Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Can I tell you a secret?

I'm not super excited for DC's Convergence or Marvel's Secret Wars. There's a couple maybes in there, but I'm not sure of any I'd go to the comic shop and request pulled; and both events sound like just nightmares for retailers--go read Brian Hibb's Tilting at Windmills on the subject. "Please stock multiple copies of 80-plus titles, on the off chance I may try an issue or two."

If they were one-shots, the number I'd consider would probably go up: take for example Guggenheim and Pacheco's Squadron Sinister. I dig Pacheco's art, and the concept can probably carry 48 pages; but I don't know if I'd even buy a second issue of it. Looking around, I didn't even see a checklist yet. Ennis and Braun's Where Monsters Dwell looks great, but is it a four issue limited? Six? Twelve? An "ongoing" title? Same with Inferno and maybe Years of Future Past.

On the other hand, I am excited for Batroc and Hellcat, both of which I found at a local Wal-Mart the other day! Missed out on Spider-Woman, and I haven't decided yet if I need to pick up the movie-style Cap, Hulk, and Iron Man to build Thanos. I just bought the Marvel Select one a while ago, so we'll see.

Hellcat had just the tiniest drop of blue paint on her chest, but I gave her a jade key thing, that kind of reminded me of the White Tiger pendant things from seventies Marvel books. Did Hellcat have those at some point? I'd have to look it up. Anyway, it was from a McFarlane Twisted Land of Oz Dorothy figure, if memory serves.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Admittedly, a guy with a skull for a face probably isn't spoiled for choice.

Man-Bat guest-stars this issue, and like a lot of his appearances, there may not be a lot of continuity from the last time. I'm not even sure Kirk Langstrom's human identity was drawn with any reference, or just pictured as a rather nondescript guy. From 1981, DC Comics Presents #35, "The Metamorphosis Machine!" Written by Martin Pasko, art by Curt Swan, inks by Vince Colletta.

This issue, and somewhat uncharacteristically, Man-Bat breaks into Metropolis's S.T.A.R. Labs, because his daughter Rebecca had inherited the super-hearing he and his wife Francine had as Man-Bats. (Superman questions if an acquired characteristic can be passed down like that, but it's written off as a mutation.) Supes knew S.T.A.R. had stopped their research in that area, but he thought he might have something in his Fortress of Solitude that might help. What they hadn't expected, however, was being eavesdropped on by the Atomic Skull! Who had picked up a female partner, Felicia, who wore a costume similar to his, and seemed awfully interested in getting the device Superman was going to use to help Rebecca.

Somehow, the device affects Superman so he could only use one power at a time, partially so the story isn't wrapped up by the eight-page mark.

Man-Bat scuffles with Felicia, and discovers why she wanted the device: she wasn't a human woman, but a hyper-evolved panther! The Atomic Skull had been a scientist before becoming a super-villain, and she had been an experimental animal. That he fell in love with. Well, they say there's someone out there for everyone; but they don't usually mean you have to make her yourself...

Felicia returns to panther-form (and possibly dies, it's not clear) while the Atomic Skull falls to his death because Superman can't fly at super-speed to save him. Recovering the device, Superman is able to help Rebecca and restore his powers; but wonders if the Atomic Skull could really be dead. Yeah, seems sketchy. Still, I thought he had an actual skull for a face; apparently it was just a mask. That may well depend on the artist, though.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

"Bulletproof Robin."

Has Damian lost his powers yet? I haven't been keeping up, but that seems like one of DC's few books that inexplicably may have lighter moments. Somehow.

I also didn't really pay attention to the Captain Marvel/Shazam reboot, except that I think they made Billy Batson a little older and more jaded, less wide-eyed innocent, more mouthy; which is doubtless more realistic, which is of course what you expect in your comics about a boy getting the powers of various mythological figures from a wizard. Billy is probably supposed to be older than Damian, but would probably still be impressed by him.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reinforcements! Or replacements. Either or.

Over on Twitter, OAFE.net gave the head's up on Hasbro Toy Shop selling Star Wars Black six-inch Stormtroopers for $10 on eBay! That's half-off, but I showed a little restraint and only got two, partially because I figured Han and Luke in Stormtrooper disguise would further fill out the ranks. Still, over the course of a few days, I believe Hasbro sold over two thousand Troopers!

Then I had to spend some time searching my records, since I had three prior, but only logged two in last year's Year in Toys! Senile old goat...

I'm not getting every Star Wars Black offering, but I'm dying to get Bossk and IG-88. When are they showing up? I couldn't even hazard a guess. The aforementioned Twitter has been killing me, since I see a lot of people playing with figures I haven't seen hide nor hair of locally. Everything will probably turn up eventually, but I want them now, damnit!

Well, maybe in a bit. I'm having some fun now now.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Our alien world is merely changing the color of the backdrop, which actually did unexpected things to the lighting. I still have it up (or did when I wrote this part!) so when I enter the room the orange is still unexpected. The only other set dressing are the old Hydra soldiers, and I'm pretty sure I bought my whole Hydra army for cheaper than what it's going for on Amazon now.

The newer Captain America Marvel Legends: Agent of Hydra looks far more sophisticated compared to the old guys, though. Which is why he's their leader, which works out because the new one only came with one head style, and I don't have high hopes of getting more of him on the cheap.

I think a cruise ship can carry something like a quarter of a million gallons of water; or at least that's what I thought Google said when I was trying to come up with a number. Would Deadpool's ship use water for anything besides drinking, showers, the jacuzzi? And I just thought of Pool's jacuzzi and my tummy went all rumbly. That would be like cancer soup...maybe all that water has to go to the engine room, like the last couple Star Trek movies. I swear they have boilers down there, it's steam-warp drive.

The word "fetch" appears courtesy of Mean Girls, all rights reserved.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Batman is not putting up with your Lois Lane-style tomfoolery.

This was rather an odd story for the animated continuity, since it doesn't feature a major villain: it could just as easily have been done as a regular Batman story with more traditional art than the animated style. But why? Now I'm having a hard time thinking of Batman stories that wouldn't be better animated style. Well, let's just take a look at 2002's Batman: Gotham Adventures #54, "Masterwork" Written by Scott Peterson, pencils by Tim Levins, inks by Terry Beatty.

Working the case of stolen, priceless manuscripts at the Gotham Library (which should probably be a case for Batgirl...because she was a librarian on the TV show, silly.) Batman meets writer journalist utter hack Mel Staines, who is working on the story for newspaper the Gothamite. Batman warns her off contaminating a crime scene by digging around, but Staines claims to know "the criminal is a master of arcane fighting styles!" She tries to use that knowledge to get Bats to take her with, but he doesn't bite.

At a gallery break-in, the security guards give Batman the hassle, and after a stray bullet nearly hits Robin, Batman beats them pretty soundly before finding Staines there again. Still, by this point Batman has the case all figured out: the Riddler, of course...

...not! Batman lied, to get Staines to tip her hand, and catches her trying to make off with a manuscript of Catcher in the Rye. (Is there a manuscript of that extant?) Still, Staines isn't going to go quietly, and attacks Batman with a chain-knife combo! Her attack may hurt her worse than Batman, though, as she first destroys her hard drive and her un-backed-up novel; then slips on one of her own cover stories and knocks herself out! At first glance, it looked like she very easily could be dead; but that's a hair dark for this book. (Where Staines picked up her fighting skills isn't mentioned, but I think the League of Assassins weighed heavily on the early issues of this series, and I could see her joining the League with the intent of writing a tell-all later. Maybe a how-to. She did seem more adept as a fighter than a writer, though.)

Batman finds the manuscripts Staines stole...vandalized, torn up and covered with paint. "You might say I made my mark on all of them." In Arkham, Batman tells her the vandalism may be remembered, but her writing "will never be more than a footnote." Ow. I always kinda suspected Batman does that with most of the criminals he puts away: taking a moment to tell them they suck, so they'll almost certainly re-offend...I also reckon Bats uses that "Riddler did it" trick a lot too: "Riddler? Like hell! It was me! ME!...oh, damn it."
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Monday, March 23, 2015

I loved Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and have been re-watching the series on Netflix this week. (With a break right now to watch Batman: the Brave and the Bold before that comes off Netflix the end of the month...) So, a good time to blog this issue, with a cover homage to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Marvel Adventures: Avengers #13, "Attack of the 50 Foot Girl!" Written by Jeff Parker, pencils by Leonard Kirk, inks by Terry Pallot.

In this version of the team, Janet Van Dyne is Giant-Girl instead of the Wasp, but this issue she falls under the control of old-school Hulk villain Psyklop! His insectoid army is rising from beneath the surface, intent on returning to the world and maybe eating a human or two. Giant-Girl keeps falling under Psyklop's control, though, because she's still using an old version of her costume, and the Avengers visit Hank Pym for help.

After stepping on Wolverine, he uses his claws to give Giant-Girl a jab in the foot, so she climbs the Empire State Building and throws Wolvie away! He accidentally unmasks her while trying to get free, too; but Jan never seems too concerned about her identity in any continuity. Pym helps out with his Ant-Man helmet, but his boss Vernon Van Dyne won't let him out of work to be a super-hero. Yet.

Man, Psyklop could use a Marvel Legend. Creepy bug, worships ancient evil monster gods, co-created by Harlan Ellison? Pedigree should get him somewhere.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

"The Stabbiest Robin."

Hadn't picked anything up for a couple of weeks, so I got the DC Collectibles Son of Batman: Robin figure, from the recent animated movie that I haven't seen yet. Come to think of it, I may not have even read a lot of comics with Damian Wayne (and I'm going to misspell Damian about every other time...) but I like the idea of the character. How old is he supposed to be now? And I don't think the powers he picked up in his recent resurrection are going to stick, but still fun.

He is kind of a tiny figure for the price, though. Could've used another accessory or unmasked head or some damn thing...
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

I hope to be this stoic. No promises, though.

Off to the dentist today! What could be more fun?...ah, it gets me off work an hour early, so there's that. (Cover from 1974's Action Comics #434, "The Krypton Connection!" Cover art by Nick Cardy.)

And what could be better than Marathon Man references? I don't think kids got those during Clerks: the Animated Series either, but maybe 1997's Major Bummer #2 did better. (Cover by Doug Mahnke and John Dell.)

And I uploaded the cover for Futurama #74 to the GCD, because it's pretty sweet; and for good measure Fry's off to the dentist as well! We'll see if the dynamite sounds like a better idea later...("What The What If?" Written by Ian Boothby, pencils by James Lloyd, inks by Andrew Pepoy.)
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015


What did someone say on Twitter--"don't bring a ghost to a knife fight"? Or was it the other way around? Anyway.

"Booberella" is an occasional Simpsons background character, inspired of course by Elvira. And Satana's using the magic effects pieces that came with the new Scarlet Witch, although I wasn't willing to pull Satana's hands off to get them on there.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Out of office today, but please enjoy this page of Batman slapping the hell out of Robin.

I picked up some later, post-anthology issues of World's Finest the other day...maybe not the best comics, since I think the writers and editors were struggling to find reasons for Superman and Batman to work together, or even be friends. So I think sometimes they tried too hard to give Supes and Bats a...special connection, rather than just letting them be a couple guys who enjoyed each other's company and wanted to hang out. That and magic tended to be used a lot by the bad guys, to keep Superman from wrapping up the story two pages in. (I really want to rewatch the Lego: DC Super-Heroes Justice League vs. Bizarro League DVD that I got for the Youngest: there's a scene where Lego Supes watches Lego Bats fight multiple villains, and Bats won't let him help out! "Please, just let me heat vision that thing. It'd take, like, two seconds. It's literally, no problem.")

From 1983, World's Finest Comics #287, "Within My Heart...the Enemy!" Written by Cary Burkett, art by Trevor Von Eeden. A mystical enemy wants to put a nightmarish elder god type--the "Adored One"--in the best body available: Batman's, duh.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

I don't think this is my original copy, but this was one of my first Fantastic Four comics: from 1977, Fantastic Four #184, "Aftermath: the Eliminator!" Written and edited by Len Wein, pencils by George Perez, inks by Joe Sinnott.

After the Battle of the Baxter Building--the 17th Annual, if my count is right--the Reed Richards from Counter-Earth, the Brute, has been sucked into the Negative Zone. The Fantastic Four and recent hangers-on Thundra and Tigra are left to deal with the aftermath, as implied by the title, but may have bigger fish to fry: Agatha Harkness and Franklin Richards have gone missing, and Sue is trying to cover that up until Reed regains consciousness. Left with piles of wreckage, and the usual automated repair robots knocked out, everyone ditches out and leaves the Thing with the cleaning. As they leave, Thundra and Tigra have a bit of verbal sparring over the Thing; and the Human Torch is seemingly disintegrated by an unseen foe!

While Ben has a brief chat with the Impossible Man about movies, Reed wakes up, and Sue fills him in. Reed had lost his powers (and wouldn't regain them for a year or so!) and was a little reluctant to get back out there, but Sue won't let him slack off. After Ben clears up the wreckage by sweeping it under the proverbial rug (which would probably just dump it in the apartments underneath them) the three head out to Harkness's house on Whisper Hill, which seemed a pleasant enough place before but now looks like a creepy haunted house, possibly because Harkness isn't there to keep up the illusion. They are attacked by the same sniper that attacked the Torch, and the Fantasticar is shot down!

Finding the Torch in the house, which Reed describes as "darker than Victor Von Doom's soul in here," the Four is attacked by the Eliminator, a creepy, tall cyborg; who seems to have a ton of gadgets specifically for stopping the Four, although his primary mission is covering up any evidence of Agatha Harkness. Reed has a plan, but in short order Sue is disintegrated, and Reed gunned down before he can reach the Eliminator!

Ben is then beat to death by the Eliminator's pickax hand, and then the Torch is driven beyond nova and explodes. With the Fantastic Four dead, the Eliminator begins his final task: self-destructing, to blow up Whisper Hill! But, this was part of Reed's plan: Sue had merely gone invisible, then used her force field to protect the rest, and the Torch faked going nova. The Eliminator, attached to the floor by his "vacuum-vents," is left behind to explode, as the Four wonders what the next step in finding Harkness and Franklin will be...

I've had this issue for years, but have I ever read the next issues? I know I picked up the ones leading up to #200 a few years back. Something to keep an eye out for. Oddly, I think this, like a lot of my first Marvel comics, featured a completely disposable villain that may not have been seen again!
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