Friday, December 29, 2006

Who Will Step Forward?

So here's your discussion topic: What existing character will emerge from nowhere to become a major player in 2007? For '06, I'd say both the Question (who hadn't been seen that often in the DCU) and Nova would be examples. Since I don't know the DCU that well, I'm going to stick to Marvel and predict the emergence of...

The Guardians of the Galaxy. I'd say that the effects of Annihilation, combined with all the reality-warping that's been going on the last couple years, is going to bring them to this time trying to figure out what the heck is going on. They had a member named Starhawk (or was it Aleta? I think they were combined? Whatever) who was called the "One Who Knows", so I'm sure the reality shifts didn't go unnoticed by him/her.

As for a villain, I'm going to suggest the Sphinx or Diablo, just because it's been awhile since we've seen either one of them, and I think some of the recent events should interest them both.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What I Bought 12/28/06

So I'm going on vacation tomorrow. I'll be back next Thursday, to do reviews of that week's haul. Probably be pretty light, but what can you do? I'll put up another post, either before I go to bed tonight, or before I leave in the morning. Hopefully, it'll be a nice discussion topic to keep you occupado while I'm gone. But until then, let's hit the books of the final week of 2006!

Annihilation #5 - I've just read this a second time through, and I feel like hopping up and down in one place, this has me so fired up for the conclusion. Nova's own "suicide squad" is getting closer to Annihilus, with a little help from some SpaceKnights and someone that, well, it makes perfect sense he'd fight Annihilus. Drax realizes he may have been a bit hasty in killing Thanos.

OK, he doesn't realize that, but he does listen to Moondragon when she tells him they needed a Thanos-level power to free Galactus. Fortunately, there just happens to be another one of those nearby. And it is on now. In the meantime, Ronan, Super-Skrull, and Praxagora are attempting to oust the House of Fiyero as rulers of the Kree, enabling the Empire to get back in the war. The only problem is, things are much worse than they thought. Whatever, Ronan isn't having any of it. About two months ago, I said that Ronan looked kind of weak in his first go-round with Ravenous. This time, he aimed to show what the Supreme Accuser can do, and all I can say is damn.

The Kree Empire just got a lot more interesting. 5.0 out of 5. Also, lest I forget, I like Andrea DiVito's art. It's very active, clean, works well for fight scenes. Props also to colorist Laura Villari, as everything looks vibrant.

Blue Beetle #10 -As part of my "Find a New DC Book" quest, I turn to another Keith Giffen book. So Jamie needs to find Brenda, who has Boom Tubed somewhere... not safe. There's little alien fellas there, and they seem interested in Brenda, which can never be a good thing. Jamie powers up, and communicates with the Mother Box, and away we go.

There's all kinds of traps on this planet though, as well as a "Citadel of Evil", and a guy called Lonar who looks a lot like Conan. One way or the other it all seems to be tying into New Genesis, which I'm sure means Darkseid will be showing up eventually, because doesn't that kind of stuff always turn back to him? The issue ends on the cusp of a classic "misunderstanding battle", so that ought to be fun. I didn't dig this as much as Shadowpact last week, but not bad. I'll be back next month to see where it goes. 3.6 out of 5.

Exiles #89 - Funny, this book kept not showing up on lists of books being released this week, but Marvel's website said it would be here, and it was. So what do we got? Well, the Exiles start off against the Sinister Six, to save Jonah Jameson. Kinda weird. Blink gets hurt, so it's off to the infirmary with her, which brings us to injured Exile Thunderbird, and we head off into his dreams. It doesn't start off too cheery, but by the end the dreams are going pretty well, so that's nice. Smiles are good.

In the meantime, Heather is concerned about Morph (who is really Proteus who thinks he's Morph, if you recall), and the fact that Proteus didn't show a vulnerability to metal in Morph's body. I thought metal only hurt him in his energy state, but given that he isn't burning out Morph's body, and thus might never be back to an energy state, it's probably a valid concern to have. But the Exiles have realities to save, so it's back to work, even as things start to get kind of ominous. About the time that Morph speaks in a Scottish accent, I start to wonder if that and a series of rapidly failing realities aren't connected somehow. Have to wait and see I guess. It's a nice enough one-and-done, I think it lays groundwork for future issues, and it was fun, so what more do I want? 4.3 out of 5.

Immortal Iron Fist #2 - Judging by this issue, Danny's only scratched the surface of what he could do with the Iron Fist. Of course, Danny doesn't know that, as he's spending most of the issue trying to recuperate from the beating Mecha-Gorgon gave him last issue, so something for another time then. Good time to have friends, though I wonder if Misty Knight can still be considered among those ranks.

The other plot deals with the elderly Mr. Randall entering the country, and being immediately hassled by Chinese-speaking fake cops. Which leads to face-kicking, car-wrecking, and a whole lot worse, all of which Danny becomes highly aware of about the time his right fist starts spasming like crazy. Kind of takes your mind off HYDRA's impending hostile corporate takeover. I'm much more down with David Aja's art than I was previously, as I feel he does an especially nice job with the facial expressions, and Brubaker and Fraction are giving us an interesting little story. Besides, 'Oh! My name is Daniel Rand. I am Iron Fist and I know kung fu. Hi-Yahh.' is classic. Just great stuff. 4.8 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Effects Of Alcoholism On Memory

Well, it's been awhile, but it's time once again to mock Tony Stark for Civil War-related comments. This offering is from that delightful Civil War:Casualties of War dealie Marvel provided while they gently prod Millar and McNiven, and ask them to please try to work a little faster, if it isn't too much trouble? After all, how can Marvel begin their next big event, if this one hasn't ended yet?

But I digress.

Stark and Cap are trying to hash things out, and the conversation inevitably turns to Stamford. Cap points out that Nitro was to blame, not the New Warriors (thank you Captain America). Stark rebuts that they were doing it for ratings. Cap counters that they were still doing good, even if not in the most noble way possible. Then Stark says they were reckless, that they shouldn't have engaged Nitro so near a school, and that Captain America would never have attacked in such a populated area.

Sigh. First off, Stark's right; Cap would never fight a super-villain in a populated area - except for all the times he's fought a super-villain in a populated area before. As Tom at the store pointed out 'Criminals like to rob banks. Banks tend to be in populated areas.' I'd disagree only because criminals at Marvel no longer commit crimes, they only attempt to gain bloody revenge on the heroes, but that's small potatoes. Secondly, did it occur to Tony that the reason Nitro and his cronies were hiding in Stamford was because there were lots of people around? They want the heroes to be cautious and worried about bystanders, so that their chances of victory improve. Thirdly, you're going to tell me the Avengers have never just barged into a situation without totally understanding everything? Yes, the Warriors didn't know Nitro was on the Mutant Growth Hormone, which amplified his powers to the city-destroying levels he demonstrated. Now would Mr. Stark like to explain to the rest of the class how he would have known that, had it been the New Avengers there?

For the record, I'm pretty sure Cap brings up the last point - that it could just as easily have been them - or maybe Stark does it himself. Anything's possible. Still, Tony's being a bit of an idiot to argue that "good" heroes never fight in populated areas. Sure, if he has a chance, Spidey tends to try and draw his enemies to abandoned buildings, or empty construction sites, but that isn't always an option. And it's not a terribly good idea to wait for the villains to move, because by then they're usually causing mayhem.

I feel better.

One last thing. Tony Stark originally kicked off his Armor Wars because his technology had been stolen and sold to any number of villains. And so he ran around, trashing all the armors, and making a big stink of things. What's going to happen when the government demands Iron Man armors for SHIELD troops? I'd say Stark's in too deep to back out, given the portrayal of the government in Civil War, he'd probably be thrown in the Negative Zone if he disobeyed. So when the time comes, and an armored-up SHIELD agent kills the Falcon (or Daredevil, or Luke Cage, or Dagger), is Tony going to go on another rampage? Or is he just going to sigh, and die a little bit more inside?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Like A Fine Wine...

Wolverine's getting better with age.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Like a two-day old steak, Wolverine's getting tougher with age.

Nowadays, Wolverine can have his flesh roasted off his bones by Nitro - and I mean all his flesh - and be good as new (physically) in an hour or two. But once upon a time, he wasn't nearly as Wile E. Coyote-ish. You could stab him, burn him, maybe beat on him some (OK, a lot), and it would take issues for him to recover completely. In the meantime, he'd be hobbled, trying to get by with a body that was less than whole.

Of course, that didn't prevent him from still getting into fights with things like Nimrod, but nobody ever said Logan had much common sense.

The best explanation I can come up with is that when Apocalypse reattached Adamantium to Wolverine, he went ahead and amped his healing factor up. The tougher he is to kill, the better a Horseman he makes, and the abilities are already there. It's just a matter of goosing them up a little (or a lot).

Of course, the "really fast healing Logan" phenomenon is more recent than that, now that I recall it taking about five or six issues for one eye to finish regrowing, around issues 160-165 of his previous series. He had the metal back by then, so I guess that's another theory out the window.

So is his greater resistance to damage a result of writers thinking that's the best way to tell good Wolverine stories? The more damage he's dealt, the better it'll be? Or is it a case of the writers just feeling kind of silly? They've got a toy they can subject to almost anything, because they can argue that it can bounce back from all of it.

Oh, and I guess I should mention all the posts are labeled now, for what that's worth. And I hope you had a Merry Christmas, or at least a nice Sunday and Monday, if you are not of the Christmas-celebrating persuasion.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ideas For The Hospital Halloween Party

So I'm watching House last night, eagerly awaiting the scene when Wilson finds House lying next to a pool of vomit (after mixing booze with pills he swiped using a dead man's subscription), but first, I had to sit through Cameron getting on her soapbox to bitch at Wilson.

And then it occurred to me. Dr. Cameron is Batman. Never any fun, always looking down on other people, and criticizing their mistakes, assuming that she is some sort of moral compass for everyone. Just a regular rain cloud. You'd never invite her to a party. I had always figured House for that role, given that he's always right, but really, he's much more Green Arrow. Cranky bluster hiding a generally good exterior. Very outspoken with his opinions, and not above resorting to name calling if he doesn't get what he wants.

Based on that line of reasoning, Dr. Chase is probably the Blue Beetle, or some other slaughtered member of the Giffen/DeMatteis League. Tries hard, feels kind of overwhelmed, seems to take the brunt of the abuse from his cranky overlords, rarely gets a moment in the Sun.

I'm not sure about the others. Cuddy's must be Black Canary, since she's one of the only ones who can rein House in and... I don't know. I've kind of run out of steam. If you can finish up, or feel differently, by all means, chime in. As for me, I'm probably going to be incommunicado for the nest two days. I might be back earlier, but for sure on Tuesday.

Later.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thoughts To Have While Yeti-Fighting

I woke this morning from an awesome dream. It had Sgt. Rock, Little Sure Shot, a Random Important Scientist, an Albino Evil (Nazi? Probably) Guy, and a Yeti. In a snow-covered countryside. Kind of peaceful and picturesque - until the Yeti started throwing stuff at Rock. The best part was when the Yeti chased Rock into a playground, tried to circle around to cut Rock off, and Rock grabbed onto one of those sliding, firehouse-type poles, and swung and kicked the Yeti right in the face. Then shot it in the head six times.

If only I knew what it meant...

- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance thought - In the final level (Doom's Castle), there are all those books talking about Doom's life, and how great he is, and how Reed sabotaged Doom's experiment to destroy him. One mentions the attempt failed, but that Doom's countenance was scarred and must be hid behind a mask. Why doesn't Doom just fix his face with the Odin power? He's remaking an entire world, that should be easy as pie. Then you could start off fighting an unmasked Doom, but when you steal some of his power, his face reverts, and then he get truly angry.

- I was watching the Simpsons this week, and I've been trying to figure out why Sideshow Bob wanted to kill Aunt Selma. As far as "get revenge on Bart" plans go, it seems kind of weak. Did Bob just really feel the urge to kill someone?

- Then there was the second "Uncle Herb" episode. You know, Homer's half-brother, trying to recapture his fortune after Homer ruined his car company? Herb built the baby translator, and it translated baby sounds into plain English. So I started wondering, do babies make sounds in different languages, or is it all just one generic Babyish? Like is French baby talk different from Spanish, or Swahili? I remember hearing somewhere that the younger you are, the more readily you can pick up multiple languages, but I don't know if that has a connection to anything.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Busy, Busy Week

This week, in addition to hugs and applause, Adorable Baby Panda would like to hand out bonks on the noggin. And who am I to deny ABP any wish? So here we go:

Hugs - Irene Merryweather. That lady is hurt and angry, and she nedds a furry ball of cuteness to boost her spirits. Plus, she's not letting her anger get in the way of her job. Professionalism is important.

Applause - Deadpool. He eats healthy while watching TV, and he chose to shoot at electrical appliances first, people second. ABP grades on a curve for the stress Wade was under.

Applause - The tuba guy on the second page of Cable/Deadpool. He's carrying a tuba, while wearing a hardhat, toolbelt, and underwear. As ABP said 'That's flair'.

Bonk - Cable. For not realizing sooner that Irene had feelings for him. {I'd argue that Cable is exempt under the Bill Engvall 'I'm Just A Guy' Rule, and that it was a worse idea to screw with the brain of a shall we say, unhinged personality like Deadpool. Do you throw rocks at rabid dogs?}

Hugs - Rogue. Rough couple weeks for the Southern belle. Ultimate Rogue gets an arm blown off, and Marvel Rogue gets ribs broken for wanting to help.

Bonk - Carol Danvers, both of them. One's just crazy, the other one is just a wee bit out of control {Sure, Rogue's fire powers weren't going to be useful against Alternate Carol, but you could have politely pointed that out. Rib kicks are not an acceptable form of discourse! At this time.}

Hugs - The Congregation. Heck, they were nice enough to call the emergency services for all the folks they blinded, and they're just trying to destroy evil. {Their definition of evil is a bit broad, kind of like the Spectre's "All magic is evil" shtick from Day of Vengeance.}

Applause - Marcus Liberius. He took Ragman's blindness, and earned passage to wherever it is souls go in the DCU {Heaven, Rama Kushna, whatever}. Plus, giving Ragman some perspective on what his role actually is. Plus, by giving Rags his sight back, it enabled Ragman to save the day {And in doing so, kick a person in the face, which hopefully gave Chris Sims a smile. And what could be more deserving of panda applause than that?}

Bonk - The Congregation. For not doing more research into the Shadowpact's actions before attacking them. For blinding a bunch of innocent civilians. For not doing more research on the Oblivion Bar, and realizing they needed a better plan. {Morons.}

Hugs - The Parkers. All of them. It's just been a really rough go of it for them recently, and well, a hug can't hurt can it? I'd say Jessica Drew's especially going to need one {Along with any of the other clones that actually survive.}

Applause - Nick Fury. For leaving, and taking his Slayers with him. {With Ultimate Nick Fury, you take what you can get.}

Applause - Otto Octavius. No, ABP is not condoning his actions. In fact, where Otto to meet the pandas, they would probably beat him severely. But, props must be given to just how completely evil Ock seemed in that last issue. In a situation gone completely bonkers, he was the only calm one, the only one who seemed to have any control of what was happening at all.

So, who would you give hugs, applause, or bonks to the noggin to?

Oh, and welcome to the New Blogger Era of Reporting on Marvel and Legends. Hopefully with 377% less Crazy Cassandra Cain than DC's New Earth.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What I Bought 12/20/06

Odd week. Three books that seem to be "introspection" issues, plus one character, that I can't ever recall seeming so evil. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, cha-cha.

Cable/Deadpool #35 - Well, it's nice to see something backfire on Cable. He did a little hoodoo on Wade's brain, so now Wade keeps seeing people he's killed. Honestly, there wasn't as big a variety as I expected. Or maybe I just don't know what to look for. That's probably it.

Wade's a little down on his luck after Cable basically pantsed him in Rumekistan last issue, and the mental problems don't help much. They ultimately lead Wade to do what he normally does... well in pretty much every situation. Meanwhile, Cable has to deal with the fallout of his and Domino's relationship, as it causes problems in his cabinet. Page 10 give us some very nice facial expressions, which was just part of an overall very good job by Reilly Brown. The reactions of your average New Yorker to Wade's face, the fact Wade eats green beans(?!) while watching Maude reruns. Seriously though, the Bea Arthur thing needs to stop. Wade may be digging younger Bea Arthur (maybe), but all I'm picturing is Golden Girls Bea, and I don't need that in my skull. That aside, 4.6 out of 5.

Ms. Marvel #10 - Nope, she still hasn't earned "Warbird". Yet. Getting closer though. Carol continues her battle with Alternate Reality Carol (who besmirches the name Warbird). Rogue and the Beast keep trying to assist, especially Rogue, who clearly wants to help Carol to make amends for their past history. Except Carol doesn't want the help, puncuated by her kicking Rogue hard enough to break some ribs. Way to be. Then she contemplates killing Rogue, which is Alternate Carol's ultimate goal (one of them, anyway). There's some more fighting, and Ms. Marvel saves the day, but she's not feeling so hot about it. She even considers leaving. How she'd accomplish that, seeing as she needs air to breathe, I'm not sure, but hey, Nova could always use the help.

Like Mike Wieringo's art, as usual, except for his Beast. However, I thinks that's beacuse I'm not a huge fan on this more "beastly" Hank McCoy. Plus, I think he used a coyote head as a general reference. Or maybe a Great Dane. It looks distinctly dog-like. 3.8 out of 5. By the by, who's responsible for this version of the Beast? It happened in Xtreme X-Men, which was Claremont, but Beast switched to New X-Men immediately after, so I'm guessing Morrison. It's more fun to blame him anyway. Gets more people in a tizzy.

The Punisher #42 - Well, it's the conclusion of a Punisher arc, and you know what that means - time for people to die. OK, so that's most Punisher issues, but it's usually the right people dying in the finale. Frank finds Zakharov, still paralyzed. The general gives Frank some helpful intel, and Frank sends him on his way, before continuing his own path. There's a nice two-page spread in that part, as Frank starts to go out of his mind. I know, we're talking Frank Castle here, but it's like with Deadpool, "out of their minds" is a relative term.

Frank is found, does some of the standard "Frank Castle is a unique specimen, and not likely to be duplicated" conversation that tends to pop up in these stories, and gets down to business. "Business" involves taking care of O'Brien's loose ends, which he does with his usual grim efficiency. As to the art, I still enjoy it, and I hope Leandro Fernandez and Dan Brown enjoy depicting blood and gore, because the last page provides a nice oppotunity for it. So next month is the "Punisher versus widowed mob wives". Should be interesting. 4.2 out of 5.

Shadowpact #8 - So, three weeks into December, I've finally tried a new DC book. This is the third introspection issue, as Ragman tells us about himself, how he got his last name, how he got the cloak, so on and so forth. The Congregation proves to be well-meaning - if completely imbecilic - even calling the police to help all the bystanders blinded by their foolishness. How nice, I'm sure Tony Stark would love these dumbasses.

Meantime, Ragman is... elsewhere, dealing with the unhappy inhabitants of the suit. I think I see Ty Cobb in there. Little disturbing that he might earn redemption. Yeah, that's not very nice of me. Too bad, Cobb was a jerk. There's one of the imprisoned who doesn't try to get any shots in, who actually helps Ragman out, and tells him a few things he didn't know about that suit. Probably the best part is he gives Rags a little boost, a sense that his job isn't such a horrible deed.

Also, I know the book's had issues with artists. I'd say McManus would be good, if they could keep him (and he can keep to a monthly schedule. C'mon people, no excuses! Don't make me use the next book's artist as an example to chastise you with!). I certainly like his art this go-round more than the last time I remember seeing it (GrimJack #29, I think. Gaunt's head looked squished). Anyhoo, I'm in 'til at least #12, provided it lasts that long. 4.1 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #103 - May I present the artist used to chastise? Mr. "I Draw 18 Issues A Year, Bitches!" Bagley! Let's get some tangential stuff out of the way first. The X-Men are mobilizing, Aunt May is getting treatment, Sue's working a theory on Richard Parker, and now to the good stuff.

Octavius is behind all of it. It's the typical "You're too valuable to shadowy government organizations to be rotting in prison, so we'll let you out to perform illegal experiments for us" deal. Page 6, the looks on Peter's face, especially panel 4, it's like horror mixed with rage, and it's just awesome. Nick Fury's acting like a jerk, so at least some things are constant in the universe. The Fantastic Four - sans Sue - are befuddled by the situation. Nobody can maintain control, as Pizza Face Peter Parker flips out, and gets zapped, and Octavius just stands there enjoying it. And the reason he enjoys it so much, is that all this chaos is just a bonus. He just wanted to be a researcher again, to do his work. That he completely #$%^ed up Peter's life? Pure icing.

And that's the point where Peter... I don't know. "Grows up" doesn't seem right, but he certainly seems to understand how things work in the adult world, and what you have to sacrifice long-term, to get what you want short-term. And if it just so happens to make Octavius angry? Once again, that's pure icing. Amazingly, against all odds, I am completely freaking hooked on Ultimate Clone Saga. Horrifying, isn't it? 5.0 out of 5.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Snake Versus Mythology

Simple question for today: Kobra (DC version, not G.I. Joe) or Hydra?

Which is more evil?

Which has the better track record of success, limited though it may be?

Which had the cooler super-villains associated with them?

Discuss please.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cutting Them Off At The Pass

So, has Ultron ever gone after the X-Men? His most common stated goal is to wipe out all "organics" and replace them with machines. To that end you would think mutants would be an unpleasant occurrence. After all, mutants are organics that don't require any sort of scientific misadventure to gain the types of superpowers to commonly prove troublesome for Ultron. When you add in that the Scarlet Witch's mutant hex powers were one of the few things Ultron was actually vulnerable to (because it messes with the molecular rearranger that lets his insides keep functioning), he'd consider eliminating mutants a bit of a priority.

Of course, there only being about 200 mutants on Earth right now, one could argue they aren't much of a priority right now. But that really seems to make it the ideal time to strike. Ultron wiped out an entire country, killing a couple hundred superhumans, especially with at least a few being relatively inexperienced children, should be pretty easy. Plus, there hasn't been any sign of Wanda and her hex powers recently (though I guess she's making an appearance this week, but I wouldn't be surprised if her powers are gone, since Quesada probably lumps her into the same boat as Dr. Strange powers-wise), which eliminates a major threat. And, the major defenders of mutants are the X-Men, and the Astonishing group just got taken offworld, Brubaker's squad is in Shi'ar space, Carey's bunch is busy with this other group of hyper-evolved humans (something else for Ultron to destroy, I guess). X-Factor's fragmented right now, and Tony Stark's Super-Goon Squad isn't concerned with protecting people from actual threats, when they could sic Bullseye of Captain America instead. So really, it'd be pretty easy, and it would cut off one line of potential threats.

Besides, you'd have the potential for some pretty interesting brawls, as either Apocalypse or Cable might object to to that line of action, and that could be pretty sweet, given the right creative team (not sure who that would be).

Just a thought.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Less Is More

I'd say that the Hobgoblin is off to a pretty decent start in his attempt to become the new Kingpin (Amazing Spider-Girl). And it's primarily because he hasn't done much so far. He's given some orders to his lackeys, threatened Caitlin Lieber, and told his mole on the police force to find Mona Carlo and this glowing thing she's carrying. There is the possibility he beat Caitlin, but I think it's just as likely he sat there questioning her, while his thugs did the physical work.

And that's exactly as it ought to be. The Kingpin rarely got his hands dirty, he had people to do the work for him. Sure, if Daredevil showed up looking to brawl, the Kingpin might indulge in pummeling Murdock, but he'd prefer to destroy him at distance, just because he could. And if he needed to crush a disloyal underling's head with his bare hands to remind people who's in charge, he would. But for the most part, he delegated, concerned himself with running a criminal empire that spans New York City and beyond.

If the Hobgoblin wants to claim that title, then he has to have the same mindset. He can't spend all his time flying around on his glider looking for Ms. Carlo or trying to flush out Spider-Girl himself. It would distract him from the other things he needs to worry about, like consolidating or destroying other gangs in the city. Besides, that's too high profile. Few people know the Hobgoblin is back, and even fewer know where he's based. In a city with as many superheroes as NYC, it's best to stay out of sight, and trust that your goons are too scared of you to rat you out.

The best part is, it's got me fired up in anticipation for the point when he actually does take action again.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

How The Heck Did I Get Here?

So, it's been a year.

Truthfully, I've been thinking about blogging for something like 3 or four years. Back in the dorms, Papafred was always saying that I should get a blog like his, because 'I had lots of opinions about stuff'. I think that was his polite way of saying he was tired of me bitching about the Arizona Cardinals, Chris Berman, and Chuck Austen. I resisted the impulse for a long time because I didn't feel computer savvy enough to have a blog. But I still visited blogs, especially St. Louis Cardinals' blogs, and followed links from there to other blogs. Eventually, I'd made enough comments on one that I got a spot as a poster over at the Macq Experience, starting with a post bashing Royals fans. And that was pretty much the realm I stayed in for awhile.

But then I decided I wanted to know about the Cardinals' opponents, so I started reading blogs about other teams, and following their links to other sites, and so on and so forth. And then one day, I stumbled - quite by accident - upon the comicsblogowhatchamafloogle. And it just so happened, that this was the first post I saw.

So clearly, everything produced by comics bloggers since then has been a major disappointment.
Anyway, I bounced around for a few months, reading various blogs, and dealing with a desire to start my own blog. By this point, I'd concluded Blogger looked simple enough even for me, but now I was worried I'd have nothing to say. With so many blogs around already, was there a niche for me to fill? Perhaps I'd just gotten here too late. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective), Scipio linked to a post from an up-and-coming blogger, and I figured if this person could start up a blog that week, and have stuff to say, why not me?

And so it came to pass, that later that day, Reporting on Marvels and Legends emerged from the misty murk of my nerve impulses, and entered the electronic world it currently inhabits. And somehow, I'm actually a little bit saner than I was before I started spewing every random comic thought I had out here. I've had a place to complain about what happened to Stacy X, Cassandra Cain, Spider-Man, rave about Spider-Girl and Cable/Deadpool, be befuddled by the not-sucking of Ultimate Clone Saga, and for the most part, I've even managed to avoid making an ass out of myself. Well, there have been a couple of times, both here and on others blogs, but people have been pretty good sports about that.

So that's the past. What's the future? Well, I'd imagine things are going to go pretty much the same as before. However, if I can get a scanner of some sort, I plan to add a few features. Spider-Man: Giant Slayer! is still something I very much want to do, detailing as many of Spidey's battles where he's hopelessly outgunned as I happen to own. I'd like to do a feature on GrimJack's romantic life, if only to prove his luck with women (or is it women's luck with him?) is indeed worse than Kyle Rayner's. The Year in Review posts are coming, thought I haven't decided whether to start now, or wait until after New Year's. I do know that rather than rank them in categories, I'm going to go title-by-title, hitting the highs and lows over the last year. Probably it'll be for the days where I'm feeling uninspired, which hopefully means I'll still be getting to them in March.

And since I'm as bad at conclusions as I am at introductions, I'll simply leave it at that.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Eruption Averted

So I finished my second run-through on Marvel Ultimate Alliance last night. I really only had one reason for doing it - to see if the game really was saying Jean Grey was more important than Nightcrawler. I better explain. Spoilers if you haven't gotten to Mephisto's Realm yet.

Within Mephisto's realm, you face his "son", Blackheart. He's keeping Jean and Kurt prisoner, Kurt having been abandoned there by Doom after he used Kurt to get to Mephisto's Realm (I'm guessing Mephisto gave Doom an exit), Jean having been captured in the realm while trying to help Xavier protect Kurt from Blackheart. Blackheart tells you that only one can be saved, and naturally, each one tells you to save the other.

Faced with that, it was left in my hands, where there is one immutable truth: Nightcrawler is one of my favorite X-Men, while Jean (or the maybe the way X-writers use her) annoys/bores the hell out of me. Bye Jean!

After you beat the game, Uatu tells you what will happen as a result of your choices. For not saving Jean, I ensured that the Dark Phoenix would rise again and wreak terrible havoc. To which I say, what the hell? Letting Nightcrawler die was the right choice? Why? Because he's not as strong or psychotic as Jean?! That's bullcrap!

Thus I set out to beat the game, saving Jean this time, certain Uatu would tell me that was the proper choice and I could get my anger on. Except...

Kurt's death spurs Mystique to infiltrate the X-Mansion, and beat Xavier into a coma, which he eventually dies in, leading to the X-Men's disbanding. Huh. Well, that's pretty significant, I guess. OK, never mind the anger then.

For the record, the voice acting outtakes that run during the credits were outstanding. Reed and Sue arguing over the pronunciation of "nuclear", the fact even Jean knows she dies too damn much, Loki gluing Thor's hammer to the floor, Nick Fury fighting ninjas in the soundbooth, Bob telling Xavier that he needs "to get more in character". Good times.

Plus, Deadpool's line to Black Widow: 'I gotta know - are those real? What? Your teeth, are they real? They're just so straight and white.'

For that line, Deadpool got to fire the shot that finished Dr. Doom. He deserved it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hugs + Applause = Panda Alert

High five! Intimidating Mama Panda is nowhere to be found, so it's party time! ABP has some hugs and applause for the following fictional folks:

Applause: Caitlin Lieber, who runs the St. Andrews shelter, admitted that she gave up hope on being able to help Betty Forest, and moved on. While giving up is generally frowned upon by the pandas, Caitlin has vowed to help Betty through her new difficulties, thus the applause, since it's surely going to be harder to help her this time.

Applause and Hugs: For Betty Forest, the need for hugs should be evident. She needs somebody to make her feel better. The applause comes from her dialogue. Seriously, 'I was reborn as the chill of winter, the harshness of sudden fear, and the desolation of a lost soul'? Pure poetry. {Psychotic poetry, but poetry nonetheless}.

Applause: Grandmaster, both of them, for their little contest which gave us Exiles vs. Exiles, and eventually Exiles versus Grandmaster (singular). The whole "Cosmic beings using heroes as playthings" is an old standard, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun. {More fun than when cosmic beings throw hissy fits and just strike everyone dead. I would have just given applause to Grandmaster of Earth-33629, especially for letting the humans have a crack at the other Grandmaster. That's me though}.

Hugs: Tony Bedard, who clearly has been tied to a chair and forced to watch VH1 recently. {Ziggy Stardust? Loverboy? Poor guy}.

Applause: Ultimate Cyclops. Not for sharing concerns with Bobby, or for being so gung-ho to rescue Jean. Nope, this one is for the noticeable stubble that Cyclops is sporting. {Sure, it's probably been there before, but it really drew our eyes this month.} Who knew Scott Summers possessed enough testosterone to grow facial hair?

Applause: Adorable Baby Panda wanted to give Ultimate Rogue a hug, but was worried her arm might fall off {I think the bigger concern is her absorbing ABP's memories and abilities. Humans aren't meant to possess panda powers}. Anyway, being forced to return to a locale with many horrible memories for her, and then being mutilated seconds later, some kind of appreciation needed to be shown.

Applause: Rictor, not so much for being a typical heterosexual male and demanding details about Siryn and Monet. More for that awesome line about him and Pietro. Hilarious {Probably want to avoid using it when your conversation buddy's drinking though, as Ric found out}.

Applause: Jamie, for his eventual comebacker about Shatterstar. Thing of beauty. {ABP was adamant about no hugs for Madrox. Something about needing to learn his lesson about getting drunk and making libidinous duplicates. Adorable Baby Pandas are weird about that kind of thing}.

Hugs: To the polar bears in the zoo. New York City is no place for polar bears {Unless we're talking New York City in that stupid Day After Tomorrow movie. What a load of crap, and that's coming from someone who wants science in Vin Diesel movies to make sense}.

So who did you see that needs a hug, and who deserves some applause?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What I bought 12/13/06

Mood's on the upswing again. Being done with my Finals Week-related crap probably has something to do with that. Sooo, hooray for being done with Finals Week-related crap! And I've got four comics to review! Huzzah! And I picked up The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born sketchbook! Sweet! I daresay I'm getting better at avoiding spoilers in these reviews, but I thought that last spring too, so you should probably be on guard.

Amazing Spider- Girl #3 - I like the cover. It's clever, pretty, and gets the point across. As to the issue, well "Beaten Woman Gains Super-Powers, Seeks Revenge" summarizes the plot pretty well. The most intriguing thing to me is how the lady talked. She is very much into the "I am a force of nature, how can you fight the elements?" kind of grandiose style. It's cool, she may have been a very literate person, and was simply drawing on that, but we don't know, and it's kind of odd otherwise. *Shrugs*

For me, I was more into the continuing subplots. May has only put the webs on once, but it's already back to doing a number on her life. She's stressed about lying to Peter (as is MJ), her student council presidency run is struggling, friends are becoming frustrated, as are boyfriends. To the last one, I can only reiterate: Huzzah! So pretty standard stuff for a Parker. See, this is why I didn't get involved in stuff in high school (Well, I was in Mock Trial, but nothing other than that). This way, I was free to use my superpowers whenever, or spend time with friends whenever. OK, it was really just because I'm lazy and uninterested in extracurriculars. Happy now? Also, the Hobgoblin is still searching for that item, but now there are some new parties involved as well. I see another gang war looming. Cool. 3.5 out of 5.

Exiles Annual #1 - This book is pretty much exactly what the cover suggests. Current Exiles versus Originals, but why? Well, there are certain players involved, that are manipulating things. Who and why, I'll leave unsaid. At any rate, the current Exiles were planning to help out Earth #33629, only to observe a squad of Original Exiles doing it first. The Currents decide to investigate, and brawling ensues. From there, it's pretty much what you're used to. Heroes are in trouble, opposite numbers are intrigued by the captured heroes, do investigating, truth revealed, etc.

I'd say the part I liked best was Longshot playing the role of Det. John McClane (Die Hard for you poor saps with even less movie knowledge than me), and running around bushwacking the Originals periodically. More of that would have been fun. There were a couple of funny lines, such as the 'The Wrecking Crew: Small-time crooks mystically transformed into an unstoppable destructive force. The citizens of New York City: Once again reminded why they have the highest insurance rates in the world.' Funny, yet true for the way Marvel Earths work. Not bad, not great, and Morph suggesting that he'd like to get freaky with both Blinks? Yikes. 3.6 out of 5.

Ultimate X-Men #77 - I suppose the biggest aspect of this story is probably the reveal on the last page, which was/is apparently true in Marvel continuity as well. It just kind of bugs me, so it doesn't do a whole lot for my enjoyment.

Meanwhile, Bishop is going to lead the X-Men to get Jean back, but Cyclops has to stay and protect the Professor. Not surprisingly, Cyke wants to go get Jean himself, but no dice. Utilizing chronal detection, they track Cable, but as Bishop points out, that can work both ways. And it does, sure enough. Rogue can attest to that. I just noticed looking at again, but a couple pages after Rogue finds out, there a panel of Logan attacking Ultimate Domino, and damn, do his arms look long compared to the rest of him. Or maybe too large around. Something about the perspective is off. It really snapped me out of the reading. At any rate, cue fight scene, cue mysterious proclamations from Cable, cue Xavier's revelation.

This book is swinging kind wildly for me right now. This issue didn't particularly do it for me, though I am curious to see if Kitty does leave. I'm thinking future events in Ultimate Spider-Man will make it a "No". 2.6 out of 5.

X-Factor #14 - That cover makes me think of Step by Step. Or Full House. Really, any of those dorky "Lots of people squabbling while living under one roof" sitcoms. Layla looks embarassed to even be there, but I can't tell whether Monet and Siryn are trying to hurt each other... or simultaneously pound Jamie. Probably the latter.

Anyhoo, Jamie tries to patch things over with Theresa, no luck. Then Monet experiences the difficulties of getting revenge on the particular part of Jamie she's ticked at. No sign of whether she got what she wanted or not. Guido wants to make amends for his crime, Jamie needs to talk to Rictor about Pietro. Of course Ric would rather talk about Siryn and Monet. Either way, it's good "Guys busting each others chops in the bar stuff".

Jamie, feeling like it's all going to hell, turns to Leonard Samson for help and decides to go dupe hunting. Which naturally leaves Layla to do the actual work of bringing things together again. Can child labor laws apply in this situation? Either way, Jamie's plan doesn't quite go as he would hope, and it looks like X-Factor's going to be dealing with another huge, shadowy organization.

Of course, this one is a bit more of a known quantity in the Marvel U. Oh, and I wanted to say, that I fully aprrove of current artist Pablo Raimondi. If he is set to become the full-time penciler, that would be totally groovy. 4.2 out of 5.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hmm, Could Be Fun

I wouldn't be too surprised if this had already happened, but I'd like to see Cable vs. Dr. Doom.

- Doom's one of the few people with technology that could even be in the same stratosphere as Cable's future tech.

- Consider that Cable had a role in the Inferno storyline (I talked about it a little here), and consider that Doom's a bit of a sorcerer himself (has Doom freed his mom from Hell, because that could be a hook if he hasn't).

- Consider that Rumekistan is an Eastern European country (or is it Middle Eastern? "Barjnov" screams Eastern Europe to me), and so is Latveria. I find it hard to believe that Doom didn't have a hand in the troubles in Rumekistan, or at least an interest. That's his backyard Cable is screwing around in.

- Consider that Cable would very much like to unite for peace, and Doom's not going to unite for anything that doesn't proclaim him Supreme Ruler of Earth. And why should he? He's DOOM.

- I haven't even thrown the hilarity of Deadpool badgering Dr. Doom about whether he's really a Doombot in disguise.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dangerous Information In The Wrong Hands

'Just as science cannot recreate the spells Doctor Strange has cast, nor can magic recreate what science has already accomplished.' - Wong, Doctor Strange: The Oath #3.

I'm starting to think that might be a dangerous statement for Brian Vaughn to have used. It's not so bad if the Doc were in our universe, but he's on Marvel Earth, which has Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Doctor Doom, etc. With all the things they've scienced up over the years, someone who wanted Strange's powers more defined/hamstrung could definitely use that to do it.

They've built teleporters, time machines, gateways to other dimensions, so technically, Strange has to find some sort of loophole to be able to do any of those things if he needs to, many of which he has done in the past. Thinking about it, it's a bit like the conundrum the girl in Runaways (whose name I don't know) faces. She has to keep coming up with new ways to phrase things if she wants to use the same spell, because she can only say it a certain way once (that may be an oversimplification, but I think that's got it). It's more restrictive than what Strange would be dealing with, but well, he's Sorcerer Supreme and she's not, so there you go.

Looking at it that way, it might be in Dr. Strange's best interest to get involved in Civil War, if only to eliminate those two before they cut off anymore avenues. Or, it might be a case of where Doc's methods are so different from Reed and Tony's that they might as well not even be the same thing. All three of them have traveled through time, though I don't know how Dr. Strange did it, but it might very well be a by a manner different from shunting back along space-time, like Doc slips to a side dimension where time is fluid, and reemerges in Ancient Egypt. Just spitballing here.

Of course, if these restrictions will convince Joey Quesada to let Strange come out and play a little more, than I guess that's OK. Just give him to a writer that looks at him as more than an 'eraser', Bendis. So far, I'd say Vaughn is an good choice for that.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It Can't Just Be Me, Right?

Boy, there's nothing like the old "Check Engine" light coming on to bring Annoyance and Agitation back from their vacation. They ditched Anger, but must have picked up Fretful at a emotional mixer somewhere. Naturally, they weren't too happy to see Mellow, so that poor bloke got thrown out on his butt. So things are pretty much back to normal.

So last week I was in the store, glancing through an issue of Black Panther that had shown up on Thursday. It's the one where he and Storm get to America, and stuff starts happening, and Iron Man acts like a jerk, and so on. I thought that wasn't supposed to show up until the end of December, but there you go. As is usually the case with Civil War-related comics, there was a moment that kind of annoyed me.

Stark tells Storm to not throw lightning at him, because that would just make him angry. Personally, I think Storm could throw enough lightning to do more than that, provided Stark is even in the armor, and not controlling it long distance like the freaking pansy he is. But assuming he's right, it sure is a good thing Storm couldn't oh, I don't know, create a hurricane to pick up a house and drop it on him. What's that you say? Oh, well, whatever.

Of course, T'Challa loves his wife, so he's not going to stand for anyone threatening her, and he leaps into the fray, defeating Iron Man with the Invincible Ebony Blade. The same one Dane Whitman is swinging around right now in New Excalibur. You know me well enough to see where I'm going with this, right?

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that Reginald Hudlin wrote his story where the Black Knight helped invade Wakanda about 18 months before Frank Tieri had Whitman time travel with Excalibur, so he does have seniority. However, I tend to think that the fairly out of character portrayal Whitman received in BP (which I previously griped about here) cancels that out.

Anyway, I pointed this inconsistency out to Jack, and he responded that more people probably care about Black Panther more than New Excalibur. I haven't looked at non-Civil War inflated sales figures, but he's probably right. New Excalibur has this rep as the book Marvel puts out because it knows Claremont sells books. I do get the feeling sometimes that I'm the only person reading this who isn't doing it because Claremont was the writer. The fact the sales have declined since his health issues tend to bear it out.

OK, so I'm not the only one reading it for other reasons. There's Kalinara and all the other Pete Wisdom fans to consider. They are legion, you know. But the concept of reading a comic based on the creative team seems a bit odd to me. There isn't any writer that could make me pick up Batman, not even John Ostrander, who I owe so much to for GrimJack. Of course, to those who operate that way, reading a comic because you think a team with Dazzler and the Juggernaut on it sounds interesting, probably seems pretty weird, too.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Getting It Out Of The Way

I love it. Blogger says "Hey, we're ready to switch you to Beta!" So I figure, what the hell, get it over with. Then they tell me that some of the blogs on my Dashboard can't be switched for some half-arsed reason or another. Way to be Blogger! Upbeat had already left, replaced by Mellow, but even Mellow seems to be getting a little agitated. Knew it couldn't last.

But, I got a few DC-related thoughts I want to get out here, so let's do this.

- My prediction for Supernova's identity is... The Eradicator. He had weird energy powers right, and he's technically a "device" isn't he, and he showed up the last time Supes vanished for an extended period, so there you go.

- Sure he seems less violent than he used to be, but it's New Earth! Anything goes! Just ask Cassie Cain. She'll tell you... in Navajo. Ugh.

- So why is Wildcat the person who teaches everybody how to fight? I mean, he seems like a good fighter and all, but nothing extraordinary. I'm going to guess that his style emphasizes hard work and intelligence, and isn't dependent on incredible athletic ability?

- So there's a Dawnstar that's going to appear in Justice Society, and there's a Dwarfstar that was just in the All-New Atom? And they're completely separate entities?

- Is anyone else getting tired of the constant "52!" comments throughout the DCU? I get it! It has some sort of expletive-deleted importance! Either tell me what it is, or shut up about it already!

- Persuader? That seems like kind of an odd name for a guy with a large ax. I get how it works, it's just when someone says it, I draw a blank as to who they could mean. What, I'm watching the Legion cartoon while I'm typing.

- I'm probably getting him confused with a small-time Marvel villain who had mind control powers. "Persuader" really seems to fit more with that, you know?

Edit: 11:40:

- That being that showed up this week in 52, The one that's conquering in space and killed Captain Comet? That's not the same thing that was the main baddy in Seven Soldiers, is it? I only skimmed Seven Soldiers #1, but it looks kind of similar to my memory.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Struggling Against Destiny

It's amazing how quickly things can change. As you might have noticed from the tone of yesterday's post, I was a bit aggravated. Just tired, really. Somewhere along the line between last night and now, my typical emotional houseguests (Angry, Annoyed, Aggravated), went on vacation and Upbeat came by for a visit. Curious.

Looking at New Excalibur, I'm left wondering if we're witnessing the Juggernaut's complete fall from grace. It really wouldn't be all that surprising. The signs had been there over the years. Juggernaut tried to help the X-Men during Onslaught (I think?), and I vaguely recall him resisting Cyttorak and trying to help Spider-Man, Thor and Iron Man in some crossover dealy from the post-Clone Saga, pre-JMS days. That also coincided with the beginning of Cain's power decline, which is what's brought him to this point. Still, Cain Marko's switch to the side of good seemed cemented in Uncanny X-Men, during the Chuck Austen run. Even though he faltered during a later Austen arc on X-Men, he tried to redeem himself at the end. However, given that a) Marvel likes resetting things to the quo that was status, and b) this was a change written by none other than Chuck Austen, it certainly would seem like only a matter of time before Marko goes back to generally smashing people and property with no regard for the consequences.

And so I started to think about superheroics and destiny, and how often a character can fight against their long-standing history as hero or villain. Characters often seemed locked in to a path. Spider-Man keeps hanging up the webs, only to inevitably put them back on when trouble's afoot. Batman can say in Identity Crisis that he can stop any day he chooses (he just hasn't chosen to) but we all know that's crap. It seems you frequently get dealt one hand, and you have to just live with it. You can't discard and get new cards, you can't ask for the dealer to reshuffle and deal again. Cain's been a good guy (or helper of good guys) for about five years, but he was one of the greatest threats on the planet the previous 35 years. That's a lot of history.

Spider-Man's had a host of enemies who tried to reform. Prowler, Rocket Racer, Sandman, Puma, Will O' Wisp, Venom, even Harry Osborn tried to redeem the Green Goblin name. With the exception (to my knowledge) of the Prowler, every one of them has since lapsed back into focusing on killing Spider-Man or committing crimes. Obsidian went bad (well, crazy), but if Justice Society #1 is any indication (I skimmed it, but I'm not about to buy another Geoff Johns team book, having just dropped one last week) his return to the *cue triumphant horn* side of Truth and Justice continues.

Obviously there are exceptions. Prowler's one, Hawkeye and the Black Widow were intially criminals, and they've pretty much stayed good since. Jessica Drew started off trying to kill Nick Fury, and she's stayed a hero (I think; Bendis has made things so confusing I'm not sure anymore).

I ultimately think Juggernaut's going to remain good, if for no other reason than that team sure as hell can't handle him if he switches back. Plus, Cyttorak just told him that Xavier was the one he wanted to have the power. I can see Cain beating the challenger, regaining the power and refusing to do Cyttorak's bidding, just to spite the guy. How it would play from there I have no clue. Still, two other thoughts:

One, I'd be interested to see how Cain' character arc compares to also currently leaning evil Emma Frost. She was, I believe, more evil than Cain, but she had less history of it before she started working with the X-Men (took over for Banshee in Generation X, right?).

Two, DC seems to be trying the predestination route with one Cassandra Cain, apparently arguing that because of her parents, and her childhood, she has to be a killer, ignoring the fact that she wasn't a killer when we met her, and thus she's destined to cycle back to good... eventually. DC just needs to suck it up and accept it. Wankers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Adult Supervision Has Been Demanded

Sigh. Between the news that a Hideous Baby Penguin was on the premises recently, and the concern that Immortal Iron Fist may be sending the wrong message about giant killer robots, Intimidating Mama Panda has decided that she will be presiding over this week's unfortunately brief review.

ABP, could you get your Ma to stop glowering at me? It's kind of... well, intimidating.

Nicodemus West - Because his eyes are two different colors. And he can do coin tricks. And summon giant, fire-breathing, tentacled things. {Note: Different colored eyes is probably a sign of some mystical hoopa-joop gone awry, and should not be imitated by impressionable young pandas. Or a sign of a genetic mutation or protein coding twist. Man, Mama is a real buzzkill}.

Marcos Martin - For beautifully expressive faces. They convey so much, and lend the proper weight to Vaughn's words. {Adorable Baby Panda said that a lot better than I did yesterday. Blasted poetic little panda, I oughta... Give you a bug hug and some ice cream! But not until after you finish your vegetables! Cripes, IMP is throwing me off my game.}

Telepathy, Magic Style - Actually, physically going inside someone's mind? Completely awesome. Being able to lock someone's physical body within their own mind? A little creepy, but darn cool nonetheless. {I totally agree.}

The Other Juggernauts - Stone armor is cool. {And it beats walking around naked. What?! It does! You wouldn't want ABP exposed to that would you?! Intimidating Mama Panda is now approximately three inches from my face.} But Juggernaut armor with a butterfly on it? Uncool. Fellow needs some fashion advice more than a hug. {The swords are a nice touch, if a bit overkill for someone with Juggernaut power. It's like giving Wolverine a sword... oh wait, they did that already. Never mind}.

Dane Whitman - He told Excalibur to stop their petty infighting, and he did it with a loud, brash display of force. {Wonder if he could do that for the Teen Titans?} And he says even the Champions weren't as bad as this group? Poor Black Knight, always stuck on the tworst teams. That sounds like a cry for a hug if an Adorable Baby Panda ever heard one. {ABP is even offering some of that ice cream I mentioned. I wonder what happens when I mention I don't have any ice cream? Oh right, I get mauled by Mama. I wonder if I can run through my front door before she gets me?}

Oh and ABP would like to give a big smack in the face to Dazzler for fighting dirty and grabbing Nocturne's hair. That's must be against the Panda Rules of Engagement. {So, if she'd just powered up a photon burst and let Teej have it in the back of the head, that would have been better? OK, I'm going to end this before I say something that gets me hurt.}

See, Terribly Intimidating Mama Panda That's Teeth Are Right Next To My Neck? Nice, friendly comics. Nothing gratuitous, or bloody, or profane here. So you certainly won't need to be here next time, right?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What I Bought 12/6/06

Poor week. Only two books, though I did think about picking up The All-New Atom as part of my Find a New DC Book Experience, but there wasn't time to skim through it before I had to take my leave. Shouldn't have wasted the time looking through Spider-Man: Reign #1. Ugh, more depressing Spidey books I do not need. Probably for the best anyway, I need to conserve funds to purchase gifts for others. At least I know they're doing the same for me. It's that mutual sense of anger at wasting your money on others' desires that makes this season so magical.

Man, where did that come from? Let's just get to the books for the week, because I've got waterfowl to identify, and hydrology to chart.

Dr. Strange: The Oath #3: Plot in a nutshell is that Strange discovers who hired Brigand, and we learn a little about who's pulling that person's strings, and how they are somewhat attached to Strange's past. Simple enough, but the touches along the way make it awesome. Wong actually gives Marvel a bit of a blueprint of what to do with Strange when he says that magic can't do anything science has already accomplished. I think it also foreshadows the end of the story a whole lot, but I could be wrong. Strange gets a little bit ruthless with Brigand, which was a little surprising, but his friend's life is on the line, there's no time for "nice". Night Nurse swings from calmly capable, to motherly in her concern, to bitingly sarcastic when their enemies get down to doing what they do best.

Plus, Dr. Strange has many foes. I don't recognize most of them, but there sure a quite a few. The opening page, from the Book of the Vishanti is a nice touch, and Marcos Martin, combined with colorist Javier Rodriguez, do a nice job of conveying the emotions of those involved. Sadness, shock, concern, stress, ecstasy, and anger. Really good with the anger, notably on page 18 when Strange says 'Sorcerers have little patience for the laws of nature...and even less for the laws of man.' I believe that scene may have merited Fortress Keeper's trademarked "Hardcore, Chuck." 4.7 out of 5.

New Excalibur #14 - Cain Marko wants to be unstoppable again. Cyttorak can make it happen, but there's a cost, and you can probably guess what it is. Juggy knows, and he's not sure whether he's willing to pay it or not. It is tempting though, especially when Cyttorak drops his little bombshell at the end.

In the meanwhile, the team's supposed to be following Cain's trail, but they seem to be more interested in using the one blazed by the Teen Titans post-OYL. At least Excalibur's bickering is interesting. It's remarkable how fast Dazzler and Nocturne were at each others throats, given they were such fast friends earlier. This is the point where ESPN's Bill Simmons would make some sort of crack about how women always turn on each other, but I'd like to continue to live, so I'll move on. Suffice to say, when Dane Whitman's the only person who notices something's wrong with the team, especially considering how smart Sage is supposed to be, that's probably a bad sign. I'd imagine Big Red has something to do with it, but we'll have to wait and see. It was pretty interesting, and while I'm not as big a fan of Calafiore's art as I was of Michael Ryan's, it certainly does the job just fine.

Though everyone does seem to have the same chin. 4.2 out of 5.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just Too Crazy

Serious blogger's block. I blame my subconscious, which clearly drained my creativity after the dream Monday morning that had simultaneous plots, both involving different members of the cast of Friends (except Ross, because he's a wuss and I hate him), and a funeral visited by characters that look like they came straight out of The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which culminated in them being called mutants by some midgety purple child.

Yeah. As Tevion said, that wins dream of the year right there. So, sapped of will to blog, let's see what I can pull out here.

Dr. Strange is the closest Marvel got to DC's crazy Silver Age stuff isn't he? While the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Hulk and so on were all dealing with things more or less grounded in the real world and science, Stephen Strange was off in oddly tilted worlds, with weird spheres and wild, sentient manifestations of the universe, where magic - with it's difficult to decipher rules - is in charge. Just bizarre stuff. It doesn't seem as crazy, or played for laughs, as those Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, or Legion of Superheroes comics, but it was some seriously weird stuff all the same.

Which may be part of the Good Doctor's problem now. DC, which was more, I'll say fanciful, has gotten more, I'll be kind and say "gritty". Marvel, which at least professed to be more grounded in the real world, seems to be responding by going more real (while not doing a particularly great job of it, I'd say), all of which leaves a fellow whose abilities are somewhat vaguely defined, and doesn't seem bound by a lot of the same rules as the other costumes, a bit out of the loop.

Still, Strange is faring all right at the moment. Being left out of Civil War is probably a plus, and being written well by Brian K. Vaughn is a better fate than Marvel's other resident reality bender - one Wanda Maximoff - got from Mr. Bendis. So maybe there's still a small corner where stuff can just be weird and unpredictable.

Monday, December 04, 2006

'They Look Like Felix The Cat's'

The above is a quote (as near as I can remember) from Mary Jane, describing the Spidey eyes during the Revenge of the Sinister Six storyline (Spider-Man #18-23), written and drawn by Erik Larsen I think. And it's true, Larsen did draw those eyes freaking huge on the Spider-Man costume, but he used them as a form of facial expressions. They narrowed when a person would narrow their eyes, either from concentration or anger. They seemed to get wider and rounder when Peter had a "Holy crap, what am I doing?!" moment.

True, it didn't really make much sense, when Larsen also drew them getting frequently cracked (Spider-Man had a tendency to get tore up during Larsen's stint on Amazing), which suggests they were made of a glass or plastic, which wouldn't seem to lend itself to that kind of shape-altering (I'd actually wager this was addressed at some point in the letters pages, but I can't swear to that). Still, I did think it was kind of nifty, as one of the problems with drawing characters who have full masks is giving a sense of what they're thinking or feeling (or at least not contradicting what the writer is telling the reader the character thinks or feels), and this seemed helpful in that regard.

I don't know whether Larsen started this or not. Running through Spider-Man artists I remember, there's a Ditko cover (I think it's Mysterio's first appearence) where the eyes seemed narrowed, but Ditko drew the eyes so much smaller than Larsen did anyway, I'm not sure if he started he was going for emotional representation or not. I can't recall either Romita doing it. Maybe MacFarlane, though the main thing I recall of his work (what with not having any of it at my current residence) was him drawing little lines around Spidey's head to signify him being surprised. It's not something Bagley does, nor Sal Buscema. I just really can't think of anyone else who tried, which may say something about whether it was a good idea or not, or maybe just that it was regarded as part of Larsen's essential style, and so unless your art was similar to his, probably best not too copy it.

My questions to those fellow Spider-fans in the audience, who remember the Larsen Spider-Man Eyes, are as follows:

One, was this something that was uniquely his, or was it something done by an earlier artist and Erik Larsen decided it was a cool idea and brought it back?

Two, did you like the expressive Spidey eyes?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

When He Appears, Well Something Is Bound To Happen

I'd kind of like to see The Stranger pop up in Annihilation. He may not usually give a crap about the politics and the conflicts of the universe at large, but he's stepped in when all life was threatened before.

In the interest of honesty, I don't really want to see The Stranger save the day, but I do want to know what he's up to. That's always been the mystery it seems. The Stranger shows up, grabs people of unusual capabilities, and either gets away from them, or gets thwarted by the heroes and leaves, making cryptic pronouncements all along.

He tried to abduct a Skrull Empress because she could restore the ability to shift form to all the Skrulls that had lost it, but ultimately traded her for Captain Reptyl's entire crew, which included a mutant with a remarkable ability for navigation. It did save him the trouble of slugging it out with Reptyl and the Silver Surfer, so probably a wise decision. (Silver Surfer #27)

And there was the time Quasar found the Stranger's world, and it was kind of a composite, with all sorts of different habitats, occupied by all kinds of different people, including Ego-Prime(?!), who tried to eat Quasar (that would have had to have been his most embarassing death, had it continued). (Quasar #14ish)

It suggests a geneticist, or maybe an anthropologist of some sort. But what's he trying to accomplish? My best guess is a galactic-scale Mr. Sinister, running all sorts of experiments to see what happens, and then using the results for... something. I don't know what. We need someone to look into this. Mr. Giffen you got any free time coming up after Annihilation ends?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Science!!!

Alright, so yesterday's post was what 19th century aristocracy would have a called "a whinefest". Today's post is a change of pace, because it involves me going insane trying to understand the science of movies of questionable quality.

What is it about the Riddick movies that makes them always provide something for me to think about? I've spent a lot of time on Pitch Black, trying to figure how the dominant form of life on a moon which only experiences night every 24(?) years or so can be a creature harmed by all forms of visible light. They don't seem to be in hibernation all the time, rather they lurk below the surface, and attack anything that's safe for them to approach. I suppose a few members of the population could sustain themselves on cannibalism, but that would be a difficult circumstance for them to arise under. There had to be some other life there before, but we were never given a sign of it. What were they eating before idiot humans landed there? What are they going to eat when no more idiot humans so up? But Tuesday brought an entirely new head scratcher.

So it's 9 o'clock. I've just finished being vaguely dissatisfied with House, primarily due to the fact that House hasn't received a severe beating, especially after his comment to Cuddy ('It's a good thing you failed at becoming a mother, because you suck at it!' Ouch. Uncalled for, House). I switch to TNT, which is in the middle of showing Chronicles of Riddick, and Vin Diesel's being transported to a planet called Crematoria. I wonder why it got that name. I put aside my surprise (and gratitude) that TNT hadn't drowned me in advertisements previously alerting me to the fact they were going to show this (seriously TNT, no matter how many times you tell me you're showing Titanic, I'm not watching it. Go to hell) and start watching it. Pretty quickly, we're shown the planet in question is only half-hospitable. It's 750 degrees on the day side, but only 50 degrees on the night side. Well, I used to be big into astronomy, especially the planets, so I started trtying to figure out how that would work.

Venus has surface temperatures of eight or nine hundred degrees, but it's not significantly cooler on the night side, due to the ridiculously thick carbon dioxide atmosphere that's traps all the heat. So that's not what's happening. Mercury reaches 700 in the sun, and -150 on the night side, because there's relatively no atmosphere to trap the heat, so it all escapes back into space. Well, the temp doesn't drop that much, and people run around and breathe on the surface just fine, so that doesn't answer it either.

Oddly enough, Earth is probably the best comparison, with locales like Death Valley, where the temperature can shift from 120 down to 30 or so at night. Similar, but to a much lesser degree. I theorized that the air gets so heated, the molecules so excited, that they begin moving at speeds which almost exceed escape velocity. The molecules escape to the edge of the planet's atmosphere, the excess heat energy has been bled off, the molecules cool, and then fall back into the atmosphere, retaining only a small amount of the original heat energy. Primary problem with this hypothesis: It's me doing a half-assed cobbling together of what physics I remember from high school, what seems like some chemistry (I got a C the last time I took that), and I think some meterology I learned in 8th grade science. In short, there's no telling how many physical laws that idea violates.

Desperate, I wound up discussing it with my friend Tevion, who put forth two theories:

1) Due to the extreme heat, the planet consists almost entirely of heavy metals, which absorb the heat and conduct it through the surface to the night side. This accounts for the retained heat, and the much lower temperature is explained by the atmosphere being thinner than Earth's perhaps similar to being at high altitude constantly. I know the metal aspect is possible, since that's pretty much all Mercury is made of, metals and silica.

2) The planet is so close to the star, it's under extreme tidal effects, leading to increased geothermal activity, and the prison is built on a geologically active area, so that there's lots of magma moving near the surface, but not presenting itself in the form of a full-blown volcano. I'm not really sure that's possible, but it sounded pretty damn cool.

We finally agreed that trying to figure the science of a Vin Diesel movie, while amusing, is problem a fruitless endeavor. Still, it was something to puzzle over in my quiet moments.

{Edit, 5/17/07: Turns out it's actually -300 on the night side, so it's basically Mercury. Except with a breathable atmosphere. So that still doesn't make much sense}

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kiss It Goodbye

More like "Kick It To The Curb", but I want to be nice. So, I decided to bid farewell to Teen Titans today. I'd been considering it since I finished this week's issue. As best I can pin it down, there's three reasons that this is happening, and probably should have happened sooner:

1) Where's the Joy? Fortress Keeper, in the comments to Wednesday's post said it pretty well: "It's a somewhat morose team, having disjointed, somewhat morose adventures." Kid Devil seemed pretty eager and excited to be a Titan, and you'd think the team standing by him against Caulder would have cemented the upbeat mood, but he seems more down now than before. Maybe he's just through pretending everything's cool, but his attitude had been one of the things I was enjoying. As for the rest of the team, they seem to be people hanging on as a last resort ('I got nowhere else to go!'), or people who aren't sure they really want to be a part of it. It makes Ultimate Spider-Man seem cherry by comparion.

I just quoted a Richard Gere movie in that last paragraph. I hate myself now.

2) Getting My Point Across. Len posted this a few days ago, and his last line was something he'd brought up before, and that I'd considered in relation to Teen Titans. Simply put, I wasn't enjoying it, so why was I still buying it?

3) I'm Through With The Waiting Game. At least part of the reason I was sticking with it was the "Titans East" storyline, and my silly, feeble hopes Geoff Johns would hear my plea, to say nothing of the pleas of the other Cassie Cain fans. But realizing it isn't going to kick off until January, which means a conclusion in what, April? To hell with that! And yes, I'm sure if I read Newsarama or Wizard I'd have known that months ago, but those places tend to give me headaches, so I stay away from them. It's just not worth the mediocrity to wait for a story that sounds like it'll raise my blood pressure.

Besides, if by some chance Johns does provide an unexpected gift, I'm quite certain I'll hear diamondrock shouting about it from the top of the world, so it's covered.

On the plus side, this frees up some money to purchase Shadowpact. Sure, it's sales figures are dropping every month, but I'm a Spider-Girl fan, that isn't going to stop me. Or maybe the All-New Atom could use a boost to it's readership?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rough Weeks Are Made Better With Hugs

Adorable Baby Panda would like you to know two things. One, last week's visit to see the family went quite well. Good times were had by all. Two, Adorable Baby Panda swears to eviscerate Hideous Baby Penguin. What can I say? It's a conflict as old as life itself.

So who's up for a hug?

Danny Rand - Poor Danny; he seems beset by doubts about his abilities - both to be Iron Fist, and to run Rand-Meachum. ABP feels sure that a hug would life his spirits. {Me, I think Danny could use the surgical skill of the Night Nurse more than a hug, but it's ABP's show}.

Mecha-Gorgon - It's a giant robot with multiple blades that slice and dice. It's concentrated coolness. It's not so much that ABP wants to hug it, as pilot it. And kill Hideous Baby Penguin with it. {Besides, when did HYDRA last build something that actually achieved it's purpose? Gotta give them credit when it's due, right?}

Raven - She seemed kind of brusque with her teammates this month, and since she doesn't seem to want anything to do with the two most upbeat Titans (Miss Martian and Kid Devil), maybe she'd respond to a ball of furry cuteness. {Personally, I think it's a waste of time. Current Raven would probably be put off by the cherry attitude. Go hug Miss Martian, for not being a credit to her crazed, homicidal race. Or better yet, hug Didio, erase all darkness from his heart, so I can have a nice Cassie Cain again}.

From last week's comics, ABP offers hugs to:

Peter Parker - For having the guts to tell the country why he made a mistake, and that's he's going to correct it. {Better late than never I guess.}

Miguel O'Hara - He really wanted that flight ring, you know? Maybe Panda Claus can get him one for Christmas. Until then, please accept this complimentary panda hug.

The Wrecking Crew - Because they are the Wrecking Crew. Thus they are losers, and they know it. That's gotta be a downer. {All I'll say is, at least Tieri knows it shouldn't take multiple issues to beat them. Are you taking notes Bendis}?

Jessica Drew - You're a girl. But all your memories say you're a teenage boy named Peter Parker. Weird as that may seem, there are a lot of good memories there. Too bad the CIA plans to take them all away if they catch you. Have a hug, and know that the pandas will be watching over you from the shadows. {That whole girl thing really puts a kibosh on a relationship with MJ, huh? Or does it? Man, that's just wrong! Deadpool, I told you to stay out of my blog}!

Theresa Cassidy and Monet St. Croix - It's never easy dealing with the loss of a beloved parental figure. Some people choose not to deal by wrapping themselves in fantasy. Some deal, by pretending that they aren't bothered by it. And there are some things a panda hug won't fix. It probably would help for the two of them to spend some time talking together about Banshee. {And maybe they could be in their PJs while they're sharing. Damnit Deadpool!} That's ABP's advice: talk with someone else who cared about the person. {Warning: advice may be rendered void if the two people are coworkers who don't like each other very much and then find out they've been getting two-timed - by the same guy.}

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I Bought 11/29/30

I just realized today, that I've been off a day for the last week. Not in the sense of "I thought it was Friday when it was Saturday," but in the "I thought it was the 24th when it was the 23rd" way. I thought last Wednesday was the 23rd, and I've been screwed up since. Man, my mind can't be going already, can it?

That's the point where Dr. House pops up and screams "Right, he's in his 20s, of course his brain can't be failing him! Let's cure him with cheese fries and pornography!" At which point someone says "Or we try angry, petty sarcasm." And throws House through a window. Whatever works really. Spoilers are in here somewhere. Probably.

The Immortal Iron Fist #1 - Well, I guess it's about time to jump on the Brubaker Bandwagon, and since I'm not really a Cap or Daredevil guy, I'll roll with Danny Rand. The story is a pretty standard first issue. We find out how Danny Rand came to be Iron Fist. We also find Danny Rand in the midst of punching Hydra guys, followed by a flashback to how we got to that point, ultimately leading back to the present.

In addition, Brubaker appears to be going the legacy route with I.F., which is OK, and showing us both sides of Danny's life. That's fine too. Honestly, the thing I liked best was the major threat he ran into near the end of the book. Pretty cool, even though I'm not sure I'm feeling David Aja's art. It's too, I don't know, scratchy? I can't really describe it. Either way, I'm on board for the time being. Just hope I can handle the "slow burn" style I've heard Brubaker's got. 3.6 out of 5.

The Punisher #41 - I still like Leandro Fernandez' art. I just wanted to mention that, because I don't think I have recently. Let's see, Punisher is captured. Yeah, that'll go well for the bad guys. Especially when Frank shows that his ability to conceal things inside himself would let him fit in at prison. Things go well, then they stop going well. Not much of what happens is a surprise. We're talking about reoccuring characters in a Garth Ennis Punisher book. Sooner or later, they all stop being "reoccuring".

The last page makes it pretty clear, someone is going to get messed up in the conclusion next month. Which is not really a big surprise. 3.3 out of 5.

Teen Titans #41 - Well, the team came together at the end. So why aren't I enjoying it more? Joseph's back in action, and adjusting to his situation rather quickly. There's a small fight, then a big fight, then some talking, and then the set up for the next arc, which doesn't start for two months?! Freaking Johns. And the guest artists weren't helping much. Especially whoever did the pages where the forgot to put the eagle or the "W" or whatever on Cassie's shirt. I mean, is it that hard to remember that. It can't take that long to add. Sigh, moving on.

Of course, even though they're together, they still aren't together. Raven doesn't seem to like anyone (Eddie reminds her of her dad, Miss Martian is too happy, cripes). I'm not really convinced Tim is a leader, whether because he's got too much "stay in the shadows from Bats", or he's just not up to it. Maybe now that Johns has his lineup, things will gel a bit. I don't know, given all the trust issues that seem to be going on here, I'd swear I was reading Suicide Squad. But Rose and Jericho trying to connect might be an interesting plot line, I don't know about the Kid Devil subplot that seems to be brewing. Hmm, there's a lot I don't know about. I do know it wasn't as solid of an ending as I'd hoped. 3.5 out of 5.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Off I Go Being Asinine Again

Do you remember a few years back, when Loki and Spider-Man had a team-up? There was a scene where Spidey and the God of Evil sit on a rooftop eating hot dogs. Wizard panned it as being absurd (or dumb, I can't remember which). Personally, I don't think any magazine which names Joe Quesada it's Man of the Year for 2006 has much moral high ground to be panning other written works from, but that's a digression, and besides, I thought that Peter calmly sitting and eating hot dogs with Thor's greatest foe nicely demonstrated Peter's everyman aspects, in that he's not going to react differently around Loki than he might around say, Nova. Plus, after everything Peter's experienced, dealing with an Asgardian probably isn't any big deal. But I still wonder...

Who bought the hot dogs?

Peter has no pockets in the Spidey suit, and he wasn't wearing his web pouches, which normally contained his clothes and wallet. As another digression, whatever happened to him using web pouches? Seems like it's been years since I've seen him carrying his clothes around in one. Irregardless, it's doubtful Peter had the money to purchase the food. Likewise, I can't see Loki actually buying the food, nor do I see Spidey letting him mentally manipulate the proprietier of the hot dog cart into giving them free food.

Maybe Spidey got one of his adoring fans to shell out the cash? Or maybe the Spider-God stepped to lend a hand. Or, let's just forget that last theory. I don't know. Anybody else got any theories?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Because I Can't Let Things Go

It's been roughly a year now, since The Other showed up and did... some stuff to Peter Parker. But it's just now that I'm actually figuring out the answer to something I've been pondering since then.

Pretty much since that storyline ended, I've been wondering "What was up with Peter's mysterious sickness?" You know, the one that nobody - not Reed Richards, Stark, Pym, T'Challa, or Dr. Strange - could fix? It was a important part of the early issues, and then when Morlun showed up, it pretty much got thrown out the window and never addressed again. I guess eyeball-eating was more important.

I believe it was the recent What If? that Peter David wrote about The Other, that finally clued me in, when Uatu talks about how Peter was suffering from radiation poisoning (or something to that effect). Suddenly it made a lot more sense why they'd been so intent on finding the Hulk. Because not many people know more about radiation than Bruce Banner. Maybe they mentioned that in the story and I missed it, or maybe they never explicitly said it, either way, things started to come together.

The radiation is leftover from his first fight with Morlun, when he won by injecting himself with radioactive liquid, thus blocking Morlun from draining his life force (hey, don't blame me for how weird it sounds - it's JMS' story). Peter did a pretty good job, using enough to be effective, but not enough to kill himself. Unfortunately, when all is said and done, he still pumped radioactive liquid directly into his bloodstream, and you'd have to expect that sooner or later, he'd pay for that.

So that explains his odd malady. Of course, it still doesn't explain how Morlun - last seen decomposing in the nuclear facility - showed up again, but what do you want from me? I'm a blogger, not a miracle worker.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Definable Patterns In Comic Storytelling

Relax, it's not really as deep as it's sounds, I just felt like doing one of those thesis-esque titles.

So in reading through the first 25 issues of Byrne's Namor series, West Coast Avengers and New Warriors, I've detected a sense of closure after that 25th issue. Like there was an overarching plot from the first, and now it's done, and they're moving on to the next arc.

With Namor, the first 25 seem to focus on Namor getting involved in the surface world, and dealing with parts of his past (his history of aggression, his dead wife, his time in WWII, etc.). Well, that and things Byrne had some sort of vested interest in (I'm still not sure why he was so intent on bringing Iron Fist back, but I won't complain). The 25th issue wraps up a lot of those things, and sets Namor off in a somewhat different direction.

The point of the first 25 issues of West Coast Avengers seems to have been to get a roster constructed, as well as deal with various psycholgical problems of the members (Wonder Man, Tigra, Hank Pym). Sounds a lot like New Avengers, except WCA actually involved time travel, Hellcat, and about a dozen different super-villains getting beat down (including Ultron and the Grim Reaper). And nothing as incomprehensible as the Xorn/Magneto thing. After 25 issues, the roster is set, one of the major villains of the first 25 issues is dealt with, but there's still some other threads left open to hit later.

New Warriors plot point seemed to be Night Thrasher, and what the hell was up with him. Throw in some bonding between the team, some confrontations tied into character history (Firestar/Hellfire Club and Marvel Boy and his dad), and by issue 25 Nicieza was pretty much ready to go from there.

I think Darkhawk had roughly the same scenario, with Chris Powell having found the truth about his dad's death, fended off numerous people trying to kill him, learned some of the ups and downs of herodom, and helped keep his family together, but by then he'd run into another person with similar armor to his, which raised new questions as you moved into the later issues.

This doesn't always happen. The adjectiveless Spider-Man series of the '90s didn't have an arc I could discern, but the book went through about 4 writers in 25 issues (3 after MacFarlane left at #16), and it was one of 4 monthly Spidey titles, so it was at least a little beholden to what was happening in those. It's hard to have a defining arc in those circumstances.

But why would writers go with 25 issues as sort of a wrap-up/jumping forward point? Did writers have to come to the Editorial with a plan laid out for the first two years of any project they wanted to kick start? Was it simply because it was a quarter of the way to 100 issues?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Only Took Seven Months

While I haven't been reading it, I have skimmed through 52 pretty much every week. I haven't had much in the way of reactions, mostly because things seem so disjointed. I'm still waiting for some follow-up on "Hawkgirl is 20 feet tall!" from, what Week 4? But finally - finally! - they gave me a moment that really intrigued me.

I speak of Luthor unveiling his Jade right in front of the JSA headquarters, and in front of Alan Scott and Obsidian. Just seeing the name "jade", you just knew something was gonna go down, especially given that one of the parties it would offend is periodically insane.

I was a little disappointed that Obsidian didn't go on a a Batman-esque face-wrecking rampage, but I guess physical violence isn't really Todd's style.

Gotta give points to Luthor though. Makes his squad of doofuses look good, and the old guard look bad. And does it so very smoothly.

Final thought:

So this whole metahuman gene therapy thing seems to be the DC Universe's version of Mutant Growth Hormone (which was a Morrison concept, right?), and given that we know it wears off after a time, and can be deactivated, is Luthor trying to make an army of people addicted to super-powers, all bound to his will? That seems a bit too obvious, but given Luthor's desire for power, not out of the question.