Friday, March 31, 2006

I Hate Magneto

Good evening, fools. I, Doctor Polaris have seized control of this blog. From this pulpit I shall indoctrinate you in the ways of magnetism... And the cult of Polaris! Serve me and I shall use my mastery of magnetism to cure all your ills! Stand against me and you will suffer.

That being said, my apparent death at the hands of the Human Bomb (curse his name!) and the near end of Infinite Crisis have left me with a great deal of non-magnetism related free time. So here I will shower you with my wisdom and dispense my wrath. And none are more suited for that wrath than Marvel Comics.

In this semi-weekly column I will rain terror upon the fools and imbeciles that populate the Marvel Universe. First up? Magneto.

My hatred for Magneto is deep and abiding. Though I arrived with my mastery of magnetism long before that pretender was even a glint in Stan Lee's eye, he receives all of the magnetism related press. So he tried to conquer the world a few times. Big deal. I once became the Earth's south magnetic pole. Has Magneto ever done that?

Additionally, Magneto had the sheer audacity to copy my costume. The cape and the helmet? I was doing that long before he was. I'm surprised he hasn't started wearing stylish thigh-high boots.

The worst is when he starts stealing my apellations. When people call Magneto "Master of Magnetism" or "The Man Who Mastered Magnetism" I can't help but cringe. Those are my titles. Titles that I earned through hard work and attempts on Hal Jordan's life. Magneto is on my list. If he ever shows his face around me I'll teach him what real magnetism is capable of.

Next week? Joe Quesada.


Azrael Reviews - 3/29/06

Greetings blasphemers! Know that I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to address you from this place. Since my apparent demise in May of 2003 I have had little to occupy me beyond my pursuit of righteous vengeance. I've been looking for something to fill the downtime (despite what you may have heard, the wicked do rest). I'd like to thank Diamondrock for inviting me to blog here.

Know that I welcome you to the first installment of Azrael Reviews. Every week I will give you my thoughts on some of the available comic offerings. Prepare yourself! (and beware of spoilers)

Action Comics #837 - Johns, Busiek, and Woods push forward with their eight part tale of Superman one year later. The writers continue to provide spot on characterization. Clark Kent has never been more intriguing and Lex Luthor shines as a new amalgam of his Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis versions. The writers also revamp several old Superman villains -- a welcome surprise.

Though at first I was annoyed by the seemingly pointless guest appearances by Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, the ending brought everything together in an unexpected -- and intriguing -- cliffhanger.

Woods' art continues to shine. The work is smooth and the coloring really makes the images pop. So far the OYL Superman revamp is off to a tremendous start (despite the fact that Superman has yet to make an appearance).

Know that I give Action Comics #837 four out of four "Heads of the Venerable Saint Dumas."

Green Lantern #10 - Rounding out this month's major One Year Later revamps is Green Lantern #10 You should know right off the bat that I've never been a big Hal Jordan fan. I only knew him as the Spectre, you see. And it was hard to like a guy who was cutting into my "righteous vengeance" action.

That being said, Geoff Johns has gone a long way towards humanizing Hal Jordan over the course of the most recent series. Hal Jordan's many flaws are on clear and obvious display here. Copulating with harlots, arrogance, and that time he murdered thousands are all mentioned in the issue. It goes a long way towards helping me accept his return.

As is to be expected with a OYL issue, there are a lot of unanswered questions in addition to excellent action (all of which is competently rendered by Ivan Reis and Marc Campos).

Know that I give Green Lantern #10 three out of four "Heads of the Venerable Saint Dumas."

That is all for this week. Until next time, I pray that the Blessed Saint Dumas watch over you.



You may notice something new over on the sidebar. Allow me to explain.

The sad fact is that real life is taking up more and more of my time. You have no doubt noted the drop in postings in recent days. I just don't have the time to update as much as I'd like to. But since I want the same level of quality here at Title Undetermined that you're all used to, I've managed to convince a couple of friends of mine to join me here on the blog. I think you may have heard of them.

The first new member joining me here on the blog is Doctor Polaris. That's a name that is surely familiar to all of you. In addition to continuing his world-renowned advice column, the good doctor will be contributing some exciting new features to be revealed in the coming days.

The second new member is Azrael. You may remember him from his brief stint as Batman during the early nineties. Azrael is going to be the resident reviewer here at Title Undetermined (in addition to other duties).

I hope you treat the two of them with the same respect that you treat me.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I'm sure a lot of you have read Mark Waid's Birthright. It was sort of a big deal when it came out. A big part of that was the whole "this is the new definitive origin of Superman" thing. The problem is, it doesn't seem to work.

Birthright's a good story and all, but it lacks something that John Byrne's Man of Steel had. Though I can't really put my finger on what that something is.

See, Birthright seems to try too hard in a lot of ways. It tries to bend things that don't really make sense with the current orientation of continuity. Granted, a lot of that might be changed in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis. But if it is then a lot of good stories from the past twenty years will be pretty much invalidated. Besides just the continuity, Birthright adds a lot of things that just don't work with Superman. The big one is "Clark Kent as vegetarian."

Full disclosure: I am a Midwesterner. Until recently, my whole life was spent in central Illinois. The way I grew was about as close to growing up a farm as you can get without actually growing up on a farm. In a way, I am Clark Kent. I was brought up with all the same truth, justice, and the American Way virtues drilled into me. And I didn't know a single vegetarian.

That's not to say there weren't any. It's just that for me (a genuine Midwesterner) the idea of a Midwesterner who doesn't eat meat is a lot less plausible than the idea of a man who can fly.

The other thing about Birthright that rang hollow was the "Lex in Smallville" bit. I know they were trying to synch things with the Smallville television series. They shouldn't have to do that, but I can see why they'd try. That being said, it doesn't really work. Maybe in a Pre-Crisis world Lex Luthor as friends with Clark Kent would make sense. But in this day and age? It just doesn't work.

So Luthor pays off an entire town to forget him? Uh huh. He grows up alongside Clark Kent but can't put two and two together? Suuuure... Those are just a couple of the many things about that bit that don't make a lick of sense. But that's just me.

I enjoyed Birthright. I really did. It's got a lot of those "look how completely awesome Superman is" moments that I totally dig. But I'm still displeased that it's being shoehorned as the "definitive" Superman origin. Because it just doesn't work...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Best Villains

I love villains. A lot. They're probably one of my favorite things about comics. But it's not easy to make a good villain. There are lots of different types of villains, of course. But to me, the best villains are the ones that didn't start out that way. They're the ones who began as heroic.

Take a look at some of the most chilling villains in the modern DC Rogue's Gallery. Sinestro, The Red Hood, Zoom -- all the way up to Superboy Prime. These were characters that began their lives in some way heroic, and then turned.

It's a tricky proposition, though. For this sort of villain to work the reader has to feel some sense of connection to the character. We saw Jason Todd and Superboy Prime as heroes -- albeit briefly -- before they turned to villainy.

This doesn't always work, of course. If the connection that readers form to a character while they are a hero is too strong, then they won't accept that particular character as a villain. Hal Jordan is the prime example of this. It's as if the collective consciousness of the DCU -- that "intelligent DCU" that Grant Morrison likes to talk about -- just wouldn't accept Hal as a villain.

But it will accept someone like Jason Toddd and Superboy Prime. Their spans as heroes were brief and remembered only by a scattered few. Thus they can be twisted into monsters -- but monsters whose motivations we can understand.

As good a villain as he is, we just can't wrap our minds around why the Joker does what he does. But we can understand betrayal. We can understand the pain of having something we love ripped from us. And if you can understand a villain, then that adds a entirely new layer to the story. You can see yourself in their place. And that sort of connection is what makes stories come alive.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You Have To Believe Me

I swear I'm not crazy! But I just keep seeing more and more odd ration-related occurences... First it was the pretzels. Now? Eggs. Observe; a panel from the incredibly awesome Villains United (I love you Gail!):

Here we see Catman and Deadshot engaged in a bizzare, cryptosexual discussion about eggs. Then there's the Teen Titans Annual:

Immediately after having hot, steamy underage sex Wonder Girl is offered eggs.

What does this tell us about Catman and Deadshot? And more importantly, what does it tell us about Ma Kent?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Superman OYL

So far the OYL books have been pretty damn good. But Superman #650 is the best of the lot so far. Fitting, I think. Superman is the greatest superhero, after all. So the chase is on to discover what mysteries lie behind the missing year. And what's been changed in the continuity. I noticed a few interesting things:

The first thing I noticed (aside from the pretzels) was the movie screen in the beginning that showed Superman fighting Doomsday. They call it "the last time that Superman was seen." This seems to mean that either Superman fights Doomsday at the end of Infinite Crisis... Or something else.

My theory? It's been said that Infinite Crisis is also a sequel to The Death of Superman. It's believed by some -- rightly or wrongly -- that the main Earth "went bad" when Superman died. What if someone changes the past, affecting things at that moment? That would most certainly set off shockwaves across DC continuity.

Another interesting thing that I caught (and only a hardcore political junkie like myself would notice it) is that Lex Luthor doesn't have a Secret Service detail. Under current U. S. law every former president gets Secret Service protection for ten years after their term expires (President Clinton is the last president to receive guaranteed lifetime protection). So why doesn't Lex have protection? Has history been changed there, too?

The final and for me most interesting thing I noticed was the crystalline shard that Lex had inside his limo. It's clearly Kryptonian. But the scary thing is what it says: Doomsday.

Are they going to bring Doomsday back to his roots as a truly terrifying monster? He hasn't been since... Well, since he killed Superman. And he should be. Time will tell...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One Year Earlier, Part 9

Right. So where was I?

45. 52 Wednesdays: The first weekly comic attempted in over 15 years -- since the demise of Action Comics Weekly in 1989 -- 52 will give fans a reason to get excited about going to comic shops every single week.

I'm already excited every week. This? This is just icing on the cake.

46. Microsoft Man: Signing endorsement deals left and right, Booster Gold becomes a corporate hero, but when push comes to shove, who's pulling his string?

Puh-leeze. Who else could it be? Booster my friend: you're working for Lex freakin' Luthor.

47. Look! Up in the Sky!: A mysterious and powerful new character named Supernova makes his debut in Metropolis. But is it actually a familiar face with a new look?

Common speculation says that this is going to be Superboy. I tend to agree with that assessment. In a year without Superman, Conner may fell the need to step forward and take on that role. But he also might not fell that he really deserves to take on the name of Superman. Time will tell...

48. Cover Me: J. G. Jones will provide art for not one, not two, not 33, but all 52 covers of 52. With Jones' smooth, innovative style, that's another 52 reasons right there.

I think people underestimate how much covers really contribute to getting people to buy comics. I believe that they still play a big part. More imporatantly, they should be consistent. The same artist should be doing them month after month (or in this case, week after week). It should be very good.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Please Ignore the Following Post

Look, I don't care if you hate him. I don't care if you love him or if you're indifferent. But for the love of God and all that's holy. In the name of Superman. By Highfather's beard. Please stop spelling Judd Winick's name wrong.

It's not that hard, people. There is one 'N.' ONLY ONE. Stop spelling it 'Winnick.' It drives me crazy. It drives me insane. Stop spelling it wrong! It's not that hard! When you post on the message board about how "Winick is a hack." Or whatever inane fanboy drivel you have to say at least spell the man's name right. Hell, they can't even get it right over at the Pulse. I wouldn't be surprised if Winick himself was spelling his own name wrong. Because everybody freakin' does it.

But it has to stop. From now on every post or reference to this mysterious "Judd Winnick" will be met with a comment or reply from me consisting only of "WINICK" in bold letters seventeen times.

You have been warned.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ask Doctor Polaris #4

Welcome once again to

As always, the good doctor is here to answer your questions (no matter what they may be).

Dear Doctor Polaris,

As the Master of Magnetism and a doctor, what is your expert opinion of
those magnetic therapy bracelets you see advertised? Are they miracle cures
or worthless costume jewelry besmirching the good name of magnetism?

Captain Infinity

Dear Captain Infinity,

Though the awesome powers of magnetism cannot be denied, the bracelets that you speak of are indeed useless baubles. For one to truly harness the power of magnetism, they must be exposed to countless hours of electromagnetic radiation. Though this may cause the emergence of dangerous, evil personalities (such as myself) the rewards are well worth it. I mean, come on; you think I was born with these abs?

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

As someone who was critical in the development of the current Ray as a hero, both as enemy and ally, how do you fell about Alexander Luthor potentially endangering Ray's life by sticking him in his stupid Multiverse Machine?

And what will you do to Alex Luthor when you next see him, for sending you with those other "loser" villains to attack the Freedom Fighters, leading to your current, uh, incapacitation?


Dear CalvinPitt,

Though I'm not supposed to talk about Infinite Crisis, I wouldn't be much a villain if I didn't break the rules every once in awhile, would I?

That being said: fool! Do you really think I would care about what happens to the Ray? Yes, I think fondly of the boy. That I will not deny. He has always held great potential (unlike my insufferable nephew Damage). But this is business, my friend. When you hook up with a group like the Society, you've got to play your cards right. And certain sacrifices must be made.

As to Alex Luthor... I was betrayed! Luthor will suffer as I have suffered! I don't care if his body is illogically composed of matter and anti-matter. It is still subject to the power of magnetism. As are all things.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

I work as a graphic designer for a Trade Medical Journal in upstate New York.

Your recent posting about Medical Care and the Elderly struck me as just the sort of thing people in my company would find entertaining, so I printed it out and posted it on the company corkboard. Right next to the water cooler.

Underneath a "Ziggy."

The article was summarily torn down within an hour. My question: Should my coworkers be crushed?


Dear James,

The pathetic fools! Give me the name of your company. Give it to me now. I will add it to my list of People and Institutions to Be Crushed. They will join such luminaries as Hal Jordan, My Pathetic Nephew, The Power Company, Alex Luthor, The Workforce Investment Office of Western Illinois, and the Human Bomb.

And Ziggy's going on there too.

Doctor Polaris

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


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Batman OYL

So allow me to indulge myself in a bit of geekiness. My thoughts on Detective Comics #817 (OYL) as they came to me while reading it:

"Gordon, cool. Always good to see the ex-commissioner."

"Holy crap, is that the KGBeast?"

"OMG, somebody just killed the freakin' KGBeast!"

"Whoa, Whoa, is that Harvey Bullock?"

"When did Harvey Dent start training with Richard Dragon: Kung Fu Fighter?"

"OMG! OMG! Gordon's commissioner again! OMG!"

"They're going to the roof! They're going to the roof!"


That is all.

Monday, March 13, 2006

One Year Earlier, Part 8

Right. So I know that these posts are pointless, but I have so much fun doing them that I just have to keep going until I get to the end. Almost there!

39. Whodunnit?: The Question will put Montoya's detective skills to the test with a mystery that ends up taking a year to solve.

I really, really, love mysteries. I've read every Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot story there is. (and if you even know who Hercule Poirot is, then you love mysteries too!)

So anyway; a year long mystery to be solved by Montoya and the Question? Hell, I'd buy the book if that were all it had in it.

40. Changing the Future: Booster Gold and his sidekick Skeets will attempt to use their knowledge of the past from to prevent major disasters before they happen. Will they succeed, or destroy the timestream in the process?

Gee, I don't know. So the fate of the timestream is in Booster Gold's hands?

We're screwed.

In all honestly, science fiction has taught us nothing if it hasn't taught us that trying to change the future is not a good idea. And since Booster's very presence in the past shows that he doesn't get that, I think we'll be seeing some seriously bad occurences...

41. JLA = S.E.X.: Two former Justice Leaguers you would NOT expect will bump uglies by year's end. Awk-ward!

Oh, Wizard *shakes head*. Your eloquence is unmatched in this space-time continuum.

Seriously, though; that teaser is so idiotic that I can't even think of what to say. Move along.

42. Who's Who: Each issue of 52 contains a two-page origin story on one of the DCU's heroes or villains, as written and drawn by top industry talent. Get caught up!

That top industry talent? I think it's Dan Jurgens. (are these the back-ups they talk about?) If it is Jurgens, then I for one am pleased. I know that some do not like his work. But me? I think his stuff is aces (but then, I like most of Byrne's stuff too, so some would disqualify me).

Regardless of who's doing it, I always love origin stories. So fifty-two of them should be a lot of fun.

43. Crossing Over: A well-established character with a lot of history will make their first appearance in the DCU.

I knew that DC was going to be publishing new stories about Will Eisner's The Spirit. But I didn't know that they were going to be set in the DCU. I'm not sure if that's a good idea. But then, it is Darwyn Cooke. And New Frontier was awesome (despite the over the top Hal-worshipping).

44. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That: A new gay character will make their first appearance in 52 before moving on to their own ongoing series.

The new gay character is the afore mentioned lover of Montoya's who will have an impact on the DCU. She is a post-Crisis Kathy Kane and will star in a Batwoman series to be written by Devin Grayson. You heard it here first. (unless of course you heard it somewhere else first...)

Two more installments to go!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Scipio Was Right

I have always tried to be the kind of person who admits when they are wrong or make a mistake. And so I'll say it right now: I was wrong and Scipio was right.

As those two posts indicate, I'm referring to the latest issue of Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis. Now I say what I say here with all due respect to Kurt Busiek (who is a brilliant writer and will kick wild and total ass as the writer on Superman). But I have to say that Sword of Atlantis really left me cold. Now I'm not jumping ship just yet, but I really don't know if this is the best direction for Aquaman. It's just not... Well, it's not "supeheroey" enough. Score another point for Scipio.

So I got to thinking; what would I have done with Aquaman (that is, Arthur Curry) in the OYL? So, here is my proposed solicit for an alternate universe Aquaman #40:

It's One Year Later... and Sub Diego has a new defender: Black Manta! But Manta's harsh reign is about to come to an end as Aquaman returns from the depths!

Simple, sweet, and quite the setup. And as is fitting with the OYL concept, there are a lot of questions: where has Aquaman been? Why has the U. S. government put up with Black Manta running free in Sub Diego? And what is Arthur hiding under those awesome green gloves of his?

So, tell me: would you have been interested in picking up the book based on that solicit? If not, what would your perfect Aquaman: OYL concept have been?

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Swear I'm Not Crazy

If something happens one time, it is of little note. If it happens twice, it might be a coincidence. But if it happens three times?

Then, my friends, it's a freakin' conspiracy.

(Image courtesy of Blood of the Demon #13, a book that's a lot better than you probably think.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ask Doctor Polaris #3

No my friends, your eyes do not deceive you. It really is another installment of

It's been quite awhile, as the good Doctor's Infinite Crisis related duties have kept him from answering your questions. So, if you missed the first two installments go here and here. Now, onward!

Dear Doctor Polaris,

If you did end up taking over the world, what would your policy be regarding health care and the elderly?


Dear Kalinara,

I thank you for your query. Though I am skilled in a great variety of disciplines, your question goes straight to the heart of one of my two fields of expertise. As a medical doctor, I am uniquely qualified to be the steward of our planet's healthcare system. Which brings me back to my primary field of expertise: magnetism!

You should know that before I embarked upon my quest to rule this world I travelled the country demonstrating the awesome healing powers of magnetism! With magnetism, all ills will be cured and all will surely thank Doctor Polaris on bended knee!

As for the eldery, they will all be killed.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

I'm a student of an alternative religion, but my boyfriend has been attending Bible Study classes at the local Free Will Baptist Church. He's become very insistant that I join him over the last few weeks. I've studied Christianity intensely, and have found that it is not the right place for me. But he is unwilling to accept my decision in this matter. What should I do?

Sacreligious in San Antonio

Dear Sacreligious,

Your question makes me wonder why you have not crushed him beneath your heel. Your boyfriend shouldn't be worshipping a petty carpenter -- someone who can't appreciate the power of magnetism -- he should be worshipping you. And you should be worshipping me.

Doctor Polaris

Dear Doctor Polaris,

Have you ever met Dr. Domino? I think you and he would get along.

And ... are you single?


Dear Scipio,

I certainly do know Dr. Domino! He and I attended the same university. We used to get together every Saturday night with some other guys and play Dungeons & Dragons. Good times.

As for your second question: Yes. Yes I am.

Doctor Polaris

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


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gotham Central

There were a lot of things to love about Gotham Central. But I think one of the things I loved most was how scary it made the villains seem.

I absolutely love villains. I read comics for the villains as much as the heroes. It's the villains that drive each and every story; without them there really isn't much to draw interest. And Gotham City has the best villains, bar none.

The only problem is, when you pit these villains against Batman -- no matter how scary and powerful they may be initially -- they start to pale over time (though the Joker still gives me a chill when used correctly).

But in Gotham Central we had the chance to see ordinary cops -- people without gadgets or powers or decades of training -- go up against these monsters. I just reread the first two issues of the series, and I was struck by how absolutely horrifying Mister Freeze was. I never get that vibe in other comics. It's because he's usually facing off against Batman -- and you know Batman's gonna win.

But when it's a couple of Gotham detectives going up against Freeze, we don't know what'll happen. And you never knew what the monsters of Gotham would do to these officers of the law. Because the monsters of Gotham are capable of anything.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I Love Silly Comics

Well, I ended up having less time than I expected this evening. That was due to the fact that I watched an old pilot episode for a Justice League of America television series with Ragnell and Kalinara (yes, through the magic of the Internet people who live on separate sides of the earth can watch bad TV shows together).

I fully intend to post about said bad TV show (as well as Angel and the Ape another time. But for tonight you'll have to content yourself with a singel panel from Angel and the Ape #1. I don't think I need to even comment on it:

God I love DC. You just can't get away with this sort of stuff over at Marvel.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Aw Yeah, Baby...

Certain... Commodities have recently been made available to me:

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Bring them back DC. The time is now.

Look for more tomorrow.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Terrifying Vision of Things to Come?

Let me start off by saying that this post includes minor spoilers for Infinite Crisis #5 and Superman OYL. Let me also say that it's probably all in my imagination. But then again, I'm not convinced that anything we see from DC these days is a coincidence. But I'll let you judge the level of my insanity.

Exhibit A; an Earth-2 panel from Infinite Crisis #5. We clearly see the Daily Star on the right. But that's not what I noticed. Examine the foreground closely:

Look at the pretzel cart. Look at the pretzel cart. Do you see it?

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I've finally gone off the deep end. Ol' Diamondrock's finally gone Polaris. But before you condemn me to Arkham, take a look at Exhibit B; a page from Superman #650, the first OYL Superman title:

Do you see? Do you see? To top it off, Superman #650 opens with a retrospective that claims Superman first appeared sixty-eight years ago.

Now tell me: I am I crazy, or merely insane?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

The Question has come to Gotham City.

Is 52 here yet?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's Coming...

Well, it's Wednesday in Japan. Which means it's Tuesday back in the States. Which means that tomorrow (or yesterday) is comic book day.

Get all that?

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is Infinite Crisis #5 is nearly here. And with it the jump to one year later. For someone like me, who receives his comics at a slight delay tomorrow will be very difficult. But I will perservere, and finally find out what the heck is going on. Because I think issue five is going to be the most pivotal and important one yet. Maybe.

Look, I'm just little worried, okay? What with the possibilities inherant in what is yet to come. It's the unknown, I suppose. Something unknown is coming. A real, true shake-up in the DCU. And I don't don't know what to expect. I anticipate it breathlessly, yet fear it at the same time.

I guess that means they're doing something right...