Seeing past the truth to get to the truth

Google “Dearborn Christians” sometime and click on some links. You’ll find that they’re mostly blog posts with some variation of “Muslims stone Christians” as their headlines. There was an incident at a festival in Dearborn, Mich., earlier this month where, if you believe the blog headlines, a group of peacefully protesting Christians was grievously assaulted with verbal insults and lots of flying debris by Muslims in attendance at Dearborn’s Muslim Festival. There’s a 19-minute video associated with the posts showing the alleged attack.

The accompanying video was sent to me via email today, and while I usually just instantly delete most of this stuff, for some reason I decided to watch this one in its entirety. It shows what it claims to show — a bunch of white guys with signs getting absolutely assaulted with insults and flying debris from a group of people at the festival, a huge event that by some reports I read today draws about 300,000 people to the community.

But it also doesn’t show a lot of things that, when included, shed an entirely different light on the story. There were three things that jumped out at me as I watched the video:
• the video starts when the trouble starts. There’s no context leading up to what happened. This is usually not a good sign that a video will tell the entire story.
• the people getting attacked are seen to be carrying large blue picket signs. However, great care is taken to make sure the signs are not in the shot. Every time one gets into the shot, the camera quickly pulls away, or the shot comes from a low enough angle that the signs are off the top of the frame. This is also not a good sign, as it seems pretty clear that they’re intentionally trying to hide what the signs say. What you can see includes parts of phrases like “one true God” and references to being sent to hell. Based on what you can see, you can infer what you cannot see, and it’s not good.
• the protesters are wearing shirts with things written in Arabic, and there’s no translation provided for what the shirts say. Also probably not a good sign.

There’s also other video on YouTube, taken from the side of people at the festival, that shows the signs clearly (more on what they said in a bit; warning sign #2, totally legit) and also shows the “innocent protesters” with a severed pig’s head on a stick.

This is a perfect example of the dangers of getting caught up in “but we have it right here on video” mindset. Yes, they have things on video. However what they have is heavily edited, and every piece of footage, every shot, is specifically included to reinforce the agenda of the people who made it. At the same time, every piece of footage, every shot that they left out of the video serves the same purpose. What they showed was the truth — but it was a heavily edited fragment of the truth that did not remotely show the entire picture. And it was a portion of the truth that was specifically engineered to deceive the viewer about what really happened.

The Detroit Free Press ran a story about this on the 16th, so whatever claims you read about “the mainstream media not covering this story” simply aren’t true — the Freep is about as mainstream as you get. It talks about the things you don’t see on the video — like the protesters yelling at the festival participants “you’re going to burn in hell,” and the text on some of the signs that the video producers so cleverly left out of their video, including things like “Islam is a religion of blood and murder” and “Muhammad is a … liar, false prophet, murderer, child molesting pervert.”

Was what happened to the protesters right? No, of course not. They were treated horribly, and for them to be treated the way they were in the video by children was doubly sad. But, to pretend that the people who got attacked were somehow just innocent bystanders who got blindsided for no reason is simply incorrect. They’re a hate group hiding behind religion, and they went to the festival to provoke the crowd. Unfortunately, the crowd played right into their hands.

It bothers me that people see this garbage and take it a face value without taking some sort of effort to make sure what they’re seeing is what really happened. In this instance, what was left out of the video is significantly more important than what was included.

A whole bunch of the updating

Storify for work
I discovered Storify a few weeks ago, and  found that it was a pretty nice tool for assembling bits and pieces of stuff from all over the web into something that was easy to follow. In other words, it’s proving to be a very effective rear-view window for what has happened on the Internet related to a single topic. People have been doing amazing things with it to track reactions to events taking place in real time all around the world. I’ve been using it to gather and put in order art from various places around the web to support the G.I. Joe comic book reviews I have been writing for The Terrordrome. But I have had this sense that there were scenarios where it would be a valuable tool for work. I didn’t immediately see what those were; I just knew those uses had to be there if I would look hard enough.

I have found the first one — I have found Storify to be a fantastic way to keep track of coverage of a story. I’ve been using it to record the mentions I find of a story on a $3 million National Science Foundation grant that our manufacturing and applied engineering center of excellence has received. There are a lot of things to like about using Storify this way: it’s very easy to compile mentions from a variety of different outlets into one place, and I don’t have to send out an update to interested people every time I find a new mention. I just tell them “hey, I’m tracking mentions in Storify — any time you want to know what coverage I’ve found for the grant, here’s the link.” Then I just dump new links into the story as I find them.

There’s more I can do with this; social media use on and around campus is starting to increase to the point that I may be able to do some basic event coverage with this for things like the fall startup convocation. That will be an interesting experiment. I’ll come up with some other uses for this over the course of the year too, I think; we just need to get the academic year going. I tend to not ideate very well in a vacuum; I find that I work best when there are things going on around me that can help to spark something in my brain.

Mythbusters with Megan
Last night, I stayed up with Megan until almost 1 a.m. watching Mythbusters on Netflix. It was an absolute blast, and it’s one of the very few things that have been “us” since she got back this summer. It’s been incredibly busy; Mel’s done a great job of keeping her entertained with a lot of different things, and we’ve done quite a bit of family stuff, but last night was the first time this summer it just felt like she and I (and, really, it was, since by the time we started watching the show everybody except Millie was asleep. The last three hours we had just the two of us after Millie finally went to sleep were just fantastic. It was just us.

Art, oh my
Tess Fowler is selling some original art from Zenescope’s Wonderland 2010 of a character she designed called The Red Knight. The character reminds me a lot of Warduke from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon in the 1980s; I kinda want to buy this.

June Birchbox
Birchbox launching a monthly goody box for dudes just happened to fall around the time that I had birthday money to spend; so I took some of it and bought a three-month gift subscription… for myself, from myself.

It’s been really fun. I’m not sure if it’s been $20 a month fun, but I’ve enjoyed getting them in the mail. It’s fun to try products that I never in a million years would have tried — or even heard of really — otherwise. And it’s kindof cool that I got the first three of them that they ever put together for guys. This month’s box came with a couple of neat cord organizers from Quirky – one for iPhone/iPod headphones that doubles as a stand, and one that I will absolutely use on my desk at work to keep up to five cords for a laptop organized (coincidentally, I plug exactly five cables into my Macbook Pro at work every morning. It’s like this was made for me…).

It also had some pre-shave oil; I’ve used Zirh’s pre-shave oil for a long time, and have never even tried anything else. The box came with John Allan’s Slick Water, which is quite a bit different from the Zirh oil; it’s thicker and creamier, whereas the Zirh stuff is just oil. It seems like I need a bit more of the Slick Water to cover my face, but it works really, really well. I’m tempted to get a full-size bottle.

Other stuff in the box: Benta Berry super-moisturizing face cream (used it this morning; love it); supersmile tooth whitening system (haven’t used it yet).

Comic catch-up
I finally got around to picking up last Wednesday’s Saga #4 on the good ol’ iPad; it’s an absolutely brilliant comic. Every issue is better than the last, which is saying something since the first issue is fantastic. Brian Wood is building a very compelling and completely bat-shit crazy universe, and Fiona Staples’ art is panel-to-panel brilliance.

I also picked up the first issue of DC’s preview series for Masters of the Universe; it’s a prequel to the storyline of the 1908s MOTU toy line, taking place a few hundred years before He-Man took possession of the Sword of Power. It’s got that typical Geoff Johns “why is this comic book so incredibly violent?” tinge to it, bu the art is pretty decent and the final-page cliffhanger brings in the bad guys we know and love from the ’80s. It’s 99 cents; there’s no harm whatsoever in continuing to buy it just to see how it turns out, but the first issue wasn’t particularly compelling.

This week’s Bento update, Silk Spectre, Grad School, and other stuff

Software I’m Using
Yesterday, FileMaker announced a major upgrade to the iPad version of its Bento personal database software. I’ve been using Bento for a couple of years now; it’s a simplistic database to the point of almost not being a true database, but it has worked really well as an archive of news clips for work. I have had the iPad version for awhile as well; it allowed for some rudimentary data-entry tasks into existing libraries, but wasn’t much of a from-the-beginning creation tool. And, it only would sync with the desktop version via WiFi — and Bemidji State’s wireless network doesn’t allow device-to-device WiFi connections. So, essentially, the iPad version of Bento was useless to me unless I remembered to sync the iPad at home (which, of course, I basically never did).

The new version changes everything; it can now be used independently of the desktop version, meaning it’s a completely self-contained database creation solution, and it also offers over-the-air sync with the desktop version so the Wi-Fi issue at work would be a non-issue. It’s a very compelling upgrade.

But, FileMaker didn’t release it as an upgrade to the existing version. They launched it as a new app. Which means all existing users have to pay for it if they want the upgrade. So I feel like I paid $10 for something that ultimately turned out to be worthless, and now that they’ve finally gotten around to making it functional, they’re wanting another five bucks out of me. Honestly, I’ll probably do it, but man, it seems like a raw deal to deliver to your customers.

In FileMaker’s defense, this could also have something to do with a common complaint about Apple’s App Store — that there is no mechanism available to offer free upgrades to existing customers and make everybody else pay for a major new version of an app. So they can discount the app during a launch window and hope enough of their existing customers upgrade during that initial window to effectively give them a discounted upgrade.

And, to twist the dagger even further, for some asinine reason it’s not a universal app — which means FileMaker wants to charge you five bucks to upgrade on your iPad, and another five bucks to upgrade get the app on your iPhone**. With the current state of apps and how easy it is to have one app run on both platforms (I have auto-downloads for apps turned on, so I frequently find stuff on my iPad or iPhone that I downloaded for one and not the other and had no idea , there’s not remotely an “in FileMaker’s defense” for this. It’s just awful.

** UPDATE: Double-checking, there is no Bento 4 for iPhone. They simply updated the existing iPhone app to work with the Mac and iPad versions of the app. Basically, they’ve splintered their version numbers — iPad and Mac at version 4; iPhone at version 1.2.1. This actually makes the fact that the iPad app isn’t universal even worse, because FileMaker clearly has both mobile applications on separate development paths. That makes no sense.

What I’m Reading
I’d meant to check in last week and rave about the second installment in DC’s controversial Before Watchmen event, the first issue of Silk Spectre. It was written by Darwyn Cooke, who also wrote and illustrated the launch issue for the event, Minutemen, with art by Amanda Connor. I wrote last week that I wasn’t terribly impressed with Minutemen; I had the exact opposite reaction to Silk Spectre. In short: I loved basically every page of this book. Whereas Minutemen was a smashed-together mess of two-page vignettes on a huge number of characters that never felt like a cohesive comic book, here Cooke got to open the throttle a little bit by focusing only on one character and the difference is remarkable. To top it off, Connor’s art was absolutely magical from start to finish.

I had a sense going in that what DC was doing here wasn’t going to be completely terrible, nor was there any chance it was all going to be brilliant. There were going to be hits, and there were going to be misses. So far, for me, Minutemen has been a miss and Silk Spectre has been a huge hit.

I passed on this week’s series launch, the first issue of Comedian. The Comedian wasn’t one of my favorite characters in the original Watchmen series; his death in the series’ opening sequence was the first shot fired in Ozymandias’ scheme, and his story was told entirely through flashbacks. Giving him a standalone series that is yet another flashback seems entirely pointless. I’m just not sure what more there is to say about his character.

The only thing I bought this week, in fact, was Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow #14. I wrote about that last night.

What I’m Buying
Today, I bought Volume VII of Bullett magazine, which I’ve been picking up for awhile now. I’m the farthest thing in the world from their target audience, I’m sure, but I’ve enjoyed the photography and many of the interviews they’ve done. This issue has Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood on the cover; I’m pretty sure I got knocked up just by buying something with his picture on it.

Wrapping up grad school
Final paper for my educational assessment summer school course is due on Monday at midnight;  I’ve got a ton of work to finish it up between now and then, but I’ll make it. This has been a strange class for me — the most-difficult of the five grad school courses I’ve taken so far for me to feel like I’m engaged with. Part of the problem is that the course is compressed into a block of just more than three weeks; the sprint hasn’t given me much opportunity to feel like I’m at all involved in anything that’s going on. The format of the course has been difficult, too; it’s had nine hours of interactive television component, but it’s set up with the idea that there’s one group of students in one city and one group in another. Which is true; but there’s also been me, by myself, in a third city. So the course has included numerous “break into groups for discussion” opportunities — for, of course, everyone but me. I think that’s a big reason I haven’t felt engaged. I’ve been on an island. But, so far I think I’ve managed to do the work that has been required. I’ve got a second summer school course starting in July; it’s another three- or four-week blitz, but it’s purely online. That one should be fine.

Comic review: “Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow” #14

Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #14
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Cover price: $3.99

Cover A: Andrea Di Vito, with colors by Laura Villari
Cover B: Lee Ferguson and Sal Buscema, with colors by Joanna Lafuente
Cover RI: Andrea Di Vito (uncolored Cover A)

Written by: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Robert Atkins and Atilio Rojo
Inkers: Juan Castro, Brian Shearer and Atilio Rojo
Colors: Simon Gough, Juan Fernandez and Joana Lafuente
Letters: Neil Uyetake

Supporting content for this review is posted on Storify; this includes IDW’s solicit text, an IDW-provided image of Andrea DiVito’s Cover A, and some preview pages and panels from colorist Simon Gough on DeviantArt. Reviews stay they are written after I have posted them, but Storify supplements are bolstered over time as artists release material they have done for the issue.

I’ve been lax on my reviews of Snake Eyes for the last couple of months; they’ve either been late, or in the case of #13, just not done at all. The last couple of issues haven’t been good; nonsensical stories, Snake Eyes doing things that don’t really make sense, etc. The series was just kindof meandering around a bit. However, things seem to be heading back in a good direction now as Chuck Dixon continues Snake Eyes’ pursuit of Zartan as part of his mission to infiltrate the Arashikage.

Snake Eyes gets a good action scene; we finally get to see some more of Savane; Helix is back. There are a lot of things to like about this issue.

To start — whatever problems anyone may have with IDW’s G.I. Joe universe, the current iteration of Cobra Commander is really, really good. Chuck Dixon scripts a perfect exchange between the Commander and his right hand, Savane, after some discussion about whether Zartan’s value to Cobra outweighs what a pain in the ass he’s becoming for the organization. Savane responds to an off-the-cuff comment from the Commander and asks if that’s a subtle way of giving her an order.

“No one advances solely by taking orders. Take the initiative Savane. Sieze on the moment as you see fit,” he replies.

And off she goes. It was a perfect little scene.

Savane’s actions in her assassination attempt don’t really make a whole lot of sense; she’s gone out on her own to execute a hit, and even if she doesn’t know about her target’s abilities it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for her to have just taken out her target and left his entourage standing. Logically, she’d have killed them all; there’s no reason to leave any of them alive, and there was no reason for her to believe they wouldn’t immediately attempt to kill her after she finished her task. There are other ways for Savane to have handled the hit that would’ve avoided this entirely; using a sniper, a bomb, poison, a suitcase full of venomous cobras, all kinds of things.

There also is another question — why in the heck is this Savane, and not the Baroness? Sure, there’s not a story reason for Baroness to be Cobra Commander’s right hand at this point, but that could’ve been done easily enough over the course of the Cobra Command crossover, and it would’ve allowed for more development of a core character. Right now, Savane is playing a role in Cobra that you’d expect Baroness to fill — Cobra Commander’s right hand — especially since she was filling it during the first volume of this series.

Snake Eyes continues his pursuit of Zartan from the previous issue as well; he gets a pretty fun little action scene, although it’s to the point that it’s tiresome to have Snake Eyes either knock out or kill the people who are along on a mission with him every. single. time. It’s becoming an “oh, my God, they killed Kenny!” situation at this point. He used Alpine as a battering ram. He’s ditched Helix a few times, and knocked her out cold at least once. He ditches his supposed sidekick again here. You question why anybody bothers to go with him at this point. But, still, good action sequence (more on that below in “art”).

More importantly, though, a really nagging plot point gets addressed to some degree — although not entirely in a satisfactory fashion. Snake Eyes communicates back to Fort Baxter with Helix, whom we know has told the Joes that Snake Eyes was dead. At first, this seemed to be an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style “what I told you was true, from a certain point of view” situation, where she was confused about seeing him join up with Storm Shadow and decided he was dead to her, so he might as well be dead to everyone else, too. However, now we know she’s in on it. This also explains how Storm Shadow was able to say to Snake Eyes last month that “the world thinks you’re dead, again,” which at the time didn’t make a shred of sense. Snake Eyes has obviously communicated to Storm Shadow what Helix is doing on his behalf back at Fort Baxter.

Dixon also continues spreading flashback pages showing Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Hard Master during their early Arashikage days throughout the story. It’s a slow burn, but he’s doing a nice job of slowly unfolding a story about Snake Eyes’ origin — even introducing a reference to a person who may be his father. The flashbacks here were handled much better than in the last issue, I thought, as here they seemed to be telling a larger story and last month they seemed more a heavy-handed way to tie an event from Snake Eyes’ past directly to whatever present-day event Dixon wanted to show over the next half-dozen pages.

All you really need to know about the art Robert Atkins turned out for in this issue is in one panel, the bottom half of page 14. It’s a similar continuing-motion shot that he used last month, when three images of Snake Eyes showed how he landed on top of the train carrying Zartan for his hit attempt. This time, he’s got six images of Snake Eyes in a high-angle shot of a tower stairwell, showing how he first tumbles down a half-flight of stairs as a result of a grenade explosion, then regains control of his body, bolts down another half-flight of stairs and then vaults over the handrail onto the landing one floor below. It’s one of those panels that you see and just fall in love with right away and instantly wish it somehow could’ve received an entire page.

Also, there are a couple of panels showing a group of three cosplayers in a car that Snake Eyes commandeers, and for some reason the one with the huge Cloud Strife sword just makes me giggle. Somehow, seeing that ridiculous oversized sword in a Snake Eyes comic seemed like the perfect idea.

There’s a two-page breakaway to Fort Baxter that Atkins doesn’t draw; it’s handled by Atilio Rojo, who did some work on the G.I. Joe Retaliation prequel series. It’s not bad, but it’s somewhat jarringly not Robert Atkins. Fortunately, it’s just those two pages.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned lettering in one of these reviews, but I will here because there were two things that struck me as odd. During the Fort Baxter sequence, there’s a panel that shows Helix putting Hard Drive in a chokehold and she says “YES, HARD DRIVE?” I wondered why the emphasis was just on “Drive” and not her entire name; I’d be curious to know if that was a mistake or if it was done on purpose; and if it was done on purpose, why. It looked odd to me.

Second, in the scene with the cosplayers, there weren’t the typical comics brackets that indicated someone was speaking in a non-English language; it seemed to me like those three kids would’ve been speaking to Snake Eyes in Japanese.

Andrea Di Vito, who hasn’t been on G.I. Joe since providing a few covers during the early days of IDW’s G.I. Joe: Origins series, provides this month’s Cover A. It shows Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, eye to eye with crossed katanas. Storm Shadow has a sword in both hands, and Snake Eyes seems like he’s supposed to be blocking both of them with his single sword held in his right hand and angled across his body. The sword that is supposed to be in Storm Shadow’s left hand doesn’t look right in terms where it’s sitting on Snake Eye’s sword; with the angle his sword would need to be to block the one in Storm Shadow’s right hand, the left-hand sword just seems like it couldn’t be where it’s shown to be. It could just be all of the straight lines of the swords messing with me somehow and affecting how I see the depth of the image, but it to me it doesn’t look right. Otherwise, it’s a pretty decent cover. Di Vito draws a pretty good Snake Eyes.

This month’s Cover B features a very 1980s-feeling image of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow; I actually like it quite a bit. IDW’s Storm Shadow is pretty muscular and ripped, and this cover Storm Shadow seems quite a bit thinner and lithe; somehow it just seems like a better fit for my mental image of what Storm Shadow might look like.

This month’s retailer incentive is an uncolored version of Di Vito’s Cover A.

Comic review: “Cobra” #14

Cobra #14
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Cover price: $3.99

Cover A: Antonio Fuso, with colors by Arianna Florien
Cover B: Joe Eisma and Juan Castro, with colors by Simon Gough
Cover RI: Joe Eisma and Juan Castro

Written by: Mike Costa
Art: Antonio Fuso & Werther Dell’edera
Colors: Arianna Florian
Letters: Neil Uyetake

Links to the solicit text and IDW Publishing’s official preview for Cobra #14 is up on Storify. More preview art and other assets will be added to the Storify story for this issue as I run across them.


The fallout from Tomax’s big reveal to the Joes at the end of Cobra #13 — that the pre-Krake Cobra Commander has a secret son named Billy — begins in earnest, as the Joes scramble to find out what that could mean for them in a strategic sense while at the same time wondering what it could mean for Cobra.

The Joes quickly reveal that they have a second, still-secret (to everyone, including Tomax) source of information from Cobra in the form of another captive; Flint shows that the Joes are able to use one to confirm intelligence from the other, and fill in some blanks that Tomax and the secret captive are unable to provide on their own.

The biggest splash of this issue is Firefly finally making his first appearance in the main IDW universe; his only appearance so far has been a half-page story in the five-issue Hearts and Minds limited series from 2010.

Firefly meets up with Blacklight, explosions ensue, and Cobra is set off on a Cannonball Run-type race to Zurich – the Joes and, apparently, two independent factions within Cobra all pursuing the same ultimate prize – Billy.

There’s a poignant moment early on when Lady Jaye is having lunch with Chameleon; they’re recalling the fight in the former Joe base in Maryland when Steeler was revealed to be the Cobra mole. After recounting the injuries they each suffered during that fight, Chameleon asks, “How do we survive this life?” Lady Jaye responds, “I don’t know. I don’t think we’re supposed to.” Then they sit in silence, not even looking at each other, for a moment before deciding to the spa to get a massage. It’s an exchange I read over two or three times; I found it interesting to watch these two characters confront their own mortality in a direct way, and respond by going off to relax.

And, the Firefly/Blackout fight has a couple of subtle little things that push it over the top and sell the reader on the nature and personality of the combatants rather than just showing “hey, punching.” These two guys are trying to kill each other, and yet when the police intervene, Blackout take steps to ensure Firefly isn’t killed by the cops. There are a whole lot of things you can read into that, and it makes the fact that this is occurring while these guys are both quite seriously trying to kill each other pretty engrossing.

Cobra #14 is one of those comic books you can put right into the hands of anybody who asks whether this series is worth their time and four bucks every month. It’s got a bit of everything that makes this series great – you’ve got a fun, kinetic action sequence that’s well-paced by writer Mike Costa and drawn really well by Antonio Fuso; you’ve got multiple groups of characters racing on separate paths toward the same prize; you’ve got an issue that concludes in a way that makes it very difficult to contemplate waiting for next month’s installment; and you’ve got two of the strongest female characters in this universe.

I’m looking back now over the reviews I did for Cobra #12 and #13, when Antonio Fuso took back art duties on this series after the “Cobra Command” story arc wrapped up and Alex Cal’s nine-issue art sprint on that crossover came to an end. I’m not sure what else I can say about what Fuso’s done this month that I haven’t said the last two months. Having him on the art for Cobra has been an interesting transition — his style fit the dirty, ground-level espionage that filled the early parts of this series, but it wasn’t engrossing. It was just this look that Cobra had as a series. Now that he’s getting a chance to draw full-bore action sequences, his work is just coming alive. His action sequences are just fun, and the little things he does with page layouts and panel designs keep you guessing what you’re going to get on the next page. There’s one panel in the Firefly/Blackout fight that just sells the whole sense of motion and chaos in the fight; it’s a closeup of Blackout’s head, which would’ve been easy enough to just do in a straight mugshot-type panel. Instead, Fuso draws Blackout exactly as he might have otherwise, but tilts the panel 20 degrees or so toward the center of the book. It throws off the balance of the page, and the tilt makes you want to turn your head to follow the action. It pulls you right in to what’s happening on the page.

Antonio Fuso’s Cover A features an airborne Ronin, doing a cartwheel high over the outstretched arms of the Vipers below her — who are presumably in the process of being killed. I really love this cover; it’s an expansion on a couple of the really outstanding panels from Cobra #13 showing Ronin battling a group of Vipers. It shows fluidity and grace in her motion, which is somewhat offset by her baggy cargo pants and enormous combat boots, and also clearly illustrates her dramatic physical advantage over the Vipers in combat.

Joe Eisma, who’s become a superstar for his work on the fantastic Image series Morning Glories, teams up with Juan Castro to provide Cover B — Ronin stalking Lady Jaye. Eisma’s aesthetic is very different from the typical gritty look of Cobra, but it provides a nice contrast to Fuso’s A cover.

This month’s retailer incentive is an uncolored version of Cover B.

Thoughts on Minutemen and Prometheus

What I’m Reading
Behind on comics this week; for the last two weeks really. I’ve got Batman #10, Batgirl #10, Cobra #13, and Silk Spectre #1. I need to get busy and get a review done for Cobra; I’ve been ridiculously bad about finding time to get my reviews written the last couple of weeks.

I had intended to write last week about Minutemen #1, DC’s first shot out of the cannon for its Before Watchmen prequel event, which is about as controversial a thing as there is going in comics right now. Ultimately, there wasn’t much to write about, so I just didn’t; Darwyn Cooke’s art has a retro feel that fits the feel of the series rather perfectly, but the story had no meat to it at all. It was basically a collection of two-page introductions to each of the members of the Minutemen and a brief origin story to explain where their base came from. If you’ve read Watchmen you probably know who these characters are already, and it’s difficult to believe that very many readers of the Before Watchmen event will have not read Watchmen. So beyond the art, this was easy to dismiss. I’m dipping another toe into the Before Watchmen pool with this week’s Silk Spectre launch, mostly because Amanda Conner did the art; after this, there’s a decent chance I’ll just wait for the inevitable omnibus collecting the entire thing in one gimangous hardcover.

What I’m Watching
Melissa and I have been trying to carve out a Date Night to go to the movies for just about a week now, and tonight we finally made it. We hit up Prometheus, and somehow Melissa had no clue going in what the movie was even about. So that was kindof awesome. I, on the other hand, have known full well what it was for many months, and have been excited about seeing it for quite awhile. It didn’t remotely disappoint.

I loved about every second of this movie. It’s not perfect — there’s one action scene in particular that makes absolutely not one shred of sense — but it’s damn, damn good. Michael Fassbender’s “Evil Data” resident cyborg was fantastic; he had a key role in the majority of the movie’s major scenes and he was great throughout. There were a few grossout scenes that were amazing and impossible to look away from. And it fills in a couple of very compelling blanks in the Alien universe while leaving the largest two questions raised in the film completely unanswered, opening the door wide open for further exploration in sequels.

Finally, the last 90 seconds or so were pure, ear-to-ear grin, edge-of-my-seat fantasticness. As a friend said on Facebook, it was Ridley Scott “reminding people why they took a chance on Prometheus.

New social media toys
I’ve been playing around with Storify this week, both for work and for play. It’s a pretty neat tool, although it seems like it’s got potential to be a lot better (it’s search functionality is basically useless — some Facebook posts can be found easily, some never show up regardless of how I’d search for them); it’s one of those things that I’ll get a better handle on how to use the more I use it, I think. Hopefully they continue to revise it and fix some of the things that don’t quite work the way they should. I could see this becoming something I use for work a few times a year to cover events or other activities.