Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Super-Villain Team-Up

Curse the holidays and all their delicious treats! I've been in a food induced coma for what feels like weeks now. Has it been weeks? It may be; I do not know for certain.

Now, tomorrow is comic book day so I think I'm going to mention a few things about the comics that come out tomorrow. Keep in mind that this post will be mercilessly short; I've got deadlines coming up for the end of the semester and I need my sleep.

Action Comics Annual #13. As far as I'm concerned this is the book that's coming out tomorrow. Have you been reading Paul Cornell's Lex Luthor opus in the pages of Action? You should be; it's fantastically entertaining stuff and is the best of the best of what super-hero comics can be.

The Action Comics Annual should follow in the same tradition. We'll be seeing a Luthor (in this case a young Luthor) going up against some of the DCU's most famous villains. In this case, serious heavy-hitters who have opposed Batman and Superman.

Lex vs. Darkseid and Lex vs. Ra's al Ghul. I mean, what else is there to say? How could that not be tremendously entertaining? These are villains that are supposed to be some of the cream of the crop of their respective enemies' rogues' galleries. But really, are Darkseid and Ra's al Ghul really all that impressive as villains? Perhaps it is necessary to see how they go up against the greatest enemy of the world's greatest super-hero.

In some ways, I pity Darkseid and Ra's. We know that both of them will be unimpressed; they'll think Luthor a mere mortal and beneath their notice (keep in mind that this is before either of them has met Batman or Superman). Perhaps their encounters with Lex Luthor will teach them something they otherwise won't experience until they encounter their arch-enemies.

Darkseid and Ra's al Ghul are going to lose. And if everything goes as I expect it they'll lose bad. What could be more fitting?

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #165

Return to the greatest rivalry in history with Thursday Night Thinking!

That is all.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Death of Magog

Yeah, spoiler alert. And sorry to anyone who had the ruined and also cared. I can't imagine there are all that many of you.

Yes, in last week's Generation Lost Maxwell Lord killed Magog. I figured it would be safe to talk about it after a week. I'm assuming that is the case. If you're angry at me and don't want me to spoil further then go away.

The death of Magog wasn't something I was expecting. But in hindsight it's not so surprising. After the failure of his solo series DC didn't seem to know what to do with him. The only person who seemed to have liked Magog was Geoff Johns anyway.

Magog was originally a symbol in Kingdom Come of all that was bad about the superhero fare of the 90's. Shoulderpads. Pouches. Angry glares from someone other than Batman. And as a symbol of that era and why it was wrong Magog served his purpose. His presence and mistakes allowed Superman to step in and show us what a real hero was.

But I'm not here to talk about that Magog (I didn't even like Kingdom Come all that much). I'm here to talk about the in continuity Earth Zero Magog. And on "New Earth" Magog never fit. As a symbol of a very non-DCU type of heroism he was always out of place. So I suppose he was always fated to die.

After all, if Magog had lived he would -- as the White Lantern warned -- have led the DCU down the dark path that led to Kingdom Come on that other Earth. In killing him Max Lord has indeed saved his universe from that fate.

That is not to say I agree with what Max Lord did. There are always ways, and perhaps this iteration of Magog could have been led down a brighter path. Nothing is predestined or predetermined.

Still, we'll never really know what might have happened. Max Lord took away any hope for redemption Magog might have had. And in the process he pulled himself further into the dark hole of villainy. Maxwell Lord may well be beyond redemption.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There is many a day when I despair at the state of villainy in our world. Villains are all too often so caught up in glamor of what they do that they forget the things that are important. After all, how often do we any more receive witty repertoire?

I blame this downward trend on the introduction of that brute Doomsday. There was a villain distinctly lacking in panache. Wearing nothing but a ragged pair of shorts, he was incapable of the sort of dialogue necessary between a villain and a hero.

Things have only gotten worse since then. Writers are constantly introducing new villains whom they try to make "hip" and "edgy" by making them grim and taciturn. I have long worried for the state of villainy and all the villains who dwell therein.

This said, there may be hope! Perhaps -- perhaps -- the tide is turning. There are small signs, here and there. Take, for instance, this page from an upcoming issue of Batman:

Either my eyes deceive me... Or the Reaper just shouted "fools!"

When was the last time you actually heard a villain decry his heroic foes as "fools"? Yes, I routinely use the term on the very blog. But outside of my august presence use of the term is few and far between.

Perhaps this is a sign that appropriately villainous repertoire is coming back into vogue. I certainly hope so... Fools.

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Monday, November 15, 2010


According to the February solicitations (and a post on the Source) the next big Superman event involves... Doomsday?

Forgive my bluntness, but hasn't Doomsday been, well, done to death? The character made a big splash (not surprisingly) during the Death and Return of Superman arc in which he was introduced. There, Doomsday served his purpose well: as a nigh unstoppable force of nature which only Superman could stop And only then at the cost of his own life. Doomsday was really more of a prop than anything else. A tool to set up the much more interesting "Return" part of the equation.

But rather than let the MacGuffin fade away DC kept bringing Doomsday back. Over and over again. Bits were added to his origin along with intelligence, drive, and any number of other things. And the result was a monster villain that became a muddled mess.

Each further appearance was less interesting that the one that came before. Eventually we got to Infinite Crisis (which I believe was Doomsday's last appearance up until now) and Doomsday was beaten by a pair of Supermen in something like two pages. Whatever power he had as a character was wiped out then and there.

Which brings me to this storyline (apparently called "Reign of Doomsday") where Doomsday shows his face for the first time in a number of years. Now it's true that I have a fondness for some of these characters (like Doomsday) that were created in the 90's. But unless the writers of this story can bring back that "force of nature" feeling to Doomsday while instilling the character with a new sense of menace (no easy feat) I'll probably end up passing the story by.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #164

Thursday Night Thinking bursts back on the scene! Tonight: a multi-part thought that will leave you breathless.

Also, apparently, a "new Star Hawkins story."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Robin #17

Hey all, sorry I haven't posted in the last few days. No real excuses other than the fact that I'm pretty burnt out by this that and the other thing. Still, it's comic book day and I no doubt have a lot to talk about.

And indeed it is true! Fore example, do you know who appeared in this week's Red Robin? It was only a cameo, but I was delighted to see Cassandra Cain acting like her old self again. Nobody has mentioned any of the crazy, ill-advised changes that were made to her character (thank God for retcons) and she's still using batarangs.

I'm really surprised how well Red Robin has shaped up as a book. I never expected that it would rise through the ranks to become my favorite bat-book. It really does have everything I'd expect from something in the bat-universe. The art, the stories, the characters... They're all top notch.

One of my favorite parts about the book is the sense of world-building. Tim Drake's cast of supporting characters continues to grow... He's got his own villains, a delightful secret identity, and even a new hideout. And that hideout (a masterstroke) ties in well the the entire bat-mythos.

And with that I think I've reached the limit of bat-nouns for one post. Good night.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday Night Thinking #163

We return again to Thursday Night Thinking!

Strange Adventures never disappoints when it comes to bizarre covers. This one may be less bizarre than most... But it's still got a kick!

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Batman, Incorporated

It was a surprisingly good week for comics, if I do say so myself. Freedom Fighters is as weird and wonderful as ever, Secret Six still has its edge, and Superboy was as fun as I'd hoped.

The book most people will probably be talking about, however, is Batman & Robin #16. What exactly can we say about that book? Well, it came out the wrong week for one. It's frustrating to see Bruce Wayne "return" without understanding how it happened.

What went on with Hush as impostor? How did Batman get back to the present? Those aren't the only questions I've got, either. What exactly was "Barbatos"? Is Doctor Hurt really supposed to Bruce Wayne's ancestor? Am I supposed to think that Professor Pyg is an impressive villain rather than some sort of twisted vanity exercise?

This isn't to say I didn't like it. After all, the comic was full of some of the scenes I love in Batman comics. Batman saving the day at the last moment just in the nick of time. A simple and elegant explanation as to why the Joker is -- and always will be -- a notch above any new villains that are created for Batman.

But even though some of the things I love about Batman were on display there, I feel like Grant Morrison has turned Batman into something I barely recognize. Now, I know that there are multiple Batmans; there always has been. Like any fictional character who has lived as long as Batman there will undoubtedly be a great number of character variations (Scipio calls it a "persona-cycle").

I'm not against the idea of a "globe-trotting" Batman. After all, that's nothing new for the character. But something about the direction Morrison is taking Batman feels "off." Maybe it's the fact that Dick Grayson isn't giving up his cowl. Maybe it's the fact that Batman is "franchising." Whatever it is, it makes "Batman" feel less like "Batman" and more like... Something else.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Small Town Values

I'm actually very much looking forward to this new Superboy series. You may not know, but I grew up in a town not so far removed from Smallville.

Granted, my hometown isn't quite as small as the Smallville we see in the comics. But it shared a number o similar features nonetheless. After all, I grew up with a corn (sometimes soybean) field across the street from my house.

As such, I fell like I understand the dynamics of "Small town America" better than some. And that's why I know there will be plenty of conflict for the Superboy comic. Because as idyllic as small towns may seem, there's always something else going on under the surface.

Small towns have as much going on in them as big cities do. These things are just of a different scale. Even outside of the DCU there are a lot of things that can happen in a small Midwestern town. How much more can happen in a world of super-heroes and villains?


Monday, November 01, 2010

The Distant Future

I care very little about the "Legion of Super-Heroes." Though I do have a history with one of their villains, I am generally uninterested in their affairs. Despite this, we do have a hidden connection of which you may be unaware. Indeed, you may be surprised to learn that "Cosmic Boy" is my descendant!

This should really come as know surprise. After all, how likely is it for a race of people identical to humans in every visible way to evolve awesome magnetic powers without some sort of outside influence. Indeed, I speculate that the entire population of the planet "Braal" is in fact descended from one shining example of magnetic prowess: Doctor Polaris.

It is impossible to say when this momentous magnetic colonization took place. But undoubtedly it occurs at some point between the present and the year 3011. Imagine: an entire planet of those wielding the same powers as my own!

It disgusts me. Indeed, if Cosmic Boy and his ilk are indeed my descendants then I am sorely disappointed. Such power and they have not once used it for personal gain! There should be an empire stretching across the stars -- a Magnetic Empire dedicated to Doctor Polaris!

Instead Cosmic Boy gallivants about playing "super-hero." I am ashamed. I suppose I will have to take some solace in the fact that at least he wears purple...

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