Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Dissector #165.

DISCLAIMER (angry creators, please read)


"Hank... you don't even think anywhere near the box." Luke Cage, about Hank Pym, Thunderbolts #144.

Bienvenidos to another column, this time for books (mostly) released on 05/26; making it the last May comics column. Last week's DT! was cracked by Sidney, who correctly pointed out that Colossus isn't growing in height and size when he armors up. Welcome to the Honorary Dissector Scout Corps, Ensign Sidney!

Let me tell you what The Dissector's Picks Of The Week are; Best Book Of The Week was Thunderbolts #144... Jeff Parker just gets the characters he's working with, and Luke Cage is a perfect choice for Thunderbolts leader; while Kev Walker's art is a fitting match for the book. The book itself, this issue in particular, is a "building the team" story that doesn't actually feel slow or like not reading an actual worthwhile story when you finish... and let's not talk about the end twist... just check it out later in the Moments Of The Week.

Worst Book Of The Week... well, Teen Titans #83 was pretty bad, with poorly written scenes that are missing dialogues and actions, awful character action choices, poor art (seriously, Superboy looks like Jim Carrey in Dumb And Dumber), and a severe mix-up of speech balloons in one of the most important scenes in the story. But X-Men: Blind Science was also out this week!

Writer Simon Spurrier fails... well, he fails to make me believe he actually pitched this story to an editor and that editor accepted it without blackmail being involved. Not only is the most unnecessary kind of tie-in (the one that happens between two panels in the main story and is an ill-fit, time wise), but it's also one of the worst examples in comic book writing I've seen in a long time. And I read Rock Solid & The Steel Bots or something like that last year...

Is the story premise actually that bad? Well no, besides the fact that it's clichéd and predictable (halfway by the issue I already knew what the twist was), but it has one of the worst characterizations EVER... of a character nobody cares about, admittedly, but still. Dr. Nemesis, you know him? Yeah, I thought you wouldn't... even people who have been reading the X-Men books for the past couple of years might have a hard time remembering him.

He's some kind of mutant scientist that used to belong in Ace Periodicals; and when he lapsed into public domain, Roy Thomas used him in the 1993 Invaders mini-series, where he actually joined a Nazi super team. True story. In a fictitious kind of way, of course. But Matt Fraction decided to use him and retconned (I think it was a retcon) that he was repentant of his activities as a Nazi and had spent his time since the 40s hunting down Nazi scientists and their dangerous creations.

Fraction might have even retconned him into being a mutant; but that's beside the point. His entire characterization in Uncanny X-Men and other x-books he's appeared in as part of the X-Club (the scientific team Hank McCoy put together to reverse the effects of M-Day) has been that of a man with a superiority complex and little patience for "lesser fools", using sarcastic remarks from time to time to set himself apart from his "peers". Let me find examples of similar character... Brainiac 5 in the Legion of Super-Heroes, or Keith Giffen's portrayal of Namor.

What does Spurrier do? He turns him into a caricature, a buffoon that not only bosses people around in a way he doesn't do in his regular appearances (Spurrier doesn't seem to be able to handle sarcasm and a superiority complex at all), but he also "rallies" his "team" with the utterly ridiculous "SCIENCE, HOOOO!" (I'm not kidding you) and talks about his power saying "Science-Gaze sees all, brainfail! There WILL be crotch-punching!" WHAT THE FLYING FUCK???!? Come on, not even counting the glaring science and continuity mistakes (see the dissections in this column), this story is weak, and Spurrier either is a very poor writer, or he hasn't read any of the twenty or so issues of Uncanny X-Men where Dr. Nemesis has been a supporting character (sometimes even taking center-stage, like when they went to the past to get blood samples from his parents).

How much did this comic suck? Well, judge for yourself, when was the last time I wrote so much about one of the Picks, even the Worst Book? That, and I have ABSOLUTELY no kind of interest in Dr. Nemesis, who I believe to be a piss-poor supporting character choice on Fraction's part.

The Rundown: Angel (Spanish language errors), Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne (Morrison writes nonsense about Vanishing Point just to make it fit into a needless plot point; "inocent"), Doomwar (Doom's eyes should be brown, not green), Fantastic Four V1 (Artie is mute, yet speaks, Reed Richard's eyes on one of the covers are blue, when he has brown eyes), Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression (French names accented for no reason), G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds (Dutch language errors), God Complex ("preformed"), Green Lantern V4 (Hal Jordan's badge), Green Lantern Corps V2 (multiple badge errors, including badges that change shapes between panels, and badges that are ridiculously small), Justice League: Generation Lost (Batman is Dick Grayson, so his costume was wrong last issue, and in this one... Captain Atom's boots keep getting colored incorrectly, and Guy Gardner's eyes are the wrong color too), Justice League: The Rise Of Arsenal (Lian's eyes are the wrong color, Batman's belt and chest emblems are wrong, and his chest emblem changes shape between pages), Lockjaw And The Pet Avengers Unleashed ("all mythical creatures share a telepathic bond..." what?), Robocop (accented letter), Secret Avengers (Beast eyes are wrong on the cover and inside the book, and change between panels, Nova's eyes are visible behind his mask in one cover, the Black Widow's eyes are wrong on that same cover, Ant-Man's hair is colored incorrectly, and there are some mixed up speech balloons), Star Trek Movie Adaptation (Spock's eyes shouldn't be blue, and Chekov not only looks nothing like the actor, he also changes appearances between pages AND panels... it's what you get for working with two pencillers in one issue), Superman: War Of The Supermen (Chris Kent's eyes should be brown), Weapon X Noir ("Trainisia" and "fiancée" shouldn't have an accent on the second "e"), Wonder Woman V3 ("an" instead of "a"), X-Force V3 (gigantic ankle wings for Namor).

TITLE: The Dissector (Studio Robota).

ISSUE: 164.

CULPRIT: MaGnUs (writer).

DISSECTION: Donald313, this column's foremost (and as far as I know, only) German reader (no Dom, you're not German, you're Swiss :) noticed I wrote that Saturn Girl saved people from falling "ruble"... I meant pieces of falling masonry, not the declining Russian currency.

DISSECT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars. And a badge for Donald, who is only five away from making Commander.

TITLE: Gotham City Sirens (DC).

ISSUE: 12.

CULPRIT: Tony Bedard (writer).

DISSECTION: Wait, Paul Dini's out already? In any case, what's wrong with the scene below?


TITLE: Green Hornet: Year One (Dynamite).

ISSUE: 02.

CULPRIT: Matt Wagner (writer).

DISSECTION: Now, Matt Wagner is either dyslexic, or has monkeys writing for him. Either way, hitting "spell check" in his computer, must be real hard. Non-withstanding the constant rape of the Spanish language in Zorro, he keeps failing at English too. Issue #3 of this comic has "devestated" and "discrace", and there have been numerous cases like that.

This issue, #2 (I got both issues at once), he writes "expantionist", which, on its own, wouldn't be that bad, if you don't consider Wagner's record... AND THE FACT THAT IN THE SAME FUCKING SENTENCE HE WRITES "EMPORER" INSTEAD OF "EMPEROR"!!!! MOTHERFUCKER!!! SPELLCHECK THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR SCRIPTS!!!!

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars, because of the sheer idiocy. There are also Japanese words inside translation brackets... one day I'm going to run into Wagner at a convention and he's going to hire people to beat the crap out of me.

TITLE: Luna Carmesí (GAS).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Taibox (letterer).

DISSECTION: It's in Spanish, but you can read the second prize winning comic in the 2010 Montevideo Comics contest, by downloading it here, by writer Peter Parker and artist/colorist/letterer Taibox... however, the word "dios"; "god" in Spanish, shouldn't have an accent on the "o".

DISSECT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars. Roy spotted this one, so he gets a badge.

TITLE: Peter Parker (Marvel).

ISSUE: 03.

CULPRIT: Bob Gale (writer).

DISSECTION: I'm not in the mood to do extensive legal research, but there's a villain that changes the way people perceive colors, and Michele Gonzales says that she could get him off the hook if she was his lawyer, because "there's no law against disrupting human color perception". I'm pretty sure there are plenty of laws against altering people's perceptions...

DISSECT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars. Michele and JJJ get their eyes colored incorrectly, too.

TITLE: Star Wars: Invasion - Rescues (Dark Horse).

ISSUE: 01 of 06.

CULPRIT: Tom Taylor (writer).

DISSECTION: Pretty crappy comic, both plot and artwise, sadly. In particular, no one is surprised that a Jedi holocron is filled with current information, instead of Jedi lore.

DISSECT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars. They also claim it "transmits" information, when it just plays it, and a Bothan looks awful.

TITLE: Teen Titans V3 (DC).

ISSUE: 83.

CULPRIT: Travis Lanham (letterer).

DISSECTION: There are a few very serious speech balloon mix-ups, with dialogues that should be said by Miss Martian pointing to Wonder Girl, not just once, but several times.

DISSECT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars. There are also weirdly written dialogues like "keyhole is leagues" instead of "leagues down" or "leagues under sea"; scenes with missing dialogues or even panels.

TITLE: Teen Titans V3 (DC).

ISSUE: 83.

CULPRIT: Felicia D. Henderson (writer).

DISSECTION: For some reason, Beast Boy believes that by turning into an ape and using both hands and one of his feet, he'll be able to fix scientific equipment faster and more efficiently than two highly trained scientists... who allow him to do so.


TITLE: X-Men: Blind Science (Marvel).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Simon Spurrier (writer).

DISSECTION: Here are several writing dissections on a row (apart from some accented letters), which are so awful, I must detail one by one. First up, Madison Jeffries is NOT a "mechanical telekine"... that is not only a stupid description, but an incorrect one. He is, among other things, an inorganic matter transmuter.


TITLE: X-Men: Blind Science (Marvel).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Simon Spurrier (writer).

DISSECTION: Mutantism? Really, Simon? In a scientific context?


TITLE: X-Men: Blind Science (Marvel).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Simon Spurrier (writer)and/or Paul Davidson (penciller).

DISSECTION: Madison Jeffries holds a mechanical insect the size of a human thumb and calls it a "nano-oscillator"... yeah, that's not really "nano", dude. Don't use "nano" just because it sounds cool.


TITLE: X-Men: Blind Science (Marvel).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Simon Spurrier (writer).

DISSECTION: A future Hank McCoy, in what turns out to be a computer simulation, states that he de-mutated, and Dr. Nemesis says that's "bullshit" and "impossible". Yeah, except for THE WHOLE FUCKING M-DAY DEBACLE WHERE OVER 90% OF EARTH'S MUTANT POPULATION LOST THEIR POWERS, THE VERY REASON WHY THE X-MEN RECRUITED YOU TO BE PART OF A SCIENTIFIC TEAM DEDICATED TO REVERSING THAT!!!!!!!!!

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.

TITLE: X-Men Origins: Emma Frost (Marvel).

ISSUE: One-shot.

CULPRIT: Karl Moline (penciller) and Morry Hollowell (colorist)

DISSECTION: What the fuck is up with this map?

There are no British islands! There are peninsulas and other parts of continents that don't exist... and water covering most of southern Asia! Come on guys, you can copy and paste a map onto your art, nobody's going to blame you... particularly when you suck so hard at maps.

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
So, this column has an average of 6.4 Bazzars in seventy-eight dissections, pretty standard... there were a few high ratings, but an equal number of really low ones. Cover Of The Week is once again from Amazing Spider-Man, and once again a Lizard cover!

Bachalo and Townsend do a great job, even if I don't much enjoy Bachalo's current sequential style, his covers are top notch. Now, the Moments Of The Week start off with Arsenal:

Wow... just... I'm not going to go into how I've never read about heroine causing hallucinations, because I almost considered this a dissection on JT Krul's part, but then I decided that I couldn't do that because I don't know how the drug is interacting with the painkillers Roy is taking, or with the cybernetic arm he's using (which he's been told is not yet fully calibrated or something like that). Oh, right, I didn't mention it... Roy believes that dead, rotting kitty he's holding is his dead daughter Lian, come back to life... talk about poor writing solely aimed to shock people... Next up, while a kitty dies...

... a half human half Daxamite baby is gestating! And what does The Thing when his stone fists aren't enough for clobberin'?

Vibranium cesti! Speaking of The Thing...

Why does it look like he's getting buttfux0red? And if you like your backside polished:

Get it done mobster style! While we're on the topic of style, who's got the best heavy metal style in the DCU?

The Big Bad Lobo! More Green Lantern fun comes at the fun of the Alpha Lanterns:

Or is that the Borg Collective? Back to Marvel for our last two Moments, what do you get when you've been a member of the two most important superhero teams in the Marvel Universe, and you go back to one of them:

Yeah, you get left out of the statue-style cover to celebrate the heroic age, just like Beast, while a C-lister like Nova gets your spot in the cover! And remember that final twist I mentioned when I was giving Thunderbolts a nice review?

Yeah. That's it for now, until next time, I'll be on the outlook for more dissections, because (almost) nothing escapes...



Donald313 said...

Does it have something to do with the plant in her pocket that should also look a little worse for wear like she does? Or the way a dehydration chamber would work which I don´t know anything about.

MaGnUs said...

Bingo! If she looks like that, a teeny-weeny plant in her pocket should be dust...

David said...

I'm surprised there was so little about X-Force in the rundown---I expected a full entry for it. Hellion's signature green TK seems to start out a close enough yellowish green, before going pink to match Psylocke's. (Wouldn't want them to clash, after all.)

And then whatever happened to his hands---I guess you could explain it in terms of his powers, but to me it seems absurd enough to call an error just because there's no reason to think that telekinetic powers have ever worked that way in all the time we've had mutants running around.

On top of that, one of the Stepford Cuckoos is shown using Cerebra, but wasn't there a big plot point about Donald Pierce sabotaging it precisely so they couldn't use it right now?

I'd also think that the spherical time portal should have gotten rid of all matter inside of it, which would have probably be noticeable elsewhere on the bridge...but I'm probably being a bit too picky at that point.

You can tell, that book had me more than a little confused. For once, not because the coloring was too dark to figure out what was happening, though, so I guess that's still an improvement.

MaGnUs said...

Wow... I really didn't notice much stuff wrong about that issue... in fact, it was one of the best X-Force issues in this run. Maybe I was too enraged about Blind Science. :)

Sidney said...

Would you be interested in mistakes from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe hardcover #14?

MaGnUs said...

Oh, sure. :) Send them.

Sidney said...

First of all, let me say that no one complains more about mistakes in the Handbooks than a fan of the Handbooks.

Second, these are just the mistakes I've found. Other people have found mistakes, but I'm not listing them.

Zemu: he had a two for energy projection in the power gird, meaning that he has some minor energy projection powers, but nothing is mentioned about them in the text.

Zodiac: in the picture of the Ecliptic's Zodiac, Aquarius and Aries aren't identified. The Character identified as Aquarius is actually Pisces. In the text section about the individual Zodiac members, where all the signs are grouped together (i.e., all the Aquarius', all the Aries'), the Virgo from the "Baal Abib" Zodiac is referred to as Aquarius. Madison Carter, the writer who had handled the entry, has owned up to the mistakes.

Zar: his son Zoro was referred to as Zor once. This one was taken from the source, the Marvel Pets Handbook.

Apollo: called LApollo (sic) once

Athena: one line read "Hercules (as he was no known)" instead of "now known"

Cockroaches: there is a reference to Dr. Harrison Kane. The character's actual last name is Keen, and was mentioned a few pages earlier in the Blue Blaze entry.

Cosmo: the character's height is given "at withers". I'm not an expert in canine anatomy, but I'm pretty sure that withers is a term used for horses, especially since the heights of the other dogs in the book were given at shoulders. This one was also taken from the Pets Handbook.

Diablo (Esteban): his membership in Mephisto's Legion Accursed wasn't in his Group Affiliation even though it was referred to in the text.

Electro (Zog's robot): his strength, originally able to lift 40 tons, was eventually doubled to 70 tons. I shouldn't have to them you how that's wrong. Also, it is able travel at 200 mph, but it's speed on the power grid is 2, i.e. normal human speed.

There also may be some mistakes with improper accent symbols, especially in the gods entries, but I'm no expert with that.

There are also a couple omissions which, while not true mistakes, are very annoying.

Princess Python's Pythons, from the Marvel Pets Handbook: although much of the information is included in her new entry.

The Green Flame and the country of Kalahia, from the Marvel Mystery Handbook: allegedly because they were last minute additions and so couldn't be fitted in the hardcover.

The Swords of Sorcerous Might, Talismans of Mystic Power, and Tomes of Eldritch Knowledge, and their respective appendixes, from the Mystic Arcana Handbook: no reason given

MaGnUs said...

Sidney, thanks for all those dissections; I'll include them in the Rundown in next column, unless I spot one that's turly outrageous and deserves its own entry; but you'll get credit in the column.

And about errors in the handbooks... you haven't been reading my column long, have you? I've had fits with the handbooks, that have ended in arguments with the people who work on them.

See here for when I griped about the Marvel Atlas, or better yet here, when I tore apart Civil War: Battle Damage report... or even here, with links to the exchanges I had with guys like Mike Fichera and Anthony Flamini, from the Handbooks Team... they also administer the Marvel Universe wiki at, which is full of mistakes... and they don't admit to most of them.

And as a last thing, I'm curious, how did you stumble upon The Dissector?

Sidney said...

Actually, I have checked out the previous columns about the Handbooks. Considering how much you complain about mistakes in them, I have to wonder if you're not a closet Handbook fan. ;) You'd fit right in at the Official handbook forum at Comixfan.

Just so you know, you frequently misspell Handbook editor/writer Michael Hoskin's name as Hosking.

I found this blog through the Knights of the Dinner Table forum. You may remember me as UberGeek.

And just so you know, the Handbook contains several new entries, including a new Atlas entry for the Netherlands, as well as reprinting the entry for Kirby (Kerberos, the character you named) from the Marvel Pets Handbook.

MaGnUs said...

Ah, UberGeek, awesome to have you here. I'm in way too many forums already, feel free to promote my column over at Comixfan. :)

Yeah, when I dissected the Marvel Atlas I spelled Hoskin's name as "Hosking; my bad... and I saw Kerberos' entry in the Pets handbook, it's awesome... too bad they didn't mention me. :)