Friday, May 28, 2010

I couldn't find a fat Nightcrawler scan...

...but this one will do.

Longtime readers here may have noticed I've been dogging it a bit here lately. At least, I feel like I have. It's due in part to being slightly fed up with comics: Nightcrawler dead, the only two books I read from DC (Warlord and Unknown Soldier) are both being cancelled, $3.99 is the new price point, and more. I might not talk about current comics events like DC Comics killing their CMX imprint or spiralling comic sales, but rest assured I worry about them as well. Overall, I like comics, and I'd like them to be around for the foreseeable future, which doesn't necessarily seem like a given.

That's great, but what does that have to do with fat Deadpool, you ask? Well, a couple months ago at my work a few employees got together to have a "Biggest Loser" style competition. Everyone throws in ten bucks, and whoever loses the highest percentage of weight by the last weigh-in wins the pot. I got talked into entering (initially, I wasn't sure if it would be fair, since I'm a guy, and don't guys lose weight differently? I don't know) and then I was in it to win it. So far, as of right this second, I've lost 22 pounds. Yeah, I won't put a ton of effort into losing weight for my health or any nancy reason like that, but I will for cash and prizes. That probably says something about me...

Anyway, aside from laying off the carbs and not eating after 7 PM each night, the loss is probably due to walking. I run a little, but not as much as I used to, since my knees are a little dicey: they're holding up, but I'm babying them. I walk Sam so much, I'm worried I'm going to wear that dog down to a nub. Ah, I say that but could doubtless walk him three times as far before he would complain. I've walked so far, I wore holes in my newest pair of shoes. Honest-to-goodness, hobo-style holes; I don't think I've ever worn shoes down to that point. (Usually, the tops tear or the toes.) I think the walking also helps because if I'm walking, I'm not dumping food down my face.

So, I'm probably in front of my computer a little less, or reading comics a little less than usual. The upside is, I enjoy walking, and a lot of ideas for homemade strips come when I'm wandering around. Rest assured, I'm not going anywhere, except for a little stroll here and there. Oh, and I'll be out 'til Tuesday, so have a good, long weekend!

Scan from Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #9, written by Victor Gischler, art by Bong Dazo, inks by Victor Pimentel.
Read more!

New series!? up at Articulated Discussion!

That's right! Over at Articulated Discussion, where you can get a heaping bowlful of toy reviews, Bootleg Tuesdays, and a ton of toy strips from myself and others; I'll be doing Bastards of the Universe strips for a while!

I should explain that I personally don't have the unbridled love for the Masters of the Universe that others do: I wasn't getting toys in most of the 80's, after getting most (if not all) of Kenner's Empire Strikes Back figures. I never watched the original cartoon, either; although I did get a fair amount of the 200X figures and watched that a few times. Even taking that into account, I still don't understand how people who are MOTU fans can put up with Mattel's handling of the new Masters of the Universe Classics line: the figures are spendy even without postage, by all accounts the website has a host of problems, and so far Mattel has been making just enough figures to sell out almost immediately.

In fairness, the sculpting team of the Four Horsemen have been delivering quality figures, occasionally marred by warping in package or less-than-perfect paint. And how many fans would even have a chance to get a Tytus figure outside of the Classics line? Still, it struck me as at least potentially extremely aggravating; and I remembered knock-off, 'me-too' lines like Warlord that were specifically intended to cash in on MOTU...

Anyway: check out today's strip at AD, and let us know what you think!
Read more!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TAO nailed the intro on that one...

New One-Shots up at Articulated Discussion! It's short, horrible, and funny; so check it out!
Read more!

I've barely cracked this one...

I missed getting this one a couple months back, marked down to a couple bucks, but got a second chance to get a nice hardback Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four. I like the FF, even if I sometimes go for long stretches without reading their book; and I was thinking about that.

I've seen the previews for the current run from Jonathon Hickman, and while it looks interesting, Hickman (like some other FF writers before him) seems to be getting bogged down in how to justify Mister Fantastic. If Reed is such a genius that he can invent unstable molecules, rocket cycles, time sleds, and more; how come Reed can't cure cancer or solve the energy crisis or even cure Ben? (Because if Mr. Fantastic does, the Marvel Universe isn't like our world anymore...ok, even less so.)

Well, Ben's a special case, especially since he wants to be the Thing whether he admits or really knows it; but as far as the rest goes...I figured Reed devoted a lot of his time, effort, and mind to defending earth. John Byrne added a little retcon to Reed's backstory: before he went into space with his untested rocket and the rest of the FF, Reed faced down an alien invader called Gormuu. And ever since, Reed's run into menaces both alien and otherwise all over the map. Even the places he's discovered like the Negative Zone have been chock full of monsters.

That, and there may be more than a hint of obsessive-compulsive disorder to Reed's brilliance. If Reed has a flash of inspiration for a time machine, by god, he's building a time machine, even if he knows he should be working on curing Ben. He might be able to force it, if pressed into a life-and-death situation; but otherwise Reed's genius goes where it will.

Hmm, I might have to check out the trades for Hickman's run now, since I want to see where he goes with Reed now...
Read more!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I don't know what's more dated here, the Rocky references, or the boxing references...

I got a replacement copy of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7 over the weekend; and while it's not a great issue overall, it has it's moments, mostly the Thing's, since it's his book. Briefly: the Elder of the Universe known as the Champion roams the universe looking for a fighter that can give him even a moment's challenge, and sets his sights on earth's strongest heroes...for a boxing match. It was big then.

(The only time I watched boxing regularly, was in Mike Tyson's heyday; when he had a string of easy victories over opponents who had no business getting in the ring with him, and before he got lazy...then crazy.)

The Champion's promoter gathers up the Thing, Thor, Colossus, Sasquatch, Namor, Doc Samson, and Wonder Man; and gives them a brutal twenty minutes of training; before the title bout in Madison Square Garden.

Doc Samson is the first contender eliminated, sucker-punched by an automated training-bot. And because he sucks. Namor follows shortly thereafter, since even with the entire world threatened by annihilation, he won't play. Dick...

Thor is written just terribly in this one, which is weird, since Tom DeFalco would go on to write Thor for some years after Walt Simonson...and I didn't like a lot of DeFalco's run. Huh. Anyway, here he treats Thor like he's got his hammer glued to his hand and won't let it go, even for a fair fight. Seriously, the way he's written here, you'd think Thor would eat a bowl of ice cream with Mjolnir.

Hercules would've been a better choice, but the downside is; to establish the Champion as a big bad, he would've had to pummel down Herc or Thor or both. Fans of the characters wouldn't approve, and more importantly, it would've taught them both humility far too early. (And really, no one wants to read about humble Hercules...not completely humble, anyway.)

The Hulk had Bruce Banner's intellect at the time...mostly. Getting his rage on, he shreds his gloves and prepares to tear the Champion apart...before getting teleported away, since the Champion won't deign to sully his fists on a mindless brute. A mindless brute that would've torn his head off...

Wonder Man, having incredible strength and virtually no skill, doesn't give a great showing; Sasquatch little better. Colossus gives a good effort and is mercilessly beaten, but he gives a better showing than his teammates: Cyclops and Wolverine sneak up to the force-field surrounding the boxing ring to try and break their friends out, and fail miserably. Which is just as well, since it was a stupid idea anyway: even if they got everyone out, the Champion's underling alone was able to gather them up from around the world easily via teleportation. If you're going with this plan, why not use your teleporter Nightcrawler to get the captives out? Oh, yeah, tactical genius, right...

In the end, the main event, the Thing, fights the Champion, and receives a savage ass-kicking. But he never quits, earning the Champion's respect and saving earth.

The Champion wouldn't be seen again for several years, until the Elders of the Universe made a big push in Steve Englehart's Silver Surfer. She-Hulk handed him a beating some time back, and just recently, he made an appearence in Deadpool Corps. But he's never had another good bout: I'd almost like to see him go the MMA route, perhaps versus Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, and others. If any of those guys could do enough damage to take him down...

Scans from "And they shall call him...Champion!" Written by Tom DeFalco, pencils by Ron Wilson, inks by Camp, Esposito, Green, Gil, and Stone. Maybe not a great one, but a classic one.
Read more!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From the Spokane Comicon:

The Spokane Comicon was this last weekend, and I had a lot of fun shooting through all the cash I had for it! And through sheer happenstance, artists for two comics I'm reading right now were there! Dustin Weaver of Marvel's new S.H.I.E.L.D. series was there, and was excited for that book--I'm looking forward to seeing where that one goes. Weird thing: I dinged up my copy of issue one, but it came with extra pages in it! At first, you're like neat, bonus pages, and then you're trying to read it and figure out if you're read the same pages four times...

And Chad Hardin of DC's Warlord was also great: he seemed disappointed that the book is ending, but I believe he'll be drawing Zatanna later. Good for him, and for you!

I picked up a Nightcrawler Toon Tumbler glass--didn't even wait to see the price on that one, just grabbed it right up. And a good pile of cheap books, some replacements for ones I've lost over the years, some new to me. And a good chunk of those will end up blogged about here, possibly as soon as tomorrow! Thanks again to Chad and Dustin, and be sure to check out both of their books!

Read more!

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Year four."

It's four years, so say it with me: click to enlarge!

You know, Nightcrawler has more dialog on the above page, than he did in all of X-Force #26 when he died. Didn't plan that...but it wasn't hard, either.

Well, that's kind of a gloomy start for our fourth year, but don't read too much into that. With Nightcrawler dead in the Marvel Universe proper (or as dead as any comic character that'll probably be back eventually) I didn't just lose my favorite character, I lost my lead! So, we're going to play with that. Is Kurt in heaven? Will Wilson and Wilson, or Falcon and Deadpool, continue to put up with each other? Do I have any idea what I'm doing? All fair questions, that might not be answered for a bit, since next Wednesday's strip is about something else.

Funny, the first post here? Written during the season finale of Lost, and I'm actually watching the end now.

Four years in, and I'm still having fun here. Hope you are too. Thanks again.

And if you don't get Nightcrawler's first caption...check after the break!

Read more!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm expecting an angry letter from Mattel anytime now...

New One-Shots at Articulated Discussion! Check it out, and say something if you want more like that one!

Read more!

Tomorrow, we celebrate four years of insanity... the sense of doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. It'll be the fourth anniversary of Random Happenstance, so we'll have Wednesday's strip then. It's also been two years and change since I started doing homemade toy strips with Nightcrawler, Deadpool, and later Falcon. (And a ton of other figures.) They aren't on every week, but more often than not. Finally, here's a listing of all their 'continuity' strips.

Deadpool and I, part 1.

Deadpool and I, part 2.

What About Bob?



It's the Great Disaster, Charlie Brown.

Two Years and Running.


This Means Nothing.

Hey, Nyquil Driver.


This will not end well.

Checkup from the Neck-up.

Prognosis: Negative.

This will also not end well.

(Almost) Deleted scene.

...schedule out six hours. jerk.

Side effects.

Opposite of a Moped.

While I was out.

Date Night, part 1.

Date Night part 2.

Timing, complete.

Taskpool, part 1.

Taskpool, part 2.

Taskpool, part 3.

Taskpool, part 4.

Taskpool, part 5.

Out today. You know why.

America's Pasttime.

Still haven't seen that movie...(Out of order!)

Noir: it's not for everybody. (Deadpool fans, this is like the last regular strip with Pool for a while...)

Deadpool and I?


I don't want to see those covers.

Everyone needs a hobby...

Bound to happen.

At least he can hold the bat.

Make 'em say Nth.

...the business end of the comfy chair.


Not everyone has their OHOTMU handy, Kurt.

They weren't really 'secret' wars...

Now it's over...

Wreckered, part 1.

Wreckered, part 2.

Wreckered, part 3.

Wreckwing, part 1.

Wreckwing, part 2.

Wreckwing, part 3.

How Deadpool saved Christmas. (This one's out of order, but Deadpool's in it.)

Synonym for Arrival.

Processing and reunion. (And Deadpool returns this episode!

Escape is, well, possible, but...


Time served.


Three franks a job.

Deadman? Dead end? Dead zone?




If he be worthy, or Poolhammer. (Out of order!)

Road to prison.

Belle Reve.


Nightcrawler's gonna miss the next SW barbecue.

Is Nightcrawler toast?

I've been trying to find a good, reader program to use for these. I might be able to use Issuu, but haven't got it worked out yet. New strip tomorrow!
Read more!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Busy today, so all you get is an interlude!

Since I brought Solo up a while back, when I saw his first appearance in the quarter boxes for a buck, I figured I'd best give it a shot. Unfortunately, I think it was also the first appearance of Z-lister Humbug, who gets most of the pages. And while Solo had his slogan "While I live, Terror dies!" I don't think they had settled on his color scheme yet; he appears red here and as a purple figure on the cover of Web of Spider-Man #19, "Humbug!" Written by David Michelinie, pencils by Marc Silvestri, inks by Bob McLeod.

Working on homemade strips from now, through the weekend, although I will be at the Spokane Comicon! Barring disaster. Although, I'd best mapquest that now...
Read more!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ah, son of a biscuit--!

Why do I have a bad feeling someone's going to try this with a paperclip today? Out today, so enjoy the deaths of Bullseye and Deadpool: Deadpool manages to block and reflect Bullseye's poison paper-clip back at him, but Bullseye somehow is still able to shoot Pool in the head. (Somehow, since Bullseye used both hands and a huuuuge rubber band to shoot said paper clip!) The end!

...oh, all right: Bullseye had an antidote to his poison, and the bullet only grazed Pool--as opposed to later issues, where he fairly routinely gets his brains blown out, decapitated, etc. Their fight turns into a demolition derby with ambulances, for another five pages, give or take a flashback and a Fast Lane insert.

(Don't remember Fast Lane? Congratulations! God, I should've dragged that one out for April 20th this year, since it's such a hamfisted antidrug piece you'd swear it was written in the 80's. Poor Gregg Schigiel does a good job on the art, but I swear, if you ever meet a stoner that's still worried about his bowl when he's about to fall like seven or eight stories...ask him what's he's got, 'cause he's got to have the good stuff.)

Anyway, Marvel doesn't seem to do this anymore, since it would be spoiled either in the solicits or the previews, or they would feel they had to hype it up; but the next time Bullseye shows up either in Deadpool or another book, it should be completely random, out of left field. Maybe even smack in the middle of another storyline: Deadpool's on issue three of five fighting the Hand or Alpha Flight or the League of Women Voters or something, when Bullseye smashes in, throwing expensive cutlery and sharpened bathroom tiles. Mayhem occurs, until Deadpool wraps it up and gets back to what he was doing...and you know, that might be a little too much like the Peter vs. Chicken fights on Family Guy. Hmm.

From Deadpool #36, "Chapter X Verse Three" Written by Christopher Priest, art by Paco Diaz and Andy Smith.
Read more!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Two Caps are better than one...unless you get USAgent...or that jerky 50's one..."

Click to enlarge!
I wouldn't have a problem with Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes both wearing Captain America uniforms, throwing shields, and kicking ass. It does look like Steve's going to be going the Nick Fury route, though; and while I'm not 100% on his new not-Cap uniform, I could be convinced to see where that goes.

Maybe. Yesterday, I skimmed through Marvel's August solicitations at Comic Book Resources...and wasn't thrilled. Daniel Way's Deadpool is on the ropes with me, although I'll probably definitely get Deadpool #1000: the numbering is a lame joke, but there's a solid lineup of creators on board.

If anyone other than Bendis was writing Avengers Prime, the Alan Davis art would be too tempting to pass up; but I've read enough of Bendis's Marvel stuff to know I've read enough. The Ultimate books, the "Heroic Age" Avengers, the X-books, the big Daredevil "Shadowland" crossover: I won't be buying any of those.

I'll probably buy the new issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Bob Layton's Hercules: Twilight of a God most definitely. Mmmmmaybe The Thanos Imperative. I think I'd like it, but it has the feel of a book that I'd say "Oh, I'll wait for the trade," then not think of again for three years.

Wolverine: Weapon X #16 is "the reading of Nightcrawler's will," and oh good god, I'm positive it's gonna suck. If Kurt asks Logan to forgive his killer or himself or something, Kurt's really missed the point of Wolverine.

And...that's it. I'm kind of thinking about Marvel's digital subscription, maybe in January or something when it's so cold I don't wanna go outside anyway; to read some books like Thor or PunisherMax (still a dumb name!) or Fantastic Four or even Captain America; books I'm kinda interested in but not $2.99 worth interested in. Let alone $3.99 worth...

Read more!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The next time you hear "Web of lies," you'll think Peter Parker:

Over the weekend, I also picked up a new copy of Web of Spider-Man Annual #2, which is probably best remembered for the lead story with Art Adams art and guest-starring the New Mutants' Warlock. But I like the second story better: "You're Lying, Peter Parker!" Written by Ann Nocenti, pencils by Mike Mignola, inks by Geof Isherwood.

The story ties in really well with then-current Spidey continuity: the Hobgoblin was the preeminent Spider-Man villain of the time, so we open with Hobby smashing into Peter Parker's room. At the time, Peter believed Flash Thompson was the Hobgoblin, and Hobby gloats that now he can torture Spidey while Flash tortures Peter. Pete tries to deny being Spidey, claiming his costume is a joke pair of pajamas, then gets him to wait while he covers with Aunt May: "Don't you have a mother or somebody you have to hide your identity from?"

Downstairs, the completely oblivious Aunt May doesn't notice the explosion upstairs, or that Peter's shadow is really the alien black costume; as Pete stumbles through increasingly lame explanations. Next, the Kingpin arrives at the door, armed with the knowledge of Peter's double life, he plans to force him into becoming one of his boys. When Aunt May asks who Peter's guest is, he claims the Kingpin is one of his professors (even though I don't think Pete had been going to school for some time then) and the Kingpin immediately starts hitting on May. There's a mental image for you.
Next, Peter spies the Black Fox outside: he was an aged jewel-thief, who convinced Spidey to let him go since he was far too old to survive prison; but it did raise an uncomfortable similarity to the burglar that killed Uncle Ben. Running with a bloody knife, the Fox calls Spidey "a liberal sucker" who let him go because he's just as guilty.

While the Kingpin and Aunt May are enjoying a pleasant tea, and the costume's still trying to envelop Peter; J. Jonah Jameson shows up. May and JJJ compare notes, not unlike with children trying to claim they're at each other's parents' house, and Pete is so busted. By the time the Black Cat smashes through a window, Pete is still trying to deny everything...and wakes up to the phone.

An angry Mary Jane asks Pete why he missed their date, and then says the lies will never stop with him. (Nocenti doesn't seem too convinced that Pete and MJ are the greatest love in the history of ever.) She might have a point, since Pete calls up Aunt May, Flash Thompson's house, and JJJ, to re-lie to all of them. Feeling better, he suits up in his non-living black costume, wondering why he couldn't remember his dream, but at least that's one less thing to worry about.

I don't know if Mignola did any other Spider-Man work, but I know Nocenti did some other stories for Spectacular Spider-Man. This one's still a favorite though, since she nails that no matter the reasons...Pete lies a helluva lot, to the point that it's almost second-nature to him.

Read more!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Busy weekend, so you get Captain America vs. Count Plaqula:

Nostalgic for Hostess Ads? This'll put the end to that.
Admittedly, my current toothpaste doesn't make me feel like a superstar...

I think that might even be Kieron Dwyer art, from the back cover of Transformers #58. Anyway, I was busy all weekend, and it was really nice out, so I'm behind here. I did get to the Comic Book Shop and got some of the new books like Warlord and the new Hellboy and B.P.R.D., but also got a good stack of old Marvel Transformers issues.

You can see Ironhide and Ratchet based off the toys, not the animation model...
I read Transformers as it came out, back in 1984, for the first year or so: the art was never great, there were a lot of inconsistencies from the cartoon's continuity, and not unlike G.I. Joe, it seemed to introduce a couple dozen new characters/toys every issue. G.I. Joe was usually a better read since Larry Hama had a bit more of a storytelling vision, and more of a framework to build on. (Hama could build off of real-world technology and events, even if just as a starting point.) I still like those issues, even when they have to backtrack to cover stuff they messed up the first time.

I also got a Transformers Digest, and I still miss the hell out of these cheaply printed little things.

Scans from Transformers #2, "Power Play!" Plot by Bill Mantlo, script by Jim Salicrup, pencils by Frank Springer, inks by Kim DeMulder. And the Transformers Digest #9 cover from Transformers #17, possibly from Don Perlin.

Read more!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Damnit, I told you all to go to the bathroom before we left!

A quick panel from Secret Wars #11, "...and Dust to Dust!" Written by Jim Shooter, pencils by Mike Zeck, inks by John Beatty. You can barely see Thor in this panel, but this issue came with the Marvel Universe Secret Wars Thor and Enchantress two-pack. Still think they could've gone with Thor #383 there and squeezed in another two-pack...

I got the Ultron/Mr. Fantastic set earlier this week, but it's been a rough one; so I haven't had a lot of time to play with them yet. I'm beat, so we'll be back next week!

Oh, and the Spokane Comic-Con is next weekend! It's the fourth annual, and I'm hoping to finally get to go: I keep planning to, and then something always comes up, like family in town or what have you. I did plan on skipping the year they had Margot Kidder as a guest, though; and I heard she was a bit of a cranky-pants...
Read more!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

With a name like 'Demogorge,' it's got to be...a big, lumpy monster, apparently.

Sometimes, you can come across a character in a comic book, that you may never need to see again in a comic, but goddamn, you need an action figure of them right now. Marvel's Onslaught, for example. (I just did a quick search and while I've mentioned Onslaught more than once, I've never posted a scan of him!) Or the Spider-Hulk. Or maybe Demogorge, from Thor Annual #10, "A Time to Die!" Written by Alan Zelenetz, pencils by Bob Hall, inks by Bryant, Rubinstein, Mushynsky, Gordon, and Dzuban; with a co-plotter credit to Mark Gruenwald.

While the story opens with a bunch of backstory about Marvel's theology, and the funeral of Balder's beloved Nanna, things don't get moving until Odin notices Norse death goddess Hela didn't bother to show up. Hela's got her own problems, though; having been called to a summit meeting of death gods. Which sounds way more awesome than it turns out...
Worst game of ring-around-the-rosie ever.
The death gods are having a bit of a downturn in damned souls, since apparently they can't claim a soul that doesn't believe in them. And when you're Ahpuch of the Mayans, and are a little lacking in name recognition, that's a problem. The death gods plan on banding together for the first time, to drum up new followers and reap new souls. Having recently gotten trounced while trying to expand her own turf, Hela isn't down with the idea, but reluctantly accepts. And as she expected, the plan goes sour: instead of uniting their realms, they accidentally unleash Demogorge, the God-Eater.
How Demogorge isn't a metal band, I have no idea...maybe it is.
Unsurprisingly, Demogorge eats most of the death gods in attendance--Mephisto, in particular, goes out crying like a little girl--and gets grosser with each one, the eatens' faces appearing on Demogorge's body. He also does at least most of the eating with gross orifices in his hands, not unlike the Wraith of Stargate: Atlantis, but predating it by decades. Odin had sent his raven Hugin to see why Hela was a no-show; and gets the heads-up. Odin then alerts the other pantheons, and they agree to each send their mightiest to stop Demogorge.
Man, a box set of these figures would be awesome...whaddya mean, 'sacrilegious'?
Yeah, I had this issue as a kid, and I remember being peeved that the Olympians sent Apollo instead of Hercules. (Ares was still a straight-up villain at that point...) I loved Herc's limited series from Bob Layton, and he also got shafted out of the big Champion boxing match in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7. Man, I still need a new copy of that one.

Anyway, long story short, the pantheons' champions all get eaten save Thor, who lets himself get eaten in order to kick Demogorge's ass from the inside. For anyone else, that'd be a colossal fail, but he's Thor.

Demogorge's scale seems to vary wildly in this one, partially because he seems to grow with each god he eats; but for the Marvel Universe scale figures, a good-sized version would still be smaller than the larger Marvel Legends. (Yeah, that made sense...I was thinking comparable to the ML Abomination or Hulkbuster Iron Man, although his wings would make him seem even bigger.) Sculpt him with at least three or four faces sticking out of him, and make him out of a softer plastic, so he feels lumpy and gross...ah, that'd be sweet.

I know Demogorge has made other appearances, including in Incredible Hercules, but I don't care. He'd be a neat looking monster, and that's enough.
Read more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is a spoiler for X-Force #26:

...and Incredible Hercules #141, and Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1, and Secret Invasion #8 and...

I'm going to save my snark and commentary for after the break, OK? Feel free to skip it!

My favorite comic book character, bar none, Nightcrawler, died in X-Force #26. I guess the typical, fannish thing to do right about now is huff and puff into a fit, and go on about how everyone at Marvel sucks and I'm quitting the X-Men books forever, if not all of Marvel's books, or to that effect. Yeah, we're not going to be doing that. Sure, I'm disappointed, but it's not like I was paying money for them. (The last issue of Uncanny I bought was maybe #499? Maybe?) And based on past trends, Kurt oughta be back inside of three years, if not much sooner.

I do rather miss the days when the Ultimate Universe wasn't terrible, and even if a character was dead in the 616 continuity, they could still get some play there. Kurt is still in the X-Men Forever continuity, but he lost his powers, coloring, and tail to Rogue...oh, and it's pretty awful. Currently, the only Nightcrawler stories might be the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon, where he's actually managed to get some spotlight episodes. (Oh, and here...eventually.)

Why is Nightcrawler my favorite? The first comic I read with him (maybe) he friggin' impaled Dracula. I started getting X-Men comics here and there, and was firmly hooked by the time he got his limited series with his creator, Dave Cockrum.

I didn't--and still don't--care for the Christian aspects added to Nightcrawler's character. (Newsarama had a nice history, with interview bits from Dave Cockrum indicating he didn't care for it, either.) Personally? I saw Nightcrawler, as the everyman in the X-Men. Seriously, hear me out: Kurt didn't have the horribly traumatic past of Wolverine or Storm (although he had a few rough spots, like the death of his brother or being hunted by the mob) and wasn't as homesick as Colossus (although he remembered the circus fondly, occasionally) or duty-bound as Cyclops.

Who was the X-Man that was going to stay up late watching old movies? Who was the one that went out with his girlfriend, who wasn't a mutant, on a regular basis? Who was the least brooding on the entire team? Nightcrawler wasn't the take-nothing-seriously, joker-type, but got in a good line here and there. He wasn't the alpha-male team leader, but could do it in a pinch. He wasn't the biggest, baddest, best-there-is-at-what-he-does, but he was a utility player.

But, my favorite thing about Nightcrawler is a variation of something I saw in an X-Files episode, "Quagmire." Scully compares Mulder to Ahab, and his insane quest; but Mulder seemingly denies it:

MULDER: You know, it's interesting you should say that, because I've always wanted a peg leg. It's a boyhood thing I never grew out of. I'm not being flippant, I've given this a lot of thought. I mean, if you have a peg leg or hooks for hands then maybe it's enough to simply keep on living. You know, bravely facing life with your disability. But without these things you're actually meant to make something of your life, achieve something, earn a raise, wear a necktie. So if anything, I'm actually the antithesis of Ahab, because if I did have a peg leg, I'd quite possibly be more happy and more content not to be chasing after these creatures of the unknown.

If you had blue fur, and a tail, and pointy ears and funny hands and feet; you would doubtless freak a lot of people out, even in the confines of the Marvel Universe. And while Kurt tries to be as normal and live as normally as he can, he is never going to be normal: a lot of doors are closed for him, but then again, a lot of those doors are pretty crappy ones, especially compared to the ones that were opened. Kurt might get the hassle going to the grocery store or wherever, but on the other hand, he's never going to have to get a crappy job at said store either. He can do his thing, and anyone who gives him grief is doubtless a anti-mutant racist, and racists are never the good guys, so he'd be in the right fighting them. I'm not sure if I'm making it clear, but it was an idea that appealed to me a great deal as a kid, and probably still does now, to be honest.

Anyway. Nightcrawler strips will probably return here, eventually, after a fashion. I have an idea, and want to see where it goes. If it goes...
Read more!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So less a review than usual: Marvel Universe Bucky!

This is my first Bucky figure, as Bucky anyway: I did get the Marvel Universe new Captain America a while back. But somehow I missed the pre-Legends Toy Biz one, and the Hasbro Legends version. Probably because at the time, when I thought Bucky, the next thought was "dead as."

I liked the sculpt and paint, but a head's-up: the waist joint on mine, just above the beltline, is loose. Insanely loose. Like, spin three-quarters of the way around at the slightest touch. Sy-klone only wishes he spun like this.

I picked up Bucky for a homemade strip (probably next week!) but the big selling point for me? He comes with two Thompson machine guns! Bucky probably wouldn't have had the gangster-style drum magazines during World War II, but they look cool. Even though the chances are slim, and I think it's at least somewhat illegal (or you have to jump through a bunch of hoops) I would love to own a tommygun. Probably the least geeky thing that I really want...

I was also going to go on a bit of a rant about the Marvel Universe figures, and how I don't especially want (or plan) on repurchasing a lot of the characters I have as Marvel Legends...then I got Ultron and Mr. Fantastic on sale this afternoon. Let me get back to you on that one...
Read more!

It's been eighteen years, Tony; you might wanna look into this...

In John Byrne's last storyline in Iron Man, the Black Widow enlists Tony's help in stopping the Soviet-sleeper agent Oktober from breaking into NORAD and starting World War III. Although he initially balks at taking the mission, since his nervous system is starting to collapse; Tony suits up again, and gets Natasha through the defenses to the heart of America's missile command...where she doublecrosses Tony, since she was Oktober!

Natasha launches a boatload of nukes at Mother Russia, and splits, leaving Iron Man holding the bag. Rather than waste time explaining, Tony takes off after the missiles, racing to beat them before they enter Soviet airspace and a nuclear response is triggered. Then, after he overrides the missiles' guidance systems, Tony launches the whole lot into space...
I don't care for the way IM was sometimes drawn with an almost-toothy mouth. Um...hmm. Even if it's only been 18 years since this issue, and I have no idea how he gets twenty years as a number there; I still see more than a couple problems with Tony's plan: there's how many people or organizations that could go into space and get those missiles? Dr. Doom alone could probably gather them up in an afternoon (assuming Doom doesn't already have a metric assload of nukes) and A.I.M. or HYDRA probably could as well. And I don't know how easy it is just to shoot those missiles off without them running into a satellite, or Asteroid M, or some damn thing. Well, maybe Tony could account for that on the fly.

Meanwhile, Natasha is able to bust out of NORAD and steal a plane, in about two pages. Iron Man catches up to her, but instead of bringing her down, Natasha's able to talk him into coming with her. They visit the Soviet Deputy Attache to the United Nations, who also had been a KGB agent, who set up his own personal sleeper program in the Black Widow: once communism went down, the sleeper would be activated to punish "those who betrayed the great dream." (I don't know enough about Russian history, to know if there were those during the Cold War who genuinely knew communism was a bit of a pig in a poke, or if they all pretty much toed the line until it went under.)

The Attache tries to off himself, but is stopped by Iron Man, since he wants to clear Natasha's name...and the Attache knows her training in torture could do it.

Not a bad little two-parter, and while with a few exceptions, I like Paul Ryan's art quite a bit. The Black Widow doesn't get as much to do in the second part, and seems to shake her sleeper program immediately after launching the missiles. From Iron Man #277, "War Games" Written by John Byrne, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Bob Wiacek.

Read more!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maybe they're saving this for the next movie. Yeah, maybe not.

In case you've forgotten X-Statix and their team leader Mr. Sensitive, Guy Smith was a mutant who had to wear a special suit to protect his extreme sensitivity to, well, everything. And in the X-Statix/Avengers clash to recover the fractured brain of Doop, he faced off against a likewise armored opponent, the invincible Iron Man in X-Statix #24: "The Good and the Famous, part six." Written by Peter Milligan, pencils by Mike Allred, inks by Nick Craine.

Searching for a piece of Doop's brain in France, Guy and Tony fight it out physically and verbally, with Tony bringing up Captain America's psychological profile of Guy: he accuses Guy of not wanting to be "Mr. Sensitive" or the leader of X-Statix, and that he'd rather be a "meat-and-potatoes, middle of the road tough guy, like, say, Cable!" Low blow, there.

But, the brain piece had been recovered by the Church of the Naked Truth, a sect that believed clothing was offensive to God. The cult leader (who was in the closet about wearing pants...) says he'll only give the piece to someone naked, and, well, you see where this is going:

On paper, this should be a cakewalk for Tony, since Guy's in almost agonizing pain just standing there without his armor: even the soft grass beneath his feet would feel like walking on rusty nails. But Guy's martial arts training and knowledge of pressure points lets him take advantage of Tony's health issues.

Who gets the Doop piece in the end? Well, it's a bit of a cheat in order to keep the two teams' score where it needs to be for the next issue's Thor/Doop battle. But it's also probably more of Tony Stark than you expected to see today...

Read more!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Another quick One-Shot up at Articulated Discussion! Meanwhile, I'm off to see Iron Man 2 right now!
Read more!

Friday, May 07, 2010

An Iron Man rerun, with something new!

This double-page spread wouldn't fit in my scanner!
This post was originally from July 2006, and this issue July 2002: Tony jumps over a ledge and armors up on the fly, to save a little boy's puppy. Reminds me a bit of the previews for Iron Man 2's red-and-silver Mark V!
I don't have all the issues in front of me, but I don't think Tony ever managed to go more than a couple of issues without being a complete dick to Rumiko.
So, the internet was abuzz a couple of weeks ago (in 2006...), when Spider-Man revealed his secret identity in Civil War #2. If I understand it correctly, Iron Man revealed his as well. For like the fifth time.

The above scene is from Iron Man, volume 3, #55/400. (Meaning 55 of the current series, 400 if counting from the old system. There's been another first issue since then, too.) Story and art by Mike Grell. Grell is best known for his DC work, mainly Legion of Super-Heroes and his creations the Warlord and Jon Sable, Freelance.

This was the second story in the issue: at a press conference to account for his Iron Man-related disappearance for the last two weeks, Tony Stark has another fight with his long-standing on-again, off-again girlfriend Rumiko Fujikawa. To cover with his stockholders, Tony also makes hints to an upcoming 'big announcement,' to be pulled out of his ass at a later date.

At a reception afterwards, the news crew in attendance spots a group of bank robbers about to make a speeding getaway over some kid's dog. Tony leaps over the side of a balcony, armors up on the fly (!), and smashes the getaway car to save the dog. (In the next panel, as Iron Man hands the grateful child his dog, in the background the cops can be seen handcuffing a robber that was thrown through the windshield. Now that's tough on crime!)

Ignoring the string of coincidences leading to the reveal, there's a lot weird about this. In Kurt Busiek's run, a lot is made about keeping Tony's identity secret; and in Quesada's short run, there's a dream sequence issue where it's revealed, to horrible consequences. Moreover, I think during Busiek's run, it was established that the armor was about the size of a steamer trunk, and Tony would summon it from the trunk of his car. Now, it's briefcase sized again. That last part I'm OK with, really: ever since the Ultimates, the armor has gotten bigger, bulkier, and requires a support staff roughly equivalent to an aircraft carrier's. I may have just missed or not remember the issue with the changeover, however.

And the armor up sequence would probably look great on film. (EDIT: I swear I wrote that back in 2006!)

I recently went back and read Grell's run, and I liked it a lot. I'm not sure why he left the book, as he did mid-storyline; but his issues generally had Iron Man doing...wait for it...heroic stuff. Something to be said for that.

But, my larger point here is really a question: why were people surprised to find out Tony Stark was Iron Man? Maybe I'll just have to suck it up and actually read that Civil War issue. Still, more Iron Man tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get to some of my favorites. As soon as I find them.

Read more!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

All this week: Iron Man!...reruns.

(Like I may or may not have mentioned before, unless it somehow shows up this week, I haven't seen the new Hulkbuster Iron Man. There's a short list of figures I have in Marvel Legends-scale that I'm giddy about in the smaller Universe-scale, but that will doubtless be one, if that made sense.)

In Iron Man #305, Stark International is struggling with the fallout of the reign of Obidiah Stane; who hadn't been above dabbling in weapons technology like Deathlok, or the gamma bomb. Expecting the Hulk to show up and smash up the place, Tony comes prepared:

'It needs an unobtrusive action feature.  Perhaps a voice chip?'
Hmm. Which does come first: the armor, or the action figure? It seems pretty obvious:
How many times can I type 'Hulkbuster' in this post before it loses all meaning?
I had actually planned on doing this one quite some time ago, for a "For Comparison Purposes" post; but got sidetracked when I couldn't find the vacuum-metallized helmet for the old, 90's cartoon Hulkbuster.
Come to Stark World!  Bring the kids! Then I was going to make the point that with the possible exception of some cameo appearances in the back of Tony's armory; I believe this Hulkbuster armor has only really appeared twice. And the first one was the last page of issue #304. I'm pretty sure it's had more action figures, than comic appearances.

(That's in-continuity appearances, mind you: I do believe a Hulkbuster suit like those pictured showed up in Marvel Adventures: Iron Man somewhere.) Hell, at this point, the Hulkbuster may have appeared in more cartoon episodes than comics!

It works out all right that this is late, since I got another Hulkbuster figure! Last weekend I picked up a pack of "Handful of Heroes," little eight-pack assortments of little unpainted figures, not unlike green plastic army men (kinda) or Muscle figures. (I never had those, but if you did, yeah, that's what these are like.) Since they aren't blind packed (thank god) I was able to get a Nightcrawler one, and luckily got the Hulkbuster as well. Mild disappointment: the Nightcrawler figure has relatively tiny feet, and mine won't stand by itself. But overall I'll tell you what everyone else probably is: Handful of Heroes isn't terrible, the sculpting is probably as much as you could expect for that scale/pricepoint, perhaps a hair overpriced, cherry-pick the ones you want and hope they go on clearance.

If you poke around over at, they had a cartoon that I was positive used the other Superhero Squad Hulkbuster Iron Man. I found one, "Hulkbuster," but that uses the Mark I Hulkbuster. Tony would bust out a new model--which I vaguely and probably incorrectly recall looking like a power lifter from Aliens--in World War Hulk. I think that one's appeared more times, but don't hold me to that.

Page from Iron Man #305, "Green Politics" Written by Len Kaminski, pencils by Kev Hopgood, inks by Steve Mitchell.

Read more!

"In Shining Iron," part three!

For the third part of Mike Grell's "In Shining Iron," Happy Hogan finally shows up, after a long (and liquid) lunch, just in time to recap things for anyone who missed the last two issues. Tony Stark has gone back in time to the year 1002, the mysterious (and sinister) Dr. Mallory has gone back after him, and the helmet of Iron Man was found on an archeological dig, with a skull inside it.

Mallory turned out to be the future version of the witch Aislinn, and merged with her past self. Now at full power and with foreknowledge of the future, all she needs now is Iron Man's armor (well, maybe she doesn't need it, but it would be nice) so she's sent a dragon to kill Tony and his new friend Brann.

As Tony tries to armor up (the old fashioned way, since most of his suit isn't working) and avoid being set on fire; the gloomy Brann cheers up considerably, since being killed by dragon would be a very metal way to go out. Kind of wishes there were witnesses to his glorious and fiery demise, though. Tony rains on his parade, by prying apart a hole in the dragon's scales, and Brann stabs it.

Later, as Brann enjoys a hearty meal of roast dragon, Tony gets the polarity reset on his armor...except his helmet, but he's bypassed the controls, most of the weapons systems would drain too much power, and it's not like the helmet's GPS is gonna work there.

The next day, they make their way to the stone circle, where Aislinn and her men await. Tony and Brann commence to whupass. At one point, Tony saves Brann by throwing the king's sword (that Brann was supposed to be delivering) and embedding it in a rock, blocking Emile's ax. Unfortunately, the sword is then stuck, and Brann is piled on and held at knifepoint by Aislinn. Tony reluctantly surrenders himself, and his armor, which Aislinn promptly dons.

Aislinn's a green villain, like R'as Al Ghul, environmentally friendly: she plans on going back to the future, leaving a "dragon's fire" magic explosive to blow up the time machine after she returns to 1002; then killing the hell out of mankind to prevent what she sees as the rape of the planet. Unfortunately for her, and possibly the planet, the devil is in the details...

Aislinn's whole plan probably would've worked, if she hadn't put on the helmet and decapitated herself: the polarity of the armor was different, and went to the future, leaving the helmet (and Aislinn's head) behind. Loyal henchman Emile gives his lady a final, gross kiss, then buries the helmet where it will be found in the future.

After a moment's panic over the headless Iron Man, Pepper sends back a new suit of armor for Tony, with a note giving him one minute before she comes in after him. (Pepper sends the armor outside the stone circle, which caused all the polarity problems...because...druids or something.) Tony says goodbye to Brann, but is taken back to the future before he can hear Brann's request. Once he arrives home, Tony's time machine melts into slag, as he still wonders what was up with Aislinn/Dr. Mallory; Pepper tells him to let it go, meaning his attempt to fix her past.

And in the year 1002, Brann enjoys the royal court and newfound notoriety as a dragon-slayer. The king himself salutes him, but Brann is embarrassed that the sword he was supposed to deliver...comes embedded in a hunk of stone.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

All this week: Iron Man!...reruns.

"The Power of Iron Man!...oh, and he has a movie coming out, yeah, I heard something about that..."
Most of these fights probably only happened in my toy box, sorry.
Iron Man vs. Brainiac would be a lot of fun, since I picture Tony drooling at the thought of taking Brainy apart and playing with him.
Where did I put that rocket launcher?
This is an old one, but probably still applies. And it reminded me that I probably need to take those kids to look for Iron Man toys at Burger King!

The last regular issues of Iron Man that I've read were Warren Ellis' Extremis arc, which I liked even if it's more remembered less for the story and more for giving Iron Man powers, being an ad for cell phones, and Adi Granov's art. Then the whole Civil War thing came down, and while I've heard the Knaufs have done some solid stories, I just haven't been able to pick a lot of those issues up.

I missed Adam Warren's Hypervelocity limited, too; but plan to check that out in trade. (EDIT: I did, and it's great.) That probably goes for a lot of the planned limited series coming pretty shortly.

Even though he's about the same size, the old Heroes Reborn Iron Man--that was a Jim Lee design, right? Well, he's got about as many joints as a Simpsons figure. Hell, maybe less. I think I 'lost' the pipes that attached to the back, but I'm wondering if I still have the...whatever the hell the accessory was. The vac-metal finish is starting to chip a bit, too. (EDIT: I did get the Legends HR Iron Man--that's Heroes Reborn, not Human Resources.)

I've been keeping an eye out for one, but I haven't found a clearanced Hasbro Legends Ultimate Iron Man. I'm just not willing to cough up full price for him, since I'm not smitten with that design. I prefer the idea of Iron Man's suit fitting in a suitcase, not a dump truck. I missed the red and silver version too: either I thought I wouldn't need yet another Iron Man, or I was asleep at the wheel.

Not much to say on this one. Might have to go back through that box of Iron Man and Force Works comics later. Tomorrow, I have to take those kids back to Burger King to see what the toys are this week. Yes, I would make all my dining choices based on toys if I could.

Also, over the course of this blog, I've had four different Iron Man tags. I should go back and make sure I've tagged them all correctly...(EDIT: No.)
Read more!