Flip Through

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Every now and then I look at my long-time screenname (Menshevixen) and I'm a little tired of it, but not tired enough to go through the bother of rebranding, as it were. If I ever get to that state, here are some possibilities.

  • Anne Surly
  • Lamentation Blade
  • Trout Mask Woman
  • Superbooj
  • Deep Play

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pull List: All Star Western #1, Blackhawks #1, Fury of Firestom #1, Justice League: Dark #1

Well, my picks from the New 52 this week were sort of the B-list weirdo characters, as you see below--no Aquaman or Superman for this lass. I regret nothing!

All Star Western #1: I'm a Palmiotti fan--he and the co-author on this work, Justin Gray, did some wonderful Jonah Hex work recently, and his art awhile back for Secret Six was also stellar--and I like a good Western, so this title was an obvious choice. And frankly, "Hex in Gotham" is a premise I'm right smack on board with, especially when it's flavored like a Jack the Ripper story (prostitute killing ahoy). Moritat's art is perfect for this, stylized with muted colors and bright splashes of blood and firelight; in the bars and brothels of old Gotham, a certain amount of cheesecake is necessary and deployed rather charmingly. Overall this first issue is sort of a kindred spirit to the recent Gates of Gotham mini, which I very much enjoyed (the eponymous Gate brothers are even mentioned), but instead of delving into the pasts of the founding families of Gotham, Gray and Palmiotti go for the lower, dirtier, and weirder--including one Dr Amadeus Arkham, and a mysterious secret society. I can never resist a secret society! 4 out of 5 stars.

Blackhawks #1: I gave this title a shot because I figured with a team name like that, my beloved Lady Blackhawk, late of Birds of Prey, would be involved...and she is, kind of. On the first page she's listed as being part of the field team in action, but we never see her, so I assume she was piloting the plane the whole time and for whatever reason disappeared once the team got back to their base ("The Eyrie"). At any rate, the other members--Kunoichi, a pink-haired zany bitch, "The Irishman" (by way of Ukraine, and am I the only one who misses Creote a bunch when they see a red-headed burly dude with a Russian accent?), Attila, Wildman, and Andrew Lincoln, head of operations--are a rag-tag black ops division with a nanocite problem. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this #1; I wasn't expecting much, but I liked the group members, particularly Kunoichi, and the intrigue of this nanocite business is interesting enough to keep me reading. The art by Graham Nolan and Ken Lashley is messy and angular, and suits the bang-up action and undercover theme. Just give me some damn Zinda Blake next time, people! 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Fury of Firestorm #1: Ahhh the second Gail Simone title! This is a case in which I followed the creator, because I didn't know shit about Firestorm prior to today. And now I can say that this is an cool little book. I like it! A lot: I like Ronnie and Jason, I like their high school clash of nerd-versus-jock, I like the cruel "antiterrorism" squad which opens the pages, joking about cutting apples with a bloody knife, I like where Tonya and Jason are going. The art, by Yildiray Cinar, is lovely and nuanced. Van Sciver and Simone's writing sparkles. This is just a solid, cool, thoughtful, good comic. 4 out of 5 stars.

Justice League: Dark #1: The only Justice League title I'm interested in is this one, because of its cast: Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, Zatanna, Enchantress, and John Constantine...sign me up! I wasn't disappointed by this #1; the tarot-inspired and otherwise mystical art from Mikel Janin is smooth and evocative and the storyline of weird magical events is right up my alley. The images of Superman, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman fighting a tide of teeth were creepy and disgusting and, well, dark. On the petty side of things, JLD manages to spell "Belle Reve" properly (unlike *cough* Suicide Squad), and I don't particularly care for Z's new outfit--she and Canary can compare notes on fishnet sleeves--but I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the sheer power of the workaday, A-list JL and the murky, magical darkness of this band of witches and dead people. Let the fight against Enchantress begin! 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The actual review of the concert I talked about yesterday

Let's start off with some Twitter evidence. If you follow me on Twitter, this is what my Friday night looked like:

Sound quality here is...not what it could be. Or maybe that's just the opening band.

Hot twin Canadian guitarists! Did I say the opener sucked? Didn't mean it!

Uh, actually they're kind of great. The Agonist from Montreal, peeps. Check it.

Opener #2's frontman looks like Malachi from Hex.

Apparently power metal fans in Canada mosh.


The song...is Wenches and Mead. The band...is Alestorm. PIRATE METAL FUCK YEAH

If Dragonforce and Dropkick Murphys had a baby and abandoned it in Savannah, it would sound like this band.

There are legit like ten metal dudes on this stage. It's like watching porn.

And then...nothing for an hour and a half. Because as much as I enjoyed the three opening acts, they weren't Kamelot, and I don't Tweet during Kamelot. So let's get you fine folks up to speed on the nuts and bolts of this performance! As I've mentioned previously, Roy Khan is no longer with the band, so for the "Pandemonium Over North America" tour, Fabio Lione of the Italian group Rhapsody of Fire toured as fill-in singer...and did a pretty great job. Lione's vocals are quite a bit different from Khan's, most notably because Khan is, at last check anyway, a baritone and Lione is a tenor, but Lione's as polished and talented a singer as Khan, so we'll split the difference (though Lione's higher register combined with Simone Simons' soprano did make "The Haunting" sound somewhat odd). I WILL say that I really hope Kamelot auditions a new singer--in the event that Khan really does not return--because as great as Lione sounded, he's best with his own band, and I'm sure Rhapsody's fans don't want to lose their own frontman.

The set-list was interesting--largely Black Halo and Ghost Opera, with only two tracks off the newest album, Poetry for the Poisoned ("The Great Pandemonium" and "Necropolis"), and a few offerings from Karma as the earliest in the catalogue Lione went, though apparently in other shows this tour he's performed "Nights of Arabia," which I would have loved to see. The rest of the band was, as always, in fantastic shape. Youngblood and Grillo will play their instruments to their graves, I'm sure; Palotai has cut his hair--nothing drastic, but not the elf-locks he used to have, and it certainly hasn't affected his keyboarding skills; and original bassist Sean Tibbetts, who returned post-Ghost Opera, is definitely the (talented) ham of the group. All in all, a satisfying concert experience, though the sound mix SUCKED (Firestone, get that fixed please).

And a few words for the openers: The Agonist and Blackguard are both from Montreal, Quebec, and play death metalish stuff. I must say, whatever they put in the water up there is working, because I've never seen more attractive bands. Metal dudes are either really hot or really fugly--there's not much middle ground--and metal ladies are gorgeous across the board, with Alissa White-Gluz (vocals, The Agonist) and Justine Ethier (drums, Blackguard) being no exceptions. White-Gluz is spectacularly talented as a vocalist, being capable of singing both typical death metal and clean vocals, with very little strain. Fun note: she sang Shagrath's vocals on "March of Mephisto"; I think her cred is set for life. Alestorm, the pirate metal band from Scotland, was maybe the most hilarious thing I've ever seen, and actually pretty talented too. Lord knows I can't resist a keytar, or songs about rum.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: Soul

Setting aside anthropological questions regarding the existence of the soul, I think it is safe to say that my soul, my essence of Diana, the thing that makes me Me, has three specific vacuums (in the mode of Pascal's God-shaped vacuum): music, books, and Manfriend.

Books are the singular portion, the most basic, the thing that truly belongs to only me. Music and Manfriend, they go hand in hand. Not to say that I never listened to music before I met him, and there are several bands that I would get to keep in the divorce, but my absolutely favorites are two that he introduced me to, likely because my love for them and him are inextricably intertwined.

Take Kamelot. I LOVE Kamelot (though not as much as Conception), thanks to my dude. You can kind of track our relationship based on Kamelot's album releases; when we had known each other for barely four months, we went to see their Black Halo concert (2006). Two years later, we saw them tour supporting Ghost Opera. And last August, we were supposed to see their Poetry for the Poisoned tour when it opened in Florida--quite near my birthday. We did not, because the lead singer left the band and they postponed the tour. So on Friday night, I finally saw their Poetry show, with a friend who is not Manfriend, and a singer who is not Roy Khan (though I will say, Fabio Lione did an AMAZING job). It was a great experience, as their shows always are, but a strange one, because I associate Kamelot with my man. Who am I supposed to make out with when they play "Forever"? Certainly not Matt.

My Kamelot viewing and listening experiences have changed a bit since last year. When it came out that Khan was leaving the group, I said some rather immature things to the tune of, Why couldn't he have had his breakdown AFTER they toured? I found it hard to imagine the band without him (though he is their second frontman, and their first two albums, with original singer Mark Vanderbilt, are actually great too). But a year later and having seen them perform without him, I'm good with his decision, though I wish they would've put out another live album before he left. But I'm not sure if my experience with the band could ever change to the point where, should I and Manfriend go our separate ways, I would still be able to enjoy the music. I hope never to find that out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: White Tiger

That's right, I'm finally taking it all back to the book that got me into comics: the White Tiger miniseries from 2006. I picked up this mini because it was written by my favorite YA author, Tamora Pierce, and I've sworn to read anything she writes, so...anyway it was the beginning of a magical, frustrating relationship. And I still love Angela. And Tammy. Write more comics, Tammy! maybe some for DC they neeeed you This film is based around the mini with a bit of Daredevil: Shadowland plot thrown in, and involves a lot of characters we already know and love. PS: Happy birthday to Barbara Gordon, one of my favorite superladies!

Angela del Toro/White Tiger: played by Rosario Dawson, Angela is a former FBI agent who inherits a strange set of amulets from her uncle Hector--objects which transform her into the White Tiger.

"Daredevil"/Iron Fist/Danny Rand: played by Cam Gigandet, Danny is currently masquerading as Daredevil while Matt Murdock is in jail, to keep the true DD's cover.

Luke Cage: played by Terry Crews, Luke is an old friend of Angela's uncle Hector's and someone with whom she occasionally works out and teams up.

King Cobra: played by Mathieu Amalric, Piet Voorhees is a mercenary involved with an international cartel called Chaeyi. He also has some unnerving physical abilities due to a mutagenic serum developed by his uncle.

Lady Bullseye: played by Maggie Q, Maki Matsumoto is in the employment of the Hand, an infamous ninja order, with plans of her own where Daredevil and the White Tiger are concerned.

Black Widow: played by Rebecca Romijn, Natasha Romanoff acts as Angela's guide into the world of superheroing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pull List: Batman #1, Birds of Prey #1, Blue Beetle #1, Nightwing #1, Red Hood #1, Wonder Woman #1

Yeeeeaaaaah, it's a hefty-ish list this week, so let's get down to business to defeat the Huns.

Batman #1: My local comic shop was BUSY today and I'm pretty sure this #1 was the reason--everyone was dying to get a look at Scott Snyder's other DCnU book, Batman. A relatively new creator, Snyder made his name on an amazing run of Detective Comics, and I don't see that he's going to let Batfans down with this title. Capullo and Glapion's art is up to the task as well, dark and artfully messy, and oh yes, I had missed seeing Bruce and his boys all together (and the impending mystery involving a certain First Robin). I have a funny relationship with interior monologues in comics--sometimes I feel they work fine and sometimes I hate them. I disliked how they felt in Detective Comics a few weeks ago, but here in Batman they are put to pitch-perfect use. Batman is introspective, but never emo; not completely sane, but not the brand of crazy Gotham usually turns out: it's a fine line to walk, but Snyder manages it. If I can easily imagine Kevin Conroy speaking whatever lines Bat has on the page, the writer is doing it right. 5 out of 5 stars.

Birds of Prey #1: I'm a nutty BoP fangirl and there was no way I wasn't buying this title, though I already miss Gail Simone (and Helena, and Zinda, and Oracle...*sniff*). I enjoy Jesus Saiz's art, costuming concerns that are probably out of his control aside. The only combat members we meet in this issue are Canary and Starling--no sign of Katana or Ivy yet, the two ladies I was looking forward to the most. I am rather fretted about how...not-there the relationship between Dinah and Barbara Gordon is, since Dinah notes that she's putting together the team and wishes Barbara would reconsider. Apparently also Starling (Ev Crawford) has taken Babs' place as Dinah's bestie, and also Helena's place as resident religious person, and also Zinda's place as balls-out brawler? DC bigwigs, note my displeasure. Swierczynski's writing is pretty sharp, but all in all this #1 feels too similar to what came before it, in all the wrong ways, though I will pick up at least one more issue because dammit, I want to see Ivy in action! Honestly I have hopes for this title and I hope it all pans out. 3 out of 5 stars.

Blue Beetle #1: Yeah, it's Jaime back in action! Don't get me wrong, I love Ted Kord too, but I vastly enjoy Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle and was very happy to hear that he would retain that title in the relaunch. A couple of interviews with Tony Bedard indicated to me that he liked this character and would likely do a good job with the title, and the #1 proved me right. I like a book that isn't afraid to use its own heroes and villains, rather than trying to borrow other people's, and Jaime's fights are all his own. This is a solid origin story all around: a strange influx of space scarabs and what that means for Jaime, along with high school troubles and a mysterious, dangerous auntie, and Blue Beetle #1 sets us up for a fun ride. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Nightwing #1: This was actually the book I read first today (for obvious reasons), and I was not disappointed! Well, I really kind of hate Dick's new outfit (why red? WHY NO FINGERSTRIPES?), but the art from Barrows and Co. is sharp, plenty of flips'n'shit, and the action hums along nicely, with a good cliffhanger ending. I loved Dick as Batman, but I'm not entirely sad to see him back as Nightwing, and at least Scott Higgins was allowed to acknowledge that yes, Dick!Bats had happened, which bodes well for the Batverse's continuity, I hope. The conceit of Haly's Circus being back in town is kind of tired, but is as good an opening story as any. Now four Robins removed from Batman, Dick's a grown-up and his own man, and I found that Higgins did a good job of showing that (including a dig about how Bruce lets his past scare him). Dick has always been a self-aware character. He's more sentimental and more extroverted than Bruce is, he's kinder, he's different, and that is part of why I like Nightwing. Higgins seems to like Nightwing too and it shows. 4 out of 5 stars.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1: Let me confess right up front that I enjoy both Jason Todd and Roy Harper, and I think both of them have been treated badly by DC. I was somewhat leery about picking up this book--the interviews I'd seen with Scott Lobdell didn't leave me thinking he liked the characters very much--but I can't resist Arsenal and Red Hood (especially not with HO YAY a title like this is already delivering). The art's ok--Rocafort doesn't have Cliff Chiang's restraint or eye (see below) and I think everyone agrees that Starfire's new outfit is even dumber than her old one, but for a messy, bloody, shoot-em-up book, that's just what the doctor ordered. Something I heftily dislike: Jason's account of how Kory doesn't remember or care about her time with the Titans and Dick Grayson. Um, yeah ok. That plot point by itself (not to mention its followup of Kory throwing herself at Roy) is enough to make me very uninterested in getting the next issue. 1 out of 5 stars.

Wonder Woman #1: Well hello Diana, one of my favorite superheroines and not, sadly, my namesake! I was super excited for this #1--I LOVE Cliff Chiang's art--and both Chiang and Azzarello brought their A-game. As a Greek myth nerd, I really enjoyed the set-up of Greek gods and motherfucking centaurs right here on Earth, screwing with people's lives as the Greek deities of old were so wont to do. We don't even meet Diana for a good ten pages or so, but when we do, oh, it's glorious. I love that Zola (that's the lady in her jammies, if you saw the previews) knows exactly who Diana is; I love, as I have in the past, the conceit of the gods mucking about on Earth; I love that Chiang is capable of and willing to draw women without much on and not make it about their tits and ass; I love the mysticism and non-answers this book throws in our faces right off the bat. In short, I loved this issue. 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Shattering (SPOILERS)

So a few nights ago I read The Shattering, New Zealand YA author Karen Healey's newest novel. I loved her first book, Guardian of the Dead, and enjoyed The Shattering so much that I read it in one sitting. There's a lot going for this book--a thoughtful cast of multicultural characters, sex-positive relationships, great friendships between girls and between boys and girls, a scary-cool premise.

That last hinges on something I was not expecting at all: an examination of modern Western witchcraft. One of the major characters, Janna, is a teenage semi-practitioner of Wicca (she says she believes but needs to study it more), and a couple of other characters are witches as well, including the major villain. No one in Summerton seems particularly bothered by this; apparently neopagans are common enough in New Zealand. Keri and Sione, the other two main characters, don't exactly follow Janna immediately down the path of believing magic is real right off the bat, but neither do they make fun of her or act like this isn't a viable belief system. Daisy, the villain, is a practitioner what Janna calls "the left-hand path," the leader of an apparently older coven which has less use for things like the Three-Fold Law. This coven has been ritually sacrificing young men for many years to keep Summerton safe and prosperous.

All in all, the comparison text that immediately popped into my head when I finished The Shattering was The Wicker Man. This was a trippy 60s horror film which revolved around a Scottish island where pagan ways were still practiced, including human sacrifice, to insure the island's prosperity (particularly that of the apples grown there). The movie was novelized, and I read the novel when I was a teenager. Go ahead, have a giggle at the thought of good Mormon teenager Diana reading The Wicker Man; obviously I would not have been allowed to watch the film, but my dear sweet mother doesn't believe in monitoring her kids' library records, a liberalism she likely regrets now. At any rate, I LOVED that novelization and didn't even know it was a movie first until I got to college. I think I read The Wicker Man three or four times. I did not connect it then with other books I was reading--Rosemary Sutcliff and Marion Zimmer Bradley specifically--though it seems clear now that my brain and spirit had been primed for this sort of interest and need since I was a kid.

The Shattering is in a similar vein to The Wicker Man, though more nuanced, less shock-valuey, and more suitable for younger audiences. Though set in New Zealand, her previous book, Guardian of the Dead, straight-up utilized Maori mythology for its plot and characters, while The Shattering bases its supernatural dealings in Western myth, specifically the idea of the Summer King (go read your Frazer if you don't know what I mean). As someone interested in neopaganism generally, any fiction book with a thoughtful treatment of modern witchcraft gets kudos from me, especially since there are far too many which go in for shock'n'schlock and fall back on idiotic tropes like Satanic ritual abuse or witches sexily applying fly ointment to their genitals. Healey presents a balanced offering of both witches who use their power for good (such as Sandra-Claire and Janna's protection spell for Takeshi) and for evil (Daisy and her coven).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The men of Empire Records

I am firmly in a Lucas stage right now.

I had an extended Berko stage (four years of thinking punk guys were hot in high school).

Berko stage overlapped slightly with AJ stage (last year of high school-first year of college).

I expect in ten years or so I'll hit the Joe stage.

I was never in nor do I ever expect to have a Mark, a Warren Beatty, an Eddie, or a Rex Manning stage.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday's Triumphant Return (redux)

YES IT'S TRUE...my teaching gig being over, thank all Elder Gods, we now return to our regularly scheduled Friday programming of completely impossible movie casts. I decided today I'd have to go big, because I can't go home yet, and so we're doing...Dune. Yep, Dune. Yes, I know there are two existing adaptations, but they both suck, so deal with it. For those who somehow don't know, Dune is about the desert planet Arrakis, the Atreides ducal family, a fat bastard of a Baron, and general arid-land shenanigans. This book has a sprawl of a cast, so don't expect to see everyone and their mom on the list here.

Paul Atreides: played by Max Irons, Paul is the son and heir of Duke Leto. Trained from birth by his mother and Thufir Hawat in subtle techniques, his exposure to spice on Arrakis awakens something in him that none of his teachers could have expected.

Lady Jessica Atreides: played by Rene Russo, the Lady Jessica is a trained Bene Gesserit and the ducal consort of Leto. Against the commands of her order, she bore Leto a son on the slim chance that he could be the prophesied Kwisatz Haderach.

Duke Leto Atreides: played by Danny Huston, the Duke Leto is given control of Arrakis by the Emperor, though he knows it is a trap laid by his ancestral enemies, the Harkonnens.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen: played by Ray Winstone, Baron Harkonnen is a twisted man who hates the Atreides house more than anything and plots its downfall with Arrakis as the field of war.

Chani: played by Freida Pinto, Chani is a Fremen woman who Paul falls in love with. Though Jessica does not approve, Paul remains adamant that she is his wife and the mother of Atreides heirs.

Stilgar: played by Alexander Siddig, Stilgar is the leader of Sietch Tabr, the Fremen bolthole where Paul and Jessica find themselves. A sharp man, he understands that he is integral to the survival of the Fremen on Arrakis despite the changes Paul brings.

Gurney Halleck: played by Mickey Rourke, Gurney is one of Duke Leto's men, skilled in music and war. Believing Paul and Jessica dead with their lord, he joins a group of Dune smugglers and works against the Harkonnens in his own way.

Thufir Hawat: played by Jordi Molla, Hawat is the Duke's Mentat, a human computer. He believes Jessica to be the instrument of Leto's destruction and surrenders to the Harkonnens upon the apparent deaths of Leto and Paul.

Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen: played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Feyd-Rautha is the Baron's nephew and his heir. Though skilled in gladiatorial combat, Feyd is no match, mentally or physically, for Paul.

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam: played by Tilda Swinton, the Reverend Mother is the Emperor's Truthsayer. She tests Paul to see if he is the person the Bene Gesserit have been waiting for.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eat, drink, and be geeky

Dudes, it's time to speak out with your geek out! I think everyone who reads this blog a little knows how I feel about most nerdy pursuits, and folks, if you too are a geek, it's time to let the world know, in case you hadn't already. I admire this project for its aim at happiness; very often nerd-rage takes over and we're a terrible bunch of fans, or we languish in our basements without any friends and resort to trolling on the Internet. No more of this! Let's talk about the things we love, the things about our hobbies and passions that make us happy (so no, this post will not involve Star Wars).

So. Many of my hobbies are geeky, and my profession is as well: I am a librarian. This is a nice thing, in that a lot of my colleagues are also geeky, and librarianship gives me regular opportunities to indulge and develop my interests. Here are a few things I love about being a librarian geek:

  • I get to add comics and graphic novels to the collection. Being able to obtain, process, display, and promote comic books is ggrrrreeeeeaaaat fun for me as a comic fan.

  • I can use geek signage. Two of the signs currently in use in my library involve Milton from Office Space and the Tenth Doctor (a great proponent of libraries).

  • Are those action figures on your desk? Yes, yes they are. My desk plays host to a Belle Pez dispenser (ok, maybe that's not quite an action figure), a Terry McGinnis Batman, and the Nancy Pearl figure with shushing action!

  • Books, books, books. Lots of geeks love to read; I am definitely among them! As a wordnerd first and foremost, I love the fact that working in a library gives me wonderful exposure to new titles all the time.

What are your favorite aspects of geekdom? What makes your geeky heart sing?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pull List: Batwoman #1, Suicide Squad #1

Yes indeed, it's Wednesday again! Out of the thirteen or so new #1s DC released this week, I only picked up two: Suicide Squad and Batwoman. As the picture below suggests, I would totally switch teams for Kate Kane (who wouldn't?). Spoilers to follow.

Batwoman #1: This is the title I've been waiting for, literally--its zero issue launched almost a year ago--and Kate Kane and Co. did not disappoint me. The art, of course, is fantastic--J.H. Williams III is amazing and I imagine the sheer beauty of this book will draw new fans. The premise, that a bizarre "Weeping Lady" is stealing children all over Gotham, is creepy. A nicely prominent Maggie Sawyer is in full swing...though as a detective, not the boss of the GCPD Major Crimes unit (and I'm looking forward to seeing her interactions with Commissioner Gordon), and as Kate's new love interest. Apparently all the lesbians in Gotham know each other! Honestly, though Kate/Renee will always be endgame for me, I won't mind seeing Kate/Maggie happen if it does. I have a soft spot for Bette Kane too, so seeing her pop up as "Plebe," Batwoman's new sidekick, was fun. The pain and anger between Kate and her father Jacob hurts my heart, since when we first met them they were very close, with Jake supporting Kate after she was dishcharged from the Army and helping her in her work as Batwoman. All of the plotlines introduced in this #1--the Weeping Lady, Kate/Maggie, Kate and Bette working together, Kate's rift with her father, a certain pair of characters who I won't name because giving EVERYTHING away wouldn't be fun, right? and Batman's mysterious proposition--are things I look forward to watching unfold. 5 out of 5 stars.

Suicide Squad #1: I wasn't going to pick this one up, because I really hated the cover art, but decided to give it a go, and now I want my three bucks back, because it was terrible. Harley's new costume is just the tip of a very bad iceberg. The reason I picked it up at all was because I really enjoy a lot of the characters on the team, but that's exactly the reason I won't be reading any more--frankly it doesn't seem like Adam Glass knows the characters much at all. There are many things I can't imagine Deadshot saying, and "Loyalty is for suckers" is among them. King Shark is for some reason now a hammerhead? Savant would not do what Savant was written to do (in fact a similar situation occurred during Birds of Prey wherein Savant did NOT crack under torture) and where the hell is Creote? Those two are kind of a package deal. Why has Amanda Waller been sexed up? If Glass wanted to see what Harley would be like if she wasn't obsessed with the Joker, why is her first reference to Mister J? Why is the basic premise--that the characters are being tortured in order to see if they can pass Waller's test and be on the team--weirdly similar to Villains United? WHY IS BELLE REVE SPELLED WRONG? Blah, just blah all around. 1 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: Motherland

Everyone knows what day it is. There are 10+ memorials of various kinds listed in my local paper; there are images, songs, videos, poems, and essays all over the web.

Do you ever think about why, post 9/11, the US government opened a new Cabinet door called the Department of Homeland Security? I don't mean why they started it, period--I mean why they called it that. "Homeland" is a word that pulls far more strings than "country" or even "nation." You can add another layer and get "fatherland," a word that in the US has specific Nazi connotations to this day, and "motherland" too exists, often used to parody Russians in popular culture; of course nationalism is only worthy if your country is the one in question.

Motherland means body, soil, sweat and grit and blood, the place that holds your roots, the ground that spawned you. In the same way that we dislike to think about the birth process and the (as Frank Herbert wrote) tender indignities of physical love and the numerous small ways in which our bodies betray us daily, we find considering the nuts and bolts of our country uncomfortable. Families have so many dark secrets; countries have even more, shared shame and things everyone knows but no one talks about.

My mother's body: It is rough and vast and beautiful, scarred, aging but strong, miraculous, cruel.She has done great acts of creativity and terrible, casual brutalities. My body is the mirror of my mother, a microcosm. We move away, we shave our heads, we tattoo and paint our walls bright red, we iron out accents, buy new shoes, but a thread, a rootlet, of our mothers remains. We can never really return home, but what does that matter, when we carry our mothers with us?

Friday, September 09, 2011

Horatio killed King Hamlet? Seriously?

(I'm not inclined to call him a human. The gom jabbar would destroy that asshole.)

Can I just say that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being gay makes the movie with Tim Roth and Gary Oldman all the more believable and awesome?

In other snippy celebrity news, these recent set photos of Anne Hathaway in costume for Dark Knight Rises do not really endear me any more to her or what Nolan seems to be doing with the character. Selina Kyle is a fierce bitch with amazing fashion sense, but she is NOT Audrey Hepburn. It's like Nolan found out that Adam Hughes used Hepburn for Kyle's face when he did Catwoman artwork and took that to mean that her entire persona was Hepburn-like.

Maybe Katharine Hepburn-like. Not Audrey.

I rarely argue for more overtly sexual clothing, but Jesus H. Garcia, people, this is Selina Fucking Kyle. This is not her style at all. She ain't trashy, but she is in complete ownership of her sexual appeal and, dammit, she dresses the part. Shorter, tighter, more cleavage and/or more leg. There's a way to do that and still be classy, and that is exactly what she does. For an updated Selina I can see pencil skirts, bustiers under blazers, cigarette pants and serious heels...edgy but classic. This Breakfast at Tiffany's-clone stuff just says to me that, yet again, Nolan has no idea who the character is. But then, he never knows who any female character is. Marion Cotillard's character isn't from the comics? Goodness, color me so shocked! Nolan is a great director in many ways but directing and writing women aren't among them. I've used Keira Knightley in my comic casting posts in the past, so obviously I'm biased in that direction, but when I think "Selina out for dinner," this is more what I'm seeing:

As ever, I hope to be really extremely wrong about this. I hope Hathaway does a great job and I hope the script and film do a great job of utilizing her.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Pull List: Action Comics #1, Batgirl #1, Detective Comics #1, Swamp Thing #1

So! For the month of September I will be doing a lot of opining on the new DC titles...at least, the ones I'll be picking up. By no means will I be getting all 52 of the new relaunch #1s, but the ones I do, you'll hear about it here.


Action Comics #1: Soooo. Superman+Grant Morrison=love forever, right? I'm starting to think this might be the case. Originally I wasn't going to pick up this title (I like Morrison's writing but not that much), but after a Twitter convo wherein someone compared his new Supes to Tom Joad, I was like, SOLD! The new Superdude is kind of a bastard, make no mistake--he's not peace-love-and-penguins, he seems to enjoy fucking with the authority figures of Metropolis, and he might be an anarchist. All of these elements are things I find interesting. Rags Morales' art is nifty, dynamic and bright. This is not a staid, stately, Papa Superman. But what the hell is up with that $3.99 price tag?? 4 out of 5 stars.

Batgirl #1: If you recall, I had a bit of a fit when it came out that Barbara Gordon was going to be in the tights again. I will not say that I got over it, because I still think there's a whole lotta suspicious motives and bullshit around this decision, but I decided to give the book a chance because hey, it's Gail and Babs, two of my favorite redheads. I think most who do give the book a shot will be glad they did; it's a solid #1 through and through, with Babs being her sassy self, but a touch unsure and somewhat off her game, which is believable. The creepy-ass Mirror's MO seems to be calling down Death to those who managed to escape her the first time...and of course Barbara is on that list. I like her new roommate. One thing I'm sure most readers, including me, will REALLY miss is having Dinah around all the time for Babs to eat Italian food and gab with, so it's nice to see that new roomie Alysia might fill that gap. The art by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes is sharp and lively and colorful, a good fit for the back-in-action Batgirl. For a much more in-depth review of this first Babsgirl issue which pretty neatly encapsulates both how I felt about the issue itself AND how I feel about Barbara-as-Batgirl-again generally, check out The Mary Sue's thoughts. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Detective Comics #1: I found this the weakest of the new #1s I bought today, but that might be because Tony Daniel has a pretty big cowl to fill after Snyder's run on this title. This first new incarnation of DC is by no means bad, though I found the Bat's inner monologue a little self-conscious. The art by Daniel, Ryan Winn, and Tomeu Morey is fierce and pretty damn gory, particularly that last page with Joker and Dollmaker (eeek! Dollmaker terrifies me. Relatedly, I had a real hard time with "Night Terrors" last week. DAMN YOU MOFFAT). I was wavering on whether to pick up this run at all, but decided in favor to have the contrast between DC and Batman and Robin, which I think will be interesting and to readers' benefit. I'm also hoping for lots of Bat-verse characters to fill out the pages, which is one reason I started reading DC in the first place. 3 out of 5 stars.

Swamp Thing #1: Easily the greatest of today's #1s, in my so-humble opinion: Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette are going to slam this title out of the park. Amazing art, a sharp intro to who Alec Holland is, bonus guest appearance from Superman...Swamp Thing has it all. There's a hint that we'll be seeing Abby Holland at some future point, as Alec frets over memories and feelings that aren't his own, and a pretty deeply creepy opening sequence. Add in a paleontological dig gone bizarrely wrong and Swamp Thing pretty much delivered everything I love. 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Things I watched on my completely un-laborious Labor Day:

  • Romeo Must Die (a film that I own on DVD)
  • 4 episodes of Stargate: SG1 (including the scary creepy horrible insect ep, which I endure because at the end Teal'c plays with squirt guns)
  • Iron Man 2 (is it just me or are the Pepper-and-Natasha scenes the best parts of this film?)
  • the second half of Hunger (I watched the first half ages ago)

I don't know what this says about my psyche, so I'm just going to note how much I love Netflix Instant and that it's a good thing I waited until after graduating to sign up for it.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: Drive

TMI alert: I've been pretty horny lately. My manfriend's off to school in the Cleve, and it's been nigh on two months since he left, so here I am, alone with my battery-chewing vibrator and all the Dick/Jason fanfic I can find.

(is this better or worse than when I talk about my period? Eh, whatever)

The libido is a thing of glory. Most of the great literature and art of the world revolves around people getting it on or trying to get it on, which is either kind of sweet or pretty pathetic. Of course, when I had easy access to manfriend's pants, I didn't take advantage of him it nearly as often as I should've. Hindsight is 20/15. So now that he's far away and I'm cold and alone on my air mattress, things come into perspective. And it becomes harder (har har) to not walk around like this:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

More exercises in creative definition

Glurgh. I've been having a crisis lately--despite my big-ass mouth, I have nothing to say here on Ye Olde Blogge. So, as in times of silence prior, I turn to forced creativity. Let's make up some words, motherfuckers!

  • corae: noun. The plural form of the given name Cora; two or more people named Cora. Example: "I have this idea for a YA book where the adorkable teen male narrator dates seven girls named Cora over the course of a year. Working title is A Multitude of Corae."
  • eumbat: noun. An extinct subspecies of Vombatidae. Distinct from its more well-known and extant cousin, the wombat, in that the eumbat displays a prehensile tail. Example: "Very well-preserved eumbat skeleton we found outside Queensland. The old boy went out fighting--teeth bared, tail at the ready!"
  • cossect: verb. To dissect Cossacks. Example: "The icebound remains discovered in Almaty are ready for cossection, Doctor Sienkiwicz."
  • libun: noun. A librarian's bun. Example: "I don't have enough hair to put into a libun, therefore I can't really be a sexy librarian. Sorry."
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