Random Thought! I had written the all-wrestling random thoughts column I promised in the comments section of last week's post, but I was informed by Brian that my contract states that comics must be the central focus of all posts. Other topics can be mentioned and discussed, but this is Comics Should Be Good, not "Whatever Chad Feels Like Writing About" Should Be Good. As such, I sat down with Brian and the crack CBR legal team to come up with a compromise that would involve the least amount of work as possible. As such, in the following post, we replaced the wrestling names and terms with comics names and terms. There's a legend below the cut. It's random thoughts time! Get excited!
Random Thought! The following substitutions have been made: TLC is now Siege; John Cena is now Captain America; Triple H is now Thor; Shawn Michaels is now Spider-Man; Chris Jericho is now Norman Osborn; Big Show is now Ares; Batista is now Hulk; Randy Orton is now Namor; Sheamus is now Black Tom; Christian is now Iron Fist; Shelton Benjamin is now Black Panther; R-Truth is now Luke Cage; CM Punk is now Loki; Kofi Kingston is now Triathalon; Rey Mysterio is now Speedball; the Miz is now Noh-Varr; John Morrison is now Johnny Storm; the Rock is now Steve Rogers; Matt Striker is now Harry Osborn; Todd Grisham is now Flash Thompson; Raw is now Dark Avengers; Smackdown is now New Avengers; ECW is now Avengers: The Intiative; Final Resolution is now Blackest Night; Kurt Angle is now Superman; AJ Styles is now Superboy; Desmond Wolfe is now Manchester Black; Daniels is now Red Robin; Hulk Hogan is now Vandal Savage; Jay Lethal/Black Machismo is now Black Lightning; Randy Savage/Macho Man is now Wildcat; Impact is now Justice League of America; pay-per-view or PPV is now event or crossover; match is now fight; rematch is now second-printing; TLC match is now fight for control of Asgard; two-out-of-three-falls match is now ; wrestling is now comics; wrestler is now character; face is now superhero; heel is now supervillain; and whatever other substitutions seem to make sense as I go.
Random Thought! Norman Osborn's speech in Dark Avengers last week regarding the fight for control of Asgard? A thing of beauty and genius.
Random Thought! I'm really wondering if DC scheduling an expanded triple-size issue of Justice League of America on the same day as an issue of Dark Avengers comes out is a smart thing, particularly since it will feature the debut of Vandal Savage. Competition is fun and leads to better product, but that's usually when the product is there to compete, which I don't think DC has yet. It's a good promotion, but its production values and such pale in comparison to that of Marvel. I'd almost think they'd be better off going against New Avengers since the style of Justice League of America is much closer to that of Dark Avengers than New Avengers. Also, with the rumours swirling that Steve Rogers may guest-star in Dark Avengers early in January... I wonder if Marvel may try and get him in that issue, possibly expand it to triple-size as well. Of course, if that happens, one possible loser may be Image, which releases Image United that Wednesday... but, competition is good, right? And Vandal Savage will get eyeballs...
Random Thought! I really don't buy Black Tom as a credible threat to Captain America. He's beaten up a few d-list heroes and a civilian... impressive...
Random Thought! I am really, really digging the current feud between Superman and Manchester Black. For DC, it's relatively focused and free of other people, except as quick pawns in an effort to gain the upper hand. Plus, Black displays enough skill to make him a believable threat. He began by attacking Superman and, then, showed off his skills in a fight. No d-listers and civilians for him!
Random Thought! The Iron Fist/Black Panther rooftop fight in Siege looks like it will steal the event. Unless of course it's shafted for space, which never happens to the Avengers: The Initiative... oh wait...
Random Thought! One thing I really love about Loki's current character is how he says facts and yet everyone hates him. It's interesting to see how the intelligent guys who speak truths like Loki and Norman Osborn are made out to be villains simply because they're arrogant about it. Comic audiences are funny that way. And it works on me, too, where I find myself agreeing with everything they say and, yet... I want them to get beaten down. Now, of course, that's undercut when Loki's enemy is Luke Cage and all they give him to say in response is "What's up?" With someone as skilled at speaking as Loki, you need to come back with a bit more than that.
Random Thought! Harry Osborn is, by far, my favourite narrator in comics right now. The dynamic he and Flash Thompson has is very good and reminds me of the classic narrator duos where one was the straight-lace, by the book, friendly guy and the other was the smarmy villainous backstabber. Add to that Harry's breadth of knowledge and ability to place the current events into their proper context, and you've got the best narrator in comics.
Random Thought! The quote of the year (partly because of the fantastic delivery) courtesy of the Hulk, said to Speedball: "I’m gonna rip your head off."
Random Thought! I wish Marvel would release collections of feuds. The Norman Osborn/Spider-Man feud from last year would be at the top of my list. Compile all of the fights and discussions into one book, charge twenty bucks, and watch as people buy, because... well, it was a fantastic feud. The best of last year.
Random Thought! While I really enjoy what's happened with Johnny Storm and Noh-Varr, I would have booked it differently. When they were each shunted to their respective series, I would have maintained their partnership, and had them appear with the other frequently, interferring in fights and such. Allow them to rise through the ranks, much as they are now: deputy leaders at the same time, perhaps even have them have their own team-up mini-series to justify their appearances in one another's comic... really build both guys up until they both get solo series and it looks like the duo has reached the top. Then, after an appropriate amount of time, one of them has his book cancelled, while the other keeps going... then, the one without a book either joins the other's series or win a fan poll, setting up a big fight between the two for the series. A fight years in the making. I can understand why you wouldn't write that way given all of the variables involved, but a man can dream, right?
Random Thought! What happened to the Black Lighting Invitational? I can't get enough of Black Lightning and his Wildcat impression, honestly...
Random Thought! Being a relative newcomer to DC, I wasn't initially impressed with Red Robin, but his current feud with Superboy is also pretty good. I wish there was more direct fighting, though, since I don't think Superboy is particularly strong in their discussions.
Random Thought! While I hope Norman Osborn and Ares win in Siege when they fight Thor and Spider-Man (if only so Norman Osborn continues to appear in every book), part of me wants Thor and Spider-Man to finally get their own series together. Their partnership has been an on-again, off-again thing for years and all it's missing is its own series.
Random Thought! (This one I'm leaving unedited for obvious reasons...) To address one of my points last week regarding wrestling as performance. Someone commented (I don't remember who -- was it FGJ?) to ask, if everyone knows it's a performance, why do they do so hard to pretend it's real? Because it's a performance! Movies, television, plays, they all pretend like it's real, except the different here is that these aren't actors who then go on to play a variety of roles. In wrestling, the persona/character you play is so tied to you and may be one that you inhabit for your entire career (and beyond), so maintaining a stricter adherence to that is expected. It also comes out of the days when it was marketed as reality and wrestlers had to stay in character out of the ring so as to not let the fans in on the fictional nature of the performance. Continuing that tradition is part of the fun and helps add to the performance element. Call it method acting if it makes you feel better. Also, for some wrestlers, it's fun to maintain that character in public -- and the characters are often exagerations of their own personalities. Wrestling walks an odd metafictional line much of the time these days, which is one of the big appeals for me. I like watching stories while simultaneously critiquing them for pushing one guy for this reason or burying that guy for another, or liking certain characters because they break the fourth wall from time to time. Beyond that, I also enjoy the skill with which the matches are performed. Despite the result being scripted, that doesn't mean matches don't require an insane amount of skill and physical ability. And, honestly, when a match is fantastic, it's (to use an obvious cliche) poetry. Watching to see what moves they use and why, logical building a story within the match... it's far more complex and satisfying than a lot of people give it credit for.
Random Thought! On Friday, Eddie ‘Umaga’ Fatu passed away at the age of 36 after suffering, apparently, a second heart attack in the same day. The underlying causes of the heart attacks haven't been revealed yet. His death is a big loss, mostly for his family and friends, of course, but also for fans as he was a tremendous talent. On the surface, he appeared nothing more than a big monster heel that could run through people, but his in-ring talent was extraordinary. He was one of the quickest, most agile big men I've ever seen. I always thought it was a shame that he never got taken as seriously as his talent seemed to demand, saddled with that 'wild savage' gimmick that, thankfully, has mostly become a thing of the past. He parted ways with the WWE this summer amid various rumours, but I had hoped to see him in a major promotion again in the future (TNA seemed the most likely) and I'm saddened that I, nor anyone else, will get the chance. Again, the real loss is to those who knew and loved them, but I wanted to say a few words nonetheless.
Random Thought! Comics return next week... what? Brian thought this would be funny...