Thursday, December 31, 2015

Random Thoughts #40 - This Weather's Weird, Man!

Yes, it really felt like this on Christmas.

What it is, yo? Yeah, I'm sticking with that! The time has come for that one last post of the year. Technically, it's not my last post of the year since I have one book I'm trying to get through today. I'm taking it easy tonight this time around. I might as well do this post now, so here are some lasting random thoughts.

Warm Weather During Christmas?
Well, it's finally cold during this time of year! Last week, we had not only a heatwave but some really tough rain. Christmas Day was good if pretty dull with all of the wetness and rain. I actually went back to bed after I opened my presents. On Saturday, me and my dad had to fix the fence in the front of our lot. The stream had knocked down most of it down and buried it in mud, wood, and other stuff. At least we didn't find anything weirder in there or this post would be much weirder. Now, the cold has finally settled in... Yay?

So, it's finally come. 2015 is drawing to a close and I feel good. The year wasn't great of course. Life's like that and things won't always go your way. Still, I can say that I had a blessed year. God got me through it all. So, what are my plans for 2016? The list may look familiar, but that's how it is:
  • Get closer to God and be a better man 
  • Actually lose weight (I only lost a couple this year)
  • Find a good woman (being single is nice at times, but come on)
  • Actually get to do that remodeling
  • Get rid of debt
  • Live life to its fullest
Hmm... what can I say without coming off like a jackass? Eh, I'll pass this time. At least I'm finally looking. I've even talked to some interesting ones, but nothing's come yet. Though there is next year, so maybe Mrs. Williams is around the corner...

Star Wars: The Nostalgia Awakens
I went to go see the new movie a couple of weeks ago. I may have more to say later, so these will be just the broad strokes. I liked it overall. It was fun throughout the whole way. I liked the new characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, Maz Katana, and General Hux. Kylo Ren was really cool here and his story was really interesting. There's one scene that... well, may make you like him less though. The old cast was also well used for the most part. Seeing Han, Chewie, Leia, and Luke was good.

I do have a couple of negatives about it. I do feel like it rehashed A New Hope a bit too much in places. There were some things that were left unexplained. I get they wanted to be like the original trilogy, but I do think they should have explained a little more about what happened after Return of the Jedi especially with how the galaxy now operates. I should be able to see that in the film, not a book. Other than those things and the use of one old-school character, I liked it. It does make me want to see what happens next.
Guys, that's actually me with the lightsaber. 


Well, it's been good. I'll be back next year. It might be a little less, but that's how it all goes. Here's an idea about next year:


Well, I'm out. Peace, God Bless, and be safe in the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Batman Beyond #10

The last Batman wanna-be I’ll be doing for the year is the future boy himself: Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond. I talked about the show a couple of years ago. It was a good one. His story feels a little similar to Bruce’s. Terry got pulled into a retired Bruce Wayne’s life when his father was brutally murdered. Terry accidentally stumbles upon the Batcave and steals the last experimental suit Bruce made. After Terry uses the suit to get justice for his father, Bruce thinks that Terry could be a suitable replacement. After Terry accepts Bruce’s job, he officially becomes Batman.

He is far from that of Bruce’s Batman. He’s much younger, sarcastic, has a past as a troublemaker, and has a family.  He’s essentially another Robin but he’s doing all of the heavy lifting since Bruce is in his twilight years. They even share a connection which is something I won’t talk about here (hint: "Epilogue" from Justice League Unlimited). Unlike Jean-Paul, Dick, and even Comm. Gordon, Terry actually gets to interact and get help from Bruce on things. Heck, he’s only a high school kid, so he’s going to need a lot of help. The suit he and Bruce (Bruce wore it before he retired) wear on the show is pretty cool and has all sorts of tricks and gadgets.

DC Comics have done a few series on the character and this futuristic world. Today’s issue comes from the second volume that was coming out at the same time the show was on. Batman Beyond #10 was written by the late Hilary J. Bader. Not only did she write for the show, she also wrote for other shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Superman: The Animated Series, and The New Batman Adventures. The pencils were provided by Craig Rousseau and the inks were done by Rob Leigh.

Batman Beyond: #10
Writer: Hilary J. Bader
Pencils: Craig Rousseau
Inks: Rob Leigh
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Tim Harkins
Assistant Editor: Frank Berrios
Action Figure (Eh?): Joseph Illidge

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tales From the Trades! - Batman: Battle For The Cowl

Three cheers for Christmas shutdown! Now I can try to sleep normally for a couple of days…

Next up on the list is of Batman wanna-bes is Batman… sort of. No, this isn’t the John-Paul Valley variety either. I didn’t want to center on too many of Batman’s supporting characters this month. A lot of them are more or less knockoffs. I did at least want to look at a couple who tried to take on the mantle of the Batman. Only a few have tried it. I won’t be looking at Comm. Gordon’s more recent time as Batman aka RoboBunny. Yes, that’s happening now and it’s actually not that bad. It is Scott Snyder after all.

I’m actually looking at Batman: Battle for the Cowl, a three issue-crossover series that occurred after Final Crisis. It basically served as a midway point for Grant Morrison’s time on Batman. In Final Crisis, Batman “died."Yeah, he was actually getting his Sam Beckett on, but he’s not in Gotham where trouble is always brewing right now. By the way, I’m only looking at the three-issue crossover from the trade. The trade also has two issues that looks at other supporting characters in Batman’s world.  Tony Daniel wrote and did the pencils for this small series and I think it was his first time writing.

Batman: Battle For The Cowl
Writer and Pencils: Tony S. Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea
Colors: Ian Hannin
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tales from the Library! - JLA #16-#17

Next up for this month is another bad boy: Prometheus. Before you ask, no, he wasn’t named after the movie either. He was created by Grant Morrison and was mostly featured in the series, JLA. Prometheus’s real name is unknown. His parents were essentially a “Bonnie-and-Clyde” ripoff. He sees them get killed in a police shootout and basically loses it. The experience even makes his hair got completely white. He dedicates his life to “annihilate the forces of justice” and take his revenge. He uses the money that his parents stole to get smarter and stronger. After he takes his revenge, he travels to Shamballa and finds an ancient alien ship that has access to the “Ghost Zone.”

Prometheus is pretty much the anti-Batman right down to the origin. Their origins match, they know how to fight, they plan ahead, and they use gadgets. Unlike Batman, Prometheus uses a helmet to do all sorts of stuff. It’s essentially his utility belt. He uses little CD’s to download information from his helmet as well.  Today’s issues are JLA #16 and #17. I read these from the JLA Omnibus at the library. Grant Morrison wrote both issues. Howard Porter and John Dell provided the art to #16 while Arnie Jorgensen, David Meikis, and Mark Pennington did the art for #17.

JLA #16 and #17
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter (#16) and Arnie Jorgensen (#17)
Inks: John Dell (#16), David Meikis (#17), and Mark Pennington (#17)
Colors: Pat Garrahy
Letters: Ken Lopez

Friday, December 25, 2015

TV Talk - Darkwing Duck: "It's a Wonderful Leaf"

Next on the list is one that I sort of have vague memories of: Darkwing Duck. Yes, you read that right. Darkwing Duck was essentially a spoof on the hero genre. It found his inspirations in Batman as well as other heroes like the Shadow, Crimson Avenger, and other older heroes. I used to watch the show back in the day on ABC. I don’t exactly remember when it went off the air though. I do remember the slammin’ theme song. It’s still good to this day.

The show was a spinoff to DuckTales, another show with a catchy theme song. Still, I don’t know if I want to grab onto some duck tails especially if danger lurks behind me and strangers are out to find me. The creators found inspiration from a couple of episodes of DuckTales for this show. It was originally going to feature Launchpad (a supporting character from DuckTales) as a James Bond knock-off called Double-O-Duck. That didn’t happen since someone actually owned the “double-o” phrase. By the way, that’s really weird. Darkwing Duck was the next name they decided to use for the show and it was decided to create a main character.

The show ran for 91 episodes and stayed on for two years. After its run, it stayed in syndication. On the show, Darkwing Duck, aka Drake Mallard, protects St. Canard from a bunch of baddies. He gets help from Launchpad, his daughter Gosalyn, and others.  For today, I’m only looking at one episode instead of the whole show. I found them all on YouTube. “It’s a Wonderful Leaf” was the show’s 54th episode. As you can tell by the title, it’s a Christmas one. After all, it is the season!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Moon Knight #1

Next up on the list of characters possibly inspired by Batman is the other Marvel character that gets compared to him: Moon Knight. This is another character I know little about. He first debuted in Werewolf by Night in 1975. He guest starred in other books for a few years until he was given his own series as well as an origin story. One of his creators was Doug Moench, a writer who one day got to write on the Batman books for DC.

It’s easy to see the similarities between Batman and Moon Knight. Marc Spector has money, uses disguises, and uses gadgets. He’s also pretty athletic and has help from his friends in fighting crime. From what I’ve heard, he’s sometimes not all there in the head. I know that some of his later series had him dealing with some mental disorder. While Bruce Wayne isn’t exactly crazy, you know he has issues if he’s dressing up as bat at night. Then, there’s the striking suit that looks pretty cool. Still, I hope no one mistakes him for being some weird Klan member.

Originally, I was going to look at an issue from the 90’s (Mark Spector: Moon Knight #50), but I ended up finding something probably much better. At McKay’s, I saw the first issue to Moon Knight’s first run laying on the comics’ shelf. I looked around to see if anyone had left it, and decided to buy it since it looked so lonely up there. Moon Knight #1 was written by Doug Moench. The pencils and some inks are handled by Bill Sienkiewicz while Frank Springer also handles some of the inks. The editor for this book was Denny O’Neil, another writer who’s mostly known for working on the Batman books.

Moon Knight #1
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz and Frank Springer
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Denny O’Neil

Tales From The 50 Cent Bin! - Lee Falk's The Phantom #10

Next on the list of heroes that inspired Batman is the purple people-beater (sorry, fans) himself: The Phantom. The Phantom was created by Lee Falk for comic strips in 1936. He’s been branched out to different media over the years. He’s been in serials, novels, TV, and film. He was even used as tribal art in Africa during World War 2... yeah, seriously. The character also has been shipped around the lot of comic publishers. DC even had the rights to him in the late 1980’s. I know I’ve read a couple of the strips. The Tennessean never had that strip but Huntsville’s paper had it when I was younger. I know the character best from the 1996 movie starring Billy Zane as well as a couple of animated shows.

His origin is interesting. In 1536, British sailor Christopher Walker became the only survivor of a pirate raid that took the life of his father. He washed ashore on an African island called Bangella. Its tribe found him and nursed him back to health. He remained there and made an oath to fight against injustice and piracy as the Phantom. The title of the Phantom passes on from father to son over the years. Because of this, the Phantom is believed to be immortal and is sometimes called “The Ghost Who Walks” and “The Man Who Cannot Die.” The current Phantom (the 21st one) is Kit Walker. 

I’m not sure if he could be a direct inspiration for Batman. They do have some things in common. Their origins overlap. They both lost someone to crime, they swore to fight injustice, they’re non-powered, and they use gadgets/weapons. If anything, the Black Panther has a lot more in common with the Phantom which is something I just noticed recently. The Black Panther is a title given out and he is based in Africa.

The Phantom does have one thing that definitely influenced Batman and a lot of other superheroes: Tights. He was one of the first pulp heroes to don a skin-tight costume and that’s become a staple for the superhero genre. The costume is a bit weird but cool. Not many can rock a purple body suit with striped trunks. Today’s issue is from DC’s second series on the character. I found this one in the cheap bins, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It was apparently a pretty short-lived series lasting only 13 issues. Mark Verheiden was the writer. Luke McDonnell handled the art for the book.

Lee Falk's The Phantom #10
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Artist: Luke McDonnell
Colors: Anthony Tomlin
Letters: Bob Pinaha
Editor: Brian Augustyn

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Movie Talk - The Zorro Movies

As you can tell by the title, I’ll be looking at another hero who inspired Batman’s mythos: Zorro. Zorro, aka Don Diego de la Vega, was created in 1919. He first debuted in pulp novels and then moved to other media. He’s just about been everywhere in media. He’s been in TV, film, radio, books, comics, and other things. If you can think of it, he’s probably been in it. His main setting is usually California in the early 19th century before it officially became a part of the USA. He basically stands up for the common man against any tyrannical politicians and overall bad men.

It’s easy to see what Kane and Finger took from the character. Zorro’s a nobleman, decked out in all black, sports a mask, and wears a hat. He also sports a cape, is athletic, and pretty cunning for the most part. His main weapon of choice is the rapier and he uses other gadgets in order to help people. From what I’ve seen of the character (the Banderas movies, an animated show, and a live-action show), he’s kind of a light-hearted guy and we know Batman is far from that these days. The character has also even been folded into Batman’s mythos. In some versions of his origin, The Mark of Zorro was the movie that he and his parents saw on the night they were gunned down.

Instead of a random comic, I decided to look at the more modern movies of the character and see how they are. They were both directed by Martin Campbell. Zorro was brought back to American theaters with The Mask of Zorro in 1998. It was a success back then but a sequel didn’t come until a few years later. The Legend of Zorro was released in 2005 and wasn’t as much of a success. I remember seeing the first one a lot on TV. As for Legend, I’ve only seen it once on DVD. I found both movies for a bargain at McKay’s, so I decided to check them out. What’s my verdict? Find out below.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

TV Talk - Arrow Season 1

Remember when I said I wasn’t done with Green Arrow yet? Well, here are the rest of my thoughts. Since I touched on the character in the comics, I might as well look at the first season of Arrow. I didn’t know what to think when I first heard about the show back in 2012. I was starting to work nights at the time and I really didn’t have the time to tune in. I did watch the pilot on CW’s kinda crappy website. I think the only reason I didn’t keep up with it at that time was because of their crappy website. I did get to watch the third Huntress episode and the finale when they aired fortunately. When it got put on Netflix, I finally start to really watch the show. I decided to rewatch the first season this week.

The creators of the show decided to go for a more realistic world that’s similar to Chris Nolan’s Batman. I do have to say that it works for this Oliver Queen who is a non-powered hero. Unfortunately, they might had leaned too far with that Nolan aspect as you’ll see below. I didn’t really recognize many from the show when I first saw it. I did recognize Colin Salmon (Walter Steele) from the James Bond movies. I knew Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance) from the Dresden Files. I also recognized Dave Ramsey (John Diggle) but I think it was from smaller roles he did. I think he was in an episode of Girlfriends and yeah, I sometimes watched that show since the women looked hot.

Arrow starts out with billionaire playboy Oliver Queen returning to Starling City (why change the name?) after being stranded on a hostile island for five years. He, his ladyfriend, his father, and some other guy were on a boat when a bad storm hit. Everyone except for Oliver died. Before his father died, he let Oliver know that Starling City was corrupt and that he had a part in it. He gives Oliver a book that has a list of people who are aiding in the city’s crime. Oliver honored his father’s wishes in his return to the city. While he tries to put on a show for his family and friends during the day, he dons a green-suit, a bow, and arrows to fight crime as Hood Guy... yeah, they couldn't come up with any good code names at first.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Captain America #314

The next hero on the list is one I don’t know too much about: Kyle Richmond aka Nighthawk. I do know there are a crapload of versions of him. There’s one in the regular Marvel Universe and then there are others in Marvel’s Multiverse. There’s even a black version of the character and I’ve heard he’s a bit of a douche. Today’s version will actually be from Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme. This team was originally created by Marvel to be analogues of the Justice League of America. They were from an alternate universe and they would sometimes crossover with the Avengers. I was originally going to look at the Superman analogue, Hyperion, back in September but didn’t get around to it.

There really isn’t much to this character that I’ve seen. As I said before, he’s a pastiche of Batman. Unlike Batman, he actually retired and decided to go into politics. When he became President of the US, an alien overlord named Overmind took over his mind and eventually took over the rest of the Squadron Supreme. This caused a lot of damage to that world but good eventually won out. Still, a lot of stuff was left ruined at the beginning of the maxi-series, so Hyperion decided that the group should take a more active place in the world by making the it into a utopia. Nighthawk was the only one against it since the team would essentially be forcing this upon the world and leaves the team.

Today, I’ll be looking at Captain America #314, a tie-in to that series. Mark Gruenwald, the writer of Squadron Supreme, also wrote the issue. He was known for a lengthy run on Captain America Paul Neary provided the pencils. Later Superman inker Dennis Janke provided the inks. I also noticed that Mike Carlin is the editor of the book. He later edited the Superman books. I had to throw that Captain America/Superman connection in somewhere.

Captain America #314
Writer: Rob Gruenwald
Pencils: Paul Neary
Inks: Dennis Janke
Colors: Ken Fedunewicz
Letters: Diana Albers
Editor: Mike Carlin
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tales From The 50 Cent Bin! - The Shadow Strikes #1

Today’s character is a bit different from the lot. Instead of an homage/analogue, this character is one of heroes that actually influenced Bob Kane and Bill Finger in creating Batman. The two actually pulled a lot of ideas from then-pulp heroes for Batman mythos and look. I said I had some surprises for this month and this is one of them. That’s kind of why it’s a weird Batman month. I’m looking at characters that may have been influenced by him and characters that helped mold him in what he became.

The first hero I want to talk about today is The Shadow. He was one of the characters that Kane and Finger pulled some ideas from. They even used a Shadow story (“Partners of Peril”) to serve as the basis for Batman’s first story in Detective Comics #27. He first debuted on radio in 1930. The Shadow’s real name is Kent Allard but he does go by different aliases. The one I know of is Lamont Cranston, a rich socialite, and that one was used in the 1994 movie. While I really only know him through the movie, I’ve always liked the look. He has been in the entire entertainment medium like radio, books, comic books, comic strips, TV and film. DC Comics had a few series that featured the character.  Batman even met the Shadow in one issue.

After his stint in World War I, he traveled around Asia for years. He later returned to the US to start a war on the crime in New York City. He has the power to cloud men’s minds and essentially make himself invisible to them. He’s all decked out in a black suit with a cape and fedora. He wears a red scarf and he’s usually armed with guns. Today, I’ll be looking at an issue from DC’s fourth series on the character. The Shadow Strikes #1 was released in 1989.  Gerard Jones is the writer. The art is provided by the late Eduardo Barreto.

The Shadow Strikes #1
Writer: Gerard Jones
Artist: Eduardo Barreto
Colors: Anthony Tomlin
Letters: David Cody Weiss
Editor: Brian Augustyn

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tales From The $3.99 Bin! - Justice League #25

Today, I think it’s time to look at one of the few villains that are similar to Batman. This one is pretty obvious: Owlman. He’s Batman’s opposite from Earth-3. Back in the 1960’s, Owlman first appeared along with the Crime Syndicate of America back in Justice League of America #29. In modern times, the character was made to actually be the older brother of Bruce Wayne, Thomas Wayne Jr. He’s pretty much Batman only evil and sporting an owl fascination. Now, there is another Owlman who’s actually a part of Scott Snyder’s run on Batman, but I’m not talking about that one. I just wanted to make that clear.

Today’s issue is Justice League #25 from 2013. This is another tie-in to the event, Forever Evil. Back in September, I looked at the tie-in that revolved around Ultraman. I know I’ll have to talk about that event one day. Geoff Johns (DC’s Lord and Overseer) is the writer. Pencils are actually handled by Doug Mahnke this time around. The inks are handled by a multitude. Mahnke’s pencils usually get a lot of inkers for some reason. DC probably wanted to get this out on time I guess.They are Christian Almany, Mark Irwin, Keith Champange, and Doug Mahkne.

Justice League #25
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne and Doug Mahnke
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina, and Rod Reis
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editors: Kate Durre and Brad Cunningham

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Midnighter: Armageddon #1

Today’s Batman homage is one I really don’t know much about: Midnighter. Midnighter aka Lucas Trent (if that’s his real name) first appeared in Stormwatch back in 1998 for Wildstorm. He has the dark suit motif and can kick buttloads of butt. That’s where the similarities more or less stop though. He does have superpowers like enhanced strength, speed, and durability. He also has the ability to know what a person is going to do before he does it. He also normally kills his villains which is something Batman doesn’t tend to do. Lastly, he’s known for being of the more prominent gay superheroes. For a time, he was actually married to Apollo, a Superman homage that I looked at in September.

I did have one issue of his (Midnighter #10) that I was going to look at but I honestly couldn’t tell what the heck was going on in it. Seriously, I didn’t get what was going on. Instead, I found another issue that I picked up in the cheap bins months ago. Midnighter: Armageddon #1 tied into an event that Wildstorm was going through back in 2007. Essentially, Void from the WildC.A.T.S. was going around to different heroes and showing them a horrible future that they had to prevent. Christos Gage is the writer. Pencils and inks were done by Simon Colbey.

Midnighter: Armageddon #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Simon Colbey
Colors: Wildstorm FX
Letters: Travis Lanham
Editors: Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tale From The 50 Cent Bin! - Green Arrow #1 and #2

Next up on “Wanna-be Batman Month” (which isn’t a good title since most of these guys aren’t wanna-bes) is a guy who actually started out as a copycat: The Green Arrow. He first appeared in More Fun Comics in 1941. He was obviouly influenced by Robin Hood with the get-up and skills. Mort Wesienger (his creator) even pulled stuff from a movie serial called The Green Archer. The Batman part comes with everything else. He was a rich playboy, had a kid sidekick, and had a lot of crap that was based on his name. Let’s see, there’s the Arrow-Cave, the Arrow-Car, and the Arrowplane. If he also had some Arrow-Shark Repellant and we could call it a day.

He got retooled in 1969 to be more of his own character. He lost the money, grew a cool goatee, and became one of those annoying liberals you try to get away from. By the way, I also run away from the annoying conservatives because I’m just that guy. Anyway, this new attitude and look stuck with him for the longest time until the New 52 where… I don’t know what going on there. All I know is that his book (like most books these days) tends to have rotating teams.

After the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Green Arrow was reshaped into a grittier version of himself by Mike Grell. Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters started that shift. In the mini, Oliver and Dinah (Black Canary) relocated to Seattle, WA and serious stuff happened. His new series after that mini-series kept Oliver in that direction. I picked up the trade Green Arrow Vol. 1: Hunters Moon some time ago. Today’s issues are from that trade. Green Arrow #1 and #2 were written by Mike Grell. Pencils are handled by Ed Hannigan and inks are brought to us by Dick Giordano.

Green Arrow #1 and #2
Writer: Mike Grell
Pencils: Ed Hannigan
Inks: Dick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin
Colors: Julia Lacquement
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Mike Gold

Saturday, December 5, 2015

TV Talk - Daredevil Season 1

Today’s double dose of Daredevil ends with a small look at the first season to Netflix’s Daredevil. When I heard they were doing the show, I was interested. Still, it actually took me a few months to completely watch the show. Hey, there is so much stuff out there for a man to see, so this got put on the backburner. I haven’t even watched Jessica Jones yet. I actually re-watched the show this week in order to give it all another look for this post. Thankfully, the show was so good that another re-watch was something I needed. Oh yeah, I’ll  spoil a couple of things, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go see it. I’ll wait…

Anyway, the show looks at Matt Murdock as he’s building his law firm and vigilante life. He’s not in the standard red costume yet. He’s all decked out in black with a mask covering most of his face. The whole season revolves around him trying to stop the crime and corruption in the New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. All of his crimefighting starts to ruffle the feathers of the one who’s controlling all the crime in Hell’s Kitchen: Wilson Fisk. While Matt is off doing his thing, others like Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, and Ben Urich are doing what they can to help.

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Daredevil #159

Next up for this weird Batman month is a character that’s pretty cool: Daredevil. While I like the character, he’s not one of my favorite characters. I always thought he was cool though. He is also a Marvel mainstay and has been around since the 60’s. He’s also the reason Frank Miller is/was a name. For those who don’t know, young Matt Murdock went blind when his eyes were doused by chemicals in an accident. While he can’t see, the chemicals strengthened his other senses in a major way. He learned to hone his abilities and body to do awesome things. As an adult, he’s a defense attorney during the day. At night, he is Daredevil, a red-wearing vigilante who delivers a certain sort of justice to evil!

His similarities to Batman are few but they are there. They both lost a parent to crime, they experienced tragedy at a young age (going blind isn’t fun), they honed their bodies into fighting machines, and they dress in tights… or armor. Take your pick. They also try to do some good in their civilian lives. While Bruce puts his money towards his fight against crime, he does try to use his money to better the city. He is a philanthropist playboy after all. Their lives also tend to be very crappy though Daredevil takes the cake. One wonders how he has made it this far. The only major difference is that Matt has powers.

Today’s issue is Daredevil #159. I had gotten the first volume to Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller a long while back and this is one the issues in it. I was curious on Frank Miller’s start on the title and I was listening to Dave’s Daredevil Podcast at the time (I need to catch up with that). The writer is Robert Mckenzie. Pencils are provided by Frank Miller. This was actually his second issue on the title. Klaus Janson provided the inks, Glynis Oliver Wein does the colors, and Jim Novak provided the lettering.

Daredevil #159
Writer: Robert McKenzie
Pencils: Frank Miller
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colors: Glynis Oliver Wein
Letters: Jim Novak
Editors: Mary Jo Duffy and Allen Milgrom

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tales From The Library! - Black Panther Vol. 1: Who Is The Black Panther?

I wanted to start this themed month off with a character that I’ve liked but haven’t read a lot of: The Black Panther. He was introduced in Fantastic Four and has been around since then. He’s been a part of the Avengers and has had a few series during his time in the limelight. He was even married to Storm which could have been cool if Marvel did anything cool with it. T’Challa may be the Marvel character who is most like Batman in a lot of ways. He’s rich (Royalty, man!!), he’s a master at fighting styles and tactics, he’s pretty smart, he uses an animal with the name, and he’s lost family members to crime. There are differences of course. His world is much more expansive than Gotham, the Black Panther is a title given to him, he has no secret identity, and he will cross the line in ending his enemies permanently.

Earlier in the year, I looked at a Panther story from the 80’s. I’ve wanted to look for more stories but really haven’t yet. For this character, I decided to once again visit the library and I found something. “Who is the Black Panther” was the arc that revamped the character for his series in 2005. The trade contains the first six issues of Black Panther. It was even adapted into a kind of lackluster animated series/motion comic. At least it had good voice casting. Hollywood director and former BET Pres. Of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin handled the writing duties for the series. Coming in on art duties are John Romita Jr. for pencils and Klaus Jansen with inks.

Black Panther Vol. 1: Who Is The Black Panther?
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Klaus Jansen
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Randy Gentile and Chris Eliopoulos
Assistant Editor: Cory Sedlmeier
Editor: Axel Alonso

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bat-Homage? Bat-Knockoff? Bat-Analogue? Bat-Similarities? Ah, Screw It!

What’s up, Internet? Since the year is coming to an end, I’ve decided to try something a bit different for December. Back in September, I did something different for Superman Month. Instead of just looking at Superman, I looked at the different analogues/homages/ripoffs that were based off of Superman’s world and status. I had fun with it and wondered what other character I could do this with. Suddenly, a Bat Signal went off in my head and I started to look for the many characters that are analogues to Batman.
A bit over-exaggerated in my research. I also think this gif perfectly works when you see something messed up on the Internet.

I had the inverse for what I had with Superman. It got harder when I got to looking. It was pretty easy with Superman. If the guy could fly, have a cape, and stand for Truth and Justice, he fit the role. With Batman, it was a little different. They are out there, but they aren’t as easy to find. Ultimately, I decided to include characters that may not be direct analogues but have enough similarities to Batman. I also have a couple of surprises toward the end. Who are they? Only The Shad… uh, I mean, only I know!

Since I want to look at different characters across the medium, I won’t be including a lot of Batman’s supporting cast here. While they are the first to look at when looking for characters like Batman, I want to look at other characters this time. I may look at one story that features ones like Nightwing, Robin, and others but I’m not sure yet. So, stay tuned. Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Favorites - 14 Favorite Dragon Age Companions

Since I’ve gone through all of the Dragon Age games, it’s finally time to see  who are my 14 favorite companions. The series is pretty similar to the Mass Effect series in that the companions are usually one of the best parts of the game. I love the banter from all of the characters. Some of them even have some good personal missions that add a lot to their character and the game as a whole. Some are even some good companions to have in battle. These are just some of the traits I look for when choosing these favorites.

The only thing that kind of sucks is that you don’t get a lot of companions that stick around in the games. Since the lead character tends to change, you usually get stuck with new characters. Within the Mass Effect series, you’ll get holdovers like Garrus, Liara, and Tali along for the ride in all three games. You would even have former companions around in the trilogy somewhere.  If you’re wondering, Fenris won’t be on here. There’s only so much mercy I’ll give and I won’t give it to the mage-hating, mopey, depressing elf. I’m going with 14 since there are a lot of companions to choose from this time around.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Favorites - Top 10 Cover Songs

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about anything related to music, so here’s something a little different. For the longest time, songs have been covered by other artists. Whether it’s for TV, a random artist, or some random bloke on YouTube, just know that they are out there. For this list, I’m pretty much talking about covers by professional artists. Let’s just leave the Glee stuff out of this. What was the appeal of that show? Anyway, most if not all covers are pretty inferior to the original. There are a lot of examples out there. Then, there are some that are pretty decent but still aren’t as great or memorable.

Today, here are some of the covered songs that I think are as good or are greater than the original songs. It’s not in order and I’m leaving it at ten. There are other songs out there but I have to cut it off somewhere. I was curious in seeing what songs were covers and a couple actually shocked me. I’ll include links to both the original and cover so you can make up your own mind.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Random Thoughts #39 - Wisdom Teeth... Who Needs Them?

Well, I’m in tonight.  I cracked one of my wisdom teeth a couple of weeks ago, so they came out today. Kids, don’t put something like this off for a year. There was no way I could go to work post-procedure. It actually has gone on well so far. There’s just some bleeding and pain. Other than that, it’s been an okay week. God’s good, work’s good, and women…well,  I’ll find one.  I think it’s time for some Random Thoughts.

Complaints, Itching, Moaning, Whining… Whatever
Is it just me or is the Internet have a lot of whiners? I mean, I know they’re out there. Heck, I’m one of them sometimes though mine are aren’t fricking annoying. It seems like it’s got worse for some reason. You go to one place and you see someone complaining about the new Star Wars movie. You go to another place and see someone getting irate about some red cup at Starbucks. You find another place that talks about guns, immigrants, and poultry. Then, you go over to another place and see someone complaining about how other people complain about sh…. Oh. Anyway, I’m just tired of it all. I do get that there are really important issues that need to be addressed, but everything under the sun doesn’t need to be whined about. Maybe we all need a break from the Internet or something.

Well, I did it. I decided to finally go all out for Halloween. Usually, I’d just do a ninja get up and throw on some black clothing. This time, I more or less did the World War 2 version of Captain America. In other words, I was going to go save Bucky. I even made my own shield from tape and cardboard. I ended up hanging out with a friend who decided sort of dress up as Storm. Deitra, if you actually read this, I just wanted to say good job. I had a fun time overall. The shield actually kept up throughout the night. I now have something I could use at a convention if I ever go to one.
Ran into a female Joker at the comic shop. A weird but nice team-up.

Star Trek back on TV? Sort of...
Now this was a little interesting to hear. CBS is apparently going to make another Star Trek show. I have to say that it’s about time! Seriously, if there’s one place where Trek can be done well, it’s on TV. While I liked the newer movies, I have to admit that they aren’t the best of Trek by a long shot. Unfortunately, the show (which is supposed to appear in 2017) is supposed to air on CBS’s All Access site. I don’t know how that will work out with me or anyone. All I can hope is that it’s well-casted and good. A friend of mine actually has who she would want to be on there and it’s not a bad list.

Batman Homage Month
Now this is something I’ve though long and hard about. At the end of September, I thought about doing a month where I’d look at heroes that are analogues to Batman. I’m running into a little problem with that. It’s pretty easy to see who was an analogue to Superman. With Batman, it’s kind of hard to see who fits his modus operandi. I know there are characters out there, so this will be a challenge to do. So, look out for something in December.

Well, that’s all I have today. I recently heard about the attack in Paris, so keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They’ll be in mine. Peace, God Bless, and please be careful out there.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"It's a Video Game!" - Dragon Age: Inquisition

Well, I’m back with the next game in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Inquisition. The game was released during November of 2014 on current-gen consoles, next-gen consoles, and PC. I ended up getting the game in 2015. I guess it was during July or August, I’m not sure. I do know one thing: man, this game’s long! The world has been expanded in a big way. I put in over 80 hours of gameplay on it. I haven’t played any of the DLCs yet. I can’t play two of them since EA decided to be money-grubbing idiots and have them exclusive to next-gen consoles and PC. Leaving my PS3 out... yes, I’m still bitter on that!

DAI takes place sometime after the events of Dragon Age 2. Mages and Templars went to war with each other in the land of Thedas.  The game starts out during a botched attempt at a truce between the warring parties. Something happens that causes a Rift in the Fade and demons begin to show up in the real world. You play as the Inquisitor (in my case, Michelangelo… yeah, I named my guys after the TMNT), the only survivor of the truce. You are marked with a piece of the Fade so you are able to close the portals. You get drafted by the Inquisition, a long-dead group that has been reformed by different and familiar faces in Thedas. The main goal is to find out what has caused the Rift to appear in the sky and to help heal the land from the various wars that have cropped up.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Movie Talk - The Rocky Franchise

A bearded Stallone is always epic!

I think it’s time to “take you back” and look at a strangely still running franchise: The Rocky franchise. Yes, it’s technically still going since we’ll be getting a spinoff called Creed in November. It looks like it could be good and I’ll probably check it out. My memories with the series goes back to about either Fourth or Fifth Grade. Someone rented Rocky III from somewhere and after I saw that, I got to see the fourth and fifth movies. I saw the second movie next.

 I actually saw the first movie when I was in high school on Turner Classic Movies. I don’t know how that worked out like that. I didn’t watch the sixth movie (Rocky Balboa) until about a few months ago. I just never got around to seeing it till then. Over the week, I went and watched the first five movies on Netflix. I’d re-watch the sixth movie, but the DVD got misplaced somehow. So, sit back ‘cause I’m going the distance… I’ll stop the with the quotes now

Friday, October 23, 2015

"It's a Video Game!" - Dragon Age II

So, Dragon Age 2… what to say, what to say. Well, I guess I can start out with the basics. Dragon Age 2 was released in early 2011 by Bioware. Electronic Arts (EA) was surprised by the success of the first game, so they got Bioware to churn one out. I heard a lot about this game years ago and it wasn’t exactly good praise. After I finished off DAO, I looked for DA2. I have to admit that I was a little timid with how this game would be. Were most people right about how lackluster the game was? I’ll let you know below.

DA2 takes place over the span of a decade. You play as Hawke (in my case, Leonardo Hawke), a human who flees with his family to Kirkwall during the Blight in DAO.  In Kirkwall, Hawke makes friends and enemies while trying to make it in the big city. When Hawke makes it big, he’s labelled as the Champion of Kirkwall. He/She also has to deal with the growing tensions between the Mages and Templars as well as other tensions between other races.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"It's a Video Game!" - Dragon Age: Origins

Well, this was a long time coming. A few months back, I told ya’ll I got a bit preoccupied with a series called Dragon Age. It took a while but I was able to more or less finish the series as it is now. I’m not big on fantasy games like these which is probably why I didn’t play the first game when I got it. I’ve played Oblivion and Skyrim but that’s about it. I bought Dragon Age: Origins on a whim a couple of years ago but I didn’t start to play it heavily until June. I guess something finally clicked or I was pretty bored. I had so much fun with it I decided to check out the rest of the games in the series.

For those who don’t know, the Dragon Age series was developed by Bioware. I looked at their other successful RPG series, Mass Effect, back in May. I guess the best way to describe Dragon Age would to say it’s like Lord of the Rings but much darker. You have humans, elves, and dwarves, but there are also more heavy issues in the game like slavery, racism, and bigotry. It takes place in the fictional land of Thedas. The plan is to basically talk about the three DA games that are out there. Instead of doing in one post, I’m splitting this up since I have a lot of stuff to say. Today, I’m starting with Dragon Age: Origins (DAO).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

TV Talk - Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Overview

Well, I’m back with my ultimate say on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Basically, all I’m talking about today is what I liked, what I disliked, what I wished they did, and my favorite episodes of the show. Now, did I think this was a good show? Yes, I think it was even when it got pretty bad in the later seasons. I’ll get to why below.

I liked the overall concept of the show where it focused on life at the Daily Planet instead of Superman’s never-ending battle against evil. I thought the main cast was solid for the most part. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher were a good Clark and Lois. While they might not be the best live-action versions ever, they were still pretty good. Lane Smith was a good Perry White while K Callen and Eddie Jones were good as the Kents. While Justin Whalin was okay as Jimmy, Michael Landis was a better one. Then, there was John Shea who played an awesome Lex Luthor.

You had some good villains in there even though a lot of them were subpar. There was Lex, Tempus, a son of Lex Luthor, and a few others. The first season was probably its best season since it had a mix of everything. The second season was about on par with the first season. While the latter two seasons have their issues, there were some good episodes in there. I always liked the theme song. While it’s not the movie theme or even the theme from Superman: The Animated Series, it’s good. It was also fun to see what guest star would show up on here. The show even had some good continuity in the four seasons.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trade Tales! - The Return of Superman

So, I’ve have looked at lot of homages to Superman this month. My next four (yes, four) aren’t homages as much as they are replacements. That’s right, I’ve finally gotten to this part of the Death/Return of Superman story arc from the 90’s. The Return of Superman pretty much contains all of “Reign of the Supermen,” the arc that had four heroes posing as Superman. I’ve already looked at the Death and the Funeral and enjoyed them both. Today, I’ll be seeing how well this stacks up with the rest of the story line.

The trade more or less has every issue from “Reign of the Supermen.” We have Superman: The Man of Steel #22-26, Superman #78-82, The Adventures of Superman #500-505, Action Comics #687-691, and Green Lantern #46. Pretty much everyone from the previous arcs are here on the book. The biggest change is that Karl Kesel replaced Jerry Ordway as writer of The Adventures of Superman. We also have Gerard Jones, M.D. Bright, and Romeo Tangal for the Green Lantern tie-in. So, sit back because this may be a long one.

The Return of Superman
Writers: Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonsen, Roger Stern, Karl Kesel, and Gerard Jones
Pencils: Dan Jurgens, John Bogdanove, Jackson Guice, Tom Grummett, and M.D. Bright
Inks: Brett Breeding, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier, Doug Hazelewood, and Romeo Tangal
Colors: Glen Whitmore and Anthony Tomlin
Letters:  John Costanza, Albert DeGuzman, and Bill Oakley

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - The Adventures of Superman #624

Hello and hello. Well, I have one more Super-Analogue for the month before the grandness of… some four dudes. Anyway, today’s analogue is another one I really know little about: Mister Majestic aka Lord Majestros. He is also from the Wildstorm Universe exactly like Apollo.  Unlike Apollo (who was apparently a government experiment), Majestic is a Kheribum from another planet. He lived on Earth for centuries and was also fought against the Daemonites. I know he had to have been one of the Wild C.A.T.S. at one time. I actually saw him in one episode of the short-lived animated series from the 90’s.

When Wildstorm was acquired by DC, it was decided to have him interact with the then-current DC universe for a while. He was brought in during a story-arc in Superman that involved time shenanigans.  Also, Superman’s missing for some reason. This was right before the “Godfall” arc, so I guess that’s why he’s missing. The Adventures of Superman #624 was where he made his mark. It was written by both Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The pencils were done by Karl Kerschl.

The Adventures of Superman #624
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Pencils: Karl Kerschl
Inks: Renato Guedes and Oclair Albert
Colors: Tanya and Richard Horie
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Saturday, September 26, 2015

TV Talk - Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 4

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Season 4… Where can I begin? I guess I can start off by apologizing for taking so long with this one. It took a while for me to get it. Then, I held off watching it for a while to the point where I just decided to watch and talk about it this month. I have to admit I was a little nervous since the show did take a nosedive in the third season. I thought it might get worse. Well, I can honestly say that… well, that would be spoiling, wouldn’t it?

The final season of the show was debuted during September of 1996. Its last episode aired during June of 1997. I actually do remember some episodes from this season but not all of them. This was when the show started to get moved around to different time slots. I do think my interest in the show had also went down by this time since I wasn’t looking for it during the next TV season. That’s kind of sad for that to happen. I felt the same way about the TV show, Heroes, when it finally went off. Hopefully, its revival, Heroes Reborn, can be good.

Anyway, there were no major cast changes this season. Everyone from the previous season is still here. The season starts off with a two-parter that wraps up the New Krypton business. Then, the two finally get married. DC Comics even had the two get married in the comics on the week this aired. Even though they’re officially hitched, the trouble never stops with time travel, false imprisonments, body-switching, accelerated aging, and PO’ed folk being a nuisance. We also don’t get many villains from the comics again. Lois and Clark also deal with the fact that they may want to have kids one day as well as other marital issues. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Stormwatch #1

Today’s Super-Analogue is another one I really know little about: Apollo from Stormwatch and the Authority. He first appeared during Warren Ellis’s run on Stormwatch back in the 1998 for Wildstorm. He’s known for being one of the more prominent gay superheroes in comics. He was in a long relationship with Midnighter, a Batman homage. If you’re one of those Superman/Batman shippers, this might be for you, I don’t know. When Jim Lee came to DC, his characters came along with them and existed in their own separate universe.

When DC decided to reboot in 2011, they brought along a lot of the Wildstorm characters into the main universe. We had Grifter, Voodoo, and Stormwatch, a team that Apollo is known to associate with. Since I really didn’t know where to start with this character, I picked up the first issue to Stormwatch. Stormwatch #1 was written by Paul Cornell, a guy who I should probably read more of. I enjoyed his time on Demon Knights, another New 52 title. Miguel Sepulveda handled the pencils and inks to the issue.

Stormwatch #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Editor: Pat McCallum

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Astro City #1

Next up on the list is another homage I know little about: The Samaritan from Astro City.  He’s a time traveler who gained his abilities through traveling in time. Kurt Busiek's Astro City is a series that was created by Kurt Busiek In the mid-1990’s. The series looks at a variety of heroes, villains, and regular people in this universe. A lot of it homages different characters from comics. It’s been shipped around to different publishers like Image and Vertigo. I found the first trade at McKay’s sometime ago. I knew about the character and series, so I wanted to pick this up. I actually found an old leaf in the trade and it’s still there now. I guess whoever owned it was a leaf fan.

I’ve decided to look at the first issue in the trade since it focuses on the Samaritan.  The whole trade was written by Kurt Busiek. The pencils and inks were done by Brent Anderson. The colors were done by Steve Buccelatto and Electric Color. Lettering is done by Richard Starkings and Comicraft. Alex Ross was behind the covers to the series and even helped out with the designs of the characters.

Astro City #1
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Anderson
Colors: Steve Buccelatto and Electric Color
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #4

Today’s super homage is a familiar one: Captain Marvel. Yes, I know he’s called Shazam in the current continuity, but he’s the Captain in this book. I and a lot of people knew the difference between the names, DC… and Marvel. I know Marvel also has a Captain Marvel. Anyway, he was probably the first homage/ripoff, debuting in Fawcett Comics’ Whiz Comics back in 1940. He’s Billy Batson, a young boy who transforms into an adult with all sorts of superhuman abilities. Talk about a literal power fantasy.

Because of a lawsuit from DC in the early 50’s, Fawcett had to stop publication of the character for being too similar to Superman. In the 70’s, DC actually got the rights to Captain Marvel and integrated his world into the DC universe. They had his world be a part of the Mulitverse. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character and his supporting cast got integrated into the main DC universe. Today’s issue is Superman:The Man of Tomorrow #4 from 1996. This book was released whenever a fifth Wednesday would pop up. It’s written by Roger Stern with pencils from Tom Grummett and inks from Brett Breeding. So, let’s see what happens as a boy and his wizard come to Metropolis.

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #4
Writer: Roger Stern
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Brett Breeding
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: John Costanza
Separator: Digital Chameleon
Editor: KC Carlson
Consulting Wizard: Jerry Ordway

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Trade Tales! - Irredeemable Volume 1

“Mark Waid is Evil”... well, it has to be someone. I guess Joe Quesada, Dan Didio, Victor Von Doom, Satan, Random McRandomson, and Big McLargeHuge were already taken up by other people.

The final (sort of…) bad boy on the list is another one that I’ve only gotten into recently. It’s weird and maybe even sad because this one didn’t start out that way. In 2009, writer Mark Waid got with Boom! Studios to produce a comic about the world’s greatest hero becoming a villain. Irredeemable was its name and the hero/villain went by the name of the Plutonian. I never really had much interest in reading this mostly because I didn’t know who Boom! Studios was. Also, my wallet tends to do the talking. I did hear about how good the series was. When I decided to do this month, I searched for the first volume and got it for pretty cheap.

Mark Waid, a guy who should have been on a regular Superman book at one point in DC’s history, is the writer. The art is provided by Peter Krause. I have been exposed to some of his work before this and I’ve even talked about it here. He did some fill-in issues on The Adventures of Superman in the 1990’s. I remember not liking some of his artwork there too. I might not say the same about this now though. Ed Dirkshire did lettering and Andrew Dalhouse did the colors. So, let’s see what happens as a hero decides go all Anakin Skywalker/Hal Jordan/ insert any other hero that has gone bad.

Irredeemable: Volume 1
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Peter Krause
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Matt Gangon

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Trade Tales! - New Avengers: Sentry

Next up on the list is Marvel’s Golden Boy: The Sentry. It’s been said that he has the “power of 10 million suns” or something like that. His name is Robert Reynolds and he first appeared in The Sentry #1 from 2000. After that mini-series, he was brought back into the universe in New Avengers #1 from 2004.  I kind of talked about him in my look at the first New Avengers arc, “Breakout.” I also mentioned him briefly in the Blue Marvel post. Both characters have one thing in common: they were retconned heroes that were created in the 2000's. While Blue Marvel had something more relatable (bloody racism) with his disappearance, the Sentry’s story is a bit different and maybe convoluted. I’ll get to that today.

“Sentry” was the next storyline for the book. I had the issues but they’ve somehow disappeared from my collection. I don’t know if I got rid of them or just lost them, so I now have the trade of the storyline. The storyline went through New Avengers #7-#10. Brian Michael Bendis wrote the story. Steve McNiven took over the penciling duties for this arc from David Finch. McNiven is possibly best known for his work on the Marvel crossover, Civil War. That’s something I know I have to look at before the new movie comes out.

New Avengers: Sentry
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Steve McNiven
Inks: Mark Morales and John Dell
Colors: Morry Hollowell and Laura Martin
Letters: Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tales From The $3.99 Bin! - Superman Unchained

In the last couple of years, Superman has gone through some changes with the New 52 and with the whole DC You phase. Don’t worry, folks. I’m not going to harp on about current stuff because I like most of it. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the concept of his identity being leaked (spoilers, by the way), but some of the stuff has been good. As you can tell by the image to the right, I ain’t talking about that today. I just wanted to get that out.

Superman Unchained was a new series released at the time Man of Steel was released in theatres. I think I got the first issue right before I saw the movie and I stayed with the series until the end. The big draw of the thing was that it had Scott Snyder (no relation to Zach Snyder) writing and everyone’s favorite slow artist, Jim Lee, handling the main art. Dustin Nguyen handles some 2-page backups and an extended flashback sequence in the later issues. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be an ongoing series or a miniseries. It was supposed to last 12 issues, but thanks to some slowness in the art, it got stopped at only nine issues. I’m looking at this today because it features a character that’s an analogue to Superman: Wraith. I’ll get to him later down below.

Superman Unchained
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen
Inks: Scott Williams
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Sal Cipirano
Editors: Chris Conroy and Matt Idelson

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tales From the $3.99 Bin! - Justice League #24

This week is going to be dedicated to the darker imitations. T While a couple of these dudes aren’t bad, they do have qualities that are a bit worrisome to others around them. Then, you get to the unrepentant sons of guns. These nutjobs I’ll get to this week don’t care about nice stuff. They’re selfish, psychotic, and all-around not very nice.

First up is Ultraman from DC Comics. He is from an alternate Earth (either Earth-3 or an Anti-Matter Earth) and is part the Crime Syndicate of America, an evil version of the Justice League of America. You got to see some of his badness back in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond. Yeah, he was the version of Superman who was about to pop a vein in every panel he’s in. The original Earth-3 version has recently made a return in the New 52. Forever Evil, DC’s first major crossover in about 2 years (not counting crossovers between the Superman and Batman families), brought back the original group with a few exceptions.

In the event, the Justice League is taken out by the Syndicate. The Syndicate then takes over the world and tries to get all of the villains to side with them. Only a few folk like Batman, Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, and Black Adam are left to stand against the team. The event was okay for the most part, but I might get to that some other day. Justice League #24 was a tie-in to the event and featured Ultraman as the main feature. The man known as Geoff Johns penned the issue. The awesome pencils (yeah, I liked it) is provided by the awesomeness known as Ivan Reis.

Justice League #24
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, and Eber Ferreria
Colors: Rod Reis
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Kate Stewart and Brian Cunningham

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Random Pics of the Month - Favorite Alternate Superman Costumes

I really haven't done this in a minute. While there have been changes to Superman's iconic costume over the years, he's been in a lot of different costumes as well. Today, I'll list (in no particular order) my 10 favorite alternate costumes from the different media. I'm not putting the Man of Steel and New 52 suits on here primarily because those are Superman's main costumes for now. By the way, I do like them both. I also wanted to include variations that you don't normally see Superman wear.

1. New 52 'First Costume' 
While I'm not including the armor on here, I did want to include this one. In the New 52, Clark didn't have Ma Kent to help make his suit, so he had to make due with what he had. For a young, inexperienced Superman, this wasn't a bad start at all. He even had different colored shirts and that was pretty funny.

2. Justice Lord Superman
In the Justice League episode "A Better World", we saw an alternate universe where the League basically declared martial law on the world. Superman adopted a new suit and it was pretty cool. It definitely fit his new outlook on life. He and the rest may had been the bad guys, but you have to admit that they looked good.

3. Kingdom Come Superman
In the story, Kingdom Come, Superman returns from a decade-long exile in order to help shape the world. Instead of sporting his classic suit, he sports a darker suit with a stylized 'S'.  He turned his back on humanity and his suit kind of fits this darker world. It's a cool look overall.

4. Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey Battle Suit
In this story, Superman realizes that Doomsday may still be out in space alive, so he gets a Mother Box and heads out there. During the battle that also involves The Cyborg-Superman and Darkseid (!!!), his suit gets damaged. Mother Box makes him a new battle suit in order to fight Doomsday. While the suit does reek of the 90's, I like it. He only wore it this one time and that stuff came in handy. Heck, considering Doomsday did kill him before, wearing some armor is a smart move. I do wonder hat that yellow thing on his crotch does though.

5. Kryptonian Recovery Suit
When Superman came back from the dead, he needed something to wear into battle. He was pretty underpowered, so he got this piece of goodness. I think I my first comic owned had Superman in this suit, so I've always like this suit. They even had a variation of it on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Icon #10

Today’s Super-Homage is one that I’ve talked about before: Icon. He was created by Dwayne McDuffie for Milestone Comics and was featured in his own title in the early 1990s’s. I talked about him back in February when I looked at a trade that has his series’ first eight issues. He shares some similarities to Superman in that he’s an alien who crashed on Earth and he has a secret identity. The similarities stop there though. Originally named Arnus, he crashed on Earth in 1839 and took the form of an African-American baby. He was named Augustus Freeman and kept his alien heritage a secret for over a century. It isn’t until the 1990s where he (at the behest of a young girl named Raquel) decides to become a superhero and clean up the city of Dakota.

Today’s issue is Icon #10. I did think about looking at an issue where he and Superman actually duked out, but it’s part of a crossover called "Worlds Collide." I haven’t read the total crossover, so this one seemed best. If you want to hear some discussion about those issues, head over to From Crisis To Crisis: A Superman Podcast where they went in-depth with that crossover between DC and Milestone. Dwayne McDuffie wrote the issue. M.D. Bright provided the pencils. Mike Gustovich handles the inks. James Brown (not the singer but that would be cool) and David Montoya handles the colors. So, let’s see what happens when Icon chases after some gangster

Icon #17
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Pencils: M.D. Bright
Inks: Mike Gustovich
Colors:  David Montoya and James Brown (Good God! Hey!... Had to do it.)
Letters: Steve Duturo
Editor: Matt Wayne

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Supreme #41

Next up on the list is a character I know little about: Supreme. He was created by everyone’s favorite 90’s whipping boy, Rob Liefeld. He first appeared in Youngblood and then got spun off into his own title. From what I’ve read online, he had the powers of Superman but not the morality. He wasn’t a bad guy but he was willing to have blood on his hands.  His origins were also pretty incoherent. The guy even went up against Thor and Loki… no, not Marvel’s Thor and Loki. This Thor actually had red hair but no beard.

Somehow, Liefeld was able to get Alan Moore, the bearded dude himself, to come write on the book. Apparently, Moore’s only condition was that he could pretty much ignore what came before with the character. From what I’ve seen online and actually read with those early issues, I can’t blame him. The ones I read (look, they were cheap) weren’t horrible but they weren’t any good either. Supreme #41 was published by Maximum Press aka Awesome Comics and released in 1996. All I know is that Liefeld was over that thing. Moore wrote the issue. Joe Bennett provided the main pencils and Norm Rapmund provided the main inks. There are also some pencils and inks done by Keith Giffen and Al Gordon. I’ll list the rest below.

Supreme #41
Writer: Alan Moore
Pencils: Joe Bennett and Keith Giffen
Inks: Norm Rapmund and Al Gordon
Colors: Reuben Rude
Letters: Todd Klein
Editorial Assistant: Brent Braun
Editor: Eric Stephenson