Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Greatest Comic Never Made!

I just read the script for what is possibly the greatest comic that Never Was.

Beau Smith's "Wonder Woman vs. Xena".

Which is automatically the best idea ever.

It reads like one of the more comedic episodes of Xena, with just the right amounts of irreverence and tongue-in-cheek fun.

Basically, the plot is simple: Ares is bored. He wants to watch something interesting, so he ends up transporting Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl to Xena's Ancient Greece, sending imposters to raze the town and poke Xena's ire, arrange for them to meet and watch the catfight of the century.

Which of course the comic delivers, along with gratuitous costume switching, and naturally the crazy occasionally cartoonish guest characters that Xena's comic episodes tend to play this case, the great chauvinist "Bolos the Manly" ("So chauvinistic it is said that he oinks instead of snores at night in drunken slumber") and his subjects from the city of Testosterone.

Naturally, as this *is* Beau Smith, the entire thing is tongue-in-cheek fun. With great hilarious lines. My favorite is probably this caption:

"It doesn't take long for word of these angry amazons and their axe wielding acts to reach the ears of most of the countryside."

Or Bolos's line: "Ahhh! Wide-hipped women grappling each other for my amusement and carnal pleasure. Wild wenches of wrestling dressed in lurid leather and latex. The manly gods smile upon us today, my brothers!"

I love silly wordplay. :-)

The characterization in the midst of the fun is actually really good. I love the portrayal of Diana and Cassie's relationship as well as the Xena and Gabrielle interaction. I always thought Mr. Smith writes a great Diana. And he does. She's fantastic. And in one bit of dialogue, he completely nails what I think the core of Diana's character is:

"It's obvious that you aren't going to help us. More obvious that you want to hurt us. Consider the other cheek turned and filed away." Then naturally fighting commences.

I've said before that I think a lot of writers neglect the warrior aspect of Diana's character for the diplomat. When she's both. She's supposed to be both. Athena and Artemis had a hand in her construction, after all, she's not a flower child here! There's war in her blood. She believes in peace, but she is a guardian more than a pacifist. And protection often requires more than pretty words.

Anyway, I just think this script is darn nifty. It's hilarious and tongue-in-cheek in the way my favorite Xena episodes are, a fun lark, but with some real character gems!

I want it as an actual comic, darnit!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wolverine is not a %^&* Samurai!!

Okay the Marvel Strength Directory's a pretty neat site. But one thing really pisses me off. In the entry for Wolverine, they describe him as follows:

Abilities: Due to his extensive training as a CIA operative, a Samurai, and as a member of the Weapon X program, Wolverine is a master of multiple forms of martial arts, weapons, and vehicles. He is also a trained expert in computers, explosives, and assassination techniques.

Gahhh! NO! He was NEVER a *samurai*! Samurai was a social class. The word means "servant", in truth they were the highest level of society. In the Heian Period, when Japan was actually ruled by a court of aristocrats, the samurai were distant relatives that recieved military training. After the Heike War, the samurai became the dominant social class.

You are born, or adopted into, a samurai family. Samurai status is based on heredity. Ultimately, the men of the samurai class were the only ones allowed to carry weapons, but their wives and children were also samurai. Samurai =/= L33t katana-wielding warrior!. In fact, by the late Tokugawa period, most were petty bureaucrats. The swords were ornamental.

I suppose it's possible, one could imagine, that Wolverine/James Howlett/Logan was adopted by a samurai family. Ignoring of course the policy of strict isolation and *beheading* of European/American foreigners marooned on Japanese soil. Which only got stricter as time passed and was one of the motivations behind Matthew Perry and his Black Ships forcing open the ports of Japan. But a good story could of course have Wolverine somehow disguise himself and then be adopted into a samurai family.

Except for another small problem. Wolverine's birthdate is given as in the 1880s. That's a few years *after* class differentiations were *eliminated* in Japan. The Meiji Restoration wanted to foster an idea of national unity and rapid modernization/westernization. The old Confucian-inspired class distinctions: Samurai>Peasant>Artisan>Merchant>eta and hinin were eliminated. While naturally financial and class differentiations still occured and do occur in practice, especially if you happen to be descended from one of the eta or hinin that lived in buraku villages, and being descended from a samurai family can still get you a bit of prestige, there are no present day samurai.

Seriously, after the founding of the Meiji government, one of the major architects of the movement, Saigo Takamori, appalled that the government had decided to abolish his class and essentially make them obsolete by creating a standing conscript army, took his men and revolted. This was the Satsuma Rebellion by the way. This was in 1877, by the way, at least three years before Wolverine was born.

Gee, it's not like this stuff hasn't turned up in a relatively well known movie that came out a few years back, right? (A hint: The Last Samurai does not and never did refer to Tom Cruise's character.)

Now, the warrior we think of from old Akira Kurosawa films and anime is called a bushi. A bushi was a warrior of the Samurai class who devoted himself to the martial arts and followed the code of Bushido. Now, I have a great deal of trouble reconciling Wolverine as he's portrayed in the comics I've read with what I know of Bushido, but for the sake of argument, I'll ignore that. Wolverine's gone through a lot of changes over the years.

He may have been a bushi, but he was NEVER a samurai. And you don't have to have studied years of Asian History to know the difference. Crack open a history book. Crack open an *encyclopedia*. It takes ten seconds to look up "samurai".

I get irked by poor research.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Challenging Assumptions: The Savage She-Hulk and Me

Okay, so on Ragnell's recommendation I've been reading She-Hulk. And of course, it's fantastic. I expected nothing less. Now I'm a bit compulsive, so after I read as much of the current series as I could get my hands on, I decided to hunt down issues of the earlier series. So far I've been able to read the beginning of Savage She-Hulk.

I wasn't expecting to like it much. I mean, I like Stan Lee, but I've never thought much of his handling of female characters. They come out a bit...wooden, sometimes. So I rather assumed I wouldn't like Savage She-Hulk at all.

And I was wrong. I'm liking it, a lot. Sure the dialogue's clunky and the exposition's very...Silver Age, but I'm getting a lot out of the series. Many elements haven't changed much from series to series: Jennifer is still sweet and fun, and the She Hulk is strong and fierce, but no less a thinking rational being.

So far as I've read, I've been noticing a theme of false assumptions. The mobster Trask assumes that Jennifer Walters has evidence against him and shoots her in the back. Bruce Banner assumes his blood can save her, without thinking of any side effects. The assassins who enter Jen's hospital room assume she's helpless, which they quickly discover is not the case. Jen faces many sexist assumptions from colleagues that believe she can't be as successful as them in a "man's world."

The She-Hulk is believed to be savage and monstrous like the Hulk, and thus a poorly disguised robot is more than enough reason for the town to fear her. Her own father assumes that She-Hulk is guilty and a murderer. When Iron Man, called in to stop this dreaded being in issue 6, fights her, he's actually shocked that she can speak coherent English unlike the Hulk.

I don't know why, but for me this moment pretty much exemplifies the entire series thus far for me. Jen's constantly proving herself to be smarter, stronger and more capable than anyone is ready to give her credit for. As a human or as the She-Hulk.

She's taken her cousin's curse and turned it into an advantage and while she doesn't like the uncontrollability of her transformations, she seems to enjoy being She-Hulk rather than seeing it as the curse her cousin does.

There's a feminist allegory here, I think. As of the time of the comic, professional career women were still finding their feet. They were (and sometimes still are) assumed to be too emotional and not intelligent or rational or educated enough to serve in the same capacity as a man does. A woman has to do twice the work to get the same accolades as a man.

She-Hulk is stronger and tougher than Jennifer, but she's more feared. Where Jennifer looks like a gentle, fragile young thing that would get eaten up by the man's world, the She-Hulk is the amazon of legend, primal and terrifying. However, at the same time, she's a savage. A brute. A barbarian. In both forms, Jennifer is too emotional, and not intelligent or rational.

The idea challenged here is the notion that women are small, fragile things that need protecting AND that strong self-sufficient women are monstrous. The idea being challenged is that a woman is somehow inherently less intelligent and rational than a man.

And the idea challenged here is that Stan Lee can't write fascinating women or a strong feminist allegory.

The Savage She-Hulk proves these ideas wrong. All of them. I'm hoping to be able to find and read more.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Don't Trust the Cute Ones:

This is a good month for Sand fans! He got a random cameo in 52 #1, a mention in JSA Classified, and even the implications of this. This makes me happy, so in celebration I thought I'd post another Sand-post.

See, we already know he can be mouthy, but this post is in honor of another lesser known quality of my favorite JSA-er.

Sometimes, he can be a bit of a bastard.

Let me give you some examples!


Sand will let you think your teammates are dead in order to get the drop on a badguy.

Now I'm not saying it wasn't a good idea, or that it didn't work, but seriously? If that kid were Batman and pulled this shit, there would have been Words Exchanged.

Just saying.


Sand is not against having you risk your life in bizarre ways.

Blind Man's Bluff? More like Russian Roulette. It was a very clever scheme and it did nicely provide them with the weapon to take out Johnny Sorrow, but still, Mid-Nite was almost an ex-Pieter on the off chance that his blindness would save him.


Sand will shamelessly lie to you to get you to take the only antidote of a poison.

The latter picture is the very next time we see him after Carter gets the antidote and the kid can't even stand up on his own. I'm keep saying I'm pretty sure the scene actually went like (paraphrased of course.)

Sand: "No, no, I'm fine in silicon form! See? La-di-da-da..."
Kendra gives Carter the antidote.
Carter: "Thank you, both of you."
Sand waits until it's in Carter's blood stream and promptly keels over: "Sucker."


Sand does not respect your right to privacy.

Poor Speed. If you really wanted to hide, you shouldn't have picked somewhere like Hong Kong. He'll find you there. You should try Mars.


Sand is not above shooting you in the leg if you annoy him.

Bringing up Sorrow is a bad idea. Bringing up Sorrow when he's armed with something that shoots very sharp metal objects? Damn stupid idea. "Wrong gun"...suuure.

But see, he gets away with all this because he's so sweet, calm and un-dramatic. No one's ever gonna call him on it.

Learn from the poor unfortunate Shatterer: *Never* trust the cute ones.

(Pictures taken from JSA 14, 16,19, 22, 30, and DC Presents 47)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Watchin' the Woman Wonder

Okay, so I'm basically spending this weekend watching the first season of the Wonder Woman tv show.

And it's *darling*. Though gosh if they don't have strange casting choices for Hippolyta. Cloris Leachman and Carolyn Jones? Morticia Addams is much too delicate for Hippolyta. And...well...*Phyllis*?!

Still, it's an adorable show. Lynda Carter's lovely. And Steve Trevor is oddly charming while unconscious and being carried in Diana's arms like a child.

I've got a new appreciation for Ragnell's irritation at the post-Crisis revamp of Steve Trevor now. They're such a cute couple. It really is like taking Lois Lane, aging her, and marrying her to Jimmy Olsen. It's just *wrong*.

And how weird is it that the Amazon games consist of hammerthrow, archery, racing, and blocking bullets with their bracers.

One of these things is not like the other...

But the scene in the pilot when the nazi assassin grandma whipped out the machine gun was pretty damn awesome.

The invisible jet's still a dumb idea though.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Line that Made me Laugh:

From the Wonder Woman tv show pilot:

Nazi: "Speak English, if you don't mind Herr Kapitan, for secrecy's sake."

Because you know, it's not like any enemies of the *Axis Powers* would *ever* know English. :-P

Immediate Reaction to X3, sans spoilers.

Just saw X-Men: The Last Stand. I'm gonna wait a few days to do a real review, but I will say one thing about it. It was *horrible*.

The stuff I *thought* I'd hate were the least offensive parts of the movie. The plot made no sense (even for a comic movie), the characterization was awful, and the *ending*, the way the "good guys" won. There was no moral victory there.

Even though I'm not a Marvel fan in general, I was pissed off. My friend who's a big X-Men fan was *furious*. I'm fine with any and all divergences from the comic. But just plain bad writing is unforgivable.

And the writing was absolutely terrible. I think it's time those writers learned that hands are a privilege, not a right!

And I'm not completely sure I don't think it was incredibly sexist if not misogynistic either.

Oh and stay to the end of the credits, there's a final bit to see that would suck to miss.

There were some neat fight scenes though, just the restsucked.

Damn, that's two hours of my life I won't get back. To think, I could have been watching the Fantastic Four movie. Blechh.

(ETA: Spoilers are discussed in commentary, so until you've seen the movie, if you plan to and care about spoilers, please don't read.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sibling Rivalry Revisited: Reaction to Green Lantern 11

Okay, considering everyone who's *ever* been to this blog knows that Guy Gardner is one of my two favorite characters and that I find the relationship between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner to be fascinating has to know what today's blog entry is about.

And well, I never claimed I wasn't predictable. So here we go, a second analysis of the relationship, focusing heavily on GL:11.

Contains Many Many Spoilers, Go Away The most fascinating element of this whole relationship is that, except for a handful of scenes in the last issue of Rebirth, the first of Recharge and Infinite Crisis 7, we've never actually seen Hal and Guy interact on equal footing before.

Hal's always been the superior one in the relationship, as I think I've gone into in my first essay. His control freak tendencies are one of the most fascinating aspects of his character, after all. At the start, we saw Hal track down and befriend his would-be alternate, who had no real idea why this strange person was suddenly talking to him in a Baltimore gym.

(One of the reasons I'm completely fine with the retcon out of ED/EDII. While it was neat seeing Guy as Hal's social worker, it messed with the power dynamics a bit too much. It did add to the theme of Guy as unintentional victim of Hal's thoughtlessness in his heroing, considering the whole hostage situation later. But I think it altered the power balance a little too much. There is a big difference between the meeting of a convict and his social worker and when a hot-shot ex-military test pilot shows up out of the blue at a Baltimore gym to talk to a very young middle school gym teacher.)

The next time they met, Guy was the man the Green Lantern saved from falling off a cliff during the bus accident. The third, he was the green newbie recruited to temporarily take Hal's place, never even knowing that it *was* Hal.

It certainly wasn't an equal match when they were rivals/antagonists. Guy was mentally crippled and almost insane. When Guy got his sanity back, Hal was already Parallax, and then the Spectre. Both beings of incredible power. Not to mention, it's debatable how much Hal remembers of that anyway.

But *now*, as of Rebirth, they're on equal footing. They're both sane, they're both human, they're both Green Lanterns. Hal's Parallax debacle and Guy's experiences as Warrior have placed them on the same level. And it's *fascinating*.

Rebirth has some throwaway lines but the real interaction begins in Recharge, when Guy Gardner flies alongside Hal's plane, completely undaunted by the fact that Hal doesn't have his ring (and makes legitimate complaint to that effect). At first glance, the relationship plays out as it had when Guy was brain damaged. An exasperated Hal being annoyed by irritating counterpart. But there's a subtle difference in the dynamic.

Hal's "You've finally proved you're one of the best" was interesting on one sense, it offers much deserved recognition. But in another, it shows how much Hal Doesn't Get It. Being Green Lantern isn't about proving anything. It's about doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. It's about doing what it takes to keep the peace and uphold the meaning of the Corps.

The Green Lanterns were *already* worthy. That's why they were chosen. Even Guy Gardner was chosen. Hal's statement is actually arrogant too. What he means is that Guy had proven to him, Hal, that he was one of the best. But who is Hal to make that judgement? Hal is just a fellow Lantern, chosen like the rest. And hell, *Hal* was the one who let himself get influenced, released Parallax and destroyed the Corps. And *he* is the one who gets to say when someone's worthy?

That's the sort of arrogance that Hal's always had though, one of the flaws that made him interesting. And one of the ways that made it obvious that the whole conflict between him and Guy was not one-sided, was not entirely Guy's fault. The Gardner of GL v2/3 and JLI would have picked up on that arrogance and gotten pissed off. But this Guy Gardner is different. And his response is easy and confident: "Finally proved it? Hell, Jordan, you know it and I know it. I always was the best." And in that calm, confident assurance, Guy finally won.

The first time I read through the scene, I laughed. I read Hal's statement like recognition and Guy's as entertaining overblown arrogance. But the thing is, looking at it now, I see Hal as the arrogant one, for the reasons I gave above, and I appreciate the simple truth in what Guy says. There is only one person a hero needs to prove worth to, and that's him or herself. And given the path of their stories, it's playing out. In Green Lantern before the year jump, Hal was getting his delusions and assumptions ripped away one by one, and he's starting OYL at an emotional nadir, and scrambling for his purpose. In Recharge, Guy steps up and takes charge and takes names, and has settled into his position of Honor Guard very well, OYL.

And the best part is how, at the end after being promoted and getting the recognition that he'd always wanted, his response to Hal is exactly the same as it was in Recharge 1. Because in the end, it *doesn't* matter. He proved himself to the entire Corps and it made no difference, because he'd already proven himself *to* himself. (One of these days I really have to dissect Warrior as a really cracked-out coming of age story).

The interactions in Infinite Crisis weren't quite as dissectable I think. But I loved them because I am such a sucker for Hal in an older brother role, and it applied here. Hal calling Guy in as the cavalry was neat in a professional sense, but the "his ring stays with him" made me swoon. I've argued before in my previous essay that I thought Hal paralleled Mace in a lot of ways for Guy, and I get so pleased to see that playing out in the comics. Even if Hal's a lousy big brother most of the time. That's okay. So was Mace.

The last bit was interesting though, when Guy and Hal are watching Superboy Prime's cell. "There hasn't been a massacre like that since--" "I know when." "Oh, yeah."

First because it's funny. Guy's changed but he's still insensitive. But it's oddly sweet too, because the reason Guy's so careless is that he forgets what a big deal it is to Hal. Because it's NOT a big deal to him. Because Guy's forgiven him, completely. He truly, unstintingly believes that the man who caused all that havoc, who killed so many, who impaled him on a *spike* and ripped out his eye before absorbing the yellow ring and putting him in a coma for three weeks was not Hal Jordan. Why should he censor himself around Hal when Hal's not the guilty party at all?

Finally, GL: 11 is a feast for me. The relationship is in full swing and I love every panel of it. It for me and plays out exactly like I hoped it would.

The parallel to Mace stands stronger than ever for Guy, even if Hal is a version of Mace that he can actually be on something of an even level with. I talked about the parallels of Hal and Mace before in my last thing, but here it was even moreso. Guy's still in Hal's shadow as the rookies he's been working with on Oa ignore his ire to attack his dinner mate. Not to mention, Salakk blames him for it. Hal's also, much like Mace with the drugs, something of a user, and is a self-centered jackass. (Which I love, because being a self-centered ass really is a big part of his personality in GL v2/3. It's not all he is of course, but he definitely had his really awful moments. It's including stuff like this that shows that Mr. Johns really loves the character for the character, and not some idealized nostalgia version in his place.)

There's a fascinating element here. Hal is, on the outside, the perfect Lantern: charming, good-looking, polite but still one of the guys. But at least with regards to his relationship with Guy, he's still a domineering user. Having noble reasons doesn't excuse the fact that he both volunteered Guy for the mission without asking first (if you notice, we never see Guy agree to it on panel before Hal goes to ask) and lied to *Guy* about having permission. While it distinctly looked like Guy knew Hal was lying, it's still bad form not to tell your friend your risking both your careers. Where as Guy is outwardly rude, crass, self-absorbed, arrogant and an undeniable jackass, he's, as Hal says, the first person to forgive and accept him. He shows (not very surprising, if you read Warrior) perceptiveness with regards to Hal's emotional state, and of course willingness to follow Hal on a crazy atonement mission. His forgiveness contrasted with Hal's lie makes it clear which character actually has the moral high ground.

Ragnell points out that Hal is probably trying to do him a favor and give him deniability. Which I agree, but honestly, Guy'd never go for that. Soon as Hal started taking blame, he'd leap in with a "Oh come on, I knew the whole damn time. You can't lie worth crap, Jordan," or something to that effect...whether it's true or not.

The really fascinating realization I had writing this is that they're not on equal footing after all. Not at all. But for the first time ever, the power's entirely in Guy's hands, even if he doesn't know it. See, Guy knows Hal. Guy knows Hal very well. He knows the annoying tics, he knows when Hal's zoning out and guilt tripping. He noticed Hal's perturbedness after his nightmare/flashback, even if he doesn't know the cause. And he pretty obviously knew that Hal was lying about the Guardians' permission (which still doesn't excuse the lie!).

But Hal. Hal doesn't know Guy at all. As he said, he expected Guy to be the last to forgive him. But what he doesn't know and the readers (of Warrior at least) do is that Guy had already started to forgive him when he was Parallax. When as far as Guy knew, Hal had just lost his freakin' mind. When he let him stay at Arisia's funeral, that was the obvious one. But even before that, there was no real sense of hate or rage toward Hal, and after his death, Hal was given a monument in Warriors with the others. And that's before Hal had any sort of plausible deniability via mind control and alien bugs from Outer Space. So naturally, now that he knows for sure it wasn't Hal at all, well, okay then. That's settled. Let's get a beer. Or something like that.

If Hal knew Guy, he wouldn't be surprised at the forgiveness. If he knew Guy, he'd never have bothered to lie about the Guardians, because he'd know Guy would a) know otherwise, b) come otherwise and c) claim to have known it all anyway and refuse the damn deniability.

It's not Hal's fault really. The very young man he'd met in Baltimore was sweet, even-tempered and even a little shy. A middle-school gym teacher that was amazed and awestruck at his sudden introduction into the world of superheroics ("So *you're* the Green Arrow! Son of a gun!") right before the battery blew up in his face. A man that the Guardians decided against healing because he had been, in their judgement, "too hesitant".

Then the man he knew after the accident was a something else entirely. In Green Lantern, he was a petulant, angry eight-year-old in a man' body. In JLI, he was a complete caricature...basically like an angry eight year old with bad male role models pretending to be a grownup. The damage wasn't really repaired until after Hal'd gone Parallax, whereupon they didn't have a whole lot of interaction. (And he doesn't seem to remember much from his Spectre-hood).

But that makes for a completely new power dynamic. Hal's kind of blind and is the sort to think he knows more than he actually does, and Guy's the sort of character who likes putting on a facade. Which puts Hal at the complete disadvantage for the first time in their lives. So it'll be interesting to see how this develops. Right now, this story seems like a lot of Hal's assumptions are going to be thrown back into his face, and I'm guessing his assumptions about Guy will be among them. This should be fun.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

This made me laugh:

Something cute enough to make me squee! (From the second Warrior annual)

It's baby Warrior!

I love this series...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Elsewhere, the War rages On

Okay, so Ragnell has served her latest riposte in her battle with Chris Sims.

Well, being the slasher I am, it made me think about my own list.

I mean, Guy Gardner's at the top, right? But who in the world could he be slashed with? Who's the most obvious choice there that could possibly compete with Hal Jordan or Bruce Wayne?

Well...I found it...

Brace Yourself

I'm not entirely sure what a Tormock Tango is, but I bet Lobo was on top.

For the record, after this panel, Lobo presents him with the skull of an enemy. I don't know about you, but to me...that sounds like a czarnian courtship gift.

I'm just sayin'...

My 50 Best...

So, the Great Curve's got their 50 Best DC Characters thing going, and I've finished casting my vote.

I'm going to post my choices here, with a bit about why, feel free to ridicule them. :-)

It's not like any should be a particular shock. :-P

1. Guy Gardner/Green Lantern/Warrior
(He's gone through hell and back, figuratively and literally, but will never stay down for long. Besides, he called the most powerful teenager in the world a crybaby.)

2. Sanderson Hawkins/Sand
(Best reconception of a forgotten Golden Age character ever and he's mouthy!)

3. Tim Drake/Robin
(The Quintessential Robin)

4. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle
(The DCU's MVP)

5. Karen Starr/Power Girl
(her attitude takes down jerks while her breasts stop bullets)

6. John Constantine
(A man with style's a man who can smile.)

7. Kyle Rayner/Green Lantern/Ion
(He's a little dim, but awfully sweet. And it's fun to watch him grow.)

8. Jay Garrick/Flash
(his very presence is like a big warm hug. Or a bunch of little ones that happen really fast)

9. Hippolyta of Themyscira/Wonder Woman
(Warrior, Mother, Queen.)

10. Ted Grant/Wildcat
(He's an old-school boxer in a catsuit, what's not to love).

11. Kate Spencer/Manhunter
(She's a woman in a man's world, in every sense of the word. And *what* a woman.)

12. Jason Blood
("Gone O Little Man So Tame...Arise the Demon Whatsizname."*)

13. Diana of Themyscira/Wonder Woman
(She is the hidden potential within every woman)

14. Hal Jordan/Green Lantern/Parallax
(He's a self-centered jerk, a control freak and a klutz who always hits his head on random shit. And that's why I like him.)

15. Dinah Lance/Black Canary
(She's beautiful, funny and classy. Ollie never deserved her.)

16. Bruce Wayne/Batman
(He's never needed superpowers to be the scariest man in the DCU)

17. Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man
(He's going through a rough patch right now, but he's always been funny, smart, and interesting. I'm glad to see him starting to come alive again in 52)

18. Lois Lane
(First Lady of DC Comics for damn good reason)

19. Pieter Cross/Dr. Mid-Nite
(Only a little less-confident than God, and he's got an Owl!)

20. Michael Holt/Mr. Terrific
(Batman copied the T-sphere design, he's that good.)

21. Courtney Whitmore/Star-Spangled Kid/Stargirl
(Probably the most realistic portrayal of a normal teenager in extraordinary situations I've seen in a long time)

22. Clark Kent/Superman
(The icon of DC, symbol of the American spirit, and all around just a nice guy. I can't in good conscience leave him off of this list.)

23. Lex Luthor
(Scientist, Businessman, President. The living embodiment of "Power Corrupts")

24. Todd Rice/Obsidian
(Best turn-around of a character ever. From annoying loser to charming and likeable hero. He's proof that characters can be redeemed.)

25. Selina Kyle/Catwoman
(The only woman to ever be a match for Bruce Wayne, in my opinion)

26. Garfield Logan/Beast Boy/Changeling
(The heart of the Titans, even if he's not one anymore. Plus, over the OYL gap, he became hot)

27. Vic Stone/Cyborg
(The backbone of the Titans, though I hope he stops being a jerk soon)

28. Wesley Dodds/Sandman
(He was the first Golden Age hero I saw who actually considered and cared about the fact that he was putting his sidekick in incredible danger. And he swung headfirst into Thor. Which never stops being funny.)

29. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy
(Her schemes always have interesting results.)

30. Zinda Blake/Lady Blackhawk
(She is a time-lost token female of a fighter squad. Not that there's anything really "token" about her now.)

31. Sandra Woosan/Lady Shiva
(No man or woman is deadlier in the DCU)

32. Ted Kord/Blue Beetle
(often Comic Relief, but NEVER a joke)

33. Grace Choi
(I appreciate tough, fun women, there never seems to be enough of them)

34. Mary Marvel
(By *far* the smartest of the Marvel Clan. And so sweet and nice too!)

35. Snapper Carr
(His storyarc in Hourman made me cry. Shut up. *snap snap*)

36. Linda Danvers/Supergirl
(Flawed, funny and even a little tragic, Linda's always going to be *my* Supergirl. Fuck Kara Zor-El.)

37. Vic Sage/the Question
("That man has no face!!!")

38. Sue Dibny
(She was entertaining and interesting. And whatever else anyone says about Identity Crisis, the retelling of her first meeting with Ralph will never not make me smile)

39. Jack Knight
(Starman turned nostalgia into an artform and Jack was the perfect center for it all, I always wished he had more to do in JSA)

40. the Shade
(Because he was saving the statue and the woman was just in the way.)

41. Alan Scott
(He's the Elder Statesman of the DCU. And really fucking hot in an eyepatch.)

42. John Stewart
(Because Mosaic shows that he's so much more than Hal's messenger.)

43. Tora Olafsdotter
(She showed that being more traditionally feminine doesn't mean being weak)

44. J'onn J'onzz
(I don't care what anyone says, it's not the Justice League without J'onn J'onzz)

45. Kon-El/Conner Kent
(Yeah, he dwelled on the parentage thing a bit too much, but he was a good kid and a work in progress. He has so much growing left to do)

46. Johnny Sorrow
(My favorite villain. He's just creepy. And an ex-silent film star, which makes him even creepier.)

47. the Joker
(He's overused now, but once upon a time, he killed a Robin. I've never quite gotten over that...even if Jason has.)

48. Alfred Pennyworth
(I don't really need to explain this one, do I?)

49. Katma Tui
(Because she was confident, competent and unmistakably female.)

50. Soranik Natu
(The most promising newcomer to the Corps, and a Doctor to boot!)

* quoted from the Demon vol 3, 54

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Character that Annoyed the Hell Out of Me

I haven't read any of the new WildCATS. I intend to, as I enjoyed the previous three volumes of stories. Even if it looks like a good portion of them are out of Wildstorm continuity now. (Which I rather expected, honestly, especially with the whole general oddness of the later stories, when you had Hadrian with Void's powers as a company CEO with benign World Domination Plans, it was probably a bit much. Even if it was pretty unique as a story.)

The original WildCATS though was pretty fun. I'd initially read snippets of it as a kid and enjoyed it, so I was thrilled as an adult to have the opportunity to read the original run in almost entirety.

I was surprised by how much I liked it. The Kherubim/Daemonite stuff was a little silly but in a cheesy comic book way that I could dig. And I liked most of the characters. Hadrian/Spartan's my favorite, they can blow him up every damn issue and it never stops being entertaining to me. And the subtle emotional stuff they managed with him was appealing to me. As well as the humor.

Funniest part of the damn comic was when there was two Spartan androids running around, one with the personality of Yohn Kolt (or however you spell that) that hated the thought of being the blueprint for an Android and the other being the usual Hadrian 7, who'd oh so quietly fuck with him.

The others tended to be appealing too. Grifter was exactly what Gambit was supposed to be, but never delivered under the schtick. Zealot had a bad habit of being the series's Wolverine, turning up everywhere, gratuitous past stories, but tended to be entertaining when she wasn't the subject of idiotic love triangles. Emp was charmingly Machiavellian. Maul was cute and geeky, and so on and so forth.

But there was one character that I *could not* and *can not* stand.


Holy hell do I hate this character.

In fact, at the tender age of pre-teen however-the-fuck-old-I-was when I started reading issues of this comic, this walking, talking cliche was the first character to *ever* earn my abject hatred.

First, let's look at her pre-WildCATS identity. She was a stripper. Pardon me, she was an "exotic dancer". Now for the record, I have nothing against this job or the women who do this job. It's not a job I would want, but it's not grounds for me to hate or even dislike a character. I'll admit, it does make me look closer at the character. It can be very poorly done.

In Voodoo's case it was *very* poorly done. Basically it was an excuse to have her appear at the beginning in skimpy costumes and gyrating. The occupation was never used beyond that to any sort of substance.

The character was very sweet and largely innocent. The pure heart of the group, basically. The only one who cried when the Spartan Android blew himself up (the first time anyway). Now there's nothing wrong with this either, but in combination with the whole stripper thing, you start to get an irritating combination. She's a sweet, little girl personality that's also there to be objectified! But she's not cynical, oh no! She's still innocent and emotionally untouched. Add in abuse in a backstory (or implied, I forget precisely), and I start to grit my teeth.

She's "special", somehow a hybrid descendent of both Daemonite and Kherubim ancestry. She can see Daemonite possession. This is an interesting idea, but in practice I find the more "special" a character is in terms of ancestry/powers, the less she is in terms of personality.

Here's a tip to all the writers out there, if your character needs to be "one of a kind" or notably "special" to be an interesting character, (like for example, she has to be Superman's cousin, and implied to be even *more* powerful than him, traumatized from isolation in a space capsule, able to bypass a demi-godling's control of an Olympian Lasso, et cetera) you might be dealing with a weak character...not that I'm implying anything of course.

Not to mention this mixed heritage ends up only causing Voodoo more trouble and angst when they reach the planet of the Kherubim and she finds herself shoved into one of the slums. It was an interesting storyline, but weakened because *naturally* fucking-Voodoo was the one in trouble.

Voodoo was constantly the damsel in distress. Moreover, she was constantly the injured one. If a team member had to be carried from the rubble, decourously draped in the arms of another character, it was her. ALWAYS. Now I understand the appeal of decorously draped unconscious characters sometimes, and angst and hurt-comfort, but if it's the same victim EVERY TIME, it gets old. Just *die* already.

She was regularly the tortured character in insane gratuitous ways. From being imprisoned in the slums of the Kherubim world, to having her mind raped, to having her legs *ripped* *off* at some point...

Not to mention, she was utterly useless in battle. Where mixed heritage gave Maul the ability to increase size/decrease intelligence and thus make him a risky powerhouse in battle, her powers were passive. That's not her fault, of course, but she couldn't do anything *else*. Grifter had no powers at all, being human, and he still managed to kick ass. She was the weakest fighter, had the lamest power (in a fighting sense), and hell, she didn't even have the technological expertise to make up for being utterly useless in a fight. Her sole purpose was to say, "That one's the bad guy!!!" and get injured and moon after the android while Maul moons after her.

Well, to be fair, every once in a there was a plotline of Voodoo trying to learn to be a better fighter from Zealot or someone else. It'd never *really* last and soon enough she'd be the delicate flower of the team again. Bleh.

That and she managed to piss me off more by crushing on the android (who really was the vastly more interesting character of the two), because of course the pretty, useless one should be paired with the leader. He even had feelings for her back.

Not that we were ever shown why/how these feelings developed. Not that we ever really had any build up to make the relationship a plausible option (and I tend to *like* human-android relationships, they've got interesting drama.).

Voodoo also suffers from the literary device in which the hot girl is "the prize" to be won. The winner would be the geeky but pure hearted Maul of course. The problem is one of many geek-gets-the-hot-girl storylines though. The relationship is defined basically in terms of him only. He's the one pining from afar. She doesn't notice/appreciate him. Ultimately he wins her heart.

My problem isn't that he's a geek or that she's hot. People are attracted to each other for many reasons after all. My problem is that in these sorts of stories, the hot girl is turned into this glorified Other. She's like...this unattainable, beautiful being that's portrayed as closer to some out of reach alien or goddess than a person. Her humanity is stripped from her, and we're never really given the chance to truly understand her perspective on all this.

I suppose in general, my problem with the character is that she's in general not written as a human to me (and I'm not referring to species here). She's always seemed like a string of cliches. She annoys the hell out of me. I suppose there's always the hope that she's written better in the new series.

Anyone here read the new WildCATS series that can tell me if they finally figured out to write her, or if she remains a waste of ink and paper, would be greatly appreciated. :-)

(I stole the top picture of Voodoo from here.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Women, Comics, Biases and Ramblings:

This had started as a reply to an interesting entry at Shelly's Comic Book Shelf called Anti-Women Bias in Comics? but it ended up too long and largely tangential (focusing more on one particular paragraph than the real topic of the piece), but I'm going to post it here regardless.

" And I would prefer more attention be paid to the weakening of Roe vs. Wade and other issues that affect the lives of women than their depiction in comics. And yes, while you can argue that comics can foster attitudes that lead to those real world issues, the same was said about violence and TV and I don't really see that, either, not if kids are given a well-rounded environment and if not, well, TV or comics won't be the real problem, neglect and other issues will be. "

On one level, I see what she's saying here, and I agree. Real world matters *should* take precedence.

But the thing is, these problems aren't unconnected. The way women are seen in popular culture and media reflect the way women are perceived in the real world.

And I'm going to make that very argument mentioned above: comics, like tv and movies, are particularly important because of kids and young adults who are still impressionable, still forming their opinions of men, of women, of personal values and respect, they're absorbing what they read. They're incorporated into the growing world view of these young people, men *and* women.

How can we expect these young people to understand the ramifications of Roe v. Wade when everywhere they go, they see these images of women portrayed as significantly weaker/less substantial/Other than men, worth more for their ability to attract men than for their own selves...

I've heard young women my age express horrifically misogynistic attitudes toward female characters and by extension women that remind them of said characters. These weak portrayals replace empathy with the illusion of knowledge, and that faux-knowledge is negative and harmful.

These young women *my age* come from relatively happy families, kind and understanding parents, liberal backgrounds. But that doesn't actually change anything.

A good friend in high school automatically hated any female character *because she was female*. She actually claimed to hate women (she and I, she said, were special. Meant to be men. It'd started as a joke, but she *believed* it. She genuinely believed that there was something weaker about being women.) And she'd cite things like tv shows, movies, anime as *examples*.

Maybe she was stupid. Maybe not. But it was certainly a bother that sometimes, it was really hard to counter her negative examples. And any personal, positive example essentially becomes an "exception that proves the rule".

And even more shamefully, even more ridiculously, we'd first became friends because on one level I had *agreed* with her.

It's ridiculous, but I think, sometimes, my generation *is* innately ridiculous. And I think if we're going to fix things, we have to start with the small ridiculous things that my generation seems to pick up on first and foremost.

Besides, if we can't fix something small and simple like a damn *comic*, how can we change anything else?

Random Non-Comic Post

As everyone by now knows, I blog solely on whim with little to no advance planning (unless it's getting good pictures), and every so often my whims take me to weird places. Which it is right now. So instead of talking about comics, I will tell you guys something about myself. Ph33r.

I developed sentience at the age of six years old. I mean that seriously. It was during some class thing where the teachers at St. Peter's brought the kids of the kindergarten and first grade into one big room to talk to us about something. Possibly a tragedy like the car accident that took the life of a fifth grade student, and hospitalized her two siblings. I don't honestly remember. As horrible as that is to admit.

What I do remember is looking around at all the little children and thinking, "Here I am, I exist. Right here. Right now. I'm me. They're Other. Not me. I'm a human being. I think, I feel, I am. This is where I begin and everything else ends."

It was a very strange experience. Like a light switch turning on. It's hard to explain. Before then, I wasn't sentient somehow. The lights were on but no one was home. It was eat, sleep, play. Nothing deeper than that. No self-awareness, no higher thought. I know this because I remember specifically what it felt like to have that change.

No one else I've ever talked to seems to remember a similar moment. That's probably because I was always something of a late developer in a lot of ways. Other people, from the sound of it, grew into sentience gradually from infancy, through toddler hood into childhood.

Not me. Mine just turned on. It was a bizarre feeling. Like everything was *real* for the first time. I was seeing everything around me with new eyes, staring at every single person in the room like I'd never seen them before. In a way, I hadn't. As our principal droned on, I paid no attention. This was much more interesting. This moment, this instant of passing time that would never exist again. No one in this room would ever exist exactly as they were in that single moment again. I thought this as I watched them. They were changing right there, right in front of me. Already.

In the seconds after I'd had my revelation I knew, they'd already changed, moved past that point. And so had I. But now, in *this* moment, I knew it all all over again.

It was incredible. Beautiful. Transcendent. I don't think there're enough words in the English language to describe it. And I'm not particularly skilled enough in any other language to add anything else.

It was my beginning and I could feel it. The feeling had shot straight through me, into my flesh, into my bone, into my blood. It all came together.

I remember blinking a lot.

Another Silly Analogy:

So my roommate likes coloring books. I can't judge her for that, as at 23 years old, I have a Barbie doll, (with *hand grenades*) but anyway, recently, she bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coloring book.

My first reaction was surprise, as I hadn't thought they still made TMNT things, but hey, I'm always up for childhood nostalgia.

Then while sleep-deprived, I had a bizarre thought.

The Green Lanterns totally correspond to the Ninja Turtles. (At least the ones from my childhood).

I mean think about it:

You have the straightforward, strong-willed, focused leader type: Hal/Leonardo (And I distinctly remember an episode where Leonardo got whacked in the head and thought he was D'Artagnan, so it fits!)

You have the intellectual/designer/inventor: John/Donatello (I can't spell)

You have the rude one with the squishy underbelly: Guy/Raphael

You have the hip youngest one, that's stylish and frivolous: Kyle/Michelangelo.

And naturally the wise mentor who's a little senile: Alan/Splinter.

Heck, extending the metaphor, you end up with the token female that's largely, in the end, useless: Jade/April.

It works out scarily well. And they're green!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saw Aquaman Trailer...

I have to admit, when I first heard about Mercy Reef, I was indifferent. I'm not a big Aquaman fan and well, "Mercy Reef" might have significance to Arthur's origin story, but it rather lacks the name-recognition factor of Smallville.

Besides, there were way too many ways to screw it up, and I don't like the Smallville TV show.

So naturally, I didn't end up seeing the preview until after they've revealed they're not picking it up.

So I watched it.

And now I'm upset! It actually...dare I say it...looks *good*. The lead actor seems attractive and wry, without any of the Smallville Clark Kent's teenage angst. (Setting him *actually* post-High School probably helps). The Bermuda triangle aspect seems interesting, the military makes for a nice complication, and hell...

He seems to talk to fish! Yay!

Here's hoping they end up picking it as a mid-season replacement after all, because by damn it, it actually looks like *fun*!

A Fan Perspective

Okay, so, over at Comics Should Be Good, there's an interesting post about fan involvement in the industry.

And I think there's probably a lot of good points, but one thing sticks out at me:

"I think it was Mark Waid that said writing for comics was the only profession where every one of your customers thinks they can do a better job than you."

This is a very telling line, I think, and I think it's probably true. Most of us do on some level think we can do better. And here's where I'm going to offend a LOT of people.

Why couldn't we?

I don't mean any disrespect to comic creators here, it's a hard job, of course. There's a lot to deal with, deadlines, scripts, editorial management, and probably a load of hassles that aren't coming to mind because it's six in the morning.

But *every* job has hassles. And over time, people start to adapt to them.

Of course, some measure of natural ability has to be involved. Writers have to be good at pacing, dialogue, plot-construction, characterization, pencillers have to be good at rendering faces and bodies semi-realistically and recognizably, still shots, action shots, backgrounds, objects, perspectives and all those other stuff. Inkers and Colorists have their own skill sets too.

But the thing about art is that most people have natural talent in one or more areas and a lot of people work damn hard to develop it into true skills. And opportunity and luck plays as much of a role as hard work. For every musician on the top ten list, there are others equally as good that work just as hard that'll never get the opportunity.

I'm not trying to cheapen the achievements of anyone in the industry by saying this. They've earned their positions. Exercises in Egotism aside, I'm not ever going to try to claim to even approach the level of the professionals. But well, I have to admit, a part of me thinks that if I continue to work at it and hone my skills, maybe someday I *could*.

Egotistic? Probably. Arrogant? Very likely. But it's natural, I think.

And in stuff like DC and Marvel, well it's going to be even crazier, and even more understandable.

Because well, I'm sorry, but most of those toys you industry guys are playing with, are ones you didn't make.

Gail Simone might write the definitive Barbara Gordon in my eyes, but she didn't *create* Barbara Gordon. Geoff Johns's Hal Jordan is *the* modern Hal Jordan, but he's still last in a long line of writers to take on the character.

I mean, hell, if there are people out there criticizing Ron Marz's Kyle in Homecoming as not coinciding with his development in the series and JLA, when he created the *damn character*, we're sure as hell not going to go easy on you guys.

You industry guys grew up on these comics, right? Well, *so did we*. Even those of us who got into comics late have always had some idea growing up who Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the X-Men are. And it's not like we can't go digging for back issues to catch ourselves up.

Basically though, we've all got these ideas about the characters. We've got invested emotions and interpretations and perspectives that don't necessarily agree with yours.

And really, what makes any of our interpretations more valid than anyone else's?

What makes yours more valid than ours? (Aside from the not-inconsiderable fact that the company supports you and pays you for it.)

What makes *the company's* opinion more valid than ours? Even the oldest execs, I'd reckon, were pretty damn young in 1938.

One could argue that the only man who's opinion of Batman should be given any more weight than anyone else's is Bob Kane!

And one could argue that given the public nature of the character and the twists and turns and development that's happened since Mr. Kane passed the character down, even *he* should be in the same boat as the rest of us. After all, didn't a lot of people condemn Burton's movies because Batman doesn't kill? I remember seeing Kane's Batman with a gun!

Basically, what it comes down to, is that we're all kids from the same neighborhood, who've grown up playing on the same playground. As we grew up, you guys inherited the playground. You guys have kept it up, maintained it so we all can keep playing, which we appreciate. But we resent you at the same time. We know we're playing on it on your sufferance and we don't really have a say in whether you replace the old creaky metal slide with a new pretty plastic one. And whether we like that slide or not, a part of us might still think, "Well, what makes *them* so special, why did they get this place when we didn't? Why do *they* get to make these decisions and we don't?"

Is this particularly fair to you? Probably not. But it's not like you didn't know what you were getting into. You've been in our position too.

Besides, in the end, we fans *do* get the real say in what works and what doesn't. We judge with our wallets and as long as you're a business, that's the way it should be. You're in the entertainment industry, which means without us, no matter how talented you are, you don't really have a career.

And we're still going to tell you when we think you've fucked up. Deal with it.

Musings: Battle For Bludhaven

I'm trying to like Battle for Bludhaven, really I am.

The first was a chaotic mess. The second was interesting though, finally had a notion of who everyone was and what side they were on. The end had those nice twists with Major Force and Captain Atom.

Third's a mess again.

There's too much I think. Too many characters. I can't get connected emotionally to any of them. And I get connected emotionally to pencils I've had for more than a day. So there seems to be something lacking there.

Firebrand and his gang are pretty much standard rabble rousers thus far. No complexity or anything. Freedom's Ring's a little better off, being what seems to be governmental employees who are just trying to do their jobs and have gotten in over their heads.

I can sympathize with that but so far even Phantom Lady hasn't registered as much of a character yet. Human Bomb's moment with the nail was interesting, but still not much of a draw. No one's yet shown the slightest spark of personality for me yet. Even Father Time just seems to be your card carrying scenery-chewing bad guy.

So far, the Atomic Knights are making the best show, even though they're largely nameless and faceless to me. Gardner Grayle has so far made the biggest impression of any character that isn't Phantom Lady's tits. But then he gets little to no screen time in B4B 3.

And then they bring in the Titans. Don't get me wrong, I love the Titans. And Robin is a particular favorite. But in a series with so many new faces, especially ones that will end up, theoretically, Freedom Fighters, it's not a good idea to bring in so many recognizeable characters.

Major Force and Captain Atom were enough really. Thematically, they suit this whole nuclear disaster aftermath/atomic experiment thing. They're both established presences in the DCU but without quite the name recognition factor to completely overpower the characters, and they were still more peripheral. Atom wasn't conscious, Force was the obvious insane villain, the story was in how the newbies reacted to that.

Well, we'll see. This next issue will tell me, basically, if I'm going to be even remotely interested in the new Freedom Fighters.

So far, it's looking like a "No."

Unless they have Grayle. Then I'll think about it. someone explain to me...

What the heck is so cool about ninja?

I mean, in a historical sense, I get what's cool about them. Folks dressing up in black, using peasant equipment as weapons, to kill and terrorize local governmental officials into taking the desired course of action...

And yeah, they look cool all in black...

But I mean when you take them out of that social context, they just become vaguely eccentric assassins. Japan's not the only place to have developed particularly visually representative assassin/terrorist figures. Pretty much every court and government in the world has them.

And if you're going to go with a blatant anachronism, I'd think Byzantine court assassins would be cooler. Or the Hashashin, though that's got its own political sort of iffy-ness.

And for the record, I wish someone in an Elektra comic would make a point that sais traditionally can't be used to stab things. They were a seed planting device adapted for use in parrying, a good twist of the wrist would break a sword. But they're not sharp in the least. They're very blunt and heavy. The points are actually quite dull. They're not like daggers, at all, and they're kind of impractical to use against a non-Japanese sword carrying enemy. The only other thing you could really do with it is club someone with it.

I've nothing against Elektra being able to go stabbity with the sais, I just wish it'd be pointed out that sharpening them to do that isn't normal. Well, maybe they have, and I just never read the issue. But still, it seems like a surprised villain pointing that out would just enhance her coolness level, as it's a pretty creative thought.

I don't know though, it just seems like where once I could understand the novelty appeal of ninja, it seems like everyone and their cousin are either ninja, trained by ninja, or use their powers in ways that replicate ninja moves in movies.

It's not like the ninja are the only martial artists in the world (especially as traditionally many were peasants and thus had no fighting training at all!), nor are they the only stealthy assassins in the world. But in comics, (and movies/tv) they're *everywhere*. It's to the point where 7 out of 10 characters in comics have mad ninja skillz!

You know, Europe's got it's own traditions of martial arts too. Melee weapons *and* hand-to-hand. Fighting traditions that are possibly as old as the Japanese and Chinese traditions and are equally as formidable. Just because something's Asian doesn't make it immediately better or worse.

By the way, fellow geeks? If a samurai faces a fully armored knight in combat, and they're even remotely evenly matched? The samurai's going down. Japanese steel is weak, Japanese swordsmiths had to use a technique called "folding" the steel, which is pretty much what it sounds like, to get it to hold an edge. Thus Katana/No-Dachi/Kodachi and other single edged folded steel swords are very very sharp and light, but they're very very weak. And they're slashing weapons. European steel is much thicker and stronger. Katana vs armor, the katana *breaks*.

Now what does do really well against suits of armor are smaller, stabby-pokey weapons. Rapiers and crossbow bolts. Stuff that can find and exploit the weakpoints of the armor. Which is why as you head into later years, you end up with fencers instead of knights. The knight hasn't a prayer.

Now a samurai vs. a fencer? The samurai has extra reach, momentum and speed. A katana has a very wide arc that a fencing foil's not going to be able to touch.

Basically, it's a game of rock paper scissors. Knight beats Samurai. Fencer beats Knight. Samurai beats Fencer.

Anyway, I guess I'd just like to see something other than l33t Asian Martial Artist/Ninja once in a while. Just for variety's sake. Please?

(ETA: To clarify, the use of the term "ninja" in this rant refers to the Western idea of ninja, most commonly derived from the peasant fighters known for stealth and unexpected weaponry. Not to be confused with actual ninja clans, or for that matter the later shishi political assassins, who are different kettles of fish entirely. :-))

Friday, May 19, 2006

52 and Undergarments

Okay, so I'm really enjoying 52 up until I get to this one scene:

Now don't get me wrong, on quite a few levels I really like this scene. First, because the Question is awesome. Second, because it's good to see Renee hasn't lost her skills and won't hesitate to shoot a menacing intruder in her bedroom. Third, because that poor girl's reaction is hilarious "That man has no face!"

But one thing bothers me.

See, I get the comic code need for the two ladies to be wearing underwear. I'm fine with that. But this is one of those times I think that this was obviously pencilled by a man who doesn't know the first thing about ladies' undergarments.

Look at those bras. First, most women don't sleep in any bras, because they're uncomfortable. Now, I, being one of the lesser gifted of my gender, actually do tend to sleep in mine. Mostly because I collapse into bed usually and am lucky if I remember not to wear shoes. But mine, designed for those who require less support, have no wiring. Also they're usually cotton and thus not irritating. (And I'm sure none of you ever wanted to know that much about my undergarments. Sorry.)

The kind of bras those ladies are wearing are those lacy types, first of all, which itch at the skin. It's not noticeable much during the day, when you move around a lot, but sleeping/laying down, you'd feel it. Second, they're clearly designed for support. There's wiring in them hills. And Montoya's girlfriend's clasp is *very* uncomfortable to sleep with.

Now a sports bra could work, I'd bet, depending on how one slept on it. It'd be uncomfortable to sleep full on one's stomach, but the side/back would probably work.

It reminds me of that issue where Catwoman dreams of marrying Batman. After we see her waking up in a similar sort of bra as these ladies. Which is a shame because for me at least, it takes one out of the story. The art's pretty otherwise, but there's no way a woman as...gifted as Selina would or could wear that to bed. Here it's similar.

Not to mention, Montoya really doesn't seem the sort for such fancy underthings anyway. I mean...from the other panels, they even match! She seems more like the throw on any sort of thing and not really care, what the hell, they're *under* clothes sort of gal. Fancy lacy pretty bras with matching panties really don't seem like they'd be really her style. But I digress.

Anyway, it's not a big deal of course, but it does throw me a little out of the story, which I hate because the art's so nice aside from that. I just wish certain pencillers would ask wives/girlfriends/sisters/friends about this sort of thing first. It wouldn't take too long and it'd be a lot less jarring.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My interpretation of Robin a.k.a Don't Overreact Yet

Okay, so I've noticed a lot of anger among certain Batgirl fans all over the Internet right now. Having finally read Robin, I can see why.

But I'm surprised too, because it's pretty damn obvious to me what the ending of the story will probably be. And I'm really surprised no one else seems to see it the same way I do. I mean it's practically *telegraphed*.

Don't panic too early guys. This is what I think is going on:


You guys aren't looking at the right cliche.Think about it for a second. Cain has another daughter. Cassandra is batshit crazy. And upset because she thought she was the only one he loved and that kept her going as she was learning to kill.

Does that *sound* like Cass? Of course not. It's very out of character for Cass. But this *isn't* DC screwing you over guys, not yet anyway.

That doesn't sound like Cass because it's NOT CASS.

Think about it. Cain's very systematic right? And there were attempts made before Cass to get this whole perfect-warrior thing to work, according to Batgirl comics, right?

he figures he needs a genetic component too, which is when he ends up having Sandra Woosan's sister killed and making a deal with her. How sure are we that she had a single birth?

When "Cassandra" rants about having found and killed Annalea, Cain says, "Another one lost, poor Annalea." He's not talking about Annalea. He's talking *to* her. Cain is clever. He's figured it out. The rant about being sure she's the only one he loved is probably true for Annalea.

It's the evil twin replacing the good cliche. We don't see any flashback images of Annalea because then we'll see that Annalea will probably look identical to Cassandra. I'm guessing that the girl we saw killed in the previous issue wasn't Annalea at all and was some kind of trick to throw someone off. Or was yet another spawn of Cain. She never did seem to have the chance to confirm what "Cassandra" said.

Cassandra herself is probably the black gloved girl who dropped things in front of Robin's informant. The actual messages to him. If you notice, that took place while Robin and Cain were about to be surrounded by Assassins. If that's the same woman as the one with the Assassins, Cassandra must have lost her mind and gained the ability to teleport at the same time.

Probably, what happened was that Cassandra found out about a sister. And seeking the familial connection, sought her out. Annalea flips out at not being the only one, tries to kill her. Possibly puts her out of commission for a few months. Whereupon, Annalea takes her identity. Now as for how how she can talk? You got me there. For her part, Cass is the shadowy person trying to contact Robin because she knows Tim is smart enough to figure things out and help her reclaim her life/stop her evil twin.

I'm quite honestly surprised at the outcry. It's obviously a trick, guys. It's *telegraphed* I really don't think trying to screw you over here. *Relax*. Wait and see. If I'm wrong, I'll by you all cookies in consolation. But I seriously don't think I am.

Cass is fine. That's not Cass. It's gonna be okay. :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nostalgia Collision

I'd heard they were making a Baby-Sitters Club comic a while back but never really looked at much about it.

It's a weird thought for me. Like I've said before, I'm a relatively new reader of American comics (though I've been reading manga longer) but I remember reading these books when I was too small to realize how implausible their dialogue/situations/adventures were for twelve and thirteen year olds. (I remember in fact, being disappointed that turning twelve and/or thirteen was not this amazing doorway to maturity, beauty and wild trips to New York or California that the books of my childhood promised. What a gyp!).

Once you get past a certain point, the books really don't hold up well. Scrutiny and logic are the enemies of nostalgia, I'm afraid. But I am extremely curious about what the finished product will be like.

The series was so 80s/early 90s that I can't imagine it as a comic. I really can't. I can't picture certain characters without the perms or day glow orange socks or anything like that.

Which means I have to find this comic. It's gonna be a *weird* experience.

A Most Disgusting Panel:

I have to admit, for all that I complain about the art in Warrior, there is one thing I've always been impressed with:

Linked to spare the weak of heart or stomach,

The first time I saw this page (GG:W 22 for the curious) I stopped *dead*. The image is just so utterly disgusting that I couldn't turn the page for *minutes*. And even then, it took at least three or four times reading the comic before I could tear my eyes away enough to read what he was saying! (By the way: Ew).

I didn't think I'd ever see a villain quite that disgusting in a DC comic. Vertigo *maybe*, but not DC proper. It's quite amazing to me. It takes *skill* to evoke something that grotesque. Seriously.

It's horrible in exactly the way it's supposed to be. Yeecchh.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Warren Ellis is a funny man:

Okay, so if you ever read Warren Ellis's Excalibur-based miniseries Pryde and Wisdom (which is great fun), you might notice something a little funny:

Back story is that a contact's daughter has been kidnapped. So Pete and Kitty make contact with F:66, the Department of Unusual Death.

There is a vaguely familiar face in the crowd:

On close up:

One Constance Johannsen, a blond, chain smoking, trench-coated occultist whose friends all die.

In the Marvel Universe, John Constantine is a woman. I love gender-swap.

In Lieu of a post with actual content:

What not many people know about me is that, like other fans, I am, in fact, a fanfic writer.

Specifically I am a slash fanfic writer.

Yes. I confess. I've written slash fanfic. Of the most absurd and self-gratifying kind. Of the kind in which characters that would never even meet, characters owned by different companies completely, have implausible and gratuitous intercourse. I've posted it here before, but I shall indeed post it again, in honor of the unexpected heroism displayed in Infinite Crisis...

Starring the sexiest Green Lantern in the Corps:

(No, not the little midget in front)

I present Mogo Does the Universe.

Please don't sue me!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yet Another Reason I Love Beau Smith:

Relating to my previous post about the awesomeness of Beau Smith's female characters, I'm adding this last reason why I love the man's work.

In the same story that brought us the sublime Zinda Blake, (GG:W 24), he also did one another incredibly great thing:

He blew Kari Limbo the fuck up!


(What? I can have petty moments too!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Beau Smith Writes Good Women!!!

A few days ago, Ragnell mentioned that she liked reading Wynonna Earp. Which I haven't read, though I've been trying to find it all over the place. So anyway, I did the next best thing and read through the entire Smith run of Warrior. Because it is possibly my favorite comic ever.

It's a series I'm hard pressed to recommend in a lot of ways. It's crazy. The art is very stylized at the best of times and downright grotesque at the worst, the story is so much an embodiment of everything awful about nineties comics...the cheesecake/beefcake, the faux edginess, the over-the-top-ness, extreme violence...

And the plots were on *crack*. Okay, Emerald Fallout (aftermath of Emerald Twilight) was actually pretty sane (and awesome) but then you have the Vuldarian-power origin story that involved Guy Gardner joining a crazy cowboy's team to find magic water, with a hispanic demoness and nazis riding *dinosaurs* as their adversaries.

And it just got crazier from there. Non-stop, hyper violent, testosterone filled, and yet somehow awesome insanity masquerading as a comic book written by the self-proclaimed manly man of comics.

But you know what's really funny? For all that, there's one thing that can be said about Beau Smith. He writes some damn kickass women.

(GG:W 23)

The Unexpectedly Awesome Women of Warrior
It's funny too, because it's unexpected. I mean...*really* unexpected. But honestly, I think his women tend to rock. And I'm going to show you all why I think so:

Notable female characters in Beau Smith's Warrior:


(GG:W 23)

The Warrior Woman Veronna is the most prominent female character in the Warrior comic book. And in one sense, the riskiest too. She's an homage, and in some sense a satire of, the idea of the savage female native in old school adventure novels.

See, the noble savage warrior woman is a staple of a certain brand of pulp adventure novel. The tall woman wearing a snake, wielding weapons, we've all seen her. She's actually a very disturbing sexist and even racist idea, most of the time, the native (dark) woman waiting to be dominated and mastered by the (white) hero.

(both:GG:W 26)

And on the surface, Veronna is exactly that sort of character. In fact, her people are descended from those the Vuldarians (alien race Guy's descended from, long story) had been allied with centuries/millenia before. Her people have been awaiting his arrival for a very long time and she has been sworn to serve him in, as is obvious from the scans, any need he might have.

But there's a subversiveness to all this. If there's one thing that can be said for Guy Gardner's comic is that the only person clueless and out of sorts is Guy Gardner. The rest of his supporting cast are extremely sure, self-possessed and exactly where they want to be.

Veronna is the image of the noble savage awaiting mastery, but in practice, her actions are completely independent and self-determined. She goes where she wants (with no apparent culture shock or language difficulty, implying a previous knowledge of the country). She is the dominant personality in their interactions, he is the one confused and at a loss. Where the pulp adventure novel counterpart she satirizes would have been a concubine, she is instead a bodyguard/protector. (She becomes the bouncer for Warriors and even intimidates Captain Atom!)

Actually, in many ways, she's got the more traditionally masculine role. She's never been in distress or in need of rescue (backup, yes, rescue, no), and she's saved his ass many times over. In one particularly amusing bit of gender reversal, she is trying to save *Guy's* virtue from the mind-controlling Martika.

It helps that there is absolutely no sexual relationship between the two characters, and there doesn't, actually, ever seem to be the inclination to form one between the two characters. Their bond is deeper and more complicated than that.

(GG:W 20)

Now Green Lantern fans will remember Arisia as the very young girl who ends up artificially aging so that she can pursue Hal Jordan. Poor Arisia never really had much of a role outside of that and a friendship with Kilowog. She was a pretty empty character.

Warrior made Arisia interesting, gave her depth and characterization beyond her role as Hal Jordan's jailbait. She's physically an adult (still) and mentally somewhere in between. She could be silly, immature and willful, but she was also sweet and funny. She was a little sister to the entire group, but especially to Guy, and it was cute.

Her pinnacle moment as a character came in Warrior #30 when she comes face to face with Hal Jordan/Parallax. This is, of course, during that time between Zero Hour and his death. He tries to appeal to her love of him to understand what he's trying to do. It's not a terribly original moment, of course, but it does pack an emotional punch as adolescent infatuation wars with adult wisdom and knowledge and loses. She's saddened, disillusioned and hurt, but she's strong when she throws him out.

Poor Arisia ultimately ends up murdered by Major Force in Warrior #43, but damn if she doesn't put up one hell of a fight, even managing to actually cut his flesh at one point. She's overpowered in the end, but it's a hero's death. She dies strong and fighting.
Rita Muldoon:

(GG:W 23)

She gets the least panel time of the major female characters, but that doesn't mean she doesn't rock when she's got the opportunity. Like shooting a Nazi-Mount Dinosaur without breaking a sweat.

She's the Q of the group basically, the arms master. She's cool, competent and relatively undramatic. Thus she also gets the shortest description here. That doesn't mean she's not awesome though.

Hey, she's *shooting* a *T-Rex*.

(GG:W 39)

Martika is a villain. She's unashamedly evil and best of all, there is absolutely no backstory or justification offered for why she's the way she is. Just like a whole bunch of male villains, she's evil because she's evil. She's a sociopath who likes controlling everyone around her and there's no deeper/more sympathetic emotions behind it.

Martika is also fairly unstoppable. In that picture above, that monstrous guy she's basically telling to sit down and be a good dog is Dementor, Guy's main enemy for most of the issues up until that point. A monstrous, evil, impossibly powerful guy. He kidnaps her intending to do to her what he did to other random victims, but she has him controlled in two seconds flat.

Martika's something of a stereotype in and of herself, the femme fatale with the power over men. That doesn't make her any less cool though. Especially as the only male character to break free from her spell on his own was Major Force. Guy himself only made it because of a mindlink with Veronna. (A woman saving him from another woman, I like it!).
Guy's Mom:

(GG:W 40)

Well, she's only really a background character who shows up during the tail end of the series, but hell, she's still his mom, so she goes here.

She's...well...she's a piece of work, to put it bluntly.

Let's just say that Guy takes very much after his mother, they're loud and red-haired and forces of nature, he's much more sensitive and even-tempered than she is though.

Yes. You read that right.


As weird as this probably sounds, I have to say, Beau Smith is one of the few writers I've ever seen who really seems to *get* Wonder Woman. In fact I would, seriously, love to see him write the series sometime.

(GG:W 20)


(GG:W 34)

See, to me, these two images juxtaposed together basically embody who I think Diana *is*. Diana is a warm, forgiving, understanding and empathetic person. She wants everyone to get along and work together and she's good at making that happen. She's a diplomat and a good friend, and she knows what you're trying to say even when you're having trouble getting it out.

But she's also a warrior. She teaches peace but she's not a pacifist by any means. She's a protector and a guardian as well as a teacher and she knows that sometimes you have to fight for what's right. And when she does go down in battle, she will make sure her foes will no longer be a threat as well.

Too often, I think, people forget one side in favor of another. They forget that she's a warrior, from a culture of warriors, with a system of morals and values that are much older than ours. Beau Smith is one of the few writers I've seen who hasn't forgotten that. It's very clear, I think, that he loves the character.



Ice actually makes one appearance in a Beau Smith comic, the end of the Emerald Fallout issues where she remains on Earth to take care of things.

However she's a constant, incredibly powerful presence through the whole series. Her death becomes a very clear underlying issue throughout the series, a source of pain and tension, and unlike the Justice League issues, there is actually a wonderful sense of closure. (One that works much better than the I Can't Believe it's Not the Justice League version, in my opinion).

The fact that it culminates somehow in Guy and Bea sleeping together should be trashy and wrong, but somehow it manages to be very sweet. Two grieving people finding solace in one another. And afterwards, they are even able to find common ground and get along.

The emotion in Warrior tends to be sweet, powerful and far subtler than most comics tend to be.


Another awesome thing about Warrior's treatment of women is how often you see them. In most other comics, you won't see very many random women. I'm not talking about recurring characters, I'm talking about walk-on roles.

If you have a neurosurgeon taking care of one of the main characters of the comic, who ends up on the wrong end of an invading strike force, but remains calm and collected and able to fill the heroes in on important information, what sex is it usually?

What about a federal agent that happens to kickass, take names, and provide the heroes with necessary information without ever digressing into sexual innuendo or tension, what sex would you expect it to be?

What about a hardcore, mercenary corporate head with an eye for business and marketing who inadvertantly inconveniences/annoys the protagonist?

Or the guide that's actually a demon spy out to take them to the waters and then destroy them, coolly murdering would be attackers on the way before becoming a dangerous threat?

In Warrior, each of these characters are women. And they're not the only ones. There are a lot of women in the background. Many of whom are seen in traditionally male dominated fields. And they're not there to be temporary love interests or damsels in distress for the main character. Often they're there for only a panel or two. I don't think anyone would have begrudged Mr. Smith for making these characters male. It's not like it really makes a difference to the plot.

But there's a difference to the atmosphere to have female characters alongside men, even in the faceless roles. A lot comics tend to have "male" as the default state, "female" is always something other. Always a notable main or recurring character. Yet others, when they do have female minor characters, can't help but make a production of it. "LOOKIT ME! I'm including WOMEN! Isn't that *great?!"

In Warrior, they're just there alongside men doing their jobs, fulfilling their roles in the plot. A few are standard damsel victim characters, but so are the men. (Guy's first girlfriend is a commonly recycled victim character but then, so is Mace/Militia, his older brother, so it's almost fair.) And yet others are just there to *be*.

And it's nice!

Besides, Beau Smith is the man who brought Lady Blackhawk to the modern DCU and for that he deserves many accolades. :-)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion:

I've decided, since spewing all that venom in my last post (heh, shameless pun!), I'm going to do some self promotion.

When Fangirls Attack has an LJ Feed here:

Pretty Fizzy Paradise has one too! (Boy was I surprised!):

And Ragnell's Written World has one too now!

Oh and a friend and I have an online manga-style comic called the Pen Stealer. It's read backward, like a Japanese manga, because we hate you. It's called the Pen Stealer, because it's about a boy who steals pens. It's funny how that works out.

Feelin' Venomous.

Comics Should Be Good has another Urban Legends post up.

This one's got a particularly interesting one that involves Venom, who was originally conceived as a woman.

Hey, cool! I think to myself, because the whole Venom character's backstory involving a woman would have been pretty nifty. But then, there's a quote from David Michelinie about the idea, emphasis is mine:

"The cabbie doesn't see the husband and accidentally hits and kills the guy. The woman sees her husband splattered in front of her just as she goes into labor. She loses the child and her mind at the same time, and is institutionalized. Though she eventually gets her mind back, she blames Spider-Man for the death of her husband and her child."

Oh brother. See, this reeks of sexism to me. Even beyond the response that the audience wouldn't buy a woman as a serious threat. Which is idiotic anyway.

But even the premise is horrifically sexist. This isn't the first idea to use the loss of husband and/or children to cause a crazy female villainess (Scarlet Witch anyone?). In fact, I'd say it's one of the most common motivations around.

But when men lose their wives and children? Well, just look at Michael Holt, he's a freakin' *hero*! (He's not the only one either, I'm sure we can all name a few more). So what, when women lose their families they become irrational and crazy? But men find new purpose in their hunt for justice?!

What the hell is that? What? Is it that women care more about families than men do? That family is more intrinsic to a woman's life that she can't define herself without one? That a man's innate protective urge is so strong that when he loses the outlet it goes elsewhere, but a woman's tie to her family is more visceral than protective and she lashes out?!

Hell, the only woman I can think of to lose a husband/child and not go completely fucking nuts was Donna Troy. And well...that's a whole damn other kettle of fish.

Hmm, maybe I'm making too big of a deal with this though. It is just a first idea after all, and he probably wanted a vaguely sympathetic villain.

But as he said, after it was turned down, he came up with Eddie Brock. Eddie Brock is, of course the same concept in reverse, a widower who saw his wife and child killed and blames Spiderman and is gunning for him!

Wait? You mean...he's not?

He's a reporter who's big score got ruined by Spiderman? Who lost his job, got disowned by his father, divorced from his wife?

Heh, we take a concept where Venom is attracted to a human whose taken a serious devastating blow in life and irrationally blames Spiderman. For a woman, the devastating blow is personal, familial, she loses her husband and child. For a man, the blow is *professional*. Everything else he loses is in terms of said professional loss (and father and ex-wife are still alive, damnit).

Why can't the man lose his family? Why can't the woman experience the professional blow?! There should be nothing inherently gendered about either of these scenarios. But someone decided there was. And it's bullshit.

(Besides, how awesome would it be to have a Golden Age Lois Lane style ballbreaker lose everything in that professional capacity and go after Spiderman with all that icy fury? Without any of the innate sympathy that comes from being widowed or losing a child? Just cold, materialistic, control-freak rage? It'd be *fantastic*.)

Oh well, never was a Spider-fan anyway.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My reaction to the X3 Preview

As I'm finally sitting down and watched the 7 minute preview, I'm typing this in real time. (Well, with gratuitous usage of the pause button)

Yay! Scott! Still, best casting job ever! (I'm going to be upset if SPOILER actually happens, hmph).

Maybe it's time for *us* to move on?! Okay, who let the slash fangirls at the movie script and how can I thank them?

The fast healing line is pretty lame though.

What's with casting people of such varied ages to play the original five?! I mean, I like Kelsey Grammer as much as anyone, but you're not going to convince me he was ever James Marsden's classmate. Right, right, movie canon.

Halle Berry seems to have a much bigger role this time, and proportionally shorter hair. One of these seems to be working for her, one of these isn't. I'll give you a hint which: the hair is pretty.

"Secretary of Mutant Affairs" Ooo! Politics! *Finally*!

"I hear you're quite the animal." Okay, I have to admit, Beast/Wolverine is not nearly as hot. Maybe I'm bigoted against blue fur. Or innuendo regarding Kelsey Grammer. Frasier should never be slashed.

You know, maybe it's just me, but I don't see what's bad, in theory, about a cure. I mean, sure it'd suck if you were Storm or Wolverine. But for folks like Rogue, who can't touch anyone, or Cyclops, who runs the risk of mass destruction when he loses his spectacles, it might not be so bad.

That's probably the problem with mutancy as a metaphor. I get the impression that this "cure" is supposed to be viewed kind of like the anti-gay programming that "fixes" them. Which is a vile concept, of course. But when you've got those characters for whom the mutant powers are much closer to a full on handicap than race/sexual orietation, the idea of a cure as a bad thing loses something. And what about the mutants that have crippling and uncool powers, remember the Morlocks?

"Since when do we become a disease?" See above, Rogue, Cyclops. And gosh, Storm's hair is pretty.

Gah, the saving oneself from persecution debate is really really irritating to me. Yeah, Beast, who got his blue fur via a science accident and only mutant power is the agility/strength which are cool, or Storm the *Weather Goddess* can reduce the issue to that. The only thing that's making me not turn this off was the nice zoom-in on Rogue when the "cure" was announced. Poor girl. It helps that Anna Paquin is not nearly as annoying as the comic version. Of course, whatever interest she'll probably end up having the cure will undoubtedly be misguided.

"The Government had nothing to do with it." *sigh* Of *course* it will, Hank. The Government always does. Capital-G. You're the poor deluded dupe who thinks you can actually make a difference from inside the system. This is Marvel after all. :-) Sorry, my bias is showing. :-)

"There's nothing to cure. There's nothing wrong with you." Gosh, Halle's hair is pretty. But damn, it's an awful trade off. Rogue is much less annoying in the movies, Storm infinitely more. And since Storm is my favorite X-female, this saddens me. You're talking to the girl who can't *touch* anyone, Storm. Lay off.

I've heard rumor that they were going to give Cyclops a bigger role, but went with Storm instead. Which is a shame, acting talents of their respective actors aside, this spiel would be much less offensive coming from the man who can't open his eyes unshielded without mass destruction.

Ooo, a British accent and wanting to cooperate/educate. Evil or just sycophantic and useless. It's got to be one. Hey, it's that guy! Who is that guy? This is going to bother me...

Ian McKellan is awesome. Will always be awesome.

So Pyro can create fire now? Or does he have conveniently hidden lighters. Hoping for the first, as pyrokinesis without pyrogenesis is pretty damn lame.

"Offended by the very idea." Yeah, I've harped on this long enough, I'll let it go. Suffice to say, I'm still irritated.

Wow, Warren's not played by the best actor. But he *is* pretty. And as he's Warren that's really all that matters...not an Angel fan, me, can you tell?

Ahh, unwilling cure/rape metaphor. Was waiting for this. Why aren't we focusing more on the "cursed" mutants that would actually possibly benefit from this? Yes, I know I said I'd let it go. I lied. Damn Warren is pretty. Like Storm's hair.

Ooo Wings. Ironically, I think comic-Warren would have gone for this at certain points in the story. But that'd lose the metaphor that doesn't hold up anyway and is ticking me off. Heh.

Wow, Jean's kind of looking old. Oh well, considering SPOILER, it probably doesn't matter anymore. She's still hot though. Wish they'd made her Moira, then she could have non-creepy sexual tension with Xavier. Patrick Stewart/Famke Jannsen is a good, good thing.

Okay, the giant fighting montage at the end is really cool. If they just showed that, I'd be sold.

Damn, the Marvel movie version of the X-Men is filled with the most self-absorbed fucks out there, isn't it? And I'd still say Cyclops should have gotten the bigger part, he'd be a lot less offensive than Storm in the same role. Guy who can't open his eyes without killing/destroying shit versus Weather Goddess... I know who seems like he/she would add more to this plot to *me*, but I'm not a Hollywood script writer.

But yeah, I'm still gonna see the movie. Expect bitching the next day. :-)