Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Flash and Firestorm vs Atomic Skull!

The Flash decides it's a nice day for a run across Metropolis Harbour. He breaks the sound barrier and triggers a sonic boom, but wasn't paying attention to where he was!

First of all yes, those pink rings are his sonic boom. I've never seen a sonic boom, so that may, in fact, be what it looks like.
Second of all- a floating prison at 20,000 feet?
Anyway, the Flash realises his mistake, and decides to check if he caused any damage to the prison. One short plane ride later...


Apparently, the floating prison also has floating unconcious security guards. (seriously, where did the artist think the light source for the shadow was coming from??)

The Flash has bigger things to worry about though. He broke Superman's prison, and released...

Atomic Skull (!).
This comic came out in 1981, which is when I was introduced to comics. So basically over my entire comic book reading life, they've felt the need to include a footnote explaining what S.T.A.R means. We must all be slow leaners. (Marvel doesn't think you know what S.H.I.E.L.D means either) Isn't the whole point of an acronym so that you don't have to write out the entire phrase?

Atomic Skull does his thing, and blasts Flash with radiation, then goes off to cause trouble elsewhere. Flash, realising he will soon die without help, decides to seek out Firestorm so he can absorb the radiation, which he does. It has a pretty cool effect on Firestorm though. Behold, drunk Firestorm!

Oh no! Guess the only way to save him is to blast the radiation back at Atomic Skull. Because blasting the radiation harmlessly out to space would be boring.

Flash risks everything (well, his clothes anyway), by grabbing the drunk Firestorm around the waist. Don't think it's risky? Go stand outside a bar on a Friday night and try it on people as they walk out.

Firestorm isn't really interested in a fight though.


There's only one way to make Firestorm focus- abuse the crap out of him.

In a genius move of misdirection, Flash gets Firestorm mad enough to shoot at him. But clever Flash was standing in front of Atomic Skull, so all he has to do is get out of the way, and the villain is toast. Excellent.

With the radiation gone, Firestorm sobers up, but he's a sloppy drunk- he can't remember what happened the night before.

Poor old Zatanna, all she really needed to do was buy Batman a few Beers. If only she knew.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Now I can't wait for April

April signals the annual Science Fiction/ Pop Culture convention in my home city. The website was just updated with some of the guests they've arranged.

Aaron Douglas and Susan Eisenberg are the ones I'm most stoked for. Although I just thought of this; Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica hasn't screened here yet (although I got it on DVD several months ago, and promptly devoured it in 5 days). That might make panel discussions a bit awkward, particularly talking about season 3. Anyway, this will probably* call for me to lay down my $50 (or whatever they decide to charge this time) and get an autograph. I've never actually been motivated to get a signature from any of the actors before, I always seem to get in to their shows after they've been here (there's been numerous Babylon 5 and Farscape people over the years).

The comic guests aren't as majorly awesome as they were last time (Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez, attending a week before the final Crisis issue came out), I guess primarily because I'm not really familiar with their work. Although this would be a good chance to get my Green Lantern: Circle Of Fire mini series signed (it's not anything special, but it's got Firestorm in it). I don't think I've read anything by Jimmy Cheung, but I'll make a bit of an effort to check him out now.

Oh, and I just remembered. Some guy named Billy Dee Williams is coming.

Ok, I guess I'll be paying for 2 autographs...

*providing I don't blow $500 on comics on the first day, like I did last year

Monday, January 29, 2007

A public service announcement

Forget what your mama told you. Ghost Rider 2099 has the answers you need.

Free your mind from political manipulation. Take acid.

This message was brought to you by Marvel Comics, Len Kaminski, and the Comics Code Authority.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

How not to treat girls, featuring Firestorm

Meanwhile over in Ronnie Raymond land, Doreen still can't get any respect.
Things start out well:

So they've just exchanged their first "I love you"'s, how romantic. But, someone went and left the TV on...

Personally, I'd be dying to hear how Doreen was going to finish that sentence, but oh why not, just go ahead and turn your attention to the TV report, you big jock dumbass.
"Mad men attack hospital!". Sounds like a job for Firestorm!

Yep, Ronnie just told his girlfriend he loves her, now he's running out the door because a hospital is under attack. Oh yeah, his superhero girlfriend is a patient there. This would be a good time to run out the door saying her name...

Way to go, asshat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Super Friends art

I recently got around to figuring out how to use Paypal with a credit card, so now the eBay world is my oyster. My first purchase is this way cool animation cell from the Super Friends cartoon.

It's joined a convention sketch, by Phil Jimenez, on my bedroom wall.

The cell measures about 13" by 11". Unfortunately it's going to have to stay on the white backing card it came on, since the paint is stuck to it, and I don't have the balls to try removing it. I also don't have the heart to cut it down in size, despite 3/4's of it being empty space. That would be a bigger crime against comics than the Catwoman movie.

Part of me is always skeptical about the authenticity of this kind of thing. It looks real, but then how the hell would I know ;) Doesn't matter though, this looks really friggin cool, and was totally worth what I paid.

I have a few more Firestorm art pieces on their way, more showing off when they arrive.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Better late than never

I realise I'm way behind the times, but I've just started watching Babylon 5 for the first time. Three episodes in to the first season, and I've come to a realisation.

Commander Sinclair...

...has been possessed by Major Steve Trevor.

Seriously. The script isn't as camp on B5 obviously, but the delivery is phrased almost spot-on. I think it was actually the facial expressions that first made me think of the connection, but then the way he talks sealed it. Scary.

Oh, and I'd pay good money to see Linda Carter and Claudia Christian in a fight ;)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Don't mess with Ghost Rider 2099

Imagine the situation. You've just been murdered. Somehow your digitized conciousness got transferred to a robotic killing machine. That's pretty cool. But you're still pissed. Then you find the guy who killed you.

The question: What do you do?

You spend the next 3 pages





Then when the police show up?

Throw him at them.

Because clearly, that's what anyone would do in that situation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to ruin a good comic

Mid-way through a mini series, change the art from this:

To this:

Which is not to say I hate Denys Cowan's art, but back in 1991 when this came out, it was not what my 14 year old eyes wanted to see. Could they've picked two more different artists? I was instantly in love with the clean lines of Jackson Guice, then the rug got pulled out after 2 issues.

I did stick with the regular series for most of the run though, until it got reeeeally bad.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How not to treat girls, featuring Firestorm

If you get Firestorm's powers, chances are you will suck when it comes to girls.

Reminder: don't kill your girlfriend's father. Especially when she's standing right there. She will not give you a kiss.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Great sayings

Over the years I've picked up many phrases from comics. This is one of my favourites:

"That guy has more hangups than a wardrobe" just has a cool ring to it. I don't get to use it nearly enough.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Moments of genius

Unquestionably the best CCG ever created was RAGE, by White Wolf. Sadly it failed after 5 sets were released, but it had some brilliant ideas. Behold Shoragg, demonically possessed horse of doom.

In a game focusing on werewolves, there's just something awesome about having an evil horse on your side. With the added comedy bonus ability of allowing one of your other characters to ride it in to battle and engage in group combat, for no extra cost.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Crimes against art

Having a distinctive style to your art can be a good thing. Sometimes it isn't.

"You're my son and I love you, but what the hell happened to your legs?"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The universal threat

The ABC Warriors, on a mission to save the world, learn the truth of mankind's impending doom.

Not really a surprise, it was either gonna be them or lawyers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

How not to treat girls, featuring Firestorm

Ronnie isn't the only one with girl trouble.

Nice one Martin, piss off the psychotic killer why don't you.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The Invincible Wolverine

Marvel came up with an interesting idea back in 1996, with What If... #81: What if the age of Apocalypse had not ended? "Can a world shattered by Apocalypse survive the coming of Galactus?". Sounds like a pretty cool idea, no? They managed to screw it up though (surprise!).

So, Tony Stark stumbles upon the Watcher's lair on the moon, and using the deep space image stuff that magically lets him see the universe like it's on tv, sees Galactus heading towards us, and studies him. Contact with Magneto and the X-Men ensues, and 3/4 of the comic is taken up with pointless talking ("character development" yawn). Then Galactus arrives, and things heat up. The hero's board Galactus's world ship, and lay nukes, when the Silver Surfer (having been zapped by a laser a few pages ago) decides to intervene. What follows is quite possibly the stupidest (and most disappointing) scene I've seen, ever. Behold:

Ok, so where to start with what's wrong with this? First of all, keep in mind that this is the still-loyal, never-been-stripped-of-powers-and-exiled, Surfer. While not a ruthless killer by any means, he's still going to be smart enough to just blast the people trying to damage his master's ship, right? No, he decides to sneak up on them and engage in hand-to-hand.

While not too smart, given his power, it's still not a terrible move, right? The Surfer can withstand flying through black holes, the heart of a sun; he's taken blasts from the likes of Thanos that could raise cities. What could possibly go wrong?

Adamantium, that's what.

Seems that Marvel takes the "my claws can cut through anything" idea a little more seriously than you thought, eh? I challenge even the most fanatical Wolverine fan to not have a problem with that last panel. I mean, really.

Then the hero's kill Galactus, using the combined psychic energy of Earth's population (interestingly, almost the exact same thing happens in Ultimate Extinction, 10 years later. Hmmm...). In proper continuity, such a move should signal the end of of the universe, since Galactus is one of the 3 essential celestial bodies required for it's existence. But then, What If has always been the playground of the second-rate, and Marvel seems to've long forgotten that rule anyway, since Galactus has died in proper continuity atleast once.

This crap was brought to you by Mariano Nicieza and Kevin Hopgood, though I'll cut Kevin some slack and assume he was just drawing what he was told.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The amazing Vigilante #1, a grim and gritty crime fighter

Adrian Chase, former lawyer, embarks on the very first issue of his own series as The Vigilante. He's tough, and he'll kill you! And he is in no way is a rip off of The Punisher. Honest!

Things are looking bad for mob boss Quilt!

Almost there!

Vigilante confronts his prey, and they engage in a manly game of handball!!!

Fortunately, the Vigilante is a really bad loser, and takes him down! Suck on that, bad guy.

Oh yeah, and there's some lame-ass hired killer by the name of 'Brand', who has the genius idea to name himself after his weapon of choice. Yes, he will burn the letter 'B' into your face. The 'B' stands for 'Brand', since that's his name and that's what he'll do to you. Genius!

Thankfully Vigilante does us all a favour, and kills him too. Because really, who needs to see that again?

Saturday, January 6, 2007

How to ruin a good comic

Rant time.
**spoiler alert: Annihilation**

I just got Annihilation #5. This mini has been excellent, and of the six comics I got today, this was first to be read. Pretty soon though, I was getting pissed off. Why? The volume of ads in it. I know ads are a commercial necessity, and for the most part I don't mind (much), but this issue it was overkill. There was 25 pages of comic (not counting the text based recap first page), and 22 pages of ads. I'm assuming this is more than usual, I really can't be bothered doing a comparison, but it just really got annoying, especially the placement of ads in crucial places, where the page turn should be a big reveal.

For instance, when Galactus gets freed from his restraints, something that had been building at the end of last issue, and on into the beginning of this. This is pretty much the event that will turn the tide of the whole story (I'm going on interviews with Keith Giffen). So we get this as the last panel on a page:

"Know me Annihilus. Know me and..."

*turns page*

"...order a pizza from your car"

Major anti-climax. Turn the page again, and there's a cool splash page of Galactus looking pissed and about to break things, and right next to it is an ad for Magic, with one of those annoying comic-format ads (that looks like it has panels), so it serves only to distract. If I hadn't been on a train when I read that, I probably would've sworn out loud. There's another spot with a double page ad just as Ronan busts his way into the Kree HQ, which totally killed the momentum of something that had been building since the Ronan prequel mini, 6 months ago.

Maybe Marvel expects everyone to rush out and buy the trade, just so we can see the story unmolested. In the interests of fairness (*puke*), maybe it really was just how the ad placements worked out, but I haven't been this irritated by, say, a DC comic, in recent memory. I might have a quick flick through IC just to compare.

It was a good story though.

[update] ok, so I just checked a couple of the DC comics I got yesterday (Blue Beetle and 52). One had 23 pages of comic, and 8 pages of ads, the other 22 and 9.
Make mine DC.

Friday, January 5, 2007

How not to treat girls, featuring Firestorm

Today's lesson: Don't walk around with your superhero girlfriend, in your secret identities. You just might run in to your real life girlfriend...

Y'know, for all that people complain about the new Firestorm and want the old one back, Ronnie was a bit of a jerk when it came to Doreen.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

How not to treat girls, featuring Firestorm.

Lesson 2
Do not fly around with your superhero girlfriend, in front of your real life girlfriend.

You suddenly feel cold all over, Doreen? That's because that's your boyfriend up there, girl.