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Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 1

March 28th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Lately on the Something Awful forum, there’s been a thread about the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us game. A good percentage of the people who read and write in that thread aren’t comic fans, but are simply interested in the new game. That leads to a lot of questions based on various discussions. Questions like, “Who is Black Adam and why is everyone excited about him being in the game?” “Wait, what happened to the Green Lantern with the funny crab mask?” “What’s the deal with Flash, again?” “Hold on, Black Adam gets his powers from saying ‘chocolate egg cream’?” and mainly, “What the hell are any of you even talking about?”

For the hell of it, I started writing up profiles for each of the 24 announced characters. A guide that explains what each guy is about in a way that gives their backstories and notable moments, while spotlighting the stupid and cool aspects of their histories. I did a couple and it went over really well, so I’ve been trekking on. It’s actually been a complete blast to write.

So I figured, what the hell, I might as well repost them here. Send your non-comic reading friends and be edutained.

INTRODUCTION

Before I get to the game’s cast, let’s take a quick look at the DC universe itself.

DC’s continuity is a complicated mess. Originally, back in the 30′s and 40′s, DC hit the scene with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and other Golden Age heroes. Popularity died down a bit except for the first three (early Wonder Woman sold a lot through the years due to being a thinly-veiled fetish comic) and during the late 50′s/early 60′s, DC reintroduced a lot of their ideas. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were more or less the same concepts, but Green Lantern went from being a magical dude in a cape to a space cop in spandex and the Flash went from being a dude dressed as Mercury to a masked man with lightning bolt ears. Eventually, they figured out a storyline reason for this. The Golden Age of DC takes place on Earth-2 while the “modern” stuff takes place on Earth-1. This is discovered when 60′s Flash teleports himself to Earth-2 to meet the original Flash. This also meant that Earth-2 Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were all about 20 years older than their modern counterparts.

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Dark Knight Rises and the Cumulative Villain

July 27th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Like many people, I checked out Dark Knight Rises last weekend. I won’t go into a full review of it, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. A discussion led to me realizing that while I think Dark Knight is a better film, I’d probably find more replay value in Dark Knight Rises. It immediately brought to mind some similar feelings on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Yeah, I know that Empire is the best, but nine times out of ten, I’d rather check out the optimistic conclusion.

After all, Dark Knight is the biggest downer in superhero movies. Three good people are ruined over the course of 2+ hours by a villain whose comeuppance doesn’t even fit the crime. It’s awesome and everyone’s great in it, but God, imagine if there wasn’t a sequel after that.

It’s not the only comparison I can make between the Batman and Star Wars movies. I mean, I’ve been describing Bane’s majestic villain voice as “Gentleman Darth Vader”. But it’s with Darth Vader that Bane shares a neat little similarity outside of the obvious.

It’s well agreed that the Star Wars prequels are garbage. There’s four hours of footage from Red Letter Media that explain it better than I ever could. Still, there are little aspects that work. One of them is something somebody pointed out to me years ago that I’m unsure of whether it was intended or not. The idea is that Darth Vader is the cumulative villain.

The prequels are famous for having ruined one of the most iconic and badass movie villains of all time and retconning him into a mopey loser with issues… and not even cool issues. Well, except for that time he went on a killing spree. That was pretty rad. While the three movies were set on deconstructing him and ruining his mystique, there was an unrelated building of him going on all along.

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This Week in Panels: Week 59

November 7th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to another great week of ThWiP! Lot of fun comic stuff this week. Bruce Wayne made a major announcement that’s going to shake up the DC status quo. Frank Castle met up with a woman whose unmasking is likely to piss off SO MANY hardcore Punisher fans, more so than the Frankenstein fiasco. And panel contributor Was Taters believes the Red Hood image shows that it’s only a matter of time before some crap writer tries to retcon Damian Wayne’s heritage even further.

Amazing Spider-Man #647
Fred Van Lente, Max Fiumara and Various

Avengers Academy #6
Christos Gage and Mike McKone

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This Year in Panels: Year 1

September 20th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

A year ago I talked to David Brothers about an idea I had for the site. I had tried writing reviews of weekly releases before, but I never got into it. There were a couple reasons and they’re both about redundancies. I can tell you about how great the latest issue of Captain America is, but so will every other site. There are so many other comic sites that will give better reviews of new stuff that I don’t know why anyone would give a damn what I have to say among all that. Then there’s the fact that comic quality doesn’t change so often within the series’ run. If I tell you that Captain America is great one month, chances are it’s going to be just as good the next. Why waste my breath? If I want to give you my opinions, I want it to at least be interesting and hopefully unique.

I thought back to the first issue of the Agents of Atlas miniseries from several years back. The general response of people who read it and tried to push it was to point out that there’s a scene where a 1950′s robot runs down a hallway while carrying a talking gorilla and that gorilla is firing four uzis with his hands and feet. I figured that maybe that could be the unique way to cover the comics of the week. I’d settle on one panel that really pushes what the comic is about, more than often more than the cover does. It’s no longer so much a review as it is giving you a gist on what we all read. At the same time, I would make sure not to have any major spoilers. If the comic has Wolverine beat up Daken in the climax, then I won’t show it. I will, on the other hand, show them about to fight it out.

If anything, it was also an excuse to keep me from straying from doing anything for the site too long at a time. I’d have a deadline of some point every Sunday and I’ve been pretty good on that. I’ve only delayed two weeks and those were because of a lengthy power outage and the loss of my computer.

I didn’t know if it would work, but David said to go for it. Now it’s been a year and I thought it would be fun to do an extra installment in a retrospective form. The idea was to pick one of my favorite panels from the previous 52 weeks, but with the challenge of not double-dipping from the same title at any point. Here we go!

Adventure Comics #4
Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates and Jerry Ordway

Amazing Spider-Man #617
Joe Kelly, Max Fiumara and Javier Pulido

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This Week in Panels: Week 4

October 18th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Pretty small batch this week. hermanos is busy at that APE thing, so nothing from him. Esther insisted on including the Blue Beetle back-up from Booster Gold #25. Something about the “fangirls running the asylum.”

Batgirl #3
Bryan Q. Miller and Lee Garbett

Booster Gold #25
Dan Jurgens

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Fourcast! 15: The Sinister Six

September 7th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental brings us in as we discuss our three favorite Batman and Spider-Man villains, and just what makes them so great. Esther’s got Bane, Catwoman, and the Riddler, I’ve got Norman Osborn, Black Cat, and Doc Ock. There’s a surprised amount of similarities in our picks, even though we surprised each other.

After that is the Continuity Off to end all Continuity Offs, as Esther explains Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Hawkwoman, and Hawkworld, and I… well, give it a listen.

Grab the Fourcast! via RSS or iTunes.

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Infinite Crisis: The Graphic Audio

August 31st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Can you believe Infinite Crisis only ended a little over two years ago? It feels so much longer. At the time, it was an exciting time to read DC. A lot was going down, 52 was on the horizon, One Year Later was starting up, among other things. The miniseries did come off as a letdown, but considering how hyped it was, how could it be anything but? By the time the seventh issue landed, with its rushed art to meet the deadline, I couldn’t be happier to be done with this whole storyline.

Sometime after, author Greg Cox wrote a novelization of Infinite Crisis. Such an odd concept, isn’t it? A novelization of a comic book? It’s like the literary version of hearing a country singer covering a rock group’s hit song. I guess I shouldn’t talk, since years back, before I was even into comics in the first place, I read the novelization of Knightfall. Plus there’s the whole movie novelization thing I do for the sake of getting site hits.

I didn’t read Cox’s take on Infinite Crisis, but through chance, I discovered an interesting piece relating to it. A company called Graphic Audio had done a book on CD version of his take. That’s right, an audio book based on a book based on a graphic novel. What an insane concept. Too curious, I ordered the two sets and spent a couple weeks listening through them. Yes, weeks. The entire story is told with twelve discs over the course of thirteen hours. Thirteen hours to tell the story of seven issues.

Well, that’s not fair. It’s more than just the seven issues. Cox chose to cherry-pick tie-in issues to help pad out the story to differing success. This includes the end of Crisis of Conscience where Superboy Prime attacks Martian Manhunter, the Spectre vs. Shazam fight from the end of Day of Vengeance, the part of Gotham Central where Crispus Allen got killed, an issue of Aquaman and parts of the Rann/Thanagar War Special.

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Test Your Speculation

June 6th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I’ve joked about the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game a lot and I don’t expect it to be an especially good game, but at the same time, I’m drawn to the lead-up. As a crossover, it’s such a unique concept that I can’t help but wonder about the final product. In other words, at the moment, I’m enthralled by the speculation.

As of now, only four characters have been revealed: Superman, Batman, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Series bigwig Ed Boon said that there will be 20-22 characters on the game’s roster. On one hand, I get that this is because the game has a brand new engine working for it. On the other hand, it doesn’t bring in the fun factor that comes with the obscure characters.

Capcom’s crossover games initially had the same problem, which is why the sequels had more going for them. With the foundation in place, the creators got to move outward and be more creative with the character spots. That’s when we got guys like Marrow, Tron Bonne and Chang Koehan. So if there is a sequel to this game, only then will we get Noob Saibot vs. The Shade or Moloch vs. The Shaggy Man. Myself, I’m all for Stryker vs. Azrael in the battle of who fanboys hate the most.

For the fun of speculation, I’m trying to make some educated guesses on who will be in the game. The low character count helps. The need to include the more marquee characters from both sides helps too. Boon also mentioned that each character pairs into a rivalry with the crossover counterpart.

That means you have to figure out first who Midway wants to put in the forefront. That means most of the MK1 cast and a handful of the other more memorable fighters. Then you mix and match while making sure to stick in all the well-known DC heroes. To be optimistic, let’s say that there are 11 characters on each side.

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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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Ruining the Moment: Volume 3

April 11th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I should be finishing up my next installment of the WCW debacle, but it’s taking longer than I thought. Admittedly, it’s the least exciting of the three articles and it covers the most issues. Expect it up within the next few days. Honest.

In the meantime, how’s about we pass the time with more of these? For instance, in Annihilation, it was pretty badass when the Silver Surfer returned to Galactus’ thrall as herald. But I know the real reason Galactus was smiling.

Cassandra Cain Batgirl has been out of it for the past few months, acting like a villain and murdering people. I think I have an explanation.

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