Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme III Alright!!!!

Later, in the privacy of his own apartment, Raxton peels off his outer clothes, again to revel in his awesome power...
-- Amazing Spider-Man #35

   
 

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    Never retconned, never caused anyone to kill Professor X

    A flurry of political posts below, so lets start the weekend with a flyer and screenshot from the awesome video game, Phoenix.


    By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:57 PM | Video Games | Comments (0) | Link




    Princeton study says US is no longer a democracy

    According to TPM's summary, it says we've been an oligarchy going back to the 1980s. Haven't read the long-ish report yet.


    By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:50 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Good news on solar panels

    Krugman:

    One front many people didn't take too seriously, however, was renewable energy. Sure, cap-and-trade might make more room for wind and the sun, but how important could such sources really end up being? And I have to admit that I shared that skepticism. If truth be told, I thought of the idea that wind and sun could be major players as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.

    But I was wrong.

    The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that "many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions" since it released its last assessment, back in 2007. The Department of Energy is willing to display a bit more open enthusiasm; it titled a report on clean energy released last year "Revolution Now." That sounds like hyperbole, but you realize that it isn't when you learn that the price of solar panels has fallen more than 75 percent just since 2008.

    Sounds like maybe Min can soon build her own microgrid.


    By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 3:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    None dare call it a recovery

    Democratic strategists warn politicians to not use the word "recovery" in the upcoming election year to avoid seeming out of touch. If only those "strategists" were around back in 2009 when President Obama was pivoting away from economic recovery and towards deficit reduction back in 2009 when we had 8%+ unemployment. You can't magic that away now with your choice of phrasing.

    Tangentially, and also looking at this Obama Urges Dems to Defend Obamacare post, why is it that Democrats always seem to have their strategy sessions in a public forum? The Republicans always manage to march in lockstep without any McConnell Urges Repubs to Advocate Lower Taxes articles. But with Democrats you always get these "oh, maybe we shouldn't say 'recovery'" and "hey guys, maybe you ought to stick up for our signature program of the past few years because if people don't like it they're going to vote for the Republicans anyway" type of articles.


    By fnord12 | April 18, 2014, 10:01 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Kevin Drum on Donald Rumsfeld's taxes

    About as much snark as you could possibly fit into one blog post.


    By fnord12 | April 17, 2014, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Where's My Microgrid?

    Link

    For five days after Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012, large swathes of Hoboken, N.J., remained underwater and in darkness. The small city covering five square kilometers hosts three substations for the regional electric grid, all of which were knocked out of service by flooding. Some residents had no electricity for as long as 15 days after the storm.

    As Mayor Dawn Zimmer walked around her municipality surveying the damage, she vowed to come up with a backup plan to keep the lights on in a catastrophe. When federal government officials flooded in to tour the damage, Zimmer asked them to help her find a way to have at least a minimal amount of power remain on during storms, no matter what. As a result, she is now working with Sandia National Laboratories, local utility Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the Board of Public Utilities and renewable energy consultant Greener by Design to come up with a plan to put Hoboken, or at least a part of it, on its own power grid. Hoboken needs to be self-sustaining during a storm, Zimmer says, because whether it's stubbornness or lack of resources, people simply don't evacuate. "I thought if we had a safer, better system of sheltering in place, people could stay in their homes through the storm," Zimmer explains.

    I want one!


    By min | April 17, 2014, 12:20 PM | Science | Comments (0) | Link




    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Black Widow #5 - Still not loving Noto, but i thought the fight sequence with Hammer of God was better this time. I spent the entire issue wondering if i was supposed to know Tori Raven which, i wasn't, but Damo Dran, who i do know, was introduced just as casually, which is the sort of thing that gets me confused. Still, i said that this series might get better if it got into a continued story, and that does seem to be the case. Dran is possibly the closest thing the Widow has to a solo arch enemy, and he's also pretty obscure, so i'm pretty amazed to see him being used in an "indie" style book like this, but i like it (there still should have been a footnote). Doesn't look like he's going to be the main bad guy, even. Anyway, i think this limps along hopefully for me.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #11 - Another fill-in, which is a shame and surely a buzz killer. Last issue's fill-in matched the tone of the series pretty well and was pretty good. This one, not so much. I really don't like the concept of a Super-villains Anonymous, but Spencer made it work in the earlier issues, i think because he used it as the basis for a story and jokes, instead of just being the joke itself. Tom Peyer's Grizzly story was pretty fun - if nothing else this issue gave me "the whole nine yams" - and yes, he's one of the sadder villains to have been invented, but the problem with a story like this is it makes Grizzly irredeemably terrible. Give the guy a better costume and a good story, and there's really no reason that Grizzly couldn't have been an awesome low level super-villain. I could definitely see him as a Thunderbolt. Be hard to see him come back from this. Hell, i even see Dr. Bong as potentially usable in the right setting, but i can't picture him coming back after being in a support group with that Hippo character. By itself that would have been fine, though. The real problem with this issue is the Looter. Now, i have no special affinity for the Looter, but just last issue we saw him as the buff, successful, awesome guy that the Superior Foes were comparing themselves unfavorably to. So how did he go from there to a terrified broken skinny dude? I know we gave up on "continuity", but can't we at least have some consistency between two issues of the same series? It's pretty insane. Isn't there an editor that approves these stories? Are there two Looters in the Marvel universe? That's at least one too many. And then to end this goofy goofy issue on the earnest "we need to control the crazy violent Spider-Man inside ourselves" message. A tone change from Uncle Grampa to One To Grow On. Weird.

    New Warriors #3 - Now this was great. Fun dialogue. Loved the snarky Speedball asides. Kid Nova calling the Scarlet Spider "Spider-Man" (and the more sincere "Spider-Man wouldn't have failed" from Scarlet at the end). Enjoyed Sun Girl blasting the new Inhuman to make her point. Good characterization of Justice as the by-the-book boyscout. Loved the Luna Lovegood-ish Hummingbird ("This is Sam. He's been to space."). And i'm liking the High Evolutionary's plan (i'm assuming he's on the wrong track, but i still like the idea of it and the Marvel history that's informing it). I still wouldn't mind if the whole team had finally gotten together by now - i thought we were heading to that for an ending of this issue - but i guess i'm going to have to get used to this kind of pacing.

    Iron Man #24 - Continues to be great. Gillen seems to get stronger when he's got mystical stuff to work with, so Malekith his elves are helping him there.

    Captain Marvel #2 - I see that we're back to dumb Drax. Generally speaking, the Guardians of the Galaxy didn't feel quite "right" to me, but they felt better than they did in the Bendis GotG issues i read before i couldn't stands it no more. Rocket Raccoon / pet rivalries are always fun. Overall this was OK, and i'm hopeful it gets better as we get going and Carol actually locates the plot.

    Daredevil #1.50 - Umphf, um, ok. #1.50. Well, that's very precise. Did i miss #1.49? Is this part of a market research effort to see if a #1.50 sells better than an annual? Yes, it's the 50th anniversary issue of Daredevil, so i guess we should be looking at Marvel's post-modern issue numbers for clues about the story. #2.WOLVERINEGUESTSTARS might be next. As for the content, well, the Waid/Rodriguez story was good even though i don't really love or need stories set in the future. The fact that it's sort of a rosetta stone for the upcoming series is interesting, though. And the Kesel/"Colan"/Palmer (Kesel drawing in the style of Gene Colan) story gets points just for showing me Gene Colan art in a very different context than i'm used to plus (i originally thought this was post-houmous Gene Colan art but it's not) referencing the crazy, crazy Mike Murdock stuff in a really fun way. But that thing in the middle. I almost didn't read it. But then i did and just wished i didn't. Is that really in continuity? Was Daredevil married to this woman? Another dead love interest? I love that we're at the point where if someone needs to crank out a quick Daredevil prose story for a jam issue, we just invent another woman that can fall in love with Daredevil and then die. And did anyone want a prose story? All and all, the Kesel story was fun but this issue was basically skippable, so maybe that's what i should take a .50 to mean in the future.


    By fnord12 | April 16, 2014, 5:32 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link




    Why is the Black Widow Posed Like That?

    This isn't a terrible movie ad. There's no gratuitous butt shot or anything. But why is Black Widow walking with her hip cocked and her arms held out to the side holding her guns sideways? Is she surrendering?

    And let's compare her expression to Cap's or Fury's. They've both got the "angry determination" sort of face on. Black Widow's sporting the "blank supermodel stare" and the flippy hair is not helping. She's one "partially parted lips" away from "Why does she have a porn face?". Winter Soldier's exuding more tough ass-kickery and you can't even see his face clearly.

    Now, Black Widow can kick ass. I know she can. I saw it in the Avengers movie (i would have seen it in Iron Man 2 if they had backed the camera up enough to fit more than limbs. and i wanted to see it in CA: Winter Soldier, but i was too busy keeping my eyes shut for 2 hours so i wouldn't puke - see Palsy Cam post). There's no reason why she can't come off just as tough as the guys. So can we give her (and every other chick in an action movie) an "angry determination" face with a corresponding, non-butt pose like the guys get to have? That's not alot to ask, is it? You even get to keep the cat suit.

    And if you still don't think there's anything wrong with the way Black Widow's posed, imagine Cap in a similar one.


    By min | April 16, 2014, 10:57 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (0) | Link




    Filibuster lawsuit challenge loses

    I've long felt the filibuster rule in the Senate could be challenged as unconstitutional, since it effectively denies the Vice President his constitutionally defined right to break a tie vote. But this lawsuit seems to have gone about it the wrong way. I would think the Vice President would have to sue, and he'd have to name as the defendant the Senate or the Senate Majority Leader or something like that. Instead, the liberal group Common Cause sued Joe Biden. On first blush this made absolutely no sense to me, but on consideration i guess the idea is that the Vice President is also President of the Senate (according to the constitution; in practice not so much). And some of the co-signers on the lawsuit were Democratic congressmen whose bills failed to pass in the Senate due to the filibuster. So the lawsuit wasn't quite as crazy as it first sounded to me. But they still lost the case due to lack of standing, since if Biden isn't claiming his constitutional rights are being violated, there's no legitimate grievance. So you'd really need the White House to bring this lawsuit. That's never going to happen, of course. And not just because of my usual "Democrats aren't fighters" complaint. Challenging the law on constitutional grounds is something mainstream people in either party would laugh at (although i wish Josh Marshal wouldn't relish the loss so much, especially since it lost on lack of standing instead of the merits).


    By fnord12 | April 16, 2014, 10:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    They want to take away our softcore porn!

    Former DC editor Janelle Asselin wrote a column at CBR criticizing the new Teen Titans cover largely over the depiction of the teen Wonder Girl's breasts, and in return she got abuse and rape threats. The cover was (sadly) far from the worst depiction of women in comics that i've seen, but i still largely agree with her critique ("largely" only because i'm less interested in the complaints about the paper airplane and such, although i agree it's not a great cover even without the Wonder Girl problem). Even if i didn't agree with her, though, the reaction - even the less violent reaction on twitter, let alone the rape threats - seems unhinged. What surprises me the most are the people who defend it on the grounds that they have the right to look at sexy female superheroes (you can see some of it in the CBR comments, too). You'd think people that were into comic book art for that would keep quiet about it, but no, instead they go into full outrage mode. Like, download some porn, people. That's not what mainstream super-hero comics are for!

    The other complaint seems to be that all comic art is bad in this way, so why is she picking on this one? Well as she explains, part of that is that thanks to a popular cartoon series, the Teen Titans potentially has a larger audience than a cover like that is targeting. But also, why should this book get a pass just because others do it? Generalized critiques are good, too, but focusing on a specific comic helps get the point across, and that's especially the case when it's actually not the most egregious example (you can see one of the Psylocke scans from the Middle Spaces post below for one of those). Just because you're not doing a brokeback position with the lady in fishnets and a thong doesn't mean you're doing it right.


    By fnord12 | April 15, 2014, 1:12 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link




    "There is no sense of what he is really capable of, what he has done in the past, and what is at stake in potentially trusting him"

    Osvaldo Oyola looks at Brian Wood's X-Men and why (or at least some of the reasons why) it failed.


    By fnord12 | April 15, 2014, 1:07 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link




    Are you aiming high?


    By fnord12 | April 13, 2014, 9:03 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    Captain America and the Palsy Cam

    Friday night we went to see Winter Soldier in the theater. For once we saw a movie in a relatively timely manner, so i'm going to keep things general to avoid spoilers. But from a certain point of view i thought it was a great movie. I don't know if i agree with MightyGodKing that it's the best Marvel movie, but except for one thing i'd probably have put it in my top three (along with Avengers and the first Iron Man).

    But that one thing was pretty bad. And that's the strange and increasingly prevalent use of shaky cameras, jerky POV changes, and extreme close-ups that has been infecting more and more movies (definitely ruined our enjoyment of Pacific Rim). Normally it seems to be used as a way to obscure poorly coordinated fights, but in this case it seemed like there was cool stuff going on but it was impossible to see it. Now, we did wind up in a crowded theater and had to sit pretty close to the front, so i'm hoping that was a factor and it'll look better on a television screen ("gee, your movie sucked in the theater but maybe it'll look ok on television" is surely not what directors want to hear). Ironically, Saturday night we kicked back with Fast and Furious 6. And that movie had very clear action and some nice (if silly) fights. And let me tell you, Fast and Furious 6 should not have better action sequences than Captain America.


    By fnord12 | April 13, 2014, 11:47 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (2) | Link




    Gee, i'm sure glad *we* don't have white collar unions

    I'd sure hate for this to happen here.


    By fnord12 | April 11, 2014, 9:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link




    Nerdchaeology

    For my comic project i occasionally wonder when certain issues came out in relation to others, as it helps establish what people knew at the time or what technically counts as a reveal or new information. All i usually have to go by is the cover date. But Mike Sterling delves into the ship dates for the issues debuting Spider-Man's black costume. I mean, of course Amazing Spider-Man was first, but it's nice to see the data. If, you know, you're me and probably no one else.


    By fnord12 | April 9, 2014, 6:51 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    I don't think he likes it there

    I invite you to consider, for no particular reason, the possibility that there is a little man in your head watching a movie of eggs being fried, and in turn there is a little man in his head watching a movie of a man watching a movie of eggs being fried, forever and ever in infinite regress.


    By fnord12 | April 9, 2014, 12:32 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link




    Inflation is in the mind

    Kevin Drum expands on Paul Krugman and Tyler Cowan wondering why people are so worried about inflation at a time when a) there isn't any and b) it would actually do us some good. Judging from what i've seen in comments sections, there's also the fact that you can't disprove inflation (not that i've personally tried, mind you. It's bad enough that i read comments sections on political blogs). Show people whatever charts you want, the response will be "Are you crazy? Haven't you seen the price of gas/milk/comic books/etc.?" By the time you've explained that there are unique circumstances for those particular commodities that don't reflect an overall rate of inflation, you've already lost anyone's interest, especially if someone else is telling them that we're having all this inflation because the Fed is "printing money".


    By fnord12 | April 8, 2014, 9:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Fried It Right Out

    My grandmother offered me some batter-fried pork chop at lunch today. When i declined and pointed out that i don't eat meat (which she's known for years now), she told me it was ok because they had "fried the oil out of it"*.

    So, i learned 2 things today.


    1. you can fry oil out of things
    2. and that, apparently, also magically makes meat vegan.


    *i admit to taking a tiny bit of license with the translation, but it's almost entirely accurate.

    By min | April 5, 2014, 5:16 PM | My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link




    "You really start to wonder, after a while, just why it is that some of you guys follow the books at all."

    Continuing to chronicle the "Looking for any greater meaning or purpose in what you're reading every time out is a bit of a losing proposition" phase of Marvel.

    I'm not necessarily endorsing the questioner's specific concern (although on initial consideration i get their point). I do agree with Brevoort about the hyperbole and anger he gets. The truth is Marvel is all but telling us that "continuity" (the way longtime Marvel geeks mean it) is dead. So it's really up to us to let it go and stop reading Marvel if that's all we're in it for. Brevoort's post here is an invitation for us to go away. So there's no need for fans to keep getting mad about it. At this point if you're reading Marvel books and getting angry about stuff like this, you need to move on to the next stage of acceptance.


    By fnord12 | April 4, 2014, 10:01 AM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Revolutionary War: Omega - I thought maybe this could have been a few pages longer. The set-up and background for Killpower was really good but then it all seemed to end very quickly. The part with Motormouth just power-shouting at Killpower immediately reverting him to normal seemed abrupt. And then it was all over and we got the wrap up. I'm still not really sure what Mephisto's role in this really was or how things ended with Dark Angel. And the other characters were kind of a blur. But it might just require a more careful reading. And in any case i did enjoy this little event and would be happy to see Lanning, Cowsill, Gillen, etc. writing more in this little corner of the Marvel universe.

    Indestructible Hulk #20 - I was souring on the Inhumanity crossover, but this issue was pretty cool. I enjoyed the new Enclave, anyway. And Hulk fondly remembering gum. Now, this upcoming reboot... the Daredevil reboot, as little sense as it made, at least there was a natural build up to the idea that Daredevil had to move out of New York. Whether moving to a new location merits a reboot is another matter (answer: no). But this Hulk reboot actually felt like it forced the status quo change that happens in the end. The premise of this series, with Banner working for SHIELD and having gathered a team of scientists each with their own dark secrets or whatever, it was interesting and that's why i was disappointed that it kept seeming to get derailed by crossovers. But now the team's been discarded seemingly because of the reboot. What Marvel has to do to keep sales up is one thing. And i know Hulk isn't selling in the numbers he should be for a movie star. But hopefully we're not getting into a period of instant reactive storytelling: oh, you didn't like the scientists, ok, drop them, reboot, how about a story where someone shot Banner? No? Ok, reboot. Hulk turns blue?


    By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 9:41 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    Even Grey Hulk can put up with Meatloaf for charity

    When i was younger i used to hate this ad because the Hulk in that picture was so obviously meant to be the dumb green Hulk that they hastily recolored grey in an attempt to fit it into current continuity. Yes, those were the things that made me mad, and no i haven't changed much. But now i see that what's really going on here is that the Grey Hulk is willing to take a break from his quasi-villainous ways and even put up with the other Marvel super-heroes' questionable taste in music to help kids in the Special Olympics. And that's really big of him. Now we just have to figure out how Wolverine didn't notice the resurrected Jean Grey standing behind him and why Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are wearing their old costumes.


    By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 5:18 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link




    In his own world

    Charles Koch makes an Ayn Randian rant against his "collectivist" enemies while the rest of us wonder if a market-based Rube Goldberg-esque health care system designed by the Heritage Foundation is going to work.


    By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 11:50 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    When are we going to give it up on Cuba?

    Why is our government so obsessed with Cuba? It's a sickness. We've done a lot of bad stuff in the world, but with Cuba it just gets downright weird, from exploding cigars and beard removal powders to fake twitter programs. If we legitimately wanted to see reforms, we could accomplish so much more by normalizing relations with them, relaxing travel and trade restrictions, but there seems to be a bipartisan consensus that we have to "win" by destroying their current government. It's madness and it's been completely ineffective and i can't understand why we're still doing it.

    Now that this latest program (which Senator Leahy correctly calls "troubling") is out in the open, it'd be nice to have an in-depth review of our policies, but that's highly unlikely. The bipartisan consensus means there's no opposition on this, and my own Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, is one of the worst on this topic. And it's not really an issue that regular voters are going to get up in arms about. So on it goes...


    By fnord12 | April 3, 2014, 11:03 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Time to roll it up and go back to Monarchy

    Latest Supreme Court ruling further kills campaign contribution limits. Because money is speech. And billionaires just have bigger mouths than you.

    Now we can all watch every politician cater to the whims of billionaires and their preferred terms for the West Bank.


    By fnord12 | April 2, 2014, 12:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Finally: the right amount of Dio

    Wanyas alerted me to the recent Dio cover album, and i haven't gotten it yet, but i am certainly pleased with the album art:

    The man would be proud.


    By fnord12 | April 1, 2014, 7:54 AM | Music | Comments (0) | Link




    Recap 56

    And now, Search for the Lizard God Egg, Part I.


    By min | March 27, 2014, 12:25 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link




    It's ok as long as you ask

    Even if they say no.


    By fnord12 | March 27, 2014, 11:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Why we need single-payer

    This is just nuts.


    By fnord12 | March 27, 2014, 11:05 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    Tom & Jerry remake with CGI anime characters

    Honestly, this just makes me miss hand drawn cartoons.


    By fnord12 | March 27, 2014, 10:52 AM | TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link




    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    Black Widow #4 - Meh. I'd leave it at that, but i see this is getting some positive reviews, so i will defend my ambivalance. Personaly, i don't love Noto's art. It's pretty at times, but not great with storytelling or action scenes, and it really ruined the impact of the Black Widow's first super-fight in this series for me. I also had a visceral anti-movieverse creep reaction when Black Widow included Banner amongst the Avengers at this point (i have no idea what's going on in the Avengers books right now but i don't see her listing him regardless). Storywise, it's fine; i could do less with of the Widow telling us she's bored with her regular work but also doesn't like super-fights, but it's all fine. Just a bit uninteresting.

    Captain Marvel #1 - Another "meh" for me. I actually thought we dropped this title; i forgot that it went into a pre-reboot hiberation. At least this issue doesn't have Captain Marvel de-powered, sick, or time-traveling. I guess a space adventure could be cool if she actually gets to do stuff. Did anyone else think a green woman named Tic might be the same species as Bug from the Micronauts?

    Ms. Marvel #2 - Maybe i'm just cranky, but this one also didn't seem that great. I thought last issue was a nice set-up. But this issue also felt like more set-up and not enough forward movement. I hope the series isn't all about us learning what her powers are; if she's a shape-shifter, fine, let it be that and let's have a story now. If that's not the really what her powers are, get it out quickly. I assume next issue will be her back in school and interacting with her friends, and that may get a little more interesting.

    X-Men #12 - Oh god, what a mess. First of all, that Meanwhile stuff at the end has to be the worst storytelling decision i've seen in a while. Then there's the absolutely anti-climactic defeat of whatsername, the bacteria lady. And then the other members of the Sisterhood. Enchantress is taken down so easily by Monet. Lady Deathstrike, i'm not even sure what happened with her and Cortez and bacteria lady and who's in what body. And then Selene and Madelyne Pryor just walk away after all that build up! What the hell? I guess if i had faith in Wood's long term planning skills, it might be a cool weird twist that these guys just choose not to participate, but as it stands it all just feels like a house of cards falling down.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #10 - This is a fill-in but it's decent. It actually would have made a decent Point One issue in the way it introduces (what's left of) the Foes.

    Iron Man #23.NOW - #1 of an eight part story, of which this is part 5. Wait, what? Anyway, i like Luke Ross' competent art and Gillen's writing and Malekith, so whatever you need to do to keep the series from getting canceled or whatever is fine.

    Daredevil #1 - Guys, i put on a warmer shirt and i moved my laptop from the table to the couch while i was writing this Speed Review. Does that mean i have to start over with a new #1? I may need to charge you an extra dollar, too. But this was fine. Great even. Like with Iron Man, whatever you need to do to keep it going.

    Revolutionary War: Motormouth and Revolutionary War: Warheads - To the 9,000 or so and dropping other people that are reading this... it's pretty good right? Fun. I don't know why no one else is getting it. I mean, i know why, it's about characters that most people haven't even heard about, let alone care about. But it's good. I could see it being the lead-in to an ongoing series about some of these guys. But not with these numbers. Oh well. I did think the Warheads issue was the first where i was a little confused and felt disconnected from the characters. The Motormouth story, like the previous issues, was quite good at giving us the info we needed. But while the Warheads clearly tried to do the same, it didn't work as well. Oh well, at least i understood the implications of Killpower showing up at the end, thanks to the Motormouth book. Looking forward to the conclusion.


    By fnord12 | March 26, 2014, 5:50 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link




    Marvel Sales

    February.


    By fnord12 | March 25, 2014, 12:36 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    System Administrators: The NSA is Hacking Your Shit

    Link

    Across the world, people who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order - and this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National Security Agency for simply doing their jobs. According to a secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.
    ...
    Hacking into the computers of sys admins is particularly controversial because unlike conventional targets - people who are regarded as threats - sys admins are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
    ...
    Once the agency believes it has identified a sys admin's personal accounts, according to the posts, it can target them with its so-called QUANTUM hacking techniques. The Snowden files reveal that the QUANTUM methods have been used to secretly inject surveillance malware into a Facebook page by sending malicious NSA data packets that appear to originate from a genuine Facebook server. This method tricks a target's computer into accepting the malicious packets, allowing the NSA to infect the targeted computer with a malware "implant" and gain unfettered access to the data stored on its hard drive.

    "Just pull those selectors, queue them up for QUANTUM, and proceed with the pwnage," the author of the posts writes. ("Pwnage," short for "pure ownage," is gamer-speak for defeating opponents.) The author adds, triumphantly, "Yay! /throws confetti in the air."


    By min | March 25, 2014, 12:35 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link




    The Kids Are At It Again

    Always roughhousing while i'm at work, disintegrating one another...

    Can 1 1/2 Wookiees take out Darth Vader before he solidifies his power?

    The Tiki Men are neutral observers to this conflict.


    By min | March 21, 2014, 10:58 AM | My stupid life & Star Wars | Comments (0) | Link




    SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

    New Warriors #2 - Some art problems: i guess it's supposed to be a big reveal that the Evolutionaries are big ugly cavemen people, but i didn't get that at all from the art...

    ...and had no idea what the "ugly stick" comment was about until we got to Justice and Speedball reviewing the X-Men files later on. And that scene with Jarvis... why does he look like Henry Pym in the close-up shot?

    I had to look at that a bunch of times to make sure i wasn't missing something (the fact that they are faceless in the bottom panel didn't help, but at least that's a distance shot).

    Now to go off on a tangent: i really appreciated that Avengers/X-Men file device to give us some exposition on the Evolutionaries' past appearances. It's the sort of thing you take for granted reading older comics but it's sadly not all that common today, so it was nice to have. Including a footnote would have been even better. But it probably wouldn't have helped that much. Because i wanted to see who wrote the original Evolutionaries story, so i looked it up online, and i saw that they were in "X-Men vol. 3". Then i went to my trusty UHBMCC to look up the creator credits and holy hell are there are lot of X-Men titles! The good news is that UHBMCC does have a listing for plain "X-Men (III)" and i was able to discover that the original Evolutionaries stories was indeed written by Yost.

    Second tangent: "Evolutionaries" isn't the greatest name in the world for soldiers that work for the High Evolutionary. Granted we have Doombots and Horsemen of Apocalypse. And "Purifiers" is already taken. But now i want to rename the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to the "Magnetos" and Bill Haley and the Comets to "Bill Haley and the Haleys".

    /End tangents. Storywise i'm still liking this. A long term plot involving the High Evolutionary trying to prepare humanity for a Celestial judgement sounds awesome. And as cosmic and out there as that sounds, Yost is great with keeping this story very grounded and the character interactions a lot of fun. My concern about the pace of the "building of the team" arc is still there, but we are obviously seeing some progress on that. And in the meantime, fun stuff.

    Iron Man #22 - She was the Red Peril, right? Not the Red Threat? If she was going to change her name, you know what i would have picked... I guess it doesn't matter anymore. Doesn't look like Min's going to have her around to pick on her choice of poses while flying anymore, either (although we do get it one last time). The other big news in this issue is Malekith. I guess now that he's Mr. Movie Star (although he was very different in the movie) we're going to be seeing more of him, and i'm fine with that. Artwise, especially with Tony's faces, i feel like Bennett is trying to look like Eaglesham trying to look like Land, and let me just say that it's not necessary, guys. But this continues to be good, even if we didn't have any talking ring conversations this time.

    Superior Foes of Spider-Man #9 - Continues to be great. I nearly got my Bullseye/Boomerang dart match, Boomerang is hilariously the hero of his own story and yet a horrible person, the scenes with Silvermane's head are great, etc., etc.. Not sure about this characterization of Hydro-Man but i'll go with it. Someone might want to note that no one freaked out when Bullseye appeared at the end of last issue even though he's supposed to be crippled (or even dead?), compared to the Bendis stuff we've been talking about here, and it's because we haven't lost trust in Spencer yet (and Bullseye turned out to be an LMD here, in a funny scene). One little aside: every time i see Fancy Dan he's even smaller than last time.


    By fnord12 | March 20, 2014, 11:21 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link




    Book Review: Rogue Touch

    This is the second of the 2013 Marvel-licensed novels released by Hyperion, and thankfully, the last (the first being The She-Hulk Diaries).

    Firstly, the back cover plot summary:

    Twenty-year-old Anna Marie was just fired for the third time--this time from a bakery. Why can't she hold a job? Well, for starters, she dresses . . . differently. She looks like a Goth girl to the extreme, her shock of white hair contrasting with her head-to-toe black garb, her face the only skin she chooses to reveal. But Anna Marie doesn't have a choice. Her skin, her touch, is a deadly weapon that must be concealed. She accidentally put her first boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when they kissed. Horrified, she ran away to Jackson, Mississippi.

    But when she meets otherworldly James, everything changes. He's just like her--completely alone and also on the run. To elude James's mysterious and dangerous family, the pair takes to the highway. As they cross the country, their simmering attraction intensifies and they both open up about their secretive pasts. James reveals that his true name is "Touch" and he christens Anna Marie "Rogue". But with danger at their heels, they know they can't run forever. Rogue must decide if she'll unleash her devastating powers once again, which she swore never to do, in order to save the only person who seems truly to understand and accept her.

    Yes. Your eyes do not deceive you. That actually says "Goth girl to the extreme". Because she wears all black. Black clothes = Goth. That's math. Look it up.

    Several times i wondered "why is she only wearing black?". Yes, she has to cover her skin to prevent accidental touching, but, you know, long sleeves come in all sorts of colors nowadays at no extra cost. It's one of those mysteries we will never know the answer to.

    Anyway, Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward (who's actually Nina de Gramont) is a YA romance starring a young Rogue who left home and the aunt who raised her a few years before the start of the book. Sadly, Mystique and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are not in any way part of this story.

    My understanding of Rogue's powers has been that she only absorbs a person's memories and abilities temporarily. The person touched will fall unconscious, the length of which is determined by how long the contact lasts. In the novel, however, a brief touch is able to put Rogue's former employer in a coma that lasts weeks. Memories and abilities absorbed seem to be permanent. And her absorption powers work on animals.

    By making the absorption permanent and nearly lethal no matter what, the author pretty much neutered Rogue. She took an essential characteristic of Rogue and made it impossible to use. Naturally, you can't have your heroine going around putting people into comas willy nilly.

    So, other than accidental touches (5, including Cody) mostly involving animals attacking her, Rogue uses her powers a whopping two times in this book.


    1. Just after she puts Cody in a coma, she touches a kitten to see if she was really the cause of Cody's collapse. The kitten ends up dead after the brief touch and Rogue permanently gains green eyes and night vision.
    2. She uses it near the very end to get away from a bad guy.

    What you're left with is simply a story about a young girl on the run. Girl meets boy. Boy is totes hawt. Boy is also on the run. They both fall in insta-love. They run away together. They almost get caught. They run away some more. They get caught. They defeat the bad guys. The end.

    Anyone could have fulfilled the female protagonist role in this story. If you were drawn to this book because you loved mutant-power-wielding Rogue from the comics, you might be disappointed. If you always secretly wondered if Rogue ever got hot wearing all those clothes to prevent accidental skin-to-skin contact, rejoice, my friends. This is the book for you.

    For those of you who aren't concerned about spoilers, read on.


     


     
    **SPOILERS AHOY**

    Just a couple of wackadoo things that happened in the story that made me go "Hurnh??":

    1. The boy in the story introduces himself as "James". A little further into the book, he says he's an alien (he's actually from the future) and his actual name translates to "Touch" (get it? Rogue Touch!). Rogue decides she's going to call him Touch from now on. Cause it just feels right. I mean, it's not really a big deal. It just struck me as really odd. I have a name that translates into something but i don't want you calling me by the translation. You should either call me by my actual name or the name i chose for myself that you can actually pronounce. And at the very least, you should prolly ask me before you start changing what you call me. That's just manners.
    2. Let's say a couple of nights earlier you stole a brand new, red Prius by crashing it through the showroom window in a bid to escape from the bad people chasing you. You successfully escape and buy a shit-ton of camping supplies before stopping at a campground.

      What do you do when you wake up the next morning? Do you:

      1. wipe out all traces of your stay and get back on the road ASAP,
      2. discuss a strategy for avoiding detection and capture since you almost got nabbed last time, or
      3. take a leisurely hike through the woods because it's such a lovely day, leaving behind your supplies and cash in the stolen car?

      Yeah. That happened. Needless to say, they had to abandon the car and all their stuff because the cops were on the scene by the time they returned from their hike.

    3. Turns out, Touch has a young son (he decided to break up with his wife after he traveled back to the present and fell in insta-lurv with Rogue. The wife is one of the bad guys, so that makes it ok.). In order to protect his son from becoming like his wife and father, he sends the kid to the present, entrusting him to Rogue's care.

      She, in turn, drops him off at the curb of Coma Cody's parents' house. The Robbins had done such a bang up job raising Cody, she was sure they'd do great with Touch's kid. Who knows if they can afford to raise him what with Coma Cody's hospital bills. Or if they even want to do it at this stage of their lives. Pshaw. She knows they'll be great! And anyway, she's got places to be. Touch left her a screwdriver that can hack ATMs so she doesn't have to worry about money (unlike the Robbins...har!) so she gets herself a bitchin' Camaro and heads to Maine where she dreams of Touch one day coming back for her. And the kid. I guess. If he's still alive or whatever.



    By min | March 18, 2014, 1:04 PM | Boooooks & Comics | Comments (2) | Link




    Brevoort link blogging

    Just more for posterity.

    Why Marvel no longer tries to coordinate character appearances in other books and Why guest appearances by Spider-Man and Wolverine don't help sales anymore.


    By fnord12 | March 18, 2014, 12:41 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link




    The Biscuit Was Clear

    Tony (aka Iron Man) is separated from the rest of the group by the rubble from the collapsed wall. He's lost his face plate (modern-day armor). There is no way he can dig through the rubble without using up too much of the suit's power (1960s drawbacks). Looking around, he sees an open door and moves towards it. The room is softly lit, an unused fireplace on the far wall. As he walks towards it, a hologram of a man's head and torso appear on the hearth.

    Spotting him, the hologram speaks.

    "Ahh...there you are."

    Sensing a trap, Tony moves to exit the room, but the door closes before he can reach it.

    The scene changes to a brightly lit lab. Tony Stark has turned into some random stranger wearing slacks and a striped shirt and tie. Suspenders, even. The hologram has been replaced with a real person. He directs his underlings to attack the stranger. He wants him for parts. No matter that his circuitry might not be compatible. It's always best to take every opportunity to capture cyborgs on the chance their parts could be useful.

    Engaged with one henchman, the stranger is unable to dodge the second henchman's blow. The double-headed battle axe sinks into the stranger's shoulder and chest. He falls. Pink fluid gushes from the wound, flooding the floor.

    Struggling, he manages to sit up and reaches for the axe handle and freeing it from his body.

    Later, everyone is encased in a floating buttermilk biscuit sphere.


    By min | March 18, 2014, 10:45 AM | My Dreams | Comments (0) | Link




    Shame

    Have some:

    1987 Oxyclean Zittles Ad

    By fnord12 | March 17, 2014, 3:02 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link




    He is just putting it out there. Waaaay out there.

    Rapture based explanations for missing persons:

    "Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural, we go to church, the supernatural power of God. You deal with all of that," Lemon said to Meltzer. "People are saying to me, why aren't you talking about the possibility -- and I'm just putting it out there -- that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?"

    By fnord12 | March 17, 2014, 11:39 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link




    I found some space in my wallet. Therefore i must have been a millionaire.

    From the Jan/Feb issue of Discover, under a headline of "New Signs of Long-Gone Life on Mars":

    In 2013, the rover Curiosity found the most convincing evidence yet that [Mars] was once habitable... The findings: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous - key ingredients for life - plus chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide that could provide energy for microorganisms. All were found in a locale that was once wet, and neither too salty nor acidic.

    The article is part of a review of the top significant events of last year, and my first thought on seeing the headline was that i missed the fact that we found evidence of life on Mars, which seemed like a pretty important and exciting thing that i missed! But on closer inspection that wasn't the case at all.

    I am as lay a lay person as you can get, but i have at least two problems with this. The first is that just because you find the building blocks for life doesn't mean that life used to exist there. I think this is largely a problem set by the expectation in the headline. The article itself says "habitable", but the headline's "signs of long gone life" seems incredibly misleading. The article also speculates about "why life there might have died out" which further increases the impression that we actually found evidence of life as opposed to an environment that we think used to be habitable.

    The second problem is my standard bugaboo that we seem to define "habitable" very narrowly based just on what we have on Earth. Now i grant that this is at least partially due to my having read too many science-lite science fiction and fantasy stories. I mean, i have no problem believing that we could find fire-based life forms in the sun! But even more realistically, the idea that the environment couldn't be a little more salty or acidic in order to support life seems too restrictive. It seems like we're only looking for conditions exactly like how life might have started on Earth.

    Again, this is all coming from a lay person (reading a magazine designed for lay people, though!). And i'm sure the fact that we found carbon, hydrogen, etc.. on Mars is indeed one of the significant findings of 2013. It's just, there's no need to hype it up further than that and get me all excited about Martians! (Or even Martian bacteria...)


    By fnord12 | March 17, 2014, 10:54 AM | Science | Comments (0) | Link



    No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.