Can't we all just get along for the holidays? :-)
Have a very, merry Christmas and a happy New Year's!!
I hope to be able to post a bit more next year.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So I've spent the past nine months reading the various SECRET INVASION titles and it ends with a sociopath with a split-personality shooting the Skrull queen on national television. Boy, sure glad I haven't been wasting my comic bags on this!!
Norman Osborne, is the Green Goblin, for those who haven't been reading Marvel comics for the past three decades or seen any of the Spider-Man films. He's a multiple murderer, child abuser and (depending on whether you accept that storyline) a seducer of young women. Just the kind of guy the President of the U.S. would put in charge of every facit of American intelligence and allow to oversee the super-human community. He's probably a Republican, as well.
Norman has called in a group of super-baddies to act as his back-up, although there is apparently one other (who we don't see except partially in shadow) that will keep his 'allies' in line. I know I haven't been reading a ton of Marvels, except the SI books, but when did Namor start looking like Hugh Laurie? I also wasn't aware that Loki, Thor's half-brother is now sporting cleavage. Do I even want to know?
The next few months those heroes and villains who have survived the Skull attacks are going to battle each other, probably with reversed roles. I guess the folks at Marvel so how great the DC books were when Lex Luthor was President and have decided to try something similar. Good move! I'll be cancelling some of the Marvel titles I've been buying the past half a year.
On a positive note, if you aren't buying the current JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA title you are missing some wonderful stuff by writer Dwayne McDuffie. He did a nice alternate-world story featuring Vixen and is bringing the Milestone characters (many of whom he created or helped to create) into the DCU.
If you are into horror/dark fantasy, you really should be buying the Mike Mignola written titles from Dark Horse. Anything with Hellboy, Abe Sapien and the other members of the B.P.R.D. are well worth seeking in the shops and bookstores. Also, WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman remains one of the better books currently being produced, even if you are not a big zombie fan.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
As some of you know I'm a sucker for the Dickens tale and will watch just about any half-way decent adaptation. I'll try to keep you updated during the season as to which ones I see.
On the comics front, I picked up the last two issues of Justice League of America (#25 & 26) written by Dwayne McDuffie. I've always liked Dwayne's writing and have had the chance to meet him a few times, back in the Other Life. Actually, it was because of comments on Tony Isabella's messageboard that I checked out the book. How could I pass up McDuffie introducing the "Brown Bomber" character? The black hero who would have been the star of DC's first comic with an African-American character was a bullet just barely dodged, thanks to our Tony I. It was a nice surprise and I know I'll be picking up the next few issues, since Dwayne will be brining back the Milestone superheroes as part of the DC Universe. Way cool!
That's it for now! If I can't get back before Thanksgiving I want to wish you all the best holiday.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Donna and I have been watching horror movies the past week. Normally, my wife doesn't care for this type of thing, but there hasn't been much interesting on some nights and lots of stations are showing older scary movies. I finally got Donna to watch HALLOWEEN, which she had never seen and the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. These are two of my favorites so it was nice to share them. We also watched the Vincent Price film HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, a movie that Donna actually had seen before and enjoys. Lastly, we watched GHOST SHIP (2002), which had it's moments if predictable, especially the ending which I could have done without.
Nuclear Comics is having a sale this weekend, but the only thing I picked up (other than my usual pulls) was WALKING DEAD TPB #8, so I'm all caught up on the series. It remains one of my favorites, but I wonder how long creator/writer Robert Kirkman can continue without repeating himself.
Only one more issue of SECRET INVASION to go and things are nearing some sort of climax even in the tie-in books. Some of which (like SHE-HULK, INCREDIBLE HERCULES & Ms. MARVEL) already seem to be moving on or setting up future storylines beyond the Skull war. There are several Skrulls already established in some books who look to be staying around for a while, but I suppose that could change.
That's it for now! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and remember to vote next Tuesday!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
When these guys were hot I loved the commercials. The one in the Japanese restaurant still makes me laugh when I think about it.
Sorry, it gets political at the end, since I try to stay away from that here. Still I don't think anybody should be surprised who I support!
Have a good weekend and vote early, if you can.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I’ve been enjoying the two regular DOCTOR WHO books from IDW (Doctor Who & Doctor Who Classics), so was happy to see that they are putting out two more series featuring the Time Lord. The first book features new stories with the Doctor #10, while the other reprints earlier adventures beginning with the Tom Baker version.
I mentioned DW: The Forgotten last month (featuring the current Doctor, David Tennant and the first, William Hartnell) and I just picked up the second issue, which has adventures of the second & third regenerations (played by Patrick Troughton & Jon Pertwee respectively). The Doctor and his companion Martha Jones are still stuck in a mysterious museum and unable to locate the TARDIS, plus it seems the still unseen villain has begun to activate some nasty surprises for our duo. Writer Tony Lee and artist, Pia Guerra are doing a nice job capturing the personalities and appearances of all the Doctors. While Guerra’s style may be a bit cartoonish for some I find her perfect for the title.
The same week a had second DW reprint book, Grant Morrison’s DOCTOR WHO, with tales of the Sixth & Seventh Doctors (who were played by Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy on television). This is a two issue series featuring the DW stories Morrison wrote in the ‘80s, before he brought back the DC hero, ANIMAL MAN in popular and award-winning series. While the Baker two-parter is nothing special, the done-in-one McCoy story has the Doctor helping an entire race avoid extinction. It also shows the Time Lord at a low point being reminded of why he does what he does.
I’ll try to throw in more reviews later this week.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I haven't forgotten about this blog, but I haven't been doing much posting anywhere. Heck, I think Alex over at Poplitiko is about to cross me off the contributor list any day now. :-)
I've actually been doing more reading than writing lately, not that I think I have much to add to the general conversation. I'm also getting lazy and finding it easier to link to something or toss up a video from YouTube on the topic of the day.
I'm still trying to keep up with SECRET INVASION and still finding most of the tie-in books pretty decent. MS. MARVEL and BLACK PANTHER are interesting enough now that I may stick around post-SI to see where the characters go from here. In both books we have seen the titular heroes take a number of lives, mostly Skrulls but still it is bound to effect them. I've previous BP series, but had to be brought up to speed when I picked up the title a couple of months ago. I had no idea that he was married to the former X-Men, Storm.
I sort of like AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE, even though there are a lot of characters with whom I'm not familiar. I enjoy the fact that the 3-D MAN has become sort of a 'legacy' character with a new kid taking up the name & uniform of the retconned '50s hero. I'd never heard of the "Skrull Kill Krew" before and I'm not sure I care enough to do more than read the Wikipedia entry. On the other hand, if there are going to be Skrulls remaining on Earth after the end of all this, I might be interested enough to keep an eye on them. Of course, that depends on which characters might be part of that group at the time.
Speaking of Marvel, I really have liked the three "free" SAGA books that have been given out at shops. The DAREDEVIL issue pretty much centers on what has happened to the character since mystery/thrill writer, Ed Brubaker has begun writing the character. Still it was interesting. MARVEL: YOUR UNIVERSE covered a good portion of the last decade, filling me in on what led up to CIVIL WAR, SECRET WAR and background enough on what the Skrulls and other characters have been up to. There were also a few pages taken from the up-coming new MARVEL HANDBOOK, with the section on James "Bucky" Barnes (Winter Soldier & the new Captain America) especially helpful. Finally, last Friday I picked up MARCH ON ULTIMATUM SAGA, that had a great overview of the ULTIMATE universe at Marvel, something which I have not followed at all. Have to be honest and say that there wasn't much in the book that made me regret not buying the titles, except for missing the first appearances of the MARVEL ZOMBIES. I still plan on picking up the TPB collecting those issues, since there is a third mini featuring the 'undead heroes' coming next year.
Hope to have some more stuff on comics or television in a couple of days.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
I continue to pick up most of the SECRET INVASION titles from Marvel. As I’ve said before most of them are decent or better, giving you a nice “what has gone before” page at the beginning and generally allowing you to figure out who is who. Only a few times have I had to go to Wikipedia to check out a character or two, mostly from AVENGERS: The Initiative. In many cases they appear to be old characters with new names or new characters assuming the names of older ones.
I’ll probably have more on other comics either later today or next Monday.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
If you caught FEARnet’s BLOOD TRAILS (BT), you’ll know that was a prequel to the film 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Chronologically, BT took place several weeks before the events in the film, while DtD is set a month or more after. BT set up the world in which 30 Days takes place and we learn that something is going to happen in Alaska. In the sequel, we learn that the general public has been led to believe that the town of Barrow, Alaska was destroyed in an accident that set fire to the town and killed all the residents.
Andrew Laurich is back as George Fowler, the junkie from ‘Blood Trails’, who accidentally learned of the vampire society's plans and possibly how they can be stopped. We were also introduced to a group dedicated to stopping them. George is now doing time for the murder of his girlfriend, who had become a vampire in the previous series. Apparently, some vampires are still after George for the code he has which would reveal many of their secrets. When the state decides to transfer him (in the middle of the night, naturally) his guards are attacked, along with a nurse who was administrating sedatives to George as he understandably resists the transfer. During the attack, George makes his escape and a manhunt begins. Meanwhile, the nurse Sara, who was not killed, begins to change as she had been scratched and thus infected by the vampiric virus.
Of course, things are never this simple, so it is revealed early on that Sara is the sister of former homicide detective, Nick Maguire. Nick confronts his former partner, Gina (played by the very, busy Shawnee Smith) who reminds him that he has no official authority in the investigation. Eventually, Nick finds George and together they try to find Sara, whom Nick believes he can still save.
If you enjoyed the first series, the feature film or the various '30 Days of Night' comics by Steve Niles and co-creator Ben Templesmith, on which the films were based, you will definitely want to go to FEARnet.com or the FEARnet channel (if your cable/satellite provider carries it) and catch this. I highly recommend both the online episodes and the film (if you haven’t seen it yet) for those who like this sort of thing. Count me in that group!
Monday, August 18, 2008
I remember from my early con going experiences that female attendees were generally girlfriends or wives who were being dragged around, or those few female professionals who worked in the industry. Often you wouldn't see more then a couple ladies, until it was time for the 'costume' contest when they would magically appear. The past couple of decades has seen an amazing increase in the number of women both reading and creating comics. I think this is a plus for all fans of comics and for the industry itself.
Sadly, I have also overheard, witnessed and been told stories which mirror those in the essay. I am in total agreement that this type of behavior (no matter where it occurs) should not be tolerated. I'm frankly surprised that the SDCC doesn't have an established policy on this sort of thing and think that the organizers might want to consider creating one.
Anyway, see what you think:
Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun!: A serious note.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Secret Invasion: Frontline continues the story of the first day of the Skrull invasion in New York City and how it affected the lives of a half dozen people. We see the Skrulls and various super-heroes, but the focus here is how the average citizen reacts in such a situation. Of course, since it is the Marvel version of Manhattan, you’d think those folks would be used to this sort of thing. You won’t find answers to the major questions the main title brings up, but the writer Brian Reed and artist Marco Castiello do a good job.
Peter David has been among my Top Ten favorite comic writers for years. I haven’t liked everything he has written, but even Charles Dickens had off days. He is the current writer on both She-Hulk and X-Factor, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that given the natural crossovers taking place during the SI event that PAD would bring his characters into conflict. Currently, the X-Factor team is working as ‘mutant’ detectives, taking cases for private individuals and being forced to perform the same tasks by the U.S. government. Jennifer “She-Hulk” Walters is working as a bounty-hunter, along with her Skrull partner, Jazinda and naturally (or else it wouldn’t be a super-hero comic), Jennifer and various members of X-Factor end up fighting. I have to be honest and admit that I’ve never been a big fan of Larry Stroman’s art and in fact find many of the characters he draws in the X-FACTOR book (#33) ugly and misshapen. It’s almost jarring then to immediately pick up SHE-HULK (#31) and find the animation style work of Vincenzo Cucca. Wow, what a pleasant surprise! Both books are, of course, well written, but your mileage may vary depending on how you feel about the art in either.
I really don’t know where writer Dan Jurgens will eventually go with TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN, but he is doing a nice job so far of keeping my interest. About half the current Justice League, led by Batman, has gone to Tangent: Earth to rescue some of their members who have been captured by that world’s Superman. Having made himself the ruler of the planet, Superman feels that the ends will always justify the means when it comes to remaking the world in the way he sees fit. Reading the mind of Green Lantern John Stewart this Superman feels threatened by the hundreds of super-powered beings who exist on Earth One. Believing that his world would be threatened by ours Superman decides that he should strike first. The art by Jamal Igle with inker Robin Riggs is clean and keeps all the characters easily identifiable as the action heats up. As I said last time out, I have a bad feeling about the fate of Tangent’s Guy Gardner where he is a hacker picked up by what may or may not be the government, rather than holder of a green ring.
Final Crisis #3 may be the final issue in this series for me. I still have no real handle on where this is going and Grant Morrison makes no attempt at making things clear. Personally, the appearance of the bitchy Mary Marvel cuts any points I might have given the issue in half. The appearance of Barry Allen and the Atomic Knights on their giant Dalmatians doesn’t make up for it. J. G. Jones is a good artist and he certainly is doing a better than journeyman job on this book. Unfortunately, nice art and good dialogue do not make up for too many unanswered questions and the fact that I’m expected to buy several tie-in series in order to follow everything. While you could say some of that about SECRET INVASION, at least the Marvel folks are giving you a hand with a ‘what has gone before’ page in every issue. Check with me in a few weeks to see if I decided to give Morrison & Co. one more chance.
I finished off my pile with three books I have really been enjoying. First, you cannot go wrong with Stan Sakai’s USAGI YOJIMBO and #113 is a nice little done-in-one tale that brings an end to the partnership of Usagi & Gen. IDW continues to bring us two entertaining DOCTOR WHO books each month, one (DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC) featuring reprints of the tales of the Tom Baker Doctor and the other (DOCTOR WHO) stars the current incarnation of the Time Lord. Both are fun and recommended.
Finally, from BOOM! Studios we have ZOMBIE TALES: THE SERIES which is comprised of stand-alone and multi-part stories of survival. As in WALKING DEAD the world is coming to grips with an ever increasing horde of the undead. Whereas in WD the zombies are pretty much what you would assume zombies to be, in ZT the writers are given a free hand. Some stories actually have the zombies maintaining their intelligence and slowly rebuilding civilization, but on their terms. Namely, the ‘norms’ are corralled and raised as livestock for the undead citizens. In other stories, they are your typical Romero shufflers and pretty easy to dispatch if they don’t outnumber the living. The stories are a mix of straight horror, human interest and humorous or a mix. Writers such as Joe R. Lansdale and Steve Niles have appeared along with lesser known folks and a number of artists. To paraphrase something the late, Don Thompson used to say, if this is the kind of thing you like you will like it.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The guy dressed as The Joker was amazing, from the makeup to his laugh.
The vampire from 30 Days of Night actually scared the crap out of me, since I thought she/it was a statue, until I was about to touch her boot and she looked at me. D'oh!
The storm trooper and alien/Jedi (?) were part of the promotion for the new SW: Clone Wars movie.
That's Mike Nelson signing posters and photos while promoting RiffTrax and the MST3-K reunion on Saturday.
The lady behind the bar, whose name I forget, was serving up drinks and sarcasm at Dick's Last Resort. I had lunch and a brew there both Friday & Saturday. (Should I mention her Hello Kitty panties? Probably not.)
Various other photos are likely easy to figure out. On the other hand, the Kaiju/monster is from a strange show where folks dressed like that wrestle. I saw it once on YouTube, but can't recall anything else.
There are a few other photos, but these came out the best.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
I don’t want to give anything away, but the show wrapped up quite a bit in that extra-length episode and set things up for possible future stories. We had a mix of both happy and sad endings, with several of the Doctor’s former companions returning home or going off on their own. We may also have seen the last of one of the Time Lord’s most persistent enemies (but I personally doubt it). Both these episodes were a delight for old and new fans, as they put the spotlight on each of the companions, giving each several nice scenes individually and with the Doctor. I’m not going to confuse you or spoil anything by telling you who they may have been.
David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor (not of course counting Peter Cushing, who portrayed him in two films, essentially adaptations of stories from the series), has become one of my favorites. He’s certainly the most flirtatious, and as the last Time Lord possibly the most driven. Given the events of this last episode and things revealed about his character, it will be interesting to see where the Doctor goes next and who his next companion may be.
I know the official BBC site probably gives away some of the events of next season, so I purposely kept away. On the other hand, I wasn’t as familiar with some of the companions as I was with others, so I cheated by peeking at the Wikipedia entries on several.
Now, I can’t wait for the next season to see what space & time hold in store for the Doctor and whomever he invites into the TARDIS.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The site has just started so please be patient while we try and get our act together.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
4) It's been twelve years since my last SDCC and the number of anime/manga cosplay folks have multiplied beyond anything I could have anticipated. Some young ladies, were basically going for the Japanese school girl look, but many had cleverly designed & made outfits that truly resembled their characters.
9) The Capa-Alpha breakfast was a disappointment, unfortunately. There were only six of us present at the Marriott Gas Lamp Saturday morning. Bob Ingersoll, one of those who did show up and sort of organized it, said that he'd probably just have us meet at McDonald's next year if this was what we could expect. Besides Bob and there was Joe Colgan, his son Elric, Jeff Gelb and Mark Verheiden who joined us a bit later for coffee. I remember earlier K-a meets where we would take over several long tables with a close to a couple dozen pros, fans and family hanging out. Just to name drop a moment we saw Bruce Campbell, a friend of Mark's come in and he waved, plus just about half the writing staff of LOST wandered by. Also, pointed out by Mark, since none of the rest of us would have had a clue.
Good night, Internet!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Clovy said he had a great time at the convention and it was good feeding on his fans. (To be honest, this isn't my photo, but from the San Diego Union-Tribune site.)
Seriously, I'll have more to say on the convention and some of the things I did and didn't do later.
It was/is overwhelming and I don't know that it is still something I'd like to do every year at this point. Ask me again in six months when it's time to register for '09. :-)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
This is Dan’s first SD con, although he has been to others in New York. He’s more into gaming and action figures and has a list of stuff he wants. Great place to get some of the con exclusive and limited edition figures he collects. I’m just looking forward to hooking up with some folks I haven’t seen in over a decade, meeting some creators and getting as much free stuff as I can fit into my bags every day.
I’ll be sharing some of my adventures with you next week and probably some photos when I have a chance. I’m taking my digital camera down with me and plan to get some pics of folks in costumes, company displays and, if I can make it, the MST3-K anniversary reunion panel tomorrow night. I know that there are going to be dozens of ‘journalists’ and hundreds of bloggers roaming around and I doubt I’ll have anything to report that you will not have already heard or seen, but I’ll definitely have something to say about the rumors and news that will be coming out of the four days.
I have only a limited list of panels that I’d like to attend, although there are a few conflicts. There are always cancellations and changes, so I’m not going to be heart-broken if something happens. The panels and interviews moderated by Mark Evanier are generally the ones I go out of my way for, but there are also some previews and panels going on at the same time that sound interesting. Personally, the Capa-Alpha breakfast on Saturday morning is really the ONLY event that I have to attend, no matter what. I have seen or kept in e-mail contact with a few of my former apa-mates the past decade, but far too few to be honest.
Unless you catch me in the background of some YouTube video this weekend, I’ll be “seeing” you next Monday. Have a safe & fun one whether you’re at the convention or not!
Friday, July 18, 2008
I have discovered the true reason for YouTube. Kiko will be at San Diego next week. To be having so much fun then! :-)
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
SECRET INVASION continues to kick butt! I have yet to read a single issue, of the main series or tie-ins, that has disappointed me. I want to mention both CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13 and SI: FRONT LINE as two books that present different perspectives of the invasion. The first shows us how the Skrulls seek to capture the magic of Marvel-Earth, while the second series presents former Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich seeing the invasion from the ground, so to speak. As he did in his appearance in the MARVELS series, Urich is the common man caught in events shaped by forces beyond 'human', he gives us a street level perspective missing from the main super-hero books.
I even picked up the current issue of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE, which ties in with SI and found that I wasn't totally lost despite the presence of dozens of characters I had never encountered previously. As with the MS. MARVEL and two AVENGER titles, it remains to be seen if I'll continue to buy the books after SI, but there is a good chance I might at this point.
I'll try to have more stuff in the next couple of days.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Since I'm not going to be logging in from Friday - Monday I wanted to mention some comics I just read, before I forget.
SECRET INVASION continues to be fascinating. The two Avenger titles and the first issue Young Avengers/Runaway mini are all interesting and much easier to figure out than the DC FINAL CRISIS title. I really like how they are using the Avenger books to explain how various heroes were replaced and what the Skrull queen was doing before she replaced Spider-Woman.
The YA/Runaway book is filled with characters I've never seen before but enough is explained (via dialogue and captions) so a new reader didn't feel completely lost. Don't know that I would go back and pick up the regular series in which they appear, but we'll see how many survive the next few months.
I'm glad that I also picked up MS. MARVEL the past few months since that ties in completely with SI. I can understand why so many folks spoke highly of the book. Finally, INCREDIBLE HERCULES is a lot of fun and the interplay of the gods is really good. I'd definitely picking up earlier issues of this title.
As for non-Marvel books, I continue to enjoy the TANGENT: REIGN OF SUPERMAN mini-series. Not sure if I want to see the characters from that world continue to interact with the Earth-One heroes when this wraps up. Of course, it appears that not all of them will be around come the last issue anyway at this point.
My major problem is that I find it odd that Superman-Tangent can so easily overcome the power of the the GL rings, but has been stopped by the power of the Tangent-GL's lantern. Also, odd that a character so powerful would utilize any super-powered beings for his purposes. It doesn't appear that he trusts them to any degree, so why not simply do away with or imprison all of them. Then again, I guess the book would be boring and if you couldn't use all the Tangent versions of DCU characters at least for a few scenes. Also, I don't think all of the half dozen characters appearing in the back-up story about the Nightwing agency are going to survive until the end either. Never trust mysterious women who pick you up in a limo! Who hasn't discovered that for themselves?If you are a HELLBOY fan you might want to pick up B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man. This one-shot comic tells the origin of Johann Kraus, a character who will be featured in the second HELLBOY film out later this month. Johann is an interesting character and it's nice to finally discover how he became encased in his suit. Not sure how he'll be introduced in the new movie.
Oh, and it was a HELLBOY PVC that I got at ALA on Sunday, since somebody asked
Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
This is from Will Vinton's ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN, made back in 1985. There's a reason you don't see it much.
Why did I stick it out through SALVATION RUN? I guess I expected something to happen of note and after four issues I figured I might as well get the final three. It was a bad mistake & a waste of money. It really resolves nothing, and the two of the deaths are of characters certainly more interesting than the dozens of third-raters that escape. Monsieur Mallah and The Brain were fascinating, if sometimes badly used villains created for the original DOOM PATROL. Their relationship was odd, but when handled well quite lovely. I’m going to miss them. Some of the last issue dialogue, plus a ‘house ad’ indicates that this was a lead in to one of the FINAL CRISIS books, none of which I’m going to be buying. I have been suckered too many times the past year by DC. Time to drop most of their titles.
On the other hand, I haven’t been disappointed by any of Marvel’s SECRET INVASION books. From the central title to the books featuring Captains Marvel & Britain and Ms. Marvel, the two main Avenger titles and surprisingly INCREDIBLE HERCULES I have enjoyed each issue. I have hopes for the FANTASTIC FOUR tie-in and may be buying some of the other one-shots along the way. For me the Marvel books have been consistently fun, unlike many of the COUNTDOWN books which seemed to be out only go nowhere.
As for some plot points, I don’t really think that Tony Stark is a Skrull, but rather that the Skull queen is playing with his head as she impersonates Spider-Woman. I didn’t read the Civil War events, but think it would really be a kick in the balls of the fans to suddenly pull a switch. Of course, it would make old time Iron Man fans happy since they could ignore the illegal and immoral stuff Stark did, since it wasn’t really him. It remains to be seen, of course. I’m a bit confused on some books as to whom some minor characters may be, but the writers and/or editors are giving me enough information for the most part so I’m not totally lost. In the case of the Hercules book, I think I’m going to go back and pick up the half dozen prior issues, maybe at San Diego. I also plan on purchasing some of the Civil War books or TPBs so I can try to catch up a bit.
I may have a bit more to say on other books later tonight.
Monday, June 09, 2008
The Bribe by William P. Wood
Published by Leisure Books; ISBN - 0843957034
When a controversial California Congressman and a cab driver are killed in front of an apartment building, where the Representative lives with his mistress, things may not be as simple as initially thought. After a possible robbery or car-jacking gone wrong are ruled out rumors begin circulating. Finally, Homeland Security and the White House announce that this may be a terrorist act. Things quickly become more difficult for two Sacramento homicide detectives and the Deputy District Attorney.
As the investigation continues, Detective Terry Nye and his partner, Rose Tafoya discovers that the FBI is not being totally forthcoming with certain information. They find on their own that the Congressman has been taking bribes and that his announcement that he was calling for legislation to stop this type of thing may have led to his murder. From the Congressman’s greedy wife, who may have political ambitions of her own, to his secretive head of staff and a shady, lobbyist with ties to the current D.A. there is no shortage of suspects.
Wood alternates the narrative from that of the detectives to that of Deputy D.A. Cooper as each begins looking into the career and private life of the dead Congressman. The trail leads from the former haunts of the one-time military hero turned politician to the halls of Congress in D.C. and back again. His mistress fears for her own life and everybody from the wife to the Congressman’s ‘business associates’ are hiding things from the police. Barred by the FBI from investigating certain aspects of the case, Cooper, Nye & Tafoya must follow the limited leads they do have before things spiral out of control and the case is taken out of their hands.
With a dozen different suspects and the personal lives of the lead characters to follow Wood doesn’t make it easy for the reader. Some aspects of the case go back several decades and it becomes obvious that, just as the detectives, we aren’t privy to every angle. As Joe Bob used to say in his video reviews, there’s way too much plot getting in the way of the story. I don’t want to accuse writer Wood of padding, but I think the tale could have been told in a swifter fashion.
Overall a good book with a successful outcome, and I enjoyed the digs along the way at the current political climate and jabs at the ‘war on terror.’ While I liked the main characters and would like to see them return in another book, I think the author might want to pare things down the next time around. I believe that choosing to focus on either Cooper or the two detectives would help things along.
Two and a half stars.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
In FINAL CRISIS #1 we see some heroes (that I either don’t know or remember) ambushed and seemingly killed by Mirror Master & Doctor Light. During this we have what I think is supposed to be joking banter between the two hinting at MM procuring some ‘erectile dysfunction’ drugs for the Doctor. This takes place while the villains stand over and further abuse the bodies of the fallen heroes, which would seem bad enough. However, given the fact that DL has been shown to be an abusive and unrepentant rapist & murderer, why are ED jokes supposed to be funny or even appropriate? I was taken aback at the time, but forgot to mention it yesterday while trying to cover several books. Probably another reason why FC may not be on my ‘buy list’ for more than one more issue.
I don’t seem to be the only one who feels this way, although perhaps not for the same reasons. In the reviews I’ve read and seen over on YouTube the general consensus appears to be negative towards FC. If this is what we can expect from DC then I’ll be spending my money on more Marvel and independent titles.
I picked up the hardcover edition of SECRET WARS at the library this past weekend and am really enjoying it. Besides being a good book on its own merits it explains why some of the heroes feel the way they do towards Nick Fury in the current SECRET INVASION storyline. I also really like how Bendis writes Peter Parker and Matt Murdock in the series, but wasn’t thrilled by his Logan, at least in the first couple of issues.
That’s it for now!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
After all the money and time I invested in COUNTDOWN and related titles, I didn’t expect that DC was going to flip me the bird with the first issue of FINAL CRISIS. What the hell is going on? Is that Tor? That sure as heck is Kamandi running up on him later. I’m assuming that The Question and others do not see the armored guy on skis hanging over the crime scene, right? Seems at least some of the New Gods are not dead, simply hanging out here kidnapping kids and turning them into red-eyed fanged little creeps. I really don’t have a clue and am only going to give FC one more issue to make me believe. I’m also going to keep my promise to myself and not buy a single ‘Sightings’ tie-in.
On the other hand, the latest issues of NEW AVENGERS and MS. MARVEL keep the heat on with SECRET INVASION. We still don’t know who all the Skrulls may be, but do learn some things about those ‘70s Avengers who were held captive. Some folks aren’t too happy with a certain ‘dead’ hero showing up, but I don’t believe that is really him. On the other hand, it looks like we will be seeing the some familiar characters showing up in the MARVEL 1985 series. Wow! Talk about fanboy fantasy come true? What would you do if you found out that Doctor Doom & the Red Skull had moved in down the street? Have to thank writer Mark Millar and artist Tommy Lee Edwards for bringing us a wonderful fantasy for those of us who did believe in such things as kids.
Finally, I want to recommend DEAD, SHE SAID from IDW. Writer Steve Niles knows his dead folks, as the creator of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, and here he’s teamed with artist Bernie Wrightson . Low rent P.I. Coogan has had a bad night. He doesn’t remember much about it, except that somewhere along the line he got killed and he’s not happy. When he is found over the torn apart body of the person who may have been responsible he has a lot of explaining to do to the cops. Wrightson inks his own pencils here and it shows. Damn, he’s good!
On the TV watching front, I caught promos for two new summer replacement shows that caught my interest. ABC’s WIPEOUT is a total rip-off of a Japanese game show, the name of which escapes me. One of the cable networks was showing an English-dubbed version, along the lines of IRON CHEF, where you really didn’t know how accurate the translation may have been. Of course that wasn’t the point. The goal of the show, as is that of the American rip-off, is to have folks attempt to get across this enormous water bound obstacle course. The ABC site calls it a ‘reality show’, but that term has long ago stopped really meaning anything of the sort.
Also from ABC is “I Survived a Japanese Game Show”, where a group of ten Americans are flown over to do exactly that. Or rather, they must compete in the stunts and competitions that are actually used in those shows, but they won’t actually compete against Japanese, but each other.
Hard to believe that the game show concept was created here, isn’t it? The first, “Uncle Jim's Question Bee", was broadcast in 1941, unless the British beat us to it. It seems that the ‘successful’ shows of the past few years are all adaptations of shows from Europe and now Japan.
I think it’s time for Donna and I to breakdown and get that DVR from Cox.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tabloia! is from Chris Wisnia, who loves comics, big monsters, the old WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and other cool stuff. From 'Dick Hammer' and 'Doris Danger' to 'Dr. DeBunko' and the weekly TABLOIA tabloid you will find a comic or tall-tale to your liking. Chris has contributions from such well known comic artists as Jill Thompson, Sergio Aragones, and Sam Keith, plus Silver Age greats like John Severin & Dick Ayers.
Not going to do regular comic reviews this week, as I'm trying to get caught up with work stuff before Friday. Donna and I will be in Brooklyn until next Wednesday (5/28) and I have a few reports that have to get done.
I do want to recommend that folks pick up the SECRET INVASION series and various tie-in stories from Marvel. Unlike DC's COUNTDOWN (which I liked better than some folks), the SI story involves an alien menace, but sticks closer to Earth. While heroes & villains were getting offed in the DC series you always had the feeling that things would eventually be worked out and with probably few long term effects. In SI you get a sense of real paranoia as the heroes don't know who to trust, which means the reader doesn't know either.
I have to give my thanks to Marvel editorial for giving the reader a 'what has gone before' page each issue. It allowed me to pick up several books which had not been reading, but not feel totally lost. The last issue of the just ended CAPTAIN MARVEL mini, latest issues of MS. MARVEL and NEW AVENGERS all tie in and really should be checked out. The second issue of the main SI book is really good and reveals that some but not apparently all of the heroes who were on the crashed Skrull ship are indeed Skrull's themselves. At least one hero we thought dead seems to be quite alive. I'm going to hold off on judging the SI: Fantastic Four series until the next issue. Lots of things are happening and I'm not familiar enough with the current FF continuity to be sure. On the other hand, I love when the Torch & Thing are the central focus of a story.
If you are not reading this series, at least pick up the main title as I don't think you'll be disappointed. Make Mine Marvel! (At least for now)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I’m sure if you are interested you have already caught the movie or are doing so this weekend. I don’t want to do a complete review, since there are plenty of those around if you are interested. There’s probably nothing I could add to what the professionals critics and other fans have to say. These are just a few comments about my general feelings on the film.
The movie opens with Tony Stark (played wonderfully by Robert Downey, Jr.) being caught in the ambush of American troops with whom he is traveling. The film then winds back to show us what occurred the previous 36 hours leading up to the assault. We get a feel for how Stark goes about his daily routines, seemingly not caring that his corporation is building weapons that could fall into the wrong hands. He’s an electronics genius who has used his abilities to build his father’s company into one of the largest of its kind. Despite his wealth and his playboy lifestyle, it is apparent that he is lonely, with few people with whom he feels totally comfortable.
The Tony Stark of the comics, at least until the recent events of ‘Civil War’, was very close to how Downey portrays him. Brilliant, flawed and only allowing himself a few close confidents. In the current Marvel Universe, he doesn’t even have that, but the Stark of the movie is a better person, at least by the films end.
The cast is very good, with some wonderful actors playing roles in what is after all a ‘super-hero’/action film. Not what you would expect from Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges, but all take their parts seriously without the scene chewing you often see actors doing in these sorts of films. Too many actors feel they can ham it up or just walk through these movie roles, which they seem to feel are beneath them. Than why take the role? Bills piling up?
Stan Lee, who co-created the character, has a nice cameo that made me laugh. If you stick around through the credits you’ll find Samuel L. Jackson showing up as another Marvel character, who hints that we might be seeing several other Marvel characters appearing along with Iron Man at some point. If you have read the Avengers comics you may either enjoy or being angered by the fact that Jarvis isn’t the Alfred-style butler we have become used to in the series. Also, an off-hand remark by Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes (played by Terrence Howard), Stark’s military liaison hints at yet another hero making an appearance in a future sequel.
Given the film’s success and comments already made by Downey, it probably won’t come as a surprise to see an IRON MAN franchise being announced shortly.
If you haven’t guessed by now I highly recommend the movie. Just stay through the credits for the fanboy moment!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I’m not sure in which order they were published, since I picked them both up this past weekend, but I want to recommend both MIGHTY AVENGERS #12 and NEW AVENGERS #40. Given the stories I would recommend reading MA #12 first, as that will make the end of NA #40 even more of a shocker. Another thing is that even if you have not been reading previous issues these books were fairly easy to follow as they are more tightly woven into SECRET INVASION, so if you read the first issue of that title you’ll be just fine. Heck, neither of the Avenger teams really shows up except for few panels in either book this month.
MA shows us what Nick Fury has been doing since he last appeared. Here is a guy who just wanted to settle down after a life of action, but finds that events are happening which he cannot ignore. When he discovers that someone he trusts is not who they appeared to be he begins investigating. Using his own skills and some ‘borrowed’ S.H.I.E.L.D. tech, he uncovers the fact that there are Skrulls masquerading as humans and super-heroes. He turns to one of the few people he believes he can still count on, but the last page shows that he is still unsure about who may be a Skrull and who is still human. Fan sites are filled with folks guessing what the red & blue circled photos indicate.
In NA, we get a history of the Skrull Empire from the time that it was visited by a group of heroes more than a decade ago. Even then plans were being put in place that would lead to the invasion we see taking place in the current Marvel universe. We learn who some of the Skrulls leading this conspiracy are and why the Earth is such an important target. If you have been reading the SECRET INVASION series or other tie-ins you will be as shocked by the final page as I was.
Brian Michael Bendis wrote both of these books and as the driving force behind the SI event he was a perfect choice for these books, as they present just about all you need to know on background. Unlike at DC where you could ignore many of the COUNTDOWN spin-offs and still follow events, I think that I will be buying a number of these SI related issues, or at least skimming them at the shop to keep up with things.
I’m giving both these Three out of four stars.