Comic Judgment: Surprises and Comeback Kids

As we’ve all discovered by now, the quality of the relaunched DC books has been all over the map, ranging from the brilliant to the WTF? That’s about what I expected. There’s no need for me to write another mash note to Batwoman, Action Comics, Wonder Woman or even Batman and Robin, so on to the rest of the DCnU buy pile we go! For purposes of this post, I’m focusing on some books that I had previously dismissed or that were initially letdowns. Continue reading

WTF? Wednesday: Justice Served Cold – Or Toasted!

Borrowed from the Aquaman Shrine

For many a geek, food ads featuring superheroes were integral to the childhood comic-reading experience. In between scenes of Wonder Woman whupping Nazis, you’d see spots for Hostess fruit pies — usually illustrated as nicely as the main story itself — starring Justice League members. Those ads are considered retro comedy gold now, but my 8-year-old self rather enjoyed them. Continue reading

Sartorial Smallville: A Critique

V. knows way more about Smallville than I do, but I was a fan of this show in its early days. Though poor Tom Welling has yet to don a cape, there have been some notable, full-costume appearances by major DC players. But since it’s a TV show and not a big-screen blockbuster, Smallville has never had the budget to provide truly splendid superhero costumes. The best ones look like top-notch cosplay getups. Others, like the recent Blue Beetle reveal, are a bit sad:



Blue Beetle: Really? As a reader pointed out on our Facebook page, it looks like a Power Rangers getup. Upon closer inspection, it resembles a Happy Meal action figure. From 1996. Grade: D



Green Arrow: This one’s pretty good and captures GA’s general Robin Hood vibe, with a 21st Century edge. Green Arrow’s costume isn’t fancy, and the nice guns count as an accessory. Grade: B+



Hawkman: In Smallville‘s defense, Hawkman’s comics costume is glorious and therefore very hard to pull off without CGI and big bucks. Again, if I saw this at Dragon*Con, I’d be kinda impressed. However, I saw a Hawkgirl at D*C whose wings were bigger, more feathery, and far more striking than this. The helmet looks like it was decorated with gold spray paint, and overall, it’s a letdown. Grade: C-


Booster Gold: Not awful. Booster isn’t the most serious character in the DCU, but he looks like he’s ready to handle some business in this instance. Snazzy shades, and props for the oh-so-accurate product placement patches. Very NASCAR. Grade: B


Wonder Woman: Even though this is Lois Lane in Diana’s costume, I dig it. In fact,  like it so much that I wish David E. Kelley & Co. had gone this route for the TV show. It’s got some warrior flourishes, and it appears classic and youthful. Points off for the cheap-o tiara and star deficit, though. Grade: A-


Zatanna: Fishnets, check. Tuxedo getup, check. Hot boots, check. Matrix-y trench coat, check. This is a fairly simple look, but it’s effective and awfully stylish: Grade: A


Black Canary: I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Dinah looks like a cross between in Val Kilmer in Top Gun and a mannequin at Wilsons Leather. The costume screams “cheap,” and the Ziggy Stardust raccoon mask isn’t helping matters. Grade: D-



Stargirl: The mask is effed up, and the costume is only slightly above Halloween quality. I think had those shorts in fourth grade. Anyway, Stargirl is such an underexposed character that I’m happy to see her at all. By the way, that staff looks like a solar light fixture that was ripped out of someone’s front yard. Grade: C



Aquaman: I really, really got a kick out of this. I’m a tad biased because orange and green are my alma mater’s colors, but Aquaman’s costume looks functional for a guy who spends most of his time in the water, and it’s sleek and modern. Groovy footwear, too! With apologies to my Aquaman-loving friends, “cool” is not a word I often associate with King Arthur, so this is well played.  Grade: A+



Clark Ken/Superman: I realize that he has yet to officially become the Man of Steel on Smallville, but at this point, Clark ought to have more than jeans, a blue T-shirt, and a red jacket from Costco. Can’t a Kryptonian get some love on his own show?! Even Welling’s well-documented beauty can’t redeem this. Grade: F

Resurrection Rundown

The interwebs are abuzz with reviews praising the colorful conclusion of Blackest Night #8. The art in this book is what really swept me away. That damn fold-out splash page is off-the-charts awesome. Ivan Reis, YOU are a rock star! Heartfelt moments, foreshadowing, resolutions and resurrections abound!

J’onn J’onzz: Yippee-mothafuckin’-ki-yay! His death in Final Crisis was so wicked that his return from the dead  seems only fair. My excitement is compounded by my newfound admiration for the character and his Martian method of affection. I am certain the DCU will be a much better place with him in it. He also has the best line of the whole book:

Max Lord: UGH! I hate that guy. Really, really hate that guy. Of course, he chose to come back, and I suspect he is going to be a huge pain in the ass. The silver lining is that I no longer have to tolerate the wholly incorrect portrayal of Diana as a remorseful warrior. She can now be free of her editor-induced guilt for killing him. And finally, Bruce can get off his judgmental high horse and get with that. Go, Batwondy, Go!

Deadman: Why isn’t he supposed to be here? Do you know? I haven’t a clue.

Osiris: This means I’m going to get more Black Adam. Hot damn! They better do it right. The Black Marvels have the potential to be cool characters as long as DC doesn’t make them one-dimensional baddies. Sprinkle a little anti-hero on my beefcake-y Adam and let Isis stay all evil so he can be the one to rein her in. That would be ironic … and interesting. Do it.

Firestorm: This makes Shag happy, and does absolutely nothing for me.

Aquaman: Okay. Yeah. Whatever. We all knew Geoff Johns was going to do this. Yet, I’m still left with questions about the vague, Arthur-centric conversation between Diana and Mera in Blackest Night Wonder Woman #3. I really thought there would be some kind of explanation. Did I miss something?

Hawk: Applause for our homie Chocotaco, who figured this out early on.  Now we can fill in the blacked-out figures on the Birds of Prey #1 cover. How cute! They have bird names.

Reverse-Flash: Ummmm … yeah. I got nothing.

Captain Boomerang: Still nothing.

Jade: She immediately jumps on a stunned Kyle, and kisses him while Soranik watches from the sideline. How much does this suck for Soranik!? I mean the whole scene on Oa when Kyle dies, and Soranik revives his heart with the help of the Star Sapphire; that CAN’T be for naught.  Soranik Natu is my second-favorite Lantern, and Kyle better choose her. That aside, her moment of heartbreak was made tolerable by Kilowog’s sympathetic expression.

Hawkman & Hawkgirl: From their gruesome, violent death to an intensely romantic reunion — what a well-deserved and satisfying resolution. And holy friggin’ cow, she brought Carter to tears. Carter Hall cried, you guys! The reunion kiss was one for the history books, literally. I loved Reis’ detail of Shiera grabbing his hair. This was by far the most monumental of the resurrections. One question though: What about the power source for the Star Sapphires?

Black Hand: The remorseless, serial-killing, psychopath is now enslaved by the Indigo Tribe of compassion. Irony. Justice. Word.

Did anybody else notice how huge the Indigo Tribe was? I’m so gonna miss the Atom in his tribal outfit. It was festive. Speaking of outfits, Wonder Woman’s white lantern getup was pretty hot, and a step up from that Star Sapphire nonsense.

I feel obliged to give our boy Sinestro a few sentences since he was foiled yet again. Old boy was forced to take a back seat and one-upped by Hal, as usual. I had hoped he would have a sort of “come to Jesus” moment with the white light and all. Instead, he was sent back to his character corner, where he’ll have to make do as an arrogant prick. I guess he kinda deserves it.

Thanks, DC, for entertaining me this go ’round. Final Crisis was so dense, and the end was so depressing. Blackest Night provided some much-needed cheesecake, but it was rich, tasty cheesecake. And once again, I gotta give it up to Reis for the art: In the last two panels, Hal and Barry are channeling Adonis.  I would like to order one Hal & Barry sammich to go, please.

Alright. I’m done.