Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TV has pilots, comics have random events referencing defunct brands...


If not for Wikipedia, I don't know if I'd have realized this issue was related to Madame Xanadu: from 2012, National Comics: Madame X #1, written by Rob Williams, art by Trevor Hairsine.

This issue was one of four issues published by DC in their New 52 but referencing (per CBR) National Comics, which was DC's name before they became DC. The other three featured Looker, Kid Eternity, and Rose & Thorn; but Madame X's one-shot reads very much like a pilot, and not a bad one. The titular "Madame X," Nima, used that name as a Tarot reading star magician, predicting the future for fun and profit until she was sued by a billionaire for predicting his house would be robbed. Although she's starting to bounce back now, working for a New Orleans law firm; the question remains as to how much she believes in her own abilities. (Another question was, why did the law firm hire her, but that was brought up and left for another time that probably won't ever come.)

The case she works here could be from Law & Order or a similar show, if not for the zombies and the voodoo. But that's a little Scooby-Doo, though. Still, cast right, this could've been stronger than the Constantine pilot...actually, I really like the hook that while Madame X is magic, and wants to believe there's others like her; most if not all of her cases would be frauds, hoaxsters, and charlatans.

Note to myself: keep an eye out for that Rose and the Thorn one-shot.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Aside: I don't think Kitty is a good listener...


...since she doesn't have ears: they didn't bother to sculpt any under her hair, which fell off when I got her out of the storage bin.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Still waiting to see "Arkon IV" as a Marvel Easter egg...


Once upon a time, the idea of Marvel's Avengers becoming a movie--on film with actual actors, that people might pay cash money to see!--was a pipe dream. And like yesterday's Moon Knight Special, this issue has a weird view of Hollywood around about 1990: preening, talentless egoists trying to make money by piecing together films from the latest fads and biggest names. (Probably, but they're pretty up-front about it here!) From 1991's Avengers West Coast Annual #6, "A Wasp in Hollywood!" Written by Roy Thomas, pencils by Jeff Moore, inks by Mark McKenna.

Janet Van Dyne takes a meeting with a big-wheel/little man producer, pitching her screenplay the Coming of the Avengers. Her origin, which included a giant alien that killed her father, is the first thing on the cutting room floor; or at least set for a rewrite: a giant alien not being in the budget, the producer rolls the idea into Egghead instead. And that's only the first of many rewrites; as Ant-Man is made Giant-Man a little early, and what the hell, why not make the Wasp a giant Queen Wasp instead? As a Schwarzenegger-type is offered the villain's role, Jan's shown the door, but a writer's input is probably never especially welcome anyway...

Mind you, "Dr. Pimp" may not be the worst change I've ever heard...

I didn't scan any, but there are Arkon posters in the producers office: I've mentioned the character Arkon the Imperion before, but in the Marvel Universe, his brief appearances on earth were enough for someone to swipe, um, inspire, several sci-fi movies; one of which was Wonder Man's big moment as an actor. Blue Devil was on a movie marquee in a recent episode of Flash; I don't think Arkon has been mentioned in the Marvel movieverse yet!

This issue is pretty awful overall (the West Coast Avengers recap "West Side Story" is a terrible title recapping mostly terrible issues...) as was most of the "Subterranean Wars" crossover, although one chapter was pretty great and we may come back to it soon...
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

I don't think I appreciated these enough at the time:


The lead story in 1992's Moon Knight Special #1 was "Explosion at the Center of a Madman's Crown." (Written by Doug Moench, pencils by Art Nichols, inks by Chris Ivy.) It guest-starred Master of Kung Fu Shang-Chi and featured villains and settings from that book, so it felt more like it than an issue of Moon Knight. But, this was about midway through the run of Marc Spector: Moon Knight; I had mis-remembered it as being between the short 1985 Fist of Khonshu and 1989's Marc Spector.

But although there's a not-terribly-funny "Moon Blight" the movie spoof that wastes Marie Severin art, there's also some fun retro covers from Ron Frenz, John Romita, Don Heck, Ty Templeton, and Gene Colan! Those are pretty great.

Man, I would've read the hell out of Gene Colan's Moon Knight. Or Ty Templeton's, for that matter!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Hands-Free."


Guys are icky, Kitty! Don't trust them!

Anyway, while I don't think Star Trek: Insurrection is anyone's favorite of the series (it's middle-of-the-road, but not without merits) Pool still steals a line from Riker in the last panel. Proving that if this storyline goes on long enough, I'll be able to swipe from every sci-fi space battle trope that I can remember.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This looks like a job for the Human Bullet! Er, Bulletman. Whatever.


Bulletman! Another member of the G.I. Joe Adventure Team. Not to be confused with the Human Bullet.

Since the original figure is from the late seventies, there isn't a lot of back-story or origin for Bulletman, who may or may not have been stolen wholesale from the Fawcett comics character. I think some writers have used the Adventure Team characters to expand G.I. Joe's history, but mostly just cameos.

Sadly, Atomic Man Mike Power didn't come with a little stickered piece to represent a boxed version of himself; which I realized after about fifteen minutes of looking in my Kre-O bin.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Only six-inches tall, but still terrifying...


I was surprised to find this issue for fifty cents, then mildly surprised it didn't have the Comics Code seal on the cover. Then extra-surprised midway through: from 1988, Sword of the Atom Special #3, written by Jan Strnad, pencils by Pat Broderick, inks by Dennis Janke.

Like the previous Sword of the Atom stories, Ray Palmer is still trapped at six-inches tall, in the Amazon jungle, with the alien Morlaidhans. Which isn't as bad as all that: Ray got the girl, Princess Laethwen, and a surprising aptitude for both sword-fighting and survival. Ray and Laethwen have made their way to the city of the Skul-Riders--OK, actually they're hawks, I think. But since the aliens, like Ray, are trapped at six-inches tall, they can do that; but this batch don't have Laethwen's yellow skin. I'm not sure why, but whatever. Ray's there to try and investigate the scientific equipment of the former king, Torbul. (The aliens, yellow or no, had been more advanced but fallen into savagery; in fact, some may have been there as a penal colony.)

Friendly local doctor Ylaan isn't sure what to make of Torbul's work, but a booby-trap sets off a deadly plague. The current tyrant king comes down with it, and while Laethwen tries to help a local farm couple who's son comes down with it, Ylaan tries to warn Ray to flee. They almost escape, except for the Skul-Riders; and Ray and Laethwen end up in the dungeon. The tyrant dies, and while most of the plague victims are thrown into a pit, a funeral pyre was planned for him. Ray and Laethwen try to make their escape during the funeral, but the tyrant rises from his pyre, still on fire! And that farm couple, who's son died? He comes back.

I was absolutely not expecting that! The zombie son kills his mother, before the father has to put him down. Meanwhile, a dying Ylaan explains the plague didn't kill it's victims, but between the fever and the pit-burial, they would have nothing but hate. Kill-crazed, the dead rise, and Ray and Laethwen's only hope is to fight their way to a Skul trapped in a burning rookery and escape.

The next day, the zombies are again dead, their bodies burned out after their brief "re-life." The bodies would be burned this time. As Ray notes in a journal, wondering if he was responsible for this or if it would've happened regardless, he and Laethwen would spend a couple weeks alone in the jungle, to make sure they weren't infected before going home. But he was in no particular hurry.

It feels a little overwritten in spots, but a surprisingly dark story here. Sadly, Laethwen would be given short shrift, fridged at the start of Power of the Atom. I thought that was a misstep then, but they had to get Ray back to America.



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