Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Overheard Conversations--Harry Potter

Conversation overheard while walking behind a family who had just come out of a theater showing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix...

Dad: That one didn't have much of a plot.

Mom: Well, they only had a couple of hours...they had to cut a lot of the book out to make it fit.

Dad: Yeah, but I still like a little plot in my movies.

Teenage Son: Oh, Dad, they all have the same plot anyway: Harry goes back to school after summer break, and Valdemort tries to kill him. The end.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What The #$%^?--Everybody Loves Zatanna

Yesterday I discussed how Justice League of America #87 was insanely wonderful because of Batman's delusional laughing. But there was another reason this issue was so disturbingly delicious: Zatanna.

Now don't get me wrong: I love Zatanna's fishnet and top hat look as much as any other red-blooded American male. I don't get obsessive and fetishy over it, though. Unlike the male members of the JLA (not to mention writer Mike Friedrich, artist Dick Dillin and editor Julie Schwartz). Why do I say that? Because they go freakin' nuts over her this issue. NUTS!!

Let's set the scene: Superman, who's broody because he's lonely with the "curse...of superpowers," heads up to the JLA satellite to hang. And then Zatanna pops in for a visit:

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but mightn't the writer be waxing just a little bit over-poetic here? Over-praising her admittedly inestimable charms? This is Zatanna, not Aphrodite, or even Angelina Jolie...

Then again, maybe that's just Friedrich (who, amazingly enough, wrote this while on summer break from UC Santa Clara, according to the Direct Currents in this issue). Surely, Superman himself would be a little more mellow. He's worked with plenty of females before. Nope, Kal-El will take it all in stride. Wrong.
Oh, dear. This would sure make Lois jealous.

"Just by being near her, I feel so comfortable...?"
Hmm, that makes me wonder just exactly what type of "magicking" Zatanna has been up to. Maybe, just maybe, she was getting and advance jump on all that magical brain-washing we found out about in Identity Crisis...hmmmm.

By the way, Superman, just for the record, where exactly is your left hand in this shot? Hmmmm...

Well, this could still be an isolated incident. The rest of the male JLAers won't act like lovestruck puppies when they see Zatanna, will they? They're all adults, they all have girlfriends or wives, they hung with females in costume before...Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Long story short, after Zatanna helps diffuse a tense standoff with an alien superhero team (which, sadly, is both very lame and has NOTHING to do with Batman being King of the World), this is what we get:

See, Ray, size doesn't matter...
Wow. I mean wow. I mean, "Amen?!?!?!" Amongst the many questions we have to ask:
  • Do male DC Superheroes have to attend sexual harassment seminars?
  • Think about Identity Crisis again, folks....hmmmm....nope, we're not acting overly worshipful, are we?
  • Where, exactly, are Flash and Green Lantern's hands in this shot?
  • What are these guys like when Wonder Woman comes to meetings?
  • Why do I suspect that the post-mission debriefing on the satellite is just going to become one big Cinemax After Dark, with superpowers?
  • No wonder Jean Loring went postal...
Lesson from this issue: We really need to let the guys hang around costumed women a little more, so they don't get so oddly ga-ga over a female guest-star...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Things That Make Me Smile--Insane Batman

Sometimes, like today, I just have a really crappy day. But I can always cure myself with Things That Make Me Smile. Today's edition: one of my favoritist covers ever.

I mean--just look at it!! Batman on an insanely high chair--with a Bat symbol(!) and a complex control panel (what do all those buttons do?)--and a giant robot slave killing superheroes for him!!! Are the enough exclamation points in the world?!?!

Best of all, though, is the laugh. This laugh would give the Joker the willies. It starts out with the half-scream "EEEYA" and goes on to finish in "HAHAHA!" I vote that as the greatest laugh in the history of comics. And it's trotted out right there on the cover for you!

But even better: This is not a hoax or dream. This scene ACTUALLY occurs inside the comic. No, really!! Look:

OK, so Batman's laugh is delayed until the next panel, and on it's face it's a seemingly more mundane "HA HA HA HEE HEE HA HE HE!" But he does get to personally declare, "I'M THE KING OF THE WHOLE WORLD!" Plus, unlike the cover, we've got Zatanna's dead body to join the others.

And to prove that this all really happened, just look at the title to this epic:

SPOILER ALERT: Batman isn't really King of the World. The JLA really aren't dead. Batman gets better.

But for the really strange thing about this issue, see my next post...

Cover and panels from completely insane Justice League of America #87

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Night Fights--Baker Street Style!!

Man, I'm kind of nervous...this is my first Friday Night Fights. Can I succeed? Well, here goes nothing:




We report, Bahlactus decides!!


All panels from the phenominally insane The Joker #6, where Sherlock Holmes lives to kick thug ass!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Words to Live By

Man, you have no idea how often I've had to use that exact phrase!! It's a lifesaver!!

Panel courtesy of Immortal Iron Fist #7. Fraction+Brubaker=Pirate Harems.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ask Monstrobot: Sad Shellhead

Dear Monstrobot:

I'm a major industrialist who recently has undertaken a program to help make life better for everyone in America. I've sacrificed a lot, spent billions of my own money, and risked my own safety and sanity to bring about a better world for all.

My problem is that no one seems to appreciate what I've done. Many of my friends have abandoned me, and many of my former business allies have acted to undermine me. I used to have a lot of fans, but now I receive tons of hate mail every day.

My question is, why have my friends turned on me, when I only had their best interests at heart? How can I win my friends and fans back, Monstrobot?
Sad Shellhead

Dear Sad Shellhead:

Stop being such a mamby-pamby whiner. I've been following your career, and you've made impressive progress. Why, over the past year you've:
*killed dozens of people just to advance your political agenda
*imprisoned hundreds while denying habeus corpus and due process
*taken effective control of several your government's most powerful agencies
*committed acts of war against a sovereign nation
*invaded another dimension

Shellhead, this is a resumé that Victor Von Doom would be proud of!! Don't fret about a few hurt feelings amongst those obviously inferior to yourself! Instead, embrace your inner Monstrobot. Slay a few miscreants, remove a few more rights from your countrymen, and invade Canada!

You're already one of the most promising megalomaniacs in years. Please don't let a few hurt feelings by former "fans" stop your progress! Cowboy up, slay, and rule--it's your destiny!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kontinuity Kop--Countdown #41

All right, now, what's all this then?

Kontinuity Kop here--I've heard we've got an infraction from one of last week's books.

What's the charge?

Countdown #41: last page of the main story.

Complaint: if this really is the "original" Legion of Superheroes, with Wildfire and Sensor Girl and Dawnstar, then why does Karate Kid refer to Luornu as "Triplicate Girl?" Val Armorr had joined the Legion AFTER one of her bodies was killed, and AFTER she had renamed herself Duo Damsel. So why would he refer to her as Triplicate Girl? He never knew her by that name! And even if he had, she had been Duo Damsel for a long long time by the point Sensor Girl showed up...

Defense: Karate Kid's memory was still somewhat addled by time travel/brainwashing from the "Lightning Saga."

Prosecution: Please. If you're going to do a story so dependent upon past continuity, couldn't the writers/editor have at least bothered to actually look something like this up? And before anyone makes the argument: if this Legion somehow has a different continuity than the "original" Legion, than what's the point?

Verdict: Guilty as charged. DC, if you're going do a storyline attempting to restore a past "deleted" continuity, you have the burden to actually get it right. And don't get me started over how Superman suddenly knows this Legion....DC needs to start actually editing their authors, and not just let them randomly "wiki" their continuity whenever they feel like it.

Sentence: 3 severe finger wags.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Kill...Unless You're a Superhero

One of the more distasteful recent trends in the DC Universe is heroes killing with impunity. Oh, sure, there's always some excuse: they were justified, they were controlled, yada yada yada.

First, we had Hal Jordan, as Green Lantern, go genocidal. He killed a lot of folks, murdered most of the Green Lantern Corps. Oh, but you see, he was really controlled by some parasitic entity, you see, so it's OK. Oh, and he later sacrificed himself to save the Earth, and became the Spectre, and served his penance...so he's all forgiven.

Then we had Wonder Woman. Maxwell Lord had gone rogue, and had the ability to control Superman. So what does Princess Diana do? She snaps his neck.

Now she does this despite the fact that:

a) there are multiple villains in the DC Universe who have the power to possess people, and apparently there are non-murderous ways to detain/capture/imprison them;

b) we had just finished the whole Identity Crisis storyline that hammered into us that Zatanna could brainwash criminals to forget secret identities and forget how to properly use their powers and even reform them into good guys;

and c) Maxwell Lord used to be seen as one of the good guys.
Does she even momentarily consider any of this? Nope. She summarily executes him. Snap.

Eventually, of course, because she's a "hero," the World Court and a US federal grand jury give her a pass. Scooter Libbey wishes he could find a grand jury that forgiving. Even the other heroes don't see fit to even mention it any more. Heck, Batman still distrusts Zatanna more than Wonder Woman, so apparently he's more forgiving of cold-blooded execution than of brain-washing. I hope he remembers that next time he has a choice of going after either the Mad Hatter or the Joker...

And then we have Jason Todd, the former Robin. He died. I remember, because we voted on it. (By the way, is anyone interested in joining my class action suit against DC, for violating their promise to abide by our 1-900 votes? I want my 50¢ back!). Then, in a series of events so non-sensical it defies description, he came back to life. Except now he's mean.

First as the Red Hood, then as faux-Nightwing, he killed criminals. Executed them. Murdered them. Slit their throats. Remember that, DC?

But now, after a silly adventure with the real Nightwing, he's all better. And somehow it was all the fault of a Lazarus Pit. Oh joy.

But despite the fact that he's a killer, Batman hasn't hunted him down, Superman is helping Jimmy Olsen get interviews with him, and now he's a prime player in the ridiculously poorly conceived and written Countdown. Donna Troy's hanging with him like everything's cool (well, I guess because she's SOME relation to Wonder Woman--who knows what these days--she's forgiving of executing criminals). The whole DC Universe will just pretend nothing ever happened.

Look, I've got nothing against Punisher/Death Wish type characters. There's plenty of room for them in any universe. But the Powers That Be at DC are trying to do it cheaply, and have it both ways. They want the grit and glamour from one of their heroes going rogue, but then wuss out worse than having Bobby Ewing turn up in the shower. There are no consequences, no lingering fallout, no serious stories resulting from having their Stars go bad. They haven't the balls to actually show one of their heroes going to jail, or turning permanently bad, so they rush out some lame rationale, and everyone forgives them. Families of people killed by rogue heroes need no justice, and once the heroes are "restored" it's like the murders are erased from the books.

You know, the wrong company had the Civil War: if any universe needs the government to register their out-of-control heroes, it's DC. At least that would keep their editors/authors from reaching for the same stale storyline one more time. But just watch: Hawkman will kill someone, but then it will turn out he was influenced by alien-toe-fungus, and two months later all will be forgiven. This is what passes for adult story-telling at DC these days.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Battle of the Titans

I know I'm new around here, but I've got a pretty important question to ask:

Don't you really, really wish that this was part of the next Batman movie?? I know I do...

Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!!

1st question: why the title?

a) because it's one of my favorite comics quotes, from Master of Kung Fu #75. I mean, really...when you've got the son of Fu Manchu, working for MI-6, being pursued by a cute little killer robot, who is in turn commanding his giant aquatic robot minion (in convenient monster form) to kill Shang Chi, well, how can that not be your favorite quote? I still blurt this out randomly in public, much to my friends' chagrin.

b) I've got some heavy duty slaying to do.

I love comic books. I loooooooooove them. I spend about a gazillion dollars a week on them. I get cold sweats and palpitations when I can't make it to my local comic shop early Wednesday afternoons. I can't remember my own phone number, but I can tell you the civilian names of all of the Legion of Superheroes (all versions).

So when I whine about how, recently, Marvel and DC have been engaging in a race to see who can flush themselves down the crapper fastest, I say it with love. And when I say mean, vicious things about some of the writers and artists and editors and publishers, it's because I care about the medium, about the art form, about the characters I love, and used to love (I'm talking about you, Tony Stark...).

And since I'm such a good-hearted fool, I'm sure I'll have plenty of good things to say, too. Because sometimes, a Monstrobot from the Deep can slay with kindness, too.

2nd thing: I've never written a blog before, I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't know HTML (am I the only one in the world who pronounces that "hate mail?" Once again, I chagrin my friends...). This is all new to me. So things will be a little rough around the edges until I get my feet wet.

There...that's probably the only apology you'll ever read from me. So on with the slayage!!

PS--bonus karma points who can guess my second favorite Master of Kung Fu quote ever. HINT: it's on the cover of that particular issue...