Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redirect Redirect Redirect!

Whelp, that's kind of a wrap for Paul and John Review. Kind of. I've joined up with the rest of Halifax's cool comics bloggers at the new home of Living Between Wednesdays to bring totally incredible fun and super good times into the world roughly seven times per week.

It's likely that there will be new posts here from time to time, but nothing especially comicy. Also, it'll probably turn into "John and anybody who feels like it Review", so god knows what you'll see if you choose to hang around here.

Thanks for the good times - see you around!



Friday, March 27, 2009

Review of Medicine, by Johnathan

Just this past Tuesday, I went to the hospital and had two wisdom teeth removed. Several aspects of this process seemed worth mentioning:

Firstly, I was willfully paying several hundred dollars to a man so that he would remove some of my teeth. This seems strange to me now that I look back on it. On a related note, I said "Thanks" to toe tiny radiologist once she had finished x-raying my mouth. This translates to "Thanks for bathing my head with radiation.", which is honestly something I never thought I'd say outside of certain types of RPG.

Secondly, my doctor (who did a fine job) was named Dr Goodday. Not strange in and of itself, but when I signed in I noticed that two of his colleagues were named Dr Precious and Dr Lovely. I have two main theories on this matter:

a) When I used to work at a call centre we heard of another call centre where you were allowed to make up a name to use instead of having to tell random strangers who you were. We were not allowed to do this, which is why Zoltan Hammertooth is not feared to this day among the wireless -clueless of the Deep South
(this is a lie. A friend of mine and a man named Zoltan are currently simulating sex using a series of Facebook applications and roundly disturbing me, and so the name is naturally enough on my mind. I would have been known as Aristotle Conundrum)
b) The Oral/Maxiofacial surgery field has been infiltrated by the Fair Folk. Remember how I mentioned that the woman who blasted my skull with radiation was very small? It is just possible that she was a pixie. Also, Dr Goodday was very tall, which is not in and of itself telling, but it is possible that he had the hooves of a goat instead of feet, and we all know what that means.

The third interesting aspect of the whole experience came after I woke up two teeth lighter. Here's the situation: my girlfriend is out of town and has left me her keys. She lives directly across the street from the hospital. I have brought my friend Yeldarb along as per hospital instructions. Our plan is for him to escort me across the street and into the apartment, where I will spend some time recovering from the Wowie Gas that they gave me. The hospital folk will not hear of this and call me a cab. I feel compelled to apologise to the cabbie and tip him five dollars. He assures us that this is not the shortest distance he has ever been called upon to drive somebody.

Still, I appear to have done pretty well: no bleeding from the mouth, no blinding pain, no (shudder) "dry socket". As far as getting parts of your body removed, the whole thing was JOHN APPROVED.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Part two of that last thing! A long time later! By Johnathan!

I may seem to be in the grip of some sort of late-Winter/early-Spring frenzy of procrastination frenzy but I am totally working on really cool things! With Paul! Also, I'm procrastinating a lot. But with a girl! Which isn't as bad, I think?


Mr Terrific
- Would there even be a Mr Terrific in the Thirtieth Century? Terry Sloane started crime-fighting because he was the very best at everything and was super-duper suicidally bored by it all. But was he smarter than Brainiac 5? A better fighter than Karate Kid? More rolly-polly than Bouncing Boy? No, no and no. I figure that a Mr Terrific somehow thrust into a legion audition would find himself feeling suicidally inferior. He'd probably end up living in the sewers underneath the Clubhouse, eating future-vermin (astro-snakes! cosmic sand fleas! plasma eels!) and writing bad poetry about rejection. And everyone would forget about him until Five Years Later, when he shows up in two panels before getting shot by the Dominion. Poor guy.

Sandman - In contrast, Golden Age Wesley Dodds is just too damn hard to stop for him *not* to get into the Legion. Seriously, I don't know about his solo adventures but in the old All-Star Comics days he was easily the most bad-assed of the normal JSAers. As far as I can figure it, Lightning Lad or someone would have a scary dream about Sandman (and possibly also Sandy, the Golden Boy) punching him in the head and then he'd wake up and go to get a cup of coffee to steady his nerves and then Sandman would bust through the door and punch him in the head. He wouldn't even have a vote - no one would. they'd all wake up one day and Sandman would be just finishing screwing his name-plate onto that big horseshoe-shaped mass podium they have and that would be that.

Spectre - Well, he's got the power, but I don't know if his methods are in line with standard Legion non-homicidal practice. Also - and I know I made a very similar joke about Dr Fate - I think that "as old as time" is a bit too far past the age of eighteen to be ignored.

Starman - Let's ignore the fact that he wouldn't get in in a million years because he gains his power from a Cosmic Rod (and that thing really never did work too well, to tell the truth. It seemed like he lost it or found that it was completely useless about every other adventure) and think about how much more interestingly confusing the Legion would be if he got in. Star Boy! Starman! Together at last! Oh no, here comes Starfinger and Pulsar Stargrave! Aiee!

Wildcat - If his "nine lives" power was in effect, Wildcat would totally get in, but even if it wasn't I think that he would be a valuable addition to the Legion lineup for one simple reason: costume diversity. Essentially, most of the Legion (and a decent percentage of the JSA, actually) are wearing spaceman clothes with some sort of fancy-pants logo on the front. Whither the themed costumes of yore, super-teens? Wildcat, with his right-down-to-the-jowls attention to detail (okay, I haven't actually seen a jowled cat, but there must be some reason for those little flaps) could show those young punks a thing or two about looking good while cracking skulls. Picture brainiac 5 wearing a hat shaped like a brain. Are you delighted? The answer is yes.

Wonder Woman - The Justice Society's secretary, which is kind of heinous, yes. It's not quite as bad in the context of the stories ("We can only have eight members for some dumb reason, but we think that you're cool! Want to be our secretary?") but yeah: stupid. Despite (because of?) all of the bondage, Golden Age Wonder Woman actually kicked a fair amount of ass, and her own comic was delightfully weird. I can't really think of any powers that she has that aren't duplicated by half of the legion membership, though. Maybe having Etta Candy around could count (Etta Candy is the most delightful Golden Age sidekick since Slam Bradley's pal Shorty. So I have decreed). If not, I'm sure that she could get into the Wanderers, no problem.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thinking Hypothetically: The JSA, by Johnathan:

I went to see The Watchmen last night (for the nerd-record: I liked it and think it was a good adaptation but of course have a small voice inside of me crying about how my favourite scene was messed up. All in all, though: JOHN APPROVED) and it got me thinking: which members of the classic Justice Society of America would have gotten into the Legion of Superheroes?

Uh, I said that it got me thinking, not that it got me thinking in a particularly linear fashion. Still, good idea for a not-really-a-review, hey?

So, to set the stage, it's Legion Tryout day, some time after the "one boy and one girl per year" thing was phased out, and this motley crew shows up on the rocket doorstep:

For the purposes of this little thought-experiment we will be considering members of the JSA during their original run, but ignoring Batman and Superman because they were hardly ever in the comic and have had plenty of legion face-time anyway. Just for fun, if someone seems doomed for rejection of a shoo-in for acceptance we might try to think up a situation wherein the obvious might not occur. In roughly alphabetical order:

The Atom: Poor old Al Pratt got to be a super-hero by working out and practicing and never saying die. Despite his short stature he was one of the most effective members of the JSA in a fight. The Legion would've turfed him out on his ear in no time flat. Best Case Scenario: The Atom saves the world while the Legion is busy fighting Doctor Mayavale again and ends up palling around with Pete Ross in the Legion Reserve.

Black Canary: I haven't actually read any of the Black Canary's Golden Age adventures but I'm pretty sure that she was another in the "regular person with a solid right hook" school of crimefighting and that the Canary Cry came later. Still, let's say that she has it for the sake of this not turning into a series of identical paragraphs. Man, sh'd be in there like no one's business. As risque as the bustier-and-fishnets look might have been at some point in the past, it's practically a hoop skirt and bustle by the standards of the 70s Legion. The unbridled lust of Sun Boy alone would propel a flight ring onto her finger.

Dr Fate: Now, I've read maybe the first twenty issues of All-Star Comics, where the JSA made their home in the 40s and, as far as I can tell, the Dr Fate that appeared in those comics was less the magic-wielding champion of Order that we all know and love and more... something else? He seems to talk about being composed of "pure energy" a lot. He still uses magic, though, so whether he could get in is basically a matter of whether the White Witch is already a member, I suppose. Worst Case Scenario: the Legion find out that Kent Nelson is just a regular dude without the Helmet of Fate and have Triplicate Girl toss him out on his ear for gaining his powers from a device. Also, technically, Nelson and Dr Fate are two different guys, and isn't Fate thousands of years old? Not that most of the JSA aren't breaking the "nobody over the age of eighteen" rule, but still.

Dr Mid-Nite
: Okay, I guess the fact that Mid-Nite really is a medical doctor is a cue-off to the fact that he's likely at least in his late twenties. Ignoring that, though, I think that he's got a pretty decent shot. A few judiciously-placed blackout bombs in the Legion tryout chamber, then a demonstration of the ol' patented Charles McNider "seeing in the dark" trick and he would be on easy street. Imagine Dr Mid-Nite, Shadow Lass and Night Girl teaming up to form... the Legion Shadow Squad! Who would dare call that a bad idea?

The Flash: I can't see why the Flash wouldn't get in, given his super-cool super-speed. Time for a Worst Case Scenario: "We're sorry, Flash. While your amazing speed powers might prove useful in a combat situation, we feel that there is a very real chance that if you stopped suddenly your hat might fly off like a discus and decapitate somebody, probably Bouncing Boy. REJECTED!"

Green Lantern: On the face of it, this one's easy, since having to wear and recharge a ring to keep yourself all powered up kind of breaks that one rule about having to have your own powers. Golden Age Green Lantern wasn't so much about firing green boxing gloves or can-can dancers or whatever out of the ring, though, so he might have had a chance. He could fly and was immune to metal (but famously not to wood, which could trip him up if anyone was in a pissy mood). I'd say he has a fifty-fifty chance based on how observant everyone was that day and whether he got to test-fight Ferro Lad or Chlorophyll Kid as his initiation feat.

Hawkman: Not in a million years. Everyone in the Legion can fly and their flying devices are a lot smaller than his and they already have Dawnstar. Best Case Scenario: He manages to convince them that he's a Thanagarian ambassador and gets a tour of the building.

Hourman: One of my favourite super-heroes ever (seriously, I was so sad about him seemingly dying in New Frontier that it took Darwyn Cooke himself to console me and say it wasn't so), so it pains me to admit that he wouldn't have much of a chance of getting into the Legion. Popping a yellow-and-red-striped pill every hour is a bit of a giveaway that you weren't born with super-strength (though making your super-pill match your cape is a pretty classy move, by my estimation). Still, Rex Tyler would make a pretty snazzy addition to the Legion of Substitute Heroes, especially as he would automatically be its most competent (and stylish) member.

Johnny Thunder: If anyone on this list would royally screw up the tryout process it would be Johnny. He'd say "Say, you fellows are tops in my book." and the Thunderbolt would misinterpret that as an order to make everyone spin around until Brainiac 5 vomits Coluan nutrient paste and that would be the end of that. However, Johnny Thunder would have made a fantastic supporting character in the Silver Age Legion adventures. Unlike the competent-but-not-confident Substitute legion, he could follow the Legionnaires around in various attempts to impress them and then fail spectacularly. Big laffs!

It's been a long day! I'm exercising my right to finish this tomorrow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posting, folks. It's not because I've lost interest - far from it. Big things are in the works, my friends, and the ground is starting to rumble.

Hopefully this'll all be a lot less cryptic in a couple of weeks.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century: Review of the Molecular Master, By Johnathan

Ha ha! I have returned, overcoming a month's worth of illness, romance and computer failure to bring you the tale of a plucky little guy by the name of Molecular Master! Here, look at him sitting around in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes No. 201:

Such a good-looking era in Legion art - check out the lovely Infectious Lass and the homely-as-sin Porcupine Pete, as well as those way-cool chairs! I want those chairs, but maybe not in orange.

Molecular master gets to try out third, after Infectious Lass has made Star Boy barf and Porcupine Pete has studded the whole damn place with quills - note their abundant presence above. Which, actually, is kind of gross. I know a few people who would have to leave that room pretty quick-like after they realized that it would be like being in a big pile of toenail clippings or used hair or whatnot.

I don't know how I feel about the Molecular master's power:

That's a pretty old conception of what an atom looks like, MM. I do like the Kirby dots, though.

Also, i think that that might be a carbon atom, which is kind of boring. I just don't know...why does making an atom really big make it all crackly and energy-tastic? are all of my atoms doing that right now? And what does he do with the really big atom, anyway? Split it?

And just why the hell isn't he called the Atom Master, anyway? Gosh darn it, I want scientific accuracy fro my minor Seventies Legion characters! Isn't this the magazine that brought us the Chlorophyll Kid, causing literally dozens of youngsters to know that chlorophyll has something to do with plants? Oh, the shame.

So anyway, Molecular Master makes it through the first portion of the Legion application without anyone bellowing "REJECTED!" at him. Meanwhile, ERG-1 (you know, Wildfire) is roaming the Legion clubhouse in my favourite form, that of a blobby little pink cloud of antimatter. This is his second appearance after seemingly killing himself while saving Colossal Boy a year earlier and he's trying to get back to his uniform so that he can have some limbs again. Sadly, all of the Legion's technology seems designed to make life difficult for blobby pink guys and so:

He tries to possess the one person on the premises who isn't covered in Legion tech. But what horrible secret does the Molecular Master conceal?

By the way, I love the Molecular Master's costume. It's A-1.

No mind! But why?

Dang. That is one creepy android. I appreciate all the work that went into making all of those robotic facial features (check out the massive power supply going into that eyebrow! I'll bet he could make Mr. Spock run and cry with one hydraulically-augmented raising of that little number) but hawk-nosed tube-men with wildly staring eyes might just be a new phobia of mine.

Robot nose! Robot cheeks! Robot Adam's apple! Oh my god, terrifying robot ears!

ERG-1/Wildfire is upset about the other aspect of the Molecular Master's power: the highly poisonous breath. I like that at this point there no longer seems to be the need for someone to shout "There must be kryptonite in the gas!", though I would think that any gas potent enough to have an effect on Superboy might not require such a roundabout method of delivery. Just heave it through the front door in grenade form and he'd kill himself by sucking it up for easy disposal. Super-villains, huh? Always over-thinking.

So: evil android filled with poison gas and after the Legion's very own deus ex machina. Can he be stopped in time?

Oops - guess not.

Ah, the Miracle Machine, as recently featured in Final Crisis (and eventually featured in Matter-Eater Lad's bowel). The Legion really shouldn't be surprised that folks try to kill them for this thing. Perhaps they should at least hide it behind something opaque - you know, give the homicidal maniacs a bit of a challenge.

Don't worry, though. ERGfire has used the Machine to restore himself to his suit (and certainly not to fashion himself as new human body, no sir), thus sparing the Molecular Master the embarrassment of standing there dramatically while that big atom completely failed to do anything to the inertron. Psh. Big atoms...

Undaunted, the Molecular Master tries again! He makes the biggest damn atom ever!

ERG-1 eats the super-atom! The Molecular Master's super-power officially sucks. ERG, on the other hand...

... has the Antimatter Kick! I don't even care that Wildfire never really did any kicking in later years - blasting this one android in the face with his foot makes him just incredibly great.

That's not quite the end of the future's best-dressed android, though. A few years later, in Legion of Super-Heroes No. 281, a bunch of Legionnaires are trapped in the past and run into the little scamp. It's a weird issue: Roy Thomas and Paul Levitz team up to produce a weird script, while Steve Ditko and Bruce Patterson compliment it with some weird art.

That costume still looks good, though. Note that in this second appearance everyone thinks that his name is Molecule Master, which is lame. I won't be a party to such a renaming, damn it.

In this issue, the Molecular Master no longer has the awesome power of the Big Atom. Instead, he can sort of generically control molecules, causing things to fly around and warp out of shape and so forth. I think at one point that he turns some air into rocks. Surprisingly, this is not an improvement. The absence of the big atoms has made me miss them.

Superboy, by the way, thinks that he's Ultra Boy, who is at this point possibly dead.

Molecular Master still has a robot nose but its not as terrifying. Thanks for showing me that, Superboy. I'll sleep easier tonight!

So it turns out that MM was working for *yawn* the Time Trapper, who really wanted that Miracle Machine, darn it. I can't remember if the thing was still uneaten at this point - if it wasn't what the Time Trapper was after here then I don't have a sweet clue what's going on. Oh, the perils of writing that hooded buffoon into your stories: I will never remember what the hell is up.

Hey, I just noticed - Saturn Girl is giving him the guns!

See? Lousy power.

Flying machine gun-attack is better than jeep-attack, but still.

Eventually, Molecular Master resorts to throwing rocks at the Legionnaires. Snazzy costume or not, that's pretty lame. Also, this version of the Master exploded when too many people attacked him at once. Were I more fond of the original version of the character, I might have concealed the existence of this one but the big atoms and the horrible robot nose and the Time Trapper connection all come together to spell NOT APPROVED.

There we go. Two hundredth post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review Review Review, A passel of excuses, by Johnathan

Actually, no excuses here. I just got really lazy after doing all of those holiday-style posts. The next post, though, is my Two Hundredth! Rest assured that I will either do something special or nothing special. We shall see. In the meantime, check out Superboy's giant head!

That is one enormous cranium, SB.


Uptade: was going to write a super-cool review tonight but fell deleriously sick. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. You people are too good to e.