Friday, February 27, 2015

I thought she was taller, but there's already two scales here.

We'll limp to the end of this week with this one: a couple weeks back I got Funko's Game of Thrones Brienne of Tarth figure. The OAFE review there describes the actress that plays Brienne, Gwendoline Christie, as 6'3"; and the figure is a little over 6 inches. That Superman is a seven-inch DC Collectible one, though, so still taller. Anyway.

I didn't buy all the cheap GoT figures I could have, though; and I have to wonder if that decision will haunt me later. Still, I know there's a couple around I still might be able to get on the cheap, while I'm waiting for more Marvel Legends to show up. Later today I'll be hitting up Hastings and the Comic Book Shop, so we'll see what jumps out at me.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kind of want to go back to the B-plot...

I don't know if this quite qualifies as halfway plot switch, but I kinda wanted to see this thread more than the main one! Not that the main one was bad, but still...from 2008, Hulk vs. Hercules #1, "Smash of the Titans" Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, art by Khoi Pham, Paul Neary, Dennis Calero, Eric Nguyen, Reilly Brown, Carlos Cuevas, Terry Pallot, Chris Sotomayor, Bob Layton, and Guru EFX.

Athena is trying to advise young genius Amadeus Cho, who's lost faith in the Hulk but gained it in Herc, that maybe he shouldn't. She tells him a story, from when the Hulk was a mindless brute roaming the extra-dimensional Crossroads (and Dale just covered the last issue of that stretch the other day!) and the goddess Gaea sends him to Olympus! (Athena as much as says Gaea is crazy and spiteful, but Athena seems to badmouth just about everyone.) Ares and Athena have a run-in with the Hulk, who is taken in by the Titans Callias and Zeno, who may have been horrible monsters at one point but were beaten, pathetic, and kind of OK guys now. Still, the Titans convince the Hulk to attack Olympus, and Herc is called in to stop him...

...interrupting his Unlimited Class Wrestling match for charity at Madison Square Garden! Having trounced every super-strong wrestler on the undercard, Hercules throws down with Ben Grimm, the Thing himself! Sadly, there's not enough time this issue for the Thing's match to go on past this page. The rest of the issue goes back to Olympus, where the Titans are revolting, and Hercules goes straight to murdertown on them. Mindless but relatively innocent, the Hulk is dismayed at the carnage, and the spell he was under at the time sends the unhappy brute back to the Crossroads. Athena tells Amadeus that maybe Herc might be as much a monster as the Hulk, maybe worse; and Herc seems to scowl over at them over his drink. Also this issue: the return of Demogorge, who's apparently part of Gaea's ongoing "kill the previous gods to see what comes next" plan.

Great issue...maybe not as good as a solid issue of Hercules wrestling the Thing, but still.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I had that Zemo figure for some time before he ended up in any strips, so I'm not sure why the upswing now. But the Satana/Black Cat plot line may run a few more episodes.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This issue: Multiple fabrications! Actual paper files! And Green Lantern not being helpful. At all.

From 1973, Action Comics #429, "The Man Who Wrote Superman's Obituary!" Story by Elliot Maggin, art by Curt Swan and Bob Oksner.

When Clark Kent swings by the Daily Planet morgue (in the sense of keeping files and reference, not corpses!) to check out a file, he sneaks a quick x-ray peek at Clark Kent's file--only to find it's written in Kryptonese! It does reveal his secret identity to boot, but the Kryptonese part seems more troubling somehow. Superman checks with everyone who knows his secret identity, or at least these few, thinking someone may be playing a joke on him. Green Lantern seems not especially interested, but he may be one of the few who could do something like that: his ring would be able to write in Kryptonese, wouldn't it? Supergirl would know the language...maybe Batman or Flash could learn it real quick?

Anyway, after a story involving a telepathic prehistoric plant-man tyrant, that's a total load Superman uses to bait the trap, Supes exposes Ryan as the one behind the obit, his ticker somehow receiving a direct feed from Superman's giant Kryptonese auto-engraving diary. (Which actually seems less far-fetched today, than a morgue full of actual paper files with an actual human manning it!) Ryan had actually learned the language, but wasn't going to expose Supes or anything. If something happened to Clark Kent, the obituary would be pulled, but probably wouldn't be readable without help; and Superman would either be dead or no longer using that identity.

So most of this issue is a lie, and not a lot makes sense, but it does have Green Lantern being a jerk, so...
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Monday, February 23, 2015


Well, it is nice to see some harassment around here that isn't Hal Jordan related, anyway.

The previous Scarlet Witch figure, from Toy Biz, was pretty awful. Offhand, I'm not sure the old figure even made it into the background of any homemade strips. This new one may not be perfect, but it's a vast improvement. I didn't use her little spell-zap accessories today, but we'll see them soon enough.
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Darn, I kinda bought that for the cover.

Not the best week ever, but still with bits of fun here and there. Especially if you cheap out! From Amazon, I got Marvel Adventures: Spider Man: Peter Parker vs. the X-Men. The collection actually needs to be added to the GCD...but I think they'd best hold out for a better copy! Sadly, Skottie Young only did the cover for #59, but it's still pretty good. This is the last collection of this series, which went out with a more ongoing serial than featured in the title before: young Peter, still in high school, dealing with new girlfriend (and secret mutant) Chat, her pal Emma Frost, Captain George Stacy, and Bullseye? The book was it's own continuity, but rock solid.

Also this week, at a grocery store that was closing, I found a copy of JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time for dirt cheap! Sadly, it was buy one get one free, so I ended up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Youngest as well...but the JLA DVD features Dawnstar, Karate Kid, and Time Trapper; none of whom I would've expected. It's a little short, but there were a couple old Super Friends episodes I didn't remember thrown in, so not bad.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

This year's Toy Fare has come and gone, and there were a ton of great reveals and a lot of stuff I'm personally looking forward to getting. Still, I was a little disappointed that more credence seems to have been given to my theory, that Marvel is actively not supporting characters not under the Marvel movie umbrella, like the X-Men or Fantastic Four, who both seemed to miss the proverbial boat this year.

There are pros and cons to that: I freely grant that I don't need another Wolverine figure, and if benching the mutants means getting a Misty Knight or Thundra figure, it may be a small price to pay. (Although, it just occurs to me, I would've thought Thundra would fall under the Fantastic Four characters, which Fox has movie rights to. If they have the Skrulls, why not her?) And in some ways, it seems natural to let some properties lay fallow for a bit while heavily pushing another--this is an Avengers year, no doubt. But just outright refusing support to long-time Marvel mainstays, just to try and undermine Fox? That seems less reasonable and possibly even damaging in the long run.

Checking Comics Alliance's supermovie timeline though, the FF movie is later this year, and the next X-movie May 2016, so maybe the toy pegs will be clogged with X-figures late next year. I don't recall if the 2007 Rise of the Silver Surfer movie figures took off or not; so that could be another reason why there doesn't seem to be figures for the new movie at this time.

All of this is to try and explain why I was so surprised to see a particular Star Wars figure today: from Big Bad Toy Store, check out Hasbro's "2015 Star Wars 3.75" Black Series 01 - Set of 7"--with Clone Commander Doom! The green hood is a great homage to Doctor Doom, from out of left field. Hey, you can order it separately if you like! It seems like a little bit of Marvel/Disney synergy; that oddly makes me feel a little better about things. I'm not sure why either, but there you go.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The alien germ epidemic plot is a standard of sci-fi TV shows--I think TV Tropes just uses The Plague to cover it. Almost always it's serious business, with maybe a tiny percentage played for laughs: a character getting an inconvenient but not fatal alien disease maybe, like Wookie Mumps or something. (The latter is also a good way to bench a character off-screen for an episode or an issue: the Captain came down with Tellarian Monkeypox, so he's not going on this week's mission.) I wanted to play with the virus or whatever being contagious and dangerous--but also not life-threatening (for the patient, in itself) and temporary!

I haven't read the recent Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier series yet; but does it take place in space? Seems like about a third of Marvel's current books have story lines that are space-related, and that's before you get to the obvious ones like Silver Surfer or the Guardians books.

Fun fact: Space Iron Man was going to be in this strip, but he sucks and everyone hates him. That figure should've been labeled "Groot leg," since that's the only reason anyone bought it. I swear the Wal-Mart by my work has like twenty, still at full price.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I know Iron Man and Machine Man have met on multiple occasions, and I have to imagine Tony gave Aaron at least one Turing test every time. (Not to be confused with the Voight-Kampff test, but Tony probably would've given him that, too.)

I haven't re-read 2001: a Space Odyssey #8 for some time, but I know Dr. Stack treated the robot X-51 like a son, and gave him a name and a face. Aaron doesn't always use his name, but he gets pretty irate without his face!

I haven't read Thor recently either, but he's lost his hammer Mjolnir and his name; now going by the title Odinson. I picked up all of the most recent Marvel Legends and built Odin, and I wonder if anyone's popped this Thor's arm off and replaced it with the metal one that came with Machine Man. (If you buy the whole series, you could build either Odin or King Thor; I went with Odin.)

As is often the case around here, I'm wondering if robots can pick up Thor's hammer. In the first movie, I'm not sure anything could; but usually in the Marvel U. proper I think robots and heavy machinery can, unless they're sentient to the point that they're "alive." The android Human Torch, the Vision, Jocasta; they wouldn't be able to. I don't think Ultron could either, unless it doesn't think of itself as alive? Or maybe their programming just makes a more sophisticated artificial intelligence "think" they can't lift it. Or maybe it depends on the writer, the situation, convenience...

I've never even seen a game of Gnip Gnop; I'm only familiar with the name as an off-the-cuff remark from an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And yesterday's riff was from a mummy movie I had seen before it was featured on the show (I saw it on cable as Time Walker) and has one of my favorite bits ever: a group of archaeology students are going to x-ray a recently discovered (and alien!) mummy. Midway through, one runs over and unplugs the machine. Asked why, the student points at the dials, and indignantly tells them they were giving the mummy ten times the normal radiation. From the audience, Crow blurts out "He could die!" It took a minute, and then I laughed and laughed...

That Machine Man figure? Super-great. Recommended!
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Almost nine years of Random Happenstance, yet I still could've just named this stupid blog "Where did I put that goddamn comic?" Luckily, I found this issue the other day, and while it wasn't quite the one I was looking for, at least I didn't break my rule about buying a comic just because I can't find it right now...and actually that's not so much a "rule," as it is a "suggestion." Maybe just a notion...From 1989, Badger #47, "Handmaidens of the Sacred Blood" Written by Mike Baron, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Paul Abrams.

Harvesting rare hardwoods, corrupt corporations invade the Brazilian rain forest, closing in on the last habitat of the Juju Jaguar. The Handmaidens of the Sacred Blood, a convent founded by transsexual ex-Nazis but expanded to include ex-corporate types seeking redemption, defend the forest; but fear they may not be enough. So, they call Badger and Ham for help, who come a'running, with Badger's new wife Mavis as well. Badger's a little put out that Mavis helps herself to one of his shirts, his uniform in camo; but while Mavis loves her husband, she doesn't put up with a lot of his crap, either.

Captured while investigating the loggers, Badger and Ham face Gichen Rotsaruck, who may be borderline offensive; and piss him off with haiku. Or doggerel, at any rate. Badger challenges Rotsaruck, who reportedly was a "third degree black belt from the All-Japan Karate Club," and pummels him a bit around the head and shoulders. Rotsaruck dishonorably goes back on his word to free them, but Mavis does, also blowing up a batch of logging equipment. Rotsaruck swears bigger machines are coming, and as our heroes leave, they encounter the Juju Jaguar...

A somewhat silly issue, but a bit of fun. Ron Lim had a few issues left here, before Marvel grabbed him!
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Friday, February 13, 2015

We mentioned this one a while back, and I was lucky enough to have a spare copy! From 1988, Secret Origins #24, "The All-True, Previously Recorded, Publicly Known, Heretofore Fully Revealed Secret Origin of the Blue Devil" Story by Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin, art by Ty Templeton. Cain from the House of Mystery Weirdness? Really? OK...anyway, Cain tells a group of kids watching Blue Devil on VHS the true story of Dan Cassidy, and how he became trapped in the suit he created for the movie.

Cain's pulling the story out of Cassidy's sleeping mind, with a couple little dream gremlins, but it's all pretty close to the first issue.

Cassidy wakes up later, to give Cain a bit of what-for; and disarmingly describes himself as "a stuntman stuck in a silly suit who gets to play super-hero sometimes!" Which is probably the hook I'd keep for an ongoing...I didn't read the recent New 52 version yet, though.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Giving Batman a sword seems like overkill.

Just realized something about a book I really liked: from 1990, Detective Comics Annual #3, "Obligation" Script by Archie Goodwin, breakdowns by Dan Jurgens, finishes by Dick Giordano.

Detective Comics went fifty years before getting any annuals, but this was the third straight featuring one of Batman's many mentors. The first featured the O-Sensei, and crossed over with Green Arrow and the Question, as we saw before. The second, written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, features a young Bruce Wayne learning from detective Harvey Harris--and it's a damn good issue! It's also an update of a 1955 story. The third features a new character, Tsunetomo; who comes out of retirement at a Yakuza boss's request to face Batman, but does so partly to answer his curiousity: did he train the man who became Batman? And how good was he?

Calling him out as "Wayne-san," Tsunetomo is able to throw Batman off enough to stab him pretty badly. Still, the rematch goes the other way, even though as is typical for a Batman swordfight, his shirt is destroyed. (Oddly, shirtless sword-fighting Batman is one of the few variants I don't think has been made into an action figure. Yet.) Tsunetomo throws himself on Batman's sword, satisfied that his greatest pupil could deliver "...a man dying of cancer--with a more worthy death!"

There's a ton more plot this issue than we'll get into right now, but it occurred to me Batman has both a ton of mentors that appear only once, like this one; and a ton of mentors that were ethically and legally questionable at best, if not outright evil. The O-Sensei and his pupil Lady Shiva (who also trained Batman, in Knightsend) were at best amoral: they would've trained anyone they thought had potential or would be interesting, good or evil. (I actually like Shiva in the Question, but elsewhere and under writers other than Denny O'Neil, she was often a heartless killer, or a bitch, or both.) Henri Ducard was a monster, even if Bruce Wayne didn't realize it right away; and Bruce also trained with future Batgirl Cassandra Cain's father David, a brutal assassin. Tsunetomo may not have been as bad as those two, but he was mobbed up pretty tightly. Is it weird that Batman learned so much from bad guys? (I'd mention Batman trained with drug-powered Chinese kung-fu vigilantes, but I'm not sure that's in anyone else's canon.) Or is it understandable that to better smash criminals' faces in, Bats was possibly willing to overlook things, at least for a while? "Hmm...he's a genocidal madman...but I do want to learn that arm lock..."

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