Saturday, December 29, 2007

Getting It Together

It's been awhile since I posted regularly and that needs to change. And there's no better way for me to get in the game than to mouth off about what I didn't like. Then switch it up and to keep you on your toes.

Anyone else confused about what the hell McKeever's Titans of Tomorrow Today storyline was about? That ending made no sense and it invalidated how the future Titans were defeated in the first place. A lot of things blew up and feelings were hurt but the whole story seemed lacking.

Leave it Marvel to make the world's coolest bionic arm. If there's any world that should have the best mechanical prosthesis, it's the one with the 70's ex-patrol cop with a cybernetic arm.

Anyone else realize that if you take the backup stories out of Countdown to Adventure and Countdown to Mystery, they would have nothing to do with Countdown to Final Crisis? And that eight issues seems like a way to squeeze an extra $6 out of you than actually being needed to tell the story?

Dan Slott is very subversive. Avengers:The Initiative, while showing heroes being trained to handle volatile situations also gives readers the reasons why Captain America was so adamant against registration. Marvel government can't be trusted, at all. With Gyrich, government douche extraordinaire scheming every panel he shows up in and Hank Pym to overwhelmed to put his foot down, you can tell it's only a matter of time before it all blows up in their face. And not just by gun arm MVP.

And the MVP clones in Iron Spider costumes called Scarlet Spiders? Awesome and ironic.

One More Day? Rather than talk about the story itself, which every comic blogger on the internet is probably doing, I want to talk about what the story feels like to me. It feels like a DC story. Not to say being a DC type of story is a bad thing, but a history rewrite to "set things right"? DC does that every ten years, and it's usually fun. One More Day was not "fun" at all, and Marvel is not the place continuity rewrites, at least not story ones.

Marvel has passive rewrites all the time, usually to keep their heroes from being forty years old. DC has their being continuity fix and then sets about reworking old stories into new continuity. That's their thing. Now Spider-Man has his classic supporting cast back, and what do you think Harry Osborn being back is going to entail? More "your father keeps trying to kill me-no, he's innocent" stories. Marvel moves forward, DC looks back. That's how it works and One More Day seems to be one for the "keep the formula" column.

Well, that should work for now. I will post more often from now on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Big Monkey No More

It's been six years since I started going to Beyond Comics 2, the comic book store now renamed Big Monkey Comics, the first comic community experience I've ever known in my twenty-three years of reading comics. I loved going there on Wednesdays for new comics, Thursdays to record a podcast and Saturdays to play HeroClix. Mostly, I went so often to see my friends who worked and/or shopped there.

It's over now.

Devon Sanders, the manager of the store for many years and owners, has been let go, due to financial mismanaging by the owners and the douchebaggery of one person in particular. With him goes many of the customers who became loyal customers due to the environment Devon encouraged. We became real friends, who talk about our lives, as well as the lives of our favorite superheroes and villains. In good conscience, we cannot support people who would treat Devon so unfairly, when he can basically run the store himself and devotes much of his time to making Big Monkey a great store.

This is my goodbye to the time I spent in that store. I don't regret any of it and only wish the store could remain as the clubhouse we've come to enjoy. But it can't. Not for me. For the foreseeable future, Fantom Comics in Union Station will be my comic book store of choice.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

TV Has Made Me Happy

It has occurred to me that this generation of TV writers are comic book readers. But it's not from "Heroes", "Bionic Woman", or any Sci Fi show that has me coming to this conclusion. I know those guys are geeks.

On "Numb3rs", a rare ashcan comic is stolen during a comic book convention. Not only is one of the agents an avid collector with "long boxes"(his words), but Charlie Eppes(played by David Krumholtz) gets into a discussion about comics with his friend Larry Fleinhardt(played by Peter MacNicol). Fleinhardt says that some of the characters he liked were Daredevil and the Fantastic Four, but his favorite was Galactus. When Charlie points out Galactus's diet, Fleinhardt comes back with Galactus is one of the three fundamental forces of the universe along with Death and Eternity. Not only is that the Marvel explanation for Galactus's purpose, but to even for someone to even think of Eternity requires a deep interest in Marvel comics a casual reader is likely to miss.

Last week's episode of "NCIS" began with Agent Timothy McGee(played by Sean Murray) reading an issue of the original Iron Fist series before Agent Tony DiNozzo(played by Michael Weatherly) tries to snatch it out of his hand. McGee tells Tony to "watch it. This is Iron Fist #14, the first appearance of Sabretooth." The issue shown was indeed Iron Fist #14, and not a crappy reprint. You can see the yellowed pages of the book as McGee is reading it.

On "Dexter", the serial killer drama on Showtime, Dexter was called to examine the blood spray for a murder at a comic book store. There were Heroclix all along the counters and in glass cases. It doesn't take a deep understanding of comics to display Heroclix but they are awesome. So, hooray.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Countdown Theories

Despite my many grievances with Countdown, I'm utterly fascinated by it. Obviously it's not because it's good, it's that the plot seems to be centered around almost everything Jack Kirby ever created for DC.

The most obvious known Kirby DC creations are the New Gods, and they're being systematically souljacked by a mysterious silhouette that may or may not be the Infinity Man. Add to that Darkseid is shown repeatedly scheming with his chess pieces in what must be the most complicated Risk strategy ever devised, especially since it seems to include Holly Robinson as an essential factor.

Early Kirby creations the Newsboy Legion pop up in their original lineup to help Jimmy Olsen figure out why he has those Silver Age powers(the powers are actually pre-Kirby Jimmy Olsen, but his New Gods stuff started out in that series). Their fate is up in the air because even though Countdown declared "JIMMY OLSEN MUST DIE!", that's obviously not gonna happen. What remains to be seen is if Cadmus and their many, many clones will survive the character purge Final Crisis seems to be. Lord knows Kon-El didn't survive the last one.

Command 'D', the secret hideout of the Atomic Knights who debuted in The Battle For Bludhaven, was originally the name of the bunker The Last Boy on Earth, Kamandi, was raised in and named after. Kamandi was the last boy because most of the human race was wiped out in something only refered to as The Great Disaster. For casual readers, The Great Disaster has been a long standing plot device to explain why there are no superheroes or records of the past in the future. Kamandi was raised and trained in Command 'D' by his grandfather, Buddy Blank, the original OMAC. Makes that annoying blonde kid in Countdown more interesting, doesn't it.

With Countdown only half over, there's still 6 months for more of Kirby's inventions to pop up. That boom tube Waller and the government are using to deport super-villains is probably sending them to Transilvane, the planet in the basement. It's the perfect prison and probably where Ray Palmer's been hiding out. Maybe Atlas is the guy killing off the New Gods. As a titan, he would consider himself a 'real' god. And, God willing, maybe these guys would show up for the hell of it.
Far out.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Keep in mind that the rest of the characters are current character incarnations and costumes:
So what the hell is Spoiler doing there? Please, oh please, don't tell me someone took up the mantle of an incompetent gang war inciter because Spoiler was such a symbol of justice in Gotham. Because that's retarded.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

In Other News,

...I share my birthday with Charles Bronson, Adam Ant, Kathy Kinney, Godzilla and Roseanne Barr. I'm proud to be in the company of two of those people, one of which is a rubber suit.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


What do you do when someone saves you from being ripped apart by the Crime Society and the Extremists?

Beat the piss out of him, apparently.

I'm not a huge fan of Jason Todd the anti-hero but Donna's reaction to him saving their asses kind of makes her look like a bitch. They were outnumbered four to one and Jason managed to get them some leeway by shooting a near invulnerable woman with a low energy blaster. I'm not saying she shouldn't be pissed for being shot, but kicking him in the face was uncalled for.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What You Should Be Reading...

We all know that supporting characters are put through the ringer in comic books. When their fathers are not being crushed by debris or blown up during intergalatic wars, they're being thrown off bridges or buildings and stuffed into kitchen appliances. It's rough, and becoming a little banal. It's time someone shook things up.

In Daredevil, Mister Fear wants to make sure Daredevil is too busy to stop Fear from taking Kingpin's place in the underworld. He douses Gladiator with his fear gas, making him kill at random with no memory of his episodes. While Daredevil is trying to find out the source of Gladiator's madness, he doesn't notice that Milla is becoming more and more paranoid.

While Daredevil is confronting Mister Fear and the Enforcers, Milla is confronting Mafia heiress Lily Lucca, thinking Lily is trying to steal Matt away. Lily just needs help leaving the Mafia behind, but Milla becomes violent and tries to push Lily into the path of an oncoming train, but knocks a bystander down instead. While the Enforcers pound on Daredevil, Mister Fear reveals that the same gas that turned Gladiator into an unpredictable murderer was used on Milla.

Now, Matt Murdock has to save his wife from being inprisoned in a mental ward, leaving Mister Fear to consolidate his empire without Daredevil intervention. Of course, Daredevil is hellbent on finding Fear to get an antidote to his fear agent, but I think it's an ingenious twist on the paramour in danger plot. By making Milla a danger to others, Mister Fear has Daredevil consumed in both his public and secret personas.
Brubaker is a crafty storyteller and is making Daredevil one of the best books being published.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

He's Been Turned

*Thanks to Julian for the picture.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Bored

So I haven't posted for awhile. I'm contributing my lack of writing to my decision to drop energy drinks. Those sweetly disgusting caffeine bombs were my basic fuel for the past two years and now I'm trying to do without. It's taking a toll.

Anyway, I can bring myself to talk about a few things rolling in my mind right now.

1) When will someone tell Nic Klein that he's drawing the wrong Night Thrasher costume on the covers for New Warriors? He's been doing it since issue #2 and doesn't seem likely he will be changing up anytime soon, judging by the cover of #6.

2) Speaking of New Warriors, the team's(mainly Chamber's, who should know better) reaction to Tattoo's dying is confusing. What did they think was going to happen when they threw themselves between murderers and the people they intended to murder? It's one thing to not expect to die at a certain time, but to say they didn't sign on to die is plain stupidity. We want our heroes to live, but to have them completely clueless as to the dangers is kind of bad writing.

3) The Hellcat story in Marvel Comics Presents is great. The Immonens are a terrific team and the story seems like it's going to be pure fun straight through. It's the perfect story for the superhero ex-wife of the Son of Satan. I kind of wish it was it's own series. Marvel needs more books that are free of melodramatic angst. I like my heartwarming to be uplifting, not devastating.

4) For the Accursed Interloper, in All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder, Miller introduces us to a Batman-obsessed Irish bartender who decides one day to join the fight against crime as the Black Canary. Overwhelmed while trying to stop gunrunners at Gotham Harbor, BC is saved by the insanely scary goddamned Batman, and to celebrate, the two heroes make out(more?) right there on the dock. True story.

5) After reading Wolverine #58, I only see Guggenheim digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole. To explain Wolverine's resurrection episodes, it's revealed Logan killed an Angel of Death in World War I. Okay, a supernatural explanation as to why Logan could regenerate after complete flesh destruction makes sense. But get this: it happens for every major injury past bullet wounds. If he gets stabbed in the heart, he dies. If his lungs collapse, he dies. If he gets burned, he dies. At first it seemed like Wolverine was too powerful. Now, his healing factor's weaker than Spider-Man's. At least Petey wouldn't die from a stab wound.

Just a few things I had rattling around in my head. We recorded a new podcast Thursday and it should be kind of hilarious. Except to FDR.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

When Reinventing Goes Wrong

So the new Big Monkey Podcast is up and one of the things we were talking about was reinvention; when a character is given a new perspective by a new writer. I talked earlier about Marc Guggenheim's reinvention of Wolverine and how it is utter shite. If I had read Wolverine Annual #1 before recording, I would have remembered to mention it as one of the worst cases of reinvention and how contagious it is.

How exactly does Wolverine manage to get out of the superheated molten metal when the tendons and muscle needed to move have been burned away? Some will say this is fanboy nitpicking. But those people shouldn't be reading my comics blog.

Why I Want To See Speed Racer

"It's the first time I've ever really worked with a chimpanzee," said Sarandon of the live action flick.

Susan Sarandon will be playing Mom Racer in the Wachowski Brothers' Speed Racer movie. And obviously that chimpanzee will be Chim Chim. The movie is going to be awesome.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Weekend Fun

So this Saturday I had an excellent time playing HeroClix and getting schooled by the Great JC himself. Seeing a bunch of regular guys on a Saturday playing a game based on superheroes got me to wondering what superheroes do on their downtime. So I decided to hop over most of the country and see what the Avengers WestCoast were up to.
Like most superheroes, USAgent was busy working out in full costume while his compatriots stood around and either heckled or remained unimpressed because they could lift that weight with one mechanical hand. It was a slow day in the City of Angels, but things started looking up for everyone except Iron Man when Wonder Man showed up. Oh, Stark, you were always a bit of a douche.

Anyway, Simon has to go reshoot scenes for his late 80's action movie and needs someone to take his place at a charity event. Iron Man shoots him down saying they had other responsibilities, like watching USAgent work out. But Hawkeye, being not a douche, decides that teammates help each other out. And that's how Hawkeye, Iron Man, Vision and USAgent found themselves at a monster truck rally.

So the redneck's happy, but the rest of the Left Coast Avengers have to tough it out. They put on a show for the crowd but one member of the audience is anything but entertained. A villain who uses a monster truck rally as his debut? This guy must be pure evil, but with a lousy memory. He seems to have brought the blueprints of his master plan along with him. This ne'er-do-well has a point to make and everyone will remember the dramatic debut of......Doctor Goodwrench. Yeah.

So, the good Dr. sends the MTR machines to attack the crowd in the name of machine freedom and the Avengers Dub-C spring into action, without yelling "Avengers Assemble!" Kind of troubling. Still they fight off the mechanical dinosaur and Goodwrench tells the machines to "defend" themselves against the Avengers. Because trucks, no matter how big they are, are no match for the Avengers, Goodwrench turns Iron Man's armor against the Avengers, bringing Hawkeye to a realization that everyone should have came to when Goodwrench first rocked the mic.

Doctor Goodwrench is insane. Because machines don't talk. And Hawkeye decides to talk Doctor Goodwrench down. But it's the Vision who finally brings an end to this quirky tale. And yeah, Vision at this point is half C3-PO. Maybe two-thirds. And this wacky story wraps up the only way it could.

"Let's hug it out, bitch!"

And one last bit of douchery from Mr. Stark. Because Wonder Man drove Doctor Goodwrench crazy.

I think it's telling that while us normal guys are playing hero on weekends, superheroes are doing normal things on their weekends like going to monster truck rallies and making sure nutjobs get the help they need. I think that's called irony.

And who brought us this feel good time from the next best Avengers?

Sunday, September 30, 2007


After my Marvel Vs. DC: Who Rules the Seas? post and reading the latest Aquaman, I've had a lot of time to evaluate my position and realize that I was completely right in picking Sub-Mariner as best King of Atlantis. This is not a statement on who's the better character, just in how the character is used.

Namor is not a superhero. Just because he was a member of a few groups does not make him one, especially in the Marvel U. He is an ally, someone heroes go to for support. He does not fight because it is the right thing to do, he does it to help friends who are real superheroes, like Captain America, the original Human Torch and Sue Richards. He can be King of Atlantis because it is his number one priority, as being the king of the most advanced civilization on the planet should be.

Aquaman is supposed to be a superhero. He spent more time doing the day-to-day running of the Justice League than anyone besides J'Onn and regularly patrolled the seas for trouble. This is not how a king should operate. Kings go to war to defend their kingdom, or to make sure their allies stay in power, not to save luxury cruiselines from pirates. Granted, being in the Justice League when they are saving the Earth or the universe from Despero or Starro or Kanjar Ro makes sense, but the JLA handle more routine crisis like natural disasters and UN peace missions. How would a king(a real one who actually runs the society) be able to juggle both superheroing and governing without his subjects feeling neglected? It's why Atlantis is constantly being overrun.

Reading Tad Williams' work on Aquaman, I can see how well Aquaman(even a fake one) works when facing a real supervillain, not just a usurper. He fought Vandal Savage and one of the most convoluted masterplans in comic history. We need Aquaman saving lives in his own series, not just while he's in the Justice League. It's okay for Namor to be a pompous ass, not one of DC's Big Seven. That's for the minor League.

In other comparisons, I can't see how anyone can see Jamie Reyes/Blue Beetle as anything like Spider-Man, besides the bug theme. Spider-Man is about two things: wise-cracking and guilt. Always has been since he let the man who would kill his uncle go free and made light of a cop's job while doing it. Peter Parker had to keep his identity secret from those closest to him and went out as Spider-Man because it was the right thing to do and to work out the troubles of his personal life. His earliest stories were almost always about his self-doubt and how he has to find the strength to overcome. Usually he had no one to rely on, and was more than likely trying to save his oddly elderly aunt.

Blue Beetle is something new entirely. I don't know if there has ever been a superhero whose personal and superhero lives have been as entwined as Jaime's. His family and friends are his support system for both aspects of his life, and that hasn't been done before. To see Jaime's parents help him cope with his new career and his web of friends help him combat reimagined second-rate villains is fantastic. John Rogers is writing a new take on teenage superheroics, very interesting and entertaining on it's own merits.

Beyond the fact that Blue Beetle and Spider-Man started their hero careers as teens, there is no real basis for comparison.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


So my brother Brian has a different approach to reading comics. Instead of the week-to-week grid I'm on, he stops by his shop every two months a picks up a stack of books. Because of this, I try my best to make sure I don't let it slip what happen in any book he currently reads. Having no such deal with the people in his shop, he found out that Bart Allen died and Wally West came back, without actually reading both of those stories.

So we're talking a few days ago, and he's glad that Wally's back, but he wished Bart didn't have to die for it to happen.

Me: "You know how he died, right?"

Brian: "How?"

Me: "Beat to death."

Brian: "What?! By who?"

Me: "Who else?"

Brian: "The Rogues?"

Me: "Yeah."

Brian: "That's a little extreme for them."

My oldest brother Clayton reads mostly Marvel stuff but wanted to get back into Justice League of America when he found out Flash was coming back. He, too, knew that Bart had died, but not how.

Me: "Know how he died?"

Clayton: "Nah, how."

Me: "Beat to death."

Clayton: "What? Who killed him?"

Me: "Guess."

Clayton: "Gorilla Grodd?"

Me(thinking that would have made more sense): "The Rogues."

Clayton: "Huh? Why?"

I couldn't answer him because I was at work and had to relinquish the phone. Also, I still don't know why the Rogues all of a sudden thought the best way to avoid prison was to kill a popular hero in the open as if everyone didn't already know the Flash was fighting the Rogues at the time of his death.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Cheer Me Up" Post

Over at Living Between Wednesdays, Rachelle would like to hear a good "how comic books had a positive impact on my life" story. I don't know if mine is that good, but she's offering free stuff. So read on...

After leaving college and starting working my "real" job, I became something of a shut-in. Talking to people has never been one of my strong suits. Without the almost mandatory relationships that come from attending school, I talked to basically no one but my family. I didn't go out unless it was to eat or celebrate one of my nieces' birthdays.

And to buy my comics, which I would wait to read at home. I wasn't as open with my comic geekness back then, and people only found out about my fondness if I slipped and read one out in the open. I didn't like the questions that came from being "outed" as a comic reader. People treated you as if you were mentally challenged and that offended me to no end, mainly because, you know, I'm brilliant.

I used to buy my books at a place called Geseppi's(or Geppi's or something), but it closed, so I had to find a new spot. Back when Big Monkey Comics was called Beyond Comics 2, I decided to make that my new comics place. It was a two story place and appealed to me for the fact that it seemed that only black guys worked there. Being a black comic book fan means running into a lot of white guys, so it was kind of wild to be in BC2.

Anyway, besides the occasional questions about when stuff comes out, I didn't talk to anyone in the store, employee or customer. But there was a clerk named Kevin who was friendly and struck up conversations with just about everyone who came into the store. When BC2 moved into a smaller place, they gained a window alcove where you could sit and hang out a while. Which I did to talk about comics with Kevin, then Tarq, Devon, Jerome, Sherin, Drew, Kat, Martin, Damani, Tim, Seel(well, you don't really talk to Seel), Scip, Big Mike, Ulie, Rambo, Ben, the credited Andrew Carl, Brian & everyone else it would take many lines to name. I found a group of people I could talk to about comics who weren't family.

Soon enough, it became a regular Wednesday(Thursday if there was a holiday) thing, where we would talk about comics, politics, movies, music, anything that came to mind. These people I saw once a week became my friends. I would go to Kevin's house for parties, go to movies with people from the shop, tape a public access show on Saturdays and play HeroClix for time to time. I started reading Devon's and Scip's blogs, and then decided to make one of my own.(That's right. I started a blog while trying to stop being a shut-in.) When Big Monkey moved to it's current spot near U St., most of us went with it because we just liked hanging out there.

I feel as though my real life didn't start until I let everyone from Big Monkey in. I have friends I can be more open with then I ever could before. I have a release for my thoughts. A super cool Canadian gave me this awesome sketch. The trip home from the comic store is even better than the rest of my week.

If it wasn't for comic books and Big Monkey, I'd be where I am right now as I write this, but I wouldn't be happy and I'd probably just be watching TV. Being around other people who shared my passion for comics made it easier for me to be me, pretty much. Because of comics:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Batman: World's Greatest Father? + Sorry About The Kick In The Nuts, Mike & Ben

Twice in one week, DC has treated us with a smiling Batman: in Robin #166 & in Catwoman #71 . He's holding a baby. It's so sweet, my teeth hurt. I'm 120%(even though that percent's not possible) behind the new(old?) interpretation of Batman. Whether he's defending the Club of Heroes to Robin, making sure Hal can pay off working ladies, or just showing up for the fight, Batman should always have just a touch of humor to him. This is the man who made his sidekick dress like moving target.

If you haven't read Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1, you should. With this one issue, Judd Winick makes up for the mess he made of Trials of SHAZAM! Not saying you should read Trials, though. The wedding invitation reactions are hilarious, but what really got me was Superman's reaction to the GA and BC getting hitched. I love it.
Then you get to the ending, and well, it's shocking, to say the least. And to Big Mike and Dr. Benhatton, my condolences. But, you gotta admit, it's not like there are choices to fill that particular void. I am not laughing.

Amanda Conner's art is the real draw of this book. Her facial expressions remind me of Kevin Maguire, but her art has a more manic quality to it overall. Look at this spread.

Look at Hawkman pining for Hawkgirl. The utter cuteness of Big Barda & Mister Miracle and Buddy & Ellen Baker. The quartet of comedy featuring Flash, Alan Scott, Beast Boy & Power Girl. The maid of honor's seat. All great. But this is my favorite: