Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Claremont Outline: How to Write Comics By Rehashing

Think you can write a series?

Can't think of a new idea to save your life?

Been in the game for years but can't find an effective way to phone it in?

Then let Chris Claremont show YOU the way to start a series by rehashing work you did ten years ago!

It's simple. Step 1: Choose a better writer's old comic book series to get an established stable of characters. Claremont chose Alan Moore's UK Captain Britain series from the 80's. It's important that this series ran for enough years that it has a large cast of heroes and villains to fill up your current series with.
Step 2. Choose a character, even a minor sidekick or sibling of the main character, to be your avatar. This character will be changed and molded to suit your whims, and can be brought into every book you write. For Claremont, Betsy Braddock became his avatar, Psylocke. She used to be British. Who knew!

Step 3. Want to do a solo character book, creating a rich tapestry of a life with supporting characters and character development? Well, forget it. Your avatar couldn't-nor shouldn't-be able to sell their own series to save their life. Team books are the way to go. Team after team of team books. Throw in some characters from that established writer's work. Hell, all you have to do is add like three people and BOOM!, it's an all new series.

Step 4. Time to create some conflict. Whoever's on your team (and by the fifth or sixth book, people will be able to guess who you'd pick) has to fight a kickass villain. Wait, that's if you're making something the classic way. The Claremont Way, you need them to fight some random villain from that established character's repertoire. Like how Excalibur fought the warwolves, or when the Uncanny X-Men fought the Fury. Don't worry that almost no one will know who these villains are. They won't care as long as someone mentions how 'nigh invulnerable' they are or how the world hates and fears them.

Step 5. You've had ideas before, and hopefully before needing this Outline, you've had a few stories in the funny papers. Time to reuse 'em! Take a novelty villain from your earlier work, or at the very least the setting he's known for, and drop every team you work on there for their second adventure. Claremont's teams have been to Murderworld so often, they still have unspent Murderbucks.

Step 6. You like cowboys? Dinosaurs? Ghosts? The collected works of Robert Frost? Incorporate it! Anything that's caught your interest when you're not writing comics you can write into your team book. Vampires, cyborgs, Japanese ghosts, crazy European hostels, Kal Penn. It's all good!

Step 7. The best part of rehashing? It never stops. So dip back into the well, find another villain from that talented writer's stable and send him after your team for any old reason. Doesn't have to make sense, he can just be angry or trying to fill his taxes on April 18th. Or for the same reason that first villain you chose had.

Step 8. Start looking for a new series, my friend, because by now, most readers are pretty much done with you. But hey, Claremont still is writing two books a month. Who cares if they suck now? At least we get Slaymaster back.
Follow these tips and YOU, too, can be the most hated man in comics.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Father of Reinvention

Grant Morrison has done it again.

While others could only further perpetuate the "Always has a Contingency" Batman that Grant Morrison himself developed in the JLA series, The Master of Metatextual has brought a new Batman to the spotlight.

It's the all new, badass "Noir" Batman.

Oh, Morrison. You had me at "freebie."

Stay tuned, readers, because a special I promised during the livejournal year is coming up, and I break down why Morrison and Jones's Marvel Boy may just be the best comic ever made.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quick post

This post right here puts me one over the number of posts I made in February, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

If anyone reading this has any ideas or theories about what 52 is leading to, please talk to Ben at those wednesdays, and try to connect the dots. All I can come up with is that the Dominators are planning something now that the Dominators in the 30th Century are trying to avenge. And if the 52 are making Anti-Life mathemagicians scared, they're probably not that bad. Maybe just neutral.

Monday, March 26, 2007

To The Victor & It's Monday...

My prize for winning the Get Your Civil War On! Contest came in and now I get to read the first chapters of Y: The Last Man (among other things) and revel in my own awesomeness. Which I get so few chances to do in my busy schedule.

That being said, it is Monday and that means...

Continued from previous post...

Nova flew along the mountainside, ducking in and out of tree cover to avoid A.I.M. troops. While Rictor and M were the main decoy, Mimic was to create a spectacle worthy enough to lead many of the A.I.M. in his direction. Now, Nova had the least amount of trouble in front of him, and he was to get back into the A.I.M. base undetected, or as undetected as possible.
He passed by a tank patrol and stopped thirty feet away from the bay doors of the base’s garage. Six men covered the doors, but they were taken care of without much trouble. A jamming signal produced by Nova’s helmet kept any distress calls from being sent out. Which only left the two foot deep enhanced titanium alloy doors with the sconces which concealed high intensity plasma cannons.
Nova walked up to the security console and entered the code listed in one of the files randomly Nova downloaded earlier. He moved in fast, quickly flying into a guard station inside and knocking the guard through the other side.
“I’m in.” Just as he sent this, all the monitors in the guard station began showing the same image. An A.I.M. head, Nova assumed from the military styling of his yellow uniform, was standing at a podium, a large machine behind.

‘People of the world, hear my voice. This message is being relayed to every nation with a TV station and instantly translated due to the genius that is A.I.M. I am not one of those so in love with the sound of his own voice that he rambles on and on about the rightness of their position and how hard they worked to achieve their goals, so I will get right to the point.
‘We want the world.’ The speaker waved back at the machine behind him, which began to turn on clue. ‘Or else. A.I.M. is the only body intelligent enough to rightly govern this planet and we have the means to bring about a utopian age. But governments stand in our way. And while other factions may be content to being arms dealers to others, we here are more proactive.
‘Behind me is MODOA, the Mobile Organism Designed for Obliteration by Antimatter.’ The machine finally clicked into place. Inside a large glass cage was a teenaged boy with a cybernetic headpiece wired to a computer outside. His head was sealed away from the rest of his body, leaving it dangling in the glass enclosure. Robotic arms equipped with opposing halves of a container were manned by A.I.M. on the outside of the enclosure. ‘Antimatter is the most dangerous substance known to man, and MODOA can produce enough to crack the world in half. A demonstration, perhaps.’
The technicians at the enclosure operated the arms while one of the technicians ministrations caused MODOA’s head to bob and turn. While it seemed nothing took place, the arms moved cautiously towards MODOA, slowly bringing the container’s ends together until a light shone green on both ends. The arms brought the container to a port in the front of the enclosure. When it closed, the port’s outer door chimed and a technician opened and took out the container. ‘While it may have seem like a very expensive show of nothing, this container-thank you-contains a milligram of antimatter. This container keeps it from coming in contact with air, matter of any kind, by keeping it suspended in the middle of the airless container.” The leader walked over to a set of double doors which opened automatically to reveal a hangar-like area with a few randomly placed debris. He threw the container straight into air, straight ahead with the skill of a quarterback.
The container broke against a bombed out schoolbus and a second later the room was awash in a blinding white light. The sound was like no explosion ever heard and seemed to absorb all sound. It was quick and the debris field was clouded in dust. Exhaust fans started, clearing the cloud to reveal a deep depression at the end of the debris field. It was a perfect sphere of space, and remarkably frightening.
‘And that was the smallest sample of what MODOA is capable of. Now picture if we sent MODOA into the tunnel we have made deep into the Earth’s crust. Picture what 100 pounds of antimatter can do to the stability of this planet. 1,000. Whatever we can make MODOA pour into this world until his body and pretty much everything around him is, well, obliterated.’
‘We can improve this world or destroy it. The choice is yours. You have six hours.’

“You get that?”
“Yeah. Me and M are close, but if no one comes, you may be on your own, man. Mimic’s not respondin’." Nova managed to pull up a directory of the base on the guard station’s console. The central hub of the base was located dead center of the complex with many reinforced doors and walls to keep out guys like Nova. While most of the armed A.I.M. were outside, many dots were on the directory designated as researchers, and a few designated as security.
“If the heavily armed thugs are after us, who the hell is security?”
“Nova is inside.”
“I know.”
“We’re not going to get to him before he’s spotted and overrun.”
“I know.”
“Could you please add something to this convo, chica?”
Surrounded by converging A.I.M. troopers with only the wreckage of A.I.M. tanks and jeeps as cover, M looked Rictor squarely in the eye.
“We are, as you would say, boned.”

In front of him, wavy and unclear to his unfocused eyes, was a glowing red eye. He swung awkwardly, missing the eye entirely. He fell over but was held up by dark arms. Red eye was holding him up.
“Jesus, you’re heavy. Look, uh, wing…guy? I’m your friend at here. I got the emergency message and came out as fast as I could.”
“Rictor sent out message. He plan man.”
Red eye gave Mimic a quick slap that brought him mostly to his senses. “My name, I call myself, Night Man. I work out of San Fran, and to tell you the truth, I’m going to need your help, because fighting an army single-handed is not one of my abilities.”
Mimic stood up and stretched his wings. He cocked his head, feeling something new. “Hmm.” He began fingering motions and breathing techniques, then assume some traditional aikido poses. “My telepathy is stronger, but weirdly. I’m only getting-”
“Evil thoughts. You have my power?”
“I’m Mimic. I copy powers. And how did you get here? I’m not getting-”
Before he could finish, A.I.M. started firing. Mimic ducked and pushed Night Man away, firing his optic blasts in quick bursts. He flew short, freezing three troopers together and taking all three in a roundhouse kick. Behind them, more A.I.M. tried to flank them, but were clouded by smoke. A few thuds later, and Night Man was standing amongst their unconscious bodies.
“I didn’t come alone. I found a friend to give me a ride.”

“I’ll take the forty on the right. You take the forty on the left. And the eighty behind and in front of us are up for grabs. Want da ya, say?”
M stared out his roguish grin and couldn’t help smiling. And by smile, the corner of her mouth flicked up for the briefest of moments. “I will take the left.”
“On three.” Rictor brace himself into a crouching position, ready to focus as much seismic energy at the bastards as he could. M, facing the opposite way, broke off the bumper of a wrecked jeep, and braced herself.
“Uno.” The A.I.M. started forward in two-by-two formation. Their weapons raised and ready.
Without warning, a bomb went off in the middle of the rear A.I.M. guard. At least, it sounded like a bomb and both A.I.M. and the two mutants in distress thought it was a bomb, until A.I.M. soldiers began flying through the air, swatted like flies. A hulking figure was the cause of the disturbance. A gold and red flash who resisted every plasma blast the A.I.M. troopers could fire off before being pummeled indiscriminately.
“Who the hell?”
“Don’t question it, Julio. Fight!”
The two broke cover, Rictor rupturing the ground in front of him as a moving shield and striking targets one by one and M swinging the metal bumper like a home run pro.
“Don’t worry about these guys. They’re no match for PRIME POWER!” With that, Prime clapped his hands together and sent a wave of concussive force through the A.I.M. ranks. A clear path was laid out for Rictor and M, and they decided to take it.
“Who the hell is that guy?”

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Got Questions

When exactly did Damage join the Freedom Fighters? I remember in JSA or something Damage got a call right when the Freedom Fighters were reacting to some emergency, but I have no idea when he joined them.

How come no one seems to remember Captain Boomerang Jr. has super speed, if even for a short time?

Is a crooked bar between two circles shorthand for Kirbyesque?

When did G.W. Bridge get so fat? Really, an active member of SHIELD should not be that big. Dum Dum keeps in shape and he's 90!

Why are people still surprised that Power Girl is massively endowed? She's Kryptonian. She can handle it. It's the awkward Kryptonian Cousin Love she has to worry about.

Why can't people realize Batman is the coolest hero EVER? He's in at least one book a week. Think about it.

Is there a memo given to all Marvel writers saying to remember Tony Stark's an ass clown now?

I'm starting to realize Jeph Loeb is not the amazing writer I once thought he was. Yeah, he can still turn out a masterwork of nostalgia with guest stars galore, but when he reintroduced Supergirl to the DCU, I hated her from basically day two. Her rebellious teen crap was asinine considering she wouldn't act like a rebellious American teenage having been raised for seventeen freaking years on Krypton. Wait, this is supposed to be a question. Umm, I guess the question is, uh, are Joe Kelly and Mark Waid better writers than Loeb?

Why do people in the DCU develop powers in the most random ways? If you spend too much time in a dark room, you get the ability to make lifelike images.

What if Grant Morrison wrote The Defenders?

Why are people Hatton on Wolverine: Origins? I've been reading it consistently and I can't see how it's worst than some of the books been praised week after week. Unless you're talking about Batman, Superman, Detective Comics, Cable & Deadpool, Zemo: Born Better, 52, Astonishing X-Men, Midnighter, Punisher, X-Factor, Gen 13, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, The Brave and the Bold, Justice Society of America, Manhunter, Stormwatch: PHD, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, Checkmate, Uncanny X-Men, Captain America, She-Hulk, The Immortal Iron Fist, Daredevil, and look it's just not that bad, or even not good. I like it, is all I'm saying. Maybe not as much as the stuff listed, but still...

Isn't she wonderful?

I'm on a quest to post more every month than the month before. Think I can do it?

How you doin'?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

World of Atlantis

Remember when Atlanteans had submarines that could fly in space and energy weapons? I do.

Around the late eighties, early nineties, Marvel had Atlantis Attacks, where something happened and Atlanteans were geared for war and attacking people at random. Something about a crown of serpents. Matter of fact, it was the eighties. Definitely, the eighties.

Anyway, later, when Namor started Oracle, Inc. and had lots of American money to throw around for leather jackets and phony jobs for his cousin, Namorita, Namor would provide other superheroes with rocket subs, that were a million times faster than your ass. That was in Heroes For Hire in the nineties. Apparently, mankind would have better technology if it wasn't for all this open air we breathe.

Now, though, when Namor gathers a squad of Atlantis Finest to smack down the Fascist Avengers, we get these rave rejects with whalebone swords.

What happened? Were are the guns and flying subs and horn o'sonic disruptors? You don't fight Iron Man with seafood leftovers, you wail on his ass with the best in underwater firepower!

Get it together, Namor! New Earth's Atlantis has been busted into a Dark Age, and they still have plasma cannons even if they are on tripods. Give 'em enough time, they'll have learned about triggers, maybe even pistol grips.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's In A Name?

Yes, I plan to keep this title for a while. It seems appropiate in these times.

Anyway, a lot of people say that Moon Knight is Marvel's Batman, a distant, intense warrior of the night who is feared by other heroes as much as he is by criminals. And let's not get started on the mutiple personalities.

But when you get right down to it...

They're not really the same at all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Again...

Continued from previous post...

The ground shook as the heavily armored (and armed), yet deceptively maneuverable A.I.M. tanks bulldozed through the dense forest, in search of the intruders. Retractable saws along the grill of the war machines cleared trees in moments. The tanks spread out in six directions; two going to the east of the main entrance, two to the west, and two more moving out directly ahead parallel to each other, in the direction of tripped motion sensors. With each tank, three assault jeeps followed close, with troopers hopping off at regular intervals and searching the perimeter.
Rictor saw all this, the wrist mounted computer relaying satellite information in real time, giving him a heads-up display of all the troop movements not obscured by the forest left intact. Beside him, M leaned to get a sense of the situation and tensed.
“Buckethead has put his in a bit of mess, now, hasn’t he?” M began adjusting her clothes, making sure her gloves were tight around her hands. It was supposed to make her look battle-ready, but Rictor could tell she was at the very least, concerned.
“They’re comin’, princess.” He closed the computer with the reinforced faceplate. Taking three deep breaths, he tried to recall everything Cable ever told him about battle strategies and small squad team dynamics. An A.I.M. tank was just fifty feet below the thick tree branch Rictor and M were using as a rudimentary camp. Rictor turned to M. “Ever watch Ronin Warriors?” Rictor jumped off the branch and clapped his hands together.
Before the A.I.M. could respond, a hundred foot trench opened beneath the tank, swallowing it whole. The ruptured ground rushed up and met Rictor before he could fall for any injurable distance. The three accompanying jeeps swerved to avoid joining the tank in the trench, but Rictor blasted two with his seismic blasts, shaking the engines apart.
M divebombed, caving in the third jeep and sending A.I.M. scattering. Rictor rushed forward, dropkicking the first trooper to raise his weapon. Blasting the other troopers in the guts, Rictor broke into the closet jeep and jacked into its onboard computer. Quickly, he downloaded the radio frequencies and full numbers of the A.I.M. army, and sent them to Nova’s helmet.
Plasma bursts rained down on the attack site and M and Rictor dove for cover. Troops were approaching from three fronts, laying down suppressive fire. More jeeps were in approach with rumbling indicating another tank wasn’t far behind.
M flew straight up, drawing fire from most of the A.I.M. Rictor sent tremors through the ground around him, creating a wide trench and high rock obstacles. With the troopers disoriented, M struck. She picked up one of the disabled jeeps and used it as battering ram. A.I.M. fell like tenpins before her, and Rictor jumped up, plasma rifles in both hands spraying bolt after bolt.
They couldn’t believe their eyes, watching as a red beam sheared their tank in two. Invisible hands pulled the pieces apart and sent them flying into the dense foliage. Their cover ripped apart, the troopers were unable to defend against the whirlwind of destruction taking apart every squad he came against.

Mimic grabbed a trooper by the face and flung him into his fellow soldiers, while freezing the jeeps in their tracks. Unable to move, the jeeps were easy targets for Mimic’s optic blasts. He raised pieces of the destroyed jeeps as floating shields, and flew towards the base.
A blast of immense size caught Mimic in his blind dash, blowing apart his shields and sending him crashing into the ground. Before he could rise completely to his feet, he was blasted again, barely able to raise a telekinetic shield to dispel most of the force. Mimic flew up into the trees, then began leaping from branch to branch haphazardly. Plasma blasts trailed after him, the gunners unable to anticipate his erratic movements.
Mimic returned fire, catching the tank in its treads. Deflecting shots from the troopers weapons, he flew down and froze the cannon of the attacking tank. His telekinesis ripped the brittle cannon away from the tank and he fired optic blasts into the tank’s cab.
A.I.M. troopers surrounded the winged menace, and now he realized how much the tank’s blasts took out of him. The concentrated fire of plasma rifles wear away at his tk shield, forcing him to fly for cover, but now troopers on anti-grav sleds were in pursuit. They were relentless, and possessed better accuracy than the ones sent after Nova earlier.
Forced to ground again, Mimic attacked wildly, hoping to get as many troopers off of him by filling the area with power. A rifle butt hit him in the upper back, sending him to his knees.
The downside to his plan-besides an actual lack of planning-was that the huge expenditure of energy left him nearly defenseless, and using his eyes for weapons stopped him from seeing the troopers sneaking up from behind. Now, with him on his knees, the troopers were converging, though most were fearful of the man who was single-handedly taking them apart.
“Freak trash. Not so hot, now,” the trooper punctuated with another shot to Mimic’s back. Mimic collapsed, struggling to get to his feet and failing. The trooper raise his gun to hit him again, when small orbs dropped down amidst the troopers, smoke quickly taking all visibility in the immediate area around Mimic. Before the troopers could adjust their visors, the trooper standing over Mimic was tasered in the small of his back. Hands grabbed Mimic and dragged him deep into the forest before the A.I.M. could get their bearings.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I know Morrison has been there before *coughJLA:Classifiedcough*, but The Authority #2 was a great issue that somehow seemed to emphasize the lack of wonder in reality while at the same time noting how special our world is. I wish Hawksmoor and the Doctor had decided to pop into Big Monkey, though. That would have been something. Gene Ha's realistic art on a title like The Authority makes a nice dichotomy, especially considering where they are.

I got three Garth Ennis books last week and you know what I found in common? People getting it in the face:

Damn you, Nicieza. I've always said there was one thing I wouldn't tolerate: Germans and Claremont. And now, the only Marvel hero I can look up to is that purple-masked supremacist, Zemo. Save us, Baron Helmut Zemo. You're our only hope.
I want to see Genuis Jones in current continuity. He'll be like a freelance detective, charging all his clients a dollar for his services because he's already independently wealthy. Maybe he could wear the costume when he uncovers the mystery.

Inspired by Superman #660 :

"I got a job, and they tell me you're the man to see. A shipment of gun parts is sitting at Gotham Harbor while the feds check the paperwork and approve delivery. I want that shipment, but I don't need the Bat or his freakshow sending my boys to the hospital. They say you're the man to solve my problem."

Leaning in from shadows, light from a exposed bulb shining off his green helmet, Killer Moth crosses his arms. "You want the Bat held up for the night, it don't come cheap."

"20 large, up front. 50 when the parts are mine."

Twirling a motharang, the Killer replies, "Deal. Considered the Bat busy for the night," throws the mid-level boss his card:
Killer Moth
Criminal Protection & Hero Distraction Services.
Just hit the Moth-Signal!
"Tell your friends."

Friday, March 16, 2007


Will someone please explain to me the dynamics of the Batgirl/Deathstroke relationship in Teen Titans?

Somehow, Deathstroke, after having his daughter turn on him in Nightwing, somehow managed to abduct and drug Batgirl in a revenge scenario to get back at Nightwing and Robin, who let Ravager into the Titans. In this scenario, Deathstroke has the newly crazy Batgirl join up with the League of Assassins and try to recruit Robin. Then, he uses Batgirl in his Titans East.

When does this start making any sense?

If he had Batgirl, why have her working with the League of Assassins, then for his own revenge ploy? Why did it take a few decades for Deathstroke's serum to turn him into a loon, but Ravager and Batgirl seemed to only need a dose? Are we really supposed to believe Deathstroke managed to not only think up this complicated plan, but execute it while working with the Society during in IC, and making Robin the focus of it, even though Ravager wasn't taken in by the Titans till a little while before One Year Later? While Tim was supposed to be on a retraining tour with Batman?

My distaste for Teen Titans (the bland art, rehashed themes, lame Kid Devil) is growing and Johns, who managed to bring back Hawkman, Hal Jordan, and Dr. Fate in an entertaining (and I don't want to say plausible, but at least, in a way that doesn't seem like tripe) way, should be able to think of a better way to explain Batgirl's defection than "crazy drugs." I know Geoff Johns is better than this. And Daniel, well, he kind of sucks. Sorry.

And by the way, I think it's awesome that slavery becomes acceptable again in the 30th Century. Lincoln would understand, they're only Martians.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's Monday....

Continued from previous post...

X-Corp. hangar

A chime and the elevators doors opened onto a two station hangar on the top floor of the tower. Above, the ceiling was outfitted with an iris of retracting titanium plates. Directly under the iris was an X-Jet, a modified Blackbird jet fitted from passengers and vertical takeoff and landing.
Rictor ran straight to the entrance stairs and into the cockpit. He pulled a manual for underneath the control board, looking up the pre-flight checklist.
“You don’t know how to fly this thing?”
“M does. I just need to be her co-pilot.” M took her place as the controls. Rictor started hitting switches as fast as he could understand what they meant and eventually the iris in the ceiling began to open. “Sweet. We are outta here!” Rictor put a finger to his earpiece, “Hear that, Rankin? We’re out!”
Not waiting for a reply, M started takeoff, the thrusters underneath the wings and body pushing the jet up and out of the tower. As the rear thruster started up, a crimson blast of concussive force burst from the side of the building creating a wrecking ball sized hole in the tower. Mimic flew out heading towards the X-Jet.
“Jesus, did he have to blow another frickin’ hole in the wall? Buckethead’s hole was still open.”
“Nova, ass-clown, unless you want Mimic to catch you on the way down.”
“Boy, boys. Shut up. Except you, Nova. It’s time you tell us why we were almost killed.”
Nova brushed past Rictor’s shoulder and inserted a cord into his helmet and then into a data port on the X-Jet’s control board. Automatically, a monitor opened. “Sweet. Last night, I was on a camping trip with my brother when I heard a report about a wildfire picked up by my helmet. After I took care of it (pretty easy, I don’t mind saying) when the helmet intercepted an encrypted transmission from a spot where nothing should be.” As he spoke, a transfer began of four gigabytes of data from the helmet.
“Your helmet has a hard drive?”
“An alien hard drive, with a two terabytes of data, or something like that. It’s been adapted for human technology, but you never know with aliens. I was telling a story, wasn’t I? Can I finish?”
“Go ‘head, ass.”
A thud was heard throughout the cabin and M, who was doing very well blocking out the two men arguing next to her, piped up, “Mimic’s on the roof. He wants in.”
Rictor got out the co-pilot seat and went to the back. “Just tell M the rest.”
Nova sat, one leg on the armrest. “Anyway, the helmet was able to decode the encryption (not that easily, either) and traced to the signal to an A.I.M. lab in the mountains. I crashed the lab, used the helmet to hack the lab’s files and broke free, with that goon squad on my back. I never heard of A.I.M. attacking in numbers like that, though. They usually have some guys to hold guys like us at bay while the rest run.”
“Truly a mystery.” The computer chimed as the transfer completed, and M activated the autopilot, on a course for the area Nova found the lab. She opened the folder and it opened up to folder after folder all based around a project labeled ‘MODOA’. “Can’t be good,” Nova offered, pointing at the acronym.
“I’ve sent out an alert to the X-Men, Avengers and anyone in the area. I’ll see update with the coordinates for the A.I.M. lab. What can we expect?”
Just then, Rictor and Mimic walked into the cockpit. “They had an arsenal in there, lots of stuff I think they created themselves. They were geared up for a serious assault or to ward off one,” Nova replied. “And I think I saw a few tanks or something like it.”
“They’re going to know we’re coming,” Mimic offered. “They will have the base barricaded and whatever their plan is, it will be put in motion very soon.”
“That’s your criminal intuition talking?”
Mimic turned to Nova. “I have the collected powers of the original X-Men and everyone in this jet, he said eyes glowing. “Do not start something you can’t possibly win.”
“Enough bickering, children! We have to think of what to do, we’re here.” M landed the jet a half mile outside of the target area. “The jet can’t be picked up by radar or most detection systems. But with A.I.M., you never know.” The four disembarked and circled each other. Rictor had a portable computer with a holographic heads-up display, designed by Henry McCoy.
“Nova and Mimic, you two circle around from the flanks. Try to keep low, and alert the rest of us if you run into any trouble. Me and M will move pretty much straight in, through the forest.”
“They will see us coming and be on us like cousins on a will.”
“Of course. We’re the bait.”

A.I.M. Base Echo-Omega 5

“There are two people approaching from the south. Scans show they are mutants, designated as M and Rictor of the X-Men.”
“Nova must be with them, but hiding. Who knows who else they brought? Superheroes pop up faster than Starbucks. Activate the remaining troopers and the droids. Have a team stay back for defense but I want teams sweeping the woods for any intruders. Prepare the video feed. Time to start the plan.”
Scores of A.I.M. specially recruited from the military and mercenary outposts marched to the armory, where each were equipped with energy weapons or high-caliber machine guns (depending on specialty). From there, they separated into groups of foot soldiers or assault vehicle teams. They moved out, separating into different directions. A few squads stayed in a defensive formation around the entrances.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Yays and Boos

My comic store didn't receive it's shipment of Captain America #25, Fantastic Four #543, and some other major Marvel releases because Diamond Distributors sucks ass sometimes. Anyway, the issues came today and it makes me both glad and disappointed. Why? Because Marvel has some serious pricing issues.

On Wednesday, I reluctantly bought Civil War: The Initiative, just to see what was in store with the new series post-CW. Really, I was hoping it was more like Winter Soldier:Winter Kills than Civil War:Choosing Sides. It was drawn by Marc Silvestri, which is a plus, and written by Brian Michael Bendis, which can go either way. It's really just an over-sized commercial, with nothing really to offer besides a splash page of the Thunderbolts and further confirmation that Iron Man's a douche.

The worst part? It was $4.99.

Today, I got Cap and FF, both extra-sized issues, and I was greatly pleased with both. Especially Cap, which managed to erase a lot of my bad feelings caused by Civil War #7. Seeing Cap, even in cuffs, with his head held high and still standing up for what he believes in made me remember why I like the character. Brubaker seems to have a knack at incorporating personal drama into the epic kind, without it seeming...emo. The 'surprise' was blown way before I got a chance to read it, but the way it happened and the characters' reactions are brilliantly written and I have to commend Brubaker on fitting in the events of Civil War into his Red Skull storyline.

FF featured a Dateline-ish special about the history of the Fantastic Four and the affect the Civil War would have on the team. I'm just wondering what forms you have to fill out when interviewing Doctor Doom. Does he sign a contract or just commands you to enter and leave when he tires of you? Anyway, it was a nice return to a more cheerful Fantastic Four that still acknowledged the difficulties that lie ahead.
The two backup stories, one by Stan Lee and Michael Allred and the other by Paul Pope, are what really make this issue special. For awhile, Marvel's been throwing out extra-sized issues that were basically just a regular story with four or five extra pages and a reprint of an old issue. Here we have two new stories and the unexpected delight of having a good Stan Lee story, even if it is a self parody. And Pope's Human Torch/Spider-Man rivalry is nicely done.
Both of these issues which actually add something and move the overall story along, are both $3.99. Why the hell did I pay an extra dollar for that Initiative crap? To find out who the new Guardian is? It wasn't that important to me, and a lot of pages are devoted to 'screenings' of upcoming books, including Cap #25, The Mighty Avengers #1, and Iron Man #15.
Get it together, Marvel! Hype books for upcoming series should not cost more than extra-sized issues with all-new material. Because, again, DC would have only charged a dollar.

Hero Worship & Judd Winick

Well, we all know Judd Winick loves Black Lightning. He managed to bring him into Green Arrow and Outsiders with female relatives that Judd made up, just to have Black Lightning guest star. I don't find anything wrong with a writer bringing in a character(or characters) who they grew up liking and wants to bring to the spotlight. Bendis brought nearly all the 70's Marvel characters into The New Avengers and Geoff Johns brought back Kid Devil and Captain Carrot. So it's only common sense that Winick would have someone that he likes to have show up every now and then.

What I cannot get past is when the hero worship gets out of hand. Like in the latest issue of Outsiders.

In a story set during 52, we learn that Jefferson Pierce(Black Lightning) has a lot of free time now that Luthor's been impeached to spy on criminal CEOs from rooftops while wearing Brooks Brothers suits. It's less conspicuous. The crock CEO was responsible for his niece's death and Black Lightning decides on some biblical payback, though not intending for his bolt of lightning to kill the overweight, middle age businessman.

Turns out, Deathstroke also has a lot of free time on his hands, and stalks superheroes on his days off, looking for any opportunity to mess with people. So, Slade shoots the CEO at the same time as Black Lightning's lightning, killing the man and making BL think he's responsible. Mind you, Deathstroke is out in a "non-combat, non-engagement" situation, but carries the world's largest sniper rifle around with him, loading with dissolving untraceable-toxin darts, perfect for framing people out for light revenge. BL feels so bad about it, he gets Checkmate to incarcerate him under a assumed identity so he won't get targeted for his hero status.

Anyway, Jason Todd (yes, I know I choose to read Outsiders every month, but you don't think about how off something is until after you get a chance to think about it) tells the Outsiders BL is innocent, so Thunder, Black Lightning's daughter, decides it's time to break her father out. The other Outsiders are reluctant, except for Grace, Thunder's future girlfriend, who goes into this nice speech about all of Black Lightning's heroism and master educational skills.

"Jefferson Pierce has been at this longer than any of us" really stands out as ass-kissing crap when this guy is standing there next to this guy while Grace is tirade-ing. Both of whom having been fighting crime longer than Grace, Metamorpho, Thunder, and Black Lightning combined.

I like Havok, but I wouldn't have Cannonball saying, "Gosh, Alex's the best dang-burned X-Man to walk this 'ere Earth." It's just too much of Winick's own affection of the character put into the story.

Bad Winick. Rein it in, man.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


I was disappointed with Donner & Johns' first two issues of Action Comics. While well drawn and well written, the story was done before. In Superman II and Superman Returns basically. I didn't enjoy seeing Jimmy Olsen devolved into a glorified gopher after about a decade or more of him coming into his own. And revealing that the kid was the son of Zod and Ursa, while surprising, wasn't enough of a cliffhanger or plot twist to make me think this story was going to be anything special.

But then Action Comics #846 came out and turn the old story up to 11. Getting past the short sightedness of Jor-El not setting the alarm in the Fortress to only Kal-El's DNA, the attack of the three Kryptonians is epic in scene and Zod's plan was for me, unexpected in it's entirety. I give Johns and Donner much credit for making me excited for #847.

For some reason, after reading Neil Gaiman's Eternals, I want to go to all my friends and give them a hug.

Justice is just getting better and better, and Krueger and Ross really know how to bring out the strengths of second tier heroes. The reveals are jaw-droppingly cool and, yes, it features my favorite Supergirl costume. Yay, baggy sleeves and hot pants!

I just came to a sad realization today. I read on Wizard Entertainment that the 'future' of the Marvel Universe is to have a militarized superhero community and thought, "You know who has a militarized superhero community? The Ultimate Universe." And I think I've said before the Ultimate Universe, while having a few interesting storylines, depresses the hell out of me. While on the one hand having superheroes not concentrated in one city makes for diverse and fresh stories, having the slightly fascist undertone to every registered hero story will, well, depress the hell out of me. How can I read a book that spends every storyline hunting and maiming/killing superheroes? Bye-bye, Thunderbolts.

Anyway, I think I'll concentrate on what I like about comics, like Batman and the various un-Millar-tainted X-books. And of course, Supergirl's hot pants.

Monday, March 5, 2007

It's Monday...

Holy crap, did Starbuck blow up?

Anyway, time for...

Continued from previous post...
Once inside, M promptly smacked Nova across the face, only slightly holding back. “I’ll thank you never to call me ‘Gorgeous’ again.” Nova flexed his jaw and smiled. “Sorry, precious, heat of the moment. But, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we stuck here?”
Rictor went back to the main console and pulled up a directory listing most of the major active super teams and some solo heroes with an available contact method. “I’m calling for backup.”
Nova and M joined him. “Jesus, is there no one not in New York? Oh right, we got Shooting Star and Texas Twister to count on. Tell me, how long does it take to get to Cali from Texas on horseback?”
“Quit whining, blue-suit-star-burst-man. If all else fails, we can just leave. There’s an old X-Jet on the top floor we can use to escape.” From all along the sides of the tower, loud bangs and thuds could be heard from outside. The A.I.M. troopers were not going to let this one go. “Why are they after you?” M finally asked.
“Not the time. We try to fly out of here, they will shoot us to pieces. Those guns have an adjustable setting and by the time I got here, they were really starting to sting. We need a plan B.”
“Your New Warrior buddies?”
“I was on a camping trip. They’re still back east.”
Rictor, running through the many directories in the computer system, finally came upon something useful. “Got something. Maybe.”

X-Corp LA:Detention

“Well, Storm’s team picked him up when he helped some extremists trying to firebomb a clinic in San Francisco rumored to be tagging mutant patients for ‘quiet removals’ by the government. Good news, took most of the team to bring him down.”
“So the troopers may not pose that much of a problem for him, but then again we probably won’t either.”
“Nevertheless, Storm dropped him off and wanted us to call 5-0 to pick him up. We were just starting to dismantle and, well, didn’t. No one but Storm and her team knows he’s here and we get to ask for his help.”
The trio reached a cell in the rear of the detention area, the only one with its power dampener active. Inside, hands still shackled and chained to the ground, the prisoner looked up and grimaced. “Flatscan loving traitors! I should bash your skulls in! A cage can’t hold me. Nothing can hold me!”
Under his breath Nova exclaimed, “This is going to go over well.”
“What’s going to go over well?”
M and Nova looked to Rictor, who merely shrugged. “What? Heightened senses aren’t something you can really turn off and on. The dampener keeps him from shooting through the walls, freezing them brittle, or simply unlocking the door. Or whatever we can do. We have a proposition for you, Cal.”
“Mimic! My name is Mimic!” He jumped up from the prison bench, trying hard to pull the chains out of their sockets. The screech of the straining metal brought Nova into a fighting stance, but Rictor stayed still trusting the cell to keep him imprisoned. M walked back to the wall and leaned, becoming quickly bored with the ‘negotiation’.
“Calvin Rankin, the only human to not only join the X-Men but be named deputy leader. Your powers were all over the place but your incident with the Hulk and then it only got worse. By the end, you were running with the Brotherhood, after Onslaught but a handle on your power.”
“I lived my life, Cheech, I don’t need the replay.”
Eyes narrowed, Rictor continued. “I’ll cut to it, you want to change things. You fight for mutants but you’re not one of them. It’s taken you to a bad place, but someone who stands up for others can’t be inherently evil. And we need you, Mimic.”
“I hear them, outside. They’ll break through these walls in no time. And you want me to hold them back. Why should I let them kill you and escape?”
“You cleared out that clinic before letting the Brotherhood plant the bombs.”
“There were innocent mutants in there!”
“But you let the ‘flatscans’ out, too, Cal. You want change, terrorism is not the answer. It never is. Help us. Join us.”
“And I’ll give you half a million,” M added right after the intrusion alarms began blaring.
“How can I say no?”
The troopers swarmed into the atrium of the tower, spreading out to look for any rooms or exits. As some began to dismount their sleds, and secure the area, the main elevator in the center of the far wall dinged as the doors opened. Almost as one, the troopers trained their blasters at the doors.
Before the doors opened completely, a red beam of massive force exploded outwards, cutting a swath through the A.I.M. intruders. Expecting resistance, the A.I.M. began to return fire only to have many of their shots smacking against dense shields of ice that sprang up quickly to protect the elevator.
Mimic flew out of the elevator, drawing fire as he started his assault. Not one trooper noticed that some of their missed shots ricocheted harmlessly without touching the elevator doors. Mimic telekinetically lodged as much large debris as he could into the hole while raining down optic blasts indiscriminately. He dove straight into the thickest concentration of A.I.M., punching in helmets and kicking in crouches. "Flatscan scum, EAT IT!"

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Change is....

Being a comic book fan in the nation's capitol, you have to get used to some things. Mainly that your favorite store may not be there the following week. Such is the case with mine, except(bright side!) it's only moving.

Still, the store in Georgetown was my destination every Wednesday (sometimes Thursday, damn holidays) and I will miss it. And I guess U St.'s not that bad. I'll see Saturday. Well goodbye, Georgetown store. It won't be the same without you.

Well, that's done, time for rantin'.

Everybody is so hot for Guggenheim to come and clean up The Flash:The Fastest Man Alive, but I have read issue 9 and I am not impressed. Unfunny banter and outdated costumes aside, this story was kind of lame. Yes, Bart is no longer the mopey whiner who didn't want to be Flash unless he could rescue the girl he had a crush on, but now he's in a relationship with problems that seem to spring from nowhere. And I don't know about the rest of you, but when I see Arsenal, I don't think he's "a giant working astride the Earth." You would think a guy who single-handedly held back a psycho Superboy stronger than SuperMAN wouldn't have such an inferiority complex. And Bart, if Steppenwolf is out of your league, so is the Justice League.