Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Sensible Suggestion

Within the pages of DC Comics "back-up" features appear to be multiplying like rabbits. The Question! Blue Beetle! Captain Atom! Even characters that have their own books are being granted "back-ups."

A logical extension of this leads to one question: where is the "co-feature" for Doctor Polaris?

If tinpot dictators like Captain "Monarch" Atom and whiny brats like Rose "Whiny Brat" Wilson are getting "back-ups" then there must be room for the mighty Doctor Polaris. Perhaps as one of the pre-eminent villains of the DCU a "back-up" in Justice Leage of America would be appropriate. Or perhaps I could take up residence in the last few pages of Action Comics.

Still, my favorite option is this: move well-known idiot Hal "Jackass" Jordan to a "co-feature" and change the title of Green Lantern to Doctor Polaris.

That should make everyone happy.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Here's Hoping

That "Azrael" series came out a couple of weeks ago. I haven't gotten around to reading it for... Obvious reasons. Has anyone else seen it? What did you think?

Part of me hopes it doesn't do well. After all, it's supposed to be my comic. Not some other guy's. But Saint Dumas knows I can't really feel that way. It's not in my nature. I guess I want anyone who has to follow in my terrible shoes to succeed.

I hope he doesn't go completely crazy like most Azraels.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Creepiest Character Ever


Friday, March 27, 2009

Looking Good

Have you seen these gorgeous sketches of Renee Montoya as the Question? Go take a quick look and then come back here to hear me gush.

Ready? Good.

Holy crap, those are phenomenal. To me, it looks as though Renee's getting her own look as the Question rather than simply apeing the look of Vic Sage. The hat and the clothes look just slightly different in Cully Hamner's art. But this new look really seems to fit Renee better than anything has so far.She looks comfortable in those sketches. I haven't seen her look comfortable in a long time.

I also love the short hair. Greg Rucka is exactly right: it makes sense that if she's going to be fighting in the thick of things she'd keep her hair short. It follows along with the same reason why Aquaman should keep his hair cut short. You've got to dress for the occasion.

Look's like the Question is doin' fine.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking XC

Whoo boy. Here we are again with Thursday Night Thinking. And the Roman numerals are starting to get tricky to decipher for those who haven't studied Latin.

God, I love Roman numerals. But I love Aquaman thinking even more:

Giant Aqualad rules.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Batman Predictions

I understand that the identity of the new Batman may have been revealed. I have no interest in spoilers, so I haven't taken a look yet. But before the whole thing accidentally breaks lose and someone ruins it for me I though that I should probably go ahead and give my predictions for the end of Battle for the Cowl.

At the end of it all we'll have the books Batman and Robin, Batman, and Red Robin. I think it's pretty obvious that Red Robin will be Tim Drake. It's true that Jason Todd once wore that mantle, but the most recent person to carry it was Tim Drake. And the solicitation description describes a character who is acting far more like Tim Drake than Jason Todd.

Batman and Robin is Grant Morrison's baby. So I think the identity of that "Robin" will probably be Damien. There's really nobody else young enough to take that role if Tim Drake isn't having it. And that's definitely not Tim Drake on the cover. Who will be Batman in Batman and Robin? It's got to be Dick Grayson. We're not seeing him anywhere else, after all. He's the only person who really makes sense. I don't care if he doesn't want it; he's going to get it anyway.

That leaves us with Batman. Surely that means more "solo" adventures for Dick Grayson as Batman. I think not. I don't think there's any reason to assume that there will be only one Batman at the end of this. Obviously this status quo won't last for ever. So why not shake it up a bit? Why not have two Batmen? Seeing as the writing of Batman is Judd Winick, I'm pretty sure that in that book we'll be seeing the adventures of Jason Todd as Batman.

So in summary: three books, four characters, two Batmen. Let's see if I'm right.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Cure

I have to wonder what DC is planning with Barbara Gordon.

The mini that comes out this week is provocatively titled, after all. "Oracle: The Cure"? Yeah, that couldn't possibly be hinting at anything could it? The question really does become: are they really going to heal paralysis? Are they going to let her walk again?

But then, that question is only important to a degree. After all, if Barbara does regain the use of her legs that has absolutely no impact on her ability to be "Oracle." A "cure" is only important if they're planning to make her Batgirl again.

And would they really do that? Would they take a woman who is one of the strongest and most powerful characters in the whole of the DC Universe and make her call herself Batgirl? Especially when there's a Batwoman running around? Can you really see a woman like Barbara Gordan taking on the mantle of Batgirl again?

I can't. I just can't see it happening. I could see her becoming a Batwoman if there wasn't already one. But there is. So it won't happen. If there really is an upcoming Batgirl series it won't be Barbara Gordon starring. This whole thing is a fakeout.

There may be a new Batgirl or perhaps Cassandra Cain will retake the role. But I guarantee this: whatever happens to Barbara Gordon in Oracle: The Cure she'll still be Oracle by the end of it.

Unless she's not.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

June Solicitations

And... We're back! Just in time for... Solicitations!

Oh, how I love this time of the month. Getting sneak peaks at comics that won't come out for another three months. Looking at the covers. Reading those delightfully vague and fantastically misleading issue teasers. What a fine, fine day it is.

Let's get started.
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Cover by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
Variant cover by JG Jones
In this special epilogue to BATTLE FOR THE COWL, new BATMAN writer Judd Winick rejoins the Bat Family! This 40-page issue explores the final moments of the Battle for the Cowl as the new Batman learns that winning the Cowl comes at a high price! Witness the new Batman taking to the streets of Gotham City for the first time! Putting a new man inside the Bat-suit was the easy part – now the fun begins! Guest-starring Superman and Wonder Woman, this issue is a must-read for any Batman fan.
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by JG Jones). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale June 10 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
It's the birth of the new Batman! Who is he? What's his game? And which of these books am I going to get?

Well, I know I'll be getting this one. Judd Winick's previous Batman run was one of my all time favorites. As for the others... I'll most certainly be getting Detective and I think the Manhunter back-up has pushed me into picking up Streets of Gotham. We'll have to see about the others...
Written by Dan Jurgens and Matthew Sturges
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund and Mike Norton
Cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
“Day of Death” part 1! When Booster Gold learns of Batman’s death, he visits the Batcave, but runs into a new Dark Knight. Fists will fly and Batman will die...again! And in the debut of a new 10-page co-feature, Blue Beetle is back! While enjoying a peaceful lunch with his friends, Jaime Reyes – and all of El Paso, Texas – are attacked by a marauding 50-foot robot, and only Blue Beetle can stop this mechanized monster.
On sale June 19 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Hooray! More Blue Beetle!

That is all.
Written by Len Wein
Art by Jose Luis & JP Mayer
Cover by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
The cards are against the remnants of the Justice League! And those cards are the Royal Flush Gang! Can even Superman and Wonder Woman save a team whose luck has run out? Featuring the deadly return of an old foe in part 1 of a 2-part story.
On sale June 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Okay. I lived in Japan for several years. I've literally seen thousands of Japanese people in my day. I've lived with them. I've taught their children.

And they don't have blue eyes, dammit!

Seriously. Japanese people have brown eyes. All of them. So unless it's explained away as a cosequence of her super-powers (which is a stupid explanation) the colorist mucked that up. Details matter, people.
Written by Jerry Ordway
Art by Jerry Ordway & Bob Wiacek
Cover by Jerry Ordway
A Japanese spirit has appeared to exact revenge on the living symbols of America’s atomic warfare while the rest of the JSA reaches out to another founding member for assistance: The Spectre! Continuing the haunting new arc by Jerry Ordway and Bob Wiacek.
On sale June 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
This looks interesting. I hope Ordway deals with the issue of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in the proper way. I imagine he will, but it's still a difficult subject to take up. A lot of raw nerves even after all this time. Those were some of the darkest days in human history...

Also, dragons? Really more Chinese than Japanese... If you want something that's real Japan, well...
Written by Joe Casey
Art by ChrisCross
Cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
The following is a message on behalf of the Super
Young Team:
The Super Young Team would like to formally and publicly sever all ties with the manufacturers of OXY-GEN. When the team agreed to be celebrity sponsors of the product, their contracts in no way disclosed the potential deadly side effects. We in no way endorse a product that could cause our fans to be harmed, and will be making a donation to the charities helping the victims of the OXY-GEN tragedy. In the meantime, please visit our website where you can leave video messages for your favorite member of Super Young Team, and be sure to take part in the trivia challenge!
On sale June 17 • 2 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Oh yeah.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Watchmen Movie

I went to see the Watchmen movie this past week. I wasn't sure if I was going to get around to it, actually. But my friend hadn't seen it or read the original comic so it seemed like a good opportunity.

And here's the thing: I really liked it. Now, considering how faithful Watchmen the movie is to Watchmen the comic you might expect that I'd been a fan of the original comic. That is most decidedly not so.

The art in Watchmen was (and is) of the highest caliber. Dave Gibbons is fantastic, no question. My problem with Watchmen was always the story. I found it far too nihilistic. It always felt to me that one of the central premises of Watchmen was that the world is horrible place and no, you can't make a difference.

To be fair, this may very well be me misremembering some of what the story is about. I haven't read it in a few years and I didn't particularly want to reread it right before I went into the movie. But what I do remember quite well is the bizarre hero worship that has risen up around Alan Moore. It seems like the weirder the guy gets the more people want to idolize him. It doesn't make much sense to me.

But I digress. This post is titled "Watchmen Movie" after all. And as I said, I liked it. It was a gorgeous film and the music really impressed me. All the actors played their roles to perfection (or near perfection). But I think mostly I liked it because it felt heroic at times. And the Watchmen comic (or at least my rememberance of it) was anything but heroic.

That may just be me. I'm a fan of the heroic. I'm a believer that people can make a difference. I'm a believer in the idea that just because you can't save the world doesn't mean you shouldn't try to save something Watchmen the comic always seemed to me an idictment of the very idea of super-heroes.

And for someone like me, that just won't fly.

But even if the heroes failed to stop Ozymandias from carrying out his plan they tried. That, and the fact that movie Nite-Owl actually seemed to give a damn that millions of people (and Rorschach) died. For me, the scene where he attacks Ozymandias in rage after the fact made the film for me. At that moment movie Nite-Owl felt more like a real person than the comic version ever did.

I think that's it, really. Watchmen the comic seemed to be trying to tell us that all people are inherently bad. But that's never been my belief or my experience. In Watchmen the movie there are people who fit into the Comedian's view of the world... And there are those who stand against it.

Those are the stories I want to see. Watchmen the movie was one of them.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking LXXXIX

I have returned! And with me I bring Thursday Night Thinking!

Ah yes... Sometimes simple thoughts are the... Wait, what? Who is that guy? Matador? I've been gone far too long...


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gone Again

Once again, my friends, I must bid you a temporary adieu. Early tomorrow morning I'm leaving on another extended trip to some place within the continental United States. At least this time I'm staying in the CST (Correct Standard Time) rather than traveling to the EST (Evil Standard Time).

I'll be visiting a friend up in Madison, Wisconsin. It's my old college roommate, and since his wife is going to be out of time we're going to play Dungeons & Dragons. Just like old times. There will probably be other activites as well, such as the eating of food? Maybe bocce ball? I don't know.

Anyway, I'll be gone until Thursday -- just in time for Thursday Night Thinking! Of of my co-bloggers may be able to fill the gap, but it's spring break for them too, I think...


Friday, March 13, 2009

Supersizing Comics

There's been a bit of back and forth in the comics world ever since DC announced that they were adding Blue Beetle and Ravager backups to a couple of books -- and raising the price.

I think everybody (including me) knew that price hikes were coming. It's inevitable, what with inflation and this economy. But what I didn't expect was to actually get something for that extra dollar.

It's a calculated risk, of course. But it's one that really has to be taken. As much as I love monthly floppies I worry sometimes that they've been stagnating. Not in the sense that "everybody will just read trades." I don't think you can do that with comics -- at least not the kind of comics I like. The serlialized nature of the medium is one of the big pluses for me. I'll never give up the weekly grind if I have anything to say about it.

But $2.99 for twenty-two pages has been a forced industry standard for far too long. There's no reason why the page count can't go up (along with the price). I think the people who read comics these days are certainly different from those who used to. By and large, comic readers (and we're talking mostly about superheroes here) are not kids with just a little pocket money. They are adults -- people with jobs and disposable income.

Now, they're going to make choices about what the spend their money on, no question. It'll come down to going to a movie versus picking up a comic book. But I wouldn't imagine that a higher price -- as long as you're getting something for that price -- is going to drive down sales a huge amount.

Indeed, the extra content may even bring some people aboard who might otherwise stay away. Clearly DC has noted Blue Beetle and Ravager as popular characters -- though perhaps not characters popular enough to hold solo titles. So they receive backups that could entice fans of those characters to pick up Booster Gold and Teen Titans.

In the end, we're going to have to wait for sales figures to see what happens. Will the backups quickly disappear and the prices drop? Or will bigger, more expensive books be the wave of the future for superhero comics? Time will tell...

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking LXXXVIII

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of Thursday Night Thinking!

With Batman dead what terrible thing can't the Penguin wait for?

What, you expect me to give you an answer? Use your imagination!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wrong Again

Well, I was about a million degrees off on the identities of Flamebird and Nightwing in this week's issue of Action. But me being wrong is nothing new, so that's okay.

Really, I think this pair will turn out to have a much better story. Especially since their main enemies appear to be Zod and Ursa. The concept of "sleepers" on Earth is a fascinating one... Especially when you know where they're coming from.

Oh, and it seems that the only Kryptonians of the El brothers' generation capable of degree of common sense were Jor and Zor. Why are so many Kryptonians either completely oblivious or just damn mean?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

It seems that I offended some sort of higher power. One of the old gods. The kind that like to rain lightning from the heavens on those who displease them. Or, you know, rain rain.

You see, we've been having quite the rain recently. This morning we discovered that the basement had flooded. I was immediately struck with terrible fear. All my really cool stuff is in the basement.

Luckily my comics were safely transfered upstairs. There was only one comic-related fatality: a trade paperback of Green Arrow: Quiver. Easily replacable if I am so inclined.

Less easily replacable will be my collection of vintage videogames (Karnov! Nooooo!) I have a lot of NES games and a number of them were found slightly damp on the carpet. I haven't tested them yet; I figure that if my heart is going to be broken by the loss of Shadow of the Ninja it should wait until the basement is clean and dry.

Oh, and the case for my Wonder Woman DVD got soaked. And I just bought that thing. Damn.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Moving On

Well, this is the week. The week I officially get replaced.

I don't really know how to feel about this.

I suppose I should be happy to know that somebody is out there wreaking crazed vengeance on deserving sinners. The flaming sword thing just doesn't get the play it used to. Back in the 90's it seemed like everybody had a flaming sword. I had one and extendable flaming gauntlets...

But St. Dumas knows that sometimes I'm a bit weak. And I'll admit that I'm feeling some envy. I know that's not particuarly Christian, but I'd really like for it to be me out there doing the crazed vigilante thing. And you know it's crazed. They even use the word "crazed" in the solicitation.

I'm just going to have to accept that somebody else is getting my old job. I hope at the very least I get a mention. I had a hundred issues of vigilantism. The least they could do is mention me.

But more than anything I hope this helps the poor, lost soul who's taking on the mantle of "Azrael." I know it always gave me great comfort to break ribs and shatter skulls. I miss the good old days...

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wonder Woman DVD

I picked up the Wonder Woman direct-to-DVD film today. Short review: I freakin' loved it.

Longer review: It was really, really good. It actually had everything you could possibly hope for from a Wonder Woman movie. There was fantastic action galore, super-heroics, and an invisible jet.

I'm not going to go into too much here because I don't want to ruin anything for anybody. There is so much good stuff in the move that it would be a shame if I gave away even one great scene here.

Basically it boils down to this: from a comic fan's standpoint this is probably the best adaptation of Wonder Woman that's ever been done. I do not understand why Warner Bros' animation division keeps hitting them out of the park but their feature film division can't seem to walk and chew gum at the same time...

Keep you eye out for an awesome guest star in the last few minutes of the film!

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Further Prognostication

As you probably already know Greg Rucka and Eddy Barrows are taking over Action Comics this month. The star of the book will not be Superman, but rather Nightwing and Flamebird. No, not that Nightwing.

At the moment we don't really know who the characters are. We've got little more than a few hints and a some speculation. But as I am wont to do here this night I shall make my own predictions as to who the characters are.

First up is Nightwing. This Nightwing is a young male with black hair, clearly possessing both the powers of super-strength and flight. He's also got something he calls "tactile telekinesis." So it's pretty obvious to me that it is Superboy.

The tactile telekinesis gives it away, but you've also got the fact that both Nightwing and Flamebird seemed to know exactly how "New Krypton" would end. And if you're reading Legion of Three Worlds it's pretty obvious that that is where Superboy will be returning to life. And if he came from the future, he already knew what would happen.

The other member of the duo is Flamebird. She's a little trickier to pin down -- we haven't actually seen her fly under her own power and clues to her identity are sparse. Still, if the preview of next week's issue is accurate she has brown hair. It's not much to go on, but I still believe that Flamebird is Linda Danvers, former Supergirl.

That seems like a bit of a longshot, yes? After all, she hasn't been seen in years. But there are a few things that lead me to that conclusion. First, her new codename is Flamebird -- and as Supergirl she sported a pair of flaming wings (if you don't know what I'm talking about it's needlessly complicated and I won't explain it here).

Secondly, with her on the team that would mean that Nightwing and Flamebird are both heroes who are partially human and have worn the "S". Who better to protect the Earth from evil Kryptonians?

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking LXXXVII

Superman may be gone and Batman may be dead, but Thursday Night Thinking is eternal!

Don't cry, Hal! Everything will turn out all right in the end. You'll see!

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Old School

Gimme that old time religion:

Zeus will rip out your heart. Those Greeks knew how to play the game...


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The City

I have a bone to pick with "geek icon" Joss Whedon. I read this article where Mr. Whedon talks about why he thinks that DC hasn't been more succesful at getting their characters to the screen. And I have to say that he's dead wrong.

He claims that the reason the characters aren't making it to the big screen is because they're "gods" and not "real people." Whedon doesn't know what he's talking about. The fact that the dials go up to eleven in the DCU is irrelevant. The main reason why DC characters have hit so many roadblocks on their way to the big screen is simple: DC Comics has no control over DC movies. Marvel has near complete control over their movie properties. DC Comics has none.

But that's all a story for another day. This isn't about Joss Whedon's mischaracterization or misunderstanding of DC's characters. I want to talk about this little snippet:
" Their characters didn't living (sic) in mythical cities, they lived in New York. They absolutely were a part of the world."
This really burns me up. I hate it when Marvel people declare that somehow Marvel is more "realistic" because it's set in the "real" universe.

Marvel comics isn't set in the real universe. It's not even set in a universe. It's set in New York. Spider-Man lives in New York. Daredevil lives in New York. The Avengers are based out of New York and I'm pretty sure Tony Stark was from New York. I know Captain America grew up in New York.

My point is that almost every character is built up around a single city. It's a real city, sure. But you know what? It's no more real to me than Metropolis or Gotham. I've never been to New York City. But I've been to Chicago. And with DC I can imagine that Gotham is like Chicago. And thus it becomes more real to me than Marvel's New York has ever been.

The other glorious thing about DC's fictionopolises is this: they allow the universe to breathe. There is an individuality that reflects their heroes that you can't get from sticking the hero in New York. Look at James Robinson's Starman. It is widely considered a masterpiece. Would the comic have worked it if had been set in New York City? Or Los Angeles? Or Seattle?

Can you imagine a world where Batman fights crime in Central Park or a Metropolis without that beautiful Daily Planet planet? These cities are individuals like the characters that live in them. These cities aren't simply landscape. And they are not handicaps for DC; they are among their comics' greatest strengths.

Joss Whedon may be a popular guy, but it's clear that he doesn't really get DC comics. And I guess that's okay. But whatever he says I would much rather spend my time in the amazing, larger than life cities of the DCU than the real life mundanity of a New York City...

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Lurking in the Shadows

Know this: from time to time I peer into the deep morass that is the world of comic book message boards. It do this for my own amusement. The petty squabbling of "fan-boys" serve to give me great joy.

The fools cannot see beyond their own ideas and concepts! They see conspiracies and deceit -- largely the work of a mysterious being called the "Didio" -- lurking around every corner. The fan-boys' paranoia amuses me to no end.

I also find myself amused by those who carry with them an air of entitlement. Fools! Comic book companies do not serve at your whim! They are entities designed for the maximization of profit. Any form of entertainment they produce is purely a byproduct. If you wish to possess an entity that bows to your every desire then build one the way Lex Luthor does. Or conquer a country. That worked for Black Adam.

My point is this: you are fools! I do not care if you feel that such-and-such a characters has been "slighted." Be it truth or falsehood your opinion will not matter without facts and figures to back it up. And thus far I have seen no proof that this "Didio" creature even exists...