Non-Sequitur #44: Nothing Changes On New Years Day

The Not So New Avengers by Jim Cheung

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…Out with the old, new beginings, blah, blah, blah…whatever.

I do not resolve to go on a diet

So, the maintenance man for my job’s building was teasing me  the other day about gaining weight. Something about the ground shaking as I walked by. Well, I’ll have you know, Richard…I lost 10 POUNDS this summer! So there! Course, this winter I’ve already re-gained 12 pounds, so…um…DAMMIT! You’ve won this round “Richard”, but I’ll be back!

I do not resolve to go out and meet new people

On the way to work, I passed a dude sitting at a bus stop. It was about 30 degrees outside and he was bare chested. It looked like he’d just taken off his jacket which was on the ground and his sweater which he still had one hand in. I remember thinking that this man either had maybe slight mental issues or he was just really really HIGH. I contemplated saying something, but what? “Hey, dude…it’s cold. Put your sweater back on?” And what was I going to do if he got belligerent? Get a cop and be like, “But Officer! He he wouldn’t put his sweater back on and it’s cold out!”

New people…

I was walking down the street earlier today. There were a couple guys coming towards me and one of them was wearing a Green Bay jacket. As I was passing them, a young man in a car who was turning down a nearby alley, stuck his head out the window and shouted, “PACKERS SUCK!!” Can’t we all just get along?

I do not resolve to be more practical with money. I got movies and comics to get!

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol: I saw it earlier this week and I had fun with it. Solid action packed flick. I mostly bought the actors in their roles and there was only a few minor plot quibbles. Not terribly complex or layered, but it delivered on the level it was trying to deliver on.

Aquaman #4: By Johns, Reis, and Prado with some really nice coloring by Rod Reis. This is the end of the first arc. It wasn’t super heavy, basically the plot is Aquaman fighting sea monsters while the general public cracks on how lame he is. Storywise, it was actually pretty thin, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the relationship between Aquaman and Mera. They came across as a mature couple that enjoys each other’s company, but each partner has their own mind. A bit unlike the contrivances we see on some sit-coms and and cliched comic books. The art is just gorgeous. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado do a great job at making the art bombastic and detailed, yet the faces they draw are just nuanced enough to convey emotion.

Avengers Children’s Crusade: One more issue to go in this mini-series and so far I’ve really enjoyed the ride. We deal with Dr Doom with magical powers and the question of what to do about Wanda and  is she really responsible for everything that’s happened and if she is, what next? Good characterizations and dialogue from Heinburg and very very nice art from Cheung.

I Bought Batwoman #4, but I haven’t read it yet.

Hm, I feel like playing guitar in the snow, but it’s been unusually warm this winter, so I’ll have to made due with this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiejqnbnFPk&feature=fvsr

Non-Sequitur #40: All That Pressure Got You Down

Happy Veteran Day's weekend. WW2 Marvel heroes by Alan Davis

Strange week. Sorta.

The Penn State thing is just so sad and tragic and infuriating.

Someone at Occupy Oakland got shot.

Heavy D passed away. Wow, it’s not that no one makes fun rap anymore, lots of folks do…it’s just that if an artist does a pop or dance hip-hop song these days, he gets called soft or a “sell-out”. Anyway, here’s to a time when folks were a little more open to what they would accept from hip-hop groups. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNEgUPKxk7A&ob=av3e

Random Internet Frustration: Ok, so sometimes I go to bed listening to BBC radio. A couple of nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I half  heard them tease an upcoming interview with legendary music producer Niles Rodgers.  They used an audio clip of Niles talking about how he used to read  Freak Brothers Comix   to  Michael Jackson.  I’ve been going crazy because I can’t find that audio.

Random Cool Website: I did  stumble on a fun comic book blog. Ms Snarky’s Awesometastic Comic Book Blog.  Basically humorous looks at old school comics. Check it out. http://mssnarky.wordpress.com/

Random Music Thing: You know…maybe I’ve got strange tastes, but… in theory… I  thought a collaboration between Lou Reed and  Metallica   could be awesome. The guy who wrote the first two Velvet Underground  albums and the guys who helped invent  thrash metal, should have been crazy awesome cool, but I’ve heard a few songs and um…they’re very NOT crazy awesome cool.

I’m behind on comics…

Frankenstein Agent of Shade #1:  I know some people have accused this title of being a watered down  Hellboy  comic and I don’t think they are far off. However, I kinda feel about this the same way I feel about rock bands like say, Oasis.  When I listen to Oasis’s music I hear the Beatles, The Who and the Kinks, but that doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of  the song Champagne Supernova.     It’s derivative, but derivative in a good way. It’s a fun comic. I might get the more recent issues.

Stormwatch #3: I’m still enjoying the story. I just wish I liked the art more.

Animal Man #3: Still digging both the art and the story. Continues to be the surprise hit of the season for me.

Speaking of Niles, there’s a a kinda funny story about how they originally wrote this song after being denied access at Studio 54. The original chant was F*ck Off.

Non-Sequitur #39 : The Lawyers are singing!

Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock in court. If you've only seen the theatrical version of Daredevil, watch the director's cut, it's completely different movie. I'm serious, it is.

So recently, I had to do jury duty. I had to go to 26th and California here in Chicago which is court and a jail. I did jury duty back about 5-6 years ago downtown in Chicago, but that was a civil case. This was a criminal case. A guy was accused of threatening a woman with a gun. ACTUALLY, the story was this woman’s daughter was living with the  defendant and his wife and family. He kicked her out because she was “lazy and disrespectful”. The next day the daughter’s mother (the victim) came to the defendant’s home to retrieve the daughter’s belongings. There was an argument that escalated and supposedly  a gun was drawn and that’s how we got to court.

Basically, the case came down to this…the defendant was a two time felon, and the there was a gun involved. We had to determine, not if he was screaming and waving a gun at the victim, but if he knew if the was a gun in the house. We, the jury, decided that even if he wasn’t as aggressive as the witness claimed , he more than likely knew that there was a gun on the premises and had access to it. Thus he was in violation of the law and the conditions of his probation. We found him guilty.

Later, the judge came into the jury room and told us about his prior convictions. Armed robbery and attempted rape. She also mentioned that the defendant’s wife had said to him, “You know it’s your gun, why don’t you just plead?” One of the jurors was relieved to hear this because he was  really conflicted about our decision.

This is nothing important…but the lead prosecutor was a female, she had a THICK east coast accent. I was totally taken by her voice. Yeah, I’m  weird.

My Job’s Muzak Is More Headbangin’ Than Your Job’s Muzak:  I’ve mentioned this before, at my job they pipe in music throughout the hall. Most of it is pop and oldies, but occasionally some odd tune will find it’s way into the mix. This time is was You Shook Me  by hard rock band AC/DC.  Sing with me, ” Knockin’ me out with those American thighs..”

Some kinda ice coffee thing that I actually liked

Random Grocery Store Thing:  I was in the grocery store a few days ago and I was flipping through  Rolling Stone.  There was a paragraph about gays in mainstream comic books. They mentioned the Kevin character in Archie , the “all new”  Batwoman, and the fact that The Midnighter and Apollo ( two male superhero characters) got married. My thing is where have these people been? Sure Kevin Keller is new, but Batwoman’s sexuality was a announced a few years ago and the Midnighter /Apollo thing happened SEVERAL  years ago. It’s not even in current continuity anymore with the  New 52.  I don’t have a problem with the magazine reporting this trend, but it like ..c’mon, you’re supposed to be a pop culture leader! Get on the ball! Report stuff when it’s actually cutting edge, not years later.

Random Work Perk:  I was at work, right? They gave us some new drink from McDonald’s. It was some kind of iced caramel mocha frappe coffee thing with whipped cream and bits of chocolate in it. I’m not the kind of person that normally orders pretentious  coffee drinks, especially from Micky D’s,  but um…it was GOOD! And by Good I mean DELICIOUS!  I might have to start ordering speciality coffee drinks in the the next few months or whenever in becomes available.

Random Public Transportation Sighting:  Over the last couple of months I’ve been seeing more and more people reading the novel  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I assume they are anticipating the American remake of the film that’s coming out this holiday season.

Random Overheard at The Comic Book Store:  So, the cashier was talking to a girl and her boyfriend and Catwoman came up. The cashier brought up the fact that Frank Miller rewrote her origin to suggest that Selina was a former prostitute. The girl said something like,  ” I think they’re glorifying the wrong thing!”  Thing is, if you read Batman:Year One,  the comic book, I don’t think prostitution is glorified at all. The lifestyle is depicted as seedy, dehumanizing, and un-fulfilling.  Ultimately, Selina rejects the lifestyle after seeing Batman in action.

Yeah, what comics can I babble about? I’m a little behind, but I think I can find something…

s0 between that last sentence and this one I went to the liquor store to get some beer. this song was playing in the store…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKdknYaSHgE

Anyway…

voodoo #1:   The story is by Ron Marz and the art is by Sami Basri. This is the reworking of an old Wildstorm character. To give it away, Voodoo is an alien disguised as a human who happens to be working at a strip club. A couple of government agents  are spying on her. There’s been a lot of talk recently about sex and the depiction of women’s body types in mainstream comics. I don’t think that it’s any accident that although this issue is mainly set in a strip joint, it’s less controversial than Catwoman or the reboot characterization of Starfire. The women’s bodies although glamorized are still within “realistic” or at least reasonable proportions. There is a scene  that depicts the working class aspects of sex work. The females talk about child care and college and the fact that they are selling a “slutty” fantasy. Whether or not the reader approves of  this lifestyle, there is at least an attempt to humanize  the women involved in this line of work. There’s another female govt agent who keeps her clothes on and is depicted as a “kick ass” ( literally) woman protagonist.  As a comic book it’s not great, but ok. Issue #2 is out, I dunno maybe I’ll check it out around issue #3.

Aquaman #1:  Ok, this has been out for awhile now. Lemme just say that I really, really, REALLY enjoy the art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.  The art is detailed, dynamic, and EXPRESSIVE. It’s Jim Lee only a little bit better.  I’m a Jim Lee fan, but Ivan is able to get across a broader range of emotion than Jim. The story is by Geoff John’s and I like it a little more than what he did in Justice league. I like the fact that he decided to take on Aquaman’s public perception head on. Downside? Aquaman is a big sourpuss throughout the issue. Not a lot happens,  but it’s an ok re-introduction to the character that we’ve known for years.

Birds of Prey #2:  Sexy women kicking ass! The story is by Duane Swieirczynski and art is by Jesus Saiz. Let’s start with the art. Basically I like it. We’re dealing with an artist that understands human anatomy, so while the females are idealized, no one seemed hyper-sexualized. I wouldn’t be embarassed to show this comic to any female young or old in my family. The story has something to do with the Birds trying to track down someone cuz somebody got killed or something and Katana joins the group. The thing I like is Katana talking to her blade because she thinks the soul of her dead husband is in it and because it’s a superhero comic, maybe she’s crazy OR maybe her husband IS in the blade. We the readers aren’t sure yet.

Stormwatch #2:  Story by Paul Cornell and art by Miguel Sepulveda and Al Barrionuevo. I bought this issue first, then I went back and bought #1, and issue #3 should be on sale this week. This is kinda what I wish Justice League was more like. I like fact that we’re just thrown into this crazy quasi-sci-fi plot with multiple superhero characters and each of them seem to have their own agenda. Paul Cornell seems to trust us  enuff as readers that we’ll be able to figure out what’s going on. The art for me is kinda meh, but the story is enuff to keep me interested for now.

Animal Man #2:  I’m still digging it. The third issue should be out this week? I’m still on board.

 

Non-Sequitur #38: Spirits Rise and Falling

Mary Marvel and Supergirl by Jason Pearson

Random Cool Thing at Work:  So at work this week I won a production contest/raffle. Depending how high your production was, you got to enter your name several times. I tried to make a couple of Glengarry Glen Ross   jokes, but no one got it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVQPY4LlbJ4

Random Comic Book Store Thing:  I went to the comic book store Saturday. It was pretty busy. Lots of college age people, so that was cool. One thing though I thought was interesting was this one family, it was Mom, Dad, and their little boy, maybe he was 10 yrs old. Dad was talking to one of the workers about old Famous Monsters of Filmland  magazines and Mom was looking at comics, but the kid was only looking at the toys in the store. I thought that senario is interesting: The parents are all into monsters and comic books, but the little boy couldn’t care less. He was just wondering if the various action figures and statues actually moved. This kid knew the real value in toys, that’s to PLAY WITH over COLLECTING.

I stumbled on this article about interracial romance in Archie comics. I thought it was kinda interesting. http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/02/03/the-racial-politics-of-riverdale/

Justice League #2:  Written by Geoff Johns with art by Jim Lee.  A lot of people in fandom have been really loving this comic, but I think story-wise, it’s kinda mediocre. It’s like Johns was on auto-pilot with this book. The dialogue in particular seems really forced and uneven. Certain characters are supposed to seem cocky and unseasoned, but they come off as dumb. Another nick-pick I have is  the relationship between Vic Stone and his Dad. In the old Titans series Vic was estranged from his father, but it was portrayed in a much more complicated and nuanced way. Here, Vic’s dad is a dick just for the sake of being a dick.

Okay, so as I’m typing this I’m listening to a local classic rock station. The DJ told a story about Motley Crue and groupies and something he referred to as “The Spaghetti Incident”.  Gross. All this time I thought it was just the title to a Guns n Roses album. And no, I’m not  going to provide any sort of link. You’re on your own with this one.

Supergirl #2:  When the New 52 was announced, I really had no interest in Supergirl. Recently though, I saw some preview  of Mahmud  Asrar’s art for this issue and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. I really like Mahmud’s figure drawing and facial expressions as well as the way he conveys action. I might hunt down the first issue now. The story by Michael Green and Mike Johnson however, is extremely thin. Supergirl is confused and doesn’t know how she has superpowers and doesn’t believe Superman is her cousin. She punches Supes around for a while then Supes gets her to calm down. The end. Almost feels like “writing for trade-itis”, but the art makes up for it.

I also bought Animal Man #2 and Stormwatch #2 but I haven’t finished reading them yet.

AND I got the final volume of Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex.  I’ll be watching that soon.

 

 

Non-Sequitur #32: I Didn’t Come To Bring You Down

Joan Jett! Yeah...Joan Jett.

So, I’m walking home the other day and I pass a group of mostly young clean cut folks. They were all in similar T-Shirts and shorts. The  man who seemed to be the leader was maybe about 30-ish. They all appeared to be so happy to be outside and walking around together, I wondered if maybe they were apart of a church or something. I went into a McDonald’s and as I was walking to the door, I saw a security guard throwing out a beggar. I placed my order and waited for my food. Who should come in after not too long? You guessed it…the happy group along with the beggar. The leader made a point to go up to the guard and tell him that the beggar was with their group and that the beggar wasn’t going to ask for change and that everything was going to be cool. I could tell that  the guard didn’t want to let the beggar back in the building, but couldn’t do anything about it. While waiting, I overheard them say they that were indeed from some out of town church group. I was like, “Heh, the church folks challenged authority and won by being nice to somebody.” Fight the Power!

Random “El” Story: A few days before that, I sat next to an old man riding home on the “El”. He wasn’t neccessarily drunk, but I could tell he was a drinker. He told me that he was riding the El because he was trying to kill time until his wife left home to go to work. They’d been arguing lately and he was trying to avoid her. The reason they’d been arguing is that he’s 60-something and she wanted him to stop getting high, but he wanted to keep doing what he does. Geez, man…how terrible it must be to have a wife that doesn’t want you to die from narcotics abuse. (sarcasm)

Random Beer Purchase: I don’t normally drink Guinness beer, but a couple of days ago a bought a pack. I opened a can and took a hearty swig and I’m like, “What the f**k is this little ball doing in there?!”  I guess Guinness is brewed slightly different than other brews and there’s nitrus or something in the ball to help the beer keep a hearty head when the can is opened. So…there’s that.

Composer Henry Mancini. Whether you know it or not, you’ve heard his songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRoq9MzMgoU&feature=fvsr and ESPECIALLY this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK-b5PLhrEI&feature=related

A couple of comics, I guess…

Batman Inc #7: I enjoyed this comic more than I thought I would. Batman is still recruiting his international army for the upcoming battle against the Leviathan. In this issue  he meets The Man of Bats. At first I was afraid that Grant Morrison might go for some sort of Native American noble savage stereotype, but gladly that’s not quite the direction he went for this story. The story does address the poverty that’s prevalent in many Native American communities. The art is by Chris Burnham, kinda Frank Quietly-ish. Also, I’m pretty sure the cartoon on the TV the baby is watching is Go Go Gophers from the early 60’s (?). Nice enough issue. I’m still on board.

Fear Itself #4: *SPOILER*  Ok, I bought the first issue because of Stuart Immonen’s art, but I haven’t been following it. The writing is by Matt Fraction. I got this one because I couldn’t believe that they’d actually kill Bucky right after killing Ultimate Peter Parker. I was thinking, Buck’s probably just in a coma or something. Well, I know there’s still a few issues left in the story plus whatever’s going on in the main Cap title, but Buck does appear to be dead. I’m slightly pissed. Not just cuz I was starting to like Bucky, but because it’s such a cliche! It’s been done so many times before, “hero-reclaims-the mantle-after-his replacement-dies.”  It’s been done before in Captain America comics!! I know it’s superheroes, it’s genre entertainment, but geez…can you at least try to make feel not so stale? Stuart’s art is great.

Yeah! Joan Jett! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6LwOntjzrw

Non-Sequitur #29: All Those Rich Kids in Oak Park Take Acid

A lovely illustration of Gwen Stacey by Steve Rude

I Deserve Everything Bad That’s Going to Happen To Me: I haven’t been to Burger King in almost three years. Not because of any deep reason…it’s just a little out of the way of where I live and if I want junk food there’s a McDonald’s literally down the block from my place. But one particular day I made an effort to go to Burger King just to  take a walk on a nice day and to break from my normal routine. I decided to try a Triple Whooper with Cheese. It’s been at Burger King  for a while, but I’d never had one. It’s  exactly what you think it is and it’s maybe a little obscene…1230 calories, 225 cholesteral, 550 sodium. This processed mess was served to me piping hot and cost $6.40 for just a sandwich. I choked the whole thing down and I swear I felt dizzy. I’m lucky I didn’t have a heart attack right then. It was one of the worst fast food eating experiences  I’ve had in recent  memory. Of course, I’m dying to try it again.

Oh Canada! More and more my local NPR station is adding shows produced in Canada. I don’t have a problem with this, I just think it’s interesting.

In this issue of Marvel Adventures Black Widow..Wait! That's Veronica from Archie comics! Marvel lawyers are you out there?

“All those rich kids in Oak Park take acid”: That’s what I over heard from a couple of skate board kids on the El not too long ago. It was a few hipster looking youths with a couple of girls they apparently just met. One of the kids took down  an overhead CTA map and stuffed it in his backpack. It seemed like they were all on some sort of elaborate prank maybe? At first I was thinking, “fuggin’ kids…”  Then I thought, “That’s probably more punk rock than anything Fallout Boy ever did.” I’m not hating on Fallout Boy, I’m just saying.

“Hey, Rocky…Watch me revamp the DC Universe!”

“Again? But that trick never works!”

“This time for sure!!”

Veronica #206: So, I’m out spending more money that I can’t afford to spend and out of the corner of my eye I see this issue of Veronica at the local comic book shop. At first i thought it was an all ages Black Widow comic from Marvel. I guess it’s supposed to be a parody and I’m not an expert on copyright law, but hmm…  The comic has something to do with Betty and Veronica leading double lives as sexy super spies. In the first half of the issue, the girls stop a break in at Lodge Industries. They tie up the crooks in a “cocoon” they fire from their wrist gizmos. Like I said, hmm… The second half of the issue concerns Betty and Veronica investigating why the children of Riverdale are all of a sudden acting too rowdy to babysit. Turns out there’s subliminal messages in the children’s television shows causing them to behave outrageously. The conclusion of this story will be published in Betty #192.  Overall, I guess it’s innocent enough. The ads in this issue are a little curious. There’s two ads for the Archie married stories and FOUR for the upcoming Kevin Keller mini-series. I understand wanting to push your new product, but is it necessary to have four different ads for the exact same comic?

Ultimate Avengers vs New Ultimates #4:  I’ve been really disappointed with the Ultimate comics recently (hey, they’re going to get a reboot too!) , but the cover to this kinda drew me in. This is a tie in with the Death of Spiderman and it’s not terrible. The two Ultimate teams fight. Nick Fury is being set up. There a plot twist. More hi-jinx next issue. Not amazing, just ok. I enjoyed the art in this issue by Lenil Yu and Stephen Segovia. Some people don’t like Lenil’s sketchy style, but here it’s a lot more tight than in other places I’ve seen it.

It’s too bad these guys aren’t more respected

Non-Sequitur #28: Revolution Is Not an AOL Keyword

One of my dumb fantasies is to see a comic book adaptation of this movie drawn by Frank Cho

To paraphrase the Clash, I been drinking brew for breakfast…

The Nice Ladies at My Job Are Nicer Than the Nice Ladies at Your Job: So, my birthday was last weekend. A couple weeks ago, a co-worker suggested doing something for it and even though I told her not to, she made it clear that she’d plan something anyway. She kept asking me what kind of cake I liked. I half jokingly told her I didn’t want any cake, I’d prefer pasta! Sure enuff, this Wednesday she brought sandwiches and pasta for everyone. This is the same woman who made me pork chops last year and who periodically brings spinach dip for the office. The running joke in the office is that if she ever dumps her husband, she’s going to marry me. Another woman brought me a black birthday balloon. All we needed was either a circus motif or a bit more existentialism and it could’ve been a Fellini film…

Dreaming Is Free: So, I know I’m feeling better about things because I’m starting to have weird dreams again. When I’m depressed, I either don’t dream or I don’t remember my dreams. When I’m in a good mood, I remember the goofiest details of my dreams. Hence, Jennifer Aniston invading my sub consciousness. In the dream it’s the middle of the night and I’m trying to catch the El in Chicago. The El looks like it’s from the 40’s and in dis-repair. It’s literally about to fall apart.  Some guys I kinda half know come along and we decide to go to their apartment and chill. Jennifer is there and we all watch TV and hang out. One by one the other guys gradually leave the room and me and Jennifer get “romantic”. When they come back I think, “Hmm…these are Jen’s guy friend, I wonder if she had them set this up?” Please understand that while I think Jennifer is an attractive woman, I’m not a super-fan or anything. I don’t go to see her movies and I haven’t watched Friends in years.  Yet here she is getting her buddies to set me up with her…

AGGHH! FUGGIN’ COMPUTERS!! IT SAVED HALF MY DRAFT AND THE REST WAS EATEN UP BY CYBER SPACE! Anyway…

This was a pretty interesting story regarding ageism in advertising  http://www.cbc.ca/ageofpersuasion/episode/season-5/2011/05/28/season-five-ageism-in-advertising-1/

Secret Avengers #12.1: I know, I know…the ” Point 1″ initiative is Marvel’s marketing dept bending over the fans. But at least Nick Spencer’s a gentle lover and he brought some stimulating lube ( er, I know…disturbing metaphor, let’s move on).  I really like the cover by Mike Deodato. I kinda think it’s funny that Hank McCoy’s face is the only one that’s detailed, but I guess if it weren’t, he’d be a shadow under Steve Roger’s armpit. Readers might wonder who’s legs are behind Steve. Comics Alliance ( I think) did a snarky review calling it Capt America vs Wicki-Links, but that’s not far off. A person dressed in the old US Agent’s costume leaks government secrets in the name of justice, but the information will put the lives of many  govt double agents at risk, so Steve and the gang have to bring him down. The story does work as a stand alone issue and manages to touch on currents events in the news that I don’t think will be too dated a few years from now.

Secret Avengers #13: Wow, I’m going to miss Nick Spencer when he leaves this book. This is a very well crafted story that ties into Fear Itself . The Beast tries to save an old friend who’s holed up at the Senate while Washington DC is under attack. This story is able to combine current Marvel continuity, civil rights, superhero action, AND still work as an entertaining  stand alone story. Nice art from Scot Eaton too ( although he draws cat-Beast). Boy, do I wish more superhero comics were this good.

Batman Inc #6: I’m still having fun with this title. In this issue we get a further explanation of Bruce’s idea for the Batman Inc concept that almost makes sense. We also learn a little more about the threat that Bruce is assembling his Bat-Army to fight. Complex, yet breezy and fun,,,this title makes me wish I could be a comic book writer.

Astonishing X-Men #37: A straight forward tale about the X-men fighting a giant monster in Tokyo while Armor attends a family funeral. I mostly bought it for the Jason Pearson and Sara Pichelli art. Heavy, detailed, cartoony, and energetic all at the same time…I really enjoyed the visuals. I might hunt down the previous issues. The thing I didn’t like…this issue ends on a cliff hanger, yet the next issue starts a new story with other members of the cast and a different creative team! Wha?

A Political Song For Michael Jackson to Sing: I was listening to a radio interview with Mike Watt, bassist of the legendary punk band the Minute Men. The part that stuck in my mind was when the guys ask Mike about the jazz influence in the band’s sound. Mike says something like, “We never knew about jazz when we were kids, so when we heard it, at first we thought they were like punk guys who were old. We didn’t realize that Coltrane had died years ago and that this music was done in the 50’s.”  Check it out if yer so inclined here, I think…http://www.soundopinions.org/

Gil Scott Heron passed away. Sometimes I wonder if the revolution WAS televised, but we were all too busy to realize that it got co-opted.

Non-Sequitur #24: Feeling Brand New, I Jumped Up

The sun came out! The sun came out! Yea! It's sunny outside!

The sun finally came out this past weekend and I couldn’t be happier! Sunshine! Damn near three weeks straight of  day after day after day of gray cloudy skies. I was damn near ready to slit my wrists! Ok, not really and that’s probably not something to joke about, but I have been pretty down recently for a variety of personal reasons and the cold dreary climate didn’t help my out look. When I was younger I used to scoff at the idea of people’s moods being affected by constant gloomy weather, but now I know there’s definitely something to it. Heck… I know ultimately we all die alone in a cruel unfair universe, but right now  I’m groovin’ on the ladies in their skirts and open toe shoes! The sun came out! Yea!

The other day I turned the corner to walk into my building and I was hit by a pungent and familiar oder. I thought, “Where the F*CK  is this weed smell coming from?!” I looked half a block down and saw a young man walking with his girl friend who was carrying laundry. A puff a smoke  floated around his head. I remember thinking “I hope a cop hits him in the head.” Not cuz I’m anti-weed or anything, but because I couldn’t believe he’d be so stupid to be smoking a blunt walking down the middle of the street like that. If you want to do your thing, go home or find some secluded area, ok? Look, I get it…I know what it’s like to be young and arrogant, “See, I’m so bad-ass I smoke my sh*t right in the open! I don’t give f*ck! Acknowledge my coolness!”  I just feel like, dude…please get a clue.

This past Saturday I walked past the Daley Center in Chicago. I saw a gospel group having a  sound-check. It looked like it was for some sort of pro-union rally that was going to be happening later on.  Aside from the teenagers on the stage, there didn’t seem to be too many young people there. Most of the crowd seemed to be middle-aged. I’m not sure if this says anything about how people in their twenties feel about unions these days. Hell, I was there early, they could have showed up later. I just thought the demographic was interesting at the time.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7XiFMa0iDw

One of my favorite David Bowie songs is Life On Mars. About three days ago I found out that Barbara Streisand did a cover of it back in the 70’s. And I can’t even get snarky about it cuz you know what? It’s not terrible and in a strange way it makes perfect sense that Babs would sing this song seeing as Bowie wrote it as kind of a response to My Way which has been done by a multitude of old style crooners. Here it is.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rtL73TSHxM Stop being a hipster and just listen to it.

Avengers, The Children’s Crusade #5: First of all, this comic is really Young Avengers.  It’s probably called Avengers:Sub-Title for marketing reasons, but whatever. The plot is about Wiccan and Speed trying to find the Scarlet Witch and discover if she’s in fact their mother. The other Young Avengers join the adventure to support their teammates and the emotional weight of the story centers on the young heroes. The adult New Avengers just kinda guest star. This issue features the return of Iron Lad. Iron Lad takes the team back in time to the start of “Avengers Disassembled” and things get kinda hairy. Well written, great characterization, and lovely, lovely art. The story by Heinberg is driven by dialogue and almost none of it seems unnecessary. The art is by Jim Cheung. Did I happen to mention I think it’s lovely?

Batman Inc #4: Not an all time great issue, but very interesting. There’s a guest appearance by the new Batwoman and fun flashback of the pre-crisis Batwoman. Somehow this ties into Batman’s current adventure in South America with Gaucho. Grant Morrison’s greatest strength? Being able to include all the camp stuff in a way that doesn’t make Batman look like a clown and being able to portray modern Batman in a manner that doesn’t make him seem like a paranoid control freak. I’m intrigued enough to pick up the next issue.

Ultimate Captain America #4: Ultimate Captain America is an asshole. I’m sorry, but that’s they way his personality is written and I don’t think he’s a “cool” asshole or an “edgy” asshole or a “necessary evil” asshole or an “interesting character study” asshole. He’s just some kinda fuggin’ ASSHOLE. I want 616 Steve Rogers to go to the Ultimate Universe and back hand this guy and put him in check. On a positive  note, I really enjoy the Ron Garney art. Just enough of old school  bronze age storytelling to give a dramatic and cinematic feel to the tale. Really great visuals. Too bad the protagonist is a JERK.

This song makes me feel good

Non-Sequitur #23:An’ Jumped the Silent Cars That Slept at Traffic Lights

Balancing Girl. Very nice art from Jamie McKelvie

In a previous post I wrote about how the peaceful soft rock they pipe in at my job is spiced up with unexpected classic rock hits. I found out that this music is coming from the boss’s I-Pod. Now it makes sense that I hear Alice Cooper and Led Zepplin after Elton John while I’m going to get coffee.

A few days ago, we took personalty tests at my job. I guess this is going to help the bosses deal with the supervisors and the supervisors deal with the workers. I found out that I am an “investigator”. Which means that I am questioning and intellectual, but I hide my emotions. It’s funny, but all the personalty types be they “challengers,” “helpers,”  or “achievers” or whatever are either “hiding their emotions” or “have a fear of commitment”. I thought we were over these new age cliches a few years ago. It’s ok, I had fun taking the test anyway.

I am sick of winter. I am really really REALLY sick of winter. Fuggin’ mid-west weather! It’s about 15-20 degrees colder than it should be this time of year. The wind whips by slashing at my face. It’s constantly gray outside. I mean, sure the sun makes an appearance for a few hours, but it’s real depressing looking outside when I leave the house in the morning. My co-workers and myself are fight various cold and flu symptoms. My head is pounding and I’m all congested and I got a wicked cough. Hell! I wanna go outside in my shorts and T-Shirt! I wanna walk everywhere again! I wanna look at women in their mini-skirts and flip-flops!

Ok, yeah…I admit I probably wouldn’t have gotten sick if I hadn’t gone out in the middle of the night Tuesday trying to go drinking. Stop trying to confuse me with logic.

And speaking of things where logic has no place…

Sucker Punch: Zack Snyder. I saw this movie over the weekend. It’s not a great film, but parts of it were entertaining. A young lady gets committed to a mental institution and retreats into a fantasy world. The fantasy world is very video game, comic book, and anime influenced. There was some shaky acting in a few scenes and the script could have been  a lot better, but I really liked the special effects and action parts. I’ll probably watch it again when it’s available on DVD, but I’ll skip the story and just watch the fight scenes.

MadMan #15: This is from Image Comics from 2009. I mostly bought it because the cover is a parody of David Bowie’s album cover for Aladdin Sane. Story and art by Mike Allred. It was fun and whimsical. Solid comics.

Secret Avengers #11: Not disappointing. Hank and Steve go into John Steele’s mind and relive an adventure set during the days of WW2. Fun and suspenseful. But what exactly is the deal with the Shadow Council? I’m ready for some answers, dammit!

Scarlet #5: This has gone from being a really good comic to being a not terrible comic. I was really intrigued when it started but it’s begining to let me down. Sure, I know there’s  lots a people who don’t like the police, but I just am not buying the whole “this sparks a revolution” thing. Scarlet shoots some corrupt cops.Yeah, there would be folks going “Right on!” but there’d also be people saying  “Why don’t they get this crazy b*tch off the streets!” Again, SHE SHOT SOMEBODY ON CAMERA! I don’t get why the cops in this story are all like “This sucks, we don’t know what to do!”

Power Girl#3: From 2009. Just a big goofy fun comic book. The world needs more stuff like this. Amanda Conner!

Classic Rock!