Monday, December 31, 2007

End of 2007.

It's the end of the year and everyone likes "best of" and "top ten" lists, right? Well, Marvel has put up two articles, The Top Ten Villains of 2007 and The Best Moments of 2007. ::UPDATE:: They also added a Top Ten Heroes of 2007.

A couple of days ago, Darkhorse released a trailer for Hellboy II. Here's the link. I liked the first movie a lot so I've been waiting for this to come out. Too bad I have to wait until Summer.

That's all for today. Have a happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

December Reads Part III.

Thunderbolts One Shot: Breaking Point: I decided to give this one a spin because I want to start collecting The Thunderbolts series, starting with #118, which comes out on Friday. I was pretty impressed with this one-shot though, and I'm excited to start reading the series. This book was really well written, the art was great and it had the perfect balance of fighting, talking and character development. For a first-time reader, I was interested and was left wanting more. So it's a good thing the next issue comes out this week. I am totally psyched. Just about the only bad thing I have to say about this issue is that they used the font Crackhouse for the title of the one-shot. Seriously, Marvel? What is this, 1997? C'mon, either pick a different distressed font, or better yet, make your own. It's really not that hard.

House of M: Avengers #3 This series continues to get better and better with each issue. The Punisher really changed the whole series by switching sides. The story is great, the art is great, I love the cover art (by Mike Perkins) and I like the characters they chose for this version of the Avengers. I'm a Luke Cage fan, and he's front and center in this series.

I did not get Hulk vs. Fing Fang Foom #1 because I forgot about it and then didn't see on the rack when I was at the comic shop. I was thinking about getting Fantastic Four: Isla De La Muerte #1 but then flipped through it and decided to pass. I also didn't get X-Men #206 because that's one of the comics I subscribe to. I won't be renewing any of those subscriptions, mainly because they arrive a little later than the comic stores get them, and they arrive pretty beat up. So I'll just start picking them up at the store when they run out.

On Friday, I am planning to get Thunderbolts #118 and Exiles: Days Of Then And Now #1. At some point, I should be getting Moon Knight #14 and Uncanny X-Men #494 in the mail, even though they come out on Friday.

Also, as I mentioned in the update to the last post, I bought 100 old comics off of eBay for about $20. There is a nice mix of Hulk, Daredevil and Fantastic Four books with some other random stuff thrown in. There are some potentially awesome reviews that could come out of this pile of books, especially the Hulk stuff, because they are funny in a good/bad way.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Comic Book Ads #8 - Charles Atlas.

You know this ad. It's a classic. This one I believe was updated for the '90s because I think I scanned it in when I was doing that X-Force comic review and forgot that I uploaded it. It even has a website address. Things I love about this ad: The Blue Ribbon for "World's Most Perfectly Developed Man", and the check boxes for how to develop different muscle groups, with "Success With Girls" and "Magnetic Personality" thrown in at the end. Does anyone know if Mr. Atlas is still alive?

UPDATE: I just looked him up on wikipedia and he died in the '70s. So all those times I saw that ad in comic books and on TV, it was just a marketing campaign. I am kind of wondering if the "Success With Girls" information is still available because I want to know what kind of advice that a guy born who was born in 1892 and has been dead for 30+ years can give me in regards to attracting women. Charles Atlas might just might end up getting 2 of my hard earned dollars.

UPDATE #2: I bought a random collection of 100 old comics on eBay for like twenty bucks and they came yesterday. So I was reading Marvel Super-Heroes #35 (which I think just reprinted old Hulk and Sub-Mariner comics, but they never list the original comics that they reprinted) and on the very last page, I came across this original Charles Atlas ad, so I thought I'd scan it in and post it. You can see that some of the illustrations were redone in the 90's ad, but overall, it's still the same ad. This ad was published in 1972, presumably right before the real Mr. Atlas died. I thought it was a strange occurrence, that I found this one after writing about it a couple of days ago, and that this one was published right before his death. Pretty trippy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December Reads Part II.

Mighty Avengers #6: This one finishes up the first story arc of the series. Tony Stark has been "killed", or more accurately, he is absorbed into his armor, which is then taken over by a female version of Ultron. Is it me, or is everyone else tired of Ultron stories? He should be totally unstoppable, yet every time he makes an appearance, he dominates for a comic or two, then is defeated, only to escape annihilation to return in a year or two to cause more havoc. He's basically a less annoying robot version of Arcade (obviously, in my book Ultron is infinitely better than Arcade because he is a super-intelligent robot). Anyways, I hope I'm not spoiling this for anyone, but the Avengers defeat Ultron and are somehow able to revive Tony Stark. Like you couldn't see that coming. I mean, if Stark were to die, it would basically wipe out the Initiative story line, as well as the whole Civil War crossover. So that would have been two years of work down the drain. I mean, you really didn't expect them to kill Iron Man right before the movie comes out, right? Basically, it was a story to showcase the other members of the team, and I actually enjoyed it. It has the right amount of words, comic relief and smashy-smashy that most people are looking for in a comic. I'm in for some more.

Exiles #100: This one was pretty disappointing. I've been out of the game for awhile and I have heard great things about The Exiles series. However, this was the last issue of the series, and it was basically wrapping everything up. So it was kind of a bad place for me to start. The story itself kind of seemed like a back-up story and there were a lot of flashbacks involved. Basically, some people left, the series is going to get rebooted and life goes on. I am interested in the new series and will probably try and pick it up. The other series that I have heard good things about is the Thunderbolts, and I am going to pick up the new issue (#118) next week. I've been looking for back-issues on eBay, but they're pretty expensive. Getting back to the Exiles, I am going to pick up the new series, but it will be on a pretty tight leash. If I'm not knocked-out within the first couple of issues, I'm going to pull the plug.

Fantastic Four #548-550: I went back and bought some back-issues to check the series out because I enjoyed the current story arc (#551-552). I was never a real big fan of the FF, but I'm giving them a chance now. This story arc, well, it's just ok. It features The Wizard as the main bad guy and Storm and The Black Panter as friends/ex-members of the FF (they stepped in after the Civil War crossover when Sue and Reed went on a second honeymoon to "work on their marriage"). The Wizard is kind of a lame villain in my opinion, so maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as the current arc (which features time-travel and Dr. Doom, which are two of my favorite things). I'm still going to give them some more run though, it looks promising.

New X-Men #45: Messiah Complex Chapter 8: The reason I really hate crossovers is that now I have to figure out where to put a couple of issues of New X-Men and X-Factor in my collection. Where do I stash them? I guess with the rest of my X-Book collection. That aside, this was a pretty weird issue. X-Force tracked down Cable and the mutant baby, who was already getting ambushed by Lady Deathstrike and the Purifiers. X-23 and Deathstrike go at it (which was actually pretty cool), Caliban gets shot in the chest protecting Warpath and then Wolverine runs after Cable, who backtracks to steal their Blackbird and is able to escape. You'd think Logan would leave a rear guar. I was a little shocked when Caliban was shot, because he is a favorite of mine, however, Caliban is featured on the cover to the first issue of X-Force, which comes out in February, so you figure that somehow he survives. I would say that not a whole lot happened in this issue and beside the X-23/Deathstrike fight, they probably could have left this out of the Messiah Complex Series and no one would have minded. The part of the story that deals with people in the future is frustrating, because it is taking forever to find out what happened. Of course it's probably the key to the series, so they're going to milk it for all it's worth, but it is still frustratingly slow at this point. Throw us a bone. The good thing is, X-Men and Uncanny X-Men are next up and then there's only one more issue of X-Factor and New X-Men to go before the big finale in X-Men #207.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Update 12/26/07.

Apparently, Marvel moved their new releases to Friday this week. I was all excited because today was new-release Wednesday, but then I checked my list and new stuff comes out on Friday. Oh well.

Anyways, I haven't been reading that Captain America series, but I do know that they're about to reveal who will be the guy to take Steve Rogers place. Here's a rundown of the six finalists. Personally, I hope it's Hawkeye.

Marvel also wrote a pretty neat article on Frank Miller's Daredevil run.

They also released a new pic of Iron Man from the movie. Can't wait until May 2nd.

Comics I plan to buy on Friday: House of M: Avengers #3, and X-Men #206. I'm thinking of getting Hulk Vs. Fin Fang Foom #1 (we'll see if it passes the flip test) and New Warriors #7. I'll try and post what I've bought in the last couple of weeks tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Heroes: Season Two Thoughts

Heroes wrapped up its first second season story arc "Generations" and here I am with a late review. Creator Tim Kring has noted some of the missteps made so far this year, which is good. Hopefully he recognized it on its own, rather than from constant complaints of the fans. The finale was rather satisfying, although it leaves me with a new complaint about Elle and Adam.

I realize the show is called Heroes, but this show needs villains. What do comic book heroes do? They fight villains! They don't take 8 issues to drive to America. Adam is a very intriguing character, especially when he revealed his motivations for releasing the Shanti virus. Elle was mildly annoying but at least she had a cool power. The whole "fighting back against her father" and "wanting to prove herself" felt too rushed. Just let her be a badass chick that electrocutes people and gets away with it for a while. Bonus idea: her superhero name should be ElectroCUTE. Crap, did I just violate WGA rules by posting that idea for Mr. Kring?

Same thing with Matt's Dad - here was this badass villain who was supposed to be more badass than Sylar, and he gets shut out pretty quick. I like how they put him away, but again, it felt rushed.

Here's hoping the show gets back on the right track whenever this strike ends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December Reads.

So I've been going to a comic book store lately and buying some stuff. So here's what I've been reading, it's pretty much all Marvel:

Fantastic Four #552: I bought this on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. I even went back and bought the issue before this one because it's a three-part story. The main reason I bought it was because the cover was awesome and it passed the flip test (i.e. - there was a lot of action). Who doesn't want to see a Doctor Doom from the future battle it out with the Thing for five pages? I know I do. It was fun to see them beating the crap out of each other. Overall, it was very entertaining and left on a cliffhanger, so I'm in at least for another issue. I'll probably even buy a couple of issues after that to see what the next story arc is like. This was a really fun issue, like I said, I enjoyed it a lot.

House of M: Avengers: I bought the first two issues and can't wait for the third. When I was buying it, one of the owners of the store said that he was surprised by it and that he liked it. He also said that it was very "wordy" which is unlike most Marvel books. He also said he was a big Luke Cage fan. Basically, all of those reasons were exactly why I wanted to check this book out. It's set in the House of M storyline, and Luke Cage puts together a team of "sapiens" to fight injustices set upon the humans by the mutant community, because the the House of M Universe, humans are the minority. It's a very interesting idea, and it's about to get even more interesting when the Punisher enters the story on the side of the mutants. Thumbs up, check it out.

Mighty Avengers: Awhile back, I bought a run of X-Men comics and the dude threw in the first two issues of this series. So a couple of weeks ago, I bought the three issues I was missing to get up to speed. I might review the first issue, because there is a funny part that involves Iron Man and Ms. Marvel trying to talk Ares (aka: The God of War) into quitting his construction job and joining their new Avengers team. Ares has a sun to support, he needs steady pay, health insurance and a 401k. The series is pretty interesting, it makes use of a lot of thought balloons, which I thought died in the mid-90s. If you like the Avengers, I think you'll like this new spin on the team.

Moon Knight Annual #1: I was disappointed with this one, mainly because I've been reading the Moon Knight series and was really impressed by the early couple of issues, which were written by Charlie Huston and drawn by David Finch. They changed creative teams a couple of times, but I think Hudson is back to co-plot it, starting with issue #14. So I'm a little excited about that, because the first story arc was really, really good. This Annual, however, was pretty boring and didn't really add anything to the current storyline. The only thing it seemed to get across was that it reinforced Moon Knight's sole motivation: Vengeance. I was very disappointed.

Uncanny X-Men #493: I liked this issue a lot. I've been on the fence about this whole "Messiah Complex" crossover, but this is the issue that made me a fan. Especially the second to last page and the last page. I can't wait for that new X-Force series to begin in February. It's got some of my favorite characters involved. The other thing about this issue that won me over was Cyclops' character development as well as his relationship with Wolverine. I was never a big Cyclops fan, mainly because I thought he was an arrogant jerk and I thought the constant fighting between Cyke and Logan was annoying. Scott has finally settled into a major leadership role involving all of the X-Men teams, and Logan seems to be ok with his leadership, while Scott seems to listen to Wolvie's advice. It's a nice little departure from their previous long-standing relationship. More about Scott's leadership involving the X-Men in the next paragraph.

X-Factor #26: I was excited about this because it was a continuation from the last Uncanny X-Men issue, and it basically is the first issue to feature the new X-Force. Basically the team is; lead by Wolverine, with Warpath, Wolfsbane, Hepzibah, Caliban and X-23 as team members. As I said in the last paragraph, I can't wait for their new series to launch in February, because I love the concept behind the team. So, back to Scott, one of the things I was reading about when the whole "Messiah Complex" was getting ready to launch was a quote from one of the editors that basically said that, "Cyclops will unify the X-Men in a way they haven’t been for years", and this was really evident in this issue of X-Factor. Scott and Professor X have an argument over Cyke's decision to form X-Force and to have them track down Cable. Scott ends up hinting at the fact that the Professor might have to leave if he doesn't stop questioning his decisions. He basically tells him to let him do what he trained him to do, which is lead. I really don't like the way Professor X has been treated/written in the last couple of years, but I do like the way Cyke has been handled. He has gone from one of the X-Men I hated the most, to one that I now at least can tolerate. Anyways, these two issues in a row (Uncanny X-Men #493 and X-Factor #26) were really, very good, and I hope the rest of the Messiah Complex lives up to the hype.

Wolverine #60: I wasn't overwhelmed by the story or the art, it seemed like a transition issue, it felt like it was setting things up for the next couple of issues. I'm intrigued, and I think I'll see where it goes. I bought the last ten issues on eBay because ::SPOILER ALERT:: Wolvie killed Sabertooth and I wanted to see how that was handled. Overall, it was just an ok issue, I'm interested to see where it goes. That's about it for now. Overall, I'm pretty excited to read comics again, there's a lot going on and there are some really great writers and artists working together right now. I don't think I've been this excited to go to a comic book store since the late 80s/early 90s.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Marvel Digital Comics.

This is probably old news, but a few weeks ago, Marvel released a Digital Comics section to their website. They had been beta testing this for a few months and had been offering select comics to view for free (they're still doing this as a tease to get you to subscribe, they have 250 comics that you can view for free). They finally launched a subscription site and apparently, it crashed their servers within a few hours. They've got all of the bugs worked out and it's working fine right now. It's pretty interesting, I used it when it was free and it wasn't so great on my laptop, zooming in and reading kind of doesn't do it for me, but on a larger monitor (like my desktop computer) it was fine.

They have two plans, an Annual Subscription ($59.88/year) and a Monthly Subscription ($9.99/month). They have over 2500 comics ready to be viewed, the only problem is, they have a scattered selection. LIke they only have 9 X-Men comics available from #142-416. That's a huge gap. I think they're adding stuff all the time, and they've mainly focused on starting with the really old stuff, so there's some cool stuff available. Like, Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man). Or, the first 50+ issues of the original Avengers series. And the first 60+ issues of the Uncanny X-Men.

I haven't bought a subscription yet, I don't know how much I'd use it. I think it's a great idea and it would be interesting for people that have stopped collecting and don't want to go bak and buy back issues. I am also wondering what DC is going to do in response.