Archive for September, 2008

Ban the Book Banners

Didja know it’s Banned Books Week? Well, it is. Of course, there are banned comics out there, but they’re dwarfed by the numbers of banned books.

Book banners, book burners, and other knowledge-hating censors have always been some of the things that were most likely to make me good and mad. I don’t know — there’s just something about prigs and bluenoses that make me wanna dig out my consecrated shovel and knock some ignorant twit’s block off. So go out and read some banned books this week, just to spoil a censor’s day.

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Hail to the King, Baby


My Name Is Bruce

It’s the Adventures of Bruce Campbell. No, not Ash from the “Evil Dead” movies. Just Bruce Campbell, B-movie actor. Sure, he actually tends to act exactly like Ash, but the star is actually Bruce Campbell. What’s the plot? An ancient Chinese demon is accidentally freed from imprisonment, and Bruce gets tricked into coming to help get rid of it.

Verdict: Thumbs up for a comic starring one of the ten most awesome people in the history of the universe. Thumbs down for it not really being a very good comic.


Hellboy: The Crooked Man #3

It’s the final showdown between the diabolical Crooked Man and the mostly outclassed forces of good, including Hellboy, Tom Ferrell, and the old blind priest. The Crooked Man tries to tempt Tom and the priest, and his henchwitches raise an army of zombies to combat Hellboy. Is there no hope for our heroes? Or is this all going to come down to Hellboy whacking someone upside the head with a consecrated shovel?

Verdict: Two or three thumbs up. Yes, it’s still an absolutely awesome story, with outstanding art, terrifying foes, and suspense galore, but anything that includes an actual consecrated shovel gets graded up an extra notch.

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The Justice Kids

PS238 #34

Things are getting weirdly interesting in Wonderburg, home to PS238, the school for superpowered kids. Tyler Marlocke is currently in two different places at once — he’s locked in stasis to keep an alien virus from infecting the rest of the world, and he’s also running around town in a clone body that may be developing its own superpowers. He hangs out for a while with Julie “84” Finster and attends a cookout with Julie and her cousins, the Nuclear Family — Julie’s parents and the Nuclears don’t like each other much, so they spend most of their time arguing. And even worse, a bunch of imps and cherubs who only the kids can see are making the adults and some interdimensional crystal entities fight each other!

Unfortunately, when Tyler gets put into a crystal prison by the invaders, it gives his clone, which had apparently evolved its own sentience, the opportunity to throw off Tyler’s control and start taking action. And extra-unfortunately, the clone doesn’t seem to be a very nice guy. Julie is able to get the imps and cherubs to leave, and it looks like her superpowered blood may be just the thing to cure Tyler’s alien virus, but will Dr. Newby be able to formulate a cure in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, this comic is a ton of fun. Y’all should go pester your local comic shop for a copy — it’s definitely worthy of wider popularity.

The Family Dynamic #2

Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery want to re-enact the Hindenburg disaster, but the Family Dynamic get warned off from helping because Pyralis’s flame powers could blow up the blimp. Instead, the unpowered vigilantes Blackbird and Little Wing take down the villains. It’s soon revealed that Blackbird is really Maeve Spencer, sister of Pyralis, and Little Wing is her extremely enthusiastic daughter.

Verdict: I’m still giving this a thumbs up, because it’s an absolute metric ton of fun, but I really, really wanna see some more effort on summaries and on reminding us of all these people’s real names. Yes, it’s a minor point, but this comic’s large cast — and all those Latin names for the F.D.’s super-names — really cry out for a few good summary panels to make sure we all remember who everyone is…

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Vampirella Redesign Winners Announced!

Project Rootop has revealed the winning designs in their recent “Vampirella Revamp” competition. Lots of very cool and unexpected designs (seems like the best redesigns always have something wildly unexpected in ’em). But there was nothing cooler or more unexpected than their grand prize winner:



Vampirella as Speed Racer — you may now consider my mind officially blown. And dig the fangs on that hot rod!

Lots of other great designs — go check ’em out!

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Friday Night Fights: Fight Fest!

Let’s see… Friday? Check. Night? Yah, close enough. Fights? Comin’ right up. Looks like it’s the perfect time for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight, we go back to Birds of Prey #118 by Tony Bedard, Nicola Scott, and Doug Hazlewood, from earlier this year. It’s Misfit vs. Black Alice!



Short and simple? Sure thing. Best way to start the weekend.

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Busting the Curve

Tiny Titans #8

DC’s most enjoyable kids’ comic keeps rocking. The kids get their report cards, Starfire helps Blue Beetle become Neon Technicolor Beetle, Robin is afraid of the clown at a birthday party, and the Pet Club meets in Atlantis.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is probably one of the best issues of this series that I’ve read — every story was funny or clever, the art was grand fun, and the characterizations were just wonderful. Yes, this is a kids’ comic, but I recommend it for anyone, just because it packs so much awesomeness and fun into every issue.

And it doesn’t hurt that it includes things like this:

The Tiny Titans version of the Persuader carries an Atomic Toothbrush.

That’s awesome, baby.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #2

Being the World’s Mightiest Mortal isn’t always easy. Billy Batson may possess the Power of Shazam, but he’s still in big trouble, thanks to Theo Adam, a bully who used to the Wizard Shazam’s protege thousands of years ago. He was a real bad guy, and Shazam imprisoned him for a long time, but now that he’s escaped, he’s figured out that Billy is Captain Marvel, and he plans to find out what Billy’s magic word is so he can become a supervillain. So Billy and his sister Mary have to be careful using their magic word, or Theo will discover what it is. And when they’re finally able to reach the wizard, he reveals some more bad news — the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man have escaped their own imprisonment, and they’re now serving Theo.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, this is the wordiest all-ages comic, I’ve ever read. Nothing wrong with that, ’cause they’re really well-done words. And Mike Kunkel’s art is gorgeous.

Have you noticed that just about the best comics that Marvel and DC are putting out are all-ages books?

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Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue!

Captain America #42

It’s the big conclusion of the first epic-length storyarc with Bucky Barnes as Captain America. Bucky foils the assassination attempt on Senator Wright, the Red Skull’s flunky, and pursues the Skull’s daughter, Sin. Knowing her dad will kill her for failing, she makes up a contingency plan to blow up all of the presidential candidates. Is there any way for Bucky to save everyone and embrace Captain America’s legacy? Elsewhere, the Falcon and the Black Widow are searching through the bad guys’ self-destructing base while the Skull and Arnim Zola try to transfer the Skull’s consciousness into Sharon Carter.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This ended up just plain excellent — much better than I was expecting. All the threads got either wrapped up beautifully or extended perfectly so they can be used later. This was a very long arc, but the finale was so spectacular, it made up for everything.

Blue Beetle #31

The artificially-created magnetic metahumans who Jaime captured last issue are brought to an El Paso hospital — their powers are killing them, and the only person who can save them is a metahuman doctor — namely, the Justice Society’s Dr. Mid-Nite. He’s able to stabilize them, but Intergang is planning on kidnapping them right back so they can dissect them. Meanwhile, Blue Beetle is awarded the key to the city, but the politically ambitious D.A. surprises Jaime by deputizing him into the Border Patrol! Oh, great, now half the city thinks Blue Beetle is a racist immigrant-basher. But Jaime doesn’t have long to worry about the fix he’s gotten into — Intergang attacks the hospital and takes his mother hostage! Jaime and Dr. Mid-Nite save the innocent bystanders, but Intergang escapes. But who’s pulling Intergang’s strings?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Blue Beetle is awesome, and you should all go out and buy several copies right now.

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #2

Robo is assisting with the invasion of Italy during WWII and runs into the Axis’ secret weapons — oversized suits of powered armor that give the Nazis an awful lot of butt-kicking power. Robo and the Allies end up taking down five of them over the next few hours, but it takes quite a struggle to take each one down, and there are still another seven out there. Do they have a chance of destroying the rest before the Nazis use them to stop the Allies dead?

Verdict: Giving this one a thumbs up, too. Robo’s a ton of fun, and the only thing better than killing Nazis is killing Nazi robots.

Superman # 680

I’m not a regular reader of this comic, but come on, who can resist that cover? We’re in the middle of a storyline where Supes is battling an ancient superhuman named Atlas — and Atlas is way too strong for Superman to beat. So is there any hope for Superman and Metropolis? Krypto… sic ’em!

Verdict: Good dog! What a good, good dog!

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Dollars and Sentry


The Age of the Sentry #1

This is the origin and early adventures of the Sentry, Marvel’s Superman clone, told in a retro, Silver Age style. We get some great little tidbits here and there — a super-powered corgi, a villain named Cranio, the Man with the Tri-Level Mind, who has three brains, the Mad Thinker disguising him as a beatnik movie director, and the Sentry beating the Devil in a fiddle-playing contest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Kinda similar to Alan Moore’s “1963” series or the retro Mighty Man stories they used to put in the back of some “Savage Dragon” comics. Not real happy about this being an ongoing series — this is the type of thing that’s fun once in a while but gets really tiresome if it goes on for long…


Young X-Men #6

In the aftermath of the first storyline, the team comes to grips with Wolf Cub’s death, Ink’s betrayals, and the whole team getting completely suckered by Donald Pierce. Rockslide punches the holy living snot outta Cyclops, Blindfold leaves the team, everyone gets a few clues about Graymalkin’s origins (it appears that he’s one of Charles Xavier’s ancestors), and Anole returns to join the team.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty good stuff, good characterizations, nicely escalating team tensions. Not real thrilled with Blindfold leaving, since she was one of the most interesting characters in the book, but I’m hoping she’ll be making a return before too long.


The Brave and the Bold #17

Obviously, in this issue, we’re getting a team-up between Supergirl and Raven. Supergirl has voices in her head from her father telling her to kill Superman, so she goes to Raven for mystical help getting rid of her father’s programming. Raven takes her to Azarath to learn how to meditate. Meanwhile, a young urban revolutionary has inherited superpowers from his mysterious vanished father, and he plans on killing a whole lot of people.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The art is… weird. Not bad, just weird. And dang it, I just cannot take Raven’s alter ego seriously. The quiet, emotionless empath from the old “New Teen Titans” comics now spends her non-superhero time as a barely-dressed, fetish-wear goth-punk? Next you’ll be telling me that DC brought Barry Allen back to life…

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The Fab Four


Greatest Hits #1

This new Vertigo series could be summed up very briefly as “What if the Beatles had superpowers?” In this case, we’re talking about a ’60s British superteam called the Mates, consisting of the unpowered Solicitor (reminds me sorta of Lennon), the superstrong Crusader (seems like McCartney), magic-using Vizier (Harrison), and fun-loving speedster Zipper (definitely Ringo). In this first issue, everyone meets each other, goes through an extra teammate, goes on a rescue at a mine collapse, and enjoys being completely bloody famous. Mixed in with this is the story of Nick Mansfield, a washed-up screenwriter/director and the son of one of the Mates, who is trying to salvage his career by doing a documentary about the old superteam.

Verdict: Thumbs up, so far. Will it be something other than a bunch of old Beatles stories and anecdotes with superpowers tacked on? That remains to be seen. But for now, it’s pretty entertaining. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’ll stay good.


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #28

The Avengers want to recruit Luke Cage, but he’s more comfortable as a street-level hero making life better for the people in his community. Luckily, Luke’s mother arrives on the scene, scolds him for sassing her, and orders him to go help the team out with some missions. They take out some of Dr. Doom’s robots, wrap up some plant monsters, and stomp on the Brawl Brothers. And in a followup story, the team rescues an interdimensional cat from a tree. All in a day’s work!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great funny stuff, excellent storytelling. I loved Momma Cage! I also enjoyed the casual diss of Dr. Doom, Luke’s ongoing fascination with Storm, Hammerhead’s inability to shaddap, and the awesome twist on the old saving-the-cat-in-the-tree gag.

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From the Computer to your Home

MySpace Dark Horse Presents

Awesome! Dark Horse Comics put out a trade paperback of a bunch of the stories they’ve got on their MySpace page. Yeah, sure, you can read ’em all online for free, but this way, you can show ’em to your technophobic gramma, or you can read ’em when all those Wall Street brokers steal that $700 billion government bailout, move to Argentina, and shut off our electricity. Heck, you can read ’em while you’re sitting on the pot. (“Uhh, I can take my laptop in there, man.” Bite me, freak. No one sane takes a laptop into the bathroom. Do you know how idiotic you look strainin’ and groanin’ on the terlet with your dorky MacBook on your lap? AWAY WIF YOU, KNAVE.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, this one is awesome. For one thing, it opens up with Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon’s impossibly awesome “Sugarshock” — and that’s worth the purchase price all by itself. Plus it’s got a story of the Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, Adam Warren’s awesomely awesome superhero bondage-queen Empowered, a Christmas story by Mike Mignola, Rick Rememnder’s “Fear Agent” and much, much more.

Really, I’ve been looking through here trying to find a story I didn’t like — I think I found one. And I didn’t even mind it that much, it just didn’t entirely appeal to me. The rest of the stories here are just plain jaw-droppingly schweeet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Big-time, crazy-hat, jazz-hands thumbs up. Why hasn’t “Sugarshock” been given an ongoing series yet? Whedon, to heck with that Buffy stuff, a’ight? Get busy on bringing us monthly Sugarshock adventures.

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