Friday, January 29, 2010

Red Robin

Has anybody else been reading Red Robin? I ask because I was particularly wary about that book coming out of Battle for the Cowl. I've always been a big fan of Tim Drake since I started reading comics (he's my Robin after all) and I was a bit concerned about the direction they seemed to be taking him.

Seemed was the operative word, of course. Because things in Red Robin have rarely turned out to be what they seem. I thought we were getting a story about Tim Drake by a writer/artist team that didn't really get the character. But as the most recent arc has wrapped up I've really reconsidered my initial assessment.

Red Robin is a really good superhero book. It's solid on action, solid on characterization, even if Tim seemed off in the beginning. But really, who wouldn't be off after what he'd been through?

Oh, and this Marcus To guy is something else. The book has improved by leaps and bounds since he took over as the artist.

Now, do I think the book will last as long as Tim's previous solo outing? Probably not. But I still thing it's a good book. If you're a fan of Tim Drake it's got everything you could possibly want.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #132

I have only one thing to say: Thursday Night Thinking!

Sensational indeed.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the Outs

I'm going to drop Outsiders.

The book has been a schizophrenic ride from the beginning, but under Dan DiDio and Phillip Tan it seems to be reaching a new low.

Sure, the book has been in some weird places the past few years. But under Peter Tomasi and Lee Garbett/Fernando Pasarin it seemed to have stabilized. Characters I didn't normally care about became interesting and characters I hate became tolerable.

But all of that seems to have been wiped away in a single issue. Geo-Force is more annoying that ever before. Katana is acting very strange. Owlman (one of Tomasi's best creations for the book) and Black Lightning are being played like chumps.

Now, it's possible that this is all part of some larger more grandiose plan. But if it is I'd like to get a hint that we'll be reaching a status quo that's acceptable to me as a reader. But all the hints were the other way. That's why the book is going into the discard pile.

Any other readers of Outsiders dismayed at the recent turn of the events? I mean, is the book really any good without Alfred?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010



Black Lantern Azrael back again. And for the record? I hate you all. Please tell me that elicits some rage.

Anyway, it seems they're doing a whole story about Batman's stupid corpse. Why wasn't there a story about my corpse? I don't even know how I ended up dead anyway. They didn't find my body. It's obvious I was alive.

RRARRR! Are you feeling some compassion for my pitiful plight? No? No rage or compassion, huh? Definitely no love here either... I can't think of any reason for avarice. And there's nothing here to hope for. I suppose my only hope is to elicit...


Please tell me that got some fear out of some of you. No? Dang... I'm not very good at this...

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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Coming Dawn?

Yargh! I did it again. I keep meaning to not let every Friday through Sunday slip by without me doing a post. But sometimes these things happen. I've got good reasons but I won't go into those here and now.

Anyway, lots of comic book news has come out in the past few weeks. DC has been announcing things like nobody's business. Blackest Night is coming into the home stretch. And I'm still not sure what the DCU will look like once the dust settles.

They're calling it Brightest Day, of course. But things can't be too bright. If everything is great then there won't be any conflict. And you know as well as I that stories thrive on conflict. Comic book super-hero tales are no exception.

Take, for instance, Deathstroke's Titans. I don't know if it'll be any good. I probably won't buy it. But it will definitely kick off in-universe conflict -- and it will carry the Brightest Day banner.

Where are some other potential sources of conflict? Well, on the Green Lantern front I believe Geoff Johns has already hinted at conflict with the return of Evil Star. That should keep the "New Guardians" busy for a while. At least as long as Johns continues his tradition of turning also ran villains into powerhouses.

There will be conflict in the Superman universe as well. The New Krypton story may not be completely over by the time Brightest Day hits. And even if it is, there's always Lex Luthor. You can always count on Lex Luthor to create conflict.

Oh, and one of these days Bruce Wayne is going to return. And when he does you know the Joker will be following right behind.

So really, Brightest Day doesn't look too bright. And for that I'm very grateful...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #131

As usual: Thursday Night Thinking!

I don't think mirrors work that way...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Been a Long Time

I know a question like this is old hat... But I figure I haven't brought this topic up in a while so now is as good a time as any.

What the heck happened to Cassandra Cain?

It's no secret that I love Cassandra. Her Batgirl comic was one of the first books that really got me into comics. It had its ups and downs but mostly that book was really good. I know I miss it.

But this isn't one of those posts where I rage and get angry at DC for all their screw-ups (and they are many) when it comes to Cassandra. I've moved past the the anger stage. I guess I'm sort of in the acceptance stage. Though not entirely, as I'm writing this post.

When One Year later hit everything about the character got shot to hell. Geoff Johns brought her back for his Titans East arc and tried to fix things. More or less. She seemed to have neat position in Outsiders (until they rebooted it again. Then she got that mini-series which really did fix things.

Then Batman died.

Now, it would certainly make sense that that was a crushing blow to Cassandra. No question there. If you've read her series you know that they had a very interesting sort of father/daughter relationship going on. And though throwing away her Batgirl outfit does contradict some of the things that she said in her comic, well... People rarely react the way they say they will when they lose someone important to them.

So I'm okay with her throwing away the cowl. But I want to know where she is and what she's doing. Because the character I grew to love over eighty plus issues isn't the kind of character who just walks away from the good fight. I know the powers that be at DC don't like the character. But I do. And I want to know where she is, if only for my own peace of mind...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Well, there's nothing like a nice long weekend to rejuvenate you. Or so they say. In reality, my first day back at school has been exhausting. As such, I'm not going to write a big long post for tonight.

Still, let's talk about severed limbs.

Specifically, I want to talk about what happened in Cry for Justice. The now infamous "severing of Roy Harper's arm." It was a pretty graphic scene. I'm not sure it was entirely necessary and I don't know if the character direction they've decided to go with is the right one.

What I do know is that far too many people are simplifying the matter. I heard grousing about how it wasn't a big deal as he was once on a team with a guy who had multiple cybernetic limbs. Seeing as he was going to get a new arm, having his arm removed wasn't a big deal.

Those people were right about one thing: he did get a cybernetic arm. From the looks of it it's Cyborg's technology as well. That certainly makes story sense; the guys are good friends.

But as the solicitation says, "getting a prosthetic arm doesn’t make him whole again." The trauma of what happened to Roy Harper isn't merely physical. Such things never are. And though I'm still not sure they took the right direction (in fact, I think they probably didn't) that doesn't mean that they can't turn it into an interesting story. I really hope they do, even if I probably won't be reading it...

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #130

As always: Thursday Night Thinking!

As usual: the best thinking comes on the covers of Silver Age Superman comics!

You know, if I could make Superman do anything that's exactly what I'd make him do. Really.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best News of 2010

I think it's safe to say that this is the best news DC has released so far this year. Birds of Prey coming back? Gail Simone writing Birds of Prey again. This is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Seriously; Gail Simone's Birds of Prey was one of my earliest regular comic books. She came on the book around the time I started reading comics. It's no exaggeration to say that her Birds of Prey has a lot to do with why I love both comics and the DCU.

I want to welcome Ms. Simone (and Mr. Benes) back to the book. I hope it's a long run. I know I'll be there every step of the way.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Batman Fighting Cavemen

It's happening! It's really happening!

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Brightest Day

Brightest Day, huh? Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

That's not to say it won't be an interesting story. But I was really kind of hoping that the post-Blackest Night world would give us a break from crossovers. Brightest Day doesn't sound like a break: it sounds like a continuation.

I'm not really looking forward to another weekly (or bi-weekly as it may be) series. As much as I've enjoyed stuff like 52 and Trinity in the past, I just can't afford a weekly (or bi-weekly) commitment these days.

All that said, I am looking forward to Blackest Night wrapping up. The DCU could really use some daylight...

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Friday, January 08, 2010


You know what the sweetest/creepiest/most hilarious relationship in comics is? It's not any of the romantic pairings you see out there. And it's not even any real paternal connection. Truly, the most brilliant character relationship in comics is the really strange relationship that Bane and Scandal Savage have in Secret Six.

Did your read the Suicide Squad "back from the dead" one shot? It was really good (it's Ostrander and Simone, how could it not be?). And there was a fantastic bit of Bane/Scandal interaction in there.

It's a very weird relationship. Bane -- the guy who never had any parents -- trying to be a father figure to the woman who had the worst father in history (and pre-history). And the strangest thing about it is how it seems to work. At first it seemed kind of off but now it seems bizarrely natural.

If Geoff Johns writes the best "epics" for DC then Gail Simone writes the best relationships. Really, all the relationships between the various characters in Secret Six are fantastic. I just happen to like the Bane/Scandal one the best.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #129

Ahhh... The return of Thursday Night Thinking! Who knew I could miss it so? And what do we have tonight? A panel of one of the Metal Men? You can always rely on them for thoughts...

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I've taken some of this time during the holidays to catch up on my Smallville. The long running series about a young Clark Kent is a contentious issue among comic fans, I know. A lot of people haven't liked the modern spin on the story that plays fast and loose with "sacred" canon. And Lord knows I hate Lana too.

Still, I've always enjoyed the show. I've tried never to take it too seriously. That's a philosophy I've also tried to follow with my comics. Not always to the best results (as reading my archives can sometimes show).

Smallville is, like most television shows (and comics for that matter), concerned with entertainment. I think the reason why comics fans and Smallville fans sometimes don't see eye to is that Smallville the television show is marketed to a very different than Superman comics are. Which is why the short-lived Smallville tie-in comics were short-lived.

But that doesn't mean that Smallville is necessarily a bad thing. Like many Elseworlds and out of continuity tales it is simply a different interpretation of who Superman is -- and was. I have no doubt that the end result will be the same either way.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


It is interesting when one considers that the era of "big comic events" began with a death. The death of a character whose importance to the DC Universe very few people considered -- until it was too late. I am, of course, speaking of myself: Doctor Polaris.

Consider: it was Infinite Crisis that began this current series of big events. Who was among the first to die? The answer is again Doctor Polaris. I do not believe this to be an accident. Though at the time I was filled with rage at the actions of one Geoff Johns I now see that they were part of a greater plan.

All know that Geoff Johns prepares his story arcs years in advance. Could it be that the death of Doctor Polaris was meant to be the beginning of a great story? Remember that the Death of Superman story began with Superman's death. Then, he was replaced by lesser figures. In much the same way that I was replaced by a fool with a business degree.

In the end defeated his replacement and returned in glory. I have already defeated my replacement. Surely the endgame of Geoff Johns master plan will soon come to fruition. Doctor Polaris will return.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

The Year to Come

Ah, the first Monday after New Year's. That makes today the day that most people have to go back to work. Luckily I'm a graduate student and as such still have two weeks before classes start. Feel free to hate me.

Anyway: comics! I haven't done any of those crazy lists that people usually have done by this time of year. That sort of thing usually hits on the 31st or the 1st. As you know, I was M. I. A. at the time. But hey, it's only the 4th. So here are some of the things I'm looking forward to in the coming year:

1. The Post-Blackest Night Status Quo

I'm really intrigued by what could be coming up after Blackest Night. As I said in my previous post, it's going to change a long of the stuff in the DCU. I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy whatever it is.

2. The Return of Superman

Superman will finally be returning to his own books later this year. I for one am glad to see it happening. I've enjoyed some of what's gone on in the New Krypton story, but I'll be very glad to see Superman back in his rightful place again.

3. The Return of Batman

Yeah, I said Batman and not Bruce Wayne. Dick Grayson may be wearing the cowl but he is not Batman. He never can be, at least not for me. I don't understand why anyone would want to see him keep the position. It just doesn't work for me. Dick Grayson just doesn't have the gravitas that Batman needs.

4. The Flash

I'm very excited about Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul's new Flash series. With the delays on Flash: Rebirth and the cancellation of Wally's title I haven't felt like I've been getting my Flash fix. That will soon change.

5. Doctor Polaris!

Laugh if you will, but I really do think that Geoff Johns is going to get around to bringing back and revamping the original Doctor Polaris. It just can't be a coincidence Johns killed off his replacement in Blackest Night.

What are you all looking forward to in the coming year?

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Warning: This Post is Very Long

Well, I guess I needed another day after all. Sorry about that folks.

So: Blackest Night #6. Everybody who reads this blog knows I spend a lot of time talking about Blackest Night. It's not that I have an obsession with Green Lantern or even Geoff Johns. For me, the appeal of Blackest Night is the incredible importance it has for the entire DC Universe.

Most of you know that I studied history in my undergraduate years and am working on my M. A. now in a similar subject. I love history. Japan is my chosen field of study, but it only takes second place on my list of histories I'd most like to study. If I could really study anything it would be the history of the DC Universe.

Yes, I'm that big of a geek.

Blackest Night is a history making event in the DCU. It's the first time in a very long time that DC has consistently outsold Marvel by pretty much every metric. Blackest Night is also tackling the issue of death in the DCU -- that's been an elephant in the room for a long time.

When publishers hype their events they always like to talk about how "nothing will be the same." Usually that really is just hype. Admittedly, I still buy into it almost every time. Maybe I'm buying into this time as well. But I truly think that Blackest Night is going to reshape the DC Universe for a long time to come. Here's why:

1. Blackest Night will significantly alter the the meaning of "death" in the DCU. There really is no way around this. For Blackest Night Geoff Johns has tied the villain Nekron significantly to almost every major death and resurrection in the DCU. Nekron is now the canonical reason why characters were able to come back to life. With his probable defeat at the end of Blackest Night the landscape changes. Without the stated reason for resurrections, how can further resurrections happen?

Obviously there are ways around this. After all, a character can "die" like Stephanie Brown or Bruce Wayne. Since they aren't really dead they have no connection to Nekron. But I still think Blackest Night alters the status quo as far as death and resurrection. Will this mean fewer deaths or simply fewer resurrections? I don't really know. But I do know things won't be the way they are now.

2. The fall of the Guardians of the Universe. Those cosmic smurfs have been trying to run the "universe" their way for a very long time. They've constantly screwed up. The Manhunters. Parallax. Sinestro. They have failed at every turn, but have managed to hold onto their positions (or regain them) and keep trying.

They won't get to do that this time. Blackest Night is, in my opinion, the swan song of the Guardians. They've failed one too many times. This time, there's no coming back. Geoff Johns has in some ways said as much: apparently one of the first new arcs coming out of Blackest Night will be titled "The New Guardians." The Guardians have had their chance and failed. Now somebody else is going to be in charge of the Green Lantern Corps. Whoever it is will shape the future of the DC Universe.

3. The resurrection and the life. Character are going to come back to life. There's no question of that. A lot of characters who have died before and during Blackest Night can't stay dead. Too many of them have been slaughtered for that. And after Blackest Night when resurrections get locked down they won't be able to come back as easily. So they'll all come back before it's over. That will be a big shift in the population of the DCU for both heroes and villains.

And even if I'm wrong it's a huge deal. A DCU lacking important figures like Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, and others will be significantly altered. We've had this for a while, no question. But with little prospect for resurrection (in universe if not out) how will that change the tenor of the DCU? How will it affect the way heroes and villains live out their lives?

4. The Corps. That's corps plural. The seven ring slinging corps have been painstakingly created by Geoff Johns over the past few years. Do you really think they are going away? Some people hate the concept, I know. But it's here to stay. And the presence of so many different corps has the potential to have an effect not just on a cosmic scale but on Earth as well. In Blackest Night we see natives of Earth acquiring rings. Will that really be the end of it?

Blackest Night is comic history in action. If we lived in a world where I could study the history of a fictional universe then this is the sort of event people would relate to their grandchildren. "I remember where I was when I read Blackest Night #6. I'll never forget how I felt when I saw Lex Luthor get his orange ring."

Yes, I'm overstating it. But for the characters in the DCU the event really is that big. And though we may come for the explosions, the undead, and the rainbow colored rings... We stay for the characters. And Blackest Night is going to change them all.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Well, I think that's a long enough break, don't you?

I took a bit more time off than I usually do around this time. Family obligations and all that. You know how it is. But regular posting resumes now. If anyone is still reading this blog check back later for my thoughts on Blackest Night... And the world that's coming.

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