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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Great Moments in Comic Book History, Volume One

In light of recent events, the ISB is proud to present...


While taking off a woman's dress.

With a knife.

Welcome to NOW FREAKING OUT. Population: YOU.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

But Suddenly...

(Click for full-sized deep-space future chin-checking.)

...Karate Kid flipped out and beat the crap out of everyone.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Chris vs. Previews: February, Part Two

Last night, the ISB kicked off its first-ever Previews roundup with a look at what's being solicited from the major publishers, but tonight, I'll slug it out through the rest of the mag to give you the commentary you so desperately deserve.

I can assure you, however, that nothing I recommend tonight will look like this:

Now: The action!


P. 230: Archaia Studios Press: Since you're reading this on a comics blog, odds are you've already heard about how great Mouse Guard is from pretty much everybody. On the off chance that you missed all the hype, however, allow me to reiterate: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 is well worth the $24.95 cover price for the scene where a mouse with a fish hook battles a crab to the death alone.

P. 230: Archie Comics: Behold! The much-touted Degrasisified Betty and Veronica redesign is here for your ordering pleasure, and as the only person I know who actually reads Betty and Veronica Double Digest, I'm interested to see how it all works out.

In other news, Veronica #110 features the apparent return of a mysteroius, Jason Stathamesque charcter who gives people eleven dollars, which somehow saves Veronica from falling down a well in the clearest example of Riverdalean Logic that I've seen all year. Plus, this month's issue of Jughead and Friends Digest features Jughead hooking Wendy Weatherbee up with Bingo Wilkin, and I'm pretty sure that only one person who reads this is going to agree with me that this is a totally exciting development. High five, Phil.

P. 252: Broadsword Comics: There's no new issue of Tarot solicited this month, but they are offering #39 again, and in case you've forgotten, here's what I wrote about that little gem when it first came out last July:

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #39: ...And speaking of comics that need justification, we have what may be the least enjoyable issue of Tarot ever--and that's saying something. Oddly enough, it's bad for the same reason as last week's Justice League of America #0, in that this issue focuses on imaginary futures for each character, including: One where Jon fathers children with both Tarot and her sister, which is something I think we're supposed to be cool with but yet still manages to give me the jibblies; Raven Hex building a new civilization after the government gets mad just because the witches take over one little town, a scenario that includes Raven Hex liberating witches from concentration camps; and the postmortem adventures of the Skeleton Man, the World's Most Retarded Supernatural Avenger. So yeah: Not exactly Shakespeare. On a more serious note, though, this issue also includes a disclaimer that I hadn't noticed before that expressly forbids the electronic reproduction of any of the contents without written consent of the creators. Which sucks, because I was totally going to scan that picture of Tarot being puked on by a zombie warthog and use it as my sig file on Girl-Wonder.org.

For some reason, I haven't heard back on my application to write solicitation copy.

P. 261: Dynamite Entertainment: Look, Dynamite, I'm all for giving Mike Kaluta as much work as possible, but is it too much to ask for you to dial back on the ridiculous amount of variant covers you guys produce? Seriously, it's not helping anything.

And that goes double for you, Avatar.

P. 297: IDW Publishing: So: A Star Trek comic that re-tells classic episodes from the Klingons' point of view, and there's a Klingon language variant? If you're a guy who collects comics and you find yourself still able to have sex with a woman, this is the sort of thing that'll clear that right up.

P. 317: Oni Press: In addition to another issue of the Chris Sims Approved Wasteland, Oni's offering up a couple of new graphic novels that look awesome. First up, James Vining's First In Space, which combines my twin passions of monkeys and rocketships for a "rousing adventure" that's based on a true story. It won the Xeric Grant last year--probably because there's nothing in that description that doesn't sound awesome--and with a $9.95 price tag, is definitely worth checking out.

Right next to it is The Annotated Northwest Passage by Scott Chantler, which I read as it was coming out on the reccomendation of my pal Phil. It's an excellent and well-crafted historical adventure that totally lives up to its promise, and given the small amount of notes that Chantler included in the regular issues, the annotations should be a great touch.

P. 330: Tokyopop: Bratz now exist in comic book form. Some days, it's really not worth getting out of bed.

P. 346: Top Shelf Productions: Despite my reputation as a fan of bare-knuckled action stories where people get punched so hard their heads explode, I really, really love Andy Runton's Owly. There. I said it.

Also of note, there's a mention of Aaron Renier's Spiral Bound: Top Secret Summer, which I absolutely loved but never hear anybody talking about. It's in the Star System, though, so if you're curious about a group of cartoon animal kids builting submarines and zooming around on secret underground rollercoasters, you can order it from your local comic shop (or from Amazon) right now.


P. 383: Sterling already mentioned The Big Book of Breasts, but while I'm every bit as interested in "five decades of natural big-breasted nudes" as the next guy--or in some cases, way more than the next guy--I feel a lot better about the comics reading public knowing that this thing had to be solicited twice.

Then again, that could just be because its market is already being filled by Sexy Girl Ultron.

Super-Classy Apparel Section

P. 406: Look, I say this as someone whose daily wardrobe is at least a quarter composed of t-shirts produced by Graffiti Designs, but if you happen to look down one day and find yourself wearing one of these...

...just step in front of a bus and get it over with.



DO YOU GET IT?!?!?!?!?!

Well. That was a little more vitriolic than I intended. Let this be a lesson: The Previews apparel section, much like gin, makes a man mean. So it's probably best if I call it a night here, especially since there's nothing else that really sticks out for the rest of the catalog.

Except, of course, for a great-looking set of Avengers Mini-Mates and the ridiculous amount of Doctor Who merchandise, which there's absolutely no reason for me to want as much as I do. Except for the talking Dalek bank, I mean, because that thing's got the words "talking" and "Dalek" right in the product description, and as I've mentioned, those things are pretty rad.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chris vs. Previews: February, Part One

I'm not exactly sure what new information about woefully misguided new releases and phenomenally useless statues I can provide that you can't get from Mike Sterling or others, but a few of you have recently suggested that I offer up my commentary on the Previews Catalog. And to that, the ISB says...

You Wanted It?!

You Got It!

That's right, for the next couple of days, the ISB'll be offering up the web's most two-fisted reccomendations of what you should order immediately and what you should stay the heck away from. So let's get to it, shall we?

Dark Horse Comics

P. 25: Satan's ***** Baby: When the jokes about this one first started up in the pages of The Goon, I was under the impression that it was just a long-running joke, although why exactly anyone would create an entirely fictional publication is completely beyond me. Anyway, the big news here, besides the fact that it's an all-new Eric Powell story that allegedly will never be collected (thus making it a no brainer that everyone should probably order) is listed as "NOT AN ALL-AGES BOOK." You know, as opposed to The Goon, which responded to its Eisner win with a two-page sequence where a simpleton played in his own filth.

Regardless, it's listed here, but the "ordering information" is actually located in Previews Adult, which means somebody's going to have to wade through the listings for super-classy titles like Blowjob and--I swear I am not making this up--Pee Soup to find it. Yikes.

P. 48: "Serenity In Disguise" Variant Ornament: So, just to clarify here, this is a Christmas tree ornament of the spaceship from Firefly depicting the five-minute sequence where it was covered in blood and corpses? Really? Okay, well, that certainly seems both useful and appropriate.

DC Comics

P. 63: Full-Page Minx Advertisement: So here's something you don't here on the Comics Blogger Internet too often: I am crazy excited about Minx.

No, seriously.

Maybe I should explain: Regardless of whether or not DC's missing the point by having an imprint targeting girls done by an almost all-male group of creators, those creators are also really good at making comics. Even beyond The Plain Janes, which features art by Jim Rugg (of Street Angel fame), but June's going to see the release of Re-Gifters, which reunites the team behind the phenomenally underrated My Faith In Frankie, and I'll even cop to being curious about how Josh Howard's art is going to work alongside Andi Watson's script. It's a solid lineup. And as previously established, I'm only about two degrees away from being a total teenage girl.

P. 78: The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, v.1: Batman: Allow me to quote here:

Originally published in 1976, this extensive volume--the first in a series--includes everything you could want to know about Batman, his allies and enemies, weapons in his war on crime, and his adventures from the 1930s to the 1970s!

Translation: Hey Chris Sims! Happy Birthday!

P. 90: Justice League of America Doesn't Do Any Goddamn Thing At All But Sit Around A Table And Call Each Other By Their First Names v.1 Hardcover: The actual title's been shortened for the solicitation copy, but trust me: That's what it is.

P. 101: The Legion of Super-Heroes on the 31st Century #1: With the exception of the late, lamented Batman Adventures, I haven't had a whole lot of luck with the animated series tie-ins, but despite the fact that I've still never seen the show, I'm willing to take the chance here. I like the Legion, I like J. Torres, and I like Chynna Clugston-Flores, so it's worth the risk.

P. 129: Justice League Series 6 Action Figures: The first thing I said when flipping through Justice #9 was that the ridiculous metal-armor Super-Friends were a poorly-veiled excuse for a new series of crappy-looking DC Directs. So, just a reminder here: I am always right.

Image Comics

P. 172: Witchblade/The Punisher: I have read every Punisher comic. I have read zero Witchblade comics. One way or another, my perfect record will be ruined.

P. 173: Madame Mirage First Look: And again, the dilemma rises. On the one hand, it's an all-new series from Paul Dini, who is hands-down one of my favorite creators in the business. But on the other, it's a Top Cow book freaturing a ridiculously large-breasted heroine, and that's the kind of thing that tends to let you down. But, well, it's only a preview, and it's 99 cents. But that's how they hook you. Ah, screw it, I'm getting it.

Marvel Comics

Marvel manages to set a record with sixteen pages worth of full-page solicitations--including one for the new Ultimate version of a character that was introduced like two years ago--before hitting something that I actually care about. And considering that I've got a pretty strong love for the universe and its characters, that's probably not a good thing.

P. 18: Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #1: I've mentioned before that in my opinion, Spider-Man is the single greatest comic book character ever created (a theory I came up with after reading Amazing Spider-Man #33 at age 12). Unfortunately, with the exception of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, I think Spidey the character is the worst now that he has ever been in over 40 years of publication--and yes, I'm including both Maximum Carnage and the Clone Saga in that. So the fact that we're getting four issues by Jeff Parker--whose work over the past couple of years has been nothing short of amazing--and Mike Weiringo--whose run on Fantastic Four was no slouch in its own right--is pretty exciting indeed.

P. 24: Avengers: The Initiative #1: Again, this is one of those good news/bad news situations: At this point, there's a variety of reasons why I couldn't care less about the events of Civil War and its impact on the Avengers. But on the other, Dan Slott has never let me down, and for Pete's sake, it's got Nextwave and Sleepwalker standing right next to each other on the cover. That's gotta be worth something.

P. 39: Loners #1: And then we have this, the flipside of the coin. Believe me, even discounting their appearances in the pages of Runaways, there are very few people who want to read about the adventures of Darkhawk, Ricochet, Julie Power, and Turbo more than me. But then there's the fact that C.B. Cebulski has done absolutely nothing I've read and enjoyed. So that's a pass.

P. 45: Mighty Avengers #2: Sweet Flippin' Christmas.

"It's Ultron as only Frank Cho can bring it!"

Reading this solicitation, I had one brief, horrible thought: "It's MODOK as only Frank Cho can bring it!"

P. 72: X-Men: First Class #8 (of 8): The X-Men teaming up with Gorilla Man, scripted by Jeff Parker. Just thought everybody should know.

P. 77: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Handbook: For some reason, I was not contacted about writing this. Clearly this was an oversight, as I'm hoping to have my annotations included in the Anita Blake trade paperback.

P. 97: Agents of Atlas Premiere HC: Not to turn this thing into Jeff Parker night or anything, but if you missed out on his and Leonard Kirk's fanastic mini-series, then you really owe it to yourself to jump on here, as this thing not only includes the series, but also the Golden Age first appearances of all of the characters, including a story from a comic called Men's Adventures. For me, that alone would be worth the $25 price tag, as Marvel's not usually that concerned with trading up their Golden Age material.

P. 100-104: The Highly Necessary Civil War Trade Paperback Library: Collecting, just so everybody knows, fifty-two issues worth of Civil War tie-ins, not counting the Punisher War Journal hardcover on p. 96 and the six CW trades solicited last month. Even Ken Burns would think that's too much Civil War, folks.

That's right: I'm ending it on a PBS joke. Feel free to ask about anything you think I missed, but be here tomorrow when I go through the rest of the comics, including the many fine offerings from Jim Balent's Broadsword Comics!

My Prediction: Pain.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Weekend With Iron Fist, Part Two

Send two dollars for a bonus guide to Angar the Screamer's pressure points!

(Click for a larger ad. Inspired, of course, by Count Dante)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Because It Just Wouldn't Be Friday Night...

...without Iron Fist punching out a wolf.

And that is just how Danny Rand rolls.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Week In Ink: 1-24-07

After two pretty light weeks, I ended up coming home with more than twenty comics this Wednesday, and even more shocking? As far as I can tell, not one of them included a good solid kick to the face.

Fortunately for our purposes here on the ISB, there was a scene where the Punisher stumbles across the Satan Claw and punches the living bejeezus out of the Rhino, and that'll do just fine in a pinch:

Sweet Lady Violence, you ain't never done me wrong!

Now let's get on with it: Feel free to follow along with the ISB's own shopping list as I take on the fourth week of January, 2007 with the world's snappiest comics reviews! Believe it!


52: Week 38: After the almost interminable interlude where we had to deal with the alleged "adventures" of the Space Heroes, 52's focus finally switches back to the Island of Mad Scientists, and I couldn't be happier with it. Admittedly, I'm having a hard time with the fact that nobody on an island populated entirely by super-geniuses can figure out what Will "The Thrill" Magnus is doing with Lead shielding, three hundred Mercury thermometers, and a massive pile of Tin cans, but if a giant talking egg was making me create crazy Morrison-style Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I imagine I'd start to miss out on the details too. It's fun stuff, and it's far and away the plot I'm most interested in out of everything going on in the book.

On the flipside, though, there's the stuff with the Question and Renee Montoya, which is rapidly losing my interest as the weeks go on. We talked about it for a while at work today, and although it only took Vic Sage about half an hour to go from having a bad cough to a hallucinating, emaciated zombie, he sure is clinging desperately to that last bit of life. Chad mentioned tonight that after the scene in the New Years' Eve issue--which would've made a fine, well-done death scene for the character--it's useless to keep bothering with him, as he's almost dying every single week. There are still some nice touches to each scene, I've got to agree; at this point it's just starting to grate on my nerves.

All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #1: They keep adding more and more words to the title and I keep buying them, fully aware that I will never read these books. But, y'know, there's two pages on Nextwave, and considering the pressure of a daily-updated comics blog, there's the distinct--however remote--possibility that I'll need some handy information on Huntarr from the Micronauts or something one day.

Checkmate #10: The comparison between Greg Rucka's Checkmate and John Ostrander's Suicide Squad gets easier to make every time an issue comes out--especially with this month's lighthearted scene with the new Madamoiselle Marie--but this time around, there's really no denying it. By bringing in the Shadowpact for a crossover, Rucka's thoroughly exploring the nature of what an espionage book set in the DCU can be, just like Ostrander did when he sent the Suicide Squad to Apokalips, or like Rucka himself did before by smashing procedural crime drama into a world of super-villains in Gotham Central. It's one of Rucka's greatest strengths as a comics writer, and with this story, it's been working out to be a pretty spectacular read.

Criminal #4

The Damned #4: It's the penultimate issue of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's "Three Days Dead," and while it does delve into the mandatory expository bits that you'd expect from a supernatural Mafia story--in this case, a well-written but standard issue Secret Origin of Demons sequence--it's a testament to how entertaining the book is that it doesn't lose any momentum when it stops to explain a little of what's going on. That may not sound like a great compliment, but for the past four issues, this has been a series that's thrived on keeping things tense, and with scenes like Eddie's no-nonsense response to being threatened with a knife on page seven, it's obvious that Bunn and Hurtt have no trouble on that front.

DMZ #15: Since its inception, DMZ's been a book about Matt Roth dealing with life in a war zone, but since "Public Works" started, Brian Wood's just been jacking up the danger factor, involving Matt more and more with the ongoing story so that he's not just an observer any longer. It's an excellent piece of character work, and as the story comes on the heels of Wood's text-heavy Secret Files-esque story in #13, the sheer amount of momentum he's bene able to build with this one has totally blindsided me. On the art side of things, Ricardo Burchielli's work is great as always, especially seeing how much emotion he's able to work into the facial expressions of a character who spends the majority of the pages running around and gritting his teeth. It's excellent as always, and if you're not reading, you're missing out.

Doctor Strange: The Oath: Even discounting that it opens up with Dr. Strange pulling out Hitler's handgun and shooting a giant tentacle monster on the streets of New York City, this one's worth every penny just to see Strange totally jack some dude up with his bare hands. After all, sorcery is more than the learning of ancient spells. It also stresses muscle power and fighting skill.

Dwight T. Albatross's The Goon Noir #3

Fables #57: In the interest of speeding things up around here, I've gone ahead and made a checklist to run through instead of saying the same "blah blah excellent comic blah blah best Vertigo book ever" stuff that I normally go through when Fables comes out. Let's see... Beautiful and innovative James Jean cover? Check. Well-done, engaging story by Bill Willingham? Check. Fantastic art by Mark Buckingham? Ch--wait, what? Fill-in artist?! Well that's not going to--

Oh, it's Mike Allred? Yeah, that'll be awesome then.

Helmet of Fate: Ibis the Invincible #1: I like to think that I'm pretty well-versed when it comes to third-tier Silver Age characters, but the sum total of what I know about Ibis the Invincible can be illustrated with two bullet points:

1. His name is Ibis.

2. We like the same adjectives.

And that's really it. Essentially, I was just picking this one up because I like the rest of the characters involved in the crossover, and to be honest, Tad Williams didn't really do a lot to spark my interest. He turns in a competent enough script, but aside from the final shots right out of The Neverending Story, the whole thing utterly failed to make any kind of impact on me whatsoever save for killing five minutes of time that I could've used to stare blankly into space. Theoretically, I suppose there could be some old school Ibis fans who got a lot out of the details, but as for me, I'm pretty sure I could've skipped out entirely and been just fine with that.

Invincible #38


Mouse Guard #6: With this issue, David Petersen wraps up the first series, and I'm going to go ahead and say it: Mouse Guard may in fact be the single finest piece of mouse-based entertainment since Steamboat Willie.

It's been one of the darlings of the Comics Blog scene since the first solicitation hit, and it's no real stretch to say that it not only lived up to everyone's expectations, but actually exceeded them, and this issue's the perfect encapsulation of why. With its amazing execution of a classic big climax scenario, Petersen's thrown in literally everything that I want to see from this sort of situation, working from classic archetypes and blending them into something incredibly enjoyable. There's crafty heroes gearing up to take on an army with the odds stacked against them, a good guy coming back for revenge, a grizzled old hero trying to reclaim his legacy, and--perhaps most importantly--an attack by a swarm of bees. It's certainly familiar stuff, but Petersen's art and storytelling are fantastic, and the twists he sets up in each issues are well worth the price of admission. It's a wonderful piece of comics, and if you haven't already, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

Mystery in Space #5: Despite a pretty rocky start, this one's been getting better pretty steadily over the past few issues--unlike its sister title, Tales of the Unexpected, where the abysmal main story is totally overshadowed by the pure joy of the bcakup--but this one just clicked for me. It might just be the revelation of what the psychic assassins really are, or the big sci-fi explanations for the first issue's murder mystery, or just the fact that it's finally gotten to the point where there's no more backstory to go over, but for the first time since the series began, I had a blast reading through it and was ready for more as soon as I put it down. It's still a little shaky in places, and it's not exactly what I'd call a great comic just yet, but there's a lot to be said for a steady issue-to-issue improvement.

Punisher War Journal #3: This issue's flashback sequence--wherein Captain America shows up during Frank Castle's Basic Training days from before he served in the Vietnam War--sparked its share of conversations around the shop after a quick flip-through. On the first impression, of course, this throws off Marvel's tenuous "thirteen-year" time frame, but I was pretty sure that I'd seen mention somewhere of a Vietnam-Era Cap who was retconned to have been Cap while Steve Rogers was still on ice, and there's some dialogue in there that supports that theory pretty well.

Point being, of course, that I tend to think way too much about things like Punisher War Journal. Welcome to the ISB, folks.

Robin #158: Ever since the One Year Later jump, I've been of the opinion that Adam Beechen's run on this title has been both fantastic and vastly underappreciated, mostly due to the divisive nature of Cassandra Cain's heel turn as the new leader of the League of Assassins. As much as I liked Batgirl, I honestly don't have a problem with it at all, but I can see how some folks might, and how that could present them with a pretty big obstacle when it comes to enjoying Beechen's excellent work on the title.

That said, if you can stand there and tell me that Robin teaming up with Grant Morrison's version of Klarion the Witch Boy to fight some sort of world-conquering Chimaera drawn by Frazer Irving is not ridiculously exciting, then I fear that we may never be able to agree on anything.

Huh. There's still four comics to review here, but I'm very, very sleepy. And you know what that means...

The ISB One-Sentence Comics Review Lightning Round!

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #14: My letter to Mary Jane hasn't been printed, and I am heartbroken.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #26: Mark Waid Storytelling Tip #32: When in doubt, giant Dominator robots.

Wetworks #5: I've been drinking since lunch, but I could swear this cover had a glowy-eyed bull-man in a skirt on it.

X-Factor #15: Siryn + Monet + Women's Prison = Best Story Idea Ever, Peter David.


The Chronicles of Conan v.11: The Dance of the Skull: Conan trade paperbacks are conquering my bookshelf at roughly the same rate that Conan himself conquered Aquilonia, and yet I still haven't read more than half of them. I got to that one where he hit that guy really, really hard and then quit, presumably because I didn't think that could possibly be topped. One day, though, I'm going to read the whole thing, and then you'll all be sorry.

Modern Masters: Kevin Maguire: I've only got a couple of the Modern Masters books (Bruce Timm and Walt Simonson, for the curious among you), and much like the Conan trades, I doubt I'll ever actually get around to doing more than just flipping through looking at the pictures. This one, though, I was really looking forward to, as Kevin Maguire is easily one of the most talented yet underrated artists of the modern age. As much as the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League was, well, the Giffen/DeMatteis League, Maguire's art is an integral part of what really defines that series, and with good reason: The guy's incredible. His facial expresions, of course, the best in the business bar none, and his dynamic, clean art for characters like Batman is flat-out astonishing.

Unfortunately, the Modern Masters book doesn't have nearly as much of a gallery as I'd like it to have (although what is there is quality work), but I did manage to stumble on a piece of the interview where Maguire mentioned that he wanted to do a Metal Men series. And seriously? That should happen now.

Penny Arcade v.3: The Warsun Prophecies

Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold: The Batman Team-Ups v.1: It should be clear by this point that I'm buying anything DC wants to slap the words "Showcase Presents" onto, but for those of you who trying to decide whether you need this one in your braincase, here's a handy checklist of what's involved:

1. Bob Haney.

2. Batman.

3. Everybody Else In the DC Universe Up To And Totally Including Sgt. Rock.

4. Panels scientifically calibrated to make Ragnell's head explode:

And that's real.

And that's another week knocked out! As always, if you've got any comments or questions, or if you just want to know what I thought about Civil War: The Return (Hint: Not Very Good), feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The SHIELD Technical Manual, Section IV

Hello, and congratlations on your recent promotion to SHIELD Agent Level 4 Status! Now that you've obtained the proper clearance, this guide will serve as your handy guide to recognizing and understanding certain equipment we employ in the continual fight against Global Super-Terrorism.

Over the next few pages, we will be discussing Advanced-level technology. For further information on Basic-Level technology, such as the Exploding Shirt, Bulletproof Suit Jacket, Ionic Disruption Cufflinks, and Flying Car--please refer to Technical Manual Section II.

If you have not recieved Level 4 clearance, please be advised that nanotechnology embedded within these very words has already been activated, and will result in your death in thirty seconds.

Ha-ha! Just kidding! If you didn't have the proper clearance, you'd be dead already.

Item Codename: OVERKILL HORN

Designation: K1R-B ST-150
Purpose: Counterterrorism Research.

Description: Originally designed to test the effectiveness of and counteract a similar piece of equipment constructed by HYDRA (see Technical Manual III: Your Various Uniformed Enemies), the Overkill Horn is capable of emitting a concentrated laser-like wave of sound that can simultaneously reach every point on Earth at once in flagrant violation of established "laws" of physics.

Proper Use: Considering that any use of the Overkill Horn will result in the immediate detonation of every nuclear bomb on the face of the planet, any and all use of said item should be considered a Very Bad Idea. In fact, now that we think of it, we're not even sure why we still have this thing laying around, and we wouldn't even bother to mention it if a recruit hadn't caused $3.4 billion worth of damage to the Helicarrier after mistaking it for a video camera.

Additional Notes: Access to YouTube will be restored when Agents have proven themselves to be responsible, and no sooner.


Designation: STERANK-0 ST-162
Purpose: Intelligence and Operations Planning

Proper Use: Originally constructed over the course of a year as an attempt to harness the latent powers of PSI-Division Agents in an effort to, to quote the orignal planning statement, "shatter paranormal dimensions of time and space, searching with powerful telepathic probes across the millennia, attempting to eclipse the unknown, to unleash deadly secrets in the kill-or-be-killed game of international intrigue," the ESP Chamber quickly fell into disuse when it was discovered that putting a complex machine designed to project "unbelievable thought illusions" into a room full of techies who spend their time idly wondering what would happen if Kirk fought Picard during Pon Farr or whatever was a pretty bad idea.

Additional Notes: Kirk.

Item Codename: HAWK HARNESS

Designation: STERANK-0 ST-166
Purpose Infiltration

Proper Use: Still in use today, the High Altitude Wing Kite Harness is one nof the trademarks of SHIELD R&D's commitment to quality through design and function. When properly worn, it allows for a far more rapid and maneuverable descent from an aircraft without the drag or high visibility of a parachute. It is, however, bright orange. So lots of luck with that, Secret Agent Sam.

Additional Notes: Smoking a cigar while attempting a HALO drop is not as easy as it looks, and should only be attempted by Agents of Level 7 or higher.

Item Codename: WARP VEST

Designation: STERANK-0 ST-167
Purpose: Emergency Personal Transport/Evacuation

Proper Use: Originally based on a prototype recovered by Colonel Nick Fury from the secret laboratories of the Yellow Claw, the Warp Vest is a miniaturized version of the same technology SHIELD employs in the large-scale Vortex Beam, which allows for personal teleportation across a limited range.

Additional Notes: When using the Warp Vest, Agents will likely be transported across some sort of Dali-esque nightmare landscape of mind-shattering color. Do not be alarmed! This is completely normal, and should be considered awesome.

For futher information, please consult the Complete SHIELD Technical Manual.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Solomon Stone: Now In Two Dimensions!

That's right: I'm squeezing yet another update out of this.

Anyway, when properly focused, the ISB's readership--an army numbering in the high dozens--is not unlike a laser, and with the tremendous response I've gotten to the turgid prose of Chapter 14: Deadly is the Hydra, it should come as no surprise that some of my more artistically-minded readers have taken it upon themselves to offer up illustrations of the World's Most Radical Action Hero.

First up, we've got Matthew Smith with an animated-style piece that features both Solomon's radical skateboard skills and a devastating Cromartie-esque pompadour:

That would've been enough to make my day, but then I recieved an email from EKN, who offers up a sketch of the cover art from the forthcoming Solomon Stone graphic novel adaptation, which scores untold bonus points for including Minxy Flatbush:

(Click for full-sized face-rocking)

It's the beginning of a media empire. I can feel it.

BONUS FEATURE: Honest-To-God ISB Fanart

The same day that I got the first Solomon Stone art, I also recieved a message from Steve, which included the following sketch of me as MODOK.

For the record, I don't actually have glasses, a lightning bolt-shaped soul patch, or a pipe (let alone a pipe that emits Kirby Krackle), but it's based on the default picture on my MySpace Page is the same one I use for the Relatively Serious Comics Reviews graphic. And also, it is totally awesome.

BONUS BONUS FEATURE: Monkey Punch Dinosaur!

On the off chance that you're not sick of the crayons yet, I've lent my highly dubious "talents" to Adam Ford's Monkey Punch Dinosaur! For those of you unfamiliar, yes. It is exactly what it sounds like.