Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Spectacular Spider-Man season two

Dunno when this starts but information for the episodes has been released. Unfortunately it's absolutely riddled with spoilers (really awful ones like the development of Peter's love life in lengthy detail) - so I'm reproducing them here with the really bad spoilers cut out. Word of warning though, it still includes spoilers for the end of season one, so if you haven't seen that yet, stop reading now!

If you really want to see the full descriptions (I recommend against this) they are here.

14 – Blueprints
It’s early December, and the first snow is falling. PETER PARKER has a long “To Do” list – leading off with talking to GWEN STACY about their surprise first kiss. But before he gets the chance, SPIDER-MAN has a run in with the sorcerer MYSTERIO.

15 - Destructive Testing
SPOILER CUT! Meanwhile, KRAVEN THE HUNTER has come to New York to make SPIDER-MAN his prey!

16 - Reinforcement
As Christmas approaches, the SINISTER SIX reconstitutes with SANDMAN, RHINO, VULTURE, ELECTRO and new members MYSTERIO and KRAVEN. All they want for Christmas is SPIDER-MAN – dead. SPOILER CUT!

17 - Shear Strength
It’s New Year’s Eve, and all is not right with world. The MASTER PLANNER and his henchmen are literally planning to take over the world! A highly motivated SPIDER-MAN takes the fight to the Planner’s secret lair. But once he gets there, can he survive?

18 - First Steps
School’s back in session, and things have changed. SPOILER CUT! Meanwhile, SPIDER-MAN has to party with SANDMAN, who’s once again looking to make his Big Score. And is that VENOM disappearing into the night?

19 - Growing Pains
VENOM is back and framing SPIDER-MAN. Meanwhile, alien spores infect JOHN JAMESON, increasing his size, strength and mass. J. JONAH JAMESON convinces his son to become a super-hero to capture Spidey…

20 - Identity Crisis

21 - Accomplices
A gang war looms as SILVER SABLE, HAMMERHEAD and DOCTOR OCTOPUS vie for a prize that could change the balance of power in the New York Underworld…

22 - Probable Cause
Some days, PETER PARKER just can’t win… especially when he winds up on a MIDTOWN HIGH police car ride-along with SALLY AVRIL. As SPIDER-MAN, his luck isn’t any better, facing off against SHOCKER, RICOCHET and OX, i.e. the NEW ENFORCERS.

23 - Gangland
SPOILER CUT! TOMBSTONE , DOCTOR OCTOPUS and SILVERMANE call a Valentine’s Day Summit . But SPOILER CUT! the summit erupts into a gang war – one only SPIDER-MAN can stop!

24 - Subtext
SPOILER CUT! MARK ALLAN. But when GREEN GOBLIN blackmails Mark into doing his bidding, neither LIZ ALLAN, MARY JANE WATSON nor SPIDER-MAN may be able to save him!

25 - Opening Night
To test security at the VAULT, SPIDER-MAN volunteers to try to escape. But the GREEN GOBLIN has other ideas, trapping Spidey inside RYKER’S amid a sea of felons he put away.

26 - Final Curtain

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Anyone else think that Labour is deliberately wasting the Tories' time by winding them up on matters like this which vitally matter but which they know the majority of the public doesn't understand or think affects them (and therefore don't particularly care about)? Which they then use as an excuse to attack the Tories for not caring about the economy.

I despair. I saw Andy Burnham say on TV that his interest was in seeing that Labour remain in power forever. It is almost astonishing that a minister would so openly admit that he puts the interests of his party before the interests of the country - except there's very little this utterly corrupt administration could astonish me with any more.

I'm not scared of you Bridget

Iain Dale reports that Bridget Prentice is planning on abusing her power to come down heavy on bloggers. Well, she is a mendacious conniving bitch.

Dizzee and Paxman

Dizzee Rascal thinks Jeremy Paxman treated him "like an idiot" on Newsnight, and the insinuation is that he was therefore being racist.

Actually no Dizzee, if you'd ever watched Newsnight before you'd know that Paxman treats every guest on the show like that, and the audience too. It's not just you.

Labour's blog problem

Guido Fawkes reports that high-ranking Labour people are navel-gazing again on the subject of creating a successful blogosphere that rivals its Conservative equivalent.

Labour is never going to find an equivalent to ConHome or Iain Dale in this top-down fashion, simply because that's not how either of those sites were started. These sites have found success in Britain because they are distinctive voices which demonstrate independence. On the one hand they are not directly interlinked with the mainstream media so they can fully demonstrate their leanings without having to worry about any particular commercial or legal or editorial interests, so the readers understand the perspective the writer comes from and is therefore informed enough to make their own minds up on an issue from the information presented to them. On the other hand, they're independent of the party so it's never a boring turgid party line (both often oppose Tory policy, and IDD occasionally welcomes certain actions of other parties including Labour).

And most importantly of all, neither blog attempts to copy an equivalent from its opposing party.

I suspect that once Labour is out of power, some real meaty left-leaning blogs will pop up down the line because (a believer in democracy hopes) there will be people with fresh ideas and a cause to fight for. But while they're in government it's going to be a lot harder for them to do that (especially given that unlike the Tories' wide appeal to the right, Labour has dozens of fringe hard-left alternatives to deal with). So the party should try doing something different - and it would have to be something that doesn't involve using taxpayers' money or launching puerile attacks on the Conservatives.

In fact Tom Harris's blog seems like a pretty good one. What a shame Gordon sacked him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Product Updates

This may seem like the most schizophrenic blog ever at times. Please bear with me...

Diamond releases a list of product updates for comic books every week, detailing the most recent changes from the comic books' original solicitations. I give them a look every week, there's usually a few useful pieces of information, but this week's contains the most updates I've ever seen, all from Marvel.

Among the highlights:

• Models Inc. (#1: DEC08 2383, #2: JAN09 2521, $3.99 ea.) is cancelled and will be resolicited in 2009.

I wonder what happened here. Were orders beneath Marvel's expectations? ($3.99 an issue for a totally unknown quantity was a bit much to ask, I think. And they should probably have been a little more upfront about Mary Jane's involvement in the book, or its continuity status, which for some readers is apparently the most important thing in the world...)

• Amazing Spider-Man Extra #2 (NOV08 2359, $3.99) will no longer contain the Phil Jimenez Kraven story. Instead, the page count of the previously solicited Anti-Venom story will increase.

That means more of Dan Slott, which isn't something I can complain about. (The Kraven story shifts into ASME #3 in March.) I wonder why they're putting so many of these out; #3 has been scheduled in place of a regular issue in March, but these specials aren't as successful as the ongoing series has been...

• The Eternals TP Vol. 1: To Slay a God (DEC08 2461, $19.99) will no longer contain Eternals Annual #1, and will run 144 pages, not 184 pages.

And the Marvel TPB ripoff continues.

• The Captain Britain and MI 13 TP Vol. 01: Secret Invasion (Reg./Direct Mkt. Eds.: DEC08 2447-8D) will be $15.99 and 136 pages, not $16.99 with 96 pages, and will now also contain Marvel Team-Up #65-#66.

Thus resolving probably the most controversial solicitation in recent memory, although I don't know if sticking extra reprint material in there is necessarily a good thing (I don't like the mix-and-matching), although this is a good one. Wish they'd just go ahead and reprint the entire Claremont/Byrne MTU run actually, it's truly wonderful stuff that most people don't know about.

• Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four (NOV08 2461D) – solicited as running 144 pages and containing Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-#3; Fantastic Four #300 and #357 at a price of $14.99 – will now run 192 pages and contain Fantastic Four #358, in addition to the aforementioned contents, at a price of $16.99.

Now this just takes the biscuit. The original three-issue series would have cost a consumer $9 in total. Stick in two vaguely-related Skrull stories and it's worth about double that? Er, right. In fact with that there is more reprint material in that book than there is the main series itself. What a joke!

• The Secret Invasion TP: Home Invasion (NOV08 2462, $14.99) will be 120 pages, not 104 pages.

Nothing interesting to note here except that this is the future of comic book distribution - online first (in this case, for free!), then collected as though an original graphic novel. Fingers crossed that Marvel will try more of this distribution format in the near future (although to be honest, what little I saw of it wasn't very good, but that's an editorial problem rather than a format one).

• The Wolverine TP First Class Vol. 2: To Russia with Love (NOV08 2473, $15.99) will be 160 pages, not 168 pages, and will also contain Wolverine and Power Pack #1.

Quite the bizarre addition. The Weapon X First Class solicitation is a bit weird too. I don't like this mixing-and-matching business, just do straightforward sequential collections so people can buy the ones they want and not wind up being forced to buy the same material twice!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Mike Smithson off the telly has posted at his site Political Betting that he thinks Gordon is cutting down on his PMQs sittings (both by reducing parliamentary sitting time and by avoiding it by visiting other countries) and that he thinks this is constitutionally dangerous because PMQs are a key instrument in the PM's accountability.

I'm not entirely convinced this is the case - he missed, I think, four PMQs events in 2008, although he didn't actually miss any during his first six months (when things were going pretty easy for him). What I mean is that under Brown, PMQs has become a half hour of bashing the Tories and Tory policy at every available opportunity (and shoehorning even more in). Brown doesn't actually answer any questions from opposition politicians and uses the vast majority of his response time (on live, terrestrial TV) to propagandise against the Conservatives. Where does accountability come into that?

Meanwhile Brown is instead in Iraq, shamelessly abusing the army in an effort to appeal to the masses. This time he's set a date for Iraq withdrawl - after the suggested spring election. (Yes, I am now convinced they are preparing for a spring election, but this time Labour insiders are sensible enough to shut up about it. Another example here; having been threatening to wreck my friend's life for twelve weeks, they have realised that alienating voters at that particular time might not be such a great idea.) It doesn't have anything to do with the job being done (it isn't; we have a duty to protect Iraq's citizens after the shambles we made of the occupation) it's just being opportunistic. Hopefully he will chicken out of a spring election and this will bite him in the arse.

And what would the soldiers be coming back to? Either redeployment to Afghanistan, or a nasty recession (just as WWI veterans did). Plus a disgusting lack of public sentiment (thanks for nothing, Polly Toynbee).

Friday, December 12, 2008


Manchester has voted resoundingly against the congestion charge.

Sensible enough given that c-charges don't actually combat congestion (usually making it worse), the scheme was wholly impractical for that city (40 mile wide radius or something bonkers like that) and Manchester doesn't even have congestion! Manchester does have a crap road system though, not fit for purpose, they don't even have ROUNDABOUTS there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ed Balls' Henry II moment

At Paul Waugh's blog, I am reminded of the assassination of Thomas Becket:

It turns out that the Secretary of State had jokingly told aides that the launch of this week's new Government Play Strategy would be a good excuse to get a Scalextric into the Christmas party.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, by the time this was passed down the line, some civil servants took the joke literally - and managed to get the firm to provide one of their racing car sets for free for the night.

Perhaps this also explains how Damian Green was arrested...

Crash Gordon

He has delusions of grandeur. He plays the worst sort of politics. He believes that only he can save the world. He is incapable of thinking on his feet.

He is Nixon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory. If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence this 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency) Campaign.

The concept of 'ICE' is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As mobile phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name 'ICE' (In Case Of Emergency). The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents there were always mobile phones with patients but they didn't know which number to call.

He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognised name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialling the number you have stored as 'ICE'. Please forward this. It won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest. For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.

UK comic prices

Diamond UK is raising comic prices by roughly 15% this week due to the collapse in the value of the pound.

Here's why. Thanks for nothing, Gordon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jacqui Smith is a hypocrite

She seems to believe that there's one rule law for ministers like her and a different one for everyone else. If she didn't, she would be asking the police why they've arrested Damian Green and why they haven't arrested her own boss for the same supposed offence. If she didn't, she wouldn't have gone publicly on television to tell everyone how wonderfully straightforward and honest she is for admitting she smoked cannabis in her university days (seemingly to present a contrast with David Cameron who rightly doesn't want to talk about the matter, wanting neither to lie nor demonstrate contempt of the rule of law). She is a hypocrite and unfit for the office of Home Secretary.