Thursday, 30 April 2009

Superheroing 101: Goons & Guns

Many rookie superheroes come into the business with the same false impression. They believe that they'll spend every day of their do-gooding career fighting spectacularly powered super-villains and putting paid to their elaborate, evil schemes.

Unfortunately the truth is much more mundane. A superhero's career, big-league or otherwise, is made up mostly of small potatoes stuff. Averting every day catastrophes like highway collisions, building fires the odd natural disaster every now and then.

Most superheroes do get the chance to put their fighting skills to the test every now and then but more often than not it's against run of the mill goons rather than flamboyant super-villains.

That is where today's lesson will come in handy. You see 99% of the time you cross swords with goons, those goons will have guns!

Now any superhero worth his salt has nothing to worry about from guns. From mid-range invulnerability to enhanced speed and agility - even the most basic set of super powers provides the ability to dodge bullets. However the average bystander lolly gagging around your battlezone is not quite so blessed.

Therefore disarming goons and learning how to keep gun play to a minimum during your goon-on-good-guy battles is a skill every superhero must master.

There are two important but simple psychological techniques that often work in discouraging goons from using their guns.

1.) Negative Conditioning: this technique involves mentally connecting the gun in the goon's mind to a negative experience. The most simple and straight-forward implementation of this technique is to disarm the gun then pummel him repeatedly with his own gun.
Fig 1: Make the mental connection. Gun=Violent Jawbone Detachment.

2.) Shaming: this technique involves verbally abusing the goon, specifically implying his lesser qualities are in direct proportion to his dependence on his firearm. Often the most effective use of this technique involves suggestions that gun usage is evidence of some kind of innate, negative, effeminate quality.

Of course combining these techniques is the most efficient and effective way to limit goon gun violence and thereby safeguard the lives of rubber-necking civilians.
Fig 2: This fellow won't be playing with guns again in a hurry

Here endeth the lesson.

Good luck out there heroes.

(Today's lesson was sponsored by Marvel's Destroyer #1 wherein our frisky octogenarian protagonist gets completely naked by page 8 - if you like that kind of thing)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Dis Of The Spider-woman

So you threw on your snazziest T-Shirt, polished your bling-blinginest medallion, got your hair all coiffed by Toni & Guy and hit the disco looking for chicks.

Before you know it your luck is in. You spot a lovely lady hanging out all by her self. She's got bitchin' hair, a weird scent that both attracts and alarms you, not to mention the smoking body of a super-heroine! So you swoop in and give her some of your best patter. Before you know it you're pulling off at some lonely lover's lane in the middle of the drive home to try and get some.You're thinking this night couldn't get any better.

But beware! You may have just pulled the Spider-woman

Somewhere, out there, in some happening disco lurks the Spider-woman. Her hapless victims are powerless against the alluring, magnetic draw of her spider-pheromones and her awesomely, stylish hairdo. She taunts and teases, leading you on until she gets you alone in some romantic location, where she waits patiently until you're about to use the most powerful dating weapon in your arsenal - the patented 'yawn-into-hug-into-kiss' maneuver. Then...

She rejects you so hard it MELTS YOUR FACE!

Don't say I didn't warn you.

(Today's dating advice was brought to you by Spider-woman v1 #17 wherein even the socially inept Jessica Drew looks disgusted when her date yells "C'mon -- Disco". When the chick raised by an anthropomorphic cow thinks you're a loser it's time to take a long, hard look in the mirror.)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Only A Mother Could Love: Marvel Knights - Punisher #2

It's time for another installment of comics that 'Only a Mother Could Love'. A few weeks back I was talking about issue #1 of the Marvel Knights Punisher relaunch. Now with the setup and all the 'Hold the phone! The Punisher is dead?' revelations out of the way let's get down to the nitty gritty of issue #2.

Unfortunately compared to issue #1 this one is more than a little bit lackluster. The story doesn't move on and the mysteries don't unfold quite as much as you'd like. In fact I'd go so far as to say that not a lot happens in this issue.

Now hold on before all you undead Punisher fans jump down my throat (c'mon there's gotta be at least one out there, anybody? Hello?), I'm well aware that some stuff happens in this issue. It just doesn't cut the mustard quite as well as issue #1 did.

Let's review all that goes on, shall we?

Okay the Punisher and the inept Castle Family Guardian Angel Gadriel yak...a lot. Then they hit each other with a big metal door a few times before heading off for a quick team up with a certain hell-spawned Marvel hero, who I'll talk about extensively later. Then they finish up by hanging out on a rooftop and well....yakking some more.

Oh yeah, we also stop in on our resident bad guy, the chicken-goujon-looking demon, Oliver. He ups the action ante by making out with the disembodied head of a dead angel and having a sing-a-long in the bathtub. Exciting stuff I'm sure you'll agree:

Now I'm not against an issue driven by dialogue, but in a book where the Punisher has been ressurected as an undead, mystical uzi packing engine of destruction I expect to see some undead, mystical bullet-ridden, destructive action on every other page. That's how you get the folks here at YouAreComic to plunk down their hard-earned cash people.

It seems like start to finish the only thing that punctuates Frank and Gadriel's yak-a-thon in this issue is Frank's obsessive need to keep shooting Gadriel in the face every few panels:However despite all of my bitching and moaning, about halfway through this issue, we are spectacularly delivered from mediocrity. How? Well the method of our deliverance can be summed up in three beautiful words. Magical words that can turn even the dodgiest of books into a veritable Mardi Gras of comic book wonder and joy. What are those three special words?

Daimon. Hellstrom. Appearance.

Oh yeah baby. The Son of Satan is here and this time it's more than a tantalising one panel cameo. This time he's packing his glowing, netharanium trident and wearing a spiffy Duran Duran style shirt to show off his snazzy chest pentagram. This time he's laying the smack down on some ill-mannered demons who are holding up traffic in downtown Brooklyn. This time, as every time - He.Is.Awesome.

Check it out:
..And I'm Hungry Like The Wolf!!

In an effort to add his own brand of comic-cook greatness to this sagging issue Daimon let's Frank with his mystical uzis and Gadriel who can shoot fire out of his hands apparently (How come angels never did that anytime they showed up in the Bible?), join him in some much appreciated demon ass-kickery. Sadly it's all over in a flash and the streets of Brooklyn are safe once again - well as safe as the streets of Brooklyn get anyway.

Luckily Daimon knows that just showing up and stabbing up a few demons with his trident isn't going to sate his guest-star-appearance-starved fans. He knows you should go out how you show up - in style! So to top off the trifle of awesome we've already enjoyed we are treated to this:That's right ladies and gents there now exists a Punisher comic that features Daimon Hellstrom riding off into the sunset on his demonic horse drawn chariot. Oh Daimon you history-making glory-hog you! How did you get to be so awesome?

For the sake of the upchuck reflex of my loyal readers we'll leave the Hellstorm gushing there because there is one other bright spot in this issue. The mysteries raised in the first issue don't get a lot of resolving here but a last bit of plot thickening is tossed in for good measure at last minute.Hmmmm, it would seem that there's more to Oliver's poorly tailored henchmen than meets the eye. Whatever it is Gadriel doesn't seem keen on old Frankie finding out.

We're left hanging yet again with more yet more un-answered questions with which to torture our poor, road-weary brains:

- What does Gadriel know that he doesn't want Frank to find out?

- How many times will Frank shoot him in the face when the truth comes out?

- What tie do Oliver's leather-clad henchmen have to Frank and his resurrection?

- Why do all Oliver's henchmen look like a cross between Grant Morrison and Judas Priest's Rob Halford?

Left with the promise of answers and the possibility of more Hellstrom guest appearances to come ,you best believe I was there for issue three.

I can't get into that right now though. I'm off to read some old 'Hellstorm - Prince of Lies' back issues. Where'd I put that one where he kills his dad and takes over his throne? Hell yeah - you heard me right, dude kills Satan and takes over Hell.

Daimon Hellstrom=Awesome.

Nuff said.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Wonder Woman's Ultimate Foe...

Wonder Woman is world famous for her battle prowess. As the fiercest warrior that Themyscira ever produced there are few in the DC universe who can match her impressive array of powers.

She can pummel her strongest enemies into submission with her god-given Amazonian strength.

She can slice through even the thick skin of a Kryptonian with her golden tiara.

She can squeeze the truth from the most deceptive of liars with her lasso of truth.

She can deflect a dozen bullets a second with her indestructible bracelets.

She can traverse the globe in an eyeblink in her amazing invisible jet.

Despite all this however Wonder Woman is not unbeatable. There lurks one deadly menace out there who can lay even the Amazonian princess low.

Cower and tremble in fear at the mind-bending malevolence of...

An Old Lady With a Rock!
Take that you Amazonian bitch!

(Today's elderly assault was brought to you courtesy of Wonder Woman v2 #30. Diana compounds her rock-nutting embarassment in this issue by spending most of it in chains, lying face down in a muddy dungeon after letting a rogue Amazonian Queen spit a ruffee into her face. Which is a lot less kinky than it sounds)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

You Thought The Last One Was Good?

Okay so all that yakkin' I did in the last post about Thor #388 led me to go and re-read the concluding chapter of 'Celestials versus Thor' shenanigans in #389 over the Easter break. After which I realized that I may have posted about the wrong issue because this issue has two moments which outshine even the 'Celestial brain dome discovery' and the 'Mjolnir shattering' moments that I gushed about in the last post.

One occurs early on in the book. Actually it's the second thing our now bruised, beaten and pretty much half-naked hero does in this issue. The first thing he does of course is beat a small army of angry, orange, anti-body dudes into a bloody pulp using nothing but his bare hands and a borrowed hammer - but hey, this is a Thor comic - dude does that kind of thing in every other issue!

What he doesn't do in every other issue is throw caution to the wind and take a running leap into the exposed brain of a Celestial! His goal? To rip that brain apart with his bare hands (and teeth apparently). That kind of thing he saves for special occassions:That.Is.Awesome. That is a moment that gets the blood pumping. That is a moment that gives you goosebumps. That is a moment that makes even the most jaded and cynical comicbook fan leap up out of their chair and yell 'FOR ASGARD!'

....No? Okay, that was just me then.

Anyway, our action-packing buddies De-Falco & Frenz deliver up a second moment of pure unadulterated comic-book greatness in the same issue only a few scant pages later. Being the consumate story telling professionals that they are, the guys know that even in the most far-out, swingin of outer-space adventures it's the solid story-telling logic that keeps your story afloat.

As such the guys had an important question to ponder to determine where, logically, the story should go next. That question is as follows:

"So you're a space-faring, planet-stomping, civilisation judging, indestructable Space God. Some douchebag with hippie hair and a winged helmet jumps into your brain and starts tearing shit up with his teeth. What do you do?"

Put logically like that, only one possible solution presents itself:
You hock that hippie douchebag out like a great honking loogie

That's right boys and girls, your eyes do not decieve you, I saw it too:

Space God Gobbing.

Only in comic books my friends, only in comic books.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

A Textbook Case Of Cosmic Awesome...

I'm gonna tell you this straight people - I love the Mighty Thor. Be it classic Jane Foster-loving, lame-doctor Thor, everyman Eric Masterson Thor, Bearded battle armour Thor, dirtbag-paramedic Jake Olson Thor or even magical Toad Thor, you name it, I love 'em all. Combine that with my unabashed love of Marvel's pantheon of cosmic characters and their penchant for wacky cosmic adventures and you've got yourself a recipe for victory.

When it comes to Thor #388 we go from victory to total intergalactic domination. For you see gentle readers Thor #388 give us that thing of beauty that is...

Thor versus the Celestials.

For those of you out there not gasping in excitment and awe let me explain. There are two important things you need to know about the Celestials a.) They are thousand feet tall Space Gods who bop around the galaxy judging whether or not planet's dominant species deserve to live or get toasted b.) they're awesome!

Since artwork speaks louder that words let me put things in perspective for you:That's Thor on the left looking spiffy all decked out in his Asgardian battle armour. The little guy on the right with the head shaped like a teacup is Arishem The Judge he's oh...about a thousand feet tall. The black and yellow dude above him is Exitar The Exterminator, he's just a smidge bigger than that.

We can tell from Arishem's caeser-like thumbs down and the presence of his humungous pal who's name ends in 'The Exterminator' that the whole judging thing hasn't gone well for the planet of Pangoria. Luckily for them the Thunder God is on the case.

Of course in delivering us the most titanic cosmic battle since Space Phantom versus Venom in Beyond DeFalco & Frenz have presented themselves with an extremely tough question to answer.

How does one tiny Asgardian Thunder God fight a ten thousand foot tall, planet toasting Space God?

Never fear dear readers, the intrepid creators of everyone's favorite Everyman Avenger Thunderstrike have never let us down before and they're not about to start now. You want answers to the most mind-staggering of cosmic comic-book questions? Tom & Ron have got you covered with an answer, and let me tell you - it's one hell of an answer.

How does one lone Asgardian fight a thousand foot Space God? Why he punches a great freaking hole in the top of his head with his mystic Uru hammer and jumps inside of course! Bear witness:
Wow, the inside of a Celestial's head looks just like the inside of Steve Ditko's head

Once in the topsy turvy world that is the inside of a Celestial, Thor's battle-honed mind comes up with an ingenious strategy for defeating his gargantuan foe - 'I'll poke around in here until I find it's brain then I'll hit it really hard with my big freaking hammer'.

Like I said...ingenious!

It won't be easy though because even from the inside the Celestials are tough customers. The Thunder God has to fight off wave after wave of weird looking alien anti-bodies trying to flush him out of Exitar's system. There's weird, green bat-looking things, pink, squishy leech-looking things and huge orange humanoid dudes that look suspiciously like the Red Skull's Sleeper robot (remember that guy? Could it be that the Celestials are actually an ancient race of space nazis?).

Unfortunately for these intrepid anti-bodies Thor's Asgardian lust for head-cavings was not completely satisfied by punching a hole in the head of a mammoth space god. So as you'd imagine things don't end pretty for those anti-bodies with the misfortune of having heads:
Dude, what's that on the back of your head? Oh, wait, it's just your face.

With the way cleared it doesn't take Thor long to track down Exitar's now undefended brain. In a dissapointing turn of events, said brain turns out to look kind of like the Millenium dome!

Out dissapointment does not last long though as we learn how Thor intends to crack open the Celestial's brain dome. Y'see Thor has decided that hitting it with his enchanted Uru hammer is just not bitchin' enough. Instead he'll treat his fans to the sight of him 'channeling all of his godly life-force through his hammer to produce one great destructive blast'.

Which as you might suspect looks awesome:De Falco and Frenz aren't quite done blowing our minds yet though people. They've got one last bombshell to drop on us. When Thor comes around after his 'life-force channeling' escapades he finds that he has succeeded in shattering the brain dome, but a newly grown batch of big orange anti-body dudes are come to put the kibosh on his brain-pounding plans.

He's just getting up to re-commence the head caving fun when he discovers that tragedy has struck:
I can feel a 'NOOOOOOOO!' coming on.

This book is good beyond belief. Even for those who aren't entrenched Thor fans like me this issue and the conclusion in Thor #389 are totally worth a look. It's a textbook example of how to write a fantastic cosmic story You gotta make sure to cover all the bases required for cosmic comic-book greatness:

1.) Star-faring hero in snazzy threads? Check.

2.) Alien head-cavings? Check.

3.) Bizarre Ditko-esque landscapes? Check.

4.) Shattered enchanted Asgardian hammers? Check.

5.) Ego - The Loving Planet...Hmmm, okay so we're missing that one.

How about I show you a picture of the Pirate King of Pangoria to make up for it?
Yarr matey!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Cocktails with Batman...

So next time you're out on the razz and your Sex on The Beach suddenly turns into a Fuzzy Navel don't blame the waiter.

It's probably just because one of your drinking buddies is secretly Batman.

(This refreshing beverage was brought to you by Batman #681 wherein Batman takes a break from unraveling the mystery of the Black Glove to reminisce about that time he poisoned a chubby old monk. Meanwhile Robin fights an angry mime.)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Superheroing 101: Battling Banshees...

While she may look ridiculous in her day-glo skeleton suit and chunky voodoo ear-ring ensemble the Silver Banshee is one tough customer. She's given Superman a run for his money any number of times.

If your superheroing in or around the Metropolis area you may be unfortunate enough to run across her. So Supeheroing 101 is here to give you the 411 on how to survive an encounter with the Banshee.

The most important thing you need to know about Silver Banshee is that she can kill you simply by screaming your name.

There are a number of ways you can combat a power such as this:

i.) During the battle you could stick your fingers in your ears and sing 'La La La La La' at the top of your voice. Unfortunately this tatic leaves both your hands occupied and you'll find yourself at a distinct disadvantage in the hand to hand combat department.

ii.) A much more effective idea is to not tell Silver Banshee your name. If she doesn't know it, she can't scream it.
Fig 1: Having your name written on your shirt when battling Silver Banshee is not a good strategy

iii.) If the worst happens and Silver Banshee learns your name and attempts to use her death wail the most effective means of stopping her is by gagging her in some way. Shove whatever comes to hand into her mouth before she can scream be it your cape, your belt, a sock or even...a big rig truck.
Fig 2: The truck gagging technique

Here endeth the lesson.

Good luck out there super-heroes!

(This lesson in super-heroics was brought to you by Supergirl #34 wherein Kara vandalises a baseball diamond and runs away then sends some hate mail to the Daily Planet's Cat Grant. Tsk Tsk Tsk, these kids today, I blame the hippety hoppity music.)