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."


  1. ... But Cheshire Is ... never mind I won't complete it.

  2. Well, they ARE in Vegas at a casino. And Ragdoll is a bit loopy even when he isn't doped up on whatever poison Cheshire just used on the Secret Six's dinner. And given her usual costume... yeah, it's a fair quip.

  3. Bane is proving to be more than just a Mexican wrestler. "I choose to die." Ouch.
    And I picked up this Green Lantern issue too. The Reds are looking like a pack of wild dogs. I'm not sure I belong there. ;)

  4. Yeah. The vomiting red fire thing is a turn-off too.

  5. On the other hand, the Blues are WAY too Space Hippie. ;)

  6. Yeah. But two of the Blues can renew a star! It took all of the Reds to fight a battle against a dozen Green Lanterns... to a draw.