New Comics Review (7-21-07)

Extremely late this week.  Between that whole real life thing, and a rather large pull list this time, it took me far longer than usual to read through everything.  Should be back on schedule next time (yeah right)…

DMZ #21- Part 4 of the “Friendly Fire” story arc.  Matty gets an answer to one question, but it will be the aftermath that will matter.  Maybe what happened on Day 204 wasn’t such an accident after all.

Batman Confidential #7- New story arc begins, with a look at the Joker’s past, and Bat’s role in it. 

Countdown #42, 41- Tension builds in the DC universe.  Between Amazons in Washington, Monitors going rogue, Mary Marvel’s continuing identity crisis, and the death of Bart Allen, this just keeps getting better and better.

Amazon’s Attack #4- Air Force One is forced down in a field.  Wonder Woman is taken away from her confrontation with her mother.  Oh, and Circe is still alive..

Green Lantern #21- Geoff Johns continues to prove that he is among the best, if not the best scripter in the business today.  The Sinestro Corps continue to kill off Lanterns left and right, while the Guardians sit and debate.  Once again Ganthet turns to Hal and friends to go off the grid and do what needs to be done.  But Parallax is back, this time as Kyle Rayner!

Lone Ranger #7- Despite being from a secondary company (Dynamite), this is one of the best written and drawn series on the market today.  The Ranger gets some “down time,” and makes more than a few gestures to his friend and family.  I wonder if they’ll ever make the connection between the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet?

Conan #42- Rougues in the House part 2.  Conan makes allies with the Red Priest, who was sent to kill, in order to get out of the sewer maze beneath the tower.  Plus a semi-intelligent ape is running amok in the tower.

Black Canary #2- More lead up to the big day.  Merlyn has a plan, and is just so obsessed about Green Arrow that it will endanger all around Ollie.  Oh, and Dinah’s ex is back on the scene..

Green Arrow Year One #1- A new retelling of the origin of Green Arrow.  This is starting off as a more involved retelling of the 1983 miniseries.  A solid read, especially for those that don’t already know Ollie’s past, or those that missed the first miniseries.

All Flash #1- A one shot to bridge the gap between The Fastest Man Alive and the return to Flash with #231.  Wally West tracks down Impulse, the Bart Allen clone, who helped kill Bart.  But not all is done with the Flashes.

Justice League of America #11- A self contained story during the Amazon war.  Vixen and Red Arrow are evacuating civilians from the Watergate Hotel (yes that Watergate) when it goes over the side into the Potomac.  A simple yet effective story IMO.

Justice Society of America #7- A new Captain Steel arises, but will he last?  What happens when you muck with a guy who already has mental issues and try to make him a hero?

Checkmate #16- Power struggles abound among the Kings and Queens of Checkmate.  Plus a new member joins, but is he trustworthy, or just an obvious spy?

Shadowpact #15- Zauriel joins up to take the place of Blue Demon, just in time to confront Doctor Gotham.  All while Blue Demon searches for his family in Hell, with lawyer in tow! I can’t wait to see this guy litigate in the Infernal realms.

Spirit #8- I just can’t get enough of Darwyn Cook’s take on Eisner’s character.  I think he’s nailed it.  In this episode, the Spirit’s favorite secret agent returns from the grave to save the city from Nuclear destruction.  Oh, and also makes things difficult for ourt hero and his gal.

Star Wars: Dark Times #4- Continuing to follow the Jedi Master Dass Rennir and his cohorts as the track down the slavers.  Explores more of what it is to be a Jedi, and how there may be more than two sides to the force.

Shazam! And the Monster Society of Evil #4- The conclusion of Jeff Smith’s take on the character.  I enjoyed this series as new take on it, but I wouldn’t want it to be a regular series.  Still, a fun read in a 40’s kind of way.  Not complex or involved, just straight forward superhero action.

Captain America #28- Cap’s still dead.  Bucky/Winter Soldier is hunting the Red Skull, while Sharon Carter and the Falcon try to track the Buckster down.  With Nick Fury still hiding out. 

Mystic Arcana:Black Knight- Part two of this series (even if it says #1 on the cover).  Picking up with where Magik left off.  McNee is still on his quest, this time to the time of King Arthur to meet Morgana LeFay.  Oh, and that guy in black armor too..

Avengers Classic #2- Worth it for the reprint alone.  The new back up story is OK, but that’s not what you’d be getting this for.  For those with a bent for nostalgia, or if you never read this stuff before, get it.

Sub-Mariner (The Initiative) #2- The Atlantean sleeper cell is still active.  The confrontation between Tony Stark’s SHIELD and Atlantis is in a precarious situation, and Namor breaks through the SHIELD line to go after the sleeper cell and whoever is behind them.  Will he have a throne when he gets back?

Civil War Chronicles #1: If you missed out on this story arc, and don’t have the cash to pick up the trades, this is a viable alternative.  At $4.99 an issue, it’s a bit pricey, but does reprint both Civil War #1 and Civil War: Frontline #1 in the same magazine.  Not worth while if you have all the original issues or the trades, unless you’re a completist.

The Order #1- Details the adventures of the California team for the Initiative.  I doubt this one will last.  It’s just not all that compelling in terms of story line or characters.  The art is solid, but that won’t save it.

Wolverine: Origins Annual #1- an interesting side story, taking us back into Wolvie’s past (maybe).  Kind of long winded for what the ending was, and not a whole of meat to the story.  Still, the art was solid, and the story itself wasn’t all that bad.

World War Hulk: X-Men #2- Xavier tries to give himself up to the Hulk, but the rest of the X-Men won’t allow it.  Yet another excuse for a Hulk-Wolverine fight.  This one gets nasty folks.  And it all could have been avoided..

World War Hulk #2- Big guns duke it out in NYC.  Iron Man is down, and not even Reed Richards and Dr. Strange can stop the green goliath. 

World War Hulk: Frontline #2: Ben Urich find himself a bit too close to the action when the Hulk and the Thing trade punches.  And there’s something else going on as Detective Danny investigates the death of one of the Hulk’s war-bound.

Avengers: The Initiative #4- B-Listers and rookies get assigned to crowd control, and can’t stand it.  Not sure why I pick this up, as it, like the Order just won’t last.

Ghost Rider #13- Johnny Blaze and Zarathos confront the Hulk.  Hulk smash.  And Ghost Rider drives off.  Dr. Strange has to explain why to Reed Richards, and Reed now knows he’s gonna get a whuppin.

Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears #6- The Finale to the Garth Ennis scripted miniseries.  This kind of loses me in the middle of the issue, as it goes into some rather heavy philosophical concepts, and doesn’t convey them well.  The ending leaves something to be desired as well.

Blade #11- Nearing the end of this series, if the reports are true.  Blade’s father is looking to restore his soul, and those of every other vampire out there.  Hannibal King and Blade have a set to, and the possibility of Dracula’s resurrection is lurking just around the corner.

New Avengers #32- Who’s a skrull?  Who’s more annoying?  And just what Is Jessica up to with the Elektra-Skrull body?  And why did Danny’s plane crash?

Army >at< Love #5- More frontline hijinx brought to you by MOMO.  I find thistake on “corporate warfare” entertaining.  It’s not a funny haha kind of humor, but it is high satire.  Though it does have some interesting ideas.  Definitely for the more adult crowd.

The Prgramme #1- I had read a bit about this before I bought it.  The concept is far from original, but the application of it is.  The tandem of Peter Milligan and CP Smith have, in this first issue at least, produced an entertaining and interesting story.  I look forward to seeing how they carry on.

I also picked up the TBP of Elric: The Making of a Sorceror.  This “prequel” to Moorcock’s Elric series of books is a solid read.  Written by Moorcock, and produced with artist/writer Bill Simonson, it has all the things that made me read the original books to begin with.  A worthy pick up if you’re a fan of Moorcock’s works (Elric, Castle Brass, Eternal Champion, etc), or if you’re just curious about his stuff.

What’s Happened to all our heroes?

OK, I read the last Harry Potter book over the past two days.  It’s an excellent read, and I wasn’t too shocked by anything that transpired in it.  No, I will not be posting any spoilers here.  I’ll leave that to less scrupulous people to do.  While reading it, I was struck by a thought that I’ve had before, and one that I think needs some attention.

Why do we, as a society and as a culture, insist on tearing down our heroes?  What JK Rowling did with Albus Dumbledore reminded me of this idea.  Why is it that we have to give all our heroes feet of clay?  Why do we insist on bringing those who are heroic, who provide examples and lead the way, down into the mud?

I understand the desire, and the need, for completeness.  It should serve to enhance the heroic aspects, showing that ordinary people can rise to become extroidinary in the right situation.  Yet that is not what happens.  Instead we find ever salacious and scandalous act, or even implied act of impropriety, not to show that people can rise up, but to belittle, tarnish, and discredit.

Where and how this trend started, I don’t know, nor does it really matter.  What we have now is a society that strives for, and glamorizes scandal, bad behavior, and cannot accept anything that rises above this muck.  We destroy out heroes, be they real life, or fictional.

Sure, some of this has political motivations.  Look at Martin Luther King.  He was perhpas the greatest leader for civil rights this country has ever known.  Yet people insist on focusing on his womanizing and plagiarism, not to show how he rose above that sort of stuff, but to belittle him as a person and his message.  Or how about JFK?  The drug abuse (pain killers), his womanizing (Marilyn Monroe et al), and his temper.  Though in the case of JFK, that was more a reaction to the mythical Camelot image as formulated by TH White.

For a more “modern” example, look at what some people have done to John McCain, most recently in 2000.  Here’s a gut who embodies everything we want out of our military people, yet he gets branded a “traitor” by some (I’ll take the word of his fellow POW’s here, who say he is not now nor ever was one), and some less that flattering things by others.  Look at what was done to Bob Kerrey (not John, he deserved it) a few years back.  Innuendo and gossip are seemingly more important than fact, or the actual acts of courage and heroism themselves.

This is not limited to the political sphere either.  We do it to our fictional heroes as well.  As I started off, JK Rowling did it to Dumbledore in the “Deathly Hallows.”  Marvel tried to do it to Captain America, found they couldn’t, and had to kill him (Steve Rogers will return!).  DC did it Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), but that fit in a logical way, and he has since been “redeemed.” 

I know we like “flawed” heroes.  Guys like John McClain, the Punisher, Jack Sparrow, and Han Solo grab our attention.  We like the “bad boys,” more so when they get to kick the back side of the villain.  The difference here is that we go into liking these types knowing they’re flawed, and have “issues” or “history.”  This is unlike most situations where we take a hero, then have to find every dirty piece of laundry so it can be aired for all to see.

The media feeds this trend, and we continue to buy it.  Scandal sells, and we’re addicted to it.  Doesn’t matter what it is, but the juicier, the more outrageous, the most tittlating, the better.  Why else would Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan grab headlines so much?  Why do we turn every “tell all” book into a best seller?  Why must we dredge up every imaginable worng doing anyone has ever done?

I guess I wouldn’t be so bothered by all this if information was used, and presented, to round out an individual.  If it was used to show how an individual can rise above circumstance and achieve something more.  All we do is use it to attack, damage, and destroy.  I am convinced we as a society, as a nation, cannot stand heroes. 

So the question is, why?  I think it’s because we are so molly coddled that we have been trained, no, indoctrinated, that heroism is just for “special” people.  The average Joe or Jane just isn’t capable of doing this sort of thing.  So we seek to “level the playing field” with the heroic people, by finding every flaw and misdeed (imagined or real), to belittle them personally, to demeen them in the eyes of the public. 

This has all become a modern form of human sacrafice.  We kill our heroes, destroy them on the altar of mass media.  We end up belittling and destroying ourselves in the process.  We have become a society that is anti-hero.  I’m not saying we instead turn to antiheores, but that we just can’t stand a hero, flawed, pure, or anti.  We must destroy them, it’s what we feed on for entertainment, and to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.

Think of why all those who rushed to the WTC on 9-11 have essentially been forgotten, especially by the media?  They were average people, doing thier jobs.  They knew what the risks were, yet rose above their fears, their sense of self preservation, to go into a highly dangerous situation to help others (Ken Marino, you are gone but not forgotten, at least here).  Sure, they’ll make some allusions to them, but only if they can atatck or demeen someone else.

Look at Barry Bonds.  A lot of his problems stem from the media.  Not all for sure, he has done himself no favors.  But would it be so much of an issue if he wasn’t doing what he is, chasing Aaron, and having hit 73HR in a season?  Probably not.  He would just be another “bad boy.”  Look at what happened to both McGwire and Sosa following that “magical” 1998 season.

No one is allowed to be iconic anymore.  We have no figure, real or fictional to uphold the ideal.  They killed Cap remember?  We just want to enforce an image of mediocrity, that only “normal” is acceptable.  We can’t accept that anyone can do something heroic.  They have to be a glory seeker, or in for some sort of personal gain.  We don’t even talk much about “the Greatest Generation,” who rose to the occasion in WW2 much anymore.  It goes against the mainstream too much now.

The fact is, we need heroes.  We need people to step up and raise the banner for all to see.  It’s more than leadership, it setting an example, and embodying more than just the individual.  We need people to rise above the teeming masses and show us that we can achieve something more.  We can’t just continue to be satisfied with “normal” and “average.”  We have to strive to be more, to achieve more.

Political Theatre

Oh my oh my.  What a few days of drama we’ve had.  The actors all took the stage, and hammed it up more than a highschool production of Shakespeare.  But wait, there’s more!  We get all of this on multiple stages to boot!  Not satisfied with the all night snooze fest in Washington?  Well, we have plenty of it here in New York, and I’m quite sure we can spare some for a travelling road show version if anyone is interested.

So, let’s start on the big stage.  Ayup, all those high school drama queens in the US Senate.  An “all night debate on Iraq to show we’re serious.”  That’s about the funniest thing I’ve heard since I watched Robert Wuhl’s “Assume the Position 201.”  What an absolutely lame attempt to grand stand in front of an audience.  This joke is so pathetic, I can’t belive anyone would actually fall for it. 

I’m curious as to the ratings for this “debate,” as carried by C-SPAN.  The curiosity stems from the fact that sometime around 4am, John McCain got his turn at the podium, and was followed by Clinton.  I did not watch this myself, as I was working, and blissfuly did not have TV access.  Now, I wonder if anyone thought about the reason for this all night chat-a-thon. 

Think about it this way, what is one of the more effective interrogation techniques?  Sleep deprivation.  What better way to get your opponents to “see it your way,” than to get them so tired and bleery eyed they can’t think straight.  Dollars to doughnuts that was  a factor in the Democratic “leadership’s” rationale for this silly waste of time.  Wonder if anyone else has compared this dog and pony show to torture?  Now, guys like McCain have certainly endured worse, and have the leadership to carry their fellow members through this ordeal. 

Sure Harry Reid promised non-Iraq votes, but as usual, nothing happened.  These all night sessions rarely, if ever produce anything other than some media buzz.  Oh sure, in the past there have been some entertaining moments, Huey Long reading poetry and from the telephone book during a filibuster, or Strom Thurmond reciting limericks, but that’s about the sum value of it. 

Meanwhile, here in the Empire State, we have more of a home grown variety of political showmanship.  Forget the Greek Tragedy in Washington.  This is more of a Japanese Noh play than classic dram (or tragedy or comedy).  Lots of posturing and silence, punctuated by moments of non-action.  All that was missing was the elaborate costumes and face masks.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver held his court in NYC over the weekend and through the begining of this week.  That meant that the Assembly would not be able to sit in session, and would make any moves by the Senate meaningless, as nothing would be able to go to the Governor for signing.  As previously mentioned here, that means holding up a lot of needed legislation, such as on amending the Berger Commission report on hospitals, dealing with the Horse Racing franchise, and Bloomy’s “congestion relief plan” for NYC.

For a guy who is supposed to represent Manhattan, and NYC in a wider sense, Shelly Silver does do a lot  to kill any initiative that could boost the city.  First it was the West Side Arena plan, a plan that would have built a major sports arena facility on the depressed West Side of Manhattan.  It would have brought the Jets back to NYC (they play in Jersey with the Giants), added a major venue for the arts, and given the city a major leg up in competing for the Olympics.  His opposition was, and still is, nonsensical.  It would have meant that the city would no longer require as much State funds for operations and programs, due to the increased tax base, and the resultant revenues from tourism.  Now, Shelly sits silent while Bloomy tries to reduce congestion during daylight hours on Manhattan, which is pretty bad.  Just ask anyone who has tried to drive in or out of the island.

Travel north along the Thruway, and you will eventally reach Albany.  The Senate sat in session, and tried to get some business done.  Silver submarined this by brow beating the Democratic minority leader into pulling out of voting on the NYC congestion plan.  Poor Malcolm Smith got hosed by Silver, and lambasted by Bloomy.  Smith was on record as supporting the plan, but caved to Silver’s Stalinist tactics, and pulled out of the vote, killing the legislation.  So, NYC and the State miss out on some $500 million in Federal Highway funds.  All in favor of a “study” as proposed by Silver.

About the only thing I can think of as to why Silver keeps undermining this stuff is that he doesn’t stand to gain anything from it.  Not enough contracts going to his campaign funders?  No sizable kick backs?  Or is he just pissed off that none of this is stuff he could take credit for?  Or perhaps it’s that if these thing sgot passed and done, it would make the City more financially independent?  Could it be because it would in essence, reduce the State’s influence on the City?  I don’t know at this point.  I just think that Shelly is a bitter old man who has reached the pinacle of his political career, knows it, and resents it.

I’m sure other States have their moments like this.  But no one, not even the vaunted US Congress does political theatre better than NY.  We’re numbah one when it comes to dysfunctional political drama.

Odds and Ends

A fairly slow week honestly.  Sure there have been a few things that have excited some people, but for the most part, it’s been pretty dull.  So, a collection of bits and pieces, none worthy of a single post get assembled here.

I’ve been slowly going through and cataloging my comics using CCL’s software (www.comiccollectorlive.com).  Their “live market” system is up and running, but I have yet to take advantage of it.  I need to get everything entered in, all I’m keeping, and the stuff to sell before I get moving on trying to sell some stuff.  Going to take a but to get almost 7000 issues entered.

I suppose I should say something nice about Barry Bonds.  I watched Peter Gammon’s throw softball questions to Barry at the AS Game.  It was an interview that was anything but.  Gammon’s just tossed him easy questions which allowed Barry to pontificate.  But I will say this about Barry.  Despite the “bad” situation in San Fransisco, with a limited chance for post seaosn play, Barry hasn’t complained, at least in the media.  Yes, Barry is a primadonna, and an egotistical stat chaser.  But as far as the team situation, Barry has been quiet, allowing Brian Sabean to run the franchise, unlike many other equivalent stars in other sports (Kobe Bryant anyone?).  So Barry gets points for keeping his mouth shut about the team, and showing up to play every day (even though he can’t).

Oh what else is there?  The Joe Bruno-Eliot Spitzer tiff is still going.  Joe is recalling the Senate to address some outstanding legislation, none of which involves Spitzer’s pet projects.  Unfortunately, a lot of good legislation may die because of Spitzer’s bully-boy attitude.  This would include saving Bellevue Women’s Hospital from the Berger Commissions chopping block.  For what Bellevue does, it must rank among the nest in the State.  Our experience there when my daughter was born was very pleasant, and the staff was excellent.  Can anyone tell me why we elected this spoiled twit as governor?

The Albany TU continues its lack of impartiality.  Case in point.  A recent article on the Assembly race to succeed Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), was very lengthy on Democratic candidate Kosiur’s platform.  All sorts of details on what he wants to do.  His Republican challenger, George Amedore, got a two line mention in the article, and nothing on his platform.  Real balanced and impartial reporting.  Heck, it might even be a violation of the equal time provisions.  Wonder if anyone has looked into that.

Bought a second vehicle this past week.  An 03 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.  Talk about painful to fill up.  Ouch.  Even so, it fits 99% of our needs.  It’s not what we were looking for, but finding a pickup that met our needs was proving to be a fruitless search.  More so with a limited budget.  It’s a real nice ride though.  Shift on the fly 4WD, power this and that, sun roof, decent stereo (including a CD player), V6 engine, and a lovely power driver’s seat. 

Can’t think of much else to comment at the moment.  Might make a more extensive post on the latest attempts by Congress to legislate defeat.  Hmmmm.  Maybe a good game of “what if” is in order here…

Sheehan versus Pelosi

Oh this one has “Celebrity Death Match” written all over it.  I mean, can it get any worse for the Democrats than this?  Necro-Mom Sheehan against Pants Suit Pelosi?  Let the blood letting commence I say!

What I get a kick out of, is why Sheehan wants to run.  She says that if Pelosi doesn’t introduce articles of impeachment by July 12, then she will run against Pelosi for her Congressional seat.  Guess this means that there will be a civil war among Bay area Democrats, as there is no way Pelosi will introduce such legislation.

I find it humorous that Sheehan had such high expectations for the Democrats while she was doing her Camp Candy routine in Texas.  She should have known that the Democrats were only using her for political purposes, to gain power in the Congress, and not to genuinely represent her position.  She was, and is, a tool.

So let’s play a little game of “What if.”  What if Sheehan does run?  She might have a shot of winning.  A shot I say, and only a shot.  Pelosi is too popular, and too powerful to truly be unseated by Sheehan, no matter what the public opinion is.  Sheehan is a single issue candidate, and they almost never win.  I’d also say that Bay Area voters, regardless of politics, are smarter than that, and will return Pelosi.  It will probably be with a smaller majority than she has enjoyed (protest vote), but she will return to Congress.

But let’s say Sheehan wins (by some miracle).  What then happens to the Democrats in Congress?  Can one really see the likes of Sheehan, in cahoots with Dennis Kucinich and Harry Waxman and John Conyers really taking on effective leadership of the caucus?  I doubt it.  Too many “Red State” Democrats.  Such a win could split the Democratic party in Congress at the least.  It could open the door for a third party to arise from the schism among Democrats.  More so if a few other Sheehan types win in November.

In reality, I doubt Sheehan will win.  Sure she’ll get a ton of coverage, and be played up by the main stream media, but she will not win.  She may have an impact on the general Presidential election, by keeping her face and ramblings on the news, but as a candidate, she’s not going to make it.

And you thought Albany couldn’t get anymore dysfunctional

That was the end line of the July 3rd editorial in the NY Post.  They were writing on the growing feud between NY Governor Eliot Spitzer (D), and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Brunswick).  What started off as a political tiff, has grown exponentially, and has fast crossed over into the dirty tricks department.  It’s now more of a classic school yard confrontation, than it is a political dispute.

On the one hand we have Joe Bruno, the current scion of the NY GOP.  Now Joe is no saint, and has done some questionable, but not illegal things in his career.  He should know that sometimes there mere impression, or hint of something can be as damaging, or even more damaging than to have actually done something.  Even so, Joe is a scrapper, both in and out of politics.  Being a former Army boxing champ will do that for you.  So he’s not one to give in to intimidation, or threats, or attacks upon his character. 

On the other hand, we have Governor Eliot Spitzer.  He’s now giving everyone the impression that if he doesn’t get his way, he’ll throw a tantrum.  He’ll scream, yell, and use profanities in front of who ever is there to witness it.  If that doesn’t work, he will use threats, and try to extort what he wants out of his targets.  While this may have worked while he was AG, it is hardly the methodology for being an effective governor. 

Quick quiz: One of these men grew up poor, and had to work his way up the ladder.  The other is a child of priviledge, given all the perks of that status.  Guess which is which.  Answer later on.

Now all of this tit for tat mud slinging began first with the NY Senate’s refusal to take up some of Spitzer’s pet legislation, specifically campaign finance reform.  For my part, I agree with Bruno and the Senate here.  What Spitzer was proposing would have cemented the fact that only the personally rich would be able to run for office.  It would have enshrined the concept that you need a large personal fortune to be in politics.  This would have shut out the vast majority of people from even entertaining the idea of running for office with any sort of chance of winning.  Further more, given the fact that Democratic donors in NY are the wealthiest, it would have served only to disenfranchise those not of the Democratic Party in NY.  Hardly a democratic concept at all.

There were other pieces of legislation that got hung up as well.  The Tech Valley bills got delayed because of this, and the way the Governor threatened not to sign passed legislation until his bills got through.  The budget was delayed yet again because of this.  It was just a war of words, even with the profanity laceds tirade by the Governor during the budget negotiations.

But then it started to get dirty.  Someone, most likely in the Governors office, leaked some information to the Albany Times Union.  Now the Albany TU has recently (with in the past two years or so), gone through a bit of an editorial change, and it shows.  What was once a solid paper, reporting on news regardless of who or what it was about, has become little more than a activist paper, attacking people they don’t like rather than reporting impartially.  Public enemy number 1 to them?  Joe Bruno.

The reporting on Bruno wasn’t the first incident like this.  During the 2006 Congressional campaign, they had big head lines about the Republican incumbent in the 26th district, John Sweeney, and a domestic violence call against him (Supposedly).  Now John is a bit of a SOB, I don’t deny it.  He’s brusque, lacks the proper amount of inter personal skills, and is a control freak.  Even still, what was reported, and how, is questionable, and can only be seen as a clear attempt to influence an election for partisan and ideological purposes.  John didn’t do himself any favors in how he handled this, but it should not have ever happened to begin with.  FWIW, it would seem that ALL investigations on this matter, from the charge itself to the investigations into how it was handled and who leaked what, were dropped shortly after the elections.

Then there was the TU’s reporting on a local family who were the beneficiaries of the ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”  Instead of showing how the community came together to put this together, and how the receiving family had opened their doors to children with needs, we instead get a slam on that family.  We get an lengthy article on how they have this or that problem, and how the mother is this way or that way.  My question, and the question of many many people in the area was why?  At least the TU printed several letters to the editor in which they were condemned for this, even though the TU never did apologize.  Still we have to wonder why they did this.  I have a feeling that they were trying to taint one of those involved in the project, George Amedore, who is a Republican now running for State Assembly, and was the contractor who donated most of the materials, and provided most of the skilled labor to the project.  Sleezey tactic on the part of the TU if you ask me (and they complain about collateral damage).

So, this now leads us back to the Bruno-Spitzer row.  Now, Joe had been under FBI investigation for his outside business interests.  No secret there, he announcd it before it was leaked to anyone.  He’s been quite upfront about that.  But then comes allegations, via the Albany TU, that Joe used State Police services for political purposes.  This gave Spitzer an opportunity to “get” Bruno, and he called for the AG (Andrew Cuomo), and Albany County DA David Soares (of steroid fame) to investigate.

Well, as I said, Joe’s a scrapper.  He counter punched back, saying that the AG and DA should also investigate the Governor and everyone lese who made use of those SP services.  That would include the Governor, the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and other top State leaders.  He also had some colorful quips regarding the TU, showing at one point that the only use he had for it was to wrap his gum in. 

Just like a Ron Popeil commercial, “But wait there’s more!”  The NY Post reported that Spitzer used SP Troopers to watch Bruno while he was travelling with SP escorts.  Uh-oh, not good for the former AG, who should have known better.  It was only in the past two days that Bruno has acted on this information, almost a week after the story broke. 

Yesterday he sent a letter to the AG and Albany County DA requesting that they investigate this potential misuse of the State Police.  It must have hit home for Spitzer, as his response was to try and deflect it.  Spizer said “I wish Joe didn’t send that letter.  I don’t want to distract from the business of running the State of New York.  This shouldn’t get personal.”  Too late for that Eliot.

You see, Eliot is a school yard bully.  He got away with it as Attorney General, as many of his targets didn’t want, or couldn’t afford any bad publicity for fighting him, so they rolled over.  But now, he’s run into a guy who won’t just roll over for him, and doesn’t respond well to threats, Joe Bruno.  Spitzer’s repsonse I think is an indicator of retreat in this.  I think he over played his hand, and the stakes are getting a bit too high for him.  Only now, it’s too late in some respects.

Quiz answer: Joe Bruno grew up “poor,” and used the Army and the GI Bill to get his start, and work his way up.  Eliot Spitzer is the son of a Real Estate mogul, and attended the best and most exclusive private schools in NY.

Now, how bad has this brawl become?  Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes) has backed away from the Governor’s position.  Assembly Speaker Silver has remained very, very quiet on the whole matter.  Of course during the previously mentioned budget negotiations, Spitzer miffed Silver, and Shelly is vindictive.  And it’s not only the Democratic legislators who are backing away.  Andrew Cuomo, the AG, and Spitzer partisan, has been awfully quiet, not commenting on any of this.  Bad omens for Eliot, and no ET in sight.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is still a window of opprtunity to get past all this.  For sure it’s a two way street, but this street begins with the Governor.  If Spitzer backs off of this fight, Bruno will as well.  Then, in all likelyhood, this story will just fade away.  The trick will be for Spitzer to keep his temper in check, you know, like not threatening to decapitate political opponents, and to reign in the spoiled rich kid/schoolyard bully routine. 

New Comics Saturday (7-7-07)

Well it’s once again time for my biweekly review of my latest comic purchases.  Sixteen issues and a trade picked up this trip.  Some good, some promising, and one I think already in trouble after 1 issue.  So let’s get to it…

Countdown #44, 43: The question is, who will go nuts first, Mary Marvel or Jimmy Olsen?  Both are having some personal issues, and neither has a clue where it’s all going.  #43 has the funeral for Bart Allen, the recently deceased Flash.  What’s a crisis with out a Flash dying?  I really liked how Paul Dini and company wrote that whole section.  Plus more History of the Multiverse from the Monitors.

Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Special:  WOW.  I would not hesitate to say that Hal, John, Guy, and the rest of the Corps are in for some serious trouble.  Geoff Johns does it again, serving up one heck of a winner.  Oh, and Kyle gets what he deserves IMO.

Black Canary #1: In Green Arrow #75, Ollie proposed to Dinah.  Now, we get to ride along with Dinah as she searches for the answer to the question.  OFC, this has already been spoiled by Previews, so I already know what the answer is.  Even so, this particular journey should be entertaining, as nothing is ever easy or simple when it comes to Ollie and Dinah.

Amazon’s Attack #3:  The war intesifies.  More questions are being asked as to why, and who is behind it all.  This issue picks up from the end of Wonder Woman #10.

Wonder Woman #10: Jodi Picout’s run continues as Dianna faces off with her resurrected mother.  WW’s journey of self discovery, begun in 52 may finally be coming to an end, witha hero “reborn” and ready to take the big stage once again as an icon of the DC universe.

Batman Confidential #6: The “final” fight between Bats and Lex Luthor as Batman infiltrates Lex’s command center to stop his coup attempt.  Plenty of rock ’em sock ’em robots (if you get the reference good for you, if you don’t I won’t explain), and typical Batman gadgetry.

Jonah Hex #21: Hex being Hex pretty much describes this one.  Some unuusal religious over tones in this issue, but not out of character.  Justin Gray really has a great feel for the character, and Jimmy Palmiotti’s art finely compliments the scripting.

Fallen Son-Iron Man: Well, what’s to be said? Tony is still a wimp, and fast becoming an emotional wreck.  And who does he choose to take along this ride?  None other but the most dysfunctional couple in the Marvel U, Wasp and Yellow Jacket.  I suppose the end of this is to “lay Steve Rogers to rest permanently.”  I doubt it.  All it does is set up a possible return via Namor.

Captain America #25, The Director’s Cut: Not sure what’s different between this and the regular issue, as I haven’t compared as yet.  The really interesting thing here is the commentary blurb in the back from Jim McCann (Marvel Sales and Marketing), where in he states “As hard as it is to believe, Steve Rogers is gone from comics.”  Feh.  He will be back, he’ll have to be back.  It’s still a PR stunt, and my guess is that he will return just in time for the release of the Captain America movie.  Mark my words.

Silent War #6:  OK, I’m confused.  The end of this story is odd, and it doesn’t mesh with the stories being put out in other titles, especially the World War Hulk stuff.  Now, I do have a theory on that, but it is pure speculation.  I do hope that they will explain this in some fashion fairly soon.

Thor #1: The return of the Thunder God.  Oh boy.  I think this one is in trouble already.  As one person on a massage board said “it’s slow even for a first issue.”  J. Michael Straczynski is once again screwing up a long established character.  I have a feeling that this one is doomed unless some one else take over the title in few issues.  It’s just too existential in some ways, with not enough “meat” to the story in terms of action and direction.  Some one needs to get JMS out of Marvel before he screws things up beyond repair.  Oh wait….

Death Dealer #3: This series proves how influencial a single artist can be.  I mean a whole series (if only 6 issues) based on a single painting?  That’s inspiring people.  Frank Frazetta (www.frankfrazetta.com free plug!), is one of the most well known, and skilled, and inspirational artists of the modern age.  He is among the greats of the field, including the likes of Boris Valejo.  Oh, and the story and art in this series are wirthy as well..

World War Hulk-X-Men #1: When chickens come home to roost.  Especially if they’re big, green, and mader than heck.  When the Illuminati decided to exile the Hulk, Professor Xavier wasn’t present for the vote.  So the $64,000 question is, what would his vote have been?  Enquiring minds and the Hulk want to know.

World War Hulk- Frontline #1: Ben Urich and Sally Floyd have a new benefactor.  Who the mystery man is (I have my suspicions) is unknown at this time, but I suspect he will be revealed.  In the mean time, the new competition for the Daily Bugle gets rolling on the Hulk’s touching down in NYC, and what his band of war bound are up to.  A fine follow up to the Civil War-Frontline series.  This is one set of characters worth keeping around, and getting more regular use in the Marvel U.

Dark Tower-The Gunslinger #6: Peter David and Jae Lee’s adaptation nears its conclusion (1 more issue to go).  For fans of Stephen King’s Gunslinger series, this is a definite worth while read.  Not only for the art and script adaptations, but for the bonus background info at the back of each issue. 

 I also picked up a TBP of Invaders Classic, the Roy Thomas scribed series of the World War II team up of Namor, Captain America, Bucky, the Original Human Torch, Toro, and a slew of guest stars.  The trade includes Giant Sized Invaders #1, issues #1-9, and a couple of Marvel Premier issues featuring the Liberty Legion.  While this is probably just an attempt to get some additional cash from the Captain America thing, I’m glad for this one, as it is one of those titles that had a good run before being cancelled, and deserves more recognition than it has received over the years.