ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
Since finally #12 of the Justice maxiseries (written by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, art by Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite) has come out I got around to reading the series.

cut for spoilers )
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
A recent post by [livejournal.com profile] buggery reminded me that I still hadn't read Batman: Family #1-8 (written by John Francis Moore, art by Stefan Gaudiano and by Rick Hoberg). So today I remedied that.

It's a good story and I recommend it also. First, it has an interesting, complex crime plot that you can actually follow (though I think I would have appreciated the exposition recaps more had I read it in monthly installments, but even so they weren't tedious, and helped to stay on top of the developments). Second, it included *all* of the Batfamily in a (mostly) organic way into that plot, and it is always great to see all of them relate to each other. Third, all of the main members of the villain group had distinct personalities and there were glimpses of their motivations and backgrounds, while at the same time they remained scary, or very scary, with a dash of disturbing. Several of them were clearly psychopaths, and the rest wasn't exactly sane either, but they weren't costumes, unless it suited them for convenience, they were rational and had goals that weren't centered around battling with Batman. And that made them more dangerous, and scarier.

I mean, Mr. Fun? Made me shiver, how he had those bizarre motivational slogans for better job performance running through his head while he was killing people. And Celia Kazantkakis/Athena is a psychopath but scarily competent, and nearly perfect at passing for normal. I had varied reactions to all of the villains, they read as full personalities to me. There were little details that made them real to me, like that the Technician wasn't just into his techno-toys, but also into Gotham history, especially the history of crime in Gotham (and I liked the kid).

Actually all of the minor and supporting characters worked surprisingly well, they were vivid, without hogging too much attention or storytime, and that made Gotham seem populated with lots of real people besides the heroes and the villains.

I also read JLA: Year One (by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn and Barry Kitson), and that was lots of fun. I liked seeing the early team together, and much to my surprise I even liked this Aquaman. It was also great to see Barry and Hal early in their career rather than as larger-than-life heroes (even if GL was somewhat of a chauvinist jerk, I still like him). Their fights were a bit on the bizarre side, but I suspect that is because the series might adapt/retell their early Silver Age exploits. I haven't read those, so I didn't recognize the stories, but somehow they had that logic-defying feel to them. Like that strange ray gun that took body parts and meshed them together to be controlled by the Brain, yet they didn't die (or were near death) even if half their body was missing, and it was easily reversible too. If their adventures aren't retellings, they certainly are in the same spirit. However those really only serve as backdrop for their personal lives, the developing team dynamic, and the conflicts that come from both, and those parts are very much *not* like Silver Age camp. I felt sometimes a bit lost, for example I have no clue about the Doom Patrol or the Blackhawks, but I could still follow the story.

And not related to any of the above: I looked at a preview for an upcoming Batman Elseworld The Order of Beasts, and can someone explain to me why, if the writer feels the need to have someone shout a German word, he can't look up the proper article? It can't be that hard to go to a dictionary website if you want someone shout "The Bat!" in German and find out that "Fledermaus" is feminine, and put the right article in front of the word. It's not like it's rocket science. It wouldn't aggravate me so, if this kind of thing didn't happen in a lot of cases where the authors feel the need to sprinkle some foreign language bits throughout their comic, instead of just indicating foreign languages with "< >" or similar markers. I've notice butchered French sometimes too (and my French is really bad, so it's not as if I'd even notice less than blatant mistakes), not just German. Often Spanish bits seem a better to me, which could be either because I know even less Spanish than French, or because Spanish is more widely spoken and read in the US, so that in the case of Spanish writers actually know what they're doing. But still it really throws me out of the story every time when the very thing that is supposedly there to make it look/sound more "authentic" just comes across as ridiculous.
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
I tried to look into the Justice League comics, that is post-Crisis but before the current JLA series, to see what prior JL incarnations there have been, and whether any look interesting, etc. and I didn't even get as far as to look up which titles there were before becoming confused. I knew that at one time the team split into Justice League Europe and Justice League America, but what is this Justice League International? And is there more than one of those? And something with the issue numbers is confusing, too.

* Some research (mostly here and here) later. *

Okay, so in 1987 the series started as "Justice League", the members seem to have been: Batman, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary II, Captain Marvel, Dr. Fate, Blue Beetle II, Guy Gardner, and Mister Miracle.

Then with #7 still in 1987, it became "Justice League International", and there were some changes to the team, Captain Marvel and Dr. Fate quit, Captain Atom, Booster Gold and someone named Rocket Red with various, probably significant, numbers ("Rocket Red #7"? "Rocket Red #4"?) join. That series lasts until issue #25. Then it became "Justice League America" in 1989 but the issue number continue with #26, and the new "Justice League Europe" starts as its counterpart and lasts until #50.

Then in June 1993 the "Justice League Europe" starts to go by "Justice League International" but the issue numbers also continue, that being the reason why the issue numbers of the series called "Justice League International" don't match, but go only from #7-25 and #51-68, which are really two different series/teams. In June 1993 another series/team starts, the "Justice League Task Force" and I'm not sure how that team relates to either of the others (but looking at the descriptions that one has Nightwing in it).

As an aside, these various Justice League teams start to look as complicated to keep track of as the gazillion of different X teams and titles from Marvel...

So basically it's like:
               JLA
JL --> JLI --<         
               JLE --> JLI
                      \?
                       JL Taskforce 


Anyway, the new "Justice League International" lasted till September 1994, so I guess Zero Hour had an impact on it? I'm still not sure how the "Justice League Quarterly" title that ran from 1990 to 1994 fits into it. Both the JL Taskforce and the Justice League America series lasted summer 1996. Then in September a "Midsummer's Nightmare" started the lastest JLA series with the Justice League in its current configuration.

I still have no clue which (if any) of these might be worth reading. (I mean, do I really want to know about the numbered Red Rocket guys?) The one comforting thing is that I don't really have to worry about it yet, because I for now I can catch up on the current series first, if I want more Justice League, and that series seems to be straightforward enough, if you don't look at the ton of available specials.
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
I've decided to get over myself and just ignore that huge pile of comics, which I all wanted to talk about at some point, but which is just getting more intimidating, while my recollections of what I wanted to say fade.

Instead I'll just talk about two comics from last week. I wanted to comment on two more (Legends of the Dark Knight #177 and Nightwing #91), but it's getting close to four a.m. here and my head hurts (not from the comics, probably from staring on my monitor too long though).

Gotham Central #17 (written by Greg Rucka, art by Greg Scott)

I have to admit that even after 17 issues I'd still love to have an overview, from something like an SF&O issue, just listing all the cops, their first names, last names, nick names, ranks, and with whom they are partnered. I know I've said this before, and I admit it is getting better, and I like that each arc seems to highlight some character(s) so that gradually we get to know them better -- but honestly, on the top of my head I couldn't list even half of them with full names and ranks. I don't know whether it's my scattered brain, or something intrinsic to the stories, but it is starting to seriously bug me.

This issue also showed the quiet, tedious part of police work rather well, and because of the personal plots interwoven with it, it wasn't actually boring to read, but personally I like some more action. I guess I'm juvenile that way. Though I liked the cliffhanger with Huntress showing up at Vincent's place. See, already I can't remember his last name *looks it up* del Arrazio, Vincent del Arrazio, it's like learning frelling vocabulary in school, I always hated that too. The people writing the "Next month in..." bits also seem to have problems, because there it says 'The action focuses on Detective Azeveda who gets a surprise visit from an "old pal" who just happens to go by the name "Huntress."' when the last panel this issue shows Vincent and Huntress meeting, and I doubt she also knows Josh Azeveda. (And yes, I had to look up Azeveda's first name, because I didn't remember that either.) Finally I think this habit of putting the title and credits at the end should be stopped, I want to see the title of a story in the first couple of pages.

JLA #94 (written by John Byrne and Chris Claremont, art by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway)

After reading a few older JLA issues, and some feeble, in the end futile internal resistance, I've finally resigned myself to being interested in the comic Justice League, and I figured I might as well start getting the new ones. I'm neither a particular Byrne nor a particular Claremont fan (I don't dislike them either, I just haven't read much by either), but a new story is usually a good time to start getting issues, and since DC would want it to be attractive to people into Byrne and/or Claremont who haven't read the previous JLA issues it probably would be enough of a standalone for me to get the story without major confusion, and ease into the on-going JLA. And I was mostly right about that. I mean, of course I experienced the by now all too familiar confusion, like I have no idea who this Manitou Raven guy who (seemingly?) died on page two is, but overall I had no problems.

So a great evil threatens (whatever, I wasn't that impressed with the foreboding, but then generally magic stories are my least favorite, so I'm biased), children with low-level meta potential are disappearing, Batman notices a pattern, the JLA investigates, and Clark gets mind-controlled by some cult (apparently those who abducted the children), and then bitten by its vampire leader. So far I'm not really exited about the story. For example somehow mind-controlled and even vampiric Superman here is much less creepy/scary than I think he could be.

Still it's early in the story, and I liked the art, which in a way was charmingly retro. I think a lot of the "retro feel" is due to the use of thought balloons and additional omniscient narrator boxes, which has become unusual. I mean, if you get internal thoughts, the most common way these days seems to be to have the thoughts of the POV character in the narrative boxes and no thought balloons. Still, I liked the retro. And on the completely shallow side, with my new found Flash appreciation I noticed that Byrne draws a rather cute Wally West (or you can see both the retro thought balloons/narrative boxes and Wally here).
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
I'm a bit late with my squeeing, but watching JL is a lot of fun, and deserves entries, even if I'm too lazy to write them right away.

So, about Wild Cards:
spoilers... )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
For seemingly days now (okay it's just since late Saturday, it feels longer though) I've been seeing all these posts on my flist about Hereafter, more squee, and fic, and discussion than usual after a JL ep, and I can't participate yet, nor do I have any clue what the excitement is about (preferring to remain unspoiled, so please don't say). And worse, so far I haven't found an encode of the frelling episode online in the places I usually get the JL episodes. This sucks. I want to watch it too.

I did however get my comics on Saturday, except for the new Superman/Batman, that I thought was supposed to ship last week, but then again, that might be late everywhere. JLA/Avengers #3 was great, though I definitely need to reread it with some annotations, I didn't have a clue about many of the events that were referred to, especially those in Marvel continuity. I've also got an older comic (well slightly older, from 1998), a JLA Elseworld, The Nail (written and pencilled by Alan Davis, inked by Mark Farmer). It's no secret that I'm fond of AUs whether done by fans or by DC, so I have a soft spot for Elseworlds in general. I liked this one, and I have a couple of comments, unfortunately I'm going to lag behind with posting more indepth comic comments, both on the current issues as well as more on The Nail, (and probably blogging in general) due to obnoxious RL stuff that insists on intruding on my fannish time.

Still I wanted to mention that I'd love to see some fanfiction for The Nail Elseworld, in particular some that explores spoiler for what happened to Clark/Superman in this Elseworld )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
I just stopped myself from posting a totally boring, whiny entry. The couple of paragraphs I deleted boiled down to that basically I'm just incredulous that Monday's already passed in utterly unproductive ways, with me feeling wrung out and demotivated for no good reason -- and how did it happen that it's been Monday again so soon anyway?

Whatever. On to brighter topics! Like the latest Justice League episode:

Spoilers for Justice League Secret Society... )
ratcreature: RatCreature watches tv. (tv)
I haven't managed to get my hands on yesterday's JL episode (yet), but I've watched the last two JL episodes of the first season, Metamorphosis and The Savage Time.

I didn't much care for Metamorphosis, but that's probably more because of Metamorpho than anything else. He's one of the few characters who manage to annoy me no matter what incarnation they come in. At least so far that has been the case. (I have to admit that with mostly encountering him in recent Birds of Prey and Outsiders issues I probably haven't seen him in the best hands, but still.) The King Kong homage was fun though.

In contrast to that I really liked The Savage Time. And that even though time travel stories always make my head hurt. I mean, I wonder if their reality after Vandal Savage tried to manipulate the past really could be the same as the one they left. Okay they stopped the worst, but WWII still went differently than in the original time line. And even if I disregard all the changes in individual lives, a lot of people must have seen transistors, jet engines and all that stuff, even if the laptop itself was destroyed, it's hard to imagine that the events remained without any consequences for technological progress.

Some other stuff I noticed -- apparently I'm too disorganized to write something like coherent reviews, I still want to squee though: ;)

  • Poor Bats, it seems he's doomed to loose his parents in any universe. And I really liked him as resistance leader. Also the scene when Superman tells him he can't promise Batman's parents will be alive in that other universe (glossing over the truth somewhat) was great.

  • As usual Hawkgirl had some great lines, like on the train, when they tumble over each other: "Whose hand is that?" Flash: "Sorry."

  • I assume the couple kissing at Batman's resistance headquarters were Dick and Babs, which was a cool cameo. I wonder whether the boy and girl running through that scene were supposed to be Tim and Cassie, though.

  • I liked that GL got to prove himself without his ring, and how he had to deal with that racist jerk in the unit.

  • I didn't much care for the romance bits between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.

  • I loved that scene when they come back and Superman hugs Batman, and Batman's dry response to Clark's enthusiasm.

ratcreature: RatCreature watches tv. (tv)
That scene in Injustice For All when Superman opens Lex's flyer and is all worried, and shouts "Lex! Lex!" instead of "Luthor" made me smile, and I thought it wouldn't get any better between the two, but then came the Lex/Superman scene in the hospital. And the banter between Flash and Hawkgirl, "Yeah - fastest man alive!" "Which might explain why you can't get a date." -- I wouldn't have expected jokes like that in a children's cartoon. There were lots of good Batman bits in this episode, too. And the Joker was fun to watch. Though I found it a bit implausible that the Watchtower key didn't have any extra security besides being hidden in Batman's belt, but I'll just assume that between Luthor and the Ultra-Humanite they figured out an override.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)
I just couldn't resist the slashy goodness. Or the Flashmobile.

This is the first time I tried to make icons from episode screencaps rather than from comic scans, so I'm still trying to figure things out. Comment if you want an icon, feel free to customize them yourself if you want, or ask me to add text, and I'll do my best. Credit would be nice, but if you usually don't do GIP posts, or list icon creators with your icons that's fine too.

icons with GL and Flash from Eclipsed )
ratcreature: RatCreature watches tv. (tv)
Heh. I'm watching first season JL episodes, and they're a lot of fun. BTW, the quote above is from The Brave and the Bold, and I have to admit that Flash and Green Lantern work great together with their contrasting personalities, which lead to lots of snark.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)
...not literally (at least I hope not) but I've been even more unfocused today than usual. As one consequence of that there have been potential blog posts popping into my head, well more like beginnings of blog posts really, only to never quite reach the stage of sufficient content to turn into a real post. Okay, maybe the lecture about instruments to measure pressure in ultrahigh vacuums wasn't the best time to have really focused thoughts about the latest CSI episode (the one with the furries), but that kind of makes my point. I thought about furries and CSI (and the latest Angel, and old Teen Titans comics, and that obscure fandom secret santa project... you get the idea) instead of concentrating on advantages and disadvantages of the Penning manometer compared to other ionization manometers compared to gas friction manometers, and similar topics. And it wasn't the lecture, since my ability to concentrate hasn't been getting any better further into the day.

Anyway, here are (some of) the thoughts of my "not quite blog posts on their own" I had today, in no particular order:

  • I'm thrilled that [livejournal.com profile] tzikeh and [livejournal.com profile] astolat adapted the popslash secret santa idea for obscure fandoms in their "while we tell of yuletide treasure" project.
    Actually from the list of fandom and pairing suggestions/examples it seems to be a "not the most mainstream fandoms and pairings" secret santa rather than just really obscure ones. And I like plenty of smaller fandoms, so I'm fairly sure I'll get some great stories with fandoms and pairings I like out of it, even though I can't sign up myself with a request. Of course in particular I hope for cool Batfic to come out it.

  • I finally watched last week's Angel last night and was less than impressed. I thought about what more I could say about why I didn't like it, but I think it was mostly because I don't like Lorne that much in general, at least not as a main character, and because I was bored with the plot.

  • I watched the latest JL episode and joined the rest of fandom in the squee. So now it undeniable, I've apparently acquired yet another series I like (and why does this keep happening to me? I'm such a sucker, dangle a shiny thing in front of me, and next thing I know I'm watching cartoons and reading Flash/GL and Flash/Batman slash). So far I've watched all of the second season and the pilot of the first. I actually have a couple of episodes more, but haven't yet found the time to watch them.

  • Finally, about the latest CSI episode, spoilers for Fur and Loathing )

ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I've read the JLA/Titans x-over Technis Imperative, and it was fun though I'm clearly not the intended audience for this one. I'm not nearly enough of a DC or Titans geek to fully appreciate its teeming cast (not yet anyway, I mean it's been only this year that I got sucked into this quagmire fascinating universe). Most of the time I was like "Who? What? Who's that? I think I've seen this one before -- maybe. What was this one's name again? Hey, I know that one at least!"

I mean, how many Titans are there anyway? Okay, I knew there were a lot, but I was sort of overwhelmed by the masses. I knew some (more or less at least), like Kory, Arsenal, Tempest, Cyborg, or Donna and had at least seen some others before, like Changeling, Argent or Raven. But Risk, Prysm, Fringe, Terra, Red Star, Panthera, Wildebeest (and what kind of silly spelling is that anyway?), Damage, Impulse, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Omen, Mirage, Joto, Minion... it went on and on and on. And I was unfamiliar with a number of the JLA people too. I knew Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and of course Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, but Barda, Orion, Steel, Zauriel? It had something of a "Where's Waldo?" book... Should I ever read NTT and familiarize myself with all those people, I'll probably read this one again.

OTOH it sure was more entertaining than to read a list of (Ex-)Titans, and the story conveniently included a way to list all their names, aliases and powers because that moon-swallowing thingie Cyborg had turned into was really into cataloging stuff. And I never knew the Titans had so many different headquarters.

Unfortunately the page layout sometimes made it really hard to figure out the sequence in which to read the panels, which is just bad, because each time I have to stop to think about the reading sequence I'm thrown out of the story.

Still, there were a lot of good scenes, I enjoyed (those where I did know the characters), for example Nightwing butting head with Batman is always fun to read. And at least now I know why Cyborg is golden in the art of The Titans series I've seen that follows this x-over.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Somehow I always seem to end up rather reading yet another comic book instead of blogging about the ones I've read. But I read some really good comics recently, stuff you shouldn't miss, in particular I want to point you to Batman: Tenses #1.
comments on Detective Comics #786, JLA/Avengers #1, Batman: Tenses #1, Gotham Knights #44, Batgirl #43, Birds of Prey: Batgirl/Catwoman and Oracle/Catwoman )

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