Monday, November 24, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

I found out today that Twilight has the record for the biggest weekend opening for a movie directed by a woman. No offense to Twilight fans, but I cannot abide that. Next week, Punisher War Zone comes out and I think that would be a more worthy holder of the record.

Simply put, I want the movie with the biggest weekend opening for a female director to be an ultraviolent spectacle. With your help, I believe this goal can be accomplished.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Did they just swipe a scene from the Watchmen trailer?

Judd Winick's Playbook

1. Take a character or characters.

2. They introduce(or reintroduce) themselves in various ways(some kind of sex joke throw in.)

3. Surprise! Someone dies!
Surprise! Someone appears!

4. The main character(s) reacts, maybe a fight ensues.

5. Surprise! Something weird happens!

6. Main character(s) react to this new occurrence or arrival, fit it with the earlier Surprise!(Repeat lines 5 & 6 at least twice)

7. Surprise! A half reveal or yet another surprise guest! By this time most readers are getting bored so it has to be SHOCKING(more than likely CONFUSING).

8. Main character(s) ramp up the violence and are SURPRISEd when the true menace is revealed. The heroes triumph but... 

9. SURPRISE! Something is not quite right with one of the characters and the new storyline has begun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comic Stereotypes

No, I'm not going to talk about my dissatisfaction with Native American superheroes or why Black Racer's suit is blue & grey. No, today I want to get something off my mind that's been bugging me for awhile, especially after reading Teen Titans for the past two years.

There are story elements to every character that I realize will always pop up. Sherlock needs his blow, Spidey has it tough, Batman is a bit of a control freak. It's to be expected in a continuing series that certain elements remain consistent. How many times has a friend of yours hooked up with someone who they break up with three months later? How many times have you had to remind your drunk friend he can't hold his booze? Recurrence is natural.

There are however some story elements that writers continue on with characters that have nothing to do with the characters' personalities, just with people's stereotypical view of the characters. Like with Teen Titans, The Judas Contract was a great story about the Titans being infiltrated by Terra, who posed as an ally, but was really working for Deathstroke. Great read, check it out when you can(the cartoon has a bastardized version I don't recommend to anyone who wants to keep their high opinion of teenagers). While this could have easier been a onetime or just one of three cases type of thing, we have now been thrown two storylines in two years about a Titan Traitor. Like we, the readers, were waiting for it to happen. It's a lame kind of storytelling were an outstanding story element of a popular storyline has become ingrained into the title by dent of writers trying to recapture the feel of the popular story.

Think of how people view the X-Men and the emo tone of the last three X-Men crossovers. The X-Men didn't start out with depressing storylines and to be truthful, the characters had their share of fun inbetween the drama that people remember most from the Claremont/Byrne years. Now, though, it seems an X-Men story has to be overly emotional week after week, like that was always the case with X-Men stories. There were freaking X-Babies and bar fights in X-Men before the 90's screwed them up. 

Just take a look at any random Spider-Man book from the 90's and you can see that hard luck Spidey's life was turned into a miserable existence where pretty much everyone he loved was killed and he could barely make it out the front door before something bad happened. Yes, the classic Spider-Man stories had him broke or missing a date with Gwen, but that's yards and miles different from being told you're a clone, having you're child being stillborn, your wife leaving you and then having your wife being blown up on a commercial airliner.

I like it when old stories are relevant to a current storyline, and I like when characters have certain quirks and things like that pop time and again. What I don't need is yet another Rogue loses control of her powers or Raven scared of her Trigon heritage story. It's lame because not only was it done before, the story goes in the same way with only a few differences to mark one story from the other. We need progression, something that stays true to the characters. Think of the Justice Society of America, who were a team of superheroes like any other but now are mentors for emerging superheroes. It marks a reasonable change and opens up for new stories.

Had to vent a little. WizKids was shut down, now HeroClix may be no more. Sucks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brand New Day

No, John Cassaday is not drawing Amazing Spider-Man, but that picture is badass. Anyway, I more wanted to talk about the brand spanking new Cap, Bucky.

Since returning as a brainwashed amnesiac assassin controlled by a Russian bent on destroying America, young master Buchanan is now an independent superhero with a hot Russian assassin as his girlfriend. Quite the turnaround seeing as most Marvel heroes' lives get worse from becoming a superhero, or just in general(see Daredevil, Spider-Man, 90's X-Men, hell, even Gravity died once). And it's not just Bucky's resurgence that's been ubercool, but Captain America's villains have stepped their game up during Brubaker's. Now, Batroc can get indignant about his customer having doubts about Batroc's abilities when 9 times out of 10, Batroc would get his ass handed to him(the tenth time he'd be able to run away first). Even Faustus came back with the most impressive beard in human history. It's just an awesome time to be reinvented.

Just something I thought I'd share. Go pick up Brubaker's Captain America run or "borrow" it from a friend for keepsies. I'm not advocating stealing from friends, but they'll forgive you, so it's a victimless crime. Just saying.

And that picture had absolutely nothing to do with what I wanted to talk about. I'm just realizing that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So People Read This Thing

I feel compelled to post, as I have found out this blog has a legitimate follower. So here goes...
First off, I have no clue as to where Batman:R.I.P. is headed. Does that bother me? Not in the least, other than the fact that I really like the idea of being able to guess where Grant Morrison is taking a story without doing shrooms. So far, the only problem I have with the story is Tony Daniel's art which I find bland.

The story is so out there, I love it. Batman has a backup personality in case of emergency. That's genius. And a criminal mastermind who loads up the hero with heroin and throws him into the street? Red Arrow would be afraid of him. The last bit of dialogue from #5 isn't quite firing any synapses in my mind, but I can't wait to see how it ends.
There's a reason I don't read Young X-Men, X-Force or X-Men Legacy, yet do read Uncanny X-Men and Astonishing X-Men. It's because the former titles are too damned emo. Even X-Force, which has more stabbings than New Jersey, is filled to the brim with forced drama. Those three titles represent the stereotypical X-Men stories filled with characters either filled with grief, rage or self-hate.

Uncanny X-Men and Astonishing X-Men, on the other hand, are more great titles with the X-Men shown not as the dour protectors of a dying breed, but as, well, the exciting protectors of a dying breed. It may not seem like much, but to have Cyclops and Emma Frost flirting with each other while chasing down Empath on a motorcycle is just what the X-Men needed to break a cycle of mood-killing stories.

I don't know what Amadeus' problem is. There's no better wingman than Hercules.

Jeph Loeb was fired from Heroes. Having read both Hulk and Ultimates 3, I can only see this as a good sign.

Here's where I usually promise to post more often, and then don't. So I won't. Instead, I leave you with my favorite scene from Secret Invasion. It's one of the most poignant things Brian Bendis has ever written.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I should have made this post three months ago, but now is as good a time as any. Two years back, having acquired the complete collection of Who's Who, I made a few posts including one about who I would like to see make a reappearance. Thanks to Gail Simone, one of those wishes came true.

Stalker, in all his evil Peter Pan glory, made a return in Wonder Woman during the Ends Of The Earth storyline.  Even though he was the main villain in the JSA All-Stars mini-series, he showed up in golden armor. Menacing, sure, but it takes a special kind of man to be a badass in this leafy number. So, thank you, Gail.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's All Been Done Before(Or At The Same Time)

Remember how Deep Impact and Armageddon came out around the same time? It was weird.

Even weirder, there are four series this year about Golden Age(World War II era) superheroes finding themselves in the present. Even if the same guy is on two of the books(not Dynamic Man, though he, too, is in two of the series), it is still kind of overkill to have four books sharing the same premise. The only saving grace is that all four are actually interesting and worthy of being rated on a rarely updated blog. So here we go:

4. There has to be one in last place, but don't let that mislead you. I have rededicated myself to cutting the chaff out of my pull list so I no longer keep with a series to the end even if it reaches Countdown level of crap.

Avengers/Invaders is at the bottom because it has yet to wow me, even though it has such potential with a timeslipped Captain America in a world after Cap was assassinated. Everyone comments on Cap's "return", but no one has yet confronted Cap with the revelation that he is now deceased and the circumstances behind it. A fight between Namors aside, the only other thing I truly loved about the series is commando Bucky hiding explosives in his leg. Hardcore.

3. Project Superpowers is a great story about superhero The Fighting Yank getting duped into trapping his comrades in a mystical urn to prevent the spread of evil, only to (surprise!) leave the US unprotected against the former hero D(ynamic)-Man and his Dynamic Family subverting the government and pretty much turning things to shit. He finally releases his former colleagues when he's in his nineties and they are all slightly annoyed about being trapped for sixty years and missing out on the lives of their love ones.

Not only does this series bring back the awesomely costumed Black Terror, but the superheroes are not awakening to the modern 'real' world, but one where the bodies of dead soldiers are used as zombie troopers and the Dynamic Family have become the ruling class of the United States. It's more action-oriented and seems to be the setup for future books, because they have a lot of work ahead of them.

2. I was surprised at how much I liked Number of the Beast. Having read Wildstorm Armageddon and Dark Revelations, I was prepared for another setup miniseries but the story of the Golden Age Wildstorm heroes who went missing after the bombing of Hiroshima is not only messed up, but also well-paced and intriguing.

The return of The High is what hooked me into this series, but just the personality and background details put into these characters who pretty much debuted in this series is amazing. It is still a setup series, but a well written one, and if more crossover tie-ins were as good as NOTB, we probably wouldn't complain about them as much. Just a wee less.

1. J. Michael Stracynski's The Twelve is the top dog of reawakened WWII heroes stories because (1) it's just a better story and (2) it's the B-league of heroes, the guys people outside their city of operations wouldn't recognize. While Captain America and the Invaders were storming Nazi headquarters, these guys raided some Count's laboratory and were put into suspended animation for their troubles. Upon waking up, they're recruited by the military to promote government-sponsored heroes and have to deal with the lives they slept through.

The best thing, to me, about the series is the way Stracynski incorporates the original Golden Age stories of these characters, especially when some of them don't make a lick of sense, and drama pulled from life in the 40's. Again, it's the complexity of the characters that makes this such a good series. Add to that a murder mystery and another Dynamic Man appearance(who must have been a real asshole in his original series) and you get the Best Golden Age Heroes Reawakening Series.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Honor Among Thieves

One of (if not)the best things about Geoff Johns' run of The Flash was his reinvention of Flash's Rogues Gallery. Led by Captain Cold, the Rogues had code and direction: get rich quick and don't piss off the heroes. While not the noblest of ideals, it set the Rogues apart from the rogues gallery of other heroes, who would as soon kill each other as work together. They fall into that criminal category of guys who just couldn't work in normal society, but aren't complete sociopaths.

I was dismayed that Johns' characterization lasted all of a month before it was thrown out the window, culminating in the Rogues killing Bart Allen for the lamest reason: they didn't want to go back to jail. As if no one will realize that Flash was killed by the Rogues after publicly fighting the Rogues two minutes earlier.

With Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, Geoff Johns is bringing the Rogues back to form. Hopefully it will stick this time.

I would love to read an Ed Brubaker Rogues story. LOVE.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Calling All DC Women!!!(says me with bullhorn)

Okay, so today, in celebration of my remembering that I have a blog, I am using the power signing up for a free webpage has given me to help out a friend in need. Every other Sunday(next one June 29th), at 1722 14th St. NW, between R and S Sts., there is a comic discussion group for women. The meetings are hosted by the ever-friendly Lauren, a comics fan and enthusiast.

So if you like comics, want to talk about your favorites, and have two x-chromosomes, make it down to 1722 14th St. NW, between R and S Sts., and have yourself a good time. Any questions, e-mail (The Bo, as we call him) and he will give you directions, meeting dates & times, his favorite chips, anything.

I'm helping!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gerber, Baby!

I just read the last issue of Countdown to Mystery today and I have to admit it made me smile. Like Tales of the Unexpected, I had no use for the Spectre story, but the Dr. Fate Steve Gerber tale had me impressed. Sadly, Gerber died and was unable to finish his story. In a very weird gesture, DC decided to have not one, two or three writers finish it, but four.

The ending I liked the most was by Adam Beechen. It not only set up further tales for the new Dr. Fate and his associates, but gave us the return of one Gerber's greatest creations. I refer to, of course,


Thank you, Gerber, for your wonderful whimsy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Not To Harp On McKeever, But...

Really? Superheroes don't forge documents?

So everyone in his precinct knows John Jones is actually J'Onn J'Onzz?

So DEO knew Diana Prince was Wonder Woman the whole time they were looking to apprehend her?

How did Supergirl manage to enroll herself in high school?

Doesn't Oracle hack into federal databases on an hourly basis?

C'mon, McKeever, you are better than this forced bit of drama.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Want A New Captain Marvel Book

You know what really bugged me? The Power of SHAZAM!

Yes, it was a great series that brought not only the Marvel Family back, but just a touch of the innocent fun back to the character. Yeah, Cap, Jr. kept running off, but even in his Golden Age years, he was meant to be just a bit separate from the Big Red Cheese. Anyway, it just bugged me that Captain Marvel, one of the greatest characters DC ever bought, couldn't have his name in the title. Impulse had his name emblazoned on a book and he didn't get really popular till the series started.

The title needs to be shared. Marvel hadn't used the title Captain Marvel since that one-shot in '89 starring Monica Rambeau. If only they could do some kind of Amalgam deal and release a $3.99 double feature series starring both characters in their respective universes, so no one loses out and both characters get equal face-time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Passion of The Warlock

Jim Starlin had a story to tell and it only took eighteen years to do it.

In 1973, in Iron Man #55, Jim Starlin debuted Thanos & Drax the Destroyer, two characters he thought up in psychology class. What started as a throwaway story blossomed into one of the longest running sagas in Marvel history. A lover of Death incarnate, Thanos was in search of power, enough to wipe out all life in the universe as a gift to his one true love. He would come into conflict with many of Marvel cosmic heroes including his father and brother, Mentor and Starfox; the guardian of the universe, Captain Mar-vell; Drax, who was created by Mentor with the body of Moondragon's father to kill Thanos; the Avengers, the Thing and even Spider-Man.

But it was the Jack Kirby created, Roy Thomas revamped Adam Warlock who would become Thanos' greatest threat. A genetically created "perfect man", Warlock spent so time defending Counter-Earth before journeying out to the stars in Starlin's "The Magus Saga" which ran through Strange Tales #178-181(1975) and in Warlock #9-15(1975-6). While Magus, an evil, future version of Adam Warlock, was the main villain of that storyline, Thanos gets involved to help Warlock defeat Magus, who Thanos believes is a bigger threat to his own plans.

With Magus defeated, Thanos sets his own plan into motion, assembling the Soul Gems to use their combined power to control the universe. He wrests the Gems from the Elders and is able to take the Soul Gem from Adam Warlock's corpse, a death he engineered to get rid of the Magus. Thanos is almost successful, until Spider-Man frees the spirit of Adam Warlock from the Soul Gem, who imprisons Thanos in stone, as told in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2(1977).

Not content with the story so far, Starlin 'resurrected' Thanos in Silver Surfer vol. 3 #34(1990) and sent him again in search of the Infinity Gems in Thanos Quest #1-2. He succeeds, places the Gems onto his left gauntlet and brings us to Infinity Gauntlet, the 1991 Marvel-wide crossover that gave us the definitive story of Thanos and his mad quest, which saw the resurrection of Adam Warlock and his friends, Gamorra and Pip the Troll, the death of half the universe, and the last stand of Captain America(makes more sense when you read it).

Say what you will about Jim Starlin and his work(and I have), but the man has passion and the drive to get a story in print.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Twenty Years

That's how long I've been reading comics, more or less.

No real reason for this post. I just thought of this and realized comics are pretty much the only thing I still like from when I was five. Comics, and girls.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McKeever Needs A New Playbook

Sean McKeever, you come onto Teen Titans after Geoff Johns' Titans East storyline, follow it up with Titans Tomorrow Today and now present us with the Terror Titans. Did it occur to you that all these evil Titans teams might become tedious after, say, the second group? How much reader interest do you think there is in the Clock King?

Please try a different tack? I'll ready to drop this series from my pull list, and I'm the guy waiting for a new Sentinel mini-series.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Maybe I'm Being Too Harsh

As Easter has come and gone, I had a chance to reflect. In this moment of introspection, I wondered if maybe I was a little too harsh about the work of Bruce Jones. I mean, I only read his Incredible Hulk and Nightwing runs and the OMAC mini series, so maybe there was a series out there that was actually good that I missed.

Was I wrong? Is there good material out there? Apparently, a story he wrote in '74 was made into one of those Masters of Horror films, so maybe it's just his superhero work that is dreck.

You tell me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Had A Weird Thought

In last week's Thunderbolts, there was a moment that caused me to think something I never thought I would. The moment was this:

Upon seeing this, I thought,"Man, it would be awesome if Speedball came back." Then, I thought, "I think it would be awesome if Speedball came back." It threw me because I was not a Speedball fan at anytime from his debut up to his near-death experience in Civil War and his full-emo experience in Civil War: Frontline. He was just a goofball character Steve Ditko made before bowing out.

It took lead-handed Paul Jenkins to make me care about Speedball. If I didn't so greatly hate every aspect of Penance, I wouldn't get excited for the return of Speedball. Well, Warren Ellis deserves the credit, since Jenkins would more than likely keep Robbie Baldwin as Penance forever, which would suck.

Oh, and read Thunderbolts. It's excellent.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To DC Comics,

You suck.

For, but not limited to, the reasons listed here, DC Comics has been found guilty of publishing utter shite and taking the company-wide crossover into over-bloated insanity.

  • For saddling Will Pfieffer and Dwayne McDuffie with lame tie-ins while they are a perfect fit for the books they're writing. No one cares about Salvation Run, we want Catwoman running the East End and a good Justice League story.
  • For giving Bruce Jones work.
  • For Countdown. Garbage.
  • For Infinity Man being the New God Killer. I'm sorry if that spoils it for you, but since they made it so damn easy to figure it out, you shouldn't be surprised. I mean, really, frickin' Infinity Man? Who didn't guess that and think, "It can't be Infinity Man. That's too easy." Fuck you, Stalin.
  • For replacing Greg Rucka with Bruce Jones on Checkmate.
  • For Trials of Shazam! and the fact that a twelve issue mini-series hasn't ended fifteen months later. And the hack job Winick did on Captain Marvel, Billy Batson & Freddie Freeman. Save your magic scripts for Juniper Lee and give us the superhero Captain Marvel is supposed to be.
  • For bringing back The War That Time Forgot and having it written by Bruce Jones.
  • For Gotham Underground being a prelude to Salvation Run but coming out at the same time.
  • For The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul. What's the point if Ra's gets drugged and locked in Arkham the very next month?
  • For A.J. Curry-Aquaman talking down to Superman & Batman. That was just crap.
  • For the Forerunner back-up in Countdown to Adventure. Ugh.
  • For the Eclipso back-up in Countdown to Mystery. What the hell is that, some filed away crap you just decided to throw on the back of Dr. Fate?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Geoff Johns:King of the Multitaskers

While picking up the many loose threads left by Brad Meltzer from the hideous Lightning Saga, Geoff Johns still has the time to give a shout out to Brian Azzarello.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Continuity Spisis, Spiderisis, However You Want To Smush Spider & Crisis

Three weeks into "Brand New Day" and the one thing most of the people I've talked to about the new SpiderQuo are still stuck on is how "One More Day" completely screwed up Marvel continuity. It is the number one thing I still think about, no matter how good a job Dan Slott and Steve McNiven have done so far. But this guy isn't just going to complain. He's going to do something about it.

By this guy, I mean me.

Here for Slott, Steve Wacker, Joe Quesada, and the rest of the people who still care about Your Friendly Neighborhood Web-slinger are ten continuity fixes thought of by yours truly that might help to explain how Mephisto's deal changed Spider-Man(& Marvel in general) history.

1. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were set to marry until Peter got cold feet when his best friend Harry Osborn divorced his wife Liz Allan. Peter and Mary Jane tried for awhile to make it work but Mary Jane was never able to forgive Peter's decision to stop the marriage.

2. Without Normie to bring up the issues he had with his father, Harry Osborn was never pushed over the edge into taking over as Green Goblin. Free of marriage commitments, Harry devoted himself to taking over his father's company and womanizing.

3. Spider-Man joins the New Avengers a year after serving a brief stint with the Avengers where he gained the trust and respect of Captain America. Not having a family to follow him to Avengers Mansion, he never reveals his secret identity to the New Avengers. Jigsaw does not break his arm during the Raft prison break because that would be impossible. And why the hell was Jigsaw in a supervillain prison, anyway?

4. During the press conference where Spider-Man was set to reveal his identity to the public, the building was attacked by the Sinister Six. Electro shorted out the electricity in the room, cutting the lights and newsfeed before Spidey's identity was revealed.

5. Before another press conference could be arranged, Spidey learned of the Prison 42 and the other crazy ideas Stark, Richards, and Pym came up with and decided to join the Anti-Registration side.

6. The Spider-Clone is still in that smokestack.

7. Staying with the Anti-Reg side, Spidey redons his black costume to for it's stealth, rather than other emo reasons. Since he's no longer with MJ, his donning of the suit that haunted MJ's dreams is no longer seen as insensitive.

8. Black Cat, joins the Pro-Registration side to get closer to Spidey, but stays because she feels it gains her a measure of respectability after her past criminal activities. Spidey, while disapproving of her choice, still sees Black Cat for a round of Keep-The-Masks-On, when the mood strikes.

9. Gwen Stacy never has pity sex with Norman Osborn. I don't know what that story was supposed to do or what, but it made me throw up in my mouth a little. She does have pity sex with Peter Parker.

10. Flash Thompson never goes to Vietnam, dates Felicia Hardy or falls into a coma after being set up for drunk driving by Green Goblin. In this new reality, Flash was a grade A douche until he had to take a cross country road trip with a nerdy, but beautiful art major who teaches him compassion and acceptance. And the Shocker.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Comics Not So Cool So Far

I wanted to post earlier but Saturday I was able to play something like eight hours of HeroClix in the Cave of Gyuss Baaltar, so I was pretty wiped for awhile. And then some of the books I read this week have really hurt my head.

Like this one. It was written by Bob Haney, for gods' sakes. Nevermind the Space Beatles vs. Primal Hippies, the Wonder Girl presented in this is one of the worst examples of sexism I have ever seen. It's kind of jarring, what with Donna falling for some warrior and wanting to marry him and fighting against the Titans for him.

In Punisher War Journal, I was kind of able to accept the new, inexplicably crazy Aloysius Kraven, even though he has a brother who was already following in the original Kraven's footsteps. But in the interlude with G.W. Bridge assembling a new Six Pack, Matt Fraction gives us a Silver Sable who's now a second rate Black Cat. Inexplicably! The series up to this point has been awesome, but it's these weird touches to jam characters into the storyarc that leave me bleh.

Hulk #1. Now, I'll pretty much enjoy anything drawn by Ed McGuinness. Bulky physiques and all, the man knows how to draw an action sequence. Now anything written by Jeph Loeb, that's a toss up, thrown a little too far to the left. Leonard Samson starting a fight with Russian superheroes because of jurisdiction issues and this splash page make me think Loeb has lost whatever it was that made his name memorable.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cool Stuff So Far

Peter Tomasi and Rags Morales are poised to bring Nightwing back in a big way. As a long time fan of Nightwing who was wondering why Tim Drake got his own series first, Nightwing was a welcome addition to my long boxes. Only problem was that after Chuck Dixon left, writer after writer failed to present Nightwing as he should be presented. They made him Batman-Lite, giving him so many problems and fits of depression that he wasn't recognizable as Dick Grayson, the circus acrobat who was the personality opposite of Batman. Batman was grim and serious, Grayson was happy and playful. Right from the start, we get that Dick Grayson back and after two years in New York, Tomasi has Grayson setting down real roots, not working as a male model. I think anyone who thought Didio was right should take a look at this book and eat their words.

This is the most honest idea ever presented in a DC comic. If someone you loved was dying, you would yell for the same person.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

If 2007 Had A Face, I'd Kick It In The Balls

Kind of late, I know, but I wanted to talk about what I enjoyed the most about 2007 before the year glazed over in my mind.

10. Green Arrow and Black Canary - From the start Judd Winick pretty much redeemed his less than stellar end runs of Outsiders and Green Arrow with just a few issues of this series. It's well-paced, hilarious, and made me really interested in this GA/BC Family. Throw in Cliff Chiang fresh from Doctor 13 & Bonesaw Batman and you have a winning series.

09. Best Miniseries of 2007: Wisdom (Yes, it started in 2006, but it was mainly 2007)
Let me make this clear, I didn't like Pete Wisdom at all before this miniseries was released. A mutant, cynical version of James Bond, he struck me as a really inane character and completely wrong as the guy Kitty Pryde would choose over Colossus. He sucked. But in this miniseries by Paul Cornell and Trevor Hairsine, Wisdom is now the head of MI-13, the supernatural division of British Intelligence. Now handling every extraordinary threat to the British Isles, Wisdom has his own crew of misfits, which include a fairy, Captain Midlands, and a Skrull who looks (and acts) like John Lennon. Their foes are weird, their methods trippy and their relationships are dysfunctional. It's a great story and it gives Pete Wisdom more real personality than he's ever had. Enough to make me want to read another series, if Cornell is handling it.

08. Best Character 180: Prince Ambrose, formerly known as Flycatcher in Fables
Ambrose was the janitor of the Mayor's office since Fables began, a sweet natured man who needed constant busy work in order to keep from turning back into a frog. But destiny would lead this simple man into becoming the greatest threat to the Emperor of the Fablelands ever. Guided by the spirit of Sir Lancelot, clad in golden armor, and wielding the great Excalibur, Ambrose would travel through the Witching Well gathering an army of spirits to claim a piece of the Homelands as his own.

07. Biggest Letdown: DC Comics
For all the good titles DC has brought out this year(Booster Gold, Jonah Hex, Black Adam), they also churned out some of the lamest crap of the year. Countdown, no matter how much fixing they're trying to do now, sucked 26 issues straight and its spin-offs pretty much sucked en masse. Amazons Attack!, every issue of Wonder Woman to come out not written by Gail Simone, and disappointing runs from Dwayne McDuffie on Justice League of America and Sean McKeever on Teen Titans pretty much round out what was just a poorly managed year for DC.

That being said, 2008 may just be Marvel's year to really screw up now that One More Day is over and completely freaked up the continuity of the last twenty years of Spider-Man history and the last four years of Marvel stories.

06. Most Surprising Good: Avengers:The Initiative
After Civil War, I had low expectations for the series that would directly handle the fallout of the Superhuman Registration. I regard Dan Slott as a talented writer, but then again, I regarded Mark Millar as one as well. But whereas Millar seemed to lack a real understanding of the characters he was tossing around, Slott displays a true grasp of the characters he's writing and can really play the characters off of each other. He also handles the pros and cons of Registration deftly, at once giving readers a look at how beneficial training is to young and new heroes, but also the drawbacks of involving politics in superheroics.

05. Best Metaphor goes to Jon Carey for Marvel is like a high school lunch room, with Avengers at the jock table and the X-Men in the drama club, getting mono from each other.

04. Best Character of 2007: MVP of Avengers:The Initiative
Despite being killed during a training session in the first issue of the series, the most interesting character to come out of Avengers:The Initiative is Michael van Patrick, the peak of human perfection(via diet and exercise) whose clones are known as the Scarlet Spiders. Despite mental commands, the Scarlet Spiders begin to act independently, as the corpse of MVP is seen smiling. Now, a new clone is shown menacing a battle ravaged Yellowjacket with an extraterrestrial gun arm. Slott is building his first storyarc around this character and its one interesting ride.

03. Best Batman Story of 2007: Batman #667-669 featuring The Club of Heroes
"Be assured. The Black Glove is a seal of absolute quality and ruthlessness."

Anything you could possibly love about Batman is thrown into this storyline of reunion and murder where the Club of Heroes, a group of crimefighters inspired by the Batman are systematically executed one by one on the night Batman returns after the Club was founded. Emotions are running high as these heroes come to terms with not achieving the level of notoriety as Batman, deal with old rivalries and try to avoid being killed by a killer who gives old school villainy a 21st century makeover. Brilliantly illustrated by J.H. Williams III, this three part storyline is Grant Morrison at his best, taking what was dismissed as Silver Age absurdity and making it one of the coolest stories of the year. Just a observation, trying to beat Batman at a mystery, not smart.

02. Best Crossover of the past ten years: The Sinestro Corps War
From the start Geoff Johns threw his whole cinematic storytelling expertise into this series, putting together an all-star team of black hats that made you slightly uncertain whether the white hats had enough chops to win this war. Sinestro, an army of yellow ring sadists, Cyborg Superman, an army of yellow energy Manhunters, Parallax inhabiting Torchbearer Kyle Rayner's body, the Anti-Monitor, and everyone's favorite psychotic teenager Superboy-Prime. It was daunting to say the least, and the story would not let up. Green Lanterns fell, littering space with rings searching for new bearers, and even the new lethal force law seemed to be of little consequence with the Sinestro Corps assault on the center of the multiverse taking the Guardians by surprise. And in the midst of this, you get just a bit of what fuels Superboy-Prime and realize he may be the most dangerous of them all.

The series was so well done, it needs it's own list. Top Ten of the Sinestro Corps War:
10. What killed Kyle Rayner's mother
09. What saved Guy Gardner
08. The new Ion and his homeworld
07. The City Without Fear
06. The Bizarro Lantern
05. Cyborg Superman gets what he wants, for awhile
04. Superboy-Prime vs. Every Superhero There Is
03. Handicap Match: Sinestro vs. Hal Jordan & Kyle Rayner
02. Sinestro wins
01. This was only the beginning

01. Best single issue of a series: Astonishing X-Men #23
No one throws a curve like Joss Whedon. After the previous issue's sacrifice, Cyclops is resurrected by Kruun of Breakworld and Kruun wants information. Withstanding immense torture, a powerless Cyclops shows that he is the rock of the X-Men because he will not break. Concerned about "Leviathan," the X-Men's backup plan, Kruun interrogates Cyclops harshly and only gets the truth after threatening to dice up Armor, currently imprisoned with Wolverine. There is no "Leviathan," and last issue's end conversation was just to throw off the listening enemy, while the X-Men put their real plan into place, which included Wolverine and Armor being captured. Sick of lies, Kruun strangles Cyclops and asks, "What other lies have you told!?!" The answer was the first, honest to God time I ever cheered for a comic book character.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More Theories

I think it's time once again to post my theories on the direction of Countdown to Final Crisis, with the emphasis more on Death of the New Gods.

As of Death of the New Gods #4, it has been shown that the killer of the New Gods was a primitive being who has been empowered by some unknown agent. This person didn't previously have power even approaching that of the New God Killer and seems to have been Anthro(maybe). The only idea I can come up with as to the identity of the benefactor of the Killer is that it's some kind of "anti-"Source or maybe a death god of Earth tradition like Neron or Satannus. I based this solely on the soul butterflies that the Killer pulls from the New Gods he kills. Souls manifesting as butterflies is found in many religions, including Egyptian and Gaelic.

However, Metron's dream and Mister Miracle's Anti-Life form, make me think it could be an aspect of an "Anti-Death Equation" or some other opposite of the Anti-Life Equation and in turn, an opposite of the Source. Since you have to pierce the Source Wall to learn the Anti-Life Equation, a Source opposite would have it's own Equation to be learned inside of it.

As far Jimmy's powers is concerned, Forager's recognition of the Source in Jimmy's eyes leads me to believe that Jimmy is being used as a conduit of the Source, as whoever created the New God Killer is blocking the Source from it's usual pathways. Jimmy's previous run-ins with the New Gods, as well as his unassuming presence, makes him the best non-New God agent to work through. The Source is maybe using him as an opposite of the New God Killer and may have Jimmy fight the Killer in the end.
More than likely these were the conclusions Stalin wanted the readers to come to, but it makes me less preoccupied with the mystery if I tell other people what I think so far.