Sunday, September 11, 2011


Busy times. Will get more blogging done when I can. Stay Tuned.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sometimes I just post because it's cool.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Good Comics - Atomic Robo



This comic is like, one of the greatest things ever.

It's got a tight timeline, but because of that, the stories are told non-chronologically. In fact, the latest miniseries, the Deadly Art of Science, actually is set the earliest in Robo's career, as he's just starting to deal with the dangerous (and very fun) world he inhabits. And by the way, Robo as a kid - full of geeky enthusiasm and naivete? Is a very fun thing, because it is a contrast to Robo's demeanor in other series where he's more stoic and dry with his wit.

Clevenger and company really do deserve every bit of praise they get; this is a fun pulpy series that doesn't skimp out on humor, action, and even pathos (without ever descending into melodrama).

There's nothing else like it out there and it deserves your attention and money. And no, Hellboy is not like this - despite the comparisons, Hellboy is all about surviving horror. Atomic Robo is tongue-in-cheek - more Ghostbusters than say, The Prophecy.

Oh, and his archenemies are Stephen Hawking and an evil talking dinosaur. That should count for something, right?

Anyway, the latest miniseries, Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X is starting up this week. Go check it out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Superman and Majestic

One of the weird (and off-putting) things about the DC Reboot is the idea of "Superman is more Kal-El than Clark Kent". And the reason why is that if you need a character who is sort of Superman-like, but without the humanity, you've got Mr. Majestic right there.

(And no, the Martian Manhunter does have quite a bit of humanity in him, so he doesn't count).

Monday, September 05, 2011

Two Dooms

So, this is a question asked often enough - Dr. Doom - honorable villain, or bastard who will do what he wants and then justifies it as honorable after the fact? There are writers for both sides of the arguement (John Byrne and Chris Claremont, for "Doom is ultimately honorable and actually quite noble in his way." to Mark Waid for "Doom is a liar and a cheat who pretends he is honorable when in fact he's a total fraud"), and both sides are valid. In my opinion, this is a question of nuance and subtlety - which really shouldn't be a surprise given Doom is, even more than a scientist or wizard, a politican and diplomat.

Does Doom have a code of honor? Yes, but it is a twisted one (and even Byrne acknowledged this). A true diplomat, Doom's one to parse his words, his thoughts, even his perceptions, to maintain this code to himself. Keep in mind, the end result of any action doom undertakes should be in the service of Doom. But they must also bring Doom glory within the wider world. One thing Mark Waid did get right is Doom's need for external validation - it's not enough for Doom to kill Reed - he has to bring him down so that the world can see that Doom was always better than Richards. He doesn't just want to conquer the world - he wants the world to acknowledge that it needs him to conquer it.

Once you remove the external audience (i.e. the world stage, and especially the people of Latveria - more on that later), Doom becomes much more dangerous and deceitful - because he's less likely to gain any kind of external validation, he's more likely to betray, to go back on his word, to find a loophole (which he's usually smart enough to build for himself into any agreement). Like any politician, Doom's dealings behind closed doors are always darker and more devious than when he's in the public eye.

Latveria is the key - Doom has a captive audience who hangs on his every word, and it is there that he MUST be honorable and noble and all the things that he needs to convince himself that he actually is. So his actions there, and on behalf of the citizenry (his underlings are another matter - they know what the score is because Doom demands they be competent enough to carry out what he needs them to - so ultimately they respect him, they fear him, but they know what he is. Which is why he kills them if they step out of line). The misstep Waid made (and it was immediately reversed) was taking away Latveria from Doom. Without a nation that loves him, that feeds his need for validation, Doom becomes more dangerous, not less so. Resources don't matter when you're as dangerous as he is.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Good Comics - Farscape

Alright, enough with the soul-bearing and complaining about the crap, let's get on with the good comics!

BOOM's Farscape comic is a guilty pleasure for me - it's a layer-cake of nostalgia that I enjoy despite its flaws, but marvel at when it gets it right.

Farscape remains one of my favorite TV shows of all time and perhaps the best space opera ever put out by the Sci-Fi network (sorry BSG fans - but you know I'm right). It was innovative, intelligent, rapid-paced, and fun entertainment that holds up to rewatching years later (as I learned when I rewatched the series this past winter). The comic series picks up after the events of the "Peacekeeper Wars" miniseries, and deals with the ongoing adventures of the crew of the Leviathan Moya, past and present.

First, let's dispense with the problems of the comic series. It is definitely a series written towards the longtime fans of the TV series and not for the casual reader. Much like the TV series it was based on, it's an ongoing story that is constantly building, and all-too often impenetrable to a new audience. The current storyline, concerning a giant cosmic war, seems at times to be an element external to the rest of the series - the antagonists were never introduced in the TV run, and are massively powerful and resourceful - if it weren't for the fact that series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon is helming the comic, one would think it fanfiction. There also hasn't been much opportunity for the slapstick (and occasionally crude) humor the show was known for (although as always, Rygel manages to pull through, as displayed in the posters here).

O'Bannon (with co-writer Keith R.A. DeCandido) presents other challenges, many of them specific to the medium of comics. For one, without the kinetic motion of a TV series, usually with a decent musical score, space battles can often seem static and boring on a comic page without a truly talented artist. Another distinction in the transfer from TV to comics is the loss of the "multiple cast members yelling at each other simultaneously" - one of the more enjoyable and realistic dialogue tics from the TV series. The art for the series is perfectly workmanlike - it captures the likenesses of the characters adequately, but occasionally feels a bit stiff and static.

The good news is that if you're a Farscape fan, well, this is definitely for you. The characters are very much as you remember them, and it is easy to hear their dialogue given in the voices of the actors who portrayed them (particularly Ben Browder and Claudia Black). Unlike a new fan, you'll have no trouble at all catching up on the events that have occurred after "The Peacekeeper Wars" and the changes will no doubt surprise and excite you. It's a good fix of what you've been missing. This is Farscape in its high space-opera mode, and you know all the hilarity and high-stakes drama you are anticipating? It's there, and then some.

Oh and Scorpius is there.

So while I can't in good conscience recommend the Farscape comic series for a new reader (unless you are brave enough to do the homework - but you'll be happy you did!), it's definitely recommended for Farscape fan who can't find any good space opera anywhere else (and what's up with that? Didn't there used to be good space opera TV shows? And maybe a comic or two out there? Yeesh...that's sad).