Monday, June 30, 2008

House of M

So far, so good.  I've only read the first chapter but it seems alright.  Love Coipel's art.

Bendis' writing is...well enough.  His dialogue gets lightly tedious, but otherwise I appreciate his approach to the Marvel Universe.  He might take his sweet time getting anywhere, but in this large collection it works.  Flipping through the second chapter, it's all setting up the new world that the Scarlet Witch establishes.  If I had bought this on a monthly basis, I think I would have been hating it the entire time.

Did I mention I love Coipel's art?

On occasion he reminds me of Marc Silvestri, using harsh, jagged lines in barren and broken landscapes and cityscapes.  I dig that shit.  I don't know why, but his stuff on Thor hasn't stood out for me hardly.  It's like I'm seeing this guy's shit for the first time.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Got my shit

My Buy order came in Friday.  Or Thursday.  Got some notice on the USPS site about failed delivery, some shit, notification, yada yada, try again later.  But I got it Friday, so it's cool, but the guy I called at the Post Office was a total douche giving me some shit that the website isn't always right, yada yada.  He did say everyone was out delivering.  That's all he needed to say, everyone is out delivering.

But I got it Friday.  Awesome.

Ultimates 2 and the StarMan Omnibus.  Sweet

Amazon...well, after I made my order it took them almost a week to actually ship it which I thought was weird.  That's the longest they've ever taken.  But it shipped Thursday.  I got it today!  Sweet!  Amazon is the shit!  I feel sorry for those Amazon Prime members cause the last few times I've ordered from Amazon it comes in like super quick.  Two days from shipment to receival.  Either I'm on some super secret frequent buy's list or they're just that good.  Awesome.

So from Amazon I got The Ultimates (volume 1), Avengers Disassembled and House of M.

Flipping through both Ultimates books, The Ultimates 3 just looks even worse.  And that's just from a casual glance!  I've never realy read much Mark Millar aside from the last couple of issues of Civil War.  He's got this huge reputation, but I was never pleased with what I heard about his take on The Authority after he took over from Warren Ellis so this will make my first real experience with Millar's stuff.  Looks good so far.  Brian Hitch has some amazing artwork.  Has a bit of an Alan Davis influence.

Already read Avengers Disassembled seeing as how it's such a short read.  I thought this was gonna be a Marvel Premiere Edition sized volume.  Nope, it's quite tall.  Very thin.  Maybe I should have gone for the paperback edition to save a few bucks, but all told it looks quite nice.  The story is pretty good too.  I remember the AICN Assholes reviewing part one of the story and burshed it off completely as another Vision bestrays the Avengers kinda story.  Well, they were completely wrong, weren't they?  I enjoy those guys reviews well enough, but man I'll never understand the bias against Marvel.  They're all, what, in their mid 30s or so?  Sure, I had that same idiot "Fuck DC, Marvel rules" attitude once.  When I was 12.  At some point I started paying more attention to stories and creators and less to companies, though consequently I have a deeper knowledge of Marvel history than DC.  X-Men especially.  Loved me some X-Men.  But as I was saying, Avengers Disassembled.  Not bad.  It's a very short story and everything happens way way way too quickly.  They kill a lot of people very quickly.  Jack of Hearts, Scott Lang, Vision (oh, dead again in Secret Invasion), Hawkeye.  Brutal!  She-Hulk Hulks the fuck out!  Didn't know Iron Man was Secretary of Defense at one point.  Although reading the story, I thought of something funny.  Wouldn't it have been really funny of that story was nothing but foreshadowing for all the shit Bendis is doing now?  Betrayal, alien invasion, and all directed by the Scarlet Witch?  She is still alive after all.  Endangered Species seemed to imply Wanda still have a vague idea of her old life.  Curious, curious.  Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they tried pulling that shit.  Bendis is pretty much the grand director of the Marvel Universe these days.

Oh, and those Coipel pages in issue 503?  Jesus!  What it took to keep from licking the page!

House of M also looks pretty cool.  Coipel's art is fantastic.  His Layla Miller is too cute!  I'm not too interested in the tie-ins, but flipping through it I might pick up the Spider-Man tie-in.  If I can find it.

And putting these up, it occured to me I think I have more Avengers hardcovers than anything else.

Oh, can't forget Starman.  Damn, I never read this series.  Ever.  When I saw this was coming out in hardcover, I jumped on it.  I've heard so many excellent things about it, how could I pass it up?  And a very excellent looking edition it is.  I can't wait to sit down with this and really read it.  Looks so good.

Also, the Church finally approved a new A/C unit for the house and it was installed Friday.  Holy shit, it works really well!  The house lacks insulation, so it'll run a great deal like that old one, but hopefully the fact that it's more efficient will help bring our electricity bills down some.  I hope, I hope I hope.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Ultimates 3 #4 review

So I went and bought it...




First, let me say Jeph Loeb has written probably one of my favorite comic stories of all time and have a great respect for him.

Given that, he's also managed to write some of the silliest stuff ever put to print. For example, everything he did with Rob Liefeld's Awesome Comics. That stuff, however, was generally meant to be over the top.

With The Ultimates...I never really was sure what to expect. I hadn't read the first two series and I was pretty much picking this one up based on the fact that Joe Madureira was doing the art. With the first issue I was like, okay, whatever, it's a start. It was pretty much all downhill from there for me. I really can't say why I was bothering to pick this series up after issue one. Sheer stupidity I suppose. I was flipping through my friend's issue Wednesday evening and was just astounded by how awful some of the dialogue was. Just jaw droppingly bad. I thought, yeah, best to just give up. Save $3 bucks and change. It's not worth it. Yet I was so fucking compelled to pick this stupid thing up.

It's safe to say that this series is a testament to the complete failure of the creative mind. I mean this is probably the worst thing ever put to paper. This and Loeb's Hulk series really should be disavowed from Marvel continuity. I mean just completely rejected. Shunned. Cast out.

So why in the holy hell am I still pissing my hard earned money away?

Cause it's just that bad. It breaks the stupid barrier. It is the very definition of awful and for this it shall be praised.

That someone actually sat down and took the time to conceive it is a wonder to behold. It's like I can see Jeph Loeb, having given up on life, doing his best to spite the humanity and sunder the creative spirit. Every issue is a disconnected series of events we are led to believe is a story, plotted and everything, with a conclusion that leads to bigger events. There's this thing going on with The Scarlet Witch's dead body being abducted by Magneto. Venom showed up. So did Wolverine. They fight Sabretooth and Juggernaut in this issue. There's some drama. Some characters are androids for some reason. Oh, and apparently Wasp and Ant Man have a son. A surprise to the reader, yes, but a bigger surprise to...Wasp? No shit! Ya think she would have remembered that. And then their son, Yellowjacket, his dialogue...lemme quote part of his speech at the end where he is surrounded by the android Ultimates. "They think of us as toasters - - Alarm clocks - - And vibrators. But when the war between man and mutant is settles - - and most of the human population is dead, only then will they realize - - The machines have already won."

Dear sweet mother of God! Vibrators? Who? What? Was this conceived by the mind of man? What the fuck?

But it's so bad...it's so fucking awful that I can't give it up. I find myself looking forward to what is possibly the shittiest book ever made. I really can't bring myself to think of a reason that could possibly justify this book's existence. Madureira? No, no, I used to think he was cool when I was younger, yeah, but I had really bad taste back then too. I also lost a lot of respect for the guy when it took him too many years to release nine issues of Battle Chasers before completely abandoning the project and ditching comics altogether. He really is the laziest, most shiftless comic artist of all time. That he's even gotten four issues of this book out in however many months it has been is a fucking miracle. That he made such a huge name for himself in such a short period of time all while spiting the fans is a sad commentary on society. I thought it would be interesting to see how his style has evolved since the last time he drew a comic book and, well, I can't say the results are pretty. His conception of the human form is only tangentially related to the real thing. Honestly? If people like that existed in real life? I really would support active genocide against them. Such abominations should not be allowed to exist. Though I can see why Loeb would enjoy working with the guy (as well as Ed McGuiness). Madureira manages to stretch what is essentially a ten page story across five issues. That's an impressive talent!

But I'm being harsh.

Is this book worth the money? No.

Pick it up anyway?

Oh hell yes.

This book is pure in its suck. I recommend, once the last issue is released, whenever that might be, that you separate the issues. I believe collecting them in a single row will cause them to collapse in on themselves creating an inescapable black hole of pure godawfulness that not even the most decent and good can escape.

Friday, June 27, 2008

X-Men: Legacy #213 review



As much as I've enjoyed the direction of this title since the end of Messiah Complex, for whatever reason, this issue didn't grab me quite like it should have. I don't know why, maybe I should have waited a bit to read it, but I'm not as enthused to read this issue like I thought I would be. Not to say it was a bad issue, it was good, but I'm just cold on it for some reason.

Here's the lowdown.

Gambit is fighting those assassin guys in the dessert while Professor X is having a weird mental freak out involving Mr. Sinister in his mind. Just as Gambit is about to get his ass handed to him, Sebastian Shaw comes out to help out in handing out the beatings. While Xavier is freaking out away from the fight, he's captured by a seperate group, who were originally out to kill him but a telepathic suggestion by Mr. Sinister, using Xavier's mind, causes them to change their mission slightly. Shaw is in search of this Cronus thing which is connected to Mr. Sinister, so he and Gambit decide they have common goals and team up. Xavier is taken to some woman called Doctor Mueller, who I'm not remotely familiar with, who proceeds to shoot some new holes into him. Gambit and Shaw invade Mueller's lab and start with the fighting, trying to destroy Cronus before the issue ends on a massive cliffhanger.

Here's what I liked about this issue, the major revelations. Big time revelations. So it turns out this Cronus thing that Xavier's stepdad, Sinister and them all were working on was in fact a way for Mr. Sinister to achieve immortality. Sinister implanted his DNA into a handful of child subjects...Xavier (this is why Sinister is in his mind), Cain Marko, Sebastian Shaw and the crazy dude who died in the last issue. He needed mutant children for the experiment to work. The reason Sinister did this was so in case he died, the Cronus machine would activate his DNA in one of his subjects causing the subject to be possessed by Sinister. However, three of the subjects aren't presently viable. Cain Marko is protected by his mystic powers (didn't know he was also a mutant though I have seen instances where Carey fudges continuity slightly), Crazy dead guy went crazy and died when the process kicked in, and Shaw is protected by something his father whipped up. Doctor Mueller, an old assistant of his from back when with the mutant power to never die (but still grow old) had apparently found this out, took his DNA, stripped out anything that wasn't his mutant genes, injected it inside her and is trying to kill Xavier so she can stop growing old and rejuvenate. Course, with Xavier bleeding to death on the floor, he's in a shitty position to resist Sinister's overtures. The last page is Xavier's body possessed by Mr. Sinister.

So this story is quickly coming to a head. Maybe a tad too quickly. I presume Carey is going to have a long run on this book cause I see how this story could have implications later down the line. I enjoyed watching Sinister deconstruct Xavier's dream. He's always been a manipulative sonovabitch, and Carey clearly likes writing the character most likely to take a leisurely stroll with Satan to compare notes. He basically swims around Xavier's memories, tells him what a piece of a shit he is, tells him it's cause he's oscillating between the man he thinks he should be (the idealized fantasy of his father) and the man who raised him (the abusive Kurt Marko). So after he gets shot, it's just a matter of Sinister whispering a few platitudes into his eat and taking over. A complete moment of weakness on Xavier's part.

I also enjoyed the stuff between Gambit and Shaw. The problem with Xavier is that he's not a character I can follow for such a long time. Taking a break from him is always welcome, even if this is his book now. Sebastian Shaw, who absords kinetic energy, makes a decent fighting partner to Gambit, who releases kinetic energy. Also, having a character who doesn't give a shit and goes around breaking necks is just cool.

Scot Eaton's art is solid. He handles the flashback sequences this issue and does an Adam Kubert thing with raw pencil art but being drawn on cardboard. Honestly, they should just do it this way from now on. The guest penciller thing was cool, but I prefer to have one artist draw an entire issue. Guest artists will slum it when they can.

I was disappointed in the big reveal. Doctor who? Who the shit is this? Not a character I recognize. I don't know if she's new or an existing character, but it did nothing for me. That's the thing that left me cold. She comes out and then I'm reading the rest of the issue wondering who the hell she is and not really concentrating on what happens next cause everything up to that point was pretty tight.

All told, teh art was solid, the story was solid and I'm enjoying the revelations of the issue. I'm thinking maybe Carey is going a bit too fast with this story now. If it goes on two more issues would be okay, but I just don't want to see this arc wrapped in one issue. Also, I'm googling this freakin' Mueller character. She has to be from somewhere, cause if she's not it's gonna totally fuck this story up for me.

Captain America #39 review



The Man Who Bought America part three

Here we finally get to see The Grand Director/50s Captain America in action. The issue starts with him looking over a campaign rally for Senator Wright expecting a group of Doctor Faustus' men to attack. Once they do, he leaps into action. We then cut to a sparring session between Bucky and The Falcon discussing their run in with Arnim Zola last issue when they get a call from the Black Widow to turn on the TV to see the Grand Captain beating ass and speaking on behalf of Senator Wright. We then see Sharon Carter strapped into a bed hopped up on drugs lamenting her situation while Sin, who's laying near her, continuously threatens her. After attending one of Senator Wright's campaign rallies, he sneaks into the Senator's hotel room to search for evidence to use against him and the Red Skull. Realizing too late that it's a trap, the Grand Captain sneaks up behind him putting his ass to the floor. This is intercut with Sharon Carter escaping from her bed, putting Sin's face through a wall and putting a knife to her throat.

That Brubaker is slumming it on The Uncanny X-Men is one thing, he continues to knock it out of the ballpark with this series.

The stuff with Senator Wright and his Third Wing Party is finally coming together dialogue wise. Seeing the character come out, his speeches were less then convincing, but in the two rallies we see in this issue Brubaker presents a much more charismatic character. The first scene is the Grand Captain watching over and just dicing up the bullshit in his mind. In the second one, Brubaker blends it with Bucky's narrative to show how the character works his audience. It really worked for me, I had no problem buying into it. Before, we had seen the Kronas Corporation do thing that no one business is capable of doing, which would make things a bit silly. Seeing Wright work his audiences using fear mongering really brought the political aspect of the story back down to earth.

And the Grand Captain, this guy is very interesting. He totally thinks he's Steve Rogers, but is so completely unlike him. He sees through Wright's BS, but is still willing to get behind him as the idea of a strongman is to his liking. I hope they don't get rid of this guy too soon.

I also like the continuing partnership between Bucky and Falcon. They're both capable fighters, but it's interesting to see Falcon constantly underestimate Bucky. I do hope that Brubaker has continuing plans to keep these two together as a team.

Actually, it's pretty indicative of how other characters treat Bucky. He's Captain America but no one else has really been sold on it. Clearly, no one was going to at first, hell as a reader I'm still used to thinking of Bucky as Cap, but I can't wait to see that story where Bucky seriously claims the mantle. It'll be sweet!

Steve Epting takes a break from art duties this month so the pencils are provided by Rob De La Torre. I thought he did a pretty good job. Not perfect, I think he needs a bit of work (Bucky's arm in one panel looks like Torre forgot it was supposed to be metal), but I liked that he kept the scenes and the action flowing smoothly which is most important to me. I hate art that makes the action feel clumsy and awkward. Torre does a really good job of instilling a sense of motion in everything so when Carter Puts Sin's face into the wall it looks like that shit hurt.

All told, I continue greatly looking forward to this series every month. It's one that I can't recommend enough.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Green Lantern #32 review



Secret Origin part four

Coming down a bit from the sheer joy of last month's issue, we see Hal Jordan get a second chance at being a pilot, his first encounter with Sinestro, Hector Hammond go all super baddie and more mystery with that alien baddy Abin Sur was carting off.

I say coming down, not because this issue was a bad issue, only because we're getting into the next, more serious act of the arc.

Sinestro as Green Lantern Corps bad ass? He destroys Hal's fighter, summons his ring for him and then dresses him down harshly before putting on the most vulgar display of power for Hal's benefit.

Hal's scene with Carol Ferris, their bitching each other out before making him a sweet deal to fly again.

I basically like how Johns shows Hal having an antagonistic relationship with everyone in his life. His mother, his siblings, his boss, his GLC comrades. Of course, he's a fly boy, things can't be easy which is why he takes Carol's offer to fly fighters again. He loves flying with the ring, but flying with the ring is like cheating. It's simple and not challenging at all. Hal likes doing things the hard way. It oughtta be interesting then how Hal deals with newly telepathic and super crazed Hector Hammond. Hector Hammond, now a stalker and potential rapist but with the need to rape minds. He cracks open the engine to Abin Sur's ship, but is irradiated with energy from the fuel source. First thing that happens is he reads the minds of those around him and then kills them so when we see him on the last page he's like, "Oh, Carol, hey, how are you, would you mind some mental rape? And maybe some rape rape later? Hi, Hal!" What a piece of shit, I can't wait to see Hal take his ass down.

All the usual praise is applied to this issue. Johns on his game is the king of all fuckwin and Ivan Reis puts all comers to shame.

Do not miss!

Uncanny X-Men #499 review



Think Marvel would have fixed their website and properly listed this cover as the cover to #499 and not #498.

Overall, I liked this issue even if it was a mixed bag. Mike Choi's art was fantastic. At first I wasn't sweet on his stuff but he really kept the action flowing nicely. There is a good amount of detail without being cluttered. The fight with Omega Red was great, especially when he shows Omega Red pulling the metal off of Colossus's leg. That was cool! Watching Nightcrawler teleport Omega Red up into the sky and droipping him from a great height? I dig it. Like I said, I wasn't sweet before, but I really am starting to dig how Choi uses that whole cinematic style of laying out the action on the page. I guess it had to grow on me. I'm starting to think he should be the regular artist, but instead they have Greg "Porn face" Land instead, which is a shame.

The story events of the issue are fairly simple, we see the wrap-up of the last few issues with nothing but fisticuffs. I dig. Cyclops was fighting his team mates while Emma Frost was was digging around the head of Martinique Wyngarde. The reason this issue was such a mixed bag is that everything ends way way too cleanly. Omega Red is carted off by SHIELD in the end. In Russia. Well there's a diplomatic incident if I ever saw one. Also, once the rest of the X-Men are released from Wyngarde's illusion, Angel is suddenly talking with the mayor of San Fransisco (not Gavin Newsom, strangely) about relocation plans. When the hell have there been relocation plans? The fucking team was broken up! It's like, "Okay, people, drop everything, we're back together and living in San Fransisco." This sort of comes out of nowhere so the arc can end with the characters rocketing off inexplicably in a new direction just in time for issue #500. It ends the same way Messiah Complex ended, with everyone just hanging on the whim of whatever Cyclops wants to do. It would have been funny of Wolverine had said at the end, "Yeah, like we could ever really be broken up," or something like that. A wink and a nod at the reader kind of thing.

I did really like one thing on the last page. There's a shot of a newspaper touting that San Fransisco is the new home of the X-Men and just below that is a little blurb that says, "SF Rejects Initiative." I thought that was pretty funny. SF half thinks they can secede from the Union, why not reject the Initiative? It fit perfectly with the stereotypical perception of SF. Very cute. Strange that the X-Men might consider taking up residence there. Rejecting the extremely liberal East Coast for the extremely liberal West Coast? Too tough out there in New York?

Probably just looking for warmer weather and to see the X-Ladies run around more naked. That would be my reason!

One thing I would like to see more of is more stories featuring a smaller cast. I don't know who's actually going to be featured in Uncanny, but a smaller cast like what they've been doing with Wolverine and Colossus and Nightcrawler would be great. Same with X-Men: Legacy, the stories seem to have vastly improved when they're focusing on smaller groups of characters. Let Astonishing be the big team book since it's the core X-Men title now, but let the other's breathe on their own with more personal stories. It's been really good for these titles right now.

Final Crisis #2 review



Ticket to Blüdhaven

Hrrrmmm.....

Hrrrmmm.....

Maybe I should just shut my yap about this series until it's over? Maybe I'm not getting something? Cause I'm pretty underwhelmed right now.

Let me give a rundown of the events of the issue.

It starts off with a scene in Japan involving some Japanese capes in a club. Short version is that a newly black Mister Miracle propositions this Japanese sumo guy (in the men's restroom of all places) about joining a team. (I was wrong in the last review, some of the gods of New Genesis have resurrected.)

Then we see the previous issues Monitor reinacarnated as some kid working at a burger joint with only a vague, dream-like recollection of his previous life.

Then Detective Turpin beating the shit out of some villain who's name escapes me. He buys a ticket to Blüdhaven.

We see Martian Manhunter's funeral.

We see a meeting between Libra and his followers with Lex Luthor being highly suspicious.

Some stuff between the JLA and one of the Alpha Lanterns examining the body of Orion.

John Stewart examining the crime scene and being attacked by a rogue Lantern followed by the Hal Jordan being accused and arrested for the assault.

Batman being abducted by the Alpha Lantern who is apparently being controlled by Darkseid.

We then see Turpin in Blüdhaven and stumbling upon Granny Goodness' workshop torturing people and creating abominations.

We see the destruction of the Daily Planet.

The issue ends with Wally West and Jay Garrick at the strip club where DCU #0 ends at and, yes, we see Barry Allen on the last page.

There's a ton of ideas be floated around this issue. Tons. But I see nothing really connecting them all together. Not yet anyway. As single issues go, I can't really get behind this one. It's a huge event for DC and for a series dubbed "Crisis" there should be way more tension. The stuff with Turpin in Blüdhaven was really cool, but it's so brief that it's barely worth mentioning. Batman's abduction? Okay, that's cool. The destruction of the Daily Planet? Fucked up! But these just feel like a bunch of disembodied moments. The real story seems to be with Turpin and Libra's group. This is what I want to see more of. This is where the story really clicks, but it all feels like teasers for a story that's going to be taking place in some other title. It's basically the same problem Secret Invasion is having right now if you ask me, but the tie-ins with Secret Invasion are all on the stands and the tie-ins for this series won't hit until next month.

One other thing, the characters seem to talk about a lot of stuff that is pulled out of thin air. The stuff with the Flashes for instance. Suddenly Wally is talking about time traveling bullets shot into Orion's brain. Where did this come from again? We know how Orion died. It was in Death of the New Gods and again in Countdown. Why does Orion's death have to suddenly be so mysterious now? Didn't Morrison read those books? Didn't the editor, Eddie Berganza? Is Morrison running with the notion that if you can't dazzle them with brilliance you should baffle them with bullshit?

This series is on a downward spiral and we're barely two issues in to the main series.

New Comics Wednesday



Captain America #39



Final Crisis #2



Green Lantern #32



Uncanny X-Men #499



X-Men: Legacy #213

Alright, so not bad. I was going to pick up The Ultimates 3 #4, but Andy ran out. I was flipping through a friends copy and...it's just as well. Wow, that was some shitty shitty dialogue. I might still pick it up for Joe Mad's art (I want to run to the other place and pick up the Flash cover of Final Crisis #2). I might get this issue. Might not. Aside from the fact that I'm getting the first two series in hardcover, why bother with this one? It's been pretty awful so far. There were a bunch of characters at the end, I guess they were supposed to be robots or some shit, and one of them was saying something like, "You people consider us like...blah, blah blah...like vibrators!" What? What the fuck? Jesus, Jeph LOeb, the guy who wrote Batman: The Long Halloween actually wrote that? Christ almighty! That shit is pure fail.

Well, we'll see.

Reviews forthcoming.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Man, I love this show.

Seriously, Andrew Zimmern is fucking nuts. I hope he's paid well.

Always interesting to see different cultures. I think foreign food is probably what interests people about foreign cultures. Everything else is basically the same in the broadest terms, but food is always different. Zimmern finds some really crazy shit.

I was watching part of the episode with him in Manila. Funny shit. Deep fried baby chickens. Deep friend whole eggs (plain or fertilized).

Dude!

Ice cream on a bun!

What the fuck!

I once made a cookie sandwich when I was seven years old, but ice cream on a bun is just not something I would ever contemplate. Lots of things on that show I would never contemplate, but that's just cause I never heard of most of the ingredients. Ice cream I know. Hamburger buns I know. Somehow putting the two together? Ha ha! No.

Also, his knowledge of the different kinds of testicles is disturbing. Highly disturbing. I was watching him on some other show as a guest and he was talking about the finer points of testicles and I was just...aghast. I vow to never...NEVER...have a working knowledge of the tastes and textures of testicles and how they're best served. I'm not saying I'll never eat any. I mean, shit, what if there's money on the line or something? Plus, watching this show, there's just stranger shit out there.

Zimmern confuses the hell out of me. I'll never understand how a man so obviously gay can have such a hot wife. He sets off my gaydar, but it doesn't...quite...red line. It's borderline, but it's not quite there. Maybe it's all those testicles he eats. The gaydar is a primitive instict and apparently it, or at least mine, is not evolved enough to differentiate between having a taste of a man's balls in your mouth and, say, having sheep's balls in your mouth. I mean, balls in your mouth is balls in your mouth.

The one thing that I dislike about the show is that Zimmern actually reviews what he eats. Dude, I don't give a shit. I'm never eating 99.9999% of the stuff they show, I don't care. All I want to see is crazy ass, bizarre food and then I want to see Zimmern eat it. If he wants to say, "Oh, these are some tasty testicles," or, "This pickled camel asshole is pretty rotten," ya know, that's fine. I don't want a full blown review as if I'm actually gonna walk down the street and grab this shit to go. The tastes and textures he describes are not something me or I imagine most people will ever experience. That's where it gets a little boring. Regardless, it's cool shit to see him hit up these open air markets and just ask for the craziest thing he can find.

He's like the anti-Alton Brown he is.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

I didn't think I would like this show. It's surprisingly entertaining.

It's basically Survivor in Japan. Instead of being on a jungle Island, they're being humiliated in Tokyo.

Being a bit of a Japanophile, it's always interesting to see Japanese culture. If for any other reason cause they're all fucking insane.

There is a couple of contests per show. The cast is broken up into two teams and the losing team is forced to send two people into an elimination challenge. Whoever loses the elimination challenge is kicked off the show.

The challenges are, of course, completely stupid and degrading but kills the Japanese audience. Tonight they had members of each team run up a conveyor belt so a designated member could eat this gooey, sticky shit out of a bowl on their heads. After the designated eater would grab a piece, the runner would fall on the conveyor belt and flung into a giant sandbox filled with flour.

The elimination challenge involved two of the contestants dressing up as giant flies, jumping on a trampoline and splatting themselves against a wall in order to get a little disc onto one of three targets, each with various point values.

The audience cracked the fuck up.

The contests are pretty cute, but nothing like the really fucked up shit you can see online. No women faking orgasms so a guy can guess which one is really getting their vulva tickled. No slaps to the balls. OH shit, I just found this one! It's still pretty amusing though.

Now for the cast.

Jesus Christ! Could they not find worse examples of obnoxious Americans? Fuck, these are the kind of travelers that foreigners really fucking hate. Everyone is a stereotype, everyone is loud and every one of them is simply embarassing this country. Really, if they would just lay off the obnoxious behavior, that would go a long way in a society as demure and polite as Japan. (Well, demure and polite despite the really fucked up game shows.) Of course, they're not, cause they're all fucking stupid. It's a reality show, so they have to make sure theyn get the most obnoxious personalities they can find.

If the show doesn't get old fast, it might actually be worth watching. I'd love to have an opportunity to run around Japan, even if it meant looking like a fool every now and then. The team that lost the first challenge were made to work some rickshaws for a while. That was pretty cool. Harder then it looks, apparently. Very difficult to balance. But then again, those contestants are a bunch of whiny pussies. I could do it.

So, not bad. I thought it would be a lot worse.

Sadly, I missed Wipe Out. Or maybe not sadly, but I wanted to see what a travesty it would be. If this show was good, maybe Wipe Out wasn't nearly that bad either. Next week I guess.

Moment of Truth in Iraq



Great book. Michael Yon really delivers the shit.

Reading this book I come to a couple of conclusions.

First, we're gonna be there a while. If we want this war finished right, we're gonna have to be there for a long ass time. Iraq is a basketcase. These people have no clue how to run a proper civil society. It's gonna take a long ass time for them to do this cause we can only do this by example. It's one thing to set all this shit down on paper, but they gotta be shown it can be done.

Second, we can't keep an indefinite presence. We've made some interesting allies who're coming to the conclusion that American power can help Iraq. The best example Yon gives is the 1920 Revolution Brigades. They're Iraqi nationalists and former officers in Saddam's army. They know their shit. They hate the occupation, but when they realized there are worse things in Iraq then the American military, they started getting their shit straight (not everywhere, but in a great many cases). However, these guys are not to be trifled with. The 1920s were teamed with AQI for a while until AQI showed what a bunch of fucking savages they are. Their alliance with our guys is purely for expedience. When Iraq becomes fully capable of supporting itself, we''re more then likely gonna have to step away. Obama is a damned fool if he thinks we can walk by 2010, but McCain is just as big a fool if he imagines an indefinite, open ended presence. I think these guys will put up with us for a while, but only cause it suits them.

Our guys over there are fucking outstanding. Period! That our guys are breaking their balls, getting results...the fact that some of these guys aren't household names is a shame. Thank God for guys like Michael Yon or their stories wouldn't be told at all.

Yon's book is an amazing insight. The stories are basically just expanded versions of what he puts on his website, but even if you've already read all the archives it's still worth owning. My one complaint is it's short. I started it...Friday? And finished it Tuesday morning. And I was taking my time. It's a breezy read. Yon isn't a trained journalist, he makes lots of errors, but he can fucking tell a story. He's brutally honest in his assessments. He's a former Marine, so he doesn't bullshit. No dissembling. It's a straight up journal of his time there along with his own personal observations. When he calls bullshit on a policy, he's got no agenda other then victory on his mind. He doesn't waste time arguing whether or not we should have gone in. We're there now, so the only thing that matters is victory.

It's about $20 bucks on Amazon and Buy so I recommend getting it while the getting is good.

Highest possible recommendation.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

eHaul of Great Justice!

Starman Omnibus by James Robinson

The Ultimates volume 1 by Mark Millar

The Ultimates volume 2 by Mark Millar

Avengers Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis

House Of M by Brian Michael Bendis


The Bendis stuff might be iffy* but Millar was getting major deep throat action over The Ultimates and Robinson's Starman is a classic that I never read.

*Could have saved a few books by getting softcovers but I like the look of hardcovers in my collection. Always worth the extra change.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Incredible Hercules #118



The Incredible Hercules #118

Dream Time: Sacred Invasion part two

Things are going along nicely for our intrepid band of adventurers until they're forced to deal with Nightmare in order to receive instructions on how to navigate the Dreamtime in order to take on the Skrull Pantheon. Nightmare, being a sonovabitch, naturally takes advantage of the deal to gain more power but is routed when Mikaboshi tricks Nightmare with a shadow copy of himself to to distract him long enough to retrieve the map they need. Successful, our crew heads off into the Dreamtime while a new menace appears to be lurking on board their vessel.

Oh, and Herc gets laid.

WOO!

Reading it at first, I thought the issue was pretty filler-y. Looking back over it, it's pretty obvious what Pak and Van Lente are trying to do. Every heroic quest always has side quests, right? This is just like that. Lots of references to Jason & The Argonauts to back this up. I suppose one can fault Pak for laying it on thick like that, but I don't think most people would get the point without it. It does give the issue a nice stand-alone feel to it though.

As a Secret Invasion tie-in, I think it's handling the job fairly well. Like I mentioned last week, the tie-ins are probably serving the event better then the main series. It's interesting to see the Skrulls portrayed as spiritual creatures in the beginning. This particular arc is playing with the notion that eliminating an enemy's spiritual cause will cause a collapse of an enemy's overall mission. I really like this idea and is probably one of the most original notions that I've seen in comics in a really long time. The arc might be playing second fiddle to a greater crossover, but I'd bet money someone rips off the notion a few years down the line and wins an Eisner for it, I guarantee.

Pak just keeps having so much fun. The ship they use is powered by Herc's and Ajak's rowing actions. Mikaboshi talks in nothing but haiku. Nightmare's unleashing all manner of nightmares on them including vicious monsters, IRS agents and mother-in-laws. And of course the snappy patter between all the gods. Herc gets to put his hair down, mess around and, uh...mess around.

Sandoval does a good job with the art duties. Has Nightmare always looked liked Dream from Sandman? I can't remember the last time I saw this character.

I really really really want to keep following this story. It's not on my pull list at Gotham, even though it should be. I'm not sure how much longer I'll have my job at this point and if I leave it sooner then expected then I'll be dropping this title too quickly to save money. That fucking sucks. I really want to see how this whole quest ends but I think it's got like two or three more issues before the end.

*Tear*

X-Factor #32



X-It Strategy

First, I want to thank Peter David for the amusing blurb about his daughters he put in the opening "previously..." page. Aside from making me think I had missed an issue, it brought a smile to my face. Yeah, the youngest is gonna be foulmouthed and there's nothing you can do.

Picking up the pieces from last issue, Madrox and company are approached with an offer. Work for the government or go into forced hiding. Seemingly ready to take the offer, certain events cause Madrox to question the wisdom of such a decision before ultimately rejecting it. The gang high tail it out to Detroit after demolishing their old building but five months later, Val Cooped easily tracks them down and it looks like X-Factor are gonna have no choice but to work for her.

All told, this was a pretty decent issue. Pretty decent. Nothing really to write in depth about. David does a pretty solid job of bringing the melodrama. Madrox is feeling the weight of his life bearing down on him before finally manning up and taking responsibility for Theresa's pregnancy and the welfare of the team. The stuff with Val confronting X-Factor with their options is well done with some good dialogue. Was Valerie Cooper always such an evil bitch? Man, she's a woman you don't want to fuck with. Really, I like what David does with her, making her an arrogant shifty eyed government goon that can't take no for an answer. I like that Madrox keeps seeing Layla Miller in his head. This books absolutely needs Layla Miller. They're taking way too long in bringing her back. Resolve, please.

Very little happens, though the team is put on a new track in a new location. This should keep things interesting. I like they fact that they jump things forward a few months and Theresa is already near term. Sweet, pregnancy is always difficult to address in comics. I remember Chuck Dixon doing an outstanding job when they knocked up Spoiler in Robin a few years back, but this is a much slower paced book.

I enjoyed this issue but it's not a rush out and get kind of story. One thing I can say about Peter David though is his stories almost always reward loyalty in the long run. I'm interested to see where the characters go from here, but since I've already dropped the book, next month will most likely be my last issue. This is a shame. Twenty bucks says while I'm job hunting (God knows how long that'll take) David unleashes some kind of major fuckwin and where will I be? Shit.

Grendel: Behold the Devil #8



Maybe my hopes for this series were just a little too high. I need to re-read the entire series, which for the most part is damn good, but as single issues go this one as well as the previous issue are disappointments. It was originally intended to be published in a manga style single volume paperback format and this issue is evidence of that. It's the conclusion but upon reading the first page I realized I should really really put it down and start from issue #0. I got impatient. It might be premature, but here we go anyway.

Last issue, the cynic in me was pretty pissed. An entire issue dedicated to basically reminding the reader that there is a whole history of the Grendel concept that extends well beyond the character of Hunter Rose. And wouldn't ya know it, Dark Horse is repackaging the old Comico series into a new series of collections. Profit!

This issue takes care of the last dangling thread involving Lucas Ottoman, the reporter who realizes Hunter Rose is Grendel. Suffice it to say, his story is a foregone conclusion. It was expected from the first issue, and Lucas has been a great character to follow around. I've enjoyed the "witness interview" scenes that give the series that noir feel. Hunter Rose's story has usually been told from third person accounts and these vignettes and the excerpts from Devil by the Deed have done a fantastic job in driving the narrative.

Still, the ending is wrapped up too quickly. Even if the purpose of the series was simply to shill the collections, Wagner had enough time to give Hunter Rose an opportunity to define himself instead of being defined by others. Or if not that, at least a prouder death for Lucas Ottoman. Or something. I don't know, I'm not a writer but I can say that entire scene...lacked. The violence was cool, don't get me wrong, but the confrontation between Grendel and Lucas spans three pages and a sparse 124 words. It might just be me. My expectations were probably too high. The story takes place a few months before Grendel's death, so there's only so much that can be done.

Now visually, the book is outstanding. Grendel amidst the flames, Elizabeth Sparks descent into madness on seeing Ottoman's charred, flaming corpse...the last few pages. Oh, baby! The art alone makes this book, this series, worth it. Wagner outclasses just about every capes and tights, big tits, big pecs artist in the business. An incredible visual story-teller, I could just sit here looking at the pictures and not get bored. And a versatile artist as well. This series really looks nothing like Mage. So many artists have a set style, it's always refreshing to see someone who can adapt his visuals to the story he's telling.


At the very least, let me recommend this series for those needing an introduction to the Grendel universe. It serves that purpose quite well. Follow this up with Devil by the Deed. If you enjoyed this series, Devil by the Deed will knock you on your ass.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Guardians of the Galaxy #2



Legacy

I'm having a hard time putting thoughts to words. Mostly I just want to copy and paste "awesome" over and over and read this issue again on the can. I suppose I should try doing something with a little more substance.

The issue is a slow start. The team goes to a frozen asteroid in one of these space-time fissures and are examining it, trying to figure out how to get rid of the thing as it is aggravating the fissure preventing it from closing. Before to long, they're attacked by a bunch of cross dimensional monsters. They're getting their asses handed to them before...oh man, I loved this.

Spoilers!

They're getting their asses handed to them before we're introduced to a character that I haven't seen in years. See, the cover has Captain America's shield right behind Rocket Raccoon. I thought maybe they were gonna pull another time displaced Captain America out but I had completely...COMPLETELY...forgotten that Captain America isn't the only character in the Marvel U to ever hold that shield. DUH! We do get a time displaced character, but it's not Captain America. Nope, instead we're reintroduced to Major Victory from the original 90s Guardians of the Galaxy series. Oh man, cool shit! I used to love that seriss in its early run. Yeah, in hindsight, maybe it wasn't all that, but for me this is just such a cool moment that I nearly shit a brick. With Major Victory, they quickly dispatch the aliens and high tail it back to Knowhere.

Ya know, in such a fast paced book, we really get some great moments from these characters. I'm really digging Phyla-Vell. I'm wondering if something is up with Drax. Basically I love how we have this cast of really divergent personalities. What the fuck are they doing together? Abnett and Lanning really show that this is a team that really needs to learn how to work together. The leadership of the team, Peter Quill followed by Adam Warlock and Gamora, know how to problem solve and I love how the dialogue flows when they're bouncing thoughts and ideas off each other. I love how Rocket Raccoon gets so excited over finally getting a name for the team.

One thing that I do kind of have a hard time with is the narrative. The narrative is presented as brief captions of the characters being debriefed, technically making this issue (and the last) a flashback tale. It has one problem in that it disrupts the pacing a bit. Just a bit. On the other hand, it adds immensely to the overall presentation. So many books are burdened by overly intrusive narrative that doesn't often match up with the action on the page (and has that flashbacky feel anyway). This does. This works. I can see how some people can get frustrated with it, but when you come down to it it really helps the action and motivations of, say, Phyla when she starts melting the ice on the asteroid without thinking it all the way through.

Did I mention I really like Phyla in this issue?

There's this great scene of her and Cosmo walking through the Market on Knowhere when they run into Drax. She says she wants to take a stab at making mac and cheese cause she knows Drax likes that. For Phyla, it's just such an innocent little moment. She's a character that's supposed to be having trouble finding her place in the world. She's been Captain Marvel, she's Quasar and I think she's supposed to be the bastard cloned daughter of Captain Mar-Vell. Also lezzo. On one panel she just has this looks of, "look, food, nice food, pleze be fwiend?" It was cute! Even in her Annihilation mini-series, she was only so so, but Abnett and Lanning really made her a character that's worth a shit. Drax is, as always, an asshole. Yay!

If one character I'm having trouble with it's Adam Warlock. I haven't really read anything involving him since The Infinity Gauntlet. I'm still trying to figure out where this character is right now, what his powers are and the like. But that's just me.

Two issues in and I'm in love. This issue keeps the story moving forward while taking me back. Marvel has a stellar book with an amazing creative team. Kudos all around.

The Flash #241



The Flash #241

Fast Money part four.

I can't get around how tepid this series has been. DC does a great job bringing Wally West back into the DCU and then basically throws the character away. Mark Waid kicks off the relaunch and just basically bashes out a script to sell. Tom Peyer, bless 'im, is trying, he's trying reeaaal hard, but considering what he had to work with after Waid's run, it's proven a virtually impossible task. Peyer has a lot going on trying to tell this story between Flash and his kids, Flash and Spin, Flash and Gorilla Grodd and Spin and Gorilla Grodd that the stories are stretched impossibly thin. There's nothing really worth getting excited over. If Peyer could concentrate on one area or another, that would be great. Personally, I think it would have been best to knock out a couple of straight up action tales with the kids before really getting into this whole they age at super-speed thing. We, sadly, don't know the characters nearly that well to worry about, for example, Iris suddenly aging to full blown womanhood. And it's pretty clear that the kids are doomed to die very quickly.

Check it out, when we first see the kids in this issue, they're escaping from the goons that took them in the last issue. Here we see some cool shit. Iris really enjoys using her powers. Later, when we see her meet up with Flash, the excitement she shows starts oozing off the page. Yeah, she's pumped at the idea that she coan take on her old man. Man, that's the kinda shit we should have been seeing since the relaunch. Mostly, it has just been Wally running in circles. Hey, cool, I can understand his ordeal, but the book has been needing a more exciting dynamic and I think the evidence of that wasted potential is highlighted in this issue. A total shame.

The other events of the issue include an almost origin of Spin. Gorilla Grodd pries into Spin's mind and we get about, oh, half the tale. Mostly what we need to know but not enough to make the character interesting enough. When Iris comes, the beatdown of Grodd begins and is over relatively fast. We see Wally's reaction and how he has to repress his feelings about his daughter's transformation, which was kinda cool. Grodd, after that, pretty much disappears (literally) and then the characters are off to save the Flash Museum from burning down.

Okay, now here was the moment that I think should have defined the relaunch from the beginning. Back in All Flash, Wally trapped Interia, the dude who killed Bart Allen, in frozen time (or...something). So here he has to confront the guy who killed the boy who was like a son to Wally. He wants to see him suffer immensely. But Wally is a hero, so naturally he saves Inertia rather then be the same kind of man. This was a cool moment to me. It's as complex a moment as Wally has shown since the relaunch. This kind of moment should have been stretched out a little over the course of the series, or at least during Waid's run. Hey, what can you do? DC could have gotten behind more serious writers, more talented creative staff, but opted to let some characters coast by on the loyalty of their diehard fans.

Sorry, no dice. Next month is my last issue and that's it for me.

Justice League of America #22



Justice League of America #22

The Second Coming part one.

What can I say about this issue that isn't bad? DC seems to be treating this title as promotional material for Justice League Unlimited on Cartoon Network, never mind that that series ended already. JLA takes three of DC's biggest characters, mixes them together with some second tier characters, and then manages to squeeze out the blandest product entirely. It's become impossible to keep apologizing for this series.

Here's what goes down.

The JLA are ready to download Red Tornado's mind into a new body. Some seemingly minor problems arise that delay the procedure. In the meantime, while Batman and Steel are examining the now seemingly regenerated remains of Tornado's old body, we're treated to some odd character moments.

The plotting and pacing of this issue...just no good.

Here's what happens (spoilers ahead!)...

We learn that Red Tornado likes to watch Red Arrow and Hawk Girl have sex.

Vixen reveals she's leeching powers and gets booted off the team.

Amazo comes back.

Got that?

Okay!

Knowing Tornado's sexual kinks is just...wow. Did we really need to know this? When Dwayne McDuffy came on as writer a lot of folks, myself included, were pretty excited. What the hell is this guy thinking? Seriously, wow, that's just fucked up. It was supposed to be a nice character moment between Red Tornado and his wife but that shit is just embarassing.

The stuff with Vixen would be more interesting if it wasn't handled so lazily. There's a scene between Vixen and her ex, the Bronze Tiger, that would have come off a lot better if not for Ed Benes' strange desire to draw Vixen with some hardcore camel toe action. Now this is all set up for later in the issue when she confronts the League, but when that happens, again, the whole thing falls flat. That should have been a weightier moment if you ask me. And after Vixen is kicked off the team, Black Canary takes her aside and says, basically, "You get your powers from your amulet, why don't you get it fixed, lol!"

Back to Benes' art, I love his women. Jesus, every time Black Canary or Zatanna appear it's all I can do to keep from licking the page.

Did I mention Amazo comes back?

The issue itself is all over the place really. We go from Tornado, to SCIENCE! To Vixen getting hugs then to Red Arrow and Hawk Girl sparring (great scene and the redeeming quality of the issue) to moment between Supes, Green Lantern (Hal) and Red Arrow (Supes doesn't like doing the dishes apparently) then to SCIENCE! and mystery action cutting abruptly to "lol! Fired" and finally back to Amazo in Red Tornado's old body beating the shit out of Batman and Steel.

I give up.

Next month's issue is my last. Thank God.

Alex Zalben on Monday's edition of The Stack on Pulp Secret, after reading Trinity, said they should turn JLA into a weekly series.

HAHAHAHA no.

New Comics Wednesday



The Flash #241



Grendel: Behold the Devil #8



Guardians of the Galaxy #2



The Incredible Hercules #118



Justice League of America #22



X-Factor #32

I'm gonna hold off on reviewing Grendel until I re-read the entire series. I ssooooooo want it to end strong but after the last issue I just don't know. JLA...I'll get that one tonight along with The Flash and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There's something about Target...

...That compels me to spends about three times as much as I intend to.

So we stop by for a few simple things. Cat litter, a giant box of Kleenex, deodorant, scotch tape...shit we could get at HEB but really use as an excuse to go and window shop.

What turned into a $20 dollar trip ends up as a $60 dollar trip.

So we ended up getting some little animated flip book for my niece (some deal where turning the page moves some slats to animate some image, in this case various animals), a softcover copy of Christopher Buckley's Boomsday for Mom and a $7 dollar copy of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Fucking capitalism!

And on top of that some Lindt chocolate truffles and a 12 pack of Jones Soda.

Christ...

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Review



The gist of it is that it's the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno show.

Exact same origin from the TV show, the look of the Hulk is basically a modernized version of Ferrigno's Hulk. Same hair too. I'm glad Sci-Fi has been running marathons of the TV show durring the day this past week cause I'd be utterly lost without them. They pull out everything! References abound. They even pull that ending walking away down the street lonely man music. Even a sly reference to the Death of the Incredible Hulk TV movie. Honestly, I've not seen too much of the show except what Sci-Fi has been showing, but there's some fun stuff.

Also absolutely zero relation to Ang Lee's Hulk. None. I thought maybe it would be mostly ignored. Nope. Completely different. Not a remake, the origin is done in two minutes in the opening credits. Lots of references to SHIELD and Stark Industries in this bit as well.

Speaking of references, tons of comic references as well. The best one being the reference to the doctor that created the Super Soldier Serum, Dr. Josef Reinstein.

Starts off with Ed Norton, who doesn't do too bad as Bruce Banner I should add, in Brazil working at a soft drink bottling factory. The government is after him, of course, and they find him when Stan Lee gets sick from drinking a bottle that was accidentally tainted with his blood. So they find him and start chasing after him. It pretty much goes from there.

For such a short movie it sure takes its time. The pacing is a bit on the slow side, which is good cause they actually fit a story in there. I thought maybe they got too quickly to the climax. It's like, okay, we're here in a lab with the mysterious Mr. Blue talking and doing some science stuff when BAM! They got the Army up their ass and then it just basically rushes headlong into it.

The story is, of course, Bruce Banner looking for a cure to his Hulking out problem. William Hurt plays a pretty good Thunderbolt Ross (though I think I liked Sam Elliot better in Ang Lee's Hulk). Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/The Abomination was great! Seriously, he owned the movie. Ed Norton was pretty decent as Bruce Banner but I can't watch him without expecting him to go beat up some black folks or hassle some Jews. What we see is, like I said, the Bill Bixby Bruce Banner. Constantly on the run trying to quell the raging spirit dwelling within him, etc etc etc. What we don't get a chance to see is the big brained super smart Bruce Banner. Sure, we see him do some science, but mostly he's doing Bill Bixby. Liv Tyler was definitely a better Betty Ross then Jennifer Connelly. Her lips are enormous. Honestly, I can't fantasize about her cause she has Steve Tyler's lips, and I don't wanna imagine his lips slobbing on my knob. That's just fucked up. Speaking of which there is one very funny scene between Norton and Tyler and they're about to get all up each other and...ah, just see it for yourself. Very funny. But Norton is really eager to grab her ass, man. Or at least that's where my eyes were.

Oh, you know who comes out in this movie? Delmar! The dude from O Brother, Where Art Thou? He comes out as Mr. Blue/Samuel Sterns. Honestly, the name meant nothing until a moment towards the end when I realized that, holy shit, it's the fucking Leader! We do see one other important Hulk supporting character, but he's never really named (unless I missed it), Doc Samson. That was more of a bone to the fans cause this Doc Samson is a total pussy.

And the coolest cameo of the film, of course, was Lou Ferrigno! Yeah, comes out for a minute as a college security guard. It's just a stupid fun moment but worth pointing. Lou is the fucking man, indeed!

But since this wasn't an origin movie, there was a certain lack of...something. Banner is running, General Ross is hating, Betty Ross is longing...things are already in motion at the beginning of the movie and we're not given time, except very briefly, to see the characters actually get there. I suppose this is why Tim Roth owns this movie so much. We get to see why he goes where he goes. He starts off tracking Banner and ends up finding the Hulk and he's dying, DYING, to get an opportunity to prove that he's as bad ass as he was when he was younger. Better even. So of course when they present the new Super Soldier experiments to him of course he jumps at the chance. Dude's 39, feels 50...time has taken its toll hardcore. He's a great soldier, but he wants to prove he can be the greatest. This is the guy the audience really gets to know and I think he'll prove to be the most memorable of the movie.

But how was the action, right? Yeah, the action is pretty damn good. Tight, solid shit. The clip AICN posted with Tim Roth fighting the Hulk in a field was part of the best action sequence. The stuff between the Hulk and the Abomination was pretty good. Worlds better then the final fight scene in Iron Man between Iron Man and Iron Monger. There's this great bit with the Hulk grabbing a police car, ripping it in half and using the halves like boxing gloves. Yeah, man, bring that shit! And yeah, we get a "Hulk Smash" moment too. The way Hulk puts out a fire is classic comic book Hulk. Oh, I can't forget the chase sequence when Norton is being hunted by Tim Roth and his team. I love the fact that all that was shot in Brazil. Looks ghetto georgous. During the entire Brazilian sequence in fact, nothing but beautiful women. Damn, I gotta get me one of those. Hot!

As for the look of the Hulk, it was tight. I never had any complaints about the Hulk design from Ang Lee's version, but hand down this version is superior. A lot more detail, a lot more emotion shows through. And this Hulk fucking throbs and ripples like no one's business! I mean he's got veins running everywhere, huge rippling muscles. It's an impressive sight. Actually, now that I think of it, he almost resembles a Dale Keown version of the Hulk. A cross between Dale Keown's Hulk and Lou Ferrigno.

Now I can't review the Incredible Hulk without making some mention of the 2003 movie version of the Hulk by Ang Lee. First things first, I liked Ang Lee's Hulk. I generally liked Lee's approach to the character as it was what was being done by Peter David when I first picked up a Hulk comic book. Lee was examining Bruce Banner's anger issues and goes into the whole child abuse thing, the dead mother thing. I thought it was a thoughtful approach and was a great treatment of the character's back story. By comparison, this Bruce Banner doesn't get angry. Since no examination of his anger takes place, instead we have a Bruce Banner that Hulks out when his heart rate goes above 200 beats per minute. We have a scared Bruce Banner, but not really an angry one. Contrast Banner to when we actually see the Hulk on screen in this new movie, and we see this Hulk angry. But this movie is about Banner's predicament, not his anger so it's a minor complaint. Still, maybe not so much the incredible Hulk so much as the hypertensive Hulk. It's kind of unfortunate, in hindsight, that the 2003 movie was made. Ang Lee went one way, and since Marvel Studios wanted to get away from that they took the stuff that he didn't work with. Because of that, each movie lacks something and each has something the other needs.

Now let me complain about the audience for a second. I fucking HATE audiences. During the opening credit sequence I was a bit distracted by this fat Mexican woman in front of me. She was handing snacks to her friends in the top row of the bottom section and RIGHT in my FUCKING way. It didn't help that this tubby bitch moved like an arthritic slug. Jesus, even some stupid girl selling pizza opened her big fat mouth during the opening sequence. "Pizza, $3.50!" Seriously, how does a theater expect to get audiences to behave when their own employees won't shut the fuck up? And the idiots right behind me? Christ, they would open their greasy shit traps at the most inappropriate times (being at any time during the movie). Seriously, people! You pay money to watch a movie, not fucking talk over it! No one gives a shit about your day, your retarded friends and you realize you could talk on your cellphone at fucking home, right? I don't think you have to pay money to do that. Christ!

So yeah, the movie was pretty good. Probably not as good as Iron Man (though thankfully lacking godawful dialogue), though maybe the audience being so stupid didn't help. Overall, it's a fun movie and I liked it.

[Update]

Can't forget the damn spoilers can I?

SPOILER!

So, how was it? The ending? The ending we've all been longing to see? Oh yeah, it was fucking GREAT!

So there's General Ross, pounding back shots, miserable that his prize got away and in walks Tony fucking Stark. Of course, he's silhouetted against an open door and swaggers over and chastises Ross for the repeated failures of the Super Soldier program, saying it was a waste of time. I lost some of the dialogue as the audience went apeshit at seeing Robert Downey, Jr. Massive win, I know, but I knew this was coming for over a month. And then, of course, the reference to the creation of a new team. YEAH! The Avengers! RAWK! Seriously, it was pretty bad ass. Fundamentally, not really different from the post credits ending in Iron Man, but still exciting to see. The next time they do one of these sequences I think they should do it as an advancement of the team's creation. A slight advancement, nothing major, but to give it the feel that there is forward motion. But I suppose there already was since it was Tony Stark delivering the message and not Nick Fury. Awesome. Pure fucking awesome.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Guess what I saw?

Yeah, what a surprise, right?

The Incredible Hulk!

Yeah, I liked it.  I liked it muchly.

Solid movie.  Review is...sadly in need of editing.  Been hitting up the geek sites and never even bothered to check my favorite blogs.

It shall come!  In organized, coherent, lucid form.  Tomorrow.

Until then, let me say something about Tim Roth.  Best actor in the movie.  Did a great job, had a great deal of fun with the role, absolutely made the movie for me.  Seriously, couldn't have found a better actor to fill the role.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Booster Gold #10



Blue & Gold part five: Mind Games.

At times I'm critical of this series. The plots are good, but the pacing needs much improvement. That's a problem easy enough to solve, but since this book is written with an eye towards the collections I don't think that's gonna happen.

Given that, I enjoyed this issue. It was decent. Wasn't great, but it had some nice twists and some good moments.

Rip Hunter and Booster's ancestors are desperate to replace the time sphere that Booster stole to get back to the 21st century, or would steal cause he stole it again a few weeks before he would steal it the first time. Booster, Beetle and the JLI are fighting it out against the Time Stealers on Brother Eye. The fight is retty much a stalemate, though the JLI initially seem to have the upper hand. Booster is disappearing out of the time stream because the time sphere thing hasn't quite been resolved. The action continues until it's revealed that Booster's dad, presumeably the head of the Time Stealers, isn't quite who he seems. The big reveal this issue *SPOILER* is that Mister Mind, last seen at the end of 52, is controlling Booster's dad. HA! Okay, that's cool. We're then treated to daddy-o puking up Mister Mind's offspring on top of Booster before getting shot out of daddy-o's head and squished. Blue Beetle, after witnessing Fire getting killed by the Black Beetle, realizes that his life isn't worth all the death and destruction that results from being saved. He takes off back in time, oddly along with the Black Beetle and the issue ends with the time line whiting out with the conclusion to come in Booster Gold #1,000,000.

Honestly, as this arc moves towards its conclusion, I'm enjoying it a lot more. We're finally getting to the point. Everyone here has their moment. Skeets taking a shit on Maximillian, Booster bringing his A game and kicking his dad's ass, Rip Hunter knocking out Brainiac 5 in the 31st century...it's nice. There is one moment towards the end with Blue Beetle saying his goodbyes to Booster that seemed vaguely...homoerotic. I mean it could have just been me, but I half expected Blue Beetle to stick his tongue down Booster's throat.

While I should really re-read the entire arc (if not the whole series), it's all seemed like a giant detour. I should honestly reserve final judgement until the final part next month, but I think this series has dallied too long. It's time Johns and Katz drive this series forward and made good on the promise of the first issue.

Green Lantern Corps #25



Hhhmmmmm.....

An okay issue overall. It starts off with some strong action as our group of Lanterns fight Mother Mercy, the big momma Black Mercy plant that comes out at the end of last issue. They realize that Mother Mercy is a sentient life form and, after some back and forth getting beat down and eventually coming out on top, put Mother Mercy in a position to surrender and free Arisia and Sodam Yat. After that, we're treated to the origin of Mother Mercy, her original, more benign intentions and how Mongul plays into things before he comes out to set the stage for this story's finale next issue.

Like I said, okay overall. The action was pretty cool with a great shot of all the dead shit that was in orbit crashing down on top of them. Apparently, Mother Mercy can control the gravity of this planet. Not likely, but comics are good like this. Oh, but it is cool so see a giant dead whale falling (along with tons of gore) on our heroes. Reminds me of that bit from Hitchhiker's Guide. The story is straight forward action adventure stuff. We have a moment with Arisia ready to kill Mother Mercy for basically raping her mind but Sodam Yat convinces her otherwise. Man, what a pussy. But then Mother Mercy reveals that her intentions on spreading out her offspring across the galaxy was to alleviate pain and suffering with their ability to tap into the feel good centers of the brain. Basically, Mother Mercy is interstellar opium. Sweet! Seriously, Guy and Kyle should take some Black Mercies back with them and sell them at their bar on Oa for, uh, recreational purposes. Speaking of Oa, more hinting at future events with the Guardians watch the spread of new colored power rings across the universe.

The issue seemed fillery in the overall story. I'm not complaining, we're treated to some kick ass moments and an important story point, but nothing much happens. My complaint, however, is the new series inker Drew Geraci. Jesus...I'm sorry, but his inks change Gleason's art completely. In places where the figures need more clarity, they're...not. I don't think it's Gleason's fault, but a lot of fine detail is completely lost. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. I guess I'll need to compare the previous couple of issues. Hell, maybe it's just the light I'm reading under bothering my eyes, but at first glance it does nothing for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1 & #2



Captain Britain and MI:13 #1



Captain Britain and MI:13 #2

Man, this is turning into a really good week.

First I need to say that these issues were thrilling. Second thing I need to say is what the hell is going on?

Secret Invasion tie-ins! Yes, this much I know. And this much I also know, the Secret Invasion tie-ins are outclassing the main series in every which way. I'm not sure if this is good or bad. Either the main series just sucks or the tie-ins are just that good at providing for a fuller, more satisfying reading experience.

So the Skrulls are in Britain and the British are getting their shit handed to them. on a plate. The Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom and a couple of others are assembling to fight the invasion and protect the magic realms which, it seems, are concentrated on the British Isles. Sweet. Strategizing with Prime Minister Gordon Brown (with all respect to Leonard Kirk, Brown looks nothing like that) they realize the Skrulls are going after the Siege Perilous (which any long time fan will know from Uncanny X-Men and their subsequent "deaths"). Haul ass over to the Siege Perilous only to realize that the Skrulls have launched a missile onto that location. Captain Britain dies in the attempt to stop it. Thus ends issue one.

Issue two begins with the immediate reaction of the British to the death of Captain Britain. The immediate reaction, cause apparently everyone in Britain senses it intuitively. Cool! Skrulls are really doing a job of fucking shit up and start slaughtering mystical fairy types in Avalon. Of course, this leads our core cast to find Excalibur (the sword, not the team) and, uh...attempt to pull it out. And fail utterly. The last couple of pages are the Skrulls killing the Lady in teh Lake, killing the Green Knight, stealing holy relics and merging them together so they can take control of magic.

Kudos to Paul Cornell for creating some tight and tense action and taking the blassy step of killing the title character at the end of the first issue. Seriously, if it wasn't spoiled for me I would have never seen it coming. And thank you for making Pete Wisdom a character I can actually like. I remember reading his debut in Excalibur and thought what a totally shit character he was (and the notion that Kitty Pryde would fall for a douchebag like that? Fuck!). Well, either Cornell made this turd shine or I'm just older but the right bastard schtick worked well for me. And thank you Cornell for injecting some serious win into the Black Knight. I don't know what's going on with him and his sword, but I'm intrigued. And thank you for showing us his innards. Or, maybe not. Thank you For Buffy Summe...I mean Faiza Hussain. The character is pretty cool and has the ability to make people's insides go all inside out and shit. The dialogue does need work. Seriously, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been done. Season eight is being published right now. I read it, it's good. I love that Faiza is an enthusiastic geek girl, but the dialogue needs tweaking. Tweak, minor tweak. I also love the idea of a Skrull posing as John Lennon. Dude, where does Cornell get this shit? Jesus... One character I don't recognize is this Spitfire girl, a speedster. I can't say I'm familiar with her but that intro in issue one was all I needed.

And kudos to Leonard Kirk! Solid artwork, old school style.

Starting right in the middle of a giant corssover event, I would think it would be a risky thing. Hell, I thought this was a miniseries until a few minutes ago. Turns out this is not only a new ongoing but it was supposed to be a new Excalibur series too. Instead, they said screw it, there have been far too many Excalibur series at this point, do something else and lo, they did. Fantastic start. From the word go, this series has been running at top speed without a chance for a breather. The mysteries are fresh, the endings shocking and the action intense. I assume they'll take some time for character work eventually, but not when everyone is busy dealing with Skrulls.

I do have one...one!...complaint. What the hell is with this "Faiza Hussain Oversight Team" shit mentioned in the final "next issue" page? Seriously, is it so bad for the British that infidels who wish to write a muslim character must have their work approved by their new Islamic overlords? I googled the names to see if these ladies were some sort of crazy terrorist apologists, but nothing showed on the page one search results. One is a wannabe film maker. Media wannabe types? Cornell states, at least on Wikipedia, that the character's religion won't really play a role, she's too damn bubbly to take seriously as an overtly (nevermind the headscarf) religious character, so I guess he just wanted a muslim character. I'm kinda coming to the conclusion that this means she's probably some sort of composite of these four girls mentioned, but I wouldn't have any clue as to why that is or what their relationship to each other is. I just found this...disturbing.

That aside, these issues were tight and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Pick 'em up!

Action Comics #866



Brainiac part 1

After the brief bit of filler last issue, we begin the new arc and...and...now, I want the whole thing now. Geoff Johns, please email me with the scripts cause I do not want to wait. You will tell me all your secrets.

Okay, issue starts on Krypton 35 years prior to present day and Brainiac's robots are attacking and bottles Kandor (which is strange, cause I thought Kandor was bottled in some other event but this is DC, which stands for Duuuuuuuuuuuh, Continuity?).

Fast forward and we see Clark and Lois in a staff meeting at the Daily Planet where new editors are introduced to the staff including Cat Grant making her return. After the meeting, Clark senses something and takes off to do his Superman thing fighting one of Brainiac's robots. The robot shuts down in the middle of the fight after sending a signal back to the mothership and we are treated to this sweet revelation at the end that knocked me on my ass. Seriously, Johns is thinking big for this story. Huge! I'm not spoiling it so pick it up.

Johns is DC's golden boy. There are so many moments in this issue that never fail to impress. The attack on Krypton was cool shit, the staff meeting was laugh out loud and te reveal at the end was great. Gary Frank, a great artist in his own right sells me completely on this issue. Cat Grant...wow! Wow! Total slut, and I wish she was real. Great tits. I shouldn't say this about a cartoon but I would kill to hit that. But the thing that impressed me the most was this one page moment with Jonathan and Martha Kent. It's a one off page, it's only a few panels. Martha is calling Jonathan for breakfast. I couldn't turn the page. There is one panel with Martha looking at Jonathan, it's a silent panel, and it's so stupidly simple that I think most folks would overlook it but there is such an emotional depth that I was taken aback. It's rare that an artist can hit an emotional note so pitch perfect. I mean you have guys like Greg Land and their one note, porn face expressions that really keep comics in general in the realm of juvenile nonsense. Frank is, clearly, capable of elevating it. This guy needs to do something independent, something quiet and thoughtful. He's wasting his time with the capes and tights shit. That panel, man, that page is evidence of the kind of storytelling this man, the medium in general, is capable of. Beautiful.

Overall, this is a must have. It's dubbed a "Sightings" issue, though I don't know why. It's a breezy read but I highly recommend this issue.

ClanDestine #5



Final issue!

Gotta hand it to Alan Davis, he's done a super fun series. Every issue has been a blast with great art and solid writing. It hasn't been perfect, and unfortunately this issue was sadly rushed. Damn, I hate to say it but this was probably not the best issue of the series. The climax was good, but I think they could have done a little more, maybe an extra sized issue. I'd say maybe a sixth issue, but there's just not enough to call for an entire issue. And let me get the problems out of the way. First, the whole bit with Excalibur and Dom (and then the Twins and Newton) on trapped on an alternate Earth was wrapped up far too quickly. I'd hate to say it, but the resolution is pretty pointless and basically happens off panel. The villain on this alternate Earth was an Inhuman Adam and his son Albert had encountered in the 1300s in Tibet and was killed. On this Earth, he was alive and near death and, spoiler here, ends up dying off panel. We think we're about to get a knock down, drag out fight and then we see the heroes standing around going, "Hey, he died, well isn't that somethin." Yeah, that fight would have been nice.

The climax was...well, it was good but could have been better as well. Again, wrapped up way too cleanly. Good, cause the stuff Adam has been dealing with flows into it, but bad cause all the other characters have been dealing with the major consequences up until this point. Basically, it can be summed up as Daddy cleans up his kids' shit. He does it very well, though.

So what was good? Well, the issue was basically about Adam. He's been transported to where his wife, the Djinn, is residing and while fighting his way towards her he basically has to man up to all his shit. Adam is an immortal and invulnerable, so since he can't be hurt he's got this constant disconnect to everything. He's detached from his family and himself. He kinda wanders around bleary eyed (which is why in his debut in the original series he was found by the Silver Surfer in deep space). So basically Adam gets his shit together, gets back with his woman, comes home and lays the smackdown. That was pretty cool. Also, the Twins reaction to seeing their mother for the first time was nice. Unfortunately, none of their questions are answered because Adam takes off, again, with his wife but it was a very sweet and simple moment.

There is, also, a promise at the end for more stories with these characters. Hopefully we won't be waiting another decade, though.

The art is, naturally, stellar. Davis draws the best looking characters, the best fight scenes...you really could just fall in to the page. I could look at these pages forever.

Now I'm still gonna say this series was excellent. This issue wasn't the best, but taken together with the whole series it was a great ride. Alan Davis loves his comics, he loves these characters and it clearly shows. It feels like a more classically done comic, which is what I enjoy. So many comics these days are aimed squarely at more adult audiences and take themselves way too seriously. This book has crazy characters, big adventure, well drawn...it's the kind of thing that got me into comics. Anti-climaxes aside, I'd recommend picking up the hardcover coming out in...August? It's well worth it.