Hiatus

I tend to keep my personal life out of this blog because you come for the comics and the images, not me.  We read superheroes in the first place because they’re so much more fascinating than our own lives.  But I have to take a few weeks off.  I can’t keep this blog going right now.  I promise to continue as soon as I can.  Thank you for reading and I love you.

Daredevil #9-10, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Chris Samnee

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The Batman and Daredevil team up

This is a weird one, let’s not beat around the bush.  Not the two paired together — that I can see, but the circumstances of the pairing.  In this (obvious) non-canon adventure, Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and Harvey Dent (Two-Face) knew of each other as fellow lawyers.  There’s no explanation or mind-warping needed.  The two former best lawyers in their respective cities were buddies or acquaintances back in the day.  DC’s Gotham City and Marvel’s New York City both exist, they both occupy this same universe, and the Batman/Daredevil duo will beat up bad guys together in the one-shot Daredevil and Batman: Eye for an Eye, written by D.G. Chichester and drawn by Scott McDaniel.  These two wrote and drew Daredevil together for about three years in the early ’90s, back when Daredevil was happy and his whole life hadn’t shattered into the thousands of tiny miserable pieces that occurred about a decade later.  Let’s take a look at their initial confrontation, which of course involves a fight – can you imagine the outrage if those two didn’t try to concuss each other?

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It’s drawings like that above that remind me just how scary Batman is supposed to be.  Strangely, for someone with the name “devil” in his superhero moniker, Daredevil’s costume may be one of the least scary in comic books.  Maybe Daredevil just needs a cape, something Marvel superheroes severely lack in their ranks.  Actually, while we’re on this subject — of the original Justice League members, three of the seven have capes (Batman, Superman, and Martian Manhunter).  That’s a 42% capes to no capes.  But of the original six Avengers (and I’m counting Captain America), only Thor is brave enough to wear one.  That’s only 16% of members wearing capes.  And honestly, this is almost certainly the most useless information you’ll read all week.

Oh, and now Daredevil and Batman have their brief tussle:

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Here’s the beauty of Batman: he knew from the start that Daredevil was working on the same case he was.  There is absolutely zero reason for him to fight Daredevil, and it should be noted, he did it anyway.  Because he’s a crazy person.  You can blame his ambush on wanting to “test” Daredevil or whatever, but our Dark Knight just felt like punching another superhero.  Seriously, he made a claim of wanting to ask Daredevil questions, but he also didn’t ask anything before attempting to tackle him either.  And you see how they both enjoyed it?  Two insane superheroes are going to team up to hunt down two insane supervillains.

They’re not done being jerks to each other.  Actually, it never stops the entire fifty pages of this issue.

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I wouldn’t say Batman’s against rehabilitation as he admits above — he is the same man who brings escaped supervillains back to the mental hospital they stay at every few months they break out.  The main story line involves DC’s Two-Face and Marvel’s Mr. Hyde teaming up to do something with poison or bombs or technology or whatever — I didn’t read the non-superhero parts that carefully. Instead, I became fascinated by Daredevil and Batman’s neverending crusade of seeing who has the biggest schlong.  We get it — you’re both alpha males and the very best of the best of superhero-ing. Isn’t it about time the two of you kissed?

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That’s right — Batman doesn’t even give Daredevil a ride.  Luckily, our Marvel superhero jumps from rooftop to rooftop to get to the same crime scene at the exact same time as Batman’s fastest car in the world.  But I don’t want to write 100% snark.  Despite their differences (mainly the cape), they’re both still kind-hearted superheroes out to protect the innocent, dish out justice, and punish the wicked.  This page sums it up nicely for me in the melodramatic fashion I look forward to in my comic book stories:

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I’m skipping thirty-ish pages to the very last scene.  As you can expect, they win.  Two-Face and Mr. Hyde are safely locked up once more thanks to the tireless detective work/skull bashing of our two protagonists.  But as they celebrate their victory, why not end their time together like most crossovers do, with the two warmly embracing a bro-hug as Batman softly musses up Daredevil’s hair.  Right?  Please?

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Then they kiss.


Intermission: Doctor Doom

One more smaller article won’t hurt. We continue our short stories from the beginning of the Marvel event Dark Reign with another piece from the Dark Reign: The Cabal one-shot, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Adi Granov.  Y’see, Norman Osborn can’t get superheroes to work with him due to his past as the Green Goblin and his present as a conniving jerk.  That means his allies have to be his peers, and other supervillains have a long history of not working well together.  Mainly due to egos, psychopathy, megalomania or whatever other evil plots they can think of.  Each time a supervillain betrays another supervillain, he gets a gold star on his record.  Whoever has the most gold stars win.  Especially since they can’t seem to win against the good guys.

Anyway, Norman Osborn picked a secret “cabal” to help him rule the world and stuff — Emma Frost, Loki, Namor, Doctor Doom, and the Hood.  Of those five, four end up betraying him, so y’know.

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Note the upcoming color change from normal to a shade of blue.  That’s important later.  Now as you know, Doom’s right — Osborn does soon implode.  But you want to know how things would go down if Osborn actually succeeded in his delusional plots?  Of course.  The Green Goblin made the terrible decision to make deals with supervillains, after all.

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You can see where this is going.  While Osborn may rank in the top five of most influential supervillains in the Marvel universe, he’s no Doctor Doom.  By the way, can we all agree Doctor Doom is a silly name?  There’s no way he’d be named that if he wasn’t created in the early 1960s. Plus, wouldn’t his royal titles supersede his PhD?  Emperor Doom, right?  Oh, and Doom murders the Hood.

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Doom now rules the earth and Namor the seas.  I know this isn’t canon, but that’s for a good reason:

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So Doom enslaved Emma Frost and (female) Loki, who I assume the latter can turn back into a dude anytime he feels like it.  My only guess: Loki has a secret fetish.  But look at the genius of this story: the blue shaded panels are all simply Doom daydreams, like we have when we’re staring at our computer screens at work.  Under that mask still lies an adorable human mind, just really evil and stuff.  Plus that whole naked Emma Frost and Loki thing?  As weird as this sounds, it sort of humanizes Doom further to know he’s just as perverted as his other fellow supervillains, because I promise you, that’s all Namor daydreams about.


Intermission: Attuma

You know about Attuma, right?  Not that Street Fighter character.  Don’t worry, I don’t know who he is either until I looked him up about an hour ago.  He battles Namor every now and then in his delusional attempts to conquer Atlantis and whatnot.  If Aquaman gets a rogue gallery, Marvel’s Aquaman gets one too — that’s how competition works.  In this short story from Dark Reign: Made Men one-shot, written by Frank Tieri and drawn by Rafa Sandoval, we get caught up on what happened to Attuma since his head exploded in Sentry #1.

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Attuma, an Atlantean warlord, used some giant octopus creatures/mechs/whatever to take down New York City, where 50% of Marvel’s superhero population lives.  As you can see, it ended badly.  Keep in mind that bottom panel is the entire fight from that issue — Sentry simply flies down, beheads the supervillain, and continues about his day.  So it may be hard to imagine why anyone would want to bring Attuma back to life.  Well, there is that one guy.

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Comic book science might as well be comic book magic — its only limitations lie in the imagination of the writer.  Drink a serum and now you have pterodactyl wings!  Take a pill and access time travel! Touch an orb and become a god!  We don’t even question it.  So yes, now Attuma is far more powerful than before simply because Doom said he is.  We’re cool with that.  Oh, and regarding Attuma’s refusal to Doom’s request.

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It’s sort of like making a deal with the devil, except eventually the Fantastic Four will go to Latveria and punch the devil until there’s blood in his stool.  I know this ends on a cliffhanger, but don’t hold your breath: Attuma doesn’t show up again in comics until the Marvel event Fear Itself occurs two-ish years after this.  At least then, he gets one of the magic hammers and finally gives Namor the challenge our speedo-rockin’ monarch deserves.


Intermission: Namor

I know what you love most about Namor: his abs.  And second?  Punching, most likely.  But we all know the third admiration on that list: his political problem-solving.  So in a short story from Dark Reign: The Cabal one-shot, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Carmine di Giandomenico, we get to see Namor in the position we always prefer to see him in: king (and a lazy sex joke).

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Namor sits like I do at work.  Seriously, these Atlanteans should know better.  Namor almost certainly left two mermaids and a DVD copy of Poseidon back in his chambers.  To have to solve petty arguments is what biblical kings do, not scantily-clad sea monarchs.  I’m saying Namor’s royal jewels are firmly on display, just not on his head.

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Just like Game of Thrones, right?  Shall we recap Marvel’s Atlanteans?  They’re blue as you’ve noticed, complete with slightly stronger, tougher bodies and a longer life-span than humans.  Also, they can’t survive out of water for more than a few minutes.  Luckily, Namor’s half-Atlantean and half human, so he can do that whole breathe air thing.  Though stick the Sub-Mariner in a desert and he’s useless — the dude still have to be moist all the time.  All the time.

Oh, and with one more twist about this kid’s superpowers about to revealed, shall we revel in Namor’s judgement?  If anything, he has plenty of practice in bossing people around.

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Meet Crosta.  I looked him up.  That’s the kid’s name.  He has appeared in sixteen comic book issues, all as a minor character.  And truthfully, this story’s more about Namor imposing his will than anything related to Crosta.  And of course Namor makes the right choice, because (sometimes) he’s a superhero.  Currently in comics nowadays?  He’s acting as a mini-Galactus, so y’know, not well.

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Now if you’ll excuse Namor, he has some mermaids to bang.


Intermission: Norman Osborn

If you don’t mind, let’s have shorter articles this week.  I’m busy with stuff (and things), you’re busy with stuff (and things), and just like a rerun of your favorite TV show — sometimes it’s an off week.  So today, we’re taking one of the multiples stories told in Dark Reign: Made Men one-shot, written by Frank Tieri and drawn by Khoi Pham.

We jump back to the beginning of the Marvel event Dark Reign, where Norman Osborn has taken control of the nation’s security allowing him freedom to spread his corrupt and evil influence all throughout the country’s stuff (and things).  First order of business?  Petty revenge.  What kind of supervillain would he be if it wasn’t?  Oh, and meet Spymaster.

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As you can expect, his name pretty much summarizes everything you need to know about him.  He usually annoys Iron Man, he has no superpowers, and he mostly does espionage.  There.  You’re caught up.  And speaking of caught, Osborn has a few tricks up his sleeve to find his man.  And by that I mean the entire computer databases of all information in the United States.

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When Osborn asks you for a favor, you don’t have much of a choice.  Those lasers from earlier? Looks like Spymaster’s reenacting that laser dance scene from Ocean’s Twelve.  When it comes to refusal or failure, Osborn’s predecessors Nick Fury would yell and Iron Man would mope, but the former Green Goblin has no problem ruining.  Hell, we’ve seen what he did to his own son, much less a C-list supervillain trying to stay under the radar.  So the purpose of this job?  Remember how Osborn disgraced Iron Man to get his job?  This is called rubbing salt on the wound:

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On Wednesday, we’ll continue our Dark Reign short stories with Namor!  He wears his speedo.


Iron Man fights bureaucracy

The small piece of the arc we saw last time was amazing.  So much so that I want us to read a few more scenes from it, and hence the dilemma — to avoid whatever legal punishment comes from showing all the pages of a comic, I’d have to choose a specific angle and ignore the rest.  Iron Man and Mandarin face off in two separate, phenomenal clashes that highlight the beauty and eternal struggle of technology versus magic.  Oh, they’re great and one of the full-page spreads wows me each time I look at it.  But I know what my readers like.  They’re sick of punching.  They read comics for something deeper, like what they would see on CSPAN.  So, even though I protest, I’ll honor your requests.  Today we’ll cover all that wonderful political talk you crave so much using pieces from Iron Man #23-28, volume four, written by Daniel & Charles Knauf and drawn by Butch Guice, Roberto De La Torre, & Carlo Pagulayan.  You’re welcome.

Let’s pick up at the exact page we left off on, where Iron Man explains Graviton’s death to the Commission on Superhuman Activities.

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Notice anything odd from that conversation?  No, not Norman Osborn — he’s making his legitimate rise in politics by being slimy behind the scenes.  Plus, he’s needed in these meetings as an accurate portrayal of what Tony Stark would face if he had to talk to actual United States politicians.  It’s mostly odd that Stark met with the committee in full Iron Man armor.  He’s not going to repulsor beam anyone there and it’s not like he’s the Thing — he can take the armor off whenever he chooses.  But don’t worry, the government has noticed Stark’s behavior as well and they assign the Hulk’s therapist to the case.  Even though to be fair, he hasn’t really been too successful with the Hulk.

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This mainly serves to de-power Iron Man so he has to fight Mandarin using weaker, older armor. Raises the suspense a bit, y’know?  Because while Stark has totally been hallucinating and going crazy and probably could use a long vacation, he’s a superhero.  They’re always last to acknowledge their own faults.  Here’s a sidebar pep talk from Dum Dum Dugan before we get to more exciting politics talk:

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To save the country, Iron Man and SHIELD drop a nuclear bomb on Omaha, Nebraska.  Hell yeah, they do.  It’s called leadership, my friends.  As you can expect, they now have to answer for their decisions, especially since our country (and the world) prefer that Earth’s most powerful military force doesn’t launch nuclear weapons at their own country whenever it feels like it.  To each his own, I guess.

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Spoiler alert: I’m not going to tell you what happens to Jack Kooning.  That’s a side plot that I’ve completely ignored.  A lot of stuff has been going on, but I don’t want you to miss the committee meetings.  I have my priorities.  Watch Dum Dum imitate our own political system by making backroom deals and open threats before we continue our UN inquiries.

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Now, if there’s anything I know about politics, it’s that they always make the right decision.  They use logic, evidence, and an unbiased agenda to properly act in the interest of the people.  Right?  No? Look, we know what’s going to happen.  Mandarin still plans to release his 97.5% human fatality rate bomb onto the world and only Iron Man can save the day — it’s his arch-nemesis after all.  So in a scene that could only happen in pop culture and not in real life, we get a small slice of how bureaucracy could work if everyone involved was insane instead of just sociopaths.

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So what happens next?  Sorry, that’s the last bit of bureaucracy in this arc so we have to end here. But I’m not a monster, I’ll be happy to give you a taste of what you’re missing out on.  Don’t fret, it’s nothing special.  See?

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Go buy lots of Iron Man comics.  Don’t you deserve it after this long week?