Archive for January, 2014

Computers Are the Worst


Yeah, isn’t it great when your computer service goes completely kaput?

What’s even better is when you call ’em for service, get the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice that talks you through all the usual reboot procedures — shut down your modem, shut down your computer, shut down your router. Of course, I’d done all those in the morning when I first noticed the problem, but I gamely went along with the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice’s suggestions again. What the hey, can’t hurt, might help. There was no improvement, though, so I figured, okay, finally, I’ll be able to try to schedule some time when a repairman will come out and look at the problem.

But nope, this time, the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice wanted me to start reconfiguring the wiring on the back of my machine. You want me to do that — turn the computer around so I can reach the back, unplug wires, and replug wires — while I’m trying to stay on the telephone? Screw you, Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice.

Seriously, Charter Communications, when you get to that point in the troubleshooting process, shut down the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice and put a real person on the line so they can get more relevant and helpful information or figure out when they can send someone in the fix the lines. We all know at that point that it’s not a problem on my end — it’s always a problem on your end.

Long story short — no blog today, and we can all blame Charter Communications for our lack of comic book goodness.

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Widow’s Might


Black Widow #1

Things that are crazy: it’s taken this long to get Black Widow — who, let me remind you, is played by Scarlett Johansson, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, in the Avengers movies — her own ongoing comic series.

Anyway, here’s the first issue, written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Phil Noto. After stopping a would-be terrorist using a combination of deceit and more deceit, Natasha Romanov pays a visit to her lawyer to discuss how her fee will be distributed (most of it to charity), her motivations (atonement for past sins) and her next job — a visit to Dubai to deal with a horde of international criminals. Can she take out a multitude of hardened crooks and bodyguards, take out the real target, and make her escape?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s essentially an espionage caper, well crafted and beautifully illustrated. But let me say this — if all they’re going to bring us is espionage stories, this one won’t be that great. Marvel is hoping this will be a second “Hawkeye” — B-league Avenger with smart, independent creators — but if Hawkeye wasn’t funny and transgressive, all the beautiful artwork in the world wouldn’t keep it afloat. I want to see this title start making some waves and breaking some ground quickly — it won’t have time to mosey into a unique voice.


Manifest Destiny #3

The Lewis and Clark expedition is stuck inside a seemingly deserted fort at La Charette. They’re surrounded by savage bison minotaur/centaurs — and unfortunately, the fort is infested with plant-hybrid zombies! The only way to stop them is to burn them, as they soon learn from a small collection of survivors of the fort, who were witness to the death of most of their friends and family as the plant infection spread throughout the community. So with enemies waiting outside the fort and within, how can they all hold out? Or do they have some important allies stalking their enemies for them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, characterization, and horror. And we get a fun introduction to a character I’d forgotten would be showing up. This one is a great little alternate-history horror title — I hope you’re picking it up.

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Friday Night Fights: Krypton Kick!

It’s been a cold, miserable week for almost all of us, so let’s heat things up for the weekend with some gratuitous violence and… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from October 1979’s Action Comics #500 by Martin Pasko, Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, and Adrienne Roy. Lex Luthor has the Man of Steel right where he wants him — but how will he kill him? Uncontrolled monologuing?






Well, a good kick to the face never goes out of style.

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Farewell, Young Avengers


Young Avengers #15

It’s the final issue of “Young Avengers”! NO FAIR! Can we trick Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie into continuing this series somehow?

Marvel Boy has a heart-to-heart with Broo — who isn’t actually paying attention to him. Loki makes an appearance, we find out who zombie Patriot was, We find out where Tommy was hiding, and we get one final moment with the whole team together. Plus one final surprise about some of the characters’ sexual orientations…

Verdict: Thumbs up. And not just for this issue, which was entirely fun and charismatic, but for the series as a whole. We need more superhero comics where the characters are this much fun to read about. The big reveal at the end will get everyone talking, but the bigger news is that it’s still possible to make fun, exciting teen superhero comics that don’t skimp on the action or characterization and never devolve into mindless carnage. DC could learn some lessons from this book.


The Fox #3

The Fox is still traveling through a strange crystalline fantasy world, dodging deadly traps and monsters. He encounters and defeats a giant spider and a flaming monster, discovers a transmogrified superhero, and saves another hero, only to land in even more trouble than before. Meanwhile, the Shield battles two wartime enemies, but discovers they may actually be on the same side for once.

Verdict: Thumbs up. My favorite issue of this series so far. I’ve complained that it didn’t feel like it was bringing the A-game that it should, but it’s finally feeling like the kind of butt-whupping comic we should expect. Let’s hope it keeps the party train rolling…

Today’s Cool Links:

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Rocket Science


Rocket Girl #3

Teenaged police officer Dayoung Johansson has been arrested by the NYPD of 1986, and they’ve given her high-tech equipment to Quintum Mechanics — the company she’s been trying to keep from getting them in the first place. She manages a spectacular escape from custody, only to learn that the evil Quintum Mechanics security forces from the future have chased her back in time. Is there any way she can escape and complete her mission?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s worth the price of admission just for Dayoung’s amazing escape from police custody. It’s got great action, great art — and it looks like we’re working our way toward even bigger stuff in the coming issues, so jump on board now…


Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #4

While Atomic Robo and his Action Scientists battle Dr. Dinosaur’s rockman minions underground, the rest of Tesladyne are busy fighting off Majestic 12 as they try to take over the company. And even the mighty Jenkins has some serious trouble — they sent multiple guys in powerful mech-armor to fight him! But can crystal armor, machine guns, brilliant science, and blatant asswhuppery stop the mad dinosaur from activating his Time Bomb and erasing history?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So much wondrous goodness. We all love Atomic Robo, we all love Dr. Dinosaur, we all love Action Science, and if you know what’s good for you, we all love this series.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Science Unfair

Aaaand we’re back. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a Joyous First-Week-or-So-of-January. Time for reviews? Sure, why not.


The Manhattan Projects #17

Well, the forces of evil (Oppenheimer and Westmoreland) are working their way through the forces of slightly-less-evil (everyone else on the Manhattan Projects). Oppenheimer has General Groves pumped full of truth serum to get more secrets out of him. And a monster is raging through Westmoreland’s soldiers — ironically, a peace-loving, hippie-like alien who saved Feynman and Einstein and was then betrayed by them and rebuilt into a savage body. Is the monster going to kill everyone? Or will Westmoreland kill everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely done, tense story, with Groves forced into helplessness and required to use his brains instead of just his brawn, and the morals-free quest for knowledge getting close to giving Einstein and Feynman the comeuppance they probably deserve. By the way, love the surprising and hilarious way the alien talks.


The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #6

The Girl is heading for Battery City. Destroyah is heading for Battery City. Korse is facing overwhelming odds. But B.L.I. is going to win — especially when the Girl surrenders and gets fitted with a Draculoid mask. There’s no way for the good guys to come out on top, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An excellent ending for the series — if you haven’t read any of this yet, it’ll probably be better if you get the collected edition of this series instead. But it’s a great conclusion — evil is defeated, freedom is restored, and Dr. Death Defying still rules the airwaves.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Friday Night Fights: Leaping into the New Year!

Okay, it’s the first new post and the first Friday Night Fights of 2014. Yay, I think?

Tonight’s battle comes to us from September 1989’s Captain America #357 by Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer, and Al Milgrom. Diamondback was Cap’s girlfriend at the time, and was investigating a case when she ran into a bunch of supervillains…





Zut Allors! Batroc, you are such zee gentlemain! But your foot is such zee malfaiteur!

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