A Scanner Dorkly: Oct. 29
Huntress chased the Man-Bat for about fifteen pages — only to crash through a non-descript window of a Gotham cathedral at the feet of a cleric driven mad; Power Girl and Terra grappled with Ikea furniture; Power Man ate waffles with “Ant Jemima” syrup on them; and Moonstone seduced Bullseye. It was another weird week in comics. But, more than in other weeks, it was the little touches — the Easter eggs — that really delivered the storytelling. Here are some of the highlights. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.
Poor me… poor me… pour me another one…
At Gotham’s Saint Aloysius’ Church, a young priest prepares to take over the flock of a retiring cleric, who discusses the joys of the cloth while pouring himself a chalice full of merlot.
Father Mark: You’ve spent over forty-five years here, Father Mel… I hope to learn as much as I can from you before you retire next month.
Father Mel: Uh-huh.
Father Mark: I’m just so excited to have the chance to actually work in a community that needs me, not like Metropolis.
Father Mel: Pfft… Son… Just stop. Just tell me one thing… Mark, right? Tell me, Mark… Who did you tick off to get sent to this Hell hole?
Father Mark: My faith brought me here.
Father Mel: Uh-huh. Well, here’s my advice, because I’m leaving tomorrow. Your faith brought you here? Then hold onto it tight. This is Gotham. It’s not a city… It’s a Leviathan. Your faith won’t be tested here. Here the Beast Himself will come out and rip it from you…
Nice touch: Father Mel, supposedly, leaves shortly thereafter. Perhaps for Craggy Island. But I really like that the elder cleric pours himself a stiff one into — not a wine glass — but an ornate chalice. As if he’s completely lost all respect for the Institution he has embodied throughout his career. It’s a really small detail that does an amazing job of setting up the events to come.
Has anyone resisted… ever?
In issue #5, Our Heroine rescues an extra-dimensional guard who has been sent to retrieve three, royal, spoiled pains in the keister. As she carries him aloft, held safely against her bosom, she muses:
At least he isn’t trying to resist me.
Sure. Some things aren’t just universal… they’re pan-dimensional.
This ish is cram-packed with nice moments, like when Terra (“Atlee”) shares Power Girl’s shock over a photograph of the Kryptonian making a rooftop costume change.
Yeah. who would ever believe that under those mild-mannered clothes is a superhero named Power Girl. I mean, you two look nothing alike.
Nice touch: The dynamic duo face the most formidable foe in their brief partnership — a trip to Ikea-esque “Aidja” store, complete with umlaut-ravaged signage, allen wrenches and sinister cinnamon rolls. Anyone who has ever tried to decipher wordless directions to a coffee table only to be reduced to tears — when at Step Twenty-Eight, they realized that they used the wrong kind of screw in Step Two — will feel a familiar clench in their chest.
This, too, shall pass
A few pages after dashing off a brilliant commentary on Jon & Kate Plus Eight (“the chubby Asian suburbanite with the dead eyes”!), the irredeemable Ant-Man enacts a sinister plan to bring Luke “Power Man” Cage to his knees — by hiding in the hero’s waffles and threatening to grow to full size and tear him apart. Evidently, Cage has a cast-iron stomach to match his steel-hard skin, because Ant-Man remains trapped inside Power Man’s gullet for the rest of the adventure.
Nice touch: Later, Power Man and Danny “Iron Fist” Rand enjoy a post-battle repast in Harlem. Perhaps Luke’s stomach isn’t so strong after all…
Rand: How’s your stomach?
Cage: Not good. For a second in there, I thought I heard my butt screaming. You made the right choice, not ordering the “meat.”
A few panels later, we see that Ant-Man, has, indeed, finally made his getaway. Still flush(ed) from his recent adventure, he walks home.
Bring On The Bad Guys!
The book opens with Ares doing his best moyle impression by taking his ax to the Man-Thing.
In other Man-Thing news, Karla “Moonstone” Sofen moves on from her fling with Venom to seduce Bullseye — who has been masquerading as Hawkeye. Evidently, the ‘eyes have it — and she wants it:
I’m impressed with the new you. I like Hawkeye. Bullseye’s still a psychotic creep. But you as Hawkeye. That is working.
Whaddaya know? Clothes do make the man.
Nice touch: As Karla disrobes, leading the way to her boudoir,
BullsHawkeye is shown holding an apple.
The Dark Reign Saga has been careening towards one of two probable conclusions. Either an orchestrated team of villains would take Norman Osborn out or his Green Goblin alter-persona would do the honors. Either way, the Marvel Universe is seeking to regain its balance. Lucky for us, it looks as if we’re going to be treated to a little of both, as Norman, in the midst of a battle in Dinosaur, Colorado, faces a consortium of some of the most powerful, sinister beings in the galaxy. Unless I miss my guess, I’m seeing, from left to right: A dragon that could be either Dragon of the Moon or the Midgard Serpent (or, dare to dream… Fin Fang Foom?!), Mephisto, the Beyonder, Molecule Man, Enchantress and either Zarathos or the dread Dormamuu.
Either way, Norman’s in Big Trouble. And naked.
Insert your own Man-Thing joke here.
Back in the Bottle
As the Blackest Night Saga unfolds, Ma Kent, predictably, thwarts the Black-Lantern-Earth-2 Lois — with a little help from the recovering Krypto.
Meanwhile on New Krypton, a planet populated by the people of Kandor, scientists have found a way to protect themselves from any more ring-weilding zombies: A planet-encapsulating force field that will keep anything out (and trap everyone in).
Nice touch: Kandor is once again bottled.
And one not-so-nice touch…
In issue #38, Despero crashes a JLA pity party and proceeds to trounce the team of second-stringers (and Plastic Man). Luckily Zatanna shows up.
Zatanna: What in God’s name are you doing here?
Vixen : Zatanna! Where’ve you been?
Zatanna: I could ask you the same.
Despero: Mmmm.. The lithe mage? Now it gets interesting!/.
Zatanna: “Lithe mage”? Yuck. When did you start talking like “Uncle Bad-Touch”?.
With that, Zee casts a spell that removes him (with a little help from an unknown source).
Nice touch: OK, the Uncle Bad-Touch line was actually a pretty good touch, but also check out all of the visual shout-outs to classic JLA covers in the backgrounds of the fight scenes. There’s a good deal of history being communicated there. And I think we’re going to see the significance of the foreshadowing soon.