ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
So he's "only" a supporting character, but who wouldn't need an icon or two of a cute, geeky and gay ex-supervillain?

Piper icons! )


Apr. 15th, 2004 21:55
ratcreature: WTF!? (WTF!?)
Did you ever want to see Dick Grayson in a curly, blond wig? No? Me neither. Not that this stopped the creative team of Flash #142 from doing just that. But the whole next page with Wally and Dick is great friendship stuff (though you'd think Dick knew how to fasten a wig so that it doesn't shift just because of a hug), and I like that Dick is Wally's best man.

Also, Wally & Linda preparing for their wedding: so very cute and adorable!!!

Still. The Wig.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
I've just read Flash #136-138, "The Human Race", and the plot is kind of bizarre-- and not really in a good way either, more like "bizarre" as in "ludicrous": some ultra-dimensional highly evolved alien gamblers make Wally race a being from another planet, threatening to destroy the looser's world, and Flash's opponent in the race is a lifeform made from radio waves and also happens to have been Wally's "imaginary" childhood friend with whom he talked through a radio. ... Yeah it doesn't make much sense to me either. Did I mention that over the course of their race on a four dimensional track they travel through a black hole, go back in time, meet blue cavemen (who actually are Guardians of the Universe way back when they were still hunters) and some dinosaur, run through exploding Krypton... and it only gets totally incomprehensible at the end. When he saves that whacky radio-wave world along with earth by tuning all of earth's radios to their frequency after he gambled with the alien that they leave earth alone if he travelled faster back to earth than their instantaneous signal (not that "instantaneous" makes much sense in the first place if they travel through both space and time, but whatever), which he did with enough time to spare to do the fiddling with the radios.

But anyway, what I really wanted to say was, that it's really cute that Wally as a kid had a USS Enterprise model in his room. So Wally wasn't just a Flash geek. And his line at the end when he talks with those fourth graders "Linda and I are enjoying a state of mutual cohabitation... although if the principal asks, I'm not endorsing that lifestyle, okay?" was fun.

Though I guess it's more a sign of my current state of being completely smitten with Flash-love that I'm looking at the positive in those three issues.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
So my Easter-time Flash binge reading continues, and I found this costumed criminal in Flash #130, The Fashioneer ... No really that's his name, and apparently fashion houses pay him to use his "time power" to "send styles back in time so that designers can get a jump on their competitors." And okay, I find it odd that he wouldn't simply get game scores or lottery numbers for himself, but what I am really wondering is, what kind of fashion house would trust someone dressed like that to pick out the successful styles from the future collections he sees?!?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Am I the only one who finds it oddly amusing that in Flash's suit the Justice League call-button is located between his belly button and his crotch? (the panel is from Flash #127)
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
...just not not right now. Ahem.

I've finished reading Dead Heat (Flash #108-111 and Impulse #10-11), and overall I enjoyed it a lot, not at least because I like stories with the speedforce playing a prominent role, however one thing bugged me: The way the speedsters talk about Johnny Quick's suicide made them sound like one of the more disturbing cults out there. I mean it's great for them that they're so sure of their afterlife, but still-- when Jay tells Jesse who mourns her father "Your father was a fine man... and, god, I'm going to miss him. But be glad for him, Jesse. After a lifetime of living in darkness, he finally saw a light that took him in and made him whole." (quoted from Flash #111) --it somehow bugs me. It's not only how content they seem to serenely seek out and embrace their death (joining with the field or not, they are still dead) when they feel their time has come, because the speedforce calls to them, which is vaguely disturbing to hear from people who are not terminally ill or in a lot of pain (which are the only circumstances I have encountered that sentiment), it's also that apparently to have their desired afterlife, they can't just wait for dying of old age in their sleep, they have to die through their form of ritualized suicide, by running as fast as they can, and then if they're lucky enough (or favored by the speedforce, or whatever), they can join with it. Which is what reminds me of some wacky cults who tell their members they have to kill themselves in some specific fashion to get into heaven.

I mean, I've been wondering whether in the aftermath (i.e. the funeral in Flash #112) the other speedsters told the assembled heroes that Johnny Quick didn't really die in the fight, but decided to join the speedforce because he "finally saw the light". It doesn't seem that way-- at the funeral Johnny's ex-wife Libby (the retired Liberty Bell) is grieving and fairly bitter, and blames it on the costumed adventuring that he's dead. It seems she assumes he died because of the fight. I assume the speedsters must have told her something about why they are so certain he's not going to reappear, because otherwise I have a hard time how anybody in the DCU would accept someone as dead without leaving a body behind this quickly, just because he apparently disappeared in a big boom of lightening.

I now want to know much of this stuff the speedsters share with their team mates, and what those team mates think of this. I mean I can't imagine that their views on this go over well with everybody.

Another thing I'm ambiguous about is that in Dead Heat we get to see Wally inside the field, which on one hand is cool to see, on the other hand I liked that it was left open and mysterious in Terminal Velocity, and in a way seeing it on page this time, made that less effective. However it's still a really cool sequence in Flash #111 (page 15, 16, 17/18, 19, 20), not at least because even though Wally is in (or at least only one step away from) nirvana-like bliss, he still has a sense of humor as he brings Savitar to join the other speedsters: "And the certainty that all those who have journeyed here before me take care of their own... however they must. So long Savitar. Learn to play well with others."
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Who comes up with these kinds of "supervillains"?? Okay, so they're called "Rogues" in Flash comics, but still -- Rainbow Raider?!? (also notice Trickster's fearsome rubber chicken, which I suppose could be some kind of deadly weapon in disguise with Trickster, and yet, it looks very silly nevertheless)

And just when thought that this had to be a low for villain names, I get introduced to one called "Crazy Quilt". WTF?

In case you're wondering, where I came across these... um... colorful characters, I'm reading Underworld Unleashed.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
I've just read Flash #106, and I'm wondering, this James guy who's with Piper, when they and Linda meet for lunch, is he Piper's boyfriend? And who is he anyway? (When Piper says to Linda that he's no expert on relationships James interjects "Oh, I don't know..." and in this conversation it seems he and Piper share a house.) And who is he anyway? I couldn't find a James on the main site I use to look up Flash info, besides James Jesse, the first Trickster, and that guy looks very different, e.g. Trickster I has long blond hair.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Last night I've read the Terminal Velocity arc and the issue after, dealing with its fallout, i.e. Flash #95-101, and when I went to bed I had this thought about how Flash's experience is in a lot of ways similar to Animal Man's (first) death and rebirth through the Red in the Flesh and Blood arc in Animal Man #51-56. Since then I looked at the Animal Man issues again, to write this entry -- it's been a while since I read them -- and it wasn't quite as parallel as my half asleep brain thought, mainly because Animal Man recognized his "power field" before his first death, also Buddy is less able to hold on to his previous personality, while Wally manages to push his new insights into his subconscious. But I still think their "near death experience" stories are similar in a lot of ways, because totally different superpowers work on a similar structure, which I find neat. Also I think it's interesting how differently they and their families deal with these things.

Now, it's not exactly uncommon that superheroes die only to come back, whether through magic, some cosmic entity, timeline anomalies, or whatever plot device is en vogue then, however I think that both Buddy's and Wally's experiences stand out. Not only because they both come back changed and actually remember things (while sometimes superheroes don't remember and don't change much, it's not that unusual that the death/resurrection plot is used to tweak or change the character's powers), but also because both do it by themselves -- through discovering a deeper connection to the source of their powers, i.e. the "Speedforce" for Wally, "The Red" (a.k.a Morphogenetic Field) for Buddy. Subsequently that "rebirth" and with it their new awareness of their respective "field" changes their powers, ends up being a spiritual experience for them (though some will get more extremist about it in the long run than others, I mean it's not like Flash has founded a Speedforce church -- I hope *g*), and also leads to tension in their relationship to their "normal" spouses who remained behind and didn't share that revelation. Even though for both their wish to stay with their loved ones longer, and to protect them, was their primary reason not to surrender to the field, but to cling to life and come back.

a more detailed look at this, cut for lengthy quotes about the Speedforce and The Red, and their nature )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Right now I'm reading the Flash story that introduces Impulse, and in Flash #94 we get this bit of Flash's internal monologue, which for some reason really amuses me: (for context, Wally just wondered how Bart managed to go through a wall, also he wants to stop him.)
"The kid's got no more idea than I do. He's scared out of his mind-- and wound tighter than Madonna's underwear. At this speed, it's all I can do to hang on to him-- and pray I don't look up to see us skidding through the streets of Gotham."

Heh. Here weird snake-ninja assassins just invaded his home and tried to kill his family, he has to deal with Bart and the reappeared Iris, but he worries he might end up in Gotham... Clearly some things intimidate more than others. *g*

ETA: The "[...] she thinks too retro. I don't do sidekicks." line isn't bad either.
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
I think the primary reason why there's so little personal stuff in this blog is because inertia rules supreme in my RL and it would be really, really boring if I were to write at length about how the most activity-like thing I've done the last days was to try out the bread baking machine my siblings got me for my birthday last Sunday (in short: bread is really much easier to make with such a machine, and it turns out better too). Also it's kind of embarrassing. Ahem.

But on to more interesting topics, namely: Comics!

Birds of Prey #62-65 (written by Gail Simone, pencils by Ed Benes and Cliff Richards, inks by Alex Lei)

So far I enjoy the Sensei & Student story a lot. I like how Simone writes the characters, but I like even more that the story has me hooked with its plot. I want to know how it turns out, there's plenty of suspense: the as of yet mysterious threat/attack Oracle's computer system faces is creepy, I'm curious whether Black Canary will accept Lady Shiva's offer despite her apprehension (btw [livejournal.com profile] kerithwyn has put up some scans of Dinah's nightmare of the consequences of accepting), I like the plot with Chesire and the senator... Also I'm really starting to like Lady Shiva, and I gained at least some appreciation for Chesire. In the unlikely event that anyone even remotely interested in these characters isn't getting this, IMO you really should.

Batgirl #48-50 (written by Dylan Horrocks, pencils by Rick Leonardi, inks by Jesse Delperdang)

Horrocks doesn't quite write Batman like I see him, however I really like the art team, and I'm shallow enough to enjoy pages and pages of fight scenes when they're done like this. The story about the improved Soul drug made from corpses is kind of wacky, IMO, and I'm a bit dubious about Batman's tactic of fighting as therapy, though I guess I can see him act like that if I squint a little, especially if he was partly under the influence of Soul-- I have a hard time seeing how he would cause a huge explosion on a bridge with all those innocent bystanders otherwise, and I hope Bruce Wayne is going to make some generous donations or something to make up for blowing up a bridge to fix Batman's relationship problems. As many others have noted the Batman/Batgirl smiling and cuddling gave us some weird visuals. Though #50 had some good lines, like Barbara to Batman after he explained his "therapy": "You're crazy." Batman's reply: "So they say. But it works."

Flash #80-83 (written by Mark Waid, pencils by Mike Wieringo, inks by Jose Marzan Jr.)

I'm reading Flash back issues kind of randomly and out of order, which probably doesn't help me follow the sometimes convoluted storylines any better, but at the moment I'm just buying those stories of which my store happens to have all backissues available, and this leads to some haphazard selection. This story features Flash's ex-girlfriend Magenta, and reading up on her background just made my eyes glaze over (I got lost somewhere around Raven in an evil form implanting parts of Trigon's soul into her, I guess you just had to be there for the relevant Titans issues...), but that didn't turn out to be that important for the story anyway. The story, "Back On Track", has Wally working together with Kory and Nightwing to fight some intergalactic arms dealers who set up shop in Keystone City, and it was fun to read. I'm missing something of the Titans background causing Dick to have some kind of existential angst, but taking place, I think, around the time when Batman chose Azrael as replacement during Knightfall can't help with his self-doubt either. I thought it was sweet how Wally tries to involve him to cheer him up. Also we get lots of panels with Wally carrying Nightwing piggyback, which no matter how sensible it is, still looks kind of dorky, and IMO alone makes this story worth picking up.

Finally a totally random domestic Superman scan, which I uploaded for my feedback to [livejournal.com profile] corinna_5's funny SV/QEftSG x-over, but which is just so cute that I'll link to it here too. It shows Superman being really sweet, and cooking macrobiotic special dishes for Lois in his Superman costume. (In case anyone's interested, the story the panel is taken from is in the Superman 80-Page Giant from 1999.)
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
I have a question about that Brother Grimm storyline from Flash #164-169 (the one from which I posted the Flash in chains panels earlier), well actually two questions. In #168 at the beginning we see a landscape without Keystone City, because it has been brought to Grimm's dimension Eastwind using, according to Mirrormaster, a mirror as catalyst -- and at this point I'm wondering if I shouldn't have stuck with just Gotham and its psychotic, but relatively mundane villains -- but whatever, so it's been transported/transformed.

But what happened to Central City? It isn't visible either, and we see a vast landscape and no skyline. It's right across the river from Keystone and the river apparently vanished too. Though while they only talk of Keystone City it seems as if both have vanished. I mean, if they hadn't there ought to have been a lot more chaos too, with the cities' economies so closely intertwined, commuters going back and forth etc.

Which leads to my second question. The area is supposed to be a transportation center, also a place with significant industry. Why isn't there more chaos as it suddenly vanished? (whether just one or both cities) And with Flash being trapped in that other mirror universe for what seems like at least several hours or so, why isn't there any investigation being started meanwhile, I don't know, from the government or any of the superhero teams? Is it common to give the local superhero some time to handle these kinds of things so that nobody gets alarmed when a large city disappears unless it takes too long? Or maybe people are used to Keystone disappearing, after all from what I've read once it was gone for over a decade because of some supervillain plot, so what's a day or two with it missing?
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
A little while ago when I talked about reading the recent Flash issues which give Wally a secret identity, I wondered how this worked. I mean beyond the "Hey, let's use The Spectre as a giant plot device that works in weird and quirky ways" level. Like, how did The Spectre do it, and what exactly was the nature of his intervention, etc. And then yesterday I read this essay with an introduction/theory of how Hypertime works, and started to wonder whether you couldn't use Hypertime to maybe make the plot device a bit less whimsical from an intra-universe perspective.

Now, I'm not familiar with The Spectre, but I read about his powers (that link goes to the page for the previous Spectre since the one for the current doesn't details Hal Jordan's powers as Spectre), and that bio lists things like "The Spectre is intangible, can fly, turn invisible, inhabit and animate inanimate objects, and sense the intentions of people in the place where they plan to carry those intentions out. The Spectre knows many secrets of the universe and its inhabitants, though even he is not omniscient. The Spectre can sometimes get glimpses into the future, although this is not without great difficulty."

And Hal's powers as Spectre may be different, and probably that has been explored in the most recent Spectre series, but since it's the same Spectre force inhabiting him they ought to be similar, and I have to say that at first glance at least, causing all the changes necessary for this secret identity creation if he does changes only inside the main timeline is hard too swallow. What Hal says in Flash #200 is "I can't raise the dead, Wally. Not in any pleasant way. And like Barry I can't change history. But I can help. [...] You regret revealing your identity to the world. Putting your loved ones in danger. I can't stop that from ever happening--but I can fix it so that from this day forward--no one will remember who the Flash is. No one will remember Wally West is the Flash. No one will remember Barry Allen was the Flash." The Spectre ask Wally to run, and apparently somehow the combination of both their powers controlled by The Spectre made not only the memory changes but also changed physical objects revealing the identity, like that statue of Barry Allen, and I assume that extends to news archives, tv records and the like. Another complication is of course that it is possible to recover the "lost" memories with a sufficient trigger, like Batman researching Flash's identity to find him when he goes "missing," Batman telling Wally he's the Flash etc.

Now, after I read the Hypertime essay, about how Hypertime makes it possible that timelines intermingle, I had this idea. What if the Hal didn't made countless manipulations to the main timeline (though I know the conversation between Flash and Batman in #205 makes it sound like that, but it's not like either of them would be aware what exactly happened), but somehow manipulated Hypertime, making the main timeline interact with a second one in which history really was that neither Flash's identity became known, made them feed back into one another, collapsing both those timelines into the new one. Like the description above says, as Spectre Hal knows a lot about the universe, he also has experience *cough* in messing with time and reality, and while as Spectre alone he may not have the power to manipulate Hypertime, with that knowledge he could have used the Flash's powers in some way to collapse two timelines he's chosen to get a result like this.

With that hypothesis of what he did his statements make more sense. He didn't change the "past" in either separate timeline, but merged the two, ones with very similar events, and with it all people, objects, records, in both timelines merged as well. Since the timelines are so similar, it wouldn't make a difference for most things, so the intermingled objects and people would be exactly like they were before. The conflicting event, i.e. the revealing of Flash's identity, in the new version came from the second timeline. And it helps explain the odd way the memory recovery works too. If you think about the two timelines as intermingling states it makes sense that people know and not know that Wally West is Flash until the final timeline settles, and like an observer makes two superimposed quantum states "collapse" into just the observed one-- like in the thought experiment with Schrödinger's cat-- the confrontation with the previous knowledge makes the person become aware of Flash's identity, and "collapses" the memories into the final version. And maybe whatever it is what intermingles when timelines intermingle within Hypertime can be interpreted in terms of probabilities, so when this superimposition of timeline versions settles into the final one, you could calculate the probabilities of how the final timeline will turn out. Only the probability of that memory of Flash's identity settling into the memory version of the first timeline is much higher if the person worked with Flash and really knew him as Wally, than if there are few and inconsequential memories of public appearances and such.

It still kind of makes your head hurt, but I like that much better than The Spectre doing all the changes to all people and objects directly. This way he would just have to know which timelines to choose from all of Hypertime so that their merging would lead to the desired result (with a high probability anyway).
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
What is it with DC and this dog collar fetish? You might remember my recent posts with the collared Lex and the one before with the bondage-gear Batman... Well this isn't nearly as extreme (but then it isn't from an Elseworld either), but I still wonder why in the splash page/panel from Flash #169 the Flash wears a collar when he doesn't wear one anywhere in the actual story (though he is tied down in a guillotine at the beginning). This continues the habit from the previous issue where again the splash page/panel shows the Flash in far more elaborate chains, than he wears at any time in the actual story.

I mean, I get that Flash looks pretty in chains and all, no argument here, and yet-- somehow I find this weird.
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
I made some Flash icons. The icons from issue #195, #198, #199 and #200 have artwork from Scott Kolins (pencils) and Doug Hazelwood (inks), the ones from issue #205 have artwork from Alberto Dose (pencils and inks). You can see in the filename which issue the icon from. As usual, please comment if you claim an icon, and of course you can modify them any way you want.

30 icons from those Flash issues )
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)
Last night I read the most recent Flash issues, those from #195-207, and I'm kind of torn in my reaction. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the character parts, though of course as usual I was a bit confused by all the people I didn't know. On the other hand the plots make my head ache.

And I don't just mean the ever present time travel stuff, which would be bad enough (I think when I read up on Iris West's background and the whole Reverse-Flash/Zoom stuff to get some idea about what's gone on before, my head just about exploded), though it has some part in it. It's several things, the villains, or rogues as they seem to be called in Flash's corner of the DCU, are just -- I don't know, wacky? -- but not wacky in that creepy and scary psychopathic way I like in the Batman villains (though clearly they aren't sane either). Maybe I have to get to know them better to like them, but still. Then between the time travel, and Hal Jordan (as the Spectre) messing with reality in not really explained ways, I didn't much care about the plot. Although perhaps it might have made more sense if I was familiar with the Spectre's powers, still it seems kind of odd that his choice was to mind-wipe everybody, and alter all records and recollections to "help" Flash, yet apparently doesn't have the power to fix Linda's health to help them. I don't mean fixing the past so that the miscarriage didn't happen (I assume his abilities don't include messing with the past), just heal her, so that she and Wally still could have kids in the future. Since he didn't just alter minds but also physical objects like records, his powers can't just be psychic.

Still I enjoyed to see the Wally West who had forgotten that he is the Flash, and how he rediscovered his identity, and Batman's role in that. I thought the part with Flash and Batman in #205, and how Batman "unlocked" or reversed (or whatever) his real memories before Flash did, because he researched the "missing" Flash, was great. And I see how there is potential in Flash now having a secret identity when he didn't have before.

I think I will at least buy the next Flash issues to see whether I can warm up to the villains Flash fights and the time travel wackiness. That I liked the art teams I've seen so far doesn't hurt either.

Also, it seems like I need to make a general DCU comics icon, since clearly I'm at a point where my Batverse icon and my Superman icon don't cover things anymore. Though what it could show, I have no idea. Possibly my avatar begging for money with a "Will work for food comics." sign, for when I picked up yet another series... Or on a more positive note maybe me being surrounded by heaps and heaps of comics with the text "There's no such thing as 'too many comics'."

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