Avril Kincaid, Wendell Vaughn, and the station of Protector of the Universe

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So, now SHIELD agent Avril Kincaid has the Quantum-Bands and is even being called ‘Quasar’ by Wendell Vaughn. As a long-time fan of Quasar, I find this transfer of mantle to be bittersweet. On one-hand, Wendell Vaughn and the Quantum-Bands are getting attention they haven’t been since the Annihilation event when Wendell Vaughn was killed off. I mean, it’s nice that some modern fans will finally get to see what the bands are capable of- which I’ve known for years. On the other hand, Wendell passed the torch to someone else, and according to writer/creator Nick Spencer Marvel has “big plans” for this new Quasar- big plans that outside of the late Mark Gruenwald they have never had for Wendell Vaughn. Marvel even had big plans for Phyla-Vell when she was called Quasar... but never for Wendell Vaughn. In fact, Marvel has spent more time lampshading the old Quasar’s failings or outright making a joke out of him then they have spent trying to make the character viable (let alone successful) in the Marvel Universe’s status-quo over the past two decades.

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Wendell Vaughn was interesting to me partly because he was a pacifist, because the extermination of life was not something that the Protector of the Universe should be capable of. The idea of pacifism was nearly unheard of in Marvel in the early 90’s. Wendell would contain or neutralize enemies rather than make any effort to harm them, the exception being when a planet or the universe itself was at stake. But then, Joe Quesada never quite got the “lack of killer-instinct thing”, so any chance the Wendell Vaughn might have had died right there except that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning liked the character and showed him some of the respect he deserved if only for a brief time in Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. This is, of course nothing new to me. Since Wendell was stuck in limbo for years prior to Annihilation and then killed off and replaced, I have had some trouble wanting to patronize a company that blatantly ignores a fan-base (small and rabid though it may be).

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In universe, I have some trouble accepting the logic of Wendell Vaughn bringing the Quantum-Bands to Earth and placing them under the care of SHIELD. Never mind, the fact that the idea of Wendell Vaughn losing control of the q-bands has NEVER been brought up before, suddenly now its an issue he’s been dealing with for a while… The Q-bands are part-and-parcel with the station of Protector of the Universe, so why not ask Epoch to find a new Protector. Why bring them back to a planet you exiled yourself from for years? Why bring them to an organization whose track record keeping fantastically powerful weapons locked away isn’t great. As far as I can tell, Wendell Vaughn has never so much as met Maria Hill, She’s never betrayed being aware of Vaughn, over the past 10 years when a cosmic level danger has reared its head (Civil War, Infinity, Age of Ultron, Fear Itself, Original Sin... etc…), SHIELD director Maria Hill nor even Steve Rogers ever so much as included the Protector of the Universe/former Avenger in any of their contingencies.

So, by bringing the Quantum-Bands to Earth and handing them to another human, Wendell Vaughn is completely disregarding the station of Protector of the Universe. What conclusions can we draw from this? The universe no longer needs protection? Epoch isn’t in charge of deciding who the Protector is anymore? Putting Wendell back on Earth and under the employ of SHIELD again creates a void in the cosmic side of things. A void that cannot be filled by Avril Kincaid as based on all appearances she will be hypothetically training on Earth for the foreseeable future- but I’m sure she’ll be competent with the Q-bands by the time of the next crossover event and integral to the plans of Steve Rogers and/or whoever makes those types of plans… because "Marvel has BIG PLANS” for this Quasar! Just never for the other Quasar.


'Transformers 2' and 'Lost' leads worst movies nominees

'Transformers,' 'Lost' lead worst movie nominees

By Todd Leopold , CNN

February 1, 2010 1:13 p.m. EST  

worst couple award
worst couple award

(CNN) -- "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Land of the Lost" now have another dishonor to add to the critical lambasting they took upon release: the two films are tied for most Razzie nominations for worst films of the year.

"Transformers," which dominated box office charts if not reviewers' hearts, picked up seven nominations, including worst picture, worst director (Michael Bay, a Razzie favorite), worst actress (Megan Fox) and worst screen couple (Shia LaBeouf with Fox or any Transformer).

"Head Raspberry" John Wilson, author of "The Official Razzie Movie Guide" and chief of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, acknowledges that the organization might be risking a backlash from "Transformers" fans, who made the film the No. 2 highest-grossing film of 2009 with more than $400 million at the domestic box office.

"This is not the first time we've nominated something that made that kind of money," he said, noting that the "Star Wars" sequels "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones" also earned Razzie nods.

But he doesn't apologize for the inclusion of "Transformers": " 'Transformers,' to me, is the personification of what's wrong with Hollywood right now," he said. "It's all about do what already worked, pander to the audience, put in a lot of special effects. ... It's almost as though when they were editing the thing they had a little egg timer running, and every seven minutes something had to blow up or somebody had to yell, 'Go go go go! Run run run run!' "

For full article go here


Yes and No

I don't want to see anyone seriously injured anywhere, that's bad karma. 

But, I do think it's good for there to be repercussions for living the lifestyle they do. They can't always be awesome with the wind blowing their cape in just the right way as they pose impressively on rooftops for cameras that don't exist. Dodging bullets, putting their bodies on the line everyday... sometimes that one petty thug is bound to get one lucky shot, and then what? 
It is more realistic this way. Is it better? That's debatable.

Start the Conversation

What makes a Supervillain?

What is Supervillainy? What is evil? Why is someone like Lex Luthor a villain while the remarkably similar character of Tony Stark is a hero?   Both are humanitarians and philanthropists, both have exclusive and lucrative military contracts. Both are quite questionable public figures.

A true Villain: Snidely Whiplash
A true Villain: Snidely Whiplash

We all know the real answer is also in this case the simplest: that Lex Luthor is a Supervillain because he unabashedly commits acts of evil and depravity; regularly tries to kill Superman and occasionally tries to take over the world. Whereas, Tony Stark is considered a Superhero (his actions during Civil War aside.) because regularly saves the world as part of the Avengers.

For a dictionary-like definition: The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters. Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines villain as "a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel; or a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot."

Let’s look at Lex Luthor from another angle. It could be argued that he is a humanist and feels this creature calling itself “Super-Man” from the distant planet of Krypton is infecting the people of Metropolis is his alien platitudes and is merely the first step in an invasion.   In that way, he could be viewed as a hero as being the only voice of discord against the alien threat. He tries to take over the world to save it from just rolling over and surrendering when the invasion finally comes. If the story were to be written from Luthor’s perspective (which I’m sure it has by now at one point or another.) we also might come to see the alien who calls himself “Super-Man” as the villain.

Of course, with Tony Stark, historically speaking, he rarely does anything but defend the interests of Stark Industries, making billions off of SHIELD defense contracts, or having string after string after string of one night stands with gorgeous super-models when not palling around with the Avengers. He strikes me as a little too selfish to be characterized as a hero. But he has great Public Relations. At the other end of the spectrum, Spider-Man selflessly does everything he can to fight crime in and around New York City, never asking for anything from anyone and through his adult life has been shit on almost daily, very rarely catching a break. And with the Daily Bugle has some of the worst PR in comics.

Tony Stark: Superhero?
Tony Stark: Superhero?

In the case of Magneto, here’s a survivor of the Holocaust who has vowed that his people will never again fall under the yolk of oppression or genocide for the crime of being different. Magneto is a sort of exaggerated Malcolm X for mutants, and he’s considered a terrorist for the lengths he will go to protect mutantkind. He’s an elitist to be sure, and more than willing to kill Homo sapiens when members of Homo superior are endangered. Course, it could be argued that Magneto is a true villain because he has a very good reason to do what he is doing and there is nothing Homo sapiens can do to cause his resolve to waver. If it means the death of a million humans to save one mutant, Magneto will save that one mutant every time. Even so, you understand why, and you sympathize with him.

Likewise, Ra’s Al Ghul is a villain because it’s his dream to see a world in perfect environmental balance. Which is a lofty and admirable goal in and of itself, however he believes that in order to reach his goal he must eliminate most of the population of humanity. This quite automatically puts him at odds with most people. Strictly speaking, I agree with Ra’s’ goals and some of his actions. Do I consider him a villain, personally? Yes. But only in that he is willing to commit genocide to attain his goals. I mean, we’re about due for a major event which will thin the herd that is humanity by quite a bit. Be it a pandemic, our planet being struck by an object from space, or any other means. We are just as likely to do it ourselves as anything. Ra’s Al Ghul is around 500 years old and nearly immortal. He can afford to be patient rather than a villain.

Does this make Galactus a villain?
Does this make Galactus a villain?

It wasn’t that long ago I was debating with Cracks whether or not Galactus should be characterized as a villain. I’m of the mind that near omnipotent cosmic entities should not be judged by the likes of mere mortals. Really, all he does is kill to survive. Yes, he is capable of committing genocide by consuming our own planet. But, I put forth the idea that he is no different than a farmer who slaughters cattle for beef without first safely redistributing all of the varied life forms that made that particular cattle home. Yes, to Galactus even the most important of us would be no important than a flea or a tick, does that make Galactus evil? No, not anymore than the farmer is evil. They are people with families who live off the land and make their livings by making life easier for the rest of us. Sure, that comparison probably does little to comfort the memory of the Archeopians, the Skrulls, or the Korbinites.

What about your favorite character? Could they be characterized as a villain, should they be?    


Call me a racist, but I just don't like most Mutants.

I sometimes randomly post in the forums about how annoyed I am with the X-titles and the mutant phenomenon in particular, here's why.
My main complaint is that mutants are overexposed. Wolverine is on roughly half the 12 X-teams and the Avengers- aaaaand he's supposedly a loner. He's also heavily involved in most of the crossover events. Where does he find the time?? This is especially hard to explain when one considers that everything that has happened in the Marvel Universe has done so in roughly 10-15 years. That means with everything as it currently stands the Fantastic Four gained their powers in 1995! Course, half of CV was born more recently than that so they think it's a really long time... But Wolverine is everywhere, he's oversaturated the media. He's had 4 movies in 9 years when guys like Captain America have barely had one in recent memory. He's on the cover of almost every other comic related magazine and some that aren't comic related. And also, Wolverine isn't a role-model. He kills without compunction. He slashes into his foes in rather grisley fashion. In X-2 he kills federal agents who were just tranqing their opponents. He has a history of smoking and drinking, but only recently has he started swearing.
Are we sure he isn't secretly Multiple Man??
Are we sure he isn't secretly Multiple Man??

My problem with characters like Magneto or Vulcan is they are much more powerful than they really ever should be. The basis of their character is mutation. Are we supposed to believe that a slight varation of a strand of DNA will make an otherwise average human capable of going one on one with a Herald of Galactus? I'm not saying I have a problem with the believeablity of mutant powers on the whole, I'm saying there should be a cap on their power levels. 1 in 10 mutants is an Omega level and thats ridiculously unbalancing. Yes, that means if you're already lucky enough to be a self-important douche-bag with powers, (Yes, despite what you may think, most mutants are self-important douche-bags) that there's a 1 in 10 chance that you will also have the power to kill all life on the planet with a thought. Also, my problem with Vulcan is if he wasn't a mutant, no one would give two shits about him. No one would buy anything related to him, and he sure as hell wouldn't have headlined any crossover events. 
Vulcan could challenge the Silver Surfer...
Vulcan could challenge the Silver Surfer...

Other matter entirely is the writing. Reading an article on a random X-character is riddled with obvious references to retcons. Characters dying and coming back a paragraph later. Things being done that would shake the very foundations of the Marvel Universe and then being undone without so much as a whisper. Nevermind the fact that characters like Vulcan and Magneto are walking retcons, as bad if not worse than Sentry. How many times has Magneto died and come back a few months later with little or no explaination. If you're going to kill him, Kill him and be done with it. But don't insult the intelligence of the fans by retconning his survival because you wanted a meaningful death for him at the time, but now want him back cause he makes you $$$.  It's like the X-Books have been written by Geoff Johns for two decades. 
Beaaagh!  /rant.

Realm of Kings (one shot) partial Preview and my thoughts.

See the full preview here.  courtesy of cosmicbooknews.com
  So, I picked up the first issue of Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard last Wednesday and was sorely disappointed to find that the Realm of Kings one shot was pushed back yet another week. (so far, it's gone from 11/4 to 11/11.. to now 11/18) RoK: IG was basically the consolation prize... well that and the pretty indigo, orange, and yellow power rings.  (Preciousssss)
I've been waiting for the RoK one shot for months now. Wendell Vaughn came back from the dead in Nova #17 in energy form with basically no explanation and while I was happy he was doing SOMETHING, he wasn't really getting his chance to shine. Only when we saw Richard Rider with the Quantum Bands did any new readers have any sort of reminder what Quasar was nominally capable of. 


On the plus side, he has a chance to shine here... I hope. 

The plot behind RoK is that Quasar has been asked to investigate the Fault (a large rip in the fabric of space/time opened as a result of the War of Kings) on behalf on Project: Pegasus. Quasar’s power, experience, and his energy form make him an ideal choice to scout into the Fault ahead of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Nova Corps. 
In the previews we see Quasar has some self-doubt apparently because he's died and come back in energy form and he's not sure if he's ready to take up his old job of Protector of the Universe. I really think there is a story to be told concerning Quasar's energy form, how he got it and why. I guess DnA feel differently based on the full preview... but maybe it'll be dealt with in another story.
So, I'm really looking forward to this. I mean, I've been waiting long enough for it. 










Neurotoxic Manganese?!

"Regulators have found high levels of neurotoxic manganese in the air outside two schools in Ohio and West Virginia, the latest results of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to check for chemicals outside schools across the nation.    Government scientists have determined that long-term exposure to manganese can cause mental disabilities and emotional problems, especially in kids."

When I saw the words "Neurotoxic Manganese" I assumed it was an airborne pathogen spread from DBZ fanboy to DBZ fanboy, or it's simply the language that DBZ fanboys speak.


Schwarzenegger flips off CA lawmakers in hidden message.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is ticked off.

He’s tired of signing bills that don’t address the pet causes he deems important. So when another unworthy bill crossed his desk recently for signing — addressing funding issues for the Port of San Francisco — the guv vetoed it and sent lawmakers a little note saying why. Only the note said a little more than lawmakers were expecting.

Buried in the text was a hidden message directed at State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, author of the bill, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Ammiano had strongly criticized the governor in early October and reportedly told Schwarzenegger at the time to “kiss my gay ass.” Schwarzenegger’s veto letter, issued a couple of days later, reads:

Missed the hidden code? The Bay Guardian has helpfully picked it out:    

from: wired.com

Cry for Justice


So, I became aware of this limited series about 4 months ago when while loitering at my LCS I saw the eye catching painted art of Mauro Cascoili  on the cover.  Then, I noticed the name 'James Robinson' and I distinctly recalled my friend singing his praises one night, so I checked out the first issue.  
Check out G-Man's preview here: http://www.comicvine.com/news/justice-league-cry-for-justice-1oh-boy/138552/

The opening scene is just chilling. It depicts a Hal Jordan who is fed up with watching friends and compatriots die during the various crisies. With the most recent deaths of J'onn J'onzz and Batman, Hal has hit his limit. He basically tells Superman and the rest of the League that he's done standing idly by and waiting as villains plot their next strike and perhaps kill again and at one point sounds not unlike I imagine Sinestro might have sounded back in the days before he crossed the line back on Korugar. Oliver Queen backs Hal and they leave as Hal questions if the Justice League places the importance on the word "League" or the word "Justice".  
This series has kept me coming back to pick up the following issue for a number of reasons, but one of the big ones is the villain in the story. Prometheus. 
This is a character that in his very first appearance challenged the most powerful roster of the JLA to date by himself, and he took out half the team before they realized they were under attack. Prometheus has no powers, he's just got a pretty brillant and inventive criminal mind, high-tech gadgets, and is a master of about a dozen or so martial arts. Sound like anyone you know? Shortly afterwards, he teamed up with Lex to form a new streamlined Injustice League and blew up the Justice League Watchtower during the Magdegon crisis. Batman managed to outmaneuver Prometheus and captured him. 
After this, (and this is an opinion I happen to share with James Robinson) Prometheus fell on hard times. He showed up as a henchman to Hush and started using pistols for no reason. Later on, he lost one-on-one to Robin III... with each appearance he seemed less and less competent. Sure, during this period, he knocked out Lady Shiva in about 3 panels of combat, but he had effectively gone from being a credible threat to the entire JLA to being arch-nemesis to the Huntress. (The Huntress? Really??) I am eternally  indebted to Robinson for making an effort to not only awknowledge the damage, but to try to repair the damage to this great Grant Morrison creation.
Also in this series is the continuation of the story of Freddy Freeman. Captain Marvel has also always been a favorite of mine, but I didn't care much for Freddy until he took over the mantle from Billy. Now, I'm glad to see him on the frontlines here, searching for justice. 
Which brings us to the title... "Cry for Justice" is taken from the various characters who feel personally touched by all the recent deaths in the DCU. Hal for example, despite not liking Bruce Wayne, feels he should do something about it, demand justice. Which is odd, because in Promethus' first appearance he makes a point of saying it is his wish to 'destroy justice'. So, we'll see how this ends up with Hal's thrown together team of Ollie, Ray Palmer, Freddy, and Kara Zor-El going up against Prometheus' plans. 
If you're not reading this mini-series, you're missing out.