Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stop Calling Him That!

Not so long ago I made a bold declaration. I said that I didn't think Brad Meltzer understood the Justice League. My main argument was that he didn't want to include Martian Manhunter. For the likes of me, that's nearly criminal. But, I decided to give it a go anyway.

I feel as though I have been vindicated. As the end of Brad Meltzer's run approaches, let us consider the following statistics regarding the first nine issues of Justice League of America:

Number of super-villains captured: 0

Number of times the characters use each other's code names: 0

Number of times Red Tornado cries: 5,682

Number of issues where nothing happens: 4

Number of times the characters do things wildly out of character: 27

Number of times where I actually gave a damn about Geo-Force: -42

Number of times I wanted to punch "Red Arrow" in the face: 68

Number of times I wanted to punch him in the face when his name was Arsenal: 9

Number of issues with super-villains, giant starfish, world conquering intelligences, doomsday plots, or threats worthy of the Justice League's time and effort: not nearly enough

Oh, yes. I most certainly am vidicated.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who's That Girl?

So I have to admit that I was a bit taken aback by the images that accompanied the interview with Tony Bedard where he talks about taking over Supergirl.

When I started looking at the images I thought to myself: "who is this incredibly normal looking girl who happens to be wearing Supergirl's costume? Certainly she cannot be Supergirl, as this girl seems to look like an actual human being."

Or Kryptonian, as the case may be. My point is this artwork by Renato Guedes is amazing. It's some of the most realistic art I've ever seen put forth for a super-hero comic book. Supergirl looks like a girl. She looks cute in a way that's not overly or overtly sexualized. And I like it.

And to top it off, Bedard seems to have a refreshing take on the character. Here's hoping he can give her some stability. Because right now, Supergirl's all over the map. She needs some constancy in her own book. Maybe she needs a secret identity. Maybe she needs to go to school. I don't know. But she needs something.

I hope she gets it, because despite myself I've started to like her. She's a teenager who's different and doesn't fit in. And I think most of us (at least those of us who are reading comics) can relate to that.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Long, Strange Journey

It's funny how the DC Universe changes. And I don't mean the structure of it. I mean the way in which certain characters rise and fall in prominence. Sure, some characters stay nearly constant (Batman, Superman, etc.), but others wax and wane as the years go by. Some disappear and aren't seen for years. Others burst onto the stage, either old reinvigorated or new entirely.

To me, the most fascinating rise of such a character in recent years is most definitely Black Adam. Isn't it funny how a one shot villain of Captain Marvel's from the Golden Age -- someone who turned to dust at the end of his first appearance -- has arguably become more central to the DCU than Captain Marvel himself? It's been a long, strange journey for Black Adam. But it's brought him to the forefront of the DC Universe.

Though Black Adam made a few appearances in the seventies and the early nineties, it wasn't until he showed up in the Geoff Johns/David Goyer JSA that he started to rise to prominence. As the legend goes, the writers were looking for someone with the power to take on the JSA single-handedly. They found it in Black Adam. He fit the bill perfectly, because at the time, he was little more than his powers.

But as the series went on, Black Adam popped up again and again. He started to become more than his powers. He joined the team, then turned against it. He went from being a one note bad guy to a strange -- and strangely fascinating -- character. He came to rule a country, then sided with the Society. Black Adam played a role in Infinite Crisis, then 52, and now Countdown. He's got a mini-series coming up.

Whatever you think about the character and the journey he's made, it can't be denied that his rise to fame has been nothing short of astonishing. It just goes to show that any character -- in the right hands -- can be elevated to a position of importance. Every character has potential. It just takes the right writer -- or writers -- to bring it out.

Let's hope DC doesn't forget that.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007


It seems we Cubs fans can't even get respect in the DC Universe:

I wonder if the Cubs have won the World Series recently on any of the fifty-two worlds in the Multiverse. Probably not...

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Odd Men (Apes, Aliens) Out

It may or may not surprise you to know that villains such as myself often spend our time hanging out with other villains. We socialize just as the "super-heroes" socialize. I myself attend a weekly poker game at Black Manta's place. The snacks he provides put the great chefs of our age to shame!

But I digress. The point of this post is that I noticed three villains "hanging out" in the pages of Justice League of America. It should be noted that these villains (Per Degaton, the Ultra-Humanite, and Despero) do not usually socialize with one another, let alone the "Greater Supervillain Consortium."

I could say that it's simply because those three are anti-social. Or all too often busy. But that would be a lie. We do not hang out with them because they are so damn annoying.

Take Per Degaton. Per -- despite never having accomplished anything with his time travel -- is one of the most arrogant men I've ever met. And I know a few who are just dripping with arrogance. But Per Degaton's arrogance isn't normal. He doesn't gloat or smirk. He just floats around on his stupid time disc, conveniently dropping those damn armbands everywhere. We're not going to wear them, Per.

The Ultra-Humanite, of course, unsettles most other villains. It's not because he's one of the most brillant geniuses in history, or the fact that he's -- as Guy Gardner so boorishly put it -- "sometimes a chick." Believe me, we would all prefer he take a pleasantly scented female form. Because that ape body stinks. Take a page from Grodd, the other super intelligent telepathic ape: use shampoo.

And what can I say about Despero? The man cannot let go of a grudge. It's all "the Justice League will suffer" and "I shall destroy the Justice League." Yes, we all have our nemeses. But when it comes time for a bingo night or potluck dinner we leave it at home. We're there to enjoy Black Manta's famous quiche, not listen to Despero wax on and on about the Justice League.

So I suppose it makes a certain sense that the three of them might get together. Nobody else will talk to them, after all...

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Round 11

Coming a little late this time around (it's not really Friday here anymore). But where you live, it is!

As Bahlactus demands:

Ah... The good old days. When Cassandra Cain didn't need a leather catsuit or a sniper rifle to kick ass.

I miss those days...

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Counting Down

Just a quick, spoiler free post her about the latest issue of Countdown. I don't have much time for anything else. Things are starting to heat up a bit. Just a tad. Weekly comics, by their nature have slow build (remember the beginning of 52?), so I'm willing to wait.

That being said, the secret of Jimmy Olsen? Oh yeah, that's going to be fun. But for me, there was no bigger deal than that was surprise appearance at the end. I should have been expecting it. I shouldn't have been surprised. I shouldn't have shouted out loud. But I did.

I am so ready for next week.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

August Solicitations

DC's August solicitations are up. Lots of interesting stuff in there, but there are a few things in particular that I noticed.

DR. THIRTEEN: ARCHITECTURE & MORTALITY TP: Hello! Looks like someone at DC is paying attention. If I'm not mistaken they're actually collecting the backup from Tales of the Unexpected before the main story. Unless, of course, I'm mistaken.

This is good, and portents well for the possibility of more Dr. Thirteen. Because honestly, who was actually reading Tales of the Unexpected for the Spectre stuff? I know I always skipped right to the back...

GREEN LANTERN #22: Hmm... "an even greater evil waits on the horizon, one that will plague the DCU long after this war is over..." I know I've said it before, but I just feel the need to get myself on the record: The Anti-Monitors are coming.

BIRDS OF PREY #109: There's a reason why Barbara Gordon is the smartest person in the DCU.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8: "The spotlight turns to Liberty Belle as the All-American powerhouse races to stop the Justice Society's troubled young recruit, Damage, from making the worst mistake of his life."

Here's hoping the "biggest mistake of his life" is his trying to resurrect his dear, departed uncle...


Monday, May 21, 2007

Trust the Phantom Stranger

For Scipio, because he asked for it:

Yes, friends, that is indeed the Phantom Stranger playing Candyland with the niece of Hal Jordan. This exchange took place during Hal Jordan's unfairly maligned Spectre series (sue me; I liked it).

The worst thing about Hal being brought back (besides Hal being brought back) was the retroactive deletion of Helen Jordan from continuity. I loved that little girl...

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cease the Endless Blathering

What manner of foolishness is this? "All-New Booster Gold"? Fools! It was bad enough that we had to deal with All-New Atom. Be forewarned: I do not like this path that you are on, DC. You grow uncomfortably close to spilling over the edge.

Need I remind you of New Avengers? Or New Thunderbolts? Or even New X-Men? These and other pitiful publications from Marvel Comics? Why would you emulate those charlatans? And in such a pathetic manner, no less. Perhaps the appellation "new" does indeed increase the sales of those books. But do you truly wish to attract knuckle-draggers that would make even Vandal Savage cringe in embarrassment?

Cease with this foolishness. The majority of readers are clever enough to realize that a comic titled Booster Gold and located in the new comics section is not Booster Gold's original series from decades ago. Some Marvel readers may need that help, ut most DC fans have higher powers of discernment. And those are the ones you wish to attract.

Though I would be willing to make an exception for "The All-New Doctor Polaris." As long as it wasn't actually new...

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Round 10

I so want in on this. And yeah, I know it's barely Friday morning for most of you. But for future men such as I who live in Asia, the night has long been upon us!

So, as Bahlactus demands: my first entry into the world of Friday Night Fights! Our challengers? Why, it's the Ultra-Humanite (a "Mind-hoppin' super-evolved genius with telepathic powers who gets his kicks bein' in the body of a giant white ape. Sometimes he's a chick.") versus Guy Gardner, courtesy of Blue Beetle #14:

"That's all Guy Gardner, baby"

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Terror of the Golden Age

Who was the first supervillain?

The superhero genre has existed since the 1930's. It's not difficult to determine who the first superhero was -- that was Superman. Extrapolating from that, it would seem clear that the first supervillain has to be the first "super" opponent of the Man of Steel. But that would not be Lex Luthor, as some might assume. Indeed, the first true supervillainous opponent of Superman was the Ultra-Humanite.

The Ultra-Humanite was conceived as the ultimate opposite of Superman. A brilliant scientist with a crippled body, he was physically weak, but mentally powerful. His motives were murky, but agenda was not: he wanted to conquer the world. That certainly puts him squarely in the supervillain category. But if that was all the Ultra-Humanite had ever been, he would probably have faded away into obscurity.

But the Ultra-Humanite didn't just fade away. Even when he was given up for dead and his body destroyed, he returned. And in this, the Ultra-Humanite became another "first." He -- a pronoun used for convenience -- became the first transgendered character in comic books.

When the Ultra-Humanite's body was destroyed his brain was transferred into the only readily available body -- that of Hollywood starlet Dolores Winters. And so -- in a twist that could be modestly described as revolutionary for the 1930's -- the Ultra-Humanite shed his crippled male body for a youthful female one. And it would not be the last time the Ultra-Humanite would discard an old physical form for a new one.

Over the years the Ultra-Humanite took up numerous bodies. His most well-known -- and seemingly preferred body -- was that of an albino gorilla. For it is in that form that the Ultra-Humanite gained the physical strength he craved to augment his superior intellect.

Over the years the Ultra-Humanite has been a foe of every generation of the Justice Society of America. But the Ultra-Humanite seemed to finally be destroyed after the events of the Stealing Thunder arc in JSA. But recent events in Justice League of America prove that that assumption to be woefully incorrect.

It is not the first time that the Ultra-Humanite has been wrongfully presumed dead. Nor will it be the last. The Ultra-Humanite, it seems, cannot die. He is intellect embodied. Most human beings -- be they male or female or something else all together -- are defined by their physical bodies. But such things mean nothing to the Ultra-Humanite.

In this, the Ultra-Humanite represents something deeply disturbing and profoundly terrifying. He is a being stripped of true identity. And without that identity, there is nothing holding him back -- nothing keeping him in check. He is not bound by name, blood, gender, or species. He is not bound by law, society, or morality.

The Ultra-Humanite is no one. He is a non-entity of vast evil intellect with nothing to lose. He was the true terror of the Golden Age. And he haunts us still.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Wuv Miss Martian

Oh yes oh yes oh yes I do.

The news that Sean McKeever (a writer whose work I do not know) is going to be taking over Teen Titans filled me with giddy joy.

Not because that means Adam Beechen won't be writing. I've long since forgiven him for what happened to Cassandra Cain. It wasn't really his fault, anyway. No, the reason why I'm giddy is because the cover of Mr. McKeever's first issue confirms that my favorite thing about Teen Titans isn't going anywhere:

Miss Martian is sunshine in a bottle. She's happiness and rainbows -- all wrapped up in cute red hair and a blue miniskirt. As far as I'm concerned, she's The Sensational Character Find of 2006.

And I am deliriously happy that she's going to be sticking around in Teen Titans. With so many recent creative changes, I was worried that we were going to lose some of the newer Titans before they really had a chance to shine.

But instead, it looks like Miss Martian and the others are going to get a turn in the spotlight. And to top it all off, they've dumped all those Titans that aren't even teens anymore.

Is it August yet?

(Image snagged from Check out all his awesome work!)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Shall Not Be Denied

DiDio! You refused my generous offers to appear in your epic year-long weekly series 52! I will brook no demurement regarding your epic year-long follow-up Countdown! I will appear, or all mankind will suffer!

A central plot point seems to be the new and improved "multi-verse." I hereby give you permission to feature not only my multiversal strongholds of Earths-32 through -35, but also their overlord and master: Doctor Polaris. That is, me.I am willing to be featured in a flashback or a throwaway "bubble" image conveniently displaying a different Earth and labeling it by its designated number.

Alternately, my appearance my be more central to the story. It is known that they-of-varied-facial-hair seek out "world-jumpers" and -- more importantly "death-cheaters." Seeing as -- despite all odds -- Polaris lives, It would make sense for the Monitors to come after me.

Perhaps a scene where I ruthlessly crushed a Monitor with sphere of metal? Or I could employ old-fashioned fisticuffs. I am partial to that manner of combat as well. But know that whatever form it takes, my tussle with the Monitor must be featured on the cover. Preferably illustrated by J. G. Jones (or failing that, a Kubert).

Know this, DiDio: I have been snubbed far too many times by your organization. With the so-called "infinite possibilities" of your "multi-verse," surely there must be room for a Master of Magnetism, or possible a Man Who Mastered Magnetism. Or maybe even a Magnetic Maestro. I am all of those and more.

And I shall not be denied. At least not this time...

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Slightly Off Topic

I was thinking about Grant Morrison's wacky team of Japanese superheroes earlier. You know, the team including Most Excellent SuperBat, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary? I said to myself "sure, that sounds interesting, but maybe not completely accurate."

Then I remembered that I'm watching an anime called Seto no Hanayome. It's about a junior high school boy who is saved from drowning by a mermaid (who is the daughter of clan of merfolk gangster), and then has to get engaged to her resulting in wacky hijinks because her gang leader father doesn't approve.

Or Nagasarete Airantou where a boy is washed up on a tropical island populated entirely by beautiful girls, talking animals, and carnivorous plants. Every day he has to fight for his life to escape... The girls. Because they want to alternately marry him, have sex with him, or experiment on him in ways best not mentioned here.

Or there's the Japanese anime of Romeo + Juliet (if anything needed the anime treatment it was that). Of course it takes place on a floating continent where Juliet disguises herself as a boy who in turn disguises himself as a Zorroesque masked avenger. Of course it does.

So yeah, I decided Grant Morrison's Japanese superheroes aren't accurate enough...

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

And so it begins.

The Countdown has started, and things are just going to get crazier in the DCU from hereon out. So far, I'm loving it.

One of my biggest problems with the old Multiverse was how ridiculously porous it was. Anyone could hop to another Earth without any difficulty for a barbeque or just to hang out. It was, quite frankly, ridiculous.

And when 52 revealed the new Multiverse, I was was worried. DC has been on quite the nostalgia trip lately. And an old school Multiverse would just make scream in rage. Because I quite honestly couldn't stand the way it worked.

But the end of 52 was soothing. Establishing a certain number of universes -- the fifty-two -- sets limits. Though there are still infinite possibilities as Geoff Johns said, they will still be structured. So new Earths won't be popping out of the ether randomly. For example, there won't be any of this stuff: "Great Krypton! Wonder Woman is blonde! That means this is Earth-8,542!" So that's one problem licked.

But more than that was what I mentioned before: the Multiverse was full of holes. It was easy to get from one place to another. Luckily, it looks like that won't be a problem any more. Because we've got the Monitors watching out for things.

The Monitors are DC's new continuity cops. Nobody is going to just randomly reestablish themselves on another Earth. Nobody is going to be hopping around willy nilly. Because inter-dimensional has consequences. The Monitors -- who clearly have power in spades -- aren't going to sit idly by while people screw with the Multiverse.

You go where you don't belong, you get capped. Or worse. And I for one am very pleased with that turn of events. Because these Monitors do more than simply monitor. They are border guards. They are the watchmen of the multiverse.

But that doesn't mean someone isn't watching them...

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Let's Move Along

I intended to write a post emphasizing my reactions to Countdown tonight. But seeing as I want to hold off on a spoiler heavy post (to give those haven't read it a chance to do so) I'd instead like to take tonight to send a message out to guys like this: stop being so damned smug!

I get it. You've been reading comics longer than I've been alive. So what? That doesn't mean you're better than me. That doesn't mean you're a better comic fan than I am.

My problem with articles like that aren't that they're celebrating the return of the multiverse. I expect that (though I still don't enjoy them). What annoys me to no end is how some people get so smug over it. It's the superiority thing that bothers me. The sense some have that "my opinion is correct and since yours is different from mine you have to be an idiot."

It's the "you think the multiverse is confusing? Must be because you're too stupid to figure it out. I never had a problem with it." and the "Of course DC is listening to me. I'm right." Though you may note that these are a variation on a theme.

Most people I talk to who are happy the multiverse is back are pleasant. Even if they know I don't like it, they don't rub it in my face. But there are those who aren't content with being happy that it's back -- they have to belittle those of us who do not like it. Because whatever reason we may have is "stupid."

I grew up with the post-Crisis DCU. I'm young, and I'll make no apologies for that thank-you-very-much. But just because I wasn't around in the "good old days" doesn't mean that my opinions are worthless. Or stupid. Or necessarily wrong. Just like the opinions of older fans aren't necessarily worthless, stupid, or wrong.

But I get the sense that these same people aren't going to be happy about this new multiverse once they find out it's not exactly like the old one. I'm willing to give this a try precisely because it's not a leap backwards. It's a leap forward to something new. The old multiverse hasn't been brought back -- a new one has been created. And as Countdown shows, the old rules do not apply.

So while I sit and watch, some fans will no doubt start to rant and scream anew that they've haven't gotten back exactly what they had thirty years ago. And to them, I say this:

Get over it.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Get Me Out of Here

Where do I belong?

I don't mean that question in an angsty, existential way. I mean it very literally: which Earth do I belong on? There are fifty-two of the darn things now, and one of them has to have a place for me. Should I move to Earth-2 and try and fit in with a Huntress that is a tad less intimidating (I hope) than the one I'm used to? Or should I try to find this "Earth-8" that everyone has been talking about?

I would very much be willing to help Uncle Sam fight Nazis on Earth-10. If he'll have me. It would give me something to do. Because I'm certainly not getting anything done on this world.

I can't hold down a job. I've been replaced as the Blessed Saint Dumas' brutal avengers. An every attempt to get a girlfriend has ended awkwardly. Or worse. I mean, Crimson Avenger shot me on our date. Not once, not twice, but three times.

So I could charitably be called a "failure" on Earth-52. I need a fresh start somewhere. Someplace where nobody knows about my sordid past or the confusing hundred issues of my not-so-acclaimed solo series.

Should I roll a die and give Rip Hunter a call? Or should I just start stalking Booster Gold until an opportunity arises? I really don't know...

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Give the People What they Want!

Where's my Super-Chief?

It wasn't that long that I was lamenting the loss of Super-Chief. But I didn't let myself despair. Because the writers and editors of 52 swore that we hadn't seen the last of the Manitou Stone.

But earlier this week, while glancing at a gallery of 52 covers, it all came back to me. We haven't seen the Manitou Stone or Super-Chief since that fateful day. And I, for one, am pissed.

C'mon, DC. How can you let such a great character concept slip through your fingers? That brilliant costume! Those cool powers! ("The speed of a thousand deer... The strength of a thousand bears!") How can you just let him disappear, never to be seen again?

I won't stand for it, DC! Am I the only one who wants to see the fantastic Super-Chief again? Don't tell me I'm the only one. Don't let me be alone in this.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Earth-32 is Mine!

Slow moving fools! You miss an opportunity when it presents itself! With the advent of this new and improved "multi-verse" I, Doctor Polaris, am staking my claim! Since no one else has yet claimed it as their own, I do so at this moment: Earth-32 belongs to Polaris!

I honestly do not care what is on it. Whether it be a Kirby-world filled with talking animals and square jaws or some insipid world of Golden Age throwbacks matters not. For I shall remake Earth-32 into my own image! It shall be a world not unlike Luthor's beloved "Lexor." But with a snappier name. And my face on everything!

Yes, this "multi-verse" has indeed opened up new worlds. New worlds to conquer. And it is only fitting that I be at the forefront of that movement. I've always been something of a pioneer. After all, I was mixing magnetism and medicine long before it was cool.

So I suggest any would be tyrants out there move before this rush goes bust. Because there are only so many worlds. And I may just decide to add a couple more to my collection. Sequentially, of course.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007


I never liked the old Multiverse. That should come as no surprise to anyone who's read my sparse posting on the subject. But I should be clear that I didn't dislike it because I found it "confusing" or "difficult to understand."

What I hate about the old Multiverse is how incredibly easy and simplistic it was to get from one Earth to another. Interdimensional dinner parties seemed like par for the course. Just hop on a treadmill and you're in another dimension. To me, that cheapens the entire concept. It weakens it.

The other problem with the old Multiverse was that everyone seemed to know about it. There was no mystery or secrecy to the fact that there were other universes. There was no drama or surprise. It was as obvious as the fact that Canada borders America to the north.

But I remain cautiously (very cautiously) optimistic about the new Multiverse. Because it seems that there are already safeguards in place to prevent the abuses (as I see them) of the concept in the past.

As much as some might like the idea of people crossing over from Earth to Earth for friendly barbeques, It's probably not going to happen. Because according to Ion, these different realities are separated by the Bleed. And the Bleed is full of horrible, ravenous monsters. But I don't hold out much hope they'll keep it that way...

As for everyone knowing about the Multiverse, well... I'm not so sure about that either. Rip Hunter made it clear to Booster that he wanted to keep it a secret. But the Countdown preview has already made it clear that a few others know. And that'll probably spiral out of control quickly.

Wow, I started this post out cautiously optimistic, but I've made myself pessimistic in the process. Mostly because in this era of nostalgia, I can't help but feel that the people at DC Comics are going to repeat the mistakes (as I see them) of the past regarding the Multiverse.

I hope I'm wrong. And I hope I like it. I really do.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

An Honest Review of a Fool's Errand

At the insistence of a certain "lady friend," I went out this evening for a night at the theater. As is customary, I allowed her to choose the entertainment for the evening.

Her choice was both ill-advised and ignorant. For the both of us were subjected to the horror that is Spider-Man 3. For those with weak or feeble minds, I warn you: I will be engaging in that which might constitute spoiling!

As one who knows a thing or two about physics, I must say that their depiction of particle physics was both ignorant and laughable. Important research at night? Fools! The night is for either sleeping or wreaking terrible vengeance. Both are acceptable.

Though I must say I did enjoy the scene where the walking plot-point mercilessly pummeled the fool Spider-Man. I laughed uproariously. I am certain that if I had not driven all the other patrons from the theater before the previews (I like the middle of the theater, and will brook no head blocking my view) I would surely have disturbed them. Though that would have been just as amusing.

In conclusion, I am pleased that I threatened the management of the theater with a fist of steel. I cannot imagine how I would have felt to have spent valuable stolen loot on tickets to a film that puts film to shame.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Shall Not Perish...

Amazons Attack made me angry. But not in the way many of you might think. I'm not angry that the Amazons were "made into villains." As far as the miniseries goes, they are the villains. And that's perfectly acceptable.

Nor am I angry at the bloodthirsty savagery the Amazons engaged in. Though in this case, I certainly should be. But whether it's a function of society or simply the realization that the people killed are fictional, I felt no rage at their deaths.

So what did make me angry?

Seeing the Lincoln Memorial decapitated had a profound effect on me. To understand exactly why, I think you need to know a little bit more about me. My story begins like most: I was born in a small town. The town itself has little bearing on what we're discussing here tonight. But the state does. I was born and raised in the Union's 21st state: Illinois.

Those who don't live or travel to Illinois probably don't understand the extent to which Lincoln's memory and legacy permeate the state. Lincoln's name and image are everywhere. After all, we're not called the "Land of Lincoln" for nothing.

For better or worse the stories of Lincoln -- be they fact or myth -- are instilled into most children in Illinois. We learn from a very young age the stories of the gangly railsplitter and the self-taught lawyer. We're regaled with the tale of Lincoln's beard and the account of his "almost duel." We hear everything, including the story of that fateful night in Ford's Theater.

From this, it should come as no surprise that most Illinoisans have great pride in both their state and Lincoln himself. Though "The Great Emancipator" was not born in Illinois, we know that where a person is born is only a tiny part of who they are. Superman taught us that.

So when the Amazons attacked the Lincoln Memorial, I felt like they were attacking me. Not only that, they were attacking my home, my beliefs, and my country. To an Illinoisan, Lincoln isn't "Just another man." He's the man who saved the Union. He's the man ushered in a "new birth of freedom." He is a symbol of everything that is right about America.

Will Pfeifer, I suspect, knows this. He is an Illinoisan himself, after all. As such, I don't doubt that he understands the power inherent in Abraham Lincoln's likeness. And what the toppling of that icon would do to some of us. I think Will Pfeifer wanted to make me angry.

And it worked.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

An Aquamanifesto (With Apologies)

Better men than I have said it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't warrant saying again: DC needs to bring back the real Aquaman.

I'll admit that I'm a bit of a latecomer to the character of Aquaman. I jumped on the bandwagon with the beginning of his most recent series. Luckily for me, I was out of the country and without access to comic books for the entire year of the Rick Veitch run. If I hadn't, I might have dropped the book.

As it was, I came back, slogged through those first twelve to fourteen issues, and then came upon something wonderful. For it was Will Pfeifer's run on Aquaman that really made me love the character.

Here was the man that so many had mocked over the years. But this was no man deserving of mockery. This was a hero in the truest sense. Valiant and self-sacrificing, the Aquaman of Will Pfeifer and John Arcudi was a sight to behold.

I think what drew me most to Aquaman was his passion. At first glance, Aquaman seemed angry all too often. But I came to realize that Aquaman wasn't angry like a Batman, or angry like a 90's "grim 'n' gritty" anti-hero. When Aquaman was angry it was a righteous anger. His anger was pure; it was driven by a love of justice and a hatred of evil. And it was impressive.

In reading more distant stories, I came to see another Aquaman. The Aquaman of the Justice League. I've always been a big believer in the centrality of the Martian Manhunter to the the Justice League. I still am. But I've also come to realize that Aquaman is just as important -- if not more important -- than Martian Manhunter is.

Of course, I'm not talking about "Orin," the bearded, shirtless guy with the swimming-impractical hair. I'm talking about Arthur Curry, the once and future king; the man who had the courage and drive to lead the Justice League again and again, in many incarnations. As Martian Manhunter holds the League together, so should Aquaman be at its forefront.

But Aquaman is gone. And though we know all to well that he won't be gone forever, he is not present in the here and now. And the DC Universe suffers for it. In a universe of legacy -- in a time when heroes of old are returning from the darkness -- how can we go on without one of original heroes of the Golden Age?

I echo the sentiments of others: the current author of Aquaman seems primed to return the original character to his rightful place. From there, it is just a short step back to a prime position in the Justice League of America, and the honor Aquaman deserves. These are things that will -- in time -- come to pass.

Now is that time.