Archive for June, 2008


Ultimate Edit Week 4: Day Three

June 30th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

It was only yesterday when we saw some of the Ultimates just kind of hang out in the jungle. Then Captain America rescued Wasp from the clutches of a robotic Iron Man double. That’s about it.

This issue is a very special one. I’ve decided to fit in a couple pages of ads for you. Namely, Marvel’s ads for Ultimate Origins. Sure, the first issue already came out, but better late than never.

ManiacClown and I will continue with Hawkeye’s emergency intestinal surgery tomorrow. See you then.

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Barry Allen, King of the Third Verse

June 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I’m a big Flash fan. I love Wally, Barry, Bart, and Jay. I love the way the laws of physics crumble around them. I love the relationships in the book, from Rogues to loved ones. The Flash is easily one of DC’s best heroes, and I wouldn’t mind if they turned the JLA into “Flash and Batman, plus those other guys.”

One thing I realized the other night, though, is that one of the coolest things about the Flash franchise is that they are a bunch of legacy characters that I actually care about. Two Wildcats, a bunch of Hawkmen, a Dr. Mid-Nite or three, and a family of Starmans? Ehhh, that’s okay, I guess, but give me the Flash any day. Jay’s the most interesting character in the JSA, Barry seems like one of the more fun dudes from the Silver Age, Wally is one of the most well-rounded characters in the DCU, and Bart is that young kid trying to live up to not one legend, but three.

Seriously, think about it. Wildcat’s son just has to live up to “being the son of a guy who dresses up like a cat and hits people really hard.” Hawkman has to hit things with maces. Wonder Woman’s mom was basically so much like her daughter that she replaced her on the JLA and I didn’t even notice. Who cares that there’ve been like six Atoms? He shrinks. Who does Stargirl have to live up to? A slacker, a dead man, a blue alien, and a scientist. That lineage is so square you could use it as cool repellent. Bart’s got it rough, man.

I’ve often joked that the JSA is a team of guest stars. Generally, they’re (Wildcat) the kind of characters (Wildcat) that make me go, “Oh, man! It’s Wildcat from that one comic! That’s pretty cool!” It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I’m haven’t really been sold on most of them. I’m down with Black Adam, Jay Garrick, and sometimes Mr. Terrific, but the rest? Ehhh. They’re all right. They’re like the DC Comics version of the Secret Defenders. “Hey look! It’s Darkhawk, Dr. Druid, and what’s her name with the shadow powers!”

Being a guest star isn’t all bad, though. In the past few years, Barry Allen has put in enough work to become the best guest star that ever did it. Every time he’s appeared lately has been rocking.

The first one that comes to mind is during the tail end of Geoff Johns’s run on the Flash. He’s wrapping up loose ends, having the Rogues go wild, and letting Zoom run free. Zoom ends up going to get Professor Zoom, Barry’s nemesis, and uses his speed powers to use the time treadmill to force Wally to relive the worst day of his life over and over.

“It’s a bad day, Uncle Barry,” may well be one of the best lines of Geoff Johns’s career. It is exceeded, however, by the next one.

In Infinite Crisis, Superboy Prime has gone nuts and is just dismembering Teen Titans left and right. He’s screaming how they’re making him just like them, it’s their fault he’s pulling off their limbs, and what’s the deal with this rock and roll music kids listen to these days, anyway? The Flashes grab him and try to get rid of him. Jay Garrick hits the wall early, Wally pushes too hard, and only Bart’s left to keep fighting. Superboy Prime taunts him, causing Bart to freak out. Mid-freakout, a voice comes out of the ether. “Bart. You’re not alone, either.”

“Grandpa?” beats “It’s a bad day.”

The next one is much more recent. In Final Crisis, a New God is dead, John Stewart is arrested, and J’onn J’onnz is dead. Jay and Wally are investigating the death and locate the place where he died. Coincidentally, it’s in the same place that Jay first met Barry.

Look at that. Barry is the busiest dead man alive.

Zoom is a pretty awesome guest star, too.

“I’m fueled by tragedy!”

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Ultimate Edit Week 4: Day Two

June 29th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

As you may recall from yesterday, Magneto, his kids and his wacky neighbor Xavier took off towards Australia. They couldn’t have stressed harder that it was a flashback if they tried. They crashed and ran into those guys from the Ewok movies. That was then, this is now…

Actually, never mind. This first page is about “then” too.

As always, thanks to ManiacClown, who came up with that recap page. We’ll be back tomorrow to talk about robots. Plus more from Hawkeye. You kids love Hawkeye, don’t you?

Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


RIP Michael Turner

June 28th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of Michael Turner. He had a ’90s Image style I wasn’t really into, though it had its moments, and I never really got into Aspen. However, all I’ve ever heard about the man is that he’s a trooper and one of the nicest pros in the world.

He drew a trio of Flash covers that I absolutely loved, though. He also co-wrote an arc of Superman with Joe Kelly that I, despite all possible logic, really enjoyed. It was the story with Superman in Kandor with no memory or powers, but a crazy Akira-style motorcycle. It was dumb fun, like a lot of comics I’ve enjoyed.

I nicked this from iFanboy, who in turn got it from the Aspen forums:

Hello all,

Unfortunately it’s with great sadness that I must inform everyone that Michael Turner tragically passed away last night, June 27th at approximately 10:42 pm in Santa Monica, Ca. Turner had been dealing with recent health complications arisen in the past few weeks. More details concerning Turner’s passing, and services, will be given shortly.

Anyone wishing to send their condolences to Michael Turner’s family is encouraged to send to:

Aspen MLT, Inc.
C/O Michael Turner
5855 Green Valley Circle, Suite 111
Culver City, CA, 90230

Aspen also encourages anyone wishing to make a charitable donation to please send to Michael Turner’s requested charities:

The American Cancer Society


The Make-A-Wish Foundation

Official Contact: Vince Hernandez

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Ultimate Edit Week 4: Day One

June 27th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

After three months of peace, we’re back. If you’re new to Ultimate Edit or you forgot about what the hell’s been going on in those earlier issues, here’s the rundown:

In issue 1, Venom showed up for no reason and beat up everyone until Thor remembered that he was Thor and toasted him. Then Scarlet Witch got shot dead. Quicksilver was a sad mutant panda. Also, there were rumors at the time that Nighthawk from Squadron Supreme was going to end up in the Ultimate Marvel universe, thereby making him an immediate suspect for being Black Panther, but that proved wrong, so my bad on that. Then again, that speculation came from before we saw how blatant the hints were that Black Panther is Captain America.

Then came issue 2, where Hawkeye bullied Spider-Man around and the Ultimates got in an ACTION-PACKED fight against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto and Quicksilver left with Scarlet Witch’s corpse and Wolverine showed up because… to hell with it. I think I’ve exhausted every Wolverine/cameo joke there is.

He stuck around for the third issue, where he talked forever about his connections to Magneto’s family. A whole lot of them went to the Savage Land and Iron Man started beating on Wasp. Turns out that Iron Man is an evil robot.

Now back to the story.

Huh. So the late-80’s was so long ago that it’s depicted as being black and white? I feel old now.

Thanks again to ManiacClown for helping make the magic.

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Steven Grant Rules

June 27th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

From this week’s Permanent Damage

Speaking of upheaval, all this, including the underlying idiot notion that karma would rise up to bite Dan Didio on the ass for Chuck’s ill-treatment, got exacerbated by the revelation that Marvel’s SECRET INVASION #2 was the top book of the month, with DC’s supposedly pivotal FINAL CRISIS #1 coming in second, along with the speculation that “we can’t imagine anyone at DC is very happy about that.”


It has become ridiculously easy to confuse reviewers’ commentary on comics with the real-world facts about those comics, but usually the one doesn’t have much more than peripheral connection to the other. I’ve mentioned in the past the dichotomous, contradictory standard “fanthink” on the matter: the comic that we like that fails failed because the audience isn’t sophisticated enough to appreciate it, the comic that we don’t like that fails failed because the audience couldn’t be fooled by crap. Corollaries: the comic that we like never fails because it’s crap and we’re the ones who got fooled by it; the book we don’t like that succeeds always succeeds because the rest of the audience is dazzled by crap.

The bold’s the important bit, the whole piece is well worth a read. The idea that Final Crisis wasn’t #1 because it’s “too smart” is dumb, possibly terminally so.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


The Spirit

June 26th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

The first work of Will Eisner’s that I ever read was Eisner/Miller. I may have purchased Autobiographix first, but I barely remember it at this point.

Eisner/Miller, though, sticks out in my mind because it was a conversation between two respected creators. The press lead-up to the book was probably the first time I’d ever heard Eisner’s name. All I knew going in was that he was a) old, b) highly respected, and c) crazy talented. I hadn’t read The Spirit, A Contract With God, or any of that. Regardless, Eisner/Miller was a fascinating history lesson and very interesting.

I looked up a few trades of The Spirit and didn’t get it. Ebony White was dumb, The Spirit was just kind of a dopey generic dude, and the art was all right. The idea was neat, at least. I filed it under “Things that aren’t for me,” a box which also contains LoSH, heavy metal, dungeons & dragons, and Angelina Jolie. Out of sight, out of mind, and so on.

I scoped out Darwyn Cooke’s Spirit when it dropped. It was okay– the art was good and the noir-y feel was pretty decent, but it didn’t really grab me. I might grab the hardcovers for the art, but you know, that’s when I get around to it.

By this point, everyone’s seen the trailer for The Spirit movie. It’s written and directed by Frank Miller, stars Gabriel Macht, Sam Jackson, Eva Mendes, and a grip of other people. Most of the fan response I’ve seen for it, mainly online, has tended toward the negative.

“He’s just remaking Sin City.” “Oh, is everyone gonna be a whore?” “Psht, he’s ruining Eisner’s vision.” “Frank Miller lost it.” “The trailer is overwrought.”

Honestly, I don’t get it. I know that ASBAR and DKSA are pretty much the definition of “Love it or hate it,” and the “WHORES WHORES WHORES” meme is very prevalent (though boiling down a man’s decades-long career into a webcomic catchphrase is ridiculously reductionist), but I see the trailer and see a movie that I genuinely want to see.

It hits more than a few of my buttons. It’s noir, it’s got Sam “I’ll Play Any Role For Money” Jackson, Miller is involved, and it’s got a striking visual style. Even the posters are different from what I’ve usually seen for movies.

So, you know, I was trying to figure out why basically everyone I know hates the very idea of this movie. I think it comes down to two things. One is that my default stance with Miller is “I’ll check it out.” I generally like his work, and he’s produced some of my favorite comics. I think he’s got an interesting, and off-kilter, perspective on things, so I’m curious to see where he’s taking the movie.

The other is that I just don’t really care about the Spirit at all. I don’t have the attachment that people who’re more steeped in comics history do. He’s just another hero to me. He isn’t Flash or Spider-man. He’s like… well, he’s still more than Captain Atom. He’s Katana or Wildcat– interesting in theory, but not so interesting that I’m going to seek out books featuring them.

The movie looks like an interesting way to try and get into the character, and it actually takes less commitment to watch a two hour flick than it does to buy a trade and have to live with it being terrible and sitting on your bookshelf. I think it’ll be a fun action flick, all things considered, and a good way to waste away an afternoon.

Plus, the movie’s got Eva Mendes.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


A Flashy Dynasty Like No Other

June 25th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Hey, who remembers Bart Allen? Impulse? Kid Flash? Flash? Yeah, that kid. Remember when he died and DC restarted the series with a back-from-limbo Wally West?

Oh. That was just a year ago.

Flash’s mid-stride reboot, courtesy of Mark Waid and friends, has not been all that well received.

From an interview:

I don’t know. You know, I just think, in retrospect, the stars were not in alignment in a lot of ways. I kind of knew we were in trouble right off the bat when I so loved Daniel Acuna’s artwork. I so loved it. And I was so unprepared for the insane volume of hatred from the online community about how much they just despised his work on the title. I knew at that point, I thought, “Oh god, we’re in trouble.” Once more, the online community has me questioning what I thought was good. Which I shouldn’t let happen, but it’s hard not to do when the volume is that loud.

And at this moment in time, I just … in terms of superhero work, I feel frozen. I kind of… I feel like I’m momentarily out of step with what fandom wants because I don’t get it. The same voices that are screaming that we gave Flash a wife and kids and family, because they say that’s not what Flash is, are the same people who are screaming that they’ve broken up Mary Jane and Peter Parker. “How dare you take his family away!” I’m like, wait! Wait! What? Which way is it? So… growth and change good… or growth and change bad?

That’s about it in a nutshell. Waid helped put the Flash back on the map back in the day. He’s one of the biggest writers in comics. DC is still strip-mining Kingdom Come. He’s put in a lot of work writing exactly the kind of stories that DC fans enjoy. I mean, for a while, they’d do a thing at cons where you’d try to stump Mark Waid on DC trivia. He’s a fan’s fan.

I’m not sure why his Flash didn’t work. I bought the first few and pretty much enjoyed them, even though I thought the Inertia imprisonment was creepy. It was an interesting twist on the Flash series, but I didn’t exactly jones for the series.

The question is, however, who wants to read a book about Flash, his wife, and his twin kids who keep aging at superspeed?

I dunno, but after Flash #241, it turns out that I do. Of course, I would realize this the week that what’s probably going to end up being the last arc for this creative team is announced.

I read the latest issue and turned a corner. Waid is off the book and Tom Peyer has taken over. Freddie Williams II is still the artist, and he’s doing a pretty good job, I think. I like the way he shows superspeed. But, I realized this issue that Tom Peyer really gets Mark Waid’s Flash Family idea. Waid called him “probably the best writer out there that no one knows about” and I think that he’s absolutely right.

A couple of things turned me around on Peyer. Not that I disliked him or anything, don’t get me wrong– if I didn’t like him, I would’ve quit buying Flash. But, I didn’t love his work on Flash.

The first thing that made me turn was when I realized that he did a really fun Jack Kirby homage in #241. When looking to pay tribute to Kirby, most people go for the typical– Kirby Krackle (or Dots), a guest appearance by a Kirby creation, or something like that. Something really obvious and unmistakable. What Peyer did in #241, though, was something entirely new to me– a Kirby dialogue homage. See for yourself:

A lot of Kirby’s dialogue was clunky and cluttered, but he did one thing that really stood out to a lapsed English major like myself. He used quotation marks like they were going out of style. Peyer bringing that back for a page, plus the Kirby-style dialogue and terms (Negatonin? Brother Drive?) were really nice to see. It’s the kind of thing that’s unobtrusive if you don’t get it, and dorky fun if you do.

The other thing is less of a one-off gag and more of a theme for the series. Basically, it’s about the terror inherent in starting, and maintaining, a family. From what I’ve seen, parenthood is pretty much equal parts joy and sheer brain-curdling terror. Your kid smiles and it makes your day. He busts his lip and you’re suddenly thinking about maybe buying a cushioned bubble, organic food, and a bodyguard.

I’m big on family in comics. This should be old hat by this point, honestly. I love seeing it done well and have an irrational hatred of it being done poorly. I have straight up stopped reading books because of a character doing something stupid with regards to their family. I will write endless paragraphs about how characters are jerks for being jerks to their family. Maybe I have a complex, I dunno, but it counts for me.

Peyer’s Flash gets it right in a few short pages. Flash has always had a strong element of family to it, and now it’s been cranked up to eleven. The best parts of this issue aren’t the fighting, which there isn’t a lot of, anyway. It’s the dialogue between Iris and Jai about their shortened lifespan and their shared moment. It’s Wally’s pure terror at the thought of losing his kids, and willingness to put that aside to let them live the life they deserve. It’s the Flash Family racing to go do good. It’s the uncertainty of a man who has fought the worst mankind has to offer and still worries about his kids. It’s of a parent having to put on a happy face when he’s gripped by fear.

In a way, isn’t the fear that your children will grow up too fast a common one for parents? That you, and they, won’t get to enjoy their childhood before they enter the terrible world of adults? That’s this, but filtered through a superheroic lens.

It’s even more interesting since it’s been filtered through Wally. We’ve had the benefit of actually seeing him grow up over the years, from Kid Flash to Flash to Father. He’s easily seen the most character growth of the big name characters in the DCU. Sure, Dick Grayson went from Robin to Nightwing, but the biggest difference there is that he lives in a different city now, he wears pants, and he’s six inches taller. A super-family means super-problems, and Wally’s got to deal with that.

Look at all the changes Wally went through in comparison. He went from being the kid sidekick to the hero with no self-esteem to the petulant hero to the seasoned hero to the stuck-up hero to a hero with kids. It’s been an interesting evolution, and I kind of hope that Barry coming back isn’t just going to leave him by the wayside.

I like the kids. I like the conceit of them randomly aging. I like Wally suddenly having a very real weakness. I like Linda having to become an overnight expert in high velocity biology. I like the Flash Family. It’s interesting and engaging.

It’s a very un-DC comic, I think. DC Comics about imperfect heroes tend to be about mind-bogglingly huge things. Superman in For Tomorrow, John Stewart in Mosaic, Hal Jordan and Coast City, Green Arrow and his stupid city getting invaded by demons or whatever… all very large scale and very enormous. They are more like challenges, rather than continuing imperfections. After Barry died, Wally was the hero who felt he was owed the world. It’s nice to see that Peyer is continuing the trend of Wally being very realistic in a certain sense.

So, yeah, Peyer has me on the hook. What sucks is that Peyer has two issues left before the (very capable!) Alan Burnett comes onto the book for “This Was Your Life, Wally West.”

Better luck next time, I guess. Hopefully I’ll get a nice trade out of this arc to go along with the Mark Waid HC in August.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


“There’s Zo, but…”

June 24th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I read the Robin/Spoiler Special the other week.

Basically, the special is two stories. The a-side is about Robin and Spoiler catching up and going out vigilante-ing sometime after she revealed that she was back. They go out as Tim and Steph to hang out in an abandoned warehouse with a bunch of a kids in a rough crowd (where there are water guns, but somehow no drugs) and rescue a toddler from kidnappers together. There is also flirting and an examination of their relationship. The b-side is a story about what Spoiler did after she left Gotham. She went to Africa with Leslie Thompkins after the events of War Games. They stay there for over a year, doing charity work, when some… well, I don’t know what to call them. A mix of medicine men and a death squad come to the village they’re at and Spoiler has to dress up to save the day.

Both stories have pretty awesome art. Rafael (Blue Beetle) Albuquerque does the art chores on the first story, while Victor Ibañez gets it done on the second story. It’s a seriously handsome book. We all know how awesome Raf is, but Ibañez has a style that reminds me of the great work going on in Secret History of the Authority: Jack Hawksmoor. Rock solid and visually interesting.

It’s also basically the book that explains why Spoiler is back in Gotham after War Games. If you think of it as an apology or peace offering for War Games, which is basically the worst crossover I’ve read in years, you’d be more or less right. (this is a dope cover, though, and i own a print of it signed by dustin nguyen) She was done dirty there, so here’s what basically amounts to Spoiler: Rebirth.

Yeah, I gotta say, I didn’t feel it at all. I realize Chuck Dixon has had a hard week or whatever, but that comic was no good, man. I’ve got three reasons and I bought visual aids.

Leslie and Steph are in east Africa. Kenya, Somalia, I dunno. Maybe it’s Outer Heaven. I just know that they have to know Swahili to be there. They’ve been there a little over a year, according to Steph, and she’s had trouble with the language. The whole reason that they are there is that Leslie Thompkins faked Spoiler’s death after the torture and near-murder she experienced in War Games to rescue her from the life of a vigilante and give her a chance to start over.

from robin 174

Dr Thompkins felt that she’d suffered enough, and Stephanie agreed, so they left the country. She voluntarily went with Leslie to Africa in order to catch a break, but felt guilty about it. This makes sense, because Stephanie forgot about something important while she was skipping town.


So, think about it. Since War Games, Stephanie’s mom has had to go through 1) her daughter disappearing without a word or a trace, 2) finding out that her daughter is dead, 3) finding out that her daughter is Spoiler in War Crimes, which was inexplicably worse than War Games, and now 4) finding out that her daughter is not only alive, but faked her death and moved to Africa.

Why did Stephanie and Leslie fake her death? To protect Steph from being a vigilante. Essentially, she got in too deep and had to find a way out. That way out just happened to be going completely off the radar.

One problem with this is that I don’t think anyone knew who Spoiler was until War Crimes, which happened specifically because she “died.” She still had a secret identity. It’s been a while since I read it, though, so I’ll grant that I may be off, but I don’t think I am.

My other problem with this is actually also why I feel like the return damaged Spoiler as a character. Batman, more so than pretty much every character other than Peter Parker, has family as an important backdrop to his franchise. He does what he does to both avenge and please his parents. They are a constant specter over his work. He’s chastised other characters when they screw up their parenthood (Plastic Man) and respected others for their relationships with their parents (Superman). Family is important to him.

I can’t really imagine his reaction to Stephanie having faked her death just being a “Yeah, I figured.” If Batman is going to put Huntress on blast for almost killing Prometheus, or fire Dick Grayson for whatever reason that was years ago, he’d definitely put the boot to Stephanie, too.

Faking Stephanie’s death put her mother through a ridiculous amount of trauma. There’s the old saying about how no parent should ever have to bury a child– it’s true. What makes it worse is that Stephanie did it for reasons that boil down to “I had something horrible happen to me and I didn’t want to be a hero any more.” What was stopping her from just quitting being a hero and living with her mother? Why did she have to fake her death and leave the country? She could’ve told her mom she was Spoiler, explained what happened, and then moved to Metropolis. What would her mom say? No? Yeah, right.

That’s my breaking point with the character. I guess family is really important to me, too, because I just find this ridiculous. Anyway, Stephanie went along with all of this, save for maybe the faking, voluntarily. She felt guilty (“I kept feeling like I’d run away”), and with very good reason, I’d say, but didn’t do anything about that until after she’d tried to forget that feeling and over a year had passed.

Also, she went back to being a hero before telling her mother she was alive. Slick move, that.

Now, it’s like, why should I care about this character? She hasn’t had the wealth of stories that’d let you skip past a negative character development. Is the terrible return going to be played down like Spider-Man trying to kill his pregnant wife was? I figure yes, because it frankly makes Stephanie look like the worst kind of selfish idiot.

They could’ve easily New Earth-ed it– Infinite Crisis had the Earth come back with little minor changes all over. One of which was Stephanie didn’t die after all, she was just convalescing before coming back! People act like the One More Day/New Earth retcons don’t work, but they do and have for decades. That’d be much better than the faked death that we got, if only because Stephanie comes out of it smelling like roses. She almost died, but she fought through and recovered and did therapy and now she’s back. Easy.

My second problem– those were some idiot Africans in that b-side. I mean, I realize that thugs are generally portrayed as slow-witted idiots and stumblebums, but seriously. You don’t exactly get to be a witch doctor feared throughout the region by being stupid. Case in point:


At least the stupidity is shared, though, yeah? Leslie has her own dumb thing to say, I’m sure because she doesn’t want to be shown up by African Joker.

“Medicine goes back to the Greeks.”

Leslie obviously forgot about Imhotep, who predates Hippocrates by a couple thousand years or so, and the fact that Hippocrates studied Greek medicine. She’s too busy bringing light to a blighted region to worry about minor worries like that. You keep on fighting that good fight, Les.

(Ha, does this make medicine the original rock & roll?)

So, anyway, African Joker gets all het up and straight up orders the murder of Pinkeye. His men turn on Leslie just in time for Spoiler to reappear… wearing the goods that she and Leslie were traded in exchange for medicine in what is apparently an accurate representation of Katavi, the village’s protector. Google tells me that Katavi is also a national park in Tanzania. Maybe that’s where they are.

Anyway, she dresses up like Katavi and does the ooga-booga Batman thing and scares the death squad/witch doctor/militiamen/whatever. There’s some firing into the darkness and then she beats all of them up. Let me rephrase– the sixteen or seventeen year old girl from the suburbs of Gotham, whose skill set as a hero amounts to “adequate” or “needs improvement,” puts on some scraps that were given to her, such as animal heads and skins, to make a costume of the village’s boogieman to scare away some grown men with guns who have terrorized the region for years.

Like I said before, you don’t get positions of power by being stupid. (If you really think that Bush is as stupid as you think he is, you’re just as stupid as you think he is. Dude got into office twice. That’s no accident.) You can’t sustain that power by just sheer thuggery. It’ll work for a while, but eventually, sense and desperation are going to win out. You’re gonna keep telling people “I’ma kill you!” and then you’re gonna find that one dude that’s like “Well, shoot me!” and then you got a martyr on your hands.

So, you’ll pardon me if I don’t quite buy that scene at all. That’s an entirely different class of criminal Spoiler is going up against.

Finally, my third point. This is a short one.

If Tim leaves another girlfriend for Stephanie, I’m gonna be pissed. He’s already lying to Zoanne about where he’s going to be so that he can hang out with his ex.

Tim, seriously though? Why are you hanging out with your ex-girlfriend, who let you think she was dead for over a year, like things are all good? That’s at least twice as bad as getting cheated on. You’re looking like a sucker. Don’t get caught up and have to explain yourself.

Do you really want to have to beg to be taken back after Steph fakes her death again?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


The Beauty & The Beast

June 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I’m a huge fan of Metal Gear Solid. It’s probably my favorite series, though I’ve undoubtedly put more time into Madden NFL than MGS by virtue of having played Madden for 14 years now to MGS’s ten. I got to help out on the guide for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which was a really cool thing to do.

MGS4: Guns of the Patriots is out and it is quite honestly game of the decade for me. I beat it over the course of a weekend. Not because I’d planned to, mind you– I just got wrapped up in the story and enthralled and suddenly it’s Sunday and I have to be to bed in two hours and I’m just now finishing the hour long ending and oh man I want to start over and do it all again but I can’t I have work really I can’t okay maybe just a little before bed.

If I had to make a comics comparison, MGS4 is to the Metal Gear series what All-Star Superman is to Superman comics, only even more comprehensive and even better.

Hideo Kojima is a director who doesn’t skimp on the details. This shows in the attention paid to the story and what you can do in the game itself. One of the things that interests me the most about MGS4, other than the functioning in-game iPod which you can apparently rip your own music to, is The Beauty & The Beast Unit.

One of the overarching themes of the MGS series is that war makes monsters of men. No matter how honorable, good, evil, or whatever you are, war is going to ruin you. It’s the nature of the beast. The Beauty & The Beast Unit are the embodiment of this idea. They are four women who, while they were still young, encountered war and suffered under its boot. The girls ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder and were turned into war machines by an unknown party.

They became The Beauty and The Beast Unit, SNAKEHOUND, and were given special code names: Screaming Mantis, Laughing Octopus, Crying Wolf, and Raging Raven. Each prefix is a reference to a certain unit from Metal Gear Solid 3, while the animal tags are taken from FOXHOUND and the unit from MGS1. The Beauty represents what they once were– attractive young women. The Beast represents their outer appearance– monstrous war machines.

“They are humans that have been transformed by battle. They are the ultimate casualties of war.” According to Kojima, he chose to base these characters on beauty from the real world. “The world created these ugly beasts, but underneath they are gorgeous women. These ladies — this beauty — is real.”

Hideo Kojima,

Where it gets even more interesting is their origins. Kojima wanted them to represent the real world. Lyndall Jarvis is from Cape Town, South Africa, and Laughing Octopus is ethnically Scandinavian. Yumi Kikuchi is from New York, and plays Raging Raven, a woman from Indonesia. Scarlett Chorvat’s from Slovakia, but Screaming Mantis was born in South America. Mieko Rye, Crying Wolf, is from Brooklyn, but reps Africa in-game.

It isn’t a 1:1 correlation, but it’s a step in the right direction. Their nationalities aren’t a huge part of the game. They’re pretty much literally one line in an audio conversation per boss. It isn’t a big deal, but it is at the same time. It’s a great move. War affects everyone, no matter where they are or who they are, and having the Beauty and Beast Unit be multicultural is a sharp way to represent that.

The Metal Gear Solid series has always been about storytelling. Its themes of war and its effects on life reflect throughout the entire series. The B&Bs are an obvious parallel, with their innocence being twisted and malformed into violence. There are plenty of other examples, as well, but this is one that leaped out at me.

It’s smart world building. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more often in comics. Let the little details do the work for you. You don’t have to have characters hop up on a soapbox and blah blah blah about their motivations or what they mean. Let the reader infer some things. MGS4 is amazingly unsubtle about basically everything on a certain level, but sometimes it slips in these little touches that make you pause.

In case you were wondering, the girls are all delightfully creepy bosses.

Shots below are ripped from Kotaku and various places on the internet.

Also, just for fun– Kojima and Frank Miller.

Now imagine Kojima making a Hard Boiled or Rusty the Boy Robot game.


Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon