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Showing posts from 2016

Why Aren't You Reading Superwoman?

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We're officially six months into DC's Rebirth project, a line-wide publishing initiative meant to restore the sense of legacy and the bonds between characters back to the DC Universe.   With a mission statement like that, one might almost think that the entire thing would be full of older characters from decades past, but Rebirth has come up with a nice mix of both new and old heroes (and villains!) to give the line the variety it needs.  And right now, for a couple reasons, there are few better new heroes (or comics) coming from DC right now than Superwoman.

Bottom of the Pile - December 21st, 2017

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Alters This could've easily been an overly saccharine moment, as our lady hero Chalice comes out for the first time to her brother, but the combination of dark levity and keeping things focused on other things like being hunted by an insane supervillain cannibal helps to make this the most heartfelt moment of the week for me. 

The theme with"Alters" seems to be that superpowers just can't fix everything.  At the end of last issue a fellow superhero, Morph, got injured during Chalice's first run-in with Matter Man. This issue, we discover that despite being a shapeshifter--the damage done to his spine is seemingly permanent and will leave him unable to walk or use his powers again.  If this were DC or Marvel, I'd be pissed at the idiotic limitations placed on someone who should in theory have complete control over his body--but the sense in Alters is that powers don't always help, sometimes they just complicate. 

Bottom of the Pile - December 14th, 2016

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This was initially going to be a much, much longer article, but Blogger lost my initial draft and I honestly just don't have it in me to start them ALL over again.  So this is an approximation of the best material of the original, before I move on to last week's comics and then THIS week's comics.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows
If you were wondering how Mary Jane as a superhero is going, well...here you go.  Renew Your Vows #2 shows the same day from issue one, only from Mary Jane's perspective.  By doing so, the writer re-frames your entire view of the character, erasing the sort of flighty, flaky girl you're used to and revealing her to be this goals-oriented, driven woman who only seemed flighty because her mind was on a billion things at once.   Showing her as a woman who splits her time between running a clothes shop, a fashion blog, being a mom AND a superhero, Mary Jane is basically the opposite of Peter--she doesn't take pictures or tell jokes, she …

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger: Just when I thought I was out...

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(Forewarning: This is going to be more of a rant than a structured post.)

Dammit.  I was done!  Done, I tells ya.  ToQger had a similar appeal to me it'd have to an anal-retentive English teacher: this name looks stupid, get it away from me. Ninninger tried, but ultimately the neat design and ties it had to all the previous ninja-based tokusatsu series couldn't quite compare to how idiotic its main character and how frustrating their teacher both were.   (The rest of the characters besides MomoNinja were just too milquetoast for me to have much of an opinion on.)

And Zyuohger?  The name feels unoriginal, the furries are somehow less cool than Doggy Kruger even though we're a full decade-plus removed from Dekaranger, the suit design is lackluster and the mecha continue to suck almost worse than it usually does, and lately mech design has been lacking with very few exceptions.


Bottom of the Pile: December 7th, 2016

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Avengers


Much as I hate to admit it, the second issue of this series isn't nearly as strong as the first.  Last issue, in an attempt to take out his rage on the Avengers for kidnapping his infant self, Kang (and his alternate, paradoxical self the The Scarlet Centurion) went back in time and murdered all the Avengers in their cribs, wiping them out from time.  Well...all except for Hercules, who Kang either considered beneath his notice or was unable to locate at birth.    This issue, we discover a future version of Kang who discovered the error of his ways basically snatched the Avengers out of time before they could be erased from time, leaving them stranded until a battle with a time-protected Hercules allows them to return for one final battle with Kang.  One in which, despite being Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the group kind of gets smacked around like a bunch of chumps.  They made such a big deal out of having the six of them be enough but honestly it really looks like they …

Bottom of the Pile - November 30th, 2016

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Since this week is short, I figured I'd take care of it first and go back and knock the others out later.

Batman Annual
I've never been a fan of dogs.  Some can be cute, downright adorable, but I'm still more of a cat person.   Still, this new origin of Ace the Bat-Hound in this year's Batman Annual is the kind of thing that makes you type in all caps 'cause the story is just so cute you can't stand it.

Found after one of the Joker's...weirder escapades, Ace was one of many attack dogs Joker was using until he got bored of them...and stopped visiting, or feeding any of them.  By the time they were found, they'd all attacked and killed one another with only Ace surviving.  Because amongst other things Batman is chiefly a story about taking in broken things and making them less broken, Ace gets adopted by Alfred, who ends up training him to be more obedient and taming his violent instincts.  Over the course of several months, Alfred tirelessly works with A…

Bottom of the Pile: November 9th, 2016

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I'm two weeks late, but given this is supposed to be the "pull list" month, I can't skip any weeks.

Bottom of the Pile Reboot: November 2nd, 2016

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Hello and welcome to a new version of Bottom of the Pile.  For quite some time now, BOTP has gotten away from its core design: to talk about the comic books I saved for last every week because they were so damned good.  Probably a lot quicker than I care to admit, it went from talking about my favorite comics to just going off about whatever was most popular or whatever was making the biggest "waves" in comics whether it was good or bad.  I wasted time talking about comics I barely even enjoyed, and as much as I'd like to say the intent was to gain popularity that's just not true. 

The truth is it's easy.  It's so impossibly, stupidly easy to rail against something you DON'T like.  Largely because, not to get overly high-minded, we've created a society that is about tearing things down rather than building them up.  Some of the most sardonic people online, known for writing 2000 word diatribes about something they hate, will admit its more difficult …

CW-verse Flash: Monster

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This week's Flash sees the plotline about Dr. Alchemy continue to take a backseat, instead choosing to focus on Team Flash, with Caitlin visiting her mother to learn more about her powers, the team discovering the "truth" about Harrison Wells, and Barry finally figuring out a way to make peace with his new CSI partner Julian. 

CW-verse Supergirl: Survivors

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"Survivors" balanced a story between our two primary alien characters dealing with coming into contact with aliens all too similar to themselves--with J'onn J'onzz it's a fellow martian, and with Supergirl it's Mon-El, while also having to deal with lesser-known illegal fight club organizer Roulette after finding the dead body of an alien who lost their life in one of the battles.

Anime Weekly: Tiger Mask W

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Tiger Mask W is a series that I likely never would've noticed if I hadn't gotten into wrestling, and while my enjoyment enhances the show, it's still actually quite a well put together series.  It starts out with two young wrestlers--Naoto Azuma and Takuma Fujii--watching Takuma's dad and their mentor, Daisuke Fujii, get destroyed in the ring by a rival team's wrestler, Yellow Devil.  As Daisuke finds himself seemingly permanently wheelchair bound by his match, the two young men set down two opposite paths with the same goal: defeating Yellow Devil, "ace" of the foreign wrestling company, Global Wrestling Monopoly.

I won't pretend like this is anything deep--it's a simple story that's told effectively, operating on the pretense that kayfabe (the staged events that occur in wrestling) is real, and that each wrestler is winning their matches based on their own strength and techniques rather than putting on the best athletic performance for a ma…

Anime Weeklies: Dragon Ball Super

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The good side to Dragon Ball Super, lately: Vegeta punching everything in its stupid face.

The bad side to Dragon Ball Super, lately: ...EVERYTHING ELSE. 

Zamasu and Goku Black are basically villain versions of Boring Invincible Protagonists.  At a certain point, it's not even realistic to see the heroes triumph when the villains keep coming up with more powerful techniques that they're asspulling seemingly from NOWHERE.  This episode featured Goku Black literally slicing a hole in reality itself and from that hole sprouted Majin Buu-esque clouds that would form into wannabe Goku Blacks.  Where'd he get this technique?  According to him, the "depths of his anger".   This is only marginally better than when Hit was inexplicably using his technique at better and better levels because "he'd never wanted to before". 

And this is before you get to the fact that at this point, Goku is the fucking worst.  He took a day to master the Demon Capture Wave--Goku…

Return of the 90's: Mobile Police Patlabor Reboot

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One of the best things about anime gradually running out of shitty light novels with impossibly lengthy names to adapt is this resurgence of older anime.   Dragon Ball, Heroic Legend of Arslan (though that's because of a newer manga adaptation of the source material), Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Saber Marionette J, and Peacemaker Kurogane...and now Mobile Police Patlabor.

Patlabor was a manga/anime franchise developed near the end of the 80's by a group called Headgear.  They're not known for much aside from Patlabor, but that's really all it takes.  If Gundam ushered in the real "Real Robot" part of mecha--a franchise in which robots were used as tools of war in morally gray battles that were humans versus other humans--then Patlabor took that to the furthest/final extreme of that.   The mecha in their universe were called "Labors", named such for their usage in making manual labor easier--they were used primarily in construction, but also foun…

CW-verse Supergirl: "Welcome to Earth"

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I miss Superman already, but this episode kept me from missing him TOO much because there was quite a bit going on.  Introducing Lynda Carter as President, showing Mon-El's first time as more than just a coma prop, bringing in Detective Maggie Sawyer (who should totally be in Metropolis right now but nevermind that), and a last minute appearance by M'gann M'orzz, AKA Miss Martian--kept the episode so busy that you almost forget that the villain's plot is kinda half-baked.

CW-verse: Legends of Tomorrow "Out of Time"

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DC’s Legends of Tomorrow show is a classic example of the saying “be careful what you wish for”.   When the series trailer first popped up around the end of Arrow S3/Flash S1, I was giddy with excitement.  Though the overall line-up was lacking (basically anyone relevant from Flash and Arrow tossed onto a team), I got the concept—this was the CW’s Justice League.   And watching the first two episodes, everything just seemed to fall into place with Rip Hunter leading this ragtag group into battle against the immortal Vandal Savage to save the Earth. 

CW-verse: Flash - "Paradox"

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Since I'm a week behind and these two episodes kinda work together, let's just knock them both out at once.

CW-Verse: "Adventures of Supergirl"

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I don't think I've been this excited for DC TV stuff since The Flash.  Having avoided last season of Supergirl due to its puzzling lack of connection with the CW-verse, "Adventures of Supergirl" was my first time watching the series.   I'd be lying if I said what made me give it a try was the simple fact that I didn't believe the show would ever use Superman and would simply lazily bring him up as always being "busy" and make him too important for the series.    The fact that they were willing to not only cast an actor as Superman but allow the character to be around for multiple episodes was a bold decision that I admire.

ViVid Strike! Thoughts

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So far, ViVid Strike!! is my favorite of the season. 

Time Bokan 24, Bloodivores Thoughts

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Sometimes you watch the chaff...

Time Bokan 24 is a series about Tokio--a junior high kid from the year 2016, and his friend Calen, a veteran of the 24th century's Space-Time Administration Bureau.  Together, they travel throughout time on Time Adventures to find the "True History" of the world, one that's funnier than what's been written in our textbooks.  Yes, that's almost exactly the way that they phrased it.  Their antagonists are the mischievous Akudama, employees at a company called History Paradise which has created false textbooks covering the history we believe to be true. 

The first episode sees Calen and her crew, a robot named Pikobo and a talking parrot named Peralino, traveling throughout time trying to escape from the Akudama--until they finally travel back to their home base and lose their pursuers, but not before picking up a boy from the 21st century who's shockingly just as capable of traveling through time as they are.  As a result, …

Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Thoughts

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One episode in, this doesn't look like any Digimon series I've ever seen before.  There's a Digivice, there's a kid wearing a goggles, there are Digimon, but that's about where the relations stop.  The familiar faces you're looking for, the ones that tie all the disparate Digimon series into a loosely connected "universe"?  For right now, they appear to all be gone--from Agumon to Leomon, the lore you're used to relying on as comfortable touchstones have vanished.

And I'm not sure that's a bad thing.  I hate to be one of those "original is the best" type of people, but ultimately most of the Digimon series I've seen have too much of the same going on for them not to have a continuing, grander story at play.  And at the same time, this series feels more...relevant?  Digimon is basically Pokemon but with a strong technological component--they are Digital Monsters, after all.  Which means, much like technology they should really…

Rating Sony's Future First Party Titles

Quick writing exercise while my laptop is down.  Inspired by Kinda Funny's list, here's my ranking of Sony's upcoming first-party titles.

Bottom of the Pile: August 31st, 2016

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Article 3 of 4...

Avatarex: Destroyer of Darkness This is still one of those books that's straight-forward enough that it feels like there's nothing going on, but is actually super-busy if you're paying attention.  I'm not sure if I like that less or more than Grant Morrison's usual "this book was made on so many drugs the author must've seen Star Fleet 7 when he wrote it"-style work, but I'm definitely still enjoying this book as a whole.

The idea of a literal god-like being needing a "mere" human to maintain his power on Earth during this fight against the tide of darkness threatening to claim human civilization as we know it is entertaining enough, but what's more noteworthy is that Avatarex is a jerk, basically.  He needs the help of this "mortal" just as much as humanity needs him and yet here he is sulking like a child, lamenting that his partner sucks and that humanity almost doesn't seem "good enough" to…

Bottom of the Pile: August 24th, 2017

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By the end of the day, I should have all of these up except for this week's. Probably a weekend thing.

Action Comics
Mercifully, this three month/six issue fight scene has finally come to an end.  When you think about it, Superman has basically been doing the same thing since it got launched as well.  Eradicator should take all of a page or two for Kal-El to knock into some other solar system, but somehow it took six issues.  I wouldn't even say the difference is a focus on family as Lois and Jon are front and center in both, but people have received Superman far more warmly than they have Action Comics.  Personally?  I can take or leave them both--having *my* Superman back doesn't work when he's removed from all the things that connected him to this Earth.

As for why I used this otherwise unrelated image?  Well, it's because I think Wonder Woman's a bad-ass and I love that it's only because of her Superman didn't get fucking wrecked this issue, even if…

Bottom of the Pile - September 14th, 2016

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Last week's.  I'm gonna say this week's hits this weekend but if it doesn't happen pretend like this was a mirage.
Astro City Astro City's overarching plot since it returned--about The Broken Man and whatever mysterious, all-seeing threat he's fighting against--started out being one of the things I was most excited about.  But ever so gradually, that excitement waned as I remembered that Astro City isn't that type of universe.  It's the type of place where you focus on the mundane in the fantastic--one where the story of heroism is less important than who that heroism affected.  If anything, the most interesting thing about a potential fight against an unseen foe is how that would cause the already complex world of Astro City to change.  

And on that note, that's why this second part of Broken Man's story is a bit more interesting than the first--to learn that Astro City/Romeyn Falls once had a protector that was a living personification of the …

Bottom of the Pile: Sept. 7th, 2016

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Woo-hoo~  Made it!  ^_^

All-New All-Different Avengers When I first read this comic, this scene was probably the most powerful thing in it--it gave me chills--and on the whole, I'm completely on board with the new Wasp.  Nadia Pym seems like a real sweetheart and I can't wait to see what she's like when interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe.  Still, I can absolutely see how one could see this scene independent of the comic itself and see it as over-the-top and melodramatic.

So let's set the stage and talk about it.  The girl here is Nadia Pym, the heretofore unknown daughter of Hank Pym that's spent her entire life training in the infamous Red Room that gave us characters like The Black Widow, until she got a hold of some Pym Particles and used them to escape, joining up with the newest incarnation of the Avengers.  This issue is meant to be both her first focus issue that leads into her ongoing The Unstoppable Wasp and a Civil War II tie-in, as after sav…

Sage, The Broken Gamer: Not Pro Enough

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I think this generation of gaming has finally broken me. 

Bottom of the Pile: August 17th, 2016

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Week two up.

Aquaman The problem I'm having with Aquaman lately is that it's not capable of staying focused like it should.  It's trying to spin three different plates with different groups of characters in the air, and that's before you get to the other villain group. 

Well, that and my other problem which is simply that this book still feels very by the numbers.  Atlantis joining up with the surface-dwellers could've been a fascinating story with interesting long-term ramifications that could've been explored for dozens of issues, but instead that was immediately shoved to the side so Aquaman can continue dealing with strife in his kingdom (a story unto itself), and Black Manta can become second-fiddle in a villain group we've never heard of.


Batman Without question, the one character the writer has the best grasp of is Alfred.   And in this issue, Alfred absolutely gets the best scene. 

Aside from that, the secret of Gotham is kind of a bummer and it's…

Bottom of the Pile: August 10th, 2016

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Can I catch up?  Bitch, please.  I was made for this.*

Action Comics We're something like four issues in and the one thing I've come to with regards to the latest in Action Comics is...it's fucking terrible.  It's literally been Superman vs. Doomsday Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4.  The only saving grace is the fact that it does ship every two weeks.   All these issues and we're just now getting to the whole "something bigger at play"?  The thing is, though...I wouldn't have expected this from Dan Jurgens.  Pre-Flashpoint he had one of my favorite comic books month in and month out with Booster Gold.  

It could be that he just gets that character, but I'm thinking there IS something bigger at play here: Dan either wasn't prepared to do a bi-weekly comic, or there's a certain plot point integral to DC's "Rebirth" deal that he can't get to until a certain month.   We know that Superman is important to whatever's going on wit…