29 August 2008

Friday Night Fights: Ladies Night Round 5 - Cracking Canary

And right after this fight, she jumps Batman's bones. The little minx.

All-Star Batman and Robin vol. 1 by Miller and Lee

On Bahlactus' homeworld, cracking jaws is foreplay.

28 August 2008

The Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day vol. 2 HC (Marvel, 2008)

First of all, it was a little bit confusing to have the second volume collection of retconned Spider-Man also titled "Brand New Day" with a similar looking cover as the first volume. Hey, what can I say? I'm easily confused and when you want to attract my attention when I'm browsing the 'New Arrivals' shelf at the bookshop, you better make a bit of an effort. I'm just saying.

Volume 2 of Spider-Man: Brand New Day has a nice trilogy of issues where Spidey goes up against a trio of Mayan ninjas with Wolverine and then tries to web up a Mayan god with the help of a homeless man (who believes SHIELD is after him). During a blizzard. Unfortunately, it is sandwiched between two mediocre stories by Bob Gale featuring new villain, the drug addicted Freak. I thought it was so mediocre that I dropped it and actually went and did something else in my life. Shocking but true. How difficult is it to finish a 100+ page book, really? The problem is that Freak is not much of a threat. He's a drug addict who stumbled upon Dr. Curt "The Lizard" Connors laboratory while on the run from Spider-Man. Mistaking it for his friend's meth lab, he injected himself with the drugs he found in there and is transformed into, well, a freak. Phil Jimenez nice pencils is not helped here by Gale's ho-hum dialogue. Even Spidey's snappy patter during his fights with Freak seemed a bit off.

Zeb Wells' part of the book however perked me right up. It's old school Spidey here. Humour, snappy talk, mysterious villain and Mayan ninjas. You can never go wrong with ninjas of whatever nationality in a comic book. Ninjas are a guaranteed comic book gold! Pencils by Chris Bachalo is superb as well.

But Bob Gale came back to close the book with one more issue of (yawn!) Freak that ends with a cliffhanger so not unexpected that I didn't care what happened to Freak. Hope he doesn't come back for a long time.

Overall, Brand New Day vol. 2 is a slight disappointment from the first one, saved only by Zeb Wells' Mayan ninjas-fight-Spidey-in-a-blizzard-story.

26 August 2008

23 August 2008

Suparman's Son: Batman!

I bet this kid hates his dad.

Thanks to Abinesh

22 August 2008

By The Way...

Did Whedon write this? It's hard to tell.

Thank you! I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress!

21 August 2008

Hulk: World War Hulk (Marvel, 2008)

What is it: All five issues of the World War Hulk limited series collected in one book.

What is it about?: Hulk returns to Earth and inflicts grievous bodily harm to a lot of Marvel superheroes especially those whom he blames for his forced exile, namely Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange and Iron Man.

Is it any good?: Tastes vary, obviously. Plus, you need to know what the hell Hulk's angry about. Go read the excellent Planet Hulk first. But if you expect nothing from your superhero comics other than mindless face punching and ass kicking then this book was written for you! Plus, if you sided with Captain America's team during Marvel's Civil War then WWH is your wet dream come true. Sure, nothing changes in the end (c'mon, that's a given) but the side that won during the Civil War gets Hulk-smashed so bad that it has to be a reader with no emotions at all who would not shout, "Who's the bitch now, Tony? Huh?" while reading WWH.

Newbie friendly?: I'm gonna go with "NO". This is the main problem with crossovers from Marvel and DC but that's for another thread. If you want to enjoy World War Hulk, I'd recommend reading the aforementioned Planet Hulk first. Also Civil War, but only if you have money to burn and/or a masochist.

But I can't afford Planet Hulk and the rest. Can't you give me a brief recap here instead?: Oh, all right. You see, it turns out that Black Bolt, Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Mr. Fantastic all agreed that the Hulk is a menace and for his and Earth's own good they decided that Hulk should be shot into space. So they tricked Hulk into entering a shuttle and blasted him off the planet. He subsequently landed on the planet Sakaar where he was enslaved, escaped, became a resistance leader and finally became king. He made friends and even had a wife. Made her pregnant too. But the shuttle that brought him to Sakaar exploded and bye-bye pregnant wife (and about a million other inhabitants). Hulk mad. When Hulk mad, Hulk smash. Hulk and friends board new shuttle and fly to Earth.

Who are the talents?: Greg Pak wrote it. He also wrote the Planet Hulk storyline so the whole damn show was his baby. John Romita Jr. handled the pencils with Klaus Janson inking. I'm not a huge fan of JRjr (I don't hate his style, just not a big fan) but he's perfect here. His pencils suit a dark story which World War Hulk surely is.

Anything good came out of this series?: Yes. The Incredible Hulk comic was re-titled Incredible Hercules (but the numbering was not reset to #1). When they heard that, fanboys went "Whu?" as per usual and rolled their eyes even before reading the darn thing. And when they did, they found it to be good. I'll probably review the Herc' book soon.

19 August 2008

This Guy Is Still In Business, How?

So last week, comics blogger Kevin Church posted on his blog an email newsletter from a retailer who actually advised potential customers NOT to buy a particular comic. Well, that set off a wildfire in the comments section with most writing in saying that the retailer went about it the wrong way. Pushing money away from your coffers? Silly, much?

Anyway, the guy wrote another e-newsletter, this time putting down Amazing Spider-Man and
telling his customers to send a message to Marvel by not buying ASM. Ever. Until they make the stories good again.

The mind boggles.

13 August 2008

INVASION! Tie In: Suicide Squad #23 (DC, 1989)

Crazy woman from Apokolips enjoys shooting aliens from the hip:

She even wins in a one-on-one fight with an alien 'walker':

But the best thing about SS#23?
The debut of Oracle!

Seriously, Suicide Squad was a hell of a comic book. When the hell will DC bring out the delayed SHOWCASE edition? In the meantime, check out my
pimpin' of Suicide Squad in two parts.

(And that's it for INVASION! tie-in week. I didn't buy that many DC books back then. If you think this *ahem*review is a bit half-assed, you'd be right! I'm tired and work was hell. Just roll with it. INVASION is coming out in trade format early next month. I recommend it if you want to see early McFarlane or lots of aliens talking trash about Earth but try not to pay retail price. It's not that good.)

11 August 2008

INVASION! Tie In: Doom Patrol (DC, 1988)

And here we go again with yet another quick look at DC's 1988 INVASION! tie-in because the words, "Please, God, make him stop!" mean absolutely nothing to me. This time it's the Doom Patrol before it went all batshit insane when Grant Morrison took over the writing chores.

Paul Kupperberg's 18 issue run on the DP is very forgettable. In fact, his final two issues which dealt with the alien invasion are the most memorable ones in his entire run. He brought back Niles Caulder, the Patrol's leader, and killed off Garguax, the DP's joke of an adversary. I mean seriously, this guy is a threat?

The aliens laughed at him. Who wouldn't? Offended by the treatment from the invasion force, Garguax called for a truce and allied himself with the Doom Patrol. Together with Aquaman, Aqualad, the entire Atlantean army and the Sea Devils, the good guys (and Garguax) won back control of the Arctic. With the alien threat gone, Garguax goes back to threatening the Patrol:

But Niles Caulder has an ace up his sleeve. He personally calls up the President of the United States, if you please, and asks the President if he could borrow the use of one of America's secret 'Star Wars' satellites for a few minutes. He'll give it back, he promised.

With an SDI satellite in his command, Niles Caulder points it towards Garguax's ship and:

Bye-bye, Garguax!

And that's basically it. There was a lot of punching under water and on the ground between the DP and the aliens and Garguax's scantily clad Furies but it's Garguax's ship getting lasered to pieces is what I fondly remember. Man, that guy was annoying.

And with that Paul Kupperberg gave way to Grant Morrison and the rest is history.

09 August 2008

I Want Baroness In My Display Cabinet NOW!

Remember last year when Sideshow Collectibles came out with that statue of Mary Jane seemingly doing Peter's laundry that got everybody's knickers in a twist? (By the way, it was based on an Adam Hughes sketch which depicts Mary Jane discovering Peter's secret identity, not doing his laundry but whatever.....)

Well, I think it would be stupid awesome if Sideshow would make a USD$124.99 statue of this:

No misunderstanding here! The Baroness is definitely washing the Commander's threads. For COBRA!

I'd buy two.

(Domestic Baroness pic from Cosplay.com)

08 August 2008

Friday Night Fights: Ladies Night Round 2: Animal Man #6 (DC, 1988)

Continuing DGR's look at some of the INVASION! tie-ins and since it's Friday, let's combine it with Ladies Night at Bahlactus'!

Animal Man is about to get maced by a practically naked winged lady in thigh high boots and heels. No wonder he's scared shitless.

The cover is a bit misleading though (and as a comic cover, I suppose being misleading is the whole point). Most of the book is about a male Thanagarian artist with a death wish. He wants to die in the name of art so he plants a time bomb that he hopes will destroy the west coast of the United States. No, seriously.

The hawkwoman's job is to run interference in case any heroes are around.

Naked hawkwoman dies when Buddy Baker pulls her wings off, suicide hawkman drops dead after he sets the timer on the bomb and Buddy Baker cries like a little girl because he doesn't know how to switch it off.

Enter the Hawkman as a deus ex machina and saves the day (and the west coast) on the very last page. Read this comic and chances are you'll end up saying the same thing I did when I first read it: "WTF, Grant Morrison?!

06 August 2008

INVASION! Tie In: Justice League International #23 (DC, 1988)

On Monday, we saw how Oberon saved the JLI headquarters from alien midgets during the 1988 INVASION! It was one of the few good tie-ins to the so-so INVASION! mini-series proper (which incidentally must always be referred to in italics and capped with an exclamation point). It was funny, it fleshed out an all too often ignored character and it showed a dwarf smacking down some aliens. Gold!

The next issue of JLI was an INVASION! Aftermath tie-in and it introduced one of my favourite evil guy groups: THE INJUSTICE LEAGUE. The funny one, not the deadly serious one with Agamemno and Luthor.

Led by Major Disaster who wears thigh high pink boots and a hood, the rest of the group consists of Big Sir, Cluemaster, Multi-man, Clock King and the Amazing Bruce. This motley crew discovered an abandoned Khundian spaceship on one of the South Pacific Islands after the alien invasion and decided to use it for their own purpose but they have trouble turning on the engines. Alien technology, you know?

This of course doesn't inspire confidence in the rest of the team:

And when they finally manage to get the darn thing in the air, this had to happen:
And the nascent Injustice League is quickly captured and arrested by the Justice League but the readers loved them so much that Keith Giffen brought them back in a Justice League Annual where they got to fight mutant, flesh eating penguins in the South Pole. That is a comic just waiting to be reviewed here. Some day, I hope.

First, we get to see Oberon in Rambo mode and now the introduction of a fan favourite group of loser villains. So that's another good thing that came out of INVASION! That mini-series wasn't so bad after all, I think.

04 August 2008

INVASION Tie-In: Justice League International #22 (DC, 1988)

DC is planning to release their 1988 mega event INVASION! in trade format later this month so I thought what better time to revisit some of the titles that I bought that tied in with the event. Yeah, that's right, we're going straight into the tie-ins and not even stopping to look at the INVASION! mini-series. Mainly for two reasons: One, I'm sure the other more well-known blogs will be talking the hell out of INVASION! way better than I could, and two, I re-read the series a few weeks back and it did not age well in my opinion. McFarlane art? Passable. Story? Okay. It started off well, I thought, then it veered off into the land of mediocrity and never left. Book 3 was the worse. Every meta human is brought down because of the metagene bomb and they can't find a cure. 80 pages of sick superheroes and supervillains dying in hospital beds while Superman flies around looking for a cure. Exciting! (It's slightly more complicated than that but not by much).

But first I must give some background info to the mini series (which I totally cribbed from Wikipedia): INVASION! sees "the Dominators [putting] together an Alliance to invade Earth and eliminate the threat posed by their unpredictable "metahumans." (Secretly, the Dominators wish to harness this and breed their own army of metahumans, but this goal is kept secret from the rest of the Alliance, and from their own junior cadres.)". Their invasion goes well at first. Australia is theirs, Antarctica is theirs and the aliens are advancing in the South Pacific. The League is dispatched there to hold back the invasion force, leaving Max Lord, Oberon and Booster Gold to hold the fort back at New York. Booster Gold is a bit p.o.'d because he has to pull monitor duty while the other heroes are off fighting aliens. Little did he know that back in Oz, the alien alliance were about to send a group of shape changing Imskians to infiltrate Justice League Headquarters via the captured teleportation tube:

Booster is quickly taken down by 6 inch midgets. His self esteem experiences a downward trend.

With Max none the wiser, Oberon is left all alone to handle the threat:

He finds himself cornered in Blue Beetle's League quarters with nothing but a flash-gun to help him.
It works. Big ass flash gun vs. tiny eyes results in instant knockout. Oberon saves the day. Yay!

But what to do about the prisoners?

"Oberon Unleashed" was just one half of the comic. The other half was about the rest of the League destroying the Khund fleet in the South Pacific. The heroes used a mixture of guile, brute force and a well placed bomb to achieve their mission but it's the Oberon part of the story that I liked more. It was the first time I ever saw Mr. Miracle's assistant kick some ass and of course the only way for Oberon to do that was to give him foes who were smaller than him. Classic issue.

03 August 2008

Out Of Context Sunday: Indiana Jones Wants To See Her Boobs

Indiana Jones: horny old professor. He wants to see her breasts and he wants to see them now!

So she shows them off although she doesn't think much of them. "Carved dirty stones?" Gee, lady, have some pride in them at least.

Indy is flabbergasted. As well he should.

From Indiana Jones Omnibus vol. 1

01 August 2008

Friday Night Fights: Ladies Night Round 1 - G.I. Joe #77 (Marvel, 1988)

Well, this is it. Possibly the final bout of Friday Night Fights ever. Although I hope the mighty Bahlactus will stick around and host more fights at his crib, who am I to stop him if he decides to visit other worlds for more exotic contenders? In the meantime, here's DGR's representative to tonight's "Ladies Night" smackdown: Lady Jaye vs. Zarana.

The story so far: The civil war on Cobra Island had just ended with the army of the new Cobra Commander victorious and Serpentor dead. The Joes, who were ordered to side with Serpentor, now face the embarrassing task of asking for a truce from their enemy while they evacuate their personnel off the island. Zarana, meanwhile, can't help herself:

Oh, it is on, bitch!

Their male colleagues gather round watching the two women duke it out while crimson coloured sound effects hover over their heads.

A draw?? Bah! Still, an all out fight between two under used female characters in the G.I. Joe comic? Thank you, Larry Hama! Too bad Marshall Rogers was pencilling. There's just something wrong with his style. He made them all look short.

Anyway, seven issues later, somebody wrote in to say how disappointed they were at the degrading portrayal of women in comics:

No more girl fights? Bahlactus would not approve!