Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Unbearable Lameness of Being

Am I the only one out there who thinks that Jericho (of Teen Titans fame) is incredibly and irredeemably lame?

I can't explain why I think he's lame -- or why I'm using a word to describe him that I almost never use under any circumstances. But "lame" is the best way I can possibly describe him. It's not the old muttonchops either (thought those were extremely lame). He's lost that facial hair disaster and he's still lame.

I think his problem is... Crap. I don't even know what the problem is. All I know is that I look at Jericho and think: "man, you are a serious lame-o." I've got no reasons. I've got no understandings. I just know that Joey "Joey" Wilson is incredibly lame.

Why do only the good ones stay dead?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sweet Jesus

Why exactly have I never read a Hellboy comic before? I loved the movie and enjoyed the animation... But why did I never crack open those gloriously illustrated comics?

Well, today I got the chance to read most of the major Hellboy story arcs. And wow was I blown away. I've never see such things on page before. It has greatly humbled me (some of my own projects deal with the occult and the supernatural -- though not in the way Hellboy does).

I mean, I've never seen an exchange like this before in a comic:That, my friends, Is genius.

And no matter how much I may love Batman (and I do... I really do) I have to say that nobody -- nobody -- throws a punch like Hellboy:Nobody. He even yells "Boom" when he does it. And that's not even with his stone hand!

And also note another thing about those two images. Something very important that shows exactly how well Mignola understands comics. Both have monkeys.

Hail Mike Mignola.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Look This Way!

No time for a real post! Take this:
God, I love Batman.

(From Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #6)

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Battle of Wits

I think someone's out to get me. I'm not sure who it is -- though I'm pretty sure it is a supervillain.

I Was watching a CSI rerun last night when I heard a noise outside my window. That in and of itself is not an uncommon occurence (especially considering the kind of neighborhood I live in). But there was something particularly... Sinister about this noise.

Grabbing my gear I quickly prepared myself for battle. I leap back onto the couch and then burst through the window to the street below, shattering the glass and striking a pose which I'm sure would have made an excellent splash page.

Nimbly touching down I discovered something... Sinister rifling through the garbage. I activated my flaming gauntlets and in the light of their cleansing fires I saw it:

A raccoon.

A supervillain, no. But a villain no less. The creature had overturned the garbage can, spilling the contents all about. I had to spend about twenty minutes picking it up and I missed the end of the show. (And I'm pretty sure I lost my security deposit over that window, too...)

But that wasn't the end of the story. After I cleaned the gunk off my gauntlets and returned to TV room I heard another crash! I again rushed to the scene (this time I took the stairs) and discovered that the cans had been knocked over again.

Once, I could attribute it to a raccoon working alone. But it doesn't take the World's Greatest Detective to realize that twice is more than simply an isolated incident. It's an attack.

Someone's out to get me. And I'm going to find out who.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Greatest Rivalry of Any Century

They began as friends. Allies. They were united in a common cause. They sought to change the world. But as so often happens, they began to drift apart. Different ideologies, different methods... They could not stay friends forever. And when they finally clashed... It was a clash of titans.

Do I speak of The Dark Knight Returns' Superman vs. Batman? Civil War's Captain America vs. Iron Man? No my friends... I speak of the greatest showdown in comic history:


It doesn't matter how I came upon it... What matters is that I have read it. And now I bring it before you.

It begins as all great stories do: with Adolf Hitler engaging in forbidden occult magics. But suddenly... An explosion! Nazi Stormtroopers fall left and right. Some mighty force has invaded Hitler's compound... But who could it be?

Yes, it is Joseph Stalin. Endowned with his mystic Marshal's Baton ("It is the personification of unbending willpower for victory of the multinational Soviet people!"), Stalin and Hitler clash.

Hitler quickly gains the upper hand, but it cannot last. For Stalin remembers the lessons taught to him by his teacher, Lenin. With "the laws of historic inevitability" on his side, Stalin cannot lose.

Ignoring Hitler's pleas, Stalin is prepared to bring an end to the battle and deliver his coup de grace. But Hitler has one more trick up his sleeve:

A super-powered zombie Frankenstein's monster stictched together from the bodies of fallen SS troopers and animated with magic.

Hitler takes the moment to escape, and his zombie super-soldier takes Stalin to task...

And fails.

Hand to hand combat is joined, and the result is... Decisive.

Meanwhile, Hitler prepares to flee to his hidden refuge in South America. Launching his "Weapon of Revenge" he attempts to destroy Stalin. He succeeds... Or does he?

The cataclysmic energies released, Hitler and Stalin are both destroyed. But it is not their final meeting. As Hitler awaits his entry into Valhalla, the specter of Stalin visits him one final time... Shattering Hitler's hope of immortality.

And so, confined to the pits of hell, Hitler's reign of terror is brought to an end. But what of Stalin?

That, we may never know.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Loving the Unknown

I am totally loving the new Freedom Fighters series. It's different, clever, and so very, very cool. And they keep throwing in new versions of old Golden Age characters. I love new versions of old Golden Age characters.

I just wish I could figure out who the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light might be.

Wait a minute... Mysterious figure? Neon light? Would they dare? Could it be? Someone catch me: I'm fainting from the awesome. Because I think that's NEON THE UNKNOWN.

For those of you who don't know the Unknown, he's one of those many obscure Golden Age characters. He also happens to be my favorite obscure Golden Age character. Because he's just so weird and odd and nonsensical. And he's got a really interesting origin.

The original Neon the Unknown was Tom Corbet (or Corbett, according to some records). A member of the French Foreign Legion, Corbet and his comrades were betrayed by their commanding officer and sent off to die in the deserts of northern Africa.

And die they did, from exposure and thirst. All save Tom Corbet. Corbet was on his last legs when he discovered a mysterious pool of glowing liquid. And as people are wont to do when they're dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, Corbet drinks it.

In the real world people die from doing stuff like that. But since Tom Corbet lived in the world of comics he was instead granted amazing "neonic powers" and a snazzy costume (with cape, natch).

Since this was 1939, there was only one thing he could do: become a superhero. And indeed, he was recruited by Uncle Sam as a member of the original Freedom Fighters.

But it didn't last long. On December 6, 1941 Neon the Unknown and the other Freedom Fighters were warned by Uncle Sam of a terrible impending disaster. Not the type to shy away from such things, the Freedom Fighters rushed to the site of the predicted tragedy: Pearl Harbor.

And on that day of infamy Neon the Unknown died in the Japanese assault.

And yet, I have always found myself drawn to the character, despite his meager appearances. Though the name "Neon" was used for a one shot Superboy villain in the 90's, there has been no direct successor to the real Neon the Unknown -- one of the first superheroes of the Golden Age (forgotten though he may be).

No successor, that is, until today. For though I may be wrong I do hope that the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light is indeed a new Neon the Unknown.

Don't buy it? Here's food for thought: the mysterious figure's ally in the latest issue of Freedom Fighters is a certain Red Bee. The original Golden Age Red Bee made his first appearance in 1940's Hit Comics #1. Alongside a certain Unknown.

Edit: it has come to my attention that the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light is actually a new Invisible Hood. Though that is almost as rad, it has the consequence of rendering this entire post moot. Plus, it means no Neon the Unknown for me. Phooey.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Am Smarter Than This Guy

I don’t usually do this, but I read something recently that got me really riled up. So here's a post that's not about comics.

Not long ago I discovered this article where a man purporting to be a scientist makes certain -- how shall we say? -- dubious claims. A professor at the University of Central Florida, Physics Professor Costas Efthimiou claims that he has mathematically disproved the existence of vampires.

As a supporter of the Awesome Power of Science, I have to say that Prof. Efthimiou is full of crap

But before I use simple logic and a cursory knowledge of fantasy and folklore to debunk him, I should make one thing clear: I don't believe in vampires. Furthermore, I am not one of those people who believes that vampires are "cool" or "sexy."

Indeed, if I did meet a slavering, blood-crazed nosferatu I'd stab it in the heart. On the other hand, if I met an attractive, angsting creature of the night who bemoaned his cruel existence as an immortal I'd stab him in the heart. I'm not a fan of vampires.

Anyway, Prof. Efthimiou's "proof" is based completely on the idea that if a vampire bites someone then that person will turn into a vampire. Prof. Efthimiou then extrapolates, claming that the human race would be completely overrun by vampires within a few short months.

But Prof. Efthimiou's claims betray a woeful ignorance of both basic vampire folklore and their appearance in fiction over the years. It has rarely if ever been a part of vampire stories that a simple bite will turn someone into a vampire. Indeed, everything from the original Dracula to the modern radness of Batman and the Mad Monk shows that simply drinking a person's blood doesn't turn them into a vampire. You have to drain them completely -- and even that doesn't always work.

Besides, even if a simple bite was all it took to turn someone into a vampire the human race still wouldn't be overrun. The vampires wouldn't allow it. They'd destroy their victims before they let them rise as additional vampires. It's common sense. Vampires have been portrayed as many things, but generally stupid isn't one of them.

In some cases, competition is a good thing. But when it comes to a source of food, it's usually not. And vampires -- who need something very specific to survive -- aren't going to go out every night and create their own competition. It would be in their vested interest to remain one of -- if not the only -- consumer of their prey in a given area.

And so with that I -- a person who hated math in high school and never went beyond trigonometry -- have debunked the claims of someone who works with numbers for a living. Game, set, and match.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Brilliance on a Grand Scale

It seems to be a common thread among many to declare that they are using this month to write a novel. I should say to you all that I have bested you. For though it is only the 20th of the month I -- in my undeclared novel writing -- have already finished my project.

At 53,302 words my novel is a tour de force of epic proportions.

A fantasy sci-fi mystery thriller, my story (currently untitled) is about a brilliant doctor/scientist (who is in no way based on anyone I know) that is somehow granted amazing powers that may or may not be magnetic in nature.

Using these powers for the betterment of himself, our hero travels the country wronging rights, solving mysteries, and sweeping dozens of ladies off their feet with his magnetic personality. (ha!)

But all is not well for our protagonist, as he is opposed by his archenemy, the less attractive and much less intelligent Val Bordan (who is in no way based on anyone I know).

Of course, our hero (villain?) bests Val Bordan in every contest of wit, skill, and gamesmanship imaginable, steals his girlfriend, and then becomes President of the United States.

If you know any publishers have them call me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Horrors of 52

Was that... Could that have been...

The worst issue of 52 ever?

Let's consider the many, many things wrong with 52: Week 28:

  • Red Tornado appears, but he doesn't save the day.
  • Batwoman neither dies nor does anything interesting. Pick one!
  • Egg Fu did not appear.
  • Adam Strange... Angsting?!
  • The revelation that the terrifying Emerald Eye of Ekron is apparnetly nothing more than a piece of boring Green Lantern equipment.
  • The Question is still dying.
  • Richard Dragon doesn't appear, let alone kick anyone in the face.
  • We don't get to see Ralph Dibny go psychoer.
And many, many more.

In all seriousness, I was extremely underwhelmed by this issue. It might be my least favorite issue so far of the entire series. It just felt wrong.

But I've got to say... The preview for next week looks miiiighty encouraging...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jonah Hex!

Why aren't you reading Jonah Hex?

I'm dead serious. If you're not reading Jonah Hex why aren't you reading Jonah Hex? Tell me, please. Because I really want to know. It's a consistently well-written book about a disfigured wild west bounty hunter who single-handedly brings his own sense of justice to the American frontier. What more do you want?

There's lots of kicking and punching and shooting and chopping. And even more one-liners. Good one-liners.

Jonah Hex isn't a perfect man by any stretch of the imagination (though he's a better man than he thinks he his). But he's not a 90's grim n' gritty anti-hero either.

Jonah Hex (along with the Kents, among others) really did hold the line during some of the darkest days in America's history. And you can experience his hardcore justice every month.

Why aren't you reading Jonah Hex?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Curious Journey of Cassandra Cain

Oh yes my friends... It's another one of those posts. I've got me a mission, and I'm sticking to it. So let's move right on to the points brought to my attention by the arrival of DC's February Solicitations.

You see, I've noticed a... Curious trend regarding Casssandra. Bear with me for a moment.

When the downward spiral began, it was very clear that they were leading Cass away from being Batgirl. She'd thrown the identity away at the end of her series and it seemed that that was the last time we'd see her in costume.

Her appearances in Robin continued this trend. Rather than being a costumed hero/villain she was the leader of the League of Assassins. And then there was the Supergirl solicit that indicated that Cassandra Cain and "her League of Assassins" would be going up against Supergirl.

But then something changed (I'm not quite sure what). Cassandra was announced as being a member of Deathstroke's Titans East... As Batgirl. As many posters and bloggers in various places have noticed, this seems to completely contradict DC's original course for her. And as the February solicits show, the "postponed" story seems to have been retooled... Making it Batgirl versus Supergirl rather than Cassandra Cain versus Supergirl.

Now, as far as I can tell they originally decided to stick her in the League of Assassins and then changed their minds. Tactics were changed either because Geoff Johns had what was perceived as a good idea (the most likely explanation) or because they misinterpreted the reaction to her evilification as "fans are angry because she's not Batgirl anymore."

I'll admit that I haven't completely given up hope (though that's probably just me being naive). After all, the solicitation for Supergirl #14 doesn't say why Batgirl and Supergirl are fighting. I mean, how many times have Batman and Superman fought?

But yeah, I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hal Jordan: Jackass

You may have been unfortunate enough to have yourself subjected to Green Lantern #14. My sympathies.

Some insist that Hal Jordan is acting incredibly out of character in that issue. Clearly some do not know Hal Jordan half as well as I.

Yes, Hal Jordan has a messiah complex. Yes, Hal Jordan believes the world revolves around him. And yes, Hal Jordan has a deep sense of "responsibility." But what some are forgetting is that Hal Jordan is also incredibly stupid.

This I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. We have clashed on numerous occasions. Were he not beneath me I might consider him my "personal nemesis." (as is, he ranks only as my "arch-enemy")

As is, he doesn't need a "personal nemesis." He is his own nemesis. This is a man who is constantly and annoyingly taken out by exposed buttresses and bat-seat cushions.

I cannot say that I am glad that Hal Jordan was imprisoned and tortured. After all, it was not I who imprisoned and tortured him (if it had been, I would have employed some sort of brilliant, elaborate deathtrap/torture device rather than the simple and expedient method of breaking bones).

Hal Jordan is nothing more and nothing less than a jackass with a massive superiority complex. I'm glad I'm not like that.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Horrors of the Abyss

Comic book message boards are scary, scary places. I don't know if any of you out there in blogland ever frequent message boards, but I do on occasion. Before I discovered the reasoned, ass-kicking world of comic blogs I received most of my comic "discussion" from message boards. It was not a pretty time.

I do on occasion sidle back to see what is up on that end of the comic book world. Alas, I was not impressed by what I saw.

I was immediately struck by the following post topic: Should Guy Marry Wonder Woman? (With Poll!)

The "Guy" mentioned is of course Guy Gardner. Good luck with that, Message Board Poster!

Message boards also prove the following: if you bitch and moan and complain enough about Jericho not being in Teen Titans then Geoff Johns will bring him back to life just to shut your whiny, misspelling, non-capitalizing ass up.

That's while I'll stick with the blogs. Here I can say that I'm annoyed that Cassandra Cain has been turned into a one note villain and have people agree or disagree with me in a considerate fashion. (side note: 52 pissed me off this week by royally yanking my chain. "Daughter of Cain" my ass...)

So feel proud, my friends. Yes, we have different opinions. Yes, we are full of ourselves. But we have a reason to be. We know that "too" (as in also, in addition to) has two "O"s.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hellboy: Sword of Storms

Well, I had planned to post yesterday, but that sort of fell through after I ended up stranded for two hours on a boat off the coast of Japan.

Speaking of Japan, I had the good fortune to view the animated Hellboy movie Sword of Storms today. I was delighted to discover that the always fantastic Ron Perlman was reprising his role and Hellboy.

I was also intrigued to discover that Sword of Storms was to feature a great deal of Japanese mythology and mythological creatures. I was very impressed by the film, as they managed to get both their Japanese and their Japanese mythology right.

But their samurai still sheathed their swords backwards. Why can't Westerners get that right?

Anyway, the movie as a whole was quite good. It featured a lot of fun action and I really can't imagine anyone but Ron Perlman doing Hellboy. He's just so damn perfect. I really hope they make more of these.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Wow. I've got to say that Evil Skeets is far more evil that I expected him to be. I mean, sure; we knew he was going to be evil. He's Evil Skeets, after all.

But really. Am I the only one who was slightly disturbed at finding out where the metal Evil Skeets is built from comes from? Definitely one of the freakier revelations coming out of 52.

How the hell did Evil Skeets get so powerful? He's supposed to be a weird security droid. Why would he have been built out of that mysterious gold metal anyway? I feel that there are more disturbing revelations yet to come about Evil Skeets.

This time tomorrow: I get really pissed over the revelations about The Question.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Birds of a Feather...

In the proud tradition of Chris's Invincible Super-Blog, here's a woman kicking a dude in the face:

Ah, sweet, sweet judo.

So it looks the the lovely, brilliant, and extremely talented Gail Simone is ushering Birds of Prey into a new era.

It looks like the book is going to be awfully different from what it used to be. Very different from the old days when it was sort of a Black Canary/Oracle team-up. One part of that team-up has left. And there's a whole new crew coming in.

And I for one am extremely excited. Big Barda? Ohhh yesss. And it looks like Manhunter might be getting some additional play as well. And of course, Oracle and Huntress aren't going anywhere.

But me, I'm trying to figure out who the heck this new Judomaster is. Did I miss something? Because I know the old one died, but I didn't know there was a new one. Is this her first apprearance?

I'll say this: she's got a ridiculous name, a gaudy costume, and she hurts people with judo.

I'm in love.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yes, I'm a Little Obsessed

Ah yes. With a title like that, I could only be here to talk about one thing. And let me apologize to those of you who don't give a damn about Cassandra Cain: I'm sorry you're such a cold-hearted bastard.

Seriously, though. There's been a great deal of Cassandra Cain related news out and about recently. So much, in fact, that Wizard Magazine has named her their "Character to Watch." In a normal universe not populated by evil genius Cassie Cains this would make me ecstatic.

But I'm not feeling that so much. Wizard makes it very clear that Cassandra will "continue on her villainous rampage." Words cannot describe my feelings on that.

It goes on to quote Dan DiDio, wherein he says:

"I'm glad to see there was a reaction created. It shows me that people care about the character and want to see something happen with her.

Well, Mr. DiDio, you're certainly half right. The reaction does indeed show that people care about her character. And I guess you're more than half right in that the reaction also shows that people want to see something happen with her. What you and all the other people at DC seem to be getting wrong is what we want to see happen to her.

I'd say that the "reaction" has been mostly negative. The only people who have actually liked the direction DC has taken Cass almost always preface their remarks with "I've never been a fan of the character" or "I never read Batgirl." All this seems to indicate to me that most of Cassandra's actual fans don't like what's being done with her.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel. Cass is slated to be a villain in an upcoming (albeit delayed) issue of Supergirl. And in the Wizard snippet above Geoff Johns (a writer who has made a career out of fixing screwed over characters) talks about how he's going to continue screwing Cassie over in Teen Titans.

Though that could just be an interpretation colored by my own personal feelings. Mr. Johns says:

"There's a pretty big leap to her becoming what she's become. You're going to see the exact nature of why and how in 'Titans East.'"

Indeed, it is a big leap from the Cassandra Cain I loved for almost seventy-five issues to the illogical, poorly thought out caricature we met in Robin OYL. But rather than try to fix this travesty Mr. Johns has decided (or has been editorially mandated) to run with it.

And so he will provide us with an explanation. And it will -- I'm sad to say -- probably make some sense. Because Mr. Johns is an expert at making things fit into continuity.

But no matter what he does I will still be incredibly unhappy. I will be less unhappy if she is turned back to the side of the angels. But I will still be unhappy. Because the decisions that have been made (regardless of who has made them) have placed a stain on my favorite character that will probably never come completely clean.

And though I'm not someone who believes I "own" the character because I'm a fan I do believe that it makes some sense for writers to consider what the fans of a particular characer like. After all, we're the ones buying the books and showing up at conventions and writing insipid blog entries.

Now before I sign off I would like deliver a huge thank you to Gail Simone. As Cassandra has been ravaged across the DCU (being called "deranged" among other things) the one place where she has actually been mentioned in a positive light is Birds of Prey. More than once Barbara and others have said nice things about Cassandra. And even the little things mean a lot. So again, thank you.

Now I bid you good night and ask you to keep hope alive.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Well, I fully intended to post another whiny rant about the latest horrible thing that's happened to Cassandra Cain (looks like Geoff Johns is keeping her a villain). But then I discovered that this would actually be Title Undetermined's 200th post.

So a big thanks to Doctor Polaris and Azrael for making things around here such a rousing success. And here's something Batgirl related after all: a beautiful James Jean sketch of an unused Batgirl cover. He's most famous for his work on Fables, but his covers for Batgirl are just as beautiful. They also marked Mr. Jean's first work with superheroes.

Keep hope alive.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Art Imitates Life

Here's a screencap from the usually delightful Onion:

You would be pleased to check out the lower right portion of that oversized image.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Crimeology, Of Various Types

Not long ago whiny Azrael was talking about his whiny religion in a very whiny fashion. It may surprise some of you to know that I also attend a church of sorts. Yes, I am a member of the Church of Crime (as seen in 52).

But I should make a distinction. Like most religions, there are a great many sects within the greater Church of Crime. The one promoted by Bruno Mannheim? We'll call that Orthodox Crimeology. Not my cup of tea. I'm not particularly keen on the consumption of flesh -- either literally or by means of transubstantiation.

I'm more of a Reformist Crimeologist. Sure, we like crime. But we also like getting together for bingo and potlucks. (Black Manta makes a mean quiche!)

Anyway, I invite any and all to consider joining the Church of Crime. We may have many disparate views, but one thing is constant: we really love robbing banks.