Sunday, May 13, 2012

(links)

Hey, did you know the Pentagon pulled out of its official cooperation with The Avengers because it felt the film was too unrealistic? Their specific objection to the muddy command structure, in which SHIELD Director Samuel L. Fury answered to a couple of old people on TV screens that were referred to as "the Jedi Council." And can you imagine American superheroes taking orders from someone other than the Pentagon? Preposterous!

The Department of Defense seemed okay with the other stuff in the film—the giant green irradiated monster man, the steroid-powered super-soldier, the charming fellow in the flying WMD-filled suit of armor—which makes me worry what the DOD R&D department might be working on at the moment...

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Okay, actually, I guess I can sympathize a bit. As a comics reader, I was often confused about exactly who SHIELD answered to in the Marvel Universe. For example, in Civil War they were enforcing a U.S. federal law (and, at one point, attempted to deputize the head of a foreign state, The Black Panther, to help enforce it for them). And a few crossovers later, U.S. President Barack Obama abolished SHIELD and replaced it with HAMMER, headed by a convicted murderer.

The Internet never helped dispel my confusion, as the original Kirby/Lee version stood for Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division (It has "International" right there in the acronym, right?), but it was later changed to Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, which offers no clues as to what country or countries run it, but ditching the "International" does seem to suggest that maybe it's now a U.S. thing.

The movie SHIELD has its own name, however, and that's Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, and "Homeland" seems to suggest U.S., as in "Department of Homeland Security," right...?

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Speaking of The Avengers movie and SHIELD, where the fuck was Dum-Dum Dugan?! We know from Captain America: The First Avenger that Dum-Dum fought in WWII in the Marvel Movie-verse...

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I'm gonna write a post about The Avengers movie eventually, I swear, but in the mean time, here's Chris Sims' review at ComicsAlliance. I think he's dead-on with the early on assessment that the sort of spectacle that Avengers traded in has since become routine.

I know for me personally the climactic battle in Manhattan reminded me of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Battlefield: Los Angeles, even a little of Dragon Wars. There were good parts, yeah—I loved how the alien warships looked and moved, and that scene that was in all the trailers where the Avengers all circle-up, back to back, and there's another scene where the camera swoops around and "checks in" on all of the characters during the battle. But still: Heroes, super or otherwise, fighting off alien invaders in big American cities? I've seen that. A LOT.

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So the Saturday before last was Free Comic Book Day, that one day of the year where all of the publishers commit to doing some sort of outreach to sell kids and new readers on the idea of reading and consuming comics in general, and their comics in particular; to say, "Hey world, this is us, and this is what we're all about!"

So, what did the Big Two do?

Well, let's see. Marvel published something kind of gross and off-putting in its faux-adult, basic cable-not-HBO content, and DC published something completely impenetrable, featuring the work of like fifteen different artists.

Yeah, those seem to be pretty representative of what the Big Two's comics are like these days...

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Sometimes Abhay and Tucker almost make the awfulness of comics and, more awful still, comics fandom, and even more awful than that, comics fandom on the Internet, all better. Well, not all better. But tolerable. Er, slightly less intolerable...?

Anyway, this week's "Comics of the Weak" is even more awesome than usual (and it's usually pretty awesome). I think it includes my favorite of Nate Bulmer's "Eat More Bikes" strips so far, too.

I know I linked to this column just last night, when I was discussing the crazy depravity of DC's Green Lantern franchise, but here's the passage Stone wrote that I think did so a good job of nailing down just what it is that's admirable and awesome about Geoff Johns' Green Lantern comics:

And you have to give it to Johns, because even though that's the exact kind of story you would make up in a fit of exaggeration to hurt somebody's feelings, the guy just goes ahead and writes like that anyway.

...

...and here he is, doubling down for the 8,000th time. You like little Smurf characters? Well, how about an immortal dwarf who dresses like an aboriginal wizard and lives inside a secret purple prison?

Good stuff.

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"People who use their powers only to build fantastic lives for themselves and turn away from the world may be making interesting choices—but that doesn't mean they're heroes."

Alyssa Rosenberg, discussing Grant Morrison's Supergods for ThinkProgress

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Good God in heaven, look at these ugly fucking costumes.

I'm not sure I understand DC Comics' blanket refusal to let superhero costumes look like superhero costumes anymore. Everyone looksl ike they're wearing wetsuits or G.I. Joe uniforms or motorcycle outfits these days. Even the superhero-iest of the "New 52" superhero costumes—like those of Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Flash—now have to have things likes seams and stiching, plates and helmet.

The above costumes, on the new Phantom Lady and the new Doll Man, are, of course, ugly as sin, but they are somewhat interesting in that The Phantom Lady used to look like this
Her new costume looks a lot more like something a Real Life superhero might wear instead of something a lingerie model might wear, but do note that while trying to make it look more new costume look more functional and realistic, they were sure to make sure her tits were still mostly visible.

Meanwhile, Doll Man used to look like this
and, now that I think about it, that costume also looks a lot like something a 1940s lingerie model might have worn. He and Phantom Lady even shared a color scheme for a bit, before she adopted the green and yellow costume familiar to DC readers.

While Doll Man's new costume makes him look like a M.A.S.K. action figure, I do like the beard. You just don't see enough bearded superheroes these days. Although...say...Doll Man seems to have red hair in that picture, doesn't he?

And there's something familiar about him...

Hmmm...red hair, beard, DC comic...GASP!

Oh my god.
THE NEW 52 DOLL MAN IS TERRY LONG!!!!!!!!!

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Is it weird that the art in goofy comic-to-sell make up thing looks to be about 10,000 times better than that of a good 85% of Marvel's Marvel Universe comics (Math!)

It's by Phil Noto yes, but it looks to be a flatter, looser, more illustrator-y style than the one he usually employs. In other words, it's Phil Noto, but I think it's better (or at least more appealing to me personally) Phil Noto.

4 comments:

Jenerator said...

were you aware that Terry Long was supposed to be based on Marv Wolfman? (somewhat, anyway!)

mordicai said...

I dunno, to be fair, the Hulk is pretty cool, but having the US military answering to shadowy overlords is...pretty UnAmerican.

SallyP said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who looked at the new Doll Man and thought of Terry Long.

Whew!

Seriously though. You prefer the Phantom Lady to run around wearing tap pants and a handkerchief over the outfit that Amanda Connor came up with?

Caleb said...

Jen,

Yeah, I've heard that, but it sounded so disturbing that I pretend to have never heard it.

Sally,

Yeah, I like any of the Phantom Lady costumes that have preceded the one on that cover (According to Palmiotti on The Beat comment thread, it was designed by Cully Hamner, who would like to fight anyone dismissive of the project there).

I like the Golden Age ones the best (better than the later ones, with goggles, or that weird looking Acuna version). That's not to say they couldn't possibly be improved upon, but I don't think stripping away the superhero-ness in order to make something functional does that.

And Doll Man's original costume? PERFECT.