Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Green Arrow Coolness...

Someone finally put most of it up on scans_daily...

Second Thoughts on Thoughts on HEROES, Season 3, Chapter 7 - Eris QuodSum

Finally got a chance to watch a non-skipping version of the episode this morning.

And yeah... wow. Totally missed all the dialogue that made it pretty clear that Sylar nerfed his blow to save Peter when he went flying out the window. So... yeah. Sylar's still kinda goodish. And I'm actually starting to be cool with it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thoughts on HEROES, Season 3, Chapter 7 - Eris Quod Sum

That title is Latin for "you will be what I am". But what does that mean?

And will I be able to watch the show in the first place with the local NBC affiliate's signal skipping like a bad DVD all the way through Chuck?

The title would seem to fit with my theory about Arthur Petrelli's powers. That is to say, he has Peter's ability to draw upon the powers of others, but he has refined it to the point that he can take them away too.

Anyway... let us see what happens next.

8:01 - Okay. So Hiro has to go and stop some things from happening... but he refuses to go back in time because he doesn't want to make things worse. Nice way of keeping things interesting despite the fact that Hiro is basically all powerful and potentially COULD solve all the problems in five minutes. And one of the events is Mohinderance talking with Nathan and Tracy?

8:02 - Wait! Maya isn't dead? Oh, now I REALLY hate Mohinderance!

8:03 - Got really jumpy this whole time but I basically got the gist that Arthur made Peter a deal and Peter said no way in hell. Of course we knew that from the commercials...

8:05 - Yay Elle! And her powers are wonky! And takes a lot of suspense out of tomorrow's comic, which is supposed to finish up the "Elle visits Claude" storyline to learn control. But still - yay Elle!

8:07 - Super Duck Afflack commercial. That's insane.

8:08 - The cynic in me can't help but notice that the largest uninterrupted skips seem to be occurring during the commercial breaks.

8:09 - Huh. Claire doesn't feel electric shocks. Weird.

8:10 - Heh. Lyle with the bucket of water for the win. And it looks like Claude didn't do anything for her. Suck.

8:10 - Oh gods - Mohinderance is getting mopey over the woman he webbed up, may have basically raped and kept as a hostage. Gag me.

8:11 - Okay... that thing with the face-coming out is creepy. New theory - he's a soul eater. Somehow, I doubt he's leaving nothing behind as he claims... unless he is LITERALLY leaving nothing behind.

8:12 - Of course since Mohinderance is willingly signing on with the bad guys it's acceptable for me to hate him. Of course, he's been 0 for 3 on choosing sides so far so... big surprise that's what he does.

8:14 - Ah cool. So she doesn't just see the future in her dreams.... she can communicate in dreams too, like that Indian kid from Season One. The conversation with Sylar is skipping bad but I got the gist. Sylar needs to save Peter.

8:16 - Woo-hoo! Blonde babe road trip!

8:19 - And there goes Maury! But because of the skipping I didn't see what happened? Did he use Maya's power?

8:23 - Mama Bennet is awesome. That is all.

8:25 - Okay. The romance is moving quickly, no pun intended.

8:26 - Okay... "one way or another you will help me get this done". What is Arthur doing, exactly?

8:27 - Peter trying to talk sense into Mohinderance. This is going to fly like a lead balloon.

8:28 - Heh. I knew it. "Then you're too late". And then in comes Sylar. Who... I am actually starting to like as a hero. His beating Mohinderance senseless is only somewhat related to this. Really.

8:29 - Oooh. So Papa Petrelli DOES keep the powers he steals. Looks like my theory of paternal power dominance is kinda standing up.

8:33 - Okay. Mohinderance is BREEDING Spider-Monsters? Worst scientist ever.

8:34 - Fire and Ice and Bennet being as bad ass as ever. Nice.

8:35 - Oooh. Nice bit of drama here. And weirdly, the skipping seems to have stopped as the lights began flickering on the screen. Maybe Elle is messing up my TV? Erie....

8:38 - Okay. There is NOW way a fear manipulator should be able to take down a telepath. Not even Matt.

8:42 - Nice fakeout!

8:43 - "Join me - and we shall rule the galaxy as father and son!" Well, it has the same feeling as that.

8:44 - Okay... so Powerless Peter is on the loose... and still smarter than Mohinderance. Guess we know who has the Idiot Ball this week.

8:45 - Yay! Maya is leaving! Please never come back! Please never come back!

8:48 - Oh, that figures! I finally get to liking Sylar as a good guy and he signs on with the bad guy team again. Or the Worse Bad Guy team. And there had better be a HELL of a fake-out coming.

8:51 - Ok. Not a fake-out. But hardly lethal. And hey, now we know where the scar came from.

8:53 - Of course now that Bennet and the characters I care about are on, the skipping starts.

8:54 - I said it before last week and I'll say it again this time. Matt is actually starting to kick ass.

8:57 - Oooh Nathan sounds scary when he is being bad ass.

8:58 - The skipping is really bad now... what is Hiro eating?

8:59 - Okay... so Hiro is going to have visions of the past and this will tie into the flashback episode in two weeks. Curses.

Final Thoughts: Okay. So here's where the teams - such as they are - stand.

The Company
Angela, Bennet, Meredith, Sylar

Arthur, Sylar (not really), Mohinder, Flint, Knox, Elle (maybe)

Matt, Daphne, Peter, Claire, Nathan, Tracy, Hiro, Ando, the African precog whose name I can't spell

I THINK that's all the players right now.

But two weeks until another episode? And a flashback? NOOOOOOOOO!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 10/22/08

BIRDS OF PREY #123 - Well, THAT was anti-climactic. The last issue ended with the promise of a big show-down between Babs and The Joker and we get... nothing. And to add insult to injury, most of the issue is devoted to giving us background on "The Syndicate" and the comically awful ideas used to make these guys worse than your usual group of robber-barons. Like it wasn't enough that one of their number is Gizmo from the Fearsome Five and they were willing to bring The Joker in as a partner.

Case in point: the CEO of "YourSpace", we are told, has gone out of his way to make it easier for child predators and serial killers to gain access to the personal information of young children using his service. This is all part of the plan to gather more material for his secret underground porn empire. And then there's the head of the "auction" website who has kidnapped numerous people and forces them to live in an underground Utopia he built, killing them if they fail to care for the collectibles in their new homes...

This kind of thing seems more appropriate to a Garth Ennis Hellblazer storyline than to an issue of Birds of Prey and it doesn't speak well of a story when The Joker is the least disturbing baddie in it.

FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT - A must read if you plan to get Final Crisis #4. I discussed most of my questions about this book in my review of that issue, but the short version is that the background we get for Mark Richards (aka The Tattooed Man) doesn't gel with what we've seen in the past. Still, this is Grant Morrison working with a vastly underrated character and spelling out a little more detail of the post-Anti-Life Earth. Worth a read, even if I am confused as to how this fits a few things.

HELLBLAZER #248 - An awesome issue, all around. Not just for the first half in which John handily undoes the plans of two villains who are united against him but for the second half in which John makes his peace with Chas regarding... oh.... most of the events of the later part of the Mike Carey run. And the last page and the set-up.... wow! If you aren't reading this, you should be.

Thoughts On Final Crisis: Final Crisis #4

Fair Warning. You'll want to read Final Crisis: Submit before this issue. It's kinda important and is a direct lead in.

p. 1-2 - So... the Anti-Life Equation is now being broadcast across every electronic medium in the world and everyone who listens is turned into an apathetic zombie, incapable of independent thought and eager to be abused by the ruling elite. Insert your own Fox News/talk radio joke here.

p. 3 - The Ray? Isn't he dead? Or did they bring a new one back in one of the many comics I'm not reading?

p. 4-5 - For that matter, I'm confused by this new Tattoed Man. What we see of him here and in Final Crisis: Submit doesn't really gel with his background in his previous appearances. He's supposed to be an ex-Marine who disappeared, learned the art of "sin-grafting" and began killing bad people and taking their sins (in the form of mystic tattoos) onto himself. Cool concept for a dark vigilante when Geoff Johns came up with it... but it doesn't gel with the hero-hating, married man and father of two we see here.

p. 6-7 - And.... it's a whole bunch of dead people I don't recognize or care about.

p. 8 - Ah, okay. So they're genetically altering Dan Turpin to become Darkseid's new body. No wonder he was going bald and looking horrible...

p. 9 - Kalibak reborn in the body of a tiger-man? I see a fight with Tawny Tiger coming up. Because that is how Grant Morrison rolls.

p. 10 - Marvel Comics eat your heart out. It turns out it was Barbara Gordon who ripped the Internet in half... and she did it to save the world (or at least, everyone on-line at the time) from being enslaved by The Anti-Life Equation. She was also tough enough to see part of it and NOT go crazy.

p. 11 - And let us begin the "who is still active?" scene and mix it with the "We shall fight them on the beaches..." speech as Ray becomes an electric signal and allows a quick communication between The Six Watchtowers.

p. 12-16 - So here is the standing...

Watchtower 1: Checkmate Headquarters
Watchtower 2: The Hall of Justice
Watchtower 3: Fortress of Solitude
Watchtower 4: Uh... no idea. Gorilla City?
Watchtower 5: Superbia (which I could have sworn was blown up...)
Watchtower 6: The Great Wall (home of China's State-Sponsored Superteam - The Great Ten)

4 and 5 are pretty much trashed. 6 is about to fall. And barbarians are at the gate at the Hall of Justice.

p. 17 - Okay. So Black Lightning gave The Tattooed man a pattern for a circut.... so that gives him electrical powers which he uses to.... break the shield on the Hall of Justice? Still, nice to see Dinah being written as the competent tactician she is and being the one to figure a way out - turning Ray into an electronic signal and using him to power the teleporter system. THAT is how Dinah should be written.

p. 18-19 - So how is Barry Allen back from the dead? "An unknown force just reverse engineered me to life out of a blizzard of faster-than-light particles." Well, it's not as cool as spending the better part of a decade out-running Death... but it beats the pants off of "Superboy punched reality."

p. 20-21 - Two speedsters vs. four mind-controlled heroes, only one of whom has any enhanced speed and is nowhere near as fast. No contest.

p. 21-25 - Ladies and Gentlemen... if a few pages ago was how Dinah should be written, THIS is how Green Arrow should be written.

I can't find a scan of this page and sadly, my scanner is busted, so let me describe it. Dinah is getting everyone in the Hall of Justice to evacuate to the JLA Satellite. Ollie pushes her into the tube and insists that he has to stay behind to blow up the tubes so they can't be used by the villains.

Dinah protests and Ollie points out that he's the only one who can afford to stay behind out of their group. Ray is needed to be the signal. Tattooed Man has "the circut" that Black Lightning died to get to the other heroes. Dinah is the JLA leader. Babs is needed to handle the communications. "And The Flash'l kill us both if anything happens to his wife or his kids."

OLLIE: Nowhere on the planet is safe, but I have an idea.

DINAH: Don't do this. I can't lose you. (brings her hand up on the glass wall of the tube)

OLLIE: (bringing his hand up to match hers) I worked out the angles. They won't get me... I'll use the Anti-Anti-Life Equation arrow. Pretty bird.

DINAH: (kissing the glass) Ollie. My beautiful Robin Hood.

(Dinah teleports just as the Apokolyptian forces - all riding giant dogs - break into the Hall of Justice. Black Lightning is leading the group, wearing one of the Anti-Life Mind-Control Helmets being used to control the Superheroes)

BLACK LIGHTNING: Destroy! Anti-Life justifies our actions!

OLLIE: (shooting at least a dozen arrows in a blur as he jumps out and starts strafing the mob) Is that so? Well my absolute hatred for dog-riding totalitarian @$$@&%# justifies THIS!

If Judd Winick weren't almost off of Green Arrow/Black Canary, I'd suggest that these pages needed to be taken from this book and stapled all around his work-space. (Not his forehead... that would be cruel) He would then be required to write 500 times on a little slate board "I will not write any Green Arrow stories until I think of something that is HALF this awesome."

p. 26 - Oh gods. Dinah is pissed. And she's got access to every single weapon on the Watchtower and a sniper's eye view. This is not going to go well for Darkseid.

p. 27 - The Omega Offensive? That sounds bloody impressive. And that isn't a New God weapon?

p. 28 - "To Die On The Job Is To Die For Darkseid" signs in a factory. Mobs of heavily armed sycophants maintaining order as they preach judgment of others, condemnation of the different and exploitation of the weak. Insert your own joke about the McCain/Palin platform here.

p. 29 - Okay. Skeptical as I am about Barry's return.... damn me, but this is a cool scene.

Love breaks Anti-Life it seems.

p. 30 - Rains of blood. Dead rising from the grave. Where are the Ghostbusters when we need them?

p. 31 - Some Mister Miracle if he can't dodge a bullet. But wait! That's not Shiloh Norman! Cunning bastard - he escaped death by getting some Asian guy to put on his costume and claim to be him!

p. 32 - And... Kirby/Turpin/Darkseid gives humanity the thumbs down. But wait! In Ancient Rome, that actually was a GOOD thing... so he's really saying humanity is great. Right?

Quickly, Biden! The Obama Signal is up! The country needs us!

SOURCE: Obama Bat Signal Appears

"The Bat Signal is a modified spotlight to project the iconic Bat-symbol into the sky or onto a building to contact and request the presence of Batman in the case of an emergency. The Obama signal above appears to indicate we are in an emergency and his assistance is needed to get us out of it."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thoughts on HEROES, Season 3, Chapter 6 - Dying of the Light

Hmm. Interesting title given the revelation about the father of Peter and Nathan (and maybe Sylar?) last week. It is a repeating refrain from Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. Cutting out the repetitive verses, there's quite a few lines that could be relevant to many characters....

Old age should burn and rave at close of day

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray....

Ah well. On to the commentary!

8:00 - So to recap. Claire's mom is captured by Puppet Master. Daphne is recruiting an army. Mohinder is going crazy evil. And Mr. Petrelli IS apparently Sylar's dad.

8:01 - Oh man! Mohinder is back as narrator! This does not bode well.

8:03 - Oh, okay! Fine! I was wrong. Hiro DID have a plan and was faking. But why didn't Daphne notice him freezing time this time?!?!

8:04 - Hmm. Hiro hunting the African precog. I see hilarity ensuing.

8:05 - Three attractive blonde women going after a Puppet Master. I can hear the bad fan-fic being written already.

8:06 - Hmm... I guess Meredith WAS an ex-Company agent. Maybe she was the one Claude was protecting back when he went Rogue from the Company? I miss the invisible Brit bastard.

8:08 - Awww man. And I liked Adam! So what is Papa Petrelli? Got some kind of telepathy, obviously... but that draining touch to heal himself... could he have Peter's empathic ability and a killing touch power from elsewhere?

8:12 - Ah. Daphne IS a Catwoman. Cool with stealing but not with killing.

8:14 - There's a change! Matt being ahead of someone. And a Speedster to boot! Ha! Slow and steady wins after all.

8:15 - Even for Heroes, Mohinder's apartment is being filmed WAY too dark. Nice to see that Nathan's "something is wrong" alarm seems to be going off.

8:17 - Okay. Scarily enough I am liking this romance. Matt with confidence is a lot more likable as a character. At least, more likaable than the whipping boy of fate he has been most of this season and last.

8:19 - I wouldn't put money on Tracy freezing Mohinderance at this point... but I can dream, can't I?

8:23 - Awwwwww. Sylar doesn't want to kill anymore. Gaaaag.

8:24 - Okay, I didn't notice this before but with the new hair cuts, the Peter/Sylar resemblance is a WHOLE lot more obvious.

8:25 - "They all look alike to me." "That's racist." Hee hee.

8:26 - Okay. Regarding the painting and Hiro and the shovel? BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

8:29 - That was predictable. The other mom gets caught. Losing momentum fast.

8:33 - I'll give the writers credit for one thing - they ARE doing a good job creating villains who are actually a threat to the Heroes. Case in point - super-healing isn't much good against a villain who has no interest in killing you or hurting you.

8:34 - BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I know it is wrong for me to enjoy seeing Hiro getting smacked around. But after the last few episodes where he was a dick to Ando... I think he deserves a few hits with the Karma Clue-By-Four. To say nothing of how this further goes to show why Time Travel Can't Solve Everything.

8:36 - Case in point #2 - Time Travel is useless against someone who can see the past and future coming.

8:37 - Russian Roulette? Well, I guess an incestuous multi-generational orgy with the creepy bald guy - while being a much more honest abuse of this power - WOULD be a bit much for network TV. Come to think of it, this guy DOES look like a fatter Brian Michael Bendis.

8:39 - I know this will end with Claire getting shot and then healing and taking the guy off guard... but this is still damned good acting.

8:41 - Hmmm... Maybe I should test myself for PreCog powers? Then again, if I were THAT good, I would have figured out Hiro fake-stabbing Ando along with everyone else in the world.

8:44 - Apropos of nothing, no sign of Noah this month. You'd think The New Company would want to recruit their old Badass Normal if they'll take the likes of Sylar and Mohinderance.

8:45 - Okay. Much as I'm hating the character reversal "Peter is crazy evil/Sylar is the good son thing", there is some very good acting in this scene too.

8:46 - Ah. THERE he is. And yeah - nice, big happy family moment until Claire stomps out. Dammit, Claire. You're too smart to be buying Sylar's line about your dad. But hey... Meredith/Noah team-ups. That's cool. So cool it's hot, in fact. (I know, I know. Bad joke.)

8:48 - Okay! Bad-ass multi-power fight! And Peter is kicking ass! But he still patches Sylar up, so he's still a good guy! Going mad with power my ass... Peter just found his balls.

8:50 - Then again... I may have spoken too soon in dismissing the idea of Tracy freezing Mohinderance. Or at least giving him a wicked case of frost-bite.

8:51 - Oh Mohinderance... You're so lame when you're trying to sound threatening.

8:55 - Okay. That was honestly heartbreaking. Damnit, but they can make this show work when they focus on the characters and not the lame plot gimmicks.

8:56 - 4 villains. Two men hugging. I need a screen capture of that pronto...

8:59 - Ah. So Papa IS a power sponge. Like Father, Like Son. But he can take them away.

Final Verdict - Nearly everything is forgiven. I still can't stand the attempt to clean up Sylar and make it "okay to like him" after all this time. But for the most part... things are looking good here.

Two things from the HEROES Comics it would have been nice to haverevealed on the show.

1. Hiro's genius sister (the one who was supposed to take over Yamagato Industries in Season One) quit her CEO job in order to take over stewardship of The Yamagato Fellowship - an organization her father created, dedicated to promoting the ideals of classical heroism in modern life. (Revealed in Issue #72 - Past Experiences)

2. The exact reason Future Claire is so down on Future Peter is because he had a vision of millions of people dying because of The New Company she was a part of and that he decided it was better for 200 scientists and Company employees to die to save the lives of millions. This is probably also why Future Peter was so desperate to time-travel backwards in time to try and prevent things from getting to that point in the first place. (Revealed in Issue #106 - Resistance)

Incidentally, something you may have missed... the pins Future Claire and Future Daphne are wearing are the same symbol as in the Pinehearst Research logo. And that is where Mister Petrelli is apparently being kept hooked up to life-support.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Scene I Think Is Coming on the next Episode of Heroes.

How are they going to resolve Hiro killing Ando?

(Enter Hiro and Knox. Adam and Maury are sitting at a table)

ADAM: Ah. You're here. Maury brought me up to speed. Where's your friend?

HIRO: I killed him. To prove I am bad ass.

ADAM: Really? Where's the body?

KNOX: Still in the van.

ADAM: Let me dispose of it for you while Maury fills in our new partner.

(Exit Adam. Camera follows him as goes down a hall into a lab and palms a syringe)

(CUT TO: Back of van. Adam injects Ando with a syringe full of his magic healing blood.)

(Ando heals and sputters back to life)

ANDO: - what the! Hiro, how could you?!

ADAM: Yes. How could he? See now much your friend values your friendship? How important it is compared to him being a hero and getting what he wants?

ANDO: Yes... but how...

ADAM: Shhh... Plenty of time to explain later. For now, I need you to get out of here and wait for me. We'll get our revenge on Hiro soon enough...

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 10/15/08

Picked up quite a few IDW titles special this week. Let's see if I regret it...

COMIC FOUNDRY MAGAZINE #4 - Quite a lot to appreciate and quite a lot I could care less about. Your typical issue of Comic Foundry, in other words; something for everyone and that's what makes it the best magazine about comic books on the market.

If you're like me and you don't want to read an article about Mark Millar's begging and pleading for a chance to write a Superman movie, you can go on to read Tony Harris talking about his moving on to creator-owned projects only (unless something REALLY good comes up). If you could care less about an exclusive preview of Greg Rucka's latest project, there's a Gail Simone interview. Don't much care what Jimmy Palmiotti's office looks like? Take a gander at some TP reviews which tell you about a more obscure title you should check out if you enjoyed a more famous one. (Like Walking Dead? Check out Wasteland). And, of course, there's a lot of articles on politics and superheroes.

CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #4 - A half-way decent cover this time. I can't believe it's Frank Cho though - there's no unclothen bootylicious wenches! As for the comic itself, it's the same as before - a lot of Conan grandpa flashbacks and precious little Conan action. Still a good read, but enough is enough!

DOCTOR WHO: THE FORGOTTEN #2 - Second Doctor and Third Doctor flashbacks this time. Thankfully, these take up the better part of the issue so the Martha-taint is relatively minor. Lots of fun fan-fic ideas here, such as the 2nd Doctor using the recorder he played for fun as a weapon... and the 3rd Doctor fights greyhound men from outer-space (funny if you know that The Brigadeer's call-sign was Greyhound One) behind the wheel of Bessie. Good Whoish fun.

FABLES #77 - Lots of goodness here as always, which is to be expected. What wasn't expected, however, was a parody of Fritz Leiber's fantasy heroes Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser... here presented as "Freddy and Mouse".

FINAL CRISIS: ROGUES' REVENGE #3 - A perfect and wonderful comic... up until the very end when we find out that not only is Barry Allen coming back, but that he's going to be going after The Rogues - who just want to be left alone at this point - with a vengeance. Which is a real shame because this series spelled out - in no uncertain terms - why The Flash has the best villainous characters of any hero in comics.

Spider-Man may have a more varied Rogues Gallery. Batman may have a scarier one. But for pure complex characterization, nobody can touch The Rogues - the guys who go out of their way to bring to justice (albeit rough justice) the villain who actively was trying to kill Bart Allen.

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE OTHER SIDE #1 - This comic reads just like an episode of the old cartoon series... after J. Michael Straczynski quit in disgust. The only things missing are a cutsey, dancing Slimer, thank goodness. But everything else - including the hokey jokes - is intact.

Seriously - you can hear the second-rate Dave Coulier impression of Bill Murray as you read the precious few pages that Venkman is in.

Here's the story in a nut-shell; The Ghostbusters crash a meeting of ghostly gangsters only to have Peter get possessed and forced out of his body. Dragging their catatonic comrade back to base, the rest of the team determine that the lights are on but nobody is home - body is alive but soulless. Eventually they figure out that Peter is in Purgatory only to be gun-downed by tommy-gun wielding poltergeists, who got approval from the heads of the ghost Mafia (including the ghosts of Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Malone and Meyer Lansky) to put out a hit on The Ghostbusters.

The plot, such as it is, shows just why The Ghostbusters mythology has always equated ghosts to monsters and never chose to explore the serious issues regarding the nature of The Afterlife and rarely dealt with the ghosts of re-world figures. Ignoring the touchy religious and spiritual issues regarding the details of how the afterlife is structured, it's just creepy to consider that lost souls are being prevented from going to Heaven, Nirvana or wherever by a bunch of scientists out to make a buck on supernatural pest control. This issue also neatly sidesteps the issues as to just what ghostly gangsters steal and how they hurt their rivals... issues that have never stood up in the purely comedic rules of physics that back The Ghostbusters universe.

Avoid like the plague, children. Wait for the video game and a Ramis/Ackroyd written story.

GRANT MORRISON'S DOCTOR WHO #1 - If you like Grant Morrison, you should pick this up. If you like Doctor Who, you should pick this up. If you, like me, like both, you really should pick this up. And if you don't see the beauty of a comic that features a shape-shifting alien penguin as The Doctor's sidekick... well, why are you reading comics?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 10/01/08 and 10/08/08

Been so busy with work and HEROES musings I forgot - oh yeah - I actually DID get a few comics this past week.

GREEN LANTERN #35 - Secret Origins concludes and continues the wonderful trend Johns started with this series.

My favorite touch? Using Quill of the Empire of Tears - a prophetic villain created by Alan Moore for one of his Green Lantern stories - to doom Sinestro as he doomed Abin Sur.

In the story Tygers, it was Quill who inspired the paranoia that caused Abin Sur to travel in a space-ship after giving him a prophecy that he would die when his ring failed him in deep space. In this story, Quill predicts that Sinestro's home-world will fall into chaos and ruin - a fate that orderly-minded Sinestro swears to prevent.

If you're read Emerald Dawn 2, you know where this is heading - how Sinestro went too far and began to rule as a tyrant, relying on fear to keep his own people in line with his own laws. Still, I find this retelling of the story preferable to that older story for many reasons - not the least of which is Johns tying together several great, yet unrelated tales. He's also done a much better job of creating a convincing student/mentor relationship between Hal Jordan and Sinestro than Gerard Jones did.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #29 - The plot thickens in the search for a Sinestro Corps alien who is kidnapping the children of Green Lanterns. The Green Lantern Saarek, who also has the power to talk to the dead, seeks the corpse of the Anti-Monitor. The first of the new Star Sapphire Corps is chosen. And Ice goes to visit Guy on Oa. And for those of you who were wondering just how Tora was able to hitch a ride to Oa in the first place, we get an explanation; her wish to go to Oa was foreseen by a Green Lantern who is part of an race of precognitive aliens. Lots of stuff going on, but it's all fairly accessible for new readers. Good old fashioned space opera and soap opera, mixed in perfect harmony.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #143 - It does my heart good to see BA getting one over on Brian. And I hope that the continuing Hard 8 storyline isn't heading for another dramatic twist like when Gary Jackson died. Still the best gamer comic on the market, even without The Gamers Rant.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #25- A lot to like here - from the final resolution of Red Tornado's story arc to some nice character moments with Black Lightning and Hawkgirl. But the center of the issue - and the best part - involves the big reveal of trickster god Anansi being the one pulling the strings of Vixen and Animal Man's erratic power changes.

I admit a bias here. I'm a sucker for a good trickster villain and good Elseworld ideas... and the idea of a storyteller god who can alter reality by deciding to change the story... well, it's been done with Mark Waid's "Queen of Fables" but not quite this effectively or as scarily. The Queen of Fables may have put Wonder Woman in an eternal sleep but Anansi effectively erased the Justice League from history simply by causing Bruce Wayne to pick up a gun and shoot the man who killed his parents...

And Bruce Wayne as the black-clad Western hero Paladin... the Have Gun, Will Travel in me is pleased.

SECRET SIX #2- Not quite so great as last month, but it still has the Line of The Month so far...

RAGDOLL: If I had known we might die, I would have done something filthy enough to shame the Heavens as my last act.
DEADSHOT: What have you got left on that list, Doll?
RAGDOLL: Only what my allergies won't permit, I'm delighted to say.

WONDER WOMAN #25- Much as I do rag on The Queen of Fables in the JLA review, I do like her appearance here. Then again, Gail Simone is at her best using serious characters in an unserious situation and... well, forcing Diana to play herself in a bad version of her own life story makes for some good action and some amusing comics.

Thoughts on HEROES, Season 3, Chapter 5 - Angels and Monsters

8:01 - Nathan as narrator. Nice change, if only because I'm sick of Mohinderance.

8:02 - "What would make me happy is some straight answers." You and me both, Nathan.

8:03 - Okay... did I miss something? Why is Mohinderance shaking down drug dealers and not for the drugs?

8:05 - Damn. Thought Peter was actually going to follow through.

8:06 - So are Meredith and Mrs. Bennet going to join to form... The Mom Squad? And it looks like Maury Parkman IS on the loose.

8:07 - Miniature black-holes. That's a new one.

8:10 - "I promise to put you in a more spacious cell. With a window. And a vent." - Hee hee.

8:11 - Wait a second... Daphne can see Linderman? And he's forming The Legion of Doom?

8:13 - Noah is still one walking, talking Crowning Moment of Awesome.

8:14 - Why do I get the feeling that this guy honestly was one of the innocent people The Company kidnapped? Apparently Claire is carrying the Idiot Ball this week, having completely forgotten how corrupt The Company is given... oh, EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO DO WITH HER AND HER FAMILY FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS!!!!

8:15 - Oh gods... Maya is back. I guess it was too much to hope that she had left.

8:16 - Okay. Stan Lee? Call a lawyer now. Actually, wait until they totally drive Mohinderance over the line, let him get gunned down by The Company THEN sue someone. Come to think of it, Mohinderance is still working for The Company. You'd think - what with the security cameras in his lab - SOMEONE would have noticed all this by now.

8:20 - Hmmmmm... Pinehearst. First mention of them in the show, though they've been in the comics for a while.

8:21 - Aha! Yep. Another case of wrongful kidnapping. And... in defiance of the entire tone of the Season so far... Claire is actually listening to the guy and offering to help? Good sign.

8:24 - "Who do you think gave you these powers?"... "A doctor in California." Hee Hee.

8:25 - And, of course, Sylar screws things up again and undoes the most heroic thing on the show in a good while.

8:26 - Okay. If Noah actually starts accepting Sylar RIGHT AWAY as a result of this... I probably won't stop watching, but I am going to be really unhappy.

8:30 - Oh, THANK GOD! Noah takes Sylar to task. Claire takes Sylar to task. Nice to see that THEY still know who the bad guys are, even if the writers seem to be forgetting.

8:31 - "Like the Cantina. I never knew there was such a place." Okay... good sign again. Hiro being allowed to be geeky AND clearly out of his league rather than playing know-it-all master planner.

8:32 - Case in point. Everyone complains Hiro is over-powered. I say, not so long as he has his glass jaw.

8:33 - Ah. Exposition time. The Company created synthetic abilities - tested them on kids. Tracy, Niki, Barbara and Nathan among them.

8:36 - Put her in a cocoon, Mohinderance! End all of our misery!

8:37 - Oh, please say that we are getting the best of both worlds - a dead Maya and an irredeemable Mohinderance?

8:41 - Knox is working for Linderman? But wasn't he locked up on Level 5?

8:42 - Okay. Someone is wanting to restart the program and it isn't Angela... or so he claims.

8:42 - Nathan just got a Crowning Moment of Awesome there.

8:43 - Oh hell... he's going to Mohinder to try and fix this? This can't possibly go well.

8:44 - Yay! Now if only we could have confirmation that they are, in fact, dead. Maybe I shouldn't cheer until she's visibly digested.

8:45 - Ummm... does Sylar still have super-hearing? Because I can't see this going well if he does.

8:46 - Is it a sad reflection on the show that I like the black-hole guy a lot better than 90% of the people I'm supposed to care about?

8:47 - Well, at least Hiro is being written in character for the first time in a few episodes.

8:48 - I stand corrected... unless Hiro is getting ready to pull one hell of a rabbit out of his ass.

8:52 - Okay. Bennet and Claire... please be smart enough to see through Sylar's B.S.

8:53 - Uh-oh. Where is Meredith...?

8:54 - Okay... is this guy just a very powerful telekinetic? Or is this a Purple Man kind of thing?

8:56 - Wait.. who is that in Angela's head. Not Maury?

8:57 - Ah... THERE'S A Maury. And he wants Matt on his team.

8:58 - Oh crap... it's Arthur Petrelli. And he's ... what?

Final Analysis: I didn't see that ending coming.... am not sure if I like this or hate this... but I'll keep watching for a while longer.

HEROES - Women In Refrigerators reels its' ugly head again.

I didn't plan to spend all of my sick day writing about this. But in the face of some of the comments so far and an article that was just brought to my attention which mentions the tendency of the female characters to be portrayed as victims this season as one of the ten biggest things the show needs to fix.

Of course this isn't the first time I've reported on this. And there's even a whole article on it at HEROESWiki.

I think it is a lot more obvious this Season though. I mean, think about it...

Claire - literally mind-raped by Sylar. Abandoned emotionally by Noah and Peter.

Niki - one of the two main female characters when the show first started - confirmed dead. Killed while trying to save Monica.

Monica - good bloody question

Tracy - started out as a powerful and confident "ice queen" who cracks (no pun intended) after accidentally killing someone, finding out she's the victim of gene-splicing and has sisters she never knew about. Tries to commit suicide and becomes the love interest of one of the main male heroes within minutes. Looks to be a trophy wife/First Lady in The Future.

Daphne - presently a super-fast thief who manages to regularly outrun Hiro physically and mentally. Is apparently destined, sometime in the next four years, to go straight, become a Company Agent, have a baby and become Matt Parkman's love interest in The Future.

Maya - has always been an annoying victim of the male characters' manipulation. This season, suddenly changed into (alternatively) a nag who badgers Mohinder and... I'm detecting a trend - Mohinder's love interest/love slave if my theory about him becoming a cockroach with pheromone powers is accurate.

Duality in HEROES

Thinking about Sylar being made into a heroic/sympathetic figure and Peter being made more villainous got me to thinking about a few things that are - amazingly - making the last week more tolerable for me.

What's the big symbol of the season so far? A world being ripped in half. Symbolically, that's been happening for a lot of the characters who are having their lives changed - the world being ripped apart.

Now here's my theory - we all know that a hero is only as good as their villains. Sherlock Holmes needs a Professor Moriarity. And no matter what flaws the hero may have (Holmes was a drug addict and something of an arrogant prick), there are lines they can't cross if they are going to remain a hero, no matter how much their flaws may push them toward crossing the line.

I believe that is what we are seeing with some of the characters this season. The two halves of the world are a symbol - not only of the disaster to come - but the two halves of the characters. I believe that we are seeing how some of our hero's flaws could potentially push them over the line, even as their worlds are being torn apart.

Take Hiro, for instance. Hiro is probably the most purely heroic character on the show. He's idealistic and has a strong sense of honor with the moral fortitude to back it up. And yet, for all of this, Hiro is remarkably arrogant in the sense that he is always certain he is doing the right thing.

How is that dangerous? Well, how many rulers committed acts of genocide because they thought they were doing the right thing trying to unite a divided land under one flag? How many people serving under those leaders supported unspeakably corrupt groups because they thought they were doing it for the right reason?

Hiro has always had this problem. He never considers the consequences of his actions and that he can write off any misdeed as necessary because he is The Hero. Consider the later half of Season One where he plots two separate thefts because he thinks that getting this one special sword will restore his faltering powers. Granting that he is doing this for a higher cause and to avert the deaths of millions, it never occurs to him for a moment that he might be wrong and that perhaps his problems come from a lack of confidence. Consider also, Season Two, where Hiro mistakenly travels to the past and turns a drunken mercenary into a mass-murderer through a rather base - if unintentional - act of betrayal and then spends the rest of the season trying to correct his mistakes, even while writing off Adam's actions as an over-reaction.

Now, in Season Three, Hiro's arrogance is getting the better of him again. Faced with a future where his best friend appears to kill him, Hiro has become increasingly dickish towards Ando for no reason other than "you're going to kill me!" It never occurs to Hiro - despite Ando's suggestion of several plausable reasons why he might be mistaken - that his eyes might have been deceived or that he might be able to stop Ando from ever being put in a position where he might ever feel compelled to kill Hiro.

Peter is going through a similar story arc where his greatest strength - his capacity for loving others and his desire to help people - are being turned into his greatest weakness. We know from the show that Future Peter became a terrorist of some sort and that - having failed to bring about change in the Future of Four Years From Now, he traveled back in time in order to prevent his future from coming about by killing (or at least wounding) his own brother in order to preserve the secret of super-human existence from the general public.

While it isn't made directly clear in the show, the on-line comic revealed that Peter's crossing the line from vigilante to terrorist came after he aided in the bombing of a genetics clinic. He claimed that he foresaw the evil that was coming from the lab's work and that he considered the deaths of 200 to be a lesser evil than the deaths of two million that were coming. This incident is also apparently what sours Claire on "Uncle Peter" and finally pushes her over the edge into cool, emotionless killing.

That is where Peter is now and Angela said as much. By trying to make things better, Peter is only making things worse and he has to learn the lesson that - despite his abilities and no matter how much he wants to do so - he cannot always save everyone.

Claire is responding to her recent mind-rape by Sylar in a similar fashion, wanting to learn how to hunt villains like her father. Claire claims she is doing this because she doesn't want anyone to suffer like she has and because she believes that evil must be punished. But - as she admitted to her birth mother Meredith as the two trained together - she also wants to hurt Sylar and - by extension - everyone like him who thinks their powers allow them to live outside the rules.

This isn't the first time that Claire has turned into an angel of vengeance. You might remember that in Season One, she tried to scare some sense into a rapist football player. Originally, she was content to suffer in silence following her own assault but the revelation that other girls had been hurt and the knowledge that The Powers That Be would do nothing to punish a popular football hero inspired her to take matters into her own hands. Nominally, Claire wanted to see justice done in some fashion but it seems likely that there was some small component of rage there.

It goes for the most of the other main characters too. Mohinder is becoming a living example of curiosity killing the cat... or turning the cat into a man/cockroach hybrid. Tracy was ready to kill herself rather than face up to her powers and her accidentally killing a man. Nathan is being manipulated into seeking high office in the name of accomplishing a greater good... AGAIN. And Matt was starting to abuse his power before he got transplanted into Africa and has already been warned of becoming his family-abandoning, mind-manipulating father.

Or it could just be - as my friend Keith suggested - that when all the characters leveled up after Season Two, everybody took the d20 feat Improved Dumbassery.

Improved Dumbassery - You are blessed with a certainty that everything you do, no matter how stupid and/or wrong, is the right thing to do.

Benefit: You automatically succeed at any opposed Diplomacy check meant to influence your opinions. You never have to make Wisdom or Intelligence Checks against doing things which are so intrinsically wrong and/or stupid, that only a yogurt would consider them. Examples include being a dick to the friend who you think is destined to kill you in the future and injecting yourself with an untested formula you think might give you super-powers.

I figured out what bothered me so much about last week's HEROES...

Rereading what I wrote about the season so far and reading other people's comments elsewhere, I find myself remarkably alone in thinking that making Sylar into a heroic figure is a Very Bad Thing.

That is not to say that I didn't appreciate all the cool moments this season where Sylar expertly pulls a Bavarian Fire Drill with the cops at Knox's bank robbery, plays a very effective Boogyman as he goes after Claire and yes - even the bit in the future where he is an annoyingly perky Mister Rogers. But there's a world of difference between a character "being cool" and "being heroic".

There are certain characters who - by their nature - cannot be heroic even if they do heroic things. Doctor Doom, for instance, has a definitive sense of style that is unrivaled for sheer coolness. And has saved the world on numerous occasions. But while he has a devout fandom and is undoubtedly admired for being a worthy menace with a silver tongue... he is far from a heroic figure in any classical sense because of the many ethical lines he has crossed in his life.

I think Sylar is in the same mold. He is an unmitigated bad guy who you love to hate. He is, to use the wrestling term, a heel. And as any wrestling fan will tell you, there is nothing that can ruin a heel's popularity like pulling a heel-turn. That is, having a bad guy suddenly turn good.

I think that's a part of it. Because Sylar has done too much bad to be written off as just being a confused young man who just needs a strong mother figure to guide him onto the path of good.

And to have Sylar actually turn around and be redeemed in the way they did it - by saying that all of the murders he committed weren't really his fault because his power made him do it - is to cheapen the death of every single person who died trying to stop him.

Take Isaac, for instance. Now, I'll admit to a bias here because Isaac was my favorite character in the first season. And part of me has held out hope that - because he listed "stop the bomb" and "stop you" as separate goals just before Sylar killed him - Isaac had another whammy in play. I'd hoped that Sylar would eventually find his comeuppance due to a prophecy Isaac foresaw and hid away where it would be found at the proper time. Writing Sylar's serial-killer tendencies off as "the devil made me do it" cheapens Isaac's sacrifice, to say nothing of the countless people he killed before.

And while I'm thinking about Isaac... am I the only one disturbed by the implications that - despite a number of people with mental problems brought on by their powers - the only ones who have been shown to have a chance at a normal life are men? Including the male serial killer?

Think about it: Niki's life was ruined by her multiple-personality disorder, which lead to her husband's death trying to save her and her being manipulated by two branches of The Company until her death. Elle was driven to sadism and sociopathic tendencies by her manipulative father's abuse and was forced out of the only life she ever knew. And Claire is apparently destined to become an emotionless killer and sadistic torturer thanks to Sylar's messing with her head as well as Peter AND Noah refusing to give her the guidance she wants/needs.

I can only think of two male parallels who have been shown to have an obvious mental problem - Isaac (who eventually overcame his drug addiction in order to save the world) and Sylar (who is... you know... a psychopathic killer!)

And the whole idea of "Knowing How Things Work" comes with "The Hunger" doesn't make sense on the face of it since - when Sylar was powerless for all of Season Two - he was STILL being compelled to kill people and try and take their powers!

*sighs* The season isn't over, of course, so there's a chance that we're getting faked out here and that Justice Is Coming. In fact, considering the season so far... and the basic underlying theme... I'm sure of it. But that is a whole other article.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thoughts on HEROES, Season 3, Chapter 4 - I Am Become Death

So tonight, we're supposed to get clarification on just what is making The Future suck this time.

Will Mohinder's formula cause super-powered people to range out of control or is it just wishful thinking on my part that my second-least favorite character could be responsible for destroying the world?

Will the secret formula that Hiro was trusted to protect have dire consequences or just turn out to be for Kaito Nakamura's secret fried chicken recipe?

Is Tracy Strauss part of a secret cloning program? If so, who do I contact about getting my very own Ali Larter?

All these questions and more will probably just raise further questions...

8:01 - Mohinder. Worst vigilante ever.

8:02 - Tracy, Niki and Barbara? No Jessica? And is the formula the one Hiro's dad has?

8:03 - Ah. So The Company is involved... even before he said he forgot the details.

8:04 - So... wait... anyone can see the future if dopped up?

8:05 - Four Years In The Future. Okay...

8:06 - Okay. Could be Mohinder. Could be Kaito's formula. Line drawn between people who were born with powers and the ones who were "made"? Odd...

8:07 - Huh. Haitian is there with Claire. Guess that's why Future Peter isn't healing. So she IS working for The Company in the future. But what happened to the powered/normal pairing rule?

8:10 - Huh. Knox and Daphne with Claire. So... huh. What side is Claire on? And did she say Mallory or Molly being the only one able to find Peter?

8:11 - Level 2? When did Hiro and Ando get moved up there? And isn't that a bit dangerous with the guy who can teleport?

8:13 - A telepath? No, nothing so obvious. Huh. There goes my new theory on Maury Parkman being behind this.

8:15 - 10 to 1 Mohinder's formula makes people more reptilian... aggressive. That rash is his body becoming more scaly. R-wave stuff, like Grant Morrison

8:16 - Hmmm... Continuity Point....when did Peter find out that Mohinder changed addresses? Rattling noises. Think I got it in one.

8:17 - Okay. Sylar has a power they don't understand... and it's the key to stopping the old mistakes. His power to understand things? Or something else he took from someone else?

8:19 - Yeah. I'm having pretty much the same reaction as Peter here.... shiny, happy Sylar?

8:24 - Waffles! The return of the waffles! Clearly waffles are the key to a well-balanced mind. How else can you explain that all the good guys have been eating waffles?

8:25 - Ha! So his power IS knowing how things work. But Peter didn't just absorb it before the way he always does? How is THAT possible? And yeah... I STILL don't buy Sylar is a Petrelli brother. And who is the mother of Sylar's son?

8:27 - So... Daphne is Matt's wife and mother of his kid and he's raising Molly. Think we know who the blonde in the painting was now. So... wait... she's with The Company? Or did The Haitian leave it to join Claire's team?

8:29 - Ah, okay. So Sylar's power gives you an intrinsic understanding of causality. So - in theory - Peter can figure out how to change what without any guesswork.

8:31 - Whoops.

8:32 - COMMERCIAL! Ah... thought this car commercial was part of the show for a minute.

8:36 - Maybe I missed something. Did Hiro even try to teleport out?

8:37 - Hiro needs an entry at SuperDickery.

8:38 - Mohinder is oozing a slime trail. Too easy a thing to joke about.

8:39 - I know what I have to do now... huh.

8:40 - Okay... I have no idea who/what Linderman is but this is really starting to get annoying.

8:41 - Maybe the Linderman as Clarence theory has come credibility after all. I.E. Lost soul trying to earn his wings. Thing is... can I even BEGIN to justify a bastard like Linderman working for the side of good? Not even. Cool rescue though.

8:45 - "So.. uh... you can fly?" Possible line of the week.

8:46 - Wow. From First Kiss to First Lady. Is it too outrageous for me to think that is Sylar masquerading as Nathan again?

8:50 - Okay. If they actually turn Peter crazy evil... this is going to piss off the fans, big time.

8:51 - Hmmm... if Peter kills Sylar in the present so that he can't get Sylar's power in the future, then that will prevent his future self from going around trying to get Sylar's power. But then.... Wait. If Peter is able to figure out how to stop causality problems now because he has Sylar's power... then killing Sylar would, assuming that the timeline can hold together... solve almost everything. Right?

8:55 - Funny how Molly doesn't seem to have aged at all in four years.

8:56 - "You don't read much, do you?" THAT is line of the week.

8:57 - Matt's totem is the Turtle. Yeah. Slow, stupid and looks like a rock. Makes sense.

8:58 - Ha! So Kaito's formula is the same as what Mohinder is working on... only it actually works.

8:59 - And the key to solving all of this is... Adam?!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another Awesome Quiz...

This one from Marionette!

1. A current obscure title that nobody else has heard of, which goes to show how cool you are for being aware of it. - Ex Machina. Some may say that it isn't obscure, but I have it on the good authority of Philadelphia Daily News comic critic Jerome Maida - whom I took to task for calling the concept of Green Arrow as a superhero mayor unique and original - that he can't read every obscure title that comes out. Of course I don't consider a book that's first issue won multiple Eisner Awards to be obscure... but hey, what do I know?

2. A title that everyone has heard of but doesn't think is that special, but for which you have a cunning argument for why it is cool. - Green Lantern Corps.... because Green Lantern is awesome... so a book about lots of them should be even more awesome!

3. A title that everyone already knows is cool, just to show that you have some common ground with the rest of comic fandom. - Green Lantern. Because Green Lantern is awesome.

4. A golden age title that nobody else has heard of (you can make one up if you like as there are lots of short lived golden age comics that sank without trace). - Madame Fatale. Because if there is one thing this world needs, it's a comic about an actor who fights crime by disguising himself as an old woman and then beating criminals up. He'd scare criminals straight because... well, would YOU keep mugging old women if there was a chance of getting beat up? :)

5. An indie comic that nobody else has heard of because only 5 copies were ever printed. - Here Come The Big People. Maybe not a comic with only 5 copies... but it is hard as hell to find... appropriately enough for a comic written by the original Crow T. Robot.

6. Some outrageous kitchy light-hearted silver age element that could only be reused today with heavy-handed symbolism or knowing self-reference. - Any story featuring the original Trickster, James Jesse.

7. A comic, or particular run of a comic that has been out of print for at least twenty years, which you can lobby for collected reprints of. - Mike Grell's Green Arrow.

8. A title you think must be very cool because you completely fail to make any sense of it. If it's a manga, you can't even work out whether to read it left to right or right to left because it makes as little sense either way. - The final issue of Chuck Austen's Superman run. I defy you to make sense of it!

9. A hideously expensive deluxe collection of some title . I mean if people are going to pay hundreds of dollars for it then it must be good, right? - The Starman Compendium Vol. 1. I already have all the single issues - but I must haves it!

10. A comic so obscure that it was never actually published. Or even written. - A Red Sonja/Tyris Flare fan comic I drew when I was 12. The less said about the contents the better.

Is Your Comic Collection Awesome?

So Chris Sims - that most distinguished of comics luminaries - recently composed a list of Twenty-Five Things Every Comics Collection Truly Needs To Be Awesome.

Do I measure up? Let us see...

1. The Mod Gorilla Boss/Any Ape Criminal Comics - Jay and Silent Bob #3, in which everyone's favorite stoners team up with a fugitive ape. (Yes, I know this got ripped off for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back... this is more awesome. And more is the pity we had Will Ferrel instead of Tommy Lee Jones playing the cop.

2. A Collection Of Stories From The Golden Age - The Collected Jack Kirby's Green Arrow. Featuring Green Arrows of the World!

3. At Least One Comic By Kyle Baker - The Bakers #1.

4. A Prose Novel About Comics - Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O'Neil. Perhaps the best novelization of a comic book series ever.

5. Something That Will Allow You To Sound Smart In Public - Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Season of Mists. If I had a dollar for every person I was able to persuade that comics had intellectual merit using this book and it's use of mythology, literary references and just plain trope-defying awesomeness... well, I might have enough to buy myself a big coffee at Starbucks. But that ain't nothing.

6. A Comic That, If It Came To It, Could Block Shuriken, Blowdarts, And Most Medium Caliber Handgun Rounds - Craig Thompson's Blankets. Suitable not only as a heart shield but also as a blackjack in dealing with household intruders, cockroaches and investment bankers.

7. One, and Only One, Issue of Pizzazz - ... Okay. I don't have that. But I have every issue of Comic Foundry.

8. A Comic Written by a Rapper - ... dammit.

9. Jack Staff - I keep meaning to pick up the trade but... no, not yet.

10. A Story That Deals With a Serious Issue - The Complete Dennis O'Neil Green Lantern/Green Arrow HC. The first to do it and - arguably - the best.

11. Something Romantic - Amazing Spider-Man #49 (#490). You want a nice rebuttal to every argument against Peter and MJ being married? Here it is in one issue.

12. Cover Girl, by Andrew Cosby, Kevin Church and Mateus Santolouco - No, but that's because I find Kevin Church's web-comic to be unfunny. Why would I pay money for his work?

13. Something That Is Totally Awesome But That You Totally Do Not Understand - Genshiken. A lot of the specific jokes about Tokyo and Manga-cons go past me, but I get enough of the fandom humor and the character humor to like the comic.

14. Something That You Can Give To Someone Who Doesn’t Get It - Fables: Legends in Exile TP. You want to drive home the point that comics are not for kids and that comics are awesome? That is it.

15. A Comic That Was Ten Years Ahead of Its Time - The Starman Compendium Vol. 1.

16. Porn - Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 1-4. Let's be honest. This is how most men would live, were it possible for us to strut around in nothing but boots and our boxers, solving our conflicts with cunning and steel, slaying unidentifiable monsters and bedding a different nameless wench every night.

17. Something For The Kids - Amelia Rules! Best comic for kids and kids-at-heart on the market.

18. Print Collection of a Webcomic - I have various volumes of Order of the Stick, Dork Tower, The Devil's Panties and Penny Arcade.

19. A Story That Hits All Three (i.e. it touches your head and make you think, your heart for an emotional connection (and) your gut for the fist-pumping “**** yeah!” moment) - Pretty much the entirety of The Sinestro Corps War. The head moment came with the revelations regarding the emotional spectrum which, corny as it is, makes as much sense as the science behind rings that focus thought into solid energy. The heart moment came when Hal Jordan ordered his hometown to evacuate because he wasn't sure he would save them all... and to a person, the entire city elects to stay and hang green lights up in their windows. And the "*** yeah?" Guy Gardner and John Stewart pull a planet out of orbit to hit a bad-guy with.

20. A Run You Had To Hunt For - Hellblazer. Nuff said.

21. Showcase Presents Sugar & Spike - Okay. I don't own this one. Because I deal with enough cutesy for the sake of cutesy kids material at work.

22. A Comic Where Somebody Punches Hitler - No, but I do have Adventures of the Light Brigade - a comic series in which the elite of Britain's commando corps steal Hitler's testicle. Which - while not as manly as punching Hitler - is a heck of a lot more humiliating to everyone's least favorite Veggie painter.

23. Something That You Absolutely Love, Except For One Little Thing - The Adventures of Red Sonja - Volume II. As fine a collection of sword & sorcery as you will find anywhere. The one problem? It ends on a cliff-hanger, in the middle of a storyline. You have to get Vol. III to see the end. It's a minor thing if you're a fan and you were planning to get the whole series anyway... but it is somewhat annoying as there was something of a gap between the 2nd and 3rd volumes coming out.

24. Something That Might Not Be Very Good But God Damn It, It Means The World To You - Green Lantern #90. Yes, it's a rather generic "alcoholism is bad" comic with Kyle Rayner trying to help one of his friends deal with his problem... but it's also the book that got me into comics as an adult at the age of 19.

25. Something That You Absolutely Hate - As much as I know I'm opening myself up to so much criticism for saying this.... Vol. 10 of Y: The Last Man... the book that killed the series for me and yet, I still have the whole thing to keep it complete.

Final Tally: 19 out of 25 with no wiggle room on Hitler humiliation = punch in the face.