Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Dissector #188.

DISCLAIMER (angry creators, please read)


"But it's World War Two! I want to beat up Nazis!" Booster Gold, protesting the unfairness of time travel, Booster Gold V2 #38.

This should be the column for comics released on 11/24; but I haven't received many of those books yet because of Thanksgiving, and I've read some past date, but recent books, recent enough to include them in this column instead of sending them to the Vault. I also didn't want to lag too much behind, to have this column run too late; since I have gotten, and read, most of my books for the first week of December.

Before going into the column proper, I want to remind you that the 2010 Autopsy Awards are coming up; and sometime within the first two weeks of January you'll have the nominees to vote for. But I want you to send me some suggestions for special awards. As you might now (and if you don't, you can read the first, second, and third editions of the awards), some awards are selected by reader votes from several nominations I select from the year's columns; such as Best Writing Dissection, Best Art Dissection, Best Quote, or Best Cover. Then there are awards that are given based solely on number of dissections, like Company With Most Dissections, Most Dissected Writer, or Single Issue With Most Dissections.

But there are also special awards, given for specific circumstances, for merit or lack of it. For example, I will probably select myself things like Breakout Book Of The Year, or Best Character Of The Year; but I will accept suggestions for awards that I might not think of myself; or even within categories used in previous years. For example, in the first awards, Cyclone (from the JSA) won an award for not having her costume depicted correctly in any of her appearances after her first one. That award has gone one to be called the "Cyclone Fashion Award To The Most Mutable Costume", and was won by Una in the second edition of the awards, and was expanded in the following edition to cover any character alteration, going to Norman Osborn's eyes, for changing contacts all the time (basically EVERY Marvel book during Secret Invasion and Dark Reign).

Then, within the same special awards, we have stuff like the "Creator That I'm Sorry I Have To Dissect Award", for people whose sheer volume of work makes it likely they slip up and I notice it, but they obviously very much care about their work, and on top of that, are nice people. Or the "Bloody Stumps With Blunt Crayolas Award", for underachievement in art; or the "Worst Character Depiction Although You Obviously Have Talent Award" for instances in which it's readily noticeable that an artist has a lot of talent, but (for example) decides to make Beast look like a humanoid goat, for example. And finally, there's the "Golden Bonesaw Award", for catastrophic underachievement, taken home in 2007 by Marvel for the many shapes of Beast, in 2008 by the Blue Beetle issue in Spanish, and in 2009 by IDW and their Zorro book for their year-long raping of the Spanish language. I will probably choose this one myself, but I welcome suggestions too. You can e-mail me at lordmagnusen (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave comments in upcoming columns.

Okay then, let's get on with the column itself, with last column's DT!. It was solved by Donald313; who noticed (after several tries) that the editor's note referred to "Superman #84", without specifying that it was Superman V2, not V1 (which was from 1953). Badge for Donald. I'll get the Dissector's Picks Of The Week out of the way quickly... Best Book Of The Week was The Amazing Spider-Man #649. While Humberto Ramos' art is not my favorite, it fits Spider-Man, and Dan Slott has a good handle on Peter and his cast. Worst Book Of The Week was Batman And Robin #17, with Paul Cornell's writing being a poor follow-up to what was Grant Morrison's best contribution to the current Batman books; and Scott McDaniel's blocky, cartoony art not being a good fit for the look this title had up to now. While I'm at it, check out the cover of the week; is from Avengers Vs. Pet Avengers #2, and by Ig Guara and (I believe colors are his) Chris Sotomayor. I love how Lockheed is all defiant and in Fing Fang Foom's face.

The Rundown: Action Comics (Scandal Savage's eyes are colored incorrectly), Angel (Connor's eyes should be blue, not green), Chaos War: Chaos King (Reed Richard's eyes shouldn't be blue), Chaos War: Dead Avengers (Deathcry refers to people as "hairy mammals", when she's been drawn very hairy, instead of "feathery", since she is a Shi'ar; Swordsman couldn't have been in Vietnam right after the war, two cedillas are the wrong size, and Swordsman's eyes change color), G.I. Combat V2 (accented letter), G.I. Joe: Future Noir Special (accented letter), Hercules: Twilight Of A God (Galactus' original name is "Galan", not "Galen"), Ides Of Blood ("he gods" instead of "the gods"), Jurassic Park (wrong Spanish, a word balloon is cut off, there's no way a normal person can knock someone out with a piece of amber thrown at the head, and Ludlow was Hammond's nephew, not his niece's husband), Our Army At War V2 ("solider" instead of "soldier"), Secret Avengers (a small cedilla), Shadowland: Power Man (small "├▒"), Taskmaster V2 (translated German inside brackets still in German, accented letters), Uncanny X-Force (Rachel Summer's hair in one photo is colored wrong, Psylocke's eyes are wrong), Welcome To Tranquility: One Foot In The Grave ("my" instead of "by"), X-Men: Phoenix Force Handbook ("Corps" instead of "Captain Britain Corps", and "Bran" Braddock).

TITLE: The Amazing Spider-Man V1 (Marvel).

ISSUE: 649.

CULPRIT: Dan Slott (writer).

DISSECTION: Come on, work on this one:


TITLE: DC Universe Legacies (DC).

ISSUE: 07 of 12.

CULPRIT: Len Wein (writer).

DISSECTION: Oh, so the guy who was alive in the 1940s is about 40 when Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker? And when Superman fought Doomsday? And when Batman was broken by Bane? Yeah, sure.

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars. Also, John Stewart's fully becoming Green Lantern and Bane breaking Batman were not at the same time; Bane did not break Batman in public; Jean-Paul Valley never wore a regular batman costume with his clawed, spike shooting gloves; and who in their sane mind would send two detectives to shoot at Doomsday when he's fighting Superman's in downtown Metropolis; after it was plain obvious that no conventional weapons affected him?

TITLE: Detective Comics (DC).

ISSUE: 871.

CULPRIT: Scott Snyder (writer) and/or Francesco Francavilla (penciller).

DISSECTION: Commissioner Gordon has his badges on a "Father's Day" display Barbara gave him; and he has (last to first) his Commissioner badge, his Captain one, his Detective Lieutenant shield, all of those from Gotham, and then his Chicago Detective and Officer badges... but he should have a GCPD badge as his first one, because he started out as a cop in Gotham, and then was transferred to Chicago because he messed with Gotham's corrupt cops. In fact, recent stories have shown that to be still in continuity.

DISSECT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars. Maybe Babs didn't want to remind him of that first part of his career.

TITLE: The Dissector (Studio Robota).

ISSUE: 186.

CULPRIT: MaGnUs (writer).

DISSECTION: Donald313 noticed I wrote "but the character is actually lawyer". Another badge for Don.


TITLE: Justice League Of America/The 99 (DC/Teshkeel).

ISSUE: 02 of 06.

CULPRIT: Fabian Nicieza & Stuart Moore (writers).

DISSECTION: Why is Doctor Light complaining about feeling useless while the Atom, Flash, and two members of The 99 are performing a medical examination on another 99 member? She's a medical doctor, among many specialties, and one of the DCU's foremost experts in metahuman biology (along with Dr. Mid-Nite); she should be leading the procedure. It gets even more ridiculous when Barry Allen starts "performing incisions"... he's a scientist, but he's not a surgeon by any stretch.

DISSECT-O-METER: 9 Bazzars. Also, on the first issue, during the fight with the new Madmen, a giant cork appears out of nowhere...

TITLE: Justice Society Of America V3 (DC).

ISSUE: 45.

CULPRIT: Marc Guggenheim (writer).

DISSECTION: "Scythe" is not, and will never be "German for 'Drachen'"; for a couple of reasons. First, "scythe" is not a German word, the German word for "scythe" is "Sense". Second, "Drachen" is a word in German, it is the plural for "Drache", which means "dragon". What the heck was Guggenheim trying to say here?


TITLE: New Mutants V3 (Marvel).

ISSUE: 19.

CULPRIT: Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor).

DISSECTION: The cover bills this as the conclusion to the current story arc, but there seems to be one issue more to go, and the issue ends with "to be continued". What the...?

DISSECT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars. Also, there's an accented letter that's too small.

TITLE: Ultimate Spider-Man (Marvel).

ISSUE: 150.

CULPRIT: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), many others.

DISSECTION: So, they took up the numbering from the previous volume, that's good. This celebratory issue a long original story, or rather stories, as they were vignettes joined by an overarching topic, and it was a good read. Then there's the reprint of the 60-page Ultimate Spider-Man Super Special; from 2002.

While there are a couple of minor errors in the new stories; the real problem is with the reprint. It's pointless, and its pointlessness worsens the impact of the errors it contains. Now, this is from the early years of the Ultimate line, and some things are forgivable, such as the Black Widow being considered a hero (she didn't become a traitor until much later); or the more shocking fact that Reed Richards is shown to be a middle-aged man, and married to Sue; and an image of the classic, even Kirby-esque Fantastic Four. Yes, the Ultimate Fantastic Four weren't actually introduced until later (2004), so in the original context, this was forgivable, but it's blatantly ridiculous as a reprint. Still, I cannot count these details in a reprint (despite no note beyond a title in the credit page with the name indicating it's an old story) as dissections, it wouldn't be fair. But I do question the intelligence on reprinting something as part of a current continuity book (making up most of the issue, not just a small backup story), when it flies in the face of what was later established.

What I can do is focus on all the fuck ups that were committed in that special that were wrong at the moment it was published (and I wasn't doing the column). Elektra's sai shouldn't draw blood from Peter's hand gripping the shaft (SAI DO NOT HAVE EDGES OR POINTY-POINTS), Elektra's feet are clad in red booties, and in one panel one foot is flesh colored; the Thing is given brown eyes, one portrayal of Nick Fury shows his Ultimate version but another one shows him as the 616 white man; a dialogue says "haveto", and Gwen Stacy's eyes are colored incorrectly.

But the worse fuck ups are in the framing sequence for the special's story. A teacher (a white, elderly lady) tells Peter's class (which in that scene consists of like seven students) that they have to do an oral presentation choosing a superhero or a villain, telling something about themselves as that hero, etc, etc, etc. Before that, Peter struggles with his role as a hero, and after the assignment is given, he describes what defines heroes; and different artists draw each scene (hence the two different Nick Furies, or the two different depictions of the FF).

But before Peter gives his presentation; we go back to the school (now it looks like a regular-sized class) and we see Kong (one of Ultimate Peter's classmates) giving his own presentation about the Punisher... and he's criticized by Gwen for choosing Frank Castle, who's a homicidal maniac... something the teacher supports; saying that the Punisher is not a hero. Problem is, the assignment is given as "good or bad guy"; so Kong's selection was not wrong. Oh, and you know what the other problem is? THE TEACHER IS NOW A YOUNG BLACK WOMAN!!!!!!

I'm willing to give the change of teacher a low rating, first because both scenes are done by different artists and it's not their fault (but Bendis or the editor should have made sure there was a description of the teacher on both script pages), and because maybe, just maybe, the assignment could be received by a different teacher (substitutes, etc). Still, failing Kong on his presentation because he chose the Punisher is not an acceptable plot twist, because Bendis is writing the whole story himself, and even if the teacher is different and she misunderstood the original assignment, students in the classroom or Kong himself should have said so. You know what I call this? Sloppiness. They churned out a Special in 2002 to cash in, and reprinted the piece of crap in this book to make it thicker and charge more; when it adds absolutely nothing to the current storyline or the anniversary.

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars for the writing error, various lower ratings for the rest.

TITLE: Uncanny X-Men (Marvel).

ISSUE: 530.

CULPRIT: Matt Fraction (writer).

DISSECTION: A virus is affecting mutants, and Dr. Kavita Rao says that those mutants with "full body physiognomies" are the ones who are suffering the worst. You probably meant "physiologies", Matt, as in "physiology", the science that studies the functioning of a living organism; and is commonly used to refer to the living organism as a system. "Physiognomy" means "the assessment of a person's character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face". Quite different, isn't it?

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.

TITLE: X-Men Legacy (Marvel).

ISSUE: 242.

CULPRIT: Mike Carey (writer) and/or Paul Davidson (penciller).

DISSECTION: Why the fuck does a baseball thrown by Anole become a flaming curveball? He doesn't have the strength for something like that, even if it made sense, and this is not a cartoony story...

DISSECT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars. Also, Psylocke's start out wrong and change color to the right one, while Magneto's alias is written "Eric Lensherr", when it should be "Erik Lehnsherr".
Just 6.4 Bazzars as an average in fifty-eight dissections? Lower than I expected... the four 10-point dissections didn't factor as much as I expected them to, but it's logical when they're less than seven percent of the total dissections. Alright then, Moments Of The Week, the few and the proud. First up, who said scientists didn't have poetry in their souls?

You show them, Dr. Honeydew! And now, the ultimate minion:

REDSHIRT!!! Bwa-hah-hah!!! And for a finale, something that's definitely a tail to a tale; and en to a... well, see for yourself:

Dazzler is kind enough as to wear a costume that points to her... well... yeah. That's it for now, until next time, I'll be on the outlook for more dissections, because (almost) nothing escapes...



Donald313 said...

In the Flaming dissection (the last one), Psylocke´s XXX start out wrong. What is it? The eyes would be my guess.

And a missing letter in the Dazzler Moment of the Week. Should be an enD to a...

Sorry, no idea about the DT. Might be that the sword is not a plasma-construct but a kind of a lightsaber for pedestrians, but I´m not sure.

Dragon Comics said...

Te falt├│ un -muy grave- error en Adventure 520, dice "Invisible Kid AKA Jacques Foccart" cuando es Lyle

Levitz again...


MaGnUs said...

Donald: Both mistakes you spotted are mine, yep... I never re-read what I wrote. And no, it's not the sword.

Roy: Tenes razon, no lo habia visto. Es el problema de estar alternando dos momentos temporales como estaba haciendo (y probablemente hara en otro momento) Levitz, pero no es tan grave. Igual lo incluyo en la proxima columna. Gracias!

JohnnyDoe said...

A quick stab at the DT!: "No matches in the database"? I think the Hob Goblin did quite a big name for himself back in the day so he would be well known and have his picture in the database. His appearance hasn't changed THAT much in this issue.

MaGnUs said...

You got it. He's too well-known to not appear in databases.

Donald313 said...

That was the Hobgoblin? Okay, I admit not reading Spidey for some time now, but just from that pic I wouldn´t have guessed it´s the Hobgoblin. No glider but wings, no bombs but a sword and the facial features not quite what at least I was used to. I can understand this "no matches".

Then again, they are security. They should recognize him. Bunch of losers.

MaGnUs said...

The guys unable to ID him are not security, they're science nerds. But no glider doesn't cut it... he does have bombs (one in his right hand, and was throwing a few); he has an orange hood; blue body glove, and a goblin face. Who the fuck could he be?

He's not some obscure villain; he's one of Spidey's regular enemies and has been seen in New York hundreds of times, you shouldn't even need a database search to recognize it.

Sidney said...

Which entry in the Phoenix Force Handbook was "Bran" Braddock mentioned in?

MaGnUs said...

Now that you mention it, I noticed that "Bran" is correct. Crusader X's name is actually "Bran", not "Brian". I shall retract.

Sidney said...

OK, that's more or less why I asked. A large percentage of the Captain Britain Corps is named Brain Braddock or some variation of it.

Donald313 said...

Okay, didn´t see the bomb, or a glider (didn´t read the comic), and of course it was the geeks with no matches in their databases (huh? Villain-App for their Ipods?). How can they call themselves geeks if they suck like that?

Have to repeat, bunch of losers. Nerds aren´t what they used to be.