More Pain

Broken

Villains are often broken individuals. Some event has happened that gets them wanting revenge or attention, only this is sought in negative ways (negative to us "normal" people). This is easy to see in the likes of Magneto, the Morlocks, and myriad others. Magneto, for instance, suffered through the holocaust, learned he was a mutant, and then experienced genocidal-like hatred all over again. His views of society were broken (this is obviously a remark from when Magneto was actually a legitimate bad guy) and he did everything in his power to subjugate humans. The Morlocks were just ugly or perverse individuals and they lashed out as they saw fit. These people were broken and did bad things. It's seldom, however, to get broken people doing bad things only to be broken again. That is what I love about this scan. Stryfe always felt betrayed by his "parents." He finally gets them in his power and gets up the nerve to confront them when they pass out. It's his time, though, so he orders them to obey him - much like a child that doesn't understand how life works. (In fact, this is exactly how Stryfe was portrayed throughout the X-Cutioner's Song.) It's tragic. Here is a man who thinks he's been in the right by knowingly doing the wrong and, when his big moment comes, can't find any bit of success. That last image of him breaking down is incredibly powerful.

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Simply Great Panels, Number Four

I feel like Razzatazz in how I'm posting more than one blog in a day.

It's not a shocker to those who have seen my reviews on the X-Factor issues of the X-Cutioner's Song that I love Jae Lee's work in those issues. His pencils perfectly accentuate the darkness that exuded from those stories. The following are just some of my favorites and they are sprinkled throughout X-Factor #86.

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As gritty as the rest of the comic is and how well Lee portrays it, his depiction of boredom is brilliant. I wish more issues I read had him as a regular artist.

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The Forced Plot Device: The Precipice

You have probably seen this scene before:

A Dangerous Precipice

Me, I hate this scene (taken from Uncanny X-Men #296, part of the X-Cutioner's Song). Why in all of the world is this balcony there? There's nothing to look at, so it's not some observation point. And a further look shows that balconies like the one Cyclops and Jean Grey are on dot this part of the moon base. Maybe the balcony exists to look upon other people running to similarly situated balconies. One thing is for certain: if the henchmen of any bad guy (like Stryfe or even Darth Vader) chases you to one of these worthless architectural anomalies then you are most certainly screwed. Where are you going to go? There aren't any bridges, fool!

And this is where you step in and state that the characters are hardly ever truly stuck in these situations. Here, Jean makes a teke-rope and she and Cyclops swing across the chasm while Mainframe (or Storm Toopers, if you are still stuck on Star Wars) randomly shoots at them and misses. Then again, we wouldn't get this sweet moment between the two if it weren't for the dangerous precipice.

A Heroic Feat

It's tacky. It's cliche. It's completely predictable. Now, the scene later on when they find a baby hooked up to the machinery of the moon base, that is a brilliant plot twist! This, this was filler. These situations don't exist in any of the moon bases that I've visited; I'm sure the bases you've seen, moon or otherwise, have never employed such wasted space. But, the comics still use this plot device from time to time to try and get our pulses pumping. Not working, bros. Not working.

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Thought Bubble: A Thief's Tale

This blog is part two in a three-part series based on the Thought Bubble anthology released by Image. You really won't get the content unless you've read the stories, as I won't be talking about plots in depth.

"A Thief's Tale" would have you believe that he guy is somehow a genius. The story is set up that the apples are being reserved for the gods. Only they can have them and that is what makes them immortal. Some schlub sneaks in and takes their apples and becomes a god himself. Rags to riches, no?

This guy is a complete creep. Exhibit A.

Ne'er-Do-Well

The men in the foreground are discussing the sad state of the apples on Earth. The man in the background simply listens on as the the men state that the gods have the immortal apples and there is only one way to get to them. One would think: Ah, the man is being resourceful. Nah, he's being a creep.

Exhibit B.

Shadowy Stowaway

Homeboy puts on some shadow dust and waits for the gods to ride by. He then grabs onto a horses tale and gets a free ride to the land of the gods. One would think: Ah, the man is being resourceful. Nah, he's still just using the work of others to profit for himself.

To put the stamp on this guy's selfishness and jerkiness, he gets the apples and returns to Earth. In one of the apples he sees the gods sleeping. They grow older as the immortality granting apple is brought closer to the thief's mouth. He sees one get up and see herself in the mirror. He gladly takes a bite, knowing that stealing her apple has consigned her to death. The reader knows that this "resourceful" thief will now become immortal. A veritable god.

This is my problem: This man did not accomplish some heroic feat. He did not formally earn his way into the ranks of gods, showing that he was more worthy than the mere mortals he had been living with. He eavesdropped, stowed away, and then knowingly killed some hot lady by eating her apple. I feel bad for whomever gets that guy as their god because there is no telling what he'd do to get his way.

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Thought Bubble: Rat Trap

This blog is part one in a series based on the Thought Bubble anthology released by Image. You really won't get the content unless you've read the stories, as I won't be talking about plots in depth.

"Rat Trap" was a very interesting introduction into this anthology. It immediately hits you over the head with a foreign scenario. Two men meet over a dead body. The culture of these "runners" is to strip dead bodies. They are nomads and they generally leave each other alone. Here, however, one runner has bumped into another runner who is already pilfering a body.

My first reaction was that the reader is given an adequate idea of the etiquette that these runners live by - they only take from the dead - yet someone shows up and decides to take from a fellow runner, as well. A death threat is issued and it appears that this scavenger is no longer content with being a passive collector but wants to enter a profession that is more proactive. He'd rather kill to get things quicker. Fortunately, the other man simply gives up his stuff and walks away. The aggressive runner begins to rummage through his now two-fold loot when he trips a bear trap that snaps his leg and keeps him pinned to the ground. The passive runner returns and, deeming the aggressive Other not worthy of saving, takes his stuff and leaves. I thought this fitting. You get what you tried to dish out.

Runner

Then I recalled the slight "chnk" that alerted the aggressive runner in the first place. This collection of comic tales are to be read like comics in general, but also with a short story mentality. With so little space to convey the message, everything added must be looked at as being integral to the plot. There is only the one sound. As the passive runner goes through the dead man's things it seems that he only makes the one distinct "chnk" noise. No others. Nothing is shown and we can't assume other sounds drew the one runner to the other. Couple this noise with the bear trap. When the trap is triggered the passive runner returns and explains that good runners know to check the areas around dead bodies for any danger. How far off would it be to assume that the passive runner set that bear trap?

But wait, doesn't this fly in the face of the code the passive runner claimed to still live by? He essentially killed that guy. Maybe this understood code of conduct isn't so well followed after all.

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And Now You Know: Nicieza's First Foray into the New Mutants

New Mutants #98: Welcome to Fabian Nicieza. I'm not sure how much power he had as a writer because Rob Liefeld was continually given plotting credits. The one thing I do know, however, is that the only bit-role characters (or NPCs, if we can up the nerd-notch a bit) are incredibly generic. What am I talking about? Well, Domino, Deadpool, and Gideon are introduced in this issue. They are big players, some more-so than others. The only other characters are either regulars (like the members of the New Mutants) or already established (like Emmanuel DaCosta, Sunspot's father). Oh wait, there are two characters made up especially to be nobodies: Adam and Eve. They could have been real nobodies and operated as nameless goons doing their master's bidding, but they were given names. One is a guy, the other a girl. Why not get so completely unoriginal that we use the first two names... ever? Now, I don't know if this was Fabian's attempt at humor with his new responsibilities or if this simply showcases Liefeld's ability to create incredibly original characters (Deadpool) alongside the blandest (Adam). Regardless, this happened on Nicieza's first credit for the New Mutants. Interesting tidbit to have start what ends up being a stellar run by Nicieza (mostly).

Adam
Eve
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Domino as the Lead Singer for the Distillers

I have always thought that Domino exuded a Brody Armstrong/Dolle vibe from the former Distillers and current Spinnerette project. That special kind of devil-may-care type of punk rock attitude. So either Domino could have sung this song, or Brody could have been a sweet member of X-Force.

Spot on, minus all the blood and gun wounds.

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And Now You Know: Adventures in Point Whoring

Normally I reserve my "And Now You Know" blogs for those lesser known things about comics and characters, but this topic just had to be covered. Also, I really just wanted to write a blog because most of the recent blogs have been posted by bots.

Stated simply, adding a character, or team of characters, simply because they appear in a picture in the issue is considered a lower form of point whoring. Take, for example: Last night I was adding the synopsis for X-Men #1 and I noticed that the New Mutants were said to have appeared in the issue. They don't. Xavier does look at a picture of them but the New Mutant team does not interact or otherwise influence the events of the book. Summarily, I removed the team credit, as well as the individual credits for each team member. This garnered someone an erroneous 8-10 points. I call this a low level of point whoring because sometimes people just don't know the rules about crediting certain things. For additional guidelines in crediting characters in issues, check out this proposed list that makes a lot of sense.

Don't worry, this isn't all I'm making a big to-do about. No, there was a very egregious form of point whoring present on this X-Men issue page last night. You see, the President of the United States appears in the issue but he is not named. I pondered how to credit a nameless Marvel president. A mantle page was all I could think of, but we are trying to phase those out (at least so I've heard). All this was moot, as I saw someone had found a way to credit the president. It seems that, even though the president was a nondescript white guy, someone had the gonads to go ahead and credit George Bush as the president in the comic. Yeah, he was president at the time, but he in no way, shape, or accent resembled George H. W. Bush. To cover their bases, this person also credited George Jr., Mr. George W. Bush himself. Why? Maybe they weren't sure which Bush to put in there and so they put both. Regardless, placing one, let alone the two, was totally wrong to begin with. Sure, it's only two points, but I remember that any points were as good as gold back when I was a new guy.

It's kind of humorous, but it's also wrong and messes with the integrity of our wiki.

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