Friday, July 31, 2009

Stay in School

I watched in dismay this week as my ill-coordinated doppelganger inflicted serious damage upon the Justice Society of America.

This does not, however, indicate any degree of feeling on my part toward the team. Even my pathetic nephew Damage fails to elicit warm feelings in my heart. Why would I care about any of the other losers on that team?

No, I am displeased because my replacement is showing me up. Or at least he's trying to. He's stolen my name (though it is now innacurate), copied my powers, (though to a lesser degree) and is apeing my costume (to a hideous degree). Now he wants to steal my reputation! Seize for himself a place of glory as one of the villains who "took down the JSA."

I will not allow it! If I have to step in and fight side to side with my whiny, college-dropout nephew then I will do it. Anything to show "Mister Polaris" who's boss...

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #108

You'll have to forgive me. I'm not feeling particularly great tonight. I'm so tired I can barely think. But that won't stop Thursday Night Thinking!

Continuing our long tradition of using throughts from classsic Silver Age covers here's Hal Jordan from Green Lantern #7:

I'm thinking Hal's only making her dress invisible...

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Y'know, DC really should get Len Wein to write more comics. Really. I mean, look at this week's Justice League of America. It may not have the "Big Guns" but it sure does have a lot of things that have been missing from JLA these days.

There's action, villainous reveals, and quipping. I mean, I'm starting to remember why I liked Red Tornado in the first place (namely the dry wit of his Young Justice mentoring days).

We want more Wein.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Are Comics For?

I've been sorting my comics as I prepare for my big move. Earlier tonight I found myself delving into some of the earliest comics in my collection. And let me tell you: some of these things are beat to hell.

They're missing covers, they've got creases, and they're falling apart. Obviously this is because they've been very well read. I'm not one of those people who sees comics as an "investment" or a "collection." Hell, if I didn't read the damn things over and over I probably wouldn't even bother keeping the old stuff.

My question is this: are there any of you out there who also have comics that look like they've been through the wash? Are they beaten and broken with love? Or is your stuff carefully sealed in plastic bags and stored in a climate controlled vault?

Share with me your stories, for I am interested.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Comic-Con Reflections

So, we had ourselves a comic-con last weekend, did we? Obviously I didn't go, but I did try to follow the news on the Internet. It's got to be good for something, right? Here's what I took away from the con (so to speak):

The Good: Geoff Johns on a new Flash ongoing! It's not a suprise; I think everybody expected this. But it's still a very good thing. Johns has turned Green Lantern into a top book. If he can work his magic on the Flash (a character I've always preferred to Green Lantern) I'll be a happy camper.

The Bad: JSA All-Stars! I know, that sounds like a strange thing to be "bad." Especially since I do like Matt Sturges' work. But I'm not made of money, people! Now if I want to read about guys I like -- the Flash, Wildcat, Stargirl, etc. -- I've got to buy two different books! And I'm still stuck with Magog...

The Good: T. H. U. N. D. E. R. Agents in the DCU! I've never actually read a book about them but I remember reading about the aborted DC series from a few years ago. I remember putting it on my pull list and being very excited about it. And I remember being disappointed when it never materialized. Now I'll get another chance.

The Bad: Yaaah! That T. H. U. N. D. E. R. Agents book is going to cost me money! And aren't those guys kind of redundant now that Checkmate works out of the United Nations?

The Good: James Robinson's Justice League of America! Now that we've got a tease of the team I'm even more excited than I was before. Mon-El's new costume is snazzy, and I'm curious to hear what his new "super" name is...

The Bad: Donna Troy is on that team.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Good or Bad Dream?

So last night I had a really weird dream. Well, weird for normal people. Not so out of the ordinary for me.

Anyway, the dream was very likely kicked off due to a late yesterday sighting of this Justice Society of America cover:

It doesn't take a Hector Hammond to figure out which part of the cover kicked off my dream. It was, of course, that poorly colored image of one Doctor Polaris.

My dream featured a very strange comic scene. Even stranger was that I saw it as though from a great distance, but it was still a comic page. There were panels and word balloons and everything.

The specific scene was taking place (for reasons unknown) on a Japanese-style subway train. A bunch of villains were sitting on the seats chatting (likely on their way to assault the JSA).

One villain (I don't remember which one) turned to a guy who appeared to be Doctor Polaris. Now, this Doctor Polaris didn't have his colors all messed up like that cover. This was the proper Doctor Polaris.

Anyway, the unknown villain turns to the apparent Doctor Polaris and asks him: "Are you the original Doctor Polaris or the new one?" Doctor P turns his head and says something like "I'm the real deal." But here's the trippy part: the costume was completely empty!

That's right, there was no one wearing the costume. It seemed that through sheer force of will the spirit of Doctor Polaris had returned to the land of the living and used his awesome magnetic powers to create a semblence of form for himself by magnetically tying together a costume made of metal. I can only assume the hair was a wig.

The one consolation about being as weird as I am is that at least I know I'm weird...

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #108

A blur of orange and green... A mighty "whoop!"... It must be... Thursday Night Thinking!

This week, a rare thought from Aquaman on the land.

Those are certainly some unique thoughts...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Real Fear

I don't know about you, but Green Lantern #44 scared the crap out of me.

Not in the most literal sense, of course. I didn't cower in fear at the sight of the book and run away screaming in the middle of reading it. No, it scared me in the sense that it was at its heart objectively frightening.

That's the thing about this whole Blackest Night event. Sinestro Corps War may have been about fear, but Blackest Night is the story that really has the potential to inspire fear.

The things going on here are just too terrible, too horrifying for anyone to honestly read it without admitting that it gives them that queasy fear feeling in the stomach. "Zombies" have been overdone. But the Black Lanterns aren't zombies. They are something far more sinister.

Are you afraid?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Love Annuals

I really love what DC is doing with its Annuals these days.

If you read comics much back in the 90's then you know that the Annuals usually served a very specific purpose. Mostly they were the method by which every monthly would tie into whatever ridiculous or contrived summer event was going on (such as Eclipso: The Darkness Within and Bloodlines). So the creative team of the book had to find some way of making it work. And sometimes it didn't work at all.

But in recent years DC has really shifted gears on their Annuals. Now they're using them smart. Annuals in this day and age serve as "one-shots" that fill in missing pieces in an ongoing story, tell a side story, or kick off something new. They can do it with the annual without interrupting the flow of the main story.

The recent Action Comics Annual was a good example. It told us the origin of the current Nightwing and Flamebird. It was the sort of story that you couldn't tell in one issue of a regular series -- there wouldn't be enough pages. And if you did manage to squeeze it in it would completely sidetrack the main story.

But in the Annual it can work. They've got the pages for a self-contained story that's still connected to the larger tale. And if you don't want to pay the money you don't have to read it to enjoy or understand what's going on in Action. It's really a win/win situation.

DC is trying something a little different with October's Batman Annual #27 and Detective Comics Annual #11.

Here they are using a pair of Annuals to both tell a self-contained story and kick off the Azrael series that begins the following week.

It makes good sense; if you're a Batman fan then chances are you'll pick up the Annuals anyway. If DC is lucky you'll like the story and be tempted to try Azrael #1. I'm still on the fence, but things like this have a way of pulling me in...


Monday, July 20, 2009

Take a Look at This

I imagine you've all read Blackest Night #1 by now, yes? I wasn't all that interested in seeing it ("cosmic" isn't really my scene) until a reader (you know who you are) pointed me to this:

You recognize that? That me in a ring projection of all the heroes that Barry missed dying.

What does this mean? Does it mean I will be coming back as a Black Lantern? Know that I'd have a pretty hard time fitting one of those rings onto my three-fingered glove.

Still, I'm a little confused. As another reader mentioned (you also know who you are) there's no way either Hal or Barry should know about me! After all, I joined the hero scene and died during a period when they were both in the grave. The only thing that makes sense is that maybe Hal peeked in on me a few times when he was the Spectre. I really hope he wasn't scouting me out for ironic punishment...

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Blackest Night #1

To put it simply, Blackest Night #1 was awesome.

Now before I go into more detail I would like to quickly address these were less than pleased by Blackest Night #1. Yes, most reviews I've seen have been overwhelmingly positive. But there are a few people who -- for whatever reason -- have taken a contrary opinion. I don't understand these people.

It's not that I don't recognize that some people have different tastes in comic books. I just can't see why some people can't accept Blackest Night for what it is: a fun super-hero story. Is the "Rainbow Corps" concept a little silly? Maybe so. But no more silly than anything else in comics.

Some of the detractors, I think, just don't like Geoff Johns. They don't like how he uses continuity or some such thing. Fine. Say that. Some people can't enjoy a comic unless reading it makes them feel smarter than other people. That's not cool, but whatever. Still others are upset about an imagined "rise in violence" and "overuse of death." I've addressed that before. Super-hero comics have always been that way.

For whatever reasons a few people haven't liked it. But it seems pretty clear that they're going to be in the minority. In my eyes Blackest Night is shaping up to be a far better event that Final Crisis ever was. Blackest Night contains the three most important elements of a good super-hero event. It's got emotion. It's got interesting characters. And it's got really nasty villains.

Is the conept of characters rising up as zombies to take revenge on the living unique? Not really. But there aren't really any new stories under the sun. Only how those stories play out. And there are shocks and surprises galore in the pages of Blackest Night.

I think the most succesful thing about Blackest Night (aside from Ivan Reis' art, which is stellar) is that it leaves you wanting more there are a few questions answered in Blackest Night. But there are even more questions to ask. What is the significance of the skull from Batman's grave? Who is Black Hand's mysterious master? What happens when the Black Lanterns' collective power levels hit 100%?

We'll get these answers as the story goes on, even as we're posed further questions. And all the while there will be fantastic fights, brutal acts of villainy, and heroism of the highest level. And if you don't want that, why are you reading super-hero comics at all?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #107

We're back again with our first ever Wednesday Comics edition of Thursday Night Thinking!

Since most of the Wednesday Comics are done in a classic style they're full of fantastic thoughts! For example, take this delightful thought from Metamorpho:

Oh yeah. That's good thinking.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Big Event

Tonight I will talk about the comic you've all been waiting for: Titans #15.

I kid, I kid. Not about what comic I'm going to talk about, but rather on its relative importance (though I do think it has some importance). Really, Blackest Night #1 was too big for me to talk about right away. I need to sleep on it, have some nightmares, and wake up screaming. I'll talk about it on Friday.

Now I'll talk about Titans #15. I don't subscribe to this book and I don't usually read it, but I'm a big Aquaman fan so I flipped through it to see if there was any Arthur Curry action.

I am actually pleasantly surprised. I think that making Tempest (a character I've never liked) the leader of Atlantis is brilliant. Not because I care about Atlantis or Tempest or any of those other idiots under the sea. No, it's a good idea because that means when Aquaman comes back (and he will) they won't have to make him the king of Atlantis again.

Because honestly, that's a really crappy thing to have him do. Aquaman isn't a king: he's a super-hero. He shouldn't be sitting on a crappy coral throne. He should be out travelling the sea righting wrongs on the back of a giant seahorse. He should also be front and center in the Justice League, of course.

Tempest as king of Atlantis makes that possible. Taking a character nobody wanted to use and putting him in a position nobody else wanted is a win/win for everyone. Especially fans of the real Aquaman.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prelude to Blackest Night

Well, tomorrow's the big day. Blackest Night begins. We have some idea of what to expect, but beyond that the whole story is sort of a mystery. Here are my predictions for issue one:
  1. We'll get some concrete hints to the "Big Bad."

  2. Coast City will be trashed again.

  3. Black Hand will do something creepy.

  4. The Guardians will reveal another new law.

  5. Someone will reference Hal having been Parallax.

  6. An unexpected Green Lantern villain will make an appearance.

  7. Hal Jordan will do something tremendously stupid.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Most Vital Role

I spoke last week about the news that Ryan Reynolds will be Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie. That's all well and good, but it begs the question: Who will play Doctor Polaris?

Now, I'm obviously not holding out much hope for an actual appearance by the good Doctor. Hollywood's just not that smart. But seeing as Newsarama has basically cast the the entire mythos save Doctor Polaris somebody has to fill in the gaps.

My good friend Sally has suggested Michael Weatherly of the hit CBS drama NCIS on the strength of his highly adequate head of hair.

Do you think him a good choice, loyal readers? Share your thoughts. Who, in your eyes, has the screen presence to play the real Master of Magnetism?

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Friday, July 10, 2009

GL Cast?

Word on the street is that Ryan Reynolds will be playing Hal Jordan in the supposedly upcoming Green Lantern film (I say supposedly because I never believe a rumored movie will actually be made until I see pictures).

Anyway, what do you noted GL enthusiasts out there (and I know there are many who read this blog!) think about Ryan Reynolds as a choice? I hadn't heard him rumored before, but now it sort of makes sense. He's very good at the whole "slightly dimwitted, cocky, self-assured sonuvabitch" thing.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #106

It's that time again! Thursday Night Thinking! Go!

I think that's one of the strangest covers I've ever seen...

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I am sorely displeased with the latest issue of Green Lantern. Yes, I was mentioned it its pages. Usually that is enough to sate me. But here I was mentioned in an unflattering context!

Consider these words spoken to Black Hand by my enemy Hal Jordan in a flashback: "You're just another masked nutbag like Sonar and Doctor Polaris."

Now, a "masked nutbag" I may be (though only a fool like Jordan would go to the dregs of the English language for insults). But I am nothing "like" Sonar. That preening popinjay isn't even worthy of mention in the same sentence as myself. Not to mention the fact that the timbre of my voice is far more pleasant than Sonar's constant screeching hysterics.

Still, I am even more disturbed that I was compared to Black Hand. I do not need to inform you, dear readers, how I differ from that weirdo. Polaris fears nothing, but I am a little freaked out by Black Hand just the same.

Seriously. There's something wrong with that guy.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Suspension of Disbelief

Let's talk about something vital to the type of fiction we all enjoy. Let's talk about suspension of disbelief.

Suspension of disbelief -- as Samuel Taylor Coleridge put it -- is a method "to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith."

Put more simply, that means that the author (or director) of a work must infuse it with enough humanity and interest in order for the reader (or viewer) to willingly ignore the fanciful elements of the story.

This is not necessarily an easy thing to do, and it requires an audience that is willing to suspend their disbelief. This isn't hard to find in the world of comic books. We're willing to ignore a lot of things that are pretty fantastic. We know that men can't fly and that a man who dresses up as a bat couldn't really stop crime effectively. But we are willing to forget about that because it makes a good story.

But it's not entirely the reader's job to suspend disbelief. In fact, traditionally -- and in my view appropriately -- it's largely the job of the creator. The author has to know their audience and tread a thin line when it comes to suspension of disbelief.

This concept came to a head for me when I went to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen this past weekend. Yes yes, I know. It's a movie about giant transforming space robots. And I am willing to believe that for the purposes of the movie. Because, you see, there might be giant transforming space robots out there. It's exceedingly unlikely, but not impossible.

The moment in the movie when my wall of suspension came crashing down was from a very small thing in the scheme of things. Though I am willing to believe that such robots might exist, I cannot for a moment believe that there might be an alien weapon inside the Great Pyramid at Giza. Why not? Because I know for a fact that there isn't one.

I have seen photos of the inside of the Great Pyramid. Egyptologists have combed every inch of the structure. Not only isn't there an alien weapon inside but there can't be. That was the moment that suspension of disbelief was taken too far.

A good example can also be found within the pages of comics. Scipio over at the Absorbascon has talked about it before in regard to Martian Manhunter. Scipio notes that "the Martian Manhunter's origin requires too much suspension of disbelief." And he's right. We know there aren't cities on Mars. We've got photographs. We know that there wasn't an advanced civilization there at any time in the immediate past. We know this.

These kinds of problems truly aren't hard to fix. They require little more than a modicum of effort, some planning, and common sense. Setting aside Transformers, it wouldn't take much effort to make the Martian Manhunter's origin a little easier to swallow. In fact, I think this very point might have been done before. What if we say that J'onn J'onzz was not just pulled through space when he was sent to Earth, but through time?

J'onn J'onzz is not from the Mars of the present or even the immediate past. He is from a past so far removed from the present that all trace of his civilization has been wiped away. It doesn't remove all the problems, but it lessens them, makes suspension of disbelief a lot easier, and adds additional pathos to the character.

But again, it's not my job (except in the stuff I have written) to secure the suspension of disbelief. All too often writers and directors in this age are trying to pan that job off to the reader. But it doesn't work that way. If you're a writer or an artist, remember that. It's up to you to make it work. There are literally no limits in fiction. But there boundaries of a sort. They are the ones you set for yourself. And you must set them. Or everything will come tumbling down.


Monday, July 06, 2009

GLC #38

This may be obvious to the rest of you, but it took me a while to understand how momentous the events of last week's Green Lantern Corps #38 really were.

Consider what happened at the climax of the issue: the Alpha Lanterns, under the leadership of the Guardians (and specifically Scar), execute all but a handful of the most dangerous, viscious scum in the universe.

You really think that's an accident? Does anyone believe that Alexander Nero and that mess of Sinestro Corps members are going to stay dead?

It's pretty obvious that nigh-omnipotent power (such as the Guardians have) doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with good judgment.

Mark my words: every villain killed in that issue is coming back with a vengeance. The Guardians are going to wish they'd stayed dead...

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day

It's the 4th of July! If you're inclined to celebrate do so with The Shield, one of the first patriotic American super-heroes!

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking #105

Tonight: Thursday Night Thinking! I'm running out of time! Must... Find... Ridiculous thoughts... Superman, help!

You can always count on the Man of Steel...

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It's Coming

There are only two weeks remaining until Blackest Night.

It seems like the buildup has been going on forever. And sure, it hasn't been forever. But it has been for a long time. If you go back to Rebirth you can see the seeds of Blackest Night being planted. They started growing into little plants, then they got bigger and now they're choking vines.

I think I'm getting a little carried away. But you can't deny that what initially seemed solely like a Green Lantnern event is turning into something that will have huge ramifications on the DC Universe as a whole.

There isn't a single corner of the Earth -- or the universe for that matter -- that seems to be safe from it. And maybe I'm naive, but I really do believe that Blackest Night could "change everything."

Countdown to Green Lantern #43. Then Blackest Night #1.

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