Friday, September 28, 2007

Review of an Heroic Nadir, By Johnathan

Man, do I love the Atom. All five of them, from little 40s tough-guy All Pratt to current Atom Ryan Choi's friend Panda (Atom V as of last week or so). My absolute fave, however, is Ray "Totally Missing" Palmer, the man who forever quashed all cries of "Shrinking is a crappy superpower!" Seriously, read Showcase Presents: The Atom or any incarnation of the Justice League that has the good sense to have ol' Ray - you will see a tiny man kicking ass. Could Batman disarm someone by jumping onto the end of their gun? Well, probably, but it wouldn't be as cool as when Ray does it.

But that was Ray at the height of his coolness. This review is focussed on another time, a dark time. No, not the 'ex-wife is a murderous, insane super-villain' time, as that is just standard hero stuff. Instead, we're looking at the time that comic book writers thought that Ray had absolutely no life.

The preceding page is perhaps the saddest I've ever read. Not in a 'Death of Superman' kind of way or a 'Black Adam murders an entire damned country and by the way why isn't the whole DC Universe out looking for him, seriously, like Mary Marvel didn't even mention that he killed millions of people when they ran into each other. He'd better not ever get redeemed, I mean really - it'd be like having Hitler on the Justice Society' kind of way, but in a 'the writer went a bit too far in making the hero look like a regular Joe' kind of way. Let's break it down:

Okay: Ray Palmer is devoted to his (awful, murderous) wife. I guess I can respect that. She's out of town and he's lonely.

See, now this is where things start to fall apart. Ray's wife (killed Sue Dibny, killed Robin's dad, killed Captain Boomerang) is out of town and he's so bored. He has nothing to do without his wife (slept with the Spectre, tried to sleep with Mary Marvel) around. He certainly doesn't have any friends, and especially not super friends.

Personally, I think that the artist just wanted to draw this shrinky/growy leapy thing and so they had to think up an excuse. I just wish that it could have been a better one than 'Jean's out of town and Batman didn't feel like going out for nachos.' Doesn't the Atom travel through time on a regular basis? instead of hopping around, he could be stealing George Washington's teeth or something.

... that's the saddest thing that I've ever read in a thought balloon. Seriously. It's like something that an elderly shut-in would think. Ray, dude, I'm certain that Green Arrow or someone would like to hang out with you. Or you could watch TV. Just... just don't make me cry on my Action Comics.


Almost forgot: I'm going to try to post something every night this week. Tune in, kids! Watch me fail!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Few Quick Reviews Of My Weekend, By Johnathan

My cousin's wedding: JOHN APPROVED

Hanging out on the old homestead for a day or so: JOHN APPROVED

Rediscovering how many mosquitoes there were in Hants County: NOT APPROVED

Hanging out with my niece: JOHN APPROVED

Having my niece, who is fascinated by me very short hair, call me 'Uncle Softhead': JOHN APPROVED

Having her call me 'Uncle Baldy': NOT APPROVED

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Review of a book, By Johnathan

Last week I bought a book, a book that my friend Tubby had recommended to me roughly five years ago: the collected fiction of Jorge Luis Borges. I'm basically kicking myself for having waited so long to read this stuff. The stories are all amazingly well-told and usually have a fantastic idea at their core. Hmm. That's a bit weak, that praise. An illustration: these stories didn't just make me laugh or cheer or even utter brief, semi-articulate words of praise as I read them, they made me do all of that while walking down a crowded street. These stories are so good that they make me act like a crazy man. If this book were a woman I would propose to her on the first date and hopefully get the ring on her finger before she realized how far out of my league she was. She would be so much smarter than me...

Also, the translation-ing skills of Andrew Hurley are not to be underestimated.


Wait, wait. Let me try that again.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

First Impressions: Review of the Feeble Alias, By Johnathan

Ah, the alias, that good old super-villain standby. What a relief it must be to sign into a motel under an assumed name and sleep soundly, content in the knowledge that Aquaman, for instance, is looking for someone else entirely. It's too bad that so many villains are so terrible at thinking them up. I mean, the names that most of them were born with are often bad enough - E. Nigma, I'm looking at you - but give a super-villain half an hour to think up a fake name and he'll produce something so obvious that I simply despair. I'd honestly be surprised if there wasn't a guest book somewhere with 'I. M. Captainboomerang' written in it. And the worst, the absolute worst of the lot is the Joker, the man responsible for H.A. Laughlin, L. Afterman, Joseph Kerr and so forth. That's right: Joe friggin' Kerr.

But possibly the worst of all showed up in Detective Comics No. 45, as shown in this dramatization of my internal monologue as I read this issue:

The guys in the super-keen car are in the employ of an old fellow named A. Rekoj, who just sent them out to rip off a diamond shipment. Batman showed up and there was a scrap, but the real bummer was when the freakin' Joker stole the loot! I mean, it's crazy! How did he know about the robbery?

Man, Rekoj is steamed about the whole Joker thing. I bet Rekoj and Joker are enemies from now on. Fifty years from now, people will still be talking about the Rekoj/Joker feud.

Wait a second! Hold the phone! Rekoj is the Joker! He's played us all for chumps! And he's executed his plan flawlessly! Batman's never going to figure this one out!

Holy crap! Batman figured it out! He figured out that Rekoj = Joker! How'd he do that! He just straight up earned the 'world's greatest detective' thing! Woo!

And... scene.

The really sad thing is that Batman figured it out by listening in on the Joker as he talked to himself. More like 'world's greatest dorktective', man.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Review of that last review, by Johnathan.

You know what? That last review, it's all over the place. If you haven't read it yet, wait a day or so. If you have... maybe try it again in a bit. I'm off to edit.



I'm much more happy with it now. It reads much more smoothly. I'm not saying it's Keats or anything, just that it no longer looks like it was composed by an angry bear with a keyboard.