Friday, February 29, 2008

The Struggle For Clever Titles Resumes

No picture? {Nah, it's Friday. People know what's up.} Not very new reader friendly. {New readers? We don't have - aw forget it. I'm not in the mood for poorly done satire of the superhero comic industry.} You're just no fun. {It's very hard to be, since they remove your fun glad when you graduate high school.} Really? {Oh yeah, no anesthetic either.} But I've seen you have fun before. {Yes, and what does that suggest to you?} Your fun gland grew back? {What? No! I'm making things up again!}

Jerk. {Hey!} So between Jaime's injuries and the trouble he's causing the Reach, I guess he deserves Hugs and Applause. {Makes sense.} But then there's all his friends and family that are fighting the Reach, and trying not to die, and so I guess they needs Hugs and Applause too. {So, basically we just need to line up the entire cast so you can go down the line hugging and applauding?} Not the entire cast! I'm not doing it for the Reach! They get Bonks for trying to kill the hero's loved ones! {Then I think they could be lined up with everyone else, and you just hit them instead.} Maybe that's how I'll do it then! {Well, they're in the middle of a fight, and some of them are in space right now, so good luck with that.} I'm not scared. {Didn't say you were, but they are a little busy.} They will bow to my will. {Hmm, you didn't get a little essence o' Darkseid on you, did you?} No, why? {No reason. Anything else?}

There's not much else to work with. I guess I can Hug Liz, since Magneto's interested in her. And Bobby and Peter can get some Applause for trying to help her through this. Johnny gets a Bonk, though, because he just bailed on her. {There's an emergency, he had to go.} What can he do? Fly around and make stupid comments? *deeper voice* He is foolish child, wasting his potential. {You hitting puberty? Your voice just dropped an octave or two.} Cease your pathetic prattling. {*inner monologue* This is getting worrying, better defuse the situation. *end inner monologue* Pie's done!} *normal voice* Pie? Where? {You're back to normal! Hooray! Oh, and there's no pie.} *deep voice* What? {But we can go get some. Just as soon as we finish. And it'll be good, because it'll have been made by someone who knows what they're doing.} Hooray! To wrap up, Rayne gets a Hug because she got badly burned from falling in the ocean, but she gets a Bonk because she blew up that convenience store owner. {Well, he did try to shoot her, but it was overkill. Alright, let's go get pie.} Woohoo!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beetles Always Have To Go Snooping Around

Mr. John Rogers has built up some parallels between the current Blue Beetle series and Countdown to Infinite Crisis. That's not meant as a criticism, by the way, I think he's done an excellent job setting it up, and I find it very interesting.

Jaime Reyes is currently embroiled in a battle to protect the Earth from a threat no one else recognizes, similar to Ted Kord's efforts against Checkmate. Jaime's pitted against the Reach, who put forth a friendly face to hide their ulterior motives, much the way Max Lord was always pretending to at least be moderately decent, when he was really trying to sabotage the Justice League because he's a self-loathing metahuman, apparently (which sounds a bit more Marvel-style than DC). Jaime's loved ones narrowly escaped death from above, the same goes for Booster. Jaime and Ted both infiltrated their enemies bases, then got captured. Jaime's had a bit more success since the initial capture, but to be fair, he also had a better idea of what he was up against than Ted did. Jaime, as host for the scarab, was supposed to be a loyal servant of the Reach, but bucked the trend. Ted was unaware Max had put him on the Justice League to help make it look bad (I think Greg Burgas is right, the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice Leagues don't seem to get much respect as heroes. Maybe that's deserved, I don't know, seems a bit harsh), but winds up being the one that exposes Lord's little scheme (by getting shot in the head and having his goggles mailed to batman by Sasha, but not every plan can be a winner, you know).

One interesting thing to me Jaime's large supporting cast, that believe in him and have his back when trouble arises, whereas Ted only had Booster (and Diana was willing to at least listen to him). You'd think that given Ted having been in the business longer, he'd have more people who'd be eager to help, but he mostly got blown off (which was partially to serve the plot, I'm sure). Maybe it has something to do with Jaime doing most of his work in his hometown, and establishing connections with people there, so that there are people close enough to actual be useful in an emergency, or maybe it's a lesson about how adult are self-absorbed assholes, which makes them unwilling to help their friends, unlike teenagers (if you've read their title, you realize the current Teen Titans would be an exception to that).

So hey, Blue Beetle tag now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What I Bought 2/27/08

It was a Heroclix kind of day at the store today. Lots of people (including four guys who drove almost three hours to get to the store) there buying entire cases of the new Crisis set, then going back and buying even more boosters (each case is several boosters, each booster has five figures), trading, cheering when they got a rare fig, groaning when someone else did. Good times. I picked up a booster, and managed to get four figs I was interested, two through luck, two through trades.

Bloodrayne: Prime Cuts #1 - There is no way things end well for that guy on the cover. If she doesn't use the blades on him, she'll just bite him. If she doesn't bite him, she'd probably just crush his torso between her legs (superhuman strength, you know). This is two short stories that take place somewhere in between the two Bloodrayne games. The first one has Rayne attempting a rescue mission, only to run into an enemy you kill in the 2nd game, who's using people to make offspring. Not like Aliens, more like the Brood. Sorta. The second story took place right before the 2nd game started, and Rayne thinks she's encountered an old enemy from WW2, when in reality she's got a slightly different foe to worry about.

I think I liked the second story better. I felt like I was missing something in the first one because it had been so long since I played Bloodrayne 2. With the second story, I didn't have that sense, so that helped. Plus, the story of the second one felt more complete. There wasn't a lot to it, but it had more of an ending. The first one has the feeling that it's going to be revisited in the next Prime Cuts, which may or may not be apt. Maybe if it had been the entire issue it would have worked better. Fleshed things out more in the middle. Each story has a different artist, and while I prefer Bilbao to Hardin, they both do a solid job. The colors are darker on the first story, which works with it being a somewhat more grim story (even though Rayne did blow up a convenience store, with the clerk still inside in the 2nd one. Hey, she told him there was a gas leak!). 3 out of 5. I like using the past as a backdrop for Rayne's adventures (though time period is fairly incidental in this case), but I think I'd prefer one full story, rather than two somewhat connected stories.

Blue Beetle #24 - I bought it, are you happy DC bloggers? Now reciprocate by purchasing Nova when it comes out next month! It took me several hours before I understood why they chose to put the speech balloon they did on the cover. So I'm slow. Sue me. Jaime has been captured, and is powerless, and his family is dead, horrors! Or perhaps not, at least on the "captured" and "dead family" fronts. Jaime runs amok inside the Reach ship, while his loved ones slug it out with the alien scum planetside, including Traci unleashing magic bees, I think. Magic bees, my god *cue everyone who read Amazons Attack reflexively screaming in pain* Wait! Maybe they were magic wasps, I'm not sure! *screaming cautiously stops* That's better. Anyway, Jamie has some sort of plan, which I am unable to decipher. Which puts me in much the same boat as the Reach.

Yes, it was a fun book. I like the writing. I like the clever comments, I like the supporting cast, which like Deadpool, did not require Jaime make a deal with fictional devils. Always a plus. I also like the artwork, which is very expressive, though people seem to grit teeth a lot. But it's a stressful issue, so that's understandable. 4 out of 5.

Ultimate Spider-Man #119 - Oh no, Magneto has stolen Firestorm's shirt! Just look at him, flaunting his poofy sleeves. Liz has powers. She freaks out. Johnny has to leave for some emergency. Liz takes off, Bobby and Peter follow, as Kong lets Peter know that he knows. Much talking and discussion of power and responsibility ensues, then the bad guy shows up on the last page.

Wow, this is practically the opposite of that issue of Spider-Girl earlier this month that was just packed with stuff. Other than Liz, I think, going through five stages of Acceptance (though I think she skipped bargaining) there's not much here. I do enjoy Bobby giving Liz pointers on how to fly, and how Spidey was able to follow them. Beyond that, there isn't much to say. It's a middle chapter in one of Ultimate Spider-Man's multi-chapter adventures, and middle chapters tend to be slow. 2 out of 5.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All Yellow Space Bugs Must Register!

Hypothetical silliness for today: If Parallax were to fall into the Marvel Universe, likely as part of some desperate attempt to escape the Earth Lanterns power batteries that serve as its prison, which hero would be most susceptible to its power?

I'm not sure myself, mostly because I'm not sure what the criteria would be. It was able to possess Kyle because he felt great fear and despair, but I was pretty sure it infiltrated Hal precisely because he didn't know fear, and wouldn't recognize its symptoms, or something.

It seems like Daredevil might qualify under the same criteria as Hal, although I suppose being without fear isn't the same as not knowing fear. I could see it being Spider-Man, because he has lousy luck like that. If Steve Rogers were still alive, I could see Parallax trying him because of his ability to inspire, and the reverence most of the other heroes seem to have towards him would make it harder to fight him. Captain Mar-Vell seems to be searching for something since he learned of his death that already happened, but hasn't happened to him yet (time travel, what a mess), and there might be something there related to his acute awareness of his mortality that Parallax could prey off of.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Take Help In whatever Form It Comes In

Concerning the recent Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death special, what do you think the odds are that John Aman befriended the masterless monster Frankenstein Monster?

And what are the odds it might have tagged along with Aman to the Tournament of the Heavens?

And if he did come along, might we see the Frankenstein Monster stomping HYDRA agents during the climactic battle for the fate of K'un-L'un?

I think we might. After all, if there's a comic book out there today where that could happen, it's the Immortal Iron Fist (or whatever Hellboy related works might be out there right now, only they'd be using whatever the equivalent of HYDRA is in their universe, but you get the idea. It's an idea perfectly suited for this title, right?)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Non Photoshop-Related Fun With Comic Covers

So let's be silly today, howzabout it? I've got an idea for a fun game with comic solicitations. You go and find a cover in the solicitations, and make up a plot synopsis for it, the kind that they might put under the cover to entice you to buy it, that works with the cover. I figure if the companies are going to do these generic pin-up covers that tell us jack all about the actual issue, we might as well decide for ourselves what happens. Here I'll start. I'm going to use the Iron Man cover for April.

Sucked into his own mini-black hole bomb, Tony Stark was thrown back through time and is now trapped in Great Britain during the Gilded Age! Or he was. Now he's dead, and through the magic of optograms Scotland Yard has discerned the last thing he saw - a red-and-yellow metal man. Can they uncover the truth behind his death?

Hmm, it might be a good idea to read the solicitation that goes with the cover, just in case. I hadn't actually done that until after I typed this. Fortunately, it appears the Knaufs are going a different way. And I know, if he's actually dead it would end the series, but think about it, he's also at a different point in the past with Dr. Doom and the Sentry, so that Tony can always go back and save this Tony if need be. Multiple Iron Mans are go!

So now it's your turn. To your blogs, and write, write, WRITE! And then put a link in these here comments, 'kay? C'mon, it'll be fun. Really it will. It's your world, be as crazy as you want to be!

Sallyp introduces us to the Green Lantern Corps' newest foe!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two Little Thoughts

1) The Monk season finale was last night. I was only sort of watching, so I'm still unclear how the assassination was going to serve Dale the Whale's plans, but I did enjoy the part when Stottlemeyer finds out from Natalie that Monk is failing at keeping a low profile. 'Leland Rodriguez? That's what he's calling himself. Well that's just stupid.' Plus, it's always fun to watch Monk and Dale interact, though not as much this time since Dale wasn't played by Tim Curry. He seemed a bit more crude this time, lacking that veneer of civilization he previously displayed.

2) Apparently Batgirl is getting a mini-series. *smiles* It's being written by Adam Beechen. *mulls it over, rubs chin thoughtfully* I'm uncertain about this. From most of what I've heard, Beechen's work with Robin was well-received. From that, I'm guessing he was doing a good job writing the main character, which I would imagine is the primary concern for a person writing a solo title: Get the main character right. He even tried to give Tim a social life and friends, which he had been sorely lacking since, oh pre-War Games/Identity Crisis, so credit for that. But Cassandra Cain, well I was less than enthused with how things went for her. How much of that was Beechen, and how much was DC Editorial, I don't know, but I'm not quite sure he's the writer I would like to have on this. And I'm not really sure we need to detail what happened to her as a way to explain her actions. Some times it's better to just ignore past bits of messy comic history, like how Spider-Man writers never referenced that time during the Clone Saga where Peter (inadvertently?) hit MJ. So it might be better to just say "Slade's hypos", and move forward. All this being said, I can't say that I won't at least check out the first issue. I suppose I have to at least let them start their story.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Band's All Here

I'm glad you're back. {I'm glad to be back. Wait, wouldn't a scene like this happen at the end of the show?} I'm not sure. {Doesn't matter. It's our blog, we can make the rules whatever we want.} Cool! Does that mean I can stay up past 10? {No.} Please? {No.} What if we're still working on this post? {We won't be, but if we were, then you'd toddle off to bed, and I'd wrap it up myself.} No fair! {Still glad to have me back?} Maybe not.

Well now I'm in a bad mood, so I'm starting with bonks. {You lack subtlety! You can't just announce how you're feeling! That makes me feel angry!} You're making a joke, aren't you? {Trying.} I don't think it worked. Bonk for Green Arrow. He likes to get snooty with people a little too much. {That's one of his defining characteristics, acting morally superior without just cause. I think the goatee comes free with it.} I'm also going to Bonk Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man because they weren't very friendly towards Deadpool. {That was pretty rude, and Wade even complimented Carol on her sash.} It is very pretty. {I know! The red really offsets the deep blues, or is it black, of the majority of her costume.} Bonk for Dr. Frankenstein, for what he did to his son. You're supposed to treasure your kids! {He did treasure his son. He just treasured him a lot more once he removed the kid's brain and inserted his own. How the heck did he do that anyway?} Maybe he taught his monster to do it?

Grace and Thunder gets Hugs because they didn't get to go on the cool mission, and have to sit around with the, what do they call that thing? {REMAC, I think.} That's terrible. {Pretty much.} Hug for Deadpool, because he had to injure himself, and because his series ended. {He's supposed to be getting another series, don't worry.} Really? {Yeah, he's probably out getting himself ready for it as we speak. If he's not still parked in front of the TV.} Hooray! Hugs for Chores and Wendell because they both almost died. Oh, and a Bonk for Orson because he kept running away. Stand and fight! {As someone who's been chased by bloodthirsty squirrels, I can attest that running is often a wise decision.} But you don't have superpowers! {Technically, I don't think the squirrels did either.} You're undermining my point! {But he does stand and fight when his friends are in danger, just not when he's the only one at risk. But, it is his own fault he was in that mess, so bonk away.} Thank you.

Applause for Katana and Metamorpho, for protecting one teammate from another. And Applause for Batgirl letting Green Arrow work out his issues with her. {When it comes to violence, Cassandra seems to be very accommodating.} Applause for all of Orson's friends for sticking with him, and Applause for the Green Mist, for being willing to change. {And for being an awesome Golden Age character.} Applause for Bob for stopping that dinosaur. {With the power of billboards, no less.} Applause to Deadpool for saving Manhattan, and for making fun of Spider-Man about One More Day. {Agreed, thank you Deadpool, wherever you are!} [I'm standing right behind you.] {Eeekk!} [Pretty good vertical there.] {Geez Wade!} [Oh relax, it's not like I'd actually hurt ya. Besides, if I keep this up, you'll turn into a lean heroing machine like Bob in no time.] {Great, I think.}

{Are we done?}
Yep, that's everything. {Great, then it's off to bed for you.} But it's not 10 yet! {I make the rules on this blog, and I say it is, so off to be - thud!} [Nerve pinch. Works wonders. Time to stay up late and watch trashy TV! You with me?] Yeah!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Worrying About Fictional Babies

This feels a bit odd, because I'm worrying about something that probably won't even come up in the story, but I suppose that never stopped me before.

So in Amazing Spider-Girl, Mayday's little brother is getting prepped for a procedure that might restore his hearing. It's been determined that May's the best potential blood donor, should the need arise, and so Pete and MJ send her home to rest up for the next day. Except May went out to find Detective Drasco, and wound up caught by the Hobgoblin. So with May busy not resting up, I'm starting to worry about little Ben. I probably shouldn't, because the doctor's phrasing suggested both Pete and MJ are also acceptable blood donors, but May's already feeling guilty about Ben being deaf, since her using that sonic weapon to destroy the symbiote (Or is it symbiont? Hey Firefox isn't telling me it's spelled wrong! I guess Deadpool was right! How terrifying.) that had latched on to Ben is what wrecked his hearing in the first place. She was really happy that not only could the damage be fixed, but that she might be able to help, to atone for her mistake.

I'm not really concerned that Ben's going to die or anything. That doesn't really strike me as DeFalco's style, so that's not my major worry. I'm mostly concerned that there are going to be complications during the procedure, and May's not going to be there, so MJ or Peter will have to step up, then May will show up later, and feel guilty that she wasn't there like she was supposed to be. I just figure that with her already feeling guilty about Ben, Moose's dad, the fact she's still keeping secrets from her closest friends, the mystery stalker, her stress over Gene wanting to get back together with her, Hobgoblin, Deadspot, the ever looming presence of Black Tarantula, she has enough on her plate already. More grief and guilt over her little brother just seems a bit much.

I actually think DeFalco will have May get there in time, and the procedure will go fine, because things tend to work out well in that universe, but I couldn't quite shake the concerns, with may privately wondering whether the Parker luck will wreck things, and Peter being dumb enough to openly question whether the Parkers are finally getting some good fortune. Really Peter, you ought to know better than that by now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I Bought 2/20/08

I don't have any sort of clever intro for you today, so I'll just get down to brass tacks, as they say.

Batman & the Outsiders #4 - The way I figure it, I dropped Robin when someone (I'm still unclear as to whom) decided Cassandra Cain should be Robin's evil opposite/arch-foe/whatever. Therefore, I have to financially support a title that seems to be putting her back on the other side, right? Right. So the Outsiders (sans Grace and Thunder) are in French Guiana to investigate the launch of a rocket by the company that had the OMAC Batman has re-appropriated. Green Arrow is less than pleased to see Batgirl. They fight briefly, on two separate occasions, and Ollie appears to have settled at least some of his issues. Meanwhile, two people show up in the jungle looking for Batman. he recognizes them, I don't. They know who he is under the mask though, for what that's worth. And by the end of the issue Batman is preparing to enter the shuttle control building, or get killed. Could go either way.

Not exactly a fast-paced book. Well, it reads fast, because Dixon is keeping the dialogue sparse, but it doesn't feel like the Outsiders make much progress towards their goal. I always worry about things like that, because it could mean when all the cool explosions start, it'll feel rushed. I think Dixon manages to give us a gist of each character's general personality from relatively little, which is kind of nice. I don't have a lot of experience with some of these characters, so it's nice to get a quick idea how they'll react to things. Whether those personalities are good choices for the characters, I leave to you. I like Julian Lopez' art. I don't know that I've read a comic he's illustrated before. It's the sort of clean style I like, there's a nice energy to it. The facial expressions are a bit exaggerated, but they work. It was a light issue, but 3 out of 5.

Deadpool/Everyone #50 - Hmm, Deadpool has the same oversized pouches on his belt that Batgirl has, just with different buckle designs. Wade's reminding me of Earthworm Jim a little because of the bit of his mask that sticks out. It's like the top of Jim's earthwormy head.

So, dinosaurs are on the loose in Manhattan, and they've combined with symbiotes. Deadpool's on the scene with Bob and Weasel trying to put things right. Unfortunately, he's taking a bunch of crap from most of the others heroes, such as Spidey, Ms. Marvel, and that tool, Mr. Wonderful, I mean Wonder Man. Except the Fantastic Four, they were cool to Wade, especially the Thing. No worries though, Wade knows what to say to put Carol Danvers back on her heels. No, it's wasn't an obscene proposition! So Wade's doing his thing, with a little gift from an unseen friend (who totally should have asked for Wade's help a couple months back), when things start to go awry. But Wade's ready to make a major sacrifice. Well, for him it's more of a mild annoyance, but for anyone else it's a major sacrifice. Things end on a fairly happy, if sedate, note, as Wade maybe learns something about belonging. I'm going to miss this title.

I'm not sure which parts of this issue to attribute to Reilly Brown's plotting or Fabian Nicieza's scripting, so let's just say I was generally pleased with the writing as a whole. I'm unclear on when the problem that required sacrifice on Wade's part happened exactly, but I imagine it could have happened just about anytime during the issue, so who cares? Wade gets a lot of funny lines, pretty much all the regular cast members get a moment to shine (not Irene so much, but she's out of her depth here), and Wade teaches us that he would have fit right in on an X-Book during Claremont's soliloquy-spouting heyday. 4 out of 5.

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death - Orson looks like he's slipping on ice on that cover. Seriously, look at his legs. It really looks like he's about to fall on his ass. This is all about Orson being pursued by the Green Mist of Death, who goes by the name John Aman. He pursues Orson through Brooklyn (I think), the West, Germany or Central Europe, and France. Orson tends to run, rather than fight, and Aman's just keeps hounding him. And eventually, it all leads back around to Aman's going to talk to Danny at the end of Iron Fist #12. Different artists illustrate each part of the story.

I wonder about why each artist was chosen to illustrate the part they did. I'm sure there's a reason for each one, but I don't know enough about each time period to really guess what they're meaning to evoke. The thing that most interests me is Aman, how his tactics remain similar, even as his goals change from one encounter to the next. Orson doesn't seem to change from one meeting to the next, but Aman does. Or at least, he shows different parts of himself. I didn't like this one-shot as much as I did the Annual. There's some neat ideas but it doesn't work as well for me. I'm not sure what the difference is. Maybe the Annual being Orson as seen through Lucky Pierre's eyes added something? Maybe the different artists felt more distinct from each other somehow. Or maybe I'm just tired of waiting for the Tournament of the Heavens to finish. 3 out of 5, but a higher 3 than Outsiders, for what that's worth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Perhaps Jamie's Not As Rare As We Thought

I believe this started with one of Googum's post where he discussed his lack of interest in the younger mutants that we've been told are just the coolest thing ever over the last 20 years or so.

I kind of like Artie myself, because I think that talking in pictures is a cool power. The power doesn't make Artie cool, or necessarily interesting, but the actual point of this post came to me as I started to think about the one comic I have with Artie in it.

It's X-Men Unlimited 14, Post-Onslaught, and Beast brings Gambit, Storm, Artie, Leech, and the recently orphaned Franklin Richards back to his parents' farm. I guess they wanted to get Franklin away from the city, and the memories, I'm not sure why all the others came along. Ultimately, Franklin is convinced that Magneto's responsible for his parents being gone, and attacks Joseph (who he teleported from the Institute to Illinois), to try and make him bring them back. At the end, Franklin nearly killing Joseph is averted, and he and the other two kids play ball instead.

And that reminded me of the little revelation about Madrox we got back in the current X-Factor. How Jamie is slightly different from your average mutant, because his powers developed in childhood, rather than adolescence, so he's a throwback to an earlier form of mutants. Well, the trio of Artie, Leech, and Franklin were all little kids too, and all of them were mutants with already functioning powers (though Reed's always trying to keep Franklin's locked down, because reality-altering, threaten the universe, blah, blah). So would that mean they're throwbacks as well?

I started to think about how that trait (whatever it is) wouldn't have the negative side-effects on survival now that it did in the past, since people are less likely to grab torches and pitchforks to burn the "demon child" than they were in say, the 1400s, or ancient Sumeria. So having a mutant gene that doesn't express itself until one is a bit older and better able to fend for themselves, isn't as much of an advantage as it was when Tryp was growing up. Now (at least prior to Messiah Complex), there was the Xavier Institute, Magneto, the Morlocks, Mr. Sinister, possibly the High Evolutionary, Moira McTaggert, all sorts of people and organizations that would fight to protect you.

Suddenly, being a five-year old with fish eyes, or fire-breathing, isn't the death sentence it was before. Whereas before, only a few individuals with that trait might survive to reproduce, more might be able to do so now. Given enough generations, development of powers in childhood might have become the norm. I don't know if it would have provided any decent story ideas, and they would have had to been explored in stories set in the future, but it was something that occurred to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We Can't Just Stop, We Have To Slow Down

If you've ever watched Spaceballs, you may recall that when traveling at ludicrous speed, you really shouldn't just try and come to a complete stop. You have to do it gradually. And so it is for me, that I can't simply stop with the brand of lunacy I've (hopefully) entertained you with these last few days. Nope, I've got mention something somewhat less silly to ease myself back into normal blogging space.

I can't shake this image of Madrox doing Riverdance. What freaks me out about it is the force of the dancing keeps making more duplicates, and they dancing makes still more, and more. And in my mind, the camera keeps pulling back, and there are just more and more Madroxes dancing perfectly in sync with each other. I think I got the idea from The Simpsons. I have this vague memory of an episode where Homer, and maybe the rest of the family, starts doing Riverdance, and the camera pulls back, and keeps showing more and more people have joined in.

There, that wasn't too weird.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And Now. . . The End!!!

Hey folks, it's me CalvinPitt! No really, it is. The guys rescued me, and they've gone home. Boy, what an adventure it was, full of wild twist-turns, acts of true heroism, and more than a little insanity. Now let us never speak of it again. So who wants to talk about mutants?!

What's that? You actually want to know how I was saved? Isn't it enough I was? You want to see it, not just be told about it? Fine, but keep two things in mind: 1) Technically, you're still being told about it, since I lack visual aids, and 2) there's no way it'll be as good as what you've imagined after what I said about it in the first paragraph. You've been warned.

Last time, Deadpool killed a possible mysterious benefactor, and was been less than successful at impersonating Calvin, while Adorable Baby Panda talked to the Great Panda Sages about other ways to travel between universes and find Calvin. Also, Calvin stumbled into another universe's version of a congressional hearing. And now. . .

Adorable Baby Panda: So, how did the Heroclix games go? Deadpool: Great. Really. No problems at all. Adorable Baby Panda: Well, good. I do appreciate that Wade. Deadpool: No problem, Baby-O. Who's the guy with you? I figured we were done with pink people. Adorable Baby Panda: The Panda Sages said we don't actually have to find Calvin ourselves. They said the person who sent him away has the power to bring him back. And he'll be easy to reach. Deadpool: Really? ABP: Sure, he exists in this universe, the same as you. Compared to searching the multiverse, this is a snap. You said you knew where to find the Overused Kirby Creation, so now we go there, beat him up, and make him bring Calvin back. Easy. Deadpool: And Pinky here can help? ABP: Sure, his ride can take us anywhere, you just need to tell us where to go. Deadpool: You sure we can trust him? ABP: Absolutely, he's one of the good guys. Right? Pinky: *splits into three individuals, does synchronized merry jig* Deadpool: Well, can't argue with that. Let's go!

Elsewhere. . .

Calvin: Ah, flying sharks! Why are there flying sharks? Who would dream of such madness?! Oh no, I'm trapped, it's going to. . . eat the grass? Oh-kay then. Of course, that probably means I should run from those squirrels. *squirrels bare rows of razor-sharp buck teeth* Yep, definitely should start running. At least this being lost in the multiverse is good exercise!

HI-YAAH! *door flies open* Deadpool: There he is, the true Overused Kirby Creation, Darkseid! Darkseid: Why have you intruded on Apokolips? ABP: *ignores Darkseid* Great, but why was he your fourth choice? Deadpool: Well, Mr. Miracle's been acting a little odd lately, and that Metron guy's always spying on people, trying to figure stuff out, I figured Calvin might have stumbled on something that Metron wouldn't want anyone else to know. That's how he feels special, by knowing everything. Darkseid: I have asked you a question. ABP: And Sleez? Deadpool: I figured a guy who directed an adult film with Superman and Barda would get used more often. ABP: *glares at him silently* Deadpool: Fine, I wanted to see if I could catch them in the middle of a shoot. Maybe even get a role. Weird how there was no one there. . .

Darkseid: Why are you here?! Deadpool: We'll ask the questions! Now where's your bathroom? That was a long trip! ABP: Worry about that later! Darkseid, you sent our friend somewhere, and we want him back! Or else! Deadpool: 'Or else'? We have got to work on your fight banter. It needs to be something like this: Woo-ha! Eat lead, Rocky! That's quite an impressive endowment you've got there. Not on par with Hercules, but maybe if you wore less restrictive clot- urk! *yellow caption box* Can't - breathe- Crushing neck- Must break free - for the baby panda! Who else will teach it how to yammer? *end yellow caption box* Darkseid: Why do you resist the inevitable? I am the will and the way. All will kneel before me. Deadpool: Going to be *kicks Darkseid in face* a little crowded *breaks sword on Darkseid's neck* if everyone's kneeling in front of you, don'tcha think? Who gets to be on front row? Baby-O, get ready to catch my head! And make you sure you put it back properly! ABP: What? Darkseid: *raises eyebrow* Deadpool: *uses other sword to decapitate self, body falls, head rolls* ABP: Gah! I got it, but this is really gross. *rushes over, reattaches head* Darkseid: What foolishness is this?! Adorable Baby Panda: That's it! We've got a "Kirby" creation of our own, and he's going to make you help us whether you like it or not! Get him, Kirby! Deadpool: Decapitation always makes me thirsty. Anybody got a bottled water? Maybe a juice box? Hey cowering minion over there, lead me to a soda machine! Then the bathroom. That Warp Star really jars the kidneys.

Kirby: *translated from Kirby's language of squeaks and assorted cute noises* Gotcha! *loud sucking noise* Darkseid: What is happeninnnng?! *vanishes inside Kirby's mouth* Kirby: *swallows, undergoes transformation which gives him eyes like the Lord of Apokolips* ABP: Hooray, now you've got his eyes, so you can use the Omega Effect to bring Calvin back! Kirby: *ignores ABP* ABP: Kirby? Kirbyseid: *deep booming voice* You will serve Kirbyseid. The combined power of our cuteness will erase the minds of all sentient beings, making them obedient servants to my will. ABP: What?! Deadpool: Good plan there. This is what your sages came up with? C'mon Pinky, you're too cute for this! If you don't stop being so dark you'll wind up like this *hands Kirbyseid Civil War; Frontline #10, the first appearance of Penance* Hey it got a reaction out of Squirrel Girl. Kirby: Noooooo! That's not meeee! Deadpool: Quick, do another merry jig, it'll help fight the darkness! Kirby: *does slow, staggering dance* It's so hard! Deadpool: Obviously, 'cause that was really more of a seizure than a jig. You need to move more like this *begins breakdancing* ABP: Quick, bring Calvin back, then you can get rid of Darkseid's essence! Kirby: I'll. . . try. *concentrates, Omega Effect fires off into abruptly appearing dimensional rift*

Elsewhere. . .

Calvin: Well, the civilization here may be one of deaf telepaths, whose brains operate on a frequency different from mine, thus rendering communication nigh-impossible, but at least they saved me from the squirrels. Say, what's that bright light? Oh hell, not aga - *hit by Omega Effect*

Back on Apokolips. . .
Calvin: - in! Hey, I'm back in that place where those guys were playing chess. ABP! What are you doing here? ABP: Deadpool and me came to save you! Good thing he found that trading card of Thanos in your place, or we might never have put it all together. Calvin: But I was here when I got zapped, and I had the card with me. How did it end up back at my place? *sound of slaves toiling, as there are nor chirping crickets on Apokolips* Calvin: Say, is that Kirby? ABP: Yup, he beat Darkseid single-handed. I think you can get rid of him now. Kirby: *concentrates, releases a star, loses the Darkseid eyes. The star bounces around for a few minutes, then vanishes* Calvin: So, does that mean Darkseid is dead? Because if so, way to go Kirby! Just don't let it turn you into an anti-hero. Kirby: *shakes head* I'm not going to be dark. it makes you stupid. Deadpool: Oh, feel so much better. What'd I miss? Hey, good to see you're back! *punches Calvin in the ribs* Calvin: Oof! What was that for? Deadpool: Sorry meant to hit you in the shoulder, but my aim's a little off. I don't think Baby-O here reattached my head quite right. Calvin: Yeah, it does look a little off-center. Well, what say we go home, and I'll help you fix it while we eat pancakes? ABP: Sounds like a plan! Hop on the Warp Star! Calvin: That doesn't look real safe. Deadpool: It's not. That's what makes it fun! Now come on, you're buying us pancakes! Calvin: I never said I was buying! Deadpool: *unholsters gun* You want to disappear more permanently this time? ABP: Oh, Deadpool! *everyone throws back their head and laughs*

Omniscient Narrator: And then Darkseid regained his corporeal form and our heroes jumped on the Warp Star and fled before he got up to full-strength. Of course, Deadpool first surrounded Darkseid with explosives. Darkseid was unharmed, but it was amusing when the floor collapsed under him and he continued falling through the lower levels. Some times old-time cartoon humor is the best, you know? And yes, Calvin bought everyone pancakes. That Kirby can really put them away for such a small guy. he's got the metabolism of a shrew, I tells ya.

Calvin: So that's the story. What do you think? Was it as horrible as you feared? Well just remember it was worse for me living through it. All this getting zapped hither and yon has given me a nasty headache, and I'm still trying to remember that squirrels aren't carnivorous on this world. Oh, and I apologize for the utter lack of female roles. I don't write good roles for women. Or guys. Or anthropomorphic pandas. Or little pink guys. Or. . . well, you get the idea. Good night, everybody! Back to our usual content tomorrow!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm CalvinPitt And I'm A Big Dork! Cut That Out!

Last time, on Reporting on Marvels and Legends. . .

Idiotic Pink Guy: Greetings. I, who you have never met before, will help you find Calvin Pitt, for reasons I will not elaborate on until a moment when it will provide a properly shocking betray - I mean, because he is important to the continued existence of this world and every other *eyes dart back and forth*

Deadpool: It's about time! But first, can you drop me off in a universe where that version of me is married to Bea Arthur, so I can kill him and take his place?

Adorable Baby Panda: Why did you just repeat yourselves? Deadpool: It's a recap page thing. Roll with it. Idiotic Pink Guy: Shall we go? Deadpool: Sure. BLAM! Adorable Baby Panda: What are you doing?! He was going to help us! Look at him, he's really hurting! Deadpool: The mysterious guy is always evil. I thought you read comics. Wait, he's not dead? Idiotic Pink Guy: My eye! Why did you shoot me in my {expletive deleted} eye!? Deadpool: Hey, watch your language, there are babies present! BLAM! My guns only go "blam" in this universe? Weak sauce. Adorable Baby Panda: Stop shooting him already! Idiotic Pink Guy: My other eye! You shot me in my other eye! Oh, this hurts a lot! Deadpool: Shooty-shooty isn't working. Time for stabby-stabby. Maybe a little boomy-boomy. Better look away kid, this'll be ugly.

*several stabs wounds, attempted decapitations, extra-dimensional energy blasts, and grenade explosions later*

Deadpool: Wow, that evil guy fought really well for not having any eyes. Fried my foot off. Adorable Baby Panda: Great. I'm glad you had fun. But now how are we going to find Calvin? Deadpool: Maybe Weasel's Penatraitor armor could help. . . Hey, let go of my hand! Don't stick it there, or my foot'll grow over it! ABP: Quiet! The Penatraitor armor? The thing that sent you hurtling through time, uncontrolled? No way are we using that! You are going to stop doing anything I don't tell you to do! Deadpool: So what should I do? ABP: Use an image inducer to imitate Calvin, while I talk to the Great Panda Sages about a way to cross dimensions. Deadpool: So, how do I imitate Calvin? ABP: Do the stuff he would normally do, respond to comments on his blog, and make some new posts. Now go play Heroclix at the comic store. Calvin said he was going to go, you have to keep the promise. Deadpool: You got the services of a super-cool merc like me, and you've got me playing games? CHOMP! OK, OK! I'll go!

{Later} Deadpool: Can't believe this, pretending to be a nerd, shoulda asked Weas to do it instead. Or maybe Bob. OK, I have to be Calvin. Better get into character. *opens door* Greetings comic shop proprietor, it is I, Calvin Pitt, here to play Hero Clix like I said I would whenever I said I would do that! Ken: Calvin, you OK man? Deadpool: Of course, whatever gave you that idea?! I'm just really excited! See the noticeable bulge in my pants?! Hi kids! *begins playing* What do you mean an attack of 9 with a roll of 2 hurts me? Let me roll again! Screw your tokens, let me roll again! *draws gun* (inner monologue) Wait, would Calvin shoot people over a game? Probably not, but I might. Then again, there's that baby panda to consider. Sharp teeth on that little bugger. *shudders, holsters gun* (end inner monologue) Dreadfully sorry about the loss of temper, chap. Please, let's continue the game. Hey, I hit you? I killed Batman and Robin? Woohoo, I rule! *dances on table, drops trousers* Kiss my bazoo!

Elsewhere. . .

Calvin: Why do I have the feeling I'll never be allowed back in the comic store again? And where am I? Hmm, no trees, lots of grass, very flat. I've landed in Kansas. Well, could be worse. Oh, why did I say that? Previously Unused Omniscient Narrator: And then a great beast rose from the grass. The aged for its kind, it had grown considerably in its later years, and was still a feared predator. It had the head of Roger Clemens and well, Calvin really lost any ability to discern details after noticing that. But lo, the beast was pursued, by villagers wearing suits. Some held torches and pitchforks, while others wielded pens and commemorative stationary, hats, and baseballs. And they did speak all at once, in an unintelligible babble, at great volume, making it unclear as to their true purpose, though the masses watching from the periphery probably had something to do with it. It was enough to drive a man mad. Fortunately, Calvin could only have heard half of it if he had still been there, and he wasn't still there, having run perpendicular to the direction the beast was going the moment he saw it, which soon enough lead him clear of the whole mess. Calvin: Boy, I sure hope there's a pair of wacky do-gooders working out a contrived way to save me as we speak.

{Come back tomorrow as this gets wrapped up in a wholly unsatisfying manner, at a slapdash pace, and without the slightest bit of sense to the plot developments! It'll be just like Countdown! Only much, much cheaper.}

Friday, February 15, 2008

Where'd He Go?

Hey, have any of you seen Calvin? I got here today and he's not around. I can't find him anywhere. I guess I'm on my own today. It just won't be as fun if I can't tease him. I better wrap this up fast, then try and track him down.

So hugs first, I guess. Mayday probably needs a Hug, since Hobgoblin used her as a bid in a bad guy auction. Booster and Blue Beetle need some Hugs, because they're about to get attacked by stupid OMAC things. I think Nova's past self needs a Hug after the way that girl took him to the basket. Rich, you have to move your feet, get in front of her, take the charge. At least, that's what Bill Walton said. All the people on the Suicide Squad that are getting betrayed get Hugs, because they aren't in a very good place to get betrayed. And I think Rictor needs a Hug, because Rahne just left him a letter. Probably better give Jamie a Hug too. He was acting a little stressed.

I guess Present Day Nova deserves Applause for not dying yet. And some Applause for the girl who scored the basket on Rich. Attack the basket and you either get an easy shot or some free throws, just like Bill Walton said. Or was it Jeff van Gundy? Uh, and Maybe Eiling can have some Applause for outsmarting Amanda Waller. I heard that's hard to do. Or was it that's it's isn't a good idea? Rictor gets Applause for standing up to that pimp, and Guido gets Applause for helping Rictor. This feels wrong. I ought to be working on finding Calvin, but I need help. Wade! *teleportation sound* [Can this wait? I was playing strip poker with my coworkers!] Calvin's missing, you have to help me find him! Search for clues! [What are you going to do?] I have to finish this post, then I'll help you. It's what Calvin would want. [But what if he's being tortured in some hell dimension? Don't you think he'd want us to find him?] How can you say that? Don't even think it! Just get looking!

Bonks for the Hobgoblin for being evil, naturally. Bonks for Parallax and Extant for trying to kill Booster and the Beetles, and another Bonk for Parallax for saying mean things about them. Bonk for Mike for picking on Past Nova. Flash Thompson ought to show him how a real bully does it! Bonk for General Eiling, and his little partner in crime. I know they're evil too, but a general really ought to know better than to betray his troops in the middle of a battle. And finally, Bonk for Monet for smashing that I-Phone. Yes she can afford more, but it was just mean, and she could have made someone cry. [Who did Monet make cry? Better not be Theresa, or I'll style Regina Rich's hair with some high explosives.] She didn't make anyone cry, I just said she could have! Have you found anything? [Yeah, hurry up!] Fine! Bonk for Rahne for leaving for stupid reasons instead of letting her friends help her. Now what did you find?

[Well, I found this Thanos trading card from '92, where you can clearly see his impressive metal codpiece. And I found a set of X-Men series 2 cards. Hey, there's me! Man I was ripped back then, those Joe Mad steroid treatments really paid off. Too bad about mah boys, though. They still haven't recovered.] * BONK!* Focus! [Ahh! OK! So we got the Thanos card, and his last post has lots of ravings about time travel, jumping universes, and cliche shadowy figures who are manipulating everything. Looks like he confronted one going by the screen name 'Overused Kirby Creation'. You know what that means.] What? [Ta find him, we've gotta travel through all sorts of eerily similar, yet different parallel universes, in a series of pointless one-shots designed to showcase new characters so that the fans will care when they die in the next one-shot.] Fans? [It's a 4th Wall thing, not to be confused with a Source Wall thing. Just go with it. All we need now is a visit from a total stranger with uncertain motives to offer assistance. Where is that guy?]

Idiotic Pink Guy: Greetings. I, who you have never met before, will help you find Calvin Pitt, for reasons I will not elaborate on until a moment when it will provide a properly shocking betray - I mean, because he is important to the continued existence of this world and every other. *eyes dart back and forth*

Deadpool: It's about time! But first, can you drop me off in a universe where that version of me is married to Bea Arthur, so I can kill him and take his place?

To be continued!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What I Bought 2/14/08

Well, here we are at last. It seems like it's been forever since I did reviews. I actually have a decent number of books to review this week too, which is nice, including Booster Gold. That's right, all you DC fans yelling about it finally got me to buy it! Now go back to your shanties! You must realize that we're being manipulated into this by an overused Kirby creation, an idiotic pink guy, and their chess board! How distressing.

Amazing Spider-Girl #17 - I like the covers Frenz has been giving us lately. Not earth-shattering, but more than just the characters standing around, trying to look cool. A lot happens, so let's recap: A fellow named Crimelord has Kingpin's disc, and is planning an auction. Chesbro learns of this, and informs Spider-Girl. Since she gave that disc to Drasco (the crooked cop), she confronts him about it, plants a spider-tracer on him, then follows a thief Drasco was observing. The thief appears to be the boyfriend of Mona Carlo, who had the disc before Spider-Girl relieved her of it. Hobgoblin learns of the auction. May decides to learn where Drasco lives, and by following the tracer winds up where the auction is being held, right as Hobby shows up. Hobgoblin is having Mindworm take mental control of Black Tarantula's underbosses. Deadspot has received a request for another termination. Little Ben is set to have a procedure that might restore his hearing. May is found to be the best potential blood donor between her and her parents, should the need arise. Gene Thompson wants to know if May has given any thought to getting back together.

Damn, that's a lot of stuff. Can't say I didn't get my money's worth. The primary focus is on the disc, and this Crimelord fellow (and the two possible people under the mask), but there's still movement by Hobgoblin on other fronts, the stuff with May's little brother and Gene, plus a brief Spider-Girl/Hobgoblin battle. That's pretty impressive, I gotta say. Also, Ron Frenz did one of my favorite artistic touches, the after-image shot. You know, where there's one Spider-Girl in full color, but then several others in faded, outline form to indicate the character's earlier movements in the panel. I always enjoy that. 4 out of 5.

Booster Gold #0 - I have to tell you, after three days in the '90s looking at trading cards, it's nice to get back to the present and read some comics. So in this issue, Booster and the Beetles are traveling the Time Stream when they stumble across Parallax and Extant. What?! Zero Hour?! My god, I didn't make it back from the '90s, I just jumped into a different universe's 1990s! Nooooooooo! Anyway, ParaHal is not happy to see our stalwart heroes, and says Booster and Ted disgraced the League's name. Actually, you trying to wipe out the universe and working with Extant did that Hal. Right, right, Yellow Fear Bug, not his fault, he feels bad about it, blah, blah, blah. Still a tool. The good guys escape to the 25th century. Booster thinks about the mistakes he made, and whether to fix them. He settles on a plan, but OMACs have a plan of their own.

Hey, this reminds me that I like Geoff Johns' writing sometimes! Having to drop Teen Titans in '06 made me forget that. Cool. The Future Beetle's discussion of how moved he is by Ted and Michael's friendship was a little barf-inducing. In fact, he made it sound so special I expected Mephisto to appear and offer to trade something for it. I like Dan Jurgens' art. It's easy to follow, doesn't hurt the story, there's not too much inking, though the fight scene felt flat. It's nothing flashy, but it works well for a title that feels somewhat old-fashioned in a way. 4 out of 5.

Nova Annual #1 - Is the cover supposed to be a throwback to pulp novels? Everything looks too stiff for my tastes. I suppose I'm a sucker because I bought the Annual that's really just a continuation of the current storyline, but for an extra buck. But Nova's sales need to stay up, so I'll do my part. Rich is still trying to make it Kvch, but he seems to be hallucinating, seeing who he was around the time he became Nova, and who he might be in forty years or so. It's interesting to see Richard in high school, because he suffers as an outcast like Peter Parker did, but without the benefit of being a science genius. Rich was just sort of there, and this is relevant to his becoming Nova. It's certainly different from the Green Lanterns. That's kind of nifty. The future is interesting, if terribly depressing. Eventually we learn what's actually going on, Rich makes a temporary stand, and we're done.

Hmm. I'm ready for this transmode infection to be dealt with permanently. I liked the flashback, and the future scene worked in some ways, though not as well on the whole. I think it revealed some interesting things about Rich though, what he's like, what he wants. There were different art teams for each time period. Mahmud A. Asrar handled the flashback, which was bright and colorful, and felt more old-school for it. Wellinton Alves handled the future, which felt harsh and kind of cold (and he remembered to draw the scar Rich got from Annihilus. Thank you, Wellinton Alves!). Klebs drew the scene at the end, which is the present day. It feels like Michael Lark, or maybe Alex Maleev, one of the Daredevil artists. Very grimy, gritty, which I'm not sure works for a book like Nova, but it did all right for the scene. I would probably give this a 3 under normal circumstances, but because of the extra dollar cost, 2 out of 5.

Suicide Squad #6 - I came back because the Squad finally went on a mission. They plan to attack this company that has a nasty virus, and destroy them (and probably take the virus for themselves, 'cause you know, why not?) Former General Eiling has offered to help the stuffed suits, but they aren't interested. Until things start to go bad, then they become more receptive. The Squad could really be in it this time. Or not. I'm sure they've dealt with worse. I really like Waller remotely controlling Chemo (or is it a faux-Chemo?). It's the only way to get involved in a serious assault on a heavily fortified island lab! *thumbs up*

First major plus, less focus on Rick Flag. I just don't really care about him, unless Ostrander plans on having Batman beat him up again. I'd like to see that (Bats didn't appear in this issue, I'm just throwing it out there). Second major plus, that odd conversation between Windfall and Twister. Crazy, and probably terrifying if you were an Average Joe within earshot, but hilarious to read. Third, I'm curious about Plastique not remembering her previous service in the Squad. Is that par for the course? I really want to see how Waller and her boys turn this around, and I think I'll actually enjoy watching Flag confront his past, as long as there's punching involved. 3 out of 5.

X-Factor #28 - Does Rahne seem to have an unusually large backside on that cover? And why does the background look like non-objective charcoal drawings? Inside, Rahne leaves X-Factor to destroy her life, I mean join X-Force! Who came up with that idea? PAD tries to give an explanation, and it works, but I still can't figure why that's what she thinks is the best path. Actually, I just figured out why she might think that, it's depressing. Siryn and Monet talk about babies. Rictor tries to be a stand-up guy and gets beat up. Guido has more success at being a stand-up guy (I mean, standing up for what's right, not stand-up comedian). Jamie gets a little fed up, but not as much as I initially thought. The issue ends on a sad note, not that it was a barrel of laughs before that.

I liked it better than the Messiah CompleX issues. I guess I just need to resign myself to Rahne not being on the book. There's a lot set up for the future that sounds good, but not much within the issue itself, though the Monet/Rahne scene was hilarious. The pregnancy issue, Jamie's understandable instability, the issue of the "Pans" and the "Rems", and there's still that other duplicate. There's no inker listed for this issue, but there were two for #24, the last issue Raimondi drew. That might explain why the art looks a little different. I can't place the difference, but it feels like there are more shadows here than there were in the Isolationist story, so is that Raimondi inking himself, or Raimondi, or maybe colorist Jeromy Cox, compensating for the lack of inkers. Maybe it's nothing. I don't have #24 around to compare. 3 out of 5.

Elsewhere. . .

Overused Kirby Creation: You have been cornered, Idiotic Pink Guy. . . diagonally.
Idiotic Pink Guy: What? You told me we were playing chess!
Overused Kirby Creation: To confuse the rules of the game is a strategy in itself.
Idiotic Pink Guy: Curses!
OKC: You speak so poorly.
IPG: I know, I'm not sure where it comes from.
CalvinPitt: *door flies open* You have to aaaask?
OKC & IPG: What?!
CalvinPitt: That's right, while you diptwits were busy thinking you controlled me with your little board game, I was making you jump like coked up monkeys, for I have. . . trading cards! *draws Thanos card* Now. . . kick yourself in the butt!
OKC: Those cards control a different realm. You have no power here. Only I have power here.
CalvinPitt: Damn.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Change Of Plans

You remember how on Monday I was complaining about snow, plus lightning and thunder? Well, the lightning and thunder was the harbinger of freezing rain, or rain that froze after it hit the ground. So the town has been pretty much an Ice Kingdom for the last two days, and UPS is a day behind on deliveries. Thus, comics tomorrow, and I'll just wrap up the 1990s trading card retrospective today, looking at the 11 new heroes, though I would use that term loosely for at least a couple of them.

Feral: Well, she died, so that Jeph Loeb might have more death in his Wolverine story, which suggests Gone for the foreseeable future. But she'd had a few appearances this decade, including during Morrison's X-Men run, so she was probably a Bit Player up until her death.

Night Thrasher: I'm not counting Dwayne's brother, who's currently assumed the identity, so that would make Night Thrasher gone, since Dwayne certainly seems to be. Before that, there was that reality TV show New Warriors mini-series, but as I recall that wasn't greeted with much fan love or good sales, so Dwayne Thrasher was probably Back of the Photo. I know, he was in Civil War #1, but being blown up and getting slandered as being sloppy, irresponsible heroes isn't good for ones profile, so I don't think it helps much.

Cable: Well, love him or hate him, Cable's certainly been Prominent. He had a mini-series in the '90s, followed by a decade-long ongoing, then a retitled ongoing (Soldier X) that ended after 12 issues, a three year run in Cable/Deadpool, and he's getting a new ongoing. Plus he's been part of X-Force, and the X-Men titles a couple of different times. I don't think he counts as an A-lister, but he is still pretty noticeable.

Thor: Sorry, they mean Eric Masterson with the power of Thor as a new character. I guess Masterson was a new character. He had about a two-year run as Thor, then he was Thunderstrike for about five more, which isn't too bad. But, he's dead now, has been for a decade, so I would say Gone.

Deathlok: Again, not the concept of Deathlok, which has been around since the mid-1970s, but the Michael Collins version. It appears that other than Beyond! (which was good), and showing up in Dwayne McDuffie's Fantastic Four run, Collins hasn't been around much since his series ended in 1994. In fact, there was apparently another Deathlok in the late 1990s, and there's all sorts of more robotic versions (lacking human intelligence) around the Marvel U. these days, if New Avengers was any indication. I'd say that thanks to McDuffie he's currently a Bit Player, but unless someone else gets the itch to use him, he'll probably start fading to the background again.

Shatterstar: Back of the Photo. He popped up a bit in notoriety there for awhile, with that X-Force mini from a few years back, and his appearance in Civil War: X-Men as one of the mutants helping the 198 leave the Xavier Institute (still not sure why he, and especially Domino, did that). He hasn't shown up anywhere since then.

Darkhawk: He was defacto team leader of that legion of losers in Kirkman's Marvel Team-Up series, only a couple of years ago. And he's a regular member of that superhero self-help group (as seen in The Loners), with the folks trying to avoid using their powers, and live normal lives instead. Neither one of those was very high-profile, though, so Back of the Photo.

Ghost Rider: Again, not the overall concept, just the Dan Ketch version. Well, his series ended in 1998, although they finally published the real final issue last year. But since '98, Johnny Blaze has been Ghost Rider, even though Ketch apparently isn't dead, and in theory is still working with that spirit that transformed him into Ghost Rider (Nobel Kale). He appears to have been lost in the shuffle, or is just being ignored. Gone.

Domino: Well, there was the Civil War: X-Men series, and her semi-regular appearances in Cable/Deadpool, much more regular when Cable was still around, so I'd at least say Bit Player.

Gambit: For better or worse, Gambit has hung around. He's been part of the X-Men off and on, may or not be a bad guy right now, but he got to take part in Messiah Complex, and I had heard that one of the X-Books would revolve around Xavier, Magneto, Rogue, and Gambit, so I'd say that qualifies as Prominent.

Sleepwalker: He was in that Legion of Losers story too, and he's got himself a supporting cast role in Ms. Marvel these days, so Bit Player sounds about right.

So, can we learn anything about characters from all this? It feels like villains have a tendency to stick, moreso than heroes. Granted, most of the heroes and rookies are still around (Masterson being an exception), but most of them are in a vastly reduced capacity, compared to what they used to be, when they were part of hot team books, or maybe even had their own ongoing series (such as Sleepwalker and Darkhawk). It could be because heroes need villains to fight, so there's always some writer willing to pull a bad guy out of the pile and throw him at the good guys, so there are more opportunities for the villains to get exposure. But heroes are usually the focus of the stories, how are they reacting to the villain, what's the relationship between the two, what does the battle tell us about the hero, etc. So there's only so much hero focus to go around, and that makes it easier for heroes to be forgotten or tossed aside until someone with a fondness for the character, and some idea what to do with them, comes along to restore their former glory. or at least get them out there where the fans can see them.

OK, reviews tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who Will Be The Persistent Thorn In Do-Gooder Woman's Side?

Today we take a look at the villains, and there are quite a few actually. Of the 40 villains given cards, 16 had made their premiere within five years of the cards release. Some have been consistent presences, some got overexposed (hmm, who could I be thinking of?), and some didn't last long at all, probably because they chose the wrong hero to tangle with. So let's begin.

Blackout - Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch version) foe. Body produces a light-dampening field, good since light is apparently bad for him, and in the resulting darkness, he has superhuman strength. Oh, and mechanical fangs. Really wants to sell the vampire thing, I suppose. Dracula and Morbius are likely unimpressed. Got burned trying to bite Ghost Rider, killed some of Ketch's friends and allies, survived several battles with Ghost Rider, and getting stabbed in the eye by Blaze. Was thought dead after Ghost Rider left him strung up on the Empire State Building, but was one of the villains who escaped from the Raft in New Avengers. Currently working for the Hood. Hmm, I suppose in the '90s, being a recurring enemy of Ghost Rider was a pretty sweet role, but until New Avengers he hadn't been seen in quite some time, and I kind of doubt his powers and abilities are critical to the Hood's scheme. He might have been prominent once, but he's Back of the Photo now.

Shiva - A program that downloads into killer robots designed to exterminate Weapon X members. Failed to kill Wolverine in it's initial appearance, failed to kill Sabretooth later on, failed again to kill Logan in Wolverine: Origins #1. I'm not sure it can be confirmed Shiva has successfully killed any of its targets. Given it's had one (brief) appearance in the last 15 years, I'm voting Gone.

Crossbones - Soldier for hire, usually the Red Skull's righthand man. And if he isn't, he's usually scheming to regain that position. I'm not sure how to describe Crossbones. He's frequently dependent on the Red Skull having a plan Captain America wants to stop. If Cap isn't around, Crossbones doesn't seem to show up much, so his stock rises and fails with Cap (or in the current situation, Cap's book, continuing in his absence). But, Crossbones is at least showing up regularly now, so I'd say Prominent.

Hate Monger - This Hate Monger later changed his name to Animus. He appears to be a being that feeds off hate, and can amplify those feelings in others, assume any person's appearance, and can't really be harmed physically. He showed up in Avengers first, and it looks he was a semi-regular from '91-94 in a variety of titles. Since then, he showed up in a couple of issues of the current Hercules, formerly Hulk series, #28-29, so it's been about 7 years since he last made the scene. Gone.

Slug - I know you were all waiting for this one. He's a drug-dealer, had trouble with Captain America and Nomad in his first appearance. Showed up in a Spectacular Spider-Man Annual during the Evolutionary War, though I don't recall him and the title character crossing paths. He hung around long enough to try and divvy up Kingpin's empire at some point, and he was apparently in the Raft at some point, and he might be part of the Hood's crew (Wiki lists New Avengers #35 as a reference, anyone see a really fat guy in there?) He was perhaps a bit player in his first comic, and since then, he's lucky to be Back of the Photo, but even father back than Blackout.

Mr. Sinister - I don't need to recite this guy's resume, do I? Brilliant, immortal (thanks to Apocalypse) scientist. Very interested in the Summers and the Greys. Always got lackeys running around, doing his dirty. Might have died in Messiah CompleX. Maybe. It's Mr. Sinister, nothing is what it seems. I'd say Prominent. He hasn't been around as much as say, Magneto, but Sinister is almost always up to something the X-Groups have to worry about.

Blackheart - Mephisto's "son", created from evil that accumulated at a particular spot. Tried to break Daredevil, corrupt Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and the Punisher, tried to use Wonder Man to defeat Mephisto, took over Hell at some point, and eventually was destroyed by the Midnight Sons. And that death seems to have stuck for the past decade. Of course, given Mephisto's recent work, I wouldn't be surprised to see this scamp show up soon. Gone.

Cardiac - Became a doctor, then a vigilante after his brother died because a company decided the cure wasn't cost-effective. Strikes at corporations or others who place money above lives (such as toy companies using unsafe components). Replaced his heart with a beta-particle reactor, which channels energy to his body giving him strength and agility. And the energy can be channeled into destructive blasts through his staff. Tendency to get lethal brought him into conflict with Spider-Man. Last seen by me in Wolverine #140, circa 1999, so I'd say, Gone. Too bad, I was always kind of fond of Cardiac.

Omega Red - Product of Soviet equivalent of Weapon X. Has tentacles, produces life-threatening pheromones. He fights the X-Men a lot, Wolverine even more, and is apparently a Red Mafia boss posing as a legit businessman, as of Wolverine Origins. He's certainly as much of a big deal as he was when he first hit the stage, but he's shown staying power thus far. Bit Player.

Gideon - External, can duplicate powers of those near him. Ran into X-Force a few times, served as a mentor to Sunspot, kicked the crap out of the New Warriors once. Tried to capture an odd energy source found worldwide, that wound up being Proteus (whoops). Killed by Selene. Gone.

Carnage - Offspring of Venom symbiote + serial killer. Designed to make Venom look, less crazy, I guess. Fights Spidey and Venom. A lot. Is turned into living metal by Silver Surfer, though it wears off later, reason unknown. Venom reabsorbs the symbiote, only for Kasady to get it back later. Somehow. Has offspring of its own, pulled apart by Sentry. Maybe. I'm not sure whether the current Mighty Avengers story should count as exposure for Carnage, since these are just generic symbiotes. Besides, they're just plot devices so the Mighty Avengers can get their asses whupped by Dr. Doom. Whoo, go Doom! I'm not sure Carnage was a good idea for a character, but his overexposure right from the start probably didn't help. Bit Player.

Cyber - Psycho. Critical in making Logan into a vicious animal. Beat Logan so badly their first fight, Logan was terrified of him for decades after, without remembering why. Spent some time incarcerated by Excalibur. Had his flesh devoured by Apocalypse's Dark Riders, so they could use the adamantium in his skin on Wolverine. Stuck in astral form, took over a powerful mutant with a child's mind, currently has a radioactive pacemaker strapped to his chest. So you'd figure he wouldn't be long for this world. Still, he's at least Prominent right now, if only because of his connection to Logan's stupid son.

Necrom- Sorcerer Supreme of alternate reality Earth. Came to 616, with the help of his apprentices, tried to capture the Phoenix Force. Everyone starts double-crossing each other = fail. Little piece of the Phoenix he got is left behind in a corpse, becomes Anti-Phoenix. Necrom flees to Earth-148. Conquered that Earth, eventually driven out by Kylun, retreats to 616. Absorbed the Anti-Phoenix, destroyed when he tried to absorb the entire Phoenix Force from Rachel Summers. Gone.

Venom - Once interesting, but MASSIVELY overexposed, showing up in Amazing Spider-Man at least one story a year for six+ years, then getting several mini-series, being packaged as a "Lethal Enforcer", which I guess is better than "Guy who wants to eat Spider-Man's brains!". Spawned a host of other symbiotes. And even though Brock is near death, the symbiote keeps on kicking, currently paired with the former Scorpion, and getting called a hero by the imbecilic 616-reality media, because it's a member of the Thunderbolts. His/Its star certainly isn't what it was in the mid-'90s, but he/it has had a series this decade, and is a big part of a current team book, and of course, he/it probably gets some credit for the Mighty Avengers' symbiote issues. Prominent.

Sphinx - This is the woman who fell in love with the original Sphinx, and through a bit of the power of the Ka Stone he had, was constantly reincarnated, always with knowledge of her past lives. She used that to gain great wealth,, so she could build a machine to remake the Ka Stone. She used the stone to change reality, but the New Warriors stopped her in that new reality. She saw the error of her ways, and later helped the Warriors stop the first Sphinx in his attempts to remake reality. They fused into a single being, and went back to their beginning to see if they could do better this time, and she hasn't returned since then. Gone.

Zodiak - Owner of a bookstore, meets demons who offer him powers if he kills for them. He agrees, away we go. He has power meant to represent the different signs of the Zodiac, and he ran afoul of both Ghost Rider and Dr. Strange. He lasted for about 10 issues, then someone named Suicide threw himself and Zodiak off a train, onto some spikes. Zodiak died, and he's stayed dead. Gone.

So there were few winners in that batch, though Crossbones is probably the only one that didn't get too hyped, or overused at some point. Probably helps that he's mostly a Sidekick villain, rather than a mastermind.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Continuing Our Look At The Hot Character Finds Of The Late '80s-Early '90s

Wow, there are 35 characters to cover, and the town is being hit by a snowstorm with thunder and lightning. Seems a bit unfair that. Like getting ganged up on. So I'm going to start with Rookies, then Villains tomorrow, finish with Heroes on Thursday. I'll try listing them as Prominent, Bit Player, Back of the Photo, or Gone (though not necessarily dead, or forgotten). I'm going off whatever I can find on Wikipedia, and any pages Wiki links to.

Rookies: There were nine total, one of which was more than five years old - Strong Guy, who will be twenty-five years old next year. Wow. I guess he was listed as a rookie because he had only recently joined PAD's X-Factor. Eight other rookies to consider, though.

Talon - Member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Jim Valentino says Talon was meant to be reminiscent of the Beast during Engelhart's run on Avengers, a real party guy. Suffered spinal injury, underwent personality change after technology of the 31st century helped him. Tried to become leader, gradually ostracized by rest of team, to the extent that they didn't bring him along when they went to the past to stop the original Martian Invasion (since their universe is apparently the same as the one Killraven is from. I did not know that.) Not heard from since. Gone.

Kylun - Walked through dimensional doorway created by Widget as child of seven. Rapidly aged and mutant powers kicked in, fought to free Earth-148 from Necrom. Followed Necrom to Earth-616, joined Excalibur for about 35 issues, before deciding to ease out of crimefighting and reconnect with his parents. Next appeared at wedding of Captain Britain and Meggan, over 50 issues later (1998). No indication he's been used since then. Since he was a mutant, probably depowered. Wonder if that de-aged him as well? Gone.

Silhouette - Fought crime alongside Dwayne Taylor, pre-Night Thrasher days. Shot in spine, lost use of legs. Can walk through shadows. Joined New Warriors for about fifty issues. Went to Chicago with Night Thrasher's brother, appeared in Gambit's series later (my condolences), fought alongside Captain America in Civil War, though I only recall seeing her in a tie-in issue of Iron Man, has apparently registered since then. Has appeared in current New Warriors series. Bit Player, potentially could be prominent, depending on if she plays a recurring role in New Warriors, or perhaps the Initiative series.

Bishop - Traveled to the past. Tries to find the X-Traitor. Tries to protect Xavier, fails semi-regularly, has been lost in alternate futures, has been a cop in Mutant Town, has worked for the Pro-Regs, and is currently occupied with trying to kill a baby, to the point he accidentally shot Xavier in the head. Whoops. So he's certainly had some staying power. Bishop is solidly mid-card status, right? Pretty consistent presence in the X-verse. Prominent.

Darkhold Redeemers - Group of people join together to find the pages of the Book of Darkhold to prevent bad stuff from happening. As far as a Storytelling Engine goes, it's OK, since you can argue there are lots of pages, so it could take a really long time to get them, but the group appears to have faded after the whole Midnight Suns stuff ran its course back in the '90s. The Marvel Appendix doesn't have any appearances listed for the group after '94. Modred the Mystic showed up as recently as '98 (in the pages of Alpha Flight, Volume 3), and his former apprentice Jinx got mentioned in Civil War: Battle Damage Report, but otherwise, has nothing listed after January, 1994. Gone.

Cerise - Shi'ar who deserted after her refusal to fire on civilians got her crew killed. Wound up on Earth, joined Excalibur, had relationship with Nightcrawler (I tells ya, that Kurt Wagner is a real player). Eventually taken back to Shi'ar Empire, imprisoned pardoned, appeared in Annihilation: Ronan as one of Gamora's Graces. So, since Gamora was likely still fighting Annihilation Wave forces after the end of Annihilation (the guerrilla fighting she was planning when she and Nova parted ways), Cerise probably got infected by the Phalanx too. Unless someone saw her in that Emperor Vulcan mess. There's no mention, but any of you see her? Back of the Photo.

Slapstick - Gained weird powers by walking through funhouse mirror. Had limited series, teamed up with New Warriors once, beat the snot out of Gauntlet for trashing the New Warriors name constantly. And may I say, thank you for that, Slapstick. As Gauntlet is a fictional character, I was unable to do so myself. I would say Slapstick's Q rating has never been higher, at least not since his limited series back in '92. Still, he's just one of a cast of dozens in that book, so Bit Player.

Pantheon - Group of super-powered folks trying to help the world. Worked with Professor Hulk, were eventually lead by him, until he decided he didn't want the gig anymore, then they went to work for the government. Haven't been seen since a Hulk Annual in 1997 where some space alien assumed a form that made them believe he was Banner's kid, which they decided to protect. Until Gladiator stomped the crap out of them (the alien committed crimes against the Shi'ar in a past life). Gone.

So there's the the rookies. There's really only one that's been around consistently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it's the one that appeared on a cartoon show. Slapstick, Silhouette, and maybe Cerise might be reaching that point where people who liked them as kids are getting a chance to write, and that's why they've reemerged, to the limited extent each one has. Might take another five to ten years before one of them gets to play Jessica Drew to some hip, young writer's Bendis.