Comics Ate My Brain

August 8, 2005

Untold Tales of the Best Wife Ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom Bondurant @ 10:00 pm
Today is the Best Wife Ever’s birthday — hooray!

Although we now live about 45 minutes from Virginia Beach, we have not had much luck with the weather on our random visits. Back in the spring it was rainy and cold. Last Sunday, we had only been on the road about 15 minutes when the skies opened up and didn’t stop until long after we’d eaten, shopped for furniture at a few different places in Newport News, and gotten back home. Therefore, when we went yesterday morning, I looked up a couple of shopping destinations in Virginia Beach in case it rained.

Well, it didn’t rain, although it was hot and muggy; and we cut short our boardwalk stroll after about an hour. We then decided to go shopping anyway at the local antique mall, and picked out a nice little table which should serve us well. All in all, it was a very fun day, and tonight we are going out for her birthday dinner.

Eventually I may tell you-all the strange story of how we met, but for now here’s another “untold tale.” It was Labor Day 2001, and we were channel-surfing when I spotted Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The surfing stopped, because it was the touching drydock scene where Kirk (as the fans’ surrogate) gazes lovingly upon the refitted Enterprise. The scene also marks the first time we-the-fans get an idea of just how big the ship is.

Now, at this point we had been dating for about 10 months, and she knew I dug Star Trek, but she was not exactly a yooge fan. Nevertheless, I was trying to decide whether to watch my widescreen-VHS version later on when she mused, “You know, this scene is the first time in the series that you really see how big the Enterprise is.” Completely surprised, I thought I would be a class-one idiot if I ever did anything to break us up. If I hadn’t started calling her the Best Girlfriend Ever (later amended to Best Fiancee and now Best Wife Ever), I sure did after that!

Not that she’s since become a big nerd like me — far from it. After I explained to her the classic Silver Age origin of Krypto the Super-Dog, she couldn’t stop laughing for about five minutes, except to say, “I don’t know which is worse — that origin, or that you know it!”

Anyway, still the Best Wife Ever. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

New comics 8/3/05, plus a little ranting

Filed under: batman, firestorm, gotham central, justice league, new teen titans, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 3:21 pm
Rant first, to get it out of the way: it irritates me to no end that Alex Ross insists on putting Plastic Man and Captain Marvel into the Silver Age Justice League. I understand that it’s wish-fulfillment for him, and who am I to be a big creative buzzkill — but it’s as bad as saying cavemen fought dinosaurs, Abraham Lincoln signed the Declaration of Independence, or John Glenn walked on the Moon. It just didn’t happen that way. Captain Marvel joined the post-Legends Justice League in 1986, and didn’t even stick around long enough to be a part of Justice League International six issues later. Plas joined in 1997 (“Rock of Ages”) and has been with the League pretty much ever since. However, during the early-to-mid-1970s that Ross wishes to enshrine, both Cap and Plas belonged to different Earths. Furthermore, although “Justice League Unlimited” did some great stories with the “everyone’s in the League” concept, for most of its history the Justice League was a select group — and people didn’t join “just because.”

While I am sure that many outstanding stories can and have been told about dino-hunting Neanderthals, Lincoln in 1776 Philadelphia, and Glenn’s lunar footprints, that still doesn’t mean they can be told without breaking some significant rules of history. Yes, the history of the Justice League is both fictional and malleable, but it’s history nonetheless, and it lays the ground rules.


Anyway, more on Justice #1 is over at The Great Curve. To sum up: I think it has potential, especially for casual readers, but somehow it manages to take itself very seriously while not feeling very consequential.

Serenity #2 (written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, drawn by Will Conrad) is mostly setup for #3. The good guys and the bad guys each stay in their own locker rooms and talk about their game plans. It’s all very true to the TV show (“Firefly,” available on DVD, if you came in late), and that in itself is enjoyable — but all it does is get you anxious for the good part to start.

Firestorm #16 (written by Stuart Moore, pencilled by Jamal Igle, inked by Rob Stull and Keith Champagne) continues to be a fun, entertaining, straightforward superhero book. For the most part, it has also stayed out of the whole Identity/Infinite Crisis imbroglio, which has been nice. (Wonder if that means sales are good?) Looks like that changes as of next issue, but I have faith in this creative team.

In the omnibus review round-up of a week or so ago, I wondered if DC Special: The Return Of Donna Troy #3 (written by Phil Jiminez, pencilled by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, inked by George Perez) wouldn’t end in a big teary group hug. Wrong again. There are tears, and a bit of hugging, but it’s mostly business as usual — fighting and mind control and exposition, setting up a big battle for #4. There’s also a weird panel where Cha– er, Beast Boy, apparently to lighten the mood, flashes the reader a totally inappropriate hoo-hah! grin and a thumbs-up. Oh well, it’s not like Beast Boy hasn’t made a career out of being inappropriate.

Superman #220 (written by Mark Verheiden, pencilled by Tony S. Daniel, inked by Marlo Alquiza) is an unremarkable issue featuring Superman and Superboy fighting the Eradicator. It felt like a Chuck Austen issue of Action Comics, mostly because Austen was fond of using Superman and Superboy together against some implacable foe. The point of the issue is to get Superman to admit that things are getting bad, but the punchline is Superboy telling him he’d better get his act together. Wow, really, you think? This could have been an 8- or even 16-page story in a Secret Files or 80-Page Giant for all it contributes to the ongoing I-Crisis plot, but instead it takes up 22 pages in what is objectively DC’s flagship title. Crikey.

(Speaking of those Secret Files and 80-pagers, I think it might actually have been better for DC to have put out a few more of those for these kind of gap-filler stories, instead of expanding them into a 22-page monthly.)

“City of Crime” takes a break for a month so that Detective Comics #809 (written by Andersen Gabrych, pencilled by Pete Woods, inked by Bit) can bring you “War Crimes Part 1,” the fallout from Stephanie Brown’s death. This is not quite the same as the “Dead Robin” arc going on in Gotham Central, although once again the great DC Coincidence Generator (or the Who’da-Thought? Machine) has made sure there are two dead Robin stories out the same week. No, this is the more sensational, yellow-journalistic approach to the story, which is that someone is using Stephanie’s death to tell Batman his secret identity has been blown. (Too bad the Who’da-Thought? Machine wasn’t working well enough to also give us this week the last issue of Gotham Knights, in which someone also tells Batman his secret … oh, you know.) Anyway, a big Bat-villain makes a surprise appearance and Batman does some detective work. It’s not that I don’t care, and it’s not poorly executed, but do the Batman writers even talk to each other anymore?

Speaking of Gotham Central (#34, written by Greg Rucka, pencilled by Kano, inked by Stefano Gaudiano), part 2 of “Dead Robin” finds the cops talking to the Teen Titans and trying to keep a lid on the media. The Titans stuff isn’t bad, but it’s the weakest part of an issue which has good scenes with the dead boy’s parents and with Stacy, the Bat-Signal operator. It really plays with the idea that no one really knows anything about Batman or Robin, and it does that well enough to make the reader question whether (for example) the guy at the beginning of the book really is Batman. Considering that the readers know the “real” Batman and Robin better than the cops do, this is quite an achievement.

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