Posted on: December 30th, 2010 Comically Challenged: The Flash #8

TheFlash8Do you ever wish that you could have a do-over? Something didn’t work out exactly as you had hoped and you just want to try again? Obviously, it can’t happen but it would be nice. You forgot your anniversary? Do-over. You bombed that job interview? Do-over. You spilled an entire glass of orange juice on your original NES? Do-over. Please, please do-over. Now, those are things that a good-natured person would do, but what if you were crazy and evil? What kind of do-overs would you commit? Why don’t we ask Professor Zoom?

WWPZD? He’d kill you. Right where you stood. It doesn’t matter who you are: he’d want you dead. Or he’d just really mess you up in the head. Because he’s a super villain. It’s what he does.

Flash #8: Reverse-Flash Rebirth is an origin story by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. And you’re saying to yourself, “Why in the world do we need another origin story? Is there actually a person out there that hasn’t heard of Wikipedia?” Well, calm down. This is not your mother’s origin story; this is one of the coolest origin stories I’ve ever read. It’s the origin of Eobard Thawne A.K.A. Professor Zoom/Reverse-Flash. But Thawne can go back in time, so he’s constantly rewriting his origin story, tailoring it to his preferences. First we get to see how things originally went down, then we see how he managed to change his history. So instead of going back in time to save that beautiful gaming console, you go back in time to make sure the brother that annoys you was never born. Whoa. Or that the guy that wouldn’t give you a job ended up dying which left his position open for the taking. This is what a crazy person would do. It’s horrific but it’s awesome story-telling. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 23rd, 2010 Comically Challenged: Green Lantern Larfleeze Christmas Special

Most of you know I get the warm and fuzzies around this time of year. Once December 1st hits, I’m living in a world of Christmas movies, music and decorations. Right up until December 27th and I’m ready to move on. But for now, let’s strap on our jingle bells and get this show on the road.

I’ll be right there along with you if you want to argue that Christmas is just an over-commercialized marketing ploy. It certainly can become so. But that’s really an individual thing, right? Just because I’m taking the credit card for a spin instead of making homemade gifts doesn’t mean I don’t know what it’s all about. I can just accept the fact that no one wants my jar of hot cocoa mix. No one. Not even Santa. But there are hundreds of tales that preach “The True Meaning of Christmas”. Including this one.

Larfleeze Christmas Special 2010It’s the Green Lantern Larfleeze Christmas Special one-shot! I reviewed the DC Christmas Special last year (but this year’s special wasn’t any good). So I’m doing the Green Lantern one this year. Tis the season, baby. This little holiday nugget was written by Geoff Johns, art by Brett Booth and a backup story by our friends over on Tiny Titans Art Baltazar and Franco.

Maybe you don’t know Larfleeze. Maybe you just like reading the sweet, sweet postings of this comic book reader. Bless you, kind person. Remind me to give you a kiss. Larfleeze is the only Orange Lantern. The Lantern of avarice. Or “greed” if you don’t want to be pretentious. He’s a furry muppet-like creature created by Geoff Johns. He lives in a dump. He’s got a little buddy Glomulus (actually a lantern construct that was once a living creature) and he’s just a goofy character.

He gets wind of this new all-knowing, all-seeing Guardian named Santa. He writes his list, he tried to be good all year, he’s left some cookies as a barter for the presents, he’s ready for some gifts. And Santa doesn’t come. That’s right. Santa has denied him his material possessions. And Larfleeze goes on the hunt. After a couple of parade and shopping mall debacles, Green Lantern Hal Jordan shows up and tries to show Larfleeze the true meaning of Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 16th, 2010 Comically Challenged-Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513

BLAPMWF513_DC11_LRI’m not a big fan of Black Panther. His whole secluded high-tech village of people with a bunch of resources just never quite connected with me. He’s all high and mighty, super secretive. He’s kind of an asshole. Now, before this gets turned into something racial, I’ll have you know that my BEST friend is a panther. So there.

I do, however, like Daredevil. Did. Before he went crazy. Most recently. So, naturally, I figured I’d give the whole Man Without Fear title a chance to change characters. Matt Murdock has moved on and passed the Hell’s Kitchen guardian torch to T’Challa.

So David Liss is writing while Black Panther assumes a new identity and patrols the street at night.  First of all, his way of getting in touch with the land and the people of Hell’s Kitchen is to manage a restaurant? Look, Buddy, I work in the service industry. If you work around these people long enough, you’re going to want to kill them. There’s only so many times you can handle taking somebody’s food back. But he doesn’t care, he’s hunting down a Russian mob boss named Vlad and he’s fighting small crooks to get to the man.

The book fell flat. The “Big Bad” is very stereotypical. Poor immigrant kid made it good in America through crime and becomes a mob boss. The opportunity comes up to run this town and he’s going after it because he’s got the world all figured out. A regular rags to riches story. But dis new guy’s on da street and messin’ up ah plans, see? (Not a very Russian reenactment, I know.)

We kind of get to know T’Challa’s neighbors but not enough to actually care about them. Then one of them gets killed off by Vlad. And who cares? Well, obviously T’Challa seemed to but I sure didn’t. Two meetings in a stairwell does not really make me want to storm the Russian gates with Black Panther. Couldn’t we have waited maybe an issue to make some kind of attempt at emotional connection? Guess not. Now all I can think is maybe that guy should have taken T’Challa up on his self-defense offer. Liss might have this planned out to be one giant emotional roller coaster of interpersonal relationships and this is just the tip of the iceberg. That may happen, but I doubt it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 15th, 2010 Bah-Humbug! Xmas Movies & Specials For The Rest of Us

jack-frostHola lords and ladies! I know it’s been a while since we’ve last chatted, personal commitments and novel work have kept me pretty busy over October and November. Before I hunker back down into novel-mode I thought I’d put out one more e-soapbox rant for you all to enjoy!

We’re quickly heading into the holiday season, oh joy. Nothing fills me with more dread, bile and hatred than the madness of the holiday season. The only real respite is the seasonal movies that can take some of the Xmas rage away. But I’m not talking about ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’, movies and specials so disgustingly sweet they make your teeth fall out of your head. No, the following list of holiday movies are for those of us that had our hearts shrink five sizes. Lords and Ladies, I faithfully submit for your enjoyment:

The list of Christmas movies and Specials for the cynic!

1) Santa’s Slay – Wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as a Santa Claus that kills people! The story goes that Santa was a virgin birth produced by Satan and Christmas was a ‘day of slaying’ for him until he was defeated by an angel in a curling match in 1005 and forced to deliver presents to children for the next 1000 years. Well, time’s up on the agreement and Saint Nick goes on a killing spree! It’s up to a crafty kid and his smart-assed grandfather to find a way to bring him down. Any movie that has Santa’s sleigh being pulled by ‘hell-deer’ is worth watching in my book!

2) Black Christmas – This proto-slasher film was directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story) and starred Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and John Saxon as a group of college students face off against a deranged serial killer that lurks in the attic of their sorority house. This is the story where the now-infamous ‘the calls are coming from inside the house’ trope in later horror films would come from. It even goes against the much later horror stereotype of the virginal college student surviving to the end, as the lone survivor was pregnant and was considering having an abortion. Watch this one with the lights on people!

3) Jack Frost – No, I’m not talking about that Michael Keaton vehicle about the dad who is reincarnated as a snowman to be with his son on Christmas. This Jack Frost is a serial killer being driven to his execution when he is in an accident involving a truck carrying genetic material, mutating Jack into a killer snowman! Featuring the ‘acting’ debut of Shannon Elizabeth, this heckle-worth film will keep you laughing all night long!

4) Dennis Leary’s Merry F*ckin’ Christmas – This one’s really self-explanatory. Dennis hosts a holiday special featuring Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s comic brother), Carmen Electra asking for donations to ‘Tits for Tots’ and The Barefaced Ladies singing holiday classics. This special is always a must-see for me!

5) Die Hard (and Die hard 2) – Yippee-Ki-Yay motherfucker! Bruce Willis’ star making turns as Det. John McLane are the perfect holiday movies! You have terrorists, guns, explosions and Reginald Veljohnson (Carl Winslow from ‘Family Matters’)! What more could you possibly want out of a holiday film!

There you have it, my list of holiday classics to watch with a nice bowl of popcorn and a hot chocolate. Alright lords and ladies, time for me to get back to novel-writing, so this’ll be it until the New Year.

Happy Holidays from Giant Killer Squid and the Asylum!

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Posted on: December 3rd, 2010 Comically Challenged: Heroes for Hire #1

I have always wanted to be the proverbial Guy In the Van. No, not the creepy, “Hey, kids-I’ve got some candy in my van” guy. The guy with all the tech that hacks into security systems and gets intel for the operatives in the field. It’s like being one of the most important members of the team without the risk of being shot. But now that I think about it, I guess I don’t really want a van and I certainly don’t want to be a guy. Well, that whole intro went to shit…

Heroes for Hire AnnouncementMarvel’s Heroes for Hire is a pretty sweet premise. Need a superhero to help you out? If you’ve got money, they’re there. If you don’t, that’s okay because I’m sure you’re a good person that’s just fallen on hard times.

It all started with Powerman Luke Cage and now it’s evolved all the way into Misty Knight behind computers and communication systems calling in favors and hiring new help. It’s like Birds of Prey, only guys are allowed and it has 100% more afro. (Yes, I know Hank Hall is considered a BOP-don’t go correcting me).

So in the latest reboot of HFH, Misty’s the guy in the van and has recruited Falcon, Black Widow, Moon Knight and Elektra to stop a shipment of illegal narcotics from messing up the streets. But where is Misty getting her leads from? A strange and mysterious voice. Weird thing is, we totally get the voice’s reveal at the end of the issue. And it’s the first issue.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning sure don’t bother burying the lead. And why would they? If Marvel Cosmic taught me anything, it’s that Abnett and Lanning know how to write a damn fine comic book. If they want to give me a big reveal right in the first book, then I’ll happily take it. For the most part, the first issue of any book is a lack-luster book. You get the setup of the characters and the story and wait for the end of issue 2 or even 3 to hit anything of substance. Not with these guys. Now the story actually has to go somewhere. Whoa. Read the rest of this entry »