Square Story, Round Character

May 4th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I know that I’m Mister Push Comics Forward Break Them Characters Give Us The New-new, but I do have one continuity-based pet peeve. I really dislike it when creators take established characters and regress them, or just change them entirely, in order to fit them into the story they want to tell.

There are plenty of examples out there. The most egregious are probably Bobby Drake, Iceman, and Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, with Sam Guthrie, Cannonball, bringing up the rear. Bobby and Johnny were the hot-headed youngsters of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, respectively, and Sam is pretty much the poster-child for the second generation of X-Men. All three have gone from immature, mistake-making, and newbie heroes into grown-up, mature, and seasoned adults.

Bobby is an Omega-level mutant with an insane amount of control over ice, and therefore water, and has come to terms with that. Johnny has wielded the Power Cosmic a couple of times, saved the world several dozen times, and seen planets, dimensions, and time periods other people don’t even dream about. Sam was trained by the son of the X-Men’s best strategist, who was himself a child of war. He also had the benefit of being trained by two generations of X-Men, and when he struck out on his own, he found success.

The problem is that when a writer has a story that needs an impetuous kind of fella, or a newbie to make a dumb decision, or someone to show just how mature or smart another character is… guess which dudes are the fall guys.

Reed Richards has gone through the “ignoring his family for the benefit of science by the way he is a jerk” cycle a fistful of times now, most recently in Mark Millar’s Civil War. You’d think that Cyclops’s turn as the depressed and distant loner would be over after New X-Men, a story designed to push him past that, would never happen again. Or that Beast Boy, who is like thirty years old and should get a new name, would be written as something other than a horny teenager. Nah.

This is something that’s been bugging me more than usual lately, since the three biggest guys in comics have all been doing it. Mark Millar, Brian Bendis, and Geoff Johns have all taken characters who had established personalities or gimmicks, tossed it out, and slotted something new in because they needed X so that they could write Y. Rather than creating X, they just took Z and turned it into X. And that’s lame.

I brought visual aids. Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


The Hurting

January 6th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I love Tim O’Neil’s reviews, and his wrap-up of the latest issue of JSA is pretty much spot on.

Remember a few months back when I said that the Gog storyline could be really interesting if it turned out that the all-powerful, benevolent Gog actually was as benevolent and kindly as he wanted everyone to believe he was? That such a twist would actually be far more interesting than the inevitable revelation that Gog was just an evil demigod after world domination after all? Well, this is the issue wherein the omnipotent evil demigod is dispatched with surprising alacrity considering how effectively he was built up as unbeatable. All the thorny ethical and ideological questions of the past six months are wrapped up in a dismissive “oh well, he really was evil after all” shrug.

Click through, check it out. He’s got some other gems in there, as well.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


A Left-Field Idea About the Future

March 20th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Earlier tonight I was in the middle of a conversation about how many Cable archetypes there are in comics and this little idea clicked in my head. It’s silly, but I can’t shake the need to at least give it a mention.

DC has been playing around with Kingdom Come a lot lately. I haven’t been reading Justice Society of America, but I know Starman is from that reality and they’ve been using a good amount of heroes and villains from that story since the new volume started up. Most notably KC Superman and Gog from Kingdom. Geoff Johns writes JSA and is also a co-writer of Booster Gold.

Recently, Booster Gold introduced the title character’s father. He never showed up in Booster’s old series, including his issue of Secret Origins, but I suppose something was suspect about his lack of appearance mixed with Booster choosing never to bring him up. Now he’s in league with Per Degaton, an old school Despero, Ultra-Humanite and the mysterious Black Beetle. What they’re planning isn’t exactly known.

When he was teaming up with corrupt time-traveler Rex Hunter, Booster Sr. (I don’t recall ever seeing his name) was out to undo the destinies of the Justice League so that he could use time travel to his advantage and become the ultimate superhero. Think about that. He wanted Superman, Batman and all the rest out of the way so that he could be the top hero. He’s totally missing the point about what being a superhero is about and it’s set to someday blow up in his face. Sound familiar?

Not just that, but notice the short, white hair and scar going down his right eye. Seemingly based on Cable, just like another DC character.

What I’m wondering is if Geoff Johns has any intentions on somehow taking this guy…

…and having him change costumes so he can someday be this guy…

I’m not saying that this is going to happen. I’m not even certain if I want it to happen. All I’m saying is that if it does happen, I totally called it. Just throwing that out there.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Black History Month 14: The Sambo Samba

February 14th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

jr_change.jpg firestorm.jpg
art from dc comics’s firestorm
This is besides the issue that some white comic creators create bland African-American characters.

Where is the African-American Guy Gardner? Where is the African-American Batman? Where is the African-American Joker? Booster Gold/Ted Kord Blue Beetle? Oracle? Wolverine? Spider-Man?

DC’s African American characters are either created to be the only person of color on a team (JSA, JLA, Teen Titans, Green Lantern Corps), or by editorial fiat to fill a diversity need (Firestorm).
–Valerie D’orazio, Three From WWII: The Twelve #2, JSA #12, Project Superpowers #0

When I was born, I was black. When I grow up, I’m black. When I’m ill, When I die, I’m black. But you – When you’re born, you’re pink. When you grow up, you’re white. When you’re ill, you’re green. When you go out in the sun, you go red. When you’re cold, you go blue. When you die, you’re purple. And you have the nerve to call me Colored?
–Malcolm X

I’ve got a habit of getting into arguments on the internet regarding race. I can’t help it, man, someone says something dumb and I feel compelled to respond. Next thing I know, it’s a week later and I’m waking up in a ditch.

Anyway, this post is about something that bugs me to death. I’m sick of hearing the word “token.” I don’t mean that I’m sick of “token” black characters.

I’m sick of people using it to describe black characters.

Token, quota hire, affirmative action case, all these words have the same root and work to the same point– the black person did not work for his position, he is less qualified, and he should not be where he is because he doesn’t deserve it. He’s only there because it’s politically correct, or editorially mandated, or because the team has to have a black character, doesn’t it?

Protip: Shut up. All you’re doing is reinforcing those ideas. Having one black guy on a team does not a token make. An editorial creation is just as valid as one from talent. It’s in the execution.

I’m gonna be honest and say that Val’s post up top there is what prompted this one. I had one all lined up about Deb Tiegel from Hitman (the best half german/half black character in comics), but I’m pushing it off for a day so that I can get this done.

In her post, she reviewed JSA #12 and said this:

The sequence with John Irons was also in need of some editing/quality control; John’s opening dialog with his wife sounded like pure exposition devoid of any human quality.

John Henry Irons is not in JSA #12. That is Jefferson Pierce, a black man with no facial hair and a wife and a grip of kids apparently (welcome to NEW EARTH). Irons is single, has a goatee, no wife, and no kids. He’s got a niece, though she’s already an established heroine in her own right.

When called on it, she said this:

I think the problem is that Johns wants to make the JSA the catch-all group that every other DC team is rolled into/connected with. Actually having Irons & the Infinity Inc cast make an appearance would make sense to me, as the two titles were historically linked to each other. But to bring not only JLA but Batman and the Outsiders…you need to have a realllly skilled hand to work within such a scope. I’m thinking a little past Johns and more like Busiek.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. She didn’t confuse the two. It’s just that the book would have been better with John Irons, right? ’cause he is in a book with a cast of all new characters who don’t actually have a connection to the JSA. Also Geoff Johns is a bad writer and Kurt Busiek would write this story better.


The conversation continues and we get the gem above about bland black characters created by white dudes, and how we need the black Spider-Man, Wolverine, Joker, and so on.

The bland thing stuck in my craw. What is that about? White people can’t create interesting black people? This means that DC’s blacks all suck? Editorially created characters are bad? Yeah, sorry– no. Not the business. She closed the thread when Pedro from FBB asked her questions, which meant she didn’t get to answer any of mine.

However, I have a blog of my own and I just did my taxes tonight so I’m in a raw mood so I decided to do this post. Pedro responded to her earlier, but that kid is just trying to get some e-cred so don’t read his blog at all. He definitely doesn’t make any good points about re-appropriating characters, writers of a different race writing characters, and comics quality.

Let’s go down the list.

John Henry Irons (TV’s Not Jefferson Pierce): He’s about as editorially mandated as it gets, isn’t he? He started out as the only one of the four replacement Superman to not claim to be Superman. He was carrying on in his name because it was the right thing to do. He graduated to being one of Superman’s best friends, an integral member of the JLA, buddies with Plastic Man, and one of the foremost thinkers in the DCU. Here’s his blandest moment:

jla38-16.jpg jla39-16.jpg jla39-17.jpg jla39-18.jpg
jla40-10.jpg jla40-11.jpg jla40-12.jpg jla40-13.jpg
Did I say blandest? I lied. Dude has not only fooled an enemy who has taken over a decent portion of a city, but he has picked up on a plan from a teammate with little prompting, and come up with a way to take out that enemy.

DC’s African American characters are either created to be the only person of color on a team (JSA, JLA, Teen Titans, Green Lantern Corps), or by editorial fiat to fill a diversity need (Firestorm).

Blow by blow:
JSA: Jakeem Thunder is a member, and I guess Amazing Man is now, too. Jakeem is a kid with a magical wishing genie who didn’t have the benefit of a Bruce Wayne or Hal Jordan upbringing. He’s got an attitude, a rough edge or three, but he’s also trying to do right. That’s bland?

Mr. Terrific is a guy so smart that Batman copied some of his designs and regularly treats as an equal. He’s apparently the third smartest man on earth, too. Having trouble seeing the bland here.

Teen Titans: Ain’t no black people on this team.

JLA: I already went over Steel. John Stewart and Vixen are I guess who she was referring to? John Stewart is an equal GL with Hal, Guy, and Kyle. He’s portrayed as the most level-headed and may even have more willpower than his buddies according to a scene in GL where his willpower is too much for his ring in GL last month (month before last?). A guy with a wishing ring and that kind of skill? That’s pretty interesting, innit?

Vixen? She’s a question mark right now. Meltzer’s slipshod plotting left the story of what’s going on with her powers to Dwayne McDuffie, but suddenly she can duplicate the powers and skills of any superhuman she’s nearby. She can fake a Green Lantern ring. That’s a big deal, isn’t it?

Finally, Firestorm.

Poor, beleaguered Jason Rusch. First he’s seen as a ghetto-bound drug-dealing quota case and now he’s bland. Except… he’s a college-age kid who may be the most powerful metahuman on the planet. He’s got father issues, he’s inexperienced, he lost his best friend because of his powers, and now he’s searching for the mentor to the old Firestorm so that he can better learn how to take care of himself. He’s Spider-Man meets Phoenix.

Yeah. I’m not seeing the bland, boring, editorially-mandated black characters here. All of these people have been blessed with quality writers lately. Even before the past year or so, these characters never sunk to “token” status beyond what mouthbreathers on message boards had to say.

I’m not even a DC encyclopedia. I barely even like most DC books. I’ve read enough to know a little bit, though. I’m not talking out the side of my neck here. You can look all this up with a minimum of time on Google or in a comic shop.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this issue with somebody. Around a year ago, I got into an argument with a different blogger. I’d link it, but she’s since updated her layout and that hosed the 140 comments across two posts where the relevant part of the conversation was. Long story short, she came out with the line that “all black characters are mandingos and cannot be rescued from their horrible origins.”

I wish that comments thread was still there so, so bad. You don’t even know.

Her reasoning is terrible and horrible in a few ways. First, it supports the idea that you can’t reclaim or improve something. Going by her logic, I got some family members who’re gonna be hoodlums their whole life and are going to be worthless because of that fact. You go to jail and come out a different man? Who cares, dog, you’re still a criminal.

Get outta here with that. You’re gonna look at Bendis’s Luke Cage and tell me he isn’t an improvement, in terms of realistic representation and suchlike, than the one from the ’70s? Falcon is always gonna be a sambo? Bishop is just there to make white women scared? *smh*

When you get down to calling black characters bland, mandingos, tokens, or whatever, and you aren’t naming names? You’re doing wrong. You’re painting a whole bunch of characters with an ugly, ugly brush.

I’m having trouble coming up with some tokens who still appear in comics. Triathlon, I guess? I’ve read like half a comic with him in it, so I don’t even know there. Honestly, who are some “token” characters?

You think that there are “some bland/token/boring/racist black characters?” Call out names. Otherwise, some of us get to play “Guess who” while the rest of us are just going “I knew that Luke Cage was a token! What’s he doing on the Avengers anyway?”

Leave the subliminals at home and call out names. Be specific and know what you’re talking about because someone (probably me, at this rate) will call you on it. At worst, you might learn how he isn’t a token. At best, you might gain a new appreciation for a character you never paid attention to.

Stop looking at them as “black characters.” Treat them like characters instead of pieces in your “This Is How Superteams Should Look” puzzle set. Superman isn’t a white character, why is Steel a black character? Why is Priest painted as a “black writer” instead of a “writer?”

But just know that when you’re calling someone a token, you’re denigrating their skills, their past, and their accomplishments. You’re treating that character as inherently lesser than his teammates, due solely to preconceived notions and the make-up of his team.

Be specific or don’t speak up at all.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Black History Month 13: Wu-Wear- Garment Renaissance

February 13th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

girl3.gif 2605_4_0282.jpg 2605_4_0288.jpg 2605_4_0201.jpg cap.jpg dashiki.jpg
pictures taken from comics.org and GIS.
Fifth–hold on, turn the beat off
I had to turn the beat off for this
You talking ’bout you an eighties baby?
You thirty seven years old!
You was born in 1968!
And I open the Daily News…
How is the “King of New York” rockin’ sandals with jeans?
Open toe sandals, with chancletas, with jeans on
How is the “King of New York” rockin’ sandals with jeans when he 42 years old?
Back to business!

–Cam’ron, “Gotta Love It”

In those days, your whole ave was the spot
The scene locked with Lee patches, Cazal glasses
Suede Pumas and rumors of rap not lastin

–Buckshot, “Think Back”

Honest to goodness, man, it’s time for some real talk. Enough is enough! I guess no one gave Cheryl Lynn any love for this a while back, ’cause I’m probably gonna end up reiterating a bit.

Stop making black characters look bummy. Honest to goodness, man. There’s just no excuse for that to leave your house looking like you just woke up. Let me go down the list up top there.

Dashikis: It isn’t 1988 any more. Seriously though, I’m not trying to be a hater, and I’ll admit that a young David Brothers had a leather Africa medallion or two back in the day, but the height of all that was almost twenty years ago. I realize that Amazing Man (awful name) is trying to be all about black empowerment and Katrina and all that, but he’s leaving the house dressed like he got into a fight with a bedsheet. You could probably get away with a kufi, but that’s it. The dashiki is way, way out of date. If you aren’t from Africa, you probably shouldn’t be wearing one. Just FYI.

Mohawks: I shouldn’t even have to explain how stupid this looks, because you should already know. Storm rocking a mohawk? They used to call her Super-Perm in elementary school. How’s her hair stay up? She isn’t Grace Jones, man. Don’t go there ever again, seriously. It looks ridiculous.

Mullet and jheri curl/perm: Bishop looked ridiculous when he first appeared and he didn’t stop looking ridiculous until he shaved his head. What in the world possessed Lee/Portacio/whoever else to give him that look? I have never in my life seen that. He’d have been better off with a rat tail, or maybe an M cut into the side of his box fade on some Kid-n-Play tip. He works better as a bald head, anyway. Shut ’em down.

Afros: My mom had an afro back when they were cool. That was a few years before I was born. I get that we need the old nostalgia blaxploitation thing… but c’mon. Afros are stopping points on the way to braids now. If you see a dude with a fro, his hair isn’t long enough for cornrows. This is also generally true for women. Do you know why this is? It is because afros are incredibly tough to take care of. My hair is short right now. A quick brush and I’m gravy. With an afro? You’re looking at twenty minutes in front of a mirror and hoping that you picked out the back of your head so that you don’t leave the house looking like you just woke up. Then you spend the rest of your day hoping that you didn’t dent your afro with the handles on the bus, by walking under that low hanging branch, or by doing anything ever, basically.

Jakeem Thunder: Oh man, we are gonna fight. You mean to tell me that a sixteen year old black kid from Keystone City, which is basically Detroit, who was a straight up latchkey kid is going to leave his house looking bummy? When he’s on a team with like four females?

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. You gotta be kidding.

First, Jakeem would not be coming with those smedium shirts and short jackets. He looks like an idiot. Where are the always fashionable Polo shirts? You buy jackets a size up if you’re wearing shirts that are a proper size.

And the backwards cap? Whoops look at me I’m Jakeem Thunder I live in 1996 also I wear K-Swiss and Saucony instead of Pumas or Timberlands.

No on the backwards cap. That’s not how anyone wears it any more. It’s all about the tilt. Example:

artist-99336863-1894064.jpg ti_king_550.jpg
If you’re going to wear a baseball cap (and you shouldn’t to begin with), you’ve got it facing forward and at an angle. It might be bent, it might not, but it isn’t gonna be so bent it’s broken. In reality, Jakeem would have either a fleet of hoodies or a skull cap. See below.


See that? Shirt a proper length, white undershirt (or wifebeater) underneath but not showing under his sleeves, jeans crisp and properly fitted. Loose, but not ridiculously loose… I’m not feeling the glasses, but hey, do you. Find your look.

It’s not hard to make a character look right. Khari Evans does it. Adrian Alphona did it. Before drawing people, at least check a fashion or pop culture magazine! Look at The Source or Vibe or XXL! Give us something up-to-date to relate to!

’cause man, cool kids don’t dress like Jakeem Thunder. Maybe they did ten years ago, but not now. It’s like Clinton Sparks says… Get familiar!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


The Tower of Procrastination!

August 16th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

“I think the thing to do is produce the best material you can, and on a regular basis, so that your readers know you can produce on a deadline, no matter what. Yabs showed editors, I was told, that I could hit a new idea each week, in a different ‘voice,’ and maintain a certain level of quality. A ton of editors read it each week, and a bunch offered me a shot. All of which I turned down, but that’s another story!”

— Gail Simone giving advice to Gavok

The other day I started cleaning my place, trying desperately to sort my DVDs, games and comics for the first time in about a year. There’s a chair where I toss stuff I had just bought that had gotten so ridiculously cluttered that I discovered barely-read magazines from months back.

Having finally sorted out all my comic trades, it was shocking how many of them remain unread. Some don’t really count because they’re collections of stuff I’ve already read as issues, like All-Star Superman and the first two volumes of 52. The real deal stuff I stacked into one big pile, guarded by an unbeatable team.

Gentlemen… BEHOLD!

The Sentry has the power of a million exploding suns, which is why everything is so glossy. Really. That’s why. Shut up.

I work at a bookstore and when I get paid, I use the option of having my check cashed on the spot. When that happens, I get high on my cash and want to spend immediately. This leads to too many comics and that neglected stack above. By admitting my problem, I hope I can finally push myself into making this stack lighter.

Here’s the what’s what of my far-too-tall tower. What are the books? Why did I buy them in the first place? If I bought them, why the hell haven’t I read any of them? We’ll start from the top and go down.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Hello all

August 2nd, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

First impressions are important. I’ve spent several hours pondering about how to start my introductory post on 4thletter, and in the end I decided to just take the easy route. Hi, I’m Hoatzin, 4thletter’s newest staff member, but call me Paul if you like. I am Dutch. I like comic books. But only when they are good comics. I also draw, badly, but I’ll leave that for another article. For now, just to get an idea of what type of comics I like, I’ll leave you with some random thoughts on this week’s comics. And yes, I do basically read every single Big Two book that’s being published. Thank you for noticing.

Action Comics 853 – Despite my usual enjoyment of Kurt Busiek’s comics, the fact that this is a Countdown tie-in really hurts the book. Although Busiek does a better job at making me care about Jimmy Olsen’s plight to become a superhero than Countdown, the general storyline is still pretty lame and predictable.

All New Atom 14 – Pointless fan-pandering is rampant in part three of the Hunt for Ray Palmer, with the (temporary) return of Ted Kord in a book that does not feature any characters that should care about him. But Donna Troy is soooo amaaaazing.

Black Canary 3 – Oliver Queen is a moron.

Countdown 39 – A Sean McKeever issue, so at least the dialogue is decent, but the pacing remains glacial, none of the plotlines and characters are compelling and the artwork is once again fairly atrocious. The character introduced as last issue’s cliffhanger panel does not actually show up until the last two panels of the second to last page of the main storyline and the cliffhanger page after that is hilariously pointless. The only reason I’m still reading this book is because it will lead into the Grant Morrison-penned Final Crisis.

Detective Comics 835 – Dini is apparently busy with Countdown, so it’s a filler issue, but a surprisingly solid one at that. John Rozum (creator of Milestone Comics’ cult-hit Xombi) re-invents the Scarecrow as a genuinely terrifying enemy in part one of what promises to be a very interesting two-part story arc. The dark tone of the book is perfectly complimented by Tom Mandrake’s excellent atmospheric artwork.

Fantastic Four 548 – Dwayne McDuffie continues what has so far been an entertaining run on the book. I disagree with the numerous complaints that McDuffie has been overplaying Black Panther; T’Challa is essentially Marvel’s Batman, always ready with a plan and quick on his wits, so his portrayal in the book has been perfectly in-character.

Justice Society of America 8 – After the (terrible) Lightning Saga crossover, Johns has decided to take a breather with two more low-key issues focusing on two of the lesser known JSA members. Last month was a one-shot focusing on the new Commander Steel, this month is a story about Jesse Quick, the new Liberty Belle. It’s a welcome change in pace, but the issue itself is a mixed bag. Jesse’s characterisation is well done, but her relationship with Rick Tyler is obnoxiously written. Johns should also either give Zoom a rest or do something new with the character, because at this rate he’s growing stale really fast. I still fail to care about Damage and his clichéd damaged (ha ha!) past. This issue also has fill-in art by Fernando Pasarin, and although it’s decent, it’s nowhere near as good as Eaglesham’s. Despite all this, it’s not a bad read overall.

Metal Men 1 – The surprise book of the week for me. I was unfamiliar with Duncan Rouleau’s writing prior to this, so I don’t know how it stacks up to his previous work, but this was definitly an entertaining read. There’s a lot of content crammed into 22 pages and most of it is interesting. The banter between the Metal Men is amusing and they each have distinct, defined personalities, Will Magnus is a nice sketch of a character so far and the mysterious ongoings are intriguing, especially the last page cliffhanger. The artwork is another high point. It’s cartoonish and vibrant and the coloring is lovely, with inventive panel layouts and lots of energy. It’s not perfect; at points it gets overly busy and some of the computer effects are annoying, mainly the copy-pasting of specific elements, but it’s a nice break from the conventional look of most current DC books.

And now that I’m halfway through my books for the week, I’m going to take a little break. More thoughts (in particular the new Supergirl and World War Hulk issues) later!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Citizen Steel and Jock(s)

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

There’s been a bit of a hullabaloo about Alex Ross’s cover for the new issue of JSA #7, featuring Citizen Steel. Let’s take a look at it.


Ooh, I see what the problem is! It’s really, really obvious and sticking out shamelessly!

It’s boring is what the problem is. It’s some dude checking himself out in the mirror after working out, with added Photoshop Blur filters. Yes, Citizen Steel, 8-Minute Abs are working out for you. Great. I flex in the mirror, too, everyone does. It’s a great esteem builder! It is also bland and uninteresting, just like every other cover Ross has done for JSA. It’s always someone standing bathed in light, looking thoughtful or profound.

Let’s talk about an awesome cover– Jock’s cover for Green Arrow Year One.


Here’s another, and another, and a sister and her brother:

100b-cv84_solicit.jpg bm-cv668.jpg ctw-cv69-solicitation-only.jpg dmz_21_cover4solicits.jpg

In a world where Jock, Brian Wood, Dave Johnson, JH Williams III, and Adam Hughes are delivering awesome covers, month-in month-out, can someone give me one rational reason why we should talk about Alex Ross and his boring and unexciting covers? Marvel got a lot of crap for their “Our Covers Have Nothing to Do With The Book” covers a year or two back, but at least those were done by Adi Granov, JRjr, Mark Bagley, Tim Bradstreet, and a host of other great talents. It wasn’t just a character on a black background because everyone knows that that is boring. “That’s not how we rock in Theodore,” as a wise man Ghostface Killah once said.

Sorry, just wanted to put that out there.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


It’s a Major Disaster area, baby.

January 30th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

This is going to sound weird coming on the heels of my “Ollie Queen is a jerk!” post, but hear me out.

I love character turns, be it heroes gone bad (Zoom, Batgirl, Eradicator) or villains gone good. It’s always interesting to see that breaking point that makes someone change. This post is about a villain who went good.

Paul Booker was a crap villain. He called himself Major Disaster, wore a disaster of a costume, and had a disaster of a career. To be quite honest, I haven’t read a lot of his early work just because it looked so awful. He’s got on pink gogo boots, a blue body suit, and a lighter blue hood. It’s a costume on par with some of Scarlet Witch and The Wasp’s worst excesses, but not quite as bad as Susan Richards’s negative-space 4 costume from the ’90s.

Booker joined the JLA at Batman’s request. Yes, the same Batman who gave Huntress the old heave-ho. The JLA were MIA and he had a Substitute League lined up in case of emergencies. Booker so liked the respect that he stuck around on the team and ended up proving his worth. He even made it onto the JLElite, before finally retiring.

Booker’s face turn for JLA was more of an “Okay I’m good now guys” rather than a gradual shift, but it feels right. Here is a guy that, in another world, could’ve been a true hero. He could theoretically prevent disasters, or come up with new ways to research them. The problem is, he’s selfish. He decided to look out for number one first and foremost, and ended up crap villain. He’s had tastes of the good life during his stints in the Suicide Squad and Justice League Antarctica, but he never hit the big times until the JLA accepted him.

He brings an interesting dynamic to the team for a couple reasons. One, he’s a reformed villain. As he says at the beginning of the Rules of Engagement arc, “Vote from the reformed criminal type! If more capes hunted down more bad guys, we’d have a lot less crime!” He doesn’t look at things like the other heroes do. He’s a very to-the-point, man-of-action type. If there is an easy solution that solves the problem well, do it! Why not?

Second, Booker is a big, dumb lug in the Bibbo Bibbowski/Lobo vein. He doesn’t say exactly what’s on his mind because he doesn’t really think. His brain isn’t just not connected to his mouth, it’s not connected, full stop.

hurr.jpg Case in point. When the Elite gets together, they’re masterminded by Naif al-Sheikh, who can best be described as an Arab, male, and chainsmoking version of Amanda Waller. He’s got crazy black-ops and intelligence clout, so much so that the JLE gets approval based on his word alone. al-Sheikh sees these men and women as “demons playing in the robes of angels.” They terrify him, and that cannot be. He wants them to share a secret so that they can begin to build a trust. He wants them to explain why they fight for the light from the shadows. Booker’s response? “I, umm… this is really gay. Can’t we just go kick the @&#% out of some bad guys, “sir?”

This man is “Hurrrr!” incarnate! Another example. Booker’s been talking about Kasumi, an assassin on the team with something to hide. This scene follows:


Yes, Booker. You got zapped because it’s that time of the month. That is it exactly.
Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


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.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon