Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 1/28/09

Since I had a snow day from work today and since things were good and melted by the time the comic shop opened... a rare Wednesday update!

JACK OF FABLES #30 - I agree with Jack - not nearly enough of him in this comic. Still, I can forgive it for the sight of Paul Bunyan doing battle with a sentient giant library.

SHEENA: DARK RISING #3 - A woman in a leopard-print bikini doing battle with Nazis should not be this dull nor so poorly illustrated. At least it avoids the cheesecake extremes of Jungle Girl but would it kill them to use an artist who had access to an anatomy textbook, if not a formal education in how bodies should look? Every single page of this comic looks like a preliminary sketch.

WONDER WOMAN #28 - The fight continues against Genocide and we are told about how very bad it is that said creature has Diana's lasso. Ho hum. Despite this, we get to see Black Canary being a competent leader AND fighter. Sad that this should happen during a guest-shot in Wonder Woman rather than in her own comic but I'll take what I can get at this point.

The real meat of the issue takes place in the "smaller" scenes, where we find out that Cheetah is somehow behind Sarge Steel's madness and we learn more of Zeus' plans for the all new, all-male Amazon clan and their plans to end war... by killing all of the warriors.

Still, good choice for Jason to be the leader of the new Manazons. He's a Greek Hero, a leader of men, a clever and resourceful king and a brazen jackass whose sons were killed because he wanted to ditch the woman who betrayed her family to help him get The Golden Fleece and then decided to dump her for a trophy wife.

Thoughts On Final Crisis: Final Crisis #7

Hulk Am Confused!

p.1 - This has nothing to do with President Obama. Not a thing.

p. 2-3 - And there's a Black Wonder Woman called Nubia. Not a Jack Kirby reference, but definitely an early-70s DC one.

p. 4 - Well, at least Renee didn't say "A whole %#$@%$ Multiverse and they all look like you people." Still, I thought Renee was clearing the path to settle a new reality - not gather the shock troops to save it.

p. 5 - When did Power Girl start growing her hair long again?

p. 6-7 - Okay, so Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Captain Marvel and Supergirl make a time capsule for humanity, telling the story of the final battle and it's nominally the one we are reading right now. Is that why this doesn't seem to be making sense? Reality warped it in transit?

p. 8 - This is a good line. "You turned your back and I wrecked your world. I robbed your people of their powers, their hopes, their future themselves. What will you do when your friends, your enemies, your lover are all Darksied? When there is One Body. One Mind. One life that is Darksied. Will you be the enemy of all existence, then? What irony that will be, Son of Krypton."

p. 9-12 - So... The Flashes guide The Black Racer to Darksied, as he fires the god-killing bullet that goes back in time to kill Orion. So since Batman got the bullet AFTER it killed Orion... where did the bullet come from in the first place? And what the hell does Aquaman's prophesied return have to do with any of this?

p. 13 - Heroes and Villains, working on building something while trying to find a Life Equation. Presumably The Miracle Machine Superman was given a glimpse of last issue. But when are they doing it? Post Darkseid's death? Another world?

p. 14-15 - Here's Checkmate going down in flames and the Japanese superhero team going through a Boom Tube... somewhere.

p. 16 - And here's Supergirl telling stories to a bunch of kids, about what is going on. They look as confused as I feel.

p. 17 - At least we didn't get a full-on splash-page parody as we see Ubermensch mouring the death of Uberfrauline. (NEEEEEEEEEEEIN!)

p. 18-19 - And thus did Frankenstein show up on a giant dog to beat up Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor showed up save Superman, uniting Good and Bad in a war against Evil. But what the heck is all this about a bacteria that strips away superpowers? That wasn't mentioned anywhere in the last six issues!

p. 20-22 - Ah, okay. The kids Supergirl and Wonder Woman are talking to are being stored... somehow... to be revived later, along with Lois. Somehow, Superman is going to use The Miracle Machine to fix everything later. And Wonder Woman somehow got un-Darkseid Zombified and used her lasso to tie the guy up without hurting him.

p. 23 - So Superman sings the Life Equation into the machine and uses that to kill Darkseid. Or reverse the effects of the Anti-Life Equation. Or something.

p. 24-25 - We're sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle. And Darkseid's plot was all a build up to the appearance of Mandrakk. Yes, Mandrakk.

Not Marduk. Not Mandark. Not Mandrake. Mandrakk.

p. 26 - Annnnnnd, the Green Lanterns FINALLY show up.

p. 27-28 - And it's the League of Supermen. Kinda.

p. 29 - And then it turns out that one guy is The Monitor of the Universe and he uses his powers to summon what appears to be The Legion of Superpets of Earth 35, The Armies of God and... Captain Mother%#$ing Carrot!

Somewhere, Scott Shaw! is smiling.

p. 30 - Maybe now that Marvel is writing Samuel L. Jackson out of all their movies, Sam can get hired to play the Monitor in the Final Crisis animated movie? Because who else could say "No one #$%% with the judge of all evil." the same way.

p. 31-36 - So basically, The Monitors write themselves out of existence, having decided the best way to prevent their interference is to not exist at all? And Superman wound up using The Miracle Machine to put everything back the way it was so that none of this ever really happened. And Earth 51 is now officially the home of every crazy ass thing that Jack Kirby ever thought of that doesn't fit into mainstream continuity. Works for me.

p. 37-38 -

Yes. Batman is not dead. But we already knew that.

President Obama Likes Conan!

SOURCE: Obama Disappointed Cabinet Failed To Understand His Reference To 'Savage Sword Of Conan' #24

I'll be the first to lobby for the abolition of the 22nd Amendment if President Obama swears by Crom or Mitra on-camera.

Only 6 Hints? Well, we're trying to be nice...

SOURCE: 6 Hints That Frank Miller Might Have Issues With Women

Not a very full list (All The Women In The Spirit and All The Women In Sin City are two of the entries) but if you were to name every individual female character Frank Miller created who had disturbing connotations, you could easily go to 60.

You want a real challenge? Name a female character in a Frank Miller story who isn't a whore, a stripper or a teenage girl. I can only think of one - The Queen in 300. And what they did to her in the film adaptation (even though I don't think Frank had a hand in the writing on that) kinda negates that. All she did in the comic was deliver that line about "Come back with your shield or on it."

EDIT: Okay. I just remembered Elektra. That's two. But how sad is it that I forgot what is probably the best character, male or female, that Frank Miller ever created in the wake of all the crap?

Also, Queen Gorgo doesn't count since she was sorta based on a historical character, so she wasn't really created... which brings us back to one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 1/21/09

A bigger week than usual for me. Sadly, a lackluster one. But amazingly, the books that have disappointed me the most of late were the ones that excited me the most this month.

BIRDS OF PREY #126 - Good news - most of the gigantic waste of space that was The Syndicate (aka the techie-based super-villain group that has been the main source of eeeee-vil in BoP since Tony Bedard took over) has been killed off.

Bad news - in order to do that, they turned The Calculator into a Borg/Matrix Droid. This would be kind of a cheeseball move, even if the design of "Calculator 2.0" and the circumstances of his empowerment at the hands of the sentient program Kilgore seems awfully similar to when Brainiac forcibly assimilated Barbara Gordon during Gail Simone's run.

I'd drop this book if the end weren't so close.

CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #7 - Either the flashback stories of Conan's grandfather are growing on me or I didn't mind this one as much since it had a more direct bearing on the action of the on-going story than previous stories, as Conan's mother tells him of his grandfather and how the old man would wander off into the woods alone for days at a time but always returned, his wanderlust not quite so great as his desire to stay with hearth and home.

As for the current action, Conan's latest romance - and his departure from his village - are settled in perhaps the only way they could be settled. Still, the images are powerful, despite being heavily foreshadowed. I am sure Robert Howard would approve.

DOCTOR WHO: THE FORGOTTEN #6 - The Doctor sums up my own thoughts on last issue's ending beautifully with his first sentence. "... now that's just stupid." It turns out that the revelation that the ultimate villain was... well, who they said it was... another fake-out. And a beautifully pulled off one I fell for hook, line and sinker.

I don't want to spoil too much of this story or the final chapter, except to say that this is easily one of the best bits of Doctor Who writing that isn't a part of the TV Show. The eventual trade paperback is a must-read for any fan of Doctor Who.

GREEN LANTERN #37 - Geoff Johns is writing an epic here, with more and more revelations coming out with every issue as The Final Crisis ends and The Darkest Night approaches. This issue?

* Confirmation that the Red Lanterns are little more than rabid dogs with no intelligence.

* Removing a Red Lantern's ring kills them.

* Blue Lanterns can not only recharge the rings of other Corps Members at will - they can drain power from them as well, as we see in this issue as they depower a slew-load of Yellow Lanterns.

* The leader of the Red Lanterns Atrocitus (aka the guy who prophetically predicted both Abin Sur's death and Sinestro's betrayal of the Green Lantern Corps) gives Hal a prophecy. "One day, you will become renegade once more. The Guardians will take your greatest love from you. You will revolt. And you will lose everything as the universe divides." Now taking bets on if this involves Carol Ferris, Cowgirl or Hal's Family.

Please do not spoil the secret of the last page!

HELLBLAZER #251 - Somehow, I missed the news that Peter Milligan was taking over as the writer on this book from Andy Diggle. A damn shame, especially since - after the bang-up job that Diggle did on Green Arrow: Year One - I was really hoping he might wind up on Green Arrow/Black Canary if his schedule freed up.

I'm not bitter at all, mind you.

So how was Milligan's first solo issue? Well, I'm giving it another issue or two before making any big judgments... but so far, so good. Milligan has already passed my first test for any Hellblazer scribe: must be British. And I rather like John's new love interest even though I give her a cheesemaker's chance of surviving past the next issue. Still, the plot - involving John's developing a very odd scabby rash mixed with seemingly unrelated tale of a union worker turned scab in a strike - is your standard, high-quality Hellblazer concept so far. One to keep an eye on.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #29 - Lame. Just... lame. I don't care if this IS setting up something for Dwayne McDuffie next month, this book looks and reads like what it is; a one-shot fill-in issue that was probably commissioned solely to be a "Faces of Evil" tie-in. The artwork leaves one longing for Ed Benes, ass-shots and all and Len Wein - while capable of writing a good Justice League story - doesn't do his legend any favors here.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #147 - Not even the typically lame and lackluster 'Gaming The Movies' column could ruin this issue. With a wonderful review of Fallout 3, an article introducing a wonderful Sanity mechanic for base-line d20 games, another presumably useful article that introduces wizard familiar rules that 4th Edition D&D was somehow released without and a spattering of hilarious comics depicting things coming to Hard 8 Enterprises as well as The Black Hands attempts at a Cattlepunk game... this is the best KoDT in a goodly while.

Unsurprisingly, there are no letters praising the new column. But there was another intelligent, thoughtful letter written by a Gamers Rant fan who notes that as disappointed as he is with Jolly Blackburn's decision to knuckle under to the whims of a devoted team of trolls with too much time on their hands, he isn't going to stop reading the magazine because of it or even make threats to that effect. This proves once and for all, I think, that all intelligent, right-minded and generally dashing and handsome people support Noah Antwiler and his snarky, unapologetic reviews.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Green Arrow/Black Canary #16 - In Review

I want to like this comic so much. There is so much that they got right... and then the things they get wrong just cut all the worse because of what is right.

So what do married superheroes do on their nights off?

Strip Scrabble. Or at least, Scrabble In Their Undies.

The visual storytelling here leaves a lot to be desired. Dinah just disappears between the shots at the bottom of the page and while it's fairly obvious that she and Ollie have just moved to a reclined position in panel two before she launches up to the full and upright position in the third panel... it's still a bit jarring, the way it is laid out.

Anyway, they suit up, go to the scene of the crime and Ollie figures out that - yes - the assassin in question is Merlyn. They track down the address of one of the victims and Ollie actually gets to play tracker/detective.

I'd think Dinah would have brought up the point about The League of Assassins first but the way this is written, I think she's thinking out-loud rather than honestly asking Ollie why the room is trashed. Hence the fact that she's still thinking when the solution for how best to track Merlyn comes to mind.

Here's something else I liked which has been sorely missed over the last few years; reference to what's happening in other comics.

See, in Birds of Prey, Dinah and Barbara had something of a falling out after Barbara had Kate "Manhunter" Spencer start shadowing Dinah and Ollie's house. Why? Babs knew Dinah was hiding something from her and was trying to figure out what. Dinah - quite rightly in my opinion - got annoyed that Babs' first response was to play spy master instead of just picking up the phone and calling her like a normal best friend and by the idea that Babs didn't trust her judgment enough to think that maybe - just maybe - there's a good reason why Dinah might not want to confide something in her.

Of course this has all been resolved, for the most part, by now... but it's still nice to see the fact referenced. Ditto the reference to Merlyn's role in the destruction of Star City which comes once Olllie and Dinah catch up with the assassin. Speaking of which...

In the words of Morbo the Annihilator, "THE CANARY CRY DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!".

Seriously - I don't know if this can be written off as the artist's fault or Kreisberg being unfamiliar with just how The Canary Cry works, but if Dinah is busting it out at this range- especially with Merlyn having to play Arrow Chicken with Ollie - Merlyn should be out like a light in 10 seconds.

And here is the part which ruins the issue for me and rips my heart apart. On the one hand, after over five years of watching Ollie being knocked on his ass, outwitted by Deathstroke, and upstaged by Batman in his own book, it is thrilling to see Ollie being presented as bad-ass as he should be.

On the other hand, I don't want to see this badassery renewed at the expense of Dinah's competence. Her Canary Cry does nothing in the above scene and despite having suffered a lot worse injuries and still being able to function, all it takes is one arrow to the arm to render her helpless.

Also, how the hell did he get around behind her so quickly?

Not to be difficult, but Dinah HAS been shot with an arrow before. Indeed, one of the best Green Arrow stories of all time Night Olympics by Alan Moore centers upon Ollie chasing down a would-be archer super-villain who wounds Dinah trying to get to him. And with that story having been reprinted recently in the Green Arrow/Black Canary: Til Death Do Us Part TP as well as DC Universe The Stories of Alan Moore, it's hardly an obscure story.

This is why the continuity on this book drives me crazy. On the one hand, we get nice, subtle references to what's happening in Birds of Prey as well as an incident in the Winick run of Green Arrow. And yet, this book completely forgets Dinah's grudge/rivalry with Merlyn (he was leading the group trying to kidnap her adopted daughter in the Black Canary mini-series from over a year ago) even though that incident is at the heart of the current rift between Babs and Dinah. And while I can't expect anyone to know just how many times Dinah may or may not have been shot with an arrow and if it matters that this was the first time she got shot in the arm or not, I can expect them to have read a freely available and very good story like Night Olympics

All in all, I think I'll be giving this book a miss from now on.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 1/14/09

Light week this week.

FABLES #80 - Ouch. Sucks to be Boy Blue. Not only did he get the most thankless job during the war... not only did the woman he turned out to have fallen in love with turn out to be a shape-shifted witch instead of the woman he fell in love with... not only has the other woman he fell in love with not only shot him down only to turn around and get a whirlwind marriage to a virtual stranger... but he's lost an arm and is about to die from a wasting sickness thanks to him taking a bullet (well, arrow but let's not quibble over ammo) meant for Bigby Wolf. There had better be a miracle coming or I'm going to be very glad they finally put the shlub out of his misery.

Still... great comic. You should be reading it. Yadda yadda yadda.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #32 - There is much about this comic to like and a lot to be annoyed about.

GOOD: Somebody besides Geoff Johns finally remembered that Kyle Rayner can match Hal for willpower and easily outflanks him in terms of imagination. So in the first three pages of this issue, Kyle gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome as he, within a matter of seconds...

a) throws off Kryb's mind-control formula through sheer force of will.
b) blasts Kryb away from the Green Lantern who is about to give birth.
c) restrains three other mind-controlled Green Lanterns
d) creates a machine to cleanse his fellow Green Lanterns of the mind-control formula Kryb infected them with

GOOD: Judging by the number of empty rings flying around Salaak's office, quite a few Green Lanterns are resigning in protest over The Guardian's stupid Third Law that Jedi... er Green Lanterns are not allowed to love one-another, physically or emotionally.

GOOD: The Star Sapphires we see here appear to be competent, love-powered warriors and this one - at least - has a sensible outfit compared to the Witchblade armor Carol Ferris was last seen... "wearing".

BAD: Random attractive blonde alien Green Lantern is killed after trying to kill a relatively helpless Kryb. Score one more for the WiR list.

BAD: The Star Sapphire's apparently have some ability to give a person visions of their True Love. While this isn't any sillier than the Hope powers we discovered were granted Blue Lanterns last week, I do object to the rather sudden revelation that Kyle and Katma Tui replacement Soranik are apparently destined to fall in love with one another. Partly because it's a blatant rip-off of what happened to John Stewart/Katma Tui and partly because it is so out of left-field.

BAD: "Love is not meant to be a battlefield." Yes it is. Dr. Joan Jett has done considerable study upon the subject declaring it to be so!

Thoughts On Final Crisis: Final Crisis #6

WARNING The following comic synopsis contains descriptions of sheer randomness and sheer awesome glory far in excess of the daily recommend dosage. Consult your family physician or witch doctor before reading this comic.

p. 1-3 - Oh yeah. Superman WAS taken away a few issues ago to deal with this, wasn't he? I completely failed to notice he wasn't around the last issue or two.

Still, this does lead to Crowning Moment of Awesome #1 - Brainiac 5 gives Superman access to the Controller's perfection of the Guardian's technology - a machine that turns thoughts into things. No projections. No hardlight copies. Actual things. Of course Superman is about to fade out of existence within a minute of them getting to said device and the Inertron Shield(If Jack Kirby didn't create that, it sure sounds like one of his ideas) that holds it in check.

p. 4-5 - The new Tattooed Man decides to become a hero. Dinah - being as kick-ass as she should be - makes him an Honorary JLA Member and then reaffirms that means that "now you're taking orders from me." Crowining Moment of Awesome #2 Too bad the bad guys show up at this point just as Wally's kids get done raiding the JLA armory.

p.6-9 - If anybody cares, Evil Mary Marvel is - despite previous appearances in other comics- wearing black underwear under her far too short skirt. Sensible bikini underwear, no less. And yes - it has come to this - a Supergirl/Evil Mary Marvel catfight complete with "Slut/You're calling ME a slut?" dialogue. Also, Liberty Belle and Hourman are cool.

p.10-11 - Here's Crowning Moment of Awesome #3 Tawny/Tawky Tiger starts wailing on trapped in a tiger-man body Kalibak. And oh thank heavens I can go on living (note the heavy sarcasm) ... we now know that Supergirl is - despite previous appearances in other comics - wearing blue underwear under her far too short skirt.

p.12-13 - So Freedy Freeman does what someone should have done in Countdown (why didn't he do that? Oh yeah... he was busy being Judd Winick's bitch in a comic everyone is trying to forget) and shouts Shazam! while holding Mary, zapping them both and turning her back to her normal - and very mortified at what has been happening the last few years - self.

p.14 - And.... the tiger-men all follow Tawny/Tawky now. Coolness.

p.15-17 - Finally, an explanation. That weird tatoo/symbol that Shiloh's team of Japanese superhero wannabees are all wearing (as well as the "circuit" Tattooed Man copied is a symbol in the New God language that is capable of blocking/short-circuiting the Anti-Life equation. It means "Freedom From Restriction". Trust Mister Miracle to know that one, eh? And we finally get a rundown of the different team members and what their powers are.

Yes, cheesy as it is, I still have to laugh at Superbat - who has the power of being so rich he can do anything.

And, oh yeah, Wonder Woman and the rest of the new furies show up and start beating up the JSA.

p.18-19- And here is Crowning Moment of Awesome #4 - sure to bring a smile to 's face - Dinah attempts to win Ollie free of the power of Anti-Life with the power of True Love. And when that fails, she smacks the hell out of him.

The sad thing is this is STILL the least Ollie has been beat up in a long time.

Anyway, the tatoo shorts out the Anti-Life control somewhat. Not that it matters since the big red energy wave is starting to envelope the space around Earth and The Watchtower.

p.20-21 - This does not get a Crowning Moment of Awesome because this is way too out of left field to really seem planned or even hinted at. Basically, we find out Checkmate's plan for evacuating the Earth to another Universe (it involves both Atom's riding gravitons), assuming the psychics can't purge the Anti-Life effect from the minds of all the people on Earth and the mystics can't contact The Spectre to do something about all this. And, oh yeah, there's a secret room where they are operating on the evil Nazi Supergirl from a parallel Earth that doesn't officially exist. And the want Rene Montoya to go to the next universe to organize a Checkmate branch there. Seriously.

p.22-23 - Crowning Moment of Awesome #5 - Luthor and Dr. Sivana both independently come up with a plan to deal with Libra, while planning on the other one having come up with a plan to come up covering the eventualities the other one didn't bother to deal with.

p.24-25 - They pretty much confirm what was already hinted at before - Barry Allen hasn't died yet but has been outrunning Death for the better part of a decade. Crowning Moment of Awesome #6. And referring back to a story that Mark Millar wrote (but Grant Morrison probably had a hand in planning) they all but confirm that The Black Flash who chases after speedsters who are about to die is just another form of Kirby creation The Black Racer.

p.26-27 -Crowning Moment of Awesome #7. Batman makes a one in a lifetime exception regarding his policy on guns... so he can shoot Darksied with the god-killing bullet that killed Orion. And he beats an Omega Beam to do it. Barely.

p.28-29 -Well, I DID say barely, didn't I?

p.30-31 -Hawkman goes all creepy-stalker about Hawkgirl again - something Geoff Johns managed to avoid quite easily when he wrote the character. I'm just saying. Jimmy Olsen tries to call Superman with some woman who... looks like Lois, but isn't she in the hospital? The Green Lanterns ride the wave of destructive energy to Earth with Hal declaring that even if they die trying to reach Earth, they are not abandoning their people to that. Metron is talking with... I think, the exiled Monitor... coordinating what is happening next and "heralding the arrival of the 5th World - The Age of Men As Gods". And... oh yes... the demonic fury Wonder Woman says "Look, Up In The Sky!" as everything starts to go red and evil...

p.32-33 -It's Superman. And he. Is. Pissed! Heat vision blasts the heck out of everything, knocks Supergirl out of the air with the explosive fury of his wake... as Hourman and Liberty Belle look on and basically say "Wow... we're screwed" as the sky turns red.

p.34 -And... well, it's an iconic shot. Superman holding someone's dead body while looking pissed. But we've never before seen it with the smoking corpse of Batman.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Weeks of 1/2/09 & 1/7/09

I would have posted last week's sooner but a massive head cold/sinus infection has waylaid me. But since the Nyquil is - for the moment - keeping my brain from oozing out my nose, let's talk comics.

BATMAN: CACOPHONY #2 - It occurs to me reading this that Kevin Smith writes a better "Frank Miller's Batman" than Frank Miller. As far as characterization goes, everything here reads like Dark Knight Returns. Alfred is a sarcastic kvetcher ("But a normal person such as yourself, sir... and I use the term ''normal'' VERY loosely..."), Joker is an over-the-top drama queen and Batman? Batman is a cypher who reveals more in his internal monologue than he ever does in his own words.

I believe this is why so many fans are revolting against this story apart from the usual Kevin Smith fanboy "Oh god I wish I was being paid to be a geek and had a hot wife like you" envy. Because thanks to All-Star Batman and Robin, reading anything that is reminiscent of Frank Miller is enough to set off your average Bat-Fan.

The Batman fans right now crave seriousness after the last few years of Grant Morrison insanity. They want something dark and intense and above all else serious. Because then they might be forced to acknowledge that Batman, as a character, IS really silly if you think about it. Well, as Joker says in a note left for Batman in this issue, "Eat it, Emo Boy!" This is a gloriously silly Batman story that isn't afraid to not take things seriously. And thank you for it, Mr. Smith.

DOCTOR WHO: THE FORGOTTEN #5 - More flashbacks - this time with us seeing how the 8th Doctor may have gone on to destroy his own race in an effort to stop the Daleks (for all the good it did him) and the 9th Doctor arranging a very special football game on Christmas Day in the British and German trenches during WWI.

There's a lot of in-jokes for the Whovians, of course... with a reference to how much Captain Harkness (who always seems to keep getting hurt and healing miraculously) would have loved the football game between warring factions on a day of peace as well as the 8th Doctor's cell-mate being of the same race of The Master's assistant in Utopia. And they finally explain away the 8th Doctor's claims to be half-human in the infamously bad, Fox Studios made Doctor Who made-for-TV movie.

That being said, I'm nervous about the ending and what it suggests if the bad guy behind all of this IS who he seems to be; the completely human Tenth Doctor clone from the end of Season 4, who wants to take what lives remain to the original Doctor and become a real Time Lord) I doubt he is because nothing in this series has been what it seems to be, so far. But we will see.

GREEN LANTERN #36 - So for those keeping track of the drama of the multiple-colors Corps and those who are just interested in the apparent functions of the different kinds of rings, here's a quick bullet list.

* The Red Lanterns have captured Sinestro, with their leader - Atrocitius - determined to have Sinestro acknowledge the weakness of fear as a power source before the power of Rage, which he has mastered. Given that he has to growl at his own Corps Members - most of them taken from the victims of the Sinstero Corps - I think he has a rather weak case.

* Blue Lanterns have an emotional aura which has the effect of super-charging any other color ring within range, so long as that Lantern hopes for the well-being of the other ring-bearer. In other words, as long as Saint Walker (the first Blue Lantern we meet) focuses on Hal, Hal's ring runs at 210% of it's maximum charge.

* Blue Lantern constructs are shaped by the target, not the ring-wielder. In this case, while attempting to calm an anger-dominated John Stewart, St. Walker created an image of John's dead wife Katma and "doused the corruption of the Red Flame by providing a glimmer of hope."

* Blue Lanterns are also able to negate the corrupting influence of other rings, as in the example above.

* The Blue Lanterns are based on Odym - a planet which orbits Polaris (i.e. The North Star)

* At present, there are only two Blue Lanterns - the process required to find someone who truly believes in the power of Hope and wield it safely taking days, at least.

* The Blue Lantern Oath.

In Fearful Day
In Raging Night
With Strong Hearts Full
Our Souls Ignite

When All Seems Lost
In The War Of Light
Look To The Stars
For Hope Burns Bright!

* Ganthet says that both Hal and Sinestro will have a bigger part in what is to come than either realizes and that the Blue Lanterns were created to aid the Green Lanterns in the coming battle. He also wants Hal to join the Blue Lanterns as their field commander.

* Fatality - the serial-killer of Green Lanterns we last saw among The Sinstero Corps some months back - was apparently captured by The Star Sapphires, put on pink ice for a while and emerges from her "conversion" in this issue as a love-empowered Star Sapphire. Her first action? Track down John Stewart (i.e. the Green Lantern indirectly responsible for her home world's destruction). I don't think she's going to give him a kiss...

* Two Blue Lanterns together are capable of renewing the life cycle of a sun about to go supernova. This causes the sun to turn blue (the color of most "young stars") and also serves as one more beacon of the Blue Lanterns power.

* Blue Lanterns can also power their rings by using the hopes of ambient hope or anyone within their aura. In this case, the Blue Lanterns used the power of 300 million people desperate for a miracle to de-age a sun.

* For some reason, the Blue Lantern rings generate some kind of interference that negates the tele-comm functions of a Green Lantern ring, convienently keeping Hal from calling for back-up or even placing a "Guys! These blue dudes are cool!" phone-call to John Stewart.

JACK OF FABLES #29 - Not much to say except that, yes, yes, yes... as promised in the last issue, Jack did eat tacos. And with the promises of more taco-eating in the next issue, this is shaping up to be one happy comic for those in the taco obsessed fanboy community.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #28 - Dwayne McDuffie obviously had a blast with this issue - pitting his own creations against the Justice League as Icon and Superman discuss - out of view of their respective teams - talk things over reasonably. I haven't had much chance to read a lot of the Milestone Comics series but I'm thinking it's something I need to track down now.

KULL #2 & #3 - Somehow I missed the 2nd issue of this mini-series last month. Luckily my comic-shop still had some when Issue 3 came out this week.

The series appears to have taken a slight turn, beginning with an original Kull tale set shortly after he assumes the throne and now turning into a very good adaptation of Robert Howard's story The Shadow Kingdom - which also details some of the events that pass shortly after Kull's ascension. Howard fans should be pleased with this comic as should any Conan fan who has not yet been exposed to the world of Howard's less-famous but no less enjoyable barbarian king.

SECRET SIX #5 - It's hard to say which part of this comic is the most enjoyable.

* Deadshot's internal monologue while dealing with poison passing through his system and his fears that he might be monologuing out-loud.

* Deadshot's later internal monologue as to why he puts up with The Six when they are "worse than The Suicide Squad and a damn sight less organized."

* Bane proving he is the baddest of bad asses by being repeatedly hit in the chest with bricks and correcting his captors as to how many bricks have been thrown when "Junior" loses count.

* The rather twisted revelation at the end as to the identity of "Junior" and how precisely they relate to Ragdoll.

If you're a fan of the old Suicide Squad series, this book should be a must-read for you, if only for the Deadshot moments.

And this month's best Ragdoll Line Guarantees To Make You Uncomfortable is... as Cheshire is thrown through a window and into their suite, "Oh look. They even have flying prostitutes. That's service for you."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rebuttal to "9 Reasons Doctor Who Is A Terrible Timelord"

SOURCE: 9 Reasons Doctor Who Is A Terrible Timelord

9. Fails to Use his All-Powerful Sonic Screwdriver In Every Goddamn Situation

Despite being used a lot, the Sonic Screwdriver ISN'T all powerful. How do we know this? I quote from the episode Invasion of Time and the words of Sir Thomas Baker.

"Not even the sonic screwdriver can get me out of this one."

Here, we see a clear, in-show reference to the fact that the Sonic Screwdriver is NOT all-powerful, but is quite powerful. And the bit where he blasted apart a Cyberman with it once? Drained the batteries to do THAT.

Besides, from a writer's perspective, it's a lot easier for them AND more logical to have a magic wand that works most of the time than for The Doctor to have pockets full of random useful devices that only get used occasionally.

8. Only Hangs Out In the 20th and 21st Centuries on Earth

The image of the Jon Pertwee Doctor is what kills me here. Why did he hang around on Earth in the 20th century? Well, the fact that he had been exiled to Earth by the Time Lords and his mind wiped of the knowledge of how to get the TARDIS to work didn't give him much choice in the matter. Once he earned enough brownie points saving the Earth to have that knowledge restored, he was back to jumping other planets like the other Doctors.

As for why all the various Doctors kept coming back to Earth... well, it was established that The Doctor likes humans - in general - much better than the other Time Lords and that the turn of the 20th century heading into the 21st IS his favorite period of Earth history. And given the number of attempted alien invasions that occurred during this time period, well... small wonder he'd wish to focus on protecting that point, even during the times he was exiled there and didn't have a choice in the matter.

7. Often Has a Difficult Time Fighting Semi-Mobile Trash Cans

Semi-Mobile Trash-Cans with one-shot death-rays. That's a bit more than "Hitler with a gun". And Davros to Doctor Who, much like The Joker, is a dangerous enemy because of his intellect and insanity - not because he can beat The Doctor up. And The Cybermen... okay, the gold allergy was crap. That's why it wasn't brought back in the new Series with the new Cybermen.

But when you get right down to it, aren't MOST Science-Fiction/Fantasy villains since WWII Hitler with a gun/sword?

6. Is A Death Magnet, Yet Still Travels to Highly Populated Areas

Completely unsubstantiated. With two exceptions (and one of them mainly a technicality), The Doctor has never had a companion die while under his care. Given how many companion's he's had in all his 900+ years, that's actually a good record. As for him causing people to die around him... well, ignoring all the years he couldn't steer the TARDIS and it was a crap-shoot when and where he'd wind up, the fact that he tends to visit interesting (re:dangerous) points in time and space certainly doesn't help matters. And very rarely is his arrival the cause of whatever disaster occurs and his actions usually wind up reducing causalities.

Case in point: Voyage of The Damned. The Doctor accidentally crashes into a stellar freighter, plays at being James Bond while flirting with one of the waitresses and winds up in the middle of a replay of The Titanic/Poseidon Adventure. While most of the people around him DO get killed in the course of the journey, The Doctor's actions to stop the ship from crashing into Buckingham Palace and releases who knows how much fallout across England.

5. Is Totally Sexist Regarding His Traveling Companions

Ignoring that this is more the product of the BBC giving the Dads watching the show a little Parental Bonus and the BBC further trying to avoid any suggestion of hanky-panky in the TARDIS (Peter Davidson has gone on record as of saying he wasn't allowed to hug his female sidekicks by Executive Order)... well, I think it sort of makes sense given that The Doctor started his journey with his granddaughter that - psychologically - he keeps adopting various young women as surrogates.

4. His TARDIS Is Literally Made of Trash

Given that his home world was blown up and the Time Stream altered in a way that he can never go back there... it DOES in fact make sense that The Doctor's TARDIS - in the new series, at least - should be somewhat cobbled together and jerry-rigged. And even before The Time War, he spent most of his life as a traveler as a renegade Time Lord who was either outcast, exiled, on-the-run or just plain avoiding The Time Lord command. So he really couldn't go back and ask the people who were trying to kill/control/force into a position of responsibility to give him the 50,000 KM tune-up.

3. He Refuses to Do Laundry

Okay, this is a funny thing to think about, admittedly. But given how huge the TARDIS is and some of the other things they've shown inside there, there is - as they say - almost certainly a laundry room. At the very least, we know there is also a HUGE closet with all manner of time-appropriate/planet appropriate clothing. So who is to say that The Tenth Doctor DOESN'T have seven or eight of the same brown pin-stripped suit and a dozen or so white shirts?

Why do we never see him do laundry? Same reason we never see people hunt for parking places in movies and there's ALWAYS an opening right in front of where they need to go - because it would be boring to watch them drive around.

2. Turns Into An Attention Whore Every Time He Regenerates

I have it on good authority from my mother that all men get like this when they're sick. :)

Seriously, given that regeneration only occurs after a physically (and in some cases, emotionally) traumatic event and often triggers a change in personality as well as physical appearance... small wonder that The Doctor winds up a little wonky for a few hours.

1. Has Not Checked Up On His Granddaughter for Centuries

Well, this gets into a lot of fan-wanking, but the prevailing theory is that something happened to Susan during The Time War, which removed any need for The Doctor to keep checking up on her. Hence why The Doctor said he was the last of his kind and why we never saw him go to visit her on the show.

Of course Susan also could have been killed during the time period she decided to stay in... 2164, during which The Daleks were attempting to invade Earth. Yeah, there's no danger there. Especially given that the man she fell in love with was a fighter in the human resistance.

Of course if you want to get REALLY technical, the time-line regarding Earth and The Daleks has been messed with so much there's a chance The Future she was living in never happened now.

And if you want to go outside the continuity of the show, well... I haven't read all of The Doctor Who novels, but it appears - according to Wikipedia at least - that she appeared in more than a few original stories. Perhaps one of these depicts The Doctor making a visit to check up on her. And it is assumed that The Doctor has many "un-televised adventures" which are referred to, but never seen (i.e. how did The Tenth Doctor become an enemy of the state during Elizabethan times?) so odds are he HAS visited his granddaughter - we just never saw it because it was a rather dull story where nothing exciting happened and nobody died.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dr... Who The Hell Is This Guy?

SOURCE: Relative newcomer tapped to take over title role of Doctor Who

From the look of my friends list, The Doctor Who fandom is - as so eloquently put it - "losing its' shit" over this announcement.

On one-hand, I can understand these feelings coming from part of the fan-base.

Perhaps the biggest cause for contention is that there were several reputable rumors that Paterson Joseph (probably best known to American sci-fi audiences for playing The Marquis De Carabas in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere) was up for the part and was practically a lock. Personally, I'm disappointed Patterson didn't get the part - not because of the step-forward in having an actor of African descent playing The Doctor - but because he's a damn good actor and his take on The Marquis De Carabas would be a PERFECT tone for The Doctor.

And then there were the rumors/hopes that The Doctor could regenerate into a woman and that ceiling could be broken. Those rumors were especially hot given that Stefan Moffat - many fans pick for the best individual writer the New Who has had - is now the show-runner and his first published Doctor Who story depicted The Doctor as being capable of regenerating into a woman. The fact that this story - Curse of the Fatal Death - was a Comic Relief Special hasn't defused any enthusiasm for the idea among some fans.

On the other-hand, I can't understand these people who are freaking out because of the age issue.

Okay. Matt Smith is 26. He's relatively inexperienced and the youngest actor ever to be cast in the part. But he's not THAT much younger than Peter Davidson, who was - at the age of 29 - cast as The Doctor back in 1981. And I have it on good authority that people complained about HIM being too young back then and he did okay.

For that matter, let us stretch our memories back to three years ago. I can recall several people - myself included - who complained about David Tennant LOOKING too young to be The Doctor even though he was 35 when his first season aired and he'll be nearly 39 by the time this last batch of movies is done. That's a few years younger than Tom Baker was when he STARTED playing The Doctor.

If the show has taught us nothing, it has shown that chronological age is meaningless. As long as the actor has the right temperament to play a character who has an old man's wisdom, a child's sense of wonder and a young man's righteous indignation at the stupidity of the world, the rest is all gravy on the meat.

If nothing else, let's have a little faith in Steven Moffat and take him at his word when he says that Smith "...blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord...". He's a fan. He was a Doctor Who fan long before he got into writing other TV Shows and he always dreamed of writing Doctor Who as a kid. Trust in the guy who wrote something as creepy as Blink. Trust in the guy who wrote something as revolutionary as The Girl In The Fireplace. Trust in the guy who created Captain Jack Harkness. I don't think he's going to steer us wrong.