Monday, July 30, 2007

Guest Appearances - Silver Surfer in Amazing Spider-Man #430

Since I'm a completist nut about Firestorm and the Silver Surfer, I thought it may be fun to take a look at their many guest appearances. Not a full review of every comic as such, mostly just the parts they are in, to see how they are handled. And to warn off others thinking of becoming Silver Surfer completists, because he's had some truly awful guest spots over the years. So, look for this semi-regularly (maybe, heh).

The Silver Surfer gets to kick things off, with The Amazing Spider-Man #430, which sees Spider-Man taking on Carnage.

We meet up with the Surfer in space (strangely enough), chasing down an asteroid that's about to hit the Mir space station. What could happen?

"I must return to the planet Earth where other startling events now claim my attention."
Writing at it's finest.

Down on Earth, Spidey is locked in a tight battle with Venom-offspring Carnage. Thankfully for him, while saving Mir, SS happened to be directly over America and saw all this, so comes to lend a hand, because there's clearly nothing else happening on the planet more important than a couple of red guys throwing cars at each other.

Carnage seems about to be handed his ass, but out of the blue something strange happens.

No, more strange than Kasady not wearing underwear under that suit. The symbiote recognises chrome dome, and freaks out, peeling off his host and jumping down the nearest drain.

Hmmm, sure sounds that way Spidey. Care to explain, Surfey?

Hey, he's a Star Wars fan too. I knew there was a reason I liked him. Gotta love how alarm bells started ringing when the term 'symbiote' was used. Because clearly the only symbiote in the entire universe is the type that bonds to humans and makes them hate Spider-Man. Nice of Spider-Man to worry about damage to the road, moments after being informed the planet is at risk. With a pretty darn smug comment, SS drops in to the sewer to chase Carnage down, leaving Spidey to figure out just what the heck is going on. He interrogates Kasady, and finds out the symbiote has a racial memory of the Surfer, which demands revenge. Ohh, that sounds ominous, considering the Surfer is now in close quarters with the goo. I wonder what could happen?

Looks like a trap!

It's The Carnage Cosmic! As named by the guy who was the one-time editor-in-chief of Marvel. Man I bet brainstorming sessions with him were scary.
"Hey, I've got this idea for a new character, he basically carries a big gun and kills people, I call him the Punisher"
"Have you considered the name 'Gun-Man'?"

So yeah, now the Surfer is possessed, in a manner that seems slightly more akin to a parasite than a symbiote, but whatevs. What will happen next issue? Will the Silver Surfer realise that being taken over by something that lives on your skin can easily be defeated by, oh I don't know, flying through a sun, or unleashing a burst of cosmic energy? Will Spider-Man last more than ten seconds against something that routinely kicked his ass when it was bonded to a mere human? Will Tom DeFalco invent any more stupid character names?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dr. Strange - Master Of The Mystic Bossy Pants

Look out, it's the earth shattering combo of the Avengers and Defenders against Dormammu and Loki, in The Avengers #118, Dec 1973.

If you look closely at the logo, you will see the name "Y.A.GORDON" stamped on it. He was a curious young lad. He loved comics, but hated the ads. Hated them so much infact, that whenever he was confronted with a double page spread of adverts, which was basically every four pages, he would yell "Ads, begone!", and proceed to glue the offending pages together

He was also mighty proud of that stamp bearing his name, and would use it often, bravely saying "no!" to the collector market. He had few friends.

The issue opens with our combined heroes defiantly challenging Dormammu's plans. The Lord of the Dark Dimension had obtained the mighty Evil Eye (immortalised in song 10 years later by a young Yngwie Malmsteen). Earth was merging with said Dark Dimension, turning normal people into monsters. If Dormammu held the Eye for another hour, the change would be permanent! Being the smart guy that he is, Dormammu buggered off back to his dimension to hide, leaving the heroes to face what humanity had become.

Dr Strange sees that the best way to approach this is to follow Dormammu and defeat him, but Captain America disagrees. But Strange is determined

Thankfully, the heroes get some timely help from SHIELD, and an argument is avoided

Yes, SHIELD-- The International Law-Enforcment Agency!
Also note the bottom of the page, where we see the precursor to the Fox Sports Ticker, promotional blurbs on every even numbered page. Things sound bad for the Man-Thing.

Meanwhile, in one of previously hidden pages of ads, we find:

Ah, the goofy 70's, where women were expected to look like women, unlike the stick figures everyone aspires to today. Try running an ad campaign like that now, and watch yourself go out of business quick smart.

Off to Dormammu's Dark Dimension we go!
Thor comes up with a plan, but again Dr Strange steps in to say "Nay!"

Whew, that was a close one.

As they head off on the path, The Watcher pays Dormammu a visit, and a disturbing conversation ensues

Well, that's a relief. Probably wouldn't have passed the Comics Code if he had...

Now it's Hulk's turn to have an idea, as the Heroes are assaulted by the Mindless Ones

So, Dr Strange, what do you think about that approach?


So everyone that can fire energy blasts gets together and blows the Mindless Ones back to where they came from. Time is running out though, as Mantis, doing her human stopwatch impersonation, announces there is only 20 minutes left to save earth.

Lets have a quick check on how some of earths other heroes are doing back home.

Fredric Wertham would've had a field day with those two panels.

Dormammu is in sight, but now it's time for the Silver Surfer to get a telling off from Dr Strange
Oh Time, why do you always taunt us so?

Meanwhile, in the mysterious hidden ad pages...

A blow up Raquel Welch doll. Ok...

Never one to let an opportunity go by, Iron Man sees a chance to hit on the Scarlet Witch
Things don't go well for the good guys though, Wanda being the only one left standing. Dormammu stops her by covering her in sticky, uh, "rain". Yeah, maybe it's just me, but there's many things in this comic that just seem wrong. Hey, did you remember I mentioned at the beginning that Loki was in this story? Well, seems Dormammu forgot:

Loki was after the Evil Eye for himself, and with Wanda's intervention, gets it...


Triumphant, Dr Strange takes everyone home

It's amazing anyone still talks to him.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hawkman for kids

One of the fun things about Justice League Unlimited, is that you get the characters boiled down to their key elements, which can lead to some funny exchanges. In JLU #35, we get a perfect portrayl of Hawkman.

He's a bit awkward when he's called on it though

"You guys just hit things"
"Uhhh... right..."
I love his body language in that panel and how that's kindof a throwaway moment that makes the scene.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Guy vs Dan Deathmatch

Sally recently posted some thoughts about Ted Kord, including the following:

"When she finds out what happened, Ice is going to be devastated. Mr. Dideo, do you want to be responsible for bringing tears to the eyes of Tora Olafsdottir? You're just going to make Guy mad by doing that."

I was inspired to do this:

Friday, July 6, 2007

The week in review

More week-late thoughts on a few comics, thanks to shipping times and living on the other side of the world from the publishers. Yikes, I actually bought more Marvel than DC this week. Plus, the new Transformers Movie game.

The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Yay, I've been wanting to try an issue, and my shop finally had a copy left over. Being the final part of a 6-parter it's probably not the best jumping on point, but it was fun. Really powerfully drawn fights, and some cool dialogue. Didn't understand the ending, but then I'm new to the character. Not 100% sold on it yet, but will definately pick up any other issues I can.

Silver Surfer - Requiem #2
I thought issue #1 was weak. This was much better. It summed up the Surfer's concern for humanity nicely. Spidey sending MJ into space was touching.

I'm not entirely sold on the Surfer being able to connect to every person on earth at the end, but whatever. The art seemed better overall too (except for MJ).

Ultimate Fantastic Four #43
This was ok, a touch drawn out with too much time spent on various SHIELD people telling Reid off, but atleast it answered the major question I had, namely how the Surfer(s) we saw in Ultimate Extinction were different from the Surfer in this story. There's some kid called Enid that was used for supposed comic effect, but it failed horribly.

The Thing was funny though.

Blue Beetle #16
Another solid and enjoyable issue in both the writing and art departments. I REALLY liked that the story had an explanation of Eclipso's origin, because I had never heard it before. All I knew was 'magic entity trapped in a crystal'. The interplay between Jaime and Tracey13 was great, hope she sticks around for a bit. No Brenda was a minor bummer, but hopefully she'll be back next issue.

After writing last week's thoughts on Moon Knight and Aquaman, I thought about it some more and ended up dropping both titles. My shop always has extra copies so I can still get them off the shelf if I feel the need, but I don't want to be tied to them anymore. I ordered all the Annihilation: Conquest related mini's instead.

Transformers The Game (PS2)
This game is a dog. OK, so it's my own fault for expecting a movie-based gamed to be any good, but with the excellent Transformers game that came out a couple of years ago, well, they pretty much had the template of how to make a cool game right there. But no.

So, we're stuck with a game that kinda follows the general plot of the movie, only ultra fleshed-out, but in a bad way. It's all disjointed thanks to the over-use of cut scenes which break up the flow. For instance, as Bumblebee you have to drive to the highschool to protect the two kids from Barricade. You drive there, cue cut scene. Back to the game, you have a brief fight with Barricade. Cut scene. Back to the game, you have to race Barricade to a different part of town, which takes about 60 seconds. Cut scene. Another short fight with Barricade. Cut scene. Then there's another race, another fight, and more cut scenes. The cuts are short, and basically Bumblebee and Barricade driving somewhere, transforming, and then squaring off, but they serve to break up the flow of the game, and each time you go back to actually play something, you essentially repeat what you just did, only in a different place.

There's also an over-abundance of decepticons that you can only hurt by punching, they have shields for your guns. Great. The most fun thing in the game so far has been searching the city for all the hidden items (there's over 100...), since the entire city can be trashed, you can climb buildings, get chased by police, and there are random decepticons to fight. The actual hidden items unlock a bunch of pictures you can view, not particularly exciting.

I don't like giving up on a game, but I'm pretty close to listing this for sale online, and it only came out 3 days ago.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lost has lost me

So the seaseon finale of Lost screened here last night. I'm officially done with it. I care about several of the characters, but the last three episodes raised even more questions, while providing no solid answers to the old questions. Feels too much like the mess The X-Files became, and I really can't be bothered. Maybe I'll pick up the DVDs once the show is over and done with. So long Jack, see you in 2010.

Monday, July 2, 2007


I had been planning to go to the movie on Saturday, but I was kindof late getting in to the city, so just missed the 1:45 screening, and didn't feel like hanging around until the 3:20 show. Weird times, I had been expecting it to screen every hour, like F4 had. My fault for not looking it up first.

Sunday rolls around, and I decided to aim for 1:45. Arrived around midday, since I like to get in early and get allocated a good seat. Almost 2 hours to kill though, which presented problems.

First up was a visit to McDonalds for lunch. At a nearby table was a girl that used to be in my class through most of high school. She saw me, but we were never friendly, so I ignored her (if you never spoke to me in highschool, don't expect me to talk to you now). What took me though, was that she had three little kids with her, all the same age, and all looked pretty much the same. Guess she had triplets, which is stunning since she was (and still is) tiny- rake thin and no more than 5'. I wanted to go and ask her how she fitted them all in.

Then it was time for surprise #2. Looking to kill time, I went in to a video game arcade. The games all have these swipe card things, plus what looked like a coin slot. It wasn't though, because it wouldn't accept any of my change. I asked the guy on the counter, to see if there were tokens or something, but apparently they only use pre-pay swipe cards now. WTF? When did this happen? I was only looking to spend a couple of dollars, so I flagged it and walked out. Which sucks, because they had my old favourite, Bubble Bobble, which I can play for 20 minutes on one credit on a good day (well, many years ago now). So instead, I stood outside the theater watching people walk past the stripclub/brothel directly across the street. A couple of people even went in, which was amusing.

Anyway, movie time. They screened it in one of the small rooms, half the size of the main ones, which kinda sucked seeing as it's a new release. I remember when plans for a live-action Transformers movie were first announced, and I thought there was no way it was going to be any good. Glad to see I was wrong- it was awesome. Was a fraction too long, but that's a minor complaint. It had everything I want in a movie- genuine unforced humor, awesome visual effects, cool fights, and a couple of main characters that were interesting and easy to relate to.

Going home, it was pouring and I got soaked, now I have a cold. I think it was worth it though.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The week in review

Look out, a mass of negativity is on the way...

Moon Knight #11
Ugh, this thing's a mess. I do like the tone Huston is giving this title, but overall the writing is just a mess. This story bounces around from present to past so many times it becomes incoherant. I finished it wondering what the hell was going on, and I refuse to go back to the previous issue to see if it helps- if the writing was any good I wouldn't need to. The story is decompressed in the bad "you could achieve all this in two issues, not six" way. The payoff in issue #12, which I assume will be the end of the current arc, better be freaking HUGE, or this one's getting dropped.

Cat Woman #68
I haven't read an issue since the Jim Balent days of old, and since everyone in the blogsphere seems to love this title, I figured it was worth a try. It was enjoyable, but it read extremely quickly. Nothing jumped out at me and screamed "you must read this book". So, I'll pass.

Brave and the Bold #4
This was doomed from the start, because I can't stand Lobo, at all. The non-Lobo scenes were good, and Supergirl ala Perez was great, but overall I was left feeling somewhat "meh".

Justice League Of America #10
I knew in advance it would suck, I only bought it so I'd have the ending to the story from those two JSA issues that didn't suck. So, there's 4 people in the two teams that are faster then the Flash... I can buy that, if the criteria is "moving in a straight line", but not otherwise.

Aquaman #53
This is the first issue by Tad Williams that I didn't really enjoy. It all just seemed "off" somehow, even the art.

Sword Of Atlantis has been enjoyable enough overall, but I'm beginning to get a bit sick of it, I want the real Aquaman back sometime soon. Consistently good stories are one thing, but I have no emotional investment in the characters- Aquafake could get killed in the most brutal of manners, and I wouldn't care in the slightest. Not caring about the title character on a book is a sign of doom, no matter how good the writing is.

Annihilation - Conquest prologue
This was surprising, not least because it turned up in my file despite me not ordering it, but everything Annihilation-related has been solid to brilliant so far, so I took it.
A really enjoyable story. So good in fact, that I'm going to add the 4 minis and Conquest proper to my pull list next time I'm in the store.
I loved how Moondragon and Quasar's relationship was made clear, but we didn't have to put up with a "yay, lesbians" splash page of them making out or anything. This is as heated as it got:

So yeah, atleast I get to end this thing on a positive note.