Thursday, May 29, 2008

8 Stupid Questions About Final Crisis #1

[If you are one of the four people who read my blog, you know that I don't give spoiler warnings or anything, and you should just assume I am spoiling your book. The same goes here.]

1. Okay, so for those of us who read Countdown and the Death of the Fourth World stuff, Lightray dies in Countdown 51, and everyone else dies over the next year, except for Orion who kills Darkseid. So every single one of the new gods is dead except for Orion, who is on the verge of death after killing his father. So when they find Orion in a dumpster, suddenly its deicide and the Alpha Lanterns show up and its a big deal? Does everyone already know that he died because of his fight with Darkseid? Investigating now has a little bit of a horse/barn door quality to it. Why wasn't Lightray a Code 1011?

2. Speaking of which, is it relevant that the "1011 in Progress" occurs on pages 10 and 11?

3. From consecutive panels: "But consider his youth, Prime Monitor Tahoteh!" and "We are multiversal monitors, ancient and wise!" How can the monitors be both all be "ancient," and different ages so that some are "youths"?

4. Is Weeja Dell the Smurfette monitor (the only female Monitor?) Is she the only female Monitor for the sole purpose of allowing them to have an inter-Monitor heterosexual love story?

5. So, I understand why The Human Flame (and the others) need Libra, but why, exactly, does Libra need the Human Flame?

6. So, is Anthro supposed to be Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes or what?

7. "Justice League Condition Amber?"

8. Who's that guy on the last page?

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"Fight Me Jimmy!"

The Raggirls (well, the older two), have discovered Webkinz. I had heard they were evil, and held off as long as I could, but moms I respect started saying it was OK, so we eventually caved in.

Medium Raggirl has a kangaroo that she named "Jimmy." The main effect of this has been my repeatedly picking up the kangaroo and yelling "Fight Me Jimmy!" in my worst fake-Irish accent every chance I get. The Raggirls think I'm weird, anyway, so I don't even ask me to explain the Star Trek reference.

Until last week, MR was exploring the "clubhouses" area of Webkinz World, and saw that two of the options were "Boys Only" and "Girls Only" clubhouses. She asked me which one was appropriate for her, since MR's a girl, but Jimmy is a boy. After looking at it for a while, it appears that it never occurred to the Webkinz World people that a child would have an other-gender Webkinz. The assumption was that everyone would be like Eldest Raggirl (a very "girly" girl with a overly feminine Webkinz pony named "Mascara"), or, I guess, boys with boy Dragons named "Butch.")

I'm not saying that a kid's site needs a room for transgendered Webkinz or anything, but it seems odd to assume that no one would ever decide to assign their toy the other gender.

I Do Not Have HBO.

I just don't. I'm not morally opposed to it or anything. I have Verizon FiOS with 10 gazillion basic-cable type channel, chock full of kids channels in the low-200s (Noggin, Sprout, Playhouse Disney, etc.). Gobs of sports. Generic movies. About 70 music channels. (It's like radio! But on TV! Without music videos!) Sci Fi. BBC America. Gay. Westerns. Womens. Comedy.

But I have never seen an episode of Sex in the City. Or the Sopranos. Or Six Feet Under. Or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or Entourage. My parents seem to have some sort of "only HBO" cable system, because whenever we speak they always ask me if I'm seen the last episode of some show or other, and I always respond, "No. I don't get HBO."

I think the news reporters must have the same cable package my parents do, because whenever there's a TV show headline, its about some HBO show I haven't seen.

Maybe I need to find a new media outlet. Something with headlines like "Suspense builds over whether Fuffa will eat the cookie she found on the ground in new Yo Gabba Gabba" or "Dora or Diego? Four year olds sound off!" (The Raggirls seem to have decided that Dora is for little kids, and they now prefer Diego. As far as I can tell, the shows are identical.)

My media consumption, meanwhile, is substantially constrained by my failure to care about what is happening on HBO.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Short Reviews on Last Wednesday's Books

Checkmate #26: Not enough cast of Checkmate. Too much Six Million Dollar Man. Too many unidentified, stereotyped Iraqis. Perfect amount of Bear on Bear fighting.

Batman and the Outsiders #7

I just can't look at this without thinking its taken from some sort of porn shot, with Rex as the "girl" (lying down, instead of pressed up against a wall), and the zombies as the gropey-guys. Actually, I'd be kind of impressed if it really was taken from a porn picture.

Birds of Prey #118

Not an impressive Birds of Prey story, but the best Darkseid/ Granny Goodness story I can remember reading.

Dresden Files #2

That Will Rogers girl better be an undercover something or other. Otherwise, she's the most stereotyped damsel-in-distress I've read in a long time.

Catwoman #79

The last few issues made me more comfortable with the thought that this book would be canceled. Now I am sad again.

Brave and the Bold #13

Batman says "Yes, sir" to Jay Garrick.

Justice League #16

Not enough Trinity sitting around chatting. Too much Red Arrow/ Hawkgirl stuff. Justice League should just be Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman chatting. It could be set up like "Face The Nation." What does Batman think about the crisis in Myanmar? Is Wonder Woman supporting Clinton or Obama? Um . . . I can't really think of any issue where I would care about Superman's opinion.

Echo #3

I really, really like #1 and #2, and #3 set up #4 very well, but this issue just kind of struck me as "filler."

Monday, May 19, 2008

How I Would End The Blue & Gold Arc

Okay, so it's pretty obvious right from the beginning (and even before) that "saving Ted Kord" was going to turn out to be as a disaster. Without Ted's untimely demise, the heroes are not tipped off about Max Lord, his plan proceeds, and the OMACs end up taking over. We could have all seen that coming.

This is all leading up to Booster's belated realization that he has to go back and let Ted die, or else it all goes horribly wrong, (not to mention the fact that the whole Jaime Reyes thing never happens).

So, here's how it should go: Booster and Beetle go back in time to the moment that Booster stops Max from saving Ted, and while now-Booster pulls then-Booster away, now-Ted takes the bullet aimed for then-Ted. Then we can have a dead Ted AND an alive Ted.

Case solved.

And don't give me that time-paradox crap. This is a world where they can go to the endpoint of time, and sometimes people are there and sometimes there aren't, so I don't buy the paradox argument.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

12 Pages

12 Pages.

That's how many pages of today's 22 page Gotham Underground #8 are devoted to Batman fighting the Vigilante. All but a few of those pages were wordless, and the rest had only stock phrases from the Batman lexicon (of the "Not in my town!" variety.) I'm pretty sure he dispatched a whole legion of White Martian more expeditiously in JLA.

The other 10 pages were a meeting between Penguin and Mr. Stitches. I had no problem with those 10 games.

Anyone considering paying for Gotham Undergound, however, should seriously consider how much they are willing to pay for 12 pages of a single, wordless fight. Also, if you were tempted by Spoiler on the cover, there are no appearances by Spoiler in #8 -- a fact that they actually point out in the book.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Dear Senator Obama,

Dear Senator Obama,

As you are aware, I did not vote for you in the primary elections, and I gave money to your opponent. I am sure you know this, because I did not hear from you during my state's primary election, while Sen. Clinton and her friends called me regularly.

Senator Obama, you obviously know me well enough to know that I am not a sore loser, and will cast my vote for you in the general election, because I am not the sort to stay home, and I have not voted for a Republican in any race -- state, local, or federal -- since the Philadelphia mayor race in 1999, and that was really a one-time thing that I have since regretted.

Perhaps you have not had the same historic primary experiences I did, but Senators Harkin, Bradley, and Edwards can inform you that I have NEVER supported the winning candidate in a contested Democratic primary, and I nonetheless voted for Clinton, Gore, and Kerry without a second thought.

This weekend, however, something changed in our relationship. Perhaps you have decided that the primary race is over, or perhaps you just got your hands on some Democratic Campaign Committee phone list, but in the last three days, I have had to fend off numerous calls from your supporters asking me for money to defeat Senator McCain.

Perhaps the end of the relationship with Senator Clinton is too recent and the wounds are too raw, but I am not willing to give you my money at the moment. Maybe I will feel differently after Senator Clinton concedes, or after you have enough official delegates, or after the convention. But I'm feeling a little like Persephone in the Odyssey. The corpse isn't cold yet (or, like Ulysses, even actually dead), and the new suitors are already lining up asking for my hand and wallet.

I never really swooned to your "message," and I never quite figured out what what your platitudes like "You are the change you seek" actually meant. Are we all supposed to write in our own names on the ballot, so that the election ends in a 300-million way tie? I know I have many friends who think you are a breath of fresh air and a break from the old ways, and whatever. I just don't see it. You struck me as having essentially identical views as Senator Clinton, and I found HER more inspiring, not you.

Now like I said, I'm still going to vote for you. You don't need to worry that I'll take my Lunch Bucket and go home. I just need some time. And space. Please stop calling me.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Anyone want to talk about House of Mystery #1?

Specifically "The Hollows" -- Hungry Sally's 4-page Story-Within-The-Story.

I guess people usually write blog posts giving a review or telling people their opinions. I don't know what my opinion is, though, so I am asking for suggestions:

Grotesquely and offensively obscene?

Grotesquely fascinating?

Social commentary?

Shock horror?

A feminist parable satirizing women's willful blindness and acceptance of their second-class status in marriage?

An anti-feminist rant abusing women for no apparent purpose?

Something else? I'm open to suggestions that I completely missed the point by any well meaning entomologists in the audience . . .

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Now, if we can just get this coconut up to the speed of light . . .

When putting Medium Raggirl -- who is having the Mad Science fifth birthday party -- to bed last night, she asked me one of the most profound scientific questions of all time.

"Can you explain to me whether electrons are Waves or Pineapples?"

And hence bedtime was delayed by 10 minutes for a full explanation of the Wave/Pineapple Duality, in which an electron can move throw two slits simultaneously, like a wave, but if careful observations are taken, the electron will miraculously transform into a tropical fruit, which can only pass through one slit at a time.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Note To Self

When reading a comic book written in a foreign language, with the translation in the back (like, say, Blue Beetle), it is best not to try to read it while eating lunch in an Indian restaurant. You will be flipping back and forth a lot, and will likely end up with Palaak Paneer on your shirt.

Best to read Devi instead. It is my favorite current monthly, has an Indian hero to go with the Indian food, and requires much less flipping.

It is nice when your lunch options and reading selections align. Blue Beetle should be saved for Fajita night.

So Excited

Honestly, I have never been excited about birthday parties for the Raggirls.

Best case scenario is they ask for a Gym Party with a princess theme. Then, we rent out the My Gym for a party, watch the kids swing on zip lines and do forward rolls, then give them a piece of Cinderella on a cake and usher them all out. The several hundred dollar expense is the fee for keeping the kids the hell out of the house.

Worst case scenario is that we have to clean the house, buy the food, entertain the kiddies, and have the whole mishpachah over for several hours.

Which is why I was so happy when we asked Medium Raggirl what she wanted for her fifth birthday, and she said that she wanted a "Mad Science Party." (She is a huge Franny K. Stein fan.)

Does such a theme exist? Why yes it does. We are having "Mad Science of New Jersey" come to the house and put on an hour-long interactive show for about a dozen 5 year old girls.

They tell us that the theme will be "Polymers." I have no idea what that will mean. But for the first time, I am actually looking forward to a Raggirl's birthday party!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Stupid Questions #0: The DC Universe #0 Edition

1. Aren't the rogues all about to be turned into Parademons programmed to serve evil Darkseid, who -- by the way -- is dead? How are they all hanging out with Mr. Zodiac Guy?

2. How much of the Legion of Superheroes do I have to know to follow this Superman plot line? I know some early 1960s stuff, and I read the first few (pre-Supergirl) trades of the new series, and I had no idea what I was supposed to be getting out of that.

3. If we hadn't been spoiled by the newspaper articles, was it obvious that Barry Allen was back, rather than, say Bart? Or Max Mercury? (Is Max Mercury dead?)

4. How, exactly, did Barry Allen die? Was it from running to fast? Was it the anti-matter cannon? How did he die in such a way that everyone kept seeing him? I never really understood that.

5. "Someone is trying to kill Batman" is a plot line? I thought that was the entire basis of the series.

6. Isn't the point of a 50 cent comic to encourage people to read what comes next by providing an interesting story, rather than by providing something so confusing that you need to read the rest to try to figure out what the heck you just read?