30 July 2007

In case you are dangling upside down...

What I want to know is...what kind of super-starch does Alicia use on her skirt?

Panel from Fantastic Four #255. Scan from Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne vol. 3

29 July 2007

Judge Dredd: Judge Death Lives, Part 2

Continuing the Judge Death Lives saga, we pick up the story with Dredd on the case. I love the bikes here, the Lawmaster. They're what Pancho from CHiPs wishes he had if the 'Pimp My Ride' show existed in the '80s. These things have infra-red guided rocket launchers, machine guns, lasers and could probably pick up a porn channel or two on the computer. These bikes are that good.

Meanwhile, Judge Death has fully occupied the body of the man who freed him from his prison:

Death has his body, he has his helmet, his creepy like hell Judge's uniform and he has a disco ball. Let's PARTA-AYY! The people in that guy's building are so dead.

The Dark Judges go all Charles Manson's Family on the party goers. Don't you just hate gatecrashers?

The reason Dredd and the other Judges aren't going in, kicking butt and taking names is because Death has put up a shield around the apartment block. Unfortunately, the people inside don't know that:

Dredd knows what's gonna happen. That's why he's not doing that wave-your-arms-in-a-futile-attempt-to-stop-the-people-from-running-into-the-shield manoeuvre.


By the way, Judge Anderson (as drawn by Brian Bolland) is HOT.

Thanks to her psychic abilities, she figures out where the Dark Judges are.

Those powers of hers must be hell on her love life. You can't lie to her. She always knows.

"Did you pee in the shower again, honey?"



Anyway, with the help of her psychic juju she and Dredd manage to break through the shield that surrounds the building and go hunt fot the bad guys. Judge Fire gets whupped first but not being alive to begin with, he escapes easily. Judge Fear takes his turn to kill Dredd:

Exactly how frickin' cool is Judge Dredd, anyway? Nothing scares him. He is the LAW!

Realising they're no match for a psychic and a walking embodiment of the Law, the Dark Judges teleport to their home dimension. Dredd and Anderson decide they must follow them there or otherwise, Death and his brothers are just gonna come back again. So, Welcome to DEADWORLD!

The restless spirits of the people the Dark Judges have killed (and they've killed everyone on their world) are urging Anderson to seek vengeance on their behalf. For some reason, they're all bald. Anyway, Judge Fire quickly puts Dredd out of the fight with a fiery trident through the shoulder:

Judge Anderson gives in to the dead and decides to screw with the Dark Judges by using the restless souls' desire for revenge to take Death and his buddies down:

So basically, the demons are defeated by ghosts.

Again, Anderson looks hot. She was released from a coma where a psycho demon was sharing her mind, volunteered for a suicide mission, travelled to another world, got mind-raped by billions of dead people who want to destroy the demon judges that killed them, all on the same day...and she still looks a million bucks. Dredd as usual is non-plussed. He gazed into the face of Fear and had a trident through his shoulder blades and all he has to say is, "Eh. Time for a holiday, I think".

The Judge Death Lives storyline is actually a very compact story written by T.B. Grover (one of many pseudoyms of the legendary John Wagner), with incredible pacing and gorgeous art by Brian Bolland. It's short, sweet and sharp. You don't need to know who these people are and you can still enjoy the story. That's a sign of good story telling.

Judge Dredd stories are available in paperback collections and can be found at Amazon UK. I strongly recommend them. There are eight collections so far. I'm not sure yet if this particular story has been collected and if it hasn't, that is a crime that should be remedied sharpish

Retrospective edit (21/03/09): This story has indeed been collected in Judge Dredd Collected Case Files 05 and Anderson's first battle with Judge Death is collected in Judge Dredd Collected Case Files 03.

Judge Dredd: Judge Death Lives (2000 AD, #225-228)

I love me some Judge Dredd. The star of Britain's anthology comic, 2000 AD, and his own magazine, Judge Joe Dredd is a lawman many people in Texas feel they should have. Police, jury, judge and occasionally, executioner, Dredd is one of the many Judges who patrol a futuristic city: Mega City One, made up of most of the United States' eastern seaboard in a futuristic, post-nuclear war Earth. Most of the population is unemployed, mutants are exiled to the now desert midwest, the city's mayor is an ape and Dredd's own brother tried to kill him once. Right, that's all you need to know about Dredd if you don't know about him already.

Now, issues (or progs, as they like to call it) 225 to 228 of this weekly magazine features the return one of Dredd's scariest enemy: Judge Death. He's the anti-Dredd. He doesn't bother arresting people. He just kills them. All crime are committed by the living, Death argues, therefore life itself is guilty and should be punished. Sentence is death. Yup, makes sense to me. But let's see where it all started.......

That's Judge Anderson of the Psi-Division. She's psychic and Judge Death is trapped in her mind in their last encounter. Someone, maybe Dredd...I haven't read that particular story yet, so sue me...trapped her in BOING, a kind of Jello-like "miracle plastic". She can't get out, ever, lest Judge Death be allowed to escape. Which of course what will happen here otherwise, no story.

And here's the schmuck who's gonna cut through the BOING and release him:

I like what the tour guide Judge is saying there. He's like, "Oh, here's the uniform of the Judge who invented the thing that can disintegrate your flesh. Poor devil. Moving on....."

Anyway, the guy cuts through the BOING:

It's a disembodied head with a visor and teeth. Kinda reminds you of this, doesn't it?:

Did the 2000 AD guys copy the look from Lord of the Rings? Perish the thought. No one ever read Tolkien's books before 2002, anyway.

Judge Death hijacks the body of the man who helped free him and orders him to meet up with some of his (Death's) friends back at the man's apartment. Now we understand why the man did what he did. He was forced by Death's pals to go and free their leader. And what kind of pals does someone like Judge Death keeps? Probably not the kind you'll take home to your mother to meet.

"We lied!" Well, duh...

Smiling guy on the left is Judge Fear, fiery dude is Judge Fire and last but not least, Judge Mortis on drums. The Dark Judges, folks. Buy their t-shirts or they'll kill you.

Click here for Part 2.

28 July 2007

So what the heck just happened?

Sorry for the long silence. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you get bumped in the face with it. I have no idea what that means. What I'm saying is I apologise for the recent lack of posts vis-a-vis the G.I. JOE week. But hey, you got three days of Joe lovin'. Better than nothing, I suppose.

I'll be back on the blog on Monday, hopefully. Thanks for your patience...all three of you who are reading this.

25 July 2007

Superman Is Cruel To Animals

G.I JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO week is taking a break today. No reason, I'm just taking a break from the Joes. It's just for one day. It's not like I'm getting paid to do this thing. Let's look at how Superman treats animals instead....

Awww, the poor kitty. Look at Leo the Lion's face there. You can feel his pain. You know what he's thinking? He's thinking, "But Superman! Why?...." as his last breath is choked out of his larynx. And what's Superman planning to do with his right hand there? A super-karate chop? Have you no pity, sir? Haven't you?

Aw, Superman! No, please no! Mama Bear was just trying to protect her cubs. It's natural. What's with the choke hold? It's that stupid bint you should be choking. Is that Lois? What was she thinking going around petting bear cubs?

Again with the choke hold. And now you're trying to de-fang the tiger as well. Nice....NOT! Dude, just super tickle the sabretooth or something.

All your base are belong to us! You tell him, Supergirl. Me love you long time. And head-butt him good, Super-Horse! Mercy is for the weak. That'll show him. What a dick.

24 July 2007


Day Three of G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO week and today we're gonna take a look at issue 22 of the Joes spin-off book, G.I. JOE SPECIAL MISSIONS. (Day 1 is here, Day 2 is here)

The "Special Missions" series focused less on COBRA and more on terrorists-of-the-month type of stories. The scenarios are much more real-world stuff than what was featured in the main G.I JOE book. Maybe that's why it was cancelled after only 28 issues. Yet another book I liked that ended prematurely. Oh well....

In this issue, a trio of terrorists have taken a nice family hostage. We only see two of them here. The third terrorist (that's him on the cover) is upstairs terrorising the kid.

Creepy looking fellow, isn't he, this Laszlo? All the while, the Joes assigned to this hostage rescue are outside staking out the house in a van. (as usual, left-click and drag mouse to enlarge pictures. Click, damn you, click!)

From left to right: Lady Jaye, Hit & Run and Shockwave. With Chuckles driving the van casually.

Back at the rendezvous point, we get some much needed exposition from Saxon, the F.B.I. man:

Damn, those baddies are cold hearted. Go get 'em, Joes! No mercy! Cobra-Kai! Sweep the leg! Yes, Sensei!

So everyone gets into position - Shockwave:

Hit & Run:

He's so excited, he's making motor boat noises. Lady Jaye gets to go point and pretends to be a makeup salesperson from "Afton".

Meanwhile, we get one big clue here from a neighbour, just to heighten the tension:

A RICTUS, Agent Saxon! Look it up!

Okay, I'm not gonna insult your intelligence. You know something's fishy here, right?

And you'd be right. Smiling Mary is one of the terrorists! They knew they were being watched so they forced the real occupants to behave like the bad guys while they sit down and look worried and blonde. Hey, waitaminute....that means creepy looking guy is....

Shockwave moves in and shoots dead the terrorist who's guarding the nice couple's son:

Chuckles joins in as well:

In the boy's room, Shockwave makes a startling discovery:

Rictus? That photo? The creepy looking guy is actually the hostage? Aww, shit!

Aww, shit part II: Hitting the fan.

Fortunately, Hit & Run makes the right choice and shoots the nice looking guy instead (I call him "Joseph"). But his blonde girlfriend, Mary, attempts to escape with the kid in tow. But is she in for a big surprise:

Rictus guy Laszlo was a sniper instructor for the Marines! Of all the houses, Mary, you picked the one with a sharpshooter in it. She gets a facelift and the Bronsky's nightmare is over. Yo, Joe! The twist in this story makes it one of my favourite G.I. Joe Special Missions issue. There's a moral here, kids: Just because someone looks like the Joker's poor cousin doesn't mean he can't pull some cool shit....like blowing off the face of a beautiful yet completely psychotic blonde terrorist.

23 July 2007

G.I. JOE Yearbook #3

Continuing the G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO week (Part 1 is here), I have for your perusal probably the greatest comics annual EVAH! It's the third G.I. JOE Yearbook and the main story has lots of ninjas running around cutting each other to pieces. Oh, and you get to see the Baroness in her undies. I told you it's gonna be great, didn't I? Written by, who else, Larry Hama and pencilled by my favourite JOE penciller, Ron Wagner, the story is called, "Hush Job" and it's a silent issue. That's right, no words.

A little story background: Snake Eyes (that's the dude in the all-black getup strapped to the torture thingy) was captured while on a mission in Sierra Gordo (G.I. JOE #55). He's a damn good ninja but even ninjas have off days. Besides, it leads to this damn good story in the yearbook so shut yo mouth and stop asking those logical-but-gets-between-a-good-story kind of questions. Just enjoy the ride, okay? Here we go.....

The story opens with a COBRA helicopter approaching the COBRA headquarters in downtown New York City. Yes, COBRA is a legitimate nation with embassies and lawyers and stuff. It's all very complicated but basically they blackmailed the USA into recognising them in exchange for not launching any ICBMs into Washington D.C. from COBRA Island.

It's Dr. Mindbender and Baroness in the passenger seats. And bringing up the rear is Snake Eyes, trussed up like a sacrifice in a ritual.

Unbeknownst to them, Scarlett and Slipstream were in the Skystriker taking a peek at the embassy. Now that Scarlett knows where Snake Eyes is.....

.....she seeks help from renegade COBRA ninja and Snake Eyes' old buddy, Storm Shadow, who has been bunking out in the wilds with Timber, the Timberwolf (yes, I know, I know but that's the animal's name. True story, swear to God).

Yup. He's pissed off. COBRA pissed off a ninja. Hoo-boy.

Meanwhile, back at COBRA Embassy:

Snake Eyes is held in Dr. Mindbender's Brainwave Scanner. It's a device that pries open your mind and digs out any and all secrets that you may have hidden. It also doubles as a nifty torture device. According to the G.I. JOE: Order of Battle #3, Dr. Mindbender was a dentist before he joined COBRA. Makes sense now, doesn't it?

And check out the Baroness:

She's enjoying the torture session, the sly minx. I know she's one of the bad guys and probably a psycho but I can't help but feel attracted towards her. Must be the glasses. Has to be glasses. I'm a sucker for women wearing glasses. I'm also a sucker for women wearing dark blue skin tight catsuits with a cobra sigil on the chest. *Grrrroowwll* I'm willing to be the mongoose to her cobra. Oh, wait. Mongoose kill cobras, don't they? Damn.

Storm Shadow, meanwhile, has arrived at a subterranean entrance of COBRA Embassy

I know your organisation is supposed to be legit and all that but must you paste your COBRA sigil on everything that belongs to you? Even manhole covers? It kinda helps the enemy, you know?

Okay, I take it back. When you have scuba divers patrolling your sewers, I guess you want tresspassers to come through your underground back door. Makes paying those divers seem worthwhile, I guess. Too bad this tresspasser is one bad mofo.

Scarlett, however, doesn't have the necessary ninja magic and is identified and caught easily while trying to sneak in disguised as a cleaner.


Holy Crap in a hole, she has a wolf in that vacuum cleaner bin!

But back to Storm Shadow:

First, COBRA employs scuba divers to swim around in their sewers. Now we find they have ninjas hanging upside down like frickin' BATS in the embassy's boiler room! This is it. NINJA CLASH! I'll shut up now while you savour the panels below.

It's not over yet. Here's more ninja vs. ninja:

Burn, bad ninjas, burn!

Dr. Mindbender is unaware of all this. He's too busy being a mad ex-dentist.

"Brain Block in Effect". I have no idea what that means but it sounds nasty.
Brain blocking by Snake Eyes is so powerful, it smashes the monitors. Dr. Mindbender gets caught in shrapnel attack.

Snake Eyes gets a COBRA man-pile. Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?
Yay! Storm Shadow to the rescue.

If this story had dialogue written for it, the most appropriate words that should appear from the COBRA troopers' mouths are "Shit, the ninja's armed".

But then, the red clad ninjas smash through the glass windows. I'm not sure if they were the same ninjas that we all thought got burned by Storm Shadow in the boiler room. If they were the same ninjas....damn! What are they? Zombie, mutant, fire retardant ninjas??
But Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes are either too smart or too tired to mess with these guys. They perform a nice circus double act and loop-de-loop over the red ninjas and head for the exit.
And give the ninjas a nice surprise:
As Bruce Willis would have said in that movie with all those explosions, "Yippe-Ka-Yay, mother$*^%@!"
Just when you thought it was time to catch your breath and go home, a whole batallion of COBRA troopers block the main doors. This is it, guys. The ninjas' last stand. They go down, they go down fighting. But the Baroness has them at point blank range. The ninja brothers will probably die like a couple of punks, now. AARRGH! So close.
Well, look who decided to wake up and investigate. It's the good doctor himself:

The Baroness all tied up and ready to go. How did one wolf and Scarlett manage to overpower four troopers and one sexy psycho we may never know. Wait! If this is the Baroness, then who....
Well, of course. Who else could it be. The ninjas leave the embassy, reunited at last with their red-headed colleague dressed in a tight catsuit and a timberwolf in downtown NY.
Told you it was gonna be a wild ride, didn't I?