Friday, April 04, 2008

Find the Skrull!

Today, I'm stealing an idea from SallyP, and exploring further the question:

Who in the DCU is actually a Skrull?

Mary Marvel, for sure. I mean, the one we've been reading for the last year bears no resemblance in personality to any previous version in the character's 60 some years of history. Not only is Mary Marvel a Skrull, she's a Skrull with disproportionately large breasts.

All-Star Batman. Duh.

Panda. Because characters as annoying as Panda never really get killed.

Jean Loring. Bwa-haha! Just kidding. No mere Skrull could be as crazy/evil as Jean Loring!

Every Aquaman since 1972.

Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown. The real ones had the decency to stay dead, and the wisdom to stay dead, since they worked much better as martyrs than as living irritants.

President Luthor. Because the real Lex Luthor wouldn't have bothered to take a step down into the presidency, then do nothing either evil or useful in four years. I mean, even George W. Bush did something evil or useful in four years...!

The Penny Plunderer. You don't think the real Joe Coyne got sent to the chair, do you? As if.

The married Orca the Whalewoman who got killed. The real Orca is in the sea where she belongs, making it with King Shark, the Shark, and Captain Mako.

Vibe. I mean, the one who got killed. The real one is working on his tan in Rincon and planning his triumphant return to the JLA.


Who do YOU think is a Skrull in the DCU
(and please support your assertion)?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy...

  • It turns out I'm a Skrull!
  • Justice League Unlimited is the most sophisticated and moving examination of complex morality you will read in a comic book this week.
  • Mr. Fantastic should have kept his eye on his colleagues instead of on ... well, whatever it wound up hanging off of... .
  • Don't you just hate it when monsters from your bloodstream eat your hot to trot new neighbor...?
  • Just the very idea of Pied Piper playing "Macho Man" on a nose flute... .
  • LOL, Zatanna's a giant prop!
  • Bruce Wayne's very surprising and poorly timed reunion with Peyton Riley.
  • Somebody really should have thought twice before putting this dialog in Countdown: "Ohmygosh, is this nightmare ever going to end?" "Gods, I sure hope so." Oh, the comic book irony!
  • This is one time where the Dum Dum was a bullet, I guess.
  • The good news for the train robbers? There are only six people in the entire town. The bad news? One of them's Jonah Hex, who left me -- and one of his assailants -- speechless this month.
  • "Apparently, Batman has a soft spot for children."
  • Tomorrow's tour of the Baxter Building is canceled.
  • Hawkgirl being the one to spot the getaway truck.
  • Whoa; the SW6 Batch is in the Savage Lands!
  • Isn't it amazing how Kyle's hair stays that way no matter how many universes he escapes from?
  • I don't think I've ever seen anyone get his foot stuck is the bloated corpse of a horse before. I mean, not in a comic book.
  • So, what do you think Darkseid the Couch Potato was watching on the television before Mary showed up? American Idol? No; Top Chef, I bet.
  • An old style symbolic splash page opener for Jonah Hex, followed by a two-page silent synopsis of his entire life; masterful.
  • Wait; the Skrulls have ships that look like their faces? That's hilarious!
  • Mirror Master versus Fifi.
  • It ate Panda; yay!

Crime Alley

Little things to notice:
  • graffiti tags for many Gotham gangs;
  • the Zorro poster;
  • several "real" Gotham newspapers;
  • the "Park Row" street sign;
  • the fire escapes are hindering terrain;
  • the Joe Coyne Wanted poster.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Apex City: The Martian Manhunter Heroclix Map

As you'll remember, I had previously deduced that the Silver Age Martian Manhunter lived in Apex City, Florida, and was further committed to making an Apex City Heroclix map for him and his fans.

Why? Because it was the will of the people as determined by my poll, and I am the Slave of Duty.


At first I was worried. This isn't like making a map of Metropolis where you throw in one landmark, like the Daily Planet, and call it a day because everyone will recognize it. Did JJ's unnamed city even have any local features for a map to feature?


I shouldn't have worried!
Apex City is full of recognizable features, even if the only people who'll recognize any of them are serious Martian Manhunter fans. But, then, that's who the map is for!

Naturally, the principle feature of
Apex City, "America's Most Flammable City!", is that something is ALWAYS on fire. So I included many of the buildings we've seen burning in Martian Manhunter stories, like
  • the Ajax Apartments, which are...
  • near the Mason Mattress Co. ("The Girl-Hero Contest),
  • the Jones Supermarket ("The Impossible Manhunt'),
  • the Bijou Theater (from "The Crime Conjurer" and "The Dog With a Martian Master"),
  • Jones Hardware ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • the Jones Clothing Store ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • and the July 4th Fireworks Co. ("The Impossible Messages")
Other, apparently less flammable, structures shown include
  • Police Headquarters (under attack by a cloaked Venusian ship, as in "The Defeat of J'onn J'onnz"),
  • Highgate Bridge (a hotspot of Diane Meade activity)
  • Union Drawbridge (which J'onn so memorably replaced one time with his butt in "John Jones' Pesky Partner")
  • the Apex Art Galleries ("The Crime College")
  • the Daily Clarion (where J'onn worked as "The Super Reporter"),
  • the Ace Time Company Building with its giant radium covered rooftop alarm clock ("The Menace of Mr. Moth")
  • the City Planetarium (from "The Menace of Mr. Moth" and "The Getaway King")
  • Rainbow Beach (from "The Sleuth Without a Clue"... I am so sure, Mary!), which sports a dangerous shark (there were sharks every single time J'onn went in the water!), a sexy cephalopod with whom J'onn can enjoy sweet sweet octopus love, and a Hot Dog Stand (which actually appeared in the story, thank you very much);
  • a mosaic honoring the city's champion baseball team, the Flamingos ("The Case of the Magic Baseball").
  • surely, you didn't think I would omit the Human Squirrel climbing the Apex Loan Company Building (just like in "The Ex-Convicts Club")
  • and Apex City's most unique landmark, the Statue of Atlas Painted With Phosphorus (once stolen in "The Menace of Mr. Moth"). If that doesn't qualify as a landmark, I don't know what does.
The roadways also refer to elements from Martian Manhunter stories:
  • Elm Street ("The Martian Show Off", "The J'onn J'onnz Museum", "The Ex-Convicts Club", and "Ordeal By Fire"), Shore Road, Front Street ("The Martian Show Off"), State Street ("The J'onn J'onnz Musuem"), Eastview Drive ("J'onn J'onnz vs. the Vigilantes") are all specifically mentioned in various stories. Highland Street & Union Street are not, but I'm inferring them from the Highland Bridge and the Union Drawbridge.
  • Hey, there's the tank from the Criminal Army in "One-Man Army".
  • Three fire trucks, because in Apex, that's about how many you need per city block square
  • an ice cream truck so J'onn doesn't have to waste his energy creating ice cream cones from the power of the void (as he had to do in "The World's Greatest Magician")
  • that crazy future car in front of Jones Hardware probably belongs criminal genius Monty Moran ("The Getaway King"), or to the professor at "The Crime College", or it could be one of "The Impossible Inventions" of wacky inventor Hiram Horner.
  • a recently plummeted meteor, because, as previously discussed, meteors are the standard weather in Apex;
  • and, commenting on the general aflame-edness of Apex, a pick-up with some flammable barrels in the back, a propane delivery truck, a barbecue gone bad, and a sewer fire.

Behold, the flaming glory of Apex City,
home of the Silver Age Martian Manhunter!


Click on map for a blaze of close-up glory.


Who says Martian Manhunter lived in a nondescript urban locale? Surely, this map could only be
Apex City! Believe it or not, I didn't even begin to exhaust the catalog of Apexian locales. However, one can only reasonably place so many landmarks on one tiny Heroclix map. Places I didn't put on it, but wanted to, include:
  • the Apex Warehouse ("The Defeat of J'onn J'onnz"),
  • the Apex Movie Studios ("The Mixed Up Martian Powers")
  • the Apex Paint Company ("The One-Man Army")
  • the Oil Cracking Plant "The Alien Bodyguard'),
  • Flamingo Stadium ("The Case of the Magic Baseball")
  • the Benton Optical Company ("Escape to the Stars")
  • the United Oil Company ("Ordeal By Fire")
  • Jones' Fancy Fruits ("The Impossible Manhunt" and "The Mystery of the Martian Marauders")
  • the Balloon Factory near the Government Vaults ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • the Mythological Museum ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • Wilmore Flights ("The Impossible Messages"),
  • the Glenwood Museum of History ("The Man Who Exposed John Jones"),
  • water towers (they're all over the dang place!)
  • the "Carnival of Doom",
  • the Jewelers Building ("The King of the Underworld")
  • the Yardley Toy Company ("The Crime Conjurer")
  • the abandoned circus grounds ("Earth Detective for a Day")
  • the Sam Jones Museum of Famous American Ships ("The Impossible Manhunt")
  • the International Fairgrounds ("The Animal Crime Kingdom")
  • the Mansfield-Cowan Company ("The Phantom Bodyguard")
  • the Ardmore Natural History Museum ("The Crime Conjurer"),
  • Marsville ("The Menace of Marsville"),
  • the Jones Waxworks ("The Impossible Manhunt"),
  • the Jason Warehouse ("The Hero Maker"),
  • West Street ("The Crime King of Mount Olympus")
  • the Croyden Art Shop ("The Man Who Exposed John Jones"),
  • the Modern Art Museum ("John Jones' Super-Secret")
  • Swathmore Jewelry Salon ("The Ex-Convicts Club")
  • the Barnes Museum ("John Jones' Female Nemesis")
  • the Floating Island ("The Amazing One-Man Crew"),
  • the Martian Manhunter Museum (from "The J'onn J'onnz Museum")
  • the Clang Bank (in "The Getaway King").
Apex City is FULL of landmarks. In fact, you now know more landmarks in Apex City than you can name in any other DCU city. While some of them are fairly generic, others are surely hapax phenomena. I mean, c'mon. Floating Islands? The Mythological Museum? Giant irradiated rooftop clocks? The Famous American Ship Museum? An entire building with nothing but jewelers in it? A phosphorescent statue of Atlas? Balloon factories? A life-size reproduction of a Martian neighborhood? Fancy Fruit stores? Apex is a veritable freak show; no wonder J'onn feels at home there. DC needs to bring back Apex City and put the Martian Manhunter there again to get him a chance to build up a great following for his adventures in a city that's very much his own... and every bit as eclectically bizarre as he is.

P.S. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO PLAY HEROCLIX

Red flame terrain does 2 clicks damage, and the yellow does 1 click. The rules for it are printed on the map (over on Rainbow Beach), including special rules for the Martian Manhunter himself.
  • His defensive powers don't work against flame terrain (duh!);
  • yellow flame turns off one of his powers, red flame two of them; as long as he's not in flame terrain,
  • he can destroy it with an attack, turning it to regular hindering terrain ("I'll use my Martian lung power!")
The higher buildings (Police HQ, the Ace Time Building, the Apex Loan Building, and the Planetarium) are blocking terrain; the other buildings (including the Ajax Apartments) are elevated terrain and usually have handy fire escapes as ladders.

Yes, that is hindering terrain atop the Ajax Apartments and flame terrain atop the Fireworks Factory.
Yes, the stairs at the boardwalk are just for decoration.
Yes, the Broken Hydrant special object token can be used to turn flame terrain into water terrain.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Meteorology in Apex City

"Good morning! I'm meteorologist Misty Hazen, with the seven-day forecast here in the Apex area, home of the Martian Manhunter. Which is located in southern Florida, you know.


"Today, expect meteors, particularly in the center of town.


"Tuesday, no change, with continuing meteors.



"Wednesday, the meteors should turn to falling missiles from space,


with possible gusts of flying saucers.


"Thursday, things should be clear most of the day, but plan for a possible whump of flaming meteor from space in the late afternoon.



"Friday looks to bring falling bombs...

but that'll be mostly off the coast,
turning late in the day...

"...to meteors again.

"Saturday will be lovely and warm, so you can get some great sun, with only scattered floating objects.



"Sunday, the weather will return to normal, so be prepared for...


a whump of meteors.

"This is Misty Hazen, saying,
'Look to the skies! Keep watching the skies!' "



Sunday, March 30, 2008

"You Got Chocolate in My Peanut Butter...!"

This isn't usually my style, but I saw this panel on the DC boards recently and simply could not resist.

FAN PIC* contest



I don't have the heart to redialog this panel.

But I'm betting YOU do.

*The improvisation of amusing dialog or narration based on an out-of-context comic book panel, usually ribald in nature.