Yesterday, we looked in on a meeting of the Zodiac, undoubtedly one of the worst-dressed groups in supervillain history. Cancer, a.k.a. Baron Crabclaw Von Shortshorts, was doing a piss-poor job of chairing, and most of the other members were either anxious or about to nod off. Fortunately, Scorpio made an announcement that really livened up the proceedings:
Yes, as that famed 22nd century cyber-clone Hank Williams 8.5 once sang, "All my android friends are coming over tonight." If you're wondering what the holy bejeebus an "LMD" is, it stands for "Life Model Decoy." If I recall correctly, SHIELD would use them to throw would-be spies and assassins off the trails of their secret agents. So that's where the "decoy" part comes in. It's still a stupid name, though.
It turns out Jake Fury (Nick's brother!) was resurrected by the magical talking Zodiac Key as a BLT -- er, I mean, "LMD." I'm sorry, but does that make the least bit of sense to anyone? Highly classified government technology being used by talking magic keys? That's a hell of a security leak. Next thing you know, the Wand of Watoom will have its own Helicarrier.
And now Android Jake has made eleven other androids to replace his criminal teammates. And all because they laughed at Jake's idea to raise money with a bake sale. (An evil bake sale!) You could have just resigned, Jake, but no! Seriously, dude, sometimes you just have to let that kind of shit go.
One thing in Jake's favor is that the all-new, all-robot Zodiac has better costumes (mostly) than their fleshy predecessors. Not all of them, mind you. The very idea of a female Taurus "the bull" is kind of alarming to me, but on the other hand she'd make a good girlfriend for the Serpent Society's equally chunky and mannish Anaconda. The new Capricorn is a furry, goat-like female, so again, big aesthetic turn-off for yours truly. Talk to me after you've had a thorough waxing, dear. The new Virgo bores me to sobs with her plain pink jumpsuit, and the new Aquarius looks just like this one guy who tried to sell me a hand-knitted poncho in the parking lot outside a Phish concert. He even had a gun! (He really wanted me to buy that poncho.) I like the new Aries, though, with his sleek, red-and-silver Kirbyish armor. Nicely done, Aries! The new Leo is only middling for me, but I do appreciate how all his teeth had been filed down to razor-sharp points. Not that we ever saw him bite anybody. It wasn't the 90's yet!
Hey, it's Taylor Hicks as Wolverine as the Phantom of the Opera! As an android! Soulless Patrol! You all know how much I dig prematurely silver hair, but not when it's styled to resemble a hang-glider. Fun fact: after he died, Sagittarius willed his gold-plated shoulder pad to Aquaman, his mini-crossbow to the Huntress, and his hair to the Fadeaway Man.
The next panel describes one of the weirder and least necessary features of Jake's STD's. I mean LMD's! LMD's! What is wrong with me today? Where was I? Oh, yeah. To quote:
"They know it's a Life Model Decoy, but it moves like a man-- moans like a man-- dies like a man!"
Whoa, back up there. It... moans... like a man? Huh. So, just hypothetically, if a fella wanted to buy one of these android guys, would he have to pay up front, or is there some kind of installment plan? And does it arrive fully-assembled, or is it like a kit or something? I'm not asking for myself; there's this friend of mine, see...! *sweats profusely*
One annoying habit of the Zodiac androids was their incessant chatter about their individual star-signs. Even in the middle of a battle, they just babble on and on about why they're performing a particular move and how it relates to the symbolism of the Zodiac, and blah, blah, blah. (Special dialogue by Chris Claremont!) Imagine spotting some sexy guy or gal in a bar, and you say "Hey, beautiful, what's your sign?" and suddenly their reply ends up being a five-day filibuster and the doors are all locked from the outside and the restrooms are closed and there's no AC and the juke box is stuck on "A Moment Like This" and after the first day all the beer is gone and the only thing left to drink is creme de menthe. That's what it's like fighting the Zodiac. And Libra? I know it's the 80's, honey, but not everything needs flared shoulders. Especially not a robe. Unless you're on Orando, and then it's required under penalty of death. I really dig Gemini's outfit, though. Too cute! It's the pointy skirt that really sells it for me. Very Ditko-esque. Thumbs up, Gemini! Thumbs up.
The other problem with the Zodiac MMORPG's -- sorry, LMD's -- is that their personalities were designed to match the supposedly standard personalities of everyone born under their particular sign. And not all of those personalities were predisposed to fighting. Like with ol' Pisces here. (Looks like somebody exposed Pamela Anderson to the Terrigen mists, huh?) And seriously, hon, you need to tone down all the dorsal finnery a tad. One strong gust of wind and you'll wind up on a rooftop next to some kid's frisbee. New Improved Cancer gets my vote of approval by evoking a crab with -- gasp! -- armor, and purple-and-orange armor at that. (Bonus points!) He looks a little clunky, though. His boots could be beer kegs. And if they were, that would be just awesomely cool but somehow I doubt it. Also? I'd love to see how he runs in that get-up. I'm guessing it would be like when I was Blockade Tot, playing with my action figures, and I'd make the stiff plastic bodies "run" by rocking them back and forth while sliding them forward.
As for Scorpio, I appreciate that he's trying to improve the overall look of the Zodiac cartel, but "Physician, heal thyself." You've got a cowl over a red facemask, plus the most convoluted underpants I've seen since Lightning Lad. Not to mention the bug on your head. Not even Zatanna could pull that look off.
Okay, I'm done with you. Everybody dance now!