Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Because You Demanded It!

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm

And Better Still…

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2008 at 11:59 am

For Mike Sterling

Final Crisis Shaping Up To Be Even Better Than Expected

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2008 at 10:52 am

Final Crisis Titans Teaser Image Leaked

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2008 at 12:14 am

[Final Crisis Teasers at Newsarama]

Wake Me When Final Crisis Starts

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Justice League of America #20

I get that the Final Crisis tie-ins don’t begin until next month, but I am so tired of this book. First Brad Meltzer strings us along with an interminable story that I could barely follow and whose main attraction was the promise of more Geo-Force (who was thankfully traded to Chuck Dixon’s Batman and the Outsiders). Then McDuffie takes over with all kinds of fanfare and expectations attached, and what do we get? A ho-hum crossover with a much better book (Ostrander’s sorely missed–and now missing again–Suicide Squad).

And this.

Let’s review.

Wally West is a busy guy. He’s worn out from cooking breakfast, so to keep himself alert while saving some cats, he monologues about thrilling matters like how forest fires start (droughts! lightening strikes! careless smokers!) and explains something about rotating updrafts and fuel ignition temperatures… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Sorry, I nodded off there for a minute.

Then, Wonder Woman shows up to save Wally’s bacon after he fucks up the cat-rescue. In the process, she gets him all hot and bothered, in a gross Oedipal sort of way, and Wally explains how he really wants Diana to “respect” him after they hook up—which, hey, I guess, who doesn’t? But please, dude, keep it to yourself.

Anyway, it turns out that Wonder Woman wasn’t just passing through, but popped by to tell Wally to stop spending so much time with his goddamn family, which of course gets him all excited and hopeful…until he realizes that she really just wants him to spend more time alone in the clubhouse pulling “monitor duty,” if you know what I mean. Totally bummed out, and sensing the oncoming guilt-trip, Wally whines about how hard done by he is, having “just come back from the future” and finding himself with “a lot of stuff to deal with,” “just needs time to catch up,” etc, etc. Diana’s not having any of that shit, and proceeds to unleash the mother of all guilt-trips on this douchbag, explaining, in detail, the various ways in which he sucks.

“Wallace, Superman was very disappointed that you didn’t answer that distress call last week (too busy loafing off!), but don’t worry, he forgives you. Oh, and Batman? He thinks you’re a write-off and wants to replace you with Jay Garrick (burn!), but he wanted me to come check things out with you, just to make sure.”

Thoroughly dissed by the whole damn Oedipal trinity and now a nervous wreck, Wally falls tearfully to Diana’s feet, renounces his wife and children, and begs her for some test—anything—that would allow him to regain her approval and the confidence of his two passive-aggressive daddies. Luckily, at this very moment, Wally’s much cooler older brother Black Lightening calls with a hot tip about Queen Zazzala and a bunch of lab techs who’ve been turned into extraterrestrial bees. Something about a diabolical plan to steal earth’s honey supply.

The honey is saved—by Wonder Woman, primarily; meanwhile, Wally runs around for pages and pages providing exposition. Diana feels sorry for him, and, in the end, lets him collar Zazzala, because that’s just the way she rolls. Wally isn’t fooled, though. He knows he’s a total fuck up. Miserable at having pissed Wonder Woman off yet again, he grits his teeth for the inevitable lecture. Diana is more efficient than that, though, and lets him off with a parting knee to the groin, which she delicately calls “an entreaty.” Humbled by these attentions, Wally hobbles home to tell his family to fuck off, and then heads off to the Hall of Justice to watch TV.

Beautifully illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver.

Young X-Men, Starring the Top Six of American Idol (Season 7)

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 at 1:39 pm

In the near future, in the wake of a Skrull attack that devastates the Marvel Universe and leaves the X-Men shattered (again), six mutant heroes rise to pick up the pieces, forming a new team of Young X-Men. Just as things begin to look up, however, the menace of a new Apocalypse darkens the horizon…

David Cook – Wolverine / Phoenix

The secret love-child of Jean Grey and the original Wolverine. Turns out that Jean wasn’t just recuperating in that pod beneath the waters of Jamaica Bay—she was gestating. Before the pod’s discovery by the Avengers, it has already been tampered with by the Phoenix Force, which snatched the baby from Jean’s sleeping body, spiriting young David away to a nursery in a convent in Montana. A lonely orphan, David felt an uncanny (indeed, dimly telepathic) attraction to the deeds of the fabled X-Men, idolizing Wolverine most of all, without ever realizing that the mutant berserker was his real father. As a teen, he was driven by a powerful obsession that he could not fully comprehend, volunteering for the mysterious Weapon X program, which gave him claws and reinforced his skeleton with unbreakable adamantium. Now, still ignorant of his parentage, he leads the Young X-Men, unconsciously carrying on the legacy of his father…and his mother?

Brooke White [a.k.a. Alison Blaire] – Dazzler

Everything that’s happened to Dazzler since her series was cancelled in 1985 is a lie! In Secret Invasion, it was revealed that the Dazzler who joined the X-Men (and later, New Excalibur) was a Skrull imposter. The real Dazz has been on ice in a Skrull mothership for decades. Recently thawed out and preternaturally youthful, our girl is still the bright-eyed songbird who refused to have her spirit crushed by the music industry, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Changing her name to Brooke White and turning “Here Comes the Sun” into an unlikely comeback hit, Dazzler’s music career soldiers on, while, between gigs, she rolls (literally) with the Young X-Men. Whenever her spirits sag under the pressure of all these responsibilities, she just reminds herself: you can do this, Miss Alison Blaire. All you have to do is pop on those magnetic roller skates…and GO FOR IT!

David Archuleta – Angel / Archangel

One of playboy (and original Angel) Warren Worthington’s many innocent bastards. As a teenager, David was shocked and confused to discover wing-stumps sprouting from his shoulder blades, but a school guidance counselor helped him put two and two together. Selflessly, young David soon took to the skies to seek out the Young X-Men, anxious to inspire others while doing his part in the war against evil mutants. Unbeknownst to him, however, Destiny’s diaries predict dark times ahead. What ominous fate awaits him at the hands of the new Apocalypse? [Hint]

Carly Smithson – Siryn

An Irish mutant with a deadly sonic scream, Siryn is one of the Young X-Men’s most experienced and most powerful players. She was believed to have been killed in battled during the Skrull attack, but in fact, she was rescued by one of the children of Caliban, who nursed her back to health in the underground caverns of the Morlocks beneath New York. Recently married, the pair have devoted most of their energy to deciphering the mysterious script that has appeared all over Caliban’s body. With the help of the Young X-Men, they have cracked the code: the markings are actually ancient prophecies portending the coming of a new Age of Apocalypse.

Jason Castro – Nightcrawler

Using an image-inducer to appear human, Jason is the son of Thunderbird and Nocturne (the daughter of the original Nightcrawler from an alternate reality). Like his grandfather, he can disappear and reappear in another place—it’s all a state of mind, dude. As the threat of Apocalypse grows, he turns anxiously towards his faith and various nerve-calming herbs, fearful that his father’s ties to Apocalypse will come back to haunt him.

Syesha Mercado – Mystique

Syesha originally believed herself to be the non-superpowered daughter of mutant weather goddess Ororo Munroe (the original Storm) and Wakandan King T’Challa (Black Panther). Following the revelation during the Secret Invasion that her mother was actually a Skrull impersonating former X-Men leader Storm, Syesha was plunged into an identity crisis—a crisis exacerbated by the awakening of her own Skrull-given shape-shifting abilities. She could literally be anyone…so, who was she? After a period of turmoil, during which she morphed aimlessly from one impersonation to another, Syesha has recently embraced her Skrull heritage and adopted Mystique as her nom de guerre, a nod to the shape-shifting mutant who once bedeviled, and later joined, the X-Men.

These are our heroes, True Believer! In preparation for the coming siege, they study their adversaries carefully:

Simon Cowell – Apocalypse

The Horsemen of Apocalypse: Pestilence, War, and Famine

But wait…where is the fourth horseman? Where is Death? [Hint]

So our saga begins…

[Thanks to for the inspiration and images]

Switcheroo: Hulk in Space

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2008 at 2:27 pm

“What creators who are usually associated with a certain company (or, indeed, medium) would you like to see writing someone else’s title?”

Some thoughts on the creative team switcheroo meme instigated by plok and Madeley.  Here goes…The Hulk!

The first Hulk stories I read were probably the ones collected in Marvel Treasury #20, the most memorable of which was not the Doctor Doom story featured on the cover, but a Hulk-in-space two-parter by Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe, and Sal Buscema called “Klaatu! The Behemoth From Beyond Space!” and “The Stars Mine Enemy!” (originally presented in The Incredible Hulk, vol. 2 #136-7). The tale, which riffs heavily on Moby Dick, involves the Hulk getting caught up in Captain Cybor and Xeron the Star Slayer’s hunt for the powerful and enigmatic Klaatu aboard the Starship Andromeda. The Abomination shows up. The crew are all monsters. Lots of smashing ensues. It’s truly a glorious ride.

Of course, no Hulk story would be complete without a sharp tug at the heartstrings, and this one certainly delivers. The final page still gets me right here. First, we see the Hulk and the Abomination falling back to earth after a throw down in space; then the perspective changes to that of a little girl on earth who is watching the night sky with her father. Two “shooting stars” appear, but the girl sees better than her father that the cosmic bodies are not stars but men: “Two men who fell off a star… and fell so far… they can’t ever get back again…!”

sniff! Oh…excuse me. Anyway, this, to me, is what the Hulk is all about. When it comes right down to it, I’m more interested in the Hulk as a feeling monster than I am in the Jekyll and Hyde conceit that often drives the Banner/Hulk saga. A science fiction setting only adds to the sense of cosmic alienation that great Hulk stories do so well, and the science fiction conceits here all sail straight out of 1940s an 50s SF, one of those amazing Ace Doubles by Jack Vance, say—only with more monsters and mutants.

Who would I like to see writing and drawing my science fiction Hulk adventures? This is harder than it might seem…so many great creators have already worked on the Hulk. I think these are all relatively non-Hulky picks, though I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

1. plok has already suggested Alan Moore and Steve Bissette, and who wouldn’t want to see that? We might as well as Rick Veitch to the list, too. His work on the Swamp Thing-in-space stories is particularly haunting.

2. Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins. Two key creative forces behind the (first) immensely satisfying Annihilation series would do a great cosmic Hulk, steeped in nods to Marvel space sagas of the past–and no skimping on the Kirby dots.

3. Steve Niles and Bill Sienkiewicz. I mean, just picture it. Brrrr….! Outer space has never been this cold and terrifying, has it?

4. Samuel R. Delany and Paul Pelletier. What would Delany do as a comic book writer? I’d love to find out! Some subversive crazy-ass shit, I’m guessing. Pelletier, who I’m convinced is the love child of John Byrne and Jack Kirby, would be more than up to the job of bringing Delany’s worlds to life. (Paul Pelletier is permanently on the list of artists that I’d like to see draw anything.)

5. And just because it’s good, I’m also going to steal plok’s suggestion of Grant Morrison and Jae Lee. So there!

Fan Films, Fetishism, and Fate

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2008 at 2:30 am

I’m always a little nonplussed after watching a fan film: it’s as if I’ve just rifled through someone’s underwear drawer and discovered some awful secret thing that screams, “too much information!”* Not that I should be surprised. All self-styled fans are, in one way or another, fetishists, even if we don’t always quite fit the description of—in Warren Ellis’s memorable phrase—“underwear perverts.” And what are fan films but superhero fetishism writ large? They involve fetishes that are not simply taken down from the shelf and contemplated every now and then, but are literally embodied, enacted, and in a meaningful sense, lived. In the end, the film itself becomes the new fetish, perhaps—the culmination of the whole process that integrates the fantasist and his (or her) objects through performance and representation.

Or, maybe it’s just a good way to learn the craft while pissing around with your buddies in film school. Who’s to say?

At any rate, the genre intrigues me, and I admire this Dr. Fate fan film (Part 1 of a serial) that I bumped into on youtube this evening. The acting is sometimes a bit stiff (particularly the scene in the middle between Dr. Fate and the sister) or veers into self-parody (the closing moments, I think, were meant to be dramatic), but the actor who plays the wayward student of chaos magic is solid and the overall production and effects are really cool. The direction is even, dare I say, a little bit David Lynchy in parts. Good fun; Gary Lobstein has a nice little film here.

And here’s Part 2, with The Question thrown in for good measure:

*Why I’m rifling through anyone else’s underwear drawer in the first place is an interesting story, but not one I’m going to get into here.

The New New New Titans

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2008 at 1:40 pm

That rascal plok tagged me with this nifty meme:

“What creators who are usually associated with a certain company (or, indeed, medium) would you like to see writing some else’s title?”

Plok’s suggestions are, as you would expect, big and of the “it’s so obvious, why has no one thought of that?” variety. The world would be a better place if you ran Marvel and DC, sir!

My own thoughts on the matter of talent-swapping address a smaller issue: how to fix the goddamn Titans series that DC has just launched–and doomed–under the stewardship of Judd Winick and Ian Churchill. Not exactly the creative team of my fanboyish dreams, as I’ve already mentioned about several million times. Who is?

1. Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Well, obviously. I mean, there’s no point in pussy-footing around it: Titans is a nostalgia book to its core. Might as well go all the way. Hell, set the damn book in 1984 and slap an Elseworlds label on the cover for all I care! And while you’re at it guys, could you just finish Games already? Sheesh. (I realize that this one may violate the spirit of the meme, but…)

2. Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Paul Pelletier. These guys are going to tear up the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series they’re doing for Marvel, but they would be perfect for a Titans book with a classic feel. I’d love to read a DnA Titans space epic, given the duo’s flare for superheroic science fiction. Plus, this piece of promo art by Pelletier for Guardians reminds me of a similar two-page spread from the original New Teen Titans series when the team breaks into one of Brother Blood’s compounds:

Nice, huh?

3. Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham. They’re both great on team books, and, like Grummett (the best Titans artist post-Perez–if only he would come back), Eaglesham is a details guy, which is something that this book sorely needs. Gail’s Titans would be awesome, obviously. Plus, she’s perhaps the only person currently writing comics who could fix Donna Troy. (Damn you, Countdown!)

4. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Wait, wait…really! Remember “Runaways”? Remember NTT Annual 2? Under Bru, the book would focus on Nightwing, there’d be plenty of gritty urban crime stories with flashes of superheroics; lots of moody settings; bucketloads of drama, anguish, and soapy goodness; oh yeah!! It would be so great!!! Imagine Brubaker and Epting’s Church of Blood! Or their H.I.V.E.!!! Or, for that matter their Trigon!!! Okay, okay, I’m sold…THIS is the creative team I want on Titans. Sorry Marv and George; sorry DnA, Paul, Gail, Dale! Ed? Steve? Are you done noodling around with Captain America yet?

Countdown to a Proper Burial

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm

You want to know what’s really sad? This is probably the best issue of the entire series.

The ludicrous Jimmy Olsen-Darkseid smackdown/Kirby homage (or whatever) advertised on the front cover turns out, mercifully, to be a red herring. The real fight this issue is (spoilers on) a father-son matchup between Darseid and Orion. First, the good news: the fight looks amazing. Every Scott Kolins issue of Countdown looks sensationsal, obviously, but he really pulls out all the stops here. There are more Kirby dots per square inch in this comic than, perhaps, in any comic actually illustrated by Kirby himself. (BTW: Someone needs to hook a fanboy or two up some kind of blood pressure/heart rate monitor and then show them slides of images with and without Kirby dots–I’m pretty sure it will bear out my theory that Kirby dots are actually physiological stimulants.)

So, CWCID: great looking issue.

The totally mindnumblingly not-at-all-surprising bad news is that, like every single issue of this misbegotten travesty of a series, good writers once again produce risible work. For instance: Superman’s response to the showdown between Darkseid and Orion in the middle of Metropolis:

Green Lantern: Superman, I don’t care what Orion says–we’ve gotta do something here!

Superman: This is between a father and his son, Kyle. [portentously] This is between Gods.

Whaaa??? Huuuhhhh?????? One of the “Gods” is Darkseid! At least the Flash was running around saving people on page 1, not standing on a roof eating popcorn with the impossibly lame “Challengers of the Unknown.” Normally, I don’t care much about this kind of hiccup in my suspension of disbelief, but it’s so egregious here that it seems as if Paul Dini and Sean McKeever (good writers both) have just said, fuck it. Let’s put this baby to bed. And you know what? I can’t say that I blame them. Does anyone really care anymore–if, indeed, anyone ever did? Don’t we all, much like poor Brooke White on Tuesday night, just want this damn song to be over and done with so that we can get on to something new and pretend it never happened in the first place?