Thursday, July 31, 2008

Uncanny X-Men #500 review


The story is really simple. The X-Men move to San Fransisco. They're setting up shop. They attend an art exhibition that uses two decomissioned Sentinals. They fight Magneto, who is using a suit created by the High Evolutionary that mimics his powers. The fight is a distraction so that the High Evolutionary can meddle around with the Dreaming Celestial. They both escape. Later, the artist who created the exhibit is found murdered and Pixie, the soon to be newest X-Man, is assaulted by members of the Hellfire Cult.

The issue is written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction with art chores alternating between Greg Land and Terry Dodson. It's part one of an arc, but really it's more of a prelude setting the arc up while establishing the X-Men's new setting.

Overall it's just boring.

I've been following Brubaker's run since his first issue with #475. I really enjoyed it up until the last part of the Shiar story when it all completely fell apart. Either editorial is meddling massively, or Brubaker can't get a handle on this franchise, but it's safe to say that since I'm already dropping this title I know I'm not gonna miss a thing. Shiar? Fell flat. The Extremists? Sucked. Messiah Complex was okay, but the whole Divided We Fall thing was a sham and this issue reads like ass. It's not fun, it's formulaic and on top of that inexplicable. So, when Cyclops said the X-Men are no more, he was...just...talking out of his ass? The whole move to San Fransisco was baffling enough, but with this issue they really go out of their way to make it seem contrived. Look, Astonishing X-Men #25? Great introduction to their new setting. We don't need a double sized issue filled with Greg Land's porn face tracing (more on that in a second) to know what's going on. Well, actually, it would have been nice to know why Cyclops suddenly changes his mind on the whole disbanding thing, but Brubaker lost his chance to do that in the last arc. And since this is a team book, can we at least establish the team? Is the cat-girl from the Starjammers still there? Characters are just thrown in at random is seems. Well, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Wolverine are a sure thing. Beast, yeah, okay. Colossus and Nightcrawler, alright. Storm? Um...oh, Cannonball! He literally just came out of nowhere. The fight scene that was, I suppose, supposed to introduce the new team (which is apparently the same team as in Astonishing with one difference) was a complete waste. Not an ounce of excitement. This isn't the artists' fault, this is the fact that I couldn't bring myself to care. The whole issue was about going through the motions. Magneto was cool, granted. Him and the High Evolutionary? Alright, cool. But his dialogue? Ugh! Why does he keep calling Cyclops "boy?" Magneto speaks haughtily, and this dialogue really threw me. He almost seemed out of character.

As for the art, we had Greg Land and Terry Dodson. I like Terry Dodson well enough. His art is fantastic, but his style doesn't fit this book. And to put him with Greg fucking Land? What, did editorial just pick two names out of a hat? Dodson is a capable, talented artist who I respect. Greg Land traces. Badly. And to top it off he traces from porn. All his women look ridiculous. His characters hardly make eye contact. Ninety percent of the expressions he uses are completely inappropriate to what's going on on the page (cause I think he can do, like...two). Seriously, when Emma Frost reacts to the news of the art exhibit, I can't tell if it's murderous rage or anal entry. Dude, Google "indignant" and trace that. I would stay away from this title just for the art alone.

If you're still interested in picking this title up, you can feel safe passing.

Justice Society of America Annual #1 review

Earth 2

Following up on the events of the last regular issue of Justice Society, Power Girl lands in Earth 2 Gotham City...right on top of the Huntress, who is shocked at Power Girl's return. A small reminder, remember, Power Girl was originally introduced as the Supergirl of Earth 2, Kara Zor-L, the cousin of Earth 2's Superman, Kal-L. Then Crisis...muddled origin...Infinite Crisis...that didn't help...52...fuck. Okay, Huntress contacts her ex-teammates in the Justice Society Infinity who haul Power Girl's unconscious butt to their Dr. Midnite. While she's being examined, Robin and Huntress are talking. It seems Earth 2 Batman is dead as well as Alfred. Huntress's fiance, Gotham Dictrict Attorney Harry Sims, is also in the hospital after a brutal acid attack by the Joker in an attempt to recreate Two-Face. Once Power Girl comes to, she freaks out, smashes through Dr. Midnite's lab and encounters a group meeting of the JSI. After calming down and getting re-acquainted with everyone, Power Girl realizes that she has no memories of anyone in the room, even though her memories of Earth 2 are seemingly restored during Infinite Crisis. We're then treated to a scene between Dr. Fate and The Spectre talking about the fate and safety of Earth 2.

Power Girl and Huntress then go out to seek some revenge against the Joker, who is now crippled and dying after so many yuears of handling toxins. Huntress lunges at the Joker who is prepared with a "gag" shock ring around his finger. However, Power Girl, being invulnerable, steps in and grabs his hand holding onto it until the Joker is killed by his own device. After this, Power Girl and Huntress have a heart to heart, talking about her fiance and the Joker, and her relationship with the JSI and Dick Grayson ("I...I love dick!" Do tell...) when who shows up but...fucking POWER GIRL?!?!?!?! This other Power Girl (Karen Starr) goes on the attack and smacks down our Power Girl (Kara Zor-L). She proves she's the real deal to Huntress when she shares a memory that only the two of them would know and they both start laying into Kara. Kara escapes, but Huntress and Karen go to mobilize the JSI where she reveals that she's been gone searching for her cousin, Kal-L, and doesn't believe that Kara told them the truth when she had said Kal died at the end of Infinite Crisis. The issue ends with the JSI mobilized against a now fugitive Power Girl.

Okay, so how was it?

S'alright. Yeah, just okay. It's an important issue in a lot of ways, in fact I remember the original solicitation in Previews labeling this a "Sightings" issue which is weirdly absent on this book, but there's just a lot of character stuff that, by and large, I wasn't really getting in to. Geoff Johns, don't get me wrong, did a solid enough job with this issue. The character stuff is interesting enough I suppose. But he does set the stage for future stories in the JSA involving Power Girl. He lays some groundwork on his post-Infinite Crisis DCU but then at the same time makes me really hate the whole stupid event and DC in general. So is Kara Zor-L the Power Girl of Earth 2 or not? Is this other Power Girl an imposter? From reading the book, I don't think so and Johns makes that pretty clear. If Kara isn't the Power Girl of Earth 2, then just where the hell is she from? Just what exactly is the nature of the DC multiverse now since the end of Infinite Crisis? Was Kara Zor-L recreated in Earth 2 when the multiverse was recreated giving us sort of clones, two characters with nearly the exact same histories? If that's the case, was Kal-L recreated as well?

When I was a kid, part of the appeal of reading comics was knowing there was all this character history that I hadn't read making the books seem so much more epic. In a way, I get some of that feeling back reading this issue. There's a lot of character history that is there that I've never read. When I picked up my first DC books, the DCU had been a single, integrated universe for several years. Sometimes being left scratching your head in some regards can be a good thing. However, what annoys me is that even though Infinite Crisis undid some of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, it annoys me that DC is still just arbitrarily cherry picking the parts of the Silver Age DCU that they want and tossing the rest. Basically, the DCU is just as confusing as ever.

The strongest point of this issue, really, is the art. Jerry fucking Ordway, man. The lay outs are well done and the action flows smoothly. He does what no one has been able to do in years and manages to make Power Girl look respectable instead of being the sloppy lewd whore everyone always presents her as. Seriously, Power Girl is always so top heavy it's a joke. It's all about the tits. Tits and ass, but with all the grace of a female body builder anguished over seeing her favorite puppy get run over. Ordway makes her a more serious hero again, thank God. I also love the expressiveness of the Huntress. Since she has that mask on it's all eyes and he really uses it to great affect. The character drama might be so so, but Ordway really does a helluva job selling it. Tight old school stuff.

Overall, I'd say the issue is mostly filler but with there are hints of major thing occuring. It's important...ish. I really thought it would be more important then it was. If you're a fan of JSA, I suppose you can pick it up and enjoy it as there is actually plenty about the issue to like. If you're wanting to save $4 bucks...yeah, I think you're relatively safe in skipping it.

Robin #175 review

Shattered Pieces (RIP tie-in)

Robin has Bruce's "Black Casebook" which is a record of his early days, the contents of which are weighing heavily on him while he looks back to their past experiences in their year off after the events of Infinite Crisis. Stephanie Brown, The Spoiler, shows up while Tim is scanning the pages of the diary. He intends to share the information in the book, redacted in places of course, to try to corroborate the contents. Tim fears Batman has lost his mind due to a possible post hypnotic suggestion planted in his mind during a ten day period spent in isolation (covered in an earlier issue of Batman). He goes and sees a Seargent Harper at GCPD to give her the scanner. After running around, beating down some thugs, he goes to The Penguin to strike a deal for a large sum of money. Find Batman by dawn. Naturally, the Penguin is up for it. Joining back up with Spoiler again, Robin declares that if Batman isn't "right in the head" that he's going to take him down.

I haven't been a regular reader of Robin in a long long time. The last issues I picked up, in fact, were during the whole Resurrection of Ra's Al-Guhl debacle. I recall the Robin and Nightwing issues beig the strongest parts of that whole weak-kneed little crossover. This issue, written by Fabian Nicieza is...okay. I mean, it's pretty much a restatement of what's been going on over in Batman for the most part and nothing really happens. It comes across as shiftless and without focus for most of the issue. The closer we get to the end, however, it really seems to find a direction. Robin? Taking down Batman? Holy shit! Course, it's not gonna happen. Flipping through the new Previews today, I got pretty spoiled to the ending of RIP. This does, however, lend credence to the notion that Tim Drake will take up the mantle of Batman.

What I really dug this issue was all the flashback stuff to the year off. Batman in a cave for 49 days in Nanda Parbat, Tim and Dick take off and do some nuanced crime-fighting/007 high roller type shit. That was really cool. Getting a chance to see Dick in a swank environment, hot wiminz all around him, lapping it all up, Tim vaguely embarassed.....tight stuff. I love the relationship between these two characters. Maybe it's a lame idea, but cancel both Nightwing and Robin and reboot them under a single title, Nightwing & Robin (or Robin & Nightwing to maintain the notion that Robin is Batman's sidekick and not Nightwing's). Maybe it's just a stupid and fleeting thought, but I think it would have potential. Nightwing is supposed to be the natural heir to Batman anyway, and I don't see that Tim Drake ever really learns anything from the Bat to begin with. Tim and Dick, however, have a really interesting personal relationship that has great potential for exploration. Call me crazy, but I like this idea.

What really really bugs me...fucking bothers the relationship between RObin and Spoiler. I remember back when they had this heavy romantic relationship going on that really drove the title. Now, with Spoiler''s this strained, childish, stupid.....thing. I don't know if they know where to go with these two now. It's just a lot of sniping back and forth, nothing interesting or worth reading. There was that moment at the end, however, with Robin confiding his grand plan, but they need to kill this angst bullshit before it ruins their relationship.

Overall...well, it's been a week. Anyone still wondering whether or not to pick this up can skip it. It's not bad, but it really lends nothing that you probably haven't read online already.

New Comics Wednesday

Green Lantern #33

Green Lantern Corps #26

Justice League of America #23

Justice Society of America Annual #1

Robin #175

Thor #10

Uncanny X-Men #500

X-Men: Legacy #214

Alright, it's been too long and time to get some reviews in. Andy got last week's as well as this week's shipment in today so that's two weeks of books. Three reviews tonight, probably another three Thursday and the remaining books Friday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It occurs to me...

I"ll never be a world famous photographer.

Seriously, it's harder then it looks. My sister emailed me the pics I took and, in hindsight.....I really suck. Wow.

So, these are, sadly, the best of the bunch and all taken during the storm.

These two are some street flooding. It got higher then this.

This tree was destroyed pretty much.

Kaiser...taking a piss.

Shingles getting blown off the roof.

Shoulda waited until the next day. Soooooooo many missed opportunities!

Downed fences, busted up signs, destroyed car ports.....The Jerk I aint.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poor neglected blog

Well, the hurricane was fun. I got a few pictures, pretty much of the house and street during the storm. Told my sister to email them to me so I could post them up. My sister only had so much room in her memory card and my brother said he would e-mail me the ones he took (won't hold my breath on that one though).

Lucked out in a lot of ways. I had said I was going to board up the windows. Didn't. Derrrrrr!!!!!!!!! Who knew it was gonna hit us like it did? I think I was like the only one (well, except my brother but he didn't want to go out and do it) and, well, it didn't get done. Thankfully no windows were broken, but that was just dumb luck cause we had wind going 100 miles an hour at one point. The damage was, in the end, a broken fence, broken trees and we lost some shingles on the roof (though the front door jams a little now and the garage doors could use some work or at least a some repainting). We rent, so the landlords are taking care of everything. Hopefully repairs will go fast. Had a guy stop by tonight to look at the roof to make sure it was just shingles that flew off and no roof damage (even if it was it's only a couple of years old and should be under warranty anyway). The fence will be another problem, cause that's something for their insurance to take care of I suppose. It's down in two places and part of a tree collapsed on another meaning that will need to be replaced. I don't know how long that will take. The one major problem is, the Presbyterian Church we rent from, their building was damaged. Car port on the roof (lot of car ports destroyed for that matter), roof damage...could be a lot worse, but still not a pretty sight.

The luckiest thing is that we did not once lose power. Well, it got spotty at a couple of points, but we never went more then...30 seconds? People across the street are still without power. Most of Harlingen lost power and we were one of the lucky few. I'm very grateful for this. Work had no power and only partial power with no AC the next night, but as long as the house has electricity I'm happy. No cable, in fact it's sitting around the part of my fence that's still standing, but we got POWER!

Speaking of work, it was very boring Wednesday night. Very. I took a three hour nap on the couch. No lights, no one to help...just sat and did jack shit though I did let a woman from a Houston news station crash on a couple of sofa chairs in the lobby. Where the hell else was she gonna go, right? After napping until about, oh, 2:30, I noticed the winds had pretty much passed. Cool. The next night was more interesting. Had half power, the check-in system was down, but the computers were on. Also there was no AC, so I was sweltering. Threw some root beers in the freezer, which was getting power, got an oscillating fan delivered from the house (thanks, Mom!) and sat there trying to keep cool. And trying to keep my cool. Got into a couple of arguments with some guys who had made reservations that day but with a downed system there was no way we could know and we were sold out (though my idiot boss could have called corporate to keep new reservations from being taken). Got full power back Friday night (and phones came back online Saturday night) and have been very busy since. AEP, the electric people, have been buying up rooms everywhere to keep there people in. Trying to keep crews together and not kick anyone out has kept me on my toes.

Mosquitoes are turning into a major problem. The eggs layed from the rains we got a few weeks back have all grown up into giant mutant monsters. Can't walk the dog or have a smoke without coming back in as a single giant itch. Impossible. Put on some Off and did the backyard this morning. Hopefully the few places to take cover in the better, but my street is totally lined with piles of dead wood (speaking of which, I'm this close to a name for this blog). ARGH!

Andy, my comics dealer of about a million years running now, finally got power back to his shop Sunday night. Sweet! Also got power back to his house Saturday night. Most excellent. Unfortunately, UPS is backlogged and his shipment is severely delayed. I was talking with him this morning and he was telling me that he could very well get his books for this Wednesday before he gets the shipment for last Wednesday. Crazy. If they don't come in tomorrow I'm probably just gonna do some quickie reviews, but then this upcoming shipment won't be big for me at all.

Speaking of comics, I did get my recent order from and Amazon in the mail Monday. Yay! Both at once!

Absolute Batman: Hush

Superman: Last Son

Ultimate Spider-Man volume four

Ultimate Spider-Man volume five

Ultimate Spider-Man volume six


Good haul. Okay, would have been better by a tad. Ultimate Spider-Man volume six? Was actually a volume six dust jacket wrapped around volume four. DOH! Not Buy's fault, but I still have to return it for an exchange. Free shipping through UPS Ground at least which is really cool.

I had never read Whiteout when the series came out. I really really should have. I didn't read it until Free Comic Book Day this past May and I snagged issue #1. Wow! So I finally got the TPB and it looks cool. Gonna start reading it tonight.

Last Son is a great story. Have most of the single issues except for part two. And Absolute Hush? YEAH! Jim Lee's art is amazing. And of course, continuing with the Ultimate Spider-Man hardcovers. My shelf is getting crowded.

I think that about covers the past week. Comic book reviews will be forthcoming, soon as I get something to review.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hurricane Dolly

What a pain in the ass.

First, this is probably gonna delay the posting of the new Wednesday haul and subsequent reviews.  Secondly, this hurricane doesn't seem too sure where it wants to land.  Hit us directly or don't, you fucking bitch!

I'm not worried, but the situation has changed enough that I'm at least going to have to board up the windows.  In the rain.  Also, I should try to move Mom's car into the garage to keep it safe.  Last thing we need is a damaged car.

I believe Dolly will make landfall in around noon.  I'll be asleep so no hurricane blogging.  Although, since my sister is here with her nice little digital camera.....YEAH!  Maybe some aftermath pics!



Wind is finally picking up. Some of them bands around the eye are finally whipping their way through. Not a lot of rain yet, but I hear Brownsville is getting drenched. Definitely gonna start boarding the windows.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight

Heh, I was gonna do a review but what can be said that hasn't been said a thousand times better on Ain't It Cool?

This was a tight, well paced, excellently acted hardboiled crime drama. Crime drama, not super-hero action movie. This movie is completely unlike the the Burton/Schumacher Batman movies, Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman, Iron Man, The Hulk movies.....hell, it's unlike Batman Begins. I've made the observation elsewhere in e-mail, but what this movie does for the notion of super-hero movies is like what Frank Miller did for comics when he wrote The Dark Knight Returns. It elevates.

I'm gonna try to see it again Saturday or Sunday. Fucking brilliant.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm still decompressing...

...After watching The Dark Knight.



It's all I've been able to think of all night.

I'll give my review tonight when my head clears.

Caught the 6:20 PM showing.  Bought tickets for the 7:40 showing, but that's cause I thought my friends were gonna see that showing.  They changed their minds, the bastards.  Should have known.  Got there two hours early, called, found out, decided I wasn't gonna wait around for that long, crossed the lobby and walked in to the 6:20 showing.  Got a less than ideal seat, but it beat having to wait two hours and then rush to work after the show.

The audience was pretty well behaved.  Sound sucked, unfortunately.  There were a couple of kids that were immensely bored and the sound was low enough that they could keep you from catching what a character said here and there and confuse the shit outta me.  The adults, however, were rapt.  RAPT!

The movie finally let out at 9:00 PM.  I so soooooooooooo wish I could have caught those midnight showing with all the other fans.  That's the kinda show you need to catch.  Apparently, the theater was only gonna screen on two, but found themselves opening six more for a total of eight screens.  Unbelievable!  I heard of some technical problems as well, with delayed starts, but hey, I woulda gladly sat through that!

I'm gonna stop by the store today and conversate about this awesome film.  I need to decompress with other fanboys before I can really collect my thoughts.

Excellent movie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Got my ticket!

I'm seeing the 7:40 showing.  I told Andy and them to call me at work after seeing the movie but they didn't.  Bastards!

Well, they had said they wanted to see it again, and I told them 7:40 was the latest I could make it, but I'm going with or without them.

Coming out of WALL*E last night, the line was already forming for the midnight showing.  Saw some guys dressed as the Joke and henchmen.  Cool shit.

I'll be splitting for the theater as soon as I wake up.  Don't wanna get a shitty seat.

Very excited.

The Incredible Hercules #119 review

Contact (Sacred Invasion part three)'

We start the issue with the Skrull queen quoting a prophecy from the Skrull Book of Worlds stating that our heroes will be "undone by the least among them." From there we flash back to a scene taking place right after World War Hulk with Hercules surrounded by soldiers and Amadeus Cho being escorted away. BUT! Cho is gassed and presented to a Skrull masquerading as a SHIELD agent. This is where we find out that the Skrull agent has replaced Pup with.....himself! Back to our intrepid crew, they are now in the Skrull Dreamtime, the world where the remains of fallen deities of alien cultures remain. While Skrull Pup is alone, he morphs into Amadeus, distracting Atum away from the wheel of the ship long enough to take control and smashing it into the Dreamtime. Regrouping after Snowbird retrieves the map of the Dreamtime, Atum graps Pup and rips him apart, revealing him to be a Skrull. This causes chaos in the ranks as Hercules attacks Atum accusing him of being a potential Skrull (but hard to argue since most of the gruop is composed of shapeshifters). After calming down, the group is then attacked by a swarm of alien gods. After much back and forth in battle, they seem to gain the upper hand until they are caught in the mouth of some giant bastard alien god. At this point, Snowbird sacrifices herself as she transforms into a great beast called Neooqtoq, the Ravager. She bids everyone to escape, as her transformation will kill everything around her, including them. Her transformation succeeds, but floats off into the endless void of space. Though she had the map of the Dreamtime, the issue ends with the group coming face to face with a Skrull deity.

It's been pretty obvious that I'm a huge fan of this series, and I really look forward to each issue that comes out, but this is first issue that I've really been disappointed in. This issue, everything feels forced and contrived. Pak and Van Lente are trying to hit all the right story beats, but with this issue it feels.....not cynical, but it's like they're doing it...just cause. For instance, every issue has a scene of Herc flashing back to his younger days and this issue it has no place, serves no purpose. When all that was introduced, it helped drive the story forward and this issue they did it cause I guess they felt they had to.

Also, I suppose cause it's only a four part story, the big sacrifice of Snowbird? Just...nothing. It does nothing. There was the last issue where they slept together that I suppose was meant to give Herc some grounding in his mission, some sort of attachment and create this big emotional thing when she disappears, but...nothing. Nothing. Totally pointless. I will say, the highlight of the issue was the post coital banter between the two. That was cute. The big reveal and death of Skrull Pup.....again, nothing.

I wish I could say something nice about the art, but the action comes across as a cluttered mess during the big action sequence.

I don't know. This issue was a real let down. I can't see this arc finishing well either. I mean, there's still the thing about Amadeus Cho and him doing some great big thing, so I still got something to look forward to next issue. But as I think about it, I think the strength of this book lies in having a small cast. With this story, The Incredible Hercules takes on the tone of a team book. Very much not a team book. Too many characters, not enough time to concetrate on a single one. Once this story ends, it needs to go back to Herc and Cho (and bring back Pup!).

X-Force #5 review

Picking up where last issue left off, Warren Worthington III is once again ARCHANGEL with them big giant bad ass metal wings. Cool shit, man. So he goes flipping out andtears out of his mansion looking for revenge. However, the pain caused by his new wings has clouded his mind and he's basically lashing out right now. We swing on over to Matthew Risman, planning an assault on Bastion. Risman has had some serious problems with Bastions plans and now intends on shutting him down with his brand new army of his own archangels called the Choir. But it's not only Risman wanting to go to war, Bastion himself is using William Stryker to lead the Purifiers in an assault against Risman. In the meantime, Reverend Craig is sent to finally finish off Wolfsbane. He shoots her in the thigh, but it partly deflects off her shackles, breaking them and allowing her to escape her cell. While X-Force follows a mad Archangel, who is trailing the Purifiers, the Choir draws first blood and begins the assault on the Purifiers. What proceeds is a massive battle between the two groups and a great two page spread with lots of gore. The issue ends with Risman and Bastion face to face.

This issue, when I read it initially, confused me. The story between Risman and Bastion has been so underplayed in the previous issues that I didn't actually realize it was going on. So when this issue came along, I was left scratching my head wondering if I missed something. Well, it was there...kinda. But the whole thing was just sort of backburner material. The gist of the stuff with the Purifiers involved bringing back a bunch of major X-Men baddies like Bastion and Magus and Donald Pierce. But looking back, it was there. So re-reading it with a clearer view, I gotta say that issue itself is pretty decent. X-Force basically take a backseat this issue so they can concentrate on the Purifier stuff. Rahne is finally back in her right mind, free of heroin and the Purifiers mind control. Basically everything is starting to come to a head with this issue and I'm anxious to see what happens.

On the other hand, so much was done with this story line that there is no wayu they can resolve any of it in the next issue. Magus? Pierce? all those guys from issue #3 they brough back? They haven't really been seen since. Unless that was all set up for a future arc, I guess that's fine, but they made a really big deal out of it during the build up of the story. I'm guessing Kyle and Yost have big things in mind for this series, but they should have played that stuff in a more subtle fashion while playing up the inner conflicts of the Purifiers.

Clayton Crain blows me away again this issue. That two page spread is just cool shit. Seeing a bunch of guys getting decapitated like that, I think that's the most graphic thing I've yet to see in a mainstream Marvel comic.

I'd recommend this book for the art alone, but the story really faltered this issue in some ways. The stuff with X-Force has followed through for the most part, but the Purifier's story just leaped forward too rapidly with not enough development and ignoring the stuff already established ealier in the series. Given the premise of the series I expect lots of violence and bloodletting in the next issue. What happens after that, however, will be a mystery to me since #6 will be my last issue.

X-Factor #33 review

The Darwin Awards (Secret Invasion tie-in)

To be sure, this is my last issue of the series I'll be picking up, so this review will be relatively light.

So it starts off with Longshot and Darwin (who I lost track of after the Shiar storyline in Uncanny X-Men last year) checking out Detroit. Longshot is being a total dick, just ragging on everything and everyone he sees. Some thugs overhear them and, naturally, take umbrage with Longshot's shit talking and start a fight. But instead of laying into Longshot, they go after Darwin. Darwin, whose power is to adapt, grows gills when being drowned, becomes stretchy when stabbed...nothing they do works. While this is going on we cut to Madrox and X-Factor Investigations talking with an old man in search of his son, who is a mutant. And, hey, what do ya know, it's Darwin's dad. And while they're talking, Valerie Cooper ad the O*N*E are listening in and keeping an eye on them. Pulling up files on the client, Hector Muñoz (No shit! Hey, alright, I'm digging it), Val pulls up some of his criminal history which involves some DWI stuff, ditching his wife and kid, etc etc. Anyway, so daddy-o is trying to rebuild his life and wants to find his son to make amends. Cool, cool.But back to Longshot and Darwin, Darwin takes off running one way and Longshot the other. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman is watching the whole thing and follows Longshot into a backalley where she seems that he's...a Skrull! Okay, no real surprise. Longshot was saying earlier that his powers weren't working which is bullshit cause he's not a mutant. Anywho, so "Skrullshot" is revealed and mystery girl keeps a close watch. Back to X-Factor, Madrox sends out a bunch of dupes to start the search for Darwin. Valerie Cooper decides that she has an assignment for Madrox and gets pissedoff that he's wasting his time in some simple manhunt. She bitches him out and gives him 24 hours to complete his job. Back to Darwin, him and Longshot meet back up discussing their reason for working together. Apparently, Darwin is on a search for Professor Xavier and Skrullshot said he would help him. Darwin is pissed that they're getting nowhere and Skrullshot is telling him to calm down and trust him when Darwin notices the girl who's been spying on them. Longshot sees her, and freaks out. Apparently he recognizes her. He runs, and she chases after while communicating this information to an associate. Before too long the whoe thing becomes a firefight. Darwin tries coming to the defense of Skrullshot, but the woman puts a gun to his head. Monet then comes out of nowhere putting her to the ground. While she's trying to pin her down, who else but She-Hulk comes tearing through thus ending the issue, to be continued in She-Hulk #31.

It's a three part story crossing over with She-Hulk. Like I said, I'm dropping the title, and really I have no intentions of picking up She-Hulk or the final part of the story in the next issue of X-Factor.

But what did I think of it?

It so.

The stuff with Darwin and Skrull Longshot was pretty funny. I figure Peter David wants to make Darwin a regular fixture in this series, which is cool. Honestly, the whole issue should have just been Darwin and Longshot. Screw the Secret Invasion angle, just Darwin and Longshot. The issue could have ended with Darwin running into X-Factor in...well, whatever way David could think up. It would have been a fantastic way of introducing the kind of environment X-Factor find themselves working in (hell, we haven't all been to Detroit now, have we?).

But that it's both a Secret Invasion tie-in and a She-Hulk crossover, well it kinda spoils the issue for me. Over in Captain Britain, we have massive fighting. Over in Incredible Hercules, we have a big mission. Over in Secret Invasion...well, you know. But here, in this corner of the Marvel Universe, we lone Skrull fucking with the locals? Some invasion. I mean, if the Skrull invasion is all about them fucking with fat ghetto trash, why not just let them? But I digress. The She-Hulk cross-over stuff...okay, I figure this mystery woman is a character in that book. However, I wouldn't know since I don't read it. Some kind of background would have been nice, but David takes the approach that you already know her. When in one scene she changes into a rat, I though, hey look, a fucking Skrull! Nope, not at all.

As for the's by Larry Stroman. It sucks. The faces on everyone sucks. It's pretty terrible overall. That's all that really should be said.

There is a lot of humor in this issue that was okay, but I can't help get the impression that Larry David was watching Keith Olbermann while writing this issue so for whatever reason it's all very left-wing. Guido voted for Nader in 2000, which I thought was great. I mean, of course he would! The tension between Madrox and Cooper is pretty thick. She has him by the balls, but at least it has given him some focus.

But overall, I thought there were just a few too many missteps in this issue. David tries, but for me this wasn't a strong issue. It could have been worse, I mean it has its saving graces, but it's a completely mixed bag. I would recommend just skipping out on this issue. It seems heavy with editorial mandate and try a Peter David might, it really couldn't be saved.

So much for the review, now if you don't mind me I'm gonna go off on a slight tangent...

Now, there were two things that greatly, greatly annoyed the fucking shit out of me while reading this issue. While looking at a photo of Darwin, someone (I think Rictor, but I can't tell cause the art sucks) is amazed that Darwin (who's hispanic) has such light skin. Cause every Mexican is automaticaly shit brown.

Say hi to the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón.

Hi Mr. President!

zOGM!11!11!! His skin is so light! LLO!1!11!!!

Celebrate diversity, support racial and ethnic purity today. Stop miscegenation now!

Sorry, that shit just sticks in my craw.

The other thing is...well, Darwin's name, I am learning, is Muñoz, which is cool. And it's not spelled right once the entire issue (whcih they use, seemingly no less then, 50,000 times). Okay, quick Spanish lesson. N and Ñ are two seperate letters in the Spanish alphabet. N is said like "ene" and Ñ is said like "enye" (if that example sucks, think of the singer Enya but with a short e sound at the end instead of the a). Spelling is "Munoz" makes it sounds like "muh-noz." But no one ever says it right, which I'm used to (though, for the record, the way to say it, at least without trying to affect an accent, is...well, it's in the URL...moonyose). But they could makea freaking attempt at getting it right. Bastards.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Captain America #40 review

The Man Who Bought America part four

Picking up after last issue, its Captain America versus Captain America as the two do a pretty decent job of kicking each other's ass. Zemo, Faustus and Arnim Zola watch the big show from the comforts of their hideout. Bucky quickly finds out that the Grand Captain is much, much stronger then him or Steve Rogers and realizes that he won't win in a direct, or even fair, fight. After a clever usage of his shield and a lucky right cross, he puts the Grand Captain on the ground long enough to unmask him. After this, Bucky quickly starts to understand what is motivating this particular Captain (he doesn't realize who he is and thinks he murdered Bucky back when). So Captain Bucky pulls off his own mask to reveal the truth, causing much confusion for the Grand Captain. However, after a recall order is given by the Red Skull, the Grand Captain flips out again and throws Bucky off the top of a skyscraper. The Falcon, however, shows up just in time to keep Bucky from splattering on the ground, while the Grand Captain beats a retreat. Bucky wants to get back in the fight, but the Falcon disagrees, saying it would be better to let himgo as he has his bird trailing him back to the Skull's hideout.

Sharon Carter continues her escape from Faustus's lab with Sin at knifepoint. Two seconds away from doing so, Sin breaks free and they start into each other. Their fight turns deadly as they're both intent on killing each other. Unfortunately, Sin gains control of the knife and plunges it right into Sharon's midsection, leaving her near death and the fate of her unborn child up in the air.

The action this issue was pretty good. Steve Epting is back this month and, thankfully, draws Bucky as capable of more then roundhouse kicks. Every time Bucky gets thrown into a wall, it really looks like it hurts.

For the story...maybe cause it's a pretty straightforward action issue, maybe it's cause I'm so blasted tired and cold, but this issue wasn't quite up to the standards of the last couple. The end is coming up quickly and Brubaker is really needing to wrap things up, so things are getting rushed forward in a big way but with so many loose ends needing tying up I'm left wondering if Brubaker will be able to do so satisfactorily. There was lots of stuff I enjoyed, Sharon getting stabbed right in the uterus being the big one. That was a shocker! Bucky as well, even though he seems to be taking in his new role pretty well, is easily shaken by seeing a man with the face of his mentor. It's his first real test, after all, since he's bene mostly fighting goons. This is the encounter that should test his resolve. Shaken, but he still manages to regain control.

I think maybe that's what bothered me about this issue. He was shaken, yes, but even though his confidence is shaken, his resolve wasn't. This fight should have been harder for him. I mean, seeing the Grand Captain's face really should have caused more of an internal struggle. At then end, he comments to the Falcon that he deserves the Grand Captain's hate. That's it? Dude, you were basically fighting a dead man in his uniform, using his name and his shield and that's the only thing going through your mind? Do you take for granted that the mantle of Captain America was passed on to you? Brubaker needs to address this issue. How does Bucky resolve this knowing that there were other, arguably worthier men to take up the role.

The issue was decent. Good action, story proceeds at a quickened pace and I'm eager for the next issue. Since the Death of Captain America in #25, this series has had its hits and misses. The last few have been hits, but this issue does seem to me to miss the mark somewhat.

Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge #1 review

So here we are, with Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard and Heat Wave returning to Keystone City for the first time after killing the third Flash, Bart Allen they quickly move to reclaim their lair from a gang run by the new Trickster. After a brief tussle, the Rogue's declare their intentions to retire. After that, an interlude with the Pied Piper invading a police station to acquire files on the Rogues which also includes a hidden file on the whereabouts of their family and friends. Interlude two takes uss briefly to Iris Allen reminiscing about Barry Allen. We jump over to Libra, who's preaching when he receives a message from the Rogues announcing their intentions to not join up with his Secret Society. His killing of the Martian Manhunter means he's gonna be in for a world of trouble which they want no part of. Then it's over to the Flash Museum, where we see Inertia, still in suspended animation, being taken into custody by the police. A bolt of lightning reanimates him where he proceeds to basically murder the shit out of the cops. When news of this breaks out, the Rogues opt for one last mission. REVENGE! In the final pages, we see Inertia again planning on killing the Flash and his family when Professor Zoom comes out of nowhere, puts him to the ground so he can tell him he's going to be the new Kid Flash.

This was an okay issue, it's all set up but I am intrigued to see where things go over the next two issues. We know that Mirror Master is working with Doctor Light and Libra, but Captain Cold is adamantly opposed to joining the Secret Society. How Libra plans on dealing with them while the Rogues go and plot revenge ought to be cool. The Pied Piper, who I'm glad to see again, had the only relatively consistent story throughout Countdown to Final Crisis. And then the whole thing with Inertia and Professor Zoom...interesting, interesting.

Not a lot actually happens this issue but it gives a really good feel for the intentions of the series. It seems that it's mostly going to be tying up the loose ends from the Bart Allen Flash series, putting a cap on the the Rogues (I imagine they'll mostly be dead at the end of the series) and setting up some new stuff for The Flash. Intertia as Kid Flash? Yeah, this'll go down well for Wally. I do like the portrayal of Inertia. Just a really fucked up, cold blooded killer. Actually, I had visions of Kid Miracleman when he was killing those cops.

I did have some quibbles. The relationship to Final Crisis seems to be rather slim. Sure, it's related to the Flash and Barry Allen is back. There is Libra, yeah, but until issue #2 comes out, I'm gonna be kinda scratching my head. There were also some serious continuity questions I have. Now I assume this takes place after the current Flash storyline, but wasn't the Flash Museum burned down? That was rebuilt fast. And Iris West...still breathing. And young. Well, not like I didn't know where that story was going, but this coinfirms it. Maybe even DC realizes The Flash sucks so bad right now that they don't care whether they spoil their own stories or not. Also, the way the Rogues describe the way they kill Bart Allen, seems kind of out of line with what happened. Coulda sworn they beat him to death. I'll have to look again.

All told...well, the issue stands well enough on its own. Whatever the relation to Final Crisis...time will tell on that one. I wouldn't recommend anyone go into this expecting something so tightly woven with that story, but this does work as a Flash spin-off mini. If you have that in mind, and you really love you some Flash, then it's worth picking up. can save $4 bucks, read the summary on Wikipedia and wait until next issue.

The Flash #242 review

Fast Money part five: A Day In The Life

Iris West keeps aging faster and faster. At issue's beginning she's about 30, at the middle she's 40, at the end she's...

At the beginning of the story, Wally and the Kids meet back with Linda who's shocked to see Iris aging so quickly. She wants to put together experiemnts to find a cure, but Wally is forced against his will (by a telepathic suggestion implanted by Grodd in the alst issue) to find a mystic chimp called Nzame. Nzame was brought with Grodd when he was teleported into Spin's lair. Nzame...oh, I'll get to this stupid chimp later. He's a mystic religious symbol worshipped by the apes in Gorilla City and Flash has to return him because...fucking...cause. After finding Nzame over the shriveled, dying body of the guy Spin was using to send out negative vibes, we get a flashback of everything this guy, Edwar Martinez, went through. Experimented on for greed because of his power to manipulate emotions. After this bit of backstory, Edwar's dying act is to reverse everything he'd been forced into doing by Spin by making people feel more compassionate towards each other. With Nzame in hand, Wally runs back to the family to find Iris has aged another ten years. Hoping to curry favor with the apes in Gorilla City, Flash takes the family to return Nzame and asks if he can use the little chimp's healing powers (yep) to maybe reverse Iris's rapid aging. Initially, the head ape says no, but with a wink and a nod tacitly approves Nzame's reabduction by the Flash as a sort of backdoor way of not violating their relgious beliefs. So he does, and in the middle of the jungle, with Iris holding Nzame, her rapid aging...thing...kicks in in and seemingly ages to her death. At the same time, Nzame becomes a giant ape (implied that the energy given off by Iris's aging zaps him causing the same) who is now out to kill the Flash.

Ugh. Where do I begin?

First, reading this issue I was left with the constant impression that I had missed on issue. Nope, didn't miss an issue. I was thinking to myself the entire time, who the fuck is this Nzame character? Reviewing the previous two issues, this stupid little chimp was only barely noticeably introduced in #240. His role in the story was nonexistant. He's there, he's mentioned, but the direction of the story had nothing to do with the stupid chimp at all. Same for the telepathic suggestion. A two page bit stuck in the beginning of #241 and then promptly forgotten while Flash is sent on to do other things. The fuck?

The direction this story...this series...well, it has no direction. This is the problem, the villain we're introduced to in the beginning is not the villain we're seeing at the end. Spin? Who the hell is that? So we go from satire about the media and yellow journalism with the underlying story being Wally's joblessness to a story about mystical monkey healers and the kids' aging problems.

Why am I gonna bother picking up the next issue, then? Aside from the fact that I must clearly hate myself, but I do want to see the ending of this travesty and I do want to see whether or not Iris stays dead. Of course she won't stay dead, but it would be cool.

Regrettably, what used to be one of my favorite DC titles back in the day is one of the best examples of wasted potential. Really, it makes me wish that DC hadn't killed Bart Allen. The CSI angle was really cool, and that had potential. They kicked Bart to the curb in order to tell a bunch of limp wristed stories about...what, exactly? Nothing interesting is happening in this title. The Flash is one of DC's A-list characters, serious shit should be going down and so far...nothing. I should write to DC...

Dear DC,

Kill the Flash's fucking kids. Please. It's the only way to be sure.

Thank you.

So much money down the shitter with this book.


New Comics Wednesday

Captain America #40

Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge #1

The Flash #242

The Incredible Hercules #119

X-Factor #33

X-Force #5

A pretty solid week.

First up to review will be the Flash, Rogue's Revenge and Captain America. I've already red X-Force, but I got confused on an important plot point so I'm going to hold off on that until tomorrow night so I can review the first four issues.

A couple of final issues for me this week as well. The Flash and X-Factor I'm dropping from my pull list. X-Factor this month is a Secret Invasion tie-in and...well, I'm not gonna be finishing the arc so my review of that will be relatively brief. I've been really hard on the Flash and, honestly, I'm gonna be hard again. It's the last issue I'm pulling regularly, but next month is the last issue of the current arc and, much as I dread it, want to at least finish the story. X-Force #6, when it's released, will also be my last issue of the series.

Unfortunately, I'm dropping most of my books. I'll just be following Final Crisis and related mini-series, Batman, Buffy, Captain America, Hellboy...I'll probably finish Secret Invasion. Until I find new work after leaving my present job, there's not gonna be a whole lot I'll be looking into.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Batman Begins

Went to HEB today and picked up a copy of Batman Begins.


Ya know, except for a five minute sequence on FX, I've never seen this until this morning. Figured if I was gonna go see The Dark Knight this weekend I should see the first one.

While I was there I picked up a bottle of cabernet.

So had a pretty good morning, watching Batman, drinking wine, ate the last bit of leftover pasta while I was at it. Great man, absolutely great.

Well, the wine wasn't all that, it was cheap stuff. Six dollar wine that's probably not much better than a bum wine. Didn't stop me from finishing the bottle.

Movie was really good, should have seen it a long time ago. I had some issues with it. The Waynes leaving the opera instead of a movie theater; Bruce Wayne being trained by Ra's Al Guhl; Chicago being substituted for Gotham City (say what you will about Schumacher, his Gotham City was crazy)...but my biggest complaint was too many villains. Carmine Falcone, Ra's Al Guhl AND Scarecrow. I wish they had just stuck with Carmine Falcone and a corrupt GCPD and just leave it a straight Year One story, otherwise it felt like two movies smashed together (the first half was pure fuckwin). Scarecrow came out for all of, what, ten minutes? Liam Neeson Ra's/Ducard was cool, though. Would have liked to see him and Wilkinson's Falcone together instead of tossing him to the wayside midway through.

But really, those are minor quibbles. Maybe it's just cause I was pretty sauced but by the end I was hootin and hawlerin. And given everything I've seen from The Dark Knight I am PUMPED. I'm glad they decided to start from square one with this character, cause it worked out wonderfully.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And the rest...

The Palinode order came in along with the Amazon order. Sweet. Little worn 'round the edges, but I got the thing for like $13 bucks, so I can't complain.

The Seven Soldiers books look...interesting. For whatever reason, DC decided to collect the books in a bit of a random order. For instance, volume one starts off with Seven Soldiers #0, then issue one of one mini, then issue one if the next, then issue one of the next, followed by the first two issues of the next. So, for instance, The first two issues of Zatanna are in volume one, issue three is in volume two and issue four is in volume three. This ought to be an interesting read. Though I can tell you what, the art in Seven Soldiers #1 and #2 by JH Williams is phenomenal!

Now looking at the top shelf in my closet, I realize that I desperately need a proper shelf to put these thing on. It's getting seriously crowded.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Electronic hauling

Aaaanndddd, here's what has come in the mail this past week.

Not too bad. I ordered the Ultimate Spider-Man hardcovers through the Amazon Marketplace. I actually ordered the first three volumes, but I'm still waiting on volume three. The sellers for volumes one and two, Michellebookseller and Mitzfish Media, both were very quick. the thid, Palinode Books, seem to be taking their time. They only give shipping confirmations on orders of $15 dollars or more, which kinda sucks. Presumably it's already been shipped.

I'm also expecting an order from Amazon proper Monday afternoon of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory series. I was reading a thread last night on Amazon asking opinions on the worst series people have ever read and, unfortunately, a few people answered this series. Huh. Looks like I'll find out this afternoon.

Until then, what I wanna do is go home, finish my back yard (that's another post for another day), watch Hellboy with a glass of wine and relax.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Speaking of Hellboy

Stopped by Walmart to pick up an oil pan and what should have been a freakin $8 dollar trip turned into a $35 dollar trip that included getting a step ladder and a $9 dollar copy of the director's cut of the first Hellboy movie. OHh, and a Snickers cause the wrapper made it looked all communistic and I thought it was peculiar.

Nine freakin bucks!

Actually, I was trying to find Batman Begins which I've yet to see but all they had was fullscreen copies.

Guardians of the Galaxy #3 review

Beyond Belief

Picking up where the last issue left off, the Guardians face off against a group from the Universale Church of Truth while attempting to look for survivors in a dyson sphere and shut down a fissure anomaly. They discover that the fissue was subatomic, fusing the inhabitants of the dyson sphere into a giant mass which proceeds to attack both groups. Back on Knowhere, Mantis and Major Victory are set upon by...Starhawk! Major Victory and Starhawk battle it out through Knowhere, the Guardians are still caught between this giant fissure monster and the Cardinals of the UCT. Warlock is gravely injured after Starlord is beaten down. Apparently, the Cardinals are there only to retrieve a blood sample from Warlock, which they do after putting a knife in his back. Back on Knowhere, Major Victory and Starhawk finish their fight after trashing the teleportation systems and Starhawk disappears. This is problematic, since the new plan the Guardians develop for destroying the fissure creature is to retract the dome of the colony inside the dyson sphere, fry the thing, and then teleport out before getting cooked themselves. Well, the creature is destroyed, but they get trapped. Ultimately, Gamora, having an enhanced healing factor, saves the group by rushing out to close the dome getting severely burned in the process. The issue ends with a slight mystery as the blood sample the UCT took confirmed that Warlock is Warlock leaving them to wonder who it is in the cocoon in their possession.

I can go on and on and on about how much I'm loving this title right now. Three issues in and three issues knocked right out of the park. The Starhawk thing kicked ass, Gamora saving the Guardians kicked ass, the powers displayed by the Cardinals of the UCT kicked yes, it kicks ass.

But there was one plot point that gets brushed over entirely showing, I think, the limits of the narrative. When Warlock is stabbed in the back, it's a brutal attack. Dude looks down for the count and you can't help think maybe this issue might have some surprise death. Unfortunately, it's gloseed over. Oh yeah, he's bleeding to death, but through the narrative device, these little mission debriefs, we're told that he's perfectly fine. And of course he is, we'd already seen him in one prior to the attack. That really deflates the suspense. I remember Pete LaPage on the Stack saying that was his problem with the series. While I still disagree, I think they're perfectly fine, but this was a perfect example of what Pete was trying to point out if Abnett and Lanning aren't careful this device could really undo the whole book.

Minor quibble aside, Abnett and Lanning really did a fantastic job of earning their salary. Paul Pelletier continues putting out greatly underappreciated artwork. Always gotta give love to the guys who go for smooth action and pacing. The flashy artists are too flash, the experimentalists and alternative artists are too iffy, but the guys who make it easy on the eyes are alright by me.

As a final aside, I wonder how hard it would be to convince Marvel to release a Mantis & Groot one-shot?

Pick it up!

Captain Britain and MI: 13 #3 review

The Guns of Avalon part three

So where were we last issue? Right, the Skrulls have stolen magic while a strange voice is telling Pete Wisdom to do things. The British Army is gathering on Westminster Bridge (with Black Knight and Faiza) ready to fight. We jump over to Pete Wisdom who's pulled out of a fight by Spitfire while he considers caving in to the voices. Spitfire rushes back for Skrull John Lennon who fails to draw Excalibur. Back at Westminster, the Skrulls begin their push while Pete Wisdom finally caves and releases the voices from their prison. Holy shit, it's the Octessence! Cytorrak! Fuck yeah! Also Merlin. Merlin puts Wisdom to sleep and does some crazy magic shit beginning the resurrection of...well, you know. And just in time since the heroes and the Army were about getting their asses handed to them.

This is another tight and tense effort put out by Cornell and crew. The tension is super thick. If there's no fighting it's cause everyone is just about to fight and when they do they just throw themselves into it. Since this is Secret Invasion, what I'm also really enjoying is how much more dire the Skrull threat is than in the main Secret Invasion series. It's a given that the Skrulls are going to be beaten, but Bendis is using it as a way drive his agenda forward, clean up contuity, return a character here and there. Cornell keeps it much more straight forward. World's ending, let's not fuck up...WIN! Now I don't quite know the Skrulls main motivations, I'm not reading New or Mighty Avengers, but I love how Cornell (and Pak in Hercules) is...well, at least padding their motivations. In Hercules, it's the religious motivations, in Captain Britain it's the mystical motivations.

As for the characters, for me it's really coming down to Spitfire (very driven and a little impatient) and Faiza (very naive). I really wanna see how these two interact when they're put together.

Speaking of Faiza, something about her hit me in this issue, why her and Black Knight kinda stick out a little more then the rest. Dialogue wise, these two are completely different from everyone else. Cornell is writing a very anglo-centric comic. Very Hail To England type stuff. Which is great, I'm loving it. Everyone is very stoic, stiff upper lip types. Black Knight is American, so that's his excuse, but Faiza...I see a great deal of potential with the character, so seeing her grow out of this ditzy, starstruck phase will be nice (though I'm not saying it's not cute).

I really, really, really want to stick with this series as long as I can. Marvel, not the best publisher, but they have a few titles that really manage to suprise the hell out of me.

Mr. Cornell, Mr. notch work, guys, keep it up!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (quick and dirty review)

So, like everyone else, I went and saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army tonight and the gist of my opinion is...better then the first, solid film, but not great.

The overall story is good, but it starts with so many plot threads that unfortunately the movie lacks focus. A lot of stuff to cover. The relationship between Hellboy and Liz, Hellboy's desire to be noticed by the world, Hellboy's regret at being noticed by the world, Abe Sapian falling in love with the elf princess Nuala, the relationship between Princess Nuala and Prince Nuada, Johann taking over the BPRD, etc etc etc...

Once the main story really kicks in, it steams along at a nice clip. The action is well done. The fight with the Golden Army is pretty cool to look at. Lots of stuff happening but not so much that you lose focus of what's happening (unlike, say, Transformers).

The characters...oh, let me say, I'm glad Abe Sapien makes it through the whole movie. In the first one he disappears halfway through with no explanation. This one he's a pivotal player. Alas, David Hyde Pierce does not reprise the voice. *Tear* But speaking of voices, Seth McFarlane as Johann is probably the stand out character of this movie. A wonderful job. McFarlane's Family Guy and American Dad might suck ass, but his skills as a voice actor are impressive. Johann...if there's a third Hellboy (please please please, people, support this movie so we can get the final part!) they really need to highlight this character a little more. He's a funny and intriguing character that, unfortunately, doesn't get enough time. Ron Perlman, of course, is Hellboy. He really brings the character to life. Now, my one complaint, and this is something I forgot as I haven't seen the first movie since it was released in theaters, is this Hellboy is so immature! At least with Selma Blair. Their relationship needed a little work. That's all I can say. That was one thread that, honestly, could have been jettisoned to tighten up the film. That or the whole part about Hellboy's need for public attention. Regardless, the characters are all well done and the actors are convincing in their roles. In short, they're all likeable. Also, Selma Blair is hot. Oh, and Anna Walton as Princess Nuala. I'd totally do her.

But none of that is important compared to the visuals. Yes! The reason to see this is Del Toro's amazing little world he's created.! The troll market is cool, monsters are so damn cool...that winged guy towards the end? Oooooohhhhhhh.....incredible. The look of the film was incredible. The Prince and Princess, the little Irish monster.....everything. These little demons they call tooth fairies.....vicious little bastards. You can argue about the plotting and pacing, but the visuals of this movie are its greatest strength.

Oh, and Del Toro? Doing the Hobbit? Yes, that movie is in excellent hands. I have no doubts that the Hobbit is going to be a most excellent film in his hands.

Two things I should mention, if anything detracted from the film it was that I was tired, didn't get enough sleep and my eyes were heavy at times, and the fact that the SOUND WAS NONEXISTANT!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck! Seriously, this movie needed the sound FUCKING cranked. It wasn't there at all. Big sound makes for better experience and this theater dropped the ball so hard. In fact, I think it was the exact same screen I saw Iron Man on. I guess their sound system is fucked, but they really need to fix that. Low sound at a summer blockbuster? Might as well just be hearing it in mono for all the good it does.

Overall, good movie and I would say you should see it. The plot might leave something to be desired, but I guarantee your eyes will be swimming in the visuals.

Here's an interesting and brief article from Reuters about Hellboy II.