Saturday, April 21, 2007

Heroclix Theme Team: People Who Don't Belong!

People Who Don't Belong in the JLA (11 figures at 300 points)

ID Name Points
cd075cd075: Veteran Outsiders Geo-Force
136
cdF005cdF005: Feat Movethrough8
le040le040: Rookie (Titans) Speedy
28
icF004icF004: Feat Sidekick10
cd070cd070: Rookie Red Tornado
42
leF005leF005: Feat Large Object9
cd008cd008: Experienced (Suicide Squad) Vixen
38
oF006oF006: Feat Pounce15
leBF005leBF005: "BF Condition" Poor Teamwork0
icB004icb004: Token Snapper Carr
4
leF001leF001: Feat Armor Piercing10

For a 400 point team, subtract "Movethrough" and add Superman Blue (cd067, 105 pts.).


On a rainy Saturday, play them against any random group of JLA figures of the same build size and watch this team earn its name!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • Hal Jordan, playing chess. Why, I nearly fell on the floor laughing!
  • Starman speaking Interlac, untransliterated. I love Interlac.
  • Dolores Winters. I've always loved Dolores Winters.
  • Enough corpses to keep the Rolling Head of Pantha busy for years!
  • Barry Allen's widow working with the Reverse Flash.
  • Billy's clever use of magical administrative access.
  • Hawkgirl, pretending to be in the Justice League in JLA, while getting her @$$ kicked by Scandal Savage in Birds of Prey.
  • The Great Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six...
  • Atom-Smasher's naivety actually made me not-hate him for a moment.
  • DC tying up, in single panels, all the loose ends leading up to OYL. Now THAT is old-style pacing!
  • The final image of Brave & the Bold 3, which is one of the most unexpected and riveting things I've seen in many a yarn!
  • The Bat-snowblower.
  • Supergirl's credit.
  • The Fatal Five's employer.
  • Batman versus Mano.
  • Black Adam versus a very angry little girl.
  • Detective Jones' precinct.
  • The reason why the Spectre wasn't in WWIII (which I should have remember myself).
  • Todd & Damon.
  • Aquaman sassing the gods.
  • "Wallpaper duty".
  • Power Girl's breasts really were everywhere this week, weren't they?
  • Wonder Woman driving a hummer.
  • Urban renewal, the Martian way.
  • Mark Shaw, naked, wet, and wielding an eNORmous pigsticker.
  • Catman really loves working those costumes, doesn't he?
  • JLAers at a funeral.
  • Harvey versus Waylon.
  • Koryak's crypt.
  • The return of Aquagirl.
  • Hatch map. I love maps.
  • "They described him as energetic and happy-go-lucky...." Another laughing-as-I-hit-the-floor moment.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Suddenly, at the Hall of Justice!

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice,
Batman
, Superman, and Wonder Woman sit around a table,
waiting for the others to arrive for a JLA meeting.

"Clark, Bruce--where is Reddy? Reddy is always on time."


Suddenly, in walks Aquaman, flanked by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and an afro-wigged Black Lightning!


"Do you mean the Red Tornado, the robot weapon once used against us and the JSA by T.O. Morrow? I had him disassembled and shipped to South Wales, where he's now sharing a cold-water walk-up with G.I. Robot and Brother Power. Claw the Unconquered was only too happy to pay for the shipping."

"Arthur! You're back! And you've returned to your original appearance, hands at all!"


"Did she just use my first name? Uh-oh; rules violation. Manhunter?"


"MISSED DEADLINES, MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, MISCHARACTERIZATION!"

Suddenly, Wonder Woman screams and falls back in her chair!

"My invisible Martian colleague has a psychic blast ready for anyone else who breaks the rules. Especially the 'code names only' rule."

"But Ar--Aquaman. I thought we were friends!"

"Manhunter?"

"CINEMATIC DEADBEAT DAD WITH AN ILLEGITIMATE SON!"

Suddenly, Superman screams and grabs his forehead!

"No, Superman, we are not 'superfriends'. Friends would have rescued me from being squidified and replaced by an underwater Kyle Rayner. Friends would not have lorded over the opening of their Hollywood blockbusters while my unaired pilot on the WB network was being spliced up like so much sushi and served on YouTube.

"No, we are not friends. We are colleagues. The JLA is an organization of professionals, not the superpowered cast of
Friends."

"Where are the others? ... Aquaman."

"Well, speaking of deadbeat dads with illegitimate children, I sent Speedy along home to Green Arrow in Star City, so he can attend nightly NA meetings like he needs to. And for dyeing his mentor's costume red, I had him spanked soundly before he left."


"You
spanked Red Arrow?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Batman; leaders delegate. I had Topo do it, using paddles shaped like miniature oars. As for Vixen the Supertramp, well, if little girls recognize her on the street, her identity's been compromised. I had Green Lantern ring her over to Universe 616, where she'll blend in nicely; she certainly doesn't fit in here."

"Did you spank
her, too?"

"With nothing but these gloves to protect me from infection? No, Green Lantern took care of that part, too."


"I'm sure he did. I'm not surprised you're part of this, Jordan, and J'onn's always been Aquaman's lapdog, but ...
et tu, Jefferson?"

"Manhunter?"


"JOEL SCHUMACHER, FRANK MILLER, KATIE HOLMES!"

Suddenly, Batman grunts and slumps to the side!

"Black Vulcan is no fool, Batman. He knows the JLA needs a leader. Superman's no leader, no matter how many crossovers try to force him into the role; he's not a quarterback, he's an MVP. Wonder Woman's a solo warrior, and you're a general who can only direct subordinates, not lead equals. Without me around, all the three of you do is snipe at one another snarkily and disagree about what's the right thing to do.

"But I'm back now. You put a League together; I'm here to put the League in order. I was the king of a continent and regularly lead into battle the entirety of life in the sea. Command is my superpower. I lead the League; I always have. Even Alex Ross knows that."

Suddenly, Hawkgirl swoops down to attack Aquaman from behind!

"Manhunter?"

"HOWARD CHAYKIN!"

Suddenly, Hawkgirl bursts into flames and collapses on the floor, leaving nothing but a smoldering mace and some charred feathers!

"Oh, don't worry about Hawkgirl. I'm sure she'll have reincarnated by the time Hawkman shows up to take her place. And Black Canary, in case you three are wondering, is currently resting on the satellite after a bit of 're-education' from the Martian Manhunter."

"DATE WITH RA'S, ADOPTED FOREIGN CHILD, GREEN ARROW WEDDING!"


"Not now, Manhunter; relax. As for the Flash and the Atom-- what their current secret identities are I neither know nor care -- they're busy dismantling your little holographic training room and selling its pieces on E-Bay in Universe 616, where people actually buy that sort of thing."

"N-not... "


"CATHY LEE CROSBY!"

"...not the... "


"ELLIE WOOD WALKER!"


"...not 'the Kitchen' !"


"PHIL JIMENEZ!"

Suddenly, Wonder Woman falls to the floor unconscious,
a small trickle of blood seeping from one of her ears!

"Poor Wonder Woman; couldn't stand the heat, I guess...

"Gentlemen, our entire lives are 'training exercises'. We don't have time to play virtual Heroclix with one another while lives are in danger. And I assure you: lives
are in danger, my wayward colleagues... .

"I'm going to the wading pool for a swim; Black Vulcan, please supervise the 'readjustment' of the Trinity's attitudes. Lantern, keep an eye out for the UPS guy; he should be coming today with the supply of salon-quality haircare product for Vulcan and me. Oh, and Manhunter ... when you're done, Topo and I would like you to join us later in our quarters. It's good to be back!"


"So, he makes J'onn take the form of his dead son, Koryak, now?"
"Shut up, Clark, they'll hear you!"
"Great Gotham, aren't you two capable of remembering that they're telepathic for longer than five minutes?!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mission: Locate the Hall of Justice!

Where is "the Hall"?



For me, the highlight of Brad Meltzer's JLA has been his introduction of the Hall of Justice, located in Washington DC (something I've been a very strong advocate of).

But as someone who lives in DC, I'm a little frustrated by the vague tree-shrouded background; where in DC is the Hall of Justice? I mean, we know where the JSA HQ is; it's not just "somewhere in Manhattan".

So where is the Hall of Justice? Couple things we can deduce about its location...


It is not on the Mall.
No, no, non-DC residents; I believe a man can fly, but I will never believe that big-ass building was secretly erected on the National Mall. That would take an act of Congress and, even more daunting, approval by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation.

It's on private property outside the original city (that's everything south of Florida Avenue).

I mean, they build the thing in the six months they were sitting around that table, without anybody else knowing about it. To me that means a Big Honking Fence on a set-back property; it sure as heck ain't in downtown or Midcity.

If it were, everyone would know, because the Intowner would have had weekly updates on the zoning meetings and ANC debates about it ("Ward 3 Neighborhood Forum Heres Residents's Objections to Constrution of Hedquarters of National Organization; DC Historical Preservation Society Weights in On Possible Obskuring of Lampost Lanmark"), and the City Paper would have a cover story with an in-depth human interest angle on every single local businesses even slightly disrupted or inconvenienced ("Justice Beleaguered: The JLA protects you from destruction; unless you're their neighbor.").

It's metro-accessible.
That's just the kind of people the Leaguers are. No point in making a public headquarters that the public can't get to. I mean, it's not like it's the National Arboretum or the Jefferson Memorial!


Personally, I'm picturing it on the site of National Cathedral (because no one knows what the point of that is in our universe, let alone the DCU). Big area, lots of room for trees and a reflecting pool, but still located directly at an extremely public location (the intersection of two great thoroughfares, Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pantha -- Heading Up A New Feature!


Hello, kids! Rolling Head of Pantha here! I'm your guide to the fun world of Violence in Comics.

Do you what Bowdlerizing is, kids? It's when overly protective adults cut out of literature anything they think is "bad" for readers.

Adults love to bowdlerize any literature for children, taking out or altering any references to death, violence, even conflict. You should see how violently they savaged the Brothers Grimm! Why, some of their stories were barely recognizable afterwards, and could only be identified by dental records... .

But it's a funny thing: de-fang stories for children and their point gets lost. Children, as anyone who's ever met one knows, are not subtle people. Behavioral amelioration of negative characters through positive feedback does not impress them. Witches are evil child-eaters and must be pushed into ovens; monsters are threats to society (just like Mike W. Barr!) and must be slain. In the words of the Alligator Men from the Monster Society of Evil, "We've lost! Quick! Eat the children!"

Fairy tales and the like are not designed to convince children that the world is without dangers. Quite they contrary. They are designed to put children on their guard, to show that there is evil in the world and it must be defeated through alertness, intelligence, and a willingness to act. And the fairy tale tendency of such lessons to be stark and graphic is not lessened one whit by the influence of comic books' other roots, like pulp fiction!

While comics books are no longer really written for children per se, they retain, to a large degree, the zoroastrian morality that typifies children's lit. For example, reformations are few and usually short-lived (such as that of Black Adam in 52).

How you feel about this reality is a major determinant of how you feel about superhero comics in general...

Those who view comics more from the mythic/fairytale perspective like stark differences between Good and Evil. You'll find those people prefer DC Comics, where characters retain their fairy-talish extremeness and abstraction; to some, that is a virtue.

To others, it's a flaw that makes such reading childish; they prefer a more sophisticated and ostensibly realistic approach to the motivations and values of both heroes and villains. They hew toward the interesting moral complexities of pulp fiction, and so they gravitate toward offerings by Marvel comics.

It is no accident that DC's recent goals have been to heighten the contrast between heroes and villains (as stated by its editorial board in its discussion of its recent crossovers) and Marvel's has been to heighten the conflict between its heroes over morally grey areas (Civil War). It is their nature.

Comics inherit not only the morality of the fairy tale, but its bloodthirstiness as well. While major characters are (mostly) immune to dying (or, at least, to remaining dead), minor characters and bystanders die gruesomely by the score -- just like me!

If a character that you like gets his block knocked off in a crossover melee, this reality can hit you pretty hard and unpleasantly. Trust me, I know how that feels! But getting bumped off gruesomely-- no matter your age, gender, race, or even species -- is part of the job when you're a supporting character, whether you're strangled and stuffed in a refrigerator or eaten by the Big Bad Wolf.

If your youth was during a time when comics were ruled by the Bowdlerizers, then you may think the Descent into Violence of Modern Comics is a sure sign of the End of Times. If you grew up watching deformed madmen try to kill Batman and Robin every week, (same bat-time, same bat-channel) in some of the most creatively horrible ways imaginable, you may have a thicker skin.

In any case, to a certain degree complaining about a superhero comic book being violent is like the frog being surprised that the scorpion stings; it is its nature. If you want to avoid it, read Nancy & Sluggo.

On second thought, kids, don't read Nancy & Sluggo; it's a hot bed of value-sapping surrealism, the artistic enemy of all right-thinking folk, and much worse for you than violence.



Ceci n'est pas une pipe, eh, Nancy?


Anyway, all of this is a long way around the barn, just to let you kids know that I'll be hosting a fun new feature here on the Absorbascon:

GREAT CORPSES IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY!

Be the first on your block to collect 'em all!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Heroclix Theme Team: Two-Faced


Two Faced (8 figures at 396 points)

ID Name Points
J090Unique Eclipso108
+ leF004Feat Fortitude25
U030Veteran Batman Enemy (tm) Two-Face (tm)61
le007Rookie Mystics (tm) Enchantress (tm)60
U062Experienced Shade (tm)49
+ cdF003Feat Ambush5
J094Unique Batman Ally (tm) Batgirl41
o040Rookie Batman Enemy (tm) Cat-Man (tm)47

Another Reason to Love Starman


"I am Starman. You do not frighten me. Even if I appear bound and helpless, and you're armed and have the drop on me, you do not frighten me.


"Thus, I sass you. I sass you derisively. In fact, you, as a villain, are not even worthy to view me as I sass you derisively. Indeed, I fear that should you directly perceive my visage as I sass you derisively, its awesomeness alloyed only with disdain would cause you to spontaneously combust, leaving me with a troubled conscience and a nasty, smelly mess to clean up.

"Therefore, I shall not even deign to look at you as I sass you derisively."



Sunday, April 15, 2007

Green Arrow Villains: The Movie!

Wait, wait ... so Warner Bros. wouldn't let Goyer do the Flash movie, so now he's going to do a movie about that story where Daredevil gets sent to prison?

But use Green Arrow instead? Oh, universe! I love you for how you make me laugh!

As longtime readers will know, I'm not exactly a fan of Green Arrow, the Greatest Batman Parody of All Time. I suppose making him the star of Daredevil Imprisoned: The Movie is the only way he could ever get in a film, let alone star in one. It strips him immediately of his costume, which isn't iconic or fabulous enough to look anything other than silly; likewise the goatee.

But to fill the film with Green Arrow villains as his uneasy companions? Green Arrow villains?! Who? Merlin? The Red Dart? Onomatopoeia? The Polka-Dot Squirrel? The Hideous Closet Pastry?

Nurse! Some stitches for my sides, please! Says Goyer:

"We've populated the prison with all sorts of B and C villains from the DC Universe. For the fans, there will be all sorts of characters the hardcore comic book junkies will know, but they're all going to be there under their human names and no one is wearing a costume, but there will be a lot of characters with powers and things like that."

Really, now. This doesn't exactly sound like the formula for a blockbuster. I'm not even sure I would go see that film; and I'm the Man Who Like Halle Berry's Catwoman.

Unless it involved lots of shower scenes and desperate prison romance with Justin Hartley and a series of men of various ethnicities, subtitle "Sins of the Fleche".

Yeah; I'd probably go see that.