Thursday, 31 May 2007

An Aquapology...

I felt a bit bad about the cruel and thoughtless things I said about Aquaman in the post I made last week. It's bad enough that poor old Arthur is going to get his title cancelled by those big meanies at DC - but I have to go and kick him while he's down.

I probably hurt his fishy feelings real bad.

Arthur, I apologise. Can we be buddies again?

I'll make it up to you. I'll do a post where you get to be all cool and badass. How would that be? How about that time in JLA #118 where you saved Martian Manhunter from Despero? You were all cool and tough then, remember?How about that huh? You're not riding a seahorse or beating up an old man or anything. You're being all manly battling a big mean super-villain with the help of your sharky buddies.

Not that you need any help! You had the battle in complete control - no question. I mean you keep a cool enough head to deliver tough guy responses Clint Eastwood would be proud of:See, Arthur is as hard as nails and don't you forget it.

How was that then? Are we friends again? Okay okay I promise never to show unflattering images that make you look like a pansy ever again. Yes, of course I'll remind my readers one more time about the awesomeness of Aquaman - it would be my pleasure.

Don't forget dear readers: Aquaman = awesome

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Jim Shooter, You Messed Up My Mind...

Remember the New Universe? Back in the 80s it was Jim Shooter's big contribution to comics. A whole new super-hero universe set in the real world built from scratch by the Marvel's brightest and best writers of the time.

Most of the New Universe books that came out were - well - a little weird to say the least.

Don't believe me? I present Exhibit A: Star Brand #13.

This is the issue immediately following the one where the Star Brand accidentally nukes the city of Pittsburgh, turning it into a fifty mile wide smoking hole in the ground. Kenneth Connell the Star Brand bearer was killed along with about a million other unsuspecting innocent civilians.

In this issue his pregnant girlfriend, Maddie, is rushing to ground zero to see the carnage for herself. What a bad time to go into labor!Damn, that's just freaky. The weirdness doesn't stop there. The baby emerges from it's self made utero-emergency-exit and flies off leaving mommy's ruptured corpse behind.

Sick, sick, sick! Comics code how could you let this happen to me?

Hold on now, don't go rushing off to wash your eyes out just yet. You'll just have to go straight back to the bathroom after seeing this:
A scene written by Tom Cruise, sadly deleted from the final cut of Top Gun

Look on the bright side at least Jim Shooter and John Byrne never became a Pampers advertising executives - imagine the horror.

Flying babies, dead mommies and smoking craters that used to be cities. If the New Universe is based on the real world I'm just happy that I live right here in Never Never Land.

What say you glowing, disembodied baby head?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Tremble At The Mind-Blowing Malevolence Of Space Phantom

Spectacular Spider-man #170 features a battle between the Avengers and a team of ragtag bad guys gone good put together by Spider-man. Spidey's 'Outlaws' include all the greats from his rogues gallery - everyone from Puma to the Prowler. They've even got Rocket Racer!

Yet I say - screw it, I'm going to ignore all that stuff and focus on my favorite character in this issue - Space Phantom:You expect me to discuss a She-Hulk versus Spider-man throwdown when I can talk about a pink, limbo-hopping pixie with a purple jumpsuit and a spiky haircut. Not likely.

In this story Space Phantom uses his limbo hopping and shape-shifting powers to pose as Spidey and start a big fight between his team of losers and a squad of Avengers that includes heavy hitters like She-Hulk, Thor and Quasar. That mischievous little scamp.

Now let's face it starting fights between super-heroes isn't a hard thing to do, but Space Phantom likes to do business with a bit of flair and panache.

He starts his fights by living the dream:Right in the star-spangled chops!

He should have rocketted up the villainy charts after that! What super-villain doesn't wish he had a 'the day I clocked Captain America upside his head' story?

Still, to this day, Space Phantom gets no love. Still no-one trembles at the very mention of his name. Why aren't heroes beating down his door to be his arch-nemesis? Where are the covers proclaiming the 'mind-shattering menace' or the 'titanic treachery' of Space Phantom?

What does it take for a pink pixie in a purple jumpsuit to get some respect around here?

Monday, 28 May 2007

Gillette - The Best A Man Can Get....

Gillette? Ha! It's for pussies!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Nude Androids in Love...

First my Superman post and now this - people are going to think I'm a John Bryne groupie! It's not true honest - it's not me making those heavy breathing phone calls at 2AM John. I swear!

I can't help it if the man knows how to do good comic books and if my Supes post didn't convince you then feast your eyes on West Coast Avengers #45.

West Coast Avengers was intended to be a dumping ground for the dodgier heroes that Marvel didn't think were good enough to stand next to Cap in pin-ups of the regular Avengers team.It would've been too if not for creators like Steve Englehart and John Byrne.

They took all the pomp and ceremony of the regular Avengers book and mixed it with a pinch of daytime soap and came up with a series focused more on the wacky bunch who made up the cast than on battles against the earth shattering menace of Orka The Killer Whale or whoever.

This issue focuses on my favorite, and wackiest, Avengers couple. Scarlet Witch and the Vision - the android and the mutant, a love story for the ages:
Oooh Vision, geez Wanda, get a room

Normally the Vision would be getting down with Wanda's crazy hex loving like you know he should but a recent mind wipe has turned Vis into a cold fish.

Y'see the Vision's personality was originally donated by dead Avengers-baddie Wonder Man. Unfortunately for Vis, Wonder Man is alive and kicking again. Not only that, he's now a member of the WCA team and he's none to keen on the idea of donating his brain patterns to an android who's more of hit with the ladies than he is! See what I mean about the wacky. You gotta love it

Wanda is understandably upset by Wondy's selfish attitude about sharing his brain patterns. He tries to talk her round but you know what these high-strung, hex-powered mutant witches are like. One wrong word - -

- -and they drop a mountain on you:Women. I ask you.

As if the crazy circus that is the Wanda-Vision-Wondy love triangle isn't worth the price of this issue by itself - this issue also adds redneck bumpkin and unhinged Cap wannabee John Walker aka US Agent to the team - as team chairman no less.

He'll whip this degenerate bunch of perverts into shape if it's the last thing he does:
Ain't no nekkid android's gonna smartmouth me, I'm gonna whup yore transparent ass from here to Albuquerque boy!

That is my favorite scene in the whole book, it's just hilarious. John Byrne is funny, who knew?

Nude androids versus uptight, prudish good old boys dressed up as an American flag.

Only in comics my friends, only in comics.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

He Sleeps With The Fishes.....literally!

Okay, I'll come clean this is not that great a comicbook. It doesn't have any of those moments that make me think 'comics are great!'. I'm not a big fan of Aquaman at the best of times and this is not his greatest outing.

Why the post then I hear you ask? Well look at that cover! That is one of the best comicbook covers I've seen in my life. Nick Cardy did the cover and Big Jim Aparo did the interiors so when it comes to art this book is top shelf. So there!

Um - I'm not really sure what do now.

Normally I would talk about the great story moments and post pictures of them but there aren't any.

Ummm - how about I just post a picture of Aquaman riding his pet seahorse Storm:Cute huh?

That didn't do it huh? This post is still feeling a bit hollow isn't it? Maybe if I post a picture with some violence in it. That usually gets the blood pumping.

Here we are. Aquaman slapping an old man:
Take that gramps!

Hey, I just heard that DC are thinking about cancelling Aquaman - so this post is actually really current & topical. I'm part of the zeitgeist! Ha! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! What do you say Arthur?

Have You Ever Read a Superman Comic?

Way back in the days of yore DC had this great big thing called 'Crisis On Infinite Earths, some of the old fogeys out there might remember it. After the Crisis all of DC's flagship characters got a revamp - including Superman.

Superman had wandered away from his core concept a little bit over the years. DC handed the Man of Steel over to controversial, comics superstar John Byrne to bring him back to basics.

The man outdid himself. That original 6 issue mini-series was a triumph. It gave us back the Supes we all know and love. Whatever they've done with him over the years you can always go back and relive the joy of those 6 issues.

Byrne had a handle on what Supes is all about. Sure he's an alien who doesn't fit in anywhere. Sure he can bench press asteroids. Sure he can't bang regular chicks without a kryptonite condom but underneath all that he's just a big cuddly teddy bear who loves you very much.

Sure he's a somewhat sleazy teddy bear who enjoys getting interviewed by female reporters in slinky bathrobes:
Hey baby, you know the saying - once you go Kryptonian...

We all know what you're up to with that X-Ray vision of yours, you dirty beast.

His peeping tom tendencies aside, Byrne really liked to play up my favorite aspect of Superman's character - Supes as a boy scout. Sure it makes him seem a little cheesy, and a lot of writers prefer to angst him up but I'm afraid if Superman ain't helping an old lady across the street every chance he gets - he ain't Superman.

In the hands of a master like Byrne, the boy scout works beautifully:When he's not tackling that scourge of the inner cities - noise pollution - he's off stopping daylight bank robberies. But even when he's under the gun he's never forgets his manners:Nothing restores your faith in humanity like a dude in a big blue romper-suit kicking/flicking the bad guy's asses while being painfully polite to everyone.

I loved, loved loved this mini-series.

Now if only DC would commission that Superman mini-series written by Dean Cain I could die a happy man.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

You Dumb Comics Fans...

Let's talk about a moment of comic greatness that we can all agree on shall we? I mean everyone who's anyone loved Thunderbolts#1.

Before I go on, I should warn you, if you've been living under a rock and you don't yet know about the big reveal at the end of this book then stop reading! I'm gonna spoil it good! Don't say I didn't warn you.

With the Thunderbolts Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley did what we all thought impossible. They came up with an original idea for a super-hero comic!

Talk about retro!

This book was given birth by the big Onslaught extravaganza that crossed the Marvel Universe books some years ago. At the end of it the FF and the Avengers were seemingly dead. Someone was needed to fill the void. Someone with courage, someone with power, someone with colourful spandex.

That someone was the Thunderbolts:
Suddenly there was new team of heroes out there roughing up the bad guys and keeping the stretchy fabric industry afloat. The Thunderbolts had all the bases covered. They had a cunning leader(Citizen V), a resident tech-guy(Techno), a flying armoured guy(Mach 1), the team bitch (Meteorite), someone who grows(Atlas) and someone who shouts (Songbird). It's like someone took the JLA and the Avengers and smooshed them all together.

We were enthralled as the T-Bolts took down the awesome power of of the - - Wrecking Crew?
Hey one of them has got an enchanted Asgardian crowbar okay? What do you mean so what? That makes him tough! That's where Thor's hammer comes from for god's sake.

Look never mind - the T-Bolts kicked asses, took names and everybody whooped and cheered okay.

It was all going so well until the last page when we learned the terrible truth:
That's right - the Thunderbolts are really Baron Zemo and his insidious Masters of Evil!

Bet you felt pretty stupid after that was revealed, huh? You were all 'ooh I love the Thunderbolts, they're much better than the stinkypants Avengers' and 'ooh I love Atlas, he's so purdy' - then Bam - it's really a dude with a Stridex Ad for a face and his criminal buddies!

What a bunch of suckers! You dumb comic fans are so easily duped!

What? The Good Year Blimp? Where?

I don't see - - hey, where'd you go?

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Thrashing the Punny...

Fabian Nicieza is one of my favorite writers. A large part of why is because in the 90s he took a bunch of third rate nobody characters, teamed them up and made them more interesting than they'd been since their inception. The New Warriors WAS a fantastic book, I miss it still.

Of course where would those loser characters be without a leader to motivate them? So Fabe created a brand new hero with all the attributes you expect a strong leader to have: funky armour, a psychotic temper, a razor edged skateboard and a high top fade.

Night Thrasher was born! Who's snickering? I heard that! You at the back, if you're not going to take this seriously then get out!

Okay so Night Thrasher was the dodgiest character idea since Rocket Racer but Fabe still managed to make us take him seriously each and every issue.

Take for example New Warriors #8. Thrash's secret crush Silhouette is in trouble so Dwayne decides to ditch his teammates to impress his chick. He's a class act I tells ya!

Unfortunately for Thrash helping Sil brings him into conflict with the most dangerous 90s guest star of them all - The Punisher. Frankie boy is in top form too. He's brought his AK 47 and a headband he stole from one of the kids from FAME, and he's not afraid to use either!

The fight that ensues is pretty brutal, especially by mainstream Marvel standards. Thrash takes no prisoners and proves he can fuck shit up as good as Punny can:
Who's an extra from 'Gleaming the Cube' now bitch?

Fabe doesn't play favorites. It may be Thrash's book but Punny gets his licks in. He's listened to enough Vanilla Ice to know what do when a skateboarding, street punk tries to mess you up - you pop a cap in their ass - - or several caps as the case may be:
Frank worried that at target practise he just wasn't pushing himself anymore

From the first issue Fabian's been making sure that these second stringers won't be taken lightly, and he does a bang up job. This issue is one of many examples I could've picked. To this day if I see a book by Fabian with a New Warrior in it - I'm buying it - -

- -and he's writes a mean Punisher too:
..I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly!

Friday, 18 May 2007

Now Hand Over Yer Bat Lunch Money

Green Lantern:Rebirth was the recent GL mini-series that took Hal Jordan out of his Spectre duds and put him back as Green Lantern Numero Uno. A lot of people got upset about this.

Remember Emerald Twilight? That would be the storyline that removed him as GL top dog and replaced him with Kyle Rayner (Incidentally it's also the storyline where Hal goes crazy and massacres the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps single handed, a moment of comic greatness I'm sure I'll cover in a future post). A lot of people were upset by that too as I recall.

Get rid of him? Bring him back? You just can't seem to win with these gosh-durned comic book fans!

As for me, I liked them both, I thought they both had their good points.

One such good point in GL:Rebirth was the tension between Batman and Hal throughout the last issue of the mini-series:
C'mon Bats. Blink dammit! I really need to pee!

In case you've forgotten, at one point Hal became a big bad named Parralax and tried to erase existence and start over again - like some kind of galactic Etch-A-Sketch! Old Brucie is still a bit touchy about the whole thing - he's such a drama queen!

The confrontation comes to a head in a great scene at the start of #6. Hal and his ragtag GL Leftovers - I mean Corps - want to go off and save the universe but Bats wants to flap his lips some more. Hal convinces him that now is not a good time:
No way, you blinked first you big cheater!

You had to see it coming people. Hal is a big, snooty, jock flyboy, Bruce is a computer nerd in a rubber suit - it doesn't take a genius to figure out who's going crying home to their butler after this scuffle.

I have to tip my hat to how Geoff Johns handled the GL comeback in this series. He gave nods to a lot of Hal history . To the great Emerald Twilight (Bats being a jerk was such a nice touch), to Hal's time as the Spectre, to poor, down trodden Kyle Rayner. Whether you were crazy about the Parralax revelations or not, if the GL franchise had to be relaunched with Hal in the driver's seat - this series was a good way to start.

Also just in case you missed it. Hidden in amongst the bat-bopping madness is a little message from Geoff Johns to the fans he knew would complain about this series no matter what he did:*GASP* That bastard! I take back all the nice things I said. I am outraged! I am so gonna send angry e-mails to the editor about this! No wait - I'll boycott all DC Comics, yeah that's teach them! No, even better - I'll find out where Geoff Johns lives and egg his house - yeah, that's it. This is gonna be sweet.

Oooh not right now though, I gotta go bid on a skanky Mary Jane statue on EBay.


Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Dog's Bullocks...

Gotham Central is one of those series I came to late. Now that it's over you hear people rave about it and wish that you had picked it up more when it was still around.

One of the few issues I have lying around is #20. I can pretty much guarantee the only reason I bought this issue was because the Mad Hatter was on the cover.

I have a soft spot for the Hatter okay? What can I tell you? Ever since I saw David Wayne wearing that hypnotic top hat and going on and on about stealing Batman's cowl in the 60s Adam West show I've been hooked.

Admit it. You love him too, don't you? I mean look at him:

Look at the little guy, with his little buck teeth and his megalomaniacal plans. He's so cute! Yes he is! Aren't you cute? Yes you are! You're a cute little - -

*Ahem*, sorry about that, I don't know what came over me. What was I saying? Oh yes.

As it turned out the bright spot in this issue wasn't old Hatty. It was, in fact, a surprise appearance by a grizzled and grouchy-as-ever Harvey Bullock. As you can see retirement has done nothing to improve Harv's sunny disposition:
..just singing in the rain...

Harvey was always a great character. He was the streetwise, dirtbag cop stereotype down to a tee. Scarfing down donuts, drinking bad coffee, roughing up suspects and getting in trouble with the Commissioner. He could go out for drinks with John McClane, Harry Callahan and Sipowicz and fit right in.

He really shines in this issue. He's called out of retirement by Detectives Mac & Driver to get involved with a case he left unsolved. Spurred on by a bottle of Jack Daniels Harvey decides he'll take to the streets one more time and solve the case he never closed.

Playing a hunch, Harvey pays a visit to an old friend he thinks might be involved:That's some quality police work right there. It's a really great scene, that reminds us why Harv was such an asset to the cops on streets of Gotham.

You may be a super villain with an army of goons and a brolly that shoots acid but still - you don't fuck with Harvey Bullock:

BWAH! HA! HA! Sharon! I slay me! What? You don't get it? Ozzy? Sharon? Osbourne? Oh C'mon what's wrong with you people?

Geez, alright so I'm not funny. What do you want for free?

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Booster Gold #7, is a fun little comic. The main thrust of the issue is a little lightweight as storylines go - Booster and Superman get lured to an alien planet by some armoured alien's sob story about an oppressive dictatorship on his home planet.

Once they arrive Booster, ever the hothead wants to bust some heads and overthrow the government. Supes thinks this course of action would be rash and calmly educates Booster on the complicated nature of politics and foreign affairs:
That's how a bill becomes a law

Okay, okay - so he kicks Booster's ass until he backs down, same difference.

The little morality tale that is the focus of the issue is actually pretty good in a ham-fisted sort of way but as with the rest of the series it's the little soap opera asides that make all the difference.

Like the interlude where Booster's agent Dirk is hiring Doctor Soo, one of STAR labs top technicians for a very important task:Booster's already a corporate sellout with his product endorsements, celebrity appearances and impressive stock portfolio. A little sex kitten sidekick is just good business sense. Maybe he should get a male sidekick too. A teenager all decked out skintight, multi-coloured lycra, y'know to consolidate his gay fanbase - it worked for Batman!

There's another great moment at the end of the book where Lois Lane arrives to get a Booster Gold interview. It seems even Lois has caught Booster-Fever and Big Blue is not too pleased:I love that reaction, it's perfect, old Boy Scout Clark can do nothing but seethe.

Booster Gold folks, he'll steal your girlfriend, endorse your toothpaste and overthrow you're oppressive government regime all for the low low price of 9.95!

Buy now! It's Boosterific!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Full Lizzy.....

What is with the Marvel Universe's big lizard population they all seem to have their own sexual perversions of one kind of another.

We've already come face to face with the horror of Fin Fang Foom's purple pants packing fetish.

Now've we've got Godzilla. One minute he's just your average 30 storey, King of Monsters rocking his Ben Grimm style duds down on the docks:
Next minute:
It's not just switchblade, packing teenage muggers that are at risk. Godzilla is one big lizard with no shame - he'll even flash a group of heavily armed S.H.I.E.L.D agents:
*sigh* Godzilla a flasher - is it any wonder the world's in the state it's in?

Monday, 14 May 2007

The Need For Speed......Boys

The Brave & The Bold #67 is excitingly entitled 'The Death Of The Flash'. That's right folks the Flash's super-speed has finally taken it's toll on his body. Next time he uses his super-speed....he could die! Of course Batman doesn't know this when he calls Flash to Gotham to help him deal with a gang of thieves with super-speed and...yadda yadda yadda!

This your typical done-in-one 60s Batman Team-up story, nothing special about it at all except for the villains.

Bask in the glory that is - the Speed Boys.

Bats and the Flash are mere co-stars next to the awesomeness of the Speed Boys. A bunch of two-bit crooks who discovered irradiated sneakers that give them super-speed.

What a premise! I'm totally hooked already!

The boys are Gotham criminals so to be taken seriously you gotta have style - thems the rules.

No problem - buy some nice tuxedos, a bumper pack of pantyhose to hide your identity, slap on your super sneakers and you're ready for a super-speed crime spree.

Check out the distinguished gents toasting to a successful heist:
Don't they look like a fun buncha guys? Doesn't it make you wanna be a Speed boy too? What do you say fellas? C'mon please - I'll buy my own tuxedo and everything?

The boys not only wear snazzy threads and commit hyper velocity robberies but they also enjoy making chumps out of super-heroes:
Keep Away!

Not only are they not fazed by the Scarlet Speedster but they have the balls to make a dick out of the Dark Knight detective himself! Check out their 'secret' hideout in the middle of downtown Gotham:
And it still takes Bats a whole issue to find them! That's some great detecting from the World's greatest detective.

In the end, sadly, the heroes triumph and all is well again.

The Speed Boys are defeated, their super-sneakers are confiscated and Bats probably gave them a good spanking too.

Flash's horrible life threatening illness is cured somehow on the last page - I don't remember how. Probably a radioactive squirrel or something.

That's not what's important. What is important is that DC is sitting on a sure-fire winner and they aren't cashing in!

C'mon DC give the Speed Boys their own sneaker melting, super-hero chumping limited series!

You know it makes sense.