Monday, May 28, 2007

Spider-Man's a terrible roommate.

A couple pages into Marvel Team-Up #5, Spider-Man meets the Vision, who is suffering from epileptic fits (and also excruciating "I AM A MERE SYNTHETIC DUPLICATE OF A MAN" emo, but only one of those things will be fixed by kicking the crap out of the Puppet Master by the end of the story). Spidey, being a legitimate genius, decides to schlep Vis sixty blocks back to his apartment.

The one he shares. With his arch-enemy's kid.

He leaves Vision on the couch and goes to check on Harry. In full costume.I guess his spider-sense would've gone off were Harry sitting up watching porn, or something, but that still strikes me as a terrible idea. That said, that's one of the creepiest single panels of Spider-Man I've ever seen - him all looming in the doorway, hunched molesterly over the sleeping form of his roommate, as if plotting with illest intent.Spider-Man brings vigilante justice into the home.Suffocation by way of a facefull of web-fluid's still a better way to go than Goblin serum-induced poisoning, honestly.

This one's actually the closest to how I figure living with Spider-Man would be:A constant stream of annoying jokes, delivered smugly.

(As is customary in situations such as these, I encourage you to make your own - here's one with empty thought bubbles and one where I went to the trouble of clearing the caption, too.)

It's Memorial Day.

Remember the Alamo! Remember the Maine! Remember Pearl Harbor! Remember Dinosaur Island!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Drudge is linking to this at the moment:

From here.
Now, first off, that's not Hobgoblin. It's Green Goblin. Even still, neither Goblin is in a human rights-violating weight class - they're just petty criminals, more or less, with some dabblings in organized crime.

Second, Darth Vader's more a lackey, really - he didn't pull the trigger on Alderaan, Peter Cushing did.

It sort've undermines their point, I think - they're trying to paint Cheney as a monster, so they throw him in with monsters, I get that, it's just that they picked really weak sauce, bad guy-wise. Should've gone with, say, Doctor Doom or the Emperor, or something. Those guys kick the crap out of human rights.

Oh, and this might just be my pet peeve, but seeing "Spider-Man" written out hyphen-less drives me nuts.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Martian Manhunter's still bitching about the JLA.

From his MySpace blog:

Did they, like, lose my phone number?

Current mood: annoyed

Seriously, the JLA can reform without me all they want - I mean, it's not like I've never snuck in the back door looking like a totally different guy before - but when you've got enough of a crisis to warrant a team up with the JSA on your hands, I'd appreciate a call. You know, make me feel wanted. So I've been spying on them again. Oh, come on, it's not like I didn't spend my first couple years on earth keeping files on these shmucks or anything.

I'm still not even entirely sure WHY they need the JSA, other than the fact that the JSA had a magical crazy person from the future on their team and the JLA happened to run into some more magical crazy people from the future. Hell, I hope no one decides to, you know, commit any supercrimes while the two most powerful collections of people on earth are wandering all over creation on a hunt for time-displaced teenagers. I wish I could've been there when Power Girl, the freaking Chairwoman of the Justice Society, announced that it was a four-man job to go to Thanagar and pick up one girl. Especially since her reasoning amounts to "I want to have sex with Hawkman."

Bitch, please; who doesn't?

Yeah, I'm confident enough in myself that I'm okay with saying that I'd at least make out with Hawkman. He's just so damned gruff.

Back on point, the squad groupings are totally insane. Batman and Sandman going to Arkham Asylum together I can buy - that kind of insane person nonsense is their entire collective wheelhouse - and bringing Starman along at least gives them a lead on the their future jackass target, but why bring Geo-Force? Did he just volunteer to smugly point out that he's got Starman's powers and Sandman's? He's that big a dick?

I can totally understand sending the Hawks to Thanagar - and, H'ronmeer, isn't it fantastic luck that of all the inhabited planets in the galaxy, one of the time-lost McGuffin punks ended up on one that two local superheroes have a baffling connection to? - but riding along because you want to plow one of them just isn't how superheroes roll. Oh, and Hawkman, you haven't "travelled time" for four thousand years - you got reincarnated a couple times, sure, but by your definition, an eighty-year old man has lept eight decades into the future since he was born. And that's retarded.

Does it really take four people to find the one freaking not-a-monkey in Gorilla City? Seriously, just send Flash down there, it'll take him ten minutes, round-trip. By the way, when the Hell did cheetahs get to be as fast at the Flash? And why hasn't anyone pulled Vixen aside and said "you know what might be a huge liability in a fight? Hoop earrings"?

These people need leadership, obviously. The JLA isn't a social club, where everybody hangs out and forgets about their secret identities for a while - it's a control center for crime fighting and world-saving. And they need somebody who isn't a jackass running mission control.

You know what? I'm going to go punch Geo-Force in the back of the head, lock him in a storage closet, shapeshift into looking like him, and act like I belong on the team. Because I actually do.

Once more, with feeling.

Yeah, remember when I asked how Kryptonite hurt Superman? Well, as fate would have it, Superman himself explained it to me:
So my understanding of the comic book physics behind Kryptonite at least gibes with DC Editorial's circa 1993, and that's good enough for me.

That said, yeah, that's totally from the tail end of Reign of the Supermen, which I just re-read for the first time since it was published. It, my God, actually kind of holds up. I mean, there're a few weird continuity hiccups between titles, but that's to be expected with four different creative teams. It's actually a wonder it ties together as well as it does. Sure, it's sort of anticlimactic knowing full well that the actual Superman is going to come back, but the four replacement Supermen are all fairly interesting characters in their own right - Hell, two of them held their own titles for years afterward - and the Cyborg's a decent enough villain, if one with a totally insane origin.

(He's the Mister Fantastic pastiche from what amounted to a "What If The Fantastic Four All Got More or Less Totally Killed to Death By Their Powers?" storyline in Action Comics, who gained the power to commune with machines instead of being really stretchy. He then ceased to exist as a human being, went a little nuts, ended up bonding with Superman's birthing matrix and then flying off into space where he met Mongul and made himself into a half-mechanical Superman clone so as to discredit the original Man of Steel. It all comes together in a neat little package, don't it?)

Things what sucked:

The story's weirdly claustrophobic - the outer DCU is referenced but never much appears, which is a little odd. Guy Gardner pops up, as do the JLA (who get sent on a wild goose chase in deep space by the Cyborg because they're all jackasses, apparently) and Hal Jordan (because his city gets all sorts of blowed up). Lois, at one point, mentions calling in Batman to investigate the four impostors, but the idea is dropped as soon as it comes up, which is sort of a shame.

Even when the story's focus moves across the country to Coast City, it still feels more like we're in a suburb of Metropolis - characters hop back and forth constantly, with throwaway lines about how long it's taking them to do so.

Things what were good:

In hindsight, I kind've like how most of DC's grim and gritty replacement characters were all apparently tossed in as cautionary tales for the readers - sort of a "you don't think Batman's enough of a bad ass? Fine, suck on Azrael for a while, you whiny little malcontents, and we'll see how long you'll go before you want normal Batman back" deal - in this case, we're given a goggle-wearing variant of Superman who lights criminals on fire with energy blasts while evangelizing his recent trip to the afterlife. Guy Gardner is virtually the only character to support him, which was early-nineties shorthand for "this guy is a d-bag of the highest magnitude."

There's an unwritten rule of DC events that states that virtually all of them spin off one thing good enough to warrant the entire endeavor's existence - Zero Hour begat Starman; Bloodlines Hitman; War of the Gods... uh...; Armageddon 2001 gave us... hrm... Waverider, I guess; Crisis... girl Doctor Light and girl Wildcat, oh! And Wally West as the Flash, which is sort of a win; Millennium had evil Lana Lang and the New Guardians; okay, fine, I guess that's why the rule's unwritten. Because it doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. Point is, if nothing else, Reign of the Superman gave us Steel, and Steel is unarguably awesome.

Also, every single time Jimmy Olsen shows up, the cat's wearing a Spin Doctors shirt. Because he had his own blues, obviously.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

What a stupid question:

Of course I want Randy Orton to be my friend. That's like asking me if I really want horsey sauce at Arby's, or something.

Besides, if he's my enemy, he'll totally poop in my duffel bag.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

So I'm watching Justice League...

The second part of "Hereafter" is on - you know, the Superman Is Trapped On a World With a Red Sun and Has No Powers But Oh My God, I Was Wrong, It Was Earth All Along one? I think Dwayne McDuffie wrote it.

Anyway, the girlfriend asks me why Superman's got a beard and is hitting wolves with a sword, and I'm forced to explain that Superman's powers are the result of him living under a yellow sun and they don't work if he's under a red sun. Which, trust me, sounds particularly insane when spoken aloud, but that's not the point. The point is that she then asks me if Kryptonite would still kill him were he under a red sun. I was all, "well, I mean, I guess - Kryptonians absorb the radiation Kryptonite emits more readily than human beings, so he'd probably, like, get cancer or something," a theory I'm basing entirely on the fact that Lex Luthor managed to give himself cancer by hanging onto a hunk of the stuff for too long. Also because of bourbon.

Thing of it is, I guess I always just figured Kryptonite hurt Kryptonians by being radioactive in a way that they were particularly receptive to - like, it was radioactive in general, but Kryptonians absorbed the radiation differently and more rapidly than humans in the same way that regular people under a yellow sun just get a tan - and then, upon the removal of the Kryptonite, their powers would kick in and heal them back up, so they don't end up riddled with tumors. I guess I never much questioned it - yellow makes Green Lantern rings not work, fire makes Martians weak in the knees, Kryptonite hurts Superman; you don't think about it, it just happens. Truth of the matter is, I never gave it too much thought but, true to form, Wikipedia did.

Like Hanna-Barbera's Birdman, Superman in some ways is a living solar battery; his cells absorb electromagnetic radiation from yellow stars (like Earth's sun). Kryptonite's radioactivity possibly interferes with this semi-photosynthetic process, driving the energy out of his cells in a painful fashion.

First off, only on the internet will you find somebody using freaking Birdman as a point of reference for anything, except maybe in a case like "this cartoon is slightly shittier than Birdman." Seriously, you're describing maybe the fourth-most recognizable character in worldwide popular culture, and you're going to name-check effing Birdman? Who's going to be reading this thinking "oh, he absorbs sunlight! Just like Birdman!"?

The article goes on to state that Kryptonite should have no effect on non-superpowered Kryptonians, so I guess it must have something to do with a Kryptonian's ability to process electromagnetic radiation. Still, I kind've like my explanation better than Wikipedia's, if just because I like me better than Wikipedia. You know, in general.

So, having reached no real conclusions, I reach out to you, the nerdosphere, to explain to me how the Hell Kryptonite works. Get to it.

Edited to add: I should've kept reading the Wiki - the Animated Series had pretty much the same explanation as me. Which means I clearly synthesized their thoughts as my own. Tsk tsk, me. That one still makes the most sense to me, though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A sad, sad game:

Let's play Still Going, Renumbered and Canceled! Here's your game card, a Marvel subscription ad from the first quarter of 1992:Poor Thing, having to hoist that gigantic list of comic books. Guy can't catch a break. Anyway, the game is simple: we look at the title and say whether it's Still Going, has been Renumbered (that is, if it's started over with a new number one - I'll count it as being Renumbered twice if it's then reverted back to its original numbering) or if it was straight-up Canceled. I'm not counting books that were canceled for any length of time and then relaunched as being Renumbered - like, say, X-Factor. I'm doing this from memory, so any corrections would be appreciated.

Starting with the fifteen dollar titles (holy jumpin' Jesus, have comic prices ever skyrocketed):

Amazing Spider-Man: Renumbered. Twice.
Avengers: Renumbered. (Heroes Reborn, Heroes Return, Heroes Get Written By Bendis)
Avengers West Coast: Canceled.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book: Apparently they could defeat Death, but not editorial. Danny Fingeroth is the balls at Connect Four, I swear. Canceled.
Captain America: Renumbered for Heroes Reborn and then at least twice since.
Conan: Canceled, moved to a different company.
Daredevil: Renumbered.
Darkhawk: Canceled.
Fantastic Four: Renumbered. Three times.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Canceled.
GI Joe: Canceled, moved to a different company.
Incredible Hulk: Renumbered. Twice.
Iron Man: Renumbered for Heroes Reborn and, I think, three times since.
Marvel Tales: Canceled.
Marvel Age: Canceled, relaunched recently.
Namor: Canceled.
New Warriors: Canceled, relaunched as an ongoing, Canceled again, followed by a couple of minis. Which I guess you could count as being Renumbered if you were really pedantic.
Punisher: Canceled, relaunched with a mini where he had magic guns and hung out with angels, relaunched as a Max book.
Quasar: Canceled.
Sleepwalker: Canceled, almost revived on the Epic imprint, but nothing ever came of that.
Silver Surfer: Canceled, relaunched, Canceled again.
Spectacular Spider-Man: Canceled, relaunched, Canceled again.
Super-Pro: Canceled before its time.
Thor: Canceled around Heroes Reborn, relaunched, Canceled again ahead of Civil War.
Uncanny X-Men: Still Going. Holy Christ, our first Still Going, and we're on freaking U.
Web of Spider-Man: Canceled.
X-Factor: Canceled, relaunched.
X-Force: Renumbered (and renamed), Canceled.
X-Men: Still Going. Good for them.
X-Men Classics: Canceled.
Wonder Man: Canceled. Relaunched recently.
What If: Canceled (for the second time - this is the second volume, right?), revisited a couple times, but only as one-shots and minis.
What The?: Mercy killed, with at least one one-shot since.

Then-newly launched books, still fifteen bucks a year:

Cage: Canceled, with at least a mini since.
Silver Sable: Canceled.
Toxic Crusader: Canceled.
Wrestling WCW: Canceled, unsold copies since purchased by Vince McMahon and used as rolling paper.

Specially Priced Books:

Marvel Comics Presents: Canceled, but Marvel could totally use an anthology series like this now, I think. Especially if they're trying to convince me that they have fifty active superteams in America alone.
Alpha Flight: Canceled, relaunched, Canceled, and, I think, relaunched and Canceled again.
Dr Strange: Canceled, and I don't think he's had more than a mini to himself since.
Moon Knight: Canceled, recently relaunched.
SHIELD: Canceled.
She-Hulk: Canceled, relaunched, Renumbered.
The Nam: Canceled.
Deathlok: Canceled, relaunched (you remember that Marvel Tech line, or whatever it was called? I think it was Deathlok, Machine Man and, like, Warlock and none of them made it more than a dozen or so issues? Roundabouts the same time Quicksilver had a thoroughly inadvisable solo book? Wowzers), Canceled.
Excalibur: Canceled, relaunched.
Ghost Rider: Canceled, relaunched.
Punisher War Journal: Canceled, relaunched.
Punisher War Zone: Canceled.
Spider-Man Magazine: Canceled. I think it came back for a minute around the release of the first movie, but I might be wrong, there.
Wolverine: Renumbered. Maybe more than once, now that I think about it.
Warlock & the Infinity Watch: Canceled.
Groo: Canceled, moved to another company.
Conan Saga: Canceled.
Savage Sword of Conan: Canceled (I'm actually kind of shocked the market ever supported three different Conan books - which I probably shouldn't be, given the Punisher had three books out at the same time and Spider-Man had three monthlies and a magazine).

Then-New Specially Priced Books:

Terror, Inc: Canceled. Begging for a relaunch. C'mon, the guy's pretty much a zombie, and they're shitting out like three Marvel Zombie books a week now. Pretty soon, the covers will be references to prior issues of Marvel Zombies. Let Terror fight Bruce Campbell for a month and see if anyone notices.
Motormouth: Canceled.
Ghost Rider/Blaze: Canceled.
Morbius: Canceled.
Nightbreed: Canceled.
Hell's Angel: Canceled. And sued by bikers.
Warheads: Canceled.
Pendragon: Canceled.
Digitek: Canceled.
Darkhold: Canceled. A note on most everything south of Nomad - Marvel UK didn't do so hot, did it?

So, by my dead reckoning, that's two books (Uncanny and Merely Canny X-Men) that haven't been canceled or renumbered since May of 1992. Good golly, huh?

New post tonight, I swear.

For now, deal with a new logo.

By the way, tonight's Bob Barker's last ever prime time Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular. If you're not watching, I'm just going to assume that you're a Godless Soviet Communazi who hates our glorious Capitalistic Running Dog way of life.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

From Martian Manhunter's blog:

He's really been pissy lately, that Manhunter.

str8 edge 4 lyyyyfe"What the Hell is the JLA up to?
Current mood: angry

I'm not gonna bitch that I'm not on the team. Hell, what do I need a team for? I can take anybody in their little clubhouse out in a straight fight, anyway. Except for Plastic Man, so long as Joe Kelly's around. Who knew that guy was immune to psychic powers?

Well, Batman, for one. H'ronmeer, I hate that guy.

Anyway, I'm sort of curious what the standards of admission are for joining up with the Justice League in this day and age. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are gimmes - nobody ever takes that team seriously if those guys don't show up, and if they aren't there, we get stuck with, like, me bossing Agent Liberty and the Black freaking Condor around.

Fine, I'll accept Canary. Maybe even Hawkgirl. But nobody can fill me in on why they aren't in the Justice Society, where all you need for membership is a picture of one of your parents wearing a fetish suit or evidence that you once punched a Fifth Columnist in the balls back in the Big One.

I don't fit the JSA profile because I didn't get here until the fifties, so I couldn't kick Hitler's groin to powder. Way to retroactively screw me again, Dr Erdel.

I'm all for Black Lightning - anybody with a name that on the nose is okay by me, and the guy's more than paid his dues. And they can chuck any old Green Lantern in there; I don't care which so long as there's some shmuck all worried that he can't overcome his fear of the color yellow. I sort've like lording over Kyle, but now he's been pretty much a god a couple times and I don't know how hard I can screw with somebody that's been known to accidentally create supervillains with his unconscious mind. Whatever; Hal's a reasonably good guy and it's always fun to see him get beaned in the head with stuff. I swear, that man's noggin is like some kind of awesome danger magnet.

Roy Harper's a nice kid, but, I mean, isn't there some b-squad he could shore up? It's not like Green Arrow's dead, or anything. And, Hell, there's another Green Arrow who was already in the League. What's that guy doing? Wandering around karating the bejeezus out of Onomatopoeia?

Vixen's alright by me; I was just shocked the rest of the League remembered that whole period where it was me and Gypsy and a bunch of scrubs. I guess being able to be as powerful as animals is handy, and she's certainly prettier than Buddy Baker. But she's never once sent me a fruit basket.

They don't have a speedster, because Wally went and buggered off to the future or something. But Bart's just as fast and probably a little smarter, now that the powers that be decided that he was more interesting as a whiny adult than an entertaining, if mildly irritating child. Maybe they're just holding out until Barry inevitably comes back again. I swear, that guy's on better terms with death than Kid Eternity.

Red Tornado, I don't get. I could wing some Legos at Gorilla Grodd and we'd be in about the same position as having Reddy handy. Maybe it's super-stuffy in the Hall of Justice and he was cheaper than an exhaust fan, I don't know. I dig how they've got one of his old heads on display in the museum, though. That's just a stone-dick move - the tour guide's all "and on your left, you can see a chunk of Red Tornado, torn off by a villain trying to prove he was powerful enough to take on the whole Justice League. Red Tornado was offline, in a storage closet, for three years, until Batman got bored one afternoon and put him back together during a light lunch" while Reddy's choking back tears he can't produce because he's a soulless automaton thinking about the years he lost because Kanjar Ro winged a Gamma Gong through his neck.

Seriously, though, who the Hell does Geo-Force think he's kidding? Is he even on the team? Did he just walk into the building at the right moment to be swept up in a holographic training simulation with Wildcat which led directly into a mission that doesn't seem to really require two entire teams of superhumans? I mean, were he not there, would the League have run their night janitor out to Arkham with Batman? It better not be a Right Place, Right Time situation, because that's stupid as Hell. Did Superman even have a picture of the guy to dramatically burn for no real reason after six months of deliberation was settled by a massive coincidence singularity in an apartment building's front lawn?

Did they even consider me? I've got all of Superman's cooler powers plus mind-reading plus shapeshifting plus intangibility plus I'm not a monumental d-bag like Geo-Force. Ooo, lava blasts? Martian Vision, bitch. Oh, you say you've somehow gained the powers of your turncoat-dead-not-dead-anymore-possibly-from-another-timeline sister? That doesn't even make sense, you inbred prick. Seriously, have fun with your inability to properly clot, freakshow.

Okay, fine, I was lying when I said I wasn't gonna bitch."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whoring like a whore whores.

A friend of mine knows a kid that wants to be on the next season of VH1's "I Love New York." Yeah, I know, I totally thought she'd found true love last time out, but I guess even Cupid needs a do-over every once and again. Anyway, it seems that MTV's somehow-even-more-shameful sister network needs the help of you, the kind of person that votes for things on their computers to determine what pack of doofy social detritus a woman who Flava Flav shot down twice makes jump through hoops and I want to make sure that I'm a mere one degree of separation from being there personally.

To that end, vote for this guy. It's like democracy, but your vote may actually count for something.

(Yeah, fine; so I cross-posted this with my other, less-frequently-read blog. And, by some freakish coincidence, the Martian Manhunter threw something about it on his blog, too. Go figure.)