Friday, 31 August 2007

Manhunter - For The Macho Meathead In Us All....

In today's post I'm going to talk about how great DC's most recent Manhunter series was. Now normally when online comic-book folks are recommending Manhunter to their readers they talk about the great characterisation, the snappy dialogue, the intriguing situations...blah, blah, blah. Not me, I know what my loyal readers like - they like cold beer, comfy chairs, car crashes and explosions!

I'm here to tell you that Manhunter #9 has got car crashes and explosions up the wazoo! (Cold beer and comfy chairs are against the Comics Code so it's B.Y.O. for them I'm afraid).

To prove my point, let's talk car crashes. I know all you folks out there in internet land aren't about just any old car crashes. You're into hardcore Transporter 2 style car crashes!! The kind where you drive your car off of the roof of one building and crash it through the wall of the building opposite!

Manhunter has got you covered baby:Behind the wheel of the truck for this awesome Lee Majors caliber stunt is none other than Merlyn (blackclad, arrow-shooting, Green Arrow wannabee) and Monacle (eyepiece-wearing, all round hoity toity loser). I bet you never thought you'd see the day when you'd be thinking 'that is awesome' about anything involving either of those two slubs!

That's the effect Manhunter has on the villains it features. Copperhead, Shadow Thief, Phobia they all became bad to bone when they were in this book.

Even crusty old Monocle gets his own solo moment of shining glory.Sure Monacle's moment of glory involves his head exploding, but what did you expect - he's a tubby, Doctor Watson lookalike with a monocle that shoots lasers. An exploding head was the only way he was ever gonna be cool.

Car crashes, exploding heads, laser monocles, slutty female lawyers in red lycra these are the ingredients of true comicbook greatness.

Manhunter, my friends, has them all. Pop out to your local comicbook shop and buy it now.

Huh? what's that?

What do you mean cancelled?

Not again!!
You tell 'em Arthur!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The Social Etiquette of Pieface

Hello people, I'm back. In case you haven't noticed I've been MIA from my trusty old blog for the past few weeks. Stupid corporate-work-stuff and a blossoming comic-book project are all conspiring to rob me of my blogging time.

By means of an apology for neglecting all my loyal blog readers out there I give you Storm from the X-Men getting hit in the face with a pie!
Ta Da!

Now I don't know about you but where I come from 'pieface' is not a big enough transgression to warrant unleashing the full force of the elements on the pie-thrower's New York apartment building - but those feisty weather goddesses are a temperamental bunch.

When X-Men leader Cyclops shows up though he's understandably upset. Don't mutants have enough public relations problems without one of them causing a 'lightning storm apocalypse' in Downtown New York, 'pieface' or no 'pieface'! He demands an explanation:Oh those wacky mutants!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

I have noticed that this blog is sorely lacking in one very important area - there's not enough booze. I mean what aspect of life isn't improved by a shedload of booze? Comics are no different - so with that in mind I present:

Web Of Spider-man #38 A.K.A. The Drunk Spider-man issue.

That's right folks this issue has so much hard liquor that you'll be convinced Aunt May is Carmen Electra's hotter twin sister!

The fun begins at a party in Peter Parker's apartment. This was the era when a penny-pinching Spidey lived in Mrs. Muggins apartment building (remember Mrs Muggins? She was a fox! No many beers have I had?)

Anyway Pete's downing his tenth glass of Mary Jane's yummy fruit punch (Pete's a role model for lots of little kiddiewinks so when it comes to alcohol he just says NO! Beating super-villains into toothless, bloody pulp - that's okay. Having a beer - that's a big no-no). Where was I? Oh yeah, Pete's having a right old time of it:Then the phone rings. It's Harry Osborn telling Pete he's gonna be late to the party cos the Hobgoblin is wrecking up downtown.

Oh phooey! Party's over for Pete. He has to get suited up and go kick some gobliny ass!

On his way out the door he realises that he's feeling a bit strange. The world seems a brighter, happier place full of cute puppies, fluffy bunnies and dancing liquor bottles who encourage you to join their conga line. Being a tee-totaller Pete has no idea what's wrong with him, he just knows he feels funky:So off he swings merrily into battle with the Hobgoblin. This was when the Hobgoblin was in his pumpkin bombing prime too - a more dangerous maniac couldn't be asked for.

It doesn't take long for the Hobgoblin to figure out that his foe is off his trolley (the fact that he's slurring like Oliver Reed and smells like a brewery is a dead giveaway). Spider-man is insulted by the accusation and decides to give Hobby a right royal thrashing for it - - but instead he ends up tied up to an electric pylon with his own webs:Luckily Hobby's goblin glider malfunctions saving Spidey from becoming a alcohol-flavoured, spider-smear on 5th Avenue.

It doesn't take Pete long to develop the multiple drunken personalities of a seasoned boozehound. By the time he makes it back to the party he has switched from fun, sloppy, goblin-punching drunk to surly, angry, party ruining drunk:It was that there leprechaun fella there Pete, I saw him do it - the wee bastard *hic* Get 'im!

Hang on - here comes the liquor bottle conga line...

..Come on and do the conga! Come on and do the conga!

Drunk Spider-man roooolllzzzz!!!

Uh Oh *hic* I think I'm gonna hurl...

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Star Trek, Hippies and Kung Fu Oh My...

The Essential Iron Fist came out not so long ago, it's a big chunky black and white volume packed full of classic Kung Fu madness. It contains the full Claremont & Byrne run from the original Iron Fist series which includes this little gem - Iron Fist #7.

Since the first issue Iron Fist has been hounded and tortured by a mysterious bad guy known as Master Khan. In this issue they finally come face to face for the first time.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed at first when Master Khan didn't turn out to be Ricardo Montalbán. There were no ear-crawling brain bugs, not a single cry of 'Khaaan!'or nothing. Instead we get an old dude with thinning hair and a snazzy dressing gown who can't decide if he wants to be the Mandarin or Doctor Strange!

Luckily Claremont makes up for ignoring the obvious Star Trek homage by giving Master Khan an awesome origin. Turning him from a typical, power-mongering Fu Manchu wannabee into a kind of tragic figure with understandable motivations who wants to solve his Iron Fist problem by non-violent means:
..and I would've got away with it too if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

Okay, so we do learn all this during a cheesy, hero-at-my-mercy, super-villain style soliloquy, the kind that Adam West villains loved so much. Still, you gotta love Claremont's ability to get you rooting for the bad guy.

Claremont likes to pack his issues to overflowing, decompression be damned. Not only is this issue the climax of the Khan story-arc, he also kicks a slow-burning sub-plot that he's been building since about issue 3 into high gear. This is the issue where Iron Fist learns for sure that his beloved K'un L'un (mystical Tibetan city full immortals where Iron Fist was taken in and trained after being orphaned) is not the happy pixieland of love and sparkles that he's been led to believe.

Khan reveals to him that the his uncle, mentor and ruler of K'un L'un, Yu-Ti is actually a foul betrayer and co-conspirator in the death of Iron Fist's parents. It's an excellent reveal that leaves us wanting answers. Claremont is the master of sub-plots:That Khan is such a stinker isn't he - of course I still would've preferred him to break out the brain bugs...oh well.

Those bits are great and all but there is another killer moment in this issue that tops them both. It doesn't actually feature Iron Fist at all, it features my favorite member of his supporting cast - ninja chica Colleen Wing.

She's been under the thrall of sonic bad guy Angar the Screamer for the past bunch of issues. He used his 'sonic mindstorm' to coerce her into fighting Iron Fist and God knows what else.

Last issue Iron Fist broke Angar's mental hold on Colleen. As you can imagine she's a little pissed off at the hippie douchebag who warped her brain. All the lovebeads and sit-ins in the world can't save Angar from her slinky, black, samurai-sword toting wrath now:Learn your lesson Angar - don't fuck with a sword-wielding ninja chick wearing her favorite little black number! That's six different flavors of awesome including Rocky Road and Cookie Dough!

That's all the hippie-slashing we have time for today I'm afraid but tune in tomorrow for Prince Namor versus the Mamas and the Papas - there's Atlantean head-cavings galore!