Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's New?

San Diego is over now, nothing left but to hack off the vestiges of nerd flu (check out the latest from IFanboy, it sounds like Flanagan just drank a gallon of tuberculosis) and figure out what in the hell just happened.  There was no dearth of announcements.  If comics do anything well at this point, and granted, the list is dwindling, they sure know how to hit the hype button.

So.....what's new?

The answer, if you're paying attention, is very little.  Graeme McMillan just posted his own "Top 10" list of announcements on Newsarama, and they all seem to be playing the same tune:

"Hey, remember that old shit that you liked?   Well, here it is AGAIN!  YAAAAAAY!"

Except boo.  And please don't misunderstand, I'm plenty able to enjoy reasonable quantities of recycling, and I do succumb to nostalgia just like anybody else.  There's comfort in the fact that the world as I know it seems to be obsessed with dusting off everything I ever loved as a child.  Makes up a little for the fact that my knees hurt for no reason, and that my refractory period is now charted on the calendar instead of the stopwatch.  Fine.

Peter Vincent - there can be only one!
But on the other hand, enough is fucking enough already, and doesn't anybody have anything new to offer?  Do we actually have an urgent need for a Fright Night movie with Colin Farrell?  Probably enough vampire stuff out already, and Fright Night is entirely dependant on the charms of Roddy MacDowall and the guy from Herman's Head.  If they aren't in it, and in 2011 they bloody well shouldn't be in it, there's no point.  Make up something new, call it something new, and let somebody else think fondly about something else thirty years from now.  There's more to life than chasing the dragon of one's past, there's just got to be more.

You'd never know it to see all the "new" shit announced at CCI, though.  Remember Howard Chaykin's "Black Kiss"?  No, not really.  Well, it's back!  Cable, he's back.  Wow, what's that about six months?  I can feel the nostalgia kickin' in on that one, big time.

Ryan Choi's back, but you knew that was coming double quick, because not only is he a comic character, but DC had to prove to the seven people hyperventilating over the whole debacle that it wasn't in fact planning the Fourth Reich by killing a two-bit Asian character.

(Yeah, but doesn't everybody die once in awhile, and wouldn't being fully inclusive mean killing those guys, too?)

((Stop making sense, single parenthetical, obviously DC is a bastion of pure evil for treating Ryan Choi exactly as it would treat any other character in its universe, dumb ass!  Don't you know there's only one woman working in the whole 52 book relaunch!  Geez, get with the program!))

(Sorry, I'll shut up now.)

((Thank you.))

So yeah, Ryan Choi is back, and I can hardly wait to continue not buying his comics.  Lame.



What else?  The 12.....it's back!  What's The 12 again?  Exactly.  Moving on.  The Fairest isn't new, it's a spin-off of Fables.  The Hulk isn't new.  The Hulk is very much not new.  I like Jason Aaron, but saddling him with a busy cat like Silvestri sounds like a mega delay just waiting...and waiting....and waiting to happen.  Nothing new about that.

Saga - on the loose!
Don't even talk to me about "Battle Scars" or "The Fearless." Seriously.  None of that comes from a place of inspiration.  All of that was born from a couple of guys in suits with an abacus looking at a calendar, recognizing they had movies coming out, and artificially demanding that their creative mules crap out an Event with those characters to sell overhyped schlock to an ever more anemic audience.  Battle Scars and Fearless are just the disfigured and aborted babies of that marketing monster.  Keep it.  You can keep it all of it.  Come back to me when you've got a project generated by inspiration and passion.  Fuck Battle Scars and Fearless in the face, and while you're at it, give the upcoming Defenders project a good old face fucking for me as well.  I want all of those travesties to have pregnant faces immediately.

Even the one kinda actually new thing, Saga, is really just an announcement that Bryan K Vaughan is back.  I'll take that, though.  He didn't announce Z The Last Uterus, which is what Marvel would have done.

I'm greatly anticipating Saga.  We haven't seen those characters or that world yet.  It doesn't sound like Ex Machina or The Runaways.  He's doing something different.  It's the # 1 item on McMillan's list, and I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the most new, the most novel.

Why don't we hear anything about stuff like SVK, where Warren Ellis created a comic book with a black light that allows you to read the comic in two different ways?  Shine the black light on the book and it reveals interior character thoughts written in invisible ink.  I don't know if that's going to change the way we read comics in the future, but at least it's different.  He's trying something.

The answer from the stodgy corporate types is that new doesn't sell.  Grant Morrison and the Unstoppable Scottish Git Mark Millar couldn't get Aztek to go.  Matty Fraction couldn't get The Order to fly.  They say they don't bring the new because nobody wants it.

My response is that if you look for growing sales to be your guide, you can effectively cancel everything in the medium other than Walking Dead.  You'll trot out The Defenders again, but you're worried about something new not selling?  Listen closely, comics - I don't know how to tell you this gently, but you've got nothing left to lose.

Turn the thing loose, man!  I want to see digital comics with embedded audio and sound effects. Warner Bros. doesn't have the money for that?  I want to see an all ages line of comics launched from animated features.  The first story is a movie, then that narrative is continued directly into the new comics.  You're telling me the Disney brain trust can't swing that?  The thing needs to cycle new.  The DCnU may (or may not) be a good start, but it's not enough.

Give your creators a little taste of the pie and let them build you the Next Big Thing, would you?  Would it kill you to share a little of the profits in exchange for a new lease on life, Big Two?  We're dying here, and I think we're ready.  I feel damn good and ready for the Next Big Thing, emphasis on the next.

- Ryan

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Market Spotlight: Hiatus Edition!

Just because Miracle Keith is somewhere out there really jonesing for some Market Spotlight, let's see what's new and profitable, shall we?

Atomic Robo Vol 2: Dogs of War
Red 5 Comics
ISBN:  0980930227
SRP:  $19.95

Atomic Robo is the steampunk comedy by Brian Clevenger.  Acclaimed by critics and lauded by the handful of stalwarts who read it when it does come out.  It also does reasonably well in the digital format, although I would smugly mention that we're still waiting for our first runaway commercial success in the cyber realm.

The point is that Robo has quite a few things going for it - it's regarded as quality material, the Red 5 product is always attractive, and it's a niche property with a cyber following that could be feeding converts into the trade product.

They certainly seem to be funelling toward the second volume, Dogs of War.  Amazon min is sitting around the $70 mark. Not sure if it's reasonable to expect it to pop at that level, but I think that $50 should be attainable, so purchasing at full retail seems like a good risk, and grabbing a copy at Half Price should be golden.

Spider-Man Noir: Premiere HC
Marvel Comics
ISBN:  0785139443
SRP:  $19.99

Just another example in what should be a forthcoming legion of profitable Premiere HCs from Marvel.  A case could be made that Marvel milked the noir teat a little harder and a little longer than good judgement would recommend, but I can attest that the first Spider-Man: Noir book is an entertaining little story.  More horror than mystery, but David Hine took the concept in suitably dark direction, and with some punch.  Vulture.....yecch.  And shiver. 

The story here is similar to most other PHC stories - the print run is limited, and they aren't going back to press.  There may be another SM Noir in hardcover form, but it won't have that trademark gold box on it, and that makes all the difference for a true collector. 

Condition is key here.  What you're looking for a nice sealed copy to deal for around $60 or more.  Gently used copies are trading for 1/3 of that, so be aware when you make your purchase. 

Fantastic Four Visonaries: John Byrne Volume 2
Marvel Comics
ISBN:  0785114645
SRP:  $24.99

What is it about second volumes that makes them pop?  I can think of thirty examples where the best book in a series is the second one.  Weird.  At any rate, this one is a little dodgy for a couple of reasons.  Marvel doesn't have many "evergreen" runs, but Byrne's work on FF qualifies.  And while that means demand, which is good, it also means that Marvel should probably recognize that it needs to go back to press some day.  Of course when they do go back to press, your profit will instantly evaporate.

And the second dodgy part of the equation is that the profit margin isn't exactly epic.  It's trading for around the $40 mark, so if you're paying $25 at full retail you aren't making much.  This is a great find at Half Price or in the 50% off bin at your local comic convention, though.

- Ryan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

200 Mondays!

Check out my new post on "Poop Goggles" right here.  http://poopgoggles.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bat Bits!

I know I'm supposed to be resting and all, but I just couldn't help myself.  Yesterday was weird.  Yesterday was really, really, weird.  It was the first Monday since June 2007 that Mike and I specifically planned not to record a podcast. 

It's a bittersweet thing.  It felt a little empty, frankly, and there's a moderate sense of guilt about the whole thing.  The guilt is probably misplaced.  Comic Geek Speak, those industry leaders supposedly hosting "daily podcasts"?   I think they've produced two shows since our last product rolled off the assembly line.  We're on vacation, what's their excuse?  That's the guilt talking, of course.

Yes, guilt, but also some healing liberation.  Here's the thing that will sound bizarre, but also true - it's liberating to take a break from turning my passion into product.  Chronic Insomnia grew out of my overdeveloped love of comic books.  For one reason or another, probably originally stemming from a sexual fetish brought on by the Spider-Woman and Kitty Pryde, I have a deep and abiding fascination with comics and everything about them.

This is mostly a good thing.  Creating content for a show demands a certain amount of energy, which passion happily provides.  There is a dark side effect not mentioned anywhere in the Podcasting Manual, though.  What they don't tell you when you start these things is that when you create a show and do it right, that passion becomes an obligation, which faintly taints the purity of the love.

It's like this...when I do a weekly broadcast about comic books, I do still enjoy the content of the books, and I like going to the movies, and I click on Bleeding Cool with genuine anticipation waiting for the Next Big Thing to come down the pike and excite me.  That still happens.  But I'm also co-host of Chronic Insomnia, which means I'll be turning this stuff into content, and I'm "forced" to funnel all of that stuff into a piece of my subconscious labeled:


So a piece of me is just absorbing my issue of Vengeance # 1 just as you would.  Another piece is constantly churning toward producing content for the next episode of Chronic.  What that does is drain a little of the purity out of the pleasure, and it means that every moment I'm enjoying my hobby, I'm also "on the clock".  I'm not inviting sympathy, mind you.  It's not like I'm under contract, or someone is holding my children hostage to coerce my participation in the show.  I can walk away any time I like....and in fact I just did.

I'm just saying, after all of that verbosity, that as much as I'm looking forward to producing the next generation of Chronic Insomnia episodes, (and I'm already brewing ideas on that front, and that's all I will say about that) it's also very nice to sit down with a comic book or a news item and simply take it in without responsibility.  So that's that.

And having said all that, here's some stuff I bumped into recently that I have decided to turn into blog content, because in the end, well, I just can't help myself.

To The Bat Poll, Robin!

CBR just conducted a poll asking which of the DCnU Bat-Books have their audience quivering with anticipation.

The overwhelming winner so far is Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman, and I certainly agree with that assessment.  Snyder's current work on Detective is essential reading, and I predict that history will look very kindly on his run.  Tough to guarantee success, I suppose, because great success is by nature difficult for starters.  The other potential snag is that the Batman work I've loved from Snyder so far is Dick Grayson work, and the upcoming Batman series will feature Bruce Wayne.  It's possible that Snyder might be a Grayson savant and have no feel for Bruce at all.  I'm betting Snyder handles the transition quite nicely.

It was the bottom of the list that caught my attention, though.  Batman: The Dark Knight is the least anticipated, and that's a bit odd when you consider its sales figures.   Dark Knight debuted at the top of the chart, and outsells the other bat titles by a comfortable margin.  Morrison's Batman, Inc. (in limbo for the next year, which is also damned odd) is the only title in the family that comes close.

So everybody is buying it, but nobody is excited about it?  Absolutely correct, and the cause is plain to me - delays kill.  Delays are aggressive stage 4 cancer in pulp form, and I'm not sure why so many people are so ready to defend them.

You know who you are.  All of you "Do You Want It To Be On Time Or Do You Want It To Be Good?" people, look at that chart.  You folks who wonder why I whine so much, do you understand the data?  As I type this, only 6.7% of respondents are most looking forward to the best selling Bat title on the rack.

It took about six months for the # 1 selling book in comics to become the least anticipated comic of the Bat Family.  Who could be excited about something you'll get to crack once a quarter if you're lucky?  The answer is concrete and clear - just about nobody.

Our best and our brightest fail us over and over and over again. Creator delays are taking what once was and should be a shining star, and flushing all that good will and cash flow down the toilet.  Somehow I'm the asshole for recognizing this, and the world at large continues to worship at the Alter Of The Artist, regardless of how much damage they might be causing a fragile industry.  Good luck with that, I guess.

Bat Speculation!

The Batman Files
Matthew Manning
Andrews McMeel Publishing
308 pages for $99.99
Release date:  October 25, 2011

This handsome and gigantic tome is available in this month's Previews, and it's an absolute buy.

The Batman Files is loaded with time lines, schematics, computer files, news articles, even drawings sketched by the Dark Knight himself!  In short, it's going to be cool and fun.  I'm simply advising you about its financial possibilities because of its inherent qualities.

I don't engage in speculation often, but this is just so obvious.  There is no such thing as a Bat Fan who won't beg to get a glance at this thing, it's out of sight at the back of the Previews catalog, not up front with the DC stuff, and it's ruddy expensive.

Guaranteed to be under-ordered, and a really good bet to be earning a profit even at full retail within 12 months.  I highly recommend purchasing this at a discount now.  Worst case scenario is that you'll own a book even your non-comics-reading friends thinks is awesome.

- Ryan

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chronic Guest Review: Justice League Of Pornstar Heroes!

A pornographic feature produced by
Extreme Comixxx
Review by:  Miracle Keith

A while back, I wrote a scathing review of the Smallville: JSA television movie on the WB network. It was poorly written and poorly performed; I remember professing a disbelief at the community theater level acting and the cheap special effects that were on display, and wondering why Warner Brothers didn’t bother to pony up the dough to make this project better so it could become a serious TV movie franchise (or at least a hit TV series).

After subjecting myself to the horrors of The Justice League of Pornstar Heroes double disc DVD, I now issue an unabashed apology to the cast, crew and producers of Smallville: JSA. In fact, I am decidedly sorry that I overlooked the possibility that humanity, art, filmmaking and the medium of CGI could sink even lower than Smallville: JSA. If there is an afterlife, I shall answer to the gods for several crimes, but I shall subsequently curse them for making human beings so flawed, so thoughtless and so eager to turn human flesh into a product that a deeply troubling travesty such as The Justice League of Pornstar Heroes (or, JLPH as it shall forthwith be known) can be

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? No, we shan’t!! Let’s begin at the end, because my dear readers should be made aware that the only “entertaining” part of this whole sad, shoddy enterprise is in fact Disc #2, which contains all the “Bonus” features like Behind the Scenes documentary style footage and “interviews” with the cast and crew. Let’s face it folks – the cast and crew of any porn movie is a motley crew of social rejects, runaways, drug addicts and criminals, but seeing a good childhood memory like the Super Friends Saturday Morning Cartoon turned into shit like this can only be made more disappointing by the revelation (which is made patently obvious right away) that its cast
and crew know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the heroes they have been cast as.

Let’s start with the worst one, Chanel Preston (her real name, natch) as Wonder Woman: her interview shows her out of costume, bad, pockmarked skin on full display, staring into the camera with the drug-glazed eyes that her therapist sees when she begs him for a refill on her Xanax ‘scrip.

Chanel Preston: “Well, I didn’t do a whole lot of research for the role; I did watch a lot of newsreel footage though and….she doesn’t really have a big personality, but she does look really good, and I thought ‘I can do that’!

Interviewer: “A lot of people are going to be comparing you to Linda Carter; what do you think of that? Who wins in a contest between you and Linda Carter?”

Chanel Preston: “Well, I don’t really know….I hope they choose me!”

Aside from the fact that Linda Carter was a hot little bitch back in the ‘70s (who was cast not for her wooden acting ability but for her mutant ability to give Middle American Dads a boner in an age before the internet and Skinemax movies), there’s really no reason to compare these two titans of thespianic achievement; the Wonder Woman TV show bore almost no resemblance to the comic book heroine and had a vague conceit about celebrating female empowerment in the age where the ERA was a hot-button issue; no matter her lack of acting chops, Linda Carter never bang-blew every male member
of the JLA and set back the feminist movement about 100 years.

Ms. Preston’s “portrayal” is only as artificial as her breasts - which, BTW were disgustingly “enhanced” by a “doctor” (why am I sure there was a coupon/handjob involved in the payment for this surgery) to the point where they DON’T MOVE AT ALL when her body is in motion! WW’s breasts are the reason many a male fanboy like me even give a second look at the character; in Ms. Preston’s case, they are the reason to fast-forward or even skip all the numerous views of said breasticles. Yikes and yucks.

The other interviews include Evan Stone as Batman, who reminded me of that strange guy at the party that never stops talking and yet never says anything of any substance at all. He and Scott Lyons (Robin) both strangely lie about the fact that they “read comics all their lives” even though they don’t really need to posses even the most pedestrian
knowledge about the JLA with a “plot” like the JLPH purports to contain.

These two coked-out, Viagra-ed out freaks are from different age brackets, but both of them are ridiculous in their portrayals; Evan Stone seems to be inexplicably unaware that his Adam West impression is actually a William Shatner impression, even after the one pop-culture savvy person clues him in on this fact in one short sequence of the “Let’s Make a Movie” section of the special features. Scott Lyons has long, greasy hair that comes way down past his collar which he slicks back (to appear more “youthful”? to impersonate Burt Ward?) in his portrayal of the Boy Wonder; and he uses “hilarious” phrases like “Holy Shitstorm, Batman!”.

His hilarious quote from the interview segment:

Scott Lyons: “I’m really excited to be playing this part, especially because I don’t get a lot of chances to showcase my humor in these movies. I get a chance to show that humorous side of me in this one, which is so great.”

There are no intentionally funny lines at all in this horrorshow; least of all from aging skater-punk and (from the looks of him in that Robin costume) 90-pound weakling Scott Lyons.

Apparently, in the “underground” world of porn there is always that agonizing, aching, sleazy need that burbles beneath the cancerous surface of even the most jaded pornographer’s heart to be “accepted” by the Hollywood mainstream. That need may be the explanation behind the producer’s decision to cast two “porn legends” (not “porn stars”, which anyone can become at anytime) as the two major villains in this craptastic feature.

Tom Byron is cast as Lex Luthor, and the all-time winner of the Reason Anti-Semitism is Still Alive and Well in America award, Ron Jeremy, is cast as The Penguin.  Hilariously, a big part of the Behind the Scenes featurette is dedicated to Tom Byron’s decision to shave his head for the role. Shame on you if you thought this was a Meisner method/Stella Adler type move on Byron’s part; it’s not-too-subtly revealed by Byron himself:

Tom Byron: “Because they put the….the bald-thing…whaddya call it? The bald wig (sic) on me and it looked like I had a fucking condom on my head. So, I didn’t wanna look like Zippy the fucking Pinhead so I shaved my head.”

It’s also revealed on Byron’s interview segment that there may have been some additional funds added to Byron’s already enormous fee for the role in order to incentivize his tonsorial tragedy. I guess Tommy was concerned about how he might look to the outside world, where he is a respected member of corporate America, if he shaved his head. How would he pick up women? Hope that extra money was enough to buy your second meth lab, Tommy.

Okay, so let’s now return to the beginning and finish out the rest of this lambasting review. The dreck begins as we open with a shot of all the heroes waiting around a meeting table at the Hall of Justice. Suddenly Aquaman rushes into frame and sits down. The ostensible joke is that Aquaman is late all the time, to which The Flash quips “I’m always on time”.

That witty retort sets in stone the leitmotif for the quality of humor and performance for the rest of the movie. The “plot” is hilariously given its exposition by Rocco Reed as Superman:

Rocco Reed: “Super Friends, I have learned of a sinister plot: somebody out there has a Weather Bomb. If it’s set off, it will cause an atomic explosion that will destroy all of Porntropolis and possibly the world. We must find the bomb and defuse it.”

Just a couple questions, Superdope – 1) if it’s a Weather Bomb, why wouldn’t somebody use it to control the FUCKING WEATHER? Why bother with an atomic explosion when you can stay alive and use it to…I don’t know…CONTROL THE FUCKING WEATHER?!? And 2) are we really worried about destroying a city called “Porntropolis”? It sounds to me like if there ever was a city that maybe needed to be
mowed down, renamed and erased from memory/existence, Porntropolis is almost sure to be number one on said list.

All logic aside, the plot progresses like this: each hero goes to the “hideout” of a
different super-villain and asks them “Where’s the Bomb?”, they have sex, and then the next scene begins. BTW, all these hideouts look like cheaply rented soundstages with high-school quality set design thrown onto them. One soundstage has a dirty curtain for walls, some hay on the floor (is this for comfort, or are the porn stars in this film part equine?) and an obviously plastic jail cell for holding Batman & Robin prisoner (Catwoman gets DP-ed by the Dynamic Dorks, then drugs them with sleeping

At the conclusion to the film, the bomb is found, defused and then Wonder Woman blow-
bangs all the male heroes. After the last wad of ball-butter is thrown into WW’s face, a hologram of Lex Luthor appears to tell the heroes that they have defused a fake bomb and the real bomb is still very much active, and is surrounded by Kryptonite so that Superman cannot defuse it on his own.

Leaving open a sequel is also a sad, but strangely appropriate nod to the mainstream Hollywood superhero films that we are subjected to every year. Congrats to porn valley on getting that formula down cold. I’d also like to especially note that the sex in JLPH is egregiously awful; the editing is especially jarring, and my guess is that the director didn’t want to leave in the footage of the porn actors struggling to find a hole or take off the “expensive” costumes in order to unleash their freakishly large cocks or give access to their well-traveled gravel road of a pussy.

Each actor has their own bad skin covered with loads of body makeup, making their flesh look almost as plastic as their boots and gloves. Watching shitty actors in superhero costumes have wooden, mechanical sex is only as depressing as watching the sorry special effects that were thrown together for this craptacular affair.

The CGI for Green Lantern’s power ring is laughably awful, and there’s one scene of The Flash rushing around at top speed and punching several Luchadore-masked henchman in the face; the fight seems to go on for about three minutes, which is about 2 ½ minutes too long for the Fastest Man Alive to have to keep punching a bunch of fat henchmen
in the face to take them out of commission.

The Hedgehog
There is a cheap green-screen segment that seems totally apropos of nothing featuring a short monologue by Ron Jeremy as The Penguin (mercifully, Jeremy keeps all his clothes on), which seems to be at least partially inspired by the Tim Burton Batman Returns
film but adds nothing to the plot.

Wonder Woman repels bullets with her bracelets, then uses her lasso to become the dominant sex partner in their scene. Any “truth” she may have gleaned from him is
irrelevant and wholly unnecessary in the seedy, lazy, uninspired world they have created with this pile of turds. This one is strictly for undiscerning pervs and lazy bachelor party planners – glad you spent your cash on this and not on that silly charity for the homeless? Me too!

- Miracle Keith

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oh, The Things I Would Do With The Purple Girl!

Fred Van Lente was announced as the next celebrity guest on Where Monsters Dwell, so I was reminded again just how terrible Alpha Flight 0.1 was, and how it exemplifies exactly what's wrong with comics in 2011.

To recap, Van Lente and Greg Pak brought back Alpha Flight so that they could rumble with the Purple Girl.  Now, the Purple Girl has the same power set her father does - she says it, you do it.  You turn purple, and then you are compelled to do it.  Fine.  As superpowers go, this has all kinds of story potential, because you have folks doing stuff they don't want to do, it adds drama, yadda yadda yadda.

In Alpha Flight 0.1, (I feel stupid just typing "0.1", why don't they feel stupid publishing it?) Kara the Purple Girl tells a crowd of hapless Canadians to "be as one", at which point they literally band together in a giant anthropomorphic grab-ass golem and then stomp around the city in defiance of all good taste, common sense, and higher reason.

Now, before we go any further, I'm not suggesting the comic book superhero powers have to make perfect scientific sense.  I don't need to know how Cyclops' ruby blasts work in real life.  It's fine if somebody wants to add some real science to it, and talk about charged ions or whatever nonsense.  Don't care.  I've got enough suspension of disbelief to go with destructive energy blast out of the guy's eyes.  He can't, however, suddenly shift gears and shoot delicious ruby crunch berries out of his face.


Because there's an internal logic inside of the larger fantasy that needs to be obeyed in order to fulfill the audience contract and allow the reader to invest in the world.  Destructive eye beams out of the guy's face?  Established, and check!  There's still a certain amount of wiggle room inside of that, by the way..  The beams can get stronger or weaker, or maybe plastic is immune to them for some reason, and maybe the guy has a mental block and can't shoot them on Tuesdays, because that's when he accidentally killed his nephew with a stray blast..  These are all fantastical things, but they tend to squeak through the disbelief barrier because the basic rules still apply, and they still attempt an internal logic.  (the plastic bit is stretching it, though)

Well in Alpha Flight, Kara tells people to do something they can't possibly do.  In the first place, "be as one" is a little too vague to be functional as a command.  Given that command, I would expect the result would simply be a dog pile.  Not that impressive.  Granted, several Canadians would be asphyxiated, so it would be worth it.  But still not that impressive.

I understand the fantastical element where Kara compels people to want to obey, it's been established and fits into the internal logic. But that doesn't mean the laws of physics and common sense no longer apply.  That's turning the Cyclops eye beam into crunch berries.  There's no way those people would have the physical strength to bond together like that, the "musculature" wouldn't move, and there would be no central nervous system to tell the "musculature" to move.  The whole thing is high magic WAY outside of the internal rules, and galactically stupid to boot.  Giant purple mush of Canadians...that's the best you can do?

And that's the real problem I have with the whole thing.  If you're going to break the audience contract and do some crazy ass shit, why waste that on a Grab Ass Golem?  It threatens a few people, it's gone after a couple panels, and in the interim it's sucking your book into Lame Town at warp speed.

There's no payoff there.  Granted, it takes a certain amount of imagination to create the concept of a mob man, but it's very surface imagination.  A person who could tell other people to do things, regardless of how impossibly outlandish is capable of doing ANYTHING.  Frankly, that person has the universe at their beck and call, and wouldn't bother with Canada or its D-list heroes.

If I had the Purple Girl with that ridiculous power set, here's what I'd do with her.

Step 1:  Pharmaceutical Sex Goddess

First thing Kara does is command someone to drink this two liter of Pepsi and then piss out the cure for AIDS.  Bam!  That's a nice little patent to have, don't you think?  She says it, they have to do it.

Next up - she then feeds a fat guy a whole bunch of colby jack cheese and Triscuits and commands him to crap out the cure for herpes.  Oh yeah, baby!  There's another cash cow if ever I heard one.  Then she has some redneck spit the cure for syphilis into his dip jar, and has some 14 year-old girl menstruate the cure for hepatitis as she becomes a woman.

Kara Killgrave is now a gajillionaire and the most popular woman on planet earth, because now sex has no disease repercussions.  "Hey world, the sex is on me!  You can bang whoever want, however you want, whenever you want, because you're one pill away from the cure."  Well, I might have her distill one of those cures into a purely suppository form just for the amusement factor.  But still.

Step 2:   Buy The Presidency Of The United States

With approval rating through the roof as the Sex Goddess, Kara now has the Q-score and the money to completely own the next US Presidential election.  She is now running the show in the most diabolical manner possible, disbands the Avengers, buys out Stark International and turns them into a sour mash whiskey bottler, and laughs a lot.

 Step 3:   Auction Off The Returned Jesus Christ

This part is extra awesome.  She fucks Justin Hartley and commands him to impregnate her with the returned Jesus Christ.  Hartley shoots a purple immaculate load inside her, and then things get really interesting.

She's really got religion by the balls now, because she can tell Jesus to do anything, including ruin the next heavenly dispensation if she wants.  That's not the plan, though.  Her plan is to open up her divine child for auction to the highest bidder.  Pretty sure the Catholics would put up a couple hundred trillion for that.  It's officially referred to as an "adoption", but basically she just sold her kid to a church.

Then, before she sends little Jesus off to the Pope's house, she commands him to send the entire human race to hell except for her on his 30th birthday..  Tiny Jesus smiles in purple.

But they won't do anything like that with the book, because that might actually be interesting.  Comics aren't interested in being interesting any more, they're interested in bringing back the same old shit that didn't sell the last four times they tried it, because they were writing stories without balls back then, too.

Seriously, what do you have to lose at this point?  OK, maybe don't do the thing with Jesus, you'll get too many letters.  But if you've got a character with that kind of ridiculous ability, why not flex just a little bit of imaginative muscle and show us something we haven't quite seen yet?  I'd love to read an Alpha Flight book where the team had to deal with the Purple Girl described above.  That would be different, and fun, and you'd look forward to Alpha coming out and you'd make a special trip to your local comic shop on Wednesday instead of popping in once a month for your pull.

People would be talking about that book in the shops, and there would be message board riots.  We could use a riot or two right about now.  I'm talking about a story that gets under people's skins and wakes them out their stupor, not a poly bag or a new collar on the Justice League.  Fuck all that.  Can I get a comic with some balls, please?  (Yes, Butcher Baker, you can put your hand down.  I'm not talking to you.)

- Ryan