Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 2008 Reads, Part II.

Astonishing X-Men #26: I didn't really understand this one too well. I guess it's because I'm new to the series, but they kind of went off on an entirely new adventure, but they really didn't explain who they were going after. So it was kind of hard to follow and hard to keep up with. Also, do we really need them to mention THREE TIMES how heavy Wolverine is? I say we don't. We know his skeleton is made out of adamantium, we get it, he's heavy move on. I do like how Armor is kind of a major player in the X-Universe now. She's on this team and had a lot of face time in that Secret Invasion X-Men book (it's at the end of this review post). She's an interesting character and I like how she's been developed. Next to Ink, she's probably my favorite younger X-Man.

Fantastic Four #559: I think I am one of a very small group of people who likes this run. I think it's pretty interesting and there's a great balance to the book. They don't tell you everything, and there's just enough action to keep you interested. I'm interested to see how they pull it all together, because they just started to with this issue. There's a big cliffhanger ending on the last page, so it's kind of one of those "I really wish the next issue would hurry up and get here already" kind of situations. For some reason, I thought it had been an abnormally long while since the last issue was published, but I guess I was wrong.

Genext #4: Yeah, I'm pretty much waiting for this series to be over with. Next month it's done, and I couldn't be happier to cross it off of my buy list. This issue was actually pretty good, it's just the second and third issues lagged so much that the series became boring to me. And I really don't know what it's supposed to accomplish because it's only got one issue left. I guess it's just a one-off story about what would have happened if the X-Men aged correctly and then had kids. I guess I should have taken it at face value, but for some reason I was looking for more. I guess it's because I expected a lot more because Chris Claremont was involved. I dunno.

Secret Invasion #5: Yeah, so, this series has really dropped off in the last two or three issues. ::SPOILER WARNING:: So it turns out that ALL of the heroes in that spaceship were Skrulls. Even Mockingbird, who Hawkeye/Ronin thought was the real deal. So, understandably, he goes a little ape-s*%t after he has to kill her. In my opinion, this whole Skrull Spaceship situation that has taken place in the Savageland took WAY too long to tell. AND, they were all Skrulls anyway, so what was the point? I understand it was supposed to be a distraction and it was part of their plan to infect Tony Stark and Stark Industries with a virus, but really, this whole thing could have been wrapped up in two or three issues. Thanks for stretching things out Marvel.

Secret Invasion: X-Men #1: Definitely the best of the week. I had heard a lot of hype about this book and it claimed a lot of stuff, but it really delivered. The Skrulls attack San Francisco and they get plenty of resistance from the X-Men. I read an interview talking about how this book was going to be about the X-Men have been trained for war, and they really drive that home in this book. As disappointed as I was in the Fantastic Four Secret Invasion Series, I am incredibly impressed with this issue. I hope the rest of the series doesn't drop off like a lot of these Secret Invasion series have. One note: I understand we're dealing with Comic Book Logic here, but Wolverine being in the Savage Land for the Secret Invasion series , then in San Francisco for the X-Men series AND this series, then to fly somewhere in South America for the Astonishing series is a little too much. Not to mention that he's got two or three other series where he's off adventuring. That's why I think they're doing that "Old Man Logan" series right now, because he's overloaded right now. I'm just sayin'.

I'm also just sayin' that tonight I am going to buy; Guardians of the Galaxy #4 (Awesome!), Incredible Hercules #120 (It's like my parents got divorced and I get two Christmases!), Marvel 1985 #4 (Meh), Moon Knight #21 (This new story arc looks pretty awesome), Uncanny X-Men #501 (Already?), X-Factor #34, Young X-Men #5 (It's like THREE Christmases!!!) and I'm debating if I'm going to get that Layla Miller One-Shot or not.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DC Films

Apparently DC had a meeting with Warner Brothers to figure out what the hell they're doing with DC movies. Even though The Dark Knight is still tearing up the box office, I really think DC has dropped the ball with their films. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are both stellar movies, but Superman Returns sucked. What else has DC put out in the last few years...? Oh, that's right - nothing. They're sitting on Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, The Flash, JLA, etc.

Meanwhile, Marvel has churned out 3 X-Men films, 3 Spider-Man films, 2 Hulk films, 2 Fantastic Four films, 3 Blade films, 2 Punisher films, not to mention Iron Man, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider and many more on the way. Granted, not every one of this films has been good but they've all been pretty profitable.

As that article mentions, no single person at DC has the power to take the ball and run with it. I'm not a huge DC fan but I'd totally go see a Green Lantern (or any other DC property) movie just to see it.

In other movie news, I thought this article where Robert Downey Jr. gives his thoughts on The Dark Knight and ends it by saying "F--- DC Comics" was kinda funny. Given how long DC is taking to get their ass in the movie making department, I'd have to agree.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review.

So, The Clone Wars. I'll say this: it didn't suck, but it wasn't the greatest thing I've ever seen either. So, it was just kind of meh. I will still Tivo the series this Fall when they start showing episodes on the Cartoon Network. So I guess I should do a review. Ok, just to get this out of the way,



All right. Now here's the good and the bad. And there's PLENTY of both, so strap yourself in, we're in for a long ride.

The Good:
1. The frantic pace. You could kind of tell that it was four half hour episodes and then someone came along and said, "Hey, what if we put this together into a movie?" It got a lot accomplished, so I can't fault it for that when most of the time I'm sitting there in the theater bored out of my skull at certain times.

2. The music. Most of the music had a tribal take on the John Williams classic score. And they kept that up for most of the movie, so it was a nice twist.

3. The character design. I've gotta admit, all of the characters were really well designed, and they all had one cool feature about them. Anakin's hair was pretty cool, Obi-Wan's mustache moved independent of his beard when he talked, Dooku was pretty awesome, it's just stunning to see these characters in a new kind of form. It was really executed nicely, and it's kind of exciting to look forward to the series.

The Bad:
1. The beginning. They did a weird voiceover/montage thing instead of the word crawl. It was kind of annoying and didn't really fit with the rest of the movie. I think some executive at Warner Brothers must have told them to do it.

2. Ahsoka Tano. She is Anakin's Padawan that no one ever knew about before this series, and she was far and away the most annoying character in the movie. I watched some interviews with the director and he explained that she is supposed to be the audience's "touchstone", but they made her way too young. It really started to feel like they specifically targeted it for children. She has an annoying habit of nicknaming people and she doesn't realize when those nicknames are annoying. She calls Anakin, "Skyguy" and Jabba's son "Stinky". But the thing that almost made me walk out of the theater was she kept calling Artoo, "Artooie". OVER THE LINE! There is also NO WAY the Jedi Order would have allowed her to become a Padawan. She is so impetuous and hard-headed, she would have gotten thrown out long before a Master chose her. Anakin also calls her "Snipes" and every time he said it, I wanted to punch CGI Anakin in the face.

One interesting side-note: Anakin was not a Master, even when he was on the Jedi Council. So, logically, something happened to Ahsoka. I'm praying she gets eaten by a Starlacc, but I'm assuming she gets reassigned to another Jedi or is untrainable and is sent to the Jedi Service Corps to become a melon farmer or something.

3. Artoo flying. Seriously, they need to knock this off. This time he flew a very long ways from a very high altitude. Quit it, Lucasfilm.

4. If this was indeed a movie intended for kids (what I'm reading online now is that it was), it was pretty violent. I know killing droids and clones someone skirts the issue, but there was one scene where Jabba is shown the severed heads of the bounty hunters that he sent after Ventress. I didn't mind it, but parent with small children might want to watch out.

5. Kids. There were a ton of kids in the theater. Not cool. One kid in front of me insisted on reading anything that could be read on the screen. Highly annoying.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Knights of the Old Republic.

I've recently been reading the Knights of the Old Republic series by Dark Horse and I am really enjoying it a lot. I think about a year ago at the Star Wars Celebration, Chris' brother Andrew let me read some of the comics he had with him when we were waiting in line, and one of them was the first issue of the series. So then I bought the first trade paperback off of Things From Another World for well under ten dollars because it was in their "Nick and Dent" section. I read it and thought it was pretty good, so I kept a lookout for the second trade, and a couple of weeks ago it popped up in their Nick and Dent section so I scored it for six bucks.

It was the second trade that really got me hooked.

I just bought issues #14-25 off of eBay and they arrived yesterday, so I'm just starting to catch up the rest of the way. I bought some back issues to fill some holes and then had to make a purchase at to fully catch up.

If you're unfamiliar with the series, it actually takes place in the same time line as the video game series, but it's set about eight years before the events in the first game. So if you know what happens in the game, I think eventually this series will set that up rather nicely. At least I hope it will. They've introduced a couple of characters that were major characters in the games, so that's why I say it will eventually fill in the details to setup the video game.

It's a pretty cool series and it takes a lot of the themes that have already been beaten to death in the Star Wars Universe and kind of flips them on their head. Without giving too much away, the main character is named Zayne Carrick and he is not your typical Jedi. Normally, Jedi are strong, confident and in charge. Zanyne...well, he's really not like that at all. He was basically about to fail out of the Jedi Order when he was betrayed.

Speaking of betrayal, that is another theme with a twist. Normally in the Star Wars Universe, betrayal involves a student betraying a Master. In this series, the Masters betray the student(s). Zayne survives and he is forced to become a rogue Jedi. I read something online about how the writers always wondered what would have happened if Luke had become a smuggler and traveled around the galaxy with Han and Chewie getting in and out of trouble. And that's really what it feels like when you read it. It really does have an Episode IV kind of a feel to it.

So, one of the other things it really has going for it is that Zayne has to figure out on his own how to be a Jedi. With every issue they keep developing his character and he slowly gains more and more confidence in his skills. He has a great group of friends and they are always getting involved in some kind of caper; there's always some comedy mixed in with the action, which I always think is a good thing. There's also the mystery behind the group of Masters that betrayed him that is slowly being revealed, so there's a little bit of a detective/mystery vibe going on. I think it all mixes together into a great formula for success. This series debuted in 2006 and it was part of a couple of comics that Dark Horse had released that year to try and breath new life into a 20-year-old series that had grown very stale and repetitious. I personally really enjoy the series and want to catch up quickly so I can read the new issues each month. So check it out if have the chance and definitely try and pick up the back issues. I think they're just getting to release the fourth trade, which collects issues #19-24 in September/October. I highly suggest seeking this one out, especially if you're a Star Wars nerd like I am.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daniel Way Q&A.

Here's a Q&A with Daniel Way. He mainly talks about the upcoming Deadpool series and his work the upcoming Wolverine: Origins/X-Men Legacy cross-over that sounds really interesting. I really wish he could have revealed a little more about Deadpool's involvement in the Secret Invasion cross-over, but I guess I'll have to buy the issue to find out. Man, I cannot wait for September 3rd.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dark Knight - Another Review

Ah...The Dark Knight. Finally got around to seeing it on Saturday night. This is the third weekend it's been out and the theater was packed. I'm not sure why this keeps packing theaters - is it repeat business or is it Heath Ledger? Either way, here's a rundown of my thoughts. Overall, I really liked the movie and I liked that it was dark dark dark. I was going to reply to Tyler's post but I'll just address things here:

That looked like a new title logo for DC Comics, which kinda rips off of the Marvel Comics logo with comic pages flipping through. I'm heavily pro-Marvel, so maybe I'm being nitpicky about it.

The film has a lot of plot lines going on, but they kept intersecting in neat ways so that was okay. It still felt like a long movie at times. I think the coolest part of the movie (call me lame) is when someone goes to remove Batman's mask and gets an electric shock. I thought that was so clever and was like, "How come no one else thought of that in their version of Batman?" Such a small detail, but I really liked it.

I was surprised by how much Harvey Dent was in the film. I thought we'd just get the introduction of Two-Face but then they ended up rushing his plot through and killing him off. I know he needed to be there because he's Batman's foil. Harvey Dent is a public and heroic figure, while Batman keeps to himself and is a vigilante. I liked how Batman is struggling with his role, too. He knows he can't go on forever and the people need public heroes they can believe in. Seeing that personal struggle side was very well done.

Heath Ledger as the Joker was badass. He kind of kept popping in and out of the storyline, which I liked. Oscar worthy? I'm still out on that one. I lean towards yes, but I know the academy usually goes with more established / older actors.

I like how Scarecrow popped up in the beginning of the film. I've often wondered why Spider-Man movies don't start off with him beating the crap out of someone lame, like The Shocker. It's not like Spider-Man only faces supervillains every two years in the comics. So that was a nice touch back to Batman Begins.

I liked the ending a lot. Batman, by his nature, kind of has to be an outcast and now he knows, and more importantly, accepts it. Although it will be difficult, I think they'll have to bring The Joker back. They totally set it up for that and I don't know who could fill Heath's shoes. Batman vs. Joker is that eternal struggle in Batman's life. Christopher Nolan has stated that The Penguin is a bit too cheesy to fit in with what they've established so far, so I'm guessing that also rules out Riddler. I've heard early rumor for the next film is Catwoman, which might be okay. They did a great job with a second rate villain like The Scarecrow in the first one, so whoever they bring in for the next one will be done well, I'm sure.

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 2008 Reads, Part I.

Cable #6: For some reason, this one took me a long time to get through. It had a lot more words than normal, and that was a good thing. Normally, it's a five minute read - max, because it's a lot of shooting and running, and running and shooting. So this one was pretty interesting because it mainly focused on Cyclops in the current time line and how he's dealing with the decision to send his son (Cable) into the time stream with the mutant baby. There was also a lot of Emma looking hot in this book, but every time she's involved, be prepared for a lot words and psychological talk. I think that's why it took me so long to read it, there was a lot going on. This issue was slightly better than the normal issues, which have been pretty disappointing in my opinion.

Final Crisis #3: I keep forgetting to mention that I've been buying Final Crisis. Basically, I wanted to see what all of the hub-bub was about and if it was as good as the Secret Invasion books, because they are pretty similar; they're both shaking up their respective universes and they are big summer cross-overs. I've gotta say; I was lukewarm on this series to begin with, and this issue was pretty bad. Maybe it's because I'm not that familiar with the current state of affairs in the DC Universe, but I found it to be a hard book to follow. In my opinion, the Secret Invasion books are easier to read because you don't need to know every single thing that has gone on in the last two years to follow them. And I don't think it's because 90% of the comics I read are Marvel either, I've pretty much just gotten back into collecting in the last year after taking a considerable time off, so I think it's just how each series is executed. I think the Secret Invasion books are executed much better than the Final Crisis books have been. One thing that did get me a little excited was at the very end of the book because it involved time travel. I love time travel. I'll keep buying this for five more issues until it's done, but I won't be very happy about it.

Hulk #5: This was a fun one. Plenty of fighting and smashing. I have been considering dropping this book, but then every time I read it, I have fun, so I guess I'm going to keep buying it until it stops being fun. At the end of this issue, it had a "To Be Concluded..." in the last panel, so I guess they're will be some kind of closure to this Green Hulk/Red Hulk story. It also pretty much sets up another Red Hulk - Green Hulk collision, which should be fun. One thing that is annoying; this book has Iron Man in it and it's the "I can be on one coast of the U.S. on page twenty-two and then show up on the other coast of the U.S. by page twenty-four" variety. It's just lazy writing.

The Twelve #7: So, I keep making the same mistake every time The Twelve comes out; I leave it until last. I normally read new books on Wednesday night in bed right before I go to sleep. So I have a lot of trouble with the more verbose books if I leave them until later. I should always start with The Twelve. I think this was part of the reason that I didn't think Cable was that bad this month; I read it first and was able to get through it even though it was pretty wordy because I wasn't as tired as I was by the time I got around to reading this issue of The Twelve. So I read it the following night and it was a pretty solid issue. There's only five issues left so they need to start wrapping this up. There's also a major event that was revealed at the end of the first issue still has to happen. I liked this issue because it was more of a detective based story, it reminded me of reading Detective Comics in the mid to late '80s. I'm glad this one bounced back, I was a little worried there for a second.

Wolverine: Killing Made Simple: You know what? This was a pretty fun read. I've been kind of down on all of these Wolvie One-Shots because they seem to have a new one coming out every other month and they're $3.99 and they're just ok, but this one had a pretty good mix of fighting, killing and comedy. There's one part where he lists all of the ways that he can die, and it was pretty entertaining. I could have done without the preview of the issue of Wolverine that was released the week before. I guess they were short on pages.

Anyways, Wednesday I'll be buying; Astonishing X-Men #26, Fantastic Four #559, Genext #4 (Thank God it's almost over with), Kick-Ass #4, Secret Invasion #5, Secret Invasion: X-Men #1, and I'm thinking about getting Secret Invasion: Thor #1. I'll flip through it off the rack and make a decision.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hellboy II Movie Review.

So, Hellboy II; not bad. I mean, it wasn't like it was the worst movie I've ever seen, but it certainly wasn't the best movie I've ever seen. I guess it was just a pretty average movie.



My sister's review of the movie was "eh", and she thought that it was a good excuse for Guillermo del Toro to use monster designs that he couldn't fit into Pan's Labyrinth (which I still have to see). This is true in a way, and there were also a couple of things that had already been done before, del Toro just executed them much better (like the Troll Market, which was very similar to the market that the Harry Potter movies originally did).

There were a couple of things I really liked about this movie:

1. The beginning. I kind of liked the flashback scene with Hellboy as a little kid, it was pretty fun. I also really liked the animation style of how they told the story of the Golden Army.

2. Elves. Personally, I like Elves and feel they should be put in more movies. And Dwarves too. But not halflings, they are annoying.

3. The battle scenes at the end of the movie evolving the Golden Army. Those scenes were pretty rad and it would have been a bomb if they weren't. Basically you were waiting an hour and a half so you could get to the point where Hellboy and company started kicking giant, golden robot butt.

4. I really liked the character "Wink" (the Prince's sidekick) and was a little sad when he was killed, even though you could see when and how that was going to happen from a mile away.

On that note, the story did seem to be very predictable. Obviously you knew Hellboy and the Elven Prince were going to have to throw down at some point. Obviously you knew Hellboy was going to win. Obviously you knew that Abe and the Elven Princess weren't going to be allowed to be together, because obviously the Prince had to die, ergo the Princess had to die because their lives were interconnected. So, a pretty formulaic story, and there were several concepts that I thought would be explored further and/or set up for the next movie.

All-in-all, I give this movie an "ok". I have not decided what to do when it comes out on DVD, but I think I'm going to pass, or wait a year or two and pick it up cheap.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Love the '70s.

I love the '70s, you love the '70s and apparently, Marvel loves the '70s too. I pretty much have no problems whatsoever with this list.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Twosday Q&A: Matt Fraction Pt. 1.

Pretty interesting article over at Marvel involving Matt Fraction. He talks about X-Men #500 and the future of the X-Men as well as some Punisher stuff. He's a pretty busy guy. There are a bunch of cover previews on that page, so check 'em out.

::UPDATE:: Here's part two. This one concentrates on the Thor and Iron Man books he's writing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Because Iron Fist video games won't sell, Marvel is releasing yet another Spider-Man video game. This one's titled Web of Shadows, and because he's popular, Wolverine is in it. Great. I watched the trailer for this one and it looks like alien symbiotes invade Earth, so this one looks like a button masher. I'll definitely pass on this one. Some of the combo stuff looks neat but even if I had a current game system, I'd pass on this one and wait for Ultimate Alliance 2.

Friday, August 1, 2008

July 2008 Reads Part IV.

Another pretty disappointing week.

Ms. Marvel #29: This one was a lot of fun. Not a whole lot of story involved, it was another slobber-knocker. Lots of pages of Carol kicking Skrull butt. It was a fun and fast read. BUT, the last couple of issues have been exactly like this one, without a whole lot of story to advance this whole Secret Invasion crossover. So I'm starting to think that this whole Secret Invasion thing is losing a lot of steam and I think they tried to do too much. It is also a pretty long cross-over, I think they could have compressed a lot of it into fewer issues. But since the limited series is eight issues, they've got stretch out all of the tie-in issues to fill that gap, which is pretty lame. I think this is a pretty cool idea, but I learned my lesson and I am going to be a lot more conservative when the next giant cross-over comes around. Unless it's X-Men related.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #2: Yeah, so, I think I'm dropping this. I didn't read the whole World War Hulk event last year, so I'm a little lost. Also, and this is just my opinion, but I don't think this book is very good. It's just full of a lot of stuff I don't get. Like, supposedly Skaar died, but he didn't? I really didn't understand that whole part. Did did have dragons involved which led to a part of the book where Skaar was jumping from dragon to dragon, killing both the riders and the dragons that were trying to kill him in return, so that was pretty freakin' cool. I might give this another issue or two, but if I don't like it after that, I'm pulling the plug.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four: You know, I'm glad this series is over. I've been saying for the last couple of months how I don't understand why this story couldn't have just been in the regular Fantastic Four series, and I stand by that. Why make us buy ANOTHER series, Marvel? I think they're just trying to drive sales with all of these tie-ins. Some of them are very good, but then this series is a good example of what looks like an opportunity to rob people of their money. Shame on you, Marvel. I mean, you guys aren't making enough money already? How about upping the quality? Personally, I think they're spread a little too thin and the bottom might fall out on them if they're not careful. Hopefully, they learned their lesson from the 90s. Like, knock it off with all of the variant covers already!

Wolverine #67: You know, the more I read this title, the more it seems like it's totally set up for the trades. Every story-arc lasts about about four to five issues, has a name and AT LEAST two of the issues are pointless and/or filler. This issue really did a whole lot of nothing. Once again, it's a cool idea and there were a couple of good pages, but I'm not paying $2.99 for a quarter of a book. I'm paying for the whole book, and if three-quarters of the book sucks and is filler, that doesn't make me happy. And EVERY SINGLE TIME, the last page has to be a full-pager with "The Cliff-Hanger Ending™". This series has just been so formulaic, boring and disappointing lately.

Wolverine: Orgins #27: This one gets the best of the week by default. It didn't blow me away, and it did seem like it was a filler issue for the trades, but it was decent enough. I mean, I didn't hate it. I guess that's not a ringing endorsement. So, one thing I don't really understand is when this series is supposed to take place. Wolvie wears his awesome Brown costume, so it's obviously supposed to be from the 70s/80s, but I've read elsewhere that it's supposed to run concurrent with the regular Wolverine title, and it's got characters in it like Winter Solider and Deadpool, which were introduced in the 90s. So, I really don't understand what time period this is supposed to be. Is it current or some time in the past? Speaking of Deadpool, Daniel Way is going to write that series, so I am expecting the awesomeness, because the Wolverine: Origins series has been pretty good. At least what I've read, which is the last couple of story arcs. I like Mr. Way's style, he always injects the funny in a story and it's never forced. So I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can do with a naturally funny character. I can't wait for that first issue of Deadpool.

X-Men: Odd Man Out: I tried to read this one, I really did. A little back story, this book had two stories drawn by Dave Cockrum right before he died. So I bought it because I'm a Dave Cockrum fan. WAY too many words. Like, after the second page I started skimming and then after ten pages I flipped to the second story and after about five pages of that, I put it in a bag and board. It was mainly a recap of the history of the X-Men, which I knew anyway, so it wasn't that exciting. I some of the profits go to charity, so I was being a good human.

Next week we've got Cable #6 (still hanging in there), Hulk #5 (Thor!), The Twelve #7 (Yes!), and Wolverine: Killing Made Simple (Really tired of these Wolvie One-Shots, but whaddya gonna do?).