Friday, March 29, 2013

A blocking trick unique to comics there:

In the recent B.P.R.D. #1948 #3, Professor Bruttenholm goes out to dinner with a young nuclear physicist, Dr. Anna Rieu. The two seem to be a great match at first, but it soon becomes apparent that it's not going to work between them; especially when she freaks out a bit that Bruttenholm is raising the young Hellboy. You'd think being a single, working dad would be more of a draw...

But, he does show her the picture from Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1, which we've seen a few times before. This time, the Torch of Liberty is partially obscured by the word balloon there. Created by John Byrne, the Torch is sort-of in and sort-of out of Hellboy continuity. I wouldn't mind if the Torch showed up in the WWII-set Sledgehammer 44, but I don't think he will.
Read more!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hmm. I don't think I've seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly since Clint Eastwood's chair speech at the RNC. I wish I could say that was coincidence...

While I don't consider myself a huge western fan, there have been several I've enjoyed over the years, both in movies and in comics. Somewhat surprisingly in comics, since with the exception of Jonah Hex, they're rather few and far between anymore. The last ones I remember paying for were DC's most recent run of Bat Lash, some Vertigo limiteds like El Diablo or Weird Western Tales, and Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever. (Most of the westerns I like aren't completely western...)

The other day at Hastings (between two locations, if I'm honest) I found almost the entire run of Dynamite Entertainment's 2009 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly series; all but issue #2. I knew of the book, but couldn't positively say I ever saw it on the racks. There was a Man With No Name series as well, but that one I don't think I remembered until seeing the ad for the trade paperback on the back of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly #8. I did a little research to try and find sales numbers, but couldn't; which makes me wonder if sales were below 5,000 copies. (Or 7,000? I don't know if the Beat was doing the indie sales chart back in 2009.)

As far as the actual comics, they aren't bad: Chuck Dixon is always good for a page-turner, and the first arc is a bit of fun, with art by Esteve Polls. There's no Angel Eyes or Tuco in these stories, but there's plenty of Bad and Ugly to go around. Blondie is on the trail of another bounty, train robber Miles Devereaux, but Devereaux overhears the details about a train full of gold looted by renegade French Legionnaires. And a one-handed bounty hunter is following them all, to see who comes out with the money...

They're not reinventing the wheel, but good enough. I had the same weird question reading these that I sometimes do reading Conan comics: if Blondie cashes in on the bounty, shouldn't he be rich enough not to have to chase them anymore? I sometimes suspect he makes a fortune then blows through it just as quickly.

Read more!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is what happens when you only have one New 52 costumed figure...

"Who died? EVERYONE."

I wasn't even thinking of Damian on this one, more Bruce's over-sensitivity to the deaths of his parents and whatnot. And it's fun for Hal to pay for shooting his mouth off.

Read more!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My cup doesn't have a Batman logo, but is the size of a small bucket...

Longtime readers may know I'm a coffee drinker. Not so much a connoisseur, since I will drink just about whatever coffee convenient, either black or with tabasco or whatever's handy. And I have to drink a pot a day, or my head will implode. Which it did Monday, when my coffee pot at work burned out and I couldn't have a cup all morning. First I was sluggish and crabby, then it was like a hangover, then like...some unpleasant third thing that I can't think of since my skull hurts. Think "Scanners."

Since I drink a pot over the course of my shift, I tend to go through coffee makers the way other people go through shoes. Usually, the burner gives out, since apparently they aren't designed to be on for six hours a stretch. Bastards! It always strikes me as wasteful, throwing out a coffee maker, since if I had a soldering iron, some rudimentary electrical knowledge, and a wanton disregard for fire safety, I could probably get it going again. So, now I'm going to try something new: my sister gave me a carafe-thing a Christmas or two ago, and what I'll do is make the coffee and pour it in that. And then maybe have to race to chug it down before it gets cold. A friend at work got me a Green Lantern coffee cup that's surprisingly large, and makes for quicker drinking; but thus has a tendency to get too cool if left be: I had a cup the other day that somewhat implausibly bucked the laws of thermodynamics and was far colder than room temperature.

Panels from 1990's Excalibur #29, "Dream a Little Dream" Written by Michael Higgins (with a plot assist from Seth Kruchkow) pencils by Chris Wozniak, inks by Josef Rubinstein. It's a crossover with Power Pack, except their encounter with Nightmare is written off as just a dream. Still, more interesting than reading about my coffee drinking habits...hey!
Read more!

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Durable Good."

So, two Fridays back I mentioned still looking for the Marvel Legends Hyperion. Then I got him that very afternoon, along with Red She-Hulk and Protector, who we'll see later.

All three figures are pretty solid, with a couple little issues. Hyperion's upper cape clasp is a separate piece, that maybe should lie more flush. Protector has great range of motion but the same hands as Fantomex; they aren't great. And I hate his reused guns. Red She-Hulk is amazing looking, but are her hands disproportionately tiny? Minor nitpicks mostly, not deal-breakers.
Read more!

Friday, March 22, 2013

OK, This Week's Comics:

Just a couple quick bits this time around: the Youngest came with me to the Comic Book Shop and got the new issue of Adventure Time then talked me into getting him an issue of Bravest Warriors. He was pretty enthusiastic about it, probably moreso than I was about my batch of books.

I did like B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #105. (Some of these books aren't in the GCD yet!) It's a book that plays the long game: plot threads can lie seemingly forgotten for some time, but they rarely are. This month: The comatose Abe Sapien wakes up and wanders off! Someone covers for him! The grotesque Director Iosif of the Russian Occult Bureau airlifts into a monster-infested warzone, but isn't there for the evacuation...B.P.R.D. is rarely a bad read, but is often more satisfying with a few issues at once than one at a time. But I would miss the cliffhangers if I trade-waited!

I haven't written up the last couple of Dark Horse Presents for 80-Page Thursdays--partially because I didn't want several in a row, but also the last couple were a little meh for me. This issue does have a Shannon (Too Much Coffee Man) Wheeler story, an odd alternate history of Custer from Howard Chaykin, and a kinda interesting interview with Geof Darrow...that isn't as interesting as new work from Darrow. And Mike Richardson asks him about "his dream car" and a ride with Frank Miller and Darrow doesn't elaborate! Patrick Alexander's "Villainman" is funny; but I wouldn't have scheduled it and Wheeler's "Villain House" the same month...No Finder either this month. I was considering dropping DHP, so of course next month has Nexus and I'm back on board.

Lastly, we have X-Termination #1: to get home to the Age of Apocalypse, the AoA Nightcrawler forces the Dark Beast to try and get them back. Wolverine, pissed over Nightcrawler's betrayal of X-Force, is on his tail (so to speak) with a team of X-Men. There are a few things wrong here already...even if the AoA Nightcrawler doesn't think of the 616 Marvel Universe as anything but a shadow, the Age of Apocalypse would be a dismal suckhole to live in. Yet he's willing to work with Dark Beast--who, if he isn't basically Hitler to him, is at least Mengele--to get back there. He's in the Marvel Universe: if anyone in the story stopped being a jerk for five minutes, there's other ways to get from one universe to another, right? And Wolverine is hunting down Nightcrawler because he might be dangerous...hey, Wolvie? You know who else is dangerous? Sabretooth, the guy that killed about a gazillion other people you knew? Maybe you could hunt him down instead? No? So, Wolvie is either after Nightcrawler because of narrative convenience, or because his feelings are hurt like a big baby...

There's a ponderous opening (that reminded me of Crisis on Infinite Earths) to set up the extra-dimensional big bads, who I don't think have ever been seen before. When Dark Beast and Nightcrawler teleport into the Dreaming Celestial, they "see" a control room, "the mind making sense of the cosmic energies." Because that's way more entertaining to see than crazy Kirby-style stuff...that bit reminded me of Contact, or South Park making fun of Contact. I liked the McGuinness cover, but there's no scene like that inside, and the cover stock is crappy...

I'm being a little harsh on this book, because of those holes; but also because it already seems obvious this crossover is (at least partially) about AoA Nightcrawler having to pay for his deeds, and probably killed off or written out. He came to the 616 to get revenge, got it, and was not all that sorry about it in Uncanny X-Force. But we can't have that: it'd be just fine for Wolverine to gut someone for payback (although he so rarely kills off anyone important) but not anyone else. I'm not a fan of Gambit, but he does call Wolvie on his double standard regarding side projects; but that's another problem with this series: I really don't much care about a lot of the characters thrown in this crossover pot. I'm only buying this stupid comic because it's got a version of my favorite character, a copy.

A lot of Marvel and DC comics feel that way for me lately, honestly.
Read more!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm sure the Thing would clean out the JLA...maybe.

Even though I've seen the Thing, Wolverine, and the Avengers playing poker any number of times, I'm hard-pressed to recall the last time I saw the Justice League of America, or any DC characters, dealing out a hand. So today's issue was a pleasant surprise: Justice League of America #152, "2,000 Light-Years to Christmas!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin.

Three odd alien travelers accidentally lose their power objects on earth, and while the objects are dangerous enough in the hands of a traumatized war orphan or a wounded deer; they'd be even more trouble in the hands of the lunatic dictator Major Macabre. I'm assuming he's a lunatic based on the name...Oddly, the JLA's endgame against the Major is the opposite of their usual tactics: the rest of the League charges in to get beat down, as a distraction for Red Tornado; who usually was the first one downed.

This was the first appearance of Traya, the little girl who would eventually be adopted by Red Tornado.

No 80-pager this week, but we may see more at some point. We managed to get 82 80-Page Thursdays, though! Got this issue from the Comic Book Shop the other day, marked down to dirt cheap, so thanks again!

Read more!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Two guys could be a Corps. Not these two, but still.

So, a couple of weeks ago, the Wal-Mart by my work finally put some new figures. Nothing I was really jumping up and down for, no, but new! It had been some time, leave it at that. And I had a little gift card from work, so on my lunch break I picked up the Ultimate Spider-Man Human Rocket Nova!

I was bored with him before I went home for the day.

Let's accentuate the positive first: Um...the blue paint is a nice shade. And the disc-shooter doohickey he came with shoots pretty well. But the articulation is surprisingly lacking for this scale--granted, this isn't a Legends figure or anything, but he only has shoulders, hips, knees, and neck. And the neck commits the same fatal flaw the ML Nova had: he's a flier that can't look up.

Read more!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Red Team."

Odd that so far this year, I've picked up three red figures: Red Superman, Red Hulk, and Red She-Hulk. Red Tornado I've had for a while...

I am reading the actual Red Team comic from Garth Ennis and Craig Cermak: four members of a major crimes unit decide to murder a suspect, and as one explains, the absolute worst possible thing happens:

Detective Mellinger realizes, all too late, that even for professionals, beginner's luck is a curse...I liked the first issue, but am somewhat surprised that Ennis has this planned as a series, not a limited. Not because of the brutal realities of the comic book market in regards to non-superhero, non-big two books; but because I kinda figured Ennis would kill off all his characters inside of nine issues.
Read more!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Today, Kamandi vs. the nine-panel grid.

From 1977, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth #51, "The Next to the Last Boy on Earth!" Written by Steve Englehart, art by Dick Ayers and Alfredo Alcala.

I've read a little bit of Kamandi only: the adventures of the last human boy on earth after the somewhat unspecified Great Disaster. Ala Planet of the Apes, the animals now can talk and use weapons, and most humans are barely at the level of cavemen. Kamandi was a Jack Kirby creation, but he left the book with issue #40, and the book was cancelled at #59, despite respectable sales and two issues completed.

This month, Kamandi revisits an old friend, Arna, who is now old: her group of humans lived out full lives in five years, and she was nearing the end of hers. Although she had told Kamandi she had lied about using a genetic sampler to create a son with him, Arna tells Kamandi he needs to meet Kamarni. Somewhat understandably, Kamarni is less than enthusiastic about meeting the father he feels left him without guidance and doomed to die inside of five years. Another five-year old, Bruno, had sworn revenge on Kamandi before; and plots to use Kamarni as his weapon. But there's more to the "next to last" boy than Kamandi realizes...

The rate DC's burning through New 52 candidates, I wonder if Kamandi might not have a shot before long.

Read more!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The "Battle You've Been Waiting For" lasted maybe three pages...

We mentioned waiting for the Marvel Legends Hyperion figure the start of February, and well, we're still waiting. So I did hop on this issue when I saw it, though: Marvel Two-in-One #67, "Passport to Oblivion!" Story by Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Gene Day and friends.

The cover makes it seem like this issue is going to be wall-to-wall Thing vs. Hyperion slugfest, and it's really not. While the Thing wraps up the Serpent Crown (with appearances by Quasar and Giant-Man) Hyperion is bringing the extra-dimensional amazon Thundra to his employers, the Nth Project. (Or alternately, the Nth Command, although that may have been their goon squad.) The Nth Project was an offshoot of Roxxon, the evil oil conglomerate in a number of Marvel books, and had developed technology that enabled travel to alternate realities. Because of the Marvel Universe's time-travel rules, even though Thundra's homeworld was merged with another; there are alternate versions that she could go to. Thundra promptly steals an Nth Projector, before they could even offer her a job or anything; and takes off, planning to have Reed Richards use the machine to get her home. Hyperion, who's a bit smitten, follows, but then gets in a scuffle with Ben, since they hadn't met.

Although Hyperion is basically Superman, Ben doesn't know the meaning of quit, and they punch it out briefly. Thundra fights the Nth Command's thugs, but one tells her the Project will activate the self-destruct if the projector isn't returned. Thundra uses the projector immediately, giving Ben a quick head's up about "the enemies of Project: Pegasus" and a kiss good-bye. Ben considers following her, but as Hyperion flies after Thundra, the portal closes seemingly behind both of them; and Ben wonders if he's made a mistake.

I don't think Hyperion made it to Thundra's world, for whatever reason; but I'd have to really look for his next appearance.
Read more!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

80-Page Thursday: Justice League Quarterly #6!

I've mentioned before that Justice League Quarterly #3 isn't just one of my favorite 80-pagers, it's one of my favorite single issue stories ever. Which is great, but every other issue of JLQ has been weaker and weaker in comparison. Like today's! From 1992, Justice League Quarterly #6, featuring stories from Mark Waid, John Ostrander, Paul Kupperberg, and Kevin Dooley; with art by Eduardo Barreto, Barry Horne, John Calimee, and Andy Smith.

"Take my Wife--Please!" is a mildly amusing one from Waid and Barreto, as Sue Dibny is kidnapped, and Elongated Man calls in some of his teammates for help as he investigates the only clue: a rare first edition of the board game Monopoly--ahem, "Land Baron." Ralph isn't worried, as he explains to Wally (who should know this...) that he knows this is just his wife's birthday present to him, a mystery to solve. Except it's a week early: Ralph's birthday is March 21! There are clues all over this one, so keep your eyes open. It might not be fair play, but you maybe could figure it out. Maybe.
In "Fighting Trim," even training sessions with General Glory aren't enough to get Blue Beetle back into shape, and his pal Booster isn't any help either, so his doctor suggests something a little more drastic: putting Beetle's bratty nature to work for him. The doctor points out men tend to lose weight faster than women, and if he knows any woman on a diet--like Power Girl, for instance--it would gall them to see him doing well...Beetle does suffer a bit, since he increases his water intake but pays for it while out on patrol, which may actually be a callback to a Nite Owl scene from Watchmen.

Anyway, the rest of this issue is a Power Girl and a Global Guardians story, both of which are awful.
Read more!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Constantine's Bargain."

As an American, I don't think I should even be allowed to pretend to write Hellblazer. Constantine, maybe. I think I had the idea for this one before I got the figure on eBay; then had to make sure I won one. I didn't read Hellblazer regularly at all; but a friend had the first two or three issues...which came out when I was in high school.

The "Dr. Death" John refers to? None other than the real Dr. Death, Dr. Jack Kevorkian! I honestly forget where I read or saw this--possibly 60 Minutes?--where Kevorkian would, as after-dinner conversation, lead discussion to try and guess the center of consciousness, and he would argue his was based out of his left hand.

The devil in today's strip is 2001's Chaos Comics Dark Alliance Lucifer figure, who still holds up pretty well. Wish I remembered where the cigarettes and the lighter came from, though...

Read more!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This would explain "Space Punisher," possibly.

I've been reading Punisher comics on-and-off since the last issue of his first limited series in 1986, but it still often strikes me how there can be subtle variations on the character. Garth Ennis wrote Frank as an unstoppable machine that was generally dead inside, as well as being a man that had been in love with war and paid the price for it. Jason Aaron's run saw the machine starting to break down, with Frank's emotional scars starting to show through. But I still like 80's Punisher, from guys like Mike Baron and Chuck Dixon, where occasionally Frank was written like there were still fragments of a human being left to him, and he would sometimes show a passing interest in something other than firearms and murder.

Which is why I was thrilled to rediscover this page from Punisher Armory #3; where, as Frank narrates, the Punisher explains his love for Lost in Space.

That's hysterical to me in and of itself, since I have a hard time picturing Frank not wanting to shoot Dr. Smith in the face; but Lost in Space was originally broadcast from 1965 to 1968. Frank was probably a little busy then, with a little something called the Vietnam War. OK, Frank could have watched the series when it was in syndication, in the years between Vietnam and his family's deaths; but it's funnier to think of Marine Frank in full gear and camo, coming back to base and fiddling with a pair of rabbit ears once a week...

But it really came back on me later, and this might be a case of Fridge Brilliance, that of course Frank was a Lost in Space fan: because the show was about a family. Sure, the family was in almost constant jeopardy, but they were together, and smart and resourceful enough to get through any threats. I could absolutely see that appealing to Frank, and picture him settling in to catch an episode with his kids and imagining doofy space adventures with his family and a Robot. Frank Castle wanted to be Professor John Robinson. Which just makes Frank's life all the sadder...

Punisher Armory #3 story and art by Eliot R. Brown. And you can read more about the Steyr AUG here.

Read more!

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Reuse, reuse, and recycle."

Got John Constantine a week or two back, and I've got a strip planned with him for Wednesday. Without the "Trenchcoat Brigade," I'm afraid.

Rorschach, the Question, Constantine, and Commissioner Gordon aren't all the same body; but pretty close.

Read more!

Friday, March 08, 2013

I suppose the new Nova has a Tumblr or some dumb thing...

A fun bit, from Marvel Two-in-One Annual #3, "When Strike the Monitors!" Written by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt. Of course Nova keeps his press clippings on him...

When the giant alien Monitors attack the earth, Nova goes for help, but Ben Grimm is the only backup available. As usual in this book, yeah.

Nova gets teleported into deep space in one point--"more than a hundred million light years from our earth"--and has to outrace an exploding star to escape. The how of it doesn't make a lot of sense, but this might be the first time Nova is shown to maybe be more than a bullet-headed "human rocket."

We may see more Nova nonsense next week. I had thought I had set up a tag for nine-panel grid pages, as run into the ground popularized by Keith Giffen...may have to look into that.

Read more!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

80-Page Thursday: Dark Horse Presents #18!

Another 80-page Thursday, and another DHP: Dark Horse Presents #18, featuring stories from Joshua Williamson, Peter Hogan, Phil Stanford, and more; with art by Victor Ibáñez, Ulises Farinas, Victor Santos, and more.

Captain Midnight starts this issue: a 40's mystery-man character mysteriously returns out of the Bermuda Triangle. The trouble with DHP seems to be that a new serial will only run maybe three chapters, then spin it off into its own ongoing series, so you don't really get to see where it goes here. Crime Does Not Pay, on the other hand, is on it's third chapter this month, but the various plot threads don't seem to have come together quite yet. Then again, Carla Speed McNeil's Finder appears to be the only ongoing serial, but even though sometimes it feels like I missed a chapter, it still entertains.

Ulises Farinas' Gamma starts this issue, and it's like an insane grown-up version of Pokemon--but that's underselling it. Dara Naraghi and Victor Santos' bring "Memories of the Caspian," a short memoir that I wasn't expecting here, but was good. Richard Corben adapts another Edgar Allen Poe poem, "Shadow." Resident Alien returns, although it comes back midstream. A couple of serials like UXB and Alabaster aren't my favorite, but DHP remains a solid package, even surprising sometimes.
Read more!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"SFW Gorn."

Although I'm not getting to Vasquez Rocks soon, I do want to make a pilgrimage there someday. And I'll probably have to take our friend the Gorn with me!

Anal astute readers may notice the Gorn doesn't have the proper translator/log recorder; he's got a thing from a Stargate: Atlantis. And Kirk wore his standard gold shirt, not the green; but it showed up better in the snow.

The Gorn was loose, without accessories, but that's fine. It was a pretty bad drought of action figures in January, so I was glad to get something.

Read more!