Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sometimes a different point of view is enough.

"Sometimes a different point of view is enough." - Catwoman
Catwoman is in the midst of an investigation and she reflects how she should have a better chance of cracking the case since she better understands the criminal mind (having been a criminal herself). This trade collection has a gritty, crime-noir mood to it thanks to the great art by Darwyn Cooke and Mike Allred which compliments the excellent writing by Ed Brubaker before he went on to establish his slice of the Marvel empire!

Catwoman's statement is pretty cliched but it's very true and always worth remembering. We often approach a problem using a set method which can result in the same, boring solution or even prevent us from finding a solution at all! As the famed Edward de Bono states we sometimes need to approach with a different point of view to find the answers we seek (though Mr de Bono uses the Six Hats to achieve this). Try this the next time you're stuck with an idea or trying to figure something out.

References: Taken from Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street TPB (ISBN: 1 56389 908 6) by Ed Brubaker (writer), Darwyn Cooke and Mike Allred (artists). Published by DC Comics.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hope needs will

"Hope needs will." -Blue Lantern (Brother Warth)
Green Lantern has been unwillingly recruited by the Blue Lanterns after being rescued from the Red Lanterns (if you haven't read Green Lantern comics in a while this can be confusing). The Blue Lantern is fueled on hope but Green Lantern believes that hope is nothing if one does not act to make ones hope a reality through willpower (which is what fuels a Green Lantern's ring). I found this to be a very enjoyable trade paperback which explored the Blue and Orange Lanterns and adds great backstories to the Guardians of the Universe. The artwork was extremely well detailed and brought to life the amazing locations these stories take place in.

I found Green Lantern to be rather poignent in mentioning that he knows people who have heaps of hope but they don't get up and do anything about it. While hope is a necessary and powerful emotion it really is up to the individual to use that hope to act! Do something to make the hope a reality! Otherwise hope becomes nothing but wishing ...

References: Taken from Green Lantern: Agent Orange (ISBN: 978-1-4012-2420-2) by Geoff Johns (writer) and Philip Tan (artist). Published by DC Comics.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life can't be controlled.

"Life can't be controlled. Life can't be bottled." - Superman
Superman is in the midst of an epic battle with the new and improved Brainiac. Brainiac has downloaded more information than he knows what to do with into his head and thinks that he can control life if he enslaves it. This is a well written trade collection exploring the differences between the human mind and spirit versus that of an artificial intelligence.

In daily life we often try to bottle and control things by trying to understand how everything works or making sense of time by putting all of our activities into our smartphones or PDAs to keep track of things but often we find that we can't stick to those schedules because "life happens" and unforeseen events throw us off course. This is what makes life worth living as it's the variety and undefined future which makes us feel alive and full of possibilities!

References: Taken from Superman Brainiac HC (ISBN: 978-1-4012-2087-7) by Geoff Johns (writer) and Gary Frank (artist). Published by DC Comics.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm not afraid of anything

"I'm not afraid of anything." - The Hulk
 The Hulk is running rampant in New York City with the Warbound (aka. his posse) but he encounters one of the Initiative recruits who has the ability to bring one's greatest fear to life. Initially this recruit is able to stand up against the Hulk but eventually his ability fails as the Hulk's confidence rises (along with his anger levels) until eventually the illusion falls and The Hulk spares the beaten recruit.

Now I know you're thinking ... this is THE HULK so he shouldn't be afraid of anybody or anything! You and I are just a bunch of stick figures compared to him ... but if you've read the much acclaimed Planet Hulk collection you'll realize that the big guy had to go through a lot and suffer great losses so he's declaring his defiance after a long, hard road.

No matter how big you are ... there's always somebody bigger than you! Stand up for yourself and don't be afraid of anything because fear empowers those you're afraid of while courage weakens their hold over you.

References: Taken from Avengers: The Initiative TPB (ISBN: 978-0-7851-2516-7) by Dan Slott (writer) and Stefano Caselli (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics

Sunday, June 13, 2010

You can kill people but not ideals

"People, you can kill. But ideals? Spirit? Sorry, they have a life of their own ..." - Doctor Fate

 The newest Doctor Fate is caught in a mind-bending, magical battle against the powerful demon Negal! During the trade collection you see the latest Doctor Fate transform from a lowly bum (yes ... he's an actual street bum) into one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC universe. While this is a Countdown tie-in it only really has 4 or 5 pages which tie-into the storyline. While it's not a must-have collection I found the new take on the Doctor very refreshing as it made him more human and actually made him quite similar to Doctor Strange where he says the spells' names as he casts them.

What Fate says about ideals and spirit being more difficult to destroy is interesting as there have been people who sacrificed their lives in the name of a cause. While there are those who've sacrificed their lives for the betterment of mankind there have also been those who've been misguided. However, I do believe that it's important to contribute to a lasting cause or ideal which will outlast our short human lives whether it's our families, our careers, or our beliefs because I think what drives many successful people is their desire to leave behind a legacy.

References: Taken from Dr. Fate: Countdown to Mystery (ISBN: 978-1-4012-1840-9) by Steve Gerber (writer) and Justiniano (artist).
Published by DC Comics.

Monday, June 7, 2010

,,, having the strength to make a hard decision.

"Sometimes being a king is about having the strength to make a hard decision. And sometimes, it's about having the strength not to." - Crystal of the Inhumans

Black Bolt has just finished a hectic battle with Vulcan when Crystal warps in with Lockjaw to save the day! In light of Black Bolt being in a position where he had to make some tough decisions she reminds him that sometimes it's equally tough to step back and not make a decision about something. I think we often struggle or avoid making the tough decisions which usually hurts us in the long run. Those with the strength to make the tough decisions, however, run into the opposite problem where they keep making those tough calls even when we have the support of others to help us so that we don't have to feel like we're carrying the weight of the world on our own.

I found this trade collection an excellent read and haven't been disappointed by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for years! Paul Pelletier's art is clean and extremely detailed! He has great variety in his scenes and switches seamlessly from space battles, to intimate personal moments, to brawls between teams of super-powers! I highly recommend this collection of the War of Kings series!

References:  Taken from War of Kings TPB (ISBN: 978-0-7851-3542-5) by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (writers) and Paul Pelletier (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's only there to cover up my terror.

"It's only there to cover up my terror". -Robin (Tim Drake)

The clench virus has been unleashed in Gotham and Ra's Al Ghul is the mastermind behind it all! The entire Bat family is involved as they're on the hunt for the villain in a race against time for a cure to the virus! While this trade is 12 years old (and hard to find at a decent price I might add) it's well worth adding to your collection if you're a Batman fan!

Robin is living up to his name as he serves as the light during times of darkness. He always has a witty comment and generally has a positive viewpoint compared to Batman (and in this case, Nightwing) who usually has a more realistic view. He also reminds us that during our darkest times there's nothing like a bit of humor to lighten up a situation and help us deal with our troubles.

References: Taken from Batman: Legacy TPB (ISBN: 1-56389-337-1) by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Alan Grant (writers) along with Graham Nolan, Jim Aparo, Staz Johnson, Dave Taylor, Jim Balent, and Mike Wieringo (artists).
Published by DC Comics.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I just went along 'cause everybody else was doing it ...

"I just went along 'cause everybody else was doing it and I wanted to be popular." -Slapstick

After getting captured by the Hulk and his Warbound the initiates need some rescuing which comes in the form of some of the more mature members of the Initiative. I bought Avengers: The Initiative while it was on sale and admit that I would have paid full price for it had I know it was this good! I highly recommend the first volume and found it one of the better comics to come out of the Civil War storyline.

While Slapstick is just trying to be funny with his retort you have to remember that this is a group of teenagers who are still exploring their abilities and the concept of teamwork. Very often, though, we follow our peers against our better judgement and end up in trouble with the rest of them instead of standing up for our beliefs at the cost of being unpopular.

References: Taken from Avengers: The Initiative TPB (ISBN: 978-0-7851-2516-7) by Dan Slott (writer) and Stefano Caselli (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics.

Friday, May 28, 2010

No one tries to hard to make the world better.

"No one tries too hard to make the world better, Diana. You can never shout too loudly in the name of freedom." - The Batman

This uncharacteristically optimistic quote from Batman  follows the Justice League's jaunt into the Earth-2 universe where they faced off against the Crime Syndicate. This is a fine bit of storytelling from Grant Morrison and I highly recommend this graphic novel if you're a fan of either his or Frank Quitely's work! Superb story which seems to have been the inspiration for the recent Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths DVD.

When's the last time you were upset for trying too hard? Probably when you failed at something right? No? That's right, because we always think we didn't try hard enough! I think one only ever feels that we're trying too hard when we keep trying over and over again and nothing comes of it but it's important to remember that success only comes to those who keep trying their best!

References: Taken from JLA: Earth 2 (ISBN: 1-56389-631-1) by Grant Morrison (writer) and Frank Quitely (artist).
Published by DC Comics.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's clobberin' time!

"It's clobberin' time!" - The Thing

The Thing is stuck in smalltown America in a mexican standoff between Kree and Skrull warriors and he yells out his signature warcry before laying into both parties. This story predates the Skrull secret invasion but actually seems to fit in quite nicely with what happened during that storyline. This is a gem of a story if you're a fan of The Thing or underdogs in general as we really get to grips with what makes Benjamin Grimm tick! It's also the first time that Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins work as a creative team before working again on The Flash! This should be in the bargain section so pick it up if you find it for a decent price!

If you ask people to list a few quotes from Marvel Comics this one should pop up everytime! The only lesson I can get from his warcry is that when things break down and you have nothing left but to fight then make sure that you don't hold back! Let those who stand in your way know that they're in for a rough time!

References: Taken from The Thing: Freakshow (ISBN: 0-7851-1911-6) by Geoff Johns (writer) and Scott Kolins (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Everything has a flaw.

"Everything has a flaw, brother. Everything and everyone." - Karnak of the Inhumans

Karnak and Gorgon are discussing the recent actions of their king, Black Bolt, and Karnak follows up this great statement saying that the only person who doesn't have a flaw is Black Bolt. Considering Karnak's skill is in finding flaws in anything it shows his absolute confidence in his king. This is a must-have trade collection which, I would argue, is the best Inhumans story ever written! Over the 12 issues you really get into the hearts and minds of the characters and you can see why this won the Eisner award for Best New Series waaaaay back in 1999!!

It's important to remember Karnak's statement because we often put people on pedestals based on their success or abilities but when they let us down we're surprised and sometimes even angry. Instead, when they fail, we should remember how much strength and skill they must have had to succeed despite their flaws!

References: Taken from Inhumans TPB (ISBN: 0-7851-0753-3) by Paul Jenkins (writer) and Jae Lee (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everybody in the future a prick?

"Everybody in the future a prick, or do you have a lock on the job?" - The Doctor

While battling a villain from the future the good Doctor chucks this insult out before attacking him. This is a mature graphic novel with some great plot twists and excellent dialogue! If you're a fan of the Authority or edgier super-heroics then definitely look this one up!

While I doubt any of us would be able to use this insult it should come in pretty handy if you met someone from the future or delusional enough to believe that they are!

References: Taken from The Authority: Human on the Inside (ISBN: 1-4012-0070-2) by John Ridley (author) and Ben Oliver (artist).
Published by Wildstorm/DC Comics.

Monday, May 24, 2010

You will never have our hearts.

"You will never have our hearts." - Captain America

Captain America is known for his rousing speeches and he delivers this one while fighting an Onslaught possessed Iron Man in the Heroes Reborn universe after Onslaught threatens to control the minds of everyone on the planet.

I found this trade collection to be quite entertaining but mostly because of the vastly improved Rob Liefeld artwork. If you're a fan of his work then don't hesitate to pickup a copy! This was also produced in honor of Sam Loeb and all proceeds went to the Sam Loeb foundation.

Captain America's statement is especially relevant in a world where many people are oppressed in totalitarian regimes where governments attempt to control people's lives and minds ... but the battle for their hearts will never be won and it is in their hearts where hope will continue to live!

References: Taken from Onslaught Reborn TPB (ISBN: 978-0-7851-3134-2) by Jeph Loeb (writer) and Rob Liefeld (artist).
Published by Marvel Comics.

Friday, May 21, 2010

... would we cease to exist ... ?

"Should we someday lose the attentions of those who believe in us ... would we cease to exist ...?" - Thor

So Cap and Thor hookup in a diner and Thor decides to get all heavy while sipping some chocolate milkshake (they were fresh out of mead apparently). Then again ... he is a Norse god so deep thinking and speaking like Shakespeare kinda come naturally to him. His question sort of ranks up there with "if a tree fell in the woods would anyone hear it" school of thought.

Still ... from one winged-head to another it's a pretty good question because Captain America goes through a bit of an identity crisis as he struggles with who the American people believe him to be. I would highly recommend reading this trade collection as the writer fully explores what makes the Captain tick.

Applying Thor's quote in our lives one can't help but wonder what defines who we are. Are we defined by who people believe us to be or who we believe ourselves to be?

References: Taken from Captain America: To Serve and Protect TPB (ISBN: 0-7851-0851-0838-6) by Mark Waid (writer), Ron Garney (artist), Dale Eaglesham (artist), and Andy Kubert (artist). Published by Marvel Comics.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All this knowledge, and you don't know anything about life.

"All this knowledge, and you don't know anything about life. " - Superman

Superman is in the midst of an epic battle with the new and improved Brainiac. Brainiac has downloaded more information than he knows what to do with into his head and starts ranting and raving about how awesome he is. Of course ... almost everything Brainiac knows is second-hand information. He hasn't really lived a life and has no way of associating meaningful interpretations to the information he has in his head. This is a well written trade collection exploring the differences between the human mind and spirit versus that of an artificial intelligence.

In life we often make this mistake ourselves when we read tons of books and internet articles or watch lots of documentaries and reality programs. This lulls us into a false sense of information security which leads us to believe we can handle most things coming our way. Sadly ... when push comes to shove our poor brains can't always apply or even remember what we've read or watched and we only truly learn things and gain real knowledge when we live through the experiences life presents to us.

References: Taken from Superman Brainiac HC (ISBN: 978-1-4012-2087-7) by Geoff Johns (writer) and Gary Frank (artist). Published by DC Comics.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We were so busy taking care of the world, we forgot to take care of each other.

"We were so busy taking care of the world, we forgot to take care of each other." - Iron Man

Context: Iron Man is reflecting on how much the Avengers have changed since they originally formed to tackle foes which no individual hero could combat on their own.

Lesson: Sometimes we look at problems to fix in the world such as global warming, poverty or other injustices and end up neglecting or even deliberately ignoring the problems we have in our personal lives.

References: Taken from Young Avengers Vol 1: Sidekicks TPB (ISBN: 0-7851-2018-1) by Allan Heinberg (writer) and Jim Cheung (artist). Published by Marvel Comics.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Orders are for giving, not for taking.

"Orders are for giving, not for taking." - Swordsman
Context: The Swordsman hails from a noble background and has always been a leader in his life. He has begrudgingly been following orders as part of the Thunderbolts for too long.

Lesson: Sometimes we need to stop and question the orders we're given because they're always in the interest of the person giving them and not always in your own interest.

References: Taken from Thunderbolts: Caged Angels  (ISBN: 978-0-7851-2635) by Warren Ellis (writer) and Mike Deodato Jr. (artist). Published by Marvel Comics.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A league of one. It will be enough.

"A league of one. It will be enough." - Wonder Woman

Context: Wonder Woman has to undergo a mission without the help of the rest of the JLA. Facing certain death she faces the villain after ensuring that the rest of the JLA is out of harms way.

Lesson: While it helps to be part of a great team of people you sometimes need to tackle tough tasks on your own and you need to believe that you're capable of pulling through without their support.

References: Taken from JLA: A League of One TPB (ISBN: 1-56389-923-X) by Christopher Moeller (writer and artist). Published by DC Comics.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My father was a good man.

"My father was a good man. A good man caught up in a bad situation." - Daredevil
Context: Daredevil is thinking back to his past and how rose coloured his view of his father was as a child. He now realises that his father was a victim of circumstance and would have turned out differently had life been easier for him.

Lesson: No matter our situation it's important to remember that there's good in all of us and that we need to be wary of putting ourselves in bad circumstances either by the friends that we keep or the decisions we make.

References: Taken from Daredevil Father HC (ISBN: 0-7851-1544-7) by Joe Queseda (writer), Danny Miki (artist), and Richard Isanove (artist). Published by Marvel Comics.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We have to astonish them.

"We have to astonish them." - Cyclops
Context: After a period of internal politcs and issues the team lost touch with it's primary focus of showing how their abilities can be used for the greater good of mankind and ended up with a tarnished reputation. Cyclops is motivating his team not to just get back in the game but to perform beyond the public's expectations.

Lesson: To make a discernable impression in the world don't be ordinary in what you do. Be different! Set yourself apart and astonish them!

References: Taken from Astonishing X-Men TPB (ISBN: 0-7851-1531-5) by Joss Whedon (writer) and John Cassaday (artist). Published by Marvel Comics.