Wednesday 23 December 2015

Quick Crappy Review: WWE Elite Junkyard Dog and The Legion of Doom

It’s J-Y-D and the L-O-D and that ain’t no L-I-E.

Quick Crappy Review: Galaxy Wars

It's two days to Christmas but you bet i can crap out two Quick Crappy reviews, I wonder if people enjoy reading these or realise I just fall back on them when I don't have the time/energy to write other content? Hopefully both.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Songs of Christmas Past!

So I like to listen to the Purple Stuff Podcast, who wouldn’t with a title like that? It’s the official podcast for Dinosaur Dracula and The Sexy Armpit, two of the best blogs on the web, way better than this pile of shit that’s for certain. Yeah, ok, it’s not the most...focused Podcast out there but it’s just so fun to listen to two blokes talk about rubbish, the most recent rubbish was Christmas songs and unlike their Halloween Songs not a single one crossed over with my perfect Christmas Playlist that I use every year, thus I had to write the following to talk about that playlist and all the Christmas songs that are way better than Bruce fucking Springsteen (god I hate that man), so see this as the AFB Christmas Countdown show as I check off a load of Christmas Songs and write a really indulgent post because why not? So are you sitting comfortably? Then IT’S CHRIIIIIIISTMAAAAASS!!!!:   

Wednesday 16 December 2015

A Look At... Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

Rounding out my Yay New Star Wars Film Celebratory Look At Posts Trilogy with, fittingly, something with Empire in the title, it’s Heir to the Empire, the first in the Thrawn Trilogy.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

A Look At... Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye!

Welcome fictional friends to the second of my Yay New Star Wars Film Celebratory Look At Posts, which are fittingly a trilogy. Today’s subject is the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.

Monday 14 December 2015

A Look At... Star Wars: The Keeper's World

The internet’s gone a bit Star Wars bonkers at the moment in the lead up to The Force Awakens, the first sequel to the original trilogy and the fist Star Wars film from new owners Disney. I wish I could be all hipster, poo-poo this and spend the month talking about Doctor Who because y’know everyone knows the correct answer to ‘Star Wars vs Star Trek’ is Doctor Who but fuck that, I’m as excited as everyone else and in fact have midnight showing tickets for the 16th. So my contribution to the internet’s celebration of a film that may or may not in fact actually be good is going to be Looking At three important Star Wars comics; The Keeper’s World, the very first original Star Wars story to see print; Splinter of the Mind’s Eye – an adaptation of the first original Star Wars novel and Heir to the Empire, the original sequel to Return of the Jedi. This is very much the equivalent of spitting into the ocean (or a Degaba swamp if you prefer). 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Dragstor & Queen Grayskull

Heeey, hey hot rod

I’ve gotten into the habit of writing Quick Crappy Reviews – which I only do of recent releases – about the day after I get whatever’s being quickly, crappily reviewed. This generally doesn’t come across to you fictional fans because I actually post my writings whenever I feel like but that is how I do things. This has been the exception thus far, I’ve had these since last week at least and I’ve been putting things off because I just couldn’t figure out what I thought about Dragstor, I’m still not sure.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Ten Other Great Songs By... Kirsty MacColl!

I’ve been meaning to start doing these for a while now as a less ‘image intensive’ option for when I’m feeling lazy.

I know a lot about music, but I know an especially large amount about a selection of 12 or so artists (maybe even more) – I have their whole discography, books on them and so on, they’re mostly British acts you mostly haven’t heard of that you mostly wouldn’t think I’d listen to if you saw me on the street (except The Clash, and the Manic Street Preachers – you’d defiantly think I listen to the Manics if you met me) but they usually had one or two hits most people in Britain have heard, even if it’s just on an advert with the words changed to advertise microwave food or credit cards or whatever. Case in point: Kirsty MacColl who’s known for jangly guitars, Cuban influences and singing on a song by a bunch of Irishmen, not the sort of act one would expect a big Metalhead looking fellow to obsess over, but obsess I do. So I’ve decided to write these posts, where I eschew the one or two hits the act has to tell you about 10 other great songs they recorded.    
Kirsty MacColl is sadly mostly known via other people’s work – she’s the female voice on The Pogues’ Christmas hit ‘Fairytale of New York’1 (the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day etc etc) and the writer of They Don’t Know which was a hit for Tracy Ulman (she also sung back-up on that) while two of her three biggest chart successes in the UK were cover versions – of The Kink’s Days and Billy Bragg’s A New England. To make matters worse her biggest hit was the brilliant ‘There’s A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’ which got her lumped in categories like ‘novelty song’ and ‘one-hit wonder’ (she wasn’t, she had several Top 10 hits). I say ‘sadly’ and ‘it only makes matters worse’ not just because it ruins one’s credibility to be considered a covers act, a novelty act or a one-hit wonder but of those the only song that showed off her talents as a snappy lyricist is the one that everyone ignores as a joke and MacColl was capable of being a fantastic lyricist with a very English sense of humour (so swearing, sarcasm and smut then) who could do both word play and simple but effective as good as those who’ve actually become known for their lyrical prowess like Elvis Costello. She was also a very hot ginger woman, and I’m easily swayed by hot ginger women. So are you sitting comfortably? Then BAY-AY-BEEE I’ll begin:

Free World (Kite, 1989)
I can’t decide if this or Soho Square is my favourite Kirst MacColl song, I like them both and both for their emotion but while Soho Square stays squarely in the realm of simple but effective relying on delivery, Free World throws words at you like you’ve offended their mother as our girl Kirsty gives a verbal smacking down to a Thatcherite wanker who’s sold out his principals, his class and driven off his friends, family and our heroine for the materialistic 80’s lifestyle. Kirsty did this sort of lyric really well (so does her mate Billy Bragg); using a love song as a protest song, drawing attention to some kind of other injustice while also singing about some prick who clearly didn’t know he had it so good and this is the best example of it from her, she fills the song with jabs at Margaret Thatcher’s Britain from the very first line, which may well be one of my favourites “I thought of you when they closed down the school / and the hospital too / did they think that you were better / they were wrong” she could be just as easily giving shit to the late great handbag herself. I guess the song works better if you know a bit about the 1980s and how shit it was in the UK because of the conservative government and the people who bought into their ‘pull the ladder up Jack and sod the rest’ mentality but a whole chunk of it still works, I especially like the enduring line ‘the ghettos are full of Mercedes Benz’ which in a world still flooded with commercial rap is still horribly useful. 

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Disney Store Mickey’s Christmas Carol Special Edition Figurine Playset

It's the last of my trilogy of Impromptu Quick Crappy Review and I honestly don’t know how and if I’m going to be able to do this, but I’m determined to do it so…sorry.

If you’ve been in the Disney Store in the last year or two you should have seen these, probably. I dunno, I don’t know how much attention you pay when you’re in the Disney Store, maybe you just go straight to the Star Wars section (though that has a set now too) or the big screen draws you like a moth, you watch two music videos and then leave wondering what happened.  But hopefully you imaginary readers will be familiar with the concept of these figurine playsets, Disney have been making them for whatever they’re currently promoting and using any excuse to make one for older properties so I guess they must sell pretty well, the number of figurines in each varies (in fact this set has a rather small number) and they’re about £12-£15 over here.  I like ‘em and if I was under 10 today I’d be all over ‘em like a rash (shaped like a Hidden Mickey obviously), they’re good value for money, allow you get a figural representation of lots of characters – including some that you unquestionably wouldn’t have gotten in a standard action figure line – and the odd bit of paint slop aside they’re really good quality. But I’m not under 10 (really) and I haven’t bought any yet, I’ve wanted to but logic has always taken over, and logic says “what the fuck are you doing to do with these if you buy them?” while you may think that’s true of every toy an adult buys it really isn’t; when they’re outside of the scales or franchises featured in my dedicated toy areas I use toys (and other merch) like ornaments so they have to feel like ornaments, a vintage Action Man feels like an ornament, a modern collectors’ figure feels like an ornament, but (ironically as these are closer to real ornaments than most) Disney’s figurine sets don’t – they feel like what they are, toys, which is absolutely fine if you’re the target age range but as we’ve discovered I am Groot not.

But even I have my limits of self-control, and making a Mickey’s Christmas Carol set pushed those limits way beyond breaking point.

Monday 23 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Monster High City Ghouls Three Pack

I’m having a very Monster High-y week; the Frightfully Tall Ghouls are now in stores with two of them in my house already (though I couldn’t find the TRU exclusive Elissabat – yet – but my borderline creepy love for that design WILL drive me on until I have a 17” version of her) and then today my City Ghouls pack arrived from America! I was so excited I stopped making breakfast to play with them, did you get that? I postponed food for them. I don’t postpone food for real people, even the ones I actually like. Mostly my excitement – and my importing them rather than just waiting for them to show in my local Asda – is from me depriving myself of the characters unlit this pack came out and I could buy them in their ‘default’ outfits so they’d fit in with all the other ghouls and having to walk past walls of them all tarted up in their Gala Ghoulfriends ball gowns feeling left out that I didn’t own them yet. But they’re here now and they were definitely worth the wait.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dark Beaver

I finally get to talk about something Ninja Turtles! And by happy coincidence it’s a figure that allows me to strut my funky stuff show off my knowledge of Turtles history, you see this cartoon beaver actually has his origins in the earliest days of the franchise, in fact in the first things that really made it a franchise and not just an explicably popular black and white indie comic with a bizarre title. But first a little story: I went to Smyths toys for a reason that didn’t involve beavers at all, in fact I find I rarely go anywhere for beavers, beavers just tend to find me, I’m that sort of fellow and true to form Dark Beaver here found me – by falling on my head. I didn’t even known he was out, new TMNT figures have slowed down to a Monkey Brains shaped trickle of late and I was in fact just amusing myself with a head dropping Turtle, a figure then fell on me and being a boy raised on Care Bears and Captain Planet I dutifully put it back, only to see it was Dark Beaver, he had snuck into stores without my knowledge, it was fate, I bought a beaver – again.

Thursday 12 November 2015

A Tribute To... Firffels!

Everybody knows that the Fird is the word. 

I present to you Remco’s Firffels poseable figures:

Released in 1985 at conveniently the same time Hasbro’s Wuzzles poseable figures they are conveniently the exact same concept of two cartoon animals smooshed into one, they claim to be The Original Two-Feature Creatures, which I’d believe if Remco ever originated anything in their entire time as a company and didn’t instead make all their income from parents who didn’t quite know what that thing their kids were into was called and/or couldn’t afford that thing their kids were into and thought Remco’s wares would be an acceptable substitute. As that IS true, I’m just going to assume ‘The Original’ is another part in of their ploy to convince parents who didn’t quite know what that thing their kids were into was called

*ehem* I’d be wrong.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Perfuma & Ceratus

It’s another Quick Crappy Review! I am writing other stuff I promise you but until then, let’s talk about some more He-Man toys.

Friday 6 November 2015

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: MCM Winter Edition 2015!

One last left-over from October:

So I went to winter MCM London Comic Con in October but didn’t post about it because it was still Countdown to Halloween Month and there was no way I could even tangentially relate it to Halloween (there wasn’t even that many horror-themed cosplayers). I go to both MCMs every year, it’s held in the ExCel Centre, a convention complex that’s about the same size as my hometown and I mostly go for the comfort of being surrounded by 1,000s of people who won’t judge me (until the find out I like Star Wars better than Star Trek anyway), it’s not as popular with my group of friends as LFCC and with one of them working and the other in America only two of us went and when we are left to do something together by god we’re efficient, we got in, out and spent loads of money within 3 hours. This should not reflect on the size or quality of the con though, in fact it’s probably one of the nicest laid out I’ve been to in years [Ok I want a qualifying statement before I go on, the dealers were not nicely laid out, they were in three different patterns and it played havoc with our organised brains, you have many, many nerds to cater for MCM, make it logical or else we will have issues]. The summer MCM was horribly laid out, it was all stuffed into one area leaving everything – dealers, talks, video games, signings, feeling short-changed and me feeling frustrated, I did get a vintage Action Man Astronaut & Space Capsule and a bendy Ivan Ooze so it was fruitful, but laid out like crap; this was far, FAR better with the inflatable dome things they’re using for smaller talks and the big loud stands in a separate area and eating and ATM machines in another room which meant people could sit, eat and draw money out without being cramped and/or it taking forever – when you’ve got hundreds of people in bulky, inconvenient cosplay lots of room to sit and queue is really appreciated by all.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Quick Crappy Review: WWE Wrestlemania Heritage Rick Flair & WWE Defining Moments Sting

I really can’t be trusted to go to Toys ‘R’ Us, I went to buy my mum’s godson a birthday present and bought two wrestlers, he doesn’t even like wrestling!

The last time I bought a WWF action figure new was about 1992, I was about 7 and it was, I think, (about) the Big Bossman. Why haven’t I bought any since then? Well by the time I was ‘collecting’ action figures in my teens the Attitude Era was on, which I didn’t like, and Jakks Pacific had the license and Jakks’ figures were pretty much shit. By the time I got back into buying toys for myself a few years ago there was barely any characters active I recognised and Mattel and their buck system were in charge, there were thousands of figures I didn’t recognise yet all looked very similar to each other. Then I started back at the bootsales and these figures were everywhere, nothing is more disappointing at a bootsale than thinking you’ve ground a stall with a box of action figures just for them turn out be loads of two year old wrestlers you don’t know and don’t care about. So what changed? Well Mattel has improved their buck and then they made the perfect Rick Flair figure, pretty much.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween Finale: Ghosts of Halloween Past


Sadly I’m still suffering from a severe bout of depression and panic attacks so really this post isn't gonna be amazing AND it's getting in the way of me watching cartoons and feeling lonely - see what I sacrifice for you lot? I am so fucking amazing :D - but I could do with some nostalgia.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: The Hollidaze Halloween Challenge - All At Once!

So I was checking out the Horror Movie BBQ  because I was looking for inspiration something to talk about for the last couple of blog post for Countdown to Halloween and found he was doing this Holidaze Halloween Challenge thing which comes from a site called The Holidaze, I’ve never been on that blog before but they’re friends & favourites bar includes Dinosaur Dracula, The Sexy Armpit, Diary of a Dorkette and Branded in the 80’s and those blogs I do read often, so it's got the stamp of approval. Apparently what you were supposed to do is answer a different question each day as a kind of alternative Countdown to Halloween, I read through the list and began to answer it, I can’t help it, I see a list of questions and I want to answer them, it’s a compulsion. But of course it was way too late to join in with this fun because today’s the 29th – right? Wrong, I’m going to answer all 31 questions this afternoon (its 3:30 pm as I write this), fuck the system. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll being:

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: A Tribute to Martha's Monster Make-Up

We're getting short on days but I felt I should take one to abuse the 'horror' theme of Countdown to Halloween and put up a (scarily serious) post about an old comic strip character, lucky you lot eh?

Monday 26 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: The Range Does Halloween!

We’re nearly out of October (boo) but I’ve still got time to shoe-horn in one more Chain Gores, sorry about that.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Friday 23 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On - Halloween Edition

I'm having a bad few days, so I'm posting from my 'in case I get desperate' document...

My consumption of crap goes up by a lot in October, it’s a natural side-effect of so many shops having so much Halloween stuff at such cheap prices, for one month of the year two thirds of all shops sell affordable material goods aimed at exactly the sort of person I am, so I shall have to do a Halloween edition of Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On – sorry about that.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Terror Towers

I seem to have accidentally turned my 2015 Countdown to Halloween into 'Halloween in the U.K.' so in keeping with that, here's something else UK-centric related to horror. 

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Sainsbury's Does Halloween

Sainsbury’s can usually be relied on to put a good dollop of effort into Halloween, turning their seasonal isle orange for the month of October and stocking a fine range of tat. I don’t know if it really is a good seller for ‘em or one of the top brass as Sainsbury’s is just a particularly large Halloween fan and has been abusing their power to make sure us Halloween nuts are well catered for, I kinda want it to be the latter. This year is not an exception to the rule, though I was a little disheartened to see that the very end of the seasonal isle is filed with Christmas stuff already (I LOVE Christmas but it’s fucking October, can’t we have Halloween and Bonfire Night first? Are you really going to lose that significant an amount of sales if you don’t’ get the Chrissy stuff out ‘til November 6th?) but to make up for that they hung a giant fluffy spider above the self-service tills:

That makes up for a lot of things, actually. So anyway, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Monday 12 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Quick Crappy Review: Set 75902 - The Mystery Machine

Scooby-Doo watching is to me as Halloweeny as pumpkin carving and slutty costumes, in fact there’s slutty costumes for most of the Scooby-Doo cast (you never see a Slutty Fred costume…).

Saturday 10 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Wilkinson's Does Halloween

Yeah I'm still doing these, will be all month, sorry but I see so many of these for American stores (and enjoy reading 'em) that I want to get some of our boys in on the fun. 

Thursday 8 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Poundland Does Halloween!

I didn’t take nearly as many pictures in Poundland because their isle was in full view of the cashiers and they kept looking at me funny and it was making me self-conscious.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Monday 5 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Cadbury's Halloween Chocolate 2015

I’m going to talk about - and try - all the Cadbury’s Halloween sweets I could find in Romford, but I will need help (because I took pictures of the Sceme Egg and it looked pants on its own) so I’ve enlisted a small wind-up ghost I just happened to have lying around because I just happen to have wind-up ghosts lying around all year round (really), everyone say hi to Ooky:

"Hi Ooky!"

Thursday 1 October 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Five Creepy-ish Tales

Woo! I’m an official Cryptkeeper for this year’s Countdown to Halloween. I won’t be posting every day like some do, but I will be posting more than my usual once or twice a week. This year’s contributors actually include a bunch of blogs I’ve been known to read – including AEIOU and Sometimes Why, Branded inthe 80’s, Goodwill Hunting for Geeks, Neato Coolville, The Sexy Armpit and of course I-Mockery! just by standing next to these people I feel more legitimate :D. Kind of sad to see Adventures of a Geeky Vixen and Plaid Stallions aren't joining in this year and I do wonder why The Girl WhoLoves Horror never joins in, you’d think this’d be right up her alley? I guess they must have other stuff to do, but I don't, Halloween rocks, I'm not in a position to enjoy it as much as I used to be so writing about it will make me feel better about my lot in life!

Thursday 24 September 2015

A Look At...The Multiversity Part 5

Fuck intros; let’s just do this last issue so I can read something shallow and linear. 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

A Look At...The Multiversity Part 4

Nazis and Meta, and Jim Lee, who isn’t a Meta Nazi – ok I’m not certain he isn’t but it’s VERY unlikely he is.

Monday 21 September 2015

A Look At...The Multiversity Part 3

Urg, Pax Americana is in this part, but so is Thunderworld – so yay!

In Which We Burn (The Multiversity: Pax Americana)
I’m going to have write something about every scene just to make this recap worth reading: Quick Summary: Earth-4: Peacemaker shoots president Harely. Nightshade argues with her father, now the president. They have two different conversations but he is adamant, the American Superhero is dead and Peacemaker killed it. Blue Beetle and Nightshade fail to apprehend The Question, who’s investigating the murder of Nora O’Rourke and Algorithm 8. The Question investigates the crime scene of O’Rourke’s murder, she was Peacemaker’s lover (?*) and she cracked Algorithm 8 – a pattern, a formula that can predict the future – O’Rouke was killed with a bust, used like a club, by someone wearing the weapons of an old Pax Americana villain. Captain Atom is teleported out of the universe by a Hadron Collider-come-Transmatter Cube while reading Ultra Comics #1, the scientists have put a black hole in his head, Sgt. Steele shoots them to death. Nigthshade argues with her mum. How long ago did Peacemaker plan to kill the president? The Question kills a criminal and talks about Spiral Theory. Pax Americana (The Question, Tiger, Peacemaker, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and Nightshade) are unveiled by President Harley, Captain Atom builds a new three towered structure where the World Trade Centre once was – out of nothing, in an instant. Presidential candidate Harley meets Captain Atom and explains his plan and Algorithm, using it he has decided to be killed and resurrected to show the people a miracle. Peacemaker saves Dubya. Peacemaker says Harley chose to become the sacrifice in his plan because he deserved it. The Question kills a smack dealer with his own smack, Blue Beetle is horrified. At his father’s graveside Harley has his epiphany. Harley finds his father’s gun in his studio when Yellowjacket comes in, Harley shoots him dead, he takes of his mask – “Dad?”

I’ve heard the argument that people only use ‘pretentious’ when something’s too smart for them and they don’t understand it, though apparently it actually means “attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed” that is pretending to be more than it is, Pax American is trying to be more than necessary so it’s not really pretentious it does piss me off though, and part of that is because it’s too smart for me but mostly because it’s overstuffed and like all overstuffed things, it tastes funny. We have a comic retelling Watchmen with the Charlton Comics characters (who were originally supposed to be the characters featuring in that series) and commenting on it, everything referencing the number 8, and the whole thing is based around Spiral Dynamics, a not-that-well-known theory that is generally considered pseudoscience bollocks and that’s mostly only shown by the colouring, and the whole story is told backwards. That’s a lot of stuff to stuff into a single 1-shot, too much stuff and half of its unnecessary and here just to show how clever Grant Morrison is, the book’s doing so much it forgot to tie into the event its part of. If you want a really good in-depth look at it, how it breaks down and fits into Spiral Dynamics and what it all means then the Comics Alliance did a fantastic piece on it here.

Some people will tell you this is the best book in the series and will undoubtedly be called pretentious bastards by the others who will tell you that this is the worst book the series and will be branded shallow by the first group. It’s undoubtedly the best drawn book the series, Frank Quietly is pretty damn brilliant anyway (that potato face issue aside) but shows up as even more talented here when he’s forcing his art into the rigid 8-panels-per-page format (Watchmen used 9 panels per page) without his art looking compromised.  On the rest of it – well here’s the thing: I don’t care about Spiral Dynamics, I don’t care about theories in general, and I don’t care about what comments the bloke who wrote Planet X has on one of the most perfect comics of all time, so the extra symbolic elements do nothing to enhance my experience but that is entirely personal and if those sorts of things are your sort of things then the book’s fine in that regard. It is the major problem with the book though – what if you don’t care and just want a good story with the Charlton Comics characters? What’s left then? Not a lot. It’s an ok little story but not a very original one – not just because it’s a variant of the events of Watchmen – it’s a simple murder mystery with a simple twist (the victim set up his own murder) with a small cast of characters (we barely meet Tiger) and some needlessly hard to read page layouts, compared to all what’s going on in some of the other books this feels like all symbolism no substance.

Captain Marvel and the Day That Never Was (The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures)
Yaaay! Quick Summary: The Wizard Shazam finds a new day in the Cosmic Calendar – Sivanaday – just as a new, artificial Rock of Eternity arrives. Sivana has worked out the messages in the comics and joined up with a whole Multiverse of Sivanas and inserted a new day and is going to conqueror the Multiverse, not only that but he’s worked out a formula that allows him to duplicate the effects of Captain Marvel’s lightning – turning Magnificus, Georgia and Thaddeus Jr. into Captain Sivana, Georgia Sivana and Captain Sivana Junior! On Earth-5 in Fawcett City time is out of control and Billy Batson is reporting on it, when a Billy Batson from tomorrow turns up and warns his past self to look at the clock and the sun. As Future!Billy fades the Sivanna Family arrive and – Shazam! – Captain Marvel takes on all three of them until Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior can arrive. Then it’s time to wrap up the right – but with Sivanna Junior punched to the moon and Georgia tricked into depowering Captain Sivana is still smiling; they were only keeping the Marvels busy until their dad could release the Monsters. The Monster Society of Evil* have arrived – BUT so have the Lieutenant Marvels lead by Tawky Tawny and no monster can stand up to a badass tigerman with a jetback, an education and a big ass gun. Free to save their wizard Cap flies to the Rock of Eternity via the subway tunnel he came through when he first got his powers, after some psychedelic pop-art bullshit he’s read to tackle Sivana, but the Legion of Sivanas are ready for him (even if Serial Killer Sivanna creeps them out a bit): Marvel arrives and Sivana becomes Black Sivana and as Marvel’s argument that science and magic are the same thing doesn’t sway Sivanan’s ‘SCIENCE R BETTER’ rant they resort t punching. When that fails Captain Marvel turns back into Billy to buy himself some time, sends the message we saw earlier to past!Billy and figures out what he meant – the other Sivanas tricked his one, they scrimped on the necessary Suspendium and only gave him an 8-hour day, which is now over, and Sivana fails once again.

That was awesome! I’m having trouble writing a sensible ‘review’ of it and that’s kind of fitting as the whole point of this story seems to be don’t overanalyse and spoil the wonder of the superhero, that was the point of Pax Americana too but all the symbolism and horseshit and Spiral Theory kind of undermined the point by requiring analysis just to understand the book. You can analyse Thunderworld Adventures if you like but it WILL spoil the fun, because the book IS fun, a great adventure from one of the genre’s greatest – and purest – heroes fighting his arch nemesis with one of his typically bizarre and creative yet ultimately doomed schemes and crowd-pleasing appearances from all the major names in his supporting cast and rogue’s gallery. Captain Marvel shouldn’t be anything but fun and awesomeness, he doesn’t need to be anything else and this book is a lovely bit of proof, proof that DC itself needs to take notice of after how they’ve been treating the Fawcett heroes and ESPECIALLY the Marvel Family since Infinite Crisis.

Cameron Stewart’s art is especially gorgeous and actually proves a point about superheroines and their costumes – people complain about women and their depiction in superhero comics and rightly so; the problem that usually comes up is that women are overly sexualized in comics – they are – when people missing the point say ‘but the men wear tight costumes too’ the reply is that they are not sexualized in how they’re drawn, women often are – this is also true. Unfortunately the way the Big Two seem to be dealing with the issue is by giving female characters new costumes to cover them up, these costumes are invariably inferior and often ugly, awkward and over-designed – how much skin they show is irrelevant, they’re just shitty costume designs - and it’s all for naught if they don’t stop the artists drawing them in a sexualized manner, they just draw them that way with more clothes on. Now look at how Stewart draws Mary Marvel and Georgia Sivana (transformed) – Mary doesn’t really wear much (though Georgia wears less) but Steward doesn’t draw her in a sexualized manner, he does do this for Georgia because that’s part of her point, she’s over-sexualized because that’s what the ugly girl inside sees as an ideal (and she is very attractive, Stewart gives her a lovely facial design that just finishes her off and makes her gorgeous). The main problem with female superheroes (as I, your lord and master see it) is people drawing the Mary Marvels like they’re Georgia Sivanas (or worse) not their costumes, as Stewart proves perfectly here with Mary Marvel.
So in conclusion there is no bad here, read Thunderworld Adventures.

Maps and Legends (The Muliversity Guidebook)
While the guidebook is a sourcebook it also has a story running through it, and it’s the first time we’ve gotten back to the main plot since Multiversity 1. Quick-ish Summary: On Earth-42 Serial-Killer Sivanna roasts some of the Little League, much to the shock of Lil’ Sivana, done he takes his mini-me through the Transmatter Cube to their false Rock of Eternity leaving Lil’ Batman, Green Arrow and Hawkman to make a final stand. Lil’ Batman allows Arrow and Hawk’ to escape* but is happily saved by the surprise arrival of Atomic Batman from Earth-17. A-Bats is as surprised as anyone else. On the False Rock the Legion of Sivana’s turn on Lil’ Sivana and eat him, but the Marvels arrive so they bug out, Serial Killer Sivana staying behind for Mary Marvel. Batman picks up one of the comic books the Sivanas left behind – this comic to be precise, and reads, as do we:
On Earth-51 Ben Boxer, Kamandi and Chief Tuftan arrive on the Island of the God Watchers looking for Kamandi’s lover Flower. Watched by the New Gods* they come across the empty Tomb of Darksied* and once inside – thanks to Boxer’s BIOMAC form – they find the history fo the DC Multiverse up to this point.
Back on Earth-42 Lil’ Batman and Atomic Batman team up to get the Transmatter Cube working and Lil’ Batman uses the guidebook to pick an Earth. We meanwhile get files on all 52 earths (Earths 0-51). On Earth-51 Kamandi & Co escape the temple as a the skies turn red and a Crises I supon them, Nix Uotan releases Darksied to plague humanity and the New Genesis New Gods decide to not interfere directly until their power is fully returned (after their death and rebirth in Final Crisis) as the Empty Hand is behind everything.  On Earth-42 Lil’ Batman gets the Transmatter Cube working but finds out they’re all robots there, and is sent to earth-17 by Atomic-Batman who in turn ends up in the House of Heroes, which is under attack from Hellmachine, and the Empty Hand activates his sleeper agents – the Lil’ Leaguers of Earth-42.

This is how you do a sourcebook right – you make it as interesting to read as the rest of the issues it’s a guide to, hell you make it essential reading to the story, BUT you keep all the information plain and easy to find, read and reference.
The story is ok but it shares a few issues with Multiversity issue one – we have smaller cases of things not being shown, jumping from one part of a scene to another, needlessly confusing dialogue (Atomic Batman’s clearly talking in the slang of his world but it does get a little over-the-top), some panel’s layouts not giving us a clear idea of where everyone is in relation to everyone else and/or not focussing on something that needs to be focussed on to aid our understanding… and no fucking sound effects making some actions hard to decipher when they really shouldn’t be (and the lack of feet stamping sounds really kills the atmosphere of the Sivanadroids approaching the Batmen) but it’s not as noticeable as Multiversity 1 nor do these problems appear in such vital panels/scenes (most of the time).

I really like the Atomic Batman design with its ‘70s style manga influences – I can’t seem to find who designed the suit but it’s just fantastic to look at, it looks like an old Japanese toy and is very well balanced in both colour and design AND it’s not over-detailed.  I don’t get the Lil’ Earth and its characters, I think it’s supposed to recall stuff like Tiny Titans or Lil’ Gotham (which were both awesome) or just the Chibi style of art but it’s a pretty unoriginal idea that’s been used better* (The cute things are really evil/they’re all really robots) even if it is always creepy, and the Lil’ Leaguers as agents of the Empty Hand will have no effect on anything anyway.        

They actually made Jack-in-the-Box look MORE Creepy?
On the new earths – I like the concept of there being Earths that are equivalents of comics that have Superman equivalents in them (Big Bang Comics, Astro City, Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios/Maximum Press/Awesome Comics) though a lot of the designs aren’t that great, they seem a bit rushed and uncreative, and the Astro City characters are downright creepy (I like that, but it doesn’t really work as a stand in for the classic superhero style Astro City uses). I’m also completely on-board with them having an Image-equivalent Earth, after all they’ve had a Marvel-style earth since the 1970s though again some of the designs don’t do much for me, though this time it’s more that they’re not as good as Dino-Cop, it’s like all the effort went into that and there was none left to give us good analogues of Shadowhawk, Witchblade, Invincible et all – and they really missed a trick not making the Martian Manhunter analogue also the Pitt analogue which in turn would have referenced Pitt being so clearly inspired by The Incredible Hulk. Who else was there? The Gender-swapped Earth (Earth-11) is a concept that’s been around for ages and is fine, the Nu52 Wonder Woman costume really works as a bloke’s outfit; I’ll save my thoughts on Superdemon and Earth-13 until it shows up in Multiversity 2; I think Earth-31’s new but it looks awfully familiar in a way too, that’s either a sign of good design work or I’m thinking of those Pirate Batman action figures Kenner made;  Earth-39 is just plain silly as the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents are in the public domain and they could have just used the real things, but then given DC’s history of paying for things that are now in the public domain (and probably was then too) maybe it’s fitting; I like how Morrison’s brought together so many elements to make the new Earth-48 but Lord Quark talked utter bollocks in the main story and then had the cheek to go ‘can I be more clear?’ yes you could Grant, often.       
Next Part: Hitler on a toilet – what else do you need to know? 

* She could be his wife, I’m not sure
* Mr Mind, Sobek, Mr Atom, Oom the Mighty and Storm King from Hoppy the Marvel Bunny!
* think that’s what happens – it’s not really shown - again.
* Multiversity sets up the satisfying concept that the various New Gods showing up in the New 52 are all emanations of the ‘true’ New Goods (the original Jack Kirby ones) who reside in the Godsphere  
* Darkseid’s tomb is based on an unreleased playset from Kenner’s The Superpowers Collection action figure line.

* going back to the Extremists Vector again, the ‘really robots’ reveal was used there and it was far creepier and far better handled, and there was an additional plot twist.