Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 31 May 2006

Mouse Guard #3
This book sits on the shelf calmly laughing to itself at the vast majority of other comics. It combines great action with intrigue and great art with fun characters. You’re either very happy you’re getting this or complaining about how comics suck. In this issue we find the three mice guards from the first issue arriving in the city of Barkstone and uncovering “The Axe” which is an underground group dressing as a combo of samurai armour and the bandits from Fable. We get to know the three mice a bit more and simply enjoy the wonderful art that consistently reminds me of Beatrix Potter if she wrote Peter Rabbit as The Hobbit.
I rate this comic: A pure delight.

Godland #11

Like most people getting this book I’m finding it hard to come up with praise for it each time it comes out. There is even more fantastic and fantastical characters introduced including The Never who makes the impossible possible and more of Freidrich Nicklehead getting groovular and evil. We have Angie Archer trying to show the descendant of Janus that he and his flying face pyramid messed with the wrong anarchist. She witnesses the smell of impossibility. There’s a glue monster blob thing. And there’s a riff on 2001: A Space Odyssey. This comic is good for the exact opposite reasons Mouse Guard is good. Whereas Mouse Guard is stripped down and the art is a bit more high-end, Godland is crammed with as much kinetic storytelling as possible and the art is pop-art Kirby-retro.
I rate this comic: Consistent mind blowing fun.

52 Week 4
Okay it has been a month and I won’t be reviewing all the issues here. I may do that this weekend or something. Well things seem to have gotten a bit more interesting. And yes there is some gore and we see Alan Scott’s bloody eye socket but it’s not a close-up or anything. A few of the heroes from space go through that episode of Star Trek when the transporter messes up. As the cover shows this issue focuses on Renee Montoya and The Question. There’s some character moments that show us how they compliment each other as far as drive and sass are concerned. The cover sort of happens but the thug looks a bit different inside. If I was intrigued by Steele before, I’m even moreso now. I’m guessing this reemergence then collapse of the unstable multiverse has had a few unknown repercussions that 52 will be exploring kind of like Grant Morrison did in his Animal Man run. It may be a bit familiar since it seems to be taking aspects of that run and what seems to be the origin of the Bulleteer (but I haven’t read that yet so maybe someone else can enlighten me). Well combine that with a fractured psyche and a powerful suit of armour – voila! Steele. And Elongated Man got baptized. For all of you who weren’t baptized, that’s pretty much what happens. They dunk you, take your valuables and you sort of trip out for the next few days.
I rate this comic: A great backup for the Crisis of Infinite Earths, oh wait no I got that backwards, stupid retcons. Oh, I like both 52 and the backup.

JLA: Classified #21
You know what? This is the first comic by Gail Simone that disappointed me. It was okay but it wasn’t the same uber-quality I’ve come to expect. I guess I just like my JLA with more doughnuts and Batman chilling with his feet on the JLA meeting table. It is kind of neat that this came out the day after Memorial Day because I don’t know anything about Memorial Day but I think it’s about the military and there’s a lot of talk about soldiers and stuff. All in all it was a bit lackluster for an ending.
I rate this comic: Okay if you read the rest of the arc.

Iron Man: The Inevitable #6
The last issue is forgiven. This rocked. The art kicked ass and took names. The Living Laser shows up and does his thing and Spymaster gets his slobber knocked. I kind of wanted Iron-Man to end that “This is what hate feels like” punch with “bitch!” It’s kind of all that was missing from this comic to make it my favorite super boxing match in a long time. I kind of wish more of this issue was combined into the last issue to let Casey explore some of the action in this a bit more. It was a nifty non-ending but not in the way we’re used to seeing non-endings. Sure it brought back some classic characters and the hero-villain relationship done so well in the last issue of Batman is also explored here. It’s too bad there’s a war on in the Marvel Universe because exploring this dual personality and fractured mask wearing Tony Stark could make for some very interesting stories. Alas and alack, it is not to be, but hey maybe us Canadians can have a true super hero team out of this war thing. You know? One with Americans on it (guest starring Wolverine).
I rate this comic: Happy this series was my first Iron-Man buying experience. Nice Art.

I also picked up the 3rd Seven Soldiers Trade.

Recycled Content

Now I’ve been wondering as of late why comics don’t publish the amount of recycled content on their paper stock?

Yeah yeah go make jokes about the recycled stories. I was thinking they met their recycled content with the plots and costume changes - ZING!

But seriously, why isn’t this on the books? I know I’d appreciate it and if I had the choice between two new books I’m interested in and can only buy one I’d probably go for one printed on 100% recycled paper. I think Raincoast books is printing the Louis Riel softcover and they use 100% ancient-forest-free, chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer recyled paper.

I think the comics industry can be a leader here without making us pay through the roof to get environmentally friendly books. Try using vegetable based inks and recycled paper instead of the glossiest piece of paper you can find that I can't read in a room with lights or sunlight. I know the comics industry is looking for ways to market itself and if every publisher could show up anywhere and say each of our books is printed on 100% ancient-forest-free, chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer recyled paper with vegetable inks making it the most environmentally responsible form of printed entertainment, I think more people would sit up and listen. I think you'd bring new people into the industry as well. People will criticize you for your content so reduce their ability to criticize you for the lack of recycled content in your paper stock.

I just plant these ideas hoping they'll take root. Discuss.

Changing it up

Okay folks, it's a quarter to nine in the morning. I'm drinking coffee and reading Kevin's bloggorama (yes you need to make up a new word for blog or a group of blogs every time you type it on a blog, it's in the handbook or online help, I forget), and I notice that my buying habits of reducing may be hurt this week. Although I may fight against all temptation and NOT buy Five Fists of Science if I see it, but I have a feeling if I see it and don't get it now it'll never show up in Ottawa again and I'll be ordering it through Chapters for a significant discount and having it delivered to me at work. Oh wait that actually sounds kind of good...

I'm going to forego the regular shop this week and head down to LCS2 first. They've always had Godland and Fear Agent (until the last isssue dammit but I was just late getting there so it was gone, it still had shelf space) so I'm going to hit them first. I'll let you know how it goes. Plus Mouse Guard - hot damn, and the 3rd Seven Soldiers Trade, Woo freaking Hoo!

Yes this post is simply a reason to post. I'm trying to come up with something interesting but until then you'll just have to suffer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Comics and Life

Just a quick post today. I've been noticing a trend of posts claiming New Avengers is crap and everyone who keeps buying it should just shut the hell up about it being crap already. I have to say I agree. I skip those reviews if you're writing them. It let me down so I stopped buying it and reading it and I don't care enough about it at all to even catch a summary anymore.

I know I'm trying to make some changes in my life right now. I'm trying to be happier and simply enjoy life more (even if it means sticking to my evil plans for the summer). So what this means is I'm not going to live in fear of shit I hear on the news that simply trying to keep me home scared glued to the TV and radio. I can't watch TV anymore except the hockey playoffs and the World Cup when it starts. The commercials simply piss me off too much. If I like the story I'll get in on DVD and watch the story. Funny how TV is so much like comics and I'd rather wait for the trade there as well and go back to collections of old stuff...

So I'm not going to worry about a flu pandemic that doesn't exist, and unlike CSIS I don't have a hard-on for proving terrorists are in Canada and hate us like they hate other countries. Sorry, it doesn't scare me and you're kind of not doing your job if you're not arresting terrorists dude. And same with comics. If you don't like them, don't buy them. I find myself skipping over reviews that go on and on and on about how crap something is. Sure, if it's funny I'll read it but I'm finding it dull so you, yes you, if you're writing a review about something you hate try to make it funny or I'll be skipping it in the same way I'm skipping the comic you're reviewing.

Yes I appreciate bitchiness as much as anyone. Possibly more. But I don't have time for it regarding my reading for pleasure.

This isn't a gauntlet or anything. It may just be because it's so damned muggy here these days and I don't deal with that very well and the ac at work is shittier than a snowball fight in Hell. So do what you like I'm not going to stop you but I probably won't be reading stuff that bores me. Sorry. (pout).

Monday, May 29, 2006

X-men 3 - I talk about the plot so avoid it if you don't want to know about a movie you didn't see yet.

I went to see X-men 3 this weekend and I enjoyed it. I liked the changes they made to the Dark Phoenix saga because lets face it, it’s a fairly ridiculous story to begin with. I was trying to explain it to A. after the movie and explaining about Professor X in love with an outcast alien princess and Cyclops meeting his dad who is now a space pirate and then killing a galaxy by exploding a sun… yeah, wouldn’t have worked in a movie no matter how awesome it was back in the comic heyday.

This movie managed to capture the melodrama, the action and the intrigue that the X-men do so well, when they are allowed to do it well. But in this movie more than the first two there was a lot of wasted potential. Jean Grey is meant to be uber-powerful but she sort of sits around a lot looking at crowds. Mystique gets depowered as does Rogue. Colossus sort of disappears and comes back a lot and it would have been nice if Angel had, I don’t know, like a line of dialogue?

Storm finally gets to be cool. She’s flying and lightning people left and right. Of all the really strong characters she’s the one that finally gets used to her potential. I do find it a bit strange that all the really powerful women, and lets face it, all the really powerful mutants outside of Magneto and Professor X are the women characters either get depowered or killed. Now, I know this is an X-men movie so I’m assuming there will be another sequel and everything will be back to normal. I really did love the two endings, very clever. Especially the Magneto playing chess which harkens back to the first movie.

So if you’re looking for the death of the X-men movie franchise, this isn’t it. Sure there was a bit more cheese dialogue than I can remember in the previous two, but otherwise I really liked it. If not more than the first two, equally. I was a bit saddened by so much wasted potential but I understand how expensive special effects could have been. If I could have given the filmmakers some money I would have done really only one big thing. I’d have Colossus punch the flaming car bombs out of the air. That would be a fuck yeah moment.

I did have to say that there were 3 moments I loved. The “Not to Distant Future” sequence. Fastball special. And the Wolverine getting all twisted apart like the Prometheus arc (I think that’s what he was called) in the comics. I’ll have to check my Essential Collection tonight.

So I liked it a lot but I’m not particularly in the mood to justify it more. Oh yeah, spoilers.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thursday's Loot

Continuing where I left off but I'm only half way through Scott Pilgrim. I got derailed by a Bill Hicks DVD. It's shocking just how current he has suddenly become. Groundbreaking stuff there. Go rent some Bill Hicks.

Secret Six #1
This continues exactly where Villains United left off as far as great action and villainous moments are concerned. It's like when the sequel is just as good as the original. More of the same of what works without necessarily treading completely the same ground. I do quite enjoy how the "heroes" have environment specific costumes - this time they're white for the snow and the dark ones from the last mini were a great touch. Stuffed Parademon - ick. Uber-creepy Mad Hatter - ick. This truly is good stuff if a comic book can creep me out. I have to say this is just what I was looking for out of this series.
I rate this comic: Happily, just what I wanted from it.

Last Planet Standing #2
Yeah I read all those reviews last summer about how I should be reading Last Hero Standing instead of House of M. I didn't listen to them. In fact ,I read neither series. Well, I'm here to tell you all that I'm dropping Civil War but I'm keeping this one. Make of that what you will I don't really care what you read. It's fun and it really is the true spirit of Marvel crossovers. Forget about getting all huffy about how men in tights can't address real world issues since they're a corporate product and can't afford to alienate any customers so a "fair and balanced" approach is taken. This comic has freaking Galactus acting like a freaking Nazi so you know it's leading to the biggest ever Nazi punch out in Marvel history. Plus, Asgard in all it's rainbow glory and Thor with a manly beard doing manly things with a large hammer. Thor really isn't the thunder god he's the personification of the North American Suburban Male - I am a man, I use a hammer to do things because I'm a man and I will drink with other men and tell them of all the great things I've built with my hammer. I could be wrong though but I think it works. So anyway, I'm liking this comic because it's honest to goodness fun without really talking down to anyone. I see myself holding onto this series to pass along to someone with kids so someone younger can appreciate the goodness of current crossovers without getting annoyed, disturbed or bored. Oh, and it has The Gardener and The Inbetweener in it so you know those Civil War banners are actually useful now.
I rate this story: Perfect for the summer blockbuster season.

Now to finish Scott Pilgrim and come up with a post about Thor representing the suburban male. This sounds like a job for the back issue bins!

Plus Blockade Boy has Cancer. Why are these characters coming back? I thought they were lame puns or kind of silly so I made those banners to be a bit of an ass. Weird.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 24 May 2006

The goal to purge and reduce was semi-successful since this was a big week for comics I'm sticking with.

52 Week 3
I don’t have the cajones to review this every week. Maybe every month. I did like the Black Adam - Power Girl moment and how Black Adam is basically taking on the role of Wonder Woman. I think he fits it much more naturally since he can truly stand on his own according to his own moral code. He doesn’t become a fallen hero when doing so. And the John Henry Irons scenes are great character moments introducing us to a character not everyone is familiar with. I find myself quite liking him and interested in where he’s going. The Lex Luthor mystery can go either way for me. Plus I’m sufficiently creeped out by hairy penis finger in the last panel.
I rate this story: Intriguing.

Batman #653
The return of Two-Face as per James Robinson. Talking heads done right. I loved every moment.
I rate this comic: A re-acquaintance with a long lost friend, who scars himself with acid.

The Battle for Bludhaven #4
What is it about this comic that makes me enjoy it so much? It’s got enough of a mystery going on to keep me wondering who is responsible and what is really happening. Then it’s got massive explosions and massive beat downs. Again I’m impressed with how well someone, or two someones, is handling a comic that is here to simply introduce new characters, well reimagined characters. I’m enjoying how the different factions of the battle are being handled with the unquestioning government soldiers, the honourable underground freedom fighters, the holy war sect, the Teen Titans, and the sort of in between circumstantial collaborators with the government. Firebrand is quite good and the banter of the Teen Titans is remarkably familiar to me. Not in that I’ve read the same dialogue but I get a sense that how they relate to one another it’s like they’ve always been close friends and trust one another because of each person bringing their own talents to the table. Then there’s the villains. The Nuclear Family is absolutely hilarious. This comic had my favourite dialogue this week.
I rate this comic: The Jesus juice of comics.

Bought but not read yet because of staff meeting and lunch break not being long enough:
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (hell yeah!)
Last Planet Standing #2
The Secret Six #1

Out this week but dropped and most likely selling the back issues this week at the Great Glebe Garage Sale: Blue Beetle and JSA: Classified. Sorry Vandal.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Aw, shucks. Thanks guys

Thanks for all the nice words for the last post. I felt it kind of went in circles and I never got to the point and kind of forgot what I was trying to say. Goes to show I shouldn't trust myself.

Yesterday was a holiday (Victoria Day) in Canada so I wasn't near a computer or any of the internets. I was lo-teching it at a cottage that is now more of a summer home with some friends I haven't spent a lot of time with recently.

Hence no posting yesterday (or today since I really got nothing to say). I just wanted to drop in and say thanks. Also I'm going to make more of an effort to post like that last one instead of these silly little bits. If only I spent that much time doing the job I'm paid to do instead of writing lengthy posts here in the office.

By the way, I've been retconned from Viper to Hypno-Hustler. That is all.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I thought I would take on a few recent crisis the same way Sgt. Rock takes on Nazis. By faking my death then sucker-punching them in the face and blowing shit up with a bazooka. Sorry, I just traded Sgt. Rock’s Combat Tales for some promised issues of Unknown Soldier so I’m kind of all high on testosterone and aggressive. I’ll try to do my review using only military metaphors.

But before I get to my post about Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis, I wanted to point all your attention to the following couple of things.

I just discovered Sucklord. No I’m not subbing for Dorian. This guy makes his own bootleg supervillain action figures. Oddly enough he has a hot pink stormtrooper called Gay Empire.

Okay second point before I get where I’m going. I’m enjoying 52 because it is the right format for decompressed storytelling. This type of storytelling works if you don’t have to wait 30 or more days between floppies, or in the trade format where you can read it in one sitting (or thereabouts). Note, this isn’t a general proclamation since I think some books work perfectly well as monthly books – Jonah Hex for example. But I think the reason we’re enjoying the Batman/Detective Comics arc is because it’s coming out bi-weekly, more or less. I would suspect the same for Up, Up and Away in the Superman titles. I don’t think this is the only reason for their success, but I do think it plays a big part in it because the audience can remember what happened a lot easier than something over a month late. Just saying.


So I went back and read Identity Crisis, Countdown to Infinite Crisis and Infinite Crisis. It took a bit longer than I thought it would, but through it I persevered. I have to admit, all three parts of this story had one major thing in common. They all start out strong but end kind of weakly. They are the blitzkrieg of comic events, in other words. Big exploding hit you in the gut with a bayonette openings then they just sort of let you bleed to death on the frozen mud-pit called the comic reading front.

Sue Dibny is struck down and burnt to a crisp with a freaking flame-thrower at the same time Luthor’s armour-suit shows up and Bolt is gunned down. It was an exciting scene even if it blew your childhood memories apart like a cluster bomb hitting a department store in Stalingrad. It was good storytelling folks, deal with it. It hooked me and I had no idea who half these characters were (where were Plastic Man’s sunglasses and when did he change his name to Elongated Man? Were my thoughts).

The re-imagined Calculator was a brilliant move as was the cadre of villains. I enjoyed the scenes with Captain Boomerang trying to reunite with his son and the way he stumbled into a situation he just couldn’t manage anymore. Same with Tim Drake and his father. It was hard to read and I remember feeling actual suspense the first time I read that scene. Unfortunately it’s at this point that the story just sort of gives up. After some great character moments and a serious mystery it starts to feel like the story painted itself into a corner.

The rape scene is disturbing and I think it can work as a motivation for the heroes to do what they did. But at the same time I started wondering why none of the heroes were doing anything but arguing. The only heroes I liked were Elongated Man and Robin, although Mr. Miracle showing up every now and again was kind of nifty. Still, when the horrific motivation gets revealed there is no way for the story to be ultimately successful since it can’t allow the heroes to do what heroes need to do – which is overcome all the odds before them in a manner that is above people like you and me. The problem isn’t so much the plot (which suddenly decided to flail about like a man with a gut wound) but the fact that when you introduce too much “reality” to fiction, it can’t accomplish the goals of the form itself. Heroes are meant to overcome the odds and act heroic no matter what – when they don’t, you aren’t reading a heroic tale anymore.

Why would I want to read about people like me?

I do think there was some part of Identity Crisis that was trying to hark back to ancient heroic epics where no matter how great the hero was, in the end he always failed because he had to die. But those stories are about the journey of the hero. Even if we know they are going to die the journey is generally worth it to learn something or to find inspiration through the heroes actions when faced with adversity. Identity Crisis didn’t have that journey. It showed me that the heroes are as fucked up as the rest of us, and I don’t need to spend time reading what I already know. Again, this wouldn’t have been a problem if they managed to overcome it in the end but they don’t.

I could identify with Ralph because he’s lost everything and rushes in headlong because of it. Robin is the only one who really considers anyone but himself, and acts in a truly heroic manner because he needs to explain it to himself as much as his father. The rest of them try to justify their actions and much like Superman E-1 in Infinite Crisis saying the perfect world doesn’t need a Superman, if the actions were justified they wouldn’t need to be explained here.

Then queue the deus ex machina ending and we’re on to Countdown.

I don’t care what you think about this comic I really like it. Yes it serves no purpose except to bridge the gap between one event to a bunch of miniseries leading to the next event but we’re not here to question the motives we’re here to achieve the goals given to us. You follow orders soldier, you don’t give them or question them.

It works because Blue Beetle is a character people can identify with. You like Blue Beetle here because everyone around him thinks he’s a joke and he’s not oblivious to it. He know what they think and how they’re just putting up with him. And he does his best regardless. The reason I like Blue Beetle in this comic is because of the same reason Identity Crisis falls apart. He keeps on no matter what and even though he’s right, he does the right thing in the end and is still killed. Blue Beetle is the ancient hero and he only works, as a character, because he doesn’t live. Knowing where a character is going allows the writers to actually examine him. If he had to live and keep going, then the character moments wouldn’t have rang as true. You’d think he’s just some deluded guy with too much money and a silly costume who got lucky this time. Instead he’s a tragic hero who you want to live. You want him to make it but only because he doesn’t. That’s bloody brilliant.

And voila, the A-bomb of the whole process, Infinite Crisis hits in order to shatter our reality and make it so we can never look at the world the same way again. While I liked it, I liked it less than both Identity Crisis and Countdown. And not just because of the grammatical errors I kept finding. Identity Crisis started strong and created a decent mystery that sort of fizzled out horribly. Countdown was really successful for a comic that wasn’t intended to be a good story but to simply introduce a big event. Infinite Crisis was meant to change reality, and it certainly did that but even after a second reading I can barely remember much of the plot beyond Swamp Thing’s hand appearing in one panel.

I guess Identity Crisis fell apart for me because it didn’t have “exposition guy.” We start out following Ralph Dibny then it jumps around to various heroes like Wally West and Tim Drake. I think it would have been better as a straight up mystery for one character to solve or perhaps a couple working together - even if Green Arrow takes over for a chunk of plot. Countdown had the Beetle, but IC was just big money shot to big money shot showing your favourite heroes and a bunch of costumes you don’t recognize. This in and of itself isn’t bad, and I’m quite happy with most of it but having a plot that requires a bit too much extracurricular reading doesn’t help the story. Yeah I’ll storm the bunker but I shouldn’t have to learn German to do it.

Between issues some major plot points happened which is never a good thing as far as coherence and understanding is concerned. On the flip side I really think the use of the Supermen and the metatextual storytelling was fantastic. Yes, one was a whiny little pretty boy but the other two guys are stand up fellows I’d be happy to have in my platoon. Hey this isn’t the Navy, no jokes about guys in your squad or unit or whatever. Get your minds out of the gutter.

The most unfortunate part about IC is that for something relying on artwork that was meant to cram as much action heroes and explosions into each panel that the production values really went into the crapper in the last issue. When the whole point is to see as many heroes fighting as possible – make damned well sure we can see as many heroes fighting as possible. It’s like Dan Akroyd on SNL trying to sell oily rags as a human torch costume. “Hey we’re trying to make money so just slap some red paint on it and we’ll say it’s an invading sea anemone.” For a shot of random heroes “presenting” themselves fine but when it happens like a dozen times throughout the issue – uh uh, ain’t good. Especially when the whole point is to show heroes punching and posing. Jeez Louise.

Also I had no idea Alexander Luthor lost a finger until I re-read the series. Shows how much I was paying attention to that part. I’m kind of hoping the big petrie-dish hands of space thing gets retconned out of existence in the Post-ICDC. Huh, that sounds like a cool band. “Dude, crank up the ICDC.”

So in conclusion, I like stories with a hero you follow around that allows the hero to be heroic even if its dark and gritty and the hero gets shot in the face. I even like stories about large explosions and heroes punching one another but only when there is a lot of large explosions and heroes punching one another and it looks good. Still, I don’t think Prime is the worst villain ever.
I do think Infinite Crisis delivered what it was meant to but Countdown showed me that even a comic serving no purpose but to start an event can be a good story. Identity Crisis worked best for most of it's "character moments" but needed the JLA to be more than a bunch of character moments. Character moments are great for reintroducing new characters - something Bruce Timm was amazing at with his Bat-villains. They also help focus on the hero or make the villain sympathetic but here it also made the heroes less heroic so DC had to blow a lot of shit up to fix it.

So were they good. Yes I think they were. Countdown was may favourite reading experience here followed closely by Identity Crisis. Infinite Crisis did deliver some great fight scenes and some pretty cool moments. I mean c'mon when Superboy-Prime and E-2 Superman showed up it was pretty awesome - same with Animal Man's face lightning. They all had their moments but only Countdown had a coherent story with a sympathetic hero. To me that puts it light years ahead of the other two stories and smack into what I look for in super-hero comics.

I can appreciate the two crises books for what they are, and while not 100% successful they are both good at what they are.

Aquaman leaks

According to CBR the Aquaman trailer was leaked online. I won't bother trying to find it, have fun, but I will link to the images at CBR. Apparently it's about Lou Diamond Phillips in a fighter plane.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - The Sequel

Aquaman #42
I'm still enjoying this series and now with it starting to tie into the true Aquaman story, however minimal, I'm enjoying it even more. Although each time I pick it up I'm never sure if I should have. I think from now on I'm going to start thinking in keeping or cutting terms and this book is one that I'm just completely unsure about. I do enjoy it, but never as much as I'd like to. I feel like a heathen for thinking of cutting out a Busiek book but I may get a few more issues or sell of what I have at next weeks Great Glebe Garage-sale and buy the trade. I'm thinking like Conan, this would read well as a single story.
I rate this story: Still good but perhaps not good enough to keep.

DMZ #7
And then there's DMZ. Another book I felt similarly as I do towards Aquaman for a while but now it seems to have truly found its feet. I'm liking it now more than ever. This storyline shows Matty growing up a bit and realizing that the paragons of adulthood aren't always what they appear to be. He has a brilliant moment when he realizes he's like the people that used to piss him off - like his Dad or Zee asking why everyone is such a disappointment. It just hit me that even the art is somewhat similar to Aquaman. Both are showing us new worlds that are quite frankly, filled with dirt, grime, flotsam and jetsam. I just absolutely love that about this series. It's not sparkling. I also love how Matty is having a typical "moving to the big city to become his own man" story in the midst of such a unique world. That's great writing. No matter where it takes place, make the story something we can all relate to on a fundamental level. He's growing up and learning from his mistakes and his disappointment. He gets used and he gets mad at himself for letting himself be hoodwinked, but he's also experienced enough to figure it out sooner. He's not completely niave and is growing into a better person for it. By better I don't mean on a scale of good and evil but on being self-reliant and being the person Matty wants to be, not what anyone else expects of him.
I rate this story: Better than ever.

Shadowpact #1
This was a surprise to me. I liked the crisis special one-shot but had absolutely no interest in the whole Day of Vengeance mini-series. I liked this as a first issue. It was clever, it was funny, and heck it name checked Hellboy, how cool is that? Plus, Phantom Stranger. I know little about him, but I like him in some weird unexplainable way. There's a great setup to the characters if you didn't know anything about them or their interactions previously. You get informed of what you need to know. The story is fairly straightforward but streamlined is good. Again, I'm liking it but I don't know if it's enough to keep me buying it. I think this will be one of those, if I'm in the mood when issue two comes out I may pick it up. I mean how can I turn down a drunken chimp detective? The only beef I really had was the whole "villainess explains the evil plan to the citizens" moment. Yeah, they're evil, I know a bit about that, but I got a goose egg on my cranium from that.
I rate this story: Worth checking out if you're looking for a new series that's worth a few bucks each month. I probably won't keep buying it for long, if at all, but then again I'm evil.

Oh yeah I was totally going to pick up the Marvel - Edgar Allen Poe thing because I love Poe's work, same with Chthulu Tales or whatever but the price point killed both for me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 17 May 2006

Picked up a few books and made a fateful decision today. I will be limiting my purchases and focussing on the occasional trade in order to obtain true villain status as the destroyer of comics.

Batman: Year 100 #4
Daaaaamn, Paul Pope learned how to tell a story. This was on time (or at least it felt like it was on time) and it didn't treat its audience as a bunch of drooling idiots. I've always been a fan of PP's art but the stories tended to be cringe-worthy from time to time. Not so here. This is Batman like he should be done. The spirit is just captured and expressed in near perfection here. He's a mystery to everyone in Gotham and he's as big a mystery to us the audience. I simply love how we're chucked into the story and not bogged down by anything. We know the story of Batman now, but it's been chopped up and served to us in a new form that's just as delicious and is actually new, groundbreaking and, dare I say it, mind-blowing.
I rate this story: The Batman equivalent of John Coletrane playing "These are a few of my favourite things."

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #5
Was anyone else sort of disappointed in how Sure-shot or Sharpshooter, or whatever the Native guy's name is, is being portrayed? I'm liking this story despite myself sometimes. There's more of the ever welcome Easy Company killing Nazis, but it's sort of got a black mark on the way the one Native guy is like a mashed up version of a lot of stereotypes - even if they're kind of sympathetic stereotypes.
I rate this story: Rock and Easy killing Nazis, so good.

52 week 2
You know what? I take back what I said about Ralph Dibny. I like where his story is going. And again, you'll be reading about this everywhere else so I won't bore you with my opinion.
I rate this story: One of few to make the cut.

I also bought, Aquaman, DMZ and am giving Shadowpact a shot since I enjoyed the Crisis Special so much. I'll be hitting LCS #2 after work to see if they have any copies of Fear Agent left since the closer one didn't. I'm hoping this doesn't turn into another Northwest Passage #2 debacle.

Okay, now I know I sort of mention how I'm going to trim down my buying habits every couple of months but this time it's for sure. I need to start saving some cash so I'm going to continue down the road of super-villainy and kill off more comics - sorry folks but I'm getting married in October and I need to start saving more than I am at the moment.

Comics that have made the cut:
Battle for Bludhaven (it's going to end soon, so I'll stick with it since I'm enjoying it).
Batman/Detective Comics (current arc, we'll see about Grant Morrison's when it comes out)
Fear Agent
DMZ (until this arc is over at least)
Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy (I can afford one more issue)
The Ultimates (because it comes out so infrequently)
Iron Man: The Inevitable (another mini I'm going to finish up)
Lions, Tigers and Bears 2 (ditto)
Mouse Guard (ditto)
Solo (ditto)
All Star Superman
Ultimate Wolverine v. Hulk (going to finish it out)
Justice (again, it's few and far between)

The Secret Six (I'll probably get this because I liked VU so much)
The Atom (hey I made fun of it and Gail Simone posted in the comments so I owe it to her to pick up at least one issue)
Wasteland (Post-apocolyptic and again, Antony posted in the comments so I'll give it one issue at least since I liked his Queen and County: Declassified story)

I think this is a fair list that will trim down my purchasing habits. 52 means I'll have something that'll entertain, frustrate, enlighten, and whatever else can happen on this formalist exercise. I want to see where it goes. Otherwise I just want to finish up the minis I'm enjoying and focus on the occasional trade like Animal Man or whatever else hits my fancy. It's a hard habit to break but I may just have the spine to do it this time...

I don't particularly want to. It's just my evil nature compelling me to do so.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ghost Rider Moses.

Proof that Moses rode the desert on a Triumph while everyone else had to walk.

Check it out.

The Road to Super-Villainy - Day 1

Last night I re-read Identity Crisis for todays post but today I find out that I am unwittingly turning into a Super-Villain. Shocking, I know. You’ve been here. You’ve read my stuff. Sometimes it’s kind of funny but more often than not it’s kind of lame and not that informative so you go read Progressive Ruin, and Double Articulation or you head for laughs at Beaucoup Kevin, The Absorbascon, or Dave’s Long Box.

Well I showed them.

I managed to kill two – TWO – whole super-heroes without even trying. In fact I kind of woke up, got some coffee, avoided getting splashed on the way into work by asshole drivers, and fired up the computer to read some blogs while I drank my coffee. Turns out I managed to kill The Thing and Manhunter.

Woo hoo! Go me!

I’m quite thrilled by this. I’ve been thinking about changing careers. My life in politics is generally dull and frustrating. I think going toe to toe with a few super powered do-goodniks will be a refreshing change. Right now I sort of deal with people who can’t really string together sentences in e-mails and generally think they can change the world by pointing out how evil and stupid I am on e-mail list-serves. Oh wait, I don’t think that’s going to change much if I enter into the world of super-villainy… well at least I have transferable experience.

Now that I’ve managed to kill off two heroes with my super-villainous powers of indifference and sarcasm I’m setting my sights on the next round of heroes.

Hit list:
The Thing - X
Manhunter - X
Firestorm: The Nuclear Man
Blue Beetle
Moon Knight
Ms. Marvel
Iron Spidey

Watch yer backs, I'm coming for you by not coming for you...huh? That's not a good catch phrase. Fuck it I'm still not buying the books.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tony Hawk's Civil War

Civil War, now with 90% more Pro-Skating action and 29% more smart-assedness from me.

Who will the unlockable characters be this time?

It will shock you!

It's Wolverine, Venom and Elektra.

Animal Man - mapping the creative

I received the second Animal Man trade on Friday. By Saturday evening I had finished reading it. I’m wondering why there simply aren’t more comics like this? It is bloody brilliant. It was so good I had to use English slang. You know something is good when I slip into English English.

I’m not lamenting a late great age of comics. I never took part in that late great time because this is the first time I’ve read Animal Man. I don’t think comics were any better or worse at any time period (although these Showcase collections make my brain hurt). There is just something about this collection that made me, well, pissed that there aren’t as many great books as there possibly could be. There is a lot I enjoy but I seem to be enjoying things for different reasons than I enjoyed this collection.

I enjoyed this collection mostly because it continued down the “meta” road that was started in the coyote story in the first volume. I love that stuff. I love it in any medium but best in anything that is comic or cartoon related because it works so much better than any other medium. C’mon, you all loved it when Homer was on the couch and tell Bart and Lisa that “Hey, it’s a cartoon. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate.” While he is simultaneously walking by the window of the house.

I think, if anything, this collection is strengthening my idea that the end of the eighties was basically a high-water mark for comics. Think about all your favourite books. When were they created? How many hit the shelves in the eighties? I find it sort of freaky that during a decade that pushed commercialism and frivolity to new heights there were such ground breaking works created. Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns are the classic examples I’ll always go back to, but Animal Man was right up there with them.

Maybe someone who knows more about this time and the history of comics can clarify some points here? I’m sort of just typing unfiltered thought at the moment. But my undeveloped and unfounded theory is that in the eighties comics were simply free to do what they wanted because nobody was really paying attention to them. There was the residual aspect that comics where simply the stories we’re all reading in the Showcase collections. The companies weren’t printing money so they just said, fuck it, what have we got to lose? You want to kill them off, go ahead, they’re not selling anymore anyway. You want to write about cartoon coyotes and then make the characters become aware of their relationship to our world – knock yourself out. What did they have to lose?

Then the speculators market hit as the underground became less so, Boom, Bust, Echo. We’re still in the echo I think. The build up to the boom, just between the silence and the explosion is proving to be a phenomenal time period to me. Everything I’m getting from then seems to be pleasing me. I guess I’m the lucky one though. I’m older now and history has cut out the tripe for me so I can focus on the prime cuts. Hmm, I’ll try to avoid using meat references when talking about Animal Man from now on.

So yeah. Right now I see comics that can’t repeat the things that created the high water mark without seeming trite and pedestrian. So instead we get the whole recycling phenomenon hitting comics. Whereas new ground was broken in the mid to late eighties, now it’s about reducing, reusing and recycling. We’re in the post-environmental age of comics. We’ve seen “everything.” There is no more New Frontier. The only frontier left to explore is the history of the medium itself. I don’t think that’s the case, but it sure feels like that’s where things are going.

I see comics that are slightly playing with format and structure. They are cutting comics back to basics or printing a continuing story weekly instead of monthly or they’re dividing up the heroes over a present day issue. They’re saying, hey we’re aware of the world outside the medium whereas Animal Man actually looked at you and got spooked. Okay that issue isn’t in this collection but a lot of the characters are starting to interact with the audience. They aren’t written simply for the audience but with and by the audience and Morrison.

Superhero comics took risks, survived and improved the medium once. Where do they go from there? As much as I’m liking comics today I’m not seeing this same dedication to pushing a medium to the cutting edge. Yes, I like the new Batman and Superman and I’m even giving Civil War a shot, but going back to basics isn’t the same as progress. It’s good to remember where you came from but in the end, it’s where your going that determines whether or not these will be good stories. I guess I just like my comics that strive into unfamiliar territory instead of retracing the steps of an adventurer. The trouble is a lot of adventurers die horrible and untimely deaths, I suppose. Who'll finance that?

I’m left wondering though, where is the new territory now that the entire world is mapped?

I have to say the art is kind of dated though.

Friday, May 12, 2006

2 Things

Favourite moment in 52 - Hot Didi-dogs

So this morning I was, for some reason, talking to A. about the Hulk's pants. I wondered what his pants were made of since he grows to 3 times the size of Bruce Banner but his pants stayed on. Yeah, they shred and get shorter but his waist doesn't explode off. So according to his pants he should get taller, not bigger. A. looked at me and said maybe his pants were made of the same fabric as the sheets in movies that cover a man from the waist down but a woman's entire body after they have sex. Magic pants/Magic sheets. I think we're on to something.

Oh yeah, today's post is kind of piontless.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In the neighbourhood

A. gave me a call at work to let me know that CBC radio had an interview with Joe Q. of Marvel Comics on their program The Current (it may be available later today or tomorrow). You may be able to find it in their archives. It was okay (I missed the beginning) when they brought in a professor who wrote a book about Superheroes ™ and a classics professor.

There was some great comparisons to classic heroes and some exploration of how superheroes have moved from being a forum to explore ideas to a cultural idea that is now infused into our everyday lives. For instance the idea of super-villains. There are now people being portrayed as super-villains, in particular the enemy commander super-villain like Saddam Hussein or Osama bin-Laden. But there isn’t anyone being portrayed as the super-hero™ - Bush Jr. is more of a cowboy homage than super-hero™.

One idea explored that I loved was the major difference between today’s heroes versus the classic heroes is that the classic heroes always died. Classic heroes were meant to be portrayed bigger, larger, and stronger than the average person much like our super-heroes™. Some even had gods for parents but in the end each classic hero died whereas today super-heroes™ are required to be serial. Both classic and super heroes are used to explore how people suffer when they take on a burden larger than themselves. Yes they stand up and fight no matter the odds, but the ultimate villain always won (death). So I guess where classic heroes were rewarded for their deeds by dying, superheroes ™ are rewarded for their deeds by continuing to bear their burdens.

There was a bit of talk about how DC characters are more iconic whereas Marvel’s characters were generally created to be conflicted. Yes a heroic death is great, as is iconic storytelling but serial storytelling requires a different type of conflict.

There was also mention of the turn away from the campiness to the maturation of the medium along with the audience. But it ended on a great note when the host asked Joe Q. why the women were still shown in next to nothing? He made the point of the revealing and tight costumes were on both sexes, which is fine, and that there was a bit more diversity in body types compared to ten years ago. But when asked about the heroes out of costume when the men get a regular wardrobe like jeans and t-shirts or suits but the women were still as naked as when they’re in costume he sort of back into a corner of tradition or comparing things to a soap opera. It just wasn’t a credible answer when he could have done a better job.

All in all it was interesting. A co-worker was listening in and made the following comment about Civil War – “Wasn’t that the plot of The Incredibles?”

Man The Incredibles was a great movie.

- - - - -

Also random thoughts.

Comic stories I want to write:
The Last Temptation of Bruce Wayne
Meet Mr. Fist or how I learned to stop worrying and start solving my problems with punching.
The Big Finish
Fox and Wolf
Boom Shaka-Laka

Comic moments I want to write using Tom Waits quotations:
Panel one: Thug looking at Power Girl’s ample bosom – “Hubba hubba, ding ding ding. Baby, you got everything!”
Panel two: Power Girl giving thug a right cross to the jaw – “Hubba hubba, ding ding dong. You’re face didn’t last too long.”

Ultimate Tony Stark – “I got a bad liver and broken heart.”

Aquaman – “The ocean doesn’t want me today.”

Icicle – “It’s nothing but warm beer and cold women.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 10 May 2006

52 Week 1
You will read about this everywhere else so I won’t bother going on about it too much. It’s just an intro comic and it’s just like all the other intro comics you’ve ever read. I still don’t know how Elongated Man’s life fits into the whole making comics fun again direction. I think people are wrong about that, it’s not about fun, it’s about heroics. Sometimes they need to fall to become heroic. Still, dude has it rough.
I rate this comic: The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Battle for Bludhaven #3
This was the best issue of Civil War yet!
I rate this comic: The best issue of Civil War yet!

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #25
I decided to give Firestorm a shot. Glad I did, it was a good read. I like the whole contrast of the ice villains and the fire hero. I don’t particularly take to the direction Mr. Freeze seems to be going recently but that’s probably because I’m still going through the animated Batman series DVDs where he’s a sympathetic villain. There’s a decent asshole Batman moment in here but done really cleverly like those double entendres in kids movies. There’s themed villains, someone trying to destroy the sun, puns and a guest hero to compliment the guest villain. Then there’s as much meta-textual jokes and writing as there is straight up heroing. But it ended and I was reminded of why comics started as disposable entertainment. It was done in one and I don’t feel the need to buy it again. That’s satisfying and I’ll probably buy it again when there’s a story that interests me.
I rate this comic: A good comic, I’m glad I read it but I probably won’t buy it again unless I feel like it.

Lions, Tigers and Bears 2 #2
I love the animated feel of this book. The bright colours the bold character designs. I even like the ideas in the story. Hell, they riff on Star Wars and the whole, tapping into the elements of legends that have always worked. Then why am I finding this a bit unsatisfying. I can’t explain it. It’s all very good but there still feels like there’s something missing. I have a feeling these would simply read better as a collection. Like Mouse Guard, these books are great for the younger reader with enough plot and character to keep any reader interested – although I think it would read better if you had less life experience.
I rate this comic: Perfect for the young reader.

Last Planet Standing #1
I missed out on Last Hero Standing and I am now kicking my own ass for that. This comic was freaking brilliant! Marvel is so much better when they just go balls to the walls hero fun. Yeah it’s not relevant to anything but the characters and the plot all fit within the world created for them. The dialogue works and your not beaten over the head with any text – although the pictures themselves have a lot of people beating each other over the head with a lot of things. I love how the writers said “to hell with continuity, lets use the characters we want to use.” You’ve heard about it from everyone else and it’s actually true – the Spider-Girl series is the comics you remember created for today. It’s plain old fun which was exactly what I needed to counter all the other comics claiming to be fun. If a gun was put to my head and I had to decide between this and Civil War, bye bye Civil War.
I rate this story: Why the hell haven’t I bought Spider-Girl before? I’m an idiot! Then again too much simple fun gets tired after a while.

Also bought Detective Comics #818 reprint. Yay, I can now read the rest of this arc up to this point. About damned time.

For Plock

I was reading A Trout in the Milk and I saw the line, so I made the banner. I guess I agree with the paranoid homeless dude who is sceptical of everything, but ultimately right. Creepy. Oh, if you didn't read Watchmen yet - Spoiler warning. You should have avoided that last sentence.

Plus, The Mad Thinker's Awesome Android seems to be in the lead. C'mon people, Angar the Screamer, if you have a blog you are REQUIRED to side with that dude. He's like the patron saint of internet comic critics.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Things to look forward to...

I was reading Augie De Blieck Jr's most recent Pipeline column over at CBR and the two things I was most excited about were:

Cinebook returns with a new edition of LUCKY LUKE, titled BILLY THE KID. It's a 48 page translated paperback for just $10, featuring "the cowboy who can shoot faster than his own shadow."


Gemstone goes back to the well for more of CARL BARKS' GREATEST DUCKTALES STORIES. This second volume reprints -- at full size, not digest size -- at least three of Barks' original stories which were later adapted to episodes of the daytime animation-saving series, DuckTales. "The Giant Robot Robbers," "The Golden Fleecing," and "The Unsafe Safe" are all in this one, for just $10.95. If you're a DuckTales fan who's never read Barks' stories before, this is the perfect entry point for you. It's a great selection of stories, and much of them should be warmly familiar and comfortable for you.

Apparently I'm going into some retroactive childhood zone or something.

- - - - -

I'm looking forward to 52. It's going to be an interesting experiment with the comic book form and industry nevermind the storytelling requirements. I'm hoping for something in the spirit of the first couple of seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They were connected but also generally self-sustained episodes.

- - - - -

I'm STILL waiting for the second Animal Man trade to be delivered to me (1-2 weeks my ass)! But I can't wait to get back into the stories. It'll be a joy to get reading on my back list again.

- - - - -

I'm going to stick with Civil War. I know I should swear off these big event mini-maxi-series but I think it's time to give Marvel a chance again. I still think it's a fairly daring project for a large public company.

Mike Sterling chimes in on the war and you can now vote for whose side you're on. As long as it's one of the sides I made up.

- - - - -

I realized something today. In the Villains United special Oracle is praised for using the same information Batman was condemned for. Weird huh?

Okay, she didn't feed the information into a rogue satelite system that used the information to try and wipe out the planet after it fell into the hands of a despotic Maxwell Lord, but still. She's got records on the private lives of superheroes. Get with the condemning already. It was also a plot point in JLA: Year One when the Martian Manhunter kept tabs on the xenophobic human heroes bent on defeating aliens.

- - - - -

I've changed my user i.d. photo to this (someday I may even buy the collection):

Monday, May 08, 2006

Grey Area

Okay kids, get them while they're hot (before Marvel's team of lawyers shuts me down).


Because our world is never Black and White I thought I would give you a few more sides to choose from. All the images were unwittingly supplied by the Marvel Directory.

Be the envy of your friends with bad puns and inappropriate humour.

Also offers from Dorian and Chris.

Free Comic Re-Cap

I'm going to do something unique today - I'm going to write this post before I even look at my site or anyone else's.... here goes.

I decided on Saturday to take along my favourite 4 year old to get some free comics. I've know this kid since he was a year old and he's recently become uber-obsessed with Spider-man and comics in general. He can't read yet though but his slightly older cousins showed him Spider-man and Spider-man 2. Voila! Obsession. He's been telling his mom that he wants to write Spider-man a letter and his mom keeps trying to tell him Spider-man is make believe. He answers with "Well, I bet Jon knows where he lives." Me and A. were at their place the weekend before last and he asked me so I answered "New York City." I got stares but I figured if he writes to Santa Claus why not Spider-man. I'll send his letter to Marvel or the local comic shop or something. I figured if writing a letter gets him writing and not watching TV then it should be encouraged. I appreciate good penmanship. Needless to say I had to inform him about the non-reality of Spider-man but this was a good thing since it means he could make up his own stories (and yes he could still write him a letter).

This all leads to my favourite moment of Free Comic Book Day. I was driving him home and he was in the back seat playing with his free Wolverine Heroclix figure. He asked who he was and I explained the whole, metal bones, claws and fast healing bits. Then this conversation followed:

Me: So he has super-smelling. He can smell like a dog (pun unintended), and he can see like and Eagle, and um, hear like a cat. Plus, he's Canadian.

Kid: Like a Canada Goose?!

Me: Exactly like a Canada Goose. And just like you.

Kid: I'm not a Canada Goose.

Me: No but you're Canadian.

Kid: I am?


Second favourite moment:
Kid: I want a Spider-man, but not a bad Spider-man.

Me: Then let's go look in the back for an action figure.


So needless to say I ended up asking for help to find a good Spider-man action figure. I was in the only comic shop that didn't have a Spider-man in his normal costume. We got a watergun Spider-man which is almost regular Spidey but with a pale blue instead of the regular blue.

We also went to two comic shops. The first one I was sure would be the best since it's more open and brighter with a very large FCBD poster in the front. It was crap. It was like nobody wanted to be there and they had a few comics stacked in the back. We grabbed them and split after our initial exploration.

The second shop is really a model of what you think of when you think of a comic shop. The windows in front are painted with Batman or V from Vendetta or some melange of heroes and villains. It's dark and grey and I can't get Godland or even Fear Agent there. But damn did they ever go all out for FCBD. Their selection was miles beyond the other place (except they were out of Free Scott Pilgrim *sob*) and they even had some of last years books and random other promo materials. Although their Spider-man action figure selection is lacking of good Spider-men, apparently. They had to cancel the bbq because it was pouring rain but they really made a day out of it. I think their entire staff was there helping out and were all happy to be there with smiles on their faces and chit-chatting with everyone. It was just nice to be there and get last year's Uncle Scrooge issue and a copy of Owly (the kid got Owly, I got Uncle Scrooge in the end).

It was fun in the end, I just hope I haven't warped the mind of this poor kid more into thinking comics are always free for the taking.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New heroics for me on the horizon

Yeah I was at Newsarama and checked out the DC previews. You know what? I'm really looking forward to Shadowpact now. I was kind of interested after the Day of Vengeance special (I had no interest in the mini-series, is it good?) but now I think it looks to be a good new book. Heck anything that mentions Hellboy is decent in my world.

Also, Firestorm. What the heck? Those few pages were great? I know people have been talking about what a fun comic it is but again I had no interest in the character. I think I'll be dropping Blue Beetle and picking up Firestorm instead. If there's a trade of the first part of the run I may be picking that up too. Someone who knows should let me know if it's really worth buying or is it more of a borrowing book? Now, I don't hate Blue Beetle but I'm not in love with the book either. Heck I dropped Jonah Hex because I get the point and don't need to read it anymore. I'm basically the prototypical comic guy. I want something, I get it and then don't like it when I do. I can live with that. I'm a consumer.

Now, I like Jonah Hex and encourage people to get it. I too may jump back on at some point but I have limited cash and want to try more things rather than get sucked into stuff pointlessly. While I enjoy the Hex stuff I'm doubtful I'd go back to it. I got what I needed from the series - some good single issues, now I want other things to entertain me. Bah, I'm confusing myself. I'll collect my thoughts and try to post this weekend, but probably only on Monday.

Go Sens! Game one v. Buffalo tonight! Woo Hoo!

Mice - The Internal Conflict

I'm enjoying the heck out of Mouse Guard. It takes under ten minutes to read but the art is just beautiful and the story is completely exciting. They don't need to have pages and pages of back story when you can get mice fighting snakes and crabs then advancing the story. It's the best combination of a kid's book and older comics. The format is unique but familiar to any kid in Grade 1 or a parent, the art looks like Beatrix Potter, and there isn't too much to read so you can read it to a younger person. Then each panel is crammed with enough development or action that you don't feel cheated. Sure it's a quick read but there's enough action and story development that it puts "decompressed" stories to shame. I'm also collecting this story for the son of some friends of mine. He's kind of superhero whacked at the moment so I'm going to bring him to FCBD and pass on Mouse Guard when the series is done (he'll be able to read on his own by then, I think). He'll also inherit my Showcase: Superman & Superman Family volumes and I'm going to be supplying the Tin Tin library as well. Not that this has anything to do with mice.

I love the mice in this story. They're cute and brave and simply charming. Then I get home and I'm trapping the little fuckers left and right. I've gotten two in two nights and I'm not ready to deal with an infestation - stupid 100 year old houses. Thankfully there's not been anything too horrific to clean up but I don't particularly want to "dispose" of many more dead mice whenever I wake up. At least the chewing stopped and no food has been eaten so it's not quite as traumatic as it could be - they're simply living by the water heater and under our sink (and haven't managed to get out of there yet). I'll be blocking off the sink area on Saturday and then trying to figure out what to do about them getting into the house to begin with. I tell you, they're cute but I'm really glad they're not brave and armed. They'd inherit my house.

So there's something you wanted to read today. I like a comic about mice but I'm killing them when they enter my house. Hey, I could write about how I'm a leftist leaning guy who appreciates The Punisher but then I don't read The Punisher.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Attention! Attention!

Please return to your homes and wait for a more encompassing post that may or may not contain more about Civil War if I feel up to it and I'm not suffering from Civil Blog War Overstimulation.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 3 May 2006

Infinite Crisis #7
First up, what the hell is a "sepll caster?" And please tell me Animal Man is missing and not dead. Overall I liked it. It was a great resolution. I don’t think there was a better ending for this series out there. The entire series was simply about heroes stepping up to the plate and that’s just what they did. The big three were being portrayed as the three things holding back all other heroes so they end up essentially taking a break. I like the whole mid-life crisis vibe. They’re getting back to their roots but they’re more experienced now so they should all learn from that and get down to what makes them work. If anything the one-year later stories prove this is working out fine. Batman hasn’t been better in years, same with Superman. Plus how cool is it that Morrison's Seven Soldiers keep showing up. If that's the new type of stories we should expect then count me excited. And is that the Metal Men? It is! Also, why isn't this cover a wrap-around?

Civil War #1
Yeah I bought it and I know I’m a hypocrite for saying I wasn’t going to. Shut up, I know. Soooo, yeah... I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I still think it’s a decent idea but the execution is a bit stilted. It got better as the story progressed but the whole thing started out really wooden. And by wooden I mean beating me over the head with the meaning. I’ve said it in comments elsewhere (sorry I forget where now) that this is a great idea but it needs to be balanced with commercial concerns. That means not alienating half your audience by saying they’re the bad-guys. I think explaining the back story to how people come to their positions helps make the whole thing more ambiguous. Stories that remain slightly ambiguous are stories you discuss and think about trying to make sense. On the flip side a story that is divided around a central position (one side is slightly left of centre, the other slightly right of centre) doesn’t allow for a lot of drama. Yeah I want to see which sides people fall on, but isn’t the first rule of comics “show don’t tell”? Show me, don’t tell me. It’s a tricky balance. I love the idea. I love the potential of the idea but this issue leaves me feeling like the execution of the idea was weak. I understand this very well considering where I work. Wasn't this already dealt with by James Robinson in JSA: The Golden Age? That was a good story...

Mouse Guard #2
After the BIG TWO EVENTS!!! (they should always have three exclamation points) this was a great comic. It’s like this charming vignette that makes you glad you read comics. It’s like the outtakes after Toy Story 2 or the little game after James and the Giant Peach. I felt like I was subjected to the ADHD version of comics then got to have a chat with a charming person. David Peterson is creating a fantastic world for his little mouse soldiers. This story is a very close relation to Bone creating a fantastic natural world that isn’t too unfamiliar. Like Pixar’s A Bug’s Life by simply showing the world from a new perspective you create a wonderful new world to experience. I think the same thing about Aquaman’s new fantasy setting. This comic is kind of like The Little Prince. It’s very short but it contains everything it needs to contain. This comic ends with you wondering why other comics don’t cut down to the essentials anymore.

Also bought but not read yet, Detective Comics #819 because I haven’t gotten the last Detective Comics yet and don’t want to miss out on the story and Rex Libris #4. So for every ADHD comic I bought I got an indy. My conscience is clean.

Heh, I keep hearing "and then, and then Iron Man said 'no freakin way' and then Captain America said 'yes freakin' way' and they punched each other into the moon and one guy went to the moon and Captain America went to the sun and then, and then he like flew around the sun, and like picked up the sun and was like 'screw you S.H.I.E.L.D. and threw his shield at S.H.I.E.L.D. and like it blew up..." It keeps going and I could do the same for IC but it's just more natural for me to pick on Marvel.

It's Lex Freakin' Luthor People!

Sorry, I just love the delivery of that line when I read it.

Couple of quickie links for everyone.

The CBC has a nifty piece about book blurbs - Marvel, DC, this is essential reading. A problem arises when everything is touted as "brilliant." I've mentioned before how I don't want my comics to cause me bodily harm and to leave my brain in one piece but Andre Mayer is more eloquent and "researched" than I am.

There is also a preview of Maurice Vellekoop's A Nut at the Opera in Flash.

Sean over at Snark Free Waters has a great piece about Black Bolt. I'm telling you if Marvel can make Maddrox a great mini-series they could do a great Black Bolt mini as well. I'm convinced now more than ever seeing panel after panel of uppercut goodness. He totally let's his fists do the talking and never says "I'm going to let my fists do the talking." or "Talk to the hand." or whatever you'd expect.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Superman done right in one sentence.

I was watching JLU last week and this moment will forever stick with me as how Superman needs to be portrayed. It was one of the last episodes where Darkseid is coming to Earth. Lex Luthor shows up and suggests teaming up with the Justice League. Everyone is seen considering this while Superman has that "sh'yeah right" look. Everyone starts discussing it and Superman turns to them and says "Oh, c'mon people! It's Lex freakin' Luthor!"

Top that Mr. Morrison!

That single exasperated line shows us that Superman is "human." He gets fed up by all the other heroes trying to do be heroes all the time instead of doing the right thing all the time. They shouldn't trust Lex or the villains. Superman is the only hero who goes outside of the borders of the medium and remembers continuity then acts accordingly. Everyone else is there to accomplish whatever the story requires. Superman trancends that and is basically half way between viewer and fiction.


What's the deal? Nobody cares about my spiritual future?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Missed Opportunity

So I missed the Paradise Comics Convention in Toronto this last weekend. I really wanted to go but with A. coming back from Scotland to see her dying grandmother and my general lack of funds I decided to give it a pass. I wanted to see the creators and try to make a few connections and gather some more information first hand about my two mystery projects. I was hoping to meet Chris Butcher of The Beguiling and Comics.212 fame but that will have to wait until June when I’m in Toronto for a wedding (not mine).

I’ve never been to a comic convention. It’s like never being to a gay wedding – one of the fifty things you should do before you die but I haven’t done yet.

May, the Census and picking a Religion

Hello all. It seems that Jim Roeg has listened up and isn't an liar like I suspected. Also Dorian shows us that the internet is a valuable learning tool.

On May 16th the Canadian Census is happening. I am going to ask everyone who comes here to comment on which of the following should be my religion. I will list the pros and cons of both.

Choice #1: Jedi


  • Force powers like being able to do jumping flips and moving inanimate objects so cleaning the bathroom would be a snap.
  • There’s also the Jedi mind trick (which I can only ever say in a Jabba the Hutt voice) which would help getting VIP ticket to concerts or jumping lines at clubs or full restaurants.
  • And naturally the lightsabre. I ask you what red-blooded male hasn’t wanted a lightsabre? Plus if you get a purple one you could find all the lint on your clothes.
  • You get to wear a beard year round.
  • Loose fitting robes so you don’t have to worry about your wardrobe clashing.


  • Could turn to the dark side (although the red light saber is a pro in my book)
  • Loose fitting robes and beards aren’t for everyone
  • Only talking in riddles and quotations
  • It’s make believe

Choice #2: Voodoo


  • Army of zombies.
  • Voodoo dolls to help with tax audits.
  • Speaking in tongues.
  • General lack of clothing, a lot of fires and dancing.
  • Spitting rum into fires to make fireballs
  • Top hats, painted skulls and the whole skull/bone motif is pretty badass.


  • Where do you get all those damn roosters?
  • Lack of fire-rum-breathing coaches
  • You need rhythm.
  • Pappa Shango
  • I can’t stand white dudes in dread locks who think drumming is “spiritual” then go hackysack in their adbuster brand name sneakers because they won’t sell out to the system man. I wouldn’t want to talk to them much.
  • Fingernail clippings and hair clippings are a bit too prevalent.