Monday, August 27, 2012

Roy Harper disarmed & The Hayoth vs The Specter for the future of the Middle East

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Well just this past weekend I paid a visit. to one of my favorite comic shops in the area. They've got a huge back issue section including lots of $1 bins. From the $1 bins I found #1 (4 issue mini-series) of Justice League: The Rise Rise of Arsenal (2010). As you can see this is some hardcore stuff!
The issue opens up with a flash back sequence that opens up with Roy on the JLA satellite talking to his daughter Lian in Star City. Right after wards he's ambushed by a villain I'm not familiar with named Prometheus. Roy manages to get the upper hand on this guy but becomes over confident and opens himself up to a counter attack by Prometheus who utilizes all sorts of deadly weaponry built into his armor. The issue continues with Roy waking up at Star Labs and to the bad news that Prometheus had gotten the drop on the rest of the League and used the Satellite's weapons to destroy Star City and then managed to escape. Needless to say Roy is torn apart on so many levels and the rest of the League have no idea how to ease Roy's pain as he struggles with the loss of his daughter, his arm and the a reoccurring addiction. Most of you are familiar enough with the Roy Harper character to pretty much imagine how the rest of this issue plays out. It'll make you feel better about your life. Anyways, this issue was some powerful stuff and I'd love to find 3-4 as well.
Although I didn't find The Spector #15 vol.3 (1994) in the $1 dollar bin I only paid a little bit over the original cover price for it so that was still cool. Written by John Ostrander the issue featured a story in which the Israeli meta human team The Hayoth had been assigned to protect a palestinian terrorist turned politician (Kemal Saad) who had become the voice of moderation for peace talks in Cairo Egypt. The Hayoth had some misgivings about their assignment but never the less intended on carrying out thier duty as professionals. However, The Specter has chosen Saad to be "judged" for his past crimes which brings The Specter into conflict with The Hayoth. To further complicate matters matter Eclispo turns up in the hopes of assassinating Saad and pinning it on The Hayoth as a means to ferment further conflict in the Middle East. An all around solid story that successfully weaves real life history and politics into the old DC Universe.

The Hayoth were created by John Ostrander, his late wife Kim Yale and Geof Isherwood. They first appeared in Suicide Squad #45 and were reoccurring characters in the title till nearly the end of the series. Aside from The Specter #15 and the multiple Suicide Squad appearances the only other title from the old DCU The Hayoth appeared in that I am aware of was as a cameo in Checkmate #24 Vol.2 (1998). The Hayoth were temporarily deputized by Checkmate in operation Grassbeater which was a global sting operation against various Kobra terror cells. For those of you who have some familiarity with Biblical history and text may find it very interesting where the name Hayoth comes from as well as all the code names of it's members:

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

VS System Card art work for Task Force X and a match up I'd like to see

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One day I wanted to see how many of these VS Systems Cards I could find on the internet that were related to Task Force X which includes both The Suicide Squad and Checkmate as many of you know. Most of them had some pretty cool art work that I didn't recognize from other sources so I decided to put them all together in this sort of collage. If you're wondering about any missing characters it was either because I couldn't find em or because the art work was a reproduction of stuff DC had published already. Here's a sample of what the cards look like but I wouldn't be able to tell you anything else about these cards I'm not into role playing games unless I happen to be dating someone.

These two are far more likely to be allies then advisories. But you know how it goes in comics, if the fans want to see two characters throw down the writers will come up with some sort of scenario to make it happen. Of course they'll eventually realize there was some sort of misunderstanding and team up to fight the real threat what ever that may be. If you happen to be thinking that the bottom half of this posting was inspired by the Wed. Dredd posting on It's A Dave's World then you have some seriously keen detective skills.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A mind boggling metamorphosis

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As I was putting together this posting it occurred to me how many Firestorm villains have ended up being recruits for Task Force X. Here's the role call: Mindboggler, Plastique, Killerfrost, Slipknot, Multiplex and Cliff Carmichael a.k.a The Thinker. There were those who were short timers like Killer Frost and Slipknot and others who had built up a lot of time on the Squad by the time the old DCU came to an end like Plastique, Multiplex and Carmichael. But Mindboggler falls somewhere in the middle . . sort of. I'll try to explain.

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Mindboggler actually was the first "casualty" of the Ostrander Suicide Squad series as a result of having been shot in the back (issue # 2) on their first mission to take down the meta-human terrorist group the jihad. The Squad wasn't able to bring her body back with them from the mission. As a result, what was left of the jihad organization was able to use her amnesiac brain patterns to create a digital being programmed to destroy the Squad codenamed Ifrit. During a second encounter (issues 17-18) with a reformed jihad the Squad was able to defeat them yet again and this time procure the portable electronic storage device that contained Ifrit.
However, all attempts to break the Ifrit programming in hopes of allowing the Mindboggler psyche to return had failed. Later in the series (issue # 50) Mindboggler's body turned up as a reanimated corps along with other deceased Squad members in an attempt to destroy the Squad as orchestrated by an old enemy of Rick Flag. Eventually (issue #63) Waller sought out the help of the Israeli meta human agent team known as the Hoyath who had as a member an artificial digital life form codenamed Dybbuk. Dybbuk was able to break the Ifrit programing and even uncover Mindboggler's prior self before she embarked on a life as a criminal. Mindboggler reclaimed her birth name (Leah Wasserman) as she and Dybbuk (having now changed his name to Lenny) decided to get married. It is unknown if they required any special software for the "wedding" but at least according to Lenny's Hoyath team mate Ramban, Leah seems like a "nice Jewish program".

Do you know who the actress Lori Petty is? You may have seen her in movies like Tank Girl ( a not so good movie), Point Break ( a good movie) or in a short lived but excellent series called Brimstone. I dunno call me crazy but is there a resemblance here? Mindboggler was truly a tortured character I'm glad the Ostrander series tied up this loose end on at least some what of a high note.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

DC Showcase: Deadshot & Peacemaker take on Kobra

Thanks to a fella who left some comments I just discovered on my part 4 of the Impel DC trading cards posting series I learned about a DC Showcase issue that has Deadshot and Peacemaker teaming (with others) to take on Kobra in what was described as kinda of a Janus Directive sequel. I love the idea so I did a little research online and found some previews of it. Truth be told it really didn't look all that great but should I happen to find this in a $1 bin some day it would probably be worth picking up. To preview the first few pages go here:

here I'm just having some more fun with photoshop and this current snake theme my this blog has taken on.
Top: PM, Black Thorn and a Checkmate knight fight Kobra Blackadders in the Janus Directive   Bottom: PM has imaginary argument with his late father who he despises because of his nazi affiliation
On the other hand this guy also left a link to a myspace page that's all about Peacemaker. It's packed with information about the character and clip art of his best moments from the old DCU. The funny thing about the Peacemaker's helmet is that sometimes it's kinda lame looking and sometimes it looks alright depending on what artist is drawing the character. That myspace page is really worth checking out you'll develop more of an appreciation of the character I promise:

I made this just because I thought it would be fun. You may notice George Cloony's name is missing. He was actually alright in this movie and probably wouldn't be a half bad Peacemaker. But my number one choice would be Thomas Jane ( The Punisher). Clive Owen would also be a good prospect. Below is just having some more fun with photoshop and this current snake theme this blog has taken on recently.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hey folks the party's at the Tiger Cage! But first . . .

Omega Agent 1 wrote a full blown review of Suicide Squad #12 and it's loaded with plenty of clip art from the issue so if you haven't read it yet for whatever reason here's your chance to pretty much get the whole story with out paying any money. All he asks in return is for you to share your thoughts on the review:

Regulus                               Kobra                                 Serpentor
Is it just me or do all these evil cult leader terrorist guys shop at the same places when it comes to their wardrobe? Regardless where ever they shop or how bad ass they may be these guys are no match for  . . .

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beware Randomnerds bearing gifts

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Well I must say when I received the rather large box of items from Randomnerd I was taken aback. I knew she had something on it's way to me from her weekend at the Chicago Comic Con but I had no idea it would be so lavish a gift. As you can see here there is a Deadshot figure (it was in the package) and a "Hello Kitty" style illustration done on a piece of cardboard of Lashina. I've seen that figure a million times on the internet over the years but now that I've got one I gotta say I'm so impressed with how well sculpted and articulate it is. Dale knows what I'm talking about. I think also this thing will actually serve as a useful tool for those times when I'm having trouble visualizing in my head specific figure composition for future fan art. Those jointed wooden figurines you find at art supply stores never really worked for me. She also included a copy of one of the coolest G.I.Joe comic book issues ever published which was #21 "the silent issue".

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This one of my favorite Suicide Squad scenes from issue 33 in which Duchess/Lashina is rounding up Squad members to take with her to Apokolips to run interference as she attempts to regain her position with the Female Furies. Till this day this scene is still not 100% clear to me. Considering that all she really wants is to use Deadshot as canon fodder I'm not sure I understand why him being a little out of his mind would make a big difference to her. But some how it's still a cool scene that really sticks with me. So how would you folks out there interpret this exchange between Duchess and Deadshot? Why wasn't he "ready"?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hidden Spider crouching Tiger

So by now I'm sure most of you know that Black Spider turned out to be the traitor that's been hyped about for the last few months. Gee whiz, could they have picked a more obvious character among the Squad? But on the other hand Boomerang turns out to be a double agent still working for Waller for which he allowed himself to be captured by Basilisk back in issue #4. Apparently even Deadshot wasn't in on that plan. We also discover in issue #12 that Diablo, King Shark and Iceberg turn out to be Basilisk subconscious sleeper agents that Black Spider activates by saying a trigger word to them right after he gets the drop on Boomerang. So that just leaves Deadshot and Harley and they're in big trouble. Also, the issue ends as an assassin is poised to ambush Waller.
This issue was certainly an improvement from the last but I'm not ready to start picking this book up again just yet. But here's what would get me to think twice about that. Find some way to introduce Bronze Tiger into the series at this point and have him save the Squad's collective asses which would have to include a show down between Bronze Tiger and Black Spider. Maybe Black Spider is killed by BT or manages to survive the fight and make a ninja like get away and vow revenge just like Ravan from the Ostrander series?
Or better yet Black Spider is captured and taken back to face Waller. He would be so fucked! But, I suspect all that is too much to hope for however. I imagine Yo-Yo will probably show up again instead. No offense to Yo-Yo I actually kind like the character but he's just no Bronze Tiger. So what do you all think you like my idea here?

Chicago Comic-Con 2012 photos from this past weekend courtesy of one of my favorite commentators and supporters for this blog, Randomnerd (Black Widow). Wish I could have been there too.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Odd discontinuities: Suicide Squad, Shadowpact, Secret Six and Secret Seven

So just yesterday I stumbled across a copy of Day of Vengeance featuring the Shadowpact in a $1 bin. This title was a the final in a 6 issue mini-series that was tied into the Infinite Crisis story arc. The issue was published in 2005. I'm not very familiar with the Black Alice character but I've surmised that she some how temporarily can steal the powers of other meta humans. But unlike with a character like the Parasite the person who has their power stolen doesn't get all messed up they're just powerless for a while.

Day of Vengeance #6 (2005)
Yet in the Blackest Night cross over story featuring the Suicide Squad and Secret Six which was published in 2010 we see this exchange going on between Nightshade and Black Alice (recently joined Secret Six) after Alice stole Nightshade's power.

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Check it out, Nightshade has no idea who Black Alice is. What the Hell? Aside from that in the Days of Vengeance issue Enchantress was Ms.Congeniality as opposed to the wicket psycho who was libel to turn on her own team mates at the drop of a floppy witch's hat (Suicide Squad late 1988-89). But I think I may have found the answer while doing a back ground check on Shade The Changing Man's Wiki page. After his last appearance in the Suicide Squad (issue# 37 1990) the character pretty much was on hiatus from the DC Universe for a while.
When DC eventually brought him back Shade was basically a . . changed man : ) That is to say DC pretty much rebooted the character. In the Ostrander series Shade joined The Squad just before Enchantress more or less exited the title ( issue# 15 1988). But Shade and Black Orchid were with the Squad at the same period for part of the time of their respective tours of duty. But I think all three of those characters must have basically gotten a "reboot" years after their last appearances in Ostrander's Suicide Squad because they all crossed paths in the Secret Seven title (2011). And as far as I know there was never any sort of Suicide Squad references made between them. If somebody who's read a lot more of  Secret Seven then I have can tell me otherwise please do share.

All other clip art from Secret Seven left click to enlarge

What single character from the Ostrander Squad and the relaunch Squad would you love to see square off against each other? I bet I know who most of you would want and that's what's coming up next!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vertigo? . . .

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Somebody put together not too long ago a short tribute video for the good count here of his appearances in various DC animated media. It's just under two minutes and it starts off with music but shortly transitions into just a montage of various scenes with Vertigo . .er I mean Count Vertigo: Ya know it's a shame that these animated DC shows like Young Justice haven't been able to explore the character beyond his roots in the DC Universe as a classic villain archetype.

In the Ostrander Suicide Squad we saw how he went from being this fairly one dimensional arrogant aristocratic type villain to someone who was struggling with a disease (chronic manic depression) that ultimately humbled him. Looking back I really think Ostrander purposely made it ambiguous for the reader as to when Count Vertigo did something out of a sense of bravery, fear, indifference or just because he was having a mood swing.

One of my favorite Count Vertigo moments was in Suicide Squad 33
The Squad gave him a sense of purpose keeping him from succumbing to his continued thoughts of suicide. That sense of purpose over time turned him into a man who began to take pride in his work with the Squad and even develop a sense of professionalism as a government operative. When Poison Ivy's toxins inadvertently cured him of his mental illness he discovered he had a new lease on life. But even so he realized the chemical imbalance in his brain having been righted couldn't fix a lifetime of the emotional struggle that was still a part of him. As irony would have it, his work as a member of the Suicide Squad (both as a field agent and in administrative services) and as Waller's Knight in Checkmate may have had more to do with his rehabilitation then anything else.

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Shortly after his first appearance in the Suicide Squad (issue 24 1989) till their last adventure in the old DCU (Blackest Night Suicide Squad Secret Six crossover 2010) Count Vertigo ended up being one of the most effective and dependable members of Task Force X. Count Vertigo is definitely worth getting to know better in many ways his evolution as a character was not so much unlike that of Marvel's Magneto.

Next posting, I found something in a $1 box yesterday that raises some continuity issues with the old DCU that spans the Suicide Squad, Shadowpact, Secret Seven and Secret Six. Yeah I know what your thinking but I'm going to put off that break for a bit longer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cosplay that's a real Knockout and leaves you Cold

Knockout cosplay compliments of Molly McIsaac

Superboy #15 (Watery Grave part 3)

As you see I found some more cool cosplay photos of a couple Suicide Squad short timers. Knockout was recruited for The Squad during the Watery Grave story arc in Superboy and Captain Cold who participated in a Squad mission and soon after coerced into another (issues 16 -18). The clip art above which I've never seen before I happened to find by coincidence.
I can't be sure what title it goes to but based on the villains ( The Rogues )The Squad is taking down this has to do with Operation Salvation Run in which the government was having Task Force X secretly round up criminals for exile to the prison planet. It's always a delight when I come across new Suicide Squad clip art that's been lurking unknown to me out there. My favorite panel is the one with Vertigo. The way his hand gestures are drawn is just exquisite! That's a lot harder to do then you think especially if that panel was drawn from the artist having just visualized the scene in his or her head.

I think this will be a good point to take a much needed break. I'll still be responding to comments left here. That's a lot less time consuming and tiresome then putting together these blog postings.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lessons from John Ostrander in Firestorm 64 & Annual 5

Back in the late eighties I had picked up Firestorm #64 and Annual #5 which completed the ongoing story arc that had been going on even before #64. The story basically follows Firestorm's crusade to rid the U.S. and Soviet Union of nuclear weapons and having been branded as a renegade by the U.S. government for his trouble. That in turn prompted the government to send the Task Force X after him and even to persuade The Justice League to attempt to arrest Firestorm. Now of course the primary reason I was getting the issues was because of the Suicide Squad appearances. And despite the SS, JLA, Firestorm and Firehawk battle royale that took place, the best part about both issues ended up being about how Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein were coping with what seemed to be the weight of the world on their shoulders. And their time was running out.
You see, on top of the before mentioned problems professor Stein was dying of a brain tumor and didn't have long to live. Which means once he's passed away there would be no more Firestorm since it takes both Ronnie and the Professor to fuse together in order to become Firestorm the "nuclear man". Not only was the story well written but the dialogue was nothing short of emotionally moving! Here's some of the conversation from #64 as Ronnie re-asserts his intentions to his father about ending the nuclear threat between the U.S. and Soviet Union to his family which in turn gives the ailing professor Stein a renewed sense of inspiration for their cause.

Firestorm #64  1987 (John Ostrander)
 I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read the rest of the scene here:
Issue 64 concludes with both the JLA and The Suicide Squad converging on Firestorm and Firehawk in Times Square New York right as Firestorm is about to make a public address.
Firestorm annual #5 opens up with Firestorm battling both teams and manages to make good his escape to the Nevada desert. While there, Ronnie and the professor take time to recuperate and reflect on their career as Firestorm in anticipation of what they believe is about to be a suicide mission.

 Firestorm Annual #5 1987 (John Ostrander)
Here's the rest of the conversation. Also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED reading:
The annual ended in what I would describe as an amazing rebirth coming on the heels of  tragedy. This late 80s Cold War themed story arc touched on a number of moral dilemmas such as balancing power with responsibility and when might be the appropriate circumstances for someone with such power to justify acting outside the law. When it comes to John Ostrander I think Gale Simone put it best "I buy every fricking thing that man writes and you should too".

As some of you know by now Captain Boomerang makes a come back in issue #12 of the Suicide Squad relaunch. The one thing I can say for sure is that is certainly a step in the right direction.  But the real question is does that alone warrant me or any other disappointed fan of the Suicide Squad to giving the relaunch a second look? Kinda hard to say at this moment I feel on one hand that the well has been poisoned already on this title but on the other hand I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm curious to see where things go in light of recent developments. When it hits the stands I'll take a peak at it and we'll see what's what. So I guess there was really something to it when Adam Glass told us to be patient a while back on this blog in the comments section.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Okay guys, try not to drool all over your keyboards

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Unfortunately I couldn't find any entries for Plastique or Vixen when it came to the Suicide Squad but I'm pretty happy with these finds . There was one for Lashina (Duchess) and Enchantress but they weren't that great. Heromorph is a website that primarily features gorgeous women who have had superhero costumes airbrushed on them.

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Here are some from the Villains United/Secret Six teams. Although technically Knock Out could have also been lumped in with the Squad (Superboy Task Force X "Watery Grave" mission : ) but she's more synonymous with the before mentioned groups.

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I should have figured if I could find any Heromorph women from Checkmate it would be the Black King's knight, Beatrice De Costa codenamed Fire. This Brazilian bombshell was a former member of the Global Guardians and Justice League in the old DCU . Here she is lighting up the skies of  Rio De Janeiro.

Heromorph Galleries 
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No doubt many of you viewing this posting will take it upon yourselves to go to Heromorph your selves and have a look at their galleries. Just so you know it has hundreds of pages! You'll be at it for a week looking at it all. So I recommend you go to Google and type in Heromorph and the name of whatever character you want to look for and hit the "images" tab. Happy viewing, just make sure the kids aren't in the room.

Next up, I'm back to more serious matters as I share with you all why I should have read more of Ostrander's Firestorm in the late 80s

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Suicide Squad cosplay 3 of 3: S.F. Bay Area Wonder-Con

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Poison Ivy is one of the most popular cosplay characters as far as DC women goes. But rarely do you see some fan of the botanist turned toxic criminal mercenary nail down the look quite so well. This one is a winning combination of of great costume design and deadly looking beauty. First appearing in Suicide Squad #33 Poison Ivy would become a reoccurring character until the end of the series. There was no love lost between Waller and Ivy. But Waller did find Ivy quite useful given her secretions that could do everything from render people unconscious to controlling their minds or just put them six feet under.

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Here's something from neck of the woods! The annual Wonder-Con started in Oakland in 1987 and I went to the first 3 years of that convention as a kid. It eventually moved to the other side of the Bay in San Francisco for which I went to it on at least one occasion. Sadly however last year was the final year for the Wonder-Con in the Bay Area and it's since then moved to Anaheim in Southern California.

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You all know about Deadshot of course but remember Bane had also served with the Suicide Squad and who could forget the Blackest Night story line written by Gail Simone that saw the Secret Six clash with Waller's Suicide Squad. Getting back to the deadly beauty theme we've also got Cheshire here too who I loved ever since having read the entire Villains United mini-series (also written by Simone) along with her regular appearances on Young Justice. Can't wait for whenever the new season starts I miss not getting my weekly Young Justice fix!

If you thought the cosplay ladies I featured in the last few postings were something you would be right. But what I have coming up in the next couple of days will really blow you away as far as hot comic book ladies go. I cover all my bases on this one, The Suicide Squad, Secret Six and even Checkmate. I sincerely hope any viewers of this blog of the fairer sex will not be offended.

If you didn't notice this Brightest Day Captain Boomerang photo before it's because I added it a few days after I published this posting. This is also a cosplay snap shot from the 2011 Wonder-Con in San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Suicide Squad cosplay 2 of 3: Cold & wicked

I'm sure most of you recognize this cosplay Killer Frost outfit. Similar photos like this of her have been all over the net for a while now. Needless to say she is hot beyond words and she looks quite excellent as far as her make up goes. This is also a good head shot photo who ever was the photographer had some skills. I don't know her real name but she goes under the Facebook handle of Kiwi5/frog. Although the Killer Frost character was never utilized especially well in any Suicide Squad related story lines she would never the less become synonymous with the team over the years as far as past group affiliations go.

 But did you also know that this Enchantress cosplay is by the same woman? Regardless of who she's dressed up as she looks great and just oozes sensuality rather some what reserved or more flamboyant.

 Hopefully you have some familiarity with the Enchantress character already. She was with the Squad from the very beginning starting with the Legends mini-series and basically was their mystic powerhouse. The Squad tried to make use of her services as sparingly as possible because as you will see in this clip art she wasn't exactly a team player.

Just like DJ Spider, Kiwi5/frog makes her rounds on the convention cosplay circuit. She was at this years  San Diego Comic-Con to no surprise. But this time as DC's Hawkwoman. Take a moment to check her out on her facebook page it's loaded with her other cosplay photos. As if you couldn't figure this out already she makes an excellent Psylocke too!