Sunday, August 27, 2006

Random Comic Book Panel Theater: A Rebuttal

With all due respect to Chris of Chris's Invincible Super-Blog who is, by and large, the foremost expert on what constitutes awesomness in all walks of life, I believe that his recent argument about Red Tornado being totally emo, while containing some valid points, is working on dated information. I mean, sure, in his early appearances, Reddy was little more than a walking punching bag for the rest of the League, but by the time Fury of Firestorm #4 rolled around, he had evolved into something so totally non-emo, it's frightening:

That's right: he's gone from "whiney stumble bum punching bag emo" Reddy to "quoting an SNL skit which was long dead by the time this was published" Reddy.

A vast improvement, I would say.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Random Comic Book Panel Theater: Special "Sorry We Haven't Posted More" Double Panel Post!

So, the big question is this: Random Comic Book Panel Theater -- Terse?

Or just lazy?
You make the call!

P.S. Did this sequence from Power-Man #21 come up when the Thunderbolts kicked the New Avengers' butts recently? Like, when Atlas slapped Cage around, was it accompanied by a nice "BACHOOM!" or "SPLOW!"?

If not, it should have been.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Random Comic Book Panel Theater: Why I love Hawk and Dove pt.1

Sal's theory of super-villain naming*

*even if it flies in the face of #4 on Tate's list

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random Comic Book Panel Theater

Today's entry: When Cap'n N. first realized The Vision kicked butt.

Monday, August 14, 2006

And Now a Brief Word from Our Sponsors

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"Gorilla City" lyrics by master filkers Ookla the Mok from their monkey concept album "Smell No Evil"
"Infinite Monkeys Press" blurbs by the deranged mind of Cap'n Neurotic

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This Review Came From Earth-K: Daughters of the Dragon

In recent days and months much has been made of continuity, it's effect on comics in the past and present and what it's effect will be in the future. Is it a boon? Is it a doom? Is it just the way things are now? Was it the missing piece that allowed comics to grow into the form we know and love? Or the form we know and loathe? Good questions all, and I may have found an answer in the most unlikely of places. You see, I just finished reading Gray and Palmiotti’s Daughters of the Dragon…and it rocked my world.

In brief, the Daughters of the Dragon are Misty Knight and Colleen Wing.

Misty is an ex-cop who had her arm blown off while working on the bomb squad and Tony Stark offered to replace it with a bionic one with super strength. Colleen was raised by her grandfather in the Way of the Samurai and is possibly the most deadly swordswoman on earth. Together they founded Knightwing Restorations, a private investigation firm, similar to Power Man and Iron Fist’s Heroes for Hire, and bail bonding agent that will bond out super-villains. Naturally, super-villains being super-villains, this has a tendency to make Misty and Colleen into bounty hunters as well.

According to much of the prevailing wisdom, Daughters of the Dragon shouldn’t work at all. It is mired (although I would say steeped) in continuity. Let’s face facts, the bedrock buried deep beneath this story is, at best, 30 years old. The Daughters are a Blaxploitation film blended with a 70s Kung Fu movie…but in a much better way than Black Belt Jones. There is almost no way that these two characters would be paired in the way that they are today; they’re two separate fads of a bygone era put together. But unlike oil and water, these ladies go together like sweet, sweet chocolate and savory peanut butter. If this sounds familiar, it ought to. Power Man and Iron Fist hooking up as Heroes for Hire is pretty much founded in the same era and thought process.

What’s more, this story uses the Marvel Universe as a backdrop better than any company spanning mess of a crossover could hope to. The clients of the Daughters, as well as the group of guys who are the main impetus to the plot, are all z-list super-villains. Rhino is as close to the big time as any of these losers get and he goes down like the proverbial bitch from the onslaught of Misty and Colleen.

The Daughters’ assistant is the victim of a chemical accident that happened when he was working for AIM (I have to believe as a low level flunky…he seems the type). Tony Stark shows up. So does Iron Fist. So does the Punisher. So does Mole Man. So does a metric ton of Hand ninjas and AIM mooks as well as a lot of costumed, but ultimately forgettable, bad guys. The kicker is NONE OF THEM ARE EXPLAINED OR GIVEN A BACKSTORY.

The thing that rocked my socks right off my body is how amazingly well all this comes together. It’s basically a buddy movie with a little revenge motif on the side held together with two completely different sensibilities that have absolutely no place together in 2006 and a mountain of attitude . . . but none of that hurts it a bit. The plotting and use of characters is great. There’s an added layer if you know who Rhino and 8 Ball are, for instance, but it isn’t like you were going to mistake them for heroes anyway. Knowing who Tony Stark is helps, but you figure out pretty quick he’s a multi-billionaire womanizer who likes doing multi-million dollar favors for his friends and that’s all you need for this story. Everyone, including Orka and the MOLE MAN for crying out loud are seamlessly integrated into this story. If you know who they are, there’s added flavor but if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be lost a bit.

The art is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for this type of story. The villains, even the goofier ones, actually seem dangerous. The women are all beautiful, but not in a typical comic book way. The fight scenes are frenetic and well staged and the storytelling is superb. I want to see more from Khari Evans and I want it now.

Since the plot is relatively thin (and that’s perfectly okay) the book is really held together with attitude . . . much like all my favorite action movies. Bad Boys will always be better than its sequel only because of attitude. Road House is a great movie purely because of its attitude. Daughters of the Dragon works the same way in both dialogue and art. We accept that these two women work together, act the way they act, talk the way they talk and look the way they look because if we stopped for even a second to think about it, we’d be left behind. And we don’t want to be left standing on the curb! We want to be in the passenger seat, trying to decide which is more fun (and dangerous), looking at the road or at Colleen’s dangerously exposed cleavage. The women are smart, dangerous, sexy and violent. They talk tough and are just street enough to make me buy it when they front out their assistant for sounding like a wanksta. They are literally everything I want from my action movie heroines wrapped up in six short issues, including katanas and giant afros.

In summation, I absolutely loved this series. I can’t wait to read it again. I can’t wait for the trade so I can read it over and over. I’m even going to buy Heroes for Hire in floppies! (I only buy two Marvel titles currently and my wife makes me buy one of them and the other is a mini, so adding at third is a big deal) The damn thing had absolutely no right to work at all, let alone work as well as it did and for that it gets the highest praise. EVERYBODY READ DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON! EARTH-K DEMANDS IT!

PS: I just realized I got to the end of my review and never mentioned the main villainess. That doesn't means she's unimportant, she just really isn't the main issue of the book. Neither is Razorfist, although he is as completely ridiculous as his name implies. Say what you will about violence in fiction, but I liked what Coleen did to him. I mean, just look at him, he's begging to be beaten.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I've Got a Theory . . .

Y'know, I've started to suspect that there's some fundamental difference between your earth and Earth-K, sort of like during JLA/Avengers when Flash travelled to Earth-616 and discovered that there was no Speed Force. Yes, over the past few months I've become convinced that back on Earth-K Tate and I tapped into some primal force which is unaccessable here. That's right: here on your earth there is no Wordy Bastage Force.

In an attempt to combat this lack of Wordy Bastageness and make sure that our membership in the Legion of Wordy Bastages isn't revoked (yes, I know we're the only two members, but we're sticklers for the rules), I've decided to canabalize, I mean "update," some old comic-related blog posts from my Crisis of Infinite Monkeys blog to post here, thus preserving the illusion of Wordy Bastagedom.

Click here to find out where all of my money goes.

While I devote a lot of time and energy into my Movie and TV addictions, my true pop-culture passion has always been comic books. At times in the past I’ve downplayed my fanboy predilections due to a desire to avoid the “you read comic books and you’re how old?” looks, but those days are long behind me. I now embrace my comic book love whole-heartedly and even managed to work comics into at least one assignment each semester while working on my Masters degree:
  • Introduction to Information Control: created a comic book database
  • Introduction to Information and Access Retrieval: created an annotated bibliography of comic books
  • Collection Development: created a collection development budget for comics
  • Genre Fiction: wrote a 15 page (single spaced, cut down from 20) paper on the use of different genres in American comic books
  • Website Development: created the Infinite Monkeys web page
  • Electronic Databases and Information Services: forced my group members to answer reference questions about comic books
Now that I wear my comic book nature on my sleeve, I’ve discovered that most people, in an attempt to make polite conversation, ask the same question: “What comic books do you collect?”

I’m never sure how to answer that question, since the odds are that a discussion of the books I actually collect would more than likely cause my non-comic-geek audience’s eyes to glaze over in a mixture of boredom and confusion, since there isn’t a Superfriend in the bunch. That won’t be a problem here, however, since (a) if you're reading this you're probably already well-versed in comics and (b) I don’t actually have to look at your faces as you read this. So, what follows is a list of the books I’m currently buying in monthly format, instead of waiting for the trades


Birds of Prey: Only tangentially connected to the (mercifully) short-lived WB series. Originally conceived by Chuck Dixon, the book stumbled a bit -- okay, a lot -- after he left, but has regained its former glory (and, to me, even surpassed it) under the talented hands of Gail Simone. The series follows Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon and former Batgirl, who, after being paralyzed by The Joker, used her l33t haxxor skills to become the superhero world’s resident fount of information, Oracle. BoP also follows Oracle’s (primarily female) field agents, most notably Black Canary and Huntress, with the recent addition of former Justice League Detroit member Gypsy adding some fresh blood to thd group. Smart, funny, and action-packed book.

Firestorm: A revamp of one of my favorite characters as a kid. Over the years the concept of Firestorm has been tweaked in several different directions, and I have to admit I wasn’t too keen on the latest variation when I first heard about it. But, the likeable characters have won me over, and the decision to pull in elements from the Ronnie Raymond years have mollified my fears that they were just trying to throw away the past.

JLA: I'm really looking forward to the revamp by Meltzer, if for no other reason than to wash the horrible taste of "World Without a Justice League" from my mouth; man did that story arc suck.

JSA: One of the first series I got hooked on as a kid was Roy Thomas’s All-Star Squadron, which featured just about every Golden Age hero ownded by DC. So it’s only natural that I would be attracted to JSA, which focuses on some of those Squadron characters, as well as their successors. I'm curious about what direction the book will take with it's upcoming relaunch, but so far Geoff Johns has yet to let me down.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The one series I feel compelled to buy no matter what. Yes, it’s had its ups and downs over the years (I’m looking at you, Sneckie!), and the latest revamp, in which the Legion is more of a cultural phenomenon than a super-team, is a far cry from the Legion I grew up with, but LSH will always hold a special place in my heart.

Manhunter: Let me be the latest in a long line of bloggers to raise my voice and proclaim "Please Buy This Book!!!!!!" The recent reprieve for the series has made me a happy, happy geek. Although I wasn't happy with the way the author has retconned out the last couple of Manhunter series, I'm willing to let it slide for the sake of one of the best supporting casts in comics today. Please, ask your local comic shop to add this to your pull list, and help us break the Cameron Chase curse.

Teen Titans: Another title from Geoff “How many books is he writing?” Johns. I was a little leery of this title when Didio decided to axe Young Justice to make way for it, but once I actually read it, I was hooked. I'm looking forward to the upcoming "world tour" issues which will explore the massive Titan turnover during the One Year Gap. Oh, and special kudos to Johns for his recent Doom Patrol storyline, which managed to pay homage to pretty much every iteration of the team.

Y: The Last Man: The only Vertigo series I buy monthly instead of waiting for the trade. Why? Heck if I know.

The Atom: When I first heard they were launching a new Atom series, I couldn't have cared less; then I heard that Gail Simone was writing, and my attitude did a total 180. Only one issue in, but right now it promises to be quite a wild ride.

Blue Beetle: Although I was one of those who mourned the death of Ted Kord, I have to say that the new BB series is a great read. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

Checkmate: I'm starting to think that Tate's plan to wait for the trades on this series was a good one; by the time I finished the first arc I felt like I needed to re-read it all to make sure I picked up on everything. At the same time, the promise of Waller reforming the Suicide Squad will keep me buying the monthly for at least a little while longer.

Secret Six: Probably my favorite book on this list; too bad it's only a mini. My new favorite writer Gail Simone writing one of my favorite characters Deadshot? How can I not love it.

52: Yes, I'm shelling out money for the biggest marketing gimmick of the year, but you know what? I'm actually enjoying it. Well, except for the "History of the DCU" back-ups, which have mercifully come to an end. Seriously, is there a single person out there who enjoyed those? Anybody? And why is it that those wastes of space took up 4 pages, but the "secret origin" inserts will only be 2? I mean, come on!


New Thunderbolts: Let me start by saying that I loved the original Thunderbolts series. Kurt Busiek took a bunch of second- and third-rate villains and turned them into three-dimensional characters who were doing their best to seek redemption. Even after Kurt left the series, I was a fan of Fabian Nicieza’s take, even if he did overdo the “twist endings” a bit. I was saddened when it was cancelled, and quite excited when its return was announced. However, this new series has not been able to recapture the magic of the original for me. There are still flashes of the book that I loved, and the flashes have increased since the end of the over-long Purple Man storyline, but until Fabian decides to restore Moonstone to her full, Machiavellian glory, this book probably won't crack my top ten.

Powers: Formerly published by Image, this recent addition to Marvel follows the adventures of a couple of police detectives who work the “powers” beat, dealing with super-powered crime. One of the benefits of a creator-owned series is that anything could happen to any character at any time, and that sort of uncertainty helps keep Powers on the cutting edge issue after issue. I would say “month after month”, but that might imply that Bendis and Oeming actually manage to put out an issue each month . . . The main reason I don't wait on the trades for this one is the often amusing letters page.

Runaways: In addition to having a great cast of characters, this book continues to throw twists and turns that I never see coming; too few books out there I can say that for.

She Hulk: Dan Slott’s take on the Jade Giantess is one of the most consistently funny and entertaining books around. I only caught the first series in TPB, and have committed to picking up the monthlies now that it's gotten a new lease on life. If only Slott's Thing had managed the same. *sigh*

Ultimate Spider-Man: This is not your father’s Spider-man. Brian Michael Bendis’s reinvention of Spidey has its champions and it detractors. Personally, this is the only one of the Ultimate series that I have found to be a consistently engaging and entertaining read. Bendis takes a lot of crap for his decompressed and dialogue-heavy storytelling style, and at times I can agree with that (especially on Daredevil), but for this series it works for me.

X-Factor: Did I mention that Peter David is another of my top 5 writers right now? I didn’t? Well, now I did. My one complaint is the artwork, which occasionally makes my eyes want to bleed. But only occasionally.

Astonishing X-Men: As a long-time fan of all things Whedon, there's no way I could pass up a chance to see him writing Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde. And to those who complain that the latest arc is just fan service, all I have to say is: what's wrong with that?

Civil War: I sort of hate myself for caving in and buying this overblown crossover machine, but I've committed myself now, and can't escape. Not as bad as I'd feared, but really not as good as some folks claim.


Hero Squared: The only place to find Giffen and DeMatteis's patented Bwah-Ha-Ha style of humor, and thus a must buy.

Fallen Angel: I'm so glad this series has found a second lease on life at IDW that I'm even willing to keep on paying their outrageous monthly cover prices . . . for now.

And that's pretty much it for my monthly books. I've reallly tempted to pick up Mystery in Space and The Omega Men since they promise to have ties to one of my all time favorite series, L.E.G.I.O.N., but the jury is currently out.