Thursday, November 30, 2006


Portrait of the Blogger as Superhero

The Stuntman (seen here relaxing in Croatoa) is now 30th level. Woot! If you find yourself on the Victory server, need a team, can at least moderately RP, and are not an idiot, buzz me. Issue #8 seems to be pretty interesting, so far. I love the police scanners and the idea of changing an entire zone (Faultline). World of Warcraft could learn a lesson here.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Naughty-Spawn, Beware!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #29: In a bit of a twist, this issue focuses primarily on only two of the dozens of storylines swirling around, the JSA and the Island of Mad Scientists, with most of it going to the "last days" of the venerable Society. I thought it was well-handled, and the contrast between the original, amateur superheroes and the new wave of corporate heroes, epitomized by Luthor's Infinity, Inc., gives a new interesting tension to the DCU. Of course, by the end of 52, I'm sure all of Infinity, Inc. will be dead, so...

JLA Classified #27, 28 & 29: This is the first time I've read this book, so I'm really not sure where it's supposed to fall in the timeline. Clearly, it's pre-Crisis, since Kyle is still Green Lantern and Wally is still Flash. Luthor isn't President and neither is Gonzo/Knight; it's some guy named Jonathan Horne who is evidently really close buddies with the JLA, so I guess this is after Pete Ross resigned. At any rate, it's another attempt to bring some realism to the DCU, with a metahuman arms race between two fictional Central American republics. Chaykin's writing is good, but the narration is AWFUL, even more purple than in American Flagg, and I loved that run. Also, Plunkett and Nguyen's artwork isn't quite up to the task when all of the heroes are out of costume pretty much all the time; I struggled to tell the characters apart. In an interesting departure, the nude torture scene with Wonder Woman is counter-balanced with a duplicate nude torture scene of Green Lantern. Now that's progress, huh?

JSA Classified #17: Hourman has never been one of my favorite heroes, though I like Hourman II's costume. "Take this and in twenty minutes your hour of power begins"--okay, that was funny, but how old are Rex and Wendi Tyler supposed to be? He's at least got the whole Reed Richards grey patch thing going, but she could pass for 30. Also, and I know I've gritched about this before, but the whole concept of "legacy heroes" loses pretty much all of its dramatic punch if NO ONE EVER DIES. Having a couple of Golden Age heroes still around and at fighting trim? No problem. For example, I think having Wonder Woman as a Golden Age hero who is still active due to immortality would be a great idea, better than the whole Hippolyta/Wonder Girl mess. Having damn near ALL of them still running around in tights? Boring. Boring and lazy.

Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters #5: Okay, we may be getting perilously close to jumping the political shark here. I've always said I have nothing against politics in comics, regardless of the ideology, provided they are integral to the story and I'm not clobbered over the head with them. Father Time's extended soliloquy was not quite as boring as the African Avengers in Squadron Supreme, but it was pushing the edge. And if, as was made pretty clear at the time, September 11 never happened in the DCU, where are all these references to the PATRIOT Act coming from? Having said all that, Uncle Sam throwing Americommando TO THE MOON was pretty entertaining, despite the fact that his powers are so vague as to be almost Silver Age Superman-ish. I'm curious as to the exact nature of Miss America's powers, and why she's wearing the single most godawful costume every. Paging Blockade Boy! Also, wouldn't it be more interesting if, instead of "First Strike" Father Time's group was a total revamp of the Crusaders, instead of just a few of them?

Labels: ,

Friday, November 24, 2006


When Nerds Collide


Sunday, November 19, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #28: Eh, more space-opera. The Crime Bible cannibals are silly. The scene in Australia was interesting, though I'm curious how faithful it was to actual Aboriginal beliefs. It now seems pretty apparent that Montoya will become the new Question.

New Avengers #25: The entire premise (a Stark employee hacking the armor) is pretty much ludicrous, but this is the first multi-dimensional portayal of Maria Hill we've seen yet. Excellent Bendis dialogue, as usual, and great art by Cheung, though everyone seems rather young. Maybe it's just me.

Civil War #5: Eh, sigh. Where to begin? The glass that's Spider-proof but not bullet proof? The "Spider armor" that shreds like cloth? Two D-List villains shitting the beat out of Spider-Man? The same guy who a few pages earlier PUNCHED IRON MAN THROUGH A WALL? The same guy who is fast enough to DODGE LASER BEAMS but not pumpkins tossed at him? Captain America, in addition to being reduced to a crotchety old man ("Damn SHIELD units") now can't even make a decision? Daredevil carried a frickin' silver dollar around IN HIS MOUTH, presumably through combat, just so he could insult Tony Stark? That coin better turn out to be a tracking device or a neutron bomb, but given the horrible track record of this series, it will likely never be referred to again. Is no one editing this train wreck? Why exactly does Marvel pay Tom Brevoort if not to catch insanely obvious inconsistencies and contradictions? I tried REAL hard to like this series, or at least maintain an open mind, but this is just simply awful. If Marvel was trying to suck harder than Infinite Crisis, they've succeeded.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #36: Ultimate Thanos is an excellent villain, with creepy powers and living in a fascinating and well-developed home universe. As I've said numerous times, I really don't like cosmic, but this is as good as I've seen it done. Artwork a little iffy this time around.

Green Arrow #68: The end of the island saga and pretty much a non-stop battle from start to finish. Green Arrow, at least since the Kevin Smith resurrection, has always been a fascinating character to me, with a pretty unique personality and motivation; this comes out brilliantly during the interior monologue/narration. I still think the sword is silly, though.

Invincible #36: Scooby Doo and the gang check out a mystery! Not really, but it was a refreshing reminder that Invincible is just a teenager and teenagers frequently come up with elaborately stupid plans that go badly. The parallel story, featuring the Guardians of the Globe, continues to interest me in that team, though they really need their own book. Their appearance seemed kind of awkwardly shoe-horned into this issue. The backup Capes feature is, as always, badly drawn and ridiculous.

Iron Man #13: Okay, okay, we get it; Tony Stark is the next director of SHIELD. Spymaster appears, in a MUCH less sucky costume than I remember. Happy Hogan was just starting to get interesting, so I hope this isn't the end for him. Tony Stark is conflicted and plagued with self-doubt? Wow! Never saw that before. How unusual!

Ms. Marvel #9: I have to admit, this was a pretty cool plot twist. Parallel dimensions, Warbird vs. Ms. Marvel, and a personal epiphany gained by beating the crap out of one's quantum doppleganger. If only my therapy sessions were like that! Wieringo's art suffers under Von Grawbadger (if that is his real name)'s inks, making it look excessively cartoonish, almost like a Bruce Timm feature. Beast, in particular, looks awful. And Carol looks too young to be in a bar, much less drinking in one.

Union Jack #3: Again, a good story with cleverly-presented characters, definately not A-List but obviously professionals. The accent still bugs me, particularly Jack's. He is clearly supposed to be working class, but his accent is all over the place, and I'm certainly not any expert on British accents. It's sort of like when Colossus used to exclaim "Lenin's Ghost!" You didn't need to be a Russian literature scholar to call bullshit on that.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006


This Explains Much

From Nodwick!

Labels: ,


What's Wrong with WoW?

An excellent article in Slate about a topic we've discussed here before, namely the existential boredom of WoW and what could be done to fix it.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Puny Humans Try to Coerce Hulk! Hulk Smash!

A belated election day post from Dave's Long Box. The comments get a little silly, as some people can't avoid bloviating no matter the context. But this brings up an interesting point that I had been thinking about while brain-storming for ideas on a possible superhero-related novel: are superheroes perceived by the public as liberal or conservative in general? What kind of support do they get from the authorities and how does that change over the decades? The way I figure it, the original Golden Age heroes were all from the GI Generation, so they are likely nearly all FDR New Deal Democrats. The law looks the other way at vigilantism, or some heroes even ignore it as they fight corruption. After WWII, you have "Seduction of the Innocents," superheroes are seen as nonconformist and bad influences, so the public starts to turn against them. When the Silver Age comes around, superheroes are still mostly New Dealers, but now they are The Establishment and on the wrong end of the Cultural Revolution. Remember, most of the fighting in the '60's was between Liberals and Radicals not Liberals and Conservatives. Around this time, the Supreme Court starts taking a closer look at laws that allow vigilantes to run amok and starts excluding evidence beaten out of informants in back alleys. Some of the Silver Age heroes become more conservative, and some more radical, as the country polarizes. In fact, I can see superhero vs. sidekick Generation Gap conflict as a theme during this time. As a result, superheroes in the '70's are a bizarre mishmash and probably generally seen as old-fashioned and somewhat silly. You'd probably see sitcoms and movies routinely lampooning heroes. If there is a government superhero program in place, Jimmy Carter probably shuts it down. In fact, he probably gets blasted in 1980 for not using superheroes to rescue the Iranian Hostages. By the '80's, the Reagan Revolution hits, patriotism (not to mention brutal vigilantism) is cool, anti-vigilante laws and rulings are loosened and superheroes are again seen as part of The Establishment. You'd probably see a government-run superhero team by then, turning up publicly in places like Grenada and less publicly in Nicaragua or Afghanistan. At the turn of the Millenium, I think we'd see superheroes being criticized as male-dominated and exclusive of racial minorities. Bill Clinton would be far less likely to use government superheroes, especially after a superpowered Iran-Contra Scandal. George W. Bush, on the other, would likely make immediate use of both public and covert superhero teams. That's how I see it, anyway.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #27: Ralph Dibny Goes to Hell. The only thing I dislike more than metaphysical/outer-space comic book adventures is metaphysical/outer-space comic book adventures with clearly inappropriate heroes (Spider-Man vs. Mephisto, Batman vs. Darkseid, etc.) . Ralph is a frickin' detective, not the Phantom Stranger.

Batman #658: Okay, now I dislike Bat-brat. He has no personality, ludicrously unrealistic skills and is just plain silly. Plus, he beats up Alfred, kills a thug in cold blood, nearly KILLS Robin and all Batman gives him is a stern talking to? And Talia is officially boring, having become just another scene chewing villain prone to excessive exposition. And don't even get me started on the Bat-rocket!

Eternals #5: Excellent, excellent series. The Eternals are presented as Earth-bound gods, not merely superheroes who check "other" in the box on origin. Deviants with a Celestial-based religion is a great touch, as is all the pop-culture references, Zuras as a homeless wino and Thena as a soccer mom. Great stuff!

Powers #20: Now this is Powers; none of that Millenium Guard crap, no powers for Deena. Not even a reference to the boring origins of all the powers; just cops working a powers-related murder.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 10, 2006


Grishna Rex

A friend's NWN character recumbent upon a throne of skulls...

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

52 #23: The Island of Mad Scientists is funny. Black Marvel, Jr., not so much.

52 #24: Farewell, Super-Chief; you were a lame stereotype, but...well, okay I got nothing. Ambush Bug is funny. I really like the idea of a supehero named "Poledancer." Perhaps best not to speculate what her powers are. Martian Manhunter is the Secretary of State? He doesn't look anything like Condi!

52 #25: The little kids on the cover are adorable. "Happy Halloween, Judeo-Christians!" Just how the heck old IS Alan Scott? He looks about 25, tops. And I didn't even recognize Mr. Terrific, who looks even younger. Doesn't DC have an Artist's Bible?

52 #26: The Sivana Family is just...wrong. Deeply, creepily wrong. The mad scientists don't like it when girls come in their clubhouse. Pfft, fanboys.

New Avengers #24: Sentry and the Inhumans. I grok that Bendis intends him to be a Marvel-version of Superman, but I'm really starting to like the Sentry, when he isn't written as a pathetic whiner, that is. Iron Man gives a slightly better exposition on his motives in the Civil War than "crazed fascist asshole."

Captain America #23: All Bucky, all the time. Give me strength.

Detective Comics #825: Nice, self-contained story marred by shaky art. Batman uses his brains; kind of Denny O'Neil Silver Age, but in a good way.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #35: Okay, at first I thought these guys were supposed to be the Ultimate Kree, since they had Ronan the Accuser. But then...Ultimate Thanos? Nice to see the space whales from the X-Men about 15 years ago. Liking the art, but Reed seems WAY too muscular, though maybe he's supposed to be deliberately bulking himself up.

Green Arrow #67: The little walking "Oriental master" stereotype beats the crap out of GA to learn him up right. I did like the idea of Ollie the liberal selling out his values, but for a "good cause." A flawed hero is an interesting hero.

Invincible #35: Mostly alot of sitting around and talking in this issue, but its part of what makes the book good. The characters, every single one of them, even the NPCs, are interesting and unique.

Justice League of America #3: Beating the crap out of an army of cut-rate Red Tornadoes = priceless. I am genuinely intrigued by what the villains are up to. Meltzer is doing excellent work with an ensemble cast.

Ms. Marvel #8: Again, a much better discussion of the philosophical underpinnings of the Civil War than has ever appeared in that actual book. Carol Danvers continues to develop as a truly complex and interesting character; yes, she follows orders--she's ex-Air Force, after all. But she's not a mindless martinet, either. I wonder if Brian Reed, or someone he knows, has been in the service, since he seems to recreate that mindset very realistically.

Ultimate Power #1: Hurm. Supreme Power jumped the shark awhile back so I stopped buying it. Nice to see Ultimate Project PEGASUS (aka, the Plot Device Room). Also liked the FF action figures. Land & Ryan draw the Ultimate FF better, and Land seems to be weaning himself off his light table.

Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #4: President Evil. Sorry, couldn't resist that. President Gonzo Knight sounds like he reads Civil War, too. Artwork not as good this time. And the psychotic government agent bit is old. Can't the bad guys have a motivation slightly more subtle than advanced sociopathy?

Union Jack #2: Pretty much all action. Jack is hardcore and a natural leader, maybe more of a British version of Captain America than Captain Britain. I like the fact that he is presented as naive enough to make mistakes.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?