Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I love this......

I checked out the "Stats" area that Blogger has added to our dashboard.  Some neat keyword searches have been on the thing lately.  I looked just now and the search words were as follows; 
"why is Thor 411 so important"
Is that not the best thing ever asked?  Well those of us who are fans of the greatest bunch of heroes ever know why that issue is important.  It is the first appearance of the New Warriors.  I sure hope that the first of my Warrior posts helped to educate this person who has great taste in search questions.  


Monday, March 28, 2011

Sucker Punch

Instead of Mantra Mondays we have a Movie Monday.  I felt well enough to slip off to the matinee of Sucker Punch.  I will try my best to not give things away, but there are some cool things about this movie.  It is definitely not for everyone.  This is a fantasy that reveals some interesting truths about what it means to be there for others.  I will suggest that if you see this movie, pay close attention to the opening monologue.  The discussion about Guardian Angels is crucial to part of the ending scenes.

One thing that struck me was how tame the very overt sexual background of a brothel in the fantasy is not taken to extremes.  The "sexy" costumes are tame in comparison to many of today movies and even TV Shows. I mean we have these young women in a very suggestive setting, yet the costuming is a throwback to older days.  This mutes the sexuality that could have drowned the plot.  The casting was very good.  Each young woman displays a talent for making the fantasy world come alive within the personality of there character.  I liked that we were never bogged down in the Insane Asylum setting that all this takes place in.

The ending is very satisfying on a spiritual level.  The realization of the fifth thing needed to escape makes for a nice twist.  It is really a movie of hope.  It is also a reminder that for some, they will lose there life to ensure a better life for others.  I really was surprised.  I think many will not get the ending.  They are going into the movie thinking that they will be seeing young women scantily clad and be titillated.  Instead they will be subject to a subtle story of what happens when people decide to work together for common goal.  

I also think that many will not get that Baby Doll is set free.  She wins in the end and finds her own peace.  That was the most subtle of all the ending messages.

I liked it, some will not.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Warriors #0 or The Mighty Thor #411 & 412

There came a day when the heroes of the Marvel Universe were older and had become so engrossed in fighting their personal bad guys that low level scum seemed to be free to prey on the weak and helpless. At least that is what some young super powered teens thought. What you are about to be party to is the first in an ongoing look back on the comicbook that got me back into comics big time. The New Warriors were first seen here in the following issues of Thor, #411 & 412. It was during the Acts of Vengeance that we first got to see; (Kid) Nova, Namorita, Firestar, Justice, Speedball, and The Night Thrasher. They take on The Juggernaut when Thor is felled by a combination of his own health problems and the impact of his Hammer with Juggernaut trailing behind.

Yes, Thor lay defenseless. Juggernaut had a boxcar raised over his head prepared to crush the hero dead. That is when Firestar melted the boxcar to slag in Juggernaut's hands. A great fight ensues as Thor is helped to safety and recovery. The greatest scene is Night Thrasher going berserk and attacking Juggernaut on a skateboard. Then we did not know the way Thrasher's parents died nor how he felt toward evil doers. We just saw a silly non-powered guy in a special suit on a skateboard attacking the toughest foe of the X-Men.

Thor eventually joins the fight and still is unable to stop the Juggernaut. It is the teamwork of the Warriors that helps Thor dispatch Juggernaut to another dimension. It is the following panels that ends issue #412.

Thor bestows his thanks to the new kids on the block. The New Warriors are a team that was here to stay. They were given approval by Thor.  An endorsement like that is pretty important in the old school Marvel Universe.  These were a group of teens that had been coerced together, which we will learn next time, and end up becoming a favorite team to so many of us fans.  The grouping is a favorite of mine.  Not all mutants and not all Altered Humans.  It is the variety of heroes that will call themselves New Warriors which captures the imagination over the years.

Interesting take on justice.  A hero is merciful.  The New Warriors were born here and would soon be the stars of their own title from Marvel Comics.  Find out about the real New Warriors. Tune in to this Blog for a look at the entire run in story collected fashion. What was done to these characters stink. Only Nova survived to anchor his on title again and be the hero us fans of the New Warriors loved.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ever Feel Like You Are In Your Own Blackest Night?

In answer to that question, I have.  I feel I need to give a bit of background before I dive into the tale.  Comicbooks have always been something of a treasure for me.  As an only child the adventures of the characters inside the pages of comics provided me with an outlet.  I have a vivid imagination and the books provided inspiration for my own hopes of one day making a difference in the world.  I lived where they was no comic shop.  The places I went to around town rarely had comics.  I was left to the occasional find at a yard sale or the yearly trip to the big flea market in Hillsville, Virginia.  Each book I had was like having gold coins or diamonds to me.

Years later I would be able to buy comics regularly.  By the time I had answered a call to the ministry I was collecting big time.  Some of my peers fished, many golfed, and I had my comics and the fun searching for cheap books in all types of selling places.  As I neared the end of my Masters Degree I would have the opportunity to join a friend in reviewing comics for a site he was starting.  After my Mom died and I was still unemployed, writing about comics became a way to deal with my grief and unknown to me at the time, stave off the depression that was in me.  It would be the need for this friend to look more professional with his site that would open the door to my own "Blackest Night."

I guess being around like-minded Christians I forgot that there are others who are not like me.  They are less tolerant of differences in people and tend to play power games and use political tactics in their service and call.  After resigning one church and being voted in 100% at a new one, unseen enemies began to plot my end.  Without boring you or dealing out personal beliefs that others may find hard to believe, I ended up sensing something was wrong.  

It all started with a planned time to be with the children during the regular setup, and as I was in talks a new meeting was being held.  Meanwhile as I came home I stopped at the comics shop I had a hold box with and overheard a strange conversation of a lady that was clearly out of her element asking for the very issues of Witchblade where I had reviewed and others where I was quoted.  Spider-sense tingling right then.  The Dean of my School called and caught me the day before and told me of an "ambush" he felt I was walking into.  It didn't set well with him and he wanted me to know.  As I tumbled around God was watching my back as He would through my entire time there.  
Mainly Top Cow was used to say I would harm children.  At least that was how it felt.  I learned later that one of the people involved placed copies of sites not affiliated with my reviews at all.  I declined to see them, I figured it would upset me too much.  That bit of deception cost that person their cause, but the damage was done and I would face a few "inquisitions" as a way of holding my job.  The worst part was that I was made to feel as if I could harm a child.  That hurt me so deeply I cannot even begin to explain that pain.  I would have constant reminders as the same person would sit in on my work and just stare.  The people involve used every opportunity to tear me down behind my back.  Even when they left, I was still attacked and weakened.

Due to my depression that I was not even aware of I did not do my best.  I guess when you are alone and surrounded sometimes you begin acting out like those that attack you.  I did at times and I am not proud of that even though I understand it was fueled by the depression.  Had it not been for God swatting people when I was unaware of it and the training my teachers at Divinity School had given me I would not have survive my time there.  I heard God the clearest I have ever heard Him when He said, "Go, you done all I asked, now leave before you die."

I was in a very bad place mentally by the end of my time there.  Very dark days.  God had sent me some people online that very much saved me.  They were there when the "Church Family" was not.  As time passed and the wounds began to heal, I was able to face the depression and heal.  God sent me a new opportunity.  Less pay, but greater rewards.  Get this, the pastor, he had me do a Super Sunday.  I can be whole and share all of me without fear that every step I take will lead to an attack.

So I am hesitant to talk about Top Cow or any of the books that might be of a more supernatural nature.  I still hurt from the fact that I was made to feel the way I was, and that no one ever seemed to get that I was made to feel that way.  I see the kids I work with now and I cherish the fact that I seem to be someone they can trust and know I am there if they need me.  As I said, the feelings are so hard to express.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #6

The dreaded Cross-Over Tie-In issue appears.  Apparently every Ultra had been in a battle and most everybody headed to the moon to take the fight to the main baddie.  All except our whiny warrior Mantra.  Yes, Lukasz is still bemoaning the fact that he is trapped in Eden Blake's body.  It is Christmas Eve and at least he is heading home to act the part of devoted mother.  Well, he was doing OK until he looked at the moon and saw his original face.  So off he runs and breaks little Evie's heart.  Eden and Evie always made cookies on Christmas Eve.  It also prompts Grandma to make a phone call that will cause trouble down the road.

It is pretty cool how She gets to the moon using magic.  Funnier still when Lukasz tries to use Eden's awesome bod to get her way with a guard.  Doesn't work since the guard is female.  So funny and points for the humor.  Still what happens on the moon does little to endear old Lukasz to us readers.  He has to face the souls of all the men he has displaced over 1500 years of Archimage's battle with Boneyard.  The way out is a nice bit of plot device and seasoned comics readers will intuitively know who the person is that saved this whiny warrior.  

We lead into another cross-over tie-in with the story, Break-Thru I believe it was called.  have no clue about this as I have not run across them or expanded to that Mantra appearance in the collecting.  I wonder if I will collect appearances after completing the run?  Still, Mantra Mondays rolls on and next time we have a guest Ultra to join Mantra, PRIME.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Nightwatch

Who is Nightwatch? That is a question many current comic book collectors of a younger age ask when they run across the obscure Marvel character in back issue bins, that is if they even see an issue in back issue bins. Nightwatch is a series that ran for 12 issues and starred an African American character that came from the pages of WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #100. The origin of Nightwatch can be found there in part. The true origin is shrouded in time travel and nannite technology.

The cover to Issue #1 here is gold looking but in reality it is a foil cover background that has a silver hue to it. Yes, this book came out back in the days of laser prism holo-foil covers. It also was back when every non-mutant character not tied to the X-Men had to have the required Spider-Man appearance and lecture from Spidey as to how to be a hero and that he would be watching. So Peter Parker is one of the hostages at the prison in the opening scenes. The prison will be returned to at a later date. One plus is that this book runs like a TV show in respects to story. It knows it is only running for twelve issues and it tells the story in a way that makes for an exciting read.

Kevin Trench is Nightwatch. He is a man who died as he received his costume and powers. He said goodbye to the love of his life and then is attacked by invisible assailants after a strange energy mass appears before him. He is being battered as another energy mass appears and the Nightwatch costume appears being worn by a man who saves Kevin Trench. That man behind the mask who is fatally wounded is none other than, Kevin Trench. Kevin Trench watches himself die. So right from the start our hero is under a ticking clock to his own death.

It all revolves around the costume. Let us get the obvious out of the way, yes, it resembles SPAWN. Whether by design or accident I do not know. What is clear is that the suit is an advanced nannite construct that uses the body’s adrenaline to enhance strength, speed and healing. The wearer is rendered tired after prolonged use. Kevin Trench spent years after the incident at the airport where he was attacked and watched the plane the love of his life was on explode. She got better, which is my joking way of saying that the layers of mysteries are legion in this title. The cape of the suit is adaptable as is the suit. It literally devours materials from the same research and nannites as it is made of and encounters them in this timeline. This enhances the suit and as the series concludes we learn the full measure of the Nightwatch costume’s transformative capabilities.

Venom makes a short appearance and is another of the obligatory character appearances required during that time. Of more interest is the guest appearance of Cardiac. He is an anti-hero from the pages of Spider-Man that focuses on destroying those that deal in corrupt medical dealings. He is another educated African American character from that time period. His beta powered body is connected to the Nightwatch research and he is Kevin Trench’s old roommate. I liked that he was in the mix. He was a character I liked a great deal when he would cross paths with Spider-Man.

In the end we get a fast paced ride that will introduce the final evolution of the Nightwatch suit, Warbringer. The answer as to who that is comes in the final issues and plays a key part in the plot. The story has corporate and governmental cabals all wanting there agendas met. There is a Satellite that is on a collision course with Manhattan. The series has a Time Bomb. It just is a neat story of one man’s curse at gaining incredible abilities and the responsibility he takes upon himself.

Some would say this was a weak series. I would say to each their own. I like the character. I like this series. Maybe it is something you can hunt for and have fun in seeking a long lost title.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Stepsister Scheme

The Stepsister Scheme

By Jim C. Hines

I saw this book via a new follower on the old blog, whom I think came there via Brainfreeze's Blog, and I went via that person's Blog and found another Blog which had this book's cover on it. How is that for an awesome run on sentence? This is a wonderful book. I started reading on a Monday Night and finished it Wednesday Night, and I was just casually reading. I guess to imply that I devoured it because it was good, but I didn't totally give up sleep like I have been known to do.

The book is what occurred after the phrase "Happily Ever After....." in the old Fairy Tales. The real stories behind the oft told stories are more along the lines of the Grimm Fairy Tales than the sanitized Disney version most of us grew up on. I also had a thought about "Women in Refrigerators" in regards to Sleeping Beauty once the whole story was implied. Still debating just whether that was a needed push beyond the already hard stuff she encountered because of the Fairy "blessings" and the hard edge she maintains.

Danielle is the main character. You know her as Cinderella. Her Stepsisters are up to no good and have made an alliance with another Fairy Tale evil that is pretty powerful. Oh, did I mention that they kidnap her Prince? Yep, she has to go and find her husband before the plan that is obscure for so long takes place. She has help. See Sleeping Beauty, Talia, is a real tough woman. The Grace blessing has allowed her to become a perfect fighter and weapons expert. She sees these skills as a dance so she is able to kick much behind as she aids the Prince's mother Queen Beatrice. Her back story is the most tragic.

Snow White is the other help Danielle has as she begins her quest. I really love Snow. Slutty is the word that kinda fits, but it is an innocent slutty. This is really hard to explain. You really have to read the book to appreciate the humorous remarks that she says. In fact sometimes it is necessary to reread to get the full funny effect of her teasing. She says a great many things to get under Talia's skin. Her nature hides her strength of magic and wait until you hear the twist on the seven dwarfs. This was very creative and unique.

I loved this book and have the next book involving the three Princesses that is to came out in October 2009. It will spin around the Little Mermaid Tale. A Fish Tale, sorry I just had to do it.


(A reworked post from the old blog.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mantra Monday: Mantra #5

Mantra #5 (Back Cover)
So, when last I was able to write about Mantra she was returning from almost becoming the Bride of Boneyard.  Her and Warstrike had become almost trapped in that realm of magical living except for Mantra's sorcery being the best.  They start off here paying a visit to Strauss and complaining about the "faulty" merchandise he gave Warstrike.  We see Mantra excelling at the use of magic and balking at the romantic advances of Warstrike who knows inside she is a guy.  Creeps her out and she heads home passing her next foe unawares.

Seems Prime (another Ultraverse character) has beaten this demon and it has lost form.  The creep works for Boneyard apparently.  So when it spots Mantra it decides the best way to get in Boneyard's good graces is to kill Mantra.  What does this demon do?  Why go and find a form to assume.  So this genius finds a cartoon marathon of a strange wolf character.  So Mantra's new foe will be a Bugs Bunny knock-off.

The first battle is over Evie's (Eden's daughter) school.  The kids go nuts seeing their creepy cartoon hero attacking the urban legend and real hero Mantra.  It is a cute scene.  We find out that there is a Mantra girly magazine.  Evie bought one, Gus is checking out the woman, so it is so good that it is a model dressed up.  What the big finish is about takes us to a cartoon realm.  It is a silly battle that mocks and spoofs every cartoon chase scene every made.  This is a fun tale and Lucasz whines less about being Eden in this issue.  The last panels where Boneyard appears is just a perfect ending.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Started a Shop (Comics Paradox) at Cafe Press

I made a few shirts.  Some of the other free stuff looks odd.  I will play with it more, but take a look.  Comics Paradox Shop

Flashback Fridays: The Trials of the Flash

This will probably get posted on Saturday.  I thought when I went to the subbing job we would end up in the computer lab, but we didn't.  So I messed around and didn't get this done as timely as I wanted to do it.  I am sharing one of my loves, the Tangent Comics line from DC Comics.  It started as a fifth week event that grew and now has seen the characters interact with the current DCU.  I decided to share my favorite character, Lia Nelson, The Flash.  Think of Marvel's Captain Marvel (Photon) and you get an idea of her powers.  Throw in a bit of Dazzler and holographic artistry and you have her figured out.  She is one of the strongest of the Tangent heroes, yet also the gentlest and most happy.

In this issue we just get a glimpse of her father who tries to catch her for the shadowy Nightwing.  His style is much like Wiley Coyote in the way he always has a technological scheme and always ends up hurt.  She has begun playing games with this and it is very funny.  Her stage mother Mom is not in sight and that is awesome.

This issue could be a Secret Six adjacent story.  It is about Plastic Man and Lia being captured by their teammate The Spectre.  It is a great story and just shows a fun side of this strange and twisted version of Earth.  You can find this and many other great Tangent books in the back issue boxes around the country, so happy hunting.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Long Delayed Report on What Comics I Bought The Last Wednesday In February

            I am a week late in telling you about last week's trip to the comic shop.  I was able to get to Ssalefish Comics to empty some of my books out of the hold box.  It has been a rough time at the end of February financially.  I had the normal health insurance and medicine bills to deal with and a nice surprise.  It was time to renew the auto insurance.  I went shopping and changed the place I get my insurance from.  The main reason was the fact that the old company stopped allowing customers to stop by and pay the bill.  For me this is a problem.  I have to wait on checks and sometimes scrap the money together over a week or so.  I need the ability to drop by and pay.  So I ended up with a cheaper policy for the same coverage which is nice.  I also went to see the Sleep Apnea doctor, the reason I was in the same area as the comicbook shop.

            There is something I try not and let happen and that is letting my books pile up.  I like paying for and getting the books in a timely manner.  Rarely do I sort and buy only part of the books either.  This time I had too.  It means now there are two with a possible third on the way issues of ECHO in the box.  That is a $3.50 book so it adds up.  DC Comics helped greatly with the $2.99 across the board pricing.  What follows is what I picked up that last Wednesday in February.

            We begin with the newly added creative team on SUPERGIRL, which I added back to my pull list.  I need to state for the record that I love the new hairstyle on Supergirl.  Kara was always similar to Wonder Girl and Stephanie Brown in the long blonde hair look.  Add in Lady Blackhawk and any other fair haired gal and the DCU was looking like they had only one hairstylist for all the heroines.  Last issue saw a weird guy start a new app for smart phones.  “Flyover” is a social tracker of Supers and the idea was that everybody would take pics and upload locations.  Cool except for the fact that it is being used to send groups of villains to attack the younger heroes of the DCU.  What is awesome about SUPERGIRL #61 is that the brat Robin is in the issue.  He is on the phone in a pitch battle when Kara lends a hand.  What follows is what I have begun to enjoy, Damien and the cool older blonde heroine team up.  This book has been really good for two issues.  Let us hope for three and more.

            BATMAN BEYOND #2 finds Terry McGuiness facing down the future Justice League.  His mother and brother are part of a group of hostages being held by a new version of the Matter Master.  Terry really shines as he takes out the League one by one, except for as Bruce Wayne puts it, “the one he likes.”  Still, this is a book that is just well written and superbly drawn.  It is like having the animated series back.  Dana even gets a nice cameo.  This is just what comics should be in all forms.  It is a great read for the older fan and accessible to the younger reader.  This is a series I would give to my cousins as a gift.

            One of the books that I was reading that DC dropped the price down to $2.99 was GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS #7.  I liked that as I was picking books to buy and ones to wait on buying that I could see how Guy Gardener was doing as he battled Krona's weird partner.  I was correct by the way, Krona was capturing the entities.  Speaking of Lanterns, GREEN LANTERN CORPS #57 had a guest appearance by Firestorm.  We get some resolution to the Weaponeer story.  Not satisfying, by well written.  I hate what happened to the guy at the end, but it will make the future interesting.  Sinestro is one messed up Dad.  He basically tells Sora that if she had been harmed he would have destroyed Qward.  The funny thing is I almost believe he wanted her harmed so he could do just that thing.  Sora Natu is fast becoming a strong Green lantern character.  I hope she and Kyle can go the distance in their relationship.  He needs a strong woman in his life and she is a great character to be outshining the big boys of the Corps.

            Catching up with WONDER WOMAN #607 makes me even more convinced that this should have been an Elseworlds story.  Diana is missing in the DCU right now and even though JMS is crafting a really cool story, I can't help put think about what this is doing top the character.  She is once again pushed aside after all this talk of her being part of this Trinity.  Batman is over-saturated and Superman is as observable as ever, yet Wonder Woman is almost invisible.  It should be her plane and not her that we cannot see well.  Again, cool read, but a bad decision to keep the character front and center.

            Judd Winnick has at long last kept me reading a series he is writing.  I have had bad experiences with his taking over a title I read.  POWER GIRL #21 has held this book in the pull list.  It is not the must read like it was when it first came out, but it doesn't suck either.  I am glad.  I have enjoyed reading about this character.  She has such a different group of heroes than I normal encounter in the DCU.  In this issue she has to make Batman remember Max Lord.  She gets some help from Batman???  If you have not been keeping up with batman then you will not get the attempt at humor there in that sentence.

            Because I am a puppeteer I was a bit upset with the prejudice of making them “creepy” here.  Everyone knows clowns are much creepier than puppets.  Still ZATANNA #9 is good.  We get a bit more of a look at the scary incident that made Zee be mind wiped by dear old dad.  What I really loved was the backup story of the child Zatanna dealing with getting braces.  It was just so cute and funny.  I love the way she handles things and the writing of her dialogue was priceless.

            I got the SECRET SIX #30 that was in the box, but skipped until next trip the picking up of the crossover issue of Doom Patrol that goes with it.  What did make the buy pile immediately was the awesome BIRDS OF PREY #9.  Gail Simone has returned to her excellence in writing as she returns the Birds back to the elite team of heroes we deserve.  Oracle is tying up loose ends with Calculator and the gals are in the middle.  Black Canary fights for her life inside her mind as that weird gal Mortis touched her last issue.  The others are captured and we are reminded why Lady Blackhawk is so cool.  She is handcuffed in a school bus and still puts a bully villain in his place and gives a great groin shot to a henchman.  Huntress shines even out of costume.  Helena is becoming who I think she was destined to be as a character under Simone's well crafted writing.

            A decision is made here.  I will begin talking about the TOP COW titles I read.  It was Top Cow that was used as a way to attack me where I last worked.  Part of me wants to play it safe and just leave this be, but another part feels like that is denying part of who I am.  So I will tell you that I bought WITCHBLADE #142.  It was a great solo Patrick Gleason story that will be continued.  Witchblade is a Mature Read.  I have always described it as like a Network Television 10 o'clock show.  It is not for the kiddies.  Under Ron Marz this title has become a wonderful story for older comic fans.  Gleason is the current partner and boyfriend of Sara, the wielder of the Witchblade.  Can he survive horrific forces without the mystical might of the Witchblade?  Guess we find out next issue.

            Rounding out the haul was BATGIRL# 18, BRIGHTEST DAY #19 & #20, and a free issue of JLA #53 because I spent more than ten bucks.  This ends my adventures in not being able to buy all my comics.