August 30th, 2009

cass groovy

comics thoughts

A couple of comics notes:

POWER GIRL is everything I ever wanted a Power Girl series to be. I hug it to pieces.

BATWOMAN: Everybody is praising BATWOMAN's art. I am damned if I can see why. It is visually striking, yes. It is also completely fucking impossible to follow. I like my comic art to be clean and simple and effective; admittedly, one sequence in the latest issue has Batwoman doped to the gills on hallucinogens, so there might be an excuse for going off the rails visually, but the rest of it is not much better. And I'm not sure if I find the heroine an interesting character yet. That said, I thought the sequence where she and Maggie Sawyer both turned up to the Obligatory Big Gala in tuxedos and wound up dancing together was pretty cute, even if TPTB torpedoed Maggie's long-running relationship just so they could smush her together with Kate Kane.

BATGIRL: it's not all bad, I guess, but -- hey, remember that bit in BATGIRL #50 when Cassandra Cain explicitly said that she fought for the Bat, not Bruce Wayne? Yeah, apparently you don't work at DC Comics, 'cause it looks like nobody there does. Cassandra Cain continues to be the most misused and miswritten character in the Batfamily, and possibly the entire DC Universe. Sigh.

I downloaded Comixology's iPhone app, which allows you to download/buy/read comics online. So far I have read precisely two comics, both free, and I gotta say it's a mixed bag. Yes, it's nice to read comics on the go, but 1) the ecomics cost way too much and 2) the interface is ill-suited to the material. Lemme explain #2, because it's their major problem and could well be an appkiller. You read Comixology's e-comics a panel at a time. You cannot scroll around the page. You can zoom on a given panel, and you can tap on the screen to move forward or backward, but Comixology has decided how you are going to read the comic and will move you around the page one panel or part-of-a-panel at a time.

The dedicated comics fan will have immediately spotted the problem: this makes the app highly dependent on the panels being neatly separated and self-contained. It'd be great for Golden Age or Silver Age comics. Today? No way. Just to name one example, Batwoman would be completely impossible to read on it, because you can't scroll around. Even comics that aren't up to Batwoman's level of panel anarchy suffer: one (dreadful) comic I read had a panel that came off very weirdly. Incomplete, as if part of a punchline was missing. It took me a moment to realize what it was: the part of the panel that featured the (lame) gag didn't fit into the Comixology panel view -- and of course I couldn't scroll over to see it, not that it was funny enough to want to.

APED: "there's a price"

Of course there is a price on honor.
It changes, though, from man to man,
and women, too, will take an offer --
if you make it. If you can.
Take a man acclaimed for murder,
who takes the punishment alone;
don't delay the matter further.
Get on with it. Send him home.
Let him get a hero's welcome,
from cheering mobs who howl, who wait:
don't make too much or dwell on it,
don't remark their love for hate.
Think instead what they may offer
oil and treaties, wealth in store,
balance him against that coffer --
he's one man, and nothing more.
Or take the coin in cause we favor,
to balance wrongs of long ago,
forgive, for sake of things we savor,
harm to one we'll never know.
Console ourselves by saying primly,
"If she saw him, she'd be proud --"
she who saw him leaving, dimly,
from the car in which she drowned.
cass groovy

various and sundry

I was going to post a crappy render for you guys, but Photobucket is having issues. Just as well.

D&D went well last night. A highlight: we were fighting two different types of monsters, one type numerous and one type solo and nasty. The numerous types (straken, I think; I wasn't familiar with the monster beforehand) had a sonic weapon, which they turned on us. One of them hit the nasty (a hook horror), causing him to (the GM rolled) attack the straken, which he dispatched in one exchange. On noting this, our magic guy brilliantly cast Bigby's Grasping Hand and started chucking the hook horror into the straken deliberately. The dice were in our favor.

I think I got the best line of the night, though: while going through a Mines-of-Moria-ish underground highway we encountered a lightly-injured donkey, less a rider. We patched up the donkey and followed the trail to discover the rider being held by troglodytes planning on sacrificing him. Upon our rescuing him, my character helpfully informed him that we had saved his ass.

The downside: we completely blew a skill challenge that would have cured us of dimensionally-inflicted compulsive disorders (long story). So now when combat starts we have to roll a saving throw to see if we fall prey to our disorders or not. I usually fail my saving throw. This is not so much a problem, as my character's disorder is exhibitionism, so I only incur a relatively modest -2 AC penalty; the only trouble is that I am running out of D&D euphemisms for "penis." ("Ye shall know fear, foul creatures! For now I show you my REAL warhammer!")