Friday, March 31, 2006

I Did it All for the Wookie

Previously I mentioned that AggieCon 37 sucked and that I would expound on this suckitude in a later post. Well, my friends, here is the sordid tale of Trent and James, two enterprising young comic fans on a mission. A mission from God. After a hearty breakfast at the Kettle (God I love the Kettle) Trent and I rendezvoused in the dealer’s room, entry to which cost a paltry fifty cents. That’s right my friends, I had to trade one rapper who has nine caps put in his proverbial ass for entrance to the dealer’s room. Clearly I was entering some sort of Nerdvana the likes of which few have ever experienced. I was in for an experience unlike any other.

I walked into the dealer’s room and was immediately beset by the power of suck that was AggieCon 37. Trent was there waiting for me in that sad, sad wasteland with its small monuments to geek-fueled fiduciary futility. According to Trent’s count there were exactly two and a half vendors who were selling comics at this year’s con. Now I have been to several AggieCons in the past and this number was not too far off the mark, but I found the fact that roughly one third of the tables in the dealer’s room sad. We swung by one gent’s table and began our individual quests. I was looking for The 300 issues 4 and 5, the Joe Chen cover of Serenity 2, and several issues of The Legion series which I have been try to collect over the last couple of months. Trent had a list which was, in his words, “…longer than the hands of God,” and this was all neatly typed out. Trent is a SERIOUS collector when it comes to comics. His particular comic fetish seems to be first appearances and alternate covers to series he is already collecting. In this case he was seeking several first appearances and some other bits and pieces. I don’t think he found anything at the first vendor and so he wandered off to the second vendor, Krazy Komix. I was not able to find anything from my list however since the guy was doing a buy one get half off deal I decided to peruse his boxes in search of a deal. I managed to pick up all three issues of Mike Grell’s seminal Green Lantern work The Longbow Hunters (which I plan on reviewing for you guys at some point in the future) and a handful of Sgt. Rock comics whose Joe Kubert covers seduced me in to buying them (sadly there was no Joe Kubert writing or art in the books themselves.) All in all not too bad a haul for twenty-five clams (although the git tried to not give me my change from the forty I handed to him.) After that I headed over to the Krazy Komix table to see what was to be seen.

Now the Krazy Komix guys freak me out a little bit. They seem nice enough, but the longboxes are in pretty rough shape and some of the books are not properly protected, which offends my inner OCD collector. Trent had them hopping about trying to find as many of the issues on his list as possible and when I showed up they flung the Legion box at me and left me to my devices. Alas they did not have any of the issues I needed, so after admiring the rare issue displays I headed for the hills, leaving Trent to eventually run down four of the issues for which he was searching. (Justice League #64, which is the first appearance of the Red Tornado, Justice League #166 which filled in a gap in his collection, Detective Comics #311, the first appearance of Cat-Man, and Green Lantern #54, which is the first appearance of Guy Gardner.) As I headed out I took a moment to reflect on the irony that the theme of AggieCon 37 was Back in Black as even the presence of Peter Mayhew, the man beneath the fur for Chewbacca (which is, sadly, in MS Word’s dictionary as it is not throwing up a red line of death indicating a spelling error) could not shed any light in the black hole of cool that was AggieCon 37.

With that I was on my way to the Brent Mullins Jeep Parts/Museum of the American G.I. Open House and reenactment with my new camera in hand. What’s that? I haven’t mentioned my new camera yet? Well my friend, brace yourself for I have finally taken the plunge into the realm of digital photography with my purchase of a Canon EOS 20D. I love my new toy! I was able to take something on the order of 378 pictures this weekend and paid exactly nothing for processing. Glorious! But enough about my new toy, which is going to lead to some retarded photo-posts in the coming months, we’re here to talk about tanks and guns!

(Tank! The Chaffee.)

(Gun! The .30 cal machine gun.)

I am a little pissed that I did not know about Brent Mullins Jeep Parts until April of last year. I would have loved to have been going out and seeing the toys and the reenactments for the past several years. Oh well, no point in crying over spilt milk. This year’s show featured a M18 Hell Cat tank destroyer, a M5A1 Stuart light tank, a M24 Chaffee light tank, a M8 Greyhound armored car, a 105mm howitzer and plenty of jeeps and infantry to mix it up. The day started with static displays of the vehicles and some equipment before the reenactment.

(The tanks on display.)


(The Allied encampment.)

Before the reenactment there was a parade of participants, in which the Hellcat parked right in front of the crowd and fired off a round. This startled everyone, including the announcer who had moments before told us it was going to happen.

(BOOM! Shakalak)

The final step before the reenactment started was the weapons demonstration which included:

M3 Grease Gun submachine gun

.30 caliber machine gun (which jammed up and would not fire)

Tommy gun




M1 Carbine

M1 Garand

The highlight of that show was when the mortar demo almost got some of the fruitcake photographers/videographers that were hiding in the grove of trees. Secretly I was hoping they would get hit and therefore be out of the picture once the reenactment started. No such luck.

Then it was time for WWII to get underway once again. This year the scenario was set along the Siegfried Line in which elements of the U.S. Army were trying to find and rescue the crew of a downed B-17. As a scouting party consisting of the M5A1 Stuart and the M8 Greyhound locate the crew, the Germans see the rescue party and launch an attack. Those damned Huns!

(The Stuart leads the way.)

(A German anti-tank team tales out the Sherman.)

(Jerry clears the Greyhound)

After disabling the Stuart and Greyhound the Germans press the attack but are eventually pushed back by the combined might of American infantry and armor supported, oddly enough, by a few British paras, a Canadian engineer with truck, and elements of the 13th demi-brigade of the French Foreign Legion. The action was fast and furious but, as to be expected, the American
forces carried the day.

(The 105 unleashes the fury.)

(The Chaffee [I think] decides to get in on the act.)

(The G.I.s move in.)

This was only my second real show battle, my first being the reenactment held in Bellmead last May (I really need to scan the pictures I shot that day and get them up on the Webshots account) and I had a blast. Admittedly I was not able to ride in any of the vehicles like I was at Bellmead and there wasn’t Dave Estes’ Flak 88 out there blowing people away (it’s make a hell of a loud bang), but it was still fun. My favorite part? I think this final picture will tell you what it’s all aboot:

(Hockey and WWII. Does it get any better?)

You can check out all of the pictures I shot in their unedited glory in the BMJP Open House (03/2006) album on my Webshots page. Enojy!

(One final observation on AggieCon 37. While I was writing this post I went to the official AggieCon website and noticed that they have already decided on the theme for next year: The Winds of Change. I had to chuckle as this year blew.)

(You know, I would rather end with this, from the restored ambulance at the Open House.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 03-22-06

Batman #651
James Robinson, Writer
Don Kramer, Penciller
Keith Champagne, Inker

Welcome to the era of Batman is not a Dick! I have not read any of Robinson’s work in the past that I am aware of, particularly his seminal work on Starman in the 90s, so he is a breath of fresh air in the Batman mythos for me. I don’t really have a lot to say about this issue except that I am really, REALLY enjoying the new take on Batman in the OYL series and I hope it lasts.

Captain America #16
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Mike Perkins, Art


There were a couple of things going on in this issue I just totally did not get/dig. First of all I would have liked for them to have left Bucky out of the story for an arc or two. I realize with his return there is a desire to strike while the iron is hot and use Bucky while he is on everyone’s mind, I fear they are running the risk of sucking all the coolness out of Bucky by way overusing him. That having been said I like how Cap is trying to track him down and the elation he shows when he ascertains that Bucky is indeed still alive. It is what happens right after this that I did not get. We have a sequence where Cap is excited about discovering, for the second time, that his long lost friend is still alive and then he lays a big fat smooch on Sharon Carter. After an awkward moment they go back to the hotel room and GET. IT. ON. Now as much as I can appreciate the desire to play a few rounds of monkey football with a hot blonde secret agent who has a skin-tight uniform and a flying car, it seems a bit out of place here. Here they are in some weird little hamlet that makes Springfield feel normal and they’re taking a moment to bump uglies. Doesn’t seem like something the Sentinel of Liberty should be doing at a time like this, but then Brubaker is getting paid to write Captain America comics and I am not, so maybe he’s on to something. My final “Huh” moment of the comic is at the very end where the A.I.M. minions tell Cap that they need his help. If you’re going to ask someone for their help why in the hell would you sneak into their hotel room in the wee hours of the morning all gussied up in your, lets face it, REMARKABLY dorky uniforms. Why not wait until the morning, or better yet, ask him the night before when you’re acting all creepy and trying to get him to stop asking questions and leave town. I suppose this comes from the same school of thought that leads to groups of heroes fighting each other before they are able to buckle down and fight crime.

(I LOVE that Springfield has so many connotations in modern pop culture. Though it works here, I am not thinking of the Simpsonian Springfield. Care to guess what 80s comic/cartoon I am referencing?)

Catwoman #53
Will Pfeifer, Writer
David Lopez, Penciller
Alvaro Lopez, Inker

There are times where I hate the fact that I read so many of the comics blogs and news sites as I would have liked some of this issue to be a little bit of a surprise. On top of that I think Angle Man, or whatever his name is, is in the running for absolutely crappiest villain in existence. “I’m a draughtsman gone bad!” Ohhhh, scary! Overall I enjoyed the issue, although I was REALLY getting into what was going on in this book before OYL reared its ugly head. I have faith that Will will continue to do this book justice. Oh yeah, and there is another Batman is not a dickhead appearance in this book. That makes me happy.

Cyberforce #1
Ron Marz, Writer
Pat Lee, Pencils
Alex Milne, Background Design Assists
Erik Sandler and Rob Armstrong, Inks

I have to admit that I was not a big Cyberforce fan back during the original run of the book. Having said that I am not sure why I picked up this book. I think I am going to have to beg off and use Pat Lee’s anime-influenced style as the reason. Yeah, that’s it. Having said that, I have pretty much no desire to pick up the rest of the series, whereas I have enjoyed other work from Ron Marz, this bad boy pretty much fell flat on its face for me. I took nothing away from this story besides a re-emphasis on the fact that Cyblade is just a crappy version of the X-Men’s Psylocke and Ripclaw is Wolverine in Top Cow’s clothing.

Daredevil #83
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, Artists

They seriously need to change DD’s subnomer from “the Man Without Fear” to “The Man Without Friends.” This makes me wonder how many times writers have asked if they could kill the Black Widow, particularly in light of the semi-recent revelations that there are multiple Black Widows, only to be told no. Immediately after I finished this issue I had a really evil thought that would be brilliant if Marvel could pull it off without leaking anything. For the next April issue they need to have Matt Murdock wake up in his house only to be greeted by Karen Page, who has just gotten out of the shower. He stumbles through a day in a haze, trying to tell if what has been happening is a dream or not. He goes to work and there is Foggy Nelson. They’re handling cases just how they always did. At the end of the day Foggy asks Matt if he has made up his mind. Matt is taken back by the question, unsure what Foggy is talking about. Apparently Matt has been talking about giving up the mask and asking Karen to marry him. The ring is sitting in his desk drawer. He takes the ring home to ask Karen, having decided to give up being Daredevil. He asks Karen. She says yes. They celebrate and then go to sleep as he decides it does not matter whether this is a dream or real life. Then he is awakened by someone coming into his cell on the very last page of the story. Oh yeah, this issue? I really liked, although I am really worried about what they are going to end up doing to Matt.

Hawkgirl #50
Walter Simonson, Story
Howard Chaykin, Art

There has been a lot of complaint amongst the comics bloggers about this issue. Apparently I am one of the only people out there who enjoyed the story and the art, although apparently it was cold in St. Roche for most of this issue. Admittedly there were some rather amateurish turns in the story that made it feel like a Nancy Drew mystery and the cliff-hanger is a little over the top, “Behind her, in the dark, something cleared its throat,” however I feel that some of these elements are in the best tradition of comics when comics, even serious horror comics, were fun. Also, was I the only one to see hints of Cthulhu in the bas-reliefs towards the end of the book? Cthulhu, even faux-Cthulhu, makes me happy.

Loveless #5
Brian Azarello, Writer
Marcelo Frusin, Artist

Okay, I have to admit I am not 100% sure what is going on in this comic. There is a lot of killing, some with six-shooters, some with shotguns, and some with dynamite, so I am marginally okay with my ignorance, but there is something bothering me. I can’t figure out if Wes and his wife are in cahoots or not. I guess I am going to have to sit down and read all of the issues so far to see if I can figure it out. Putting that aside I have enjoyed this series so far and intend to continue reading it.

Robin #148
Adam Beechen, Writer
Karl Kerschl, Penciller
Wayne Faucher, Karl Kerschel, & Prentis Rollins, Inkers

Oh yey! Another OYL book in which Batman is actually nice to someone! Be still my beating heart. As much as I joke about the Batman is not a dick OYL I am really enjoying it. The allusion to Tim, Dick, and Bruce spending the last year in semi-seclusion seeking to build trust has me intrigued to see what we learn in the upcoming 52 series. I also really liked the line, “I got this gig because I’m a pretty solid detective myself.” I like the feeling that Robin is confident in his abilities and willing to remind some of his elders that he is ready to play. I did have some issues with the art in this issue as it felt like they were taking their art cues from Teen Titans GO! which bothered me, but is something I can get past. I really enjoyed this issue however one of the adverts, the first one in fact, stopped me dead in my tracks. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

WTF! Devo 2.0? As teenagers? Damn you Disney! DAMN YOU!
(Incidentally you can get a free download by visiting and entering the claim code WHIPIT1. I am going to partake of this, but I shudder in anticipation of the crappiness that I know will ensue.)

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #3
Joe Kubert, Everything

My worst fears were realized in this issue as the puppy gets killed by some monocle-wearing Nazi f@ck. This is why I hate it when authors include animals in comics. 99% of the time the animal ends up getting killed in a fairly rough manner, such as the puppy that gets vaporized in JMS’ Supreme Power and the one villain who, as a child, puts his puppy in the oven. These things make me sick to my stomach as I really empathize with animals and I get a little teary-eyed when they meet untimely ends. Fortunately fourteen panels after the puppy makes his exit the Nazi f@ck gets his via a chunk of wood to the jugular courtesy of Sgt. Rock. Rock then goes on a killing spree from which no Nazi escapes alive. That will teach Jerry, huh Rock? Once again Kubert delivers an excellent story that contains everything I have come to expect from a Sgt. Rock story. I can’t wait for the next issue.

Squadron Supreme #1
J. Michael Straczynski, Writer
Gary Frank, Pencils
Jonathan Sibal, Inks

I am not sure how I feel about a super-heroes-in-the-real-world series. I have enjoyed, to varying degrees, the lead-in series for this, however I really feel like this is territory JMS has already covered in his Top Cow series Rising Stars. I am sure there will be some twist in here, and I am interested to see where things go so I am going to stick with the series for a while, but it is on the short list of things to drop.

The Rest:
  • Exiles #78
    • Tony Bedard, Writer
    • J. Calafiore, Penciler
    • Mark McKenna, Inker
  • JSA Classified #10
    • Stuart Moore, Writer
    • Paul Gulacy, Penciller & Cover Artist
    • Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker
  • Nextwave #3
    • Warren Ellis, Writer
    • Stuart Immonen, Penciller
    • Wade von Grawbadger, Inker
  • Red Sonja #8
    • Michael Avon Oeming, Writer
    • Mel Rubi, Art
  • Sable & Fortune #3
    • Brendan Cahil, Writer
    • John M. Burns, Artist
  • Supermarket #2
    • Brian Wood, Writer
    • Kristian, Art
  • Supreme Power: Hyperion #5 of 5
    • J. Michael Straczynski, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens and Staz Johnson, Breakdowns
    • Klaus Janson, Finishes
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #28
    • Mark Millar, Writer
    • Greg Land, Pencils
    • Matt Ryan, Inks
  • Wolverine #40
    • Daniel Way, Writer
    • Javier Saltares, Breakdowns
    • Mark Texeira, Finishes
  • X-Men #184
    • Peter Milligan, Writer
    • Salvador Larocca, Artist

Trade Paperback:
  • Preacher Vol. 2: Until the End of the World
    • Garth Ennis, Writer
    • Steve Dillon, Artist

AggieCon/College Station Plunder:
  • Nightwing #118
    • Bruce Jones, Writer
    • Joe Dodd, Pencils
    • Bit, Inks
  • The Legion #35
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens, Breakdowns
    • Andy Smith, Finishes
  • The Legion #38
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens, Breakdowns
    • Andy Smith, Finishes
  • Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1, 2, and 3
    • Mike Grell, Writer/Artist
    • Lurene Hanes, Assistant
  • Sgt. Rock #308
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Lee Elias and Romeo Tanghal, Artists
  • Sgt. Rock #344
    • Robert Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock #362
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock #369
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock Special 1977
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Doug Wildey, Artist (I think. There is no artist credited on the title page, however Doug signed one of the first panels in the book.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


In a cruel twist of fate both Linus and Dine Alone were playing at Fitzgerald’s Saturday night so after my adventures at AggieCon 37 (suck) and at the Mullins Jeep Parts/Museum of the American G.I. open house (it rocked). [Both to be detailed in a later post.] I was obligated to come back to town Saturday evening to catch their show since I know guys in both bands and Linus is a College Station band and therefore I do not often get the chance to see them in action.

Now I have not been to Fitzgerald’s in over a decade. In fact I can distinctly remember the last band I went to see there as it was the first time I had seen a band that was not a Christian rock band in concert (my mom disapproves of this music the kids listen to these days, something called rock and roll, which I find very ironic because she is a HUGE Neil Diamond fan). They were this little group called the Gin Blossoms and they had just released their first major label album, New Miserable Experience. It was in the fall of 1992 and one of my roommates was a fan and decided that we needed to go and see them as a group bonding experience. Have I mentioned I have no idea what John is up to and I have not seen him since sometime in my sophomore semester of college? Clearly the bonding went well.

I ended up arriving about mid-way through the first band’s set. This band, August House, put on a damn fine show. I kind of felt sorry for them as they were stuck with the first slot of the evening, and therefore there was a rather meager crowd for which they performed. The guys didn’t let that slow them down at all and they had a ton of energy on stage, so much so that during the last number one of the guitar players ate it, and by ate it I mean went ass over teakettle, and then hopped up and continued to blast away on his axe. During the break between Linus and Dine Alone I got a chance to chat with the lead singer and the afore mentioned guitar player. They were nice guys and spent some time chatting with me, which I thought odd since I am certainly not their target demographic (or at least I do not appear to be.) I picked up their CD, which at five clams was a heck of a deal, and found out they are actually based out of the O.C. (which is California for those three of you reading this who didn’t know. Hi mom!) and they are touring in an effort to live their rock and roll dreams. If you get a chance I suggest checking them out.

Linus was next up and I finally got a chance to pick up their CD, which I have been trying to get for at least a year and a half now. I really enjoyed getting the chance to see them in action since, even though the drummer and bass player (that would be guitar, not fish) are acquaintances, I have only gotten to see them a couple of times. A few songs into Linus’ set I started to get into it. I don’t know if this is because the Shiner’s were going down like water and I was getting a little drunk, or the crowd was swelling and thus the energy in Fitz’s was growing, or Linus was just rockin’ the house. Regardless of what was happening, Linus put on a great show that had me amped up, or at least as amped up as I tend to get in public, which means I was ready to go home and get some writing done, but alas, the writing would have to wait as there was at least one more band on my dance card for the night.

As Linus cleared their gear and Dine Alone began to set up we got to assail our ears with Fitzgerald's version of elevator music and the crowd seemed to make a quantum shift in size. Where during the August House and Linus sets there had been plenty of room on the main floor of the club, suddenly it seemed to get crowded, not uncomfortably so, but just enough to where getting a beer suddenly became a challenge. Damn kids. Then Dine Alone went on, and for me they were the centerpiece of the evening. The lead singer of Dine Alone connected with the audience in a way that the two previous bands had not. I am certain some of this comes from home field advantage and the growing crowd, however he was not shy about talking to the crowd. To be completely honest I did not watch too much of the show as there was a bit of a floor show going on about four feet in front of me and I am talking about the kind of floor show guys like me have to pay to see. Come to think of it, I did pay to get in, so I guess I did pay for the floor show, but I wasn’t tipping anyone (except to bartenders, who pissed me off, but more on that on the ‘Caust later in the week.)

I hung out a bit after the Dine Alone set to say hi to one of the guys in the band who is also a coworker of mine. I am really hoping they hit it big so I can write a tell-all book about him. It doesn’t matter that I will have to make most of it up as I have a pretty good imagination. We BS’d for a few minutes and then I headed out. There was another band playing but, quite frankly, the teeny-bopper quotient in the crowd was starting to become a bit much for my refined tastes. (Set sarcasm to stun.) As I wandered out of the club I realized that I might have had one or two too many beers to drink. I was not drunk but I had to pee. BADLY. We’re talking my back teeth are floating kind I am so full of pee kind of bad. It was ugly. Rather than turn around and try to convince the door man, who had just moments ago mocked my attempts to remove the wrist-band of 21+ness (Damn you inner gamer geek, back into the dungeon with you!), to let me back in the club so I could take care of business, I decided I could make it home. Let me tell you right now this was a BAD DECISION. I live just a few blocks from the club, and by few I mean somewhere between ten and fifteen, and I barely made it to my front door without wetting my pants. I had a moment where I thought all was lost when my fingers stopped functioning as I was trying to release the hound, as it were, but fortunately everything made it to where it was supposed to be.

When I left the club I had intended to do some writing. I have several projects on my plate (including three book reviews, two TPB reviews, and some comics commentary for the Opiate) and I really need to get rolling on those projects. However after the close call with el bano I realized how tired I was and ended up crashing for the night shortly after returning home. All in all it was a good night.

Bits and Bobs

I would like to sincerely thank the two lipstick lesbians of indeterminate ethnicity (I think Indian, dots not feathers) who felt the need to stand in front of me and make out through most of the Dine Alone show. Between that, the bands, and the H-O-T Avril Lavigne look alike that was wandering the club I felt my $10 cover was well spent.

All this talk of Fitzgerald's reminds me of my favorite Irish gay joke which I feel the need to share:
Did you hear about the two Irish gays?

Gerald FitzPatrick and Patrick FitzGerald.
If anyone is offended by that joke please let me know. My radar can be off on these sorts of things.

Somehow I suspect the fact that I used a Bay City Rollers lyric as the title to this post will be offensive to the rock and roll that lives in some of your souls. All I have to say to that is bite me, if it’s good enough for Mike Meyers then it is good enough for me.

Friday, March 24, 2006

How About Chatty?

Today I was looking up how to spell Porpoise on when I noticed the definition:
Any of several gregarious toothed whales of the genus Phocaena and related genera, of oceanic waters, characteristically having a blunt snout and a triangular dorsal fin. Also called sea hog.
Now I had no idea about the sea hog thing, and we will get to that in a minute, but what really jumped out at me was the fact that they were defined as being gregarious. I was under the impression that gregarious meant that a person liked to talk, so I found this definition of porpoise funny. Imagine my surprise when I looked up gregarious on so I could properly mock its inclusion in the definition of porpoise and learn that in fact, gregarious means:
  1. Seeking and enjoying the company of others.
  2. Tending to move in or form a group with others of the same kind
As it turns out I was a bit off base (as unusual as that may be) and the use of gregarious in defining a propoise was dead on. Damn setting me straight and what not. Now this joke is so much “funny ha-ha” as “funny look at what an ass James is.”

So, since the first joke of the day totally fell apart on me, lets delve into this whole sea hog thing. (Must not make police of the sea joke. Must not make police of the sea joke.) Just look at the word porpoise. It is sort of a weird looking word. I almost looks like the phonetic spelling of how a gangster from the Roarin’ 20s might say purpose, but not quite. It sure a heck doesn’t look like it should sound the way it does. I find there are quite a few words in the English language like this and English place names take this confusion to a whole new level (Worcester (or here) is not Wooster you evil bastards. Keep this crap up and we’ll make you take Australia and Canada back.) Once again I have wandered off track.

We have established three things so far:
  1. Porpoise are also referred to as sea hogs.
  2. Porpoise is one messed up word in the spelling versus pronunciation struggle.
  3. James’ ADD is working overtime today to prevent me from making any points, salient or otherwise.
Strangely enough items one and two on that list are related (three is just there for fun.) The word porpoise comes to us from the Middle English porpeis which comes from the Old French porc (from Latin porcus or pig) and peis (from the Latin piscis or fish.) Whomever did the write up for indicated that the Old French may have been a translation of a Germanic compound of pig and fish. Therefore we get weird pronunciation through the French (damn them!) roots of the word and the funny nickname is the literal translation of the Old French name.

I really need to suck it up and buy the OED on CD or subscribe to it online so I can really do up these language posts. $295 seems a lot for one year of online service when for the same price you get the CD which is yours to keep forever and ever, but not any new updates. Grumble grumble grumble.

Oh yeah, bonus points to the first person to correctly identify what movie the title of this post, which was funny when I thought gregarious was synonymous with chatty but now it has all the humor value of a stinky pig-fish.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Glory of Nothing

At the end of October I posted a personal essay here titled The Worst it Ever Was. This post, written back in July, was a discussion of the end of one of my most significant relationships and how I reacted to the end. To say I had forgotten this post was out there would be misleading, however suffice to say it was not something I really spent a lot of time thinking about. Imagine my surprise when the following comment appeared on my Blackberry (my blog is set to email me whenever someone leaves a comment):

Anonymous said...

Here's your comment.I stopped visiting your blog because of something you said after my last comment, I tried to shrug it off as not being about me but in case it was I thought it was best to leave you alone rather than upset you, obviously you don't or won't believe that I wouldn't want to hurt you all over again, that's your choice I'm not here to change your mind. It wasn't until today that I was reading through your blog and spotted it.

I've apologized before for how I handled things, I was what, all of 21?, and I ended things the wrong way, fate kicked me in the ass afterwards be happy! I let you fade out of my life because I cared about you not because you were "trash". Everytime we talked it would start heading down that same road and we would hang up the phone and I was cry and kick myself and feel like shit so when the phone would ring I stopped answering it.

I still refer to you as the last "good" relationship I had. The guy who would have done anything for me, treated me like a goddess and loved me no matter how impossible I was...and yes I know I was impossible (I still am). You wouldn't have been happy with me forever, I'm not happy enough with myself for anyone to be able to give me forever. I don't think I could have explained to you what I wanted then because I didn't understand it the way I do now. It's ok if you hate me, I don't always like myself very much either, but you know/knew me well enough to know that I always wanted someone who could hurt me, I always needed a collar, I just didn't know what to ask for.

So, I'm sorry.

Kat, Katie, Kate, Kitty, Wildkitty, Wildkat

P.S. I did my best to refrain from using any cute winks or smilies.
This was posted at 3:21 PM on March 14th. This will become important in a bit.

At first I was confused as hell. I have been a slacker when it comes to posting recently, and certainly nothing that would generate this sort of response. Of course I can no longer access the Opiate from the office, therefore it was some time before I figured out that Kat had finally read the post. “Interesting reaction,” I thought, and I kind of felt like a bit of a bastard.

That is until the next morning when the following post to her blog comes chugging through my feed aggregator:

I read this and I was sorry, just like I was sorry then...but what am I supposed to do? It was 6 years ago. I've been crushed since then, had my heart broken, I go on, I only occasionally hate them. The relationship ended because I needed things he couldn't give me...I wanted/needed someone who could put me in my place. We were two subs (not that it was ever discussed in those terms) trying to make a life together and that just didn't work for me. I don't do well with submissive men, give me an inch and I'll take a mile. When I'm treated like a princess I become a royal brat. I needed a Dominant partner and he wasn't it. It would be a few more years before I really put that all together, after that I had my own heart broken by my first Master and then again by someone I tried to make into a Master even though he could never live up to the title. At some point I stumbled into the swing lifestyle and at my first party I met Rick, the rest is history.

Are we always happy, nope, I cry a lot, but I know two things for certain, I enjoy sharing my life with more than one person (I dabbled in polyamory in two relationships before Rick and then with him) and I am only happy when I'm able to be my submissive self all the time rather than on occassion.

I read it and was sad...and now it just pisses me off...Fuck him for trying to make it sound like I was always a horrible person! I handled something badly, it happens, I was young and stupid, I've said I'm sorry for 6 years...move on.
This was posted to her blog at 4:45pm on March 14th.

In just under and hour and change she had gone from being sorry about what had happened to being angry at me for engaging in a bit of semi-public navel gazing. I even got the f-bomb.

When I first read this my fight got up and I was ready. It was going to be on like Donkey Kong. Then I got distracted by work, so I had to come back to the post and reread it later. There was no anger anymore. No hatred, no sadness. No visceral reaction. Not even the queasy emptiness that sometime follows on the heels of strong emotion. There was just…..nothing.

Then I laughed as it dawned on me. I had moved on. Somewhere buried in the posts and gnashing of teeth there was that cathartic moment. Fuck me indeed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

BOOK REVIEW - Freakonomics

Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

241 pages

William Morrow, 2005

Most of the books I read fall into one of two categories. The first are impulse buys at the bookstore, and my inability to walk out of a bookstore without dropping twenty bucks accounts for probably 60% of my reading. The other 40% of my reading consists of books that have been recommended or given to me by friends and family, or books I have been introduced to via my media diet. Books from the second category I can usually remember where I heard about them, however since I borrowed this book from Mr. TunaCan it doesn’t fit in the first category and since I know Mr. TunaCan and I discussed the book before he bought it, it does not fall into the second category. The fact that I cannot remember where I heard about this book and what got my interest up has been bothering me for two days now. Oh well, on with the show.

In this book the authors propose to tackle a series of questions and then apply economic principles and statistical analysis to sets of data in order to come up with the answers to the questions. Sometimes the answers were expected, such as the “discovery” that some teachers cheat on standardized tests for their kids when it affects their school’s funding level, and some of the answers were totally unexpected (I’ll leave you in suspense on these.) The book was a very quick read, a trait I often equate with a book not being intellectually stimulating, however that was not the case for this book. In fact this book could serve as the framework for an entertaining course in applied economic theory. Like any good teacher the authors make no presumptions about what their reader may know and therefore they start with the questions which can be answered simply and slowly move to the questions requiring more complex reasoning. I really enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is willing to be open to the idea that conventional wisdom can be just flat out wrong.


Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich. How do I know? I finished the book over the weekend, that’s how.

Monday, March 20, 2006

BOOK REVIEW - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
John Perkins
303 pages
Plume, 2006

I had wanted to read this book since I first heard the Democracy Now interview with John Perkins (broadcast on January 3rd.) His assertions were fascinating and really sounded as though they were 50% fantasy and 50% Machiavellian. As he spun his tale of loans through benevolent sounding groups such as USAID and how these loans would be used to saddle countries with a crushing debt load that we could then exploit I found myself torn. Perkins was clearly one of three things; a masterful storyteller who had missed his calling as the author if the next great thriller, a crackpot conspiracy theorist, or someone who knew what he was talking about. I trusted the Democracy Now crew to protect me from the second option, although occasionally I think they let one slip through just to keep me on my toes. As for the other two options? Well, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive. As I learned as I read the book, Perkins certainly does have a touch of writer in him, although the book really felt more like an intensely interesting lecture or dinner discussion than a treatise on the evils of the economic power we choose to wield over other states. From his time in Ecuador with the Peace Corps to his involvement in the Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair to his discussions with an Iranian official who had been so viciously tortured it left him permanently disfigured, Perkins spins an intriguing hidden history of the world. In pulling back the curtain, Perkins is really showing us the long road we (America) has taken to this crucial juncture in history. We are just now beginning to reap what we have sown over the years since the end of World War II. Ultimately Perkins tale is a depressing tale of moments in history where we could have done the right thing and instead chose to enhance our global power at the expense of the common man. I unreservedly recommend this book to everyone.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 3-18-06

Annihilation Prologue #1
Keith Giffen, Writer
Scott Kolms with Ariel Olivetti, Art

I am not 100% sure what Annihilation is about, however since I like science fiction and I like me some Gabrielle Dell’Otto art and I really like Keith Giffen, I figured I couldn’t go too wrong with this book. I am not sure how I felt about it. Okay, that is not entirely true as this Prologue smells a bit like the recent Green Lantern Corps Recharged series from DC. I am certain some of this will fade once we get in to the individual series that make up the actual Annihilation event, however it left something of a bad taste in my mouth and in light of my experience with recent Marvel special events the first issues of the individual series are really going to have to pop to keep me interested.

DMZ #5
Brian Wood, Writer
Riccardo Burchielli & Brian Wood, Artists

I have to admit that I had my concerns about this series with the first few issues. I am having trouble suspending enough disbelief to see Manhattan as a DMZ separating an America locked in the throes of a second civil war. Add to this the fact that through the first few issues Brian Wood was very heavy handed with some of his plotting and the art while he was telling us how bad everything on the island was. He slapped us and then rubbed our faces in it. While I can appreciate that this fairly closely replicates the experience of the main character of the series and may have been done for that effect, I still prefer some subtlety. The past two issues have convinced me to stick with this title for the long haul. Back to back one and done stories are a rarity in the biz today (heck any one and done is an unusual event) and that goes twice for stories as finely crafted as these last two issues. In this issue Brian Wood engages in a bit of world building by way of staging a chase sequence that spans the island from Stuy (or Stuyvesant) Town to the Lincoln Tunnel. I highly recommend issues 4 and 5 of this series. If you’re nnot hooked after that I suspect you’re not human.

Green Arrow #60
Judd Winick, Writer
Scott McDaniel, Penciller
Andy Owens, Inker

Damn you, Scott McDaniel! When I saw the cover of this issue I was looking forward to seeing Ollie in his Longbow Hunters cowl, a look I much prefer to his poncy little Robin Hood cap, and then I have to wait until the last page of the comic to see Ollie. And he is in civilian clothes! Mr. McDaniel, you sir, are a tease, and if this issue hadn’t been as interesting and enjoyable as it was I would have to mock you viciously for something. (As I don’t actually know very much about Scott McDaniel this could be challenging, however I have been known to make baseless accusations in the past. I wonder where I picked that habit up. Did I mention I used to listen to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh?) As it is Scott is safe from my somewhat tiresome ad hominem attacks as I thought this was one of the best OYL titles I have read sp far. (Excluding Aquaman because I am still suspicious of its OYL cred.) I am intrigued to see what happens in this series now that Ollie is Mayor and the city is recovering from the devastation of the bomb attacks. I am also interested to see what Winick does with the not to subtle parallels to the New Orleans situation he is building into the story. He has set up a fascinating chance for commenting on the real world that, quite frankly, rarely exists in comics, and I am excited to see what he does with it.

Planetary Brigade #2
Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis, Writers
Fabio Moon, Zid of IFS, Joe Abraham, and Alfa of IFS, Arists

Ah, all the crunchy goodness of the Giffen & DeMatteis Justice League without the heavy hand of editorial dictates limiting their bizarre creative juices. To be honest I do not know if there were any limitations put on this crew of comic miscreants when they worked for DC, however I just get the feeling that the shenanigans from Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League may have been toned down because Giffen and DeMatteis were playing with corporate toys. Now Boom Studios has given them their own toybox to play with and bring more Bwah-ha-ha stories to a genre primarily bereft of humor. Spinning out of the Hero Squared one-shot and miniseries, the two issue Planetary Brigade series is a humorous exercise in world-building (there seems to be a bit of that going on this month) as Giffen and DeMatteis show us the group of superheroes that surround Captain Valor. I really enjoyed this issue (I managed to miss the first) and I am really bummed to read that this is not going to be an ongoing series. Fortunately Hero Squared is slated to return as an ongoing series from Boom Studios sometime this year. Until then I will have to satiate my hunger for the bwah-ha-ha by picking up the Hero Squared trade and the first issue of this series. This stuff is a definite must for fans of Giffen’s and DeMatteis’ work on JLI and the like.

Red Sonja/Claw #1 (of 4)
John Layman, Writer
Andy Smith, Artist

Mmmm. Just what the doctor ordered for this fanboy, more sword and sorcery titles featuring at least one character who is starting to be overexposed on the comic racks. I have repeatedly stated my fondness for the genre and that is at war with my growing dislike of the number of Red Sonja books out there. I certainly understand the desire to capitalize on a hot trend, however I think that comic companies are shooting themselves in the foot when they do this to the extent that some of them seem to do. There seems to be a tendency in comic companies to try and wring every little bit of money out of a property within six months of the license having been signed. I understand they are companies that have to make money, however I feel the number of books they are releasing contributes to exhaustion in the market (particularly in a time where the economy is somewhat stagnant) and ultimately hurts their long-term performance. They are giving up longevity in the quest for the quick profit. But enough about that, lets talk about the book. Quite frankly it was okay but nothing spectacular. I know nothing of this Claw the Unconquered character and so entered with no preconceptions about him. Due to this I found the character somewhat derivative from Ash in the Evil Dead movies where his hand has become evil and seeks to control him. Due to the tone of the Evil Dead movies I find this concept to be somewhat laughable and therefore had trouble suspending my disbelief for the comic. I guess I am somewhat jaded these days. Beyond the character, I found the plot to be somewhat predictable and the big reveal at the end of the book was not really a surprise. Overall a ho-hum experience and if this book were ongoing I would drop it, however since it is only three more issues the completist inside me will make me buy them.

Teen Titans Annual #1
Marv Wolfman & Geoff Johns, Writers
Ed Benes, Dale Eaglesham, Tom Grindberg, & Elton Ramalho, Pencillers
Oclair Albert, Mariah Benes, Alex Lei, Drew Geraci, and Wayne Faucher, Inkers

Note to DC. Please don’t mess with my head. Seriously. I have enough confusion in my life as it is. I certainly don’t need to be reading Teen Titans #33, and then be wondering how I could have missed Connor Kent and Cassie bumpin’ uglies. Release books on time. That’s all I ask. And a footnote in Teen Titans #33 mentioning that Cassie and Connor hooked up in the Teen Titans Annual would have been nice, too. As far as the book goes it was nice to see some of the Titans growing up and taking on their responsibilities as heroes in a more mature manner. The story, as most stories in the DCU, seemed to center around the Batman/Superman dichotomy represented by Robin and Superboy. In this case it is Superboy coming into his own as a hero after the past few months of doubt due to the amount of control Lex Luthor seems to be able to exert over him and Tim Drake coming into his own as the de facto leader of the Titans, a role he has been taking for some time, and his willingness to lead other superheroes in getting a job done. I particularly liked how Superman encouraged Robin’s role as a leader in the Bludhaven crisis and how the other heroes reacted to Superman with awe. I am glad to see that returning to the DCU and I hope the writers of the OYL Superman books can bring back that feeling of awe and majesty that seems inherent in Superman, but has been missing for some time.

The rest:
  • Batman: Year 100 #2 (of 4)
    • Paul Pope, Writer & Artist
  • Birds of Prey #92
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Paulo Siqueira, Penciller
    • Robin Riggs, Inker
  • Conan #26
    • Kurt Busiek, Writer
    • Timothy Truman, Artist
  • Conan: Book of Thoth #1
    • Kurt Busiek and Len Wein, Writers
    • Kelley Jones, Artist
  • Fury: Peacemaker #2 (of 6)
    • Garth Ennis, Writer
    • Darick Robertson, Penciller
    • Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker
  • Infinite Crisis: Secret Files & Origins 2006
    • Marv Wolfman, Writer
    • A whole passel of artists doing the drawin’
  • JLA Classified #18
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Penciller
    • Klaus Janson, Inker
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #201
    • Christos N. Gage, Writer
    • Ron Wagner, Penciller
    • Bill Reinhold, Inker
  • Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #4 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Yanick Paquette, Penciller
    • Serge LaPointe, Inker
  • Spider-Woman: Origin #4 (of 5)
    • Brian Michael Bendis & Brian Reed, Writers
    • Jonathan Luna, Pencils, Colors & Inks
    • Joshua Luna, Layouts
  • Ultimate Extinction #3 (of 6)
    • Warren Ellis, Writer
    • Brandon Peterson, Artist

Essential Godzilla
Doug Moench, Writer
Herb Trimpe, Penciller
Some other dudes, Inkers

I haven’t read this one yet, but with a back cover blurb that reads:

“You have your fear, which might become reality. And you have Godzilla, which IS reality.”
  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956)

And what a reality it was! For two years Japan’s greatest export was one of Marvel’s biggest stars, and the King of the Monsters upheld his title against some of the best and worst the House of Ideas had to offer – including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Godzilla shrinks, goes West, travels through time and hosts one of Spider-Man’s most gratuitous guest-shots ever! Plus: aliens, mutants, mad scientists and almost a dozen more giant monsters!

I am SO in.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

BOOK REVIEW - The Galactic Whirlpool

The Galactic Whirlpool
David Gerrold
223 pages
Bantam, 1980

This book is bound up in a series of really weird coincidences for me. Some time ago I stumbled across the Wikipedia article on fan films, a subject which has tangentially held my interest for some time. This time I took the time to read up on some of the fan films out there, which, since I am not so secretly a Star Trek geek, led me to the Star Trek New Voyages site. They kick all buttocks, by the way. As I was scanning through the news on that site I stumbled across their item about David Gerrold. Since I am a Star Trek geek I instantly recognized Gerrold as the mad genius behind the classic Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” I also knew Gerrold as the author of the War Against the Chtorr series, which, quite frankly, had turned out not to be my cup of tea, so I had not really read many other books from Gerrold. I did some reading on his site and somehow stumbled across a bit about this book. Then about a month later I stumbled across this book in a used book store I frequented many many moons ago. As I am now in the midst of another Star Trek kick, I had to pick it up.

The coincidences continued, but took an eerily prescient tone, once I began reading the book. Kirk and the Enterprise encounter a huge colony ship at the edges of Federation space and it turns out this colony ship is full of humans. Once the confusion regarding the origin of the ship is straightened out and contact is made it is made clear that society aboard the ship has suffered a breakdown leading to the establishment of two separate classes on the ship. There are those who live in the sections towards the fore of the ship. These sections still have power and have been constructed to have an Earth-like appearance which allows the residents of these sections to farm for sustenance. These people see themselves as the true inheritors of control of the ship and refer to their leader as Captain. Then there are the demons inhabiting the lower sections of the ship. Power is scarce in these sections of the ship and as these areas are primarily service and technical areas, there is very little farming that can be done, leaving these people to scavenge for everything they need for sustenance. This really has echoes of H. G. Wells Time Machine, but no matter as Gerrold tells this tale with quite some ability, which has me thinking about revisiting the War Against the Chtorr series.

The coincidences? Read this:
Our—our national purpose now is no longer so noble. No one talks of stars. When someone speaks of the original dream, there is always someone to answer him that we cannot look for stars until the last shred of the rebellion is crushed. The journey is cancelled until the mutiny is suppressed. But no one really tries to conquer the savages. There are too many of them, and the world is too large, and they have too many places to hide. So the war continues forever. And no one dreams of stars anymore.
This passage sent a chill up my spine. I was so stunned I almost dropped the book. While the character is discussing what has happened to her world, it sounds like a description of what some would say we are going through in America today. The parallel continues later in the book where one of the scientists aboard the colony ship is discussing the current captain’s fanaticism and his willingness to ignore inconvenient truths to serve what he believes is the greater good (pages 146-147 in my edition for those of you interested enough.)

These coincidences as I keep calling them are not really coincidences at all, but rather the evidence of a thoughtful writer at work and serve as an example of some of the best traits of classic science fiction. Good science fiction is about the people and not the science. Here the ray guns and robots are just so much set dressing which allow the author to repose important question. What does it mean to be human? Great science fiction comments on society. Great science fiction will withstand the test of time. While Star Trek is not generally thought of as great science fiction, from time to time some great science fiction has happened in the guise of Star Trek. I believe this book may have been one of those times.

Next Up: Back to the serious reading with John Perkins Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

(Please note: My copy is a first edition of this book from 1980 and has a much MUCH better cover than the picture posted here, which is from the 1997 reprint edition.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 3-8-06

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40
Kurt Busiek, Writer
Butch Guice, Artist

An apparent complete relaunch without a new first issue. What the heck is going on here? Busiek is on record as saying this book stars a new Aquaman therefore it would only be proper to give the man a Number 1. The lack of such is making me wonder if Busiek et al are going for the old bait and switch with Aquaman and the whole OYL concept. We shall see. Okay, enough with the conspiracy crap, lets talk comics.

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that Aquaman is going back on the pull list. This should come as no surprise as I have yet to find anything from Busiek I did not enjoy. On top of this he is bringing a swords and sorcery swashbuckling fantasy feel to the book. Read much R.E. Howard lately Kurt? I kid, I kid. This is something I like and feel serves the setting very well. I like how Kurt has already given us conflicting origin stories for the character and the confusion exhibited by the Sage. I can’t wait to see what Busiek has in store for us.

Batman & the Monster Men #5
Matt Wagner, Story & Art

Mmmm. Matt Wagner + Batman = Pure Geek Joy. I am torn about this series. I love reading each issue as I think Wagner is delivering some of the best Batman flavored fun to be had in the past few years, however each issue takes us one step closer to the end of the series. My only hope is that the rumor I read somewhere about this being the first in a triology of Bat-books from Herr Wagner is true. Until then I will have to start tracking down some of his other work since I do not believe I have read any Wagner before this series. I am particularly interested in his Dr. Mid-Nite series. I eager await/dread the release of the next issue in this series.

Fables #47
Bill Willingham, Writer
Jim Fern, Penciller
Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker

When I first started reading Fables I was under the impression that it was meant to be a limited series. I am very glad I was mistaken on that front as this book is one of the best non-cape books coming out of the majors right now. I particularly enjoyed the last two issues as they take a break from the main story and explore little corners of the Fables Universe that we would otherwise not see. In this case it is the story of two wooden servants of the Empire, Rodney and June, who fall in love and wish to be made human. Eventually their wish is granted but not without consequences. I really enjoyed the way that Willingham let his characters learn of love from storybooks while giving us a post-modern storybook romance and that he managed to pull off this feat without drowning in Trantino-esque irony is a testament to his skill as a writer and the respect he has for his readers. If you do not read this book, start.

Powers #17
Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
Mike Avon Oeming, Artist

Gah. Bendis insists on using the unfunny stand-up comic as a device in the Powers stories and, to be completely honest, I am sick of it. I am perfectly willing to admit that it might be genius and that I just don’t get it, but the last few stand-up routines I have had to experience in this book have really felt like a meta-commentary on what is going down in comics fandom that month and I have, at best, struggled to find even a tangential relation to the story. Since Powers was one of my favorite books until about the last six months, I am wondering how much of it is due to the current storyline and how much of it might be due to a bit of Bendis-fatigue. Until his run on Daredevil ended I was reading between three and four Bendis books a month and I worry that I may have just grown tired of his voice. I realize I haven’t said too much about the book to this point in this review, and that is going to continue. I am at best ambivalent about this book right now. I hope it picks up but if it doesn’t it may find itself on the chopping block.

The Pulse #14
Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
Michael Gaydos, Artist

Hey look! More Bendis! At least this one is ending. It is unusual that I enjoy it when a book ends, however from the inception of this book it lacked the focus and fun of Alias. I am also glad because the lack of this book in my reading stack may contribute to me ridding myself of the current Bendis hangover I have. As far as this issue goes, Bendis did an excellent job of ending the series. I liked getting the story of how Luke Cage and Jessica Jones met and I also like how Bendis gave Luke Cage a much more compassionate and, to be honest, more human face than he is usually given. Overall this was an excellent swan song for the series.

Teen Titans #33
Marv Wolfman & Geoff Johns, Writers
Todd Nauck, Penciller
Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund & Marlo Alquiza, Inkers

This book was a bit of a yawner for me. Infinite Crisis is quickly becoming tiresome and even though I am enjoying the story so far (unlike Marvel’s House of Suck) I am having trouble getting into these side stories and worry they are contributing to a feel of Infinite Crisis being spread too thin. Adding to my irritation with this book is the author’s use of the alternating voice-over which will be familiar to any reader of Superman/Batman. It really works in Superman/Batman, however somehow it falls a little flat in this story. Having said that, I suspect it may have been an intentional rip-off/homage to snap the Superboy-Nightwing relationship into sharp focus for readers of both books. Beyond this I enjoyed some of the exchanges between Superboy and Nightwing (“Let’s not makes this a moment.” Gold, I tell ya!) and I thought the links to the ** story were very well done. I’ll keep picking this book up for now, but it really needs to shape up to pull back from the edge of cancellation.

The rest:
  • Seven Soldiers: Frakenstein #3 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Doug Mahnke, Artist
  • Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #4 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Freddie E. Williams II, Artist

  • SOCOM: Seal Team Seven
    • M. Zachary Sherman, Writer
    • Roberto de la Torre, Artist
  • Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea Vol. 1
    • Frank Espinosa, Writer & Artist
    • Marie Taylor, Co-writer
  • Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1
    • A metric crapload of people.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 3-1-06

Batman Annual #25
Judd Winick, Writer
Shane Davis, Penciller
Mark Morales, Inker

When I saw that DC was bringing back annuals I was really excited. For some reason annuals hold a special place in my heart and I will buy annuals for series I don’t even read. Part of the reason for this is that annuals are usually a done-in-one story which you do not need too much knowledge of the series to enjoy, however the rest is because annuals warm the cockles of my heart. Damn you Judd for sucking some of the joy from the annual. It’s really a simple formula: Batman (my favorite DC character, although the Kyle Rayner GL is not far behind) + Annual = S-W-E-E-T with a side of A-W-E-S-O-M-E. However when you add Judd Winick justifying Jason Todd’s return by having Superboy hit things to the mix you quickly get into the territory of S-U-C-K. There is so much to not enjoy about this book I don’t really know where to start. The story was told almost entirely in third person, although I haven’t a clue who could be the narrator. There are a couple of holes in the plot one could drive a tank through without scraping the sides. Oh yeah and Jason Todd is back because Superboy Prime is a whiney little biyatch who likes to break things. Quite frankly I did not need a reason why Jason Todd was back. I was happy not knowing. I brought a certain aura of mystery to the whole issue, even though there have been verifications that this was in fact JT, there could have been some sort of twist. It’s JT’s evil twin. Anything would be cooler than Superboy behaving like a poorly raised three year-old. Gah.

Batman: Secrets #1 (of 5)
Sam Keith, Writer/Artist

Thank goodness this was next in the batting order. Normally I find Sam Keith’s art a bit off-putting, however he really captured the Joker in this story, something I think a lot of artists struggle with. I really dug Sam’s take on the Joker being reformed and something of a media sensation, even if the story does feel a little like Sam’s take on Natural Born Killers. The one thing I wanted from this comic was more time to contemplate whether the Joker had actually reformed. Ultimately I know he won’t but I wish Sam would have led me on a little; teased me a bit more before I get to see the Joker acting all Jokeriffic. Having said that I am really excited about this comic and eagerly await the next issue.

Nextwave #2
Warren Ellis, Writer
Stuart Immomen, Penciller
Wade von Grawbadger, Inker

Is it wrong that I cried for Fin Fang Foom? There is a certain beauty to a giant green monster destroying cities clad only in purple shorts that gets me right there. Perhaps a moment of silence for the great lug who blessed us with such lines as, “Fin Fang Foom put you in his pants,” and “Fin Fang Foom’s heart…is broken…” <SNIFF> <SNIFF>

Okay. Sorry about that. Once again Ellis manages to have me giggling like a schoolgirl throughout the entire issue. (Except when Fin Fang Foom met his ignominious, yet inevitable, doom, of course.) I really feel that this book falls into the Darwyn Cooke school of Comics Should Be Fun Again rather than the Grant Morrison’s school of Higher Than Thou, and I, for one, am really enjoying it. My one regret is that Ellis was not allowed to use Nick Fury so we have to see him deal with the character through the Dirk Anger analog. C’est la vie.

Team Zero #4 (of 6)
Chuck Dixon, Writer
Doug Mahnke, Penciller
Sandra Hope, Inker

Sometimes I REALLY hate it when a writer telegraphs his moves and other times it is just the right thing to do. In this case Dixon uses the impending rape of a couple of German women, one disturbingly young, as the reason for our team of not-so-clean-cut American boys to pump those Red bastards (Red Army) full of lead. His use of this device lends credibility to the fighting that ensues and avoids the superhero paradigm where the two sides that are friendly at the beginning are fighting to the death by the end of the issue. Dixon has crafted another excellent chapter in his war story and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

The rest:
  • Detective Comics #817
    • James Robinson, Writer
    • Leonard Kirk, Layouts
    • Andy Clarke, Finishes
  • Ex Machina #18
    • Brian K. Vaughn, Writer
    • Tony Harris, Penciller
    • Tom Feister, Inker
  • Green Lantern Corps Recharge #5 (of 5)
    • Dave Gibbons & Geoff Johns, Writers
    • Patrick Gleason, Penciller
    • Prentis Rollins, Inker
  • Hellboy: Makoma #2 (of 2)
    • Mike Mignola, Writer
    • Mike Mignola & Richard Corben, Artists
  • Infinite Crisis #5 (of 7)
    • Geoff Johns, Writer
    • Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway & Ivan Reis, Pencillers
    • Andy Lanning, Jerry Ordway & Art Thibert, Inkers
  • JSA #83
    • Paul Levitz, Writer
    • Rags Morales & Luke Ross, Pencillers
    • Dave Meikis, Inker
  • Outsiders #34
    • Judd Winick, Writer
    • Matthew Clark, Penciller
    • Art Thibert, Inker
  • Queen & Country: Declassified Vol. 2 #3 (of 3)
    • Greg Rucka, Writer
    • Rick Burchett, Artist
  • Red Sonja #7
    • J.T. Krul, Writer
    • Noah Salonga, Artist
  • Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom #2
    • Peter David and Luke Lieberman, Writers
    • Will Conrad, Artist
  • Thunderbolt Jaxon #2 (of 5)
    • Dave Gibbons, Writer
    • John Higgins, Artist
  • Ultimates 2 #10
    • Mark Millar, Writer
    • Bryan Hitch, Penciller
    • Paul Neary with Bryan Hitch, Inkers
  • Uncanny X-Men #470
    • Chris Claremont, Writer
    • Billy Tan, Penciller
    • Jon Sibal, Inker
  • X-Men: The End Book 3 – Men & X-Men #3
    • Chris Claremont, Writer
    • Sean Chen, Penciller
    • Sandu Florea, Inker