The JLA Christmas Special

December 24th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I guess almost everyone who celebrates Christmas has their little media rituals involved with it. 

Mine used to be A Christmas Story.  Yes, despite everything.  Don’t judge.  Some people watch the Yule Log.

After it started coming on for twenty-four hours at a time, even I was over-saturated, and so I started looking for other things to enjoy during Christmas.

Geeky though it is, I love the JLA Christmas special, titled Comfort and Joy.  With three stories, it doesn’t let us get bored, and there’s something for everyone.  Shayera and John get an unconventional Christmas.  The Flash gives us our Scrooge parable.  And Clark and J’onn?  That’s my favorite one.  I love that Clark still tries to figure out what his presents are, and I love that the Kents wrap them in lead foil, and I love that when the Kents talk about how they wrapped the gifts in lead foil, Clark frowns and says, “You mean Santa wrapped them.”

Best of all, I like the ending of that story, which was corny and sincere and, in a way, understated.

See it on youtube.

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WonderCon: DC Nation Bulletin

February 28th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Here are a few of my reactions to the DC Nation panel:

  • Ian Sattler is almost disgustingly endearing as the moderator.
  • And when he said that James Robinson’s accent would class up the place he wasn’t kidding.
  • The New Krypton is still far from over, and while I’m usually not a fan of long, drawn out crossover events, the snazzy trailer they showed featured an increasingly militaristic society of Kryptonians and Lex Luthor.  Might vanquishing the Kryptonian forces be a way for Lex to claw his way back to respectability?  They say it’s all building toward a 2010 event, so we’ll have to sit tight for now.
  • Blackest Night #0 is going to be made available on free comic book day so I’m going to have to wear nothing but yellow and carry a wooden bat to get past the hordes of Green Lantern fans.
  • The new Doom Patrol book was nerd-bait to begin with.  Add in Keith Giffen and the Metal Men and I thought that the flames on the cover image were just the smoking remains of some fanboy’s exploded head.
  • Paul Dini deserves all the credit in the world.  He writes fantastic stories and has been doing so for coming up on two decades.   The problem is, when you are a female comic book fan and you hear about a team book with Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn, and it’s called Gotham City Sirens, you have one main worry: Will the entire premise of the book be a lot of  boobs with a little story around them?  Once you start worrying about that you pretty much rate each statement made about the book as good or bad depending on whether it implies that your worry is justified.  So, I will interpret Mister Dini’s description of the book thusly:  It will have “emotional devastation  (Good.).”  It will be “very dangerous (Bad.), very hot (Extremely Bad.), very extreme (Neutral.), and not what anyone is expecting (Good, again.).”
  • Whatever else is going on, making Kate Spencer the new DA of Gotham is inspired.  Bravo.

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With A Whimper

February 14th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

The last issue of Nightwing has been published.  No one is taking much notice of it, and it is with a heavy heart that I admit that I can see why.

A number of books are ending this month – Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, and The Blue Beetle – leaving me with a severely reduced pull-list.  But while Robin has ended with developments that, in my opinion, suck so hard that they could depressurize a space shuttle, the final few stories leave us with some sense of completion for the series.  Tim Drake has become someone new.  Sucky, but new.

Nightwing, on the other hand, is a sad example of one of those books whose characters are never quite heavyweights in their own right, but are close enough to the larger fictional universe that they get sucked into all plot lines.  Bludhaven was flattened in Final Crisis.  The main character undertook a pointless trip to New York because everything needed to be different One Year Later.  He had a girlfriend.  She moved away.  He found another.  She moved away.  Given another year or so he would have found another and she would have disappeared just as abruptly, because he’s practically betrothed to a character in another book.  Vigilante hijacked the plot for about three months in order to publicize that character’s upcoming book.

Then it was time for the unfortunate Pre-Event-Release-Date, Post-Event-Continuity to kick in.  This happens during every Big Event.  All the characters in a minor book hint incessantly at all the wild and crazy things that have happened in Event books that have yet to be released, leaving the reader confused and missing the emotional impact of the story.

I like the character of Dick Grayson, who is, of all the Bats, the cheeriest.  But after Devin Grayson left the series was helmed by too many different authors going too many different directions.  It was lurching and staggering like a punch-drunk boxer, and it was merciful to throw in the towel now.  I just wish that there were more of a sense of completion, rather than the books just being cut off. 

But who knows?  Maybe it will come back after the next Big Event.  At least that way it will have a fresh start.

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Love The One You’re With

February 12th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Issue number 17 of Green Arrow And Black Canary has me once again wondering what to do with a story that is going in a decent direction, but not going in the direction you want it to.

In the past, when Cassandra Cain became a completely different character, for example, I simply lost interest.  This isn’t quite the same. 

I had hoped that the new Arrow book would yield a group of characters who were like the Bats, but with a sense of fun.  Mia’s life was getting good.  Connor was fairly cheerful for an ex-monk.  Ollie and Dinah seemed to be getting along.  I wanted a big, chaotic, adventure-loving family.  That is not what I got.  Mia and Connor are out of the picture for the foreseeable future.  Ollie is getting darker and ‘on edge.’   Even Dinah seems subdued.

At the same time, the world that Andrew Kreisberg is writing is shaping up very well.  We’ve got two villains who are each obsessed with half of the supercouple.  We’ve got a burgeoning professional relationship between a police lieutenant and Ollie.  Dinah and Ollie, despite occasionally arguing, are getting along well and not falling into that ‘constantly fighting over some damn stupid thing’ trap that fictional couples often settle into as soon as they get married.

It’s not the comic I was hoping for, but it’s a good comic. 

So, the question remains:  What happens when you couldn’t be with the comic you love, but you could love the one you’re with?  Are there any comics that really didn’t turn out the way you were hoping them to, but with which you could reconcile your differences and grow to love?

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Something Jumped Out At Me From The Battle For The Cowl Promo Image.

February 7th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell


Obviously, the winner, as previously suggested on this site, should be Ted Kord, who I am assuming is not in the picture in order to preserve the element of surprise.

But if it ends up being Alfred?  In that uniform?  It’s all been worth it.

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Mix and Match

January 24th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

The latest issue of Faces Of Evil, has Deathstroke turning over a new leaf by beating up his kid, shooting down some military helicopters, blowing up all evidence of his past life, taking in a runaway to train, and deciding to become a ‘weapon of righteous anger.’

I approve of the change of direction.  Deathstroke, from The Judas Contract through his early years, was never supposed to be a generic baddie with plans for world domination.  This move is getting back in line with the original character, who was defined by his own morality and who often helped various heroes get certain missions done.

However, I am a bit tempted to swap out the end of the issue of Faces Of Evil and substitute the end of Faces Of Mischief, from the Tiny Titans.  One minute Slade is swearing to end the cycle of violence and the next he’s . . . taking Rose fishing, and to a baseball game, and to an amusement park.  Now that would be a new leaf.

However, if the overall arc of Faces Of Evil is sweeping change for the bad guys, there is another big change that would be possible with Deathstroke.  I think the biggest change of all would mean that he gets his ass surgically removed, wrapped in protective cellophane, packed in ice, wrapped up, given to a reliable next-day-delivery company, delivered, and officially handed to him by some character in the DCU.  Honestly.  Someone ought to be able to beat the guy, right?  Anyone?

That being said, what with the ten thousand AUs and the various universes, are there any stories in which you would mix and match the characters?  I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League’s Max Lord being put into Infinite Crisis’ storyline comes to mind.

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Fan Tantrums: Have Them Below. (I know I will.)

January 21st, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I was reading a scans_daily post about a Wonder Woman story quite some time ago.  In the story a deranged Green Lantern was attempting to destroy a race which had slaughtered his people.  The discussion threads were pretty standard; lewd comments, art critique, Simone-worship, and snarking about the story.  In other words, all the reasons why people read scans_daily.

But one comment stood out.  A poster went off, just went off, about how this comic was another horrible smear on the name of the Green Lanterns, and how there seemed to be a sort of conspiracy dedicated to refusing to let the Green Lanterns be the noble, scrupulous guardians of the galaxy they used to be.

From what I remember, the comment was not received well.  The responses ranged from telling the commenter to relax because that wasn’t the intention of the story, to outright mockery of the fan’s rage.  Still, I think that that comment struck a chord, because is there a fan in the world who is sure that they won’t be next?  Who among us doesn’t have a few characters that, if they’re not handled in a way we approve of, will have us do the forum-post equivalent of biting the head off of a live chicken painting our faces with its blood?

What I’m saying is; batten down the hatches and don’t read any more if you don’t want to be spoiled for Robin #182.

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Why Dick Grayson Should Go Ahead And Marry Barbara Gordon, Peter Parker Should Re-Marry Mary Jane, and Dinah Lance Was Right To Marry Oliver Queen

November 20th, 2008 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Because they can’t marry anyone else.

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