Archive for December, 2015

Americans Hate Nazis

Well, you know, in light of this little news item, I decided to channel my inner Captain America and see what he thinks of the whole thing.


(Click to Embiggen!)

Yes, indeed, real Americans do certainly love to beat up Nazis, don’t they?

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Back in the Swing


Spidey #1

Here’s this great new series by Robbie Thompson and Nick Bradshaw focusing on Spider-Man when he was still in high school. He tangles with the White Rabbit, does badly on a pop quiz, get pushed around by Flash Thompson and rescued by Gwen Stacy, and visits Oscorp just in time for an attack by Dr. Octopus. Can puny Parker save the day — and what more terrible menace is now keeping an eye on him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic story and art — the art is very reminiscent of Art Adams, by the way, which is definitely a good thing. And it’s always great to be able to revisit Peter Parker’s youth — Spidey’s glory days were definitely his high school years, and while this is modernized quite a bit — the Wall-Crawler takes a selfie of himself and White Rabbit after he defeats her — this story still has the feel of the classic era.


The Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Well, Amadeus Cho, 19-year-old Korean-American smartass, buddy of both the Hulk and Hercules, eighth smartest person in the world, now has gamma-spawned powers of his own. So he runs around the world with his super-genius sister Maddy, beating up monsters (and often getting beat up by them, too), and getting accustomed to how gamma radiation messes with his own rage issues. So is life gonna be all sunshine and bacon cheeseburgers for Amadeus?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Okay, I could take or leave Frank Cho — he draws pretty, but his arrogance always makes me want to find more interesting artists. But Greg Pak writing Amadeus Cho? Yeah, I’m down with that.


Prez #6

The whole country is freaking out about the cat flu, and Boss Smiley and his corporate flunkies have crafted a bill to let them cure the flu, but also give them the right to patent any living organism. President Beth Ross thinks that sounds like bull, and she throws ’em out. The bill gets passed over her objections, but a very wealthy supporter manages to patent the DNA of the corporate goons himself and threatens to sue them for existing. Meanwhile, the former War Beast drone, now calling herself Tina, wants to live her own life and is looking for a new job. Might that include protecting the President from deranged cat-flu worshipers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice political satire with a cool sci-fi edge. (The comic makes a point that Tina is transgender — which I’m not sure is entirely accurate for an only-recently sapient genderless robot. Personally, I think what makes her really interesting is her embrace of evangelical Christianity…)


Sensation Comics #17

The final issue of this series features a story by the great Trina Robbins. Wonder Woman meets up with the Cheetah, who reveals that the plant that grants her cheetah-like powers is almost extinct — and without it, she’ll die. Diana agrees to fly her to the island where the berries are native and help her harvest the last of them, but her invisible jet is shot down. They discover a mad scientist has been using the berries to transform animals into quasi-human forms. When Lex Luthor sends his goons to shut down the project, a bloodbath ensues. Can Wonder Woman rescue everyone? Can the Cheetah be saved? Or will she become worse than ever before?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The cheetah-human hybrid really is tailor-made for an “Island of Dr. Moreau” pastiche, right? The art by Chris Gugliotti is a bit funky, but I’m really happy to see any and all stories by Trina Robbins, so it’s all good, as far as I’m concerned.


All Star Section Eight #6

The miniseries wraps up with Sixpack getting to hang out with Superman in the Fortress of Solitude. Sixpack confesses that he’s afraid he’s not real, that his adventures are just the hallucinations of a drunk freezing to death in an alley. But Supes tells him it’s all real, shows him a statue of Sixpack as one of the world’s great heroes and… hands him a bottle of whiskey. But just as Section 8’s leader is ready to go, the rest of his team is falling apart. Will there be anyone to save the world from All-Consuming Evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The rapid self-destruction of the team is really the funniest bit of the issue, though the hallucinatory Superman telling Sixpack “It’s going to be okay” while  handing him a bottle of rotgut is grimly hilarious. Still, I do wish this issue had lived up to the promise of the previous one.

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Holiday Gift Bag: Some Goddamn Compassion and Empathy


We can return to the standard here’s-gifts-you-can-buy Holiday Gift Bags another day. I’m not going to do it today, though. Today, I’m too mad.

I’m sick of mass shootings. I’m sick of politicians and pundits and social media sociopaths shrugging off white men bombing clinics one day and howling for mass incarcerations for brown people the next. I’m sick of listening to an organized crime cartel that masquerades as a gun-rights group demanding that guns be given more rights than actual living humans. I’m sick of members of the most bankrupt religion on earth offering “thoughts and prayers” — and nothing else — and then pretending to be oppressed when the rest of the world calls them on their faithless cowardice.

I’m sick of racists and sexists and homophobes and transphobes. I’m sick of people using their power, no matter how strong or petty, to bash people with less power. I’m sick of people who sneer at retail workers and baristas and waitresses and old people and young people and poor people. I’m sick of living in a nation and world where assholes are rewarded and the innocent are abused.

And I know most of y’all aren’t the problem. I’m lucky that the relatively few readers I have are good people. And I’m not asking you to go out and single-handedly fix the goddamn world.

But could I ask that, for this holiday season and every season after that, you work to foster as much compassion and empathy as you can in the world around you, in your coworkers and friends, in your children and family, in casual acquaintences and strangers?

We live in a world full of monsters, there is no doubt. We’ve been a world full of monsters for decades, centuries, millennia. It’s likely impossible for us to reverse that. But every time we light a match against the darkness of the world’s rampant assholatry is, frankly, a damn good day all on its own. It’s a good thing to do, and it makes you feel good to do it, too.

Most of us reading this damnable blog are superhero fans. Yeah, yeah, indie comics rock, there are lots of cool genres, superheroes are all flash and fight scenes — but still, pretty much all of us got our starts with Stan and Jack, with the World’s Finest and the Brave and the Bold, with Spider-Man and Ben Grimm teaming up with every dang superhero they met. And I want us all to be the heroes, in big ways and small, instead of the villains populating the world around us. Let’s be heroes this year and every year.

Thanks, and happy holidays.

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Surfing the Silver Age


Silver Surfer #15

Together, the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood have recreated the Earth and the universe — but the Surfer has left out stuff he didn’t like, and Dawn’s knowledge of Earth is really pretty limited, plus she’s created an imitation Surfer to keep her company. And even worse, their assistants, Glorian and Zee, are actually villains in disguise. Glorian steals the power of the Shaper of Worlds, while Zee reveals himself as the Incredulous Zed. Can Dawn and the Surfer figure out a way to stop Glorian? How will they choose which universe survives the end of everything? What does the future hold for them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great to see an excellent end to this series (although I’m pretty sure it’ll continue with yet another new #1 issue) by Dan Slott and Michael Allred. It’s charming and funny and bold and exciting, and it’s some of the grandest storytelling we’ve seen about the Silver Surfer.


All-New Wolverine #2

Laura meets with the security officials at Alchemax Genetics, which created Laura’s new clones. They want her help in tracking down her renegade sisters, who have powers different from her own. She initially agrees, but then meets one of her clones at her apartment, and she tells Laura that Alchemax just wants to kill them and harvest their DNA. Wolverine ends up joining their group (after they shoot her a bit) just before Alchemax’s security forces invade their hideout. But do even four Wolverine clones stand a chance against a small army of mercenaries?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good art, several really nice character moments, very nice action sequences, too. Didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I did the first issue, but it was still good superhero fun.

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