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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
Last week’s pulls (week of 2-9-22)
I wanted to try something with my fellow Gotham villians in a Dark Knight style….
The 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.
I’ve saved this mostly for charity events and stuff like that – I even zombified it at one point!
Bonus – Supergirl punching out the Stay Puft Marshmello man!
Man-at-Arms (part three)
The search for Eternian allies continues. First to the north…
Then into the truly bizarre…..
Man-at-Arms (part two)
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….
and then into the fiery depths.
Even on Earth (in the most 80’s photo ever)
and in the deepest reaches of space!
Still more to come!
Suicide 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 horribly 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.
She 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?
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. Leto’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.
The 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 the 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
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.
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)
Suicide Squad – more promos
I 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.
Then 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.
I 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.
Katana 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…)
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
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 featured 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.
As 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 programming (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…..
Crowded 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.
I almost wish that this had been the first con I took my kids to. It’s a great 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….
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.
Geekfest is a huge cosplay event, especially with teenagers. While the 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!