Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Johnny Ryan comic, The Newest Muppet Movie, and A Book on 2001: A Space Odyssey--All Have Been Observed

The Journey Begins
I've read Johnny Ryan's, "New Character Parade", seen the newest Muppet movie ("The Muppets"), and I have read another of those BFI Film Classics books, this one about, "2001: A Space Odyssey."

This Man Has Problems, And I Love Him For It

Johnny Ryan makes some seriously twisted stuff. It can be disgusting, highly sexual and inappropriate, violent, and often is extremely clever and/or hilarious. In, "New Character Parade," Ryan pretty much thinks up a character or concept, and spends 12 panels on it before moving on. This results in utterly insane things ranging from, "Sir Oreo Monocle," and, "The Comic Book Badass," to, "Pervert Reagan," and, "Randy Warrenhole," and those are the ones that don't have super-explicit swears in their name.

This book is offensive to a degree that will shock many but if you can relax and see the humor in it you'll almost assuredly laugh. I find the book most interesting when it gets its most absurd, not necessarily being as dirty as possible, but strange and silly. Yes, Johnny Ryan is indeed a man with a very weird mind, but it is one that is worth seeing the results of when you give him a pen and paper.
4 out of 5 stars.

Satisfyingly Enjoyable--"The Muppets"

Upon finishing watching, "The Muppets," with my girlfriend she commented that she thought it would be better. Not funnier, more dramatic, etc. just better. I suppose I can agree this isn't as good as those classic Muppet movies, but what was the chance this could have measured up to those incredible works?

No, this isn't amazing, but this is enjoyable and satisfying. It's satisfyingly enjoyable. The plot isn't too complex but its mostly there to allow the jokes to happen, all the Muppets characters do a great job being their funny selves, and Jason Segel and Amy Adams to make a great duo.

I found myself often giggling at the jokes, and being a bit touched by the more heartwarming moments. Perhaps I didn't bowl over laughing as I did long ago with, "The Muppets Take Manhattan," but I still was enjoying myself. Plus, there was a fun mini-game of sorts in identifying all the celebrities who appear in cameos--try and spot them all!

"The Muppets," isn't the best movie in the franchise, but it's a good addition, and definitely worth seeing. Plus, in this era of making everything CGI and digital there is something admirable about the creators of the movie keeping the Muppets in their classic puppet form. A computer-graphics-Kermit is something I just don't want to see. Give the movie a shot and you should be entertained, just don't expect too much.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI Film Classics book)

I've always thought of, "2001: A Space Odyssey," as a strange movie--little did I know the story of how it was made is also odd and interesting in its own right. From name changes and delays, to being over-budget and heavily altered by director Stanley Kubrick right before and even after its initial release, "2001: A Space Odyssey," has a history as fascinating as the images on the celluloid themselves.

Yes, we have passed 2001 and we clearly aren't doing as much in space as people thought, so the future predicted was a bit of a let-down, but must one pick nits over the date the movie chooses? This is moreso an examination of the history of man from his dawn during the time of apes to a new step in existence at the end. Regardless of if we have commercial flights to the Moon or not the message within the film is still great. Just what is that message? That's a main focus of the book.

This text talks much of how, "Space Odyssey," is minimal and everyone took away their own message. The novel which went with the movie arguably took an angle of man becoming dangerously advanced and his nuclear weapons being destroyed by the advanced space-baby. When I myself saw the film I saw more of a message from the middle-half with the homicidal HAL computer, thinking the moral was as we make our computers more and more human there will be a point they have their own emotions, fears, and even the ability to commit violence of their own volition--so be careful with that technology, humans!

This is a great book, as the last BFI one I read about, "Night Of The Living Dead," was and the other's I have been devouring are too. It makes a great additional reading to go with the flick.
I would recommend seeing this film as it is a fascinating piece of work, and then if you want to learn more perhaps reading this book or the countless other ones about this great movie. I just really love this series of books because they are full of fascinating facts, tell a story too, and are easy to carry in their small-size that also makes them a bit of a quicker reader (which I like, that's not a complaint). Yup, check it out.
4.5 out of 5 stars (for the book, the movie is great too though).

Arrival At The End
Could there be a stranger assortment of things than a book of nasty-yet-clever comics, a movie for children that adults can also enjoy, and a detailed book about a classic film that leaves you as intrigued as it does confused (the film, not the book)? Yes, there probably could be a stranger assortment, but this is still pretty odd. That's all in day's work/post for The Newest Rant though.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Utterly Random Thoughts On 2 Lame Marvel Comics And A Singer Showing You How A Certain Body Part Works

This is One of Those Posts Without a Focus.
I know I literally just did a post with links, and this isn't that. This is more a rambling post about Marvel sucking, and Brian McKnight making sure I'm ready to learn.

Lame Marvel Comic #1
I just flipped through this and was glad I didn't ever plan on buying this series. It's the, "Versus," series of comics that tie in with, "Avengers Versus X Men," series and feature nothing but two big fights each issue. Yeah, nothing but mindless fighting. That could be fun, but not for $3.99. Especially not with little, "fun facts," trying to be cute interspersed in the story:
Maybe when all the issues of this are on sale in the quarter-bin I'll give it a look-over. Otherwise, no thanks. Also, in what world would Magneto lose to Iron Man in a fight? Magneto is the bee's knees yo!

Teach me, Brian McKnight!
This has been making the rounds on the internet, television, and radio (albeit edited for those last two formats). Basically Brian McKnight is joking (I think) about putting out an, "adult," mixtape with one of the songs being where he teaches a woman how, "Her pussy works," because he bets she didn't know, "That it could squirt." Yes, I'm serious. 

You could find this gross and slightly offensive but this is Brian McKnight we're talking about, and that man has a voice that is already like sex so is it really a stretch for him to get a tad raunchier than his other romance songs? Listen, laugh, and you be the judge. I found a Youtube version without the ads you have to watch before the main video. You're welcome:
Yeah, I'll buy a copy.

Lame Marvel Comic #2
There had been a Marvel comic called Battle Scars that was coming out for the sole purpose of giving Nick Fury a son who was black. Why is Marvel doing this, you may ask? Well, in the Ultimate Marvel Universe Nick Fury is black and looks like Samuel L. Jackson and they based the Avenger's movie character who popped up in most of the other movies on I guess Marvel wants their normal comic-Universe to be more like the movies.

So basically over six issues a man named Marcus Johnson learns he is actually the bi-racial son of a lilly-white Nick Fury and a fellow black spy he fell in love with. Then, Marvel shoe-horns Mr. Johnson into the role of being the head of SHIELD and reveals that his actual birth name was--wait for it!--Nick Fury:
Oh, and they are bringing in Agent Coulson from the movies as his friend. That's besides the point though of how hard Marvel is trying to force this. Even if you ignore the uncomfortable racial tension of telling a black man, "Sure, you've lived your whole life as Marcus Johnson, but now some old white man who is your birth father you never met until recently gave you this name so you have to go by it," Marvel is still pretty much making a ham-fisted gesture not at diversity, but at making their, "real," universe look more like the movie one.

Needless to say I'm pretty glad I didn't buy this comic during its run either considering it was just Marvel's excuse to go, "Hey, we've forced a black Nick Fury into the 616 world now too, never-mind that in reality someone probably wouldn't appreciate being told they have to now go by the name of their estranged father!" Sorry I brought that up again, it's just really weird.

So Ends This Truly Random Post
I hope you enjoyed my ranting and raving, because I really wasn't sure what point I was trying to make other than that Marvel put out two bad comics this week and Brian McKnight is eager to teach ladies how their genitalia functions. I suppose after all my DC-bashing lately for their incredibly stupid, "Before Watchmen," idea I needed to give Marvel some wrath too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

News, Commentary, And Link-Madness

Let's Do Some Thoughts On The News and Links

  • Whatever minimal respect I had for J. Michael Straczynski has completely evaporated with his comments about why its okay for him to do Before Watchmen and how he owes Alan Moore no courtesy because contracts have always been bad for creators. Alan Moore is a comic-book God worthy of at least some respect, JMS did some good stuff with Supreme Power and then pretty much anything else he's done has sucked and/or he has quit work on in the middle of. The last thing by JMS I'm buying is the last issue of, "The Twelve," and that is more because its gotten pretty bad too and I sort of just want to mock it.
  • Let's get this out of the way...when young and traveling in a foreign country President Obama ate dog meat.GOP candidate Mitt Romeny (we can say he's the candidate now, right? No more of this primaries nonsense?) in the past stuck his pet in a carrier and drove on the highway with it strapped to the roof. I think regardless of your feelings about how much this matters in regards to their ability to be President we can all agree despite owning dogs both men maybe would be better served by having a cat.
  • Yeah, DC's continuity in the new universe is a bit of a mess due to keeping some stories the same such as with Batman and Green Lantern.
  • I'm not linking to E3, the big video-game expo (once bigger, but that's another story) so much for what is there as what isn't there that people keep going on about to my annoyance: The supposed next-generation of consoles. Sony says they aren't going to reveal a PS4, Microsoft says there isn't going to be a Xbox 720 (or whatever) but the rumors won't die. If there is in fact a big surprise reveal I'll be annoyed all the rumor-mongers were right.
  • Chris Roberson said he was concerned with the way DC Comics was acting ethically, but he was going to finish his work on iZombie and then do the arc of Fairest he agreed to before quitting the company. DC didn't appreciate his words and gave him a head start on quitting by firing him off the arc of Fairest ahead of time. On one hand he did publicly bad-mouth a company he was working for and said he was leaving them soon, so what could have been expected to happen? On the other hand, when you call a company immoral and its first response is to fire you for expressing an independent thought about its practices...yikes, that doesn't make said company look too good.
There we go, a whole lot of things to think over.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Wolverine's Son Daken--When Written By Rob Williams--Both Defied Heroic Tradition And Ended His Series In the Best Way Possible

Intro--Evil To The End

Daken has been a complex character. The last issue of his series came out some weeks ago, and I've had time to think about Daken, and how he's been pretty much unlike any other "hero" character in that he was born evil, stayed evil, and died unrepentant. The evil son of Wolverine, Daken was at first presented to us as a character we were supposed to think of as being super-cool but the more Marvel tried to make him awesome the harder he was to like. Then he had his own series launched with Daniel Way that made him a bit better, but it wasn't until Rob Williams took over the character on issue #9.1 (yeah, they gave it a .1 to segue) that something magical happened--Daken and his series became one of my favorite comics.

The One Change We Needed
Rob Williams essentially just changed one thing with Daken, he quit making us trying to think Daken was, "all that." Daken still thought he was incredible, awesome, and the best, but Williams now wrote him in a way where we saw this wasn't true, it was a glaring character flaw. This one change made the comic a fascinating character study. Daken came out to LA, got himself a boyfriend (Daken was bisexual, so yah for diversity but boo for the trend of always making bisexuals bad guys) and set about planning to take over the city as he did another one called Madripoor earlier in his series. However, unlike his taking over of Madripoor we now were seeing Daken not as a bad-ass, but as a man with a complex about his father who had convinced himself he was the best even though he really wasn't.

Daken got hooked on a drug called Heat that could actually beat his healing factor, and this made him even more interesting--as the character that for a long time was shown to be infallible was finally slipping up. He met a fellow sociopath named Donna Kiel, but with the difference being that she used her dark side for the FBI. When bodies started turning up seeming to have been killed by Daken he tried to solve the mystery with her, but not because he felt he was a hero--he did it because he thought the idea of him going on drug-fueled kill-binges was below him and it must be a set-up. It turned out it was and his boyfriend was behind the murders, getting Daken hooked on Heat, and otherwise causing a lot of trouble. Daken and Kiel took down his now-ex with the help of some other heroes, but when he tried to fully bring her over to his dark side of killing people she turned on him, showing he truly is just a lonely sociopath that can't be related to. This put Daken on his final mission--ruin things for his daddy.

If You Can't Live Up to Him, Destroy Him
That's what this has really been about. Daken tried as hard as he could to be unique and separate himself from Wolverine, but he's always in his father's shadow. Even when confronted by another hero named Moon Knight who with his multiple personalities thinks he's Wolverine (long story, must run with), Daken flips out and attacks the man--even though he says he knows full well it's Moon Knight a part of him just wants to attack the part claiming to be his father, even if it's just a hero's psychosis.

Daken is in LA trying to be a criminal kingpin, be unique, not be anything like his dad...but once he's rejected by the only woman he ever felt came close to him in amazing-ness, and sees LA can't really be his due to another actual kingpin, Daken figures he's going to do whatever he can to take his dad down a notch.

So Daken plants bombs outside of super-hero bases/mansions/buildings and tries to whip New York into a frenzy about their heroes....but they never were big on heroes, so what's it matter? All the heroes show up to stop him, and when he asks his dad if he wants to know why he even did this Wolverine just tells him, "No."

That, "No," must really piss Daken off, as his father is the one man he's always wanted to both destroy and in some ways impress. I'm amazed though, because here we are in the last issue of Daken's series because it got cancelled and he's staying evil, this isn't going to be the usual cape-comics cop-out of redemption. Then this happens:

He holds his father...tells him he's sorry. It's sweet. I should hate it, but I don't. Daken has been so evil, so bad, and maybe just maybe he feels something human...but no:

Daken reveals he planted one last huge bomb at Wolverine's school...and then he blows himself up, leaving behind nothing to bury, so everyone always wonders, "Is he really dead?" In a true mocking of super-hero tradition.

By the way, Wolverine rushes home for that last bomb to discover Daken left nothing more than a Wolverine little doll, the last ultimate "up-yours" to the father he never could equal, but who also was unable to make his son something more than a villain.

This Was All Just So Stellar, And Defies Tradition
Perhaps having his series cancelled was actually a good thing for Daken, this is the one time it actually helped a character. Had he lived too long Marvel maybe would have wanted to redeem him, make him learn a lesson and become a good guy. This way Daken goes out the way he always was, unapologetic in how he is just plain evil.

This may be the best writing of Rob Williams career, and I applaud both him and Marvel for letting Daken end the way he started--a bad guy. In the future there may be urges to bring him back for some reason, but this was just so wonderful and perfect a way to end the story of Daken that he should just be left alone. Don't try to make him a hero or something awful like that. Daken was just amazing once Williams took over and while I'm sad its over, the way it ended was pitch-perfect. You killed it Marvel, drop the mic and walk off the stage, never to touch Daken again.
5 out of 5 stars (for #23 and the whole run in general)

NOTE: If you want to read Williams amazing run you need issues #9.1-#23. So far this has been collected in, "Daken: Dark Wolverine: Big Break (issues #9.1-12) and "Daken: Dark Wolverine: The Pride Comes Before The Fall (#13-19). I believe the last book is called, "Lost Weekend (#20-23). Trust me, you should read them, even if you don't know squat about Daken. You really don't need to know much about him to enjoy these.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rant-Reviews--2 Marvel, 2 DC, 1 Image, and I Have Multiple Digressions

Various comics to demolish.
I've got Mister Terrific #8, Uncanny X-Men #10, Aquaman #7, Avengers Versus X-Men #1, and America's Got Powers #1. The second comic and last are good, the rest...let's discuss.

Mister Terrific #8
I liked this series at some points, but in this last issues it jams in characters from another comic I haven't ever read about (Blackhawks, which got cancelled too, natch). Then this rushes to its close and is otherwise like starting on a good drug trip and then coming down hard. This, "last issue," isn't even really a last issue because its sets up our main character in a new DC series starting up in a bit. I have no interest in reading the new series because it takes place on, "Earth 2," and I get enough mileage out of the main DC earth where apparently your comic can be cancelled and then start sucking after a good first 5 issues, before then randomly tying in to something else. God bless America.
1.5 out of 5 stars.

Uncanny X-Men #10
This is pretty much just a big fight scene and some talking, but the person who does the talking is a creepy robot from the short-lived S.W.O.R.D. series once done by the man who is also writing this series. Yes, Gillen brought over the eerie, "Unit," whom he was never able to utilize because Marvel strangled that old series in the crib. This means we get to see people fighting, enjoy some catchy dialogue, and have a subplot develop--even if it is a plot that starts to set up the ever-so-unneeded Avengers Versus X-Men.

This is the kind of comic I like, but yet the people of the world come together and instead plan for comics where they fuck-over creators like Alan Moore by taking a cool story he did a long time ago and trying to get as much cash as they can out of it. Seriously, Before Watchmen is something I continue to lose more and more interest in of the minimal amount I had. That doesn't relate to this review other than to point out that for all the times I'm pissed at Marvel they still can put out some quality material like this when they aren't too busy letting Bendis write all his character's dialogue the same in the countless Avengers books--and at least they aren't grubbing money as openly as DC at this moment. I heard a rumor Bendis could be doing X-Men titles like this. I really hope not considering the man just can't do team books (Digression 1 complete).
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Aquaman #7
This is the issue where we introduce a Muslim character and proceed to brutally murder her. Diversity, everyone! Also Aquaman was apparently on some other team and his old arch-nemesis Black Manta is around in this new DC trying to gather artifacts from Atlantis. Do you hear that? It's the sound of me being more disappointed that Geoff Johns made an empty gesture at multiculturalism with his female Muslim character and then killed her off than being interested in much of anything else here.
2 out of 5 stars.

Avengers Versus X-Men/AVX #1
This has a bunch of writers because they are all working together, but it is clearly being mainly done this issue by Bendis because of how the dialogue sounds. He just writes everyone the same in that supposedly, "punchy," style of talking. John Romita Jr. provides some decent art and...look, everyone on the internet has pointed out regardless of reviews people are going to buy this, and that's good because this isn't very enjoyable. It's a bunch of characters talking about the Phoenix energy and then getting ready to fight right as the issue ends. Wow, how exciting, let me put on an adult diaper because I have nearly messed myself with exuberance! Really though, if it weren't for the art this would just have been wretched. I'm not buying any tie-ins for this besides comics I already read that happen to tie-in.

Seriously, what is with all the tie-ins to events? Either we have the main comics do it which means regular series get interrupted, or random mini-series are produced of low quality. Who really reads most tie-ins  (Digression 2 Complete).
2 out of 5 stars (barely, thanks to the nice enough art).

America's Got Powers
Jonathan Ross here is writing what is kind of a Mark Millar comic is Millar went a little lighter on the cynicism and put in a bit more wonder. Oh, and if Millar no longer sucked since Ultimates 2. I don't mention Ultimates 2 casually, as this has the same artist as that in the form of Bryan Hitch, doing a decent-if-still-clearly-photo-referencing-his-art job. This has some interesting ideas about the government and what it would do to control a small super-powered population, and there are some cute jabs at reality T.V. but thank God that isn't the real focus. No, the focus is more a coming-of-age tale of a young man who doesn't have powers but should due to his exposure to an energy we learn about at the start of the comic. Try as the comic might to be dark and bitter as if it were by Millar, it puts in just enough sweetness and hope that it actually is enjoyable and good.

Really, what happened to Mark Millar? the man was making some quality comics and now everything seems to just be movie pitches loaded with annoying racism and pointless over-the-top bits where he's trying to shock us but really can't. Millar is like that kid who wants to shock everyone with the gross stuff he eats or the dangerous stunts he pulls, but really we're all just embarrassed. It used to be cool, but now its just kind of sad (Digression 3 Complete).

 I actually really, really liked this comic more than I even thought I would and don't have much in the way of snark to throw at it--even though it could be pointed out it is pretty predictable there is more to our un-powered-person than meets the eye, but so goes the standard story formula. Also, as the said the art is decent but Hitch clearly based his Senator character's design on Sarah Palin's face and it is really distracting. Those are nit-picks in a pretty great comic however. Plus, it's double-sized for just $2.99. Now that's a bonus.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Woop, there it was.
We laughed, we cried, we read some comics and I had a good amount of rambling-on about stuff. Go about your day now.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Film Friday--The Raid: Redemption

The Raid: Redemption

"The Raid: Redemption," is not a movie to pull any punches. It is violent, but in a beautiful manner. I would describe it as a ballet of gun-play and martial arts with blood erupting everywhere as if there were a fountain of the red stuff hidden away. The plot is one that is pretty simple, even though it tries to throw in some twists and such. You aren't really here for the plot though. No, you're here to see director Gareth Evans make a movie that is full of amazingly done fight scenes, bullets flying about, and the most clever use of a refrigerator I've seen in some time.

The gist of this movie is that a mob boss has a big tenement building no one has been able to take over, a bunch of police are going to come in and try to take him and his henchmen down, and this already sounds like a recipe for disaster. Things of course don't go as planned and lots of action ensues.

For those who love old-fashioned movies about cops and bad guys, or guys fighting hand-to-hand, this flick is like a Godsend. Yes, there have been movies that have done the whole Grindhouse style with a slight tounge-in-cheek effect (such as the actual movie "Grindhouse" and the movies it spawned) but this is in the style of those classic 1980s action movies and isn't trying to be clever or make fun of them in any way. No, this is just a straight-up love letter to the, "Assault on Precinct 13," type of movie.

I did quite enjoy this, but considering how after about less than 20 minutes things crank up into action mode and don't let up, eventually you just sort of get tired from constantly being on the edge of your seat--and at that point the movie still has another 15 minutes or so of crazy-action to give you. Yeah, maybe trimming a fight scene or two would have been okay, or giving us a few more breathers to lighten things up besides the very few quiet moments.
Director Gareth Evans
Other than the movie maybe needing to have been cut down from an hour and 41 minutes to a good 90 minutes or so, this is a dynamite production. Plot may be somewhat absent, but that doesn't matter too much, its the kicking and shooting that you came for, and that's exactly what you'll get. Just sit back, strap-in, and get ready for a wild ride.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Shade #1-7, The Mini-Run Review & I Bought A Digital Comic Of All Things

Weird and Entertaining Is A Good Description

Least heroic "hero" around, and I like that.

Confession time, I've never read the famous Starman series written by James Robinson with much of its art provided by the stellar Tony Harris. I've heard how great it is, but those 50 dollar hardcovers just are too much for me (Yes, I will be picking up the first archive edition in softcover when it comes out eventually).
Apparently Starman has been some of Robinson's best work, and as a writer who can do incredibly good things or just plain afwul stuff (See: Cry For Justice) I wasn't surprised to hear his new mini-series about a Starman-series-related character named The Shade was quite good. Maybe Robinson just has a knack for those characters, or when he enjoys what he's doing the man writes with his, "mad skillz," instead of like a hack, who knows? Whatever the case, I figured I would pick up the first seven issues of what will be a 12-issue maxi-series called, "The Shade", and in the process also did something I never have done before so that I could get one of the issues--I went digitial.

Digital Discussion

"Guided View" can suck it.

Yes, I couldn't find the 3rd issue of this series in physical form easily so I decided, "What the hey, I'll get it digitally at the slight discount DC does once their comics have been out for a bit." The process of reading it digitally on my iPad was...interesting. I didn't like any sort of, "guided view," that only showed me so much of the comic at once because I like to see it all, and double-page spreads were hard to enjoy when I held my device vertically. In the end, doing a normal view of the whole page or any double-spreads while holding my device horizontally seemed to be best even if when I was fully zoomed out I couldn't quite read the text. This resulted in me panning about and zomming in and out. It worked out alright but I don't think I'm leaving print comics anytime too soon. Anyways, on to my review of the comic itself.

Oh That Zany Shade
Shade is a weird fellow. He is no hero but not quite the villian. I like the shades of grey that introduces (sorry for the horrible pun, you may slap me now). Over these six issues we see the development of an over-arching plot of someone planning evil against Shade and his loosely-related family, be they genetic relatives he saved the lives of during World War II as we get to witness in issue #4 or forever-teenaged vampires he rescued (don't worry, this one doesn't sparkle or anything lame like that). In the process we see Shade talk with some friends, make a few enemies, and use his powers in clever ways.

The variety of artists found to illustrate this series is quite nice. Cully Hamner and Darwyn Cooke all turn in stellar work to name a few, and the shifts in art actually fit changes in the comic's location, time, or tone, so it isn't a jarring sudden artist-shuffle such as with other comics.
The comic isn't too light or dark in tone, having both humor and some serious bits. There is plenty of talking but also action put in at just the right moments to break things up. Honestly, these are just some really well done comics.

One odd thing is how this makes clear it takes place in the, "New DC," Universe at the end of the first issue with the appearance of a "popular" assassin, but other than that this feels like it could be in the old DC--and that's without mentioning the questions of how this could relate to the old Starman and its continuity which is firmly rooted in the, "Old DC," that now supposedly no longer exists. However, if that no longer exists than how can this and....oh dear, my brain has just exploded from trying to examine DC logically.
Regardless of any niggling continuity issues this is a stellar read and just a really great time. James Robinson has hit it out of the park as he is known to sometimes do when he actually cares about what he is writing. I would say you should pick up all these issues if you can, grab the first trade then the rest of the 12-issue maxi-series, or whatever it is you want to do, just read the stuff as it is delightful.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rant-Reviews--Everything is Terrible, Even the Good Stuff Part 2---DC Destruction

There are some DC books out there to examine and insult/praise. Oh, and I'm going to discuss a Vertigo book which isn't really DC per-se but their alternative more mature line. It's still the same company though so who gives a rotten apple?

Justice League #7
So we're doing that old comic, "The Authority," about heroes who are kind of bad guys but don't realize it? Nah, not really. We're doing a comic about a world that doesn't trust their heroes? Well, the people seem to love them even if some government suits complain. We're doing a comic about the, "Birth of a Villain," as the title claims? Yeah right, we don't get a hint of that till about the last couple of pages.

What is this then? Basically a comic about a dude named Steve Trevor and what his life is like interacting with the Justice League via Skype or something. Oh, and there is some action with a weird spore-monster. This is really just kind of disjointed and a bit odd though. Still, I'll take that over the pretty-but-pointless mess that was the first six issues of this series. It's like this went from a hot girl you couldn't stand listening to into a somewhat attractive person who is all over the place emotionally but interesting enough that you'll tough it out through her psychotic breaks in which she tries to cut you. Yeah, this comic is a dysfunctional relationship. Take it to Thanksgiving dinner and show it to mom and dad. They won't approve, they never do of the hussies you bring back over the holidays.
3 out of 5 stars.

Batman #7
This isn't amazing like issue #5 which was utterly trippy and much better than any mainstream super-hero comic has the right to be, and it isn't kind of cool like #6 with its surreal bits too. No, this is just one of those, "Everything you think you know about Batman's history is wrong!," comics...which is kind of funny because I thought due to the big DC continuity reboot we're not supposed to know anything about Batman's history for sure anyway. You can't really shock me by going "Boo!" when your company already did the equivalent of kidnapping me, tying me up, putting me a potato bag, and dumping me in a river gasping for air.

 That metaphor is how trying to figure out DC's new continuity feels. It's murky, scratchy, and cold. That's why you can't catch me off guard with all this stuff about a secret group themed off of owls running Gotham--I didn't even know we were supposed to think of it as a place run by Batman anymore. Oh, and Batman punches one of his former sidekicks/adopted sons in the mouth to reveal a special tooth implanted there long ago by the villains. Couldn't he have just told the guy about it and taken it out with some Novocaine instead of walloping the dude? Batman, the adoptive father who punches you to prove a point.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Grifter #7
In this comic a hero named Midnighter acts like a total idiot when he could try just talking to Grifter or taking him back to the Stormwatch base instead of trying to kill him, Grifter touches a weird alien artifact and learns stuff, and the two fight in a poorly illustrated comic. This is what I read, and then I cried many, many bitter tears over the fact that I actually bought this comic and thought at the start it seemed remotely interesting. Will it improve somehow? Well, let's see who the next writer for it is and....Rob Liefeld? Oh FUCK, I've got to drop this from my pull-list ASAP!
1 out of 5 stars.

Spaceman #5
The thing about Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso is that they have worked closely together for so long they could be one person, and this one person makes damn good comics. When you hear about a comic focused on a genetically-altered "man" that riffs on how people use funny internet slang, reality television, global warming, and throws in some space-stuff you hear about something which sounds like an utter mess. This duo/essentially-one-person however can have so damn much skill this comic comes out hotter than a biscuit you left in the oven and burnt so badly your spouse yells at you and threatens to leave forever, but then again doesn't he/she always pull that shit when you forget their birthday? I'm getting distracted though, this comic is great stuff, should be read by all, and treasured for being unique in this landscape where you're considered clever for writing something where Cyclops and Captain America punch each other.
4.5 out of 5 stars

DCU Online Legends #26
The last issue of a series that became terrible and utterly incomprehensible around the half-way point. I have no idea why I kept reading this even though it made zero sense with its jumping around in time. Maybe it is kind of the same way people like staring at really brutal car crashes where entrails and blood are all over the place--its just so hideous and gruesome you can't look away. Whatever the case, we get a comic where Lex Luthor learns that maybe Superman isn't so bad before he resets the Universe and the entire comic becomes even more of a pointless endeavor than it was. This happy-go-lucky and nice Luthor is annoying as hell, the comic is ugly as sin (as it has been over the whole series) and if you ever want to start a war between two nations have one give the other a collection of all 26 issues of this and force them to read it. Bombs will be flying before the day is through.
.5 out of 5 stars.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #5
Oh Nick Spencer, you can write as many shitty Marvel comics as you want, because somehow with that exclusivity contract for them you still got to write this series, and it is so good I just can't care that you seem to either write amazing stuff or absolute trash. Your first volume of this series is one of my favorite recent comic collections and this new batch from the re-launched DC Universe that thankfully didn't touch your run is so good too. I just lie in bed at night and rub this comic all over my body, which gets my girlfriend weirded-out, but I don't care because she doesn't understand the love I have for this series. Oh, and this issue, it brings some dangling plot threads home and introduces those trademark last-minutes twists I've so grown to love.

 I know you cry when people mock your other comics on the internet, Nick, but its okay, I still like you. At least as long as you are writing this series, then you either need to up your game on something else or you'll be known as, "That guy who did good stuff awhile ago but now sucks," just like so many other creators (Jeph Loeb, Mark Millar, that guy who draws a huge-breasted witch named, Jim Balent, that's it!).
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Captain Atom #7
I'm just still amazed that J.T. Krul can write a comic that is actually good, and which I'll miss when its cancelled because this thing sells worse than Barbra Walters recent sex tape. Yes, Barbra Walters has a sex tape. I bought the only copy by accident and it's nightmarish.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Someday I'll have nothing snarky to say about the comics I've read. That is the day I am murdered by Mark Millar and he makes it look like J.T. Krul did it because Millar has enough money to buy a small country thanks to all those movie options of his shitty comics.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rant-Reviews--Everything is Terrible, Even the Good Stuff Part 1--Marvel Mocking

I have a wide range of comics from a variety of publishers to insult regardless of if I liked them or not. Let's get to it with the first part focused on Marvel...and an Image comic with a bit of a Marvel style (for better and worse).

The Twelve #11
The heroes from the past who traveled to the future (which due to delays is now actually set in our past) fight one of their own who is mad because it is revealed he is an android without a penis! Yes, this is what we waited an extra long time for, because J Michael Straczynski got distracted going over to DC so he could suck on their money-tit and start writing comics he then got tired of and quit doing--e.g. Superman, Wonder Woman, a creepy snuff comic my friend Trent told me he heard JMS does in his spare time, etc.

Seriously though, why did I get so excited about this for it be revealed to mainly be a comic about heroes form the past fighting a dickless android also from the past? Is JMS trying to tell us something deep about how mainstream comics have in a way castrated themselves with a fear of sex and maturity? Nah, no one who sniffs as much glue as he does can't get that deep anymore. The saving grace of this book is the art by Chris Weston, it makes this bearable with its beauty.
2 out of 5 stars.

X-Men Legacy #264
The issue in which Marvel comics realized, "Oh shit, we have some characters sitting around from that inexplicably great Dark X-Men series we did," and decided to start milking them for all they were worth by shoving them into one of the countless ancillary X-Men comics besides the only two you need to give a damn about (Wolverine and The X-Men and Uncanny X-Men).

The sad thing is that Christos Gage is a pretty good writer, and makes a lame character known as Weapon Omega (or something) and a slightly interesting character known as Mimic seem more intriguing than they probably have been in forever. Still, when the main plot is, "This man has become a bomb, oh noes we may die unless we save him!" my recommendation is to just toss the guy into a deep pit and let him detonate harmlessly, especially if the bomb-man himself asks you too--as actually occurs in this comic! No, for saying they should let him die because he is an extreme danger he gets slapped by X-Man Rogue and told by her and her thick southern accent he's being a pussy or something. Comics, where deciding to put a ton of people in danger for one man who would rather keep them safe makes you a hero!
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Bloodstrike #26
This is a comic from Image, but I'm counting it as if it were Marvel for several convoluted reasons. First off, the idea of this character comes from Rob Liefeld, who did work for Marvel before realizing he could make a lot more sweet, sweet green at Image (which he helped found) where he owns the copyright to his absurdly-named creations. Second, the plot reminds me of classic Marvel with a hero who is all depressed about being a hero. Third, lots of gore occurs.

The difference between this and other Marvel comics that have had Rob Liefeld, depressed heroes, and gore is that this doesn't automatically suck. Probably because the person writing it is the talented Tim Seely who can inject something interesting into the barest-bone of plots. Also, the fact that this is just building off of Liefeld's ideas and doesn't have him directly involved helps--because that man is apparently a really nice person in real life but lord do I not care for most of his comic work outside of some cool Deadpool drawings and an inexplicable affection for an old Marvel event called, "Heroes Reborn," everyone hated. Maybe the fact everyone hates it is why I like it, sort of like being the only person who is friends with the smelly kid. Yeah, this was surprisingly fun.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Moon Knight #11
I love the character of Moon Knight for some reason. A re-launch done of the character with Charlie Huston writing it some time ago was masterful before it petered out with another writer taking the helm. Then it was relaunched again and died. Then it was relaunched again with this new series that has Brian Michael Bendis writing it and Alex Maleev illustrating. I used to read a lot of Bendis' stuff when he was good. I love his old series Alias and work on Daredevil. His Avenger's writing has just been so mediocre besides the interesting-but-pointless, "House of M," that I want to stab myself in the eye with a fork, though.

Bendis took the idea of Moon Knight having different personalities and did a twist with making them super-hero personalities instead of his classic ones. I wasn't sure this would work, but after lots of hard work and effort, Bendis has proven to me this definitely doesn't work. Other than some nice Alex Maleev art these 11 issues of the now 12-issue run (yup, cancelled again!) have been all over the place story-wise and I just can't say I've had much fun. After this ends there will be no regular Bendis books I'm reading other than that event comic about Avengers and X-Men having an orgy he is a part of scribbling. Wait, it is about an Avengers and X-Men fight, not an orgy? But AvX sounds so dirty and hot! Oh well, maybe someday I can be proud of Moon Knight once more, and again, nice art.
2 out of 5 stars.

There we go, I have spit so much venom that my mouth is now dry.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

You Are Reading My "Comic Drawer" Articles, Right?

I know how much you all love/hate reading my thoughts on this blog, so it goes without saying you're reading my segment on, "The Comic Drawer," right? RIGHT? Well, in case for some reason you've been missing it here is a link to the latest post, where I review Ultimate Comic Ultimates and say why I like it despite the Ultimate Universe really sucking for awhile before Marvel did a reboot of their reboot (i.e. the horrendous Ultimatium, which I really hated).

Anyways, read my post, explore the site, then come on back here and continue to enjoy my mindless ramblings before going back there every other Wednesday for a new edition of my column--or more often if you like the forcesofgeek site, it's a fun place.