Thursday, December 01, 2016

I apologize, Lex

Lex Luthor, I owed you an apology.

When you were elected U.S. president in 2000, I scoffed.  I said it was ridiculous. I said it was unrealistic, even for comics.  I'll believe a man can fly, but not that a supervillain can be elected president.  No, even more essentially I laughed at the idea that a non-politicians, someone with no government background, a mere businessman--regardless of how successful or well-known--could be elected president.  Particularly since he didn't seem to really have the backing of either major policital party.

A person who runs for the presidency so clearly for no reason other than ego?  A man who's made his life's work crushing other people beneath his heel successfully portraying himself as a man of the people?  And who wins...?!

Absurd. Clearly a storyline written by desperate writers, ones more interested in making a splash than it going anywhere with a story, since next to nothing was actually done with "President Luthor".  Their only focus was in the shock value of having him elected, not in his actual agenda once in office.  Clearly a storyline written by people who simply have no idea HOW Washington works.  So naive.  Smartest man in the world or not, there's no way, Lex, you would have been elected president.

I feel now, however, that I owe you an apology.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congratulations, Ollie

Congratulations to DC character Oliver Queen; the 100th episode of his live-action television show airs tonight.

The 100th episode of a show is a milestone for people associated with a show not just because it's one of those nice round numbers humans give significance to, because but it's a commonly used threshold for lucrative series syndication.

I'll say it if no one else will: Green Arrow is stupid. Green Arrow is so stupid, he makes you admit that Batman is stupid (B A T M A N !).  Green Arrow is stupid, and always has been stupid.  In fact, I have said it a million times before, and I'm not alone in that.

The success of Arrow doesn't lie with the character Oliver Queen/Green Arrow.  Green Arrow isn't Batman.  He's not intrinsically interesting.  He's not some character people will watch no matter what.  He has no cache of popular good will, No movie. No previous teevee shows. He wasn't a Super-Friend.  No Filmation cartoons. Heck, even his sidekick SPEEDY got into Filmation.

And Donna was not happy about it.

Yeah sure he was on Smallville.  But is that really in the plus column...?

The success of Arrow lies not with Green Arrow, but with the showrunners, who with cleverness, artistry, and love for comics created an Ollie Queen (and a cast and world around him) that interests and entertains viewers.  That ain't a given, folks.

The Plastic Cat Arrow.
Never forget.

Not only has Arrow been on teevee for 100 episodes, it made television a safe space for superheroes again. After, say, Birds of Prey, there's little reason to expect that EVER to happen.  It's generated a universe of shows around itself and bought scores and scores of DC characters to the public's eye, many for the first time.  It led to the first generally loved portrayal of Superman in the last forty years.

We owe a great deal of the current state of superhero popularity to...Green Arrow.

I may still think he's stupid; but I thank him for it nonetheless.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

One-Panel Promos

Aquaman #7
Aquaman, winning over a sworn enemy with logic and diplomacy and fabulous hair.

Batman #7
If you want to see Batman fighting giant monster child things in Gotham during a driving thunderstorm, 
this comic is for you.

Cyborg #1
This will either make you tear up or want to punch something.
Buy accordingly. 

Superman #7
Ah, Lois and Clark.  
Fun, low-stakes Silver Age shenanigans. 
Because Superman does not live by slugfests alone 

Trinity #1
There are two kinds of people in the world:
those who appreciate the glory of Rainbow Batman and those who do not.

Justice League #5
 Aquaman saves the day.

Batman makes a funny.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

One-Panel Promos

Flash #6: brutal.  The series is nailing Barry Allen, in several meanings of that word.

Wonder Woman '77 #27:
Fabulous for several obvious reasons.  But the word balloon, of course, is what really makes it.

All-Star Batman #1
 is so very very good. It looks good. It's intelligent. It's emotional.  It's action-packed.
And it has Chainsaw Batman.

All-Star Batman #2 
continues the trend. Some of the art is ACHINGLY beautiful. But I'm showing you as my one-panel promo the one panel that ISN"T achingly beautiful.

But this reproduction of a scene from Two-Face debut story (Detective 66)

is what sells me.

Wonder Woman #6:
The gods appear to Wonder Woman in the form of totemic animals.  That don't show up on security camera.  Don't get me wrong, the rest of the issue is beautiful, intelligent, and emotional.  
But THIS one shows the creators get it in a way that most do not.

Action Comics #963:

I should NOT be so easily hooked by the Silver-Age shenanigans of "how can Clark Kent and Superman be two different people?!"

But, the fact is...
I am.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

By Buddha!

Today's Haikuesday post returns us to the sanctuary of the Nine Unknowns thousands of years ago where the miraculous Talking Bronze Head and the Deva Solar Battery (a.k.a. "Miss Sparklejuice") have just been stolen...


This is how you know the Nine Unknowns are cool. \Even in the most desire circumstances, such as the theft of the world's greatest treasure, they can still react in haiku.

How cool are YOU?  What haiku can you compose to celebrate the Nine Unknowns, their wondrous devices, and the general battle between the Hawk and the Criminal Alliance of the World in which they eventually find themselves embroiled?

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One-Panel Promos

One of my pet theories is that it only takes only panel to let you know whether you want to buy a comic book or not.  

Rather than covers, or Coming Up blurbs, or creator interviews that are all the same ("Well, we're doing something entirely NEW that's true to the character's ROOTS, and yes, that other character you mentioned MIGHT be involved, but of course I can't tell that you for sure just yet, now, can I?"), publishers could just promo that one panel in advance and their marketing would be done.

Well, here are my own One-Panel Promos for this week's comics.

Supergirl #1

There are a hundred reasons to buy Supergirl #1, which is doing an almost impossibly good job of situating Supergirl in her new life.

But for me that's all it takes; it says worlds to those who can hear it.

Aquaman #9

There are many panels that would have served the purpose this month, because Aquaman is awesome, Mera is awesome, and Black Manta is fearsome. But I choose this one:

Because heroes don't start wars. They stop them.

Justice League #4

If this kind of talk turns you off, then you're not going to enjoy this issue.

Superman #6

There's a lot of bang and crash in this issue.

But that's all you really need to know.

Batman #6

There are some wonderful things in this issue. Including three Special Guest Villains I never expected to see again in my entire life.  The most wonderful of all, however is....

Batman stopping an unstoppable force with his most powerful weapon: compassionate understanding.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Taking Head Week #7: CAW and the Unsatisfying Conclusion

So the Hawks have rescued the Head McGuffin and Miss Sparklejuice from obscurity (and CAW) and are heading to return them to the Nine Unknowns, the people irresponsible enough and lazy enough to have lost them two thousand years and never looked for them or made replacements.  Great idea.

"Aren't we tandomly wonderful?!"  
The Hawks are totally That Couple You Hate On Facebook

The hidden sanctuary of the Nine Unknowns, unhidden by the Hawks' portable absorbascon.  

Wow. There actually are nine of them.  That's a level of fidelity I wasn't expecting in a Hawkstory.

First of all, the Hawks are NOT humans.  Second of all they are in mid-air; so they haven't set foot anywhere yet.  Third, what the HECK are you wearing?!  

Why not just take them to the Midway museum? 
They'd be broken within a week.

The Nine Unknowns take the Hawks on a tour of their sanctuary, because, although nameless like EVERYONE else in this story, they are still polite hosts, which is impressive since they haven't had any guests in 50 years.

Hey, that means... someone visited them in 1914. Any guesses?  A young Sonny Blandish?  Arne Saknussen? Vandal Savage? Enemy Ace?  Yeah; probably Enemy Ace.  Hans got around.

The spinning indic-arrow at the left of the machine really makes this panel.  Also, I have zero doubt that there's almost always strange radiation in Hawkgirl's body, just on principle.

The Hawks are so constantly afflicted with tingling sensations for some reason or other, that they don't even think twice about it anymore.  All those special pleasure-enhancing lubricants, no doubt.

Figuring that the radiation was just CAW's way of trying to find the sanctuary, the Nine Unknowns (or at least The One Unknown Who Talks A Lot) turns on the sonic shower and purges the Hawks of the strange radiation.  

It's a lot like the Decontamination Room of Sexiness on Enterprise, isn't it?

It's beneath the GANGES?!  Um, yeah.  No, thanks. NO treasure is worth going into the Ganges River.

As the now radiation-free Hawks return to Midway City, they are tailed by an evil limo.

Why would you need to tag the Hawks with special radiation to track them? Is there anyone easier to spot on earth?!?

And who is IN that evil limo? Why, the leaders of CAW:
Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego.

Uh-oh, they have the power of serialocution. That's dangerous.

That's some multicultural WORLD evil, right there.  A fedora, a fez, AND a turban. I'd be more impressed if I didn't know Jervis Tetch could kill these guys in 60 seconds.

Their back-up plan is a pretty clever fake-out, actually, The REAL target (um, currently) is the portable absorbascon Hawkgirl is carrying, which can tell them anything damn thing the plot requires. 

Which is WAY more useful than a Universal Death Ray, 
by the way.  What are going to do with a ray that kills everybody?  

Is this the point where I mention that the absorbascon SITS IN THE HAWK'S OFFICE at the museum all day and could be stolen easily?  No. No, it is not.

So Manny, Moe, and Jack press the button that should kill the Hawks and...nothing happens. Because of course the Hawks have been purged of the offending radiation.

"Next time, Gadget!"

What an impossibly byzantine plot.  No wonder CAW hasn't taken over the world.  More like the Criminal Alliance of Frustrated Impotence, if you ask me.

I still love CAW, though, because they are true villains and not mere crooks.  Real crooks would just have shot the Hawks during one of their frequent, obvious fly-bys and THEN gone after the Head McGuffin and Miss Sparklejuice.  

That's why the Hawks don't live in Gotham.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Talking Head Week #5: One Night in Bangkok

In search of the solar lamp to power the talking head, in flies Hawkgirl to Bangkok (Oriental setting), guided by the Absorbascon (which I imagine now using the voice of Murray Head).

But aren't we all guided by the Absorbascon, in some way...?

Unlike Hawkman, she beats the CAW men to the target.  Why? 

"We'll never make it in time to meet Dad & Daphne at Cafe Nervosa!"

Because pesky golden-skinned natives are slowing down the CAW men, who are oh-so-peeved that their schedules (pronounced in the British manner) are thrown off, because these NATIVES have the nerve to have a different culture with different priorities, such as protecting their territory.  Savages!

"You know, I was SO disappointed we didn't get the Montmarte assignment, 
I hear you can pick up ancient talking bronze heads at the Marche Des Puces for a song!"

"NILES! Will you kindly concentrate? You almost missed one."

Why, it's all Frasier and Niles can do to pick them off with their Wonder Weapons (tm).  How TEDIOUS crime can be.

Meanwhile, Hawkgirl literally drops into the monastery from the sky and says "Give me the Ancient Thingy!" To which the monks reply, not, as one might expect, "YAAH WTF A TALKING BIRDWOMAN WITH BIG EARRINGS!?!?", but rather, "No. Bugger off."  All that meditation makes you a cool customer, you know.

"Pinioned princess"? *snort*!

Note also that the Lamp now has acquired a name: "Deva". It's pretty clear; the writers make this stuff up AS the panels are being drawn, I'm convinced.  Because otherwise they would notice stuff like Punjab not having a name or any clear connection to anything other than his role as Exposition Fairy or the fact that the lamp we've been talking about throughout the story suddenly has a name, while the Taking Head (which really SHOULD have a name) does not.  That's the equivalent of "this is my computer. which I call 'my computer'.  And this is its battery, which I call Miss Sparklejuice."

Speaking of Miss Sparklejuice, can you think of any female hero in comics LESS appropriate to call 'princess' than friggin' Hawkgirl, who wears a caestus and wields a mace?  More like a broad-winged broad, if ya ask me.

So our 'pinioned princess' does the heroic thing to get the Deva Lamp: she lies.

Gotta hand it to the writers, though, for knowing about stupas and Gautama before there was an internet.  Maybe they used the Absorbascon.

"Of course I trust you, Winged Woman. You're white and have the creepy unnatural eyes of an avian predator, much like the T-1000."

Hawkgirl bullshits her way to finding the Monk's Lost Ancient Thingy; she knows where it is because the Absorbascon tells her, not because of the lamp.  She just deceives the superstitious simpleton of a monk. Which is technically much nicer than stealing the damned thing, and legal.

Semi-dickish.  But still legal.

You'd think with a sci-fi device that can tell them where any lost ancient thingy is located, the Halls would be MUCH more famous archaeologists than they are.  I think they just use it to replace all the ancient weaponry they break or upgrade in every story.  Or maybe there's a conspiracy against them lead by Zahi Hawass. Do NOT trust that guy.

Apparently, in Bangkok you'll find a God in every golden cloister.

"Ha, gullible monk, satisfied to tears with your pointless reliquaries, while I hold the power of the sun in my hand! You are MINE, Miss Sparklejuice!"

Meanwhile, Frasier and Niles take a practical (and wholly dickish) approach to Lost Ancient Thingy acquisition:

"Ooo, good POINT, Fraiser!  The Crane Boys will solve this mystery yet!"

Sigh, "This protonic amplifier will blast her out of existence!"  And NOT the Deva Lamp? Or will it just fall to the ground and shatter into a thousand pieces?  Tsk. Boys and their Wonder Weapons!  This is why CAW can't have nice things.

Naturally, since a CAW man just said she can't possibly avoid the protonic amplifier beam, Hawgirl avoids the protonic amplifier beam.  The Absorbascon, apparently, has an anti-CAW-trap app that warns her just in time.  'In - three - hundred - feet, take a - starboard turn."

That's it; from now on my iPhone is now called a 'portable Absorbascon'.  

Much like Google maps, however, information from the portable absobascon takes too long to unscramble.  So Hawkgirl puts on her tricked out caestus.

"Okay, boys; wait'll you feel my pankrationic amplifier!"

The...the Humanliminator? FINE, Hawkwriters, fine. YOU WIN.

Having used her sci-tech caestus to detect the CAW men, Hawkgirl flies straight into a giant now-invisible tree at 60 mph, snaps her neck, and dies, while her uncaring port'absorbascon intones "you made a -wrong - turn back there."

No, not really. That's what SHOULD have happened. Or Hawkgirl should have used the nasty spikes on her science-caestus to pull fatal holes in the CAW men's face. Instead she just tosses Niles around like a ragdoll and whacks his head against a nearby tree at 60mph.  

Niles; less crowing, more shooting.

"Oh! This isn't like Maris's judo class at ALL!"

It bears repeating: Hawkgirl is always a bad-ass and will **** you up.

90% of CAW's budget goes to either R&D or goon elocution classes.

Odd. That Wonder Weapon seems to have had no effect on Hawkgirl at all.  I mean unless it's a Grapevine Gun that makes you do line-dances uncontrollably.  Wave 'em in the air like ya just don't care, 'princess'!

Regardless, it doesn't stop Hawkgirl from zokking Frasier.

ZOK is the sound of Hawkgirl kicking your ass, btw.

Hm. Is there perhaps more to the Grapevine Gun than we realize...? We shall see.