Category Archives: Comics

Megacon: 2014

Legend tells of a magical place, a land of wonder, that appears once a year…only for three days….in the tiny hamlet known as Ore-lahn-doe.

The local bards calls it “Mega Con”.

The rest of the world calls it……well, they call it “Mega Con”, too.


Since we started going to Mega Con, about three or four years ago, we’ve always just drove up for a day, walked around, then drove home. It’s really hard to get the “whole experience” that way so, this year, we decided to do it “right”.

We ordered advanced tickets and booked a room for the entire con that was, according to the description, only a block away. The Hyatt Regency has to be one of the nicest, swankiest, places I’ve ever stayed. Seriously. Our bathroom mirror had a t.v. in it, for pete’s sake!

There was also four restaurants, two convenience stores, two bars, two pools (a huge one on the ground floor and a terrace one on the third), a tennis court, and a coffee shop. The one restaurant was open twenty-four hours and you could also get room service pizza.

I didn’t take near enough pictures to do it justice, but it was a very nice looking place.

Chalk it up to my not getting out enough, but I was thoroughly impressed by this place. Now, as with things like this, nothing is for free and you really need to watch the budget or things can get out of hand and quickly. We did o.k, though, and still came in at a reasonable rate after it was all said and done.

Oh, I didn’t mention the best part.  We were just a skywalk’s jaunt away from the convention building. That right there made it worth the price to stay.

We came up a day early to hang out and scope out where we needed to go the next day. My wife wound up zonking out for a few hours, so I walked up the road and did a little site seeing at the Pointe Orlando. It’s a little triangle section of about a city block where they had an IMAX theater, a bunch of restaurants and some overpriced “specialty” stores. For anyone from the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Ohio area, it reminded me a lot of Newport On The Levee.

As for the convention itself, there were a few snags starting out (which I let the world know via my Twitter account, just as any self-respecting geek would do), mainly with the organization for the ticket lines. We had bought advanced tickets which meant we were supposed to just walk up to the window and then walk into the dealer area. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy.

We stood in line for an hour and a half, actually wrapping around in a circle, before we could even get down to the place where you picked your tickets up.  We asked a few of the volunteers if we were in the advanced tickets line (because it was a huge jumble…no kidding) yet no one could seem to tell us ‘yes’ or ‘no’. About an hour into it someone who actually knew something started directing us to the entrance….where we took the escalators down to another line to actually pick up the tickets. That line, thankfully, moved a lot quicker than the upstairs “hurry up and wait” line and was still quicker than the V.I.P. line….which I would have been hacked off had I paid all that money and they only had one window dedicated to servicing said ticket holders. Anyway, we get up there and they give us, for three days, an armband. Most other conventions I’ve been to give you a badge (then graciously sell you a lanyard to go with it) to wear, but Megacon give you a piece of thick paper to put around your wrist. Of course I started asking if they were o.k. to get wet…I mean, discouraging people to bathe is last thing you want to do at a sci-fi convention.

Trust me…there are stereotypes for a reason, when it comes to this one.

After the ordeal of collecting our tickets, the rest of the convention was pretty enjoyable. We saw some of the stars from the original Battlestar Galactica, my wife went to see James (Spike from Buffy) Marsters while I went to an…….interesting……panel revolving around the Nintendo 3DS game, Animal Crossing: A New Leaf. While I did feel just a tad out-of-place due to my lack of anime cat ears, it was still fun.  We tried to make it to a World Building for Your Novel panel, but it was clear from the huge amount of people in line in the hall that we weren’t all going to fit in the extremely small room they had set aside for the event…..things were getting a bit cramped as it was, so I didn’t want to add to the claustrophobia. Instead, I went down and got a quick sketch by one of my all time favorite artists, George Perez. He was, as he had been last year, collecting money for The Hero Initiative which is a great cause. Last year we got a Wonder Woman for my wife. This year, we got a Batman for me. After that I checked to see if Darwyn Cooke was over at his table and he was. He was also engulfed in a mass of con goer flesh and had almost as long a line as George Perez. I figured I’d come back to get him to sign my copy of New Frontier. I should have just waited as we wouldn’t see him for the remainder of the convention. I’m not sure if something came up or he was just late, but on Saturday and Sunday we went by his table, at least, a dozen times and he was nowhere to be found. Oh well, maybe next year.

After tooling around the vendor area a bit more in search of the card game, Love Letter (the limited edition version…which we found), we went back to the room and prepared to meet my wife’s nephew and his new girlfriend for dinner. This was one of the big highlights of the weekend for my wife and I. Christopher is someone we don’t get to see as much as we’d like. He’s a very bright young man with a level head and an eye for the future. His girlfriend is, truly, a gem and I can see that they really have something special between them. A good time was had by all.

On Sunday, we checked out and headed back over to the convention for one last pass. There were fewer people in the vendor area then on Saturday, so we were able to check out more of the booths that we had skipped on Saturday due to the throng of people pushing and shoving. We picked up a few games we had been eyeing, including another version of Love Letter and some tee shirts before heading back home.

Going up and staying a few days, in my opinion, is definitely the way to go to a con if at all possible. We had a great time and will probably being doing the same next year, if we’re able.

With that, we watch this mystical place fade into the distance once again. The magic, the wonder, and a good chunk of our funds fading with it.

Until next year, Megacon, until next year…..





The Alphabet Challenge…

It's no April Fool's joke...

It’s no April Fool’s joke…

O.k, I’ll admit it.

I wasn’t really prepared.

Oh sure, I had a theme and a post planned for each day of the month (except Sundays) and I thought I was ready.

I wasn’t…..

I’m talking about those little snippets at the bottom of every post I’ve done here, this April….all pertaining to the A To Z Blogging Challenge.

It was started as a dare, about four years ago, by some bloggers looking to do something different. The “blog hop” is a pretty standard thing that a lot of bloggers take part in. You write about a certain theme or subject, visit other people doing the same, leave comments, find new blogs to follow, gain new followers, etc., etc.

This is a blog hop on steroids.

The main gist is to blog every day of the week, except for Sundays, for twenty-six days with each day representing a letter of the alphabet. The first day of April is “A”, the second is “B”, third is “C”, etc.

Now, since I already blog every day of the week as a writing exercise, I figured this would be a breeze. Then I came to realize something……it’s not the posting that’s hard….it’s trying to visit all those blogs is the real challenge.

Starting off, there were over 1700 people signed up and I already follow over one hundred blogs…most taking part in the challenge.

Another aspect of the challenge is to visit new blogs that you’ve never seen before, in hopes of finding new, cool, blogs and, hopefully, gaining some new followers in the process.

The first week, I tried to read and comment on all my ‘usuals’ as most people do. I wound up averaging around sixty comments a day on my posts.  Granted, I visited A LOT of blogs and left some comments, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up.

As expected, the second week saw things fall off a bit, but I was still averaging around 40-50 comments on my posts. Now, I’m the type who likes to respond to comments because, well, I feel that if someone has taken the time to read (or even skim) what I’ve written and leave a little comment then, the least I could do, is reply to their efforts.

It was beginning to get too much, though.

I began spending way too much time going through my ‘process’ and decided to scale it back just a bit. I’ve been trying to alternate through my “regulars”, hitting some one day, then others the next and then trying to check out at least five new blogs every day or every other day. A couple of days, I’ve had to forego reply to comments left for me, but I still try to keep up on that aspect.

At first, I had about two or three posts written in advance while still trying to post here on my usual Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday schedule. Now, I’m to the point where I’m writing the post on the day it’s “due”…which is o.k, it’s still keeping me in practice and keeping within the spirit of my ‘blogging schedule’ I had set up back in January.

Even though it has been a challenge….it’s still been a lot of fun and I’ve met a bunch of great new blogging buddies to follow. So far, I’ve picked up about thirty new followers and that’s always fun, too.

Would I say it’s been worth it?


Will I do it again next year?

Absolutely…..though, I’ll be more prepared!


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

For today’s update:

My theme is “Obscure Comic Book  Heroes”

Yesterday was “Q” for Quasar and today was “R” for Razorback.


Until next time….


Leavin’ on a jet plane…

Soaring towards the heavens.

Soaring towards the heavens.

Just a few months ago my wife’s mother passed away and now her sister, my wife’s aunt, did the same two days ago. That meant a very sad trip to New Jersey for my wife and her sister (as well as other extended family members) while I stay behind to help them with their business.

While I thought her aunt was great and a wonderful lady, I’m not much of a flyer so I’m sticking around here with my feet on the ground. Can you say “unnatural fear”? Sure you can…

So, I packed my wife up, sent my condolences, and drove them to the airport thinking how sad it is when a family has to get together to bury one of their own.

Rest well, Lil, you deserve it.

Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!


On the A to Z Blogging challenge front:

Yesterday was “G”…for Goliath while today was “H” for The Human Fly.  Check ’em out!

Until next time…


"This just in..."

“This just in…”

O.k, not really a flash…just a bit of news.

I mentioned, in my last post, about giving the “juice fast” thing a try. Four days in and we’re still doing pretty good. We went to a local produce place and bought tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. They were pretty inexpensive, too…..something else I’m loving about this.

A bit blurry...but you get the idea.

A bit blurry…but you get the idea.

We’ve been juicing fruits and veggies as well as making smoothies along with a lot of water. We’ve also been drinking decaf tea and coffee and ‘treating’ ourselves to one cup of caffeinated coffee per day….but no more than one. I haven’t had a Coke in over a week and haven’t felt any ill effects.

My wife even started her own blog, talking about our adventures in juicing….Juicing with Jackie.

As of this morning, I’ve lost five pounds. Now, granted, it’s probably just waste material (I was in the “can” a lot during day one), but that’s fine…just another sign that the process is cleaning me out.

We’ve also been going for walks everyday….which I’m not so sure is the greatest idea…but I haven’t felt any ill effects from that and I seem to have a lot more energy then I did just a few days ago.

We’re going to keep at it and see how it goes. Tomorrow is the ‘official’ last day of the fast but, if we’re feeling o.k, we may try to go the whole ten days and see how we do.

If you’re interested in the whole “Body Reboot” process, you can check out Joe’s site HERE.


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!


The A to Z Blogging Challenge is still going full steam and it’s been a lot of work, actually. The blogging every day thing is not that big of a deal…I’ve been doing that since January. The tough thing is keeping up on trying to comment on my favorite blogs as well as those stopping by mine. I’m also helping one of the co-hosts by checking the sign ups to see who’s still participating, etc.


Still, though, it’s been great fun and I’ve found a bunch of cool, new blogs to follow…which is the main idea of the challenge, anyway.

My entry for yesterday was Chlorophyll Kid and today was Doctor Occult. If you haven’t already….check ’em out!


Until next time…

What’s goin’ on?

It’s a timeless question…there was even a song about it by the late, great, Marvin Gaye. The overall answer is ‘not a lot’, but we have been doing a few cool things around the Means Ranch.

On Saturday we went and saw G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Yo Joe!

Yo Joe!

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, but I found it to be a very entertaining movie and keeping kind of/sort of true to the original source material. That’s always a sticking point for me. It had some semi-heavyweight starts in it. Channing Tatum (who I’m not a fan of…by any stretch) reprised his role as Duke, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came on board as Roadblock, and Bruce Willis played Joe Colton……the ‘original’ G.I. Joe.

Willis’ role left me a bit confused though as he didn’t have fuzzy hair or a fuzzy beard…or the scar down his cheek.

The Original Joe

The Original Joe

Meh…what do I know, anyway?

Later that night, we watched a movie on Netflix called Fat,Sick, and Nearly DeadA documentary about Australian, Joe Cross who wanted a healthy change in his life and decided that juicing fruits and vegetables was the way to go. He had a medical condition that caused skin eruptions…sort of like mosquito bites…to form on his skin. The problem being that he didn’t need to be bit by a mosquito to have the lesions appear. The film documents Joe’s journey across the country as he meets different people, inspiring them with his story.



One thing is for sure…it sure inspired us. We’ve already been watching what we’re eating and have been doing a bit of juicing, but this…this challenges you to try a ten day ‘reboot‘ of your system. Basically a juice fast…which we’ve already been doing for one day a week….now, though, we’re being challenged to stretch it out to ten.

So, yesterday, we started our juicing fast. Nothing but juiced fruits, veggies, water, and some decaf tea. We’re going to try for five days first and, if we’re doing o.k, we’ll go for ten. I’ll be keeping you all updated on how we do and I know I’ll struggle with one part, for sure…

….not having coffee!!

Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

Yesterday also started the A to Z Blogging Challenge with my theme “Obscure Superheroes”. My entry for “A” was Adam Strange.

Today was “B” and my entry for that is Black Goliath.

Until next time…

The Case of the Mega Con….

"Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter!"

“Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter!”

My wife and I got an…odd…Christmas present last year from her sister.

Tickets to the comic book/anime/game/pop culture fest known as MegaCon.

The interesting thing was that there was just the two of us….and she gave us four tickets.  As we both figured, though, it was a sort of ‘back door’ set up so we’d take her son and a friend of his to the convention. It’s up in Orlando, only about an hour and a half away, so not too bad and our nephew was pretty stoked to get to go.

His first question to us was….”Who are you guys dressing up as?”

Yeah…spandex and me, we’ll we’re not on speaking terms…especially at this point in my life. I’ve been to dozens of conventions, from GenCon to BotCon to Origins to ToddCon (a friend ran his own gaming convention one year in his basement…don’t ask) and I’ve yet to dress up for any of them. This time was to be no different.

He was excited, though, and that was cool. His original idea was to go as the Fourth (Tom Baker) Doctor, but he had issues getting the long scarf so he shelved that idea. I didn’t know who he was going as until he and his friend showed up at the house this morning, dressed as Castiel from Supernatural. I also learned that the character of Castiel’s tie is always turned around and messed up…something I’d never noticed before. The things you can learn from cosplaying.

The worst part about going was getting there. I guess we picked the wrong time to head up because the traffic by the Orange County Convention Center was terrible. I took us about forty-five minutes to get from the exit to the parking lot. It should have taken us only about five…..ugh! Once we got there, though, things picked up a bit. There were a ton of cosplayers….you know…people who dress up as their favorite comic book or anime character and stroll around. I’m not big on asking people to pose so I mainly just snapped some pics on the fly of some of the ones I thought looked cool.

My only regret was not asking the group dressed as The Thundercats if they’d stop for a pic as we were leaving. They looked pretty darn cool.

A few of the cosplayers….

Usually, when I go to a Con, I tend to look at it as just that….a con. At least when it comes to some of the prices. As per usual with events like this, everything seems like it’s overpriced. We bought a half  of a roast beef sandwich and a bottle of water for $13.00. Well, when they got ya…they got ya. Had we been more prepared we would have smuggled some snacks or sandwiches in with us….like when we go to the movies… *ahem*

One thing I did think was worth the price was one of my all time favorite comic book artists, George Perez, doing headshot sketches for $40.00 to help The Hero Initiative. We thought it was a great cause and asked Mr. Perez to do up a Wonder Woman for us. As I mentioned in my post about the last time I went to MegaCon, Mr. Perez is great and a real prince when it comes to the fans. He looked as busy as all get out, but still posed for pictures, shook hands and chatted, even as he worked.

Mr. George Perez

Mr. George Perez

He did this up in about five minutes. The man is fast and amazing.

Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman!

Well worth the price and for a great cause. We also watched him draw a Zatanna for a guy and signed his name backwards. If you know anything about the character, you’ll get it 🙂

We also picked up a few other nifty things….

A couple of Doctor Who posters….





And a few nerd shirts…..

All set for a night on the town...

All set for a night on the town…


While I wasn’t too thrilled about them, my wife just had to have these magnets, so…..





All in all we had a pretty good time, though the place was packed. I will say that the crowd was pretty polite. I had quite a few people bump in to me and the vast majority of them, at least, offered a “sorry”, if not an “excuse me”. After years of going to conventions, you start to notice these small details.  Another small detail I tend to notice are the smells. Way back when, body odor was the most prevalent scent wafting through the air, but I guess the crowds have matured and evolved as I think I might have smelled it just once. I know….strange…but still, it’s a part of the experience.

Unlike the last time I attended MegaCon, this year they had all the celebrities and faux-lebrities (yeah Wil Wheaton, I’m looking at you) behind curtains so you couldn’t even get a look at them unless you paid for the privilege. This, at least to me, wasn’t worth the price.

To be totally honest, this really turns me off about the convention experience. I mean, honestly, do they think some guy, taking a pic with his phone camera, at fifty feet, is going to cut into their “Have A Picture Taken With Harry Potter’s The Weasley Brothers for $60.00” business? I have no doubt that people will still pay for the up close and personal experience, but I guess the convention organizers weren’t as confident.

Oh well, those kind of things are to be expected when there’s the potential for money-making and, as I said, we still had a great time and the ride home was so much nicer than the ride up.

Maybe we’ll go again next year, so check back then and I’ll let you know.

Until next time…

Earth’s Mightiest Box Office…

To date, it’s been reported that the Joss Whedon helmed film, The Avengers, has taken in about $207 million dollars.

Whether people loved it, hated, it, or hadn’t even seen it yet, almost everyone has some opinions on the film.

After seeing the movie twice, here are a few of my observations….(possible spoilers ahead, so be warned)

I’ll start with The Good:

  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. A casting decision, I had assumed, was rushed to make the Comic Con reveal. Obviously, not. Ruffalo’s Banner was the best portrayal I’ve seen in any of the Hulk movies up to this point. The right combination of brilliant scientist, hero, and ‘guy just looking to keep it together’. As ‘anti-reboot/re-imagining’ of movies as I am,  I can honestly say that when they ‘re-boot’ the Hulk franchise (again), with Ruffalo as Banner, I’ll be looking forward to it.
  • Shared spotlight. At first, I figured it would be “Iron Man and The Avengers” with Downey Jr. hogging the spotlight and the plot being very Stark-centric. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I think this is where Whedon shines, giving everyone ‘something to do’ and making sure they each got a turn in the limelight.
  • The special effects. Everything from making sure the CGI Hulk looked like Ruffalo and not some random, green, roid monkey to the giant, flying, space slugs, it all seemed to flow. While it was an effects heavy film, I never once got lost in them.
  • The Plot. I had read where the plot might revolve around the “Civil War” series and I was glad to find that not to be the case. While it could have been interesting, I’m glad they started where all good movies should start….the beginning.
  • The Council. Yeah, I know it was sort of cheesy, but I sort of dig the ‘shadow government’ type thing. It has the potential for some interesting storylines as well as giving Fury some conflicts.
  • The Hulk. The member that I thought would be the weakest (yes, I know ‘Hulk strongest one there is!!), character-wise…not Banner, mind you, I’m talking about the big, walking, green mass of CGI…turned out to be one of the most entertaining. The bits with the ‘Thor sucker punch’ and ‘Loki beat down’, were awesome. I’m thinking the Hulk just doesn’t like Asgardians? 😉

And The Bad:

  • Nick Fury. Well, at least Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate Jackson’s Fury….it’s just that he didn’t seem to have enough to do and no one seemed to care.  The original (616 Universe) Fury had a lot more background to him, having fought with Cap back in WW2, then getting a derivative of the Super Soldier Serum (the Infinity Formula) to help slow his aging. More “James Bond/Intelligence Spook” than Jackson’s “Pulp Fiction Jules With An Eyepatch”. Nick Fury should have been one of the most interesting characters in the whole movie. I’m guessing Jackson’s Fury is supposed to be ‘shadowy and mysterious’ but he was so mysterious as to be uninteresting…at least compared to the rest of the characters. Maybe he’ll get some better treatment in the sequel.
  • Maria Hill. I know a lot of the current Avengers fans were happy to see her and since I haven’t been reading comics much, lately, I wasn’t that familiar with the character. For my buck, they could have taken the minuscule amount of time spent on her to, maybe, put a bit of time into Fury’s background.
  • Captain America back story. I was so waiting for some scenes showing Cap trying to acclimate himself to the modern-day, the ‘fish out of water’ scenes, and all that…but nothing. I also wanted to see some banter between Stark and Cap regarding Howard Stark. While we did get a tiny bit of that, I think it should have been expanded. Granted, I realize they only had so much time to work with and this is more of a ‘nitpick’ than and actual dislike.  I have heard, though, that about 30 minutes of the film, left on the cutting room floor, focused on Cap getting acquainted with the 21st century. Maybe we’ll see that in the DVD extras?
  • Black Widow. Yes, my wife will kill me for saying this, but I thought she was fairly weak, character-wise. Again, I realize time constraints but a bit more background would have been nice. And…what…no Widow’s Bite?? Come on!
  • Hawkeye.  I couldn’t mention the lack of back story with BW and leave good ole’ Hawkeye out. He spent a good part of the film as a mental slave to Loki, so all we get to see of him is, basically, a zombie….and not the cool kind, either. His ‘remote controlled arrowhead’ quiver was pretty nifty, though.
  • Agent Coulson. I could have done without him, to be honest. Yes, I know he was there to tie it all together, but it seemed like he spent the entire film trying to stifle a smile and acting as comic relief. Again, didn’t hate his character but I felt he ate up screen time that could have been spent on others. I’d be willing to bet, though, that there’s a chance you could see him in the sequel. Life Model Decoy, anyone?

Obviously, most of the things I thought could be improved revolved around characterization and interactions and were, admittedly, more nit picky than anything else.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers. Mainly, because it pretty much surpassed almost every expectation I had going in…..

…and I like that.

A: Alpha Flight

Move over, eh....thank you kindly.


Back in the 80’s I was getting re-acquainted with comics and had seen an ad for this new book called Alpha FlightBack then I wasn’t all that familiar with the group but, I knew they were super heroes and…they were from Canada, and I like Canada. In fact, when I was younger, I wanted to be a Canadian Mountie but that’s another story for another time. One thing I was familiar with was the artist.

John Byrne.

Next to George Perez, Byrne was one of my favorite comic book artists, so it was natural that I’d pick this up and give it a try. This was a time before I had found local comic shops, such as Comic Book World, so I remember a friend and I taking a hike to downtown Cincinnati….leaving our Northern Kentucky stomping grounds in search of this elusive (at least to us at the time) issue. For some reason, the little United Dairy Farmers store, where we had usually bought our books, didn’t get AF 1 in so we had to trek across the Ohio River.

Like I said, I had a very passing knowledge of the group so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had seen them in a back issue of X-Men where they had come to take Wolverine ‘back home’, much to the X-Men’s chagrin. What ensued was a big brouhaha with the X-Men winning, of course (hey, it was their book, so..) and Alpha Flight sent packing back to the Great White North. Even in those two X-Men issues, the team looked pretty cool….and they were from Canada!

You had Vindicator (who had changed his name to Guardian…more heroic sounding, I guess..the leader who wore a cybernetic battle suit), Snowbird (a mystic shape changer who I always figured was named for the Anne Murray song), Sasquatch (a big Hulk-like type, who looked like Bigfoot and could stand toe to toe with Colossus, the twins Northstar and Aurora ( super speedsters who could produce a huge flash of light when they touched hands), and Shaman (a tribal medicine man who could pull almost anything from his mystic bag).

In issue one of AF, we’re also introduced to two ‘new’ members….recent recruits from Beta Flight, the second tier team….Marina and Puck. Marina was an aquatic type who could swim faster than anything in the water and survive there indefinitely. Puck was a dwarf (suffering from achondroplasia or ‘lack of growth in the long bones’) who had, seemingly, been everywhere and done everything. He was working as a bouncer in a run down bar when he got ‘the call’.

Needless to say, the Byrne issues were really well done. Some great characterization and backstories were set in place and, for a long while, it was my favorite book. Then, inevitably, as all things Byrne do……the creative team changed. Byrne left the book and, from that point on, it just wasn’t the same for me. The stories were still decent but the art….well, for me, John Byrne is a hard act to follow, so I began losing interest before, finally, dropping AF altogether. I tried picking a few of the later issues up, just before the book was cancelled, but still…no interest there. Not that they were bad issues but, they just didn’t seem like my Alpha Flight. The new creative team had gone their own way, as creative teams do, and it just didn’t click with me. I even tried the ‘brand new’ Alpha Fight when they revived the series but, again, still not my thing.

It’s a shame, but all things change…especially in the world of comic books and we either go along or move on. One thing’s for certain, though, I’ll always have a soft spot for Canada’s premier super team….

Alpha Flight. (from Canada!)

DC Nu 52…part deux



Continuing  my half @$$ed reviews of some of my Nu DCU 52 picks….

4. DC Universe Presents: Deadman  Writer: Paul Jenkins / Art: Bernard Chang

Ok, Deadman has always been one of “those” characters for me. Sometimes he’s written well…other times….not so well. He’s never been a favorite of mine and I’ve always looked at him as I’ve  looked at a character like “The Creeper” or the original “3D Man“. Characters from the early years of comics that quite never got the update they needed. Jenkins writes him well and seems to capture the ‘tortured soul’ that is Boston Brand. An acrobat (who performed under the name Deadman, no less) ,a jerk, and a cad in life and, like Jacob Marley, was forced to atone in the after-life. Killed while performing he ‘wakes up’ to meet Rama….she who brings balance. Brand is tasked with helping other souls in the living world so that he can find his ‘balance’ and go to his eternal reward. As Deadman, Brand can inhabit the bodies of those he’s supposed to help as well as roam the world of the living as a spirit. I liked this incarnation of Boston Brand and could really believe that this was a guy out to help people. Not only because he was being ordered/coerced/compelled to do so, but because, deep down, he knew it was the right thing to do. We only meet two secondary characters in the first issue….Rama and Madame Rose. Rose is a carnival ‘friend’ of the late Boston Brand who can talk to the dead…for reals.  The story is good and I think I read where Deadman’s arc is only four issues long. Did I mention that this was an anthology book? The art is solid….very solid. Bernard Chang is another unknown, but still impressed me. His style is crisp and clear. Being an anthology book, I’m not sure if the same creative team will be sticking around past their character arc. I hope so, but wouldn’t be surprised if a new team came on board with each character. I liked this book, but think it will be a hit and miss type deal depending on character and creative team.

5. Green Lantern: New Guardians  Writer: Tony Bedard / Art: Tyler Kirkham

First off….Ugh! I had no idea that Kyle Rayner was the main character of this book. How did I miss that??  If I had known, I wouldn’t have picked it up. Seriously. I can’t stand Rayner. The weakest GL there ever was….even weaker than that guy who looks like a beach ball with arms and legs. Did I say “ugh”? Anyway…it seem that something has decimated the Guardians and only Ganthet lives to tell the tale. He summons the remaining collective willpower of the dead Oan’s to forge the last (green) power ring. Cut scene to Mr. Down and Out Rayner…so broke he can’t afford to leave a tip so he decides his waitress would like a sketch instead. Hey buddy, you can’t spend a sketch!  While heading to the back alley of the local pub, to take a leak no less (real sanitary Rayner…real sanitary), he meets Ganthet who chooses him (like a Pokemon?) to wield one of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy.  Well, then things cut to different members of the Roy G. Biv (minus the G) Corps who, mysteriously, are ‘decommissioned’ as their rings take off on their own. Where do all the rings go? The end of the issue has them all swarming on Kyle Rayner…each color choosing him, again, Pokemon style, with a member from each respective corps closing in to attack and wanting their ring back. I’ve actually read some of Tony Bedard’s stuff and enjoyed it. This…not so much. I’m not real sure where he’s going with this and, frankly, don’t much care. Did I mention that I really dislike the Kyle Rayner character? On the upside, though, the art was decent and nice to look at, so no complaints there. I won’t be picking this one up again…well at least until after my next DCBS order. Ugh.

6. Red Hood and the Outlaws:  Writer: Scott Lobdell / Art: Kenneth Rocafort

First off, I won’t go into all the hullabaloo on the net over this book. If you want to read about that there are tons of fan sites more than willing to share their opinions on the subject. For me, it was easy to overlook and I enjoyed the book as a whole. The story was solid, the characters were interesting, and I’m eager to see just where things will lead. In the first issue we meet Speedy (or is he Arsenal still? I dunno..), Red Hood (Jason Tood), Starfire, and a new character called Essence. I’m guessing Essence is a “Raven-esque” type character that only the Red Hood can see and hear. There’s a lot that goes on in this one issue and Lobdell seems to be laying a good foundation for future issues. I’ve enjoyed his work in the past and the same goes here. I’m interested in seeing where the plotlines lead. The art was good….a little on the ‘cartoony’ side, but still good. As long as the story remains interesting, I’ll keep getting this book….regardless of what Comics Alliance has to say. *ahem*

Well, like Meatloaf sang….”Two out of three, ain’t bad.”

Next time, I’ll look at three (maybe four) more books from the Nu DCU 52 line.

<Jack Lord voice> Be here. Aloha.

DC Nu 52


A past blog post  had me chatting, briefly, about the new ‘reboot’/’re-imagining’/re-do of the DC Universe,where I mentioned the books I’d be getting and why. Well, they arrived last week….finally!   I should get more than once a month shipping…but I digress…..

Anyway, here’s my views on those books after (again, finally!) getting a chance to read them.

1. Justice League: WriterGeoff Johns /Art: by Jim Lee.

The first thing that grabbed me was the art….it was superb! Jim Lee hasn’t lost his touch and Scott William’s inks -really- brings things together. The Johns’ story kind of melds together the origins of the original JLA with a sprinkling of the original Teen Titans. The old JLA in that people aren’t familiar with each other. A fact driven home in the exchange where Green Lantern asks Batman what his powers are and, finally, coming to the conclusion that…”Hold on a second…you’re not just some guy in a bat costume, are you? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?” To which Batman’s reply is “What’s this do?”…as he holds GL’s freshly purloined ring. Everyone’s an unknown, which I did enjoy, so there was no ‘hey, I’m stumped….let’s call Batman’ type thing going on. A pre- borg Victor Stone is shown, being an amazing athlete and having an uninterested father….basically as in the original TT series. I’ve never been a big fan of Cyborg…he was my least favorite of all the Titans, so we’ll see just how different he is in the JLA. I’d say the story is solid…nothing groundbreaking, but still interesting. I’ll probably stick with this one for a bit.

2. Justice League International: WriterDan Jurgens/Art: Aaron Lopresti.

I’ve always been a fan of Dan Jurgens, so this was a no brainer. I was an even bigger fan of the JLI, back in the ‘bwahahaha’ days….this JLI, so far, is not the ‘bwahahaha’ days. Don’t get me wrong, the story was interesting and they’ve stirred the pot up a bit more by adding some new characters, like England’s Godiva and China’s August General In Irons (longest of wind name for a superhero….ever…), but things seem a bit more serious than they did back in the JLI’s heyday. That’s ok, though, because different is good in this case. Again, it’s everyone getting acquainted with each other and what they can do, where they stand, etc. Godiva comes off as a snob and Rocket Red has issues with the General and Guy Gardner is…well, Guy Gardner… least that hasn’t changed. The international team, consisting of Ice (Norway), Vixen, Fire (Brazil), Rocket Red (U.S.S.R), August General In Irons (China), Guy Gardner, and Godiva (England) led by….Booster Gold. Booster (without Skeets, sadly) seems a bit out of his element as the U.N. appointed team leader, so it’s lucky that Batman is tagging along to help. The art was ok….not bad, but nothing great either. I’m not familiar with Lopresti so I had no expectations of his work.  I’ll be getting this one for the story and character interaction over the art, anyway. All in all, I was pleased and will keep getting this book.

3. Mister Terrific: WriterEric Wallace/ArtGianluca Gugliotta. On this book, I wasn’t familiar with the artist or the writer. I knew just as much about the main character, as well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Terrific, the self-professed ‘third smartest man in the world’ was once just Michael Holt, an olympic gold medalist who was worth over a billion dollars….all before the age of 30. His pregnant wife getting killed in an accident has him throwing himself into his science and planning suicide. Without giving too much away, he is visited by someone who tells him not to give up, to keep educating the world…and he listens. What’s an olympic level athlete who has more money than a small country to do? Why become a super hero, of course. I really liked the story, it seems like there are a lot of things in the works and some interesting secondary characters. The art reminded me of Joe Stanton….it had that sort of feel to it and I liked it more than Stanton’s (no offense, Joe). This is another one I’ll stick with for a bit.

I had planned on going through all eleven books in this post, but looking at the clock tells me that ain’t gonna happen. I’ll probably do three, maybe even, four books in the next post and break it up like that.

Three books….three thumbs up….so far.