Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reign of the Supermen #41: JLA Revenge Squad Hologram

Source: JLA #10 (1997)
Type: VillainRecipe for Hard-Light Puppet Electric Superman
60 kilos of the holographic construction material known as Triplux
1 dash of Luthor's genius
1 remote control apparatus (mind-linked)
1 Luthor in the driver's seat
Allow idea to simmer in Grant Morrison's brain until ready. Add skull imagery to taste.

To create Revenge Squad holograms for other JLA members, replace ingredient in the driver's seat with appropriate archenemy. You may have to adjust amount of Triplux.

Doctor Who: RTD's 10 Best Moments

My original title was RTD: 10 out of 10 (and also 9), but I thought maybe search engines would have trouble finding it. A couple weeks ago, I got some heat for not including Russell T Davies in my Top 5 Doctor Who writers. At the time, I acknowledged his vast contribution to the franchise, but also balanced that with what I thought were huge groaners in his work. Don't get me wrong, there's more good than bad, but the bad kept him out of my Top 5. But since there is interest in RTD's work, here are my 10 favorite moments of his (as with the previous article, I've only taken from those he has the writing credit for, and I've put them in chronological order). And of course this means you can expect a 10 Worst Moments article next week. For now, let's look fondly back on the RTD era...

"Run!" - A reintroduction (from Rose)A young shop girl with a single parent gets up in the morning, goes to her crummy job, winds up going to the basement filled with mannequins - creepy, but not unusual - and then they start moving and a strange man comes out of nowhere to say "Run!" and we're off. It's the perfect way to reintroduce Doctor Who to a new generation, a wonderful example of the show's dizzying mix of fantasy and the every day. We're taken along for a ride just as Rose is and our world will never be the same. Oh, and running down corridors, always important, that. That's a terribly efficient mission statement.

Dinner with the Slitheen (from Boom Town)
Though many rank Boom Town among the worst of New Who (as a throwaway story featuring ye olde farting aliens), I think it showcases one of RTD's greatest strengths - heartfelt and revealing conversations between rich characters. Blon Slitheen, having her last meal with the Doctor before being ferried to her unpronounceable homeworld for execution, puts the Time Lord's own actions into context, exposing his guilt for having committed a double genocide in the Time War. RTD lulls us into a false sense of security with comedy routines before going in for kill with heady drama, a veritable template for his run on the show.

Eating chips is not enough (from The Parting of the Ways)
Sent back to present-day London as the Doctor prepares to destroy the Daleks at the cost of his own life (and that of Earth) in the future, Rose must face the prospect of an ordinary life and cannot bear it. As Jackie and Mickey spin their gossip and order chips, Rose shows she's been changed by her experiences. Is she better than they are, or has she just been shown a better way? My inevitable breakdown follows hers, right on the cusp of the mind-blowing revelations about Bad Wolf.

That sort of a man (from The Christmas Invasion)
The 10th Doctor's introduction is an entertaining journey of discovery for the character himself, but it's the point at which he finally knows himself that always gets me. He's defeated the Sycorax at swordplay, and walking away is attacked from behind. A thrown satsuma opens a trap door that sends the Sycorax leader plummeting to Earth, and the dead serious Doctor says "No second chances. I'm that sort of a man." Chilling. He then proceeds to make Harriet Jones' government fall with only six words...

Elton and Jackie (from Love & Monsters)
If Boom Town isn't always appreciated, Love & Monsters is positively reviled by some fans. I'll certainly talk about stuff from the last 15 minutes next week, but everything before then is rather good. I especially like the spring-fall romance between Elton and Jackie, which takes Jackie well beyond her role as comedy relief/nagging mother, infusing her with real pathos. She is suddenly a real woman, and so becomes more real in earlier episodes on repeat viewings. A collection of funny, sweet and sad moments. RTD really is at his best doing sentimental soap (readers should not perceive a negative connotation in either of these words).

The "death" of Rose Tyler (from Doomsday)
Taking second place in my recent ranking of Companion Farewell scenes, there was no way Rose's original departure wouldn't make it into this list. A lot of the moment is carried by the haunting music and of course, the performances, but someone had to write the damn thing, and that's Davies. Just going by the amount of sobbing at my house even when the Doomsday theme starts, it really did the job.

"I do what I like!" (from Last of the Time Lords)
A very brief moment that comes after Martha's apartment explodes. She starts to call her family and the Doctor cautions her not to, sparking the angry line above. In a single sentence, we get everything that's wonderful (and unRoselike) about Martha. The Doctor can't help but follow her after that.

Stolen voices (from Midnight)
Surrounded by huge, almost absurdly epic stories, Midnight presents quite the opposite and stands as Davies' leanest story. It's basically just the Doctor in closed compartment with a bunch of people who turn against him and each other. The monster is "played" but never seen. It's a fantastically creepy take on an annoying childhood game, first repeating everything people say, then catching up and finally overtaking and stealing a person's voice. Famously written in short order when another story fell through, Midnight is a good example of what RTD can do when he isn't tempted to the dark side by the special effects department.

The "death" of Donna Noble (from Journey's End)
Rose's departure made #2 on best farewells list, and Donna's #3. It is a real heart breaker to see her potential unrealized again, and Sylvia's apparently sudden flare-up of motherly instinct is worth the wait. How dare the Doctor question it. And though Doomsday made us bawl, as the end of romances often do, there's something equally poignant about the quiet loss of a friend, as when Donna fails to recognize the Doctor, completely unaware of what both of them have lost.

Two old souls (from The End of Time)
Every scene between the Doctor and Wilf in The End of Time is a winner, but the first one, in the cafe, stands out. Here are two old souls, one deceptively older than the other, feeling the weight of their age and the foreseeable end of their lives. The Doctor admits to much in this scene - that regeneration kills an individual, that he needs someone to keep him in check - and he dispels it all with a sarcastic "Merry Christmas" before it overwhelms him. It is often said Logopolis has a funereal feel, but this outdoes it with its two old soldiers facing up to their mortality.

Runners-up: The spin of the universe, "Do you smell chips?", "I could save the word but lose you", The absence of a plan scares the Daleks, Fighting the Hoix, "You need someone", The tie trick, The Master's return, "I do what I like", Near misses for partners in crime, Sylvia gives up on Alt-Earth, Alt-Donna's sacrifice, The death of Harriet Jones, The Children of Time fly the TARDIS, "I don't want to go" .

Those are mine, what are yours?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reign of the Supermen #40: Thor-El

Source: Unlimited Access #4 (1998)
Type: AmalgamTo stop the combined forces of the New Gods and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the superheroes of the DC and Marvel Universes agreed to allow Access to combine them into the X-League. And so was born Thor-El, wielder of the energy mallet of the Kryptonian Thunder God! He would rather be exiled to the Valhalla Zone than let the Brotherhood of Evil Gods get their way! Nothing less than Nornonite can lay him low!

Don't say thee nay to Amalgamonday!

X-Patrol Strikes Back

Amalgamondays continue, as does DC vs. Marvel Phase II. The rules: All Amalgams from any given series see their constituent parts go at it, and the cumulative winner gets to publish those constituents' series. This time, they're fighting to see if they can hold on to the right to publish X-Force and New Mutants (Marvel) or Doom Patrol and Teen Titans (DC). It's a two-for-one kind of fight!
Current score: 3-3
The proof: Round 1 - Round 2 - Round 3 - Round 4 - Round 5

Weight Class - "Elasti-Girl": Elasti-Girl vs. WaspElasti-Girl pros: Can turn into a giant. Olympic gold medalist (swimming).
Elasti-Girl cons: B-movie actress with body image issues. DC leases out her name to Pixar because they obviously don't care about her.
Wasp pros: The sting. Surprisingly good leader of the Avengers. Holds the record for most superhero costumes (designs them herself).
Wasp cons: Married Hank Pym. Used and abused.
Win: While you might think the giant can beat the tiny fairy, that's not how comic books work. You know what they say, the bigger they are... And besides, the Wasp has a lot more control and battle experience. 1-0 Marvel

Weight Class - "Ferro Man": Ferro Lad vs. Colossus
Ferro Lad pros: Can turn into iron. Revered hero of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Ferro Lad cons: Horribly disfigured. Dead revered hero of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Colossus pros: Kitty Pryde's first beau. Strongest of the X-Men.
Colossus cons: Kitty was underage. Commie. A little sister that's been nothing but trouble.
Win: Colossus may not be a Sun-Eater, but I think he can take Ferro. CRACK! Why, yes he can. 2-0 Marvel

Weight Class - "Niles Cable": The Chief vs. Cable
The Chief pros: Incredible genius. Built the Doom Patrol. Remember when he was just the Head? That was F--ed Up!
The Chief cons: Wheelchair bound. Has no moral compass (which may be his power).
Cable pros: Big guns. 6 million $ arm and eye.
Cable cons: Son of Madelyne Prior. Convoluted history. A name that has nothing to do with what he does. Stryfe was clones from him. Uses something called the Psi-Mitar. Suffers very badly from Liefelditis.
Win: It is revealed that Nathan Summers' whole condition was caused by the Chief in the first place, who put a plan into motion that resulted in Cable's dystopic future, techno-organic infection, and means to return to our time. So as soon as they face off, the Chief pushes a button that makes the infection overwhelm Cable, taking him down before the fight can even begin. And DC is on the board... 2-1 Marvel

Weight Class - "Shatterstarfire": Starfire vs. Shatterstar
Starfire pros: Princess of Tamaran. A smoking hot body which tends to distract opponents. Smoking hot starbolts too. Even without powers, a fierce warrior. A really thick head of hair. Her universal translator is in her kiss.
Starfire cons: Homewrecker (leave Animal Man's family ALONE!).
Shatterstar pros: Gladiator training. Can channel power through blades and create teleportation fields. One the Marvel Universe's few gay characters.
Shatterstar cons: Rob Liefeld creation (you can tell by the sparkly eye), and he wasn't happy with Shatterstar coming out of the closet, at all. Another convoluted history (he comes from a future alternate dimension who mysteriously found he was an earthling's memories, but may be the genetically manipulated son of Longshot and Dazzler). His mutant powers are indeterminate at best.
Win: It's a long, knock-down, drag-out fight, and Shatterstar doesn't even feel "stirrings" from her bathing suit. Ultimately, Starfire wins through air superiority. PEW PEW PEW! 2-2 all

Weight Class - "Beastling": Changeling/Beast Boy vs. the Beast
Changeling pros: Can turn into any animal, including hawks gorillas and dinosaurs. Smart mouth.
Changeling cons: Prone to acting rashly. Terra. I've heard that it's not easy being green.
Beast pros: I've never heard that it wasn't easy being blue. Scientific and spelling bee genius. Prehensile toes.
Beast cons: Progressively losing his good looks... and fingers. Nickname in school was "monkey boy".
Win: There are no double standards here. If the Chief can win against Cable, then the Beast is smart enough to outplay Beast Boy. He waits for Gar to turn into a bird and pounces from the shadows. 3-2 Marvel

Weight Class - "H.U.S.K.": Dial H vs. Husk
Dial H pros: Versatility. The chance to see YOUR hero in print.
Dial H cons: You never know what you're gonna get. One-hour cut-off. Don't dial MONSTER or VILLAIN. Most dialed heroes have terrible costumes and names. Do kids today even know what a dial is?
Husk pros: Has the ability to remove one layer of skin - or "husk" - revealing an epidermis of a different composition beneath (stone, metal, etc.).
Husk cons: Gen-Y member of Generation X. Workaholic (just say NO to work, kids). Replaced by Buff in the TV movie. Using her powers destroys her clothes, which is both embarrassing and creepy when you think that she's always teaming up with her big brother Cannonball. Gross skin peels all over the place.
Win: All depends on what Vicki (I imagine it would be Vicki) dials. Usually, the first hero or two can't overcome the opponent, and only after trial and error does the dial give you exactly what you need. Will the fight last that long? Since all it takes is one defeat, Paige only needs to beat up Lawn Dart Girl the once to win this for her team. Deuce-X Machina never even gets dialed up for a finishing move. 4-2 Marvel

Weight Class - "Wonder-Girl": Donna Troi vs. Wonder Man
Donna Troi pros: Amazon powers (even if she may or may not be an Amazon). A costume that makes you think you're looking out into space. Almost-magic lasso. A super-strong pony-tail.
Donna Troi cons: An all-too convoluted history as well (that's what happens when they keep changing Wonder Woman's origin around). Kyle's girl. And before that, Terry's girl (brrrrr).
Wonder Man pros: Superstrong and invulnerable. A jetpack or flight belt that keeps his buns/thighs toasty.
Wonder Man cons: Has never had a good costume (quite the opposite). Leaks ionic energy, which makes him easy to track and presumably, a health hazard. Professional jealousy re: Tony Stark (that's a losing game). Said no to Steve Rogers. How many times has he died now?
Win: Who's the stronger hero in this punch-up? Likely Wonder Man, but though he's been trained by Captain America, he probably relies on his powers a lot more. He would probably underestimate Donna who's been trained as an Amazon warrior and who's had to adapt her style to whatever persona writers have folded her into. Wonder Man is surprised when he gets lassoed and thrown for a loop, and is eventually restrained, if not outright knocked out. 4-3 Marvel

Weight Class - "Polaris": Dr. Polaris vs. Polaris
Polaris pros: Mutant powers of magnetism almost on the order of Magneto.
Polaris cons: Doomed relationship with Havok. Unstable personality. Became Pestilence.
Doctor Polaris pros: Powers of magnetism on the order of Magneto.
Doctor Polaris cons: Very, very unstable personality.
Win: A couple of crazy human magnets throwing ferrous stuff at each other for a few hours. In the end, I've got to go with the greater power level and the Doctor is IN. 4-4 all

Weight Class - "Mary Marvel Girl": Mary Marvel vs. Marvel Girl
Mary Marvel pros: The grace of Selena. The strength of Hippolyta. The skill of Athena. The fleetness of Zephyrus. The beauty of Aphrodite. The wisdom of Minerva. The coolest member of the Marvel Family (especially the tiny tyke in Jeff Smith's version).
Mary Marvel cons: The various Dark Mary storylines. Has to share the lightning.
Marvel Girl pros: Fated to house the Phoenix Force. Telepathy/telekinesis combo.
Marvel Girl cons: Neither power is that developed, though she is quite good at throwing blankets over people.
Win: Mary Marvel vs. Jean Grey might have gone another way, but vs. Marvel Girl? No contest. Mary pounds her way out of that blanket and into Jean's face FTW. 5-4 DC

The Main Event!

Weight Class - "Doctor Doomsday": Doomsday vs. Doctor Doom
Doomsday pros: Killed Superman. The more punching he does, the more unbeatable he becomes.
Doomsday cons: Nearly mindless. His only weakness - entropy.
Doctor Doom pros: One of the MU's smartest. An army of Doom-bots and the Latverian militia at his command. Once held the Beyonder's power.
Doctor Doom cons: Horribly disfigured. You've SEEN the Latverian militia, right?
Win: Doom throws his Doom-bots at Doomsday, but the monster makes quick work of them, and the fight's not over until the real Doom is down. One destroyed Latveria later and Doomsday's at the castle gates. One castle in rubble later and the monster is upon Doom. His time machine's just not powerful enough to send Doomsday to the end of time, but then, he never gets a chance to even try. Doom is just a flattened beer can in the road now. 6-4 DC

And so it is that Marvel loses the right to publish New Mutants and X-Force, which isn't that big a loss when you think about it. Teen Titans and Doom Patrol go on... for now. The existence of Exciting X-Patrol means they should get a rematch in Marvel vs. DC Phase III some day! Overall score is now 4-3 for DC.

You can find out more about X-Patrol in a review I did some time ago.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Week in Geek (22-28/11/10)

Buys

Three DVDs added to my collection this week. One is a Kung Fu film, Brave Archer, and the two others are classic Cyberman Doctor Who stories, Revenge of the Cybermen and Silver Nemesis.

"Accomplishments"

DVDs: Flipped Samurai Jack Season 3, which attempts to take our favorite temporally-displaced samurai into different types of stories. I can't very well say the silly comedies are among the best, but I did like the western and the ghost story very much. And this is the season with the two-part Aku origin story, "The Birth of Evil", which certainly deserves its Emmy win. It is wonderful and poetic, despite being essentially Jack-less. Fittingly, that story gets the feature commentary by the makers. The DVD also includes a featurette on the real-life martial arts depicted in the show, and a lost artwork gallery with commentary. Before I start talking about the next "accomplishment", let me show you a screen shot from the western episode in which Jack fights with my fetish weapon, the Battle Shovel... on a moving train!!!
'Nuff said.

Kung Fu Friday had us watch Tsui Hark's 2001 mythical epic Zu Warriors AKA The Legend of Zu, a special effects-heavy remake of 1983's Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, and obviously based on Chinese legends. Being neither familiar with Chinese myth, nor the 1983 original, my entourage and I admitted to being a little lost. Not that we couldn't follow the story, but we just had no context with which to interpret the pretty light show. It's hard to identify with gods, after all, and the audience identifier played by Zhang Ziyi hardly appears despite her prominent place on the DVD cover. Wu Jing has a small comedic but heroic role that's actually quite fun, but you're usually left wanting to play whatever video game follows this 1h50 cut scene. It does grow on you, by which point you're likely to call it an "experience". The DVD includes an English dub version that's 25 minutes lighter and makes wide use of narration by Zhang's character, as well as a pretty basic, but not uninteresting 20-minute making of featurette.

I also flipped Joss Whedon's Dollhouse Season 1. Though Whedon's work usually has strong thematic underpinnings, I wasn't sure I liked the uncomfortable premise of young people lending themselves over to have their memories wiped and having others dumped on them. The good news is that the show knows this is creepy and makes good use of the gray area. Eliza Dushku is more engaging than I would have thought as Echo, an "Active" who evolves into something new through the season, dispelling a couple other reservations I might have had (about her ability to play all these roles, and about following a series whose lead has no constant). Not to say there's any set formula to each episode - like some kind of Quantum Leap, let's sort someone's life every week, type show - it unfolds as a sci-fi thriller filled with twists and turns and a more than capable ensemble cast. If you stopped watching Dollhouse after a couple of episodes, you may have done yourself a wrong. Allow it to play out, by all means. The DVD includes both the original pilot (partly cannibalized by the actual series) and a post-apocalyptic new episode made for the DVD that acts as a proper series finale set some time in the future. The series managed to hold on for another year (which I'll promptly slide into the DVD player), and there's a sequel to "Epitaph One" at the end of the second season, so canceled or not, we've got closure. The DVD also has commentary on three episodes, a half hour's worth of deleted scenes (the bulk of which features alternate "engagements" for the original pilot), and a bunch of making of/cast and crew opinions featurettes. I wasn't sure what to expect with Dollhouse, but I'm coming off the first arc definitely liking it. Looking forward to exploring these ideas even more in the second season.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 29, most from Warriors' Gate, but a handful from The Eleventh Hour.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
II.ii. New Arrivals - Branagh '96

Reign of the Supermen #39: Electric Superman

Source: Superman vol.2 #123 (1997) to #135 (1998)
Type: The real dealWelcome to Electric Superman Week!
In the late 90s, the Super-books needed a stunt to boost their sales and since Superman had died in relatively recent memory, well, they decided to change his look and powers for a while. It's something readers were eager to forget about judging by how much play it has on the Internet today (as in, very little), but we're gonna stick with it for a whole week!

Wait! Come back!

Now, I wish I could tell you definitely how Superman became an out-of-phase energy being overnight, but it was never really explained. My guess is that his powers got wonky after Final Night in which he plunged into the sun. Some theories say it's because he traveled to an out-of-phase Kandor City. Others lay it at the feet of the New Gods. Whatever truly happened (and the road back wasn't any clearer), we now had a Superman with energy powers, and who had to wear a special containment suit built by Professors Emil Hamilton and "Rampage" Faulkner to live normally. He could change into Clark Kent, but Kent had no powers. Well, Superman seemed to enjoy the change, at any rate.

This lasted, in one form or another (more through the week!), for X months, across all the Superman titles and JLA for about a year, which was at the time my only exposure to it. Though Grant Morrison was more than equal to the task of giving this Superman cool shticks, it seemed a shame that the new "all-classic characters" JLA was stuck with a non-classic Superman.

Not that they'd ever change Superman's paradigm for a whole year these days. Cough.

Where were YOU when Superman went electric? (Yeah, I know it's not exactly Man's first walk on the moon.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What If... the X-Men Had Lost Inferno?

Is that really how we say it? Inferno... from back in the days when every crossover event in the Marvel Universe seemed to spin out of the X-books. Nothing like today's that all spin out of the Avengers. Inferno, if I'm not even confusing it a little bit with Fall of the Mutants, had Hell coming to Earth/New York, demons in the streets, people getting corrupted, etc. etc. How this is a mutant storyline is easily explainable by two words: Chris Claremont. Because it's never enough to be just a mutant teenager, you've also got to be an immortal, ninja, half-demon, clone, and/or from the future to be a viable character.

What If vol.2 #6 (Mid November 1989)
Based on: New Mutants #73
The true history: At the end of the Inferno event, Magik sent the demon S'ym back to Limbo along with most demons, throwing her soulsword after them to close the portals and cut our dimension off from the nether realms forever. Co-conspirator N'astirh was destroyed by the mutants, while his creation, the Goblin Queen (Madelyne Prior, perfect physical copy of Jean Grey), was defeated by Marvel Girl herself.
Turning point: What if S'ym and the soulsword got to Limbo at the exact same time?
Story type: Everybody dies
Watcher's mood: Logoed
Altered history: S'ym gets his hands on the soulsword and uses it to return to Earth, just after N'astirh is destroyed. He quickly allies with Madelyne, and they defeat the X-Men, destroying Jean Grey utterly and corrupting the rest. Then they sacrifice her baby and Hell comes to Earth permanent-like.
In short order, the planet is turned into a nightmare, with most people turning into demons, and those not corrupted are used as slaves, including Alicia Masters in the above panel. S'ym and Madelyne become consorts (they both have gratuitous Y's in their names and are pure evil, more things in common than most couples, really) and keep Wolverine as their favorite baby-eating pet. A resistance of course springs up: Doctor Strange, Doctor Druid, Shaman, Jennifer Kale, Son of Satan, Dakihm, Margali Szardos, She-Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Human Torch, the Captain (Steve Rogers), Kitty Pryde, and... Baron Mordo? Ok then.
Then the demons find them and attack... Aww jeez. I just took the time to write down everyone's name and most of them are dead already (page 10). So is Spidey, so is Druid, even Thor. Only Strange, Mordo, Kitty and the Torch escape. While the baddies put Dr. Doom and a corrupted Reed Richards to work on extending Limbo to all planes of existence, Strange leaves yet another hide-out to find the source of immeasurable power that is the Phoenix Force, currently residing in Rachel Summers, daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey in an alternate future, and currently in our time but turned into a storefront mannequin by demons. (Why? Because Excalibur.) Strange breaks the spell and she joins the resistance.
The demons finds them AGAIN, and it becomes clear that they've got an inside man. It ain't the Human Torch, cuz he's soon dead, so I guess it's Mordo.
Yes, I'm as surprised as you are. Madelyne and Rachel fight for control of the Phoenix Force while Strange keeps the demons at bay. Wolverine almost stabs him in the back, but Kitty gets in the way and gets a fatal clawing in return. Then Mordo switches sides again and destroys S'ym, but only to get the soulsword and take his place at Madelyne's side. His victory is short-lived:
(You know, I probably could have filled this post with pictures exactly like this.) With his dying breath, Mordo kills Wolverine, melting all his flesh away and leaving an adamantium skeleton. Madelyne gains control of the Phoenix Force, but she can't use it much because the Wolverine skeleton, animated by S'ym, runs its claws through her undercleavage.
He is revenged for his betrayal and the Force returns to Rachel. So she cleanses the world of all its demons before returning to the Living Tribunal's embrace.
What's left of humanity returns to nature, and our story ends on a Note of Hope(TM): Alicia Masters-Storm gives birth to a baby she calls Johnathan. Awww... wait, who the HELL is the father? The only male at the delivery is the doctor (Strange), and she just spent some time being some demon's slave. She can't have gotten pregnant by Johnny before Inferno, because that's after the turning point (or did she get captured shortly after becoming pregnant post-Inferno?) And anyway, hasn't history proven that this Alicia is a Skrully Skrull Skrull? In any case, the future isn't so bright I've got to wear shades.
Books canceled as a result: All of them. This is an extinction-level event for the Marvel Universe.
These things happen: The Claremont era of the X-books was filled with permutations of Hell of Earth, but nothing so drastic was ever allowed to remain in continuity. Aren't you glad?

Next week: What if Wolverine Was an Agent of SHIELD?
My guess: Lots of LMD body parts lying around.

Reign of the Supermen #38: Super-Merman

Source: Superman vol.1 #139 (1960)
Type: HoaxI'll let Lois say it: "-Sob- Superman has changed himself into a super-merman so he can marry the mermaid he loves! There's no longer a chance for me!"

That's more or less the plot of 30% of all Superman Silver Age stories.

So it goes like this: Clark and Lois do an interview with a millionaire who knows Lois from way back on his yacht. He wants Lois to marry him, and Clark agonizes over this. Then former underwater flame Lori Lemaris shows up all tangled in a fisherman's net. Superman saves her, and now Lois agonizes over the fact Superman had an impossible love kind of deal with Lori. Thank Poseidon she's married. After Superman hasn't been seen for days, Lois goes to Jimmy who shows her his televiewer that shows what Superman is doing. She sees him at the side of Lori's dying husband, Ronal, who wrings a promise out of Superman: To become a merman with Atlantean technology and marry Lori. Lois waterboats to the rendezvous and finds the fish-tailed Superman embracing Lori. To her credit, she gives them her blessing and believes she'll never see Super-Merman again. So the rich dude asks her in marriage, but if Superman won't have her, NO MAN CAN HAVE HER. She drives off all emotional and crazy and almost gets into an accident. Superman rescues her with both his legs, and he reveals it was all a hoax (which included pre-taped sequences featuring Lori, Ronal and an underwater volcano, the cooperation of Jimmy and Perry, a fake televiewer, and a mermaid costume). He didn't want her to wait for him when she could have married bliss with another man. Awww, sweet. OR IS IT?!

And now, funny panels from this story...
Clark Kent should stick to the blue suit:
"He tried to look up my skirt... we really had something, didn't we?"
How to get into an accident: Take your hands off the wheel.
Oh, it's a tearjerker all right...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reign of the Supermen #37: Lethargic Lad

Source: 1st appearance - Lethargic Comics Weakly #1 (1988)
Type: Analog/PasticheI love me some Lethargic Lad. The brainchild of fellow Canuck Greg Hyland, Lethargic Lad is both parody and an analog of Superman (note the double "L"s). Based in Infantino City, Lethargic Lad is really Larry Ladhands, who is rich and lives in a mansion above the Lad Cave. If this sounds more like Batman, let me reassure you with a cover:
Many of his adventures mirror Superman's as well, and the most important members of his supporting cast are versions of Lethargic Lad based on the Reign of the Supermen issues (they'll get play in THIS Rein too). I have most of the original issues, but hadn't realized Lethargic Lad was now a webcomic. Looks like I have some reading to do!

Movie Marquee Friday: Rebels

Sand bullets through licensed Os...
No one is there to see the sun rise...

The ink is still wet, but not clean...

Engraved on the back of a recognizable silhouette...

Can the answer be capture on video tape...

Dripping words, scarlet letters...

Carved in the red rock...
The river will feel the crush of the stone...

Asian drums set a red beat...