Monday, January 29, 2007

A Question

Why does every Native American hero have to be, well, Native American-themed?

I guess what I'm getting at is why whenever someone wants to create a hero who is Native American, the hero will more than likely look like this this this this this or this ? I have nothing against frills and feathers, but why can't a Native American be hit with weird radiation or develop the mutant gene and become Radion or The Masked Marvel?
Why can't a Native American be a culturally neutral superhero?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just Sayin'

Big Mike (Mr. Pellegrino as he's known by the shopkeepers who kiss his ring as he strolls down Georgetown) seems to think that DC is less racist than Marvel. He claims that Marvel stresses stereotypes with characters like Luke Cage and the Falcon; the former being an ex-con (though I'm quick to point out, wrongly imprisoned) and the latter being a reformed street hustler, while DC, even though having a man in a blue and white suit who discharges yellow electricity calling himself 'Black Lightning', seeks to move around stereotypes.

But when the YELLOW-SKINNED, BIG TEETH aliens with big RED CIRCLES on their foreheads have their GIANT ROBOT emerging from MEGATOKYO,
I have to disagree.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Before anyone jumps down my throat, I do like Gail Simone's work. In fact, I've been following her work since she was writing Deadpool (later, Agent X). So, I'm not putting her down. Back the hell off.

What I have a problem with is her portrayal of Big Barda.

First off, cleavage spot? Really? Not even Michael Turner had the nerve to do that. And why is she so thin? Isn't Big Barda supposed to be, you know, big? I'm not talking about big like competitive female bodybuilders or Wonder Woman's pal, Etta Candy, but damn, Barda looks like she was living on bread and water when Barbara came a'cruitin'.

Some of the other issues I have are minor, I guess. Things that seem to have been overlooked, like the fact Barda can make her armor appear on her body, while in BoP #100, she seems to be changing in the helicopter. And in the next issue, she has to jump from the jet to the copter, when she has Aero Discs to fly.

I think what gets to me most is that it seems Simone has downplayed Barda to make her fit into this team of only human superheroes. She could have broke into that prison, grabbed the girl, and boom tubed out in minutes, if not seconds. It's as though Barda is now somewhere around Spider-Man's level of strength; enough to be impressive but not too much to make prison fights beneath her.

I like Big Barda, and am digging having her in Miracle-less situations. But please don't lessen the character to make her fit the story.

And anyone named Judomaster wouldn't kick so much. Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Damage: How to Destroy Teen Hero Conventions

Seeing as Damage is being reinvented in Justice Society of America, I thought I would take the time to show all of you how it all began. That, and when I was looking through the only longbox not in storage that was over a year old, Damage #1 was pretty much the only thing I could think of writing about. But it was good, so this will be one of those rare Positive Jon Hex Posts.
You should feel special.


Our story starts with a full page pinup of a rather buff Damage, hand energized and mean face engaged, with captions alluding to the fact that Grant Emerson's life somehow went off the rails.

Grant Emerson is a new kid at Nathan B. Forrest High School in Marietta, Georgia and takes us through all the teen movie basics: bully jealous of new kid's team position/female attention, blonde hot girl who may want to date, and the lowly nerd who befriends the new guy on the first day. The amazing thing is the setup only takes four pages to come to a head, with the bully confronting Grant in the parking lot before taking off in his extremely gay convertible Golf.

Of course, this is a superhero origin story so we get Grant's first demonstration of power, which, considering he absorbs kinetic energy and was barely touched, is quite impressive. Grant is surprised to say the least, and runs home to his parents to tell them what's what. But his tantrum at home only produces a hurt hand when he punches a wall. His parents are confused, seemingly, and Grant goes to his room to cool down. Meanwhile, his father gets on the phone to give a code and tell whomever's on the line that 'Subject Telemachus' has been activiated.

Which leads to gorilla Metallo busting up third period American History, which is pretty cool when it's not happening to you. While this seems to be the average 'rise to the occasion' super moment, most soon to be heroes aren't attacked by Superman villains calling you out by name. Snagging his target, Metallo beats Grant around like he forgot to arrange the bath towels and Grant finds out that he is (1) not dead and (2) developing "That Glow," which probably has nothing to do with The Last Dragon, but there are no coincidences.

Amazed to be trading blows with that guy from the front page on The Daily Planet, but realizing he needs to do something to bring Metallo down, Grant decides to focus everything he has into one punch. And, well, he takes out Metallo

And his school

And everyone sees him do it

No secret identity, no best friend in on the secret, no sneaking out to play superhero and yeah, he's pretty much a wanted man for destroying his school. What's worse is when he gets home and realizes everything is f#cked.
It was cool how quick the story turned over, from this cliched high school set up to everything being turned upside down. Grant gets everything pulled from under him (school, friends, family, home) and we get a truly original intro for a new hero. How it turned to shit from there, I don't know. I oly have a few issues of the series. But it started off with a bang.
And yes, that was a terrible pun.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Read this week's 52 and maybe I was a mite hasty. Not to get to into it, death wasn't the main theme for this week. Quite the opposite, actually.

But it in no way invalidates what I said before. Because there are still fifteen weeks left and anything can happen.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

By The Way...

I think the Accomplished Physician is going to save the Question. Hopefully.

52: Death Sentence

Is the point of 52 to build up fourth tier characters then killing them in spectacular fashion?

Booster Gold's death I understood. Didio hates Keith Giffen's Justice League. But Animal Man? Was that really necessary? And from the 'Free Kahndaq' graffiti, I'm guessing the Black Adam Family will come to a bad end.

I'm hoping I just have the wrong idea about the whole thing. But it seems to be the trend with DC and Marvel, especially for their special events. I'm trying hard not to get too attached to Jack Flag in Thunderbolts, because when you have Bullseye and Venom running someone down, it's going to end badly.

What gets me more is that I kind of liked Ralph from the Giffen's Justice League days and his new Leaving Opal City persona is growing on me. I don't want to read fifteen more weeks of heroes dying left and right just so we have a new Batwoman. And Supernova should have his own series, I don't care who he really is. it just seems that this 52 part maxi-series will be for nothing if all the most interesting people wind up dead.

I could read Hamlet for that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's Weird

So I was reading the Newsarama interview about the new New Warriors series and I was, what's the word?, shocked. Either I'm psychic or frighteningly unoriginal, but that is the exact direction I was suggesting for a new New Warriors title. If Lifeguard pops up in that book, I will demand at least a fill-in writer position at Marvel.

Anyway, I stayed longer than usual at Big Monkey last night (sometimes you just got to hang out at the store after buying your books), and, by the time I got home, I was done. Thus, no post. Also, with most of my collection in storage, I have no books to reference properly. Now that I think about it, this was really a bad time to do a New Warriors Week. But I don't back down.

So, I will ramble about some of my favorite New Warriors stories and hopefully Spencer Carnage can add any editorial details.

Remember Gideon, the 'X-Ternal' from X-Force with the green metal arm sleeves and the matching mile high ponytail? Most people don't, and if you do, you probably think he's lame. And in everything he was. But in New Warriors, he was a force to be reckoned with.

Looking into some treachery in his company, Night Thrasher tracks down Gideon in his Apen hideaway, looking to press him about shady deals. The Warriors converge on Gideon as he's soaking in his hot tub, buck naked. And man, Gideon justs starts handing them their asses. Gideon duplicates powers with the added bonus of having a sense of the capabilities of the powers he's duplicating. For example, whereas Speedball would have those kinetic spheres bouncing around haphazardly, Gideon has them spinning around like Saturn's rings and he focuses them around his fists to beat the piss out of Night Thrasher.

It was so cool, because Gideon was just this wannabe Lex Luthor in X-Force, making stupid ass plans and fighting robot drones, but in New Warriors, we got to see something.

Another favorite, maybe my favorite storyline, is when the Bengal attacked Silhouette after talking with her priest. Now, the Bengal was this assassin who rarely talked and used sai as weapons. He struck, saying only, "De da jungle breathe?" and was repelled by Night Thrasher who always kept a close eye on his woman.

Bengal strikes repeatedly, and Punisher shows up for good measure, forcing Night Thrasher into a corner. In a confrontation at the priest's church, Punisher reveals that Bengal is after Silhouette, he is. Bengal's after the priest. The priest was a soldier in Vietnam, the kind who was there for fun. After cutting a swath through villagers, his unit was evacuating when a Vietnamese kid jumped onto the skid of the helicopter. The soldier kicked the kid off, earning himself a dishonorable discharge and a prison conversion.

Punisher leaves off, confident that Sil is on the up and up, leaving Night Thrasher to face off with the Bengal one on one, forcing a confrontation between the priest and the Vietnamese boy who grew up to become the Bengal.

It was a compelling story for a book that could have been easily been for cheap thrills and brainless action. I hope this new writer understands that and learns from the mistakes of the last two New Warriors books.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hypothetically Speaking...

So, in the interest of expeditiing a new New Warriors series, I've decided to line up a a new team of my choosing, just to give Nicieza a hint as to what direction to go in. Like all good reboots, we need to not only look at the past, but plan for the future. To make the coolest team of the 90's into the coolest team of the 00's, we need some of the best characters in the Marvel U. Or at least, make them seem cool, i.e. Warpath.

Justice-Vance Astrovik
Having lost his former teammates to Nitro and his girlfriend to the Registration, Justice is out to prove he's no longer the wide-eyed Avenger wannabe he was before. He knows the New Warriors backlash is overblown, and wants to show the world how effective and competent the New Warriors were in the past and can be again.

Returning members:
Rage-Elvin Daryl Haliday
Having experienced the ultimate price of losing a secret identity, Elvin hates what the Registration is asking heroes to do. He decides to change his identity, mostly because having a young black man named 'Rage' in any time period other than the Civil Rights Movement is faintly racist. I am also against leather vests, tiger striped luchedor masks, and scary metal helmets on heroes.

Losing Night Thrasher, despite their turbulent relationship, took a toll and Sil joined to Anti-Reg side as a stance against the New Warriors backlash. Her connection has strengthened over the years to wear she can move somewhere around six or eight other people through the Darkforce Dimension, and her phase can stun a Thor clone for a few seconds.

New Members:
Lifeguard-Heather Cameron
Just to get this out of the way, I hate Claremont. That aside, I like this character he created. The power to adapt your body to come to the aid of others is the most ideal power a hero can have. I just want someone, besides Claremont, to bring her back, and with her age, this would be a good place.

Marvel Boy-Noh-Varr
He'd really be an accidental member, popping up so many times that eventually people would just believe he was part of the team. He would believe the New Warriors were like his army, making way for the new world order.

Shocker-Lancaster Schultz
Yes, I just made him up. The son of the criminal shocker, Lancaster 'inherits' the Shocker costume and gear after the elder Schultz decides the super-villain biz has been just too hard. Lancaster reworks the suit and joins up for Justice's cause. Why? If he doesn't, Justice wil release the video of Lancaster holding up a liquor store. There has to be blackmail.

Character I Would Throw In, Just 'Cause:
Kristoff Vernard aka Dr. Doom II
I'll admit right now, I'm a huge geek. And seeing characters from the past pop up in the present is not only something I like, but something Nicieza excels at. And with the distinction of being personally chosen by Doom himself to carry on the name, Kristoff could be the Brainiac 5 of the Marvel Universe.

Monday, January 8, 2007

New Warriors Week Continues...

Why doesn't Justice have an entry in The Marvel Encyclopedia?

You should see some of the schlubs they have in this thing. Who the hell is Fred Sloan? Anyone remember Payback, the Punisher wannabe with the lame leg? I do, but that's not saying much. I remember Slapstick. Blackout has one, and he died inbetween Marvel Handbooks #2 and #15. Where's the Justice(I ask ironically)?

Night Thrasher, Nova, Namorita, Firestar, Speedball, Silhouette and Turbo all have entries, as well as the collective New Warriors entry. So why was Justice, the third oldest character, neglected? It makes no sense. He should have at least two, under Justice and under Major Victory, the completely lame name his future counterpart took. Wasn't like he killed sixty kids. He is an Avenger reservist. Like Rage, who has an entry, though under SPECIAL POWERS/ABILITIES, they have "Exposure to alien radiation granted him the ability to fly and understand the language of birds." Thus proving all black men look alike, even Falcon and Rage.

Just something that was on my mind. Anyway, in tribute to Of Course, Yeah!, I will dedicate this week to The New Warriors, and how cool they used to be. Hopefully, like Lady Cop, the blogosphere will breathe new life into the coolest team of the 90's.

That will be real Justice.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Here's What I Don't Get

Why the New Warriors?

They came together while fighting Terrax the Tamer and we're expected to believe Speedfreak is out of their league. Because he fought the Hulk? Please! Terrax was given the power cosmic by freakin' Galactus and a guy with blades and a little speed somehow trumps Terrax? Granted, only half of that original New Warriors team was present, and Microbe is(was) not a substitute for any of them, but half of Terrax is like a Carnage or even an unmasked Juggernaut. A twelfth of Terrax would probably still kick Speedfreak's ass.
And Nitro? He explodes. And while I have problems with Guggenheim's storyline, he did get one thing right about Nitro in Wolverine; his explosions weren't powerful enough to do the kind of damage in Civil War #1. And Captain Marvel died of cancer. Just because Nitro had been in the vicinity of Marvel's radiation exposure does not give him any claim to taking Marvel down. That's like Joe Gunshop taking the claim of killing Punisher's victims. And the woman had swords. Seriously, the New Warriors were the wrong team for the story. They've been around for as long as Stark's been sober and Night Thrasher was the kind of guy to run drills ten times to get maneuvers and takedowns right. I don't know why they were following Speedball's lead.
Nicieza needs to start a New Warriors book. With Thunderbolts becoming Marvel's Suicide Squad, a 'new' New Warriors team could start up as Marvel's Outsiders counterpart. Justice could get all badass and recruit a team Night Thrasher style, throwing people off rooftops and blackmailing them to join the nation's most hated team. I'd read it.
And what's the deal with Namor refusing to help Cap? He seemed all gung ho about it in Black Panther, but now he takes offense by being asked by Sue Richards to join their side? He really expects the guy running the show to go see everyone personally to ask for their help? Stop being an ass, Namor. This is WAR!

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year, New Home

To celebrate the six month anniversary of my blogging career, I've decided to see how the other half lives on join the Blogspot. It's all new and exciting, and maybe now I can talk to Scip without that note of pity in his voice. Anything's possible.

Anyway, this is the first post of not only this blog, but of the new year and it should be special. By special, I mean it's time for THE GREATEST OF 2006 LIST. I do so love to list things and give my unasked for opinion. Though numbered, it's not really in a list of what I think was the best overall, except for the actual number one spot. And in typical year end list fashion, I shall be telling what I think is the best so-and-so was of the past year. Let's get to it...

10. Greatest Comeback: Marvel's Golden Age

This year saw the return of the Agents of Atlas, a team of superheroes not seen since the 50's(the actual 50's, not just comic book time), in a miniseries that surprised me not just by how well it's written, but in how fast it made me care about characters I've mostly never heard of. And Yellow Claw may be one of the best criminal masterminds in comic book history.

Thanks to Brubaker, Joey Chapman aka Union Jack made a comeback in '06, taking his place as the UK's number one superguy. Armed with only a pistol, a dagger and his wits, he outshines his super-powered compatriots by taking any chance and never backing down, no matter who he's standing up to.

And there is no character who owes more to Brubaker than Buchanan Barnes aka The Winter Soldier aka Agent of Nick Fury. The former sidekick cautionary tale has been remade into a badass not just in the present, but in his wartime persona as well. Bucky was a black ops pro who could kill a man twice his size with a kitchen fork. And seeing him interact with the new generation and getting in touch with an old colleague in Winter Kills was one of the greatest single issues of a comic this year.

9. Greatest Megaevent:

I don't care how far reaching are the effects of Infinite Crisis, Civil War or 52, the one thing all three have in common are inconsistency. Plot holes riddle both CW and IC, with IC and 52 sharing art inconsistencies. And let's not get into CW's characterization problems. I don't have that kind of time. But Keith Giffen has been telling the tale of Annihilus's reign of destruction across the cosmos and the meager forces standing in his way with almost no missteps I can see. Divito's art has that right tone for galactic spectacle and personal dialogue. I just can't wait to see how it ends.

8. Greatest Miniseries-DC:

It was only developed by Grant Morrison, but damn, if it ain't still one of the best series out today. It touches on all the principles of Civil War, but isn't held up by the need to include every hero from the DCU. More than anything, it's just about what it means to be a superhero and what it used to mean to be an American.

7. Greatest Miniseries-Marvel:

One thing Robert Kirkman can learn from Dwayne McDuffie is that just because isn't as popular as the main guys, doesn't make them a loser. McDuffie rounded up third and fourth tier heroes and villains, giving us this tale of teamwork, betrayal, heroism and sacrifice.

6. Greatest Redefining Character Moment:

5. Greatest Supporting Character: Captain Boomerang

The new version of Kara Zor-El Supergirl, well, sucked. She was a blank personality slate with the air of bitchiness. It wasn't until she befriended the one-time Rogue and scarf wearing Outsider Captain Boomerang that she became interesting. She had someone to talk to on the same level as her. Someone who's parent was less than inspiring but is still very much a part of who they are. And the fact that Boomer seems to be embarking into a longtime journey into those Kryptonite panties is just part of the coolness.

And in Robin #153, where it seemed as if we were going to have a throwdown between the sons of the fathers who killed each other, we get a old-fashioned superhero teamup with new-fashioned angst. I can't wait until Boomer and Robin meet again.

4. Greatest Superstar Team-DC: Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert

Ninja man-bats.

3. Greatest Superstar Team-Marvel: Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

For every twist and turn the plot takes, the art is always crisp and riveting. I don't care if it had to be bi-monthly forever, Whedon and Cassaday should be writing the X-Men for at least another five years. I just hope Cyclops keeps that jacket.

2. Greatest New Team:

The book is insane. The plot is insane. Their pursuer is insane. And the team is insane. The best part? The Captain's origin. Just insane.

1. Greatest Batman Moment:

The Justice League has been beaten down. Bad. To the point where Superman was begging for help. While the Legion of Doom is seen as humanity's saviors, the League barely manages to regroup and organize. But they have a prisoner, Captain Cold, and Batman thinks he can coerce the info the League needs out of Snart. You found out how far Batman is willing to go and why everyone is scared of him.

There it is, the first post from Blogspot's latest superstar. Time to go. I have two seasons of Veronica Mars to watch and no time to lose. Thanks to all those who make this worthwhile.