Friday, December 29, 2006

Great Moments with Susan Storm

So I was planning to post about America's culture of violence (or somesuch) in relation to Gail Simone's Gen 13, but it's going extremely slowly, so here we are with the cliched "Panel-in-Lieu-of-Content" drill.

This particular panel comes from Civil War #4. That was a while ago, wasn't it? Wow. Really did mean to post it earlier but hey, time flies... And Sue Storm moments like this never get old:

Previous Nifty Sue Moments (scroll down for them):
On 10 May, 2006
On 7 June, 2006
On 14 June, 2006
On 16 August, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jiminy Crispness!

This Christmas carol is a bit of a family tradition. A framed version of the song -- a set of newspaper clippings, in fact -- graces our dining room around this time of year. Though I don't know all the lyrics, it's hard to forget about poor "Nora freezin' on the trolley." These panels from The Pogo Papers don't capture the entire song, but I think they do capture its essence.

I keep forgetting how much I used to like Walt Kelly. Really should get reacquainted with the denizens of the Okefenokee Swamp. That would be a good New Years Resolution, but for now... Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On 20 December, 2006

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--

Quick Tally: 1 universe, 9 books, 3 themes.

1. Big Fellas in Flight.

So Ben Grimm goes to Paris, and hassles aside, he does get to carry his toothpaste. He arrives; hooks up with an eclectic group of Parisian heroes; embarks on an underground adventure (think the Gallic version of Mole Man); and picks up a new battle cry. "Il est temps de battre!" It's a bit of old school fun, a far cry from the drama across the pond. Ben's pleased with that, and I like it, too. I also like that the French people get some respect for once (They fight! And they win the fight! With a little help from an American, sure, but let's not overthink it.). I like that the Eiffel tower isn't in every panel, and that the accents aren't overdone. Yes, Ben's flight in Fantastic Four #541 is a positive one.

The same cannot, unfortunately, be said for Awesome Andy as of She-Hulk #14. Andy trudges through the story of his life. His origin, emancipation, and heartbreak are all presented here, in Andy's own voice. Star-crossed by Starfox and scorned by Mallory Book, the big gray android literally flies into the wild blue yonder, hoping to find himself there. Ohhh, Andy.

2. Women in Alternate Lives.

In Ms. Marvel #10, Carol discovers that the psychotic version of herself travels from universe to universe killing Rogues. And other Carols. Not the best of revelations, certainly. Of course, 616 Carol must stop Psycho Carol. Even with the help of 616 Beast and 616 Rogue, this is a tricky, given that evil Warbird is powerful crazy. Standard doppelganger fare, I suppose. It seems the problem with facing an evil twin is that sometimes you sort of recognize yourself. Not a good feeling. Through the course of her escapade, Carol discovers that she's not a bad superhero (like evil Warbird), but that maybe, just maybe, she's not as good a person as she thought. So now she has a different, perhaps heavier, load of insecurities to deal with. And that's probably a step in the right direction. She has the skills; she needs strength of character.

You know who isn't facing herself though? Wanda Maximoff. The not-so-late Clint Barton sets off to find his sometime killer in New Avengers #26. He wants closure, you see, and well, it doesn't seem like he'll get it. Wanda just isn't herself anymore. No need to upset her with a past she doesn't remember. She's living her own alternate life in the bliss of ignorance. And maybe that's better for everyone. Except maybe Clint, who doesn't know how to leave well enough alone. Not sure about the story, but the art is exceptionally pretty.

3. Beating Up on Iron Man.

I've rather had my fill of Tony Stark this week. The man's a twit. But he takes a lot of blows, physically and psychologically, and that helps. Here's a rundown:

-New Avengers: Illuminati #1 -- Tony (along with the rest of the team) is captured and tortured by Skrulls.

-Civil War: War Crimes #1 -- The Kingpin outsmarts Tony. Tony captures a lot of supervillains, which is certainly a good thing, but that doesn't change the fact that, well, Iron Man gets played for once.

-Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War #1 -- Iron Man and Cap meet at the Avengers Mansion (what's left of it) to talk. Naturally, they end up fighting, and Cap proves that he's better than Tony at hand-to-hand combat.

-Iron Man #14 -- Iron Man and Captain America meet at Yankee Stadium for a parley. They end up fighting, and Cap has backup. Tony takes hits from Captain America, Luke Cage and (I think) Ultra Girl. Later he gets smacked by Sue Storm.

No wonder Tony looks so haggard in Front Line...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On Blogging


Wow, I have really been slacking lately, haven't I? And by lately, I mean "for months." Maybe I should get back into this blogging thing. I have been reading comic books, after all. And they're fun to write about, but the usual weekly thing got, well, tedious. Not the good "in-the-zone" tedious that I tend to experience at work. More the "this isn't fun or useful for anybody" tedious.

I think I will try to get back into the weekly swing of things. But I need to shake things up a bit. I think I know how to do that now and, with luck, it will be fun or useful for somebody!

So I guess I should go read Wednesday's haul, or what I can read meaningfully before Medium comes on. Yeah, you just read over 100 words of metapost. Sorry about that.

Y'know, come to think of it, I do have some content. It's fanfiction. Marvel Civil War fanfiction. (Yeah, I know. At least it's something.) So go read "Calling Home"! I mean, if you feel like it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

12 Days of Halloween: Day 3

On the Third day of Halloween old comics gave to me:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

12 Days of Halloween: Day 2

On the Second day of Halloween old comics gave to me:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

12 Days of Halloween: Day 1

The Twelve Days of Christmas start on the day after Christmas (December 26th) and conclude on Epiphany (January 6th), at least according to Wikipedia. In keeping with that (though I'm fudging a little), I'm pretending that Halloween goes for twelve days, too, commencing on Halloween night (October 31), and culminating on the anniversary of Typhoid Mary's death (November 11th.) How is that for timing, right? Also, the term "old comics" is loosely defined here as "comics from a few months ago and beyond." Poetic license. So! On with Halloween!

On the First day of Halloween old comics gave to me:

A giant Swarm of Nazi killer bees.

(Cover scan from Grand Comics Database)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Heroes -- A Quick Look at Eden

So, like every other good little American comic book geek, I have been watching NBC's Heroes. And there's one character I truly hope to see more of in the weeks to come. Besides Hiro, I mean. (Does anybody not want to see more Hiro? Should Hiro eventually get his own spin-off series, all in Japanese, with subtitles? Okay, maybe that's pushing it.)

No, the character I'm intrigued by at the moment is an unknown quantity: Eden McCain. Eden may not have special powers, but she is the real connection between Mohinder and his father's knowledge. The book, the map, and the algorithm all need interpretation, and Eden could still be the key to that. Forget the cheerleader, let's figure out what did Chandra Suresh knew. It's not just knowledge, though. Through Eden, Mohinder could potentially come to know, on a more personal level, an estranged loved one.

Let's see. What else can Eden do? Well, she helps make Mohinder feel more at home in a foreign country. That's huge. She encourages him to keep searching for answers without losing his capacity for skepticism. She makes him comfort food... Okay, okay, so Eden is a catalyst who has had, as yet, little opportunity to kick butt or anything. We don't really know who she is, or what she does for a living. She's a mystery. And I'm more than okay with that because, right now, Eden McCain is a potential Sue to Mohinder's Reed. Maybe she is already. She could be the most powerful woman on Heroes.

Or she could be cannon fodder. Who knows? I'll try not to get too attached.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On 4 October, 2006

I bought a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination about five years ago, and it's been collecting dust on my bookshelf ever since. (Clearly, it hasn't helped.) Well, this blog is starting to collect dust, too, but it's a beautiful new month, and a good time for a fresh start. Stale reviews can come later...*

Reading music: KT Tunstall: Eye to the Telescope

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


The All-New Atom #4: Dr. Ryan Choi is growing. Not literally so much, because apparently abrupt size-changing is difficult for him even though mass, weight, and density changing are easy. But he's growing just the same as he continues to learn the art of superheroics. Much of that learning this issue occurs in the mouth and, later, stomach of a 30-foot naked woman. Anyway, Ryan escapes, makes with the banter, and sees his reflection in the mirror. Well, he sees his reflection, but I think he's also starting to see some of his predecessor in himself. And he starts to learn about the sacrifices a superhero has to make. He also kicks butt. Gotta love seeing an effective size-changer!

I really wanted to go all A.P. English on this one, but, well, the procrastination thing. Maybe next month...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes!


Amazing Spider-Girl #0: Adjectiveless Spider-Girl is a series I didn't follow, but here's a nifty scrapbook/diary that tells me the trades are something to add to the ol' Amazon wishlist. If it's any indication, anyway. Meanwhile, I won't be totally lost when I try the first issue of Amazing in a couple weeks. I shouldn't be lost anyway, with a #1, but references can still come in handy.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? The jury's out 'til the actual story starts.

Dr. Strange: The Oath #1: I don't know much about Dr. Strange, but Vaughan introduces him in a way that touches upon all aspects of Strange's name. Most of what I've read of the character seems to focus the "Strange" aspect, and of course there's still an emphasis on that in The Oath, but Stephen is also trained as a medical doctor. That's not lost here. As a wounded Dr. Strange watches the Night Nurse patch up his body, he watches her work with a critical eye and proves once again that doctors make the worst patients. (To be fair, he also praises her suturing skills.)

Of course, while he's lying on the table he's also floating above it in astral form. Both Dr. Strange and Wong relate how Dr. Strange came by his gunshot wound. Wong, the faithful assistant, has been hiding a medical illness from his master: An inoperable brain cancer. Of course, the good doctor finds out about this and isn't about to lose Wong to some terrestrial disease. Can't cure it scientifically? Well, if you're Dr. Strange, you try to cure it metaphysically, even if that means stealing magical elixer from an extra-dimensional demon. And if that elixer happens to be the cure for cancer, people will come after it. This series plays on a fantasy I can totally get behind, and it's well-written, too.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Fantastic Four #540: Sue leaves Reed. She also leaves Reed with an estimated $789,000 of damages as she slams the figurative door on the way out, and it's surprisingly hard to blame her. Better that she takes her wrath out on an innocent building than her (soon-to-be ex?) husband, right? Well, maybe. Reed continues to be a twit, telling himself to "focus on the numbers" and wondering whether if that isn't what he's always done.

I don't think it is. Isn't one of Reed's past strengths the ability to look at the big picture? To create a big picture out of disparate concepts, to link things? If so then, no, he hasn't always had numerical tunnel vision. I'm sorry. No. Sue's right, he's not the man she married. And she's probably right to leave at this point, but jeez. (Also, is she the woman he married? Leaving the kids like that? Sue, what is wrong with you?) It's still kind of sad. *sigh*

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes. *wistful sigh*

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1: This is a slow read with lots of little panels and lots of dialogue. I'd be okay with that, but it doesn't do much for the humor. I guess I just expected more of the bad heroism and less of the low-level SHIELD agent sitcom. I want to love Ant-Man, but this just isn't doing it.

Do I Know What I Just Read? For the most part.
Do I Care? Not really.

Marvel Team-Up #25: This is not a series I've been following, though I did pick up three key Titannus issues some months back, so I wasn't totally lost. In fact, this was a nifty conclusion to that story. Dr. Strange summons a whole bunch of heroes to tackle the problem of a mindless Titannus who is trashing Baltimore. Warbird is playing pool with Luke Cage when Strange's astral form appears. Captain America is playing solitaire. Spider-Man is out being nostalgic about his old costume. Wolverine is fighting with Deadpool. And She-Hulk is in bed with her husband. Dr. Strange doesn't even give her time to get dressed. (Jerk.)

So, anyway, they team up, (sort of) help defeat Titannus, and conclude the series. Also, there's a gag involving Speedball being an idiot in the future. Not the Stamford future, an alternate future. Guess I might pick this up in trades...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yeah

Week's most memorable moment: Dr. Strange and Night Nurse discuss fetishes in Dr. Strange: The Oath #1.

Tentative checklist for 11 October, 2006
(**Indicates a title I've preordered.)
**Civil War: Front Line #7
Gen 13 #1
Ultimate Power #1 -- Hmm... On the one hand, this involves the Ultimate Fantastic Four (Yay!), but on the other, it's pencilled by Greg Land (Nay!). Decisions, decisions...

*Later: A procrastinator's favorite word.

Friday, September 22, 2006

On Meeting the Artist

So, it's official. I am slacking off on this little blog. Four weeks worth of comics to "review," and next Wednesday feels like it's coming up fast. *sigh* I'll eventually get to it. No really. I will. Some day.

You know what's also official? That I am terribly awkward, that's what. See, my LCS had an Artist Showcase this past Wednesday. Three professionals were there, as well as some local students, and I'd heard of none of these people when the Showcase was first announced. But Guy Davis, at least, was the penciller and inker of Unstable Molecules, and I dig the Fantastic Four, so... I went ahead and bought the book (which I would have picked up eventually, anyway), with the intention of reading it and getting it signed. And I did, and that's nifty. And it was fun meeting a professional comic book artist for the first time. Guy Davis is very polite and easy-going, and well... nice. Awfully bland word, I know, but it works here. Nice. As far as I could tell, anyway, based on a few long minutes of trying to find a way to converse and utterly failing at it. It's awkward, you know, standing there looking at pictures (and Mr. Davis' drawings are fun to look at), and having nothing of substance to say. I'm sure it's kind of awkward for the artist, too, but I almost hope he's used to it; that would mean I'm not alone.

What do you say to a comic book artist when you meet them...?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

On 13 September, 2006 -- Part I

So this, from the Civil War Files, made me happy yesterday:

It must be official because, really, what's more official than a guidebook like this, even if it is written from Tony Stark's point of view? She-Hulk is strong as Hercules, strong as Sentry, stronger than Iron Man and stronger than Thing. Sure, it sounds silly, like a "this character can beat up that character" sort of thing, but you know? It's still kind of nifty.

Note: I am conveniently overlooking the fact that the whole ID card could be a mistake, inasmuch as it uses the word "equipment" rather than "powers," and the description of said powers is ambiguous. "Resistance to regeneration?" Ouch.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On 7 September, 2006

Reading music: Dusk Till Dawn: The Best of Capercaillie

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


The All-New Atom #3: The greatest philosophers have, as a general rule, been philosophers, haven't they? I suppose it's fitting that Dr. Ryan Choi, also (supposedly) a great scientist, finds himself in the age-old war between science and faith. In this particular conflict, Ryan finds himself on neither side. On the side of reason (sort of) are the strange creatures with perplexing grammar; and on the other is M'Nagalah, a vile sewer-dwelling Cancer God who has brainwashed many an Ivy Town resident. Naturally, Ryan is fighting both factions. (And he has an arch-nemesis lurking in the background, no less). While he trusts in empirical science ("I believe in reason. I believe in science," Ryan insists to M'Nagalah), he is certainly open-minded enough to accept certain unbelievable things, such as the fact that a monster can live in the sewer and convince otherwise intelligent people to worship it and dress oddly besides.

So Ryan is in the middle. He's on that bridge between science and religion. He is a philosopher, of sorts, or at least he could be. Now, if only he can save that town...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes


Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four #1: The Fantastick Four, strangely enough, doesn't appear much in this issue. Six pages involve Grimm (mostly in disguise), and the the very last page is devoted to Reed and Susan. John does not appear at all. Instead, Fantastick Four tells the story of the Most Frightful Four (here it's the Wizard, Sandman, Trapster and Medusa), their battle at sea, their discovery at the end of the world, and their eventual alliance with Count Otto Von Doom.

The language is archaic, but only just enough to give it the proper Shakespearean flavor, I think. I'm sure it's not perfect, but it's not painful to read, either, and that's what really matters here, isn't it? And, hey, it's a fun set-up issue, even if the Four are a bit lacking.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Kind of


Snake Woman #2: Jessica's reptilian side comes out in full force, with lots of hissing, eye-color-changing, strange cold flirting with Raj, and raw bacon eating. Needless to say, Jessica is confused and scared by the whole thing. The mysterious Brinkley describes her well:
Changed inside, from the serpent's glare
No longer small, nor kind, nor fair
But I'll protect my maiden, though she wishes me ill.
Now that the snake has made her first kill...
Jessica isn't the only one dealing with a dual identity. The major players here are all (I think) souls reincarnated who know a surprising amount about their past lives. Harker, the key villain (or one of them) embraces his, and knows how to awaken, what, ancestral memories(?), in others. And, of course, there is the enigma that is Brinkley. Maybe Jessica's human instincts just aren't that good. Jessica maybe be Brinkley's "maiden," but Brinkley is also 68 (whatever that means), and who is Snake Woman to him? This is one heck of a mystery, and it probably deserves a longer, more in depth analysis. There's quite a bit packed into this little comic...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Week's most memorable moment: This panel, from All-New Atom #3, should speak for itself.

Tentative checklist for 13 September, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)
Civil War Files #1
*Ms. Marvel #7
Wasteland #3

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On 2 August, 2006

Still catching up...

Reading music: Riverdance: Music from the Show

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


The All-New Atom #2: Well, okay, I kind of wish this issue had an essay question to answer, like the last one, but the Scientific Method theme makes up for it. It's as though, for Ryan, becoming The Atom is a grand experiment. At least, he wants it to be as he tests ants as a means of transportation and the parameters of the size-changing ability. He observes the powers, tests them, and sketches atomic fire rockets on napkins whilst eating "Chinese" food. The scientific method doesn't quite line up with the process Ryan is going through, I don't think, but maybe it's not really supposed to. After all, Ryan soon dons brightly-colored spandex and dashes off to learn the life-or-death science of superheroics. And that requires a different method altogether.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.


Doll and Creature #4: With macabre political commentary (sort of), and lots of 'splosions, the wonderfully morbidly amusing Doll & Creature concludes. I hope there will be a sequel.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Liberty Meadows #37: Comic strips don't get much more juvenile than this without losing the funny, do they?

Do I Know What I Just Read? Sure...
Do I Care? Kinda.


Fantastic Four #539 is, of course, a Civil War zone. This one focuses on Ben and his home street. Thinker and Puppet Master team up yet again to lay a complex trap for the opposing superhero strike teams. As the villains work to light a fuse on Yancy Street, they discuss their anger management issues and mutual hatred of the Fantastic Four. Stuff naturally goes sour, pushing Ben over the edge and out of the fight entirely.

Note: Sue, Johnny, and Reed are conspicuously absent here.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

On 23 August, 2006

Okay, this is just unusual. Not much of interest from Marvel this week. Go figure.

Reading music: Riverdance: Music from the Show

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


Blue Beetle #6: Blue Beetle and the Posse take the good fight to a metahuman compound that rings of the 198 prison camp over on Earth-616.

But there are two characters I feel like I ought to know. There's the burly tattooed fella on the red motorcycle, and there's the mysterious Dr. Strange type who keeps popping up out of thin air. Who are those guys?

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes. Mostly.
Do I Care? Yes.

Justice League of America #1: I have seen that first page floating around the blogosphere for what seems like months and, well... It's even weirder in print, and it is not comfortable. Maybe discomfort is what they were going for, but... Geez, it's weird.

Of all the stories here, Red Tornado was the most touching. Diana, Clark and Bruce voting on JLA members was entertaining, too. As for the rest, I have no clue. Eh.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Generally speaking, yes.
Do I Care? Not really, no.

Wonder Woman #2: I like that Diana is this woman confused about what her role in life ought to be. Very existential and very human, that. I like that, on top of the "Who am I?" stuff, she's managing the whole big sister/mentor role by watching over the two women replacing her as Wonder Woman, and she's maintaining a new job as a government agent.

I am going to posit that it is taking both Donna and Cassie to replace Diana as Wonder Woman, but that may be as shaky as Diana's secret identity, seeing as it's based primarily on this one comic. (I had no idea there even was a Wonder Girl.) Oh, and Kingdom Come. At any rate, in Kingdom Come, Diana is characterized as having two roles, right? That of a warrior, and that of a teacher/peacemaker... Something like that. (I can't believe I'm writing this. I shall probably be smote by the collective feminist comics blogosphere or something.) At any rate, in Wonder Woman, Donna (in the middle of a battle) calls herself a "kinder, gentler Wonder Woman." That's probably kind of tongue-in-cheek, but however it's meant, Donna still shows she has a sense of humor. Meanwhile, Cassie displays a quick temper and a less-than-forgiving nature. Are the attitudes of Donna and Cassie sort of representative of what Diana has to balance within herself?

Or not. It's a very fun, very pretty book though.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Kind of.

IDW Publishing

Supermarket #4 (of 4): The relationship between the two families (the Yakuza and the Swedes) is a bit confusing. A fake rivalry that disguises an alliance?

At any rate, whatever the deal is with the organized criminals, Supermarket #4 is an unexpected but strangely satisfying conclusion to Pella's story, complete with a great car chase and surprisingly little bloodshed.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes


Elephantmen #2: "Shock Crock!" A Howard Stern parody interviews Crocodileman Elijah Delaney. There is goofy banter, and there is the question as to how Elijah lost his tail. And whether he likes scantily-clad human women, of which there are two. That ends rather poorly. But what else do you expect from a Howard Stern parody?

"Behemoth and Leviathon." Okay, this is just odd. An epic battle between Hip Flask (I think) and a... That's not Elijah, is it? It would explain how he lost his tail, but honestly, that reptile looks more like something out of Jurassic Park. At any rate, it's narrated by Job. As in, the Book of Job, or parts of it. Weird contrast.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Pretty much, yeah.
Do I Care? Sort of.


Women of Marvel Poster Book: Okay, so I'm guessing there won't be any "Men of Marvel" poster books. There should be, in all fairness, but no. At least there's variety here, anyway, with all manner of reprinted images from various artists, most of whom are not named Greg.

In case you're curious, the following is a listing of all posters and artists, verbatim, from the inside front cover:
She-Hulk by Mike Mayhew
Spider-Woman by Andrea DiVito
Ms. Marvel by Frank Cho
X-23 & Psylocke by Randy Green
Black Cat with Wolverine by Joseph Michael Linsner
Rogue by Rodolfo Migliari
Invisible Woman by Steve McNiven
Wolfsbane by Josh Middleton
Misty Knight & Colleen Wing by Khary Evans
Arana by Mark Brooks
Emma Frost by Greg Horn
Jewel by Mark Bagley
Mary Jane with Spider-Man by Takeshi Miyazawa
The Women of Marvel by Greg Land
Black Cat by Terry Dodson
Dazzler by Michael Ryan
Dagger with Cloak by Josh Middleton
Mystique by Mike Mayhew
Power Princess by Gary Frank
She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters by John Buscema
Psylocke by Josh Middleton
Ms. Marvel (House of M) by Terry Dodson
The Women of Marvel by Mike Mayhew
Ultimate Invisible Girl, Marvel Girl & Vision by Brandon Peterson
Storm by Michael Turner
Blink & Nocturne by Adrian Alphona
Spider-Woman by Joe Sinnott
Black Widow by Greg Land
Spider-Girl by Ron Frenz
Sersi by Rick Berry
Shanna, the She-Devil by Frank Cho
Kitty Pryde by John Cassaday
Rogue by Chris Bachalo
Polaris with Havok by Billy Tan
Phoenix by Greg Land
The Women of Marvel by Bruce Timm
The book might be worth unstapling for Steve McNiven's Sue Storm, though I have no idea where I'd display it, if at all.

Week's most memorable moment: Pinata (a.k.a. Cinetico), a member of the Posse, describes her powers in Blue Beetle #6. (It's like something out of Nextwave...)

Tentative checklist for 30 August, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)
*All New Official Handbook Marvel Universe A To Z #8
*All Star Superman #5
CSI: Dying in the Gutters #1
Civil War Young Avengers & Runaways #2 (Of 4)
Mythos: Hulk
*She-Hulk 2 #11
Snakes On A Plane #1 (Of 2)
*Ultimate Fantastic Four #33


On 19 & 26 July, 2006 -- Part II: Everywhere Else

Catching up. Part I is here

Reading music: Kitty Donohoe, This Road Tonight; Leahy, Lakefield

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


Blue Beetle #5: Jaime Reyez makes a truly public debut as Blue Beetle. I think it's good publicity. He still doesn't have complete control over the Scarab, but he does manage to save a baby from a bizarre religious demon creature. We learn more about the Posse, and Jaime learns (at long last) he's the only one hearing the voice in his head. ("I'm not crazy. I just hear this voice in my head!") Inasmuch as the main storyline focuses on the Posse and La Dama, the two Brenda pages seem kind of thrown in. They're good bits, just oddly placed. Blue Beetle is consistantly good, and it's probably about time I added it to my standing pulls.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes


Elephantmen #1: "See the Elephant." I'm not a fan of any portrayal of George W. Bush as an utterer of wise words, but it's easy enough to put the inside cover page out of mine and focus on this little vignette of innocence lost. Or gained, or never had, or... something. The Elephantmen, creations of a mad scientist, are born and bred to be soldiers, and like many soldiers who have been to war, they have regrets and trouble integrating into society at large. That's the case with Ebony, at least. He has disturbing bloody flashbacks, and they are triggered by Savannah, a young girl in pink, the very picture of innocence. And maybe she's the key to unlocking some sort of innocence in him. It's a sweet story, actually.

"Just Another Guy Named Joe." A vignette from the perspective of a man who resents the Elephantmen and their place in society. This is a short one, very dark, and somewhat tricky to get a real handle on, at least here. Call it a small window into a big fictional world.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes


Black Panther #18: Iron Man and Cap are too royally cheesed off at each other to stick around for the ceremony. It's a shame they miss it, too, because ceremony consists of Ororo and T'Challa making dramatic entrances, then going to the spirit realm to face the judgement of the Panther god, who slobbers all over Ororo, finds her tasty, and says she's cool to join the club. After the ceremony, Spider-Man fights a drunken Man-Ape, and the newlyweds receive an invitation to Latveria from a surprisingly cordial Dr. Doom. So ends Marvel's wedding season. And divorce season? Just around the corner!

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Kind of?

She-Hulk 2 #9: So J. Jonah Jameson is insane. His son and his new daughter-in-law aren't exactly thinking at full capacity, either. (Why else would they elope? In Vegas? With an Elvis impersonator??? This is more entertaining than the T'Challa-Aurora and Jessica-Luke nuptuals, but it's also more disappointing. Maybe that's the point.) Mallory and Awesome Andy are under the same spell as the newlyweds. Naturally, that leaves Pug tearing his hair out, as he is perhaps the only major character who is compos mentis. And he knows it. Poor Pug...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes


Snakewoman #1: The, well, the hissing and such is justa wee bit corny, and Jin (Jessica's roommate) is a tad two-dimensional. In spite of that, though, Snakewoman endeavors to answer a question of trust. Consider the men. Raj, the new neighbor, seems nice enough, but Jessica is wary of him. Maybe her trust is "delicate," but this time she's probably right to trust her judgement. I takes a surprisingly short time for her to find him in bed with her boy-crazy roommate. Then there's the man in plaid, Brinkley, an eccentric regular at the bar where Jessica works. He seems to know Jessica's schedule, tips only her, and writes prophetic poetry for her. And he bothers some people. She trusts him though, knowing that he's harmless. It's the nice-looking gentleman with the golden bracelet who throws her. The Naga within her, maybe, makes her drop her guard. He turns homicidal, and so does she. Later, with blood on her hands, she is confused, frightened, and cold. Her judgement has failed the heck out of her. That's where this first issue leaves off, with a frightened woman not ready to come to grips with a dual nature.

Of course, green and purple seem to be her colors of choice. Go figure.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? I do want to see where this is going...

Week's most memorable moment: Mallory Book and Awesome Andy relax in She-Hulk 2 #9

Saturday, August 19, 2006

On 16 August, 2006

Okay, so I'm a month or so behind. But then, so is Marvel, and they are actually working with deadlines.

I have to live up to some linkage (Thanks, Kalinara), though, meaning it's time to get current and worry about catch-up later. It's usually the other way around, and that never works.

Ohh, I'm also having trouble settling on a new avatar. Sheep? Shulkie? Or should I go back to the porcupine? Or find a suitable Gert Yorkes image to crop and resize? Decisions, decisions...

Reading music: Leahy, Lakefield

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


Nextwave #7: Warren Ellis tackles Marvel Mysticism, conjuring a demon from the Dank Dimension who eagerly accepts payment in United States currency and Suicide Girls. Demonic forces are unleashed, and of course Nextwave has to deal with them, and of course the demons explode beautifully. (It wouldn't be Nextwave without explosions!)

Before the explosions, though, we see: Dirk Anger sinking deeper into his drug-addled depression; see Monica and Elsa speculating about Captain America's sexual orientation; and Aaron Stack literally hooking himself up to a keg.

Memorable dialogue:
Elsa: What's our E.T.A. to Shotcreek?
Monica: Couple of hours. I just wish the Marketing Plan was more specific about this one.
Elsa: Yeah. "Magic deal." What do you think?
Monica: Could mean anything. Tabby said there was a "Magik" in the X-Men.
Elsa: Didn't Tabby also say that Magik was dead?
Monica: Like that matters. X-Men come back more than Jesus.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Runaways #18 & 19: Oh, Mr. Vaughan. How could you? Why did it have to be her of all characters? *sigh*

Still, hers is a hero's death, and while the Children of the Pride are diminished in number and spirit, they haven't lost their sense of purpose. They've gained a member in Xavin, too, and not a moment too soon, because there's demonic trouble ahead, and Victor still has to take a crash course in Leapfrog piloting.

The Runaways try to deal with their teammate's death, of course. One confides in the Leapfrog; another in Xavin; a third in Victor. Xavin him/herself is also trying to deal with the probable death of two planets, something that doesn't help matters.

It's a lot of good stuff to take in. As usual.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #32: Yes. The light at the end of the dark tunnel is here: the conclusion of the (aptly named) "Frightful" arc and the end of the Millar-Land run. Maybe the new team will bring back some of the magic Ellis and Bendis put into this title.

'Cause in spite of the mystical Atlantean ritual Dr. Doom (in Reed's body) uses to draw the alien out of Johnny Storm's torso, this is decidedly non-magical.

Reed (in Victor's body) deals with the Zombie Four using maggots. (Brilliant!) And Victor eventually takes back his own body in order to play hero, capturing the world-eating alien within himself and leaping into the zombieverse. Boy! Zombies, explosions, and aliens, but... Nah. It's just a little too much. And it's over. Yes.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Eh.

Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2: Between this and Nextwave, it is Stuart Immonen week! Lovely! And energetic! And fun! (Let's review. Immonen: Fun. Land: Not so much. Or in the words of my AP English class not so way back when: "Beowulf good, Grendel bad.")

Anyway, Annual #2 goes back to the fun and the magic that got me started reading FF in the first place. It's the return of Dr. Molevic, the terribly disgusting Mole Man, plus an introduction to a few of the other Think Tank members. This little group of geniuses is led by none other than Strange Josie, slightly misandric inventor of the Stealth Corset.

Ultimate Mole Man, though. He has a thing for young scientific genius. Specifically, he has a thing for kidnapping them and dictating to them his life story. His hilarious bio recounts early scientific endeavors and devolving his baby sister into a lungfish.

And on. He has quite the bio. The story fluctuates between Mole Man's narrative, and monster-bashing a la Fantastic Four. The Think Tank crew, meanwhile, becomes another heroic team, riding to the rescue with Lemurian-style death weapons. There's even a moral. (Sort of.)

Thank you Mr. Carey and Mr. Immonen. You both rock.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Oni Press

Wasteland #2 focuses on a brewing religious conflict. The wandering protagonists struggle to live off the land, and through it all they worship "Mother Sun" and "Father Moon." (Talk about your symbolic role-reversals. I love it already.) At Abi's request, the village Sun-Singer recounts the legend of A-Ree-Yass-I, an apocalyptic Noah's Arc style tale featuring the aforementioned celestial gods. A flood, an almost empty sky, and a poisoned ocean (among other things) set the people on the path to redemption. That's what the Sunners believe.

But the Sunners are heathens in the eyes of Newbegin's ruling church. And the church is not to be trifled with. Even if the villagers can survive their trek through the desert, will they survive their destination?

It'll be worth finding out.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Week's most memorable moment: I am a sucker for badass Sue moments, like this one from Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2.

Tentative checklist for 23 August, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)

Blue Beetle #6
Elephantmen #2
Women Of Marvel Poster Book (???)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Exercise in Microfiction

Swift, a blue blaze on winged feet, leaps through and past the flashing sirens'
call. Cries for help come early to one with the sense of velocity.

Ancient gray stone and pillars arrive in an instant, and a gaping maw of a door. An instant more, and the speed sense guides Swift to a chamber of clocks, all stopped. And in the center of it looms a shade, the alarm tripper. Widdershins. Swift pauses to meet the gaze of stop watch eyes, but quickly averts it.

The shade's cloaked right hand rests upon its jeweled timepiece quarry. The left hand begins to gesture, and stop watch eyes stare at the figure in blue.

Swift, always impatient, leaps past Widdershins into a dusty grandfather clock. The loud clang interrupts the spell, and Widdershins spins sunwise to silence the echoes.

The sirens draw closer. Widdershins, unbalanced by the spin, struggles to concentrate on a new spell. Swift focuses on the enemy, rocking imperceptibly on heels and toes.

This time, Swift is more patient. Widdershins focuses on the clocks surrounding them now, and slowly with surprising stealth one second hand clicks backwards. Then another. Then another, and Swift senses a pause of time no noise can interrupt.

They are beyond noise.

They are not beyond movement, though, in a field of time out of time, and Swift moves. Widdershins, whole attention on jewel-encrusted prize, does not expect a collision at Swift speed.

Knocked back, Widdershins drops both clock and field. The uniforms storm and secure the exhibit, place silver bracelets on the ever-patient Widdershins. Stop watch eyes never leave the door.

Swift is gone as though Swift never was. Other sirens beckon, after all. But they will meet again. They always do.

Friday, July 28, 2006

On 19 & 26 July, 2006 -- Part I: Civil War territory

Young Avengers & Runaways #1Calvin Pitt and his anonymous commenter are right. Marvel's Pro-Reg faction is full of intellectual elite. Doctors, lawyers, scientists and what have you. I don't think that smacks of anti-intellectualism, however. Not quite. It's too clearly polarized, a better set-up for a parable than a diatribe.

I think these characters (those with Iron Man) are accustomed to living in their heads when they're not out beating people up. These are characters who, in their civilian lives, work through hypotheses and problems using pure logic and reason. Then they take their logical ideas (which tend to look great on paper), and test them in controlled settings, like laboratories and courtrooms. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't, and sometimes they actually blow up, but whatever happens, the intellectuals generally live through it and move on to the next logical thing.

Well, Iron Man's headstrong team is sticking with the logic behind the the SHRA. And in a way, they're right. The idea of a little government oversight of superhero activities isn't a bad thing. The intellectuals though, to their detriment, are hanging onto that, apparently forgetting that the the "experiment" is not being conducted in a controlled setting. There are too many people involved, too many variables. And the Act itself, spurred by a rabid Public and rushed through Congress, is fatally flawed.

See, the deeper we go into Civil War, the more frightening the regulatory end of the SHRA becomes. Look at Young Avengers & Runaways #1. "Public Sympathy Ratings" determine how hard the SHIELD enforcers hit "rogue" heroes. Aren't the officers saying, in essence, that "it's okay to beat mercilessly on someone as long as the Public doesn't care?" It's not about what's right or just; it's about what the authorities can get away with. Ugh.

And look at Cable & Deadpool #30. (No, it's not part of my regular pile, but the Great Lakes Champions sold me on this issue.) The CSA hires a mercenary with questionable morals to do the government's dirty work. They do this after Deadpool, without provocation, attacks (and is thoroughly whipped by) Squirrel Girl and friends.

That's the government, and hopefully Marvel's authorities will feel repercussions in due time.

The Marvel heroes are already feeling them. For them, it has become a polarized battle between the head and the heart. In Civil War: Front Line #4, "Embedded Part 4," Ben Urich warns Sally Floyd about her speculations, about "seeing things that aren't there." He is a proponent of the objective fact, while Sally, is playing hunches and generally going with her gut. Guess who represents which side.

In Amazing Spider-Man #534, Peter feels as though he has no choice but to battle Captain America, a warrior for whom he has nothing but respect. His sense of logic says he's doing the right thing, but his conscience is eating away at him. His Spider Sense ought to be tingling.

And Civil War #3? Iron Man's strike team, in its cold logic, sets a trap for Captain America's Secret Avengers. The bait? A fake emergency, used with the knowledge that Cap and his teammates will follow their hearts whatever the risk.

Iron Man sets the trap because he's using his head, not his heart. Captain America falls into the trap because he's using his heart, not his head. Use one without the other, and you are running an enormous risk, aren't you? That's a good warning, whatever your political beliefs. Moderation in all things. (And an inefficient legislature helps, too.)

Look back at the panel up top, now, the one from Young Avengers & Runaways #1. Wiccan is right. Nobody is acting normally (normal being a relative term). Whether they are polarized by a villain or just Mark Millar, the result is the same. Follow the characters alone, and Civil War is becomes less a political diatribe about security versus freedom and more an allegory about the mind versus the... well, the soul. And what's not to love about that?

Monday, July 24, 2006


Late afternoon yesterday, I borrowed my mom's digital camera in hopes that I might capture a bit of the fun that is the barnyard. It was a good day for it, too, warm and clear, and a variety of critters was enjoying the remaining daylight hours.

Julius, who is less than a month old, was putting the moves on ewe lambs three times his age and twice his size. He is nothing if not persistant.

As he pursued the unreceptive girls (who probably think he has the sheep equivalent of cooties or something), they inadvertantly chased Baron, the lonely turkey, around the yard. Baron's mate, Betty, was a native Vermonter with an independent streak. She promptly flew away when she got the chance. Not the sort of behavior you tend to expect in a domestic turkey but, again, Vermont bird. Needless to say, Baron's wings are clipped just in case. Which is why he's not as majestic as he'd like you to think.

Meanwhile, as Julius' mother, Ginnie...

...and his Aunt Matilda...

...looked on, kittens Lorna (the calico) and Pietro (the gray) came out to play.

Their sister Wanda (Yes, that's the comic book connection, right there.) hung back, as usual. She's a little shy.

The sheep played with the cats, too. Sheep and cats get along surprisingly well, though the kittens don't always appreciate the attention.

And Baron continued to wander around, because that's his main function, on the farm. Wandering around, eating bugs, and wishing he had a girlfriend. It's a mundane life, but at least he doesn't have to worry about Thanksgiving.

Gotta love the small farm drama, huh? And this is only the half of it. There are also dogs, horses, and chickens around. Well, not in the preceding scene, but in the vicinity. You know. I just happen to prefer cats, sheep, and turkeys.

So ends this pointless Critterblogging session.

Yes, this is procrastination. I haven't written anything about last week's comic books yet (and I still haven't read Manhunter). To be honest, I feel like I'm running out of ways to say what amount to the same things over and over again...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

On 12 July, 2006

How long have I been putting this off? Wow. I blame the heat.

Reading music: Dusk Till Dawn: The Best of Capercaillie

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--


DCU: Brave New World: Bought this for The All New Atom. Sure, that's kind of backwards, reading the comic before the preview, but it's not like The Atom is about linear chronology anyway. It was worth it to get some clue about those dogs (though now I'm wondering how Duster escaped his Secret Service guys).

Nothing else here really caught my fancy, but that's okay. Never really expected it to.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.


Beyond! #1: The presence of Gravity sold me on this one, I think. That and Scott Kolins, who is growing on me inasmuch as I can identify (and enjoy) his art without much effort. Fun story, too, though it can't decide whether it wants to be goofy superhero fun or dark cosmic angst. I might wait for the trade instead of buying the rest of the floppies. Yes, a trade would look nice, on the bookshelf right next to the first Secret Wars...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Civil War: Director's Cut: It's not like I really needed this, but seeing the script, some sketches, and the variant covers is kind of neat.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Civil War: Front Line #3: "Embedded" -- Sally interviews a group sof anti-registration vigilantes, and later witnesses a fight between two others, one pro- and one anti-reg. Meanwhile, Ben argues the validity of statistics with Reed Richards. He questions not the calculations but rather asks (in a nutshell) "Can't numbers lie?" Since Reed's rationale for the Superhuman Registration Act (I think I'll just start calling it SHRA) appears to be based largely on numerical projections, Ben's interview is solid.

"The Accused" -- Yes! Robbie Baldwin has retained Jennifer Walters as his defense attorney. Considering Jen has a relatively extensive history of defending people the public has deemed guilty (among them Morbius the Living Vampire, the Juggernaut and, of course, the Hulk) the case is a perfect fit. Anyway, Jen gets Robbie (who is having an extremely difficult time in prison) an offer he shouldn't refuse.

"Sleeper Cell" -- Whales don't run in schools. They run in pods. People need to learn their collective nouns. Silly fictional news crews, not doing their research. Anyway, yes, there is a disaster at a fish store, and there's something bizarre about the owner. (Is he Atlantean? What does this have to do with Civil War?) And it has something to do with a pod of beached whales.

Coda -- A poem by World War I soldier Wilfred Owen is set to art that parallels Army medics and firefighters battling on their respective fronts. This is the best coda so far -- understated and not particularly preachy -- but the Captain America imagery is out of place. This should be about the soldiers and the first responders, not the vigilantes. It doesn't matter that Cap is a soldier, too. He's in costume, not uniform, and that makes all the difference.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Ms. Marvel #5: Carol teams up with Dr. Strange to defeat Warren Traveler (whose name is all too appropriate.) She has no idea what she's doing, and I'm not entirely sure either (what with the alternate reality jumping and all), but maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. Big end to a big fight, and then set-up for Civil War.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes.
Do I Care? Yes.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #31: Mind-switching (classic!), evil Zombie Four and... er, yeah. I went back and read the first three trades of Ultimate FF some weeks ago, and, well, I don't think the series has the same charisma that it did. Sure, zombies and Doom and world-eating N-Zone aliens are all well and good (so to speak), but it seems like the plot has sacrificed substance for style. Hopefully that will change soon...

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Eh.

Oni Press

Wasteland #1: Can't resist a good post-holocaust story, or even a potentially good one. Wasteland has it all. A civilization struggling to survive, a mysterious wanderer, people with special abilities, deadly humans gone savage, and modified English with words like "Newbegin" and "wulves." Okay, so maybe it's a bit formulaic, but it's a most excellent formula that works here.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Week's most memorable moment: Ben Urich and Reed Richards experience an anti-gravity environment in Civil War: Front Line #3

Tentative checklist for 19 July, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)
*Civil War #3
Daily Bugle Civil War Newspaper
Manhunter #24
*Runaways #18
*She-Hulk 2 #9

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fun with Photoshop

We had to mess with filters for the most recent Photoshop class assignment. Pretty open-ended. And when in doubt, which I usually am, I just go with sheep. (If not sheep, llamas.) And this time? Mutant sheep, complete with a nuclear facility in the background, seemed to be the (un)natural direction to take.

Source pictures from stock.xchng:
Sheep family
Nuclear Power Station 5 (photo by Henriette)

In the Headwaters

Maybe, eventually, I'll wade the headwaters with more frequency than once a month. (Right.) Anyway, how would the physics of this pan out? And why doesn't Superman just, you know, hide the costume in the ground or something? Yeesh. Show off.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

On 6 July, 2006

I went to the store at a relatively busy time today. Quite a few customers, all guys, enough that chiming in on the Civil War discussion they had going just didn't feel right. Plus, when another woman entered the store, one of the guys joked about it being a sign of the Apocalypse. Two women in a comic book store at the same time, right? Not offensive, just not real original. The only reason I mention it is, well, that's the first "Ohmygosh, a girl!" type comment I've heard in that shop. Either that's unusual and I've been lucky, or people are pretty open-minded in mid-Michigan.

Needless to say, I'm in a pretty good mood. Getting this done early, since one of my aunts is coming to visit from out of town tomorrow, and if I don't do this now... who knows if it'll ever get done? Yeah, best do it while I'm in a relaxed mood and taking joy in seeing the world through a wonderful new pair of glasses.

Reading music: Dusk Till Dawn: The Best of Capercaillie

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--

Dark Horse

Archenemies #4: It's funny. I really didn't expect a bittersweet philosophical conclusion to this series but... that's what this was. A tale told primarily in flashback by an angsting Ethan on the phone with his father. There is a breakup; an origin story; a climactic fight between the archenemies; the discovery that one isn't all good, and the other isn't all bad; and the discovery that both have father problems. There are a few fun moments that sort of lighten the mood, but wow. Quite the departure from the first issue, that's for sure. It's not bad; it just took me by surprise, is all.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes.


All-New Atom #1:
Study the following three prologues, which are presented in non-linear fashion. Discuss how the sequence of events differs from traditional story-telling methods. Why did the author choose to present the epilogues out of chronological order?
-All-New Atom
Atom #1 is a symmetrical book. Nothing about the first prologue (pp. 1-3), which I won't try to describe, clicked until the last page. The second prologue (pp. 4-5), the sequence in which a pack of dogs kills a professor, is referenced about halfway through the story. The third prologue (pp. 6-7) deals with Dr. Ryan Choi's past and leads us nicely into his present, and the "meat" of the story. By presenting the prologues in this order, rather than chronologically, the story takes that symmetrical form. The prologues themselves force the reader to ask the questions, "What's going on," "What's up with those dogs," and "Who is Dr. Ryan Choi." In that general-to-specific order. These questions represent a major overarching problem, an immediate mystery, and the main character for whom trouble looms. All are elegantly connected. The order also makes for a tidy wave of a story, from the introduction, to the problem of Ray Palmer's belt (its shrinking capabilities in particular) and the general weirdness of Ivy Town, to the climactic rat scene, to the denouement (the presentation of the belt to the poker-playing scientists.) There is no definite conclusion, but then, this is comic book story-telling we're talking about, and this is a first issue. And a fun one at that. What is up with those dogs?

(Geez, these essay questions... This is graded on a curve, right?)

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Actually, kinda yeah.


This is a Civil War free week for me, which is wonderful. I am generally enjoying that story, but I think I OD'ed on it last week. Last month, even. It's detox time now, though, with three helpings of old-school Fantastic Four!

Fantastic Four: First Family #5: Sometimes, it seems, angst can be energizing. One scene Sue is commiserating with Ben, the next she's leading the team off to rescue Reed from his insane nemesis. In a flying bathtub. The flying bathtub. Johnny's recovery from a rescue-gone-wrong (Human torches and runaway tanker trucks don't mix well.) will now have to wait 'til the cosmic ray-powered zombies (as seen on the cover) are neutralized. Great set-up for what should be a feel-good explosive conclusion.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Marvel's Greatest Comics: Fantastic Four #52: I was a negative 17 years old when this was first printed, and the most economical way to get something like this tends to be black-and-white reprints. So this is a treat. Classic Kirby-Lee Fantastic Four complete with the Black Panther, the Inhumans, and the day-saving Wyatt Wingfoot! I'll have to go back and spend some time really reading the old ads and bulletins and fan letters. Because, you know, they're there and they're fun.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

The Thing #8: Dan Slott concludes his first (but hopefully not last) run of The Thing with a poker party, a Bar Mitzvah, and a couple fun flashbacks involving Squirrel Girl and the Impossible Man (no, not at the same time.) It's wonderful, and it is a huge departure from Civil War. The first two-page spread is proof enough. Everybody's playing (and sometimes cheating at) poker, having a grand time. Namor's not being a total ass. Johnny's not comatose. Iron Man and Captain America aren't at each others' throats. And Ben... Ben gets a long-deserved respite. Not from his form (still the Thing), but from his sorrows. He gets to focus on the good things in his life for a change, namely his friends, his family, and Alicia. *sigh* Next week it's back to business as usual on Earth-616 (which, again, isn't bad), but for now, I'll just relish this.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Yes
Do I Care? Yes

Virgin Comics

Devi #1: Well, darn. I was hoping for more Indian mythology and less, er, cheesecake. The first half of Devi #1 is the story of Devi's deveat of Bala, the evil god. Devi is a god-gifted warrior (kind of like Wonder Woman?) of light dressed in, well, a few tendrils of fire and not much else. So, anyway, she defeats Bala and offers her gifts back to the gods.

Part two? Bala has, of course, escaped, and he's on the phone with a scantily-clad Heaven's Assassin as she systematically slaughters a group of Yakuza. (These Yakuza are everywhere. They need their own Sopranos spin-off or something.) I'm not sure whether the assassin is a reincarnation of Devi or what but... Ugh. I guess I just don't care that much. And next issue has a Greg Horn cover to boot. Suits the book, I suppose, but... eh. Guess I'll pass on this series and learn about Indian legend elsewhere.

Do I Know What I Just Read? Kind of?
Do I Care? Nope.

Week's most memorable moment: The GLX-Men/Avengers get a new name almost nobody objects to Thing #8.

Tentative checklist for 12 July, 2006
(*Indicates a title I've preordered.)

Beyond #1 (Chose Devi over this today. Oops.)
Civil War: Director's Cut (Yeah, I know. Shush.)
*Civil War: Front Line #3
*Ms. Marvel #5
The Next #1 (maybe)
Snakewoman #1 (bigger maybe)
Wasteland #1 (hmm...)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pinpointing an Issue

Well, this is depressing. I really didn't want to get involved in Ragnell and Kalinara's Damned List but, at the same time, I like helping to disseminate information. And for me (in regards to The List), since I've nearly assembled an entire run of Sensational She-Hulk, that meant helping to pinpoint the issue in which a sexual assault occurred. Which in turn meant pulling suspect issues and reading them for relevant content. I did not attempt to catagorize, only to catalogue that which is suspect. These are my notes. You be the judge.:

Issue 7 (John Byrne): Xemnu attempts to transform Jen into another of his species for the purpose of taking her as his bride in order to repopulate his planet (pp. 18-20.)

Issue 25 (Simon Furman): Brent Wilcox (an old friend of Jen's from college, introduced in Steve Gerber's "Cosmic Squish Principal" arc) sits in front of Jen's apartment with a pair of binoculars, a camera (presumably with a zoom lense), tapes, notebook, and god knows what else. He's jealous of whoever else she might be seeing, and seems to be stalking her (pp. 8, 10.)

Issue 33 (Byrne): Mole Man attempts to take Jen as his bride, as the price for helping her defeat Spragg the Living Hill. She's not entirely unwilling -- she's given her word to pay whatever price for Mole Man's help -- but she's not at all happy about it, either.

Issue 37 (Byrne): The Living Eraser abducts Jen for the purpose of taking her as his bride.

Issues 38 and 39 (Byrne): Mahkizmo, under the influence of one of Eros' (Cupid's) magic arrows, abducts Jen for the purpose of taking her as his bride. In Issue 38, she breaks the fourth wall to yell at Byrne about the whole running theme, and also complains about Santa Clause making a pass at her in Issue 8, and a zombie hitting on her in Issue 35.

Issue 43 (Byrne): Xemnu attacks and threatens to sell Jen as a slave, whereupon she "will be handled and examined by scores of would be buyers," purchased by someone disgusting, become a "helpless plaything" and forced to perform "acts of unspeakable degradation." (pp. 19-24.) (Luckily, Weezie knocks him out by conking him on the head with a spanner, and his evil plan never comes to pass.)

Issue 54 (Michael Eury): Zapper (Jen's boyfriend from her Savage series, now married to someone else) kisses Jen after resurrecting her and giving her a medical examination. She pushes him away, reminding him that he's married. He apologises, and she forgives him (p. 19.)

Issue 55 (Eury): Zapper kisses Jen again. Again she pushes him away, reminds him that he's married, and suggests he and his wife get marriage counseling. She says good-bye and slams the door behind her as she leaves (pp. 18-19.)


I also went ahead and pulled two other She-Hulk episodes that came to mind. They're not a part of the Sensational run, but they seemed worth including all the same:

Sensational She-Hulk Graphic Novel (Byrne): Jen is abducted by SHIELD. She is forced to strip by SHIELD agent Dooley (on pain of death for Wyatt Wingfoot, who's been abducted with her) in front of a large group of male agents. SHIELD Director Dugan breaks up the "strip search" and yells at Dooley, telling him the required strip search is supposed to be in private and performed by an agent of the same sex (pp 26-29.)

Jen is then subjected to a thorough, invasive and exhausting medical exam (off-panel), again in the nude on Dooley's orders (pp. 31-33.) She later discovers that Dooley has been watching tapes of the "examination" (pp. 41-42.)

Not sure this is worth noting, but evil radioactive cockroaches attempt to invade and take over her body (as they do to Dooley) (pp. 54-55, 68.)

Fantastic Four #275 (Byrne): T. J. Vance, editor and publisher of a sleazy nudie magazine, takes unauthorized topless photographs of Jen (as she sunbathes discretely on the roof of the Baxter Building) for the purpose of printing him in his periodical. (They do get printed, in spite of Jen's best efforts as a lawyer and superhero, but with a mistake that results in a victory, of sorts, for She-Hulk.)


So! There you have it. I've a new appreciation for what the authors of The List are doing. Not envy, just... appreciation. Yeah. That sounds about right.