Batman versus the Cyber Cowboys in... "The Deep Freeze!"

Its Friday, December 31, 2010, another one bites the dust, and this is The Side. So why wasn't there a post last Wednesday absolutely none of you asked? Did I take time off for the holidays? Did I have to rush back up to West Virginia to aid my ailing father? Was I the victim of organized crime?

Possibly the last one.

It started Sunday night when I got a pop up on my comp telling me that my computer was under attack. Whatever it was had gotten past my security programs, but no security program is 100%. This was nasty little piece of work as it asked me if I wanted to block the attack. If I clicked no, it would bring up Internet Explorer and send me straight to a post site. If I clicked yes it would bring up Internet Explorer sending me to a site that offered a variety of items that take care of viruses and spyware. All I needed was my credit card.

I'm not the most computer savvy person around, but I know a con when I see one.

The virus quickly overtook the whole computer to the point where I couldn't do anything with it. I couldn't even bring up Minesweeper. The only thing it would let me do is go to that site and "purchase" those items.

Screw that. I shut it down and called Alpha Geek. It took a while for him to get out here as the attack coincided with that incredibly nasty snowstorm, which I really doubt was a coincidence. However, once Mike the Alpha Geek got here he was able to get the nasty bit of code out of the comp. It took a bit of doing. That thing protected itself like a wounded beast.

It was really cool to watch too. He does stuff with computers that is so above my level of computer knowledge that it looks like magic. He also tipped me off that a lot of these viruses are going around and there's quite a lot of it coming from the Russian Mob. Philip Defranco stated that many view the internet as "the Wild West", and it really is. Its dangerous, and there's plenty of nasty code-slingers out there looking to get ahead. The internet is a hostile environment and you've got to be careful on here. Which is why I never go to 4chan.

It could be worse. At least I'm not an Iranian Nuclear Power Plant.


OK, I only just made it to Comic Kings yesterday and could only grab three books. Therefore, I'll have a second review with the rest of my weekly reads on Sunday.

Let;s light this candle with ACTION COMICS #896. This issue succeeded in doing many things. First it made me want to punch Sebastien Mallory right in the mouth. Form being an obnoxious jerk in the Jimmy Olson back-up to a complete brown noser in the main story I'm really hoping for something horrible to happen to him. Second, it made me excited about a crossover. Typically these things make me have to buy a book I would want to in order to get the rest of the story or one side of the creative team kinda mishandles the others' toys. Cornell absolutely nailed the Secret Six and then I get to see how Gail Simone wraps up the story. Complete win for me. Third it confirmed that for next Christmas I want a girl robot. Robo-Lois has been such a scene stealer in this book and this issue is no exception. She's so much more fun than the real Lois Lane, but its not really a fair comparison since the real Lois doesn't have a smash mode, at least one that we know of. Great book with tons of action, loved every bit of it.

Moving on over to BATMAN INCORPORATED #2, we have grant Morrison and company knocking this thing completely out of the park. You know its going to be good when the first panel of the first page has Jiro Osamu kicking one of the henchmen of Lord Death Man right in the nuts. This book has everything I could want from this title. All the characters are spot on awesome. The cameo from Shiny happy Aquazon was fun. Bruce and Selina's interaction was spotless. He knows he can't fully trust her because she's still a thief. She knows he's going to try to stop whatever heist she's trying to pull. And they're still crazy about each other. I had to restrain myself from cheering a bit at Jiro stating "Guns are for cowards, not for Mr. Unknown!" thus increasing his own awesomeness. Loved the bit where Jiro takes the oath in the same fashion Dick Grayson once did. The only bit that's bugging me is the jewels liquefying at surface pressure. I know I've seen that bit before and for the life of me I can't place where. Ah well. If you're going to only read one Bat-title this is the one to read.

And if you're going to avoid one Bat-title like the plague BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1 gives us a good one to run for the hills screaming from. Its like I went back in time to before Bruce Wayne was completely awesome. Its totally the Bat-Douche Returns. References to Bruce Wayne's life being shattered. The title of the story "In Golden Dawn" with batman searching for a missing childhood friend Dawn Golden is pretty laughable. Bruce is a prick to Alfred. Killer Croc being on Venom seemed weird and forced, like he wasn't enough of the threat to begin with Finch has to make him even tougher so Batman could be seen as even more awesome when he took him down. I don't know what he was thinking with his redesign of The Penguin. I have to think he wanted to make a strong visual statement, much like Jim lee did with the Joker back in the overrated "Hush" storyline, but it just made the character unrecognizable. The bit with young Bruce and Dawn with the kite was really heavy handed and creepy, not in a good way creepy. It really looks like David Finch has not been paying attention at all with what the character of Bruce Wayne has been going through and his development over the last five years. So for those of you that don't like Batman being cool and awesome and want him back to being "The Goddamn Batman", this is the book for you. I'll be elsewhere. Don't bother telling me how it turns out.


Like most of the east coast I did indeed get hit by the massive snow storm last weekend. Got thirteen inches of snow which is a helluva lot for this area. It hasn't snowed like that here in thirty years.

Yes indeedy, that is a lot of snow. So of course I had to congratulate Al Gore in his defeating Global Warming, which I did on Google Buzz, and sure enough someone attacked me to support Gore. It was just precious. Serious, no body takes Gore seriously anymore. Even the environmentalist hippies are kinda hoping he'd just go away. I was asked if I knew the difference between "climate" and "weather". Of course I do!

Climate: is what the hippies freak out about nowadays for changing ever so slightly, even though its been doing that pretty much always, and makes them buy hybrid cars to feel better about themselves and superior to others.

Weather: is what is outside and best avoided as it is really frakkin' cold at the moment.

The current state of both, like everything, is temporary. There's nothing like an nasty cold winter to make me miss warmer weather.

Epic farmer's tan is EPIC!


So what song will i end the year with? What song rocked me harder than the others? I'd like to end the year with Lady Gaga.

Oh wait, I meant I'd like to end Lady Gaga this year. Pesky typos.

That's it for the year, gang. Y'all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve. I'll be back Sunday barring horrible incident.

Surf Free or DIE!!

Its Sunday, December 26, 2010, I have Batman underwear, I'm wearing it right now, and this is The Side. Christmas has come and gone and my kids still haven't opened up all their presents. Spoiled little things. Really though, its an effort by myself and the Missus to maintain a little order in the house. If they opened everything at once we fear we would lose them and the floor in a sea of wrapping paper. Not sure if the rest will get opened today as its snowing quite steadily today and they'll likely want to be out playing in it.

As for what I got for Christmas aside from Batman undies. Dad came home from the hospital yesterday. That's all I wanted.


When I agree with Al Franken on something its time to pay attention. What am I agreeing with him about? Net neutrality. This is what keeps the internet free and open. For those of you that are confused by this thinking "but I pay for internet service, it isn't free", here is a video from Phillip Defranco explaining it.

Still confused about Net Neutrality? No problem. Check this out. Everyone on the same page now? Let's move on.

The great thing about the internet is that its a pretty level playing field for talent and ideas. You can put a ton of money into a website, and that'll float you for a while, but if you don't have damn good content you will eventually sink. Inversely, if you don't have a lot of funds but you've got something worth clicking on and half a brain as to networking online, you will get people viewing your stuff. For example, I don't pay anything to do this blog aside from paying for internet connection and purchasing whatever stuff I review, with a few exceptions. I do not pay to advertise to send people to this blog. I link to it on Twitter and Google Buzz. I've gotten over 2000 page views this month, a new record for me. Someone else could be paying for internet connection, paying for a domain, may be paying a webmaster, and also be paying to advertise his site. He might be paying all of that and not get as many page views as this blog.

But let's say companies decide you should pay a fee to look at things on Blogger which hosts this mess I post up thrice weekly. Currently you only pay a connection fee to get online and you can read it absolutely free. What if it cost a quarter to come on over here and read this? The quarter doesn't go to me, who produces and compiles the content. It goes to your internet service provider who is the one who set the price. What do I get? Less views, and that's it. Because they'll obviously charge less money to go to bigger sites and why pay a quarter three times a week when you need nickels to go to YouTube or Facebook. It adds up. I certainly can't afford to pay up a nickel every time I'm on here, so The Side would be retired.

The federal government has passed legislation to protect net neutrality, but its pretty vague. There's lots of wiggle room for companies to get around. This is important for the future of the internet. Freedom requires vigilance. That's includes internet freedom. Contact your representatives. Make your voice heard.


And if net neutrality went away you might end up having to pay and extra fee to see stuff like this. It would be worth the fee, but I'm still not changing my position.

Thus endth the post. I'm going to go grab the flamethrower and clear the walk. Stoopid snow. They really need to stop having those Global Warming/Climate Change conferences in winter. Every time they do, it snows like a sum'bitch. Ah well. See y'all Wednesday.

The Longest Shortest Day

It's Friday, December 24, 2010, Christmas Eve is here, and this is the Side. As you may have realized there was no post on Wednesday, which is the first time since I started doing regularly scheduled updates that I missed one without telling y'all in advance. The reason why is an early Christmas miracle.

As I mentioned at the end of last Sunday's post, my dad was in the hospital. Getting some tests done for a shortness of breath. I was keeping up with things and really thought it wouldn't be anything major. So I got up Monday and typed a bit which I've included below and got ready for work. Here's what was going on in West Virginia.

My Dad was feeling like he couldn't get enough air. It would happen in little episodes and he would be fine. I was talking to him on the phone while he was in the hospital and he sounded fine. He's 62 years old. The doctor asked about his diet, and he eats very well. They asked about exercise, and he's been in Karate for over 35 years. They asked about anything that might be stressing him, and he told the doctor "only that my wife beats me", and actually had the doc fooled for a sec. Then the doctor asked about the family history. His father had had five heart attacks starting at age 42 and his mother had had a quadruple heart bypass operation. The doctor looked at him and told him "You can't win." He was going in with a scope to see what was going on in there.

What the doctor found was a 90% blockage of the main artery which surgeons call, no joke, "The Widowmaker". If that artery goes, it will kill you. They found the blockage Monday morning, and Monday afternoon he was in surgery getting a bypass. My brother and I were heading for West Virginia.

Sound like a miracle yet? Keep reading.

The surgery was supposed to take three to seven hours. He was done in three, because the old man of the mountain does everything with freakish superhuman speed. The hospital up there about 30 minutes from his house is a brand new facility with one of the top five heart surgeons on the east coast practicing there. If this had happened two years ago Dad would have had to have been airlifted to Washington, Baltimore, or Winchester, VA about two hours away. He did not have a heart attack so there was no damage to the heart itself. He knew something in his body wasn't right and he had a good doctor who took it seriously.

By the time we got there my father was out of surgery. My stepmother was waiting on us. It was a bit rough seeing Dad in bed with all those tubes coming out of him. He was on a ventilator, which was good because my brother was gassy. Made the ride up a joy, let me tell you. Still, my Dad's color was really good. I was expecting him to look pale, but he wasn't.

The next day was rough for him. He didn't have much of an appetite which caused the pain meds to knock him for a loop. He was pretty out of it, but by the end of the day he was eating a little solid food and taking a few steps. The day after he was still out of it due to not eating enough. That's pretty common after a surgery like that. Still he was walking all the way around the Cardio-Vascular Unit.

The day we were to leave, my brother and I were feeling pretty guilty. Yes, Dad was doing great, but it seemed like such a long road ahead with his recovery. We had to come home for our families, but were both already planning return trips. We went to see Dad and found him shaving and watching TV. His appetite had returned and after a big helping a french toast and some cream of wheat he was able to handle the pain meds much better. His voice was a little weak from having a tube down his throat a couple days earlier, but he was talking, joking, making the occasional threats, and walking two laps around the CVU. It was amazing how much he'd improved.

There's been a lot of prayers for my father. His church family has been remarkable about everything with their support. All his Karate buddies and students past and present have rallied behind him. His old unit has been fully notified. Even the Karate guys that we split from have been online and on the phone asking how he's doing. I'm fully expecting an Imperial Decree to come from Japan instructing dad to "get well soon".

The "old man of the mountain" has touched a lot of people in his life and those people all responded with prayers and well wishes, and those prayers were heard. Its mind boggling how much worse this entire thing could have been. He's actually due to come home either today or tomorrow.

So yes, my family has been truly blessed by a Christmas Miracle. We get to keep Dad here for years to come.

Thank you God, and Amen.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled insanity, already in progress.


Zombies continue to be pretty popular. It used to be there'd be a spike in popularity for them. It was the zombie fad that would come around, hang in for a bit, and then head back to its hidey hole until something came along to spark zombie interest all over again. Then came the popularity war with vampires where the pop cultural mindset would ping back and forth between the two. Now its undead-o-rama.

I've gone off plenty on vampires on here and was tempted to do so again since one of my students who is maybe ten asked if I wanted to read the story she was writing about a "half vampire". I suppressed the urge to scream "NOT YOU TOO!" and simply asked "Which half?" Stephanie Meier has much to answer for.

But back to zombies. The zombie/infected genre has been around for years and years starting of course with The Smurfs. Yes, I'm serious. In 1963, long before George Romero started making zombie flicks there was a story in the old Smurfs comic that started the whole genre. Don't believe me? Well, it got adapted into an episode for the cartoon series.

Fast forward to now and zombies are very popular. There's bunches of movies and books. The AMC TV show THE WALKING DEAD broke a record when it debuted. The show is based on a comic book from Robert Kirkman. Its a very good comic and I have been curious about the TV show since I don't have cable and can't watch it. My curiosity comes more from wondering how close the show is the book. From the few clips I've seen, it looks like it departs quite a bit from the book. The scene I saw showed the survivors getting into the CDC and seeing what happens to the brain of someone who gets infected. That never happened in the comic, but it raised even more questions for me. In the comic, if you die for any reason you come back as a zombie unless your brain was damaged enough to prevent it. In the clip they explained how a bite from the zombie spread the infection like meningitis to the brain killing the host which makes me wonder if the only way to become a zombie in the TV show is to get bitten. Very frustrating.

But with the lack of cable I turn to the internet where there's a fun zombie series on YouTube called Bite Me. I say "fun" in that its pretty goofy and funny, but yes the shambling dead still try to kill and eat you so its not all hugs and puppies.

I do like the zombie stuff although the whole zombie apocalypse thing just wouldn't work. The infected thing would in that there could be something airborne to turn a good chunk of people into a serious threat. But let's look at what would happen if the dead really did start rising.

Scenario: the dead start rising and if they bite you, you become a zombie. These are the traditional slow moving dim-witted zombies, not the cheating fast ones.

Outbreak: the main problem areas would be the cities which would have morgues full of zombies. Graveyards wouldn't be a problem as even if the bodies could still function after being embalmed six feet of dirty should hold them. There would obviously be quite a few springing up in hospitals and at accidents.

Spreading: of course there'll be a few people caught off guard and cornered. Then there's the issue of concerned family members seeing their loved one who are now zombies, don't think and get chomped.

Solution: zombies are really only a threat in large groups and confined spaces. Police and military would have this shut down very quickly. Worst case for having this turned around is about 48 hours.

So the main question in these stories is: what went wrong? How could people have screwed up enough that these things managed to overtake us? There's got to be some catalyst. Something had to have gone horribly wrong for zombies to destroy civilization. I have a zombie "apocalypse" story woven into the continuity of my Night Life series, which one day I'll get around to telling in full. I put the quotes around apocalypse because even with the twists I put in to tip the scales in the zombies' favor I just can't get them to the point where they over take people.


Tis the season!

That's it for today. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. For those of you who sent some well- wishes and prayers our way for dad, thank you from the bottom of my black, black heart. See y'all Sunday.

Weird, Possibly Racist Sex

By everything good and sweet in Odin's beard! It's Sunday, December 19, 2010, I'm not frozen, and this is The Side. Most of the snow is finally gone. We were supposed to get more last night but were spared. Its been an unusually cold December here. I was wondering why and then I saw that there was a United Nations Conference on Climate Change. Then it all became clear. I don't know why they keep deciding to do these things around winter time, but it always gets damn cold when they do.

I don't blame the Metrodome collapsing on Climate Change. I blame it on the goofs that keep having big meetings about it.


Sex is a complicated matter. First, you've got to find a willing partner. Then you've both got to be in the mood. Then you should make sure that proper protection is in place, which can be a pain, but it beats the hell out of the alternative. Then you've got to be careful not to yell out weird shit in the middle of things, because no matter how into things you both get, yelling out "MOMMY!" does not tend to go over very well. Then there's the afterward which may involve cuddling, which is fine but sucks when your arm goes to numb because she's laying on it. Then there's the next day which can be awkward if its a random hook up or someone did yell out weird shit the night before, but often that and the occasional soreness are over come by the afterglow provided everyone was throwin' it proper.

That's just glossing over all the hoops people jump through just to get to the sex. But then without all those hoops the romantic-comedy genre wouldn't exist, and where would we all be without that?

I get baffled by people who make the entire thing a lot more complicated than it has to be. Provided you're not some complete freak who likes kids, corpses, or giant weird machines you've got four options.

1: Liking to have sex with men.
2: Liking to have sex with women.
3: Liking to have sex with both.
4: Not liking to have sex with either.

That about it. I do understand on some of these cold, lonely night when a poor fella is alone but he lives near a farm. They've got sheep. He's got hip-waders. I do understand. I lived in Harrisonburg, Virginia so you just have to accept these things when the lead story in the local paper is that the authorities have discovered the reason why cows kept getting their heads stuck in certain spots in a fence. (Two words: "mooing violation". True story.)

But part of it is trying to find one specific little group for ourselves that makes us feel like part of a special little club. If describing your sexual preference sounds like you're ordering sissy coffee from Starbucks, then you're just sounding pretentious.

Going back to good old Harrisonburg and my college days, there was a guy there would was transgender. He had all the male parts, but he identified with women. He preferred to dress as a woman. He preferred to go by the name "Jenn". He also liked men in a romantic way. So, Jenn AKA Jeff was gay, and that's cool. What isn't cool is when dummies went to correct me saying he wasn't gay, he was transgender. "In her soul, she's a woman." "Sure, but in his pants, he's a dude."

All these special little tags do is overly complicate matters, when they're already complicated enough. There's not problem if you're straight, gay, bi, or asexual. Its when you start rambling off about being transquadpolyramalamadingdongsexual that your start sounding like a loon. In fact, if you identified yourself with one of the kooky titles back in the day you'd likely find yourself being forcibly asexual as no one would want to even deal with that nuttiness. However the internet is here, and for every weirdo title or fetish or whatever, I'm sure there's a chat room somewhere with their name on it.

RACISM... sorta...

As many of you may have heard there's going to be a Thor movie coming out in May. No, seriously! I have proof!

Pretty cool stuff. I like Thor, and the movie looks like a lot of fun. However, some folks don't think so. Yep, there's a black guy in Asgard and a group of racists ain't happy about it. Now, the article states that its a group of conservatives that are pissed off. Let's just clear one thing up now: speaking as a fairly conservative fellow those jerks are nuts. All conservatives don't share that kook fringe group's views. They're nuts, so let's nit turn this into a political indictment. Already groups have slammed these morons. Now, I'm not too keen on on calling Norse mythology a bunch of stuff "made up by medieval drunks", because there's a few people out there who aren't nuts and believe it. We're supposed to respect all religions so calling it a bunch of made-up crap is a bit uncalled for.

So, let's call things for what they are. Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby drew upon Norse Mythology when creating Thor. They didn't do a whole ton of research and just kinda went with things, but it grew and evolved. So, the Asgard and Norse Mythology elements in the Marvel Comics are not exactly 100% true to the actual Norse Mythology. This is much the same as how Greek Mythology is treated over at DC with Wonder Woman. It's all fiction and not to be taken too seriously as both companies treat the mythologies they borrow from with due respect.

Here's the problem: there's no black guys in Norse Mythology or are there any in the Mythology as interpreted by Marvel. However in the movie there's Heimdall (Ironically known as "The White God) being played by a black guy. Now, I'm sure Idris Elba is a fine actor. I'm sure he'll do a great job with the role. But seriously, isn't it kinda nuts to cast a black guy as a character who it makes no sense whatsoever to depict as black. This isn't like making Nick Fury a black guy, this isn't even like when there was that online campaign to cast a black guy as Spider-man. This is like casting Kevin Spacey to play T'Challa. This just seems like a really heavy-handed attempt at multiculturalism. Don't get me wrong, multiculturalism is cool. Other cultures should be shown and celebrated. Still, looking at the clips of the movie he looks like the token black dude of Asgard.

Ah well. The movie still looks like fun and I'm looking forward to it. Here's the scorecard. Casting Elba as Heimdall is dumb, but not unforgivable. The groups boycotting the movie are morons, and should just be written off. And the flick opens in May, which means I need to to start saving up now if I want to have my popcorn and Cherry Coke when I watch it.


Because some things aren't complicated.

That's all for now. My dad's in the hospital, so any prayers and well wishes sent his way are very much appreciated. He should be alright, tough old dude that he is, but its still a bit jarring.

See y'all later.

Super-Ladies press the Press

It's Friday, December 17, 2010, everything outside is frozen, and this is The Side. I'd type more on stuff that's going on, but it all comes down to one thing. Its freakin' cold and we've gotten a lot of snow for this area for December and there's more on the way. I hate snow. Still, it could be a lot worse. I could be up in Minnesota.

Stay warm, Linda!


BIRDS OF PREY #7 should come with a warning on the cover: "CAUTION: contents contain male strippers". I'm cruising on through this issue which kicks off the "Death of Oracle" storyline, there's a really cool scene with Babs and Bruce, I turn the page and WHAMMO! Great big men wearing banana hammocks and little else! Startled the hell out of me. Thanks a bunch, Gail Simone. That aside (which wasn't really a problem, but it did catch me off guard) this issue was great. Raises a question as to whether or not there's a double agent in the Birds as The Calculator is looking to yet again take on Oracle. The gals are all out having a good time for Dove's birthday, who is utterly mortified by the entire thing. Oracle and Batman have a bunch of really good stuff going on as this storyline looks to be one where things really change for the characters in a really great way. Its one of those issues where I can say if you haven't been reading this comic here's a good place to jump on board. My favorite bit in there actually addresses something that bugged me previously. In James Robinson's really awful CRY OF JUSTICE series, it was alluded to that Hal Jordan had a threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk. It was a macho high five moment that I would expect from some meathead teenagers. Some friends of mind online joked that Huntress and Lady Blackhawk probably drank him under the table and he doesn't remember a thing. This issue made me wonder it Simone saw that exchange. Loved it!

Moving it on over to SUPERGIRL #59 which wraps up Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's definitive run on the book. Much like Greg Rucka's run on WONDER WOMAN, all other runs by creative teams on this book will be judged against Gates and Igle's work here. Its been that good, and their final issue is no exception. The story involving Cat Grant finally comes to a close and brings things full circle, in a really awesome way. We also get a nice Christmas scene at the end on the Kent farm with the rest of the family. I found this part to be interesting in that early runs on this title pretty much showed Kara off as jailbait. Seeing her in this issue, particularly at the end shows us a Kara who is a mature, respectful young lady. She's become the kind of character I would like my daughters to look up to. And of course there's plenty of cool action in the story as Kara spends much of it trying to track down who's been kidnapping children. Great book from top to bottom. The next creative team is very good and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do, but they've seriously got some big shoes to fill.


I have trust issues with the media, particularly news media. There's bias there obviously, so we tend to tune into whichever news source shares our biases, unless we want to piss ourselves off them we tune into the other side. But my trust issues aren't really about bias. They mainly stem from my observation that most of the people who report news are trying to interpret life without much knowledge of how life actually is. And then there's a fact that many of the ratings-crazed doghumpers would report on their grandmothers being utterly destroyed by insane, genetically altered ferrets if they could just get the story out ahead of their competition.

When did I come to distrust the media? It was probably about ten years ago. My father was part of an Air Force reserve unit. They're an engineering unit, meaning when something needs built somewhere they deploy to do it. There was a mission in Florida in which part of the unit, not including my father, went to Florida. The mission went completely fine and they were on the way back when there was a problem and the plain crashed killing (if memory serves me) seventeen members of the unit. Terrible tragedy and a really tough time for everyone.

My father was placed in charge of building a memorial on the base which turned out incredible. Also, he was assigned a family of one of the fallen to help through this time. There was a lot of paperwork to get through which he helped with and he also served as a liaison to keep the family updated about everything going on including the investigation as to what caused the crash.

A month later the investigation about the crash concluded. In real life that's how long these things take. Its not like the movies when they rush in their team of experts and have results in a day or two. These things take time and a lot of it. So my father and the rest of the family liaisons were called to a meeting. The findings were gone over and all the questions were asked and answered. The following day, the liaisons were going to go to the families and go over everything and report the findings, hopefully to give a little closure to the grieving families.

That night, I'm at the bar, checking IDs and making sure all the drunks behaved themselves. There were about seven TV in the place and the one right in front of me had on the local 11 o'clock news.

Guess what the lead story was.

There had been a leak. The findings were not to be released to the media until all the families affected were briefed on everything. But there it was for everyone to see. A story about a plane crash over a month ago, in which the only people who really gave a damn about it were supposed to find out personally the following day. In the local news's defense it had been a slow day and they needed something concerning somebody dying to lead off with.

This lead to the next day when my father goes to the family, who are understandably upset to say the least. Why should they even talk to my father when the results were on the news? Why wouldn't they be the first to know what had really happened to their son?

I utterly seethed about that for a long time. There was once some stuff called integrity and ethics attached to news and journalism. They call that censorship now. An asshole with a website gets a hold of classified documents that he shouldn't? Well, he's got a right to publish them. That doesn't mean that he should, but it'll drive up his page views. Canadian news station shows an athlete suffering a fatal accident at the Olympics over and over again? No problem! It wasn't a close up, so that means it wasn't sensationalized enough for it so be exploiting a some poor guy getting killed.

Just because this is the "information age" does not mean that we should be able to get every last bit of information in front of us at our whim. There are things like discretion and ethics that should be drilled into anyone who wants to be a journalist or reporter. They need to know what needs to be made public and what really should be sat on. Julian Assange isn't a journalist. He's a douchebag with a website who gets his mitts on stuff he shouldn't and waves it in front of everybody because he has the law to hide behind. That Canadian station that ran that footage from the Olympics over and over and over again? That was a complete jag-off move and if they don't know it, they're complete morons. And that local news show that decided to lead with a story without considering the people it would affect or hurt? They're just assholes.


Since this week's comic reviews were all about the ladies (not including the male strippers) here's a song about more ladies.

Alright, time for me to probably go explore Ice Station Norfork. If I die horribly and freeze into a giant Nozzsicle, I'll let you know.

Drag Queen Stones Manny Fresh!!

Sweet car-honkin cripes! Its Wednesday, December 15, 2010, parts of me are currently frozen, and this is The Side. It is frakkin' cold out there. This of course doesn't surprise me since in recent months the caterpillars have been exceptionally fuzzy and certain spiders have been quite large. The future is easy to predict when you know what to look for.

We're in for another winter that'll have us all yelling, "where's all mah Global warming at?!"


Tis the season for good times, like Christmas parties. Many of those parties will indeed involve booze. So if you're going to drink, be responsible about it. Mike and Bob had a couple of officers in the studio to get local legend and internet avenger Manny Fresh hammered so we can see the effects of boozin' it up and see what kinds of tests they administer. This was in between Manny attempting to drunk call and drunk text girls at about eight in the morning requesting weird sex. Good ol Manny, always keepin' it classy.

To be honest, it was some of the funniest radio I've heard in a long time, but it also managed to be pretty educational as well.

So, from a former bar doorman and lush, drive safe and drink smart. I want to guys around next year.


Looking at the word itself Celebrities are supposed to be people who are celebrities. However, in the age of information in which privacy is as valuable a commodity as any, celebrities are often looked at with a microscope by the masses waiting for them to do something scandal worthy. It makes me wonder how much clout do these people actually have away their fields. Obviously a big name musician has some pull with record companies. Big name actors get better treatment in Hollywood. However, its the public that makes these people big names. Now, some of them are prepackaged garbage like Justin Bieber and folks just fall for it. Others have some talent so people pay attention.

Currently, there's a list of celebrities who are trying to keep a woman from getting stoned in Iran. For those of you reading this who are outraged that these celebrities have come out against marijuana, I would like to congratulate you on being temporarily coherent enough to navigate the internet. And no this has nothing to do with marijuana, it has to do with a court deciding that a widow should have rocks thrown at her until she is dead. Obviously, this is a bad thing, however I don't think this list will carry much weight. Call me crazy, but I doubt the court system in Iran care too much about what Robert Redford thinks.

Still, its good that these celebrities have seen something that they feel is wrong and have decided to come out against it. In the world of celebrities, what you say and do has consequences. Say the wrong thing, and you risk ticking off your fan base, and next thing you know you used to be a celebrity.

Names have weight. Attaching your name to something has meaning. Even if you're just a guy with a blog. Celebrities often have their pet charity that they like to contribute to and draw attention to. Me? I shaved my head for charity and raised about $300 to help fight pediatric cancer. Its a modest sum, but I was happy to do it. That was before I got on Twitter and Google Buzz and also at a time when this blog had about five followers. I'm wondering if I do it again will the result be different now that my name out there more.

I'm not a celebrity by any stretch of the imagination. Not much to be celebrated here. But names have weight, and I'm wondering how much mine weights and what good I could with it.


Recently, my cousin related to me the instance that he first saw an openly gay person in real life. It was at a party, and outside one complete with a bonfire. Everything is hunky-dory and them a guy shows up completely in drag. This was a first for my cousin on multiple levels. The obligatory hushed comments were made, but everybody was having a good time except it seems for one guy who really liked to hate on some gays. He insulted the guy dressed as a chick very loudly and very openly culminating in him calling the guy a "fucking faggot".

Now of course such things are considered hate speech and this guy should have had the masses decry his outburst. We are a civilized society after all should be celebrating diversity and all that other hippy crap. So that drag queen did what any other drag queen should do in a situation such as this. He took off his heels told somebody to "hold my shoes" went over to that guy and bap bap bap BAP. Then he thanked the person for holding his shoes and the party continued.

Unfortunately, this took place before such things as camera phones and YouTube, but it doesn't matter because there's no way to spin getting your ass beat down by a drag queen. That kind of event is spread by word of mouth, much like the epic tales were told before the advent of written language.

I stood there listening to my cousin relate this event and thought to myself, "Well I'll be damned. It really does get better."


Harmonica and cow bell? Hold on to your hats, folks!

Alrighty, pee on the fire and call in the dogs, I'm hangin' it up for today. I'm going to go put on about twenty pounds of clothes. Stay warm, people!

GSP is #4?

Its Sunday, December 12, 2010, I over slept, and this is The Side. I hate over sleeping. Its a pet peeve of mine. Its one thing if I wake up utterly exhausted and decide that I need another hour of shut eye. Its another if I wake up to discover that the kids have been playing with the volume on the clock radio and we forgot to check it before hitting the sheets.

I did probably need an extra hour of rest since I was up late watching George St. Pierre punch Josh Koscheck in the face about two hundred times. I was hoping for a broken face for Koscheck to the point of him not being able to talk, but after the whuppin' he was surprisingly incredibly gracious.

In Karate I preach to my students that if someone comes after you with circular techniques, use straight line techniques. Koschecks biggest weapon is his right hand which he always throws in a circular motion. Its devestating and has knocked plenty of guys out. So, what does the Kyokushinkai Karate Black Belt GSP do? Straight jab and repeated as necessary. I sat at my cousin's house, watching the clinic on "how to defend you welterweight title belt" smiling not just becauseone of my favorite fighters won, but because good Karate tactics got validated yet again.


A trailer for I AM NUMBER FOUR got featured on YouTube the other day and i checked it out. This was my first time seeing anything about this.

On YouTube, for those of you who have never been there (I heard you exist), there's a place to comment about the videos. Browsing through the comment I saw that many were comparing this movie with TWILIGHT. So I obviously had to read every TWILIGHT book and watch every movie to see if this comparison is accurate.

Yeah. Right.

Many people prefer to compare then describe. Maybe it stems from not being able to accurately describe what we've witnessed so we revert to using well known experiences as a shorthand to give a representation of what this new experience input made us feel. Maybe some folks have an inability to use adjectives. I don't know.

Both properties stem from books aimed at teenagers. Both feature protagonists that try to hide in high schools. Both have the protagonists fall in love with someone they met in that high school. But after that, they seem to both go on very different paths. I'm not sure how vampire struggling not to eat his loved one equates to alien guy trying not to get ganked by other aliens, but there we have it.

So, the comparison has a little merit, but is flimsy at best. That said, I AM NUMBER FOUR looks like a fun flick and one I wouldn't mind checking out.


These fellows bear consideration.

Yeah, I know it was a short one this go around. I'll try harder next time, coach! See y'all Wednesday.

Mark Waid drops an F-bomb in a Port-a-John!!

All right, you lot! Its Friday, December 10, 2010, this post ended up a lot longer than planned, and this is The Side.

I really had jack squat for today. I was going to review a bunch of comics, and put up a music video and that's about it. Then sure enough I got hit with a ton of stuff to write about and some news to share. Fortunately, I had time to type it all.


Let's get the ball rolling with BATGIRL #16. Bryan Q. Miller has really hit his stride with this book. I'm loving Dustin Nguyen on pencils. This book is a ton of fun. Our Steph has been framed for murder and has a pretty hefty amount of the GCPD hunting her. Plenty of action to be had here as the "Grass Before the Scythe" two-parter concludes. This book is one of my "TV sit-com" books. It has fun characters that I like and I look forward to it every month, but it doesn't require me to ponder every last detail of everything. Its light, and you've got to have some light, fun book to read. Otherwise, the grim and gritty overtakes your soul. Nobody wants that.

Moving onto another fun book TINY TITANS/LITTLE ARCHIE AND HIS PALS #3 in which the long standing funny book tradition is up held. If characters from two different companies ever appear in the same book there must be a competition to see which is superior. In this case its Cyborg versus Jughead in burger eating contest! What I'm really digging is that they keep bringing in more characters from the Archie side to play with. last month it was Josie and the Pussycats. This month it's Sabrina the Grade-school Witch! Great stuff from Art Baltazar and Franco. This book is consistently a treat.

The fun doesn't end there! KNIGHT AND SQUIRE #3 was on the stands so Paul Cornell could let us know that England is a very weird place. This go-a-round Britain's Dynamic Duo are up against the clone of King Richard III, who is eeeeeeevil. Obviously there's a battle and the turning point comes with online social media? Its a hoot and half to go along with a bit of knuckle dusting and it seems there's a bit of romance in the works was both Cyril and Beryl seem to have prospective love interests. It adds just the right amount of 'cute' to the weirdness. Although I still need a translation for a good portion of the slang.

Thus ends the light fun as we move onto RED ROBIN #18. I'm giving this book a try because I like Fabian Nicieza. He writes good Tim Drake. He also writes good stories that don't easily break down into black and white/good and evil bits. Done wrong, stories like this end up with the hero being less than heroic, the action seeming forced, and the readers left a bit unsatisfied. Nicieza puts Tim firmly in a bad spot in which he has to take on a friend and ally who he's not to sure about anymore in Red Star. This issue puts up a ton of questions as to who is really the good guy here, and Tim is stuck in the middle trying to make heads or tails of things. Fortunately, this is one of the top detectives in the DCU we're talking about being a written by a very competent journeyman. This is part one of what looks like the beginning of a very good story, so I'm giving it my "read of the week" stamp.

Meanwhile, out in space, R.E.B.E.L.S. #23 wraps up a story about two rookie Green Lanterns getting caught up in Vril Dox's propaganda push and this brings in John Stewart. As GL's go, I like him. You always know where you stand with him. He's got some great scene's with Adam Strange in this issue. Its a very weird issue in that our "heroes" are very nearly the villains of the story. We know Dox is a world class jerk and manipulator, but there's always been a positive spin on his schemes and ploys. People have benefited from them. This time around it was just to push his own agenda, which is completely in character for him, but it was odd reading "his" title and not being in his corner. That said, Bedard handles Green Lanterns very well, so if you're a GL fan and not reading this title, its a good story to introduce you to the book, and hopefully you'll stick around because this book is consistently awesome.

Wrapping up my reads this week is 41 #1 from my buddy Bob Frantz AKA Bobby Fresh and Pablo Peppino AKA ... um... "Peppy"? OK, Peppino doesn't have an AKA yet, but with work like this he'll probably get one soon. The art is pretty sharp, and will no doubt improve as the series continues. This is Frantz's freshman effort as a comic author, and for a freshman effort, this is one hell of an ambitious project. World building with an ensemble cast is a giant pain in the ass. So much can go wrong and turn things into a confusing mess. Frantz side steps a lot of this by giving the reader just enough information about the world of 41 for them to hit the page running and meet the cast. The cast in question are a group of mercenaries in a post-apocalypse world that do what needs doing. We follow team leader Tex Hernandez and his men as they take on a job and meet some nasty resistance along the way. Lots of action, and a fair amount of humor as well. It certainly has the best "F-bomb" I've seen in a while. Knowing Bob is what got me to pick up the book. It being good is what is going to keep me around for issue two.

BUH-BYE... sorta..

Got some breaking news for ya.

December 9th, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – It is with a heavy heart but also with great warmth and fondness that BOOM! Studios bids adieu to one of its own: effective immediately, Mark Waid is stepping down from the responsibility of Chief Creative Officer at BOOM! Studios. Waid will continue his run on IRREDEEMABLE and INCORRUPTIBLE and his brand new break-out hit collaboration with Stan Lee, THE TRAVELER.

"Mark was key in BOOM!'s transition from a promising upstart to top tier publisher," Ross Richie, the Chief Executive Officer of BOOM! Studios remarked. "Now that we've reached this stage, Mark's made it clear to me that he's ready to take on new challenges. And we wish him the best!"

"I learned a lot in my time at BOOM! about the ever-evolving job of publishing comics in the 21st century, and it’s been an invaluable experience," Waid said. "But now that BOOM! is in a strong place with its best foothold ever in the market, it’s time for me to refocus my energies on writing and on creating. And maybe take one of these ‘vacation’ things that people are always talking about.”

At Comic-Con International in 2007, BOOM! Studios shocked the industry with the appointment of Mark Waid as Editor-in-Chief of BOOM! Studios. After three years as Editor-in-Chief, and writer of some of the bestselling BOOM! Studios titles like IRREDEEMABLE, INCORRUPTIBLE and most recently THE TRAVELER, Waid was promoted to Chief Creative Officer in the summer of 2010. Today, after a little over three years at the company, Waid leaves BOOM! Studios firmly entrenched as one of the top comic book companies in North America.

"Working day-to-day with a creator of Mark's caliber is an experience I'll never forget," said recently-minted Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. "Thankfully, with IRREDEEMABLE, INCORRUPTIBLE, and THE TRAVELER going strong on the stands, I still get the pleasure of working day-in-and-day-out with Mark. He's one of the greats and I wish him the best in the next chapter of his influential career."

"Mark's such a phenomenal talent, but also a phenomenally good sport." Chip Mosher, Marketing Director added. "I'd like to publicly apologize that the tagline 'Mark Waid is Evil' will follow him the rest of his days! While Mark's presence on the BOOM! team will be missed, I look forward to reading what is next on all the BOOM! books he will continue to concentrate on."

While Mark Waid exits the executive team at BOOM! Studios, Waid will continue writing all three of his current BOOM! Studios titles. This December sees the release of IRREDEEMABLE #20 and INCORRUPTIBLE #13, in what continues to be one of the most successful launches of a new series in the past five years in the Direct Market. The success of the single issues for both series have been surpassed only by the massive trade paperback sales, with December also seeing blockbuster pre-orders for IRREDEEMABLE VOL. 5 and INCORRUPTIBLE VOL. 3 TPBs, that will be hitting store shelves later this month. Waid's collaboration with Stan Lee, THE TRAVELER #2, also tearing up the sales charts, hits store shelves later this month.

As much as I joke about Mark Waid, let me be clear: I love the guy. I'm a huge fan of his, and wish him nothing but the best. BOOM! will be in perfectly capable hands and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for Waid.


Was chatting with the guy behind the counter while getting my tire fixed. He was telling me about his daughter who is a Sargent in the armed force (I forgot to ask which branch), and while trying to instruct her troops that she was training and of course there was one guy who wasn't listening and talking when he shouldn't be. She told the guy repeatedly to stop talking and pay attention. That didn't phase him, but her yelling at him "HEY! SHUT THE @#$% UP!" did.

"When I'm talking, you keep your trap shut and listen to what I have to say! You think you know more than me? You see these ribbons? I got these for being in combat in Iraq! You ain't got squat on your uniform! You're nothing but a @#$%ing slick!"

And at this point, the guy was on the verge of crying. "Y-you can't talk to me like that! I'll tell the First Sargent!"

"FINE! Let's go talk to the First Sargent! On the way, we can stop by the parking lot so I can beat your ass!"

So off they go to the First Sargent who listens to the guy's story and then approaches the woman. "Sargent, did you really threaten to 'beat his ass'."

"Yes sir."


"I'm trying to save his life by teaching him things that'll hopefully keep him from getting killed should he ever see action. He doesn't want to listen so I'll make him listen."

"Keep doing what you're doing, Sargent. Just next time, when you threaten someone, don't do it in front of other people."

Freakin' awesome.


"So, how's it goin'?"

"Not bad. How's things up top?"


"OK, as long as the wind isn't blowin'. When the sun's on you its actually kinda comfortable. I actually broke a sweat up there."


"I can't believe how Mikey hangs over the edge to get that metal in like he does."

"Well, its a pretty tall building, so if he falls off I have time to wave at him on his way down."


"Very nice of you."

"Thanks. But really, its not so bad. It could be a lot worse."

"You mean like being stuck in a port-o-shitter with two guys leaning on the door so you can't get out?"




I had Plant on here and then Page. Time for the combo.

Alright, continue on with your Foxtrot and I'll see y'all Sunday.

Sweaters keep me from killing.

RAGE!! Its Wednesday, December 8, 2010, I'm fighting the urge to destroy humanity, and this is The Side.

I said previously that writing is done best when in a rather bad mood. This has been proven false. If it was true, I'd be Dickens, Hemingway, and Shakespeare all rolled into one right now. There seems to be a tipping point. You get in a foul mood and you're ready to write. You get in a homicidal rage and you can't write because you're too busy looking for an axe.

You know its bad when you're looking to Jack Nicholson for advice about your emotional well being.


Not having Cable nowadays is kind of a pain. I don't miss it. Fact of the matter is that I have plenty of stuff to watch without it and probably watch too much TV as it is. So do I want or need more channels to sift through? Nope. So why is it a problem? Its a problem in that when people are talking about a TV that's on Cable and ask me about it my answer is simply "I don't have Cable" which then leads to either an incredulous look, or a sympathetic "ah". The kind of extended, deep "ah" typically reserved for hearing someone has ass cancer. It's pretty annoying.

And apparently it has frustrated the Missus, so when we were waylaid by sales people at Sam's Club the other day she was fairly susceptible. She doesn't even like the service they ere selling. My father has it, and we just got back from visiting him. She can't stand it. But the saleswoman was very good at her job, and we saw on the list of channels Boomerang, which shows older cartoons. We've got kids and they like cartoons and I'm sure they would love The Smurfs. So the basic package did look appealing.

Well, in a bit of wheeling and dealing to sell us the young lady bumped us up to the next package for a lower price. Sounded like a sweet deal. We hadn't had lunch yet. We temporarily went insane and signed up.

Then came lunch and with that we returned to sanity. I looked through the list of channels we'd be receiving to see if AMC was included so I could check out THE WALKING DEAD. I didn't see it on there, and what's more Boomerang wasn't in the package that we'd been sold. It was in the basic package, but not the next one up. The one channel that had been the selling point wasn't in what we bought. I had to think that the girl must have known that, as you should know the product you're selling. It made no sense that a larger package did not include channels that smaller package did. So we did some digging. The special deal we got wasn't quite as special as the deal that was sent to us (and everyone else) in the mail. So we were feeling a bit suckered. I was already feeling stupid for signing up in the first place, but all this made getting the Missus on board with canceling very easy.

That proved to be the easiest part of canceling. Calling the phone number only let me leave a message since it seems they have very limited business hours. They said they'd call back in the message and despite leaving my home and cell numbers I had not been called after two days. So I called again and spent about an hour on hold just to leave another message. The most heinous part was the automated voice telling me between bursts of muzack that I had under two minutes until I would talk to someone. Then two minutes later it told me my wait would be longer than ten minutes.

So it led to me returning to Sam's Club after resolving not to light anyone on fire. Sure enough the same salesgirl was there. I complimented her sales skills, and explained that now isn't a good time at all for a downwardly mobile fella like me to be getting anything that will require money that isn't gas or food. She was very good about it, and matter was resolved. Which is a little bit of a shame since my brain was already putting together a top 10 reasons why that TV service sucks.

That got waylaid by me getting a flat tire in the Sam's Club parking lot.

I'm totally blaming those TV people for it. The company, not the salesgirl. She'd have probably helped me change the tire if I hadn't canceled the deal.


"Is a sweater gift?"


"Is a sweater a gift? If I gave you a sweater for Christmas, would you consider it a gift?"

"Depends on the sweater."


"Is the sweater awesome?"

"I think its like a tie. You give a guy a tie, its like 'I could think of anything you'd actually want, but here's something'. A tie isn't a gift. Its a gift placeholder"

"Depends on the tie. Is the tie awesome?"

"How can a tie be awesome?"

"Could be a power tie. A fella could always use a good power tie."

"I think if you give someone a tie or a sweater its just like saying 'I couldn't think of anything thoughtful, here's a tie and a sweater'.?

"Someone gave me a Jerry Garcia painted tie once."

"I've never seen you wear it."

"For good reason. I look horrible in it."

"Who look's good in a Jerry Garcia painted tie?"

"I dunno. Jerry Garcia?"


Had some Robert Plant last time, figure I should give Jimmy Page some equal time.

Alright, that's it for today. I'm going to go have fun with hypothermia now. See you Friday.

From Deep Space with Love!

Cripes, but I would prefer crepes. It's Sunday, December 5, 2010, I'm hungry, and this is The Side. See, I typically put this thing together in the time between updates and put the finishing touches on things the morning I put it up. Most of the work is done between six and seven in the morning. In fact I can't remember the last time I slept past six in the morning in my own house. Yesterday I got nothing done, because I was busy reading. So that meant I was going bang out the entire thing this morning in one sitting because a self imposed deadline is still a deadline.

So if I was smart I would brew a pot of coffee and have some Pop-Tarts and then set to work. But I'm not smart. I got up, made sure the house was secure, came online, read today's SINFEST, checked e-mail to see that I got a nice response from Vito Delsante over at Comic Kings, and then set to work. No food. No coffee. Not yet.

Writing is best done hungry and surly.


Snagged an early look at STAN LEE'S STARBORN #1 from BOOM! Studios by Chris Roberson and Khary Randolf. The comic revolves around an office worker, Benjamin Martin, who is an aspiring science fiction novelist. He seems like a nice enough fellow. We know this because this issue gives us his life in full detail. Its tough for books like this to start off and let you get to know these new characters and still have something interesting going on. There's plenty of interesting stuff here, but the only problem is that its all pretty predictable. We get so much detail as to the science fiction story Benjamin creates that I knew that it had to be real. Once I knew that, all the pieces quickly fell into place. So there were no real surprises for me.

Having said that, this book does succeed in doing a lot of really good world building and layering that in seamlessly with character introduction. That's two very tough things to do, much less do them both in the same issue. So, I wasn't terribly surprised by things, but I'm willing to trade that in because there's enough stuff going on here that it warrants further attention.

In all this comic wasn't really blowing my doors off. Still, there's a ton of potential for this book, and I think now that we've got a awkward parts over with we could be in for a great ride.

BOOK... without pictures.

Try not to look horribly shocked that I read something that wasn't a comic. I can see you through my computer. That said, put some pants on. Freak.

Just finished up reading Greg Rucka's THE LAST RUN. This novel marks the long awaited return of his award winning and best selling QUEEN AND COUNTRY series. It series debuted as a comic from Oni press and spawned a slew of comics and a few novels. The comics have been collected into four awesome definitive editions which are just awesome.

The only problem with reviewing this book is that I can't do it objectively. I can't even imagine coming into this as a new reader. Tara Chase and I are well acquainted by now. I live to see what Paul Crocker will do next. I can taste how horrible the coffee is in the Pit. I can smell Ron's cigarettes in the Ops Room at Vauxhall Cross. I have a big crush on Kate Cooke, and would completely read an entire 12 issue series all about her even if the only thing she did in it is go shopping. That is the extent of awesome that is Kate Cooke. So this book was me visiting very familiar territory, but everything is not exactly as I left it. Some people had been promoted. There's been a few other changes, but most importantly the feel of the book is the same.

This is spy-fi the way it should be: smart and surprising. These are people who leap right off the page as if Rucka was writing a biography of their amazingly insane lives. The attention to detail is remarkable, and as always Rucka doesn't beat us over the head with it. This book moves. Once it gets going it demands to be read.

Our dear Tara Chase is nearing the end of her stint as head of the SIS's Special Section. She's got a daughter now. She been doing this job for so long and done so much that the majority of the other intelligence organizations around the world either know who she is or must be limited to goat counting. So the "last run" in the title is hers. One last job before she resigns and moves on to a different position. Of course it isn't a milk run. This mission will take her straight into the heart of Iran to extradite a target too good to pass up no matter how much everything around this whole mission stinks on ice.

This book is an absolute page turner. The action is sparse, but the tension is high. The little scenes such as Paul debating over lunch who he wished to murder with his little plastic fork are classic. I now have a completely different view of the city of Tehran. Rucka writes that city as if he'd been living there for years.

Rucka only has one problem. Every time I finish a chapter of his book I am left with a burning need to keep reading to see what happens next. Sure enough he did the exact same thing with this book. Rucka has left me with my brain humming demanding more QUEEN AND COUNTRY. Last I heard the comic was supposed to return. I am, as you read this, actively resisting the urge to drive into Rucka's Twitter account and beg for details as to when it could possibly come out. I'm hoping soonish.


Bounced back to the 80s last time around, might as well hang out in the past a bit longer.

Alright, I'm going to go have some coffee now. See y'all Wednesday.

Secret Six versus militant atheists!!

It's Friday, December 3, 2010, I'm climbing the corporate ladder, and this is The Side.

For months I've been working diligently at this here new job with the combat training, fast driving, bomb diffusion, alligator wrestling, and chemistry classes. And it seems the big boss has taken a notice, even if he's off to Japan with his ladyfriend recruiting new assets.

I get a nifty letter in my inbox, personally signed by Mister Wayne, saying how happy he's been with the work I've been doing and progress I'm making. It also names me Batman Inc.'s first employee of the month. I'm obviously honored that Mister Wayne would take note of my work, and he's obviously looked past me impersonating him at Chik-fil-A.

This is a great step up from my previous job. Determining "employee of the month" had an entirely didn't criteria there. You probably don't want to know about that.


Let's kick this off with SECRET SIX #28. Gail Simone wraps up her "Secret Six versus Secret Six and Jungle Land" storyline with massive carnage and a giant snake thingie. I've enjoyed this storyline a bit because its brought some characters to the table that needed some attention. The roster expanded a bit which may be a tad awkward, but I'm confident Simone can make it work. My favorite part was at the end. Gail Simone had a great run on the comic THE ALL NEW ATOM which I loved, but have somewhat mentally blocked out because of how horribly the title and character got treated after Simone left the book. It was pretty deplorable. But two prominent characters from the series, Gianta and Dwarf Star, have popped up in the expanded Six roster. At first I just figured that this was a good excuse for Simone to use the characters. Then came the ending of this issue. I think Ms. Simone had a bit of steam that needed venting, and that bit made this book my read of the read.

ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #13 hit this week penned by Paul Cornell. It was just two days ago that it was a big ol Cornell love fest up in here. Obviously I was looking forward to this issue. Unfortunately, I felt a little let down. The issue delved a lot into the history of Lex Luthor. Seems that history had a lot to do with Darkseid and Ra's Al Ghul. I get that Cornell is painting a portrait of Luthor as exciting and interesting long before Superman came on the scene, but I wasn't really digging this twist on his history. I loved the idea of Luthor showing up in metropolis with hardly any money, but determined to stay in nice places that he was confident he would be able to afford given a day. Then things twist a bit and the Darkseid stuff gets brought in, and as much as I dig Darkseid as a villain, the whole thing felt off somehow. Not a bad comic, but I didn't really dig it.

Finally we have BATWOMAN #0. I like this character. I love what Greg Rucka did with her in his run with the character in DETECTIVE COMICS. However, Rucka isn't on this book and his absence is sorely felt. Artistically the book is interesting splitting the art between J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder. I prefer Reeder's art personally. Lovely stuff. The writing is alright but I have a serious gripe with it that's entirely personal. The story revolves around Batman investigating Batwoman to access her fighting skills in one story segment and verifying her secret identity with another. My gripe is entirely martial arts related. During the fight accessment Bruce notes "But she's only using three different fighting styles." I hate that crap. "Only" using three? Three is a lot actually. Claiming a character has mastered tons of different martial arts is just silly. It takes a lot of time to properly train in different martial arts, so three is actually a good number to versed in, just ask any competitive mixed martial artist. Then the more ridiculous bit that came later. "The move she uses doesn't exist in any fighting styles I've studied. It's something she invented herself." I'm sure if I was a lot more ignorant of hand-to-hand combat that would sound cool, but this just has me thinking "Wow, I figure Batman would have at least heard of Capoiera." Note to everyone, there are no knew moves or techniques. Every way a person can hurt another person hand-to-hand has been done, most likely in multiple styles from various places around the globe. So for me, the book looks very pretty, but the writing was kinda lame duck. I'll probably grab the first proper issue of the book just to give it a fair shake, but I'm not terribly optimistic about it.


Bit of drama going on at the local college as a couple of students were trying to make stuff blow up behind their apartment complex and the neighbor called the cops. These dopes were trying to makes bottle bombs with household chemicals and such. There's multiple stupidity going on here.

First off, these two college students could make it work, and yet me and my buddies were making these things when we were barely in high school.

Second is the group of their friends who have rallied around them and have condemned the neighbor who called the police. One claims the neighbor ruined these guys' lives, but the neighbor didn't force them to attempt to make bombs now did she? What I love is the dopes who have insinuated that since that area is known as a "party area" that the lady shouldn't have moves there. OK. I know its been a while since I went to college, but in these "party "areas" stuff usually didn't blow up, and guys weren't making bombs. There's also the college is where you're supposed to learn about stuff excuse. Pretty sure I learned not to try to blow stuff up in residential areas long before I got to college. Then there's the "they were only using household chemicals" bit. You can do a lot with household chemicals. I'm not going into details, because I'm not going to be giving you people any ideas. I'm on to you.

Next up is the excuses from the suspects. First was that it was for a class project. Please tell me what teacher had an assignment that could in any way be construed as "you are to attempt to blow shit up in your back yard", because I'm totally signing up for his class. Next was that it was for a video project. That's so weak, and made even weaker in that the police found no video equipment in the apartment. Tsk. If you're going to blow shit up, you're going to want to have your story for the police ready and airtight ahead of time. Just sayin'.

And finally, I know I said I made these things successfully in high school. However, I didn't do it in a residential area. We were out in the woods far away from anybody and anything, so the only lunatics at risk were us. I certainly didn't do it in a city that hosts the largest military base and top strategic target on the east coast, and I certainly did not do it during a war against terrorists who like using improvised explosive devices. 9-11 brought an end to my bomb making days.

So these goofs are facing federal charges and possibly jail time due to world class stupidity. I am looking forward to the addition in the student handbook saying that students are not to attempt to make bombs. You'd think it would be common sense, but that seems to running in short supply.


Nothing sucks more than a militant atheist. Right on cue with Christmas coming up we get this crap. We're constantly told how we're supposed to be tolerant of other cultures and religions. That's cool, and we should be. However these atheists, who supposedly value reason, seem to think that this doesn't apply to them. So they take to attention whoring this time of year with crap like this. I suppose their propped up airs of superiority just can't stand that someone has something to believe in and celebrate, so they just have to try to tear it down to make themselves feel better. Funny thing is, typically when they go on bashing religion, usually Christianity because you can get away with it, one of their biggest gripes is how intolerant religious people are. You can actually smell the hypocrisy.


Mark Waid caught a bit of heat for a speech he gave at the Harvey Awards a while back. The gist of it was that what comic makers add to culture is more important than copyrights. So basically its contributing to art and culture versus making money. Now this upset some people because really times are tough and there a lot of guys and gals out there who work hard and want to be justly compensated for their work. There's a valid point to both sides and there really does need to be a balance found in this somewhere.

Vito Delsante seems to have found it. In the month of December you can use any character that Delsante has created in your work for free as long as you do it properly and give him the credit for creating the character. All the details on this are in the link. This is a brilliant move. First off it allows fresh talent to have a stab at his works to bring new and interesting things to the table. Also, it gets Delsante's own works out there even more thus making them more recognizable and that will benefit him later.

Brilliant idea. Wish I thought of it. Kudos, Mister Delsante.


Winter is coming fast, and this song is just awesome.

That's the shooting match. See y'all Sunday. Don't get any on ya.