Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better Late Than Never: "Bash Batman Week"

Good Lord, she's at it again!

Following the success of "Whack-A-Lantern Week", our beloved Sally P has declared this week "Bash Batman Week". I may have joined the party a day late, but I've brought a fun-filled gift.

To be honest, I have no idea who "Mr Mammoth" is. But after seeing this cover......

.....I may have to find out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wait A Minute...!

While I was waiting for the season premiere of "The Office", I turned the channel and watched a few minutes of the newest "Smallville".

My jaw dropped to the floor.

Now, let me see if I have this straight:

Clark Kent is now working at the Daily Planet.

With Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

Without Perry White.

Without his glasses.




Is this guy even going to BECOME Superman?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night - Round 8

When Bahlactus first announced Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night, I had envisioned dedicating at least one round to the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic. You would think that the first fight scene I posted from the Buffy book would feature, well, Buffy.

But this was just too awesome to resist.

From the pages of Buffy the Vampire Slayer#15:



That is just too cute for words.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night - Round 7: The Beetle vs. The Wall

For this week's edition of Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night, I present Justice League America #27.

Synopsis: After receiving a mysterious phone call while on monitor duty, Blue Beetle suddenly becomes unhinged and tries to kill Maxwell Lord. He is on the verge of succeeding, but is taken out by Huntress and Batman (sustaining a painful leg wound from Huntress' crossbow in the process) and placed in a locked room. After determining that Beetle was brainwashed by the Queen Bee, Bats and Lord bring in Amanda Waller to deprogram him. The Wall begins by speaking alone with Beetle, who is, for now, back to his normal self. That is, until Amanda mentions the 3-word message Beetle received from the aforementioned phone call: "Bialya, My Bialya".

Which happens to be the trigger phrase.

Now watch what happens next:

Bug flies into Wall. Bug gets flattened. End of story.

So says Bahlactus.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"R is for...."

I just got tagged for a livejournal meme by Kalinara over at Pretty Fizzy Paradise:

5 Characters Meme
1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.

I've been assigned the letter "R". For simplicity's sake, I'm sticking to comic book characters here. Here goes nothin':

1. Richard "Robin/Nightwing" Grayson - You know the old expression "When he's good he's very good, and when he's bad.."? Well in the case of the Original Boy Wonder, they should make that "When he's written good (well), he's very good, and when he's written badly....UGH!!" This goes back even to his Robin days, as he began to have more adventures sans a certain Dark Knight and branched out into Teen Titans and solo stories. This is where a schism developed.

While he was still the kid sidekick who deferred (with some exceptions) to his older partner in the Bat stories, with the Titans he assumed the leadership role. This led to large variations in the character's IQ. He was dumber in the Bat-team, but he was a brilliant strategist and tactician with the Titans and on his own. Here is an example of some Dick Grayson Robin awesomeness courtesy of Sally P:

This difference became more pronounced once the Wolfman-Perez Titans began and became popular, until Grayson outgrew the Robin mantle and became Nightwing. And the schism was lessened for a time as Nightwing's stories were mostly written by one hand, Marv Wolfman's.

However, as Nightwing grew older, the dilemma for writers became how to differentiate him from Batman. How to humanize him. And the shorthand answer was either "give him more angst" or "make him less competent", or, in some cases, both. Wolfman, to his credit, was able to use the former answer and still, for the most part, retain the character's extraordinary nature. But some later writers sacrificed many of the traits that made Dick great, particularly his intelligence, competence and leadership skill, while retaining only the angst. One low point came in Devin Grayson's run where he allowed Tarantula to kill Blockbuster and then was so traumatized that he was raped on a rooftop by her. But the worst moment came in the Bruce Jones "One Year Later" arc, where he actually uttered the line "You're *gasp* METAHUMAN?" to a bad guy. Thankfully, the book was recently taken over by Fabian Nicieza (temporarily) and then by current scribe Peter Tomasi, who is literally taking Dick to new heights (among new innovations Dick now has his own Wing Glider).

Today, we get both the best and worst of it, with Tomasi on the NIGHTWING book and (sigh) Judd Winick on TITANS.

2. Renegade - This was a Nightwing alias during a Devin Grayson story arc where Dick went undercover with the Mob. He had a nice Phil Hester-designed costume, but the only remarkable thing about this arc was the amazing lack of editorial support it received from the rest of the DC books. The only other DC book that seemed to acknowledge the Mob storyline was Gail Simone's BIRDS OF PREY. Worse, the arc began during the build-up to INFINITE CRISIS. So while Dick had given up the Nightwing ID to be Renegade in his own book, he was his normal Nightwing self in INFINITE CRISIS tie-in books like THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY (which had him in space, no less) which came out at the same time, as well as the INFINITE CRISIS series itself. The result was a very confusing mess.

3. Rom: Spaceknight - This was a Marvel comic based on a rather unremarkable Parker Brothers toy, but it was an enjoyable book. I'd read only a handful of Rom books when I was younger (I had drastically reduced my comic book reading during my college years). I enjoyed some early issues, but when Sal Buscema started being inked by Ian Akin and Brian Garvey, the book took off in my eyes . I'll make a confession:

This comic, at least at the beginning, scared the shit out of me.

The first few pages featured the debut of the then-new incarnation of the Dire Wraiths, who first introduced themselves in a very graphic (for the early-80's) fashion to bickering couple Johnny and Mary Lou. The rest of the story was a fun adventure that focused on Rom and his lady-love Brandy and their encounter with Mordillo's Island and the always-morphing Brynocki.

That was one of the fun things about Rom: Writer Bill Mantlo had no shame about mixing him with the rest of the Marvel universe. Early on he fought the X-Men and classic Avengers foe Space Phantom, but over time it seemed like he encountered damn near everybody, from Dr. Strange to the Sub-Mariner to the In-Betweener. Although my purchases of the title were sporadic, by the time I got to the Mordillo issue and Rom proclaimed "I have met this Shang-Chi of whom he speaks", I thought "Yeah, of course he has."

Thinking about Rom makes me feel sad about the fate of Mantlo, who had gone on to become a public defender but was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 1992 while rollerblading, sustaining a massive head trauma and spending more than a a year in a coma. He has never fully recovered from this injury. It makes you think about how much your life can change in an instant.

For more information about Bill Mantlo, here's a link to "Bill Mantlo: A Life In Comics" by David Yurkovich.

4. Red Arrow - My reaction to Roy Harper, the former "Speedy", changing his hero identity to from Arsenal to Red Arrow in the new Justice League book was the same as those of most fans:

"What the fuck were they thinking?"

How do you go from a cool name like "Arsenal" to "Red Arrow"? We already have an active "Green Arrow", making the "Red Arrow" name (and costume) look like a pale imitation.

And the problem isn't just the name. The Devin Grayson and Jay Faerber TITANS stories and the Judd Winick OUTSIDERS book weren't the best-written books in the world, but one thing I enjoyed was how diversified Roy's skill-set had become as Arsenal. Sure, he favored using the bow, but he also employed a wide variety of other weapons from laser cannons and psi-blockers and mini-grenades to simple coins and rocks. He was like Hawkeye, Bullseye, and Deadshot rolled into one (except he favored non-lethal force).

But nooo, Brad Meltzer had to ruin everything. And after he left, Roy's situation got worse. All he seems to do now is get beaten up and moon over Hawkgirl.

5. Ronald Reagan - Yes, I know Reagan was a real-life president, but back in the 80's he was featured prominently in DC Comics books like FURY OF FIRESTORM and the LEGENDS miniseries, the latter featuring the Gipper being impersonated by the Martian Manhunter, who kicked the crap out of a group of assassins as "Ronnie".

It was one of the first times I had seen the actual President portrayed in the DCU. Marvel had historically used the real McCoys (or Carters, Fords, and Reagans), but DC had been much more averse, perhaps because the last time they used a real President's likeness was the unfortunately ill-timed ACTION COMICS issue where Superman had to be Clark and Supes at the same time and a mysterious someone stood in as Clark, with the twist ending being that the stand-in was revealed to be President Kennedy. The problem? By coincidence, the story came out right when JFK was killed.

While my feelings toward Reagan aren't exactly warm and fuzzy, especially considering that many of the philosophies which have led to our current economic shitstorm (like deregulation) can be traced back to his administration's doorstep, I can't help feeling nostalgic for his comics alter-ego.

Honorable mention:

Reed Richards - When I was reading the Fantastic Four, I really idolized this guy. He always kept a cool head, was supremely confident, never gave up, and could think his way out of practically any predicament. Plus, he was a goddamn genius. Then, as I grew older and reexamined the FF, I found that he could be kind of a dick. Here's to fallen idols.

Rick Flag - Best described by Dave Campbell as " an idiot who charges into battle in a day-glo yellow t-shirt that might as well just say 'SHOOT ME!' " God, I miss Campbell!

Ray "The Atom" Palmer - The thing Gil Kane got right about this character that eludes some other artists is the view from the Atom's perspective. Plus, Ray seemed to get more ass-shots than any other male character except Hal Jordan.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The big problem with the Sarah Palin/Wonder Woman comparison

Since she accepted the Vice-Presidential nomination a few weeks back, Sarah Palin has drawn some comparisons to a certain comic-book Amazon Princess.

Granted, there are some valid similarities between the two. Both Palin and Wonder Woman's ego of Diana Prince have a "sexy librarian" look and demeanor. More importantly, both have ventured into a "Man's World" of sorts seeking to be pioneers and ambassadors of their native lands. And both seem to be tougher than their surface appearances would indicate.

But there is one glaring difference between the two and the way they have conducted themselves since they have debuted on the national scene. This difference should be obvious to longtime WW fans.

What is the one trait you associate with Diana, particularly post-Crisis?

I'll give you a clue: Her lasso compels you to tell it. Even sans her lasso, it is difficult not to tell it in her presence.

Another clue: After she was killed by Neron, the gods elevated her to the goddess of this trait.

The answer? Truth.

Now compare her with Palin. What was the Alaska governor doing prominently in her debut speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul?

Lying her ass off.

About Obama's record. And especially about her own.

Remember her bragging about how she said "thanks but no thanks" to the "Bridge to Nowhere"? Turns out she said "thanks" to the project but only said "no thanks" after the "Bridge" had been discredited and discontinued by Congress, and even after that she never said "no thanks" to the money her state received for the project.

And remember how she said she took no earmarks as governor? Turns out that she had lobbied for $200 million of them in 2008 alone.

In reality, she doesn't resemble Wonder Woman as much as she resembles this gentleman:

Or maybe McCain could be the Duke. They both have that creepy smile.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Whack-A-Lantern Week" - Finale

"Why do all good things come to an end?"
- Nelly Furtado

And so it goes with "Whack-A-Lantern Week". And what better way to end it that at the beginning - at what may be the first head injury of young Hal Jordan's Green Lantern career?

(Click here for larger image.)

Oh, Hal! Maybe this was a red flag of things to come.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies Night - Round 6: "Whack-A-Lantern Week", Day 5

Yes, it's time once again for Ladies' Night. But it's also Day 5 of "Whack-A-Lantern Week".


What do you get when you cross the pulse-pounding power of Bahlactus with the GL-thwacking awesomeness of Sally P?



Our Pal Hal has a way with the ladies.

(Special thanks to Sea of Green.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Whack-A-Lantern Week, Day 4

What comic-book panel best represents the awesomeness of Kyle Rayner?

The answer is easy.

In fact, you could say it's a lead pipe cinch.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Whack-A-Lantern Week" Day 3

Funny, I didn't see "freshly-waxed floors" listed in the Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Whack-A-Lantern Week", Day 2

On Day 2 of "Whack-A-Lantern Week", I'd like to offer all our Lantern fans a reminder.

As often as we see pictures of Hal Jordan getting whacked and THWACKED! around, we often forget one thing:

Hal can give as good as he gets.

As Mr. Gardner can attest.

Separated At Birth...

For all the talk about Gov. Sarah Palin's resemblance to Tina Fey, lately she's been starting to resemble this guy:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hey, Boys and GL's, it's "Whack-A-Lantern Week"!

Sally P has declared this week "Whack-A-Lantern Week", and who am I to say no?

To kick off the festivities, I bring you the cover of one of my favorite Bronze-Age JLA stories, "The Command Is Chaos", written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin, with this cover by Dick Giordano which features Happy Hal getting clocked by the Big Guy himself:

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark!

If I had written Titans#4....

Beast Boy: "I gotta say -- I really didn't see this coming. Did you guys see this coming?"

Donna Troy: "No."

Flash: "I don't think any of us did."

Nightwing: "Well, I did! In fact, I was prepared for SIX HUNDRED FIFTY of those Trigon brats showing up here. Not only that, but I had devised THREE HUNDRED strategies to beat them, TWENTY-TWO of which involve only a can coolie, a roll of duct dape, and a bag of oregano! And you want to know WHY? Because I was trained by the GODDAMN BATMAN!!!!!"

That's how I would have done it.

(Inspired by this rant from Occasional Superheroine.)