Or – “Apparently, I’ll Only Be Reviewing The Odd Issues Of This Title…” But, really, aren’t they all a little odd? If you’re wondering what happened to my rundown of issue #2, well… thereupon hangs a tale: I decided after my lukewarm response to the first issue (compounded by the length of time between issues) not to recap the rest of Freshman II, a decision borne out by my overall feeling of “meh” when reading issue #2. So, why am I doing it now? Remember yesterday when I (jokingly) said I should recap something I didn’t like? I went through the stack of
Or – “The Little Azure Scarab That Could…” It may surprise some of our readers to know that Blue Beetle, chronologically speaking, is one of the oldest heroes extant, dating back to August of 1939, a little more than a year after Superman. This means that Beetle predates The Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, and only trailed Batman into print by a month or two. BB had been printed by Fox Comics, Holyoke Publishing, Charlton Comics, and Americomics before being purchased by DC, and even had a relatively successful run as a radio character. Such was his popularity that, when
Or – “Turner Can Barely Draw Humans, Who Thought He Could Draw Ben Grimm?” There have been a lot of interpretations of the Thing over the years, from Jack Kirby’s original lumpy monster, which then rocked up, and then Joe Sinnott drew the “separate eyebrow” Thing, and then John Byrne rounded him off and gave him a gorilla’s body. There’s a lot of precedent for making slight changes to the Thing. There is NO excuse, however, for drawing him with a separate steam-shovel jaw ala Robotman of the Doom Patrol, especially when the interior art isn’t going to represent it.
Or – “Beware My Power… Making My Exes Go Crazy.” Perhaps more than any other concept, Green Lantern illustrates the kind of changes that have befallen the comics industry since it’s inception back in the Golden Age. The original Green Lantern was Alan Scott, a train engineer who found a magic langern, a quintessentially Golden Age origin. As the influence of Superman waxed and waned, G.L. Scott became first INSANELY powerful, then depowered, then eventually stopped appearing in HIS OWN BOOK (replaced by Streak the Wonder Dog) as superheroes lost their lustre. One of the first concepts revived in the
Or – “How Do You Follow Up A Nigh-Perfect Issue?” X-Factor. The term can be used to refer to many things… It was an album by Iron Maiden, it’s the name of Simon Cowell’s internation version of ‘American Idol’ (“Dear Supreme Being: Respectfully, please get Sanjaya off my TV set. He makes my brain hurt, and not in a good way. I would never wish him harm, but the boy barely has the talent to have breakfast without injury. Save him from us all. Love, Matthew.”), it was the nom de guerre of an excrable wrestling tag team based mostly
Or – “If They’re Really A Secret Six, Why Are They So High-Profile?” That look on Lady Blackhawk’s face, my friends, is known to scientists and students of non-verbal communication as the “Skunkeye” ( also called “Stinkeye”), and it is used to imply that the subject of your scrutiny is so suspicious as to actually reek of illegitimacy. It’s commonly seen in singles bars, at all-you-can-eat buffets, and on the face of David Letterman. “But, Matthew,” you’re asking, “why is Babs Gordon’s dark doppelganger, her nemesis from college, the wicked and abusive power-mongering manipulator Spy Smasher sitting alongside Zinda, Babs’
Or – “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, Whever He Hung His Cape Was His Home…” Many people have pointed out the recurring thread in Walt Disney movies regarding the lack or loss of a mother figure and it’s effect on the resulting stories. But there is also the obvious, but little discussed fact that a huge number of our favorite comic book stories are predicated on the loss of, lack of, or abuse by paternal figures… or, to use fewer syllables, they’ve got ‘Daddy issues.’ Witness Peter Parker’s guilt over not saving his surrogate father, Uncle Ben. The pre-Crisis Superman was so defined
Or – “He Wasn’t Always A Huge Tool. Once, He Was A Huge Tool With A Tom Selleck Haircut.” With all the verbal beatings heaped upon Senor Antonio Stark in recent weeks, I decided it was well past time to look at something that predates his characterization as a “futurist” (which seems to be synonymous with the characterization of Batman in the Morrison and Waid eras of JLA: the man paranoid enough to act in a manner completely contrary to heroism in the name of preparation), as well as a time when comics in general were simpler. The occasional would-be
Or – “Behind The Curve Is Where I’ll Be…” Okay, so I admit it. I’ve been dragging my feet on recapping this title. I was of the opinion that I wasn’t going to cover it at all, until I managed to stay on my daily schedule long enough to actually exhaust what was in the review bag (though not buying last week’s comics due to budgeting catastrophe may have been in large part responsible, as well.) The honest truth is: I’m a big Frank Cho fan. I’m a conditional Brian Bendis fan (though I enjoy him better on his self-created
Or – “There Are Eight Million Stories In The Checkmate City…” I actually remember the FIRST time I read a number 12 issue of Checkmate (and I refuse to believe it’s been nearly 20 years, either), an Invasion Aftermath extra written by Paul Kupperberg, with art by Steve Erwin (not the late Crocodile Hunter, mind you) and Al Vey. I liked that series, with it’s attempt to meld the soopahero and spy genres, although I didn’t read it until years after it’s cancellation. (I was completing my run of Suicide Squad at the time, and the crossover issues were compelling.)
Or – “Y’know, I Loved Kingdom Come As Much As The Next Guy But, C’MON!” With this issue of JSA, it’s official… It IS just me. I’ve had long, involved conversations with the folks at work (including both my fellow counter monkeys, as well as several customers) and to a man, nobody but me is bothered by the amount of Alex Ross in the issues of JSA thus far. They DO agree with me that his covers are less attractive than the variants by interior artist Dale Eaglesham, but aren’t bothered by the obvious thumbprints of Mr. Ross all over
Or – “What’s In A Name? You Wouldn’t Ask If Yours Was ‘Hortense.’” In the DC Universe (or, to be honest, the streamlined and updated DC/Quality/Fawcett/Charlton/Etc Universe), the name “Manhunter” has carried with it a bit of a stigma, for some reason. The first Manhunter (from Quality Comics) was Dan Richards, a police officer who put on the mask to clear a friend’s name. He was retconnedly brainwashed, and later murdered by a later claimant to the name. Paul Kirk, the second Manhunter, had an abbreviated run in Adventure comics, was trampled by a Rhino, cloned, killed, cloned, killed, cloned,
Or – “Strange Days, Indeed… Most Peculiar, Mama.” Of all the mysteries left unsolved in the wake of the time-jump caused by 52, the question of what happened to the Outsiders has been the most maddening, partly because their change in status quo was so dramatic, and partly because Judd Winick has insisted on giving us absolutely nothing to go on, not even an oblique hint. Even now that they’re revealing the events that filled the one-year-gap, certain questions remain maddeningly unanswered (notably the whole “Grace isn’t what she seems” issue), and Winick is probably going to hell for it.
Or – “Where Ya Want The Fake Cake Fulla Snake?” One of the joys of being a comics geek are the moments where you get to say “I know this story!” or “I remember where this happened!” ‘Earth’s Mightiest’ continues it’s quasi-“Behind The Music” look at Avengers #58 through 61 (so far) and gives us the full Paul Harvey (that’d be… The REST Of The Story) on the decision to allow a previously murderous synthezoid to join up, on the impromptu wedding of Henry Pym and Janet Van Dyne, on the reasons why intelligent men (not to mention the Vision’s