Archive for August, 2009


Scoundrels Behind the Cage Part 2

August 24th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

After sixteen issues, Luke Cage had come to realize that with a title like Hero for Hire, nobody would ever take him seriously. He was rarely mentioned in the press due to the feeling that he was just a mercenary. He took that to mean that he needed a new name and stat. He considered calling himself “Ace of Spades”, but decided it was too ethnic. During a team-up with Iron Man, a villain asked Cage, “But how? This ship’s construction makes what you’ve done impossible!”

“Just chalk it up to black power, man.”

Then he got distracted so much by how right on track he was with a new nickname that he got punched in the ribs by a villain in a robot suit.

As of that issue, the title changed to reflect his newfound name. It also led to a fantastic issue where the villain named Power Man (currently Atlas) took exception to this infringement and fought Cage in a movie theater. This ranks up there with #9, the Cage vs. Dr. Doom issue, as one of the best pieces of the series.


First Appearance: Luke Cage, Power Man #18
Threat Level: 2
Bizarreness: 4
Lasting Ability: 1

Jake Mallard and his two brothers were construction workers working for Maxwell Plumm. Plumm liked to cut corners whenever possible and the shoddy materials led to the deaths of Jake’s brothers. Jake swore vengeance and spent the next few years building some construction-based weaponry for his own construction-based villain gimmick of Steeplejack.

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Fourcast! 13: This is the Way the Industry Ends

August 24th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Gonna keep this one short and sweet, like the podcast this time!

Music: 6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental
Topic: What If We Ran Marvel and DC?
Find us: via RSS or iTunes
Catch us: next week!

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Champions, of the Online variety

August 24th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I spent most (all) of last week sick and asleep, so I didn’t get much done overall. However, I did get a chance to play a little of Champions Online, though, and it’s pretty neat.

I like the character creation system quite a bit. It’s pretty in-depth, but also very easy to use. I ended up making a guy wearing a black and white suit, with black boots, and a bald head. I added an all-black skull mask for effect, gave him martial arts and gun powers, and bam: Spaceman Piff was born.

Combat is pretty simple, and about what you’d expect. Attacks are mapped to number keys, you can move with WASD, etc, etc. If you’ve played an MMO or a computer game before, you know how it goes. Mousing controls the camera, WASD controls movement. I saw options that say you can use a controller, too, which may be a slightly more comfortable way to play.

It seems pretty cool overall. I didn’t get to play much (benefit of a PC with an older video card and being a Mac-fan in general), but I liked what I saw. Getting around and finding missions was easy-peasy. The level of customization involved is also pretty attractive. You really can design the superhero you’ve always wanted, and there are enough familiar bits and pieces that you can finally make that Hawkgirl+Wolverine combination you’ve been dreaming about lately.

It’s the kind of game I could see myself fooling around with every once and a while. Character creation is actually pretty fun, and it’d be pretty easy to create a gang of gun-using pop culture-inspired characters. Donnie Blasto, Spaceman Piff, Stabber Lee, etc etc. I think the end result of all my tinkering would be a bunch of guys with superspeed, hand to hand weapons, and guns. I’m a child of the ’90s, what can I say. Punching people in the face is pretty awesome.

It drops September 1st, a week from tomorrow. Pre-order it on Amazon or from any of their retail partners, including UK, French, and German outlets. Their archive of online screenshots is pretty thorough and should give you a good idea how of the game looks.

Developer interview after the jump!
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Scoundrels Behind the Cage Part 1

August 23rd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Gavok note: I’ve been rather busy the last week and I have my Orlando report that nobody cares about nearly done, but in the meantime I thought I would break through the lack of articles with another old Pop Culture Shock thing I wrote. I guess I was inspired by hermanos posting that link the other day to the Thunderbolt profile.

Before I had really read all that much with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, I was always in love with the concept. You had these two very different characters based on the movie fads of the 70’s (blaxploitation and martial arts) and gave them solo series destined to fail because, well, fads die out. So to cut their losses, they just put the two guys together into a makeshift team that worked like no other and lasted for eight years as a series. You couldn’t do that with just any two ailing comics. You can’t just release something like Atom and Infinity Inc. and think it’ll last past issue 6. The ingredients with Luke and Danny are perfect. These days the characters are stronger individuals for it, but are quick at teaming up without a single fuss.

You can’t forget their beginnings, though. Before the days of Iron Fist taking a break from beating up ninjas because he just saw Cage kick an alien shape-shifter in the lady business, the two were loners trying to rise up the Marvel ranks. Iron Fist’s series, a spin-off of his debut storyline from Marvel Premiere, lasted a paltry fifteen issues. It was cancelled so abruptly that Claremont had to get an Iron Fist/Spider-Man storyline made for Marvel Team-Up just to tie up the loose ends. That said, Iron Fist was a really solid series and adds a little punch to the details of the modern series.

What it didn’t have was a good rogues gallery. Yes, Iron Fist was the first guy to be shown fighting Sabretooth, but other than that, his enemies were really generic and forgettable. Power Man didn’t have to worry about that.

Luke’s comic didn’t have as much of an involved storyline as Danny’s did, but there’s a reason his comic lasted nearly 50 issues. Luke Cage, Hero for Hire was a fun comic. Insanely fun. The guy’s average day involved hanging out with his janitor sidekick, walking down the street in his gaudy outfit, punching a random thug, getting shot at, making sure to note that bullets don’t work on him, fighting a ridiculous villain, then going back home.

And what a bunch of villains he had. You always knew you could read the next issue because whoever Cage was going to fight next was definitely going to make things worth it. Even his villains borrowed from others were pretty entertaining, like Dr. Doom and Zzzax.

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Hair Color

August 21st, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Yes, hair color.

Is it me or is comics over-loaded with redheads, blonds, and . . . there’s no noun for black-haired people?

The detective on Batgirl, Nick Gage (or as I christened him Hunter B.B.Q. Picklejaropener), has black hair and the standard superhero body (tall, football-player shoulders, large muscles, and a jaw so square that you could pack a dozen of them evenly in a cardboard box).

He also has black hair, in a town that, now that Tim Drake has grown out of his skinny-kid phase, is overloaded with square-jawed, muscled, tall, broad-shouldered, black -haired men. 

Of course you could argue that any one of those characteristics is overdone in comics.  But I have to wonder about the hair.  It’s a pretty common hair color.  Why do comics artists almost never make characters brunettes?

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Palmiotti, Gray, and Conner did the impossible…

August 20th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

They turned me into a Power Girl fan.


From Power Girl #4, words by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, pictures by Amanda Conner, colors by Paul Mounts. Headbutt: heard round the world.

I’ll have something smarter on this later, but I’m wonderfully feverish and sick lately. I just wanted to put this out there, because it’s an amazing book. I’m working on a Thing in the background, something I think would tie into a look at Power Girl very nicely, but for now, I’ll just have to tease.

And sneeze.

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Batgirl #1: Play by Play

August 20th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Before I open this comic and spoil it for anyone reading this review, let me begin with the prayer of the comics fan:

Oh Lord, who doth give a shit about comics,

Probably more so than most people realize,

Yeah, I’m looking at you, Schumacher,

But as I was saying,

Oh Master of Divine Sequential Art,

Give us this day a non-sucky comic,

And forgive me my continuity cherry-picking,

As I have forgiven – never mind that part.

Lead my very favorite character in the DCU not into comics ignominy,

But deliver her from cancellation.

And seriously, if she could have fun, kick some ass, and be a character I can sympathize with?

I would appreciate it for ever and ever.


All right.  Let’s do this thing.

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Ah, Questions

August 18th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

There is a theory that female characters aren’t as popular as male characters in comics (and almost every other medium) because while women identify with a male heroic protagonist, men don’t identify with female heroes.

Woah there, don’t tense up just yet.

No one is in control of who they do or do not see as role models.  No one has an obligation to enjoy or identify with one character or another.  On top of that, often there are traits that almost all female characters are created with that can bar men (and women) from identifying with them, looking up to them, or otherwise thinking they’re awesome.

I would like to know:  Have you ever intensely identified with or hero-worshiped someone of the opposite gender in comics.  If so, who and why?  If not, why do you think that is?

Finally, do you find that race, sexuality, age, or some other characteristic commonly pruned out by marketing people affects your ability to connect with a character?

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Gentlemen, this has been a triumph.

August 17th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

The staff at Tucker Stone’s The Factual Opinion went on vacation last week, so he called in a few favors for his Comics of the Weak column. Who showed up? Let’s see…

How’s Joe McCulloch, Tim O’Neil, Timothy Callahan, Sean Witzke, Noah Berlatsky, Matthew Brady, Chris Mautner, and yours truly sound?

If this volume of Comics of the Weak was a rap song, it’d be Triumph and I’d be Raekwon. “Ayo, that’s amazing, gun in your mouth talk…”

Go and read.

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Fourcast! 12: Mother(s) of the Year

August 17th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Because you demanded it!!!!, 4boys and 4girls, we’re bringing back the Continuity Off for our twelfth Fourcast!

ITEM! 6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental is pretty good! I think this kid is gonna do big things one day!
ITEM! Yours truly starts off the Classic Comics Continuity Off with an explanation of the Summers-Grey family tree! It’s rotted and knotted, and after listening, you’ll wish you were besotted!
ITEM! If I got anything wrong, true believer, just play along! It’s almost certain that my version is probably better than what was actually printed back in the Roarin’ ’90s!
ITEM! Esther counters my onslaught with the history of Pre-Crisis Jason Todd! It must be seen/heard to be believed, and you may not believe it, even then!
ITEM! She hits me with the “two” of the one-two, as she discusses the Many Mothers of Jason Todd, Esq.!
ITEM! You can subscribe to the podcast via RSS or iTunes! If you go for iTunes, give yer humble comics site a review!
ITEM! If you haven’t yet, grab our full RSS feed or join the Facebook group!

See you next week, 4fans! Another week, another Fourcast!, another half hour or so of Comics Conversation in the Fantastic 4thletter Formula!

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