Friday, November 28, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Today's column is likely sexist and offensive. So, now that that’s out of the way- Wonder Woman is so freaking hot. I’m just saying what we’re all thinking. There are others- Power Girl, She-Hulk, Black Canary, Black Cat, Catwoman…but at the end of the day, I think we all know who the hottest, fictional-woman-whose-body-image-probobly-isn’t-a-healthy-or-realistic-representation is. I’m back on this subject again, because I’m thinking about the movie again. To recap? I can’t believe they bailed out on Joss Whedon. I can’t believe Warner Brothers (or anyone) doesn’t just give the man anything he wants to make a movie, assured that people will love it. But now DC is trying to crank out some new franchise movies, in the hopes to compete with the whole Avengers thing Marvel is putting together. So Whedon or not, the Wonder Woman movie will probably get made- sometimes, somewhere. It’s in development hell right now, so to speak: so maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…but eventually, you’ll see that thing. But you know what I think the biggest problem they’re gonna have is? She’s too freaking hot. Who can play this woman? The right actress to play Wonder Woman would be something akin to a real life Jessica Rabbit- that is, a Frankenstein of different women’s body parts and characteristics. The actress who plays Wonder Woman would need to be as beautiful as Jennifer Connelly, come across as refined and wordly like Catherine Zeta Jones, look like she could kick your @ss like Lucy Lawless in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, and have the body of a playboy bunny. Who is going to play said woman? And DON’T say Angelina Jolie. I’m sorry, I like Angelina Jolie, but just…I’m not suggesting we slam her in this role JUST BECAUSE Angelina Jolie plays every role along these lines, ever. I mean, there are other ways to spin the character- instead of a six and a half foot amazon, she can be surprisingly-limber-and-strong dainty royalty. I mean, that’s a whole other mess of stereotypes to contend with- but still, it’s another way to do the character in a movie. But even then? I still don’t know who would be right for that role. At best, a no name. Of course, the other problem people are going to have with a Wonder Woman movie is…well, feminism. That is, not that feminists every where are going to freak out about a Wonder Woman movie. Just some of them. I mean, think about what I’ve written in this column so far- how the hell is the character I’m describing a healthy role model for young women? The rub is in considering just what elements of…well, women…that Wonder Woman is going to represent. As much as I wouldn’t hesitate to run out and watch a film that played into my adolescent fantasies regarding strong, beautiful, assertive types, the real trick is to get the movie to appeal to women. Of course, last time I checked, this was kind of the rub in feminism itself- there isn’t the best consensus on what being a feminist really means. And depending on who you talk to, comic book superheroines are symptomatic of liberation or everything that was ever oppressive and hurtful towards women and the messages they get. I mean, a lot of Diana’s story is about Ancient Greece-esque stuff. And partly, I’m picturing the movie as a little bit more Gladiator than The Dark Knight. But still, as the first female character to ever have her own comic book (pretty sure about this?), what she represents to women…you’d be crazy to not make a movie and consider this, carefully. Or is that not fair to the character? I can never make up my mind. Do we ask “what does Spider-man mean, to men?” Maybe a good Dungeons and Dragons romp with a playboy bunny material actress wearing revealing clothing is what that comic book is really about. Okay, that was a gross distortion- but you know what I mean. Is just the story, alone, enough? Or is it the implications that you really need to think about? Wonder Woman doesn’t have the most enticing rogue's gallery, but she has a couple of standbys that I think could work- Circe, Dr. Psycho… But my new favorite, and who I think is a great foil for the character, goes by the name Veronica Cale. Cale doesn’t have any superpowers. But I will say this- she’s kind of, everything that women are…supposed to be…in the hotly misogynist view of the world. I almost can’t put it into words. But it’s like…she uses the fantasy that men usually have about women like her to get what she wants. She’s harsh, deceitful, and power hungry. It’s like she represents everything that thousands of years of oppression turn women into. She sees herself as the pinnacle of feminism, but in a lot of ways she buys into all of those things that help keep women oppressed, ultimately. Now I know this makes a Wonder Woman movie dangerously similar to a Superman movie, whose chief rival is already “just a guy, who happens to have a starkly opposite ideology of the hero.” I mean, making “Wonder-Woman” and “Super-man” movies without distinguishing features is a recipe for disaster. But still, I think a villain who can be like a scary, rebellious catholic schoolgirl one minute, Betty Crocker the next, and a criminal mastermind the third makes for a particularly good villain. Of course, the problem is all in the execution. Maybe a good Wonder Woman movie isn’t going to answer a lot of questions about feminism- just ask them. My favorite bit about Cale in the comics is that she is so staunchly devoted to the idea that deep down, Wonder Woman is full of it. She has got to be “playing the game,” the way Cale does- smiling for the cameras, pretending to be someone she isn’t. So, in a way, maybe Cale is just a good candidate for a character who literally proposes what some people ultimately WILL in real life about Wonder Woman- that she isn’t a good role model. Not saying she is or isn’t myself- just musing about the dynamics of the movie. I really think this might be the best way to go- break the fourth wall a little and comment on the character, in the movie. Or just amazons wearing revealing clothing. I’d be fine with that too.

Stan Lee awarded National Medal of Arts

Anyone that's read comics knows that Stan Lee is epic. Without him we wouldn't have Spider-man, Fantastic Four or the Hulk. And comics certainly wouldn't be where they are today without an industry mouthpiece like Lee advocating their cause. Finally, comic book fans aren't the only one to realize how awesome he is. Washington Post reports that Lee has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, an award reserved for recognizing individuals who have contributed immensely to the advancement of the arts, and the NMA is considered to be the highest award bestowed by the US government in recognition of talent arts. "I feel very honored, very surprised," Lee said. "When I first got the phone call, I thought it was a gag. I'd heard of it but didn't know much about it. I'd heard of the NEA. But it was just a name." Omnicomic wants to send a very hearty congratulations to Mr. Lee for this tremendous accomplishment. Saying he has been important to comics is a tremendous understatement, and its great to see that his accolades are being recognized for the impact they've had on the comic book industry and arts in general. Stan is the man

A Dark Horse Christmas

Thanksgiving is over, so we can now start focusing on the next holiday whose true meaning has been completely bastardized by commercialism in Christmas. Let the countdown begin! Sometimes its tough to figure out what to get for certain people, and comic book folk especially can be somewhat tricky to narrow down good gift options. One site you may want to check out is Dark Horse, which has tons of quality comic book stuff that would make great gifts. Everyone's favorite rampaging miniature Domo is available for purchase, in addition to Hellboy stuff, The Spirit merchandise and Buffy. There's also a pretty awesome coloring kit and a pretty epic looking limited edition hardcover of The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite for sale as well. I'm sure that other comic book publishers will have similar merchandise available pertinent to their intellectual properties, but Dark Horse has always had some of the more unique properties. Dark Horse Christmas goodies

The Dark Knight Best Buy specials

Have you checked your calendars lately? If so, you may have noticed that today is November 27, and December 9 is closer than you think. I'm sure every one of you have a plan as to where you'll be getting The Dark Knight when it comes out on DVD. I'm here to let you know though that if you go to Best Buy you're going to have a lot of options as to which version of the film you get. Superhero Hype has a list of the nine (yes, nine) different versions of the DVD/Blu-ray, each coming with various Batman memorabilia. We already know about the Batpod version, but Best Buy is also offering limited edition Joker/Batman figurines with the special edition version of the film. What other versions are there you ask? Dark Knight: Fullscreen Version Dark Knight: Widescreen Version Dark Knight: Special Edition Dark Knight: Special Edition (w/ Batman Mask) BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE Dark Knight: Special Edition (w/ Clown Mask) BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE Dark Knight: Blu-Ray Dark Knight: Blu-Ray (w/ Batpod) Dark Knight: Blu-Ray (w/ Batman Mask) BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE Dark Knight: Blu-Ray (w/ Clown Mask) BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE That's a lot of versions, and you certainly should not get all of them. I guess it boils down to whether you want a Batpod, Batman mask or Clown mask, and then if you want the Joker or Batman figurine. Take your pick. You can't really go wrong with any choice, because at the end of the day the film still kicks ass. The Dark Knight at Best Buy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Omnicomic wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day and turkey, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for more comic news action.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

The Return of Rock... A couple of years ago I was doing a story on a place near where I live on Long Island called The Bayport Aerodome. This is an organization dedicated to the preservation and piloting of historic aircraft. While there I met Billy Tucci, a relatively well-known comic creator best known for his female warrior creation Shi. Most of the members were older gentlemen, many of whom had been pilots in Korea, Vietnam and even a couple of real old timers who flew during WWII. Billy was by far the youngest guy there and I was surprised that a young comic guy would be interested in military history. As I remember, some of his family were in the military and he was interested in preserving this part of his own family history, besides being interested in military aviation. Knowing Tucci's interest in military history, it is of no particular surprise that he is heading the resurgence of the great DC war superhero Sgt. Rock with his fine series Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion. Tucci's work is not the only work recently released to chronicle the great character. The Showcase Volume (2) on Rock features the major names associated with the Rock Character; Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. Kanigher is not a household name even to the hardcore fanboy, however, Mr. Kanigher is one of the most prolific and almost certainly underrated creators in comics history. His early career as a writer was noteworthy for his work on Wonder Woman, whose scripting duties he took from the heroine's creator William Moulton Marston and work on such stalwarts as the Blue Beetle and Captain Marvel. He also had a hand in creating several of DC's most enduring characters in the 40's and 50's, including the Black Canary, the Silver Age Flash (Barry Allen) and the Metal Men. Kanigher really made his mark in DC's War Comics Genre. In 1952 DC had 5 major war comics titles including GI Combat, Our Army at War, Our Fighting Forces, All American Men of War and Star Spangled War Stories. During this time, Kanigher created one of DC's most memorable characters in SGT. Rock (with the much more well-known artist Joe Kubert). Rock made his first appearance in GI Combat in 1959 where he was known simply as "The Rock." His name goes through a couple of versions including "SGT. Rocky," until finally it settles on SGT. Rock about six months after his initial appearance. Rock's origin is clouded in mystery (probably carelessness on the writer's part as opposed to a genuine desire to make the character more interesting) and there seems to be some debate and genuine ambiguity as to whether Rock survived World War 2. The character built a strong following for almost twenty years until he finally got his own title in 1977. This title had a decent run until the late 80's (the last and most recent point at which there was a romanticism of the US Military). Despite not having a regular series for 20 years, the character has retained strong name recognition with comic fans. Indeed, Rock exists in the superhero universe of DC and was featured in a memorable Brave and the Bold Story with Batman in the 70's, and Rock and his unit "EASY Company" were featured in an equally memorable episode of Justice League Unlimited. With DC's recent release of DC Showcase Presents SGT. Rock Vol.2, Rock's legacy is well-represented. These stories cover some of the early SGT. Rock tales from '62-'63 and there is a sense of the impending drama of Vietnam to gives these stories a real sense of narrative urgency. Many of the stories have elements of surrealism with hallucinations, weird landscapes that look to have been cooked up from Dali's sketchbook and a kind of gallows humor which had easy company always at the brink of annihilation. A favorite kind of story from this time has Rock going mano-a-mano with his Axis "other" like a German Sargent. The writers and artists typically would play up the physical and emotional contrasts of SGT. Rock who was emotional, tough and indomitable (read: American) and his German counterpart who was callous, arrogant and cruel (Read: European). One of the Hidden S' favorite parlor games with regard to comics is what is the source of this character's popularity? With Sgt Rock, I am honestly not sure. He doesn't have the Dash of Blackhawk; nor does he have the panache and anti-hero cache of Enemy Ace; he doesn't have the weirdness and mystique of The Unknown Soldier (to name 3 of DC's big war hero types). Another problem with having a character like Rock now is the same problem with other characters like Captain America, in that an American war hero seems unfashionable at this point in history. Also, a lot of the guys who created the war comics or worked on them (like the Glanzmans and Jack Kirby) had personal experiences in the military which translated well to their work on these titles. Now, it is probably fair to say that most comic book artists aren't as interested in these kind of characters and scenarios as the previous generations of comic artist were. I think Rock's appeal is in the everyman quality that he has, combined with the sense of indomitably that he represents. He is a superman that is easy to relate to (not a common thing in mainstream comics). This indomitable quality and his image has been very influential in modern American Popular Cinema. Specific influences? How about Bruce Willis in Die Hard, Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (whose character's mysterious background mirrored Rock's), Arnold in Raw Deal, Predator (especially) and True Lies; Tom Berenger in Platoon; Stallone in the Rambo films? When those guys open up with machine gunfire you can be sure the spirit of Rock is somewhere smiling. The hidden s

Freshmen T-shirt for sale

Did you happen to catch Heroes last night? No? Well then let me tell you what you missed. In addition to an actually pretty solid episode, you also missed a cameo appearance by Seth Green and Breckin Meyer. And of course, Meyer took the opportunity to pimp his and Green's comic Freshmen by wearing a shirt advertising the comic. Now YOU can also have that shirt, if you so desire! Top Cow is selling the t-shirt, which advertises the Freese College Beavers logo on black. Yes, you probably didn't see the shirt unless you paused the DVR or did it in slow-motion, since they were in the episode just long enough to say "awesome." But don't let that stop you from representing your love of Freshmen. The shirt is $19.99, and you can get it in standard, ringer, long-sleeve or baby doll forms. Each type has different color options, so be sure to look around some before settling on a style. Freshmen T-shirt for sale

10% discount on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited

I'm not one to schill for Marvel (so far they haven't contacted me about a sponsorship, but my door is always open Marvel), but this is a pretty good deal so I'll mention it. Marvel is currently offering a subscription to their Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited service at 10% less. The special deal ends December 1 at 11:59 PM EST, so make sure you get over there before that time if you want to get in on the sweet discounted action. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited 10% off

X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer to debut with The Day the Earth Stood Still

Have you seen the previews for the new Keanu Reeves film, The Day the Earth Stood Still? If you have, you may be in agreement with me when I say that I really have no desire to see that film. Nothing against Reeves, as I feel he's made somewhat of a comeback as of late. But the movie itself looks pretty overdramatic. But 20th Century Fox has basically told me I have to see the film. Why? Superhero Hype has just confirmed that the trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine will debut with the film on December 12. Now, there is no word if this is the same trailer that leaked onto the internets earlier this year, but even if it is, it'll be good to see it on the big screen. I'm pretty stoked for this film, however I'm a little worried because it may not have a place continuity-wise in the new Marvel film universe. The movie will still most likely be badass, regardless of context though. You would also expect the trailer to debut with Punisher: War Zone, but I guess Fox doesn't want to play nice with Lionsgate Studios. Debut date for X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Arrivals: November 26, 2008

This is it kids. The week we've all been waiting for. We finally find out if Batman really is insane, or if he's managed to regain his grip on sanity. Batman #681 hits stores on Wednesday, and if you haven't been reading the Batman R.I.P. series you've really been missing some damn fine storytelling. This is the final confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying truth behind the Black Glove. Featuring The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you'll never see coming – this one has it all! Enjoy! New Arrivals: November 26, 2008

Five-year-old Iron Man

Honestly, I'm not trying to make this day all about Iron Man, but this is just freaking awesome. Gizmodo has a story about a very committed dad who decided to make his own version of Iron Man featuring his five-year-old son, lots of air compressors and an Iron Man mask. What else is there? • Repulsor Air - Blows air with CO2 air pump on hip and hose back to his hand. • Repulsor Missile - Using CO2 air pump can also launch a paper missile. • Repulsor Sensor/Light - A magnetic switch sensor lights his repulsor hand light and fades out and in his glowing eyes. Arduino handles this effect. • Repulsor Sound Effect(s) - Originally not working. Worked around problem by using right-mouse, middle-mouse button and configured Elightenment17 to playback sound effects using Mplayer script. Mouse buttons activated by Arduino Digital output triggered by sensors. • Arc Reactor - A LED night light from Costco embedded in his chest. • BeagleBoard: Powerful Computer - With BeagleBoard already running in JARVUS box on my son's back need to add other features. Possibilities: Web cam, mobile router with hotspot and a head-mounted display, VoIP, streaming video of Iron Man view. • Arduino: Super Input/Output Board - Handles repulsor effects but can add other sensors to enable even cooler special effects!! The result? Utter awesomeness and an example of what every father should strive for with their young boys. Enjoy the video below. I am a five-year-old Iron Man

Justin Theroux on Iron Man 2

I am excited for Iron Man 2. Scratch that. BEYOND excited. The first film was pleasantly surprising in its awesomeness, and Robert Downey, Jr. fits the role of Tony Stark perfectly. And Jon Favreau did a phenomenal job directing the film, knowing full well that the sequel will be measured against a higher bar than the first. Because there is that higher bar, Marvel Studios is bringing on board a few more writers to help with the story, one of those being Justin Theroux. UGO caught up with the witty writer for an interview, and some of his responses give us some insight into the upcoming film. In regards to the script, Theroux admits the crew is still in the relative early phases of the process. "We’ve kind of got a first draft around. You know what I mean? I just got back from London where I was working with Robert and Kevin Feige. He was out there. We were talking with Robert, who’s out there doing Sherlock Holmes, he was giving his input and his notes. We’re sort of there. It’s just sort of chugging along. The crews, I think, are now starting to see what they need to make, and the places that we might be going and all the rest within the story. That’s sort of one of the more exciting times." What does this mean to you true believer? Admittedly, not much. Theroux knows who the villain is going to be but won't mention it. He also knows that Gwyneth Paltrow still isn't confirmed for the sequel, which would really be a shame. He's also eager to write for Don Cheadle in the role of War Machine, although he admits it will be somewhat challenging. "I think that will probably be something that comes up...I haven’t met Don, and I think I’m going to in a little bit and I think once I get a better sense of his voice and also hear what he has to say about what he likes about the character and just pick his brain a little bit, then we’ll obviously start to tailor it to him. Once he sort of gets more involved in the process then we’ll start tapering the length of his character...making it fit just right." Check out the full interview for more details (or lack thereof). The interview also features his thoughts on the recent home theater release of Tropic Thunder (a hilarious film if you haven't checked it out already). Justin Theroux on Iron Man 2

Review: Heroes - The Eclipse (Part 1)

Within the reviews I'm going to try and look at each review from the perspectives of each of the main characters, but because there are so many some of these could get lengthy. These are not spoiler free, so please be mindful of that when reading. Hooray for better writing! I'm happy to say that I enjoy watching Heroes again. Why is that you ask? Because the show is actually starting to make sense and we have more of a reason to want to watch: the heroes and villains are showing a human aspect. How do you make superheroes and villains more human? Take away their powers of course. Hiro, Ando and Parkman have ventured to Kansas to bring Daphne back to the good side. Of course, she's not having any of that as she is getting too sentimental about Parkman. (One of the best parts about Hiro and Ando was their visit to the comic book shop on new release Wednesday! And of course, Seth Green and Breckin Meyer were the store owners, which is just awesome). I liked Hiro's impressive knowlege of Samurai morals when throwing the corn at Parkman as a test. The action was a little mature for a ten-year-old, but I'll let that part slide. The biggest thing that we learn at the end about Daphne is that she needs her power more than most: she has leg braces. Elle and Sylar are after Claire, which means they also have to deal with Mr. Bennett. In the midst of his training session teaching Claire how to handle a 2x4, the former pair show up and try to flex their powers, but they don't have any. This leaves Claire shot and wounded, Sylar with a broken arm and Elle knocked the f out on the floor. Mr. Bennett is against calling the authorities because they ask too many questions, which is fair enough. But since Claire can't heal anymore, it could prove quite problematic that she's not getting proper medical attention. Mr. Bennett leaves Claire's side to break out his mammoth sized sniper rifle, trained on Sylar and Elle making out. The other two Petrelli boys are in Haiti looking for the Haitian, knowing that he is one of the few capable of stopping Mr. Petrelli. But en route to the island, Nathan plummets from the sky, not knowing why he suffered that fate. The two of them encounter the Haitian who also has no powers, but is trying to stop his brother who apparently is a bad guy. In the midst of an impromptu firefight, Nathan is also knocked the f out, and is taken away with the Haitian's brother and his army. Mr. Petrelli is freaking out, and rightfully so. The eclipse gave everyone their powers, and now it appears that an eclipse is taking away their powers. He's drawn all of this, and knows that it is going to happen and is bad news for everyone involved. Well, everyone being those with powers. His response? Force Mohinder to not leave and figure out what's happening to everyone. I'm not really sure why or how he would be able to figure something like this out, but I guess we'll see. Its unclear if Mrs. Petrelli is aware of what's going on with the eclipse, but she knows that she needs to stop Mr. Petrelli at all costs. One of my favorite aspects of the episode was the shadow cast over all the characters as a result of the eclipse. It was a nice touch showing the symbolic darkness being cast on the heroes (and villains). This show is taking a step in the right direction and is starting to focus on a few characters (as opposed to all of them at once). Of course, they're all powerless now, but I have a feeling once the eclipse passes their powers will all return. Overall score: 90 out of 100

Monday, November 24, 2008

Defense With the BoomStick

It seems to be that time again and oh what a time it is, as it is time for me, your good pal Brandon, to speak my mind and share my knowledge for all you out there listening in and staying alive. Did hear on the wire that overseas they are having success in combating the zombie hordes and erradicating whole bunches of them and creating safe zones for survivors and refugees to make their way to. To which, if you are overseas in the Australia area or near the islands that are south of Asia, most of them are being claimed as havens, such as the Philippines. For us here in the western hemisphere, I hear Puerto Rico and Cuba are doing very well, so if you can make it to them do so but be careful. For us in the United States most of the country is still a hotzone but pockets of resistance are appearing in the northern states of Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, Maine and even further up in the Canadian provinces also. That’s all for the news as of now, so let's get to the tip of the week that will keep your ass alive long enough to make it to one of these zones. I think I am gonna discuss the pros and cons of handheld bomb type devices. The most readily available and easy made is the molotov cocktail because alcohol is abudant everywhere (at least here in the United States it is), and the higher the proof the better. So the simple act is to stuff a rag into the top of the bottle, and tightening it to make sure no liquid gets in. Then when you see the group of zombies light the rag that remains outside the bottle and throw it, thus spreading the liquid around when the bottle breaks and covering the zombies in flames. Sounds good right? Well wrong. Yes, it does work to a degree, but now that zombie is a walking fireball that can not only set other zombies on fire, but also any nearby structure that is flammable and can cause more damage then good. If you can get your hands on government or federal ordinance, then grenades or dynamite come in handy in making pipe bombs with the dynamite or using the grenades straight up. Just have to remember a zombie doesn’t die like us normal people. You can blow off every limb of a zombie but if the head is not penetrated or destroyed then they are still a threat. So an after battle clean up is necessary when devices such as these are implemented, so be careful. It is usually best to use these devices as an early warning system by attaching a trip wire, so you know zombies are coming, but not your main defense against them or to help in a retreat also they work best. Beyond these few not much else is gonna help besides your trusty sidearm and main weapon. So there it is for today, hope some of these news gets to the people who need it as those are the ones in the msot dire of situations and I hope the best for you. Here I am signing off wanting to get little more work done around the compound before gets to dark.

The Dark Knight bonus at Wal-Mart

I'm not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart. Sure, their prices are low, but they are low for a reason. But I'm not here to discuss their business morals...that's not what this site is about. Instead, I'm here to tell you that Wal-Mart has some pretty spiffy extras if you get The Dark Knight there. What can you get? A bonus comic book and a commerorative coin. A coin that has two heads, and is vaguely familiar. Oh yes, its the same coin that Harvey Dent uses to make all his decisions. Now you can be Harvey Dent! Just without the two-face aspect of it. Anyways, The Dark Knight is available for pre-order at Wal-Mart if you want the bonuses. The Dark Knight pre-order bonus at Wal-Mart

Who are the Dark Avengers?

The Avengers have managed to survive many numerous incarnations. New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Avengers Assembled, Avengers Disassembled...you get the idea. And now its the Dark Avengers. But who are the Dark Avengers? Marvel has some cryptic clues on their site that could be an indication. "What he does isn't very nice." "Back in black." "Not such a straight arrow." "Men fear a powerful woman." "The greatest hero in the Marvel Universe." I'm guessing we're going to see a Dark Hawkeye, and the back in black is most likely Spider-Man. I'm guessing Wolverine is the one that's not very nice, and greatest hero is possibly Iron Man. Maybe Spider-Woman as the powerful woman? Let the speculation begin, and we'll find out the answers to these characters in Dark Avengers #1 in January 2009. Who are the Dark Avengers?

Batman: Brave and the Bold site live

Batman lives in cartoons! Batman: Brave and the Bold is a new animated series that recently premiered on Cartoon Network, and airs Fridays at 8 PM. And now there's a fully operational website teeming with funness for visitors to check out. The site boasts "inter-action" figures, which let users create their own versions of their favorite characters, a game called "The Terror of the Time Traps," and character drawing lessons. Check it out. Full press release below. Warner Bros. Animation has unveiled a new website supporting the 'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' animated series, which premiered earlier this month on Cartoon Network and Fridays at 8 PM ET/PT. The free, all-ages, ad-supported site is online now at BraveAndTheBold.com. It features a serialized Batman game entitled “The Terror of the Time Traps,” interactive virtual action figures known as “Inter-Action Figures,” detailed back story on many of the popular DC Comics characters who co-star in upcoming episodes of the show, step-by-step character drawing lessons featuring Batman and friends, and more. BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD website © Cartoon Network “The new ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ site is an interactive experience for fans where they can engage with some of Warner Bros. Animation’s most iconic characters in unprecedented ways,” said Sam Ades, Vice President, Digital Animation, Warner Bros. Television Group, and General Manager, KidsWB.com. “Our site combines the coolest characters from the DC Comics family with the control, interactivity, and social media features that younger audiences have grown to expect from their entertainment content.” Among the content, activities and behind-the-scenes material on the new site are: * “Inter-Action Figures” – Intuitive drag-and-drop tools empower users to select their favorite characters and create custom printable scenes from “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” Each character comes with a variety of poses and can be positioned inside the scene using backgrounds from the show. Future functionality will allow users to export these scenes for use as wallpapers, screen savers and across other digital applications. Additional custom tools encourage viewers to engage with the characters by learning their history and hearing them speak. The “Spotlight” tool reveals each character’s biography, while the “Talk” tool plays audio clips that highlight the character’s unique personality. * Multi-Level Game – In “The Terror of the Time Traps” game, a mysterious force has overcome Batman and his friends, requiring them to embark on a series of challenges and battles. Throughout the television season, the game will unveil new levels, characters and challenges, with each segment tying back to a recent broadcast episode. As in the show, each level of the game requires Batman to partner with another character (to be selected by the player) to attempt to save the world. For example, the game will take players under the sea where Aquaman and Batman will team up to save Atlantis. Single-player game play encourages players to toggle between the two characters, using their respective superpowers to gain points, tackle challenges and advance. High scores are posted daily creating a fun way to enjoy the characters and encourage friendly competition with other fans. * Character Drawing Lessons – The artists responsible for the dynamic look and feel of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” are featured on the site in instructional vignettes that coach fans and aspiring animators in the strokes, tips and tricks required to draw Batman and the other characters featured on the show. The new “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” site is located at BraveAndTheBold.com and is part of the online destination DCHeroZone.com: It can also be reached through prominently featured links at KidsWB.com.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Batman: Arkham Asylum trailer

Arkham Asylum is a crazy place. It would have to be to spawn the epic Rogue's Gallery that has made Batman very famous. And in most media it is definitely portrayed as such. The upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum video game is no different it seems, and below is the first teaser trailer for the game showcasing the dementia of Arkham Asylum. There really isn't any gameplay shown, and you don't get a sense of story. But you do get to see what Arkham Asylum looks like. If you've played Condemned, then you'll be right at home with this game. Except instead of a lame cop you're Batman. Awesome. Enjoy the trailer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Superhero video games are pretty hit or miss. They either tend to get it right and really capture your imagination, or fail pretty miserably. For my money, it’s been the X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance series that have really taken gaming and comic books to the next level. There’s this certain kind of action in comic books. It’s difficult to verbalize. I mean, it’s violent, but in this kind of “I hit you so hard you slam into the wall ten feet behind you way.” I’m no artist, but I can imagine that the task of drawing comic book art and evoking action is actually a difficult task. I mean, all you're drawing is still pictures, but you’re still kind of trying to give your readers the sense that Superman just whacked Mongul across the room. Don’t know if my experience is universal here-but for me, I think back to some of my favorite comic book stories, and in my mind’s eye I don’t actually see flat, still images framed in a panel. I actually have a memory of action-of somebody getting whacked around the room, or flying, or running in. Kind of funny how our mind sort of “connects” the dots for us about these things? Okay, this isn’t a lecture on Gestalt Psychology (obscure reference, I know). The point is, making a game that the fans are going to feel right about the action that they see on camera can’t be easy-because there isn’t a template for movement, or motion, to work from. Like, for a long time you read comics with Spider-man swinging around-but what does that really look like, to see him “ride” his own webbing? Anyway, there have been a couple of high notes in gaming in this end. And some real flops. Batman: Dark Victory comes to mind. I spent money on that game. I’ll be taking that regret with me to the grave. I mean, there are 8-bit Nintendo games better than that game. And I’m not talking about the first string, GOOD Nintendo games-I mean the weird ones that you had lying around and only played a couple of times, and sometimes weren’t even translated very elaborately. Let me put it this way-The Magic of Scheherazade, released by Famicom in 1987, is a better game than Batman: Dark Victory. That was a real game. I have it, somewhere. Well, as you’ve probably heard- the latest addition to the attempts to bring the media of comic to the growing, cinematic library of video games is Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. When this game was announced? I was skeptical. I mean, most people have the same statement plastered all over the internet. What, was Wonder Woman going to rip somebody’s heart out and stomp on it, or something? As I’ve explained many times, I’ve had some real trepidation about some of the business moves DC makes with their licenses. Marvel just markets their stuff so much better. DC gets involved with projects that makes me go- man, who is steering that ship? What are they thinking? Lately, things seem to be turning around for the old-school team. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe exemplifies this. Following on the heels of Marvel vs. Capcom, most people assumed the game would be a cheap knock-off. Worse, it was hard to just picture it. Fantasy martial arts (oh, and I do mean FANTASY martial arts, when it comes to Mortal Kombat) and superheroes. Weird. Well, I guess DC finally anted up and decided-if we’re going to do this, we’re going to make sure it’s done right. Of course, I would be remiss to not mention that Midway isn’t the new kid on the block when it comes to making hit games. So here it is, if you haven’t heard the news- it’s a GOOD game. Fun. Easy to play, hard to master. All that stuff. Now, I will say this-the game's biggest asset is exactly what it sounds like. By that, I mean, the coolest thing about the game is the fact that the DC characters are appearing in a Mortal Kombat game…and it doesn’t feel out of place, or too bizarre. The graphics, of course, look fantastic- I’m really impressed with the character designs for the entire DC roster, and I’ll get to that. But the point I’m trying to convey here is- if you’ve played a Mortal Kombat game, you already know what this game has to offer you. Button mashing, beating the crap out of your friends, and grisly acts of humiliation to herald your triumphant victory (or defeat). So, I’m not saying there’s a lot of ground covered here that hasn’t been covered before. They throw in a couple of neat new features to mix things up- in this case, sometimes the combat slows down and you and your opponent kind of go into this “rock, paper, scissors” button mashing guessing game where you try to outthink each other. The end result is watching your characters get up close and personal with some graphic violence. It’s fun. Still- it’s a fighting game. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve played these. Now, for the hardcore DC fan? Excellent, excellent entertainment. Seeing how each character fights is tons of fun. Like I said earlier, it’s hard to “capture” comic book-esque action. But the designers have done it, all while keeping it in the context of feeling like you’re playing the Mortal Kombat you’ve known and loved. And if you’re really paying attention, they’ve thrown in some nice little touches. Like Captain Marvel. My favorite thing about all of his attacks? Is that it literally sounds like thunder crashing down whenever he hits you with them, just like the lightning bolt that activates his powers. Of course, he’s got his trademark over-the-top move he’s started to get known for (I guess since Kingdom Come, kind of) where he grabs you, puts you between him and the sky, shouts Shazam and lets magic lightning fry your ass like Kentucky fried chicken. I’m really impressed with the game's rendition of Green Lantern, too. Usually, most games depicting Green Lantern just give him the kind of standard gimmicks you’d expect. He pulls back, and something flys out of his ring and hits you. Now, I’m not saying you don’t get the same in this game- but what I love is how fast his gear comes at you. I mean, the ring runs on willpower, right? So in theory, it’s going to form attacks at the speed of thought. A nice compromise, you get a split second to react when you see Hal Jordan hold his fist up and there’s a twinkle of emerald. After that? Jackhammers and giant fists are not your friend. Of course, most of Flash’s moves double as a dodge and a strike making him pretty dangerous- and if you time it just right? He’ll zip around and keeps the pressure on his opponent so fiercely that they can barely react. Wonder Woman’s fighting style is totally direct- not one to screw around, she just comes right at you. Usually her first strike is so powerful it knocks you off balance, giving her a chance to lay into you. Batman’s got a few neat tricks from a distance, but like you could probably imagine- don’t let him get close unless you like lots and lots of pain. I could go on. Joker’s moves are unorthodox and deceptive, Superman is really well balanced…Lex’s power suit is heavy and slow, but hits like a frickin' tank. All around? Excellent work here. In fact, this might be the best “feel” to the DC characters I’ve ever seen represented in a DC video game. And let’s not rule out the fun of seeing Superman bash his opponent into the pavement, or Green Lantern break bones by putting someone in a circular field and condenses it. Ouch. I admit, the term “Heroic Brutality” is kind of ridiculous- but Luthor, Joker, Deathstroke, and (I’m a little surprised here) Catwoman? Killing spree galore. Watching Lex’s targeting scope line up on his victim and calling in air to ground missiles is disturbing. Last bit? The story isn’t even half bad. I mean, okay, little cheesy here. What do you expect. But those familiar with the DC canon will probably be excited to find that the entire plot is kind of an homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths and other surreal, but fun, storylines. Oh, and I hate to spoil anything for you, so stop reading here if you need to, but I gotta say- Seeing Shao Khan spinning through space in that phantom zone disc-thing from Superman II? Freaking hilarious.

Wolverine claws in real life

I'm not really one to encourage violence. But I do write about comics which are probably half violence. That being said, please don't go killing anyone with what I'm about to write about. Over at the Budk Catalog you can get something called the Tomahwak Skull Gauntlet. Or, as Anthony Anderson's character in Transformers says: "that's Wolverine!" Yes, for a mere $40 a hand you can at least get the claws part of a Wolverine costume down. Good times for all. Just remember that you won't heal any faster and your senses aren't heightened. Matter of fact, you can't even hide the claws, so keep that in mind as well. Wolverine claws

Final poster for The Spirit

A little over one month to go. That's all that's left until we get to see The Spirit in theaters. And the only new thing left to get us through that time is the above poster, the final for the film. The PR folk are obviously centering the film around the lovely ladies of the film and the likely rampage they will be going on.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe fatalities compilation

Considering the game was just released, its rather surprising that someone put this video together so quickly. But here it is, your compilation of fatalities featured in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Enjoy the carnage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gotham City Dossiers: Caliber Comics

The word "caliber" usually means something of quality. High caliber is obviously better, while low caliber is usually lower quality. So naming your publishing company Caliber Comics sets the bar kind of high when you think about. Luckily, Caliber Comics has some decent works that live up to the namesake. Legendlore tells the story of a land of A'zoth where magic reigns supreme. The work is a telling of the histories and lineages of all the races in the land. Another work is called Disciples, which looks at a series of magicians and wizards of various disciplines changing the world with their powers. As you can tell, there is a magic and fantasy focus in their works. The really cool thing about Caliber Comics is that they offer tons of comics online for free or one dollar. How cool is that? So you can easily get caught up on any works that may catch your eye. So check them out, and let me know what you think. Caliber Comics

Preview: Wonder Woman #26

Wonder Woman is getting hectic. I mean, its really escalating. in Wonder Woman #26, the Rise of the Olympian begins, which basically is another way of saying that Wonder Woman is about to see her world drastically change. Gail Simone writes of the story of the Manazons and a male Wonder Woman. Featuring art by Aaron Lopestri and Matt Ryan, Wonder Woman #26 hits stores November 26. Preview: Wonder Woman #26

The Fantastic Worlds of Frank Frazetta

Listen up Frank Frazetta fans. Soon YOU can get a fabulous hardcover work called The Fantastic Worlds of Frank Frazetta. That's right. On November 26 the 156 page full-color book will hit stores for $29.95.
“THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF FRANK FRAZETTA is a must have book for any Frazetta fan," Frazetta Comics Editor Jay Fotos said. "We wanted to make this first installment as cool as you can make it so not only did we bring the stories and art in an oversized format, but we stuffed it with as much extra content that we could. There's well over sixty pages of original material that no fan has ever seen before!" Full press release below.
PRESS RELEASE - ENTER THE FANTASTIC WORLD OF FRANK FRAZETTA NEXT WEEK! Long-awaited oversized Frank Frazetta hardcover hits stands!
19 November 2008 (Berkeley, CA) - Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Image Comics releases THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF FRANK FRAZETTA, a mammoth hardcover featuring the first-ever authorized comics based off some of Frazetta's most famous paintings! “THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF FRANK FRAZETTA is a must have book for any Frazetta fan," Frazetta Comics Editor Jay Fotos said. "We wanted to make this first installment as cool as you can make it so not only did we bring the stories and art in an oversized format, but we stuffed it with as much extra content that we could. There's well over sixty pages of original material that no fan has ever seen before!" In the tradition of FRANK FRAZETTA'S DEATH DEALER DELUXE HC, THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF FRANK FRAZETTA showcases Frazetta's first fully approved comics as they've never been seen before! The first addition includes all four of the current one shots including FRANK FRAZETTA'S DARK KINGDOM by Mark Kidwell & Tim Vigil, FRANK FRAZETTA'S CREATURES by Rick Remender and Peter Bergting, FRANK FRAZETTA'S DRACULA MEETS THE WOLF-MAN by Steve Niles and Francesco Francavilla and the prequel to FRANK FRAZETTA'S DEATH DEALER, FRANK FRAZETTA'S SWAMP DEMON by Joshua Ortega and Josh Medors. Bonus materials include scripts, preliminary sketches, unused pages and much, much more! THE FANTASTIC WORLDS OF FRANK FRAZETTA HC (SEP082232), a 156-page full color hardcover for $29.99, is in stores November 26th, 2008. In addition, FRANK FRAZETTAS DEATH DEALER DELUXE HC (FEB082134), a 208-page full color hardcover for $49.99, is available now. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

Captain America gets written

This Captain America film is really coming into focus. Last week, it was announced that the upcoming Captain America film had a director. Now we have news from Hollywood Reporter that the film has writers too. The two writers are Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Markus and McFeely are best known for their work on The Chronicles of Narnia films. I'm not sure how this will translate into a Captain America film, but it could be interesting. Stay tuned for more details, and eagerly anticipate the May 6, 2011 release date. Captain America film has writers

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

Review: DC Showcase Presents Blackhawk The Blackhawk Squadron originated during the time just after World War II. The comic was created by several artists including the immortal Will Eisner (whose character The Spirit is about to have his cinematic moment). The artist Reed Crandall, however is the man most associated with the team's origin. This is appropriate because Crandall's combination of realism (practical and realistic seeming leather flight suits and aircraft, the romanticism in the striking Blackhawk logos, great secret hideout (Blackhawk Island) and idealistic matinee idol looks of the squadron) and romanticism made the Blackhawk squadron immediately memorable. The Blackhawks have never been "A" tier DC superheroes. Never really even close. The group, and the "face" of the group-the rakish leader who is usually known simply as "Blackhawk" (although his name is apparently Bart Hawk)- have been very reliable "B" level DC characters for many years. I am partial to superheroes who wear suits or uniforms like John Constantine, Nick Fury and Enemy Ace. Blackhawk and his squadron fall well within my approval range in this way and, I suspect this level of visual panache is what has helped them endure for so long as supporting characters. They are also unique in that they are the real connection between “war comics” such as Sgt. Rock, The Haunted Tank, Enemy Ace, etc. and traditional superhero comics. War comics had a degree of popularity for a few decades, but at this point they have mostly fallen out of fashion from a peak in the early 70’s when DC published war comic anthologies like Star Spangled War. Recently, DC released Showcase Presents Blackhawks Vol. 1 which chronicles the Blackhawks' 50’s adventures. The artwork is mostly credited to Dick Dillin, one of DC’s more noteworthy artists from the 50’s (well known for his penciling on the original Justice League series) who worked within the house style which was influenced by magazine illustration of the time as well as matinee idols/actors (Blackhawk resembled any number of 50’s movie stars such as Gregory Peck, William Holden or Robert Mitchum). This showcase collection comprises Blackhawk stories from January 1957 to August 1958. These stories feature the usual DC wackiness of that era. Indeed, it is easy to imagine DC creators having Mad Men style three Martini lunches and going back to the (literal) drawing board to dream up these outrageous tales. Among the offerings are "The Mistress of Tigress Island" which concerned a group of female counterparts to the Blackhawks; "The Menace of the Machines" which was a story involving flying saucers (very common kind of DC story of this time); and probably the weirdest story in the book called "The Human Clay Pigeons" which had as a plot point Blackhawk tied to a giant (you guessed it) clay pigeon. If the stories of this time lack the gritty realism of today's approach to comics, well, that just makes them all the more charming. And, the art, mostly by Dick Dillin, is crisp and done with a fine draftsman's hand. The aircraft (a critical part of any Blackhawk story) are also depicted with nice detail. For what it is worth, the black and white format does take away from the impact, but the possibility to re-discover some of these weird old stories makes this a minor issue.

Tim Sale's favorite covers

If I had to pick any artist to illustrate a comic of mine (and I could actually pull it off), I would pick Tim Sale. His artwork is just plain awesome, and I readily pay attention to any covers he does. So when he makes a list of his favorite covers, I like to know what he's feeling. Over at Wizard he does, in fact, list off his favorite covers. These covers include Fantastic Four #2, Amazing Spider-Man #47 and Detective Comics #630. The covers are pretty epic, and would make great wall art if you can find the covers. Tim Sale's favorite covers

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe origin trailer

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe hit stores this past Sunday. You may have picked it up, you may not have. If you haven't, you can now know what caused the entire game to happen. Basically, Superman and Raiden were doing their jobs which caused their worlds to collide. Check out the video below, and be glad that Superman didn't manage to kill everyone. And get the game if you want.

The Spirit gets a Christmas spirit trailer

Tis the season...wait. We're not even at Thanksgiving yet, and Christmas is already creeping up. But that's ok when it comes to The Spirit, set to release on Christmas Day this year. And Lionsgate is feeling quite jolly as well, showcasing the finer points from the film with the Carol of the Bells rocking out in the background. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Arrivals: November 19, 2008

This week I'm making a pick that answers an age old question. A question akin to who would win a fight between a monkey in a wagon or a lemur in a big wheel. The question of who would win between a vampire and a yeti. I know right. That's the first thing we all think about when we first wake up: who would win that fight. Miles Gunter & Kelsey Shannon bring you the answer to question in Yeti vs. Vampire #1, featuring brain-eating steroid monks, psycho werewolf punks, severed, screaming heads on fire and point-blank napalm strikes all in just the first 12 pages. If you like Bastard Samurai, Miles Gunter (NYC Mech, Zombee, Weird War Tales) and/or Kelsey Shannon (Invincible, X-Men: Unlimited, Batman Adventures), odd are you'll like this book. Enjoy! New Arrivals: November 19, 2008

Batman: Arkham Asylum actually good?

The Batman character has been treated pretty fairly in TV, movie and comics. But when it comes to video games, well, let's just say Batman video games really haven't been all that good. I really have no idea why. I mean, if Activision can make Spider-man games pretty good that involve the player swinging around the city fighting bad guys, why can't we get a decent Batman game as well? Gameplayer has gotten their hands on Batman: Arkham Asylum and while its far from finished, they're pretty enthusiastic about what they've played so far. The story is completely original and centers around Joker (with the assist from Harley Quinn) releasing all the inmates of Arkham Asylum. Its up to you as Batman to fight through waves and waves of low level thugs in addition to more high profile rogues such as Bane, The Riddler and The Joker himeself (once again with the assist by Harley Quinn). There is some continuity with comics. Batman is assisted throughout the game by Oracle, otherwise known as a wheelchair-bound Batgirl that readers of The Killing Joke may be aware of. And the fighting does boil down to brawling, but that's more or less what Batman is all about (he just does it better than all the bad guys he encounters). And the fighting wouldn't be Batman-ish without a bevy of gadgets, including six different enhanced vision modes, taser and various other gadgets that no defender of justice should leave home without. No firm release date has been announced, but I believe we can expect to see it sometime in 2009. Keep checking in for more details as they come out. Gameplayer really likes Batman: Arkham Asylum

Wonder Woman film has a new director?

Warner Brothers and DC are in a bit of a tight spot regarding their comic properties on film. Sure, Batman is pretty set, and even the Superman reboot-reboot will do well most likely. But with Justice League falling apart, and Joss Whedon leaving Wonder Woman, well, characters like those were just sort of up in the air. IESB reports that Wonder Woman however may be getting a little more definition in terms of a movie. First off, the crazy news. Beyonce and Megan Fox have thrown their names in for the role of the Amazonian Princess. That's right. Beyonce. Fox I expected to eventually, and lots of people are going to be throwing her name around for the role. But Beyonce? Not quite buying that. Yes she's an independent woman, but I just don't see her as Wonder Woman. Do I have a better replacement? Well Jessica Biel would've been awesome, but rumors have said that she already turned the role down. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the slightly more confirmed news. A director has been floated at WB to direct the film. His name? Joseph McGinty Nichol. Doesn't sound familiar right? Chances are you've heard of him though, most likely by his nickname McG. That's right kids. The same man who brought us The OC and Chuck is apparently at the top of WB's list to direct a Wonder Woman movie. Fans of those two shows know that he has an affinity for comics and video games, working each into as many episodes as possible. I mean, he even used Stan Bush's The Touch in an episode of Chuck. And he is working with Christian Bale on Terminator: Salvation, so its not too outlandish. I think he would pay proper respect to the character, but if they make it a coming-of-age Wonder Woman with an alt-indie-rock soundtrack I'm going to be pissed. Oh. And no Beyonce. Beyonce, I think you're hot, awesome and can sing, but I'm just not feeling you as Wonder Woman. Keep checking in as this story develops. Oh, and just because. Here's The Touch montage from Chuck. Enjoy. Wonder Woman film honing in a director

Review: Heroes - It's Coming

Within the reviews I'm going to try and look at each review from the perspectives of each of the main characters, but because there are so many some of these could get lengthy. These are not spoiler free, so please be mindful of that when reading. I dreaded writing this review prior to seeing this week's episode. Really. I feel that Heroes is just getting way to outlandish, inconsistent and trite to be good anymore. But I'm sticking it out, and I have to be honest: I was impressed. This is the Heroes I've been waiting for all season, and this is what the show should be centered around. What am I talking about you ask? Read on. I'll start with Hiro and Ando since they're not immediately relevant to the current story. Mr. Petrelli shows up to steal Hiro's power and is foiled by Ando, the unlikeliest of heroes. It also helped that Mr. Petrelli was strangely transfixed by a painting of an eclipse on a rock. But now Hiro is on a quest to relearn his powers, since somehow he ended being ten years old. I'm guessing that Mr. Petrelli was wiping his memory clean and only got so far. Peter and Claire are on the run from Knox and Flynt, both seeking Peter. Until they learn that Claire is the final piece of the formula that makes it work, and are then instructed to bring her in. I was impressed with Peter's clever ruse to get them away when Claire couldn't really fight both Knox and Flynt at the same time. That's good looking out Peter. Anyway, they eventually end up at the hospital with Mrs. Petrelli (more on that in a second). Knox and Flynt end up at Pinehearst with Mr. Petrelli. Sylar is put in a cell with Elle, where she essentially goes ballistic and fries him hardcore. He of course heals up and this cycle replaces for quite a bit. Elle is struggling to get revenge on Sylar for killing her dad, but of course he's going to keep on healing. Right when Elle thinks he's going to kill her, he releases her and they have a strange, romantic bonding moment over his newfound ability. Apparently, he can now take powers without cutting open the hero. The two of them end up at Pinehearst with Mr. Petrelli (more on that in a second). Nathan and Traci visit with Mr. Petrelli and Nathan comes to the realization that yes, his dad is still alive. Cue up Mr. Petrelli trying to talk Nathan into helping him change the world again, but Nathan isn't too sure. Nathan plans on going to visit the hospital at Primatech and ends up at the hospital with Mrs. Petrelli, while Traci hangs back and offers to convince Nathan to listen to his dad if Mr. Petrelli will look out for her. She ends up at Pinehearst with Mr. Petrelli. Yeah there's a theme going here. Parkman and Daphne. Parkman decides he can save Mrs. Petrelli, because he realizes that she is kept in a mind prison by Mr. Petrelli. While in there he is confronted by Daphne who stabs him, until the real Daphne comes in and tells him not to believe fake Daphne and they need to get out there. I'm not sure if Mr. Petrelli knew all of this was going on, or if left some sort of security system so to speak to keep her locked up. But Mrs. Petrelli essentially persuades Mr. Petrelli to let her go, which he does. Parkman and Daphne end up at at the hospital with a newly alert Mrs. Petrelli. So here's what was awesome. Mr. Petrelli is shown with Sylar, Elle, Traci, Flynt and Knox. Mrs. Petrelli is shown with Peter (still powerless), Claire, Parkman, Daphne and Nathan. Every one on both sides knows that Claire is the catalyst, so the show is going to revolve around her even more. And I'm ok with that. I don't like that when she's whining about her life. But now we have teamups, which is one of the best things about comics. The greatest dichotomy that divides heroes and villains is morality. Obviously heroes are good and villains are bad, and its the actions of the characters that define where they stand. This season has gradually moved characters into pairings with an eventual teamup on both sides of the moral fence. This episode did an excellent job setting up the sides and defining the true heroes and villains, and is giving me hope for the remaining episodes. This is easily my favorite episode this entire season, and gives me hope that we can expect some better stuff in the future. Overall score: 90 out of 100

Monday, November 17, 2008

Defense With the BoomStick

Well, well, well it can't be that time again can it? This is Brandon again. Right now I've been faring better since losing those two great people who were sharing my place with me. Since then I have not encountered any new survivors, plenty of those undead bastards to shoot at though which has been fun (always nice to get out some anger on those jackasses, especially when they are reaching and moaning and you can't help but laugh as that round hits 'em in the eye and their brain explodes like a melon). Overall supplies are still good, still got plenty of ammo and different guns to mess around with and keep my sharpness and skills up. Actually on my last mission outside I found a freaking long bow and that has been fun to work with. Today I am gonna go over the use of armor, considering the pros and cons of it and also availability of certain types also. In all cases of you versus the zombies, your speed and agility and natural nimbleness as a living being are the most important and keen traits to keep about you. Wearing armor can only decrease these natural skills and advantages you have against zombies. Not only can certain types completely slow you down, causing you to move as slow as them but it will allow you to be surrounded more easily and basically become a zombie. You figure that a full suit of armor like knights used to wear would be the best, but like said you move very slowly, and your vision is skewed because of the helmet and this all goes against you to get you killed. Chain mail is a little more movable and functional to use as it helps protects against bites because of its design, but unless you have trained with this for years and know your level of movement with it it is advised against wearing it. Unless you are planning to do underwater combat, a shark suit is also advised against as the protection it does offer is negated by the fact that fact that it is very noisy, not comfortable to wear and you natural speed is hindered. Bulletproof vests on the other hand can be useful in certain situations, as you won't need them against zombies (all they cover are your chest and/or up to your neck but your arms and legs are still unprotected. The bulletproof vest does come in handy when fighting against marauders and bandits, as I know mine have saved my life on a few occasions. From hearing other survivors' tales and from my own experiences the best bet is just to have tight clothes and short hair as your best defense against the zombies. With these two things done the zombie has nothing to grab and pull you into their mouth area and increasing your chances of getting past them if necessary. That's it for today. Hope this tips gets to all you out there in good health and still alive to use it and keep on surviving and never stopping the fight for our world as we were here first. I am gonna hop off here see if can scrounge up some sort of meal, and possibly go get some more practice in with that long bow. That's what it all comes down to: constant practice, vigilance and strength to keep on going. Till next week this is Brandon signing off.

Proposition 8 superhero by Stan Lee?

This day and age is getting more progressive. And one of the biggest indications of that progression is the gradual acceptance of gay individuals. This hasn't been an issue that has been approached very often in comics, however DC recently revealed that Batgirl was in fact a lesbian. So it is starting to come up. Stan Lee is looking to bring it up again according to a recent article in Variety. Showtime is teaming up with Lee to create an hourlong project that looks at a day in the life of a gay superhero. The work is going to be based on a book by Perry Moore called Hero that tackles a similar issue. This is really an awesome idea for a work, and it could be another boost for the entire cause. No timetable on when we can expect to see the show, or even who will be in it or anything else. But Moore is writing the script and Hunter Hill is producing. Stan Lee working on gay superhero project

New Red Sonja poster

That right there kids is a new poster for Red Sonja, the upcoming remake by Robert Rodriguez featuring Gothish hottie Rose McGowan. Courtesy of MovieSet is also a pretty exhaustive plot synopsis as well. The plot is pretty standard as far as you would expect. Red Sonja is merrily living her life when her village is ransacked and she is brutally assaulted and left for dead. When trying to end her own life fails, she is given power by the Red Goddess and begins a quest to avenge her family. The film is due in theaters 2010, and I'm not sure what to make of it just yet. More details will be coming out as we get closer to it, but in the meantime you can savor the poster. Red Sonja poster and synopsis

Preview: Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs Frankenstein

Santa Claus has fought Jesus in South Park in an epic battle. Now Top Cow is pitting the jolly old man against Frankenstein in Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein. The one-shot is best described as Halloween meets Christmas (and we're certainly between the two holidays) and is written by Paul Dini. Stephanie Gladden of Powerpuff Girls fame brings the story to life with an awesome cover by Greg Horn. In the story, Frankenstein's monster if found by Jingle in the Arctic wastes and is created to fit in with the elves at Santa's Workshop. But then Santa is declared taboo and Frankenstein gets pissed. Santa and Jingle Belle must stop his rampage. The 32-page one-shot hits stores December 3 for $2.99. Preview: Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

You ever wonder what it would be like if some of your favorite superheroes were a little less squeaky clean? I mean, some of them aren’t so squeaky clean. So if you’re a hardcore Wolverine or Batman fan, than maybe your need for cathartic violence and grittiness is fairly satisfied. But when we start talking about the good guys, it would seem that most of the time the degree of power a character has is relatively proportional to his level of squeaky clean-ness. I mean, Superman and Captain Marvel (either the Marvel or the DC one- I could elaborate on the difference, but it’s a long story) spring to mind. Thor is another, although Thor stories that take place in Asgard give the guy a little more leeway to be hardcore and such. Now, most people will tell you they read comics because, ultimately, they like science-fiction and stories about morality. But we know the truth, don’t we? Deep down, most of us read comics because we tingle at the thought of being able to level a skyscraper with the brush of our hand or break the laws of physics, or really, just to have enough power to force some kind of change on the world. I think Kevin Smith put it best in the underrated, and probably under produced, Mallrats. I’ll probably offend everyone by listing this anecdote, but to put it mildly, Jason Lee’s character goes to lengths to explain to his co-star a perceived plot-hole in the Superman canon, pointing out that no ordinary woman (i.e. Lois Lane) would be able to engage in sexual relations with Kal-El without dire repercussions. Like I said, that was the mild version. That movie cracks me up by the way. Stan Lee makes a cameo. Superhero induced power-lust probably isn’t the healthiest personality trait we could foster in ourselves- and luckily, super-hero comics are fairly tempered by, as I said, complex stories about the nature of morality embedded into those thirty or so pages of cathartic destructive inertia. Still- what if somebody like Superman just, I don’t know, decided “what the hell?” and decapitated Lex Luthor? And I don’t mean- was hypnotized by Red Kryptonite and went on a rampage, kind of thing. I mean, what if he really just did whatever the hell he felt like. All that power. Ooooohhhh- right? Well, he wouldn’t be Superman, if that is what he did. But the other problem we run into is the proposition that a character with that magnitude of power, doing whatever they wanted, would end up changing the world. And superheroes don’t do that. Well, I mean, that’s always what they’re trying to do, that’s what these stories are about, but superheroes don’t upset the natural balance of economics, international relations, the outcomes of non-fictitious wars, etc. As I’ve spoken about many times, the stories need “homeostatic-comic-environments”. Things can change…but not too much. Of course, a couple of writers have gotten on board the train heading the other direction. I was a big fan of Warren Ellis’ Authority for the first twenty issues or so. I still like it, just haven’t picked it up lately. But Ellis’ claim to fame was that, unlike other superheroes, his enacted change. Serious change. Like, upset the balance of world power kind of change. And of course, the cast is usually starkly unapologetic about taking such actions. One of my favorite scenes involves them coming face to face with your typical bizarre, super-smart, freakish body type villain that’s been out to get them- and instead of killing him off, offering him a chance to work with them. It’s a really cool comic, I have to admit. I’m real hit or miss with Ellis. I either love him or he freaks me out. Of course, even when he freaks me out, that’s, at least, what his goal was from the start. He’s just a little too good at it. If you want to put my words to the test, you are welcome to read Strange Kiss or Stranger Kisses by the man. Although I wouldn’t suggest it. How can I describe it? It’s sort of a combination of a Ridley Scott movie (Alien, Blade Runner, Etc.) and…porn. That wasn’t a joke. Anyway, this longwinded, roundabout introduction I’m writing is all just to showcase one character that I’m really into- so I might as well just bite the bullet and do it. The award for most cathartically destructive (anti-) hero in the last few years goes to? Black Adam. Can’t get enough of the guy lately. You know how you know if an antihero is an antihero worth their weight? It’s when the hero(s) go to fight the antihero? And you can’t keep track of who you’re rooting for. I mean, who do you really want to have win the fight? It’s like Magneto- you didn’t always agree with the things Magneto stood for, but sometimes you wanted him to get away with whatever he was doing. You wanted him to smack the X-Men around like red-headed school children (I’m just cursing to offend people with the article, apparently). You didn’t even know why you wanted it. You just did. I was never that into Captain Marvel (DC) as a kid. The idea that a child morphs into/switches places with/whatever never really made a lot of sense to me. Of course, nowadays, I’m totally fascinated with the guy. See, my favorite interpretation of Captain Marvel isn’t that he’s a child running around in an adult’s body, it’s that he is simultaneously a child AND an adult. Like two beings with one body, or soul, or…well, like I said, whatever. So Captain Marvel could go out and beat up some monster, but later, he might cry himself to sleep at night as Billy Batson because he’s in a dark room and monsters are scary. At the same time, Captain Marvel has a penchant for being brave, or heroic, or just good in that way that only a child could ever be. The whole comic is really an amazing metaphor about growing up, not losing your innocence, hope…all that jazz. Now… Black Adam. For a long time I was just sort of like: “Okay, so there’s a guy, with all the power Captain Marvel has. Only he wears black and he’s a bad guy. And they fight.” Frankly? It seemed kind of trite. Justice Society doesn’t sell the way Justice League does, but it’s a hotly underrated comic. And it’s where I started to really get what Black Adam was all about. See, Shazam, that zany interdimensional wizard that’s hooking Captain Marvel up with all that power…originally, Adam was the guy he chose to be his champion. But as the saying goes- “Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Years and years of trying to do the right thing- and then finally, the murder of his entire family…Adam snapped. He stopped believing the world is a place worth fighting for. He started believing that people were corrupt and ignorant. And the only way to do what was right for the world was to force it change. See, that’s why he’s Batson’s nemesis- because he’s jaded. Disillusioned. Nowadays, there’s a lot less of Marvel and Adam duking it out and a lot more of them debating about philosophy. He isn’t a villain in the strictest sense of the word- but he’s warned Batson again and again that there isn’t anything about people worth believing in. And that's when Batson grows up: he’ll stop being such a foolish idealist and realize what a terrible place the world is. What does all of this have to do with cathartic destruction? Well, I highly recommend World War III- a spin-off of the events of 52. What’s the conflict and who’s on what side? Well… Black Adam is on one side. And everyone else is on the other. Everyone. In the world. I’m serious. I won’t spoil 52 for you if you haven’t read it- but when Adam finally breaks, you are right there with him. But then- he just goes nuts. He fights tanks. He fights planes. Armies. Entire sloughs of superheroes, by himself. Literally, there are scenes with him throwing costumed figures off of him like they’re dolls. And he just doesn’t stop. Also? The finale and how Batson finally brings him down is pretty brilliant. Again, I won’t say how. Still, even though Adam is on the outs with the superhero community, you can kind of see some hero, a champion, buried deep down in there. So needless to say, the story with this guy and what he stands for isn’t over and done with. But just giving you a heads up- worth keeping your eye on.