Wednesday, April 25, 2007

RETRO NITPICKING: The Nitpicker #2

NOTE: Here's the second column I did; originally published in issue #550 of the CBEM (11/18/05). It contains my favorite nit since I started doing the column, the often-cited "THE INCREDIBLE COLOR-CHANGING CAPE", by our friend Jeromy Cox (who's now been replaced as most nitpicked colorist by Moose Bauman); as well as the first examples of the Kents deaging horror, and my first rants about Decimation.

I've already writen up the nits from the first three weeks of April; I debated posting them now; but I'd rather post all of the month's nits together, probably on Friday, after I've read this week's comics. So, to give you something to chew on, I decided to post one more of the old columns... I'll probably do this once per month; until I run out of them; and also, I might do shorter columns with 4-6 nits; with older stuff that I read every once in a while, and stuff from 2005-2006, and January/February 2007.

Oh, and don't forget, in two or three weeks, we'll have a 52 Special, with all the 52 nits (some that I published, and some that I've saved for the special.). Enjoy the retro column for now.
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Hello readers of this wonderful e-mag, welcome to this week's Nitpicker's Column! I hope you're enjoying reading my column as much as I'm enjoy writing it. And I hope next time I can write earlier in the week, since it's 05.22 AM and I haven't gone to bed yet, because I stayed up late writing this!

Just a question, I want to know your opinion: should I send the most blatant nits I find to each book's lettercol? Let me know what you think. That's it for this week, without further ado, I present this weeks nits:
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"THE INCREDIBLE COLOR-CHANGING CAPE"

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 29.

CULPRIT: Jeromy Cox (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: Alright, we all know that before Tim Drake, Robin's costume sucked ass. The scaly green speedos, the bare legs (or skin-colored pantyhose in Burt Ward's case), the unsufferably bright colors of the yellow cape and red tunic, all that made for one of the worst costumes in comic book history. So when Robin II (Jason Todd, previously thought dead), currently Red Hood, decided to make some changes to his old costume (same one Dick Grayson wore before him), I thought, ok, that's cool.

You see, Jason is all nutso, and appears in his Red Hood garb before Robin III (the aforementioned better-costumed Tim Drake), but takes off his villainous costume to reveal a Robin suit underneath, and challenges Tim to a fight. How the heck did he keep that cape from bulking up on the back of his tight leather jacket, is beyond me. Thing is, Jason decided he was leg-shy, and threw in a pair of yellow tights to cover his legs (maybe he hadn't shaved) and instead of the elf-slippers, a pair of elf-boots.

Apparently, as we see in page, he borrows a page from Tim's book, and also wears a yellow-on-the-inside and black-in-the-outside cape. Makes sense, you can hide in the shadows better (never mind the yellow tights). But... on the next page, his cape is yellow, inside and out. But... in the last panel of that page, it's black outside, yellow inside again!

In page 10's first panel it's all yellow, then in the third panel it's yellow inside, black outside (although that could be a shadow), because in the last panel it's yellow outside again. It's still all yellow for all of page 11, and when we see it again on page 14, and apparently it's still all yellow in pages 15 through 17, and then he's gone. What gives?

NIT-O-METER: I'm tempted to give this a 10, but it's not a nit that affects the story. Still, it's pretty major, so it gets the highest score so far, the first-ever 9 Bazzars!
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"I RECCOMMEND THE KRYPTONIAN ANTI-AGE TREATMENTS!"

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 29.

CULPRIT: Tony S. Daniel (penciler) and, only barely, Jeromy Cox (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 12, Jonathan and Marta Kent look in their late 40s or early 50s (both with brown hair, and Pa Kent with an almost full head of hair), when from previous references (including the recent Action Comics 822 and 823) both of them look like they're in their mid-to-late 60s, if not more (Johnathan looks past 70 in Superman 220, and Teen Titans V3 01 they both look about 70); with white hair and Pa with severe baldness. What, they died their hair, and Pa got some hair plugs? Puh-leeze. Daniel drew them much too young, and Jeromy Cox made it worse by coloring their hair brown.

NIT-O-METER: I just noticed they also look too young in Teen Titans 26, their previous Titans appearance, so it's 7 Bazzars.
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"WHAT? HE'S ALIVE? AND HE'S GONE BAD?

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 29.

CULPRIT: Geoff Johns (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Sheesh, even if Teen Titans is currently one of my favorite series, this issue is just full of nits (I found four in total)! Jason Todd leaves after beating the crap out of Tim Drake, and in pages 18 and 19 the other Titans are wondering how he got in. Cyborg says the Tower's security system runs a DNA check to authorize entrances, and Donna Troy points out that Jason was once a Titan, if briefly.

Come on, it's been on the Batman books for months now (dunno exactly how many since I don't read them), and Bruce knows it: Jason is alive and he's evil now, he's gone all Punisher on Gotham. Most likely the bat-family knows it; Tim Drake knows it and points it out in page 7. You'd say they'd notify the Titans, I know maybe Batman is ashamed of having left Jason for dead, but still, he should have known that not telling them would endager them. Bruce, Dick and Tim would know the Tower's security system lets in former members based on a DNA scan. Would it let in Terra? Jericho (if he still had a body)? Hell, I wouldn't even let Superboy in automatically, given his recent behaviour.

NIT-O-METER: This deserves a 6, it's not big, I know they had to justify Jason's breaking into the Tower, but they could have done it other way.
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"DUDE, WHAT'S WITH THE EARS?"

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 29 and others.

CULPRIT: Tony S. Daniel (current penciler), Mike McKone (previous penciler), probably other pencilers, and Geoff Johns (writer) should check on this.

NIT-TO-PICK: I'm cool with the Teen Titans cartoon, even if they've changed some stuff, like putting too much clothing on Starfire... but I don't like the fact that they're changing stuff in the comics to conform to the show. Maybe this isn't a nit, given Beast Boy's powers, but his ears have always been normal looking when in human form, and nowadays they're usually drawing them pointy, like an elf's... I mean, hes' a shapeshifter, and he might just have enough control after all these years as to only shift a small part of his body, but he normally doesn't do that, and it'd probably require some concentration to do so.

In Doom Patrol V3 19 his ears are normal, looking at some random issues of the current Titans run, they're normal in Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2004, issues 05 and 12, in Teen Titans-The Legion Special and in The Return Of Donna Troy, pointy in issue 01, and alternately pointy and normal in issue 13 and 17, and in the latterin he even has fangs in one of the panels, like in the cartoons. Again, this could be just Gar showing fine control of his powers, but it's too much. Since in most places his ears are normal, I'm going to consider the pointy ears a nit.

NIT-O-METER: It's long running, but not that important, I guess... so just 4 Bazzars.
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"IT'S ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS!"

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 29.

CULPRIT: Tony S. Daniel (penciler)

NIT-TO-PICK: Beast Boy again... in page 20, he shifts from a gorilla shape into his usual, green human form, and does so with a sort of "poof" (my word for a cloud of smoke and motion lines indicating a sort of small explosion), instantaneously. Usually, Gar's shifting is done between panels, but in the few ocassions I could find off-hand where it's done on panel (Doom Patrol V3 19, Teen Titans V3 01 and 02, The Return Of Donna Troy 02), he shifts forms by "traditional" morphing, that is, with transitional, progressive transformation from one form to another.

Also, nothing to do with this, but I'm pissed off at John Byrne's (an all-time fave of mine) reboot of Doom Patrol, because in this Teen Titans issue Beast Boy doesn't remember Elasti-Girl being his adoptive mother, even if the Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2004 profile on him says he was adopted by her and Mento. Still, something's fishy about the Doom Patrol reboot, in story (apart from me not liking it, that is); several hints have been dropped in DP's current series, and in Teen Titans, Gar doesn't remember if Elasti-Girl's dead or not... Maybe it has something to do with Infinite Crisis, with all those people from other Earths popping in...

NIT-O-METER: 5 Bazzar's, not a big thing, but still, annoying and indicative of lazyness to research previous books.
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"MICHELIN MAN"

TITLE: Decimation: House Of M - The Day After.

ISSUE: Single issue.

CULPRIT: Chris Claremont (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: *sigh* Claremont used to be one of my favorite writers, but in the past few years, he's completely lost his touch. In this nit in particular, the first mutant shown to have lost his powers is Blob (in pages 3 and 4), who loses all his extra body mass... but retains the extra skin. This makes no sense, from a biological point of view, because since it's his X gene that gives him the mass (and presumably, the extra skin to hold it), and the gene is removed from his genetic make up, he should lose the extra skin too, and be turned into a normal human. A fat one, of course, since he ate like a pig, but normal, not a skin-colored Michelin Man. Iceman (who was now completely made of ice) also lost his powers, and he looks just fine, human again, so why not Blob?

NIT-O-METER: I'll give this 7 Bazzars, since it's lousy writing, done for a gratuitous and superflous scene.
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"HEY, NEVERMIND ABOUT OUR DAUGHTER... HOW'S EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?"

TITLE: Decimation: House Of M - The Day After.

ISSUE: Single issue.

CULPRIT: Chris Claremont (writer) & Randy Green (penciler).

NIT-TO-PICK: Chris, Chris, Chris... In page 10, Iceman's working the phones, along with other staff members, to explain to the student's parents the situation (mutants losing their powers, etc). Each staff member appears to have an holographic image of the student whose parents are on the phone, most likely with data about the student also on display.

Iceman speaks to Mr. and Mrs. Kincaid, apparently the parents of Mercury (Cessily Kincaid).. but tells them that Noriko still has her powers! Noriko Ashida is another student, and since the Kincaids are ashamed of Cessily's mutation, why would they'd be asking about another student, one they most likely don't know exists.

Furthermore, the holo image proyected in front of Iceman is obviously, even if we can just see the figure's back, not Cessily's. It's got Noriko's hairstyle, and it's wearing the uniform of her training squad, the New Mutants, which is quite different from the uniform worn by Mercury's squad, the Hellions.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars, this is crappy writing, not bothering to pay attention to what other people have written, when it's relevant to what you are writing.
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"HOW MANY MUTANTS ARE THERE LEFT NOW, ANYWAY?"

TITLE: Decimation: House Of M - The Day After.

ISSUE: Single issue.

CULPRIT: Chris Claremont (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Okay, following the last two issues of House Of M, and thanks to the Scarlet Witch, there are very few mutants left on the Earth 616 of the Marvel Multiverse. Come on, who didn't see it coming when she said "NO MORE MUTANTS!"?

In Decimation, page 19, the White Queen says "Before the Scarlet Witch, we numbered millions, Scott. (...) Right now... at best... we're barely hundreds." In page 10 she states that the number of mutants in the Xavier Institute campus dropped from 182 to about 27. That's about an 85 percent drop, whereas, assumign there were 2 million mutants in the world (the minimum for "we numbered millions) and now there's only 200 mutants in all the planet (a plausible number for being barely hundreds), that would mean an overall 99.9% drop in the mutant population.

It could be the Scarlet Witch's unvoluntary doing, but it's too convinient that a larger percentage of mutants at Xavier's didn't lose their powers, and most main characters still have them; and furthermore, X-Men associated mutants in the rest of the world, like (Dazzler, Pete Wisdom, Multiple Man, for example), making up a good part of the 0,01 percent of mutants in the rest of the planet to keep their powers.

This is a royal mess, even if it's a good plot idea, the Marvel editors and writers should agree to a number and just stick to it, because it gets even worse: in New X-Men issue 20, page 18, Cerebra (the mutant detecting computer at Xavier's) states that there's been a 91.4 percent decrease in the world mutant population. If we take Emma Frost's statement in Decimation that mutants numbered millions, at its minimum that would be 2 million mutants in the world. A 91.4 percent reduction of that amount would still leave 172.000 mutants in the planet, which is more consistent with the 84 percent reduction in the mutant population of the Xavier Institute.

With a few hundred thousand mutants in the world, I can safely believe more main character mutants have kept their powers, because there's a higher probability, coupled with the fact that the Scarlet Witch might have (willingly or not) spared them. Also, practicality-wise, leaving just a few hundred mutants in the world would make most mutant plots inconsequent, and that wouldn't make sense.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars seem fair, since this is a mess they should have straightened out BEFORE publishing the stories.
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"WHAT IS THIS? FRIENDS? WHERE THE HECK ARE JOEY AND CHANDLER?"

TITLE: New Excalibur.

ISSUE: 01.

CULPRIT: Chris Claremont (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: I'll give it to Chris, this first issue of New Excalibur is the best I've seen him write in a while. Not quite up to his standard of yore, but at least it's readable. I also dig the new Captain Britan costume Brian Braddock's wearing. But, the issue has some stuff that quite doesn't fit. First, I find it highly unlikely that the first person Psylocke doesn't call to say she's alive wouldn't be her twin brother, Brian; but I can accept that he might have been in another dimension or somesuch thing.

Secondly, and this is the nit, Captain Britain and Juggernaut are awfuly familiar with Dazzler. In page 16 Brian calls Dazzler by her first name, Alison, something he wouldn't be likely to do since they're not friends, have never been in a team together, and to the best of my knowledge, haven't even spent time together (Dazzler and Psylocke were teammates in the X-Men, but Captain Britain hardly appeared in X-Men in those days). I can understand he's worried about her health, since she's a friend of his sister, and a comrade-in-arms, but when he's administering CPR to her he says "Breath Alison, there's my brave girl." I could see it if he was saying that to Kitty, who was his teammate for a long time in Excalibur, and they're friends... but with Dazzler?

And in page 18, Juggernaut calls her Alison too, and is extremely worried about her health. Come on, I know that Cain is a good guy now, and the transition was handled perfectly, it's one of my favorite X-Men storylines of the recent years; but still, he's not friends with Dazzler either, has never been in the same team than her, in fact, they've only been enemies (although I don't really remember if the X-Men fought Juggie during Daz's time in the team). Even if Juggernaut's an X-Man now, and a good guy, I can't really see him behaving as he does ("What'm s'posed ta do, Wagner, just stand around like a lump 'til some doc tells me she lives or dies?"), so concerned, even by the health of X-Men he's fought alongside, like Havok or Iceman.

NIT-O-METER: It's bad enough that Chris didn't pay attention to what others wrote, now he doesn't pay attention to the stuff he's written himself? Still, it's not much of a problem, just some slightly-off characterization and dialogue, so I won't let it go higher than 6 Bazzars.
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That's it for this week, starting with this column, I'll give the average ranking for each week. Last week we had a 5 Bazzars average, climbing this week to 6.4. Either the pros are getting sloppier, I'm getting more perceptive, or I'm being more nitpicking every day... who knows? Until next week, I'll be on the outlook for more nits, because (almost) nothing escapes...

THE NITPICKER!

PS: Waddaya think of the nifty signature? Should I keep it?

3 comments:

acespot said...

Actually, Spidey developed his organic web shooters during the Avengers Disassembled when that insect queen made him mutate into a real spider-man, and when he morphed back, he was left with organic webs. Yeah, I know, it's a lame development that they threw in for the sole purpose of reducing confusion for fans of the movie, but still, it's NOT a nit.

MaGnUs said...

Good point Spot; although I believe you meant to leave this comment on the previous post.

Still, the profile talks about all of Spidey's new powers, not just the organic webbing. So yes, it's still a nit.

By the way, I'm linking your blog to mine right now. Thanks for the comment.

Dragon Comics said...

hey magnus,
great's teen titans nits
keep up the good work!

i'm linking your blogs,
here are mine:
dragoncomics.blogspot.com
costumegallerydc.blogspot.com

roy