrunk and sent to the Microverse where she was later retrieved by the Avengers.  She continues to battle evil as an Avenger.

Powers:
Janet's powers are very similar to those of Ant-Man
She can shrink in size using Pym Particles
Flight through grown wings from mutation from Pym Particles
Wasp Stings - Can fire energy blasts from wrists using device created by Hank Pym.

Similar to Hank Pym she has also used Pym Particles to grow in size instead of shrink from time to time.

MCU:


Evangeline Lilly plays Hope Van Dyne who will wear the Wasp suit in the film Ant-Man and Wasp.  Here character was introduced in the film Ant-Man but did not have the opportunity to wear the suit in that film.  Hope Van Dyne is the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne.  An unknown tragedy occured to Janet that caused Hank to stop wearing the suit.  Hank kept the suit and showed to Hope at the end of Ant-Man.

Evangilne Lilly shared a photo of her ripped arms the day before shooting began on the Ant-Man and Wasp.




Janet Van Dyne?
Janet Van Dyne will appear in some fashion in the MCU film Ant-Man.  This appearance may be very short and may be used to explain why Hank Pym no longer wears the suit he created.

In an interview with Screen Rant Fiege revealed some facts about the MCU version of Janet Van Dyne:

"It factors in, in a number of spoiler-ish ways, but we will see Janet Van Dyne in action in this film, ....and part of sort of what happened to her. And then we will understand why that is the reason that he doesn’t want his daughter to follow in those footsteps. One of the reasons why he’s always so upset about superheroes in general, dismissive of them in general and also a reason why he doesn’t want her to put on the suit."

Fiege goes on to explain that this tragedy what ever it is explains why Hank Pym has reached out to Scott Lang in the first place.

" Because another very logical question in the movie is, why are you hiring this ex-con to put on your suit and do this? The answer is, because he has abilities in cracking security networks and in pulling off heists that nobody else has. Which is really why he needs to do it. But Hope is infinitely more capable of actually being a superhero in the beginning of this film, and we learn sort of that that’s ultimately when Hank reveals for the first time for the audience, and even the first time to Hope, what actually happened in the past and why he’s so nervous about putting on that suit. But there are things that we see towards the end of the film that indicate she could, she could get one of her own."

This seems to indicate that Hope van Dyne could suit up as the Wasp in a later Marvel film.


Related:
Ant-Man movie- News, Speculation and character bios  
  

American Sniper Chris Kyle and the Punisher Emblem


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American Sniper Chris Kyle and the Punisher Emblem



One thing comic fans notice in the film American Sniper is that Chris Kyle and his group of American Soldiers often don gear and equipment bearing the symbol of the Marvel character the Punisher.  The symbol is known as the death's head and is a jawless, white skull with long teeth.

Having seen and enjoyed the film I became interested in the use of the Punisher symbol.  I began researching how the symbol was used, and to see if Chris really was a fan of the Punisher.  In my research I came across many different opinions on Chris, the Seal Teams, and Iraqi Freedom.  This post is not going to dig into opinions on the war.

The goal of this post is to track the use of the Death's Head symbol in American servicemen in Iraq and also by other Iraqi group that have since adopted it.

One common question asked is whether the film was accurate in showing the symbol or if it was added by Hollywood.
Did Chris Kyle use the Punisher Symbol?  Yes.
Did Seal Team 3 use the Punisher Symbol? - Yes.

The Punisher Symbol use in the military:
Skulls have long been a part of military symbolism. A great article on its uses over time can be found Here (Specialforces Newsletter)
The use of skulls as a symbol greatly predates the comic character the Punisher.  Skulls have been used as military symbols for thousands of years.  They are intimidating and military groups tend to adopt intimidating symbols.   For this reason much of the adoption of the Punisher symbol may have very little to do with the actual Punisher character and more to do with it being a modern Skull symbol.

The use of the Punisher symbol specifically seemed to begin during the Iraq War.  The Punisher symbol has been used by a variety of groups.

Deuce Four Skull of 24th Regiment:
One of the first uses of the Punisher symbol in Iraq was by the 24 Regiment.









The Deuce Four Skull became the unofficial symbol and calling card of the 24th infantry regiment during operation Iraqi FreedomThe Deuce Four symbol appears to be nearly an exact copy of the Punisher emblem with a 2 and 4 added into its forehead.  Members of the regiment are said to have adorned themselves with the symbol and marked buildings where they had fought and killed enemy combatants.  The symbol made them one of the most infamous and feared groups during the Iraqi War.


Punisher Skull by Seal Team 3 




Seal Team 3 which Chris Kyle was a part of also adopted the Punisher Skull symbol.   The group is even said to refer to itself at times as the Punishers.

Seal Team 3 was the most distinguished and famous groups operating in Iraq.  Their exploits in the Battle of Ramadi are well known.   The Battle of Ramadi itself has become arguably the most legendary battle in Iraqi Freedom and Seal Team 3 the most famous of unit to operate in it.   The use of the Punisher symbol by Seal Team 3 during this battle is very well documented as will be shown below in pictures.

Daily Mail noted that,“the members of the unit adopted the white skull of the gun-wielding comic book vigilante The Punisher.  They painted the symbol on their body armor, their vehicles and even their weapons.”

The New Yorker noted that Chris Kyle went beyond liking the symbol, “Kyle seemed to consider himself a cross between a lawman and an executioner. His platoon had spray-painted the image of the Punisher—a Marvel Comics character who wages ‘a one-man war upon crime’—on their flak jackets and helmets.”  When Chris created his own company Craft International LLC the company used a similar skull logo.  The group that Chris Kyle fought with also called themselves the Punishers. In his autobiography Chris Kyle's said he confronted other American groups attempting to use the symbol, “We told them we are the Punishers. They had to get their own symbol,”

Here are pictures of Kyle using the symbol on his back, as well as on his rifle.  Also a picture his hat bearing the logo of his company Craft International LLC.





It needs to be noted that this was not just Chris Kyle.  Many of the other Seals also adorned themselves with the Death's Head symbol.

It is very clear from pictures that the Seal's used the Death's Head and Punisher name in Ramadi.

Punisher symbol worn by Navy Seal Marc Lee




Well known Navy Seal Jonny Kim who was a member of Seal Team 3 along with Chris Kyle can also be seen wearing the symbol showing that it was widely worn by the group in Iraq.  Jonny Kim has gone on to become a doctor and an astronaut.

Also featured with Kim is another Seal at the battle of Ramadi Kevin Lasz who would go on to write the book The Last Punisher (See below).








Additionally, another popular book on Seal Team 3 is "The Last Punisher".  The book's title makes direct reference to the Punisher and the cover features a Seal Sniper adorned with the Death's Head symbol on his back.



I can not find a member of every Seal wearing the Death's Head.  However, it does seem to have been worn fairly ubiquitously by the Seals at the Battle of Ramadi.



Punisher Symbol in Iraqi Armed Forces

The use of Punisher Symbol is now being used by Iraqi Armed Forces as well as Shiite Militias

Some of these forces may use it to pay homage to US Platoon the Punishers or at least draw upon their infamy.  Most likely they just appropriated because it looked cool and intimidating.


Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at the Philadelphia-based think tank Middle East Forum pointed out that the use of Punisher symbol by Iraqi Armed forces paralleled its use by Shiite Milities.


The Iraqi Shiite militia Faylaq al-Wa'ad al Sadiq uses a symbol of American origins as well.  They use an emblem based off the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima.  Tamimi commented on the group saying they were “ as anti-American as you can get. It was a proxy group set up to attack U.S. forces in the days of the Iraq war,” ...‘I think they come to the point where they forget about the American connection and they just see these as general symbols of military might and strength.”




Reasons for popularity in the US Military:
The Punisher is a popular character in the American Military.  The reasons for this are many.  On his face the Punisher character was trained in the military, and uses military weapons and tactics to defeat his foes.  These attributes immediately synchronize the armed forces with the character.

There is also a philosophical synchronicity.  The Punisher goes after the bad guys with violence.  His ethos is that there is a time and place for violence.  Violence can be used to help protect the innocent from the bad guys.  This is very similar to the Sheepdog philosophy preached by Chris Kyle's father in the American Sniper Film.  In this philosophy he breaks down the world into sheep, wolves and sheep dogs.  Sheep are those people who are essentially good but unable to defend themselves.  The wolves are those capable of violence and use it to prey on the sheep.  The sheep dog is what Chris's father tells his kids they should aspire to be.  The sheep dog is capable of violence but uses it to defend itself and the sheep from the wolves.  The Punisher and Sheep Dogs seem to have a lot in common.

 Beyond the this there is the fact that the Punisher is a bad ass and soldiers naturally flock to bad asses.  The symbol is scary and intimidating looking and that always makes for a good symbol when going to war.

Ethical Problem's with the use of the symbol:
The Punisher was created as a villain in comic books.  He was meant to symbolize a vigilante that went too far and had to be stopped by other heroes such as Spider-Man.  Gerry Conway the creator of Punisher himself has come out against the use of the symbol by police officers.


"When cops put Punisher skulls on their cars or members of the military wear Punisher skull patches, they're basically sides with an enemy of the system. Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw—he is a criminal. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol."


Conway has also compared the use of the symbol as flying a Confederate Flag on a government building.  The meanings of the two naturally conflict to those who understand them.  A police officer should seek to follow and uphold the law, the justice system and should not work outside it in the manner of the Punisher.  

While this criticisms is often more directed at Police Officers who are intended to serve the people and uphold the law, it could similarly be directed at military groups who adopt the Punisher symbol.  While they are military and not always intended to act as peace officers they are still expected to follow orders, battlefield rules and laws.  The Punisher symbol is in conflict with this.

This is issue is addressed in the comics where the Punisher is confronted by a group of police officers who claim to be his fans.  The Punisher tells the officers that they should use Captain America as a role model and not him.






Chris Kyle and the Punisher

http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2015/01/22/22-punisher-american-sniper-3.w529.h352.2x.jpg

It is hard to say how much Chris read Punisher.  There is a moment in the film where he speaks to a soldier reading a Punisher comic.  He also could have seen one of the films representing the character.  From the use of the symbol by his platoon and company it is very clear that he was aware of who the Punisher was and what he was about.

From Chris Kyle's autobiography he wrote the following on the Punisher:
“He righted wrongs. He killed bad guys. He made wrongdoers fear him,”... “We spray-painted it on our Hummers and body armor, and our helmets and all our guns. We spray-painted it on every building or wall we could, We wanted people to know, We’re here and we want to f**k with you.”

Related:
Who is the Punisher?- Punisher news, stories art and rumors

Bone Parish SOLD OUT!




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Bone Parish by Cullen Bunn Preview

Cullen Bunn is cranking out all kinds of interesting things right now including Bone Parish.  Bone Parish is a story about a new drug hitting the streets called Ashes that is actually ashes of the dead.  Of course things only get weirder and crazier from there.

Comic Investing Update:
Bone Parish #1 quickly sold out quickly.  Some our now selling for $20 dollars or more on Ebay.  One to really look out for is the FOC variant by Tyler Crook (See cover above).  There are only 1,435 copies of the Tyler Crook cover published, which is almost nothing.  Should the series ever become very popular with a film or TV show that cover could grow a lot in value.  The standard cover is now selling for $5 and the FOC variant is selling for $20.  This is now Cullen Bunn's biggest launch at BOOM! Empty Man another Bunn comic is currently being turned into a film by Fox.



BOOM! Studios is proud to present your first look at BONE PARISH #1, an all-new chilling necromantic horror series from superstar writer Cullen Bunn (The Unsound) and artist Jonas Scharf (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) in July 2018. A new drug is sweeping through the streets of New Orleans. One made from the ashes of the dead. Wars are being fought over who will control the supply, while the demand only rises. While the warring factions collide, users begin to experience terrifying visions of the dead coming back to life—through them.
This powerful debut issue features a main cover by Lee Garbett (Lucifer) and variant covers by Rod Reis (Doctor Strange: Damnation) and Tyler Crook (Harrow County).
“At its heart, BONE PARISH is a story about family—how we define it, how we do right by it, and the choices we make to preserve it,” said Eric Harburn, Senior Editor, BOOM! Studios. “This is an unflinching look at how we connect to—and disconnect from—the world around us, wrapped in a special kind of horror crime story that only Cullen, Jonas, Alex, and Ed could deliver.”

Pictures:

































Preview: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #254 Destro walks toward the fire


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Cobra and Destro are not playing around in  G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #254, on shelves August 1st.



G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #254
Cover A: Marcelo Ferreira
Larry Hama (w) • Marcelo Ferreira (a & c)
“Special Missions, Part 4 (of 5). G.I. Joe. Cobra. Two opposing forces. Two powerful war machines, each made more lethal by the undeniable strength of their individual parts. But who and what are those parts? Living legend Larry Hama shares some of their amazing stories in “Special Missions”—one-shot stories featuring a variety of characters and different artists to draw them! This issue, Marcelo Ferreira (Back to the Future) joins forces with Larry to present Cobra’s weapons master extraordinaire: DESTRO!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #254—Cover B: John Royle
Larry Hama (w) • Marcelo Ferreira (a) • John Royle (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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How to beat Blissey?


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Blissey is a cute, funny looking Pokemon that has ironically become the ultimate Gym Defender in Pokemon Go.  This Pokemon is renowned for having the most HP in the game.  Chansey who is Blissey's preevolved form already had more HP than other Pokemon but Blissey takes that HP to the ultimate EXTREME.  The HP of Blissey is so high that it is very difficult to defeat it in the 90 second time allotted to battle a Pokemon.

Blissey has become the bane to many players existence.  One good thing about a gym with Blissey though is that it is very difficult for gyms to go up in Prestige when Blissey is present.  It is a great defender but an awful bubble Pokemon.

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About Blissey:


"Biting into one of the delicious eggs that Blissey provides will make everyone around smile with joy." Pokemon Crystal Pokedex.
Blissey is the evolved form of Chansey and has the highest level of HP of all Pokemon in Pokemon Go.  All Blissey are female at 100% gender ratio.  She is an evolved form of the Pokemon Chansey.  Blissey was not released in the initial Pokemon Go release.  She was released in Pokemon Go with the Gen 2 Pokemon in Feb 2017.

Blissey is a Normal type Pokemon with a primary weakness to Fighting Type Pokemon.


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As a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program Toylab can bring our guests great deals on Pokemon products like those recommended for you below:  It is very hard to find Blissey products but I have found some pre evolved Chansey products.










Now for the ultimate question!  How do you beat, how to kill, how to defeat Blissey.  What Pokemon is a counter Blissey?



Blissey's type does not factor into the discussion with Blissey as much as does its sheer HP.  The goal of a Blissey in a fight is to time out an attacker.  Basically if you take over 90 seconds to take it down then it wins.  While the 90 seconds is normally plenty of time, this is not the case with Blissey.   Blissey is the ultimate Pokemon Go tank with tons of HP and defense.   Blissey luckily does not have the highest attacks so it normally will not pose too much of a threat to your Pokemon.

With Chansey you are fighting the clock.  How much attacks can you unleash on it before the timer strikes 0.

Strategy for how to Take down a Blissey Gym:

1) Avoid Blissey until necessary:
Try to bring down the gym by attacking the Pokemon beneath the Blissey.  Remove as much Prestige as you can until you are forced to battle Blissey.  This also makes fighting Blissey simpler because you do not need to worry about the other Pokemon and Blissey can take your full focus.

2) Add Attackers:
The more people who attack the more time you will get to take down Blissey.  Plus the more presitge that sucked from the gym at once.  The more help you have the better.

3) Pick your attacker the Blissey Counters
Ultimately the Pokemon you want to use to take down Chansey is the one that has the highest DPS (Damage Per Second).  You also need to generally forego dodging and attempt to crank out as much damage as you can.


Blissey Counters
Recommended Attackers with Move type:




My favorite option is Machamp!
  • Machamp Counter and Dynamic Punch
However you will need to occasionally dodge to keep him alive as he is defensively not as strong as he is offensively.

Good Options
  • Rhydon - Defensively Rhydon can weather Blissey's storm and maintain constantly attacking.  He is not the best offensively but has worked better than I thought he would. 
  • Dragonite with Dragon Breath and Dragon Claw - A powerful plus high DPS Pokemon
  • Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch - This is a new monster from Gen 2 with very high attacks and DPS.
  • Gyarados with Dragon Breath and Hydro Pump with the Dragon Breath move this Pokemon can cut through a lot of HP.
  • Donphan with Counter and Play Rough
  • Heracross Counter and Close Combat
I have seen people take down a Blissey using Alakazam, Primapes and Ratticate (with Bite, Hyper Beam).  I have yet to test this combonation but almost everyone has Primeape and Ratticate.

Vaporeon:
Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump - I think most people have this Pokemon and it has a very DPS plus it can withstand the punishment that Blissey will unleash on it.  This will most likely by people's go to.  I really like Vaporeon here so if you lack these other options then default to Vaporeon.

Don't use Gengar.
Gengar is likely not a good option.  Gengar has some of the highest DPS moves in the game but he is weak against multiple of Blissey's moves.  This means that you will likely need to dodge significantly to keep you Gengar in the battle and this greatly reduces your Gengar's overall DPS from the match.


4) Don't Dodge just attack!
Dodging reduces the amount of damage you are doing and when you are battling Blissey you just are going to have to take your lumps.  The only attacks I would consider dodging are its specials.  Even there I wonder if I should have just kept attacking.



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