Friday, April 29, 2011

"Demons of Denak....No!"

Hey everybody. Miss me? Well my computer, which has needed to be cleaned up anyway, had a gazillion viruses on it, and had to be taken to the computer repairmen to be fixed. It was so bad, that the whole c-drive had to be completely erased! So basically Heather and I are starting over from scratch, trying to work the bugs out and all. We still haven't re-intalled everything, and while we did back-up a majority of programs, I think my program is gone. This was my go to poor man's version of Adobe Photoshop I've used to make the skits and strips you all love so much. I don't know when everything will be fixed up, probably by the end of the week, so please bear with me as I sort shit out. This has really sucked ass for me, because my streak of contiunous posts has been broken. Don't worry though, I'll get back on the saddle again.

So, since I can't post new skits/strips, what's left to contribute to this humble blog? RANDOM COMIC REVIEW.....REVIEW.....REVIEW......

Is there an echo in here? Anyway, here's my contribution for today's post:

The Tomb of Dracula: Lord of the Vampires#44

Yes folks, as you can clearly see from the cover, Dracula battles Dr.Strange. I think this is the first official battles between the two; it certainly seems like it from the way they talk to each other. They would go on to fight each other again and again in other titles, until Dr.Strange used the magic book, The Darkhold, to kill every vampire on Earth. Of course, as we all know, that didn't last long, and Dracula and his crew have since returned in the pages of the X-Men. In case you didn't know, Dracula's had his share of run-ins with the X-Men before. In Uncanny X-Men#159-160, and again in UXM Annual#6. I myself only have UXM#159, and might review that particular issue some day.

Back to the review......

We start off with Dr.Strange looking intently and solemnly at a crystal orb. Seems he can't find his manservant Wong, and he's really worried. His worries are justified when he discovers that Wong's dead. Using the Eye of Agamotto to keep Wong in a form of suspended animation, Dr.Strange uses his astral self to peer inside Wong's mind to discover what happened. It appears that Wong interrupted Dracula while he was enjoying a late night's snack, and Dracula decided to teach Wong a lesson. Hey I can't say I blame the guy. I mean who doesn't hate to be bothered while trying to eat right? It's just plain rude! The sight of the savage attack on Wong causes Strange to leave Wong's mind and return to his own body. With this, Strange goes on to get revenge for Wong and fight Dracula. The story then goes to the offices of Midnight Publishing Co., where the readers are treated to the love story between love-sick writer Harold and the traget of his affections, Aurora Rabinowitz. Yeah, since I'm not a regular reader of this series I don't get why they're here in this story, but they are. Basically hot-looking Aurora is being asked out by nerdy Harold. Yeah, you know where this is going......Harold wants to know why Aurora isn't returning his calls, and Aurora let's him down easy. Well, not that easy. Here's how it went:
"Harold, you're a really nice, sweet person"
Wait for it........
"And poor little me should be flattered that a big-time writer like you thinks I'm ravishingly cute....
And here it comes.....
"But, frankly, Harold, I think you're a nerd!"
What a way to let a guy down huh? At least she's honest, but still, damn that's cold!
Anyway, the reader's attention is lead away to a creepy, old man stalking Dracula outside his then new home; his old now dead enemy, Dr.Sun's mansion. The old man reveals he has fangs too, and takes off to fight Dracula another day. Dracula is inside, trashing some computer monitors and other equipment. He does all this while go off on a triade that "Dracula still lives to fight another day, another foe", and stuff like that. That's just like old people who don't understand modern technology to just go and trash it physically and verbally. Oh yeah, and Blade's in this issue too. He's stalking some prey of his, but more on that later.
Back to Dr.Strange, who uses his Eye of Agamotto to track Dracula down to his new home. He finds him, and....the! "By the omnipotent Oshtur! You killed my servant vampire, now you face Doctor Strange!" Strange blasts Dracula, temporially blinding him. Dracula quickly recovers and lunges at Strange. Strange counters, sending out the binding spells of the Rings of Raggador and the unbreakable Crimson Bands of Cyttorak to bind Dracula. And of course Dracula breaks them. Strange then attacks Dracula's mind, making him face his past. We see Dracula back when he was a human prince of Transylvania, fighting who he thinks is an old turkish enemy of his. Strange mystically stabs Dracula and he falls. Dracula wakes up in the midst of a magially-induced nightmare, as Strange pleads for fang-face to help him heal Wong. Dracula's having none of this, and hypnotizes Strange into letting him bite him. "My eyes, Strange. Gaze deeply into my eyes! Let my will become yours!"
Dracula bites Strange, and seemingly kills him just like Wong. We're hit with the old "to be continued" bit, and wouldn't you know it, the story's continued in Strange's own comic. Dr.Strange#14 to be exact. We see Blade again getting ready to bounce on a vampire. The vampire turns out to be Hannibal King, Vampire Detective. The reader's promised to see the outcome of that fight next issue.
And that's that.....

Now, I don't have Dr.Strange#14 on me, but I think it's safe to say he gets better after this issue's cliffhanger.

Until next week.....

Friday, April 22, 2011

"You understand this isn't what I wanted, don't you?"

TGIF People! Happy Earth Day and Good Friday to those of you who're Catholic. It's a nasty rainy day here, so that means little to no lighting for skits. But have no fear because I'll just unleash my trusty RANDOM COMIC REVIEW........Just pretend that was just spoken in a loud TV announcer voice so you can savor the effect.......What? Is that crickets I hear? Damn you people are mean!

 Anyway, the random comic chosen for review today is Green Lantern#0. Yes I know it's now irrelevant and the whole "Evil Hal"thing has been retconned to hell and back, but back in 1994 this was a pretty interesting story. This issue follows events that occurred right after the last issue of Zero Hour, Zero Hour#0. Quick recap for those not in the know, Hal Jordan the silver age and iconic Green Lantern for years, went nuts after the evil Cyborg-Superman, Hank Henshaw, blew up his hometown of Coast City and everyone else in it. Well, except for his old flame Carol Ferris and mechanic buddy Tom, but that's not important. Hal went to his GLC bosses, the Guardians, wanting and demanding enough power to bring Coast City and all of its inhabitants back. He figured this was a simple request since he's been so loyal them and all and assumed he earned enough brownie points. They said no, so Hal took off towards the GLC's home base of Oa and went through a gauntlet of his fellow GLC friends and officers, taking their rings after defeating them. He shows up on Oa, fights what has now been retconned as a fabricated version of his old nemesis Sinestro, kills him and his buddy Kilowog. He then proceeds to abandon his ring and enter the central power battery. All of the guardians except Ganthet die, and Ganthet goes in search of a new Green Lantern.  He finds Kyle Rayner and gives him Jordan's old but now new and improved ring, making him the then new GL. Got all that?

Well now DC decides to have a new grand comic event take place in the summer of '94, and call it Zero Hour. Zero Hour is ulitmately about Hal Jordan, now calling himself Parallax, deciding to remake the universe in  his image. He'll restart everything just to right the wrongs he feels the Guardians and the Cyborg-Superman committed. If you've read Zero Hour then you know how that went, if not, go read it. It's really not all that bad, dispite Dan Jurgens jobbing the JSA out to Extant.

After the end of Zero Hour, DC decided to put a series of zero numbered issues of all the then current titles. They basically just let you know where the characters were and what their status was at the end of ZH. I had a few of these myself, but now only have Flash, Green Arrow, and GL#0.  And that brings us to this review......

"Second Chances" is all about the battle between new GL Kyle Rayner, and then old GL, Parallax. Again this all occurs right after Zero Hour#0, when Parallax and Kyle dissapeared and were thought dead. It seems that Parallax formed a vortex that linked up with Waverider's time rift, causing him and Kyle to be dumped back to Oa, home of the then dead Guardians. Kyle and Parallax battle for alittle bit, until Parallax is blown right next to Kilowog's charred remains. He then goes on about how "I didn't plan for it to happen. Everything just got so out of control." and stuff. He cries about how he never wanted to end up as one of the bad guys, but it happened anyway. Kyle starts to feel sorry for Hal, and then goes to explain how much being a GL has messed up his life too. "I mean, I didn't realize doing this, being a hero came with a price." He proceeds to tell Hal about how he lost his girlfriend Alex because of getting the ring and that maybe he's really not cut out to be a superhero and all. He then decides to make a major no-no, and give Hal his GL ring so Hal can have a second chance. I think writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks really sell this scene of Kyle really struggling on what to do. Should he deny Hal a second chance at redemption, or should he give his ring to Hal. Keep in mind, Kyle's only been a Green Lantern maybe a couple of months our time, and only a week or two at that his time. So he's really conflicted on what to do. So now Hal has his ring back, and is now GL again. So then that should settle things right? Wrong. Hal goes off on a rant about how he's going to make everything all right again, just like he did in Zero Hour. He wants to restore everything, the Corps, the Guardians, Coast City, everything back to the way it was. But you can't simply turn back time right?  Supposedly fixing things still doesn't excuse or let you off the hook for all the evil acts you committed, but Hal still doesn't get that. He just has tunnel vision where all that's concerned. Like Kyle says"Hal, listen to me. You can't pretend none of it happened. You can't make it go away." Hal starts to freak out, with Kyle trying to persuade Hal to give him the ring back. Hal's having none of it, and the two began to fight once more. Hal chases Kyle through the the crypt of dead Green Lanterns, before somehow managing to trap Hal under one of the glass caskets of a dead GL. Creepy, yet cool huh? Kyle gets his ring back and becomes GL again in time for another round with Hal, now Parallax again. Parallax decides to play mind games with Kyle, using a fabricated version of Kyle's dead girlfriend Alex to convince Parallax to let him do what he wants and everything would be alright. Kyle says he'd die to bring her back, but not like this, and begins to overload the Oa's planetary core. This would cause Oa to blow up and keep Parallax from regaining all the power he lost in ZH. Well Parallax tries to stop Kyle, but it's too late. Kyle blows up Oa and emerges as seemingly the sole survivor. Of course we all know Hal didn't die because he comes back a year or so later for Kyle's ring.

And that's that. Like I said earlier, this story, while still in continuity, has been retconned so that Hal was possessed by the avatar of fear, Parallax. That's why Hal went all "evil" and stuff. Still, this is a really good one and done story. Marz didn't know that DC and Geoff Johns would later rework his stories at the time, as he was doing his best to realistically show how far a hero like Hal had fallen, and why. After all that was DC's mandate back then to replace Hal with someone else, and it didn;t matter back then how he did it. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it's not like he knew DC would go back on their earlier decission.  In the end all this is moot I guess, but it's still a good story, and Kyle Rayner was written back then just as new and inexperienced as Spider-Man was when he first started. Gotta' appreciate that.

See you guys monday.....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Odds and Ends.....

Feeling really lazy today, so I guess I'll do what people like to call "phoning it in."  I figured I'd at least show off some of the skit pictures that didn't make it to the main posts. You know, like the deleted scenes people like to watch on the Extras feature on dvds.

Here's one. It's probably just me, but for some reason the DCUC Blue Devil figure's face looks almost like George Harrison circa 1987. You be the judge:

You can kinda' see it if you just add horns and make him bald. I don't know, must be all the wine I drank yesterday.

Speaking of Blue Devil, check out my ode/tribute to Family Guy in this left out scene:

Remember that episode? Classic Seth McFarlene. Too bad the current season sucks. Seriously, he was kicking ass with the earlier seasons and with less money. But now that he has an almost unlimited budget at his disposal, he gives us crap instead?  Tsk, tsk. At least American Dad's still rolling along with the funny. And no, I'm not counting The Cleveland Show because quite frankly it sucks! The 1st season was alright, but not that good enough to warrent another one. To me, Cleveland only worked as a supporting character that works best when he's embroiled into Peter's constantly crazy schemes. He's a sideman, like Quagmire and Joe, and should've remained as one instead of being shoved down our throats.
Sorry, that's just how I feel.

And while I'm discussing Seth Mcfarlene, my fiancee' and I have wondered for awhile, why Seth always includes animals in his shows. There was the evil monkey and evil chicken on Family Guy; Roger the alien(yes he's not an animal but is close enough) and Klaus the fish on American Dad, and Tim the bear on The Cleveland Show. I'm not complaining, so much as wondering why include animals in his casts.

Here's some photoshopped ML Thor and DCUC Spectre shots that never went anywhere. I was going to do a religion skit with these two, but it just never happened. Maybe one day.

Feel free to use these as wallpaper if you want. Your welcome.

Here's another potential backdrop/wallpaper option. I have a bunch of these if anyone's interested.

And finally........
 I don't know how many of you are up to snuff on the current Green Lantern storylines, but it seems like Sinestro's going to be a GL again. I don't know how Geoff Johns is going to pull that one off, but it'll be interesting to see how he does it. And yes, he's a villain and works better written as one, but Johns has been seemingly working on a "Sinestro Rehabilitation" for awhile now. So it's not like this is completely out of left field. Plus DC Direct's putting out a new GL Sinestro figure, so you tell me. It's been suggested by various comic message boards, that Johns is looking to restore things back to how they were before Sinestro went bad in time for the GL movie that's coming out this summer. I'm not really sure I want to go see this movie; mostly because they could've picked a better actor  than Ryan Renolds as Hal Jordan.  I will say the ugly costumes aside, at least the special effects look really good!  Maybe I'll rent it when it comes out on dvd. I myself prefer the last part of the Harry Potter movie series that's also coming out this summer; July to be exact. And then there's Chris Nolan and Christopher Bale's last Batman movie to look forward to next year. I loved the last movie over the first one, but quickly became disenfranchised with Bale's Batman growl voice. It got reallll annoying after awhile. Aside from that he's not a bad Batman.

Later bitches!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If you didn't already know, today is 4/20. What does that mean to the common man on the street? Nothing really, just another day like all the rest. But for other people, it's yet another reason to do what then WWE pro-wrestler, The Godfather's, favorite catch phrase was and "Light that mother up, and say Pimpin' ain't easy!" Or something like that. Yes today is a special day for potheads all over the world. You know who you are, so light one up for me and get happy.

I'm very aware of the debate about the legalization of Marijuana that's still going on today, but I'm not even going to go on about here. I'll admit to being in favor of legalization myself, but that's just me. Trust me there are worse drugs out there that are being abused today like Meth and Crack, not to mention seemingly harmless everyday objects like bath salts, paint cans, model glue, etc.  Now I'm  not dumb, I realize there's plenty of negative repercussions that would come about if weed was legalized. Even if it was heavily taxed and regulated, the potential for continued abuse and missuse would still exist. That's just the type of society we live in. Still I fail to see why marijuana's so vilified when you compare it to the more dangerous drugs like Alcohol and prescription drugs. If you smoke weed, the worst that'll happen is that you gain weight and catch up on lost sleep due to the munchies you get, then you fall alsleep from all that eating. Anyways, like I said, I'm not here to preach or debate the evils or missuses of weed. Like any other substance that's not naturally already in your body, the risk of abuse is equal to the addictive personality you may or may not have. Education is the key in combating ignorance and misinformation. The facts are all out there for you to make your own judgement, so take advantage of them and know your stuff.

On a somewhat related subject, considering how stressful and dangerous the life of a super-hero/crimefighter is, don't you think that maybe every now and then they're tempted to indulge in alcohol or drugs. You know, as a way to dull the pain and mental stress that comes with the job. We know heroes like Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner aren't adverse to a beer or few when they get a chance to unwind. So why not other stronger substances? I'm not saying Spider-Man should go out and smoke Crack to get over his crappy life, but aren't individuals like this prone to seeking out ways of helping them to cope every now and then?

Howabout this angle? It's little known secret that star athletes and performers sometimes take drugs to help them deal/cope with physical pain. It's bound to happen when you live such a physically demanding life. I don't doubt the same temptation haunts policemen, firefighters, and EMT's all the time. How could it not? Aren't they as human as us? We sometimes don't like to acknowledge they are, but they bleed and hurt just like us.  Soldiers too. I don't know how often this has been discussed in comics, other than a few "drugs are bad" stories that are put out to warn against the dangers of drug abuse. You know like the infamous GL/GA story where Green Arrow's sidekick is discovered to be a junkie? or when the Green Goblin's son Harry, overdoses on pills?  But what about showing the times when the stress gets to be too much and the temptation to find a chemical solution is all too real?   Maybe one day they will, even if it's supposed to be a "kid's medium."

See ya tommorow kids!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Sweet Dreams, Superwoman...."

Random Comic Review time folks, and today I picked out a nice one. It's fairly recent, but no less exciting or lacking as a soon-to-be classic. I'm talking about Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman.

Now recently I told you all how I just picked up Vol.1 of Morrison and Quitely's Silver-Agesque All-Star Superman series, with Vol.2 to be picked up at a latter time and date. Trust me when I tell you if you haven't bought the series yet, or even the Absolute Edition, then you should. Run, don't walk to your local bookstore or comic book shop and pick up this series that'll make you feel like you just stepped back in time to the Silver Age. In the first volume alone, there's plenty of issues worthy for review; in truth it's hard to just pick one, so I'll no doubt come back and review more. But still, trust me when I say Morrison's Superman is written not just like he could be or would be, but how HE SHOULD BE.

Sure, not everyone is a Morrison fan, or if you are, you might not like all his work, but his version of Superman presented through Silver age lenses wrapped up in classic Morrison sensibilities, makes you wonder how come he's writing just Batman and not Superman on a regular basis. JMS be damned.

For today's review, I picked All-Star Superman issue 3, "Sweet Dreams, Super Woman..." I know, I know, there's so many more worthy, or just as worthy pics; such as issue 6 where Pa Kent dies, or Jimmy Olson being director of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. for a day in issue 5. And trust me I'll probably review those too, but for this one, I chose issue 3. This is where Superman grants Lois Lane the ultimate news scoop by letting her become like him, super-powers and all, for 24 hours. Just Imagine what that'd be like. To have powers like Superman, even if it is only for a day. What would you do? Where would you go? The possibilities truly would be endless, and now the star reporter for the Daily Planet, miss Lois Lane herself has them, what does she do? How's her day like? Let's see shall we?.......

The issue starts off where it previously ended, Lois had just walked in on Superman making/finishing his secret birthday gift for Lois. Now we get to see what he was working on. It's a liquid solution that contains all of Superman's powers, and gives it to Lois for her birthday. The catch is that the solution only lasts for 24 hours before the effects wear off. Nonetheless, Lois is very happy to get a chance to see life the way Superman does. She even gets her very own costume to boot.  "My Super-powers. In liquid form. Happy Birthday Lois." to which she responds "You're serious? I get to be like you? for a whole day? Bring it on." I believe Superman is giving Lois this opportunity for at least two reasons; one, so that he'll finally have Lois on equal footing as him at least temporarily, and two, it's a test. He obviously loves Lois Lane, and by giving her the chance to be like him, he's seeing and observing how'll she'd fit into his world. And of course she passes with flying colors.   The scene shifts to Metropolis, where a giant lizard monster calling himself Krull, is tearing up the city. Superman and Lois fly to the scene preparing to take Krull on, only to be beat to the punch by the mythical hero Samson. This is itself a throwback to the mid to late '50's, where mythical heroes like Hercules, or Samson, or even Atlas, would show up a fight Superman just to see who was the stronger of the two, and don't you know that's just what happens in this issue as well!  Samson and his buddy Atlas serve as possible suitors for a now super-powered Lois. And even though she tells them that it's temporary, they still have wild lust in their eyes for her.  After they all send Krull back to his subterraean world, Samson goes on to present Lois with radioactive crown jewel, which causes major trouble for Lois later on in the story. Samson and Atlas both takes turns attempting to woe Lois, all the while Lois laps it up with Superman saying "I don't get it Lois. I can't believe you're flirting with Samson and Atlas!" To which she responds, "Well maybe I'm teaching you a lesson. We both know you'll win any contest these losers can dream up. It's my birthday, have some fun!"
Superman figures, and rightly so, that the time-traveling Samson and Atlas are nothing but trouble, and tries to get rid of them. Of course Samson let's Superman know he knows Superman doesn't have that long to live, so why not try to get with Lois. The radioactive jewels Samson gave Lois eariler comes into play when the pervious owner, the Ultra Sphinx, decides he wants the jewels back.  The Sphinx grabs Lois, putting her in a state between life and death, only to relent if Superman answers, you guessed it, a riddle. The riddle is the same type of question that's been asked for years by scientists and laymen alike, and I won't spoil it here, but I guess the answer makes sense. I know what most likely would happen, but Superman's response is also acceptable. Even with all that, both men start to pick a fight with the man of steel on the basis that Superman didn't show what they thought was a true feat of strength. So Superman arm wrestles both men at the same time; Samson on one arm, Atlas on the other, saying "You can quit any time. Come on fellas, or would you like me to Push!?"And procedes to what else? Beat them both. So hard, that both of their arms  break due to the true strength of Superman.  Superman and Lois fly up to the moon, where Superman tell her "You know, there's something I've wanted to do since the very first day we met." They then proceed to kiss amidst the backdrop of a beautiful, full moon.
Lois and Supes fly back to Earth, where she proceeds to konk out due to the 24 hour limit expiring, and all the eventful things that transpired that day. The issue closes out with Superman tucking Lois in and kissing her forehead before leaving her to sleep. 

Not a bad issue, and really, you can say that for the whole 12-issue series. Again so many silver age concepts brought back and showcased here, but with that Morrison twist. I highly, highly recommend going out and picking this series up. It'll make you wonder why he's not writing Superman proper, or at the very least a sequel to All-Star.

Also, there is an animated movie version of All-Star Superman out by Dwayne McDuffie who just recently passed away. Some scenes are left out of the 80 minute movie, but from what reviews I've read, it's a really good movie overall.

Monday, April 18, 2011

...And Amazo was his name-o!

I recently snatched up a re-released DCUC Wave 5 Amazo figure from, and I must say he looks pretty damn good!
I know this is old hat by now, but I like him. I do wish the 4Horsemen/ DCUC would've sculpted or included some accessories or something for our favorite JLA android threat. He has GL's ring hand, but I would've liked to see him with WW's lasso as well as a GL construct or two to help really sell the figure. On the lasso, I think I'm going to make a custom one for him, out of either metal wire, or fabric. I'll post the finished results so you can see how it went.

You know Amazo's been around for a longgggg time. He's been around since the early '60's, June 1960 to be exact; and yet I feel like Amazo hasn't really had his time to shine yet. Sure he was the main villain, or at least one of the main villains recently in then JLA writer Brad Meltzer's initial storyline A Tornado's Path. He's had numerous sporadiac appearences before and since, but for some reason I don't think he's really had his due.

He came close in writer Mark Millar's guest issue of JLA during Grant Morrison's run. In that one, issue 27(Vol.4) March 1999, Millar has Amazo absolutely own the JLA! He takes out main seven, then takes down the reserves, and then after copying Firestorm's powers, he really lets loose taking out every other superhero that comes after him. It's not until The Atom shows up does things start to go up from there for the JLA. He tells Superman to disband the League, and somehow that makes Amazo stop in his tracks and he's suddenly defeated. Yeah I don't like how the story ended either, considering Millar really built him up to be virtually unstoppable, and then just by Superman yelling "The JLA is officially disbanded!" Amazo just freaks out and shuts down. Not a credible ending, but this was basically a one-shot by Millar before Morrison came back next issue for his 4-part take on the annual JLA/JSA meeting, So I guess a more satsifying conclusion to the fight probably wasn't possible. Still, makes you wonder if Millar was able to continue the fight next issue, what really could've happened.

I think this fight and maybe the one between Amazo and Batman and Nightwing, as well as the Red Tornado/Amazo storyline have been his best showing so far, but he's better than that. Remember how he was portrayed in the JLU cartoon? Unbeatable and totally bad-ass right? Not to mention writer Dwayne McDuffie's turn on him battling the JLA. He owned them until they were forced to teleport him far of in space somewhere.
Seriously think about it for a minute; Amazo's got all the powers of the original seven JLA members, not to mention he can replicate any other super-power he comes in contact with, how is he not a more credible threat than how he's usually written? Just as hard and tough as Despero is when you fight him, so should Amazo be. That's my opinon though, what do I know?

This is how it should be:

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Toy's Life

My fellow Blogger buddy, Googum's being doing a Retro Toy Week theme over at his blog Random Happenstance, where he's been showcasing old or retro, toys he has. You can go here to see what he's been up to. I highly recommend checking out these little bits of nostalgia.

This made me think about all of the old action figures I used to have back in my younger days; toys I no longer have because I either sold them or lost them. I used to have alot man! For example, I used to have alot of figures from Toy Biz's X-Men line. Remember those? I had just about every Wolverine figure they made, starting with the original brown and orange one that came with a removable plastic mask. Then as the X-Men Fox cartoon took off, so did the number of characters Toy Biz put out. I'm talking about figures you didn't think they'd ever make like: Cosair(Cyclops' dad), Warstar of the Sha'ir Imperial Guard, Wolfsbane, Magik, Strong Guy, X-Cutioner, and so on. Not to mention all of the bases and vehicles I used to have. I had the Danger Room playset, The 70's-80's Batmobile, The Batcave, and even god help me, the TMNT's Flush-o-matic. Remember that contraption? It had three main pieces: The main stand with a giant toilet seat on top, a trap that held the a ninja turtle down, and the ooze that would go through the toilet seat and straight down onto the helpless turtle. Crazy shit man!

Enjoy some of these pics I took. These contain some of the vehicles I somehow managed to keep:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A tale of two captains....

Continuing the unofficial Captain trend, today's skit's about two Captain Marvels; their similarites and differences.

Yeah I don't know if it's ever been brought up, but Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel did borrow a thing or two from the original; namely the switching places thing with a kid/teen. Except Mar-vel slapped some bands together instead of saying a magic word. And oh yeah, the name. But in his defense, the writers did explain that he was a legitimate captain by serving as a captain in the Kree army. The original can't say that. I guess both have been/could still be dead, but that's a story for another time.....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"If it weren't for my shield, one of his blows would turn me to paste!"

Hey kids, it's Random Comic Review time, and you know what that means: a random back issue from my personal collection gets reviewed.

Todays's comic up for review is a personal favorite of mine. Not just for the good story, but the cool cover that captured my attention. I'm talking about Captain America(Vol.1)#365.

Now for a brief little backstory on why I like this issue so much. This comic book came out around Mid-December of '89, when I was a simple 8 year-old comic book fan. I was living in West Germany at the time, so the only time I could buy comics is when I went to the local BX bookstore on base. It was there that I would lose myself amidst all the titles that were available at the time from Marvel and DC, and simply pour over whatever comic cover appealled to me. I mostly bought comics because of the cover and interior art, much as I would do for most of my comic book collecting life. If the art was good, then it didn't matter what the story was about. And if the story was good, well then that was a bonus in my young eyes. Hey I'm a visual person so sue me! Anyway, the cover of this issue with Namor punching out Cap while underwater quickly caught my eye and I was hooked! Sure I knew even then, that Namor the submariner was supposed to be a good guy, bu it didn't matter that he was fighting Cap. Neither did the Acts of Vengence banner on the front. So I flipped through it and then decided to buy it, and have never regretted that decision ever since.

This story takes place during the legendary scribe Mark Gruenwald's run, and what a run he had. This issue wasn't my first exposure to Mark's cap run, as I first picked up the last part of his Bloodstone Hunt Saga. I followed that from there with this issue on through his Streets of Poison saga, picked up 381(the 50th anniversary issue), and then sporadically picked up his early to mid '90's run with the CapWolf storyline. Yeah I know that last one is considered silly, but it has been collected into a TPB if you want to have a look see, as has the Streets of Poison story. Getting back to the subject, I throughly enjoy Mark's run during this time as I did back then. Artists Kieron Dwyer and later Ron Lim seemed to perfectly compliment Gruenwald's stories. Clean, yet still dynamic. And overall great storytelling. It doesn't get any better than this. As for the Acts of Vengence banner, for those who don't already know, this company line-wide event was basically all of the villains fighting superheroes they normally wouldn't or didn't fight. For example, Daredevil fought Ultron, The X-Men fought the Mandrin, Wolverine fought Tiger Shark, and so on. You get the idea, and what an interesting idea it was at the time. I guess the general conscenious amongst the bad guys was that if they fought a different foe than they regularly fought, then that would somehow enable them to have more success. Hey that was the basic idea at the time!

Now on to the review.....

Captain America(vol.1)#365 starts off right after the battle between Crossbones and Cap from the last few issues. The story's title is Submission, and you'll see later on why it's called that. 

We start off with the Red Skull in the middle of chewing out his main guy Crossbones and looking pissed off. He's was mad at Crossbones for directly engaging with Cap during last issue, and wants him to go round up any potential bad guys that have just escaped from the government's superhuman penitentiary. CB leaves to go to this, leaving the Red Skull behind in his office. When all of a sudden a mysterious man suddenly appears out of nowhere with a "business propostion" for the Red Skull. It seems the mystery man is getting together a collection of all the major big gun villains to get rid of those pesky superheroes once and for all, and he wants the Red Skull to join him. RS is taken aback by this, and before he can answer, the mystery man disappears leaving a magic door behind. We then join Cap and his friend(and later girlfriend) Diamondback as they make there way to what was then the Avenger's main headquarters, Avengers Island.  What Cap doesn't know, and is explained to him by Jarvis, the Avenger's butler, is that a whole bunch of Doombots sunk the island. I think this occured in the main Avengers title right around this time. We leave Cap as he's dumbfounded how this could have happened, and switch to seeing Namor the Sub-mariner. He too is briefly visited by the same mystery man who appeared before the Red Skull, and also wants Namor to join his little group. Before Namor can respond, the mystery man disappears, again leaving behind a magic door in case Namor decides to join. Back to Crossbones who manages to round up one of those escaped villains. It's the Controller, and he's pissed about being abducted. But he makes a deal with the Red Skull, and we later see him get the drop on Namor, who was simply planning on stopping by the now sunked Avengers Island. The Controller places his patented control discs on Namor's neck and takes off. Instead of wondering what that was all about, we quickly get the answer, as Captain America heads off to go find Namor after finding out that he was recently seen in the area. Cap's flying around on his hoverbike, when out of nowhere Namor goes flying right through Cap and the hoverbike. Cap's knocked into the New York Bay, where Namor drives him quickly under, trying to drown him. Cap tries to stop the attack, hitting Namor's neck in an attempt to reach back up to the surface. He finally makes it up for air right near Liberty Island, when Namor comes up from behind and knocks him down to the ground. He stalks Cap before coming after him again, ready to kill Cap. But Cap's been playing possum, and right at the moment that Namor goes to strike, Cap leaps up and smashes Namor right in the back of the neck with his shield. The blow to the disc takes out Namor and forces him into a coma-like state. We leave Cap swearing vengence upon the Controller for doing this to Namor, after all he was just trying to get the disc off Namor. The issue ends with the Red Skull finally deciding to join the mystey man's group as he enters the door left behind for him. be continued!

If you didn't already know, Namor's fine. The next issue has Hank Pym figure out how to get the disc off without seriously hurting Namor, and goes into Cap going after the Controller. Also in case you didn't know, the mystery man is.....*Spolier Alert*.....Loki. As it turns out, the whole "Acts of Venegence" things was just another scheme to get even with his brother Thor and the Avengers. In the end it doesn't work, but does make for some interesting match-ups. Every main Marvel title was involved for this one, like how it is now, but you didn't have to buy every issue out there in order to understand the main story.

Acts of Venegence, for those who are interested, is readily available in TPB form. This was just recently collected and released last year, and contains all of the relevant titles to the overall storyline. You can always do what I do, and Wiki whatever extra info you want concerning this event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Let's Rap with Cap"

So for some reason, I've decided to discuss Captain America today. He's pretty popular nowadays, considering he has a movie coming out this July(just in case you didn't already know) a whole slew of specials and one-shots, not to mention the two solo titles he's currently starring in, and the two Avenger books he's currently in charge of. Whew! That's alot of work for one soldier; even if he is a super-soldier. And that's what got me thinking; Captain America, for all intents and purposes, is a soldier. Something that's easily forgotten when you see him running around throwing his shield at some costumed miscreant or killer robot. He should be carrying firearms, guns, knives, that sort of thing. And while that's the soon-to-be-not current Cap/Bucky's thing, it should be Steve Rogers' thing too. He was traditionally trained as a soldier, especially durning a time of war. So what gives?  Sure back in is early outings in the 40's he might've been shown carrying a piece, but back then during WW2, who wasn't? Even Bucky, his sidekick, was shown blowing away both Nazis and Japanese soldiers with his machine gun while laughing like a kid in a balloon castle. After the war, no such luck seeing the patrotic duo strapped and ready to bust a cap in some commie ass. Nope, just good old-fashioned shield-slinging and the breaking of glass jaws. I believe former Captain America writer John Ney Reiber was starting to re-emphasize the soldier in super soldier during his brief run; former writer Rags Morales too.

Now I'm not saying Cap should start running around mowing down Hydra agents, or become the spokesman for the NRA. I'm simply saying it's time readers were reminded again that he's trained first and foremost as a soldier, and that there'll be times when Caps' gotta get his hands dirty and blow someone away. And yes I'm aware that there is a Captain America out there who already does this. He's the Ultimate Universe's version of Cap, but he doesn't count. Although his attitude towards sometimes having to discharge a weapon insides someone's mouth should be shared by the more fan-friendly mainstream Cap.

Seems like Captain America is reborn......again. Sigh.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Doctor O' Doctor...."

Just bought the DCUC Riddler, and he looks pretty damn cool! Sure he's not entirely new; standard body with a new face sculpt and he has a painted on belt, but still I like the overall figure just fine. I prefer this costume to his coat and hat one, so this one rocks for me. The belt though, they could have re-used Negative Man's belt for a cheap solution to that problem.  Found this guy at Target, where they also had Jonah Hex and The Creeper. Damnnit I had the chance to get him and the Riddler both, and skipped on it. Won't make that mistake again. Still, I got GL#64, and Vol.1 of All-Star Superman. So not bad. I'm still amazed how much money you save by buying the trade for only $12.99, which gives you the 1st six issues versus buying the 1st six issues by themselves @ standard price. Now that's savings I can get behind!

Today's Fantasy Fight concerns two superhero doctors: Dr.Fate and Dr.Strange. One was a real doctor, the other...not so much. Well he might've had a doctorate in Archaeology, but you get the point.

I have wondered for long awhile what would happen if these two masters of magic had to fight each other. Who would win?
Dr.Fate, an agent of order and chaos, or Dr.Strange, the sorcerer supreme.

It's time to find out:

Dr. Strange vs. Dr. Fate

Awaking, Dr. Fate notices he's not were he has been just 5 minutes ago. He remembers hearing an evil cackle of laughter before blacking out and awaking here. It's some weird dimension with nothing and no one around....except a familar cloaked figure who's also just waking up to his weird, new surroundings. Suddenly a ghostly image appears before Dr.Fate. It's Nabu, and he warns Fate that the stranger across from him is an evil sorcerer bent on enslaving all of humanity and countless worlds. Dispite never meeting this stranger before, the words snap him to attention; from here he sees a similar ghostly image appear before the stranger, but can't make it who it is. Dr.Strange notices the golden-helmited figure, but before he can react, a ghostly image appears before him. It's the Ancient One. The ancient one tells Strange that the golden-helmed figure is immensely evil and powerful; committed to enslaving all life and countless dimensions. Strange must stop him. The apparitions dissapear, leaving both men eager to fight one another dispite not knowing each other. The battle begins! Elsewhere Baron Mordo and Doctor Chaos both observe the two combatants, fiendishly admiring their work, and laugh......

Dr. Strange blasts forth simple attack spells aimed at figuring out his opponent's weaknesses, Fate perries and unleashes spells of his own. Both strike and counter-strike; trying to figure out the measure of each other. After many hours, perhaps days, no one knows due to the limbo-like dimension, both men are exausted. Strange casts the Eye of Agamatto to disern his foe's ultimate weakness, much in the vain of  his surgeon skills. "The helmet" the eye says, "is the focus of his powers. remove it, and the danger is also removed." Strange goes to blow the helmer off, but Fate counters, unleashing his order and chaos given powers full-blast at Strange. He hits Strange, sending his cloak off him. Strange recovers in time to unleash the spell of the Vishani, leaving Fate consummed in fire, and flying back in pain without his helmet. Fate races back to it, but is blocked by a containment bubble spell from Dr.Strange. In a last ditch effort, Fate unleashes all that he has from his amulet and blasts Dr.Strange. Strange is knocked for a loop, giving Dr.Fate a change to re-don his helmet. At doing so, Fate prepares for a final attack and unleashes a final ankh-shapped spell-blast from his fingers. Strange attacks at the same time, unleashing all he has againest Fate. Both men collapse as each is assaulted from the other's spell blast. Both men now lie motionless, lifeless. The battle is over, but alas, no victor emerges.....

Winner: Draw

Yeah I know, what a croc! No clear winner on this one, and guess what? I don't think they would really be one. Both are extremely powerful with a lifetime of magical knowledge. Even I would be hard-pressed to appoint a winner for this one, and I usually don't like draws.

So, who do you think would win? Write in and tell me who's the better magic man; Dr.Strange or Dr.Fate?
Oh and this Dr.Fate is the classic Kent Nelson one. Just in case you were wondering.

"Closing time. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Well..... I kinda always knew this day would come, and it sure has. It's been a hell of a ride, but it's time to for it end. Ti...