Sunday, April 30, 2006

Things I Think About #32

Something's been gnawing at me for a few days about Checkmate #1. Specifically the cover. First, let me say I like that cover. I think it's awesome. The black and white, the kinght chess piece, all very nifty. It also very cool that they seem to have given each character at least a somewhat different lighting. As an aside, I like that Alan Scott has that greenish tint, does it mean he's merely put the powers away for now?

But there was something about Sasha that kept picking at me. I couldn't figure it out, but I knew she looked familiar to me. "Well, you've probably seen this cover for months in the Previews, and in the advertisements in DC books, that's why," you might say. But,I was positive there was something else to it. Yesterday, while thinking ahead to Adult Swim that would be coming that night, I finally occurred to me. Something about that picture makes her look a lot like Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex to me.

This is not a problem for me in any way, nor do I think it's intentional, though if Bejermo is making an homage, that'd be pretty cool. More likely it's just my brain making weird connections. For all I know, I'm the only person who thinks this. I'll show you a picture of Major Kusanagi, and you can tell if you think there's something to this. I tried to pick the wallpaper I had that I thought did the best job demonstrating this.

But there are similarities between the two when I think about it.

Kusanagi: Human mind in entirely prosthetic body, one of the best available no doubt.
Sasha: Nearly went full OMAC, which would have made her one of the most high-tech things on the planet, no doubt.

Kusanagi: Has demanding boss.
Sasha: Has demanding boss.

Kusanagi: Dozens of successful campaigns in war and for Public Security Section 9 earns her respect of her colleagues/unit.
Sasha: Dozens of succesful campaigns for Checkmate, including smashing Brother Eye, earns her respect of her colleagues/unit (I'm inferring some of this based on her standing in Max Lord's Checkmate).

Kusanagi: Works for mostly unknown (by public) national security agency, which has to deal with risks of being shutdown by those with more clout in the goverment it's responsible to (Japanese goverment).
Sasha: Works for mostly unknown (by public) global security agency, which has to deal with risk of losing approval from those with the clout in the goverment it's responsible to (U.N. Security Council).

Kusanagi: Has enemy who uses influence within the governing body of her agency to shield himself (Gouda - No, not the cheese!).
Sasha: Has enemy which uses influence within the governing body of her agency to shield themselves (Kobra).

Kusanagi: Appears to be heading for conflict with boy she's loved since childhood, doesn't even know it (doomed romance).
Sasha: Appears to have been romantically involved with Batman (definition of "doomed romance").

Again, I'm not saying they used Kusanagi as a basis for the character Sasha Bordeaux. It's just that cover image tripped something in my head, and when I figured out what it was, all these similarities started to occur to me. And I don't even know much about Sasha beyond what I listed up there. And most of this is from Checkmate #1 and the OMAC Project Special.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Reflections #15 - New Avengers Annual

Nothing too complex, just some reactions to the comic as I went through it. For the purposes of this review remember, "James" is Wolverine, "Jessica" means Jessica Jones, the blushing bride, as opposed to Jessica Drew or "Spider-Woman", and of course we say "Warbird" here, not Ms. Marvel. Assemble!

Page 2: So is that an original image from the first Super-Adaptoid appearance, or is Copiel just mimicking the original?

Page 3: Why are the A.I.M. guys' helmets cylindrical? Wouldn't helmets that are rounded to match the shape of your head be easier? Also, Bendis can't let "Evil Hydra Guy" speak without babbling.

Page 4 and 5: WARBIRD! This comic is automatically 23.74% better than it would be otherwise. Luke's right. Jessica has powers, she can fly, couldn't she fly the baby and it's stuff up there, instead of climbing stairs? Or use an elevator? Gross, Aunt May has a bunch of liver spots. Peter can't even have breakfast without being in the Iron Spidey get-up. Does having a baby make women more susceptible to the charms of aging English butlers? Careful, Jessica, might end up in a throwdown with Aunt May over "Eddie". Again with the footie-pajamas comments. But can the Iron Spidey uniform count as pajamas?

Page 6: Love the look on Luke's face. Hilarious.

Page 7: "Mazel tov"? No one told me James was Jewish. Mary Jane loves being married? Too bad Quesada doesn't love you being married. The look on Jessica's face, hilarious. I love that Tony wants the Sentry to start making friends, but to leave as soon as he starts to feel unstable. That's the kind of comment that says "We trust you!"

Page 8: Not sure about the look on Cap's face. He might feeling a little bloated this morning. He certainly looks it. Man is large.

Page 10: Babies. Ugh. Did the Sentry get smacked into the window on the 36th floor, or just knocked past it? Either way, New Avengers needs more Sentry getting pummeled.

Page 11: Warbird took command. A natural born leader. Why isn't she a full-time team member again?

Page 13: And Warbird quickly assess what they're up against. I say again: Why isn't she on this team full-time? And when has dogpiling the enemy ever worked?

Page 14: Captain America reminds you kids to always buckle up, especially if being chased by a former spy, now Super-Adaptoid. Very clever idea by Cap though. Props to the Super Soldier.

Page 15: Just because you have unbreakable skin, doesn't mean you couldn't be internally injured, right? I know I read something about that in that Marvel Knights book. Woohoo, more Sentry pummeling! Greatest New Avengers issue EVER! Yes that's a weak field.

Page 16: Agh, she kissed him! Gross! Wow. James is planning ahead. What a world.

Page 17: It's a fun new game! "Pass the Worthless Sack of Crap!" Hey the New Avengers are pretty good at it! I guess between Ronin, Sentry, and "Just Stands Around" James, they get a lot of practice.

Page 18: Does Warbird's power work like that? I thought she absorbed energy, can she really draw power out of people? It sounds more like Rogue's. . . Warbird is NOT fat! Just because she isn't anorexic like that "S"-wearing tart at DC, doesn't mean she's fat!

Page 19: Here's Tony Stark! His superpower is talking down to his teammates. I forgot to genuflect when I said that.

Page 20: Peter used his brain to help. Hooray! He's collaborating with his intellectual buddy Stark, and now Tony'll devise a plan. Maybe I'm a victim of low expectations, but this is pretty good. Isn't this how these super-battles are supposed to go?

Page 21: Spider-Man solo against Really Powerful Enemy. I always like this, because it's fun to watch him win. Yes! Use the agility, and your opponent's natural stupidity! Faceplant!

Page 22: What's with the Bruce Lee background? Ygh. She grew James' sideburns! WHAM? I thought Cap's shield went BLANG!

Page 23: Seriously, how can Captain America move? He's freaking huge. And yet, he's still faster than someone who absorbed the powers of his entire team. Ha, ha, she has underwear on her head.

Page 24: Fastball Special? Isn't that a registered trademark of the X-Men, or is it OK because James was involved? Spider-Whore? That's not nice. Man, why do women always have to be so mean to each other? Don't they know words can hurt? Not as much as a hairy Canadian knocking you off a building, but still.

Page 25: 'Bigger web pits'? That's creepy, and sadly, Spider-Man does have bigger 'web pits' than Spider-Woman. Sigh. Relax Peter. Everyone one on Earth is a "kid" next to Wolverine. Except Apocalypse. And Chuck Norris.

Pages 27 and 28: Wow. All 49 different Iron Man suits. Cool. Heh. All the others are just watching. I guess that's part of the plan. Shouldn't they all be posing though? Sitting seems so Defenders-ish.

Page 29: Huh. Remote control. Now is this that whole "Machine God" thing, or did he program his suits to work like this? It sounds like it's a combination of Bingo and Battleship.

Page 30: Man street cleaners are going to be picking up pieces of Iron Mans for weeks.

Page 31: And here it loses me. So, is it her version of the Void, or his version of the Void? Or is the Sentry just using his apparently vast mental powers to fool her into thinking it's happening, and she's to inexperienced with his powers to fend him off?

Page 32: Besides, if the Void is the counter of everything the Sentry does (according to Paul Jenkins' just finished series), and all she's done is hurt people with the power, wouldn't "her" Void try to help people? You see how including the Sentry in anything hurts books? Why does the Sentry hate comics? Is he a Nazi? And if so, shouldn't Captain America punch him in the face? He did it to Thanos when the Purple Darkseid had the Infinity Gauntlet, what's the holdup?

Pages 33 and 34: And, villain's gone. I'm really surprised you can do that to an adaptoid. You'd figure it would, you know, adapt a counter-measure.

Page 35: Surrrrrre, the Sentry didn't do it. bullcrap.

Page 36: Real brave of Tony, talking shit to Spider-Woman through a remote-controlled suit of armor, when he's probably ten blocks away. But seriously, she is evil. She smokes, she hates babies, she took breast implants from HYDRA (not that I'm against breast implants), and half of her face is in shadow when she says she's not Iron Man's enemy. And the half that isn't in shadow, looks real pissed.

Oh yeah, Captain America looks real, real fat. Stop eating so many of Aunt May's wheatcakes, oh pudgy Sentinel of Liberty. Man, why don't we ever hear about Aunt May's wheatcakes anymore? Those were a staple of Peter's diet when I was reading Spidey comics growing up? Don't tell me "dying" multiple times made her forget the recipe. She gave it to MJ, she must have it somewhere! I want wheatcakes, damnit!

Page 37 and 38: Hmm, that preacher looks suspiciously like Stan Lee. Isn't he Jewish? Is this how Jewish weddings go? Has Wanda changed even this? In the last panel, who is that guy, that doesn't seem to have eyeballs? His face partially obscures Thing's. It's way too prominent of a placement to just be Random Person. It's not Purple Man in disguise is it? He's still locked up right? I mean, Cage beat the crap out of him back in New Avengers #5 or so. Please, we don't need future stories involving the guy who swore to rape and kill Jessica, and kill their kid, OK Bendis? No stories with that, or I'll let Deadpool really go off on you.

Page 39: Of course, Bendis had to have one really huge blab page. OK, fine. Man, Luke looks pretty bummed out in that one panel. She said, "yes", dude, she just wants to put it in her words. Smile! There we go. Why can't we see the preacher's eyes? He can't be trusted! He's a Skrull! No, he's Killgrave! No, he's Dan DiDio! Kill him!

Page 40: Luke and Jessica, sitting in a . . . OK I'll stop. They can both hurt me.

Page 41: Spider Woman wore a pretty revealing dress for a wedding. Hmm, this must be that wedding phenomenon I've heard about, where the bridesmaids are all ready to have "jealousy sex". Can the legends really be true?

Hope you enjoyed this ludicrous recap of a New Avengers where. . . STUFF. . . ACTUALLY . . . HAPPENED. Now if only someone would let Bendis know he can do this in the monthly issues, just with fewer pages for dialogue, we'd be great.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Kicking Down the Fourth Wall. . . And It's Puppy

You know what I'd like to see?

Deadpool, in the pages of Cable/Deadpool, to make a thinly veiled reference/shot at Bendis' Ultimate Deadpool.

Can't you just see it? Deadpool and Cable are cruising along, beating up the bad guys, Wade is making his usual inane babble about puppies, mid-90s Saturday Night Live, or how much he'd enjoy seeing Warbird and Spider-Woman jello wrestle. Then D'pool starts raving about how he's going to "kill all mutants because they're a blight on humanity."

Cable (and everyone else in panel) stops and stares at him. Deadpool stops, looks around, and says something like "Sorry, must have been channeling some lame-ass alternate universe version of myself."

Then he hits some random opponent (who looks suspiciously like a certain Brian Michael Bendis) in the face with nunchakus.

That'd be awesome.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cover Interpretation #1 - Amazing Spider-Man #531

Just looking at that cover stirred some things in my mind. No, it wasn't that the cover lies because Captain America isn't actually in the comic. Seriously, who cares? Old Jimmy Olsen comic covers used to promise things like Jimmy killing Superman with a Kryptonite suppository. Never happened. Big whup. Back to this cover. Look at the icons. Cap, Spidey, Tony Stark, all sitting watching TV. How friendly, except. . .

Cap looks kinda pissed. His body position suggests a child being forced to sit at the table until he finishes his broccoli. Arms folded across his chest, leaned back into the cushions, he's preparing for a siege. And look at his face. he's practically glaring at the TV, with a sort of grimace on his face. He's in costume, even got the shield with him. Yep, he's ready to fight.

Tony, on the other hand, has a more relaxed position. One leg stretched out on a footstool, he's also leaning back, but in a more comfortable position. He's no less ready for that siege, but he's in a better position to withstand it. He's watching TV with what appear to be raised eyebrows, as if intrigued by what's being shown. It presents an opportunity, and he's calculating how to use it. He's not in the armor, either, but in business clothes, with the tie loosened, like an accountant at home after a hard day. He suggests the common man; the person being frightened and endangered by superhero/supervillain battles, who might want them to be better controlled.

Pete's in the middle. One leg resting on top of the other, in a fairly relaxed position. And he's got food, a jumbo bag of. . . peanuts, popcorn? Something. He's settling in, and given he has provisions, one might suggest he's the best off of the three. Except, his food is probably salty, and he has no drink, which means he'll have to move sometime, whether it's for that or because he needs to go to the bathroom. When he does, it isn't likely he'll hop over the TV; he'll have to pass by one or the other to get where he's going. Does that mean he'll be obscuring that person's view, hampering him, or that he's obscuring other's view of that person, enabling him to move more freely?

Tony's got that arm draped over the back of the couch, behind Peter's head. If the Iron Spidey costume wasn't a tip-off, this tells you Tony figures Pete's on his side. Even so he's extending the hand towards Cap, trying to get him to see Tony's right, and that they need to present a united front. Clearly, Cap is having none of it. But perhaps, Tony isn't as in charge of Peter as he thinks. Parker's mouth isn't covered by his mask, and we all know that one of the things that defines Spider-Man is how he runs his mouth. A lot. Heck, in the actual comic, he started talking to the committee. . . again. After Tony told him it was a bad idea. So maybe Pete can still talk for himself. But can he think for himself?

What about the pictures on the wall? Behind Spidey, we have Iron Man, reenforcing the Peter/Tony bond. Except Iron Man seems to be blasting off, moving away from Spider-Man. Is Tony fixing to leave Peter in the lurch, or does it mean signal that the breaking point between the two is just a little farther down the road?

Behind Tony, you got Thor, someone the government would never be able to bring under control like they want. Someone who, when he had Odin's powers, went around helping people as he saw fit. If that meant providing a clean, long-lasting energy source, regardless of the people at power plants who lose their jobs, fine. If it means, barging into an Eastern European country, to smash a government that is persecuting people who pray to him, fine. It's that kind of "I've got power, I'll use it if I want" attitude, Tony seems to feel is hurting their cause, and the reason why he may be trying to bring Spidey under his wing. Pete's that kind of guy, he tends to leap into a situation, to hell with politics, there are lives to be saved. That steps on toes, and Tony's trying to maybe reign that in.

Behind Cap? The Vision, with a very Uncle Sam-like pose. Vis, represents who Cap is trying to protect. Vision once tied himself into the world's computer network, and took over. He meant well, but had to be stopped, but not before he scared the hell out of the powers that be. As a result, they dismantled him, to teach him a lesson. Now, the country seems ready to put Speedball on trial for all the deaths in Stamford, for much the same situation. Speedball was trying to stop villains, help people, and it backfired. Badly. Now he's in deep. And Captain America is ready to defend his actions.

The thing is, to return to an earlier point, Spidey is going to have to choose, eventually. But why should he? Like I said, when he needs to get up, whether for water or bathroom, he won't jump over the TV. Why not? He's Spider-Man. His very nature is to be unorthodox, to be chaotic, right? And he's certainly capable of it. And by doing so, it would bring him right towards us, in essence bringing him to be our position. Like that Alex Luthor thing in Infinite Crisis #6, except, you know, not done with a stupid character. That's it! Marvel's going to have a special 1-800-number we can call to decide how Civil War ends! Yeah, it'll be awesome, and. . . kidding. Hopefully, Marvel isn't that stupid. The point remains; Peter, when confronted with choices "A" or "B", choose "plantain". That's how he is.

Of course, that's just my take on it. You could flip that, say Thor behind Tony represents Stark trying to protect that kind of gung-ho style, while Cap being in front of a logical machine, in a recruitment poster style picture represents Cap supporting the government, and him trying to get people to join up. The joys of multiplicity.

Oh yeah, why does Spidey's elbow seem to disappear into Stark's leg? Is it to symbolize his gradually being overtaken by Stark's dominating persona, like it's a symbiote or something?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What I Bought 4/26/06

This seemed like a very big week for comics, for me, and in general. I think it's because lately DC has seemed kind of subdued, maybe because a bunch of books are late, and others were delayed because of those late books. And now stuff is catching up. Or not. Whatever. I skimmed Astonishing X-Men (ugh, Scott Summers angst), Ultimate Fantastic Four (ha, clobberin' time), Villains United Special (if I were Catman, I wouldn't be so cocky about daring either side to come after you, based on Dr. Psycho's "pet", because they don't have nearly enough firepower to stop it), Sentry (damn, he's not dead), and Wolverine (not bad, but I swore off that title, and off I shall stay). On the other hand, I did buy one thing I said I wouldn't, and one I'm not sure I should've. Let's get started, spoiler warnings as always.

Ion #1 - Would you believe this is only the second time I've picked up a solo book, where the star is Kyle Rayner? I guess I just really liked him in JLA. As for this? Uh, not so much. First off, I don't like the art. It's OK for "Kyle", but it can't figure out what the hell is going on half the time when "Ion" is throwing green energy around. Part of the fun of Kyle Rayner having this power is seeing what he makes with it. For that, we need coherent artwork.

As for the story, well some nice groundwork is laid. People are dead, something that looks and acts like Ion trashes some Lanterns including one that looks like a cross of the Spectre and Deadman. Kyle's trying to work on his art, with annoying criticisms from the head of the retreat. Seriously, why does Kyle need to decide whether the light is standing out in the darkness, or being swallowed by it?

A future love interest is possibly hinted at, though even Kyle is smart enough to recognize he should probaby keep her distance. And someone comes looking to hit Kyle on the noggin, and even brought an appropriate instrument. Oh yeah, and the Guardians are being needlessly vague. I can't say I'll pick up issue #2, but that may be because, to paraphrase the leader of the retreat, I don't know what I wanted from this book, and this issue gave me no indication as to whether I'll like what I will get. So, 3 out of 5.

New Avengers Annual - I said I wouldn't buy this, yet I did. Strangely, I enjoyed it. As the cover suggests, Jessica Jones accepts Luke's marriage proposal, while all the ladies are cooing over their baby, and Peter is having palpitations that MJ might want to try again (might want to have someone off Norman Osborn first, just a suggestion Pete). And Jessica Drew doesn't like babies. This combined with the revelation in Warbird #1 that she smokes, confirms she is clearly, still evil. In the interests of disclosure, I don't like babies either, but I don't smoke, so I'm less evil. And lack chest implants.

Anyway, a plot thread from an earlier arc shows up on the scene, looking to trash the New Avengers. Hooray! And it's quite powerful, so it does succeed in smacking them around a bit. Hooray! But wait, are the New Avengers using teamwork to protect innocent lives? Are they acting like they've worked together in ensuring each other's safety? Are Peter Parker and Tony Stark using their brains to devise a means of defeating their really powerful enemy? Is the Sentry being useful? Is that Warbird? Holy crap! This doesn't suck! What the hell is going on here? I must be delirious from getting up a 5:30 this morning!

The art was weird, but I like the somewhat cartoony effects during the initial scenes. I would complain however, that Captain America is too, what's a delicate way to put this, thick. Cap's neck looks like it needs to be attached to those Rob Liefeld pecs, it's so large. It's not horribly out of proportion, but it makes you wonder how he could move as lightly as he does.

There was a lot I want to say about this book, but I'll save the rest for later. 4.2 out of 5.

Annihilation: Ronan #1 - Hmm, not so pleased with this. It had it's moments, that's for sure. I enjoyed seeing Ronan meet up with an old comrade, and find out what's going on with his life. Still Korath the Pursuer? Does that mean there's a Kree named Bolas the Imbiber? Just wondering.

So Ronan is no longer an Accuser, but he still has his gigantic hammer, and he still feels like butting his nose in wherever he pleases. Despite the dishonor he suffered from the Kree Council, he's still trying to help them out, while searching for the person who bore (false) witness against him at his trial. At least I assume it's false. He might have been doing what she said he was.

It seems like Annihilation is Marvel's chance to dust off all those characters we haven't seen since all those huge "Infinity (insert synonym for 'conflict') events back in the '90s. I can't be sure yet whether that's a good thing. I mean, Gamora, Nebula, Stellaris? Sadly, I actually remember Stellaris from a Thor comic I own. Eric Masterson gave up custody of his kid in that issue, and shared a hug with Hercules at the end. No, I'm not kidding.

This was weaker than the last two. Maybe too much focus on what happened earlier (the trial), and not enough on what Ronan was doing now (helping the Empire, clearing his name). Better than Silver Surfer, can't decide whether I buy #2 without question though. 3.7 out of 5.

X-Factor #6 - I love that cover. And Rictor yells at Layla. I'm forced to agree with Monet (damn); would you rather be dead, Ric? Anyway, Layla and Rahne talk, Layla gets taken back to an orphanage, and I tell you, that panel of the orphanage lady and the kids, saying how "happy" they are she's back, it was creepy. Probably the way the lady tilts her head as she smiles.

Meanwhile, Guido and Madrox decide to send a message to Singularity, about the dangers of messing with X-Factor. Honestly, I'm not sure how scared I'd be of 100 Madroxes; he really isn't terribly frightening looking. I'd probably laugh at the sheer surrealness of the sight, I do that sometimes. Guido in jogging shorts? That would terrify me.

I have to admit, when Rictor made his last little speech to Layla, I was a little shocked by it. "You're kidding, right?" I thought. Then I read the last book in my pile, and it made me wonder if he isn't right. Loved it. 5 out of 5.

Amazing Spider-Man #531 - Well, apparently we know who Titanium Man is. And we know who hired him. And that is why I don't think Rictor is crazy for being mistrustful of Layla. Spidey continues the battle with Iron Man, except he pauses to read the words on the Lincoln Monument. Real bright, Webs. "I'm fighting a guy in a high-tech powered suit, and I interfered with his plan to kill my boss. So I'll just ignore him." D'oh!

The battle continues. T-Man has the upper hand, but Spidey uses gl-, gl-, glider wings to save himself. T-Man regains upper hand, Spidey uses waldoes and surveilience equipment. I thought the waldoes were kind of fragile, but he can stab them through T-Man's armor, without breaking them? Huh. T-Man bails, because Russians are cowards - just ask the Nazis - and. . . what, I was joking! Russians are stalwarts, never say die, all that good stuff.

So T-Man provides what Tony Stark feels is some compelling evidence, and boy isn't that convenient? Peter makes a fool of himself in front of the committee. . . again. Tony plays mind games with Peter, and we seem to be up to Civil War #1. In spite of that, I had fun with this. I've accepted the costume - for now - we got super-battles, as well as talking heads. And it's funny to see someone ask T-Man to say "Moose and Squirrel". Yes Fearless Leader. 4.2 out of 5.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Green Lantern Corps Deployment

This needs to be quick. I've got 28 papers to grade looming, and a 5:30 wake-up so I can go mist-net birds. Fun. Actually, that last one may be fun, if it weren't so bloody early.

Anyway, I was thinking about my post from last night, and how much ground Lanterns have to cover. I could buy that the Guardians may not have any set size for their sectors. But just for kicks, I assumed they did. I also went with the theory of the universe being 15 billion years old, and that the universe expanded equally in all directions, making a giant sphere, with a radius of 15 billion light years.

Working from the formula of V(of a sphere)=(4/3)(pi)(r^3), and dividing the result (1.413716694 x 10^31) by the number of sectors (3600), I achieve the result of. . .

3.926990817 x 10^27 light years, or 1.20459841 x 10^27 parsecs per sector. So 6.022992051 x 10^26 parsecs per Green Lantern.

Wow. That is a hell of a lot of ground to cover. They must have warp-gates or something to get around. Still, I would think counting on a Green Lantern to be a consistent member of a team based on Earth, would be a mistake.

I'm sure it's not actually that much, as centurion pointed out there are places Lanterns don't go, so that would probably subtract from the total, but still.

Oh, and props to Centurion and Diamondrock for recognizing the Star Trek: The Next Generation quote I cited yesterday. Q is awesome. "Very clever, Worf. Eat any good books lately?"

Monday, April 24, 2006

Things I Think About #31

Holy crap. Scipio discussed Marvel comics, and found stuff he liked. Head for the bunkers, we're all doomed! If only I'd know, I wouldn't have wasted all this time on education!

In other news, I have a question. As defined by the Guardians, you know, the little floaty smurf guys, how large is a "sector"?

I know there are 3600 sectors, and apparently there are going to be two Green Lanterns per sector, but how much ground are we talking about covering here?

I've got this basic time-wasting project planned, where I try to make teams I want to see in both universes, so I'm trying to decide whether an Earth-oriented team could count on a Green Lantern to be there, or whether the G.L. would be too busy with space duties to be a more than an emergency member. Side note: Captain Picard just told Q "I need you!" Creepy.

Back on topic. Anyone have any information? We talking light years? Parsecs? Galaxies?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Reflections #14 - Wolverine Origins #1

My problem with this can be summed up thusly: it doesn't appear that it'll be what I want from a title designed to explore James' now remembered past.

Ideally for me, this book wouldn't tie into the present at all. It'd be a book of rotating authors. The authors can tell any story they want with James in some past setting, provided it doesn't violate established canon. By that I mean, it doesn't violate what was established by Paul Jenkins' Wolverine: Origin. So no James fighting as a Gaul against the Roman legions, because he wasn't alive yet.

But if Daniel Way wants him to be involved in the Greek resistance during World War 2, sure!

Peter David says he spent part of the 1950s in the Amazon, trying to get away from people and come to grips with all the lives he took in said Greek resistance? Why not?

Millar wants to tell the tale of James helping to build railroad across Australia in the 1910s? Fair game.

Basically, this title should be an opportunity to see all the crazy crap James got mixed up in from being alive in the last century, and being someone who seems to gravitate towards violence. Unfortunately, the first issue suggests it's going to be more of the same old we've come to expect from Wolverine titles: the ol' Canuckle-head trying to figure out who done him wrong and why.

Too bad. This seems like an opportunity to just let writers go nuts with the characters. we could find out that in the sixties, James was actually able to ingest enough mind-altering drugs to briefly become the greatest poet of the times. Then five days later, his healing factor fought the drugs off, and he went back to killing people.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reflections #13 - Annihilation: Nova #1

I am really enjoying these Nova Corps Data Files at the end of the Annihilation books. For someone who's Marvel experience has been fairly Earth grounded - what with Spider-Man not getting mixed up in too much cosmic shite - it's a helpful intro to the Marvel Universe at large. Some of the things you learn are quite surprising. And some things, just raise more questions.

Nova saved the Earth from the Deathstorm? When did this happen? And what the heck is the Deathstorm? Is it it like Ultimate Gah' Lak' Tus? Or is it what happens when Eternity eats too many spicy burritos?

Richard Rider restarted the Nova Corps? And defended the world of Xandar from alien invasion? Then why was he regarded as a rookie by the other Novas? Kyle Rayner helped restart the Green Lanterns, and he seems to get respect from the veterans. I guess DC aliens are nicer, or more respectful, or something.

How was this Garthan Saal able to take all of the Nova Force, but not take the Worldmind? If he had the Worldmind, he should have been able to regulate the damage the Nova Force does to him, right? Well, OK, based on Rich's reaction to the power, maybe not. But still, if he was running around, causing damage with the Nova Force, why didn't the Worldmind just take it away? If the Worldmind "gives" out power to the Nova Corps, and can regulate how much it gives, you'd think it could take away from one that abuses the power.

So many questions. I may have to pick up all these books in the hopes I get the backstories I'm looking for.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reflections #12 - Robin #149

There won't be a post tomorrow, I have to go on an overnight field trip for Field Botany. Joyous day. I'll be back on Saturday. As for Robin. . . (SPOILERS!)

I'd have to say kelvin nailed it.

It seems to me that Cass is working in concert with Nyssa Al Ghul in running the League of Assassins. What's interesting is how hard they're trying to convince us that the person trailing Tim last issue, and killing a blond lady this month is Cassandra. Her comments seem like we're supposed to believe it's Cassandra, but the casual killing of that woman doesn't jibe with me. This woman is too violent, not to mention too old, based on the shots we saw of her last issue. That woman looked closer to Lady Shiva's - I mean Jade Canary's - age. Meanwhile, the "Nyssa" from #148 seems more like Cassandra, with the phrase "Go in Peace." Plus, she looks younger, like someone who's still a teen, but carries themselves with authority.

I believe Nyssa is the one running around Gotham, and Cassandra is the one people think was blown up in Northern Africa. The comments by the killer could certainly be construed as coming from Nyssa, as well as Cassandra. "He wasted his time with you. You're pathetic. You aren't worthy. All we have in common is what he gave us and you chose to waste it - sister."

Sure, it could be Cass, talking about some metaphorical offspring of her father's training, but come on, Ra' Al Ghul has been around for centuries, I'm sure he's had more than two children. Cain's an assassin, and trainer of assassin's, Ra' was a would-be conqueror/savior of the world. It seems more of a waste to be a hired killer with the gifts of the latter, as compared to the former. As for the recently deceased's skill at killing, well I believe we've seen before that Talia and Nyssa aren't slouches when it comes to defending themselves.

So what is going on? Here's what I got figured. Nyssa's is sharing power with Cassandra, whether willingly or because her assassins won't follow anyone other than "One Who Is All". It seems possible that Cassandra has become "Nyssa", the more visible ruler of the League, as she's more equipped to deal with any threats to her life. The League has become like a useful version of the Outsiders, striking at those behind the evil that causes things like the destruction of Bludhaven. The death of Lynx was the League cleaning things up a bit, while simultaneously giving Tim a chance to be tested. Cassandra may be getting ready to ask him to defect.

As for the ultimatum, telling Tim he has to break David Cain out of prison, or Cassandra dies? Bluff. Cassandra is going to offer Cain a shot at redemption. It seems like when Cassandra finally became what Cain and Shiva hoped for, it helped prompt a change in Shiva, to where she goes by the name "Jade Canary" and works with the Birds of Prey. Perhaps, Cass is hoping that when her father sees that he succeeded, he'll mend his ways, maybe help their organization.

I also think the explosion was rigged. It's designed to make people believe the League of Assassins is without their leader, that they'll be scattered and in disarray. Meanwhile, Cassandra and perhaps Nyssa, will be free to carry out their plan, without interference.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What I Bought 4/19/06

Let's just get started shall we? Not as good as last week, spoiler warnings, you know the rest.

Annihilation: Nova #1 - I had hoped that the Super Skrull #1 was a sign of a new day in comics. One where the first issue is more than just exposition, so that things can happen in the second issue. Apparently, that was a pipe dream. Mostly.

Nova wakes up on a chunk of the Xandar Homeworld, most of which is falling into their star. Good news: the chunk Nova's on isn't falling into the star. Bad news: It's drifting away, and getting colder fast. Nova is the last of the Nova Corps left. . . again (Kyle Rayner?). The Worldmind is communicating with him, telling him that he needs to come find it, so that it can be downloaded and preserved with him. However, Nova would rather stagger around and talk about how terrible the loss of life is. Oh yeah, and pick fights with giant bugs. he likes to do that too. Still, with a lot of cajoling from Worldmind, and a little beating from aformentioned giant bugs, Rich finally gets to the Hub.

The sentient computer, which contains all knowledge, history, culture of the Xandarian race (Brainiac?) downloads directly into Richard. Good news: The Xandarian culture will be preserved beyond the extinction of the race. Bad news: Nova now has a computer voice in his head all the time. Good news: Richard also got all of the Nova Force, seeing as there are no other Novas to share it with, meaing he is sehr powerful. Bad news: That much power seems to have a deleterious effect on a person's mental state (Parallax?), as Ryder goes nuts, tearing apart several of the Annihilation Wave's ships before an explosion sends him plummeting back to the same chunk he started on.

So, this wasn't all exposition, and even so it does have the feel of an issue that wanted to get everything in place, so it could hit the ground running next issue, moreso than Silver Surfer #1 did. Hate the new costume though. 3.75 out of 5.

Wolverine: Origins #1 - I said I'd stop buying Wolverine, not books starring Wolverine. So James is on the loose and looking for answers. S.H.I.E.L.D. can't even find him, let alone stop him. And the President's Secretary of. . . really, I have no idea what her position is (is she supposed to be Condi Rice?), but apparently James wants to talk to her. And someone launched a cruise missile at the White House. And Shiva is inside. Oh boy, I haven't seen him since Wolverine #50! Has Shiva even been in any books since then?

I fail to see what is so special about that sword. Perhaps this is because I don't feel Steve Dillon's art is doing a good job of expressing the action. The fight scene was short, but he didn't really draw in a way that "suggested" the movement to me.

On the positive side, James went with the old brown costume. It works for him, much more so than the yellow one. It's more conducive to stealth (man, I'm really busting out the word-a-day aren't I? Don't know why) . Anyway, it doesn't seem that James managed to get any real answers, so I guess he's back where he started, only with another blast from a bygone age getting set to come after him. Seriously, if a robot made of Adamantium, with past experience fighting James can't beat him, this druggie loser is going to? Weak. 2.5 out of 5.

Robin #149 - Alright, breaking and entering! Into a police station? Uh Tim? You and the cops are supposed to be on the same side, right? I'm joking, Tim's got to get that evidence. And he does, but he gets spotted, and now he's trapped in the police station, with dozens of cops who want to arrest him. Thus, the mad dash begins. *Cue Keystone Kops*

It's nice to see a cop smart enough to tell the others not to just start firing when Robin runs through a room. As he noted, that's how crossfires get started, and crossfires aren't good for anyone, especially Tim, who lacks the superhuman reflexes. Watching Tim slip through with his variety of gadgets, and his little ruse to escape the shock troops of the G.C.P.D., highly enjoyable.

And we have a special guest pay a visit to Tim, and Tim oversteps his bounds a bit. Gotta remember who you're dealing with there, little bird. Trying to decide who's art I like better: Kerschel's (last issue) or Freddie Williams II (this issue). Kerschel's seemed a bit brighter, more suited for lighter-toned stories, which I wouldn't mind seeing in Robin, at least occasionally. But I'm more than satisfied with Williams. Leaps and bounds better than the previous year. Anyway, the issue ends with an ultimatum, but I want to go more in depth on my reactions in a later post. 4.55 out of 5.

New Avengers #18 - That cover is terrible. Seriously awful. As for the issue? Well, it burnt up the good will Bendis had earned with me last month. Mostly, the Avengers seem to be running around like the proverbial chickens with heads cut off.

Stark gets owned. Fuckin' owned. I saw that! Carol Danvers does seem to have reverted to her "Binary" days, and she still gets dropped like it's no big deal. This may be due to the fact their enemy, this "Michael", has grown very large since the previous issue, with no apparent explanation for it. James plays counselor with Carol. Uhm, ok. Meanwhile, Captain America and Luke Cage. . . stand around? Direct traffic? Lame. Spidey keeps making jokes about how he doesn't even have a license for a car, let alone a helicopter or Quinjet. We get it Pete, you don't need a vehicle, you've got web-shooters (and glider wings). Really, Johnny Storm is sorry about the Spider-Mobile, alright? You need to let. . . it. . . go. And what happened to your motorcycle? That was cool.

Oh yeah, the Sentry showed up. hoo-ray. And he takes the fight into space, and. . . he gets smoked. Congratulations, you could have at least stayed in the atmosphere and provided some nice dialogue like "Unbelieveably powerful you may be, ne'er will I yield!" Oh wait, that's something a cool character would say. Like Thor. Never mind. At least he got out of bed.

And by the end of the episode, the good guys have figured out what the people reading the book have known since #16: this fellow is lost mutant powers incarnate. Great, figure out how to disperse him, and mutants get their powers back. Then House of M is worthless, and can be forgotten, HOORAY! Total suck. 1.4 out of 5. Bendis is not building a strong case for me to stay with the book beyond this arc.

And why does he have to follow Warren Ellis' idea of Iron Man? Suck squared.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Things I Think About #30

So, I was reading kalinara's post about Dick Grayson and it got me thinking about overused storylines.

One of the things that seems to happen is that an event occurs in a character's life, that could be called defining. That's fine. The problem is when every writer afterwards feels compelled to do a story about the exact same thing with the character, beating us over the head with the importance of the event.

Dick Grayson having a falling out with Batman two decades ago, and still having issues about it, and being angst-ridden and depressed over it, and generally seeming like a codependent little child can get rather tiring to read I would imagine. The sad thing is, there are ways to give a nod to the history, without clubbing the reader with it, like we're a cute, helpless baby seal. For example:

Tony Stark has a long, and well-publicized problem with alcohol. It would be perfectly fine, within a story, to depict Mr. Stark at a dinner party, where everyone has a glass of wine or champagne, but Tony has only water. That would nicely reinforce established history. He might even politely refuse the wine list. It tells you what you need to know: Tony Stark don't imbibe the spirits.

On the other side, you have the disaster that has been the Hank Pym/Janet van Dyne relationship. Any time the two are in a book together, you can be sure there will be an entire issue devoted to Hank trying to get Jan to get back together with him, which inevitably leads to a rehash of Hank's myriad mental issues, and oh yeah, that time Hank smacked her around.

I'm not saying that should be swept under a rug, but at some point writers need to stop trying to push those characters together, because they always end it the same way. So maybe show Jan dating other men, and Hank taking it in stride, or Hank realizing that he really can't be with Jan, there's just too much history there. And then the character's move on. Maybe be friends later on down the road. Just a thought.

So, what storylines regarding a specific character would you like to see dropped/wrapped up/done away with entirely?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Things I Think About #29

In this post I asked you what characters that had returned from the dead should have stayed dead. Today, I'm reversing that, so, what characters that have died should come back to life?

It can be because the death was horribly out of character, or because it was just a way to move the plot along. Though I doubt many are clamoring for her return, Jade's death would seem to be an example of the latter. You could want the character to come back because they had so much potential that was wasted. Whatever your reason, just be sure to share with the rest of us.
Just to surprise you, I won't choose Stephanie Brown, though I would like her to come back. Her death made some sense, by which I mean that her overeagerness to prove herself doomed her, not in the sense that Leslie Thompkins let her die to teach Batman a lesson. Here's an idea Doc: When Batman comes to the hospital, tell him Spoiler's doing poorly. While he's standing over her, feeling grief, stab him in the groin with a scalpel, then tell him to leave so you can save the girl's life! It wouldn't have been anymore out of character.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, the character I'd bring back.

Peter and Mary Jane's baby. No dead infant, no abduction by agents of Norman Osborn. She's born, and she's with her parents right from the start. I've seen people complain that Peter was losing his everyman status at that point, being married to a supermodel/actress and all. So give him a responsibility normal people have. Make him balance his desire to use his abilities to help people, with a need to take care of his family.

I don't know. Maybe that would be horrible. But the whole scene where he runs to the hospital, after dealing with the startling reemergence of Norman Osborn, to find out the baby didn't survive, it just felt cheap. "Oh, we let Peter find out he is the original Peter Parker after all, so let's balance that by taking his kid away. The old Parker luck, you know." Except they'd already killed a guy who'd become like a brother to him (Ben Reilly), and reintroduced his greatest foe - no, not his old landlord Mrs. Muggins! - Norman Osborn to be a consistent hindrance to him, so I think any good fortune the revelation provided was already offset.

Hmm, maybe I should have asked for Ben Reilly. Except I think I was the only person who liked the Scarlet Spider outfit. It did seem efficient and functional though. And "swinging, bachelor, trying to find a place for himself" Ben Reilly was the closest they'd come to the original Spider-Man in quite some time. Which was the whole point of introducing him as I understand it. To remove all the excess baggage Peter had accrued over the years, by having a new Spidey. But we fans - including me - weren't having it. Still, they could have made him a sort of globe-trotting Spidey, wander the world. He could go to China and fight the Mandarin, or Collective Man, for example. OK, I'll stop now.

So, what character's triumphant return from the grave are you crying out for? Remember, if you clap your hands, and wish real hard, you might convince Joey Q or DiDio to resurrect them!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Things I Think About #28

Feeling kind of uninspired - or maybe just sleepy -today, so just some quick thoughts.

- Funny how things turn out sometimes. Yesterday I was debating whether to go to the Marvels and Legends and play some Heroclix, or stay at home and watch Casper on USA. What? I like Casper. Ended up playing, and ending up getting a Ralph Dibny Limited Edition as a prize. That was a close call.

- When you're laying in bed trying to sleep, and you hear a noise, do you ever see lights in front of your eyes? Used to happen all the time to me in the dorms. My roomie, who's a diabetic would get up to get some juice from his mini-fridge, and when he'd close the door, I'd see this flash in front of my eyes, which is odd, seeing as my eyes were closed. Always thought it was pretty cool. Had a professor suggest that my eyes were darting in the direction of the sound, and that movement caused the flash of light.

- Really looking forward to Robin this week.

- Also really looking forward to Annihilation:Nova #1 this week. Hopefully it'll be more than your standard "set everything up so something can happen next issue" first issue. In other words, more Super-Skrull, less Silver Surfer.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Things I Think About #27

I was, for some reason, reflecting on Batman yesterday, why he had become a jerk who trusted no one. He hadn't always been like this, what changed?

- Batman said he created his elimination strategies because of some "Agamemno(?)" situation, where the Leaguers bodies were stolen. He felt someone needed to be ready to stop the heroes if they went rogue.

- I assume the Brother Eye was an offshoot of that philosophy.

- It could be because he subconsciously remembered being mindwiped, and it twisted him against his friends.

But it seemed like the changed occurred sometime after Knightfall. Batman gave his mantle to Jean-Paul, and honestly, Jean wasn't quite ready for that. Or to put it another way, he wasn't ready to accept that title, and still play it the way Bruce had. Things didn't go well. Jean-Paul began to use tactics more suited for the Punisher, or at least Wolverine, which was a big no-no to Bruce Wayne.

So Bruce rushes himself back into the business, cutting himself off from his friends and partners to an extent in the process (I don't know that Nightwing or Robin knew Bruce went to Shiva for training). He tries to get Jean-Paul to stand down, but the future Azrael feels like he's better suited to protect Gotham, forcing Batman to square off with him.

Ultimately, Bruce Wayne regains the title of Batman, but I don't think he was ever really the same. He trusted Jean-Paul, when it may simply be that Jean-Paul needed more time to be ready. With more seasoning, he could have done things Bruce's way, but it was too soon. Robin wasn't able to keep Jean-Paul under control the way Batman asked, which wasn't really fair to ask of Tim either.

Still, you could argue that from Bruce's viewpoint, trusting people had turned out poorly for him. I just wonder if it had any effect on his gradually cutting himself off from others.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Reflections #11 - Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7

I think I may have poison ivy. Stupid woods.

Len and I were discussing today how Marvel never seems to emphasize that Peter Parker is actually very smart anymore. It came up because I showed him how the Skrulls were able to disguise themselves as trees and ground, which seems to run counter to what had been established previously regarding their shape-shifting. I commented that Marvel doesn't seem to be good at keeping facts straight, and as proof Len brought up the fact that Peter hasn't really used his intellect to beat an opponent since the first Morlun fight.

Technically, there have been a few, just nothing big. He fought a guy in some kind of seismic suit, and beat him by tossing him into a pool, where the suit's vibrations caused waves that smashed the guy into sleepy-land. And there was that weird gamma-irradiated mobster thing, where Peter kept pressing to make it expend it's gamma radiation. But mostly, it's been punchy, punchy. Or nowadays, stabby, stabby.

Sure they allude to it. Tony Stark sees enough in Peter to look at him as an apprentice/understudy/unwitting stooge/lab rat/verbal punching bag/what was I talking about?

Hank Pym was stunned that Peter could create a tracking device attuned to his spider-sense when he was a teenager, while it took Pym years to make a helmet to talk to insects. Of course, this realization probably sent Hank into another bout of domestic abuse, so maybe he would have been better off not knowing this. And it does seem like making a helmet to commune with insects would be harder than just creating something attuned to a special sense only you have, so maybe Pym was too hard on himself.

Norman Osborn reminded us that Peter built web-shooters even earlier than that, yet wastes his time punching crooks. Of course, Peter countered that Norman is even smarter, and he spends all his time flying around, throwing pumpkin-shaped bombs at innocent people, so pot meet kettle.

So Peter is smart. But how often do we actually see that anymore? It seems as if Marvel has been so bogged down in "Spider-Man, Mystic Defender!" they forgot he's still a smart guy. Until this issue.

Peter needs to get through his opponent's mystical gold armor, which defends against all attacks. Rather than just keep punching it, or mope about how everyone keeps telling him he's part of a mystical lineage, Pete puts that brain to use, and makes some aqua regia, an acid that can eat through noble metals such as gold.

Lo and behold, the armor partially dissolves, giving our webslinger a clean shot at the guy's torso, and he quickly ends the fight with two punches. Simple, efficient, smart.

Peter David may just validate my decision to make him the writer of my Spider-Man book.

If only they hadn't had that last page. I swear, there is just no way that is going to be good.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Things I Think About #26

'Whoever you are - you so much as look at me the wrong way and the last thing you will ever see will be your spinal cord in my clutched fist - do we understand each other?' - Super Skrull

Do Skrulls have spines? I guess I really mean, do they have backbones? Not in the sense of "You cowards need to grow some backbones", I mean do they actually possess a vertebral column, similar to humans?

Based on what we know, they descended from what are described as 'reptilian ancestors'. Using the term "reptilian" tends to suggest similarities with Earth reptiles, which do possess a backbone. Skrulls are also large bipeds (or at least have the appearance of large bipeds), with no evidence of an exo-skeleton, unlike the forces of the Annihilation Wave or the Brood. That would suggest they have an internal skeleton of some sort.

Except that they're shape-shifters. It would seem that having a solid skeleton would interfere with shape-shifting. Under normal circumstances bone isn't as flexible as muscle, which makes me believe it would take more effort to shift it to accommodate what the Skrulls want.

Maybe the Skrulls are simply in such fine control of their bodies, down to the cellular level, that they can maintain a form that suggests a skeleton by sheer will. So they're like sentient gelatin.

Do we know anything about skeletons in shape-shifters, Skrullian or otherwise? I'm pretty sure Plastic Man doesn't have a skeleton, given that he survived being scattered into millions of pieces over the ocean floor during "Obsidian Age". That fact that he could reform just seems to point to him being someone with no internal structural system to speak of.

Any thoughts, insights into this?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What I Bought 4/12/06

Field Botany took us out into the woods today. There were bugs all over the place, and so now it feels like they're still crawling on me three hours later. I hate that feeling. Five books, spoiler warnings as usual.

Annihilation: Super Skrull #1 - Compared to this, that Silver Surfer issue last week was shite. This makes me really want to pick up the next issue. We see the Super Skrull aiding other Skrull soldiers as they attempt to defend a world from the Annihilation "Wave". And they fail. I thought it was actually very well done, how they showed the Super Skrull going all out, taking out as many soldiers as he could, while the enemy commander is telling his superior there is only "a token defense here". Something called the Harvest of Sorrows lands on the world, and does a Galactus on it.

I enjoyed that Super Skrull (K'lrt) is that prototypical movie soldier, the one who wants to follow orders, while at the same time recognizing his superior officers are losers. But even good soldiers have their limit; and K'lrt isn't going to let some petty warlord stand there and mock him about all his losses. Seriously, what has this warlord ever done? She ever fought the Fantastic Four? I doubt it. Smack in the face!

It does seem like a waste to kill perfectly good soldiers though, but I'd say he's going to be more useful than all of them put together, so I guess it's not that big of a deal.

I think it shows his skill as a warrior that Super Skrull understands Reed Richards, knows he can enlist Reed's aid, and not get stabbed in the back. I like his strategy for victory, and I'm definitely curious as to whether his companion is who he says he is. My only complaint? Super Skrull's dialogue at times seemed too, "street", for someone who described himself as an old warhorse. Very minor, mostly his saying "What else you got?" Just seemed wrong coming from him. 4.95 out of 5.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7 - Holy crap! Spider-Man is protecting people from a villain! He's not simply defending himself from another revenge scheme! This is a Tony Stark I can deal with. He's reminding Peter of what science is all about, but he's not being a condescending ass about it, which would seem like a wise course of action if you want Peter on your side.

Loved the interplay between Robbie and Jonah. Perfectly plays their "blustery, but ultimately well-meaning" versus the "calm, more clear-headed, and equally well meaning" personalities.

Apparently the stingers will only manifest when confronted with someone else from a mystical lineage? Uhm, so could we have Spider-Man not fight anymore people like that for about, oh, 15 years? Hopefully, by then everyone will forget he has them.

You know why the ceiling tiles gave out when Peter tried to stick to them? Because that suit is too heavy.

Jarvis is right. Eddie does sound like a name for a cocker spaniel. My apologies to readers whose name is Eddie. I still think May could call him Edwin.

Peter used science to secure victory! Hooray!

There is no way that this surprise at the end of the issue can be a good thing. No way. And it's giving off a very strong feeling of the "Quiver" story from Green Arrow. *Sigh*, it scars an otherwise wonderful issue. 4.1 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #93 - I know that the Ultimate Universe is supposed to be about reimagining characters, but this characterization of Deadpool? Horrible. I mean, certain things about a character should remain, and with Deadpool, that hasn't happened. I mean, I could see Marvel Universe Wade Wilson trying to kill the X-Men, if it involved a conversation like "You'll pay me how much to team-up with cyborgs and kill the X-Men?! Sure!"

But "Mutants are horrible mistakes, and we need to remind them that we're running this planet"? Not so much. I am impressed that he can apparently take a lightning bolt through the chest, and keep talking. I gotta say, the career profiles they had going the first few pages were kind of distracting. It's like you have to read those, then back-track and read the rest of the page. Not that I can think of a better way to do that, just saying.

The fight scenes were nice. Neatly demonstrated how professional the Reavers are, working as a group, covering for each other (Cyclops takes out two, but gets jumped by about five others). Meanwhile the X-Men demonstrate they're still kids, by getting scattered allover, and not having any unified plan. So you get Cyclops attacking without back-up, Nightcrawler trying to hijack a heli, and so on.

At least Peter managed to keep Kitty from blowing his secret identity. Or from doing it himself. That's three issues now without anyone finding out Peter Parker is Spider-Man, it might just be a record for Ultimate Spider-Man!

And I have no idea what is going on with that last page, so don't ask. 2.6 out of 5.

Exiles #79 - I get it! Power Princess is Wonder Woman if she possessed no diplomatic skills whatsoever! Of course, she wasn't wrong when she said she had more power than all of them combined. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. Of course, when you fight a guy who can bend reality, "power" is a relative term.

Hmm, wonder who the female Captain Marvel was? Carol Danvers? Monica Rambeau? Some person we've never heard of? Probably the last one. Whatever happened to Marlo in the main Marvel Universe? Or Rick Jones for that matter? Haven't seen him in forever.

Not that I'm complaining about that, just curious.

Is this the same Proteus from the X-Men comics, or an alternate-universe version? I remember they did an annual sometime back in the '90s where Proteus came back, combined with some kid that could absorb energy, and was no longer vulnerable to metal. This one still is, so I guess it's a different one. That's seen "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". So he's not all bad.

That wasn't a bad plan, and certainly takes advantage of the resources at their disposal. Still, I'm thinking Power Princess dies next issue. Just a hunch. She's strong, but two Hulks, now that both seem angry with the Exiles? Good night! Opens the door for Psylocke I guess. 4 out of 5.

Ms. Marvel #2 - OK, this issue had way too many panels that made me think 'Hentai!' Way too much Carol Danvers getting grabbed by things that look like tentacles, you dig? Still, the fact that she's going all out, but having trouble with the sheer numbers was a believeable. The Brood are a serious problem for a reason, she ain't fighting Stilt-Man.

Still, I'd say Carol didn't do poorly. Yeah, she was saved by the thing the Brood were running from, but I'm sure she'd already expended a lot of energy chasing that ship there last issue.

Are Cavorite crystals an already established part of the Marvel Universe, like Vibranium, or did Reed just pull this out of his ass to be part of the problem Warbird has to deal with?

I really prefer calling her Warbird. I think I'll do that from now on. This is Warbird #2!

I think Warbird suffers from self-esteem problems. She gets mad at herself because she stayed to finish the Brood and figure out what "Cru" is and why it wants the crystals. Then she gets mad because she didn't immediately chase after it. She was so weak at the time it flicked her away like a bug, so I don't think giving immediate chase would have been wise. Probably just get her killed.

I predict that next issue she will have saved the Earth with her impressive energy absorption skills. Does anyone else think it's weird that the word is "absorb", but then you swap a "p" in for the second "b" when you go to "absorption"? Just me? OK then, 3.75 out of 5. I've been fairly pleased by this series thus far, disturbing imagery aside.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's Two Kinds of Geekiness, That Go Great Together!

Comic trading cards are awesome. For me it was a combination of two things I enjoyed: baseball cards and comic books.

With baseball cards, the fact you can get your favorite team's entire roster, see all their stats, see every team they've ever played for, it helped to make the history of the sport more real.

But trading cards for comic book characters, with a system for gauging their relative strengths? Holy crap, I am freaking out! Lots of good times, especially in fifth and sixth grade, when everyone I knew was collecting, which meant lots of trading. Just want to share a few memories.

- I still find it hard to believe that Cosmic Powered Spider-Man lost six fights out of 27. Are they counting his battles with Graviton and Trapster before the powers kicked in (Marvel Universe Series 2)?

- That I traded three cards, including my only Ghost Rider to get a Spider-Man from Marvel Series 3. Until I bought the complete set on Sunday, I'd never gotten that Ghost Rider again. *Sniff* I missed you, Dan Ketch.

- I think I might be the only person to utter that last sentence.

- That Marvel Universe Series 4 had that set-up where every nine cards formed some larger picture when you put them together (like the picture here, from the Mark Bagley Spider-Man set). That was the coolest thing ever.

- The nine-cards-make-a-bigger-picture thing, not the Bagley series. Of course, the Bagley series was pretty awesome too.

- That I had a complete Marvel Universe Series 4, and then somehow lost over 60% of it. Damn it.

- That I still have my Spider-Man vs. Venom 3-D hologram card from that series. 1 in every 180 packs, and I came up with one? Crazy.

- That I got in hot water with my dad over the collecting once. He gave me $20, but said 'I want $15 back", except I spent $15. He was not pleased. With anyone else, I would have played the 'I can't hear in my right ear, you spoke into it, I misunderstood'. Unfortunately, that doesn't work when the person is aware of the condition and made sure to speak clearly to your good ear. Grounding followed.

- But come on, what parent gives their kid $20, then tells them they can't spend 3/4ths of it, then lets the kid run unsupervised to a store chock-full of stuff said child wants, and is then surprised when they get back less than the specified amount. Poor parenting, Dad.

- I hope this isn't the day he decides to read my blog.

Share your experiences. I know I can't be the only blogger out here who was into the trading card game.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fifteen Possibilities - Times 2

Which is my way of saying I can't follow directions. Sorry Jake. I figured I'd just do two options: one for the DC lovers, one for the Marvelites out there. Then the people can mix-'n-match as they wish. No, it's not a cop-out!

. . .

Yeah, it is. Let's just get on with it. I did put an asterisk next to the fifteen out of thirty I would buy, if that's all I could buy, so I guess that could be my fifteen.

Possibility #1 - DC. War Games went much differently, so Spoiler not dead, Leslie Thompkins still friends with Bats, but Bats still hunted by police, so sidekicks have to leave. Identity Crisis, never happened, though Dr. Light has become a badass through the power of self-actualization, or something. Jason Todd still alive (barely). The Ray is the version we had in Infinite Crisis, not whoever this new guy is in the Freedom Fighters comic (and don't think I won't be hurting DiDio for that crap when I take over).

Action Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison, Artist: John Romita Jr.
I've heard Quitely has trouble with monthly deadlines, that's why. I was real close to putting Kal-El in Conner's place for Infinite Crisis #6. Consider it retroactive vengeance on Ridiculously Powerful Superman. But I didn't, so let Morrison keep doing as he wishes.

Writer: Bruce Timm, Artist: Jim Lee
Timm is taking over one of the Batman books right? I liked Batman Adventures, so let him run with it. Jim Lee to give the title some cachet.

Writer: Kurt Busiek, Artist: George Perez
You got a problem with that? Batman will not be a member, not Superman either, as I institute a "No character in multiple titles!" rule. Not sure which Green Lanterns will be available. I have this weird desire to do Joe Kelly's Back-Up JLA from "Obsidian Age" with Kyle Rayner in place of Plot Device Faith. I won't push that though. Probably have Black Canary though.

Writer: Geoff Johns, Artist: Champagne
Guess I had to give Johns something, and he does good work on this. As for the artist, I just picked one listed on the cover of a recent issue, it's not set in stone. What is set is the team will have Wildcat, Sand, Dr. Mid-Nite and Power Girl. The rest I leave to Johns, unless the character is otherwise occupied. No multiple titles!

*Secret Six
Writer: Gail Simone, Artist: Brad Walker
I cut Birds of Prey, but I want Simone to have a monthly title, and if I don't give them a Catman fix, the guys at the store (especially Jack) will kill me. I think it'll be a Suicide Squad type book, on a hunch. Do a better job of the "does the jobs that are too dirty for other heroes" better than Outsiders, I can guarantee that.

*Teen Titans
Writer: Allan Heinberg, Artist: Tony Daniel
I like his work on Young Avengers. Cyborg and Starfire are still on the team, Ravager and Kid Flash are definites, and I'd like to see Speedy and The Ray as well. If he wants Marvin, Wendy, Kid Devil, the Herald, that's fine. Beast Boy is on the Doom Patrol, Raven went to school. And no stories involving Trigon for at least five years. And Deathstroke is now exclusive villain property of the Titans. He is no longer the Wolverine of DC, all right? Yeah, his daughter is on the team; makes it more fun, doesn't it?

*Green Lanterns
Writer: John Ostrander, Artist: Ethan van Sciver
I think Jake suggested a book that rotates between Lanterns. I like that. Every arc has at least one of Kyle, John, Hal, Guy, Kilowog, Katma Tui ( I'm trying to figure out how to bring her back), or Jade (Katma will train her up, so don't be mad Ragnell). I want the arcs to tie-in to an overarching story, and his first 20 issues on Grimjack showed me Ostrander rocks at that.

Writer: various, Artist: various
Sgt. Rock, Jonah Hex , or Frankenstein? Maybe a return of the Haunted Tank? Here they go.

Writer: Bill Willingham, Artist: Justiano
Again, out of fear of what Jack would do if deprived of Detective Chimp, we get a magic-themed book. That's cool, needs to be at least one title exploring the mystic realm.

Wonder Woman?
Writer: Greg Rucka, Artist: Terry Dodson
You know what, let's just ignore those issues of OMAC fighting, so Rucka can wrap up those plot threads, hmm? Or maybe it's Cassandra, while Diana is incarcerated? It's not Donna Troy, as the Brave New Earth eliminated that "keeps returning from the dead" clause, and she went out getting rid of Alex Luthor.

Writer: Kurt Busiek, Artist: Butch Guice
I'm letting him follow this through.

Writer: Greg Rucka, Artist: Jesus Saiz
More spy thriller, political intrigue than Secret Six I figure.

Legion of Superheroes
Writer: Mark Waid, Artist: Kitson
I figure we need to explore the boundaries of DC, and lacking a multiverse, this seems like the remaining avenue to explore, so Waid can keep it.

*Robin and the Bat-Kids (tenative title)
Writer: Anderson Gabrych, Artist: Pop Mhan
Because the people who helped me enjoy Batgirl so much are not going unemployed damnit! The title was actually Kelvin's idea, and I figure it looks at Batgirl, Robin, Spoiler, maybe Huntress or Catwoman, as they try to work together to keep Bludhaven under control. And can you say the Return of Azrael? What? Superboy-Prime punched something, that's how.

Writer: Kohta Hirano, Artist: Kohta Hirano
OK, it ain't all, DC, but damnit, it's been over six months since the last translated volume of Hellsing! So I'm taking over to make sure I get it much faster. I want my graphic vampire violence!

Possibility #2 - Marvel. Uhm yeah, House of M? Never happened. Civil War? Not happening. The Other? What's that? Gwen Stacy's kids? Whatever could you be talking about? Whichever company I run, Infinite Crisis is the last major "event" for a minimum of seven years. Preferably, fifteen years. Oh yeah, no more Phoenix stuff, unless it involves Len's idea about D'Ken breaking out of the M'Kronn Crystal because a certain cosmic entity wasn't there to guard it.

Writer: various, Artist: various
Sgt. Fury? Dracula? Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane? Marvel Zombies? Right here.

Marvel Team-Up
Writer: Robert Kirkman, Artist: Tom Raney
Just keep doing what you're doing, Robert.

*The Defenders
Writer: Kurt Busiek, Artist: Erik Larsen
Because I want to see how their series would have gone without out interference from health problems or cancellation. And because with that cast, you can do any kind of story, anywhere, espcially with the Hulk potentially getting blasted off into space. Watch as his teammates fight Tony Stark and Reed Richards to prevent it. But who will Dr. Strange aid?

Nick Fury's Old Style Butt Kicking Spy Extravaganza!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Artist: Deodato Jr.
OK, I'll work on the title. Give BMB carte blanche to write obtuse, slow-moving, gritty spy stuff, with an artist suited for the down and dirty. May feature occasional guest spots by super-heroes.

*The Punisher
Writer: Garth Ennis, Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Because I said so.

Captain America
Writer: Brubaker, Artist: whoever
It's going fine, why bother it? I might change this and make it a Thor title written by Walt Simonson, drawn by John Romita Jr. Whichever one doesn't get his own book, lands in Avengers with Stark.

Writer: Dan Slott, Artist: various
Only one thing to say: No more Greg Horn covers!

Fantastic Four
Writer: Paul Jenkins, Artist: Mike Wieringo
I have no idea if Jenkins can do this, but I'm a fan, and I think he can write some interesting stuff, that deals with the family aspect of the Fantastic Four, so there you go.

Writer: Peter David, Artist: Ryan Sook
So they won't have the mass depowering of mutants to investigate. And so what that Peter David won't have the opportunity to make Layla Miller into more than a plot device. You telling me it won't still be good?

Writer: Tony Bedard, Artist: Jim Calafiore
Unlike DC, Marvel still has a multiverse, and this is the way to use it. A somewhat fluid roster of individuals, moving from universe to universe.

Writer: Tom DeFalco, Artist: Ron Frenz
Or, the universe can be completely self-contained, like this one. As the title suggests, it may not be a book that focuses exclusively on May Parker anymore. It may be a way for DeFalco to have a few kicks writing stories with other characters from time to time. It's his baby.

Writer: Robert Kirkman, Artist: George Perez
Again, overlap on the artists, again, I'll side with the Marvel title. I'm going to be pushing for Warbird on here, along with Iron Man and Thor/Cap. I'd like to see Speedball too, just because someone needs to be funny on the team.

*Uncanny X-Men
Writer: Joe Casey, Artist: Ian Churchill
Casey comes back, and there's no Grant Morrison for him to feel overshadowed by. Hopefully Churchill can stay on schedule, if not Michael Ryan from New Excalibur.

*Amazing Spider-Man
Writer: Peter David, Artist: Mark Bagley
So, no stingers, organic webbing, no being beaten to death, no Iron Spidey outfits, no living in Stark's mansion, or any of that other stuff. Peter David will writes stories where Spidey fights villains trying to commit various crimes and Spidey stops them, Peter Parker will teach, and have friends in the workplace and everyday life (Randy Robertson, anyone?). No mention will be made of Spider-Totems. Plots will not revolve around endless series of attempts to get revenge on Spider-Man. Norman Osborn will not show up for at least five years. If David can't follow these rules, I'll probably switch him and Paul Jenkins, or just relegate David to one book.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hilarity in the Face of Cosmic Disaster

Before the main crux of the post, a few words quickly about the convention. I only stayed an hour, meaning I missed Gary Friedrich, creator/writer of Ghost Rider. Which sucks, but I just get kind of edgy if I'm in a place with a lot of people and noise for awhile, and I was pretty much broke. Seriously underestimated how much stuff there would be I'd want to buy (complete set of Marvel Universe Series 3 cards, WHOOOO!). For the time I was there though, lot of fun.

One more thing: I've read blogs, and Wizard. I know people dress as fictional characters at these things. Still, it's entirely different to actually turn from a longbox, pleased to have found a couple of issues from the Busiek/Larsen Defenders series, and almost run into a stormtrooper. It was a surreal moment, especially when a little girl (like 5 or younger) posed for a picture with Emperor Palpatine. Incidentally, what kind of salute do you give a stormtooper?

Chris wanted to know about our first comic. My first comic could be anyone of about fifty I got Christmas of '87 (including the final issue of ROM), so it's hard to say which I read first. I do know which had the greatest effect on me, and that would be the two-part story of Amazing Spider-Man #273 and Spectacular Spider-Man #111. So we'll run with that.

This two-part story deals with the Puma being called on to defend his tribe from the greatest threat it's ever known, the Beyonder. He's mostly bored with the whole thing, until he actually meets Jheri-Curl Boy. The One From the Land of Bad Plot Devices senses Puma's heart isn't in it, so he sends him to Japan for the hostile takeover he had planned originally. Suffice to say, he got Puma's attention. Puma makes it back to America and turns to Spider-Man for aid, and away we go.

This was a nice intro to who Spider-Man is, how his life is ups offset by downs. Plus: he gets to spend time with the smokin' hot Mary Jane Watson. Minus: they spend that time repainting his apartment, which had been burned up recently. Minus: while trying to convince the Puma he's crazy to go after the Beyonder, Spidey says 'All I'd have to do is say "Hey Beyonder," and. . .' and Beyonder appears in Peter's apartment, wanting to know what Peter wants. Plus: Mary Jane was already safely gone, having wisely left after Puma showed up. Even if she does know Peter is Spidey, no reason for her to get in the middle of that. Plus, there was absurdity.

While in Japan, Puma visited his old master. He gets past the guards, and advances on his master, who sits there uncaring, face hidden under his hood, listening to a rock 'n roll tape?! The Beyonder helps the old man get a gig for his rock band at a club in New York? The Puma reaches perfect harmony with the universe, actually becoming powerful enough to destroy Beyonder, and Beyonder doesn't want Spider-Man to try and protect him?! So what, Peter had to act like a wimp in front of his reporter friend Joy (also hot) so he could change into Spidey uniform for this?


Even with Spidey donning the cloth black-and-white costume, as opposed to the classic red-and-blue, just fantastic. I saw enough of Spider-Man and Peter Parker to see a character that had some hard knocks (this also followed the "Death of Jean DeWolf" story), but didn't let moping stop him from trying to save the day. He's funny, looks cool, has cool powers, tries to do the right thing, awesome. And no Spider-Totem, eye-ripping, stinger-sprouting in sight.

Just loved it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Reflections #10 - Spider-Girl #97

Sliced my left middle finger open this afternoon while trying to cut a tree branch for my botany collection. It's seriously messing with my hunt-and-peck typing. You don't care. That's OK, I'm not judging.

I was pretty negative in yesterday's post, and today I'm going to talk about a book that's three issues from cancellation, so I bet you think it'll be more of the same, right? Wrong! Even though it's a little sad the title's coming to an end, these last three issues are going to be awesome, methinks.

On the personal side, May seems to be trying to figure how to balance Spider-Girl and May Parker (ah, the eternal struggle of the Parkers). It's likely she wants to go back to playing basketball to help save Coach Thompson's job (and how weird is it that Flash Thompson jst became a coach at his old high school in the main Marvel Universe), but her powers give her an unfair advantage. Her best friend Courtney is about ready to accuse her of having a relationship with Courtney's boyfriend Moose, seeing as how he keeps turning to May for advice, instead of Courtney, who is always there for him. Of course, nothing is going on between May and Moose, but it may be hard for May to convince Courtney of that. Heck, she hasn't even told her dad that Normie Osborn is bonded with the Venom symbiote. He's going to find out sooner or later, she'd be wise to make sure he heard it from her, and not say, Johnny Storm.

You say teenage angst isn't your thing? Then why are you reading a book with "Spider-" in the title? Fine, we'll talk action.

The Scriers still want Spider-Girl dead, even if it's only to strike at Kaine. They've sent the original Hobgoblin after her, who's prowess doesn't seem to have dimmed much after years of incarceration. The Black Tarantula is on his way to New York, possibly to protect May from the Hobgoblin. Of course, he's a wanted criminal by Agent Whedon, which means Kaine and Venom Symbiote Normie Osborn will get involved, which means Raptor will probably get dragged in, and I've got a feeling she's going to bite the dust along with Phil Urich. She and Normie are supposed to get married, and I'm thinking it's not going to happen. Too bad; I think it'd be nice to end the series with a wedding, maybe have Peter shake Normie's hand, as a symbol of trust, that the Parkers and the Osborns are finally past the genrations of conflict. But, I figure the symbiote won't let Normie throw his life away to save Raptor, and then May's going to have to deal with out of control Venom/Normie.

Oh yeah, this is sounding more awesome all the time. I really hope DeFalco pulls out all the stops, since it sounds like Marvel is just doing away with the MC2 Universe altogether after this. Seems like a waste to me, but it gives the creative team carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want I'd say.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Reflections #9 - Teen Titans #34

First off, the Comics and Gaming Expo 2006 that I mentioned in my February 9th post kicks off with Gaming Day tomorrow, starting at noon. Sunday is Comics Day, starts at eleven. The link has more info, if you're in the area this weekend, show up. Come on *kicks your tires*. Probably have some convention related posts this weekend, but for now, on to Teen Titans #34!

I miss Starfire.

I think it was Jack who said that with Grayson's proposal to Barbara Gordon, Starfire had no reason to be on Earth, since she couldn't win his heart (this is his interpretation of DC Editorial's thinking). Screw that, especially since that appears to have fallen through and Grayson is a big old whore, even more than Daredevil, Hawkeye, or Green Arrow since Kevin Smith brought him (say what you will about Ollie being a chauvinist, back in the day he knew how good he had it with Dinah, and he didn't step around on her), and that says something. Not that I want Starfire with Nightwing anyway, who knows what Earth "social" diseases might be communicable to Tamaranians. Still, of all the team members not there One Year Later, she's the one who most needs to be, and has the least reason to not be there, from my standpoint.

I can see Mia going off with Connor somewhere, maybe because they feel they make Ollie vulnerable after Dr. Light went after them, maybe because they fell in love, I don't know.

Beast Boy joining the Doom Patrol, sure whatever. I'd say that was pretty much ordained since since Superboy-Prime altered reality by punching his way out of Speedy's 'Space-Filler' Arrow, and the original(?) Doom Patrol returned.

Raven retires after Beast Boy breaks her heart? Yeah I'm editorializing, but Gar usually comes off as a wannabe player that can't be too serious, so I'm sure it's his fault. Hopefully she's going to school, I'd be satisfied with that.

I am surprised Bart semi-retired. He seemed so determined to be the best hero he could be to pick up the mantle of the Flash, not from Wally, but from Barry (at least, that's how it seemed to me), that for him to walk away from it seems odd. But, maybe being in the Speed Force aged him a lot somehow (like older than Jay Garrick) and that's why he retired. Maybe all the death overwhelmed him. Maybe he still hasn't come back. He probably should still be there though. Teen Titans needs at least one romantic conflict, and Bart/Rose has already been foretold as a great tragedy, so let's see it. Come on *kicks tires*.

Cassandra's reason for not being on Robin's team makes perfect sense to me. Tim ditched her; why the hell should she be there when he asks? She's Ares' champion; I don't think he's known for forgiveness.

I'm real glad Cyborg is on the team, but I feel like Starfire needs to be there as his counter.

Under more normal circumstances, I saw Cyborg as the sort of calm, steady, tactical leader, the one who gave the pat on the back or the consoling word when it was needed. When Speedy joined the team and hit Cyborg with a cryonic arrow because she thought he'd gone out of control, Vic convinced her it was no big deal, that he wasn't angry or anything. He was the one who helped to feel like she could belong here, if she wanted to.

Starfire was the more emotional, firey one, perhaps a little more devious. She was also the one that was going to give someone a kick in the butt if they needed it. At the start of the series, she got on Impulse because he'd zipped around and saved a few people, and seemed satisfied with that. Starfire was the one who told him to stop standing around and help, try to push him to do more.

Being part machine placed some limits on Cyborg, being highly emotional did the same to Starfire. Put them together, they provide a nice compliment to each other. And really, I think that's what I would have liked to have seen in this issue. Starfire being there when Vic woke up, someone he's known and trusted for a long time. I know that would have ruined the "shock" effect that Johns was going for, Cyborg being as surprised at his teammates as we were, but it seems like, right now, the team is lacking something. Right now, there isn't anyone on the team I think Cyborg regards as his equal except Tim, and while Tim has the deviousness going for him, emotional, not so much. I guess maybe Johns plans to make Vic the emotional one during this period of adjustment, but even then, you could have Starfire reverse roles and play the calm consoler for her friend.

I feel kind of bad, dumping on the book after just one issue. They haven't convinced Wonder Girl to rejoin yet, we haven't even seen what they can do in combat. Maybe the threat of a brain in a can will impress the hell out of me. Still, the whole thing just feels "off" to me, and what's a blog if not a great place for me to vent? Normally, with a character I know zip about, I'm intrigued, see Chamber in Joe Casey's run on Uncanny X-Men. For whatever reason, Kid Devil isn't doing that for me. I have no idea why; he's a demon-thing, breathes fire, why is this not exciting me? I know why I'm against Ravager, she's connected to Slade, and those people always wind up going crazy and screwing over the team (see Terra, Jericho). And given that they've pushed Robin possibly well into and possibly beyond Batman territory, he might as well just spend his time in Gotham and leave it at that. I don't even know what to say about Marvin and Wendy. "Die slowly and painfully", perhaps?

It's funny; Robin did a really good job getting my attention coming out of the gate, in a positive way. I got my fingers crossed (figuratively) that Teen Titans #35 will do that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reflections #8 - New Excalibur #6

First off, Jake I will be all over this idea soon. I will warn you, there will be two, one each for DC and Marvel exclusively. Sorry, I just can't trust myself to combine them; it'd be 14 Marvels and 1 DC, and I want to try to be fair to the superhero-reading sect. The rest, can fark off. I just need to see some guys about creators.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a feeling the events of this issue, and the issues prior to this were going to tie-in with House of M and Onslaught Reborn, so I just kinda want to run with that theory.

Through the early part of the book, we have this recording being made by a teenager, a member of the 'Scarlet Knights'. He's talking about his life and family, and all the good they did until M-Day, when his entire family lost their powers and died, except him. Then he blows up a deserted train station. Seems mostly cut and dried, but there are a few things that don't jibe.

First, he described his getting powers through his 'mutator gene catalyzing', and this somehow activating it in his entire family. Even though I've noted the somewhat questionable basis for mutation in the Marvel Universe before, this sounds completely different from what I've heard before. Plus, the boy's uniform is kinda similar to Captain Britain of the Ultimate Universe.

Now add in a few other key factors: Black Tom is no longer a tree, he seems back to his normal "fleshy mutant who channels energy through a staff" self. How? The first threat the team faced was a group of "Dark X-Men", where the hell did they come from? That Albion fellow from #5 gives off an "alternate Captain Britain" thing. Dazzler appears to have died twice now, yet she seems likely to keep bouncing back, what's going on?

Look at the roster. You've got Juggernaut, who's spent time in other dimesnions more than once (Thor banished him one time, he and Nocturne wound up in the Mojo-verse another time). You've got Nocturne, who in addition to the Mojo trip, was a member of the Exiles, and isn't from this reality. Dazzler spent years in the Mojo-verse. Captain Britain is just one of I don't know how many of his kind spread throughout the various universes, and has gotten mixed up in more than a few dimension-hopping jaunts back in the original Excaliber. Throw it all together, and it screams "Multiverse Foul-Up!"

I'm thinking Wanda's little 'No more mutants' stunt crossed universal borders, and may have fundamentally altered the past as they knew it. . . again. Because I can't recall having ever heard of these Scarlet Knights before, but this issue makes it sound like they were an established factor in the world. They probably weren't of this world originally, just got transferred in and everyone remembers them as having always been there somehow. At the same time, both Xavier and Magneto have lost their mutant abilities, and well, you remember how Hank Pym said all that energy the mutants lost had to go somewhere? Guess where I'm betting that pair's powers are going to wind up at?

Hmm, I seem to be equating "No more mutants" with "Superboy-Prime punched the walls of reality", so I may just be paranoid. Doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Anyway, that's where I think Marvel is going. Personally, I think they'd be better off tying it in with Proteus' jaunts through all the different realities in Exiles. Of course, I'm the guy who said that Jamie Braddock or the Sentry would have made a better House of M villain than Wanda, so take that for what it's worth.

Just wanted to toss this out here.