More Than Meets The Eye, Part II

Over 25 years, much has been made — even on this very blog — about the poor marksmanship of beloved Hasbro characters. While GI Joe and Cobra are only human, with their apparently limitless budgets to create futuristic vehicles, armors, weapons, and undersea bases you would think a little of that money could go towards target practice and making helmets that survive being knocked together. The Transformers, though…Well, I think they’re getting a bad rap. Let me ask you:

Can you find Soundwave in this picture?

Operation: Where's Waldo?

Of course not! Quite frankly, I’m surprised that our friends from the planet Cybertron can see anything at all. First off, the Transformers are robots composed completely of digital components. That means they don’t have eyes at all, they’ve got two head-mounted digital cameras for stereoscopic vision. Now, assuming that here in 2009 a top-of-the line digital camera is 20 megapixels, using Moore’s Law (which roughly says that processor speed will double every 18 months) we can work backwards and determine that in 1984 the Transformers’ eyes would be roughly 0.078 megapixels. When that’s your entire field of vision, it’s barely There he is!enough to make out colored blobs, much less be useful for precise targetshooting. The Cybertronians were doing the best they could with what they had! Also, keeping in mind that they could turn into everyday vehicles, it would be impossible to tell Starscream from Pan Am Flight 103 (not that I’m pointing fingers). Even giant Autobot or Decepticon symbols would be impossible to make out at a distance.

Of course, this is all working on the unlikely assumption that they got immediate upgrades upon waking up after crashing on Mt. St. Helens in 1984. In reality, their last major upgrade was probably FOUR MILLION YEARS EARLIER! I’ll leave it to a better (read: any) mathematician than I to trace pixel numbers back that far.

I'm sure Hound just can't see Spike.  I'm sure that's it!The point of all this, though, is to beg Earthlings (or fleshlings, if you’d rather) to be a little more symapthetic to the Cybertronian plight. They did not have the advantage we did of being born with perfect analog visual receptacles. They do the best they can with what they have, and we should be congratulating them on their 15% hit rate rather than focusing on the collateral damage produced by all of those errant laser blasts.

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Spandexploitation IV: The Voyage Home

Does this modest manse in upstate New York belong to a coven of Satan's concubines? Neighbors report strange noises, "animal smells and flying women."

Beast

Are your sheep safe? Maybe not if this bouncing Beau Brummel lives near you.

Gambit

Have you seen this man? Casinos cross country complain: cajun card-sharp cheats!

Artie and Leech with Attorney at law: Caliban.

Which power couple was refused marriage by mutant hate-mongering justice of the peace?

Professor X, walking tall.

Was this wheelchair bound "Professor" really caught doing the Stanky Leg at a local night club?

Game Tape

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

To start this week seems full of books where characterization is the by word.

Muppet Peter Pan #2 continues with the excellent art of Amy Mebberson. The story drags a little as we travel across Neverswamp meeting people, but the silliness, jokes, and gags keep you from putting it down. In fairness, the source material is a little slow here too. It’s hard to keep parts from sounding more like a travelogue. Randolph’s characterizations continue to be spot on as we see who’s who. There’s a great bit with Sam the Eagle at the beginning (think in terms of his classic speech against animal nudity). Gonzo is Gonzo again in all the right ways; the appearance at the end of a popular character doesn’t miss a beat and fits like a hand in a muppet, and I suspect Grace Randolph’s Whatnot made in with a cameo.

Remember Uncle Sam’s speech that rallied the troops in Crisis on Infinite Earths? Barry gives a watered down version of this to get Ray and Mera to (wo)man up and be heroes. I’m beginning to think Blackest Night is Johns’ answer to those who didn’t feel Final Crisis was “eventy” enough. Green Lantern #47 was the stronger of the tie-ins this week. Johns is good at character and fleshing them out into something more. In some ways he’s better at this than James Robinson in this one single respect. Sinestro steals the spotlight again here. No surprise I guess, but it makes the book worth reading.

Those expecting an epic battle between Reeds of multiple Earths will be sorely disappointed with Fantastic Four #572. It’s actually a decent ending to the story if a little sudden and hollow seeming at first. Turns out 616’s Reed is the smartest man in the room. On the other hand, this issue has a weird bit of dialogue between Valeria and Franklin. Like creepy disjointed dialogue.

The last book of the week is Superman #693. In which we learn how to pronounce Mon-El’s name. A lesson not worth the price of entry. Some will tell you that this is a brilliant piece of characterization. General Lane is the troubled patriot weighing minor evils against the greater good. They’re essentially right. Hearing a man who for all intents and purposes is classified as a villain rail against Superman was interesting. Getting the point of view where Superman is a villain to humanity was novel. They were interesting and novel the first time I read them coming from Lex Luthor’s mouth. So Lane turns into a pale uninteresting copy of Lex Luthor.

Namor … Secrets!

These ankle wings aren't just for flying...They're also for the ladies.

namor

Namor was referring to himself in the third person twenty years before Doom was a twinkle in Stan Lee's bloodshot eye! DOOM!!!

namor

Atlantis lost their bid for the 2012 Olympics because 99% of the competitors wouldn't be able to breathe underwater. Pussies.

namor

Of course we left Aquaman on a reef in the air to die! Wouldn't you?

brain fart

I remember when I first started collecting that I could tell what book came out on a give week without consulting Diamond’s shipping list. Like clockwork, Uncanny X-Men was always out the first week of the month, and X-Men was out on the third week. Is it like that anymore? Is my mind not as fresh and sharp as it used to be? Or have we thrown shipping schedules to the wind across the board?

This Week’s Books — And a Quasi-Apology

Diamond releases for 10/28/2009

It’s a stupid week for me this time around…

  • BATMAN #692 – Meh. Winick is an issue or two away from making me give up until the next writer.
  • WORLDS FINEST #1 (OF 4) – I don’t even remember the premise for this one, but I’ll give it a shot.

So, since it’s such a light week and there’s not much to comment on, I’d like to give props to Marvel for Deadpool #900 a couple weeks ago. I confess to not understanding the Deadpool Team-Up reprint, but the rest of the book was pretty solid. A crazy alien story, a clever silent story featuring mimes, a messed-up story with art by The Rob, and a funny CSI-style hit were all highlights. My only real complaint was the “real world” story that seemed way too hostile to the fans, much like the end of Wanted.

I also had the chance to flip through last week’s “Puppy Power: Bo Obama” book and feel like I may have been too harsh on Bluewater. I still feel like it was a shameless cash-in, but at least it tried to teach something about the United States.

Also, Stuff of Legend #2 didn’t come out at my LCS.  Did anyone get it?

So, that’s it for me. What are YOU getting?