Sunday, September 30, 2007

On Second Thought. . .

. . . I may not be as big a fan of Iron Fist as a legacy as I thought. This may not be the actual problem, but I did feel vaguely dissatisfied with both Iron Fist #9, and the Annual that came out this week, and this is the best reason I can come up with. I mean, I enjoyed the annual about the adventures of Orson Randall (I do want to know how he got mixed up with HYDRA), and the issue about Wo Ao-Shi, Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay, but it feels like Danny's getting marginalized in his own title.

It seems like a lot of people are sore at "Iron Fist", by which they mean Orson, but Danny's the one who's left defending the honor/holding the bag for Orson's decisions decades ago. Also, Davos has been Danny's rival for awhile, but with these flashbacks, I get the feeling that Davos' grudge with Danny is tied into Danny's father, Wendell, and some belief by Davos that Danny isn't the man his father was (Is it going to wind up being a Professor Zoom situation?)

Is this the tradeoff of becoming a legacy character? You get all the super-cool stories of those who came before you, but you've also got to clean up any messes they leave behind?

Oh, and for the record, I'm not losing interest in the title. I think the focus may be too all over the place right now.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I've Got To Learn To Think Less

AMC was showing Batman last night. We're past the point where Joker kills a fat mobster with a feather, and Bruce Wayne get shot in the arm without noticing. An aside: I've never been entirely clear on exactly why Bruce acts so brain dead in that scene. He just stands there, then begins shambling in Joker's direction. Was he recognizing Napier's voice from the chemical plant? I guess so. Back to the main point.

Joker's creepy little henchman brings him photos he took of the whole thing, and Joker falls for Vicki Vale. It occurred to me last night that it seems somewhat un-Joker-like for him to be so smitten. I wonder if that was a bone they tossed to the Nicholson, that old horndog, or if they thought there needed to be a love triangle involving the chief antagonist and protagonist. Like the fact the Joker kills people (including Bats' parents) isn't conflict enough? I suppose not, since Batman killed the goons at the chemical plant. That is, if you believe they didn't have enough time to escape the plant before those bombs went off. I tend to think they ran really fast and escaped death - somehow. But that's me.

While we're talking about the deaths, Napier being the one who killed Bruce's parents. I know a lot of people have said in the past that was a bad decision, because they feel it's better if Thomas and Martha were killed by some random thug Batman never caught, to represent crime. I tend to agree with that. Giving the World's Greatest Detective his own Rollo Tomasi is a nice touch. But I'm curious as to why Burton (or whoever made the decision) wanted Joker to be the killer. Did they feel the story works better if we think Batman is hunting down specifically the man who killed his parents, and so we'd better make sure that person is in the movie? Because that would suggest a line of thinking that people wouldn't believe a person would take the law into their own hands to simply protect others from harm, which is somewhat depressing. Of course, I'm just throwing it out there, as I have no idea about the thought process behind such decisions (I never watch the DVD extra, commentary-type stuff).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cut Off The Nose From Your Face, Then You Won't Feel So Out Of Place

Hey, that's not a very adorable song lyric title! {. . .} Calvin? {How much do you think the guy who reads the forecasts on the Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" makes? That seems like a pretty sweet gig.} Uh, are you ready? {Not really. I think I might go stare into space for awhile. You go ahead.} Calvin? Calvin? Fine, I can do this. I've done it before.

So, yeah, where to start? I want Bonk Mantis, but I guess I should Applaud her also. She's still on the loose, but she left her teammates to get captured, and that's not being a good teammate at all. Not like Gabe, who gets big-time Applause for his big stand against the weird drone things. Thataway Gabe! And um, a Hug for Groot, because he just looks so cute being tiny.

Bonk to the Bucky in Cable/Deadpool, for being such a little psycho. He was completely out of control! [You got that right.] Deadpool! You're OK! I was worried after you got shot in the head! [Healing factor, remember? Little thing like losing some brain matter won't stop me. Course, some would say I've been missing brain matter for years, which would really just bolster my point, but still. . .] Uh, thanks for sharing, Wade. I'm kind of busy. [Well, am I gonna get a round of applause, or at least a hug?] Sure, you deserve a Hug, but I couldn't figure what exactly you did to stop that monster, so I'm not sure you get applause. [What did I do? Well, that's easy I, uh, with the time skips, and the uh, never mind.]

Well, then that means I can move on. I'm going to Applaud Orson Randall for being awesome, and helping all his friends live a long time, but I'm also going to Hug Lucky Pierre for all the stress he went through following Orson around all those years. [Lucky Pierre? That just so happens to be something I call -] {Wade! Over the Appropriateness Line there!} [Hey, so he is here! Why isn't he helping?] I don't know; he's been acting weird all afternoon. [Maybe he's a clone, or an evil opposite.] I'd know if it was UnCalvinPitt, but I guess he could be a clone. Why don't you investigate? [I'm on it! Heh, that's what she said.] She who? [You are a little slow, aren't you?] I am not! Get out of here! [Fine, geez, I'll go sleuth a bit.] Finally. Back to work. Bonks for HYDRA, because they're HYDRA. I don't think I need a better reason.

Bonks to Ultimate SHIELD for attacking Spider-Man. I know Fury isn't there, but didn't they get the memo that Spider-Man is on their side? Hugs for Mary Jane, who really doesn't need Norman Osborn on the loose after all the mutation problems lately. And a Hug for Aunt May too, who had her date broken up by all this. {Owwww, that's my gall bladder!} [You don't need it. Now what have you done with the real Calvin!] {I am the real Calvin, you pockmarked, brain damaged freak! Get the hell off me, and get out of here, or I'll burn all the copies of your title I own!} *sound of running, getting closer* [Uh, ABP, I've got to go. I suggest just leaving him be. Bye.] Well that didn't help. I guess while I'm at it a Hug for Peter wouldn't be a bad idea, since his trying to do the right thing got him in trouble again. It really isn't fair, you know.

Anyone else has any suggestions, just leave them in the usual place, and I'll get to them later.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Share And Share Alike

Once, long ago, I theorized about what Aunt May was really up to when she got all dressed up to 'get together with friends'. First off, I can't believe this has been getting strung out that long. It's been like 18 months, and we've finally met the guy! Sure, it's probably only been three weeks for them, but geez. Yeah, I know. Bendis. Right. Got it.

Second, and more importantly, is the speculation as to what the deal is with the boyfriend, this Miles Warren. There is a deal, you know. Those familiar with the original clone stories probably know the name as the secret identity of the Jackal, the jerk that started the whole clone thing in the first place. But then again, the original Ben Reilly was a clone of Peter Parker, while Ultimate Ben Reilly was a colleague of Curt Conners' (and the one that made off with what was left of the Carnage-thing, which probably makes him the Ultimate Universe's version of Warren), so names may not mean all that much. Besides, I think Bendis is pushing too hard for us to think that Warren is evil. He wants us to think Warren's call was about Osborn, hinting that Warren is involved with SHIELD or something, but I'm not buying it. It's too pat. So what do we know?

He's a doctor of some sort. We know he says he has a patient acting up. He has a sporty red car. And we know he wears dark glasses indoors. From this, I have concluded he is *drum roll* Charles McNider, the original Dr. Mid-Nite.

McNider was a doctor, and he couldn't see in normally lit conditions. That's why Warren wears dark glasses indoors, to allow him to see, but go out in public normally more readily than his special visor would. The glasses aren't as effective as the visor though, which is why May has the lights dimmed a bit from what I could tell.

What? More romantic that way? Fah! It's for his benefit, probably because he complained of "migraines". A man's got to protect his secrets, you know.

What's he doing here? Well, he's getting new lease on life, after Extant so cruelly extinguished it in Zero Hour. By the sound of it, he may have decided to change specializations, shifting to psychiatry rather than medicine. Well, the Ultimate Universe was supposed to be a chance for a fresh start, so I suppose that's fine. Also, I figure he's what DC gave in return for my donation of Uncle Ben to the Green Lantern Corps. I think that's a good deal on both sides, myself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What I Bought 9/26/07

I have to tell you, I'm not against annuals as a concept. I've enjoyed the two Ultimate Spider-Man Annuals, especially since Bendis uses them as an opportunity to lay groundwork for stories he's going tell, groundwork he'd probably waste ten issues building otherwise. What I'm not a fan of is these annuals done in place of the regular monthly issue, which seems to be what they did with The Punisher this month. And no, I didn't buy that Annual; it didn't contribute to the ongoing storyline (which is fine, I don't demand that of annuals), and it didn't look like it was worth $4 (which I do demand of annuals). So I guess I should talk about what I did buy instead, that being the title of the post and all.

Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #3 - I'm not sure what to say about this issue. Mantis was on the money about the Phalanx' scheme, which will probably allow Giffen to challenge Starlord with a potential repeat of his darkest moment. Gabe's trying to face up to his personal crisis, and we're reminded of an important rule about death: always make sure you see the body before making the declaration. That's all I'll say as to the plot, so as not to spoil things too much.

I like Giffen's dialogue in the issue, how it seems to reflect the characters, especially working with Green's art. Mantis seems calm, basically unconcerned with the whole situation, and Green does an excellent job of depicting this. it's hard to explain, but there's a scene where the group is trapped between two waves of Phalanx drones, and everyone is blasting away, except Mantis, who's cutting a hole in the wall (with telekinesis I assume). She looks very relaxed, as if she has all the time in the world. Like I said, I can't explain it, it's just a vibe I get from her, a combination of how Green draws her (especially her hand), and what she says.

Likewise, Gabe sounds tentative and confused, shoulders slouched, but as things heat up, he's in his element, speaking and acting more confidently. Also, Green's doing a better job (to my eye) depicting movement, such as running. There's some very nice panels in this issue. 4 out of 5.

Captain America/Deadpool #45 - Well, if Nicieza's going to change half of the title every month, I might as well follow suit. This is kind of an odd story to read, probably because I'm not used to Wade doing the right thing when he doesn't have a friend involved. I mean, Wade rushing to Providence to help Cable, or back to the HYDRA base for Weasel? Sure, I can see that. But watching his actions in this issue was a little odd. Though really, what better statement can there be about how awesome Captain America is, than the fact he makes Deadpool really want to do the right thing?

That being said, I don't understand what the hell was going on with time repeating, and people remembering things at one point but not at another, or why exactly Bucky was so damn crazy. Seriously, Bucky spent the issue acting like Frank Miller's Goddamn Batman. Is it commentary on his transformation into the Winter Soldier? Probably, but hell if I know.

Additionally, why were the Fantastic Four looking so threatening on the last page? They let Weasel in their building willingly, he's trying to correct the situation, there's no need for threats. I expect better of T'Challa. So, a mixed bag of an issue. I've got a bad feeling Nicieza's going to be spinning his wheels until the book ends its run. Why? Why are you canceling it Marvel, you bastards? 3 out of 5, because I'm just so confused.

Immortal Iron Fist #9 - Well, that did not go how I expected. I guess it had to go that way for them to have the Annual, which takes place between this issue and next month's #10. Danny's not even certain about the outcome himself, and I'm not certain I believe what Danny's trying to tell himself, either.

Anyway, the fight was interesting, so that's good. As for the intrigue, well, that was OK I guess, but I think that I'm of the mindset that if you tell me there's going to be a big tournament of fighting, then damnit, I want a big tournament of fighting. Save the secrets for another day, unless it revolves around one contestant's attempts to sabotage another. Sooooo, 3.1 out of 5.

Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1 - Does Howard Chaykin seem to be drawing a lot of books these days? Dude seems to be everywhere I turn. Anyway, this is all about Orson Randall, and all the shit that followed him around because he wouldn't fight in that one Tournament of Yadda Blah. It's an entertaining little tale, one that suggests to me that Brubaker and Fraction watch anime while ingesting mind-altering drugs before they start coming up with characters (that's meant as a compliment, by the way). "Super Lightning Lord, Electric Demon of Manaslu"? Really now.

I'm not sure what else to tell you about this issue. It's a collection of snapshots from the life of someone who was a bit off, to be kind about it, and it's interesting, and pretty fun, but I don't know that I would pound my fist on the table and demand you purchase this book. 3.7 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #114 - Bendis finally introduced us to Aunt May's boyfriend (why the hell did I start to type 'girlfriend'?), and I know you've all been eagerly awaiting that. Well, he clearly thinks he's smarter than he is. How do I know? Because he's wearing dark glasses inside, which just like Tony LaRussa wearing sunglasses at night, is clearly a sign of a man who thinks he's smarter than he is. OK, that's probably not what's up with the glasses, but Bendis wants us to think he's bad. So I'm sure he isn't. Just a hunch.

Good sign about Peter's maturation: Osborn appears on TV, Peter begins making plans, such as getting MJ and Aunt May some place else. Then he goes looking for Norman. I approve of more proactive Peter, rather than sit-n-wait Peter. Even if being proactive tends to blow up in his face, as it does here, because SHIELD is full of dumbasses. I mean, I get that the cops are scared and overreact to costumed weirdoes, but I expect better from SHIELD. I feel bad for Peter, to be trapped in a world with people who are so stupid, and to feel like he has to help them when naked guys with electric powers start freaking out. 4.2 out of 5.

That's enough of that, I think.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Suppose "Flesh Wound Shot" Doesn't Sound As Nice

Now, if I understand this correctly, Deadshot can't kill Batman because he's so afraid of the Dark Knight Detective that he always pulls his shots off target when he tries. I have two questions related to this:

1) Can Deadshot wound Batman? I assume Deadshot is always shooting to kill and missing, but could he, I don't know, aim at a knee cap, or try and get Bats in the shoulder? Would his fear still cause him to miss?

2) Why, exactly is Deadshot afraid of Batman? Batman's not going to kill him, and besides, I thought Deadshot had himself a bit of a death wish, so why exactly would he be afraid of Batman? Because Batman is gonna beat him up? So what? I'm sure Deadshot has gotten his butt kicked dozens of times. {Note: I'm not saying I wouldn't be afraid of Batman beating me up, just that I can't figure why Deadshot would be.}

So yeah, I can't really figure why Deadshot would be so afraid he can't shoot straight, and I wonder whether he could try shooting to wound instead. That pretty well covers it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Looking Beyond Great And Horrible

Beyond Good and Evil is one of those games that gets the critical acclaim, but not the sales that one might hope for. Which is probably why Microsoft, thus far, hasn't made the 360 compatible for the game. Their loss, I guess.

Beyond Good & Evil is about a young lady named Jade, who gets drawn into a resistance cell, which leads to her infiltrating the bases of the Alpha Section Intervention, who protect the planet from invasions from the DomZ, and uncovering their dark secrets. What's interesting is the focus of the game is not on combat. It's primarily a third-person view game, and the majority of the times you switch to first-person, you'll be holding a camera, rather than any sort of weapon. You sneak, you ambush, you crawl through pipes, you take incriminating photos. It's a lot like Thief in that regard, so you know I'd enjoy that. And in a lot of those sneaky times, you can not fight all at. If they see you, you'll have to start over, unless you can evade long enough for them to give up looking.

But there's a lot more to it. You cruise the landscape in a hover boat, taking photographs of wildlife, after x amount of new organisms, you get a pearl. get enough pearls, you can buy ship upgrades. Then you can win hover boat races, announced by an annoying twerp who calls you "the little rookie" even when you're winning on the highest difficulty. There are secret locations where you'll have to chase pirates after they steal from you, as well.

And don't think this game is all about sneaking or boat-driving. If it comes to it, Jade knows how to kick some butt. She's got some sweet moves, especially with her staff in hand, and the controls are very smooth. Say you've been encircled by enemies, and you've succeeded in stunning one in front of you. If you pull back on the controller, Jade executes a series of backflips to bring in her close on a different opponent, and a well-timed button push will unleash a devastating kick of staff hit. Plus, you've got back-up. Part of the time it's your uncle, Pey'j, who's a humanoid pig with jet boots (weird family tree they've got). The rest of the time it's an agent of the resistance, who likes to headbutt things.

What's kind of different is you rarely have missions that ask you to destroy/disable the places you sneak into. That's not what you, or the group you're working for are about. No, you just take pictures, and the group uses those pictures to raise public outcry against the Alphas. It feels very, French Revolution somehow, only with talking pigs, aliens, and fewer decapitations.

Beyond Good & Evil certainly isn't a long game, less than 20 hours, and there may not be a lot of replay to it, but it's certainly worth at least a one-time play, and you never know, once you've played it, when you might get the itch to break it out again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

He Can't Be That Misplaced, Can He?

First off, thanks to everyone who's commented on yesterday's post so far. I'm finding it very interesting, because it sounds like everybody's store of choice does things a little bit differently, and it must work, since they're still in business, so that's pretty cool. If you haven't read and contributed to that post, well, what are you waiting for? Don't hold back on us!

As for today's subject, I have a two-part question: Is there anyone who likes Geo-Force, and more critically, is there anyone who likes Geo-Force as part of the JLA?

I ask because, damn, everybody seems incredulous/annoyed that he's on the roster. Now, maybe that was because Meltzer did a poor job of justifying Geo-Force's presence. I haven't read Justice League so I can't say, but I wouldn't really be surprised if that was the case.

I mean, if Geo-Force can be helpful (which is something the character is reliant on the writer to demonstrate), then why can't he be in the Justice League?

For the record, I don't care about Geo-Force one way or the other, I've just noticed the response to his presence seems overwhelmingly negative, even by comicsblogowhatchamafloogle standards, so I thought I'd ask.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Getting Somewhat Serious Here For A Moment

So this is the post I've been hinting at since Wednesday. Hopefully you won't be too disappointed. I'm going to start by outlining the situation as I understand it, then give my thoughts, and then hopefully you'll chime in as well.

The Situation: This past Wednesday (Sept. 19), I was in the comics store I shop at, looking through my copy of Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar #3, when a customer steps in. The store's owner was quite eager to see this customer, because they needed to discuss something. This customer had set up a pull list in early August, and purchased the comics on the list that had been released that week. The customer had not been in the 5 or 6 weeks since then, until the previous day (Tuesday the 18th). The customer had appeared and purchased some of the titles that had been set aside for them, and had returned on this day to purchase any new comics that had come out this week, but not those titles they had left behind the day before. The retailer wanted to know why the customer had only purchased some of the issues waiting for them.

The customer's response was that they are a traveling salesperson, that they are on the road for 5 or 6 weeks at a time, and as they travel, if they happen across a store that sells comics, they stop in and purchase the titles that came out that week from that store. I'm not sure as to the size of the customer's pull list, though I think it's about equal to mine (10-15 titles), nor do I know whether they have pulls at these stores they see along the road. I think it's just random as to where they were stopping. The customer didn't show any interest in having two copies of the titles they had purchased elsewhere, so the retailer was left with the comics.

The store owner said they weren't really comfortable with this situation, while the customer explained that every other store they had done business with had been fine with it, including the other comics store in town. The owner stated that they would love to have the customer's business, but they just were not comfortable with holding titles for someone, for weeks at a time, when the customer might simultaneously be buying those titles elsewhere, and so would not ultimately buy the comics at this store. At that point, both sides concluded they were at an impasse, the customer left, the owner tossed the pull list (not the comics, just the paper the list was written on).

Statement of Bias: The use of neutral pronouns and no names was intentional. See, I don't know anything about the customer other than what I heard in the conversation, but I do know the owner of the store, and consider him to be a friend (I swing by the store most every Friday just to talk), so I wanted to try and be neutral in describing the scenario, then give my totally biased opinion. Also, I know nothing about business or economics other than that you want to make more than you spend, and so this is me talking from a personal standpoint, rather than from any kind of business perspective.

Totally Biased Opinion: Right up front, I'm on Ken (the owner's) side. I think when you set up a pull at a store, there's an agreement between the customer and retailer. The retailer agrees to do everything in their power to make sure you get the comics on your list when they come out, or as close to it as possible. So it isn't their fault if Jim Lee or Frank Quitely can't meet deadlines, or that the publisher canceled the book, or that Diamond didn't ship all the copies they ordered. But if the book came in, and there are enough copies, then there should be one waiting for you when you show up (since I think pull-listers should probably have priority over random walk-in customers that might otherwise take all the issues. Yeah, I'm a bad person, perpetuating the exclusivity of the comic shop environment, sue me).

At the same time, I think the customer, by making a pull list - thus getting the retailer to agree to get them the titles they want - is agreeing to buy those titles from that retailer. If you're just as likely to buy the comics in East Lansing, Michigan as you are in Casper, Wyoming, then why bother setting up a pull list in Cape Girardeau? This doesn't mean you can't drop titles if you aren't enjoying them, but if you do still enjoy the title, then I think you ought to buy the new issues from the place that is setting aside a copy especially for you.

And honestly, I don't know that I buy that every other store the customer had used was cool with him setting up a pull-list, with the understanding he might show after a month and not buy half the comics they'd set aside for him, because he purchased them elsewhere. Maybe that is common, I don't know, this is the first time I've heard of such a situation. An employee at the store I used for about six months in Columbia, was pretty annoyed with me because I abruptly canceled my pull (because I was leaving town to begin grad school down here), and they wanted two weeks notice on something when you did that. Which I can understand, I just wish someone had mentioned that when I started the list (if they did, I totally forgot, and that's all on me, but I really don't recall being told that rule). Conversely, the first time I canceled my pull with Ken (which is why I started the pull in Columbia), he didn't seem all that bothered when I informed him I'd have to end my pull (as I was moving 250 miles away). He was sad to lose my business, but he wasn't annoyed or anything, so maybe what stores consider unacceptable just varies from place to place, and person to person, I really don't know.

Anyway, I'm going to stop there, because all I've got left at this point would just be me talking up how good of a store I think Ken runs, and that's not terribly pertinent to this, is it? So, I know there are bloggers who work in comics stores, and I love to hear from them about whether they've had similar situations, or what their store's rule is on pulls, but I'd also like to hear from the folks who are just customers like me, whether those of you with pulls yourself think there are any sorts of rules/agreements between the customers and the retailers, or any similar situations you've seen.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pandas With Guns, Taking Over, It Won't Be Long

Hey! Pandas don't use guns! {Really?} That's right, guns are for penguins, because they're cowards. {That sounds like something Batman would say.} Cool.

Bonks for. . . you know there weren't a lot of people in your comics that needed Bonks. {Are you sure?} Well I'm pretty sure I bonked Super-Adaptoid last month, and he really didn't do anything much more evil this month. {He called the Phalanx to kill those villagers for helping Quasar.} That's true, really uncalled for. Let's see him adapt to this Bonk, then! Do you think that General Eiling was trying to get the Suicide Squad killed? {Well, Eiling became the super-criminal The Shaggy Man, so I'm gonna say yes. Besides, you can't actually be honest when dealing with Amanda Waller, she'll chew you up and spit you out.} "The Shaggy Man"? That's idiotic! {I didn't freaking name him, don't blame me!} Well, someone ought to get blamed. {Brad Meltzer?} You just don't like Brad Meltzer. {That's not true. I don't care about Brad Meltzer, mostly. He just seemed like a good scapegoat. Were you going to bonk Eiling or not?} Um, yeah, I think so. Yes, definitely. Bonk. Not too hard though, since we aren't positive it was him setting a trap.

{How nice of you.} I know, Hugs for Nightshade and Deadshot. I think they were both kind of sad they didn't find Rick Flag. Ooh, and I want to Hug the Velociraptor! {What? Why?} Because it's cool, and once it likes me, then I can get rides on it. {You really think a Delectable Little Morsel like you should be going anywhere near a Velociraptor salivating as much as that one was?} I'll be fine. {Sure, and after you get eaten, I'm the one who'll have to deal with your angry mother.} That'll be your problem, though. {Why don't you make friends with Moondragon instead? She's less likely to eat you, and more likely to give you a lift. Dragons are cooler than dinosaurs after all.} That's true, Hug for Moondragon!

Applause for Amanda Waller, because she cared enough to try and rescue Rick Flag. {Technically, Waller didn't try and rescue Flag, she just sent some of her Squad to rescue Flag. Big difference.} But there wouldn't have been anyone trying to rescue Flag if she hadn't sent them! {OK, it's your world, chief.} Applause for Quasar, for saving the townspeople from the Phalanx. {Once again, the day. . . is saved!} But Bonks to Quasar, for using up all the energy in the Quantum bands. Now how is she going to stop the Super-Adaptoid? {Well, that's the cliffhanger isn't it? I really hope Gage doesn't waste half of the next issue on Phyla feeling helpless without the bands. She's got to suck it up and go kick butt. Grab a lead pipe or something!} That's right, and if Moondragon gives me a lift, I can help. {No. No fighting Super-Adaptoids for you.} And why not? I fought penguins, the Super-Adaptoid can't be more deadly than that. {Uh well, you can't fight the Super-Adaptoid because, um, because you ate less than thirty minutes ago, and you have to wait at least thirty minutes after eating before traveling across galaxies to fight techno-organic virus infected adaptive weapons systems.} Oh, but the next issue doesn't come out until next month! {Yes, but it'll pick up where this one left off, so you'll still have the thirty minutes to go. I'd explain in more detail, but it involves effects on time as you approach the speed of light, which would be necessary to get you there in time.} Alright. {Whew.}

Say, you aren't just making this up to keep me from fighting are you? {Nope. Totally serious. If you travel at light speed within thirty minutes of eating, you could experience cramps so severe that your body collapses in on itself like a quantum singularity, because your mass will be so great at those speeds.} Wow. {Damn straight.}

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well, It's A Funny Thing

You remember how I said yesterday that there was something else I was going to complain about (besides the guys handing out Bibles), but it kept turning into its own post, so I'd talk about it tomorrow, by which I meant Thursday. Today. Which is Thursday. Everyone with me so far?

Well, later that evening I remembered that I had a post already planned out for today, and it's somewhat Thursday-specific. Kind of has to be done tonight. So that other post is just going to have to wait until Saturday. But what could be so important as to delay me discussing something that bothered me?

Why, none other than my attempt at live-blogging the season finale of Burn Notice! That's right, I'm going to be typing my reactions to what's going on as it happens, even though you won't see the post until it's completely done, because I'm not going to keep publishing and editing the post over and over for two hours, why would you demand that of me? To hell with you! Let's get started. SPOILERS if you haven't seen the episode yet!

7:57 p.m. - I really don't care what the director of National Treasure was trying to do with the ending. I really do not. Why did they have to run this movie before the beginning of my live-blogging attempt?

8:00 - I like that at the same time Bruce Campbell does the Old Spice commercials where he's all suave, he's on this show dressed like I would be (a slob), and about as clean-shaven as me too. And he's still a ladies' man. How?

8:02 - As a lover of fried chicken, I do not appreciate Michael making fun of Sam for his 'bucket of fat', as Michael put it.

8:03 - And someone is leaving Michael notes with poems in them. Is this his version of the Riddler?

8:05 - Commercial break. I am already concerned about my ability to follow the plot if I'm typing my responses to things I'm seeing. They're advertising the new Resident Evil movie. I saw the second one for the first time last weekend. As expected, crap, but I do like that at the end the evil guy is stuck on the roof with zombies closing in, he's tries to kill himself before they can eat him, but oops, he wasted all his bullets already! Ha, ha! I am a schadenfreude kind of guy.

8:08 - I miss Fiona's Irish accent. I guess I found it exotic, and besides, it made her seem more feisty somehow. Or maybe just more trigger-happy, like I expect the Irish to be impulsively violent. Hey, I can say that, I'm part-Irish.

8:10 - Ah, the classic TV cliche of the woman falling for the wrong guy, and getting herself and her friend in trouble for it. Why do women always fall for the assholes?

8:11 - I could have done without an appearance by the gambling addicted brother. Michael's mom I like, but his brother, it's hard for me to understand why Michael doesn't just shoot him. OK, I know why he doesn't shoot him; he's family, but the dude is a pain. And now he's giving the gambler a firearm? Bugger. That won't end well.

8:14 - Sam and Fiona working together, without Mike involved? That should be good. There are travel guides to Madison, Wisconsin now? Why?

8:16 - Bruce Campbell is irresistible to members of all sexes. How unfair is that? The Hustler looks a bit like Viggo Mortensen. It's not though; his voice is too weak.

8:18 - How much do you think it hurts if Triple H doesn't control his swings with that sledgehammer? A lot, or a mind-numbingly huge amount?

8:21 - Had to step away for a moment to turn off the AC. It was making it hard to hear the TV. Of course, opening the windows may offset the noise - oops, show's starting again!

8:23 - I'm glad to see Mike's getting his car fixed. I was sad after he hit it with an exploding propane tank last week. And that still wasn't enough to stop Lucy Lawless. She is a force of nature.

8:25 - I like when Mike starts playing roles. "Green Beret" isn't much of a stretch, but it's a little more over-the-top than he normally is.

8:27 - Every time Mike drops a little knowledge about how to make an effective bug, or how to fry a person's laptop by putting magnet in the hotel lamp, I wonder, "Could I pull that off?" That's the kind of thinking that's liable to get me in trouble.

8:30 - I'm pretty sure Michael has two different smiles. He just gave his mom the insincere smile, where he shows his teeth, but doesn't really mean it. You can see it in his eyes - he's just smiling to seem friendly, so you're more likely to do what he wants, in this case leave his warehouse so he can go to a meeting. He's got another smile though, I'm pretty sure I saw it when he helped that man whose boss was trying to frame him for the theft of valuable art. It helped keep a family together, and he felt good, so he gave a real smile. I'd like to see that more often.

8:35 - Dr. Steve-O? We're all doomed.

8:37 - One thing that's always interesting about this show is how much the clients actually follow the orders of Mike, Fiona, and Sam. Some people are smart, and listen to the professionals. Some people have to get impatient, and do stupid crap, like the guy that house-sits and pretended to be rich, so his girlfriend got kidnapped. This lady seems like she's actually going to pay attention.

8:40 -What was shielding Sam's cell phone? His car? The building?

8:42 - Sam just said he was "Chuck Finley". Does this mean Sam was a fan of the California Angels in the late '80s-early '90s, or just a fan of guys who were married to Tawny Kitaen?

8:44 - Bringing Down the House, three nights in a row. Well, that's three nights in a row I won't be going near USA Network. That Quiznos commercial did not make me want Quiznos. It does however, make me curious about the possibilities of liquifying my favorite foods and taking them in intravenously. Do you think liquid brownies going directly into my veins would kill me quickly, or slowly?

8:47 - They put a bomb on her car, and she asks if they were trying to kill her? A little slow aren't you lady? Wait, this Gillian has people trying to kill her, Sam advises her to make plans to take a vacation, then lets her leave by herself? What the hell?

8:49 - Michael really believes in what he used to do for a living. I just figured he didn't know what else to do.

8:50 - I know who this Cowan is. It's Simon Peter Gruber, the bad guy from Die Hard With a Vengeance! That's what's with all the riddles and now he's making Michael run a distance in a short amount of time. Damn, Bruce Willis isn't as good at killing people as I thought. And while I've been making this lousy joke, Michael's friends are under attack by armed goons. Way to be, Calvin.

8:54 - And now Cowan's dead, and all Michael got was some vague warnings about him being on the edge of something big, and having powerful people interested in him. This development concerns me, because I'm worried this means the series is going to ultimately be Michael basically banging his head against a wall trying to make some progress against these dangerous, shadowy figures. That kind of futile struggle is why I gave up on The Dead Zone, because I got tired of every attempt Johnny made to block Stillson's ascension failing utterly. I know, it's way to early to be thinking like this, I'm just saying, that kind of thing concerns me.

8:58 - I realized a few days ago, that my Tuesday night class will cause me to miss the first half of the new season of House. And we're back to the show!

9:00 - That was it? They came back from commercial for two minutes, then back on commercial? Weak. Still, it was an interesting two minutes. Michael is seeing threats everywhere, no telling whether he's imagining it or not, and Fiona actually sounds scared, which is never a good sign. She struck as the sort of person who could look Darkseid in the eye and laugh at him.

9:02 - The St. Louis Cardinals' season is just getting depressing at this point. At least you can count on LaRussa to be a prick. Couple of nights ago, Brendan Ryan swings at a 3-0 pitch and flies out. This is the first inning. When he gets back to the dugout, LaRussa chews him out, then pulls him from the game. That's bullshit. He'd never do that to one of the veterans. And the next night either Yadier Molina or Skip Schumaker made a dumbass baserunning mistake, and neither one got benched. TLR needs to leave St. Louis. Thanks for the World Series victory Tony, not go back to the West Coast. As long as they don't sign Dusty Baker, I'll take my chances as a fan with anyone else. Well, maybe not Mike Hargrove, either.

9:06 - And now Fi's not only armed, she's got back-up. These goons are boned.

9:07 - Another commercial break? This is getting ridiculous. Still, in the episode thus far we've had two cars blow up, two other cars shot, another car narrowly avoid being blown up, and three people dead up to this point. Not too shabby.

9:11 - Tom Brady is not a "character"! He's not the next Joe Montana either. if anyone tells you that, punch them hard in the face. Repeat as many times as necessary to make them stop believing that. Use your own discretion on how many punches that is.

9:13 - I must remember the Bruce Campbell Rule of Being a Prisoner: Critique the technique of the man punching you in the face. Pissing them off is the smart thing to do. Just ask Max Payne.

9:15 - Now why did the bad guy have to promise to find Gillian? Now he'll have to die. Not that I'm opposed to that, mind you. It's just not a good idea on his part.

9:16 - I have to appreciate Fiona's attitude toward guns - more is better. Big explosions are fun.

9:18 - I was thinking Sam had some sort of escape plan hidden behind the imbecilic bravado. Not so sure anymore. And now I'm sure again. Good Sam. Or, maybe not. Bad Sam. Selfless doesn't suit you.

9:22 - Thinking about it, this may not technically be my first liveblog. I did a page-by-page run-through of the New Avengers Annual that came out last year (April 29, 2006 post). Of course, that was on a second reading, not a first, but it was kind of similar.

9:24 - Fiona really enjoys wearing sleeveless shirts. Do you think that's a mobility aid, like sleeves inhibit range of motion?

9:28 - I like that when Michael makes a 'We're friends or we're enemies' line, he's brought the guy out to a deserted pier. . . at night. Nothing like the subtle threat of killing you in a place where dumping the body is easy.

9:31 - Why does Michael think he can actually make his mother do what he wants? She's his mother, and just as I type that he gets her cooperation by expressing concern for her. Clever.

9:32 - Oh hell, even Fiona is advising Michael to be more cautious. And that's pretty ballsy move by Mr. Westin there. I don't think this drug guy looks like a "Carmelo"

9:34 - 'If you don't do what I want, I will rain down hell on you until one of us is dead. And I am really good at raining down hell.' I dub thee, Quote of the Episode.

9:35 - Whew, I'm starting to wear down. Need more soda. No wonder sports blog rise and fall so quickly, trying to do this kind of thing for every game could kill a man.

9:40 - Sam read a book once? The things that make you angriest are the things you know are true? I'm not sure I buy that. The things that make me angry are being stuck behind idiots while driving. What's the truth in that scenario?

9:42 - With all the looks between Fiona and Michael, I'm wondering if making bombs isn't like foreplay to those two. Probably is to Fiona. Aw, Michael stole a car to get his mom to a hospital when he was 10. Damn, he's making me feel like a bad son.

9:45 - Michael is playing it very ballsy. I approve. I do think it's funny all these guys pointing guns at someone pointing a gun at themselves. I know, he might shoot at them if they drop their guard, but it looks pretty funny. "Stop! Do not shoot yourself, or. . . we will be forced to. . shoot. . . you, I guess. That's not really much of a deterrent is it?"

9:50 - No, Fiona, you don't ever say good-bye, because that implies you might never see each other again! You have to keep the faith that love will bring you together again! Believe in the power of love, right Huey Lewis? Yes, I've used that line before, we're going on two consecutive hours of blogging here, cut me some slack.

9:54 - I find it hard to believe this guy will fall for the "I hear the cell phone I'm calling somewhere nearby, I better go check." But he did, and now he's kicking Mike's ass. Or not. Mike, I imagine Fi only has so many bullets, so you need to pick up the pace a bit.

9:56 - Slow-motion running = KA-BOOOM! I guess we have to add an exploded barge to the destruction list for the episode.

9:57 - The shadowy government types can hack OnStar?! Is nothing safe?!

9:58 - Do not drive up into the back of that truck Michael. It's dark in there, anything could happen!

9:59 - Next summer! I have to wait until next summer for new episodes? Damn the man who keeps us all down by hacking our OnStar Navigation systems!

10:00 - Show's over. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. I think this distracted approach to watching the episode detracted from my enjoyment and digestion of the episode. So it may not be a good idea to do this anymore. Or I may do this whenever the new season of The Shield starts. Who can say? Either way, we're done here. Night, everybody.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I Bought 9/19/07

Non-Comics Reviews Digression The First: I do not like the old guys who come on campus trying to hand out Bibles. I don't have anything against whatever particular sect of Christianity they belong to, but my rule about religion is that it's fine - as long as it stays the hell away from me. If I'm interested, I will seek it out, not vice versa.

Non-Comics Reviews Digression The Second: Well, there was going to be a second digression, but it keeps growing to the point I think it needs a separate post. So, tomorrow then. Reviews now! Spoilers, everywhere!

Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar #3 - I finally think I have a bead on this series. It's supposed to a knight's quest story, which Phyla's frequent use of the Quantum Bands to make swords should have made clear to me, but it took a dragon instead. I'm slow.

Anyway, Quasar and the Moondragon continue to track the Savior, but the Super-Adaptoid got there first, which gives it time to prepare for their arrival, which it does. By the end of the issue, things look dire for our heroes, as well as the rest of the galaxy, though Phyla did put on quite the impressive display near the end there.

I'm enjoying Gage's dialogue, because he does such a nice job of giving Phyla and Heather different voices. I know that is the sort of thing that ought to be a given, but I still want to give credit. Heather comes off as mostly more level-headed, but she's also much more serious. Phyla's prone to exaggeration, and letting her emotions get the best of her, but she also has a knack for lightening the mood when it's need, which was the case early in this issue.

One thing I'm trying to figure out art-wise, is why Mike Lilly seems to enjoy diagonal panels so much. It's not every page, but frequently the panels are at around a 45-degree angle. I smell an art-themed future post. It's a decent enough issue, though I didn't think it was great. For some reason, the last panel, the statement of doom doesn't do much for me. I suppose I just figure Phyla will find a way to overcome this difficulty. We'll have to wait and see. 3.4 out of 5.

Suicide Squad: Raise the Something #1 - Because I'm confused as to what the actual title is, that's why. Yes, Shadowpact is gone, which means it's probably about to get really good (not this week's issue, though). You laugh, but remember that Blue Beetle got really good shortly after #11, which was the last issue I purchased. But has one happy Blue Beetle fan thanked me for making the sacrifice of not buying that title? No. Ungrateful louts.

Anyway, I was wondering how the Squad was going to rescue a presumed dead Rick Flag in this issue that took place in the past, considering he abruptly appeared in Checkmate a while back. Turns out that won't be an issue. As to the actual issue, it wasn't bad. My unfamiliarity with Suicide Squad (excluding what I've learned thanks to the blogowhatchamafloogle) meant it probably didn't resonate as much as one might hope.

That being said, I enjoyed it. Deadshot slapped that annoying Captain Boomerang. I liked that. I'm always a fan of the situation where the big guy is bear-hugging the good guy to death, and the good guy smacks the big guys ears and that stops him. Does that actually work? Perhaps I should go fight a bear to test that theory? This is the same Nightshade that's in Shadowpact, I'm assuming, because she's a bit creepier in this. Which is cool. Creepy works, though I'm not so sure that costume does. What's with those giant bubble goggles? '80s fashion frightens me.

So in conclusion, not bad, I might buy the next issue, I'll certainly give it a look, to see if I can get into it a little bit more. 3.1 out of 5.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What About . . . Eyebrows?

AMC is having a "Seven Nights of Hitchcock" event running this week, which was a little surprising. I didn't think AMC still showed classic movies. OK, that's a little harsh, but Catwoman, Wyatt Earp? Not helping the channel's standing, at least with me (which I'm sure makes them sad).

Anyway, I've only been half paying attention so far. I watched roughly the first hour of The Birds (hey, Monday Night Football was on!), and the main thing I got out of it was finally understanding why Hitchcock is walking two dogs in the cameo in that Simpsons episode. You know, when Marge is in Streetcar Named Desire, and Maggie reprises Steve McQueen's role in The Great Escape?

Holy crap, those two sentences just reminded how freaking awesome The Simpsons used to be. I still enjoy the show now, but back in the day it was something else. All these whippersnappers have no idea. Where was I, you know how we old-timers tend to ramble on.

There was one other thing I took from The Birds, and it was mostly surprise that it took so long for the shit to hit the fan, and the birds to go large-scale murderous. The movie had been going for an hour (with commercials) when it all went down, and the waiting had left me wondering when exactly the shoe was going to drop. Which I suppose works nicely with Hitchcock's ideas about suspense, me knowing something will happen, but wondering when. It does lead me to wonder what effect he was going for with the original audience, people who have seen the advertisements in the paper, or maybe on TV (radio?), going to the theater with no idea what's going to happen other than it involves birds. Were they sitting there, expecting the birds to attack and wondering when, or was it a different feeling, trying to figure out exactly what was going to happen?

Tonight they're showing Vertigo, which I've seen before. It's not bad, but I prefer Rear Window, which feels more straightforward. Vertigo starts to lose me near the end, when it feels like we're supposed to understand all the stuff about twins, and how they used Jimmy Stewart. Plus, it creeps me out just how broken ole' James Stewart winds up in this flick. It doesn't creep me out as much as the eyebrows on the women, though. My goodness, it looks like those eyebrows are taped on, and could be removed at any moment, to be used as Batarangs. I wonder if Batman ever thought of that as a weapon. No one would expect you to attack with eyebrows.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Am The Night, I Am. . . Aw, You Know The Rest

Sad news, the keyboard-spider eluded me. It slipped out while I was trying to open up the keyboard in an attempt to clean it out. It escaped under the desk and up the wall. This is clearly a lesson about why you shouldn't eat while at your computer. Crumbs attract wildlife.

I think today may be the final flashback to the Game Gear, which is a little sad given I had 29 games for that thing. It's not that I hated everything else, it's just that in a lot of cases there wasn't anything memorable enough about the games I liked to merit a post. I mean, I'm sure I could do a lengthy post about how NBA Jam: Tournament Edition is responsible for me breaking my first Game Gear, but I don't know that anyone wants to hear about that. So today we turn to Batman Returns.

I think one thing that stuck with about this game is the idea of choices. There were only five levels, but the first four each offered two paths to take. I don't have anything concrete to back this up, but it was always my impression that one path was heavier on the combat, and the other was more of a platformer, testing your jumping, timing, and reflexes. And depending on how you like to handle the bosses, one path might have more of the "super attacks" available than another. "Super attacks" were when you called in the Batmobile, or that Batboat he used through the sewers in the movie, and it launched some sort of explosive attack at your enemies. That was handy.

For the most part, you beat up clowns, you jump over pits in the road (like Batman can't survive falling down a big pothole) or flames (naturally). Fight the boss, beat the boss, move to the next level. You could switch between Batarangs when you wanted to, though the only difference was in how far they could be thrown, and how much damage they did (more distance = less damage).

The other thing that stuck with me was that in between Levels 2 and 4, which both had Catwoman as the boss, you had Level 3 where you fought a twenty-foot tall robot. Actually, it might have been a twenty-foot tall stone statue. It looked like it was made of boulders. That's one of those fights where it pays to keep calling in the Batmobile to blow the thing up. It's smarter than letting it slide across the screen and punch your entire body, and as we know, Batman is all about the smart.

So it was a little weird, but kind of fun, and well, that's all I've got.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

At Last. . . The Ten Characters!

So Diamondrock tagged me for this about five days ago, but this is one of those things I need lots of time to ponder, but I'm ready now. So let us begin! Now, what's first?

First, select your ten fictional characters (from any medium) by whichever method you like best. Then answer the questions below.

1. Spider-Man (various Spider-Man comics)
2. Ryoko (Tenchi Muyo)
3. Vic Mackey (The Shield)
4. Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Trigun)
5. Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)
6. Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
7. John Gaunt (GrimJack)
8. Garrett (Thief: Deadly Shadows)
9. Sanosuke Sagara (Rurouni Kenshin)
10. Vash the Stampede (Trigun)

1. Divide the list up by even and odd. Which group would make a better Five Man Band (like a Power Rangers team)? Who would you slot in each position: Leader, lancer (2nd-in-command), Big Guy, Smart Guy, Chick? If you think the teams would be improved by swapping on member, which ones would you switch?

Hey, I just realized there's a spider running around in my keyboard. What the hell? Anyway,
Odds: Spidey, Vic, Jade, Gaunt, Sanosuke
Evens: Ryoko, Wolfwood, Faith, Garrett, Vash

Leader - Vic Mackey
Lancer - John Gaunt
Big Guy - Sanosuke Sagara
Smart Guy - Spider-Man (remember, Peter Parker was smart, once upon a time)
Chick - Jade

Jade could be a "Smart Girl" in her own right, or clever at least, and I'm not sure how much any of these folks would follow any of the others' orders, but Vic seems to have the most experience actually commanding.

Leader - Vash
Lancer - Wolfwood
Big Guy - Ryoko
Smart Guy - Garrett
Chick - Faith Lehane

Well, Vash isn't really a Leader, but clearly I'm not a big fan of Leader-types (too bossy). Vash does have that gentle side that seems to convince people to follow him. Faith as the Chick is kind of a disservice, but maybe it means people will underestimate her.

2. Gender swap 2, 8, & 10. Which character would have the most change in their story arc? Which the least? Would any of these characters have to have a complete personality change to be believable as the opposite sex?

Ryoko, Garrett, Vash. Well, a good chunk of Ryoko's story is about her trying to woo Tenchi, what changes it's had on her, and how she tries to come to grips with her past. Ryoko as a guy, I think they might have make her a little less forward, or else her intense persuit of Tenchi could get disturbing. Vash displays a lot of what I guess are considered "feminine" qualities, with his compassion and kindness, so I'm not sure Vash would be any different, other than people probably having an even harder time believing this goof is the Humanoid Typhoon? So Ryoko the most, Vash the least, Ryoko's probably needs to be toned down a bit.

3. Compare the matchups of 1 & 8 and 5& 9. (Ignore canon sexual preferences for the moment). Which couple would be more compatible? Which couple would be more plausible to people from either's home culture?

Spider-Man & Garrett
Jade & Vash

I can't see that first one working. Maybe it's different in his first two games, but in Deadly Shadows, Garrett didn't show any indication of needing human companionship, and Peter is a little needy. He needs someone he can share his troubles with. I can see him trying that with Garrett, only to turn and see the thief has slipped out the window. As for Jade and Vash, if Jade can see past Vash's "idiot lecher" routine (or Vash drops the said routine), it might work. Jade takes care of orphans, and Vash is good with kids. Jade is working to expose corruption in the ruling powers of her world, and trying to do it with pictures rather than violence. Vash is always trying to help others without anyone getting hurt. At the very least it would be a good working partnership.

I'm guessing Garrett's culture. He's in a somewhat medieval setting, so a public guy/guy relationship might cause some difficulties. Or maybe not. Of course, he is from New York, and things are different in the city. I don't see Vash/Jade raising any flags.

4. Your team is 3, 4, & 9. The mission consists of a social, physical, and mental challenge. Which team member do you assign to each challenge?

Vic Mackey, Wolfwood, and Sanosuke. Hmm, and here my tendency to select similar characters bites me in the rear. OK, physical is definitely Sano, since his typical response is to find the person behind a problem and punch them repeatedly. Vic's clever, and knows how to sue whatever resources he's got, so I'll give him the mental challenge. Plus, I've seen Wolfwood play chess. he's bad at it, ergo, no mental challenge). Wolfwood does have an easygoing manner, and an ability to sweet talk people, so he ought to be able to handle the social challenge. And if all else fails, he'll just shoot a bunch of people.

5. 7 becomes 1's boss for a week in some plausible fashion. How's the working relationship?

Spider-Man working for GrimJack? Well, Spidey did work for Silver Sable on occasion. Of course, those partnerships rarely worked out well, since Spidey's "no dying" credo rarely worked well with Sable, so there'll be friction. Spidey's going to threaten to quit several times, Gaunt's going to say he doesn't care, more money for him, and Spidey will wind up helping anyway because he wants to keep the body count down. Not a positve working experience.

6. 2 finds themselves inserted into 6's continuity. As far as anyone other than 2 or 6 is concerned, it's always been this way. What role would 2 be presumed to have had in 6's story, and could they fit together without going wonky?

Ryoko in the Buffyverse? At what point? Before she met Tenchi? After? Because if it's after, Ryoko probably causes a lot of damage trying to get back home. If, it's before. . .

Well, she's overpowered, but hey, Buffy always gets demonic-powered allies, why can't Faith have a friend/ally with superhuman capabilities? So let's say Ryoko crash lands somewhere near Boston, and Faith befriends her, 'cause they're both lacking in friends, and when Faith becomes a Slayer, Ryoko is her partner. Of course, it raises the question of how Faith's first Watcher could have died when there would have been someone with enough power to lay waste to entire civilizations around to protect her. So maybe Faith is told to kill Ryoko by the Watcher's Council, and they wind up as enemies instead. I suppose that works better, though I can't say I like it as much.

I don't think aliens are gonna blow Faith's mind, and likewise vampires aren't going to faze Ryoko, so I don't think either one would have trouble adjusting.

7. 3 and 5 get three wishes. The catch is that they have to agree on all three wishes before they get the benefits of any of them. What three wishes would they make?

Vic and Jade? Bloody hell. Wish number one, Vic wishes for his kids to be cured of autism. Jade likes kids, she agrees. Wish number two, Jade probably wishes for the parents of the kids she looks after to be returned, I think Vic would be nice enough to accommodate her. Third wish? Well, I don't think jade would go along with Vic' desire for money, but if Jade could get her parents back, and Vic could get Lem back, I think they might go for that. I might be giving Vic too much credit, but Jade is gonna let him have any "greedy, evil Vic" wishes, so he's going to have to play nice.

8. 1 and 2 are brainwashed by a one-time artifact that works even on people immune to mind control to attack and kill 4. They keep their normal personality, skills, and competence level, except any code vs. Killing has been turned off. Can 4 survive? How?

Spider-Man and Ryoko are after Wolfwood. I like Nicholas D., but he's toast. They're faster and stronger than he is. Spider-Man can dodge how ever many bullets Wolfwood fires his way, and I don't Wolfwood has anything in his arsenal that could harm Ryoko, who was wrecking entire planets the last time she was mind-controlled. If Wolfwood lasts more than five minutes I'd be stunned. Sorry, Nicholas.

9. 6, 7, 9, & 10 must help an orphanage of small and depressed children have a merry Christmas. Who does what, knowing the kids will at the very least expect a visit from Santa?

Faith, John Gaunt, Sanosuke and Vash? Gaunt is really the only one I can't see getting into this, but I'm sure Vash will be busy hanging up lights, and I could see Faith decorating a tree. Would they have even celebrated Christmas in 19th century Japan, because I'm not sure Sano would know what was up. But he'd help, go out and get a bunch of food and drinks for the kiddies (but probably tell the stores Vash was paying for it). Vash is gonna be Santa, because he's the only one I can see doing "jolly", but he's big, and won't have problems going down a chimney, so the kiddies should enjoy that. Gaunt will help by staying in the shadows, where his dour mood doesn't ruin things.

10. 3 and 8 are challenged to circumnavigate the Earth in eighty days or less, using only forms of transportation invented before 1900. Can they do it, or will they be fatally distracted by sidequests of their own personality conflicts?

Vic Mackey and Garrett. A morally ambiguous cop, and a thief that periodically saves the city he lives in. For starters, you have to give them a good reason (read: lots of cash) to do this, or they aren't going to even leave the city. If you can do that, then yes, they'll make it. If they can start in L.A., then Vic has contacts that can get them a boat, and after that either he can threaten people into giving them a lift, or Garrett will just steal a ride for them. The question is whether Vic will object to Garrett doing a little thieving on the side as they go, because that could bring the whole thing to a halt. So I'd say 50-50 that they get it done, with personality issues being the potential stumbling block.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a keyboard-spider to kill.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

She's Slipping In Her Old Age

So what's wrong with Layla Miller these days? She seems to be getting blindsided an awful lot lately. Didn't see the little French girl showing up, or hitting her with a rock, or the positive pregnancy test in the trash. Elder Tryp warned her that when two forces of chaos clash (meaning him and her), it can be ugly, and that seems to be coming true.

But it's an odd thing. At the same time that Layla seems less able to see what's coming, you've got all this other mutant-related stuff about predestination. I flipped through a copy of X-Men #202, and Mr. Sinister is making a big deal about finding Destiny's Diaries, that I guess lay out all kinds of stuff about the future. And Gambit and Sunfire were after all Cable's information about what's ahead. And Uncanny X-Men #490 introduces (or introduces me, at least) to the history of a character named Qwerty, who could see all possible choices, and what would be the result, and mapped it out for others to follow.

I do have to say I question how useful Cable or Destiny's information will be, considering all the mucking about with the fabric of reality we've had in the Marvel Universe since Destiny bought it. Cable's info ought to be even spottier, considering he's been acting on it to make the world a better place for awhile. You'd think that would start to invalidate it a bit. I guess not though, if people are still after it, since I'd think anything I could think of would be within Mr. Sinister's capabilities.

All these people concerned about what's yet to come, and one person who's still alive and was able to see such things, seems to be losing that ability. Could that be the result of other people following the Diaries, or Qwerty's writings, or the response of others to the actions of those following the predictions, somehow blurring things for Layla? I don't know, time-related stuff always leaves me dizzy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

If Tomorrow Comes Today, Did I Miss Friday?

{Pretty deep title, huh?} Um, I guess. Are you sure you can't come up with any more titles that relate to the post somehow. {Not unless you want me to start calling them "Adorable Baby Panda Reviews - (insert number here)".} Well, I do like seeing my name in the title. . . {As Velma so often said of Scooby, what a ham.} Ham? Where? {No ham, sorry. Stick to bamboo.}

Applause and a Hug for Ko-Rel. I think she needs the hug more, but still, she gave it a really good try against Nova, and everyone should appreciate the effort. And Applause for the Worldmind. Ever since he asked Nova to be a host for him in Annihilation: Nova, it's been all about him. He needs to be protected, he's too important. But he finally decided some things are more important, even if it destroys him. {Hear, hear.} Applause for Layla, for thinking quickly when confronted by a crazy person. {I don't know. I always thought the first rule for dealing with crazy people was no sudden movements.} That doesn't count when they attack you. {Good point.} Applause to Monet and Siryn, for completing their mission, even if it was a trick. {I was wondering, do you think those grandparents actually care that their grandkids sing anti-mutant songs, or did Huber just plant that? I mean they have to care a little right, or else Monet could have picked up that their concern wasn't genuine. That's why Huber wanted her gone.} I don't know.

Hugs for little Ben Parker. That's OK now, right? {Yeah, I think hugging the de-symbiotified baby is safe.} "De-symbiotified"? You made that up. {Obviously, for only someone of my unsurpassed brilliance could have come up with such a word. Well, me or Deadpool. He did devise the verb known as "puddinize".} Aren't you worried Deadpool will show up now? {It's not like I can stop him if he does. Besides, I don't have any mini-pizzas for him to steal this time. A-ha ha ha!} Rightttt. Hugs for Ultimate Peter Parker, because anytime you see Norman Osborn on national TV complaining about his mistreatment by the government, you know Spider-Man is about to have a bad day. {I think "bad day" describes Peter's life 360 days a year.} Oh, it can't be that many! {Probably not, but as slowly as Bendis writes, I'm sure it feels that way. *rimshot*} You're what the Spaniards call el terrible. {Excuse me, we don't quote Family Guy on this blog. You quote South Park, or you go to hell and you die.} What? {See, it's funny, because I quoted South Park.} No it wasn't. {Are we going to start this again?} I guess not. Hug for Pietro. {What?} He's just so pathetic now. I feel bad for him. And I think he might be dead now. {Nah, he's just brain-damaged. More so, I mean.}

Bonks to Cyclops, for being rude to Jamie. {Well, Cyclops is a tool, so it's to be expected.} And Bonks to Jamie, for being rude back. {Now wait just a minute here.} No waiting! Too much to do! {Then we shouldn't have wasted all that time on the jokes and general foolishness in the last paragraph.} I'm trying to make up for it; you're the one dragging us down. {Harsh.} Bonks to Ultimate SHIELD. It's like a rehab clinic to the stars with how easy it is to get out of there. {I thought we weren't wasting anymore time on humor, and I use the term loosely. Still your point is well taken. I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Continue.} Bonks to Huber for dumping half of X-Factor in a snowy wasteland. {Well, Rahne has fur, so she should be OK. And Guido's large, so even with all the bare skin, he'll lose heat more slowly. And Jamie can make a lot of duplicates to share warmth with, I suppose. It's not so bad. I'm more worried about Rahne getting stuck on that new X-Force book. Poor girl.}

What was that newsletter thing about. {I don't know, I stole it from the Deadspin commenters. No clue where they got the idea to use that phrase for humor from, but that's comedy for you.}

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It Would Be Par For The Course For Peter

Thought: Norman Osborn said that the Oz formula is constantly evolving inside him. That he's changing and growing in new ways. Since Peter was also exposed to the Oz formula, does that mean we should expect to see him evolving as well?

There is another precedent for it, in the form of Doctor Octopus. Octavius was initially able only to control the arms that he was wearing when they injected Norman with the Oz, and things went to hell. Later, he's been able to call those arms to him from a distance, and and now he can seemingly form new arms out of any spare metal that seems to be laying around. If this is the result of the formula, and Norman's rantings in this issue suggest it is, then Octavius is evolving as well.

So where does that leave Peter? He's had the formula in his bloodstream, as far as we know, longer than either of them. He hasn't shown any changes since then. No organic web-shooters. No sprouting four more arms, or transforming into the Man-Spider. However, if his clones are any indication, the genetic potential for all those changes and more are there. So should we expect Peter to start getting a little freakier, or is the formula in his body stabilized, as a result of being transmitted through another organism? As far as I know, Norman just took an injection of the formula directly, Octavius was likely the same, but Peter received it from the spider that bit him. So maybe that makes a difference. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What I Bought 9/12/07

Well, um, how's it going? Yeah, that's cool. Oh me? I'm doing OK, just can't come up with a witty opening paragraph, or even one where I can complain bitterly about something. Weird, huh? Well, anyway, I guess I better talk up some comics, so we'll resume this conversation later. Yeah, I'll make sure to try and avoid the spoilers.

Amazing Spider-Girl #12 - I think DeFalco may be piling a bit too much on May here. Between how her choices wind up affecting Moose's dad, and her little brother Ben, and how that's going to strain her relationships with Moose and her parents, I'm really hoping we aren't going to go into an extended period of May being in a depressed funk.

The worst part has to be that by the end of the issue it's pretty clear that if May had just stayed out of this whole thing at the start, things would have been a lot better. I know she thought she was doing the right thing by helping to stop the heist of Specimen 297, but just like her dad, May has bad luck when she gets mixed up in matters of espionage. Also, the art seems a little rushed; heads seem unusually oblong at times, at least enough to distract me. All in all, the end of this story arc was kind of a bummer, and I'm pretty sure we'll see Carnage again some time within the next, oh, two years tops. Just a hunch. 2.3 out of 5.

Nova #6 - Sean Chen's not long for this book, is he? I know he's doing the art for that stupid DC book with the Rogues stranded on some alien world, and Scott Hanna draws a few of the pages in this issue (why I'm not sure. Is Chen incapable of drawing Drax the Destroyer?). Anyway, I hope I like whoever winds up replacing Chen, because I really enjoyed how he laid out the panels and the fighting in this issue (the parts he drew).

Anyway, it's Nova 001 against the Nova Prime. Good luck, Ko-Rel. Nova's got the experience, and the power, big advantages on both. Ko-Rel's got the Worldmind. I love the way Worldmind strategizes, giving Ko-Rel directions on where to go, and when to attack, while pissing Richard off by outright telling him that the Worldmind will continue to fight the Phalanx, even if Richard's one of them. There was something sort of smart-aleck like - more so than usual - about how Worldmind was talking that I really liked, because I know it would have ticked me off too.

Given the circumstances, Ko-Rel had no room for error or indecision, and she hesitated a little too long. Oh, don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. You can't even see the wound on the last page, when we're looking right at where it should be, ergo, she's fine. 4.1 out of 5. Also, just to go back to the DC title Chen's going to be drawing, I saw the Previews advertisement say it stars DC's 'deadliest villains'. Really? Heatwave and Weather Wizard? By those standards, I think I could qualify as one of DC's deadliest villains, at least in the hours after I've consumed both salted corn chips and ice cream. Whew, not a good time to be in my vicinity.

Ultimate Spider-Man #113 - I'm going to be honest and admit that I really don't entirely understand what Immonen is trying to portray with the panels of, I assume, Norman Osborn's bloodstream on pages 2 and 3. I know it's meant to represent that whole thing Osborn's raving about inside his own head, how he's constantly evolving, I'm just not sure it really works as a representation. Looks more like Osborn's catching a cold, with the green things merging with red blood cells. Which, if you're going to portray his condition as a sickness, I suppose works pretty well. I retract my lack of understanding. Wow, things just make so much more sense when I go stream of consciousness on my blog.

At any rate, Norman Osborn on the loose! And rather than immediately go after Peter, Norman takes what is probably the wise step of putting Fury on the defensive with a calculated p.r. move. Well, nobody ever said Norman Osborn was stupid, although Reed and Dr. Storm kind of suggested it at the end of the Clone Saga. What I'm still a little confused about is there keep being panels (in green shades) of stuff that's apparently going on elsewhere during Norman's prison break, and I wonder whether this is stuff he knows, because he has really enhanced senses now, or if he just knows how SHIELD will respond, and how fast, and he's thinking about those responses. Eh, not a big deal. There's not much else to this, it's a very Osborn-centric issue. 3.4 out of 5. Also, I don't all the extra-large horns that Immonen's giving Osborn's Goblin-mode. It looks a little too silly.

X-Factor #23 - You know what? I think Raimondi is using WWE wrestler John Cena as his facial reference for Mr. Huber. I don't think he's pulling a Greg Land, but I keep seeing a resemblance, especially from a 3/4 perspective. Also, I think Mr. Huber is Mimic. Except, Mimic's name was Calvin wasn't it? So maybe he's the Super-Adaptoid? No, that's in Kree Space right now. Well, I don't know what that leaves to explain the optic blasts, or the "Bamf"ing.

See, Mr. Huber's got plans. Evil plans, that he set in motion long ago, that he's been carefully guiding things to this point. This cannot be a surprise. Dudes that wear trenchcoats, especially trenchcoats kept completely buttoned up, are always evil (Vash the Stampede being an exception, but his trenchcoat is red, not black, so I'm sure that offsets somehow. And can you believe that Firefox's spellcheck didn't recognize "trenchcoat"? Or "spellcheck" apparently. Lame ass).

In other news, Pietro has gone even further around the bend than he was previously. At this rate he should be back where he was before House of M anytime now. Today he's trying to kill someone. And failing. He called it, right before the end, that he wouldn't have any further to fall if he botched this, so now I guess he can start pulling himself back together. Assuming he's still alive.

Raimondi does his usual good job, though there are times I'm not sure motions look right. Still, he's got a good eye for detail. I like that he had Layla missing a shoe at the beginning, and kept that consistent throughout the issue. 3.9 out of 5.

And I did read the Endangered Species chapter in X-Factor, but I don't care about Beast being cranky, so no review of that for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nasal Membranes, Filling With Mucous

I hate sinus allergies. Especially when they get to the point where your nose is stopped up to the point it's basically a worthless mess of bone and cartilage on your face. It feels a little bit like drowning, to the point I find a little hesitation in breathing through the mouth. Clearly, I need to learn to breathe through my ears, like Hawkeye Pierce.

- Up until now, I was basically "Eh" about the Iron Man movie. Having seen that trailer (which is linked everywhere, like at the 2 Guys Buying Comics blog, so don't expect me to make links right now), I am actually quite geared up for it now. Sure, it might wind up being bad, but I got some enjoyment out of Ghost Rider, and hell, even a little out of Daredevil (mostly from watching Jennifer Garner kick Affleck's butt), so surely it'll pass my low standards.

- 'Gods cannot be killed. They can only sacrifice themselves.' That's from last week's Annihilation: Conquest - Wraith #3. The Chief Subjugator gives that as a response to Ronan's claims that he gave the Kree Supreme Intelligence a proper sendoff back in Annihilation #5. It just seems like such an odd comment for a Phalanx to make, very philosophical somehow, which never really struck me as the Phalanx style.

I'm not really sure what he means by 'sacrifice themselves'. I mean, I get that he's saying that the Supreme Intelligence understands what the Phalanx want to use it for, and it prefers that option to the utter destruction of the Kree, but on a deeper level, which it feels like this goes to, I don't get it. The part about gods not being able to die I can sort of follow, since it's like that conversation between Don Blake and Thor in the new Thor series, about how gods live on in their people. So is the Subjugator saying that even if a god does give its life for its people, that it can always return because it lives in its people?

- Either way, I liked to mention that I said that the Phalanx' lack of interest in assimilating Starlord's crew was a sign of something bigger they had planned, and according to Wraith, I was right. OK, so technically that was just one of a series of guesses I made, but still, points for me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome, What Are Ya Buying?

I probably should have done this post last Monday, and saved the Mega Man 4 post for this week, but what the heck, I'm gonna talk about Resident Evil 4 now.

I've seen people say that if only RE4 had come out sooner, it could have really helped the Gamecube. I guess the thinking is the Gamecube was typecast as the "little kids' games" console, and this gore fest would have disproved that notion. Personally, I don't get the big deal about blood: I mean, if Super Smash Bros. Melee had made it where Link could cut Mario's arm off, with a Kill Bill-esque fountain of blood, would that have somehow improved the game? Perhaps gamers are reaching the stage superhero comic fans are at, where they don't want things to be kiddie-friendly because they want it to be taken seriously? For the record, I don't have a problem with the level of blood and dismemberment in Resident Evil 4, I just don't think that's what defines an "adult" game, or whatever it was people wanted the 'Cube to do more of. End rant.

Resident Evil 4 did not offer anything up in the way of scares, compared to RE2. Maybe it was the camera being improved, so you weren't as likely to get surprised, or maybe I'd just been rendered immune to Resident Evil's powers by Silent Hill 2. With RE4, it was less "walk around a corner and AHHHH!", more that you walked into a room, saw a humongous boss, and went "Oh, crap." It was still a tense game, but in a different way. With Resident Evil 2, it was that expectation of the attack that got me; Resident Evil 4 was more about the difficulty of the challenges I faced. Still a hell of a game though.

I don't know if RE4 is the first game to make cut scenes interactive the way they did. I mean, I'm sure there have been games where you might be asked a question during a cut scene, and your response affected what happened next, but to have cut scenes abruptly become knife fights? Wowzers. I must really like Leon Kennedy, since the only two Resident Evil games I've played starred him. I suppose it was his earnest desire to do good in RE2, and at least some of that has carried over to RE4. He's older, wiser, sees the world a little more clearly now after all the death that surrounded the G-virus (or was it the T-virus?) in Resident Evil 2. Still, he seems to want to believe the best in people, which is probably why Ada can still manipulate him so effectively. She does just enough to help him (because I guess she does like him a little), that Leon keeps giving her the benefit of the doubt, and she's professional enough to take advantage of that.

I like that the plot doesn't seem to involve Umbrella, at least not as the driving force (I suppose Ada could be working for them, I was a little unclear on all the background machinations). I like the Merchant, though I can't helping laughing every time I walk up to him with Ashley in tow. There's something about the way he pulls back his coat in front of the young woman that strikes me as hilarious. 'Welcome', indeed. I can't say I care too much for having to protect Ashley. I know she comes in handy a few times, but I'm always happier when she's caught and I have to find her, than I am when I actually find her and having to protect her. The moves you might make on your own, you can't make with her, because she has to react to you, so if you like to stand in the face of onrushing enemies, blasting away, then dodge at the last moment, don't be too surprised if that last moment isn't long enough for her to avoid taking a mace upside the head. Maybe it should be mandatory that the President's children get trained in the lethal arts of self-defense, so they can better protect themselves?

The creature I really enjoy for some reason is the weird camouflaged bugs. They cloak themselves, Predator style, and you can only see them by these odd lights on their head. Plus, you can usually hear them, for what that's worth. Just don't forget to look up. That's how death happen, you don't watch your major blind spot.

I think my favorite level has to be the mine cart ride. You've already ventured into what looks like an underground temple and squared off against the burlap sack-wearing chainsaw wielders, and the Ceiling of Lowering Spikes, and all sorts of other crap, and now here's a mine cart. You got infected peoples dropping down into the carts as you go, and if you get too busy killing them, you may just miss some vitally important stuff, like boards across the tunnel, and, other stuff.

I heard on X-Play, long ago when I still watched it, that Resident Evil 5 would be like Blackhawk Down. I'm not really sure how excited I would be for that, even assuming it was going to be released on a console I have. I guess as a cooperative game with your buddies, that could be fun, in sort of a Gears of War mode, perhaps? But I wouldn't want to play relying on computer A.I. for my fellow squad guys. Too many bad gaming experiences with that. Granted, they were mostly air combat games, but still, never, ever trust the game to watch your back.

After all, the game isn't just what's on your side, it's what your playing against, and I am a strong believer that the game likes to win as much as I do. It just has more ways to cheat than me. The punk.