Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage - Round 9: Mystery Fighter!

Welcome to Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage, where the object is fo no contestant to re-use a winning fighter during any of the 12 rounds of this bout. Let's review our Used Character Board:

Shadow Lass, Professor Zoom, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Bethany Cabe, Liberty Belle, Nexus, Black Rider.

Tonight we revisit the scene of last week's fight, namely Strange Westerns#1 "Black Homecoming" by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Al Vey. I know what you're thinking: Why revisit the exact same story in the exact same issue as last week's fight, especially during "Minimum Clonage"? Here are three reasons:

Reason#1: It's Marshall Rogers art.

Reason#2: The Black Rider isn't the featured fighter in tonight's round. We begin with the Rider stalking the Chinese prostitution ring he tracked to a local New York City dock....

...where he witnesses a mysterious stranger intervening against the same gang.Which brings us to...

Reason#3: This....

But who is this mysterious stranger? Here's a hint: One thing I forgot to mention about Strange Westerns#1 last week is that it's a Marvel comic. So take the features of our mystery man below...

...and add about 90 years. You get:

Yes, that Ancient One.

For more flashbacks of fights past, click here. And don't forget to vote! (Tonight's fight music is by Dean Martin.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Open Letter To Roy Harper Fans..

Dear Roy Harper fans,

Piss off.

DC Comics

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage - Round 8: The Man In Black!

Welcome to Round 8 of Friday Night Fights:Minimum Clonage, where contestants are not allowed to re-use any of their dominant fighters during the 12-round bout. In my case, that would include:

Shadow Lass

Professor Zoom


Iron Man

Bethany Cabe

Liberty Belle


If you notice a common thread in all my previous fights listed above, it's that they've all been from the superhero genre. Tonight I step out of that box to focus on westerns. Our featured showdown comes from October 2006's Strange Westerns #1 in a story entitled "Black Homecoming", written and drawn by the legendary Bat-team of Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers (their final collaboration before Rogers' death) and inked by Al Vey, and featuring tonight's dominant fighter, the Black Rider.

Synopsis: The Black Rider, in his regular identity of Dr. Morris Masters, is staying in New York City with his Aunt Helen and Uncle George while he tracks down a Chinese prostitution ring which killed one of his patients. In the course of his investigation, he deduces that the gang behind the prostitution ring is run by... his Aunt Helen and Uncle George.

Aunt Helen gets the drop on our hero, only to make the stupid mistake of taking her eyes off him to bicker with her husband. This is never a good idea, as the next sequence will demonstrate.

Bad move, George. Here's why:

Another lesson for would-be 19th Century crimelords, courtesy of Spacebooger. Our musical accompaniment comes from another man in black, Johnny Cash.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Defense Of Bill Willingham

"I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the memorial case."

- Bill Willingham

At least he didn't say he wanted to go after them with a power drill.

Other than that, I got nothin'.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage - Round 7: Trick Shot!

It's time once again for Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage, where the object is not to re-use a dominant fighter in any of the rounds in this bout.

Let's take another gander at the Used Character Board:

Shadow Lass

Professor Zoom


Iron Man

Bethany Cabe

Liberty Belle

For tonight's round , I'm going to step out of my usual Marvel/DC comfort zone to present a scene from Nexus: The Origin, written by Mike Baron and illustrated by Steve "The Dude" Rude and Gary Martin, and published by Dark Horse Comics back in 1992. For those of you unfamiliar with Nexus, he is a super-powered executioner named Horatio Hellpop, who was empowered by an entity called the Merk to seek out and kill mass murderers. To ensure that Nexus carried out the executions, the Merk sent Hellpop a series of headaches and nightmares that would continue until Nexus completed the killings.

In the scene below, Nexus crashes a dinner party thrown by one of the former mass murderers he is pursuing. None of the dinner guests knows of the target's brutal past, so when Nexus is about to kill him, one of the female diners throws herself into Nexus' line of fire to protect him.

Question: How does Nexus carry out the execution without harming the innocent woman?


Like that.

Tonight's fight music actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the above fight because, quite frankly, I'm still too stoked over the Blackhawks winning the Stanley cup this week, so I'm going with "Keys To The City" by Chicago's own Ministry. Hawks win! Hawks win!

P.S. Don't forget to vote!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goodbye Drought, Hello Stanley Cup!



Take it away, Fratellis!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ian Sattler's Been Reading Too Many 70's Comics

Thanks to Saranga, I read the following quote from DC Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler (emphasis mine):

"It's so hard for me to be on the other side because it's not our intention. There is a reason behind it all. We don't see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink, and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won't get into that. It's not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters."

Now where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah.....

This is from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes#216, "The Hero Who Hated the Legion", by Cary Bates and Mike Grell, from back in April 1976.

Ironically, the Legion's racial makeup has been recently regressed to around where it was at the point this story took place.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Some Comics Should Have Subtitles

A few weeks back, I weighed in on the beginning of DC's Brightest Day miniseries and gave a very colorful opinion of what it should have been subtitled. Today, I extend that sometimes-dubious honor upon some recent comics:

Title: War Of The Supermen 1-4

What it should have been subtitled: "And I Bought The Last Two Years Of Superman Titles Why, Exactly?"

Review: This is the storyline that had been been building in the Superman books since Supes rescued Kandor from the clutches of Brainiac 2 years ago, and many of the Superbooks during this time, particularly SUPERGIRL and SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON, have actually been enjoyable. However, the conclusion of this story arc is a classic case of "big overture, little show".

It was also a classic case of the failure of imagination that's been a huge problem at DC of late. It seems like death is the only method DC's writers and editors can use to advance or resolve a storyline lately. "War Of The Supermen" showcased this in spades: many of the main protagonists were dead by the story's end.

New Krypton, which could have spawned decades of great Superman storylines? Dead.

Red Shard, Kal-El's unit during the New Krypton mini? Dead.

General Lane, who could have been a worthy addition to Supes' rogues' gallery and provided some great interaction with Lois? Dead.

Reactron, who was the closest thing Supergirl had to an archenemy? Dead.

Flamebird aka Supergirl's childhood friend Thara Ak-Var? You guessed it. Dead.

And what about Supergirl's mom Alura, who started out one-dimensional but evolved into a complex character? Want to see any further exploration of her and Kara's relationship? Well, you can forget about that, because she's dead, too.

See a pattern here?

I remember a recent column at the end of the DC books by Superman editor Mat Idelson in which he wrote something to the effect of "Weren't you shocked that New Krypton blew up at the end of Issue 1?"

Shocked, Matt? Well, as shocked as anyone would be seeing a one-trick pony perform its one trick for the umpteenth time.

As for the rest, Zod, Mon-El, and Chris Kent are back in the Phantom Zone, just as they were 2 years ago. In effect, the conclusion to War Of The Supermen essentially reset the Superman universe back to the pre-"Brainiac Saga" status quo. Well, with one exception: Pa Kent is still dead.

Which raises the question: What was the point of that whole storyline in the first place?

I will say one thing: It does lend Snell's theory a lot more credence.

Title: Justice League: The Fall And Rise Of Arsenal

What it should have been subtitled: "DC Spotlights Roy Harper And Sucks All The Redeeming Qualities Out Of Him".

Review: I will admit I enjoyed this scene below.....

...and that was about it. The rest of the book was pure excrement.

I've been following Roy since he was a member of the Teen Titans, and I understand how the O'Neil-Adams storyline was the thing that really put him on the map years ago. But the great thing about him was how he'd progressed since then. He also was unique in comics because he was a single dad. Now that's gone, and not even for a particularly good story. And for what purpose? To make Roy yet another dark, brooding, morose loner? Because we've never seen that before.

DC also kicks off the second leg of their Fuck You Kendra Saunders Fans Tour with this issue. How do you think Kendra is remembered here? That she was a great hero or a wonderful person?


That she was Roy Harper's greatest lay!

("Gosh willikers, why don't more women read our comics?" "Gee whiz, I don't know!")

What kills me about this move by DC is that Roy was kind of an inspirational character before. Former druggie kicking his habit and going on to take on the role of a single father while being a super-hero? How unique is that, huh? When Roy first lost his arm only, I thought that they were going to retool him as DC's answer to Winter Soldier. Watching Roy overcome his disability while being a hero and a dad still could have inspired readers. The only thing Fall and Rise Of Arsenal will inspire people to do is quit reading comics.

Title: Invincible#72

What it should have been subtitled: "Warning: Entrails!"

Review: I started reading this book when I realized that I was limiting myself too much to just the Big Two lately, and I'm glad I did. While the conclusion of this part of the "Viltrumite War" was a little graphic for my tastes, I'm still enjoying this book overall. And it's redeemed because it was a telling display of the titular character's heroism as he takes "never give up" to a whole new level.

Title: Red Robin#13

What it should be subtitled: "Buy this. Just do it. You won't be sorry."

Review: If I'm going to slam DC when they get it wrong, it's only fair to praise them when they get it right. And Red Robin is one of those times. One of the frustrating things about high-profile lapses like Cry For Justice and the Arsenal mini is that they cause people to tar all of DC's lineup with the same brush, or at least most of it ("if it's not Morrison or Simone it's CRAP!"), and it's not fair to gems like Red Robin.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage - Round 6: We Will Post No Fight Before Its Time!

It's time for Round 6 of Friday Night Fights: Minimum Clonage! But first, let's have the lovely Vanna White show us the ever-expanding Used Character Board:

Shadow Lass
Professor Zoom
Iron Man
Bethany Cabe

These are fighters I used as the dominant fighter in my previous rounds, therefore, according to our hospitable host Spacebooger, I cannot re-use any of them as the dominant fighter in a subsequent round in this bout.

However, nowhere do the rules state that I can't bring any of them back as the losing fighter. Therefore, after spotlighting Professor Zoom beating the crap out of Wally West and Hal Jordan in previous weeks, tonight's the night that Zoom gets his bell rung.

Or, rather, he gets his Belle rung.

Liberty Belle, that is. Also known as Jesse Chambers or by her other superhero codename, Jesse Quick. So for tonight's fight music, I'm going with Madonna's "Dear Jesse" .

This awesome display of "Girl Power" comes to us from Flash: Rebirth#5 by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver. I fell in love with this scan when it came out in mid November of last year, but because of our host's 6-month rule, I could not showcase it until now.

Tell me what you think, and don't forget to vote.