Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2008 Hawkman & the Atom Convention Sketch by Phil Hester

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Once again, I'm delighted that Hester has drawn another rare Atom sketch, but I continue to be perplexed over his representation of the costume. This one looks even more like the Darkseid future suit from JLA Rock of Ages than the last one.

Tuesday With Hester

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Captain Atom: Armageddon #7 (June, 2006)

Nikola Hanssen couldn't handle becoming Void, and started unleashing large amounts of energy. Captain Atom embraced her, calming Void down.

On that snowy mountaintop when they first started dating, The Engineer pouted, while Jack Hawksmoor claimed that a) Captain Atom going kablooey was back on and b) "He's cheating on you." Can I take a moment to point out how contemptibly Hawksmoor and all the Wildstorm characters have been handled. They're nothing but smug, cynical, kill-happy a-holes, per this comic. Also, dumb as rocks, since the Engineer responds to Atom helping Void to chill out by trying to kill him... again. This was even after Captain Atom willed himself a week into the future (not how that usually works) to immediately find Nikola Hanssen (really?) and borrow her newspaper (oldest cliché in the time travel book, and never a deal maker.)

Grifter shot the Engineer with a super-rifle, and rather than killing her ("Wildstorm" must be an anagram for some form of murder,) the Captain rearranged her atoms until she was powerless. The WSU couldn't abide such a peaceful solution though, so Apollo and Midnighter were dispatched to dispatch him.

You know, this is why Wildstorm closed down at the end of last year. First it was an artists' company like the rest of Image, and then they hired British writers and became a contender. Next, the art started to slip, and they couldn't keep the writers, both of which probably had something to do with being purchased and micromanaged by DC. This was the point where there was enough of a vote of no confidence that a reboot of the entire universe was imminent, and the up n' coming writer than never came up was assigned, and the art was... yeah. Americans trying to write like the British can't get the balance right, so all the characters come across as awful people with lousy attitudes you actively root against, like the kids in slasher movies. Just terrible, hateful slogs to read.

"Who Says The World Needs Saving?" expertly combined the stupidity and viciousness of previous issues with the more recent welcome brevity by Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

2009 Red Tornado & the Atom Planet Comicon Sketch by Phil Hester

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I'm going to say this is Ray Palmer, because the costume reminds me of the one future Atom wore in the JLA Rock of Ages arc, but that's just my best guess.

"Phil Hester is soooooo generous. He did this sweet sketch for my brother..."

Sunday With Hester
2007 Wizard World Texas Convention Sketch by Phil Hester @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu
2006 The Question Mo-Kan Comics Conspiracy Commission @ DC Bloodlines
2005 Wonder Woman Meets Swamp Thing Commission @ Diana Prince
Zatanna @ Justice League Detroit

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Captain Atom: Armageddon #6 (May, 2006)

Mr. Majestic showed up at The Authority's ship, and was assured Jack Hawksmoor already had a plan in motion.

Captain Atom finally let loose of some power when The Engineer talked him into killing time dismantling a "bargain-basement Stalin" and his regime. "Back home, it was all about maintaining the status quo. Keeping the ship on course. But what if the status quo needs changing? What if the ship needs to be sunk? I'm not saying I agree with her methods... but they do get results."

Afterward, the Engineer was allowed to send her nanites into Captain Atom and fish out the problem. The Doctor checked to make sure everything was still intact a year in advance, and gave Captain Atom the all clear. Atom started making the sexy time with the Engineer, claiming that he had never had such an intimate relationship with a woman, even if he didn't like her resentful attitude toward saving humans.

Jeremy Stone had continued his studies, and explained to Grifter what a disaster it would be in Captain Atom ever came into close contact with Nikola Hanssen.

Separately visiting the site of the destroyed apartment where the story sort of began, Captain Atom touched Nikola Hanssen, who turned into Void while he collapsed.

"Sometimes, When We Touch..." allowed Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Sandra Hope & Trevor Scott to take up maybe five minutes of my time.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

1995 The Atom Special #2 Alternate Cover Concept by Brian Bolland

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After Ray Palmer was de-aged in Zero Hour, he once again had to fear feet, I guess. Anyway, above is a solid Brian Bolland image, but I suppose there was some concern about having the hero's back to the reader, so the finished art turned out differently...

Also, check out the gallery of Bolland's complete DC Legacies virgin art from the Atom in Arthurian England story (Featuring the Shining Knight, Merlin, the Demon Etrigan, and the Silent Knight.)

Brian Bolland Roughs Day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

IGN's Top Atom/Charlton-related Comic Book Heroes of All Time

In 2009 or so, the comics department of the popular video game website IGN.com put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time, and have finally followed up with the vastly less well considered Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. I decided to take the highly dubious list apart line by line, but in the process I'll do highly posts for my various blogs. Check out DC Bloodlines for the full list as I make it available...

87) Renee Montoya

She's a lesbian and a Latina, both rarities in mainstream comics, and about the only example to appear in cartoons. Still, I resent the hell out of her for taking over the role of the Question, and she's never carried more than a mini-series.

82) Eric O'Grady (Ant-Man)

The Irredeemable Ant-Man was awesome, but also short-lived with negligible impact.

67) Hank Pym (Ant-Man)

I do not like Hank Pym. I do not like the original Ant-Man. I do not like Giant Man. I do not like Yellowjacket. He has never worked, he has never been loved, and he serves no purpose others couldn't handle better. I can't believe he hasn't died spectacularly and stayed that way.

64) The Atom

I love how the article with this entry is entirely about Ray Palmer, but they picture Ryan Choi. No respect for either, and it's hardly uncommon. Doll-Man might have been the biggest of the early tiny heroes, but the Silver Age Atom clearly eclipsed him to become the best of a bad lot. I've got love for the Ray Palmer version, and contrary to popular misconception, the guy has a lot of cool potential that remains less than fully realized. At least he ranked above the wife beater.

61) Blue Beetle

The original was one of the bigger Golden Age heroes from a smaller publisher, and the star of his own radio show. The new kid just appeared on Smallville, and is a positive image of a young, Latino super-hero. The one in the middle is the only one acknowledged. Ted Kord was an industrialist recasting of Steve Ditko's Spider-Man more in that co-creator's image. He was funny in JLI, and I know he has a vocal following, but I just fell very "meh."

56) Hawkman

Obviously, the Winged Wonder is one of the most famous and long-lived B-listers in comic book history, even if he was just a blatant lift from Flash Gordon, complete with Alex Raymond swipes. He's gotten a hell of a lot more done than Prince Vultan, and his marriage to Hawkgirl has been one of the best examples of how to make matrimony work in comics. He was one of the first overtly political (ideologically, anyway) characters in mainstream comics, and still the killjoy to beat in super-hero teams.

16) Rorschach

I kind of hate Rorschach a little bit. I suppose he's here to represent for Watchmen, but he's also the poster child for pretentious, pointless deconstructionist super-heroes and anti-heroes with nauseating motivations (not to mention personal hygiene.) He's also at heart just a proxy for Steve Ditko's the Question, who is not on this list at all beyond such legacies/knock-offs.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Captain Atom: Armageddon #5 (April, 2006)

While still being bitchy enough to come from this interpretation of the Wildstorm universe, The Engineer was still a hell of a lot more pleasant to Captain Atom than most as she escorted him onto The Authority's ship. The DC hero was introduced to Swift, the Doctor, and Jenny Quantum, "as in quantum theory. You know... the idea that replaced atomic theory." Yeah, we know what you're getting at, you precocious little brat, but Captain Atom's power set was replaced by quantum origins before Warren Ellis left college.

Captain Atom and the Engineer were joined by Jack Hawksmoor in a tour of hundreds of alternate dimensions, none the DCU. In one of the many instances of alternate realities where the Nazis won, the Authority members were happy to mow down goose steppers while Captain Atom hung back. Atom wouldn't even kill an aged Hitler in cold blood, making him one of the wussiest super-heroes of his type, so Hawksmoor did the Fuhrer in.

The WildCats were studying Nikola Hanssen when Mr. Majestic showed up to explain that they couldn't kill Captain Atom after all, because it would be like clipping the wrong wire on a ticking time bomb. There was only one "infinitesimal discrepancy" offering "a slight glimmer" of hope, because there always is, and it lay with Hanssen's new Void powers.

The Authority dropped Captain Atom off at a remote snowy mountaintop on Wildstorm Earth until they could figure out how to dispose of him if they couldn't get him home. However, the Engineer soon paid his a visit...

"No Exit" relented on the stupidity usually served by Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope.

Imaginary Wednesday
JLA Classified: Cold Steel #1 (2005)