Archive for September, 2009

Battle Royale with Cheese

Man, I’ve spent too many days in a row reviewing comics (Yes, dangit, two days in a row is a lot. Because shut up, that’s why.), and I’m starting to run low on unreviewed comics besides. So, inspired by this from Snell and this from Kalinara, y’all give me your opinions on the vital question of WHO WOULD WIN?

The combatants:


Superman vs. the Hulk!

Both widely considered the strongest heroes in their individual universes, any conflict between these two often leads to widespread property damage. With his larger variety of powers (flight, heat vision, freezing breath, super-ventriloquism), the Man of Steel often ends up the victor in crossovers that feature these two characters, but the Jade Giant’s near-limitless strength (The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets) means you can never count him out before the final bell.

We’ll go with a best-two-out-of-three battle.

Contest 1:


Pillow Fighting!

Contest 2:

Coin-op Galaga!

Contest 3:

Huggin’ Bunnies!


(My picks are in the comments…)

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Beauty and Brains


Detective Comics #857

So it’s the end of our first storyarc, as Kate Kane bails on the ritzy party to fight Alice and her goons. Abbot and his shapeshifting pals tag along to help out. Alice has kidnapped Kate’s father, a colonel at the local military base — the plan is to take a big shipment of chemical weapons, hijack a plane over Gotham, and gas the whole city into extinction. No big spoiler that Batwoman saves the city — it’s what happens during her confrontation with Alice that’s really interesting. In the backup feature, the Question continues her investigation of the kidnapping ring.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I haven’t really said enough about the amazing artwork here by J.H. Williams III. Every panel is a masterpiece of design and layout — perhaps none better than the first three pages, especially the way pages 2 and 3 mirror each other, or the yin-yang battle between Batwoman and Alice. This is developing into one of the richest and most rewarding comics out there, and you should go pick yourself up a copy as soon as you can.


The Incredible Hercules #135

Hercules’ name may be on the cover, but he doesn’t actually appear inside this issue. Instead, the emphasis is all on boy genius Amadeus Cho, who is simultaneously playing D&D with as a child with evil boy genius Pythagoras Dupree, and fighting during World War II against Doctor Japanazi, the Man with Two Evil Axis Brains! But does Amadeus have a chance to win when his foes are able to determine everything that can happen to him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is the most abstractly brainy comic I’ve read in a while, and what makes that even more awesome is that it didn’t make me feel like a moron when I read it. Sure, it’s got crazy theoretical comic-book super-science, but it’s crazy theoretical comic-book super-science that I can understand. On top of that, the D&D theme is fun, and Dr. Japanazi is pure hilarious.

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Just Another M.O.D.O.K. Monday


M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay #1

Hey, a one-shot issue starring everyone’s favorite colossal-nogginned megalomaniac, M.O.D.O.K., written and illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey, of “Action Philosophers” and “Comic Book Comics” — this is pretty much a guaranteed thumbs-up. But let’s give it a look-see anyway…

So, we got this “Dark Reign” crossover going on, where Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, has basically taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. and is running the country with a bunch of supervillains in disguise. Well, M.O.D.O.K., the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, wants in on that action, but can’t get Osborn to return any of his dozens of calls. Finally, desperate to be rid of uber-craniumed pest, Osborn assigns him and a few of his minions to be to official “protectors” of… Erie, Pennsylvania. Luckily, M.O.D.O.K. grew up in Erie, so he can live in his parents’ home, get delicious pancakes for breakfast, attend his high school reunion, and fight an out-of-work Canadian superhero. And, of course, brainblast his sad-sack minions, which he does as often as he can.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very enjoyably silly stuff. If you get only one comic this year that features a giant-headed supervillain being accosted in a bar restroom by grown-up bullies and given a swirlie, make it this one.


Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #15

The Hulk and Tigra are attending a movie awards show because they were both in a documentary called “Don’t Look at the Camera: Three Days in the Life of the Hulk,” which has been nominated for an award. Unfortunately, Mysterio is also in attendance, because he owns a special effects studio that’s been nominated for another award. Unfortunately, when Mysterio loses the award, he reacts very badly — he plans to create illusions of an alien invasion so that Hulk, in the process of smashing the nonexistent aliens, will end up demolishing the entire auditorium. So why is Tigra the only person unaffected by Mysterio’s illusions, and can she stop the villain and his henchmen all by herself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This one’s a bit iffy in places — I don’t mind funny, good-natured, peace-loving Hulk, but this version of Hulk was so sedate, he almost seemed tranquilized. And even on the printed page, Tigra really is an awful singer. But I did enjoy Tigra saying “Oh sneezes!” everytime something went wrong, and that made up for a lot.

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Friday Night Fights: The Old Reliable Groin Shot!

I’ve been having some trouble finding good panels to use for the latest Friday Night Fights series. See, SpaceBooger has decreed that every fight has to include a good kick — literally, a kick, or a stomp, or some other attack with the feet. And I’m having trouble finding good ones. So this week, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find one…

Luckily, I found Sidekick #3 from 2007, by Paul Jenkins and Chris Moreno, as poor overworked and underappreciated Eddie Edison meets up with an angry Justice Princess and Brother Commando:


Hope your weekend goes a bit better than that…

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A Dose of Awesome: Ninja!

I was digging through some of my newer comics a few weeks back, and it occurred to me that I had some good comics, some cool comics, a growing number of not-really-very-good-at-all comics, and not very many comics that I could really classify as AWESOME. And to be honest, I realized that was a problem not just with comics, but with almost everything. It’s a big beautiful world out there, but sometimes, it sure is tough to find stuff that blows your brain out the top of your skull, makes choirs of angels forget to sing, and just leaves you screaming “That was AWESOME!

So let’s start off a semi-occasional series, for whenever I’m too bored to post anything else, focusing on stuff that’s just awesome. Nothing in-depth, nothing complicated, no thoughtful and wise think-pieces here. Awesome is its own reward.

Today, we’ll start off with one of the core members of the Awesome Community: Ninja!

If you want to learn the real, cold facts about ninja, you should read this page and take careful notes. If you want to learn that the purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people, you should read this page… WHILE SCREAMING!


(Quick mid-blog quiz: Can you find the four ninjas in the picture above? Be careful not to guess wrong or the ninja hiding in your room will cut you down like a dog!)


Ninjas are so awesome that they will sometimes just bust out an inflatable guitar and provide themselves with guitar solos, just because they often kill unworthy rock bands that try to give them guitar solos.

In conclusion, even these ninjas are pretty awesome. Oooh, who’s the snugglicious widdle ninja-pookins! Ow, where’d all these shuriken come from?!

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"Do you like Kipling?" "I don’t know, I’ve never Kipled."

The Unwritten #5

Tom Taylor doesn’t appear in this issue — instead, we visit a previous century and take a look at the life of British author Rudyard Kipling. We follow him as a young reporter in India, frustrated that he can’t tell the stories he wants to. He ends up making a deal, almost entirely by accident, with Mr. Locke, who tells him that he’ll arrange that Kipling will be able to spin his stories for the glories of British Imperialism. And Kipling’s books, like “Gunga Din,” “On the Road to Mandalay,” and “The Light that Failed,” enjoy uncommon success. He is disturbed when, after Locke expresses his disdain for Oscar Wilde’s work, Wilde is unexpectedly arrested and put on trial for sodomy.

On a tour of America, he meets Mark Twain, who warns him that Locke may be a dangerous man, and Locke later tells Kipling that he wants him to remain in America to chronicle America’s rise, instead of England’s decline. Kipling, ever the loyalist, refuses, and soon pays the price, as his daughter Josephine falls ill and is then murdered by Pullman, the seemingly immortal assassin. Unable to write for a year, Kipling eventually turns his attention to fables and his “Just-So Stories” — his own simple declaration of war against Locke and his cronies. But the world continues as Locke had predicted — World War I swallows England whole, and Kipling’s own son joins up to fight and is soon reported MIA. Desperate, he begs for his son’s life from Locke. Will the old fable-teller be able to pull off one last bit of literary magic?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice change-of-pace, and a nice look at the strange history of the world that this comic resides in. Kipling lived an interesting but tragic life, but I never saw him as a fantasy hero before. It’s a sad story, but a fun one at the same time.

Power Girl #5

A spaceship has crashed in Prospect Park, and Kara heads up for the apartment roof to change into her costume — hey! Is someone taking pictures of her? There’s gonna be trouble later. Meanwhile, the spaceship almost shoots Power Girl while aiming at a pursuing ship, and while she tears her way inside, the three beautiful alien women inside come out to meet the New Yorkers gawking at the ship. PeeGee meets up with a hunky male android just before the ship self-destructs. Something — possibly Power Girl herself — somehow contains the explosion, but she’s left severely injured in the aftermath. Luckily, she recovers fast once she gets a little sunlight. After bonding with emergency personnel, she returns to her company, where she learns the shocking truth about why her horrible, horrible cat changed color, interviews a new PR employee, and gets in the middle of a minor war between the three alien women and a space cop sent to apprehend them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There’s a lot of stuff shoehorned in here, some of it a bit weird (Why did Power Girl forget her gloves and boots in the first battle? Was there a plot point behind it?). But there were a lot of cool moments, sometimes very small, sometimes a bit larger. The scene between Power Girl and Pete the fireman is really cute, the alien girls discovering hot dogs is funny, and getting PeeGee’s horrible, horrible cat washed is a small comedy miracle. As always, Amanda Conner’s art makes everything even better.


Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #6

Hellboy and Alice are in the castle of Morgan Le Fay. She tells them about Mordred, the son she bore for King Arthur. Though he died in the Battle of Camlan, and his three sons were killed, he had a daughter who escaped death, and who continued his bloodline through a long line of female children, culminating in a woman named Sarah Hughes, a witch who married a demon, died, and went to Hell to deliver the first male heir in the Pendragon bloodline in hundreds of years — a big, red-skinned guy with a stone hand who likes to file his horns down. In other words, Hellboy is not only the reluctant Beast of the Apocalypse, he’s also the rightful King of Britain. So Morgan gives him a choice — he can take the Sword from the Stone and lead an army of dead elves and fairies into battle, or he can let Nimue, former consort and betrayer of Merlin, destroy the world as the new blood-soaked Queen of the Witches. But Hellboy fears he is slowly becoming the demonic Great Beast — will he end up wearing both crowns at once? Is this just a struggle to decide whether Nimue or Anung un Rama will call an end to creation?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very big stuff going on here — epic and apocalyptic in every sense of the word. Is Mike Mignola really getting ready to end his own comic-book universe?

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Will Terrell's "SuperZeroes" online!


I’ve been anxiously awaiting Will Terrell’s “SuperZeroes” webcomic since before the last Comic Book Expo in May. Back then, it was going to be a regular comic book, and Will put out a preview during the Expo. I liked what I saw then and have been eagerly waiting for its grand debut since I read the preview.
Looks like the wait is over.
There’s not a lot of backstory you’ll have to learn yet, but it looks like our main characters are a bunch of Texas high school outcasts — lanky class clown Johnny Hopkins, rotund moper Bob Krumple, sarcastic goth-girl Rosina “Muertina” Mantano, and spacey California surfergirl Elysium M. Fields. Oh, and Potato, a very lazy bulldog.
Will describes the set-up this way: 

“A romantic-superpowers-adventure-comedy about growing up strange in an average world.  It’s a story in the style of ‘Amelie’ meets ‘The Breakfast Club’ with a quirky imagination and a predilection for spinning stereotype on its ear.”

Four lovable high school losers are drawn together as they discover they each possess strange powers that allow them to take slacking to SUPER ZERO proportions.  With incredible, limitless powers, teenage angst and no common sense, there is no end to the adventures in store.

Go check it out, and get it added to your own bookmarks.

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The Incredible Hercules #134

Hercules is disguised as Thor in a bid to stop the Dark Elves before they attack the mortal realm. He’s babysitting his amnesiac father, Zeus, inconveniently de-aged to childhood, but still possessing many of his godly powers. After briefly battling a bunch of marauding trolls, they then run from them, then ally with them, then turn on them again.

And when they get to the castle of Queen Alfyse of the Dark Elves, instead of battling, Hercules, as usual, lets himself be fooled by a beautiful woman. He mostly fails the Drow’s tests… but Alfyse is willing to let herself be fooled, too. So a lengthy night of revelry begins, and Herc learns about obscure elvish customs that decree that if he sleeps with the queen, they’re married — and the Dark Elves celebrate the wedding by preparing to invade the mortal realms. Luckily, Asgard’s Warriors Three have a plan to stave off disaster…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even if I hadn’t loved every page of this comic, from Zeus’ exasperation with his demigod son to Herc’s semi-clueless references to Midgard pop culture, this would’ve been worth six or eight thumbs-ups just for the plot twist on the last page, which actually had me laughing out loud because it was so wonderful.


The Brave and the Bold #27

Robby Reed, owner of the legendary H-Dial that lets him transform into different superheroes, is visiting Gotham City with his grandfather, just as the Joker decides that he’s finally waited long enough, he’s not getting any younger, and it’s time to kill off the Batman once and for all. What follows is an intense city-wide crime spree designed to wear the Dark Knight out. When Robby spins the dial to try to help out, he comes up with a precog super-psychic called Mental Man — and when he looks into the future, what he sees scares him so badly that he gives up, turns back into Robby, and runs off to huddle under his bedcovers.

The next day, a desperate hard-luck case named Travers Milton breaks into the Reeds’ motel room to steal a few valuables and snags the H-Dial. When he spins it, he turns into a flying brick called the Star. He quickly gets busy saving lives and meets up with Batman — Milton’s background in the underworld means he knows a lot of the details about the ongoing crime wave, which he eagerly shares with Bats. The Star runs off to fight crime and save more lives, and in the end, he saves Batman from a bomb the Joker had left for him, but at the cost of his own life. Batman later returns the H-Dial to Robby, who reveals that his psychic powers revealed that the next person to use the dial would die, so he chickened out and left it for someone else to use instead. Bats says he’s okay with this, because it gave a no-hope loser like Milton the opportunity to be a real hero.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I actually liked most of this comic, but that bizarre ending, where Batman shrugs off Robby’s spectacularly craven cowardice, is a complete deal-killer. It’s actually monumentally out-of-character for both Batman and Robby, and I can’t thumbs-up a story that screws up those characterizations so easily.

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Black Monday


Blackest Night #3

We start out with Jason Rusch, the new Firestorm, and his girlfriend Gen, who is his current co-pilot in the Firestorm fusion matrix. She wants to talk marriage — he doesn’t. From there, we switch to the Flash and Green Lantern fighting against the Black Lantern Justice League — the undead versions of the Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, Firestorm, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl. Hal and Barry are soon joined by the Atom, who stowed away inside Hawkman’s Black Lantern ring — they speculate that the rings are channeling energy to somewhere else in the universe, that certain people are being resurrected specifically because their reappearance would elicit strong emotional responses, and that the rings function as organic computers that animate the dead — as the Atom puts it, the dead aren’t wearing the rings, the rings are wearing the dead — though the zombies act somewhat like they did when they were alive, it’s all a put-on by the rings themselves.

Luckily, the Purple Lanterns — or as they call themselves, the Indigo Tribe — finally make their appearance. They are powered by compassion, and their staffs are able, when combined with the energy of any other color of power ring, to disrupt the black rings’ connections to the hosts and dissipate the bodies — in fact, they’re able to put down Ralph and Sue Dibny that way. Hal, Barry, Ray, and the Indigo Tribe meet up with Firestorm and Mera at the Justice League HQ, but they’re surprised by the rest of the Black Lantern Justice Leaguers. Ronnie Raymond manages to separate Jason and Gen, re-fuses with Jason, and uses his knowledge of chemistry to turn Gen into NaCl. After that, another bunch of black rings come in and resurrect the dead supervillains in the JLA’s basement.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Probably the most fun about this series so far is seeing who else gets turned into a zombie — in this issue alone, we get treated to walking-dead versions of Dr. Light, Copperhead, Alexander Luthor, Madame Rouge, Maxwell Lord, the Psycho-Pirate, the Unknown Soldier, Rocket Red, and Osiris. Not a bad turnout this time.


Secret Six #13

The Six are still stuck on Smyth’s slaver island — Scandal, Bane, Jeannette, and Artemis trying to free the Amazons, and Catman, Deadshot, and Ragdoll left guarding Wonder Woman on behalf of Smyth and staring down the crucified demonic horror called Grendel. Ragdoll tries on Wondy’s boots, Scandal confronts a bunch of guards and gives them 30 seconds to call their loved ones — and the guards DO, and it’s kinda heartbreaking, ’cause she kills ’em all anyway. Catman goes rogue and frees the captive Amazons, and Grendel gets loose.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was kind of a weird issue — it seems that pretty much everyone was having visions of one type or another. Jeannette sees everyone wearing old period clothing, Scandal relives her childhood, Deadshot imagines himself killing everyone, Bane is having happy, weepy memories of his life in prison, Ragdoll is unusually spacey, even Wonder Woman is making cryptic pronouncements. Something even stranger than normal is going on here…

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Friday Night Fights: Another One Rides the Bus!

Has it been a long week for anyone else? ‘Round about Monday, I was thinking it was almost the weekend, and dang it, I was wrong! It was nowhere near the weekend! NOWHERE NEAR! Can you imagine the shattering, towering agony of having to wait five whole horrible days after Sunday for the next weekend to start? Well, of course you can imagine it! But — how do we stand it?! Those endless, terrifying hours spent at work instead of maxxin’ and relaxxin’ back home, spinning some fine tunes, eating Cheetos on the toilet — um, I mean, sipping champagne in the hot tub. YOU SEE HOW THE STRESS GETS TO ME?!

Dang, you know what we need? We need some FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Our kicktastic smackdown tonight comes to us from 2002’s Dork #10 by Evan Dorkin, in which teenaged Evan comes face-to-face — or at least face-to-foot — with the prettiest girl on the bus:


Ahh, the happy memories of junior high and the compadres of our youth… Ack, spit, howl, now I need three more weekends to erase those memories!

Also, a very merry birthday to our Friday Night Fights host, Spacebooger! He’s almost old enough to legally buy cigarettes and porn now!

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