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Doomsday

The other night we had Chloe’s wedding and it was the disaster that it was projected to be. Doomsday crashed the party and carried off the bride (yes, bride, they did get married before all the hullabaloo).  Lana came back after learning Green Arrow’s secret and is working with some suspicious character. Lex came back plugged to some weird machine. Jimmy is half-dead. Lois thinks that Clark might be the One. Clark is plain pissed. A typical “Smallville” cliffhanger because they never put one person in peril when they can end a half or full season with just about everyone up the creek. But what do we have to look forward to on January 15, 2009 when the show returns?

Well, how is Clark to deal with Doomsday? Even with Impulse, Cyborg, Aquaman, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow, it seems Supes is going to need more help. Even though a lot of shows, including “Smallville,” are cutting back to reflect the current economy, we still have room for a slew of guest stars. Well, comic book guest stars as opposed to big name actors.

On January 15, we are going to see the arrival of The Legion of Super Heroes. Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are going to arrive from the 31st century with stock market tips and to help our hero out. No more worrying about corn prices for a certain Kansas farmboy. DC is digging a little deep from the bench, in my humble opinion, because time travel shows, even when fun, makes my hair hurt. Let’s face it. Go back in time, fail in your mission, then try it again 10 minutes earlier until you succeed. Surely those Terminators sending guys back in time must realize their guys have failed when John Connor and the resistance is still there. Didn’t kill him, try again for Sarah. Fail with her, try the grandmother, etc.

If I have the scenario right, this Doomsday is made from Kryptonese genetic material so he should be superior to Supes. Assuming green kryptonite doesn’t kill him, I wonder if magnetism, lightning bolts, and telepathy will do any good. Well, we will find out in January.


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Batman

The conclusion to “Batman: RIP” is finally here. The last issue saw Batman entering Arkham Asylum as his back-up personality The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh to rescue Jezebel Jet from the Black Glove and the Joker.

Grant Morrison stated in an interview with Comic Book Resources that what would happen to Batman in this storyline would be “so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past, but to me, that kind of ends the story! I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.”  When I read this, I became very intrigued. What would happen to Bruce Wayne when the story was over? Well, the story is over and I’m still wondering what the big deal was.

(Spoilers)

Read More | Comic Book Resources

Magog

This issue was written by Peter Tomasi with the art provided by Fernando Pasarin.  It’s a very good issue featuring Lance Corporal David Reid who was resurrected as Magog in the current “One World Under Gog” storyline. I liked the introduction of David Reid to the team by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross. The character is the great-grandson of President Franklin Roosevelt who was a part of the formation of the Justice Society of America (JSA). I love American history and I always love comic stories that weave real history into their storylines.

This issue has some JSA members following Gog on his “mission” to help the people of the world. The group comes across a river with dead bodies floating in it.  They discover that it has been poisoned by militants and it will kill everyone in the immediate area who use it for water if they don’t block it’s path.  The river is blocked by Gog and he and the JSA members make their way to locate the militants.

Read More | DC Comics

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Flash

I haven’t been reading “The Flash” for close to a year now. At various times over the past 15 years, “The Flash” has been one of the best comic books out there. From Mark Waid’s first two runs on the title, to Geoff Johns classic run, I can’t say enough good things about it. After Johns run came to an end, “The Flash” just hasn’t been that good.

After “Infinite Crisis,” Wally West aka The Flash disappeared along with his wife Linda and twin babies. Bart Allen aka Kid Flash, like Wally West before him, became the Flash in his absence. A year later, Bart was killed by Inertia and the The Rogues. Wally returned along with Linda his wife and their kids who were now physically older due to their link to the speed force. With Wally’s return, Mark Waid also returned to write the character.

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Superman

Part of the Superman mythos is that he is the last survivor of the planet Krypton. This planet orbited a red sun and there weren’t too many of those. Earth’s yellow sun and lower gravity made Kal-el into what he is today. Very unique.  Of course, over the years, we have seen a heckuva lot of survivors of Krypton ranging from horses, dogs, cats, monkeys, and quite a few people. Anyone who was ever sentenced to the Phantom Zone seems to have at least one Get Out of Jail Free card. Remember, we are only talking comics here because we could do a whole other editorial on “Smallville”. Other dimensions add a few more. Escaped space pirates: one more. Seemed to me, the last son had a lot of company before the latest storyline takes shape.

Because Superman seems to have freed 100,000 Kryptonians from Kandor when he recently defeated Brainiac for the final, but not last time. I know Supes is a very lonely guy, but I really don’t think even he really thinks this is a good idea. At least I hope so.

Remember the Eradicator? He is from Krypton and wanted to remake earth into a new Krypton a long time ago. In fact, every time a Kryptonian shows up, he wants to remake earth, with its puny humans (sorry, Hulk) into a recreation of this poor dead planet. One already killed a whale and it is only a small step to wiping out all the humans and repopulating the planet with Kryptonians. I can only foresee three endings to this storyline but I’d love to hear some others.

Ending number one is Supes putting them all back in the bottle. Not easy, but I’m sure Brainiac will help. Ending number two is transporting them to some other dimension, unless Crisis finally resolves itself and there is only one. Ending number three is put them on some other planet where they will be powerless. I’m sure they’d be happy to welcome Kal for visits after he strands them there. Then he really will be the last son of Krypton - except for all the others running around.


JLA and Avengers 

This week Diamond Comics shipped the paperback version of the classic JLA/AVENGERS saga. These came out in comic book form in 2003, but was only compiled in hardcover format for $75. Now we have a softcover at $19.99 and it is time to revisit this story.

I believed at the time that the entire concept was flawed. Kurt Busiek wrote a story in which every Avenger and every Justice Leaguer that ever existed made at least a token appearance. He succeeded in his mind, but not mine. By putting too many characters in a story, you lose the ability to focus deeply on any of them. Recall the series of Marvel/DC Crossover books. These stories usually had one hero and one villain from each universe and you had a real interaction among the heroes and villains. Remember Crossover One with a full Superman/Spider-Man story, Hulk/Superman, etc. You really got into how the characters reacted to each other. In Crossover 2 we had Batman/Punisher, Silver Surfer/Superman and Batman/Captain America. The other two books weren’t as good, but it is always fun to match heroes from different universes. In my opinion, confining the epic to 7 or so stars from each universe would have made things much less cluttered and a better read. Characters kept coming and going so quickly it is difficult to keep track.

The story itself starts as one of the generic contest of champions ideas we have seen a million times before. Mystic artifacts being sought by both sides being manipulated by cosmic beings. Ho-hum.

No real detail in the battles to get an artifact and the 12 items are quickly divided up. They we get a mish-mash of heroes from diferrent universes interacting in a confusing way and then A Crisis on Infinte Earths climax against the super-duper villian with everyone throwing in a few shots. Been to the Source, done that.

It was, I suppose, a noble effort and it is certainly a better buy at $20 rather than $75. But as the pundit said about Dicken’s Great Expectations, I hoped for more.


Catwoman and Batman

Most of the current media bemoans the fact that an increasing amount of movies and TV are based on the comic universe. We geeks and fanboys, of course, love this trend. But most of us are not mindless drones and still have the ability to separate quality from garbage. Spider-Man 1 - good. Spider-Man 2 - not so good. Spider-Man 3 - a waste of good sand. Batman Michael Keaton - good. Batman Val Kilmer - not so good. Batman George Clooney - a waste of good nipples. Heroes season one - good. Heroes season 2 - not so good. Heroes season 3 - a waste of good comic writers.

Recently, DC announced a prospective series entitled “The Flying Graysons”. Folks speculated that with an uncertain future for “Smallville”, we would need something for our superhero fix. But was Dick Grayson, before he became Robin, solving crimes traveling with the circus the best they could come up with?

So, I printed out the article from Variety and posted it at Phoenix Comics, your favorite neighborhood comic store. Now, remember, these are the same customers who wanted to lynch Marvel for the whole Brand New Day fiasco or put up a statue to Marvel for ending the Peter-Mary Jane marriage. And does anyone remember Birds of Prey? How could anyone mess up a TV show featuring three awesomely good looking girls in spandex. Couldn’t be done, could it?

Well, the polling is over and if the U.S. ran like this, we could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Nobody liked this idea. Not one customer. Nobody. And somehow DC must have gotten the message because they have canned the idea. Obviously I am only one store but still… maybe once in awhile they do listen to us.

Read More | Variety

Death of Captain Marvel

I wonder if there will be comics in our future. The reason for this is that it seems that no one wants to write comics anymore. No, what they want to write is the Great American Comic Novel.

As the proud owner of Phoenix Comics in beautiful Eastchester, New York (shameless plug), I have the great fortune, or misfortune, of reading just about everything that DC and Marvel publish. Back in the day, going back as far as 10 cent comics, a huge percentage of books were what we would call today, stand alone stories. Batman caught the bank robber, jewelry store heister, or murderer in one issue. Superman battled the evil monster and/or fooled Lois about his secret identity in one book. A two-issue story was a major event. Even as a youngster, I realized Superman was fighting a never ending battle against evil and we all moved on to the next story.

Starting with “The Death of Captain Marvel,” the first mainstream graphic novel, everyone seems to be writing 120-page comic novels and slicing them into six parts. Before the ink is dry on part six, the whole thing is published in a trade paperback. At least you had a good read on an airplane. But even that doesn’t seem to be enough.

Now we have continuing sagas that seem to go on forever: Crisis on Infinite Earths to Infinite Crisis to Identity Crisis to 52 to Countdown to Final Crisis to….? And don’t even start with all the tie-ins. When they hit Final Bar Mitzvah I quit.  Of course the X-Men books have been doing this for years. They even put numbers on the spine so you can keep reading, and reading, and reading and the story line goes on forever. At my age I have to keep reading the books because I would hate to miss a possible ending. Some of my customers have given up and just read the trades as they come out.

Is this progress?


Smallville Martian Manhunter

One of the subjects my comic shop customers love to discuss, besides “Heroes,” is “Smallville”. To survive nine seasons on TV is remarkable in itself, but one of the things I most enjoy is picking up the insider references that they toss in. My comic shop partner, Jason, hates every one of them. Here are a few of them.

Just this season, Clark had to change into a suit at the Daily Planet. The only available place was a telephone booth. Clark said that he wouldn’t change his clothes in a phone booth and Lois had to push him in. Clark’s dog, back at the farm, is named Krypto. When he first met Bart Allen AKA the Flash, Bart was fleeing from Clark when Clark ripped open his backpack. Out flew a bunch of phoney driver’s licenses in the names Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Barry Allen. Bart later suggests they form a club or a league. When Clark meets Arthur Curry AKA Aquaman, Arthur suggests to Clark that they fight crime on the land and sea. Clark responds that he isn’t ready for the Junior Lifeguards of America.

In the very first season Lois is reading a book and explains to Clark that Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and asks him ” What planet are you from?”  John Jones AKA the Martian Manhunter, drops Oreo cookies in his first appearance. Clark now works at a great metropolitan newspaper. Anyone remember others?

Personally, I love watching “Smallville” with my son and every time one of these inside references show up, I have to explain them to him. Father and son bonding - who knew Smallville could help.


Batman

The advance February solicitations for the final issue of “Nightwing” goes as follows: “As Robin, Dick Grayson fought alongside Batman as part of the Dynamic Duo, the greatest crime-fighting team in history. As Nightwing, he teamed up with his peers to combat injustice in the Teen Titans and the Outsiders. Now, Dick Grayson faces the most important battle of his life. Batman is dead. The Mantle of the Bat must be passed, but it will require all of Dick’s training and skills to carry out the last wishes of Bruce Wayne and protect Gotham City.” 

Over at the solicitations for the last issue of “Robin” which also comes out in February, we have the following stated: “Gotham City has found a new hero and his name is Robin – but with a battle for Batman’s cowl looming, is Tim Drake ready to become something more?”  Now, if Bruce Wayne was dying, I seriously doubt DC would have that written in their advance solicitations two weeks before the end of Batman: R.I.P.

As previously stated in my blog in regards to DC’s plans for the Post-R.I.P. world of Batman, Grant Morrison has stated that Batman will not be dying and that he has plans for something better than just killing off Batman.  I believe him.  I think for whatever reason, everyone will think Batman is dead, but in reality he will be in hiding.  I’ve read on message boards that Batman will become a New God during Final Crisis - which is also written by Grant Morrison.  I don’t think that will happen. To be honest as of right now, I have NO IDEA what Grant Morrison has in store for Batman in “Batman” #681 the final issue of R.I.P.  I do think it will be shocking and it will probably anger a lot of fans - but isn’t that what happens all the time? 

Read More | Comic Book Resources

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