Monday, July 28, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
We Were Legion - Chapter 1
by Christian Zamora Dahmen
Shangalla was a sad and lonely place. As a small planetoid, it served as a cemetery where dead Legionnaires would rest for all of eternity. “Rest,” a curious word for those who no longer felt a thing. Those who were left behind were the ones who deserved some peace, most times. Letting go and moving on were some of the hardest trials in life, and even if this was the 31st century, this part of human nature hadn’t changed one bit.
You would expect this time in the future would be filled with joy, considering humanity would have left behind its pettiness and lack of empathy, and finally replaced it with a glorious sense of universal caring. But truth be told, people may have moved into different planets and conquered the most unusual worlds but their nature basically remained the same: They still were selfish creatures that would battle each other just because they could and they wanted what they couldn’t have. These battles over demanding something they wanted to own were basically what moved humanity these days. People’s sense of greed grew into a cosmic scale; they leapt from desire and went straight into the taking. The result was staring right at us, from these graves. Those who would get in the way of wants would often pay the ultimate price. As of a now, the so-called “heroes” were a rare species which would always get in the way of the holiness of power and money; they would do anything to protect those who needed protection and save those who needed to be saved; they would put their lives in the line for the sake of the universe; something that simply would not be appreciated by those who wanted more and more no matter what. The Legion of Super-Heroes’ task was a noble one; sadly it had gone unappreciated with time until it was forced to fade away.
The Legion’s testament, the only inheritance these brave men and women left behind, now rested at Shangalla: The cold stones representing those who sacrificed their lives willingly, always hoping for a brighter future. Now, it seemed that it had accomplished nothing. The same Science Police they used to help so frequently disbanded their team and sent them home, as brats who had just thrown a tantrum and deserved some punishment. And with this incomprehensible move, the former Legionnaires were somehow exiled from Earth leaving behind a lack of hope that would hardly be ever filled again; and at the same time, each hero carried within a sense of ungratefulness that would be stuck inside forever.
The dark and cold planetoid was often deserted. It required little maintenance and only occasional visitors would give a little heartbeat to this desolate monument to loneliness and death. In this occasion, a small spaceship arrived. It was evident that it came in stealth mode, choosing the less traveled road to get to this place unnoticed. It came from a very distant world and didn’t make any stop before arriving to Shangalla with an unstoppable desire to get to the very place where hopelessness seemed to have set foot. It landed softly and its door lifted with a quiet murmur. A woman descended from the ship, wearing a black outfit that covered her entire body in a long dress that looked vaporous when it reached the floor. She walked down the stairs with a slow pace; now that she had finally arrived there was no sense in rushing. She had a broad-brimmed hat that seemed to belong to another era, one of those only rich women would use for a funeral, with a veil that covered her face, hiding her eyes as if she didn’t want to be recognized, keeping her sadness as a private thing. She walked straight to the two new burials that were right at the end of the newest row. She stopped and stared at a strange monument which shape she could barely describe, but she still noticed the sculpture of a little sun up at the top. She put her hand over the strange monument that got built over the empty casket that couldn’t even contain the remains of the man who left behind such a resonant history.
“Oh, Dirk, never thought you would go like this. No glory, no flames, no nothing. I know death can find us unguarded, but she did play a bad joke on you, didn’t she?” She caressed the small monument that was built over the memorial site. “I never got the chance to tell you how much of myself I saw you. If I had been a man, I think we would have been the best of friends.” She paused for a moment, bowed her head and made a gesture with her hand in the air proper of her own world to show respect and made a reverence. “I can’t believe there was nothing to bury-- But you-- I will never forget you, I can promise you this.” She kissed her the tip of her fingers and touched the monument once again, staying frozen in time as if she was caressing his face one last time.
She turned around and walked towards the other new burial site. A void took over her stomach just like the first time she attended this particular spot.
“Thom--“ Her words broke as she couldn’t hold her voice any longer. She raised her veil and strands of white lively hair fell to both sides of her young and beautiful face, finally allowing itself to show the redness in her eyes, the only witnesses of the pain she had been carrying within for so many days.
Nura Nal, whose nom de guerre, “Dream Girl”, was known through the entire United Planets, was right there, standing tall as she was devastated inside. She had been the sexy Legionnaire for so long, then the leader and finally the wise woman who always had some powerful insight into whatever situation the former Legion of Super-Heroes had to face. She had an ability that was common to every native of her homeworld, Naltor, she was a precog and had visions of the future that would come. It was probably a fatalist power, but the way she used her natural power forged her as a hero. She accomplished many victories by the side of her teammates, but now those days seemed far-gone. And if the sadness of letting go of her past wasn’t enough, she was also mourning the death of Thom, her long time lover, teammate and the kindest soul she had ever met. Thom Kallor was also a super-hero in this Legion, he was Star Boy and he was always the brighter star in her sky. Sadly, the heat of his embrace and the kindness of his smile were now gone and she would have to live the rest of her life knowing she had lost him forever.
She sat by the little monument’s side and leaned her head against the metallic stone searching for a warmth and comfort that were no longer there. Tears ran down her face, as she no longer held back the unbelievable pain she had been carrying inside for the past few weeks. It was easy to keep a strong face in front of others, but now that she was all by herself, she didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and so, she finally let go. Images of a past life together ran through her mind and over her soul giving her a physical pain inside her chest she wouldn’t have expected. Dealing with such a big loss was the toughest task she had ever faced. She didn’t want to move on as others asked her to, definitely not at this point. She was simply stuck in the moment where everything lost direction in her life. What was left to hold onto anyway? Not only the one man that meant everything to her got taken away, but she was now adrift in a huge universe, senseless, with her ideals shattered and no place to call home. No, her world would never be home to her; not like the Legion always was that special place for her-- And the Legion was no more-- For the first time in her life, she was an orphan with nowhere to go and without the strength to move forward. At another time she would have gathered what was left of her and fought against all odds, but was there really anything left behind worth fighting for?
“Nura?” A manly voice broke the moment startling her and forcing her to wipe out the tears off her face.
This story takes place after LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 23, 2013. Names, concepts, and characters belong to DC Comics. No infringement of copyright is intended. This is only a work of fan fiction.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Now, this was quite refreshing!
After getting burned with Forever Evil and it's underwhelming outcome, and getting deeply bored by Future's End, I decided to try yet another DC book and see if I could finally stick with at least one. This was actually a kiss goodbye, like the last chance to be impressed-- And did I get impressed!
It's no secret that I don't embrace the New 52 at all. They destroyed their entire history just to be all the hype for a couple of months. But then again, stories can always be told in a compelling way if the talent is there and if editorial doesn't interfere too much (meaning, keeping DiDio under chains). This is a good example of great storytelling, at least for me.
I have never been a fan of anthology books, but for a change, these short stories seem to have more heart than these huge crossovers that go on and on and on and have no ending nor relevant outcome.
This particular issue told origins with a "twist". Either because of the perspective in which they were told, or who told them, or the lingering theme in each one of these short stories. All I have to say is that they were endearing and I deeply missed that in DC Comics in particular. I sincerely hope they can keep it up. I'm so done with their books being actual dead ends.
So, I would suggest you give this new series a try. Issue 1 told stories for Superman, Dick Grayson and Supergirl and, yes, it was worth it.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I've read posts on this subject for years since this New 52 DC Universe got launched back in September, 2011; so this isn't anything you haven't read before, nor more heart-felt, not even original. I've seen a lot of people speak up on this subject. Some fans (because deep down we all are -or used to be- just fans) were furious, some were deeply sad, some were frustrated and there were still the hopeful ones who gave up and still wanted things to change for the better, sometime down the line.
Their message never got through and I highly doubt mine will, either.
So, here's this rant, sent into the digital universe more as a cathartic cry, not really asking for anything to happen, just to speak up my mind.
I've been a DC Comics fan for my entire life (see?, I told you I wasn't going to be of the original kind); I went through a lot of changes and rolled with the punches, some were good, some not so much and then, there was the New 52. I set the New 52 apart because it was a different kind of creature. It undid everything that was done before. But unlike the famous Crisis on Infinite Earths, the outcome was rushed and the essence of the characters got dropped along with their history. Superman was no longer the hero everyone looked up, no, now he was this troubled alien who felt out of place among humans, which is beyond odd since he was always supposed to be the most human of them all-- Then, Wonder Woman stopped being an all female character and became the daughter of Zeus; and the essence of her character got thrown out of the window. And these are just two examples of what the New 52 meant to the rich universe that was the DC Universe. From a group of Teen Titans that were never side-kicks, to a Flash family that never existed, the richest side of their characters got undone, up to a point that they were no longer recognizable.
I work in the advertising field, I know the meaning of keeping a brand fresh. A brand shouldn't age or it would grow obsolete, I completely get that. But then, dropping an entire fan base while searching a new one doesn't look like good business to me. What about keeping them both? Sounds a bit absurd, uh? Well, with the richness of the DC Universe that could have been done, but they chose a different venue. Starting fresh could have meant a lot of things and not just dropping everything they were. Moving forward, for instance, could have been a great choice. They could have redesigned the characters to look like 2011 characters, instead of going retro with their 90's designs. They could have moved forward with guidelines like: "Don't revisit past storylines, move always forward", that would have made sense. Comics in general and DC and Marvel in particular, were a bit incestuous with theirs pasts and never stopped revisiting. Anyway, moving forward could have been the move to pull; and it's not as if the big shots couldn't have considered it, they must have, they just didn't think it would be wild enough to make the headlines. And they did hit the headlines! But then again, at this point, the negativity surrounding them is huge as well. A big chunk of their fan base left, their numbers aren't that big anymore, or even bigger than they were before that infamous and extremely rushed "Flashpoint".
And they keep pulling their New 52 tricks again. Wally West will be coming back as someone you never knew. I heard that line before. Sorry, but no. I got burnt once, twice, a trillion times and I'm finally done.
It took me a while, a few years actually, but I finally gave up. Not with a "bang", but with a "whimper", like most of us left. Unnoticed and uncared for. We're not the demographics they're looking for, so, we're worthless.
Somewhere in the DC offices, someone must have thought at one point, "shouldn't we throw them (old fans) a bone?" Maybe the response wasn't a resonant "no", but it did feel that way. In the end, we weren't that important to them. And well, a brand that doesn't care about its audience, will eventually get the short end of the stick.
Friday, November 29, 2013
The Silver Surfer is an interesting character, in the way that he kind of sums up the cosmic philosophies of the 60's and 70's, or so it seems to me. While I'm no expert in all things Silver Surfer, his constant rants, epiphanies and drama, always hit me in a weird way. I mean, we all know he suffers. He actually suffers a lot. No place to call home, a growing guilt that could easily hold a pocket universe, and such a huge sense of loneliness. I mean, these things can mess up a guy--
But still-- C'mon, dude, lighten up!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
|From the pages of Justice League of America 09, 2013.|
The Aquaman jokes kinda faded away after Geoff Johns' terrific run in his title gave him a bigger sense of dignity, but we can always have a little fun with him, can't we?
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A while back I started telling Cap's Adventures in my Desk over at the Facebook page; it was a one panel thing telling funny things, well not all of them were really that funny but it was nothing pretentious to begin with, so I kept it going. A lot of things happened ever since. At work, we moved into a new building a really nice one, I had to pack my things and get them home since no personal stuff was now allowed (don't ask), and then I had to pack my little buddy, Captain America. He really looked dead inside of that bag, but the thing is he wasn't, there was a little spark of life living within this very light coat of plastic, so, I cheated a bit and didn't send him home.
Thing is I still have my little buddy hidden within my personal bag. Like a spirit who's always with me, or a schizophrenic voice that tells me things, not all of them good, but who am I to judge.
Anyway, the result is still the same. Cap is here and he will stay here, even if hidden, but he will come out and will shine in all of his glory, fighting against oppression, one desk at a time.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Every Friday is Fan Art Friday over at the Facebook fanpage, this means that everyone can send in their art and it gets published in the page. It as a little something that I want to share with everyone because people love their characters and they love even more giving them a touch of themselves.
The blog may not be as "social" as Facebook, but it does have its own resonance. I think the artists might eventually run into this post and get blown away by seeing their art elsewhere.
It's a labour of love and I just can't help it but to love the spirit behind it.
|Cristina Escobar gives us a dark and cute knight! Batman!|
|Batman and the Joker in a never ending rivalry, courtesy of Eli Ramos.|
|Alonso Cordero León gives us two warriors enjoying the battlefield.|
|Will Mitchell gives us a defiant Green Lantern!|
|Fear Sinestro! By Brian Sprau - Scratch The Surface Artworks.|
|Captain America lives with a fantastic retro feel. Pen & Ink Illustration by Thomas Muzzell.|
|Rodney Ulibarri breathes new life into the Doom Patrol!|
|Rodney Ulibarri features Celsius from the Doom Patrol.|
|Rodney Ulibarri gives us tragic movie star Rita Farr from the Doom Patrol.|
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
How do you say "puppy eyes" in Martian? That's easy! It's "J'onn J'onzz"!
The Martian Manhunter took a complete turnaround when he got revamped with DC's New 52. He no longer was part of the original Justice League and he got stripped out of all the softness that grew around him in the 80's, 90's and the first decade of the millennium, and he got turned into a two-dimensional Wildstorm fighting machine as part of the new Stormwatch.
As many characters that got reinvented with the relaunch, he slowly started to get back to his senses… well, at least back to who he used to be. He joined the new Justice League of America for the first time in this continuity and from there he started to mellow down until he reached a new level of cuteness and mellowness, as seen in the latest issue of this JL book (that would be Justice League of America #9, 2013).
Once again he cared for his teammates as if he knew them for his entire life, showing a sense of humanity that many human beings lack. All of a sudden, I saw him like the father figure he used to be at the Bwah-haha League as he interacted with Stargirl.
Yes, the Martian Manhunter seems to have come back.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"Thought balloons are too old-school", "thought balloons are annoying", "there's no need to tell what they're thinking when you can see it in their actions", well, thought balloons were demonized beyond belief, and guess what? They're back!
As I was reading All-New X-Men 18, I ran into this page where everyone was having just so many thoughts. Many, as in an overwhelming amount of thoughts. At first I didn't notice since I usually read as many old books as I do new ones, but then it hit me. Apparently the ban for thought balloons had been either lifted at Marvel, or someone just decided to bend the rules. Either way, I was happy.
Removing thought balloons from comic book storytelling was an odd move. They were a tool and they weren't good or bad per se, everything depended on the storytelling; it's as if someone told you that you can no longer write down question marks. Maybe someone realized that they were needed, or that the "old" X-Men coming back to present time, would be the perfect excuse to play with the old tools.