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My Five Favorite Comic Characters #3

Well after another couple of weeks and a site update, I'm back, baby! I would like to thank all you who have taken the time to read my blogs and commented. After all, I'm not writing these for my health. That aside, I would like to present my third favorite comic character, the world's greatest assassin.....DEATHSTROKE!

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Wait, what? How can I not be my favorite comic character? Well, it may come as a shock to some, but I'm not actually Slade Wilson. Deathstroke does have a very special place in my heart, but it is shared by two others that may take a bit of precedence over him. But we are not concerning ourselves with those other two right now, are we? Deathstroke first sliced his way into my life onto the Teen Titans television show. Actually, I was not aware of Slade's true awesomeness at the time. What I got from him on the show was that he was a scary-as-hell villain with a really cool mask. It was merely a passing introduction to which I would make the connection back to later on. My true introduction to Deathstroke was the strangest of all of my intros to comic characters. It was about seven or eight years ago and I was scrolling through a Wikipedia page of some hero or villain whose name has faded from my memory. I saw the name Deathstroke underlined and highlighted in blue. To that day, it was the coolest name I've ever heard. I clicked on the article and read the whole thing through. And then I read it through again. And then I searched for pictures of this badass. This dude had it all. The most intimidating/coolest name ever. The best superpower a super-soldier could ask for. And then he had the costume. Man, that costume kicks ass to the moon and back. The original looks like a combination of a pirate, a knight, and a ninja with a full friggin' armory strapped to his back. Modern iterations make an effort to push the soldier motif (excluding the amazing Flashpoint version), which really isn't bad, but the original will always be my favorite. The mask, which has largely remained the same, is definitely the best part of the outfit. I can't begin to describe why, it just simply is. Under that mask is a square-jawed, Wolverine-hair goatee with an eye patch. An eye patch?! Yes, this dude has an eye patch! This man could kill without a mask and still look like the ultimate badass. I feel like I've beaten his costume to death, so onto the assassin himself. Awesome costume or not, Slade is the most powerful mortal man there is in the DC Universe. Deathstroke is the only man whom Batman has never defeated. The Batman, who can take down the entire Justice League (a la Tower of Babel), was not able to finish off the Terminator. Slade is able to access the part of the brain not available to the rest of humans, making him stronger, faster, and smarter than even Bruce who stand at the height of human capability. The dude took on a version of the Justice League on his own until GA stabbed him in the eye from behind. I think it's clear that even as he ages, Slade wields incredible ability. He ought to be feared by heroes and villains alike. That sentiment leads me to my next point. Slade is grossly under-credited. I feel that you, the reader, have already gotten the gist of his power in what was stated above. I, as any other sane comic fan should, feel that with those attributes and accomplishments, Deathstroke would hold a high position in the DC Universe. But sadly, my friends, this is not always the truth. He has been considered a second rate villain and enforcer, merely filling in pages as a worthless grunt. Folks, has Marvel ever tossed the Punisher into an issue, just to get his ass handed to him by Spider-Man? Okay, maybe that wasn't the best example. But I think my point is clear. Deathstroke, whether a hero or a villain, should be held to the standards of any A-Lister. I found that Justin Jordan has done a more-than-capable job in the most recent issues, but I do maintain that Kyle Higgins truly knocked it out of the park in the first eight issues of the New 52. I think it would be best to forget Leifeld's attempt.

My love for Deathstroke has only grown stronger in recent years. His appearance in mainstream media looks to bolster his overall popularity, to the elation of myself and hundreds of over devotees. I'd call Slade the ultimate role model, but I don't think it's possible to cram that much badassery into one lifetime.

P.S. Did ya count how many times I said 'bad ass'?


My Five Favorite Comic Characters #4

Moon Knight by Mico Suayan
Moon Knight by Mico Suayan

Well, after a few weeks away from my blog, I would like to present my fourth favorite character. Ladies and gentlemen, my friend and yours....#4 Moon Knight

There is nothing I like more than a character exceeding expectations. Too many times have I mentioned Moon Knight to a friend with the reply being, "Oh, that Batman rip-off." As much as it stings to hear, there is always the sense of satisfaction when that friend actually reads a Moon Knight comic and is appalled by what he finds. For those of you, and dear God I hope there is very few, who have yet to read Moon Knight, he is NOT a Batman rip-off. He is soooooooo far from being a Batman rip-off that I cannot put into words how unique a character Moon Knight is.

Okay, with that mini-rant over with let's start with my actual thoughts. The costume. I love hoods. I don't know why, but they are very cool. I may be one of the few who prefer Shazam w/ hood. Moon Knight pulls off a hood like no other. The piercing whit eyes coming from what appears to be a black hole in the white hood. That is some scary sh*t. The white costume as a whole is phenomenal. A character such as Moon Knight, prowling the night and hunting criminals, one would think, might wear a costume of dark colors to cloak himself amongst the shadows. But no, Moon Knight says, "F*ck it, I want them to know I'm coming." The man has balls, and readers must respect him for that. The origin. Moon Knight's origin is definitely my number two favorite origin of all time. This story really has it all. Marc Spector was born the son of a rabbi, he's Jewish and I couldn't be more proud. So he he grows up to become a Marine and a merc, awesome. He then goes with an African merc by the name of Raoul Bushman (man these names are bad a$$) to an archaeological dig in Egypt. Raoul goes nuts, attempts to kill every one and steal the treasures. An on-the-verge-of-death Marc Spector is found by some Egyptians and placed before Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon god. He becomes the god's avatar, kills Bushman, and goes back to America. In America, he adopts multiple personalities and becomes a crime fighter. The one aspect of his character that many can identify with is his struggle balancing the multiple personalities. It is unlikely that readers have a disorder like Marc develops, but many share a similar experience balancing work, family, and fun. Marc's difficulty keeping up with his different personalities wears away at his psyche. After refusing to kill once and for all, Marc begins to be tormented by Khonshu, appearing in various forms, goading him to kill. It becomes painfully clear that Marc is struggling with some serious mental problems. That is really the number one thing I enjoy about Moon Knight. It might sound weird, but I enjoy reading about Marc, or Jake, or whoever he is for the moment, knowing how messed up he is in the head, but still going on some wild adventures and kicking a$$. The arc I most enjoyed before the relaunch was Down South, featuring the Zapata brothers and the Punisher. Though the arc features wicked twists and a very enjoyable adventure, the most interesting and compelling part is Jake's struggle with Khonshu. A very laid back Jake seems to have had enough with the constant nagging, but the ever-present Khoshu wouldn't dream of letting him alone. Then came the relaunch. Wow. Let me tell you, I never would have thought that Moon Knight would be given the All-Star treatment by Marvel. This 12 issue-er was without comparison. BMB and Maleev knocked it out of the park. With some ties to previous Moon Knight lore, the two erected a brand-new Marc with a real multiple personalities disorder and all the wackiness that comes with it. The story was fun, fresh, and exciting. While part of me wanted more, I knew there was the chance that more stories would prove a disappointment. But sadly , Moon Knight has had little to no time in the spotlight in recent months. I hope we can get another limited soon with more of Spectors wild adventures.

Moon Knight is a character that has exceeded expectations from day one. He has grown into a unique character apart from much of what Marvel has put out in past years. He is less a superhero and more of a guy who wanted to atone for all the f*cked up stuff he did in the past. Even when the Sentry told him he was going to fail, he had the balls to tell one of Marvel's most powerful heroes that he was going to fail too. Moon Knight is a hero with balls. And frankly, he is one of the few.


My Five Favorite Comic Characters #5

So if you follow me, you may or may not have seen my Favorite Comic Characters list. If not, it's there. Look at it. The list is totally random, without any order or logical arrangement. So for my own entertainment, I thought I'd publish my official Five Favorite Comic Characters in order in individual blog posts. That said, I'd like to start with Number Five.

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#5 Daredevil

Daredevil. Matthew Michael Murdock. The Scarlet Swashbuckler. The Man Without Fear. When I think of Daredevil, I think of excitement. Everything about DD screams fun and energy. When I first laid eyes on Paolo Rivera's Daredevil #1 and saw Matt's brilliant smile, I knew that series was gonna be a smash hit. Even in Daredevil Noir, my favorite niche limited series ever, there was a certain light shining through Tomm Coker's shadow-y art. He is a circus acrobat fighting crime. I may be one of the few to admit this, but I actually prefer the classic yellow and brown costume to the solid red tights he has worn for the past thirty-something years. It supports the acrobat feel to the character and, well I don't know know how to put it, adds more than the devil=red. It's a more creative and original look for the character. I especially like how Jeph Loeb tied that look to Jack Murdock. Great way to commemorate Battlin' Jack. Speaking of Matt's dad and childhood, DD has an origin story I could never get tired of reading. I actually own four different interpretations of his origin all putting their own spin on what made Matt into the Marvel's greatest Knight. Loeb and Sale's Yellow took a retrospective look on the events while Miller took that to an in-the-moment look on Matt's young adult years. Each deserves respect and each has it's own place in Daredevil lore. That's another thing I love about Daredevil. His history is very distinct. You have the Early Years done in part by the Man, the Miller Era, the Bendis Saga, and what looks to be the greatest of them all, the Waid Age. Along with very important miniseries and limited runs by amazing writers and artists, there are few moments in DD's literary life where one may be confused as to who penned an issue, very little is muddled together and forgotten. But most of all, I love Daredevil because of his disability. To me, blindness affecting Daredevil is too specific. It is that general fact that in some way he is disabled that allows for thousands of readers to share a special connection with Matt. Maybe you're deaf or not the quickest thinker or restricted to a wheelchair or walking assistant. It is that Daredevil was able to overcome the cards he was dealt to become an awe-inspiring superhero and idol of thousands. It is that "Daredevil beat blindness, maybe I can _____________" mindset that allows me and many others to connect with Matt. It is Daredevil's spectacular ability, fearlessness, bravery, his exciting nature and colorful costume. It is his swashbuckling, throw-caution-to-the-wind attitude that makes him such a spectacular hero. He is my fifth favorite comic character and I can say for absolute certainty that the words, "Here Comes... DAREDEVIL The Man Without Fear" will be burned into my mind for all of my life.


Why Green Arrow Deserves Jeff Lemire

While I am far from the biggest Green Arrow fan around, I have had a love for the character ever since I saw him pulling back a bow inside a comic book (I can't recall what exact issue it was). See, ever since I was little, I wanted to be an archer. A good friend of my father was a competitive archer and at a very early age, I was letting arrows fly across the yard. My favorite movie until I was eight was Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn. Seeing a regular guy fight off evil doing the same thing I did in my backyard was the coolest thing I could have possibly imagined. What could make this better? How about the same thing, but doing it alongside my other childhood idols, Batman and Superman? Seriously, I freaked out when I saw Green Arrow for the first time. As the years have passed, I have remained a dedicated fan, picking up back issues from Mike Grell's amazing run on the title. To me, Green Arrow is much more than Batman with a bow; he is the manifestation of everything I loved as a child. He is an outspoken activist, executive, and leader. He puts his heart on the line and never regrets it. He is gritty, he is real, he is a man who earned his rights and his name. And that is precisely why I stopped reading the New 52's Green Arrow. Though the first arc was tolerable, it lacked the genuineness of Oliver Queen. He wielded a bow and patrolled Star City, but the similarities really end there. It was, to be frank, a kind of "blah" effort. It really did not feel like Ollie at all. And the second and subsequent arcs horrified me to the point of quitting all together. Ann Nocenti has put forth one of the weakest efforts as a writer on all of her titles I have ever seen. And I'm sorry Harvey Tolibao, but abstract art has no place in comic books. After four months (three enjoying the terrific Hawkeye!), my wish for a better Green Arrow is on track to coming true. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined one of DC’s top three writers assigned to write for Ollie Queen. A longtime fan of Jeff's work, I am confident that this title will rise from the ashes and "wow" me as much as the new TV series, Arrow, has (seriously, it's a great show). Jeff has said he will try to channel Grell's success and promises a "hard-hitting, thriller/action/crime book". But we can't stop there, because beyond-amazing artist Andrea Sorrentino has signed on for art duties. So, as I gear up for another episode of Arrow, hopefully featuring yours truly, I ask the same question as I did as a child: How can this get better? Hopefully, we'll get our answer in February of 2013.


Why Marvel NOW! Isn't As Bad an Idea As You May Think

I'm going to be honest with you, I don't read a lot of Marvel comics. I have a good deal of trades and hardcovers and I pick up Hawkeye every month, but beyond that there's nothing. I picked up my folder from my local comic shop yesterday and sitting inside was the Marvel NOW! free preview. After reading through it, except X-Men Legacy which was black-and-white and kind of grainy, I very excited. Now I do not have much to compare to, but those were some fantastic stories. Allred's art on FF is quite beautiful, pretty much everything in Captain America is great, Hulk's new look is fresh, and who doesn't love Deadpool? This, folks, is something to get excited for. Though I have lauded the New 52, this is one step the better. Maintaining the books you and I love, like Hawkeye and Daredevil, Marvel refreshes their universe without a total overhaul. While there was a lot missing from the preview, including Thunderbolts, whose line up has gotten me very happy, and the ton of X-Men and Avengers books, i think it is safe to say that Marvel has assessed what worked for the New 52 and what did not and created a product that excites fans new and old alike. The only thing they missed was the new costume problem, I guess that's supposed to be Cyclops in the red suit in the press pic. Though my comic budget is tight, I hope to pick up at least one new series. Again, I am extraordinarily excited for this and I hope this turns out for the best.


Why You Should Stop Complaining About the New 52 and Move On

These days, there’s plenty to get mad at. Gas prices sky rocket. Politicians spew their noise. And comic book “fans” and “geeks” cry over the New 52. That’s what makes me mad. “Bring back continuity!” “I want my characters back!” “Where’s Stephanie Brown?” Maybe I just don’t get. Maybe I don’t understand your “struggle”. Oh and maybe I do. Maybe I was absolutely devastated when Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Judd Winick ruined my life as a comic fan by killing off Ted Kord, my absolute favorite comic book character. Why do so-called “fans” whine about DC trying to do something to better themselves, and in turn better the whole comic book industry? Why does a new Superman costume make people’s blood boil? HE WORE THE SAME ONE FOR 78 YEARS! There is no way every book can be a success. I’m sorry if you die-hard (insert failed title’s main character here) fans couldn’t handle seeing your title go down the drain. And we all can recognize Rob Leifeld as a mistake, but that’s fine, everybody can make a mistake. I’m sorry Martian Manhunter doesn’t have Johns and Lee bowing at his feet, but maybe it was time for a new character to get a shot in the Justice League. And what about the missing characters you may ask? I’ll tell you why there have been missing characters. IT’S BEEN ONE FREAKING YEAR! DC Comics and their properties have existed for nearly eighty years. Some of those characters you yearn to see in the pages of your favorite title have only come into play in the last 25 years. If DC wanted to build from the ground up, they would have to introduce and re-introduce characters at a steady pace. Do you realize what you’re asking for by demanding 80 years’ worth of characters be crammed into one year of comic books? If you don’t like what you see, Marvel and Image have been selling comic books as well. And as for creative teams, there have always been bumps in the road. You whiners make it seem like DC did it perfectly for as long as they have been printing comics until now. In 2011, they forgot which creative teams work well with which characters and genres. Do you know how ridiculously stupid that sounds? Okay, now for continuity, the single biggest thing that’s been complained about. Why does it kill you if there was only five years of history before the stuff we’re reading now? Okay, let me take that back, that is a bit of a stretch. Why does it kill you if Tim Drake was never just Robin? Oh god, stop the presses! The writers are trying to respect Jason Todd. And if the Justice Society has only existed on Earth 2, is that really worth crying over? As I life-long JSA fan, I welcome that idea. Frankly, it makes sense. But wait, the Question might not be just a man? Holy crap that might just be a logical argument! How could that possibly have found its way into the pages of my comic book? What all of this comes down to is that some people can never be satisfied. But when it comes to continuous cries of displeasure of DC’s Facebook page, it is really unnecessary. Get off the computer and cry into your pillow.