10.02.2014

The Most Absolutely Fabulous Rant of All Time

Judge: Driving without a license. Driving without insurance. Not wearing a seatbelt. Having no tax disc displayed. Driving over the legal speed limit. Driving under the influence of alcohol. Allowing another person to drive your vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In the region of £5,000 of parking fees owing, £6,000 of damage to property. Charges of assault and abuse. The charges of attempted murder and robbery have been dropped. Shoplifting --

Patsy: My name is Patsy Stone. I'm an alcoholic and what she did was an act of humanitarian mercy. 

Judge: That is hardly a reason to steal a crate of champagne. 

Eddie: Have you any idea how much champagne costs these days? I was forced to steal it. My daughter wouldn't have allowed me to buy it. 

Judge: I must ask you to sit down and stop wasting the court's time. The sum of £50,000 is to be paid by you in damages and a further fine of £2,000. You will also be liable for all cost incurred....

Eddie to Saffron: Well, getting rid of my chauffeur was a little bit of a false economy, wasn't it sweetie? 

Judge: ....and a lifetime ban on driving. And, finally, Mrs. Monsoon....

Eddie: Can I just say one word in my defense, um? 

Saffie: I don't think that's a very good idea, Mum. Your mouth is working for the prosecution. 

Eddie: Oh, darling, this is what I do well, sweetie. You might pick up a few tips for the Debating Society, you never know. Without notes, Saff. 

[Gran claps] 

Eddie: Thank you, thank you.  Right – I, the proposed accused, think that, well, I mean, you know, the day in question was not a good day for me, all right? But I put it to you that I don't see how any day could have been the way this bloody country's run. Well, you know, I was just trying to do my best, trying to get from A to B, do a little shopping. I was trying to take control of my life, you know....only to find that it is actually controlled for me....by petty bureaucracy and bits of bloody paper and ignorant bloody petty rules and laws that just obstruct every tiny little action until you find you've committed a crime without even knowing it! I mean, you know, why can't life just be made a little easier for everybody, huh? Why can't it be more like the Continent, hmm? You know, where a man can just park his car on the pavement and then run down the street in front of charging bulls whilst letting fireworks off out of his bloody nostrils without anyone blinking an eye? Huh? Because it's probably a local holiday and nobody's at work because they all want to have just a little bit of fun and they're not intimidated by some outdated work ethic. I mean, there has to be more to life than just being safe.

Judge: Is there a point to all this? 

Eddie: Yes! Yes!  Why, oh why, do we pay taxes, hmmm? I mean, just to have bloody parking restrictions and buggery-ugly traffic wardens and bollocky pedestrian bloody crossings? And those bastard railings outside shops, so you can't even get in them! I mean, I know they're there to stop stupid people running into the street and killing themselves! But we're not all stupid! We don't all need nursemaiding! I mean, why not just have a Stupidity Tax? Just tax the stupid people! 

Patsy: Let them DIE! 

Eddie: Yes! 

Judge: Anymore of this ridiculous rant and I'll put you both away! 

Gran: Hear, hear! 

Judge: Edina Margaret Rose Monsoon, I hereby sentence you to....

7.28.2011

Justice League of America 0 and the DCnU....

I was flipping through the THE LIGHTNING SAGA TPB and saw JLoA 0, which I had forgotten was included in this TPB.  The single issue was released in July of 2006.

Written by Brad Meltzer and drawn by various artists, the issue presented the reader with vignettes set "yesterday" and "tomorrow."  The final vignette was set "today" – i.e. the formation of the then current JLoA roster.

The "yesterday" segments incorporated various bits of JLA lore and brought them back into continuity.
The "tomorrow" segments presented bits that may (some [one] did) occur in the stories that followed in the DCU.

The final "tomorrow" vignette, drawn by Jim Lee, has now become the most significant to me.

In this vignette, SupermanBatman and Wonder Woman discover the appearance a second Earth.  The third panel on the page is a gallery of various JSA and JLA members in their "classic" attire and the fourth panel shows the two Earths with slightly different geography. 

Superman and Batman discuss:
Clark: How's it even possible?
Bruce: It's vibrating at a different speed.
Clark: No, Bruce....I mean, how can it even be?
BruceClark, we've seen alternate universes, pocket prison dimensions and a full-on multiverse. Why should we suddenly be surprised to find....that there's a second Earth out there?

Could this page have been a foreshadowing of the DCnU?  

Jim Lee is one of the architects behind the formation and "bible" of the DCnU and he's also the artist on the new JUSTICE LEAGUE series.
Dan DiDio has stated that the Justice Society of America is being given a "rest."  

In the DCnU's sliding timeline, the emergence of the super-hero began five years ago (which will be chronicled in JL and ACTION COMICS [and possibly in other DCnU books, i.e. BATGIRL]), which seemingly puts the kibosh on the original JSA roster, that team having formed during WWII

It's possible the DCnU JSA kept their activities on the down low during their reign in the 40s and 50s, doing what they do best – being heroes – but not drawing media attention to themselves (remaining "urban legends"), being true "Mystery Men" and "Mystery Women." 

But after reading JLoA 0 again, I think one of the stories we're going to see – set at some point in the sliding five years past – is going to be the Justice League discovering a second Earth.  A second Earth, where the JSA is still doing what they do best – being heroes and training their next generation.

I think "SECOND EARTH" will be an arc in JL and it will lead into a full exploration of the "second Earth" in MULTIVERSITY next summer.

There, I said it!

8.27.2011 UPDATE:
Fan Expo CanadaJames Robinson will be writing a DCnU JSA series set on Earth-2

7.10.2010

FABLES - The Greatest Comic Book Series of All Time!

FABLES recently (with the conclusion of the WITCHES arc from issues 87 to 91) bumped the 1980s Paul Levitz LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES series from my #1 spot to a tie for #2 with HELLBLAZER


It's not easy to bump one of my number ones from its position.  


ROSEMARY'S BABY/THE EXORCIST have been my #1 films for close to 20 years. 
DARK SHADOWS has been my #1 TV series of all-time for well over 20 years. 

Other films (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK/REVENGE OF THE SITHF13: THE FINAL CHAPTERTHE LION IN WINTERTHE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER, PART II, among others) and TV series (BUFFY and FARSCAPE and SEINFELD and DOCTOR WHO and THE X-FILES and DYNASTY, among others) have moved up and close, but they can't topple my number ones.  

The basic premise of FABLES is simple:

An unnamed and unseen (until issue #40, when all was revealed) Adversary started a process of expanding whereby the homelands of the characters out of European fables were conscripted in to The Empire. The refugees (or LEGENDS IN EXILE) fled to the mundane – i.e. "our" world – and set up shop in Manhattan and Upstate New York.

FABLES, from issue 1, has driven me to unquantifiable amounts of distraction and is the only series I read twice a year, in full, up to whichever the current issue is.  I also tend to flip through random issues (usually the current issues that have yet to be collected into a TPB) multiple times a week.  

THE GOOD PRINCE (issues 60 to 63 and 65 to 69) is one of the greatest comic book stories ever told.  It is unlike any comic book story I ever read before or since.  The range of emotions the story elicits from me each time I read this breathtaking story are immense and powerful.  It's gotten to the point that I can't think of the titular Good Prince of the story without getting all verklempt.  King Ambrose – the former Frog Prince – has to be the most tragic character to ever appear in a comic book series. 

FABLES #56 is the single greatest issue of the series and gives a brilliant, yet deceptively simple, explanation for why and how Santa Clause does what he does.  

FABLES #81 features the death of Boy Blue, a character who started as a supporting player in the first section of the series, then moved up to main character and eventually evolved into super-hero status and after his death, into a messianic figure currently expected by some to return in a blaze of blue glory.  (Boy Blue was struck down by a magic arrow during the WAR AND PIECES arc and, being a longtime comic book reader, I assumed he would get better in two issues (max!) time.)  

During THE DARK AGES, I read along as Boy Blue deteriorated and ultimately succumbed to his illness.  FABLES #81 is the saddest comic ever published.  (There, I said it!)

The current arc is titled ROSE RED and is delving into the characters of Rose Red and Snow White with an extended flashback to their youth and the origins of the centuries long estrangement.  

It was the combination of THE GOOD PRINCETHE DARK AGESWITCHES and the currently being published ROSE RED stories that finally made me realize that FABLES is my favorite comic book series of all time. 

If you have any friends interested in getting into comic books, this is the series (starting with ANIMAL FARM) that I would recommend telling them to read. 

In the coming weeks I'm going to post my thoughts on each of the major arcs of the series.

5.09.2010

The RESURRECTED: The Buffy Summers and Beatrix Kiddo Principles

Buffy Summers died at the end of Season Five and went to what she perceived to be Heaven. Buffy was resurrected in the Season Six premier. Buffy told this to Spike in the second episode of Season Six: "Wherever I....was....I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn't mean anything, nothing had form....but I was still me, you know? And I was warm and I was loved....and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about dimensions or theology or any of....but I think I was in Heaven. And now I'm not. I was torn out of there. My friends pulled me out. And everything here is bright and hard and violent....Everything I feel, everything I touch....this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that....knowing what I've lost...." 


There's no reason to think that all of The Twelve are thrilled to be alive again. The Hawks are quite used to being killed and being reborn. MM, Aquaman, Jade, Ronnie and Osiris were heroes. There's no reason to think that they didn't go to their "reward" when they were killed; that they went to "their" Heaven and that they're not too happy to have been pulled out of there. I call this The Buffy Principle.


BRIGHTEST DAY #1 Aquaman summons dead sea life. Martian Manhunter sees visions of himself killing people and morphs into a Black Lantern.
Something is WRONG with that....


Now we come to The Beatrix Kiddo Principle . Don Hall was complete. Don Hall was killed in the line of duty people saving the lives of others and was at peace with his death. 


The Nekrotic Eight all died with unfinished business. Just as The Bride forced herself out of a coma and to walk again to avenge what the D.I.V.A.S. did to her in El Paso , so to did the Nekrotic Eight and Hal (Barry is an anomaly*) return from the dead because of unfinished business. Don Hall had no unfinished business, so he is at peace. 


But The Twelve may have also been at peace. 


There's no reason to think that Martian Manhunter wasn't in his Heaven with his wife and daughter.... 


Theres no reason to think that Arthur wasn't in his Heaven with his sons.... 


I'd be cranky if I was pulled from Heaven (although I know where I'm going to end up and it's not up there, but I digress....) and brought back to the harshness of living. I think we're going to find during BRIGHTEST DAY that not all of the RESURRECTED are happy about being alive again.




*It's possible Barry circumvents being at peace because of his emotional tether to Iris , a connection that Don Hall did not have to anyone.

11.27.2009

The Nekrotic Eight

In this week's BLACKEST NIGHT #5, the "lord of the dead" Nekron, raised "Batman" from the "dead." This Black Lantern Batman went after those heroes who have been resurrected. Nekron claimed that he allowed these resurrections.
The Black Lantern "Batman" guided the Black Lantern Rings toward the resurrected heroes:
In the image above, clockwise from the top left:
Superboy (Conner Kent) - killed in INFINITE CRISIS #6
Animal Man (Buddy Baker) - killed in ANIMAL MAN #51
Donna Troy - killed in TITANS/YOUNG JUSTICE: GRADUATION DAY #3
Superman (Clark Kent) - killed in SUPERMAN #75
Ice (Tora Olafsdotter) - killed in JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE #14
Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) - killed in GREEN ARROW (First Series) #101
Kid Flash II (Bart Allen) - killed in FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #13
Wonder Woman (Diana) - killed in WONDER WOMAN (Second Series) #125
It has been assumed by the readers of the book that the characters listed above were killed by the Black Lantern Rings and then raised from the dead by the Black Lantern Rings.
But I don't buy it.
Did you ever watch THE INHUMANOIDS? I loved THE INHUMANOIDS.
One of the Inhumanoids was called D'Compose. When it touched something living, the victim would be warped and changed into a seemingly undead thing. But they didn't actually die and when exposed to sunlight, they reverted back to what they were before being touched by D'Compose . I believe that if (when) their connection to the BLACK is severed, then the Nekrotic Eight will revert back to what they were before the Black Rings did their damage to them.
The Nekrotic Eight were NOT killed and then raised from dead. They were altered by the BLACK. There, I said it!!!

9.25.2009

Superman Beyond....

SUPERMAN BEYOND - The Greatest Superman Story Ever Told
Part One - The Story of SUPERMAN BEYOND

Toward the end of FINAL CRISIS #2 (an entry will follow [one day] about FINAL CRISIS specifically; however, in short, FINAL CRISIS is the story of a devil god losing a war in Heaven and, as this dark, evil god falls, he tears the fabric of the universe, the multiverse, apart and FINAL CRISIS is the story of the last of the heroes of the conquered Earth0 uniting to defeat him) a bomb went off in the Daily Planet, killing some and critically injuring Lois Lane-Kent.

In the hospital, in the next issue, it is revealed that Clark is keeping Lois alive with his heat vision, which he is using to massage her heart. Lois is one heartbeat away from death.

Enter, stage right – Zillo Valla....

Cut to SUPERMAN BEYOND #1 – time stops and Clark is visited by Zillo Valla (in a reprise from the same scene in FC #3). Zillo Valla is a member of a race of Monitors – ancient, unending, hyper-gods – the Monitors of Nil, masters of the Overvoid – beings who watch and monitor all the worlds in the multiverse through the Orrery of Worlds.

Zillo Valla, who has frozen time on Earth–0 (“our” Earth) tells Clark that she knows he’s Superman and that she knows of a way that Clark can save Lois – if Superman agrees to go with her and the Super-Champions of the multiverse that she has recruited. If they succeed, Superman’s reward will be “the universal medicine, the secret substance of life itself” – Ultramenstruum – the Bleed, which is the space, the arteries, between the universes. Bleed can only be touched, bottled and held by the Monitor race.

Superman and Zillo Valla travel through the Bleed in Zillo Valla’s ship – the Ultima Thule.

On the ship we meet Ultraman, Superman’s anti-matter opposite; Captain MarvelSuperman’s magic powered counterpart from Earth–5; Captain AdamSuperman as the epitome of scientific engineering and knowledge on a quantum level from Earth–4; Overman – the Nazi Superman – raised in extreme difference to “our” Superman – from Earth–10.

The Ultima Thule is being perused by the destroyer, “Echo of Midnight.” The Ultima Thule passes through the Bleed and other worlds in the multiverse before crashing in the graveyard universe – Earth–51. Back in the Bleed, the Ultima Thule travels to Limbo, where the passengers meet the citizens of Limbo – the forgotten; beings that have faded from everyone’s memories.

Superman and Captain Marvel make their way to the Library of Limbo where they find a book with an infinite number of pages all occupying the same space. They reach into the Infinite Book book and the Story of the Monitors follows. [I have my own theories about the Story of the Monitors, which I’ll share in a subsequent entry.]

Previously. There was MONITOR only. And then. Then is a flaw found at the heart of MONITOR perfection. MONITOR makes a concept to contain the flaw. MONITOR examination reveals within terrifying, unforeseen complexities and contradictions. Magnification reveals a structure of infinitesimal rippling manifolds upon whose surface intricate germ-like processes thrive and multiply.

Superman and Captain Marvel realize that MONITOR is a conscious, living void. Superman states that what he and Captain Marvel are reading is the “primal origin story of Zillo Valla’s kind.”

MONITOR extends a probe….Designed to blend with its surroundings, the probe secures contact….with something MONITOR has never before encountered. Inside the flaw – a chaotic froth of events.

Lives. Deaths. Heroes. Villains. Lovers. Stories.

This two passages above are told against the backdrop of the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

With no precedent for the concept ‘story…’ no understanding of the damage ‘story’ might do to an immense awareness without limits or definition…. MONITOR has zero defenses.

Blinded, split in two,” [into the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Monitor and Anti-Monitor] “the probe withdraws. The flaw is sealed, scabbed over. With divine metals. Made safe until all that remains of that ill-fated first contact is a vast, uncanny form.

A Thought–Robot.

The mystery of the silent sentinel haunts MONITOR, infects the immaculate intelligence with questions, speculating, pestilential, crawling narratives.

Legend takes root….and story, like contagion, spreads unchecked. Becomes this history of a once-mighty race of hyper-gods, direct descendants of the first immense, unknowable MONITOR.

This epic elegy for a doomed civilization, declining from splendor to squalor.

This FINAL CRISIS.

This last-ditch attempt to save creation itself from a loathing and greed beyond measure.

But first….eons pass of peace and plenty while the haunting relic of first contact rusts, neglected.

It has always been. It will always be.

Yet its shadow grows ever longer, ever colder in a deepening twilight.

After extensive study, the circle of Monitors makes its evaluation.

The Monitors are referring to the Thought–Robot, which they describe as a “doomsday machine engineered by genius to defend us against some ultimate enemy.”

Dread of the thing grows. Rumor spreads. Only on the last day will it yield up its secrets, it is said.

Only then will the story of Novu’s final gift be understood.

Dax Novu, the Radiant One, the first son of MONITOR and bravest of the Science Gods.

The race of Monitors were born from the rebirth of the multiverse in INFINITE CRISIS. Dax Novu was the first Monitor “born” with the rebirth.

Novu, whose brilliant, rebel intellect first probed the flaw and mapped its horrors. Who wrestled the angel of contamination. Who brought knowledge and the riches of the Bleed. Who gave his life to chain the beast in darkness. Who knew the day of holocaust would come again.

Deep within the sepulcher of Mandrakk there is a restless stirring. In the Plague Pit, the Prime Eater of Life senses its freedom.

An unstoppable countdown to cosmic revelation has begun.

Feedback from the Infinite Book knocks Superman and Captain Marvel back, changing Captain Marvel back into Billy Batson, who cannot remember his magic word.

Superman carries Billy into the Ultima Thule, where Superman catches Zillo Valla draining blood from Overman. Zillo Valla tells Superman that the Dark Monitor, Mandrakk, wakes.

Captain Adam tells Superman that the sky over Limbo have shattered. Outside the Ultima Thule, Superman and Captain Adam see Ultraman holding the Infinite Book as warships appear in the horizon.

Ultraman reveals that he read the final chapter of the book and found something greater than himself – Mandrakk – who is “building a bridge from the void into the multiverse.” Superman sees this as a challenge. Merryman, a citizen of Limbo, declares that they (the Limbo citizens) are not going to take it anymore and take up arms against the arriving forces.

In the Ultima Thule, Overman tells Billy Batson to stay away from the vampiric Zillo Valla. Overman reveals his origin and that he agreed to go on the journey to find his cousin, Overgirl, who we saw crash to Earth–0 in FINAL CRISIS #3.

Billy Batson discovers that the Ultima Thule is fueled by Bleed. Billy, a reporter for WHIZ Media, notes that he smells a “love story.” Zillo Valla gives Billy his magic word.

As the citizens of Limbo battle the warships of Mandrakk, Merryman asks Superman to promise that he’ll remember them.

Ultraman declares that he is taking the Ultima Thule to spread the gospel of Mandrakk to all worlds. Superman tells him that he’ll have to go through him first. As they are about to throw down, Captain Marvel enters and keeps them apart.

Captain Marvel reminds Superman of the ultimate weapon created by the Monitors that was revealed to them through the Infinite Book. Supes tells Captain Marvel to take the Ultima Thule and go into the multiverse warn everyone that Mandrakk is coming.

Captain Adam reveals that Thought–Robot requires the unleashing of tremendous energies to be activated, which can only occur during the “collisions of fundamental opposing qualities.”

Captain Adam allows Superman and Ultraman to touch and the resultant release of energy activates the Thought–Robot, which has the visage of Superman.

The Thought–Robot now activated, Zillo Valla tells Superman that It is a living weapon, “capable of adapting instantly to counter any future threat. A sentinel-suit designed for a single purpose. To protect all existence against the ultimate enemy.” It was the final gift left to them by Dax Novu, the Radiant One.

The Superman Thought–Robot meets Weeja Dell, lover of the exiled Nix Uotan, who leads him through the Funeral Gardens of Yivaroth. The Superman Thought–Robot sees a meeting between Monitors and as he looks around their decaying world, the Superman Thought–Robot comes to the realization that the Monitors are vampires, feeding off the Bleed and the stories of existence.

Zillo Valla reveals that the Monitors locked Dax Novu/Mandrakk “in the pit, in the sepulchre of the abyss.” A wholly vampiric Rox Ogama announces that “the master, my brother, wakes!”

The doors of the tomb open and Mandrakk steps out, holding a phial of Bleed. Mandrakk tells Superman all he has to do is take the phial from him. Mandrakk strikes and the battle between the Superman Thought–Robot and Mandrakk begins.

As Mandrakk fires upon the Superman Thought–Robot, he mentions the “sound of the space between now and her final heartbeat.”

Zillo Valla steps up and scolds Mandrakk, telling him that she has found, “deep within the germ worlds”, “a better story; one created to be unstoppable, indestructible! The story of a child rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet…”

Mandrakk kills Zillo Valla, at which point it is revealed that Zillo Valla was the lover of Dax Novu. The Superman Thought–Robot and Mandrakk battle again. As they battle, the picks up the staff of Prime Monitor Tahoteh and runs it through Mandrakk, tells him that he was Dax Novu and then blasts Mandrakk with his heat vision, knocking Mandrakk into the abyss.

Badly damaged from the battle, the Superman Thought–Robot is handed the phial of Bleed and advised that it cannot be taken back to his world. Superman tells the Monitor that he’ll “find a way.”

The Superman Thought–Robot begins to wind down. Ultraman and Superman are separated and fall to the surface, with Bleed raining down around them.

Captain Marvel reveals that he found his treasure – a shard of the Rock of Eternity. Silently, “in the space between one heartbeat,” Superman, Captain Marvel and Overman destroy Mandrakk’s warships.

Rox Ogama finds the bruised and angry Ultraman and brings him before Mandrakk, who transforms Ultraman into a vampire, his “first knight of terror.” Mandrakk states that he will return, with his armies of millions, when Superman is at his weakest “and we shall talk.”

Back on Earth–0, Clark goes to Lois hospital room and kisses her, giving her the life saving Bleed, which he carried back to his world in his mouth. Lois is healed and tells Clark she had an amazing dream and she needs to tell him about it….

Part Two, my analysis of the story, which spanned two oversize, 3D issues, will follow in a few days....