Tuesday, June 30, 2009


What sorts of things in comics make you leap out of your chair and cheer aloud?

We've all got things we just love to see in the comics. Scenes that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and make you feel like you're staring through a magic window into a miraculous world.

For me it's a classic sort of Superman scene. We've seen it many, many times but I never get tired of seeing it. I imagine we'll be seeing a similar scene very soon in Superman: Secret Origin and I'm excited to see how Geoff Johns plays it.

Here's how it goes: something is happening. It's bad. It could be a crashing space plane or a meteor from space or robot bent on destruction. There is nothing that can stop it. It's absolutely impossible that whoever is caught in this predicament (though it's usually Lois Lane) can escape. They are dead. There's no way around it. They can't survive.

But then the plane stops falling. Or the meteor is diverted. And the people in the crowd (becuse there is always a crowd) look to the sky. It's a bird, they may say. Or maybe a plane. But in the end they find that it's a flying man. A man who can do the impossible. It's Superman.

What common, oft repeated scene takes your breath away?

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Back it Up

So far I've been pretty pleased with the backup features in the books I'm reading. I didn't even hate the Ravager backup in Teen Titans! How about that, huh?

I'm also pleased to hear that the backups will be collected in their own trade paperbacks at some point. I just can't rationalize buying every book that has a backup. I just don't have the cash for all that.

Still, the backups in the books I am reading are turning out to be quite fun. Blue Beetle, of course, is fantastic. And The Question is looking like it should be pretty cool. It's great getting more than one story for the price of one. I really feel like that extra story is worth the extra dollar.

The backup I'm looking forward to the most is still on the horizon. More than anything I'm excited about James Robinson and Greg Rucka writing Captain Atom in Action Comics. That's going to be a blast.

What backup features have you liked the best?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank You

Thank you, James Robinson. Thanks for remembering that there actually are cities in Japan besides Tokyo.

I know those shrines well, in fact. I used to ride past Nagata Shrine on my way to work every day on the bus. And on many a weekend my friends and I would cut through Ikuta Shrine to cut a few minutes off the walk to one of our favorite restaurants.

*sigh* I miss those days...

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #104

Some things never change. This is one of them. This is Thursday Night Thinking.

Tonight: a classic Batman cover that asks the age old question that we've all struggled with: "am I Batman?"

Good thought, better question.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


There were a number of things about this week's Justice Society of America that unsettled me. Primarily, I think, is the fact that one of history's greatest tragedies was employed to tell a super-hero story.

I don't know if Mr. Ordway has ever been to Hiroshima. I have, and it's impossible to forget the things you see there. The photographs of the dead, the melted rooftiles, the black, human-shaped stains on paving stones. These aren't things you forget, even if you wish to.

I understand that maybe Mr. Ordway was trying to make a point about the issue, that he was trying to say that the dropping of that bomb and its twin weren't something black or white. Maybe, even as far from it as I am, I'm still too close to the issue. I can't fault Mr. Ordway for trying to tell the story even if it makes me unformfortable.

Hiroshima is an interesting city, and if you go thinking you'll find a place absorbed by the meloncholy of its tragedy you'll be disappointed. the burnt out remains of the A-Bomb Dome are the only real remnants of what happened there. The Peace Park at the site of where the bomb was dropped is big and beautiful, and there are always both tourists and Japanese people there.

I'm sure that there are those who still harbor ill will for what happened on that day. But you wouldn't know it. Maybe it's too long gone and everyone there is too young. I got nothing but friendly smiles, waves from children, and enthuisiastic attempts at English. Nobody seemed angry or resentful that I was an American. They just seemed happy to see me.

Still, you can't forget what happened there. Whether it was right or wrong -- and I doubt anyone has a real, proper answer to that question -- it happened. And even though this week's JSA made me uncomfortable, if it helps just one person to remember what happened in Hiroshima, it'll be worth it.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Detective

Batwoman in Detective Comics kicks off tomorrow. I for one am ridiculously excited.

I am a great admirer of Greg Rucka's work, especially when he's let loose to do whatever the hell he feels like. He's had that freedom with Action Comics so far, and if you read the recent annual and don't agree that he's doing something amazing with a couple of nobody characters, well... You have my sympathy.

I get the feeling that Detective is more or less the same deal. I don't think there are really many restrictions on what Rucka's going to be doing. Kathy Kane and Rene Montoya are more or less Rucka's characters. And I have no doubt that he'll manage to tell a heck of a story with them.

What do you think?

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Bold New Directioning

So James Robinson and Mark Bagley are taking over Justice League of America. Is anybody else breathing a sigh of relief?

First of all, I'm thankful that I won't have to look at Ed Benes' art any longer. Some people may like his work, but it's certainly not my cup of tea. And how nice will it be to have a JLA monthly with a monthly artist. Bagley's one of the guys we know will be able to pull it off.

Secondly I'm thankful for James Robinson. His return to comics after that hiatus he took is one of the best things to happen to DC. JLA has been a bit of a mess lately, but it's not entirely Dwayne McDuffie's fault. He's been dealt some bad cards and some annoying editorial fiats.

But he knew that was the way things work. There's no point in complaining if the bosses tell you who you can and can't have on your team. You just have to work with it. After all, look what Keith Giffen and crew managed to do years ago with JLA and a team of second stringers. People still talk about that.

And James Robinson is the kind of guy who can do almost anything with anything. Look at Starman. Gaze in wonder at what he's managed to do with the Guardian and Mon-El. You think he can't take a team of whoever and make them interesting.

I guarantee you there won't be any sitting around at tables looking at photos in the Robinson/Bagley Justice League...

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #103

You know what time it is. Time for Thursday Night Thinking!

Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again: God bless James Robinson.

"Such is the way of the mystery man."

Yeah, I hope he writes Justice League of America for a good long time...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Swift and Terrible

While perusing the Internet earlier this evening I came upon an interesting website. It seems that some organization called "IGN" has compiled a list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.

I immediately delved in, eager to find out where Doctor Polaris, Master of Magnetism fit in. I grew increasingly intrigued as each decade of the list passed without my name to be found. It could only mean that my final position was that much higher.

In retrospect I should have seen the warning signs. Misidentifying Bane's current team as the "Sinister Six" and incorrectly calculating Vandal Savage's villainous career by some 36,000 years are not the actions of the brightest stars in the firmament.

And yet, when I reached #2 on the list I was filled with anticipation. That esteemed position was held by Batman's nemesis The Joker. And if he is to be consigned to the second position then only Doctor Polars could possibly hold the the #1 position. After all, there were no remaining villains worth their salt. None with name recognition and staying power that hadn't yet be mentioned.

I eagerly clicked, ready to bask in the adoration of "IGN" and the Internet masses as a whole. But when I saw the face beneath the "1" I began to tremble with rage. I was not #1. Who was?


That pathetic, conceited coxcomb had usurped a position that was rightfully mine! And to add insult to injury his theft of the first spot meant that I hadn't made the list at all!

Clearly the staffers at "IGN" are empty headed, semi-literate Marvel zombies. But that will not save them from my wrath. It will be swift and terrible. Doctor Polaris will not be insulted.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Inside Outside

Have you been reading Outsiders? You should be. Pete Tomasi is a radical comic writing machine, and Outsiders has gone from being a damn mess to being one of the books I look forward to the most each month. It's crazy.

The Outsiders are up against a sinister group of immortals called the Insiders. Yeah, that's probably not an accident. Seems these immortals gain their immortality from some sort of mysterious metorite.

What's that? You've heard that story before? Why yes, there is another character in the DC Universe who was made immortal by a meteorite. It's the same metorite. But it made this guy immortal way before these guys. And he's coming for what's his:

Yes indeed, that's Vandal Savage, immortal genius caveman and inventor of murder, the wheel, and cannibalism.

The "Insiders" are so screwed.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

We Didn't Know

Dear God. Sweet Jesus. The September solicitations are out and there are revelations there that fill me with dread. Dread, I say!

Consider this: the solicitation for Blackest Night: Titans #2 prominently features Donna Troy. It tells us that "Donna Troy faces her worst possible nightmare."

Let's review the Blackest Night concept, shall we? Horrible super-powered zombies rise from the dead to take vengeance on the living. The zombies are the friends, significant others, and spouses of our heroes.

Black Lantern Terry Long!

Black Lantern Terry Long!

Black Lantern Terry Long!

God help us all...

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Friday, June 12, 2009


This has all been done before.

I'm talking about the "someone other than Bruce Wayne as Batman" thing. It's been done before. Many times. I've done it. It never lasts and it never works.

Will things be different this time? I don't think we have any reason to believe that will be the case. The only difference this time is that the loose cannon is taking the role of Robin rather than Batman. So we've got a reluctant Batman and a slightly unhinged Robin.

Can that really turn out well? Things get worse when you consider that the most rational and level-headed member of our little "family" has been forced out and is now traveling the globe. He's not in a good spot right now. But he's still got a better head on his shoulders than most of us.

And where the heck is Cassandra? She was at least commited to the whole concept? After all, she wanted to be the next Batman for the longest time. Who gives up on their dreams that easily?

Honestly, I don't know what to think about this whole thing. At least with me there was a reason why I became Batman. I was the "grim" and "gritty" Batman. The whole point was to show everybody what they liked about Bruce Wayne and what was special about him.

What's special about these guys?

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #102




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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Red Robin

Red Robin turned out to be an interesting read this week. I wasn't sure what it was going to be. I certainly didn't expect "the globe-trotting adventures of Tim Drake."

And yeah, I'm not going to start calling him "Tim Wayne." It just sounds weird.

Anyway, I think the concept of the book has real potential -- at least for a while. The central premise seems to be that Tim believes (for some reason) that Batman is alive. So he's going out to find him or find proof that he's alive. It's a clever setup, and I like seeing Tim stop to help people along the way. Even if he's mostly doing it to work out his anger issues.

Still, there's not really any reason why he believes Bruce Wayne to be alive. We the reader knows he'll be back, but there's no logical, rational reason why Tim would believe that. And Tim's always been the most rational, reasonal member of the Bat-family.

I also like Tim's reasoning for wearing the Red Robin costume. It is a cool costume and I'm glad that somebody is getting use out of it. But I don't really know what they're going to do with this book when the real Batman inevitably returns. I guess it'll suffer a "bold new direction" or inglorious cancellation...


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

You Will Laugh!

I have observed news of Justice League: Cry for Justice with both intense amusement and bemusement.

Whose brilliant idea was it to put my old enemy Hal Jordan in charge of a Justice League branch? Superman I can understand. John Stewart and Captain Atom make sense. Even that interminable twit Booster Gold might work.

But Hal Jordan? One doesn't need to color yellow to stop Jordan. All you need is soap and a tile floor. Or an exposed buttress. Or even a blindingly obvious billboard.

Explain to me this: how exactly is he supposed to contend with Prometheus, the second most dangerous man in purple to square off against the Justice League? Though he does not frighten me, I know many within and without the villain community who tremble in fear at the mention of the man's name.

The only trembling villains experience when they hear the name of Hal Jordan are trembles as an antecedent to laughter.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

More Batgirl

Nothing gets people talking quite like Batgirl speculation. I mean, as of now there are thirty-three comments on this picture.

And two of those are mine.

There's a lot of back and forth in there, too. You've got people in all sorts of camps. You've got the ones who refuse to read the book if it's Barbara back as Batgirl. And you've got the ones who won't touch it if Cassandra isn't starring. There are also Spoiler fans who think Stephanie Brown is due. Plus, you've even got a few Misfit and Wendy boosters.

So what's it all mean? Hell if I know. What I do know is that the costume featured in that image is sort of like a halfway point between Barbara's original costume and Cassandra's costume. It's got the same basic layout as Barbara's, but like Cassandra's it only uses the two colors. What does that mean? You tell me...


Friday, June 05, 2009


I'm terribly tired to night, so I'm not going to make a long post. Instead, I'll just make a quick reference to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's Batman and Robin.

Here's what I'm going to say: I may not like everything these two guys have done, and some fo their concepts and methods may leave me cold. But I can say this for the two of them: they know how to instill dread.

Those last few pages of Batman and Robin #1 are some of the most unsettling images and words I've seen in a long time. These guys know that the most terrifying things aren't what we see. They're the things that remain unseen...

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #101

Here we are again with a new era of Thursday Night Thinking!

This week we saw the premiere of Batman and Robin. Will it be anything like the Batman and Robin comics we've seen in the old days? Will there be thoughts like this:

Since it's Grant Morrison, I wouldn't be surprised...

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Can It Be?

Can it be? Can it be?

Only one devious villain exists who would lust so after dominoes. Only one diabolical villain could be at the heart of the events that transpire in the pages of Batman and Robin.

Can it be? Has Grant Morrison done the impossible? Has he brought back...

Doctor Domino?

Please let it be so...

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Red Circle

Yesterday I talked a little about DC's propensity to launch new ongoings without any "trial balloons." In the process I mentioned the two Red Circle ongoings that have been announced.

I stand by what I said about the Red Circle books. That said, I think they have been doing an excellent job creating interest in the characters. The DCU Blog has been consistently promoting them, and I think the one-shots/mini-series that's coming out is a great way to kick off and gauge interest in the characters.

I'm also loving the Daily Planet articles that they'v been using a ads. They're a very clever way to create additonal interest in the characters and their one-shots.

That said, I'm still disappointed in the decision to announce ongoings without even waiting to see how the one-shots do. I think it's a problem because, well, they've decided to run the Red Circle books in the "co-feature stable of titles." That mean each book will have a main feature (the bulk of the story) and a co-feature (a smaller back-up story).

Why decide that now? After all, they don't know which characters will be particularly well received. Right now the books are slated to be The Web/Hangman and The Shield/Inferno. But here's the problem: I've found the Web to be pretty uninteresting. Hangman, on the other hand, fascinates me. What if other readers feel the same way? What if Inferno turns out to be the breakout star of the entire Red Circle? Will they be able to rearrange things? Or will they be stuck with something that doesn't work and have to cancel it all?

This is the problem with launching ongoings without gauging interest. Maybe DC knows something I don't. Maybe they know exactly why they're organizing the Red Circle line in that way. I just wish they'd tell us what they're thinking...

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Monday, June 01, 2009


So I'm sure you all heard about the onging Magog series that DC has announced. Like me your reactions was probably thus: "Magog? Really? Magog?"

I understand to a degree what DC is trying to do here. It's the old "throw it at the wall and see if it sticks" method. They're basically going to toss as much stuff out there as they can and see if any of it catches fire (to mix metaphors). You can see the same thing with the Red Circle ongoings and the new Azrael.

Now, I'm not saying these are bad characters per se. Heck, they might not even be bad books. Even Magog sounds kind of interesting based on what Keith Giffen has to say.

But it's a simple problem. Books that don't star big names rarely last long. Now, that's not always true. A good example might be Birds of Prey. But consider if you will how Birds of Prey came to be launched. There were several mini-series and one-shots before the ongoing was green lighted. They were able to prove that the concept had legs before they ran with it.

Will Magog have legs? I don't see any reason to expect that it will. The problem with launching a new series is that few people are willing to invest in a theoretically indefinite set of stories on an unproven character. But they might sample a one-shot or a mini. Try that first, DC...

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