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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in aaron_bourque's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
12:43 am
Subject says it all. Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year, and a have a happy New Year!
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
11:43 pm
Announcing Nerdiodrome! All The Cool Kids Are Ignoring It!
This is a big one, people. It's been simmering in my mind for a while, and now I'm about to burst.

Reading comic books today isn't like it once was. I'll try to keep this from just being a place to gush about how things used to be, but in part I won't be able to.

Because once upon a time, all comic books were a place for fun. Nowadays, sure there's some fun here, some fun there, but not all comics are fun. Some, many, a lot of them are grim, depressing places. But ever since Action Comics #1 (way back before most of you were born, in 1938), comics have been delivering on a promise of fun, cool visuals.

I mean, look:
Action Comics #1, It all started here.
Action Comics #1 showed people the impossible. A man lifting--and running with--a car over his head.

Ever since then, comic books, and super-hero comic books in particular, have been a place for fun, amazing, strange, and cool things to happen. Sometimes that meant Aquaman throwing polar bears:
More Fun Comics 85 Aquaman Splash Page, Aquaman was always cool for people who read the comics.

Sometimes it meant the Flash being turned into a puppet:
The Flash 183 Cover, He's got the strangest feeling he's turning into a puppet.

Whatever the case, super hero comic books where meant to be wild, awesome, and above all fun.

They're not, anymore. Instead we have the Blue Beetle trying to convince his enemies he's been mind-controlled by slapping the face of one of his best friends:
Blue Beetle #6, He's just exercising his wrist, right guys?
(His teenage female friend.)

Or Spider-Man selling his marriage to the closest thing his universe has to Satan himself so that his aunt will survive a fatal gunshot:
Amazing Spider-Man 595 Page 12 Inset, Spider-Man sells his marriage to THE DEVIL so his Aunt May will live.

It's not like fun comics don't exist anymore, of course they do. They're not even that hard to find. Sometimes it's new comics:
Atomic Robo #1, Atomic Robo. He'll SCIENCE you and you'll love every second of it.

And sometimes it's reprints of old comics:
Showcase Booster Gold, His whole series in one handy dandy package.

But not all comic books are reprinted (this is actually an exaggeration: most comics aren't reprinted. Comic books, as we understand them, have been around since the early 1930s. There used to be over a dozen comic book publishers. Nowadays there's half a dozen or so, and usually only the bigger ones reprint comic books in any form. There are thousands of old comics that haven't been reprinted, and even in today's culture of stories told so that they'll fill out a trade paperback collection of comics, not even all of them get collected), so often you have no recourse but back issues. They aren't the only way you can, say, see Scrooge McDuck as a young turk taking on a barroom of frozen-north toughened gold-miners and ne'er-do-wells:
back to the klondike 14
"Weaklings and cowards have ten seconds to clear out," indeed.

But old back issues are the only way you can see an alien-influenced Batman and Superman pulling no punches:

Or an alternate Batman of the future deflecting a bullet in flight with a batarang:
Hex 11, Things that are impossible and impossibly cool.
I love how the guy who fired the shot, the indefatigable Jonah Hex--whose response to being time-tossed into a post-apocalyptic 21st century was "Enh. Who do I gotta shoot?"--was rendered speechless by this.

And so I unveil this blog: Nerdiodrome, a place where I can celebrate awesome comics, old, new, whatever. Golden Age Goofiness, Silver Age Silliness, Bronze Age Badassness, Iron Age Impressiveness, Titanium Age Terrificness, Current Comics Coolness. And if you think I'm missing something, comment here, or e-mail me, and if I agree, I'll do my utmost to show it off.

Like anyone's really reading this.

Hopefully this will be done bi-weekly, but I've never been able to stick to a schedule, so we'll just have to wait and see. This is a learning experience for me as much as you.

So sit back, have fun, and hopefully it will inspire comic creators to make a minimum of crap like this:
Wonder Woman #7 Page 14 Inset, These are the Amazons here. And just because it's "true to the myths" doesn't make it not bad.

And instead make more crap like this:
Wonder Woman 210, Wonder Woman in 2 panels.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; or at least I'll start doing it once I figure out how to post pictures on that space . . .

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
2:00 pm
Goddesses Give Gifts And They Take Them Away
Wonder Woman

Of all the New 52 comics with major changes to the titular characters, Wonder Woman is probably the best one. That isn't to say it's one of the best books of the New 52, although it is one of the better ones.

Wonder Woman, of course, started out in the Golden Age, one of the first superheroines, and definitely the longest-running. She's an Amazon from Themyscira, or Paradise Island. She was given gifts from various deities of the Grecian Pantheon, and grew up loved and trained by the other Amazons.

Until the new 52, where she's just another demigoddess cast-off of Zeus who grew up being mocked for her now-false origin story of being carved from clay and granted life by the gods.

If you can get past those changes, this is actually a pretty good book. The strength of it, however, is not in Wonder Woman, but in the reinterpretation of the deities. Cliff Chiang, one of the better artists in the business, and Brian Azzarello (in my opinion, a quite good but overrated writer) have breathed new life into the Olympians, made them strange and otherworldly immediately. It's incredible, and elevates the book completely.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; people say nerds don't like change, but really, we don't like needless or bad change, and giving Diana pointless angst through her changed origins is stupid in the extreme. But it's done. It'll either be reverted or it won't.
1:48 pm
The Babe With The Power

Like I've already said, I never got in to Wildstorm, so I never got into the previous version of Voodoo. New 52 Voodoo is an alien with shapeshifting and low-level mind-reading powers who is spying on Earthlings. Presumably, her species is preparing for an invasion. The first issue introduces us to Voodoo, the stage name of the alien as she works in a strip club in New Orleans, and the pair of government agents whose job it is to bring her in. Voodoo believes that, if she's caught, she'll be dissected, so isn't too keen on revealing herself. She isolates one of the agents, kills him, and takes his identity as she escapes. So right away, the titular protagonist is not all that nice, but also isn't some rampaging alien monster. Well done moral ambiguity is rare in comic books, but good to see every so often.

Also, the first issue being set in a strip club, there were plenty of sexual poses and not many clothes on the women, but whereas stuff like Red Hood or Suicide Squad got lots of flack for their portrayal of women, Voodoo didn't get as much because a) it actually wasn't gratuitous and b) the story was well-written enough to give it a bit of a pass. However, Ron Marz left the book after issue #4, which is a shame, because Voodoo was a surprise hit under his pen.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I did like that they didn't make any strained Katrina references during their time in New Orleans. The city still isn't 100%, but it's nowhere near what it was immediately after the storm, and it's good for media to reflect that.
12:34 pm
What You Are In The Shade
The Shade

This is a tricky one, because it's another miniseries (so it started a month after the regular New 52 and in the first three months had only gotten to issue 2) and also because it's a 12-issue miniseries. One sixth of a story is difficult to judge a story by.

The Shade used to be a villain for the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. He had shadow powers. That was pretty much it until James Robinson created the series Starman in the 90s. A celebration of old and new, Starman was one of the best comics of the 90s, period. Definitely top 5. It introduced us to Opal City, and managed to make it feel like a real, lived-in city. It also managed to make it seem like Opal City was as old as Gotham or Metropolis, but nope. Original to the 90s series. Starman also reinterpreted a bunch of older stuff for a modern sensibility, and transferred The Shade into a rogue-ish anti-hero. Robinson's Shade has been a sort of break-out character: a seemingly immortal villain with a code and standards, always ready to protect his adopted city of Opal from threats, but not one to flinch when it came to killing people to meet his own ends. He had a complex backstory and was both sympathetic and cunningly amoral.

So he got a miniseries in the new 52.

It's only 2 issues in (at the end of the third month of the New 52), so there's not much to go on here. The art is nice, but a bit jarring on occasion. And it's James Robinson writing one of his most beloved characters (Robinson has his flaws, and his Cry For Justice was terrible on almost every level, but he's still a damned good writer). Get this comic if you love democracy!

Or well-written comics, whichever.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; it managed to do more service to Deathstroke in just a couple pages than in his own stupid series, people! GET THIS COMIC.
12:22 pm
Attack Of The EXTREME!!!
The Savage Hawkman

This is the biggest pile of 90's-era rejects the New 52 has to offer.

Okay, so Hawkman is one of the oldest superheroes. Carter Hall was an archaeologist and Egyptologist who learned he was the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince and had discovered a strange metal (nth-metal) that allowed him to defy gravity. He fashioned some wings, and used the prince's memories of ancient weaponry and tactics against modern threats and criminals. The prince's lover, Chay-Ara, was also reincarnated into the woman Shiera Sanders, and Sanders and Hall became lovers and crimefighters as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, eventually marrying.

And then the Silver Age happened and Hawkman and Hawkgirl were reimagined as alien police from the planet Thanagar. And then retcons happened and the Hawks were actually spies from Thanagar sent to learn all they could about Earth for an invasion. And then Zero Hour combined every version of every Hawk-hero into one incarnation of the "Hawk God."

And then Hawkman couldn't be used for a while because nobody could untangle the mess.

And then Geoff Johns fixed it by using reincarnation and Carter Hall returned.

So Hawkman has a lot of baggage, some good, some bad, but the correct solution was never to ignore it completely!

Reincarnation, adventurous archaeology, memories of past lives, romance, flight, ancient weapons, Hawkman has all these cool things, but for some reason in the New 52 "Savage" Hawkman, the nth-metal has become semi-sentient, and developed shape-shifting, and his causing Carter to rage out.

I jokingly dubbed this series "Wolverine With Wings" before it came out, and nothing in the series has countered that assertion. And it's the worst parts of Wolverine. And it's none of the good parts of Hawkman (except maybe the archaeology and flight). Add to that dark, muddy art and gruesome violence for its own sake, and I dropped this title. It's bad. It's baaaaad.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; the thought of the Gentleman Ghost returning only interested me until I learned that he was no longer a gentleman, nor a ghost. The Hooligan Zombie doesn't have quite the same ring, you see.
12:04 pm
The Fury Of Firestorms: The Nuclear Men

Oh my god, that is the longest title of a comic. Firestorms is bad. Which sucks, because Gail Simone is awesome, and the idea for Firestorm is awesome, and they deserve better than this.

The original Firestorm was a composite hero, the joining of teen middle-of-the-roader Ronnie Raymond and Nobel Prize-award winning nuclear physicist Martin Stein. It was an attempt by DC Comics to try a more Marvel-style superhero during the Bronze Age of comics. There was an accident at a nuclear power plant (Stein was there to unveil new, safer technology, and Ronnie was there to try to look cool for his love interest). They merged and created the transmogrifier Firestorm, physically an enhanced Ronnie, but with Stein's voice in his head, giving advice and scientific know-how. But there were problems. Firstly, there was the traditional teen hero with bad time management stuff (like Marvel's Spider-Man). Also, Stein would black out and lose all memory of his time as Firestorm when he woke up. This eventually led him to alcoholism, but he did get better and manage to reconcile his mind and things looked good. But lots of stuff happened and eventually Ronnie became Firestorm on his own, and died, and a new Firestorm, Jason Rusch, took over. He could form Firestorm by joining with anyone, but certain people made better fits.

I'm not going equivocate: Jason Rusch was a jerkface. I believe that there are no bad characters, just bad writing, and for the longest time, Jason was written TERRIBLY. He was an asshole, and lots of people are when they're teenagers, but the problems were only exacerbated when Ronnie somehow came back and joined what was called the "Firestorm Matrix" for a few issues. Ronnie was a dolt, but he was always well-meaning and actually really insecure about his image as a dumb jock. Jason Rusch was an intellectual bully.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a bright guy myself, and have no problem with taking people down a notch while showing how smart I can be. But Jason . . . was not that way. He'd just be smarter and cooler than everyone and it got really annoying really fast, and he never really developed past that. Ronnie, with Stein's help, grew and he was always kind of a dolt his heart was always always ALWAYS in the right place, but Jason was always a cooler-than-thou type and that? Is really irritating. And the reason I make a big deal about it is because if anything, he's even WORSE in the new book.

Because he's also an entitled brat who attacked Ronnie for being a racist for NO GOOD REASON other than that he doesn't like sportos.

I honestly don't want to talk about it anymore. There's a group of government mercenary-types who are hunting down the method that Martin Stein developed to create Firestorms before he died, and for some reason (it's not explained in the first 3 issues) Stein sent the method to Jason before dying, and Jason triggers it, and both he and Ronnie became Firestorms, and they can merge to become a new being, called Fury.

And if any part of that sounds cool to you, have at it. It doesn't sound cool to me, it sounds ridiculous, and I could actually feel my head start to hurt just summarizing that. And that's just the first issue! The next two issues aren't any better, as the Firestorms' personality conflicts just seem to cause more trouble than the nominal bad guys of the issues!

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; there are just so many bad choices in this series, it hurts.
11:43 am
Flash Of Another World
The Flash

Barry has a tradition of reboots and changing comic book status quo's. His creation is often heralded as the creation of the Silver Age in 1956. He helped found the DC multiverse when he ran so fast he popped up in the world of the previous Flash, Jay Garrick. His death in Crisis on Infinite Earths is often cited as one of the marks of another new age, the end of the Bronze Age and creation of the "Dark" Age. His return to life a couple of years ago began a story that ultimately ended the previous version of the DC Universe. And now, in the New 52, he's got his own title again.

And it is beautiful. No, really, the art by Francis Manapul (who also co-writes the series) is downright gorgeous, and is second only to J.H. Williams III's art on Batwoman. Barry Allen's been regressed a little bit, he's no longer married to Iris West for instance, but he's not a brand spanking new hero, he's been around for a little while. A mysterious group (there's that term again) has gotten an old friend of his in trouble and are using copies of the friend with powers to do their dirty work, and it's up to Barry, as a forensic scientist, to clear his name and get to the bottom of the mystery.

It also has the blurb. In comics from the later Silver Age up until the late 80s or so, each issue would begin with a brief paragraph summarizing who the hero or star or team were and their mission, introducing the reader to the character and situation as though it were his first comic book. Which often it was, comics being a disposable medium for decades in the US. It's just a nice nostalgic surprise.

So, Barry and Iris aren't married, anymore. They do flirt a good deal, which is cute. Probably the best handling of the "vanished marriage in comics" in recent history. They have nice chemistry, and it's hinted that they'll get back together, which is cool. The story and writing on the book has been pretty good to excellent, with plenty of cool applications of the Flash's powers (in one case VIBRATING A JET AIRLINER THROUGH A BRIDGE to save it from crashing--two words: awe some!) and the mystery is engaging enough to intrigue. The Flash is definitely one of the better books in the New 52. Don't miss out just because you're irritated that Wally West is missing.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; Wally's been missing before, but he's always come back!
11:27 am
Teenagers Scare The Living @#&^ Outta Me
Teen Titans

The Teen Titans have had many iterations. Originally, Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash hung out together in a clubhouse and had really weird adventures together in the Silver Age, then others like Wonder Girl and Speedy joined up, and then they became the New Teen Titans with Raven and Cyborg and Starfire, and then they were just the Titans as they grew up and weren't teenagers anymore, but a new group of Teen Titans came up another generation of younger heroes came up, and then the reboot happened.

The New 52 Teen Titans, in the first three issues, are a mix of old characters Red Robin (Tim Drake), Kid Flash (Bart Allen), and Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) and new characters Bunker (Miguel Barragan) and Skitter (Celine she-doesn't-seem-to-have-a-last-name). Other characters, Superboy and Solstice (Kiran Singh), haven't joined the team by the end of the 3rd issue, which is as far as these reviews are going (they've showed up in actual issues by now, and Solstice looks like fun). The main thrust of any plot is that a mysterious group are doing questionable things (and trying to discredit) kid heroes, and so Tim Drake's investigations cause him to run into and try to recruit various teen heroes, both for safety and to combat the threat. Cassie doesn't want to join (and is completely different from any previous version of her) but the other characters are more interested in a team, and apparently, this is the first version of the teen titans in this universe.

Huh. Scott Lobdell, the writer for this series, is also the writer for the atrocious Red Hood and the Outlaws, which has indicated that the members of the older New Teen Titans group has gotten together . . . I guess they just never called themselves the Titans?

All in all, this is only slightly above average, so far. It's not terrible by any stretch, but it's really not all that good, and I am sick of team books with the token "I don't want to be part of the team" member. It was fresh and interesting IN THE SIXTIES. It's 2012, now.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; and new "rogue artifact thief" Cassie irritates the bejezus out of me, especially since she's said token member. SHE LED THE YOUNG JUSTICE TEAM, CHRIST.
Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
1:06 pm
He's A Thingy. From A Swampy.

Long ago, Swamp Thing was a tired, forgettable horror comic who's main claim to fame was being similar to Marvel's Man-Thing (another tired, forgettable horror comic that came out at pretty much the exact same time) . . . until a guy named Alan Moore took over writing it, and almost overnight turned it into one of the greatest comics of all time. After Alan Moore left, completely changing comics forever, Swamp Thing went back and forth between really good and not so good. It was one of the flagship titles of DC's Vertigo imprint, originally a place where DC's properties were reinterpreted to be more mature and horror tinged, and then became where creator-owned content went to thrive. However, with the New 52, Swamp Thing and a few others are back in the DC fold.

And Swamp Thing in the new 52 is really damn good. And a horror title. Long ago, before I was born, there were more to comics than just superheroes. War comics, true crime, romance, westerns, funny animals, comedy, horror . . . Swamp Thing, like Animal Man, is a genuinely disturbing comic at times, and that horror manages to make it thrilling. The art is also gorgeous at times, downright breathtaking.

I don't want to keep gushing. Just go out and read it.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; and it's crossing over with Animal Man, so read that, too.
12:47 pm
Strange Visitor From Another Planet

Now THIS is a great comic book. You see, back back back in the day, back when I was a wee lad, there was this thing in comics where a story was told in a single issue, and it wasn't stretched out to fill a trade collection. They are now called "done-in-ones," and for decades, they were the standard. Of course, before I was born, it was much more common to have multiple features in a single issue, but those multiple stories were still told in one issue. It is inexpressibly relieving to see that this can still happen on a mainstream title, and George Perez' old-school Superman does it well.

For the first three issues, we are given 1) a complete introduction to the new status quo of Superman, with Clark being a crusading reporter, the Daily Planet sold to a TV production, Lois becoming a news show producer, etc. 2) a single issue story per issue (I miss it so), and 3) an ongoing plot that continues throughout the other stories going on in the issue. You see, both ways can be done, at once!

Sure, there's the stupidity of Clark and Lois not being together anymore, but if they manage to bring the romance back, I'll be okay with a period of her being with some other schmuck. It'll just be a speedbump on the road back to their proper positions, and no, I'm NOT in denial, you can't prove I am!.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I mean it, done in ones should become the standard again.

Current Mood: bouncy
12:27 pm
Girl Power (I'm So Sorry)

I loved the first issue of this title, but felt it went by really, really damn fast.

The next issues weren't quite as good, but serviceable.

So, this is simply an updated retelling of the classic Supergirl story: Kara Zor-El is Kal-El's cousin from Krypton, sent to Earth to help him. Only, like the immediate previous retelling of the story, she's his OLDER cousin, not his younger cousin, and remembers him as a baby. For some reason, she was in stasis during transit and didn't age, so when Superman shows up all grown man and everything, she's confused as hell . . . and doesn't believe he is who he says he is. That's a nice twist.

Also, when she shows up on earth, she has no idea she has powers and causes an international incident and gets found by pretty obviously evil super-science guy with plans for her. And is so obviously evil it makes my teeth hurt.

Other than the TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY EVIL guy, this has been an all right comic. Despite the whip-fast speed of the first issue, the pacing of the opening story has been kind of slow, though. Hopefully that'll pick up.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; and seriously, what the hell is up with her boots? I don't mind showing skin on a hero or heroine, but the knees? What the hell?

Current Mood: blah
12:17 pm
Boy Or Superboy

Okay, the original, original-original Superboy was Superman as a kid. It was Clark Kent, and his adventures as a pre-teen in Smallville. Yes, this is where the tv show got its best ideas (except Chloe Sullivan) from. Superboy, Clark Kent, had adventures, and made friends with the Legion of Superheroes (I may have mentioned them), and even had guest appearances of other heroes before they became heroes, like Bruce Wayne and Aquaman.

But that was the Silver Age. After Crisis On Infinite Earths, Superman's backstory was retcon'd to omit those adventures, and they didn't come back fully for a couple decades. So the comics didn't have a Superboy until an little event called "The Death of Superman." After Superman died (oh, spoilers, Superman dies in the a story called "The Death of Superman." Also, it was his sled), four replacement supermen showed up, and the only one we're interested in right now is Superboy. He was a blend of Kryptonian and human DNA, and he was immature, loud, and desparat to be considered a hero. He eventually actually became a hero (dying himself, once, only to come back in true superhero fashion), and it was good. He was accepted by Superman, getting a name (Kon-El), and even a secret identity (Conner Kent). He was a good kid, and a real hero.

So cue the reboot, and . . . he's still a genetic blend of human and Kryptonian DNA. Only now he's a part of this mysterious secret organization, and he can't control his powers, and he doesn't know how the outside world works . . . and the narration doesn't really support it. I'm not sure if it's from a future date where he has acclimated to society somewhat, but the story takes pains to paint him as this emotionless (or at least stoic), confused entity, and the narration is snarky and laden with references to things an actual teenager would know about, but not somebody grown in a lab and sequestered from real people his whole life (all six months of it, but whatever). The cartoon Young Justice does a better job of characterizing their Superboy character is alienated. This comic does not.

It does have its moments, though. Superboy is clearly heroic--which is always good to see in SUPER HEROES--and his circumstances, of being made to be nothing but a weapon for shadowy government goons, are interesting enough for me to check out what happens next (a team up with the Teen Titans, specifically). Also, it has ties to another Wildstorm Comic, Gen 13. I think the writer, Scott Lobdell, would have been a better fit on a New 52 version of Gen 13, but some of the situations of Superboy lead me to believe there won't be a team by that name in the New 52-averse.

All in all, it's not a bad comic by any means, but it fails to live up to its potential (there's that word again) and become a good one.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; having Gen 13 be N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s teen team would have also made a lot of sense.
12:00 pm
Don't Fear The Reaper
Suicide Squad


The most well known version of the Suicide Squad--a team of minor supervillains recruited by the US government from prison to perform "black ops" missions the government could disavow if things went wrong--was one of the greatest comic book series ever written. They even had an episode devoted to them on the cartoon Justice League Unlimited, "Task Force X," the official designation of the squad. "Suicide Squad" was just a colloquialism, because they often went on suicide missions.

The tradition of pretty damn good serieses starring super villains continued in Gail Simone's excellent Secret Six, and then the reboot came.

And now we've got the new Suicide Squad, which is one of the worst comic book series ever written. It's loud, obnoxious, pointless, stupid, and ugly. The thing about the previous Squad was that it had direct oversight in the person of Rick Flagg, Jr. The man may have been as unhinged as the villains he worked with, but he kept them in line, and was good at his job. This new Squad doesn't have that. So the villains all do as villains do, and terrible things happen. But nobody cares, because nobody is given a reason to care. And when they through in shout-outs to the previous Squad, they are done in just the right way to piss off people who know about the previous Squad.

I don't hate this comic as much as I hate Red Hood And The Outlaws, in fact I don't even hate this comic. I'm just tired by it. It doesn't bring anything new or interesting, and instead dumps over the memory of a much better comic.

Which has several collections, so if you want some SS, read the good one by John Ostrander, and screw this series.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; there was also a war comic about a group called the Suicide Squad, but the only connection was that the father of Rick Flagg, Jr. was in it.

Current Mood: blah
11:48 am
Watching The Storm Out

I was never really a fan of The Authority, nor the book they spun out of, the original Stormwatch from Wildstorm. Guys with super powers working for the government tend to bore me, but whatever. This new series, by Paul Cornell, is a kind of whizbang roller-coaster ride of high concept new wave sci-fi mixed with ultra-powered spandex prima donnas who claim to be professionals without actually showing it. In the first three issues, we are introduced to concepts and ideas that would normally be like year long stories in other comics, as well as most of the main cast, who come off as snooty status seekers more interested in being seen as powerful heroes than actually acting like it. The team is made up of people who don't like each other, the leader is someone the team doesn't feel they can trust, and they're being stalked by the deadliest killer on the planet, who for some dumb reason has spikes all over the place, including his stupid chin.

Stormwatch, the first three issues, is very uneven. It's got amazing ideas, but characters I have a hard time caring about, let alone liking, and the art is . . . not . . . that . . . good. But the ride is amazing. These are things that can be overlooked because of that, and that alone. So I'll be hanging on for dear life on that ride, anxious to see what comes next.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I guess that's all I have to say about that. Except to reiterate: the Midnighter's spikes, especially the one on his chin, is moronic. MORONIC.

Current Mood: blah
Thursday, January 19th, 2012
12:40 pm
The Rebirth Of The Cool
Static Shock

It doesn't matter what I think! The series will be cancelled at issue 8!

Nanny nanny boo-boo!

. . .

Okay, okay, all right. I never read the original Static series from Milestone, it premiered in the 90s when I wasn't reading much, if any, superhero comics, particularly independant stuff. When the cartoon Static Shock premiered, I would catch an episode here and there, and while I found it enjoyable, it was generally aimed at a younger target audience than I was comfortable being a part of, so I didn't get too into it. I liked that Virgil was a geek and suitably heroic, but until the Milestone Universe got folded into the DCU a couple years ago, I had never read a comic with Static in it. And then the Terror Titans happened, and he was the best part of it, really. And he was folded into the regular Teen Titans series, and I was disappointed because the average lifespan of a Titan at the time who wasn't part of a previous franchise was half a year at best, and he deserved better than to be a shocking sacrificial lamb for cheap pathos in yet another failure of a Teen Titans story. Virgil Hawkins deversed far better, for you see, he was still the best part of it all.
What happens. What ALWAYS happens.

And then, in the relaunch, he was given his own title again! And it had art by Scott McDaniel, whose art I don't like. Ugh.

Aside from that, the first three issues weren't that bad. A teen hero being heroic and clever and having to find a balance between his superheroics and his teenage life? It was like the return of Spider-Man! (And incidentally, I think Static Shock is a better "black Spider-Man" comic than Ultimate Spider-Man). There were weird bits, like his sister having been doubled somehow and the family trying to deal with that (though I don't know where it came from, if it's new to this series or happened in the Milestone Universe before the merger, or what).

This series was also pretty much the sole Milestone book, with other heroes and villains appearing here instead of being incorporated into the wider DCU. So now that it's to be cancelled, I guess the Milestone Universe just doesn't exist anymore? And that's a shame.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; I love that the narration points out how bad Virgil's impressions are, too.

Current Mood: shocked
12:12 pm
I Wasn't An Internet Reviewer In A Previous Life
Resurrection Man

Back, back, in the Silver Age of comic books, there was a character called the Immortal Man, who was . . . immortal. Well, okay, he could be killed, but then he'd revive himself within, like, a day, with a new persona and personality. After COIE, he was reinvented as Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection Man, who would come back to life with a new superpower, usually based on how he had just been killed. So in this new series, Mitch's soul has cheated the afterlife for so long, that agents of heaven and hell are searching for him, hoping to take possession of the soul finally.


And then . . . the next two issues have almost nothing to do with that concept. On the one hand, that's good, great! The "myth arc" of the series can lay fallow for a bit while things like character development and world building occur. On the other hand, we get the return of the Body Doubles, a vaguely lesbian assassin/mercenary team who exist essentially only for fanservice. And they should have been only a one issue antagonist, but they continued on after issue 2. Ugh.

I don't have a problem with fanservice. Done well, it's quite enjoyable. What I have a problem with is the overuse of fanservice and blatant fanservice. Especially in comics, where they overuse blatant fanservice.

So, yeah. Resurrection Man: absolutely amazing first issue . . . not so good second or third issue. Really a mixed reccomendation, if the heaven and hell stuff ramps up, definitely get this series. I think it really does have a chance to live up to its potential.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; oh, the retired supervillain doesn't interest me much, either. Whatever. It's not terrible, just not all that engaging to me.

Current Mood: blank
11:46 am
Red Lanterns

I don't get why this is a series. Maybe they needed to pad out the 52 and didn't want to start with comics about Batman Inc., the heroes of Earth 2, Powergirl and Huntress teaming up, a reimagining of Dial H for Hero, a new G.I. Combat, or a Titans and Superboy spin-off.

Before the relaunch, the Green Lantern serieses had an overarcing plot about various other corps of lanterns, each centered around a different color and emotion. Red Lanterns were powered by their rage, and as anyone who is a longtime fan of and reader of the Hulk knows, any main character fueled by rage and anger needs something more to sustain a long term series. But Atrocitus, the main character and leader of the Red Lanterns lacks that depth, and it is explicitly stated that he is the only Red Lantern who is self-aware. I was despairing for this series--not because I wanted it to succeed, but because it could have been an interesting way to explore the broader DC Universe beyond Earth and the "civilized" societies normally shown. It was a faint hope, but it existed. Anyway, I was despairing for this series being another failing to seize its potential when in the third issue, the female Bleez has her sentience returned to her and after we learn about her backstory (beautiful but distant and casually cruel courtier given to a member of another Lantern Corps for torment out of revenge) the interesting thing happens.

Bleez has a different interpretation about how to go about exacting retribution against the universe for her suffering. Atrocitus is not an idiot, but his methods are rather simplistic: kill the offender. But Bleez? is willing to spare the lives of her enemies and let them suffer in pathetic fear, increasing their suffering. The third issue ends with Atrocitus realizing that he may have made a mistake giving Bleez her sentience back, as he now has more than an ally, he has a rival.

I love foils. I love having two characters with overlapping motivations who go about achieving their goals differently. And frankly, Atrocitus isn't all that interesting. Having someone else, almost anyone else for him to play off of increases the story potential trememdously, and pretty much had to happen somehow. So I'm intrigued, now, but I'm still not sure if Red Lanterns is something that needed to be a full series instead of a mini, but we'll see. It's not like it was cancelled to make room for other titles, at least.

Also, there's a strange subplot with two brothers on Earth dealing with the fallout of their father's death and their different temperaments. One or both will likely become a future Red Lantern. But for now, it just feels like padding. Still feels like a mini.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; really, the only rage I enjoy is the rage of Profion.

Current Mood: raging
Monday, January 9th, 2012
12:49 pm
Bad Name For A Rock Band
Red Hood and the Outlaws

I fucking hate this comic.

Current Mood: angry
12:47 pm
March of the Penguin
Penguin: Pain And Prejudice

I don't know what it is about Oswalt Cobblepot, but he's a fascinating character. He often gets the most detailed backstory of all of Batman's rogues, and even though he's actually the silliest concept for a supervillain (he's a short, fat guy who dresses nice and carries umbrellas and has a fixation with birds!!!), he's almost always given the most respect out of all of them. He's not a psychopathic killer, he doesn't have an over the top gimmick, he's just a suave and calculating criminal mastermind.

And Penguin: Pain and Prejudice continues the trend.

Oh, sure, he's never going to get one over on Batman, at least for long, but he's the emperor of his little empire, and it's fascinating looking into one way this guy became a kingpin (or perhaps emperor penguin) of crime.

I almost don't want to talk more about this deranged little mini, because it's such a good series. But fair warning: this is some sick stuff. Deranged. At one point, the Joker makes a cameo, and in just one panel, it's the most demented and disturbing he's been in years (yes, that's counting having his face removed in Detective Comics #1). And we delve deep into the psyche of the Penguin, who might not be the craziest of Batman's bad-guys, but he's twisted in his own way.

So yeah. This is a good one. Maybe wait until it's collected, but I don't think this should be missed.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; okay, he was silly and goofy on the live-action TV show, but so was everyone.

Current Mood: accomplished
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