Friday, October 29, 2010

Consider pledging, so I can get a Crys--I mean, 'Prince of Crystal' figure.

It's All True tipped me off to this: through, WorkingClassVillains are trying to raise funding for their first Backyard Legends figure, the Prince of Crystal. Any similarity to him, and a "second tier" figure line from the eighties is obviously intentional completely coincidental.
I read the comic, but I never even saw the original figures.
Shut up, man, don't queer the deal.

OK, we all know who this Prince is supposed to be, but can't call him that since the rights...aren't necessarily there. We'll call him a 'homage,' and anyway, the chances of a licensed revival like Masters of the Universe Classics? Not great. Like, behind Blackstar and C.O.P.S..

But, if WorkingClassVillains get this ball rolling, their next planned figure would (probably) be the Prince of Magma, the bad guy. And I'd probably get him, so I could have a version of this Michael Golden cover:
I read this book as a kid, but didn't have my own copy of this one forever.
I'm pledging now, and maybe, just maybe, if Backyard Legends takes off, down the line, we could get...
Shh! Keep it under your hat!
Yeah, OK, the amount of fans that would want a bootleg of this fellow, would make sneaking him under the radar tough going. Ah, but even a chance...!

Art this post from Bret Blevins, Michael Golden, and Steve Ditko; for books that may or may not still be owned by somebody or another...

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Build Your Own Bastards!

Articulated Discussion is currently down for repairs (come back soon, TAO!) but the ever-gracious Poe Ghostal gave the Bastards of the Universe a new home at his Points of Articulation! Homeless Bastards no more! And thanks again, Poe!

To celebrate, head over there, and enter the "Build your own Bastards" contest! Leave a comment with your own Bastards lineup, and one lucky winner will walk away with a loose Marvel Legends Beta Ray Bill, a carded Toy Story 3 Twitch, a carded Conan the Adventurer, and a loose and saddleless Battlecat! I mentioned over there, Warlord fans, you're out of luck: getting either a vintage Remco, or newer DC Direct...or even the new JLU one, for that matter...didn't cost out.

But, I'm throwing in a quarter-book copy of Warlord #4, from the Bruce Jones/Bart Sears relaunch. Spoiler warning: it's terrible.

Sears had gone with a sketchier, less-polished style; that I didn't care for as much as his earlier Justice League Europe work; but he wasn't the main problem. The storyline was the real killer, here.

Kind of a neat costume, though, even with the magic/techy "Sword of Truth" and Travis without his usual beard.

Tomorrow: hopefully, some info on a possibly forthcoming Bastard! Maybe.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A week or two back, I got the Star Wars Comic Pack "Lieutenant Jundland"/Deena Shan two-pack. (Check out for proper pictures.) For two bucks, since I haven't bought a ton of Star Wars figures recently, Jodo Kast notwithstanding.

"Lieutenant Jundland," of course, is Luke Skywalker in disguise; and Jundland may be a bit too cutesy of an alias, after the Jundland Wastes of his home planet Tatooine. So Luke's alias is basically a Star Wars version of his porn star name.

I don't know much about Deena Shan, since the included issue (a reprint of Star Wars: Empire #39, "The Wrong Side of the War, part four of five") was maybe the first or second I've read with her. Per, she's pretty much the new Battlestar: Galactica's Starbuck, Katee Sackhoff, in Star Wars, and why not?

Oddly enough, shortly after writing this, I got a used trade with this story, Star Wars: Empire, volume seven. (For cheaper than the cost of an issue!) It's not bad, even if it's very much midway though it's story, it's Star Wars, so you'll pick it up. There's an issue of Darth Vader being a dick to his men, but with a reason; then all of "The Wrong Side of the War." Reminded me a little of the old, Marvel UK serial "World of Fire," in that there are some Imperial officers that are still reasonable people with recognizable human emotions, that still side with the Empire. And still a lot of bastard Imperials that need to get shot.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New strip tomorrow, but right this second I'm watching the Happening on cable. Man, I know it's going to suck, ever so much, but like a trainwreck I gotta finally watch it. If I'm sleepy and feel robbed tomorrow, well, you'll know why. Crap, and an ad for the Strangers, too. FX is coming through with movies I never wanted to pay cash for... Read more!

I didn't think I had any Jemm, Son of Saturn comics, but I found issue #4 in my Superman box, since it guest-stars, well, duh. My impression of this series, without having read much of it or really remembering this issue, is that it was more or less "E.T. in the DC Universe," and maybe.

Young orphan Luther Mannikin and his newly found alien friend Jemm are taken in by street person Crazy Freddie, who looks like he's going to molest the hell out of both of them. No, Freddie is just collecting children for his band of pickpockets, which seems positively wholesome now. While Jemm and Luther play jacks, rogue C.I.A. agent Dade and Superman track them down: Dade because he lost his fiance and forty soldiers to aliens (who were robots that didn't look anything like Jemm) and Superman's trying to see what's up with all this Saturnian talk, since he knows there's no life there. (This might be pre-Crisis, so Supes might be able to see it from there.)

Superman is able to knock out Jemm, and Dade then attempts to execute him with a stolen C.I.A. superweapon called the "Krypt-Kicker." Supes stops him, pointing out that he's an alien himself, unwisely. The xenophobic Dade shoots him, but before he can finish Jemm, the robots that previously faced him return, capturing Jemm, and killing Dade. Supes regains consciousness, knowing he dropped the ball; and Jemm and Luther now face...a White Saturnian, Synn.

There's also a subplot, barely, with the little girl offering Jemm a flower up there. She's psychic, and is introduced and dies over the course of this issue. Not great, and it reminds me of E.T. for some reason too.

I know I've read more of his Marvel work, like Daredevil and Tomb of Dracula; but Gene Colan did a batch of DC as well, didn't he? I know I have a good chunk of his Detective Comics and Nathaniel Dusk. Odd that I've only one issue of this, though: "The Hunting" Written by Greg Potter, art by Colan and Klaus Janson.

Short one today, since I had to do some cleaning, and watch the Cowboys game, which is so frustrating it makes me want to cut myself. Not really. Maybe.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Rainbow connection? No, Deadman connection.

It's funny, but I figure the vast majority of Batman fans probably would name a Neal Adams or Jim Aparo (or god forbid, a Jim Lee) as the artist they most associate with Bats. And for me, it's straight-up Norm Breyfogle or today's pick: Kelley Jones. From Batman #530, "The Deadman Connection, part one: Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon." Written by Doug Moench, pencils by Kelley Jones, inks by John Beatty.

I wasn't going to do a full write-up on this issue, but I love Jones' crazy-long bat ears on Batman. It's artistic license, but the ears are longer than Batman's skull in some panels, and the cover for #530...hey! There were two covers for #530-532, since there were glow-in-the-dark versions as well, different than the others! (Presumably, direct sales had the gimmick, while newsstands got a separate, plain cover; although comic shops may have stocked both.) Let's slap that into the scanner and see how it turns out:

Hmm, not bad. My copies were in a box, so they aren't especially glowy right now, although that wouldn't show on a scan anyway.

Jones had previously done a Deadman prestige format two-issue series with Mike Baron; and I believe he was the first to draw the ghost as a dead man: instead of looking like a fit acrobat in a silly suit, Boston now looks like a desiccated a silly suit. Batman even mentions it, although he's almost tactful about it: this issue, Moench takes a couple of liberties with Deadman. He appears as a ghost to Batman, by virtue of concentrating really hard; previously, Deadman was always invisible. Also, Deadman possesses a corpse for much of this storyline, something I don't think he's done before or since. (It doesn't matter, now that he's 'Aliveman' in Brightest Day...)

Back to Batman's ears for a second:
Geez, don't choke up on that club there...
They're...floppy? That's something you don't see every day...
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Friday, October 22, 2010

(EDIT: Just noticed Beta Ray Bill has the wrong number of fingers in that panel.)

We mentioned "Blood and Thunder a while back; the nine-part crossover between Thor, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, the Warlock Chronicles, and Silver Surfer. (Another EDIT: It was a thirteen-part crossover! Probably could've been done in nine...) I too had forgotten there was a time when Marvel thought the market would support two Warlock books: I don't think they were bad necessarily, but still. Anyway, Silver Surfer happened to be the only one of the lot I was reading at the time, so I ended up with parts two and six, and it would be years before I randomly happened to pick up any of the other issues. So, today we're looking at "Friends and Foes" from Silver Surfer #86, written by Ron Marz, guest pencils by Andy Smith, inks by Bill Anderson.

Beta Ray Bill had told the Surfer than Thor had gone mad, but he doesn't really believe it until he finds Thor beating the stuffing out of Bill. Intervening, the Surfer and Bill knock Thor down for a moment, and Bill explains Thor must have "the Warrior's Madness." Or Asgardian Alzheimer's. Even though Thor's obviously crazy as hell, Bill doesn't want to let the cat out of the bag to Odin, since Thor would then be banished from Asgard. Which doesn't seem like the best care plan...maybe not the worst, either, though.

They watch Thor talk to his imaginary girlfriend, the Valkyrie. (In black, not the one we know from the Defenders and such.) She stands by her man, encouraging Thor to kill the betrayers, and he gets his second wind. Bill takes a shot meant for the Surfer and is knocked out, and the Surfer is forced to fight without his board, as he uses it to try and get Bill clear of the battle. Sif takes Bill to safety (and is inexplicably brown-haired here, as opposed to her usual black; and is wearing another terrible costume...) and the Surfer is able to fight back, but takes a smashing blow.

Before Thor can finish him, he is faced with Adam Warlock and Pip the Troll. Pip has a cowboy hat and western outfit, for some reason.

While it's basically a chapter in the story, it's not as bad as I had thought it was going to be; although the Surfer doesn't really get a lot to do. And it pales in comparison to to the classic Stan Lee and John Buscema Surfer/Thor battle in Silver Surfer #4. Well, tough not to, there. Drat, I had another Andy Smith/Silver Surfer issue I was going to look at, but haven't got back yet. It'll keep.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kevin Maguire should never do a 'Got Milk?' ad. EVER.

I still have a few issues of Acclaim Comics Trinity Angels, although I never did get the whole series. Sometimes, a book comes out at just the wrong time: aside from Acclaim's forthcoming collapse as a company, the series debuted in 1997, and was about three sisters who are brought together again by magic, as they are the only line of defense between humanity and some messed-up monsters, like Mad Cow there. So, it was Charmed, with more super-hero elements and more outre monsters, a good year before that series premiered.

Creator Kevin Maguire, of Justice League International and other stuff, drew the first five or so issues, before falling behind and ending up just writing and doing covers for the last seven. Interestingly, the Barbella sisters had more individualized (and slightly more revealing) the first few issues; but Maguire soon realized they were a nightmare to draw on a repeated basis. And in the first issue, they wake up in a forest and don't recognize each other, since they look different as the Angels.

Scans from Trinity Angels #9, "Fearful Reunion!" written by Kevin Maguire, pencils by Robert Walker and Jamal Igle, inks by Miehm, Adams, McKenna, and Almond; and #1, written and penciled by Maguire and inked by Dan Panosian. If you see issue #12 in a quarter box...
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"That Yellow Batman."

While at KMart for this figure, a little boy was trying to talk his mom into getting a Batman figure, this one; and she had no idea why he had a yellow outfit. He still may've convinced her...

I wouldn't have planned on picking up the DCUC Sinestro Corps Batman, but with a coupon, and to get another piece towards Validus, I went in for him. I believe artist Ethan Van Sciver only drew a couple of panels for a scene where a Sinestro Corps yellow power ring, tries to make Batman a member; and Batman isn't having it. It's a cool moment, but it's barely a blink, yet it gets an action figure. (I was also almost positive someone else had done the joke in the third panel, but went on.)

And slapping this little strip together, I thought, maybe DC should've milked this one a little longer. It might've worked, if they didn't mind overriding Grant Morrison's work on Batman, and I don't know how many fans would've had a problem with Bruce wearing a power ring for six months or so. The plot pretty much writes itself, and would probably shoehorn into the larger Green Lantern storyline:

Instead of rejecting the yellow ring outright, Batman takes it, so he can find out what's going on. Upon arriving for 'training,' Sinestro recognizes him, and knows he won't be able to break or convert him for his new Corps; so he tries to take back the ring. Barely escaping, Batman gets back to Oa; followed closely by the full force of the Sinestro Corps.

After the Sinestro War, Batman not only has a yellow ring, but a few stragglers from the Sinestro Corps that have shifted their loyalties to him. Deciding the best thing for his new 'Batman Corps' would be work, he puts them to the task of cleaning up Gotham City, with mixed results. They barely grasp earth law, they're overzealous in bringing in criminals, and bringing in alien enforcers makes Gotham's criminals up the ante by calling up their own allies...(I haven't read it, but that idea may be stolen from Planet Hulk.)

Eventually, Batman realizes that the yellow ring isn't the problem, it's the fear: by embracing the power, he's become all about instilling fear and nothing else. After another big crossover or whatever, Batman accepts fear as a tool, but not the only tool in his arsenal, and becomes more of a hero than an avenger, at the cost of being able to use the ring. Some of his Corps also reject fear, and go home, while others stay bad. Back in black, Bruce becomes a traditional Batman again.

It would be fun to play with Sinestro Batman for a while, even if it would be pretty obviously not intended to be a permanent change for the character. Again, there's probably no way DC would be able to do it--Marvel might be able to do something like Franken-Castle for a while, but they also had the more traditional PunisherMax going at the same time, and even at the height of his popularity, the Punisher is no Batman.

Hmm. There's been a metric ton of Blackest Night figures, yet Wonder Woman's new costume hasn't even had a figure solicited yet. Not a good sign...and where the hell is the Justice League's headquarters now? I haven't read an issue in a month of Sundays.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"He's big. He's green. He looks like Gumby. Let's leave him alone."

That short, succinct description of everyone's favorite Martian, J'onn J'onzz, is from Justice League America #38, nearing the high-water point of the 'bwah-ha-ha!' days of Giffen and DeMatteis. But whether you're a fan of that, the Grant Morrison "Magnificent 7" JLA, or the cartoon, the Martian Manhunter has been a mainstay of the Justice League for years. Which just makes it weirder that it took Mattel fifteen waves to get J'onn a figure.

There have been some quality control concerns: apparently, there are different biceps used for J'onn, so you could get a buffer or wimpier figure, depending. Mine seems fine. There are also variants, with a different shape-changed slicing hand or head sculpt. (Check out It's All True and their review!) Hmm, I thought you could get the alternate head with normal hands as well, but between that and the biceps, there's going to be a lot of variation there.

Yeah, J'onn had to wait until a wave with Starman and Jemm, Son of Saturn. Still, who would've expected either of those two (or OMAC, for that matter) in a line sold in stores, not comic book shops? Shortly after picking up J'onn, I found over at the Fwoosh (in the DCUC Series 15 discussion thread) a coupon for $5 off toys at KMart, and that twisted my arm enough to get the classic Starman and Jemm. I haven't seen the modern, Jack Knight Starman, or Raven yet; which means I'm still a piece short of completing the Collect-and-Connect figure Validus.

But I did get one more figure, that we'll see in tomorrow's strip!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Today: Conan vs. indoor plumbing.

From Marvel's Conan the Barbarian #215, "Death Pit" Written (and plot) by Charles Santino, pencils (and plot) by Val Semeiks, inks by Alfredo Alcala. On a little desert excursion, Conan heads for a well-known oasis called the Well of Aqaba; only to find it's been overrun by the Turanian empire. To control the area, the Turanians built a huge underground wheel, to block the water and control the oasis. An engineering marvel, except it only works because of the hordes of slaves forced to push it all day. The Turanians try to enslave Conan, with typical results:

Conan fights his way to freedom, and destroys the hell out of the Wheel of Tears for good measure; ensuring people of the Hyperborean Age would continue doing their business outside. And Mighty Agrippa wept...

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Friday, October 15, 2010

"For this is the new retcon of OMAC!"

Since I mentioned it yesterday, here's some post-Kirby, Jim Starlin OMAC, from Warlord #37, "For This is the New Origin of OMAC!" (Inks by Joe Rubinstein.)

As a horde of armed rebels try to break into the computer center where OMAC is barricaded, he plays a tape given to him by a Global Peace Agent: on the alien world Vision, a highly advanced society tried to preserve civilization in the universe, "preferably by indirect scientific means!" One of their best scientists, Prof. Z, studies earth and sees that it's on the path to "a great disaster for mankind." Over Z's disagreement, the aliens tried to bring peace to earth in the hopes that the disaster could be avoided, eventually moving among humanity disguised with the faceless masks of the Global Peace Agency. Z, becoming insane, still claimed they would fail, so the aliens gave a human scientist the means to create a super-soldier.

"Inconsequential youth" Buddy Blank was then erased from existence, creating space for the creation of OMAC, who would go on to fight dozens of menaces. But, the alien continues, Dr. Z escaped, having left behind a new series of predictions; mainly the last Kirby issue of OMAC: facing the insane Dr. Skuba, OMAC's orbiting backup satellite Brother Eye would be encased in meteor rocks, its power vastly diminished. OMAC himself would be briefly returned to Buddy Blank, before defeating Skuba; only to then be surrounded by the combined forces of seven major corporate powers. The corporations turn on OMAC, the Global Peace Agency, and the rest of the world in general; and the GPA en masse is murdered, save for one agent who lives long enough to give OMAC the tape he now watches.

The alien sums up, per Z's predictions, that mankind is now pretty much doomed: to maintain their wartime economy, the corporate powers will shortly turn on each other. "Peace--causing reduced output and profit, is something they find intolerable!" Pointing out a spare uniform set aside for him, the alien advises OMAC to either find or become the strong leader needed to unite earth in peace. The planet Vision though, has done all it can, and is now just going to wait and see what happens. OMAC isn't impressed.

Now facing a horde of mercenaries, OMAC turns...and surrenders. The next issue promises "Wiley Quixote!" and I suspect Starlin was going to bring a bit of the satire he would also use in Warlock. The alien looks very Starlin as well, with the ears and compound eyes, but still, Prof. Z? Sounds like a Mega Man character. That was also a helluva lot of recap for an eight-page feature, but I think Starlin may have wanted to recap Kirby's work before starting his own. And maybe this was where Kirby was going to go with it, I don't know.

Next week: the other DCUC 15 figure I picked up! Other stuff! See you then, and have a good weekend!
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Are you ready for the world that's coming?"

Isn't the whole point of Jack Kirby's OMAC, that the answer to that question is, "No!"

Just got the brand spanking new DC Universe Classics OMAC figure, one I had been planning on getting since I heard about it. And now...I'm not quite sure how I feel about OMAC the figure, since I'm not quite sure how I feel about OMAC the character. We're going to knock out a little look at both, although I'll have to go back and check out his comics later.

I haven't read all of Kirby's OMAC issues...I don't think. I think I have Paul Pope's cover version of OMAC #1 from Solo #3, and I have to look around for the digest reprint of DC Comics Presents #61, "The Once-and-Future War!" But I know I read some of Jim Starlin's early stuff on OMAC, originally intended as a back-up feature in Kamandi, then being added to Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 before it finally saw print in Warlord #37. I mention it, because I think there was a retcon to his origin, that shows up here in the Biography.

In the late 21st century, a group of aliens engineered the construction of a powerful satellite called Brother Eye in order to avert a great disaster threatening earth. The satellite targeted an unsuspecting stock boy named Buddy Blank. He became the One Man Army Corps, or OMAC. After years of battling any and all threats, Buddy took refuge in a forgotten underground military installation and raised his grandson in isolation from the horrors roaming the terrain above.

That crotch is kind of terrible. That bio ties a lot of things together, but I hate it. The retcon I mentioned, is that I don't think Brother Eye was built by aliens in Kirby's stories. Maybe it was, or maybe Kirby would've revealed that later...but I don't believe so.

I've also always wondered: did Buddy Blank become OMAC, like Steve Rogers becoming Captain America, or Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel? Or...I suspect OMAC is a separate entity, overwriting Buddy Blank like taping over a movie? Blank is described as nondescript, almost a non-entity, so it's hard to say if anything of what he was carried over into OMAC. If there was anything there from the start.

And while OMAC may have 'battled any and all threats,' he lost in the end: the 'great disaster' mentioned there, that Brother Eye and OMAC were created to stop, was the Great Disaster of Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. (I'm looking forward to Kamandi's upcoming figure as well, but we'll see if I'm as conflicted then!) Blank's grandson, who took a name from the military installation he grew up in: Command-D. So, a good chunk of the biography, is about OMAC's inevitable failure. (Also, since Buddy Blank didn't seem like he had a wife or girlfriend or anything, so he had kids after he became OMAC? That, or Buddy liked hookers, OK?)

For me, even though I didn't read them regularly as a kid, OMAC and Kamandi fell into the same spectrum as Planet of the Apes, the Road Warrior...or the Day After: the end of the world was coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it was coming. And there wasn't a damn thing you, or OMAC, or Charlton Heston, or anyone could do to stop it. Kind of a fatalist futurism, then. Maybe that's why I feel so weird about this figure, then. Like, "yay, we're boned!" DC Comics had around that time, just pre-Crisis, at least three possible future apocalypses set between around now and the Legion of Super-Heroes 30th century: Kirby's, and separate ones seen in Hex and Warlord. Which just made things even more depressing: even Superman couldn't stop the Great Disaster...

Ah, the figure itself. The ankles aren't the rocker-type you usually get from DCUC: they just have a basic hinge. (EDIT: Rocker-type ankles? When? Was I thinking Marvel Legends? Sorry! At any rate, there isn't any side-to-side movement on the ankles.) Both OMAC's hands are fists, and seem...slightly small. My figure has a loose left bicep, which may be the first major quality issue I've had with this line.

The orange pants are accurate, but...I'm not sure they were absolutely necessary. Likewise, OMAC isn't quite as thick as he probably could be, but the line only has so many bucks...I don't know if there was another body type that would've worked better, though.

That face doesn't scream Kirby to me. I have a vague feeling that it's maybe, maybe, based on George Perez's version from DC Comics Presents #61, but keep in mind I'm saying that without getting that issue out yet. Could be way off, is all I'm saying...And maybe a yelling face, or a more angry one, would've been stronger than this overly neutral OMAC.

Also, for a change, the button? Looking good! And a Validus arm, that'll be swell if and when I buy the whole lot of other figures. Still, it would've been something to get a Build-a-Friend accessory, wouldn't it? Ah, that would've freaked out the squares...

The packaging has an "Only at K-Mart" sticker, although I do believe this wave is available online as well. (Fortunately, a K-Mart is within spitting distance of my place.) Overall, I'm glad to have OMAC, since he's a new character for the ever-growing lineup, and one that's never had a proper action figure before. (How he was overlooked all this time by DC Direct, I couldn't tell you.) I may have to re-read some Kirby OMAC stories, and focus less on the terribleness of "the world that's coming!" and more on the awesomeness of OMAC punching the hell out of things.

I did pick up one more from DCUC Wave 15, but haven't opened him yet! Soon.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not everyone gets a super-suit made out of their baby blankets, Clark.

What the hell is that green Batman? There's a spiky piton like thing on his foot, and a claw thing on one hand, and are those carabiners on his uniform? Then there's the shoulder-mounted...thing. What is that? A laser, like in Predator? Camera? Light? My immediate thought was, he's "Get lost in the backyard and chopped up by lawnmower" Batman. From a yard sale, where he was grabbed with a fistful of other toys.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'd be OK with Frank's next project being Space Boy.

Frank Miller style action from Futurama Comics #15, "Fry Me to the Moon!" Written by Eric Rogers, pencils by John DeLaney, inks by Phyllis Novin.

Comic-Con would turn up in the animated series episode Lrreconcilable Ndndifferences, but it was too good an idea not to use in the comics. Fry gets Frank Miller's head to sign his copy of Space Boy in Outer Space, then gets word of auditions for Space Boy: the Movie. As usual, things don't go as planned.

With Calculon as one of the villains of the film, Bender tries to muscle his way in as Fry's agent. As usual, things don't go as planned. Maybe a little worse than that...

Damnit, I just bought Futurama #50, and a recent issue of the Simpsons Comics, at the grocery store the other day; since the Youngest watched a ton of Futurama and insisted on calling me Bender for a couple of days. Not sure where that kid put them, though. Ah, they'll turn up.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Well, that's one aspect of Batman and Commissioner Gordon's relationship:

Namely, outright dickery. From Batman #265, "Batman's Greatest Failure!" Written by Mike Fleisher, pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Berni Wrightson.

This month, Bruce Wayne tries to turn Gotham City into Hollywood, or at least Toronto, by funding a movie. And when a stunt goes bad and the star actor gets his face blown off, he seeks everyone else injured in an accident in Gotham City. The actor actually kills a couple of people, or at least it looks like he did: Batman knew what he was going to try, and staged the murders so no one got hurt. Like three times, until he could catch the actor, who conveniently dies in a fire. Yeah, not a great issue, but there's at least this Batman/Commissioner Gordon scene, where Batman just seems like an ass. Always ducking out on Gordon would be rude enough, but here Bats steps it up.

Of course, Gordon also doesn't come off well in this one: as the "murders" go on, Gordon threatens to take Batman off the case. But Bats is a vigilante that doesn't work for him. Ah, my head hurts.
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Friday, October 08, 2010

This week: Conan, random figures, and oh god no!

Man, it would suck to get killed by Young Conan. For one thing, it would have to be less efficient. Grown-up Conan swipes once, and lops you in twain; Young Conan probably has to stab you multiple times. Suck.

Since I mentioned it the other day, and found this issue in the quarter bins last weekend; here's a little bit from Ron Lim's run on Marvel's Conan the Barbarian. This was his second issue, #233, and Conan is but a baby at the start of the issue, and well on his way into surly teenhood by the end.

I remember reading these back in 1990, and I'm not sure how long I stayed with it; since at the time I didn't see the pressing need to reboot Conan. Especially since I had only recently read a ton of old, reprinted stuff in Conan Saga. I had just seen young Conan, I didn't need to run through that again. And Lim's art was a change, perhaps a bit too clean for this may have needed more grit? I say that, but I still liked his work; and his version of Conan's mom? Demure, but hot. And now you're thinking of Conan's mom, and my work here is complete.

Haven't been to the comic shop yet this week: raining today, which seemed like a perfectly good reason to stay in and cook my delicious/terrible teriyaki beef/chicken/tofu thing. (Who buys two kinds of meat and tofu? Me, and um, me, I guess.) I had the pineapple and water chestnuts, and the meat good and soaked, but should've gone all in and done white and brown rice. I usually make enough to last a couple of days, and love it, but it's like eating a salt lick. Hell, I'm thirsty now...just a second.

From the previously aforementioned quarter bin, I got an issue of...I'm going to say Batman Presents: Flash from Editorial Novaro. Like #1266. I'm afraid I don't speak even a lick of Spanish, but it's an oddly-sized reprint of Flash #318, "The Killer who Wiped Central City Clean!" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Carmine Infantino, and inks by Dennis Jensen. Oddly, I think this is continuing a plotline from #314, which I actually think I have somewhere. There's also a short Batman story, "Tiempo Caliente en Ciudad Gotica" which would be..."Hot Time in Gotham City"? Maybe I do have a lick of Spanish. A Mike Friedrich, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano story; Batman saves a kid from a fire, then throws a statue out a window. I may have missed something in there...

In other news, an oddball week for toys: besides the aforementioned Trakk, I got NECA's Ninja Gaiden Ryu Hayabusa. His right shoulder pops off, which is a bit disappointing for a new, out of the box figure; but it pops right back on. Not a bad figure, with a good batch of articulation: I haven't played the recent version of the game, but I did beat the old NES one, all those years ago...I seem to recall my thumbs actually bleeding, at one point.

And we've got a used Ringwraith, and a Peter Pan figure. I recall seeing those in ToyFare and the old Disney Stores some time ago. Part of a heroic boy's line, with Cap'n Hook, Hercules, and Prince Philip. I don't know why Peter has a light-up feature...or why he's going to eat my soul, for that matter:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahgodno Anyway, have a good weekend, and if I disappear...try and find Peter Pan.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

No funny songs about this Lifeform...

I was all set to get back to comics, then this particular issue wasn't where I thought it was. Some digging later, and here we are, with Silver Surfer Annual #3, part four of four in the "Lifeform" annual crossover. We've mentioned the Punisher and Hulk chapters in passing, but only barely, and I'm not entirely sure I've read the Daredevil one.

But this issue still manages to fit neatly in with the Silver Surfer's current plotline: the Surfer had just faced Thanos in a final battle, and accidentally killed him. (Not really: this was just prior to Thanos Quest, where the mad Eternal would gather the Infinity Gems, and he needed the Surfer off his back for the moment.) The Surfer returns to earth, which today he was viewing as revisiting his old cell, to tell Captain America about Thanos' demise. It may not have hurt, that artist Ron Lim had a pretty good run on Cap's book about that time as well.

Meanwhile, the titular Lifeform, having continued to mutate since the host was first exposed, takes mercy on another infected and kills him. And then goes nuts. Perpetually hungry, the monster absorbs any life it can get its tentacles on.

At nearby Four Freedoms Plaza, Reed Richards gets a call from Nick Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. had been keeping tabs on the creature, but just lost contact with the hospital. Mildly irritated, Reed sets out to check it out, and is just starting to realize how bad the situation is when the Surfer joins him. By this point, the monster has gotten into the river, and cleans it of life in short order.

This is one story that you'd want Reed to have brought the rest of the FF, so the Human Torch could kill that thing with fire...

The Lifeform regenerates too fast for the Surfer to damage it without him unleashing enough power to level New York, so he's left with a less pleasant alternative: letting the creature engulf him, the Surfer lifts the creature into space, protected from digestion by his silver skin. Dumping the monster on a planet destroyed by Galactus (it's a quick couple of pages, but you aren't quite sure how long that took) the Surfer plans on destroying it, when it speaks. The original host, George Prufrock, is still in there, still alive, but trapped. Unable to control the creature, or stop it from feeding; Prufrock begs for death.

But the Surfer can not. Even though he just copped to Thanos' death, he couldn't bear even a mercy killing. Prufrock screams that the creature will never die, even there, and he will be trapped for eternity, and the Silver Surfer can only leave him. (This may change from time to time and creative team to creative team, but at this point he was pretty militant about his pacifism.)

A somewhat brutal tale, both made somewhat more and less so by Lim's art: I wouldn't expect a monstrous thing like that from him, which kind of makes it worse for me. I've mentioned before, I love Lim's art, and for a while there he was doing a ton of books. Without having anything to back this up, he always seemed like he delivered clear, solid work, on time. Something to be said for that. "Lifeform-- Termination?" Written by Jim Starlin and Ron Marz, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Tom Christopher. Read more!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bit of a Review: G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Dusty and Recondo!

Full disclosure: I'm not a full-time G.I. Joe collector; more of an opportunist. If I found them on-sale or marked down, I'd be more than happy to pick them up, but these two I got brand-new: Rise of Cobra Dusty and Recondo.

Now, again, maybe an actual card-carrying Joe fan could back me up on this, but I would guess while the movie figures were at least fairly successful, there were also a helluva lot of them on the pegs. Most of you could probably still find them in some stores in your neighborhood with a minimum of searching, right? And sometimes, even if they sold through once, if a store's stuck with a pile of unsold figures, they don't order the new ones, even if those would sell quickly. So, it feels like in answer to a question no one but me may be asking, Hasbro brought some A-game to this wave.

These two, like most of the Pursuit of Cobra figures so far, are just sick with accessories. (Check out the Jungle Viper over at or Chase Variant's coverage of Spirit and Duke!) Comparing these to other 3 3/4" figures, like Marvel Universe or DC Infinite Heroes, is just unfair: usually, at best those other figures come with one accessory, perhaps a base or a card. They may as well be empty blister packs. (The only recent figures, off the top of my head, that had anywhere near comparable amounts of accessories, were Playmates Star Trek figures, with their bridge pieces, phasers, and belts. Nevermind the whole lot never came out to complete the bridge, and that the figures themselves were kind of terrible...)

Dusty comes with a removable helmet with separate goggles, two guns, a roll of barbed wire, a base, and an alternate head. And a removable scarf-thing, with a cloth cape. That opens up a lot of display options, even if the alternate head to me looks like Dusty's going out paintballing this weekend, but you could easily pick up a couple and deck them out differently to fill out your Joes' ranks.

And is it me, or does Dusty look like Robert Patrick?

But Dusty's virtually short-changed on the accessory front compared to jungle survival expert Recondo, who comes with more gear than he can carry. Removable hat, two rifles, two axes, two bear-trap things, a backpack with solar panels (to power the radio? Seems heavier and more cumbersome than batteries, but whatever) and a retractable line, the weird tribal mask he's wearing in the picture above, a removable vest, and a base.

And yet, that's still not Recondo's main selling point: he bears a striking resemblance to former governor Jesse Ventura circa his role as Blain Cooper in Predator. Hardcore Joe and Predator fans could doubtless help you find an in-scale M134 minigun for him, and I'm keeping a beady eye open for a loose Kenner Predator figure from the 90's, since that would maybe be about in scale to fight some Joes. One small downside to Recondo, though: his head doesn't quite have a full range of motion, and he doesn't seem to be able to look up very well.

Great figures, out now, and Recondo appears to be moving quickly...based on what little observation I've done. Get some now!
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