Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bear with me while I geek out.

I just bought another damn pack of Heroclix - it was a light week, comics-wise, especially compared to the sheer horrible enormity of last week's giganticness, which is only describable in Lovecraftian terms ("the many-sided pullbox was quivering with dripping, fleshy tentacles; a barbarous, horrible thing with angles impossible in Euclidean geometry. It was a box from a time before boxes; it was made of hate and fear and terror and it was full of World War 3") - and I got to thinking about Stuff I Want To See In That Damnable Game.

Scip mentioned something about the next set having powers unique to specific characters, which is rad times infinity but will be a bear to keep track of, I suspect. But it does open up the possibility of doing some really cool stuff. For example:

Starro the Freaking Conqueror: Starro needs a really boss version of Mind Control. Like, way the Hell more powerful than the current one. Say he/it hits his attack roll; that drops a token (or a crazy starfish pog) on the target figure - he/it then has control over the target until the figure takes damage (and therefore gets the starfish whacked off his face). Starro could steal half a team! It'd be awesome!

Taskmaster, The Super-Adaptoid and Amazo: Shoot them a power called, say, "Replication" or "Adaptation" or "Photographic Reflexes" that lets them replace one of their powers with a comparable power off of another figure's dial - same kind of rules as Outwit (free action, clear line of sight, within ten squares, blah blah blah), but instead of acing out the target figure's power, he copies them. I mean, technically, Taskmaster should really only be able to copy Feats and such, but it'd be awesome to have a Super-Adaptoid aping a different power every turn .

Jamie Madrox: Have him crap out a pog of himself for every click of damage he takes, maybe with different ranges and skills. So he'd have to come with, like, five or six pogs (depending upon his veterancy*) and every time he got wailed on, he'd pop out a clone. Just like in the comics, it'd result in extra guys that can't really accomplish much in a fight, excepting being extra cannon fodder. And maybe Jamie could re-absorb them to heal himself, with a roll like Regeneration's, but more weird.

*May not actually be a word.

Darkseid: I want the Omega Effect to be, like, a guaranteed frigging hit. Make it a power on Attack for, say, two clicks in the middle of his dial, but with a stipulation like it can only be used as a ranged attack and, when used, you roll one die - hit a one or two and you miss, but anything higher and it hits, regardless of the target's defense value or powers. The damn thing followed Superman home once from another planet which I think is supposed to be in another dimension; it really shouldn't be missing Batman from six feet out just because he's got an office chair in the way.

Any other wacky ideas, peoples?

Friday, April 20, 2007

That spread in JLofA #8:

Three things -Courtney's met Wonder Woman before. Several times. In fact, they've had Thanksgiving dinner together. More than once. There're a couple of possible explanations here: Meltzer sees "teenaged girl hero" and writes her according to some kind of weird mental template; the script called for Cyclone, for whom the overly annoying dialogue would be entirely fitting, but Shane Davis screwed up; Stargirl's an idiot who repeats herself. I don't know how much time's gone by between the end of 52 and the beginning of JLofA (or JSofA, for that matter), but we haven't yet seen why Sand went from his GI Joe getup to this creepshow, aside from the obvious "Alex Ross freaking felt like it" explanation. Also, Christ, you think Brad Meltzer likes Geo-Force? God. Granted, the rate this series is going, it'll be another three issues before we see him use his powers again, so I guess the occasionally reminder that Geo-Force is even more powerful than ten Gokus isn't wholly without merit. Hey, I'd almost forgotten that these two were drug addicts at some point! Roy should totally toss in the fact that he had a kid with Chesire so we could cover the entirety of his character traits in one speech bubble. How come nobody ever calls Batman on that time he was hooked on Venom? It's always that one issue where Roy was on smack and beat the crap out of his addiction the old fashioned way - by sweating a lot in a room with Black Canary. Green Arrow could kick cocaine every freaking night, by that rationale.

Also, somebody explain to me how Miraclo is no longer a drug solely because it's not in pill form. Johns pulled the same thing roundabouts All-Stars - Hourman was all "it's homeopathic! It's transdermal!" which strikes me as about as logical as hooking myself up to a vodka IV and then claiming I'm not drinking because the booze ain't in my mouth.

Shame Aztek didn't blow up the root cause of this World War 3.

You know what's not traditionally considered a war? One guy punching people in a couple different locations over the course of a week. That's a series of fights, at best.

That said, it'd appear that the general nerd consensus is that World War 3 kind of bit. And, well, it did. The entirety of the war, as it were, is covered in 52, making the four tie-in books pretty well meaningless, aside from the great lengths they went to to cover all the stuff that I was under the impression 52 was supposed to cover over its run. Who's gonna be Wonder Woman? Donna Troy plays dress-up! Off-panel! What Nightwing are we looking at, here? Well, he's basically mugging criminals, so let's put two and two together! Didn't we already cover Batgirl's heel turn? Who cares! We need to fill space! How'd Hawkgirl go from Giant Hawkgirl to Regular Hawkgirl? Dr Mid-Nite fixed her somehow! Off-panel! Say, didn't we show Aquaman as a raving beardo lunatic hanging about the ruins of Atlantis like three months ago?Sure did! But why not inexplicably backtrack and show him going from clean-shaven to octopus-bearded with no weirdo beardo madness in between?
Awesome! Also, way to get rid of probably the only thing that made Aquaman interesting in my lifetime. Sub Diego was a good idea, I swear.

Isn't it kind of odd how it now looks like Harvey Dent only operated as Replacement Batman for a span of fourteen days? Who cares! He's Two-Face again! Isn't it kind of odd how Batgirl went from Mildly Conflicted to Running the League of Assassins in under fourteen days? Who cares! Deathstroke!

Baffling continuity aside - and the Aquaman thing I could maybe explain away as an artist's error, the same way I'm overlooking how different people are holding Adam at the end of 52 #50 and World War 3 #Who Gives a Damn, They All Came Out in the Same Week - the main thing that bugged me about World War 3 was Martian Manhunter. I've never pictured him being this... whiny, I guess. A year without Superman would be a particularly good time for him to, I don't know, go fight some damn crime, as he's now probably the biggest gun on earth. But no, he builds statues of dead guys in a cave and shapeshifts his way into being an ineffectual politician. Way to go.

What the Hell was he doing the rest of the year? Updating his MySpace page?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From Entertainment Weekly:

Dunst says she hadn't heard any rumors about Raimi and The Hobbit until EW raised the subject in an interview. She says she can't imagine returning for Part 4 without both her director and her costar: ''It's disrespectful to the whole team, I think, to do that. And audiences aren't stupid. It'd be a big flop without me, Tobey, or Sam."
That's an astounding level of hubris, is what that is. You're dealing with a character in a full face mask played by potentially the most forgettable leading man in history, a love interest that half the die-hard fans couldn't possibly give less of a shit about played by a girl that really ain't pretty enough for the part and the guy that directed The Quick and the Dead.*

The only people that would complain about replacing or excising Mary Jane Watson in a Spider-Man movie are the people that flip out because Optimus Prime has a mouth now. And they'll still show up on opening day, provided the upcoming flick doesn't blow to an astounding degree. The movies are rolling on credit now; they've yet to hit the point of diminishing returns.

Like they couldn't just get another hot redhead. Christ.

*Which isn't to say that I don't have an abiding love for The Quick and the Dead.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I made it until ten to six in the afternoon before realizing that today was Friday the Thirteenth. No ill luck has befallen me, aside from the fact that some douche's laundry is all up in the washing machine and I'm all kinds of out of socks, but I'm reasonably sure I can chalk that one up to cold, hard statistical probability and not, you know, today being a day made up entirely of black cats crossing your path while you step on a crack underneath a ladder supporting a precariously balanced series of mirrors.

Wait, strike that - Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters isn't playing at Gallery Place or Union Station tonight. That's... that's sort of bad luck, but, I mean, I can just go to that Landmark over on E or to Rockville.

Anyway, Friday the Thirteenth carries with it a long and ridiculous tradition of bad luck, stemming back from its origins at the dawn of time, when thirteen gods were in the room when Odin up and died, just like Mr Bojangles' dog. Or maybe I just made that up; it's hard to tell. Sometimes, the eternal bad luck is credited to Judas, the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper, held on a Friday, right before he made his monumental heel turn.

So who's got the least reason to get all antsy on a day riff with ill portents and grim luck? Probability controllers. Oh, probability modification - the weirdest Goddamn power in comics.

I'm pretty sure the earliest use of luck manipulation as a super power comes in the corpulent form of Amos Fortune, who discovered glands that controlled a person's given luck. Which he then called "luck glands." Because he is a 1960's DC villain, is why. With his newfound power to screw with chance, he dressed some thugs up as playing cards and got his tubby ass destroyed by the JLA, all while wearing a truly boss bathrobe.I think he's actually mentally quoting himself in the second panel, there. That's meta as all Hell, is what that is.

Scarlet Witch came next - technically, her hex bolts raise the probability of bad things happening to their targets, but they're generally used as what I call "Deus Ex Machbeamas," which is to say, "beams that do whatever the Christ the writer needs them to do." See also: half the shit that Doctor Strange shoots out of his hands, Doctor Fate's entire set of powers, Silver Surfer's whole freaking career.

Geoff Johns, as he is wont to do, tied her powers into the rarely-seen cosmic being The In-Betweener, specifically the darker half of his black-and-white-cookie-like personage. She could manipulate his entire being, see, because she 'weaves chaos,' or somesuch malarky. And then she used her probability manipulation abilities to retroactively remove the mutations of something like two thirds of all mutants on earth after destroying the Avengers and casting a worldwide illusion. Because she... could do that the whole time, I guess.

Marvel's also got Roulette (a Hellion who chucked luck-screwing discs at people - it's really no wonder that team got reamed by Sentinels and Bishop's lame archenemy, considering their biggest gun was freaking James Proudstar), Longshot (who couldn't modify his luck enough to stop being forever associated with Goddamn Mojo, thus perennially relegating him to the D-list) and Domino (whose powers were so utterly secondary to her character that she was successfully replaced with a character dressed as her who had no luck-based powers whatsoever for over a year's worth of comics). Oh, and Black Cat, but she could only do bad luck. Uncontrollably. Which strikes me as a lame power to have when you're, you know, evading gunfire and security systems.

DC's only other significant entrant in this field is Major Disaster, who actually uses his powers properly, hitting people with asteroids and stuff - though I guess if I'm putting him here, I've got to include X-Factor's Layla Miller.

Whatever, I'm off to the movies. Hope nobody broke a mirror with a cat or anything.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I don't smoke:

In spite of being a gigantic teenage rebel at the age of 24, I somehow never took up smoking. This is unusual, given my love of walking out of parties and standing out in the cold while doing things that could conceivably kill me.

What stopped me? Freaking Superman. Sure, these ads aired when I was but a tiny Jon, perhaps one egg wide - and sure, I think they only aired on the other side of the Atlantic - and sure, I've linked to one of them before - but I'm reasonably sure I can credit my smoke-free lungs to the mere existence of these PSAs.

Meet Nick O'Teen, cigarette enthusiast and rad themed hat aficionado. His evil scheme? Getting irritating British tots to smoke. His weapon? Lies.
I rather like how Superman beats O'Teen by crushing his cigarettes and shaming him offstage by revealing his nightmarish halitosis. Nick gets off freaking light, man.

Superman hates repeat offenders, though.

Yeah. He threw that guy into orbit. Don't give kids cigarettes, people.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

On the third day, He rose again --

Now Batman has a beard that isn't going to get murdered by David Cain, and it's conveniently built right into his mask.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Questions I want answers to:

  • If Namor's the prince of Atlantis - and he is, because he never shuts up about it - who the Hell is the king? Is there some kind of crazy underwater order of succession I'm not privy to that prevents him from making it to kingship?
  • Did anyone else hit the page in Justice League whereupon the name of their new Danger training room is revealed think "oh, God, don't say 'if you can't stand the heat' OH GOD SHE DID SAY 'IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT'" or was that just me?
  • Did Michael Turner only read that above-mentioned page of Justice League before doing his cover?
  • Who the Hell thought it was a good idea to build a training ground for untested super-powered teenagers on the site of a catastrophe involving untested super-powered teenagers (and also an F-list Captain Marvel villain)?
  • Anyone from Connecticut absolutely flummoxed by Stanford's massive fictional import? Is this what people from Rutland, Vermont felt like from, oh, '67 to about '75?
  • When the Christ did the One Year Later parts of Battle for Bludhaven happen, keeping in mind that that particular Teen Titans lineup has done nothing but run around the world recruiting characters that didn't appear in BFB pretty much nonstop since the jump?*
  • How weirdly coincidental is it that a not-a-metahuman would spawn a metahuman with powers that match his dad's freaking costume? Isn't that taking Weird Power Internalization an insane step beyond where it already is to a world where putting on a catsuit for forty years modifies your seed enough to produce werecats?
  • Why does DC let anyone but Jeff Smith handle Captain Marvel?
  • Why does Google think this site is a Sara Tommasi Video fan club? Subquestion: who's Sara Tommasi? I'd Google her, but that apparently would put me in a vicious circle where I'd end up back here.

*Yeah, that's not exactly current, but screw you, it's been bugging me for almost a year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007