Tagged: Hulk

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll The Law Is A Ass #403


When is a murder not a murder? Give up? What say we find out.

It all started with Ulysses Cain. You remember Ulysses Cain, don’t you? Inhuman who can predict the future and caused the whole Civil War II imbroglio when Captain Marvel and Iron Man disagreed over how he should be used. Lord knows I remember him. In Civil War II #2, Ulysses predicted that Bruce Banner would become the Hulk again and go on a murderous rampage.

So in Civil War II #3, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and more costumed heroes than you can shake a double-page spread at confronted Dr. Banner in his secret lab. You can probably guess from the fact that was only part three of a nine-part story, the confrontation didn’t go as planned.

While all the heroes except one were talking to Bruce outside his secret lab, the Beast went inside and hacked into Banner’s computers. He learned Banner was injecting “treated dead gamma cells” into himself. (Interesting biology note: a gamma cell is a cell in the pancreas that secretes pancreatic polypeptide. Somehow, I don’t think those would have had any inhibiting effect on the Hulk. I think Beast meant to say dead gamma-ray-irradiated cells, but he probably didn’t have enough space in the word balloon for all that.) When Maria Hill, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., heard that Dr. Banner was experimenting on himself, she placed him under arrest.

Which made Banner angry. And do we like Dr. Banner when he’s angry? Who know? No sooner had Banner raised his voice than an arrow struck him in the head. Killing him. (Civil War II is over-achieving. It’s met its “Someone Has To Die Or It’s Not An Official Cross-Over” quota twice now.) Then Hawkeye revealed himself as the shooter and gave himself up.

Hawkeye stood trial for murder; in a sequence that jumped back and forth in time between prosecution witnesses, defense witnesses, and flashbacks so often you’d think Quentin Tarantino was the court reporter. Hawkeye testified that Banner gave him a special arrowhead that Banner had designed; one that would kill the Hulk. Banner told Hawkeye, “If I ever Hulk out again, … I want you to use that.” Banner asked this of Hawkeye, because Hawkeye was one of the few people Banner knew who would be able to live with the choice.

Hawkeye also testified that his eyesight was more acute than most people’s eyesight. That’s what made him such a good archer. He saw Banner was agitated and that his eye flickered green. He knew Banner was about to Hulk out and shot the arrowhead. (Hawkeye saw a green flicker in Banner’s eye from his perch up in a tree that was more than one hundred yards from Banner? That isn’t just acute eyesight. That eyesight is better looking than a super-model.)

In Civil War II #4, the jury found Hawkeye not guilty. How did the jury reach that verdict and find Hawkeye’s murder not a murder? I think we can safely eliminate the persuasive powers of Henry Fonda. So what did sway the jury to vote not guilty? Let me count the ways.

One: the jurors believed Ulysses’s prediction that Banner was going to Hulk out and kill someone. So it found that Hawkeye acted in self-defense. Two: they could have found that because Banner asked Hawkeye to kill him it was a mercy killing. Three: they could have found that they didn’t care that Hawkeye was actually guilty, the world was better off without the Hulk and they weren’t going to punish Hawkeye for killing the Hulk. That last one would be what we call jury nullification; a jury finds the defendant not guilty despite the defendant’s actual guilt for some sympathy reason. Juries aren’t supposed to do that but some do. And when they do, it’s still a valid not guilty verdict even if the reason is invalid.

The jury could have found Hawkeye not guilty on any one of those theories. Or on any combination of those theories. Juries only have to be unanimous on their verdicts, not their reasons for the verdict. So if eight jurors believed self defense, three believed mercy killing, and one believed in jury nullification; it was still a valid verdict, because all twelve voted not guilty. Hell, a juror could even have found Hawkeye not guilty because the juror believed the costumes some artists forced Hawkeye to wear through the years was punishment enough.

So there you have it. When is a murder not a murder? When it’s self defense, a mercy killing, or a jury nullification. Of the fourth way, which is the way I think really applies here: a murder is also not a murder when the plot needs it not to be a murder.

Marc Alan Fishman: Where’s the Spotify of Comic Books?

teeny simpsons

Go check your phone or computer for the date. Did yours denote the year 2016? Mine did. In the immortal words of my muse, Bartholomew Simpson… “God-schmod, I want my monkey man!”

Now Bart was referencing a future in which humanity would have half-man/half-monkey hybrids as pets. While I too would love such an abomination on the open market, I come today in search of another future technology that seemingly should exist, but for whatever reason… isn’t. I come in search of a universally accepted streaming comic book service.

To date, I believe the most ubiquitous platform for digital comic book consumption is comixOlogy. They, like iTunes, offer an exhaustive catalog of periodicals of the pulpy nature. You find the ones you want, you purchase them, and you’re treated to enjoying them in a proprietary reader. Your digital library is always available to you, and can be read on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones alike. It’s not a bad system. But then again… it is.

I have never read Chris Claremont’s X-Men. Nor Peter David’s Hulk. I have not glimpsed at a single panel of Denny O’Neil’s Green Lantern / Green Arrow. In all instances, it’s not that there isn’t desire. It’s that I know to enjoy those tomes, I would need to sacrifice the purchase of modern books. And somehow the threat of missing what’s going on now always trumps the desire to read something that I know I’ll love. It’s the reason it took me two years after the end of Breaking Bad to actually watch the pilot. It’s the same reason I waited 33 years to begrudgingly watch Doctor Who.

In all other major media, there is a shift occurring. Because digital media needs only storage to remain viable to the consumer, the rise of subscription services are creating new audiences by burying them in an unending pile of content. Content accessible without restriction – save only for an affordable monthly fee. With Netflix, I can access an astoundingly large library of TV and movies for a tenth of what I’d spend on cable service. For less that I’d spend on a single CD, I can access Spotify and with it more music than I could ever hope to listen to in a lifetime. It seems a shame that somehow amidst all these successful services, we’ve yet to see comics do the same.

What’s holding them back? Perhaps the complicated legality of it all. Figuring out royalties for an individual item can’t be easy. Hell, don’t we all remember when TayTay Swift threw a (still ongoing) hissy about her music?  You see, Spotify and the like pay on a complicated system of plays, royalty percentages, and the actual number of paying subscribers. That way, artists may be inclined to pimp their streaming albums as means to the end. What it equates to is an average of $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream. Music though, is often a repeated enjoyment. Comics, not so much.

Take my music consumption habits for example: I make a few playlists of things I like to jam out to. One list (“Guilty Pleasures”) exists as a bank where songs check in and check out until I’m sick of them. I’ll play this list of 20-30 songs almost 4-5 times in a given week. Each song stays in my playlist for about two months or so. Anyone doing the soft math would eventually realize that in those plays, I don’t even come close to paying even the $0.99 it’d cost to purchase the song outright on iTunes. But, the artists still let ride. Why?

I’d like to think for the same reason I’d be more than happy to see my own indie titles in a subscription service where I was paid pennies for downloads. Because I know at the end of the day, content purchase is only one revenue stream. I purchase tangible CDs and graphic novels from musicians and artists I love via their crowdfunding campaigns. I purchase tickets to concerts. And I socially share things I like to those who I think might like it too. This leads to secondary and tertiary means by which the content creators I love ultimately see success. When it comes to comics, sure, we might enjoy accessing a large library of readables digitally. But we’ll also attend comic-cons where we’ll tempted to enjoy the collectible side of our favorite medium. That means the same book now potentially raises revenue multiple times. I’d consider that a win in my book.

At the end of the day, let’s be honest: It’s Marvel and DC’s passive-aggressive war with one another that will prevent a service such as I desire. They’ll continue to keep a stranglehold on their licensable properties and await the sales to spike when the next movie or TV show debuts. They’ll await the demise of the original creators still drawing a royalty on their creations.

And off to the side, great publishers like Image, Boom! and the like will push the boundaries of the medium, and enjoy their continued rising success in the direct market – small as it may be in terms of bottom line profits. Strange then to think that if the music industry could find a reasonable solution, that pulp and paper will continue to keep their heads in the sand.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Incredible Hulk vs The Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing

Now this is the way you make a Fantastic Four movie.

Trivia: this 1983 fan film was produced by Bob Schreck, who later went on to a long career for DC, Marvel, Comico, and Dark Horse, and is now the editor-in-chief for Legendary Comics. You can see him in the background and the Wookie suit.

Yes, Wookie suit.

And the guy in the orange rocks? Why, that’s Gerry Giovinco, founder of Comico and the current CO2.

We would like to hold this up as a counterpoint whenever somebody says that all you need are people who know comics to make a good movie adaptation. Comics pros are just as capable of embarrassing themselves as anyone else.

We are also now taking bets as to whether this film will end up being more profitable than the FF film currently in theaters.

Marc Alan Fishman: Loving Age of Ultron

Oh, Avengers: Age of Ultron, how I loved you so! From the moment the pre-movie Ant-Man trailer began to the last second of Whedon-tinted footage befell my eyes, I was a happy camper. Before I roll up my sleeves and dive in to the nitty-gritty details that made the movie for me, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout from the rafters that this week’s column is chock full of spoilers. So, consider yourself warned. But I digress. Let the love-in begin!

Remembering Where It All Began.

More than once during Age of Ultron, the lingering ideas of Iron Man permeated the plot line. This attention to detail – taking the theme of Tony’s war-mongering past as the driving force for all that has followed – helped create a sequel born of the cinematic MCU, rather than being plucked directly from the proverbial pulp.

That Pietro and Wanda would stare a Stark explosive in the face for several days of mental anguish, would lead them to their nearly permissible antagonistic actions showed a deft hand in the writer’s room. Pair this with the birth of Ultron himself and you have a wealth of villains to combat without it feeling like a bloated mess. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man 3, Amazing Spider-Man, and any other multi-villain movie menagerie. Here, Tony Stark is the spark for the unfurling events. It’s an organic plotline that pays dividends through believable character interaction. Astonishing, no?

Exploring The Details Of The Under-Players.

In the first Avengers movie, Black Widow and Hawkeye were mostly there to flesh out the cast. Believably placed for the ties to S.H.I.E.L.D., Natasha and Clint had their moments, but their placement on the team at large seemed more or less to add a human element to an inhuman team. No, not those Inhumans.

Here in Ultron, our truly human Avengers showcase that it was their humanity that was their superpower all along. Hawkeye the family man and the Black Widow the no-baby-mama helped anchor their gifted counterparts when things got too explody. That we would see Hawkeye leap into battle knowing he leaves a wife and kids behind – because he knows his worth and importance to the team – hit me as a parent right in the feels. As for Natasha revealing a secret shame to Bruce Banner in an effort to prove that her budding feelings for Tony Stark’s best science-bro matched his outer monsterhood with her own perceived faults… well, it was a touching and mature a concept placed in a movie I wouldn’t have pegged as either of those adjectives.

A Master Plan Worthy Of A Mean Child.

Loki, granted the mind-gem by Thanos in an effort to conquer Earth, hatched an invasion pitted against  a handful of misguided do-gooders. His machinations included mind-control, sabotage, and ultimately brute force. In contrast, Ultron – very much a child, with more mental capacity and power then he can truly control – opts instead to smash the earth with a big rock. Sure, there’s more to it than that… but really, there isn’t. And it’s a brilliant move. When we first meet him, Ultron seeks to evolve. He sets about his plan not unlike Loki – using mind-control and psychic attack to distract – but when he’s denied his prize, there’s little left to do but start killing. That he was able to create a network of thrusters underneath an entire city in what feel like a few days? Well, I guess that’s what makes him a super-villain.

What I love most about it though, is that the end-game motivations of Ultron end up immature and thuggish when he’s left without the toy he wanted in the first place. We are reminded at the tail-end of the movie that both he and The Vision are very much new to the world. No amount of knowledge can replace wisdom. Again, this is a little detail in a large moving plot that escalates a would-be blockbuster into something that rises above my personal expectations.

And Last, But Not Least… The Promise Of The Future.

When the dust settles, it’s apropo that there’s no schwarma to be had. The Avengers fall into their more natural state. If I might beat this dead horse one last time: the actions presented all felt in line with the characters we’ve seen built in front of us now for the last seven years. Of course Captain America and Black Widow will remain Avengers set to train the first class of new heroes. Tony Stark, tail between his legs, retreats to his vast fortune and his machine shop to ponder where he goes next. Thor returns to his homeland to seek answers, and likely build towards Infinity Wars. Hawkeye gets his well-deserved family time.

And our incredible Hulk? He’ll incredibly sulk for a while, until he’s needed again, I suppose. Given that he turned down the opportunity for a romantic connection in lieu of a martyrs’ life makes sense. He did try to commit suicide only a year or two ago. He’s not ready to move on.

And after a nuanced movie like Age of Ultron? Neither am I. Excelsior indeed.


Tweeks: Avengers Age of Ultron Squeee-view

Of course, we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening weekend and of course you did too — or else why do you watch a comic geek vlog? But in case you didn’t get to it yet, do that soon and be careful watching our video, because you know….SPOILERS!

What we’ve done this week instead of a classic review is to answer some questions our friends asked us after the movie. If you haven’t been reading the comics and or watched all the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s offerings, you might have had these same questions as well. And if you already know everything there is to know about Marvel, maybe you can kindly (very nicely & respectfully because we are only kids & we can’t be expected to pass the 7th grade AND read & see everything in a time span that started before our parents were even born) expand on our points. We also talk about Avengers: Infinity Wars and our favorite MCU ships (#CaptainCarter #ScarletVision) and the one that sank during Ultron (you gotta watch to find out).

Tweeks: Experience The Marvel Experience

TweeksMEXthumbnailLast week, we went to The Marvel Experience during its stop in San Diego.  Taking place in seven large domes, visitors become S.H.I.E.L.D recruits who undergo training in order to fight alongside the Avengers against Hydra in a final showdown. It reminded us of a Marvel themed amusement park, but is it worth the ticket price (ranging from $24.50 to $34.50) when it comes your city?  Watch our review to find out.

Marc Alan Fishman: Super-Hero Fantasy Football

My beloved Chicago Bears are a team in turmoil. After installing a new head coach roughly two seasons ago, the team has simply never gelled since. This being in spite of fielding a team that is built beautifully on paper. Suffice to say as a fan, I’m left crushed and crestfallen.

But whereas die-hard football fans would simply spend the remaining time of the current season hatewatching games and greedily predicting the firing of staff, I myself am choosing a path of less anguish. No denial, anger, bargaining, depression, or really even acceptance. I’m choosing instead the art of distraction. OK, sure I bet that files under denial, but c’mon: I’m not denying my Bears blew this season in all three phases of the game. Rather than wallow in it, I think it’s a better use of my time to use my somewhat encyclopedic knowledge of comic book characters to build my own team of comics-based footballery.

From time to time we’ve seen the occasional X-Men softball game. Or perhaps a few long-lost scenes of a young Clark Kent tossing the pigskin around. But no, here, I’m relying on the known commodity that is the playground What If game. Here, the rules are simple: I’m constructing my own team of comic book characters to be fielded against any of your chosen champions. In an ultimate contest of “…nuh-uh, my team is better!” It should be fun!

Head Coach: Batman

The best coaches are motivators and strategists. Not withstanding his physical abilities, the greatest asset of the Dark Knight truly is his mind. I could think of no one better to organize a team, develop strategies that capitalize on a team’s strengths, as well as poke holes in the opponents. And while no one on my team would necessarily attempt to “Win one for the Gipper” through some unspoken bond of camaraderie, let’s be honest: Bruce has enough bat-bucks to incentivize his team if the thrill of victory isn’t enough. Furthermore, if the man’s backup plans to defeat the JLA could be used to easily thwart the JLA, well, imagine what would happen if planning was his only job!

Quarterbacks: Captain America (starter), Hawkeye / Green Arrow (backups)

Face it, every team needs that moral center. And at the best teams within the NFL in my lifetime? You have your Tom Bradys, Peyton Mannings, Drew Breeses, and the like. They’re these good ol’ boys who can make stars out of everybody around them. They rally to save the day. They don’t make stupid mistakes when the chips are down. Captain America is all of that and more. He’s a leader – natch – a strategist, and more than capable of firing an accurate projectile. Simply put, there’s no way I could found my team without him at the helm on the field of battle. And as a safe backups? The archers are just safe bets to move the ball accurately across the field.

Running Back / Fullback: The Flash, Juggernaut

When it comes to setting the run down, I’m a firm believer in potent tandems. The Flash is of course the speed on the team. Get the ball in his hand, set his blocks, and he’s in the red zone before you can blink. And when finesse isn’t needed on the goal line? Just put it in the hands of the unstoppable force. And if you don’t believe this balance works? Go ask the 85′ Bears’ Walter Peyton and Walter Perry.

Wide Receivers: Hawkman, Spider-Man, Mister Miracle

The ability to “go up and get it” is my primary concern. Having a natural flyer, a first-class acrobat, and a man who can literally get out of any coverage he might be in, all in order to come down with the ball? Well, that spells yardage to me. And certainly in all three cases, getting yards after catch is clearly not a concern.

The Offensive Line: The Blob (Center), Colossus and Strong Guy (Guards), Bishop and Groot (Setting the edge)

When it comes to protecting the QB, I can think of no line better. I basically built off the idea of immobile behemoths who can stand as a literal human (and tree) wall, from which Captain America can stand behind full-well knowing he has precious time to survey the field. And considering the line consists of an immovable object, two top-heavy strong-men, a guy who can absorb kinetic energy, and a living tree who can at least make things thorny if a linebacker slips by… I’m pretty well set.

Tight End: Beast (starter), Hal Jordan (backup)

A good tight end is many things to a team. He’s a lead-blocker. A pass-catcher. A known diversion. Basically, in my eyes… a wildcard capable of disrupting a defense in any number of situations. I believe with a thinker like Beast lining up, I’d gain insight, agility, and raw strength when needed. And should he be too physical a presence? Well, ole’ Hal and his trust emerald ring of power would do plenty to keep an opposing defender distracted. And hey, no one said you can’t catch a pass with a giant boxing glove, right?

The Defensive Line: Solomon Grundy, Grodd, Doomsday, The Thing

Forgive me: I just wanted four big, mean, nasty dudes ready to tear apart anything that moves when the ball is hiked. I give myself +5 points for choosing a monkey with telepathic powers to boot.

Linebackers: Thor, Hulk, Wonder Woman

Much like the D-Line, my LBs are all about aggression. But unlike Grundy and the gang, here I wanted to add a bit of mobility. While Hulk isn’t exactly light in the loafers… he more than makes up for it with the ability to leap great distances. And anyone who tried to skirt past either of my demi-gods will be eating dirt I say. Verily!

Safeties: Iceman, Plastic Man

Hear me out on this one kiddos. Safeties are those choice defensemen that disrupt any number of offensive tricks. Sending a great receiver down the field? Good luck doing it with ice under foot! Or if I choose to send an odd blitzer, what better to do it then a red and flesh colored bulldozer, complete with wacky sound effects? Nothing. Nothing is better than that.

Corner Backs: Wolverine, The Human Torch

A good corner is the type of guy willing to ride a receiver down the line every step of the way, and when the ball comes sailing towards their hands… no quarter is given. I could easily see “the best there is at what he does” being the type of evil scrapper than would ensure if a catch were to be pulled down… there’d be a short Canadian right there to make him pay. And if an adamantium-laced brawler isn’t doing it for you, how about a man literally on fire? Catch that ball with the heat of the sun literally breathing down your back. I dare you.

And last but not least… the kicker: Iron Man

Because Batman is the coach, and he’d probably get a kick out of a drunk punter.

I know I went a bit long, but I hope it got your gears spinning. So, who would be on your team?


Marc Alan Fishman’s Snarky Synopsis: Hulk Vs. Iron Man 2014

Hulk vs Iron-ManWritten by Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen. Art by Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessey, and Jason Kieth

After last week’s insane rant, I came onto a book like Original Sin: Hulk Vs. Iron Man with both arms up. Let’s face facts: Hulk and Iron Man seem to fight once a year. If not in the 616, then in the Ultimate Universe, or any other iteration of the Marvel U. It’s like they’re a match made in pugilistic heaven. One man, the unstoppable juggernaut… the other a walking arsenal. It’s short range versus long range. It’s rage versus hubris. And really… it’s beating a dead horse by now, isn’t it? Each time they fight, Tony unloads a continent-stopping amount of tech and boom-boom-booms on the emerald giant, who is phased long enough to get pissed, and then we cue epic punching. Tony flies and flails, maybe has a little inner-caption angst party, and then we repeat the cycle. Maybe Steve Rogers or Maria Hill jump in after a while to stop the fracas. Suffice to say, Hulk and Iron Man have been done just about as much as Batman and the G-D-Joker.

How amazing is it then that Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen play a little retcon-history gambit and come out unscathed! This issue, spending most of its running time setting the scene, is a shining example of being able to use common tropes in all the right ways. Here is an issue that truly is made better by the sum of its parts, than it is when you deconstruct it. And what an amazing segue that was. Let’s cut this sumbitch’ open then, aye?

So, the skinny is simple: The Watcher was murdered. A mort came out and declared he was the dude who done did it. He didn’t. But he was able to attack a ton of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with a psychic bob-omb. And with that attack, each hero – or pair of heroes in this case – get a big ole’ chunk of Watcher-vision in their brainpans. Specific to this book, Tony and Bruce Banner share their memories chained to the fateful detonation of a gamma bomb. And the SPOILER retcon of it all: Tony tinkered with Bruce’s bomb. Yup, while both Mr. Stark and Banner were science bros at one time in their youth… at a pivotal time when they were truly working to hone their identities, they ended up on either side of a potent fence. Bruce, the pacifist. Tony, the war monger. And one pithy, snarky barb begat another, and soon thereafter, Tony (in his alcoholic days, mind you) took Bruce to task for potentially inhibiting his gamma bomb. Throw in Thunderbolt Ross, and presto! Revisionist Marvel history that bleeds into why this book should matter.

And matter it does. As I’d noted before, there’s little to no need now to show another green goliath versus the tin can man bout. But, like Vince McMahon, Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen know that with the right story even the umpteenth fight can matter a whole lot. By introducing this snag into the history of the Hulk, and layering it over the current storyline in Waid’s Hulk-ongoing – where Bruce himself is now laced with Extremis in his cerebral cortex – we end up with a fight that is built on far more than another silly misunderstanding. And because the Extemis in Hulk’s brain now brings Banner to the forefront of his angrier half, there’s a level of threat raised here to an all-out extreme. An angry Hulk is still handicapped by his less-than-stellar thought capacity. But a smart Hulk is indeed a scary thing. Especially true when the whole “the angrier he gets the stronger he gets” card is played.

I’d noted above how this was a book of tropes. And let it be stated for the record: this is. Waid and Gillen’s plot is so by-the-numbers, it nearly stings. Or maybe it just stinks. Having to use revisionist history to create conflict is such a comic-book thing to do, I’m left again wondering if that is the modus operandi of Gillen – who I called out for doing as such in his recent stint on Iron Man. I’m all about playing to the cheap seats mind you (I do love pro-wrestling… I mean… sports entertainment after all). But when the rest of the script is really just getting us from point A to point B, there’s little to celebrate specifically about the delivery. There’s really just the employment of typical flashback – flash forward presentation after an action-packed cold-open. Maybe I’m still grumpy over Future’s End, but when I see Waid’s name on a cover these days, I expect greatness.

Artistically, you can’t get more straight-line-bombastic than Mark Bagley. He’s kinetic, epic, and clean in his storytelling. He doesn’t try to bend the rules… he doesn’t need to. It’s akin to Ocean’s Eleven as recreated by Soderbergh – this is a master playing a riff on common themes. As we all know Bagley’s ability to whip out acceptably modern comic book pages, you’re getting exactly what you’d expect from this book. And as a bonus Scooby snack… we also get a few attempts to stretch the common style. Andrew Hennessey’s inks, and Jason Kieth’s colors render an even slicker Bagley page than one is used to. Specifically Kieth’s bold choice of colors, and smart use of glows and knockouts elevate the final product to the epic-crossover level one can appreciate. Knowing that this is Marvel’s flagship blockbuster for the summer, here the art team does their job swimmingly, in giving us visuals that play to the strengths of the script.

Original Sin: Hulk Vs. Iron Man is the kind of popcorn-comic I can get behind. While it’s a bit of a copout to need to introduce new history in order to carry a story, here things move so briskly we hardly have time to savor it. And because of that smart pacing, we’re left with an inaugural chapter amidst the ever-winding checklist within the event that gives us real foot holes to anchor ourselves in for the next chapter. While I’m still not at all interested in who killed the Watcher, I can hang my hat on Hulk’s deserved rage. And therein lies the real point to why I’ll celebrate this book one week and trash DC’s attempt just seven days prior. Original Sin pays attention to the story and reasoning behind it, rather than merely announce “it’s time for punching and new team affiliations!” While the underlying structure may not be all that different, at the end of the day it’s the technique and execution that elevated Mickey’s efforts far more than the Brothers Warners has in a good long while.


John Ostrander: Why Did I Do That – Martian Manhunter

Well, David S. Goyer was busy making friends this week.

If you don’t know the name, Goyer is a big time heavy hitter writer. He’s done some comic books but mostly is known for screenplays, including Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the subsequent Justice League film as well as a score of others. This suggests he knows what he’s doing.

His comments this week might suggest differently. On the Scriptnotes podcast (which has now disappeared), he said the She-Hulk “… is the chick that you could f–k if you were Hulk… She-Hulk was the extension of the male power fantasy. So it’s like if I’m going to be this geek who becomes the Hulk then let’s create a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could f–k.”

Stan Lee, who created the She-Hulk, replied: “Only a nut would even think of that.” ‘Nuff said.

Goyer also had some choice words for J’Onn J’onzz, a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter/Manhunter from Mars. Let’s use his words, shaaaaall we?

“How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?” Following a healthy smattering of applause, Goyer joked, “How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?”

Goyer continued: “Well, he can’t be fucking called ‘The Martian Manhunter’ because that’s goofy. He could be called “Manhunter.” … The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he’s an alien living amongst us, that’s the deal. He came out in the ‘50s, and he had basically all the powers of Superman, except he didn’t like fire, and he could read your mind. So here’s the best part: So he comes down to Earth and decides, unlike Superman who already exists in the world now, that he’s just going to be a homicide detective, and pretend to be a human homicide guy. … So instead of using superpowers and mind-reading and like, “Oh, I could figure out if the President’s lying or whatever,” he just decides to disguise himself as a human homicide detective. Dare to dream.

“I would set it up like The Day After Tomorrow. We discover one of those Earth-like planets… So maybe like… we get the DNA code from that planet and then grow him in a petri dish here… He’s like in Area 51 or something and we’re just basically… doing biopsies on him.”

I have some passing knowledge of the Martian Manhunter, having done (with Tom Mandrake) a series starting back in 1998 so I have a thought or two on this subject. Last week I explained some of my thinking in creating Amanda Waller so this seems a good point to explain some of my thinking on working with J’Onn J’Onzz.

Goyer and I are in small agreement: I also felt that in many ways the Martian Manhunter was a green clone of Superman. He had most of the same powers and, instead of Kryptonite, his weakness was fire. When Tom and I did our series, we wanted to focus on what made him and Superman different. The principal one was that, while born an alien, Kal-El came to earth as an infant and was raised as a human. His values are Midwestern values. J’Onn came to earth as an adult; he was raised in a Martian culture. He’s not American; he is fundamentally alien – a Martian.

Tom and I decided we would investigate and explore Martian culture in our version. He was telepathic; his race was telepathic. What did that mean? What were the societal rules? Rape, for example, would not only be physical; it could be emotional and mental. On the flip side of the coin, sex would involve a melding of minds as well as a melding of bodies. With his race dead, J’Onn would be forever denied that. He could never again experience physical love on so deep a level.

Martians could fly, levitate, and pass through walls; their houses would have no doors or windows or stairs.

J’Onn can turn invisible; we had it that, on arriving on Earth, he saw and experienced how violent and paranoid humans can be. He chose a persona that allowed him to act like a human in order to better understand who and what we were. We had him having several other human identities as well (credit where credit is due: Grant Morrison first brought up that concept).

The idea that he would be grown from a Petri dish is not an uninteresting idea for a character; it’s just not J’Onn J’Onzz. I talked last week about being true to the fundamental aspects of a character and, to my mind, Goyer’s take on the Manhunter from Mars isn’t it. (Sidenote: why is he the Martian Manhunter? Because there are already plenty of other Manhunters in the DCU.)

This might not matter but Goyer is right now the go-to writer for DC cinematic stories. If he has this little fundamental understanding of a mainstay DC character, how much will he have for other DC characters? It’s not that hard to check on what has been done; the Martian Manhunter entry on Wikipedia takes only a few minutes to read and its pretty accurate.

I also don’t understand the underlying contempt not only for J’Onn and the She-Hulk but for readers and fans of the characters. “How many who raised their hands have ever been laid?” Why did Goyer feel the need to get all William Shatner on folks? Why the snark… and sexist snark at that?

Maybe he just doesn’t like the color green. Let’s not ask him what he thinks about Kermit the Frog. I’m not sure I need his observations about Kermit and Miss Piggy.