Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Parallax Style!!

For tonight's Friday Night Fights, let's step back to the halcyon days of 1994, for an all-splash page special.

The scene: right after Emerald Twilight, we have an insane Hal Jordan (editors note: he wasn't insane, he was possessed by a demonic parasitic entity who was the sentient embodiment of fear!)) (author's note: yeah, right, whatever).

Anyway, Hal Jordan is on a rampage to steal all the power he can so he can "change the universe" and "set things right." He's beaten the crap out of a number of DC's most powerful heroes, but one is still kicking: Guy Gardner, wielding Sinestro's ring. Will it be enough?

Beau Smith and Mitch Byrd present the entire isssue in one and two-page splashes, so let's pick it up at "THOOM!"

First blow: FACE PLANT!!Now, when you're as powerful as Parallax is at this point, there's really only one response: hit Guy with an asteroid...

Uh-oh, we've got a mismatch!!...and then up the sound effects ante while debating political philosophy:

In Space, no one can hear you KA-THOOMAnd remember, kids: it's not Hal Jordan sounding completely unhinged's the color yellow!

No fair going for a man's jewels!And since throwing a small planet at Guy wasn't enough, well, let's throw Guy at a planet!!

GLC Smackdown!!The finisher: the sucker punch from behind!

The donkey punch!!!So much for Warrior...Good thing we ret-conned away 100% of Hal Jordan's responsibility for all this. Hey, maybe next we can reveal that Peter Parker was possessed by an ancient entity when he let the thief escape, so he's really not at all responsible for Uncle Ben's death!!

All I know is, no fear entity could possess Bahlactus!!

Guy gets whooped, but not really by Hal Jordan, in Guy Gardner Warrior #21.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Most Disturbing Thing I've Seen This Week

So one of the hits on Slay Monstrobot today was generated by a search request (on Google Canada!!) for "Batman spanking Captain America."

Wow, Canada, I am keeping my eye on you from now on.

Still, if that's what readers are looking for, well, who am I to stand in the way of progress?

However, I just couldn't find any shots of Bruce Wayne whooping Steve Rogers in a spankatological sense. But will this do?

Didn't this scene happen in Miracleman??OK, that's gonna cause nightmares...

Extraordinarily disturbing panel stolen from the ALWAYS disturbing What Were They Thinking site, a great spot for your daily dose of "Eeeeewwwwww."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DC Dies Many Times Before Their Death

As Occasional Superwoman noted the other day, DC has been, well, completely not interested in actually doing anything with the Batwoman character they announced to great fanfare 9 months ago. You remember that, right? Press releases, interviews on CNN, write-ups in the New York Times...that's dream publicity for a new launch, right?

Tick, tock....

Since then, we've seen Batwoman only in a handful of issues of 52, and one token guest appearance in the Crime Bible mini-series. Both by Greg Rucka.

Crickets chirping...

And that's it. Period. No new series or mini-series in the near future. Nada. In the year of a new Batmovie, when anything vaguely Bat-related is going to gussied up and put into a trade or a prestige edition or a mini-series, a brand new, exciting Bat-character is going to be completely ignored. This despite all the trouble they went to get the mainstream press to take notice. It's as if after announcing the new Captain America, Marvel suddenly said, "Ahh, never mind."

But really--it's not because she's a lesbian. Really. No, seriously.


This is Gotham City. Home of the Batman (Goddamned or otherwise). And let's look at how Batman typically reacts to new vigilantes in his town. From last week's Robin #171 (really? Is it #171 already? Sheesh, I'm gettin' old...):

Batman doesn't dig competitonWe've all seen this a hundred times, right? A new vigilante dares to set foot in Gotham, and Batman shows up or sics his minions on them, seemingly within minutes, and gives them The Speech: You're an amateur, this is my town, get out. Hell, he gives The Speech to established heroes he already knows when they dare to trespass his turf.

And you'd think that, since someone was using his Bat-motif, he'd be especially interested.

But in all the time since he returned to Gotham after 52, not only hasn't he sought out Batwoman to give her the speech, he's not even MENTIONED or acknowledged in ANY WAY that there is a Batwoman. Not a single mention. Nothing.

Does anyone believe for an instant that, if we had a heterosexual vigilante running around Gotham ripping off Batman's act, Bruce wouldn't have shown up, at least to spy on them or warn them? Hell, a minor leaguer turns up in Robin, and he's ready to run her out of town by the next issue. But with Batwoman...?

Sounds of the ocean...

Let's see...DC announces a new gay character, and then suddenly shrugs and decides to do nothing with her. And Batman completely ignores her existence, despite that being completely atypical for him.

I'm not sure one can infer anything other than this: that DC is so homophobic (or more likely, scared of homophobic backlash), that they won't even let Batman mention a gay character. And if they have to have him act completely out of character to avoid meeting or even mentioning that gay person, well, so be it.

I really can't see any other conclusion.

That's sad. And it's chicken-shit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

About Anthologies...and Whither Weeklies?

Well, DC has apparently decided that a year-long weekly series is going to be a permanent fixture in their publishing plans. Trinity will follow in the footsteps of 52 and Countdown, featuring one long story about Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

In a big break from tradition that might avoid some of the pitfalls of those other two series, there will be one creative team--Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, doing the front 12 pages of EVERY issue. The the plans for the remaining ten pages sound a bit more nebulous, but will be by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza with art by various artists, and will sometimes be one-shot stuff and sometimes a continuing story.

Now, to me, it sounds like maybe, just maybe, they might be getting the formula right, by combining a weekly with an anthology. It sounds like it could avoid the pitfalls of the too many cooks approaches of 52 and Countdown, where both the quality and content veered wildly from week to week, depending on which team was up.

I've always thought there was room for more anthology titles on the market...but DC and Marvel usually mucked it up by making them monthly. Showcase '9x and the current Marvel Comics Presents show the perils of doing's hard to keep momentum going for 6 pages at a time when you don't pick up the story again for 4-5 weeks. It's tough for the reader to remember, and it's tough on the creator to pace it so you have a natural story break/cliffhanger every six pages.

But by being weekly and having longer stories, I hope Trinity will be able to avoid that. The original run of Marvel Comic Presents was bi-weekly, and eventually settled on Wolverine as the permanent lead feature.

Every goddamned weekBut I'm most reminded of 2 decades ago, when, for about a one year period, Action Comics became Action Comics Weekly--a weekly giant-size anthology title. Each week, 48 pages for $1.50, continuing stories and one-shots. And lots of stories and characters that weren't getting any attention elsewhere in the DC Universe: Mike Baron's wonderful Deadman stories, the Secret Six, the Phantom Stranger...

It wasn't perfect...the decision to relegate Superman to a 2 page "newspaper" style appearance every week was incredibly dumb. And of course, a fair amount of lame stories made it through.

But it did the anthology idea right: it allowed stories and characters that weren't going to be seen elsewhere, and it kept the fans coming to the feeder pellet button every week, when the last week's stories were still fresh in their minds.

So I hope Trinity works better as a weekly series than its predecessors (although I despair now of ever seeing Astro City again...). And I hope DC and Marvel move back to more frequent anthologies, using them as a guide to their wondrous universes. It's always seemed to me to be a great way to develop new talent and showcase your less well-known characters.

Oh, and Marvel? Get BETTER stories than the crap now appearing in Marvel Comics Presents. Yuck.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Your Love and Pity Doth the Impression Fill...

You might want to sit down, folks.

Because Mr. T is going to star in his own, original graphic novel!!

The look that never gets oldNow, some of you naysayers out there may be yammering, "c'mon, snell, how can there be a good graphic novel starring Mr. T?!?"

Well, I say this is how:

Armed only with his fists, acumen, and a business card that reads, “Next to God there is no better protector than I”, Mr. T becomes as renowned as many of his clients. But will even the moniker of “The Greatest Bodyguard in the World!” make any difference when old enemies return and new foes and unseen faces conspire against him?...

The story also mixes in all the adrenaline-fuelled action normally associated with the television tough guy, including a dejected armor-clad maniac, an unstoppable lumberjack, mysterious costumed adversaries, and someone who appears far too familiar for comfort.

How do I feel this book is going to be?

Now, will somebody please spend the $39 and lend the book to me???

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Wild Kingdom Style!!

We've already seen the cartilage-crushing fury of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, fighting a shark:

This was pre-Jaws, maybe...Shang-Chi started the shark craze!!And we've witnessed first hand the carnage as the son of Fu Manchu had to face off against his father's schizophrenic gorilla:

Insane in the membraneBut those weren't Shang's only forays against the animal kingdom, not by a long shot. Especially in the early days of the mag, the writers loved nothing more than pitting him against wild beasties (in between bouts against murderous assassins, that is).

Take, for example, Shang Chi vs. the alligator:

This one is for eating Captain Hook's hand...

Come to think of it, Captain hook would have made a perfect MOKF villain..., in one of Paul Gulacy's finest early moments, Shang-Chi vs. the jaguar:

Uhh, Shang, less analyzing, more fightin', please...
Ah, that's more like it!
Float like a butterfly...
Again with the analyzing??
That jaguar went down quicker than Jacksonville against New EnglandSeriously, in his first few issues he fought so many animals, I thought Marlin Perkins was going to show up!

But, there was one animal Shang-Chi couldn't defeat...well, not so much an animal, as a muck-encrusted mockery of a man: Ladies and gentleman, Shang-Chi vs. Man-Thing!!

Lesson: don't fight when your high on your father's mimosa gas
Geez, Shang, this guy's not even an elemental...
Man-Thing has drank your milkshake!No, that one didn't go so well, did it? Ewwww.....

Fortunately for Man-Thing, Bahlactus wasn't around to teach him the true meaning of fear!!

In order, we have scenes from Master of Kung Fu #21, Special Marvel Edition #15, MOKF # 23, 25, and 19. I swear to heaven, when I win the lottery, I'm going to buy the Sax Rohmer rights and sell them to Marvel so we can get some reprints going....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What, Quesada Never Watched Grammar Rock?!?

So starting with most of this week's books, Marvel has a new little box for the issue number on their covers:

I know I don't trust the clown that came up with with this marketing slogan, that's for sure...It's bad enough to have to put up with the double advertisement crammed in there. But c'mon, folks, would a little bit of correct grammar have hurt you?

Do they have any idea how irritating it's going to be to have that flung in our faces 2,546 times until Skrullapalooza kicks off?

"Who Do You Trust?" Well, I guess that's what you get when you make an artist your editor-in-chief....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Solicit of the Month

The Brave and the Bold #13:

The only thing missing: monkeys!"Batman and Jay Garrick stand against an android samurai with a bad attitude!"

They had me at "Batman and Jay Garrick," and then they had to throw in the android samurai...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Know You Read Too Many Comic Books When...

Why is it that every time I see the logo for the University of West Virginia...

I can't help but see it as just an incomplete version of this:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Resistance is Futile

You might want to refer to this story recently run in the Onion before continuing, because they're right--Aerosmith cannot be stopped.

Evidence? Let me present Exhibit A, Shadowman #19 (1993):

Dudes look like two ladies!!Yup, that is indeed Aerosmith jamming with Shadowman. And if the cover's not enough for you, well, you'd best be sitting down for this splash page...

Photo-realism??...and perhaps nothing can EVER top this 2-panel bit:

Just wait until Eddie Vedder punches him...Thank you, Valiant Comics, and thank you, Bob Hall. And if the youth of today think they can resist the power of Aerosmith, well, I have just one thing to say to them:

Doesn't this look like a panel that should have appeared in Swamp Thing??Paid for by the Coalition to Put More Rock Stars into Superhero Comics.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Worst Avengers Line-Up Ever...?

'Earth's Mightiest Heroes', or 'Earths Most Random Collection of Hero-types'?...Or the WORST Avengers line-up EVER in the entire MULTIVERSE??

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Bendis Assemble Style!!

Since Brian Michael Bendis is writing BOTH Avengers mags right now, well, no one should be as able to pull off a massive fight scene as well as he can, right??

So let's start with Mighty Avengers #8, released 2 weeks ago. The scene: Ms. Marvel, leader of the Mightys, has the drop on all of the New Avengers, pooped out after a long battle.. They're breaking the registration act, so it's time to take those rapscallions into custody. Prepare for Avenger vs. Avenger action!!

Good question
Get ready for itOh, here it comes...
Anti-climaxOOOOOOOKKKKK....not quite the fight scene I expected...but that's all right. Let's try again!!

Let's jump over to New Avengers Annual #2, out the same week. The situation this time: Ms. Marvel and a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have the drop on the New Avengers, pooped out after a long battle. This time, nothing can stop the big throwdown!!

It's like Groundhog Day!!
They're not gonna fight, are they?
Bendis: where every character talks the sameUmmm...not so much.

What the hell is this, Bendis?? You keep setting up these great battle royale scenes, and you keep pussing out!! And, worse, it's a virtual replay of the other scene....

All right, all right, 3rd time has to be the charm, right? Let's check this week's New Avengers #38. The scene: Ms. Marvel and the rest of the Mighty Avengers have the drop on Luke Cage, emotional distraught while having an argument with his wife. This has gotta be the one, right?? This time, it's personal!! This time, no holds barred!! This time...

It's like Groundhog Day!!
See, it's different because this time, she's arguing with an Avenger, not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent!
It's like Groundhog Day!!!
Worst Avenger team leader ever??Sigh...Does Bendis get paid for writing THE EXACT SAME SCENE 3 times? Ms. Marvel let's the New Avengers walk, and argues with a subordinate about it? In 3 separate issues released 2 weeks apart?!? C'mon--we've got Wonder Man and Ares and the Sentry and Ms. Marvel and Power Man and Iron Fist and Spider-Man and Wolverine violently opposed to each others' positions, arrests imminent, and we have fewer punches thrown than the average epsiode of The View?? Maybe he just wanted to see three different artists interpretations of the same seen...

Dammit, Bendis, what am I gonna do for Friday Night Fights now?? I've gotta have somebody punching the bejesus outta somebody!!!

Sweet, sweet reliefAhhh...see, you do know how!!

Too bad Bahlactus isn't writing the Avengers these days...

Scenes of Bendis turning the Avengers into endless Gilmore Girl reruns are from Mighty Avengers #8, New Avengers Annual #2, and New Avengers #38. Someone actually getting belted is from Mighty Avengers #8. Stay tuned for Mighty Avengers #9, where Ms. Marvel lets the New Avengers go, and New Avengers #39, wherein Ms. Marvel decides against capturing the New Avengers. And don't forget Mighty Avengers Annual #1, in which Ms. Marvel confronts the New Avengers, but decides to do nothing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Special--A Tribute to Eternal Love

God, I'm far too cynical a bastard to be let loose on this particular day...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day Special--Bachelor Batman

Dear Warner Brothers film executives:

Please note the following summary.

Monstrobot hotness scale: 92.76Batman (1989). Bruce Wayne love interest: Vicki Vale.

Plotline: She falls in love with Bruce Wayne, then discovers his secret identity. Never seen or referred to again after this film.

Monstrobot hotness scale: 100.56, 129.67 in leather outfitBatman Returns. Bruce Wayne love interest: Selina Kyle (Catwoman).

Plotline: She falls in love with Bruce Wayne, then discovers his secret identity. Never seen or referred to again after this film.

Monstrobot hotness scale: 85.67Batman Forever. Bruce Wayne love interest: Dr. Chase Meridian

Plotline: She falls in love with Bruce Wayne, then discovers his secret identity. Never seen or referred to again after this film.

Batman and Robin. Bruce Wayne love interest: No serious attempt.

Monstrobot hotness scale: initially 115.67, much lower after Tom Cruise got his claws into herBatman Begins. Bruce Wayne love interest: Rachel Dawes

Plotline: She falls in love with Bruce Wayne, then discovers his secret identity. Never seen or referred to again after this film. (CORRECTION: As Siskoid correctly noted, Rachel Dawes does return in Dark Knight. She's just played by Maggie Gyllenhaal this time out. Mea culpa. Still, I believe my general point stands...)


Aside from the stunningly repetitious and uninteresting execution of the multiple attempts to give Bruce Wayne a love life (and despite the possible implication that there are a pile of old girlfriends corpses deep in the Batcave, lest his secret get out), this is really, really unnecessary.

This is Batman. He is obsessive to the point of mental illness. His "normal" life is just a shell he uses. As your repeated failed attempts demonstrate, he's probably incapable of have a long-term relationship with any woman.

Besides, I'm willing to bet that in the past 20 years, not a single extra ticket has been sold because of whomever you cast to be Bruce love interest du film.

So stop it. If one of your writers or directors comes up with an ORIGINAL idea for a relationship for Bruce, go for it. But quit trying to shoehorn it in, casting another name actress to follow the EXACT same character arc.

Besides, this is The Batman. He doesn't need a girlfriend.

Monstrobot hotness scale: 666OK, that's not what I meant...

That you for your attention.