Friday, April 28, 2006

A Return

Faithful reader Steven has asked a good question: how do I feel about the fact that Bane is making a triumphant appearance on the cover of Infinite Crisis #7 while I languish in the cold embrace of death?

I should start off by mentioning that I did beat Bane (something that Batman was unable to do initially). So I score points for that. Of course, beating Bane doesn't count much when you're up against armor piercing bullets...

But I digress. How do I feel about Bane's return? The truth is, I'm conflicted. For awhile there Bane was on the path to redemption. Last time we saw him in Gotham Knights he seemed to be on the straight and narrow. But now he's on that cover. Fighting Aquaman. And one thing's for sure: if you're fighting Aquaman, you're not a good guy.

And it should be interesting to note that while Aquaman is fighting Bane, Batman is fighting Black Manta. I don't know if it means anything, though.

Anyway, it doesn't bother me that much that Bane's back as a bad guy. I mean, that's what he does. Like me, he came into being for a specific purpose. And when that purpose was strayed from, Bane floundered (again, like me). So now that Bane's back doing what he does best (i. e. breaking backs) he'll be a lot happier.

And if they'd let me go back to dispensing righteous judgment then I'd be happy too. Maybe I'm not dead on this "New Earth"...

I Told You He'd Be Back

I said it, didn't I? And here he is, back again. And thanks to the genius of Gail Simone (I love you Gail!) he's more terrifying in this one panel than he's been since, well, 1992.

It's been said that Infinite Crisis is a sequel to The Death of Superman as well as Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is the precursor.

The fight we're going to get in issue seven is going to be absolutely huge. The body count will be astronomical. And before it's all over Superman will once again face off against Doomsday for the fate of Metropolis.

How will it end this time?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

IC7 Cover, Take 2

Like I said; I'm that kind of geek. So when I saw that the color version of Perez's brilliant Infinite Crisis #7 cover was available, I had to try again.

In an interview George Perez says there are fifty-six characters on the cover. I'm not going to doubt him, but I only found fifty-four. So if you see the two I'm missing, point them out! Beyond that, there are only two characters that I can't identify (though 10 looks familiar and 38 might be Jason Todd).

  1. Baron Blitzkrieg
  2. The Thunderbolt
  3. Raven
  4. Beast Boy
  5. Stargirl
  6. Degaton
  7. Felix Faust
  8. Bulleteer
  9. Weather Wizard
  10. Unknown
  11. Amazo
  12. Captain Marvel Jr.
  13. Robin
  14. Bizarro
  15. Doctor Light
  16. Lady Quark
  17. Steel
  18. Black Adam
  19. Man-Bat
  20. Wonder Girl
  21. Neutron
  22. Harley Quinn
  23. Bane
  24. Zoom
  25. Metamorpho
  26. Sinestro
  27. Cheetah
  28. Solomon Grundy
  29. Green Arrow
  30. Wildcat
  31. Arsenal
  32. Aquaman
  33. Flash
  34. Shadow Thief
  35. Nightwing
  36. Scarecrow
  37. Mary Marvel
  38. Unknown
  39. Plastic Man
  40. Black Canary
  41. Doctor Psycho
  42. Gorilla Grodd
  43. Killer Croc
  44. S. T. R. I. P. E.
  45. Poison Ivy
  46. Wonder Woman
  47. Batman
  48. Heatwave
  49. Floronic Man
  50. Black Manta
  51. Fire
  52. Deathstroke, the Terminator
  53. Captain Cold
  54. Hourman

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lightening the Mood

I thought I'd post something a little less confrontational today. So here's a panel from 1969's Angel and the Ape #3. Presented to you completely without context:

Context is your friend.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I should say that Doctor Polaris doesn't necessarily speak for me in matters regarding Marvel comics.

Though I should also say that his thoughts aren't that far from my own. I would just express them with more... Tact.

I don't read Marvel. I won't apologize for that, either. I've only read a handful of Marvel comics in my life and I've never purchased one (that Wolverine/Elektra thing doesn't count; that was purchased exclusively for Yoshitaka Amano artwork). But if I was going to try reading some Marvel I'd go about it in the same way Scipio has.

Some of the commenters on that thread were complaining that Scipio chose a "DC writer" for his first real foray into Marvel. I'd probably do the same thing. You see, for me it's not about the writers; it's about the characters. And if Geoff Johns can't make me like characters that I tend to find pretty unlikable, then nobody can.

A friend was over at my place last night and we got to talking comics (he's an old school Marvel fan). He was absolutely raving about Marvel's Ultimate Universe and The Ultimates in partcular. He started describing Ultimate Captain America and Ultimate Hulk and Ultimate Iron Man and all the rest. And all I could think: "those guys sound like total assholes." And I don't really want to read about assholes.

But after my friend left, I got to wondering. Should I broaden my horizons? Should I be reading books like The Ultimates (which my friend billed as a truly "realistic" take on superheroes). Then I reread Action Comics #775.

I think I'll stick with the "Truth, Justice, and the American Way."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I Hate "Professor" X

Ah, "Professor" X. The "luminary" leader of Marvel's "celebrated" X-Men. I despise him.

He receives much credit as one of comics' most popular and powerful bald characters. To this I say: I know Lex Luthor; you sir are no Lex Luthor.

He has a position of great power in the Marvel universe. This alone is enough to make me hate him. But even more so I despise his use of the appellation "professor." What is he even a professor of? As far as I can tell no one knows. And if they do know I choose to ignore that fact.

I can tell you exactly why I use the title "doctor." It has something to do with that PhD in Physics and that Medical Degree I have.

"Professor" X isn't the only person to use a title they have no right to. There are plenty of "doctors" who aren't doctors. But he's the only one I know of who claims to be a professor. And is so damn smug about it.

I hate "Professor" X.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Infinite Crisis 7 Cover

Because I'm that kind of geek I went through the absolutely awesome George Perez cover for Infinite Crisis #7 (told you there was going to be a big battle!) and tried to identify all the characters. I was -- fittingly enough -- able to identify fifty-two distinct personages. The ones I'm not sure of I've written in italics. If you think you can help me identify any (or if there are any I missed) let me know!

High Res Version

  1. Unknown
  2. The Thunderbolt
  3. Unknown
  4. Bulleteer
  5. Unknown
  6. Raven
  7. Degaton
  8. Weather Wizard (Thanks Mallet!)
  9. Unknown
  10. Robin
  11. Beast Boy
  12. Stargirl
  13. Lady Quark
  14. Amazo
  15. Bizzaro
  16. Doctor Light
  17. Steel
  18. Captain Marvel (possibly Captain Marvel Jr.)
  19. Wonder Girl
  20. Unknown
  21. Black Adam
  22. Man-Bat
  23. Harley Quinn
  24. Bane
  25. Zoom
  26. Metamorpho
  27. Sinestro
  28. Solomon Grundy
  29. Green Arrow
  30. Wildcat
  31. Arsenal
  32. Aquaman
  33. Flash
  34. Shadow Thief
  35. Unknown
  36. Mary Marvel
  37. Cheetah
  38. Poison Ivy (Thanks Mallet!)
  39. Black Canary
  40. Doctor Psycho
  41. Gorilla Grodd (though he looks more like the Ultra-Humanite)
  42. Killer Croc
  43. S. T. R. I. P. E.
  44. Batman
  45. Heatwave
  46. The Flouronic Man
  47. Wonder Woman
  48. Deathstroke, The Terminator
  49. Black Manta
  50. Fire
  51. Captain Cold
  52. Hourman

So, can anyone help me with the unknowns? Have I made any mistakes? Am I missing anyone?

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Greatest Secret

So it seems to me that the biggest question coming out of OYL isn't where Batman's been or why Superman lost his powers. It isn't even Supernova's identity. The biggest question hits us like a freight train in JSA: Classified #11.

Alan: what the hell is up with the eyepatch?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What the Heck?

What the heck is going on with Nightwing?

I mean, back when we used to hang together (and by "hang" I mean "fight" and by "together" I mean "each other") Dick always seemed to be the stable one. Maybe it was a facade, but he really looked like he had it together. A relatively steady girlfriend. A good job (in legitimate law enforcement no less!).

But then he started hanging out with people like me (Tarantula). I'm talking psychotic vigilantes with an axe to grind. And then he lets his most visible arch-nemesis (Blockbuster) get killed. A superhero can't let his arch-foe die. Why do you think the Joker's still around? I mean, where would I be without the Order of Saint Dumas?

Oh, right. Dead.

Get it together, Dick. Otherwise you'll end up like me: an also-ran with an awesome costume. I don't care how much time you spent with the Titans; if you don't pull it together Jason's going to take your spotlight. And maybe your girl.

I know you don't want that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I Hate Wolverine

Welcome to the second installment of the column where I fling well deserved bile at the characters of the Marvel Universe. Today? Everybody's favorite mutant: Wolverine.

The question is: why? Why is he so popular? After all, it would take me mere seconds to seperate his skeleton from his body (much less time than it took that dimwitted Magneto to think of it).

So he's short and hairy and Canadian. All strikes against him in my book. And yet he maintains his illogical popularity. And that, my friends, is why he is deserving of scorn.

Look at me: I have never been the most "popular" character in the DC Universe. And yet my good looks and charm set me leaps and bounds ahead of all the other villains (with the possible exception of Black Adam). You see, Wolverine's popularity is because he lacks manners and good grooming.

As with Spider-Man, the pathetics are projecting themselves into the character. "I don't need to shave or wash my hair," they must be saying. "After all, Wolverine doesn't." That's because Wolverine is a disgusting troll, you nitwits.

We see this additionally in the shoehoring of Japan into Wolverine's character. For some inexplicable reason this "Canadian" has strong connections to "Japan." Why? It's because the loser "otaku" think Japan is "cool" (a caveat: I am in no way desparaging my gracious host who has made Japan his focus of legitimate scholarship).

Once again, A Marvel character's true reason for popularity is unmasked: loser geeks who want to be cooler than they are. Doctor Polaris has spoken; he is never wrong.


Monday, April 17, 2006

He Just Doesn't Care

It wasn't that long ago that I was pointed to the standard bearer for left handers. But that's not the only maligned group I belong to. I -- like millions of men across the planet -- am losing my hair.

Now don't get frightened; it's only a little bit of receding hair (so far). But I realized that there aren't many balding guys in comics. Sure, there are plenty of baldies, but few who are merely on their way.

But yesterday it struck my like a bolt of magical lightning. How could I have not seen the obvious before? Gentlemen, I have found the one to represent us. You may or may not have noticed it. But it is as clear as day:

That's right. Black Adam is losing his hair. Slowly. But it's happening; there's no way that isn't a receding hairline.

And you know what? Black Adam doesn't care. Because -- like me -- he's so badass it doesn't matter. He's still got goddesses on his arm and a country all his own.

So next time you snicker at a balding guy, remember: Black Adam may not care, but he'll still shave a little off your top. Simply because he can.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Righteous Fury

In my downtime I like to watch television. I mostly enjoy legal and police dramas. I take great pleasure in seeing justice done. Some of my favorites are the various series of CSI programs. Though I am not so much a detective (that's Batman and Robin's arena), I do appreciate the hard work that is criminalistics.

Anyway, I was watching CSI: New York (my third favorite CSI, incidentally) earlier this week. The main feature of the episode was a man murdered while dressed in a bright red and yellow costume. You can understand why I might be immediately captivated.

It was eventually revealed that this brave man had been playing vigilante, using little but his wits and strength of arm to subdue the criminals and protect the innocent. Though he died in the line of duty (much like myself) he was nonetheless acclaimed a hero.

However, that is not what I am here to talk about. At one point early in the episode one of the lab techs asked a CSI: "What would make a man dress up in a costume and try to fight crime?" The CSI responded: "The naïve belief that one man can make a difference."

I was immediately filled with righteous fury. The naïve belief that one man can make a difference? Blasphemy! The entire industry of costumed heroics is built on the principle that one man -- or woman -- can make a difference. Would they dare to say that Superman does not make a difference? Or Wonder Woman?

Indeed, it goes even beyond these super-powered defenders. The police officer, the firefighter, the teacher; all work under the principle that one person can make a difference. And every day they do. They do it both in and out of costume, fighting to make the world a better and safer place for all.

The writers of CSI: New York should be ashamed.

The Legion of Super-Heroes Totally Rules, Part 1

The Legion of Super-Heroes totally rules. There are many reasons why the Legion is so incredibly awesome. But there's one that comes immediately to mind. It may be really stupid, but I don't think it's that far off the mark.

You see, the Legion of Super-Heroes is us.

Well, maybe not exactly. After all, we don't have superpowers. We can't fly or control gravity or anything like that. And we certainly don't live in the 31st-Century. But they're basically comic fans with superpowers.

And wouldn't we all do what they're doing if we did have superpowers? If we had amazing abilities we'd be asking ourselves "what would Superman do?" and then we'd do it. And that's exactly how the Legionnaires go about it. They're just a bunch of comic geeks with amazing powers. So they put on crazy costumes, come up with silly names, and fight for justice.

I know that's what I would do, anyway...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My First Comic Experience

A friend of mine has posted about her first comic for some sort of "first comic week." I thought I'd do the same.

What was my first comic? I remember distinctly. It was this:Purchased for me by father when I was a wee lad (this comic came out three months before I was even born) this issue was bought for the He-Man, not the Superman. My Superman obsession came later (though nothing can match the sheer fanboyish pleasure I get from Masters of the Universe).

The comic is your typical Pre-Crisis affair. Somehow Superman gets transported to Eternia. Skeletor takes control of him with magic and makes him fight He-Man. In the end, Skeletor gets away (because unlike other Pre-Crisis villains, Skeletor always escapes. Always.)

But the comic really does mean a lot to me. Even though I hadn't yet become the comic fanatic that I am today, it feels good to know that my first venture into the world of comics was in DC rather than Marvel. Imagine where I might have ended up if my father had given me a Spider-Man comic instead. *shudder*

Of course, there was little worry of that. My father was (and still is) a huge Superman fan. Batman too. Hell, when I was a stupid kid and didn't think Superman was cool, my dad kept telling me he was. And then one day I realized that my dad was right (just like with most things). Superman is awesome. So is Batman. And He-Man. And Skeletor, too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ridin' in Style

Have you ever stopped to think about how incredibly awesome the vehicles are in the DCU? I mean, does Marvel even have cool rides?

Consider just a few, such as Wonder Woman's freakin' Invisible Jet and Batman's Batmobile, the greatest car ever.

Hell, even the lesser characters had cool modes of transportation. Blue Beetle's Bug. That wacky time sphere that the Legion of Superheroes use to use. Nightwing's car. Hell, even Jimmy Olsen's flying newsroom (that helicopter had room for a desk, a typewriter, and a bowl of mints).

In the DCU, everybody rides in style...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Infinite Crisis Roundtable

DIAMONDROCK: Infinite Crisis Roundtable. Now. Let's not waste time. Give me your thoughts. Doc?

DOCTOR POLARIS: Too much Hal Jordan.

DR: Fair enough. Az?

AZRAEL: A really powerful issue. The narrative was tight and the ending left me kind of misty eyed.

DP: Pff. Baby.

DR: Be nice, Doc. You were saying, Az?

AZ: Just that I think they really did an excellent job with the issue. It fired on all cylinders. Hell, this issue actually made me like Hal Jordan.

DP: Oh, it's on now.

DR: Cool it Doctor P. Do you have anything to add of substance about the actual issue?

DP: Of course I do. I very much enjoyed seeing Alex lose a finger. And Black Adam? I always loved that guy.

AZ: I really liked how we got to see what amounted to one Superboy killing Superboy. Makes you wonder what it means.

DR: A good point, especially considering what's happening outside comics.

DP: You may be reading too much into it, if you're referring to the recent legal case.

DR: Yeah, that's what I was talking about.

DP: I think it's a lot simpler than that. After all, there's a long tradition of alternates turning on each other. Hell, I sold the soul of my alter ego to the Devil!

AZ: We know.

DR: Right, we've heard that story plenty of times. Any other thoughts?

AZ: There have been a lot of complaints about the multiple artists on the most recent issues. But I think it worked really well here. Each artist focused on one of the internal story arcs. Kept it from seeming disjointed.

DP: I just have to comment of Superboy Prime's new costume. It's absolutely fantastic. That boy knows how to accesorize.

DR: Yeah, it's pretty damn cool all right. But let's wrap it up. Predictions for number seven?

AZ: Batman, Superman, Superman, and Wonder Woman versus Superboy Prime in a battle to the finish. And one of the Supermen won't survive.

DP: Same. It's going to make my battle with the Human Bomb look like child's play. I'm looking forward to it.

DR: Thanks guys.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Return

Well, with the new school term starting I've been consumed once again by "real life." Azrael's been doing... Whatever it is he does... And Doctor Polaris has been wreaking terrible vengeance on Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and the Girl Scouts of America. But now we're back in one place. Hopefully we can pull something together real soon. But until then, take a look at this panel (which freaked me out when I realized where he was looking and remembered where Earth-Prime actually is):He's looking right at us!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Blue Beetle

I was musing today over the possible origins of the mysterious Blue Beetle Scarab. It's one of those things in comics that has never really had an explanation behind it. But it looks like they're building one. And I think I know what it is.

Consider the evidence. Thusfar we know for certain that the Scarab is magical. And yet, it exhibits technological properties. The Scarab seems to be a mixture of magic and technology. That's one clue.

The bigger question is: what's the deal with the Green Lanterns? We've seen that the Scarab causes both extreme hate and fear in the Champions of Oa and their rings. And the Scarab doesn't seem to like the Lanterns either.

So review: magic/tech with a highly adversarial relationship to the Green Lantern Corps.

Sounds like The Empire of Tears to me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Obvious Revelations

I was doing some thinking today (I do that a lot). My mind wandered and I questioned why the comics produced by Marvel seem to have a stranglehold on the market. My initial impuse was to attribute it to the fact that the vast majority of the public possesses mental acuity on par with Hal Jordan. Though this is undoubtedly true, I dismissed it out of hand. There must be a deeper meaning.

So I looked inside myself and asked the question: "What would make Spider-Man appealing to me?" I realized that there were two things within that were preventing me from enjoying Spider-Man. These were, of course, my vast intellect and astonishing sexual prowess.

I tried for a moment to imagine that I wasn't the stalwart Master of Magnetism that you see before you. What if I were a simple high school student, bullied by his classmates? What if I were completely and totally romantically inept? Though nigh impossible to concieve, I put my superior imagination to work. What I discovered shocked me. If I were a complete and total loser, I would relate to Spider-Man.

Now some of you out there may be fans of Spider-Man. So I say to you this: suck it up, babies. The good doctor is here to tell you to take two magnetically propelled shards of steel and call him in the morning. I'm not here to hold your hand. I'm here to tell it like it is. And Spider-Man? He needs to stop whining.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm Worried About Batgirl

I'm worried about Batgirl.

Now don't get me wrong; I've fought alongside Cassandra. I know that she can take care of herself in a fight (heck, she could probably take me). I'm not concerned for her physical well being. I'm worried about her soul.

I know, I know... You're all sighing with contempt. "There goes wacky religious nut Azrael again," you're saying. But know that I'm serious here. From what I've seen Cassandra is sliding down a dangerous slope. And I know what's at the bottom -- because I've been there.

It's no secret that I've had my ups and downs. Extreme downs. And when you sink to the bottom and cast off all the things you believe in, it's hard to pull yourself back up. And if you do, it's real easy to slide back down again while you're trying to get out of the hole (see the last dozen or so issues of my solo series for concrete proof of that).

Cassandra is one of the nicest girls I've ever met. And she had convictions. She could have used her skills for a lot of different things, but chose to use them for justice. We all knew what she'd done, but that only made her dedication to never do it again all the more admirable.

So it scares me a little to see her hooking up with a shadowy organization with no compunctions about killing. Because I've been there too. And that never ends well either.

What I'm trying to say is that I care about Cassandra. I'll admit that I even had a crush on her for awhile there. Even though nothing came of it (that thing during "No Man's Land" not withstanding) I still care about her. And I don't want her to end up as an unhinged, obsessed vigilante like me.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

An Interesting Panel

Here's an interesting panel from Manhunter #20 (read Manhunter!). When I saw that image I actually leapt in my seat and exclaimed loudly. Take a look:

You recognize that hulking silhouette, no? You are surely aware that this is not the first hint that we'll be seeing... That again. And note the massive armies of superhumans approaching each other.

Whatever they've got planned for Infinite Crisis #6 and Infinite Crisis #7, I think it's going to be bigger than any of us have anticipated.