Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Return of Wally West

The Flash Annual #3 Cover by Brett Booth
According to an announcement made via USA Today, Wally West will finally be returning to the DC Universe in The Flash Annual No. 3, which hits the shelves April 30th. I'll consider this a late birthday present, since Wally West has always been one of my favorite characters and I've always preferred him to his mentor, Barry Allen. 

However, I'm unfortunately not too fond of the new costume. While I'm glad he's not wearing a black and red costume like so many other DC characters are sporting, I'm not a fan of the electrical elements. With that being said, I will say it looks a lot better than another former Teen Titan's new costume (*cough* Raven *cough*). 

Based on the design of the costume, I'm guessing Wally will be the new Cobalt Blue. However, that's pure speculation at this point. I'm just glad Wally West will finally be returning to the comic world, along with my favorite Batgirl Stephanie Brown (I know she's Spoiler again, but I'll take what I can get). 

Question Time: What do you think about Wally West making his return to the DC Universe? Do you like the new costume? What do you think his new role will be in the comics? Leave your answers in the comments below. 

The Death of Net Neutrality

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overthrew the FCC's 2010 order that imposed network neutrality regulations on wireline broadband services. This is something of a blessing for telecom companies who have been desperately fighting this ruling for years.

For those of you who are not familiar with the original FCC order and why this is a bad thing, I'll do my best to elaborate. The original order stated that wireline ISPs "shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management" while also mandating that ISPS "shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer's broadband Internet access service."

This essentially meant that an internet service provider couldn't block or throttle a completely legal website or online service because it just felt like it. However, with this new ruling, that is no longer the case. Here's an excerpt from a Popular Science article talking about the possible repercussions of this ruling:
"Without a net neutrality requirement, service providers could turn internet connections into a toll road, charging companies like Netflix or Google extra money to deliver their packets with a higher priority than others. This, in turn, could also slow down the loading of sites that couldn't or refused to pay. The biggest fear is a "cable-ization" of the internet, where certain internet providers only provide service to certain sites, in much the way that cable channels are packaged and sold separately." 
Now, you might be asking yourself, "If the possible repercussions are so bad, why did the Court of Appeals make this new ruling?" Apparently, the court believes the restrictions are no longer needed since users have a choice in what ISP they use.
"Without broadband provider market power, consumers, of course, have options. They can go to another broadband provider if they want to reach particular edge providers or if their connections to particular edge providers have been degraded." 
The problem with this is the court did not take into account that a user's choices might be limited by service location, and or by rental contracts that say they can only use one particular provider. For example, let's say you live in a more rural area of the country where your choices are extremely limited. If your service starts to mess with your internet in an attempt to wrestle money out of these popular services, I guess you're just screwed and hope Google Fiber starts spreading a lot faster.

Hopefully, with enough media attention and people complaining, we can get this stupid ruling overturned. If you'd like to show your support, you can sign this petition and hopefully our voices will be heard.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Problem With Steampunk Wonder Woman

Recently, DC Comics released a handful of steampunk variant covers for their releases next month. Some of them look pretty cool and make me actually want to pick them up just for the cover alone. However, others are a little problematic. 

To elaborate, I'll use a visual aid and see if you guys and gals can figure out what I'm talking about. First, I'll show you the two covers that I really like. 

Batgirl & Batwoman Variant Covers
Both covers look awesome and capture the characters and the concept of steampunk pretty well. Now, let's look at the two covers that I'm not that fond of. 

Wonder Woman & Wonder Woman/Superman Variant Covers
We have Wonder Woman, an Amazon and powerful warrior, is depicted as a flirty show girl and posing for Superman while he carries what I assume is her luggage because everyone knows girls always over-pack and make the men do all the hard work. 

See the problem? 

Out of all the characters, why is Wonder Woman depicted like this? Why is she placed in all the stereotypical "girly" roles, especially when Batgirl and Batwoman aren't? It just seems like a weird decision to me. Actually, this is DC and they are in the business of making weird and stupid decisions, so I shouldn't be too surprised by this. I guess I still have some hope left in me. 

Now, let me be perfectly clear about something. I'm not saying the covers are badly drawn. Both covers, especially the one on the left, look good from an artistic stance. Also, my problem isn't with the costume Diana is wearing, but how they depicted her. For example, let's look at the Teen Titans variant cover. 

Teen Titans Variant Cover
Wonder Girl is depicted in a similar show girl outfit to Wonder Woman. However, at least she is in an action pose and not posing for her boyfriend or giving a flirty look at two people wielding guns. I don't mind the outfit, I just wish she was depicted in a way that matched the character's personality. 

Is that too much to ask?