Friday, November 29, 2013

"Do I still think in those little yellow boxes?"

Possibly the best Deadpool panel ever...maybe just behind 'my common sense is tingling.'
Maybe? Deadpool Annual 2013 review Monday. Still mulling it over...
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Darn, I can't use "Batsgiving" as a title now...

This wasn't done as a response to those "Batsgiving" teasers that were in the DC books a week or two back--and which I saw online, since I'm not reading any DC books regularly. (I probably do still pick up a fair amount randomly, as sales provide!) I just had the idea of Alfred bagging out of making a big Thanksgiving dinner, since Bruce almost certainly wouldn't want it. I don't really think Batman is only thankful for criminals as an outlet for him to pummel on...well, not usually. I think.

And then I wanted to make up a crime to interrupt Batman's Thanksgiving, and why not lime jello? But this made me think of old seventies-ish comics, where the Joker and the Riddler had more of an unfriendly rivalry going, a "can-you-top-this?" as they tried to outdo each other and beat Batman, usually failing on both counts. Then they went with the Joker's default characterization being psychopathic murderer; and the Riddler couldn't really compete there: not psycho enough, nor killer enough. (Before you ask, Peter Milligan's "Dark Knight, Dark City" is an outlier, an anomaly; even if it remains my second favorite Riddler story!)

I wonder if the Bat-villains ever get bright ideas...say, Two-Face decides (after a coin toss) to rob a museum of an Egyptian cat statue. Or a clown painting. Something outside of his usual two-motif, then. Maybe leave a few penguin feathers or similiar calling card behind, to put Batman on a false trail. The problem with that idea: as Two-Face is robbing the museum, Batman's already laying in wait there for the Catwoman, so beating up Two-Face would just be a pleasant surprise.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I'm slightly better about this in my old age, but when I was younger I was pretty given to meandering: a simple trip to the store would lead to a stop at the comic shop, then the CD place, the video store, some friends, a bar, another bar, and so forth. (I probably don't have all those places to go anymore!) I had a roommate in college, who once specifically, and rather hurtfully, refused to go anywhere with me; on the grounds that it would inevitably turn into a six-hour thing. I told him that wouldn't happen this time, and of course we were gone for twelve hours. (I think he ended up meeting his girlfriend that time, if my dodgy memory holds...)

Anyway, that's kind of how I approach writing these silly strips, especially the Deadpool and Nightcrawler ones. I may start out with a specific goal--in this plotline's case, I paid a bit for that Satana figure, and reckoned I ought to put her in something--but after I get out the door, I'm completely open to being sidetracked.

This storyline's got a couple weeks left to it, but tomorrow, a Thanksgiving strip! Not having anything to do with Satana, Deadpool, or Nightcrawler; but there you go.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I've always been slow on this title, though...

A title I'm mildly surprised I haven't posted more of: From 1990, Justice League Europe #17, "The Extremist Vector, part three: On the Brink!" Plot and breakdowns by Keith Giffen, dialog by Gerald Jones, pencils by Bart Sears, inks by Randy Elliott.

JLE, of course, was the spin-off of the surprise hit Justice League International, and Keith Giffen brought humor to this title as well, although maybe not as much. Well, not always: issue #5, with Giffen's JLI co-writer J. M. DeMatteis and the Injustice League, is damn funny. But JLE's focus was more on super-hero action, with Sears penciling, and probably a good choice.

This was the third part of the Extremists storyline, which involved a super-villain team that were thinly veiled analogs of Marvel Comics villains: Dr. Diehard was Magneto, Lord Havok was Dr. Doom, Tracer was Sabretooth, Gorgon was (a more disturbing) Dr. Octopus, and Dreamweaver was Dormammu. I say "thinly veiled," but actually I'm not sure how many issues it took me to figure that out! Previously, the bad guys just crushed perennial punching bags the Rocket Red Corps, to establish how bad ass they are. And the JLE gets asskicked by the Extremists, for like the third time? Their strategy had a couple of flaws, though: the Flash (Wally, not yet the pro he would be in JLA!) gets distracted and drops the ball on covering Dreamslayer (who actually had a better design than Dormammu did at the time, and Dormammu may have actually swiped from him going forward!) and the team miscalculates whether the stolen nuclear missiles were in a stable orbit or not. (They weren't!)

There were two more parts of this storyline, which included a desolate alternate earth, and alternate earth heroes Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress, and Mitch Wacky, an alt-Walt Disney. They would all hang around for a while, to varying degrees of success. And this issue had two, almost three full-page spreads, but still has a lot more dialog than any Justice League book on the stands today. (There's a nine-panel grid page I might come back to, where earth's other heroes bag out of this one, leaving it to the JLE!)
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Monday, November 25, 2013

There's more than a few cheats in this one:

1. "One Fine Halloween," the Mad Hatter returns to the disused Arkham Detention Facility for Youth, at the behest of the Penguin. But the Penguin has a note from the Hatter suggesting the meet. Realizing they've been played, they plan on turning on the Scarecrow when he arrives, but his note has both names on it! I'm not sure why, because that only works if they meet in the order we see here.

2. The trio intends to leave, but a dramatically-timed lightning strike casts one of those perfect Batman-shaped shadows, scaring them back inside. I kind of wonder if maybe Batman doesn't set those silhouettes up all over Gotham, just on the off chance it'll scare the hell out of someone. Inside, a chandelier nearly falls on them, giving credit to the idea that Batman may have left traps for them.

3. After a moment of bonding complaining about Batman, and being terrified by another shadow, Scarecrow suggests making a break for it, through the hedge maze. What kind of detention facility has a hedge maze? After being scared by a Batman-shaped remnant of a scarecrow--"I believe they call that irony," Penguin tells Scarecrow--the three are back inside.

4. Imagining schoolchildren making fun of him, Penguin takes a swipe at Scarecrow, which sets off Scarecrow's fear gas. All three have suitably traumatic flashbacks to their childhoods, but wouldn't Scarecrow, who's around that gas all day, take some precautions, like maybe a mask? Or antidotes?

5. At dawn, all three wake up, chagrined. Resolving to never speak of this again, they leave. You kind of think they'd be maybe a smidgen pissed at Batman, who of course sent the notes and took the rest of the night off. Bruce Wayne only appears the last couple of pages, and Batman only on the cover.

6. This issue was $4.99 cover, but I got it for $1.99! For the price, can't complain, I guess.

Batman: the Dark Knight Annual #1, "Once Upon a Midnight Dreary" Written by Gregg Hurwitz, art by Szymon Kudranski.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

"They'd never kill off a character as beloved or as marketable as me!"

Target has apparently cornered the chibi market, and now have these 3-pack DC ones. I got Batman right out of the gate, although he has a couple scratches on his head, and is the most slender of the ones I've picked up so far.

Hawkman is larger than most of them, and pleasingly triangular. Flash's legs are longer and separated to signify speed, I guess; and Green Arrow and Aquaman's respective weapons could make them easy for you to find in the bags. The ones I haven't seen yet are Cyborg, Supergirl, and Shazam! Although I may have enough of these, since the fourth bag I bought was all does strike me as slightly odd that they went with a recognizably Damian Wayne version of Robin, since the character was kind of doomed and is currently dead. It remains to be seen if I'll crack and buy more, though. Three minutes of looking, and apparently Target isn't selling these online, so it's trudge down to a store, or I dunno, pay scalpers' prices on eBay.

In other news, I have to work a bit of overtime on the weekend, which should be a joyless drudge. Did I say joyless drudge? Sorry, I meant joyless drudge. Have fun for me!
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Thursday, November 21, 2013


The Golden Age Atom wasn't the main figure I wanted in DC Universe Classics 19, but why not? Batman is surprisingly foul-mouthed this time around, but I suppose I'd be pissed too in his shoes...

And there's a typo in the first panel, that should be "losing containment," not "using." Well, too late now.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Roshambo doesn't always end in violence. Just usually."

Although there are scads of vehicles available for three-and-three-quarter inch figures, they are a bit fewer and farther between for six-inchers. (Unless you go straight-up Barbie coupe or something, which would probably be closer to scale.) Which is one reason why Deadpool and Nightcrawler have a Mach V. Another is, well, I would if I could, and I'm not a big driver. Wow, I bought the Mach V back in 2008? Weird. Probably not unlike the recent Adam West Batmobile, it's really just a hair undersized for six-inch figures like Marvel Legends or DCUC, but we make do. Probably would work pretty well with Movie Masters figures or that '66 Batman and Robin, wouldn't it? Hmm.

And Nightcrawler drops Deadpool like a sack of potatoes? That doesn't seem right, does it? Perhaps there's more than meets the eye there...
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's in better taste than a selfie at a funeral, anyway.

If you thought Barry Allen was in dire straits the last time we saw him, he may be worse off this issue: Flash #325, "Dead Reckoning" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Dennis Jensen. On his wedding day, Flash is not only forced to stand up his bride Fiona at the altar, but then has to kill the Reverse-Flash to save her. Hmm, I just realized Barry was going to marry this girl, yet still hadn't told her his secret identity. Well, she was pretty obviously his rebound girl.

Fiona's in the hospital, the cops and the reporters are trying to piece to together the story, a guilt-ridden Flash races to save lives all over the world, and the Rogues stage a daring heist--of the Reverse-Flash's body! Hey, and they got away with it for a change! Captains Cold and Boomerang, along with the Trickster and the Pied Piper, hold their own service for a man they considered one of their own. Sort of.

The Rogues didn't much like Eobard, alias Professor Zoom, alias the Reverse-Flash; but were more offended that he dropped the ball and actually got killed. (Being beat by the Flash was almost to be expected.) After using their weapons to destroy the body, the Rogues go their separate ways again, and don't seem thrilled about future dealings with each other, either. Oddly, I thought more Rogues showed up than just those four; maybe it was their bowling night and the others ditched out or something. (EDIT: Duhr, 'cause the Weather Wizard keeps getting crowded out there!)

Later, after trying to visit Fiona, Flash is arrested and charged with manslaughter, which would start the Trial of the Flash storyline that would run the book into the ground...I think it would run for another two years!
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Monday, November 18, 2013

The proprietor of Battlegrip, Philip Reed, has published two books through Kickstarter about third-party Transformers: Transforming Expectations and Transforming Collections. Even though I only consider myself a casual Transformer fan, I was really tempted by both of them; but ultimately held off, because I didn't want to be tempted. If you're not familiar with third-party Transformers, simply put they're figures made not by Hasbro, but by fans and hobbyists, usually in relatively small batches. Although the figures are often versions of familiar TF characters, third-party figures are distinctly separate from knock-offs or bootlegs: they're made with love, frankly. The enthusiasm shows in the product, and the engineering is often top-notch. So, I was leary of getting Mr. Reed's big book of plastic Transformers crack.

So, today, we've got some third-party Transformers...from that Big Bad Toy Store box, and Mech Ideas, we've got the W-01 Long Blast Upgrade Kit.

Using the included head, gun-barrel hand, and stickers; you can turn a specific Jazz figure ("RTS Jazz/the Giftset Jazz") into a new character, that resembles Shockwave. He's got a little backstory on the package and everything. He's also not why I bought this.

Also included: a laser gun and a P38 gun. They are both made to fit a standard size of Transformer hands, the 5MM fists. Perhaps you would better recognize the guns, however, by their proper names: Shockwave and Megatron!

While they of course don't transform, to my eyes they're pretty accurate versions of both characters gun-modes, sized so other characters can wave them around and shoot up the place! Presumably, Mech Ideas intended the guns for other Transformers to use, but they've fallen into the wrong hands. Namely mine...

Mech Ideas should consider selling just the guns, separately. I'm hoping this hasn't opened the door for a bunch of third-party figures, but I know there's a Soundwave Headmaster-styled figure I'm tempted for already. We'll see...

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