Wednesday, November 30, 2005

RETROSPECTICUS

Ah, one hundred posts. So much wasted time. So little gainful employment.

It all started with a post over on the now extremely dead Jonsmopolitan, a blog named after a drink named after me. Jesus, bullets? What the Hell was I thinking? Things were rolling by the time I realized that Wizard is everyone's bitch and that New Avengers kind of sucks. Next, Captain America was outed and Birdman tipped the scales of the Rann-Thanagar War slightly towards "awesome."

The Favorite Costumes list ended in a conclusion the blind saw coming after I telegraphed my knockout punch like a one-armed prizefighter. Later, I complained about costumes I hated, and no one cared.

The Mystery Box revealed the terrible secret of a terrifyingly complete Wizard run dating back to '93, as well as long runs of Green Arrow, Aquaman and Deadpool, not to mention teaching us the dangers of smoking by way of the Worst Criminal Scheme Ever.

Marvel crumbled against the weight of my unstoppable wit when my shoddy Photoshop skills led to Joe Quesada breaking down into tears and moving the bulk of their ads to the back of the books, and we all learned a powerful lesson about growing up and, I don't know, Great Pumpkins when Sally showed us that the true spirit of Christmas is letting Beast and Wolverine steal your haircut.

Thanks for sticking around, boys and girls. I'm all heartwarmed. That could be the beer talking, I don't know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Like Socks for Christmas

Superpowers are, by and large, looked upon as a blessing by those that pick them up whether they use them for good or ill, unless they're a member of the X-Men or are Spider-Man. In that case, they're given to making speeches to no one in particular about how their ability to chuck a small car or fly is their "blessing... and [their] curse."

The thing is, some folks get utterly shafted when they get their powers. Some people are turned into glowing green skeletons with phosphorus skin or Negative Men. But who got did fate bend over a couch and violate the hardest?

Who found supersocks under the Christmas tree?

FUJI: In the WildStorm Universe, there were only a couple ways to get powers. One was through genetic tampering, like those damn Gen13 kids, one was through alien involvement, like the WildCATs or Jack Hawksmoor, and the last and vaguest was the "randomized comet effect," which was the best way to use mutation I've ever seen that couldn't possibly end in a lawsuit from Marvel. Toshiro Misawa, a young sumo wrestler (if you're Japanese and in a comic book, you're either some kind of businessman/mobster, a ninja/ samurai, a sumo or Usagi Yojimbo), was reduced to a mass of incandescent gas by the random comet effect and was placed inside a giant suit of armor to contain both himself and his deadly radiation. It's pretty much the weirdest excuse to get a giant robot on a team ever, especially given that his teammate Hellstrike was also a cloud of gas, but he got a person-shaped forcefield capable of growing a mustache and a penis.

Anyway, Fuji, while ridiculously strong, also had a funny tendency to have his suit suffer life-threatening breaches while in combat (John Cumberland spit through him once, putting him over as my personal favorite Superman ripoff ever). Of course, he had the upside of having an orgasm every five minutes thanks to vibration and Mad Ellis Science, so he had that going for him. Which is nice.

CHAMBER: He blew a hole in his chest and face the first time he used his powers, so it looks like a good chunk of his upper body is on fire at all times. Also, since he's British, he's almost always forced to use utterly ridiculous English slang. That's an extra strike, which is why he's on the list instead of his teammate Penance (female Wolverine ripoff number 5, with the added benefit of never talking. She's actually getting a pass because she was named by Gateway, one of my inexplicable favorite characters).

DR PHOSPHORUS/THE CORROSIVE MAN/BLIGHT/FALLOUT/THE VERSION OF NEGATIVE MAN JOHN BYRNE DRAWS: I can't think of much worse than finding out that you have superpowers and then finding out that you don't have skin in the traditional sense anymore. Wouldn't that suck? Add in the fact that these guys are all* radioactive and you realize that Karma was giving these poor bastards the finger.

*Corrosive Man might not be. I tend to confuse him and Phosphorus.

BEAK: Nine times out of ten, if you're a mutant in the Marvel Universe, it just means you're both attractive and able to shoot energy out of your hands. Usually, the worst you'll get is skin discoloration, or something, but even then, you're a blue guy who can create forcefields with his mind or levitate islands, so it's a wash. It's like being born with the most beneficial case of Downs Syndrome ever. Barnell Bohusk, though, ended up being the ugliest fucking thing ever, with useless little wing-arms and a bird head. Poor guy.

BLOODFIRE: Years ago, Wizard ran a feature on Lightning Comics, at the time a fairly promising new publisher that was about to launch three or four books. Their keystone was a book called Bloodfire, which was intended as a tonic for the egregious lack of substance in mid-nineties books. Everything I'm about to say stems from that article, which I last read in 1994 or '95, so if I'm wrong about any of this nonsense... I honestly don't care. A quick glance at eBay reveals that full runs of the book go for about a dollar, and that's a dollar more than I'm willing to part with in the name of background research on this subject. You'll see why.

Given that a cursory glance at a comic rack circa '95 looked like a list of Swedish metal bands what with all the bloods and deaths and wolves, a name like "Bloodfire" doesn't really stand out until you realize that it was literal. This guy's blood caught fire when exposed to oxygen.

Now, I'm sure one or two of you are thinking "but blood... it ferries oxygen throughout the body. Why aren't his arteries aflame within him?" Good question. See, if I'm remembering this correctly, and I might not be, the whole concept is based on really wonky science. Remember the "lack of substance" mentioned above? Yeah, Bloodfire's creators figured the best way to bring meaning back to comics was to give their headline character HIV.

Seems the government was trying to manufacture a supersolider, as they are wont to do, but the stuff they were using to grant superpowers to enlisted men (no doubt men accused of crimes they did not commit, as the whole "volunteering for high-risk military missions" angle was passe about five pages after Steve Rogers got vita-ray'd, while the A-Team origin never ever gets old) was getting wiped out of their systems by their own natural immunity.

So they injected a guy with HIV in an effort to knock his immune system down a peg in order to get the superpower-granting McGuffin into him, which wouldn't work for any number of reasons. His powers would keep the HIV in check so as to prevent it from becoming AIDS and also make his blood flammable.

Makes you pine for the nineties, huh?

TAPEWORM: Aw, I can't make fun of him. Tapeworm is awesome. Look at him:

Aw, he's just so lovable.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Police they say my mother, too, a fish from This Week's Reviews above my head at night

Thanksgiving went and screwed up my usual comics buying schedule. But I got to experience the love and togetherness of family while celebrating the expulsion of aboriginal peoples from the land I rape daily. I almost went to Foxwoods, just to drink in the irony and also gin and tonic.

Anyway, I ended up at a comic shop further afield than the one I typically shop at (the home of my famed Other Pullbox, actually) and ended up with a stack of stuff that my local shop had long since sold out of. Hooray.

Catwoman #48-49: The shop around here stopped ordering Catwoman altogether because, apparently, I was the only person buying it. Which is a shame, because it's just about the only book in-continuity where Batman isn't a total douchebag. The book features some nice interior art by Pete Woods, really nice if hilariously cheesecake-y covers by Adam Hughes and a gaggle of some of the weirdest villains ever thrown into one story. Hammer and Sickle, Captain Cold, Cheetah, the freaking Angle Man and Hugo Strange in one book? That's worth the money, right there.

Besides, 49 ends with a backwards speech bubble, which can only lead to me muttering "aw, Hell."

Captain Atom: Armageddon 1-2: Damn shame they put Cap back in that hideous gold get-up. You'd think DC would want him looking like he does on Justice League Unlimited, since I'm certain that's the most exposure the character's gotten in... well, ever, really. Anyway, apart from the outfit, the book suffers from two other big problems: First, I'm almost certain no one actually keeps up on WildStorm continuity anymore, and this book's pretty dependent on it. I know Majestic and I know the WildCATs (the former from his crossover with the Superman books a couple years ago and his DC miniseries, the latter from when they went to Skywatch to kill Aliens after said Aliens had eaten most of StormWatch), but I don't know why everyone's afraid of superheroes over on Earth-WS. I presume it's because of something the Authority did since Millar left the book and the eleven year old who decided it was way edgier to have the team drop f-bombs in casual conversation took over writing chores, though. It'd just be nice to have a recap page. Second: That's a stunningly ugly logo.

Oh, third problem: There's no way Majestic's not as strong as Superman.

It's a decent book, though. Even if you've got no clue what most of the cast is talking about.

Plus, there's a flashback to Cap's presumed death at the hands of that stupid Kryptonite Plotpoint Meteor from Superman/Batman. That Composite Superman/Batman Robot is still the dumbest thing I've ever seen, and I once saw a cartoon made by the Catholic Church about how Jehovah's Witnesses think the Apocalypse'll go down. In which Jesus has a castle. On the moon.

Jesus is Black Bolt. Don't tell anybody.

That turned into some kind of Will Pfeifer Power Hour, right there.

Robin #144: Bill Willingham and Scott McDaniel have created my new favorite d-list villain in the form of Tapeworm, a man with a tapeworm body from the waist down and tapeworm-segmented arms. He can stretch his body by growing new segments and apparently smells awful. He's like a seventies one-and-done Spider-Man villain, or something. He could totally join the Sinister Syndicate. Anyway, OMACs, Shadowpact, blah blah blah, the real story here is Tapeworm.

Flash #228: Damn, I feel bad for liking last issue now, because this one's just screwy. I'll never understand how Vandal Savage is a legitimate threat to a Flash. Sure, he's immortal, but they can run fast enough to time freaking travel, you know?

Wally's still seeing visions of the future where his kids are criminals or drug addicts or dead or occasionally being called "Allen" instead of "West." The creepy cult kids from last issue want something from the Flash Museum that's inexplicably in the hands of Cyborg who took without telling Wally because someone tried to steal it off-panel at some point and it's all very silly.

And they're still dropping the Wally's Gonna Die hints hot and heavy, if you're curious.

Ultimate X-Men #65/Ultimate Vision #2: Everything's resolved, new plot points are thrown in, Nightcrawler finds out Colossus is gay, Dazzler gets stabbed right through her entire body in apparently the exact same spot that Duke took that spear in GI Joe: The Movie, because she ends up in a similarly absurd coma and Ultimate Longshot's still pretty badass. And a villain, which is awesome.

Vaughan and Immonen'll be missed, but the next two issues are by Mike Carey and Pasqual Ferry and then Robert Kirkman and Tom Raney take over, meaning Marvel's clearly going out of its way to make this the only readable X-book they publish for a while. Though that new X-Factor sounds pretty cool, especially in light of how good Madrox was.

As for Ultimate Vision, this gimmick is silly. It won't get me to read Ultimate Spider-Man and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to work out what happened once Ultimate Extinction starts up, even if they don't ever throw this in trades like they're threatening (and fat chance of that. It's going to be, what, twenty-two pages? They can't squeak that in somewhere?). That cover's pretty, though, even if it is pretty much a ripoff of an old Authority cover. And another old Authority cover, too.

Thing #1: Oh, God, it's like She-Hulk, but it's the Thing! Nighthawk's in it! Constrictor's in it! Freaking Black Goliath's in it (sporting a costume that doesn't, for once, feature a weird little peek-a-book window over his stomach. What was the point of that, by the way? Just confirming that he was, in fact, black?). Dan Slott needs to write the Fantastic Four. It'd be awesome.

She-Hulk #2: Time travel and Hawkeye and me getting my freaking heart ripped out when I found out who Jen's boyfriend actually was. If you think Marvel's putting out a better book, you are a crazy person and I can't hear you.

Dan Slott and Will Pfeifer are big winners today.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Answer, My Friend, is "Not Much."

Somebody ended up here today after Googling "how much is spiderman storm and power man battle smokescreen worth."

"how much is spiderman storm and power man battle smokescreen worth"

Kid, it's not worth your time, even.

This is no where near as strange as the guy that ended up at the Gutter's sister site, the Drudge Siren, by searching MSN for "kirsten dunst naked and suckin cock." He must have been so very disappointed.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, You Jive Turkeys

Here's hoping Infinite Crisis doesn't screw up the JSA/JLA Thanksgiving I've come to expect.

By the way, I'm thankful for the Day After Thanksgiving Sale at my local comic shop. It will end in me spending money that I don't have on books I don't need. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hilariously Overpowered Characters

I dug the Jenkins/Lee Inhumans out of the Mystery Box the other night and gave it a quick read-through. Chunks of it are terribly dull and the payoff's kind of anticlimactic, but the parts of it that work do so ungodly well. In particular, the issue narrated in parts by Lockjaw, the Inhuman giant dog*, is great. Dog internal monologue = unbridled hilarity, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. Has Black Bolt ever actually lost a fight?

Aside from having one of the coolest Kirby outfits of all time, Black Bolt ("Blackagar Boltagon" to his friends. No, seriously, that's his name) also rocks the vaguely-defined ability to manipulate electrons. This, according the Patented Crazy Physics of the Marvel Universe, allows him to create "anti-gravitons," which makes him fly. He can use this power to enhance his already-ridiculous speed, strength and durability. He can mess with electronics simply by existing. He can focus his powers on one arm to unleash the unstoppable "Master Punch."

Oh, and if he talks, he could break the planet. His sonic scream has been described, with some frequency, as being able to level a mountain. More hyperbolistic writers would have you think he could crack the crust of the earth and rend the world asunder. Hell, Jim Kruger had him yell to Galactus. In space. Where there's no air. And Galactus? Heard him.

That's loud, is what that is.

The only time I can recall where Bolt's gone down (without the whole "he used the Master Punch! Now he's vulnerable!" caveat coming into play, anyway) is right after he beat physics about the head and shoulders to call for Galactus in Earth X. He was fighting the freaking Celestials at the time, though, and that's an unfair fight at any level.

But going in, you had to think he stood a chance. The Celestials are giant space aliens made largely of energy contained inside armor larger than planets (sometimes. Their scale varies from story to story). They procreate by way of impregnating whole worlds with their young. They're very very big, suffice to say. Black Bolt's just a guy with a tuning fork on his forehead, but he's got to be one of the top-five most powerful individuals in the 616 Universe, and that's why an issue can end on the cliffhanger of him flying up to face the Celestials and you aren't left thinking "that fight will be two panels long."

And that means he's Hilariously Overpowered.

*By the way, was Lockjaw an Inhuman who was transmuted into a giant dog by the Terrigen Mists? Is that the deal? Or are there more Inhuman... uhm... Inanimals that aren't capable of mass teleportation and thus aren't worthy of panel time?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Naked Comic Book Characters

I've had a cold for the last business week, prompting me to take a herculean amount of DayQuil. That leads to the mind wandering on a level only comparable to Odysseus or, perhaps, the tribes of Israel. Wednesday, I was reasonably certain that I was hallucinating in Wal Mart, but it turns out that they really do sell an animatronic elk head that sings "Suspicious Minds." I mean, Christ, who knew?

Anyway, the point is, I've been thinking about really stupid stuff the last couple days. For example, why does no one ever object when Ben Matlock starts more or less testifying during his cross examination? Where did Paris Hilton even get a monkey? How the Hell is Laguna Beach Talan getting married? Why are there so many functionally naked comic book characters?

Clayface. He's naked. At least, the current incarnation is. Mystique? Naked. Makes her clothes out of herself, most of the time. Girl One's nudity was a plot point in Top Ten. Martian Manhunter just makes his little harness/underpants combo out of himself. Plastic Man hasn't worn pants since the forties. Despero's been wearing nothing but a tattered cape for years now, and that one's weird, because he used to be fully clothed. He probably used to have genitals, too. Alan Scott's made of Starheart energy, meaning he's effectively wearing a costume made out of himself, if I understand his powers correctly.

Hellstrike used to wear nothing but a leather jacket before he was brutally killed to death by Aliens (capital-A Aliens, yet) in Stormwatch. Granted, he was just a cloud of gas inside a slightly pliable forcefield that looked like a person, but it was firmly established that he could grow the necessary parts for reproduction out the front of him (and that it was "bloody beautiful"), and he'd wear clothes when he wasn't on-duty, as it were, so it's a little strange that he'd just float about pantsless on missions.

By that definition, Captain Atom's naked, too.

Casper the Friendly Ghost? More like Casper the Sick Little Dead Nudist.

...I'm going to go take a nap, now, I think.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hey, most pessimistic boy in LA, have some Reviews and relax in the shade

Light week. Surprisingly fulfilling. Like a salad, but one of those salads that defeats the purpose. A salad with, like, boneless buffalo wings in it, or something.

Runaways #10: Apparently, Marvel was so moved by my constant complaining about their giant freaking piles of advertisements that they actually did something about it. A vast majority of the ads in this month's issue are shuffled off to the back. And that? Is fantastic.

Yeah, I'm aware that it probably wasn't me that instigated the change, but bear with me: I'm all doped up on DayQuil and propped up with caffeine and I'm going to ride that wave into a delusion of grandeur all I want.

I actually invented movable type. And granulated sugar.

It feels like way more stuff actually happens in this month's issue than last's, and that's nice. The kids pop up in New York, the New Avengers show up again, a few cultural references seem to have been thrown in just to piss off Hannibal Tabu (who already has Vaughan skating on ice so thin it's not even fair to call it 'ice' anymore after last week's issue of Y) and that damned Mutant Growth Hormone is turning into the Ultimate Goddamned Super Soldier Serum of the 616 Universe.

I swear, if there was a drug I could take that would make my jacket into an interdimensional teleportation device, I'd take it regardless of the side effects. When I was in high school, they had a speaker come in that told us that his drug use led to him waking up every morning and "puking and shitting at the same time" in the shower. And that was for a drug that didn't give him superpowers. I'd put up with stuff flying out of me from both ends like a Saint Catherine's Wheel if the root cause thereof let me teleport snacks into the movie theater unmolested.

Batman and the Monster Men #1: Batman! Hugo Strange! Bruce Wayne's original girlfriend that set the trend of not mattering at all and disappearing eventually! Monsters and the promise of more monsters to come! Cardstockish cover, glossy pages and fewer ads than Runaways at the same price! Matt Wagner!

Yeah, it's nothing blow-you-away good, but it's Year One Batman, and if you don't prefer Year One Batman to Current Batman, I have to think you're a Communist or some kind of lunatic.

All-Star Superman #1: You know, it's unfortunate that the acronym for this is "ASS." It's going to make the job of people who hate it so much easier. I don't know who'd hate it, though. I guess people who think that All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is clever. It's Grant Morrison writing Lex Luthor as a balls-to-the-wall mad scientist, for God's sake. It's like if Superman in Red Son wasn't a Godless Communist, really.

Huh. Two references to Communism in one update. God bless America. God bless cold drugs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An Informal Survey

Me: How the Hell does Clark Kent wear a cape underneath his street clothes? He should look like a hunchback.
Megan: He's got superpowers he can look like anything he wants to.
Me: That's actually not far off what they used to give as a reason for why people didn't see through his shitty disguise.
Me: Super-Hypnosis.
Megan: I have that too.
Megan: You just don't know because you're under super hypnosis...
Me: Aw, Hell.

And now I'm thinking "what if she's not lying?"

Mistery Bocs: Earth/Universe X

I really like Earth X. I thought it was pretty clever, if absurdly expository. Universe X, though; that one goes off the rails pretty quick. It was enough of a disappointment that I've never read the concluding chapter, Paradise X.

And so, we come to my point:

(Spoilers ahead, if anyone's really concerned with having a What If? story from like five years ago ruined.)

Quick questions: Can anyone explain to me the whole intangibility thing from the ending of Universe X? You know, when Absorbing Man is about to kill everybody, and he grabs at the Vision, and the Vision makes Creel go intangible?

Did Creel unwittingly absorb the properties of Vision? I mean, he seemed as surprised as anyone. Did Vision pull a Martian Manhunter and use a heretofore unmentioned superpower as a coup de grace in a time of deepest need?

Hell, I can accept either version of that, it's just that, at the same time, Captain Marvel was going to have Silver Surfer walk through Cloak's... cloak and into the Realm of the Dead, but either the Surfer or the cloak also went intangible. It's never made clear why, and Marv, with his freakin' near-omniscience, matter-of-factly says something like "Vision made Creel intangible, so we are intangible, as well," and no one questions it.

So, yeah, a No Prize to anyone who can tell me what the Hell was going on there.

Am I missing anything in not having read Paradise X? By the end of Universe, it seemed pretty clear that the next book was going to be more of the same, but with alternate universes, and that seemed to have "train wreck" written all over it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I should really start reading news stories before I start talking.

I was just scanning some crap over at Newsarama and caught that Gotham Central's getting the ax, as is Wonder Woman and Gotham Knights. And Flash'll be dead in more ways than one come January.

While I can't possibly bring myself to give a damn about Gotham Knights, half of those other books are in my pullbox. I'm assuming Flash and Wonder Woman will get relaunched over the summer as part of this One Year Later malarkey, but Gotham Central's probably well and truly dead, and that's pretty depressing.

The general consensus is that all the Wally-killing hints are too obvious to be taken seriously, and that it must be a red herring. Quite a few people seem to think that Wonder Woman will be killed or replaced by one of her two sidekicks (the better money would be on Donna Troy, because there ain't no way DC's going to have a blonde Wonder Woman when the movie comes out). It's all the same stuff I've been reading for, like, honestly, a freaking year now, but the cancellation of their books came as something of a surprise.

And I guess that means DC really did get out of that awesome contract they had that said if they didn't publish a title called "Wonder Woman" in a given month, the rights to the character would revert back to the Inventor Of The Lie Detector.

I'm Reviewin' with my full capabilities, and now I'm livin' in correctional facilities

Back from New York. Couple of LiveJournally whiny points to get out of the way: First, I saw exactly no Three Card Monty. I feel as if films have led me astray on that, as I've been to the city on multiple occasions and have not once come across a shady card game played on a folding table, in spite of the fact that I've seen it in probably eighty percent of films set in Gotham.

Second, AmTrak is incredibly bad at doing the only thing it's designed to do. I've been on two trains that have run on time in five years, now. Last night, my train stopped in the darkness between New Haven and Old Saybrook, Connecticut for a long stretch of time because the engine had broken. Turns out the train's computer had set the engine's governor at fifteen miles an hour.

Fifteen. Miles. An hour.

It took me six hours to get from Penn Station to New London. I could've mailed myself there faster.

Anyway, you don't come here for my scathing indictments of railroad monopolies, you're here for the bullshit about comics.

I already covered JLA a couple days back. I have this to add: they're dropping some mighty big anvils that say "Wally West is Gonna Die" lately. The current story in his book is called "Finish Line," for God's sake, and the final part of that is shipping two weeks earlier than Flash usually does, presumably to beat that month's issue of Infinite Crisis to the stands. There's the long-running rumor that a Flash is going to die in the Crisis (remember when Wally died for about nine pages in Zero Hour? Tradition is awesome!) and Geoff Johns has said that he's not killing any Golden Agers, so Jay Garrick's probably safe. Impulse was the acting Flash in that Titans Tomorrow arc. And no one cares if Bart Allen dies.

'Course, most of that stuff's just supposition and fanboy wankery. Of course, Bob Harras hates subtlety, so we get Wally sweating bullets for no reason and Green Arrow saying things like "he looked like Barry just before--"

It's probably all a giant red herring, though.

And one more thing: God, I'm so tired of Donna Troy.

Action Comics #833: It's not bad, really, it's just that when damned near every other title in the DC stable is tied in to a gigantic event, I'd sort of like the book that really ought to be their flagship to be somehow attached. I mean, Superman certainly has better things to worry about right now than the Queen of freaking Fables. Hell, Gotham Central is tied in to IC this month, and that book barely relates to the other Batman books, most of the time. It just makes this feel like a fill-in arc.

Plus, Dan Jurgens' work on the cover is way the Hell better than Bryne's interior stuff, which is once again inked by three different guys.

Teen Titans #29: I like that Robin calls Batman up on a standard, not-at-all-themed cell phone. That's kind of cute. Jason Todd somehow manages to conceal a full-length cape underneath a leather jacket, reminding me of the debates six year old me would have with friends about whether or not Clark Kent wore his cape underneath his business clothes. They claimed he did, I said he'd rip open his shirt, reveal the S-shield, super-speed home faster than the eye could follow, put on his boots and cape, put his street clothes away, and then zip back to his starting point.

Because that made more sense to me than him bundling his damned cape into the back of his button-down shirt and leaving his shoes inside a phone booth, see. I mean, am I really to believe that he's wearing a pair of boots inside his work shoes? Plus, can you imagine the living Hell he'd have to go through when he has to pee? Unzip the pants, and he's still got boxers (Superman wears boxers. I'm weirdly confident on that point), his little yellow belt, the red underoos and, presumably, blue pants to get through before he can unleash his super stream of justice.

So, yeah, super-speed back to the apartment and change.

What the Hell was I talking about? Oh, right, Jason Todd. He's alive, he's all badass, he fights Tim Drake and raises a few decent points about how there's really no way Tim could've followed Batman around as long as he did without Bats noticing. Tony Daniel does a decent job differentiating two guys in more or less the same costume, and I found out that Zeus is Wonder Girl's father. Huh. That one was news to me, and it was positively screaming out for a damned asterixed box telling me to check out Wonder Woman number whatever, but I had to go wanting.

Awesome that the best single issue to come out of this Red Hood thing is in a non-Bat book, though. And thank God Liefeld's gone, huh?

Gotham Central #37: Basically, this issue's the last page of Day of Vengeance and three pages of Infinite Crisis #1 expanded, humanized and made interesting. Also, the Fisherman got shot a bunch of times. Thumbs up.

Infinite Crisis #2: A recap of the last twenty years of DC continuity, with an emphasis on how crappy everything has been. I rather like that the thing I find most interesting about this issue is that, on Perez's cover showing snippets of DC history, the Gentleman Ghost makes an appearance. It's seriously Emerald Twilight, the Death of Superman, Crisis (on Multiple and Infinite Earths, as well as those of the Identity variety), Countdown, Knightfall, Crazy Evil Superboy from The Insiders, Darkseid (I guess representing Legends?) and Gentleman freaking Ghost.

I'm sure if he had a face, he'd look flattered.

Anyway, I'm kind of enjoying this series. It's certainly less of a clunky read that COIE, anyway, and the scene with Joker utterly destroying the Royal Flush Gang makes the whole thing worth it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'm Not Home

I'm in New York, not at my house. So no updates until Sunday night or Monday.

Besides this one.

Later, then, boys and girls.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quickie Review or How Many Things Are Wrong With This Cover?

This Week's Reviews are sadly delayed by having a fucking life. In fact, a girl is angry with me for doing this right now.

Anyway.
So, JLA #122. More of the Key. More Green Arrow and Black Canary having conversations that are better suited to happen in Ollie's own title. More of the League somehow getting called in even though they've disbanded. Blah.

Here's the answer to the question posed in the title, though:

Two:

First off, Hal Jordan's on the cover but not in the issue.

Second, Flash can't fucking fly, in spite of what years of drug abuse by the SuperFriends staff has shown us.

Back to the girl!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This Just In, Kind Of:

According to the New York Post (their site requires registration and is cleverly ducking the fake username and password Bug Me Not provided, but Defamer gave me the gist of it), the WB is in talks to create an Aquaman series as a spinoff of Smallville.

Yeah, that's right. Aquaman. Apparently, their confidence is bouyed by the fact that the perennial joke character was used as a perennial joke on Entourage for most of that show's second season as well as the surprisingly positive response his appearance on Smallville garnered.

But, still, Christ, Aquaman? Don't they have any popular characters to market?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mystery Box: Avengers #352

Oh, man, that there's a sorry Avengers lineup. You've got Sersi, Crystal, Hercules, the straight-up android version of the Vision with no emotions or character or anything to make him interesting and the team leader is the freaking Black Knight, at this point armed with a lightsaber. You'll note that the upper-left-hand corner blurb also features Thor, but he doesn't pop up in this issue.

Sadly, neither does Mumm-ra, even though he's featured heavily on the cover.

Oh, that's the Grim Reaper? Jesus. Vision, at one point, recounts the sad, dull tale of the Reaper, who had recently come back from the dead as a supernatural creature, only to have his ass kicked by the West Coast Avengers (which, one imagines, made him a laughingstock in the dead villain community. One does not lightly lose to a team with Tigra on it). Black Knight mentions that the West Coasters might know how to beat the Reaper, but they "haven't been able to reach them." No reason for this is given, nor is one asked for. Because it's the Avengers and it's 1992, that's why. They'd just gotten back from Operation: Galactic Motherfreaking Storm, people. It's not like the book was any good.

We open on a shadowy figure on a dark and stormy night in the abyss of space-time. He is, as the masturbatory text boxes ejaculate, "a lone pilgrim" who "has journeyed by means dark and sorcerous-- TO PLEAD FOR A GHASTLY BOON."

You'll note he's beseeching something named "Lloigoroth of the Nameless Ones." There's something to be said of anything belonging to a club called "the Nameless Ones" who has a first name. I'm not sure what it is, but it definitely involves the phrase "contradiction in terms."

Are you sufficently prepared to have your mind blown? The Nameless One With a Name sho'nuff answers the pilgrim's beseech... uhm... ment on the next page, but his appearance is so soul-wrenching that I genuinely don't think you're ready for this jelly.

No, I don't think you're ready for this jelly. I don't think you're ready for this:Seriously, what the Hell? Is that the Ten-Eyed Man's hand? With a mouth? And fangs?

Anyway, the Reaper crashes a plane and for reasons that barely make any sense at all, the Avengers are called in to investigate. The black box contains a message telling the team to meet the Reaper at the caves where they killed him, and they head off, fight some snakes and bats and such, meet the Reaper and... well, you know what? This issue peaked at page three with the giant hand. I don't have the next issue, but I'm pretty sure the Avengers get out of this one okay. Just a hunch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

42nd Street's got This Week's Reviews, he's a pool-shootin' son of a gun.

Justice League Unlimited #15: Oh, like I wasn't going to buy a comic with Ragman, Batman, Gypsy, Blacks Lightning and Canary and freaking Vibe fighting Mr Atom on the cover? Yeah, it was silly, but it was a whole Justice League story where Batman didn't once commence to preachin' about how somebody has to keep an eye on the League, which is refreshing.

And the cover's pretty damn spiffy. I've bought things for dumber reasons and felt worse about them, I must say.

Jonah Hex #1: Self-contained wild west bounty-hunting fun. Sure, it gets a little overwrought, but Jonah Hex is well-suited to overblown drama. He's never looked more like Clint Eastwood, though, that's for damn sure.

JSA Classified #4: SPOILER WARNING! If you have any working knowledge of pre-Crisis DC continuity, you already knew Power Girl's origin. Ah, well, at least Conner's art is nice.

Marvel Team-Up #14: You know, I was worried about how Kirkman was going to drag Invincible into the Marvel Universe, but it worked out surprisingly well. The best bits come from Invincible's inability to believe that someone would call himself "Spider-Man" just because he has spider-powers ("it'd be like if I had said -- 'Hey, I've got super-powers... I'll be Super-man.' It's just not very creative..."). When he meets the New Avengers, he guesses at their names based upon what he knows about Spider-Man and decides Luke Cage is "Black-Man." Which is awesome.

Corey Walker does some great work on art, here.

Next month features a "League of Losers," which looks to contain the likes of Sleepwalker, Speedball, Darkhawk and Terror. That's freaking can't-miss, right there.

Solo #7: Bat-Mite's in this. Streaky the Super-Cat is, too. Robotman is defeated by Aqualad's use of Epsom salts in his hourly bath. The swingin' sixties version of Batman has a conversation with Alfred about how he never wants to "sink down to the criminals' own level. Use their own ghastly methods against them. I can see it now: Slicing hands with razor-sharp little batarangs. Walking out on my friends in the Justice League because it doesn't fit with my image anymore. Being wanted by the police every bit as much as the criminals I hunt."

Forty-eight pages. No ads. A two-page splash of, like, half the DCU that needs to be a poster. Totally worth the five dollar cover price.

Marvel Advertising Policy, Then and Now

Twenty years ago, Spider-Man broke through windows, vandalized some guy's office and shot generic advertisements out of his webshooters in a token effort to make us believe that Marvel gave a damn about our opinions of their advertising content. Today, however:
I'm telling you, marrying a supermodel has gotten to his head. Buy a Civic, true believers! And be sure to pick up Marvel: Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, available on every major gaming platform! Excelsior, bitches!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hah. Strange me-reference.

Here.

I'm the Jon who gets the love and admiration. Apparently, not too many of their readers can place Pixies lyrics (they were from "All Over the World," if you're wondering). I'm not, however, the Jon who questions Superman's sexuality based upon how virulently heterosexual Bizarro is.

Even though that's pretty funny.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mystery Box: Rom #65

Bill Mantlo was saddled with a true bitch of a job: Produce a monthly comic based on the adventures of an action figure no one bought. Well, Bill Mantlo, he's a fucking professional. He took that bitch of a job and banged out more than seventy issues of the adventures of an action figure no one bought.

Rom had come to earth sixty-four issues prior to combat the otherworldly threat of the Dire Wraiths ("Dire" always prefaced their names. It's like if I called myself "Awesome Jon." If I did, I would modify "Awesome God" to suit my needs so as to have the best theme song ever), and this issue marked the, well, FINAL CONFLICT.

We open on Rom trapped in a mystical forcefield. Seems the Dire Wraiths have pulled their planet into orbit around the sun so as to kill the earth and take its place in the solar system. It's all very dramatic and we're treated to no less than three pages of Rom thinking to himself before we see anyone else.

The "anyone else" in question would be Forge and Henry Gyrich. In space. Together. Riding a giant gun. Forge was contracted to build the out-in-space version of an ant-murdering magnifying glass to be powered by Rom's crazy anti-Wraith pistol. Rom, being trapped in the aforementioned forcefield, obviously can't make it to Forge's big space gun. And so we have THE DRAMA.

The Wraiths show up and taunt Rom for a while, but don't, you know, kill him.

This is made more irritating by the fact that the Wraiths talk like they're at a ren faire. For example:

"Come, Wraith sisters! Come, ye Hellhounds and hissing Deathwings all! Come from every corner of this pathetic planet-- to witness the humbling and humiliation of our arch-foe, ROM-- GREATEST OF THE SPACEKNIGHTS!"


Now, I bet you only skimmed that, but Rom? Rom couldn't move. He had to listen. The Wraiths are bastards.

Anyway, just when the Wraiths have Rom right where they want him, their revelry is interrupted. Interrupted by every freaking superhero on earth (except Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. And Thor, but Beta Ray Bill's there, and he has cooler boots, so I won't complain). Don't believe me? Look:

God, Namor's in the back, there. The next four pages show us everyone whose come to Rom's aid, from the Dynamic Defenders to the Uncanny X-Men, and some unbelievably crappy groups in between.

We get Steve Ditko taking stabs at drawing Starfox, Rogue (Rogue looks like she's wearing a helmet made of hair and, boy, did her old costume suck), Wonder Man (this is during his I Am Dressed for Safari era), Nightcrawler and Wolverine (Steve Ditko cannot draw Wolverine. I know he deals in absolutes, so I'm phrasing it that way). Shamrock, Le Peregrine, and Captain Britain in his original outfit pop up. And also these guys:The Sensational Soviet Super-Soldiers! Darkstar! Some loser with a hammer and sickle! A midget with a giant head! A bear! That's why they lost the Cold War, people. We got Captain America, they got a midget with a big head. It's a wonder they never launched a nuke at Black Widow for defecting.

At any rate, the collected heroes beat the crap out of the Wraiths for a couple pages, Rom's beloved, Brandy Clark, kisses him free of his magic prison (much like Onimar Synn, Wraith magic cowers in the face of love), and the earth is saved by Rom and Forge.

And then Rom wanders the universe for ten more issues (and that annual I talked about the other day) searching for his planet (Galactus had hidden it, you see. Because Galactus is a bit of a prick) before finally having his humanity restored in issue 75. There's at least one Bill Sienkiewicz cover in there, by the way.

Also, our Jon is an awesome Jon he reigns from heaven above with wisdom and power and love our Jon is an awesome Jon.

There. I feel better.