Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tears Of A Child

In response to yesterday's post, an anonymous commenter contemplated what it would be like to find out that Civil War is the result of Franklin Richards wanting to have his action figures fight each other.

My first instinct was to make a glib response to the effect that Franklin would do a better job of portraying the heroes in character. But then I started to think about it. What's Reed been doing? He's been focusing on building his prison, and trying to make people conform to the law. In the process, he's been distant towards his family, and he seems more interested in how awesome building a prison in the Negative Zone is, than the fact the people he's putting in it were his friends and allies. Reed has a history of not paying enough attention to his family, of getting buried in the tests tubes and weird, other dimensional energy fields. It isn't because he doesn't care about his wife and kids, he just forgets to show it. His big brain gets on a track towards some astounding new invention, and the rest of his life just fades out. It's not intentional, but his young son might not realize that. He sees Dad spending all his time in the lab, and sure he comes out every once in a while with a new toy for Franklin, but he doesn't spend any time showing Franklin how to use it, or playing with it with him. All of which could make him come off kind of poorly in his son's eyes.

Then there's Tony Stark. I doubt that Franklin has interacted much with Tony Stark, but he's probably seen Iron Man a bit. And what is Iron Man? It's a guy in a big, really powerful suit of armor, that tends to shoot people (or robots) with energy from his palms. I'd imagine that Stark employs voice modulating software, and I doubt Iron Man sounds all that friendly. He probably sounds angry, and a bit scary to a small kid.

And wasn't Captain America the guy leading the heroes into their final battle with Onslaught, the one that lead to the Heroes Reborn world? If that's the case(I've no idea if it is, but it seems likely) Captain America helped take away Franklin's family for, well, however long they were gone. He was so gung-ho to save the day, he sacrificed himself, and a lot of other people for the cause. Sounds a bit like Fanatic Cap that popped up in CW #4.

As for Peter unmasking, well, he gets along pretty well with Reed, so Franklin might put him on Dad's side, and who knows, maybe Franklin was around the day Reed and Johnny helped Peter with the symbiote, and caught a glimpse of his face.. It wouldn't explain how he knew Pete's name, but the kid has reality-warping powers, people have figured out his identity with less.

I can't explain Clone Thor killing Bill Foster, or why the New Warriors became cannon fodder, or why Franklin would have a bunch of schoolkids die in the process, but no hypothesis is perfect. Still credit to the anonymous commenter for the clever idea.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Children Of The Corn Had Nothing On Him

Question of the day: Does Franklin Richards still have his awesome, nearly mindbogglingly immense mental/reality warping powers?

For some reason or the other, I was thinking about how that was an ongoing subplot through a lot of the '80s and '90s. I remember shortly after Spidey first got rid of the symbiote, and Reed had it in his lab, it tried some mindmeld thing with Franklin, accidentally breaking down the mental barriers Reed put in place (how?), and in the process scaring the crap out of itself, when it realized how powerful he was.

The first Dr. Strange comic I ever read (I want to say #75, from his series in the mid-80s) started off with Strange coming to the aid of Reed, Sue and Franklin, only to end up standing by and watching as Franklin laid waste to Mephisto. To be fair, Strange was the one who freed the kid, so it isn't like he did nothing, and he was holding his own prior to that, but still, the kid laid the pain on the loincloth wearing Devil wannabe.

Franklin's responsible for Heroes Reborn and Counter Earth, right? Which would mean it's mostly his fault we've got Onslaught Reborn coming our way. I'll get you for that kid.

He's a mutant, but I can't remember if he was listed as one of the 198, post-Decimation. And from the little I've skimmed through Fantastic Four books recently (Waid and JMS), I didn't see any signs of it. Which is odd, I'd figure to JMS, reality-warping would be almost as good as magic to make the FF heroes of destiny, or something equally inane.

And if Franklin does still have his powers, doesn't he have to register with the government? And whether the intent to use his powers was there or not, wouldn't the government keep a really close eye on him, and possibly insist on training so that he doesn't pose a risk? I'd love to see Stark show up to take Franklin away insisting he has to be kept under close observation. If Sue didn't show up to make Stark's brain explode, it might just force Reed out of this funk he's in these days.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Beware, For The Theme Post Emerges

That's right, I have decided that Thursdays will be dedicated to the Adorable Baby Panda telling us what earned a round of applause from his nauseatingly cute furry paws. I think this will help to up the cuteness factor in the comicsblogowhatchamafloogle (currently consisting almost entirely of one cute stuffed bull). How it works is, I hold the comic up for him, and let him read through it, and if he applauds, I mention it, along with any reasons given. Note: The views of the Adorable Baby Panda(ABP) in no way reflect those of Reflecting on Marvels and Legends. So who earned the love this week?

Peter Parker - 1) He wore a jetpack. 2) He decided to turn against Tony Stark. {I argued that Peter should have done that awhile ago, but ABP believes better late than never.}

Tony Stark - ?! Not a typo, remember that last week I mentioned ABP looks for any slim glimmer of hope. This week's glimmer was the odd "BOOM BOOM" noises that put Peter on alert. ABP feels Tony was giving advance warning so Peter could put distance between himself and his loved ones, so they weren't in danger. {I think Tony did it so SHIELD agents can grab them and threaten to shoot them if Peter doesn't surrender.}

Ted Richards - ABP was moveded by the story of Reed's uncle standing up to that drunken thug Joe McCarthy. Besides, he bought young Reed big ice cream cones, and ABP loves those. As for whether it fits in with Reed's previously established history, well you gotta take what you can get with JMS. {Nothing to add, I'm in total agreement with the little furball here.}

Fabian Nicieza - For giving us a reasoned pro-registration argument. ABP is big on fair and balanced.

Deadpool - For starters, ABP finds Deadpool hilarious. Plus Deadpool stuck to what he believed. Even though it looks like Cable cost him his job, 'Pool didn't just shrug and go back to following Shiny-Eye.

Humbug - For saluting Captain America. Respect the Sentinel of Liberty! {I argued Paladin, on the grounds that beating his teammates, and Cap and Luke Cage was pretty awesome, but ABP feels that you can't go around attacking your employer. I countered with Parker, and he said, 'Iron Man tackled him first.' But since the Heroes for Hire are contracted by SHIELD, wasn't Paladin following SHIELD orders? ABP chose to ignore that. It is just a child after all, you know how petulant they can be.}

Zatara - Well, he seems to like Raven, and Eddie likes him. Mostly though, ABP likes that he can make pizza just appear. Maybe he could do that with ice cream? {Sigh. Do I need to go to the grocery store?}

Kid Devil - He's all that's holding the Titans together. He tries real hard, and ABP really wants to fly, so it's jealous of his little wings.

That's it. I didn't show him The Punisher because I'm not subjecting an Adorable Baby Panda to that language, and Ultimate Spider-Man seemed to make him sad. I think it was what happened to Aunt May and Gwen. They say animals can be more perceptive than people...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What I Bought 9/27/06

On Wednesdays, I always park at Capaha Park, rather than in the university lots, mostly because the comic store is closer to the Park than my office. This is the second week in a row that there's been someone in the park playing bagpipes on Wednesday. Is there a Scottish holiday or something going right now? It's actually very nice, if a bit odd. Wound up with six books this week, so let's get a move on. Lots to do, so watch out or the spoilers might sneak up on you.

Amazing Spider-Man #535 - This was a nostlagia buy. I remember how, long ago, there used to be a monthly book called Amazing Spider-Man, and I'd buy it, and hopefully it was good (sometimes it wasn't). Anyone know what happened to that book? This is that book? Then where the hell's it been? Civil War? #$%^ Civil War!

Peter is having trouble sleeping, and 24 hour news tells him that Stark and Richards are making a buttload of money building prisons to hold non-registered types. Peter goes to Tony and says that he wants to see one of these prisons the people he's capturing are sent to. Tony and Reed oblige, and so Pete gets to use a jetpack! Neato! Stark notices Peter's not making jokes, or even calling him "Boss". The Negative Zone isn't funny, "Boss".

Stark explains the synthetic vibranium cells, and how some people get to live in virtual reality, which doesn't change the fact they're stuck in a prison in the Negative Zone, but hey, it's only temporary, right Tony? Tony? Oh, it's not temporary? Why? They've got no rights, because in the Negative Zone, the United States Constitution no longer applies to them? Which means She-Hulk's pretty much spinning her wheels with her legal motions (Tony says as much). Tony even takes off his helmet (at Pete's request), to talk about how he hates this, and hasn't slept in weeks. In that case, JMS might have wanted to ask Garney to show Stark looking a little more ragged, because he don't look bleary-eyed and worn down to me. And then he subtly threatens Peter with the same fate that Prodigy's suffering. As long as Peter doesn't go back to wearing the Prodigy outfit.

Then, my God, is that Reed Richards looking human? It is! Reed gives us the heart-rending story of his creative uncle, who wouldn't buckle to Joe McCarthy, and how it taught Reed to always follow the law, no matter if it's dumb, prejudiced, hateful, etc. Then Stark threatens Pete's family again (subtly). Pete's had enough, but Tony's been spying again. So Stark is still kind of a jerk, but Reed's nicer, and Pete finally woke up, so 4.1 out of 5.

Cable/Deadpool #32 - It's Cable vs. Deadpool! Booya! Boo-yeah? Boo-yea? Whatever. Wade gives it his best shot, but Cable's powers are working, so 'Pool's best is sadly lacking. Cable deals with some more resistance, then he and the Prez resume discussions. What? The President has doubts about the Registration Act, what it could do? But he really feels this is the best way for the citizenry to be safe? Is that. . . a reasoned defense of the pro-registration side?! I didn't believe such a thing existed!

Of course Cable points out that in his eyes, "registration" is quite different from what's actually going on, but agrees to disagree and he and Wade are gone. They pop up in Paris, and Wade's fist goes to town on Cable's face, until Cable's metal fist returns the favor. Ouch. After Wadey wakes up, he and Cable have themselves a discussion: about Wade working for the U.S., and whether Cable really is always right. I like that Deadpool shows he's smarter than he acts, and that he really thinks this the right thing for him, to be legit. Too bad Cable was still a few steps ahead of him. Loved it. 4.8 out of 5.

Heroes for Hire #2 - Last month was enough for it to earn a second chance. This month? Probably not so much. Misty's pissed that Goliath is dead; Tarantula and Paladin don't care, but they should probably keep that under their hats. Shang-Chi plays the voice of reason, and Tony plays his "I understand your concerns and empathize with them", when actually neither is true. Tony makes a joke about how it would be easier for Misty to control her team if she used implants like he's doing with criminals. Guess Ben Urich was right about Norman Osborn. Would you care to say that on the record, Mr. Stark? Why are you aiming your flattened, glowing palm in my direction, Mr. Stark? The squad agress to go after Captain America, but they need magic to find him, since they can't out-tech the SHIELD gear he's using.

Before they can get to Cap, a cop buddy calls them in because he's found a Skrull organ harvesting operation, which the H.F.H. bring to Reed's attention. You know, I thought all the bloggers were joking about a "Skrull Kill Krew", but it gets name-checked, so I guess not. Was that Bill Mantlo's doing? And Tarantula is apparently a major tech-head as she offers to build something if Reed just gives her schematics. With that subplot begun, it's back to catching Cap. They try to talk him in, but when they can't, we find out that Paladin is competing with Black Panther for "Most Grant Morrison Batman-like character in the Marvel Universe". Not bad, but I don't know that it'll be back next month, 3.5 out of 5.

Skull Kill Krew? Really?

The Punisher #38 - You know the problem with this week's books? They're all in the middle of some multi-issue arc, and so they're all stuck in that exposition phase. Just not a lot happening. This is case-in-point. O'Brien is about to bite it, but Frank just happened to call the British wog in Afghanistan that was about to shoot her (per U.S. government orders), and get him to stop. Meanwhile, Zakharov is miffed that Rawlins' plan to capture the Punisher by first capturing O'Brien has only lead to the death of about 9 of the General's men. Rawlins does avoid a nose-dive by coming up with another way to get Frank Castle where they want him. And that's pretty much it. Frank Castle does not brutally kill one person, to which I say, what the hell? A least give us a pity kill, Ennis. Meh. 3.1 out of 5.

Teen Titans #39 - It is only by the grace of the last page that this book remains on my pull list, and that's against better judgement. So we're meeting more Titans I don't care about. Zatara has a definite "Peter Parker before Uncle Ben died" vibe about him. Call me when he gets to the "Peter after Uncle Ben died". We get Raven's origin for what, the 2nd, 3rd time since this title began? Hey, I like Raven, but come on Johns, get it in gear. Well, it seems someone stole an encyclopedia from the Tower "i" through "k". I can't tell whether it's the book Raven had at the end of last issue. Stop bogarting knowledge Raven! Learning is important!

Then it's Miss Martian, who once thought it'd be funny to pie Ravager in the face. I guess she missed the part of the Three Stooges where somebody getting pied usually lead to punching, or at least some retaliatory violence. If Rose just cursed her out, she got off lucky. So for the record, as long as you don't laugh when Rose can see you, pie in the face is hilarious. M.M. can't really help them much, but she knows where Raven went next and... oh joy, it's a Junior Captain Atom! Or would that be Lieutenant Atom? Well, she's certainly sure who the traitor is, but I'm more concerned about Martian Girl. The Titans could be boned. 2.5 out of 5, only because of a strong ending. Apparently, I hate Johns' beginnings, and enjoy his endings. so I should probably skip the first 3 or 4 issues of Justice Society, huh?

Ultimate Spider-Man #100 - Well, that explains what happened to Richard Parker, if he's to be believed, and I think he is. Now we've got Gyrich in play in the Ultimate Universe (gods save us), six-armed Spideys (not for very long though), and Carnage is back on the field (crap). One of these days, Peter will learn that just because it's a smokestack, doesn't mean something will burn if you toss it in there.

Daddy Parker is in a rival organization to Fury's now, and his arrival on the field brings Fury out in force... with a bunch of weird robots, that I can't tell if the giant sphere under them is attached to them, or if they're levitating above them. I think they're attached, but I can't understand what the blue glow is about then. As he usually does, Nick Fury makes things worse, and Aunt May has that heart attack we all knew was coming sooner or later. And something happened to MJ. As for the rest, it's unused Mark Bagley artwork and character concepts, but as much as I love Bagley artwork (and if you don't know that about me, you aren't paying attention), if I'm paying a dollar extra for a double-sized issue, then I want double the story, not a freaking recap of the entire Ultimate Spider-Man story up to this point. So, with that standard in mind, 2.3 out of 5.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bear With Me

I've spent three days thinking over this post, and I still haven't figured out where it's really supposed to go, but I can at least be sure where it starts.

'Evil Skeets. I've always loved Skeets and this behavior seems fantastically out of character for him, but DANG is it good comics. I guess that perspective is why I can't be a Cassie Cain fan...' - Scipio, Sept. 13, 2006.

I swear, this isn't another Cassie Cain post, but technically, Scipio could be a fan of Crazy Villain Cassie Cain (if he's saying he enjoys the stories starring that character), but I think I understand his general point: If it makes for a good story, you need to roll with the fact that characters you like aren't always going to be portrayed how you like.

It seems to me that a lot of fans have their own sort of general idea of how a specific character should act, and there's a certain amount of leeway beyond those precise descriptions that won't ruin a story for the reader, but that the leeway only goes so far. How far, may depends on the reader, and probably how much they like character.

For example, some people find Iron Man and Reed Richards' actions and attitudes in Civil War perfectly normal, as they have always perceived them as sort of being aloof jerks (I'm pretty sure someone said something to that effect in the massive comments thread to Jake's post on Civil War #4, or in some other CW#4 related post), whereas I think Chris is pretty dismayed by what's happened to a favorite hero of his.

In my case, I found myself drifting from Spider-Man during the '90s, when he started to get dark, angry, refer to himself in internal monologue as "The Spider", and frequently start screaming about how "he wouldn't let anyone else mess with his life", while beating a lame-o like Shriek with Hulk-like ferocity. Whether that constituted good comics, I leave to you; for me it wasn't. Spidey was too angry, where were the jokes, the sense that his life wasn't all bad? On the plus side, it got me mostly out before the Clone Saga kicked off, so maybe I'm lucky.

I think this post is meant to be a question of how we, as fans, should approach comics. There's a comment in this that made me think that I need to stop worrying about whether a character is portrayed the way I like, and just read the comics and try to appreciate them as they are. I don't know if that's what Dorian was going for, but it's what I started pondering after reading it. And it does tie into Tom's idea of "progressive" comics, where things move forward, and the characters change over time, in that the change might eventually push the character outside of that range that I think is their core, and should I really be getting annoyed when that happens.

I mean, I don't really want to be someone who's trying to force writers to always tell the same kinds of stories, with exactly the same character responses, but I think there needs to be some kind of logical progression, that can actually make sense (which I still don't think the Cassie Cain turn does), as to why a character might be acting in a manner so different from the majority of their past portrayals.

Of course, the dicey part is that what one fan regards as proper behavior is probably dependent on when they started reading comics with that character, or at least enjoying them. I've always kind of had a soft spot for the Wolverine that lead an Uncanny X-Men squad of Dazzler, Rogue, Psylocke, Havok, and Longshot. He was calmer, trying to keep himself under control, so that he could keep these people with no experience working together alive. That happened pretty early in my comic reading days. For someone who's used to the Wolverine who talks smack to Cyclops, and runs around doing whatever he pleases, while his teammates wonder if they can trust him, that might be an abhorrent period to them. Which I suppose, brings us back to the problem at hand. Writers can't please everyone, so should they just please themselves?

In the spirit of being a Marvin Milquetoast middle-roader, I'd say if they can do something that's been established previously as typical character traits, and they can give us some reason for why the character's acting that way - assuming it's a deviation from how they've acted in the immediate past -, then I'd say they can pick the arc of the character's life they like best, and go from there. If they want to build on it in a way that wasn't explored previously, then more power to them. If Character X lost faith in people once and went wandering, maybe the second time they change what they're fighting against, less big-time villains with grandiose plots, more small-time where it's easier to see that you're helping, even if it's one person at a time. The critical factor is, I think it needs to make some sort of sense why it's happening. Which is my problem with the current Cassandra Cain (who just seems too far gone into the killing fields) and Civil War Iron Man. The Iron Man that shows up in Amazing Spider-Man, who recognizes Peter as a valuable asset, and maybe as a friend, and wants to keep him on his side, so he offers gifts, and doesn't pull any punches when pointing out that May and MJ could go to jail for aiding a fugitive if Peter doesn't sign up, I can buy that. Stark's a businessman, he's simply laying out the pros and cons, while simultaneously greasing the skids to get Pete on his side, and playing at Pete's weakness (overwhelming sense of responsibility). I can read that Tony Stark, and while I may not like him manipulating Peter, I can understand what he's doing, and why. The one Millar writes? Not so much. Too brutal.

I don't know. I'm sitting here at the end of this, and I've got no clue where I'm going with it. At the end of the day, I don't know that I can change how I read comics. I don't think I can pick up say, a Teen Titans comic, and see Cassandra Cain trying to kill Robin for no reason that makes much sense to me (beyond "Didio demands it") and say "oh well, it's still a fun read" because I'm too busy being bummed out by what I regard as out of character behavior.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Time For Imagination!

So Kelvin noted in my post from Saturday that the gaffe I mentioned in X-Factor #11 is the sort of thing editors are supposed to catch. Except that obviously, the editors didn't catch that one, the same way they didn't catch that Tony Stark knew about Spider-Man's spidey-sense long before the new suit would've told him about it, or how Annihilation: Silver Surfer said the Skrull Empire had been wiped out by Annihilation Day 20, even though Super Skrull was still trying to save the Skrull Homeworld on Day 68, and I'm sure there are a hundred more you could come up with.

Now most of these are fairly small, and they don't ruin the story, but they do serve to draw you out of it, so for that reason alone, they need to be noticed and corrected. But they aren't, which leads us to tonight's question:

What do Marvel's editors do all day?

My guesses:

1) Giving Joe Quesada pedicures, while assuring him that all the fans are eagerly - but patiently - awaiting the conclusion to Daredevil:Father.

2) Getting Bendis coffee. Coffee? Yeah, coffee. That's it? They get him coffee? Yes, they fetch coffee. Nothing more clever than that? What's not clever about fetching coffee? Everything. You could have a made a joke about them enacting out his convoluted and repetitive dialogue sequences. . . OH, you got me! Yep, I definitely got you. You sure did. You bet I di...

Enough!!! Man, that stuff takes on a mind of its own pretty quickly. You mean it gets out of control fast? Leave now.

3) Bringing Mark Millar goats and virgins. Why? I have no idea, and I don't want to speculate. Just remember what Nextwave told us: Mark Millar licks goats.

Thoughts? Guesses? Ideas? Assumptions? Theories? Things you think might be happening but probably {BANG!}

I told him to leave.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Idiot Box Has Got Me Thinkin' Again

Why is Lethal Weapon showing on Comedy Central right now? Sure Riggs is a Three Stooges fan, and Gary Busey is always good for a laugh (like when he put his arm, haha!, over that open flame, hahaha!, that was hilarious!), but I don't think of it as comedy.

Of course, they say Scrubs is a comedy, and I watched that yesterday and can't recall laughing, so maybe it's me.

Either way, it neatly distracted me (for about 30 seconds) from thinking about the Cardinals' bullpen crapping its pants last night... again.

So I'm watching For A Few Dollars More last night. Good movie, don't like it quite as much as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (I think Tuco adds a lot to that one), but I started wondering. Indio rapes Mortimer's sister, she reaches her husband's gun during the rape... and shoots herself. Why not shoot Indio? All you have to do is raise the gun about three inches higher and the bullet goes in his torso. Afterwards, if you still want to kill yourself and rejoin your dead love, you can, but at least deal with his killer first.

I know, I know, if she did that, then what's Mortimer's motive for doing what he does. Uh, a Frank Castle-style war on scum like Indio, but who are not Indio?

And yes, I may have just spoiled some of the movie for you, but come on, it's been out for forty years, why haven't you watched it yet? Seriously, go rent it now, or else the Baby Panda will cry.

Watched that new Fantastic Four cartoon last night. Hey Thing vs. Hulk, always fun, though I could have used more punching and less talking. But what stuns me is Reed Richards. He brings Banner into their home, knowing he's the Hulk, and doesn't tell his friends. Then when Banner has Hulked out and destroyed property, he apologizes for keeping his friends in the dark.

Well, I am shocked at this portrayal. It is completely inconsistent with Reed's portrayal in Civil War, which we all know is the defining character piece for Reed Richards. Everyone knows Reed can't be bothered to slow down and explain things to lesser intellects like Sue, Johnny and Ben, nor can he be expected to worry about a little thing like property damage if the Hulk goes rampaging. Furthermore, what was Reed doing trying to fix Banner? He should be either surreptitiously sending him into deep space, or trying to turn him into a weapon for Tony Stark. This is an affront to the heart of the character.

Sigh. My sarcasm works so much better if people can see my face when I'm speaking it. Webcam? Nah. I'd never subject you to the horror of my face in real-time.

So I finally watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl last night. Well, most of it. I kept switching to TNT to catch the "Neo vs. 100 Agent Smiths" fight. Anyway, the thing that struck me was that Jake was on the money when described Jack's actions from the first movie. Outwardly, he's a complete buffoon, but he really is thinking ahead, anticipating what the people he's working with are going to do, and factoring that in to what he does.

He actually reminded me of Vash the Stampede (Trigun). People are always trying to kill Vash, and he runs around, screaming and jumping, and firing wildly, and you can't even believe he lives past the first five seconds, but when it's over you realize the bad guys have been stopped, and while there's massive property damage, nobody died. The "buffoon" was actually in control the whole time, though that's rarely recognized by the people. They tend to chalk it up to dumb luck.

Back to the movie. I don't care all that much for Orlando Bloom (blame it on my mother raving about how cute he is, ugh), but Keira Knightley was cool, and a good time was had by me, and that's what counts, right?

So yeah, another lazy TV-themed post. What do you want, it's Sunday. Football's about to start in 30 minutes!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who's Going To Accept Responsibility For This?

Ugh. Such weird dreams last night. Too bad the Cardinals pitching staff isn't nearly as good in real life as they were in my Oreo-induced nightmares.

X-Factor #11, page 14.

Pietro has just put the kibosh on Guido's rampage. Pietro explains that apparently his power to restore mutant powers, when used on a mutant with powers, would cause a sort of overload in the mutant. To this, Layla replies 'Are ye sayin' ye can take down any mutant...' (monet finished the sentence.)

OK, when did Layla start talking with a Scottish brogue? OK, it's likely safe to assume it was supposed to be Rahne speaking, since I can't see any reason for Layla to mimic Rahne' speech. So who's to blame for the screwup here?

I'll admit I don't understand the process that goes into making a comic book (guess I didn't pay enough attention to Kevin Smith movies), so I don't know the order things happen in.

Did Peter David pen the line, Arlem draw the picture and David just not notice who was in the picture when he the dialogue was added?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Vampires, Guns, It's All Good

If I may be frank for a moment, this week has blown chunks for me. How much still depends on the results of that Wetlands' Habitat and Management test I took yesterday. Hopefully, that bonus question about listing comic book characters associated with wetlands helped a little.

Fortunately, there's my always Tevion, ready to loan me his CDs with the first two Ultimate Hellsing OVAs burned on them. Because it really lifts my spirits to hear lines like 'Heh. It's been awhile since my head's been cut off.'

Or to see a vampire spontaneously combust and burn up giving someone the finger.

Or to see Alucard's patented "Get shot to pieces by a bunch of mindless ghouls with firearms, only to slowly, with great theater, regenerate himself while laughing about how much fun the whole thing is".

I gotta say though, they amped up the blood by a factor of 10, and the sexual content by... well, at least a factor of 3. Just a bit too much groping, you know? But we're talking Tarantino levels of blood spray here. Actually, more than that, what with it being animated and all, they can be a bit more creative with the physiological possibilities, I suppose. On the lighter side, it's pretty, and there are some extremely funny moments, pretty much all involving the "police girl" trying to adapt to her new circumstances. Her reaction to her new rifle (a 30mm anti-tank cannon with depleted uranium shells) was very amusing, as was hers and Walter's entrance to the conference room (poor Admiral Penwood). It's a nice counterpoint to the remarkable amount of the red stuff that starts flying everywhere a few minutes later.

I have to ask, is it pretty common in vampire lore that only virgins (be they boy or girl) can actually be turned into other vampires, and anyone else just turns into a mindless ghoul? It sounds kind of Anne Rice, but I haven't read any of her work, so I couldn't say. It's something that was brought up in the Hellsing manga - to Seras Victoria's benefit - ignored in the anime, and now it's back in play.

Of course, I'm still trying to figure out what Seras is right now. She needs to drink blood, or if she won't do that, at least to sleep in a coffin, blessed silver burns her, but she can be out in the daytime. Her master's eyes are always red, but Seras' are usually their natural blue, shifting to red only during fights, sort of like Wolverine's berserker rages, or Banner changing into the Hulk when he's stressed. She lacks his ability to shapeshift, or call familiars, but she does seem to heal fast, and she's definitely stronger and faster than a human. So she clearly isn't human any more, but she doesn't seem to be all the way vampiric yet. I'm not sure there's a term for such a thing. Maybe the other characters' could dub her a "Whedon vampire"?

It's not as far-fetched as you might think. They referenced Star Wars, might as well go deeper into pop culture. I'd actually like to see what Alucard would think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Angel. Probably about what Spike thinks of Anne Rice (it's trash).

Always love to see Walter in action. I'm not entirely sure why, but it is just so cool to see an old guy darting around, dodging machine gun fire, all the while slicing ghouls up with spools of something like piano wire. Maybe it reminds me of Clint Eastwood's movie badassery in his later years. Man, I love Unforgiven.

Surprisingly, I actually liked Integra Hellsing this go-round. She comes off less mean (which was my main impression in the anime), and more calm, and in control. She faces down Father Anderson, after he's made chumps out of two of her strongest agents, and just diced the two people she brought as bodyguards. And she's smiling! He's got blades on either side of her neck (though she is blocking one with a sword), and she's a Protestant (meaning "heathen" to him), and she just laughs at him when he says he killed Alucard.

The only time she really breaks composure is when Seras loses it, and tears up the ghouls that used to be her soldiers. Otherwise, she's confident in her soldiers' abilities to perform their jobs, and even when the battle comes up right to her face, she rallies the old fellows she was meeting with, and they shoot it's face off.

Plus she deals with one vampire by shooting it three times, then telling it she's had enough of it's chatter, as she is 'put out.' Just barely letting her anger through, only makes her a greater presence.

Query: If stabbing him in the heart with blessed silver, and cutting his head off wouldn't kill Alucard, what would? (And I already thought of "writer's block", so you can't use that one)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Like The Guy In 28 Days Later Said, 'It's Not All [Bleep]ed"

So I have - once again, I think - come to the conclusion that this blog needs to be more positive. More talking about the good, and less about how Dan Didio and Joe Quesada steal the laughter of children to power their dark, dark souls, so they can continue their rampage of puppy-kicking.

Hmm, this could be harder than I thought.

Irregardless, I want to look at the good stuff from Civil War #4, to talk about those that deserve big props. So let's begin.

Bill Foster(Goliath): Imaginary phone conversation between Quesada and Bill Foster (God, I'm ripping off Chris again).

Q: "Hey Bill, it's Joe."
BF: "Joe, I haven't heard from you in years."
Q: "Really? Well, anyway we - by which I mean the Marvel braintrust (insert joke here) - would like you to appear in an issue of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man during The Other. And we want you to be a guest-star in Ben Grimm's book too (hat-tip to Fortress Keeper for the heads up on this)."
BF: "OK, that sounds pretty nice. I'd like to get back out on the scene, get some exposure."
Q: "That's great, because you're gonna get some exposure. Otherwise, why would people care when Thor ki... oops"
BF: "What Joe? 'Thor ki' what,?"
Q: "I said Thor ki... cks some butt alongside you in our newest major crossover! But Millar said I shouldn't mention that! Have you heard about Civil War, Bill? Millar and I really want you to be one of Captain America's most prominent allies."
BF: "Really, because you know Cap and I haven't hung out that much. . ."
Q: "Nonsense! You guys'll get along great, and Brubaker's got people loving Cap, so if you're his buddy, they'll love you too! See you here soon!"
BF: "Uh, alright. See you soon."

Dr. Foster is a smart man. He knows what it means when a relatively obscure character that hasn't gotten much recent exposure starts popping up allover, and playing large roles in major events. And yet, he went ahead with it. He stood by Cap, and he took on the Ben Reilly-Thor to try and help his comrades out. Sure it was risky to attack even a fake Thunder God, but he went for it, because Marvel demanded cannon fodder, and Bill Foster wanted to be a good soldier. He wanted to be a team player. Even if Marvel didn't always do right by him, they still gave him his big break, and he wanted to thank them. Plus, he stood up for what he believed in, even though sometimes, all that gets you is a hole in your chest. Still, the fact he believed he was going to hand Thor - even a phony one - a beating, is worthy of some applause. Of some dap, if you will. So cheers to you, Bill Foster. I may not have known who you were when you popped up in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2, but you were trying to save Spider-Man from that horrible degenerative affliction known as Straczynski Syndrome, and that made you alright by me. Goliath, we await your inevitable return alongside the New Warriors, sometime after Quesada is jettisoned into the Sun by the Sentry.

Iron Man: Because it was nice of him to buy the 38 burial plots neccessary for Dr. Foster. Now it doesn't make up for him making the Thor Clone that killed him in the first place, but it was an actual human gesture, and these days, I say we have to take what we can get.

Sue Storm: For defending people she's known and worked beside for years. For realizing that trying to be the supportive wife for her increasingly dingbat husband, hoping he'll see the error of his ways, ain't gonna cut it. For getting her brother to realize that no matter how well-intentioned her husband and Stark may be, they're going about this completely wrong. For helping to signal the shift in power between the pro- and anti-registration forces, which lead to the "pro" group completely outing themselves as evil (I mean really, Bullseye? You guys are serious? Why not just go into space and ask Thanos if he'll help you out?). For the nice little dig she put in the letter she left Reed regarding their children. 'I hope you will give them the time that you have so often denied them in the past.' OOOOOOO, Reed Richards, you just got burned! She just dissed your parenting skills! You got owned, freaking owned! I saw that!

Oh yeah, and for making it so I actually got a prediction correct. Well, part of it, anyway.

So congratulations to all three of you. This cuddly little baby panda applauds you all. And then it rolls around on the rug in a way that is just adorable.

Yes, it even applauded Tony Stark. Baby pandas are nearly incurable optimists. They seize upon any slim glimmer of light, any sign that a person isn't totally lost to the darkness.

So who else deserved a round of panda applause in Civil War #4?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What I Bought 9/20/06

Goddamn Blogger. Won't let me upload any more of the covers for the books I bought this week. Too bad, I think the pretty colors help distract from my long and meandering reviews. Well, let's just get on with it, shall we? You know about spoilers by now, right?

Bloodrayne: Plague of Dreams #1 - The plot to this story can be summed up thusly: A vampire, that's also a telepath, is gathering a vampiric army, while simultaneously trying to sow unrest in the human world, so that we'll be too busy squabbling with each other to notice the vampires wiping us out.

What vampires are going to use for food if that plan succeeds, I don't know. I assume they'll save some of us, for food/breeding stock. I'd like to volunteer for "breeding stock". Either way, he tried to blow up the Empire State Building (failed), and a subway train in South Korea (successfully blamed on North Korea). Rayne's tried to fight him twice so far, and ended up shot repeatedly once, and simply outmaneuvered the second time. The dangers of fighting someone who can see your moves before you start them, I suppose.

I'm intrigued enough to be ready for the next one (this is a two-parter), but I don't really buy her being shook over the identity of her enemy. She's wiped out lots of people with the same... affiliation, shall we say, so I'm not really seeing why she's so bothered by him. Maybe because he actually beat her? 3.7 out of 5.

Exiles #86 - I really like the cover for this, it reminds me of a cover from X-Men Classics, where the team is surrounded by the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. The Exiles are back on the case, which is good, because the most recent team of Wolverines isn't faring too well. Brother Mutant is apparently going to kill every human he sees (what is it with the bad guys killing all humans this week?), and the Exiles have to get to it, and stop him before he gets out of Phoenix.

And they do. There really isn't much to tell, other than the victory involves Elsie-Dee, the Head of Zombie Wolverine, and jokes about James and his "dress". The Exiles themselves really only serve to get stuff organized, then they sit back and let the hairy mutants take care of business. Either way, they're back in business, and next month they'll be Exiles... in... SPAAAACE!

There was weird stuff with Brother Mutant's dialogue. One minute he's discussing how he thought of calling himself "Mangerine", and how silly that would be. The next he's raving about how the Earth's magnetic fields course through his adamantium skeleton, and he wields power even God would be afraid to use, which would be over the top, even for Magneto. Perhaps it's Mesmero's influence?

My complaint would be, it felt like there were gaps in the story. Like we'd be following Elsie and Zombie Wolverine in one place, and then the Exiles would be over here, and then everybody's in the same placeat once. I know Blink's a teleporter and all, but it felt disjointed, like things were being rushed a bit. Or maybe I'm just unused to two-issue arcs. Still, not bad. 3.4 out of 5.

Ghost Rider #3 - After last month's confusing mess, this book was teetering, and I decided that it's fate would depend on how Daniel Way portrayed Dr. Strange. If I tell you that Dr. Strange fell for the old "You missed" trick from Batman Returns, would that be enough of a clue for you?

So yeah, Strange teleports Ghost Rider to a graveyard, because he thought consecrated ground would do... something. GR thinks he's Lucifer in another diguise, so he punches Strange in the face, which leads to Strange calling Johnny Blaze an imbecile. Blaze proves he's not an imbecile... by kicking Strange in the face. Strange does eventually hit the Rider with some very impressive looking mojo, actually blasting him wide open. Oops. Now we get Strange moaning about how he allowed his anger to overwhelm him. Because when a Hellborn Spirit of Vengeance breathes fire at you, trying to send him back to Hell is a totally unreasonable response.

Either way, that only honked the Spirit off, and Strange is in it pretty deep by the end of the issue. Oh and Blaze's bike is coming to him, and Lucifer is talking with somebody, and you know, I still don't have any expletive deleted idea how Rider or Lucifer made it out of Hell. Sigh. Adios. 2.0 out of 5.

X-Factor #11 - I'm kind of disappointed in Strong Guy. I had hoped we'd find out he did what he did because Singularity was paying him really well. Not because I hate Guido, or want him to be a villain, I just thought it would work for him, as a guy who's frequently been about wanting to live well. Either way, the team finds out what actually happened to Buchanan, and that leads to brawling, and considerable damage to their headquarters, before the fight ends.

Having lost their "in" to Singularity's dirty deals, they resolve to find their own proof. That leads to bomb scares, and breaking and entering, and old guys inviting them in for water? Okey-dokey then.

Also, there was some stuff about how Jamie may be a special kind of mutant, even among mutants. Alrighty, if you say so, Peter David. Kind of has a "set-up issue" feel, but not in a bad way. 3.9 out of 5.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

C'mon, You Knew I'd Have To Talk About This

Annihilation #2. I'm only surprised it took this long.

- I'm going to go out on a limb and predict the resurrection of the Super-Skrull during this mini-series. I just don't believe that the panel of his coffin being smashed open by the Mad Thinker robot, and Kl'rt falling to ground was a coincidence. After all, at the end of Super-Skrull #4, Praxagora was talking about how he died and saved everyone, but she was doing so on Annihilation Day 7200, which would be several years after the events of this comic.

- I haven't decided whether his return would disappoint me or not. He had such an awesome death, if he does come back, and then dies again during Annihilation, it feels like it would weaken the series somehow. But, Giffen and the Annihilation crew have earned my faith, so I'll they've got the benefit of the doubt from me.

- Question: On the final page, as the Centurions have arrived, there's a reddish guy with yellowish eyes at the bottom of the page, near Gamora. Does he look familiar to anyone? I think he may just be getting drawn similarly to the Firelord, and that's why I'm confused, but I could swear I've seen him somewhere before.

- I love the fact that in the Nova Corps Files, we learn these Centurions aren't fighting because Annihilus is threatening them, but because he's convinced them the Marvel Universe threatens their existence. They're fighting to preserve their lives, and the lives of their loved ones and other innocents. Just like Nova's crew. I actually have some empathy for them now.

- Who do you predict will show up to turn the tide back in the Nova Squad's favor in #3 (or #4, or #5, whenever it is things turn in their favor)? I don't expect the Shi'ar will make an appearance, they're too busy with the relatively minor problem of Vulcan looking for the dead Emperor D'Ken (although, as Len pointed out, if Vulcan's search leads him to free D'Ken from the M'Krann Crystal, and D'Ken has all the power that goes with it, that would be a much bigger problem than even Aegis and Tenebrous).

- I'm expecting/hoping for Beta Ray Bill. And I'd imagine Peter is going to have to assume his "Starlord" identity at some point, as part of a 'triumphing over his fears/doubts' story. Phyla's already there, so she's a pretty safe bet, for whatever good she can do. Beyond that, I don't know enough people in Cosmic Marvel.

- Has there been a group of Centurions in Marvel previously? I know about Sunturion an old Iron Man foe, and I seem to remember a cartoon called Centurions, but I don't know if that was anything from the Marvelverse. Little help?

- But the thing I liked the best, was Thanos telling us that he's the one who spread the rumor that teleportation is an imprecise science. That's exactly the kind of long-term planning I was talking about here.

It's a perfect example of long-term planning. Thanos knows it will take time for the rumors to grow strong enough to scare people away from teleportation as an accessible science, but eventually he'll be the only one with that capability. So by convincing everyone else that teleportation is just as likely to materialize you inside a building, as it is get you where you want to go, he keeps an effective monopoly on the technology. It gives him a tactical advantage, as we see when first Ravenous, and then the Centurions both land right in the middle of Nova's encampment, with no advance warning whatsoever.

And there's no way for Nova's group to respond in kind. No else uses the technology, so they can't stage a similar sneak attack on Annihilus' forces. It's a nice safety buffer to have. Even if you use that stargate technology, it still takes time to open a gate, and they can probably only be so close to any planetary or celestial body, and it's kind of hard for the person you're going to attack to miss something like that. Good work Thanos.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fun With Space-Time!

I know I've said it before, but the connections that the brain can make are fascinating. Or maybe frightening.

So I'm watching Korgoth of Barbaria on Adult Swim last night. Near the end, the title character utters the phrase, "Balls of the Gods!" This got me thinking about Cable/Deadpool #31, and Wadey's commentary as he slid between Hercules legs: 'Fighting a dude in a skirt. My advantage. Hmm... Godly endowments. His advantage.' Of course, the even more apropos line was 'By the curly hairs of Zeus I shall smite thee!', but I think my brain may have blocked that out.

I'd like to pause briefly here to praise Cap for his patience, and not simply letting Hercules beat 'Pool into a messy paste-like substance, no matter how many times Wade tried to tranq dart him in the back. On with the topic.

So I'm reading the rest of the issue, and I get to Cable's conversation with El Presidente, where Cable keeps telling him about what this whole Registration thing is going to lead to, and how people will look back on this time with less than kind eyes. But it was his comment how the next time they meet, the President 'will be watching his successor six times removed as he signs a treaty of surrender.'

The thing that struck me is, isn't Cable falling into the Waverider/Armaggeddon 2001 trap here? I remember that Waverider showing the heroes their possible futures made it so they could never occur. So by Cable telling the President about these future events, isn't he altering things so they may never occur? I know he's trying to prevent the huge war, but isn't he risking the surrender treaty part never happening as well?

Had Cable figured by that point that nothing would deter the president from his present course, so there was no harm in letting him know the eventual fate, as sort of a last ditch scare tactic?

Is it a situation where Cable has done so much freaking time travel, that he knows how to avoid problems like that? Or is it a matter of Marvel's ideas of time travel versus DC's?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

So Maybe It's Not A Weekly Feature, But. . .

It could still be a pretty frequent theme.

That's right, it's time to analyze/mock Tony Stark! This week brought us Civil War Files, a book filled with nothing but Tony Stark's self-assurance that he's right and everyone who disagrees with him is nuts.

OK, that's not true. Tony does seem to understand why Arachne isn't down with working for the Commission, and there's a moment where he actually seems to feel bad for the New Warriors, when he mentions that these kids who have only saved the world once or twice are being used as a symbol for brash, uncontrolled, reckless superheroics.

Of course, depending on how you read that, it could be interpreted as Tony saying they are brash kids, that only saved the world once or twice. He did tend to take their past success with a grain of salt, saying their first victory over Terrax was partially due to luck, and when they stopped Tai and that crazy mystical well, Stark only accepts that as being impressive because 'Dr. Strange assured him it could have been quite serious', so take it how you will. For now, I'll give Tony the benefit of the doubt.

I can't, however, give him any slack when he discusses that Ben Grimm left (or was getting ready to leave), and so he needs to ask Reed if he has any of those Thing exo-skeletons left. You're going to have someone impersonate the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thingtm, most likely so the public doesn't start to wonder why such a publicly-known and respected hero is against the Act? Not cool, Stark.

But that's not what I actually want to focus on. In his little file on Johnny Storm, Tony hypothesizes that since Johnny and Crystal had an amicable breakup, they might be able to use that to improve current relations between the U.S. and the Inhumans. Well, that and returning the Terrigen Mists to its rightful owner. Which is smart, Tony should want to make peace with the Inhumans, since they could provide aid to Cap (as Tony mentions), and besides, you really don't want to worry about a pissed off Black Bolt coming down to Earth (though the idea of a Black Bolt/Thor/Sentry melee is appealing).

The problem is, Tony wants the government to return the Mists (good idea), but keep a little sample covertly (bad idea). At this point, I'll admit I failed to find a good picture of Mr. Skullhead from Animaniacs. I'm very sorry. Back on topic.

Mr. Stark, look, I know you're a scientist. I know the idea of examining a sample of the Terrigen Mists must be incredibly appealing to you, and I'm sure Reed hasn't been this excited since you told him he could build his dream super-prison, but you have to understand, the people in the Commission and SHIELD you work for, they aren't nice people. Once you unlock the key to the Terrigen Mists (which we know will be your first step, to understand how it works), they're going to use that to come up with a way to cancel the effects, which will almost certainly lead to a strike at the Inhumans, for their "history of hostility", or something similar. That's probably after they use it on Pietro, because we sure as hell don't want those damn muties getting repowered! And if you can harness it to be used safely, it'll probably also be used to create an army of controllable superhumans, with none of the individuality that characterizes your breed.

Look Tony, Reed, I know that as futurists, and businessmen, you're used to seeing what products people will want, and then making them. But you ought to know, that there are times when you can't give the people what they want, because even if your intentions when you made it are good, the intentions of the people you're giving it to aren't. And given the people you're working for, that ought to be obvious. I mean, Gyrich is on that commission, he can't be trusted any farther than he could throw you. No, I don't care that Johns tried to make him an honorable guy, he's still a bastard! And SHIELD? You trusted Nick Fury and look at the crap that guy put people through (Secret War). You believe Maria Hill is any more trustworthy? She could barely tolerate you until you started to toe the line.

Besides, the Inhumans aren't idiots. They aren't just going to accept the Mists from you, bow and scrape, and leave. They're going to see how much you gave them, then they're going to find Pietro (not difficult with him advertising his presence), find out how much of the Mist he's used to reach his present state, compare all that with how much he stole, and do the math.

And then, they're going to raise holy hell (a phrase which makes no sense), and you're probably going to get crumpled up like a beer can on a frat boy's skull.

Just think about it. This once, let your love of being alive overwhelm your love of figuring out how stuff works.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

TV Time!

Well, the trip through the wetlands went better than I'd expected, primarily because we didn't actually walk through any wetlands (been kind of a dry summer, I guess). The highpoint was the drive back through East Prairie, which is - how can I put this nicely? - not economically prosperous. Some kid on a three-wheeled bike (it had a pickup truck style bed in the back) pulling out into the road right in front of the class van - leading to a sharp hitting of the brakes -, without so much as a sideways glance, then as he went by the passenger windows, giving us a sharp nod, as if too say "That's right, you damn well better stop!" After we all stopped laughing, I advocated running him down, because sometimes, Nature just hangs a big neon sign that says "Natural Selection Vicitim!" on people.

Anyway, I do actually have some comics related posts, but last night turned out to be an interesting night of TV watching, and so I just wanted to share some thoughts. There might be a spoiler or two, depending on whether you've seen the show in question.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (TNT) - I've always liked this part much better than Vol. 2, mostly because there's much more action, and much less yakking (aka plot). That probably reflects poorly on me, but I'm not watching Tarantino movies for dialogue, just like I'm not reading The Punisher for the romance.

When I saw the commercial advertising that TNT would be showing this, I was curious to see how much they could get away with. As expected, foul language was often edited. More interesting was the scene in the nightclub. Apparently it's OK to show Uma Thurman slice a woman's arm off, but not OK to show the blood that geysers from the stump. Because Heaven forbid that any children watching it (and you know there were underaged kids watching, with or without parental supervision) realize that yes, cutting someone's arm off would cause great pain and damage to them.

The ensuing fight with GoGo and the Crazy 88s was kind of missed, because I spent the whole time considering how the various characters of Rurouni Kenshin would handle it, because I've been watching way too many fan-created anime music videos based on that series.

Teen Titans: Titans in Tokyo (Cartoon Network) - Definitely beware of the spoilers here. I had a good time with this, though I was a little disappointed the main villain wasn't Control Freak. As an even bigger geek than Beast Boy, I could totally have seen him sending manga characters to attack the Titans.

I'm very pleased to see that Robin isn't completely emotionally crippled. Though I'm left wondering if he could sing as well for Starfire as JLU Batman did for Wonder Woman.

Funny thing. Until I read Uncanny X-Men meet the Teen Titans, I never realized Starfire could learn a language by lip-locking with someone. Which had cleared up my confusion about her abrupt learning of English in an earlier episode.

I think Wolfman probably went too far into the "spooky fanboy" territory with that power. Although maybe a different costume would help. I know, I said I'd do that, but I still haven't found a pattern I like. Give me time.

I'm still trying to figure out why Commander Daizo jumped into the cursed printing press (no, seriously). He was absolutely right when he told Robin that it came down to the Titans word against his, and seeing as Robin was wanted for murder and resisting arrest, and Daizo is a hero in Japan, Daizo was holding all the cards. Then Robin tells him he isn't a hero, and he decides becoming a giant ink monster is the proper response? Yeah, yeah, I'm thinking too much about a show for people younger than me. The fact I'm at home watching TV Friday night should amply demonstrate that I have too much free time, and no proper way to utilize it.

House (USA) - So it looks like USA is going to show the House episode from the week before on Friday nights. Which is great because I'm busy when it comes on (at least until it moves back to 8 Central after the World Series). So I got to see the season premiere.

Of course it would have helped to see the previous season finale, as the sight of a jogging House surprised me. I knew he could run, but I thought the events that allowed it happened in the season premiere. Oops.

Other than that, it was standard House fare. House acts like a jerk, Cameron is concerned about House and families' suffering, Cuddy is annoyed by House's craziness, Wilson is spouting a lot of New Agey sounding philosophy about life's meaning, Chase is a complete wuss. And House is right, which is why the show worked so well on USA after Monk and Psych. Three guys, all erratic, all three always right. I still miss Touching Evil, though.

And my quest to earn 1 million pesetas on Resident Evil 4, thus allowing me to purchase an Infinite Rocket Launcher, continues. Honestly, I could already afford it, I just have to be willing to sell some of my fully-upgraded weapons, and I just can't seem to let them go.

Tomorrow, I plan on analyzing a Tony Stark quote from the week, and I will try to be nice to him, because he wasn't a jerk, just not real wise.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Here's A Ruler; Get Your Priorities Straight

So let's see if this posts. Blogger's being kind of goofy, what with the "you can't read your blog, there's an internal server error", which was very nearly the last straw when added to having to do laundry on Friday, because I'll be spending 10 hours tomorrow tromping through swamps, and the nasal congestion that was practically dripping out of my ears.

Then I got my first paycheck of the semester, and things have been gradually trending up, and my blog works again. Maybe. I tried to use my favorites button to go to it three minutes ago, and I got the server error screen again, so I punched in the address, and it worked fine. Go figure.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying I'm less than assured about having to switch to Blogger beta eventually. Anyone done that already that can give a vote of confidence?

Ah, that's neither here nor there. Wednesday I was in the store talking with Len about Green Lantern #13, and he commented that he couldn't remember what had been going on in the story, and that if the book would actually come out monthly, it'd be top 10, as at least three people at the store had already dumped it due to delays, and more were contemplating similar action. This lead to a discussion of how all the guys writing 52 seem to be having deadline difficulties. Rucka with Checkmate, Morrison with Seven Soldiers (wasn't that was supposed to start in April?), Johns with everything, and even Waid's having some trouble with Legion of Superheroes, right? Granted, it may be a matter of the artists and not the writers in some cases, and the lateness isn't limited to just those books (Aquaman's having problems as well, I think), but it is a problem these guys are experiencing.

That lead to Dan asking, 'Would you rather have a great 52 and some late books, or a crappy 52 and those books on time?'

So I throw it open to you, what do you want to take priority with these writers, 52 or the monthly titles?

For me, it's a no-brainer. I don't care about 52. I do care about Teen Titans (at least until the end of the next issue). I want my monthly books out every month, not every six weeks. To be fair, this next Teen Titans is coming out four weeks after the last, so maybe Johns is getting his shit back together. Still, I don't like it when a book I'm buying is delayed because of some other thing I don't care about. I'm selfish like that.

So quality issues on 52 aren't really any big deal for me. It seems to be a story designed to tell us how things got to the situation they're in currently on New Earth. Now, while putting these good writers on it will probably make it a more enjoyable trip, it really doesn't seem like it's worth delaying all these other titles, when a team of lesser writers (I'll let you insert names here) could get you to the same place, if only by a more mundane route.

So, if we go off the assumption there are only two options: Great 52 (if you believe it is great) and the late monthly titles we get now, or Mediocre 52 and on-time monthly titles done by the same creative teams, what's your preference?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feel. . . The Power Of Love!

A big hand for Huey Lewis & the News, people!

You know, Black Panther #19 just won't let go. The more I think about it, the more I realize Hudlin missed an opportunity with the Doom/T'Challa fight.

I think having Ororo and T'Challa hand Doom a double-team beatdown would have sent such a better statement. These two people are supposed to be deeply in love, to share a deep emotional connection. What better way to demonstrate that, than by showing them working together to beat someone that neither one should be able to beat one their own?

Hey, I like Storm and the Black Panther, but we're talking about Dr. Doom. This guy beats the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, steals the power of nearly infinite being. He's a serious player, and it should have required a team effort to teach him a lesson.

And think about the message. These two people, reunited after so long apart, work in harmony together, can draw on each other's strengths to persevere and win over an opponent who has no one, who holds himself apart from everyone. Doom doesn't have that connection with anyone, he doesn't have anyone that he can lean, who can pick up for him in those rare moments he stumbles, or when he just can't get the job done by himself.

Think about it, the two of them, struggling against Doom. T'Challa can't beat him down, and Doom's suit resists what Storm's throwing at him. But then she whips up a blinding snowstorm (or fog), so Panther can get close enough to break down some of the armor's defenses (he's a clever guy).

Just a thought. Now I want to figure out what inspired this: Devon's post, or me seeing that Simpsons' episode where Homer eats Guatemalan Insanity peppers and winds up on a quest for his soul mate.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What I Bought 9/13/06

Ah, New Comic Day. The one slim glimmer of beauty in my otherwise freaking dismal and depressing life.

Let's get to the reviews. Beware the spoilers, for they lie in wait, like Albert Pujols waiting for Brad Lidge to hang another slider. Poor Brad Lidge, there's just no hole deep enough for you to hide in right now, is there?

Annihilation #2 - This book was what I was waiting for, and lo and behold, it's on time! What a concept!

Thanos has acquired himself a little bargaining chip. Maybe. How Drax ultimately reacts remains to be seen. In the short term, I'd guess his response will involve lots of stabbing and killing. I'm curious to see whether Phyla hangs around to help.

Ronan has some valid criticisms of the Kree running the show, but they don't consider him as having any place to say anything. Which leads to Ronan showing them what he thinks of that. Nova gets pretty frustrated with that, I guess he's feeling a bit stressed. Can't imagine why.

Hey Praxagora, and she still seems to have her powers! She can keep fighting Annihilus! My fears were unfounded! Maybe. Of course Ronan has about the reaction you'd expect of a Kree to the story of Super Skrull's awesome death. Jeez Big R, just because your mini-series was a meandering load, no reason to be jealous.

I like that a point brought up almost randomly early in the issue, comes into play with Ravenous' appearance in the resistance camp. Paging Mallet, we have a Zombie sighting! And it's a Zombie Terrax! Holy crap! And a Mad Thinker Android?! Where the hell did Annihilus come up with that?! Hmm. Maybe Terrax is being controlled.

And then, remarkably, things get worse for our heroes. Oh, and Thanos is having a pretty good time experimenting on Big G and the Surfer. Creepy.

I am. . . Freaking. . . Amped. . . Up. . For Issue 3. You can't even imagine. Bring it to me NOW!! 5.0 out of 5.

Warbird #7 - So, Arana signed up, because she wants to be able to help people and not have to worry about SHIELD showing up and trying to kill her. OK, I'm cool with that reasoning. It's the best reason I've seen for actually going along with it. Now that we've dealt with that, time for the crux of the issue.

Arachne and Shroud running for the border. Julia's had a change of heart, after finding out Stark wasn't helping heroes who didn't want to register escape. Uh, duh? He's working with the government, why would he help people defy it? Granted, Tony acts like enough of a dick these days I wouldn't put it past him to double cross them too, but still. And hey, that might just redeem him, if it turns out this whole thing is to draw out some evil elements in the government into the open.

Well, not "redeem", but it's a start.

Also, Kelvin brought up a good point, Canada already has a Superhuman Registration Act, and has for a decade (our time). Yet everyone keeps going there. Hey, I like cold, snowy wilderness, but it's really six of one, half dozen of another, you know? Personally, I go to Wakanda. Or do they have their own version?

Anyway, the escape attempt does not go entirely well, though it is funny to see Carol get so ticked about Julia 'fighting dirty'. Uh, Carol, it's you and Wonder Man against Arachne and The Shroud. I'm sure even the Fortress Keeper, with his great love for Maximilian Coleridge (cool name), would agree that's not a fair fight. In the interests of fairness, I'll mention that Carol wanted to talk first, punch second. Still, throwing the Shroud out of a moving vehicle? Not cool, Wonder Man.

The scenes between Arana and her dad were pretty nice, and the fight at the end was pretty nifty, and does the name "Agent Owen" ring a bell for anyone? He's in the book, and I could swear I know that name. Eh, I'll say. . . 3.3 out of 5, as the parts just don't add up to the whole, somehow.

New Excalibur #11 - So Len told me that Michael Ryan, the artist of the book, is leaving soon, to collaborate with Joss Whedon on Runaways. To which I say, 'Screw you Joss Whedon; I'm not reading your crap, give Frank Tieri Michael Ryan back.'

Does that rhyme when anyone else says it, or is it just me?

On the other hand, maybe Ryan needs a break. His work looked a little rough this issue.

Anyhoo, the team stands poised to travel back to Camelot with Sir Percy. Except Pete Wisdom, who finds the idea of time travel by jumping in a lake. . . objectionable. His concerns are roundly ignored, and here we are. And, hey dragons! Awesome! I wanted more dragons in comics, and I got dragons! Props to Frank Tieri! And it looks like Pete is a little miffed that Captain Britain has assumed authority. Hey, it's your fault Pete; I told you to recruit Kelsey Leigh, but noooo, you just had to have Braddock.


Dragons repelled, it's feasting time, and Dazzler is really enjoying being in olden times. Hmm, is there some backstory about Dazzler really liking fairy tales I'm missing? Either way, it's all padding to set up a big fight next issue. Works for me, though I think Tieri is pushing the romantic entanglements too hard. Juggernaut likes Dazzler (which is at least previously established), but Nocturne likes Juggy, and Wisdom is trying desperately to get Sage into the sack. And given that we're talking the sixth century, I may mean "sack" in a literal sense.

I sense the Hand of Claremont at work there. Maybe Tieri's just following the plan?

Oh, and Sir Percy is being kind of rude to Dane Whitman. Medieval dork. Let's see you survive the Crusades. Despite being a filler issue, this actually worked better for me than Warbird, so 3.8 out of 5.

Except for the weird "bwa-ha-ha" thing between Nocturne and Braddock. What the hell was that about? Yeah, the Exiles used to frequently mess with the timelines of the realities they visited, is it really that amusing?

Ultimate X-Men #74 - This is the end, my only friend, the end. Ok, so it's not the end, but combined with that Annual, it's damn close. Jean shows up, and Magician (who apparently isn't Proteus reborn - damn, that makes roughly 700 false predicitions since I started this blog) somehow creates the Brotherhood to attack her.

So Jean demonstrates that not only is she telepathic and telekinetic, she's also a fucking pyrokinetic as well, as she nearly roasts the flesh from Logan's body to get him free of his metal enclosure. Interesting. I could have sworn that the melting point of the X-Mansion's floor was higher than Wolverine's flesh, but I was wrong. Wolverine does the stabby-stabby, and everything is back to normal. No Magician in sight. No trace of him anywhere, which is too bad, because Nick Fury really wanted to find something he could give to the boys' parents.

Sure, that's why he wanted to find a trace of the kid. *rolls eyes*

The end of the story sets things up for the story from the Annual, as well as some future story Kirkman's going to tell, which I'm sure will involve Magneto and Longshot. Eh, whatever. 2.6 out of 5, because I hate reality-alterers. Not as much as telepaths, but close.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm Going To Make This Quick

I know what Reginald Hudlin is trying to do with Black Panther.

He saw what Grant Morrison did with Batman in JLA, turning him into a one-man force of annihilation, capable of defeating anyone, merely with his awesome brain.

And Hudlin has decided, anything Grant can do, he can do better.

So you know what's coming. All those times, that comics writers would say "Batman could beat Galactus, if you gave him enough time.", Hudlin's going to make it a reality.

Any time now, Galactus (in a clear show of ignorance of Annihilation continuity, which places Big G in deep shit out in space) will show up on Earth, and T'Challa is going to single-handedly send him packing.

He's not only going to devise a means to defeat The Devourer, he's going to implement it all by his lonesome.

Because Black Panther is the baddest man in Marvel Comics.

On a sadder note, Storm wil probably be left doing nothing for the entire story, other than foolishly insisting that she could somehow help defeat this cosmic menace.

Silly wind-rider.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Dangers Of A Slow Comic Week

Having exhausted the inspiration provided by X-Factor #10 (and let's have big hand for Peter David folks, for giving us so much to talk about!), I turn. . . to video games.

I always feel a bit weird talking about video games, because well, I'm cheap. Which means I usuall don't play games until months after they've been released, which tends to limit the effectiveness of my words. For example, I got Timesplitters: Future Perfect this July, as a late birthday present. But the game's been out since August '05, so anybody that wanted it, has likely already got it, you dig? But, what the hell. This blog is nothing, if not a place for the dumping of my useless opinions.

So I beat Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the Gamecube last night. It's been out for about four years, so you can probably get it for about 10 bucks now. It's your pretty standard RPG, about a world where ships sail in the sky (is it just me, or is that really common? I only own like four RPGs, and that's the setting for half of them). You're Vyse, a young Blue Rouge, aka a nice Air Pirate. A Robin Hood sort, you live to piss off and rob the authorities. You start off the story raiding a Vaulan Imperial Cruiser for your father, with your friend Aika. Cue the standard "rescue of strange girl" sequence.

And you go from there. Eventually you get your own ship, go out do a little exploring. You come back home, it's time to rescue your friends. you get into trouble, get some help, etc., etc. As far as the story goes, it's got the basic "evil people attempting to unlock sources of massive power with the plan to dominate the world" thing going.

The combat is pretty simple to deduce, and since the people in your party will rotate and change over the course of the story, the ways to win change as well. There's all sorts of different side quests, like collecting bounties, or capturing Moonfish for the pet of a young girl that's being cared for by a doctor, and people to recruit for your crew, none of which is essential, but it's the kind of stuff that goes a long way to establishing your rep. Also, throughout the story, there are moments where you'll be given a choice as to what to do, since you are the Captain and all. Depending on your decision, your rep may improve or not, and in ship battles, it can determine whether you'll be at a disadvantage or not for that round.

Two minor beefs for me. One, too many random battles. I know they help to boost your level, and they're a staple of RPGs everywhere, but there are times when you're traveling from one land to the next and you can't fly for five seconds without triggering another freaking random fight with the local wildlife.

Two, I would have liked, after beating the game, to be able to save and then go out and keep exploring, finish all the side quests, but that's not an option. The last save opportunity is the one just before you kick off the series of three battles with your final opponent. As an additional minor complaint, I'll say I was a little annoyed that when I started the final battle of the three, my characters were in the same state, health-wise, they'd been in at the end of the first of the three slugfests. This is despite the lengthy ship battle in between. My characters didn't have any chance to recover? At all? Nobody's got more than 1100 HP, but I'm fighting a guy with 40,000?!

It really put me behind an 8-ball, that's all I'm saying.

Still, I would highly recommend this, especially for the price you'd be able to get it for nowadays. Although, if you played the original Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast (anyone? anyone?), you could safely pass this by, it's just a somewhat updated version. A little added content, to go with a more powerful system. Or at least, that's what the box says.

8.3 out of 10.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Post Not About X-Factor #10

Shocking, I know. Today's post actually draws from this post at the Absorbascon.

It's kind of funny to me that for all the reading I've done over the years (and I mean reading for enjoyment not "Read Hamlet and write a critical analysis essay over it"), that I don't really know anything about the theories of literature, or the changes in it over time. I might be subconsciously aware of them, but I never really think intently on them. But reading that post brought me to Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Maybe it's King's comments that everything he's ever written has tied into the Tower on some level, but I thought, since Roland of Gilead's group consisted of four heroes, could King have consciously made them each a representative of the different eras?

So I looked at the criteria, as explained by both Scipio and Vera Norman (in the link at the end of the post), and here's my thinking (keeping in mind I don't have the books in front of me for reference, though I do have The Stephen King Universe):

Roland (Classical Hero) - Son of a king. Became a gunslinger at the age of 14, the earliest it had ever been accomplished. Gunned down an entire town that was out to kill him. Reached the Dark Tower. Lost fingers on his left(?) hand. Suffers from arthritis. Death is well, I can't say, it would spoil the books if you haven't read them. No one sent Roland to look for the Tower, he does so because he wants to, because he feels he has to. On the occasions where he's helped people (as in the City of Lud, or Eddie with his drug dealer issues), it's been because it served his purpose, and was done whether the people wanted his help or not.

The only criteria I don't think he meets is the "noble character which is close to perfectly ideal except for a fatal flaw". Roland's an aging fellow, with an extreme lack of imagination, but I don't think he's perfectly ideal, though given his hand in creating Mordred (a demonic child), he might be more special than I give him credit for.

Jake Chambers (Medieval Hero) - Son of an ad executive. Is constantly demonstrating that even though he's a child, he can more than hold his own with the others, and was willing to sacrifice his life to aid Roland's quest (twice!). Jake's a pretty straight arrow, never really got into trouble prior to entering Roland's ka-tet. Not really old enough for chastity to be threatened. Has to follow the rules for a gunslinger, thought those aren't nearly as elaborate as they are for a knight, or else Roland's more lax with them, deeming them unneccessary. Fights to help Roland reach the Tower. We're never really certain what Jake would receive from all this (other than a really cool father figure), but he fights on regardless.

The part where Jake stumbles is the "must follow elaborate rules of chivalry, dress, codes of conduct, etc.". Personally, I think we cut him slack since it's harder to maintain those things as part of a wandering band of warriors, than as a knight living in a castle. The world's slowing/breaking down and the pretty stuff is the first to go.

Plus, to tie him to DC's Silver Age, Jake has a helpful pet, Oy the billy-bumbler. Think of him as Jake's Krypto.

Susannah Dean (Romantic Hero) - African-American woman from a time when there was significant struggle to show that shouldn't be a strike against you, that it's what you do that's important. Susannah is the end result of the combination of Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker, two very different personalities is the same woman. Detta still emerges occasionally. Susannah is more or less willing to do as she pleases if she thinks it's right (the Detta aspect, I think). She's not above abandoning her friends to find the right spot to have her child. The conception of that child was not entirely up to her, in that she didn't know it was a possibilty at the time of conception. Despite the fact she has no legs, Susannah is more than able to hold her own as a warrior on multiple occasions. The wars she fought within have made everything else fairly simple. But she goes through periods where she leaves her friends, or frequently won't confide in them what is wrong with her, where even Roland, typically stoic, will tend to let his friends know what troubles him. Susannah's loyalties lie with her ka-tet, and especially with Eddie Dean.

I think Susannah may just fit better than anyone else.

Eddie Dean (Modern Hero) - Initially, all Eddie cares about is getting another hit (heroin) and helping his brother. Eddie just wants to feel good; the heroin does that, so it's the important thing. Eddie maintains his cheerful demeanor through just about anything, it's what he clings to in even the most dire situation (such as with Blaine the Mono). Is Eddie debauched and depraved as his enemy? Well, he wasn't a stone cold killer like the drug lord Balazar, but he can kill people pretty calmly by midway through the story. Internal struggle with external addictions? Check. And Eddie has pretty much always been about just a few select people, first his brother, then his ka-tet.

Eddie may be the most iffy, because once he's been in Roland's world long enough, he shakes the heroin addiction and turns things around. I'm not sure what he becomes at that point. He struggles with self-doubt, so somewhat Romantic, but he also tries to live up to what Roland sees in him, so Medieval, and you could say his love for Susannah is his fatal flaw, so perhaps Classical.

Given the huge amount of design and planning that seemed to go into The Dark Tower, I can't figure this is just a coincidence.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"The 198" My Butt!

Went to bed feeling kind of down last night. Two reasons:

1) Anthony Reyes got shelled by the Diamondbacks last night. Reyes was the ray of hope for Cardinals fans that maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't see Jason #$%^ing Marquis in our postseason rotation. But if Reyes doesn't demonstrate his superiority, there's no way the rookie gets the nod from Tony Bleeping LaRussa over the vet.

2) I'd already seen the House episode on USA last night. Hermaphroditic models, oh boy.

All in all, not a stellar Friday. Ah well, that's life, etc., etc. On to the main gist of the post.

I don't know whether this is technically a post inspired by X-Factor #10. I mean, the idea's been rising to the forefront of my consciousness off and on for awhile now, but yesterday's post kind of made me feel like it's time to deal with it.

Wanda supposedly left only 198 mutants still powered (going by Len's suggestion that Wanda's blocked the genes of the other mutants from expressing themselves). Which is all very well and good, except that it was immediately undercut by Iceman regaining his powers through some sort of medical mumbo-jumbo b.s. I didn't understand and don't care to try and find. So that's 199.

Nobody living (besides Xavier) knew about the existence of Vulcan or Darwin, so that's 201.

Apocalypse has showed up (202), and he seems to have repowered Sunfire and Polaris. I don't know whether they're considered mutants or not, though. Who was Pestilence? Were they a depowered mutant? Wasn't War that chimp on the space station? So that might be one more. Either way, Chamber also got the benefit of the Supercool Apocalypse Blood Treatment (Patent Pending, because not even Apocalypse can make the bureaucracy of the Patent Office move faster), so potentially 205. Maybe 206.

Magneto's back on the block (come on, we all know he didn't die in a helicopter explosion of all things), so that's at least 206, and anybody know if that Michael guy was a known mutant prior to the New Avengers story?

Then there's the question of whether Pietro and all the people's he's repowered are mutants or something more akin to Inhumans. Looking through New Avengers #16 (I'm waiting until after my "Year in Review" posts are done to toss it in the garbage), Commander Hill says 'All of the sudden the mutant gene doesn't exist in millions of people where it once had.' That would suggest depowered mutants aren't mutants at all anymore, as they no longer have the genetics for it.

But I'm loathe to take anything Bendis wrote in that damn "Collective" story at face value, so for the sake of argument lets throw all of them in as well. They had powers before, and now they have powers that are very similar, if not exactly the same, so they count. Let's see, there were about five people on Genosha (Callisto and Unus the Untouchable among them, right?) and one more fellow there at the end of Son of M, so that's 211.

And we all know it's just a matter of time until Jean Grey hits the scene again, so that's 212. Who else have I missed?

So yeah, Marvel did a real great job holding to that 198 thing. Honestly, I wonder why 198? Did they think it would resonate better than 200?

If it were me, I would've gone with 300, and not just because I could restore Stacy X. I could do that just by leaving Iceman as the depowered schmuck he ought to be. 300 evokes thoughts of the 300 Spartans at Thermopyle, a small force, fighting against a seemingly overwhelming number of people with hostile intentions towards them. Granted, that ignores the 600 or so slaves and servants the Spartans had, that died alongside the warriors (hat tip to Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe, Vol. 1), but I'm not sure what the equivalent of them would be for Marvel's band of Melancholy Mutants (I'd say they haven't been "merry" in quite some time).

Friday, September 08, 2006

At What Point Is A Duck No Longer A Duck?

It's my third post related to X-Factor #10. That may just be a record for a single comic.

So here's the question: Is Quicksilver still a mutant?

The difficulty comes in a) trying to define "mutant" in the Marvel Universe, and b) figuring out what exactly Wanda did to depower all these mutants.

I'm leaning towards the theory that mutant powers are provided by a certain gene being active that normally isn't. The trick is, it's a different gene for each power, or at least each subset of powers (like mental powers, density control, enhanced senses, energy manipulation, etc.), with the particular power that's expressed being somewhat reliant on the mindset of the person and their life experiences. This could explain the difference between a Shadowcat, who manifests density control as the ability to pass through objects, and a Colossus who manifests by turning into organic steel and just smashing through the same objects.

Going with that assumption/hypothesis, I'm going to say that either Wanda has somehow rendered these alleles inactive - as they would be for Homo sapiens - or she has removed them entirely, so that the affected people are actually missing genetic material. I'm thinking the first one is more likely, or at least simpler. Somehow Wanda has altered the mutants so their RNA Polymerase enzymes no longer recognize that section of the genome as something to make a protein from, or the code has been altered so it no longer can code for the protein that provided their mutant abilities.

And now I'm seeing Dr. Gathman at the chalkboard, hands held above his head saying , "I'm RNA Polymerase!" Sigh, crazy Dead-head.

So if Pietro's gene stopped working, what did the Terrigen Mists do? He doesn't run super-fast anymore, he travels through time. Offhand, that would appear to not be a case of the gene being reactivated, right? Of course, relativistic theory says that at high enough speeds, time slows down (look at me, talking like I understand physics), so time travel could merely be seen as the ultimate expression of super-speed. I suppose the question is whether the Mist enables the body of the person exposed to begin coding proteins for the previously unused gene sequence, or if the Mist is something different, more akin to the chemical/lightning accident that gave Barry Allen his super-speed.

And questioning whether Pietro is once again a member of Homo superior leads to similar questions about the people he's changed. Are they mutants again (in the sense Marvel applies to the term), or are they just another addition to that "not human, not mutant" group we've seen so many of over the years (including right now in X-Men!)?

Come back tomorrow when we once again discuss mutant-related themes brought to the front of my brain courtesy of X-Factor #10!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What I Bought 9/7/06

Slow week. Next week is supposed to be better though, even if Exiles got shoved back to the 20th. The crafty spoilers may lurk anywhere, so be careful.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #19 - Why did I buy this? It's Spider-Man versus Fing Fang Foom, which means it'll probably have a repeat appearance when I start up my Spider-Man: Giant Slayer series of posts (to occur in that far-flung future where I have a scanner and quick access to my entire collection).

Peter is spending a rainy day at the Natural History Museum, because you know, he's a nerd. That fact is jokingly pointed out by an airheaded Liz Allen, who's been dragged there by her parents, for the purpose of edumacating her. But they're in luck because Professors Lee and Kirby have found a dragon encased in ice. Which is really cool, until it gets hit by lightining. Which makes it wake up. Which is an awesome display of science.

After some quick costume readjustment, Fing Fang Foom is ready to rock, and it's up to our friendly neighborhood arachnid to stop him. Good luck with that. Liz - playing the role of hostage/information source - succeeds only in annoying the hell out of the big fella, at which point Spider-Man tries to stop him again.

Ultimately the conflict is resolved, though Spidey does very little to make it happen, so a bit disappointing in the respect. But it wasn't all bad, and Liz displayed some depth when dealing with Foom, so not bad. 3.9 out of 5.

The Punisher #37 - Welcome to the opposite end of the spectrum, and not just because this is about as far from "all ages" as you can get. We're also going from a book that starts and concludes a story in one issue, to one that moves at a much more. . . deliberate pace. But that's how Garth Ennis rolls, and I'm afraid to think of what he might do to me if I complained too much. Seriously, think of all the twisted stuff he probably comes up with that could never be put in his comics, not even Preacher. Congratulations, now you'll have nightmares.

Still, I've got hopes for this, as it ties into the first storyline from this book (The Return of Micro arc), as well as "Mother Russia" and "Up is Down Black is White". We've got O'Brien, the lady Frank's been pursued and saved by. She doesn't actually encounter Frank, as she's a little busy getting some payback on some old acquantances, but her ex-husband Rawlins is planning to use her to draw Castle out, and into the sights of General Zakharov, who has a score to settle, what with Frank breaking into a Russian missile silo and stealing the only existing sample of a dangerous virus.. See how nicely it all ties together?

Of course, Frank doesn't find out about any of this until near the end of the issue, but he keeps busy by killing a top crack dealer, as well as all of his subordinates who were unfortunate enough to come along for the ride. You'd think at some point survival instinct would tell criminals to just give up on New York, because no matter how much money, manpower or connections they have, eventually Frank Castle kills them. I thought people grew out of that whole "I'm invincible!" stage once they got past their teens. Oh well, gives Frank something to do in between being targeted by entire governments and corporations. Kind of a slow start, or maybe I'm just becoming desensitized to Ennis' depravity.

Still, Leandro Fernandez is back on the pencils, which I love, and I like O'Brien, so I'm in for the long haul, though I got a suspicion this is the end of the road for O'Brien and Rawlins at least. Zakharov has probably got at least one more appearance left in him after this arc. 2.8 out of 5.