Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Grim Future of 2006

Living in Japan affords me certain... Luxuries. Among those are glimpses into the terrifying future that awaits us all. Though most of you still languish in the woebegone days of 2005, I am here in the grim darkness that is 2006. And since I am in the future, I’ve learned a few things about the course of the DC Universe.

- The multiverse isn’t back
- Superman is still the best
- Batman can still do anything
- Hal Jordan is still a tool (but we love him anyway!)

and of course:

- Ted Kord is still dead.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ask Doctor Polaris #2

Yes indeed. It's time for another installment of

Here, "The Man Who Mastered Magnetism" will answer your questions, no matter what they may be. Let's roll.

Dear Dr. Polaris,

Would you be able to shake hands with Magneto (assuming you wanted to)
or would your magnetic fields repel each other?

Captain Infinity

Dear Captain Infinity,

It pleases me to see others taking an interest in magnetism. The power of magnetism cannot be overestimated! As to your question, that would certainly depend upon the two of us. My magnetic powers work on the same principle as an electomagnet. I use the incredible electrical force within my superior body to power it. The magnetic power that manifests takes the form of a dipole; I can alter its strength at will. I can only assume that the powers of that fool Magneto work in a similar fashion.

Therefore, if we approached one another with our magnetic powers on full blast, we would likely either be propelled toward each other (if we were manifesting differing magnetic poles) or away from each other (if we were manifesting similar magnetic poles). But if we lowered our magnetic fields, then we would be able to shake hands with no ill effects.

That being said, I would never shake that jerk's hand.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

Why did it take you so long to realize that covering your face was a much better why to go, not only fashion wise, but also to give you better protection in battle? Wouldn't the first time you were hit in the face be enough of a clue to "cover up"? Just curious.

James Meeley

Dear James,

I believe that you may have me confused with a certain power ring-wielding fool. I am almost never struck in the face. My choice of a face-concealing helmet was entirely fashion motivated. I came to realize that obscuring my face was the best way to add an air of mystery to myself. And the ladies dig Men of Mystery. Almost as much as they dig Men of Magnetism.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

This is Mallet here and I'm just wondering about a couple of things.

Why did you die in that Human Bomb explosion? Or was it just a metal construct with a wig and fake eyes?

We of course know you can beat Vibe; my grandma's pet monkey can beat Vibe. But what about Starro -- you know, the giant mind-controlling starfish?


Dear Mallet,

I'm afraid that my contract prevents me from answering any questions about Infinite Crisis at this time. Take away from that what you will.

Regarding your second question: fool! I am the Master of Magnetism! Though I have the greatest respect for Starro the Conqueror and his accomplishments, I would crush him beneath my heel! Even the denizens of deep space are subject to the whims of magnetism!

Doctor Polaris

That's it for the second installment of Ask Doctor Polaris. As always, send your queries to And remember: the Doctor is in! Insane!


Who Respects Batman?

Japan respects Batman. The Land of the Rising Sun™ has its share of pop culture. Heck, the sheer volume of it makes America pale in comparison. You haven't seen true fandom until you've been to a store that sells Gundam accesories. And yet, the Japanese still find a way to devote whole sections of their stores to Batman:

But the true test of whether or not the Japanese consider something noteworthy is trading arts. Trading arts are little figurines packaged randomly in boxes and sold for 500-600 yen a pop (approximately 5-6 dollars American).

As far as I can tell (and I spend a lot of time in stores that sell geeky stuff). Batman is the only bit of American pop culture that has earned a set of trading arts. In fact, he's got two sets. Japan respects Batman.

And so do I, by spending my hard earned yen on these little toys. Here, for your consumption is my favorite so far (I have not been that lucky. Still trying for the Azrael figure!).

That, of course, is Nightwing. As you can see, the quality on these things is pretty high. I'll share pictures of my other Batman trading arts in the future.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ask Doctor Polaris #1

Well, the time is finally upon us. Hopefully the first of many, welcome to

Here, "The Man Who Mastered Magnetism" will answer your questions, no matter what they may be. Let's get started.

Dear Doctor Polaris,

I have an important social event to go to, but I'm not sure what to wear. I'm worried that normal business attire's too casual, but I don't want to be overdressed. What do you recommend?


Dear Kalinara,

Your problem is a common one. I myself have often agonized over what to wear whenever I'm going out to murder Hal Jordan. There are many ways you can go, but remember to always wear a helmet with fins. That's a fashion statement that anyone can appreciate. And I'd also recommend wearing boots (preferably ones that are at least knee-high). I hope this helps you in whatever villainous schemes you may be attempting. Just know that whatever they are, they will fail and you will still find yourself under my heel -- the heel of Doctor Polaris!

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

How badly would Vibe have kicked your ass if Vibe had not been strangled first?


Dear Scipio,

Fool! I have laid waste to armies and defeated Green Lantern on many separate occasions! I am the Master of Magnetism! I fear no "Vibe"!

That being said, it's a difficult question to answer. We can never really know, seeing as Vibe was strangled before we ever had a chance to do battle. But I do know that Steel would have been destroyed utterly. Assuming, of course, that he was actually made of steel.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

What do you say to detractors who claim that you are little more than a weak Magneto rip-off?


Dear Anonymous,

Who are these fools? I will crush them! You don't need to be a physicist or a medical doctor (both of which I am) to see the obvious. The first appearance of Magneto was September, 1963. I, Doctor Polaris debuted in June, 1963. Even a dimwitted fool like Hal Jordan could see the obvious. My first appearance predates Magneto's by three months. So tell me: who is the "rip-off"?

Doctor Polaris

Well, that's all for this edition of Ask Doctor Polaris. As always, send your queries to Remember: the Doctor is in! Insane!


Doctor Polaris on...


Doctor Polaris may be evil and insane, but even he knows that Nazis are dolts.


Friday, December 23, 2005

On Crises

Seeing as some people I know haven't yet had the chance to read Infinite Crisis #3, I'm going to keep this as spoiler free as possible. But reading that comic today has made me do a lot of thinking. About the Crisis, about what it means to be a hero. Those sorts of things. The things they're trying to make us think about.

A lot of people (both fictional and nonfictional) want to bring back the old multiverse. They say it's a simpler time. A better time. I think it's pretty clear though why they really want to bring it back.

They're afraid. They're tired of the fight. Tired of having to go up against the evils of whatever world they're in. I can understand that. I'm tired of it too. You don't think Batman and Superman get tired of the fight? Of the loss and the sorrow and the pain? Of course they do. They may not be real, but they're as human as anyone.

But the answer is not to hit a giant reset button. Not to wipe out everything that happened before and hope it all turns out better the second time. That does a disservice to those who disappear. They will have no chance to make their lives better.

Someone else once tried to do something similar to what Earth-2 Superman is trying to do. Some people call him God. If you're familiar with the Bible you'll recall the story known popularly as "Noah's Ark." Now, when many people tell that story, they leave certain parts out. Like the part where God kills everyone on Earth. The Earth had grown too wicked, He said. So He did it. He wiped out everything and hoped that the second time through things would be better.

But in the end, the world was just as wicked. Just as cruel. And God saw his mistake (yes! In the Bible God makes mistakes!) and swore to never do it again. Instead he sent prophets -- superheroes of sorts -- to try and lead the people to a better world. It didn't always work. And the prophets were far from perfect. Those men and women made mistakes, faltered, and built evil satellites (well, maybe not the last one). But despite their flaws they fought every step of the way to bring about a better world.

They knew that when things get bad, you don't give up and wipe everything away and pretend that it never happened. That's a slap in the face to those who died for the cause (like a certain Blue Beetle I remember).

What you do do is fight. You fight like hell to make it better. That's a message that more people in the real world should take to heart. It's one that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the others should, too. And they will. They'll fight like hell to make their world a better place.

Because that's what heroes do.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ask Doctor Polaris

It seems that my Polaris boosting has not gone unnoticed. The recently deceased Doctor has agreed to use this space as a way of answering questions for those in need. So! Send your queries to and the good Doctor will answer them.

No question is out of bounds! "The Man Who Mastered Magnetism" can answer questions on any topic. Relationships! Science! Religion! Magnetism! Nothing is impossible for Doctor Polaris. The Doctor is in! Insane!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Suspects

I'm not completely out yet... The time difference mitigates any exposure I might have to Infinite Crisis #3. Though it's nearly noon here in Japan (on Wednesday) it's still Tuesday back home in the States. So I've got some time.

And it seems that that that time might be best spent -- how shall we say? -- speculating on the Infinite Crisis mastermind. It's becoming clearer and clearer that someone is behind the whole thing. But who could it be? I'll profile four possible culprits right here, right now!

1. The Anti-Monitor -- The Anti-Monitor. The big bad of all things... Anti. The villain of the first Crisis and arch-foe to all life in the universe. Could he be the one behind the Infinite Crisis?

Pros: Infinite Crisis is touted as a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. What would be more fitting than having the Anti-Monitor return to once again wreak havoc on all things made of matter? He certainly has (or at least had) the power to start a war in space, trick the Spectre, unite the villains, and set Max Lord on the path to villainy.

Cons: It's just not his style. Anti-Monitor was a schemer for sure. But not like this. It takes a vast genius to pull so many disparate threads together into a cohesive tapestry of villainy. I'm not sure that the Anti-Monitor is up to it. He's more of a "DESTROY!" type of villain. Plus it would be too obvious.

Verdict: Unlikely. He's got the skills, but not the drive. And no one really wants to see him again anyway.

2. Krona -- Rogue Guardian and brilliant scientist, Krona's genius is dwarfed only by his cruelty. Desperate to learn the origins of the universe, he will go to any lengths to achive his goal. Could he be the one behind the Infinite Crisis?

Pros: Krona certainly possess the requisite power and genius to pull it off. Plus, he was directly responsible for the creation of the multiverse in the first place. This ties him tightly to the Crisis narrative. Additionally, there's the little matter of the cosmic egg from Kurt Busiek's JLA run. And it's growing...

Cons: Krona recently headlined as a major cosmic villain in JLA/Avengers. Would he really come back to the forefront so soon? Also, as with the Anti-Monitor, the scheming required to engineer this Crisis isn't really Krona's style. He's the smash and grab "TELL ME!" type. Besides, how does this Crisis further his goals?

Verdict: Unlikely. It would be really out of character for him to engineer something like this. Plus there hasn't been so much as a peep from him since he got locked in that egg.

3. Alexander Luthor -- Son of the heroic Earth-3 Lex Luthor, Alexander played a vital heroic role in Crisis on Infinite Earths. But he's still a Luthor. Could he be the one behind the Infinite Crisis?

Pros: Alexander definitely has the genius to pull something like this off. And he's got the powers, too (as ill-defined as they are). He's half anti-matter, which would seem to betray a dark side. Plus, he's got the ear of Earth-2 Superman, who appears to be the villain of the piece.

Cons: Though Alexander seems to have everything he needs to pull this off, he lacks one clear thing: motive. That's not to say he doesn't have one. It could be revealed in time.

Verdict: Likely. My money is on Alexander Luthor to be the big bad. Though we don't yet know the why or how, everything (to me at least) points to him being more than he appears.

4. Doctor Polaris -- "The Man Who Mastered Magnetism." An insane and insanely powerful villain, Doctor Polaris has fins on his hat. Could he be the one behind the Infinite Crisis?

Pros: He's... Well... I like him.

Cons: He's dead.

Verdict: Impossible. Unfortunately, the dear Doctor is gone for good. And no amount of wishing will bring him back.


Lights Out

I am imposing a comics blackout upon myself. Seeing as I do not get my comics until a short while after most people, I do not want the biggest comic event of the year spoiled for me. Therefore I shall disappear into the mists, only to reappear when I have read Infinite Crisis #3. But as I go, I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Doctor Polaris:

Doctor Polaris on... Freedom:

"I'm free, boy! I intend to stay that way! You see the power I command? Polaris can't be locked away! I won't be trapped inside again!"
-- Doctor Polaris 1963 - 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

Whatever Happened to Prometheus?

I was reading some old issues of JLA yesterday and managed to catch the first real appearance of the villain Prometheus. I've got to say: what happened to him? He took the entire JLA on -- beating up Batman in the process. And yet, he was most recently seen in Gotham Knights getting his butt kicked by Hush. Hush! Oh how the mighty have fallen...

The Door

It looks like I'm not the only one who's getting fed up.

Maybe I should explain. I've always accepted comics' Revolving Door of Death™. But I've never liked it. And it looks like the folks at DC are starting to feel the same way. The hints have been there, but Teen Titans #30 has made clear that there's something seriously wrong with life and death in the DC Universe.

Raven even goes so far as to pinpoint when it started: The Return of Superman. This does make a certain amount of sense. Sure, people came back to life before that, but the speed of resurrections has certainly been kicked up since Superman's return. The most important thing about the Teen Titans revelations, however, is the acknowledgment that people coming back from the dead is not normal. This is a big shift from the traditional comic view of death.

And what does this mean? The ramifications are potentially huge. Dan DiDio has said before that after Infinite Crisis dead will mean dead. I was skeptical at first, but now I'm beginning to think that maybe they're all serious. It wouldn't be hard for DC Editorial to simply say NO to any further character resurrections. I for one would welcome that change (even if it means no more Doctor Polaris!).

If this shift really does come to pass, then maybe it'll shut up the people who can't stop whining about the dead. What I do know is that a change like that will make the DCU that much more exciting -- and dangerous. And danger equals drama.

Bring on the deaths, and keep them dead.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Let's Talk About Villains

Ah... The villains. It has been said that a hero is only as good as his villains. I'd say that that applies to comic universes as well. And the DCU certainly has its fair share of excellent bad guys. Let's talk about some of my favorites, shall we?

Doctor Polaris -- Oh dear me. What can I say about Doctor Polaris? The DCU's master of magnetism was fifty kinds of fun.

First of all, he had multiple personalities. Sure, there are plenty of DCU villains with MPD (Rose and Thorn, The Ventriloquist, etc.) but Doctor Polaris was truly the greatest. He was among the most deranged of DC's psychopaths. Only Polaris hated himself enough to create a female alternate personality whose sole purpose was to allow him to kick the crap out of himself. Now that's impressive.

And the costume. Ye gods, it's beautiful in a twisted way. The helmet with the weird fins. The knee-high boots. The fingerless gloves. The stylishly parted hair. The man was a walking nightmare, but somehow he managed to pull it off.

And Doc Polaris also scores points for actually being a doctor. There are plenty of people who call themselves "doctors" in the DCU, but Polaris is one of the few who actually had a medical degree.

Not that you'd have wanted him to perform any surgery. His magnetic powers made him potentially one of the most powerful villains in the DCU (as seen by his induction into the scary strike team in Infinite Crisis #1). He could do more than just mess with metal. The entire electromagnetic spectrum was open to him. That means heat, light, radiation -- all were at the Doc's beck and call.

You may have noticed the disturbing trend of the past tense in this missive. That's because dear Doctor Polaris bit the big one in the afore mentioned Infinite Crisis #1. At least he went out with style: he got blown up by the Human Bomb in spectacular fashion. He will be missed.

"You mock me... But you will learn to fear me! You all will!"
-- Doctor Polaris 1963 - 2005


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Heart Arthur Curry

There's been a lot of chatter on the blogs and the boards about the bold new direction of the upcoming Aquaman: Sword of Alantis series. First let me say that I love Aquaman. I'm a pretty solidly heterosexual male, but I've said before that there are only two men I'd consider doing it with: Kyle Rayner (for obvious reasons) and Arthur Curry (for reasons that even I cannot elucidate). So I'd say my cred as an Aquaman fan is pretty solid.

That being said, I understand the anger and the frustration at Arthur losing the starring role in his own series. If I had it my way John Arcudi would still be writing Aquaman One Year Later and Patrick Gleason would be back on art. But it's not a perfect world.

The choices were: no Aquaman series or the new Aquaman direction. If it hadn't been for Busiek's pitch, the series would have been outright cancelled. That means no undersea adventures of any sort. I know that that wouldn't please me. Besides, this isn't an Emerald Twilight deal. Busiek has already said that Arthur will appear at some point. Kurt Busiek is an incredibly talented writer (JLA/Avengers, anyone? He made me actually give a damn about Marvel characters) and I for one am willing to give him a chance to wow me.

A Treatise on Certain Things

I don't really know what to write about. I'm not nearly as eloquent as some people (see Ragnell and Kalinara) and I'm certainly not funny (See The Absobascon). So what can I talk about? I understand that ranting incoherently is popular on blogs. So perhaps I should talk about the comic characters that I like. Or the ones I don't like. All right, I'm going to start of positive. With the characters I like. The more obscure ones.

Azrael - Azrael seems to be a topic of contention. Most people seem to hate the character. They're happy he's forgotten and they don't know why he had a solo series that lasted for one-hundred issues (But hey, I love the character and even I'm not sure how he managed that -- probably editorial deference to Denny O'Neil).

I guess it's not surprising that Azrael is despised. After all, he was created to be hated. He was designed to replace Batman and bring attention to the problems with the "anti-heroes" of the 1990's. I've never actually read the Knightfall story arc (though I have read Denny's novelization) so I can't comment on how he was portrayed there. But from what I can gather, Jean Paul Valley was freakin' nuts. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

The DCU needs more insane heroes. We've got our share of nutty baddies. That's easy to do (but not easy to do well as seen in about 80% of the Joker's appearances). Unfortunately, Azrael was sane in the vast majority of his solo series. Mostly, anyway. Near the end, Denny O'Neil started to bring back some of the classic craziness. It helped, but not enough; the stuff he surrounded Az with was still far too boring (and we know that supporting cast and setting are as important as a main character).

Azrael's potential was wasted. To me, watching someone as unhinged as Azrael fighting the good fight -- despite his deficiencies -- would make for some interesting reading. But he needed a good supporting cast, good villains, and most importantly, a good base of operations. He bounced around from Gotham to Bludhaven to who knows where. And that just doesn't work.

I've got an entire story worked out for Azrael's return. It'll never see the light of day, I'm sure, but it's there. I pull Azrael out of America entirely, and place him into one of DC's classic fictional cities -- in Europe (why is it that the fictional cities only seem to be in America?). What we need is a religiously motivated European vigilante who makes Batman look like a poster child for mental health.

Supergirl - "But wait!" you shout. "We already have a Supergirl! Kara's finally back!" Shut up. SHUT UP. First of all, this new Supergirl is not the beloved Pre-Crisis Kara (and why is she beloved, anyway?). That Kara died. Though she did show up in the last few issues of Peter David's Supergirl series (where I fell in love with her after just a few short pages; something that 4 plus issue of the new series has yet to do). But enough about why I hate the new Kara. I'll save that for another post. I want to talk about why I love Linda Danvers.

Has any character had a more complicated and convulted origin? Protoplasmic beings, suicidal girls, and angels? You're nuts, right? That couldn't possibly make for good reading. And yet, it did. It made for some incredibly good reading. Some of that can be attributed to the character herself; Linda was a fascinating, complex character. But I think one of the things that made her interesting is, again, the things that surrounded her.

Linda didn't spend all her time fighting other heroes. She spent it interacting with her friends and family (A hero with actual family? Inconceivable!). She spent it interacting with her city (again highlighting the importance of setting). The new Supergirl has no setting. She has no friends, she has no family (other than Clark, who she seems to want nothing to do with). She is an enigma who is not being unraveled. Linda was an enigma too. The difference is that from the beginning, I was curious about the answer to that riddle. With the new Supergirl, I just don't care.

More characters I love later!

Pleasant Surprises

I received a package from my parents today. I was anticipating it, especially since my father told me last time we talked that he was sending me "something special." Knowing him, I had a few guesses. In fact, as I carried the package back to my apartment I thought: "He probably sent me The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told" Close, but it turned out to be The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told. Sweet. My life is so much fuller now that I've heard Batman utter the immortal words:

"I think I'm going to be a sissy and faint, Doc. Sorry."

What other great things do we get from this collection?

1. Batman wrestling a tiger shark to save an old man in a wheelchair.

2. Batman "making a monkey" out of group of men who commit robberies in gorilla suits.

3. Batman outperforming a nun with his apparently extensive knowledge of hagiography.

4. Batman playing with a toy steam-engine -- while in a state of undress.

5. Batman screaming in terror during a nightmare: "The tentacles -- tightening around me! Help! Robin! Help!"

and in the spirit of the season:

6. Batman rescuing Santa Claus by knocking a man unconcious with a minature Christmas tree.

Batman rules.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

And so!

So the other night I was chillin' in my apartment -- listening to J-Pop and reading Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld -- when I came to a realization.

You see, I created this blogspot account solely for the purpose of posting on other blogs. But the realization that all of those blogs are about comics struck me. Why shouldn't I use this blog to write about comics as well? It's something I love to talk about, but don't really want to post about on my LiveJournal (as the people who read that wouldn't by and large be interested in the ramifications of the Rann/Thanagar War).

So that is what I have decided to do. In a way, it's a bold new direction for my internal creative team. But before I get started, I really need to get something out of the way:

Donna Troy is a bitch.

Now on with the show.