Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Collective RISES!

Justin Bieber as Robin? No…..Robert Pattinson? No……I’ve got it! PRECIOUS!
 

Attention, attention! It was announced today in an interview with the New York Times that the third Batman movie will be titled “The Dark Knight Rises”, and Nolan revealed two more things :
1. It won’t be in 3-D.
2. The Riddler will NOT be the villain.

While the first news is a relief (with the exception of a few movies, I’m really sick of 3-D and don’t see its popularity at ALL) I am a little surprised by the announcement of the villain not being The Riddler. Of course, Riddler was the logical and expected choice for the movie, and Christopher Nolan does not always do what an average comic book movie would do. This also furthers my hope that Tom Hardy will play Black Mask, although Hugo Strange would be awesome as well.

As for the title? Well it’s not the best, but it definitely fits in story wise. For the 4 of you who haven’t seen The Dark Knight, that movie ended with The Joker going to Arkham, Rachel Dawes murdered, and Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face (and allegedly dying). Batman allows himself to be blamed for the deaths of the police officers that Harvey murdered, and is now on the run from the very police that he once worked with.  Bruce Wayne has reached the bottom, and from what we can gather from this title, he will “rise” up once more to become Gotham’s dark protector.

Anyways…it’s Wednesday!!!

Superman: Earth One

Superman: Earth One is the first in a new line of continuity from DC Comics in which many of their top-tier characters are given new and “modern” takes. Yes, it’s almost exactly like Marvel’s “Ultimate” line.

However, DC is bucking the trend by releasing these new series as stand alone graphic novels and hardcovers. This way they can reach more “new readers” who may be put off by having to pick up a monthly title. Not sure how someone who can’t remember to buy a monthly comic book will remember to pick up a hardcover graphic novel every 6 months, but whatever.

Odd scheduling aside, the first hardcover is out, and if Superman: Earth One is any indication, this new continuity will rule. J. Michael Straczynski and artist Shane Davis (who was one of the guests at Wizard World) craft a new take on the classic Superman origin, presenting us with a twenty-year old Clark Kent who is questioning his place in the world.

Maybe its because I don’t read many Superman comics, or maybe it’s because I’m still in my twenties, but I really identified with the young Kal-El in this series. Instead of always knowing what is the “right thing to do”, here we have a Superman who essentially doesn’t know if he should even be superman. “I’ve been alone all of my life” he says, ” and if I show them what I can do, I’ll always be on the run.”

As opposed to his current regular run on Superman, Straczynski really makes Clark Kent a relatable character here. From a young age he was told how different he was from others because of the rapid rate that his powers were showing up. In order to prevent him from hurting someone, Johnathan and Martha Kent tell Clark about his “adoption” when he’s seven years old. From the time that he is a child, Clark knows that he is different, but he wants to be a part of humanity like everyone else. It’s not until the alien Tyrell arrives on Earth looking for the “last survivor of Krypton” that Clark must reveal himself to the world, or else watch as innocent people die.

The art by Shane Davis is awesome. His big, epic pages practically leap off the page, and the action scenes between Superman and Tyrell’s army were some of the coolest images of the year, especially when they were juxtaposed with Clark’s remembrance of his father’s speech about “feeling fury and letting everything loose”. Davis’ pencils were a thing of beauty, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Whether you’re a Superman fan or not, this book is awesome. It’s extremely accessible with the right balance of action, emotion, and character building, and long-time Supes fans will love the different nods to past storylines and the history of the character. I particularly enjoyed Tyrell’s response to being informed that his army is doing nothing against Superman.

DC’s main goal with this new series of graphic novels is to generate new readers, and as long as they can get these books into the right places and continue to churn out amazing stories, then it will be a home run. I can’t recommend this enough, as I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of emotion and action within this story. Seriously, if you see this at your local comic shop or Barnes and Nobles then you NEED to pick this up (In fact it’s already proven to be really popular. We were down to one copy left at Jetpack by this evening!). It’s that good. Seriously.

Now bring on Batman: Earth One!

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The Saga Continues…..and The Wallet Empties…..

How about a Han and Lando sitcom?

Another year, another Star Wars rumor. Apparently George Lucas is rumored to be mulling over the idea of a new Star Wars trilogy, which should come as a surprise to no one who’s seen the box office records being broken by the Harry Potter series, The Dark Knight, and Pocahontas in Space Avatar. Ol’ Georgie’s decision is obviously a monetary one, but the idea that maybe, just maybe he could hand the directing reins over to people who grew up with the original trilogy makes my excitement jump to hyperspace.

Much of these unsubstantiated rumors swirl around the fact that we may not see the Skywalker clan at all, which is completely fine with me. It would be much easier for Lucas to either go far into the future or the past and tell a completely new story, with new characters and storylines. This way he avoids screwing up the already convoluted post-original trilogy  timeline. Although seeing the “Heir To The Empire” trilogy  or the Star Wars: Legacy comic series would be pretty sweet. However, the last thing I want to see is a fat Luke Skywalker and a grumpelstilksen Han Solo shuffling around the Millenium Falcon.

Grumble grumble…something about par secs….grumble

As I said before, if these rumors do end up being true, (even though they’ve been denied since the news leaked), the best way would be to introduce new characters and stories set far away from the previous movies. Lucas isn’t getting any younger, and a lot of fans (myself included) would love for the taste of the prequel trilogy to be washed from our mouths. If Lucas is smart, he would come up with the over-arching story of these “new movies”, and then let the best of the best write and direct them. I’m sure filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, and others would love to work on a series that they grew up loving, and George owes it to us, the fans, to have Star Wars go out on top again.

There’s too much potential to NOT make more movies

Of course, if these movies don’t pan out, I’d love for The Force Unleashed to become a movie within the trilogies……

Seriously, how can someone NOT want to see this?

Comic Reviews!!

Hey guess what? My car stalled on the way home. TWICE.  But that’s okay, cause it’s WEDNESDAY!!!!

COMIC BOOK REVIEWS!!!!!

Carnage #1 ( of 5)

As a child of the 90’s, I read a lot of comics from the nineties. Because of this, I have a weird fascination with gimmicky covers and storylines, as well as with some “extreme” characters. None of these characters can be more extreme than the one and only Carnage, one of Spider-man’s deadliest foes. Within a few months after his first appearance, Carnage was everywhere. While he may have been the reason for the first good Spidey gamehe also started to outstay his welcome, and he was ripped in half by the Sentry and thrown into space in the first New Avengers story arc.

However, everything old is new again, and after a long hiatus, Carnage has returned!   Wait…he doesn’t show up in the first issue? And isn’t even on the COVER? Oh Marvel.

The issue starts out with the return of the Spider-Doppelganger, another 90’s villain who was feature in the “Maximum Carnage” storyline. He’s apparently chasing after an armored car, and Iron Man intercepts the chase. After calling in Spidey for backup, the two subdue the creature, but not before it is shot by two new superheroes who arrive on the scene. At the end of the issue we find out what has been held inside of the van: the Carnage symbiote (as well as Shriek, the villainess from “Maximum Carnage”).

Aside from this feeling like the unofficial sequel to “MC”, this issue is okay. It definitely feels like a set up issue, and I hope to see the pace pick up in the next issue. Clayton Crain’s art still has that wonderfully distorted look, and his gorgeous images definitely take some of the sting away from the $3.99 price. For now though, wait for the trade.

Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall #1

It’s here! It’s here! Mark Millar’s blockbuster franchise has returned, and most likely because there are rumblings for a movie version of this sequel as well. Kick-Ass 2 retains the crass, foul language, and violence of the original series, and already presents us with a natural progression for the characters.
 
The issue starts with Dave, aka Kick-Ass, being trained by Hit-Girl, aka Mindy McCready. Seeing these two characters interact with one another again was a real treat, and John Romita Jr.’s art for this series continues to be some of his best. We soon learn that after the events of the first story, Dave has become a pretty good fighter, and is in talks with some other “myspace heroes” to form a team. After a humorous introduction to Dr. Gravity, Dave finally gets to meet with a team of other heroes.

While it may seem like not much happens in this issue, it’s great to see Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. return to these characters and allow us to catch up with them. Watching Mindy as she tries to adjust to “civilian” life is hilarious, and I never get tired of reading Kick-Ass’ reasons for wanting to be a hero. Kick-Ass 2 is a must read for fans of the original, and with any luck will continue the winning streak that Millar and Romita Jr. had with the previous series.

I’m Johnny Knoxville, and this is the giant Squidbilly Apocalypse!

When I wasn’t hanging out with semi-celebs this weekend, I was watching some movies. Here’s two of them.

Jackass 3-D (2010)
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Wee Man
Director: Jeff Tremaine

I’m pretty sure that when James Cameron invented his state of the art 3-D technology for Avatar he never imagined that a Na’vi would pee on the audience. Luckily for us, Johnny Knoxville and Co. did. Completing the epic trilogy, Jackass 3-D finally sees Wee Man drop the one ring into Mount Doom, while Bam and Steve-O fight to take down the Empire with the help of the ewoks, lead by Pontius.

Sure Jackass 3-D doesn’t feature any of that stuff (it would be even BETTER if it did though), it does feature the crew doing the exact same stuff that you’ve seen on both the show and the previous two movies. However, the funny thing is that Jackass 3-D is hands down the best use of the 3-D gimmick since Avatar was released. While the amount of “stuff popping out at you” is kept to a minimum, the use of the 3-D cameras makes you feel as if you are actually with Mr. Knoxville watching Steve-O get flung into the air inside of a porta potty. Or watching Bam freak out when he’s thrown into a pit of snakes (again).

The entire Jackass franchise is a “love it or hate it” affair for many people, and guess what? I love it. The sheer amount of pain and uncomfort that these guys go through for the sake of both comedy and entertainment is amazing to me, and I always love to see a good prank. If you haven’t seen this yet and you’re a fan you are seriously missing out on not only a great time at the movies, but also a 3-D experience that is for once worth the $14 admission price.
5 “yeeeaaahhhh dudes” out of 5

Monsters (2010)
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Director: Gareth Edwards

Writer/director/producer/special effects lead Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was a movie I had heard about on both Joblo.com as well as in Empire magazine, and it seemed like it would be right up my alley. Monsters is a smart sci-fi movie that can be viewed in many ways as a companion to last year’s District 9, which is one of my all time favorite movies.

The plot of the movie is a typical “voyage home” type of movie, with a very interesting twist. Set in Mexico six years after a mysterious alien invasion, a photojournalist agrees to escort an American woman through the “infected” area in order to reach the US border.

Much like Jaws, one of the movie’s strengths is that we don’t see the monsters fully until the very end of the movie. Even then they are seen in the dead of night, so we don’t get a clear image of them. The only way they can be described is that they are a crab-squid hybrid that communicate through both whale sounds and light patterns. Seeing these creatures in motion is very cool, and the effects are very impressive for this kind of movie. There were times where I would have liked to have had some more action in the movie, but overall I was very impressed, and fans of District 9, Cloverfield, and old school Godzilla movies should definitely check out this film, as I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more from Gareth Edwards.
4 Squidbillies out of 5

WizardWorld!

This weekend I had a dream come true that I never thought would happen. I got to sit in the 1960’s Batmobile. Yeah it cost me twenty bucks, but come on, when would I have ever had the chance to sit in the Batmobile again?

If you’re wondering how I got to WizardWorld Boston this weekend, it’s all thanks to Jetpack Comics, the world’s first orbital comic shop, conveniently located in Rochester, New Hampshire. I went down with a couple of other co-workers to help run the table and shill our super exclusive “Spike” #1 variant, which coincided with the fact that Spike himself (James Marsters) would be in attendance, as well as numerous other Buffy The Vampire Slayer stars, John Schneider (from The Dukes Of Hazzard  and Smallville), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy), and even the original Batman and Robin themselves, Adam West and Burt Ward. Although I think I may have offended Mr. West a little bit by referring to the 60’s Batman show as the “old show”, he still fist bumped me, and hearing him say the words “dynamic duo” made me just about pee my pants.

A super blurry picture of Pa Kent

Many of the guests were extremely nice, especially Mr. Schneider. It seemed like every time I walked by his booth he was down for a friendly chat about both Hazzard and Smallville, as well as life in general. Around lunch time I sent him a slice of pizza, which he was extremely enthusiastic about. We’re pretty much best friends now.

Another guy who was extremely nice and approachable was Doug Jones. The Hellboy and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer star was quite possibly one of the nicest celebrities I’ve ever met, and acting as the waypoint for his hug to my roommate was a pretty welcome surprise. I also got to meet some comic artists, including Arthur Sudyam (Marvel Zombies), Shane Davis (the upcoming Superman: Earth One hardcover), and Ethan Van Scrier, the legendary artist behind many of the recent Green Lantern story lines.

This guy’s costume was the definition of “movie quality”

While the show may have been kind of a bust for the store, I had a phenomenal time just getting to experience the show, and meeting some people who I never in my lifetime thought I’d get to meet. I really hope I get the chance to attend some more shows, but even if that doesn’t happen I’ll never forget this awesome experience.

Of All of The Joker and Harley Quinn costumes, these were the best. Kudos sir and madam…..
……And of all the Batman costumes, this guy’s RULED

A "Superior" Set Of Reviews….get it….anybody?

Bronson vs. Batman

Before I get into this week’s news, something amazing was announced for nerds everywhere. Tom Hardy, who previously worked with Christopher Nolan in Inception, was just added to the cast of the next Nolan “Batman” movie. There is no word on who he’ll play, only that it will be a “lead role”. My hope is that he’s the guy who finally brings Black Mask to life on the big screen. But anyways……

Also, Rhys Ifans will be playing The Lizard in the Spider-man reboot. Sorry Dylan Baker. As much as it sucks that you won’t be turning into a giant green lizard, I have always wanted to see Dr. Connor’s inhuman side on the big screen. 

WEDNESDAY COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Superior #1
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest Mark Millar movie pitch comic book, Superior. I will admit, I had no idea what this title was going to entail when I first picked it up, especially when the Wizard magazine story revealed absolutely nothing about the plot. So for the first time in what seems like forever, I opened a comic book with no hype or preconceived ideas about the plot.

I won’t get into spoiler territory, but this first issue definitely throws you for a loop, and it asks just enough questions to keep me interested and intrigued to pick up the next issue. While the issue sets up the typical Mark Millar cuss-filled dialogue, it seems that the violence of Kick-Ass and Nemesis won’t be featured as much in this series. Of course now that I just wrote that the next issue will probably have someone getting punched through the face.

Leinil Yu’s artwork is some of the best he has done in the issue, and I’m glad that he’s outgrown the “ape faces” that used to make up his work. I had to check the cover on the front of the book twice to make sure that it was the same guy who drew Secret Invasion. If you’re looking for a new series to pick up, or are a fan of Mark Millar, then what are you doing? Pick this up!

Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne # 5 (of 6)

Oh hey Return Of Bruce Wayne. Long time no read. While I have missed being extremely confused by you, I have to say, I didn’t really miss your absence, seeing as how DC has made it a point to tell everyone and their mother that Bruce Wayne will be back as Batman in the next few months. Anyways, this issue finds Bruce being transported to the near past,  and taking up the guise of a detective. Playing up the “detective” side of Batman, this issue finds Wayne assisting in the murder case…of his parents. We also get a little more exposition from the Justice League in which we learn that when Bruce Wayne returns to the present day he will “rip a hole” in time.

It’s an intriguing start to the issue, and while Grant Morrison starts to make a semi-readable issue, guess what happens? Yep, you get real confused real quick. From what I gathered, this issue ties into the “Black Glove” and “Dr. Hurt” storyline in a sort of “Bruce Wayne: Noir” setting. While there were some more answers (I think the whole “framing the Waynes” subplot from R.I.P. was officially revealed as a set-up job) I once again feel like I’m missing something from this story. The art by Ryan Sook was good, and while he’s no Frank Quitely or Fraser Irving, he does do an adequate job of evoking a 1920’s noir style.

A reviewer on “Ain’t It Cool News” said in his review of the new Grant Morrison documentary that he feels that Morrison writes stories that he understands, but that aren’t necessarily clear for the reader. I cannot agree more with that reviewer. While I am a fan of Morrison, his recent stuff has left me so confused that I’m finding it hard to recommend it to readers. And the things that I’ve heard about “Batman, Inc.” don’t exactly fill me with confidence. If you’ve been following this miniseries so far, there’s not point in stopping now, especially with only one more issue to go.

Comic Reviews!!

It’s Wednesday!

Deadpool MAX #1
Here is the seventh (!) Deadpool series over the past few years. The difference between this and the multitude of other Merc With A Mouth books is that this is within Marvel’s “MAX” imprint, which means that it will contain boobs, violence, and foul language. Within this one first issue, Deadpool Max definitely lives up to its imprint’s name.
The opening issue follows Deadpool and his handler Bob infiltrating Hammerhead’s compound. The way that Bob gets into the compound is….interesting to say the least, and definitely sets up the very adult themes that this book will contain.  While this book says “Deadpool” on the cover, it should NOT be in the hands of impressionable youths. However, I loved how balls to the wall crazy this comic was, and the fact that writer David Lapham has toned down Wade Wilson’s signature crazy talk is a welcome change. In fact, it took me awhile to get used to not seeing the now (in)famous “Deadpool captions” that so often clog up a Deadpool book. Lapham also get props for making this a one and done story, and not dragging it out for six issues like Marvel is known for.
While I did enjoy this issue’s story, I have to unfortunately say that Kyle Baker’s art is not good. At all. Perhaps it was the coloring, or the apparent lack of inking, but everyone in this book looked…lumpy. With the exception of one great action sequence towards the end of the book, every panel was muddled and really hard to figure out what was happening. While I’m going to keep reading the book, I really hope Baker is only penciling this one issue. Or that he learns to draw.

Uncanny X-Force #1

One of Marvel’s current favorite past times is canceling a semi-popular series and relaunching them as new “#1” issues in the hopes of generating more sales. The most recent victim of this is X-Force, a series that I had started reading but then completely forgot about. However, after this first issue, I’m going to make a point to try and keep up with it.
X-Force was originally a black ops team lead by Wolverine and hired by Cyclops to go and essentially be “proactive” when it comes to potential threats towards mutants. Recently, Cyke was told that the team had been disbanded, but apparently good ol’ Warren Worthington (aka Angel/Archangel) has different plans.  When he learns of the possibility of the return of Apocalypse, he calls upon Wolverine, Fantomex, Psylocke, and Deadpool to help him put a stop to the resurrection…even it means that he’ll have to kill a child.
Rick Remender, he of Frankencastle fame, is writing the new series, and I’m really interested to see how this turns out. The team dynamic is very cool so far, and while I’ve never seen him before, Fantomex is pretty badass. Jerome Opena’s art is fantastic as well, and it really allows the action to flow. If you’re looking for an X-Men comic that doesn’t involve vampires or is bogged down in continuity, this is the book to pick up.

Taskmaster #2 (of4)
This comic  is awesome. That’s really all you need to know.

Fine I’ll tell you more. Taskmaster follows the titular anti-hero as he tries to remember who he is. You see, Taskmaster’s power is that he has “reflex memory”, in which all he needs to do is watch a video or fight someone ONCE and within seconds be able to memorize their fighting style. After working for “The Org” for years doing everything from training militias to fighting super heroes, he’s starting to forget things. Important things. You see, because of all of the missions he’s done and fights he’s been in, ol’ Tasky’ brain is running out of space and deleting things like his memories in order to keep stuff like “how to fly a plane” inside of his brain. In the last issue we learned that after the events of “Siege” Taskmaster has been laying low, and that The Org has not only framed him for a crime, but also sent out every single assassin to take him out.
This issue finds Taskmaster and his companion Mercedes (a waitress at the diner he was attacked at) crossing the border into Western Mexico, where they meet up with Tasky’s old friend “The Don Of The Dead”, a mexican militia leader who has a passion for skull masks, swords, and playing rock music.
Fred Van Lente’s script amazingly walks the line between humor and action, making this series one of the best of the year so far. When Taskmaster uses his skills to play in Don’s rock band, I nearly died laughing. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you are a fan of the Jason Bourne movies.

So Much Nerd News

Allright, here’s the long and short of all of the ridiculous nerd news that’s hit the internets in the past two days.  And I just saw a movie.

Zach Snyder Is Directing Superman!
So of the five candidates that Christopher Nolan was considering for directing the upcoming Superman reboot, Zach Snyder, the director of 300, Watchmen, and the phenomenal Dawn of the Dead remake is going to be bringing the man of steel to the big screen once again. The villain is rumored to be General Zod, and the movie is being prepared for a release within the next two years. I was hoping for Brainiac to be the villain, but Zod is just as cool.  Here’s to hoping that Jon Hamm plays Superman.

                                       COME ON! Look at the resemblance! It HAS to happen!

Emma Stone is Mary Jane Watson  Gwen Stacy!

This was just announced….and I’ll admit I was pissed about this at first. Emma Stone was reportedly offered the role of Mary Jane Watson, a move that caused fanboys the world over to weep with joy. HOWEVER, this rumor was recently retracted, and in its place we have learned that Emma Stone has actually been cast as Gwen Stacy, Spidey’s tragic first love.
One the one hand, I find it completely surprising that Sony Pictures had someone who was a redhead to play Mary Jane, and cast her as a blonde. Then I was informed that Ms. Stone is not a natural redhead. After getting over this deception, I am now cautiously optimistic that the movies may be following the actual story of Spidey’s love life from the comics, in which he dated Gwen Stacy for years before even considering MJ as a wife…..er…..live-in girlfriend
Every Spider-man fan knows the story of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s love life, and if Sony can pull of the tragic story of their relationship in a sequel, then more power to them, as it could be one of the most emotionally charged super hero movies of all time.   
 
While I am somewhat excited for this reboot (Spider-man is my favorite after all), when I hear crap like this I want to punch someone.

MOVIE REVIEW!!!!

MacGruber (2010)
Starring: Will Forte, Ryan Phillipe, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer
Director: Jorma Taccone

Didn’t see MacGruber this past summer? Apparently you weren’t alone. One of the biggest flops of the year was also one of the funniest, and I urge everyone who likes absurd comedies like Airplane!, Robing Hood: Men In Tights, or Hot Rod then you’ll most likely love MacGruber. This is a movie that is the definition of silly.
The “plot” follows MacGruber being re-recruited into the army to track down his nemesis, Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer), who has stolen a nuclear warhead. After blowing up his team in an accidental C4 mishap, MacGruber has to team up with Lt. Dixon Piper (Phillipe) and Vicki St. Elmo (Wiig). Phillipe in particular is hilarious in the movie since he plays like he’s actually in  an action movie, and not a movie based on a SNL skit. 
The thing that makes MacGruber works is that it feels like one of those crappy movies you would see on Spike TV at 3 in the morning. It’s a loving tribute to crappy action movies, and while many of the jokes tend to get a little old, a lot of them hit their marks, and many times the movie goes places you really don’t think it will go. While MacGruber isn’t for everyone, if you are a fan of extremely weird and absurd humor, then you will love MacGruber.
3 mullets out of 4