Ruining the Moment: Volume 6

September 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

It’s been a while, but here’s another bunch of memorable segments from comics past and present altered in the name of comedy and, sometimes, spite. To start, here’s something form the end of What If: Annihilation.

Next up, the Sinestro Corps War ends in a way that legitimately made me kind of sad. What kind of monster am I?

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Super-Man: Jonathan Kent

July 8th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Yo, I can’t fully become my mother’s guiding light
’til my dad returns to tell me what the other side is like
I keep the things you taught trapped in mind
I know you cared…
Even though you weren’t here half the time
But who am I to blame?
I’d probably do the same in your shoes

–Copywrite, “June”

Fathers are an important element of a lot of comics characters origins, and I haven’t really seen a lot of attention aimed in that direction. This is odd, because the three biggest comics characters (Super/Spider-/Batman) are orphans with surrogate parents. Superman has Jonathan and Martha Kent, Batman has Alfred, and Spider-Man has Aunt May and Uncle Ben. I’m going to talk about Jonathan Kent, and Ben Parker to a lesser extent, in specific here, I think.

(For what it is worth, Martha, Martha, and May [their supergroup is named 3M and May is lead singer] provided the compassion that fuels all three heroes in their daily interactions with the citizenry. In each case, both parents are vital and equal components of the hero’s heroic persona. That should probably be another post, however.)

I could probably do an essay apiece on these guys, so I’ll take it slow and focus specifically on the treatment of Jonathan Kent in All-Star Superman #6, “Funeral in Smallville.” I find the regular DCU Jonathan interesting, too, especially in light of Adventures of Superman #500, but I’ll get to that later.

Ben’s influence on Peter Parker is two-fold. First, he’s the source of Peter’s superheroic morality. “With great power comes great responsibility” is basically the reason that Spider-Man became a hero, instead of a celebrity. The other angle is that he’s a source of grief and guilt for Peter, providing a secondary reason for him to keep heroing. Ben Parker is, essentially, Peter Parker’s first failure. Gwen and Captain Stacy are two further failures.

Jonathan Kent, in light of this issue, is essentially Ben Parker. In this updated story about Clark Kent’s past, Jonathan is already elderly at this point, and has heart troubles. Three mysterious Supermen appear and attempt to prevent Clark from fighting a Chronovore. Instead, Clark presses on into battle and loses three minutes of his life. In those three minutes, his father suffers a fatal heart attack and dies.

Before this, Clark was essentially invincible. There was nothing he could not do. There was nothing he could fail at. However, his first failure was harsh enough to instill in him a resolution (I’d hesitate to call it a fear) to never fail again.

The scene where Jonathan dies is cut into the fight against the Chronovore, including a rough scene where Clark is flying so fast that his hair ignites while he screams that he can “save everybody.” The scene directly after that is the funeral, which explains the moral fiber that Jonathan instilled in his son.

“Jonathan Kent taught me that the strong have to stand up for the weak and that bullies don’t like being bullied back. […] He taught me about life and death.”

This page is about as good a summary of Superman’s modus operandi as you’re going to get. He’s there to work toward a better world, to protect those weaker than him, and to live up to his father’s example. In a very real way, Superman’s hero, the person he looks up to the most and attempts to emulate, is a normal man.

This adds an interesting wrinkle to the All-Star Superman. He’s already experienced the worst feeling in the world and it became a vital part of his character. He took the loss, adjusted, and now he’s there to try and live up to his father’s memory. It isn’t guilt, exactly– it’s more of a respect thing.

The twist in the issue is that one of the Supermen is actually our Superman, who has traveled back in time. He’s there for one last chance to be with his father. He knows that he can’t save him, and that sometimes bad things happen, but that you’ve got to take joy where you can get it. If that means talking with your father about your future just before he dies… so be it. It’s an experience to be treasured, yeah?

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You Weak, Pathetic Kryptonian!

April 17th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I should be getting some rest for this weekend or catching up on relevant comics that have slipped me by, but then the internet has to go and toss a curve ball right my way.

Years ago, Capcom and Marvel had their guys fight each other. It was weird, but it fit better than it had any right to.

Over time, Namco has had their Soul Calibur crew fight Spawn, Link and soon Darth Vader and Yoda.

Just recently, Nintendo gave us the dream match of Mario vs. Sonic, while tossing Solid Snake in there.

With all that having gone on, not once did I expect to hear this announcement on a day that wasn’t April 1st. It’s still not April 1st anymore, right? Right?


My reaction to this is simply the Li’l John reaction: What? WHAT?! …Okay. Because to be honest, no matter how bad it turns out to be, it’ll still be one of the better DC videogames. And as a fighting game it’ll be head and shoulders above Justice League Task Force. This is going to be really stupid, but really interesting.

Hey, maybe they’ll have Geoff Johns design the fatalities!

Credit to Mortal Kombat Online. They’re good people.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Ce to Cr

March 13th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I’m going to level with you. This is not going to be an impressive group of characters. Remember how the last article had Captain America and Captain Marvel and shit? The most famous character here is known for having a cameo in X-Men 2 and a damn near non-existant role in the third movie. But we are going to delve into some really weird stories. Oh, yes.

God, I hate you, Wonder Woman.


Eternals #2 (1976)

The Celestials are mentioned a few times in the first issue of Eternals, but we don’t get to actually see one until the next issue. Now, bear with me on this because I don’t know the slightest thing about the Eternals and I’ve never really paid attention to the Celestials. The story here has to do with Ikaris and his archeologist friends fighting some Deviants until Ajak comes in on a spaceship and saves the day. All of the sudden, this guy shows up.

Sorry. Too much trippy exposition for me to follow.


Showcase #6 (1957)

I would barely even know who these guys were if it wasn’t for New Frontier and that one Amalgam story where the Challengers of the Fantastic fought the mighty GALACTIAC. Looking at it from the beginning, these guys have one cool origin story.

Rocky Davis, Professor Haley, Red Ryan and Ace Morgan are four different guys announced to be guests on a radio show dedicated to heroes. As they ride the same plane, they run into turbulence and crash.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Bl to Bu

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok


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.


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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Reign of the Supernovas: A Real Mystery in Real Time

December 15th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

That’s a damned good question, Michael. First appearing in the pages of 52 Week 8, Supernova’s since been a mystery. Where does he come from? What exactly are his powers? What is his role in the grand scheme of things? And just who is this guy?

First, let’s take a look at Supernova’s various appearances up to this point:

Week 8: Over the course of several days, we see the first appearances of this red, white and blue stranger. On Day 3, he appears before an old woman and her grandchild, glows real bright and brings them across the street before they can be crushed by a falling monorail. The next day, he appears among firemen who are about to get crushed by falling debris. Glowing brightly once more, the new hero makes the debris vanish. The next day we get reports of him cleanly shearing a gunman’s rifle in half, as well as saving one woman’s daughter from a riptide. Booster Gold, whose image has just been destroyed a week earlier, rants about this new character in front of one Clark Kent.

Week 10: Clark Kent, having just been fired at the Daily Planet, sees Supernova flying around the city. With sudden inspiration, he hops out the window and freefalls. Supernova swiftly catches him, assures him of his safety and asks if he’s okay. Clark pulls out a tape recorder and asks for an interview. As Clark later explains to Lois, they didn’t get too far before seeing Bahdnesian terrorists stealing a military all-terrain vehicle. Supernova puts down Clark and uses his glowing power (which Clark describes as “peculiar eyebeams”) to take away the pavement under the vehicle, locking it into the ground. Supernova poses and answers a couple questions from Clark, trying hard to conceal himself. He sees a child almost walk into the hole in the ground, teleports in a bright light and appears in front of the child. The way he responds to the boy shows that he has some semblance of a personality under the mask. Clark tells Lois that he believes that Supernova’s on the level and that he has an air of experience about him. Elsewhere, Booster is growing more and more frustrated, while Skeets admits that even he doesn’t know who Supernova is from his historical files.

Week 15: The big one. Booster takes on a giant sea monster in the middle of Metropolis. He fails pretty badly, including a bit where he causes a massive power outage. Supernova flies in, soars to the monster and with a bright blast, zaps him away. Supernova offers his hand to Booster and makes a comment about Booster not caring about the people he saves. Noticeable frown under the mask. Booster snaps and tackles Supernova. The two brawl, showing that Supernova is at least strong enough to trade fists with Booster. Supernova’s only use of powers are to momentarily blind Booster. Supernova highly disapproves of Booster, saying he’s too pathetic to be considered a joke. Skeets mentions a radiation leakage. Supernova wants to stop it, but Booster sucker-punches him and tries to stop it himself. Beaming at his return to greatness, Booster saves everyone, but is engulfed in an explosion. Supernova, shocked, flies upwards and catches Booster’s body. To the horror of Clark and the noticeable surprise of Skeets, Booster Gold is just a skeleton in futuristic tights.

It’s worth noting that there were two alternate endings to this issue. In one ending, Booster turns to dust upon landing in Supernova’s arms. In the other, there is no radiation leakage. Supernova tries to teleport Booster back a few feet. At the same time, Booster turns on his force field. The result causes Booster to be cut in half. A horrified Supernova swears he didn’t mean for it to happen and Clark Kent believes him. Supernova covers one half of Booster with his cape while Clark uses his jacket on the other half.

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WWWIF: The Real Reason We Read Comics

September 2nd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

It’s the weekend, so we’re going into silent running, so to speak, but I do have one thing for you.

Hulk vs Thing. Batman vs Captain America. Superman vs Foolkiller.

We love comics for the fights and the conjecture, right? Hulk vs Thing is passe now. What about the fights we never get to see? Who cares about Black Cat vs Catwoman when you can see Shang-chi vs Richard Dragon? Black Racer vs Death? Slapstick vs Plastic Man?

So, I present to you– “WWWIF: Who Would Win In a Fight?” Volume one–

Who Would Win In a Fight?

Mary_Jane.jpg vs AllStarSuperman3.jpg
Mary Jane “Face it, Tigress– I’m gonna kick your face in!” Watson-Parker
Lois “Stop the Presses! There’s about to be a murder!” Lane
(it isn’t Lane-Kent, is it? If so, pretend I typed that!)

Who would win in this battle of the wives of the most popular superheroes out there?

On the surface, this just seems like Party Girl vs Army Brat. Lois Lane grew up a tomboy, eager to please her father, last time I checked. It may all be different now that it’s ONE YEAR LATER. Her pops taught her how to fight, shoot guns, and generally gave her that foundation to become a hard-hitting, take-no-guff investigative reporter. She’ll run into warzones to get a scoop if she has to. She’s a rough gal by any means, and has even taken on Cadmus with only the help of Matrix Supergirl. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever she’s taken hostage, it’s usually by a giant monster or Titano or Bizarro or someone way out of her league with superstrength and all that. She may not be able to handle supervillains, but she can bust Luthor in the chops all day. She’s been depicted as close friends with Bruce Wayne/Batman, and I’m almost positive that she’s done some “Superhero’s Wife Self-Defense Training.”

Mary Jane, on the other hand, turned into a flighty party girl after growing up under a physically absusive dad. She turned popular, approached serious things as if they were jokes, and made every girl in school into an enemy when she became the girl that every guy wanted. How many of you know popular girls who never got into fights? That’s right, I’m willing to bet that MJ is a scrapper. I’m sure that she knows how to acquit herself in a one-on-one match, and she probably fights dirty, too. It’s hard to knock someone out. It’s easy to make them bleed so much they can’t see. She’s also gotten personal close-combat training from Captain Freaking America. That has to count for something. She’s been kidnapped by every villain ever, so I’m sure that she’s learned how to look for weaknesses before going in for the kill. She may not be able to handle a slavering monster like Venom, but she’s no shrinking violet, either. She’s also got webshooter bracelets and can use them like Spider-Man, even though technically you need superstrength to be able to swing around. For the purposes of this battle, we’re going to assume that she can’t swing, but she can climb and make nets and such.

This seems pretty evenly matched. Rough’n’ready tomboy vs Super-hero trained model. Assuming no weapons, this would probably be a pretty even match. Lois Lane has experience, but she’s also got to be pushing 40 by now. Mary Jane is somewhere between 27-30. I will say that Kate Bosworth is an adorable Lois Lane, but she’s adorable because she looks to be roughly twee and a haff yeaws old.

MJ’s got the advantage of a younger age, but they both are probably in around the same shape. I might give MJ the edge in shape, because she’s a stage actress now, and that isn’t easy work. Evenly matched, I’d say, but Lois would probably win unless MJ put her down early. MJ is young and brash and could make a stupid mistake and get hit with some savate or whatever they teach in the Army now. On the other hand, I think that MJ would go for that early win with a shot to the face, followed by a headbutt or kidney punch.

One problem: Lois Lane falls into superpowers like other people stub their toes. It’s entirely possible that, during the fight, Lois will get hit by kryptonite or Superman will cough on her, or something will happen, and she’ll end up as Superwoman again. If that happens, MJ is toast. Considering the sheer ruthlessness that Superwoman displays fighting Lana Lang for Superman, she’d laser MJ’s head off and be done with it.

So, basically, all things being equal: either could win. They’re too evenly matched. But, if Lois lucks into powers, as much as it pains me to say it, advantage Lois.

Agree? Disagree? Show your work. Who do you want to see next? I’m thinking maybe Iceman vs Ice (Iceman wins ’cause Ice is dead! Hurrr!) or maybe Guy Gardner vs Wolverine. Perhaps Kyle Rayner vs Noh-varr. I’m taking suggestions, though!

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DC Solicitations, November 2006

August 22nd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

You can find the list, plus covers, over at Newsarama.

My commentary on the interesting books lies after the jump, and I’ve included the solicit text for them, too!
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Faster Than A Speeding…

July 23rd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

I hate making posts with no visual aids, but I’m in that nebulous time period known as “after church” and “before work” trying to hit you with some content, so just imagine that I put different Superman illos throughout this thing, okay? I managed to find one image I already had uploaded, and it fits, so it’s going up!

Just so I can get this out of the way: Ed McGuinness, hands down, draws the best Superman. No contest. His Superman looks like a super-hero should look.


I’ve found that, in my experience, there are at least three different Supermen. They all share traits, but they all have enough differences to be distinct in my mind.

The first, and by far the most popular, is portraying Clark Kent as the true identity, and Superman as the uniform he puts on to go do good. I think of this one as Mild-Mannered Clark Kent as Superman. This is the one you tend to see in the comics. He’s got human parents, whose values he inherited, a human wife who means the world to him, and a human job that he’s inexplicably managed to hold onto. It’s the values of his parents that make him put on the costume. He has the ability to help, so therefore he has a responsibility to help. He does it out of what appears to be altruism, though one could say he gains some amount of pleasure from fulfilling his duty and making his parents proud. Also, he has a Kryptonian super-dog and possibly a cat. His cousin Kara has a super-horse who turns into a man who she has a crush on, but that’s so horrifically twisted we’re not even going to touch it. This Clark was also possibly Superboy, or would that be Young Superman now?

The other, and next popular (though it may technically be the most popular!) is Superman as Clark Kent, or Why Aliens Aren’t Human. Clark is his mask that he puts on so that he fits in. He’s an alien, and Jor-El’s exhortations to do right are what spur him on. He says stuff like “Great Rao!” and “Sweet Christmas!” He’s an alien masquerading as a human. Clark Kent is supposed to be him as human, blending in, but he way over does it. This Clark Kent is supposed to be down to earth, but he ends up slapstick. Knocking things over, tripping, “Whoops golly gee did I miss Superman again?,” “Hey Lois w-w-would you, ah, would you l-like to go to a movie?” and all that. He’d be a comedian if he got on Comedy Central. It’s like Superman as Jim Carrey. This is the one from the various movies. This one doesn’t have a super-dog, necessarily, but give them time.

The third, and my favorite, is the interpretation we saw in Miller’s Dark Knight Strikes Again. The Super Way or the Highway. He’s an alien with great power, and he knows it. He also knows that earth is horribly flawed, so he does what he can to fix it. Why? Well, because it’s right. Right pays no attention to laws, boundaries, or nations. He’ll cross your borders and fix your civil war himself if he has to, he just can’t let injustice stand. Toward the end of DKSA, this Superman asks his (equally awesome) daughter Kara Zor-El, “What do you want to do with our world?” He’s kind of a behind the scenes benevolent dictator. If you’re doing wrong, you’re in his sights, and let me tell you buddy, he’s got laser eyes. This is a change from the normal comics one in that he’s willing to do things for the greater good, rather than detouring around China because they don’t want him in their airspace. He’ll sling your giant robot into the sun (where it will eventually come back after hibernating, I’m certain) and then come back down and parade you in front of the people you were dictating… dictated… lording it over, just to show that the power is now theirs. He doesn’t have a superdog, and you better be thankful, because Kryptofascist (see what I did there?) will kill you for looking at him funny.

This is also the OG Superman, because he’ll come into your house and throw you up against a wall for hitting a woman. “Don’t get tough!” you’ll say. “‘Tough’ is putting mildly the treatment you’re going to get!” he’ll respond. “You’re not fighting a woman, now!”

In your face, wife beater.

So, yeah, Superfascist is the man. Have a desktop commemorating his awesomeitudinal cool factor.

What’s your favorite Superman?

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Comics vs. Cartoons: A Look at Diniverse Designs

February 14th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Next Monday seemingly marks the end of one of the greatest eras in animation. For fourteen years, we’ve been given what people call the “Diniverse” (named after a guy who barely writes actual episodes anymore). It started back in 1992 with a primetime showing of Batman: the Animated Series and after all these years, it’s going to die out with the finale for the fifty-eighth spin-off, Justice League Unlimited.

Lord knows the Diniverse made its stamp on both the world of animation and the world of comics. Characters like Harley Quinn were introduced… as well as more forgettable folk like Livewire and Lockdown. The comic version of Supergirl started wearing the white t-shirt and tight skirt made popular by Superman: the Animated Series. John Stewart took Kyle Rayner’s place as the token Green Lantern on the Justice League roster. Batman Beyond showed up in the pages of Superman/Batman for no reason whatsoever.

There are obviously changes here and there over how certain characters are portrayed. Many consider the Kevin Conroy-voiced Batman to be the defining version of the character, compared to the close-minded, paranoid caricature he’s become in the comics. Sure, the Joker kills people here and there on the cartoons, but at no point would they ever have him cripple Batgirl and strip her naked in order to drive her father insane on Cartoon Network. In the comics, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl have never been an item, nor has a big chunk of the JLU roster been members of any Justice League roster. Hawk and Dove sucked in both mediums, so there is that. Read the rest of this entry �

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