Official™ Renophaston Review: DC Comics: The New 52: Week 1

This is the first post in a series reviewing the new DC Comics “first” issues. For those who don’t know, DC Comics is releasing a bunch of comic books with “#1” on the cover. These will save the dying comic industry somehow, probably magically, because I haven’t seen anyone propose a different way.

I know what you’re thinking: 52 comics is a lot of comics. I completely agree. But you should probably not despair: We are here to help you. Which comics should you buy? What looks rad? Who’s the next break-out hit? How’s the comics are? Where is it? Why is it there? Do you have the time? We’ll answer all your questions, and more! By the end of this series, you’ll be an expert in being right about 52 specific comics. So let’s get this ball started!

Week 1: August 31, 2011

I didn’t buy Justice League, so I don’t know.

See you next week!

Renophaston’s live report from SDCC 2011

Oh shit, I forgot I was at San Diego Comic Con this year again! This time I took a boat.


First I hotel, then my tickets, all the while I was lost… but the food! OMG TMI! Buses, taxi, TRAM? jk! No time for a drink–had to get going. Found the thing, I did it, but barely. Phew! Long story short.

Here’s everything that happened all weekend:

  • Star Trek and Legion of Superheroes are crossing over! This seemed like a obvious match, until I realized that the two series take place 750 years apart. I can’t imagine them adding time travel to these properties, so I don’t know what they’re going to do.
  • Mega Man Legends 3 is canceled! Poot! Since this was the one reason I chose this era for my current incarnation, I might as well head back to the Eternal Spirit Pool and try sometime else.
  • Marvel asks people to tear up DC comics for variants again, this time without the Deadpool excuse. It’s like seeing somebody try to re-tell a joke they don’t understand, except they were the ones who originally told the joke.
  • There’s a Wolverine in the back of Hall H giving out free donuts if you can pick them up with your penis! Move fast, he’s almost out! (It’s easier than it looks.)
  • Cable is dead-ish, but he’s coming back. Anybody who thinks Cable should come back already, this one’s for you. Unless you care about quality or whatever.
  • DC Comics continues with year 7 of their Tough Sell! initiative, removing iconic characters from their books or altering them so that they are unrecognizable to old fans and new readers alike! The first few years everybody kept reading, expecting their favorite characters to return to greatness, but lately readers have started to catch on, and DC’s sales have shown a steady drop–so they’re going line-wide with the initiative! With any luck, by this time next year DC’s sales numbers will be so low they will finally have an excuse to stop publishing these damned comic books!
  • Beavis & Butt-Head are back, and they’re exactly the same, and I don’t know whether I think anything about that at all. After the panel, though, I went to shake hands with Johnny Knoxville and I accidentally grabbed his penis and he knocked me out. Later people told me it was actually a door that opened towards me, and that I seemed “totally out of it”. Star-struck, more likely!
  • There’s a Dwayne McDuffie panel even though I don’t think he’s done anything new in like five months.
  • Tin Tin looks weird.
  • I think Dan DiDio is making fun of me for liking comics, and I’m not even really in San Diego.
  • DC has fixed the long-standing problem of Barry Allen being the worst Flash by making him the only Flash. Now he’s the best Flash!
  • If you Google Translate from Latin to English, “Quid Pro Quo” becomes “What Happens In Vegas”. Which is not accurate.
  • Oh I almost forgot! Here’s a photo of me and The Cheat from the show floor that I made with crayons:
The Cheat and I

Friends at first bite!

I went as Sporty Spice this year, because she’s pregnant and so am I!

Exclusive Preview of Justice League #2!

We’re honored to get an exclusive preview page from issue two of the nu Justice League series! It looks pretty bad. Click to see it full size!

Justice League #2 preview page

Here’s the solicitation information:

Written by GEOFF JOHNS in his spare time
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS, possibly
1:25 Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
1:200 B&W variant cover for some reason
Around 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T by default
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please order more than you can sell.
This is it! The throw-down, take-out, brawl-o-rama you’ve been waiting for since next month! This is like nothing you’ve seen before! One of these characters will die… IF HE (OR SHE!) LIVES THAT LONG! You’ve never seen comics like this! No! Shut up! We are reinvigorating the medium!

The actual plot blurb is this:

“What happens when the World’s Greatest Detective takes on the world’s most powerful alien? You’ll find out when Batman and Superman throw down. Batman will need all his intellect, cunning and physical prowess to take on The Man of Steel.”

So dull. “Superman and Batman will fight, and Batman will need to try if he’s going to win.”

BONUS!! Whoever notices the major mistake I made while taking the pictures wins nothing.

Official™ Renophaston review of Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D posterI saw Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D last Friday, but I enjoyed it! Alice is back, and she’s here to change the world! (This may sound like a reference to Captain EO, the first 3D movie I ever saw, but really she just has a gun that shoots coins.)

Spoilers ahead, but they might be inaccurate because it was a few days ago that I saw this, and my memory sucks.

The Good:

You all remember that my biggest problem with Resident Evil: Extinction was its lack of water. Well, this movie made up for that with spades to spare! Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of the first Resident Evil is back, and he brought with him what made the first movie great. I mean, this movie starts in the rain!** There’s a beach, burst water pipes, a lake. This one time, the main characters were underwater for like five minutes, and also there was a boat. And it wasn’t just some throwaway boat reference; it was a major plot point! It’s obvious Anderson understood where the franchise went adrift after he left, and thankfully he returned to set it back on course. Aquaman ain’t got shit on this movie, other than his powers.

Water pipe from RE:A** Not to be confused with Rain Ocampo, Michelle Rodriguez’ character from the first Resident Evil movie… or is it? Aside from RE, Michelle Rodriguez is best known for her role on Lost, a TV show about an island (surrounded by water, of course). Coincidence? Let’s examine the rest of her oeuvre. She followed up Resident Evil with a surfer movie called Blue Crush. Then she played Chris Sanchez in S.W.A.T., “Sanchez” of course coming from the Spanish for “sanctified”, which to Christians brings to mind the Baptismal rite, cleansing the soul with water. Later she voiced a Marine in the popular video game Halo 2. Then in 2005, she played Katarin (in the same year that Hurricane Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast) in another video game adaptation called BloodRayne. Then she starred in a movie called Battle in Seattle, Seattle being known colloquially as “Rain City“. It’s hard to believe the director was unaware of these facts during filming. Oh, and the last movie I saw in theaters before RE:A? Machete. Who was in it? Michelle Rodriguez. (“Michelle”, incidentally, is the feminine form of “Michael”, a name which comes from the archangel Michael, who is known for (among other things) drawing water from the rock at Colossae.)

Also: Zombies! I didn’t know this movie was gonna have zombies! If someone told me this movie was gonna have zombies, I’d have believed them, but nobody did because I don’t have any friends.

The Bad:

Iron Man 2. What a piece of shit. If I had a dollar for every time I saw this “film”, I’d still be out five bucks.

Water and co-star Ali Larter in RE:A

Water and co-star Ali Larter in RE:A

The Ugly:

They introduced Chris Redfield in this movie, which was exciting for some reason. He spent a good chunk of the movie locked in a jail cell. I thought it was funny because in an infamous line from the first game, Barry calls Chris “the master of unlocking“, and here he was locked up. Ha! But then I remembered that it’s Jill Valentine who’s the master of unlocking. So pfft. Nevermind. Chris was in that game, though, and with Chris’ appearance in the movies, we’ve finally come full circle, and ended up in a completely different place.

Aside: I gotta admit, you guys–references to the past take me back. I can’t believe I beat that game. Everything about it was annoying. I give it an “F” for Effort. “Survival Horror”? More like “Survival Horrible Game”!

Still, it had Zombies.

Alaskan water

Alaskan water... brr!

The Verdict:

Lets go down the list:

  • Zombies? Check.
  • Action? Check.
  • Dimensions? Check, check… and check. (that’s 3; last one had 2)
  • Multiple Jovoviches? (Jovovichlones?) Check.
  • Water? More than you can count!

This movie has everything for everybody, and unlike the those big shot “movie” critics, I think that’s enough. I want to say it’s the best Resident Evil movie with the initials REA, but I can’t really remember Apocalypse. Maybe it was good? And what if the next movie is called like Resident Evil: Attrition or something and it’s great? Can’t take that chance! But I’ll give this one four tens out of five!

\frac{10101010}{5}=2020202=3(20)+2 = 322

Out of a hundred.

Full disclosure: I tried not to let it color my review, but I should mention that there was something wrong at my theater, and stuff kept falling out of the movie. Ba-ding chang!

The final word: Resident Evil: Afterlife brought the rotting corpse of the Resident Evil franchise back to theaters!

Beach from RE:A

water + beach = match made in heaven (except I hate beaches)

Dirty Bible Riddle

What’s Onan’s favorite spice?

Ground Cumin

I came up with this when I saw some ground cumin.

Told you so.

I am 98% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

Do I get extra points or a deduction for answering their questions honestly?

Blackest Night in Four Panels

Blackest Night in Four Panels

Did anything happen in this series? I think it was just a whole lot of people getting new powers and then losing them, and then everybody’s okay at the end. Reading it was like watching someone play with action figures.

Reading my comic, on the other hand, is like watching someone go, “Dolls are for fags, retard”, and then later he cries because his parents won’t buy him any. Gah, I’m just mad that people liked this more than Final Crisis. Final Crisis was awesome! Blackest Night was so boring! I don’t get why people love it so much! It’s not fair! Wah!

I should get Geoff Johns to sign this at WonderCon.

Also: My Aquaman looks like you’d get greasy just looking at him. Gives me cooties.

Introducing 4 Christs™ Sake

Introducing kristuphil‘s first openly alcoholic beverage: 4 Christs™ sake!

A bottle of 4 Christs™ sake

A perfect night on the town.™

Our sake is made from the transubstantiated blood of four distinct breeds of Christ grown on our very own clone fields on Venus in the future, brought to the past to age in real-time, then finally blended together today in precise proportions developed over the last century in our occult-science labs at Günter Münty Fütwear.

4 Christs™ sake label


Günter Münty Fütwear (a kristuphil, inc. wholly owned subsidiary), home of KSP’s occult-science labs, has been a staple in the blood industry for centuries, but with the popularization (and recent “sparklization”) of vampires, the market has been flooded with cheap and relatively high-quality blood, making it harder for an “old-guard” blood-seller like ourselves to stay relevant and profitable. So, with our profits declining, and with massive amounts of blood on our hands, we searched for alternative revenue sources.

Like Silly Putty®, our “sake-cess” began with a failure. We’d been working on a reverse-transubstantiation of Christ-blood for many years now, but had never managed to get it quite right, always ending up with a strangely seductive, yet decidedly un-winelike sake, which we gave to employees as gifts on holidays. But when our blood money began to run thin, someone mentioned how beloved the sake had become throughout the company, and suggested that there might be money to be made in sake, especially one as uniquely (un)holy as ours.

So we set up kristuphil Clone Farms on Venus and began experimenting with different species and brews of Christ, eventually settling on the four-part blend we call 4 Christs™.

The Christs

  • Natural (Jewish) Christ – Although the term is used more loosely today, all authentic Christs must have at least 30% Jewish lineage. In fact, the taste you probably associate most closely with Christ is actually the Jew. Non-Jewish messiahs tend to have a strong metallic taste which needs to be masked by other ingredients, which is why they lack the purity that defines the true Christ. Our 4 Christs™ sake is at least 60% Jewish.
  • White Christ – Though not a traditional Christ, White (or Caucasian) Christs are popular in America and Britain, though they’ve spread in recent decades and can currently be found all over the world. White Christs tend to be a bit blander than the historical types, and are often preferred by those not used to the strong taste of classic Christ. It is a “beginner” messiah and we use just a touch to help keep our sake smooth. It also causes the sake to turn blue when exposed to air, a trademark of kristuphil sake.
  • Passion Christ – The other Christ most favored in America, Passion Christ contains high levels of adrenaline. Traditionally, the Christ is tortured before the blood is extracted. Our Christs are tortured for at least 10 years, and we are the only company that tortures our Christs for an additional 2 months post-mortem, giving our sake a uniquely mellow, relaxed buzz.
  • Nazi Christ – The “secret ingredient” is our patented Nazi Christ. Originally bred for a different project altogether, the blood of Nazi Christs was found to add a lively “kick” to our sake. Alone, the taste is off-putting to most, but in small amounts, we found it to perfectly complement earthiness of the Jew, giving our sake a fullness unequaled on this planet.

kristuphil Clone Farms logo

4 Christs™ sake is a product of kristuphil Clone Farms. Available wherever alcohol is sold, as well as at participating churches. Ask “4” it by name.

Silly Putty is a trademark of Binney & Smith Inc.

Dicktective Comics

Anyone else notice the big purple dick in Detective Comics #860?

Detective means dick in French.

Purple is the new 'Flesh' (crayon joke)

I say it’s big because it reaches all the way from her heel to her knee.

And in Green Lantern Corps #43, we find out the Guy Gardner is an even bigger Kylie Minogue fan than I:


I should probably make a gay joke, but that would be gay.

Such a big fan, in fact, that when his best friend Kyle Rayner dies (for a minute), he still can’t get Kylie “out of his head.” Also, his heart stops and is replaced by a magic red ring sculpted from a stone made of crystallized blood and fueled by rage. Gives new meaning to “Heart Beat Rock“, unless that’s actually what that song is about.


I always thought the Red Lantern oath was pretty lame:

With blood and rage of crimson red,
Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,
Together with our hellish hate,
We’ll burn you all–That is your fate!

See? How much cooler would this be:

Atrocitus sings Kylie

Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah.

Not any cooler. If I’ve ruined the Red Lanterns for even one person, then this post was worth it.

This makes two posts about unintentional sexuality in comic books. I’m so selling out.

Supes On… Social Networking!

Supermans Red and Blue learn that there’s more to a person than the type of music they like and what their favorite TV show is… except when there isn’t.

Supes On Social Networking

Renophaston sez, “If you take away all my stuff, I won’t have anything at all.

Robot + Rape = Rape

The new WALL-E comic has surprise buttsecks:
Surprise buttsecks in WALL-E

He is obviously drunk. But that is no excuse.

Official™ Renophaston review of Flatland 2

I finally got my hands on a copy of the legendary “unpublished” sequel to Flatland (one of my favorite books of all time). I’ve been looking for a copy of this my whole life. I know, I know, there are plenty of sequels to Flatland, but I’m talking about the official, from Edwin Abbott’s notes, direct continuation. This thing is practically myth, and all but the most obsessed Flatland-fan would deny its very existence. Don’t believe I have it? Check this shit out (click to enlarge):

So why haven’t you heard of it? The way I heard the story, Abbott considered Flatland a one-off thing, but due to public pressure, he started work on a sequel. But apparently he never arrived at anything he was happy with, so he shelved the project indefinitely, and eventually died. BUT! The 50s came along, and sci-fi was selling, and out of nowhere came… this guy (whose name I exasperatingly can’t recall, and who is mentioned nowhere in the cover-stripped paperback I have) who claimed to be Abbott’s illegitimate grandson, and who was in possession of notes and papers he claimed were Abbott’s. Among these were an outline for a sequel to Flatland and numerous aborted drafts of the same.

Enter Avon Books, who was like, “fuck it, good enough”, and commissioned a full novel, which was finished, printed, bound… and then pulped. Presumably due to some legal issues overlooked during the accelerated production schedule and arising from the increasing likelihood that the alleged grandson was entirely full of crap. So all orders were canceled, the books were destroyed, and (as this was way before the Internet) the book was promptly forgotten. Mind you, any or all of this may be false, and up until two weeks ago, I was pretty much convinced the book itself was solely rumor and legend.

But now, I’ve read it, and I’m ready to share my two cents!


As you can tell by the subtitle (“Sphere Is the Mind-Killer“) and table of contents pages above, Flatland 2 is no longer a “Romance”, but rather a pulpy sci-fi in the vein of Asimov and Heinlein, only not as good. In fact, throughout my reading, I often found myself thinking of the big, dumb blockbusters that pass for “sci-fi” today (think Transformers, Independence Day) which feature the trappings of sci-fi without any of the heart or intelligence.

But that’s being too harsh. There are certainly some worthwhile ideas here (the manner in which the Flatlanders mollify Cthulhu—which I wouldn’t dare spoil on my lame-ass blog!—is fucking brilliant, and I can’t believe I haven’t seen it elsewhere), and as a meditation on the relationship between science and religion, I think Flatland 2 was ahead of its time. Its these aspects that make me tend toward believing that the author was indeed in possession of some of Abbott’s notes, though I wish he had stuck to them more than he did, or maybe passed them on to someone more qualified to finish what Abbott had started.

But all this is overshadowed by a generic “sci-fi” war story with overly-telegraphed, “shocking” revelations in every chapter and plot holes (e.g., the “Proof Cube”, which the disciples of Sphere revere in a way similar to the Catholic’s “bleeding statues of Virgin Mary”, is revealed to be a simple square, but it is never explained how any of the Flatlanders can know this) that make this really hard to take seriously. The fact that the ideas (what this book is ostensibly about) are actually intriguing makes this all the more frustrating.

For example, when Sphere returns, he finds that the Flatlanders have made a religion out of the knowledge he brought them 1,000 years ago, but that religion has divorced itself almost completely from any rational, scientific discourse, and the Flatlanders have made literally no progress—if anything they’ve regressed to a more primitive state. Instead of freeing their minds, he has frozen them like deer in headlights. But the author does nothing with this. He drops that story line, and instead, has Sphere show up with a deus ex machina that would make James Bond blush, never to deal with the real conflict. Not only does this ending come out of nowhere, but it also manages to avoid resolution of nearly every plot thread set up in the previous 250+ pages. The whole book is like this, and while some people would call it “subverting expectations”, I call it shitty plotting. Maybe the author should have spent more time on the story, and less on the countless puns that litter the text.

But as I said, the seed is there for a quality novel, perhaps not on the level of the original, but compelling nonetheless. The idea of two warring religious factions being confronted by their deity and being found lacking is both archetypal and compelling, as is a religion based upon scientific knowledge of reality, rather than upon morality (the ideas of “right” and “wrong” are rarely—if ever—mentioned in the novel, and most of the conflict stems from disagreements about conflicting “truths” and their relative usefulness and accuracy, though dogmatic bullheadedness certainly comes into play). In someone else’s hands, this may have done for religious and scientific thought what Flatland did for the Victorian social-structure and multi-dimensional thinking.

Alas, despite its auspicious but stymied sparks of brilliance, this book can’t hold a candle to its predecessor, or even to most of the unofficial sequels written by others. Carelessness on the part of the author (at one point, a Flatlander actually holds up the severed head of an enemy soldier so that all can see) and a reticence toward actually dealing with the substantive subject matter (along with the fact that it was not actually published, of course!) doom Flatland 2 to obscurity through reader indifference. Beyond all that, though, the real tragedy of this book is that, while reading it, one can’t help but wistfully imagine what this book would have been if Abbott was able to finish it himself.