Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Nature of Evil

It's Halloween. Let's talk about something scary. And what's scarier than pure, undiluted evil?

See 52: Week 25. Wherein we are reintroduced to Bruno Mannheim, and once again reminded why Darkseid is the DCU's true evil incarnate.

Confused? You may very well be. Because if you've been reading DC Comics much in the past decade you might wonder why I just called that guy who always got beat up by Superman "true evil incarnate." But he was that, and is again, because the people in charge now know the best way to use Darkseid.

Namely, not use him at all.

Evil is what hides in the shadows. It is the thing that lurks behind you, and in the darkest corner of your soul. And it's the thing that starkly stares you in the face every day of your life.

We see Bruno Mannheim -- who is but a man -- consume human flesh and we are revolted. We seem him smash a man's skull to bits and we are terrified. We are horrified and we are fascinated. And we know that that is evil in its purest form.

And yet, as 52 tells us, Bruno Mannheim was not always this way:

"Five years ago Bruno had an experience, a close encounter with forces from beyond human comprehension. A dark angel of living granite placed its stinking, smoking hand against his chest and held it there as it whispered to him the sickening secrets of the dark side. Held it there until the heart within was blackened and shriveled beyond repair."

And so, by having Darkseid not be seen or named -- by only knowing what he's done -- we see the full extent of his evil. We watch in mute horror as Bruno Mannheim commits the most terrifying atrocities imaginable.

But even as we watch this Apostle of the Dark Side we know that there's something worse out there. Something darker and more terrible that we can possibly comprehend.

And that's evil.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Hate Jor-El

Chris over at the mighty Invincible Super-Blog said something along these lines last week. I'm going to echo it here: I really don't give a damn about Jor-El.

And though I've enjoyed most of what Geoff Johns has done, I'm exteremely wary about his teaming up with Richard Donner on Action. Because I really am not that big a fan of what Donner did.

Yes, I know that Superman: The Movie was the first real super-hero movie. But I have some serious issues with it. And foremost among them is exactly what Chris says: the constant, unending obsession with Jor-El and Krypton.

I mean, c'mon. At their worst the Kryptonians are "The Assholes of Space." And at their best they're arrogant bumblers. Hell, in the animated continuity they created a world-ravaging, evil artificial intelligence. Not the best idea anyone has ever had.

But the movies' ridiculous Krypton is just... Well, it's ridiculous. How could anyone possibly live in those giant, idiotic crystal structures? There aren't any chairs. And I'm pretty sure there aren't any toilets either. And they clearly can't lock the doors -- a fact that leads into the entire plot of Superman Returns.

And while I'm on that subject... I loved Superman Returns. I literally wept tears of joy about the fact that I was finally able to see a Superman movie on the big screen. But I really wish they'd broken completely with the previous films.

They didn't need to do an origin film, but there were a lot of unnecessary (in my view) nods to the Donner films (besides, this means I'll never see my brilliant trilogy of Superman films on the big screen). Let's hope Superman Returns Again Gives us some sort of real menace.

So in conclusion: can we stop talking about Jor-El and Krypton for awhile? I mean, we haven't heard Bruce Wayne angst this much about his parents in recent years. And he has a lot more cause for it than Superman...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Glorious Turn of Events

A man can dream, can't he?

Friday, October 27, 2006


I'm concerned about the religious state of the DCU.

As you know, I myself am quite religious. Though He brainwashed me and continues to haunt me as a malevolent spirit, I nonetheless continue to venerate the venerable Saint Dumas. (may praising Him free me from the unending, unceasing torment!) But we see very little of the religion of most of the others in the DCU.

Does Hal Jordan attend church? Is Superman really a Methodist? Is Batman an Episcopalian or what? I know Huntress is a lapsed Catholic (we've got a lot in common, what with the horrible, crushing, unending guilt).

The only religious types we routinely see are the craaaazy cult types. Like Mr. Bruno Mannheim's Church of Crime, The Kali-Yuga Kobra Cult (or is that Kult?), and yes, my very own Order of St. Dumas. (may His name be praised!)

I guess what I'm saying is that people like me don't seem to have a place in the DCU anymore. Now I'm not saying they kicked me out because I'm religious (though that's as good a theory as any). But when was the last time you saw a superhero who really believed in something?

And no, Zauriel doesn't count.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Read Seven Soldiers #1

I demand the following:

An ongoing Shining Knight series.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why Look: Another Post About Cassandra Cain

Over at CBR there's an interview with Adam Beechen, the writer best known around here for destroying Cassandra Cain. Let's deconstruct some of his quotes, shall we?

"Cassandra, having discovered she was not the only child to be raised by master assassin David Cain and that she'd essentially been lied to growing up, decided to become a force for the justice of her own definition, taking over the League of Assassins to use as her instrument."

Let me again reiterate something that every Batgirl fan has said regarding this so-called "motive": Cassandra already knew there were others. This was not something new. She discovered in the last arc of her solo series that David Cain had trained a great many other children in addition to herself.

She did not freak out. She did not go crazy. She did not start killing people.

And even if she hadn't known, why would that cause her to flip? The premise that she "discovered she'd been lied to" is absurd. Of course she'd been lied to. She already knew that. Her entire life was a lie. That's why she ran away from him.

And the idea that she'd become jealous of this other girl is even more absurd. Jealous because Daddy loved someone else? Ridiculous. Cassandra hates her father. She doesn't want anything to do with him. Why why why why why would she give a damn if he raised someone else in addition to her? Let's look at another quote:

"It's a big change, a fundamental change, and it represents a big twist in the longtime path of the character, her quest to overcome her upbringing. The way I think about it is, I know lots of people who've struggled against bad decisions or circumstances in their lives for a long time, only to suddenly backslide into their previous behavior."

Again, no. You can only "backslide" into a cruel, vengeful murderer if you were one to begin with. Which Cassandra Cain most certainly was not. She killed one person. She was sent to do it when she was a child -- she didn't know what death was. When she saw it, it horrified her, and she ran away. She never killed again (until all this awful OYL crap).

I'm sick of hearing all the bullshit about Cassandra being "a killer, born and bred." That is complete and utter crap. She was nothing of the sort. She was the child of killers and was trained to be a killer. But she was never a killer. Never.

And I will never accept any story that makes her into one.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's Time to Come Clean

I have a confession to make. I'm the one behind Marvel's Civil War.

The chaos? The death? It's all me. I so much despise those fools that I have set them against one another for my amusement. Iron Man has been dead for months. I've just been moving him around like a marionette with my awesome magnetic powers.

But I'm beginning to think that it's getting out of hand. First of all, people are actually buying it. I'd hoped to destroy the Marvel Universe from the inside out by shattering the foundations upon which it is built. Apparently the philistines among the consumer class are duller than I expected.

How foolish are they to accept such obvious plot-holes and such ridiculously contrived explanations? Oh, they cloned a god, did they? From a hair left behind from the very first meeting of the Avengers? That makes perfect sense. Idiots.

At least the Marvel Universe is spiraling into chaos. And I sincerely doubt that it will come out of it as squeaky clean as my stomping grounds have. If I'm lucky, someone will conveniently off Magneto before all is said and done...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Rise and Fall of Super-Chief

Alas, Jon Standing Bear. We hardly knew ye.

For it was in one stark moment in 52 that the writers did introduce us to Super-Chief. A man who was clearly flawed. A man capable of great feats of violence, anger -- and yes, even evil.

But what path was Jon Standing Bear trying to walk? We will never truly know. His time in the spotlight was fleeting. Only the likes of E. S. Pete can claim less time among the ranks of the super-hero.

What we do know is that Jon Standing Bear joined a league of justice. Why would a man with no sense of honor -- no sense of justice -- try to do such a thing? As he spiraled into the great beyond he lamented: "Why can't I do right?"

Yes, we saw him try to do right. With the strength of a thousand bears and the speed of a thousand deer Jon Standing Bear took to the streets as Super-Chief and tried to protect the people of Metropolis. He failed, dismally. Just as others have before him.

And yet, will Super-Chief be remembered? Will anyone remember his valiant last stand on the streets of Metropolis? Will he join the Justice League's Hall of Heroes? Will there be a statue for Jon Standing Bear alongside Ted Kord and Tora Olafsdotter? I sincerely doubt it.

But I will remember Super-Chief's brief moment. No, he was not a great man -- he was not even a good man. But he was a man who took the power he was given and -- unlike so many others who use their gifts for evil -- tried to make a difference.

In that spirit I salute Jon Standing Bear -- Super-Chief -- and pray that he finds peace in the next world. And that the Manitou Stone finds a worthy keeper. Jon Standing Bear may be gone, but Saganowahna -- the Super-Chief -- will live again.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beefcake/Cheesecake Appreciation Week: The Return

Because I've been meaning to start posting again. And well, when Kalinara and Ragnell have a good idea... Let's just say it's usually a good idea.

Anyway, feast your eyes on my girl Cassandra Cain... Wearing almost nothing at all!

Don't worry, baby. I'll keep the lantern shining 'til you come back home. I don't care how long it takes...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prepare For My Mighty Sarcasm

*clap clap*

Well done, Newsarama Blog. Well done. You've truly outdone yourselves this time. Asking for opinions on Infinite Crisis? Acceptable. But going to the website of a Marvel exclusive writer like Brian Michael Bendis to do it? Inconceivable.

You might as well come here and ask me what I thought of House of M:

"Oh, Doctor Polaris! Please tell us what you think of Marvel's House of M wherein Magneto comes to rule the world or something else contrite along those lines."

I'd stand, quietly clear my throat, and crush you with two tons of steel.

I mean seriously. Do you really think you'll get an honest, balanced opinion from those guys? They're going to hate everything DC does. Of course they'll claim they're going to give it a fair shake. But such is lies. Damned lies.

The opinions of comic fans are inextricably tied to their own pre-conceived prejudices. If you ask me who would be the winner in a contest between the "Incredible" Hulk and Hal Jordan I would most certainly respond "Hal Jordan." Yes, I despise him with every fiber of my being, but he's still one of mine to despise.

You've been in this business a long time. You should understand these things by now. And even if you feel you must go to the Bendis Board for reevaluation of Infinite Crisis at least get both sides of the story. I've got time. I retired after that crisis, after all.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The cover to 1953's Monster #1:

Ah yes. Everything that made those old horror comics great in one little package.

Horrifying monstrosity? Check. Mutton-chop sideburns? Check. Vague olden-timey setting? Check. Damsel in distress? Double check. What about a clever tagline? And how!

It doesn't get much better than: "He gambled with Satan... And lost!"

But really, aside from the occasional Georgian fiddle player does anyone ever gamble with that guy and win?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Going To Get You

I'm coming to get you, Wacker.

You've crossed a line. Not in going over to Marvel -- many fools have done such things. I'm talking about the betrayal. Betraying me. I have a thing about betrayal, you see. Ever since I got screwed over by Luthor and the Joker (which I admit I should've seen coming) I've been particularly sensitive to the issue.

Why didn't you return my calls, Stephen? When we ran into each other at that eating establishment you assured me that you'd get me a role in 52 -- though I admit that the stainless steel cutlery held to your neck by my awesome magnetic powers probably had something to do with it. But I would think that would give you more incentive, not less. How convenient that you're no longer in a position to make good on your promise.

Do you think Magneto will protect you? Is that why you've crossed the street? You think that pathetic old man and his whiny offspring will be your saviors? For shame, Stephen. You should know that I do not fear that fool (and that I predate his first appearance by a significant amount of time).

Nothing can save you, Wacker. I'm coming for you. Whether it's cast iron or chromium steel, you're mine.

Monday, October 02, 2006


It's been a long day and I'm tired, so I'm going to make this quick:

I totally didn't hate Supergirl #10.

This particular Kara finally has a damn personality of her own (even if she's not completely likable) and there are a lot of interesting background teases. It seems that though the "New Earth" Krypton isn't exactly the cold, sterile planet of Man of Steel it ain't exactly roses and gumdrops either. And I think that's aces.

I find myself actually looking forward to the next issue of Supergirl. And for that, Joe Kelly deserves a tip of a hat.