Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Worst. Comic. Book. Ever.

A Monitor rally--that'll sell copies!!
In case you can't tell from the craptacular cover, I'm referring to Countdown #26. Oh, wait, sorry, Countdown to Final Crisis #26.

OK, maybe not the worst ever. But as hard as it might be to believe, as bad as Countdown has been, this issue not only lowers the bar, it plunges it beneath the Earth to new depths of awfulness. Seriously, this book damned near made me kill myself to prevent me from writing this, so that many fewer people would be exposed to it.

Where to start, where to start?? How about this: given the re-titling, you would think that this would be the perfect place to try and drag new readers into it, and to refocus the stories. And the story sort of tries, but fails so miserably on every level that it makes Civil War look like a work of art.

What are it's failings?

A) 17 of the 22 pages--yes, 17--are Monitors standing around talking to each other (or rather, mostly one Monitor lecturing the 50 others). And given that only 2 Monitors have been given any personality whatsoever ("Bob" and "Asshole"), and Bob's not even there, you can imagine how riveting any of their debates are. B-O-R-I-N-G. Worse then boring--didactic and tedious.

Even worse, this debate/lecture is meant to try and unify the diverse storylines Countdown has been presenting for the past half year. And in the greatest example of "tell, rather than show" since Brad Meltzer's JLA run, we see screens in the background portraying the action while Monitor "Asshole" narrates and explicates their importance. It's an exposition dump!! 26 issues worth of exposition dump!! Huzzah, that really makes me want to follow this more!

B) Despite purporting to unify the storylines we've been seen, and asserting that they're all "being orchestrated by a single will," they completely ignore several of the storylines. No mention whatsoever is made of the Piper/Trickster arc or the Holly/Amazons arc. None. Not a syllable. So are we to supposed to assume that those arcs AREN'T part of our mysterious adversary's master plan? Have we been wasting our time following these stories (not that Trickster's constant homophobic jokes while the pair ping-pong from stupid slapstick encounter with powerful person to stupid slapstick encounter with powerful person needs justification)? Or, did we just run out of room to talk about them? Maybe you shouldn't have made 3 of those 17 pages splashes, huh?

Plus, the Mary Marvel/Eclipso arc gets exactly 1 sentence. Maybe the writers are as bored with it already as we are.

C) Sometimes, it seems like Dini et al have these wonderful story conferences where they work everything out, but they kind of forget that we weren't there, so they never actually explain it to us. Such as, twice in this issue, Asshole refers to our beloved Challengers of the Unknown as "space-time anomalies." Now, I've questioned this before--there's no conceivable way you can say Kyle Rayner is somehow a space-time anomaly, and the case is pretty week for Jason Todd and Donna Troy. Yet, Dini keeps running this out there again and again and again, without even an attempt to explain it.

Such as, Asshole describes Monarch's plan as, "He deliberately seeks to upset the balance, to destabilize the multiverse by staging a war across the 52 realities...resulting in a crisis that will, as has happened in the past, reducing the multiverse to one unified reality. A reality he intends to rule as absolute Monarch." See, this is great storytelling. Why bother to actually show us ANY of this, ANYWHERE, when you can just tell us? A major hero in the DC universe has gone evil and has an insane master plan? Why bother to show our readers, or give any characterization to justify this, when we can just have an exposition dump??

I could go on...but this issue made me feel like this:

OK, I apologize for this one. Sorry.
One Countdown I do approve of is the countdown to my 100th post--coming Thursday night(ish), I promise it won't involve Pied Piper or the Trickster at all. Really. No promises about Karate Kid, though.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Dog's Life?

A note on the "new direction" in She-Hulk that started last week:

What, no World War Hulk tie-in?A bounty hunter? That's your new direction, Peter David? Aren't bounty hunters sooo three years ago? Dog and Domino--you don't hear a lot of people talking about them any more, do you? Oh, yeah, there was a Law & Order episode--8 years ago.

Besides, in the current Marvel universe, doesn't hunting down hiding super-villains fall more under the purview of the Initiative, or the Thunderbolts, or Heroes for Hire? It seems likes half the Marvel teams are now in the business of hunting down unregistered hiding villains, and I don't see what She-Hulk (and partner?) bring to the table that those others don't. Was the Minnesota Initiative so busy that they couldn't be bothered with this? And Tony Stark is allowing you to do this?

(Which brings me to a snotty aside: since one of the big deals about the *ahem* ending of Civil War was the 50 State Initiative, where every state had its own superhero team...where are they? Aside from the Champions I mean Order, have we seen any of them? Anywhere? Hello? Can we please see some stories on the Rhode Island Initiative?)

Anyway, I'll grant that we don't know the full background of Jen's new life yet, so future revelations may make more sense. The jury is definitely still out. And David's first issue was certainly well-executed and readable. It's not like I'm dropping the book or anything.

But a bounty hunter? That's almost as innovative as having her be on a reality show, or working as a bodyguard for a boy band. It's 2007, nearly 2008, Peter. Let's not make our "new direction" yesterday's hip trend, OK?

I'm trying to think up a lame transition from this to plugging my upcoming 100th post, but I can't really come up with one. Just be around Thursday(ish). I promise not to mention Civil War or Countdown. Really. Meanwhile, the cover was from She-Hulk #22.

Things That Make me Smile: "Help Me, Readers!"

There was a period, in the late '60's and early '70's, when it became acceptable, and nearly even common, for DC heroes to break the Fourth Wall on their covers. Take, for example, Flash #222:

Help me--my own title was cancelled!!!
It seems incredibly cheesy by today's standards, doesn't it? It's hard to imagine one of today's DC comics doing this (unless it was Grant Morrison doing a pastiche...).

Still, it does make a sort of sense. Since comics readership skewed younger in those days, it made sense to try and draw in readers by making them feel involved. And you've got to admit, it is a catchy and involving cover.

DC even went so far as to say that "our" world was part of their multiverse. The "real" world, where super-heroes were only comic book characters, was "Earth-Prime," an actual DC universe just like Earth-2 or Earth-S. DC characters in this period popped up on Earth-Prime, and Earth-Prime charatcers, especially comic book writers, turned up on Earth-1, usually in comics written by Cary Bates. And lo and behold, this issue of Flash is indeed written by Mr. Bates. What a surprise! With such crossovers going on, it's not completely insane to think that we poor Earth-Prime inhabitants could help out our heroes...just like the audience bringing Tinkerbell back to life by clapping!!

OK, it is completely insane. But that's all right, because the "help me, readers" scenes portrayed on the covers invariably NEVER appeared on the inside. Nothing even close. Just good old late Silver Age/early Bronze age DC bait and switch.

If my collection were more organized, or if I were as industrious as Mark, I'd run you a whole series of these covers, with DC heroes begging for help from their readers. Because I love them to death! But I'm lazy, so i'll just have to hold out hope that DC comes to their senses and starts having their heroes break the Fourth Wall again.

SPOILER ALERT: Flash doesn't kill us all. It's all a plot by Sinestro. And of course, the cover is a lie, because Green Lantern doesn't ask for help, he doesn't need extra willpower, and he never zaps an attacking Flash. That's another good point about these covers: they were usually far, far better than the stories they were pimping for.

Readers, help me!! I need all your willpower to help me prepare for my 100th post, coming soon!! Focus all your thoughts on me!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Superman--World's Biggest Cheater and Wussy

OK, too harsh, perhaps? Just wait and see. Travel back with me to the halcyon days of 1965, and "Superman's Day of Truth".

Really, is this the FIRST time some gangster lawyer thought of this??Something strange is afoot: Superman insults a bunch of toddlers, and Supergirl rips the living hell out of her cosplay fan club:

The Silver Age Simon Cowell

She will NOT be the next Iron Chef
But there is a reason!

Superman's first lie of the day
"No matter what the consequences!" Let's remember that, shall we? I promise we'll come back to it.

Anyway, we see our "hero" insult Jimmy (his girlfriend is a "two-timing phony"), Professor Potter ("As usual your invention is a miserable flop"), and Perry White (his cigar smells like a "city dump"), all in the name of "honesty."

Then, in one of those coincidences that could only happen in Silver Age DC, some criminal defense attorney comes up with the bright idea to try to shake up Superman's testimony against his client, on the day when Superman has to tell the truth. Of course, this has never come up before or since, so maybe Metropolis has the dimmest attorney's in the land. Anyhoo:

This is how i got OJ off...

Ye Gods, Lois? In a public courtroom??
Uh, Lois, wouldn't the fact that he is under oath be sufficient reason for Kal-El to be "compelled to tell the truth?" One would hope he's not in the habit of lying, especially when a man's freedom is at stake. Then again, apparently, none of the 56,789 thugs captured by Superman has ever had a lawyer clever enough to concoct these scheme before...How will Superman solve this dilemma?? After all, he must tell the truth, "no matter what the consequences," right?

Uh, do I object here? They never covered this in evil law school
Hmm, I guess Metropolis' judges are also deficient, for letting witnesses get away with this kind of crap. And since the Man of Steel didn't actually reveal his secret identity, that hardly seems like being honest "no matter what the consequences." But wait...Liar, Liar the Prequel isn't done yet!!

Superman? With the emotional maturity of a SuperBOY, apparently
Ooh, way to avoid any emotional commitment, Clark!!

But it's finally time for the big reveal. Superman and Supergirl shrink on down to Kandor for an annual Kryptonian festival (again, never seen before or after):

Valor? Wait a minute...
It turns out, you see, that eons ago Krypton was enslaved by the vole-like Vrangs, until one day:

Plus, you look like rodents!

The early Kryptonians were French, before Val-Lor
And as a result of Val-Lor's honesty, the Kryptonians rebelled, and drove off the verminous Vrangs. And now ever year, all Kryptonians pay homage:

Kandorian grooming styles--no comment
Uhhh...nothing but the truth?!? Superman, you got some 'splainin' to do!!

You see, the thruth doesn't apply to me--only you, my smelly loser friends!
OOOOOOOO...Kayyyyyy. So how, exactly, Kal-El, do you reconcile "no matter what the cost" with "using my superpowers to prevent giving away any really vital secrets?" Doesn't that mean that cost does matter? Do you understand the meaning of what you're supposed to be celebrating?

And let's discuss how you're "honoring" Val-Lor today, shall we? This Kryptonian hero, with no superpowers, was willing to give his life to speak the truth. You? You weren't willing to tell the truth to Lois or Lana about how your emotions. Oh, yeah, that must be one of those "vital secrets" you were rambling about.

That's how Superman "honors" Val-Lor: he insults his friends but selfishly uses tricks to prevent telling the truth about anything important to himself. Because I'm sure that Val-Lor would have used superbreath or something to cover up saying what got him shot. Yup, you're a real hero, son of Jor-El. Real sacrifices there.

Yeah, I'm being too hard on him. I mean, this really isn't any different than any one of 3 billion humans who give lip service to some religious/memorial observance and don't really follow the spirit of it. But we expect more from Superman, don't we? And why is he so anal about being truthful only when it can hurt his friends, not when it could hurt him?

Because Silver Age Superman is a douche bag.

Special note to all readers: my 100th post is coming up. Prepare yourselves!!

Superman's selfish version of honesty can be seen in Superman #176, 1965, following the "Revenge of the Super-Pets" story.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What the #$%^??--Dakota North

From this week's Daredevil #101

How dare you not stand up when I enter the room--or open the door for me!OK, let's see if I've got this right--Dakota North, hard-bitten, rough and tumble PI, thinks it is inappropriate to raise your voice "to a lady?"

I doubt Sam Spade--or even Jim Rockford--ever called their clients a child for yelling at them. And I'm damn sure they never played the gender card.

Seriously, Matt Murdock didn't even use profanity, he just yelled. But apparently Dakota North is so offended by the notion that someone is speaking sharply to her that she goes all demure Southern belle on him. Who knows what other rules she might have for how to treat a lady? "How dare you pull a gun on me, Larry Cranston--do you remember that you're talking to a lady?"

Ed Brubaker, I really expected a lot better from you.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Night Fights--Cassandra Cain Style!!

"So, Daddy, do you wanna tell me who my mother is?"

Let's see Barbara Grodon kick her dad's ass this waySUCKA PUNCH!!!

Still not talking?"

Who wrote the book of love?SUCKA PUNCH AGAIN!!!

What follows is one of the great 2+ page beatdowns of all time. Sure, he wasn't resisting, but still...
How much can one nose bleed?

An awful lot, apparently...

Let me sleep on it, baby, baby...
And then they turned her evil, but wait, she wasn't really evil, she was just injected with Deathstroke juice, and...sigh....

For those about to rock, Bahlactus salutes you!!

Batgirl whooping on Daddy Dearest is courtesy of Batgirl #65, which of course occurred before they screwed the character into the ground. Why? Just because, apparently...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends

I LOOOOOOOVE this show*sigh*

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The 3rd (and sadly) final season of Veronica Mars is now out on DVD. And let me tell you, it is one fine package. Unlike the previous season sets, which were pretty sparse on extras, this one is jam-packed, including several hours worth of series creator Rob Thomas commenting on aspects both of season 3 and the entire series.

But the true unexpected gem is the "presentation" they put together to try and sell the CW on a 4th season of Veronica Mars. The premise the network wanted was to leap forward 4 years in time (ha! No piddly One Year Later here) to her first year in the FBI--new surroundings, new cast, same Veronica. And the creators put together a little mini 12-minute pilot episode to show what the show would look like in such a situation. A new unseen Veronica Mars episode!!! The best of times.

Alas, the CW pulled the plug, so despite the surprise new VM mini-episode, it is the worst of times. Veronica Mars was my favorite new network show in many many years. A lot of people (myself included) ignored its "high school noir" premise intitally; but several people whose opinions I really respect forced me to watch season 1 in summer re-runs. Hooked.

Good mysteries, smart characters, wonderful actors, a swell supporting cast, a heroine who is real--not perfect...This show was Good with a capital G.

So here's what I want you all to do out there in Reader land. Treat yourselves. Go rent season 1 of Veronica Mars from Netflix or your local video store. Buy a used copy, or heck, splurge and buy a new can probably find it for $25-30 bucks somewhere.

Here's my guarantee to you. You will like this show. I promise. By the time you get to the episode "An Ecchols Family Christmas" you will be hooked. You will find "Leave It to Beaver" the most satisfying season finale of any show you have ever seen.

Last Christmas I gave some friends season 1 as a gift, and told them they had to watch this show. As soon as they finished the finale, they had to leave the house to immediately buy season 2. So trust me on this.

Rock on, Veronica...rock onLong live Veronica Mars!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One More Day? Two More Months

Well, another event is delayed. Marvel's announced that chapter 3, which was due next week, has been delayed until 11/28, whereas chapter won't be out until after Christmas, 12/27. No word is given on new dates for the post-OMD 3-times-a -month Amazing Spider-Man, but obviously it will be delayed, as the first 3 issues were due 12/5, 12/12, and 12/19

It's too bad that Marvel's editors can't find an artist who can meet a deadline...oh, wait, never mind.

Seriously, with an event this gargantuan (in Spider-Man terms, at least, which makes it gargantuan in Marvel terms), I find it inconceivable they could allow it to run this far behind. Once it became apparent that Joe Quesada couldn't meet the monthly schedule, why not have some hot young artist leap in to help out, with half an issue here or there? Obviously, Marvel's not alone in this regard, as DC has been delaying books, and preempting storylines, right left and center of late. But given the prominence and publicity of this story, you'd think Marvel would have done everything possible to get it out on time. Guess not.

Meanwhile, check out this poster:And Paul Lynde is the Secret Square...Man I REALLY hope it's Valkyrie...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

With Great Power Comes...Hey, Wait, I'm Not Responsible!!

Venom and Sandman and Goblin--oh my!!As we approach the DVD release, let's have a brief discussion one of the reasons why I found Spider-Man 3 so less-than-compelling. If you haven't seen it and you don't want spoilers, scroll down and read about Gabby Hayes.

Of course, one of the enduring cornerstones of the Spider-Man mythos--hell, THE cornerstone--is how Peter Parker's guilt is the foundation of his sense of responsibility. If he had stopped that thief, he wouldn't have gone on to kill Uncle Ben. The consequences of not acting, when you could have, are that people could die. Yeah, it's been riffed a million times, but with great power comes great responsibility. And no where has that ever been better demonstrated than Amazing Fantasy #15 and the subsequent Spider-Man title.

And the Raimi movies, at least the first two, understood that...that Parker was consumed by guilt and unable to give up his life as Spider-Man, because not helping meant people getting hurt and dying.

I also killed Kennedy
But Spider-Man 3 needlessly and gratuitously changed all of that. In what felt incredibly tacked on and contradictory to the 1st movie, we found out that it WASN'T the thief that Parker could have stopped who shot Uncle Ben. Nope, it was his partner, waiting outside, who decided to jack Uncle Ben's car, and shot him while waiting for his partner to come out with the loot. And who just happened to be Flint Marko, who would become the Sandman.

You see what this means, of course: even if Peter had stopped the thief, Uncle Ben would have died ANYWAY. In the movie universe, Peter Parker is not at all responsible for Uncle Ben's death.

Now, you'd think that in a character who raison d'etre is to be consumed by his guilt, that this revelation might have SOME impact on Peter Parker. Some expression of relief, amazement, anything. Maybe some self-examination of why he became and was staying Spider-Man. Even one bloody sentence on the lines of "Hey, I didn't get my uncle killed!"

But not in this movie. Nope. Parker (and the script) are so un-self-aware that the obvious, necessary emotional reaction is never even hinted at. Instead, they've transmuted Spider-Man's origin into Batman's, and his raison d'etre becomes revenge, and all he can think of is to hunt down Joe Chill--oops, I mean Flint Marko. All of Peter Parker's angst from the 1st two movies is rendered irrelevant and is completely ignored.

Of course, the whole issue is handled clumsily and in a ridiculously ad hoc fashion. What, pray tell, is the new information that suddenly informed the police that Marko was the real killer, years later? Why does it come to light only, in an incredible coincidence, as Marko escapes? And don't get me started on the risible ending to this plotline.

But even if it had been handled brilliantly, what's the point? Why negate a fundamental part of Spider-Man's being--just to make Sandman more interesting? (SPOILER ALERT--the effort failed). Why completely alter Parker's moral universe, and then fail to even freakin' mention it?

It was a dumb move. It was an attempt to make the hero fit the villain and plot, and not to make them fit the hero you've already established. There were plenty of other problems with Spider-Man 3, but this was the one I found most telling, most grating, most disappointing--especially after the fine job this crew had done on 1 & 2.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Final Crisis Preview--Gabby Hayes

DC is like the Borg Collective.

Bear with me here.

Lots of what we currently think of as the DC Universe didn't start out that way. When DC comes across a comic universe they want, they just assimilate it into their own:
  • Fawcett Comics, home of the Marvel Family, was litigiously bankrupted by DC; than they assimilated it, so now Black Adam and Evil Mary Marvel are an essential part of regular DC continuity.

  • Charlton Comics, home of such luminaries as Blue Beetle and Captain Atom, was bought up by DC, and now these heroes are vital parts of DC continuity.

  • Archie Comics' superhero line, featuring the Fly and Black Hood, had their rights bought up by DC, although they were published as a separate imprint and didn't last very long.

  • Wildstorm. Not content with publishing and distributing Jim Lee's line, the DC Collective assimilated their entire universe, so it's now actually part of the DC Multiverse.
Why do I bring this up? Well, my point is that DC can and will absorb other comic entities into its universe. So when we consider what the DC Universe should look like after Final Crisis, we shouldn't necessarily feel limited to what's currently in the DC universe. DC used the original Crisis, after all, as the excuse to bring the Charlton heroes into their main continuity.

Which bring me to Gabby Hayes.

Mmm, smell the quarter bin goodness
Gabby Hayes Western was published by Fawcett, but I'm thinking that since it was a licenced title, it didn't come with what DC bought. But, this is someone DC really, really should have starring in their comics in the 21st century.

Just close your eyes and picture these exciting story possibilities:
  • Batman and Gabby Hayes working together to catch some codsarned claim-jumpers

  • Blasted varmints!
  • Superman and Gabby teaming up to flummox some dagnabbed space-rustlers

  • YEE HAW!!!
  • The story DC has never previously told: how, for a very brief period in the 19th century, Gabby Hayes was the Green Lantern of Sector 2814

  • The inevitable reunion of Fawcett heroes Gabby Hayes and Captain Marvel
So, DC, do what it takes. Spend some of those Timer-Warner-AOL bucks on assimilating Gabby and his cohorts into the DC universe. Resistance is futile!!

Gabby in all his ironic prosepector glory is from Gabby Hayes Western #23, 1950

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ask Monstrobot--One More Day?

Dear Monstrobot,

I'm a costumed adventurer who is very worried about the danger my life poses to my loved ones. Enough people know my secret identity that I fear I can't protect the ones I care about from villains who wish me harm.

I have come up with a pretty radical solution, but is it too radical? I have found a way to write my loved ones out of my life, in such a way that they can never be connected to me. Is this the right thing to do? Or is my author just trying to get rid of the inconvenience of having to script around inconvenient family members?
--One More Day

Grrr! Fear me!
Dear OMD,

You must think you're dealing with an amateur here, huh? After that description, it's obvious who you really are: Catwoman!!

Hah!! I bet you (and the audience) thought I was going to say Spider-Man, huh? But I saw through your little subterfuge.

But don't worry: you've clearly succeeded in your plan, because while Spider-Man is getting savaged by every blogger out there, you've sailed under the radar, even though you're pulling the exact same stunt!! (Editor's note: obviously, until we see the final chapter of Spider-Man's One More Day, we can't be sure...but whatever the mechanism is, the outcome will be the same).

The editors and writers of Spider-Man obviously got tired of having him lug family matters around with him, so they went to great lengths to concoct a scenario that would force him to abandon his family in oder to save them. Through some magic deal or whatever, Mary Jane's going to be removed from his life, and we'll just go on.

And sexily clad Zatanna gets featured on the cover because?????
With you? Well, after we solved your One Year Later mystery of who the kid's father was, and it turned out to not be Batman (clever Earth-2 feint with the Helena name, dear), everyone sort of lost interest. And apparently your creators felt exactly the same as Peter Parker's, because after several issues of putting Helena in danger, they waved the magic wand of a billionaire crime fighting friend to remove her from your life, just as if she were never there. Poof.

I can't say why Will Pfeiffer has gotten a free pass on this, while Joe Quesada and JMS are raked over the coals. Yeah, Spider-Man's execution has been so drawn out, so over hyped, and so clumsily executed, that it was bound to get the lion's share of the attention. But a lot of bloggers out there talk up Pfeiffer and your book, so you'd think that they'd have noticed by now that he's now virtually eliminated all of your supporting cast from the book, and made completely irrelevant One Year Later and what followed.

Maybe it's because, unlike Quesada, Dan DiDio had the good sense not to boast publicly that they wanted to get rid of your kid, and that writers had no idea what to do with her. They just removed her, quietly, at the same time Peter Parker was hogging the headlines for the same thing. Like robbing a small bank the same day Fort Knox is knocked off--who's going to notice??

So relax, Selina, you got away with it. You eliminated any pesky family connections that might spoil your mag for the fanboys who don't want to read about a single mom, and no one at all called you on it. Job well done.

Now go out there and be a thief again, OK? Evil's glad to have you back.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Fights--Colossus Style!!


Yeah, now THAT'S a sucker punch!!

This titanic battle of behemoths took place in Astonishing Tales #24, Featuring It! The Living Colossus in mortal combat with Fin Fang Foom!!

If I could, I would buy 1 million copies of this comic, and distribute it across the country to our nation's children, like Johnny Appleseed, so our youth can understand what TRULY STUPENDOUS AND EARTH-SHATTERING BATTLE SCENES should be like.

I also wish I could scan every single panel of this comic for you loyal readers, but I'll just go with the selected highlights. Early on, Fin Fang Foom, having sucker punched the Colossus, has the upper hand:

Colossus moves like a statue...

Judo chop!
But later, in the inevitable rematch, our giant-statue-carved-by-a-Soviet-dissident-and-possessed-by-a-conquering-alien-but-now-occupied-by-the-mind-of-a-Hoolywood-special-effects-master-crippled-in-a-freak-explosion gains the upper hand on our apparently-real-and-not-at-all-mythological-Chinese-dragon:




THRACK!Now that's a heart-warming battle.

No time for love, Dr. Bahlactus!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bold Fashion Choices--Apokolips Edition

I'm too sexy for this hellhole, too sexy... A cape, Darkseid? Really?? Isn't that a bit too...Thanos for you???

Darkseid's catwalk takes place in Death of the New Gods #1

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hoist By His Own Bedard

So, Tony Bedard, how's that 2-year exclusive deal with DC working out for you?
  • You take over Supergirl, but your run last a whole 3 issues, all marred by having to be "event" crossovers; you're reduced to being a place-holder between the 2 Kelly's, Joe Kelly and Kelley Puckett.
  • You take over the Legion of Super-heroes after Mark Waid, but your run is ended after a mere 6 issues. You're moved aside for Jim Shooter, who used to write the Legion 150 years ago, and admits that he hasn't even read the Legion in years.
  • You grab one of the golden rings, a Batman book, of sorts. You're launching the New Batman & The Outsiders!! Uh-oh, not so fast: you're canned from that book BEFORE IT'S EVEN won't even get to do #1!!!! That's gotta be some kinda record, huh?

So, what did you do, Tony--run over Dan DiDio's grandmother? Date and dump Paul Levitz's daughter?

Really, a 2-year exclusive contract for this???

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

GAARD! Speaks!!--Kleezar

As you may recall, I--GAARD!--have been trying to prove snell wrong, by finding Marvel characters lamer than GAARD!

It's been a long trek, but at least, I--GAARD!--have found what may be the lamest villain ever. I speak, of course, of Kleezar, the Parasite of Eternity!!

Oh, GAARD can hear the quibbling already, that this was technically not a Marvel story, and hence not a Marvel character. Hogwash!! The story starred the original Human Torch, and guest-starred Captain America and enigmatic Sun Girl. That's as Marvel as it gets!! So travel back with GAARD! to the misty days of 1948....

How lame is Kleezar? The story refers to a "power so monstrous, so overwhelming." Well, let's take a look:

Kitty smash!!
Tabby's probably pissed at that name...

All opposed?
Oh no, he makes cats beat up milquetoasts, and turns horses into "fiery beasts of destruction." Now, 1948 was back in the past, but I'm confident that our automobile culture was far enough along that a few uppity horses hardly presented a serious threat to Earth.

But the crisis is severe enough to call in our three heroes. And Dr. Jefferson reveals that the animal madness is caused by "rays" emanating from Jupiter! And it's only a matter of time until it effects humans!!

Well, there's only one solution: the Human Torch must fly to Jupiter!! Yup, all the way to Jupiter. Afire the whole way. Hmmm, no wonder the Russians beat us to the punch with Sputnik...

Distance, of course, is far more important than the lack of oxygen

Adult males not clear on the concept of exactly where Jupiter is
But GAARD! digresses. It turns out the rays are caused by a "pool of peril," which is ruled over by Kleezar and his space parasites!! On the surface of Jupiter...

Introducing: Kleezar!!
OK, so Kleezar, "nomad creature of madness," is a bat/werewolf/dragon/armadillo thing. And they dared call GAARD!! lame?? Meanwhile, let's see how the Human Torch is doing on his flight through the vacuum of space:

Deep in the clouds of space
Ooooooooooh kayyyyyy. Anyway, so fatigued is the Torch from his journey, that Kleezar and his hordes whoop him pretty good. Kleezar monologues:

America's education system: adults unaware of what stratosphere means
Fortunately for the Earth, a meteor storm arrives. Check out the description:

Fire-Rain, walk with me
Yes, all of infinity is threatened by fire-rain!! And it wipes out all of the parasites except Kleezar!! Who shows off his villainous laugh:

Not quite as good as Insane Batman's laugh, but...
HAA! HEEE! HA! HO! Oh, c'mon, man, GAARD! looks like Doctor Doom next to this guy...Anyhoo, the Torch gets his flame back, destroys the pool, and Kleezar meets his final doom:

Webbed hands? Really?
So the Torch flies back to Earth from Jupiter...oh, dear, my brain hurts. But amidst the (apparently) many clouds of outer space:

Skinniest Cap ever?
But he won't die, because Captain America is on the job (and not giving up, like in Civil War...):

And Sun Girl is here why?
Yes, the Human Torch fell--FROM JUPITER--and CAPTAIN AMERICA CAUGHT HIM!!! And they were able to carry on completely "manly" repartee afterwards, too!!

So confronted by some scientifically illiterate, vaguely homo-erotic heroes, Kleezar's plan to accidentally flood the Earth with madness rays fails because, well, because he's lame. Parasite of eternity, my GAARD! ass...

But thank the heavens Sun Girl was there...

The magnificence of Kleezar, Scavenger of the Stratosphere, is from Human Torch #33 (1948), as reprinted in Giant-Size Avengers #1