Author Archive

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X-Men with O-Faces

March 15th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

Marvel’s panel on the X-Books at Wizard World Los Angeles just ended. Check here for Newsarama’s coverage, here for CBR’s. The most interesting news? Matt Fraction is joining Ed Brubaker on Uncanny X-Men as co-writer starting with issue 500, with rotating art duties by the Dodsons and Greg Land.

Wow. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Fraction and Brubaker are two great tastes that taste great together, and the Dodsons are fine artists, but Greg Land? Seriously? Haven’t people caught on to his plagiarizing ways yet? Why is he on a comic that matters? He’s going to make that book annoying to read at best, unreadable at worst. Just look at the cover for issue 500 alone:

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Let’s play “Spot the Ripoffs”!

- Warpath, Cyclops and the guy behind Cyclops have exactly the same body. Land has used it at least once before.
- Tattooed guy on the left and Colossus have exactly the same body.
- Wolverine and long-haired shouting man in the background on the right have exactly the same body, only Wolverine’s head is different. Land has used it at least once before. I distinctly recall Ultimate Namor in this pose as well, but I don’t have the relevant issue at hand.
- Land has used Cannonball’s body at least once before.
- Land has used Rogue (is that Rogue?)’s body at least once before.
- Land has used Storm’s body at least once before.
- Land has used Pixie’s body at least once before. It also happens to be the one with that ridiculous porn face made immortal by Ultimate Scarlet Witch. Very appropriate for a sixteen year old girl!

This is from spending maybe five minutes looking at this image and skimming through four issues of Ultimate Power. I could probably find a lot more if I spent effort on this. Maybe I’d even find the photographs he traced these from. Come on now. This is absolutely ridiculous. Why can’t we have an artist that actually draws?

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Weekly reviews – 02/14/08

February 14th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

I read some comics and I review them here. Just click “Read the rest of this entry” to see them. I know you’re all very excited. Happy Valentines Day!

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A Short Intermission

February 8th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

I have been loafing off while David and Gavok are keeping the site afloat with substantial articles, but here’s just a little thing I’ve been wondering: Is there, let’s say, a fan community for movies or television shows dedicated to discussions about out of context clips uploaded by others, without actually watching the movie or show the clips are from? How about communities for book excerpts, scenes from plays, videogame demos or music samples? If not, why is this behaviour exclusive to the medium of (superhero) comics? Is it the nature of DC and Marvel’s shared universes? The sense of entitlement some people feel towards the characters? Is it the relative ease with which one can put comic book scans on the internet? I’m just curious.

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Well, that’s it then.

February 2nd, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

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That’s right, we can all stop arguing. Comics were already ruined forty-five years ago.

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Stop Joking

January 16th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

I am kind of tired of seeing the Joker show up in non-Batman comics. Very rarely does it work, especially when he’s put alongside of other, much more useful or powerful characters. Writers tend to overstate his importance in the DCU, not because it makes any sense, but because the Joker is a popular character. Emperor Joker is the one exception because the entire point of that was showing what would happen if Joker truly did gain god-like power. Otherwise? Keep him in a context where you don’t need to artificially inflate his abilities for him to fit in or flat-out give him abilities he really shouldn’t have. (Disclaimer: While this argument could be applied to Batman’s position on the JLA, at least Batman already has abilities and resources that make him an actually valuable member.)

The incentive for this plea was the Salvation Run comic: It features two groups of villains, one led by Lex Luthor, the other by the Joker. Joker vs. Luthor? Too obvious, too forced. I don’t know how much of it is the writer(s)’ idea and how much of it is editorial mandate, but it doesn’t work. It’s pitting DC’s two most popular villains against each other in a context that doesn’t make sense. Luthor as a leader is fine, but Joker? Joker is insane. He doesn’t have much in terms of charisma or leadership skills and has nothing to offer beyond unpredictable, deadly craziness, so the writers need to jump through hoops to make him a prominent leader. Suddenly Joker is now a person who makes reasonable arguments. Suddenly everyone fears and respects him. Suddenly the human-hating Gorilla Grodd is taking orders from him for no real reason. Suddenly he’s able to kill Psimon with a rock. Come on now. I’m not a Psimon fan and I really don’t like arguments about the power levels of fictional characters, but the guy destroys planets. He killed Brainiac once. This really just doesn’t make sense and is only detrimental to the characters.

Speaking of Salvation Run, I wish they’d just gone with the original pitch and make it an Elseworlds. Seems like it would have been much more interesting.

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Fixing the flawed: Tigra

January 11th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

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“There’s no such thing as bad characters, just bad writers.” – Unknown

It’s the truth. Especially in a medium where characters rarely have one set writer, sometimes not even one at a time, the quality of a character is largely decided by how they’re written. But sometimes a character needs a little more effort to work; characters with no set goal or motivation, a lack of personality or simply an outdated concept. Tigra is one of those characters. She never struck me as interesting in anything I’ve read featuring her; She was either just kind of a generic urban vigilante with a cat theme or caught up in the plights of some society of cat people with a convoluted history that I couldn’t care less about. But recently Marvel seems to have been making people more aware of the character, by making her the one who betrayed Captain America in Civil War, the person the Hood beat the crap out of to set an example in New Avengers and as one of the characters in the House of M: Avengers miniseries. So if you’re going to bring her to the readers’ attention, the least you can do is make her compelling. That scene in New Avengers was the first time I’d felt any sort of emotion towards the character, but it hasn’t been followed up on so far and it’s unclear if it will be (although I’m still holding out since Bendis tends to write stories with a slow burn). So here are some things I would like to see happening with the character to make me interested in reading about her:

- Politely ignore the cat people stuff. It’s unnecessary baggage and too goofy to take seriously in this day and age. There was a Tigra mini a couple of years back by Christina Z and Mike Deodato Jr. that did exactly this. It wasn’t very good because the writing was too cheesy, but at least it tried to do something new with the character and give her a place in the universe. Oh yeah, she became a cop at the end of that mini. That was sorta interesting. Whatever happened to that?

- Change the name while you’re at it. “Tigra” makes it sound like she should a member of the Thundercats. Either go for the Luke Cage angle and get rid of the name altogether (“Greer Grant” has a nice enough ring to it), or change it back to the more generic yet elegantly simple “The Cat”.

- Change the outfit. It makes her look silly. Yeah, I know, she’s confident about her sexuality, blablabla. Lots of people (real and fictional) are confident about their sexuality, yet they generally don’t walk around in a bikini all the time. Besides, we all know the real reason she’s dressed like that. It’s not even a practical outfit, since very rarely is it drawn as giving any sort of support. The only thing it’s good for is removing the impact from dramatic scenes. She doesn’t need a superhero outfit anyway, much in the same way Wolverine doesn’t need one. She has no secret identity anymore and her look is distinctive enough to not warrant a flashy costume. Like I mentioned, she’s supposed to be a police officer now, so put her in a police uniform.

- Yeah, she’s a police officer! That’s one of the things that always appealed to me about Savage Dragon, that he was a cop who got super powers but chose to stay a cop in favor of becoming a generic superhero. Focus on that idea and it’d both give her a unique role in the universe and be the perfect opportunity to show the Initiative in action; Superheroes actively working together with the police force. And, hey, holy crap, guess who’s the new top dog in Marvel’s criminal underworld? The Hood. The guy she’d have a very personal reason for going after. This stuff practically writes itself.

In fact, this can all be brought back to simply remembering that she’s a cop. That one story element from a five year old miniseries suddenly makes the character relevant again. This really isn’t that hard.

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Stan the Man

January 11th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

Check out this “Tribute to Stan Lee” artwork at the Gallery 1988. There’s a lot of awesome stuff there, although the fanboy in me gets annoyed when I see art of characters Lee had no hand in creating or writing. Credit where credit is due, you know? Still, I want some of these on my wall.

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How Very Meta

January 9th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

I know that if you’re writing for a comic book blog and it deals with superheroes you’re pretty much obligated to say something about One More Day, but I think everybody’s getting sick of it by now and I don’t have anything interesting to say about it anyway. So I’m not going to write anything about One More Day itself, but the song Four Color Love Story by accoustic indie band The Metasciences came up on my playlist the other day and I had to share it with everyone. It was composed about two years ago but is almost eerily appropriate for the story. Even the line “Elektra isn’t evil or insane” is accurate, since she’s actually a dead Skrull.

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Just an observation

January 5th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

Batwoman was in Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of BloodThe Question #3 last week. It’s the first time I thought this version of Batwoman was kind of cool, and it’s generally a good comic that you should be reading. Anyway, I noticed an interesting thing: Matthew Clark made some sly but noticable changes to her design. It’s an improvement.

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On the left is Alex Ross’ original design. On the right is Batwoman from the issue in question (hehe), as drawn by Matthew Clark. Note the streamlined cowl, the more realistic gloves, the actually functional looking utility belt, the lack of superfluous and poorly placed bat-symbols and best of all: The ridiculous high heels appear to be gone.

Pretty cool huh?

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Batman Is Bruce Wayne, Many Troubles In Your Brain

November 23rd, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

Like you’re probably well aware, acclaimed comics scribe Grant Morrison has been writing the ongoing Batman comic since late 2006 (aside from a fill-in arc by Ostrander and Mandrake after issue 658). It’s been a pretty polarizing run, with some (like me) enjoying the hell out of it, while others are annoyed by the inclusion of Batman’s son Damian and some of the more classical elements reintroduced to the universe. In any case, it’s still a Grant Morrison comic, and that generally means there’s more going on underneath the surface. The run has largely been using other characters to explore Batman himself: Damian, the Three Ghosts of Batman, Joker and arguably Ra’s Al Ghul (who has always been something of an anti-Batman). One of the most obvious examples of this is the recent Club of Heroes story arc in issues 667-669 (with art by the amazing J.H. Williams III). Since Morrison’s run is far from over it’s hard to analyze it in its entirity yet, but this story arc is (or at least appears to be) standalone enough to be worth a closer look. Plus it was just a lot of fun! The following article will contain spoilers for the arc, so read at your own heed, but there’s probably no reason to read the article if you haven’t finished the story in the first place anyway.

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