Tuesday, October 31, 2006

If I Must, Then I Must

So, it's Halloween here in the Western Hemisphere. I say that since I'm sure it's already November 1st somewhere, but I always get confused as to where. Seeing as I have no Halloween-type comics to bust out, I'll just share some scary thoughts with you.

- As I was driving to school today, I observed a fellow in a prison style shirt. You know, horizontal black and white stripes. For whatever reason, I was gripped by the urge to dress up as a Beagle Boy for Halloween. If I'd thought of it sooner, I could almost go for it. I'd just need someone to do the stitching (7th grade Home Ec was a looong time ago). And I'd need a blue hat. Don't have one of those, I think. Odd, the things one's mind dredges up.

- Flipping through the channels Sunday (probably a commercial break for USA's House marathon), and came across a commerical for Sara Lee. You know, they make bread and similar goods? The commercial was set to the old "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" song from Ren and Stimpy. I don't know about you, but that scares the beejeebus out of me.

And the scariest thing of all?

- Ken at the comic store is going to set out like thirty longboxes tomorrow, with pretty much everything for 25 or 50 cents. Good lord, he's going to bankrupt me. How awesome is that?

Monday, October 30, 2006

To Do Nothing Is Also An Option

Question for today:

Why does The Sentry save the day?

When he does, he knows that those lives which didn't end because of his actions, will be taken somewhere else by his other half, The Void. He saves 300 people in an earthquake, Void takes 300 lives somewhere else. Throwing The Void into the Sun at the end of the last mini-series was only a stopgap solution, right? He's just giving the Void an opportunity to wipe out an entire a country when he returns, isn't he? {Having looked at Wikipedia, The Sentry apparently told the Void he can balance himself now, but what does that mean? He's going to do the evil himself? he's going to stick to doing small good deeds that won't have large repercussions? Cripes, here come the Sentry-induced headaches again}

Has it been discussed how Sentry justifies doing the hero bit currently, knowing what he does? It's one thing to be Spider-Man on patrol, and turn right and save a person leaping from a burning building, when he could have turned left, a saved a mugging victim from getting shot. It's quite another to save a person, knowing that your other half is going to kill someone precisely because you intervened and prevented the death of some person. I suppose that's part of The Sentry's metatextual aspect.

Really though, it's not Bob Reynolds fault (is the Sentry still Bob Reynolds? Or is The Void Bob Reynolds? Man, I could not follow 70% of that last mini-series). Captain America and Iron Man were the guys who just had to track down Bob Reynolds, and they just had to make him part of the New Avengers, which leaves ole Bobby in the position of having to help the save the world, or else he's letting down the Sentinel of Liberty. And how many people can do that?

Hmm, I've just had a horrible vision. Earth being attacked by the Annihilation Wave, Hulk, The Void and Onslaught (listed in the order of the potential threat as I perceive it. Any force which currently has Galactus as weapon sits at the top) simultaneously. That would be ugly, though it would be the perfect time for a massive "reset" event, if The Powers That Be were to deem one necessary.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sweet, Sweet Air Of Elitism

I was looking over IcV2's sales figure for September, and was a bit disappointed by what I saw. There in first place, was what has generally been agreed upon (in the blogosphere at least) as an unmitigated disaster, Civil War #4, at 272,573 issues sold.

By contrast, Annihilation #2 sat in 44th place, with 44,537 issues. So yeah, I'm a little sad more people aren't buying Annihilation, but what's with the sales for Civil War? I mean, this is over two and a half times what Infinite Crisis was pulling in. I suppose Civil War, with it's general disregard for previously established characterization, is more accessible to casual fans, while Infinite Crisis felt like something where you really need to know DC history to get the importance of what's happening. Probably wouldn't have gone that way if they hadn't made it revolve around the Pocket Dimension Four (well, three really. Old Lois was mostly a plot device to make Earth-2 Superman grumpy, desperate and stupid).

But back on topic. The sales of Civil War, which I suppose constitute a success in this day and age, lead me to three possible conclusions. 1) The opinion of the majority (certainly not all) of the comics' blogowhatchamafloogle does not jibe with the rest of the comics buying populace. 2) The bloggers' opinions do synch with the other readers', but everyone's still buying it, even though they hate it. 3) The sales are driven by casual readers, who want big explosions, action movie cliches, and death. I'm leaning towards 3 myself, which leads me to 4) - people are dumbasses.

That was mean. I apologize, and Lord, be with the starving children across the world.

After all, there's nothing wrong with enjoying dumb entertainment, is there? Heck, I'm watching Home Alone as I type this, because sometimes I just want to see Joe Pesci hit with paint cans. Still, it's depressing to think these sales are going to encourage Marvel to do more stuff like this, the thought of which does not bring a smile to my face.

Yet the question remains: Does enjoying Annihilation give me the neccessary cred to be one of the snooty, art-house types that sneers at the public for swallowing popular tripe?

Uh, not that I would, of course. I was just curious.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's Party Time So I Must Be Brief

Just two things real quick:

1) Bought Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the Xbox Thursday. Played it last night. Having fun. I absolutely love that Deadpool is one of the available heroes, from the very beginning no less. Sure he doesn't talk as much as Deadpool should, but that's probably a good thing since I had him as part of the same squad as Spider-Man. If both of them run their mouths like normal, a person could easily go insane.

2) On September 28th, I showed my weekly comics pull to an Adorable Baby Panda for the first time (since I didn't buy Civil War #4, that post doesn't count). That was also the last day Jason Marquis pitched a game for the St. Louis Cardinals (which is good, since he stayed par for the course and pitched horribly). The Cardinals hold on to win the division, sparing baseball fans everywhere from yet another Roger Clemens "farewell game" (I think this would be his fifth so far), and from there, well, the rest is World Series-winning history (apologies to Tigers' fans in the audience).

The moral of the story?

Don't doubt the Power of the Pandas.

Fear them!!!!

Back with more substantial stuff tomorrow.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Very Sneaky

I need to backtrack to last week's books for a bit, talk about Cable/Deadpool #33.

At the beginning of the issue, the waste fusion facilities are damaged and look like they might explode. Then they do explode. Fortunately, Cable has arrived (with Deadpool in tow), and uses the ol' gravimetric powers to shunt the fallout from the explosion into the atmosphere, so nobody gets hurt.

Oddly, I'm not here to discuss the possible ramifications that dissipating cloud could have on the world at large. I'm actually wondering how Cable did it. He "bodyslides" in close enough to the time of the explosion that Deadpool couldn't do what would come most naturally to him in that situation: get the hell out of there. And Cable supposedly has to shut off his gravimetric field to bodyslide, with the tradeoff being it takes time for the field to kick back on, usually in the range of a couple of minutes.

But there he and Wadey are, right in the middle of it, and Cable is most definitely using his gravimetric field, or else everyone would be dead. So I've concluded that the whole thing about his powers taking time to reactivate is a total load of bull. He's taking the Thanos tactic, and spreading disinformation to give himself an advantage. Now people who want to get rid of him think he has a weakness, when in reality he doesn't.

He even takes the charade to the point of getting smacked around by Deadpool in #32 (their brief skirmish in France), just to further the idea that it takes time for his abilities to kick back in. It's risky, but clever. He just hadn't taken time to worry about a situation where there wasn't time to "wait for his gravimetric sheath to kick back on".

I just wonder whether anybody noticed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Cornucopia of Cuteness

Yes, it's feeding time for Adorable Baby Panda, but first, we had to go over the comics of the week.

No, I did not withhold food to force ABP to look at the comics! It was a mutual decision! Jeez.

A Kinder, Gentler Devourer: To the Galactus of Earth #552, who is the Restorer of Worlds, bringing life and existence, where there was only nothingness before. *sniff* it's so beautiful.

It's Not Arrogance If You Back It Up: To Evil Silver Surfer, who showed Gladiator that he did, unfortunately, suffer from arrogance. Either that, or Gladiator's cause wasn't as righteous as he thought. Yeah, Surfer was evil, and bloodthirsty, but ABP still believed it was pretty cool how casually he dealt with Mohawk Man. Hmm, ABP may be ready for The Punisher after all...

Male Bonding: To Sir Percy and Dane Whitman, who solved their differences not with face kicking, though there was some of that, but through sharing of experiences. Imagine that; talking through your problems. Are Captain America and Iron Man paying attention? No? Oh well.

Knowledge Is To Be Shared: To Captain America, for apparently teaching Dane how to fight unarmed. One wonders just how many Avengers Cap has trained over the years.

Friends In High Places: To the Ultimate Fantastic Four, coming to Peter Parker's aid, just when it looked like that butthead Nick Fury was going to catch him (yes, ABP called Nick Fury a "butthead". I've passed that on to a new generation). They're helping Aunt May, Reed appears to be figuring something out about Gwen Stacy, and Spidey hasn't been arrested yet. He's close to being arrested, but close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades, as they say, and ABP is sure he'll escape. Maybe it was the little description of next month's issue at the end?

Your nominees?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What I Bought 10/25/06

One quick note before I get to the three books I picked up this week. I read through Seven Soldiers #1, and well, it's probably because I didn't read the various mini-series, but I could not make heads or tails of what was going on. Ah well, once again Morrison goes right over my head. Moving along, watch your step, otherwise you'll fall right into a spoiler.

Exiles #87 - Good news for the Exiles: They don't have to worry about the Earth of Universe #552 being destroyed if they fail. Bad news: That's because it's already been destroyed. And amongst the wreckage, they find a somewhat familiar shiny fellow slugging it out with the Shi'ar Imprerial Guard. The Guard isn't having much luck, but Blink does a pretty good job of taking this Surfer out of the picture for awhile.

With some breathing room, the Exiles find out that things work a little differently in this universe, and Galactus needs their protection. I don't know whether the idea Bedard is running with here, where Galactus' role is basically reversed is new, but I like it. It's a nifty sort of twist on things. The issue ends with the Exiles having been drafted into the fight against Crazy Shiny Boy, while still needing to protect Big G.

Just a couple of other things: Galactus looks a little different in Power Princess' universe. Kind of like he fused with that Warlock character from New Mutants. Pelletier draws HUGE guys. I mean, Surfer, the Shi'ar Guard, Sabretooth, even Longshot looks pretty hefty at times. His art is still very pleasing to my eye, but damn, I wonder if Gladiator can scratch his nosse with the massive guns he's sporting! Longshot has a power I never knew about. Interesting. Oh, and Tony Bedard's got my interest on this one. Still doing a fine job holding down the fort until Mr. Claremont recovers. Bravo Tony. 4.2 out of 5.

New Excalibur #12 - What do you need to know? Hmm, Pete Wisdom is apparently responsible for one of the most infamous acts of infidelity in history. He also got a beatdown from the Knights of the Round Table. Dane Whitman and Sir Percy *stifles giggle* settled their problems with some fisticuffs and some talking. Huzzah! Juggernaut's feeling worried. Oh yeah, and dragons showed up.

I do kind of wish we'd gotten more dragon-fighting. Most of the issue focused on Sage and Wisdom figuring out the key to defeating the fire-breathers, and the shocking secret that no one had ever realized before! I do suppose it makes sense, in a "it's a big world" kind of way. Still no definitive word of whether Dane will join up with Excalibur down the road, and why do I have a bad feeling about Pete Wisdom? He's on a Harry Osborn-esque downward spiral. Or maybe not. I'm not really that familiar with him, so maybe being drunk and humiliated is natural for him. 3.8 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #101 - Turns out Fury's Spider-Slayers have problems with things they haven't been programmed to deal with, namely, whatever the hell Gwen is now. Richard Parker lies about being able to help Aunt May, but at least it gives us the chance to see Peter trying to strangle Nick Fury. Thank goodness, I've been waiting for that. Of course, in typical Parker fashion things start to get bad, but in what is also typical Parker fashion (and I think some Spidey writers forget this), things start to get better. See, Peter's got himself some friends.

But of course, Nick Fury don't want anybody butting in on his parade, so he decides to adopt the "Scorched Earth" Strategy. Man, I think he must have gotten mad that I disliked Carol Danvers so much last week, and wanted to reestablish his "I'm a big jackass" cred. Mission accomplished, Fury. Oh yeah, and Pizza Face Peter meets the, um, the, uh... She-Wolf?

OK, I really have no idea what that thing on the last page is supposed to be. I'm sure it's a new take on a preexisiting Marvel character (this is Ultimate Spider-Man after all), but who? Hey, at least some stuff happened. 3.7 out 5.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Congratulations! Now What?

I'm going back to Trigun tonight, specifically the last episode. So if you don't want that ruined, better mosey on.

When the series was all said and done, we see Vash hauling his batshit crazy brother Knives back to the town Meryl and Milly are working in, just as the town hits water. Hooray! Humans may be able to sustain themselves! My question is, what does Vash intend to do with Knives?

Knives is shot, so the first thing will probably be to get him patched up. But then what? Knives still hates humans; that isn't going to change just because Vash beat him and left their city-destroying firepower laying out in the desert. And Knives was able to draw underlings (the Gung-Ho Guns) to himself even when he was only half a person, so is it really going to be hard to continue with his "Exterminate Humans" plan?

To a certain extent, this is what Spider-Man deals with when it comes to Norman Osborn, except it's even more dangerous. See, Norman is obsessed with Peter (not Gwen, JMS!), and so his actions will always lead back to trying to hurt Webs.

But Knives hates humans. All humans. Period. They're inferior parasites, and he wants them gone. He also wants Vash alongside him, but really, Vash is just an impediment to his plan. Knives would be perfectly fine with escaping quietly, and going about his business far away from Vash, dealing with him only when it becomes necessary.

So is Vash going to throw him in prison? For what? Knives can't be directly linked to any crimes; either the Gung-Ho Guns did it, or there's no one left to testify besides Vash. And I don't think "The Humanoid Typhoon" is going to be the most credible witness to most people.

So that leaves Vash with the option of forever keeping an eye on his brother, making sure he doesn't start up again. I get that Vash isn't a killer, but I don't honestly feel he thought this one through very well.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Comic Science - You Gotta Love It

How does Shadowcat see?

If she's "phased" so that matter and energy pass through her, then the light that would normally land on the rods and cones in her retinas would simply pass through, leaving her in a world of darkness. Likewise, sound waves should simply pass through her without triggering the mechanisms of her ear.

I suppose she could concentrate and make those parts not pahse, but that seems very risky, since she might have to leave the appropriate sectors of her brain solid to interpret the information, and then you've got a brain that can be damaged, and a skull that will let stuff pass through it, and well, that's just not a good thing.

Furthermore, should other people be able to hear her when she's phased? I suppose if everything is phased then she can still speak, but wouldn't the sound waves she produced be on that "phased" frequency her whole body is? Wouldn't that make it somewhat unhearable?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Finding Another Way

I don't really know where this post is going to go, so bear with me.

Fortress Keeper noted last night that I've stopped referring to Ms. Marvel as Warbird. I hadn't even noticed myself. Probably just forgetfulness, but it is harder to use the codename I prefer as she becomes less likable. And Ms. Marvel #8 made her quite unlikable. I've been feeling uneasy about that dislike though, and I think it's because Carol got played by Arachne.

Julia knew exactly what she was doing when she brought her daughter outside and put her in the car. She knew she'd never even get out of the driveway, what with Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man standing right there. There was no way she'd be allowed to leave, and she wouldn't be able to run, so she chose to fight. She chose to make Carol beat a fellow Avenger down in front of said Avenger's own daughter. I don't believe Julia did it to try and gain a psychological advantage, because there was honestly just too much aligned against her to win, even if Carol was thrown off her game.

I'd like to think she did it to try and give her former allies second thoughts. To make them, in the quiet moments, question what they've done, and hopefully, realize that they're on the wrong side. In that case, Julia's taking the long view. And it may have worked. Arana's certainly questioning what she's gotten herself into (don't worry Arana, the Adorable baby Panda knows you'll make the right choice), and Simon and Carol at least seem melancholy. It's something, right?

Or maybe I'm wrong. Julia may just have been angry. Angry that people she thought she could trust wanted to use her as a weapon to hunt down other heroes. Angry that when she refused, they turned on her. Angry that they locked up the person who helped her, that she also happened to be in love with. Angry that they were going to take her away from her daughter. And with all that, she just wants Carol (and Simon, and Arana, and the "cape-killers") to suffer.

I don't know if either guess is right. I do know that when Carol tells the Shroud, or Julia's parents, that it isn't about 'legislation', she's full of it. She claims that they're going to arrest Julia because she injured two dozen SHIELD agents, stole a car, rammed said car into Ms. Marvel, and, in general, refused to be arrested. But why did Julia do all that stuff? Because they came after her first. Yeah, it sounds schoolyard, but it's true. They wanted her to capture the Shroud (though it's more likely Tony wanted them in the same place so he could confirm she wasn't on his side), and when she wouldn't they came after her as well. She defended herself, the same as she did on the freeway when Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man came after her. Yeah, her driving endangered innocent lives, but Wonder Man's the one ripping off car doors and flinging them into traffic, and Carol is the one flipping the car into the air, in front of semis, so who's a bigger threat? And again, all that happens because they wouldn't simply let her be.

Why it was so important to capture her, rather than simply cutting their losses and moving on to someone actually "illegally" using their powers to fight crime, I don't know.

Hmm, I think the point of all this was me trying to see if Carol had a good reason to do what she did. Given the best response she's had to why she does what she does is "It's the law", I'd conclude "No". Oh well, at least all the guilt about disliking her is gone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

He Was Sooo Faking

I think this week is going to be kind of up-down. Happy post, sad post, and so on. Fortunately, today's a happy post, because I'm talking Annihilation #3. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to sort out how I feel about Ms. Marvel #8, and I'm sure that won't be cheerful. Oh well.

The primary thing I wanted to discuss was Ronan's fight with Ravenous, which I would have to say Ronan lost. That kind of surprised me, because power-wise, I've seen him do better. There was a Silver Surfer comic, I from the series that ran through the '90s, issues 12-13. In #12, he finds the Surfer and accuses him of attacking Kree worlds, which the Surfer denies. They fight anyway, and Shiny-Boy eventually wins - with the old "you're focused on me, so I'll have my surfboard fly up and smack you from behind" trick" - and immobilizes the Supreme Accuser. Afterwards, Ronan gets a power boost designed to counter the power and abilities demonstrated by the Surfer. Meanwhile, the Surfer finds a fake Surfer, who actually defeats him.

It turns out the phony is a Skrull, masquerading as Surfer, and he's stuck in this form after a bomb detonated that robbed Skrulls of their shape-changing abilities. Like Super Skrull, he was getting power from various Skrull stations, which made him strong enough to beat the former Herald, and using that power to attack Kree settlements. Ronan catches up, and with his enhancements, kills that Skrull-Surfer, and then proceeds on his way.

As far as I can tell, Ravenous is roughly equal to that version of the Silver Surfer. Certainly, he couldn't defeat the Kirby version, which is what the former Norrin Rand has been restored to. Yet, Ronan could do little more than slow Ravenous down. I suppose one can argue that Ronan's tech is out of date, since he's fallen out of favor with the Kree Empire, or that he was more concerned with protecting his allies, since the blast that ultimately immobilized him hit when he was shielding the Rigellian doctor (that was a Rigellian, I think).

Suffice to say, I'd like to see Ronan get a rematch. Next time, clock him over the head with that hammer, instead of shooting green energy out of it. Thor will tell you (or would, if he were around), few problems can't be solved by repeatedly smashing things with a hammer.

Other thoughts:

- I'm waiting for Thanos' betrayal of Annihilus. As Len pointed out, he wouldn't be Thanos if he didn't double-cross Annihilus, and the line about telling Annihilus "all you need to know" about the Power Cosmic certainly left me inferring that he's withholding critical info. What that may be, I don't know.

- For Quasar's inevitable return, I'm going to predict that when Nova goes after the Big Bug, he breaks that Cosmic Control Rod, and since that seems to be where Annihilus stores energy, all the energy he took when he killed Quasar escapes, and Wendell reforms on the spot. And then everybody will be happy!

- I love how Giffen didn't really bother to explain how Super Skrull came back. Some vague stuff about Ravenous and Firelord's energies washing over him and reviving him, and away we go. I think Giffen's saying "I could give you some long-winded explanation, but we're in a full withdrawal, and the reason would be pure b.s. anyway, so let's just enjoy his return, ok?"

To which I say "Yes sir, Mr. Giffen, sir. I'll believe anything you say. If I had a sister, I'd try to convince her to bear your children. And then she'd beat me up, but anyway..."

- Given Thanos' revelation that the Power Cosmic is something that replaces souls, does that mean Super Skrull might now have cosmic powers, given they probably played some role in his return?

- And what are the odds Marvel will completely ignore that explanation of Power Cosmic the first time that Bendis or Millar (or JMS, I'm stunned he hasn't said that Power Cosmic resides in people because of the Cosmic Totem) wants to screw around with Heralds and such? (My guess? 100%)

- Do you think Peter was flirting with Phyla when he said 'Have we met?' She thought so, I didn't, but I'm usually dense about these things (I had no clue Ultimate Colossus was interested in Ultimate Wolverine until Wizard mentioned it).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clouds On A Sunny Day

I really hate to do this, but it's driving me nuts, so I'm just going to throw it out there.

There was one thing I didn't like in Amazing Spider-Girl #1.

The conversation between May and Gene as they walk back to her place. Specifically the part where Gene suggests they 'take their relationship to the next level'. May says she's not sure she's ready, Gene asks her to think about it, and they have a little smoochie.

I just got all kinds of bad vibes from Gene's interest in elevating their relationship, especially when coupled with May's uncertainty. It worries me that we're going to see Gene gets a little too grabby and May's forced to fight him off (which granted, shouldn't be difficult) and May has to deal with unwanted sexual advances as part of her history from this point on.

Because my brain likes to make me suffer, I can see May either rubuffing Gene's advances, only to see Gene turn on her, and try to make her a social outcast, spreading rumors about her being "frigid" or some such thing. Second depressing plotline, May gets the message across that she's not interested in going there a bit too physically, Gene winds up severely injured (like hospitalized). That's not bad in off itself; if Gene goes too far, against May's wishes, then he pretty much deserves what he gets. But, it could lead people start connecting dots between May and Spider-Girl, when they find Gene pushed clean through a wall.

I suppose that would add a twist to the "Peter and Flash in a boxing ring" scene, where Pete had to hide his abilities, and still wound up knocking Flash stupid, but I'm not sure it's a good twist.

Now, I'm basing all this on one comic, particularly one line, and just a general feeling of unease I get from how eager Gene has been to profess that he really loves May a lot, and that she's the only one he loves, and so on. Basically, it reminds of the lines some assholes I knew as an undergrad used to spew so they could wind up in bed with girls they knew. Plus, DeFalco already used the abusive boyfriend story in Spider-Girl, with May playing the role of concerned friend. Would he go back to it, and put May more squarely in the center?

So, am I just way too paranoid? I mean, I feel I'm jumping the gun, but I still get that uneasy feeling. Really, really, really hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just A Ray Of Cute, Here To Kill Your Pancreas

So many comics, so much joy for one Adorable Baby Panda. Oh, where to begin?

A Good Friend: This one is for "Mayday" Parker, who in between working at a shelter for abused women, running for Student Council President, and stopping Hobgoblin-related gang activity, still finds time to shoot hoops with Davida, help Courtney through relationship troubles, look at Jimmy Yama's absurd Spider-Girl comic, and give the son of Flash Thompson pity dates. Such responsibility and compassion is a great lesson for ABP about caring for others.

Comics Fashion, part 1: ABP loved the Hobgoblin combining his hood and mask with a conservative green business suit. More discreet, and yet still effective. Will this become standard battle fare for Roderick Kingsley?

Small-Timer's Coming Up Large: To Redshift, for a) recognizing the need to clear a path to the escape ships and b) for -along with Stardust - delaying the destruction of Daedalus 5. I couldn't tell ABP anything about this former Herald, but much like Bill Foster, he took this opportunity to shine to heart.

To Being Out Of The Loop: When Nova wanted to warn Earth of the approaching Annihilation Wave, who did he send his info-log to? Reed Richards, because Nova's been in space and doesn't know Reed's a SHIELD lapdog now. It speaks to what Reed once was, and could be again. ABP holds out hope for Mr. Fantastic.

Comics Fashion, part 2: ABP is very curious about how Gamora's outfit functions. The current Panda hypothesis is that there's two sided tape and anti-gravity generators involved. Personally, I'm at a loss to explain it myself, but she must know the same people as the pre-Infinite Crisis Phantom Lady. Anybody want to help a Curious Baby Panda out?

Multi-Species Solidarity: It raised ABP's hopes to see a Kree (Ronan), a Skrull (Kl'rt) and a Negative Zone inhabitant being willing to work together to get the Kree military back in line. Why can't the heroes of Earth learn from them?

Madcap Smart-Arsedness: This was actually touch-and-go. ABP is now an avid fan of "Nightcap with Wade Wilson". However, he does not approve of shooting people in the back, especially not one of your friends. Adorable Baby Pandas prefer to talk out their differences and if that fails, then smack the person in the face with a kendo stick. It is, after all, the Panda Way. Also, ABP thinks Wade needs a zipper on his mask, so he can more readily eat popcorn and drink coffee.

Taking A Second Look: To Arana, for having doubts about being a government-controlled super-hero. Remember, Adorable Baby Pandas love "fair and balanced", and if you're having doubts, it hopefully means you're considering both sides.

The rest of Ms. Marvel #8 just left ABP sad and confused. I know the feeling. Fortunately, we wrapped up with X-Factor #12, and that's always good for lifting spirits.

Mouthy Precog To The Rescue!: To Layla Miller, for saving Alix Buchanan. For once again throwing a wrench in Singularity's plans (though not as big as the one Jamie threw). For presrcibing a nice glass of milk for a person in shock.

Crazy Dupes: To Jamie, because baby panda's like big explosions, as long as there's a good reason. Boy, was there ever a good reason.

And finally,

For Learning From Your Mistakes: A kevlar collar? Bravo, Siryn, bravo.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What I Bought 10/18/06

Whoo! Five books! Count em'! Five! Hot damn! Welcome to Happy Town, have a nice visit!

Oh, and don't feed the spoilers.

Amazing Spider-Girl #1 - Be honest, you knew I would buy this, right? There's no way I couldn't. DeFalco does a nice job of setting the scene for new readers, letting them know the who's and why's, as well as moving things along for the returning fans. We learn what May's been up to since hanging up the webs, and it's quite a lot. She's reconnecting with friends, having a positive imapct on the community, and gasp! actually has a romantic relationship. We get to see someone who appears to be a future rival for May at school and the Hobgoblin is still around and looking for something, and he's built an organization to help him. The Original Hobgoblin, folks. Accept no substitutes. And, in typical Parker fashion, the vow to stop crime-fighting can't last forever, as May once again finds herself donning spandex (that's a little joke for those who read it).

Ron Frenz' art was good. My only real problem with his work has always been faces, especially May's when she's not masked, and that seems to have improved. Maybe he was suffering burnout when the last series wrapped up, but May's face doesn't seem to change in shape nearly as much as it used to. Or maybe May's filled out, since she's not burning so many calories rooftop-hopping? Also, I find it interesting that among the parents, Mary Jane gets more use than Peter, possibly symbolic of May's embracing of everyday life, as opposed to the webslinging. I'm totally good to go with this. 4.9 out of 5.

Annihilation #3 - And now, the real fun begins. After last issue, I was left wondering who would appear to turn the tide for Nova's forces. We get an answer, but it's not really one I was expecting. We also get to see Annihilis' concept of "discipline", and Thanos unlock the secrets of the Power Cosmic. And what he's done with that knowledge, uh well, he's using Galactus as an unwilling weapon of planetary destruction. He has essentially rebuilt the Harvester of Sorrows.

Holy crap.

Moving on. Ronan's giving it a good shot against Ravenous, but doesn't quite seem to have it. But wait, Firelord's back on his feet! And someone's back from the dead. No, not Quasar. Try again. Oh yeah, and Drax decides to play Billy from Predator. You remember Billy, Native American guy, got bad feelings about being watched, tried to fight the Perdator on a tree bridge with a machete. Well, replace "Predator" with "hundreds of giant insects with razor teeth" and that's what you got. Freaking awesome.

Even so, it's now a whole new war, and Nova's coming to grips with that. And Ronan totally dissed those stupid infighting heroes on Earth. That's always a good thing. And Andrea DiVito, I love the art. Keep it coming. 5.0 out of 5.

Cable/Deadpool #33 - We've escaped the dangerous Civil War Valley, only to enter the deadly Liefeld Cover Forest. Beware! Cable also needs to beware, because the Powers That Be aren't to happy with him. Damn time-traveling techno-hippy, how dare he try to introduce peace and stability to the world?!

Anyhoo, Providence's waste fusion facilities blow up, which gets Askani-son's attention. Which leaves Rumekistan nicely unguarded for a SHIELD covert ops. Unfortunately for them, Cable's smart enough to figure that out (once he wakes up), and so he's off to Rumekistan - with one Wade Wilson in tow. That leaves his trusted advisors to solve the mystery of "Who destroyed our poo-burning factories?" My guess is that it was Ole Mr. Jenkins at the amusement park. Damn waste fusion plant, driving away all my customers!

One word of advice to Cable: If you know that a friend of yours is not happy with you, then perhaps it would be good to deal with their problems before trusting them to cover your back. Just a suggestion. 4.3 out of 5.

Ms. Marvel #8 - And this book too, has almost reached the edge of Civil War Valley. Can it escape unscathed? Uhhhhh, no. Carol has nicely descended into the "Don't ask questions, smack who you're told to smack" camp. Congrats, Ms. Danvers. OK, not entirely, but close enough for government work, which works nicely, since that's what she's doing.

True congrats be to The Shroud. Not only did you help Julia Carpenter regain use of her legs, you remined Carol that what's "best", isn't automatically what's "right". Go Shroud! Maka Arana see that this registration stuff is crap! And Carol, Julia put those two dozen SHIELD agents in the hospital because they were trying to arrest her and The Shroud. Ever heard of "live and let live"? Apparently not, because they go to stake out Julia's parents house, and await her arrival.

This leads to more of that "hero versus hero" conflict Marvel is convinced we all want. Memo to Marvel: No, I want heroes to punch villains, not each other! Get it through your expletive-deleted skulls, you stupid tossers! The issue ends with a surprise guest, but not before the really sad stuff preceeding it. I gotta tell you, I haven't hated the main character of a book I bought this much since Tim Drake at the end of Robin's first One Year Later arc (the little bastard). So congrats Ms. Marvel, you've joined rare company! No, there are no gifts or snacks. Bummer, but still surprisingly good, in it's own way. 3.6 out of 5.

X-Factor #12 - I love how these last three covers have been part of one big pitcure, especially the little dots going across all three. Kinda cute, definitely clever. We find out what's up with the Elder Tryp, why there are so damn many of him, and why he wants to stop X-Factor from undoing Decimation. He doesn't make a bad case, except for the part where he could easily be lying. How would they know? All Monet is sure of is Tryp believes what he told them; doesn't mean it's true.

While M, Jamie, and Rahne are busy with Elder Tryp, Ric and Siryn are digging some dirt on Singularity. I don't know what Singularity needs all those weapons for, but there sure are a lot. But then they run into some trouble, and at the end, when it seems like X-Factor has been stymied by laws and the power of their enemies, that crazy part of Jamie rears his head again, and boo-yah.

Combined with Layla's typical behind the scenes maneuvers, Old Man Tryp would seem nicely thwarted, but he's gained one major advantage. Now he knows who's been working against him, and he really hasn't got much to lose now. I can't wait for year 2. 4.7 out of 5.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Your Classic Daredevil/Punisher Disagreement

So the topic of tonight's post is the conclusion of the 22nd episode of Trigun. If you're planning to watch, or are in the process of watching Trigun, and you haven't seen that episode yet, you might want to mosey elsewhere until you have, as this kind of spoils the end. Otherwise, feel free to read on (he said, to the three people who haven't already clicked elsewhere).

The question relates to Wolfwood shooting Zazie the Beast at the end of the episode. At the time, this particular Gung-Ho Gun was pointing one revolver at an unarmed Vash, and another at Meryl, who was somewhat occupied with a kid in her arms. Vash had been talking to him, insisting that he wasn't really the vicious killer he was acting like, and that it was OK to be the kind person Vash believed him to be. We'll never know if Vash was right, because Wolfwood took that opportunity to blindside the kid with hot lead. Vash, in his usual "No one has to die!" mode, gets in Wolfwood's face, while Mr. Nicholas D. insists that if he hadn't shot, Vash would be the one lying dead on the roof.

So who was right?

Even with the seemingly frequent anime convention that The Main Character's Hunches Are Always Right, I'm going to give the nod to Wolfwood. I've got three reasons why:

1) You Don't Know Me!: Zazie is a Gung-Ho Gun. That means he was already renown as a cruel, vicious person, who can kill without remorse, even before he was drafted into Knives' little hit squad. Based on his outward appearance, it seems likely he has had to work very hard to establish such a reputation. To have someone - someone you're planning to kill, no less - tell you that 'This isn't who you really are' has to be jarring, perhaps even maddening. I could see him shooting Vash simply to prove that Vash is wrong about him; that there is no good inside him. That he is, in fact, a beast.

2) Fear: This to a certain extent can tie-in to #1, as it is quite possible Zazie would be afraid to confront what Vash says, because it might be the truth. Thus he lashes out at this person who shows him compassion, using that to prove Vash is wrong. But it's entirely possible that Zazie would be even more afraid of what happens if he fails his mission. There were 13 Gung-Ho Guns (counting a special member, we don't find out about until the episode after this one) : 3 committed suicide, rather than admit defeat, and with the exception of one other (killed by Vash), the remaining 8 were killed by other members of the Gung-Ho Guns. The Beast knows that the penalty for failure won't just be death, it'll be a painful death, especially if Legato or Knives is the one doing the killing. Faced with that, he might see nothing to lose by going ahead with shooting Vash.

3) I Don't Have To Hurt You, To Hurt You: Legato's stated strategy is 'To make Vash the Stampede understand the plan of living'. Well, Vash has been shot, stabbed, blown up, dragged, and just about everything else in his roughly 115 years of life. Getting shot five more times (the number of bullets left in the revolver pointed at him) isn't likely to do much beyond inconvenience him. No, the key to hurting Vash, is to hurt him emotionally. Like I said, Vash believes every conflict can be solved without bloodshed, and when he fails to make that happen, it hurts him. To be honest, I think watching Zazie shoot Meryl point-blank in the face would hurt Vash considerably more than being shot himself. He's proven to be quite willing to accept pain himself, if it will stop others from suffering. And I can't imagine that Legato hasn't made the Gung-Ho Guns aware of that fact. And what better torment than to have Vash watch as someone he cares about dies, for no other reason than they were near him? And unlike Vash, Meryl isn't fast enough to be dodging bullets at that range, especially not when her instinct will be to protect the child she's holding.

So yeah, I'm with Wolfwood on this one. Your thoughts?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Thought He Was At Least A 12th Level Intellect

Having watched the JLU finale again on Saturday, I realized that Lex Luthor stopped Darkseid... by giving him the one thing he's always searched for. Darkseid wants the Anti-Life Equation and now he's got it.

Does that seem a bit short-sighted on Luthor's part to anyone else? That maneuver has brought Earth a reprieve, but if Darkseid has the Anti-Life Equation, then isn't it just a matter of time before he uses and conquers the universe, which includes Earth?

And even if Luthor double-crossed him (which is entirely likely given we're talking about Luthor here), doesn't that still mean that an extremely dangerous bit of... whatever the hell the Anti-Life Equation is, is in the hands of an egomaniacal lunatic?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Believe There's A 57% Chance Millar Would Agree To This

So I'm watching Ultimate Avengers last night on Cartoon Network. Putting aside how nice it was to see a Thor who talks like Thor, what with the bragging about smiting frost giants of Jountheim, I had a moment of inspiration.

See, I was looking at Steve Rogers, and I thought 'Hey, he has hair kind of like Guile, only not a tall.' This naturally reminded me of Ultimate Captain America Flash-Kicking Evil Double-Bladed Lightsaber Guy, and everything coalesced into something truly beautiful.

I believe that Captain America will mysteriously vanish in Civil War #5. No one will know where he's gone, and it will be up to the recently-re-intelligent Peter Parker to try and lead Cap's Secret Avengers, many of whom will probably have doubts about him, what with the rampant face-smacking he did to them in Civil War #3. Civil War #7 will be the huge battle between the pro- and anti-registration forces, because this is comics and complex issues of security and personal rights must be solved with punching. Don't you know anything?

In the midst of all this, Captain America will appear, and call out Iron Man for a one-on-one showdown. Cap wins, Reed and Tony concoct a mind-control device so all the secret identities and this registration nonsense are forgotten. Tony wins, all the anti-reg heroes turn themselves in. Since Stark nearly punched Cap's jaw off the last time around, he foolishly accepts. He even offers to open his faceplate, he's so confident (This will have the unfortunate side effect of firmly cementing Stark as a villain, as that level of hubris is exactly how your Dr. Dooms and Red Skulls of the world meet in defeat.)

And then...

SONIC BOOM! right in the face. (I've even included helpful instructions for Cap and/or Millar, should he happen to read this)

The single best part will be everyone's stunned silence, broken only by Deadpool shouting "That was Guile's Sonic Boom! Captain America plays Street Fighter!" This will be followed by everyone staring at Deadpool, then at Captain America, and then Reed, before he sighs and says "I better get to work on that plot device machine. I will call it Superboy-Prime."

What do you think? Too much? Too little? I mean, I'm sure we could throw some shots of Tony killing puppies in there before the big fight scene if you wanted. I'm not sure why you would want that, but we could.

Oh and hat tip to Len, for telling me about the time Deadpool hit Shadowcat with Ryu's Dragon Punch, which also served a role in this. That's right, I ripped off no fewer than three different people for this: Millar, Chris Sims, and Len. Four if you count DC. I am an incredible hack.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Honestly, In This Case You'd EXPECT Crossovers

This stems partially from yesterday's post, but it occurred to me that Marvel characters each seem to have their own sect of time traveling problems. The Avengers have Kang/Immortus, Thor (and the Fantastic Four I think) have Zarkko, the X-Men have got Fitzroy, Nimrod, Apocalypse went back in time to trigger the Age of Apocalypse, etc. Heck, even Spidey's got Hobgoblin of 2211 (well, not anymore) and Iron Man of 2020.

But I was thinking, there isn't much carryover. I would think that Reed Richards would be intensely interested in time travel, and so he'd always be calling up Xavier, trying to find out about how Bishop got here, or Cable, or whomever. He's got a natural curiousity, so I'd think he'd be hard pressed to resist the opportunity to talk to someone about it. And once you start chatting with a time-traveling ally, it wouldn't be even a hop, skip, and a jump to having to fight one of their time-traveling enemies.

I suppose it's just part of that deal where certain characters are villains for certain heroes, and unless you're Spider-Man, you don't often cross boundaries and fight with people outside your little circle.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Convolution Confounds, Concerns CalvinPitt

I'd actually been planning this post since last weekend. It was going to be about why I'd dropped Ultimate X-Men. I was going to wax on (and on, and on, as I tend to do) about my important revelation. That being that I felt I read my various titles expecting certain things, and I'd come to the conclusion that I had no expectations for Ultimate X-Men. And if I have no expectations, no things I really want to see, why buy it?

Surprisingly, a book with a Michael Turner cover and Cable helped me to understand myself. I realized what I like about Ultimate X-Men: it's the X-Men, in a simpler way. Please holds the "Well duh!" for later.

When I look at Marvel X-continuity, it's a series of characters going one way, then the other, then back to the original, then back that first direction and so on. It weighs things down an awful lot.

Look at Jean Grey. First she was Marvel Girl, fledgling telepath/telekinetic. Then she was housing the Phoenix force and saved the universe. Then she went evil and threatened the universe. Then she died. Then we find out that was just the Phoenix Force impersonating Jean, and Jean's been in a cocoon the whole time. Now she's back, and just a telekinetic. Then telepathy reenters the equation. Then the Phoenix force shows up again. And I'm sure I missed a half-dozen other twists-turns in there. And the X-universe always seems to tail back into that Phoenix/Jean stuff, like it's a black hole and the X-writers' imaginations can't escape it's pull.

And really, you could say the same of the whole "Days of Future Past" scenario. I mean, it was good idea initially, but it's been seen too many times. Too many people fleeing the dystopian future that never seems to get much better, no matter how hard anyone tries.

With Ultimate X-Men, it was all starting over, which - I know - was the whole point of the Ultimate Universe. And so far, so good. Yes, they introduced the Phoenix, and yes, I screamed in horror and abandoned the book for that recent three issue arc which revisited it. But really, it's still ambiguous. Jean could be crazy, she could be housing an ancient and powerful force trapped within the core of their planet, like a Celestial Egg from that Earth X stuff. We don't know yet, and even if they do commit, that would be OK, if they don't start the cycle of reversing and retconning and so on.

We were discussing at the store how Ultimate Cable is probably a signal of "Ultimate Days of Future Past", which again, is not a bad thing in and of itself, as long as they go with something other than "Well, here's yet another person from the future who will fail to actually change things." Just off the top of my head, have people actively fleeing the future in droves (yeah, I know South Park did that, but I think we could get a better story out of it here). What's Nick Fury going to do about that? What's Reed Richards going to come up with to stop it? Would they stop it, or would they try to hoard future tech to continue Fury's plan of world domination?

What? That's what Nick Fury is up to.

So anyway, an opportunity to avoid tiring repetition and confusion is what drew me to the book, and with a little luck, it'll continue that and everything will be OK!

Yeah, I don't really believe it either, but what the hell.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's A Baby Panda To Do?

When there's only one comic to review? Since - as previously noted - The Punisher is obviously not proper reading for impressionable baby pandas, I can only hope Ultimate X-Men #75 provides something.

To start, Adorable Baby Panda gives a thumbs up to Xavier for staying out with a lady. It is ABP's opinion that it's not good for Xavier to spend all his time cooped up in school with teenagers. ABP also supports Xavier's decision to ask Jean to wear a control bracelet. {I tried to voice caution that Xavier may have been manipulating her into thinking she had a choice, but Adorable Baby Panda doesn't believe Xavier would argue so much with Fury if he was going to do that.}

Memo to Iceman: ABP thinks you should just let Rouge play the game. Stop trying to take the controller and let her figure it out herself. Nobody likes controller-bogarters.

Message to Kirkman: ABP does not approve of homicidal, homophobic Nightcrawler. Where's the swash? Where's the buckle? Heck, where's the clerical collar? {OK, this one's more me than ABP, but there was panda confusion over the images of Kurt stabbing people}.

ABP was very excited to see Cable, because he's sure this means Deadpool can't be far behind. {I didn't mention Ultimate Deadpool already exists, and that he's a hateful freak. If you love baby pandas, you won't mention it either.} Even with his excitement, Adorable Baby Panda isn't sure it likes Cable trying to kill Xavier, after all, Professor may have just found love! Stop in the name of love, Cable!

Finally, Adorable Baby Panda wants to send a panda hug to Doug Ramsey. All Doug did wrong was care about his friends. And mention his concerns to a telepathic, sneaky headmistress. That wasn't advisable, but still, he only did it because he cared. It's not Doug's fault his friends are dumb enough to think they can keep their vigilante extracurriculars from a genius. So ABP wanted to let Doug know that well, he's still got a panda friend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What I Bought 10/11/06

Well, this was supposed to be a three book week, but Ken got short-changed on one book and so we're left with two. Which two? Read on.

Oh, and keep an eye open for spilers.

Annihilation #3 - Didn't show up. I'd wail piteously to the sky, but... I did that already. On the plus side, The Powers That Be seem to like to do a "take and give" thing with me, so I'm feeling good about the Cardinals' chances against the Mets tonight.

I do feel bad for Adorable Baby Panda though. I was really wanted it to be introduced to the sheer awesomeness of Annihilation.

You may be wondering why I kept the cover here, if it didn't arrive. Well, for one thing, I wanted to keep you in suspense. For the another, I uploaded the covers into the post this morning, before I bought my comics, and I didn't feel like deleting it. Thirdly, that's just a damn good cover. Rating Awaiting Arrival.

The Punisher #39 - Let's get the little bits out of the way first. O'Brien gets to live because British guy got a call from Frank at just the right time. For letting O'Brien "escape", British guy will receive ribbing from his soldiers. Poor bloke. Frank reaches Afghanistan, passing the flight time by hearing the story of how Zakharov earned the nickname "Man of Stone". More on that in a minute. Rawlins tries to get hired by Zakharov, but the general wisely recongizes that Rawlins main skill is that he's a back-stabbing piece of human excrement, which tends to hurt employer-employee relations. And Frank and O'Brien load up and head into the mountains to prepare for the killing. And to shag, because Frank's pretty spry for an old guy. How the people they want to kill are going to know to go looking for them there, I'm not entirely sure.

OK, let's talk about that flashback. I mean, jeez, that was, words fail to describe it. What made Zakharov's tactics all the more disturbing is I'm entirely sure that soldiers - all around the world and throughout history - have done things just as bad or worse in the name of "accomplishing their missions". Certainly makes you root for Frank, though I wonder if he isn't in a bit over his head. Oh, and looking at the firepower Zakharov assembled, I'm really sure that O'Brien is gonna be toast by the end of this arc. 3.9 out of 5.

Ultimate X-Men #75 - It survives for another month, on the strength of the "What's all this then?" factor. Nick Fury has Quicksilver deliver a control device to Xavier. This way, if Jean gets too rowdy, Xavier can zap her. To his credit, Chuck A-Luck asked Jean if she'd wear it. Kitty is bothered by something, probably because she hasn't totally forgotten Elliot. Whether that's intentional, or because he's incompetent, or because she's having dreams about kissing pizza face Spidey, who knows.

So then Cable shows up, and proceeds to put the mop the hanger with the team. Doesn't really seem to enjoy it, as he only wanted to kill Xavier, but he does it anyway. And when Logan shows up, well we find out something kind of interesting about this Cable.

The guys at the store seem to think this might be Kirkman making a run at "Ultimate Days of Future Past". And that's why I'm holding off on dropping the book. I'm not terribly interested in whether Cable is who he appears to be, but I do want to know why he wants to off Xavier.

For the record, I liked the back-up story better. Doug feeling excluded because he isn't a mutant, but just really smart, and what his friends were up to, I thought that was pretty well done. On the strength of that, the issue gets a 3.1 out of 5, points deducted for the extra dollar cost.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This'll Teach You To Refuse A Crossover!

Here we have the cover to The Punisher #38. It was brought to my attention, in the comments of Chris Sims' review, that the fellow pistol-whipping Frank Castle resembles X-Factor scribe Peter David. At that time, no one seemed to know why Mr. David would do such a thing, and no answer has since been forthcoming.

Well, being the helpful fellow I am, I've decided to put what I know of him to use in trying decipher his actions. Granted my intel may be a tad limited:

1) He currently writes X-Factor and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man for Marvel, as well as Fallen Angel and various Buffyverse books for IDW.

2) He's had well regarded runs on The Incredible Hulk, the previous incarnation of X-Factor, Supergirl, even Aquaman.

3) He likes to add little pop culture "Easter eggs" to his stories, sometimes to a detrimental extent.

4) He and Todd MacFarlane do not get along. Or, didn't get along. I don't know, maybe they patched things up.

Taking all this into account, I know why he would smack Frank Castle around like that.

Frank Castle is the guy who advised Peter David that having an alternate universe Uncle Ben shoot people would be a good direction to go with a Spider-Man book. Frank felt that would send an important lesson about not screwing around with the timestream, and that the message would resonate all the more if the killing of Spidey of 2211 was committed by kindly ole Uncle Ben. David figured that since Frank isn't the sort to make rash decisions (what? Frank is very calm and matter-of fact about his work, as long as you don't dig up his family and urinate on their remains), it couldn't be that insane.

Having since had time to think about it, Peter David has come to the realization that this was a horribly silly thing to do, and is taking a little time to let Frank know future suggestions will not be appreciated. Have no fear, once he's worn himself out, Peter David will get right back to work making Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man more, you know, friendly. To be fair, I have heard good things about this Mysterio story, but it's got that loser from Kevin Smith's Black Cat mini-series, and well, no thanks.

Do you have a better theory? *arches right eyebrow imperiously*

Monday, October 09, 2006

Forging A New Path

There has been some criticism of Marvel's Ultimate line as simply rehashing stories from the original Marvel Universe, or giving them a minor tweak or update. And I'd say there's validity to this. I mean, did we really need another Clone Saga?

But I think the writers are aware of this, and I think that Bendis in particular may be getting ready to go a different way.

I believe that Aunt May is not going to survive the Clone Saga. Now by itself, that's not new. Marvel Aunt May died during the last Clone mess, but Peter at that point was an adult, married, living on his own. May was a loved one, someone he could turn to for advice when he felt lost, but he wasn't dependent on her.

Ultimate Peter is still a sophomore in high school. Smart as he may be, he can't live on his own. So I guess it's fortunate for him that his father is back. I'm thinking right now that Richard Parker is going to help Nick Fury, in return Fury uses his influence to get Richard loose from Gyrich and his government super soldier program. This would enable Richard to reenter his life, and resume his duties as Peter's father.

In that scenario, Pete's living with a parent who knows he's Spider-Man. In addition, he's living with someone he hasn't seen in years, that he thought was dead. It's going to lead to some difficulty in the two of them reconnecting. Plus, Peter probably won't like yet another tie to Fury, and Richard may want Peter to stop the webslinging and focus on school. After all, he's going to have to sign up with Fury's group when he hits 18, he might as well enjoy what time he has (to be fair, Fury advised him to do the same thing, so I guess Nick isn't all bad).

Peter's should have some problems with the fact his father seems to be involved in the appearance of GwenCarnage, or whatever the hell that thing is. And, I think that Richard would want to do some testing on Peter, which given what happened when he let Curt Conners do that, is probably a request Peter would refuse, which leads to more friction.

"But you let that other scientist, that Curt Conners, experiment on your blood! Why not me?! I'm your FATHER! Why won't you let me in, let me love you?!"


That might be too emo, even for Ultimate Spider-Man.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fixing The X-Mess

Yesterday was very nice, thanks for asking. On the way to my friends' house I crested a hill, and there's just this beautiful view, with the trees beginning to change color, and a few open fields here and there to break things up. A rare moment when I wished I owned a camera. Ah well.

So, a couple of weeks back, I'm in Marvels and Legends, talking comics with Len and Jack. Somehow we wound up on Ultimate Spider-Man #100, and Len commented that this is a prime example of what Bendis likes to do: Take a story that was a complete mess before, and "fix" it, which he can obviously do, because he is Brian Michael Bendis, after all. Len brought up "The Collective" story in New Avengers as another example, in this case Bendis trying to fix the Xorn/Magneto mess.

Of course, he only seems to have confused the issue further, which doesn't bode well for his chances of "fixing" the Clone Saga. Either way, it left the three of us trying to come up with a plausible way to explain the whole damn thing (clearly, things were kind of slow).

So here's what we came up with, you can tell me if it makes sense.

There are two Xorn brothers, both mutants, both from China (jibes with what Quesada has said). Magneto assumed the identity of the Xorn with the star in his head - as opposed to the one with a black hole in his head (what the hell?) - and infiltrated the X-teams, culminating in a huge smackdown with them, and his death (jibes with Morrison's stuff). Here's where we veered off.

See, Len felt that this Magneto had two problems. One, he was using drugs (to amp up his powers, right?). Two, well honestly, he was too evil. Solution? It wasn't Magneto. It was, in fact, a clone. I know, you're groaning and rolling your eyes, but there is precedence.

In the '90s, post-"Xavier wipes Mags' mind for ripping out Logan's Adamantium", pre-Onslaught, a fellow called "Joseph" arrives on the scene. Looks like Magneto, has the same powers, but nicer, doesn't really remember who he is, ends up being part of the X-Men for awhile. Eventually, Magneto reappears, and we learn Joseph was a clone, but obviously not a perfect duplicate, as he lacked the Holocaust-induced emotional trauma that Magneto has. As the people behind the cloning weren't planning on stopping with one, it's reasonable to assume they tried again. This time, they may have induced some emotional trauma, to try and get a Magneto that's a bit more dangerous, more vicious, and possibly willing to turn to drugs.

In this way, it's no big surprise Xavier finds Magneto not dead after everyone thought he died, because he was still in Genosha (maybe trying to put the pieces back together covertly) the whole time. He can still dramatically show up to take his crazy daughter off the Avengers' hands, get depowered right along with his son, and as for his being repowered? Hmm, let's say his will is so strong, he subconsciously beckoned Michael to him, and their proximity somehow restarted his powers, removed whatever sort of block Wanda had put on them. It makes as much sense as the explanation for Iceman.

If you want a more simple explanation for the whole thing, then let's say that after Doctor Polaris' death in Infinite Crisis, he crossed dimensional realms, found himself in the Marvel Universe a few years earlier, and once he realized where he was, decided to mess with Magneto's rep.

Then he died again. Whoops.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Spy, With My Little Eye. . .

Something that leaves me wondering.

I know it was a long while back, but I was thinking about The OMAC Project (The Infinite Crisis mini-series, not the Jack Kirby creation that causes Chris Sims to freak out). In the second issue, Max Lord is spying on a conversation between DC's fabled "Trinity", plus Booster Gold. You know, it's the part where Batman matter-of-factly states Ted Kord is dead, Booster tries to fry him, but Superman plays the spoilsport and blocks the shot (lame).

But I was thinking, wouldn't it be really hard to spy on them while they're inside the Watchtower? I mean, given the amount of security Brad Meltzer told us they placed around their homes, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume the Watchtower would be even more protected, what with all the high-tech supervillain weaponry there. I'd figure it'd be very difficult to break in and plant hidden cameras,, and you'd think they're bright enough to have long-range cloaking technology, thus preventing Brother Eye from doing the spying.

The way I see it, there are two options (excluding the "it's poorly thought out garbage" hypothesis):

Option 1 - Brother Eye is able to bypass all the JLA security measures because he was modified by the all-knowing, all-powerful, living Editorial Wanking Tool known as Alexander Luthor. If he can make it so Brother Eye resides in some sort of side dimension, then I suppose he can design it to see what's going on inside one of the most heavily fortified installations around. Forget Silver Age Superman or Terra Man, Alexander Luthor really can do anything!

Except kill Nightwing.

Option 2 - The JLA significantly reduced their security measures, because Oliver Queen wouldn't quit bitching about how all the self-defense mechanisms made them look like a bunch of fascists trying to hide their plans for world-domination and ethnic cleansing from the little people they're planning to subjugate.

What? He was really drunk that night. That makes him louder and more annoying, if you can believe that.

No post tomorrow, I'm heading out of town for the day. I'll be back on Sunday. Auf wiedersehen.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What's Warm And Fuzzy And Hovering Near The Ceiling?

An Adorable Baby Panda wearing the Cloak of Levitation, that's what.

Ok, so it was a towel, and not hovering so much as me holding ABP aloft above my head. But, we found the towel in the closet, next to the spare lightbulbs and toilet paper, and the Cloak of Levitation likes to hide among the Wands of Satannish. It's pretty much the same thing. So, ABP approves of the Cloak. What else?

Page 20, as Doctor Strange confronts the being he'll have to fight for Wong's cure. It may not have been Ditko himself, but it has the same feel, and the canted perspective that's reminiscent of Ditko's Sorcerer Supreme.

Iron Fist and Arana's conversation. 'Yes I'm Iron Fist. No, I don't know where Power Man is. We're partners, not a couple.' Also, 'Some doofy super-villain wearing his tightie-whities on the outside.' It's witty banter, that actually says something! Are you by any chance taking notes Bendis?

Oddly, ABP did not like Astral Projection Doctor Strange. I think he looks too much like a ghost. Hmm, I might want to consider keeping ABP inside on Halloween. Maybe some ice cream will make up for it.

By the by, Adorable Baby Panda was interested when I mentioned Vaughn's {Edit: Whoops, I mean Brubaker's. Thanks to zeb for the correction} upcoming Iron Fist series. So hopefully Ed won't make it too violent.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What I Bought 10/4/06

Hmm, there was no bagpiper in the park today. Of course it was about twenty degrees hotter this week, and they were lawnmowers out there, so it probably wouldn't have been enjoyable, with the grass and leaf particles in the air and all.

I bought one book this week, but what was it? What? WHHAAATTTT?


Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 - I figured, why not? At least I won't be coming into the story part way. Where to begin? Well, the cover isn't lying, Strange really is shot, as we see after an amusing beginning, a conversation between Arana and Iron Fist. Fortunately, Wong has gotten the Doc to someone who can help. It might still be a dicey operation, fortunately Astral Projection Doctor Strange (in stores this November!) is there to help!

As he does, we get a little refresher on Strange's history, plus we find out about the guy who shot him. I think that scene goes a ways to showing Strange isn't a chump. Yes, he got shot, but it's because he made a perfectly understandable underestimation of his opponent's resources. We also found out what the shooter stole, though it's signifcance isn't revealed until the end of the issue.

And we learn Wong is dying. What?! This leads to a couple of excellent scenes. First, as Strange tells Wong to forget those other doctors, that he, Dr. Stephen Strange can save Wong, he has a reminder of his handicap, and his frustration visibly emerges. Then as Strange goes looking for a magical cure, we get to see how Wong takes care of his Master. That one is especially critical, because done incorrectly, it could give Dr. Strange the appearence of being a goofy, absent-minded professor type, but it has more the air of someone dedicated and absorbed in the work he's doing, because he's confident that his friend will alert him of anything that would require his attention.

My only quibble is we didn't get to see Strange battle what Wong described as 'a god'. Maybe we'll get that in another flashback later on. It's certainly a good start. 4.25 out of 5.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It kind of figures that on a night when I went to bed before 11 (because I had a plant ID exam at 8 in the morning), that I wouldn't actually fall asleep until after 1:30 a.m. Don't know why, just couldn't go to sleep. As such, this day is really starting to drag me down.

But we must push on, lest we cost ourselves victory, like the Chargers at the Pass of the Playcalling of Schottenheimer. So maybe it's just me, but I think Zatara should be expecting trouble from animal rights groups after his show in Teen Titans #39.

After all, Zatara, isn't it true that you turned doves into light? That you took a living breathing creature of matter, and converted it into energy, in the form of visible light? What gives you the right to kill those creatures, simply for the amusement of some slack-jawed gawkers?!

(chest heaves with self-righteous fury)

You're in serious trouble buddy. They've got you for animal cruelty with malice aforethought. Well, maybe not malice, but you knew what you were going to do to them when you went out on that stage. You could get a fine, maybe even jail time with the number of shows you've performed that little slaughter in. You can definitely kiss your career goodbye, they'll make sure you never work again. Fortunately for you, your assistant contacted me, and I've discussed this with Jennifer Walters, and she's talked to your accusers.

If you agree to stop using doves, and start using North American-born European Starlings, they'll let you off the hook. Seriously, those things are just a pest. Why would someone believe that just because Shakespeare mentioned starlings in one line of one poem, that it's a good idea to introduce them to the native habitat {Note: that really is why the guy did it}? They can't even claim to be particularly useful, nor are they visually attractive. A complete waste of resources, so get to work turning them into pretty displays to entertain the masses, kid.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Power Of Purchasing

So I was looking through DC and Marvel's websites, trying to see what's being released when, and I came to an unfortunate realization: This isn't going to be a good month for me, comics-wise.

Ten comics this month (11 if I pick up Heroes for Hire #3). Nothing from DC (as my hopes that Geoff Johns had gotten back on a monthly schedule seem dashed). A Cable/Deadpool with a Rob Liefeld cover (please don't let him be doing the interior art, please, please, please). No Ultimate X-Men(?) No Amazing Spider-Man (stupid Civil War delays).

Of course, it's not all bad. Annihilation #3. The Amazing Spider-Girl #1. More dragons in New Excalibur #12. Still, kinda lackluster overall. And this week happens to be the worst of them.

See, there isn't a single book on my pull list being released this week. Nothing. Now sure, I've got some back issues of New Warriors and Simonson's Thor run to show to Adorable Baby Panda, but I'd like to get something new as well.

So here's the deal (Why am I typing in such short paragraphs?). When I go into the store on Wednesday, I'll have enough for one comic. Which comic would you suggest I buy with that?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Obviously, It's All Part Of A Devious Ploy

I want to sort of go back to something I got into here.

When I was reading Amazing Spider-Man #535, I noticed that Reed's sporting some stubble, suggesting he's been really busy, and there's no one around to remind him to shave. Between that, his story about his uncle, and his mentions of Ben being on a 'leave of absence', it actually went a ways towards humanizing him, showing that what they're doing is starting to get to him, even if it's only because he's losing the people closest to him, as they do what they think is best, and it isn't in agreement with him.

Of course, after his story about his uncle, followed by his assertion that you need to obey the law, no matter how lousy it is, didn't help, portraying him as someone too gutless to do what he believes in, which doesn't jibe with his past history (as noted by an anonymous commenter on Wednesdays' post). So Reed clearly lacks a backbone in the metaphorical sense, and if he's anything like his Ultimate counterpart, in the literal sense as well.

And this lead me to wonder whether it's possible for Reed to grow a beard. If he does lack internal organs, then I think that his body is sort of locked into the state that it was in when he got hit with those cosmic rays. Honestly, I'm just not sure how he can function without any noticeable internal structures. He obviously has something to pass for a nervous system, reproductive system, respiratory, circulatory, etc., but what, and where?

Reed could actually be like Plastic Man, to the point where it would be nearly impossible to kill him. With the way his body can change size and shape, he must be able to go through millions of mitotic divisions at will. Or else he's stretching the same cells out to crazy sizes, which would give him low elasticity (since the cells would be stretched more thinly, and break easier), which isn't the case. To go through all those mitotic divisions, should be leading to a considerable amount of early cell death, and significantly shortening Reed's life, but there hasn't been any sign of that so far, right? To be fair, I'm not sure how old Reed was when he stole his own ship, but it's been ten years of stretching and changing since then, so he ought to be showing some signs. But no, which suggests his body has some sort of additional feature that corrects for that problem. What, I couldn't guess. Maybe when he goes back to his default size and shape, all those extra cells recombine and it's as if no divisions occurred at all.

I just really wonder if Reed's body works the same as your average, Joe Schmoe, human being. In fact, to heck with whether Reed can grow a beard or not, do you think he can grow one at will? Gasp! That dastardly fiend! He intentionally made his normal facial hair stretch to resemble a couple days' old stubble, so we'd think he was worn down and underestimate him. He was probably trying to make Peter think he'd found someone else with doubts he could confide in, to set Pete up.

Say it with Doctor Doom now people: Accursed Richards!