Friday, July 31, 2009

This Could Go On And On

With Immortal Weapons #1, the device used to relate Fat Cobra's history to us is the arrival of a man Cobra hired to research his history. The idea was that Cobra's done so much, and drank so much he either can't remember everything, or at least forgot many of the details.

I wonder if this is the first time Fat Cobra's had someone research his past. At the end of the tale, he's horribly depressed by what he's learned about himself, and orders lots of the strongest wine available, so he apparently plans to drink himself into a stupor, possibly to forget what he's learned. And since he burns the researcher's report, there won't be anyway for him to remember, until the next time he hires a researcher to look into his past.

It would be cyclical, Cobra learning of his past failures and misdeeds, getting drunk to escape what he's learned, and repeating his mistakes. Of course, he won't remember why he got drunk this time (or what he did), so it all begins again. It would, on a micro scale, mirror the Immortal Weapons themselves, as one dies, but another will be along eventually, to live much the same sort of life of battle.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What I Bought 7/29/09

I suppose I should have mentioned on Tuesday that I'd be off visiting family for a week, and thus we would be entering "intermittent posting" mode. Well, you know now.

Immortal Weapons #1 - The preview they included of this in last month's Immortal Iron Fist had me worried. I had the feeling I was going to realize I was happier when I didn't know anything about Fat Cobra's origin, only that he was here now, and he was awesome. Fortunately, his life wasn't only embarassing upbringing and buttkickings at the hands of multi-headed snake demon things. It ends on a rather down note, though Fat Cobra is young yet (I guess). He could turn things back around with the time he has left.

Jason Aaron certainly doesn't lack for the wild ideas that typified Immortal Iron Fist. I suppose that isn't news to most of you, but I haven't been reading Ghost Rider, so I'm behind the curve. Personally I want to know more about Fat Cobra's time working with Ulysses Bloodstone. Fat Cobra was dressed like Kato from Green Hornet, and he once kicked Fin Fang Foom in the face. Or a story set during his time as a minor film star might be good, though I guess Swierczynski might have covered that time period with the Death Queen of California story.

Lot of different art teams on the book, which is natural with all the different time periods. I think my favorite was Michael Lark's work, because it most reminded me of David Aja in style and the way they showcased the different. . . moves. Mico Suayan handles most of the work, and gets the opportunity to draw Cobra with a variety of facial expressions, from shock, to anger, embarassment, even a few smiles.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

That Solves That Pull List Question

Thanks be to all the responses to the corn question (and Sally, I was actually going to describe the across method as being like a typewriter, so you weren't the only one dating yourself).

I read that Exiles is ending at issue #6, which is kind of a bummer*. Granted, #6 was going to be the issue where I decided whether to keep buying the book or not, but I don't think it's ever much fun when the choice gets taken out of my hands***. Plus, I think once we had some answers to what was up with Morph, or why things weren't happening as Blink expected, the book might have settled into a groove, and that would have helped. At least they're giving him a chance to wrap things up a bit.

I wonder, and Mr. Parker mentions it as well, whether this relates to a point I raised two months ago. I was talking about how they canceled Moon Knight, but it looked as though they'd be starting again within a few months****, and I wondered if they shouldn't let Moonie sit a while longer. I wonder if that was the case with Exiles, considering it started two months after New Exiles ended because it was selling poorly?

Would setting the Exiles aside for a couple years have helped? I don't know. If direct market sales are any indication, most fans are drawn towards the books they think "matter", and it seems like Exiles would be a hard sell on those terms these days. The only reality most fans seem to care about these days is the 616, and I don't know if I can see the chart-topping books selling the seriousness of the situation the Exiles would be preventing*****. Besides, it would kind of go against the purpose of the book if every issue involved the 616-universe, so they'd eventually have to go elsewhere, and maybe the fans would stick, and maybe they wouldn't.

Then again, the book doesn't have to be in the Top 10, slugging it out with the Adventures of Norman Osborn's 357th Dark Team. It would just need some way to hold on at roughly where Nova is, though maybe Nova isn't the best example, since it does get periodic sales boosts from event tie-ins.

* Though I'm pleased to see Agents of Atlas is safe for the time being**.

** Between the two, I'd rather have Agents of Atlas.

*** Even if there are times it would really have been for the best. Like if they'd canceled Uncanny X-Men a year into Chuck Austen's run, so I wouldn't have been able to stupidly keep buying the title until a couple of issues into Claremont's return.

**** Turns out they are.

***** More likely, the Exiles would be unfortunate enough to land in Hulk, and be treated as Red Hulk's latest set of tomato cans. Red Hulk: Quite possibly the only character I could do without more than the Sentry.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Out of curiosity, when you eat corn on the cob (if you eat corn on the cob), how do you eat it? Across or around?

I'm an around guy myself, and I just recently learned that Friend Alex is an across fellow, so I thought I would ask.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If He's This Stupid, He Certainly Couldn't Replace Batman

A few weeks ago, when I was reviewing Secret Six #11, I commented to the effect that I couldn't believe any of the Six were cool with providing security for the construction of a prison for every criminal in the world. I didn't even mean in terms of the fact that slave labor is being used. Sure, I find that disturbing, moreso than all the killing they've done in the series up to this point* somehow, but the Six are pretty blase about the horrible things people do to each other, so they're indifference wasn't entirely unexpected. As Ragdoll pointed out, Smyth's probably not any more evil than their previous employers**.

Still, this is a prison, for every criminal in the world, and the Six all have criminal records. So the odds they'd be tenants are pretty fair. Having given it some more thought, I can understand a couple of them. Deadshot really doesn't care about anything, including whether he's alive or dead, so I imagine a horrible prison doesn't concern him much, though it would be interesting to see if circumstances could be so awful he actually would begin to care. Ragdoll's an loon who had his body pretty much torn down and rebuilt for greater flexibility, so he might enjoy prison.

Catman's the one I can't figure. Set aside the crap about how the team took a job and so they have to see it through. They didn't actually deliver the card to the Mad Hatter, or Tarantula for that matter, so that's a bunch of bunk. Part of the point of the Six as a concept seems to be their lack of scruples, so I can't figure breaking a contract is really going to prove the line in the sand they won't cross. If it is, well, it's a really odd place to draw a line.

It just feels like Catman has to have a better reason. Is he on one of his guilt phases, where he feels bad about the ugly things he does, and so he'll make sure a prison he'd eventually be thrown into is finished? That would be funny, because by the time they finish, I imagine he'll be out of that phase, and it'll be time for a rousing game of "What the hell was I thinking?" Does he honestly believe he'd never be caught? Because he's struck me as a little more realistic about situations in the past***, to the point I can't see him as that delusional. Unless this is a delusional phase.

* I'm guessing that's because they had, until Deadshot killed the fleeing Mina in #10, restricted themselves to killing villains and varying degrees of scumbags.

** Unless it turns out Smyth's conviction that the righteousness of what he's doing validates all actions leads him to even darker places than their earlier employers. And if he believes that, well he might want to talk to Beta Ray Bill about whether noble ends make noble means, provided one even considers his goal noble.

*** His recognition that the Six didn't really stand much of a chance against Cheetah, considering she's powerful enough to fight Wonder Woman hand-to-hand, is one example.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

He's "Mad" As In Crazy, After All

Maximus the Mad's T-Bomb requires the voice of Black Bolt to detonate it. This requires Black Bolt to essentially be inside the bomb at the time it detonates, which will, you know, kill him. Maximus and Black Bolt have had their issues over the years, struggled back and forth for the throne.

Since Black Bolt escaped Skrull imprisonment, he's given Maximus a chance to be a contributing part of the Royal Family, one that isn't constantly looked at askance based on his past actions, which is nice. For his part, Maximus seems to have embraced the opportunity, and even if he's still looser with secrets, and more glib about things than Medusa might like, he's certainly thrown himself into the work his family has asked of him. Whether it was studying if the Terrigen Mists would work on the Kree, or developing all those nifty weapons the Inhumans have deployed, he's worked nearly tirelessly.

Still, I have this suspicion that Black Bolt having to sacrifice himself to use the bomb is all part of some devious plot of Maximus', to clear the path to the throne. If Blackagar really does buy the farm*, Maximus might wind up as the primary opposition to the Crystal/Ronan ruling pair I envisioned previously, instead of Medusa. What do you think?

And while we're discussing the T-Bomb, does it seem short-sighted to anyone else? They say it will expose everyone in the galaxy to the Terrigen Mists, so they'll all be Inhumans (except the poor Kree) and have no reason to fight. Let's set aside the fact Annihilation: Prologue said the Shi'ar and Kree live in entirely different galaxies**, which would suggest they won't actually be changing all the Shi'ar. Heck, let's even set aside the idea that people who have identified themselves as Shi'ar*** for generations, will just suddenly say, "Yep, we're Inhumans now, not Shi'ar. No reason to keep fighting the Kree, because they're ruled by Inhumans, which si what we are. Not Shi'ar anymore, no sirree."

That's still just one galaxy. Even if the T-Bomb didn't create the Fault which would destroy everything, I have to think all the other sentient races would be worried about the Inhumans just blithely deciding to make everyone like them, without so much as bothering to consult anyone else. They'd probably fear the same happening to them, which means a whole other war would start up between all the Inhumans types, and all the non-Inhumans types that aren't about to let themselves become Inhumans without a fight. Really shortsighted (which only increases my belief that it's really a scheme to eliminate Black Bolt).

* Take Vulcan with you. Please!

** It says the Shi'ar Empire is located in galaxy M-31, the Kree Empire in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, and the Skrull Empire was in the Andromeda Galaxy. I don't really expect all the writers to abide by that, but I kind of liked it as a concept.

*** Or Skrulls, because you know there are a few of them skulking around somewhere, trying to hold on. Like the religious refugees that were on Knowhere.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh Goody, More Comic Book Science

Guardians of the Galaxy #16, the 31st Century. Almost all of the universe has been, consumed by The Fault, which is created by The Error caused in the 21st Century. The Error is apparently Black Bolt and his stupid T-Bomb, which was going to expose everyone to Terrigen Mists, opening one of those rifts in space-time that allow really unpleasant things a way in*. Although really, this sounds less like the tear allowing something in, and more like it opened a hole which things fell through**.

I'm guessing the Fault starts small (compared to its size in the 31st Century), but is too large to fix, and so it just continues to grow, with the universe falling in, one system after another***. Now it's taken almost everything, save the lone system the Badoon saved with their ingenious use of enslaved Sentinels as a cage to contain a power source (created from the sun) which generates a massive force field which protects that remaining section of space from the Fault.

Pardon me while I look back over that last sentence. *Looks back over that last sentence. No, not the one about begging your pardon while I look over a sentence, the one before that.* That is the most awesome thing I've been able to describe since "Mecca for all time and space at the edge of the universe set inside the decapitated head of a space god, with a telepathic cosmonaut dog as head of security".

OK, back to the actual point of the post. It was previously established that the Marvel Universe, the one being destroyed by the Fault, is constantly expanding, and that at least one of the places its expanding into is the Negative Zone****. Do you think the Fault has consumed the Negative Zone as well? I don't know how fast the universe was expanding into***** the Negative Zone, but I doubt it was going as fast as the Fault appears to be moving, if there's a solitary system left after a thousand years. Did the Fault, having devoured almost all of the Marvel Universe, continue expanding, which would bring it into contact with the Negative Zone, and simply keep growing, keep having more stuff fall into it?

For that matter, where is all the stuff going into the Fault ending up at? Somewhere outside the universe, or some other reality perhaps? Maybe another universe is experiencing similar difficulties with rifts, and bits of the Marvel Universe are what is coming in. That's where the Major Victory in the 21st Century came from, I think, another reality he was somehow tossed out of. Unless he's the one from the 31st Century that was blown up at the end of the issue****** . Assuming he and his team were blown up, which isn't for certain, since it's a safe bet Star-Lord and his bunch were killed. So maybe the Major Victory in the 21st Century is the one from the 31st, who was thrown out into the Fault by the explosion, then literally frozen in Time?

Ow, headache. Even if the Fault is so destructive that no matter can make it through whole, matter and energy can't be destroyed, only change form, so whatever made up the Marvel Universe would still have to exist in some form, somewhere. Though this is perhaps not the book to be trying to apply my limited understanding of thermodynamics.

* Given that the bomb is powered by Black Bolt's voice, should we assume it's his voice that's going to do the damage? I mean, I know he's powerful enough to level a city with a whispered word, but to have a voice capable of exploding a bomb with sufficient force to scatter its contents across a galaxy (we'll ignore the obvious questions of just how long that dispersal should actually take), or tear holes in the universe? Geez.

** Though 'consumed' almost suggests an active mind at work. Wasn't there a creature like that in the Thanos series? It tricked Galactus into giving it entry to the Marvel Universe, and Thanos had to find some way to stop it, when even Galactus couldn't slow it down? Maybe that thing is back.

*** Or multiple systems simultaneously, assuming the Fault expands in all directions at once, and so would reach different systems at the same time.

**** As you may recall, that was Annihilus' pretext for invading the Marvel U. in Annihilation. Course, he was really out to take the Power Cosmic for himself, and kill all other life, but he couldn't very well admit that to his soldiers.

***** I don't entirely understand how that works. Was the Marvel U. pushing into the Negative Zone, bumping up against the fabric of N-Zone spacetime, and shoving it out of the way? If so, where was the N-Zone being shoved to? Or is the N-Zone being absorbed somehow? Like it's a piece of food, and the Marvel U. is an ameoba, extending a pseudopod of space-time to envelop and digest the N-Zone?

****** Though Starhawk didn't seem to recognize him as his/her friend and teammate, so I think Starhawk knew it was a different Major Victory from his/hers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sufficiently Cooled? Check? Sufficiently Rested? Check.

{Now the only question is what problem will emerge to provide humorous commentary?} Deadpool? {Nah, he's too busy fighting the Wrecking Crew.} He made time to visit when he was fighting Bullseye. {Yeah, that was Bullseye, non-powered psycho who routinely gets thumped by blind lawyers. This is the Wrecking Crew, super-powered numbskulls who once helped put Hercules in a coma.}

That's not so cool. I could do that. {Without using booze?} Uh, sure! {No you couldn't! Stop lying and give Tombstone a Bonk!} What for? {For hiring extra people to beat Deadpool so he wins his bet.} That's dirty pool! I want to give that Strontian a Bonk too, for killing Richie. {Hey, we don't know that he's dead. I really don't think they'll dump that on Nova. he already has enough guilt over the Ko-Rel thing. You could still hit her for being a murderer though.} I will then, her and Blastaar, for letting those Shi'ar troops chase the Novas. {Let's not go overboard here. Blastaar could have just killed the Novas, but he actually gave them a chance, and he did follow the letter of the law of what he promised.} You're just afraid of him! {With good reason. He is a large hairy fellow nicknamed the "Living Bomb Burst!", who was capable of battling Annihilus. Fear is appropriate.}

You'll never be a Green Lantern with that attitude. {When have I ever voiced a desire to be a Green Lantern? One, I don't have the rear end for it, so the fans would be calling for my death because I was blocking the view of their favorites. Two, I'd have to fight zombie friends and kitties that belch acid blood. No thank you.} Ew, that's gross! {You brought it up.} I didn't say anything about acid belching cats! I'll give Power Girl and Terra Applause for saving Manhattan. That was pretty cool. {Yeah, I kind of wish that in the shot where PG is cutting all the cables, they'd gone with a sot from a distance, to give us an idea of the area she had to cover. Would have made it more impressive.} It was still impressive. {Oh yeah, no doubt. I'm just saying it would have provided a sense of scale.} I'm going to Applaud and Hug Robbie Rider for trying to do the right thing, and maybe dying dying for it. {Not dead.}

I don't know what to give the Guardians of the Galaxy. {Which version?} Either one. {Well, they might all have been blown up, so Hugs would be appropriate.} They weren't blown up! {True, they're lost in time, in Kang's sights, no less. That'll be fun.} I'm not sure I should hug the future Guardians, they doomed what was left of their universe. {There was hardly anything left, except one Solar System filled with Badoon.} See, there was still something there, and they killed them all! {The Badoon killed all of the members of each of the Guardians' species first.} That doesn't make it right! No hugs for future Guardians! Bonks for them and the Badoon! {Good luck on that one, seeing as they're all either blown up or whatever happens to being caught in that Fault.}

I'll find a way! {Super. Anyone else you want to single out before you go?} Ultra-Humanite. he's badly burned, so he gets a Hug. {That'll probably hurt him quite a bit.} I know. {Killing with kindness, eh? Cold as the depths of space.}

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What I Bought 7/22/09

The store got shorted on their Immortal Weapons #1, only receiving one copy, which went out the door with someone else before I got around to asking for it. So next week. That's OK, next week was shaping up to be light, so this'll beef it up a bit.

Deadpool: Suicide Kings #4 - Having his head blown off does not kill Deadpool. Spider-Man and Daredevil both agree to help track down Tombstone, who contracts some extra muscle from the Hood. I don't care how hard Marvel tries to convince me he's Chief Villain leader Muckety-Muck, it grates on me when I see Tombstone being all polite and "yes, sir" towards the Hood. He ought to snap that snot's neck. The Punisher finds Deadpool again, but eventually stops trying to kill him when a heart rate analysis convinces him Wade really didn't do what he's accused of, which makes me wonder why they weren't checking his heart rate the first two or three times Castle tried to kill him. They team up to find Tombstone, then they split up, then Spidey reappears, then we meet the muscle the Hood sent.

Well, I liked this issue a little more than the previous ones. The insults flying between Spidey and Deadpool were amusing (especially how it irritates Daredevil), though it seemed kind of like a cheap shot for Spider-Man to make fun of Deadpool's face. I know Spider-Man does that a lot while battling villains, but they weren't fighting, and it is a side effect of the only thing keeping Deadpool from dying of cancer, so a little decency wouldn't be out of place. I can't really get into Carlo Barberi's art. Everyone's head seems to small for their body (or their upper bodies are too big for their heads), though he did a fine impression of Skottie Young's art on the first page, to the extent I checked the credits to see if Young was a guest penciler.

Guardians of the Galaxy #16 - I know, the cover the book had is completely not the cover they solicited. I can't decide whether Marvel is trying to be clever, or if it's incompetence. Not that it matters much, I prefer this cover to the 'Drax and Adam Warlock in front of kaleidoscope background' one they solicited, it's just kind of annoying.

Star-Lord, Mantis, Bug, and Jack Flag are brought to the 31st century by Starhawk, where they meet the future Guardians of the Galaxy, who are also the old Guardians of the Galaxy, but not old in the sense that they're the same people from Star-Lord's time, old in the sense that it's the original characters who made up the Guardians of the Galaxy, when the concept was first introduced in comics. Follow that? Good. The Guardians of the past see what the future is, and it's, uh, trippy. And doomed. Naturally, seeing as this is Marvel, and so futures are always bleak. You want happy futures, go read some Legion stuff. Then the Badoon attack, the way home is lost, and the only hope is to try and warn the Guardians still back at Knowhere about what needs to be done. Which explains the talking decapitated Celestial head from last issue.

See, this is what I love Cosmic Marvel for, besides the fact that heroes actually fight villains, and the villains usually get their comeuppance, rather than promotions. Where was I? Right, what I like is all the odd stuff that gets thrown out, like with most of the universe destroyed by the Fault (caused by the Error), how there's is still a little patch that manages to survive. Wesley Craig is back on the art chores, which is good. I liked Brad Walker's art, but Craig just draws weird freaky stuff so well. I'm not sure his anatomy is the best, but there's an energy to the work, and his expressions (though typically over-the-top) are solid as well. It's a little Bruce Timm meets Kirby, at least in my mind.

Nova #27 - Richard leads two other Novas to Ravenous' throne world, which is currently being trashed by Blastaar, sorry, King Blastaar and his Negative Zone troops. Richard manages to talk their way out of having to fight Blastaar (which is good), but Blastaar allows the Shi'ar Praetorians to chase after the Novas (which is bad - for the Praetorians, because I think Nova Prime will kill them next issue). Meanwhile, Robbie has the Strontian pinned down, but can't really do anything else, his control is slipping, and Ravenous is of no help. It looks like Richard may have been a bit slow arriving, which will be too bad for anyone in the area. Sure, Malik Tarcel was Nova Prime and Gladiator beat him down, but he didn't have Richard's experience. Nova's fought the Silver Surfer, and even Annihilus twice. I'm hoping he'll make a gravimetric field which causes the Strontians heart to collapse in on itself. That would be sweet.

There's really not that much happening in the issue. The focus is limited, and there's not much progression, which is kind of a downer. I would have liked more plot advancement, because what there was interested me, but I think there could have been more. The last panel's a nice cliffhanger for next month, but it felt pretty obvious throughout the issue, to the point where I think it would have been better to wrap that up and move on within the issue to another point of suspense.

Power Girl #3 - I love that self-satisfied smile on Power Girl's face on the cover. 'Yeah, I smashed all these robots by myself. It was easy too.'

Hard to believe Ultra-Humanite forgot about that power, but given her preference for punching things, she probably doesn't use it much. Which makes it a nifty ace in the hole. Power Girl beats Giant Albino Gorilla, and with a little help from her friend Terra, saves the city from falling from a great height, and from having a giant spacecraft fall on it from a great height. Not too shabby.

I'm surprised, given how much difficulty she had with him in the first two issues, that she was able to beat U-H so easily this time. Maybe it was a lucky toss, or maybe he was too stunned she escaped to do any telepathy/emotion manipulating stuff. I'm also a little surprised that Power Girl and Wildcat's brief conversation was so cordial. I figured he'd make a snide remark about how she couldn't hack it since she kept asking for other JSA members to help, but no. Maybe he does that after everything is settled. I think we saw a hint of some of the secret identity conflicts she'll face, with her employees wondering where she is, and we learned (if you hadn't already read the Terra mini-series) that she has at least one friend she's hits the town with, which is something. I'm hoping they have a little of that in #4, before these alien party girls show up to start causing trouble, since it would serve as another glimpse into Power Girl as a character. I don't know what to say about Amanda Conner's art other than I still like it. It works for me, in both action scenes and talking scenes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Important To Remember Who's Defining Terms Here

Spoilers for Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #2.

At issues end, Bill finds he's no longer able to lift his mystic hammer, Stormbreaker. Since he made a point of telling Agent Brand in issue 1 that he's one of the few individuals deemed worthy of lifting Stormbreaker, one can assume his recent actions have rendered him unworthy. Since Odin enchanted the hammer, I guess it's his definition that determines things, and his definition strikes me as somewhat unusual.

Given the timing of it, it would seem that the line was drawn at how Bill convinced the I'thians to flee I'than Prime, rather than try to fight off Galactus and two Heralds. Bill's method was to use a nanoplague the Voidian weapons makers he captured in #1 to infect the I'thians, and withhold the antidote until they were safely away from there home.

OK, that's dirty pool to be sure, but I find it funny that's more ignoble than his decision to kill Galactus, considering people have been arguing Galactus is necessary to the universe since, what, the trial of Reed Richards back during Byrne's Fantastic Four*? But here's Beta Ray Bill, bound and determined to kill him, and surely Odin would have perceived Galactus' importance (assuming it's actually true).

Further, Bill isn't even trying to destroy Galactus in a manner of which I'd think Asgardians would approve. Rather than try and fight Galactus, he opts to destroy worlds before they can be devoured, starving Galactus. Kind of a cheap way to gain a victory, and one you'd think would be frowned upon by beings that prefer to settle things in honorable combat.

But no, it's the fact Bill was willing to do anything to save the I'thians from their own foolish confidence that was the deal breaker. Perhaps it's because the I'thians were prepared to die fighting for their home, as would befit a Viking (or Asgardian), and Bill forced them to run. Or maybe the loss of worthiness was a cumulative thing, and that was merely the last straw. I think it's interesting for what it says about the Asgardians**.

* It was Byrne himself who proposed that, wasn't it? He showed up at Reed's trial and argued Richards shouldn't be executed for saving Galactus because the Big G was vital.

** I wonder if there's also something there about how Bill is making a mistake being so focused on death, whether it's killing Galactus, or avenging his dead people, which is driving him to try this. Is it that he should be focusing on using his power to protect the living, rather than avenge the dead through killing? Because I don't believe Beta Ray Bill is actually concerned with protecting innocents nearly as much as he is with vengeance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend's Over, Back To Posting

So how was your weekend? Really that's good (or terrible). Mine was pleasant enough. Saw some friends, ate far too much, forgot my camera when I went to the big get-together, but the weather was superb.

I also took the opportunity to stop at a comic store along the way, one I hadn't visited in three years. The last time I was there, I didn't have a lot of money with me, so I couldn't buy much, but I was able to pick up the last six issues of GrimJack before the multi-century leap into the future. That was nice, since most of those wrapped up the big confrontation with the Dancer and his schemes to lead the demons back into Cynosure, and I had been waiting years to see how that played out. Dropping by this past Friday, I was able to purchase six more issue scattered through the last quarter of the series, which is the same number of issues I'd managed to find in the time in between these visits.

The owner (or at least the fellow behind the register) was sure at least one of the issues had been there since it's release. He was able to ascertain this because each comic is in a standard bag and board, with a sticker on the outside of the bag. The sticker has all sorts of different information, including the store's address. The particular issue had a different address from the current one, and it was a site the store had been located at for only about a year, and that was close to two decades ago. That's quite a while to sit there untouched, fortunately for me it stayed there just long enough for me to find it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pondering The Buying/Selling Dynamic

The trend for Marvel and DC the last few years seems to be that books which are BIG and IMPORTANT sell well (or are perceived or marketed as such), and if you want to goose a lower-selling title's sales, you just tie it into the BIG, IMPORTANT stuff for a few months. Sure, the extra sales vanish as soon as the tie-in does, but the sales increase for a few months anyway.

What I'm wondering is, how did this start? Was it at some point that the fans stopped buying titles they perceived weren't having an effect on the larger universe? Then as the fans chose to concentrate on the books whose events all the other titles had to accomodate, Marvel and DC took that cue and started promoting and selling in a way to work with that, thus the seemingly endless (especially at Marvel) cycle of Big Events which really matter, and hey the lower-selling titles are tying in to the Big Event, so those titles must actually matter, and so the fans buy them?

Or was it that Marvel and DC promoted the idea that fans should want their comic to matter, to have some kind of weight in their respective universes, by pushing the titles that did, and giving short shrift to books that didn't, and the fans accepted that, and purchased accordingly?

I have no idea which it myself. Probably a combination of the two, and likely a bunch of other factors besides. It's just a thought that came to me, and since I'm taking the weekend off, it seemed like a decent discussion post to set up before I shut down.

Any thoughts, recollections, theories?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ABP Is Not Up For Heat-Related Kookiness Today

{No worries on that score, my small, wooly friend. It's not nearly hot enough to cook my brain.} Good. {Sleep deprivation oddness is not out of the question, though.} Awww, nuts.

I guess Jimmy Woo has to get a Bonk for breaking the Atlas-Great Wall treaty. {See, I think the dragon neglected to mention the specifics of the treaty. It'll probably back whoever wins. Dragons are evil like that.} No they aren't. They're noble and good, and cool! {Right.} The Hulk and Bruce Banner both get Hugs, because of the drugging, and the nerve gas, and all the other bad stuff they went through. Bob gets a Bonk for using the word "Smash" around the Hulk. That's just stupid, right Calvin? Calvin? {Zzzzzz. . .}

Wake up! {Wha, oh sorry! Dozed off there a minute. Warned you there could be sleep issues.} Well why did you stay up all night?! {Because I couldn't fall asleep! My sleep schedule is all wonky! Besides, night is when I plot my enemy's downfall.} [Shouldn't that be "enemies'?] Deadpool! {Oh, hi Wade, nice to see you. No, I've just the one enemy to plot a downfall for. The large, odd fellow who tore that wall off my room.} What about UnCalvin? {We're not really enemies. More like friends who express their affection through insults and oneupsmanship.} Oh.

{I think Deadpool deserves a round of Applause for that through drubbing he handed Bullseye.} Agreed. [Oh you're too kind. Do I get a shiny award and a chance for a speech?] {Sure, step up on the footstool over there and say your peace.} *whispering* Should we tell him Norman Osborn didn't actually pay him that money? {Why ruin his mood?} But he shot himself at the end of the issue! {At least he's not embarking on another pointless vendetta against Osborn.} [. . . And I'd like to let all my tacos know that I'm a changed man, and I'll never - What do you mean pointless?] {Wade, breakout star of the Wolverine movie, and current holder of two ongoing series or not, Marvel isn't going to let you take down Norman Osborn over your desire for him to pay what he owes. Remember how they let Sabretooth kill Vanessa? They didn't let you kill Vic in revenge. Nope they let Wolverine do it in some godawful piece of garbage Loeb wrote. It's the unfortunate way of things.} It'll be OK Wade. [Hmm, I wasn't listening. Too busy thinking about how cool that move I pulled with the monster truck was, and his mouth was running like the Energizer Bunny, so I tuned him out. Say, you guys going to smack Bullseye one?] Well, you did a pretty good job of that already, but I guess I could. [Great. When you do, slap this Post-It with a giant "L" on it on his forehead. It'll be funny. *leaps out window*] {ABP, I would advise against that action.} Gee, really? I'm not stupid.

I'm giving the I'thians Hugs because they lost another world. {Hey, like Bill said, at least they're still alive to mourn losing another world. Provided Stardust doesn't get in one of its moods, track them down and kill them for spite.} What?! {Relax, I'm sure that won't happen.} Well, Stardust is getting a Bonk anyway, for enjoying its job too much. Beta Ray Bill gets a Bonk because I don't like how he's doing things. {So it would be better to fight a likely losing battle alongside the I'thians against the Devourer of Worlds?} Uh, maybe?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What I Bought 7/15/09

Another Wednesday, another comic reviewing post here at Reporting on Marvels and Legends. Marvels and Legends itself has moved to a new (old) location, right across the street. I say it's both new and old because Ken had moved the shop over to that same place for a time, before deciding to move back to the place he'd been before. Now Former Customer and Current Owner Jack has moved the store back to the place it was before. Anyway, in addition to my regular comics, I also grabbed a trade of Joe Kelly's I Kill Giants, on the strength of all the nice reviews I read. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure I'll discuss it here when I do. Until then, comics.

Agents of Atlas #8 - Another month, another two issues of Agents of Atlas. I wonder why they're taking that tactic. I also wonder why Leinil Yu has the Hulk is rocking the Moe Howard haircut on the cover. Or would that be the "Guy Gardner, based on Ernie, General Glory's sidekick" haircut?

The Agents are continuing to check up on the Atlas Foundation's various enterprises, and today they go to check a 'biological study lab', which really means 'we kidnap drifters and combine them into creations straight out of Silent Hill games'. Unfortunately (or fortunately), their most recent drifter happened to be the Hulk, who I did not realize had resumed his aimless drifting through the world. Anway, the crew manages to placate the Hulk, and remove the scientists from their employ, while Jimmy and M-11 find out what Suwan has been up to. The answer, predictably, is not good news for them.

I'm curious to find out what the "Jade Claw" has been up to all these years. She runs an organization roughly the size of Atlas, so how has she been using it? Pagulayan's art is still pretty, though I think I'm a little disappointed his Hulk didn't look more monstrous. Could have been because of all the lab-created freaks around him though. A big green guy can look mighty tame in comparison.

Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #2 - That's a pretty nice cover, though the amount of blood on the hammer seems out of proportion to what's around the Surfer's face. Regardless, I wonder why Patrick Zircher can't land a regular penciling gig on a nice, high-selling title. I think he's a fine artist, and his stint on Cable/Deadpool demonstrated the man can hit his deadlines.

Bill fights with the Surfer for a few pages, then learns the I'thians can put a decent fight themselves. Unfortunately, that's gone to their heads, and Bill is forced to be rather underhanded to get them to abandon their new world, since Galactus is on his way again. However, as always, actions have consequences, and it appears Odin isn't a believer in the ends justifying the means, which is bad news for everyone's favorite bio-mechanical equine Thor.

I'm really enjoying this. The internal struggle between Bill's desire to triumph through battle (which I think is fueled by desire for revenge), and his desire to protect life (which is why he really ought to be trying to stop Galactus). The Surfer being a mopey, indecisive sort, which is what he does best after all. Kano's art can appropriately convey the scope of the challenge our hero faces, and the toll it takes.

Deadpool #12 - Bullseye wakes up, which is pretty surprising considering Deadpool rammed a meat hook through his chest last month. More surprising, he wakes in a hospital he was delivered to by Deadpool. Actually, considering this is Deadpool I'm talking about, describing anything as surprising is probably a mistake. To wit: Later in the issue, Deadpool, frustrated because Bullseye has not reappeared to continue their battle, says '{4-letter expletive deleted} tacos.' At which point he vows that for making Wade hurt those he loves (the tacos) Bullseye will pay.

So the battle is (eventually) rejoined, and involves, rocket launchers, monster trucks, the threat of chainsawing, and random civilians. Oh, and Bullseye pleading for his life. Because he's a loser. Ha! Go Deadpool! Except victory be not sweet, and peace be not pleasant, or something poetic. Either way, the last page was kind of surprising, even for Deadpool.

I can't say that the stories Daniel Way's been writing have been densely plotted, but for the most part I've been entertained. They're kind of wacky, and Deadpool's thought processes are written as random enough to get a laugh. Or maybe they remind me of myself. I think the key will be to see what Way does next. The consistent theme of the first 12 issues has been Wade's quest for money (and respect). Well, he's got more money than probably even he can spend, and he kicked Bullseye's hind end, so that ought to cover respect, so what now? What's the new conflict that will challenge him?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It Could Be The #1 New Sitcom On Mojo TV

There's an aspect of Crystal and Ronan's marriage that hasn't been touched on yet that could be entertaining, depending on how it's handled*. It's understandable, given the tumult that surrounded the wedding, Ronan's being beaten to near-death, and the ensuing war.

I'm referring to the fact that Ronan is now a step-father. That's going to be interesting for Luna. Ronan's going to be a very different parental figure from Pietro. For one thing, he's not crazy. Focused? Yes. Driven. You betcha. But he seems in full possession of his faculties. Plus, there won't be the considerable difference in the speed of their perceptions that there was between Luna and Quicksilver**.

Plus, Pietro was fairly absentee, always getting wrapped up in Avengers stuff, or X-Factor stuff, or Magneto stuff, or "I can't believe my sister married an android, so I'll destroy the Avengers" stuff. Granted, Ronan (assuming he has a position of authority in the government after War of Kings) will be heavily involved in running the Kree Empire, but I can't shake the feeling that he has a set of books in his home about "How to be a Good Husband/Father", and if said books tell him to spend time with his stepdaughter, then I imagine that Ronan the Accuser will damn well spend time with her. He can teach her the fine points of Accusing***.

* I guess that's true of most ideas, isn't it?

** Though Luna gained some odd perceptive ability after Pietro exposed her to the Mists. I haven't seen that mentioned in awhile, though,. Maybe the effect wore off. Pietro had to eventually steal the Terrigen Crystals to keep the weird time powers he gained from them.

*** Point #1 - Make the Accusation in a loud, but calm and clear tone. Point #2 - Level your weapon in their direction. Point #3 - If they plead innocence, ignore. Point #4 - If they claim immunity from your laws, explain that where Kree tread, Kree law rules. Point #5 - If they give you any more lip, pop them in it.****

**** Yes, I just came up with those as I was typing this.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Some Rulers Last Longer Than Others

For the War of Kings followers out there, what do you figure the odds are that, when all is said and done, Crystal and Ronan will wind up ruling the Kree Empire?

Black Bolt was already on a suicide run, even before Vulcan decided to get hands on about dealing with his foes*. Given they're fighting inside a giant bomb, I see a fair chance he might not walk away from this one. In that event, Medusa might find herself to grief-stricken to continue ruling without him.

Beyond that, Abnett and Lanning seem to have been hinting strongly at Crystal and Ronan as being the true representatives of the Kree, which is what I'd think the people would want their rulers to be. Ronan's the most highly respected Kree there is, someone who has already run things during a very difficult period, and has demonstrated his willingness to suffer defending his people. Crystal, in contrast to the rest of the Royal Family, has moved amongst the people the Inhumans are ruling, and, more importantly has actually shown concern for the fate of the Kree**. She actually cares that her family made a promise to help elevate the Kree back to their old position of prominence, and isn't satisfied with Medusa's claim that even though the Terrigen Mists won't work on the Kree, the Inhumans will look after them. Crystal understands the Kree don't want to be treated as children, and certainly not as an underclass.

Granted, Ronan doesn't really feel comfortable as a ruler, hence his willingness to turn over the keys to the castle to someone he considered more qualified, but you know if he thinks it's in the best interests of the Kree, he'll step back into the role.

I am really intrigued by the idea of Ronan and Crystal running the empire together. Crystal's never really had to run things, and Ronan will have to adjust his style to accommodate the presence of the Inhumans***, so it'll be a learning experience for both of them.

* Black Bolt, if you're gonna die, that's cool, just please, please, take Vulcan with you.

** I figure the fact she doesn't hold herself as aloof as her relatives is related to all the time she spent on Earth, amongst wildly different people, many of whom were struggling to not allow different peoples to build barriers between themselves.

*** Not to mention adjusting to ruling collaboratively.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Time To Guess That Shadowy Villain!

This week's Shadowy Villain is the Black Beetle's mysterious compatriot, who we were introduced to in the most recent Booster Gold issue.

We don't have much to go on, other than that they appear to have some dislike for superheroes, since they're having the Black Beetle wipe them out. Based on the last panel they appeared in, I think they may lack hair on the top of their head, but still have some in the back which sort of tufts out, so maybe it's Simon Stagg? Nah, a bit too random.

Actually, my first guess was it was an older Rip Hunter, either disillusioned with the work he's dedicated himself too, or a Rip who, as a more experienced self, is able to perceive this is the proper course of action (or has convinced himself it's the proper course of action). I figured that would explain how they'd know to set that explosive right where Rip started nosing around, but it wouldn't explain why the Shadowy Villain would be confused by Booster Gold being in the Batcave. So scratch Rip.

Hmm, maybe this is the point when Booster finally has to help Brainiac-5 avoid being eaten by a T-Rex, so it could be a Legion foe. Who do they have that time travels? I hope it's not Time Trapper, because the current iteration is Superboy-Prime, and I could go the rest of my life never seeing that character again.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Do You Mean It Doesn't Stand For Zebra?

I wouldn't say I'm any sort of Zorro afficianado, but I am glad I purchased Isabel Allende's Zorro while I was visiting Alex.

The book doesn't cover much of Zorro's struggles against oppression and injustice in California. Instead the book starts with how Diego de la Vega's parents met, proceeds through Deego and Bernardo's childhoods, into adolescence, and at the very end, we see Zorro in all his glory, struggling against abuse of power by Spanish officers in California.

Which isn't a bad thing, since it seems most Zorro stories focus on him in California, a man ready to be a vigilante. Allende decides to focus on what shapes the boy who will become Zorro, and show us how he gradually becomes the figure he's generally thought of. Diego draws from many different sources to create Zorro. His mother led Indian revolts against the Spanish (and was defeated by Alejandro de la Vega), and even if she stayed largely in Spanish society, she made certain her son learned from her culture as well, and his name is drawn partially from a vision he has during a test. Diego spends 4 years studying in Barcelona, where he's introduced to more ideas about freedom and equality, and also develops his cover of being a weak-willed fool. He also befriends a tribe of Roma, who teach him their horseriding tricks, and further strengthen his resolve to defend the oppressed, as they are frequent targets of persecution. Both sea voyages, from California to Spain and back, offer some lessons for Diego, which help refine his style, and maybe force him to face some harsh realities. Though it's equally likely Diego would refuse to accept those realities, preferring instead to try and change them.

Allende spends time at least partially fleshing out other characters, and the role they play in Diego's development. The character that receives the most attention is Diego's loyal "brother", Bernardo. The old TV show had left me the impression that Bernardo's role was essentiall that of information gathering. Everyone assumes the fellow who won't talk* can't possibly understand them, so they just blab all sorts of story-advancing things around him. Allende shows Bernardo as being calmer, more in control of himself than Diego, which aids in his inconspicuousness, but also makes him more observant, because he isn't being caught up in the emotion of a moment. He's roughly as physically gifted as Diego, a bit more dependent on strength than agility, but that enables him to also take an active hand in fighting injustice, though he seems to do so more out of a concern for Diego than a great desire to change things. He doesn't get swept up in grand notions of intangible concepts. It served to help solidify his place in the story for me.

There are villains in the piece, one Rafael Moncada in particular. The story is being written by someone who lived through some of the events, and never had any affection or trust towards Moncada, and I can't decide whether that helps the story or hurts it. It places Moncada squarely in an adversarial role from the moment he's mentioned, where it might have been interesting if we were uncertain whether what was described as villainy was just Diego's jealousy for Moncada, who had set his eyes on the same young lady Diego was smitten with. But almost immediately it's confirmed that Moncada is, at the very least, dishonest, and willing to cheat to woo the young lady. But maybe that's for the best. We know from the moment he's born that Diego will become Zorro, so maybe it's only proper his arch-foe be established as such from the beginning as well.

* In this story, Bernardo is originally mute from a traumatic incident, then later mute mostly by choice.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Obligatory "Movies I Watched While Away" Post

Perhaps I'm not one to talk, but Alex' taste in movies occasionally concerns me. During my visit, he couldn't stop raving about the recent Transformers flick. Granted, I never managed to confirm what he actually liked so much about it*, but it worried me as to whether he'd enjoy some movies I was bringing that I consider vastly superior. I guess I needn't have worried, as Alex was duly impressed by both High Plains Drifter and In Bruges. He absolutely loved Blazing Saddles, though he stated he didn't like Madeline Kahn, based on her voice and her face. I mentioned that Mel Brooks was probably looking for an actress that could act, as opposed to the 1970s version of Megan Fox, which lead Alex to leap to Ms. Fox' thespian skills, and it may have been needlessly harsh on my part. I'm not much familiar with her work, and I tend to think pretty highly of Eliza Dushku's skills**, which I'm well aware is not an opinion shared by all, so maybe it's all a matter of taste. Or expectations. Or personal perception. Or something.

Pineapple Express - So what was the message of this movie, because I couldn't really figure it out. Smoking pot is bad, because it brings you into contact with criminals? Pot being illegal is bad, because it's not that ahrmful, except for the fact that getting it requires interacting with criminals? That you have to grow up at some point, meaning you can'ty have a high school girlfriend when you're in your mid-20s? That you should never look a gift friend in the mouth, because friends are the only ones you can really count on to be there for you when things go bad? I'm kind of partial to that one myself, but I don't know whether the movie really supports it.

Confusion on my part about the theme aside, it was a pretty funny movie. I loved the fight scene at Red's house***, and the only time I've liked a James Franco character more were those brief scenes in Spider-Man 3 when Harry Osborn had amnesia and was actually happy. Seth Rogan's early scenes demonstrating his skills at process serving were amusing. If I have a complaint with the film, it's that whole thing with the Asian drug cartel felt needlessly tacked on. I felt the movie could have worked as well if Gary Cole is just a crazy drug dealer killing people who welshed on payment, and now he has to eliminate this witness who partakes of his product. The climactic gun battle would have played out a little differently, but I think having Red make his heroic return earlier could have worked just as well as a troop of Asian drug enforcers.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop - Alex' sister rented it, left it in the DVD player, I was bored, and here we are. OK, this was supposed to be a comedy, right? I did not laugh once. I don't think it's for lack of trying on the movie's part, but I think there was a problem with how they portrayed Paul. The movie starts with him trying to make it through the obstacle course, so he can become a full-fledged New Jersey police officer. Contrary to what you might expect from his build, he has no problems. He scales the wall with ease, swings on the rope over the water, and when he lets go does a flip in the air and lands on his feet. If I tried that, I'd just land flat on my back. The only reason he fails is because his blood sugar crashes at an inopportune moment and he apsses out three inches from the finish line. So he has the skill and the desire, it's just he has an unfortunate medical condition holding him back.

Except the movie then tries to convince us he's a loser that nobody takes seriously, in part because he takes being a mall cop so seriously. Golly gee, how awful that the man shows a little (OK, a lot) of pride in his work. Some people recognize him as a nice guy, but they still don't want to count on him to save the day, he's still sort of a schlub to them. Except I, the viewer, know that as long as he can keep his blood sugar up, he has the physical gifts and the drive to be the hero. So throughout the film, when he's suffering misfortune and ridicule, I'm thinking 'Hey, you folks need to stop underestimating him.' Maybe that's a failure on my part to suspend disbelief, but it really kept me from laughing at the attempts at humor. I felt as though I was watching a less cool, less funny version of Die Hard 2.

Gran Torino - I think I may have laughed more at this movie than I did at Pineapple Express. I know I laughed more at it than I did at Paul Blart. I'd say almost all of the humor came from Walt Kowalski's dialogue with people who were actually his friends, and traded ethnic slurs with him on equal footing (his barber, for example). The scenes where he's taken it upon himself to teach Thao how to be a man were also pretty hilarious, and a little touching. I think it's probably good that Thao's been under the thumb of his mother and sister for so long, since that will probably temper some of the more extreme effects Walt might have had.

This is a movie I need to watch again before I could really coalesce my thoughts, but it was a very good film. Watching Walt's crustiness and harshness prove largely useless in the face of the determined Hmong ladies was amusing, and I think it's important for Walt to see they can possess that inner steel like him, but also are able to be kind and compassionate when it's needed, something Walt struggles with. I like the young priest who keeps checking in on Walt, keeps trying to break through the cynicism, but ultimately seems to realize that you can't force people to change, you just have to make sure that if/when they do change, you're ready to support them. Oh, and don't be surprised if the change isn't as significant a shift as you expected.

One thing Alex and I were both trying to decide was why the Hmong people in the neighborhood didn't seem to maintain their lawns or their homes. Alex thought that maybe in their native lands, they used less permanent structures where you had to rebuild the whole thing after large storms (or the monsoon season), so periodic domestic upkeep wasn't something they saw the point of. Or maybe there just isn't anyone in their families with the specific skills necessary, and they don't know anyone outside their community with the skills. We weren't sure.

* Largely because I didn't really want to hear about the movie.

** At least based on her roles I've seen, which doesn't include Dollhouse for what that's worth.

*** As much as I can enjoy a fight scene between two guys who really know their stuff, it can as much fun in a different way to watch a fight between guys who clearly aren't supposed to have a clue what they're doing. Just a different kind of fun.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's Too Hot To Applaud

{I hate summer.} At least you don't have a fur coat. {You could shave it off.} Then I'd burn! {Beauty is suffering, darling.} I don't care about beauty! {Oh, such a shame, to have so little appreciation for things of finery.} What is wrong with you? {The heat is denaturing my brain proteins.} Oh. Maybe you should go to the doctor. {Nonsense. I'm as fine as a velour throw rug.} Good?

Rip Hunter needs a Hug since he was blown up, and I would give Booster one because he got beat up, but you said that was probably a trick. {I did? I don't recall knowing of any chicanery involving a "booster". He sounds unsavory.} I think Booster will get a Bonk for staring at Starfire. It's impolite to stare. {It's scandalous. I told you he sounded unsavory.}

That was a good cover story Skeets came up with to explain him and Booster, so Applause for him. I think Brenda gets a Bonk for laughing at Paco when he told her he loved her. {That's horrible!} I know! {Where was their chaperon?} Huh? {There should have been a chaperon present to prevent such emotional outbursts, lest the whole courtship gain an air of impropriety. Love must be guided by cool logic and proper deference for accepted societal conventions.} Oh, that's enough *dump bucket of ice on Calvin's head* {Ahhh! What the bloody hell are you doing, you little twerp!?} You needed it! Look what you've been saying! {Whoa, that's not right at all. Thanks, little furry one.}

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What I Bought 7/8/09

I'm back and ready to review. Nice week away, and we'll talk movies here in a couple of days. Anyway, my sojourn is done, I'm here, and I did miss you. A little bit. So a review of the only book I bought this week.

Booster Gold #22 - Three things I like about the cover. One, the image of the Titans in the dark side of Deathstroke's mask. It seems like an effective use of space. Two, the smile you can see through the mask. Three, that you can see Deathstroke's eyebrow just below the edge of the mask. I don't know why, it's just a nice little detail.

To the issue. Booster and Skeets chase the Black Beetle, who we learn is working with some shadowy figure. Having failed to kill Grayson early is his tenure as Batman, they decide Beetle should go help the original Ravager kill Dick and the Wolfman/Perez Titans. Not one to do things halfway, Beetle also recruits Deathstroke and they appear to succeed, though I'm fairly sure they didn't. Skeets mentioned the out earlier in the issue, and there is a Titan conspicuously absent from the big fight scene.

I'm wondering how far into the future Black Beetle is looking. He says he wants to kill Grayson to rob the Justice League of their tactician, but other than Obsidian Age, when was he on the Justice League? Or does the he figure killing Grayson then will make Batman retire long before Darkseid can dispatch him in Final Crisis? It's a decent enough chapter, since we learn what Beetle says he's after, but now we have the mystery of who he's working with.

Well, that was easy. Always nice to ease back in.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What I Bought 7/1/09 - Part 2

While flipping through the channels last night I came across the Necessary Roughness on CMT. It's a comedy sports movie, which isn't terribly rare, but this has to be the only one that stars Scott Bakula, Robert Loggia, Sinbad, Kathy Ireland (as the placekicker, and I wish they'd spent a little time teaching her how to at least look fluid when kicking the ball, her motion was all herky-jerky, no follow-through) and Arrested Development's Jason Bateman. I wouldn't say it's a good movie, even by the standards of comedy sports flicks (I might rate it a little better than The Replacements, if only because I think Bakula's a better actor than Keanu. I know, damning with faint praise), but something about all those people in the same movie made me want to watch it. OK, enough yammering about movies.

Nova #26 - Several of the rookie Novas are trapped, and it looks like Imperial Guardsmen Warstar will be adding some more casualties when the words 'Authorize lethal force' appear on the page. Next panel, and Warstar is no more. Hell yes, Richard Rider is back on the field! He and a couple of the other Novas go looking for Robbie, and have to skirmish with the stupid Inhumans for a bit. We do find Robbie by the end of the issue, and I think he may have gotten in a bit over his head.

I really enjoyed this issue. Seeing Nova back kicking butt is always good, the way he handles things, and the fact that his reputation preceeds him and helps to stop that skirmish I mentioned. I like the dialogue, Richard's calm in battle, the rookies shock about learning they were being manipulated, and their resolve to keep fighting, Morrow trying to joke with Qubit some to raise their spirits, it's all good. Andrea DiVito's back on the art chores, which is fine with me. I like that DiVito will draw things (like Nova) upside down occasionally, because they are in space, so you might as well have a little fun with that. I am surprised Ravenous was being beaten up so easily. I know, this Stronitan is the Marvel equivalent of Supergirl, but Ravenous is supposed to be equal to a Herald of Galactus. You'd think he could give a better showing.

Secret Six #11 - The team learns what they're protecting, and why Smyth is building it, though there is still no sign of Mockingbird anywhere. Plenty of dissension amongst the team, which I'm glad at least some of them object. Not that it may matter next issue, they're probably all going to be beaten senseless.

This issue highlights the ongoing problem I have with this book. While I have no problems with anti-heroes (loved Ennis' Punisher, for example), some of these characters are too amoral. I'm not sure I'm supposed to see them as scumbags and want to see Wonder Woman kick their heads in, you know? Especially Deadshot. I would enjoy someone ripping that stupid mustache off his face. I know Ragdoll is right, they've taken jobs from people much worse than these fellows, but still, the total indifference he, Floyd, and Blake show grates on me. Do none of these imbeciles realize that they will probably end up inside the structure they're helping to protect? Hello, did you forget you have criminal records, and the heroes don't regard you as part of their little clique? Utter morons, I tell you. The above doesn't apply to Scandal, Bane, or Jeanette, obviously.

War of Kings #5 - Things are getting rapidly crazier. The Inhumans, well Black Bolt and Medusa, have settled on what they seem to think is some great plan, but is, honestly, stupid as hell. It didn't work in Cable/Deadpool when Anton Kruch wanted to turn everyone blue, it won't work here. Assuming it even goes off, since Vulcan has gone even further off the deep end than before. Speaking of crazy, Gladiator is running wild, killing all the pro-Vulcan folks, ripping off arms and such. Oh dear, he's become Superboy-Prime. Run!

You know, as much as I like a story of true love, I can't say I feel bad for Medusa. She's been so damn smug and overbearing throughout this whole mess, the idea her husband's going to blow himself up to bring about this stupid-ass scheme, and in the process leave her alone and sad amuses me. She's the one saying Crystal and Ronan are naive, and there have to be sacrifices and yadda, yadda, while she's sacrificed, risked nothing. She's the war movie stereotype of the officer who throws away his troops and justifies it saying "That's war", while of course, he sits safely behind the lines. So yeah, really not minding the idea of her getting a little comeuppance.

OK, I'm leaving town here shortly, and I won't be back until next Wednesday. I don't expect I'll do any posting between now and then, though you never know, but don't count on it. So, until next week.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What I Bought 7/1/09 - Part 1

Well, for the next several weeks, I'll be able to get my comics when they come out, same as you. Isn't that lovely? It was nice to visit the store and spend a little time shooting the breeze with the fellas. Apparently 4th of July isn't going to push next week's comics to Thursday, which is just super-peachy keen and neato. Sigh. It's rather sad that I've spent so much of my life being a smart aleck that even when I try to express enthusiasm, I look at it and think I'm coming off insincere. However, this is no time for moping, forward reviews!

Agents of Atlas #7 - So the Atlantean Council has dark motives for wanting Namor and Namora to get hitched, which leaves those two shaken. Namor gives Jimmy some advice about trying to run an organization, based on Namor's years of trying to run a country, and Derek Khanata reenters the field. Then there's a second story detailing some of Mr. Lao the Dragon's past, which I didn't totally follow on the first reading.

I wonder whether Parker will revisit the Namor/Namora thing down the line. Sure, they feel manipulated now, but as Gorilla Man pointed out, if their feelings are genuine they should follow them. I like how Parker writes Namor. He maintains his regal bearing, and that tendency to be bossy, but he also counsels Jimmy once he gets to know him a little and starts to respect him. Namor's should pretty much always be arrogant, but he can also be friendly, given the proper circumstances. I'm still not terribly pleased with Hardman's work on the undersea portions, though I think it may still be the coloring washing out some of the detail. On the other hand, I love how Carlos Pagulayan draws Mr. Lao.

Exiles #4 - The team fights some machines, travels a bit, learns what happened on this world (in short, Hank Pym screws things up again). Blink teleports to find food, and the rest of the team is captured by Ultron, Vision, and Machine Man, though that may have been a blessing.

One thing this issue makes clear is that Blink may know more than the others, but she doesn't know everything. What that means, I'm not sure. Someone brand new is pulling the strings? Who? Casey Jones took over as artist, which I guess isn't a bad idea for the book, rotating artists as they traverse realities, but I'm not quite as fond of his work as I was of Espin's. There's nothing wrong with it, really, except maybe that Jones doesn't go quite as detailed on the surroundings as Espin, it's just not as much to my liking. For what that's worth.

Guardians of the Galaxy #15 - Let's see. Inhumans attack the Guardians, retrieve Crystal, then run away like wusses because they can't risk their king being harmed. I'm sorry, I thought Black Bolt was supposed to be tough. The Shi'ar try to annex Knowhere, Rocket hands a beatdown to the Braniac wannabe, Adam Warlock turns purple again in the process of killing that annoying mage, and the Shi'ar have to retreat. Moondragon frees Starhawk, and then Knowhere wakes up. Suppose I should have seen that coming, as if decapitation would really kill a Space God.

I really expected that to be more chaotic, but Abnett and Lanning seem to decide it was better to sort of split the fight up. So the Inhumans dominated focus early, the Shi'ar late, and Starhawk got her time in the middle. Either way, lots going on, and I want to see where it all leads. I think Brad Walker continues to do a fine job on the art chores, keeping things readable despite the number of characters involved. My favorite line was Cosmo's 'Are you God?' to Lockjaw after the Imperial Guards telepath knocked him for a loop.

Immortal Iron Fist #27 - Danny's company is destroyed, but HYDRA can't let things go, so we get a little fighting with them, then Danny prepares for the next phase of his life, with Misty Knight, which leads him to have a conversation with Luke, because they're buddies and buddies talk about stuff like this. Then there's a preview of the first issue of the Immortal Weapons mini-series, which um, was not quite what I was expecting for a story involving Fat Cobra.

So we see a little of what became of Wendell Rand after he left the Heavenly City, and how Danny may and may not be his father's son. I don't guess Misty's announcement was any surprise, since Swierczynski mentioned it in his first arc, but Danny's chief operating officer being a drunk is not something I remember. Granted, we didn't see much of him in "The Mortal Iron Fist", but his being too drunk to save the company seems a bit out of left field.

Foreman and David Lapham handle most of the issue, with Timothy Green II drawing the flashbacks, which I tell you, feels like a waste of Mr. Green. Still, he does a good job of giving Wendell an air of exhaustion and dissatisfaction with his life, which contrasts with the bright colors used in those sections, which contrasted with the overwhelming inky blackness of the HYRDA stuff. I was less enthused with the art through the rest of the issue. The inky seemed a lot heavier which did not help things, because the lines seem much too thick, and the backgrounds seem rushed or non-existent. Also, I can't figure why initially, there are large sections of white space between panels in Foreman's, then partway though, the space between panels becomes black.

That's all for tonight, three more reviews tomorrow.