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Posts tagged “Harley Quinn

Last weeks pulls

Worlds finest continues to be my favorite of all the current tiles out there. It’s just good straightforward adventure fare with familiar faces. Superman, Batman and Robin, Supergirl on the flash and Green Lantern… No agendas no personal politics just straightforward storytelling. That’s not to say there’s nothing complex, we’ve got an ark going on here along with various DCU characters coming in and out of the story. It’s just all really good. It’s exactly what I want. I almost feel like back in the days where I was losing interest in Superman and Batman‘s main titles, but couldn’t wait for the Superman Batman issues to come out every month. It was the same way with Spider-Man for a while too. While the main line series was kind of meandering and falling apart, I was very much getting into the late run of ultimate Spider-Man… And even, I guess I’ll admit it, Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. 

Speaking of Spider-Man, I really have weird mixed feelings regarding this new run of amazing Spider-Man. If I hadn’t spent the first week of 2022 basically catching up on the last two years of the Spider-Man comics, I swear I just walked into the middle of a storyline or something. We still don’t really know what the status quo is here, and the opening scrawl admits it. It literally says something has happened in spider-Man‘s life, but doesn’t actually tell us what. It’s maddening, especially since I’m really enjoying a lot of what they’re doing here. The whole bit with tombstone is interesting and fun. Spidey himself is being well written and somebody really understands his voice. It’s funny and sad and good adventure all at once… With a story that is fun enough for me to put up with John Romita juniors thin line nightmare style of art. But I’ll tell you what, I really do need to know what the status quo is. I need to understand what’s happening, and it needs to be soon. You got another issue and a half or I’m out. Still, for the moment….I gotta say – this one panel just sums it up.

 

I’m actually been a big fan of what Dynamite’s been doing over the years. It’s the same model as Dark Horse, lean into licensed properties, but dynamite always seems to pick ones that I’m far more interested in the dark horse ever did. Elvira‘s had a couple of series now, and honestly they’ve been hit or miss, nothing I was really digging, but the new Elvira in horror land has really got my attention. They drop her into an old movie, and she interacts. It’s actually pretty perfect. It’s kind of the thing I really enjoy with horror hosts in the first place! First issue she finds herself in psycho. Psychos got a special place in my heart, especially since I didn’t get around to watching it until I was in my early 40s when they were doing a screening up at the rain palace. I’ve recently screened it for my daughter as well, and this has got it fresh on my mind. It’s well done, poking fun at the tropes, paying respect to the characters, even taking a shot at the remake. I’m really enjoying it, but what’s really interesting for me is the last page.

Elvira escapes the movie alive, and ready for her next adventure. Unfortunately, her next adventure starts in the snow… In a remote mountain resort… With a sinister hotel beckoning in the distance.Yeah, I’m sticking around for a while on this title.

Three issues in and surprisingly enough, I’m still on board with the Punisher. I actually think this would have been a perfect miniseries. Not necessarily the main line title, but a sort of side spin off… It probably would’ve served a character better. Even if it weren’t, advertising it as a mini series kind of assures people that this is just a temporary diversion and things will be returned to the status quo. To his credit, the writer genuinely tried to reassure us of that in the first issue and I respect that. It allows me to settle in and enjoy this interesting exploration of Frank Castle as the leader of the hand. There’s a lot to like here. The concept is strong and smart, and I’m genuinely on board with a lot of what they’re doing.

Or at least, I was until now.

You see that kid on the cover of issue three? The one wearing the captain America mask? That’s Frank. 10 year old Frank Castle is the centerpiece of the story, in response to a question asked to him… “When did you first kill someone?”

 

This irritates me. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen this sort of deconstruction… This attempt to paint Frank as just an inherent killer. A fundamental bad seed. it pops up from time to time, whether it’s in the punisher showing up in the ‘Nam, or the supernatural run where the angels pick him because he’s just inherently the best murderer out there, or even the attempt at Microsoft deconstructing his personality in the punisher max series.

Wherever it happens, I hate it. It shows a basic misunderstanding of the character and his history.

It’s especially prevalent among writers who have never lived through the 70s. People who never experienced The high crime rates and massive inflation and General loss of hope (but buckle up guys, because we’re there again and in 10 years you’re gonna see a whole new crop of storytelling that represents it). They don’t properly remember Bernie Goetz taking up arms and murdering people in a fit of vigilante rage. They’ve never experienced the sort of stagnation that lead rise to books and films like Deathwish. That’s what the punisher is. He’s a fairly ordinary guy who is finally pushed too far and snapped. He’s a person who is a protector as a cop, deeply religious with training as a priest, loving as a father and a husband… Someone who’s had all that stripped away. Those things didn’t keep the killer in check, those things were who Frank Castle was. The killer is the aberration, not the good man. It always frustrates me when the riders get this wrong. It’s not enough to put me off the title, but man it’s frustrating.

Equally frustrating is the ridiculousness of Harley Quinn. That sloppy artwork just kills me, and this book is simply all over the place. Honestly, I just dropped in to check the series out, but I’m dropping right back out. Harley Quinn‘s always been a little wacky, but she’s also been serious and deadly as well. The Harley that I am reading in this book, quite frankly it’s pinkie pie from my little pony.That’s fine, that’s even fun, but it’s not Harley. 

Maybe it’s time for me to just settle back and dig into some back issues instead. Both fanboy expo and Comicpslooza DID happen this weekend after all.

 

 

 

 


Week of 3/16/22 (mostly)

It was finally time last week. The moment I’ve been waiting for, one of my most intense anticipated books in a good long while. Worlds Finest finally hit The shelves. You basically have my attention, just by putting the yellow oval behind the bat symbol. In fact, I really like the general character designs that were seeing for both Batman and Superman here. Very traditional, very much my generation.

What we get, is part one of what promises to be a fun adventure, featuring more than a few familiar faces, all designs like Lex Luthors Super Powers battle armor and traditional Batman villains. It’s all good, it’s all solid, and quite frankly, it’s the first time in a very long time – years – that I feel like I’m sitting down and reading a new comic book that was written for me. I’m really enjoying this already, and I am hard and fast on this series all the way. If DC still offered subscriptions, I’d already be there.

Marvel on the other hand, nothing much on the shelves this week. I took a peek at the Spider-Man title – the beyond side-title that they’ve been putting out with the .2 numbers. It feels like the writers had a whole slew of subplots if they just couldn’t fit into the main book, so they dumped them all here. It feels horribly mismatched and choppy. It’s worth peeking at your friends copy though, just to see what happens when the lizard tries to bite a chunk out of Morbius, and ingests his vampire blood, combining with Dr. Connors on regenerative abilities. There’s a smart idea going on here and it really deserved better placement as the b storyline in the main book.

I’m kind of behind on getting this up, and while I was editing, the next wave of books came out so we’re gonna do two weeks worth of DC here… But then again don’t worry. It’s not gonna take long.

The Human Target is still excellent. Quite frankly, Christopher Chances romance with Ice is just enthralling. This is a tough sell too, because those of us who were around for the heyday of the Justice League International, have a lot invested emotionally in the relationship between ice and Guy Gardner. This book definitely moves us on, creating a new lens to observe that romance through, and leading Ice move on to a new relationship a chance. It also presents guy in a bad light, but does it smartly… In such a way that I don’t resent it. Even though last month was pretty much a filler issue, overall, this series has been just great. I’m gonna miss it when it’s over. I’m gonna miss this take on chance, and I hope we see more of it.
Also in the black label line is the flashes rogues book. This one I’m not so sure how to feel about. It’s in the future, kind of an old man Logan take… I’m hot and cold on it. Not sure if I like it or not yet. I really don’t like that Boomerang is dead (basically my main gateway to the Rogues) though the take on the young Trickster is actually pretty interesting. Not really enjoying Bronze Tiger being cast as a villian this time around though. I’m hoping we see him wrestle with his violence and morality, the way John Ostrander used to so intelligently write him. The whole thing is a real jumble that has me off balance.  I’m willing to give it one more issue though.

I even took a peek in this week’s Harley Quinn.
 
Um…. what has happened to this title?

The art is AWFUL. It’s so wierd and loopy and cartoon and it just feels cheap.  Also I know that they’re kind of trying to sell Harley as a hero these days because of her popularity, but really I feel like she’s lost a lot of her edge. The Harley Quinn I know wouldn’t be heading to jail trying to be cute and avoid any confrontations. The Harley I know would saunter in with a joke and a cute smile, and then stab a chick. Ugh. Such a disappointment.

On the other hand, Marvels infinity comics have been blowing me out of the water for the last couple weeks. One of the more interesting bits was marvel meow… A story about what happens when Black Widow and Bucky drop their cats off to stay with Captain Marvels flerkin.

It goes about as you would expect, and it’s really cute as a fun little one shot. Of course, even as I’m writing this, my daughter has informed me that it’s NOT a one shot… And in fact just A few days ago, they posted part two… where Spider-Man is cat sitting this time.
You know what? This was fun the first time, but comes off as a little silly and excessive going any further. Still, definitely catch up first one.

We did also get a Spider Bot infinity comic. See, here’s the thing, I discovered the infinity comics strictly because of the Jeff the LandShark series. That’s led to some of these other cutesy ones. I’m a fan of that kind of stuff, alligator Loki is probably the only one that’s coming close, but spider bite has its own charm. They’ve actually done a fairly good job I’ve been viewing these little sentient spider tracers with a surprising amount of personality. In the slightest issue, we encounter one with a broken leg… He can’t go on missions because he’s waiting to be fixed, so he stays back to clean the apartment, while dreaming of saving the world from Thanos and marrying fire star. All perfectly relatable!

More importantly though… The single most important innovation and offering from the Disney+ Loki series has arrived in comic form.
That’s right, they put out an Alligator Loki comic book! Thor stumbles across our scaly friend as he tumbles out of a portal, and in an attempt to bond with this version of his brother, he takes him to an asguardian amusement park. It’s just the best thing ever. I don’t know what delights me more. Watching poor little alligator Loki try and hold on as they ride the roller coaster, or just the sight of him in one of those across the chest baby harnesses as Thor carries them around. Seriously. It was my absolute favorite thing all last week.

I do feel weird that all of my Marvel  reading this week has pretty much been the online stuff, but they’re genuinely doing some good stuff here in these infinity comics and it’s worth hopping the pay wall to check it out.
 
My last pick this week was ShadowMan. Did you even know they were still doing this book? I mean it’s in its fifth or sixth version of the character even within this current reboot, and they’re leaning heavily into the whore. There’s some good stuff here, especially if you’re a voodoo fan like I am.

There’s an interesting approach to the Shadow Man, trying to treat him almost as a priest rather than just a warrior or a superhero. This is interesting, it’s a good and natural evolution of this character as we have added progressively more voodoo and horror elements to the series over the last couple of decades. Here we find him battling the incarnate spirit of the Deadside, in attempt to prevent the land of the dead from merging with the land of the living. I feel like I just saw a bunch of the story in Legend of Korra, but it remains solid. It’s one of those though that I think I might rather wait for the trade then chasing down individual issues. I’m still a little lukewarm on this version. I like it, but I feel like it needs more. Honestly what this really needs is a good supporting cast… I was so hoping that this dead side goddess would end up being Jack’s old housekeeper Nettie. I’ve been keeping with the sort of slight paranoia and twists that we used to get from the book. There’s still a solid foundation here, what it really needs is someone with a good long-term vision – I mean five years or so who can create a supporting cast around Jack figure out a good nightmare and bring back some recurring arch enemies. (in the previous issue, we got a brief appearance by master dark in Sandria and I was so excited for half a millisecond until they just use them as a throwaway villain… Such a bummer!)

foodThat’s it for comics.

Now. How about television?

The Food That Built America is back on, and I am enjoying that, there’s definitely some stuff about Dairy Queen in Carvel that I never knew. There’s a new show with Adam Richmond on after it too – Adam eats the 80’s which explores lost and changed food and candy from the 1980’s it’;s been far more interesting and fun that it has any right to be. It’s a good thing too, because I had an opening in my TV schedule  –  Superman and Lois was on a break last week and the Flash… I don’t know what it is the season. I almost feel like the mandate is “show the flash as little as possible“ after these last two episodes. I mean it’s fun to see Barry trapped in the locked down police station and I guess they’d have to take away his powers to make that work, but seriously. We’re getting two or three minutes of costume time each episode and I feel like I’m back in the 80s again where are these type of programs we’re still trying to pretend they weren’t superhero shows.

Maybe they’ll do better this week. Both The Flash and Superman and Lois should be available on demand by the time I get home tonight….I’ll let you know next week!

 

 


Last week’s pulls (week of 2-9-22)

Of all the titles that DC could put out as black label, Suicide Squad actually makes the most sense. There’s been a lot of times during that original 80’s run where this title crept right up to the edge of mature readers territory… And quite frankly, the first Deadshot miniseries absolutely should’ve been mature. So I was definitely interested when I saw Suicide Squad Blaze.
 
It’s splintered off of the main continuity, doing it’s own thing, and it’s fine, because it’s not really focused on the squad we know.
 
The government has several doses of a new drug called blaze, that will give an ordinary person superpowers… The problem is it also kills them in about three months. However they have a threat that they just can’t handle on their own, so they go through Gen Pop looking for volunteers (That is, after some of the more regular members of the squad flat out refuse). So the story is generally told through the eyes of a lonely loser who stepped up because the girl he loves also volunteered. What does it matter if they’re gonna die in three months?
The mission goes poorly, in grand Suicide Squad tradition and that’s fun. It’s gorgeously drawn in that gritty photocopy style that always appeals to me. Along with our super powered experiments, we still have some familiar faces from the roster. Peacemaker is there because they’re still trying to make this a thing, and tie into the TV show. Harley is there, because she’s kind of become inextricably linked to the Suicide Squad over the years. We’ve also got king shark from the movie…Not quite so dumb as he is in the film, but not the super intelligent plotter that the comics have portrayed him as in the past. He mostly just fights for special privileges, it really just wants to call his Mom. Rounding out the team is Captain Boomerang, a personal favorite. Boomerang’s always been good as the amoral comic relief of the team… And always added an interesting dynamic. In a lot of ways his role is been usurped by Harley, but I’m always happy to see him whenever he shows up. Interesting, they’re drawing him to look a lot like John Simm. (You may remember him as my least favorite version of the master from Doctor Who, but really you should look up some of his other work. His early comedies like Human Traffic are brilliantly cynical in a year 2000 way. Reminds me a bit of Seth Rogen and a touch of Adam Sandler).

Harley for her part is interesting here. This isn’t a typical portrayal for her… In her own books she’s cute and sexy. She’s charming and funny, it’s a little cracked in a slightly homicidal way. In this black label story, they’re not trying to make her pretty. She’s an attractive enough girl at times, but she’s also dangerously insane. Her face contorts into crazed anger, and she’s genuinely a bit frightening. There’s a sociopath edge to her personality that we’re not used to seeing anymore. Gone is the quirky, cute girl Deadpool routine we’ve become so familiar with, replaced by a dangerous psychopath and I got to say… It’s refreshing. This is exactly the sort of character I want to see in Suicide Squad. I’m really happy with this book.
 
I picked up Batgirls number three. It’s actually turned into one of those tiles I look forward to each month now. We’ve got a kid on the street using Scarecrow schtick, fear gas and such. It’s a nice straightforward adventure, and just a fun chance to spend some time and hang out with Steph and Cassie.
 
Steph is one of those characters that can be effortlessly charming in the hands of most writers. She basically writes herself, and you can stick her into a variety of situation and costumes and have her come off well. (Quite frankly, that’s pretty much what they’ve been doing for the last 20 years) but Cassandra is more of a challenge. You need a good writer to really handle her well. She’s largely mute, and very withdrawn, except for her physical prowess. You can basically either turn her into a background character or a tank. That’s about all. I’ve never really connected with Cassie. Oh, there’s been moments… I seem to recall an issue of Cassie’s old Batgirl series where Barbara takes her on a cruise and chance of having to fight bad guys. There’s some good moments there, like when they’re at dinner, or describing how wearing a swimsuit makes her feel uncomfortable because of the way she reads the body language of everyone around her. The almost romance with Superboy peaked my interest and I didn’t go anywhere, and the way Batman fired her at one point did nothing for me. In the past They would try too hard with her when they try at all, like putting her in the classic Batgirl suit (“Look! She tripped on her high heels!” Bleh.), or portray her as quirky, walking around the Outsiders compound naked in front of people because she just didn’t care… None of it lands.
 
That’s actually what’s been so special about this book. Giving Cassie a foil to bounce off of helps develop her and draw out her personality. One of the strangest things to me was a dialog box where they describe Steph as her best friend. And attacking her best friend is obviously going to make her angry… That’s interesting. It’s interesting because I never really looked at Cassandra as someone who even had friends. Maybe Barbara, but she’s more of a mentor. Cassie with that sort of a relationship… The best friend… A typical teenager thing… I like it. It feels like growth.
 
Barbara Gordon is living her best life here too. When they rebooted her as bad girl in the new 52, she felt decidedly younger. I know she’s probably 19-ISH… the way she was in the silver age, but especially once we got to that Batgirl of Burnside thing in the rebirth era, she seriously looked and felt like she was a 16-year-old herself.
 
This Barbara feels more mature. She feels like a 30 something with the age and experience to really mentor these two girls (and I’d love to see that discussion between Babs and Bruce… About setting up basically the girls dorm of the Batman family, and him needing her to mentor them because there’s things that women need other women to teach them.). Barbara really feels like Oracle again here. And I gotta be honest, that was really her best destiny. I know that sounds ghoulish to say that her best, most ultimate form, was the ex superhero, paralyzed and trapped in a wheelchair, but Oracle really did more good with a greater reach and Batgirl ever did. Barbara Gordon had a greater maturity and depth in that era and it just makes her more interesting character rather than just a cute but derivative one. I like that I’m seeing some of that character in depth here, and all these elements together just make this a great book.
 
I had a friend in the Panels Comic Club mention to me that he may wait to get this in the trade… You can do that, but honestly, I don’t know how long this series is gonna last. After watching the untimely demise of the super sons, I’m honestly approaching this personally as a miniseries. If we get more than six issues, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If we get more than a year, I’ll be shocked. But, as one of the few new comics coming out that I’m really liking, I’m going to hang on and enjoy the ride.
 
Don’t be fooled by the cover of this  next book. Spider-Man (Neither Ben nor Peter) appear in this issue. Issue 88.bey is strictly a side story and I got to admit, I really wish they’d just done a separate issue – kind of the way they did with that Mary Jane and Black Cat story last month. It was just a better way of doing things, even if this team starts to become bigger players in the main title.
 
That’s all I have to say about this issue. I probably would have passed on this thing if I’d realized what it really was.
 
I picked up Secret X-Men on a whim. Mainline Marvel titles like the Avengers books or the X titles I like to dip my toe in every once in a while just to see if there’s anything worth reading. X-Men hasn’t been all that worthwhile for quite a long time now. The X titles are ugly preachy books with some disturbing ideas. It used to be that X-Men was solid superhero storytelling with a subtext about equality. It would bubble to the surface here and there, and frequently they would deal with things in metaphor. The problem is, metaphor isn’t good enough anymore and the current crop of writers have put the subtext in the foreground and frequently forget to write an adventure. You know how I describe large chunks of the CW shows as “attractive-people-standing-around-in-hallways-talking-about-their-feelings“tm? The X-Men comics are all that. And all the talk is very much “Look how diverse we are! Look how gay we are!“ (It’s strange actually, every new mutant created seems to be required to have some LGBT characteristics. Just being a mutant isn’t enough… But then again like I said, these people don’t understand metaphor anymore. Wierd. It’s a statistical unlikelihood and sure fire Darwinian path towards extinction by the way). The X-Men themselves have become full on segregationists living on an island only for mutants. It’s actually almost crossed over into  kind of racist territory… Like I said. These books have gotten ugly.
 
Secret X-Men jumped out at me in large part because of the lineup. It feels a lot like an X-Force variation. I always really enjoyed X-force, perhaps even more than its predecessor New Mutants. They managed to keep the relationships and chemistry very much intact here. One of the real pleasures of reading this book is watching sunspot and cannonball interact. It’s too old best friends just falling right back in the sink… It’s just Roberto and Sam, and it feels very genuine. That’s sort of male relationship where you can let down your guard a little bit and where you just know each other. We need to see more of these kind of friendships.
I like a lot of this team. Boom Boom and Banshee have always sort of been fan favorites and Strong Guy is a really fun character when he’s in the right hands. I’m actually a little disappointed that we don’t get more funny stuff with him, although there’s a bit of a whopper towards the end involving holding breath at a graveyard.
 
I’m also really enjoying these costumes. A lot of the X-Men redesigns have been hit or miss, but as far as this whole uniform looks goes, it’s a great take on it. The artist blends the aesthetic of the classic Xavier uniform with modern elements like the digital X and the more ribbed and leathery textures.
 
More importantly, it’s a genuinely fun book. Bobby is hitting a party and trying to impress people by telling them he’s the leader of the X-Men… But this backfires when Deathbird recruits him because she needs the X-Men’s help. Bobby then recruits a crack team of familiar faces… Mutants who didn’t qualify for membership in the current roster of the X-Men, and off they go on a spacey adventure. It’s good times and it feels like 90s X-Men to me (an era I’m particularly fond of). I’m not sure if I’m gonna stay with this book, but I’m definitely gonna pick up the next issue just to see where this goes.
 
By the way, I’m also sticking with Devil’s Reign. It’s a hard book to review, because it’s really one big six-issue story, but it’s been good. REALLY good. Gimmie a crossover like this with political intrigue, super villians, the Marvel universe heroes, and put Daredevil at the center for a change? Yeah. I’m really liking it. Can’t wait to finish it so I can really digest it and talk about the whole thing.

 


Gotham villians

Costume

I wanted to try something with my fellow Gotham villians in a Dark Knight style….

gotham-villians


Batman

CostumeThe weird thing about Batman is this outfit has never been to a convention, never been in a costume contest, never even done Halloween. Still, it’s kind of like the little black dress in every smart woman’s closet.

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I’ve saved this mostly for charity events and stuff like that – I even zombified it at one point!

13239359_1176050305747784_2036060774320829229_nBonus – Supergirl punching out the Stay Puft Marshmello man!

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Man-at-Arms (part three)

Costume

The search for Eternian allies continues. First to the north…

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Then into the truly bizarre…..

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www.freepix4all.com

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Man-at-Arms (part two)

Costume

When last we left Man-at-Arms, he had boarded the mysterious blue box and gone off in search of allies.

It begins in the northern wastes….

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and then into the fiery depths.

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Even on Earth (in the most 80’s photo ever)

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and in the deepest reaches of space!

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Still more to come!


Suicide Squad

Movie banner13892229_1241366962574391_4816180486414748227_n13900330_1241366639241090_8916467670430048044_nSuicide Squad made me nervous.

No, it’s not the conventional wisdom that DC dosen’t make good movies (but we’ll get to that later….), it really started with the casting of Will Smith as Deadshot.

See, I’m a fan. I remember being intrigued by the ads for SS in the back of my Superman and Star Trek comics in the late 80’s. I remember grabbing nearly half the run out of the fifty cent bins at Astonish! around 1990. I remember buying the Deadshot mini series off the rack at the drug store in 1988 (how did that pass the comics code anyhow? I can’t believe there’s no Mature readers warning on it…) I read both revivals, and it was one of the few titles I actually jumped on board with when the new 52 came around. So what it came down to was if they would capture the feel of the comic – the dynamic that made it work.

Thank God. They did. It’s TOTALLY Suicide squad. It’s chaotic, people die, things go 13906951_1241367802574307_3319605859012466586_nhorribly wrong, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a SS movie. Even Will Smith almost made me forget he all wrong for the role – played it surprisingly low key. HQ was dead on. There was JUST enough Boomerang….I want more next time though. In particular I want to see more squabbling between him and Deadshot – a staple from the comics. The pink Unicorn thing was strange. I wonder if that was part of the reshoots…an afterthough by the producers when following a screening od Deadpool?

El Diablo was surprisingly well developed. Waller was dead on (actually better than her portrayl in green Lantern. I was surprised). I loved EVERY moment of it. But even more astonishingly – my daughter loved every moment of it.

13880216_1241366782574409_5859117813386446360_n13938399_1241366602574427_92859555906020074_nShe thought it was one of the most exciting things she’d ever seen. She was a little peeved about Katana only speaking Japenese, but was still stoked to see her on the screen. She immediatly got the connections to BvS and was super excited to catch that. She though Harley was hilarious. As soon as Enchantress came on the screen she gasped and demanded I make her an enchantress costume.

So why do I feel this sense of Deja Vu?

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Listening to SS critics is a lot like standing too close to Black Canary when she screams….

I’ve spent a great deal of this weekend rolling my eyes at the constant negative reviews. I can’t believe these people saw the same movie as I did.  I do think there is some element of Marvel vs DC – particularly on the Critics side. Once again, Rotten Tomatoes is showing high marks on the viewer score and low on the critic score. Interestingly, while a lot of that managed to thoroughly label BvS a flop (despite making well over 800 million – that three times it’s budget folks!) and a bad movie the same stigma isn’t managing to stick quite as well to SS.

From real people, There’s a couple of things I’m hearing consistently. One is about the Joker. I do get this. I really do. I still hate the facial tattoos and the grill on the teeth. But you know what? I actually dig the performance. I said it way back in January “it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here”. Turns out, that is indeed what we got. 13901335_1241369232574164_7802550710776368507_nLeto’s Joker is creepy and ratchets up the crazy, finally hitting the level I’m used to seeing in the comics. I think a lot of people are holding on to Heath Ledger’s performance. I really do. It’s considered one of the definitive Jokers ever. The fact that I hate it personally, probably helps me let  got a little easier. If the anarchist is what you’re looking for, then yeah, you’ll hate this. If you can’t get past the tats, you’ll hate this. I was skeptical about the cloths myself. In that same article I also wrote “The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. ” It took a moment, but I realized that this Joker really WAS a dandy. Flamboyant, in a mid 2000’s way – yet just as uninterested in actual fashion as his comic counterpart. In short, he works. I really do encourage you too look past some of the superficial here. There’s actually a LOT to like about this Joker.

T13921087_1241366902574397_8634667013700967366_nhe other main complaint I consistently hear is that it’s too confusing. I have a problem with  this because I wasn’t confused at all. I liked having a couple of quickie short films at the beginning to introduce us to the skwad as Waller flips through the files. In fact, I like it WAY better than taking up half a movie with an origin story. I couldn’t understand how this was confusing. Sam Stutler suggested to me that “maybe it’s  because the story was so enmeshed in the medium. (like say, Watchmen)”. I’m not sure I agree with this. While the tone really did skew close to SS (this is NOT a superhero movie guys. It’s not Avengers on with bad guys – it’s something else entirely), it’s not t13891969_10155054742585744_4761113129915353450_nhe comic book. You can see the writers read the comics though….there’s a great moment with Captain Boomerang and Slipknot that is pulled STRAIGHT out of one of the earliest issues. It’s nearly word for word and uses the exact same characters. I squeeled like a little girl.

I think my friend Jen put it into better perspective for me.  She claimed there seemed like too much you were expected to know going in. “There’s too many mones where it’s just like ‘you know…’. No! I don’t know!”. It could be that my familiarity with the characters blinds me to this. We’re living in an age where Harley Quinn is univerally known, and Deadshot isn’t far behind. But she may be right. I’m used to this story structure. Do the mission get time off, or get released outright. Squad is

This scene does not appear in the film. BUT IT SHOULD!

This scene does not appear in the film. BUT IT SHOULD!

expendable. Wander off get your hand or later on head) blown off. I got the visual ques right away, maybe some of this stuff wasn’t spelled out enough. erhaps that stuff should have been in the commercials instead of the quirky music and “worst heroes ever” tagline.

Still, despite the confusion, a lot of those folks seemed to like the movie just on the strength of it’s bright chaotic action strenghts alone – and that’s a good sign that DC is on the right track, no matter what the critics say.

As far as I’m concerned, this was the best film I’ve seen all year.

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Oh by the way, John Ostrander – the creator of Amanda Waller and writer on that original run of SS in the 80’s as well as Writer of Stuff Peter David and director/comic writer Kevin Smith  all thought it was pretty dope as well…..
(warning, strong language abounds)

http://www.comicmix.com/2016/08/07/john-ostrander-reviews-the-suicide-squad/

http://www.peterdavid.net/2016/08/08/suicide-squad-wtf-people/


Suicide Squad – more promos

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will-smith-deadshot-costume-suicide-squad-movieI so, really, REALLY want to like this. Deadshot is all wrong (and was always my favorite character of the squad) but everyone else looks good and the pose is brilliant….It’s like having a loose tooth you know? You keep wiggling it because it hurts and feels good at the same time, and you really want to have it out, but know it’s going to be a mother ripping that thing out of your head.

And that’s really the thing about all of this that bothers me. They did such a good job on so many of these characters. They really did. Even Deadshot actually looks very good…as long as he keeps that mask on, but the thing is, Deadshot is way more than a mask. There’s a huge amount of character there, and it’s not the character type that Will Smith plays. I know, I sound like I’m being picky, oversensitive, overfocusing. You have to understand, I’ve wanted a Deadshot film since 1989. It’s always been that important to me and now that I’m getting one, it has the worst casting since Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

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3E2ci5JThen there’s also the Joker. Yeah, I’m one of those guys that can’t get past the tattoos. Actually it’s just the ones on his face.

Now, it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here, because it’s indicative of there personality we are supposed to be getting from him and it bothers me a bit. The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. This appearance is a little too gansta thug and it bothers me. It’s like an itch at the very base of my brain that I just can’t quite scratch.

But again, what makes it so frustrating is how good the rest of this film and this cast looks, and how well they seem to have captured the rest of this gang, both in appearance and in swagger.

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008.jpgI dig the look they have for Harley. It’s an evolution on the kind of slutty Harley they’ve been going towards in the comics, but then again, I wouldn’t really look at this as her “costume” but rather just the clothes she basically woke up in . I can get behind that.

Capitan Boomerang. I can’t say enough about how much i love both the look and the casting. If you want to talk about a character that I’m almost as invested in as Deadshot – there it is. Digger is a bright side to look on if there ever was one.

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BronzeTiger.jpgKatana looks great here. A perfect take on the new 52 version, through I can’t for the life of me understand what she’s doing here- she hasn’t been a part of this group in any incarnation ,though I suspect she’s fulfilling Vixen’s comic book role of “trouble heroine looking for redemption”. Indeed, when I look at this picture here and think of her filling the absent Vixen’s dynamic it makes me wonder if Will Smith’s Deadshot isn’t really meant to fill the role of Bronze Tiger, also a troubled hero (once a villain, now trying to make up for his past). The way he’s right over Katana’s shoulder and the warm, almost regretful tone he speaks in the trailer really makes me wonder. Both Bronze Tiger and Vixen were core members of the original team, they were very much it’s heart and it’s conscience. Those roles are essential in a team like this, but those names are even more unknown than a lot of the rest of the team. From a marketing standpoint it would make sense to roll Tiger and Deadshot up into one character (even if it frustrates me to no end…)suicide-squad

Great casting on Croc, and even El Diablo has a very interesting look, again, not sure who is making the choices for the line up, but I’m all for the roster here.

I’m impressed with the marketing here. It looks like DC is taking a page from Marvel’s book and building this up much the same way Marvel did Guardian’s of the Galaxy. I hope it works for them. While both were fairly unknown properties with only minimal name recognition going for them, Guardians had fun and space opera working for them, where as this film has a nihilistic edge and gritty action feel to it – very different kinds of movies. At the time, Marvel also had already proven itself as a studio brand – you knew what kind of film you were going to with a Marvel movie. DC and Legendary pictures hasn’t quite established itself yet, and what little identity it has, is very serious and grim.

I’m on the edge of my seat. I really am. I don’t know whether to cheer or kvetch. But on thing is for sure, I’ll be there to see the movie in August.

 


NEO Comic Con

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I’d really love to tell you all about NEO Comicon. The problem is, I wasn’t paying attention. I spent much of the con with friends and didn’t snap a single picture – so some of the details are more background….but let’s rewind a  bit.

I got there late, and was shocked to find the place was packed. I mean, PACKED – they got over 1700 visitors, nearly twice the amount they were expecting and even halfway into the show the joint was jumping. I found this surprising because as I was driving in, I saw just as many cars leaving the con as I saw coming into it.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The promoters did an amazing job of getting online buzz  and word-of-mouth going. Even that first year at Akron Comicon (a bigger show than this mind you) I don’t think I saw this same level of awareness. It sure did seem like everyone I knew was going to this.

I was coming directly from Church, so there was no way I’d be doing a long, involved makeup like the Thing (which I feel a little bad about considering my Thing costume was actually 11863293_1021250464586043_2562674986638811197_nfeatured in Scene Magazine’s promo for the show….) but I still wanted something a little more interesting than my standard go-to of the Shadow. I decided to pull out my old Doctor Octopus costume – an outfit I haven’t worn in over four years – not since my first time out at Lake Effect Comicon. I made a couple of upgrades this time around as well, extending the upper arms and adding claws to them – claws that really snap and grab. Nothing was more fun that noticing someone looking at the arms then suddenly snapping the claws at them and watching people jump.

As soon as I entered the dealers room I found my friends in the nearest corner and ended up hanging out with them for most of the rest of the show (and then swiping a bunch of thier photos for the blog). They immediately put me to use using me as a battering ram through the throngs of people – you remember that scene in Spider-Man 2 with Doc Ock parting the crowd in the train? Yeah, that was the idea.

3723431-0774789316-spideAs we passed through the con I noticed that there actually was a panel  going on. This was something unexpected. No schedule was posted and I had no idea  that there was going to be  ANY programming. I did know there was no costume contest, but the con did let cosplayers in free which shows they really do value us  and the walking, talking atmosphere we provide far more than the extra $3.00 they might make from thier admission fee. I would have liked to see more 11870799_10206146137111227_6927026301227771022_nprogramming (I spend two weekends a year at this hotel for Cinema Wasteland. There’s another room on the ground floor that wasn’t being used and could easily have been turned into a screening room of some sort) and for the existing programming to be better advertised, but the fact that they had anything at all really does show that they want a quality con.

It was bigger than I expected, with every inch of the dealer’s room packed. Very good vendors, not to mention fun tables  as well – the cast of from “TRACE : A Doctor Who Fan Film” along with the Tardis and 2 Weeping Angels were there in the center of it all, providing the best photo op anywhere in the show. Prop makers, not to mention a full size RC R2D2 in one booth, Jango Fett in  carbonite, and some great Comic creators. I stuffed a bag full of back issues, grabbing more of that Gambit series I’ve always meant to get to, as well as more Guides to the Marvel universe (I’ve got a thing for reference books). Look in the background – you’ll see me digging through long boxes with all four arms…..

11891211_877703205611520_2929705278904078324_nCrowded aisles, and some logistical errors, but all in all a very strong first year. A great deal that the promoters can learn from this  first turn out. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a different venue next year (they’ve mentioned either this or expanding to more areas of the Holiday inn) and add some more events. They’ve already mentioned adding a costume contest . There’s certainly big ambitions here and with such an impressive beginning I can see them improving on the model for next year.

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Geekfest 2015

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I almost wish that this had been the first con I took my kids to. It’s a 11046883_870505629696347_4447852656717970403_ngreat primer on con life, while being inexpensive – free admission and parking, very few vendors, while still having some real local talents like Thom Zhaler there for people to meet.

It’s very much the idea of a comicon as seen through the eyes of a Library with a lot of activites for the kids, crafts and games and handouts. Lydia was debuting her new Harley Quinn outfit and was distressed that I had forgotten her mask at home, but never fear, one of the craft stations was a mask making activity and both she and Maddie made themselves masks. Odd, I think Poison Ivy looks good in a mask….

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The highlight for me was the live Doctor Who performance by the Overlord Media Group which featured 9 and 10, along wiht the War Doctor and Captian Jack, as well as a female Captian Jack (Jill) and the perkiest Dalek you’ve ever met.  They are trying to fix a time paradox caused by Rose who was still trying to find the Doctor…Everyone was perfect and the entire thing was fun from start to finish.  Clocking in at half an hour my daughters didn’t even get fidgety.

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Geekfest is a huge cosplay event, especially with  teenagers. While 11695865_1012573048787118_6533438551950881638_nthe kids dress up as everything under the sun and adults lean towards comics, I notice a heavy anime influence in the teen division of the costume contest (which had at least twice as many entries as either the adult or kids). It keeps things interesting and diverse -and again, it’s a very Library kind of con. Speaking of cosplay, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this AMAZING troll that entered with a head made mostly out of Great Stuff – the same stuff I made my Thing feet and Groot costume out of. It’s stuff like this that starts to give me ideas….

For a Library event, this thing is huge and always well run, this year boasting a game room, an art show and multiple panels, along with a media room showing Superhero TV shows as well as a food stand outside. They call themselves a Mini-Con, but this event is as big as quite a few of the full fledged comicons I attend and they certainly deserve the name, and I’m interested in seeing what they come up with next year!

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Today at the Akron-Summit County Public Library

(60 S High St, Akron, Ohio 44326) We’ll be there for what they’re calling a mini-con; a very good description for this event.  The fun begins at noon and goes until four. Admission is free and last year they had crafts, art, performers  and costume events (check out our write up  – https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/not-exactly-a-convention/ ). It’s really a marvelous event for families and possibly the most suited for my girls of all the cons I take them to!
We’re dressing up, Lydia has  a new costume and Maddie finally has the sidekick she’s always wanted.
Gotham City Villians
Today, the Bat doesn’t stand a chance.