Thursday, December 29, 2005

Discussion Topic

So, this is likely my last post for the week. I'm going out of town Friday morning, and I doubt there'll be a good computer for me to post from during my week out of town, so I'll be back for certain with comic reviews next Friday. Anyway, here's what I wanted to discuss:

It's been said somewhere, by someone, and then repeated on blogs, that "Superheroes shouldn't date normal people" or something like that. So the obviously, my question is, where do you stand on that?

I can't really decide myself. I think the problem with that is it limits people a bit in their potential partners, especially for those of the same-sex persuasion. Plus there's that whole idea about not dating co-workers, so you know.

On the other hand, I am getting kind of tired of Mary Jane being worried about Peter going out to fight crime when he's injured, or sick, or emotionally distressed, and all she can try to do it guilt-trip him into not going because she can't help when he's out there. If he was dating the Black Cat, she could at least go out to back him up.

I guess I feel that ultimately from the characters' standpoint, it would make sense to date a fellow cape, if only because it means they'd be better able to defend themselves against those looking to hurt the heroes loved ones. But from a readers' standpoint, and from the writers' it's probably too limiting to the character to narrow their world down like that.

Well, that's my two cents, now it's time for yours. If you don't mind, I have to finish packing and watch Death Wish 2. it's a movie where Charles Bronson shoots people! Wait, that's all his movies. . . See ya next week!

What I Bought 12/29/05

Wow, six books this week, and none of them really 'grabbed' me. Oh well, here we go.

Spider-Man and the Black Cat 5 of 6 - Blah, blah, blah. Yak, yak, yak. So Garrison's brother tells Felicia all about how he and his brother formed their empire, and about how he realized his powers, and how his brother sexually abused him, and so on. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler is telling Spidey and Daredevil all this stuff about Nazi experiments, involving mutant organs and human children, because, you know, Nazis are always behind stuff like that. Couldn't be the Soviets just once. I gotta, say, I think this story is going to end with a lot of talking, no fighting, very dull. But, I hate to give up on things part way (which is the only reason I can think of that I bought all 12 issues of Justice League Elite). 2 out of 5.

X-Factor #2 - So Rictor doesn't die, Monet is snooty, all Layla Miller will say about herself, is that 'she's Layla Miller and she knows stuff.' Not being someone who likes kids that much, I would probably go crazy from that pretty quickly. Who knows? If I keep reading the book I just might. Anyway, Layla gets them to take a case that will supposedly tie-in to "Singularity", the group responsible for killing Siryn's informant in issue 1. Singularity meanwhile, appears to be an evil corporation, that is worried about X-Factor re-powering the mutants. What? Repowering? Really? Go X-Factor, Stacy X may get her happy day after all! So, for continuing the tone, for a funny self-immolation bit, for Madrox possibly being psychotic, and for the promise of something big, it gets a 4 out of 5.

Wolverine #37 - So Logan remembers everything now, and with the chance to send him anywhere as part of his past, where does he go? Japan. Again. To fight the Silver Samurai. Again. And would the writers at Marvel please decide how S.S. is going to act? One book he's a frightened figurehead, another he's a confident leader, and in this he's an ass-kicking bodyguard. Can I get a consensus? So they fight, Logan gets gutstabbed, Samurai loses a limb. Logan gets answers and leaves, walks through the sewers, breaks a water main, gets washed out to sea, swims to a boat, sneaks onboard, and only then is he so injured he passes out. Shouldn't that have happened earlier, when he hadn't had as much time to heal?

I know what my problem is with this. Paul Jenkins should be writing this. He wrote Origin, which I thought was very good, this should be sort of like a continuation of that, through flashback. Still, a somewhat ominous Captain America comment gives this 3 Wolvie claw-inflicted wounds, out of 5.

New Avengers #14 - You know what I said in my first review of today. 'Blah, blah, blah. Yak, yak, yak.'? Repeat. I will give it credit. For me, it neatly encapsulates the Spider-Woman origin story and "Secret War", so I feel no need to spend money on either. Ha! Anyway, Jessica talks, Captain America and the others listen, We even get an appearence by the Sentry, and electronic transmission Nick Fury (in stores this February!). And apparently the Sentry's tower appearing on top of Stark's building, plus a Quinjet, has outed the Avengers. Given that the Sentry's place magically appeared back in issue #10, this would indicate people in New York are kind of slow. So I guess next month is "Meet Your Avengers Issue". This book is really teetering for me right now, and that's with very nice Frank Cho artwork making it one of the better ones in awhile. If I start picking up New Excaliber - don't laugh, it's a possibility - this is probably what goes. 3 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #88 - Spidey gets proactive, and as so often happens in his life, it bites him in the ass. he's decides he has to tell Aunt May he's Spider-Man, she gives the "Spider-Man is evil" speech. I was really hoping this Aunt May would be different. She could have at least listened to what he had to say before going on a rant. He talks to Kitty, interrogates Flash, and goes to Sable's location. Quick fight scene, ignore the spider-sense, and there you go. This, this is not real good. I mean I still love Bagley's art. Love it! But, I just can't buy this storyline. I mean this whole deal is because the head of Roxxon believes Spider-Man knows something about who is targeting his holdings. And he believes this because Spidey stopped two - count 'em, two! - attacks. Here's something simple for you, Mr. Head of Roxxon: 2 is not a pattern, it is a line. When held up in comparison to the sheer total of incidents that Spidey gets involved in, it's a drop in the bucket. Not even that. Use your vast commercial wealth, and buy a clue. Please. Call off the attack dogs, and let Peter get on with his life, such as it is. 3 idiot C.E.O.s, out of 5.

Amazing Spider-Man #527 - So Peter's not dead, he's just in a cocoon, under a bridge. Having weird dreams or something where he converses with a spider part of himself. Apparently, 'the man wished to be a spider, and the spider a man.' Anyway, Peter's back among his loved ones, and wondering which he is, the spider or the man? Oy.

At one point, the Spider-Thing hinted Peter had only scratched the surface of what he was capable of. That he had only used the gifts 'a child would find exciting'. So does this mean this was all some excuse to give Peter new powers? I don't know, it all seems needlessly vague and JMS just keeps pushing the mystic thing harder and harder. It's Spider-Man; I want to like it, but I can't. 2 out of 5.

Wow, that was pretty much a downer. I guess it was just a balancing from last weeks mostly positive reviews. Karma, the Great Wheel and all that, don't ya know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Now, With 30% More Literacy!

Trying something a little different today. That's right, it's a review of an actual book! Well, technically it's a book based on the script and screenplay for Star Wars Epsiode 3, but still, it's a book!

Here we see a truly lovely cover. Now, I'll be upfront about this; I haven't seen the movie, and unless someone else rents it, I doubt I will anytime soon, what with my lack of premium movie channels and all. I have to say though, that was quite a twist at the end, and I don't want to ruin it for anybody, but Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. Wow.

Ok, seriously, this was quite good. One thing I have to say I liked a lot was that book gives you a feel for nuances you might not get in the movie, either due to direction or acting limitations or whatever. Example: during the Kenobi/Skywalker vs. Count Dooku, you have sort of an inner monolouge from the Count, where he's thinking about how he recognizes the fighting styles the two Jedi are using, and what characterizes them, and how easily he can defend against them. Then part way through, he notices that they've shifted styles, and that things are getting a bit tricky. I just doubt the movie would have conveyed that. There's also a lot of good inner monologue that gives you a hint of what the characters motivations are, especially Anakin's state of mind as it seems like everyone (Padme, the Jedis, Obi-Wan, Palpatine) wants something from him, and they all expect him to do it, because he's the "chosen one". Basically for much of the book, he seems to be in that state Batman was in briefly in Infinite Crisis 3, just being crushed by the pressure. Only problem is, Annie doesn't have Bats' will.

The book doesn't mirror the movie exactly. It focuses almost entirely on Anakin and Kenobi, so you know that Yoda goes to the Panet of the Wookies, but no time is wasted on what happens there. The writing - especially in the Anakin/Padme scenes - can be a little barf-inducing, but there are also a lot of nice moments, like when Yoda fights Palpatine:

This truth: that he, the avatar of light, Supreme Master of the Jedi Order, the fiercest, most implacable, most devastatingly powerful foe the darkness had ever known. . .

just -
didn't -
have it -

See, that's simlutaneously overdone, and cool! I think ultimately, and it's an advantage books naturally have over movies, is that when the writer relies on your imagination to visualize what he's saying, you see it more clearly. Your mind can clearly show Anakin's inner torment, or Kenobi's calm, because your mind presents it in a manner you recognize. So, good book, goes pretty quick for 451 pages, if you have nothing better to do, and I didn't.

Cripes, I feel like I'm on Reading Rainbow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Requiem for a Fallen Character

I mentioned last week that I saw a favorite character of mine in Generation M #2. Stacy X showed up, having lost her powers, and was now just another aging(?) 'lady of the evening'. I've had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to post about related to her, and who I'm mad at. It's not Paul Jenkins, though I wish he would have picked a different mutant, and just left me wondering about her. But I had pretty much figured Stacy wasn't one of the few who got to retain her powers (Iceman probably stole her spot. Worthless bastard). I'm not mad at Bendis, or even Quesada, well I am, but not for this. No, it's Chuck Austen who decided Stacy wasn't good enough to be on a book he was writing, and dumped her so he could write "Paige Guthrie and Archangel are in luvvvvv", without Stacy's interest in Archangel to get in the way. Before you suggest I'm being bitter, or paranoid, Chamber was still interested in Paige and he vanished at roughly the same time as Stacy, so take from that what you will.

But this isn't about how much Chuck Austen sucks, or how badly I want to him smack him in the face with a tire iron. Repeatedly. It's about Stacy.

She showed up in Uncanny X-Men #399, courtesy of Joe Casey, as one of the ladies at the X-Ranch, a brothel owned in part by Archangel's company. This apparently not being an example of human/mutant equality, the team goes to shut it down, and instead fails to stop the Church of Humanity from destroying it and killing everyone but Stacy. They described her power as 'phermone control', I thought of it as 'control over biochemical processes', just sounds more scientific. Make you vomit, make you pass out, susceptible to suggestion, and so on. A little limited by her need to make physical contact, but at least she wasn't another telepath. With nowhere to go she sticks with the team, and experiences the problems you would expect having to adjust to a life where you may get boulders thrown at your jet by the Juggernaut fairly often. It isn't clear how much she bought into Xavier's ideas, and she was still 'working', while she was on the X-Men. Wolverine seemed to want to help her, Nightcrawler seemed to grow used to her, and she had a few nice conversations with the nurse, Annie. On the flip side, Iceman disliked her, she chewed out Paige Guthrie, after sensing her interest in Archangel, and in general had trouble fitting in, though Chuck Austen portraying her as a complete slut might have something to do with that. Thanks Chuck, you miserable. . .

I'm probably in the minority, but I thought she had lots of potential. I could have seen her developing something gradually with Nightcrawler (that whole clergy thing never fit with him. He's too much of a swashbuckler to take a vow of celibacy). Logan could have helped her fit in. Or maybe, she never buys into the philosophy. She just stays because she does have some friends, some connections here. Or hell, maybe down the line she leaves anyway, but the way it happened, so forced, so arbitrary, just, ugh. I could see her leaving because she gets that humans will only accept mutants when it's convenient for them, when mutants can be useful, in Stacy's case, providing pleasure. But at the very least, she would have made a bigger deal out of it than just leaving a videotape for Archangel. She had a theatrical streak to her, which is part of why I think she and Kurt could have gotten along well.

Stacy, I hope things turn around for you somewhere down the line. I would have liked for you to have gotten better than this. Hopefully your appearence in X3 will turn out all right.

Monday, December 26, 2005

How to Get Shot in the Head and Only Lose an Eye . . . Stuff I Think About #4

So this is Slade Wilson, known as Deathstroke the Terminator, or is it just Deathstroke now (Image courtesy of Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin)? As you may notice, he's missing his right eye, hence the patch. The thing is, I'm not sure how that could have happened based on the description of events.

See, Slade lost his eye at the hands of his then wife Addie. She was somewhat, shall we say miffed, that he hadn't told her he was an assassin, and that his work had led to their son Joseph getting kidnapped, and his vocal cords being cut, because Slade would not reveal the name of one of his employer's.

Here we see the set-up. Slade's getting ready to go on another mission. Addie comes in, telling him about Joseph's condition. Addie raises the gun, with the barrel pointed up slightly, to compensate for Slade's greater height, cocks the hammer, and fires. But Slade's a little too quick. As Addie puts it 'his reflexes saved him. I only shot out his right eye.'

I have to ask, how? How do you dodge a bullet fired at the back of your head, so that it only takes your right eye? Wouldn't it pass through your head, doing at least some damage to the rest of your skull, like your brain stem, or your upper jaw at least? Did he turn, in which case it should have grazed his eye socket, or at least the bridge of his nose?

So, since that story is obviously bull, I ask you, what is the REAL story behind Slade Wilson's missing eye?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Giving the Gift of Life. . . Stuff I think About #3

Quick note, this is probably my last post until Monday, so you'll just have to go without over the weekend. But, I'll be using that time to go through my comics, doing some research for future posts, so take heart. On to the business at hand.

This post stemmed from a conversation I had with myself, over a discussion that broke out in the comments of a thread at Comics Should Be Good. I'll probably post the main part next week, but this was an odd little interlude my brain took, and I thought I'd share.

See, I was thinking about the death of Ben Parker, Peter's uncle. There's been a lot of inconsistency surrounding the circumstances, besides the obvious that he was shot by a burglar. But the way I had it figured, he was in bed and heard a noise. He goes downstairs to investigate and finds the Burglar.

I figure he tries to talk to the guy, explain that he's making a mistake, but that there's no reason to hurt anyone, he can take what he wants and just leave (I think this was how he acted in Ultimate Spider-Man, matter of fact). He's very calm, displaying no fear. This freaks the Burglar out, he shoots Ben, Ben dies, and Peter is on the road to years of guilt.

But this is the weird part. In my head I hear "Ben Parker can overcome great fear", so to better utilize this ability, I'm bringing him back to life. . . in a new universe! Who says only the costumes get a second chance?

So Ben Parker, say hello to the next step in your life. . . as the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps!

Hal, you shouldn't have! Give it up for Ben Parker, people! Have a nice weekend!

Infinite Crap?

Just getting your attention. Here's my question to you: Big, universe-spanning crossovers, good or bad? I know sales numbers indicate that fans like them, but I want to know from you, my ten loyal readers, my 'true believers'.
See, I have a conundrum. I recognize that if there is going to be a massive event, then it should be reflected in the other books in that universe. For example, when the Avengers had the war with Kang a few years back that took over a year, I thought that was great story, epic stuff. But, this battle was all over the world, Washington D.C. got blowed up, and none of the other Marvel books reflected this. Not a peep about it in Daredevil, or Fantastic Four, nothing. It was kind of silly.

At the same time, I can't stand these events where everybody is in everyone else's books, and everyone has to deal with this event. Case in point, during 'Disassembled' Paul Jenkins did a 5-part story where Peter gets transformed into a giant spider, dies, emerges from the shell of the giant spider, and has organic webshooters, and the ability to communicate with arthropods, to some extent. It was that book's tie-in to the whole 'Disassembled' thing, and it just didn't seem to fit with the tone of the book as Jenkins had been writing it until then. But I figure editorial told him this tie-in HAD to happen and Peter HAD to have organic webshooters, and so Jenkins did the best he could.

See, the problem is these events take away time the writer could be further developing the plots they had been working on. Based on what I've read, Greg Rucka had a bunch of plots that he was building up gradually in the pages of Wonder Woman. Then along comes 'Infinite Crisis', and all that stuff goes out the window, because DC just HAS to have a huge OMAC battle. Sure, it's probably a lot of fun for the casual reader, but if you had been reading Wonder Woman for a long time, and you wanted to get some closure on those plots threads Rucka had been teasing along, where are you? You're square in the middle of S.O.L. City. And I think that's my main problem with these things. The stories that you've been reading, that you wanted a conclusion to, get dropped, and you're left hanging. It's like if I was reading The Stand, and all of the sudden, three-quarters of the way through, it becomes the Da Vinci Code. Sure, I liked parts of The Da Vinci Code, but I was reading The Stand. That's what I wanted closure on.

So anyway, there was another beef I had, but it's more of the same really. It just seems that when writers kill off a character in one of these things, it's not going to have ramifications on anything they write. Brad Meltzer kills Jack Drake in 'Identity Crisis', well why not? He doesn't write Robin, so it doesn't affect him. But if Bill Willingham had plot ideas for Tim and his dad, too bad. I don't know, I guess if they're going to do them, I would be happier if they were confined to one title, and all the others could ignore them. Doesn't appear that's going to happen.

Anyway, that was my bitchfest. So what are your thoughts? Do you like the 'Infinite Crisis' style events? Should all the books tie-in? What say ye?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Green is to Yellow as . . . Stuff I think About #2

No, it's not SAT prep. And it's not Conan O'Brien's SAT Analogies. It's more weird crap that ran through my head. OK, so according to Geoff Johns, green and yellow, representing will and fear, respectively, are rivals. It seems a little odd, since willpower is not the opposite of fear, so it doesn't necessarily stand to reason that they would be in opposition. But then I start thinking about colors.

See, part of green is yellow, right? And part of willpower is overcoming fear. Like overcoming a fear of heights so you can clean out the inside of a 20 foot tall boiler. But fear isn't the only thing willpower can overcome. Will can overcome anger, or the desire to laugh at something you think is funny when it would be inappropriate, or just the desire to eat those last few chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts. So gooey . . . focus! And when you look at green it's made up of more than just yellow. Blue is involved in the process, so maybe that's anger. I'm not sure what color would be the "wanting to eat Pop-Tarts", but I'm sure somewhere in the DC Universe a person can get a ring that harnesses that part of the "emotional electromagnetic spectrum" or whatever Johns was calling it. Probably Vril Dox has one, or one of the Brainiacs. The real problem here is that green isn't a complicated enough color. They needed something different, that combines multiple colors . . . like brown! The Brown Lantern! Hmm, maybe not.

Or maybe they'd just be better off assigning those emotions to something outside of visible light. So "Pop-Tart eating" is gamma radiation. My God, that means the Hulk would just be really hungry! The Army just needed to feed him, instead of trying to blow him up. Hey it's less disturbing than the solution for Ultimate Hulk.

Thanks to the Shrew Review for pointing out that fear and willpower aren't really opposites, which is what lead me down this strange, awful path. And no thanks to Charter, which has denied me - and the rest of Missouri, Illinois, and parts of Arkansas and Minnesota - internet access all day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Comic Store Conversations - #1

This actually came up about a month ago, but I had to talk to Larry today to make sure I got it all straight.

You know Barry Allen, the second Flash, he who dies during the Crisis on the Infinite Earths? And you know about the Speed Force, that weird extradimensional energy that Wally and Bart and some of the other speedsters can tap into, propelling them to ever more ludicrous speeds (they've gone . . . plaid!)? Well, what if I told you they were one and the same?

See, here we got Barry's famous death scene from CotIE. He's forced the energy within the Anti-Monitor's cannon back in on itself, causing it to go boom, but his own energy has been drawn from him by the cannon. Well, we know the Speed Force is extradimensional and that it exists outside time (Apparently this has been stated some place. I'm just going by what Larry told me). Therefore the explosion of the cannon in the anti-matter universe might have dispersed Barry's energy throughout the DC Universe in both space and time.

Just something that seemed interesting to me. I'd really like to see what would happen if DC heard about this and decided to put that out their as the actual origin of the Speed Force. Probably a huge outcry from the fans. But I can't say it's any worse science than a lot of what's in comics.

What I Read, 12/21

I'm getting this out of the way first. Yes I read Infinite Crisis #3 but I'm not reviewing it. There are plenty of people who actually understand what's going on who will do that. Really, the only thing related to it I care about is whether The Ray survives or not. Everything else I already know from the March covers.

X-Factor #1 - Yeah it came out last week, but I just got a copy today, so I'm reviewing it now. So Jamie Madrox formed a detective agency with Siryn, Guido, Wolfsbane, and now he's trying to stop Rictor (who has lost his powers) from throwing himself off a building by offering him a job. I'm actually very intrigued by this book, and given that I've never cared about any of these characters before in my life, that tells me something about it. 5 duplicates out of 5.

Batgirl #71 - The worst moment of today came as I was flipping through some book, probably Generation M #2, and Ken Murphy, who owns Marvels & Legends walks by to pick up some book or the other for someone's pull list. I'm not sure how it came up, but less than 1 foot from me he says, "Man, I hate this Batgirl." I couldn't even stifle the sound of pain that emerged. The aggravating thing is that his only reason is he's an old fogey who likes Barbara Gordon, because she's 'his' Batgirl, the same way Hal Jordan is 'his' Green Lantern. Yeah, it's a banner year for Ken and their old characters. To me, that's a bullshit reason, so I'll be giving him some crap when I come in on Friday to talk sports. Can you say "Derek Jeter is so overrated?" Well, he is, so there.

Anyway, Cassandra is trying to lead some of Shiva's former disciples out of the forest that surrounded Nyssa A'Ghul's fortress, which Mr. Freeze destroyed last issue. I'll diverge here by saying I liked that they revived Nora Freis, but not that she was given power over the dead. She should either have been normal, or the resurrection failed. Oh, well, I suppose she's Batman's problem now. The rest of the disciples are being sent after Batgirl by Shiva, which seems like a punk move to me, seeing as Shiva is supposed to be "the best". Fight your own battles, wuss! Wolverine calls himself the best, and you know what, he doesn't send Shadowcat out to fight Sabretooth for him. Hell no! He does it himself. Shiva lost to Cassandra in their last fight, meaning she's the challenger, she's the one with something to prove and fighting an exhausted opponent proves nothing except that you're an opportunist. And a wuss.

The story gets interrupted a few times by some sort of a fairytale type thing talking about Cain's decision to have a child and Cassandra's life on the run. It feels a bit out of place, but I think Gabrych is tying into the first issue in Bludhaven, where Cassandra talks about the time Nightwing told her the story about Cinderella. I think he's tying in to it to let us know it won't be a happy ending for Cass, in which case I am going to SEVERELY PISSED at DC. By the end, Cassandra has a whole new problem to deal with, though why the preview for the next issue tries to be coy about who it is I don't know. I had it figured immediately, and by the looks of it, so did Batgirl. And through it all, Shiva's still just sitting back watching. 4 "Shiva's a cowardly little punk"s out of 5.

Robin #145 - This is the best issue of Robin in months. That's still not saying much, but it does a good job of putting Robin on his own, even when surrounded by other characters. So he, Blue Devil, Ragman, and Warlock's Daughter are fighting SIXTY meta-humans that weren't killed by the OMACs. Given the numbers, the heroes get split up and each winds up fighting on their own, which is good for me. Robin is a solo character now, and should be treated as such. The story has amusing interludes of the Veteran and his crew trying to get across town to help Robin, with hilarious results. My only real problem with the issue? It still feels like filler. Willingham probably wants to have Tim make his decision about whether he stays by the Bat or joins the Veteran, but DC wants to hold that as a surprise for One Year Later, so Willingham just has to kill time, until the next writer comes along. So first you get OMACs, then the Shadowpact, now the Teen Titans. That hurts the score giving this 3 time fillers out of 5.

Generation M #2 - I didn't buy this book but I skimmed it, and was saddened to see an appearence by one of my favorite characters. Stacy X, introduced during Casey's run on Uncanny X-Men, shows up. She's not one of the few mutants who retained her powers, and so she's just another aging 'lady of the evening'. That really bummed me out, and I'll probably talk more about who I'm mad at about this on Thursday or Friday, but it was still a good issue. I remember someone commenting on the last issue of House of M, that they wondered why there had been no depiction of mutants who were happy not being mutants anymore. All the students leaving Xavier's were sad or angry. This book gives you people who are happy, like a guy who can play normal basketball to see how good he really is. Turns out he's not that good, but he doesn't care. And you see people like Stacy, whose life has gone in toilet since losing their powers. Oh yeah, and someone is running around killing the few remaining mutants. 5 out of 5.

Wow, I was pretty happy this week. Or else I've simply lowered my standards for the Christmas season. Or I'm just happy to see a Marvel team book where something happens. Or I'm just trying to savor the last few Batgirl's before DC kicks me in the nuts. . . again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stuff I Think About - #1

Okay, now Magneto had four children (Pietro, Wanda, Lorna Dane, and Anya, who's dead). That's a lot of kids for someone who looks as old as Magneto. And we know that Magneto can control the flow of iron in the blood as it goes to different regions of the body. So here's the thing that's on my mind: Did Magneto ever use his powers as "natural male enhancement"?

I swear I don't know how that thought entered my mind, but I think it had something to do with Diamondrock's posts about Doctor Polaris.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Proposal For Chracter Donations

The Last part of my New Avengers post is on delay due to technical difficulties, so if anyone can tell me how you control where in your post the image goes, just put that in the comments section if you please.

To: Scipio at Aborbascon, Devon at Seven Hells

Re: Your character Donations to Marvel

While I appreciate these kind donations and your attempts to enrich the Marvel Universe, I'm afraid I can't accept charity. I would however, like to propose a trade. I will accept all the characters you have donated so far, with out even asking for a complete list if you meet three criteria.

1. I have carte blanche to do with them as I see fit.

2. You agree to make The Ray and Damage full-time members of the Teen Titans, post-Infinite Crisis.

3. You have to take Jean Grey, Cyclops, Hank Pym, and the Scarlet Witch, and you're free to do with them as you wish.

I await your response.


Fixing New Avengers, Part 3: Who Will Answer the Call, As Long As It Doesn't Come At Dinner?

Seven candidates to fill the roster gaps. There's only one I really feel needs to be on the team, and I'll list him first. After that, I'll just run through the rest, you can tell me what you think.

Thor - Hopefully, that isn't too surprising. He is one of the true Avengers, and he fits the "powerhouse" requirement quite nicely. The problem is Thor brought about Ragnarok during "Disassembled", wiping out all of Asgard, including himself. Screw That! According to Norse mytholgy, a new world is supposed to arise from the remnants of the old, some gods survive, others are reborn, so I figure two ways this can go {Edit 5/6/06: Turns out Thor broke the cycle of destruction and rebirth, and just destroyed everything. Except his hammer.}:

1 - Thor is the same guy he's always been (no Odin powers, no Don Blake alter ego), though perhaps somewhat hardened from surviving Ragnarok. He comes back to Earth to check on his friends, who he hasn't seen for awhile. But the mansion is destroyed, and Thor's not happy about that. And when Thor isn't happy, people will become aware of it. The Avengers respond to a call about Thor, and Cap and Iron Man explain what happened. Thor's a bit shaken, but agrees to work with his friends, to be an Avenger again.

2 - Thor is one of the gods that gets reborn. He may not look like he did (maybe he's a redhead like Norse mythology says he is), and he doesn't remember the Avengers or his times on Earth. He simply travels there, perhaps on a mission from Odin, or just for kicks. Predictably, he's a bit arrogant, loud, pushy, like Namor, only more of a party guy, eating, drinking and hitting on ladies. Inevitably he causes property damage, the cops show up, Thor gets mad, the Avengers show up, Thor trashes them, but their bravery in the face of his power impresses him, and he decides to spend time with them, meaning he hangs with the team and helps in battle. Sometimes. Other times, he's probably busy fighting with Hercules.

Natasha Romanov, Black Widow - She's got some martial arts skills, she's a spy, so she can do the stealth thing. As a secret agent, she's probably had to kill on more than one occasion. She's had contacts internationally with criminal organizations and crime-fighting organizations, having worked for both. She's been an Avenger, even been chairperson for a time. But she might be preferring her time as a freelancer, rather than working with the "costumes" again.

The Black Panther - Stealthy, an excellent fighter, good enough to beat Captain America (technically his father beat Cap, but T'Challa beat his father, and if B > A, and C > B, then T'Challa can whoop Cap's butt). Has an array of interesting stuff in his uniform. Smart, like Tony Stark-level smart, would give the Avengers another techno-brain to pick when necessary. Oh yeah, he's the king of the most advanced technological civilization on Earth, meaning the Avengers could have some serious tech support if needed. The downside is he's the king of a nation that apparently has enemies, and so he might be needed in Wakanda too much to do the Avenger thing.

Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist - I'm sure some people are saying "Wow Luke Cage and Iron Fist. How original." But given they just found out Jessica Drew has been playing double agent, wouldn't it be good to add an Avenger you know you can trust (Widow's loyalties can be ambiguous, and T'Challa went the Batman route of collecting information on his teammates, just in case)? He's got the requisite martial arts skills, and though I've got no evidence to back it up, I'm betting that 'iron fist' is strong enough to tear through Iron Man's armor, or at least damage it, so he's no prancing lightweight. That's right I said prancing. He might want to work on the outfit though.

Dr. Strange - Now add him and Thor to the team, and you're talking some serious firepower. Stephen Strange is the Master of the Mystic Arts, one of the most powerful beings on Earth. He would give the Avengers someone with mystical knowledge, which they lack, he was a surgeon, so he could probably operate as sort of a field medic as necessary, he's done the team bit before, and this time wouldn't have teammates who can't stand each other (The Defenders), and he has something to prove. See, Strange blames himself for everything that Wanda did during House of M, since it's precisely the sort of thing he's supposed to defend the Earth against. Now he could just mope in his house on Bleeker Street, or he could spend all his time poring over arcane texts, gradually cutting himself off from humanity, or he can do the smart thing: Get out there in the world and defend it. By working with the Avengers, he's travels all over the world, and maybe he picks up on a threat that was too distant or too well hidden for him to sense from New York. And now he has backup. Besides, he looks cool.

Marc Spector, Moon Knight - Has been an Avenger, knows how to fight, would be willing to do the killing thing if necessary. The problem is that based on what Quesada said about the Moon Knight book, Spector might be a little too willing to kill, even when it isn't called for (like say the Puppet Master). Also, having dealt with Hank Pym for years, Cap and Tony just may not want to deal with that level of psychological problems, and Spector would fit that bill.

Carol Danvers, aka Warbird - You know, I think I may be the only person out there that likes "Warbird" more than "Ms. Marvel". between Marvel and DC there are just too damn many people with "marvel" in their name. A "warbird" on the other hand, just sounds cool to me. Anyway, former Avenger, friends with Tony Stark (her A.A. sponsor) and Logan, so she'd have both their support, at least. According to Bendis in House of M, Carol wants to be the greatest hero of all. Well, the Avengers is a good place to pursue that goal, since you'll (in theory) be fighting the worst of the worst. She's highly versatile, with flight, super strength, some invulnerability, and energy absorption/controlling powers. She's got contacts within the military, which could come in handy in jurisdictional disputes, and she showed during that huge war with Kang that she'll kill if necessary (I know I keep harping on that point, but that was why Tony thought they needed Logan, because he can kill, so apparently it's very important to the team dynamic). One problem is that New Thunderbolts has been showing Carol and Hank Pym working with Gyrich and Zemo in ordering the T-Bolts to beat down the Avengers, so I'm not sure what's up with her (must be back on the sauce. Ha! You thought I'd make some joke about her period didn't you? Well, I'm not that juvenile.) Still, it's like Dave Campbell at Dave's Long Box said, there's something about a woman in a sash.

Looking it over, it might be that the last two/three roster spots are rotating between who's available and who works for the mission (in other words, if it's stealth call Natasha and T'Challa, not Thor). That's all I got, so comments, questions?

And a big shoutout to Scipio for helping me figure this out. If anyone put an answer in the last post from yesterday thanks for that. I'm just a little slow you know.

Fixing New Avengers: Those Who Still Serve

Before I submitted my picks for roster replacements, I wanted to try and explain why I kept who I did, because I believe the other five members are solid.

Captain America and Iron Man - It's a point that's been made by many people, bloggers and those working in comics alike: you got to have two out of three of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, or it's not a true Avengers team. So Cap and Ol' Shellhead ain't going anywhere.

Spider-Man - Permit me a rant first. Getting rid of Bendis helps the book in one other way. See he writes this Spider-Man, you know, the Peter Parker who's married, been doing the superhero thing for a decade by my estimate, has seen, fought, experienced everything a hero can over that time, the same way he writes Ultimate Spider-Man, the teen who's had the powers maybe a year and is still equal parts awed and terrified by the crap he gets mixed up in. Ultimate Peter is amazed he fought a guy in a rhino suit; that's old hat for Marvel Peter, and the man has been on the Avengers before, he shouldn't be making with constant nervous chatter! Rant over.

Here's why Spidey works. He's a great weapon. He's got strength, speed, a spider-sense that warns of enemies or traps. He's smart, and in a different way from Stark, who is an engineering, electronics, physics type, whereas Peter is more biology and chemistry. And it's always good to have brains who can bring different approaches to a problem. He has a weapon - web shooters - that have an array of uses (and would have even more if he adopted Ben Reilly's design). He would be perfect for infiltration, in costume or not. He's an average guy so send him in to a situation clothed normally, nobody gives him a second glance. Need him to break into a place? He'll dodge all the security without breaking a sweat. And he can mix it up in a fight. Just ask any of the 500 guys he's beaten over the years.

Spider-Woman and Luke Cage - This ties in to what I feel is a difference between the JLA and the Avengers. The JLA, historically, seems to be the big guns, the truly iconic names getting together for the really huge stuff, and that's it. The Avengers is more of a team for one (they had a mansion, with bedrooms and kitchens, living space. The JLA has a watchtower, sounds like a place you work, period.), but they're also where lesser-known heroes shine. The Ant-Mans (Scott Lang), Jack-of-Hearts, Falcon, Firestar. Those aren't A-listers, but they've all had moments for the Earth's Mightiest. I think it's Luke and Jessica's turns, and they'll step up.

Ok, next post, who I'm adding. I'm sure you can't wait. There will be pictures though. So it'll be prettier.

Fixing New Avengers, Part 2: Pointless Indulgence

Honestly, the main thing New Avengers needs is a better writer. And based on certain factors, for the sake of argument, we're going with Tony Bedard. He writes for Marvel, so clearly no 'exclusive contract with DC' problem occurs. Now we get to a part that's probably less about fixing the book, and more about me having fun, altering the roster. Supposedly this is actually going to happen at issue 15, with most people figuring Spidey and Wolverine are out, having served their purpose in boosting sales. That may be, as long as they don't get replaced by Hank Pym and the Wasp. I can't handle anymore "Hank beats Jan, why is she still with him, what identity will Hank use this week, just how bipolar is he?" I've reached my saturation point with that.

So what, you ask, would I do? Well, I'm dropping three members of the team, and probably pissing off the fans because it's the three characters Bendis has wasted the whole book getting on the team. But here's why I'm dumping each one:

Ronin - To be fair, this isn't my call. Ronin said in issue 13 that she was going back to Japan to keep an eye on the Silver Samurai, so obviously she won't be available the next time Absorbing Man starts tearing up Times Square. So, consider her a reservist, or inactive, or something.

Sentry - Confession time. Silver Age Superman is a major reason why I've hated DC for most of my comic reading life. He was TOO powerful, it was just silly. And as Eric has pointed out, that's really all The Sentry is, he's Silver Age Superman. So if I didn't like the guy in DC, you can imagine how happy I am he's running around in the Marvel Universe. Send him into space, let him fight Celestials or his inner demons. Whatever.

Wolverine - I like Logan, I do. But I think he really works better as a solo character, like he was in his title, wandering around, getting involved in random stuff, occasionally teaming up with a friend like Nightcrawler (or Shadowcat, or Jubilee even). As it is, with the current state of mutants in Marvel, I think Wolvie's going to be too busy on the "X-reservation" to have time for the Avengers. Vaya con dios, Logan.

So, who takes their spots? Well, I have this belief carried over from the sports world, that you have to replace what you've lost when you make a roster change, whether by directly replacing (like replacing a good pass-rushing linebacker with another good pass-rushing linebacker), or some sort of mix and match (replacing that linebacker with an average defensive end and a strong safety you can blitz with. Combined they equal what you lost). So looking at the roster, the Avengers lost a powerhouse, a martial arts/stealth expert, and someone "who was willing to kill if the situation called for it".

Later today, I've six (that's right six!) potential replacements. Be here, or be Avenged! Right now, I got to go Christmas shopping.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Testing, testing. Did I Figure This Out?

This is a test of Calvin's ability to properly add images. Having finally noticed the blogger help link, it's time to try adding images.

This is from the 2nd volume of Amazing Spider-Man drawn by John Romita Jr. It's one of my favorite covers of all time. There's something about, I can't decide whether he's beaten down by the responsibilities of being Spider-Man, or whether he's the imposing figure, watching and protecting his city, regardless of the conditions. Either way, it's damn cool.

Fix New Avengers, Part 1

Ok, as you probably know, there is a very good blog out there called "Comics Should be Good". And they're right, comics should be good. Unfortunately, New Avengers isn't good. And that's a problem because I believe the Avengers are supposed to be the premiere team of the Marvel Universe. They're supposed to be who you call when the big stuff comes down. And Bendis started off well enough, Electro is hired by someone to help a criminal escape from the Raft, a supervillain prison. Wisely he busts everyone out, since that makes it harder to track the true purpose. A bunch of heroes arrive and try to stop the escape, but 45 succeed in breaking out. Captain America realizes they need the Avengers to track them down. And away we go. Unfortunately, Bendis has killed it with his typical slow style, which feels worse in a team book than a solo book, where you could believe one hero might be having a slow day, so let's see their everyday life. The point of a team is they're working together to deal with thtreats, but so far the focus of the book has seemed to be gathering members. The book has had its moments, but it's not as good as it needs to be. What it needs, first and foremost, is someone who can write a good team book.

So assume for a moment I can somehow get Bendis to relinquish the job, while staying on Ultimate Spider-Man (because I like his work on that book, just not New Avengers), who do I replace him with? The guys at the store, Eric and Len, provided two possibilities:

1. Mark Waid. he was the first person I thought of, I loved his work on JLA. I haven't read his Legion of Superheroes, so I don't know if he's still got it, or if he suffered a Liefield-like talent drop. Unfortunately, he has an exclusive DC contract, so unless I can cause some disharmony between the entities (Devin Grayson? I'd be alright bringing her to Marvel, she did a Ghost Rider mini-series a few years ago I thought was ok. And she wouldn't be doing her fangirl stuff on Nightwing, which might be best for both parties). But as that's unlikely, he's probably out of the running. Moving on.

2. Tony Bedard (Exiles and Negation). Len suggested him, and one of the things I liked was Bedard seems to write from a tactical standpoint in battles. Rather than match your hand-to hand fighter with theirs, use your long-range specialist. I've got kind of thing about that, pitting two groups of characters (or just two characters against each other) against each other, and figuring out what would be the best way for each side to win. And Captain America runs the Avengers, so tacitcally they should be good. He's been in wars, he knows how it works. So Bedard sounds intriguing.

So that's what I got. What about you, suggestions?

Correction: Mallet has informed me that Joe Kelly wrote "Obsidian Age", not Mark Waid, so I guess that's a point in favor of Joe Kelly then. And I'll remove that as a reason for Waid from the post above. I still liked Waid's work on JLA, so he's still on my considerations list.

Gender Dynamics in Fictional medium

Wow, that title sound kinda dissertationist doesn't it? Well, it's really just an example of why I shouldn't read other people's blogs before I post. See, I was all set to do a "fix New Avengers" day, which you, the kind readers would hopefully help with. Then I check out Pretty, Fuzzy Paradise and Kalinara did a post that struck a chord. She noted that if you reverse the genders of the characters in the Kyle Rayner/Jade relationship, it starts to look kind of disturbing, with "Johnny" looking like the typical abusive boyfriend. You should really read it yourself. But it brings up something that has been bothering me for a few years.

See, I'm a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel. Not those two characters mind you, I can't stand Buffy or Angel (Go Faith! Go Spike! Whoo!), but I like the shows. Which was part of what made the sixth season of Buffy so rough. Her friends bring her back from the dead, pulling her out of Heaven in the process, but leave her in her coffin, so she has to claw her way out. Understandably, Buffy's traumatized, she avoids her friends, and hangs out with Spike, and he tries to help, because he loves her, and honestly she likes him too. She just can't admit it, because he's "an evil thing". So instead she uses him sexually. The morning after their first time, Buffy tells Spike that if he tells anyone, she'll kill him. What? If a male character said that to a female character (like Angel talking to Cordellia, for example), there would be outrage. But when a women, who is the hero, and supposedly 'good', says it to the 'evil' vampire it's no big deal.

And it continues, with Buffy denying Spike actually cares for her, denying that he is actually trying to be good, when she isn't just beating the crap out of him or sexually assaulting him. There is a point where Buffy tries to initiate sexual relations and Spike says "No". Go Spike! Buffy ignores him, and the writers play goofy, silly music to make it like it's no big deal. Wait a minute, I thought that no meant no? To be fair, Spike deserves some blame for not doing the smart thing and breaking it off with Buffy, but he loves her, so like most people in abusive relationships, he wants to help her be the person he remembers. Ultimately, Spike snaps, and assaults Buffy in her bathroom. This time the writers play the assault as a serious thing, Spike's being bad, folks. See he's evil, Buffy's the victim. The double standard is jarring to say the least.

Sorry about that fanboy rage, but it's been a sensitive subject with me, especially when Season 7 seemed to be one character reminding Spike he assaulted Buffy after another, but Buffy never gets called on what she did to him. She skates away, the same way Willow skated for killing two {Edit, January 4, 2008: make that killing one, flaying another} people, even though what she did was easily as bad as what Faith did, and Faith was sitting in prison for most of that season.

Anyway, there's an essay that explains the whole thing much better than I did.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Quick request of the DC Universe

No, it's not for their books to stop beating Marvel's in sales. I would like to formally request that someone, anyone introduce Supergirl to the Earth concept of "food". I know that women are rarely if ever portrayed accurately physically in comics, but she's in Kate Moss territory right now, and Kryptonian or no, that can't be good.

You'd think Artemis would have taught her about the importance of eating as a warrior, you to provide the energy for warrioring? Isn't the old saying "An army travels on its stomach"? Well, she's as powerful as an army, so clearly she needs to eat more than the single lettuce leaf she ingests every three days right now.

(I was going to make a joke about "Doctor Light thanks you". Then I remembered Supergirl is Luthor's territory, and . . . I should just stop now.)

Let's Keep It Clean People

At the end of my last post, I said I was going to discuss DC's dominance in the blogosphere (Blogsphere?). That is, while there are quite a few sites that discuss both of the "Big Two", there are seemingly almost as many that discuss only DC. In contrast, Marvel-only sites seem almost nonexistent. So, the post is going to be an open question about why that is. I know DC is currently outselling Marvel, that DC apparently has locked up many of the best writers with exclusive deals (greedy bastards), and are planning to royally piss me off with Infinite Crisis and One Year Later. All that being said, I figure there would be a few REALLY passionate Marvelites out there. Maybe I've just missed them. Anyway, I figured this would ultimately become a Marvel vs. DC thread, and I've seen that often enough in game console form (Playstation kicks Xbox's ass! No way!), to just prefer to avoid it. I am going to discuss my reasons for preferring Marvel over DC at some point, but not today. But if someone wants to try and explain their preference, I'd really appreciate that.

What I Bought, 12/14/05

Marvel Knights Spider-Man #21 - So this is Part 8 of 12 in "The Other: Evolve or Die" story. In part six, Spidey was beaten to a pulp by Morlun. In part 7 Morlun tries to drain his life force at the hospital, MJ interferes, Peter gets off the bed to save her, kills Morlun, and dies. This issue deals with the aftermath. Mary Jane has to tell Aunt May Peter died, gets comforted by various Avengers, and has to discuss preparations with Tony Stark. Apparently they have to figure how to disguise the blunt force trauma Peter sustained, with Tony throwing out ideas like mutilating the body with a boat propeller or burning it. Predictably MJ doesn't handle that too well, and ultimately decides that rather than go through that she'll just tell the world Peter was Spider-Man. Except it's not over, because the body is missing, and all that's left is the skin.

Here's the thing. I like Spider-Man. He's my favorite superhero of all time and it's not close. So I want to like this, and as far as individual issues go, this was pretty good. Tony's discussion of the steps you have to take when identities are secret (as opposed to public like his) to cover up cause of death, and Wolverine's idea to hit on MJ, under the old "give her something to live for, even if it's hatred of me" strategy is believable, although I could have seen Logan going more gentle. This is a man who had to kill the woman he was going to marry, at her request, so a more sympathetic approach would have worked. Even with all that, I can't shake the feeling this story arc is monumental crap, and it's going to make it hard to read Spidey books. What's worse is Stracynski, who I believe is the mastermind behind all this, as it ties into his whole mystic Spider-Man story, is really tainting the memory of his early work on Amazing. So I give it a 2 out of 5.

The Punisher: Silent Night - This book has one serious problem and it's Garth Ennis. Or rather, the lack thereof. Now I'm sure Andy Diggle is a fine writer. Or maybe he isn't. But I can't 'get' with his characterization of Frank Castle. Punisher is trying to kill a criminal who has stayed out of sight for years, and has only emerged now to kill the man who snitched on his father and sent him to jail, where he died. The snitch is having a big Christmas party at the orphanage where he grows up, so Frank shows up, dressed as Santa. He orders the kids to build snowmen, that places claymores inside, so he can blow people up. At the end he leaves a dead body in the snow for the orphans to find. Here's the thing; Frank Castle is cruel to criminals, not the innocent, and certainly not children, which Ennis depicted well in a story where Frank goes to Russia. So this Frank is a little jarring to me, and it hurts the story. 3 dead Santas hidden from orphan eyes out of 5.

Ghost Rider #4 of 6 - So Ghost Rider and Hoss (the demon Hell sent to find Kazann), pull themselves out from under the bus Ruth (the archangel Heaven sent after Kazann) threw at them to find. . . Ruth stole Ghost Rider's bike?! What the? That's just not right, stealing a man's bike. Anyway, Hoss offers to team-up with Ghost Rider to get to Kazann and stop him before Ruth does. On the way, we get much discussion of what Kazann is up to, and how he had some insider in Heaven that enabled them to foil Heaven's plans, including apparently Jesus. It's all kind of hilarious. Meanwhile Kazann reveals his plan to bring Hell on Earth, and Ruth reaches her destination and begins slaughtering human security guards at an impressive rate. It's all pretty fun, and it's still gorgeous (Praise Clayton Crain! Praise him more!), but I was hoping after last issue to see more of Ghost Rider fighting. Still the plot seemed to take a nice jump forward, so 4 out of 5.

Teen Titans #30 - Kalinara and mallet have already discussed their dissatisfaction with this story over at Pretty, Fuzzy Paradise in the comments anyway. They've seen the Raven/Brother Blood/Trigon thing too many times. I'm different in that I haven't. Not in that I can't get enough, just in that I started reading Teen Titans in what was I believe the last issue of the 'Raven comes back to life story' and my collection of Wolfman/Perez works is pretty much the Terra/Deathstroke/Jericho/Nightwing storyline in trade paperback (I've got a post planned about how Slade was said to have lost his eye, but I need to reread it first, and it, like most of my comics, is at my mom's place. Bugger.) Anyway, so this stuff isn't old news to me, and I liked this story on last season of the Teen Titans cartoon. Also I have a little more fondness for Raven than either mallet or kalinara, mainly because she seems to be a type of character I like, the "Ryoko type" (that's another post for another time). Anyway, I'm somewhat intrigued to see who is behind the doorway to the land of the dead being open, and could they possibly hold it open long enough for Stephanie Brown (Spoiler) to make it back? My prediction, the troublemaker is Geoff Johns, but then I blame him for everything going wrong in the DC Universe. Why not, he writes half the books, pratically runs the place. Anyway the art was nice, I'm still picking up the next issue, and it helped repair the damage Liefield did to my eyes. How did he get so bad? He was ok when he drew X-Force in the '90s. I didn't have any problems then. So 4 overused plotlines out of 5.

Another post coming today, on the seeming dominance of DC in the blogosphere.

Link Post

Originally, this was going to be one paragraph of my "What I Bought This Week" post (coming later today! Yeah!). But I tend to ramble, so I figured it could be it's own post. Lot of good sites there, some I've been reading for a couple of months, like Dave's Long Box, the first comic blog I found thanks to a link to his Power Girl post. That was what we call an 'attention-getter'. Thank you Sheriff Justice! This would work so much better with pictures. Well, soon, so bear with me.

One note: if you are primarily a Marvel fan, like me (but not apparently like many of the bloggers here), then you might want to watch out for Scipio's Absorbascon. I will admit that some of the posts where he expresses his, how should I put it, disdain, for Marvel have been known to leave me muttering curses. Something along the lines of hoping a rabid badger makes its way into his pants. That being said, he gives me a laugh much more often so visit the site, and all the others over there. They have good stuff, and it's much prettier than mine. And a special shout-out to Pretty, Fuzzy Paradise, by kalinara. For whatever reason her blog was the kick in the pants that caused me to start this place up.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What I'm Reading

So, the first actual post. And what do I give you? A list of what I buy. Please, hold the applause, and the rotten fruit. This is mostly so you, the kind reader, can get some idea of what you might be reading about here. So anyway, the titles I read can be broken up into four groups, based on how I feel when I pick it up each month.

Group 1 - I'm Excited Because I Know It'll Be Good - The Punisher, Batgirl, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ghost Rider. Few things in life are more dependable than the Punisher written by Garth Ennis. Horrific, sometimes hilarious death, with profanity. Something about Cassandra Cain the character just appeals to me, probably the large amount of room for growth, something DC disagrees with me about, apparently. The bastards. And Bendis' decompressive writing style just doesn't bother me on Ultimate Spider-Man, probably because of Bagley's art.

Group 2 - Books I Think Will Be Good, But They Might Suck - Teen Titans, Wolverine, Ultimate X-Men, Spider-Girl. These titles can't make Group 1 because of: Rob Leifield, House of M tie-in, just a general feeling, and the reemergence of the Venom symbiote, respectively.

Group 3 - Books I Hope Will Be Good, But I Figure They Won't - Amazing Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Marvel Knights Spider-Man. Hmm, I'm detecting a pattern here. And it isn't just "The Other". Basically it's been going downhill since Straczynski decided Gwen Stacy had children with Norman Osborn. Why JMS, why?

Group 4 - Just Do Something Already! - Robin, New Avengers. I'm sorry, I'm just tired of the whole "Will Robin join the military" story. It just seems to drag on, and now Robin is taking out OMACs? And teaming up with the Shadowpact? I am so sick of Infinite Crisis tie-ins, but that's a post for another time. As for N.A., it's been thirteen issues, and Bendis hasn't really done squat. I'll have more on that book later, but right now it's on life support. I'm waiting to see if this team line-up shuffle involves Hank Pym and the Wasp. If so, see you later.

Currently, I'm considering adding Excaliber, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to start reading X-Factor. And maybe Cable and Deadpool. Not for Cable, and certainly not for 'and'. Just for Deadpool.

So that takes care of that, hopefully tomorrow, I'll get into some more interesting posts, as opposed to these housekeeping, set-up posts. Maybe I'll review what I bought this week.

Checking Things Out

Ok, so this post serves two purposes. One, to see if this thing is actually working. Two, to serve as a mission statement for anyone who actually cares about what I'm going to be doing here.

So this is a comics blog. Marvel, DC, anything I else I happen to read. I'll review what I buy each week, and you can all be blessed to know what I think of it. I'm also going to put up some discussion topics, related to things going on in comics, and what is being discussed at the comic store I buy from, Marvels and Legends here in Cape Girardeau. And no, the owner of the store did not pay me for that. I'm going to rant about stuff in comics that pisses me off. And there will probably be a bunch of other random stuff, comics related, and perhaps sports-related. Like for example, if the Colts are 15-0 and lose to my Arizona Cardinals in their last regular season game. I will probably let you know.

Also, some talk on anime or mangas, if I'm in the mood. And perhaps more, I'm not sure. I will try to avoid the "angry fanboy" stuff, and not just tear books apart. But if it's bad enough *New Avengers*, I'll probably go a little beserk, so I apologize in advance. Anyway, I'll actually put a post people might care about later today.