Saturday, 31 May 2014

Smallville: Velocity

Adam gets even weirder, giving Lana a hard time, like Clark, while he temporarily diverts Lex's attention from Clark.

Pete Ross gets a neat nickname, "the Boss." Lex is understandably reluctant to part with $20,000 cash and, of course, Clark does find another way to deal with Pete's blackmailer.

Jonathan had had a heart attack, probably because of the deal he made with Jor-El, but is this the last consequence of that deal?

No Lionel or Metropolis so nothing really big going down this time.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Smallville: The Ambience

Smallville is not Superboy:

no quiet small town life;
no happy ending to every episode;
instead, a continual sense of impending doom;
we know that friends will become enemies;
the superhero secret identity idea is developed in ways that create dishonesty and distrust;
a mystery from the past, whether from Krypton or from the Luthors, is always threatening to disrupt the present;
if Clark is to have an indefinitely extended lifespan, is this good or bad?

Smallville: Hereafter

Is Jonathan dead at the end? No, I know he lives longer than that. Jordan thinks Adam died?

When Jordan touches people, he foresees their deaths but Clark can prevent a foreseen death, thus affecting the lives of others and potentially changing the circumstances of their deaths as well.

Jonathan avoids contact with Clark but, when Clark touches him from behind, Jonathan sees a red cape flying down to
Earth. He says it is as if Clark will live forever. In Robert Heinlein's Future History, Pinero has a machine that accurately measures the time of birth and death of anyone. He measures Lazarus Long's world line but returns Long's money without telling him the result. We know that Long lives a very long time, possibly forever.

Kryptonian lifetimes are certainly longer than Terrestrial but, even if we know Kal-El's ultimate fate in a comics continuity, it will not necessarily be the same in Smallville continuity.

Smallville: Delete

"Brainwave" is in the comics but this is a new version? Lana trying to kill Chloe does not seem to disturb the school authorities.

The first mention of Chloe's cousin, Lois Lane. We see inside the Daily Planet. Clark has really messed Lana up so Adam has a struggle.

There is more continuity of characters that have been introduced in this series. Lex wants his forgotten months back. That will mean remembering that Clark is not human.The series moves imperceptibly towards the ultimate conflict between Lex and Clark.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

I am not even going to try to make sense of the time travel nonsense in this film.

If there is a Sentinels-dominated future and if Wolverine is sent from that future to 1973 to initiate a timeline without a Sentinels-dominated future and if he succeeds, then he initiates a timeline in which there are no fire-breathing Sentinels attacking Xavier. He does not initiate a timeline in which fire-breathing Sentinels are attacking Xavier but suddenly Sentinels and Xavier disappear (and, furthermore, the building they were in continues to exist but is empty). {Addendum: Thank you for the comment correcting my inconsistent spelling.}

If Xavier sends Wolverine back to 1973, then maybe Wolverine succeeds in initiating an alternative timeline diverging from 1973 but that does not change the fact that the Xavier who sent Wolverine back to 1973 remains in the undesirable timeline.

The film seems to treat different (earlier and later) times as different places existing at the same time!

How can Xavier possibly know to ask Wolverine, "What is the last thing you remember?"

Why does Wolverine's consciousness from the future remain in the present?

When his older mind entered his younger body, where did his younger mind go? (This question can be answered in more than one way. My problem is that the question is not even asked.)

The school had closed down. Does this sound as if Wolverine had gone back to a different past?

How come the school was functioning as normal again at the end of the film? We did not see anything to explain this.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Smallville: Whisper

Clark Kent/Superman losing his powers is an old idea but losing his sight is a new one. We get our first sight of Clark wearing glasses, not only dark but also, as his vision returns, clear. His super-hearing increases, like Daredevil's.

We see Pete's mother and learn that she is a US Judge.

The conflict between the Luthors is never-ending and more interesting than Clark's and Lana's permanently off-off relationship. The latest twist is that Lex thinks it is an advantage for him that Lionel thinks he is weak. The Sullivans have fallen foul of Lionel.

It would be good to transport Lionel to a society where survival and success were entirely dependent not on competition or manipulation but entirely on cooperation.

Smallville: Asylum

Why do things change so quickly so drastically between the Luthors? Lex was working happily for Luthorcorp but then started to ask questions about Lionel's past. That was enough for Lionel to get Lex drugged so that he acts psychotically and can be incarcerated and can then be prescribed electroshock treatment that will erase his recent memories.

After two seasons, Clark has accumulated a Rogue's Gallery. Not Superman yet, not Superboy in this version, just Clark Kent, without a costume, with powers neither fully developed nor publicly known, has no less than three guys in Belle Reve Asylum hating him for putting him there, plotting revenge. That is a partial preview of his life as Superman. 

Smallville: Shattered

When the story of the Luthors takes center stage instead of remaining in the background, extremely dramatic episodes result. Is Edge really dead this time? It seems that: Lex does have long term, on-off, mental health problems caused by the death of his younger brother; Lionel, Edge and a slum landlord did conspire to burn down a tenement occupied by Lionel's parents; Lionel did have Lex drugged to exacerbate his mental problems; Lex's psychiatrist is involved in this conspiracy; Lionel draws the line only at killing his son but not at anything else.
I preferred the earlier closing theme music.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Smallville: Magnetic

Is there a Magnet Boy or a Magnetic Boy in the comics? (Apparently, there was a Magnetic Kid in the Legion.)

The magnetically powered villain, which he turns out to be, learns that Clark is bullet-proof but goes into a coma and might not remember anything when, or if, he wakes.

I am more interested in what is going on between the Luthors, Edge and Chloe. Lionel blackmailed Chloe so she tried to blackmail him back. Bad move but good guy Lex promises his protection. We move slightly closer to whether Lionel murdered his parents. Did we know that Edge is meant to be dead?

The on-going story continues but meteor powers generate drama in individual episodes. We still do not know what deal Jonathan struck with Jor-El's technological ghost.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Experiences Of A Comics Collector

(i) You have not yet decided whether you are collecting a new series so you have to collect it until you have decided whether you are collecting it and then you realize that you are collecting it.

(ii) You aim to be, e.g., a Superman titles completist. Then you realize that you are buying expensive quantity with declining quality and generating a massive storage problem.

(iii) You have boxes of comics in number order but, when you reread them, one is missing...

(iv) A mini-series has a good in-house ad and a good first issue so you order the rest of the series...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Smallville: Relic

The John Byrne/Marv Wolfman Lex Luthor grew up in Suicide Slum and murdered his parents. The Smallville Lionel Luthor turns out to have lied about his Scottish aristocratic past. In fact, he grew up in Suicide Slum and his parents were murdered. He gives implausible reasons why he did not follow this up. Lex and he will "find out who did it" but Lionel looks guilty as Hell. Is Lex onto this or is he unable to think such a thing of his father?

The Kents, Langs, Luthors and Els have been interacting for three generations: kind of implausible. The first time an El prevented a Luthor from committing a crime was in 1961. Kal-El's father prevented Lex's grandfather from robbing Lana's great-aunt.

The Kryptonian tech in the cave is a bit hard to take. Paintings suddenly become machinery. We keep moving imperceptibly closer to the full story of how Clark came to Earth, to Smallville, to the Kent farm.

Lana is learning that she should let go of Clark.The pictures show Loise Lang, Lex Luthor and Lionel Luthor.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Serial Killers, Fictitious And Historical

Serial killers held a convention in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Doll's House but their invited Guest of Honor, the Family Man, was unable to attend because he was too busy fighting John Constantine in Jamie Delano's Hellblazer and the Bogey Man did not attend because Alan Moore's Swamp Thing had killed him. It seems that the Corinthian, a nightmare escaped from the Dreaming, initiated and inspired serial killing.

Alan Moore and Grant Morrison each wrote a comic strip about a real serial killer. Grant Morrison and Ian Rankin each wrote a work of fiction about the real serial killer, Bible John.

Finally, Alan Moore created John Constantine in Swamp Thing while both Neil Gaiman and Ian Rankin have written about Constantine. Although Constantine has caused many deaths, he is not himself a serial killer and in fact made it his business to put the Family Man out of business.

A Short Hellblazer Film

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Smallville: Perry

What a way to introduce Perry White! I could not believe that that guy was him.

Perry does what Lois will later do: makes a suicide jump to be rescued by Clark, but takes the precaution of tying a rope to his foot.

Powers out of control, like loss of powers, is a familiar hazard for Superman. Occasional loss of powers is sometimes useful for allaying suspicions. It is finally recognized that Clark's body processes solar energy, as John Byrne said.

Lex agrees to psychotherapy. Perry has something on Lionel, will return to the Planet and owes Clark who should look him up when he goes to Metropolis - so one more small step has been taken.

Early Hellblazer

I have just reread Jamie Delano's John Constantine: Hellblazer up to and including the opening installment of The Fear Machine. This involved reading the first DC trade paperback, followed by the Titan Books black and white reprints, Volumes Three and Four. These two sequences overlap by one installment.

I have also reread The Fear Machine and The Family Man relatively recently so that leaves only the Golden Boy storyline from Delano's run. I am now rereading Garth Ennis' opening storyline, Dangerous Habits. Those were the days when a lot of monthly comics were of consistently high quality in writing and visuals.

Delano's high points:

Vietnamerica - prayers bring the dead soldiers back and they attack their home town;
the demon Nergal wonders, "Why is it always the most primitive, stupid zones that are strategically important. Earth is such a provoking place...";
a prophecy is engraved on a stone dredged up from Hell!;
Ritchie tries to get back in his body after it has spontaneously combusted!