Saturday, January 07, 2006

Who needs porn when there's JLU?

Oh my-- time is a great healer.

Booster Gold
seems to be moving on from the loss of Blue Beetle (as well as showing us exactly how he got the nickname "Booster").

That Black Condor! What a man! As we've seen, again and again and again and again and again and again, what Black Condor wants, Black Condor gets.

And Booster Gold is a 6'5", 220, former football star and part-time rent boy with pretty teeth and wavy blond hair. Six foot five. Be careful what you wish for, BC! Looks like Booster Gold might be almost too much for you too handle.

Heh heh ...almost! I mean, please.... this is the Black Condor we're talking about! He's been handling situations like this since before the writer who created Booster Gold was born.

And so, Blue and Gold is succeeded by Black and Gold. Although judging from the dialog, there's also a touch of "black and blue" (tee-hee!).

Oh, Booster, who knew you had it in you? Black Condor certainly knew when he did (*silver age chuckle*)! Fortunately, his cape is double sheathed for his protection...

The sad part is, of course, the poor Ray. "I ... I could do that, Condor. You never ask. All you'd have to do is ask... ." Poor passive-aggressive Ray; he just doesn't get it. Ever.

It's made all the more bitter by the exhibitionism of two of comics most spotlight-loving heroes. "Hi! Everyone look at us! In mid-air even!" Ray doesn't want to see it, but can't stop watching. Comic books can be SO tragic!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Inventing the T-Sphere

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Mister Terrific (both of them)? Anybody whose origin is "Attempted Suicide Because I'm Too Cool to Live" is alright by me, jack.

Like a lot of more intellectual heroes, Michael "Mr. Terrific" Holt doesn't translate perfectly to a Heroclix. Oh, his dials are accurate and all, but something is missing. What is it? Oh, yes. T-Spheres.

Well -- here they are.

Consistent with their use in the comic books, the T Spheres have no attack capabilities. Primarily they augment the defense of Mr. Terrific and his allies. As Mr. Terrific uses the spheres to "mask his presence", each has Stealth and Smoke Cloud to protect themselves and nearby allies. Similarly, the JSA Team Ability allows them to share their defense value with adjacent JSAers, so Michael can help protect his colleagues (or, using the Veteran T-Sphere's "Defend", he can protect non-JSAers, too).

Each has "Battle Fury". This is not because they are literally angry, of course! Battle Fury renders a figure immune to Mind Control, and, face it, machines need to be immune to Mind Control. Each is allowed to use flight but not to carry anyone. T-Spheres can only be used when Mr. Terrific is in play, and they are removed from the board if he is kayoed.

The "Rookie T-Sphere", with all these basics, costs 4 points. The 7-point Experienced T-Sphere adds the specialty of "Supersenses" making it harder to hit. The 10-point Veteran gives that up for Defend, potentially "taking one for the team". But while it lasts it has the added advantage of the Police Team Ability, which augments the attack of adjacent allies. A combination of several T-spheres, used effectively, can do wonders to improve any JSA team.

Enjoy and remember -- Play Fair!

The Absorbascon versus the Unscrupulous Art Dealers

Kids today! They don't even know the Joker used to have his own series. More on that little DC Implosion experiment some other time ... .

In the classically bizarre (but still not very good) Joker #5, the Joker battles the Royal Flush Gang (which turned out better for the RFG than their most recent meeting with Mr. J, in Infinite Crisis). The plot hinges on the practice by unscrupulous art dealers of quartering large masterpieces and selling them as four separate paintings to increase their profit.

Well, somebody at DC must have read that comic and used the idea to create the four successive covers that introduced the new members of the Detroit Justice League, Vibe, Vixen, Steel, and Gypsy (JLA 233-236).

Thanks to the generosity of one of the Absorbascommenters, the glorious Captain Infinity, I now own the entire run of the Detroit Leaguers. More on that little post-Implosion pre-Crisis experiment some other time ... .

And that's what makes this NEW gift even more special to a Vibe-fan like me. Thanks to the generosity of brainy and beauteous Amy Who Is Not A Were-Lesbian, I now also own the original masterpiece that unscrupulous art editors quartered to make these covers.

Yup. The Justice League of Detroit POSTER.

I never knew there was such a thing, but it makes sense. It must have been one of those promotional posters the companies send to comic book stores. But what kind of madman would SELL such a thing? The mind boggles. I'm having my framed to hang on my wall, as the sole piece of comic book related art allowed in my entire house. In fact, I think I've found a company that will print the image on bedsheets....

My Favorites This Week

There is so very much good to talk about in this week's comics! Fooey on those who are "bored" with comics! Go collect stamps, and see how much character development you find there.

But first, my favorites this week...

People I want to see in the GCPD
Liza Warner, a.k.a. Lady Cop. Kanigher; of course. How could I not have known?

Quote from Someone Else's Blog:
"I love comics and have no life. That would normally be a no brainer combo but with all the comics bloggers who do, I feel I have to point it out."

Thing I thought I wouldn't live to see
Detective Chimp chatting with Rex the friggin' Wonder Dog. Didio must be St. Peter, 'cuz he's let me into heaven.

Guest Star
The kid whom the Teen Titans rescue. I almost fell out of my chair. My head nearly exploded. I called Devon immediately, before even finishing the book. How could I not have known?

Inside Joke
Well, there were quite a few to choose from, but the winner is a couple of cayoots joking about having Jonah Hex stuffed after they kill him. Oh, the comic book irony.

Aquaman is marvelously soul-crushing. Wonderful use of flashbacks. And in that last panel, Aquaman does something he's needed to do for a long time... .

Sleeper Issue
I wasn't going to pick up the Infinite Crisis Special:Day of Vengeance. I figured it would just be some rehash of DOV. Oh my. I was wrong, apparently! The death of somebody really really important, the Ghost Patrol, the aforementioned Rex, Freedom Beast's pet peeves, the Janissary (I loved her), the final fate of Billy Batson and the Spectre, a cameo by Amethyst Princess of Gemworld, promise of relief from the tedium of the current Hawk and Dove, Dr. Occult throwing a high school hissy fit, and further insight into why Blue Devil wears leather pants and a white tanktop and says "eeek".

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In Praise of Hal Jordan

So, why is Hal Jordan better (in many ways) than other Green Lanterns?

He's Special Forces.

I was talking to an acquaintance (hi, Phillip!) who used to be peripherally involved in special forces. He made the case that, while most of the corps are good soldiers, Hal is more. Hal is a Special Forces guy.

The argument made sense to me. Like a Special Forces member, Hal can turn the "GL/soldier" persona off and on in a split second. In fact, he was like that in his earliest appearances and as Geoff Johns writes him. Similarly, while other soldiers are overly dependent on regulation, orders, and their weapons, Hal's an out-of-the-box thinker. Face it, Hal's as likely to hit you in the face as use his ring. He caught me off guard with the tactic of using the Shark against Gremlins in his last issue!

You want other evidence of independent and lateral thinking? Hey, it was Hal who colored outside the lines and figured out he could use his ring to take over Oa. Anyone of the GLs could have; but only Hal thought of it. People think what Hal did as Parallax was out of character. In some ways, it was precisely IN character. Hal is the Coriolanus of the Corps, which makes Sinesto, the other Corps "free-thinker", a perfect foil for Hal.

  • John Stewart? Willful, but too weapon-dependent, too rigid a thinker. That's what led to the Unfortunate Incident on Xanshi. Engineers color between the lines.
  • Guy Gardner? Has too much trouble staying in between the lines. Can't turn his GL persona on and off. An attack dog is not a police dog.
  • Kyle Rayner? A bit too focused on the light show, I think, to use his ring too efficiently. And totally unable to balance his superhero life with his personal life, something Hal did almost casually.

Since Hal likes boxing (or, at least, the gloves) so much, look at it this way....

  • John Stewart is the thinking man's efficient boxer. He's not going to do anything his opponent doesn't expect; he plans on winning by simply being better than you are.
  • Guy Gardner is the palooka. Big, strong boxer with long arms who doesn't bother with finesse because he'd rather just knock your block off.
  • Kyle Rayner is the dancing, weaving, bobbing boxer. He'll distract you with fancy footwork and creative attacks, then take advantage of your dizziness to knock you out.

Hal? All of the above, from one moment to the next. That's why people think he's better.

A Gift for Green Lanterns

As part of my new leaf policy, I wanted to do something nice for the Green Lantern crowd, particularly after being inspired by this eye-popping post!

Since I've been disappointed that the new Heroclix object pogs are "generic" rather than applying to specific characters, I whipped up something for the Heroclixers out there who like Green Lanterns:
If you play Heroclix, you'll get the idea behind these pogs pretty quickly; if not, you probably don't care anyway.

  • Note that the "Stealth" allows you to "hide" the power battery in some piece of furniture or terrain (like a test pilot's locker!).
  • The "Support" can be used only on Green Lanterns.
  • If a GL carries a lantern, he can't carry anyone or anything else.
  • Anyone can pick up and carry a Power Battery.
  • Power Batteries take action tokens when they attempt to recharge a GL through "Support".
  • Power Batteries are immune to Perplex.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fantastic Four

I'm going to talk about the Fantastic Four! Hey, I did say I was turning over a new leaf.

I watched the Fantastic Four movie last night. I didn't like it.

I loved it.

The four seemed like characters instead of caricatures. I understood who they were and why they worked well together personally and power-wise. Sue and Johnny Storm seemed like actual people (and siblings) rather than just "team filler"; Ben Grimm was enormously winning. And watching Reed grow from Generic Genius to Nascent Leader was fun (watching Ioan Gruffud snore would be fun).

The team's origin made much more sense to me, as did Von Doom's (including a sensible reason for his enmity toward Reed Richards). And Doom wasn't forced into the ridiculous Republic Villain speech he uses in the comics: "Doom requires ... table salt! Table salt ... and the destruction of the Accursed Richards!!!" Yeesh, is it any wonder his DC counterpart is Dr. Domino?

While I was happy that Doom didn't sound preposterous, he had the Buffy-style snark-chat ("ooh, I'm so casual about evil, I'm cool!") that annoys me so much in current media. Who wrote his lines? Peter David? Judd Winick?

The special effects were appropriate. Although I was VERY disturbed to see that The Thing has four fingers on each hand. Why on earth would that be? It made him look like a cartoon, not a "man or monster".

The movie did a good job of "smoothing" over the rough edges of the legend. You know, why they have awkward codenames, silly "battle cries", and the practical advantage of welcoming their celebrity status. Each of the four has a clear relationship with each of the others, and the film was pretty economical and fairly subtle (well, Hollywood subtle) about showing it.

Sorry to ask what may sound like a stupid question but... is the comic book like this?

If so, I might like it.

Turning Over a New Sword

I'm turning over a new leaf here at the Absorbascon as part of my New Year's Resolutions.

Yup, I have a whole new way of looking at things! This coming week or so you'll hear me praise Hal Jordan, criticize Vibe, and try to talk about the Flash and remain awake while doing so.

Let me start by doing a 180 degree turnabout and dramatically (is there any other way?) embracing the "Sword of Atlantis thing". We here at the Absorbascon are going to go with this, nay, RUN with it.

And, so trying to get into the swing of things, we present a one-of-kind art-homage by one of the Absorbascon's favorite people, "Blockade Boy" (a.k.a. the artist formerly known as Jeremy Rizza)...

Scipio: Sword of the Absorbascon
Jeremy (thanks, pal!) actually got it to look like me, eyebags and all. I think my favorite part is the little Vibe outfit on my dog. Gotta get him one of those.

I know what you're asking:
how can I get this miraculous vision
on my own apparel and decor?

Well, we at the Absorbascon have anticipated your desires! Yes, there are now OODLES of "Scipio: Sword of the Absorbascon" merchandise available for you at the Absorbascon Shoppe! Shirts, posters, pillows, lightswitch covers --- do what I'm doing, and make your entire house over in "Sword of the Absorbascon" chic.

Oh, and since it is Haikuesday, feel free to compose a haiku on the horror/wonder that is the "Sword of the Absorbascon" (or, for that matter, the Sword of ... well, anything).

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Can Superman Dance?

In a word... no.

"Wha -- what?," the Superman fans are sputtering. "But ... he's Superman! He has superventriloquism and super kidney function and he can see you coming for miles with those super-peepers of his! He must be able to not only dance, but super-dance."

Dream on, fanboy. Superman's a shufflefoot.

You know, those people --guys, mostly, particularly big luggish cornfed Midwestern farmboys -- whose attempts at dancing amount to shuffling their feet across the floor with only occasional accident correspondence with the music, desperate to maintain full sole-to-floor contact with both shoes at all times as if failure to do so would cause them to fall to the dancefloor in a hopeless tangle and flop helplessly like a walleye in a rocky motorboat, and who smash their partner as close as possible so that no one can see their feet.

Poor Lois has to dance with Clark a lot. You know, so some gangster can come along and embarrass her by shoving a grapefruit in Clark's face.

Lois feigns disgust as Clark picks the rinds out of his nostrils, but secretly she's relieved just to get off the dance floor, thinking, "googly-moogly, it's like dancing with a shopping cart with a bad wheel."

At one point, it got so bad, Lois was driven to Defensive Dancing. "Ha!" she aspirated. "I'll wear a dress made entirely out of an exceedingly thorny, yet beautifully blooming rosebush! Delicate Clark won't be able to dance with me without painfully stabbing himself all over."

As always, the joke's on Lois. Her secretly indestructible date doesn't notice the thorns and merely holds her more closely so as to supersmell their fragance, pressing the thorns deep into Lois's lovely gams, which leave a trail of seeping blood as they shufflefoot across the dancefloor.

Desperate to escape his diamond-vise grip, she considers chewing off her arms but instead opts for repeated pleas to the writer through the Fourth Wall; "the song has ended. NO, I'M TELLING YOU, HAVE THE SONG END ... NOW, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!"

Further evidence? In the panel below, unabashedly stolen from my friends at the Comic Treadmill, we see Clark Kent as the (*snort*) Sultan of Song , spinning platters as a latenight DJ.

What a goober. Anyway, everyone knows DJs can't dance. It's why they become DJs. Case closed, people.

Let's try a little mental exercise. Picture if you can, George Reeves dancing or Christopher Reeve dancing (yes, I mean BEFORE, wiseguy). Not, pretty, is it?

Tom Welling's not much better. I mean, sure he's pretty, but on Smallville he only ever dances an aimless shufflefoot with Curiously Asian Lana Lang and the few times he has to go to some real club you never see him dance. He's too busy being concerned. Or sincere. Or supportive. Or psycho. Or something else traumatic.

And can you picture Brandon Routh shaking his groove thang to the pounding beat at some stylish polysexual discoteque in a tight black tanktop or his shirt already off with his arms waving wildly above his head while he gyrates his hips into the nearest other dancer, gender unspecified?

Hm. Okay, that one is fairly easy to picture, I guess. In fact, it's hard not to picture. IN FACT, I think I still have the video file somewhere on my computer... .

But that's just Clark Kent, you say. What about SUPERMAN? Surely he can do something more than a meandering shufflefoot dance!

Shudder. If he can, you don't want him to.

I really, really, really, did not want to have to show you that, people. But some of you just don't trust me. And, so, because of those people, you had to endure Superman strutting the Krypton Crawl.

Let's-- just agree not to discuss this matter anymore. Suffice it to say, "no, Superman can't dance."