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The Law Is A Ass #458: The Human Torch Wants Just The Tax, Ma’am

The Law Is A Ass #458: The Human Torch Wants Just The Tax, Ma’am

I’m not an insurance company executive. I don’t even play one on TV. But if I were – or a probate judge or some similarly situated professional – and someone came to me to tell me that a Marvel hero, say Reed Richards, had died, my initial reaction would be, “Reed Richards? It’s an even-numbered week. That mean’s it’s Ben Grimm’s turn to die.”

In 2015, forces beyond their control killed the Fantastic Four. No, not the cosmic forces behind the latest version of Secret Wars. That was just the story where the FF died, not the forces that killed them. Said forces were higher ups at Marvel who decided if Fox wouldn’t give the film rights for the Fantastic Four back to Marvel Studios

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, then Marvel Comics shouldn’t publish a Fantastic Four comic and give free publicity to a competing studio’s movies. So at the end of the Secret Wars story line, Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards, Sue (Invisible Woman) Richards, and their children all died.

No, of course they didn’t die. But everyone including Johnny (The Human Torch) Storm and Ben (The Thing) Grimm thought they had died. Someone even had them declared legally dead, because in Uncanny Avengers (2017) #28, a lawyer named Harris Hutchley told Johnny that he had inherited Reed’s $5,196,353,518.41 estate.

Which, like a sleep over camp bed, is pure bunk.

Reed and Sue lived, and Johnny lives, in New York City, so that means the laws of New York would cover Reed’s estate. New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 2-1.7 reads, “A person who is absent for a continuous period of three years, during which, after diligent search, he or she has not been seen or heard of or from, and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained shall be presumed, in any action or proceeding involving any property of such person, contractual or property rights contingent upon his or her death or the administration of his or her estate, to have died three years after the date such unexplained absence commenced, or on such earlier date as clear and convincing evidence establishes is the most probable date of death.”

Which means, in simpler terms and with far fewer commas, that after three years of Reed and Sue being missing, a court could declare them dead.

Reed and Sue’s “death” happened in Uncanny Avengers (2015) #4, which came out in January of 2016. Johnny was informed he had inherited the estate in Uncanny Avengers (2017) #28, which came out in October of 2017. Now I may have been bad at math, but I wasn’t so bad that I can’t count to one and one-half years. I was even good enough to know that’s only half of the time the statute requires before a declaration of death should be made. And that’s one and one-half years of our real-world time. One and one-half of our years is probably just a weekend in Marvel time; maybe a Labor Day weekend. But far less time than the statute requires.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must add that the statute also says, “The fact that such person was exposed to a specific peril of death may be a sufficient basis for determining at any time after such exposure that he or she died less than three years after the date his or her absence commenced.” Surely said paragraph would apply to people who tick off Dr. Doom, Annihilus, or even Paste-Pot Pete on a weekly basis. No, I think not.

As I said earlier in this column, if I were an insurance executive or a probate judge in the Marvel Universe and someone came to me to say some Marvel super hero had disappeared and should be declared legally dead, I’d say, “Not so fast.” Let’s face it, “dead” heroes in the Marvel Universe come back so often you’d think Jesus was offering a Lazarus special at a Costco kiosk. Reed Richards himself died in Fantastic Four (1993) #381 only to return in Fantastic Four (1995) #407. And let’s not forget the original “Heroes Reborn” incident. (Yes, let’s all forget that, please. —Ed.)

The point being, legal officials in the Marvel Universe have seen people die and return to life so often, I don’t think any of them would be willing to have a Marvel hero declared legally dead just because someone asked. There’s a lot of paperwork and court hearings involved in declaring a person legally dead. There’s even more of that involved in declaring a person not-dead. After all, a judge who distributed probate assets for some Marvel character who was presumed dead would have to figure out how to get those assets back to the original owner after that character invariably came back in a few issues. At the very least, I think the legal profession would wait the full three years before declaring a Marvel character dead, not a year and a half.

Even if Reed had been declared legally dead, I seriously doubt that his estate, which had to be long and complicated, would have been completely probated in only a year and one-half. It took almost that long for my mother’s estate to be probated, and it was about as complicated as a glass of water.

But in this story, Reed and Sue were declared legally dead faster than Quicksilver can play the Minute Waltz and Johnny inherited. Only to learn that he had to pay something called the “business and opportunity tax.”

The what now?

I’ve heard of the income tax. I’ve heard of the sales tax. I’ve even heard of the marza tax. But I’ve never heard of the business and opportunity tax.

Neither has Google or Wikipedia.

That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It only means that my quick internet searches didn’t find any taxes with that name. Not in the USA or any of its component states. Moreover

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, the concept of Johnny owing any tax on the money he inherited is dubious at best. After all, if death isn’t certain in the Marvel Universe, why should taxes be?

While some states have what’s called an inheritance tax that require the legatee to pay taxes on what was inherited, New York and the federal government don’t have an inheritance tax. They have an estate tax. With an estate tax, the estate, not the legatee, pays the tax out of the estate proceeds. That means Reed’s estate, not Johnny, would have paid the taxes then Johnny would have inherited whatever was left after the estate tax was paid tax free.

Oh, Johnny will pay income taxes on his personal income from Reed’s various patents and holdings. But those will be due weeks or months down the road

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, not the same day he inherited.

Earlier I said I didn’t know what a business and opportunity tax was. If any of you know what it is, let me know. Not just because, even at this late stage in my life, I like learning new things, but for an even better reason. If the business and opportunity tax actually exists, it’s just one more reason for me to be happy I’m retired.

REVIEW: Copshop

REVIEW: Copshop

Thanks to the pandemic, many a good film winds up overlooked and underappreciated. Joe Carnahan’s Copshop is such an offering. Out now from Universal Home Entertainment, it boasts a well-constructed story using a solid cast, and set almost entirely in a Nevada police station.

It’s clear something’s amiss when Teddy Murretto (Vincent Grillo) pulls up in a police car riddled with bullets and sucker punches rookie cop Valerie Young (Alexis Louder), forcing her to arrest him. The why becomes clear when the intoxicated Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler) is also brought in. Viddick is there to kill Murretto, who has been informing the Feds about an assassination plot. Add in Huber (Ryan O’Nan) and Anthony Lamb (Toby Huss) as wild cards just to keep things interesting.

The ensuing chaos is loud

, brash, and inventive as the cops and criminals and innocents are all caught up in a cat and mouse game, with bullets flying and alliances appearing more mercurial than originally believed.

Carnahan, who made his name with Narc, Smokin’ Aces, and The A-Team so he knows how to handle action and memorable characters. Working with screenwriter Mark Williams (Ozark), there is a sense of fun brought to the mayhem, making for a satisfying filmgoing experience. The bad guys are far more than two-dimensional, adding a fine layer of meaning to the proceedings, their code versus the police rules.

Grillo and Butler are fine, but it’s The Tomorrow War’s Louder who shines her, as a by-the-book cop who has to sort out the mess and survive.

The film arrives in the traditional Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD code combo pack. The 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 is very crisp, retaining the interesting color palette, starting with the amber of the desert and including the red and blue hues of the police lights. The blacks are retained just as well. The DTS HD-MA 5.1 audio track is strong, given all the shooting and shouting.

Surprisingly, there are no Special Features to accompany the movie, not even its trailer. Given the fun experience in watching it

, no doubt there would have been interesting Behind the Scenes stories to share.

Four new Catwoman: Hunted Images Revealed

Four new Catwoman: Hunted Images Revealed

In a cast packed with villains, Barbara Minerva tops the roster as the leader of Leviathan. And nobody gets under Minerva’s skin like Catwoman. Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place, Barry) provides the voice of Barbara Minerva. 

Everyone’s favorite felonious feline arrives with her own film – Catwoman: Hunted – just two months from now … and attached are new images spotlighting Selina Kyle and some of her foes in the film. 

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the feature-length, anime-style Catwoman: Hunted arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital on February 8, 2022.

In the all-new original film, Catwoman’s attempt to steal a priceless jewel puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman. It might just be enough to contain her. Or not.

There’s no end to the cat fight, starting with Cheshire taking her best shot at Catwoman atop a roof. Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) supplies the voice of Cheshire.

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Batwoman isn’t the only bat-like character in Catwoman: Hunted as Nosferta makes an impressive entrance in the film. Zehra Fazal (Young Justice franchise) provides the voice of Nosferata.
Nothing like being awakened by your best friend – especially when she’s a cat. Isis is along for every step of the adventure as Selina Kyle/Catwoman attempts to steal and connive her way past both Interpol and the villainous organization Leviathan in Catwoman: Hunted. Elizabeth Gillies (Dynasty

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) leads the star-studded voice cast as Catwoman
Halloween Kills Stalks Homes in January

Halloween Kills Stalks Homes in January

Universal City, California, December 8, 2021 – Evil dies tonight. Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”, Knives Out), Judy Greer (The Village, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Andi Matichak (Blue Bloods, Orange is the New Black) and the entire town of Haddonfield band together to take down the infamous killer Michael Myers in the never-before-seen Extended Cut of HALLOWEEN KILLS, arriving on Digital December 14, 2021, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD January 11, 2022. Hailed as “A bloodthirsty sequel” (Bloody Disgusting), HALLOWEEN KILLS features the original theatrical release, the Extended Cut with Alternate Ending and exclusive bonus content which includes extended and deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes look at creating the film, special gag reel and more!

The Halloween night when Michael Myers returned isn’t over yet. Michael manages to free himself from Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) trap to resume his ritual bloodbath. As Laurie fights for her life from injuries from her last encounter with Michael, she inspires her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster. The vigilante mob then sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.

Master of horror John Carpenter (Halloween 1978, Halloween 2018) once again joins forces with director David Gordon Green (Halloween, Pineapple Express) and producers Jason Blum (Blumhouse), Malek Akkad (Trancas International Films) and Bill Block (Miramax) for this continuation of the Halloween franchise. HALLOWEEN KILLS also includes a stellar cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton (The Forever Purge, The Postman), Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island, Amityville: The Awakening) and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone, The Dark Knight). “As immortal as Michael Myers himself” (The Wrap), HALLOWEEN KILLS offers a tricky treat for audiences both old and new.

BONUS FEATURES on 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:
• GAG REEL
• DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES
• HADDONFIELD’S OPEN WOUNDS – Those who die at the hands of Michael Myers are not his only victims. We look at some of the returning characters, and why their past traumatic encounters with The Shape made them natural candidates to try and defend Haddonfield against him.
• THE KILL TEAM – It takes a big team to create a film the scale of HALLOWEEN KILLS, especially when part of the task is raising the bar for Michael’s gruesome kills. We hear the people behind the mayhem discuss how they continue to push the franchise to new heights.
• STRODE FAMILY VALUES – Filmmakers and cast discuss the three generations of Strode women that have been terrorized by The Shape, and the roles Laurie, Karen and Allyson play in trying to vanquish his evil.
• 1978 TRANSFORMATIONS – Shooting new footage that matches the feel of the iconic 1978 footage is no easy task, and even takes a little bit of luck. We reveal some of the secrets of how filmmakers achieved these stunning sequences.
• THE POWER OF FEAR – The impact of Michael Myers’ pure evil extends far beyond his victims. We examine how fear of The Shape changed the psychology of the people of Haddonfield.
• KILL COUNT
• FEATURE COMMENTARY – Director/co-writer David Gordon Green and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer

HALLOWEEN KILLS will be available on 4K Ultra HD

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• 4K Ultra HD delivers the ultimate movie watching experience. Featuring the combination of 4K resolution, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) and HDR10+* which delivers incredible brightness and contrast for each scene and immersive audio for a multidimensional sound experience.
• Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes Blu-ray™ , DVD and Digital copy.
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• The Movies Anywhere Digital App simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere is available only in the United States.
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Looper Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 4K Release

Looper Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 4K Release

Sony Home Entertainment has announced that the cult favorite Looper is coming to 4K Ultra HD libraries with a new release February 15.

SYNOPSIS
In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good…until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, and also starring Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS

4K ULTRA HD DISC
• Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, reviewed and approved by the filmmakers
• All-new Director-approved Dolby Atmos audio + Original 5.1 audio

BLU-RAY DISC™
• Feature presented in High Definition
• Special Features:
o Feature Commentary with Director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt
o Looper: The Future From the Beginning — Making-of Featurette
o 22 Deleted Scenes with Commentary
o Scoring Looper
o The Science of Time Travel Featurette
o Looper Animated Trailer

CAST AND CREW
Written and Directed By: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Ram Bergman and James D. Stern
Executive Producers: Douglas E. Hansen

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, Julie Goldstein, Peter Schlessel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dan Mintz
Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Garret Dillahunt and Jeff Daniels

SPECS
Run Time: Approx. 119 minutes
Rating: R for strong violence

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, language, some sexuality / nudity and drug content
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 2.35:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

REVIEW: Superman: The Complete Animated Series

REVIEW: Superman: The Complete Animated Series

After the beautiful restoration of Batman: The Animated Series to Blu-ray, now in time for holiday gift-giving is the Blu-ray edition of Superman: The Complete Animated Series. When the DVD edition arrived in 2009, I wrote in part:

“All the love and attention lavished on the Dark Knight was poured into this show, which was brighter and shinier, the villains larger in scope and giving the animators a chance to bust loose. Superman works great in animation and after the lackluster efforts from Filmation, Hanna-Barbera, and Ruby-Spears, this one clearly shows the potential fulfilled.

“As usual, the voice casting is fairly top-notch with Tim Daly alternating nicely between Superman and Clark Kent, sparring playfully with Dana Delany’s Lois Lane. Clancy Brown is wonderfully malevolent as Luthor and his ever-present menace is well handled, matching the reboot version launched a decade earlier.”

The new edition looks very sharp in 1080p in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Seeing some of this again was a joy given how clean and sharp everything looked. The video is well matched by its DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

Most of the 2009 Special Features are included:

Disc 1:

“The Last Son of Krypton – Part 1” Video Commentary by Bruce Timm, Dan Riba, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Glen Murakami.

“Stolen Memories” Commentary by Timm, Murakami, Burnett, Dini, and Curt Geda.

Disc 2:

“The Main Man – Part II” Commentary by Timm, Murakami, Burnett, Dini, and Riba. (SD, 21:16)

Disc 3:

“Mxyzpixilated” Commentary by Dini

, Jason Hillhouse, Timm, and Riba.

Disc 6:

Menaces of Metropolis: Behind the Villains of Superman (13:02)

Building the Mythology: Superman’s Supporting Cast (9:37)

Superman: Learning to Fly (9:41)

A Little Piece of Trivia (21:29)

The Despot Darkseid: A Villain Worthy of Superman (16:57)

And new to the collection is Superman: Timeless Icon (32:45) as a handful of creative forces— producers Timm and Dini, director Riba, writer Bob Goodman, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano, and vocal talent Tim Daly and Clancy Brown— discuss the Last Son of Krypton’s importance to comics, mass media, and the world at large.

This set is missing some material commentaries for “Tools of the Trade,” “Brave New Metropolis,” “World’s Finest Part 1,” “Apokolips…Now! Part 2,” “New Kids in Town

,” and “Legacy Part 2,” along with the “Apokolips…Now! Part 1” easter egg commentary and “Superman: Behind the Cape” Special Feature.

That said, the entire Blu-ray set is well-wroth having to enjoy or bring delight to a new generation of fan.

REVIEW: Injustice

REVIEW: Injustice

I don’t play video game so I am only peripherally familiar with Injustice, an Imaginary Story featuring the DC Universe. Similarly, I didn’t read the Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comic book that apparently sold well enough to inspire Warner Animation to invest precious time and resources in adapting it to film. The resulting product, out now from Warner Home Entertainment, is an acquired taste.

Those familiar with the source material will be irked at how much has been trimmed out to fit hundreds of pages into a 75-minute story. Those unfamiliar with the tale will scratch their heads a lot

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, asking, “How’d that happen?”

Taking a page from Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, Superman turns dark with rage and grief after the Joker kills Lois Lane. The twist is that this Lois is pregnant, deepening his pain. He becomes a dictator, instilling his warped view of justice around the world, forcing his allies to either side with him or form the resistance.

And we’re off.

I don’t find this sort of story particularly compelling without the requisite time for characterization and the film, written by the hit or miss Ernie Altbacker, favors action. And the action here, directed by Matt Peters, is not staged as well as previous animated offerings so the entire production leaves me cold. I am also not particularly impressed with the character designs which are clunky, hampered by the limited animation. The overall production just doesn’t work.

The most interesting aspect is the vocal cast, led by former Green Arrow Justice Hartley as the Man of Steel. He’s opposed, of course, by Anson Mount’s grim Batman. Derek Phillips does fine triple duty as Nightwing/Deadwing and Aquaman along with Anika Noni Rose’s Catwoman and Faran Tahir’s Ra’s al Ghul.

Given the veteran production talent behind the scenes

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, they should all have known better that a story with this much scope can’t successfully be truncated.

The film is available in the usual formats including the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD code combo. While the animation is stilted, the transfer to 2160p is very strong, with sharp colors and even saturation throughout. And the 1080p is just fine. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio finely captures the explosions, bickering, and pontificating.

The Special Features include Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (30:55) as producer Jim Krieg, director Matt Peters, producer Rick Morales, and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker, explain their unfulfilled ambitions for the story. Beyond that, we get the far more interesting two-part “Injustice” story from the 2002 Justice League.

Marvel Shares Andy Park’s How-To-Draw Shang-Chi video

Marvel Shares Andy Park’s How-To-Draw Shang-Chi video

To celebrate the release of Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, now available on all major digital platforms, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD, check out Marvel’s Director of Visual Development Andy Park’s How-To-Draw Shang-Chi video, as well his concept art for Shang-Chi

, and Morris concept art from artist John Staub.

We favorably reviewed the movie and noted

, “There’s a lot of pain and emotional heft here, more than in some of the other MCU offerings.”

Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Part II by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, and Rich Tommaso

OK, you know how in big superhero comics, everything needs to be back at status quo ante eventually? Worlds will live, worlds will die, Ultrafellow will be replaced by a disabled teen Latina, and the entire Evil-Fighting Gang will disband for good…but only until it all goes back to the way it was before.

Readers tend to assume that your modern passel of writers – the ones we respect, the ones who talk about loving punching-comics since they were five, the ones we sometimes think still wear Underoos to big shows – only do this because they are forced to do so by the evil rapacious companies, and that, given their druthers, they would Change Things Permanently, which Would Be Awesome.

So, under this assumption, all of those careful putting-things-back-in-the-box storylines, all of the big Events that undo the previous Event to reset for the next Event – those aren’t the fault of their writers, those are all imposed on them by the evil, evil Suits in…what is it, Burbank, now? Burbank is funny, so let’s say Burbank.

People assume that. They want to believe it. But is it true? Or do those writers just want to put all of their toys back in the box neatly, because they’re still those five-year-olds playing with Star Wars dolls [1] at heart?

Why do I bring this up? Well, you can probably guess. But I’m spoiler-averse enough not to completely fucking spell it out for you right here.

So, he said, brightly, here’s Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Part II , a creator-owned superhero comic that has been lauded by all of the Usual Suspects for the Usual Reasons. The series won the Eisner for Best New Series in 2017. It’s written by Jeff Lemire, who also writes comics about real grownups who don’t punch each other all the time, and drawn mostly by Dean Ormston, with a few issues in this book from the pen of Rich Tommaso. This particular collection gathers the end of the second main series

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, and – nudge nudge, wink wink – finishes up the main story begun in the first volume . (Here’s what I’ve written about Black Hammer-verse comics so far : I warn you that I have perhaps enjoyed complaining about them more than I did reading them.)

Now, I like Lemire’s non-superhero writing. I think he’s one of the great talents in comics, with a deep understanding of human behavior and a willingness to tell serious, dark stories when that’s the material he’s working with. And flashes of that Lemire do shine through the cardboard walls of the superhero universe he’s constructed here for his dolls to play in. Ormston is a solid artist in that spooky Dark Horse house style, and Tommaso has a quirkier thin-line style (here something like a ’40s comic translated through a modern sensibility) that I quite like as well.

So these guys do good work. They can tell great stories. They just, from the evidence here, would prefer to move their dolls around a few very cliched sets and ape dialogue they loved as children.

This book opens on the cliffhanger from Age of Doom Part I: our heroes are about to go back to the real universe for the first time in a decade, which will allow Darkseid the Anti-God to make the skies red for twelve issues or so and then, presumably, to destroy everything everywhere. (We don’t see him actually do anything like that: maybe the Anti-God just wants to go down to the shops and get a few things? He’s never actually on stage

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, or doing anything. All we know is what his enemies say about him.) So, to save the world, Lemire deploys first one, then another Standard Modern Comics Plots.

First up, one of the character has to meet his maker, in best Grant Morrison fashion, with the usual panoply of forgotten/never-existed characters for added pathos. Then we get the Everything Is Changed World, where All of The Heroes Have Forgotten They Ever Were Heroes, because That Is the Saddest Possible Thing. Both of those plots get solved, obviously: that’s how Standard Plots go in superhero comics.

And then…well, see my first few paragraphs. I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens, but if you read superhero comics, you know the drill by now.

This is deeply disappointing, and makes all of the Black Hammer comics up to this point completely pointless.

Now I’ve seen modern creators do “my favorite childhood comics

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, but with actual human motivations,” and that’s plausible. I’ve seen “how I would have handled my favorite story,” which is hermetic but understandable. I’ve seen a lot of “this is the right way for Character X to behave, unlike what all those dum-dums said,” which can be fun.

But this is something else. It’s a like a long car trip through boring, familiar territory with a promise of something new at the end, only to turn a corner and suddenly be back home, only the house is shabbier by our absence. If this is what Lemire planned to do the whole time, I have a hard time understanding why he, or anyone, though it was a worthwhile thing to do.

[1] “Action figure” is a term made up so that American boys could play with dolls and not feel feminine in a way that their culture embarrassed them about. All action figures are dolls. Period.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 12: To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before by North, Charm, & Renzi

So I have no idea if the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series ended at #50 for actual economic reasons (slowing sales), for fake economic reasons (Marvel wanted to concentrate only on comics that can have ten different covers), or for real creative reasons (Ryan North ran out of ways to tell the same “Doreen Green faces Big Marvel Villain, and gets BMV to talk about feelings rather than punching”). It may have even been a reason I’m not considering – perhaps the combined forces of global squirrels realized this comic was too close to reality for their liking

, and they’ve used their squirrely wiles to suppress it.

But, for whatever reason, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – at that point the longest-running Marvel comic (hey! that’s another possibility: it annoyed someone in the Marvel hierarchy that such an off-brand, for-female-and-young-people comic was so prominent!) – ended with issue #50, in January of last year.

The very last storyline was collected in this, the last collection: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 12: To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before . As with the previous few books, the creative team was writer Ryan North, artist Derek Charm, and color artist Rico Renzi, with a quick guest appearance from original series artist Erica Henderson.

In that book, Squirrel Girl’s greatest foe gathers up all of her nearly-greatest foes and executes a carefully-orchestrated plan to first unmask Doreen Green (she who is Squirrel Girl) and then kill her.

Spoiler: it doesn’t work. Squirrel Girl is not murdered in the last issue of her comic. This may seem to be a silly thing to mention

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, but in modern-day superhero comics, the opposite is actually somewhat more likely.

Anyway, there’s a big fight – no, really, really big – involving nearly every character who has appeared in all fifty-eight issues of Squirrel Girl, but, in the end, niceness wins, with only a minor case (lampshaded in the actual book) of deus ex machina. This book is mostly fight scene: in that way, it’s more like the rest of the superhero millieu than most of the previous Squirrel Girl stories

And Doreen nearly comes out of the closet near the end, in a way that gives plausible deniability to North but which only the very youngest and most sheltered of the Squirrel Girl audience will miss. And I can wish that was clearer or louder, but maybe this is as good as it could get.

I’ve written far too much about this series – witness my archives

– so I think I’ll leave it there. This was a nice comic that went almost entirely against the grain of modern superhero comics, in ways that were all good and positive. It was sometimes a bit too Girl Power! for me

, but I am not a girl, and my opinion is not that important.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.