Sunday, June 23, 2013

All-New X-Men #12 a Comic Book Milestone!

Marvel's All-New X-Men #12 marks a milestone in comics history.  Well, not necessarily in comics history, but in my personal history with comics.  It basically means that, for the first time in over a decade, I've actually read a year's worth of a Marvel comics.  I'm pretty disenchanted by anything by the Big Two, but that's their fault, not mine.  Anyway, #12 was pretty cool even though I think it was essentially a space filler wrapped around the idea that Cyclops and his brother Havoc got to give each other bro hugs, but that could just be me.  I'd also like to mention that while I enjoy the artistic team of Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger, I'm getting tired of seeing page after page of people standing around in open fields.  Draw a background for a change!
In other news, the more I read Indestructible Hulk, the more I ask myself why.  It has its moments, but overall I'm not as impressed as I'd hoped to be.  In issue 8, guest-starring Thor and legendary Thor artist Walt Simonson, while battling Frost Giants and attempting to extract mystical minerals from the permafrost of Jotunheim, Banner attempts to explain the "Only those who are worthy etc..." enchantment placed upon the thunder god's mighty mallet as some sort of nanotech, but I ain't buying it.  There was a pretty cool moment with a supporting character with a death wish, but no spoiler of secrets am I.  Maybe it's just me, but these Thor issues seem to be less about the Hulk and more about Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D.  Next issue: Daredevil!  I can hardly wait (he says sarcastically).
On a lighter note, I've started reading Dynamite Entertainment's run of The Spider!  Like All-Nex X-Men, it's been around about a dozen or so issues, but I thought I'd start from the beginning.  Dynamite as you may know from reading my posts, is responsible for the comic book Masks, which is the teaming up some of my favorite Golden Age and pulp heroes.  Anyway, the first four or so issues of The Spider have been a lot of fun.  My daughter described the art as drawn by someone who can't draw, referring to the book's use of photo referencing, but it's still pretty slick because they manage to really capture the look of The Spider from the old serials.  Next time I'm in my local comic shop, I'm hoping to get as caught up on this series as I can.  I've got the first two issues of Miss Fury to tide me over til then and from the looks of things, it doesn't appear to be another Catwoman comic.  We'll see...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Watcher Don't "Duck Face"!

For about a year now, I've been haunting my local comic shop Heroes Haven and trepidatiously re-entering the world of "modern comics," particularly the "Big Two."  My problem is this: how does one in good conscious buy comics from the two companies that don't seem to give a shit about their long-time fans?  I guess the answer is to just do it and remember that you're not so much feeding a machine, but keeping writers, artists and local comic book shops in business.  Having said that, I picked up my usual stash this week and, with the exception of DC's "Stormwatch," I'm pretty happy.

First up, "Indestructible Hulk" #7.  In this issue, we learn just exactly why Thor shows up wearing his awesome costume and not the assimilated movie tie-in today's readers are accustomed to.  It's a pretty good story by pen man par excellence  Mark Waid and master Thor artist Walt Simonson.  Why is Hulk wielding the Mighty Thor's hammer, you may wonder?  The answer's pretty cool as well as amusing.  Maybe it's just me, but the coloring in this book reminds me of Simonson's days on "Alien Legion."  Yep, I'm that old.
After Chris Claremont left the X-Men back in the 90s, I swore I'd never read another X-Book, but "All-New X-Men" has made me eat those words.  Brian Michael Bendis, a writer I'm really not fond of, has found a way to capture the plot structure and dialogue of the good ol' Claremont days, although I'm not particularly fond of how Wolverine is handled in the book.  Issue 11 is one of those great "who will betray them" kind of stories that I won't ruin it for anyone.  I love that Shadowcat has a major role in this title as she's always been a favorite of mine.  The art's great, easy to follow and consistent, but I'm curious as to why the colorist has decided to use so much red in the book.
My current favorite "Big Two" title is "Nova," the comic I didn't want to like.  Visually, the book is stunning, mixing photo images with Ed McGuinness's quasi-anime style.  The story is fun and kid-friendly.  I'd have no problem with letting my son read this comic, which I'm surprised he hasn't picked up yet considering how much he loves (shudder) the "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon, in which Nova appears regularly.  The difference between the two Novas and the reason I love this comic so much?  The comic book version of Nova isn't a dumb-ass.
The above image, taken from issue three, was doctored up by yours truly.  I can't help myself sometimes.

Leaving the "Big Two," we venture over to Dynamite and what has to be the best comic going for my money, "Masks," the book that combines many of my favorite "Golden Age" public domain heroes into one book with a plot worthy of teaming them up.
"Masks" #7 (sadly of only 8) brings us to the identity of the mad mastermind behind the threat of the "Justice Party."  Here's a little warning to would-be madmen, when you say things like, "Sometimes I think the whole world has gone mad, and I'm the only sane one left," you're probably nuts and might wish to seek professional help.  Aside from a little blurred art here and there making it a bit difficult to tell what's going on, the book is top notch.  As stated above, this title only has one issue left, but I'm hoping for more stories from them in the near future. 

Not a bad haul this time around.  Money doesn't grow on trees, so I like to spend it where it does the most good, which brings me to DC's "Stormwatch."  I picked it up when I heard Jim Starlin was taking over as the writer, but just can't get into the characters.  I think I'll be putting my hard-earned three dollars a month down on another title soon, perhaps one of the other Dynamite books, but the question is: which one...?


Monday, April 15, 2013

Indestructible Hulk!

I spent the better part of yesterday lying on the couch, listening to Hawkwind on Pandora and getting caught up on Indestructible Hulk.  Although I'm not one of those fanboys who follows artists from book to book, buying the title only as long as said artist is on said title, so I don't want to give you the wrong impression when I say the only reason I bought into Indestructible Hulk was because I heard Walt Simonson was signing on as artist as of issue six.  Having said that, I literally bought into Indestructible Hulk because I heard Walt Simonson was coming in as of issue six.  I feel like such a whore, but I digress.

Mark Waid, the writer, ranks among my favorites.  He is, after all, the guy who gave us Kingdom Come, a brilliant but short run on Captain America and a long box full of Flash comics.  His storytelling for Indestructible Hulk is rapid fire and a lot of fun, unlike some writers who like to linger for years on one stroy line.  I won't say too much about the plot for fear of ruing it for anyone, but Waid's new take on Banner's change in attitude towards his alter ego is handled quite well, though it's sometimes hard to believe it's actually Banner talking.  As is evidenced by the cover above, the Big Green Cheese gets a visit from Marvel's resident God of Thunder in issue six.  I don't know who's idea it was to let Simonson draw Thor in his traditional, non-movie tie-in wardrobe that Simonson is famous for, but it was a good one.

As for the art in issues one through five, it's my humble opinion that Leineil Yu's talents are better suited for a more "reality based" comic book, something like Punisher or Daredevil.  He just can't seem to make the Hulk "Hulk Out."  He also has problem making people look distinct from one another.  They all kinda look the same.  And there's this nasty habit he had of drawing way too many single and double splash pages.  That gets annoying after awhile and cheats the reader out of the hard-earned cash he had to plunk down for the book.  Simonson's only shortcoming on the title so far isn't even his own fault.  Just like when John Romita Jr. was drawing Thor back in the day, Simonson seems too restrained by page size.  Simonson could've filled the book with a number of splash pages, but instead filled most pages with a staggering amount of panels.

Whether I stay with this book or not depends on if Waid can keep me entertained and who comes in after Simonson steps down.  I don't really have a rating system for comics, but this one's on my "maybe/maybe not" list, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed... 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

True Story...

About a week ago, finally fed up with my cable bill, I bought a Blu Ray player so that I could stream Netflix and all kinds of other junk.  I didn't own any Blu Ray disks at the time and figured at least I can still play my apparently antiquated DVDs on it.  Well, upon returning home from the store, I checked my mail and, sure enough, someone sent me my very first Blu Ray disk!  How jacked up is that, right?  The story behind that goes like this...

A few weeks ago, while on Facebook, I answered what I didn't know was a prize-winning trivia question from Mike Mutt Lavender.  I just thought he was having fun, little did I know that knowing the name Seven Zark Seven would win me my very first Blue Ray disk.  Mike messaged me for my address and, not to long later, while opening up my mail box, there was my prize.  So, props to Mike for making good on his promises.  Check him and his review page out on Facebook.

How was the movie, you ask?  Well, it's a zombie flick so that's usually a good thing.  It's called "Osombie" and it stars my new obsession Eve Mauro and was filmed in Utah.  I must say, it was a fun movie.  I never once glanced at the clock and asked, "When will this thing ever end?!" so there's that.

Eve Mauro, ladies & gentlemen...

You're welcome.

So, what it all about, you ask?  Well, the story goes a little something like this:  "Osombie" follows Dusty, a yoga instructor from Colorado on a desperate mission to save her crazy, conspiracy-theorist brother Derek, who is convinced Osama bin Laden is still alive. In Afghanistan, Dusty falls in with a NATO special forces team on a secret assignment. It turns out Derek is not so crazy after all, and that Osama has returned from his watery grave and is making an army of zombie terrorists. When the group crashes headlong into the growing zombie apocalypse, Dusty and the troops must find and destroy the root of the zombie insurgency before it infests the rest of the world.  I'm not exactly sure why one of the special forces guys always has to take his shirt off, but hey, I guess that was for the ladies.  As far as CGI blood & gore goes, it ranks better than any of the horrible movies I subjected myself to on the Sci-Fi Channel, you know, when I had cable?

Behold the trailer:

Overall, I enjoyed the movie for more than my obvious bias towards Eve Mauru and Mike's a stand-up guy in my book.

Keep it here, boppers.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Some comics I read this week...

 I just finished Moonstone's "Captain Midnight Special" by the talented duo of Brian Augustyn & Jay Piscopo! It's a full-color thrill ride the way the comics of yesterday were made and the way more comics should be made today. All out action, amazing artwork and a host of special guests! I only hope this isn't the last we see from these two magnificent madmen and their flying machines...
What can I say about Dynamite's Masks series I haven't said before? It's just an amazing book that seems to get everything right with each issue. Having said that, my only qualm with #4 was the dialogue, or rather the lack thereof. With scarcely 100 words per page, I finished the book in like three minutes. The artist left plenty of room for dialogue, so I'm not sure what happened there. And having said that, don't let my one tiny critique turn you, gentle snowflakes, away from an otherwise flawless read...
Marvel's relaunch/ you want to call it of Nova, is shaping up to be a pretty sweet book, but, like Masks #4, it's lacking a little in dialogue and wordin'. This is especially frustrating as it's only the second issue and everything's still a mystery. The art's amazing, though and the story is compelling and fun.
Where Masks #4 and Nova #2 lack enough dialogue to keep me happy, All-New X-Men #8 more than makes up for it. If you wonder why I complain so much about dialogue in comics, I'd like to point out that, when I'm plopping down an average of four bucks a book, I want my money's worth. Brian Michael Bendis seems to have recaptured that Chris Claremont flair for wordin' that I grew up loving, all the while continuing to weave a pretty fun story. This one has Hydra goons, giant robots, the Avengers and Jean Grey sporting an awesome B-52s doo. It was worth my four bucks.
Lastly, there's Indestructible Hulk #1. I didn't care for the art, I thought it was too cluttered and "edgy," but I honestly picked up #1 when I heard Walt Simonson is coming on as artist in a few issues. I figured I don't want to be lost when that glorious moment happens and Mark Waid is a great writer, so what did I have to lose? The story is great, Dr. Banner decides he doesn't want "Hulk Smash!" on his tombstone when he's gone, so he's going to stop crying and running and joined S.H.I.E.L.D. Plus this issue has the Mad Thinker. Nuff said. Can I say that, or will Marvel sue me? That's it for this go around. I'll figure out how to link people and stuff next time. Right now I'm just impressed I managed to get this far, being as it's been so long since I actually blogged. Keep it here, boppers...