Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sounds of Silence

Sorry for the silence. Finals are coming up, and I've got a ton of papers to do. So it'll be a little while before I'm posting regularly again.

In similar, but more permanent news, Dave Campbell has taped up his long box and shipped it off to greener pastures. This means that there is no one left to challenge Chris Sims' stranglehold on the comics blogohedron. Let us all bid farewell and good luck to the most Airwolf blog on the tubes, before the decrees come down from the Dark Lord to remove that word from our vocabulary and mandate an average of 3.4 face-kick images per post.

On a happier note, Loren Javier is blogging again! Welcome back to the blogohedron, Loren, and remember to pledge allegiance and tribute to the Great Imperial Leader on your way in.

Also, I want to wish a happy (belated) birthday to Ragnell!

Now, you all know how women get so irrational about getting older, so everyone remember to complement Ragnell on her youthful looks and fashion choices in the coming days. Since she'll be spending increased amounts of time in front of the mirror, applying makeup and counting wrinkles and gray hairs, reassuring her about her looks will make her feel like she's still worthwhile, and certainly isn't turning into a bitter spinster. For example, "Hey Ragnell, that's a Green Lantern-caliber butt you have there!"

The Fortress of Soliloquy will be going on indefinite hiatus, as Tom Foss has mysteriously disappeared. Any communications may be forwarded through When Fangirls Attack.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Hits Keep Coming

Apparently I didn't read the DC Solicitations closely enough, or I would have found out that they're cancelling "Catwoman" and "All-New Atom." Now, I said I wasn't too thrilled with Remender's run so far, but that didn't mean I wanted the book to end. It is a travesty of the highest order that these books should die while Judd Winick gets a new Titans title.

So, looking over my top three favorite DC titles of the last year or so, one's being cancelled after losing its awesome series writer, one's being cancelled after getting derailed by an unnecessary and nonsensical (but still well-written and entertaining, despite it all) crossover with "Salvation Run," and one's getting a new writer who, so far, looks like he's totally out of his depth. Add to this the changing of the guard on "Immortal Iron Fist," and my list of 'books I look forward to reading each month' been utterly demolished. What's left? "Green Lantern" and "Booster Gold"?

"Trinity" is going to have to be the Holy Grail of comics in order to pick up the slack (no pressure, Kurt). Still, I'm not sure even the return of Ambush Bug will be able to save July from total suckitude.

Monday, April 14, 2008

DC Comics, What the Hell?

What is it with these terrible, awful, no-good, very bad solicitations recently? Reading the July 2008 solicitations was like one terrible bit of news after another. First, there's this:
Burn, baby, burn! Disco inferno!FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Covers by J.G. Jones and Doug Mahnke
A very special FINAL CRISIS one-shot honoring the passing of a great hero who’s been a staple in the DC Universe for years. All that remains is one final memory that the League experiences together as they must fulfill his last wishes or die trying!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers (one by J.G. Jones and one by Doug Mahnke) that will ship in approximately 50/50 ratio. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 9 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Which is basically confirmation that the endless train of Event Casualties continues, claiming Martian Manhunter this time. I love it when they run characters into the ground before they kill them off. It provides such a convenient "they weren't popular/selling" excuse. Can we start the over/under on how long he'll actually stay dead?

Then there was this:
Thought I heard her callin' my name now.DETECTIVE COMICS #846
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs
Cover by Nguyen
A “Batman: R.I.P.” issue — and part 1 of the 5-part story “The Return of Hush!”
Readers who were surprised by Catwoman’s return last month haven’t see anything yet as Hush makes a dramatic return to the life of Batman. What will this mean for Bruce Wayne? This epic story kicks off the countdown to DETECTIVE #850!
On sale July 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Because Hush is such a great character with so many possibilities, and totally hasn't been overused and overhyped. I mean, I love Paul Dini to death, and if anyone can redeem Hush, it's him, but I'd much, much rather see some of Batman's better rogues used. You know, like Orca, the Eraser, and Egghead.

And then there's this abomination:
Hey look, a stock Ethan Van Sciver cover! I've never seen one of those before!SUPERMAN/BATMAN #50
Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Art by Ed Benes
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Variant cover by Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
Celebrate fifty blockbuster issues with this extra-sized extravaganza as we reveal the untold tale of Thomas Wayne’s meeting with Jor-El and how it shaped Gotham City’s future! You don’t dare miss this one!
The past was just prologue for this latest adventure of the World’s Finest duo as an ancient Kryptonian artifact is uncovered, unleashing past and present dangers that may alter the duo’s future. Not even the guest-starring Titans will be able to save them! This issue also features a variant cover by the original SUPERMAN/BATMAN art team of Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Ethan Van Sciver), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 23 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Oh, I do indeed dare miss this one. It's not often that a solicit screams Dis Continuity, but this one's shouting it from the rooftops. This sounds like a rejected "Smallville" plot (where Jor-El is involved with freaking everything on Earth) or a bad '90s Elseworlds story. Jor-El should remain entirely confined to Krypton and the Fortress computer.

Oh, that reminds me, Superman Month is coming.

But the biggest disappointment was this:
Yeah, I'd want a wall between me and Matt Sturges too.BLUE BEETLE #29
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art and cover by Rafael Albuquerque
New series writer Matthew Sturges (JACK OF FABLES, HOUSE OF MYSTERY) comes aboard to kick off “Boundaries,” with returning series artist Rafael Albuquerque! As Blue Beetle struggles to establish himself as the protector of El Paso and Cuidad Juarez, he finds himself thrown into the heart of the immigration struggle, made all the more complicated by the involvement of Intergang — and another, more mysterious, figure. Coming at you straight outta Texas, Sturges takes our hero into new territory as Beetle works out his responsibilities as both a hero in the DC Universe and a citizen of a border town.
On sale July 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Matthew Sturges? Really? We get the awesomeness of Giffen and Rogers, then some fill-in by the incredible Will Pfeifer, and then we get the man who killed Shadowpact? First Bruce Jones on Checkmate, now this (and I'm none too thrilled with Rick Remender's run on All-New Atom so far, either). I'll give Sturges more of a fair shake than I'll give Jones, but it looks from here like DC is sabotaging some of their best titles.

This makes me hopeful, though:
How sad is it that this is still DC's best crossover?BOOSTER GOLD #1,000,000
Written by Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Art and cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
Meet the greatest time-traveling hero of the year
1,000,000 A.D. – PETER PLATINUM! Lost in time, Booster Gold is confronted by a hero a million times more self-involved than himself. But if Booster does find his way back to the present, Batman will be waiting for him.
On sale July 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
First Zero Hour, now this. I can only hope for an Invasion tie-in before the series is over. Hopefully, they'll do the DC One Million trade dress, too.

So, at this point it looks like July's going to suck. Final Crisis better be awesome.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obviously, I was going to have to talk about this

Somehow, life got in the way of me posting about this sooner, so this probably isn't news to most of you. In any case, Freakazoid is finally coming to DVD!
Awww, Freak Out!

And I couldn't be happier. It's been something of a banner year for DVDs that I wanted but never thought would come out; just a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to see a Season 1 box set of Sci-Fi Channel's "Invisible Man," one of my favorite sci-fi series of all time. Now if only they'd put out sets of "Quantum Leap" with the music intact, I could die happy.

And to celebrate, how about a star-studded Freakazoid video?

Hm...I think I'm going to have to do something a little more substantial closer to the release date...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Panels I'd write for free

I don't know why everyone's so upset about that "Mighty Avengers" panel. I mean, I don't see anything wrong with my copy.
Reconsider...with lethal force!

Hat tip to Mike Sterling for the image and Bully for the inspiration.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another post about Torchwood?

Sorry, I've just been watching more British television than reading comics in the last few days. I'll post something about how awesome Blue Beetle is soon, I promise.

Anyway, I just watched Martha's first episode of "Torchwood," and it has my wheels a-turning about what might be happening in "Doctor Who" this season.

First, I thought it was interesting that traveling through space and time physically altered Martha (and presumably, the other companions). We got a hint of that twice before, when Rose and Mickey were each said to have absorbed some kind of time radiation, which allowed them to reactivate the Daleks. This dovetails nicely with the recurring companion refrain, from Rose to Sarah Jane to Donna to Jack to Martha, that traveling with the Doctor is a life-changing experience, and one which doesn't lend itself well to a return to normal life. Now we discover that there's an actual physical mutation--no doubt due in part to the time-traveling energies, and in part to the various alien microbes they're exposed to. I hope this will get picked up in the "Doctor Who" season, and I can already see some story possibilities, assuming some of the rumors are true.

The other thing I picked up on is that Martha was hired to U.N.I.T. by a woman, who claimed she came highly recommended (which everyone assumed meant that the Doctor put in a good word for her). Now, I've never seen any of the U.N.I.T. episodes of the original series (though I'd like to--any recommendations?), but after a little research, I wonder if this means she was hired by Jo Grant or (more likely) Liz Shaw, both former companions of the Doctor, both (at least one-time) employees of U.N.I.T., and both prime candidates for a season that seems to be centered around the Doctor's companions. Consider that my prediction for the rest of Series 4.


Yesterday, when I was talking about the (rumored) big Companion team-up, I almost asked "has anyone called up Lalla Ward yet?" I deleted the line after I put some thought into it--it seems like it might be bad form to introduce another not-quite-the-last of the Time Lords.

Well, I really should have left it in, because the answer might be more affirmative than I thought. It looks like someone did call Lalla, but got her husband instead.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Whovians, other Whovians, Richard Dawkins will be appearing on Doctor Who this season. It looks like he'll be playing himself, which is cool and all, but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him as some ironically appropriate alien or future person.

At least they're sure to treat him better than South Park did.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Burning Question

Honeycomb big, yeah yeah yeah!So this weekend, as I waited in tense anticipation for the season premiere of Doctor Who (which, by the way, rocked--more on that later), I decided I'd start watching the new season of Torchwood, since I've heard good things about it.

I've caught the occasional episode of the first season on BBC America, but I've never gone out of my way to watch it (though it's next up in my Netflix queue). I know the show isn't exactly popular among Whovians for its blatant attempts at being "adult," but it's managed to hold my interest more than most of the comparable American programs.

Anyway, I just finished the fourth episode, and it left me with a bit of confusion: Torchwood began as a super-secret organization, that much I get. But over the last couple of years, it seems like it's become more well-known. More than once even in this season, people (police and civilians) have referred to Torchwood as though it's a part of everyday life. And why not? For three consecutive Christmases, London has been the hub of some kind of alien invasion or spaceship-related event, not to mention the ghosts, the Cyberman invasion, the mannequin attack, and the occasional mad scientist turned into a giant bug. Londoners are familiar enough with extraterrestrials and the paranormal that they've started to plan their holidays around them.

So why in the world is secrecy so important to Torchwood? The "Men in Black" logic doesn't apply here--the general public already knows about aliens, and they've been strangely calm about the whole situation (that's the British for you, I guess). So why (Spoilers, highlight to see) is Jack so adamant that Rhys forget what he knows about Torchwood? I mean, he relents eventually, but why does he even care? Torchwood isn't a secret, aliens aren't a secret, and it's not as though there's even a huge danger if the details of the day's events got out. So what's with their secrecy?

Incidentally, I think I'm finally getting a bit of that Rose Tyler fatigue that the other Whovians have been joking/complaining about. I think I largely avoided it by watching the whole series all smushed together, as opposed to seeing it over the course of three years, and I like that the Doctor doesn't just dump people and leave without ever mentioning them again. I keep wanting to say "I wish he wasn't always pining for someone," but that's really the theme of the new series, isn't it? The Doctor puts on a goofy smile to cover up the loss and pain and fire that burns at the center of him. The recurring theme of the series is that whatever he touches, he destroys (or changes irrevocably)--Gallifrey, Rose, Martha, Madame de Bouffant, Astrid Peth, LINDA, Donna, Sarah Jane, etc.--and losing that would mean losing the emotional center of the series. But it would be nice to see the series move on, even if the Doctor has trouble doing so.

Incidentally, if the rumors are true, and this is building toward some climactic finale involving as many of the past companions as is physically possible, then I welcome all the guest stars who could possibly show up. But after that, I really hope we can get a single, regular companion for awhile.