Thursday, February 28, 2008

Due to budgetary cutbacks, Cap couldn't get the deluxe model he wanted.
And they didn't even spring for the matching flippers!  S.H.I.E.L.D. is a buncha cheap bastards.

From Tales of Suspense #93, reprinted in Marvel Double Feature #17, like it says, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott.

Although you don't get much more of a look at it, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "Long-distance mini-cruiser!" is more like a scuba hat-suit. I wanted to post this one, though, since there's a jetpack-skycycle accessory from the Captain America figure from the mid-90's Spider-Man line that reminds me of this. (In the picture on the sidebar, it's that Cap toy in the that helps.)

So, today's entry is just a post-it note to remind me to look for it. I still have one in the package, which isn't much help; but I liked the figure, even though Cap was a bit larger in scale than other figures in the line, he looks extra pissed-off, and his shield was a little small. And had a pull-string sparking action. Not his best one, yes.

This issue was probably the second or third building up the threat of MODOK, who hadn't been seen yet. I wonder if his big reveal was a hit at the time?

At any rate, this may or may not be it for this week: Tomorrow, I'm hopefully going to get to the comic shop, for the new Cap, Nexus, and probably Gravel. We'll see if I'm up for an actual post, but if not, have a good weekend!

EDIT: It didn't occur to me until just now, but Cap probably has his shield on his back, under that thing! Read more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things I Don't Get, Real or Imagined, Part One
Even though I agree with a lot of what he's got to say, I swear to god, I would vote for Perot over Nader.
Yeah, I'd probably take a free newspaper from an evil Russian Monk, or Warren Ellis, sure.
When I ask, 'Why do people watch Power of Truth?' I probably mean, 'Why did I watch Power of Truth?'
Just a short one this week: The Wife's not feeling well, so I had to get the Youngest to therapy, school, and therapy preschool. He should be beat, but he's doing pretty well. I'm beat.

Credit where due: photo credit Kelsey McNeal, photo yanked from Entertainment Weekly, which also bagged on Power of Truth... Read more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Many Deaths of Baron Strucker
Geneva convention or no, I'm pretty sure guys with monocles were to be shot on sight.
While flipping through Fury: Peacemaker #6 again, it dawned on me, again, that Oberst Von Stehle, the monocled German, was probably intended by Ennis to be at least an analog of Baron Strucker. Along with the monocle, both were bald(ing), both were of 'noble,' upper-class lineage, both were utter bastards. And not bastards in a fun, Ennis fashion; bastards as in you can't wait for Fury to kill him to death.

I'm going to have to go to the indica to check which I read first, regarding my first exposure to the Baron: either Captain America #274 (October 1982, I couldn't find it in time, but check out the cover) or The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Book of the Dead #14 (March 1984) In the former, the Strucker appearance is actually a robot Life Model Decoy (man, I miss those, even though they were as overused then as Skrulls are gonna be now...) but the latter explains the circumstances of the ignoble death of Baron Strucker.
How awesome is having the panel of how they bought the farm in the entries of the dead?
(And the above is from the later Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition #16, art by Mike Zeck, because it's clearer and has the Baron's death panel.)

I'm going to try to recap the Baron's demise off the top of my head, but I remember the Handbook's entry quite distinctly. On Hydra Island, Baron Strucker was going to have the death-spore virus released, killing off everyone else on the planet. Through a chain of events I'm not sure about, Nick Fury infiltrated the island, incapacitated Strucker, then set up a shell game: Fury puts on a Baron Strucker mask, then puts a Fury mask and a Strucker mask on the Baron. When Hydra guards show up, they find two Strucker's fighting. Fury acts first, 'unmasking' the Baron. The guards chase him, and Strucker ends up locking himself in some kind of reactor. Foomph! (Reading the entry again, the death-spore bomb ends up exploding on the airtight Hydra Island, killing all the Hydra personnel therein. The entry also points out Strucker running around in a panic, which is fun to picture.)

I don't think I've ever seen the actual comic where it happens, and the details seem to fudge every time it's retold, and Strucker's hale and hearty now so it's a moot point; but his death fascinates me. Ever read Hamlet? The play doesn't have the same narrative flow that a novel or a comic would, it just has stage directions. Hamlet and Laertes fight, Hamlet is stabbed with the poisoned sword, they switch swords, Laertes is stabbed with the poisoned sword. The description does technically tell you what happened, but I was befuddled as to how that would happen. (Also, stage direction is a bit dry, and doesn't make it sound like a big to-do, does it?)

Until I actually saw a performance of the play, probably on PBS or something, where the actors really get into the duel. Stabbity, stabbity. There's probably a hundred different ways to stage the fight, but I needed to see one before I could imagine others. Strucker's death and the swordfight in Hamlet were both dry summaries of exciting happenings, but they were interesting enough to make me want to see what happened.

Another page from Fury: Peacemaker #6, "The End of the Beginning" Written by Garth Ennis, pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by Rodney Ramos. I also realized, the regular, 616-Fury, still has his eye, even if he has almost no vision in it... Read more!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nick Fury, before and after:

I have a feeling someone else has to have done this before now, but I found these together, so here goes:
Maybe if you threw that grenade before the speech, Nick...
How Fury lost his eye in the original series, although he wouldn't completely lose vision in that eye for years later.
Although this would be the last time, Von Stehle would not stand for anyone interupting his exposition.
And how he lost his eye in the Marvel MAX version. The bullet in his head also leaves him "rather more short-tempered than before." We'll take a closer look at the shooter, Von Stehle, tomorrow.

From "Fury Fights Alone!" Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #27, reprinted in #129. Script by Stan Lee, art by Dick Ayers, delineation by John Tartaglione.

From Fury: Peacemaker #6, "6: The End of the Beginning" Written by Garth Ennis, pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by Rodney Ramos. Read more!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm not setting out to add to the bashing of Rob Liefeld, but does it ever seem unfair that Youngblood has had like seven launches, while most other books are lucky if they get one chance at finding readers? (Some other comics site pointed out the recursive nature of Youngblood, but I don't remember where, so speak up if it was you!) So, there I was, furrowing my little brow, vainly trying to understand why that should be while Strikeback! never even got a follow-up limited, and as the post progressed it actually ties back into Youngblood in the end! Really, keep reading.

Strikeback! had a bit of bad luck from the start: it was initially published, for the first three issues, through Bravura. That was Malibu Comics' creator-owned (or at least creator-centered, the rights may have become an issue) branch: Walt Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Jim Starlin and others all had books there. Unfortunately, the line stalled mid-stream, and Strikeback! wouldn't be completed for another two years, with the first three issues reprinted by Image, followed by two new ones. (Simonson's Star Slammers was another Bravura book that was delayed, it eventually found a home at Dark Horse. I'm not sure Steven Grant and Gil Kane's Edge was finished...)

Kevin Maguire was the big draw for Strikeback!, though. He had done other notable work by this point, but was (and still is) best known for his work on DC's first relaunch of Justice League. It's funny, since by the time he did this series I had already followed him through the Adventures of Captain America (a prestige series, that also ran way late, if I recall), but I don't know if Maguire was as revered as he is now. Again, this could be my creeping senility, I seem to recall a bit of resentment in the mid-90's towards Maguire (and Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis) since they had saved the Justice League yet it was thought of as a joke. The so-called "bwah-ha-ha" version had run its course, but the book hadn't settled on a direction since, and Morrison's revival of the book was still a couple years away.

It just seems like Maguire is known, but he should have become a superstar artist like Jim Lee or something. Of course, I read most of Trinity Angels, so I'm a fan. Good grief, I think I had that whole series and lost it. Good luck putting that together again...

OK, enough vile conjecture, on to the actual book at hand:
Yeah, that'd be kind of terrifying to wake up to.
Our hero, the scarf-wearing Rascal, is celebrating his girlfriend Nikki's twenty-fifth birthday, when she's kidnapped by the lunatic bounty hunter horde of the indestructible Doberman. ("Nobody steals a bone from Doberman!" is his catchphrase through the series, as he holds out for increasingly large checks.) Joined first by Midnight Devil, who seems to just be happening by, then by his team Strikeback!, Rascal sets off to rescue the love of his life from her parents and her weird destiny. Comedy ensues. And violence. And some comedic violence.

Midnight Devil seems at least superficially similar to the old Stan Lee written Daredevil, perhaps minus a bit of the cheese: a cheerful, daring do-gooder; willing to help a new friend he'd just met. Most of the rest of the Strikeback! team has at least some history with the initial villain of the piece, Nikki's father Mars Dragonryder, who seems to start as a Bond villain type then goes in a different direction.

Wouldn't X-Men comics be better if Wolverine admitted he really wasn't gung-ho about being there?
Short Fuse and Purity don't get as much page time as the rest of the team, since this isn't their story, and they would have probably been used more in future storylines. But Shorty does allude to the nature of the team as a mutual defense pact. It's like the United, it's more like the Avengers, if they had formed with the specific charter, "OK, I'll help you kick Loki's ass, if you give me a hand pummeling the Leader next month..."

The book tries to walk the line between action-drama and comedy that the old Justice League did, and works really well: there's the drama of Rascal's quest, serious superhero fighting; a touch of romance in flashbacks, and then out-and-out funny stuff like the fate of Moe or the menace of Rock Lobster, Beef, and Der Flogmeister.
And I've had 'Rock Lobster' stuck in my head again, but that happens a lot anyway.
There is a bit of an odd scene in the first issue, where a random "Savage Finster" drops out of nowhere, then is likewise dragged off by a robot.
Those continuity reboots can hit at any time...
In the Image version, Finster's replaced by an equally pissed-off Savage Dragon, which I think was their original intent.
So, then, is this Chicago, or is Dragon way out of his jurisdiction?
The brief (three-panel) cameo puts Strikeback! in the Image universe, but they wouldn't be seen back there for a while, until the crossover book Shattered Image. The Image earth is splitting into six separate earths, as the original six Image creators are starting to pull away from each other. Youngblood, in particular Badrock, is featured prominently in the first issue, then that universe (or some universe, since that looks like Diehard in the first panel) breaks away, to be replaced briefly:
I thought Ryan did a great job with a ton of characters in this series, but he dogs Strikeback! out.
From Shattered Image #2, written by Kurt Busiek and Barbara Kesel, pencils by Michael Ryan, inks by Mark Irwin. Almost immediately, Strikeback! is likewise replaced by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, before the worlds break into separate ones for a bit. Your loss, Image Universe, your loss and ours.

(The behind-the-curtain aspect of Shattered Image makes it at least worth flipping through. The last issue has some DC, Marvel, and independent look-alikes that get a touch over the top, but I did like one bit where an evil corporation had phone systems from Cyberforce baddies Cyberdata, and when that continuity separated, their phones disappeared.)

(Incidentally, it took me a long time to get to this series, since while I love it to pieces, I hadn't read it in years. I bought another batch of them for a girlfriend, as a feeble attempt to try and show her why I liked comics so much. I can't even remember if I got her the last issues, since there was so much time between--I know I dated her for a long time, but it feels like a million years ago, and I'm sure the relationship was on its last legs by the time the last issue came out. So, hey, if you see it in the sale box or Goodwill, look around closely: there might be some of the other crap I gave her in there...) Read more!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

JLI: The 'I' is for 'Interview'
Continued from last week's comic.

Tempest probably would've tried the legacy card, too.
Whatever happened to Bloodwynd, anyway?  I always thought it was kind of silly that J'onn's cover turned out to be a real guy later.
How many green women action figures do I have?  Um...definitely not a weird amount.  Yeah.
I haven't decided if I'm gonna keep this one going or not, but next week a new comic.

I think Mark Millar and Grant Morrisson were going to tackle the issue a little in Aztek, but what would the interview process be like when you've got thirty or forty people in masks show up? What kind of references would they have? Press clippings? Arrest records? A signed note from Batman? Would the interviewers insist on knowing the interviewee's secret identity? Should they? Should an interviewee give up that information?

Two other examples spring to mind, although I don't have either in hand: one was from an old Avengers issue and the security check for prospective member Rage. He's lead to a secure room, where a videotaped message from Tony Stark (!) plays, explaining how it will do a one-time check and give a yes or no answer on whether he's eligible or not, then erase the search's tracks and records. (Ah, I wish I had that one: it's a clever answer to some of the logistical questions that a bunch of masked yahoos would generate, and Tony is friendly and not at all dickish.)

The other one was from a What The--!? spoof of Avengers/JLI, featuring Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, among others, having tryouts. J'onn tries to suggest maybe reconsidering "Mr. Mann's" application, "You know, someone with powers?" Beetle shoots that down, that the League is about hanging out, and at the time, yeah, pretty much. Still, it's not unreasonable to think a lot of the interview would be interpersonal: sure, you could get a batch of uber-powerful members, but who wants to be on a team with Geo-Force or Captain Atom? (Disclaimer: Cap was cool in Justice League Europe, but everyone else writes him as a complete tool.) Read more!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

  'Gasp...gasp...gasp'?  I know, I'm surprised when I miss conditioning, too.
Back when Marvel super-heroes used to fight villains a good twelve months a year, sometimes the writer has to mix it up a bit. After all, a hero like Daredevil can't just fight the Kingpin, Bullseye, and Elektra three months a piece, right? You would think,, the writer can either come up with new villains (cue agonized groan) or steal established villains from other books. Sometimes, an interesting matchup will come out of this saw, like the Hulk fighting Doc Ock, or Captain America versus Bullseye, or Spider-Man against the Red Skull. This would eventually lead to Acts of Vengence, which had a great Daredevil issue with Ultron.

Then again, sometimes this trick fails miserably, with lopsided matchups that have to be dragged out over the course of an issue. Like today's issue! From Daredevil #352, "Smoky Mirrors" Written by Ben Raab, pencils and inks by Shawn McManus. DD is trying to protect his partner Foggy, who is currently cheesed off at DD since he only recently, finally, learned Matt's secret ID. Like three-hundred and forty issues in. At an abandoned carnival, DD is nearly killed by...a souped-up carousel and little bitey cherub robots? Wait, how do the cherubs bite you with their holographic heads? And Daredevil knows he shouldn't be able to see them, so why isn't he more weirded out? Or less? Or something, I guess.
That just raises more questions!
This whole mess was the new Mastermind, Martinique Jason, testing out Arcade's Murderworld equipment, using a combo of his robots and her illusion powers. Which shouldn't work on Matt at all, since he'd either be able to see them and know they were fake since he can't see anything else, or he'd outright not be able to see them. And it's long been established robot-things would be noisy and smelly to DD's senses. This should've been a cakewalk victory for Hornhead, but it looks like he's dogging it out. Like the creative staff.

Still, there's probably other examples of this, and I may have to keep my eyes open for more, but that's enough for this issue. This was pretty obviously a fill-in issue, with Bullseye on the cover to pull in readers, even though he's just an illusion. The next month, Karl Kesel and Cary Nord started their run, which was an attempt to bring Daredevil back a little to the title's swashbuckling, fun roots. All right, you know how that turned out, but they did a nice bunch of comics. Read more!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Orion's using last year's harness, he's grown a bit since then.
This may have been the first time Simonson drew Orion, well before his series.
I'm working on a longer post for Strikeback! so just a few odds today.

The above page is from Armageddon: Inferno #1, (written by John Ostrander, main sequence art by Luke McDonnell) DC's sequel to the 1991 Annuals. The Armageddon in the title would be used a couple more times, and sets a precedent for all those 52/Countdown spin-offs and offshoots. Um, yay?

After saving his future from Monarch/Hawk, Waverider probably shouldn't exist anymore, but he's still surfing the timestream. Following a disturbance, he finds a motley batch of devil-worshippers poking a hole in reality and releasing this series' big bad, Abraxis. He gives his followers power, and sets in motion a plan to "grow four different ages that I may then possess." Waverider has to gather up a batch of heroes to fight in different times; and in a nod to DC's history, powered heroes aren't allowed to fight in World War II: a nod to the Spear of Destiny, the in-story reason the Spectre or Dr. Fate didn't kick Hitler's ass.

The series rotates artists for each different team: Simonson gets the group with the dinosaurs; Art Adams gets the future group with Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Donna Troy; Mike Netzer draws the WWII Sgt. Rock, Losers, and Hawkworld era Hawkman and Hawkwoman; and Tom Mandrake takes the present with Batman, Ultra Boy, the Creeper, and classic Firestorm.

Waverider is more of a time-traveling plot point than a character, but he deserved better than to be eaten by Skeets/Mr. Mind in 52. And three-quarters of the way through the series, with the heroes getting beat by no-names in four different time zones, Waverider pulls the classic Justice Society of America out of the loop of Ragnarok they had been trapped in since Last Days of the Justice Society of America in 1986. Of course, that story would have been a better end than they got when they were taken out again, in 1994's Zero Hour...until the next revival, the current JSA started in 1999. DC seems to have finally hit on a JSA formula that can keep working for a while, since they haven't kicked them to the curb again yet. Anyway, Waverider saves the JSA from having to return to their never-ending battle in limbo, by replacing them with Abraxis' no-name henchmen.

Actually, I'm wrong there: the henchmen insist on introducing and giving themselves a crappy alias, even if they barely appear for a panel. For example: "Once these hands molded clay to create art, but James Wictowicz was never better than mediocre. Now, as Zhazor, I fashion death. My talent has improved tenfold." Ugh. Still, I'm not sure I'd leave these guys in charge of fighting Ragnarok and postponing the end of the universe, and Waverider doesn't seem to give them a choice in the matter, either, which doesn't seem right even though they're all evil, boring douchebags. Meh. Everyone's so happy to have the JSA back, they let it slide.

I know I picked this up when it first came out, but long since gave it away or lost it. A buck to replace it out of those ever-generous quarterboxes, and a nice afternoon's read.

24 panels, but I don't know how many hours it took on the pictures.
I slapped this together the other day, since I wanted to try some of the other page templates for this Planetwide Comic Book Creator. It had this twenty-four panel layout, but no nine-panel Keith Giffen grid. The hell!

And this seems like as good a place as any to mention Poe Ghostal's Caption the Pic contest over at his blog! Enter by this Friday and you could win a Savage Dragon action figure. I have to remember to give the Youngest a chance at entering, too.

Guff, that ended up a helluva lot longer than I would've thought... Read more!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

After picking up comics yesterday, I stopped by Hastings and found Hourman--the middle one, the new version--for $3.75, which is pretty hard to resist. He was marked down from $16.99, which was probably a bit high in the first place. I hadn't gone out of my way to get him, which is not unlike how I got the other two.

While I'm not a huge fan, I have read most of the future Hourman's solo series, as you might expect, pulled from the quarterbins. The older version made a good showing in the Golden Age, Mike Parobeck's Justice Society series, and gets a death scene in New Frontier. The new, I'm not sure I have a single comic with him in that costume. I know he's the current JSA, but there's a cast of thousands there, and I'm not sure if he's front-and-center all that often. Still, good for a quick joke, anyway. Read more!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!
'I purchased it dead,' doesn't go over so well if you're giving, say, a puppy...
It's a day to spend with your loved, out today, but we'll have more from and a writeup for Strikeback!, a favorite from a few years back, later. Co-created, co-written, and co-produced by Jonathan Peterson and Kevin Maguire.

Oh, and for Valentine's Day I got my beloved Wife a leg lamp from A Christmas Story. She was with me when we saw it, and it's not terribly romantic, except that she loves that movie, and the toys from it that I gave her some years back are the only ones she has. Every Christmas she puts them up, so the lamp seemed like a good choice. It might work its way into the regular rotation, though. Read more!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

OK, let's try this again:

Reusing an entire page now.  God, I'm lazy.

Booster's argument is the legacy of a couple centuries of lawyer shows.
I thought J'onn deserved a chance to quit and let someone else drive the League into the ground...
For the last page, I wanted sort of a "cattle-call," American Idol-style feel of open tryouts. Most of the characters shown don't show up for the interview portions, but a few like Speedy do.

You can't see him behind Huntress, but Abe Sapien is taunting Aqualad as being too small and due to be thrown back. Oops.

I like the three Batgirls, but didn't have room for more than the tiny, animated style Batgirl's one snide thought. Which could also be applied to the rest of the girls there, honestly.

Continued next week! And Booster Gold #0 is out today, and I'm pretty much sold on that one. Check it out.
Read more!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Granted, Jo pays for that later, but that still has to be immensely satisfying.
Here's a question that maybe a hardcore Legion of Super-Heroes fan can answer: Ultra Boy has all of Superboy's powers (ultra-speed, strength, invulnerability, pentra-vision, flight, breath, maybe all the way down the list to ultra-ventriloquism) but only one at a time. My question is, how does that work?

Can Ultra Boy fly at super, um, excuse me, ultra-speed? Or are those two separate powers? Does his ultra-speed have a "protective aura" like the Flash, to protect him from friction and whatnot? Similarly, when using ultra-strength, there must be some level of overlap with invulnerability, because otherwise, if Ultra Boy hits Superboy in the face, U-Boy's going to turn his punching hand into paste.

Further complicating the issue is the Legion Flight Ring: with it, Ultra Boy can fly while still using one of his own powers. Does that let him fly at ultra-speed, then? Or use his ultra-strength while flying?

(That last one occurred to be from an old Avengers issue, where Wonder Man uses all his strength to prevent the Avengers' island from falling--don't ask, I'll have to buy it again--while flying. Now, WM can't fly by himself, or at least couldn't then: he used a jet-belt, and there's no way that would give him enough support to move something like that, no matter how strong he was.)

There's tons of Legion fans out there, so I can't be the first person to think of this, especially since they've always had to deal with oddball story problems: How does Triplicate Girl's flight ring triplicate with her? Same with Phantom Girl's. Or Shrinking Violet, or Colossal Boy, or Chameleon Kid...

My favorite era of Legion? Probably the Five Year Later era. I had a whole mess of my favorite, random panels from those issues scanned, but then couldn't get them arranged into the nine-panel grid. I might just have to go ahead and post them over the weekend, though. From Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #239, "Murder Most Foul!" Plot and layouts by Jim Starlin, dialogue and plot assist by Paul Levitz, finished art by Josef Rubinstein. I had thought the Legion cartoon stole a bit from this issue for a Timber Wolf episode, "Cry Wolf," but maybe not as much as I had imagined. Check out the first part, and you can find the rest yourself!

Even though I didn't feel the need to buy every single figure, I wish DC Direct was still doing at least the occasional Legion figure. The last ones might have been Mon-El and Brainiac 5, or maybe Sun Boy, I don't recall; and most of the figures were done in a decidedly old-school style. Would they have been more successful in the style of Mike Grell or Dave Cockrum's art and costuming? At the very least, DC Direct probably should have done Wildfire and Dawnstar; they were a bit more striking than some of the others. Still, wish I had bought Mon-El... Read more!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Scanner Trouble Today...
I don't want to do a page a day, since that seems lazy, but we'll see. instead of nothing, we've got the first page of this week's homemade comic! I don't want to mention the title, since it'll become clear. Read more!
Slackassery: movie preview edition.

While I'm certainly not gung-ho to see it, and kind of wonder how and why the white warrior seems to become leader of the black tribe, 10,000 B.C. looks like a harmless enough popcorn movie. So, I'm not really making fun of it. And I'm not poking fun at my wife, but for some reason it came up today, probably after an ad, and she asked if Jim Caviezel was the lead. Jesus the Barbarian. Hell, that would be kind of cool.

Dogging this out while trying to get the computer up to speed. We'll see. Read more!

Friday, February 08, 2008

If you follow this blog regularly, you might have noticed I missed Monday this week, which I don't think I've done in quite some time. I think. I could look it up, but the streak is broken. Where was I? Blame Blog@Newsarama and Paper Robots 1999; I was downstairs from my computer having arts and crafts time.

Actually, I started it at work. Shh!

Usually, I have a set of colored pencils in my backpack for exactly this sort of thing, but I'm not sure where they got to. Instead, I had to use pens, which does make for that seventh-grade study hall dicking off aesthetic. I put the template on the thin cardboard of a Fed Ex envelope, which gave it a little more weight. I should've poked bigger holes in it, though.

After folding and gluing it, I started stringing the pieces together. I had some rubber bands from work, but they were the long, thick ones: too big. I ended up using fishing line, which I have in my toolbox for some reason, but it dawned on me what would've been perfect: twist ties. The twist ties I get with just about every action figure purchase. If I had started this before the trash had gone, I would've had more than enough from my purchases this weekend. Heck, the Jack Sparrow figure alone would've done it. I used to have a ball of twisties that I added to every time I bought another toy, and it was about the size of a softball. Had to get rid of it when I moved in with my future Wife. This is the second time in recent memory that the damn thing would've come in handy: a while ago, I needed to jury-rig Sugarpie's cage together since the door was falling off. (Spoiler: I'm not very handy.)

This took me frickin' ever. Admittedly, my evening was broken up a lot by dinner, playing with the kids, letting the dogs in and out, and watching TV; but I think my vague idea of trying to make, oh, say a couple dozen A.I.M. beekeepers to fight Captain America and the Thing; is an impossible dream. But the Oldest and I might try the Black Spider-Man one later: he was trying to make a Wolverine, then accidentally cut the chest piece in half and got frustrated, which I can hardly blame him for. We'll save up our twisties for it. Read more!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

We've long since established around here that I have virtually no filing system. But, sometimes the comics find themselves in just the right place at the right time.
I've done that at a poker game too, Beast!  Except, I was super, super drunk.  And did you know most household light fixtures can't support the weight of a grown man?
Flipping through a box, I first found Marvel Two-in-One #75, "By Blastaar--Betrayed!" Written by Tom DeFalco, art by Alan Kupperberg and Chic Stone. I grabbed it since it recently came up in the comments over at Comics Should Be Good's discussion of Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7. Which is better, but #75 isn't bad. And it got a great in-house ad, which still appears in the issue it advertises.
This was beneath a Stick 'em Up ad, a product for kids to get their parents to quit smoking, a message young Joey Q. took to heart, apparently.
Ben's excited to clear out the rest of the Fantastic Four, just in time for his latest poker game, this time with most of the current Avengers. Since Celebrity Poker hadn't yet sold anyone on the idea of a whole issue of cards-playing action, the game's interrupted by a distress call from the Negative Zone. ("Ben, can we please have the next game at the Mansion?")
What this says about Hawkeye or the Beast's tastes...I don't wanna know.
Some highlights include both Hawkeye and the Beast referring to Nyglar as "babe." Really, guys?

The betrayal mentioned in the title isn't Blastaar betraying Nyglar, but instead Annihilus. Blastaar sets up a partnership to retake his throne, but it was a doublecross: he had already reclaimed it, and laid a trap of "political prisoners...sentenced to death!" The prisoners are then slaughtered by Annihilus' forces, which leaves them in position to be killed themselves by Blastaar's real troops. I mention this because it's a pretty crafty plan for friggin' Blastaar, and because it was probably the first time as a kid that I heard the term "political prisoners." Weird.
Surely you noticed the mustache, though...that doesn't sound right either.
Short one repellor-jetpack for the trip home out of the Negative Zone, the Wasp "hitches a ride" on Iron Man's face. That didn't sound right...

Almost right next to this issue in a random box, was Wolverine Annual '99--now, that's the 1999 annual, not the 99th one, although maybe doing an annual for every year Wolvie's supposedly been alive would be something. I don't know, I bought this thing for Deadpool, who appears in the bland first story involving a poncy, Lestat-like writer who's really a werewolf.

But the backup story's where the action is, at another of Ben's poker games!
Considering his healing factor, this has to happen to Wolvie a lot.
We don't see much of it this time, since Wolvie gets sent on a beer run, that ends up with Hand ninjas summoning a dragon. Like most of Logan's beer runs. Much more fun than the main story. Plus, S.H.I.E.L.D. flying car!
So simple, even Wolvie can drive it!  He does have to move the seat way up, though.
Bite me, Logan, I love those things. Every year that one of these doesn't come out is another nail in the coffin of the American auto industry.

Weirdly, he only goes out for a sixer: I think if Ben, Fury, and possibly She-Hulk were drinking, they'd want some more. From "Beer Run" Written by Marc Andreyko, art by Massimiliano Frezzato. But, what's your favorite Thing poker game? I don't think I have all of them, but I can think of at least three others... Read more!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Deadpool and I, part two

The name for this week's comics was either inspired by the old Archie books that used to have names like "Betty and Me" and weren't really clear who the "Me" referred to; or it's sung to the tune of the Dennis Leary song, "Elvis and I." So yeah, really, there's no telling what I was thinking. As usual.

This one ended up split in two because of computer trouble, but it's longer than the Batgirl/Moon Knight one. I didn't think this was going to be more than four pages at the outside, but with all the snow, there was an opportunity...

That 'Fools Gold' movie sounded funny, until I saw who was in it.  Now, I'd rather see a Kirstie Alley/Jim Belushi flick.
To paraphrase Calvin, the tail is more than just a necktie for the ass.
I swear, it's like I never saw a silent panel I didn't like...
And at least part of Nightcrawler's line with the gun swipes from Homer Simpson, but really, isn't it hard not to?

Holy hell, I wrote this a long time ago. Or at least, started it. The punch line for day two was originally going to be Deadpool complaining that he wanted to watch Tuesday Night Book Club; a dreadful pseudo-reality show that got the ax after maybe two episodes, back in June 2006.

(My wife liked it, and was still mad about it getting yanked when I mentioned it the other day, which was weird, because I always thought that sort of hanging-on was strictly the province of the hardest of hardcore stereotypical nerds trying to get Manimal back on the air or something. I didn't think, I don't know, civilians, got upset because Courting Alex or Love Monkey didn't get a fair chance at finding viewers.)

(I've never seen Love Monkey. I just can't believe CBS thought people would watch a show with that title. A show that didn't have actual monkeys, anyway.)

Anyway...About Cable/Deadpool. For a long time, I didn't even have a Cable figure, even though I remember reading New Mutants way the hell back when he was introduced. And I don't even like the New Mutants. Any of them. Ever. OK, Wolfsbane could almost squeak by, because of her Excalibur and X-Factor tenures. And Rockslide could be the breakout from New X-Men; but otherwise I can't stand these new kids that have been foisted off on the readers as the greatest new X-character since Kitty Pryde, when most of them have been less memorable than Artie and Leech. (Artie and Leech are terrible, no question, but they are their terribleness. Terriblosity?)

Seriously, why is that? I've seen it pointed out that writers taking over Justice League or Avengers usually try to stick at least one new or unusual character in the lineup; either to differentiate their run on the book, or to wave the flag of a personal favorite character. (For the latter, think Firestorm or Spider-Woman.)

But in the X-Books, it's traditionally kids added, and almost invariably god-awful ones. Anybody remember Sammy the fish-boy fondly? Or Rusty? Or Husk or Icarus or any of those horrible Guthrie’s? It's like they were designed to make you think Jubilee really was cool...

We're extra off-topic today. Back to Cable. His back story is almost impregnable, but short form: he's the son of longtime X-Men Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey. As a baby, the evil mutant Apocalypse infects little baby Nathan with a techno-organic virus that would kill him, but instead he's taken to the future as a possible savior (OK...) cloned, which stabilizes his infection but his clone is stolen by the immortal Apocalypse and turned into the villain Stryfe (with you so far...) and then raised by the time-traveling consciousnesses of Cyclops and Jean Grey, who were brought there by the elderly Rachel Grey, their daughter from another timeline (I'm losing it...) then as a older man came back from the future to try and stop Apocalypse and Stryfe from rising to power. Mmm, that's good back story!

But what does any of that tell us about Cable, the person? Aside from that he probably has more abandonment issues than Batman, and that he's probably a bit of a hardass since in his timeline, he's been fighting longer than Sgt. Rock and Judge Dredd put together. I also remember a Liefeld picture of Cable in schoolmaster clothes: it was an incongruous image, but Cable had spent some amount of time in the 20th Century, including a period as a mercenary, which is a waste of time for someone with 40th Century technology and superpowers...So, I'm sure he had the whole man-out-of-time thing going for a while, or the "I'm a soldier for the future"/Kyle Reese bit too, but he's been around long enough in this time to get schoolmaster clothes and little glasses.

My point is while I have a vague recollection of Cable's history, I'll be dipped if I can tell you a single thing about Cable the guy. What's he like? Is he nice? A close talker? What's his favorite book? Can he cook? Nobody knows, because it takes too long to establish the other stuff to get to anything resembling character, and most of his fans are fine leaving it at that: a big guy with a metal arm and huge guns.

This is the long way of saying I didn't want Cable, a complicated back story for a character I didn't care about; mucking up Deadpool, whose history is almost as convoluted but is fun so it doesn't matter. But, and I'm pretty sure The X-Axis pointed this out to me before I realized it, the comedy of Deadpool works better if he has a straight man to play against. With Cable out, Deadpool's added Weasel, Bob the Hydra Agent, and a newly-obese Agent X; all mostly comedy relief. I don't have much of a metaphor here, but you don't make chocolate better by adding more chocolate to it, you add nuts or nougat or wafers or something to offset it. Damnit, now I want a candy bar.

I don't know how many issues of Cable's various solo books I have. I did buy a couple where he goes to the Microverse for no apparent reason, there's probably a crossover or two in there, and Nightcrawler guests for a just miserable dealing with grief issue. I don't mean miserable as in Cable and Nightcrawler are sad, I mean miserable that issue stinks like a furnace duct stuffed full of your kid's uneaten dinners. On the other hand, I think Ladronn did some good issues with Joe Casey, but I only have a couple there from the quarter boxes.

Fabian Nicieza almost made me care about Cable when he was writing the book, and I finally got a Cable figure in the Cable/Marvel Girl Wal-Mart set. For five bucks, I couldn't say no, although I think I snubbed the similarly priced Cannonball/Domino set. Cannonball sucks. Of course, now that I have Cable and Marvel Girl, I wish I had bought Bishop to complete my set of doom-saying cassandras from possible future X-Men timelines. Put them all in a room to see which future's the worst...and now I have to look for a cheap Bishop Marvel Legend. Well, great.
Read more!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Deadpool and I, part 1

I could see 'Pool having a thing for Maude Flanders. Rrrowr.

True.  Photoshop might as well be magic, as far as this old computer is concerned.
Wait, was 'Messiah CompleX' X-Men Disassembled, or is that coming?
SanctumSanctorumComics, start a blog already, and thanks!
Of course, since I originally wrote this, Hawkeye's slept with Wanda and stepped all over this joke...
The art's not bad in that issue, but the story is not great.
My scanner's running slow, so regular entries are falling behind. I will have a second part of this one up a little later, since it's at least done and loading.

Art on page 6 from the cover of Exiles #30 by Clayton Henry.

Oh, and the X-Men Disassembled “Nein! Nein! Nicht auf diese Weise! Nicht auf diese Weise!” joke on page 4 is blatently stolen from a comment on Comics Should Be Good, from SanctumSanctorumComix, who doesn't appear to have a blog but really, really should. Thanks! Read more!