Monthly Archives: May 2012
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #10
The latest issue of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series reintroduces readers to the classic villain, Shredder. There’s a good deal of mystery surrounding this take on the character, especially since it’s hinted that he has died previously and has been resurrected (not to mention that he knew Splinter in his previous life). Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz’ script is great, and keeps up their grand tradition of introducing new concepts to this new series, while also making sure that classic Turtles elements remain intact.
Continuing from the previous issue, Splinter is brought to the hideout of the Foot Clan, a group of ninjas that Splinter remembers from his past life. At the same time, the four Turtles, along with April and Casey Jones are searching for their “father”. The search leads them to an abandoned pawnshop owned by April’s family, which she opens up for the four to use as a home base. We later bounce back to Splinter in battle with a giant foot ninja, which is easily the highlight of the issue. Moving swiftly and powerfully, but being careful not to kill his opponent, Splinter shows just how badass he is, and the issue ends on a pretty good cliffhanger that leaves me wanting more about the nefarious Shredder.
As I said before, Eastman and Waltz’ script deftly mixes the old and the new, and the dialogue between the four turtles is great. They each have the same personalities your remember, yet they are still on their journey to become the characters that we remember from our youth. Couple this with Dan Duncan’s excellent pencils and you have a great comic that is a can’t miss for fans of the Turtles in a Half Shell.
The Walking Dead #98
The Walking Dead continues its march to issue 100 this month, and with it, we get the first causality. I’ll keep it spoiler free, but be warned, it comes out of nowhere and throws you completely off guard. Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s series has taught us to expect one thing: no one is safe. And with this issue, they prove that yet again. If for some reason you haven’t been reading this book, what is wrong with you? Catch up man!
With The Avengers continuing its dominance over the domestic and worldwide box office, one could make a safe bet that many studios are probably thinking that super-hero team movies are the way to go. I’m sure Warner Bros. is kicking themselves right now for not only A) Letting Joss Whedon walk away from his long-gestating Wonder Woman movie, but also for B) letting their Justice League film from Mad Max director George Miller crumble before filming. While team-based movies are extremely hard to pull off (just look at the X-Men films), Whedon has shown that you can make it happen if you level the playing field for everybody. And of course, introduce all of the main players ahead of time.
So while we may not be making the decisions at the big studios, we can at least pretend and make up our own pitches for films based on major superhero teams. And we can start with arguably the most well known…
As I already mentioned, Warner Bros. was dangerously close to a Justice League film a few years ago. Freaking out because of the writer’s strike, and with no big tent pole film to help them, WB turned to George Miller to help bring the “Big Seven” to the big screen. However, with a cast that would’ve featured Adam Brody as Flash, perhaps we’re better off not seeing this version.
Instead let’s take a page from the “New 52” relaunch of the title, and better yet, get Geoff Johns to adapt the thing. I’d keep Armie Hammer as Batman (he did costume tests for the film), and possibly even keep Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern (we’ll have to see how Henry Cavill’s going to be as Superman). Throw in Jon Hamm as Lex Luthor and we’ll have ourselves the start of something awesome. As long as it’s handled properly of course.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it wouldn’t fit in with the X-Men movie continuity, but who cares? First Class already took the continuity of those films and threw them out the window. Keeping Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (obviously), the film could work as a standalone; hard “R” take on the X-Men, and introduce the members of this awesome team to cinemagoers. To my knowledge, the only one shown in a previous movie was Angel in Last Stand, and the less said of that pile the better. There’s all this hype around Deadpool getting his own movie, but in my opinion he works best as a secondary character, like in the pages of this book. Loosely adapt the “Apocalypse Seed” opening arc, or even use the opening arc of the previous series and you’d have an instant fan-pleaser of a movie.
Hell yeah Starjammers! Captain Corsair and his crew are so awesome that they NEED their own film. Not only that, but it could serve as the perfect introduction to the Shi’ar empire, especially since their chance was screwed up by X-Men: The Las Stand. The Starjammers crew has always been one of my favorite Marvel teams, and the fact that they’re not very well known could be used to a talented director’s advantage.
Red Hood and The Outlaws
Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort’s Red Hood and The Outlaws has been one of the most enjoyable comics of the New 52. After a rocky first issue, the book has really come into its own and has become one of my personal favorites of the DC titles currently sitting on the shelf. With a relatively small team, one wouldn’t have to worry too much about an overcrowded screen, although explaining Jason Todd’s relationship with Batman might be a little tricky.
More people need to be exposed to Secret Six, period. Gail Simone’s career-defining book has it all: great relationships, interesting takes on well-established characters, and hilarious moments. With Bane starring in The Dark Knight Rises this summer, audiences will already be introduced to the character, who could then be used to introduce us to DC’s motley crew of mercenaries, which includes such characters as Ragman, Scandal Savage, Deadshot, and of course, Catman.
After taking to twitter to break the tie, the winner of last week’s “Last Man Standing” between Black Cat and Catwoman is…Catwoman! Selina took home 5 votes, while Felicia only managed one. Thanks for playing everybody!
I am moving.
Actually, scratch that, I’ve moved.
Yes, I’ve taken the plunge and will be moving in with my womanfriend later this month. However, her lease isn’t up until the end of June, whereas mine is up at the end of this week. During this limbo time I’ll be in and out of places with connection to the internet and civilization. However, I’ll do my best to update when I can for the three of you that read this blog.
Catch you all in July.
Sorry for the delay folks, I was on an overnight field trip at Pawtuckaway State Park.
Batman, Inc. #1
Grant Morrison’s Bat-opus returns to the comic racks this week with the new volume of Batman, Inc. Alongside artist Chris Burnham, who teamed with Morrison for he second half of the “Leviathan Strikes” one shot, get right to the point with this issue, as Batman and Robin head after a mysterious Leviathan assassin who looks strikingly like a goat. Along the way, the duo are being tracked by an assassin named Goat-Boy, who is looking to cash in on the bounty put on Robin’s head (which was put on him by Leviathan, which is run by Talia Al Ghul, Damian’s momma).
Caught up? Good, cause the action comes fast and relentless in this book. I’ve been pretty vocal about my criticisms of Morrison in the past, but this issue squarely fits into the “awesome Grant Morrison” category, and not the “wtf was that all about” one. Morrison even acknowledges some of the events that Bruce and Damian have been through since the relaunch. While not everything syncs up entirely (I would’ve liked to have seen a nod to the Court Of Owls somewhere), it’s good to see Morrison play well with the other writers of the Bat-books. There are some weird moments here and there, but for the most part the events that take place here are really cool, and in the case of the Leviathan’s way of strong arming new recruits at a dinner party, extremely disturbing.
Chris Burnham is one of my favorite artists to pen the adventures of Batman, and is now officially in the same realm as Frank Quitely as an artist who elevates Morrison’s material to a “must read”. From a panel depicting Batman and Robin as projections on the sides of buildings to a panel in which Damian bounces his way through an army of goons, the art here is easily some of the best panels of the year, and needs to be reproduced as a posters NOW. Burnham is one his way to becoming one of the masters of the medium, and this issue proves it.
Batman, Inc. is a fantastic re-introduction to the “Batman, Incorporated” concept, and while I was against the idea of Batman franchising himself out at first, I’ve warmed up to the idea. Plus, the beginning of the issue has a great tease of what’s to come. If you’ve been wary of Morrison’s work in the past, fear not, as Batman, Inc. #1 is a fun, exciting, and yes, readable comic that won’t disappoint fans.
The Guild: Fawkes
Felicia Day’s latest “The Guild” one-shot focuses on Fawkes, the Wil Wheaton portrayed antagonist of Season three of the popular web series. Co-written by Whedon and with art by Jamie McKelvie, this one-shot issue takes place immediately after the finale of that season, with Fawkes’ Guild defeated by Codex’s Knights Of Good. As Fawkes tries to make his way through life, even though he’s still focused on Codex, the rest of his Guild start to notice how oddly he’s behaving. We also get some hilarious insight into Fawkes’ job as a Philosophy T.A. at a local community college. The art by McKelvie is great as well, keeping the running theme of showing us the fantasy world of the game that these people obsess over in an over-the-top way, while also showing how boring their lives can sometimes be.
Fans of “The Guild” would be remiss to pick this up, especially since it adds to some scenes that appear in season four. Felicia Day keeps her comic writing hot-streak going, even if it is bittersweet, since this is the last one-shot, at least as far as I know. Here’s hoping we get another installment soon.
All right, let’s try this again. My previous “Last Man Standing” from a few months ago didn’t exactly light up the Jetpack forums that I had hoped it would. However, I still have faith in my fellow nerds, so this time, let’s have two feline-themed sometimes super-villainess’ go toe-to-toe and claw-to-claw. As usual, I’ll present the scenario and introduce our combatants, and then you, the Jetpack faithful, will sound off in the forums. Whoever gets the most votes by Sunday will be declared our champion!
And now, I bring you…BLACK CAT vs. CATWOMAN!
The New York Metropolitan Museum, after hours. A rope falls from above, smacking the ground below. A small, lithe figure slinks gracefully down the rope, and crouches down, taking in her surroundings. Selina Kyle, Catwoman, is here for one thing: an ancient armor that is said to be priceless, except for the right buyer of course.
Turning down the hall, Kyle is amazed to find that many of the alarms installed in the museum have already been shut down. As she makes her way into the Armory wing, the gates close around her, and she hears a voice from above.
“You know, call me territorial, but I’m not the biggest fan of people stealing from my turf”.
Catwoman looks up. Hanging from a tabard, Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, is poised, ready to strike.
“Look, I’m just here to do a job. And since you’ve already given me an extra push by disarming the place, why don’t you just let me walk by? I’ll get what I want, and you’ll get what you want.” Kyle says, as she readies her whip behind her back.
“Well, that depends,” Hardy drops from the ceiling, “on what it is that you’re after.”
Kyle nods to the suit of armor just beyond the gate.
“Hmmm…I thought that,” Hardy says, walking closer to Catwoman. “And to think, here I thought I found someone who understands me.”
Black Cat lunges at Catwoman, who deftly pounces out of the way. She moves her whip towards Cat, hitting her cheek and drawing first blood. The two cats’ claws are unsheathed and ready…
So my fellow nerds, who’s going to win this literal catfight? Black Cat or Catwoman? VOTE NOW in the Jetpack forums or in the comments below!
The “Night Of The Owls” event keeps chuggin’ along, except with this tie-in, the stakes are a little more personal. In the latest issue of Nightwing, Dick Grayson faces down a Talon that has a very close relation to him, as he is his ancestor, William Cobb.
Bouncing back and forth between flashbacks to Cobb’s life before he became an assassin for the Court of Owls and Grayson’ fight against him, Nightwing #9 is a phenomenal tie-in that, much like last week’s Batman and Robin not only works in the confines of the major event, but also within the title’s ongoing storyline as well. Nightwing has been a great companion piece to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman series, and while it wasn’t noticeable at first, it makes for a very enjoyable read now if you’ve been following both series. Writer Kyle Higgins’ revelations into Dick Grayson’s family history and their connection to the Court are phenomenal, and cover everything down to Dick’s last name.
Eddy Barrows’ pencils are still solid, even if there are a few weird facial expressions towards the end of the issue. His fight scenes are fantastic though, as are his panels depicting a simpler Gotham, that has just as much darkness as it does today.
With revelations aplenty, Nightwing #9 is a fantastic, must-read installment of not only the larger “Night Of The Owls” event, but for fans of Dick Grayson as well. A certain other publisher could take some cues from Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, and the Batman editorial team on how to craft a well-executed crossover, as there hasn’t been a single issue of this crossover that I’ve picked up and felt ripped off.
Avengers Vs. X-Men #4
The latest issue of Avengers vs. X-Men has hit, and while it continues the upward trend that last month’s Brubaker penned issue started, I can’t help but shake the feeling that I would’ve enjoyed this issue more if I had picked up all of the Avengers and X-Men related titles that have been enveloped by this event.
Jonathan Hickman is the writer this go around, and his straightforward approach to the main narrative is welcome, given his track record for absolutely off the walls insanity sometimes. I particularly loved the way he got Wolverine out of the arctic, even if it doesn’t entirely match up with what I assumed had happened in Wolverine and The X-Men.
Anyways, while the main storyline is a fairly straightfoward affair, there are numerous callbacks to events that clearly happened in some of the spin-off books. While I suppose it’s not completely a surprise, I was a little annoyed by this fact, as if I’m paying for the main story, I feel like I should get the main story beats in the book.
Despite my rant, Avengers vs. X-Men #4 is a good issue, and is another step in the right direction after the lackluster first two issues. Next issue sees the “fiery conclusion of act one”, so we’ll see how that shapes up.
The Avengers was finally released in North America last week, and to no one’s surprise, it made a butt ton of money. While this was expected, what probably wasn’t expected was the firestorm on the Internet that erupted from people who have seen it. Now, one thing is on their minds:
Which will be better, The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises?
This is a moot point, of course. Comparing Joss Whedon and Marvel’s five-movie cinematic universe pay-off to Christopher Nolan’s Batman swan song is like comparing apples and oranges: they’re both great for completely different reasons. The Avengers is a top-notch action extravaganza, one of those rare popcorn movies that is not only amazing, but also an across the board hit for all ages and genders. Avengers is a movie that would sit perfectly on the shelf with Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Jaws, Jurassic Park, and the original Star Wars. It’s the perfect form of entertainment, in that it whisks you away to a different world, one where there are heroes with superhuman abilities and alien invasions.
On the flip side of that coin is Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. These realistic takes on the Batman mythos are more like crime films that just so happen to have a man in a bat costume beating the hell out of people than the previous neon-lit Batman films of old. The Dark Knight is a film that had so much potential Oscar buzz that the Academy Awards upped their Best Picture pool from five to ten films the year after it was (wrongfully) snubbed for a Best Picture nod. TDK (and one can assume, TDKR) can stand on next to crime dramas like Heat, The Town, and even The Godfather as a crime epic, albeit one that has a bat and a clown fighting one another. The Dark Knight has the added bonus of Heath Ledger’s Joker, arguably the best on-screen adaptation of the character to date, and from the looks of Tom Hardy’s Bane, the tradition of great villainous portrayals isn’t ending anytime soon.
Despite the “apples/oranges” comparison, people still see a need to compare the two upcoming films, and not in a simple “which will make more money” match up. One can’t help but wonder if this is a direct response to he argument that goes one every few months in comic shops: which is better, DC or Marvel? While that is a topic for another day, it’s not surprising to think that this is the genesis for the thinking behind both Marvel and DC’s big tent pole films of the year.
But why should we care which is better? Can’t we be happy with the fact that both of these movies, along with Amazing Spider-man, are all being released in one summer? Can’t we agree that it’s good that a wider audience is going to see the awesomeness of the Avengers on the big screen, the terror of Bane, and what they should’ve gotten in the first go around with Spidey’s web shooters? Are we as comic book fans so stuck in our ways that we can’t let a simple “Avengers sucks, Dark Knight Rises will rule” slip by us with nary a thought? I for one would hope that we could. The last time I checked, there are numerous different types of comic books available to people of all different tastes. Shouldn’t their film adaptations follow a similar path?
While Hollywood will focus on the financial bottom line for the three adaptations this year, we fans should be grateful that we’re even getting them. Hell, we should be ecstatic that they’re turning out as good as they are. Perhaps Nolan, Whedon, and the crew at Marvel Studios have spoiled us. We’ve had so many great adaptations of our favorite characters for so long that we’re now pitting them all against one another in a nerd cage match, demanding more and more from them. We all need to step back, watch a marathon of Batman and Robin, 1991’s Captain America, and Steel, and apologize to one another. We can’t take this for granted, cause who knows how long this golden age of comic book adaptations will last.
Thanks for clicking and checking out my blog. I used to be over on Blogspot, but they changed their format, and gave me an excuse to come here. So, without further ado, welcome to the new Collective: Examples of Nerdery!
I’ll be slowly moving my older posts from the old place here, but for now, if you want to check ’em out, here’s the link: http://thecollectiveexamplesofnerdery.blogspot.com/
The Collective is dead. Long live the new Collective!
Dark Shadows (2012)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Johnny Lee Miller
Directed by: Tim Burton
First things first, I had no intentions of seeing Dark Shadows. However, I realized last Monday that Mother’s Day was coming up, and seeing as how my mother is a Shadows fanatic, I decided to offer to take her. Perhaps it was because I had very minimal expectations, but I didn’t find Dark Shadows to be that bad, even if it doesn’t live up to such past Burton/Depp team-ups like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow (yeah, I said it).
Based off of the television series from the late 60’s, Dark Shadows follows Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a human cursed to become a vampire by the witch Angelique (Eva Green) after he has an affair with her. Driven out of the Maine town by the locals, he’s encased in a coffin for two hundred years, until he is accidentally released by construction workers in the year 1972. After brutally slaughtering the workers, Collins heads off to his old manor, Collinwood, where he meets his modern-day relatives. There’s Elizabeth (Pfeiffer), her daughter Carolyn (played by Cloe Grace-Moretz), Roger Collins (Miller), and a host of others, including the new governess, Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote), whom Barnabas believes is the reincarnation of his beloved Josette, the woman whose death a jealous Angelique caused. The Collins family has seen a noticeable dip in their fortunes in the community, and Barnabas makes it his mission to return his family to prominence by kickstarting their run down fishing business, which he started back in the 1700’s. Of course, this would all go a lot smoother if Angelique wasn’t still around, running a fishing company of her own….
First off, the trailers for Dark Shadows present a much campier movie than what the audience actually gets. Sure, there are plenty of humorous moments in the film, but there are also some moments that are fairly dark and surprisingly violent. However, while I was pleasantly surprised that this movie wasn’t completely rated “ARG for pirates”, the movie is a little all over the place. From what my mom told me after the film, the sub plot of Victoria being the reincarnation of Josette was played out over several years of the show, so when it’s crammed into a two hour movie it obviously doesn’t work as well. It also probably doesn’t help that this plot wasn’t nearly as fleshed out as it should have been. There’s more of a focus on the Angelique/Barnabas relationship than many of the others, and with so many characters in the cast, it’s kind of a shame. Michelle Pfieffer does a really good job here, as does Chloe Grace-Moretz and Helena Bonham-Carter, but there’s simply not enough time in the movie to accommodate all of them.
Despite this, Johnny Depp is reliable as always. His turn as Barnabas is really fun and of course, quirky. The scenes directly after he busts out of the coffin and is wandering aimlessly through Collinsport, clearly stunned and horrified at the world around him, were my favorite moments of the film, but I’m glad that it didn’t dominate the entire movie.
The Burton/Depp train isn’t slowing down anytime soon, but I wouldn’t mind if they took a break after Dark Shadows. While the final product isn’t nearly as bad as the trailers made it seem, it’s still a bit of a mess tonally. However, if The Avengers is sold out and you absolutely have to see a movie, you could do worse than Dark Shadows. And besides, my mom, the Dark Shadows super-fan, really enjoyed the movie, so there’s that.
Final verdict: 2 1/2 out of 4 Danny Elfman musical flourishes
Batman and Robin #9
Exhibit Y of why Damian Wayne is a kick-ass addition to the Batman universe: the latest issue of Batman and Robin. Tying in with the “Night Of The Owls” mini-event, this issue finds Damien’s Robin out on patrol when he receives Alfred’s transmission from Batman #8. The young would-be assassin heads off to try and stop a Talon close by who is looking to take out a high-ranking Army General who is training some troops in Gotham. What he finds is Damian, who’s ready to do anything to protect the people the Talon is after.
What’s great about this issue is Peter Tomasi’s fantastic character work on Damian. Arguably the real star of Batman and Robin, Damian Wayne has seen a lot of growth from the first issue of this series, and especially from his introduction in Grant Morrison’s “Batman and Son”. We see here the beginnings of Damian taking over for his father, as he shouts orders to people more than twice his age without hesitation. We get a great sense of the lessons Damian has learned from his father, and hearing himself admit that he feels some sympathy with the Talon he’s fighting was a great moment for a character that some still think needs to prove his worth in the Batman universe.
The art this issue isn’t from Patrick Gleason by the way. Lee Garbett and Andy Clarke are our fill-in guys, but if you’re worried that this issue will be Uncanny X-Force‘d, fear not, as their work is nearly identical to Gleason’s. While I would’ve loved to have seen his work being the one showcasing Damian’s brutally awesome takedown of the Talon assassin, these guys did an able job filling in, and yes, the fight is just as cool as you would hope a fight between a regenerating assassin and a ten-year old raised by ninjas would be.
As one of the best New 52 books on the stands, Batman and Robin is well-worth the read, and a great companion to the other awesome Batman book (hint, it’s not Detective Comics or Dark Knight). Serving as both a solid crossover tie-in and a great character study, Batman and Robin #9 is one of those rare crossover tie-ins that serves both the overall story as a whole, but also the story in its own series as well.
The Avenging Spider-man #7
The Avenging Spider-man continues its march as the new Marvel Team-Up with the latest issue, in which Spidey teams up with She-Hulk to stop an ancient Egyptian Cat god. Yes, you read that right.
Written and drawn by the Immonens Kathryn and Stuart, this issue is a throwback to the crazy Marvel Team-Ups of old. After defeating a strange worm monster thing, Spidey follows She-Hulk to an Egyptian exhibit opening at a local museum. Spidey’s not interested in Egypt, but more so the promise of free food (She-Hulk did mention that she had a “plus one” after all). Of course, once he gets to the museum, Spidey notices some mysterious hooded figures nearby, who so happen to be trying to resurrect Bastet, the god of cats. This of course leads to all kinds of feline shenanigans, including Spider-man and She-Hulk doing battle with a herd of cats (without hitting them), a giant Bastet threatening the two, and She-Hulk growing a tail.
Yes this issue is absurd, but it’s also a lot of fun. Kathryn Immonen’s script is light and pretty funny, and as always, Stuart Immonen’s artwork is a sight to behold. The pairing of the two is so perfect, you’d almost think they were married or something. Those looking for a little something light in their pull list this week would do well with picking up Avenging Spider-man, especially if you’re a cat lover. Cause seriously, there’s like a billion cats in this issue.