Friday, May 30, 2008

New Comics Delay

Pretty nice haul this week!

Final Crisis
All Star Superman (!)
Green Lantern
King Size Hulk
Savage Sword of Conan

Mmmm... Crisis-y. I've read about halfway, and its interesting stuff. Certainly a setup for larger things. But how large???? Morrison is quite the proliferator at DC these days. He had three new books on the shelf this week. There is of course the awe and wonder that is All Star Superman. Not to mention part two of Batman RIP. That I chose to read in the store, after buying part one and feeling... less than satisfied. Part two, on the other hand, offered some very peculiar notions, it's certainly not a direction I would have thought the story would have headed towards. It's a shame because part two was far more intriguing than part one but I haven't the gumption to go ahead and purchase it after a bit of a burn from the first.

So did I really pay 5 bucks for King Size Hulk when it's 85% reprint material? Well when that remaining 15% is Art Adams, Frank Cho, and Herb Trimpe, you bet I did. And you know what? All three of their stories are awesome (looking). I do have to say that Art Adams is particularly so, but only because he so rarely does comics pages these days it just seemed like a real treat.

Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 3 continues with the sweet B+W reprints from a bevy of comics legends.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Get your Green Lantern

I wanted to link to this nifty article on Green Lantern and how he may find his way to more of a mainstream media not unlike Iron Man has done.

Comic Book Bin: Green Lantern is DC's Iron Man

You would think I'd want nothing more than to see a Green Lantern movie. In actuality I want nothing more than to make a GL movie, because I can only presume the worst from Hollywood. However Iron Man has given me much hope, and to a lesser extent but no less influential, the new Batmans.

Found via The Beat

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Super Edco @ Destructoid

Destructoid is my favorite site for all things videogames, so I figured some of my videogamey posts would be more at home there. I know I don't write about videogames as much as comics, but I'd like to, so we'll see how it goes.

As a matter of fact, I've just now posted to my Destructoid Community Blog about... Pokémon!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Comics Day

One measly comic but a couple nice collections.

Fantastic Four
Golden Age Sheena TPB
Green Lantern Showcase 3

Erg... I'm conflicted in even picking up Fantastic Four. Not because it isn't good, it's that of course a run like this will be collected. At this stage I would have no problem whatsoever if a book like Fantastic Four only came out two or three times a year. Honestly I don't see why Marvel doesn't do that already with fringe books like, say, Daredevil. They can concentrate on a great story with a kick ass creative team and not worry about mucking up all the latest "main event" hoo ha. Food for Thought.

The Golden Age Sheena TPB collection is nice in that it does not purport to be anything but that. The reprinted material, in what I can only assume are scanned pages from the original books-- ads intact-- reproduce well with the old timey feel. I think it fares better as a TPB rather than a hardcover, myself, being flippable and looking good on semi--gloss stock. Kudos to Devil's Due for keeping true to the material.

The latest Green Lantern volume of Showcase assuages some of the yearning for that power battery. You just gotta love Gil Kane in black and white.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Depths of My Wanton Desires

Whilst perusing the latest DC solicits, I noticed they have opened advance orders for DC Direct's full scale replica Green Lantern Power Battery. Gosh, it's nice. Real nice. It comes with a ring. And it... lights up.


400 walrus pelts.


I do love all things Green Lantern, but do I 400 bucks love Green Lantern? I mean 400 clams is hard freakin' core. It is a highly unlikely purchase in these times of economic strife and uncertainty, but it sure would have some nice company.

Maybe I can not fill my gas tank ten times?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Everything Old is New Again

Starbucks has gone back to basics by incorporating their original logo into the new cup designs and branding. I quite like it. Simple, bold, sharp, classy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Comics Day

Green Lantern Corps
Wonder Woman
Young Liars

Batman RIP... what am I getting into??? I have a passing interest to see what Morrison will actually do, and in this instance the serial is suited. You can bet a good dollar this will be collected. I find myself waiting more an more for the collections, but with the hopes that DC really wants to trip us out I can afford to stick with the main books for RIP, hopefully passing on ancillary titles of little consequence. This from a guy who once had every chapter of Knightfall, Contagion, Cataclysm, No Man's Land, and Aftershock. Ugh. Something tells me no one in RIP will actually be resting in peace.

Aaron Lopresti on Wonder Woman art is indeed pretty. It's full comics style, not something more open or stylized like I hoped DC would have had the balls to go with (and that Lopresti is fully capable of). In any case I gather it may take a few issues for Lopresti to find a groove, but I don't mind the interim at all.

Dude, Greeen lantern Corps is where it's at. I have always liked Mongul, mainly because he's usually reserved for spot stints that lead to more and more blocks to his power-mad designs. In this way he's not trouped out at any need for mega-badness like Apokolips or Magneto or Venom other over-used baddies. That's part of what made Sinestro's return such a success, and it looks like Mongul is starting to get his du. And it is also cool that his position seems taken directly from his last appearances, giving weight to his timeline and history with the Black Mercy. Green Lantern Corps is steeped in DC history, but in the good way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Speed Racer has blown my fragile, little mind

Really, nothing I write here could explain what it is like to see this movie. I believe most will either hate it or love it, I don't see alot of grey area. Personally, I loved it. I am a big Speed Racer fan and this movie has Speed Racer all over it, and in all the best ways. I told one of my friends it was like a love letter. And not like a touchy-feely Superman Returns Hallmark Channel jerk-off letter, but more of a baby you're the hottest thing on the planet so ditch your boyfriend and lets get it on kind of letter.

I have seen some crazy ass shit, but man, this movie is some crazy ass shit. Yup, story good (really good). Cast, great (really great). Music, sweet (really, really sweet). But the visuals are out of freakin' control and it truly has to be seen to be believed. It doesn't matter if this movie was live action or animated, because within the first five minutes it's clear that they are one in the same and it doesn't stop. Cause, see, first they throw you some crazy ass shit. Then you're thinking, man, that was some crazy ass shit but then some even CRAZIER ass shit starts going on. And you're like whoa, that was some seriously crazy ass shit, etc., etc., for the next two hours. So you are either going to totally dig this or pass out in an epileptic seizure.

The Wachowskis, there's some heated debates about those guys and what they do. I've been in many of them on both sides. But what they did here took huge balls. Giant, monster balls. I don't know that they have "pulled off" anything to a greater renown than a wild-looking popcorn flic, but in Speed Racer I fell hook, line, and sinker.

Speed Racer Movie Site

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Avengers: The Illuminati

Since Secret Invasion is all the rage, I thought I'd post a review of one of the lead-ups, New Avengers: The Illuminati. Conveniently it was just this week released in trade, which is a good way to pick it up. My primary motivation for wanting the book was for the art of Jim Cheung, but as I browsed though the individual monthly issues I knew it would be collected sooner than later so I waited for the trade. Sure enough... A book like this I have no idea why it was even a monthly in our current market. And it's very frustrating as a consumer to see advanced solicitations for trades of storylines that aren't even completed on the shelf yet. But that's really another topic... The Illuminati I do think is best read as a collection-- tho it's best read as a collection now, while all this other stuff is going on.

The Illuminati in this instance does not refer to the conspiracy that fathers all conspiracies, but to the secret gathering of Marvel's brightest leaders. Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Professor X, Black Bolt, and The Submariner secretly gather to keep reigns on things too big for the superhero community at large. You may recall this it was this brain trust that conspired to send Hulk away to avoid his involvement in what would become Civil War, but in the end prompted World War Hulk. Each issue, or chapter in this case, shows the men gathering at focal points in Marvel Universe lore. At times beforehand, at others during or after. This is what makes the book instantly appealing to any long time comics reader because those focal points chosen are The Kree/Skrull War, The Infinity Gauntlet, and Secret Wars. I don't know if it's retro goggles, but back in the day that shit was off the hook. Was it any different then what Civil War or House of M is today? Dunno. But in this context it is cleverly put together as secret side quests of those times that was alot of fun to see play out (I always did wonder what happened to the Beyonder). The final two chapters bring things a bit closer to the present, with the inclusion of Marvel Boy's life direction choices and the aftermath of Civil War that leads to the realization that Secret Invasion is about to begin. This last bit with Secret Invasion ties all the way back to the first chapter on the Skrull homeworld creating a very strong setup. And this is what is playing out in the better Secret Invasion tie ins currently on the stands. I guess writer Brian Michael Bendis really did know what he wanted to do all along, tho I do wonder if it stretches back in literal time as much as reported (it's been noted that Bendis was planning Secret Invasion soon after he started writing regularly for Marvel lo those many years ago, and has been planting seeds ever since).

Being a Bendis book there is alot of talky talky. But not as much as usual, which is nice, tho there is one chapter where the men talk about the women in their lives with full blown Bendis Balloonapalooza. Which sounds interesting, but, well, it's nothing more than cute. The uber-writers of comics today aren't content with humanizing our heroes, they must super-humanize by bringing them to unforeseen levels of the mundane. Thankfully the scene is only a lead into the chapter on Marvel Boy. It was my least fav, since Marvel Boy was outside of the generational anchors that the previous chapters were, but I understand why it's there. Needing something to tie the more recent Marvel developments and legacies directly leading into Civil War and Secret Invasion, that whole Marvel Boy phenomenon, albeit brief, was probably the only significant story to cull (The Death of Captain Marvel being the classic storyline referred to). For the record my favorite chapter was on the Infinity Gauntlet :-)

The art is by Jim Cheung, accompanied by some well-suited inkers, which is of course fantastic. With such a dialog heavy foundation the pages remain dense and varied. This is to Cheung's great skill, because as an artist that can be some of the more difficult aspects of storytelling to manage. But there are several occasions for him to let loose on some big 'ol action sequences. The opening chapter's escape from the Skrull homeworld and the closing chapter's battle with the Super Skrull are particularly cool. I must also add that the colors are by Justin Ponsor, just flat out one of the best in the biz. He's been paired with Cheung on many occasions and it's great to see him here as well. The Cheung/Ponsor combo also shines on last week's New Avengers #40, and for those who want to witness some of the best the pairing has to offer, get your hands on those old Crossgen issues of Scion.

Finally getting to read this book in one sitting I really enjoyed it. Yes it is a Bendis book and there is a certain formula that goes with it that can only be described as... Bendis. But I think for long time readers of Marvel who really don't read that much any more (like me), it's a well constructed trip through the history we remember well, plus a little getting things up to date. To newer readers the book has a ton of information on these past events with virtually no retread, so its not like you're being forced to relive the past. All in all one of Bendis' better efforts and a great looking package all around.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Invasion Day

A not-so-secret letdown.

Secret Invasion
New Avengers: Illuminati TPB
Young X-Men
The War That Time Forgot

Secret Invasion: What is this? What a mess! Did anyone understand what was going on? I found it to be a group of random panels with some "dialog" that did absolutely nothing to further the story or plot. Other than a small allusion to Sentry's role in the Invasion matter-- one such that actually undermines the base premise, should it be true will be a huge letdown-- the issue is a mish-mosh out-of-era heroes vs modern day counterparts with a few skrulls and accusations but no explanations whatsoever. "But all will be revealed..." Screw that, tell a good story first. Seriously, this is supposed to be Marvel's tentpole event of the year and I feel totally duped. With Leinil Yu's caliber of art on such a high profile book, doesn't he deserve to draw the best of the best? What is drawn is pretty fantastic, but to what end really, to what are clearly golden after-market pages to sell? Shame on Marvel editorial and shame on Bendis. Last week's New Avengers was leagues better, it was a rich (and gorgeous) story that I find hard to believe was from the same writer. If Secret Invasion #2 is a sign of things to come, what a ripoff.

UPDATE: Bendis does his best to convince me otherwise at CBR. We'll see.

Over on Young X-Men, Paquette begins to show what makes his art so luscious. When he hits his stride on the book watch out! I like the story so far, too, if a bit slow paced, which is rather X-Menish as standard.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man: Ten Kinds of Awesome


UPDATE: Okay, now that I'm down off of my Iron Man high, let me break down the awesomeness.

10. Cocktails!
I don't know that the general movie going public is aware of what comics readers have grown up with-- Tony Stark eventually evolves into a raging alcoholic. I can't imagine this not coming into play should more movies make to to screen. That being the case, it is a rare scene in this inaugural outing that Stark is shown without some kind of drink in his hand. Nice.

9. In jokes.
Not unlike the above, plenty of references to Iron Man lore far and wide.

8. Toys. The movie is full of male fantasy power toys, from private jets with stripper poles to sports cars to the armor itself. Who wouldn't want to suit up in an impenetrable, flying, war machine? Aside from the gaping hole in your chest, I mean.

7. Script.
It's very well written. No, it isn't Shakespeare, but in the class of many superhero flics (or even just your average summer blockbusters) it's tight. There's plenty of Star Trekky techno babble, suppressed romantic sub-plot, and tack-sharp one-liners. The funny stuff is funny (it's got more humor than I'd have guessed) and the serious stuff is serious. And while the movie as a whole plays out in hollywood beats, at least it doesn't insult me.

6. Pepper Potts.
Usually Gweneth Paltrow is a reason not to see a movie. But here as Stark's ever-present Girl Friday she's great to watch. Her and Stark's relationship through the course of the film is a genuine development, and Paltrow is a surprising and pleasant feminine presence in a testosterone dominated story.

5. Quirk.
There is some just plain out weird shit in this movie. Redonkulous. Not just the odd, fumbling "I've got to learn how to be a superhero" kind of thing. The suspension of disbelief has to be, uh, suspended fairly early. The science fiction isn't exactly as grounded as it is thrown at you with flagrant plausibility. This is where I thought the movie would lose me, as I'd have preferred some hard-core science, but instead it takes more of a roller coaster approach with extrapolation of technology we see every day. And honestly, when Iron Man is bringing the thunder, you don't really care.

This movie was directed by Jon Favreau. Really? Elf Favreau? Zathura Favreau? He will always be the swinger we know and love, but I tell you he put together one hell of a big-budget hollywood blockbuster while keeping a pretty true core of what makes Iron Man so cool. The acting in the movie from all players is fun and tight, and I'm guessing Favreau has alot to do with that. Throw in the management of all the crazy effects sequences and I say "Good show, old man!"

3. Stark.
Robert Downey Jr. owns this role. It doesn't hurt that's he's surrounded by a great cast, either.

2. Kick-Assery.
Dude, Iron Man kicks so much ass in this movie. Actually I take that back. He didn't kick enough ass, there really needed to be more ass kicking. Tony Stark is indeed the billionaire playboy, but in that suit it is all motherfucking business. MOAR!

1. The Armor.
It looks sooooooooo cool! Face it, the armor was what was going to sell this movie. And the prospect of future movies with the built-in gimmick of new armor is like money in the bank.

I know the movie wasn't perfect, not that there could be a perfect movie. There's a few elements that border on cheese and hollywood screenwriting business-as-usual. But I sure enjoyed it, and it's by far the best representation of a comic to date. Prior to this I only held Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins in such high regard, nowadays (for me) Iron Man is the one to beat. Give me sequels! Screw the Avengers, 'cause I guarantee they're gonna screw that one up, just give me more Iron Man.

Thursday, May 01, 2008