The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Week of April 4th, 2015)

AoS GordonI was able to catch these two shows this week!

CW Tricksters

Tricksters featured former (and soon to be present) “Luke Skywalker” Mark Hamill as James Jesse, the original Trickster, and Devon Graye played Axel Walker, his protégé. This followed faithfully the comics storyline written by Geoff Johns, and was a fantastic episode, considering I’d missed a number of them since the Firestorm episode. I’m sure mark had a great time of playing the maniacal character, especially after voicing the Joker after all this time. Go ahead and check it out from your On Demand menu.

skyeAoS Gordon

The newest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is titled “One Door Closes”, in which we discover Skye’s Inhuman power, and the decision she makes when she has to decide being hunted by her former teammates, or going with a completely unknown character, Gordon, who happens to be a blind Inhuman who can teleport.

If that hasn’t piqued your interest enough, much of the episode is the behind-the-scenes action of what occurred during Captain America – The Winter Soldier; and to add to that, we get to see Lucy Lawless kick major @$$, and Edward James Olmos as a high-ranking member of what’s being referred to as the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.“, Gonzalez.

I’ll be back with more as I find out more – have a happy Easter, everyone!

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The Owl Needs A Makeover, Stat!

I posted a comment over at Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #42!:

“Leland is obviously in need of a bionic makeover.

Bionic legs, with clawed feet, and hard light wings. Also, he can rotate his head 360 degrees.”

I believe I have a great treatment for him, and I should probably write it up and submit it.

Owl_MC

I’m envisioning that after he gets his bionic legs, he still dresses in suits; however, he will not wear shoes. Because the legs are now completely bionic and can conform to his thoughts, he will do things like sitting at a table with his legs up, smoking a cigar using one of them, picking at his scalp occasionally, things like that. Sometimes the legs act on his subconscious thoughts, making for fun visual sub-context.

What do you think?

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What Cool Stuff Do You Recommend?

I was introduced to Saga by a co-worker – it’s a fantastic book!

Saga is by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; of course, you should know Brian by a number of series, notably Ex-Machina and The Hood.

Another book I was informed of is called Chew – funnily enough, I went to school with a Tony Chu, the protagonist of the series. I can’t be sure if this isn’t about the Tony Chu I knew. It’s pretty inconclusive from reading the book – it could be Tony, or it may no relation whatsoever. I gotta keep on reading.

This posting isn’t finished by a long shot…but it’s drinky time.

Drinky time is done…and I want to change the tone of this posting.

I invite readers to suggest cool stuff, and I’ve changed the title of this posting to reflect that.

My cool thing to mention is a site that I’ve been on for the last month – SuperMegaMonkey! I haven’t even come close to fully digesting the site, and I’ve primarily been concerned with the comics portion!

You have to check this site out!

Interestingly enough, the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe is discussed by many on the site, and on my way home, I happened to see a fellow reading it. Could that have been the author of the site, fnord12? It could have been one of his readers…I have to know!

Just to finish this off the right way, I present to you…Random GIF Time!

owlani panda propellerani Slidy Chimp

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Comics and Other Media

It’s been a while since I have been able to enjoy life like a normal person. Suffice it to say, it’s been nearly three years, and I’m still not yet recovered.

You may notice that I’ve updated my Gravatar – that is a picture of my sweet li’l grrl, Becca. She isn’t with me, but I love her and miss her dearly.

She has her own li’l comics collection.

I caught The Flash on CW and Agent Carter – and I was glad to have done so!

GG Flash

I was with The Flash from the beginning, but I’ve missed a couple of episodes – this episode introduced Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. Of course, his origin is slightly altered, so the emblem from his costume is incorporated into the device that ultimately saves his life and Central City.

Agent Carter

Agent Carter is a fantastic show – Hayley Atwell is awesome and fierce – not to mention beautiful. I will make the effort to catch the last episodes, and I will catch up this weekend if possible.

A quick word regarding the Marvel Universe (MU) versus the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – what we get are reimagined characters and concepts…to wit:

Roger Dooley

Dooley Ac sshgn18

In the MCU, Dooley is a fairly principled character who reached his rank by dint of hard work and dedication; however, in the MU, ol’ Rog likes to see titties as much as possible, and forced Jennifer Walters, the Sensational She-Hulk to strip, not once, but twice. Dooley is the fellow threatening Wyatt Wingfoot in the scene from Marvel Graphic Novel #18 by John Byrne, Kim deMulder, Petra Scotese and Janice Chiang.

While DC excelled in the concept of Elseworlds (a refining of the What-If concept imagined by Roy Thomas), Marvel cemented it in the advent of the Ultimate Universe, conceived by Joe Quesada and the late Bill Jemas. Many of those UU concepts have been adapted for use in both the MU and the MCU – paramount in that is the Samuel Jackson-themed Nick Fury character. Mark Millar struck gold with this idea; it may have proved his entry into the world of movies. The Secret Service (renamed Kingsmen) looks to be interesting. I wonder how true it is to the book by Millar and Dave Gibbons.

I’d like to see Supercrooks adapted to a television series. The smart money would be to make the pilot episode a number of vignettes of the actual theft, interspersed with intros of the thieves. Then flashback to the Bastard’s crime career, eventually coming to the present day and the theft of his life savings.

Oh…you didn’t read Supercrooks yet? Whaddaya want from me?

On the subject of Millar, I’d like to talk briefly on The Authority #28, the book that broke the Morrison/Millar pairing in two, never to be together again.

I have the trade paperback of that arc, which includes Tom Peyer and Dustin Nguyen’s New World Order, commissioned due to Frank Quitely’s being wooed away to drawing Morrison’s New X-Men. Quitely was replaced by Art Adams, who drew two incredible issues before the art nannies of DC pissed him off and he quit before completing the last issue, which was done by Gary Erskine. Gary attempted to emulate a faux-Adams style, while I though failed in comparison to his original style of art, which was rich with detail…but I digress.

I seemed to have an incredible attraction to #28, more so than to the other chapters, and before I had an idea in regards to the authorship of the book in question, I could never quite put my finger on it.

Reading Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Legends Revealed, that information came to light, and things began to make sense.

In this case, the student has not yet surpassed the master. I’m not counting success in getting movies adapted as progress; as well as Zack Snyder adapted Watchmen to the screen, changing the ending only made to segue into an easy sequel, as removing the exploding squid nullified the motivations of nearly all of the characters in the movie.

Think about it:

What drove Edward Morgan Blake crazy? There never was an exploding squid.

Adrian Veidt was able to set up intrinsic field generators in the short time Jon Osterman was away from Earth? Implausible.

Night Owl’s (Hollis Mason) death was rendered absolutely wasted by the fact that there would not be any sort of karmic retribution – none of the KT-28 heads died at the Pale Horse Concert.

None of the bit characters that Alan Moore used to flesh out the neo-Charlton characters had any true reason to be in the movie – the Bernards don’t die in each others arms; the Big Figure is just comedy relief; Adrian’s staff don’t need to be killed because the “master plan” involves simply blaming Jon.

I think Alan hates each and every movie adaptation made from his stories; and honestly, his books weren’t designed to be adapted as movies. Every time I read Watchmen, invariably, something new will jump out at me from some previously read panel.

That’s NEVER going to happen from re-watching the movie.

This is much the same experience from re-reading The Authority #28.

As one commenter indicated, “Religimon” should have been a hint that I was reading something other than a Mark Millar jam.

Here’s an example of the censorship that drove Art from the book (no pun intended):

A28gm

There’s also the infamous scene where the Midnighter, not dead from Three-Willie Seth’s attack, pops a bolt through the head of faux-Apollo Teuton, right before he rapes Apollo. The scene was changed to only display the bolt impacting the skin in the front of Teuton’s skull (a funny callback to Elektra’s sais completely running through human bodies, but never the backs of clothing). Apparently, that was just too bloody much. Of course, Millar’s first arc detailed yet another rape upon the person of Apollo by the Commander, a Captain America analogue (John Walker mixed with Neil Patrick Harris), which concluded with the Midnighter taking a jackhammer to the sphincter of the Commander, as well as using one of the Commander’s teammate’s own mace as a butt plug.

Yes…you read that right – go and read The Authority #16.

HULK2014009-int-2-3-b267c1

Gerry Duggan is doing yeoman service writing the Hulk. Mark Waid left him with an interesting cliffhanger, and he did wonders with it. Doc Green is the perfect progression for the big green guy, though you and I all know that it can’t last. Will it parallel Flowers for Algernon in some fashion? Bruce Banner came as close to death as one could come.

Will Doc Green ever yearn for Betty Ross?

Will Leucenstern be seen again?

Will Rick borrow Miss Thing’s exo-suit?

And…what’s Project Green? It’s obviously some sort of fail-safe for the formerly gamma-powered, but in what fashion?

We are only 10 books away from seeing the third chapter of The Silver Age. The “Silver Age” of what, you say?

miracleman15-00 MM15NewCover

MIRACLEMAN.

Nemesis” came out, and it looks to me that the redone lettering takes away somewhat from the menace of the issue. Not appreciably, but I do have the original issues, and I searched long and wide to complete that collection.

I still can’t quite fathom that this is happening.

I actually wrote an email to “The Original Writer” regarding the cliffhanger in #24.

I didn’t get an answer – maybe that was for the best.

So…of all of the Marvel movies yet released, I haven’t yet seen Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy. I won’t count Ant-Man…too new.

hell-comes-to-frogtown-4

Let me end this for now with a notification to find a copy of Hell Comes To Frogtown – starring “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Leave the brains in another room and just enjoy.

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What’s The REAL Story Behind PPTSS #40?

This post is dedicated to Ben Herman – we were issues apart from being twins (having first purchased almost the same issue of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man).

He first purchased PPTSS #32; I purchased PPTSS #34 (you can see the excitement at Brian Cronin’s awesome corner of Comics Should Be Good at CBR). Amazingly, both books were the bookends of a three-part story on the Lizard, one of Spidey’s earliest foes, and one of my favorites.

SPOILER ALERT:

PPTSS32part I could only find a partial cover – sorry, Ben :|

PPTSS34

So…as you can see by the covers, a new character had been added during the arc. Dr. Curt Connors was performing yet another experiment to see if he could grow back his missing arm, and was testing some theories upon an iguana, when he accidentally stumbled into the path of his enervator, imparting some of his Lizard persona to the reptile. The iguana became…

…the IGUANA!

Here was a creature with the same powers as the Lizard, but without any of his humanity, which often worked to stop his predations. After a number of battles, Spidey realized that he needed to siphon the Lizard persona from the Iguana. He disassembled Connors’ enervator and constructed a portable unit that fit on his back. But, like Reed Richards, back on the fateful rocket ride that turned him and his cohorts into the Fantastic Four, he neglected to ensure that there was proper shielding.

He used the enervator on the two reptile-men, and achieved his projected result.

Now, let’s fast-forward to PPTSS #39, drawn by John Romita, Jr. and Jim Mooney:

PPTSS39

Chip Martin, the sone of Senator Robert Martin, looses control after Morbius’ attack on Spider-Man last issue, and becomes the Schizoid Man. He unleashes an onslaught of insanity against the campus, until Spider-Man intervenes…painfully.

Spidey beats the Schizoid Man like a red-headed stepchild, and is admonished for his attack. Uncharacteristically, he storms away to a rooftop, where a startling transformation takes place…he turns into the Spider-Lizard!!!

Peter_Parker,_The_Spectacular_Spider-Man_Vol_1_40

PPTSS #40 is drawn by Frank Springer (the penciler of Dazzler, and Jim Mooney’s inker here on PPTSS) and Ricardo Villamonte.

My question is…was this a hastily created fill-in? If so, what was the original plot, and why was it scrapped? Like PPTSS #34, I got this issue long before #39, so I wasn’t aware that I was missing some vintage JRjr magic.

Will I ever get to the bottom of this mystery?!?

If anyone has an idea about this, let’s get chatty.

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Counter-Earth – The Newest Marvel Imprint?

I came upon this idea while reading Steve Englehart‘s fantastic Lost In Space-Time epic, and taking in account the many changes to Marvel Comics during the 80’s, especially during Jim Shooter’s tenure.

If, before the many changes to Marvel characters took place, one could simply inquire, to any neophyte comics enthusiast, or even one not versed at all, very basic questions about said characters, and the standard answers would apply:

Spider-Man? Red and blue costume“;
The Hulk? Green and dumb“;
The Fantastic Four? Big rock guy; stretchy guy; flaming guy; invisible chick“;
Captain America? Steve Rogers, super-soldier“…and the like.

A lot of that changed with the advent of the Beyonder.

SW1

Without his introduction to the 616 Marvel Universe, we would not have had:

SW8

Spider-Man’s black uniform, which became the Venom symbiote;

James Rhodes may have enjoyed a further tenure as Iron Man (he also partook of materials in the chamber that housed the symbiote that eventually compromised the Iron Man armor);

She-Hulk joining the FF when Ben Grimm stayed on the Beyonder’s patchwork planet, due to him shaking off the mental barrier Franklin noticed in FF #245 that stopped him from changing back to his human form (meaning that he never would have left Alicia Masters long enough for her to gravitate to Johnny Storm, which would have been interesting if she still had been exchanged for Lyja the Skrull);

Bruce Banner losing the battle of ascendancy in his control of his alter-ego’s form, and eventually returning to the savage Hulk for some time;

The New Mutants would have never been removed from existence;

Rachel Summers would have not as of yet encountered the M’Kraan Crystal;

Algrim the Dark Elf would have never been turned into Kurse, and WeezieWeezie never would’ve gotten hurt;

The only Doctor Doom in existence would have been Kristoff Venard, implanted with Doom’s memories (The Norm McArthur Doom was still present, but seemed to lack the steadfastness of Kristoff, as evidenced in FF Annual #20)…and so on and so on.

Counter Earth ByrneCounter-Earth was created by Herbert Edgar Wyndham, the High Evolutionary.

Counter Earth Gone At some point, the planet went missing!

If you’ll recall, Counter-Earth was eventually placed by the Beyonders into a museum.

Counter Earth Museum

In that case, this would be an Earth that was NOT visited by the Beyonder. It stands to reason that, when the High Evolutionary created Counter-Earth, that many of the denizens were common to our Earth, along with his New Men. After all, he was familiar with Peter Parker, as Professor Miles Warren was once his assistant.

I would guess that some analogues to our heroes would exist on Counter-Earth, though Heroes Reborn may have touched upon this (the Counter-Earth present here may have been an amalgam of the existing Counter-Earth and Franklin Richards‘  imaginings). However, I believe that the implications haven’t truly been realized.

Anyone want to discuss this further?

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Action Comics #18 – Grant Morrison’s Swan Song

action-comics-18-cover

Well, here it is – the last issue of Action Comics penned by the fantastic Grant Morrison.

It was stated that Grant had signed on for six issues of the book – we ended up with three times that number – with extra sized issues at the end, to boot!

Let’s go page by page, and see what this last bit of magic entails:

First, the covers – nice pieces of work by Rags and by Paolo Rivera.

Page one – Brad Anderson really gives us a planet Earth that seems to be suspended in the heavens. Then we get an inset of Metropolis, followed by a shot of a giant Luthor battle suit attacking Super Doomsday – Lex still has a sweet spot for Kal El, as he demands that no one gets to kill Superman but him.

Page two – oops. That plan didn’t work out too well, did it, Lex?

Page three – Krypto is still chained by kryptonite, and SD finds the battlesuit is empty. What?!? Luthor’s still in his cell, controlling the suit via Lex-telepathy circuits (you know he calls them that).

Pages four and five are a double-page spread featuring the book’s title – Superman’s Last Stand – all of the creators’ names are reversed. Vyndktvx sics the Superman Revenge Squad on Clark.

Grant – I’d love a run-down of this current SRS – I know Drekken, Susie, Nimrod and Dr. Xa-Du, but I’m unsure of the rest.

Page six – Supes is having a super-hallucination, courtesy of the SRS-Red chick. He now has a lion’s head and paws, and sees Vyndktvx everywhere, including seven shadow demons.

Page seven is spent taunting Superman, but also gives Superman the genesis of an idea to beat the devil.

Page eight brings us back to the hospital room where Mxyzptlk lays dying, surrounded by Jimmy, Lois and the three core members of the Legion of Super Heroes. I mentioned once before that I don’t feel much for the LoSH, but when Grant writes them, it seems to work out. But who’s that approaching?

We are introduced to Ferlin Nyxly on page nine, who comes in raging about his parenting. Boy, is he in for a rude awakening.

Page ten – the magic trick begins to reveal itself.

Page eleven hits you right in the face – like a custard pie. Wow.

Page twelve is one I’m going to read over and over…there’s some hidden gems in there that I haven’t gotten yet.

Susie isn’t part of the SRS attack on page thirteen – she’s standing aside, when Adam Blake returns. Only Adam isn’t alone…

…because on page fourteen, we are greeted with the return of The Wanderers! I had that first issue – Dave Hoover art, of course. What concept can’t Grant make cool?

Page fifteen sees Krypto released and healed from his poisoning – and what a testament to the love of a dog for his best friend – “he’ll grow a new one”. The Wanderers begin dispatching the SRS easily.

Blake dispatches Dr. Xa-Du on page sixteen. The SRS-Red chick is beheaded, while Drekken switches sides and joins the Wanderers. Now begins the work to defeat Vyndktvx.

Page seventeen brings us our last look at Ferlin, and we get to see Vyndktvx starting to feel the desperation – he pleads for his minions to deliver, despite his failure to deliver on his end of the deal. He thinks he has Clark on the ropes – but this is Superman we’re talking about.

Page eighteen shows that even magic has to follow rules, and there is one basic rule – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Vyndktvx’s actions creates Superman’s reaction. It’s just that simple. Vyndktvx erred by connecting Superman to every living mind on Earth…

…and Clark’s will is anchored and strengthened on page nineteen by The Wanderers. Fifth-dimension character stories have been done before, and they mostly seemed to entail the ease at which 5-D beings can traverse our dimension, but here, Grant examines that, and to interfere in the life of a 3-D being entails being mired in everything a 3-D being experiences, and to a 5-D being, it’s akin to walking into a spider’s web, or flypaper, as mentioned by Blake.

Page twenty – Clark works his magic trick on Vyndktvx. Now for some of the fun stuff I saw in this issue – thank you, Rags, for the revelation. If you didn’t see it, I won’t spoil it.

Page twenty-one shows that Clark’s still got it. Of course, Vyndktvx is a sore loser, isn’t he? He sets his SD shell to blow up…

…leaving Clark to pull that trick we first saw in Amazing Spider-Man #33, where Peter lifts that amazing weight and frees himself to save Aunt May – what we see on page twenty-two is what we should have seen at the end of Superman Returns.

Page twenty-three – Vyndktvx is still nursing that hand from AC #14 – ouchie! What’s worse, his SD bomb is going, going…gone.

Pages twenty-four and twenty-five are the end and the beginning of the fairy tale.

We are presented with the beginning of the end of Krypton on page twenty-six.

Here’s where I once again praise the genius of Grant Morrison. On page twenty-seven, we see Superman Red and Superman Blue. Without making it screamingly obvious, he has Brad Walker illustrate the emotion of Superman Red, while showing the cold logic of Superman Blue. And yet, the two mirror each other in every other way. Excellent stuff. This panel alone is why I read comics. of course, Grant isn’t satisfied with just that – Miss Nyxly is alive! But is Superman?

Page twenty-eight show the lasting impression Superman has on everyone.

Page twenty-nine has Susie back with Aunt Lois, and Superman’s best pal is also Clark Kent’s best pal. Talk about wishing on a falling star.

Page thirty – “You should see the other guy.”

Well, we won’t, for at least ninety days, right, Grant?

I’m gonna miss you, brother. Up, up and away!

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