Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Batman Forever (1995)

I'm not sure why but it seems like Batman Forever has been on TV a lot in the last month or so.  So I thought it would be worth taking another look at this. This Batman movie series had an interesting run. The first one was a damn solid movie, I would argue it was the best super hero movie ever up until that point. While parts of it haven't aged well I think it still holds up pretty damn well. The last movie in that series, Batman and Robin was an absolute abortion. I talked about it briefly on here before but I'm not really planning to do a review of it beyond saying it's actually pretty remarkable how terrible it is. But then there were the two in the middle. I think both were bad movies, but unlike the 4th one they had some merits and I think it's worth taking a look at where they went wrong, or at least where I think they went wrong.

After director Tim Burton's success with Batman the studio basically let him do whatever he wanted with Batman Returns. That turned out to be a mistake. So for the third one they decided to go in a different more kid friendly direction with director Joel Schumacher.

The first change was Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I think Kilmer did a decent job in the role. The only complaint I would have is his performance was a little boring and forgettable, but I tend to think he was doing the best he could with what he had to work with story wise.

Chris O'Donnell was of course Robin. As with Val I don't think he did a bad job, but nothing stand out about it. This pic also shows the nipples on the costume both Robin and Batman had. The jokes about openly homosexual director Schumacher literally 'gaying up' Batman and Robin pretty much write themselves don't they? The odd thing story wise is they treat Dick Grayson so much like a kid in this. I have a hard time believing O'Donnell is even a teenager and the story treats him like he's 12. It got me thinking, I bet you we will never, and I mean never, see a young Robin in a movie. First of all child actors are usually terrible, cause after all they're just kids, but secondly even if we did get a really great child actor to play a teenage or younger Robin, I bet you activist groups would be all up in arms about it promoting violence to children or some such horse shit. So we get the odd dichotomy of a Robin that looks easly 25 but the movie treats like a 12 year old.

Tommy Lee Jones is a tremendous actor and Two Face is one of Batman's most compelling and tragic villains. So what the fuck went wrong here? I feel like Jones really tried to get something out this, but he had nothing to work with. This was the typical cliched villain with no motivation beyond simply wrecking and stealing shit. Aside from "Hey I like the number two, and pairs, and opposites and shit like that" Two Face had zero personality in this. And we spent no time on his origin, his tragic, compelling, awesome origin. Nope, he's just there at the beginning of the movie being an asshole and rambling on about how awesome the number two is like an evil Sesame Street character or something. Jones might as well have played Killer Moth or Kite Man or some shit for all it really mattered.

 And of course the token love interest, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian. And the thing about Dr. Chace was, well she was, umm, she was there. She existed. The character was a psychologist and they tried to use her as a plot device to delve into Bruce's psyche. But for the most part whenever she seemed to be just some token titties I suspect Schumacher put in there to try and tone down the gay. Didn't really work.
A lot of people liked Jim Carrey as the Riddler. I didn't. He played it so fucking goofy, clearly inspired from the old Adam West show. I was still just a kid at the time but I was a huge fan Batman: The Animated Series. So this is how I knew the Riddler.
I knew him as a cold, calm, calculating genius, always ready to devise traps and puzzles to test his opponent's intellectual mettle. Instead Jim Carrey played him as the Joker, if the Joker was a pussy. A hyper active annoying fruitcake in a green mask who tried WAY to hard to be funny. There were a couple of moments where I thought if they would have just let Jim Carrey go a little darker it might have worked, but for the most part I considered him to be a complete failure in the role.

So to me the movie is a failure. The plot is stupid, and the characters are either completely flat or completely over the top. This movie seemed to try to be both the Adam West TV show and the first Tim Burton movie at the same time and succeeded at neither. There were times when it's almost there however, where it almost succeeds. You can see what they were trying to do. But it's still a pretty bad movie and deserves the criticisms heaped onto it. Soon I'm gonna take a look at the Batman Returns.

First Amendment missing, presumed dead.

I just read a news story this morning about a man caught on video at a bus stop with his son mocking a disabled girl by walking with a limp and patting his hand over his chest. This was caught on video and posted on youtube and the man faced criminal charges for this. He ended up sentenced to 29 days in jail.

Now supposedly there was another instance where he was swinging a chain and threatening this disabled girl's mother. If that is true he should have faced criminal charges, threats of violence are not protected speech. Making fun of someone however is. This man was charged with disorderly conduct for the bus stop incident.

Now let me be clear, this man's actions were inexcusable. Making fun of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy is downright evil. I am glad this mother put this video on youtube and this man deserves all the social consequences that are no doubt coming his way for this.

But we have freedom of speech in this country, or at least we are supposed to. It is not, nor should it be a crime to mock someone. If freedom of speech does not include unpopular and abhorrent speech it is not freedom of speech.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review(s) of the week: FF Vol 2 #1, Arrow #1, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1

So in Fantastic Four #1, Reed has decided to take his team and his kids on a little trip outside the known universe to other realities. The pretense of this trip is for family bonding and educational purposes but really he is hoping to find a cure for a disease he found out he has. If all goes as plan, which it no doubt wont, he will arrive back from his trip through space time four minutes after he left. Just in case however he has assembled a team to serve as a replacement Fantastic Four and watch over the children of the Future Foundation. This book focuses on that team of Medusa, Ant Man, She-Hulk, and Darla Deering, AKA Ms. Thing. This is apparently Jonny's girlfriend wearing some sort of Thing suit. I honestly don't know and this book didn't do a good job of explaining her, even though it's suppose to be a jumping on point.

Also, this book is boring. It consists mostly of the various members of the Fantastic Four asking their respective replacement members to take over for them and the children of the Future Foundation explaining what the Future Foundation is. And I'm not particularly fond of Michael Allred's art. Not only is it sort of cartoonish, but it's very stiff and wooded. It's said in once sense a comic book artist is an 'actor' and Allred is a terrible actor.

The book wasn't terrible, and maybe it will improve, but it's a pretty mediocre start to this series.

I talked before on here about the Arrow show on CW. It's a pretty damn good show. So I figured it would be worth checking out the tie in comic. I was wrong. I don't even want to spend much time on this due to how bad it is. The story is forgettable and boring. And then there's the art, the terrible amateurish art. There are three chapters in this book, each with a different creative team so the mediocrity doesn't even have a consistent feel. The first artist is the worst, he's not fit to be working on an indie book someone published in their basement. I would have been better off taking my $3.99 and flushing it directly down my toilet.

Oh fuck me. I've talked before on here about the strange phenomenon of bronies. Because of those posts one of my readers requested I review the new MLP comic. What the fuck am I supposed to say here? I mean this isn't a comic book so much as it's what a homosexual horse breeder would see if he was tripping balls on mushrooms. The 'story', and I use that word in a very lose sense, is sort of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers story of changelings replacing ponies in an attempt to take over the world of Ponyville. They are defeated by the fabulous power of love or some such horse shit. Seriously, this was so gay, I feel like I just got angrily raped in the mouth by Perez Hilton, and then forced to watch the complete Sex and the City on DVD. So needless to say, I won't be purchasing, much less reviewing issue #2.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thou shalt bite the hand that feeds you.

I haven't really watched much Two and a Half Men since Charlie Sheen left. I used to really like that show but the new stuff with Ashton Kutcher leaves me cold. I mean it's not awful, I've watched a few and it definitely has it's moments, but like I said by and large it doesn't do much for me. I know one person however who hates it, actor Angus T. Jones who plays the titular half a man Jake. He said in a recent video that the show is filth and the work of the devil and urged people to not watch it.
You know, back in my agnostic days, I really had the impression that Christians were judgemental assholes. These are the kind of things that gave me that impression. If you think this show is so evil and filthy then why sign a one year contract just recently? What sort of witness do you really think you are self righteously running your mouth towards your bosses like this? You are not showing the love of Christ in any way shape or form by biting the hand that feeds you. You want to leave? Ask your bosses to let you out of your contract or wait till your contract is up and leave. Till then shut your mouth you little brat. You owe these people. Seriously, know you nothing of honor Angus?
And it's not even like he went out there and said "You know, I'm not sure I approve of the type of humor and subject manor in this show, I think I'll leave when I get the chance" No, he got up on his high horse and called the show the devil and asked people not to watch. What kind of witness does this boy think he's being? What sort of witness to the people on this show who have worked with him for years does he think he's being? I wonder if he's that much of a prick towards the fans. Like if someone comes up to him and asks for his autograph does he lecture them for ten minutes on how evil the TV box is?
This genuinely upsets me. It saddens me to think of the people who will see this and get a negative impression of Christ. There is nothing Godly about stabbing people who have been good to you in the back. There is nothing Godly about this kind of self righteousness and disloyalty. And there is nothing Godly about biting the hand that feeds you. Angus T. Jones, you pompous little brat, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Robber beaten up and used as sex slave.

I don't even have much to say on this story, but I thought it was worth sharing. A man in Russia attempted to rob a hair salon and the owner, Olga Zajac, who was a black belt in karate, knocked his ass out with one kick, then she dragged him to the backroom, tied him up, and force feed him Viagra and used him as a sex slave for three days.

He wandered out when she let him go. He went to the police and both ended up getting arrested. When the police questioned Olga she said "What a bastard. Yes, we had sex a couple of times. But I bought him new jeans, gave him food and even gave him 1,000 roubles when he left."

Like I said I don't even really have much to say on this, but just thought it was worth sharing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Retro Review: New Avengers Vol 1 #16

Well after most of a decade, Bendis is leaving the Avengers books. I have very mixed feeling about what Bendis has done with Avengers over the years, which I'll get into more here in a moment. But with him leaving I thought it would be worth looking back at one of his issues.

This issue starts with a mysterious energy source crash landing in Alaska. It turns out it's a glowing man. We cut to the SHIELD helicarrier where Maria Hill is having a video call with Tony Stark about the Avengers having recently reformed. The two have a back and forth in which it's clear neither likes nor trusts the other. Tony is by the way the only Avenger who appears in this issue. We cut back to glowy guy running through Canada and Alpha Flight tries to stop him and the team is killed off panel. Hearing this Hill reluctantly calls the Avengers.

And that's fucking it. This comic starts out with 8 fucking pages of splash pages. One of which is a two page spread. This entire issue could have been told in 3-5 pages tops. I know there's a delicate balance with comics. You don't want a comic too full of text for example. But 8 pages in a row of splash pages is fucking ridiculous. Also the last page is a splash page bringing the total up to 9.

I was a big fan of New Avengers when it first came out. I thought making Spider-man a full time Avenger was a great move and long over due. While I was initially against Wolverine as an Avenger I have to admit I think he's fit in quite well. Hell, I think he's been used better than Spider-man has by both Bendis and other Avengers writers since. I had been an Avengers fan since the beginning of Vol 3, and before New Avengers I would have laughed at the idea of Wolverine as an Avenger, but now seeing him next to the big three, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, looks right to me. Same with Spidey, although I always thought he belonged with them. Also you have to hand it to Bendis for making the Avengers the center of the Marvel Universe.

So while I'm basically happy with much of Bendis' run on the franchise, and while I was absolutely in love with this book when it first started, this is the issue, and the story arc, when the honeymoon was over with me and New Avengers. I mean I know Bendis writes at a slow pace, but this issue was a fucking waste of money. And killing Alpha Flight off was pointless. So pointless in fact when I first read it I assumed they were just injured and unconscious. It didn't even occur to me a writer would kill them off in such a nonchalant way. I mean I know Alpha Flight aren't exactly A listers, but they deserved a little more respect than that.

And the villain, the glowy guy, he turned out to be the cluster fuck of a X-character Xorn. If you don't know who Xorn is I fucking envy you. I only sorta know what his deal is and wish I could forget. I say sorta because his story is such a mess, I'm not sure any of the writers even fucking understand him. And mind you this book had already seen a bunch of X-villains like Silver Samurai and Sauron.

The other problem Bendis had is he couldn't really keep pace with all the events. His story telling style is so slow and decompressed we never really got to enjoy or explore any status quo with the team before another Civil or Secret War would come along and change things up.

If you never checked out Bendis' Avengers run I would definitely check out the first story arc, Breakout, and there are a lot of other good story arcs in his run, but this one you can definitely pass on.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Villain Spotlight: Coldheart

Not much is known about Coldheart, largely because no one gave a fuck about her. Coldheart apparently worked in a government research facility and was fired and on her way out the door she decided to steal a few things around the office. Nothing major, some pens, a stapler, and some swords that give you ice powers. She used those swords to wage a war on super heroes and villains alike because her son died as a by standard in a super hero battle.

While attacking both Spider-man and the Hobgoblin she rambled on about how hero and villain alike operate outside the law and the heroes don't care who gets hurt and they have no accountability blah blah blah. This is a woman who stole government technology and became a costumed super being because she hated super beings. Wow. I haven't seen behavior that insanely self contradictory from a villain since the time Shredder sang a song about how much he hates music.

She fought Spidey that one time and then the only other time she was seen again was in a fight with the New Warriors in the beginning of the Marvel Civil War series. She was killed in that fight. Kind of interesting that a villain who bitched that heroes acted recklessly died in a fight where the New Warriors acted recklessly which resulted in half a town getting blown up. Part of me wonders if that was intentional on the part of Civil War writer Mark Millar, but somehow I think Millar just went through a Marvel Encyclopedia looking for some obscure villains he could use as canon fodder.

So why do I even remember her? Well, when I was first getting into comics in the 90's I used to like to buy Marvel and DC trading cards. They were a lot of fun and actually helped to get me up to speed on some of the characters. I remember getting the above card in a pack and thinking she looked pretty, if you'll pardon the pun, cool. The ice swords look bad ass. But once I finally got to read the back issue I was unimpressed.

She had an interesting look and MO, but I hope she stays dead. I wouldn't mind seeing someone else find the tech and take up the mantle. If that happens let's hope it's someone with a better thought out motivation.

Rest in peace Coldheart. You died so Mark Millar could add to a body count, we hardly knew you, and we barely cared.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas movies that don't suck.

More and more each year I hate Christmas. I guess that might sound odd coming from a Christian, but the whole thing is just fucking exhausting. I mean this is only the day after Thanksgiving and I've already been seeing tons of Christmas commercials for like two weeks. Oh well, it is inescapable so I guess I might as well talk about it. Most Christmas movies I dislike, a few I don't mind, and some I flat out hate. But there are a small handful I not only like but I love. So here are my list, in no particular order, of Christmas movies that don't suck.

Christmas Vacation (1989) Remember back when Chevy Chase was funny? This is one of those movies I can watch over and over again and it never ceases to make me laugh.

Bad Santa (2003) I like to think of this movie as an R rated Grinch. This is brutally funny and even has a touching semi redemption story in it.

Scrooged (1988) There have been many modern day retellings of a Christmas Carol. Most absolutely suck. This one however managed to keep the real soul of the original story while also being tremendously funny. This is easily one of Billy Murry's best movies, and that's saying something.

A Christmas Carol (1984 TV) As I said this story has been retold many times, this version with George C. Scott is the best one I've ever seen. I absolutely love this story. With a Holiday so full of fake and phony sentimentality, especially these days, this story never ceases to be genuinely touching to me. A beautiful story of redemption, and after all, was redemption not the very reason that baby was born 2000 or so years ago.

So there you have it, the four Christmas movies I love. I make sure to watch all of these at least once ever December.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Villain Spotlight: Lady Octopus.

Carolyn Trainer was a former student of the original Dr. Octopus and took over the mantle after Doc Ock was killed by Kaine (he got better). Carolyn was also the daughter of Seward Trainer, long time friend of Spider-man's clone Ben Reilly.

Doc Ock II, or Lady Octopus as she would later be called, made her debut during the clone saga. She showed up around the time Marvel was trying to say Peter was the clone and Ben was the original so as a result she mostly fought Ben Rielly, both as Scarlet Spider and during his short tenure as Spider-man. To me this character embodies the wasted potential of the clone saga. She had a lot going for her as a character but a lot of drags as well.

First of all, I think the idea of a legacy or protegee character for Doc Ock is an interesting one. Osborn has a ton of various Goblins following in his footsteps in one way or another, Venom spawned Carnage, as well as other, less memorable symbiote characters, but Doc Ock never gave us any real spin off characters until this. Kinda odd given how much Marvel loved derivative/spin off characters.

Also I think Lady Octopus had a decent look to her, other then her purple hair and her lesbian hair cut. But the armor looks pretty solid, and it makes sense for her to wear armor unlike some characters (I'm looking at you Nu52 Superman). Also she made a few upgrades to the tentacles and added a personal force field around her body making her a pretty decent threat.

But again, wasted potential. Her 'Daddy issues' with Seward Trainer, while on paper could have made for an interesting dynamic, came off mostly as whining from her. Writers would just shove it down the readers throat, over and over again, until it became almost a self parody.

And of course let's not forget her stupid stupid plans. She wanted to conquer cyberspace. Some of my younger readers might not realize this, but back in the mid 90's when the Internet was first really a thing, we all though it was fucking magic. Her plans included such nonsense as a "Virtual reality bomb" which used something called "VR waves". Holy shit it was stupid.

So what became of her? Well, once Peter took up the webs again Carolyn helped the ninja group The Hand mystically resurrect the original Doc Ock. After that she just sorta faded away. She no longer wants to conquer the Internet, apparently realizing that a kingdom consisting mostly of lolcats and pornography isn't really worth ruling. Aside from a random appearance here and there she's pretty much forgotten.

This could have been a decent villain, and maybe a writer will come along and do something worthwhile with her, but for now she remains a prime example of the wasted potential that was the clone saga.

Interesting side note, a guy named Warrack made a pretty great looking custom figure of her. You should check out his site, his custom toys look pretty bad ass.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review(s) of the Week: Amazing Spider-man #698 and Deadpool #2

(SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW) So Amazing Spider-man continues its march towards it's 700th, and at least for the foreseeable future, final issue to make way for the new ongoing title Superior Spider-man. I haven't really enjoyed Spidey since One More Day, but I do pop in and out of the book out of curiosity and loyalty to the character. I just don't like Peter that much anymore in the post OMD era. Anyways, our issue starts off with a still dieing Doc Ock whispering the name Peter Parker. Then we cut to Spider-man actually enjoying being Spider-man. We see a guy over the next few pages who stands up for himself, who has a new found confidence, who thinks over his broken relationship with MJ and tells her they should be together, that it's silly that they aren't. Eventually the Avengers inform Spidey that Doc Ock is asking for him and when they two meet. That's when it's revealed that it is actually Peter Parker in Doc Ock's body and Ock in Peter's. Doc Ock has all Peter's memories and vice versa. After a little bit off gloating Peter, in Doc Ock's body, starts to flat line and the medics rush in to save him, it's unclear if they do.

Holy shit. I did not see that coming. You know what the sad part is? I actually like Ock-Spidey more then Peter. Somehow the murderous sociopath actually IS the superior Spider-man. Gone is the navel gazing crap that Peter falls into. Somehow it seems Ock is better at being both Spider-man and Peter Parker then Peter Parker is. What does that say about Peter Parker?

Last issue a renegade SHIELD agent used a spell book to resurrect all of America's dead Presidents in a misguided attempt to fix America's problems. SHIELD turned to Deadpool for help cleaning up the mess. This issue finds Deadpool, with a little help from Ben Franklin's ghost, going up against zombie Teddy Roosevelt who is going big game hunting in the Los Angeles Zoo. The writing by long time comic fan and stand up comic Brian Posehn continues to be hilarious, the art is solid, I gotta say this is so far my favorite of the Marvel NOW! books. If you're not reading it you should be.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Was Doomsday supposed to be more like the Joker?

There's this regular article series on Comic Book Resources called Comic Book Legends Revealed that tries to take old rumors and examines whether they're true or false. In the most recent one they looked as a rumor involving Doomsday.

COMIC LEGEND: DC changed Doomsday’s origins after protests from mental health organizations.

Now apparently when the death of Superman story first hit, Superman editor Mike Carlin described Doomsday as being “like an escapee from a cosmic lunatic asylum." Seems like an innocent enough comment to anyone who isn't an easily offended pussy, but advocates of the mentally ill had a shit fit. In fact according to the above mentioned Comic Book Legends Revealed, someone actually said  “If someone who is ill is going to kill Superman, how about an escapee from a cosmic cancer ward?”

Well, Mr. Unnamed Politically Correct Dumbass, the reason an escapee from a cosmic cancer ward didn't kill Superman is, and I'm not a doctor here so correct me if I'm wrong, cancer doesn't make you kill people. Being fucking insane however, has been known to do just that. There's a reason nobody ever pleads 'Cancer' in a court of law when facing murder charges.

This is actually an attack comics, and especially DC, often face. Apparently because some villains are 'crazy' that's offensive to the mentally ill. Now I know most mentally ill people are not violent criminals, but a clinically depressed guy who stays in bed all day isn't going to make for an interesting issue of Batman now is it? Of course these are the most extreme cases imaginable, it is after all a visual action based form of fiction.

Now in the above mentioned article the writer claims this is false. That DC didn't have an origin in mind for Doomsday at that point. Hmmm maybe, but I bet you they had an idea. And then there's this.
Doomsday is laughing while wrecking and killing everything. I never really noticed that before. Given the nearly mindless beast we would later come to know him as this doesn't quite square in my book. I'm starting to think this rumor might be true. Maybe they did want to make him more like a Carnage or a Joker, rather than what he became.

So was this a case of DC being bullied by the P.C. police? Or just a coincidence?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Wreck-it-Ralph (2012)

So I finally got around to seeing Wreck-It-Ralph today and it was just great. The story is the perfect combination of touching and funny that Disney used to be much better at than they usually are these days (Pixar aside). The animation and voice acting in it is top notch, and I for one was impressed with the amount of pre existing characters to guest star or cameo in this. Hats off to these various video game companies for saying yes to this.

Honestly I have zero complaints on this movie. If you haven't seen it you should. This is easily one of the best movies of the year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Retro Review: Blue Beetle #5 (1967 series)

I've talked about how much I love Blue Beetle on here before. I have a real soft spot for the Charlton Comics characters, and Blue Beetle and the Question are my favorite. This was the final issue of BB's silver age series and was the most philosophical of that run. Philosophical in a 'hit you over the head with our point' silver age comic book way, but still.

Our story starts out with Ted Kord AKA the Blue Beetle on a date with his girlfriend Tracey at an art museum. We see an art critic named Boris Ebar describing a statue called "Our Man" It's essentially the figure on the cover, although it's in a post of just standing, seemingly helpless, with it's fists clenched and head looking down. The art critic claims this statue describes man as he truly is, a helpless ugly overblown waste that can accomplish nothing. The message rings especially true to one man in the audience.

So this guy decides to go home and build an "Our Man" costume out of pieces of metal to destroy symbols of heroics, accomplishments, and beauty. This brings him into conflict with Blue Beetle. The have a series of fights before Blue Beetle finally defeats him, during which time "Our Man" becomes, ironically enough, a hero to a sub culture of disenfranchised people. The guy escapes during his final battle with BB, abandoning his "Our Man" costume in the process. At the end he decides he will never become "Our Man" again because he can accomplish nothing since he doesn't have "supernatural powers" like Blue Beetle. Again the irony being Blue Beetle has no powers.

Let's take a moment here to talk about the artist Steve Ditko. Steve Ditko belonged to a school of thought called objectivism. Without getting too much into it here objectivism is sort of like a marriage between libertarianism and secular humanism. Despite the fact that it is a strand of libertarianism, and therefore they are my natural political allies, I've never been a fan of objectivism or it's founder Ayn Rand. It at times feels like a parody of libertarianism, Ms. Rand even at one point went so far as to describe charity and selflessness as "immoral". But I'd still rather live in a country run by objectivists than one run by the socialist Gimmiedat party currently in charge, or the schizophrenic madmen that make up the modern conservative movement. Anyways, Steve Ditko was a disciple of Ms. Rand and her objectivist philosophy and while he didn't write this story I feel like he probably influenced it a great deal.

I mean this is basically the story of the Obama-phone Lady becoming a super villain. It's a character we are obviously suppose to see as a loser who lashes out at the world around him because he's a loser and hates anyone who isn't a loser. The politics of envy at work here. The interesting thing is that this guy DOES accomplish things. He made a metal "Our Man" costume. He must have some artistic talent, not to mention skill at welding. Then he went toe to toe with a fucking super hero and almost won. If he would have poured half that effort into more constructive things he probably wouldn't be a failure.

This is an interesting comic book here, not only because of it's message, but because of how counter this was to the message of other comics of the day. Where comics like Spider-man at the time celebrated the counter culture and it's constant gripping of how "the man" was keeping them down, here was a comic that told the counter culture essentially to shut the fuck up and go get a job.

Now it's not as if the counter culture of the time didn't have points, certainly there was real oppression and things that genuinely needed to be protested. But there was a certain victim mentality that was starting to really grow in the left at the time, and that I would argue as of now has all but swallowed the left, and this book calls bullshit on that mentality.

So is it worth reading? Well yes and no. To date I don't know of any reprints beyond the $75.00 Action Heroes Archives Vol 2, and the issue itself can be as much as $50, and at those prices I couldn't recommend it. But if you find it cheap or if you just got some money to burn I would say give it a read. It's an interesting glimpse into Steve Ditko if nothing else. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Little League DC comic strip.

A friend told me about this. It's a comic strip on Deviant Art by a guy named Yale Stewart. It's really funny and I recommend checking it out. Check out Yale's Deviant Art page. Obviously this is unofficial and not sanctioned by DC (far as I know), but DC should hire this guy and get him to make a lot more of these for them. But then DC should do a lot of things at this point, chief among them reversing crap like this.

Review of the Week: Marvel Universe vs the Avengers #2.

Before you read this, check out my review of last issue. So this is the third mini series taking place in this alternate world in which a virus is turning people into cannibalistic primitive cave man types. This series is told through Hawkeye's perspective. Last issue Doom showed up in New York announcing he had a cure. This issue Doom tells them they must bow down to him before he will make the cure available. Most of the Avengers tell him to piss off, at which point Hercules shows up infected with an army of infected moleoids. The Avengers try to fight them off, without much success when Hawkeye appeals to Doom's pride to help them. Once that threat is taken care of Doom once again makes his offer to save the world if the heroes acknowledge him as Emperor. Left with no other choice the heroes bow.

The last two mini's have been good and this one is no exception. This alternate universe is very interesting so far and the cannibalistic cave man thing is a pretty new take on the whole 'zombie plauge' concept. If you're not reading this you should be. And you should check out the last two minis, both are in trade paper back right now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fondle me Elmo.

Looks like Elmo wanted more then to just be tickled. The voice actor and puppeteer for Elmo has been accused of sex with a minor. Personally Elmo always creeped me out. Always wanting you to tickle him and talking in the third person like a super villain. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the tip of the ice berg. I'm oh so glad our tax dollars support Sesame Street aren't you?

More Rob Liefeld madness

Been a slow few days for this blog, there just hasn't been that much I've felt like talking about. So let's shit on Rob Liefeld some. Yeah I know he's an easy target, but he's just so much fun to mock.
The Infinite. A comic that died before it even finished it's first story arch. This is a comic Rob co-created with writer, and creator of the Walking Dead and Invinicble, Robert Kirkman. I have a deep respect for Kirkman as a writer. But then he opens his mouth about Liefeld and suddenly Kirkman becomes less cool. Kirkman is one of Liefeld's biggest supporters and defenders in the comic book industry. In fact Kirkman has called Liefeld the "mordern-day equivalent of Jack Kirby". What the fuck Kirkman? That's like saying the Garbage Pail Kids Movie is like Citizen Kane. Apparently even Liefelds biggest fan couldn't stand to work with the pompous douchebag and they split over "creative differences" So let's look at this cover. The biggest thing that stands out to me is the guy in the center. His arms are incredibly small compared to his torso as is his head. Also I feel like he's got way to big of a bulge. This is a common Liefeld thing. Oh and his guns look light flashlights. There's more you could point out but that's what jumps right off the page at me.

I talked about Rob's recent Deathstroke stuff on here before. Rob did both the art and the writing on it for a while so needless to say it was absolute dogshit. Well on this some of the things that stick out the most with me is Deathrsoke looks like he's about to drop that sword. Seriously how is he holding that? Also Rob can not draw a real gun. Everything looks like a flashlight, or a bullshit laser gun, or a hot glue gun, or just a pile of bullshit. That girl in red who's name I don't know or want to know , she has a lobster claw for a right hand. And what is keeping her shoulder pad on? Is it glued to her shoulder? And not to criticize her fighting style but is diving face first into your enemy really that good of a strategy? And are they both in front of a giant incinerator or furnace?

So this is a commission piece Rob did of Deadpool fighting Karate Kid from the Legion of Super Heroes. Rob says on his site it's one of his favorite pieces. I can see why, it almost looks like a real artist drew it. Almost, but not quite. First of all Deadpool isn't so much fighting Karate Kid as he is kicking the air in front of him. This is one of the biggest problems with Rob. He has no concept of how things interact with each other. Also next to Liefeld's signature he dated it 2099. Is that a joke? The Legion is from the 30th or 31st Century, not 2099.

I'm sure you could find more wrong with these pics. In fact feel free to leave comments if you see more problems. But those are just the biggest things that strike me. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We are Pedo State.

I live in PA, so there are Penn State football fans all around me. Now of course we all know what happened. Turned out the whole organization was looking the other way while coach diddles was running amok.

Now in the interest of full disclosure I am not a football fan. In fact I consider football fucking unwatchable. Sorry I just don't have the attention span to watch something that seems to take a time out every ten seconds. I can get into faster paced sports like hockey or basketball but football bores me to tears. Also I'm not particularly fond of the whole college sports system. Call me crazy but it seems to me like colleges should be schools not athletic programs. I know you could argue these things bring in money for the school, if that's true fine, I just worry that the academics take a back seat to the sports media empires these things become.

So needless to say I enjoyed me some Penn State humor when this thing broke. Still do. But I'm noticing something, something that surprises me. A lot of people get really fucking mad about those jokes. Not because it's insensitive to the victims, but because it's insensitive to Penn State and it's fans. That's right some people hear me mocking an institution that covered up for a pedophile for years to protect a fucking football program, and think I'm the asshole for making a joke.

What the fuck? When telling a Penn State joke to a friend in a restaurant a guy at a table next to me overheard and got all mad telling me "That's not cool, they raise money for kids with cancer" Oh gee, I had no idea, that totally makes up for it then right? Fuck you buddy.

So it seems in my area we are suppose to shut up about it till the rest of the country forgets this ever happened and we can get back to some football! Yeah! To all you jackasses who 'bleed blue and black' fuck you. Shut the fuck up and be thankful uncle Jerry never made you or your son bleed blue and black out your butthole.

I'm not gonna quit making these jokes, hell, I still haven't given up the Catholic Priest jokes. You know why? Because when an organization tries to sweep something like this under the rug, especially to protect something as trivial as a fucking game, it is not something that should just be forgotten.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Retro Review: Green Lantern vs Aliens #1.

DC has done a number of crossovers with Aliens and Predators and most of them have been pretty good. This mini was no exception. So let's take a look.

First let's start with the cover, because what better place to start right. I feel like this cover is almost good. It's a great layout, Hal standing there with his ring lit up and a Xenomorph sneaking up behind him. Just a great layout, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. First of all Hal's ring doesn't look right, too flat, almost like a green wedding band. Also the Xenomorph's torso, or what we can see of it, looks terrible, would have been better to just leave it shadowed. Also the weird pinkish light source coming from behind Hal is a poor choice. This cover would have looked bad ass with only the glowing ring as a light source. Not a terrible cover but weak nonetheless. The interior art is by a different guy, Rick Leonardi, and it's much better.

Our story starts with an unnamed Green Lantern out in space dying as a Xenomorph bursts out of his chest. Hal, Kilowog, Salaak, the Green Man and Tomar Re. So pretty much all the big guns of the Green Lantern Corps. They investigate the hive of Xenomorphs where the unnamed GL died. It's on an inhabited planet, but thankfully so far in a remote location, so its up to Hal and the gang to take care of them before they threaten the population. They enter the hive and are promptly ambushed by Xenomorphs, once the element of surprise is gone the Green Lanterns quickly regain control of the situation. Kilowog suggests it's time to exterminate them, but Hal stops him. Hal argues that these are not intrinsically evil, they are just animals, and likens them to sharks. He says the humane thing to do would be to transport them to an uninhabited planet where they won't threaten anybody.

So they gather them all up, eggs and all, and take them to Mogo, an uninhabited sentient planet that is actually a member of the Green Lantern Corps.

This issue was told as a flashback, set somewhere in the silver age. But at the time this book came out, Hal had gone crazy, the Green Lantern Corps was gone and Kyle Rayner was the last Green Lantern. So in the present day we see a ship crash land on the now depowered Mogo. The rest of this series involves Kyle trying to rescue the inhabitants of that ship. We will get to those later.

This was an interesting issue. It actually poses some interesting moral questions. Was it the right thing to do to try to save these creatures? Or should the Green Lanterns have just exterminated them? The Xenomorphs are not evil, they are just animals, doing what any wild animal tries to do, survive. The humane thing to do would seem to be transplant them. But obviously that decision puts people in harm's way years later. And what of the ecosystem already on Mogo and the damage these creatures could do to it?

This was a fun, well written, well drawn comic that actually asked a few moral and philosophical questions without being preachy or up its own ass about it. And what more could you possibly want. If you see this in a back issue bin check it out.

Finally, I know I mentioned this before, but I really wish Marvel would do some crossovers with Aliens and Predators. Seems like it could be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

About last night.

Let me take a moment here to look at last night's election seriously. Don't worry I'll be back to talking about Spider-man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and other more entertaining topics after this so bear with me here people. Monday I predicted Romney would win, and, much to my shock, he did not. So, what the fuck happened here? How did a President with such an abysmal record get re elected. Was it just the Obama phone crowd to which the Gimmedat party owes it's victory last night?

Well, as I thought about it today, I don't think that's entirely it. Something struck me this morning while I was listening to Glenn Beck. He was rambling on about freedom and how Obama threatens it, and I agree he does, but then Beck started talking about the couple of states that legalized pot and what a terrible thing that was. Wait a second Beck, what happened to your love of freedom?

And that's when it hit me, how could the Republican party have hoped to sell a 'small government' message to the American people when they so clearly do not believe in it? I've discussed before on this blog the schizophrenic nature of the modern conservative movement. They claim to love small government and liberty and then support things like the Patriot Act, the war on drugs, endless foreign wars, and many other decidedly big government things. Hell, some conservatives openly support banning pornography. I don't know what you call a government that arrests grown men for looking at dirty pictures, but I sure as hell wouldn't call it small.

I heard time and time again people tell me how disingenuous Romney and the Republicans seemed to them. Makes sense now that I think about it. The Republican party is many things, but it is not small government. They tried to sell the country on something they didn't really believe in and the country saw they were full of shit. Were there other factors? Of course. But this I think was a big one and it's not one your gonna hear mentioned much.

Some silver linings from Tuesday night for those who love liberty. The Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got a record number of votes for the Libertarian Party. And as I mentioned above, Colorado and Washington both legalized marijuana. A couple of minor victories for small government and liberty, but victories nonetheless.

Review of the Week: Deadpool #1 (2012)

I don't know why everyone keeps calling this Marvel Now bunch of books a reboot. As far as I can tell nothing has been changed this is just new number ones with a different status quo. Anyways Deadpool is starting over with a new number 1 and it's written by long time comic book fan, extremely funny comedian, and goofy looking mother fucker Brian Posehn.

I'm a big fan of Posehn and he didn't disappoint me here. This book is just the right mix of humor and action. The story is that a misguided SHIELD agent has cast a necromancer spell to bring back all the dead U.S. Presidents to try and fix America's problems. It goes wrong and all the undead Presidents are pretty much on a rampage. SHIELD doesn't want to have Avengers or SHIELD agents fighting former Presidents due to the public relations nightmare so they bring in someone with whom bad p.r. is a moot point, Deadpool.

This was a great issue. I was really growing tired of Daniel Way's run, it felt to me like he ran out of ideas on Deadpool a couple years ago and this is just the shot in the arm this character needed. Of the handful of Marvel Now number ones I've read so far this is the best. You should definitely check it out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I stand corrected.

I'm fucking stunned. I predicted Monday Romeny will win. He didn't. You have an economy in the shitter, you have a dead ambassador for the first time in three decades and an administration lying through it's fucking teeth claiming a God damn youtube video was responsible. You have a president who was an abysmal fucking failure by every metric.

It's fucking over. If this man can be re elected then we not only will we collapse but we absolutely fucking deserve to collapse. Unless you're a fucking parasite what possible reason could you have to vote for him? And that's the point, the parasites apparently outnumber the productive.

We have passed the tipping point. This is our future. So congrats to the Gimmedat party and its parasitic constituents. Hope you all have fun before the host organism eventually dies on you.

Retro Review: Radioactive Man #88

Last Retro Review we looked at Bartman #1. But around the same time that comic launched Bongo Comics also launched a Radioactive Man limited series. In case your unfamiliar Radioactive Man is a comic book that exists in the Simpson's world. He's Bart's favorite super hero and Bart's friend Milhouse even played Radioactive Man's sidekick Fallout Boy in a Radioactive Man movie, although the movie was never finished. Also of note, there is even a band named after the character Fallout Boy.

So this six issue series started with number one, which had a date of 1952 and was suppose to be a parody of a comic from that time, the second issue was #88 and was dated 1962. This was an interesting parody of silver age comics. The issue featured Radioactive Man interacting with other heroes of his team 'The Superior Squad' and a retelling of Fallout Boy's origin that borrowed heavily from Lee/Ditko Spider-man.

The jokes in this issue were pretty good, although not great. Some of the more amusing gags were a super hero named 'The Purple Heart' who happened to have been injured last issue. Also Fallout Boy got his powers from a lab accident, but before that happened a little bug landed on his hand.

Just in case you missed that this is a silver age Spider-man parody. Also Fallout Boy has an aunt named Aunt June. Other then that the most amusing thing is a fake ad on the back for 60's era Itchy and Scratchy cartoon.

So is this issue worth getting? Well, yes and no. It's certainly worth a read, but it can be kinda expensive depending on where you find it, sometimes as high as $6. I would say if you see it for around $3 or $4 get it, any higher pass on it. And it wasn't nearly as good of a parody as Bartman #1 was.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Romney will win.

Well, the election is tomorrow and I figured I would throw my prediction out there in case any of my readers care. Romney will win. In fact, not only do I think he will win, it wouldn't surprise me if it's a blowout. I know all the polls have him and Obama tied or even Obama slightly ahead of Romney. But these polls all over sample Democrats by anywhere from 5 to 11 points. This isn't 2008, turnout will not favor the Democrats. All the excitement is in Romney's side.

But there is another reason I think Romney will win. I'm a politics junkie and I watch and listen to a lot of different news sources. And I'm seeing something coming from the left wing media. It's something I saw coming from the right wing media back in 2008. Fear, anger, and even desperation and almost panic. The stink of desperation coming from the MSNBC and Current TV crowd is incredible.

So I think Romney will win tomorrow. Am I right? Only time will tell.

Retro Review: Birds of Prey #37

So last time I took a look at one of my favorite super heroes, the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. So now let's take a look at an issue guest starring him. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept behind Birds of Prey Barbara Gordon AKA Oracle would assemble a team of heroes to tackle various missions with her providing them the necessary info. The team usually consisted of female heroes although that wasn't always the case as with this issue with Black Canary, Robin, and Blue Beetle.

Also of note this issue takes place after the "Joker's Last Laugh" crossover even in which Joker had used his Joker serum venom to 'Jokerize' various DC villains driving them insane (or more insane as the case may be) and giving them a Joker look. At the end of that crossover Nightwing had seemingly killed the Joker.

This issue deals with Blue Beetle, Robin, and Black Canary fighting some of the remaining 'Jokerized' villains in the aftermath of that story. First they fight something called G-Nome which seemed like the DC version of John Carpenter's The Thing, then they fight a 'Jokerized' Condiment King. Yes, the Condiment King. He's holding a mall food court hostage with a bomb of, what else, mustard gas.

So while in Arkham Poison Ivy taught Condiment King all about rare and dangerous peppers and roots which he has used to make deadly spices which he sprayed out three heroes in the faces with. This is acting like an intense pepper spray incapacitating them. However Blue Beetle crawls to a near by milk dispenser.
So the day is saved, thanks to Blue Beetle and milk. A ridiculous villain defeated in a ridiculous way. This issue also had some interesting sub plots of Oracle trying to reach out to Nightwing who was still upset over seemingly taking a life. I haven't read much of Birds of Prey but this was a damn fun issue and I might have to check more of it out. This is a must read for any Blue Beetle fan.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hero Spotlight: Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)

I've talked before about how I have a soft spot for the old Charlton Comics characters, my two favorites being the Question and Blue Beetle. There have been three characters to carry the Blue Beetle mantle, the golden age Blue Beetle Dan Garrett, the current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes, and my favorite Ted Kord.

Both Dan Garrett and Jamie Reyes possessed the mystical blue scarab that granted them super powers, however, for whatever reason, the scarab never worked for Ted. Despite that he still kept the name of Blue Beetle alive in honor of his friend and mentor Dan Garrett. Ted Kord used his wits, his highly trained physical skills, and various technological gadgets to fight crime as the Blue Beetle. He was sorta like a less dark, less dickish Batman.

I love the costume design on Ted Kord's Blue Beetle. The costume was designed by Spider-man co-creator Steve Ditko and bares a bit a resemblance to Spidey. I actually think all three Blue Beetles have had pretty good character designs, although Ted's is my favorites.

Ted Kord has been written many ways over the years. In his original silver age stories he was written very seriously, but during Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire's Justice League run Blue Beetle became fast friends with the time traveling hero Booster Gold and their sub plots in the book usually took on a buddy comedy theme. Frankly I feel both takes worked in their own ways. In later stories we would see Blue Beetle after retiring briefly struggling to get back into shape even being a little too fat for his costume. It would be easy to criticize these stories as being detrimental to the character, but I feel like they highlight the humanity of Ted Kord perfectly.

Ted Kord would later die in the 2005 Countdown to Infinite Crisis one shot. He was shot in the head when uncovering Max Lord's evil plot. It was Ted's discovery of this plot and subsequent death that alerted the rest of the DC heroes to it in time to stop it. While I was unhappy with him being killed off, and I've never been a fan of his predecessor, Ted Kord died a heroic death.

Despite the dramatic strength of his death I would like to see Ted again. Maybe we can bring him back when DC finally admits it's mistake and undoes this New 52 crap. In fact if it was up to me New 52 would end with Power Girl waking up and finding Ted Kord in the shower.

"Oh Ted I had a terrible dream. You were replaced by a Mexican kid, Superman was wearing armor, and Grifter had his own book again. It was awful."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Retro Review: Bartman #1

Remember back when The Simpsons was awesome? Some of you might not be that old but I remember back when The Simpsons was the best thing on television. Now it's a sad, sad shell of it's former self. It should have ended like a decade ago.

But anyways back in 1993 The Simpsons branched out into comic books. Rather than farm the rights out to an existing company Matt Groening founded his own company Bongo comics. Of the many many comic companies to be founded in the 90's Bongo and Image are the only ones to have survived as far as I know. They launched a Simpsons Comics title, which to date is almost at 200 issues, an Itchy and Scratchy comic, a Radioactive Man comic, and a Bartman comic.

Bartman was one of those things you saw on Simpsons merchandise all the time but was never really in the show. In an early episode of the Simpsons Bartman was a costume Bart put on in an attempt to gain discounted entry into a comic book convention. Nevertheless this concept of Bart as a super hero was deemed popular enough to be made into a comic, even thought it only lasted 6 issues.

Anyways enough background. The story of this issue is that the local comic book store is getting several mistake issues. Issues that were suppose to get foil stamp enhancements but never did and the Comic Book Guy is naturally marking them up drastically. This piques Milhouse's interest so he uses the Bart-Signal to contact Bartman. Bartman investigates at the local printing press to find that Jimbo Kearney and Dolph who work there are smuggling out copies of comic before they get stamped. In the fight with the three bullies the unstamped comics fall into the vat of silver ink and the bullies plot is discovered. Later the comics that are fished out of the vat and are all silver are sold for $200 a piece at the comic book store because they are super read and can not ever be read thus ensuring they will forever remain mint.

Kind of a silly plot but it is a comedy book after all. What I really enjoyed was the constant jabs at the then state of the comic book industry. This issue was completely pointing out what fucking morons the speculators were and doing it at the height of speculator mania (this book came out in 1993, before the bubble burst and it was cool to mock speculators). It also took more then a few jabs at the state of the industry as a whole. Check out the titles on sale on the comic rack.

The sad thing is some of these titles like Deathkill or Bloodspurt sound like they could have been real Image or Valiant books at the time. Seriously you could tell me Deathkill was a new Rob Liefeld book and I would have no trouble believing you. I also found these panels quite amusing.

Oh man those were dark times. The story in this issue is a pretty funny and at the time poignant parody of the comic book industry. Although it wasn't above indulging in the very thing it was parodying. The cover to the direct market version featured silver ink enhancement on the silver ink vat, which obviously didn't scan well (the newsstand version did not and cost a dollar less). The artwork is solid, mimicking the style of the show perfectly. If, like me, you used to be a big fan of the show you should check this issue out. If your still a fan of the show (although I can't imagine why you would be) you should also check this out.