Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
OK, so tonight we're going to talk about Batman and his toys. Now, in order to keep things as simple as possible, we're going to go over some of the equipment as featured in "the Dark Knight", because judging by ticket sales, pretty much everyone on earth has seen it by now. So let's get to it.
Plausible. The material science is (mostly) there, but this stuff is a cut above in terms of being more lightweight and compact. than anything that's known to be in development. That said, it's probably the most "grounded" bit of technology in here.
THE GLIDER CAPE
Plausible but with technical difficulties. Again, memory cloth isn't too far off, the problem would be keeping it stable and preventing it from shorting out if it got damp, among other things.
THE EXPLOSIVES LAUNCHER RIFLE
Plausible but with technical difficulties. Explosives are aren't exactly aerodynamic because of weight distribution, and because it's a gel explosive, you end up using a lot more explosive material then you would with a smaller shaped charge. Oh, and as a purely nerdy caveat, Batman with any kind of rifle seems wrong somehow.
Barely Plausible. The whole "rocket-assisted leaps" seem more of a hand-off to the idea that the Batmobile must always have a jet exhaust than anything else. You really don't want that kind of a propulsion system in any land vehicle because it's so difficult to control. Nevermind that all the computer settings shown in the first scene ("Intimidate", etc.) indicate a level of software sophistication that is well beyond even most combat robots currently in development.
Plausible, but technically unsound. I just don't buy the idea that a team of designers would be able to put in a redundant "transformation" system to allow for only one person to escape the vehicle (remember, it's meant to be a two man vehicle, so that transformation automatically means that one person will die when the autodestruct goes off). Nevermind that the additional cost, complexity, and weight penalty makes the concept more than a little impractical. Simple explosive bolts to pop the canopy would be much more common.
Not Plausible. Short version is that you can't determine shells that way, but instead you would have to run some really complex statistical analysis to determine the type of shell. And a fingerprint? No chance.
THE SONAR SYSTEM
Wrong. There are major issues with power for a sonar system that would work in real time in air with any kind of range. Sound doesn't travel fast enough in air, and furthermore, the imaging and processing power required to pull this off are MASSIVE.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
When some Marvel Talking Head Clown says "The Initiative is a success"
Two words: FUCK NO. Please, I'm begging everyone who reads this blog, the next time some one says this, please respond with this list, and then ask where the hell the successes are?
Below I list the RECENT FAILURES that occured between the time I put up the first list and now:
-Failure to capture Moon Knight, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Daredevil, Spider-Man, The New Avengers, The Runaways, and the New Warriors
-Failure to stop Kraven the Hunter from setting up a supervillain zoo in New York (Punisher War Journal).
-Failure to stop Menace from killing a Mayoral candidate (Amazing Spider-Man).
-Failure to apprehend the patrons of known supervillain bars (Amazing Spider-Man, Punisher War Journal)
-Failure to stop a bio-terror attack and thus, creating the conditions for a gang war (Amazing Spider-Man)
-Failure of Initiative personal to prevent assault on high-profile individuals, puplic and private property, as well as innocent lives (Amazing Spider-Man, X-Factor, She-Hulk) by super criminals. All those assaults were stopped by "unregistered combatatants".
-Failure to prevent the escape of Dr. Doom from government custody (Fantastic Four)
-Near-total collapse of the Thunderbolts program; corruption of multiple members of the Thunderbolts organization (Thunderbolts)
-Multiple deaths and injuries at Camp Hammond due to rogue Initiative program (The Initiative).
-Preventing the relocation of the X-Men under their own aegis and their severance of any Initiative oversight (all X-men related titles)
-Failure to recruit the Asgardians into the Initiative (Thor)
-Mass Defections of former New Warriors Members from the Initiative program (the Initiative).
-Failure to contain Red Hulk. Escape of Bruce Banner/Hulk (HULK).
-Failure to contain time-displaced Invaders. Possible risk to all space-time (Avengers/Invaders).
-Failure to prevent major loss of life in California due to superhuman terror. Multiple deaths of Initiative members (The Order).
-Failure of Accountability (World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Illumaniti, etc.)
OK, we know, KNOW that the Hulk broadcasted the blame for his exile from Earth during World War Hulk. What surprises me is that we've never seen any class-action lawsuits against Reed Richards and Tony Stark for their part in going above the law and trying to get rid fo the Hulk without the consent of the government or any governing body whatsover. Furthermore, despite any and all claims that the Initiative brings superheroes under the law, we don't see a lot of them actually being accountable for extra-legal activities. Realistically, there should at least be a Congressional or Senate oversight committee grilling Stark and Richards over these things so they can decide whether or not private citizens would have the right to sue them. Of course, you also should have Kayne West stand-ins saying "Tony Stark doesn't care about poor people" that shows how absolutely reviled these people should be for playing god the way they have. Especially if it is ever learned that the Skrull Invasion was due in large part to the actions of the Illuminati.
-Failure of Public Safety (ALL)
Again, once you start arguing that the SHRA makes superheroes more accountable to the general public and under the law, it opens up a whole other can of worms. Do Richards and Stark now have to get public safety ratings and inspections for their various gear? Does Stark get his armor OKed by Engineering oversight committees to make sure that his suit isn't a public hazard? What are the oversight capabilities and are they at the federal level, or do they extend to the state and municipalities? What are the ordinances that superheroes have to comply with? Do their costumes have to meet with public decency standards (If so, there are a lot of people in trouble there)? Again, this isn't something we are seeing with the Initiative, but then again, that assumes that it's a logical framework and not something completely arbitrary.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Also known as: Emotional Realism, Superhero Trauma and Uberdrama.
What is it?
Attempts to give greater "maturity" to a comic character by saddling them with additional personal tragedies and angst.
Why do comic companies do it?
The theory goes that heroes with greater hardships are more 'relatable' than those that don't.
Recent Offenders include but are not limited to:
The X-Men, the Titans (all versions), Spider-Man, Green Lantern (all versions, but especially Kyle Rayner), The Sentry, She-Hulk and every character featured in "Avengers: The Initiative" plus many many more.
Again, we have to go with that classic of Superhero Angst -
Ugh. Between that and Claremont's early run on the X-Men, when they were defined virtually EXCLUSIVELY by all the crap that happened to them because they were different, the trend was set very early on to have a hero be defined by increasing amounts of emotional trauma.
Because at this point, it's become as laughable (if not more so) than the angst-free superheroics that preceeded it. Because the entire point of the superheroic ideal is one of uplifting against impossible odds and doing good. Because every extra bit of angst takes away from the belief that people can improve themselves and make the world a better place. Because people who do right should have some reward in fiction, because lord knows it is all too rare in reality.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
MONDAY: Hangover. Mission with other X-Men. Have extremely tense confrontation with Cyclops while displaying grudging respect. Beer: Coors Light.
TUESDAY: Annoyed. Missions with other X-Related Teams. Beer: Budweiser.
WEDNESDAY: Grumpy. Solo Adventure. Make out with a babe despite being covered in blood. Book flight out east. Bitch to Cyclops about commuting cross-country to meet current team commitments. Beer: Molson Canadian.
THURSDAY: Jetlagged. Team up with other Marvel characters. Tell them to get out of my way. Remind them that I'm the best there is at what I do. Try not to make them look any more pathetic than they already are. Beer: Labatt's Blue.
FRIDAY: Aggravated. Avengers mission. Remind myself to speaking in that short choppy speech pattern that only Bendis characters speak. Try not to laugh so hard at how bad the Initiative is at their jobs. Beer: Moosehead.
SATURDAY: Depressed. Weapon X Flashbacks. Ol' Logan has to just take it easy. Beer: Rickard's Red.
SUNDAY: Relaxed. Make some time for former side-kicks and supporting cast that I for some reason never get in touch with (i.e. Jubilee). Fly back to San Fran. Beer: Sleeman's.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
- Kept a fleet of warships parked in the Hudson River, just in case.
- Crashed the global economy to maintain control of his nation's destiny
- Cheated the Devil and the lord of Nightmares
- Manipulated several heads of state into doing his bidding
- Manipulated several NYPD members for his own purposes
- Used a child to manipulate his control of the Wakanda tribes
- Fought the Fantastic Four to learn about their technology and test himself
- Joined the Avengers to learn if they were a threat to his nation.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
WHO IS HE?
Tactically Augmented Organism. A genetically engineered supergenius who created a criminal empire.
WHERE IS HIS PROOF OF BASTARD?
Alan Moore's run on WildC.A.T.s, but a better showcase is the Sleeper series.
COLD BASTARD LESSONS LEARNED?
Everyone's a toy waiting to be broken.
TAO was created to be a weapon, but he decided that he didn't like that, so he went ahead and became someone who just fucks with people to show them how easy it is for them to destroy themselves. He engineered a superpowered gang war to show that it could be done. He then created a global criminal enterprise, and used it as a means to undermine every form of social order on the planet. Why? Well, he thinks that as an artificial creature, he has no soul, but he also has no illusions about the true operation of the world. He's thus concluded that he has to destroy every soul to show them how the world is, and he'll undermine any structure, even his own, in order to achieve it. He even allowed a knowing double-agent in, and then toyed with him using his hopes and fears just to break him and show him how hopeless it all really is. A true bastard.
But not the greatest.
NEXT UP: A mystery man in black
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Elijah Snow, 100+ year old super-powered mystery archaeologist and founder of Planetary, the group that collects and studies the secret history of the world.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
WHO IS HE?
- Abandoned first wife and newborn son to meet up with teenage sweetheart. Never looked back.
- Gave up son to be raised by strangers 2000 years in the future
- Cheated on second wife (The teenage sweetheart, Jean Grey) by having a psychic affair with a dubious person (Emma Frost)
- Hooked up with dubious woman within hours of second wife's death.
- Lied to friends and allies about the true cause of a major species event (The loss of powers on M-Day).
- Has consistently ignored biological daughter from alternate timeline (Rachel Summers), and has at best, strained relationship with biological son (Nathan Summers, aka Cable) to the point of recently sending a deathsquad after his own son.
- Has taken no interest in the actions of his brothers (Havok and Vulcan) despite their actions leading to the death of his father (Corsair).
- Lying to current lover and denying the existence of a secret X-Men Death Squad.
Monday, August 11, 2008
WHO IS HE?
Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke the Terminator. He's a top level mercenary/assassin/supervillain who regularly goes up against the biggest names in the DCU. And usually gets his ass handed to him by them.
WHERE IS HIS PROOF OF BASTARD?
See The Teen Titans.
COLD BASTARD LESSONS LEARNED?
It's ok to beat, mutilate and murder children for your own ends. Especially if they are YOUR OWN CHILDREN.
Slade here has shown over his long feud with the Teen Titans that nothing is off limits: After one son Grant is killed accidentally, he uses a teenage girl (Terra) to infiltrate the team and eventually betray them. While he's sleeping with her. Which is creepy no matter how you slice it. When this gem of a plan fails, he escalates his conflict until he murders his other son, Joseph (Jericho). After this, Slade kicks back doing, well, I don't really want to know. It was the 90s, and let's just assume it wasn't very good. After taking this little vacation, what does Slade do? He injects his only surviving child, his daughter Rose, with a serum to give her superpowers and drive her so batshit crazy she cuts out her left eye. Ah, the family that mutilates together stays together. Or something. He also manipulates, drugs, and tortures various other teens into forming an anti-Titans team, but that also didn't work out so well, as you might imagine.
Clearly, this guy has issues with kids, and is quite possibly one of the worst dads in comics (but trust me, there's a LOT of competition there). But what sets it apart is just what an emotional void he is about it, and how this never even seems to mildly upset him. At all. However, Slade doesn't reach much higher on account of scale. Yeah, he's a meanie, but he basically limits it to the sadistic bullying of a bunch of teenage sidekicks. He lacks a certain ambition and drive to reach higher. Probably on account of the fact that if he pulled the same shit on adult heroes, Batman would completely school him.
NEXT UP: A more familiar face!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This week's theme will be "COLD BASTARD WEEK", in which, from Monday to Friday, I'll be talking about some of the most emotionless, methodical and manipulative men (sorry, ladies, but there's no competition there: AMANDA WALLER wins) in comics. Pick the one you love (or love to hate) the most.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Tuesday: THE PEOPLE OF LATEVERIA SHALL BENEFIT FROM THE SAGE WISDOM OF THEIR BENEVOLENT MONARCH AS HE WISELY IMPROVES THE LAND! AND THEN, I SHALL ANNIHILATE THE ACCURSED RICHARDS WITH MY GREATEST SCHEME!
Wednesday: DOOM WILL USURP THE POWER OF THIS FOOLISH COSMIC BEING WHO SQUANDERS IT ON AFFAIRS NOT WORTHY OF SUCH POWER. DOOM SHALL TAKE THE POWER THAT SHOULD BE RIGHTFULLY HIS, AND USE IT TO CRUSH THE ACCURSED RICHARDS!
Thursday: BAH! SUCH POWER WAS OBVIOUSLY UNWORTHY OF BEING CONTAINED IN THE PERFECTION THAT IS DOOM! I NEED IT NOT TO DESTROY THE ACCURSED RICHARDS! I SHALL SIMPLY USE A PAWN, A PATSY, TO LURE THEM TO MY CASTLE. PERHAPS WHICHEVER HARLOT DELUDED ENOUGH TO WISH TO SPEND TIME WITH THAT AMBULATORY BRICKYARD…..
Saturday: DOOM NEEDS NO ONE! DOOM SHALL NOW DEFY ALL THE LAWS OF SCIENCE AND THE SUPERNATURAL WHEN HE FREES HIS MOTHER FROM THE GRIP OF THE SO-CALLED “DEMON” MEPHISTO!
Sunday: DOOM WILL CONQUER THE WORLD, AND THEN, HE SHALL DESTROY THE ACCURSED RICHARDS!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Unlike most of the other comic movies of the summer, this one is upbeat, funny, and tongue planted firmly in cheek. The main plot is remarkably straightforward, but that simplicity is used to undercut how much more complex the lives of Hellboy, Liz, Abe and the others have gotten. Now, the problem is that unlike the first movie, the villain is completely forgettable, but not unsympathetic, but you hardly pay attention to it as the plot zips along and you get re-acquainted with the characters and the various sub-plots and internecine dramas.
As far as acting goes, Perlman makes a great Hellboy, and with the prosthetics as they are I never once get the feeling that anything is faked, and everyone else does their job well enough, if not in anyway outstanding. The effects are clean and crisp and really really colourful, and it moves along quickly enough that there's a reasonable amount of tension and action, and a surprising amount of sentiment. This is definitely a movie that is trying to work as both action, comedy, and love story. It definitely succeeds at comedy, as any scene in which HB and Abe drink while singing cheesy 80s love ballads must.
The main complaint I hear from people is how much this movie departs from the comics, and in that respect they are quite correct. Where the first Hellboy film was Guillmero Del Toro's attempt to adapt Mike Mignola's world to the big screen, this movie is very much about Mike Mignola's Hellboy in Del Toro's world, a mythology that has more in common with Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth than the darker tones normally found in Mignola's Hellboy stories. That said, the world Del Toro constructs is one that is both familiar and strange; a colourful collection of the usual assortment of mystic and fantastical creatures, but one that is very removed from human perceptions and preconceptions of them. It's a very nice touch, and one I enjoy seeing in fantasy movies, where all too often the elves and dwarves and the like are simply humans with slightly exaggerated characteristics.
In conclusion, The Golden Army isn't the world shaking movie that other comic movies are, but it's good lighthearted fun. And that's interesting, given that the protagonist is a scary demon in and of himself.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
1) Reed Richards
2) "The Nearness of You" by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
3) Looking for all the Easter Eggs in Gene Ha's art in Top 10
4) DC One Million
5) Mary Jane Watson-Parker
6) "I did it thirty-five minutes ago"
7) Silver Age DC Comic covers that showed that, yeah, having superpowers would be really fun
8) Revenant in PS238
9) Those massive team spreads that George Perez does
10) JACK KIRBY
16) Fantastic Four V1 #352 - the definitive Reed Richards vs. Doom fight
17) Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb
18) PS238 in General
19) Captain America
20) Jeff Parker's Marvel Adventures: Avengers and Agents of Atlas
22) The Confessor's secret, and his final fight.
23) Jim Steranko
24) The late great Mark Gruenwald
26) Alan Moore's run on Supreme
28) Nazis getting punched in the face
29) Comic adaptations of properties from other media that don't faithfully adhere to everything from the original media (Transformers, G.I.Joe, Alf, Futurama, etc.)
30) That Ben Grimm never, ever, EVER, gives up.
31) Silly comic creations from the 70s being used without irony.
32) "On Olympus, we measure wisdom against Athena; Speed against Hermes; Power against Zeus. But we measured courage against Captain America."
33) Comic writers shoe-horning in something they read and didn't quite understand from an article on science or technology.
34) Dilbert comics
35) This scene right here:
41) "Change or Die"
42) An improbable escape from certain death (Hero or Villain)
43) Mark Waid's Empire
44) Grant Morrison
46) Spider-Man when he's being funny
47) "the Anatomy Lesson"
48) Green Lantern rings
49) Captain America #350