Thursday, September 30, 2010

Short Takes

Work and real life are kind of kicking my butt at the moment, but while it's caused me to put the temporary kibosh on "Superman Sundays," it hasn't impacted (and won't impact for at least the foreseeable future) the "Walking with Superman" series. I'm right on track with that series, and every time I think I might be running out of ideas, I find some cool place in my research or think "what's a cool thing that I want to see Superman do?" and I'm all right again.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about some of the comics I've actually managed to read recently, and other associated thoughts. And so...

In the "news to absolutely no one" department, I finally managed to purchase the newest volume of Adam Warren's "Empowered," and it was quite awesome. The increasing continuity in the title has inspired me to go back and read the whole series all at once, probably before my next "Scott Pilgrim" read-through, to be honest.

I could gush for long periods of time about all the awesome stuff in the book, but one thing I think it does particularly well is exploring the idea of a superhero culture. The "Empowered" universe has a superhero 24-hour news network, superhero TV shows, superhero award ceremonies, and radio programs devoted to fantasy-football-style superhero fandom. It's the sort of thing that great books like "She-Hulk" and "Manhunter" and "Bulleteer" and so forth have examined in smaller degrees, and it's something I wish comic creators would put more thought into. In a world where being superhuman is not entirely uncommon, we should expect to see a culture rise up around those superhumans, whether it's the mutant subculture explored in books like "X-Statix" and Grant Morrison's "New X-Men" run, or the ramifications of superhero existence implied by "Damage Control" and so forth. I'd like to see more creators ask "if superheroes existed, what else would we expect to see," and I think Adam Warren is one of the best creators out there in that regard. And that's not even the main focus of the title! So kudos to Warren for one of the best superhero books on the stands, even if it is a little embarrassing to purchase, shrink-wrapped and all, from my local Borders.

I also enjoyed the most recent Invincible trade, but I have less exciting things to say about that.

My feelings about J. Michael Straczynski's "Superman" ought to be well-known about seventy-one times over at this point, but Paul Cornell is rocking the house on "Lex Luthor's Action Comics." It's been a solid title from issue one, showcasing some of Luthor's eccentricities and weaknesses in ways that don't make him any less threatening or intimidating as a villain.

It also featured Gorilla Grodd wielding a "combat spoon." And that's amazing. I don't know how a book about DC's greatest villain manages to be this crazy and fun, but it does, and I hope it continues that way.

Incidentally, next issue is the one with Death. SPOILER ALERT! I'm not entirely sure how Lex is going to get out of this apparent jam, but I'm interested to find out. That? That was a cliffhanger. END SPOILERS.

Speaking of "Action Comics," despite the fact that I downloaded the Jimmy Olsen preview on my iPhone last week, I never quite got around to reading it until today. The way it treats the Silver Age wackiness of Jimmy Olsen's career with such matter-of-fact panache and uses morse code as a plot point in such a perfectly spot-on Silver Age way, is pitch-perfect awesome. I love the new characters, though it's going to probably take a few stories before we see whether or not Chloe Sullivan is anything like her spunky television counterpart.

A techno-genie. Man, "Action Comics" is amazing.

Action Comics also got me thinking about the weird way that some supervillains manage to "graduate." Like, most villains start as villains for some specific hero or team, but some manage to move up to universe-wide villains, villains who would be believable as the focal characters of major crossovers or fighting nearly any other hero. I've made a quick list of villains who started as single-hero foes and made their way up to universal threats:
  • Lex Luthor (Superman)
  • Dr. Doom (Fantastic Four)
  • The Joker (Batman)
  • Deathstroke (Teen Titans)
  • Ultra-Humanite (Superman)
  • Gorilla Grodd (Flash)
  • Norman Osborn (Spider-Man)
  • Loki (Thor)
  • Magneto (X-Men)
  • Kingpin (Spider-Man)

And so forth. I don't know exactly what qualifies a villain to make that jump; it seems like some of them start by shuffling around to different heroes (the way that Dr. Doom fought Spider-Man in an early "Amazing") or going after teams that their main rival is on (Loki being the first enemy of the Avengers). But, like, why would Deathstroke take off as a major DCU villain over, say, Brother Blood?

I also think it'd be interesting to compare/contrast this list with the list of villains who became heroes/antiheroes, during the '90s in particular and during other times in general. Deathstroke's on both lists, and arguably the Joker is too, given his solo title in the '70s. The Punisher started as a Spider-Man villain, but then you also have Venom (the "lethal protector"), Morbius, and a host of other characters to choose from. Not to mention the Suicide Squad and Secret Six.

It's interesting fodder for future posts, I suppose.

I appear to be the only person in comics fandom who wasn't wowed and wooed by "Chew." I don't know exactly what the problem is, whether it was just too many "innaworld"-type high concepts stuck on top of one another or something else entirely. All I know is that everyone is singing the title's praises with superlative accolades, including lots of people whose opinions I trust, and who have caused me to run out and buy other titles in the past on recommendation alone. But man, it just did absolutely nothing for me. I feel like I need to re-read the book again, or like there's something wrong with me. Rest assured, I'll do the former, and I suspect the truth of the latter.

I expect they'll be by for my comics blogging license any day now.

I like that the Green Lantern books are finally dealing with Sodam Yat. His sacrifice, up to and including the way it mimicked that of Hal Jordan in "Final Night"--was obviously going to be a non-death, and it's nice to see some movement on that plotline. That being said, I'm pretty sure that his story is being dealt with in "Emerald Warriors," and I really don't think I'm going to subscribe to a third Green Lantern title. I love Guy Gardner and all, but I think I'll be sticking with the two main titles for now. Maybe I'll change my mind soon, but not so far.

The current tragedy of my comic collecting is that I didn't have the funds to pick up "Darkwing Duck" as it was coming out, and so I only have the first issue. The closest shop that has any additional issues is A) not close and B) missing #2. I might ask my new LCS guy if they can procure the additional issues. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow, then. But man, $3.99 an issue sure makes trade-waiting an attractive prospect.

Looks like that's it for now. Feel free to tell me how or why I'm wrong in the comments. Especially if you're a "Chew" fan. I'd love to be sold on the series--I bought the first trade, after all, so I'm at least a little invested--but man, absolutely nothing.

Walking with Superman: Day 71

The production crew of the rebooted "Atomic Skull" movie have been receiving acclaim for their pioneering use of metahumans to accomplish all of the film's stunts, makeup, design, and special effects. Naturally, when Superman comes to Hollywood, the director jumps at the chance to show the Man of Steel around the set. Superman has a hard time enjoying the tour, since he knows what kind of carnage is likely to happen if the real Atomic Skull should crash the set. Unfortunately, the Atomic Skull has been upstaged, and the Film Freak has decided to voice his critiques lethally and explosively declare his love for the classics!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 70

In 1947, the Army Air Force's Project Mogul used specialized high-altitude balloons to detect Soviet atomic bomb tests. The crash of one such set of balloons near Roswell, New Mexico, eventually became a major component of alien-centered conspiracy theories. Today, the direct descendant of that operation is the Human Defense Corps' Project Mogul, which uses orbiting satellites and ground-based detectors to search the skies for potential alien invaders and extraterrestrial superweapons. But when one of the satellites intercepts a teleportation signal, what crashes in Roswell is anything but a surveillance balloon. Mongul has arrived in the Land of Enchantment, and only Superman can stop him!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 69

Superman arrives in Bethel, New York, on the dairy farm that once played host to the most famous concert in history. Another party has taken up residence in the field, but while Woodstock Infinity stands for peace and love, these interdimensional Aquarians may bring the end of the world as we know it! The free love festival began as another Earth's Woodstock, but never quite managed to end, spreading first from planet to planet, and eventually from universe to universe, spreading good music and good vibrations across the multiverse. But when Superman learns that the revelers have left each previous planet a muddy, devastated mess, he realizes that he must get them to either change their ways or keep on truckin' to an uninhabited world! Unfortunately, no one wants to listen to what "The Man" of Steel has to say. Now, if Superman wants to save his Earth and countless others, he's going to have to face his psychedelic counterpart, Sunshine Superman, and the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 68

St. Louis's Gateway Arch is one of the most impressive architectural feats in the United States, standing taller than any other monument in the country. The Arch has been closed for a short time, due to repairs and refurbishments designed, the workers said, to make it more resistant to terrorist attack. But when the Arch is reopened, just in time for Superman's arrival, it seems that there was something more added than just security! The monument has apparently become the Gateway to the West Side of the Galaxy, as alien ships pour out of the glowing portal enclosed by the silver hyperbola! Even if the Man of Steel can stop the invasion, can the portal be closed without forever changing the St. Louis skyline?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 67

The students at MIT are notorious for their genius intellects and elaborate pranks, but when Superman comes to campus, it seems that those two things have collided with disastrous results. A hack gone awry is sapping the intellect of everyone on campus--including the Man of Steel--and when Superman discovers that the responsible device uses technology from the Brainiac probes and the Thinker's cap, shutting it down becomes a much more complicated feat. Can Superman save the students and staff of MIT before the brain-drain device shuts down their nervous systems, or will it permanently render him a Simpleton of Steel?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 66

At the Juilliard School for Performing Arts in New York City, Clark Kent encounters a young paraplegic dance student and his doctor, whose controversial, experimental treatments are making great strides toward ending paralysis. The mild-mannered reporter delves into the complex world of medical ethics and moral outrage, conducting interviews with other students, biological researchers, and protesters against the use of animals in medical tests. Clark takes an in-depth examination of the role of medical research in a world filled with magic and metagenes, consistently guided by the boundless determination of one young artist trying to do what many would call impossible.

Dedicated to Christopher Reeve.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 65

Austin, TX is home to the world's largest urban bat population. Usually this makes for an impressive sight at sundown, and the greatest dangers are rabies and falling guano, but something is turning Austinites into the world's largest Man-Bat population! Superman's in a race against time to find the cause--and the cure--before everyone in Texas sprouts leather wings. But will he succeed, or will the strange effect force Superman to convert the Fortress of Solitude into the Supercave?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 64

When Superman encountered the Hairies in the Rocky Mountains, he learned that the dissolution of the Cadmus Project led to a DNA Diaspora, with the various residents and hangers-on seeking asylum wherever they could. When Superman arrives in Montana, he finds another casualty of the Cadmus catastrophe. Yango and his Outsiders have lost the Wild Area, and the zoomways have fallen into disrepair, so they have taken control of the open highways of Montana. Now, no one--not even Superman--passes without Yango's permission! If Superman hopes to free Montana from the rule of this wild bunch and find them a new place to ride, then he's going to need help from the only person that even Yango fears: James Bartholomew Olsen!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 63

In 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman led Union troops on a march across Georgia from Atlanta to Savannah, committing along the way what some still consider to be the Civil War's greatest atrocities. Sherman's scorched-earth methods devastated the Georgia infrastructure and dealt a major blow to the Confederacy. Now, nearly one hundred and twenty years after his death, Sherman is back to repeat his infamous trek, destroying modern Georgia in the process! Superman stands against the spectral army, but he doesn't stand alone--he's got help from the Confederate Army's greatest cavalry general, James Ewell Brown Stuart, and the Haunted Tank!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 62

Intergang has taken control of a skyscraper in Los Angeles as part of a plot to draw out and destroy the Man of Steel. Little do they know that they already have him, tied to a chair and rendered powerless by a piece of gold kryptonite. Clark Kent's only hope for survival lies in the courage, resourcefulness, and determination of army brat, investigative reporter, and action heroine Lois Lane! Armed only with a cell phone, a digital recorder, and a pair of high-heeled shoes, Lois must find a way to save her husband and the other hostages from Intergang's deadly clutches, before they decide to stop waiting for Superman...or discover Clark's secret!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 61

Lois flies in to Los Angeles, California for a night on the town with her hard-traveling husband. The couple spends the day enjoying the sights and sounds of the City of Angels, capping it off with dinner at Takami Sushi and Robata, twenty-one floors above the city's financial district. But when Lois steps out to powder her nose, Intergang steps in and takes the diners hostage! Armed with Kryptonian weapons salvaged from the hundred-minute war and a chunk of gold kryptonite, the terrorists hope to get at Superman through his reporter friend Clark Kent, and to escape with some additional loot from the offices below. These Intergang thugs came prepared for everything...everything except Lois Lane!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No Passing Zone

Lately--that is, ever since I put Bayonetta away knowing that killing God would take more time and effort than I had at the moment--I've been playing Left 4 Dead 2 as my go-to leisure time video game. I really enjoy the Left 4 Dead series, though I thought the first one did a better job with some of the ambiance--namely, the writing on the walls in the safe rooms. In the first game, a lot of the writing was darkly humorous, reminiscent of the rat-man's ramblings in Portal; the second game has made the writing a lot more straightforward, and that's kind of disappointing. But, I like the addition of melee weapons a lot, and I dig the increased variety of both normal and special infected, so I play the sequel most of the time.

Brief digression: what really sold me on the series was the way they sidestepped any issues with realism in terms of plot, characterization, or dialogue. Instead of playing a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse, you're playing as characters in a zombie movie. That subtle difference allows, I think, for much greater suspension of disbelief with respect to the aspects of the story and the stereotypical characters than you'd have if it were all played straight.

Consequently, I was really excited when the new DLC, "The Passing," came out. It offered not only another mission for a game I enjoy, but also had the new survivors meeting up with the survivors from the previous game. Unfortunately, I was flat broke when it came out, so I didn't get to play it early on. I got paid last week, though, so I added some Microsoft Points and picked it up.

And wow, what a disappointment.

I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I'd kind of hoped for some playability to the original survivors. I anticipated online modes with eight survivors against the horde, and I suppose that might have been excessive. But I certainly think it could have been more than it was. The mission has three stages, which is paltry compared to the other levels, which typically have four to six--and the last stage is essentially the same as the end of "Dead Center." The encounter with the original survivors is limited to a couple of cutscenes and cover fire, which is a real let-down, and I think it introduced a grand total of two new weapons. There are some neat new designs for some of the infected, I guess, but overall it really doesn't feel like it was worth $10. When Left 4 Dead 2 came out, people complained that it felt less like a sequel than like DLC add-ons, since it only added new levels, a new weapon mechanic, and a few new infected types. Now, the actual DLC add-on feels like half of what it should be for the price.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I'm much happier with the other thing I spent Microsoft Points on this week: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. Which is pure, unadulterated awesome.

Walking with Superman: Day 60

For thousands of years, a craggy, weathered stone face watched out over New Hampshire from the side of Cannon Mountain. The rock formation collapsed in 2003, but when Superman comes to the Franconia Mountains, he finds that the Old Man of the Mountain remains. The dying Earth Elemental contacts the Man of Steel, before he passes on to join the Council of Stone for all eternity, and implores Superman to seek out the new Elemental that will take his place. Only Superman has the power to help the Elemental through its violent birth pangs, so that it can gain control of Cannon Mountain. Otherwise, the mysterious, deadly force that the Old Man has fought to keep imprisoned beneath the mountain will escape, and Earth may not survive the ensuing battle.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 59

Superman's in Blue Valley, Nebraska for the County Fair, and he's brought along the whole red-cape family--Steel, Supergirl, Superboy, Power Girl, and a moderately incognito Lois Lane. They're not the only ones there in colorful costumes, though: Blue Valley's most famous son has come home, and Wally West has brought the Fastest Family Alive with him! It's the Flash Family vs. the Superman Family in feats of strength, intestinal fortitude, and--of course--speed! That means it's time for another legendary Superman/Flash race, but this one won't end in a'll start in one, with Superman tied to the Flash for the world's fastest three-legged race! All that, plus a titanic tussle with the terrible Turtle, will make this year's fair one that Blue Valley will never forget!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 58

For over a hundred years, people have reported sightings of a creature living in New England's Lake Champlain. The creature, said to look like a prehistoric plesiosaur, has been seen by hundreds of visitors to the lake over the last century. Methodical attempts to find solid evidence of its existence have led to recordings of strange animal noises and unexplained fluctuations in the lake's fish population. Residents and enthusiasts all seem agree: there's a creature living in Lake Champlain.

Those people are wrong. Lake Champlain isn't just a lake. And it's not just one creature.

The most recent scientific study into the lake found that it is deeper than it could physically be, and that eventually familiar underwater formations give way to impossible structures, murky discolored water, and all manner of bizarre life forms. Such creatures had wandered toward the surface in the past, but now a whole swarm of them have followed the submersible back into our world, fleeing the incomprehensible thing which has been awakened beneath the bottomless lake. Superman arrives in Burlington, Vermont, just in time to face a lake monster undreamed-of by the local residents, whose very existence may turn reality inside-out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 57

Superman finds love on the Plantation, and his Georgia peach, Gorgeous Gilly, wants to introduce him to the family! The Rednex have moved in with their extended family outside Bainbridge, and Superman's become caught in their web of southern gothic intrigue. Can he unravel the dense tangle of scandal, murder, restless spirits, and genetic modification, or will wedding bells and shotgun shells trap him in Gilly's embrace forever?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 56

Superman's on the South Carolina coast, and a Category 4 hurricane is rushing in to meet him. But how much should Superman do to fight against nature? Like most coastal states, South Carolina has lost acres of tidal marshes and other wetlands to urban development, which further contributes to the changing climate. These factors have conspired to make hurricanes even more dangerous to those same urban communities. Face-to-face with the dangers of tampering with the natural order, Superman must quickly determine the best way to help, and if there's a way to prevent the increased danger in the future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 55

An archaeological dig near the Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area in southern New Mexico unearths a strange find--the fabled Máscara de Tezumak! The fabled helm is said to contain the spirit of a powerful heroic warrior from a long-forgotten age, and that whoever is worthy to wear it will be granted mystic armor and power beyond measure. Now, every hero, villain, and wannabe in the southwest is converging on the dig, and only Superman and Los Atómicos stand in their way! Can they stand against the multitudes? Can even these heroes withstand the temptation of Tezumak's power? And when the ancient spirit awakens, will anyone be able to stand against it?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 54

Es una batalla real en New Mexico cuando Superman encuentra Los Atómicos! The southwest's premier team of super-powered luchadores would normally be thrilled to host the Man of Steel, but there's trouble outside the ring when their arch-nemesis El Rudo discovers the Medusa Mask! Rudo offers to surrender--but only if Superman can beat him in a one-on-one lucha de apuesta--otherwise, he'll use the Medusa Mask's powers to enslave Los Atómicos and spread chaos across the southwest! But can Superman learn lucha libre in time to defeat this hellish heel? In this issue, creerán que un hombre puede luchar!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 53

Ever since 9/11, some conspiracy theorists have argued that the damage to the Pentagon could not have been caused by an airplane, and must instead have been caused by a disguised or cloaked missile of some kind. Such arguments have always suffered from a distinct lack of evidence. Until now. One lone nut is determined to prove the conspiracy--by recreating the attack! Despite his boasts all over the Internet, the authorities have been unable to track him down, so it's up to Superman to find TruthWarrior1163 before he destroys a sizable chunk of Arlington County!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 52

On September 11th, 2001, four hijackers took control of United Airlines Flight 93, diverting the cross-country flight back toward the District of Colombia. Having learned about the related attacks through phone calls made during the flight, the passengers voted to rush the cockpit, revolting against the hijackers. They forced the plane to crash in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. Thirty-three people sacrificed their lives to save hundreds.

Today, on the anniversary of the attacks, Clark Kent is in that field in Pennsylvania, speaking with the families of those who died in the Flight 93 crash. Because even Superman has his heroes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 51

It's two titanic tales from two very different destinations along Superman's coast-to-coast tour. The Man of Steel spends time with two Muslim communities, one in the boroughs of New York City, the other in a small town just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. While one is still recovering and rebuilding their lives and their bonds with their neighbors, the other is picking up the pieces of their recently-firebombed mosque, keenly aware of the fear and bigotry harbored by some in their neighborhood. Superman takes a deep, disheartening look into the scapegoating of a people and the deep scars that still mar this nation nearly ten years after the terrible events of September 11th, 2001.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 50

The crime rate in Connecticut is nearly zero, thanks to the efforts of Governor Jeremy Horton and the state's officially-deputized superhero protectors, the Young Heroes! With Thunderhead, Bonfire, Frostbite, Junior, Zip-Kid, and Off-Ramp around, the Constitution State has become the safest state in the union, and civic morale is off the charts. In fact, only one supervillain would dare operate in the land of nutmeg: former Young Hero Monstergirl! Superman's visit brings Monstergirl out into the open, but when she overpowers the Man of Steel and takes him back to her lair, Superman learns that there may be more to the politics and protection of Connecticut than there seems to be. The sensational character finds of 1997 make their triumphant return in this double-sized issue, and the Eastern Seaboard may never be the same!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 49

Superman has returned to the present, but nearly two weeks before he left. Weakened by another unprotected trip through time and knowing what's in store for the future, Superman decides to take a page from his 1940s playbook. Working once again in Louisville, Superman creates a new identity for himself--as a costumed supercriminal! Outfitted in an armored baseball uniform, wearing a mask to conceal his identity, and carrying a baseball bat made of solid promethium, Superman becomes the villainous Slugger, Louisville's coach of crime! He responds to an Unternet request to form a new Brotherhood of Evil to attack Fort Knox, and then it's just a matter of time...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 48

Superman's trapped in 1946, with no way to get back to his native time. He realizes that his only chance is to try to find the Justice Society and hope that the Spectre or Dr. Fate is willing and able to send him back to the 21st century. But along the way to their New York City brownstone headquarters, Superman stumbles upon a secret cabal of fifth columnists, led by a Nazi super-scientist. What strange technological devices are the Nazis developing? Who is their secret benefactor? What is their nefarious plan? And can Superman stop them without destroying what may be his only way home?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 47

Even in 1946, the world needs a Superman, and so he has infiltrated a Ku Klux Klan meeting, hoping to take down the chapter from the inside quietly, without changing the timeline. That was until they unveiled the White Knights, a trio of metahuman Klansmen, as the first wave of a race war to take over the nation! Pressured into action, a weakened Superman must battle these superpowered white supremacists and their allies, with the fate of history hanging in the balance. But what good is defeating them if the attitudes which led to their creation still prevail?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 46

Superman emerges from the timestream right where he left, somewhere near Louisville, Kentucky, with his costume shredded and his powers weakened by the difficult journey. He soon discovers that he's about sixty-four years farther from home than he thought! Stuck in 1946 until he recovers from the trip and finds a way home, Superman has no choice but to look for work and a place to stay. But when he discovers that the Ku Klux Klan are operating in the city, even the danger of meddling with time can't stop him from finding a job...for Superman!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wait, what?

I like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but I was a latecomer to the series, only really starting to watch it in the last several years. I really enjoy it, but I still haven't watched the last two and a half seasons or so. Now that I have both the complete sets of "Buffy" and "Angel," I figure I'll go back and watch both all the way through (with all the appropriate tie-in episodes and whatnot) at some point in the near future, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Avoiding the show as I did means I also avoided a great deal of Whedon fandom; my first real encounter with him was "Astonishing X-Men," and I'm pretty sure I watched the entirety of "Firefly" before I saw a single "Buffy" episode. So while I haven't exactly been entirely untainted by spoilers, I've been mostly untainted by prevailing fan opinions.

Which is why I was surprised by a throwaway line in a recent Blog@Newsarama post, referring to Riley as "the character’s most-loathed ex-boyfriend." I actually quite liked Riley, and generally enjoyed the whole Initiative storyline.

So now I'm curious: why is Riley the "most-loathed" of Buffy's boyfriends? Why does he provoke the wrath of Whedonite fandom so much that his getting a one-shot comic is cause for controversy?

And is there any chance that we could see Whedon's proposed TV series prequel about young Giles done as a comic? Has it already been done? Because that would be the thing that gets me buying Buffy comics.

Walking with Superman: Day 45

Big Blue comes to the Bluegrass State, and not a moment too soon! Chronos has assembled a new Brotherhood of Evil--Warp, Plasmus, Neutron, Phobia, the Puzzler, and the Kentucky native Slugger--to steal the gold from Fort Knox! Can Superman thwart their criminal plan and keep the bullion--and the thousands of people on-base--safe from these vile villains? Of course he can, until Chronos and Warp collide, creating a portal that sends Superman hurtling into the timestream!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 44

Superman's at the southern tip of Illinois, where he finds a surprising town called Metropolis! The whole town sells Superman memorabilia, they're having a huge Superman celebration, and there's even a Superman statue in the town square. Superman is flattered to be sure, until he realizes that everyone in Metropolis thinks "Superman" is a fictional character! What's more, the townspeople think that Superman is just an actor named Josh Boultinghouse, hired to play the character for the event! How can Superman convince this town of the truth, and how can he leave knowing that over six thousand people know everything about him? What is the strange secret of the second Metropolis?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 43

You are cordially invited to the marriage of the Regent of the Almeraci Empire,




Hyper-powered protector of the Sombrero Hat Galaxy.

They say that Virginia is for Lovers, and apparently that's not just limited to lovers from Earth! Almeraci monarch and former Justice Leaguer Maxima has asked Superman to be a part of her wedding party, and Superman hopes his involvement will help keep collateral damage to a minimum. Superhero weddings are always trouble, but when Almeraci and Valeronian customs clash, the results may be particularly memorable. And that's before the jealous husbands and wives and other lovers start showing up to pay the happy couple their respects! It's a good thing Superman won't be going it alone, thanks to Vartox's best "man": Kara Zor-L, the pulchritudinous Power Girl!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 42

At one time, it would have been common to see over a hundred steamboats in the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri. Today, though, there's just one: the Hell's Fury, a ship that left port in the River Styx and won't stop 'til it reaches revenge! St. Louis's twin superheroes Rush and Silence quickly fill the visiting Man of Steel in on the strange tale of the undead steamer: Mary Freeman wanted nothing more than to pilot a steam ship up and down the Mississippi, but that wasn't much of a possibility for a black woman in the 1830s. So she masqueraded as a man, taking the name "Martin" instead, and obtained her license and a ship to captain. She served for years, until her identity was discovered by a jealous would-be lover while the ship was moored between slave states. A small, hateful mob attacked her for her hubris, sabotaged the boiler, and set fire to her ship; the resulting explosion killed Mary and her crew, and the wreckage burned on the water for days. Ever since, Mary has sailed the river in a steamboat as black as night, standing at the helm in the finest gowns the afterlife ever saw. Folks along the Mississippi whisper her tale, the story of "Proud Mary," who never again will hide herself beneath a man's façade. She sails the river, taking her revenge on the descendants of those who wronged her, and adding anyone who sets foot on the steamship to her ghastly crew.

Now it's up to Superman and his allies to halt Mary's vengeance, before she and her undead army burn St. Louis to the ground!