Thursday, September 01, 2005

I always have to steal my This Week's Reviews from you.

I never thought I'd see the day where I'd have to add "Goddamned" to my computer's spellchecker, but here we are.

Robin #141: Robin's got Peter Parker-level romantic problems now, and God knows I love Peter Parker-level romantic problems. Seems his one-time almost-girlfriend came back from the dead with absurd magic powers with the caveat that she'd have to kill Robin. She doesn't know Robin's Tim. Oh, tragic teenage love.

Anyway, Robin pulls a wacky 1960s-style bait and switch and we learn that Superboy shares Superman's magic weakness, so I guess everything from the Kesel run on Superboy is out the window. You'll recall that prior to, if I'm not mistaken, the current run of Teen Titans, Superboy was actually the result of a cloning experiment involving the DNA of Paul Westfield, Cadmus director, and some Superman DNA, because Kryptonian DNA couldn't be cloned pure, or something. This meant that Superboy had telekinetic power, allowing him to simulate most of Superman's powers, and he had the bonus of being able to blow up machines by touching them, which came in handy when he fought that stupid, stupid Cyborg Superman.

Anyway, he was tested genetically any number of times by different people who all must've been on Lex Luthor's payroll, because they all lied and said he wasn't Superman's clone. And now he's half Superman, half Luthor, a fact that Robin confirmed with a single DNA test. So I guess Batman never thought to test Superboy, even though he was balls deep in paranoia over the origins of the new Supergirl.


EDIT: Cough cough, I was wrong, cough cough. Fine, everybody's vunerable to magic. I stand by my critique of no one noticing Superboy's genetic makeup, however. If Robin can test somebody's DNA (and had a sample of both Superman and Lex Luthor's genetic material handy to compare to) than Batman can. And did. And, given the current Absurdly Paranoid Batman characterization we've been dealing with since Tower of Babel, it's kind of weird that it hasn't been mentioned. Also, how has no one made a Kesel Run/ Millenium Falcon joke yet?

At any rate, aside from the cover (which has stunningly little to do with the contents of the issue, much like almost every Marvel cover of the last five years), this was a fun little read, like it is every month, lately.

Young Avengers #6: "The Wiccan" is easily the worst codename ever. No, wait, "Stature" is. God, I guess the good names really are all taken.

You know, though, I really dig the name "Hawkingbird." They toss that one aside like it's a terrible codename, but they let the growing girl go by "Stature"? Christ, kids these days.

And if that's the biggest thing I took away from a book, you know I was kind of bored.

Not Rann/Thanagar Bored, mind you, but more bored with this book than I was last month.

Ultimate X-Men Annual #1: Hah, I was going to guess that Tom Raney would draw Professor X to look just like Henry Bendix, but I didn't think Xavier'd show up in this issue and didn't want to look silly. But here we are.

We get a nice little standalone issue here, a Rogue/Gambit/Juggernaut story that doesn't turn out well for anyone involved. We also learn that Ultimate Juggernaut had never run into any crazy mystic gems 'til now and his mutant power is apparently "being unstoppable." So I'd guess he's also not Professor X's brother, though he is still named "Cain."

This one felt more essential than the Ultimates Annual, I suppose because it moved forward a couple plot points from the main book, as opposed to introducing entirely new ones.

Batman #644: Apparently, the rest of the Goddamned world read this last week, because I've been sifting through various and sundry fanboy heart attacks for a few days now, all talking about "playing God" and "Leslie wouldn't do that!" and one guy demanding Bill Willingham be fired. I'm assuming anyone who'd be pissed about this one read it already, so I'm not invisotexting anything. Leslie Thompkins, longtime Batman supporting cast member, withheld medical treatment from the Spoiler last year, in effect letting her die.

This is enough to get a million pairs of panties in a bunch, if all the bitching I've read is any indication.

Look, they could've had Leslie freaking shoot Spoiler in the face, on panel, and I wouldn't have cared all that much. Her reasoning was actually pretty sound: she wanted Bruce Wayne to hang it up and stop letting kids dress up in fetish suits to punch purse snatchers in the face while bantering wittily.

Fine, I can buy that. I can't buy her pulling a gun and telling Bruce to shoot her, though, that's kind of silly. And Bruce telling her to never go back to America's a little crazy. Arguably the least-crazy "a little crazy" thing Bats has done in the last few months, though.

And I still don't care about Black Mask. Sorry.

Before I get to the Flash, an aside: Jesus Christ, every time I turn the page and see the terrifying full-page spot for Supergirl with the huge freaking eyes, I get scared. Like, I honestly wince. That shit's like a Child of the Corn, man.

Flash #225: Last issue for Geoff Johns. Which is sad, because this has been a really good run. I've really got no complaints about this issue, actually. Weird, I know. I mean, if anything I figured out how it was going to end a couple pages in, but I was still glad to see things work out the way they did.

Actually, wait, one complaint, I'd love to see Wally solve a major problem without another Flash helping him out. That'd be nice.

But, yeah, overall, good read, and I'm sorry to see Johns go, because, barring a miracle, that's it for me reading the book.

JLA Classified #11: Oh, thank God, a Justice League story where they're all getting along. Where there's no conspiracy or mystery or dissension in the ranks. Where the Justice League coming together won't end in a freaking fistfight between members. Honestly, this could be the worst story ever (it's not, and that helps), and I'd just be overjoyed to read a League-Circa-Morrison story.

Astonishing X-Men #12: I'd love Wolverine if he just showed up in this book. He's got the best line of the month by a wide margin here, and it's been like that almost every issue.

Anyway, White Queen's mysterious conversation partner's revealed, and I'm so, so glad it wasn't Magneto or Apocalypse or something.

Oh, and the X-Men fight Sentinels. It went exactly how that fight has always gone. Those Sentinels sure are clever. God.

Hey, Cyclops has his first real moment of character development in God knows how long by realizing the professor's kind of an asshole instead of doing his usual sucking-the-professor's-unfeeling-dick routine that he's been pulling for, oh, forty years. That was nice.

Runaways #7: I kind of like getting issues of Runaways a week apart. If only there was a way to do that without having to buy it on re-order.

Brian Vaughan must have a love for characters that only pop up in crap like Lethal Foes of Spider-Man ten years ago, because this issue features the Swarm. The Swarm! Nazi scientist made of bees! Wearing a little cape and somehow having eyes and teeth! And a cape! I love the Swarm!

This book could be nothing more than a repository of characters I'd thought at some point or another that I'd never see again, and I'd still get it every month. I mean, I have a reasonable expectation of a Stegron the Dinosaur Man appearance, here. It's like when Gail Simone was on Deadpool/Agent X: a really entertaining story and enough appearances by characters I had every reason to think of as dead that it was like the best Who's Who ever.

I mean, the Swarm! He's made of bees! Your firearms are useless!


Tom Foss said...

Well, even in Kesel's run, Superboy had issues with Kryptonite. Of course, he also had problems with energy (he wasn't invulnerable to fire or lightning). Meanwhile, Superman is officially no more susceptible to magic than any normal person, so why should Superboy, even the Kesel cloned-from-a-normal-person Superboy, be less susceptible to magic?

Besides, even Kesel allowed for the possibility that Superboy's powers would change as he aged.

Jon said...

I just assumed Superboy had enough Kryptonian DNA to take a hit from Kryptonite, or it was psychosomatic, like when Superman went to crap because the White Martians made him think he was getting a Kryptonite whammy back in JLA 1-4 (side note: I still don't get why they didn't just, you know, get actual Kryptonite. Or mind-control the JLA like they were doing everyone else).

As for magic, that's always been played as one of the things that can really do a number on Superman. The old list was Kryptonite, magic and vampires, though, if I remember correctly, Jeph Loeb had Dracula or somebody bite Superman and blow up from all the solar energy in his blood. Anyway, the vampires could pierce Superman's skin because they were magical/demonic in origin.

In this issue, a magic blast hits Superboy so hard it causes him to freakin' puke when he hits the ground and he needs to be carried off the scene, doubled over. Leads me to believe that he's picked up Superman's "not only is magic one of the few things that can hurt me, it also hurts me way, way more than it should" deal.

You're right, though, it would've effected a normal person more, I guess.

I don't know, I think it just bothers me that no one's even referenced the events of a long-running series and just changed the origin of character to suit story purposes. All they'd need is a quick retcon, and I thought that'd happen in Teen Titans #26, but all we got was a panel of Luthor standing around when Superboy was created. I meant to bring it up when I talked about Outsiders #25 a month or two ago.

Elephantine Room said...

The Leslie-killing-Spoiler thing wouldn't have bothered me that much, except that:

1. Willingham completely pulls it out of his ass in the last three pages of the issue. If you're going to get me to believe that the super-pacifist doctor has turned into a crazy cold-blooded killer, at least build the character up to that point to make it a little believable.

2. Batman lets her off with a frowny face and a "stay out of my city." She just murdered his sidekick and he doesn't even try to throw her in jail? What happened to the single-minded war on crime? Hell, what happened to simple common sense: she decided one of her patients' lives was expendable, and Bats thinks it's kosher to leave her treating kids in Africa? Are they even pretending this is Batman at this point?

3. Leslie thinks that if Batman sees his sidekick die, he'll give up his violent vigilantism. But she knows that the last time his sidekick died, he went berzerk and psychotic. Obviously this one hasn't done the trick, either. Will it be "third dead kid's the charm" now?

Black Mask: a crap character married to a crap design. I can't see him in a comic without thinking that the Red Skull's gone dim and had a pen explode in his face.

Superboy and magic: regardless of how much Superman's in his blood, why wouldn't he be vulnerable to magic anyway? As I've always understood it, Superman's not more vulnerable to magic than ordinary humans are - he's just not protected against it, either (because his powers are more "science-based"). So even under Superboy's non-retconned origin, he should still be vulnerable to magic, unless he had magic powers himself to protect him.

Jon said...

Batman hasn't done anything that's made much sense in like three years. I can't even begin to care anymore.

Yeah, I shouldn't have bitched about the magic thing. Hey, in like a week or two, it shouldn't matter, because magic's going to die!