Friday, October 28, 2011

Mini-Runs Of Daken, Flashbacks To Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts, And iPad Games

I Plan To Visit An Art Show This Friday AKA Today
Yeah, I'm gonna see art tonight. Anyways, let's talk about a comic that has been just plain bonkers in terms of its story. It's been twisty, clever, and just plain delightful to read. It's called, "Daken: Dark Wolverine," and since Rob Williams started writing it some time ago its become just a treat. Speaking of treats, a big trade paperback collecting all of Warren Ellis' work on Thunderbolts came out a bit ago. Do my extremely fond memories hold up with everything put together? Yup, it's still pretty awesome. Then, how about we round things out by discussing some fun iPad games? Yeah, this is an annoyingly positive post. I'll make up for it by trying to get something up sooner than later dripping with my somewhat-usual venom.

Daken Can Be Awesome... 
When Writers Quit Trying To Make Us Think He's Awesome

Daken: Dark Wolverine #12-16
Daniel Way was writing the Daken comic, he was trying his hardest to make Daken look oh-so-cool and snazzy. Yes, Daken is a bad guy, and a scheming fellow. Trying to convince us he is some sort of awesome genuis just gets old though. Then Rob Williams came in and started writing the comic in a, "Why didn't anyone else writing Daken think of this?" way. Namely, he made it so that the comic showed Daken as continuing to think he was just the bee's knees and incredibly cool, but we the reader see how he is a pretty delusional guy with some severe daddy-issues (understandable if your Poppa was Wolverine).

Throughout the issues I randomly decided to review for this we see the end and start of some arcs, but really everything has so far been one big story with everything linking together beautifully. Oh, and did I mention that seeing as how Daken is in LA and Moon Knight is there too in his own comic it only makes sense they would cross paths? Yeah, one of my favorite heroes is in this comic too.

What has the plot been? Well, you could start with the "#.1" issue that actually successfully told a single tale and set up the current status-quo and go from there without me spoiling things...but basically Daken is trying to become a big-time Kingpin of LA while also figuring out who a mysterious serial killer is that is murdering people with claws. There is also a borderline-insane FBI agent helping him out when she isn't trying to take him down. Plus Moon Knight, Moon Knight is always good.

This series is great, and it says something that I dropped my Wolverine books during my purge of numerous Marvel books but kept this. Buy it, read it, love it.
4.5 out of 5 stars (for all the issues).

Flashback Friday: Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts: Ultimate Collection
There was the Marvel Civil War event where heroes fought heroes about having to reveal their identities and blah, blah, blah. The interesting thing is that Warren Ellis came onto a comic called Thunderbolts and took the idea that some villains would have registered as "heroes" and what it would have been like as the media tried to make them look good whilst they of course crumbled from the inside-out. It was an amazing 12 issues that took forever to come out due to delays that resulted in little one-shots by various other authors using the team on fun little missions--but Ellis was where it was at.

Ellis writing of crazy-people (and the craziest of all, Norman Osborn) combined with Mike Deodato working his hardest to turn in stellar art made just a plain great comic about what exactly heroism is, propaganda, nationalism, and of course really cool fight scenes. It was just plain fantabulous.
5 out of 5 stars

iPad Games AKA Wasting Time When You Should Be Working

I enjoy playing games on my iPad, occasionally I find some fun games worth sharing my thoughts about. Let us discuss. Oh, and note some/most of these can be done on your iPhone too, etc. etc.

Anomaly Warzone Earth
It's available on computers too, but the iPad version is just so fun! We all know "tower defense" games where you build up defenses to fight off attackers, but what about a "tower offense" game where you are those attackers? Yeah, now we're talking! This game is good fun and not too costly so I'd recommend grabbing it!
4 out of 5 stars.

Dark Meadow
Everyone has been talking about this game like its the next "Infinity Blade" and it is quite fun and good. I haven't beaten it yet so depending on how much the story pays off my score is a bit iffy. I'm enjoying myself, but if I feel let down at the conclusion, well pffft.
3.5-4 out of 5 stars depending on how well the tale ends.

A fun little shooter where you take cover and fire your gun. Think Gears of War but more basic and with a really silly story but pretty good voice-acting. It's a decent time-killer.
3 out of 5 stars.

Where's My Water?
It's really cute and actually pretty challenging. You try to guide water around to assist an alligator in getting some much-needed showering done. Last I checked this was dirt cheap, and again, quite entertaining.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

That's all for now, those should tide you over pretty well though.

To Conclude
You should be reading Daken: Dark Wolverine, Warren Ellis did a great job on Thunderbolts, and the iPad is a fun way to play games even if you have an iPad 1 like me and can't do all the fancy graphics.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Get Behind Me Satan, I'll Protect You AKA The Ides Of March, Old City Blues, An Indie Horror Movie, And Alpha Flight

Overview Of The World
I have seen "The Ides of March", read a fun original graphic novel in the form of "Old City Blues", and have thoughts comparing the comic "Alpha Flight" to a small-time horror film that John Carpenter did for one of those pay-cable channels that have late-night scare-flicks called, "Pro-Life". Let us begin the most random post ever.

Politics Can Be Sleazy, Who Knew?
The newest George-Clooney-directed film, "The Ides Of March" was seen by me recently. I don't won't to spoil too much, so I'll say about the same as the trailers give away: Politics is a sleazy business, and the character played by Ryan Gosling is an extremely skilled person in the field who everyone wants to hire. Various shenanigans and issues take place, trouble occurs, some twists happen, and all-in-all a good movie is had where there aren't really any good guys, just people acting in their own best interest while thinking they are the good guys. The acting is marvelous and its a good and solid film that while not perfect, is still worth seeing.
4 out of 5 stars.

A Comic That Looks Manga-Ish, 
Taking Place In Greece, 
Done By An American Author, 
Old City Blues is a cool-looking book. The book itself is not too big, is an interesting yellow with black text and images, and of course the inside is pretty snazzy also. Author Giannis Milonogiannis draws in an interesting style, that has a slight Manga look, but with a rough scratchy-style that can be abstract or hyper-detailed. I really like his art, to put it simply.

The story isn't anything too crazy or unique, with ideas about robots and the human mind that Warren Ellis probably mumbles about in his sleep, but man, is that art nice. It's a good time, pick it up.
4 out of 5 stars.

Alpha Flight And Horror Flicks
A bit ago it was announced the comic "Alpha Flight" was going to become an ongoing series. This is great news as it is an awesome comic, and this is probably the one thing coming out of "Fear Itself" that I give a rat's ass about. I stopped reading "Fear Itself" and any comics that tied into it pretty much a bit ago. "Alpha Flight" launched out of "Fear Itself" and was the one great thing to come out of that. I can sort of draw a comparison between it and the small-budget horror movie done by director John Carpenter known as, "Pro-Life".

What is "Pro-Life"? It was a really low-budget horror flick about a girl who was pregnant with a baby that she had conceived upon being raped by a devil. The thing is, her dad's character is a huge anti-abortion nut who keeps hearing messages that the baby is special, so when she goes to a clinic to have the procedure, her Pop comes to stop it, and blood and gore ensue.

It was a silly movie with a somewhat interesting message, and it starred a whole bunch of people you would have never heard of except for who they got to play the Dad. Inexplicably, a B-list star popped up in this movie doing such a good job he blew everyone else out of the water making you go, "Did this guy owe Carpenter a favor  or maybe he just liked the idea of the movie?" Who was it? A man who does many great voice-overs and is ironically best known for playing the devil known as Hellboy, Ron Perlman.
How does any of this relate to "Alpha Flight" and "Fear Itself" you may be asking? My response is, "Isn't it obvious?" With "Fear Itself" you have a writer who people have loved in the form of Matt Fraction reduced to doing something as lame as "Fear Itself". You have a former huge director in the form of Carpenter doing a midnight movie on a pay-cable channel, they could probably have a beer and bitch about life together. "Fear Itself" was pretty lame but in it there was the one shining jewel of "Alpha Flight"--a comic making the best of things and doing a much better job than it had to. In "Pro-Life" we have Ron Perlman showing-up everyone else and making everything much better than you would have imagined. Ron Perlman is "Alpha Flight" and the "Pro-Life" movie is the "Fear Itself" event. 

I am probably the only person crazy enough to draw this comparison, but I see it, and I also wanted an excuse to talk about a comic I like and a weird horror flick that admittedly made me smile as a pro-choice person to see Ron Perlman display how some pro-life people probably would act if they could get away with it (violently toward the pro-choice people they hate). NOTE: Not all pro-life people are like this, I know that, but those who are make the rest of you look pretty bad.

Anyways, if you have Netflix or something check out "Pro-Life" just for Ron Perlman or if you are a fan of Carpenter's work as I am. Oh, and definitely start reading Alpha Flight, the most recent fifth issue was just as good as the others.
Pro-Life (Movie Itself): 2 out of 5 stars
Pro-Life (Ron Perlman's Performance): 4 out of 5 stars
Alpha Flight #5: 4 out of 5 stars.

UPDATE: No sooner I said it than it changed, Alpha Flight went from being a mini-series, to becoming an ongoing, to getting downgraded back down and getting canceled with issue eight. Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Now That It's Had A Few Days To Sink In--Thoughts On The Avengers Trailer

The Avengers trailer has been blowing up the internet airwaves and by now pretty much everyone with a pulse and a web connection has seen it. Just in case you haven't, here it is:

 Seen it? Good? Let's share my thoughts because I know you really care what some random guy on the internet thinks.

Putting aside my inner-fanboy who is screaming, "OhmiGod, Avengers, YES YES YES!" and looking at this trailer objectively, it's...pretty good. A 4 out of 5 stars if you will. Why is it not perfect? I find that even though Robert Downey Jr. is awesome as Iron Man the trailer seems to rely on him too much to a point the movie starts to look like, "Iron Man and his Avengers friends." Then again, with Downey's great acting skills he may very well overshadow some of the other admittedly excellent cast (except possibly Samuel L. Jackson, because Jackson just owns the screen usually). Let's share more thoughts!

The trailer shows us the big-bad will be Loki, but I would bet you a box of your favorite candy that he will have help from some other popular Marvel Universe characters to create some kind of cool huge threat. Skrulls perhaps? Thanos, even, if we're getting really nerdy? We have quite awhile before May 2012 so I imagine soon enough more will be known. I just hope the movie isn't too much outright spoiled for me before I'm able to sit down at the theaters and enjoy it.

The trailer also gives us a brief glimpse of the Hulk, and the new actor playing Bruce Banner, Mr. Mark Ruffalo. I like Ruffalo, he is fighting against the hydro-fracking that in my home-area of New York could potentially cause a hell of a lot of problems, and from what I've heard he's a genuinely nice guy in real life. I say all this, because its sad a nice guy like him has to put up with the slight discomfort of how he is taking over for Edward Norton and is sort of the "alternate". He's the runner-up who got to be Miss America when the main Miss America was revealed as having nude photos. He's the winner now, but it's kind of bittersweet. Then again, with movie technology maybe Marvel will re-release the Hulk with Ruffalo digitally put in the film instead of Norton. Now that'd be interesting.

Isn't it cool how Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye? He had that little cameo in Thor but getting a solid look at him is nice. He's a good actor too and seeing someone with indie-movie cred (Hurt Locker, for example) in a big film is neat.

Speaking of indie-cred. Who would have ever thought the guy who had a cute little show about a girl that slays vampires, did a cult hit sci-fi program that sadly died quickly, and created a hilariously-dark web-show about a man named Dr. Horrible would be directing what could arguably be one of the biggest name movies of 2012? Seriously, who would have predicted Joss Whedon had that coming in his career? Plus, say what you will about the man, he writes good dialogue so at least Avengers will have some nice interplay between the characters for sure.

I hope this movie has a nice self-contained feeling and doesn't just feel like a trailer for the upcoming Thor 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, inevitable S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, etc. I was cool with the latest releases kind of building up to Avengers, but Avengers better feel like its own film. I'll be okay with a little teaser after the credits that sets up whatever comes next, but this better feel like a complete movie, a culmination of sorts.

Anyways, there are my thoughts, its a quite nice trailer, and I am of course excited for the movie May 2012 should be great, between the movie and my birthday being in that month too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Funny-Yet-Sad Film, DC Comics, And The Most Unpleasant Movie I've Seen In Awhile

Crack Of Dawn
I shall share my thoughts on the drama-comedy 50-50, three DC comics which have their second issue coming out today, and my lack of being impressed or disgusted by Human Centipede 2 so much as just finding it to be kind of miserable.

Finding The Humor In Cancer AKA 50-50
The movie 50-50 has some really funny moments, but I would not say its a comedy. No, its really much more of a drama that has some great humor. First person to say the word, "Dramedy" gets cut as I hate that word. You ought to see this movie so I won't spoil much--as I went in with minimal knowledge myself and found that made it all the more enjoyable. Basically, the character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who has really grown into a great actor) is really young but develops cancer which he has a 50% chance of surviving. Through various trials and tribulations that sometimes involve his funny friend played by Seth Rogen we as an audience laugh, we feel sad, and most of all we actually see a movie that realizes you can actually write interesting characters instead of cliches to make a good film.

The film is well acted and Anna Kendrick does a great job in it too as the therapist for Levitt's character. I liked this film and as I said, you ought to see it.
4 out of 5 stars.

"You Gotta Learn To Upgrade With The Rest Of Us" 

That title is a quote from, "Frankenstein, Agent of Shade #1," which is quite the zany comic if I've ever read one. I mean, it is probably the craziest thing DC is putting out of their new 52 comics and writer Jeff Lemire is clearly having fun. I wonder if all the DC comics, "upgraded" like this some of the complaints lobbed at DC about not doing enough with their reboot wouldn't have been made. It's a fun and zany comic, but out of all the DC comics that have been released Batwoman #1 is by far the most gorgeous even if the plot isn't super-amazing. Seriously though, JH Williams III makes such crazy-good art.

Resurrection Man is a pretty good comic too, looking snazzy and reading in an interesting way with some kind of war between heaven and hell with our titular hero caught unwittingly in the middle of it all. All three of these comics were pretty enjoyable and I look forward to their new issues coming out today.
Frankenstein: Agent Of Shade #1: 4 out of 5 stars.
Batwoman #1: 4.5 out of 5 stars (because it just looks so good).
Resurrection Man #1: 4 out of 5 stars.

That was pretty lame AKA The Human Centipede 2
So I saw The Human Centipede 2 at a midnight showing at the local indie theater that does zany films late at night. I was not impressed. The whole torture-flick-type-genre normally isn't my thing, but people had been saying how it was so shocking and that I just had to see I did. To be honest the movie doesn't get horribly gross until the last 25 minutes when all the gore and other nasty stuff goes into overdrive, before that the movie almost seems like it could be a bit interesting.

I say almost as it kind of has this message going about this creepy little man that you would never suspect is so twisted for wanting to recreate the movie the Human Centipede. It's like there is a message about how there is always more to people than meets the eye. Oh, that's the one other clever thing in the movie, that it takes place the "real" world where someone is obsessed with the original movie. That meta-element is kind of neat, and the whole creepy-little-man thing is slightly interesting, but the movie never does too much with it. Instead of focusing on the idea of what kind of person would be so crazy as to want to recreate a gross horror movie, The Human Centipede 2 instead just embraces the gross-out value of when he actually does so.

There isn't really a message to the movie, it just gets more and more gross and over-the-top to a point where it is pretty much a parody of itself and torture movies--but that would be giving it too much credit to think that such a thing were intentional. This movie wants to be shocking but I wasn't so much shocked as just finding it nasty and absurd.

Those slight interesting bits save this movie from being utter dreck, but the whole thing was still just an unpleasant experience I wouldn't recommend unless you really have a thing for gross-out torture-movies.
1 out of 5 stars.

Summarizing Thangs
50-50 is a good movie worth seeing, DC has some quality comics that either have a really wacky story, incredible art, or are just all-around solid, and The Human Centipede 2 is a movie you can safely skip even if people tell you its supposedly so shocking and such.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rant-Reviews--An Avalanche Of Comics Part 2

Even more comics to become buried in.

Batman #1
David Brother's of the 4thletter recently had a post in which he pointed out how he thought Scott Snyder had a "tick" in the sense of always having characters talk about how, "once my dad told me such an such." At the time I thought maybe Brothers was being too hard on Snyder, it wasn't like he did all the time. Then, I open up this issue of Batman #1 and am enjoying it when suddenly I come to a scene where Bruce Wayne is delivering a speech and just has to mention how, "Once my father told me..." At this point all I can do is admit that David Brothers pretty much is always right. Other than that its a good comic, but seriously? I mean, Snyder does this in both the first issue of Swamp Thing and Batman? Scott Snyder must really hate his mother or love his poppa considering how little his comic characters ever talk about the former and how much they do about the latter.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Green Lantern #1
This is odd, the issue says its the first but it pretty much is directly continuing the story from the old Green Lantern comics with the exact same creative team. I suppose I don't mind as it was a decent comic and all, but anyone who actually goes into this comic expecting a fresh start like some of the DC first-issue floppies is going to be sorely confused. I suppose Geoff Johns just wields enough power at DC they give him whatever he wants, even if it is a bath of blood made from puppies. That's right, Geoff Johns bathes in puppy blood, how else do you think he writes comics that sell so many copies?
3 out of 5 stars.

Captain Atom #1
Dear God, J.T. Krul wrote a comic I actually enjoyed. True, it was kind of silly and pointless pap that I can't even remember the plot of, but the fact I didn't hate it or find it mediocre is a step up for ol' Krully. That is what I call him now, by the way. To his face. When I camp outside his house and throw rotten eggs at him for writing  that Arsenal mini-series.
3 out of 5 stars.

Secret Avengers #17
Warren Ellis writes some cool sci-fi concepts, Kev Walker illustrates them well, there's a bit of a downer twist-ending and this all is resolved in one issue instead of being stretched out for some ungodly arc. Yeah, I actually don't mind that Marvel charged me $3.99 for this.
4 out of 5 stars.

Moon Knight #6
Alright, this I kind of mind Marvel bending me over a barrel and charging me $3.99 for. True, I will buy a Moon Knight comic no matter what because I love Moon Knight, but this issue was pretty much just Marc Spector and some folk chatting, and a mysterious villain with the oddest fashion sense talking and then doing...something, I guess. I had a fun time, I suppose. It was sort of like going to carnival and eating so many funnel cakes you throw up. You have fun in the process, but in the end just feel empty.
3 out of 5 stars.

Grifter #1
Am I the only one who inexplicably kind of got a "LOST" feeling from this? No, I don't mean lost as in confused, I mean like the television show. It has a blonde and smarmy con man, it has weird mysteries, it jumps back in time, and there is mayhem with a plane. There are creepy space-aliens too and even though I'm not completely sold on this series it took awhile for LOST to get going so why not give this a chance too?
3 out of 5 stars.

Deadpool #44
That was a pretty anti-climatic way to end the story-line about the lady who was obsessed with Deadpool. It was like taking a girl home, getting all excited, and kissing on her, and then she suddenly announces she needs to leave, picks up her coat and takes off. Hell, story of my life, except it isn't so much that they "suddenly" do it as they "always" do once they realize I'm not actually an heir to the Quaker Oats fortune like I claimed to get them to at least come to my place. What? Don't act like you're better then me, you'd do it to if you had thought of it first.
2 out of 5 stars.

Supreme Power #4
Kyle Higgins seems to cram 3 issues worth of material into one issue here, but he does a good job taking a series that was all but dead after Straczynski suddenly left it and trying to give us some form of closure with at least at least a couple of the characters. It was quite good even if it had to be rushed worse than a car full of pregnant women going to the hospital. Pregnant women with bombs attached to the unborn fetus so it has to be born before midnight or everyone dies. Yeah, that sounds stupid, but you know a writer like Mark Millar would love that idea.
4 out of 5 stars.

There we go, more comics than you can shake a stick at. Why you would be shaking a stick at a pile of comics I have no clue, you're the obviously delusional one.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye, Steve Jobs.

Yesterday I learned Steve Jobs had died from of all things, my iPad. I was sitting at my place on the phone and it lit up with the news from CNN.

Steve Jobs was someone I wasn't always huge on, he could strike me as a bit arrogant. The thing is, he had the brilliance to back that arrogance up and the man was a genius. As I started to use Apple products more and more over the last year I began to see that.

The world has lost an innovator and creator.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rant-Reviews--An Avalanche of Comics Part 1

It's been a week since I updated, oh dear. Well, to make it up to you I have a pile of comics from recently and not-so-recently in time I will share my thoughts on...with a vengeance. Expect another avalanche possibly tomorrow or Friday.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #7
Wait, this series is still going, and we're only just entering the final stretch? Jeez. At least it looks good and has some cool fighting. That's about it, it looks good and fights well, kind of like a woman who's been taught self-defense classes and uses it on you when you get a little too close at the bar and whisper something a little crass in her ear.
3 out of 5 stars.

Nightwing #1
This aknowledges Dick Grayson was Batman for a year, so that's nice. It also has him talking about how he enjoyed being in the circus and fighting some guy who has claws like Wolverine. Not the best thing ever, but I"ll try issue number two and see if I like it.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Mister Terrific #1
The internet seems all split on whether it likes this or not. Well, I liked it and found it pretty fun and entertaining. Our protagonist has the just right amount of snark, and yeah, the comic does mention race twice in a kind of unnecessary fashion which makes things awkward, but that's the only thing dragging my score down.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

DC Universe Presents: Deadman #1
Wow....I mean, wow. This was actually really damn good. It looked nice, the plot was engaging, and I otherwise was just quite impressed. Paul Jenkins really did a good job writing this--which is interesting as he is apparently helping with the awful Dark Knight comic too (I skimmed it, hoo boy). Seriously, pick this up for however many issues the story is about Deadman.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Uncanny X-Force #15
This was utterly trippy, with the whole super-evolution thing, the great art by Jerome Opena, and some wicked-dark humor. Just awesome.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wonder Woman #1
I was so confused for much of this comic, until things finally became a little clearer at the end of the issue. Still, I didn't love this as much as it seems some people did. I mean, it was above-average, but I wasn't utterly wowed.
3 out of 5 stars.

Alpha Flight #4
Now an ongoing series (yah) this issue still marginally ties in with "Fear Itself" but not really, and thank God because it would probably make this a lot less fun that it actually is. Good times all around.
4 out of 5 stars.

Ultimate Comics X-Men #1
Another part of the DC new number, wait. Sorry, let me start again. Part of the new Ultimate comics coming out from Marvel, this is the start of Nick Spencer's run on the series and it's...interesting. I see the formation of what could definitely turn out to be fun stuff, but right now I'm just sort of interested to see where things go. Yes, intriguing is the best word, but not quite fun.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

More tomorrow or Friday.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Plans This Week.

I've been a bit behind on some posting. It's been a busy life. I've read a lot of comics though, I'll try to share my thoughts on them soon enough.