Sunday, 29 June 2008

Final Crisis #2 Annotations Complete

Here you go, folks - the annotations for the second issue of Final Crisis are up and running at the site.

Obviously if you see anything I've missed or have wrong, either post a comment here or mail me at jigsawmen [AT] googlemail [DOT] com.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Drokk It!

Catching up with the blogs after a hard day's annotating and by way of the excellent Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!! I find news that one of, if not THE greatest British comic character is once more finding his way to the American comics scene:

Judge Dredd is to be published by Dynamite Entertainment and written by John Wagner (Dredd's co-creator who has written the vast majority of Dredd stories over the years) ably assisted by none other than Garth Ennis.

Over the last couple of years, I've been picking up the reprint volumes of Dredd stories put out by Rebellion (think Showcase Presents style books) along with the Strontium Dog and Nemesis The Warlock volumes and have loved every minute of them.

Do yourselves a favour and pick this up.

Final Crisis #2

Living in the UK, as I've mentioned before, I get my comics a little later than most of you guys.

However, I have a copy of Final Crisis #2 before me and, while I've got various things to do over the weekend, I hope to get the annotations up at The Annotated Final Crisis by tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #19

I really like Keith Giffen.

Not personally - which isn't to say I wouldn't, it's just that I've not met the guy who, from what I've read, seems like a good bloke and someone I'd like to have a chat with . . . I think I'm wandering from the point, here.

I really like Keith Giffen's writing. Both the (sadly) recently finished Midnighter and the DC/Wildstorm Dreamwar series showcase something that I don't often find in the other titles I read: a total lack of explanation.

Don't get me wrong, I like being told who various characters are, what they're doing, who they're doing it to, and that sort of thing, but Giffen doesn't bother with that. If you don't know who two characters are, you just have to hope their names crop up in a natural way. The last thing you'll find is "So you're Superman, eh? I'm Jack Hawksmoor, King of Cities!" when the two characters meet as they do in Dreamwar #3.

Giffen makes you work to find out who the hell these people are and for someone, like me, who isn't au fait with the Wildstorm universe, that presents a challenge.

And I like that!

His lack of expositionary dialogue, though, isn't the only thing that pleased me with this issue. In this one, to use a cliche, the stakes are raised; sure, in the previous issue, Green Arrow died but hey, it's just Green Arrow, you know? I like the guy and all, but . . . well, it's just Green Arrow.

On the third page of #3, Element Lad gets wasted but, you know, it's only Element Lad. Even in a (presumably) non-canonical crossover such as Dreamwar, you're pretty certain the top tier on both sides are going to make it through. Even after Sun Boy is killed, moments later Saturn Girl and Live Wire - two of the higher ranking/better known Legionnaires - are knocked unconscious. Not killed - knocked out. So, again, you can rest easy that the usual suspects are going to make it through.

A few pages later, though, and sweet zombie Jesus! Grifter shoots and kills Dr Fate! Dr Freaking Fate!

All preconceptions I had about Dreamwar were thrown to one side when I read that - not only is Fate one of the biggest magicians in the DCU, but the incarnation that gets killed here is the first one, Kent Nelson, serving with the Justice Society!

And then it just gets crazier with Batman facing off against Zealot and really playing for keeps; Zealot loses an eye; Batman gets his knee krunched!; Zealot gets a Batarang through the arm; then Batman loses part of a finger!

That, though, quickly becomes the least of his problems as Giffen delivers a hell of a splash page finish to the fight:I read that and the page that follows with a sense of shock. Zealot killed Batman, for God's sake.

Shit . . .

But the last couple of pages gave me hope: the League started acting like the League, questioning what they were doing and why they were there. At the halfway point of the series, things had become a whole lot more interesting.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Friday Night Fights - He Fort To Save The World!

Charles Fort, that is! From 2002 comes this Dark Horse mini-series concerning Charles Fort and his attempts to prevent some Lovecraftian horrors taking over the world. And the best way to fight such otherworldly creatures? Shove gunpowder down their gullets!
But what's a researcher into eldritch gods to do when one of the things puts out the fuse? Hope a firework from a nearby New Year's Eve party happens by!
Without hesitation, the firework is in his hands and . . .
One less nameless, shuffling thing to deal with!

Of course, he never came up against the elder god named Bahlactus!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Friday Night Fights - What The Heck(ler)?

Back for my first Friday Night Fight in a couple of weeks, come back with me to 1992 when the nine-panel-page was obligatory and Keith Giffen ruled the world with The Heckler!
What's a guy to do when he's attacked by a Cosmic Clown armed with starry balls?!
Attack with his own, even bigger starry ball!
But if that doesn't work, and the Cosmic Clown escapes from the Dancing Bear (no, really!) there's only one thing for it: Bugs Bunny's defense. That's right - dress up like a woman and make him fall in love with you.
Which gives you the perfect opportunity to knock his block off!

Ah, the Heckler - we know Ambush Bug is coming back, but I demand more Heckler in the DCU, not to mention Bahlactus!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Morrison On Final Crisis

There's a good interview with Grant Morrison over at Newsarama where he addresses some of the continuity/plot discrepancies between the end of Countdown and Death Of The New Gods and the beginning of Final Crisis. Put simply:

"Final Crisis was partly-written and broken down into rough issue-by-issue plots before Countdown was even conceived, let alone written."

That explains a lot. One thing I did like was the way he sums things up with regard to the online debate about where Orion died - was it Death Of The New Gods, Countdown or Final Crisis #1?

"The way I see it readers can choose to spend the rest of the year fixating on the plot quirks of a series which has ended, or they can breathe a sight of relief, settle back and enjoy the shiny new DC universe status quo we’re setting up in the pages of Final Crisis and its satellite books."

An admirable sentiment, I think; I'm sure as hell not going to worry too much about Countdown and the differences between it and Final Crisis. As I've said before, the sooner we forget about the whole "Who monitors the Monitors?" scenario the better.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Need A Little Help Part II

Thanks to everyone who responded by commenting or e-mailing me following the post where I asked for help with Infinite Crisis #2, page 9, panel 2. Between you all, you managed to get most of the unidentified characters.

Steve has pointed out that the ones I'm missing are shown as uncoloured headshots at the back of the collected edition, as well as correctly identifying Cyborgirl.

So, here's the original scene again and who we've identified so far: In the top left (slightly hidden by the speech bubble) is Cyborgirl; the main screens from left to right show Psycho Pirate; Luthor; Ultivac and Mr Poseidon (the robot and a small man on his shoulder); and Sivana; bottom left shows a blond man with goggles and a metal skinned man/robot; going round the desk, the next screen shows Bug and Byte; the last shows a smiling man; and bottom right Colonel Computron. Here's a close-up of the three we're missing:

If anyone can identify them, either leave a comment or mail me.

Big thanks to Steve for pointing this out!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Annotations For Final Crisis #1

They're up and running, folks!

I'm referring, of course, to my annotations to the first issue of Final Crisis which - I'll admit - took me a little longer than I was expecting.

But hey, I had a holiday to recover from, then a week's work and then a night out on the beers with some mates yesterday - as much as I love comics, I've still got a life to be getting on with, you know!

Anyhow, you can see the notes over at the Annotated Final Crisis site; a direct link to issue #1's notes is here.

As I did with the Infinite Crisis annotations, anything that I need help with (usually the identification of a character) is in blue, bold text. With this first issue, there's only one panel that's giving me a problem, the confrontation between the villains and the Justice League in panel 1 of page 17.

There's a whole bunch of characters, a couple of which I don't recognise: from left to right are: Red Arrow in the foreground; Poison Ivy; Cheetah; an unknown with wings who might be Killer Moth(?); Black Lightning; an unknown pink/purple skinned woman kneeling behind him in a blue leotard - if her skin were pale I'd be tempted to say Killer Frost; Captain Cold; Hawkgirl; Red Tornado; Signalman; Black Canary; and Vixen.

If anyone can identify the two characters, feel free to either e-mail me at jigsawmen [AT] googlemail [DOT] com or post a comment on this post.

With any luck, I can get back to posting more frequently now . . . at least until issue #2 comes out!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

And We're Off

Back from my holiday in France, picked up a copy of Final Crisis #1 and will begin the annotations over at The Annotated Final Crisis over the next couple of days!


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