I hate 48 hours without a post here.

*Last night I had a dream that I was traveling with a bunch of acquaintances from high school. Not even friends; just faces I'd generally recognize.

Upon stopping to eat, we saw a haunted house attraction sitting nearby, apparently without any carnival or whatnot to support it, and we decided to go in.

We had a tour guide, who did little but show us from room to room. It seemed like any other dimly-lit house, obviously abandoned for a while, with a mildly creepy yellowish '70s sense of decor. Things sat on tables, chairs were left sitting uneven. I kept wondering what was so haunted about the place, until I noticed the smell.

"It's a gas leak!" I shouted running for a clearly marked fire exit (this being an attraction-for-profit, after all).

Upon reaching the outside, the tour guide congratulated me and handed me a stuffed animal with a tag on it reading MEDIUM. Maybe he had us on a stopwatch? I was pretty pleased to have won, but I couldn't help but thinking:

"How do they stop people from going in twice?"

*Conclusions Dept:

This is the All Star Superman #12 cover; I think #11 is out next week. There's a lot to like about this image, particularly in how it solidifies Lex Luthor as the nastiest Superman doppelgänger of them all, and how Solaris the Tyrant Sun is kind of soaking him in rays from the background - an evil sun for an evil Superman. The image as a whole also makes for a nice contrast with the famously kindly, relaxed cover to #1.

But what I hadn't realized until now is that there'd been something of a recurring visual motif across the covers, depicting some supporting character clutching a weapon while Superman appears to go bad in the distance. In issue #2 it's Lois, mistakenly believing that Superman is plotting bad things for her. In issue #4 it's Jimmy, the directions reversed to depict his (needle) gun-clutching flight from a Superman that's become his own evil twin through infection. Now, it's Superman himself that hides from Luthor-as-Superman, which I think neatly compliments the series' arc of the hero taking on his own mortality, externalized as a gaggle of alternate visions of himself.

Meanwhile, later that same month (August), Morrison is also kicking off a two-issue thing called Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, a Doug Mahnke-drawn thing (with a 3-D sequence) promising "an unforgettable, hyperdelic journey from the streets of Metropolis, through the 52 worlds of the multiverse, to the haunted court of the King of Limbo" with "the Man of Steel and his alternate-earth counterparts." Which makes it sound like as much of an All Star Victory Lap as a Final Crisis tie-in, which is fine by me.

*And on that note, I should mention that I really liked the Final Crisis Sketchbook that came out the other week. I was pretty cynical about it at first -- how can you not be cynical about what's so transparently a $2.99 advertisement? -- but I thought it did a vastly more efficient job than DC Universe #0 in piqing my interest by simply letting the Event book's writer and artist (no doubt carefully arranged and transcribed through editorial) enthuse about their work to the reader. It did make Final Crisis seem fun and interesting, although I readily admit that DC Universe strived mainly to make it seem important vis-a-vis continuity and forthcoming publishing ventures and the like, which is itself a (perhaps overriding) quality of these things that doesn't click with me so much...