Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Because Warrior had a comic for a little while, that's why

Tasteless? Yes. Too soon? Yes. But you should've seen the six leg drops Warrior shrugged off before he finally got the upper hand.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Maybe he's also a werewolf!

I'll get you up to speed - the Thing's been in a bit of a rough patch for a little while, here: the Fantastic Four have broken up and he just got arrested for wrecking up a big chunk of a city street as part of an elaborate plot on the Thinker's part to kidnap the Vision (only to get his ass kicked monstrously by Yellowjacket, Daredevil and Thing). When he bounced from the Big House towards Thinker's hideout, a juvenile delinquent followed him, providing one of those damned "x-factors" that always screw over Thinker's otherwise perfectly-calculated criminal masterpieces, so Ben took responsibility for the kid and brought him to school the next day.

Said school is where Black Panther teaches African Studies under his dashiki-clad guise of Luke Charles, as Marvel Two-in-One would be about nine pages long were it not for ridiculous coincidences. All set? Rad, let's ride.

Meet Calvin Lloyd Wadsworth. He plays that thing Helen played on Wings. A giant crotch-violin. Or, you know, a cello.

Anyway, our intrepid cellist is on a list of the Ten Most Successful Blacks in the City, as written by J Jonah Jameson . Which isn't a particularly good thing, as somebody's kidnapping everybody on the damn list - one imagines because it's a bitch to write a multiple kidnapping plot where the heroes don't know who the victims are in advance. Since this is a Marvel book published in the late 1970s, the only characters that would ever pay attention to high-profile kidnappings of black folks would be, say, Blacks Panther and Goliath, the Falcon or Luke Cage. Since Thing ran into Luke Cage like thirty issues ago, Black Goliath about ten issues after that (they fought giant monsters and giant tanks, respectively) and Falcon was subheadlining Captain America's book at the time, it's down to Panther to save the remaining Most Successful Blacks in the City (As Chosen By J Jonah Jameson), and, man, did they ever luck out that Thing happened by, because T'Challa doesn't do too well on this outing.

But back to Calvin. He finishes up his impromptu concert for like a half-dozen stock characters only to have a giant bat swoop down at him mid-bow. Which you very rarely see coming.And you see that happen even less. Luckily, Black Panther happened to be chilling on a thematically-appropriate catwalk above the stage, and he swings down on the curtain lines to boot the vampire in the face. Unimpressed, the vampire then beats the crap out of Panther for a couple pages while the Thing waits for a train.

Seriously. Because Thing doesn't have Fantasticars or Pogoplanes at the moment.

Just as the shambling undead locks in a modified Cobra Clutch, Ben bursts in from the back of the house and wings a row of seats towards the vampire, who trades blows with Thing for a few minutes before deciding to turn to mist and once again pick on the Panther.

Seeing the almost grotesque ineptitude of the superheroes, Calvin decides to man the Hell up and commence to stabbin'.Ever wondered what sound a bow being staked through the heart of a vampire makes?It's "kump." Just so you know.

Figuring the threat's at an end, Ben, T'Challa and Calvin Wadsworth: VAMPIRE SLAYER dust themselves off and head home, leaving the vampire corpse behind, center stage, presumably for the janitorial staff to clean up.

Except he doesn't stay down. No, this vampire has a secret.Yeah, that's right. He's a vampire who is also a zombie. Stakes through the heart are mere annoyances to his really, really extra-undead nature. There's a period in Marvel history where they were so damned excited that they could get away with references to zombies and voodoo without having the Comics Code Authority rip their faces off and spray lemon juice at the resulting open wounds that they started tossing zombies every which way but loose, with a giddiness not even approached until the utterly baffling non-stop zombie craze of, well, right Goddamn now.

This is pretty well reflected by the fact that Thing's partner next issue is none other than Brother Voodoo, a man whose entire background is "hah hah, take that, CCA." The pair head to Uganda and take on Idi Amin.See, I wasn't kidding.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A better candidate than Ron Paul

Uh oh, somebody's about to shoot... uh... Jack Kennedy. Or The Smiler, maybe. No, wait, Jimmy Carter. Totally Jimmy Carter.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves - how did Jimmy Carter end up in this, the dilliest of pickles? Well, that's a bit of a story. See, Nick Fury called up Ben Grimm because he found out that Mentallo and the Fixer were up to no good, as is their custom. All Fury knew was that the pair were on the lookout for the Thing, with whom they'd had no prior contact. As if on cue, the villains bust into the Heli-carrier and bean everybody with crazy science robot-bullets that lets Mentallo control the minds of their targets and run off with a mind-controlled Thing in tow.

They need Thing, see, to gain access to The Fabled Baxter Building. One questions why they figure they'll need the Thing given that they clearly have the burglary expertise necessary to kidnap a superhero surrounded by secret agents aboard a flying aircraft carrier made entirely out of bad science and villain-shooting lasers, but I guess I just don't think enough like a supervillain. Once inside, the two make use of Doctor Doom's time machine - which Reed Richards keeps handy in case Thing wants to punch Nazis or younger versions of himself - to acquire Deathlok, lame-ass Cyborg/Zombie/Assassin-thing from the future.

Promptly glocking Deathlok with a magic mind-control bullet, the villains make good their escape by casting an illusion of a dinosaur drawn entirely without reference material and hopping out the window on flying discs.

Cut to Washington, DC, where Jimmy Carter is about to be inaugurated, and the Fantastic Four are there not because of any clear and present threat to the president but because of the fact that Marv Wolfman wrote this story and is given to grievous acts of hackdom coincidence bordering on divine intervention. Upon their arrival, the Four are informed by Nick Fury that Carter's probably about to get whacked and Reed, fearing the heretofore not-particularly-terrifying powers of Mentallo, makes a phone call for some mystery backup.

Deathlok, meanwhile, is raging against his mind control the only way he knows how - by bitching at us through the magic of internal monologue so overwrought, I'm pretty sure band logos were written in the margin. Seems his programming - to shoot Jimmy Carter with Mentallo's special gun - is impossible for him to overcome, as he is a science-spawned monster, or something. However, he finds a loophole: if he makes himself a big enough target, the Secret Service or one of the four ridiculously powerful superheroes publicly arrayed against him might stop him before he can pull the trigger.

So he walks out into the crowd, mid-Carter-speech, and starts yelling at the weak-willed crowd to take him down. Which they utterly fail to do - he gets his shot off in spite of the presence of a gigantic man made of stone, a woman who can cast invisible forcefields at the speed of thought, like thirty guys whose entire job is to take bullets for the president, a guy made of living rubber and the Human Torch within about ten feet of his target.

They don't, I guess, call him "the Destroyer" for nothing.

America's newly-minted president is down, cradled in the overdramatic arms of Sue Storm, who's making like Jackie O, except she's blaming the president's death on the failure of the Fantastic Four, instead of, say, LBJ or the Cuban mob. Things are looking grim even as the Thing lays out our villains, finally, but all is not as it seems.

Remember that call Reed made earlier? Yeah. It pays off. In spades.Reed didn't tell anybody the Impossible Man was pinch-hitting for America's favorite peanut farmer so as to duck Mentallo's mental powers, see, and that's all well and good, except for one nagging point - I'm pretty sure a space alien just got inaugurated president.

And that is awesome.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know

I totally moved at the end of the month - that's an absolutely viable excuse for not posting for a couple weeks, no? Stuff's all in boxes, my scanner's all kinds of unplugged, it's a catastrophe, blogging-wise.

I have decided to break my silence with the Most Boring Type of Story Humanly Possible: A Tale of a Dream I Had Last Night.

I've long maintained that there is almost nothing more soul-crushingly dull than hearing someone describe a dream aloud, but screw you, you're here already and this involves some weird crotch-imagery.

Alright, here goes: I'm watching SportsCenter, like I do occasionally while awake, and the anchor's doing a full-on Owen Voice*. He's announcing, sadly, the death of a Little League kid after a protracted battle with infection in a Mexican hospital. They bring on the kid's father, by phone, to discuss the circumstances of his death.

Seems they have video of his initial injury, and after a standard Please Don't Sue Us, We Warned You This Was Crazy disclaimer, they run the tape. It's home video footage of a kid standing waist-deep in the ocean, shot presumably by his father, as you can hear him yelling "what are you doing? What are you doing?" as a fish swims up the kid's shorts and apparently digs its way into his weiner.

Yeah. I had a dream about a kid dying after getting his wang attacked by the Dreaded Candiru.

So they keep showing the footage, and with every repetition, the fish is slightly larger. Trout. Nurse sharks. A manta ray. Non-fish get swapped in - an alligator. A very large bird (perhaps an albatross, I do not know). Finally we cycle into ocean-going mammals, and I awoke with a start as an orca whale leaned in to viciously shear a crotch clean of protruding genitals with one Iceman-like chomp.

Iceman from Top Gun, mind, not Iceman from X-Men. Though that would be decidedly more on-topic.

Anyway, Dream ESPN is really weird. And I have a tremendous fear of the ocean wrecking my dong. Apparently.

*"Owen Voice," for those of you who don't know, is a term stemming from WWE superstar Owen Hart's baffling in-ring death - the announcers had to articulate any information on it as soberly as possible, since he really was, you know, actually dead. Since then, any and all attempts on the part of the WWE to sound serious (like, say, when they were briefly pretending that Vince McMahon was blown up) are done in what's now called "Owen Voices" - which is to say "as dramatically serious as possible. Even Especially if you are Jerry Lawler."

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