Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Man With The Screaming Brain

Well, I still haven't gotten my comics for this week yet. To alleviate boredom, I've been trolling the blogs, but avoiding reviews. Everybody and her sister seems be talking about violence against women lately.

I am nothing if not fashionable, so today I'm going to look closely at one particular instance:

Tatoya from The Man With the Screaming Brain
(I never saw the film, but there's spoilers ahead for the comic)

In one scene, Tatoya is cornered in the sewer by our protagnist. He's pretty angry, and she's out of weapons, so she falls back on an old standard.

"You would hit a woman?"

Now, I will say right off I think Tatoya's a pretty kickass villainess. When she's introduced, we see her force a sharp knife through a man's back. That's not easy to do, requires a lot of physical strength. She goes on to murder several people, violently, and show the level of reflexes and agility any marine would be proud to have.

She's a little short on common sense, though, as evidenced by the above quote.

She's asking this of a guy she's murdered (technically) twice, ran over in a car, attempted to light on fire, falsely accused of rape (I'd just like to point out that I despise this tactic in any story by any character, and move on) in order to get him beaten to death, and of course, killed his wife (also, twice).

And she has the gall to say -- "You would hit a woman?"

"You would hit a woman?"

"You would hit a woman?"!?!


I understand that I am an evil and bloodthirsty, and often opportunistic person. So, I should empathize with Tatoya. I should not want to see her hurt.
I further understand that violence against women is a very real problem, and is no laughing matter. I am aware that accepting it's portrayal without protest is silently condoning a very very big and disturbing problem.
I have the utmost respect for the rights of domestic violence victims, the continued secret subjugation of women in modern society, oppressed women around the world, my long-suffering foremothers, the villification of the Great Goddess, the demonization of feminity, and the difficulties still felt by women trapped in male-dominated family structures.

But, for the future of humanity, any man who would have been stopped by Tatoya's comment after this impressive demonstration of her most dangerous skills needs to be drowned in the gene pool.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Last Week's Last Lines

Well, snow on the roads kept me from the LCS today ("But, aren't you originally from Pennsylvania?" the clerk asked when I called him to pull the books, "Yes," I answered, "and I hated driving in the snow there too!" That and nobody in Oklahoma can drive on a clear day, so it's certainly not worth the risk in a snowstorm), and fear of spoilers keeps me from roaming the message boards tonight, so I figured I'd do a few reviews since I haven't done so in two months.

Naturally, I'll be basing my opinions on the most important line of the issue -- the one the writer leaves you with. So, Spoilers ahead -- but they are all for last week.

Jonah Hex #1 -- Now he wasn't so sure.
A beautiful piece of narration that captures the mood of the entire story. Also a testament to not judging a comic by the first page. I glanced at the first page in the comic book store, and put it back. Too heavy on the narration, I thought to myself, I'd better just save my three dollars. However, after the tenth positive review I saw on line, I figured I'd give the first book a shot. I'm glad I made it to the last page this time.

Plastic Man #19 -- Turn me so I can see.
If you read this book, you would understand the joke. So, if you're not laughing, shame on you for killing this title.

JLA: Classified #14 -- Ukk!
Ah, the unmistakable sound of a Green Lantern getting kicked in the face. For some reason, physical violence against Lanterns really cheers me up. I think it has something to do with the sheer amount of power they command. There's something satisfying in seeing one get knocked out by a lamp, or dropped with a single punch, or have to grapple for his life.
Of course, I'd have enjoyed it more if it hadn't taken four issues to get to this point. That's what off about this arc, it's just too slow. I was really pleased to see this lineup in JLA:Classified #10 (the best issue of the arc so far), but my nostalgic expectations were set too high. It's not the plot, the dialogue, the mood, the art (although I don't like Butch Guice's Kyle, too old), it's just the pacing. And it's not even that so much as the pacing compared to the usual hyperactive pacing associated with this lineup. The plodding speed would have been acceptable with the Detroit group, or Jones' league, or the satellite league, or even the most recent lineup -- but any version of the Justice League with Kyle Rayner in it demands faster pacing and considerably more action. I know Warren Ellis wants to hang a little cloud of Impending Doom over everyone's head here, but it just doesn't fit these people. I find myself disliking this arc through no real fault of the writer, other than a poor choice of casting. This is a shame, because I know Ellis is capable of approaching Morrison and Kelly action levels. I think if he'd written this more like Transmetropolitan or Authority and less like Planetary or Fell more people would be satisfied.

Fell #3 -- No charge for the suit.
A slight smile at the end frames an overall enjoyable read. Like the book itself, it's simple on the surface but substantial when you look into it.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #1 -- Frankenstein Lives!
Morrison has written much snappier dialogue.

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4 -- My stepmother's about to invade the earth. I thought of you.
Like here.

The Flash #228 -- ...I've made some progress.
No, you haven't. This current plot has done nothing to make you seem any more dangerous. You are still a cheesy villain who will get his butt kicked. The only reason you did so well is that the Flash is acting remarkably stupid right now as he coasts towards cancellation. If Wally dies this crossover, it won't be in this storyline.

Daredevil #79 -- I think you should tell them were your friend is or I do believe they will put you in jail.
I remember when I first started reading this book. I loved Bendis writing. He makes monologues sound like a real person ranting, as opposed to a prepared, scripted speech. There was something very raw and unusual about it. Of course, like most of my romantic relationships, my love affair with Bendis' writing was doomed to fade. With constant exposure, love turned slowly to mere like, then to utter annoyance. After a while I noticed every character spoke in ranting monoloques and no action ever actually occurred. This line is a perfect Brian Michael Bendies last line. Long, wordy, pretends to urgency, but falls flat after the fourth or fifth issue that ends with a similar note.

Captain Atom: Armageddon #2 -- I'm going to tap into some real power.
This final panel promise of fun ahead bodes well for the next issue. This is better than any cliffhanger. Nobody should be surprised at Capt. Atom's plan of action, but everyone should be looking forward to the results.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Candidate Embarks Upon 2008 Campaign Trail

Not to be outdone by Lex Luthor, General Zod has announced his candidacy for the 2008 Presidential elections. This announcement, though early, came at a calculated time, as Kryptonians are proving to be the fastest growing minority in the United States. A recent poll by Gallup reveals a four hundred percent increase in the Kryptonian population since 1990. When asked about the constitutional rule that only native-born citizens could assume the office of the presidency, General Zod had this to say:

"Silence, you pathetic weakling. The United States was the first country on this planet that I set foot on, which is good enough for your meaningless document. Any judicial officials who dare to disagree will be dealt with accordingly."

So far, General Zod is the only candidate to officially throw his hat in the ring this early. Former President Lex Luthor held a press conference on Thurday morning announcign his intentions to run again, despite his public falling out with Superman. Luthor withdrew from the race that very same afternoon, stating that his commitment to the murder of Superman is far too time-consuming at this point.

Darth Vader was unavailable for comment, but maintains a strong enough following to take him past the primaries, if not to the Oval Office itself.

Finally, the increase in nightmares experienced by sensitive psychics indicate Cthulu as a possible candidate again. Chthulu reputedly blames his previous running mates, Nyarlathothep and Johnny Sorrow, for his past failures. Political Analysts expect him to pick the Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Young for a running mate, in order to increase his approval rating among women and parents.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More Green Lantern Fun: Qwardian Television

BAWBB BAHRKUR (Looks like Jim Carrey): Thank you, and welcome back to "Wicked Awesome!" -- the show where real-life villians tell you their stories of their evil exploits, and you, the audience, vote for the Best of the Worst! Our next contestant is old favorite who we thought was dead, but he proves you can't keep a bad man down. And this is a man so bad, the first thing he told us when he got to Qward was that we're not evil enough!! Hailing from the positive matter universe of Drawq -- let's hear it for Sinestro!

(Cheers from the audence, as Sinestro walks onto stage,smiling and waving. He blows a few kisses before he stands next Bawbb)

BAWBB: Welcome back, Sinestro!

SINESTRO: Delighted to be back, Bawbb.

BAWBB: So, Sinestro, tell us about your evil plan to destroy the Guardians of Drawq.

SINESTRO: Well, it turns out the Guardians of the positive matter universe have more than a few skeletons in their closet so to speak. It turns out that the infamous "yellow impurity" of the Green Lantern power rings isn't so much a design flaw, as a sentient creature.

BAWBB: Oh, come on!

SINESTRO: I'm serious, Bawbb. The Central Power Battery on their homeworld of Oa was not created to power their minions. It was created as a prison! And it housed one of the worst entities of both universes -- a creature of living fear known only as Parallax!

BAWBB: Wow, can we get a picture of Parallax for everybody. (Picture appears on screen) My, he's... a big yellow bug monster.

SINESTRO: Who controls minds!

BAWBB: Well, that's somewhat impressive.

SINESTRO: Don't worry, it gets better.

BAWBB: I hope so.

SINESTRO: If you remember, my arch-nemesis in the positive-matter universe is the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, Hal Jordan. He was a pupil of mine until he turned on me at my trial. As a result, I was demonized, and shunned bymy own people. Even now, on my homeworld of Korugar, my name is used in stories to frighten small children at night, or as an insult teenagers use to their parents when they rebel.

(Audience cheers)

BAWBB (Winning Smile): Well, that's truly impressive, but you know the rules, Sinestro, prior bad acts are inadmissable! Only the scheme in question!

SINESTRO (Gives Bawb the "I'd like to freeze you in carbonite and punt you into a black hole" look): Of course. Anyway, I decided to do that same to Jordan. I awoke Parallax, who naturally looked for a Lantern to corrupt and break him loose. I pointed him in Jordan's direction. Slowly he corrupted Jordan, filled him with fear. And, when his hometown of Coast City was destroyed--

BAWBB: And how did you destroy Coast City?

SINESTRO: I didn't. Someone else disintegrated it.

(Sounds of disapproval from the audience)

SINESTRO: Again, we still haven't gotten to the best part! Bear with me (Audience quiets down) Once his hometown was destroyed, his defenses went down. Parallax lured him to Oa where he destroyed the Central Power Battery, killed his best friend, and caused all but one of the Guardians to commit suicide!

(Audience applauds and cheers)

BAWBB: A truly evil plan, Sinestro! But let's see what our audience says.

(A vote talley appears onscreen)
Gypo-Bax 88
Sinestro 92
Gny-Gryngg 52
Borbrydi 50
Karo-Thynn 44

BAWBB: 92, that puts you in the lead! And puts us at an advantage, if there are no longer any Green Lanterns. We can invade the positive matter universe without worrying about--

SINESTRO: Oh, well, there are Green Lanterns again.

BAWBB: Really? But with no Power Battery..

SINESTRO: It was rebuilt.

BAWBB: The Guardians are all dead.

SINESTRO: They've been reborn.

BAWBB (Attempts to look on the bright side): But Jordan is still under Parallax's influence...

SINESTRO (Visibly annoyed by this train of questioning): He shook it.

BAWBB: And set Parallax loose on reality?

SINESTRO (Shakes head): Back in the battery.

BAWBB (Laughs): But your arch-nemesis still killed his best friend!

SINESTRO (Deep breath): He got better.

BAWBB: Well, surely some bad still remains. Did your scheme have any lasting effect at all?

SINESTRO (Thinks it over carefully): The Guardians now have an extremely unpredictable and imaginative Senior Lantern who is especially resistant to mind control, that they likely wouldn't have even considered hiring if the last Guardian hadn't been driven to desperation by Jordan's rampage.

BAWBB: I see.

SINESTRO: But it would have all worked if he hadn't found out about Parallax. But, I suppose being the only Green Lantern at the point all the history was just attracted to him.

BAWBB: If he was the only one, why didn't you kill him?

SINESTRO (Defensively): Well, it would have attracted the attention of the last Guardian, who didn't realize Parallax was out and about.

BAWBB: I see, so you caused them to go from 3600 Lanterns, to 1, to 3600--

SINESTRO (Need to be right completely overwhelms desire to win): 7200. They're doubling in size, so that they can keep an eye on each other.

BAWBB (Stares at Sinestro, then conjures his winning smile again): Well, lets talley up the votes again!

(Numbers scroll on the on-screen vote talley, giving us a new score)
Gypo-Bax 119
Sinestro 1
Gny-Gryngg 67
Borbrydi 70
Karo-Thynn 69

BAWBB: And the final winner is: Gypo-Bax, for poisoning the water supply of mobile Ranxx City with his fiendish techno-virus! Thanks to him, all of the citizens are now part of a mechanical hive-mind, and totally evil!

(Gypo-Bax walks onstage to claim his prize money, presented to him by the beautiful and cruel Vehnha Black)

BAWBB: Well, I'd like to congratulate Gypo-Bax and the sentient City of Ranxx on their victory. I'd also like to thank all of our contestants, and our sponsors: Happy Harry Hitler's Haunted Haberdashery, The Power Posse, Ming's Worlds of Weapons, and Walt Disney Productions! I'd also like to once again welcome Sinestro back to the Universe of Qward. (Puts his arm around a sullen Sinestro) Is there anything you'd like to say, Sin?

SINESTRO (Low voice): I would have won if it weren't for that meddling kid.

BAWBB: Well, you should have killed him then. Goodnight, folks!