Friday, June 06, 2008

Brianna The Birthday Girl Wonder

(FanBoyWonder’s own little American Dream—Brianna The Girl Wonder)

Today FanBoyWonder’s granddaughter Brianna The Girl Wonder turns 7-years-old and we still can’t quite believe it.

It feels like it was only yesterday that we watched her come into this world and now she just completed the First Grade. Where does the time go?

We haven’t seen our baby girl since our last visit down South ALL the way back in November and we miss her terribly. Yet by this time next week we will have Brianna back “home” again.

FanBoyWonder has already promised to take the Girl Wonder on the “choo-choo train” into Washington to see where Dziadziu works, to see the White House—“where the President lives”—and to see the Lincoln Memorial because she learned about it in school.

We also look forward to getting know our grandson T.J., the Wonder Lad better—who will also be coming to stay along with their parents. We’ve seen T.J. just once, about a month after his very troubled birth, but his mother tells us our favorite little 8-month-old has been getting a clean bill of health from his doctors.

Brianna is VERY proud to be a big sister and we are very proud of BOTH of your grandchildren and we can’t wait to see them.

Happy Birthday Brianna!!!!!!

We LOVE you LOTS!!!!!!
Gucky & Dziadziu

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Battlestar Galactica—Sine Qua Non

The Upshot From Sci-Fi Channel: President Roslin’s (Mary McDonnell) abduction by the Cylon baseship hybrid triggers a bitter power struggle within the Colonial Fleet.

Here things pick up right where they left off from the previous episode for the Galactica gang—up BLEEP creek without a paddle.

We see a twice shot Natalie Six Cylon (Tricia Helfer) being wheeled to sickbay in shock and in detached awareness of her prognosis—which is dire.

We were hopeful as we saw her being taken to sickbay that she might indeed survive her wounds. Knowing that there was no resurrection ship and new body nearby in which she could download, it made us all the more anxious. So it was a genuine disappointment to see Natalie die on the operating table—forever.

It was particularly unfortunate because of all the versions of Number Six that Helfer has played over the years—Imaginary Six, Caprica Six, Gina among others—Natalie was the most rounded of the Sixes and she was the one whom FanBoyWonder personally liked the most.

Natalie’s murder has Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) seeing red and it’s ALL on the gunman (gunwoman….gun-chick…hot-chick with a gun???) Athena (Grace Park).

The captured Cylon baseship jumped away at virtually the same moment that Athena gunned down Natalie, prompting Adama and everyone else to conclude that the Cylon rebels knew of the event, saw it as a breaking of their fragile truce and screwed the hell out of their with The President, Gaius Baltar (James Callis) Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) and half of Galactica’s viper-wing—about 40 birds and pilots.

Crazy with worry about the missing Laura Roslin, Adama lets Athena have it with both barrels (so-to-speak) and it’s a shame to see Athena—the Cylon defector who worked so hard to prove her loyalty and earn Adama’s trust—back in chains.

For her part, Athena—herself crazed by the Kobol Opera House vision of Number Six (Caprica Six we surmise) and Gaius Baltar taking Athena’s daughter Hera away. Faced with the threat (it’s not yet clear how real or imagined the threat was) of having her child stolen from her AGAIN, Athena pulled the trigger even it looks like she may have killed the WRONG Six.

On Colonial One, The Quorum of Twelve is its usual spot—in the dark and groping for answers after the fact.

With President Roslin missing, Vice President Tom Zerek (Richard Hatch) assumes power as Acting President under the Articles of Colonization. Yet Admiral Adama isn’t taking his calls or recognizing in any way the authority of the one time freedom fighter/terrorist (Adama sees him as the latter).

The Quorum members seeing the dilemma that if Adama doesn’t recognize Zerek, he won’t play ball with them as the elected representatives of the civilian government, they put Delegate Lee Adama on the spot and ask him point blank if Lee thinks his father will change his mind and work with “President Zerek.” No is Lee’s answer.

So what’s the big deal? Adama isn’t just a man—he’s THE MAN. He’s the military, he’s got the guns and he’s the closest thing to law enforcement that the fleet has.

By refusing to recognize the vice president’s authority, Adama affected a military coup of the civilian government—Again.

One of the most intriguing character points of Adama has been his constant concern for civil liberties—in a few cases holding Roslin back—a definite divergent of the military stereotype—so his non-coup, coup of the presidency by a simple non-action shows that Laura’s abduction has really fracked him up.

For Zerek’s part, he is pissed and humiliated at Adama’s illegal snub and by the fact that Quorum is shopping around for another Interim President.

Zerek is absolutely correct that of everyone in play—Admiral Adama, Laura Roslin, Lee Adama—Tom Zerek is the only one actually elected by the people yet HE is the one without standing or authority. So the only thing Zerek can do is hit the airwaves and call on the fleet to form a Civil Defense Force so they don’t have to rely on Galactica’s marines for law enforcement.

We find this intriguing and frankly this is a thread that should have been explored a couple of seasons ago. Yet it’s only with the transformation of Lee Adama from pilot to politician that any significant time has been devoted to life and the workings the civilian fleet or how the fleet governs itself.

The Quorum’s anxiety and feeling of helpless ignorance grows as the Galactica jumps away without explanation to search for the basestar and for Laura Roslin at Adama’s orders.

Meanwhile it falls to Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) to be the voice of reason to Adama who is hell bent and increasingly desperate to find Laura Roslin…oh yeah….and the rest of Galactica’s missing crew.

His professionalism is so complete and he is so totally at the top of his game (no mean bottle in sight) that we almost forgot that he’s a Secret Cylon—one of the Final Five.

Things boil over between Adama and Tigh in a hurry when the Admiral confronts his XO with Doc Cottle’s report that the imprisoned Caprica Six (again Helfer) is pregnant and that he’s been noted regularly “interrogating” her with the guards absent and the cameras off.

The dialogue of the scene thanks to Battlestar Wiki

William Adama: I know that you've been spending a lotta time interrogating the Six, but now the brig guards tell me that every time you order them out, you turn off the cameras.

Saul Tigh: I'm not torturing her, if that's what you're worried about.

Adama: I'm not. That I could almost understand. This I can't. Cottle tells me she's pregnant. What the frak have you been thinking, colonel? Do you deny it...? You don't...
You can't. What the hell have you been thinking? Who's interrogating whom? How many of our secrets have you told this thing?

Tigh: How can you even ask me that? Question my loyalty?

Adama: Your loyalty? I need more than your loyalty. You're my first officer, I need judgment. I need your competence. You're jeopardizing this ship, putting it at risk because of your weaknesses.

Tigh: My weaknesses?

Adama: Yeah, your weaknesses!

Tigh: You're risking all our lives—for what? Our missing pilots? No—for a woman! A frakking woman!

Adama: You watch what you frakkin' say about that woman! She's the president! Not some frakkin' skinjob that I've been banging! What do you think Ellen would say about this?

Tigh: Leave Ellen out of this.

Adama: What do you think Ellen would say about her husband impregnating a frakkin' Cylon prisoner?

Tigh: You motherfrakker! (violence ensues)

So they beat the BLEEP out of each other and once they have gotten it out of their system they both nurse their wounds together without rancor as only two lifelong friends can do.

It’s a great scene, well acted and flawlessly executed. Our only problem was the troubling inconstancy that we couldn’t help but ponder during the fight. Tigh is a Cylon yes? So where is his super-duper Cylon strength?

The same strength that had Tory knock Callie across a launch tube with the swat of her hand or the same that allowed a Six to beat the crap out of Starbuck on Caprica. Yet in other instances, Athena has been consistently subdued with little effort and now Tigh is throwing punches in a rage without knocking Adama’s block off--literally?

Memo to the writers—Consistency please.

Speaking of Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff), it’s good to see her back in uniform as the CAG and NOT crazy. For the moment, everyone has just seemed to accept that Kara Thrace was once dead and now she’s not. It would be nice to find out how or if she in fact died, how she came back and if she’s really been to Earth.

Ever the dutiful servant, Delegate Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) has drafted his old colleague from Gaius Baltar’s trial Romo Lampkin (Mark Sheppard) to help him draft a short list for a new President. When Lampkin concludes that the only person it could be is Lee Adama himself, Lampkin pulls a gun and has his long awaited meltdown over the loss of his family during the attacks—his cool lawyer detachment out the airlock.

Again…the scene thanks to Battlestar Wiki:

Lampkin: Savor your victory Mr. Adama, because you'll never get the chance to serve (pulls out a gun and points it at Adama).

Lee Adama: What are you doing?

Lampkin: Why? Because you're perfect for the job of course. Because after the vicious separation that was Baltar's presidency and the bitter disappointment that was Roslin's, you are a shining beacon of hope. Only hope is the last thing we need. We're a doomed race. It's time that we made our peace with that essential truth.

Lee Adama: Romo, what the hell are you talking...?

Lampkin: Why? You want to know why? (drops his duffel bag and kicks it over to Adama) Open it!

Lee Adama: (Adama does so and finds his cat’s corpse inside) Eww. Frak.

Lampkin: That's right. They killed my cat!

Lee Adama: They?

Lampkin: They! Those debased dregs of humanity out there! Lost a tribe in search of a new home, so they can roost and rot again!

Lee Adama: How long has the cat been dead?

Lampkin: "How long?" It's irrelevant! It's immaterial! It wasn't even my cat!

Lee Adama: Romo, it's been dead for weeks.

Lampkin: It belonged to my wife. I just retrieved him from a vet on Gemenon when the bombs started to fall and fate presented me with a choice. I could get back on that shuttle, or...I could run home, try to save my family. How do you think I chose?

Lee Adama: Romo, we all had to make difficult choices. You don't think I know? Your wife's name was Faye. You had two daughters. Jennifer and Kate. There were over two hundred passengers on that shuttle! Only a handful chose to stay behind. (Lampkin stares at him questioning) Yeah, that's right. It was in your file when you were handed the job as Baltar's counsel. And no one blamed you Romo, because at a certain point, we all made decisions that saved our lives at the cost of others. You think you're unique, Romo? Think your sins are so special?

Lampkin: Is that how it goes? You're gonna rest your entire case on that pathetic little bit of insight?

Lee Adama: No. Unless, the clean start, the fresh slate, maybe they're illusions like you said. But at a certain point, faith in ourselves, in our right to survive as a species, as a's not a given, it's a choice. Well, I made mine. And if you can't stomach that, then you'd damn well better squeeze that trigger right now. Go on. What are you waiting for? Or you can make a choice. Put your past behind you. Put the gun down, and help me, because I'm telling you, I'm gonna make a difference in this fleet.

Lampkin: Is that your final word?

Lee Adama: That's up to you.

Lampkin: Then swear it.

Cut to the next scene showing Leland Joseph Adama being sworn in as president.

Admiral Adama, for his part, realizes that he has indeed lost perspective and steps down from command. Not only does he leave Tigh in charge, which is natural as Tigh is the next highest ranking officer, but he promotes Tigh to Admiral.

Tigh hesitates, nothing his disastrous run at command when Adama was shot but Adama notes how much Tigh has changed—he’s a different man since then….and since New Caprica. The turned away look on Tigh’s face says it all—Bill doesn’t know the half of it.

Yet, secret Cylon or not, we sense that Tigh is up to the task and he is fully willing to act as the guardian of the fleet.

His name is Saul Tigh, he is an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else he is, whatever else it means, that's the man he wants to be by Gods! His loyalties are NOT in question.

So the former admiral dons his flight suit takes a raptor and Husker flies again. He’s going to wait at the rally point for Laura for as long as it takes. So Say We All!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

FanBoyWonder Salutes Kemosabe’s Birthday

FanBoyWonder would like to take a moment to acknowledge and commemorate the birthday of our best pal and all-around Kemosabe John Micek.

We’ve known each other for 15 years—starting out as two young lads thick as thieves. After a while, we grew apart as life moved us in different directions and as unaddressed grievances festered. We took a break for a couple years following some harsh words and some hurt.

Kemosabe had the courage take the first step and reach out and we both had grown up enough to realize friendship in the truest sense of the word isn’t easy and ain’t all that common.

Two scenes from one of FanBoyWonder’s favorite movies say it all—1994’s Wyatt Earp staring Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid as Earp and Doc Holliday.

Doc: Do you believe in friendship Wyatt Earp?”

[Wyatt nods]

Doc: “So do I.”

Doc: “Do you have many friends?”

[Wyatt shakes his head]

Later on into film…..

Wyatt: “What's wrong with you?”

Doc: “What is wrong with me? What have you got? I am dying of tuberculosis. I sleep with the nastiest whore in Kansas. Everyone who knows me hates me, and every morning I wake up surprised that I have to spend another day in this piss-hole world.”

Wyatt: “Not everyone who knows you hates you, Doc.”

Doc: “I know it's not always easy being my friend, but I'll be there when you need me.”

Happy Birthday John! Your “Old Friend”—Chuck

FBW Editor’s Note: When not playing the part of FanBoyWonder’s Kemosabe or when not playing with two bands -- Milkshake Jones and Fink’s Constant, -- John L. Micek covers Pennsylvania politics for a major Keystone State newspaper—read his political blog, Capitol Ideas, at

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Final Crisis Fumbles Out Of The Gate; Emerald Déjà vu and The Huntress Rocks

It’s been a while since FanBoyWonder has reviews of the weekly offering of comics—partly due to hectic circumstances on the home front but also significantly due to our very real apathy to the CRAP that’s been put forth recently by DC Comics.

We just haven’t felt motivated to write and comment—until this past week with the release of the first issue of Final Crisis. We can’t guarantee we will resume our reviews on a weekly basis but we find that our poison pen is ready, willing and able to take on DC Comics’ most recent “event.”

Final Crisis #1

The Upshot from DC Comics: Witness the historic start of the final chapter in the Crisis trilogy that could only spring from the mind of Grant Morrison — Final Crisis, featuring stunning art by J.G. Jones! Worlds will live and heroes will die in this epic tale spanning the beginning and end of the DC Universe! The entire Multiverse is threatened as the mysterious Libra assembles an army of the DCU's most terrifying super villains. But what is the ultimate plan, and who will live to find out?

If the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results—then our first impression from the first issue is that Grant Morrision’s Final Crisis is INSANE.

Okay, we fully admit coming into this “event” with both a chip on our shoulder and a bias. This “event” is seems totally artificial and unnecessary but for the total disaster of DC’s previous universe shattering event of two years ago Infinite Crisis.

Since IC, the only things that DC has seemingly done right have either been by accident or by those outside of the DC Management’s inner circle.

So yes, we’re not just judging Final Crisis on its own merits but as far as we’re concerned, it’s stepped up to the plate already with NO BALLS…and two strikes against it.

With that up front, the nicest thing we can say about the first issue is the art. For one thing, from beginning to end of the issue it’s drawn by the same art team—here the “team” being J. G. Jones—already it’s a giant step up from the Clowns in a Volkswagen art-by-committee approach of Infinite Crisis.

Yet even here, the beautifully illustrated first few pages lovely, flawless in fact, but Jones fails to keep up that same pace throughout the rest of the book. Downshifting from flawless to decent than back to very good by the end of the book was far from a deal-breaker (especially when compared to the different page, different artist approach of Infinite Crisis) but it was an unneeded distraction for a series that (at least initially) will have to be carried on the strength of visuals and not the story.

Speaking of the story….WTF???? Okay…just like Infinite Crisis, we are asking ourselves anyone else out there….can anyone provide a two-sentence definition (in newspapers we used to call it the “nut graph”) as to just what the hell this story is about?

Far from being reader-friendly and a self-contained story, writer Grant Morrison is demanding an awful lot from the reader from the get-go. FanBoyWonder has got about 30 years worth of DC Comics reading under our belt but even we are having trouble keeping up with all of the veiled historical references.

At least we got to see Green Lantern John Stewart. It’s nice that he’s getting some exposure somewhere.

Meanwhile, more of the same—Lex Luthor and the bad guys sitting around the table talking. The Justice League of America sitting around another table…talking. The most dramatic JLA action—Superman declares “Justice League Condition AmberGreat Krypton…not “Condition Amber.”

Oh yeah, Luthor’s Legion of Doom appears to murder the Martian Manhunter. One of the vanguards of the Silver Age and a great, respected character and he gets a third-of-a-panel “death” scene. Color us not impressed.

We can’t help but be reminded of the old Super Friends cartoon where hero and villain alike would stand around stiffly then announce what they were going to do before they did it—“I’ll use my super breath to freeze this tidal wave in place.”

Oh yeah, we’d like to say something about the Monitors but we just flipped right past those pages.

Bottom line: We would like to be wrong and surprised and would like to like this “event.” But Dan DiDio’s DC has lead us down the primrose path one too many times with “more of the same.”

We’re going to purchase the Final Crisis seven-issue mini-series and that’s it, no Final Crisis crossovers or off-shoots. We’re done. Grant and Dan, you want to win us over, you’re going to have to work for it with something other than more of the same.

Green Lantern #31

The Upshot from DC Comics: Part 3 of "Secret Origin" explores the beginnings of Earth's Green Lantern — Hal Jordan! Hal meets the Green Lantern who will teach him everything he knows: Sinestro! But Sinestro has another mission on this primitive mudball called planet Earth…a mission not even the Guardians of the Universe are aware of.

This should really be called Emerald Dawn Redux—with better art granted but we really don’t feel like we’re reading anything new. Okay it’s been some 18 years since Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II—Hollywood has remade movies that were younger than this but that’s really all that Geoff Johns is doing in Secret Origins—a remake.

Okay it’s the nature of comic books to have their character’s origin stories re-told periodically. That’s not what’s bothering us but it’s the timing that we find suspect.

Geoff Johns FINALLY hit his stride with this title during the Sinestro Corps War and the aftermath story arc Alpha Lanterns and just as the book was hitting a fever pitch Johns hits the way-back machine to do a mult-part origin story.

But what really bothers us is Johns incorporation his upcoming Blackest Night story line into key elements of Hal Jordan’s origin. That smacks of arrogance and it’s short sighted.

John Byrne attempted this in his World of Smallville mini-series by tying in the Manhunters from the then latest DC “event” Millennium in Superman’s origin by detailing the Manhunter infiltration of Clark Kent’s hometown into his origin story. It was already dated from the moment the series hit the stands and forgotten a year after that.

We do continue to give Geoff Johns credit for revamping and improving upon the personality and character of Hal Jordan.
Keith Giffen in Emerald Dawn continued the tradition started by Denny O’Neill in making Hal Jordan a sad-sack loser.

Giffen’s own touch was to manufacture a drunk driving problem to give Jordan a Peter Parker-like guilt complex.

Johns’ Jordan is a hothead fighter pilot who pushes the envelope in the cockpit or out…sometimes and perhaps often to a fault. So in that respect, Emerald Dawn 2.0 was tolerable…if frivolous.

Bottom Line: Secret Origins gives all the signs of a place holder as the events of Final Crisis play out. We’d rather face Green Lantern’s future than look back (again) at his past. Wake us when we get back to the here and now.

Huntress Year One #2

The Upshot From DC Comics: Helena Bertinelli's vow never to return to Gotham is tested by her vigilante fight to reclaim her inheritance from the Sicilian underworld — and by her unexpected feelings for the son of a Gotham kingpin!

Helena Wayne of Earth-2 will always be THE Huntress to us—a sentimental favorite of a bygone era—but Ivory Madison has done what even the great Gail Simone hasn’t quite manage to pull off. She’s gotten us to really feel for the character of Helena Bertinelli.

Since her clumsy post-CRISIS introduction some 20 years ago, we’ve seen Huntress Bertinelli's as a pretender. We were never impressed with her origin as an orphaned mafia princess as it seemed to too much like Bruce Wayne’s.

It didn’t help that over the years the character didn’t get a lot of respect—in part because Huntress Bertinelli was always written as a brute with a pretty face but blinded by rage into doing dumb things.

It was a little rough out of the gate for rookie writer Madison in the first issue but she has really hit her stride here in issue 2. Madison paints a picture not just of young Helena making her way in the world but of the world from which she comes.

It’s world of violence and power and where women are either Madonnas or Whores but either one is less than the equal of a man—naked sexism.

Whereas Bruce Wayne’s defining moment came at the murder of his parents, the murder of Helena Bertinelli's family was only just the beginning and she had to endure constant assaults on her character if she ever strayed out of her “place.”
It’s no wonder that The Huntress was so ruthless—she had to be just to survive.

It also explains why she butts heads with Dark Knight so often. She doesn’t take Bleep from any man…not even a Batman.

We don’t think it’s too early to start thinking about a Huntress ongoing series with Madison as the writer.

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