Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hank and Jan: Marvel's idea of the perfect Marriage

See, I look at the seriously messed-up relationship that Hank Pym (Giant Man, Ant-Man, Yellow Jacket, Goliath, Cream of Custard Man), and Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) and I can't help but think that this is what some of the Marvel Brass REALLY thinks of Marriage. Anyway, view the posters, collected over several decades, and tell me: Do you think I'm right, or wrong?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Parker Factor

OK, One thing that the critics of Peter and MJ's marriage constantly complain that there is no reason a hot supermodel/actress would stay with someone as "ordinary" as Peter Parker if he wasn't a superhero. Well, that's complete bullshit, as I'm about to detail.


Even setting aside "the girl next door" factor of MJ's backstory and there'd still be plenty of damn good reason for her to want him. First, Peter has shown himself to be a smart, funny guy. That's not inconsiderable when one is looking for a partner. Secondly, the idea that a science guy can't get a beautiful woman, well, that's just silly. I know plenty of science and engineering majors who've got some very attractive married partners, so that's completely wrong.

"Oh, but MJ's a MODEL, what would she see in a poor Photographer?"

In case you're wondering, the answer is already there. MJ is a model and Peter is a (talented amateur) photographer. That gives them a common frame of reference because they could easily "talk shop" (i.e. How to use lighting, composition, color, etc.). Not only that, but when one considers that Peter's primary job is to track down dangerous superbeings, take pictures of them in battle and survive, it makes Peter's job very dangerous and sexy. One imagines that being on a supervillain beat is akin to a crime or war reporter. Danger like that can be quite attractive to quite a number of people, especially those in need of sensation and excitement that they normally wouldn't find on say, the runway? Just a thought.

2) MJ's career isn't as amazing as you would believe.

Remember that before her marriage, MJ was a struggling actress and only moderately successful model. Not exactly super-riches and all that. Most of her "superstardom" was introduced AFTER the marriage as a way of keeping the "Drama" intact via a lot of really cheesy stuff about the fakeness of Hollywood and such blather. So it stands to reason that whilse she worked hard at being a model, she wasn't exactly going to be the world's greatest. Nevermind that there are very few models with longevity in either the acting or modelling arena.

Anyway, that's just one more rant on why the Spider-Marriage should work, but Marvel wants to cry about how it doesn't. Well, I can't help their lack of imagination, intuition, or common sense.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Night Physics

Potpourri Edition!

#1: What about the Sentinels?

What about them? Up until Grant Morrison's first arc on X-Men, the Sentinels were pretty much the most ineffective giant killer robots EVER. Outside of alternate future/reality stories (i.e. Days of Future Past), there had been more on-panel mutant deaths due to random hate mobs than due to these billion-dollar taxpayer-funded murder machines, and ever since Morrison, they STILL aren't very effective (i.e. Sentinel Squad O*N*E* - the Colonel Klink of the Marvel Universe). That's not a reputation I'd want to uphold, really. On the other hand, that's fairly well in keeping with how military contracts work in real life, where something is designed and promoted as incredibly badass while being anything but.

#2 Iron Man Variant Armors

I'll probably deal with these on a more case-by-case basis as time goes on, but so far all I really have to say about Iron Man's armor I've said here.

#3 How the hell was Iron Man ever able to fit his armor into a briefcase?

Short answer: He really couldn't. But certain parts of it aren't as insane as you might believe. If you believe that the material of the outer shell is a type of memory metal (similar to the memory cloth depicted in Batman Begins), then you could compact it fairly well. On the other hand, as Warren Ellis correctly pointed out in his Iron Man Extremis arc, the control systems (the sensors, the hydraulics and mechanisms that allow motion, the weapons, etc.) would be impossible to do in such a manner.

#4 Where's my Goddamn Flying Car?

Trust me, unless you want the sky to be filled with 300 mph fiery metal deathballs hurtling towards you, you really don't want this. As I've stated here (again). Short version: Cars don't generate lift, and you really don't want to trust the same people you don't trust on the highway with what amounts to small missiles, unless you want your hometown to start looking like Baghdad.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Five by Five

Five things I want to see more of in Comics:

1) A Rocket Raccoon/Cosmo the telepathic dog one-shot. Make it Happen Marvel!

2) Reed Richards: Badass.

3) Aaron Stack

4) Big Damn Hero Moments

5) MC2 universe mini-series.

On the flipside, here's 5 things I'd be perfectly happy to never see ever again:

1) Pointless DCU inter-crossover continuity porn

2) Slowly paced, continuinally delayed comics that take half a decade to get to the fucking point!

3) Spider-Armor

4) Marvel Zombies

5) The Sentry

So, what's your Five by Five?

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: Remembered

He will be missed. Seriously, one of the best comedians, and as smart as you could hope for.

Your moment of funny

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What if We lived in a comic book universe? Part 16

Going to be light posting for the next few days while I put together a some longer posts/rants. As always, your requests and suggestions are encouraged in the comments section. Don't be shy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Just got back from seeing the Hulk. Like most previous Marvel films, it's a pretty good film in its own right, and does justice to the character's previous media incarnations.

The first and best thing about this film is that it assumes you are sharp enough to follow along and not waste a lot of time explaining things. The opening credit sequence brings you up to speed with a quick rundown of what's gone before, who the characters are and what dynamics are in play. We then get right to the action and the current status quo of one Bruce Banner; on the run, in hiding, and trying to find a cure.

One of the things you'll either really enjoy (or loathe) is the Easter eggs and nods to previous incarnations of the character in various media. The old TV shows gets at least three references I picked up on (one musical, one stealth cameo, and one very obvious one). There is Stan Lee's obligatory appearance of course, and a couple nods to the comics (I swear, it took me FOREVER to remember who Samuel Stearns was). The most interesting aspect of the film is that it is trying to set up the Hulk in the context of a much larger Marvel movie universe. There are less than subtle references to the Super-Soldier program, Stark Industries, and of course, a certain Agency. In some ways, that actually detracted from the movie because it seemed to spend a lot of time nudging the audience into understanding that there was something bigger going on.

Dealing with the movie itself, I was satisfied that it had everything you should have in a Hulk movie.

-Fighting the army? Check

-"You wouldn't like me when I'm -" heh. A good take on this one.

-Bruce Banner being smart is what keeps him one step ahead of everyone pursuing him? Check.

-Bruce as tormented by the monster inside of him? Check

-Lots of crap being smashed? OH HELL YEAH!

So, you're going to get your money's worth on this one.

The acting is decent, if somewhat underplayed. Norton manages to capture Banner's intelligence and his innate sense of responsibility while contrasting it with a man whom is trying to cope with both a massive external threat and the demons and trauma associated with the Hulk. Liv Tyler does pretty much what she's expected to do; look pretty and longing for her true love (even if at some point acting without a lot of common sense; seriously, wearing a white blouse in the rain? Are you sure you're a doctor?). John Hurt plays General Ross with all the vigor and blind passion that the role requires, showing very little remorse about his own actions. The special effects are impressive if not particularly groundbreaking at this point, and the story snaps along a rapid pace.

The message of this movie is a lot less ambivalent than the one from Iron Man; The concept of people as weapons is treated pretty harshly and is almost universally demonized as too dangerous and morally bankrupt to be handled responsibly. This is a timely and subtle message delivered by a very haunted Bruce trying to escape being weaponized, and a very zealous and mad Blonsky obsessed with becoming the very thing Bruce fears for himself, while Ross tries to find a balance that will serve only his interests. In the end, the futility, and the very human destruction, of both the people turned into weapons, their loved ones, and the innocent lives they impact on, are all brought into perspective. It's a really relevant message and a fair question to bring up in our modern society: At what point in trying to protect ourselves, to make ourselves fiercer and stronger and 'better' in such a very narrow sense, do we lose a part of our essential humanity?

And hey, if you don't care for all that, at least the Hulk wrecks a whole lotta crap. So you can eat your cake and have it too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Night Physics

It's Friday Night! Time to get your techno on!

Ok, note to self: Get better intro.

Let's move on; Tongiht we'll be discussing that staple of sci-fi and comics....


Generally speaking, there are two types of telportation used in comics. We'll take a look at both of them, and what the technical problems are with them.

1) Matter Transportation - this is the method best known for its use in Star Trek. The basic concept is that you break down something on the sub-atomic level, store that information, and recreate it somewhere else by transmitting the energy you've converted the body into.

OK, now, here are the problems with it;

-On the basic conceptual level, this is murder. Imagine a photocopier that after making a copy of a document, shreds the original. Now pretend that instead of documents, we are talking about human beings. That's what the transporter does. It breaks down the original, and then creates a copy somewhere else based on the information it took while putting you through the atomic meatgrinder. Sounds fun, no?

-The Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle: Short version; you can never be 100% certain of the position of a sub-atomic particle at an exact point of time by observation. So, yeah, you can't actually do an exact re-creation of someone because you can't actually get the exact data.

-Data problems: Ok, remember what I just said about all the particles you are storing as information? That's a lot of information. We are talking enough for a stack of PC hard drives from earth to the moon.

-Energy problems: Because the transporter converts matter to energy, we have to use e=mc^2 to determine how much energy is in a human body. Oh, and it turns out? The human body has the equivalent energy to a megaton nuclear bomb. So, not exactly the amount of energy you just want to push around willy-nilly, is it?

-Signal problems: Oh, and you have to transmit that data and energy as a signal through whatever medium (Space, air, etc.) that exists between the two points. And you better sure that channel is clear of any other signals, so as not to disrupt or scramble your signal, otherwise it will corrupt the data, and whatever is recreated could be very messy if say, the data for how to reconstruct the heart or skin is lost.

So, who here suddenly feels sympathy for Dr. McCoy for hating the damn transporter? That's what I thought.

2) The Wormhole: This is the "Door" technology that the Authority uses, as well as Kirby's New Gods. The concept is that you create a bridge in space (either by folding it up somehow or by detouring through some form of "subspace" such as the Bleed) to get from one point to another.

Overall, this technology overcomes most of the problems of the matter transporter, except for one: POWER. The only known (or even theorized) object that can bend space to the degree we are discussing here is a black hole. Not something you can really toy around with. Bending space is even more massive in terms of magnitude than the mass transporter. and you better know exactly where you are throwing that energy around, because if you don't, well, bad things will happen.

So, there you have it. Teleportation: Don't try it at home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pick the Best Poster

More of a theme than a single image for this one...pick the one you like best