Thursday, June 5, 2008

Say it isn't so - Secret Invasion #3 (SPOILERS)

Just one comment on Secret Invasion #3 (SPOILERS AHEAD): Bendis did a fantastic job with the Spider-Woman/Iron Man scene, as far as leaving it open whether Tony is or is not a Skrull.

Let me throw in my two cents - please, PLEASE don't reveal "our" Tony Stark to have been a Skrull all this time. Since Civil War, the character of Iron Man has acquired tremendous depth (in addition to what he already had). I realize many longtime Shellhead fans want the "classic" Tony Stark back, but I am of the opinion that his recent actions are well in line with his overall character and motivation. To reverse all of his growth and development at this stage would be tragic - and far too easy an "out" for the creators involved.

Please don't pull a Brand New Day on Tony!

(See here for a great scene-by-scene breakdown of Secret Invasion #3 with Bendis.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

News and reviews (Detective #845, Trinity #1 - SPOILERS)

It seems all I've done with this blog lately is post news about my edited books - nothing wrong about that - but that's really not how I wanted it to end up. I barely have time to read my comics nowadays, much less write about them, but I'm going to try...

(By the way, Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul comes out soon - make sure to check it out, and let me know what you think!)

I did want to mention two releases this week (SPOILER ALERT):

Detective Comics #845 - Another great entry from Paul Dini, but this one was special for several reasons. First and foremost, there was some much-needed catching up between Bruce and Selina (both in costume), with Selina commenting on the other women in Bruce's life, namely Jezebel Jet (from Batman) and Zatanna (from Detective). (Frankly, I was really pulling for Bruce to spend more time with Zee - he needs to date outside his inner circle or Gotham socialites.) Second, it showed Batman relying on an amateur detective chat room to generate ideas about a murder case - a nice way to tap into the collective knowledge of his community - open source crime-solving, if you will. (And it was even cooler to have some familiar faces among the other chatters.) Third, Dustin Nguyen fits this title more each month, and his varying styles to show flashbacks is fantastic. I wasn't crazy about his Superman/Batman arc, and was skeptical about his Detective run - but I have been proven wrong, and happily so.

Trinity #1 - Now this is how a weekly should be done! (I don't see why this even has to be limited to 52 issues - 52 and Countdown both had reasons to be a year long, but unless there's something we don't know, Trinity has the potential to be ongoing.) In contrast to the Big Three's conference in an other-dimensional cubbyhole in the JLA HQ in the last issue of Justice Leage of America, here they simply meet for coffee on a pier, and the way they order drinks from the waitress tells us as much about their personalities as anything has to this point. Kurt Busiek nails their voices perfectly (and Wally West, to boot), and the issue sets up the nature of the threat very well. Mark Bagley's fairly new to me, not having read Ultimate Spider-Man, but he does a great job - if he can keep this up for the next 51 weeks, I'll be more than happy.

But that's only half the issue - the second half, written by Fabian Nicieza with Busiek, didn't thrill me as much, consisting of the introduction of several baddies (one new, one generic) with way too much exposition. Scott Daniel's pencils looked fine, but he needed more to do (check out his old issues of Nightwing, recent Green Arrow, or the short-lived Richard Dragon series, to see what he can do). The "back-up," for lack of a better term ("parallel storyline"?) didn't get off to as rousing a start as the main story, but I'm sure it will pick up with time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Iron Man and Philosophy: Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

Iron Man and Philosophy

Edited by Robert Arp and Mark D. White

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Please circulate and post widely.
Apologies for Cross-posting.

To propose ideas for future volumes in the Blackwell series please contact the Series Editor,
William Irwin, at

Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:
Virtue ethics, Iron Man, and the superhero as moral inspiration; Communism vs. capitalism in Iron Man stories; S.H.I.E.L.D. and the justification of counter-terrorist rights infringement; Iron Man’s revelation of his identities, contractual agreements, and contractual loopholes; The Illuminati, paternalism, and liberalism; The Superhuman Registration Act and the limits of privacy; Iron Man, Plato’s Philosopher King, and the Noble Lie; Genius, invention, and creativity; Role/responsibility of a futurist; If science can do it, should science do it? Weapons of mass destruction and the ethics of technology; Vengeance on my kidnappers: Is revenge ever justified?; Time travel in Iron Man stories, the Butterfly Effect, and determinism; God is dead: Iron Man as the replacement god; Human suffering, the Problem of Evil, and Iron Man as savior; Merging the two Starks (Pocket and Marvel universes) and the question of what counts as personal identity; Iron Man’s “living armor” and the possibility of artificial intelligence; Depictions of Masculinity: Iron Man and Iron John; Robotics, Heidegger, and technology; Capturing consciousness in computer: Mind as computer (Hypervelocity); Iron Man and Captain America: The pragmatist and the idealist; Stark’s alcoholism and the possibility of freedom for the addict; Social pressure and self-deception in Iron Man stories; Civil War: Are (bad) decisions judged by their intentions or consequences?

Submission Guidelines:
1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV(s): August 15, 2008.
2. Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers: February 1, 2009.

Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to:
Robert Arp: