Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Concealable Weapons You’re Not Cool Enough To Carry: Codpiece Revolver

What Is It?:

A 12-shot revolver stored in and fired from a leather codpiece.

Who’s Used It:

Tom Savini.

Why Am I Not Cool Enough To Carry It?:

Because you’re name isn’t fucking Sex Machine, that’s why.

From Dusk Till Dawn was a film with many awesome and memorable elements to it, however I think it’s hard to deny that the master of gore himself, Tom Savini’s character of Sex Machine was one of the better parts of it.

That’s saying a lot when you’re talking about a movie that features Salma Hayek in a bikini, Fred Williamson, buckets of gore, and, well Salma Hayek in fucking a bikini.

Pictured: Adolesence.

Like many weapons featured in these articles, the codpiece revolver is far from the more practical weapons one could employ for self-defense purposes, however it’s this element of it’s design that makes it much too cool to be put in the hands of mere mortals.

Think about it:

In order to aim the codpiece revolver, you’d have to walk around all bowlegged n’shit, pointing your cock at things that you’d like to see stop living.

Not only that, while Sex Machine never showed it, on account of being A FUCKING MAN, in firing the codpiece revolver, I’d assume the recoil would do a number on your frank and beans.

I don’t know about you, but if ever I were to wish death upon someone, I don’t think I’d wanna’ rupture my sac in doing so.

I’ll leave that to the Sex Machine’s of the world, thank you very much.

I’m getting ahead of myself though.

You see, the real problem in carrying, let alone handling a codpiece revolver, is the simple fact that, as I indicated in the first sentence of this segment of the article; YOU AREN’T FUCKING SEX MACHINE.

Nor is The Punisher for that matter...

Did you see how he operated the cock revolver in the clip at the top of the post?

He gave Greg Nicotero a dirty look, and then bam!

It opened.

Another dirty look, and the thing snapped shut.

No springs, no pneumatics, just a dirty fucking bastard shootin’ people dirty-ass looks.

By my logic, this can only mean that:

A): The cock revolver responds to psychic triggers.

or B): The sausage cannon fights on behalf of the forces of MANLINESS, thereby lending it’s service only to those cool enough to bear badass names such as “Sex Machine.”

In other words:

Even if you were somehow, against every rule in the natural order of coolness, able to get away with walking the streets wearing a gaudy leather cock basket; you’d have no way of operating the weapon due to your lack of legitimate badass-ness.

I suppose you could install a trigger in your rotating penis blaster and operate it manually, but really isn’t the point of having a dick pistol the fact that you can blast one out hands free with it?

Putting aside the fact that you, being possessed of insufficient coolness, would have no way of being able to physically operate a cock cannon in the first place, the fact of the matter is; you’d look like an idiot even if you could.

You see, chief among the requirements for being capable of carrying a codpiece revolver, is the fact that one has to be able to pull off the codpiece “look.”

Pictured: Sting, being a smug-ass bastard and rocking the codpiece look for the sake being a smug-ass bastard.

I don’t know about you, but metal studded crotch pockets aren’t something I could see myself wearing without looking like some dipshit that got way too into The Matrix or The Crow back in the day.

Perhaps more so than a salmon colored polo shirt with the collar popped, I’d like to think of a leather codpiece as being one of the harder “looks” in male fashion to pull off.

Well, outside side of a bondage/gay club anyway.

That being said, I’m sorry friends, but we can’t all be as cool as Sex Machine.

Now enjoy this clip of the aforementioned machine of sex getting his head blown off in Maniac:

Filed under: Comics, Concealable Weapons You're Not Cool Enough To Carry, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Committed To Reading The Annihilation Saga

I’m starting to realize that I am somewhat of a completist when it comes to comic books.

I routinely show up late to the party when it comes to the newest and most popular story arcs, largely because I get hung up trying to play catch up.

In most cases, it’s simply not enough for me to hit up Wikipedia to find out what I missed.

When I “get into” a character or storyline, I prefer to start from the “beginning,” which is typically represented by the work of a signature author or storyline; and work my way through the trades until I get up to date.

Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in me purchasing and reading some pretty bad books every now and again.

It’s just the nature of the superhero comics industry, with writers and illustrators jumping from project to project all the time; it’s only natural that various books have dips in quality every now and again.

Some examples of purchases I kind of regret, are Secret Invasion, and every single Punisher MAX trade following the departure of Garth Ennis.

Pictured: One of many reasons Garth Ennis owns The Punisher.

It’s funny, I actually remember saying, on this very blog; stating that I would probably never pick up a copy of Secret Invasion.

I heard it wasn’t very good, and was hoping to avoid it, but eventually I got so immersed in the Marvel Universe as a whole, (I don’t know about you, but Dark Reign really “did it” for me) that I reached a point in which most of the characters I was reading had a big fat hole in their continuity left by me not having read Secret Invasion or any of it’s copious tie-ins.

Secret Invasion was indeed kind of a crappy, (not Messiah Complex crappy, mind you) but for whatever reason, it’s comforting to me to have those plot holes filled.

The Punisher stuff kind of speaks for itself.

Garth Ennis was the best thing that ever happened to the character, so his departure from the series pretty much resulted in the bar being set far too high for anyone to possibly measure up to.

UN. TOUCHABLE.

‘Nuff said.

Anyway, as you might have guess from the title of this post, I’ve recently committed myself to reading all of the Annihilation Saga trades, up through the recent Thanos Imperative.

For your information, that’s about 5 years worth of storylines, told across 5 major arcs, as well as possibly a tie-in book or 2; most of which were written by the dynamic duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

That’s a lot of fuckin’ comics.

Curiously enough, my association with this sprawling story came in the form of jumping right smack in the middle of it a few years ago.

The first book in the series I read was War of Kings, which turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable read despite my general unfamiliarity with most of the characters.

Over the course of the story, I developed a newfound respect for Black Bolt, as well as an unexpected degree of interest in the cosmic Marvel Universe.

Admittedly, Black Bolt was also kind of badass in World War Hulk...

Though I went on to pick up the War of Kings: Warriors trade that collected a number of tie-in issues associated with the core story, for whatever reason I never went any further than that until just last week.

Last week I finished reading the first book of Annihilation, the initial story arc of the Annihilation saga; and boy was I impressed.

As with War of Kings, I found myself becoming attached to characters that were largely on the periphery of the core Marvel canon, but not only that, I found myself being sucked into the story itself; regardless of it’s place in Marvel lore.

In short, the first book; while little more than build up to the meat of the story, was a damn good read.

That being said, while I know I’ve got my work cut out for me, I’m actually looking forward to cutting a swathe through Annihilation and seeing how everything pans out.

Typically, when I’m faced with diving into a story this big, I tend to feel pensive about the emotional and monetary investment it represents, but in this case; I’m actually kind of jazzed.

Now, all I have to do is find a comic shop that actually carries a copy of Annihilation: Book Two, and then I can actually get started…

Do I really need a reason to post this image? Didn't think so...

Filed under: Comics, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Superhero Story Idea

Every now and again I come up with ideas for stories I’d like to write.

More often than not, said stories are best suited for a visual medium like comic books or film.

I rarely, if ever; get around to actually completing these stories, but rest assured, all of them remain safely tucked away in the “vault” of my memory.

Oh yeah, and on countless barely coherent notepad docs stored on my computer…

Anyway, today I came up with a pretty decent premise for a story.

Wait, you mean someone already did a story about an island full of dinosaurs? Damn...

Being as this is a tale coming from the mind of the comic obsessed Azn Badger, the story involves a world where superheroes are pretty commonplace.

The protagonist is a superpowered young man that wishes to be a live the dream of being superhero, though his ability to do so is severely hampered by the nature of his powers.

In short, the man’s superpowers grant him the strength of “almost” one and a half men.

In other words:

He’s not very “super.”

Coincidentally, I imagined him looking kind of like Union Jack, (without the Union Jack, of course) a not-so-super superhero.

Though a formidable street level crime fighter, with excellent fighting skills and a keen mind for strategy and planning; his reputation as a superhero never really grows beyond that of a local urban legend.

In an attempt to spread his influence and make a name for himself, our hero attends a local “superhero mixer.”

By the way, the “mixer” takes place at a superhero’s dumpy apartment.

Hey, just ’cause a guy’s a superhero doesn’t mean he gets a Fortress of Solitude, just for being “super.”

Needless to say, much like Captain Amazing in Mystery Men, sponsorships, either corporate or government based, are a much sought after source of income for most big-name superheroes in this story.

Behold: An awesome actor, in an awesome role, from a shitty movie!

At the “mixer,” our hero gets a chance to rub elbows with some of the more famous (and powerful) heroes in the region, only to find that many of them write him off as a novelty and a disgrace to the “profession” of superhero-ing.

Insulted, humiliated, and more than a little down on himself after the experience, our hero turns his back of the superhero community, and decides to do something more practical (and lucrative) with his abilities:

He becomes a mercenary/hitman dealing exclusively in superhero related contracts.

While most of the details are unclear to me at this point, one of the key scenes I have in mind for the story, is one where our hero takes on the world’s most powerful superhero team; and defeats them (through non-lethal means) single-handedly in a wily Punisher/Bullseye/Spider-Man sort of way.

Another idea I had for the story, was that the strongest member of said team, a young woman; is actually too powerful for him defeat, thusly resulting in him hitting on her out of desperation.

Against all odds, she finds him charming, and the 2 become an unlikely couple.

..... Lesbians(?)

Now, one thing that needs to be said about this story idea, is that the central character is not meant to be sympathetic, nor heroic in any way.

In short, he’s an asshole, and one with a very nasty chip on his shoulder.

His strength as a hero/mercenary, lies within his cunning and intelligence, and besting other, far more powerful superpowered beings in this manner is his way of looking down his nose at them.

Some characters that resemble the protagonist in some way, are Marvel’s Deadpool, Taskmaster, and Bullseye.

All 3 are relatively low-powered, or in the case of the latter 2; unpowered; super-beings, with their resourcefulness and skill usually serving to make up for their meager attributes.

I wouldn’t expect my character to break the fourth wall like Deadpool, however his snarky, loudmouth attitude is something I’ll likely borrow.

Pictured: Why we keep Deadpool around.

For some reason, I’ve always found the idea of a relatively “weak” character somehow conquering a superior opponent, to be downright enthralling.

It worked for me when Cyclops took on the entire X-Men team by himself in the aftermath of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

It worked for me when The Punisher wasted the entire Marvel Universe in Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe.

Hell, it even worked for me when Spider-Man hilariously bested Firelord.

BWAHAHA! Unlikely PWNAGE!

Okay, maybe that last one was fuckin’ stupid, but the others were classics, I swear!

Anyway, I have no idea where I’m going with this story, but it’s something I think I’d like to keep working on for awhile.

Feel free to post ideas or comments!

 

 

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anybody Remember Zen The Intergalatic Ninja?

Anybody remember Zen the Intergalactic Ninja?

Yeah, neither do I.

Well okay, that’s not entirely true, I do in fact remember Zen, I wouldn’t be typing this article if I didn’t; but all of my memories of the character are foggy at best.

I was exposed to Zen via the Archie/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics of the early 90’s.

Pictured: The only Archie Comic I'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

My brother used to get Ninja Turtle comics every so often via some sort of subscription service, though he’d usually end up throwing away the Archie or Jughead comics.

To this day, I fail to see the beauty of Jughead’s soul.

 

Is it just me, or is Jughead the original stoner/hipster doofus?

Anyway, being as I am indeed my father’s son, and never throw away anything, even if it never even belonged to me in the first place, I still have a few of the Ninja Turtle comics somewhere, namely the one’s that introduced Wingnut and Chameleon:

Yup, got both of these... In absolutely horrid condition...

At some point during this era, presumably around ’93-94, (I remember Maximum Carnage was big news at the time, as was Superman and Batman’s unfortunate run-ins with Doomsday and Bane respectively) one of my neighborhood buddies was kind enough to share a new comic he had just bought.

It was called Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja:

AWESOME! But what's up with Oscar the Grouch over there on the right?

That comic, or rather it’s cover; pushed just about all the right buttons in my young, action figure obssessesd mind.

Yes, they are in fact action figures, not dolls.

"New Shia LaBeouf action figure! With easy access "open mouth" action for inserting of donkey balls! Donkey balls sold separately..."

Get it right power-fag, lest my kung fu grip find your larynx.

*Ahem!* I seem to remember the plot mirroring Bucky O’Hare, as well as just about every other 90’s Saturday morning cartoon; in the sense that it surrounded a strange group of colorful and easily action figure-ized characters coming to Earth and seeking the aid of a young boy to whom the audience could easily relate to.

(Insert picture of any mid-80’s to early 90’s cartoon here)

Y’know, standard genre fare.

The few elements of Zen that really stuck with me after all these years were, of course; the name of the main character, his unique and kid-friendly bo weapon, (no sharp weapons or blood-letting for the kiddies, that would be inappropriate!) and the fact that the plot was at least somewhat eco-friendly…

Make that, “eco-obsessed.”

Um, gender = What?

That last part was kind of a deal breaker for me, a robot and violence obsessed little boy.

I honestly liked Zen’s character designs, in fact I remember drawing him at school a few times on my test papers; however the whole “save the environment” thing just didn’t appeal to me all that much.

I remember they pushed it just a little bit too far with Zen, to the point in which most of, if not all of the principle hero characters represented some element of recycling.

Put it this way, I’m pretty sure I remember the yellow dude being named “Pulp.”

Hey, it's Pulp! And Compost Man! And Recycled Aluminum Man! And Plastic Bottle Man, etc...

That’s just fuckin’ sad, being named for mashed up paper byproduct.

Let it be known, saving the Earth is only cool when Captain Planet tells you to do it:

Honestly man, a catchy theme song and green giga-mullet go a long way towards capturing the hearts and minds of children.

Jumping back to my initial dealing with Zen, I honestly don’t really remember much about the comic, (which consequently would be the only Zen comic I’d ever read, let alone see) other than the fact that the art and character designs had a definite Captain Bucky O’Hare vibe to them, and the comic was packed to the brim with advertisements… For itself.

Seriously, if memory serves, there were advertisements for the Zen comic itself, the upcoming Zen NES game, and a line of Zen action figures; all in one comic!

Lord CONTAMINOUS!? "Take out the garbage!?" Good God, it really is a tree-hugger comic/game/action figure line!

That, my friends; is what I like to call “super-liminal marketing:”

Despite all the effort on the part of the publishers though, clearly it didn’t pay off; as almost none of my friends have ever heard of Zen.

Even so, I’ll always remember Zen as being a particularly inspired example of those 20,000 or so highly marketable characters that were thrown at us in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon, only to slip through the cracks like so many others…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite Cover Artists: Tim Bradstreet

In keeping with the “grim and gritty” theme we established yesterday with my naming of Francesco Mattina as one of my favorite comic book cover artists, today we pay tribute to the prolific and uber-talented Tim Bradstreet.

Though he’s been working in the industry since the early 90’s, I first took notice of Mr. Bradstreet’s work when I first got back into comics in the mid-2000’s.

The comic responsible for getting me back into the mix, was of course Garth Ennis’ work on the Max version of the Punisher.

Despite all the laser sights, my money's on The Punisher in this one...

Bradstreet was responsible for designing the covers for every cover in the Punisher series, up until Ennis left the book, which of course was right around the time I stopped reading it.

Tim Bradstreet’s work is, much like Francesco Mattina’s, of the photorealistic variety.

Personally, I wouldn't trust a gold-toothed Michael Clark Duncan with my baby. Just sayin'...

In fact, though I can’t speak to Mr. Mattina’s artistic process, I know for a fact that Mr. Bradstreet makes extensive use of models and live-photo references of his own design.

Including our boy Thomas Jane!

Through tracing these photos, and then shading, stylizing them, and placing the figures in front of some of the dingiest, grimiest locales known to man,  Bradstreet is able to create some truly provocative imagery.

So... They really picked Keanu Reeves to play this guy?

Bradstreet’s work has a very distinct and consistent style to it that deals with composition in a way that’s much closer to photography than traditional pen and paper artistry.

That’s not to say Tim Bradstreet isn’t a true artistic talent, he is; it’s just that his work seems to stem from someone with more of an eye for photography than anything else.

I like this. No funny caption this time, sorry.

Unlike some of the more graphic design oriented cover artists in the comic industry, Bradstreet’s covers rarely ever contain any sort of dynamic colors or vector art.

More often than not, Bradstreet’s covers consist of little more than a topical image of the principle characters of the book, and amazingly enough, that’s usually enough to impress.

An example of a cover that totally bypasses any background elements in favor of placing all attention of the central figure.

Despite this, from time to time he puts out “louder” and more design heavy covers:

That's pretty fuckin' slick if I do say so myself.

Perhaps the most common, and striking, element of Tim Bradstreet’s covers is his propensity for obscuring his figures in shadow.

It’s a cliched technique, but in the case of most of the books that Bradstreet works on, namely some of the more pulpy books like The Punisher and Hellblazer, it works all too well.

BAD. ASS.

Anyway, that’s enough cock-sucking for one evening.

I’ve got overtime to look forward to tomorrow, so sorry for the decidedly lax post.

See yah’ tomorrow!

Filed under: Comics, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wolverine – Weapon X: Adamantium Men Review

By now, it should be fairly obvious to most that I’m not much of an X-Men fan.

Like any self-respecting 20-something year old, I loved the ‘ole X-Dudes in the early 90’s, but soon after that, things just got too fucking complicated.

As mentioned previously, I genuinely enjoyed reading the X-Family’s fateful confrontation with Magneto in 1993’s Fatal Attractions story arc, but as soon as the writer’s decided to follow it up with the horrendous bucket of moose cum known as Onslaught, I dropped the X-Men like a ugly-ass fat kid on “Drop a Child On It’s Head Day.”

Well, looky here...

In the years since then, I’ve kept my eye on the X-Men, and I’ve yet to find a reason to hop back into the fray.

I’ve been told Grant Morrison’s run on the series was pretty good.

Oh Xorn/Magneto, how you made me laugh with the dumbfuckery of your storyline...

Too bad I don’t care much for Grant Morrison’s writing.

I’ve also been told that Joss Whedon’s fairly self-contained series, The Astonishing X-Men, was also pretty good.

Next on Extra!: Steel Man and Ghost Girl sex tape scandal!

Too bad I truly stopped giving a fuck long before that series came about.

After I shot myself in the foot by foolishly purchasing the festering ass-polyp known as Messiah Complex, I came to the decision that, until a truly great, must-read story arc comes along for the X-Men, or any of their related books (X-Force, X-Factor, etc.) I’m pretty much done with the ‘muties outside of stories written in the early 90’s or earlier.

Congratulations Messiah Complex! You're not only the worst comic I own, (I seriously want to burn it) you were also single-handedly responsible for turning me against the X-Men!

The X-Men: overpopulated with whiny-ass, juvenile characters, and cursed with a nigh impenetrable continuity…

Despite my general contempt for the X-Men, there’s one character in particular among their ranks that has always struck my fancy.

That character would be the nigh indestructible canuckle-head, Wolverine.

C'mon, you knew this was coming...

I admit it, I’m a Wolverine whore.

Wolverine is one of those characters that appeals to pretty much everyone with a penis.

I have no idea what the fuck I'm looking at...

He’s tough, he’s tenacious, he’s the best at what he does, but more importantly, he carries with him the finest and most desirable traits of the spirit of “the loner.”

Honestly, pick any example of a cowboy/Western hero archetype, and your bound to find an homage to it in most any Wolverine comic.

Clint = Wolverine. When he's written well...

The point is, in a team like the X-Men, Wolverine usually serves as a highlight to the experience, but at the same time, he often comes across as being somewhat subdued.

He’s a raging berserker with fucking savage-ass claws!  How can you expect him to live up to his bad-ass potential in a colorful book for tweens!?

The New Mutants: The Stupidest Fucking Shit EVER.

On his own however, Wolverine is a wonderful character to both read and watch.

Provided the writer and artist are up to standard.

Which brings us to writer Jason Aaron, and penciller Ron Garney’s Weapon X – Adamantium Men story arc.

Simply put, this particular writer/artist duo get Wolverine.

While I genuinely enjoyed Mark Millar’s Enemy of the State and Old Man Logan stories, I’ve always found Millar’s writing to be a little bit too hammy and over-the-top, and these 2 arcs were no different.

I’m not going to lie, much of it felt almost like fan-fiction at times.  Really fucking entertaining fan-fiction, but but fan-fiction nonetheless.

Why is he fighting ninjas again? Oh yeah, 'cause you haole kids fuckin' love ninjas...

What can I say, John Romita Jr. and Steve McNiven’s art can do a lot to get me to buy decently written comics.

Steve McNiven = Automatic Buy.

In a similar vein, though I don’t read Marvel’s Ultimates line, I pick up Damon Lindelof’s Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk trade awhile back, and I found it be a so tongue-in-cheek it almost hurt.

Pictured: THE reason myself and many others bought Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk.

While undeniably entertaining, Lindelof’s story arc was impossible to take as anything more than a joke.

Jason Aaron’s Wolverine is just as enjoyable, if not moreso, than either of the authors mentioned above, but the main difference lies in the quality of the writing.

In short, it’s much better.

The first arc of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine that I ever read, was the brief, but wonderfully straightforward chase storyline, Get Mystique.

Seriously, this was fuckin' awesome.

I was so impressed by Aaron’s writing, and Ron Garney’s brutal and just detailed enough art, that when I heard that the 2 had been installed as the lead writer and artist for the fairly new Weapon X book, I had to check it out.

I was not disappointed.

NOT DISAPPOINTED.

Like Get Mystique before it, Adamantium Men is a storyline told in a gritty, Western-inspired, narration heavy, almost Garth Ennis Punisher-esque style.

I know I've used this before, but goddamnit, it sums up the Punisher so fuckin' well...

Aaron’s Wolverine is a character that says little, but whose thoughts truly read like a man that’s literally been in the shit for a hundred years.

While this gritty style and tone might be a bit overbearing to some, I’ve been reading Punisher-speak most of my life, and as such, I just happen to like it.

Anyway, the basic plot of Adamantium Men surrounds a PMC (Private Military Contractor) that has somehow acquired the old research files of the original Weapon X program.

The very same Weapon X program that birthed Wolverine among many other notable Marvel universe heroes and villains.

YES, that includes Deadpool, yah' fuckin bunch ah' hipster doofuses... DEADPOOL IS NOT THE COOLEST CHARACTER EVER. Get over it!

Wolverine is informed by his former Weapon X buddy, Maverick/Agent Zero, of said situation, which of course results in our hero getting pissed off and deciding to put a stop to the PMC’s plans.

Unfortunately, he discovers quite early on, that the PMC was able to crank out about a dozen or so soldiers with physical capabilities on par with his own, right down to the adamantium skeleton and healing factor.

Pictured: Wolverine turning an anti-healing factor "cancer gun" on it's user.

That last sentence right there, was exactly what baited me into loving this book.

Hell, once I got to this page, I wanted to slap myself for having waited as long as I had to pick up this book:

FUCK YEAH!

Watching Wolverine tangle with a whole squad of guys that do what he does, just as well as he does, was truly inspiring.

While the storyline is fairly standard “man on a mission” fare in that you generally know how things are going to end before you even open the book, the real beauty of this storyline is Ron Garney’s artwork during the action sequences (of which there are many), and Jason Aaron’s interpretation of Wolverine’s thought process.

Pictured: An early fight scene.

My only 2 complaints are:

The story ends well enough, but had it’s biggest climax just a little bit too early (the fight shown in the splash page above).

The Adamantium Men of the title aren’t exactly all that well defined.

Sure we’re told that they’re basically Wolverine clones with laser claws, but we never get any details as to why or how they have laser claws and green eyes.

In short, of all the Wolverine’s I’ve read and seen, I think these guys managed to put together the one that feels most right.

Anyway, this ended up turning into more of an advertisement than an actual review, but whatever.

I really liked Adamantium Men, kind of sad that Ron Garney didn’t continue for the second arc, Insane in the Brain, but you can sure as hell bet that book’s next on my reading list.

Also, in doing Wikipedia searches for this article, I learned that Jason Aaron was the author of the most recent Punisher MAX storyline, which means I’ll be back in Punisher Land a lot sooner than I thought!

Take care everyone, happy reading!

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Crossovers and Event Comics, Goddamnit…

I am not an event book reader when it comes to comic books.

In most cases, I find them to be sloppily organized, and sometimes harmful to the storylines of the characters involved.

More often than not, I find that crossovers and event comics typically have valuable ideas and story beats to bring to the table, however in most cases the events that take place between these major moments amount to little more than fluff or padding.

All of this, combined with the fact that I don’t consider myself a fan of “team” books, is what keeps me from reading event books.

I find them to be nothing more than bloated, ponderous, fanboy conceived drivel that are more enjoyable to read in bullet-point summary.

Or in the case of Onslaught, better when avoided entirely.

That being said, what experience do I have personally with event comics?

Well, the first crossover I ever read was X-Men: Fatal Attractions.

Okay, Magneto looks fucking retarded on this cover, but I swear it's a good book.

This was a typical 90’s X-family story, wherein the Acolytes are running around being dicks, Magneto has somehow come back from the dead following Fabian Cortez’s betrayal, and now the whole planet is in danger.

Pictured: The Kevin Costner of the X-Men universe.

The story is told from the viewpoint of nearly all of the major X-family factions including the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force,  and even the England based Excalibur.

Sorry though, no New Mutants, although I don’t know who in their right mind would miss them.

Good God what a juvenile pile of suck...

The whole thing comes to a climax when a small strike force of X-Men attempt to destroy Magneto, resulting in him using his magnetic powers to tear the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones and clear through his skin.

One of my first "Holy fucking shit" moments in comics.

It was perhaps the most dramatic moment in the entire storyline, however it was by no means the only important event to occur throughout.

Colossus’ defection to the Acolytes while mourning the loss of his younger sister Illyana was quite memorable, as was Cable’s hopeless one-on-one struggle against Magneto.

This just seems to be the trend whenever Magneto is forced to take the gloves off...

As a kid, I really liked Fatal Attractions.

The X-Men cartoon and Capcom’s various Marvel arcade games of the time had thrust the X-Men into the forefront of my childhood consciousness, and even if I didn’t “get” all the subtleties of the story, I was just happy to be reading about the X-Men.

Nowadays, as an older, wiser Azn Badger, I bow my head in shame at any thought of the X-Men comics, however I still find myself nostalgically flipping through my collected edition of Fatal Attractions from time to time.

The only other crossovers I own, are the excellent Death and Return of Superman, and the mediocre Batman: War Games.

Oh yeah, and that piece of monkey-crap, X-Men: Messiah Complex.

WORST. COMIC. EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

In general, crossovers always have the potential to be pretty good, but when it comes to combining the writing and art of so many different writers and pencillers, it takes a special kind of chemistry to make it all sync together just right.

Of the 4 crossovers I own, only Fatal Attraction manages to remain fairly consistent in voice and presentation.

Well, except for maybe the guys that drew the Excalibur portion, they sucked something fierce.

Seriously, what the fuck is up with Colossus in this cover?

When everyone comes together just right, and are able to trick you into thinking you’re reading a single cohesive story, written by one person; then you have a crossover that just might be something special.

It doesn’t happen often, but we comic fans are always hopeful.

...Unlike this kid.

Event comics are something that I stayed away from until fairly recently.

My one big gripe with event comics has always been the over-abundance of spin-offs and tie-ins that invariably coincide with their release.

An example of a GOOD spin-off, which was in turn "spun off" from a spin-off.

You know those little captions that pop up in the corner of some panels saying cryptic little nothings like:
“For more info, read Avengers West Coast #47!”

That’s the kind of bullshit that kept me away from event books for most of my life.

My first event book, was a classic of the industry, namely Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet.

A truly great fucking cover.

It was tightly paced, only had 2 illustrators, who thankfully had similar styles; and perhap most important of all:

It was self-contained.

True, there were a handful of supplemental storylines that tied-into the main storyline, but despite this, the entire collected edition, from start to finish, could be read and understood by just about anyone.

I really liked the Infinity Gauntlet, but from most reviews I’ve read, there aren’t that many company event comics that can measure up to it, outside of maybe the grandaddy of all event comics, Secret Wars.

The original Ocean's 11 of comic books.

I own maybe 3 event comics including the Infinity Gauntlet.

The other 2 are Civil War and World War Hulk.

I bought Civil War because of Steve McNiven’s art more than anything else, and World War Hulk was a necessary purchase after I read the story directly preceding it, the truly magnificent Planet Hulk.

Now imagine a whole book of THIS.

While World War Hulk was kind of a let down given that I am not really a “modern” John Romita Jr. fan, (I liked his 90’s style better than his Moai Statue looking people nowadays) and the conclusion of the story reeked of deus ex machina, Civil War was a pleasant surprise.

If anything swayed me a little bit on the possibility of good “modern” event comics, Civil War was it.

While the story is a little bit claustrophobic at times, and the conclusion seems to come rather suddenly, the collected edition of Civil War was largely coherent, and more importantly, enjoyable to read.

Did I mention Steve McNiven was a good artist?

While Mark Millar is hardly on my “good list,” his writing for Civil War was remarkably restrained, and fit the voices of the characters quite well for the most part.

Like I mentioned earlier though, it helps when you have Steven McNiven, one of the best artists in the medium; doing the interiors.

ONCE AGAIN, I'd just like to say that Steven McNiven is a pretty decent artist.

Civil War had a shit-ton of tie-ins, some of which I’ve been told were essential to the experience, particularly the Amazing Spider-Man issues, however I read none of them and still enjoyed myself.

The reason I chose today to gripe about event comics and crossovers, was because of a dilemma I encountered at Olympic Cards and Comics yesterday.

And this would be Azn Badger doing his civic duty by plugging a local business.

I was in the market for a trade paperback, (I don’t buy weekly’s and monthlies anymore) and I had found myself stupefied by a simple, 3-way decision.

I was holding Thunderbolts vol. 3, Moon Knight vol. 3, and Wolverine: Weapon X vol. 1, and even though I wanted the Thunderbolts, I ended up walking away with Moon Knight.

Why did I do this?

Because Thunderbolts vol. 3 just happened to be a tie-in to the 2008 event comic, Secret Invasion.

WORST COMIC EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR MK. 2

In terms of event comics, Secret Invasion is widely regarded as the definition of “let-down.”

It was hyped for no less than 5 years, and while the changes to the Marvel universe that it brought to the table were indeed significant, the actual panel-to-panel experience amounted to nothing more than “meh.”

On top of that, if you go to your local comic shop, and you look for Secret Invasion of the trade shelf, do you know what you see?

A WHOLE FUCKING ROW OF PAPER THIN PURPLE BOOK SPINES.

Marvel really shat on it’s readers with it’s release of Secret Invasion and it’s ungodly number of tie-in books.

Seriously, by my count there are 26 books under the Secret Invasion label, with 4 of them being of the core storyline, and about 5-6 of them being essential to the experience according to most recommendations.

At $30 for the core book, and like $15 a pop for any of the tie-ins, that’s not asking a lot, that’s just straight punk-garbage-faggotry, man.

...Sure, why not?

Secret Invasion pisses me off because I don’t want to read it on account of it’s shittiness, and yet I feel a strong desire to give in and read it on account of it having stake in just about every storyline since it’s publication.

Either way, I still hate reading really good trades from characters I like and seeing those little fucking yellow captions pop up with their “See Secret Invasion #5!” bullshit.

Fortunately, I always have this as an excuse for not buying over-priced bullshit.

2 years have past, I know what happens during Secret Invasion, and yet I don’t.

Though I loved Thunderbolts 1-2, the interference of Secret Invasion, a bloated book I honestly don’t want to read, is what kept me from pursuing the rest of the series for the time being.

Well, that and the fact that Warren Ellis bowed out of the series as writer after volume 2.

Warren Ellis: Creator of such wonders as the "Bowel Disruptor Gun."

The whole point of this rant is that, I love comic books, but I’m pretty sure I’m always going to be one of those guys that just reads his comics.

I took a gamble with Civil War, and it worked out, but I also took a gamble with Messiah Complex, and now I feel like hitting someone every time I think about it.

Unfortunately, no one was around at the time of writing this...

Event comics are hard for me, because I tend to read comics from the DC/Marvel universes, but I generally stick to the characters that typically aren’t involved in the big events.

Moon Knight was featured in about 1 page of The Infinity Gauntlet.

I guess you could say The Punisher lent a hand in Civil War, and by that I mean he killed a pair of D-list supervillains that nobody cared about.

Just for fun, here's the two of them hangin' out together.

Batman is the FUCKING MAN, but if you thought Marvel’s event comic continuity was impenetrable, then apparently you haven’t looked at DC’s “Crisis” storylines and their multiverse bullshit.

That's nice an' all, but could someone tell me what the heck is going on?

I like my comics, but every now and again, I feel compelled to take a gamble and try and read one of their comics.

When I think about it though, near as I can tell I’m about 1:1 with my “good” and “bad” event book purchases, so I guess the odds of me being pleasantly surprised are actually pretty good.

Here’s hoping to future gambles and pleasant surprises then, I guess.

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Let’s Look at Comics: Dark Reign – The List: Punisher #1

Hey everybody!  Once again, it’s time to look at comics!  Today we’re going to be looking at the Marvel one-shot, Dark Reign – The ListPunisher #1.


A word to the uninitiated, Dark Reign is not a character or book series in the Marvel universe, but rather a company wide story arc.

Specifically, Dark Reign is the period of time in which Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin and former dead guy, has control of U.S. national security, an era that is just now coming to an end with the coming Heroic Age.

How did this happen?  Well, the Skrulls (shapeshifting alien douchebags with wrinkly chins) showed up a few years back, and during an event called Secret Invasion, raped our nation’s defense network.

IT'S A FUCKING DONKEY! I MEAN, SKRULL!!!!!

Said defense systems just happened to be manufactured and regulated by Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, who also happens to be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. following his victory during Civil War, which took place just prior to the Invasion.

Long story short, Norman Osborn lands the killing blow against the Skrull Queen, and is somehow promoted to hero status in the public eye, which he then parlays into usurping Tony Stark’s control of S.H.I.E.L.D.

*Whew!* Now that we’ve gotten all that nonsense out of the way, we can finally get to opening the damn book!

...but not before we get past the Nissan ad.

Right off the bat, our first page is… explanation detailing what happened earlier in the Punisher comics during Dark Reign.

Okay, fine your majesty, I shall summarize:

The Punisher wasn’t too happy about a total nutjob like Norman Osborn taking control of S.H.I.E.L.D., (now changed to the more AMERICAN sounding, H.A.M.M.E.R.) so he did what any concerned citizen would do, and tried to put a couple of bullets in Osborn’s head.

I think it goes without saying that the Punisher missed, no thanks to that golden-haired son-of-a-fuck, The Sentry.

Sentry = This, with a golden costume and oh yeah, RETARDED.

Naturally, Osborn wasn’t too happy about the whole attempted murder thing, and thusly decided to use our tax dollars to send a fleet of space ships and a few hundred soldiers after old man Frank.

I like how this story is a one-shot, usually requiring no prior knowledge of previous storylines to be enjoyed.

One-shot my ass…

Anyway, our story opens with a quote from James Thurber:

Pretty deep for a comic that opens with a Nissan ad.

In case you’re wondering, James Thurber was cartoonist and writer for the New Yorker back in the 20’s.

You can thank Wikipedia for that last bit.

We are then treated to a page of some kid leaving a message on the Punisher’s voicemail while zipping off walls and over peoples’ heads on his hoverboard.

Fortunately he knows better than to take it over water.  Everyone knows you can’t do that; unless you’ve got power.

So sayeth Jason Scott Lee...

Anyway, this kid, named Henry by the way, is apparently trying to get a hold of Frank because he’s been “trolling”  H.A.M.M.E.R.’s networks, and apparently he caught word that Osborn is just about to launch his big push against the Punisher.

I don’t see how posting photos of penises on H.A.M.M.E.R.’s forums would be at all helpful to the Punisher, but oh well, I’m not about to pretend that I give two shits about Henry and what he does with his intersnatch.

Meanwhile, Osborn is floating above New York in his pimp-ass helicarrier, when one of his goons walks over to him to ask for permission to implement operation “Nuke-the-shit-out-of-the Punisher.”

"Sir, may I lick your cock?" "No, you can SUCK my cock."

Our next page opens with the Punisher hanging out in his “Punisher Van,” heating up some cocoa and ignoring Henry’s phone calls like a dude.

This page also serves as our introduction to “Punisher Speak.”

Punisher Speak consists solely of a combination of sentence fragments, gallows humor, and man-isms.

If the text box isn’t black, or the text doesn’t have an ellipses in it, it’s not Punisher Speak.

Interior decorator, he is not.

Despite missing Henry’s call, the “Punisher Van’s” perimeter alarm goes off, tipping our hero off to Osborn’s approach.

Subtle man that he is, Osborn begins his assault by doing this:

The land of the free, and the home of the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

Despite the fireworks, H.A.M.M.E.R. determines that the Punisher managed to avoid the blast.

Osborns’s first reaction is to sick a shadowy figure named Daken, after the Punisher.

Oh yeah, then he sends EVERY FUCKING MAN HE’S GOT.

... and yet I'm not worried. Maybe it has something to do with their goofy get-ups.

With Osborn’s goons on the way, the Punisher reveals to us just how he managed to survive the explosion that his pimpin’ van could not.

In between a full page ad for Halo: ODST, of course.

...Okay, so his face grew into his crotch, what else is new?

Pym Particles are, in the Marvel universe, a special form of radiation created by Dr. Henry Pym AKA Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellow Jacket/Goliath/The Wasp/Scientist Supreme, that allow one to manipulate the size of objects and living things.

Evidently, the Punisher used them here to shrink himself to an atomic size so as avoid the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

*Ahem!* SCIENCE.

With this, the Punisher takes off down an alleyway, whereupon he happens upon Henry, still crusin’ around on his hoverboard.

The Punisher greets him as only he can do.

A conversationalist, he is not.

With Henry safely tucked away in a dumpster, the Punisher finds himself set upon by Osborn’s glider troops.

In response, the Punisher, principled man that he is, elects to handle them using non-lethal measures involving, I shit you not:  a bullwhip.

What kind of Indiana Jones bullshit is that!?

He’s got Pym Particles and a fucking “Punisher Van” and he resorts to using a fucking whip?

C’mon now Frank, you can do better than that…

You see, there are two kinds of Punishers in the Marvel universe, the “suit” Punisher, and the “Max” Punisher, from the main Marvel continuity and the Max universe respectively.

The “suit” Punisher is the one with the skin-tight body suit that used all sorts of hokie sci-fi guns designed to make his arsenal seem more “friendly” and more accessible to the kiddies.

The “Max” Punisher walks around in a trench coat and a wife-beater and gets the job done by gutting people and feeding them to animals n’shit.

Just remember, “Max” Punisher’s been to ‘Nam, “suit” Punisher shops at The Sharper Image.

In either case, both drive a fucking awesome van.

Personally, I prefer Max Punisher, but that's just me.

‘Ole Frank manages to evade the glider troops pretty well, walking away with only a single laser wound to his leg, oddly enough, just as he’s reaching for some sort of “Punisher Shield” thingy.

Just a scratch really, no big deal.

Eventually he manages to escape to the sewers, where he proceeds to internally monologue to himself about things… mainly the hole in his leg and how the shit seeping into the wound builds character.

Gallows humor, check. Black text boxes, check. Where's the damn ellipses?

Remember that shadowy guy I mentioned earlier?  Daken?

Well, he decides to use this opportunity to make his big entrance.

Well now, that's just plain impolite, not even saying "hello."

Now you’re probably asking yourself: “Isn’t that Wolverine?”

Well, you’d be close, but you’d also be wrong, dumbass.

Look at the guy’s claws, he’s got two where the ‘Ole Canuckle Head has three.

I know, I'm retarded.

Okay, fine.  Daken does in fact have three claws, the third is housed on the inside of his wrist.

Dork-isms aside, Daken is actually Wolverine’s son from a previous relationship involving a Japanese woman named Itsu.

Long story short, Itsu got killed, Daken had a shitty childhood, and now he hates Wolverine… ’cause I guess he has nothing better to do.

Daken has all of Wolverine’s powers, except his claws are lined with the metal of a cursed sword (don’t ask) called the Muramasa, and he can manipulate his pheromones to the point of granting him limited control over others.

Basically he’s Wolverine, but EEEVVIIIIIILLLLLLL…

Cut to bad-ass fight scene.

"Frank Castle was sadly SHWUNKK'ed today. His last words were "RHGGAA!"

As evil and as vicious as Daken can be however, remember, this is ‘Ole Frank he’s tangling with here.

Surely he’s gonna’ have some sort of crazy bazooka or wicked-ass gadget he can whip out to save the day…

"YEERGGAAHGHH!! I said "No" Frank, not on the first date!"

…but I guess biting works too.

…and shooting.

…yup, shooting still works.

Despite all that GLAZZAT-ing, Daken’s broken-ass healing factor keeps him good and healthy.

In fact the only real damage he seems to have incurred is a side-ache with a little bit of a cough.

Okay, so the whole "swimming in dookie" thing didn't bother you, but the GLAZZAT-ing did? What kind of bullshit is that?

Taking Daken’s fat-kid side-ache as a window of opportunity, Frank hops out of the sewer and up to the surface.

But not without leaving Daken a parting gift, of course.

Uh oh Daken, I think your Tamagotchi's having suicidal thoughts...

Trust me when I tell you, there is an explosion on the next panel.

We then cut back to Frank as he stares down about a hundred or so of Osborn’s glider troops.

Frank’s mind immediately jumps to poop jokes.

A comedian, he is not.

Before the glider troops can have their way with Frank however, Daken suddenly appears behind him.

Daken talks some shit, but before he can get too out of hand, Punisher shuts him up and is all like, “Come’n git’ it son.”

What follows is probably the most violent fight I have ever read in the standard Marvel continuity.

But first…

BUTT.

Yup, they interrupted the most bad-ass fight ever, with butt.

ANYWAY, where were we?

Oh yeah:

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDD

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Unfortunately, that last hit to the throat seems to slow Frank down a little bit, (that other shit though, that wasn’t nothin’) and Daken starts his shit talkin’ again.

Although unlike some shit talkers, Daken seems to be able to back up his bravado pretty well.

Case in point:

"Don't worry kids, I'm sure Uncle Frank has a way outta' this..."

"...Yup kids, all part of the plan..."

"...All part of the, aw hell, he's fuckin'dead kids."

No wait, just one more:

Just breaks your heart, doesn't it?

It’s funny, I don’t even think the Punisher and Daken had met up to this point in the comics.

You see boys and girls, this is what happens when a “new” writer (Rick Remender) takes charge of a character (The Punisher), while at the same time receiving orders from the higher-ups in the company to “push” a brand new character (Daken).

At least, that’s how they do things in pro-wrestling anyway.

Remember that one time when the WWF tried to “push” Kevin Nash AKA Diesel into replacing Shawn Michaels as the top dog in the industry?

Yeah, that didn’t go so hot.

Kevin Nash, you were fun to play as in WCW vs. NWO, but other than that, you can suck a dick.

I’ve never been a reader of “suit” Punisher stories.

I always found the idea of a PG-13 Punisher a little bit strange given the fact that he generally shoots people to shit every chance he gets.

“Max” Punisher however, is something I read religiously until Garth Ennis left the series.

I bought this comic because, well, IGN gave it a high rating.  That, and I genuinely cared to see how they went about killing off the Punisher, even if it was just the “suit” Punisher.

I can’t say I was impressed by the storytelling in this comic, but I will say this, John Romita Jr. knows how to draw violence.

I’ve always felt that Romita Jr.’s finest moments came almost 20 years ago, (his blocky characters seem a little raggedy nowadays, too much so) but the sheer violence and spectacle of this, a one-shot with a relatively small budget and production timetable, is pretty damn impressive by anyone’s standards.

Anyway, it’s been fun, hopefully it was as good for you as it was for me.

With that, I leave you with this preview image for the first cover to Rick Remender’s follow-up story for the Punisher:  FrankenCastle.

Guess it’s true:

In comics, “No one stays dead except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben.

Oh wait, out of those three, only Uncle Ben has actually stayed dead.

Oh well, comics are convoluted bullshit, but I love ’em anyway.

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