Saturday, October 15, 2005

COIE: Favorites in Action!

Okay, let's see...

If we're going to try to find some fun in The Horror That Was COIE (Crisis on Infinite Earths), I guess the first sensible place to start is with appearances by our special favorites. Yes, yes! That's something everyone liked about COIE; everyone (other the Inferior Five) appeared in it, so whoever you love has almost got to be there, even if only in one panel. Unless, it's, you know, like, the Bug-Eyed Bandit.

Who's our favorite? STARMAN!

Surely, with the melodrama gushing from every benday dot on every page, Starman would be a natural for COIE. Let's take a look!He's flying! And firing! And... hm. That's it, huh? No haiku? No lines at all? Not even lit from below? Okay, that's a bust, then. Well, I can't blame Wolfman, I guess. I mean, it's not as if the villain's plot hinged upon the use of some giant machine that collected stellar energy like his cosmic rod.
What next? Oh, I know: stripped down rock hard personification of justice UNCLE SAM! We love Uncle Sam! Let's see what that halfnaked slab of patriot power can REALLY do!
Oh. He talks. And talks. And talks some more. While wearing clothes. Hm. Let's read the minds of his audience and see how inspiring that is....

AQUAMAN: "Eyes--rolling up into head--must--remain conscious!"
HUNTRESS: "On Earth-2, this would be over by now. On Earth-2, the bad guy would have already fallen into a vat of acid. On Earth-2, I could shoot an arrow through the old guy's forehead."
JUDOMASTER: "That's it, I'm joing the Axis. And stop cutting my face in half!!!!"
PHANTOM LADY: "I want him so bad, I just can't stand it any more. Please Sam, show us the white hot sword of victory..."
SARGON: "With each passing paragraph, I, Sargon the Sorceror, am feeling increasing EVIL."
JEMM, SON OF SATURN: "ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Oops. Well, I sure that the viewing audience and the readership is inspired to--
Okay; maybe not. That's okay; that's alright. Inspiration like Uncle Sam's is undauntable. As Sam always says, a good man always rises.

I said,

"A good man always rises", Sam!

Well, perhaps we'll get a few words from Sam later, after his, er, nap.

PLEASE tell me we can salvage at least ONE DECENT moment with one of the Absorbascon favorites. A mind-controlled Black Condor does get to sock the Golden Age Hawkman with the silly yellow hood on, but it's not really a fabulous moment. We need a fabulous moment, we need--

Ah HA.

What we NEED is....

Vibe doing "the Robot" to celebrate his victory over Plasmus.

Phew! I feel SO much better now! You're dang right vibration is madmade, baby!

See? You can always rely on Vibe, people; he's the man.

P.S. The Bug-Eyed Bandit DID get a panel-- and dialog (unlike Vibe and Starman).

Crisis, The Absorbascon way...

The Absorbascon has its own way of looking at things. This week, in celebration of the beginning of "Infinite Crisis", we turn that look toward its revered and industry-shaking predecessor, "Crisis on Infinited Earths" (COIE).

Which remains one of the worst things I have ever read in my life.

The Plot

Despite a multiverse teeming with thousands of an interesting characters with decades-worth of reader-resonance, the plot is instead based on five add-ink-and-stir "Living Plot Points" (a term I learned here from an Asorbascommenter): the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, Harbinger, Pariah, and Alexander Luthor (plus, for no apparent reason other than someone's sexual fixation on Suzanne P
owter, Lady Quark). Why did an editor not stop this insanity?

"Oh, but the beautiful moment of X was so touching I still cry when I think about it!", someone reading this now is about to type. For those who haven't COIE, I'll review those beautiful moments for you...

Supergirl's heroic sacrifice teaches Batgirl what it means to be a hero, inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in her footsteps.
Flash's heroic sacrifice teaches Kid Flash what it means to be a hero, inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in his footsteps.
Supergirl's heroic sacrifice teaches Dr. Light what it means to be a hero,
inspiring a Steely Resolve to follow in her footsteps.
Wildcat's heroic sacrifice teaches Yolanda Montez what it means to be a hero, inspiring her to stagger around drunk in a Catwoman costume on rooftops, saying everything once in choppy Spanish, then again in English, as if she's on
?Que Pasa, USA?. "Yo soy el *hic* neuvo Wildcat!"; tee-hee, of course you are, dear!

Oh, there's also 256 examples of "X throws himself into the anti-matter wall" or "Y
stops X from throwing himself into the anti-matter wall", both of which are considered nobly brave, except when they are criticized as stupidly futile.

Dialogue (but only because I have no other word for it)

Marv Wolfman, Dean of the Magna Kahn School of Dramatic Monologue, writes dialogue which is alternatingly so mind-numbing and so grating that one can only survive reading it by imagining yourself in a less stressful situation; I manage to read it by picturing myself as a baby seal being clubbed to death by a sadistic Japanese sailor. Wolfman handles DC's thousands of precious character gems by reducing them to exactly four styles of speaking: Herospeak, Doomspeak, Streetspeak, and Smartspeak. I can only assume Wolfman was born in the Baxter Building and raised by the Fantastic Four; there's no other explanation.

For variety within each type of "speak", characters get a choice of
Stuttering Wonder, Wavering Self-Doubt, Sententious Speechification, and Steely Resolve. Wolfman should really work for the City of Heroes people, writing programs to generate generic word balloons based on the characters chosen profile; he'd be a natural.

MY Steely Resolve

Now, until I bought the trade yesterday, I had not read COIE for 20 years, since it first came out. Why would I, when there's been a new DCU to focus on? That would be likely filling your Wedding Album with pictures of yourself dancing in your underwear with a lampshade on your head with a 43 year old strung out stripper at your bachelor party.

But now with Infinite Crisis focusing so much attention on COIE, I feel the need to find some fun for myself and you all (but mostly myself) in the horror that was COIE, and that's what I'll be doing in the coming week. Marv, care to help me say that?

"Th-the awfulness! The vast sprawling horror of COIE, it's--it's like nothing I've ever seen!

I'm not sure I can handle it; I don't know whether my snarking powers will work against it; I don't see how I can prevail, it seems hopeless.

Yet, in all my years, if I learned one thing, it's that one person can make a difference -- just so as long as he's with other good pe
ople, trying to do the same.

So I must try! Too many have died, too much is riding on this; I must NOT give up hope, I will not, for them-- I == MUST == DO IT!"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I shall make you a fisher of men.

"Nggg Dammit?" Hm, sounds like a Vietnamese name to me...

No, my dear, that's "the Fisherman" an "old foe" of Aquaman.

Wearing a rather, um, naughty-looking new, um,


Freudian imagery aside, it's always good to see one of Aquaman's "old foes" and particularly the Fisherman -- he's just one those concepts that can't be fought. If there's going to be a 'fish guy hero' there's going to be a 'fisherman villain' whether you like it or not.

He was in the Silver Age Aquaman.
He was in the Filmation Cartoon.
He was in the famously bizarre and bizarrely famous Aquaman student film (although they called him "The Angler", which is actually a cleverer name).

Darkseid's boots?
Stolen from the Fisherman.
Magneto's hat?
Stolen from the Fisherman.
The Joker's persistent lack of a real name?
Stolen from the Fisherman.

Does he complain? No; complaining is for comic book bloggers, not fishermen.

My father, may he rest in peace, was a professional fishing guide in the wilds of Quebec (which is why I know how to kill a deer with a paper clip and rubber band from 50 yards, and other skills that don't show up on my resume). And from him I learned that the virtue of the fisherman is patience.

The Fisherman waited. Now he's back. He's in Infinite Crisis #1. The Joker, Magneto, and Darkseid aren't.

Bravo, Brownfield

"The essence of wonder is easily sacrificed for the attempt to look cool, even apathetic, in the eyes of our peers. The younger generation, who I see and speak to every day in my classrooms, often seem to embrace groundless cynicism in the face of all things. Certainly, recent and current events have been a strain on the public trust. We know that governments can be corrupt, we know that people (even children) can kill without reason, and we know that in many ways our world is darker than it ever has been. Obviously then, this should be a time for heroes. This should be a time when someone stands up, unafraid, and says, “This is not how things should be”, and, instead of simply stopping at the declaration (which, in the internet age, we’re all good at), leads us into the future."

Thank you, Troy Brownfield, who understands what comic books are for.

Thank you.

Koryak, A Modern Man

Why do people keep insisting that Koryak is gay?

It's silly.

He made one off-hand comment to Lorena (Aquagirl) about admiring Officer Malrey; that's perfectly in keeping with his being a man of the new millenium.

Remember, too, that Koryak is from the Inuit culture, where people don't have the same hang-ups about male-on-male friendship and praise.

There's nothing in his current appearances or his backstory from Peter David's Aquaman to suggest that he's gay. Nothing.

I don't want to hear any more about this, folks. Not. A. Word.

Comic Professional Wanted

My oldest friend in the world is an instructor at Drexel and needs a comic book writer or artist to work with him in teaching a class.

If any lurking creators out there in the Philly area are interested, please contact him at

Matthew J. Kaufhold
Drexel University
Screenwriting & Playwriting Program
University Crossings #054
32nd & Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Radio Drama

Oh, sure -- it easy to create drama when you've got the Big Three at odds with one another, secondary heroes and tertiary villains dropping like flies, and invaders from the multiverse lowering.

But Golden Age Starman? He could create drama with a bald guy preparing to talk into a short-wave radio:

Surely you remember .... THE LIGHT!

Among his innumerable evil deeds, the Light actually discovered sweet sweet octopus love, popularized it among the wicked and weak, then founded an entire League of evil-doing cephalopodophiles.

From what I can gather, he and his legion of 'podophiles must have some plan to weaken worldwide morals and emasculate the fighting forces of the civilized nations through the spread of octopus love to the exclusion of reproductive intercourse. I suspect "the Beaver has been sunk" is some sort of code.

While the raspy voiced Light (only evil people -- and aerobics instructors -- have raspy voices), as always lit heavily from below (hence his name), huddles closely over his insensitive "mike", Starman is just on the other side of the stone wall.

Even Starman's hearing is superior! Despite the earmuffs built into his headgear, he can hear the Light's minatory rasping through a stone wall.

Starman was the best.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"What is the sound of one hero vibrating?"

Everyone keeps egging me on to mix it up with Steve Englehart for this statement from his recent interview with the esteemed blogger and all-around good guy Brian Cronin at Comic Book Resources:
Steve Englehart: Upcoming projects - I did a "JLA: Classified," and am now doing a "JSA: Classified" that ties into it.
Interviewer: Can you hint which JSA characters are featured?
Steve Englehart: JLA/JSA - well, the JLA run, four parts, features the worst JLA members ever: Steel, Vixen, Gypsy, and Vibe.
Now, I'm not going to savage Steve for dissing Vibe this way. I'm well aware that Vibe is ... underappreciated. Just as all but the most enlightened fail to grasp the wisdom of Bodidharma (though "Action Philosophers" #1 helps a lot!), so too not every mind is suited to perceiving the rarefied glory of a breakdancin' boriqueno in red and yellow grapesmugglers. Vibesters like myself have come to accept this; it is the way of things.

And face it, Steel, Vixen, and Gypsy do suck.

I shall content myself with putting the matter to the internet jury. Are Steel, Vixen, Gypsy, and Vibe the worst JLA members ever, when the JLA has included:

Tomorrow Woman
Red Tornado
Manitou Raven
Black Condor II
Rocket Red
The Elongated Man

And that's WITHOUT mentioning Crimson Fox and Amazing Man from JLE or anyone from JL Antarctica.


Here at the Absorbascon, we try to provide relief from the emphermeral controversies of the fanoverse by sticking to higher priorities.

When other blogs were discussing the death of Hawkeye, the Absorbascon discussed Night Girl's hair. When Dave's Long Box focused on Power Girl's boobs, the Absorbascon focused on her boots. When the internet debated Batman versus Green Lantern, the Absorbascon concentrated on Batman versus God and Green Lantern versus a ceiling tile.

In so, in anticipation of the discussion over the amazing revelations in this week's Villains United and Infinite Crisis, the Absorbascon will focus on--

ah, the heck with it.

Thanks to Devon, who erreth not, over at Seven Hells, I was mentally prepared for the final page of Infinite Crisis.

But I was not prepared for the mind-boggling revelations in Villians United, most of which I hadn't heard anyone theorize, yet all of which make so much sense.

  • The Calculator versus Oracle
  • The new Virtuoso
  • Deadshot versus Deathstroke
  • The amazing Mister Terrible (my new favorite villain after only one panel).
  • Ragdoll versus Ragdoll.
  • Knockout's revelation.
  • Luthor versus .... heh heh heh.
  • Parademon's gambit.
  • Catman versus Green Arrow.
  • Diana's declaration.
  • Dr. Polaris versus the Human Bomb.
  • Batman's REALLY RUDE comment.
  • Mongul versus Batman.
  • The Riddler and the Fisherman with the Red Panzer and Murmur.
  • Dr. Light versus the Ray.
  • The Human Bomb versus Bizarro.
  • OMAC versus the Rat-Catcher.
  • Nightwing's good luck.
  • Everyone versus Uncle Sam
  • The Psychopirate versus Damage.

It's a bad day to be in the DC Universe.

But it's a great day to be reading about it...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Nice suit, Clark

Yes, Clark, I can just see the headline now,

"Kansas Lunatic Charged With Public Bestiality".

Oh, I kid! This is just another example of how much better people in the DCU are than, well, us.

Me, you, we'd try to get a front page story by racing to crime scenes or unearthing government corruption. Budding reporter Clark Kent, heh, he can get a front page story simply by putting on a gorilla suit (which, you'll note, is rented; he couldn't afford to buy his own until later in his career).

Oh, and in case you didn't recognize it from the Superman Showcase, this is from a little tale called:

"How Perry White Hired Clark Kent".

Naturally. Wouldn't you hire the man in that panel to work at your great metropolitan newspaper?

Koryak's Haikuesday

My admiration for Aquaman's son, Koryak, grows with each passing month *sigh*.

Haikuesday this week is dedicated to Koryak, who is tall, dark, handsome, superpowerful, and poetic. Just look how casually he defeats an OMAC using only limited hard-water powers and some underwater haiku.

That won't work. It may
feel solid, but it's still just
a block of water.

Wow. Koryak's Heroic Haiku is expository, has flow and rhythm, shows confidence in his ability to dispense Sea Justice, and uses water-based nature imagery. The OMAC, of course, is crushed by the weight and force of Koryak's water and words.

Oh, Koryak, you make little Sally Brown hearts pop in and out all around my head every time you appear!

So, dear readers, what haiku can you compose to celebrate Koryak's glorious victory over the OMAC, the power or words and water, or the beauty of an underwater comic that looks like Leni Riefenstahl is its cinematographer?

Monday, October 10, 2005

"Have you seen me?"

I saw this child's picture on my milk cartoon at breakfast. He seemed so familiar, as if I'd seem him before. I began to recall a name: Serbian? Servianus? Sebastian?

Oh, yes, I finally thought: Cerdian.

Yes, he's much easier to recognize with mother .... Duela? Endorphin? Delphine?

Oh, yes; Dolphin.

Okay, I know; Tempest himself has only been recently reintroduced since the Sub Diego event in the Aquaman book. But it had been quite a while before that since Dolphin had been seen, let alone Cerdian, let alone Cerdia, the country he's named after.

I can respect a retcon when it seems appropriate and I take no position on whether the Cerdian-Atlantean matter should be cannon or washed away by the waves of hypertime.

Yet the situation is an awkward one; children don't usually get retconned away (except for Duela Dent, and it was the only sensible thing to do). However, if the child still exists, he's named after a country whose annexation by Atlantis seems to have become a taboo subject. In fact, given what we know about what's happened to Atlantis over the last few years of continuity, it's hard to believe anything other than that the Cerdian war has been hypertimed away.

So ... does Cerdian exist? Does Cerdia? Anyone know?

Captain Marvel -- on the job

Captain Marvel, barely containing that dripping horny monster from a scantily clad girl.

Hanging Ten

Captain Marvel "Boomerangs the Torpedo"?

Now that's a phrase I'm anxious to use myself!

The Big Red Squeeze

The Wisdom of Solomon reminds us that there's no substitute for sweet sweet octopus love.

Monocular Marvel

I have zero doubts about Captain Marvel's ability to handle that giant one-eyed monster.

Barrel Chested

Ah, who can blame the guy?

I'd want a souvenir, too....

Tight End or Wide Receiver?

Cap really does love those torpedoey things, doesn't he?

You know, any one of these illustrations isn't really damning.

It's the pattern, you see...

Winged Death

Is that woman


"Captain Marvel Scores Again!"


The Engine of Doom

The phrase "Riding the Engine of Doom" now has a permanent place in my repertoire of suggestive imagery.

Billy Gets a Piece

Ah, yes, the famed "innocence" of Captain Marvel, seen here getting himself a piece. World's Mightiest Mortal indeed!

Has Captain Marvel ever met Uncle Sam? That, I'd pay to see.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Great Quivering Icebergs!

SuperHero Radio, oops, I mean,


is proud to announce the addition of the soundtrack to the 1968 "Batman the Movie" to its playlists.

Snuggling with Kitana Irenya Titanya Karensa Alisov!
Warm Cocoa with Bruce Wayne!

Flying on Jet Umbrellas!

Skulking in Your Thematically Made-Over Pre-Atomic Submarine!

Sweet sweet love in the waiting arms of Penguin's exploding octopus!