Archive for January, 2007

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Breaking news!

January 31st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Geoff Johns to exit Teen Titans

Who is the new writer?

So now…who’s taking over?

That would be current Robin scribe Adam Beechen beginning with TEEN TITANS #47.

Some people have already seen his name solicited on upcoming issues of “Titans East” – that’s because Adam’s come on early to co-write “Titans East” with me to get a sense of the team and to set the stage for his run as I close out mine. There are going to be some shake-ups and, more importantly, you will see the beginnings of a second Titans team forming…though not necessarily what you’re expecting. Adam’s especially nailed the characters of Kid Devil and Miss Martian and he’s delved head first into the vast Titans history to soak it all up.

I’ve been a fan of Adam’s work for a long time, starting with HENCH and his stories on the JLU book, and I’m anxious to see what he does with the TEEN TITANS. I’ve already heard a few ideas on where he wants to take the team and I’m really looking forward to them.

:crossarms:

I love Beechen, and I’ve been wanting to write more about his Robin run lately. This is great news, particularly because I’ll start buying Teen Titans regularly again. The last year and half, maybe two (whenever Titans Tomorrow ended) really hasn’t been to my taste, so I let the book lapse. Titans East drew me back in due to Batgirl.

Well played, DC Comics. You trick me into talking about not buying a book and then you put a scribe I really enjoy on it. Well played, indeed.

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It’s a Major Disaster area, baby.

January 30th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

This is going to sound weird coming on the heels of my “Ollie Queen is a jerk!” post, but hear me out.

I love character turns, be it heroes gone bad (Zoom, Batgirl, Eradicator) or villains gone good. It’s always interesting to see that breaking point that makes someone change. This post is about a villain who went good.

Paul Booker was a crap villain. He called himself Major Disaster, wore a disaster of a costume, and had a disaster of a career. To be quite honest, I haven’t read a lot of his early work just because it looked so awful. He’s got on pink gogo boots, a blue body suit, and a lighter blue hood. It’s a costume on par with some of Scarlet Witch and The Wasp’s worst excesses, but not quite as bad as Susan Richards’s negative-space 4 costume from the ’90s.

Booker joined the JLA at Batman’s request. Yes, the same Batman who gave Huntress the old heave-ho. The JLA were MIA and he had a Substitute League lined up in case of emergencies. Booker so liked the respect that he stuck around on the team and ended up proving his worth. He even made it onto the JLElite, before finally retiring.

Booker’s face turn for JLA was more of an “Okay I’m good now guys” rather than a gradual shift, but it feels right. Here is a guy that, in another world, could’ve been a true hero. He could theoretically prevent disasters, or come up with new ways to research them. The problem is, he’s selfish. He decided to look out for number one first and foremost, and ended up crap villain. He’s had tastes of the good life during his stints in the Suicide Squad and Justice League Antarctica, but he never hit the big times until the JLA accepted him.

He brings an interesting dynamic to the team for a couple reasons. One, he’s a reformed villain. As he says at the beginning of the Rules of Engagement arc, “Vote from the reformed criminal type! If more capes hunted down more bad guys, we’d have a lot less crime!” He doesn’t look at things like the other heroes do. He’s a very to-the-point, man-of-action type. If there is an easy solution that solves the problem well, do it! Why not?

Second, Booker is a big, dumb lug in the Bibbo Bibbowski/Lobo vein. He doesn’t say exactly what’s on his mind because he doesn’t really think. His brain isn’t just not connected to his mouth, it’s not connected, full stop.

hurr.jpg Case in point. When the Elite gets together, they’re masterminded by Naif al-Sheikh, who can best be described as an Arab, male, and chainsmoking version of Amanda Waller. He’s got crazy black-ops and intelligence clout, so much so that the JLE gets approval based on his word alone. al-Sheikh sees these men and women as “demons playing in the robes of angels.” They terrify him, and that cannot be. He wants them to share a secret so that they can begin to build a trust. He wants them to explain why they fight for the light from the shadows. Booker’s response? “I, umm… this is really gay. Can’t we just go kick the @&#% out of some bad guys, “sir?”

This man is “Hurrrr!” incarnate! Another example. Booker’s been talking about Kasumi, an assassin on the team with something to hide. This scene follows:

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Yes, Booker. You got zapped because it’s that time of the month. That is it exactly.
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It’s a thin line…

January 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

It is Hal Jordan Appreciation week. In honor of HJAW…

Huh.

I got nothing. Moving right along–


I love 100 Bullets. You all know this already, right? I’m confident that I can prove that it is the finest piece of comic literature amongst a field filled with self-absorbed people whining about their life and tights’n’fights.

Here’s the long and short of 100 Bullets: The Trust are the scary behind the scenes people that are usually referred to as “they.” They are obscenely rich and outside of the law without being outlaws. The Minutemen were a group of men who protected The Trust from threats both foreign and internal. If a member of The Trust moved against another, the Minutemen would handle it decisively. A few years back, The Trust tired of this and had the Minutemen eliminated in Atlantic City… or so they thought. Agent Graves, leader of the Minutemen, faked their deaths and dropped them into new lives through hypnotism. Now, he’s reactivating his army and appears to be in the process of taking careful revenge on The Trust.

One of my favorite characters in 100 Bullets is Isabelle “Dizzy” Cordova. A reformed gang member whose husband and son were murdered while she was in prison, Dizzy is both one of the reader’s many POV characters and a moral center for the series.

Graves approached her with a briefcase and revealed that two policemen were responsibile for the death of her new family. The briefcase held a pistol and 100 bullets, both of which were completely untraceable. They were “magic bullets,” and any police investigation that involved them would be canceled and wiped away clean. It was a license to kill.

100_bullets_n3-p03.jpgBy the end of that arc, it was clear that Dizzy was destined for greater things. She’s appeared throughout the series and you can see a clear progression from broken-hearted girl to grown woman. She’s still young, though quite some time has passed since she first crossed paths with Graves, or rather, since Graves began grooming her for his purposes.

You see, Dizzy is “The Girl,” and she is slated to become one of the new, post-Atlantic City Minutemen. Even more so than the others, Dizzy is slated to be a check within the group itself, as she has been given both a reason (or two!) and the training to kill Agent Graves if and when the time comes.

Time will tell how she ends up, but as-is, she’s easily my favorite female comics character. She’s got heart, she’s got character, and she’s awesome. She’s had an interesting character arc, too. She’s gone from ex-con with a death wish to a person with a fierce wish to live.

Early in the series, she’s told that she had every right to kill a man. She would have gotten away with it. “Well,” she responds, “that don’ make it right, knowhumsayin’?”

That’s Dizzy.


I have trouble with Green Arrow. Ollie Queen has only had a handful of stories that ever really interested me, and even then only slightly. It doesn’t help that the past few years of his book have been not to my taste at all. Longbow Hunters was good, and I’ve been meaning to read Grell’s run on the character because of it. It might help me “get” Ollie.

I think it boils down to his character. He’s this super lefty, hero of and to the people type of guy. He’s that annoying, loudmouth, brash guy who I don’t think anyone likes. He’d be positively frustrating to hang out with. I dig Black Canary, but I have no idea what she sees/saw in him.

Plus, there’s this kind of thing.

jle_03_15.jpg

So, in short, Ollie Queen is an annoying slimeball with a stupid mustache. I realize that this is a plot point in Justice League Elite, but I don’t see it being even remotely out of character for Ollie. Shoot, one of his character traits is “unfaithful.”

Also, Hawkeye has the same gimmick but is at least fifteen times as cool, Connor Hawke is more interesting, and Oliver Queen having a win against Prometheus is ridiculous. I actually like Mark Millar’s Ultimate Hawkeye more than I like Oliver Queen. Hate may be too strong a word, but I definitely am not an Ollie fan.

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All the Way Live(journal)

January 25th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Our very own Thomas Wilde, in an attempt to further destroy any free time he has, has created a new LJ community for those of you out there curious about comics talk. It has a very cool focus and it would be nice to see it grow. It is called Comics 101, but it isn’t this Comics 101. Pure coincidence, I think. Anyway, the URL for it is here and you can join the community here. Copy/pasted from the comm info:

This is Comics 101, a Livejournal community dedicated to the discussion of comics. If you’re a long-time comics fan who wants to spread the word about his or her favorite books, feel free to post a few scans and talk the books up.

If you’re a new comics fan who’s looking for recommendations or character backstory, please ask, and our trained geeks will be right with you.

Comics 101 is a place for intelligent discussion, or as intelligent as a discussion of comics can get. Please do not flame other users, post requests for illegal scans of comics, or make substanceless “introduction” posts. All posts to the community must deal with comics some way, whether it’s with scanned pages, an information request, a discussion of recent solicitations, or other relevant topics.

Please put all scanned pages behind an LJ cut.

This is not a slash-friendly community. If you’re interested in discussing out-of-context panels, slash fiction, or “‘shipping,” please head over to scans_daily.

Comics 101 is roughly affiliated with the 4th Letter.

By “not slash friendly” he doesn’t mean “Arrgh slashers!” It’s more of an “Arrgh, canon only please!” sort of thing. If you’ve ever seen some of the posts on scans_daily devolve into fights over whether Batman makes googoo eyes at Superman more than Robin, you’d understand.

So go forth, tell us about some bomb comics or ask questions about something you’ve always wondered. No topic is taboo, but I think Thomas would rather stick more to things that can be backed up with canon rather than fan conjecture. It’s looking like a pretty laid back place, so go and have some fun.


In other, non-comics news– you folks like video games? My favorite gaming magazine (and yours :argh:) recently launched a new wiki called Hardcore Gamer Wiki, a place to stockpile tons of info on video games. If you’d like to help fill it out, pop over there, make an account, scope out the rules, and get to writing. Got a favorite game? Make a page for it. Is your favorite game underrepresented by its entry? Edit it!

The home page of the mag, of course, is hardcoregamer.com. You can find free downloadable issues of the mag on there and a button that will lead you to a place where you can go and subscribe to the mag for a year for 24.95.


100 Bullets came out this week. :)

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Who Would Win In A Fight: Jubilee vs Kitty Pryde

January 21st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Oh yes, it is that time again! Time for your favorite feature and mine, Who Would Win In A Fight!

If you’re new to the blog, WWWIF is a semi-regular (read: whenever I remember to do it) feature where I put some thought toward non-standard comics fights. No Superman vs Batman, Thing vs Hulk, or Spider-Man vs Blue Beetle here, no sirree. These are the fights that are important. If you want to read the previous entires in this battle, click the “Who Would Win In a Fight” category link over to your right, or click here.

Er, now that I click the link myself, I see that there is only one other fight. Oops! Well, here’s a second. Onward!


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Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde vs Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee!
“I was the first and the best, Jubilee! You’re going down!”
“Pfft, I’m shoor, old-timer. As if.”

Kitty and Jubes have a lot in common. They’re both teenaged sidekicks. They both had to fight to stay on the X-Men. Kitty Pryde had her “Professor Xavier is a JERK!” and was Jubilee ever an official X-Man? Wolverine has a paternal relationship with both of them, even going so far as to drag them along on trips to Japan, Madripoor, and who knows where else.

It’s kind of interesting in how they differ in their relationships with the other X-Men. Kitty’s “mother,” for lack of a better word, is Ororo “Storm” Munroe. They have a great and nurturing relationship going. Of course, Kitty also dated Peter “Colossus” Rasputin for a good long while, turning Peter into not only a mutant hated and feared by a world he’s sworn to protect, but a probable sex offender.

Jubilee, however, is a bit more rough. She’s been openly jealous of many of the X-Women’s X-Bodies, she used to hate Psylocke’s ninja-kicking, bathing-suit-for-a-uniform-wearing, race-changing guts, and for a little bit she had something of a crush on Gambit, even if she would never admit it. Also, she called Longshot “Blonde Jovi” once and wondered how he got into the X-Men.

Kitty Pryde has enjoyed no small amount of popularity. I mean, and I’m not trying to be mean here, but she’s tailored to be someone’s dream girl. I’m sure you know what I mean. She’s a collection of traits that make people go “Ooh, awesome!” She’s consistently cute, super-smart, has ninja skills, is great with computers, and isn’t so hoity-toity that she won’t date a normal guy like you Doug Ramsey. I mean, that’s not even touching on the Agent of SHIELD stuff, Excalibur, Mekanix, or any of the other awful things she’s done or been through over the years. She’s got baggage. Now, she’s in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-men, hardcore-ing it up, slapping Emma Frost around, and getting all the good lines. It’s worth noting that Kitty’s current and original costume are classics, but every single costume she had in between these two have actually been worse than every costume the Wasp has had. That is an incredible accomplishment. Even when she’s screwing up, she’s perfect at it.

Jubilee, on the other hand, hasn’t. She was in Generation X for a while, then that got canceled, and then she lost her powers during House of M. She had a good run in X-Men, though, and I hear that her stuff during Wolverine’s solo series was great, but I haven’t read it yet. She was pretty awesome in the X-Men tv show, too. The yellow trenchcoat is bright enough to be blinding. The “Jubilee” earrings are a nice touch, too, but the bright pink shirt and ’90s shorts that go up to her armpits are awful. I’m kind of glad that those got dropped, costume-wise. Shorts don’t belong above your belly button.

Jubilee is another of those characters with “hidden potential.” She could theoretically kill people with her “pafs,” but tends to shy away from doing such a thing. Even better, I read somewhere that she is technically splitting atoms on a subatomic level, which makes her a nuclear threat. When properly unleashed, she is crazy powerful. She blew up the Mandarin’s boat back during the bit when Jubilee, Psylocke, and Wolverine were traipsing around Southeast Asia. She’s an Olympic-level gymnast, too, and a decent fighter. This doesn’t stop the other X-Men from saving her on a daily basis. She’s gone toe-to-toe with The Hand, though, so she can’t be too bad. Then again, it is The Hand. You can get a Hand membership out of a Crackerjacks box. Jubilee is also a walking and talking ’90s pop culture reference, and starred in a really, really bad Generation X TV pilot from the ’90s that I inordinately loved as a kid. It should’ve gone on to be a TV show, I’ll tell you what. It would’ve been bigger than Buffy.

Kitty Pryde’s abilities are pretty well-defined. All of them. Putting aside the ridiculous idea of “phasing between worlds” or whatever that was in X-Treme X-Men, she can phase herself and things she is in contact with through nearly any object. It’s been suggested that she can phase through anything but adamantium, too. She’s super smart and an expert computer user. She can hack and program and blah blah blah. She was an agent of SHIELD for a little bit, so she may even be government trained. She was possessed by Ogun, Wolverine’s former sensei, and had crazy ninja skills for a short while. Later on, according to Thomas Wilde, Warren Ellis realizes that “Kitty’s spent years and years being taught how to fight hand-to-hand by one of the scariest bastards on Earth.” So, sup crazy fighting skills! Also, she can phase just enough that she can walk on air.

Yes, she can fly. She also has a pet dragon. Cripes. She probably isn’t a long-lost princess, though.

Taken head to head, this would be an interesting and pretty short battle. Kitty could just grab Jubilee and half-phase her into a rock or something. Jubilee probably couldn’t open up full bore on Kitty the way she needs to do in order to win the fight, so it’d devolve to hand-to-hand… against a ninja master who can turn intangible. Jubilee is agile, so she could probably dodge a few hits, but Kitty is super smart, can walk on air, and has crazy fight training. Jubilee could use her fireworks to blind Kitty and get in some good hits, but all Kitty has to do is turn intangible and nothing Jubilee throws would land. It is worth noting that Kitty can still see when she’s phased, which means a couple things. One, light can still strike her eyes (and the rest of her, since she doesn’t turn invisible). That means she still has some form of solid matter. Two, if light can strike her eyes, Jubilee’s pafs might have the impact of actual matter. Gavok thinks that Jubes may even be able to induce seizures in Kitty. Even if she can’t, having fireworks going off in your brain can’t be a good thing.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that, six times out of ten, Kitty Pryde would probably beat the bone marrow out of Jubilee and then invent a cure for cancer, AIDS, and the common cold out of that bone marrow, all the while singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Final Verdict: Jubilee wins by authorial fiat.

Thanks for reading!

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Extreme Justice Revisited: The Alliance

January 20th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Elseworlds can be a mixed bag. Scratch that. Elseworlds can be a mixed bag that’s half eaten. You know when somebody’s picked out most of the good candy from the jar and there’s only three Jolly Ranchers left among a pile of 20-year-old pieces of candy corn? That’s more like what Elseworlds are like.

There are some good ones to be sure. The epics like Kingdom Come, Dark Knight Returns and Red Son count without question. Other good Elseworlds that come to mind include the Justice Riders, where Sheriff Diana Prince goes after railroad baron Maxwell Lord while accompanied by madcap inventor Beetle, godly-quick gunslinger Kid Flash, maverick card player Booster Gold and others. The Secret Society of Superheroes is another obscure story with a great spin, where the Justice League act in the shadows while FBI Agent Bruce Wayne works to exploit them. That story has possibly my favorite incarnation of Batman ever. Then there’s JLA: Destiny, which is only half good. The core of the story is about Jor-El being the sole survivor of Krypton with Thomas Wayne being the one who watched his wife and son being shot down in front of him. Sadly, while everything relating to Jor-El and Mongul (who fills in a Luthor role) is seriously good, the comic is absolutely bogged down by unnecessary characters and subplots.

Most of the rest I can care less about. In the end, you’re just seeing another retelling of Batman’s origin, only he has a mustache or his father was Abraham Lincoln.

The subject of this article is part of a 5th week event known as Legends of the Dead Earth. Information on it is pretty hard to come by, but to the best of my understanding, something screwy happened to Earth, causing its heroes to scatter into alternate realities. So on one hand, it’s a series of Elseworlds while on the other hand, the issues are canon in a sense.

This issue, Justice League America Annual #10, is part of the series. There are really two reasons I find it worth talking about. For one, it’s based on Extreme Justice, which I had just gone over. For two, it’s really out there and moves so fast that you can only scratch your head. Christopher Priest wrote this issue, by the way. So that’s something.

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Life Imitating Art

January 17th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Wacky thing happened to me today. As some readers may know, I work at Barnes and Noble. I’ve worked there for a while and it’s indeed a nice job. I get a decent enough employee discount, which I use for comics, issues of Hardcore Gamer Magazine and more Dr. Phil books than I can handle. Some of our comics come out before regular comic stores get them, such as Marvel Adventures Avengers. I also have a habit of running into notable characters like people from Wizard, director Malcolm Lee (who was jonesing for some Cage and Iron Fist comics) and artist extraordinaire Mark Texeira. This part pisses off Georgia-based hermanos, who I think once gave directions to a guy who did the lettering for a couple old issues of Fantastic Force and that’s it.

These past couple months have been a pain. The holidays are a nightmare to all who work retail. Now that it’s over, our manpower has been cut and we have half the people working shifts. They decided to start that on the Sunday before MLK Day, which turned out to be a major mistake. The place now looks like a tornado hit it. Things got worse when a local pipe burst and we lost our source of clean water. To cap it all off, our cafe’s freezer busted last night.

In tragedy, I found just enough comedy to get by…

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Admin – Hiccups

January 17th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Hey all. Our last server choked and died, so now we’re running on a Dreamhost box. Just in case, we’re sorry for flooding your friends list, news reader, or favorites page with posts. If you guys spot any problems, let us now, okay? Comment here or drop me an e-mail.

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She Got That Good Hair: Top 5 3 Black Women!

January 12th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(edit: T’Shan was not BP’s sister. Shuri is.)

To our readers from When Fangirls Attack!– welcome! Check out the post and don’t be afraid to leave a comment, okay? Onward.

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you,
Without a strong rhyme to step to.
Think of how many weak shows you slept through,
Time’s up! I’m sorry I kept you!

–Rakim

Man, this article is crazy late, isn’t it? Just, uh, six months or so.

It’s late for a number of reasons. I’ve been trying to ramp up my writing career, which means more time writing about games, less about comics. Did it work? Well, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck, but talk to me in another six months.

The number one reason why it’s late, other than business and laziness, is that it is hard as crap to find good black female characters in recent comics. I mean, Monica Rambeau had a bit part in Black Panther and I’m not much for Nextwave’s portrayal of her, so she doesn’t really count. There was the great-granddaughter (grandniece?) of Jim Harper in Robinson’s Batman: Face-the-Face, but, uh, she had maybe nine panels of dialogue total, and that’s probably being generous. I’m not as familiar as I should be with Milestone’s work (beyond Static), so I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting any of those characters on this list. Bishop’s daughter in X-Men: The End has three strikes against her. 1) She’s Bishop’s daughter. 2) She’s in X-Men: The End. and 3) She’s Bishop’s daughter and is in X-Men: The End. Onyx is kind of cool, but I know exactly nothing about her and she got punked by Jason Todd so she’s out. Pantha, according to Wikipedia, is black, but, again, I know nothing about her. Thunder, from Outsiders? No thanks, hoss.

So… this is going to be a little different. It’s a top three because, frankly, there aren’t enough good black female characters out there. I’d include Glory Grant, ’cause she’s pretty awesome, but when’s the last time you saw her in a comic that wasn’t Civil War Frontline #10? (Nice guest spot, even if it was only a panel.) A better question– how many of you even remember who Glory Grant is? Monica Lynne is in the same situation. Charlotte Jones? Same deal.

I entertained the possibility of putting Monet St Croix on her, at least partially because I really enjoy her character. But, that’d make this a top 4 and these lists are traditionally either top three, top five, or top multiple of five. Four is right out.

So, a top three. But, I’m telling you, I better see some awesome black females over the next year or I’m going to do something reprehensible! I mean, black females in comics are like black head coaches in the NCAA!

zing!
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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Bl to Bu

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

BLADE

Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)

“They call me… Blade! Blade the Black Agent X!”

Times change, don’t they? The story that introduces Blade doesn’t so much go into his background, other than his hobby of offing vampires. He takes care of some of Dracula’s henchmen early on and then fights the big bad on a cruise ship. When Dracula has things won, one of his mind-controlled lady victims comes to jump his bones. This distracts Dracula enough that Blade can get back up. Dracula makes the decision to leave, though the boat will explode in moments. Blade tosses everyone off the boat and makes it to safety himself, knowing that he and Dracula will fight again one day.

BLINK

Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)

Before Blink was well-known for her role in Age of Apocalypse and Exiles, she showed up in regular 616 continuity as part of the Phalanx Covenant. Along with members of Generation X, she finds herself captured by the Phalanx.

When attacked by a being named Harvest, Blink uses her power to teleport him away while tearing him apart. Other than that, she follows the others as they attempt to escape, knowing that the Phalanx was unable to find a way to dampen their powers.

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