Support your supporting characters!

I’m not going to lie, I was a bad girl this evening. Yesterday, the new DC animated movie Flashpoint Paradox was leaked onto the internet. Today, I finally made up my mind whether or not to watch it early. My thoughts on it, directly following my viewing of it: “Oh my god, I am so going to own this movie when it comes out. I’m going to put it in a deep frame and write on the glass, ‘break in case of joy’.”

The movie itself was…well, it didn’t even ring true to the amazing failure of a story that was the Flashpoint comic, and frankly, my favorite bits were the parts that were added in for the movie. It’s a good waste of 90 minutes, if you’re not a hardcore Flash fan. Because when you are…the clusterfuck of character timeline inconsistencies in the opening twelve minutes was enough to send me into minor fits of rage. Just saying. Anyway, onward to this week’s comics!

You know, I’m going to count it. If Animal Man keeps coming out in the third week of the month, it can still be considered a ladies week comic, as it has been focusing pretty heavily on Maxine in the last couple of issues. Good. Frankly, I like her best. The innocence of a child coupled with the instincts of a hero and the powers of a god? Yes, please. This month we see Animal Girl’s first real failure, as she finds that she is unable to bring her brother back to life with just a body, she needs his spiritual essence as well. Oh, and her dad fights these animal men monsters who work for Brother Blood. That’s also a thing that happens.

I was beginning to feel like the writers on Supergirl were having a bit too much fun playing up the ‘lost girl from another world is confused about everything and blindly trusts those who offer her a way home’ angle, so it’s good to see that she’s learning. “When am I going to learn? Boys offering Krypton are not to be trusted.” H’El used her…something, I wasn’t exactly following that storyline, Cyborg Superman was using her memories. Next time on Supergirl, Lex Luthor, masquerading as his own son with a head full of luscious red hair, offers to build her a time machine in exchange for some of her DNA. Shit, I’d actually read the hell out of that book. It’s not like DC is above reusing stories and themes from 1994 these days, am I right?

A moment of silence, as my very favorite New 52 character has died. Lennox, we hardly knew ye. But moving on, New Genesis, wowza. I’m not as intimately familiar with the New Gods as other people I know, so I don’t really have much to compare to/complain about. That being said, it’d be freaking fabulous if a friendship founded on mutual respect were to form between Diana and Orion, as the one that previously existed between Diana and Clark is clearly not going to happen in this universe.

Hey, guess who’s Kate’s fighting this month? Trick question, this is a Bette issue! Ah, little Bette Kane, finally growing into her own. Not trying to copy her cousin, or her crush, fighting grown men as practice, planning her own extraction ops. Even though I’ve been reading about this character on an off for over a decade, it’s only now that she really feels like someone who could hold her own issue. Hawkfire isn’t the name of a supporting character, so the world better watch out.

Phew. I kind of feel like I last-minute-half-assed that. I hope not. Anyway! Trinity War continues this week, a new Batman and book came out, oh and if you’ve not been reading Batman Beyond Unlimited, you should start. There’s a new Batgirl in town, and she’s going to be taking exactly none of your shit. In other news, it’s just past 3 am and I felt my brain start shutting itself down half an hour ago. Goodnight, everyone. And to those of you reading this from a line at SDCC, get some sleep already!

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Smooching is banned.

Welcome back to the den of depression, the house of feels, the ToG Blog. Tell me, friend, do you spend an hour or more every Wednesday staring in horror at the pages of the comics you’ve bought? Have you ever felt personally victimized by a writer? Do you take to the internet to kvetch about things, only to be told to ‘lol gtfoi noob’? Welcome home, friend.

The fourth print issue of Li’l Gotham came out today, and oh my gosh. I’d forgotten how cute the St. Patrick’s Day issue had been. The Easter issue is also included, with a guest appearance by Colin Wilkes. I’ve had a little thought recently, about Li’l Gotham. Why not have a Li’l DCU book? Clearly, few people are happy about the New 52 universe as a whole, why not give them a cuter, more familiar universe to read about, instead? There’s a webcomic going on right now on Tumblr called JL8, and it’s quite popular. Surely a licensed DC comic in a similar vein would be just as popular?

Speaking of feeling personally victimized by a writer, Young Avengers came out today, and I’m pretty sure that Kieron Gillen hates happiness. Allow me to back up this statement with things. As you may already be aware, Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery is sometimes called Journey into Misery by the fans. I’ve begun to take this moniker one step further by calling his Young Avengers run Journey into Misery 2: Electric Boogaloo. Why? Because the idea that Kid Loki planted in Teddy’s head several issues back about him being in love with Billy because Billy’s reality-warping powers created him to be in love with him is shaping into a major plot point. The kid’s seeing a therapist to try and deal with the idea in their downtime, for heaven’s sake. Prince of mischief my left tit, this is straight up malevolence. Moving on a bit, what has the gang been up to since they left New York? Why, chasing down non-Skrulls (and I don’t ever want Skifflefuffles to ever appear again, because it took me five tries to type that correctly from memory), of course! Luckily, they always go back to the same diner, so David Alleyne was able to find them and tell them about Tommy. I’m going to make it my mission to find and read that series that America Chavez showed up in before the next issue comes out, because I have no idea how the hell she’s able to open up portals into the multiverse. Before I bunk off for the night, though, I feel the need to share this page, which proves that Kieron Gillen has the power to make you laugh, as well as break your heart:

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Hell yeah.

And that’s this week in comics! Avengers Arena ended with a twist, and the first issue of Trinity War came out this week

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And so it begins (Batman Inc #12 spoilers)

Welcome to the first week of July! If you’re reading this, and you live in America like I do, happy Independence day! If you’re outside America, carry on with your non-exploding day. As y’all may be aware, this is yet another five-Wednesday month, which means books are going to be spread a little thin. That being said, due to reasons, Batman Inc did not ship last week, but was available this week instead. The final issue will be shipping two weeks from now, because, once again, of reasons. Incidentally, Batman Inc was the only New 52 book I picked up today. I think you know what this means.

With this issue, we are one from done. Grant Morrison first took on the Dark Knight in his own title in 2006, and the near-decade of hell is almost over. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a great deal of Morrison’s run on the various Batman titles, but His Scottishness has turned cruel in his later years. I’m still not entirely convinced that he didn’t originally create Beryl to eventually become the Knight. So, what happened today? Oh, not much.

Batman just went completely bugfuck insane, pumped an entire army of bats full of the antidote to the Man-Bat serum and sicced them on Talia’s warriors while communicating with them in their own language, then beat the hell out of the Heretic. And while watching the complete and utter meltdown of a man who is supposed to have the finest tuned mind in the DCU is fun and all, my full enjoyment of this issue came at the hands of, surprise surprise, someone who isn’t Batman.

Specifically, someone who might be Kathy Kane.

Let’s look at the facts: Way, waaay back in The Leviathan Strikes, the St. Hadrian’s elite wear costumes similar to the original Batwoman suit, along with skull masks. Those same costumes have turned up again in the last two issues, only now the girls work for the Headmistress of Spyral. Given the amount of time between her ‘death’ and the present, this leads me to believe that Kathy has overtaken her dearly departed father (whose corpse was seen in the other story in The Leviathan Strikes), Agent 0, as the head of Spyral. Spyral is not working for, or with, Leviathan, as they’ve gone from being a spy agency to part of the international intelligence community. Plus, look at how Dick reacts to the shadowy figure he, for some reason, cannot seem to be able to see with his lenses down:

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No, that’s totally Kathy Kane.

And to the people who don’t remember, yes, the Heretic totally killed the Knight a couple of issues back. Snapped his neck like he wasn’t in over a hundred pounds of armor. It was really tragic, and I was seriously mad for…actually, I’m still seriously mad. That Knight and Squire mini was one of the best things to come out that year. I own the single issues and the trade paperback. But he was killed by…by a big baby head.

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Full-grown body, Damian’s little face. Not the creepiest thing Morrison’s ever done (that goes to the WE3 pets, or Professor Pyg), but it’s in the top five. Still, who cares if it’s an irredeemable sociopath with his son’s face (I feel like I’ve stolen that line from somewhere…), justice still needs to be served! Or not.

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You know, it’s funny. Just like he’s constantly refusing to kill the Joker, even though it would make life better for everyone in Gotham, Batman refused to kill the Heretic. For a man fighting a war on crime, whose sole motivation in confronting Leviathan from the moment Damian dies? Bruce is seriously bad at revenge. I know he thinks it puts him on a higher moral ground than others, but really, he just looks like an asshole. Maybe it’s because I’m from a region where “He needed killing.” is a pretty justifiable defense when talking about a murderous scumbag, but really. He should have just let Beryl off the kid. Better than what would end up happening to him a page or so later.

(hint: it involves Talia and him not having a head anymore)

The issue ends with the destruction of Wayne Tower, as well as, presumably, many other areas in Gotham. Oh, and one of the coolest damn cliffhanger pages ever:

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Talia, as it has been seen, is actually quite a formidable opponent. Add in the emotional ties between her and Bruce, and this is set to be one hell of a fight.

Well! I’m pumped! Yeah! Fight to the death, yeah! That’ll end well.

In any case, that’s my week in comics. The last issue of Fionna and Cake came out today (y’all may want to pick that up, it’s pretty cute), as well, just putting that out there. 

This Sunday I’ll be at Florida Supercon in Miami, looking through backissue bins and rubbing elbows with whoever decided to stay all four days! Tickets will be available at the show for $30 and up. The con itself starts tomorrow. See you there, SoFla comic fans!

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Speedster week! Warm up your tissue boxes!

It’s the last week of June! Well, I’ve personally had no money this month. Between my parent’s anniversary, my mother’s birthday, my grandmother’s birthday, going up to see Matt, saving for Florida Supercon next weekend, and various living expenses, I’ve been Spider-Man broke. That being said, we’ve only got two comics to look at today. Yes, that’s right, the thrilling two-part conclusion to Batman Incorporated has been pushed forward again! Apparently, they’re planning on double shipping the issue in July. Woo.

Speedsters abound! Aside from appearing in Flash, Kid Flash also shows up in that toilet paper periodical, Teen Titans, and Flash himself finishes up his guest spot in Justice League Dark. Man, if Trinity War weren’t on the horizon, I think I’d have to start reading that book again. Jeff Lemire is truly a phenomenal writer. Anyway, this issue marked the first meeting between the only speedster the DCU has left. Now, I’m clinging tight to this theory that Scott Lobdell occasionally has conversations with competent writers, as he most likely talked to Brian Azzarello before making his creation, Lennox, Cassie’s reboot father. That being said, Francis Manapul, why. You wrote Lobdell’s Kid Flash perfectly, as though Bart’s dialogue was coming from the man himself. I’m tempted to believe that that’s exactly what happened. Lobdell’s Kid Flash is a travesty. It’s not Bart. That…thing is not Bart Allen. He’s got the personality of an irate wombat and, I’m sorry, but I thought Bart didn’t remember anything prior to waking up in a group home. Uccch. At least the art was stunning, as always. The two-page spread of them running across various landscapes was amazing, and their ‘fight’ in the Louvre was very Bart in the actions. I had such high hopes for Bart here; actual prayer may have been done to try and ensure that he wasn’t awful. Good thing I’m not religious.

It’s a bad day to have superspeed. I mean, it’s always a bad day to be a character in a Kieron Gillen comic, but I digress. So, has anyone wondered where Tommy’s been all this time? Working a boring factory job and partying, apparently. As for David Alleyne? Yeah, same. Tommy works at Hero Staffing (note to self: that’s an excellent name for a male strip club with a superhero theme) in the assembly area, while David does tech support. They’re friends. Sort of. (“We had noodles once and coffee once.” “See? Friends!”) And when someone robs their workplace in the middle of the night while dressed as Patriot, well…Image

 

 

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The hills are alive with the sound of speedster fans everywhere realizing that to love a super-fast person is to be in constant pain and misery. I’ll admit it, at this point, I’m more than a little please-sir-may-I-have-another when it comes to Gillen’s particular flavor of pain but hey, we all have our kinks. Ans what happened to David, you ask? Nothing. He refuses to put on not-Eli’s glove, so not-Eli vanishes. Trippy, if slightly unsatisfying.

I’m sorry that there wasn’t more to be said, but for the most part, the comics I picked up this week weren’t noteworthy. They were good, but nothing spun my hat. 

Hey, South Floridians! Florida Supercon is next weekend, read up on it here!

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It takes a New God to hold off an Old One. Wait, no, wrong mythos.

Welcome, dear friends, to the first actual goddamn post I’ve done all month. I’m sorry, I really am. I’ve been so lazy, and it’s mainly because I’ve been generally disappointed with the cape comics scene. I’ve spent a lot of time and a bit more money than I really should have catching up on comics like Chew and Sweet Tooth, re-immersing myself in the closed-off worlds of done in one graphic novels, and just reading books again. DC has made me so frustrated with their lack of good superhero stories, that I’ve gone and sought outside sources. Heaven help me, I’m even reading a couple of X-titles again.
But today is a good day.
I’m always pleased to have my ladies week, and another favorite book is even on the roster, today!

It seems like DC doesn’t know what to do with Animal Man these days. It’s almost like…they don’t want the book to succeed. Between moving the release date of the issue from the first week of the month to the third and the fact that they’re in the habit of not soliciting the title on their website until the week of release. Seriously. It’s quite frustrating. Then there’s the stuff that’s actually happening within the title itself. Cliff dying, Ellen taking Maxine and leaving, the Red ejecting Buddy while allowing him to keep his powers, Maxine stepping into the role of Animal Girl…it’s been a busy few months since the end of Rotworld. And it’s not looking to slow down anytime soon! This issue has Buddy suiting up again to look for the abducted pets of local residents, with disturbing results. Meanwhile, Maxine agrees to begin her training within the Red, so long as she’s allowed to look for her brother’s essence as she works. But the most interesting thing, to me at least, is the random insertions of the points of view of regular citizens via DC’s version of Twitter. Hardcore Animal Man fans, media gossips, haters, and normal folks posting their #animalman sightings, all chiming in on the current events in our hero’s life. Not since the early days of Booster Gold and the New Teen Titans have we seen the media be so omnipresent in the life of a superhero. Could random paparazzi attacks be more hazardous than fighting actual supervillains? Only time will tell.

It’s a little disheartening to see just how easily tricked Kara is. I mean, I understand why she’s so easy to fool, but it’s still upsetting. She’s a girl alone, adrift in a universe full of strangers, her only relation a baby cousin that’s outgrown her and treats her like a child. She’s fresh-off-the-boat in the most cosmic sense, and until recently, she wasn’t even able to speak the common tongue of her newly chosen homeland. So yeah, anyone who offers to give her back even the tiniest piece of Krypton is going to be accepted with open arms. Wide open, incredibly naive arms. This time around, it’s a robotic planet called I’noxia. When given the right amount of information, this planet and its inhabitants can become any planet and people they choose. And to a girl dying of Kryptonite poisoning, the idea of spending her final days among her people must seem pretty sweet…even if the planet itself is controlled by a robotic version of her cousin. A Cyborg Superman, if you will. Also in this issue is the always-interesting Siobhan, whose main nemesis these days seems to be a rogue toilet clogged by a rude neighbor. You give him hell, honey. As always, Supergirl makes for an enjoyable read, and now is as good a time as any to jump on, what with this being the first issue of a new story.

You know you’ve got a good comic when it can make you laugh out loud one moment, piss you right the hell off the next, and end on a note that about makes you pee with excitement. Oh, hello Wonder Woman. Were your ears burning? So, right then. We’ve got a godly dog pile on our hands, and the bottom pup is named Firstborn. Woof. Diana, Lennox, and even Orion can’t put a dent in this guy. Then again, he’s a god. He’s the firstborn child of Zeus and Hera, the rightful heir to the throne of heaven. And he wants to destroy the world. Worse, he has the power to actually do it…so long as he’s got his bouncing baby prophecy-fulfilling brother on his side. Gonna be honest, I’m glad the months and months of barely-there plot concerning this guy finally came to a head and kicked off an actual storyline. And now to the bad news. A moment of silence, friends, for my favorite New 52 character, Lennox. It’s highly unlikely that he’s dead, but on the off chance that tumbling through a Boom Tube to kick the Firstborn right in his grizzled and scarred (yet somehow still conventionally attractive) mug didn’t off him, well, I don’t foresee him spending much longer among the living. Not if Cassandra, yet another sibling with a revengerection pointed directly at him, has anything to say about it. Oh! Actually! Speaking of! Blonde woman, with the metal throat? That’s Cassandra. He actually raised her from the time she was young, after she accidentally killed her mother. He was the one that ripped her throat out, after it became apparent that she wasn’t the type of person who should have the power to command obedience from anyone who hears her voice. So, he raised her, and then he abandoned her, this blonde woman named Cassandra. HM, I DO WONDER. Oh right, and then the Wonder crew ends up on New Genesis. I’ll give you three guesses on who I hope to see next issue, and the first two don’t count.

(it’s Big Barda and Mister Miracle, that’s who I want to see)

You know, it usually annoys me when a title sets up a big cliffhanger on which they plan to begin a new storyline…and then takes a break for an issue to focus on something else entirely. But not today, and not with Batwoman. Why? Because how often do we really get stories focusing on Killer Croc where he doesn’t come out of it looking like a punch line? This issue…I’m reminded of the Killer Croc issue from the second Joker’s Asylum mini. In both, his motivation for action is the love of a woman. In both, he comes off as human, rather than the monster he’s usually shown to be. Underneath the skin condition, Waylon Jones is still a human being, though since his brush with Medusa, he’s so much more. With Abbot dead, Waylon is chosen to be the next leader of the Church of Crime’s animal men, so long as he avenges their fallen by killing Batwoman. He doesn’t succeed, of course, but still manages to get away and assert his dominance as their new leader, anyway. His first act? Get the hell out of dodge and settle down someplace that will be safe for all of the remaining animal men. Good job, Waylon. That’s sure using your noodle.

And that’s this week in comics! Also out this week is Vibe, which I managed to miss yet again because I’m too fucking nice and gave the last copy, that I was literally holding in my hand, to an older gentleman who only gets out to the shops every few months. Sigh. Also of note, the latest issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians is out, and with it comes an Indigo ring, for those planning on collecting the new ring line. It’s fairly late now, and the rain is making me sleepy. I’ll see y’all back here next week for Flash, Young Avengers, and Batman Inc!

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Gone to Jersey!

Yesterday was my mother’s 60th birthday. In about 12 hours, I’m leaving for a five-day trip to New Jersey to see my boyfriend. Between the party and frantically packing, I’ve only had the time to look at my comics now.

And sadly, I really don’t have the energy to review them.

Good buys this week:

American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell

Wolverine and the X-Men

Li’l Gotham

A reminder that the first of the new plastic color corps rings are available in participating comic shops now; the Green ring came with Green Lantern #21, and the Blue ring with Green Lantern Corps #21. 

A real review may or may not come on the plane tomorrow, but for now, I am simply exhausted. Goodnight, and good luck, fight fans.

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Death and the Comic Fan (SPOILER ALERT)

In a sudden twist of events, I’ve decided that I’m not really into The Movement. I just can’t get over how it sounds like using the bathroom. Also, it’s…really not very good. I hurt myself saying that just now, folks. I really did.

So instead, let’s talk about death and the comic book industry.

Gail Simone herself coined the concept of ‘fridging’, in relation to female characters: Killing off a female character in order to bring strife into a male character’s life. It’s a time honored tradition in virtually any form of entertainment, from comics to movies to, hell, even music. Remember that song Last Kiss? But I’m not here to add my comments to a topic that’s been, pardon the expression, discussed to death. I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss death in comics in the modern age.

In general terms when relating specifically to DC, the Golden Age of comics began with the first issue of Action Comics and ended sometime in the 1950s. The Silver Age officially started with Showcase #4, which introduced the first ever rebooted superhero, Barry Allen’s Flash, and ended with the death of that character in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Bronze Age started in 1986, at the end of CoIE’s run, and ended in 2005, with Infinite Crisis. The Modern Age started in 2004, with Identity Crisis. Confused? Welcome to the world of the Modern Age.

Shock value. These are the two defining words of the Modern Age of comics. In 2004, a little series called Identity Crisis began to make waves at DC. It started by killing off beloved wife Sue Dibny, and by the seventh issue, had been the cause of death of another two characters; Jack Drake, the father of the then-current Robin, and Digger Harkness, the first Captain Boomerang. Digger’s recently-discovered son, Owen, also premiered in this series.

Our next big death would come three months later, in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. After spending 79 pages having the rest of the world fall in love with Ted Kord all over again, the final page has his former friend and boss Max Lord graphically shooting him in the head. And then there was Infinite Crisis, also known as Everyone Dies 2: Electric Boogaloo. Where am I going with this?

Death in comic books is comparable to a rotating door. People go in, people come out, and some are stuck waiting at the turnstile. After Superman’s death and return in the early 90s, all bets were off. If you died in a comic, the likelihood of resurrection depended on how popular you were. Deaths like those of Hal Jordan (1996), Wonder Woman (1997), and even Bruce Wayne (2009) were overturned in times ranging from almost a decade to a matter of months. Then there’s the Marvel side of things, where a person can come back from the dead multiple times. Death in comic books simply does not matter.

Which is why it’s used as a plot device so often.

Recently, DC killed off Damian Wayne in a gruesome fashion. Even more recently, they did the same to Catwoman. Of course, Damian’s was meant to be a permanent death (even though the kid is related to the one man who has returned from the grave more than Jean Grey), whereas it is being speculated that Selina’s death was a fake-out. But, DC wouldn’t do that…would they?

The year is 2010. The series is Justice League: Generation Lost. The character is Blue Beetle. No, the third one. He gets shot in the head by (who else) Maxwell Lord. He’s okay, though! The suit took the brunt of the damage! Didn’t stop DC from making fakeout covers, fake reactions, and constant parallels to how his previous incarnation died.

Death is meaningless. That’s the point I’m trying to convey. There have been entire events based around death, from the Death of Captain America to Blackest Night. Entire series’, such as Suicide Squad and, more recently, Avengers Arena.

So, why am I making a post about death now?

Because.

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