Sunday, February 26, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

Batman #650: This is evidently the month for bad rehashes of the old "Batman doesn't kill" bit. At least the Joker is done halfway properly here. I normally love Judd Winick's writing, but maybe my sheer visceral hatred for the whole horrifically bad Red Hood/Jason Todd storyline (which burns with the passion of a million fiery suns) blinds me to it this issue. And, of course, the "Infinite Crisis" ending doesn't help.

Batman Gotham Knights #74: Oh, this is bad. Incredibly lame use of the Joker. And, of course, its features Hush, the dumbest villain since, well, Red Hood/Jason Todd. Oh, and the Joker's trained killer attack pigeons? They have ONE scene. Gah.

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #200: Crap. Reads like a really bad pre-Neal Adams Silver Age issue. Narrarated (competely unconvincingly) by an emergency room doctor. The Joker is neither funny, nor scary, just pathetic. Even worse than this month's Gotham Knights.

Captain America #15: Cap makes only a brief cameo in this issue; it's all about the Red Skull's daughter and an attempt to torture her back into being evil. So, if you like horrific child abuse and girls being tied up and tortured, well, this is for you, assuming the BTK Killer collects comic books. For everyone else, not so much.

Green Arrow #59: Excellent battle between Merlyn and Green Arrow (and it had better be, given all the build-up). I have to say, though, blowing up cities is getting old, fast. Bludhaven, nuked. Star City, blown to smithereens. Is all this really necessary? Oh, and the ending: yet more "Infinite Crisis," b.s. One Year Later, I'm not sure how many readers will still be around.

Invincible #28: Like Invincible, hate outer-space adventures. Most of them are exceedingly stupid and wouldn't even rate as deliberately bad science-fiction. This is no exception.

JLA #125: Meh. Features the Key, a Mort if there ever was one, and Manitou Dawn, a one-dimensional Native American stereotype. And is there some reason why EVERYBODY keeps calling each other by their secret identities? Geez, no wonder the Society is kicking ass.

JSA #82: Bad. Really bad. Filler between the pages for the rapidly-becoming godawful "Infinite Crisis." Set in the '50's, no less. And the major villain is the Gentleman Ghost? Oh. The. Pain.

New Avengers #16: Again, I never saw the need for the relaunch in the first place, other than a tug at the heartstrings, but this new team is excellent. Most of the credit, I think, goes to Bendis' writing, particularly his crisp, realistic dialogue. He makes these veteran heroes seem like exactly what they are: professionals. This month, however, the Avengers don't appear at all; the whole thing is about a mysterious menace that lands in Alaska, smashes it's way through SHIELD and Alpha Flight without breaking a sweat, and then heads for America. And then, for some unknown reason, there's a backup feature starring, of all people, Kickers, Inc. from the New Universe. WTF, over?

Noble Causes #17: This soap opera disguised as a superhero book never fails to entertain. This month, the focus is on the love affair between Dawn Blackthorne and Celeste Noble. It's an excellent view of how superheroes would likely be perceived in a media-soaked, celebrity-scandal-obsessed modern world.

Ultimate Extinction #2: Good art, good characterization. I appreciated the fact that even Captain America can feel powerless. Ultimate Silver Surfer (as a cult leader) is an intriguing mystery and I actually look forward to seeing what happens next.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #27: I originally didn't much care for the idea of a bunch of teenagers as the FF, but it's been growing on me. This one focuses, a little too abruptly, on Ben Grimm's hang-ups over his transformation into the Thing. Yes, that's a central part of the character, but it's barely been mentioned in recent issues and now he's contemplating suicide? And Mister Fantastic is going to rewrite history to help him?

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Saturday, February 18, 2006


Today I Am A Man

Okay, well, for whatever reason, when I logged on to CoH today, I was given a friendly message saying that, contrary to previous reports, I had in fact successfully completed my cape mission. Now, I'm lookin' good...



Cape of No Hope

Okay, I've been playing CoH long enough to have a couple characters over lvl 20, but for the first time I decided to get a cape for one of them. Not knowing what to do, I stupidly took the game at its word at went to go see "Serge" the tailor. Ended up knocking off 30 Tsoo with a team, until one of them took pity on me and sent me in the right direction, to the City Representative in Atlas Park. I then go on an extended tour of Paragon City, listening to various people tell me anecdotes about Hero 1 before we end up in Perez Park fighting mutates. We manage to complete bollix up that mission, I died, and we actually failed. So, have I completely blown it, cape-wise? Do I get a do over?
I mean, look at this guy! He clearly needs a cape, right?


Wednesday, February 15, 2006



Courtesy of Shortpacked!

Monday, February 13, 2006


I No Longer Miss Frank Miller

Holy Incredibly Stupid Concept, Batman! Not to mention about four freakin' years out of date!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Movie Review

Went to see Hoodwinked at the local uber-mega-google-plex tonight. The computer animation is VERY sub-par if you're used to Pixar standards. On the other hand, it's a relatively cute take-off on the Little Red Riding Hood yarn. Besides, how many movies can manage to work in homages to Akira Kurosawa, The Thin Man, Fletch, Triple X, Chinatown, and the old Rankin Bass Santa Claus is Coming to Town? If the kids want to see a movie, this is a fairly painless and mostly entertaining option.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I Miss Frank Miller

This cartoon reminded me. Remember his run on Daredevil? Classic. How about Dark Knight Returns? Redefined the genre. And then comes Dark Knight Strikes Again. Bad, bad, unrelentingly bad. RoboCop 2? Cringe-inducing. And now Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. WTF? How is it good writing to make Batman an asshole? Sigh. I miss Frank Miller. But not in a gay way.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

Yes, I realize some of these are out of order, but whaddaya want? My comic buying habits are pretty sporadic.

Batman Gotham Knights #71. The conclusion to the "Holy Crap! Alfred shot a guy!" saga. It's another Hush story and, frankly, I never found Hush all that interesting or sinister in the first place. Oh noes! It's some guy in bandages! Flee!

Batman Gotham Knights #73. Oh goody, more Hush; except not really--he only makes a cameo. How I love false advertizing on comic book covers! And Joker, only now he has...killer birds, that, uh, drop bombs that, well, look like giant doobies? And ten--count 'em--ten pages of flashback exposition by Joker?!?!? Did he even talk that much in The Killing Joke?

Captain America #14. Please, dear Lord, let this be the END of the whole "Winter Soldier," bit. Why oh why did we have to dig up the corpse of Bucky Barnes? And he's supposed to be some secret Soviet killing machine THAT NO ONE HAS EVER EVEN HEARD OF before this arc? Having said that, if you absolutely positively had to bring back Bucky, this would be the best way to end the story, I suppose.

Detective Comics #815 & 816. Why is Mr. Zsasz that big of a villain? He's a crazy guy with a knife! And how incompetent is Gotham PD that they let this maniac with scars all over his body who is the subject of an ongoing manhunt stroll right into Wayne Manor during a Police Charity Ball? There's got to be something more to this than simple stupidity! I did like the cold-bloodedness of the Batman contrasted with Bruce Wayne's obvious love for Alfred. And Alfred gets the last word.

Justice League of America #124. Narrarated by Green Arrow, good. Green Arrow vs. Batman, good. Featuring the truly awful Native American stereotypes Manitou Raven and Manitou Dawn, bad. Very bad. Other than occasionally sounding profound and wise, why are these characters even Native American in the first place? Manitou Dawn is nothing but Zatana speaking forwards and wearing a Britney Spears-like outfit that would've been more in keeping with Outkast's idiotic performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards. Her so-called "magic" has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Native American spirituality--it's just the same sort of generic comic book magic that could be spouted by anyone from Doctor Strange to Jason Blood. Is it too much to ask for one, just one, Native American comic book character that is not a stereotype and a monument to the writer's ignorance? Just one.

Justice Society of America #81. Focus on Stargirl and her relationship with her step-dad Pat Dugan, S.T.R.I.P.E. I really like the thoughtful, intelligent and realistic way a teenage girl superhero is presented here. Plus, Dale Eaglesham and Art Thibert actually draw her with the body of a teenage girl, not just another top-heavy Power Girl look-a-like.

JSA Classified #6. The Injustice Society plans a raid on the JSA Museum. And I mean, plans a raid. This issue shows a smart, well-organized villain team meticulously planning their work, instead of just cackling maniacally and rushing into battle. I also appreciated the narraration by Icicle, again (or before, whatever). Organized villains = dangerous. As it should be. It would be nice, though, if the JSA Headquarters could make it through one story-arc without getting broken into.

JSA Classified #8. Hey, cool, the Spear of Destiny! The plot device that explains why the JSA didn't just break into the fuhrer-bunker around December 8, 1941, and bound Hitler into a greasy smear. Writing was pretty sub-par, though; WAY too much "as you know, carl..." dialogue between Wildcat and Flash.

Nightwing #115. So...Nightwing is good guy pretending to be a bad guy pretending to be a good guy? And Slade thinks his psychotic daughter can take out Superman just by jamming a chunk of kryptonite into her eye socket? Wha...?

Noble Causes #15. You've gotta love this soap opera with powers. Frost is making deals with and pulling jobs for the Blackthornes? Dawn Blackthorne is working on blackmail so she can have Celeste Noble all to herself? Great stuff. Oprah would love it.

Powers #16. Okay, I'm smelling shark. Bendis is great--nobody does dialogue better than Bendis. But first, there was the whole "Captain Caveman" routine, then Dena ends up with powers, and now Walker is getting powers again? Why? If they're both superheroes, doesn't that ruin the whole them of the book--cops who work around the edges of superhero society? I just so do not want to see Dena and Walker in spandex flying above the city. Once that happens, Powers becomes just another superhero comic book. With great dialogue. And nudity.

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Friday, February 03, 2006


Starfleet Museum

If, like me, you really like drawings of starships, you should love this extended piece of fan fiction by Masao Okazaki, the same guy who designed Starbase 47 in the gatefold of the excellent new TOS novel Vanguard: Harbinger by David Mack (which I promise to review at length soon). Okazaki is a big TOS fan and it shows with his painstakingly detailed line drawings of 200+ years of starships and the generally clever and well thought-out backgrounds he gives for each class. If only the guys who looted Gene Rodenberry's grave had had this kind of respect for the source material, then Star Trek: Enterprise wouldn't have been such a train wreck.



WoW? Yawn

Okay, so is it just me or is WoW, well, basically boring? At least at low levels? This may just be a reflection of the servers I'm on, but I notice that unlike CoH where there always seems to be a pickup team of heroes to go and whup evil, teams are hard to come by on WoW. And you spend a lot of your time just...walking. And the missions are all pretty much "go there, kill this, come back, get an apple." Not to harp on NWN again, but at least there, you know you always have a group because you're playing a module and have the group assembled first. WoW is like the equivalent of a convention full of goobers all playing solo D&D, each at their own table. Or maybe I'm just anti-social; which is true, but I don't think that's really the problem here. I've tried to get groups together from time to time, but tend to get ignored, especially if they discover I'm RP. Of course, it's a frickin' RP server, so why wouldn't I be? Sigh.


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