Monthly Archives: December 2010
….and something, something, something. Christmas has come and gone, and one of my newest treasures from Baby Jesus Day is a brand spankin’ new Playstation 3! Needless to say it was quite the surprise, as I had put it on my list to my mom as a joke. I guess she was strapped for ideas, as it was one of the items that I actually recieved! This week is my vacation week, and it’s been pretty great. Mostly its been spent playing God Of War and watching Dr. Who, a series that has long been on my “to watch” list. Oh, and waiting for my birthday to arrive of course.
But enough about me……IT’S WEDNESDAY!
COMIC BOOK REVIEWS!!!!
Nemesis #4 (of 4)
Oh hey Nemesis, long time no see. The oft-delayed miniseries by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven finally draws to a close this month, nearly 6 months after it debuted. Within this issue we finally learn the secret behind Nemesis, and boy, is it a doozy.
Nemisis has been a series that flaunts its over-the-top action, and this issue is no exception. Millar’s script is relentless, and McNiven’s pencils are a sight to behold. The entire showdown takes place at the White House, where Nemesis has top cop Blake Morrow’s wife, as well as the President. Here he makes an ultimatum: shoot either your wife or the President. “Your family or your job”. What follows after that is a no holds barred shootout/slugfest, one that takes a few unexpected turns as well.
What really pulled me in and sold me on this series as a whole is the twist at the end. I won’t spoil it here,but I was very pleasantly surprised by the reveal, and while some have expressed disappointment over how it serves the character of Nemesis, I was very impressed by it, and I’m curious as to how it will play out in the eventual sequel. Suffice to say when the movie adaptation is released, I think a lot of people will be extremely surprised. That is if they keep the twist.
Batman: The Dark Knight
Whenever I hear that a well-known artist is going to be taking on writing duties for a book, I instantly prepare for the worst. While some can be Frank Miller……er…”Dark Knight Returns” era Frank Miller….most end up being like Todd McFarlane’s 1990’s “Spider-man” series, i.e. lots of pretty pictures, but really, really stupid plot.
With this in mind, I carefully opened the cover to Batman: The Dark Knight, the latest (and FIFTH) Batman title to be released. Well, consider me surprised, as this book wasn’t half bad! While Finch’s strong suit is still drawing pretty pictures, the story, which involves Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend, covers a lot of the familiar “beats” of a Batman mystery. We’re also treated to some a few appearances by some familiar Bat-rogues, namely Killer Croc and a much creepier take on The Penguin. Dark Knight definitely exceeded my expectations. Here’s hoping that it’s not just a fluke.
What If? #200
We have now reached the end of Marvel’s new line of What If? specials, with this one, “issue 200” being the last. This issue focuses on the big “Seige” event from last year, which saw Norman Osborn take on Asgard and subsequently lose his power over the government. Oh, and the Sentry died.
This issue asks the question “What if Norman Osborn WON the siege of Asgard?” Essentially what this means is “What if Ares got pissed at Osborn and tried to kill him before Osborn attacked Asgard, and the Sentry ripped him in half days before the attack?” What we get is a Sentry that isn’t as “depowered” as he actually was, and he slaughters the entire Avengers team. Literally. This may be one of the bloodiest mainstream comics of the year, right behind the Punisher: The List one-shot. The rest of the story follows the surviving members of the Cabal (Dr. Doom, Loki, and Emma Frost) and the X-Men as they struggle to destroy the Sentry. Eventually he becomes the Void and destroys the world. Kind of a downer, but this issue was definitely the best of the recent What If one-shots.
Also included in this issue is a Galactus “What If” by Stan Lee, and a reprint of “What If Bullseye Had Not Killed Elektra” by Frank Miller, as well as a comprehensive list of every What If story and its issue number. While it was cool to have these bonuses, all it made me do was wish that we had an actual ongoing What If series again, and not a couple of crappy one-shots every year.
Christmas is so close I can taste it. This week has been a whirlwind so far, and it’s only going to get crazier. However, I still got time to read some comics!
The Guild: Vork one-shot
The Guild creator Felicia Day continues expanding the hilarious universe of her web series with this latest issue. This time, instead of a mini-series following the misadventures of “Codex”, we get one issue focusing on a different member of the Guild. The first installment features Vork, the leader of the Knights of Good, and his path towards learning to be a better leader.
Fans of the hilarious web series will eat this up, and the fact that Jeff Lewis, the actor who plays Vork, co-wrote the issue with Ms. Day only makes the story even more of a believable Vork tale. If you’ve been in the dark on The Guild, you owe it to yourself to check it out. I even put a link up for you (hint, it says “hilarious web series”). You don’t need to be too involved in the web series to get the charm of this issue, and I can’t wait for the next installment.
Batman, Inc. #2
Once again, I’m here to admit that I enjoyed the latest issue of Batman, Inc. Bat-mastermind Grant Morrison’s script is a fantastic adventure piece, and it actually concludes this issue! Yes, for the first time in what seems like forever, a Batman story has been told in only TWO ISSUES! Apparently Morrison’s goal for this series to tell quick, action-packed Batman stories, and while it may be too soon to say, I think it’s been working well.
Batman’s battle with Lord Death Man continues, and the legacy of Mr. Unknown is revealed, which was a twist that I wasn’t really expecting, and puts an interesting spin on the “detective” side of Batman. Essentially we learn that Mr. Unknown is now two different heroes. While the original Mr. Unknown became too old to fight crime physically, he still can use his detective skills. With this in mind, he has one of his employees become the Mr. Unknown that will go out and knock heads. This revelation definitely was a surprise, and puts a whole new spin on the roles that both Bruce and Dick Grayson now play as Batman.
Yanick Paquette’s art still shines, and his action scenes at the beginning of the book are pretty spectacular. No one can draw a giant squid sticking out of the side of a Tokyo building like this guy, and that moment in particular may go down as one of my favorite comic book moments of the year. Batman, Inc. continues on its action-packed path, and for the first time in awhile I’ve been actually looking forward to a Grant Morrison Batman book wholeheartedly.
What If?: Dark Reign one-shot
After last week’s bummer of an issue, we get another What If? story that starts off strong, but eventually fails to deliver. Unlike last week though, this issue was surprisingly predictable.
Back when Norman Osborne was in charge, during last years Dark Reign “non-event”, Hawkeye made a threat in New Avengers that he was going to kill Osborne, stating that he couldn’t stand by and let a known murderer and criminal be in charge of the country’s security. Regardless of the fact that Spider-man should have been the one on the team to hold this viewpoint, Clint Barton eventually decided against killing Osborne. This issue of What If? asks “What if Hawkeye killed Norman Osborne?”. Well guess what……he gets shot. Yep. The entire issue is just Clint Barton hanging out in Central Park, waiting out the whole bruhaha over killing Osborne. I honestly can’t believe that Marvel let this issue go to print, as it honestly just kills time between Clint killing Norman and him getting shot and killed. We barely even get any reactions from his Avengers teammates! I really hope that next week’s Siege themed issue is more worth my time, but at the rate this year’s What Ifs? have been going, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
That title was a shock to my system. Hard to believe that in ten short days I’ll be getting some sweet gifts, not unlike the one I’m about to give to you, dear reader.
|Sorry, folks. This is the variant cover|
Green Lantern #60
Despite being the only non-Batman DC book that I pick up, Green Lantern was a title that was dangerously close to being on the chopping block for me, as the post-“Brightest Day” storyline seemed to be treading a lot of water. Essentially now that there is a “white lantern” on Earth, all of the entities of the different corps (green, yellow, blue, etc.) are being drawn to our planet. However, Hal Jordan has been spending the previous six issues or so trying to figure out why this happens, and deal with the fact that each entity possesses a new person each issue.
While issue 60 does fall into the possession trap, at least a Parallax-possessed Flash looks really cool. Doug Mahnke gives the scarlet speedster a long, gaunt look, and his interactions with Hal are very well written. seeing as how Hal was the first to be possessed by the yellow entity, it’s fitting that he should try to persuade it to leave his friend for him. Just as Hal gathers the other colored lanterns to help him, the mysterious figure who has been summoning the entities arrives, and though I’m not that familiar with him, DC history mastermind Geoff Johns still makes it a cool moment. Green Lantern may have been lagging for the past few months, but it looks to me like it’s back on track, just in time for the upcoming movie.
|Such a cool cover. Such a dumb comic.|
What If?: Spider-man: Grim Hunt
“Grim Hunt” ran through Amazing Spider-man this summer, and it served as one of the best recent Spidey stories (even if it did undo the awesome “Kraven’s Last Hunt”). In keeping with Marvel’s yearly “What If” revival, we now get the answer to the question “what if Spider-man killed Kraven the Hunter in ‘Grim Hunt’?”
I hate to say it, but I was pretty disappointed in this issue. The focus of the story is all over the place, bouncing between Peter Parker and Arana, the teenager now known as Spider-girl. This issue got off to a very promising start, but once Peter takes up the mantle of *SPOILER* the man he killed, I completely lost interest. And maybe it was just me, but the beginning of the issue implies that Spidey kills the entire Kravinoff clan, but then when we see him sitting on his throne (dressed as Kraven, no less), the entire clan is alive, and chained to his throne. What?
It’s a shame that this issue wasn’t as good as I was hoping, as there was a lot of potential with this story. As you guys know, I’m a huge Spider-man fan, and a fan of Marvel’s “What If” series, so the two of them together should have been awesome. Instead we get a comic that starts off pretty strong, but then is over way too soon and doesn’t leave much of an impact. Oh well. At least the cover is cool.
…of the year? Despite the fact that I’m now done with Christmas shopping, I now face the daunting task of figuring out student loans. It is as fun as it sounds. However, when I’m not having a mental breakdown, I’m still trying to do some fun stuff. Like watching Netflix movies.
DC Showcase: Superman/Shazaam: The Return Of Black Adam
Starring: George Newburn, Jerry O’Connell, Arnold Vosloo
Directed By: Joaquim Dos Santos
The latest DC animated movie from Warner Bros. is actually a collection of their previous short films The Spectre, Green Arrow, Jonah Hex, and the new feature Superman/Shazaam: The Return Of Black Adam. While all of the shorts are entertaining in their own ways, they still don’t add up to a worthy purchase.
The main story serves as an introduction to younger audiences to Captain Marvel, the superhero whose alter ego is the young Billy Batson. After Batson is attacked by Black Adam, he is saved by Superman. Billy’s escape is sidetracked when he is visited by The Wizard, who informs him (and us) that Black Adam was his first choice to wield the power of Shazaam 5,000 years ago. Eventually the power went to Adam’s head, and he went mad with power. The Wizard banished him to the “dark realm”, but has conveniently escaped now, when the Wizard has found Batson, someone whom he believes is pure enough to have the power. Now, whenever Billy yells out “SHAZAAM!”, he becomes Captain Marvel, and his first mission is to help Superman take out the eventual ruler of Kahndaq.
If that synopsis seemed brief, that’s cause the entire Superman/Shazaam feature is about 25 minutes. Once it gets going, it’s over. And while Arnold Vosloo makes an awesome Black Adam, the other voice actors don’t seem to be all that into the movie. However, the other three features are fantastic, with Jonah Hex not only being 1,000 times better than the live-action abortion that arrived this past summer, but also making me forget about how bad the movie was. If you haven’t seen these features then this is worth the rent, but odds are, if you have the two-disc versions of DC Animated’s previous releases, you’ve already watched them.
3 ‘SHAZAAM”‘S out of 5
So far the most things I have done with my awesome new phone are playing Angry Birds and annoying the hell out of everyone I know with Four Square. I’ve acquired two mayorships, and I’m hopefully going to have two more by week’s end. My plans for global domination are finally coming to fruition. While I wait for my robot drones to arrive, here are some NEW COMIC REVIEWS!!!!
|“Got your nose…”|
What If: Wolverine: Father
We’re going to continue to look at Marvel’s “What If” output this week, mainly because I only picked up three books this week (it was a super light week for me). This installment focuses on the relationship between Wolverine and his son Daken, the mohawked, maybe bisexual “Dark Wolverine”. Daken is a character that I know only the main characteristics of, as the only book I’ve read that had him in it continually was Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato’s phenomenal Dark Avengers series. This issue asks the question of “What If Wolverine had arrived right after his wife Itsu was murdered?”, and paints a very different picture of the man we know as Logan…or James Howlett.
After murdering his wife’s killer (a still “Winter Soldiered” Bucky Barnes), Logan saves the life of Daken and takes him to the remote hills in Japan. Naming him John, Logan teaches his son the ways of living off the land, but senses something dark about his son. We get some very good character moments from Logan, and I found it extremely interesting to see this character that I (and many others) have known for so long as a fierce warrior act as a loving and caring father. Of course, after a visit from Sabretooth everything goes south, and John disappears, becoming a Yakuza enforcer named “Daken”. Eventually Logan tracks him down, and confronts him as only Logan can.
This issue was another great one and done story, but I don’t think that readers who aren’t familiar with the character of Daken will enjoy the story as much. The art from Greg Tocchini also had some very awkward moments, which made me wonder if there was more than one artist on the book. However, it wasn’t terrible, and if you can look past the odd panel or too you’ll get a pretty enjoyable comic.
|No! This “spider-man” kiss is all wrong!|
Jeff Lemire’s Superboy relaunch continues this month, as the boy of steel is confronted by Poison Ivy, who is asking for his help regarding her loss of powers. The Sweet Tooth writer has a very strong grasp on the characters he’s writing, and the art by Pier Gallo is oddly enjoyable (at least to me). The mystery surrounding what is going on in the town of Smallville is also gaining more and more layers.
While I do enjoy the book, there’s nothing that’s really grabbing me to keep reading. I’ve heard great things about Sweet Tooth, and I do plan on picking it up. I think perhaps my lack of interest in the title isn’t in Lemire’s writing or the artwork, which I’ve already mentioned that I’ve enjoyed, I think it’s more that I’ve never really been all that interested in Superboy. The most I’ve read of the character was in Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans run, and he was “dead” for most of that. Fans of the character will probably love this take on the character, but I for one will probably be waiting for the trade.
Man today was crazy. Since new comics came out today instead of yesterday, I had to book it up to Jetpack Comics after running the homework club. My feet are destroying me right now. Anyways, it’s an all Marvel edition of comic book reviews!!!
|This cover is a LIE! A LIIIEEE!!|
Heroes For Hire #1
While I didn’t have high hopes for this new relaunch of the Heroes For Hire series, I was optimistic in the fact that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were writing it, and I was hoping that they would be able to spin the same magic that they conjured on the “cosmic Marvel” on Marvel’s vigilante group.
Unfortunately this issue suffers from the good old “not giving us what is promised on the cover” routine. Let’s see, on the cover we see Ghost Rider (a personal favorite) right dead and center, with The Punisher behind him. Those two are arguably the most popular characters on the team, and with good ol’ flamehead not having a series of his own, people like myself would be inclined to pick this up to get their Ghost Rider fix (not counting the god-awful Shadowland tie-in).
Well guess WHAT? He’s nowhere to be found in the book. Neither is The Punisher. The plot follows Falcon, Black Widow, Moon Knight, and Elektra as they prevent a dealer from pushing some Atlantean drug that’s super addictive for humans. While the action depicted by artist Brad Walker is well done, I gotta say, the twist at the end was pretty weak, at least in my opnion. Add that to the fact that one of my favorite heroes who doesn’t have a series right now never even appears within the issue, and I hate to say it, but I’m passing on the next issue. Heroes For Hire fans though will probably love it just because there’s a new book out. More power to them.
|Should’ve used ProActive man….|
What If?: Iron Man: Demon In An Armor
I have a confession to make. One of my favorite series growing up was Marvel’s What If? comic, which took many popular stories and asked that simple title question. Many were complete garbage, but more times than not, they were extremely fun one-and-done stories that often presented really cool and unique alternate worlds and stories. Luckily for me Marvel has brought back the series seemingly every year, using it as a way to show current popular storylines in a new light.
While this issue isn’t based off of any storyline in particular, it does ask the question of “What would happen if Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom were college roommates?”, as opposed to Reed Richards being VVD’s bunk buddy. While the concept behind the issue is a little ridiculous (swapping brains is a bit much for even a comic book), there’s a sense of fun and absurdity to this comic that I feel is missing from a lot of books these days. This issue was a great throwback to the Marvel Comics of old, and a pretty entertaining story for fans of both Doom and Iron Man.
It’s only December first, and I already got one of my presents. And it’s friggin’ AWESOME.
|That’s right R2, we’re getting a text message.|
Yes, that is the limited edition R2-D2 Droid phone, and thanks to my amazing girlfriend and mom, it is mine. This was completely unexpected and definitely a gift that I will never forget, plus it was a welcome surprise at a time where I’m now realizing the glory that is student loans. I cannot thank both my gf and my parents enough for this amazing gift, and for how much they mean to me.
So far I’ve still got to activate it, but I’ll be sure to let all two of you that read this know how badass this phone is later on. It makes R2-D2 noises when you turn it on, so it’s already gotten a gajillion points on the nerd scale for me. I feel like Luke Skywalker right now.