Sunday, May 27, 2007
Man or Mouse, None Escape Doom!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
MARVEL ADVENTURES: THE AVENGERS #12 Marvel Comics, 2007
The answer, of course, is that The Avengers have to land on Ego and start tearing shit up in order to get its attention. Iron Man triggers some volcanoes, Storm uses her weather-control powers, and The Hulk... well, The Hulk just starts hitting stuff and giving Ego some straight talk.
"Earth just want to be friends!" Hulk yells.
Jeff Parker hits all the right notes with this comic. It's cute, it's self-aware in a metatextual way that will appeal to geeks, and it's funny as hell. Like a lot of well-done family entertainment, this comic has something for adults as well as kids, but it doesn't go overboard with pop-cultural references and sly asides (I'm looking at you, Shrek movies.)
Plus, Parker uses the Hulk as comic relief, which is never a bad idea. I'm a big fan of The Hulk, particularly when he's not taken too seriously. He's a big green caveman who smashes shit when he gets angry but likes puppies and stuff - what's not to like? In this comic, The Hulk is like a big destructive kid that The Avengers soothe by singing him songs and reading him stories. No, really. It's cute as hell. Plus, there's a little throw-away shot of The Hulk getting a rock dropped on his head that just cracks me up for some reason.
Between this issue and the comic where all The Avengers get MODOK'd, I think I have a new favorite Avengers title. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually digging Mighty Avengers right now, but I'm not going to read it to my daughter: "Well, this naked lady is really a robot who wants to kill everyone. No, Ava, I don't think she gets cold, she's an indestructible, murdering killing machine."
But this comic? I can read it to my kid, and for that I thank Jeff Parker. The only problem is, like The Hulk, my daughter wants me to read it over and over and over...
Happy Second Anniversary, Bully!
Happy (belated) 2nd Bloggiversary to Bully, the cute lil' stuffed bull who writes Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun!, one of my favorite blogs ever. Go check it out.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
What did I miss?
*I rank the greatest female ass-kickers in the DC Universe as follows: Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Big Barda, Black Canary, Huntress, Catwoman, etc. Supergirl is way at the bottom of the pack, sorry, because the current DCU version of the character sucks.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
PREDATOR #2 Dark Horse Comics, 1989
I enjoyed this 4-part series, Dark Horse Comics’ first foray into the world of licensed Predator comics. Sure, in the years since the Predator concept has sort of worn out its welcome – did anybody ask for books like Witchblade /Darkness /Alien /Predator and Predator vs Shaq? - but back in the Eighties, a Predator comic book was practically guaranteed fun.
Written by Mark Verheiden with burly art by Chris Warner, Predator was a comic book sequel to the 1987 Arnold Shwarzenegger film that actually beat the film sequel (Predator 2) to market.
Predator matches the macho swagger of the Arnold film and cranks up the tough one-liners and action all the way to the proverbial “11” on the dial. The movie had one Predator? This comic has mass Predators. The movie blew up a jungle? This one blows up city blocks. The movie had Arnold? Well, this comic has Arnold’s tougher bigger brother.
And he is totally not fucking around:
That guy is gonna kill him some Predators.
I won’t go into the details of the plot, but in this issue Arnold’s Big Brother goes down to the sweltering Central American jungle where Lil’ Bro fought the first Predator. For those communists who haven’t seen the film, a Predator is an intergalactic big game hunter who visits our planet and others in order to hunt dangerous game – us. The alien hunters only go after worthy prey like Arnold, Batman, and Shaquille O’Neal – if you’re a big wuss the Predators won’t even bother with you.
(An aside – in the Predator movies they make a big deal about how the aliens only visit during heat waves because they don’t enjoy being cold. Yet the film Aliens vs Predator takes place in the Arctic Circle and the Predators don’t get so much as a scarf to keep them warm. Whattup with that?)
Anyway, Arnold’s Big Brother is the world’s toughest cop and he’s come to sweltering Central America to kick some Predator ass. It took Arnold and company a whole movie to kill their Predator, but Arnold’s Big Brother kills his alien dead in like, three pages. What do they feed those Shaeffer boys anyway?
While Arnold’s Big Brother terminates his Predator relatively quickly, it’s not easy. He gets pummeled quite a bit early in the fight, but not badly enough that he can't spit one-liners from his bloodied lips:
Arnold's Big Brother does a little rope-a-dope move on his opponent, taking some brutal hits so he can get close enough to, yes, smash a salt container into the Predator's eye! Yowch!
Man, thank God he brought a salt shaker with him in the depths of the humid jungle! If he had been packing some cinnamon or paprika he would have been totally screwed.
Verheiden's script strikes the right balance between violent adolescent fantasy and... um... violent adolescent fantasy, and Chris Warner's art on this book is solid and his pages are well designed. Warner also drew a Terminator series for Dark Horse that was equally good, art-wise. He's one of those guys that draws everybody in the comic as hulking brutes, which works really well when your comic is populated by hulking brutes. I think his stuff is keen.
Dark Horse's Predator comic - four issues of macho action that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's worth checking out, if only to compare it to the flood of lesser-quality licensed books that followed in its wake.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
SUPERMAN #8 DC Comics, 1987
Since this is a comic book, Superman and the Legionaires (Braniac, Blokk, Sun Boy, and Skunklad) fight for a few pages before they realize it was all a big mix-up. Being generous of spirit, Superman doesn't mock the ugly ass outfits the teen heroes from the future are wearing, and they get around to telling Superman the reason why they're here: Bad Superboy. Superman is all "WTF?" because he was never called Superboy; he began his super career as an adult and what kind of drugs are you damn kids on in the 30th Century anyway?
That is one small planet they're running on. That was my favorite era of the Legion. As much as I make fun of their outfits, I have to admit that is what the Legion should look like - a big Seventies disco future fashion show.
I'm not going to bother explaining how Byrne untangles the Legion history and fits it into the new Superman continuity - that's what Wikipedia and the fine folks at Legion Abstract are for. There was a point where I kind of gave up trying to follow the convolutions of Legion history, with all the Time Trapper and Zero Hour craziness. The Legion is simultaneously blessed and cursed with a rich, complex mythos and a huge cast. It can be rewarding for long time fans and comic history geeks, but I think the various Legion series have been largely impenetrable and forbidding to new readers. I call this devotion to the future history of the DC Universe Legionaire's Disease*, and I think it's why so many Legion series get cancelled.
OK, let's wrap this up. Superman #8 had great art, beefcake Clark Kent and his belt buckle, a hidden Metamorpho, hideous costumes, pages of continuity wonkery, Bad Superboy, and a nice big shot of the Disco Legion. Man, John Byrne was on fire during the Vegas Exile period!
*Actually, I don't. I just needed to fit a terrible joke in there.