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In 1941 and 1942, Superman showed up in some great Max Fleisher cartoons. I just picked up a Volume 1 DVD at the Dollar Store and it was a bargain. TheseReview: Superman: Max Fleisher cartoon shorts

In the last month or so, it seems like Murphy is camped on my front step. Computer - dead. Motherboard, presumably, is fried, based on research. Car inspection - over $500 moreUnexpected costs, things that have broken lately, and lessons learned

A couple years back, I ran across this Star Wars fan film. It's still one of my favorites. The coolest thing about it is that it's a completely original story,Tuesday TubeWatch: Free lightsabers in the real world

Last week I made a couple of observations about the premiere of The Event. I made two "predictions/requests" of the show: Cut back on the jumping around the timeline. Have the prisonersReview: The Event - Week 2

Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog: BIG for 2006: LCMSs, Podcasting, and Outsourcing I ran across this quote while looking for something totally unrelated - examples of podcasts as currently in useCEOs - taking more than their share?

There is nothing more perfect than the punch line of this Dilbert strip. Who among us cannot relate? I actually considered making that my new theme on this site. There areWhat futility doesn't feel like

Hana Gittleman's "covert" site This site gives you the chance to join in on the Heroes storyline and become a part of the story. There are links to other websites fromHeroes Viral Marketing

GateWorld - SCI FI confirms Atlantis cancellation, TV movie Stargate: Atlantis has been cancelled. The show will run through its 100th episode in January 2009 and end on a cliffhanger, whichStargate to die a slow, painful death

Chain Factor Okay, this is the most addicting waste of time I've come across in quite a while. So far my high score is just short of 170,000. Waaaaaay too muchAs addicting as chain smoking...

This show, loved by millions, and seen every year since it originally aired in 1965, would never be produced today in our politically correct world. It's just too controversial. This showA show too controversial to make it to production today...

Two "robots" found on YouTube today... One: paint this dark grey and it would be the coolest homemade AT-ST (All Terrian-Scout Transport) Halloween costume on the block. Just add a WookieYouTube robots

To steal a phrase from one of the judges, this show is "off the hook!" I don't like a lot of the "talent competitions" that are on TV. American Idol isReview: The Sing-Off

Last year, I reviewed the first two seasons of the revived Doctor Who series. At the time, I said the second season finale out-did the first's, and that was aReview: Doctor Who 2007

This is just an awesome idea. Nicely done. When this kid plays the house, he really plays the house! I wonder if anyone has hooked up Mario like that... I hadn't done aChristmas Hero! - Tuesday TubeWatch returns

In my last post, I mentioned a definition of e-Learning I wrote a few years ago. For the record, this is what I said: How do you define e-learning? What areDefining e-Learning

The Colors of Control: Ex Machina

Ex Machina coverAn extremely long time after I started it, I just finished Ex Machina‘s 50 issue run. Brian K. Vaughn puts on a heck of a story.

This is one of those stories that I think would work well as a TV series. It would be a bit different than most series, in that it covers two time periods at once, but that’s part of what makes it compelling. The basic structure of an issue is that it starts in the past, and then moves into the present.

The story in the past covers the origin and selected high points of Mitchell Hundred’s career as “The Great Machine” – a flawed superhero with the ability to listen to and command machinery. For example, he can command a gun not to fire, a truck to drive away, or a bomb to not explode (for a while). He can have a cell phone tell him where it’s been… or tell it to shut-up. We see the “accident” that gives him this power, and watch as he learns to fight crimes, petty and large. We meet his nemesis, Pherson, who has the ability to command animals (excluding humans), and uses this power to cause destruction and death. And we see him in his final act as The Great Machine: stopping one of the planes on 9/11.

Each story in the past, however, quickly gives way to (and informs the plot of) the present. Mitchell has parlayed the popularity of his time as The Great Machine into a run as the mayor of New York City. Here we see him dealing with many social and political issues, intertwined with resurfacing issues from his super-heroic past. He’s vowed to put his past behind him, but can he ignore the ramifications of what he’s learning about himself and the true source of his power?

The government is watching him. His police commissioner is watching him. One of his ex-partners wants him back on the job as a super-hero, even if that means destroying his political career. The other will protect him with his life. He’s having dreams of his future – and visions of pain.

Can he single-handedly stop the destruction of the world, or is he fated to be the architect of its demise? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between?

It’s pretty cool stuff!

Excerpt from issue #1 - and more foreshadowing than I realized, despite its bluntness

Color plays an important role in the books. Those gifted with powers are scarred by lines on their faces that look like wire leads. Mitchell’s scars glow green. Pherson’s glow purple. White plays an important role later. Each color is part of the spectrum of control. Green for control over machines, purple for animals, white for … well, that’s a spoiler.

Even the final word in the entire series is a color: black. And it’s layered with self-reference, not to mention a kind of breach of the “fourth wall.”

Really well done. I recommend it as one of the better comics I’ve read. It’s for adults, though – graphic language, themes, violence, and visuals do appear. This one isn’t for kids. The themes explored about the nature of corruption and man’s motivations, hero worship and disappointment are pretty seriously tackled. (For more, with spoilers, about that, check out the view “from the gutter.”)

If you want to see Issue #1, DC Comics has made it available online.

Have you read it? Any thoughts?

(Btw… just because I avoid spoilers in the post doesn’t mean they aren’t in the comments.)

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