Archive for February, 2013

Night of the Comet


Womanthology: Space #5

All of this stories in this issue — the last one of this particular series, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see more on the way soon — are on a broad, common theme: not just stories related to space, but stories about comets. We get a story about an unsually tall girl who loves to run by Barbara Randall Kesel, Diana Nock, and Amauri Osorio; a tale about a robot who installs itself into a voiceless human body to visit the performer he loves by Allison Pang, Chrissie Zullo, and Amauri Osorio; a story about a couple of nogoodniks in 1666 who set out to steal some brandy by Laura Morley, Sara Richard, and Amauri Osorio; a mythological take on the formation of comets by Cecil Castellucci, Kel McDonald, and Amauri Osorio; and a futuristic dystopian story in which a comet’s coming is believed to be a sign of God’s disfavor by Kiala Kazebee and Isabelle Melancon.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Quite aside from the fact that all the stories are excellently written and excellently illustrated, I just want to say that I loved the way the comet theme was used in this issue. You had someone who dressed up as a comet, Halley’s Comet as a background element of a story, an allegorical story about comets, and even a well-known performing artist who takes a tumble out of a dirigible — a falling star. That broad theme gives all the creators an opportunity to create a very wide variety of fun stories.


Captain Marvel #10

Carol Danvers has been diagnosed with some sort of ailment and ordered by her doctor to stop flying — no flying planes, and no flying with superpowers either. I don’t know why there’s a medical connection between the two, really — is the ailment related to how high she goes? Beats me, and no one bothers to question the whole thing. At any rate, Captain Marvel thinks the whole thing is a load of hooey, so she does a little flying. She manages to save a subway car trapped in a sinkhole, but she has some odd blackouts. Plus she’s being stalked by an old enemy called Deathbird. Can Captain Marvel deal with a foe who knows she’s getting weaker? And what will be the ultimate cost of her decision to keep flying?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but just barely, and only because the story was not 100% idiocy. I could’ve dealt with the silliness of the story just fine if it weren’t for the problem of the abysmally bad artwork by Filipe Andrade. I don’t know what kind of blackmail material he’s got on Marvel, but it must be pretty spicy. Really, this comic may be the only one I know of where the interior art is always in a style that’s entirely different than the (completely gorgeous) art on the covers.

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Friday Night Fights: Cats vs. Dogs!

Gather ’round, kids. It’s Friday evening, and we’re all dying to get the weekend started. But there’s no way to get it started right without comic book violence. It’s in the Constitution, man! So batten down the hatches — it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us courtesy of January 2010’s Justice Society of America #33 by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, and Jesus Merino, as Wildcat puts some whuppin’ down on the losers of the Dog Pound.







Head over to SpaceBooger’s joint and vote for your favorite fights!

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Medusa’s Finale


Batwoman #17

It’s the great final battle against Medusa, her monstrous minions, and Ceto, the mother of all monsters. We get some triumphs — Bette Kane reveals her new superhero codename as Hawkfire and she clobbers the stuffin’s out of the Hook — and some tragedies — Abbot, Batwoman’s occasional werewolf ally, is destroyed by the Medusa. But can all the heroes stop the Medusa? Can they stop Ceto? And what other cliffhangers will we be left with?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, so very many thumbs up. First of all, as we’ve noted so very many times, this is the most beautifully illustrated comic on the stands, and that alone should make it worthy of your purchase. Second, it really is an excellent story, with drama, suspense, loss, and tons of great moments. Like I said, we’ve got a couple of cliffhangers, which I won’t spoil too much, at least not yet. The second one is way excellent, as we get the return of a character I’d very greatly missed. The first one is probably even more excellent, and it’s extremely weird that after the horrible PR of hiring crazy Orson Scott Card to write comics, DC didn’t push this very positive development a bit more enthusiastically.


Daredevil #23

Foggy Nelson is looking at some serious medical issues, and his pal Matt Murdock takes him on an outing over New York’s streets as Daredevil. But Matt gets called out on a real emergency — a bunch of people with his extreme sensory powers are running loose in the city, and Daredevil has to stop them. Who’s behind the attack, and what kind of news is Foggy going to receive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Well, listen, the action is great, the mystery is fine, but what really makes this a glorious piece of storytelling is the last two pages.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday


The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

So here’s this fun little novel I stumbled across — it’s set around the turn of the century in London and stars three young women with interesting talents and general dissatisfaction with the way their lives are working out. Cora is a scientific and engineering genius who is frustrated that her boss, an MP and a genius in his own right, doesn’t seem to appreciate all she does. Nellie is an assistant for a famous magician, and while he does appreciate and support her, she dreams of having her own adventures. Michiko is a young Japanese woman, superbly trained as a samurai, but with limited skills in English and yoked to an abusive egomaniac.

What brings them together, besides random chance, is a villain — an ominous, powerful foe known as the Fog — who’s roaming the streets at night murdering prominent gentlemen and innocent flower girls, breaking into the Tower of London to steal the Crown Jewels, and eventually staging a daring and destructive attack on the entire city. The police are helpless, the greatest men in the nation are clueless, so what hope can we expect from a girl trained in the construction of steampunk weaponry, another girl who knows more about sleight-of-hand, trickery, acrobatics, and thievery than anyone else in the city, and another girl who is one of the most skilled martial artists in the nation? And if they know that their actions could have serious repercussions, what sort of disguises will they devise to protect themselves?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m not normally all that big on steampunk — I love it in theory, but it often doesn’t live up to my expectations. Still, I loved the stuffings out of this book — partly because it wasn’t entirely a steampunk story. You can’t expect a lot of faithfully rendered Victorian/Edwardian attitude — it’s really very anachronistic, as all three of our main characters generally talk and act like modern-day women. Honestly, I think that’s fine — this was designed as a young adult novel, specifically to appeal to girls, so I don’t see any problem with having our characters think like more modern women.

Which brings us to our characters themselves — Cora, Nellie, and Michiko are all total winners as characters. Cora brings the frustrated snark along with the brainy science, Nellie is part girly-girl, part swashbuckler, all enthusiasm, and Michiko is controlled, quiet, and generally confused by almost everything Cora and Nellie do. And they all work together really well. They all get individual moments to shine, and they all get moments where they shine as a team. They even get moments where they fail to shine, just to show that their not perfect, unstoppable heroes.

I am fairly impressed that Kress specifically planned to have Nellie be the character most fond of stereotypically girly pursuits, primarily for the sake of realism — plenty of girls like dresses and shoes and sparkles while still being awesome, so it makes good sense to give them their own character.

The action’s great, the mystery is fun, the plot twists are entertaining. I suppose I should’ve figured out what kind of disguises they were going to come up with, but I didn’t, so that added to the fun, too.

If I’ve got a criticism, I’d say I wish Michiko had known a bit more English. There were too many scenes that featured Cora and Nellie talking to each other while Michiko stood by silently. But hopefully, that will be less of a problem in the sequels (and I hope there are sequels on the way).

It’s a good book. Go pick it up.

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What is Best in Life?

People, I don’t have much of anything I want to blog about today, so I’m just gonna sit here and deliberately stir up trouble.

What I am about to reveal here is the complete, objective truth.

For example:

Who was the best Green Lantern?


Answer: Kyle Rayner.

No, definitely not Hal Jordan. He’s always been a shallow, generally uninteresting character. “Fearless test pilot” isn’t a personality all by itself, and the people out there who seem to freakin’ worship Hal strike me as some of the weirdest people on earth. Yes, that includes the “Hal’s Emerald Attack Team” fanatics and Geoff Johns. As for the rest of them, Guy Gardner’s generally fun, but he’s mostly a gag character. I like John Stewart, especially in the Justice League cartoons. Simon Baz is too new. But Kyle, the last Green Lantern, uncertain, awkward, crab-masked, completely aware of his own fears, freelance artist with the no-yellow-impurity power ring? Kyle was the best.

Who was the best Flash?


Answer: Wally West.

Definitely, definitely not Barry Allen. Having a crew cut and a bow tie makes him the *worst* Flash. Wally was funnier, cooler, more interesting in every possible way — and of course, he was far, far, far faster.

Who was the best Robin?


Answer: Dick Grayson.

Really, I guess the best answer would be “Anyone but Jason Todd.” Because I really like all of the Robins. But Dick was the first Robin, he was Robin for the longest time, and he eventually ended up being the best possible Nightwing, so I’m giving the circus kid the crown.

Who was the best Batgirl?


Answer: Stephanie Brown.

Not to take anything away from Barbara Gordon or Cassandra Cain, because they were pretty cool, but as grim and gritty as the Bat-verse generally is, it was just plain awesome to get to read a Bat-title every month where the lead character wasn’t an emotionally-crippled basket case. Steph was fun and funny and had the best dialogue.

Who was the best Aquaman?


Answer: Bearded, hook-handed Aquaman.

Because I don’t care who writes him, the clean-shaven, orange-shirted nonentity from “Super Friends” just sucks on every possible level.

Who was the best Hawkgirl?


Answer: Kendra Saunders.

Mostly because I liked the idea of a Hawkgirl who, at least initially, didn’t want to be the back half of “Hawkman and” — she didn’t love Hawkman, and she wanted to be her own person. She was even in relationships with people other than Hawkman. Eventually, she fell in love with Hawkman in a way that felt more organic, realistic, and worthwhile, and that was fine with me. She certainly didn’t deserve to get exit-stage-lefted the way she did…

Who was the best Green Arrow?


Answer: The one with the beard.

I liked Connor Hawke, but he’d never be the equal of his dad. And Ollie without a beard just looks like a dork, so he’s gotta have the ridiculous beard.

Who was the best Hulk?


Answer: Angry green stupid Hulk.

I liked the Professor Hulk, actually. And the Green Scar was cool. Joe Fixit is always fun. But angry green stupid Hulk is the strongest one there is.

Who was the best Spider-Man?


Answer: The Peter Parker married to Mary Jane Watson.

Because Spider-Man isn’t Otto Octavius, and he doesn’t make deals with the Devil.

What are the best zombies? Fast or slow?


Answer: Slow zombies.

To quote Max Brooks: “Ha ha, there are no such things as fast zombies!”

So there we go, friends and neighbors, all the mysteries of life cleared up. Go on about your business, please.

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Friday Night Fights: Always Bet on the Barbarian!

Holy cow, people, we got an absolute marathon set up for tonight’s edition of Friday Night Fights, so let’s get straight into it.

From February 1984’s What If? #43 by Peter B. Gillis and Bob Hall, we’ve got mighty Conan of Cimmeria — “black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet,” to quote “The Phoenix on the Sword” — and something has transported him to 1980s New York City! Can the great barbarian make an honest living in the Big Apple?


Ha ha, NO.



Mighty Conan cares not for paper money. He’s probably one of Ron Paul’s gold hoarders, the poor soul.

But it’s not long before Conan has picked up a good deal of American English and made himself a fair bit of money. So he buys himself some new threads and goes to visit a friend.


Hey, man, that suit is you! You’ll get some leg tonight for sure! Tell us how you do!

But listen, it’s a Marvel comic book, and that means eventually, there’s gonna be superheroes. And then, there’s gonna be lots and lots of fighting.















All hail Conan! All hail King Conan!

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Sibling Rivalry


Batgirl #17

In the aftermath of the just barely completed “Death of the Family” crossover, Barbara Gordon is busy identifying members of the Joker’s gang through a bunch of mugshots, her mother is in the hospital with a finger sliced off, and her psychotic brother James Jr. is looking to get his own twisted revenge on Batgirl. While Batgirl and the cops put the hurt on the Joker’s stooges, someone starts targeting them with rockets, all while James Jr. taunts his sister. Who’s behind these new attacks?

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. Sorry to say, this one just wasn’t all that interesting. Even James Jr., usually an awesomely evil character, just comes across as bland.


Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Supergirl #5

Supergirl has just arrived on Earth, already too late to keep Brainiac from attacking. The Manhunter robots agree to pardon Supergirl and Power Girl if they’ll help stop Brainiac, but they’re vastly outnumbered by Brainiac’s drones. Some other heroes, including Steel, Robin, Catwoman, and Flash, arrive to help, but Power Girl must head for the center of the planet to shut down one of Brainiac’s secret computers. Supergirl heads for Brainiac’s ship but gets contaminated by Black Kryptonite. Can anyone stop her from destroying Earth’s heroes?

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story was just plain loopy-weird, and the artwork was the exact kind of manga-inspired artwork that I really, really dislike. Sorry, but I just didn’t enjoy reading the story.

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Irritated Again


Oh, comics industry, do you have to do all these things to disappoint the polar bear? Do you really?

So first, there’s this bit of news that’s had the comics news sites roiling over the past few days: Geoff Johns will no longer be writing “Green Lantern.” This is considered so earth-shatteringly important that you can see multiple articles devoted to Johns and GL on all the big sites.

The thing is, this isn’t important. The only reason anyone cares is because Geoff Johns is one of the people running DC Comics (into the ground, he added venomously), and because his devotion to Green Lantern is so overblown that he’s got the company publishing four different GL comics — the same number as the Superman-related comics. We can pretty well be guaranteed that Johns will eventually pick up some new character obsession, if he doesn’t just insist that DC start publishing a dozen “Aquaman” comics.

What else does DC think is important for the comics world? Well, they’re going to let bigoted has-been douche Orson Scott Card, still coasting on the positive reputation he got from writing “Ender’s Game” in ’85, and now better known for being a homophobic freak, write some Superman stories in a digital comic.

Now that’s a real WTF moment, DC.

And you know that DC was probably entirely expecting this, if not actively excited about it. Card’s background and reputation isn’t a secret. You mention his name in nerd circles, and you’re stone guaranteed to get as many people who hate him for being a gay-bashing scumbag as there are who love him for being the author of one of science fiction’s most beloved books. Heck, you can find people who love “Ender’s Game” but still hate Card for being a gay-bashing scumbag. His reputation is inextricably tied to the fact that he really, really hates gay people.

And DC, a company that has more and more often marketed its comics by trolling and insulting comics readers, decided this sounded like a public relations triumph. They knew it’d be controversial, they knew it’d really get the outrage pumping — and courting controversy and outrage is all DC really knows how to do these days. They certainly don’t care about quality stories, because Card hasn’t written anything more impressive than his homophobic screeds in at least a decade.

But really, you know what bugged me the most today? More than the foofaraw about Geoff Johns quitting one of his bland superhero comics? More than one of the Big Two embracing a bigot for the sake of cheap publicity and easy HuffPo hits? How about Don Rosa, the chronicler of Disney’s duck comics for several decades and a man second only to Carl Barks himself as one of the Scrooge McDuck creators, quitting comics completely, partly because he’s getting old and his eyesight is fading, but also because Disney can reprint his work any time they want to, put his name on the cover as a selling point, and not pay him a single dime. Yeah, not even a lucky one.

Seriously, comic book fans, this is way more important than one of DC’s bigwigs flouncing off and paying the comics news sites to freak out about it.

This is a depressingly familiar story. The comics publishers have never shown much interest in supporting the geniuses who’ve made them rich, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that Disney markets their Scrooge McDuck collections with Rosa’s name but won’t pay him any royalties or anything else in compensation. That’s infuriating and just sad.

Don Rosa deserves better. And we all deserve a better, less noxious comic book industry.

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Hyper Heroics


The Hypernaturals #8

While Thinkwell, Shoal, and Clone 21 try to survive in a hazardous side-space environment while two evil Sublimes try to kill each other, Bewilder, Halfshell, and Clone 45 try to fight off a bunch of murderous supervillains invading one of their HQs in pursuit of the fabled Nephilim Fragment. Will anyone manage to survive and stop the hypervillains?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice action, storytelling, and characterization. We finally get to see Halfshell do something other than being a furious hothead. Maybe the best bit is the flashback that opens the comic, where we see Thinkwell’s first day as a Hypernatural — I really do wish we could see more of some of the characters introduced there, particularly the fractured crystaline Shard and the awesome fear-inducing Haint.


Worlds’ Finest #9

A bunch of paramilitary mercenaries have invaded the labs on Power Girl’s Starr Island (query: Is Power Girl’s Starr Labs the new S.T.A.R. Labs?) in pursuit of some kind of hidden data. Karen is out of range, leaving an injured Huntress to battle them alone. Can she handle them with a broken arm? We also get a flashback to how Huntress acquired her costume.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty good story — I’m a sucker for an “underdog must take out superior forces solo” story. The flashbacks are fine, too. If I’ve got a quibble, it’s with the continuity in the artwork — at one point, Huntress has a broken arm in a cast and sling, but when you turn the page, the cast and sling are both gone, and she’s using both arms just fine. That may seem like a minor issue — but the change is definitely noticeable  It’s an error that should have been caught.

Today’s Cool Links: 

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Friday Night Fights: Twister Sock!

Okay, people, it’s Friday night, the work week is over, and it’s time to enjoy two days of rest and relaxation. And how do we traditionally begin our much-too-rare periods of rest and relaxation? With… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from July 2012’s Popeye #3 by Roger Langridge and Tom Neely. Popeye’s in the ring with the terrifyingly ominous and powerful fighter called the Phantom Crusher. But is Popeye’s opponent hiding some terrible secret?!







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