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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 23 June 2010

“Concentration-camp existence … taught us that the whole world is really like a concentration camp,” wrote Tadeusz Borowski. “The weak work for the strong, and if they have no strength or will to work – then let them steal, or let them die. … There is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally – for pleasure. … The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power …” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)

Sadly lacking in bottles of rum! Well, this title leaves no doubt about what's happening! Bruce is looking a little chunky on that cover! Yay!  It's back! Francavilla really ought to mix up the layouts of the covers! Warning: This is the only time Jack appears in this comic! Once again ...... we get the story behind the cover! Yes, these aren't listed alphabetically, because of Mouse Guard's squareness and double-sidedness! Too much black! What's this?  No giant white space on this cover?  It's a Festivus Miracle! I'm not sure, but I think that '7' is just a little small There's a disturbing lack of Spoon in this issue I love how Rictor is running away like a scaredy-cat! Unfortunately, the actual comic does NOT feature Oscar Hempel's Merry-O-Nettes! Sam Kieth doing a book about Arkham Asylum?  Yeah, I'll take that! Not unlike Picasso, Gantz has a blue phase

BatmanReturnofBruceWayne3Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 (of 6) (“The Bones of Bristol Bay”) by Grant “Have I blown up your brain yet, fanboys?” Morrison (writer), Yanick Paquette (penciller), Michel Lacombe (inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $3.99, 32 pgs, FC, DC.

There’s a good reason why I can’t get into time travel. So in this issue, Dick and Damian investigate the weirdo coffin in which Bruce was trapped and the Justice League checks out the cape that they found in the cave, and the God of All Comics is pulling it all together decently. But here’s the thing: while Diana and the rest of the League and Dick and Damian are talking about all of this stuff, I can’t get over the fact that the past and the present simply can’t exist at the same time. It bothers the hell out of me that, in comics, a person in the “present” can be talking about events that happened in the past, and those events are being shown, not as if they’re happening in a different time, but as if they’re just happening at a different place in the world and at the same time. I can’t get past that, I’m sorry. Everyone’s suspension of disbelief shatters from time to time, and my breaking point is time travel. I’m reading Bruce Wayne in 1718, and I’m reading the heroes in the present, and I can’t get past the fact that one of those things can’t exist. Time is not a house, where in one room Bruce is fighting Blackbeard and in another room Dick and Damian are investigating the coffin. Bruce cannot move from one time in the past to another time in the past and move “toward” the present. I’m sorry, but that’s not how time works, no matter how much G-Mozz and many other writers wish it would. It drives me nuts.

Yanick Paquette is marvelous, which is interesting because he’s always been good but he’s also often given some cheesecake to draw, and in this issue Morrison just makes him draw fully-dressed pirates. He does a fine job with everything, although it’s kind of funny that Bruce’s facial expression never changes – he’s permanently grumpy. But everyone else “acts” well. It’s just a well drawn comic, and it’s nice that Paquette shows that he can do stuff without, you know, all the boobies.

I really try to ignore the idiocy of time travel, and for the most part, I do. But every once in a while I must rant about it. Grrr!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah, I really wonder!

Yeah, I really wonder!

BullettotheHead1Bullet to the Head #1 by Matz (writer), Colin Wilson (artist/letterer), and Chris Blythe (colorist). $3.99, 25 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

I’m a bit surprised by this issue. I believe it’s Avatar that puts disclaimers in its comics that say everyone in the books are of legal age even when they’re clearly not, and apparently they feel they need to do this because someone might get bent out of shape about young’uns being brutalized. And that’s Avatar. Dynamite, however, puts this book out and actually shows a girl whom everyone in the book believes is underage, and she’s naked and having sex. That’s just … well, ballsy, I suppose, is the good way to put it. Damn the torpedoes and all that. Good job, Dynamite! Don’t fear the censors!

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I’ve liked Matz’s work on The Killer and I don’t see enough Colin Wilson work (I’m sure I could find it if I wanted to, but I’d rather it just comes to me, damn it!), so getting this was a no-brainer. It’s not a bad first issue, although there’s not a good reason why this story needs to be told, if that makes sense. We get two assassins who kill a senator and the young girl he was banging, and then two cops show up and are told the official story is that the senator died of a heart attack. Of course they’re going to investigate, but what I’m trying to say is that this doesn’t seem like a tale that desperately needs to be written. What’s so interesting about it? I imagine we’ll discover a lot more about the senator as it goes along, and I imagine the cops will come up against the Feds who want to bury the murder, and I imagine the fact that one of the hitmen killed a dog will be very important, but while it’s a good read and it looks great, it lacks a sense of importance. Maybe that’s my utter cynicism that I wonder why a story about the assassination of a U. S. senator is so important, but it just doesn’t seem to be such an important story to tell. It’s very hard to describe.

Matz kind of rips off Pulp Fiction in the beginning (I assume he wrote this after 1994, although I could be wrong), as the two hitmen talk about shoes and psychiatry before going about their grisly business. Even though it’s a rip-off (or maybe it’s the original), it still works because it does show how these guys are just guys who happen to kill people for a living. They have many of the same concerns that everyone does, and they argue about idiotic things like everyone else. Matz doesn’t give us too much information, but the banter between the characters makes this a more interesting book, as Matz is keeping things from us in order to introduce the people in the book. That’s not a bad way to do it, and it keeps me interested until we get more of the plot.

Wilson is a fantastic artist, especially for something like this. He does a great job with different-looking people – everyone is realistic and lived-in, which is tough to do. Wilson also pays attention to what people wear (not only the shoes the two hitmen argue about) and how they fit on people, plus his layouts are very nice, as he packs the pages with visual information. If you’ve never seen a Wilson comic, pick this up and check it out!

I’m not sure how many issues this is (four, I believe, but don’t quote me on that), but it’s not a bad start. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's what you get for screwing teenagers, Senator!

That's what you get for screwing teenagers, Senator!

Detective866Detective Comics #866 (“The Medallion”) by Denny O’Neil (writer), Dustin Nguyen (layouter), Derek Fridolfs (finisher), David Baron (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

I wasn’t going to buy this, but then I saw it was a standalone issue, plus Nguyen does something really strange with the art, which I’ll get to. So I bought it. What the hell, right?

O’Neil begins with Dick fighting some bad dudes in an abandoned mansion. He steps on a bad floor board and crashes through the floor, where he finds a medallion. This throws him into a flashback to when he was Robin, very early on in his career. The Joker tries to steal a medallion from a mansion, but it turns out that the medallion belongs to the Order of St. Dumas, and its guardian takes out a flaming sword and tries to do some killing. Batman intervenes, the Joker escapes, Robin manages to capture him, but they don’t find the medallion. The Joker planted the medallion’s chain on some schmoe who just happened to be walking by, and he gets sent to prison. When he gets out, Dick visits him and tells him he’ll clear his name before he dies (he’s on death’s door), and that’s what leads him to the mansion. Now that he has the medallion, he can clear Loomis’s name! Whoo-hoo! Oh, is that the Joker strolling near Loomis’s room? Man, that has to suck …

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It’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t really work, mainly because O’Neil doesn’t have enough room to make it make sense. Loomis is strolling along the street and he bumps into the Joker, who doesn’t kill him. The cops stopped the guy “because he looked out of place in this ritzy neighborhood” (perhaps he lives in Arizona and looks a bit swarthy!) and when they find the chain, they bust him. Huh? Then, Harvey Dent prosecutes the case and the jury convicts the guy for the theft of the medallion and the murder of a guard outside the mansion, whom the Joker killed, of course. Wha-huh? He gets arrested with no probable cause, there’s no material evidence, there are no witnesses and no murder weapon, and he gets 25 years to life? He gets out after, I suppose, 10 years or so (I don’t know how old Dick is supposed to be these days), but that’s just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It really undermines O’Neil’s story, unfortunately.

Nguyen is, of course, stunning. His flashback sections are in a cartoony, Bruce Timm-style, which is very weird but works very well (Google Bruce Timm and check out the images, I dare you – it’s so very wrong). The pages even look “aged” – cracked and streaked – which is a nice touch. I like Nguyen a lot, and it’s always nice to see him try different things, because it usually works. I wouldn’t recommend this comic based on O’Neil’s story (it’s not terrible, but it does strain credulity), but if you’re interested in checking out Nguyen’s stuff, this is the one for you!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yes, that's Dustin Nguyen's art

Yes, that's Dustin Nguyen's art

Dynamo5SinsoftheFather1Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #1 (of 5) by Jay Faerber (writer), Júlio Brilha (artist), Joe Eisma (artist, “Notorious” back-up story), Ron Riley (colorist), Paul Little (colorist, back-up story), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

I’m so happy that Dynamo 5 is back, because it’s such a good superhero book, and I’m a bit sad that it didn’t last the first time around (Invincible gets to last, after all, and although I like Invincible, I think Dynamo 5 is better). Mahmud Asrar has moved on to the Big Two to toil away at mid-range, mediocre comics that will pay him far more than Dynamo 5 will, which makes me really depressed. But Faerber, who tends to find good artists, finds Brilha, who is quite good (not as good as Asrar, but that’s okay). He has a nice clean style, with a bit thinner line work than Asrar, and he has a few kinks to work out – the heads of some of the characters are off a bit, and Cecil from Invincible doesn’t look quite as gruesome with that scar as it needs to be. But it’s pretty solid, and I’m glad Faerber found a good replacement for Asrar.

Faerber brings us up to speed on the gang from Dynamo 5, not only in the recap page but also throughout the course to the issue. The story is a good way to get people into the story, as Faerber concentrates on the kids’ “civilian” lives rather than their superheroing – we can figure out pretty quickly what’s going on with their powers and the fact that they’re new to them – which allows us to discover a bit about their personalities. Bridget is still dating the reporter who wants to expose the team, while Hector is still dating Firebird’s daughter Emily. The fact that the kids can’t handle their new powers is brought in organically, which is cool. And Faerber gives us plenty of bashing, as we get a flashback to the time Galactus showed up in the Faerberverse – some dude named Dominex arrives and demands to fight Earth’s greatest champion. Captain Dynamo, Omni-Man, and Supreme all show up to fight him, which is kind of funny, because they argue over who is Earth’s greatest champion. This ties into the present because his three sons have arrived to restore his family honor. That can’t be good. This gives Faerber a chance to show Captain Dynamo in action even though he’s, you know, dead. Not a bad way to get the guy into an actual comic. So this is a good way to introduce new readers to all the characters. Because Faerber knows what he’s doing.

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There’s a short back-up story about a new character called Notorious, who’s a hero with a deep! dark! secret! that is actually kind of clever. There’s not much to say about it, because it’s only five pages and I don’t want to give away the twist. But it’s neat. And Faerber waxes eloquent about Wise Guy in the text piece in the back. Man, I loved Wise Guy. He mentions that there’s a monster DVD package that I need to have. I missed out on them when they were first released and now the single seasons are out of print. Damn it! So I might have to get the Collector’s Edition. Wise Guy was an awesome show, by the way. You know it’s true!

One totally Airwolf panel:

I was going to show the long-awaited return of War Chest, but this panel just cracks me up, because you know Hector would totally be scared of her mom!

I was going to show the long-awaited return of War Chest, but this panel just cracks me up, because you know Hector would totally be scared of her mom!

Garrison3Garrison #3 (of 6) by Jeff Mariotte (writer), Francesco Francavilla (artist), Wes Hartmann (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

I mentioned this last issue, but I really don’t know why Mariotte is using so much internal narration. It just doesn’t seem like it’s necessary, because a lot of it is completely extraneous. We know what’s happening, and Francavilla does a good enough job with the artistic storytelling that it’s really not needed. Some of it is fine, but I don’t know why Mariotte does it so often. It’s really distracting.

Plot-wise, Mariotte gives us some information about who Garrison is and why everyone wants to kill him, and while right now it’s a bit clichéd, there’s no reason it can’t become more interesting. The idea of the government doing horrible things to its own citizens isn’t new, but the mystery of Garrison remains compelling, so there’s that. Francavilla does his usual fantastic job, with nice choreography in the fight scenes and some interesting tricks in the storytelling. He’s still the draw of the series, but Mariotte is telling a solid story, except for the narration. It’s vexing.

So we’re halfway through the series, and it’s trucking along fairly well. There are still plenty of mysteries to unravel!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Even though this scene is probably physically impossible, it's still kind of keen!

Even though this scene is probably physically impossible, it's still kind of keen!

JoetheBarbarian6Joe the Barbarian #6 (of hati) (“Our Lady in Mourning”) by Grant “MarkAndrew can go screw, man!” Morrison (writer), Sean Murphy (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Joe the Barbarian is just getting more and more amazing. Murphy, of course, has been tremendous throughout, and Morrison keeps adding layers onto Joe’s fantasy world, this time with Joe’s sojourn at Queen Bree’s palace and her attempts to get him to abandon his mission. It’s such a powerful issue, because the queen is so sad and doesn’t want to see more tragedy, but if Joe doesn’t do something, she will see more of it whether she wants to or not. The question Morrison is posing in this series is an old one – do we bury our heads in the sand and hope evil passes us by, or do we face it and possibly die, but die heroically? Of course, protagonists always choose the latter, but Morrison does a nice job leading Joe to that point. The mixing of the real world and the fantasy world continues nicely in this issue, with a creepy moment when Joe is by the fire and two people who shouldn’t be there are. And Death makes a terrifying appearance. Good stuff all around!

I’m sure there are people who will dismiss this series because Morrison is being “too weird.” They’re wrong. It’s a pretty straight-forward comic with plenty of odd but not overly bizarre elements. Morrison is doing a great job with the characters, which means that this series is excellent, as whenever Morrison bothers with characterization, he’s brilliant. I’m so excited about the finale of this series!

One totally Airwolf panel:



KillerModusVivendi3The Killer: Modus Vivendi #3 (of 6) by Matz (writer/translator), Luc Jacamon (artist), Scott Newman (letterer), and Edward Gauvin (translator). $3.95, 27 pgs, FC, Archaia.

I’d like to rant a little, if y’all don’t mind. In the previous series of The Killer, the killer was intriguing because he was so nihilistic and he slowly learned that maybe he didn’t have to be, at least not quite so relentlessly. I’ve been interested in the sequel because Matz sets it in South America, and not a lot of us in the U. S. of A. know too much about South America, and it’s neat to have one perspective on it. But then, in this issue, the killer decides to become political. I don’t know how much of this is Matz projecting, but it annoys me. Not because he bashes the U. S. – let’s face it, we deserve it quite often – but because of a fundamental betrayal of that nihilism that was so attractive in the first series.

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In this issue, our killer heads to Cuba to kill a man he really doesn’t want to kill. Very little happens; he tells a government official about the plot to kill the guy and they try to figure out a way to make it look as if he’s dead without really killing him, as our killer will be killed himself if he doesn’t finish the job. Clear? So he hooks up with a female official (in every way possible, as the book ends with her in his bed) and they figure something out. It’s the third issue of a six-issue mini-series. That’s the way it is.

The bulk of the issue is taken up with the killer extolling the virtues of Cuba and bashing western governments and media. It gets a bit tedious, not because the killer is bashing the governments, but because unlike the first series, he seems carried away with the island paradise of Cuba, going so far as to claim that Castro has eradicated hunger AND illiteracy. Wow! Why this bugs me is because I can’t imagine Cuba is any better or worse than the places the killer bashes. In the first series, he looked upon all governments with a jaundiced eye, but for him to wax rhapsodic about Cuba seems off, and that’s why I wonder if it’s Matz ranting about things he, personally, wants to rant about and putting those thoughts into the killer’s head. Now, I’ve never been to Cuba. I have no idea if Matz has. But I find it hard to believe that it’s this paradise that the killer describes. I’m sure some things about it are better than the U. S. and some are far worse. I’ve been to plenty of countries, and some are really nice places to live and some are not. I’ve been to Venezuela, and while I don’t know if Matz (or the killer) considers that a paradise as well (because Chavez is not crazy at all and is just a victim of evil American interests), I can tell you that in 1999, the streets and beaches were fairly filthy, the poverty was far more widespread than it is in most of the States, and the divide between the rich and poor was as big if not bigger than it is here. Now, there’s a lot to recommend about Venezuela, but it’s not a glorious utopia, and I doubt if Cuba is either. We have a ton of problems in this country, but every country has a lot of problems. Simon Bolivar, whom the killer quotes in this issue, wasn’t as squeaky clean as many South Americans like to think – he wasn’t above slaughtering innocent people to make his point. The idea that Castro has created heaven in the Caribbean is not only laughable, it’s incongruous with the way Matz has been writing the killer throughout the book’s history. I don’t know why Matz chose to write this into the comic, but it’s a bit annoying. Bash the United States all you want, but don’t forget that Castro is just another politician, one who wants power and will do anything to hold onto it. He’s not any different from, say, George Bush. Or Barack Obama.

Okay, I’m done ranting for now. We’ll see if we get more plot next issue!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Why would anyone need to sell their body in this socialist paradise?

Why would anyone need to sell their body in this socialist paradise?

MouseGuardLotG2bMouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #2 (of 4). Framing story by David Petersen; “Potential” by Alex Kain (writer) and Sean Rubin (artist); “The Shrike and the Toad” by Terry Moore (writer/artist); “Worley & the Mink” by Lowell Francis (writer) and Gene Ha (artist). $3.50, 24 pgs, FC, Archaia.

Another fine issue of this anthology series shows up, as Kain and Rubin gives us a story of a mouse fighting … a bear. Yes, a bear. Because the Mouse Guard totally rox, man! The point is that the mice will do anything to protect their territories because they all have to stick together, but it’s really just an excuse to show a mouse fighting a bear. Then we get a cute story about a toad and a shrike, because shrikes are awesome (and I liked shrikes before I even knew about the Marvel character). Finally, Gene Ha draws a keen story about a banker who decides to rescue a girl from a mink. He’s very clever about it, and it looks fantastic, of course. And minks are cool, too. So let’s review: A mouse fights a bear, a shrike hunts a mouse, a mouse fights a mink. Can you resist this comic? The answer is: HELL NO!!!!!!!!

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One totally Airwolf panel:

I love the last line!

I love the last line!

SecretHistory10The Secret History #10 (“The Black Stone”) by Jean-Pierre Pécau (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Chris Chuckry (colorist), Scott Newman (letterer), and Edward Gauvin (translator). $5.95, 46 pgs, FC, Archaia.

There are good and bad things about Pécau’s choosing to focus this series more on shorter periods of time than the first seven issues, which spanned millennia. I’ve mentioned it before that the first seven issues were good but as the characters changed every issue, it was hard to care too much about them. So now we’re focusing on the 20th century, and we get recurring characters, so we can actually follow them issue-to-issue and discover more about them. So that’s a good thing. The bad thing is that this has become a bit more decompressed and Pécau is going nuts with the subplots, so it’s a bit more difficult to follow. The first seven issues were largely self-contained (to a degree), so you could pick up one and get a feel of what the series was like. Now each issue is much more contingent on earlier issues, so it might be a bit more confusing, especially with the large page count and therefore the ability of Pécau to jam a lot into each issue. But it’s still very good. Pécau weaves in Ibn Saud’s drive to take over Arabia with the archons and their runestones, and then he switches to the Soviet Union and brings in the White and Red Russians and, of course, the Tunguska event (which, as I’ve mentioned before, every comic that has anything to do with the early part of the 20th century must reference in some way). It’s a wonderfully dense comic that we think is simply leading to Hitler and World War II, but Pécau is bringing in a lot of different plot threads to get there. And Kordey continues to do a magnificent job with the locations (he moves easily from the desert to Siberia) and the blend of mystical stuff with the realistic stuff, as we get a nice 1920s-era battle and then, suddenly, we get giant birds of prey formed from dust, and they look perfectly at home in Jeddah (where the scene takes place).

The Secret History continues to be a handsome and fascinating comic. I’ve said this before, but I probably like this a bit more because I love history so much, but it’s just an exciting and cool-looking book. How neat!

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's never good to see lightning coming up from the ground!

It's never good to see lightning coming up from the ground!

SecretWarriors17Secret Warriors #17 (“The Last Ride of the Howling Commandos, Part One”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Alessandro Vitti (artist), Imaginary Friends Studio (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (artist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I think Marvel needs to let World War II go. I mean, it was fine in the 1960s, and even into the 1980s, and the idea of Captain America kind of being perpetually young is okay in a stupid superhero way, and the fact that Nick Fury has been de-aged is okay in a stupid superhero way, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. In this issue, 65 years after World War II ended, the Howling Commandos have a reunion, and they’re ALL young-ish – I wouldn’t even put any of them older than 45 or so, and some look a lot younger. Even the old senator dude who at least looks older doesn’t appear to be much older than 65. So he stormed the beaches at Normandy when he was a baby?

I get that we’re supposed to stretch time with superhero comics, but the fact that so much of Marvel and even DC history is tied up with World War II is getting idiotic. This is why never addressing the age of characters and never allowing them to grow old and die is a stupid idea, and why pegging certain characters to a certain era is dumb, too. People jumped on me a while back when I mentioned that Flash Thompson actually fought in Vietnam and that the comics actually referred to it as Vietnam, because I just needed to deal with it. Well, that’s fine, but I’ll deal with it when Marvel stops pretending everyone who ever fought in World War II is still 40. It just makes the current characters ridiculous and actually cheapens the other wars soldiers have fought in since 1945. I mean, I assume Marvel, who doesn’t want to appear controversial in the least, takes a stance of “supporting our troops” whether they agree with the particular war or not, but the fact that we’ve fought in five wars since the Big One and deployed troops to many other places for minor police actions and nobody acknowledges it but they can’t let go of WW2 is annoying. When will someone at Marvel have the stones to say, “You know, World War Two ended ____ years ago – isn’t it a bit stupid to think all these people would still be alive?” Move the fuck on, Marvel. Oh, and DC, too.

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After all that, the final page of this issue is pretty damned cool, isn’t it?

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, Dum Dum, you crack me up!

Oh, Dum Dum, you crack me up!

SevenPsychopaths2Seven Psychopaths #2 (of 3) by Fabien Vehlmann (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), Hubert (colorist), Deron Bennett (letterer), and Dan Heching (translator). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

I mentioned this with regard to the first issue, but I’ll mention it again: This will probably read much better as a trade, and I recommend you picking it up if you missed the single issues. Vehlmann introduces so many characters so quickly that we don’t get a good sense of them before he starts killing them off, as this issue flies along and seems to skip over some important stuff. It might have benefitted by being a bit longer (perhaps “four” “issues,” although it wasn’t originally released that way) to give us a bigger commitment to these characters, so when one of them goes a bit nutty, it might have a bigger impact. The plan to kill Hitler goes FUBAR in a major way, of course, but it appears the professor has plenty of back-up plans, so we’ll see what kind of clusterfuck ends the series (I mean “clusterfuck” in the nicest possible way, of course, as clusterfucks are often wildly entertaining).

The big draw remains Phillips’ gorgeous work, which includes yet another giant panel (much like the one last issue showing Nazi zeppelins tied to the Empire State Building) of Hitler warning Erik, the German who believes he’s in telepathic contact with Adolf, what will happen to the world if he, Hitler, is assassinated. Phillips has a blast with the panel and with the book in general. As I wrote last issue, we see a lot of Phillips in cramped situations when he works with Brubaker (where his art is stupendous as well) and it’s nice to see him open up a bit. And he has some fun with the weirder characters, too.

So we’ll see how Vehlmann wraps it up next issue. I’m quite curious.

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's gotta hurt

That's gotta hurt

TickNewSeries4The Tick New Series #4 (“The Gilliad”) by Benito Cereno (writer) and Les McClaine (artist); Clay Griffith (writer, back-up story) and Mike Oeming (artist, back-up story). $4.95, 24 pgs, FC, New England Comics.

I absolutely love that cover. It’s one of the best of the year so far.

You might wonder why I bought this issue of The Tick when I haven’t been buying the “New Series” so far. Well, I was a bit daunted by the 5-dollar price tag for what is basically a regular-sized comic, and while I have enjoyed some of The Tick in the past, I wasn’t blown away by it either. And while I like Les McClaine, I didn’t know much about Cereno because God forbid I find Tales from the Bully Pulpit anywhere. So it was a bit of an unknown quantity for me, and I already buy, you know, a LOT of comics. So it wasn’t too high on my wish list.

Then a couple of things happened. First, Benito Cereno himself stopped by Bill Reed’s post to pimp The Tick. Hey, that’s cool of him! Second, my comics shoppe actually had copies lying on the table where they place new issues, which was odd. They rarely order such small press stuff in abundance, usually reserving them for people who actually order them. So the fact that they had extra copies was weird. But it was a good opportunity to get it!

One nice thing about the issue is that it’s a standalone story, so there’s no commitment beyond it if you’re unimpressed. It takes a little while to get going, as for the first few pages it feels like Cereno is trying too hard to get laughs. It’s raining a lot in the city, so Arthur tells Tick that they’re not going out on patrol, which they usually do on Thursdays, and instead they’re moving Friday’s game night to Thursday. This causes the Tick no small amount of consternation, and he spends the issue trying to figure out how to break away from Arthur, Bumbling Bee, and Rubber Ducky and go outside, especially when he notices that something it going on. That “something” is every marine-based parody character that Cereno can come up with battling it out for supremacy of the oceans, with Fishboy recording it all in the purplest of prose. It takes a few pages for Cereno to hit his stride with the parodies – it begins with the Underwaterer (who looks oddly like Namor) fighting an old kingly figure who, I assume, is supposed to remind us of Aquaman (even though he’s too old) and continues with some similarly uninspired characters like the Dabblers and Dudley Dugong of the Royal Maritime Mounted Manatees (although Orca and his sidekick, Chum, did make me smile). I feared for the worst – unfunny and strained parodies throughout the entire comic, but then they got better and better, and the book really took off (and no, I don’t want to spoil any of the fun characters for you, so I’ll just give you one example – the Great White Trousershark and his “crisp-pleated fury”). Meanwhile, the games inside Arthur’s apartment get more and more competitive, until Bee gets them to play “World at Risque” and things really get interesting. By the time the great slumbering god wakes up and gets angry (and I’d love to describe how McClaine draws “Ichthuhuu, plunderer of flesh,” but it’s so freakin’ amazing I just can’t do it justice), the issue had won me over. Cereno still relies a bit on our knowledge of comics in particular and pop culture in general to bring the funny, but he’s probably correct in assuming that most people who read The Tick know about such things. And while McClaine’s design of the various characters is a wonderful highlight of the book, he does an excellent job with game night as well, as the characters react to several situations just through their facial expressions, and McClaine nails them all. I always like to see McClaine’s art, and he doesn’t disappoint.

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I’m not terribly sure if I’m going to start getting this on a regular basis. I’m not sure how often it comes out, but I might have to check it out if I see it. It’s probably easier to go to the New England Comics web site and get them that way. But I do encourage you to pick this up, because it’s pretty danged keen.

One totally Airwolf panel:

I was going to go with one of the aquatic combatants, but I just love the crazed look in Bee's eyes!

I was going to go with one of the aquatic combatants, but I just love the crazed look in Bee's eyes!

XFactor206X-Factor #206 by Peter “Joe Rice’s hatred makes me stronger!” David (writer), Valentine de Landro (penciler), Pat Davidson (inker), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

There’s really not much to say about this issue. It finishes X-Factor’s extremely tangential involvement with “Second Coming” and is a tiny bit pointless, except, I suppose, the part about Monet’s involvement with Baron Mordo, which I imagine will have some implications for the future. Monet makes a bargain with Mordo to allow him to drain her power if he saves her father from the Mutant Response Division, which he does. The band gets back together, Bolivar Trask manages to free himself from Bastion just long enough to do something drastic, and all’s well that ends well (and yes, I used the proper name “Bolivar” twice in one comics review post, which you won’t find in those review posts where the writer actually knows what he or she is doing!). As occasionally happens with issues of X-Factor, the necessity of tying things into the bigger mutant story arc means we get PAD trying to tell his own story and fulfill the requirements of the X-office, and it doesn’t always work. It’s a bit clunky, but usually David gets a bit of forward momentum to his bigger story, and now that we’ve moved past it, I expect the title to pick up in quality again. Although I have no idea who will draw it going forward. It’s always a mystery!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, Shatterstar - you're incorrigible!

Oh, Shatterstar - you're incorrigible!

Zatanna2Zatanna #2 (“Fuseli’s Nightmare”) by Paul Dini (writer), Stéphane Roux (penciller/inker), Karl Story (inker), Pat Brosseau (letterer), and John Kalisz (colorist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

This is a pretty cool issue, mainly because Roux’s art is dazzling. I mean, it’s not bad writing by any means, as Dini puts the demon Fuseli into Zatanna’s dreams, where he tries to mess with her. He fails, of course, but he digs into her psyche quite a bit. Meanwhile, Brother Night visits the hunky detective from issue #1 and tries to convince him to stay out of his way. Detective Colton is far too valiant for that, though! And then there’s a mighty twist on the final page. He’s the “ghostly ally” referred to on that excellent cover, but I’m not too sure he’s an “ally,” unless Dini is giving something away. But it’s a solid issue nevertheless, even if Dini doesn’t do too much.

Roux, however, is amazing. I was a bit put out with him missing issue #4, but if his work is going to be this fantastic, I suppose I can forgive it (unless he doesn’t come back – that would suck). There’s a two-page scene at the beginning with Zatanna, Black Canary, and Vixen fighting were-hyenas, and it looks great. Then Fuseli goes into some other people’s dreams and twists them into nightmares, managing to get into Zatanna’s head and begin screwing with her. He takes her back in time to her childhood and there’s some creepy crap, and when she fights back, he ratchets up the scares. We get four consecutive splash pages with all sorts of weirdness, and when she finally drags him into the real world, she does some nasty stuff to him. It’s really a gorgeous comic, and it makes Dini’s writing work much better. There’s nothing wrong with the script, but Roux really makes it shine.

I hate to mention the way Zatanna is portrayed by the artist, especially because last time I asked about Zatanna drinking wine and taking a bubble bath, but let’s consider her sleeping garments. Zatanna is sleeping alone, and there’s no real reason she should want to be all sexy in bed. Yet she’s wearing a sheer, (probably) silk garment that is apparently see-through enough for Roux to make sure things are obscuring her nipples in one shot. Now, Zatanna can wear whatever the hell she wants to when she sleeps, but I often wonder if artists know what women wear to bed. I’m certainly not an expert, but the very few women I’ve seen sleep wore sensible cotton that’s more comfortable to, you know, sleep in. Zatanna might be different, but it just cracks me up that artists who presumably have access to women and could ask them what they wear don’t actually do so. Maybe the woman in Roux’s life (if there’s a woman in his life) wears sheer silk to bed every night. That could be. Yes, I know I’m taking this far too seriously. But that’s how I fucking roll!!!!!!

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One totally Airwolf panel:

That's one way to deal with the overcrowded prisons!

That's one way to deal with the overcrowded prisons!

Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth (writer/artist), Michelle Madsen (colorist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Steve Wands (letterer). $19.99, 100 pgs, FC, DC.

I flipped through this, and it looks fan-frickin’-tastic. Kieth is a very strange writer (good strange, not bad strange), so I’m looking forward to reading this.

Gantz volume 11 by Hiroya Oku. $12.99, 222 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

Oooooh, the blue phase! How kooky!

Let’s get our World Cup update! After getting hosed twice (not once, but twice) by the refs (once against Slovenia and once early against Algeria), the Americans scored that amazing goal in extra time to actually win their group. Holy crap! Now they play Ghana, which is a whole lot better than playing Germany, which is what the English have to do. Poor Australia – they actually played very well against a listless Serbian team to knock them out of the tournament. I’m bummed that I missed Portugal destroying North Korea, because that would have been fun to watch. And hey – check out Chile and Uruguay doing some damage! If the U. S. beats Ghana (and they should, really, even though Ghana has to be the sentimental favorites, as they’re the last African nation in the tournament), they’ll play Uruguay, probably (I guess they could play South Korea, but I don’t see that happening). And let’s have a laugh at the expense of France and Italy, the two finalists from 2006 who couldn’t even get out of the group stage. Bwah-ha-ha-ha! If only Brazil had joined them (yeah, like that would ever happen).

I hope everyone checked in on the Isner/Mahut match at Wimbledon. You had plenty of opportunities – it went 11 hours and the fifth set ended with Isner winning 70-68. Yes, 70-68. I watched a little of the set and while I can’t say it was good tennis, it was certainly compelling! I wanted one of them to simply collapse on the court on Wednesday instead of coming back on Thursday to finish things. That would have been fun.

All right, let’s move on to The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle But Which Often Gets Reset, A Vexing Dilemma):

1. “Supper’s Ready” – Genesis (1972) “There’s Winston Churchill dressed in drag, he used to be a British flag”1
2. “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” – Nirvana (1993) “I love you for what I am not”
3. “Watching Scotty Die” – Dead Milkmen (1987) “One day my dog went out to play, instead of gray, he came back colored yellow”
4. “Three Hits” – Indigo Girls (1992) “Would you trade your words for freedom?”
5. “Hawkmoon 269″ – U2 (1988) “Like coming home and you don’t know where you’ve been”2
6. “Apathy … Superstar!?” – P. M. Dawn (1995) “Almost everyone I know believes in God and love”
7. “Make Your Own Way” – Cinderella (1990) “But the devil’s his friend, he put the pen in my hand, said you can pay me back after you die”
8. “Serrated Edge” – Dead Milkmen (1985) “Yeah, Charles Nelson Reilly, he’s our man”
9. “Summer’s End” – Foo Fighters (2007) “I had that dream again that the sun was dead”
10. “Sure Shot” – Beastie Boys (1994) “I got mad hits like I was Rod Carew”

1 Yes, it’s 23 minutes long, but I love this tune. Unlike many other prog songs of the 1970s (I’m looking at you, Tales from Topographic Oceans), it actually feels shorter because it’s more unified in its melodies and lyrics. Good stuff!
2 This is one of my favorite U2 songs. That it got dumped on Rattle and Hum while something like “With or Without You” got to be on The Joshua Tree makes no sense to me.

And hey, it’s totally random lyrics!

“Back in the days when I was a teenager
Before I had status and before I had a pager
You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop
My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop
I said, well Daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles
The way that Bobby Brown is just ampin like Michael”

So The Dude made a suggestion last week that I thought was a good one. But I mixed it up a little bit. Have fun finding it!


I haven’t read the new Bruce Wayne: Time Fucker issue yet, but I, conversely, love time travel stories, and don’t understand your argument whatsoever. Doctor Who would probably turn you cross-eyed, but you should watch it anyway because it’s great, dammit.

In other news, I have been reading The Tick, which is solid, if not spectacular (there are several hearty chortles per issue, and #2 was pretty great). Damned expensive, though. It’s sort-of bi-monthly. Thank you for sating Benito.

As both a Doctor Who fan and someone whos loving “Bruce Wayne: Time Fucker” (I vote we use Bill Reed’s name for the series from now on) I have absolutely no problem with how they approach it. Ive seen far more confusing uses of time travel.

Take Avengers #1 (or the entire first arc) that came out recently, there is absolutely zero reason for them to treat events in the future as some sort of threat to them. And yet, they spend what seems like the second half of the issue just talking about what this threat in the future means and how they are going to travel there. The threat is that their kids in the future are causing a mess, why not just decide not to have kids, bam, problem solved. /rant

And considering that Bruce Wayne: Time Fucker doesnt have divergent timelines, you could make a case that its even pimplier than Back to the Future

I have a complaint about the premise of Bruce Wayne’s Excellent Adventure (full disclosure: I haven’t read it – my complaint relates to the premise as it’s been related to me by other people) which I think is part and parcel of Greg’s problem with time travel; that being the way everyone who discusses it seems to insist that Bruce Wayne isn’t dead, he’s “still alive … in the past!”

It’s always stated as if referring to events in the past in the present tense means anything. Everyone who has ever been born is “alive in the past.” Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, and all four of my grandparents are “alive in the past.” The thing is, once you’re done being “alive in the past” you either die, in which case you’re dead in the present, or you don’t, in which case you’re alive in the present. Comic books add a third possibility: time travel from the past to some point in the future bypassing the point at which the book is taking place, making you “outside the timestream” – or however you want to phrase it – in the present. And, of course, in comics you can also be in suspended animation or in limbo waiting to be reborn or transformed into another person who doesn’t know they’re you or so forth, but those are all basically shadings of “alive,” “dead,” and “en route to the future.”

But to act like the Bruce Wayne’s current situation is not only unknown to the readers and to the heroes searching for him but literally unknowable until something he did (and finished doing) 200 years ago resolves itself on-panel … that’s like claiming that if I told you the story of my grandfather’s life, someone in the next room searching for his obituary online literally wouldn’t be able to find it until I finish the story, thereby “resolving” his life in flashback form.

Yeah, I don’t understand your notion on timetravel stories either. Do you also hate it when comics use the “2 hours ago” or “xx (units of time) ago” device? Because that’s basically what it is, except without actually saying it.
Also, is X-Force in Europe or something? Because the cars are on the wrong side of the road and the driver is on the wrong side of the car if they’re in America. Though, that would explain why Shatterstar is being such a crappy driver; I’d probably be screwing up too.

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH I love Supper’s Ready so much!! I agree with you though, similarly long prog songs from that era(I’m looking at you, “Tarkus”!) kind of blow. That Sam Keith book looks like the business, no matter how ridiculous twenty bucks for a hundred pages is.

Joe The Barbarian is definitely not too weird. It’s barely anything at all, near as I can reckon, and I say that as someone who likes Morrison and is willing to follow him into the odder corners of his oeuvre. Sure, it’s accessible, but there’s just not a lot of substance there.

Suggestion for Dark Lord Cronin: a new segment on the blog called ‘Make Me A Believer’ or some variation thereon that doesn’t suck, wherein one of the CSBG! All-Stars try to sell a book or creator to another CSBG!er who just doesn’t grok, dig, or get the subject, and then the floor is opened for the erudite and mostly clean regulars to weigh in on (A great example would be Julian’s fantastic comment re: Kim Deitch was so well-put and omg-of-course! clearheaded that it made me re-evaluate my opinion on Deitch). Wackiness and spirited debate ensues!

I found Tales of the Bully Pulpit at my LCS one random spring afternoon. Was so very pleased.

I love A Tribe Called Quest and “Excursions” is one of the best “side One/track One”s with awesome opening lines from one of the best hip-hop albums of all-time. Sorry to be hyped about it, but I can’t describe how I felt listening to that album for the first time.

The Batman time travel stuff doesn’t bother me. It’s taking the “Back to the Future” idea of actions in the past affecting the events of the future in real-time, but not utilizing the “Back to the Future Part II” element of alternate timelines. It technically makes sense for this universe even if “logically” it skews away from real-world sense. It’s logically better than “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” where they said they’ll do things in the future to help themselves in the present.

Lots of people are going to jump on you about the time travel thing. But to me the interesting part is the idea that every one of us has a breaking point for the suspension of disbelief. I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what mine is.

So far, I think I must be the most credulous reader that ever lived. Okay with costumed vigilantes, even with garish outfits and capes. Okay with superheroes lifting up buildings and the structure doesn’t collapse. Okay with the Hulk doing massive property damage for decades and yet no one died until Mark Millar did THE ULTIMATES. Okay with non-organic web-shooters. Time travel, otherdimensional travel, running at superspeed, etc., not a problem. Guys like Captain Cold and the Weather Wizard using insanely advanced tech to rob a bank? I’m fine with that. The Atom running around inside people’s bodies without scuba gear or anything like that — hell, even just being able to breathe at subatomic size — never a problem for me. Never had an issue with invulnerability, heat vision, or even super-breath. Power rings and magic amulets and cosmic rods are all fine. I can buy into the idea that radiation makes you super instead of killing you.

And yet I know there have been times where I stared at a comic and muttered, “oh hell, no WAY.” But I am damned if I can think of one at the moment.

Curmudgeonly Chap

June 25, 2010 at 4:49 am

When people talk in space.

I might be wrong but maybe the reason why Marvel and DC can’t leave WW2 alone is because of the Nazis. They were the undisputed bad guys, that was the war that had to be fought. With Vietnam and the Gulf War, things weren’t as black and white.

Portugal – North Korea was really amazing. We expected to win, but not by 7 goals. The bad part is that we might have sentenced the North Korean team to death by firing squad when they return to their country.

On a side note, Greg, how do you choose which quote to put at the beginning of the post? Is it completely random or do you have a theme? The one this week was deep (and sadly true, in my opinion).

Weirdly, I had a lot less of a problem with Morrison’s use of the “Both worlds are real” conceit in this issue of Joe the Barbarian. That’s probably because this is the first issue where that conceit actually mattered.

Greg: thoughts on Power Girl? (I’m assuming you took a brief look at it; I’m curious if your reaction was more “This is decent, and I might look at this in trade when the JL:GL stuff starts resolving itself” or more “Horrible, just horrible, I miss Amanda Conner.”)

no Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark?

Italy was also a bit hurt by refs, getting a goal discounted. It was as much as a goal as Dempsey’s goal against Algeria.

Today the World Cup has a few exciting games. There is Brazil versus Portugal and then Chile versus Spain. Should be exciting.

I watched a lot of the Isner-Mahut match. From the moment it was 27-27 till the end. It wasn’t great tennis, but I was impressed with their fitness, specially Mahut, who was still running fast at 59-58. Insane.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 25, 2010 at 6:37 am

– Funny thing is, the Secret Warriors issue goes a long way to getting rid of the WWII-era characters, since it casually reveals for the first time that a bunch of the original Howlers are now dead. Prior to the reunion party in the story, virtually all the characters named as dead were seen alive and relatively well. The only Howler who died after World War II in previous stories was their CO, Sam Sawyer, who died in a 1980s Captain America story with all the other Howling Commandos still around and even capable of one last mission.

— Some ways to try and reacquire suspension of disbelief: Morrison’s version of time-travel seems to be built on the idea that time is just a dimension we usually experience in a linear fashion, but that Bruce is experiencing and affecting in a nonlinear fashion. Kirby did something similar with the first story inw hich h had Darkseid banish someone through time; Sonny Sumo’s relics only show up in the present day after he’s been banished to the past. And in real physics, of course, spacetime — there’s no distinction between time and space — is entirely relative to the velocities of its observers. And as with the panel-leaping time travel in Morrison’s 7 Soldiers: Zatanna #1, it’s a way of playing with the comics page, where Bruce in the past really *is* spatially adjacent to Dick and Damien in the present.

— On the other hand, my suspension of disbelief breaks with legal cock-ups as in the Detective Comics story you reviewed. I eagerly await someone’s effort to restore my suspension for such stuff…or maybe I don’t. Hm.

Hey, Greg. I’ve noticed some of your scans used to illustrate your reviews have a horizontal line pattern (especially noticeable on Detective this week), which is a moiré effect caused by the pattern of dots on the printed page. My scans used to come out the same way until I decided to take a look at the settings on my scanner. I mostly use it to scan photos, and since comics are just colour images, I figured the preset for “colour photo” would get the best results. But when I looked at the other presets available, I noticed one for “magazine,” and decided to give it a try. Like magic, the lines are gone and I get much better scans now.

Your scanner probably has different settings, unless you happen to have the same model I have. It’s worth looking into, though. Just thought I’d let you know.

Just a comment about the Zatanna thing. My wife wears skimpy shear things to bed occasionally not for me, but because they’re really cool and it gets warm in our bedroom. So, yes some women do wear stuff like that to bed even alone. :-p

IIRC Haven’t the Howling Commandoes been taking the same anti ageing serum as Fury ?

I don’t think the time travel in Return of Bruce Wayne is working the way you think. Not explicitly anyway. The cape and cowl that Dick and Damian find in the Batcave didn’t suddenly appear after Bruce was sent back in time, it was always there (for 15,000 years or whatever) and they just found it now. Why didn’t they find the secret room before now is the bigger question, one I think will be answered. I figure Bruce had to know it was there before the whole Darkseid business, and deliberately kept everyone else in the dark until they needed to find it.

Unless that’s not what you were referring to, in which case nevermind.

Yeah, I knew I’d get a lot of people jumping my shit for the time travel stuff. It’s not that I can’t enjoy time travel stories, I just really have to not think about them at all. The minute I start prodding at it, my brain explodes.

I love Bruce Wayne: Time Fucker. Make it so, DC!

ZZZ: That’s a good way to put it. That’s certainly part of it. Thanks for clarifying my muddled thinking!

Dude: The selections are fairly random. When I read a book, I tend to write down passages that really strike me, whether it’s profound or just a clever turn of phrase. So I have two notebooks full of them, and I flip through them to see what I want to put at the beginning of the post.

Thok: I flipped through PG and wasn’t too impressed with the art, plus the fact that it seemed so beholden to JL: GL made it easy to skip. And I’m never too jazzed about Winick’s writing, either.

jjc: Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark did look fun, and I know it was nice and long for the price, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. The art was fantastic, but it seemed like a one-note joke. Maybe I’m wrong – that’s just from a cursory flip-through.

Omar: That’s what I’m hoping for with regard to the Commandos. The ominous title of the arc makes it seem like Hickman is clearing some dead wood!!!!!

Basque: Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out, although I’m such a technomoron I don’t know if I’ll be able to do anything.

mackejn: Good point! I’d like to think Roux thought about it that much, but I have a feeling he just wanted to draw Z. all sexy-like!

Philip: Beats me. I suppose they could have, but I don’t know. Someone with far greater knowledge of the Marvel U. would have to chime in!

Though Dynamo 5 was good, we lack a sense of time. Bridget’s not on her second date with the reporter. We saw how their first date went, and she didn’t sleep with him then. When did she? There’s the implication that it’s happened multiple times. How much later in their relationship are we?

Your time concerns:

Return of Bruce Wayne: Circular time.

WWII: Infinity formula.

Stefan Wenger

June 25, 2010 at 9:33 am

You spent your entire Secret Warriors review ranting about WWII, rather than talking about the issue itself… which I suppose is proof, at least, that the story didn’t hook you enough to get you to suspend your disbelief, which is fair enough. I just wanted to throw in that I thought it was an excellent story, and for the first time I’ve realized that the only thing that wasn’t clicking for me about Secret Warriors was Stefano Caselli’s art (which has never clicked for me on any book). With Alessandro Vitti this book rocks, like you’d expect a Jonathan Hickman book to rock.

As for the Return of Bruce Wayne… how do you claim to be such an authority on the way time works? The idea of viewing time spatially, as different “rooms” in the same house, as you say, doesn’t bother me in the slightest – and that happens in any story with flashbacks, regardless of whether the characters are traveling through time.

It bothers the hell out of me that, in comics, a person in the “present” can be talking about events that happened in the past, and those events are being shown, not as if they’re happening in a different time, but as if they’re just happening at a different place in the world and at the same time.

From our perspective, time is a linear, infinite series of “now”s; it is always the present. In sci-fi, time travel enables characters to travel to different “now”s in that fashion; it’s present for them, but from their period of origin, it’s “the past.” But the past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past (thanks, Faulkner). But then, I grew up with time travel logic and don’t think of time as linear, just another dimension we can’t quite comprehend.

There are really two schools, as evidenced above. There’s the Back to the Future school, where anything you do in the timestream affects all other points– i.e., the almanac can blow up the era Michael J. Fox hails from. Then there’s the Bill & Ted school, where time is always like that– so yeah, they can decide to do things later and find that they’ve already been done, because time is immutable. If you traveled back into the past, you had always done that, and therefore, you’re not actually changing anything. And don’t give me that “How can you travel to a period before you were born?” because that argument makes no goddamn sense. One’s personal timeline/biography has nothing to do with it.

Doctor Who adheres to both of the above takes on time-travel, actually. As the Doctor says, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.” Time in Doctor Who is like Jenga; some pieces can be removed or replaced, but not all of them, or the whole structure will collapse. This enables the Doctor to change things in the past and have that effect show itself in the future, but it also enables him to live out causal paradoxes, such as in “Blink,” where the Doctor’s “future” actions affect him in his personal “present.”

Furthermore… Greg? Greg? Oh shit, I’ve killed him.

I don’t get that you can’t understand that Bruce Wayne is in the past and Dick and Damian are in the present and you say one of them doesn’t exist. “I can’t get past the fact that one of those things can’t exist.” Batman himself doesn’t exist!

Stefan: Well, to be fair, I often rant about a lot of stuff beside strictly adhering to what’s in the issue. I wouldn’t want to get boring! It was quite an intriguing story, but it was also a lot of set-up, so I figured it was a good time to rant.

As for being an authority on time travel … well, I don’t claim to be, but neither are Morrison or any of the other writers who use it, including Doctor Who. Let me put it this way – has anyone actually traveled backward or forward in time, and by forward I don’t mean the way we do it right now, I mean in big leaps? No. Case closed. So I’m as much an authority as anyone else, even a high-falutin’ physicist who doesn’t understand it any better than anyone else.

Speaking of which, we come to Bill’s point: I GET the idea of time being some kind of sphere or other dimension that we don’t understand yet, I just don’t accept it. That’s my prerogative!

Mike: Ha! Yeah, I know. Work with me!

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Greg, what do you make of the twin paradox, which has been validated by experiments with atomic clocks?

Omar: Well, I’m not getting into physics, because I only took one high school physics class in my life, but the idea of relativity and time dilation is interesting, but it’s a hell of a lot different from a person jumping through time. I know that science fiction writers take tiny nuggets of physics and expand them out ad infinitum, but it’s like the whole subatomic particle thing about being observed – what works on an infintesimal micro-level doesn’t work at all on a macro-level. Slight time dilations don’t necessarily expand out to macro instances (like twins aging differently due to relativistic weirdness), although I suppose it’s possible. There’s a world of difference between that and being able to get blasted by Omega beams and wake up in 1718.

Both Marvel and DC go back to the World War II well so often because so many of their characters are tied to that era – Captain America, the Human Torch, the Sub Mariner, Nick Fury, the Justice Society of America.
While it is easier to update Silver Age origins (Hal Jordan’s a jet jockey, just not a Kennedy-era jet jockey and Tony Stark was a military industrialist, just during the Iraq War and not ‘Nam) it’s harder to do that with the other characters I mentioned.
I agree that, the more time passes, the more bizarre it’s going to be for the original Flash, Green Lantern, Wildcat, etc. etc. etc. to be fighting the good fight in our monthly books, no matter how often the writers come up with excuses to extend their longevity.
For me the biggest problem has been wrapping my mind around the fact that some of these characters, while tied to WWII, have hot-looking children. Jade anyone?

Duff McWhalen

June 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm

It was explained that Fury’s infinity formula has had an effect on those around him. Stupid, yeah, but there is kind of an explanation for you.

Dear Anonymous –

I thought it was obvious that a little time has passed since issue Dynamo 5 #25 and the start of “Sins of the Father,” so yeah, Bridget and Nate have been dating for a month or so at this point. But I should’ve made that more clear.

~ Jay


Thank you for reviewing my comic and being mostly positive about it.

>>God forbid I find Tales from the Bully Pulpit anywhere<>It takes a few pages for Cereno to hit his stride with the parodies – it begins with the Underwaterer (who looks oddly like Namor) fighting an old kingly figure who, I assume, is supposed to remind us of Aquaman (even though he’s too old) and continues with some similarly uninspired characters like the Dabblers and Dudley Dugong of the Royal Maritime Mounted Manatees (although Orca and his sidekick, Chum, did make me smile).<<

For what's it's worth, the only one of those I made up was Dudley Dugong (about whom you are wrong; he is awesome). The others are all pre-existing characters that I felt I needed to include, if only for one panel each.

Well, there’s always Quantum Leap style string theory…

My disbelief breaks in two ways. 1) With the revolving door of death. Way overused. 2) With plots that revolve around the world ending in some way (exception: Legion of Superheroes, Giffen, in the 30’s-40’s…because they saw it through) .

Travis Pelkie

June 26, 2010 at 1:07 am

Alright, am I the only one who wants to know where you hid the Dude’s suggestion (the random hottie of the week)? Or am I just the only one who can’t figure it out?

And I say Time Fucker is an awesome name for a series. In fact, they should revive the 90s Chronos and have it be the name of his series:

Walker, Time Fucker.

Chuck Norris could be his buddy of awesomeness.

Benito: Well, I did like Dudley Dugong more than the others, if that means anything! I hope some of the others after that are occasionally your creations, because they keep getting better!

Travis: I’m going to guess that no one else really cares! It’s the Nirvana link, as Nirvana doesn’t actually have a web site.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Uh, Greg….time dilation does indeed have macro effects; GPS systems have to mathematically correct for it because satellites — which are not tiny particles — are moving at a different velocity than objects on Earth’s surface.


Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

Actually, here’s an even better link, where you can read about relativistic effects on the orbit of the planet Mercury. Planetary motion was one of the first proofs of general relativity, and time dilation is a prediction of both general and special relativity.

Indeed, for a while, the debate in physics was whether relativity operated at sufficiently micro levels, since most of the empirical evidence was too “big” for the purposes of applying it to subatomic particles. That is, physicists thought it worked just fine a the macro level,m but that there was a possibility it would fail at the quantum level.

Relativity in its special and general forms affects all moving objects; that’s why relativity theory supplanted Newton’s laws of motion, which are pretty obviously meant to be true for macro phenomena. The effects of Hesienberg’s uncertainty principle, in contrast, has always been restricted to the quantum level, that is, to subatomic particles.

Ah, okay, Omar. Thanks for pointing it out.

This is why I didn’t take a lot of physics classes!!!!!

Marvel has always had an easier time of explaining why their WW2 era characters are still active in the present: Fury and the Howling Commandoes have the Infinity Formula, Torch is an android, Namor is an Atlantean/human hybrid mutant who could clearly possess extreme longevity, and Cap is always found in that ice cube ten years before the present.

Even Bucky’s not too much trouble: he just has to be kept cryogenically preserved in the backwaters of Russia by Lukin longer as time goes on.

That’s not a lot of characters compared to the JSA and the All-Star Squadron. Even here, though, DC has pretty much killed off all of the JSAers who need complicated time particle explanations to justify active duty. Allan Scott *is* the Green Flame, Jay Garrick has a modified metabolism, and Wildcat . . . well, Ted Grant is just too cool to kill off. At this point the only real problem with the DC Golden Agers is that Allan and Jay still have to be married to their original spouses . . . who don’t have super-powers to justify their continued existence.

I just happened to see that Joe H. asked a question about X-Factor and I didn’t answer it! Sorry, Joe H., if you’re still reading! Yes, that part of X-Factor takes place in Ireland. Hence Shatterstar’s problems, although it’s clear he doesn’t really know what he’s doing no matter where the steering wheel is.

Marty, you’re not thinking fourth dimensionally!

I like how well Ngyun works with finishers.

Wow, four european comics! I think that’s a record!

(And, of course, no one comments about them.)

Anyway, judging by page count, Bullet to the Head will have six issues (two US issues corresponding to one original album). It was published originally in 2004, so the Pulp Fiction routine is a clear homage.

As for Seven Psychos, don’t worry, it will be QUITE the clusterfuck!

Well, as you may have seen by now, the US were eliminated by Ghana. Better luck next time, I suppose. My Portugal is still going on, but will have to play Spain, a hard nut to crack.

As for the North Koreans, don’t worry. Kim Jong-Il is in a good mood, he even said that the previous North Korean team to have been on a world cup (on 1996, when they lost, interestingly enough, to Portugal 5×3) will be released from the hard labor camp it’s been ever since. Apparently he found replacements… ;-)

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Yeah, it sucks about the U. S. Maybe if they didn’t think the matches began when the other team scores a goal, they’d be a bit better …

Hey, I’m trying with the European comics, sir! I’m trying!!!!

Keep up the good work then, soldier!

Travis Pelkie

June 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Oh, and I bought Zatanna #2 (was going to anyway), and I’m wondering what the big deal was about the nightie. Sure, it looks sheer and “sexy”, but it didn’t look over the top, the way I was picturing it based on your description.

Boy, did I enjoy picturing it in my head. :)

My thought on it was, maybe Dini wrote it in, since (as is mentioned nearly every time in re Dini and Zatanna) he’s married to the “real-life” Zatanna, and that’s what SHE wears to bed.

Suck on that, fanboys. :)

Personally, I have no problem with the idea that someone might wear the kind of nightie Zatanna was wearing in general.

But considering that the average superhero goes to bed each night knowing there’s a good 30% chance or so that they’ll be woken up by an attacker, mystic harbinger, or half-dead ally, combined with the fact that the average supernatural hero spends at least 60% of their adult life being scryed upon by enemies, watched by unseen guardians, or evaluated by cosmic entities, you have to figure Zatanna would only sleep in that if she were an exhibitionist.

And considering how she dresses to fight crime, I think that’s your answer right there.

I disagree with your Batman review. Pirate Batman was the best thing ever. From now on, every comic, book, DVD, album, sculpture, or tablecloth I buy MUST have pirate Batman featured prominently.

And, huh, that was the (*ahem*) “real” JLA there? I thought it was an evil/alternate universe/anti-matter/Magic Gorrlla-in-place-of-the-Elongated Man having JLA thing.

Benito Cereno

June 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

::Benito: Well, I did like Dudley Dugong more than the others, if that means anything! I hope some of the others after that are occasionally your creations, because they keep getting better!::

Yeah, starting with Dudley Dugong (and skipping backwards to Jiminy Anemone), all the underwater characters were created by me and Les.

Anyway, thanks.

Also, I just noticed that some formatting ate part of my last reply. In re: your comment that you can’t find Bully Pulpit, I casually noted that I have, in fact, also written other comics as well.

I think everyone alive during the World War II era was exposed to an alien mutagenic gas. It gave them the potential to live for centuries, if not forever. Fortunately, it’s triggered only by prolonged exposure to people with meta-genes. Thus, superheroes and their associates can expect to live a long time.

I wonder what DC and Marvel will do in 25, 50, or 100 years. Right now we can still pretend that everyone who fought during WW II was no older than 18 in 1945. That would make them spry 83-year-olds who can pass for 60 today. But this fiction is becoming less believable with each passing year. Soon enough the WW II heroes will be hitting 100, 125, 150. Then what?

Actually, Greg, I think Einsten’s theory of relatively says that all moments of time exist simultaneously. You believe they happen in a linear, chronological order because your perception is limited.


According to Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity, time simply is an illusion. It is what we think; it is what we want to perceive.


This would imply that the past, present and future all exist. There is no present moment to distinguish past from future. All times co-exist, time just is.

I think CBR’s reviewers need a grading system for their comic-book reviews. Rather than a four-star system, I propose a four-dollar system. It goes like this:

$: This comic is worth about $1.

$$: This comic is worth about $2.

$$$: This comic is worth about $3.

$$$$: This comic is actually worth its cover price.

That’s not a terrible idea, Rob, but I try not to mention price too much unless it really strikes me. I buy what I like and I often don’t even realize how much it is until I start writing things up for these posts. I mean, I vaguely know that they’re 3, 3.5, or 4 dollars, but sometimes some of them surprise me. It’s just when it’s so obviously a cash gouge, like Batman #700, that I have to mention it. But that’s not a bad idea. Maybe I’ll play with it one of these weeks!

I wasn’t price-conscious before, but comics weren’t as expensive before. Now I’m basically boycotting any regular-sized comic that’s $4.

I’d still spend that much for a comic like WATCHMEN or DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. But I haven’t seen any truly great comics in years.

Like everyone else, I’m switching to trades. They’re a better value for around the same price.

Anyway, the rating system would be good if someone wants to make a point about the astronomical price inflation of today’s comics. From 10 cents to $4.00 is a 3,900% increase. Yet I’ll take an old comic by Kirby, Swan, Buscema, or Adams any day.

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