Happy Halloween! (post unrelated)

Some days I really find it hard to say anything conclusive about a comic book. It can be for various reasons; it can be because I'm really tired; it may be because the comic was full of explosions but no meaning to 'em, or I might just feel really lazy.

I'm sorry, but -- this is one of those days.

Superman #681

by John Robinson and Renato Guedes

The meat of "New Krypton" gets underway here with the second part: Superman takes a Kryptonian delegation to meet the President at Metropolis. Apparently, the President in DC is still Mr. Bush as well. All the more pity.

There's this other super, who's the "Guardian of Metropolis," and I have no idea who he is, but I understood enough, because the cliffhanger is that Doomsday is up in Metropolis now.

Waiting for something meaningful to happen, but I think we can all agree on a favorite scene.

(EDIT: I purchased the rest of the issues at a sale
Part 1!
Part 2!
Part 4/5!
Part 6/7!
Part 8/9!
Part 10!)

Bloodrayne: Tokyo Rogue #3
by Troy Wall and Jake Bilbao

There are some pretty awesome fight scenes here, but nothing of too much substance. A highlight for me here is that Rayne becomes even more goth when she possesses the blade of the immortals deal-y. That was pretty awesome.

I'm gonna admit that the Bloodrayne titles are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Who wouldn't wanna read about a dhampir who dresses up in leather and beats up neo-nazi vampires with her pop-out blades and guns?
Fueled by blood?

Anyways, it is what it is, and Bloodrayne is fun vampire action with the occasional occult reference here and there. You can take it or you can leave it, but it's certainly not for everyone.

Ultimate Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man Annuals #3 and #35

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3
by Brian Bendis and David LaFuente

You know, this issue wasn't that bad. I just wish it were, well, better. It begins with Mary Jane thinking of going "all the way" with Peter, who says he wants to wait. Cue awkwardness.

Eh, after the main plot, they figure it out, kiss and make up. It's kind of ambiguous at the end what "make up" really means, but. . .

There wasn't much meat in this annual, but an interesting part here is that Mary Jane gets embarrassed after Peter says "Let's wait." She worries that she just repelled Peter away with the notion, but later on Peter says he loves her, and would be willing to wait the world for her. This is why I picked up the comic. This is what I wanted to see.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #35
by Marc Guggenheim and Mike McKone

The official numbering for this annual is "#1," but we all know that's a lie, so I'm putting up the alternate numbering from the cover: #35.

Deep breath. Okay. This is gonna be tough. We were all led to believe that, after One More Day, the emerging heroine Jackpot sounded an awful lot like Mary Jane Watson. How could we not, after all; MJ's very first words to Peter were--

But then, reading this comic, that's all misdirection and bunk. The TRUE origin and identity of Jackpot is pretty convoluted and quite distasteful. If I were more cynical, I'd say it's Marvel's attempt to get us to just forget about this whole Jackpot deal, but, well, screw 'em, here it is: it all begins with a little lady called
  • Sarah Ehret. She went through all the training, she took part in the Initiative, and she was officially registered to become a full-fledged superhero.
  • Except she changed her mind last minute, so she "gave" her position to one Alana Jobson. This meant Alana had the right to wear Sarah's costume, and while in costume, Alana's "secret identity" would be Sarah Ehret.
  • Still with me? As it turned out, Alana didn't have any training, and she didn't take part in the Initiative, so she -sigh- shoots herself up with steroids and growth hormones for superpowers.
  • This gets into some bad trouble, when the new super-villain, Blindside comes in. He temporarily blinds people by injecting a neurotoxin in them, and when he gets Jackpot -- her heart goes into myocardial infarction: a heart attack.
  • Spidey pins the blame of Alana's death on Sarah, since Sarah unrightfully gave her the license to be a superhero. We get a cliffhanger with Sarah clutching Jackpot's costume.
This was better than Ultimate Annual in that it actually went through some real plot progression: someone dies, and we get the hint of someone else taking the mantle. This is worse in that, Mary Jane doesn't appear at all! Apparently, Marvel's gonna just keep yanking my chain about Peter and MJ, and I'm gonna keep paying 'em like a sucker.

But was it told well? It was told fine, but not well enough for me to recommend it.

Cover to Cover: It is critical you pay attention at this time!

It is so annoying how people keep pushing the election here at campus. You can't really walk anywhere without someone asking you, "Are you registered to vote? Are you registered to vote?" It's actually pretty funny, because after you say yes, they just turn away from you without saying anything!

And then there are actually people who organize dinners, for the sole purpose of election-pushing! There was a barbecue back when it was still warm, and there are assorted booths selling food now!
The election is so ubiquitous; no matter how far I ran, or how long, I couldn't get away from it!

That said, you probably wanna get to reviewing comic books now. So do I!

Nova #18

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Wellinton Alves

I told you about how hideous the cover is, right?

The proportions in his costume aren't right, and what kind of face is that for Richard Rider, the man that saved the universe from Annihilus? Ugh, everything about the cover is just so. . . dirty, and ugly.

But --fortunately-- I can't say the same for the interior! The comic played out like a humongous action movie, with explosions and surprise appearances (and reappearances), and loud men yelling, and even more explosions.

Amidst the Skrulls' siege on Project PEGASUS, Nova's sentient computer buddy - the Xandarian Worldmind - is back! He is so bad-ass that he helps dispatch the assault. It was so good to see Worldmind kickin' butt!

At the end of the comic, we find out that Richard Rider isn't the last Nova anymore -- we see more Nova corps. Centurions! This is a nice status quo shake-up, but it could also lead to some inter-meshing with DC's Green Lantern Corps. How original can Abnett and Lanning make the Nova Corps. that they're distinct enough from the GL Corps? Who can say, but hey: the Worldmind is back!

Worldmind. . . it's kind of hard to admit this but, well, I feel like I need to say it to you, except, um, I need to say it--
-- in song:

Windy City Comicon

Going to Wizard World Chicago, a lot of artists and writers get a little frustrated, because, well, they never get to see Chicago. The con. actually takes place in Rosemont, which is a whopping 20 miles north-northwest of the Windy City!

So some really smart guys started working on the dilemma, and they got a con. started in Lincoln Park, which is situated just 4 miles north of Chicago's downtown last week. Isn't that awesome?

And for all of you Wondering Wilhelminas, that is how I discovered Darktower Comics.

This con was a lot smaller, and only really took up one space instead of WWC's multiple spaces.This led to less events that I could take pictures of, which was a bummer. There was a different feel too, because retailers try harder at advertising themselves. I got so many business cards!

This also means no swanky slideshow, which, eh, probably disappoints only me.

Unfortunately, small con also = small swag, but admission price was only 5 bucks compared to Wizard World's. . . whatwasit. . . 25 bucks a day! Can you believe it!

The con wasn't as exciting as Wizard World (one person cosplayed, as opposed to Wizard's costume contest), but it was rather more about interacting with people.

That's what cons should be about I guess.

This would be a nice place to end the post, but I just wanna take the time to lament the fact that I can't take any pictures of my haul right now. It's at home in Chicago, and I'm here on campus.
I do, however, plan on showing pictures of something else. . .

That one mystery comic shop

"Random Comic Shop, I know I never got your name, but if you're out there somewhere, please make yourself known. That little symbol is all I have of you, but I will advertise for you. Please appear on the blog!"
Do you remember this little appeal back in the summer, during Wizard World? I ran into their booth there, and the customer service was just fantastic, and the comic books felt so clean and fresh. They even double-bagged my stuff!

The sad part is, when I got to the blog, I realized I didn't get the booth's name. My only lead was the little symbol--

--but now! Now!

Curious? More tomorrow.

When you get right down to it. . .

. . . THIS is how superheroes should be!

I'd give you some context, but that'd be too long-winded. Note how Pixie drops her phone in the second panel, rejecting Dr. McCoy's advice and following her own wish -- to help the X-Men at her own risk.
Note how Nightcrawler shows us his faith both in himself and his teammates.

Scans from Uncanny X-Men #503. Despite the decompressed storytelling, it was not that bad. Still, I can't tell what Fraction is trying to do with Cyclops: is he trying to make Cyke out to be some exuberant hip young guy with an equally exuberant hip young Emma Frost? 'cause that kind of doesn't mesh with my past reading of him.



Since the recent issue of Action Comics was so awesome, I decided to give the next issue a taste -- the New Krypton Special, designed to be the gateway to the "New Krypton" crossover between Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl.

Now that Superman's freed Kandor from the konniving klutches of Brainiac, it looks like we'll get to see some kulture klashes here. The Kryptonians don't seem so open-minded to other cultures as Superman wants:

And with Pa Kent gone, it looks like Superman will have some identity issues: is he more human or Kryptonian?

I don't know what they can do with this, but Aunt May -- wait! Did I just say Aunt May?

Oh my gosh. I don't know what that means but it's a bit creepy. I keep seeing all these Spider-Man conventions in the super-titles now (Supergirl as a menace! A menace to society!)

Whatever. Ma Kent looks like she'll be living alone now at the farm. Shouldn't she be getting a farm hand now or something?

I dunno. There are a lot of huge changes for Superman, and these changes really do feel substantial.

Art from Gary Frank, Pete Woods and Renato Guedes is absolutely fantastic, but I dunno if I want to actually collect the nine parts of "New Krypton." It looks very enticing, but it costs a lot of money, and I don't know how decompressed each issue will be.
Even though I really liked the fifth and last issue of the "Brainiac" arc, I was constantly complaining about how the second, third and fourth were unnecessarily drawn out to fit the trade format. It also costs a lot of money.

Cash money.

(EDIT: I bought the other issues at a sale
Part 1!
Part 2!
Part 4/5!
Part 6/7!
Part 8/9!
Part 10!)

I "talk" about Spidey and hero epics (part 2)

In the Mesopotamian hero epic called "Gilgamesh," there's this guy called -- Gilgamesh -- who pwns everyone.

Yes, I just used the word "pwn." I shouldn't use it, but it is so true here. ("Pwn" is a word for "assert dominance over." IE: My superior penguin torpedo pwns yours ice cream super soaker!)

My notes in the margins always say something like, "Gilgamesh pwns the Forest of Pine," or "Gilgamesh pwns mortality" or "Gilgamesh pwns temptation." Eventually, I just gave up and said, "GILGAMESH PWNS EVERYTHING."

You might be wondering why I'm talking about this Gilgamesh guy. So am I. I do, however, know it has something to do with the conventions of the hero epic and how they show up in the "Digger" arc of Amazing Spider-Man. For example. . . 

FOUR: The hero goes through a "Eureka!" moment:
(This has nothing to do with my point, but the next page is just so wonderful that I couldn't not show it.)

FIVE: The hero slays a monster:

SIX: The hero rides on top of a car:

And then gets fined for it.

That's all I could come up with. I hope you liked it. If you guys have any suggestions that come to mind, or are super-appropriate, feel free to bring it up! Let's talk!

Rated G for: "Gosh, the internet is creepy!"

Cassie over at chibistomb put up this blog rating deal-y, so I thought I'd join the fun myself:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Let's get this out quickly: I really don't believe that this blog is G-rated. We have lego Batman, yes, but I'm pretty sure we've used some obscene terms here right? Like (whisper:)"s-e-x"? 
Regardless, that site is useful, because it tells you the basis on which it made the rating: I got a G-rating because the word "suck" was detected once (1x). The site doesn't say how deeply it went, but I guess that's what it detected.

On to comics! I didn't get too many this week. The latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy came out some weeks ago (issue 6), but I don't know how much I care about it anymore, so I didn't get it. There's so much going on, that I don't really get to know anyone and, when you make Cosmo out as untrustworthy, you've already lost part of my attention. He's Cosmo, fer chrissakes!

So without further ado, let's review

Birds of Prey #123
by Tony Bedard and Michael O'Hare

Last issue hung on the cliff that Joker was about to approach Babs, but the follow-up here is a complete fake-out. Mr. J doesn't even recognize Barbara! It's not until the end of the issue that he remembers, and goes back to her for yet another cliffhanger.

A little needless if you ask me.

The rest of the issue is kind of what I've been waiting for this entire time: the buffing up of the Silicon Syndicate, because to me, they just seemed like a bunch of incredibly uninspired villains with really crappy codenames.

The idea is that each of them is the mastermind behind an internet phenomenon, which is a pretty cool concept, because the internet is very much ubiquitous these days right? An example would be the Caretaker, who controls "eBuy." He's obsessed with collecting Rare Stuff in Mint Condition, and he uses eBuy to find other like-minded people to forcefully place in his own little self-made neighborhood. And keep in mint condition.
It's really creepy. 

There's another creepy example with "Youspace," but this blog is apparently G-rated, so I'll stop there. For now, just know that everyone in the internet is trying to trick you. Except me, of course.

As for Michael O'Hare (the artist), well, I can't really endorse it. Sometimes the eyes are in the wrong position slightly, or something's in the wrong shape for the perspective.

Still waiting for something meaningful to happen, but by the end of this arc, I hope to be completely disillusioned about the usefulness and safety of the internet. 

That'd be so rad.

Zinda Blake shows us. . .

. . . How To Fight Like a Blackhawk -- And Win! (1st edition)

Got a particular bully who's constantly gunning you down in his fighter jet? Or maybe you have an assassin hunting you down, because you're in cohorts with the Oracle?

Well you can stop tossing around in your bed at 3AM out of the worry that someone will send a squirrel to your bed exceptthesquirrelisactuallyamechanizedmini-atomicbombandyoublowup?
Worry no more! Here are some pointers for how you can take flight with the likes of Lady Blackhawk!

Pointer One: Insult your foe to lower his defenses!

lady blackhawk

Pointer Two: Anything can be a weapon! Be creative in the art of war! 

lady blackhawk kriish

Pointer Three: Don't just throw your fists! Use your head in the thick of battle!

lady blachawk full tank

And above all, when you win, make sure to get in a --

lady blackhawk hawkaaaaa!

So get out there, and do Zinda proud!

I "talk" about Spidey and hero epics (part 1)

I'm taking this class on early Western civilization, and it's actually pretty cool. We're reading these Mesopotamian creation myths and hero epics.

See, my professor was really getting into the structure of the hero epic, and the multiple trials s/he goes through in his/her journey. He talked about the common conventions and patterns that the hero epic employs, like the Hero Overcoming a Monster or the Hero Finding a Sidekick.

And all this got me thinking: THIS IS TOTALLY COMIC BOOKS, so I present to you. . . The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 492-495. . .

. . . as a hero epic. Here are a few common tropes in hero epics as they show up the "Digger" storyarc of Amazing Spider-Man. Some background here is that there's a new villain made up of the gamma-irradiated body parts of dead mobsters from the 70s. 
And it's out for revenge on the mobster who ordered their hits.

I love comic books. So. Freakin'. Much.

ONE: The hero is initiated into a journey

TWO: The hero doesn't slay the monster from the start:

And lastly for today's post. . . 

THREE: The hero must face and overcome temptation:
It doesn't have to be with webs, but it's certainly an option!

I could tell you how this four-issue arc was really important, because it was the one where Peter and MJ started working on their marriage, which they totally had, but that just opens up a can of webs that I can't close. PLUS: webs are icky.

Cover to Cover: forgive the bluntness

I am so behind. Here are reviews for last week, or several weeks back.

Amazing Spider-Man #573
by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr.

This is the end of the six-part "New Ways to Die." Nothing is different between the beginning and the end. There are no real ramifications. Antivenom is temporarily incapacitated and then silently sweeped off to the side at the end, to be used for future stories. There is no payoff at the end. Spidey doesn't even quip a single time.

And MJ doesn't appear at all.

Spidey punches Goblin. Goblin says, "Stop! You're caving in my skull!" Then Goblin punches Spidey. Then Spidey gets real angry and says, "You-you-you suck!" Then he punches Goblin again. Then they stop saying stupid things and just start breaking walls.

Sometimes there are comic books that click so well with me, that I can call it a comic made for me. This is the opposite.
I think we can all agree that Foam-Finger Freddy does not approve.

I'm sorry for what I'm saying, but I really do feel that this arc was a waste of 19 bucks. Nothing meaningful happened through the arc. The only good thing is that Stephen Colbert guest-stars in the back-up for this issue.

Detective Comics #849
by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

This, on the other hand, was pretty awesome. And by pretty awesome, I mean pretty REALLY awesome.

There's a wonderful opening scene with Batman interrogating Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow) at Arkham, and the Joker gleefully watches as a prisoner. It is so rare that we actually see a Batman interrogation scene.

The rest of the issue is Batman getting suckered into Hush's (Tommy Elliot's) trap, and then Hush telling Batman his plans. Hush underwent reconstructive surgery to mimic Bruce's face, so that when Batman's heart slowly dies under his machine, he can later completely ruin Wayne Corps, as well as watch Catwoman's heart fail thereafter.

That is cold. Suffice to say, I am so psyched for next issue.

"And Monkey the Monkey Wonder!"

I am so sad without weekly comics.

howard the duck

This guy on a bike brushed past my arm today -- and here's the kicker -- I didn't kick 'im off his bike and yell irately at him.

And the other day, I let this squirrel take my cup of tea! They're so mean!

So I contemplated finding the nearest cliff to jump off of, until I realized --


So let's look at this today:

Classic. The story begins in the happiest place of all:

No way!

Tigers v. midgets? I think you all know where my money is.

That monkey is so smart.

And that's how all great relationships start out: with huge piles of money.


I'm in the middle of a dry period, and I apologize. The blog isn't in very good shape, but I have some backlog posts in here somewhere, so hopefully we'll get to those.

Oh, here's one:

This is from the "One Year Later" arc that the title underwent, in which Black Canary and Lady Shiva exchanged lives. Black Canary went to the training that Shiva was subjected to, while Lady Shiva was an official Bird of Prey!

I love this scene so much, because it foreshadows the relationship between Sin and Dinah, and it represents a HUGE change that'll happen to Dinah -- her adopting Sin!

ADDITIONALLY: Sin is cute.

No Wednesday comics?

No Wednesday comics =(.

There's only one comic out this week I'm lookin' at, so I think I'm gonna wait for Friday.

There are other stuff I'm lookin' at from last week that I put on hold in my mind, so at best, I'm gonna get reviews up on Friday, or Saturday at the latest.

Meanwhile, enjoy the existential-acoustical stylings of the Man That Is Bizarro:


So apparently, I get the privilege (or humiliation) of having a big sister who actually follows this blog. Let's all take a moment to say hi to her, or throw a snowball at her at the very least!
Pack in the snowball tight, to make sure it stings!
For those of you with siblings of your very own, you might wanna know how my relationship with her worked as a wee little child. I pondered on it a little while, and I think Jeph Loeb sums it up pretty well:

Yeah, that sounds about right.

From Loeb and McGuiness's Hulk issue number whatever. Now some of you might have younger siblings, bless their souls, and if you're patient, I'm sure they'll appreciate everything you do!

It's hip, its edgy, it's cool

It's the Goddamn Batman.

This is so wonderful. Whenever someone -your mom, your spouse, your boy/girlfriend, that funny-smelling guy down the street- anyone tells you, "I love you," here is what you do:
  1. Slink into a shadow, so that half your face is obscured, and half isn't.
  2. Grimace. Don't forget to put your back into it!
  3. Here's the key part. You need to inject some soul into this part. You need to have planned this part five days ahead. You need to utter,
    "Nobody loves anybody, my darling.
    "We just survive."
Got it?

Now you should be all set! Feel free to play around with the methodology, but now you know the standard response when people say they love you. Use this knowledge only for good. Oh, and one more thing:

Thank you. I love you.
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