Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Please Shove Something Up My Ass While I Shoot You (Seven Brothers #3)


Main Heroes: Rachel Kai, The Seven Brothers
Main Villain: The Son of Hell, Zheng


At the end of issue #2, the "Seven Brothers" have been informed by protagonist Rachel Kai that they are all -- despite their different nationalities -- Brothers. Hundreds of years earlier, a Chinese sorcerer's apprentice named Fong travelled the world with the Chinese fleet, seducing (raping?) women in each port of call. These seven men are all lineal descendants of Fong, and have been imbued through ancestry with various magical gifts. At the end of issue #2, the Son of Hell (whom Fong was apprenticed to, and whom he eventually destroyed) has been brought back to life.

The Seven Brothers begin this episode spying on the Son of Hell (via a Brother who can see across any distance) who has taken over the body of a businessman. The Son of Hell is instructing his assassin servant Zheng about his needs -- primarily bodyguard services. Meanwhile, the Son of Hell is supervising the placement of a number of magical stones that will give him ultimate power and -- not coincidentally -- destroy the world.

As Rachel the Seven Brothers approach "Donald International" -- corporate home of the Son of Hell's host -- they are approached by Zheng who promptly kills them all.


Rachel Kai is, without a doubt, the most kick-ass new superhero concept I have seen in a long time. I have absolutely no complaints that there is only one female in the book, because she's really been used as 50% of the "good guy" cast, with the "Seven Brothers" as her single partner. And, I have no complaints at all about Rachel herself. She is awesome. Here is a scene from Seven Brother's #1 that gives a taste of her powers:

Rachel: This man obviously presents no threat to you or your business. Why not simply let him go?

Pimp: Why the [profanity deleted] you think you getting out without suckin' [lots of profanity deleted]?

Rachel: Because of what I did thirty seconds ago. . . .

Pimp: Thirty muthafuckin'. What the fuck?! I am gonna . . .

Rachel: Then on your own head be it. First I broke your leg. Then I broke your nose. Then I kicked you harder than I had intended. Do you remember?

The Pimp first acts like she's crazy, then slowly the memories come to him, and he collapses as if the fight actually happened. It's unclear if her powers involved time travel, or mental suggestion, or what. It doesn't really matter. Rachel is just completely kick-ass. Later on, Ronald (the Brother she saved from the pimp) is talking to another Brother.

There is thus no doubt, Rachel Kai is the shit. I am not really concerned that she was "killed" at the end of Issue #3, along with everyone else. Assumedly, this will turn out to be one of Ronald's vivid-realistic-future-telling dreams or something like that. What bothers me is that she is depicted on the cover as, essentially, an ass. Not a metaphoric ass, but a . . . well, you can see for yourself.

Her powers are not based on contortionist gunslinging. She is not portrayed at all as a sexual creature in the story itself, and she has no patience for those who do see her as such. If Rachel ran into the cover artist in a dark alley, it is clear what she would have said to him:

But, unfortunately, she didn't. So we are stuck for all time with that unfortunate cover image of an absolutely awesome character.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Mega-rod! Mega-rod! Mega-rod! (Birds of Prey #101, Cover Date Feb. 07)


Main Heroes: Oracle, Barda, Huntress, Zinda, Judomaster, Manhunter

Main Villain: Spy Smasher


Having freed to mob boss's daughter from the Mexican prison, Zinda flies the group North, where they are intercepted by U.S. fighter planes while still in Mexican airspace. After a fight scene between Barda and various aircraft, Zinda's helicopter is blown out of the sky. Saved at the last minute by Barda's boom tube, they take a limo to turn over the mob boss, but are instead arrested by the agents. Meanwhile, Manhunter is off on her own trying to free another group of prisoners -- the "real" targets -- and Oracle is meeting with Lois Lane with Misfit in charge.


Repeated usage of the word "Mega-Rod" cures a lot of ills, but this story isn't really keeping it's plot twists in line. If the secret plan was to make it look like the Birds of Prey had been killed so they wouldn't be followed, why are they risking Barda going off to fight to planes? Did she not know the "secret plan" that she was a part of? Isn't is only supposed to be secret from the bad guys? But Spy Smasher tells Oracle that all of her agents will be dead or in jail within 48 hours, and promptly has the "dead" Birds arrested, so she apparently wasn't fooled either. What the heck kind of secret plan fools Zinda, but not Spy Smasher?

Meanwhile, while the cover shows Manhunter being arrested by armed agents, the issue actually ends with everyone BUT Manhunter being arrested. Kate is just off fighting Miguel, a large shirtless Mexican who apparently is always on call for the prison's shirtless- fighting-Mexican needs.

But, hey, at the Mexicans actually have some Hispanics on staff. The All-Caucasian Birds remain in all-White mode.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Where Are All the Women Comic Book Artists?"

Apparently, they are all right here.

Who knew?


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Devi #6: In Which the Main Character Finally Shows Up!

Main Heroes: Devi/Tara Mehta, Rahul Singh

Ambiguous Others: The Durapasya, Cabinet of Shadows, Agantuk, Amara Gaelle

The followers of the Devi have failed to kill her new host Tara, and now the Devi spirit has for the first time entered a live host. Devi lies dormant, and Tara is in a coma, being protected by Rahul Singh. The Cabinet of Shadows is aware of what has transpired, but is primarily concerned with finding "The Source," an unexplained vessel containing "Millennia of human prayers" that is apparently very powerful. The evil god Bala has hired Amara Gaelle to find it, and it seems that one of Devi's tasks will be to find it and give it to the "good" gods. Amara Gaelle, however, is working as a double agent for the Cabinet of Shadows. She is attempting to throw Bala off the trail and deliver the Source of the Cabinet instead. The Cabinet of Shadows does not want to power of the Source given to any of the gods -- good or evil -- feeling that its power would oppress humanity no matter which deity obtained it.

Meanwhile, Tara has regained consciousness after a month unconscious in the morgue. As she and Rahul discuss her situation, they disappear, drawn to where she is prayed to by a mother whose children are being taken away by a gang. Disoriented at first, when the fighting starts the Devi asserts herself, using her powers to disperse the gang. When a gang member threatens to kill a child if she doesn't let him go, Devi risks the child's life to attack the gang member anyway, saying that "Individual mortal lives have always been acceptable sacrifices."

At the end, it is reported that Iyam -- boyfriend of Tara and follower of Bala -- has escaped.


After several issues of ambiguity, the facts are coming together, and what's interesting about the coalescing facts is that they make the morality of the actors all the more ambiguous.

Tara we know is "good", if innocent, and so is Rahul -- the hard drinking cop with a heart of gold that we know from our grizzled crime fiction. Beyond that, though, it gets murky. I had previously compared Devi to an Indian "Wonder Woman", but now that comparison is getting strained. The Cabinet makes a compelling case against submission to the gods -- any gods -- as humanity needs to be the master of its own destiny. Devi is a god-like agent of the "good gods", but appears to have a morality that permits the ends to justify the means. This lends credence to the Cabinet's warnings about the Source: "In [Bala's] hands, it could spell doom for us all. Even if the gods' hands, stregth of such magnitude would do more harm than good."

Is the Cabinet guilty of hubris -- placing themselves about the gods? If Devi a force for "good", fighting the evil "Bala", or is she just another example of absolute power corrupting? Definitely the first inklings of complex characterizations going on here. Too bad that it has taken 6 issues to get this far.

This issue gets an A+, bringing the entire series so far up to a B+.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Chag Sameach!

Well, tonight is the first night of Channukah, and my initial thought was to give my eldest daughter the full run of the comic book that is named for her. Unfortunately, there are only six issues of said comic book, and -- more importantly -- she's really too young for them now.

So, I can wait until next year, and give her 18 issues, or the next year and give her 30 . . . It's sort of an interesting question. The longer I wait, the cooler the gift gets (because its more stuff), but also the longer we have to wait.

Anyway, I guess that's a question for another year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Things People Take Seriously!

So, as my regular reader will know, a little over a week ago I posted a positive review of the Disney Fairies series. This was hardly a controversial topic. I mean, I guess it could have been controversial, had people thought that this was actual a bad, harmful, book series, but everyone who had read them seemed to have agreed with my assessment of the books, so it SHOULDN'T have been controversial.

That is, until my article was linked to by the Livejournal Disney Faeries community (which I did not know existed until I saw it in my trackbacks). Quite outstripping the 5 comments (two by me) in my comment section, the Livejournal post had over 70 comments (now over 100!). The debate got somewhat heated -- not over my recommendation (over course the readers of the Livejournal community would agree) -- but over my parenting skills! Was I stifling my children's minds by discouraging them from reading/watching the Disney Princess stories like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid? Was I interefering with the free flow of the marketplace of ideas by supporting the banning of books?

Oh dear!

Within 24 hours, the administrators had banned two members (the first two bannings in the Disney Fairies community's history!) and had instituted a modified posting policy to prevent future attacks on the integrity of the community.

All because I wrote that I liked their book series.

The Moral: Don't mess with the Disney folks. You can never win.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Online Accounts -- Ethics of our Internets

Nothing I read really inspired me to comment this week, so I haven't. Instead, I want to talk about commerce.

So, I am currently dealing with two equal and opposite screw-ups:

1. An entity to which I subscribed on-line six months ago for "$14.95 per year" is now claiming that my membership is expired and wants an additional $14.95 for the next subscription period.

2. My "Borders Rewards" card is crediting me with many purchases made in Hyde Park, Illinois, and giving me lots of free money to use to buy books in December.

My e-mail correspondence regarding the subscription has not been returned, and there is no obvious number or e-mail to call to give back my "Illinois credit."

Do the two snafus cancel out? Is it worth my time to try to fix them? Is there a communal assumption that we'll be screwed out of money half the time and screw them out of money the other half, so that the scales remain balanced? The bill at the restaurant last night seemed kind of high, but I didn't go back and add and itemize, because I had the kids and was in a rush. They only scanned the top placemat at Target, even though they were being sold individually and I had picked up a stack of six. It was in the shopping cart and other stuff was piled on top before I could figure out what to do about it.

I'm sure there are a dozen things in the past week that I either over- or under-paid for that I didn't even know about.

Is commerce just the world of everyone-for-themselves? If the cashier rings up to much, it's up to you to catch it, but if they miss something, it's up to them to find it? It's always harder to get them to fix mistakes in their favor than in yours, so trying to fix all of them seems to be less than zero-sum for me.

On the other hand, I still feel guilty about the undercharges and indignant about the overcharges. Is that the correct moral response, or should I just let it all mix together?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Cares if My Plan is Half-Assed? I'm Superman and You're Just a Football Thug (Superman in Action Comics #4, Cover Date September, 1938)


Major Hero: Superman
Minor Hero: Tommy Burke, Oliver Stanley

Major Villain: Coach Randall
Minor Villain: Unnamed Thugs


Superman chases a hit-and-run driver to where he is stalled on a train track. He jumps them to safety just in time, but the driver dies of a heart attack. Deciding to sneak onto the train, Superman overhears Coach Randall of Dale hires two thugs to help him win a game against Cordell University by taking out Cordell's three best players.

Clark Kent notes that he looks like Tommy Burke, A Cordell player who is currently being dumped by his girlfriend for only being a backup. Walking home despondently, he meeting Kent (dressed as Burke) who stabs him with a hypodermic needle, knocking him out.

In the locker room, Superman impresses the teammates by taking punches from a better player, and then knocking him out. But the Cordell coach throws him off the team. He regains his position by running onto the field and evading the whole team.

Coach Randall hears about Burke and orders him kidnapped until after the game, but the thugs kidnap the real Burke, not Superman (who has again drugged Burke). At the game, Superman plays and takes out the knife-wielding thugs on the other team, single-handedly winning the game for Dale in the first half. Mary is impressed, and dumps her tennis pro on the spot. Superman and Burke (who has escaped) switch back at halftime. The real Burke is injured on the first play and immediately retires with Mary in his arms, and Coach Randall resigns.


I've been reading some criticisms of Greg Land's cover art, where most of his female characters look this same. Well, he's got nothing on Action Comics, where Burke's girlfriend Mary is drawn identically to Lois Lane (even wearing the same outfit to the football game that Lane wore to the office in Action #1). Cordell Coach Oliver Stanley (named after both members of Laurel & Hardy?), meanwhile, is the spitting image of Dick Tracy.

Leaving aside the fact that the plot device of Kent and Burke looking alike glosses over the fact that everyone else looks alike too, we get to the actual story, which is utterly ridiculous. It consists mainly of Superman doping up a bad college football player who never did anything wrong to him.

Burke: W-what have you done to me? I can't move!
Superman: You needn't worry. You're just rendered passive by a drug.

Ah, I see. No reason to worry there. And days later, some exposition when Burke is captured:

The two thugs are unaware Burke is under the influence of a sleep-inducing drug or that Superman is observing them from the molding overhead!
Does Superman leap down to Burke's defense? No, he follows and peers through a window.

Superman: Fine! They've taken him off my hands -- and they mean him no physical harm!
Superman leaves Burke tied to a chair.

My first thought on reading Action #4 was to go research when the NCAA started regulating college football, but according to Wikipedia, they were active in 1938. Nonetheless, as best as I could tell here, Dale University and Cordell University played for the championship with teams that consisted almost entirely of non-student ringers. Meanwhile, Burke, who is an actual student, is accused by Mary for his failures:

Mary: I'm ashamed of you, Tommy Burke! You told me you'd be a football hero, but in the six or seven years you've been a substitute, you've never gotten into even one game!
Six or seven years? I hope Tommy Burke is double majoring in chemical engineering and corporate finance! This certainly should be violating some league's team eligibility requirements!

We'll leave aside for the moment the shallow portrayal of Lois, um, I mean Mary, as only being interested in a guy who is a sport's hero, and jumping back and forth based on who scored the most recent point. Action #1-#3 all addressed big issues and its shortcomings were made up for by having an actual point that they carried throughout.

Action #4, on the other hand, was just ridiculous.

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Thinning The Herd

The bad news is that, for the second week in a row, there is no new comics from Virgin. In fact, the only new news on the Sadhu front since mid-September is that there will be a movie (starring Nicholas Cage) produced based on the story. Is there a record for fewest issues published before a movie is made? We've been in a holding pattern with #3 for a long time . . .

The good news is that there is soooo much other stuff I want to buy today that a new Virgin comic would force me to winnow my DC list even further.


51 #31
Atom #6
Manhunter #26
Next #6
JSA #1

And then 1 or 2 of the rest, depending on how rich I feel this afternoon, in order of preference:

Supergirl #12
Tranquility #1
Outsiders #43
Mystery in Space #4
Batman Confidental #1
Superman Confidental #2

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let's Talk About Frame (Aquaman #46, Cover Date December, 2006)


Main Heroes: Aquaman
Minor Heroes: Vulko, Mera

Main Villains: King Shark


While teaching young Arthur how to fight, King Shark tells "new Aquaman" the story of how he met "old Aquaman." Aquaman, Mera, and Vulko had made an unannounced visit as Reef's End, where they are astonished to learn that there has just been a murder -- the fourth of the week. The victim has had his head bitten off, but no one wants to talk about it. Meanwhile, upstairs, King Shark is carousing with a local prostitute. He is drunk and eventually captured. Aquaman is called back by Vulko, who identifies that the corpse has the mark of the Thorny Crown, the mark of a High Priest. Vulko attempts to glean some insights from Nenomi, the prostitute, but they are interrupted by King Shark, who threatens to bite off more heads.


The "Let Me Tell You a Story" frame is a good way to set a story in the present, while still primarily telling a story that happened in the past. With Frame, however, comes limitations. The story is being told by King Shark, not an omniscient narrator. As such, the story should be limited by what the Story Teller knows, and shouldn't keep as secret things things that the Story Teller does know.

In this case, we've got none of the above. In the first 8 pages of the flashback, King Shark is nowhere to be seen. There is a mysterious murder, and would make sense if Aquaman were telling the story. But, for King Shark, the facts are no mystery at all (since he is the murderer, and assumedly knows why he did it). The actual conversations discussing the mystery, however, he would have no way of knowing, as he was upstairs with Nenomi at the time.

After King Shark's conversation with Nenomi and subsequent fight with Aquaman (all of which is recalled with clear detal, despite his inebriation), there is five more pages with Aquman talking to Vulko, and then Vulko talking to Nenomi, before King Shark returns for his one-page cliff-hanger. Why, exactly, is King Shark telling this story?

Loren asks, "Am I the only person in the universe that still loves Aquaman?" No, you're not, but it doesn't help when the entire issue is a flashback of events that, for the most part, the story-teller would have no way of knowing.

Actually, while Busiek is doing fine (frame notwithstanding), I am looking very-much forward to Busiek's replacement, Tad Williams, who is currently writing my favorite series (which will end tomorrow with #6 of 6), The Next. The Next, however, is certainly a comic that I am the only person in the universe that still loves. Base on October's sales figures, sales for #4 slumped to 8,000, barely beating out re-prints of the last month's Justice League and a brand new Krypto the Super Dog.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Surprising Source of Woman-Friendly Kid's Fiction

If your house is anything like the Ragtime house, there is the eternal struggle between "Reading is a good thing!" and "That thing you have chosen to read is mindless drivel and the literary equivalent of crack cocaine."

For bedtime stories for the Ragkids (3 young girls), I am always on the lookout for mind-nurturning literature. The girls, on the other hand, are on the lookout for yet another iteration of "The Magic Fairy Princess Saves the Unicorn and Is Kissed By the Prince." Blech.

Happy Day, then, to find a Kids Book Series that BOTH fits into the Magic Fairy Princess etc . genre, and yet, doesn't suck.

So, are you ready for it?

Disney Fairies.

Yep. I saw the titles ("The Trouble with Tink", "The Great Berry Battle", etc.) and the Disney Fairy animation, and I thought this would be no different from "Pixie Tricks" (vapid), Fairy Realm (dull), The Unicorn's Secret (unreadable), or The Rainbow Fairies (insipid). And yet, well, let's just get to it . . .

1. Female Centered Naming Conventions. The creatures that live in The Home Tree are called "Fairies" -- They are made up of two kinds, the males (called "Sparrow Men") and the females (called "Fairies"). Note that the Generic term is identical to the Female term.

2. Gender Division. There is no explicit statement of the breakdown of genders, but among the characters who show up in a representative book, they are about 75-80% Fairies, and 20-25% Sparrow Men. There is also a Queen. The world is Female-Centered without being either all-female or male-repressive. The Sparrow Men are there and apparently equals. They're just not really that important to the flow of the story.

3. Cool Jobs. Every Fairy has a special talent. Tinkerbell, star of the first book ("The Trouble With Tink") is a pots-and-pans-talent fairy. She loves to spend all day sitting alone in her workshop with her hammer, repairing pots and pans for the other Fairies. And it hits me. Brilliant! She's a Tinker! What the heck else should she be with a name like Tinkerbell! Once you work from the assumption that people should have jobs and not just flit around sprinkling fairy dust all day, of COURSE she's a tinker!

Other fairies have a wide variety of talents, that span the range of both traditionally male and female jobs. The "Waste Metal Recovery Fairy" was my personal favorite. The Sparrow Men get some good jobs, too, like Crown Construction, but just enough to show that the males aren't being subjugated here.

4. Interesting Tasks. Vidia, who is a loner and generally anti-social, is accused of stealing the Queen's crown when it goes missing. Even though she's generally unliked by the other fairies, she gets to be the protagonists of her own book, and goes though an elaborate series of problem solving tasks along with her assistant (also female) in order uncover the truth of the missing crown. Beck, as an Animal-Talent Fairy, assumes the job of arbitrator between the warring hummingbirds and chipmunks. The tasks never involved "Getting The Boy". The closest it comes is when Tink loses her Tinkering hammer and doesn't want to go get her spare that she left at Peter Pan's house when they were dating. Bringing a friend for moral support, she gets the hammer, and realizes that she will now have the courage to face Peter again without fear, and that she no longer has any romantic interest in him.

5. The Cute Factor. The illustrations are definitely classic Disney, and are thus very cutesy. The characters, though, never focus on appearances, get catty, primp, or whatever. They just go do their jobs.

The Ragkids, of course, don't see any difference between Disney Fairies and any other more-or-less insipid "Disney Princesses" creation. This is one series, though, that I am happy to recommend.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Impotence -- The Fate Worse Than Death (Snake Woman #5)


Main Hero: JessicaPeterson

Main Villains: Harker, Robinson


After a long, drug-induced flashback/expository-plot-device, Jessica has learned that she is the reincarnation of the Snake Goddess, whose soul first entered a girl born during a massacre in India, and reincarnated in each generation. Based on this wrong committed long ago by 68 British soldiers, each reincarnation of the Snake Goddess and "The 68" are at constant war. If Jessica is able to kill all 68, then the cycle ends and the souls can rest. If she fails, however, then everyone tries again in the next lifetime. The Snake Goddess has never gotten out of the 20s in any generation, however.

This time, though, there is a twist. While The 68 clamor for Jessica's death, Harker has decided that he is tired of the constant reincarnations. As the only one who retains his memory from one life to the next, Harker knows that an initial snake bit left him impotent, and he remains so in each subsequent life.

Thus, the plan is thus for Jessica to kill each of The 68 with Harker's assistance (now 65, following the killings of date Ryan in #1, assistant Barkley #4, and pedophile Robinson in #5), before Jessica finally kills Harker, all the time leaving The 68 to think that she has alread been killed. Jessica resists her role as a murderer, but Harker's threat of the killing of everyone she knows and loves convinces her to sign on.

With a new mission in life, Jessica loses all her inhibitions. She grabs her love-interest Raj out of the club they are in, pulls him into the Men's Room where they immediately begin having sex.


Apparently, repressed women like Jessica secretly want to have sex in a public men's room. It is only their inhibitions that prevent them. Once those inhibitions are lost (through a couple or three cold-blooded murders), there is nothing stopping one from rutting away against a men's room stall.

On the opposite extreme, all of the power and money in the world -- combined with an unlimited number of lives -- are completely worthless to a man like Harker who can't have sex. You can try to compensate through accumulations of wealth, or by other sorts of "extreme" Fight-Club-like activities, but in the end, after a couple hundred years, having your throat eventually ripped out by a Snake Goddess is clearly preferable to a flaccid penis.

Because, you see, it's all about sex. Women want it, but are too repressed to ask for it. Men want it, but are sometimes prevented by situations out of their control, from having it. While we must acknowledge that, of course, child rape is a bad thing, and pedophiles must be tortured and murdered, we all know that true happiness for both genders consists of a grand heterosexual orgy of consenting adults.

Or, at least, that's my take-away lesson here. Am I missing anything?

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Mary Sue Gets Published (Batman LOTDK # 212, Cover Date Jan. 2007)

"Get him, boy wonder." -- Batman


Major Hero: Fernando Guerrero
Minor Hero: Batman, Sonia Costa

Major Villains: Unnamed burglers


Fernando is a geeky high school boy who likes science fiction and astronomy. He's also a big Batman fan. He is sad, because he doesn't have a girlfriend, although he like Sonia. One night, he sets up his telescope on top of the armory, and happens to see Batman swing by. Amazed, he returns the next night and again sees Batman at the same time. Convinced that he has uncovered a portion of Batman's nightly patrol route, Nando screws up the courage to invite Sonia (who also happens to be a Batman fan, and is wearing a pink Batman shirt that day) to come see Batman with him.

Batman, however, fails to arrive at the designated time. Worse still, as Sonia prepares to leave, masked villains come over the wall planning to break into the armory. Faced with seven masked and armed men, Nando nonetheless screws up his courage and lifts his fists defend Sonia. Luckily, Nando's life it spared by the timely arrival of the Dark Knight, who had been surveilling the armory for weeks with foreknowledge of the planned attack.

In the ensuing fight, a masked man takes Sonia hostage, and threatens to shoot her unless Batman retreats. Batman's response: "Get him, Boy Wonder." Nando knocks the gun away, and Batman finishes the job. Upon leaving, Batman says, "Couldn't have done it without you. Thanks." and offers his hand. Sonia yells, "You saved my life," and she and Nando kiss under the light of the bat signal.


Mary Sue: "Mary Sue (sometimes shortened simply to Sue) is a pejorative term for a fictional character who is portrayed in an overly idealized way and lacks noteworthy flaws, or has unreasonably romanticized flaws. Characters labeled Mary Sues, as well as the stories they appear in, are generally seen as wish-fulfillment fantasies of the author."

The point is, you usually see this is bad fan-fic, not in the actual book! Talk about your romaticized flaws and wish-fulfillment! Geeky boy acts brave in moment of crisis, and helps Batman save the day. The "Get him, Boy Wonder" is what really put this one over the top, made me put down the book, and start laughing.

I've really loved the last few LOTDK arcs, but this One Shot was something I would have expected to read at batmanrulez!!!.com, not in an actual DC comic book.

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"Can Someone Explain This Ziggy For Me?"

Okay, so maybe I am about to out myself as a complete moron, but I can't for the life of me figure out what's going on in Teen Titans. There is a certain "Emperor's New Clothes" mentality that prevents one from seeking assistance in deciphering a comic book geared toward young readers. But, then, I've never been self-conscious about pointing out my ignorance. Perhaps someone who is wise in the ways of kid-oriented comics can help me figure it out.

1. Why is Raven trying to bring Jericho back to life?

2. Why is Raven trying to bring Jericho back to life without clearing it with Rose first?

3. Why is Bombshell trying to kill Jericho?

4. Why is Bombshell trying to kill Jericho before Jericho is even brought back to life?

5. How did Raven know that Bombshell was a traitor?

6. What, exactly, made Bombshell a traitor? That she was trying to kill Jericho before he came back to life?

7. What was the deal with the missing book?

8. How come Bombshell thought that Jericho's father hired her to kill him, when in reality Jericho's father hired someone else to un-kill him? Seems like an odd sort of mix-up.

And to get it up to 10 Questions, a couple of Imponderables:

9. When a race, such as the "Martians" are all shape-shifters who can change both their form and their color, what sense does it make to divide them into "White Martians" and "Green Martians"? Aren't they all potentially White OR Green?

10. Wasn't one of the points of Infinite Crisis that the doors between life and death were supposed to be shut tighter? That didn't last long.

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