Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding senses-shattering action-packed Star Trek panel:

Sometimes, they just have your number, Bones. From Star Trek #51, (DC Comics, 1993) "Epic Proportions" Written by Diane Duane, pencils by Rod Whigham, inks by Arne Starr.
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"Taskpool, part four."

Although he memorably does it in the second issue of his first limited series--"Sort of a tail gunner, as it were..."--you don't see Nightcrawler fence with his tail very often. Probably because the writers think it's a bit silly, or maybe Kurt's just afraid of getting it cut off.

Tasky can copy a lot of abilities, but per his wikipedia entry, he can watch kung-fu movies in fast-forward, then duplicate the moves at super-speed for brief periods. Yeah, I have to call bull on that. I wonder what comic that was from, but I would say Taskmaster can only duplicate skills up to his own physical ability. Tasky's in pretty good shape, but if he's copying Spider-Man's moves, he still can't make a twenty-foot vertical jump.

In Agent X, Taskmaster mentions watching a lot of Nascar to pick up the driving skills, and that probably wouldn't work either: he'd be watching a car, not the driver, most of the time. Of course, in the last issue, he admits to watching soap operas and romantic comedies, to try and win back Sandi. That might just be a line, but it's not bad.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding senses-shattering action-packed Star Trek panel:

Admittedly, this is like all my fetishes in one panel. A hot nurse, in a Starfleet miniskirt, with a phaser rifle. Look, I'm not made of goddamn stone, all right? From Star Trek: Early Voyages #11, "The Fallen, part two" Written by Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett, pencils by Michael Collins, inks by Greg Adams. You know, I liked this series so much, I think it's why I didn't care as much for Enterprise: although in the continuity, it was set prior to "The Cage," it didn't have the same design sense. Not just female officers in miniskirts and beehives (although, that couldn't have hurt...) but the look of the bridge equipment, hand weapons, etc. Would Enterprise have been more successful with those? No one can say...but Enterprise has never gotten a comic book. Make of that what you will. Hey, is anyone adapting the new Trek movie? Or is that passe?
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"Taskpool, part three."

Two today!

Crap. Of course, this was written before Bea Arthur's passing, so our condolences to her family and fans.

I do have to wonder how many bad habits Taskmaster has picked up with those photographic reflexes.

Oddly, to date, I have never heard Deadpool's voice. Sure, I know what Ryan Reynolds sounds like from other movies, but I haven't seen the clips where he talks yet! Nor have I heard Pool in Marvel Ultimate Alliance: I just started slogging through the first X-Men Legends again. I guess I haven't seen his appearance in the animated Hulk vs. Wolverine either...
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panels:

Ah, the Mirror Universe: too much fun to expect comics writers not to play with. Of course, with Star Trek comics from DC, Marvel, and Malibu (to the best of my limited knowledge, Gold Key never did a Mirror story...) and the hassles inherent to hemming to official continuity, you'll have to forgive them for contradicting other comics. Besides, Mirror stuff is more fun when you break the toys...

Panels from Star Trek #9, (DC Comics, 1983) "New Frontiers, chapter 1: ...Promises to Keep" Written by Mike W. Barr, pencils by Tom Sutton, inks by Ricardo Villagran; and Star Trek: Mirror Mirror, (Marvel, 1997) "Fragile Glass" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Larry Mahlstedt.
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"Taskpool, part two."

Deadpool is like Poochie this week, in the sense that whenever he's not around, everyone should be asking, "Where's Deadpool?"

Pool's healing factor varies, depending on the writer. At the start of his first regular series, Joe Kelly ramped it down to the point that Wade had trouble regrowing a finger (that Taskmaster had chopped off, actually!) and then he lost the ability to regrow appendages at all. In Christopher Priest's run, Deadpool was reduced to snot, basically, and had to wear a containment suit to maintain himself...for like one issue. That was never brought up again, and may well be written off to Loki jerking Wade's chain. Under Gail Simone, the healing factor was pretty strong, until the Black Swan messed with it. In Cable/Deadpool, towards the end of the book, with writer Fabian Nicieza, Wolverine decapitated Deadpool--Bob helps put his head back.

In the current series, I think Deadpool has, possibly more than once, been wrecked up to the point where he needs to go lie down for a while; which strikes me as a callback to old detective stories or Conan: if the writer needs to change the scene, the main character gets hit on the head with a blackjack. Or, in Deadpool's case, shot the hell up.

The point is, Pool's healing factor can be however strong the writer wants, and they can justify in story, or not. And not unlike Roger Rabbit, if it's funny, Deadpool can walk off grievous injuries that would crush him in a serious situation. Kelly turned the healing factor down by irradiating Pool (gamma, I believe) but Priest had a great scene with Pool lowering his head into a nuclear reactor in an attempt to burn Tom Cruise's face off his head. (Goddamn, I love comics.)

Personally, I treat Deadpool's healing factor as ludicrously strong, able to regrow limbs or reattach skulls; but only if Pool's had a good breakfast. Most important meal of the day, people. Shouldn't have go back over this. (Stolen from Xombi, still one of the comics I miss most.)

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Your pulse-pounding senses-shattering action-packed Star Trek panel for today:

From Star Trek #18, (DC, 1991) "Once a Hero!" Written by Peter David, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Arne Starr. If I'm not mistaken, this was David's last Trek comic for a while: I believe the restrictions from Paramount over what he could and couldn't do, coupled with an already-heavy workload, ended his run. For the time being. In this issue, a young security guard sacrifices himself to save Kirk, who then realizes he, nor the rest of the crew, knew anything about the fallen redshirt. Like many, I maintain that Redshirt cologne has to smell like fear and burnt hair.
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"Taskpool, part 1"

Taskmaster recently appeared in the Deadpool/Thunderbolts crossover "Magnum Opus," and coincidentally, was disguised as Deadpool there! It also continues a proud tradition of Tasky almost being a different person every time he shows up in that book: this time around, he seems less antagonistic to Wade, but not quite buddy-buddy, since it's very obvious Tasky is there for the money. (And if he can shaft Wade so he can be the one to hit on the Black Widow, so much the better!)

Where is Deadpool? Geez, where isn't Deadpool? Currently or coming soon, he's got a regular series, a limited, a smattering of one-shots, and another ongoing? Really?

Admittedly, Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth does look pretty funny: check out the CBR interview with writer Victor Gischler. Marvel really banking on Wolverine: Origins catapulting Wade into household name status? Because unless Ryan Reynolds wears the red suit and does a musical number while simultaneously in the middle of a John Woo-style shootout; I don't know if I see that happening. I really doubt Deadpool (if Wade is even what we know as "Deadpool" in the movie) is going to get the big scene-stealing moment that fans seem to expect. Movie Deadpool isn't likely, from first impressions and vile speculation, to be the character that is going to turn average non-comic reading moviegoers into Wednesday buyers.

And yet, from the solicits, Marvel seems to want to churn out Deadpool books like he's the second coming of Wolverine. I mean, I don't remember Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four, or even Iron Man getting this sort of push; and they were actually the stars of movies. I think a lot of people like Deadpool, but it hasn't always translated into sales. Is Marvel counting on fan goodwill, somehow? Like him being in a movie will be a reminder to pick up Deadpool comics, like a note on the fridge?

Then I suppose it comes down to whether the comics are any good or not, and I don't think anyone expects a Deadpool comic to reinvent the wheel. Well...maybe. Deadpool certainly wasn't the first character to break the third wall, not by a long shot; but he brought it back, didn't he? (She-Hulk fumbled that ball, and Wade picked it up and kept it.) I may have to consider that for a bit.

New page every day this week!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Page from Star Trek: the Next Generation #47, (DC Comics, 1993) "The Worst of Both Worlds, part one: the Bludgeonings of Chance!" Written by Michael Jan Friedman, pencils by Peter Krause, inks by Pablo Marcos. The Enterprise-D is sucked through a subspace rift to a universe where the Federation lost the hell out of the battle of Wolf-359. The saucer section of their ship gone; Locutus and the Borg have overrun earth; and causalties including Data and Dr. Crusher; but the crew fights on. Although, what's the deal with Geordi's eye patch there?

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Page from Star Trek Unlimited #9 (Marvel, 1998) Written by Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett, pencils by Greg Scott, inks by Joe Rubinstein. This just might be my favorite Chekov and Sulu story in any format: on a shore leave mission, the pair is assigned to pick up a new shuttlecraft and ferry it back to the Enterprise. The mission is complicated by Chekov winning a Klingon house--not just a building, the entire family and all their holdings--in a card game. Two rival houses then try to scoop in and poach it, leading to an eventful trip. Fun.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek page:

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #387: Suck it fanboys! Choke on your envy!

Page from Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #2, (Marvel, 1997) "Liberty" Written by Chris Cooper, pencils by Chris Renaud, inks by Andy Lanning. We'll see more from this series later, since I liked it a lot. Moreover, it tied in nicely with then-current events in Deep Space 9 episodes. (Just an impression, but I think Starfleet Academy tied into DS9 episodes more than the DS9 comic did.)

Earlier in the issue, trying to get to know his teammate Matt Decker (descendant of the Decker family from the Original Series) Nog pops open Matt's locker, then his collection of classic Marvel comics. (It's not pictured, but Nog describes a scene from X-Men #113, Storm picking the lock with her teeth, and Nog is clearly impressed.) Matt nearly bursts a blood vessel, since comics are obviously supposed to be kept "hermetically sealed, in climate-controlled conditions--and you never, ever touch them!" Later, though, he finally reads the books, and realizes that was the real fun of them.

To make amends, Nog offers "co-ownership" of a copy of Marvel Comics #1, that he had picked up when he accidentally travelled back in time. (Noted as the DS9 episode "Little Green Men" but not actually shown on-screen.) This wasn't the only example of Marvel Comics in their Trek adaptations: in Early Voyages, during a tourist trip to New York, 387 Park Avenue South, then-current editorial offices of Marvel, was noted as a landmark.

May or may not get anything else out today: the Youngest has some kind of yuck, and has been vomiting like a fire hose. More Trek panels over the weekend, though, and have fun!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Panel from Star Trek Unlimited #8 (Marvel, 1998) "The Veteran" Written by Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett, pencils by Tom Morgan, inks by Scott Hanna. Featuring Captain Sulu, Klingon Governor Kang, and the Gorn from "Arena"!

Also, this issue features a story, with art by Steve Pugh, that makes Worf's son Alexander more bad ass than he would ever be in anything else, ever.
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If you've got a mess of Iron Man figures on your shelf, then this is the issue for you.

Finally got a replacement copy of Iron Man #300, "Appetite for Destruction!" Written by Len Kaminski, pencils by Kevin Hopgood and Tom Morgan, inks by Steve Mitchell. It's not as good as Iron Man #100 or #200, but damned if I don't like it more than I'd expect to. Especially since, by this point, I had done the unthinkable and dropped Iron Man.

Previously, around issue #284 or so, Tony Stark was in pretty bad shape, and about to die. Without telling Jim Rhodes that he was going to be put in cryogenic suspended animation, Tony gives Jim control of Stark International and a suit of armor tailored to Jim's skills, the War Machine suit. Jim does a pretty good job with both, but when Tony comes back, Jim gets pissed that Tony didn't tell him, and huffs off. I don't know if I agreed with Jim's rage, but I left the book with him: those may still be my favorite issues of Iron Man to date.

But #300 was a big anniversary issue...and the traditional new Iron Man armor...and War Machine guest-stars! Ah, Marvel gets me again!

Giant alien robot thing Ultimo is tearing up the place, and as the issue begins, Tony is out. Happy is like one warning light away from a seizure. The remotely-piloted armor he was using at the time was destroyed by Ultimo and the feedback nearly killed him, so it's down to Jim, who calls in the reserves: long-time supporting characters (and in some cases, occasional Iron Man subs) Happy Hogan, Eddie Marsh, Bethany Cabe, Mike O'Brien, and Carl Walker. Everyone suits up in an old Iron Man suit and takes off, which isn't as sweet a deal as it first sounds: Eddie must have drawn the shortest straw, since he gets the archiac grey suit. Carl wrecks a classic 70's Layton-style armor trying to cover Eddie, but the disappointing part probably was that he had a more-advanced suit when he was the mercenary Force. Mike (in the red-and-silver) and Happy (early 70's shellhead) do OK for a bit, then crash into each other.

Only Bethany Cabe makes a halfway decent showing, but she had the most recent armor and had been pretty badass for about a hundred and eighty issues of the book. (Not a straight run, but still.) Bethany did have a secret weapon, though:

Why didn't she get her own suit after this? Anyway, while all this is going on, Tony hacks his own brain, as you did in the 90's, then gets his new modular armor and saves the day. That particular suit was used in the 90's Iron Man cartoon, but I mainly remember it for a brief appearance in Joe Quesada's stint.

For his part, Jim was already pissed at himself, since he felt he "acted like Tony" in risking the replacements; but he's extra-pissed that he risked them so Tony could just waltz in with the save. He would stay mad for the better part of a year, but a more level-headed Bethany would take a position at Stark Enterprises.

Shoot, I might have to check out that new War Machine book now.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

It's comic books, of course there's gonna be a crossover!
Just like North America, the Alpha Quadrant is the best one...ok, the best one at blowing crap up, anyway.
Page from Star Trek: Telepathy War #1 (Marvel, 1997) Written by Chris Cooper, pencils by Patrick Zircher, inks by Steve Moncuse; and featuring the crews of the Enterprise-E, Deep Space 9, and the Omega Squadron of Starfleet Academy. (Oh, and in an afterword issue, Voyager. For some reason.)

Midway through the Dominion War, the Founders have a plan to eliminate all the telepathic races of the Alpha Quadrant, starting with the Talosians from "The Cage." Cooper had been building up to this in Starfleet Academy and used the medium of comics really well for it: two mysterious, cosmic-looking figures discuss the progress of the plan for months, before finally being revealed as "merely" two cloaked Jem'hadar soldiers. This issue gets a bit rushed, and none of the other chapters are as good as Cooper's own in Academy; but the whole thing has its moments, and seems pretty reasonable in terms of the master plan.

By the way, over at Articulated Discussion, the Articulated One is having a contest celebrating his 1000th comment (!) and one of the toys you could win is a new three-and-three-quarter inch Kirk! Or DCUC favorites Hawkman or Blue Beetle! Check out his site, tell him what you think, and you could win!
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Sorcerer Supreme, office hours infinity to eternity.

I'm pretty sure Dr. Doom's mom isn't still in hell, right? Still, it was one of his goals for years that he seemed to be working on about as hard as Reed Richards was working on curing Ben Grimm--that is, intermittently at best.

There may be a follow-up to this one later; even though by this point, someone has to have taken the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme by now, right? One of the characters I needed was on my desk at work, but he and a couple others you might be able to guess may show up later to 'help' Victor out.

Why is this one set on a Ouija board? A better question might be, how did I manage to buy a Ouija board at a church rummage sale? And the "Orb of Agamotto" is a fire ball, which I later ate. I had been looking for a mystic orb thing that came with the old Avengers Loki figure, but couldn't find it.

And it's Earth Day! Yeah, I didn't plan that...

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

The cleavage is to try and draw your attention away from the eyepiece. From Star Trek: Operation Assimilation, (Marvel, 1996) Written by Paul Jenkins, layouts by Steve Erwin, finishes by Terry Pallot, and this panel looks pretty close to the cover by Hajime Sorayama. Written in the second person, this was a short little tale of a Romulan commander, and her ill-fated encounter with the Borg. Marvel did a fair number of Trek one-shots, and this one was to capitalize on the theatrical release of Star Trek: First Contact.
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From back in the day, when a name like "Headmaster" wouldn't raise any eyebrows...

It isn't inherently dirty, it just sounds that way. And even though I was pretty sure I had the Transformers: Headmasters limited series from 1988, I really just wanted the house ad.

Cover art by Frank Springer.
Mainly because of the guy in the corner, who looks like I feel most days at work: like tearing off my own head and drop-kicking it as far away as possible...

The copy for the Marvel house ad read: "War. War. War. It's enough to give a robot a headache." Sadly, that was the most clever thing about the whole series: it reads like a poorly-Americanized version of a particularly complicated anime--hmm, perhaps not so much complicated as overcrowded. There's a mess of Transformers, Autobots and Decepticons alike; then there's the humans of the planet Nebulos, some of whom become the Headmasters. That would be, well, they look like little robots with human heads with terrible haircuts, that turn into a larger robot's head. Then there are Targetmasters, who transform into a larger robot's gun.

Yeah, I know this isn't going to be War and Peace, it's a toy tie-in, but it's not up to even the rather mediocre standards of Marvel's American Transformers stories. (Even though I read it for the first couple of years, I never thought Transformers was as good a comic as Micronauts or ROM in their heyday. Simon Furman's British issues had their moments, though.)

I'm almost positive there's another, doubtless better backstory explanation for the Headmasters and Targetmasters in Transformers continuity, but I've never even seen any of their toys. Their real origin, is doubtless simply that they were a new gimmick for the line. A robot that transforms into a jet or a car or even a microscope, that was becoming old hat; so transforming heads or guns were the new style. I also have no idea if they were actually decent figures, though: I would guess the Targetmasters were robot-shapes that would fold into an L-shape to make a gun, so probably not great.

Don't ask me how the Headmasters worked. Who was in charge? Were they replacements for decapitated Transformers? If a Headmaster transformed and walked away, was the robot body left behind, a brainless vegetable? That doesn't sound like a great play model, honestly; to say nothing of a warrior's sidearm wandering off...Well, thinking about this has distracted me from my general annoyance, so the Headmasters, Targetmasters, and all did accomplish one mission, anyway...

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Well, I think I see how that war lasted like five million years...

Not to tell you guys how to do your jobs or fight your war, but COME ON!  He's right there!  Aim, for god's sake!
Cover to Transformers Universe #2 by Herb Trimpe, Akin and Garvey. Found a little pile of cheap comics, replacing ones I had and lost, including G.I. Joe Yearbook #3. Man, I wish the market would support those again: it recaps a bunch of issues, has another silent ninja story, and probably the best Serpentor story ever.

Also, in this issue, each little Handbook-style entry has a defining quote from each Transformer, kind of like your yearbook, except usually more violent. And Megatron's quote? "Everything is fodder." Not really one for coming up with something on the spot, eh? Or maybe they asked him to sign it before lunch.

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He looks a little smug there, but you would kinda have to be to pull that outfit off...

From Random Happenstance

I messed up downloading this one, so I had to get it out of my web album. Ah, well. From Marvel Adventures Hulk #5, reprinted in Hulk: Misunderstood Monster; "Bruce Banner and the Half-Monkey Prince" Written by Paul Benjamin, pencils by David Nakayama, inks by Gary Martin.

First, a quick tip for any fans of Marvel's all-ages (less continuity, more fun) books: Target had some of their collections on sale, 50% off; $2.49 each for this one, an Iron Man book, or others. They're always fun reads, and if you don't take to them, you can always pass them on to a younger reader. Unless you're a hording bastard, I guess.

Second, I've had Dr. Strange in mind for a bit here, partly because I have that strip starring Doctors Doom and Strange finally coming up tomorrow, but also because several bloggers have been doing some right fine posts with him lately: we'll start with a recent addition to the sidebar, The Defenders Fansite, where I'm going to be doing a mess of research shortly. I have read a ton of Defenders--but not, oddly, all of the Steve Gerber issues. I think I like the idea of the Defenders more than the actual execution sometimes...that, and I'm still waiting on a Valkyrie action figure.

Next, check out MightyGodKing: following his great series of "Why I should write the Legion of Super-Heroes" posts, MGK is turning his attention to Dr. Strange, and it would make for a great comic.

Sanctum Sanctorum Comix has been looking away from Dr. Strange for a moment, but it's OK, it's to check out ROM. Fun fact: I still have never even seen a ROM figure in person! Sanctum and Sea are too kind to rub my nose in it...

And over at The Weekly Crisis, they had a good idea for who should be the next Sorcerer Supreme: I like it, even though I don't think that character would necessarily be qualified or good at the position, but of course he's a favorite, and the scrambling to make it work would be the fun of it.

All right, I need to take a bit and do some, "research." So should you.
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Need a comic book and a bean burrito? Then you're in luck!

Tony Stark, Drunk, is always funny; Tony Stark, having a Heart Attack, funny for younger audiences.  Somehow.
The Beat turned me onto this first: Marvel Comics, in Taco Bell's kids' meals this week! (Be sure to ask first, OK? I don't want you to buy a half-dozen kids meals just to get Little Einsteins non-chokable toys...) The Oldest and I went the other day, and got a couple of the books. There's Iron Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, and Avengers. (The panel above is from the Avengers issue.) They aren't bad (we don't have the Iron Man one yet!) but the best thing about them? Each one has a Chris Giarrusso Mini Marvels strip!

Per CBR's Comic Book Legends Revealed, Mini Marvels is being phased out to be replaced by the more-kiddy Superhero Squad, so enjoy them now! I would read a monthly Mini Marvels, for dead certain, and I reckon I'll have to keep an eye out for Giarrusso's own book, G-Man!

Something a little different today: I have two or three little posts that I need to finish, so I'm just going to put them up as they're done. As usual, no reason, just because.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Panel from Star Trek #17, (DC Comics, 1990) "Partners?" Written by Howard Weinstein, pencils by Ken Hooper, inks by Bob Dvorak. Does anyone still do the 'ships talking' panels like this? Or is that passe?
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"State of Grace"

Wow, I've got nothing prepared for today. This is going to be the blog equivalent of attempting to make a three-course meal out of cornmeal, worchester sauce, and a labelless can you found in the pantry...

The Oldest is getting excited for Wolverine: Origins: his birthday falls around Free Comic Book Day, and there's usually some movie coming out then as well. But sadly, I think I've lost or given away more Wolverine comics than I currently have. Still, the ones I have left, I'm a little more attached to, so we'll take a quick look at Wolverine #65, "State of Grace" Written by Larry Hama, art by Mark Texiera, art assist by Steve Biasi.

Set just prior to X-Cutioner's Song, Logan is foregoing the usual Danger Room workout for a more intense virtual reality throwdown. In it's own way, Hama's Wolverine dialog is just as bombastic as if Stan Lee wrote it: "Gotta extrude adamantium and go to claw-city." Eh, it's not the worst narration Wolvie's ever had.

Although Professor X looks down at Wolvie's "childish revenge fantasies" and Jubilee defends him, the simulation starts at ten and builds up from there: from Logan's fractured memories, they pulled up a classic, Sabretooth, standing over the body of Silver Fox. Commence stabbity time, until Sabretooth calls Wolverine out for an assassination mission he was sent on, Terry Adams. Wolverine denies it, saying the mission was scrubbed, and Professor X ends the sim.

Later, Logan hits a bar in Salem Center, to chug boilermakers (hell yeah!) and hustle pool. A local (that Texiera decides to make look like Steroid Jesus, an artistic choice that I won't fault him for) doesn't take kindly to it, leading up to about my favorite Wolverine scene, ever.

We've got the American Jesus, seen him on the interstate...
Luckily for the local, Jean Grey shows up to end the fun. As she tries to clean Logan up--and it's gonna take a lot more than a napkin dipped in a bar glass--she asks if that's how he wants to deal with his pain: by getting hurt and taking his anger out on strangers. Logan admits he's feeling worse than usual, but with recent events involving Silver Fox and her death, he isn't sure if any of his good memories are real, which somehow makes the bad ones even worse. (And even without memory implants, I think a lot of us have been there, which is why readers still identify with Wolverine.)

Jean is surprisingly tough-love with Logan: "I suppose life isn't rough for anybody else but Logan, huh?" Logan points out that he's seen the death of everyone he's ever loved. Including Jean.

The next day, Silver Fox's burial service is postponed and moved, by two of Wolverine's friends: Nick Fury, and Wraith. I think I've seen more commercials with him than I have comics with Wraith, but he called in a favor, to get Silver Fox buried back at the cabin where she and Logan had lived. Logan has to be blindfolded for the trip, since the cabin's location is still classified, but Wraith thanks him "for Terry Adams." Logan can't remember, but Wraith says he can't forget.

On the door of the cabin, he finds "Logan & Silver Fox" carved in the wood. Wolvie is overjoyed to realize, maybe some of his good memories really did happen. (Or, whatever mysterious puppet-masters that were behind Weapon X this week, were really, really good at their set-dressing.)

I can't say exactly why I still like this issue so much: the dialog can be a bit much, and it's tied in with a lot of the memory-implant fakeout stuff that was why I stopped reading Wolverine in the first place. But there's something to it: the sense that Wolverine can heal up from just about everything, except his feelings...sappy, maybe. But I still have this issue, so it must have worked. Oh, and I'm a sucker for Texiera art. Maybe that's it.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Look familiar?

Panel from Star Trek: Early Voyages #3 (Marvel, 1997) "Our Dearest Blood" Written by Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett, pencils by Patrick Zircher, inks by Greg Adams. This issue tells the story behind the battle on Rigel VII, referenced in the original pilot episode, "The Cage." All we knew from that account was that seven crewmen were injured, and two killed, including Captain Pike's yeoman, Dermot Cusack.

Cusack, of course, was a new character; and in the continuity had to die, since Pike has a new yeoman in "The Cage." But Edginton and Abnett play it straight: Cusack's death is never foreshadowed, in fact, he's easily one of the more likable characters until his demise. I might mention this later, since I'm posting these in reverse order; but one thing I really liked about this series, that I thought was sorely lacking in Enterprise, was the sense that space was a brutal and dangerous place. In early Trek, you were far more likely to be stabbed, spaced, or irradiated; than you were to being blown up or killed by technobabble.
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek page:

Possibly my favorite single issue of all the ones I'm going to scan for this: Star Trek Annual #2 (DC Comics, 1991, and this may have been the second Annual #2 from DC!) "Starfleet Academy" Written by Peter David, art by James W. Fry (this page) and Curt Swan, inks by Arne Starr.

Young James T. Kirk goes off to Starfleet Academy (duh.) but he's a far cry from the captain we know--and probably, quite a bit different than the hothead the new movie appears to be delivering. This Kirk is all business, studying like mad, humorless, rule-bound, and the stick up his ass is pure dilithium. As in, unbendable. Why, he doesn't even have time for girls!

Yeah, that'll last. Callbacks to classic episodes abound, with appearances by Carol Marcus, Finnegan and Ruth from "Shore Leave," Commodore Decker from "The Doomsday Machine," and Kirk's roommate, a slacker with a photographic memory, Gary Mitchell. By the end of the issue, Kirk isn't the womanizing Starfleet cowboy he would be, but he's on his way.

This might be my favorite Peter David Star Trek story. Trust me and buy it, it shouldn't be too hard to find.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

Screw General Order 7, let's go visit Captain Pike!
I spent five minutes looking it up, but yeah, I knew General Order 7 off the top of my head.
From Star Trek #61, (DC Comics, 1994) "Door in the Cage" Written by Steven H. Wilson, pencils by Rod Whigham, inks by Arne Starr. Probably not the only follow-up to "The Cage" in Trek fiction. In fact, here's another!

From Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #9, (Marvel, 1997) "Return to the Forbidden Planet, part one" Written by Chris Cooper, pencils by Chris Renaud, inks by Andy Lanning. Fittingly, things aren't necessarily what they seem in either of these scans, but both were fun looks back.
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Eight random line items!

1. My bike is ready to go, and now I just need the weather to cooperate a bit more. Been listening to my headphones a bit more lately, as well, in preperation. Fun fact: I'm just about convinced that I am in fact invulnerable, as long as Helmet's Unsung is playing.

2. Via Topless Robot, I've been introduced to Deadliest Warrior, which I enjoyed quite a bit, even if it's dismaying on multiple levels. The first episode particularly: some people thought the taunting between the Apache and gladiator teams sounded scripted and fake, but watching on the computer, I thought there was a better than average chance of them maybe testing a move or two on each other. It's just a short matter of time until there's a C.S.I. episode based on When Deadliest Warrior Goes Bad.

That, and sometimes it's just a little depressing to realize how quickly you, as a person, could just be done. Shot in the eye by an arrow, head split open by a broadsword, disemboweled by a samurai...remind me to invest in some chainmail. And a moat. Who said, "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man dies but one"? Obviously someone with no imagination, or lacking access to high-tech testing facillities, ballistic gelatin, and forensic scientists.

3. I keep hearing Alice in Chains' "Rooster" on the radio. Excessively. I shouldn't complain too much: whoever decided an alt-pop-metal bastardization of Wham's "Careless Whisper" was a good wasn't. Really, Seether? Really?

4. Barring that disaster I'm always on about, I'll finally be taking the kids to Coraline at the cheapo theatre tonight or this weekend. I'm surprisingly enthusiastic to see Crank 2, but obviously, can't take the kids to that. Have to take my mom. She loved the first one.

5. Finally got that haircut. Looking good, except at least twice I've felt around my head for my hat. Unfortunate.

6. I'm actually incredibly frustrated with a bunch of stuff lately, but this has sidetracked me. Rest assured, everything does suck; but my attention span is such that I can get distracted by something else, good or bad, before getting too worked up about it.

I've been a little worried lately, since for years, I had no family medical history of anything: when a relative died, it was because they were older and smoked. Now I've got a family history of depression and Alzheimer's. Yay. I'm pretty scatterbrained the best of times--it's one of the main reasons I have this damn blog, so I can refer back to it when I'm old and completely gone--but now occasionally I've been second-guessing myself: am I depressed? Or just annoyed?

The Onion headline, "Study shows, Depression Strikes Losers Hardest" springs to mind. And there's an ad on the radio for depression that tries to show that it's a serious medical problem like any other: "You wouldn't say: It's only cancer." I always answer: yeah, I would! Suck it up, nancy! Man up, diabetics! Quit your bellyaching, depressives! Now, I'm not saying this to make light of anyone else's problems or condition: for me, I have to put depression (and/or any other medical problems) in their place by laughing at them.

So, short answer, I'm not depressed, and I'm not going to get depressed worrying about depression. I'll get depressed when I can't find that damn DCUC Big Barda variant...

7. There are weird holes in my pop culture knowledge. "Captain Planet" just came up: a co-worker claimed to have the theme song for it stuck in his head. I've never seen an episode. I thought he was referring to the Robot Chicken episode where Ted Turner paints himself blue, and busts up polluters while screaming "Cap-TAIN PLAN-et!"

In the same vein, since I'm older, toys of the eighties? I had just about none of them. No Transformers. No 3 3/4" inch G.I. Joes. No He-Man, no Thundercats, no M.A.S.K., no Ninja Turtles, none of 'em. I had Star Wars guys pretty much through Empire, and then that was it. I probably didn't get another toy until I bought a Robocop figure, a seven or eight year stretch without action figures.

Of course, that was the first time around: since then I've picked up somewhere between 'some' and 'a pile' of figures for most of those lines. Well, maybe not Thundercats or M.A.S.K., but you get my point.

8. Man, kind of a downer those last couple. Better go out on a high note. about this: I already said the Star Trek random panels would continue until the movie came out, OK. Right now, the plan is for the week Wolverine: Origins opens, we'll have a new homemade strip every day! Probably without Wolverine. Yeah, funny how that works out...I don't think I have anything funny to do with him. Do I? Probably not, but we'll see.
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Your (non-Star Trek) Happenstance page for today:

Ugh. Did I say I was going to do the regular features, on top of the Star Trek panels? I was going to go to bed, but decided I better sneak in an extra little page. Of course, even then, it's almost Trek related, an ancestor, proto-Trek:
I don't have a Robby action figure.  Or classic B-9.  And, now I'm sad.
From Forbidden Planet #1, "Relief Ship" Based on the MGM motion picture, screenplay by Cyril Hume, based on a story by Irving Block and Allen Adler, directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox, comic script by David Campiti, adaptation and illustration by Daerick Gross. And I probably could've picked an easier book for a short post...

This was from Innovation Comics circa 1992, and I had to check the GCD: I never saw the other three issues of this series (even to this day!) but the first issue had a great Robby the Robot cover that sold it for me. As adaptations go, it's not terrible, although there are a couple of pages that seem to get stuck carrying the vast bulk of the exposition. The stated goal was to expand a bit on the classic movie, but with only one issue and not having seen my old VHS copy in a while, I'm not sure how much 'new' material there is.

I know Innovation used to have the Lost in Space and Anne Rice's the Vampire Lestat licenses, but I don't know what became of the company. Anyway, I'm out for the weekend, but the pulse-pounding, senses-shattering action-packed Star Trek panels will continue later today and all weekend!
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panels:

From Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #2, (Malibu, 1993) "Stowaway, part two" Written by Mike W. Barr, pencils by Gordon Purcell, inks by Terry Pallot. How long did it take Jake and Nog to become cool? Sigh. Now I feel like I owe you another panel. Let's see...

Is that Captain John Tesh? Look, let's just call it a day, shall we?

(Purcell would do a ton of Trek comics, for just about everyone at some point. And I think I liked them all!)
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The Helmet. I just can't get past the helmet...

Well, once again, there is a reason this blog is called Random Happenstance, and not Timely Happenstance, or I would've talked about this character a couple months ago, before Watchmen came and went and anyone might've cared...

Peacemaker. The average comic reader could probably tell you that he was one of the Charlton Heroes purchased by DC, and in Watchmen the Comedian is based on Peacemaker. That, and he's got a terrible, terrible helmet. It's almost a perfectly serviceable, Judge Dredd-like helmet, but it looks like it has an additional clear plastic condom of a helmet on top of the first one. Just awful.
That second to last panel didn't turn out, did it?
And if you've ever thought the Charlton characters didn't receive the most respectful treatment from DC (in the current DCU, the Question and Blue Beetle are dead and replaced with new characters, and Captain Atom is missing and probably evil) well, Peacemaker was paving the way there. He didn't have a ton of appearances before he was killed off in a super-hero massacre in Eclipso, but in his first DCU guest-spots in Vigilante, Peacemaker believed the ghosts of those he had killed lived in his helmet. I guess that's why he needed the extra helmet. Peacemaker, real name Christopher Smith, formerly Schmidt; was later cured of that delusion, but wasn't done being crazy yet: he was haunted, taunted by the ghost of his father, who had been an SS commandant of a concentration camp in World War II.

I find it interesting that while there certainly are ghosts in the DC Universe (the Spectre or Deadman, for example) most people who see them are still crazy, and Peacemaker certainly was. He was so over the top crazy, he would've made Rorschach look reasonable and sane. Further adding to his problems (on multiple levels) Smith served in Vietnam, with distinction, until a village massacre that led to a life sentence. (A WWII veteran father and Vietnam tour of duty would tie Smith to real-world dates, and make him a bit old for superheroing. Granted, in his MAX series, the Punisher is in the same boat, but Frank doesn't traditionally fight super-villains, or wear a stupid helmet.) After a couple years in prison, Smith volunteered for a top-secret military program called the Peacemaker Force; which was decommissioned before it even began. Except Smith didn't go back to prison, he simply wandered off and made a go of it himself.

It seems like a trade off that didn't quite work: the Nazi ghost may have seemed like an edgy hook, since Peacemaker's slogan, "He loves Peace so much he'll kill for it!" and Rambo tactics would've already been old hat by the time of his limited series in 1987, and as far as America knew, "terrorists" were convenient multi-ethnic bad guys for movies, video games, and comic books. The terrorists, led by cardboard Asian baddie Dr. Tzin-Tzin, were more racially diverse than the Justice League was at the time...But, as seen in this fight scene from issue #3, the ghost of Smith's father simultaneously disparages and cheers on his son (in the previous issue's cliffhanger, the head goon bets Peacemaker can't take 20-to-1 odds, and Smith's dad doesn't bite) while being a racist bastard, as you'd expect a Nazi to be. Still, that makes it harder to sympathize with Peacemaker, even if he doesn't appear to have his father's prejudices.

This isn't a good series, no: Dr. Tzin-Tzin's plot is overly complicated and stupid (your hoary old 'get the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to destroy each other and then take over in the anarchy that follows' plot), Smith has a whole support team (somehow) to repair his gear and try to keep him relatively sane--his psychiatrist dresses up as a maid, so Smith will talk to her without feeling threatened or judged--and while this is ostensibly in the DC Universe, there's no interaction even though the causalities are pretty high. Well, it was Europe, not Star City, I suppose. And the art isn't great, either. But it's at least an interesting failure: they were trying to do something with the character, and while it may not have taken off, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying.

Did I mention he had a jetpack? Yeah, Peacemaker had a jetpack.

Peacemaker #1-4 (1987) Written by Paul Kupperberg, pencils by Tod Smith, inks by Pablo Marcos. I have to admit, I do kind of like the covers, particularly #2 and #3, both of which portray Peacemaker as a gung-ho, guns-blazing, keep 'em flying kind of hero; not the psychotic mess he actually was.

(By the way, I had the Fu Manchu-looking Dr. Tzin-Tzin, who had occasionally fought Batman and others, confused with Dr. Moon, who brainwashed Catwoman in stories that don't fit into continuity at all yet still make more sense than Zatanna-mindwipes.)

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

From Star Trek Unlimited #1, "Dying of the Light" (Marvel, 1996) Written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton, pencils by Mark Buckingham, inks by Kev F. Sutherland. And this isn't the only time we'll see the Gorn, or Abnett and Edginton, in our little Trek countdown: those two did a ton of Marvel's books.
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"Training Day"

When there's already like 3,600+ ring-wielders, throwing kid sidekicks in would seem like overkill, wouldn't it? Hal would briefly give Wally the title of "Kid Lantern" in Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's Brave and the Bold mini-series, though; which pretty effectively showed why Hal shouldn't have a sidekick: Wally had lost his speed for a moment, but Hal gave him a ring because he was feeling stung that Wally didn't think he was cool. (Admittedly, this story was set when he was an insurance adjuster, not a test pilot...) And Hal really didn't give Wally any training, or even remedial instructions, like 'Hey, the ring doesn't work on yellow.' (EDIT: Yeah, I wrote most of this, before I scanned that page to post yesterday.)

I've read a fair chunk of Green Lantern, excluding the recent series, but maybe I should ask: is there any reason Kyle should have any respect for Hal, other than Hal's the greatest GL ev-ah and all Guardians and GL's alike should kneel and kiss his ring? If you listen to Geoff Johns,, seriously, even putting aside that Hal was possessed by Parallax or whatever; every time Kyle ran into Hal he was either a super-villain, or at best, kind of a patronizing douche. Weren't a lot of Hal's conversations with Kyle to the effect of, "Oh, you're an artist? And you made a robot with your power ring! That's so cute!...Maybe you want to give it back to a grown-up now, kid?"

To be fair, writers and editorial seemed to have problems with Hal's characterization all through Kyle's run: I seem to recall a lot of flashbacks to Hal at the time (during the 90's, say) that either "hinted" at the instability Hal would have when he became Parallax (a Superman annual, don't ask which one, but it had GL on a Walt Simonson cover...maybe I'll find it) or tried to retcon in an explanation for Hal going nuts: I think Kurt Busiek, in the Silver Age miniseries, tried to pin it on Hal's brief use of Sinestro's power ring.

The point is, Kyle won me over in his years with the JLA, and doesn't deserve to be thought of or treated like a junior member. Although, I'm positive Hal does think of Kyle as a rookie, cadet, noob, kid...To some extent, Guy probably does too, but Guy does it because he cares, because he's trying to pass down some of his experience, and because it's fun to bust Kyle's chops.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I think I need the Guardian of the Universe action figures from DC Direct. It is a two-pack of little blue midgets, so it can't be that popular, but Hal dealing with his bosses seems ripe for mockery.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today's pulse-pounding, senses-shattering, action-packed Star Trek panel:

From Star Trek #1, (DC Comics, 1989) "The Return!" Written by Peter David, pencils by James W. Fry, inks by Arne Starr. I know this panel was used in the comics' press of the time: this was DC's second Trek #1, a relaunch in the "New Format" that set aside the supporting cast the old series had accumulated--Bearclaw, Konom, the animated series characters Arex and M'ress. These were the first Trek comics I followed regularly--prior to this, the Gold Key, Marvel, and DC issues I got were purely by that happenstance I'm always on about. I know some don't enjoy David's sense of humor as much, but I loved these, and there was plenty of action and intrigue as well.

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