Thursday, October 31, 2013

From before zombies were a big thing. Or comics, for that matter...

Actually, of course the modern zombie was around back in 1999 when this issue was published, but certainly wasn't as ubiquitous as they are now. Of course, this isn't quite a typical zombie story: from Flinch #6, "Dead Woman Walking" Written by William Messner-Loebs, art by Duncan Fegredo. A heiress is betrayed and murdered by her new husband, and is so angry she rises from her grave. Upon getting back to her husband, though, she has a change of heart, and decides to take him to bed instead. And his girlfriend. And then things get weird.

This is just an eight pager, and might've benefited from a few more, but not bad. I lucked into finding this one the same day Mignola and Fegredo's Hellboy: the Midnight Circus came out, too. (Spoiler alert: it's great!) The rest of the issue holds up as well: in "El Ogro" a morbidly obese son can't get over the death of his brother, as his family wonders how much more they can stand; and in "The Day Wife" Phillip Hester writes and draws the story of a man making a curious discovery about his wife's inner nature. I don't think Flinch has been reprinted yet, so you'd have to dig it up issue by issue.

It's Halloween, and as usual I've taken the day off! It would probably make more sense to take the day after off, so I can stay up late watching crappy zombie movies, but here we are.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oh, the one time I'm ahead of schedule, there's a Halloween joke...

I thought I wasn't going to get to this one before Halloween, but here we are. Of course, I also kind of thought I could find my copy of Deadpool Team-Up #892 before this one, too; and still haven't! Satana gets trapped by a bunch of nerds, who are actually Dormammu, Belasco, and other demons looking to up their status by marrying the devil's daughter. Deadpool suggests she could get out of it, by marrying him instead...

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Booting up, or, A Giant embarrassment.

Although it may seem like it to some readers, from my Year in Toys posts, I'm here today to assure you that I don't buy up every action figure I see, quick as I can. Even when I probably should.

We have to go all the way back to May 6, 2006 for the start of this one, when I bought the Toy Biz Marvel Legends Thor, from the first Wal-Mart exclusive wave. He was the first of eight I picked up from that series, at $7.44 a piece. ($7.44 a piece! And good grief, I think a Toy Biz clamshell package has more plastic in it than a figure for that price these days.) I got Kitty Pryde, Warbird, and Captain Britain in one day. Havok and Sentry the next. A week later, Ant-Man. Almost a month later, the variant Age of Apocalypse Weapon X with the burned face. Eight out of the ten in the series, each with a piece to build Giant-Man. I put together the BAF, except for the feet. And then I stopped. Partly because the claws on the variant Weapon X weren't great: they're flimsy and bent; and I'm not a big fan of the character. But I loathe Sabretooth, normal version or Age of Apocalypse. Even without feet, Giant-Man was tall enough: I put him at the back of a shelf and called it good.

In 2010, I bought the Marvel Universe two-packs for Goliath and Iron-Man and the Skrull Giant-Man and Captain (Bucky) America. While the Iron Man and Bucky-Cap were the three-and-three-quarter inch scale, Goliath and the Skrull Giant-Man were twelve inches tall. I had the notion of boiling and popping the feet off of one of them--probably the Skrull--and putting them on Giant-Man, but either I wasn't sure it was going to work or never got around to it.

Then, about a month ago, I found the left foot on eBay, for under five bucks with shipping. But as is usually the case, the last piece was the killer: I needed the non-variant Weapon X. Or at least the right foot, but I lost an auction for the figure and then one for the foot. To Amazon, then. About thirty bucks later, I had the right foot. And a Weapon X, I guess.

It would've been cheaper, and doubtless easier, to just buy AofA Wolvie and Sabretooth straightaway back in 2006. Looking back at the totals, in 2006 I completed the Build-a-Figure MODOK in just over two months. Giant-Man took me over seven years and six months. That's just a ludicrous amount of time, but I rarely if ever buy all of a Build-a-Figure in one shot!

Two weird observances: even though he's huge, I kinda want to put him on a lower shelf, since I'm afraid if he took a shelf dive, he could break his antennae. I think he might have a mild ding or rub on his nose already, but not to the point that I'm willing to shell out for another head.

Second, all told Giant-Man cost me about ninety-five bucks, but you probably could've shaved twenty bucks off that if you'd bought him all at 2006. Currently, Giant-Man prices on eBay start around $99 and run up to $170 or more. Now, just recently Hasbro released their Rocket Raccoon mini-BAF series, for which you would need to buy a Black Panther, a Wrecker, and a Jean Grey. If you were to find those three in a Toys R Us or something, they'd probably set you back about twenty a figure. Amazon has the three together for $92 right now, but Big Bad Toy Store had the set of five for $99 but has sold out. (That set included Scarlet Spider and Hawkeye, who don't have pieces for Rocket Raccoon.) Further complicating the issue is that Wrecker and Jean both have variants that may or may not ever appear on shelves. Still, that Giant-Man is a helluva lot more plastic than Rocket Raccoon! We may not see his like again...

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Yeah, my scanner still works, why do you ask?

I had four days off and I'm still behind? Well, then, let's take a quick look at some stuff I picked up this week.

From the library, I read Marvel Universe vs. Punisher, an alternate-universe story wherein a routine mission for the Punisher releases a bioweapon that turns most of the MU's heroes and villains into cannibal sociopaths. As civilization crumbles and millions die, the Punisher, well, seems pretty much content to just continue his war, but with different targets. I don't know if that was supposed to be the takeaway on this one: Frank is only "happy" (and certainly not happy in any traditional sense) when he's at war, and the enemy doesn't really matter. Still, nice Gordon Parlov art; although there's a girl in this one that looks very much like one he drew in Fury MAX: My War Gone By.

At the Comic Book Shop, I lucked into a used copy of Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye volume 1: I had found a random issue or two of that book in the quarter bins, and was surprisingly won over. I'm usually only a casual TF fan, but writer James Roberts juggles a Legion of Super-Heroes sized cast, long-term plotting, and deadly seriousness and deadpan snark in the right amounts. The first chapter of this one, "The Death of Optimus Prime," is a bit of a misnomer and tonally seems like it belongs in another book, but sets up the series. After Cybertron reboots, thousands of Transformers return to their homeworld, and many of them are "NAILS," Non-Aligned Indigenous Lifeforms: neither Autobot nor Decepticon, and often more than a little resentful of both and their millions of years of war. While some of the Autobots want to stay (and do, in the sister book Robots in Disguise) Rodimus convinces a motley crew of 'bots to join him on the starship Lost Light and search for the ancient Knights of Cybertron. A quest I don't think they've made a lot of headway on to date, but still. A surprisingly fun book, and I may have to pick up another trade next week.

Since last week I mentioned getting that Babylon 5: Legends of the Rangers DVD after not having any; this week I found the fourth season of the series for like four bucks. And Skyfall, which I liked in the theater, and the Bruce Campbell (minor) classic My Name is Bruce, which even came with a tiny copy of the comic we saw a while back.

Probably should've watched some of these while I had some time off; but as usual for October, I'm watching as many horror movies as I can. Watched a lot of Mario Bava films, and the Collection (stupid, but not unwatchable) and just started VHS 2. We'll see how many more I can get in!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

"Be Prepared."

Ah, my production values for the Batman wall-climbing strips are rock-bottom low. But, they're actually climbing up, which I consider a plus!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm only familiar with half the inspiration for this one:

Namely, the Fantastic Four half; the other half being Neon Genesis Evangelion, of which I think I've seen only one episode. This is Marvel Mangaverse: Fantastic Four #1, "Mega-Scale Metatalent Response Team Fantastic Four" Written by Adam Warren, pencils by Keron Grant, inks by Rob Stull, colors by Chris Walker. I mention the colorist, since the entire issue is overly dark. It's appropriate on occasion, but there are flashbacks to Reed Richard's bedroom that are better lit than a control room, outside, or a 300-foot tall flaming exo-form.

The issue opens with a flashback to a somewhat familiar foursome about to get their powers, and a bunch of cannon fodder: on the dark side of the moon, an experiment in descriptor theory is about to begin, but a younger and mouthier Reed Richards than we're used to points out the many possible problems with the plan. Like maybe blowing up the moon, or attracting aliens to come wipe them out. A year later, Reed is "metatalent ops acting director," overseeing earth's defense against alien incursions. The "inscrutable machine intelligences" designated today's alien bogey as "Annihilus." Like the other, previous attackers, this one is heading straight for the Negative Zone portal in the Baxter Building.

Feeding power to Jonatha and Sioux Storm, and Benjamin Grimm, the heroes form massive exo-forms of flame, invisible force, and debris, respectively; and all three seemingly destroy Annihilus, who reforms almost instantly. At base, Reed puts his "otherwise useless metatalent to work, stretching his mind to try and come up with a solution. (Flashbacks show Reed in bed with different women, who don't seem to find his stretching useless...and Reed likewise somehow managed to save the four when the descriptor experiment blew the moon in half.) Reed realizes Annihilus teleports an undamaged version of himself from an alternate universe every time he gets destroyed, and directs the team to destroy Annihilus's cosmic control rod, destroying him and leaving a lot of his bodies lying around. Earth is safe...for now.

Adam Warren wrote a few, non-manga FF's; and he's always an inventive writer. I reckon he's busy with Empowered, which I need to catch up on, but he'd be a good choice if Karl Kesel doesn't stay on the book now.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I kind of wanted that Thunderbolts box set (check out the OAFE review!) but since I already had the Crossbones figure, I only sprung for Satana--excuse me, "Judith Chambers"--on eBay. (I'll probably consider Moonstone if she gets re-released as a single, but Marvel Legends distribution seems to be getting a little sketchy.) I really don't know a whole ton about the character, and didn't see the Thunderbolts comics with her, but I think she might be fun for this.

It is a treat to do a Deadpool strip without having to fill in those damn balloons in yellow, though, tell you what...
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thinking about reading this issue? Batman says...

The only DC comic I'm reading right Astro City, which is cruising along just fine without reboots and gimmicks and whatnot. DC's current regular titles feel like...well, a bit of a joyless slog, to be honest. Do they have a single book that's even a bit funny, now? Admittedly, I don't usually expect Batman to be a laugh riot, but still recent issues seem to surgically excised anything resembling fun, or even adventure. Like today's book! Detective Comics #22, "Targeting the Shield" Written by John Layman, art by Jason Fabok.

Batman is still having trouble with the distrust of Gotham's patrol officers, especially since they're being hunted by a new cop-killer. Some cops suspect Batman, even though Gordon knows that's a load of crap. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has a different sort of problem, in E.D. Caldwell of Caldwell Tech, who wants to buy Wayne Enterprises. Bruce refuses outright, partly since Caldwell made much of his fortune in weapons, but he also instinctively dislikes him, even though Alfred points out Caldwell has done a pretty fair amount of charity himself. Alfred doesn't much care for him either, though, and neither should you, since he's pretty obviously the issue's villain...who's sub-contacting out this issue: the Wrath equips another villain, his Robin-type, Scorn.

We checked out the 1984 special that introduced the Wrath earlier this year, but I think the 2004 the Batman cartoon was the first to use the Wrath/Scorn combo. They aren't brothers in this one, however; Scorn is more like a tryout, and Batman can tell he lacks the precision of the earlier shooter. Forced to come in shooting in a high-tech flier to rescue Scorn, Wrath lets his erstwhile partner know his services will no longer be needed, since he feels Scorn has exposed him. How he thought a cop-shooting spree, with a gun with the Caldwell name on it, in Gotham City, would go unnoticed; I have no idea.

Wrath's redesign not only sucks all the panache out of the character--as does making him a corporate millionaire--but it also takes away all the visual cues that the character is Batman's opposite. From that armor, he could just as well be Prometheus or some no-name. OK, he would probably make a halfway decent action figure, or lower level end boss for an Arkham game; but I'd at least give him the ears back. This issue's competent enough, and is probably one of the few DC comics that month drawn by a single artist, but still lacks something for me. If it works for you, well, enjoy, then.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Stuff that won't fit in the scanner today:

Even though I left my cell phone there, and had to go back for it, I had a good trip to the library the other day. First, gave the trade for Marvel's Annihilators a try. The main story is by Marvel's former cosmic writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (with art by Tan Eng Huat; and features the "Alpha-plus" team of the Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, Gladiator, Quasar, and Ronan the Accuser. Actually, Ronan is described as merely Alpha-powered by the new character Ikon, a Spaceknight from Galador, who describes the team as overpowered and lacking depth, which is a fair point. Quasar considers taking that as an out to quit, since he's feeling a little gun-shy since coming back from the dead and missing out on saving the universe the last couple times.

The plot involves Galador, and the Dire Wraiths, without ever mentioning by name that guy that used to have his own series where all the backstory happened. It's not a bad book, since I like the characters, but the Spaceknights are like the Inhumans or Nova's Xandarians: used differently by every writer, and used for cannon fodder nine times out of ten. I think the Spaceknights and Galador were recently destroyed in Infinity #1, which makes me want to run out and buy it. (No.) (And wow, 32 covers for 4 issues?)

Next, I read Alan Moore's Neonomicon, with art by Jacen Burrows. Everyone knows Alan Moore's body of work, and Burrows has been a go-to guy for Avatar for some time now. This was Moore's take on the Lovecraftian mythos, and abetted by Burrow's art, it's really just kind of gross. I was kind of surprised to even find this at a library, since there had been some that had pulled it: a character in the book points out H.P. Lovecraft's stories were all sexless, as was apparently H.P. himself; so Moore adds a lot of really pervy sex. This one's not for everyone, then; but it is good and disturbing, if not a major work from Moore.

I also checked out the colossal Avengers vs. X-Men trade, which I'm pretty sure I'm really not going to enjoy reading at all, but it's a big book and I may as well try it. That and Stephen King's Joyland are in my pile to read this week, so we'll see if I plow through those.

The other day at a local pawnshop, I found the Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers DVD, right after mentioning I haven't seen it. I also found the complete Birds of Prey DVD: I'm pretty sure I watched at least the first few episodes when it was on, but I'm not even positive the series was aired in its entirety. It may well make me long for Smallville, for all I know.

I may not get to either of those for a while, since as usual, I'm watching a ton of scary movies before Halloween. Most of them are utter crap, yeah. I did like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, though.

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Friday, October 18, 2013


I know an upcoming Deadpool annual or special or something is supposed to explain what happened to the multiple caption boxes that used to follow Deadpool around (From CBR, the Annual cover.) and were a staple of the Daniel Way run. Even though Pool's comics have been hit or miss for me of late, I'm curious.

And even though they went to clearance, I held out on buying the any of the Ultimate Spider-Man Fighter Pods until I could get one with the devil Spidey and Spider-Ham. There wasn't an angel Spidey, which I thought was a little disappointing. Devil Spidey isn't the most detailed little thing, but he's got a forked tail and devil wings on the back side, so they did give him a bit of effort.

That's it for this week, so have a good one!
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

"World's Greatest Detective, huh?"

It's always odd for me how over the years, this blog will swing from being all comics, all the time; to mostly about toys. The two overlap a great deal for me, anyway: the last few comics we've looked at here were Transformers, for example. The last week or two has gone pretty toy-heavy in part because I've been out a bit, and haven't had time to sit down and read anything or to dig out any comics.

The other thing was, my folks came for a visit, and then were stuck for a bit while their car was in the shop! It was fun having them here, though. "Batbaby" there is a GrabZag figure from Walgreens, which I picked up while my dad was getting a prescription. It was pretty easy to feel the bat-ears in the bag, but I may have to go back and get a Halo or Assassin's Creed figure there: they were only $9.99, so not bad.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Phoning It In."

What happened to Deadpool's face? Will Nightcrawler ever see the end of Breaking Bad? For that matter, will I? Continued next week! This one may go on for the rest of the month, barring anything big coming up.

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