Archive for July, 2008

Laughing All the Way to the Box Office


“The Dark Knight” is making pretty darn good money so far this weekend. Was there ever any doubt that it would make scads of cash?

Quick review: I liked it. Heath Ledger’s Joker is a revelation. Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent and Two-Face is also just grand. Two-Face was always my favorite Bat-villain, so as long as he was better than Tommy Lee Jones, I woulda been happy. The movie sure was long, though.

Pre-movie trailers: “The Spirit” looks like complete festering monkey-poop. I don’t care who’s in it — it just looks awful. And it could’ve been awesome, if only someone would’ve surgically downsized Frank Miller’s impossibly gargantuan ego first.

But the trailer for “Watchmen”? That one looked fiiiiine.

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Three Episodes of Horrible!


I mentioned “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” earlier this week, but this is a good time to remind everyone about it, because the third and final episode is now online. Go watch it right now!

I just got done watching the entire thing, and it really was much better and deeper than I was expecting it to be. I thought it’d be a nice little distraction, lots of jokes, several nice songs… but I was repeatedly surprised by how great it all was. The music is really, really fun, and very catchy and singable — I’m sure a soundtrack is forthcoming, and it’ll probably be worth spending some cash on.

And it’s a lot more dramatic and exciting than I was expecting — by the end of the second episode, I hated Captain Hammer, just like Dr. Horrible, and was really looking forward to Dr. Horrible’s inevitable triumph over goodness and justice. Of course, dreams never come true the way you planned, and the bad doctor’s victory ends up being pretty depressing for everyone involved. Definitely not your typical musical…

So go watch it right now. And you’d better hurry — they’re taking it offline at the end of the day!

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The Fighting Americans


Captain America #40

It’s the new Captain America — Bucky Barnes — vs. another new Captain America — in this case, a resurrected and brainwashed replacement Cap from the 1950s. But it’s nowhere near a fair fight — the replacement Cap may think he’s the original Steve Rogers, but he’s a lot stronger and faster than Steve ever was. The fake Cap thinks the Bucky Cap is an assassin who killed Bucky in the ’40s, but when he learns that Bucky’s still alive, will his conditioning break? Meanwhile, Sharon Carter is fighting for her life against the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but for once, I wasn’t overly impressed with what I was reading. Personally, I’m thinking this storyline has gone on for a really, really long time, and I’d like a bit of resolution sometime…


Wonder Woman #22

Trapped in a fantasy world, and fighting alongside Beowulf, Claw, and the Stalker, Wonder Woman is rapidly losing her soul, thanks to Stalker’s bizarre magic. Their only hope is to defeat the powerful demon D’Grth, who is assisted by Grendel itself. But someone is fated to betray them all… and what will happen when D’Grth makes his way to our world? Elsewhere, Agent Tessier has stumbled onto Diana Prince’s houseguests — a friendly band of albino gorillas from Gorilla City — and of course, a big fight breaks out, leading to Diana’s apartment getting completely wrecked…

Verdict: Thumbs up, but this is another one that I’d like to get finished up soon, preferably with some explanations that actually make sense.


Young X-Men #4

Ink is having a change of heart after betraying Blindfold to mutant-hating cyborg Donald Pierce — he goes out and gets new tattoos (one designed to give him telepathy) and prepares to help Wolf Cub and Rockslide take out the last members of the new Hellfire Club, Cannonball and Sunspot, formerly of the New Mutants. But Cannonball and Sunspot seem to be under the impression that the kids are the villains here — what’s going on? And Greymalkin, a mutant who’s previously not been seen much here, makes a surprise attack on Cyclops — or rather, on the guy who’s been pretending to be Cyclops. No, he’s not a Skrull — he may be even worse…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was actually a bit more impressed with this issue than I’d been with the previous ones, and the big reveal on the fake Cyclops was pretty good, too.

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Please be warned: Crazy people who really need to get a proper hobby have decreed that the Black Canary version of Barbie is “filth.”

“Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far,” the Christian Voice is quoted as saying by the tabloid The Sun. “A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible — it’s filth.”

In true tabloid fashion, The Sun’s headline reads, “S&M Barbie is lashed by the public.”

I think the following points should be noted:

1. Black Canary actually wears more clothing than Wonder Woman, which I guess means these people think Wondy is a filthy tramp.

2. Black Canary has worn the same general costume as the doll wears since her first appearance in the comics back in 1947.

3. Black Canary actually wears more clothing than the original Barbie back in 1959, which I guess means these people think the original Barbie was also a filthy tramp.

4. Depressingly, these people probably really do think Wonder Woman and Barbie are filthy tramps.

Heck, these are folks who think arctic-weight winter parkas are insufficiently modest, and who will say so, repeatedly and loudly, every time someone points a TV camera at them…

The “Christian Voice” should spend more time working to feed the hungry, nurture the sick, and comfort the afflicted, and a heck of a lot less time moralizing pointlessly about superhero costumes.

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Foreign Relations


Urban Myths #1

Part of Top Cow’s “Pilot Season” promotion, this one is set in a world where the culture and magic of Ancient Greece survived to the present day. All the buildings look like Greek temples, the cops are centaurs, fauns throw frisbees in the park, minotaurs drive beat-up junker pickups. Our protagonist is a private eye named Jack Kaklamanis, but everyone calls him Jack Medusa, because his mom was, um, the Medusa. That means Jack has snakes for hair, and he has to wear a metal mask to keep from turning everyone around him to stone. One of his few allies is his blind, widowed dad, who helps maintain his mask.

So Jack has been hired to track down a missing girl. He petrifies a couple of redneck cyclopes, but is making no real progress in the case — until he realizes that the girl’s father died recently, so she may have decided to make an unauthorized trip to Hades to visit him. So Jack has to travel to the Underworld to retrieve her, and he has to hurry, or they’ll both be trapped there forever…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Jack Medusa is a really entertaining and appealing character, and the Greek setting is simultaneously familiar and alien, so it looks like the kind of place where you’ll always find something interesting.


Captain Britain and MI-13 #3

The Skrulls have invaded England and taken control of Avalon, the source of Earth’s magic. Things look hopeless — the normal humans and superheroes in England can’t stand long against the Skrulls, the few heroes and mystical creatures left in Avalon can’t hold out long, no one’s left who’s noble enough to draw Excalibre from the stone, and Pete Wisdom is going to have to turn to the forces of evil to fight the alien hordes. But it turns out that unleashing the evils in Avalon, he’s also empowered Merlin himself to work his magic, which he uses to resurrect a certain recently-deceased superhero.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The whole thing was pretty good (John the Skrull and Faiza Hussain are great fun), but this really earns its marks for the scene with all the British flags being whipped off their flagpoles to form the new body of Cap Britain…

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Back to the Future


Booster Gold #1,000,000

Well, Booster’s time-traveling has already taken him back to DC’s “Zero Hour” crossover — time for him to visit the distant future of the year 85,271. That’s the date of another crossover called “DC One Million,” set one million months after “Action Comics #1.” Anyway, Booster and Skeets get caught up in a timestorm in the aftermath of Ted Kord returning to the past to be killed, and they end up getting a front row seat for the self-promotional theatrics of a guy named Peter Platinum, who reacts angrily when he sees Booster. Apparently, he decided to take Booster’s previous fame-mongering antics to their ultimate point. They don’t interact together long before Rip Hunter appears in his time sphere to fetch Booster and to confiscate Peter Platinum’s stolen costume and time technology.

After returning to the present, Booster, frustrated by Ted’s death and the constant lectures from Rip, quits and goes back to solo superhero duty. He and Skeets run into the Royal Flush Gang in Las Vegas and is in the process of mopping them up when Green Lantern and Green Arrow arrive to help… and also to accuse him of setting up the Gang’s robbery as publicity for himself. He also get a priority message from Batman, who demands to meet with him. Expecting yet another lecture, he is instead surprised to learn that Bats thinks Booster’s been doing a great job, because he learned that he went time traveling to try to keep Barbara Gordon from being paralyzed. He returns to helping Rip, who rewards him with a new teammate. And we also learn a little unexpected info about Rip Hunter’s family life…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s really cool how much fun this series has been. Of course, it’s going to continue, but without Geoff Johns at the helm. Can it continue being cool? Let’s hope so. Speaking of cool, the “DC One Million” gimmick is pretty nifty here — if only they coulda gotten Grant Morrison to write it, like he did for most of the One Million crossovers back in ’98…


Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #16

First time I’ve picked this one up — it’s the all-ages comic version of the recent “Legion of Super-Heroes” cartoon series. And this one stars a character called “Arm-Fall-Off Boy,” a character who appeared in the original LSH comic back in ’89. His one and only power — he can detach his limbs and use them as clubs. Yeah, whooo. Unsurprisingly, he was rejected for Legion membership. Anyway, this issue focuses on Arm-Fall-Off Boy, or Floyd Belkin, who dreams of membership in the Legion and idolizes Phantom Girl, who he imagines is the most tolerant and least judgemental. However, as is revealed during a battle against a very slimy and see-through monster on an alien planet, Phantom Girl is actually incredibly squeamish about gross and icky stuff, which would certainly include AFO Boy’s detachable arms. However, Floyd still manages to come through when times are tough, defeating a supervillain named Starfinger. But will his feats of derring-do still be enough to get him into the Legion?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Floyd is a really charming and amusing character, and he comes up with some pretty funny ways to use his very limited superpowers. And Starfinger is a really funny character, setting up his evil headquarters in a local department store because he can’t afford a fancy media center like they have in their TV department, and waving enthusiastically at Arm-Fall-Off Boy’s disembodied arm.

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If you haven’t heard of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, you need to go get acquainted ASAP.

What is it? It’s a musical about a supervillain, written and directed by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator and former “Astonishing X-Men” writer Joss Whedon and his family. It stars Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Howser,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Harold and Kumar,” too many others to mention) as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion (“Firefly” and “Desperate Housewives”) as the heroic but egotistical Captain Hammer, and Felicia Day (“Buffy” and “The Guild“) as Penny, Dr. Horrible’s idealistic love interest.

So what’s the deal? Well, first, it’s very funny, and that should be enough reason all by itself to go watch it. If you enjoyed the musical episode of “Buffy” back in 2001, you should enjoy the music, since Whedon wrote the music and lyrics for both. How much superhero action? Well, not a ton. The budget’s not real grand, so don’t expect too much.

But listen, if you want to see it, you have a limited amount of time to do so. The first episode debuted today, Part II hits this Thursday, and Part III appears on Saturday. And then the whole thing goes offline on Sunday! Of course, it’ll be released on DVD eventually, but this is going to be your only chance to see it for free, so don’t miss out!

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One Nation under GRODD!

Hairless bipeds! You will submit to your simian superior! You will submit to GRODD!


The puny, primitive humans will bow before Earth’s ultimate master! All hail Gorilla Grodd!


There is no state! There is no religion! There is no society! There is only Grodd!


Humanity is an evolutionary dead end! Only Grodd reigns supreme!


The master of Gorilla City is destined to become the master of the world! All hail GRODD!


Duuuude, you tried these bananas? Awwwwwesome.


Humanity will kneel! Kneel before Grodd!

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Glory to Gog


Justice Society of America #17

Gog is roaming Africa, working miracles, making the desert fertile, and winning hundreds of devoted followers. The Justice Society and the Justice League are watching him warily, but even members of the JSA are considering him a global savior. He’s healed Damage’s face, cures Dr. Mid-Nite’s blindness, restores Starman’s sanity, and returns Power Girl to her original home on Earth-2. But we all know he’s really a bad guy, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Raising the stakes nicely, setting up some confrontations for the future. But I gotta say, it’s a real slow-moving issue.


Number of the Beast #7

The Paladins and the Authority fight with each other, while the government scrambles a bunch of super-soldiers cloned from the mega-powerful hero/villain named the High. Of course, the two teams eventually realize that they’re on the same side and retreat to the Authority’s extra-dimensional Carrier, but the High clones have figured out how to follow them.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I’ve been enjoying this series, but this was a fairly pointless issue. I hope things pick up for the grand finale.

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Friday Night Fights: Patriot Whacked!

It was delayed a week for the Fourth of July, but tonight is the final round of the latest edition of Friday Night Fights! You know what this means, right? With any luck, this’ll be the last time Bahlactus goes for an all-black-and-white comics theme. It was no fun having to bleach the color out of everything I scanned for the fightfests, lemme tell you.

So let’s go ahead and get right to it: from this year’s Captain America #34 by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Butch Guice — the new Captain America and the Black Widow beat the stuffing out of the evil scientists of A.I.M.:

Even in black and white, a beat-down like that’ll make you glad you’re an American.

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