Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 9/03/08 & 9/10/08

EX MACHINA #38 - We finally have a name for my new crush - Trouble.

I like it.

Apart from that, not much happens except that we find out that Kremlin has nothing to do with Trouble and we get the most appropriate quote of the week given what is coming tomorrow.

"9/11 doesn't belong to the Republicans, no matter what the out-of-towners they're busing into Madison Square Garden think."

FABLES #75 - This would have been the perfect ending for the series.

How fortunate for us then that Willingham and Buckingham have elected to keep it going. And fitting as well, for this series has proven that there really isn't any such thing as a pat, perfect "happily-ever-after" ending. So I'm glad to see that this comic about what comes after the end of the most famous stories in the world isn't ending itself either.

GREEN LANTERN #34 - This is Geoff Johns doing what he does best.

No, not coming up with disturbing images of innocent people being killed to create new characters. I was referring to his ability to take the broken fragments of other writers works and reforge them into a stronger mythology. He did it in JSA and later in Hawkman when he rebuilt the Hawkman/Hawkgirl mythos. And now, in Green Lantern, he is doing it again by explaining away some of the countless unbelievable aspects of the classic Green Lantern days.

*considers how Johns' explanation of the Green Lantern's yellow weakness involves beings of living fear and an entire spectrum where emotions are manifested as light energy*

Well, RELATIVELY unbelievable by the standards of DC Comics science. Things such as Hector Hammond's exposure to an intelligence-enhancing radiation are made more plausable as is William "Black Hand" Hand's creation of a device that drains the energy of Green Lantern rings. It turns out he stole it from an alien. But more importantly than that, we are given our first glimpse of a plausable student/mentor relationship (to say nothing of a friendship) between Hal Jordan and Sinestro as well as the first inkling that Sinestro - rather than being a bad egg who somehow slipped through The Guardians screening process - is a tragic hero brought down by hubris.

Which somehow makes him a much cooler enemy than "that putz who looks like a pink Vincent Price who really hates Green Lanterns".

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #28 - Two cool things from past issues that go even better together. The serial killer striking against the families of rookie Green Lanterns returns as does the Green Lantern who has the power to talk to the dead. All this and Ice shows up on Oa to surprise Guy... just before he gets the call to duty.

Call me a sentimental ol' wag, but I'm glad to see that someone is using Tora now that she's been resurrected by Gail Simone... especially if it's to ground that greatest of Green Lanterns. God knows Guy deserves it after all the abuse he's suffered in the last 20 years.

HELLBLAZER PRESENTS CHAS: THE KNOWLEDGE - I wonder how this series got green-lighted. Out of all the characters in John's life who deserve a mini, Chas is... well, probably not a bad choice. He is the only one of John's long-term friends to have survived the relationship and he did suffer some major personal losses at John's hand during the Mike Carey run on the series. A mini exploring what Chas has done with his life and his family since he told-off John would be entertaining in a Garth Ennis' Heartland way.

The problem is that Chas has always been - in most stories - the comic-relief with the stereotypical evil wife. They're about as deep and complicated as Andy and Flo Capp. So while the broad concept of this series (Chas takes on a new job working for an attractive American woman without telling his wife and then gets dragged into a supernatural mystery) could be funny or powerful, the execution is woefully lacking. Add in the fact that the only reason John isn't getting involved in this particular madness is that because he spends the entire issue raving it up somewhere else and wakes up on a beach somewhere with some kind poking him in the face with a small plastic spade.

It doesn't speak well of this series that I'd rather see how John spent an evening getting wasted rather than watching his sidekick fight demons. The only way I can picture this being worse is if it were centered upon the Chas from the film Constantine universe and I had to pay three bucks to watch Shia LeBeouf mince around for 32 pages.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #142 - Even in an issue where Brian gets his comeuppance and Jo Jo Zeke is fired in what will hopefully become known as the biggest mistake in Heidi Jackson's career... this issue still seems less than complete.

Why? I put it to one factor and one factor alone - the dismissal of Noah Antwiler as KODT's film critic.

It seems some people - most of whom apparently have nothing better to do than to sit on KenzerCo's forums and grouse about how they weren't buying another issue until Noah was fired (yet still kept writing about how bad the latest reviews were) - finally convinced The Powers That Be to give Noah the boot on a temporary basis after a frankly flawed poll that only consulted people who visited the KenzerCo website and not... oh... say... all of the people who were actively buying the magazine week after week.

Well, I hope those people are happy. The new film column is a rather dull and lifeless piece about how to adapt old sci-fi/fantasy movies for your campaign; something most GMs I know are already fairly adept at and hardly need any help with now since D&D became WoW. Then again, these people who weren't satisfied with KODT printing a helpful dotted line as well as instructions on how to remove Noah's columns from the magazine (perhaps because they aren't allowed to handle sharp objects in the institutions they live in), so I doubt they'll be happy with anything other than Noah's head on a spike and a letter from Dane Cook nailed to the spike assuring them that he is the true god of comedy.

Still, KODT's loss is The Internet's gain as Noah's website - The Spoony Experiment - has been updated with more and more fresh video-based content, including a review of Yor: The Hunter From The Future that is easily funnier than most things Mike Nelson has done with RiffTrax in that last two years. Check it out.

And continue to enjoy the comic parts of Knights of the Dinner Table... which are, for the moment, the only parts worth reading in this author's humble opinion.

RED SONJA #37 - All the fuss over how this comic involves a reincarnation of Sonja and I had failed to notice that Osin - Sonja's old (now old before his time it seems) bard companion and new trainer - has two hands. This issue explains that as well as how Osin was able to track Sonja down and how he got his hand back. Bad news for Osin - he apparently cut a deal with the god Jullah (aka The Black Gorilla God) to do all this which can't possibly end well. There's worse news on the way though, as it seems that Sonja's beloved sister (in this life, anyway) has turned traitor and is sleeping with the enemy in every since of the word.

I'll give Brian Reed credit - he's got me hooked now to see where he is going with this.

SAVAGE TALES #9 - I honestly skipped most of the stories in this anthology, having little interest in Alan Quartermain or the Battle for Atlantis. The rest more than make up for my need to skip half the book.

The first comic - Valaka - centers upon a sorceress who offers a young warrior help in fighting the wizard who has destroyed his village and taken his love. Of course, as always in these Hyborian lands, the help of a magic-user is rarely helpful.

The final tale tells a story of the young Osin, proving that anyone who says bards are useless in a fight don't know how to play one properly, as Osin uses his natural gifts with a sword, with magic and persuasion to turn an entire village against an evil wizard.

SECRET SIX #1 - It just figures. Not a few weeks after I struggle to find the perfect Deadshot quote for my Neutral Evil comic book character alignment poster, Gail Simone comes along and gives me the perfect one.

All you need to know about the rest of the comic is... more Ragdoll, more Nicola Scott/Doug Hazlewood artwork and Deadshot stopping a robbery only to decide to rob the place himself, all while giving the original group of robbers pointers on "how to do it right".

WONDER WOMAN #24 - Speak of Gail Simone books...

Am I the only one who didn't find much funny in Nemesis (now Sir Tom of Cleveland) being taken to meet Wonder Woman's mother? Maybe I've just had too many weird mom/daughter encounters to be unbiased.

On the other hand, this is more than made-up for by the idea of Diana having to deal with an unauthorized Hollywood blockbuster biography based on her and her mother... and Diana's albino gorilla bodyguards reaction to the contract negotations after being offered a snack and a drink.

"We would like to hear more about this fresh fruit portion of the negotiations."

Still...After seeing Gail's take on the Wonder Woman movie in this issue... I really want to see Gail write a Red Sonja special of some kind more than ever. I can't help but wonder if this is in reference to some meeting that Gail had...

I can dream, can't it?

Please do not reveal the secret behind the villain at the end of the issue.


  1. I too was pleased with Secret Six. I'm interested to see how the new guy, Bane will fit into the dynamic.

  2. I'm glad its not just me and Noah's fairly rabid fanbase on his forums who find the new guy boring and bland. I mean I've gamed with the guy for years so I'm biased and his fandom is just one bus ticket shy of crazy stalker-dom. Not that any of them seem willing to pony up the waffle maker I want to get an address...
    Cheap bastards...

  3. Kinda wondering how Bane hooked up with them in the first place...

  4. No. Sadly, it seems the only people who take the time to write to Jolly Blackburn (besides me) are the people who really HATE Noah's work or the ones who don't like it okay but don't see what the fuss is about one way or the other.

  5. Well, Scandal just lost her big, strong girlfriend. Who better to replace her than a big, strong, hairy Mexican wrestler? ;D

  6. I'm hoping Gail fixes some of poor Bane's bad writing. *lol*

  7. Bane was with Deadshot in the Suicide Squad mini I do believe. SO he just kinda followed along.
    I love the guys' idea of a way to cheer some one up.

  8. He was assigned to Suicide Squad when they were running around sending super-crooks to the "prison" planet. I'm guessing after Waller betrayed Deadshot, Bane and the other criminal parts of the Squad at that point he decided to stick with the other four members of the Six...
    Man did I not buy Waller or Flag coming up with that stupid plan. And then to have NEITHER show any loyalty to Deadshot? Such a stupid story DC. Such a stupid, pointless WASTE of characters on a weak half-assed version of George R.R. Martin's proposed Elseworlds story...

  9. It pretty much lost me at the revelation that Flag was alive and well... even though it was no where close to the stupidest resurrection DC pulled recently.

  10. I dunno... she didn't strike me as the "well-groomed" type. :P

  11. Bah! Like Mad Harriet, she uses the exfoliante of Apokolips, which burns as it removes hair!