Friday, February 25, 2011

Tiny? No. Loud? Hell, Yes!

Thanks to Sally P, I read the CBR interview with Judd Winick and his comments regarding his revamp of Ice's origin. Sally did such an exquisite job skewering Winick here that I can't add much except for the following:

1. After reflecting on the late Dwayne McDuffie recently, it pisses me off to no end that a guy like him, who respected the work of past writers and actually bothered to understand the characters he was writing, kept getting overruled at every turn, while guys like Winick, who do neither, seem to have unlimited carte blanche to screw up characters and their histories.

2. Here are two reasons why Winick's revised Ice origin story doesn't work:

a.) This.

b.) This.

3. With all the disrespect he showed, Winick might as well have titled his new Ice origin story "Fuck You, Dan Vado!" and made it official.

Friday Night Fights: Fight Life - Round 11: Milestone's Blaze Of Glory!

In honor of Dwayne McDuffie's passing this week, my Round 11 entry for Friday Night Fights: Fight Life comes from last year's Milestone Forever#1, which was not only one of my favorite comics of last year but also the last new McDuffie story I read. The art is by M.D. "Doc" Bright and Romeo Tanghal. This story was to serve as the last hurrah of the Milestone Universe.

I was very disappointed that DC could not properly incorporate the Milestone characters into the mainstream DC Universe. The only Milestone character to garner any decent exposure recently has been Static. DC has had some serious problems with lack of diversity over the last few years, problems that could have been greatly alleviated in one stroke and produced some damn good comics to boot. Tonight's showdown will demonstrate that. Our fight music for this incendiary battle is provided by The Trammps.

Here, Wise Son fights the evil Holocaust for leadership of the Blood Syndicate.

Apparently, Wise Son practices the "I have taken your measure" style of combat, popularized by the Mighty Thor, in which you let your opponent get in the first shots just to see how tough he is.

Now, it's Wise's turn.

And now.... the fiery finish!



And DC couldn't find a use for the Milestone characters why, exactly?

For more blazes of glory, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Dwayne McDuffie, The "Kooky Quartet", And What Might Have Been

For nearly two years, I've had an idea in the back of my mind for a post about one of the Justice League's previous incarnations, but I kept putting it off and sticking it on the back burner. Unfortunately, the circumstance which finally drove me to finish it was the worst possible one. I was dismayed to learn that Dwayne McDuffie passed away  earlier this week. My heart goes out to his family and his friends. As someone who just lost a father a few months back, I know the loss they're going through right now.

While I did not follow his work as closely as some others did, I was most familiar with him through his work on the Justice League animated series (which, in my humble opinion, was one of the finest cartoons ever produced), as well as the Milestone comics and his brief runs on books like Fantastic Four, Firestorm, and Justice League of America. I'd like to take a moment to speak about the latter run today.

Having read some of  Dwayne's work prior to his JLA run, I was really looking forward to his run on the book. Suffice it to say, I was somewhat disappointed by how things turned out. Some of it fell in Dwayne's court. Granted, he had to tie up many of previous writer Brad Meltzer's loose ends, but his plots seemed to suffer from failures of imagination, at least in the earlier stages of his run. (Did we really need another Amazo arc so soon after Meltzer's?). But McDuffie's run was compromised by many factors beyond his control.

First, he was saddled with Ed Benes as a regular artist. Sure, Benes' heroes looked good, but as a storyteller, he was a great pin-up artist. His range of facial expressions ran the gamut from "A" to "B", and too often he sacrificed storytelling for his obsession with boob and ass shots. I've got nothing against ass shots -- Sally's blog is one of my favorites, and I love the work of Gil Kane, whose art also featured many ass shots. But with Kane, unlike with Benes, the storytelling always came first, the art had a much wider range of face and body types, and the ass shots were equal opportunity (we saw Robin's and Hal Jordan's keisters as well as Donna Troy's and Batgirl's). Benes also frequently required fill-ins, so only when someone like Van Sciver or Pacheco guested an issue did we see what Dwayne could have done with a better storyteller. Imagine if he'd had someone like, say, Doug Mahnke as his regular artist instead of Benes.

Worse, though, McDuffie was hampered by DC's editorial department and the nonstop stream of "events" that he was forced to either incorporate or avoid. He had to write around Ollie and Dinah's wedding, Salvation Run, the Tangent mini, and Final Crisis, and that was just in his first 10 issues! His ordeals with his JLA tenure were chronicled throughout the blogosphere, most hilariously here.

Finally, as a result of the editorially-mandated splintering of the team due to the events in James Robinson's execrable Cry For Justice miniseries, the "death" of Batman in Final Crisis, Superman's "New Krypton" storyline, and other books, McDuffie was forced to do without many of the League's most famous members.

And that's when things got interesting.

The remaining lineup after the membership reduction was John Stewart, Zatanna, Dr. Light (Kimiyo, not the rapist), Firestorm (Jason Rusch), and Vixen. The unique thing? This was the most ethnically diverse lineup the League's ever fielded. Not a white guy in the bunch. Only one white woman, for that matter (two if you count the recently-departed Black Canary, whom McDuffie had apparently been preparing to reinstate as leader prior to his dismissal).

Ethnicity aside, this was still a formidable crew. An honor guard Green Lantern. One of the DCU's most powerful and famous magic users. A master of light manipulation. A composite being who can fire nuclear blasts and transmute matter. And finally, a woman with the same abilities as Animal Man (the hero whose book put Grant Morrison on the comics map). That's nothing to sneeze at, folks. Even without Canary as leader, you've got a group to be reckoned with.

But you wouldn't have known it from the reader and editorial reactions. This lineup didn't get nearly the respect that they deserved. To far too many readers, it was Detroit League Redux. To them, it wasn't the real League without the Big 3 or Hal Jordan. Even Dwayne himself referred to the new lineup derisively as "Cap's Kooky Quartet" (a reference to the period in the Avengers when Thor, Iron Man, and the Pyms left and were replaced with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye). And that was a damn shame, because this team had great potential. At the end of McDuffie's run, we saw some of that potential realized in the 3-issue Starbreaker arc, as they got to interact as a group both on and off the field.

And like that, he was gone.

Granted, with 5 or 6 regulars, the group may have been a few members light, but that's hardly unsolvable. In my estimation, all they really needed to add were a Superman-class powerhouse (to guarantee more action) and an armored Tony Stark-style techie. Who could Dwayne have gotten for those roles? Oh, I don't know! Maybe Icon and Hardware, two of his own creations? It wouldn't be the first time a League writer added one of own his lesser-known creations as a JLA member. Other JLA writers like Jurgens and Morrison have done that in the past. And how do you think the original Firestorm joined the League? Through a story by his co-creator, Gerry Conway.

Never mind violating the "Rule of 3" regarding black characters that McDuffie mentioned here, this assemblage would have blown it completely out of the water! And I couldn't think of a better writer to handle such a diverse group. For any flaws Dwayne had plotting the League, he had an extremely strong understanding of all the characters, from the Big 3 to the lesser-known members.

Observe this scene (beautifully illustrated by Rags Morales and John Dell) in which John Stewart gives Vixen his analysis of the strengths of Black Canary's leadership style in comparison to Superman's and Batman's.

What might have been.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hal Jordan!

(Courtesy of Googum.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Fight Life - Round 10: Hands Tied!

For Round 10 of Friday Night Fights: Fight Life, here's a lesson for any aspiring super-villains out there:

When Hal Jordan says he can beat you with both hands tied behind his back.....

.....HE MEANS IT!!!

This lesson was brought to you by Green Lantern#90, courtesy of Denny O'Neil and Mike Grell. Tonight's fight music is brought to you by Scandal. (Not the one from Secret Six.)

For more two-fisted brawling, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Monday, February 14, 2011

For All You Romantics On Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This one will literally make you ill...

I got this from Saranga, who got it from Ragnell:

Found this on Ragnel's' tumblr page:



[TRIGGER WARNING for murder and trans-hatred]

[Image is a black-and-white picture of Tyra Hunter, a short-haired black woman, wearing what appears to be a turtleneck with a necklace]


It was the morning of Aug. 7, 1995, and Tyra Hunter, a popular African-American hairdresser, was on her way to work in Washington, D.C. Suddenly, the car she was in was broadsided. In this situation, one would expect that Hunter would have promptly been taken to a hospital, where she would have received whatever medical care she needed. But tragically, and outrageously, that is not what happened. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, they helped the barely-conscious Hunter out of the car and began treating her, but only until one of them realized she was transgender after cutting open her clothing. At that point, they backed away from her, began laughing at her and taunting her with anti-transgender slurs. They stopped treating her in a life-threatening situation. In what world does someone sworn to help others in emergency situations stop treating them to attack them? When she was finally transported to a hospital, her ordeal didn’t end. Doctors refused to treat her, and by the time she was finally granted medical care, it was too late. Hunter was pronounced dead the same day. (via COLORLINES)

Mandy Carter, “Still No Freedom Rainbow for Transgender People of Color”

may actually start weeping

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Look, I'm just a straight white guy, so I can't really understand first-hand the plight of those in the GLBT community.

But I do know this:

If you directly encounter someone with potentially life-threatening injuries, ESPECIALLY if you are trained emergency personnel, and you deny them life-saving treatment and even taunt them and laugh at them merely because they are transgender? Then you've just made a major transition, my friend.

You've just gone from merely being a transphobic douchebag to being an INHUMAN MONSTER. It's just that simple. And if the choice ever comes down to either you or a transperson going to hell, you'd better hope it's not me who has to decide. It wouldn't even be a contest.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Fight Life - Round 9: Calculated Assault!

For all the lasting damage DC's IDENTITY CRISIS wrought, one of the lasting positive effects of the series is that it brought back the Calculator. These days, when you think of the Calculator, you envision the bespectacled computer nerd who dresses like an accountant and serves as the DC Universe's evil "anti-Oracle".

But back in 1977, he looked like this:

For tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Fight Life, I'm taking you back to '77 for Detective Comics#468, written by Bob "The Answer Man" Rozakis and beautifully illustrated by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. Synopsis: After facing off against the Atom, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Green Arrow, and Hawkman, ol' Calc has decided to go after the Bat himself.

Here, Batman employs several weapons in his arsenal against the Calculator.....

..... only to get a computer-generated boot to the head for his trouble!

Tonight's fight music comes to us from Kraftwerk.

For more calculated craziness, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Fight Life - Round 8: The Anatomy Lesson!

I thought I'd make tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Fight Life an educational one. Our guest instructor for tonight's Anatomy 101 class is noted Mixology expert Mr. Tony Stark.

The scene for tonight's lesson is the houseboat of Mr. Stark's archrival/captor, Justin Hammer.

Here, Mr. Stark schools one of Mr. Hammer's security guards on the basics of human anatomy.

Emphasis on "schools".

Tonight's required reading material is Iron Man#126, written by Professor David Michelinie and illustrated by Drs. John Romita Jr. and Robert Layton. The accompanying audio/visual presention was provided by Alkaline Trio.

Class dismissed!

For other study courses on the curriculum, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


My neighborhood looks like the beginning of Crisis On Infinite Earths. The white is swallowing up EVERYTHING!