Monthly Archives: February 2011

Comic Reviews!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

The Avengers #10

 We’ve now reached the next installment of the Infinity Gauntlet saga in Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.’s Avengers series, and while we learn of the different locations of the other infinity gems that The Hood is looking for, not much else happens in the issue.

The issue starts with Namor, Red Hulk, and Thor traveling deep, deep into the ocean to find one of the gems that The Hood needs to power the Infinity Gauntlet. If you guessed that The Hood getting the gauntlet is a bad thing, then you’re today’s winner. We then move on to where Professor X is hiding his gem, which is protected by the broken danger room’s fail safe program. Oh, then we move to Area 51, which is owned by Tony Stark now, and The Hood is there. He then uses the gems to teleport to the next gem’s location, and then the issue ends.

If that sounded brief, than let me assure you, that’s basically it from this issue. Maybe it was the fact that the comic included the entire first issue of Heroes For Hire, but I felt like nothing happened in this issue. Sure there are some great lines of dialogue from Spider-man and the Avengers members with Prof. X, but Romita’s art in this issue looked really sloppy and rushed, which is not what you want your top team book to look like. The previous issues in this run have been very good, so my hope is that this is just a fluke filler issue.

Gotham City Sirens #20

Gotham City Sirens is a title that I started picking up around the time of the “Batman: Reborn”  era of Batman  a year ago, and I eventually stopped picking up the title after the first arc. The series follows Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn in their attempts to become heroes after the events of Battle For The Cowl. While I got bored with the series quickly, the solicits promising the return of the Joker in this issue made me add it to my pull list.

While Mr. J doesn’t make an appearance in this issue, his presence is felt throughout it. So far, the story follows Harley Quinn as she breaks into Arkham Asylum to kill her former puddin’. Writer Peter Calloway uses this scenario to really flesh out Harley’s pre-criminal days, and how intelligent she really is. We get some great scenarios of her pulling the strings on former co-workers and patients, and that really helps the fact the Joker doesn’t show up in the series. The issue is more of a showcase for Harley, a character that often times is just used as a sidekick of The Joker.

The art duties are handled by Andrew Guinaldo and Ramon Bachs, and their layouts for the flashbacks are incredibly original and evoke a great sense of dread and mood for all of the stories they tell. While I haven’t been reading Gotham City Sirens for some time now, I’ll definitely be following this storyline.

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Feed Her!

I’m currently on February break, and a good friend of mine and I finally watched the horror movie event of the decade.

Human Centipede: First Sequence
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams
Directed By: Tom Six

 Yep, I saw it. And you know what, it’s not as bad as people were making it out to be. Sure it was wicked gross, but in my opinion, the Hostel series is waaayyyy more disgusting, and graphic. However, this is NOT for the faint of heart, and I don’t think I’ll watch it ever, ever again.
2 1/2 segments out of four

Comic Reviews .1!

I cannot wait for February break.

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!!!

The Amazing Spider-man #654.1

First things first: this special “.1” issue for new readers does not feature Spider-man. In fact, the wall-crawler’s alter ego is the only appearance of the titular character, so don’t let the cover fool ya. However, I get the feeling that if Marvel had titled this issue Venom .1 it may not sell as well.

That’s right, the focus of this special issue to get new readers on board focuses around everyone’s favorite tongue waving symbiote: Venom! I’m not entirely sure if this story could count as “new-reader” friendly, but it does a great job of introducing us to not only the new Venom, but the tone of his upcoming solo adventures as well.  As Marvel has previously spoiled, Venom is now under the control of the government, who just a few issues ago had ripped the alien costume off of Mac Gargan (aka The Scorpion), whom had been the villain for the past four years or so. So, now with Flash Thompson in the suit, Venom sets off on his new assignment. Dan Slott quickly fills us in on this new status quo, which not only gives the character a reason to use the suit, but also explains the limitations that he does have in it (the symbiote can only be worn for 48 hours, or it will bond permanently to the host).  Humberto Ramos returns on art, and his style is much more subdued than recent issues, which is a good thing. The last thing I wanted to see was a huge disproportional Venom, although we do get a quick scene of that as well.
 While the point of this issue may not get new Spider-man fans on board, it will most likely get some folks to pick up the new Venom ongoing next month. I’ve been curious about this direction since it was announced, and I really enjoyed the espionage and spy thriller take on the character, especially when the symbiote’s abilities get mixed in with spy tech. If you’re interested in the character of Venom, or are just curious about the new direction, then you should definitely pick this up.

Silver Surfer #1 (of 5)

The Silver Surfer has finally returned in his own mini-series, and while it’s not Silver Surfer:Requiem, it’s still pretty good. After helping his master Galactus heal by pulling him into a STAR, Norrin Rad flies back to his foster home, Earth. While there, he oversees a young couple being interrogated by some high tech paramilitary soldiers, and he steps in to help. Soon afterwards the High Evolutionary shows up,  and causes some very big changes in Mr. Surfer’s life.

Greg Pak handles this opening issue very well, and while I thought that it dragged a little in the middle, the ending of the book was fantastic, and I definitely want to check out the next issue. Steven Segovia handles the art, and even though it has a ’90’s feel to it, I still enjoyed it. The fact that there’s a solo Silver Surfer series out again makes me very happy, even if it is just a five issue mini-series. Here’s hoping that the next issue is just as good!

Comic Reviews Unleashed!

Today we revisit Batman and Robin and party like it’s the 1990s with Onslaught Unleashed!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Batman and Robin #20

After the extreme dissapointment that was Paul Cornell’s “The Absence” run, I was completely against even picking up this book. I had dropped it and never wanted to look back, which was a big surprise for me as the book used to be my favorite Bat-book. Well, thanks to a coworker’s recommendation I picked up this new arc by writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason. All I can say is this: whoa.

From the first page Tomasi’s characterization of every major Bat-member is spot on, from Tim Drake to Bruce Wayne himself. Of course, Batman and Robin focuses on Dick Grayson as Batman and Damien Wayne as Robin, and Tomasi’s banter between the two of them is fantastic. The issue follows the new dynamic duo trying to solve the mysterious death of an “angel” whom apparently commits suicide at a big gala event that Dick is attending. This leads to some great forensic work by the team, and an awesome scene between Damien and Commissioner Gordon. As they try to follow the trail of this death, they come across Kirk Langstrom, aka Man-Bat, aka one of my favorite Batman villains.

Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have done some phenomenal work in the past on books like Green Lantern Corps and the AMAZING Black Adam miniseries. All signs are looking towards this run being another home fun for the team, and I can’t wait to pick up the next issue. Between this and Scott Snyder and Jock’s run on Detective Comics, fans of Dick Grayson Batman should be loving life right now.

Onslaught Unleashed #1(of 4) 

Well I should’ve expected as much from a comic that was bringing back Onslaught, the character who basically ruined Marvel in the 90’s.  The story centers around the female Bucky (aka Nomad) from the “Heroes Reborn” pocket universe, and how she and the other members of the “Young Allies” need to go to Columbia to find their lost teammate. Steve Rodgers orders her not to go and instead decides to bring the Secret Avengers to the South American country as it ties in with their investigation of Roxxon. Once they get there, strange things start happening, and guess who possesses Bucky by the end? Yep, Onslaught.

I suppose the main reason why this issue left me so flat is that I have no idea who any of the Young Allies are. With the exception of the new Spider-Girl, I’ve never heard of any of the characters, and to me the idea of Nomad is incredibly stupid, primarily because it came out of the horrendous Onslaught Reborn by Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld, who is quite possibly the absolute worst comic book artist of all time.  Writer Sean McKeever does his best, but the entire issue feels like padding, even for a four-issue miniseries, and even though I really Filipe Andrade’s art here, it’s still not enough to convince me to pick up the next issue.

You Have -300 Friends

This is the story of the first real-life supervillain.

The Social Network
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, Justin Timberlake
Directed By: David Fincher

The Social Network is about more than just the creation of Facebook. It’s about a person who creates something that takes over the world almost overnight, and his inability to handle it. It’s a cautionary tale about fame, and how greed or even overprotection of an idea can cause someone to screw over everyone around them. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, and my pick for the Best Picture Oscar.

Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mark Zuckerberg, who when we meet for the first time is breaking up with his girlfriend in the most painfully awkward way imaginable. From this breakup, he gets drunk and starts coding, eventually creating a site called “Face Mash”, in which people vote on which girl they know is more attractive. After shutting down the Harvard network, Zuckerberg gets the idea to create a new social site, with funding from his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfeild). At the same time, the twin members of one of Harvard’s Finals Clubs (both played by Armie Hammer) contact Zuckerberg to help them create their own social network site. Here is where the drama starts.

At first, the twins decide to sue Zuckerberg after he stops answering their phone calls and e-mails regarding the site they want Zuckerberg to manage. Once “The Facebook” launches, Zuckerberg and his friend become campus celebrities, and gain all of the trappings of this fame. While the twins are hounding Zuckerberg about him “stealing their idea”, Saverin wants to take the site to advertisers to help cover the costs of the rapidly growing culture being built around them. Eventually the popularity of the site brings the attention of Mr. Napster himself, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). Parker shows Zuckerberg the rock star life, and helps take Facebook to the next level, while at the same time slowly phasing out Saverin, who in turn also sues his former best friend.

David Fincher’s directing of this movie is phenomenal, and the pacing of the movie, while jarring at first, really starts to click once the conflict between all of the players gets going. By showing us the different legal battles before certain key events, we feel like we’re apart of all of these players in the creation of Facebook, and it’s extremely difficult to not feel sympathy for Andrew Garfield’s character. Speaking of Garfield, now that I’ve finally seen him in a movie I feel a lot better with him playing Spider-man. At least his performance will be good.

In terms of the performances, all of them really shine. Armie Hammer playing the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was great, and Eisenberg does a phenomenal job portraying this version of Zuckerberg as well. The real Eduardo Saverin sold his story for this movie, so there is a pretty negative slant towards Zuckerberg’s character, but there are moments where it seemed to me like Zuckerberg got in way too over his head and tried to keep the integrity of his creation, which in turn led to him destroying every friendship he had, and being tempted by Parker. Zuckerberg’s oddness around other people was extremely authentic, and after seeing the real Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday Night Live last weekend it seemed pretty accurate too.

One last thing before I wrap up: the score by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor was fantastic. The songs are perfect for the scenes, and I believe are a lock for best original score as well. The Social Network is a film that will be looked back on as a monumental movie for our generation, even if it may not be completely accurate. This movie is highly recommended, and will probably make you think the next time you log on to stalk your old high school girlfriend.

4 1/5 “Pokes” out of 5

20 Inches of Snow? Right….

So that new “storm” certainly left something to be desired. We were supposed to get upwards of a foot of snow today, and since it stopped roughly around noon, the actual final tally was a little south of what was expected. However, all this snow didn’t prevent me from getting to the comic store!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Ultimate Thor #4 (of 4) 

Jonathan Hickman, the man who killed The Human Torch, has also been writing S.H.I.E.L.D.  and Ultimate Thor, which wraps up this week. This final issue fills in the gaps on how Ultimate Thor came to be,  as well as how he came to help out The Ultimates in their battle against the Hulk. Hickman as usual is great, as well as artist Carlos Pacheco, but this issue felt like it was kind of a let down. Perhaps maybe I was expecting a showdown between Thor and his mad brother Loki, but that never really happens in this issue. While I appreciate the reveal behind Thor and the gaps this story fills in, the whole issue made me feel like I was missing something rather important, or like I skipped an issue entirely. While it’s not a terrible issue, I was hoping for an ending that would be a lot more conclusive than it really is.

DC Universe Online Legends #1

This is the first issue to the tie-in comic book for the DC Universe Online video game that was recently released. Instead of trying to follow the story of the game and creating their own superhero, writers Marv Wolfman and Tony Bedard instead follow the events directly after the beginning of the game, which you can watch here
Pretty sweet huh? Unfortunately non of those awesome battles are present in the comic, but you do get to watch the events right after Brainiac’s ship arrives on Earth. Lex Luthor is scrambling to save himself, and assemble a crew of heroes and villains to help battle Brainiac in the future. This leads to some very cool moments, and seeing the “team” that is assembled is pretty interesting. We also learn how Brainiac and Luthor first started working together, and what led to Luthor being turned on by him.
The art is handled by DC mainstay Howard Porter and Livesay, and it’s very serviceable. There’s nothing that really stands out about it, but it serves the purpose of the story and isn’t terrible. I was very impressed by this issue (probably because I wasn’t expecting much), and if this continues to follow this possible future, I may have to check it out.