Monthly Archives: January 2013

Comic Reviews: Hawkeye, Batman, Inc., and Invincible!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

Hawkeye_7_Cover-300x456Hawkeye #7

Hawkeyes Clint Barton and Kate Bishop face off with their most dangerous enemy yet: a hurricane! Focusing on the night that the mega-storm hit the east coast, Hawkeye #7  continues putting an excellent spin on the adventures of the average guy on a team of superheroes, and what goes on when he’s not saving the world.

Writer Matt Fraction could have easily gone the schmaltz route with this issue, and I’m really glad that he doesn’t. There’s plenty of heart warming moments, but none of them sacrifice the integrity of the book, or make the issue feel like an afternoon special. Clint’s portion of the book focuses on getting “Grill”, a tenant in his apartment building, safely to his father’s home before the storm hits. This section of the issue is the perfect showcase for the hilarious dialogue that has come to be the staple of the series. From the opening pages where Grill gets confused about The Ramones, to Barton telling Grill’s father that they are “out of sand…and bags”, this part of the story is really hilarious, and heartfelt as well.

The other Hawkeye (or “Hawkgirl”), Kate Bishop, sees way more action than Clint does in this issue. Stuck at a party in New Jersey, she heads out into the ravaged streets to get some desperately needed medical supplies. After attempting to stop some looters, she gets the crap kicked out of her (an nice change of pace from Barton being the one constantly being beat up), only to find that the remaining residents of the block were able to subdue the looters, and retrieve Bishop’s gear.  Like Clint Barton’s story, Bishop’s ends on a really heartwarming note, and I think it actually hits the mark better than Barton’s (hah, get it?).

Unfortunately David Aja isn’t penciling this issue. However, in his place we get not one, but two artists! Both Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm’s styles are in line with Aja’s, although I did find the pencils for Bishop’s section to be a little looser than I tend to like. Despite this, both artists do a great job keeping in line with the artists that came before them, while at the same time putting their own stamp on their respective stories.

Hawkeye‘s seventh issue, on top of continuing the great run that Fraction has been on with the book, will also benefit the Hurricane Sandy relief fund, so if there’s ever been an issue of the title to pick up, it’s this one. Not only will you be getting two great stories, you’ll be helping out a great cause too.

 

Batman, Inc. #7images

Grant Morrison, I love it when you write like this. And by “like this”, I mean “coherent”. The latest issue of Batman, Inc, also the seventh one, finally reveals the identity of Talia’s mystery henchman, and ramps up the tension as the other members of Batman, Inc. must deal with Bruce Wayne’s capture last issue. There’s also Damien playing with his new cat, which is awesome. Artist Chris Burnham continues to showcase why he’s one of my favorites, deftly switching gears between the action heavy beginning and the slower middle sections of the book.

Morrison’s revelation behind the henchman is very cool, and I’m glad he’s starting to finally pull back the mysteries of his Batman run. I’m sure I won’t get all the answers I want, but at the very least hopefully the most important aspects of the story will be revealed.  After a kind of hum-drum middle section, I’m glad to see that Batman,Inc.  is bringing back the Grant Morrison that I love, not the one who makes my head hurt.

 

 

 

images (1)Invincible #100

After completely rocking the Walking Dead with it’s 100th issue, I had pretty high hopes for the 100th issue of Kirman’s other book, Invincible. Unfortunately, we don’t really get what’s promised to us with the final installment of “Everyone Dies!”.  Instead, Kirkman uses the anniversary issue to get Mark Grayson back to basics, a move that will probably polarize a lot of Invincible fans. In fact, a lot of what occurs in this issue will probably polarize fans, from the opening pages to the many reveals that pop up during the issue.  And to be honest, with the exception of the final page, a lot of it didn’t really shock me. In fact, I really was expecting more from this issue.

Where Kirkman’s narrative falters, Ryan Ottley’s art shines. He’s a guy who’s stuck with this series for 92 issues, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. While it’ll be interesting to see where Kirkman takes his characters next, I still feel a little cheated by this issue.  The big twist that comes mid-way just rubbed me the wrong way. In a way, it seemed far-fetched, even for a superhero book that’s as over the top as this one. I can’t help but feel like ever since The Walking Dead blew up everywhere that Kirkman’s focus on Invincible has suffered. While I’m sure there will be people who will love this issue and the new status quo it brings, I have to say, in my case, I just wasn’t that into it.

Star Tr-I Mean, Wars!

jj-abrams-star-warsIt’s official: we have a director for the Star Wars: Episode 7. A very well-known name in entertainment, he’s already proven himself with one highly successful television show and rebooted a beloved franchise for a whole new generation. Months ago, he made a public announcement that he was NOT going to be involved in this new trilogy, but apparently, he was either lying to us, or making sure that he wouldn’t be asked about it at every interview he gives.

This man is J. J. Abrams.

The most creative (and secretive) man in Hollywood has just accepted the keys to the Millennium Falcon, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the best-case scenario Star Wars could have gotten, and to be honest, I’m still taken aback that it’s happening. After the news broke Thursday, I checked multiple websites for hours afterwards, hoping against hope that there wouldn’t be an announcement that it was a hoax. The man who made me excited for Star Trek and is currently wowing me with Lost (yes, I’m watching it for the first time) is the best man for this job, and while it does put a giant question mark on the future of Kirk and his crew, there’s still no confirmation from either Lucasfilm or Bad Robot confirming this deal. For all we know, Abrams could only be helming Episode 7, and Disney could be shopping out the sequels to other high profile directors.

If it turns out that Abrams will be handling only Episode 7, then it’s conceivable that he may continue on helming Star Trek, but if I remember correctly, Abrams had said many times in the press lead up for Trek that he was always more of a Star Wars fan growing up. It’s pretty clear that many of the reasons why the 2009 reboot was so much fun was due to Abrams taking the fun feeling of the original Star Wars trilogy and putting it into that universe. If anything, he’ll probably stay on as a creative consultant/executive producer, much like he does with the Mission: Impossible series. Hell, maybe he can get Brad Bird to handle Star Trek 3. It worked for Mission: Impossible 4.

Yes, it sucks for Paramount and the Star Trek franchise to see Abrams go, but to be honest, I’d much rather have J.J. handling Star Wars. He’s a huge fan of the series, and has proven that he can make fantastic, crowd-pleasing films. This move also gives me a huge amount of confidence in Disney with the handling of this franchise. So far they’ve made all the right moves. In fact, it’s almost like they actually read the comments to the news of their acquisition of Lucasfilm.

Some can see parallels to when Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise to make Superman Returns, but unlike that turn of events, I have complete faith in Abrams to restore Star Wars to it’s rightful place of glory.  I was already pumped for Episode 7, but now I’m ecstatic. My only requests are that Josh Holloway plays some sort of bounty hunter/smuggler, and Terry O’Quinn plays a Jedi. Cause c’mon, John Locke has to be in touch with the force, am I right?

Comic Reviews: Wolverine And The X-Men and Nightwing!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

2652739-wolvxmen2012024covWolverine and The X-Men #24

Logan and Ororo, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Well, on a comic book cover is more like it.  Wolverine and the X-Men‘s latest issue is a quiet character driven one, focusing on the “night out” of much of the staff of the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning. Once again, Jason Aaron crafts a really fun and offbeat done in one story that focuses less on the powers, and more on the people underneath the X-Men uniforms.

Primarily centered around Kitty Pryde and Bobby Drake’s first date (Shadowcat and Iceman), the issue shows us what it would be like to date your fellow mutant. Much like a lot of almost started co-worker relationships, Bobby and Kitty can’t find much to talk about that doesn’t involve their super heroics or the mundane tasks of the school. Meanwhile, Wolverine is stuck back at the school so the other teachers can have a night off, a scenario that is preceded with a pretty hilarious scene where Logan attempts to go drink his wounds away, only to be “reminded” by Rachel Summers that he’s on duty tonight.

There’s also a lot of screen time given to Storm, the newest member of the Jean Grey faculty. Recently divorced from Black Panther, she’s trying to find a new start, and if the cover is to be believed, it may be in the arms of ol’ canucklehead (and with a new hairdo, no less).

If there’s one negative to this issue, it’s the fact that there’s a major character from All-New X-Men  that makes an appearance here. While I already knew that the old X-Men team was staying at Wolverine’s school, I had decided to trade wait that series due to the book seemingly being released every week, and I’ve got a budget to keep to for funnybooks. While the character’s appearance and interactions with Quintin Quire was hilarious, I worry that this may turn into a scenario where I’ll be missing out on half of the story by not getting All-New  every month.  Another check in the negative is that there’s not enough Broo and Doop in this issue, but that’s usually the case anyways.

David Lopez provides the pretty pictures this month, and he’s got a really good eye for visuals. I’m not familiar with his work, but I was very impressed with the way he made Bobby and Kitty’s conversation look like a conversation that two people on an awkward date would have. There are eye rolls, awkward looks into the distance, and a great “get me out of here” look plastered on Kitty’s face at one point. While there are few moments of action in this issue, the ones that do pop up look fantastic. I’m going to make it a point to seek out his stuff in the future.

While a quieter one, issue 24 of Wolverine and The X-Men is a fun example of what this book is all about. It takes many classic X-Men characters and puts them in new situations, and has some fantastic writing and art. There’s not really a whole lot else to say, as this has proven to be time in and time out one of Marvel’s best titles.

Nightwing #16tumblr_mbtdswA0G21rn2izio1_500

It’s always refreshing to have a tie-in comic that actually changes the title character’s status quo. Many times writers have their character fight whoever they need to fight, and then the book goes back to its prime directive, sometimes pausing to bring up the events that just took place, but most times just shrugging them off like they didn’t happen.

Not so with Nightwing #16. Here is a tie-in to “Death Of The Family” that will have lasting repercussions on Dick Grayson’s life, and has made me legitimately interested in where this book is heading.  While we haven’t gotten to the finale in Batman, as of now The Joker’s plan against Nightwing has been his most shocking yet, as writer Kyle Higgins literally tears apart everything that’s been building since the first issue. Joker completely destroys Grayson’s world, and leaves me shaking with anticipation for the next issue. Higgins’ Joker is written as if the great Mark Hamill is speaking to Dick, and he’s clearly having a blast destroying the perfect world he’s created for Nightwing.

Eddy Barrows’ artwork is a major addition for what makes this issue work, as he completely, 100% nails the tone that’s needed for this issue. There’s some truly horrifying things that happen in this issue, and Barrows’ art will definitely stay with you long after you finish reading it. There’s one panel in particular that stands out in my mind, but I’ll avoid spoiling it here and let you guess which one it is. There’s been a glut of “Death Of The Family” tie-ins ranging from “great” to “god-awful”, but I can easily say that Nightwing soars above the rest of them.

More Stories From A Galaxy Far, Far, Away

star-wars-zack-snyder-seven-samurai-slice

Well, it looks like Zack Snyder won’t be directing a stand-alone Star Wars movie after all. Yes, his films have their faults, but by and large I find Snyder to be a good director who has a great eye for visuals, something that would’ve been a necessity for the Star Wars universe. That, and his rumored pitch of having the film be essentially a version of Seven Samurai would have been incredibly bad ass, and would have been integral in starting a movement of anthology films in the galaxy far, far, away.

But we shouldn’t fret just yet. Disney has made it well known that they want to have multiple Star Wars films, even going so far as stating that they want to release one a year. Of course, this will probably prove to be too much and cause even more saturation in the movie theaters, but I have faith that Disney won’t turn this into their own version of the Saw or Paranormal Activity franchises. I see it more as an opportunity for some of Hollywood’s most creative directors and producers to be able to create their own Star Wars stories free from the (soon to be) three trilogies of films.

I’ve already mentioned this in my reaction to the initial news of Disney buying up Lucas’ precious, but the now-rebuked news has me excited for this universe all over again. Star Wars, as we all know, is more than just Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Yoda, and Chewbacca. It’s characters like Cade Skywalker, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Cad Bane, Mara Jade, Dash Rendar, and Starkiller. These are all characters given life outside of the movies, and they are just as iconic and important to Star Wars worshippers as any of the “main” ones I mentioned. Under the right eye, they could appear onscreen too, heralded onto the silver screen by the next wave of up and comers in Hollywood.

Since the announcement of the Disney/Lucasfilm deal, nearly every director has stepped out of the woodwork to announce that they were not directing Episode 7. But what if they were given the opportunity to create their own characters and planets, free from the constraints of what has come before, and of trying to make their ideas “fit” with the upcoming films? Like a big budget, big screen Twilight Zone, Star Wars could become the thing that starts the careers of the next wave of Hollywood, and allow fans who were inspired by the originals the chance to add something to the thing that they love. I know I’d love to see people like Guillermo Del Toro, Christopher Nolan, and Brad Bird go nuts with the Star Wars universe, and many of them of said previously that they feel that they wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype. But if given the freedom that a standalone movie could give them, I think they’d reconsider. And I hope they do, cause I’d kill to see a Del Toro Jabba the Hutt movie.

Comic Reviews: The Savage Wolverine, Batman, and Saga!!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

SavageWolverine_1_CoverThe Savage Wolverine #1

Wolverine joins the Marvel NOW! stage with a new series, written and drawn by Frank Cho. The aptly names Savage Wolverine finds the ol’ canucklhead mysteriously zapped to the Savage Land, for reasons unknown to the reader. While attempting to figure out why he was sent, he runs into Shanna The She-Devil, who informs Wolverine that she has been stranded for the past eight months, when the S.H.E.I.L.D. helicarrier she was travelling on plummeted out of the sky for no reason.

I’ll get this out of the way now: Frank Cho’s writing leaves a lot to be desired. For a guy known for his jaw-dropping art, he sure wants to fill up the page with a lot of text. At times, it seemed like there were narration boxes on top of narration boxes. An early sequence in which Logan comes across a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent being attacked by natives reads as one of the longest sequences ever, mainly due to the overuse of internal monologue provided by Logan. Moments that could have used visuals to tell the story are instead covered up with expository narrations that don’t really add much of anything to the reading experience, and unfortunately, Cho’s dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. The meeting between Shanna and Wolverine read like one of thosestilted and awkward conversations that you overhear at parties.

However, the book isn’t all bad. Cho’s art, when not covered up by text, is phenomenal, and he proves that he’s still got a great eye for fluid motion. Wolverine’s battle with the Savage Land natives is easily one of the best drawn sequences in the Marvel NOW! stable, and it goes without saying that his character work is awesome as well. Unfortunately this opening issue failed to hit the mark for me. I love the Savage Land. I love Wolverine. And I love Frank Cho, but this looks like we have another situation where the artist who’s writing is less Sean Murphy and more Tony Daniel.

 

Batman #16BM_Cv16

Holeee sh*t. If you thought previous issues of Batman ramped up the intensity, then this book shows up and takes a massive poop on all others before it. Easily the best issue of the “Death Of The Family” storyline, Batman #16 follows Batman as he makes his way through an Arkham Asylum remade in the Joker’s image, filled with loyal subjects to the “Bat King”.

I’ll do my best to not spoil anything, but dear god, if Scott Snyder wasn’t making his claim to be one of the writers who’ll be synonymous with the name “Batman” before, he is now. He takes the already examined concept of the Joker/Batman relationship and not only finds a unique spin on it, but also makes you rethink not only their relationship, but the relationship Batman has with his other villains as well. Joker’s ultimate plan against the Dark Knight is so far coming to fruition, and for the first time in a looong time, I have no idea how this storyline will end. Of course Batman will survive (one just has to look at the April DC solicitations), but it’s clear that Batman will be deeply affected by what happens here in Joker’s house of horrors.

Speaking of Joker’s house of horrors, Greg Capullo has really out done himself with this issue. There are scenes in this book that will stay with me for quite some time. If you thought Capullo’s haunting opening page to issue 15 was disturbing, just wait until you see Mr. J’s “tapestry”. Capullo’s use of solid black backgrounds really brings a haunting and horrifying uneasiness with every page turn, and Batman’s ascent to the Joker’s control room is one of the most well-executed sequences I’ve seen in this run.

At this point, if you’re not reading Batman, you are missing out on some great comics. At this point, it’s become a cliche for me to heap praise upon them, but I continue to do so for one reason:

This book is that good. It’s a book you give to people who still think comics are for children, and it solidifies everything you love about them. It’s tackling extremely big themes and not pulling any punches.  It’s a serious story that continues to build to almost a boil, and a perfectly executed comic.

The spin-offs may have been of varying quality, but there’s no denying the awesomeness that is the Batman “Death Of the Family” issues. This cannot be recommended more, and I hope somewhere in the Warner Bros offices that they are calling up Mr. Snyder and Mr. Capullo to consult on the next Batman film.

 

IMG120661Saga #9

Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga. What else is there to say? How about it’s one of the best debuts of 2012? Okay, done. Or, it has some of the most unique alien worlds and creatures since Star Wars? Also, done. Focusing entirely on the mercenary The Will, Vaughn and Staples’ space saga takes a bit of a detour this week, but that doesn’t mean this issue is a filler. On the contrary, as it actually ties up a story from a few issues ago, while also giving us an outside view on Alanna and Marko’s adventures.

Vaughn’s skill as a writer are in full effect here, as he not only brings us even more reasons to love The Will (even though we shouldn’t), but also ties in his quest to rescue the Slave Girl from Sextillion into the overarching story that we’ve been following for so long. I’ll admit, the cover is a cop out, but it actually gives us a hint into the private life of The Will, and we also see even more of the always great Lying Cat, whose gift of detection are used to hilarious effect in this issue.

Once again, Fiona Staples is on fire. Continuing the tradition of crazy alien designs, her Mama Sun, the “owner” of Sextillion, is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in this series, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the creatures that work for her. From the opening page to the creatures that deliver Slave Girl, the aliens created in this book are so insanely gorgeous and disturbing that it’s hard not to start at the pages.  As it stands right now, Saga is already one of the best books out there, an at issue nine, you’re only a trade and three issues away from being able to tell people that you read it before everyone else did. 

What’s A Star-Lord Anyways?

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Comic-Book-CoverThe Internet is abuzz with casting speculation for the next big comic book film. This character, the leader of an intergalactic team of misfit heroes, is half human and half alien.  His Name? Peter Quill, the Star-Lord.  So why is his role so hotly contested by Hollywood? And more importantly, why is Marvel so gung ho on getting Guardians Of The Galaxy on everyone’s mind?

Probably because it’s supposed to be released in 2014, and so far, only director James Gunn has been announced as attached to the project. I’ll admit, I’m extremely late to the Guardians party, but even though I’ve only read the first trade and Thanos Imperative, I have to admit, I really like the team (and I’ll read the rest as soon as Marvel deems it fit to reprint the damn things).

That still doesn’t mean that this won’t be a hard sell for Marvel to make for general audiences.  While they’ve had great success with their cosmic property Thor, that movie had the support of the fact that the God Of Thunder is one of the pillars of the Avengers, the film that Marvel’s “phase one” movies were building to. While yes, it can be safe to assume that GOTG will be a building block for the next part of “Phase 2”, this is still a team of characters that no one outside of a comic shop has heard of. In fact, to be completely honest, it still hasn’t sunk in that this film is being made over a character like Black Panther.

But back to the issue at hand: the casting of Star-Lord. Lately, it seems like there’s a new actor coming out of the woodwork saying that they’re going to be playing Quill. In fact, last I checked nearly every young actor in Hollywood was on the list to play him, from Joseph Gordon-Leavitt (he’s not) to Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor from Smallville). If I had to choose, I’d love to see Rosenbaum in the role. He’s one of the coolest guys in Hollywood, and I really think he deserves to be a bigger star than he is. He probably won’t get it though, as he’s 40 (holy crap), but still, it’s nice to dream.

At this point however, regardless of who plays Star-Lord, I think we can all agree that we just want to know who the damn guy will be already. Even people who have no idea what Guardians Of The Galaxy is are sick of seeing whichever new actor is up for the role. For the love of god Marvel, pick a guy and start filming.

And make sure the Old Spice guy is Drax, cause that would rule.

Oh, and that Michael Rooker voices RocketRaccoon.

Comic Reviews: Superior Spider-Man, Animal Man, and Star Wars!!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

Superior_spiderman_1Superior Spider-Man #1

Well, here we are, in the aftermath of  Amazing Spider-Man #700. If you haven’t heard by now, SPOILER  Doc Ock is the new Spider-Man, and he’s living life to the fullest inside of Peter Parker’s body. Superior Spider-Man, while the start of a new series and direction for the wall-crawler, really feels more like a continuation from the previous series, and less like it’s own stand alone story. Of course, this is to be expected with the info dump that you’d have to give to someone before they started this series, but I’ll admit, I did enjoy this issue, and I’m curious to see how events in it will play out, especially after seeing that final panel (which I kind of called earlier).

Dan Slott’s script is arguably the best he’s turned in in quite some time. He keeps the plot moving along at a quick pace, and strikes a really good balance between the Spider-Man action and the “Peter” moments of the book. OckSpidey’s reaction to the new Sinister Six, comprised of Boomerang, Beetle, Overdrive, and other D-List Spidey villains was great, and I really enjoyed seeing the ingenious way that “Spidey” set up the villains to fail later on in the issue. It was a really cool way to not only showcase how smart this “new” Spider-Man is, but also used his experiments at Horizon Labs to great effect.

However, there is one thing that still bothers me: HOW IS IT THAT NO ONE NOTICES THE CHANGE IN PETER? Just like in Amazing #700, no one calls out Peter for being rude to them, or for acting uncharacteristically focused on his work. Yes, Peter has been known to display a one-track mind in the past, but at the same time, the things he’s saying to Max Modell and ESPECIALLY Mary Jane are extremely out of character, and the fact that not one of them has questioned if something’s up with him is extremely frustrating. It appears at one point in the story that MJ starts to wonder what’s up with Peter, but that’s quickly done away with once “Peter” mentions that he’s listening in on the new SInister Six’s plan via headset (during dinner, no less). I guess the argument can be made that MJ is so excited to be back with Peter that she’s choosing not to focus on this major change in his character, but come on Slott, you have to bring this up at some point.

Sorry, rant over.

Speaking of Mary Jane, Ryan Stegman draws the BEST Mary Jane I’ve seen in quite some time. In fact, he draws the best Spidey I’ve seen in awhile too. His art is the perfect fit for this type of book. It’s extremely fluid and expertly paced during the action scenes, but also detailed enough and uses awesome body language for the quiet moments, like in the already mentioned dinner scene between Peter and MJ. Hopefully with this series Stegman’s profile raises even higher, because I’ll follow him where he will go next.

So there you have it, Superior Spider-man  is out, and definitely more designed for those who followed the adventures of Spider-Man’s previous title than the mythical “new reader”. Sure, there’s a recap page, but at the same time, it really makes the hook of this series sound ridiculous. The final cliffhanger though, reveals a very intriguing twist that I hope won’t get played out too long. I’d like to see it be resolved in (maybe) a year, but I feel like that’s even too long. Regardless, those who vowed to never pick up Spidey again after Amazing‘s ending should really reconsider, as this is leading to some interesting plot developments down the line.

Animal Man #16Animal-Man-16-Cover-325x500

I was trade waiting Animal Man  until I was a guest on the Earth 603 podcast a few months ago, and realized that if I kept up with the trades, I wouldn’t get to the “Rotworld” side of Animal Man until probably next year. So, after catching up on the floppies, I’ve arrived here, at issue #16, the penultimate issue of Buddy Baker’s voyage through the Rot-infested planet Earth. While I’ve been reading Swamp Thing monthly and loving the Green side of “Rotworld”, I have to admit, I like the Animal Man side  a smidge bit more.

Picking up where last issue left off, Animal Man and his misfit gang have found the mysterious prisoner in Metropolis: Green Lantern. While it’s not a GL we’re familiar with, his backstory is explained away fairly briefly, and his reason for existing is a solid one. After rescuing their new ally (and retrieving his power battery), the crew head off to find Anton Arcane’s stronghold, but not before being attacked by some familiar faces that have been horrifically turned by the Rot. Also, we learn via flashbacks more of the horrors that befall Buddy’s family, leaving us with a truly horrific cliffhanger on that end.

Jeff Lemire’s writing always impresses, and this issue is no exception. He’s taken a character I knew literally nothing about, and made him into one of my favorite characters of the year. Buddy Baker is driven by not only a desire to save the Earth and protect The Red, but also to protect his family, a fact that Lemire uses to drive up our anxiety at every turn. Seeing Buddy’s family attempt to stop the Hunters Three without the help of their father is truly nerve-wracking, and the art by Steve Pugh is definitely going to keep me up at night. Animal Man long been lauded as one of the best comics in DC’s stable, and “Rotworld” is a prime example of that.

comics_star_warsStar Wars #1 

I’ve never been a big fan of the Star Wars  extended universe. With the exception of Shadows Of The Empire, The Thrawn Trilogy, Force Unleashed, and Legacy, there hasn’t been anything that really grabbed my attention like the original trilogy did. 

Until now.

Dark Horse’s new Brian Wood penned Star Wars captures the magic I felt when I first saw Star Wars when I was seven. Taking place after the events of A New Hope, the series finds Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca on the search for a new homebase for the Rebel Alliance. Wood’s characterization of these already recognizable characters is spot on, and his narration is stellar, especially in the too brief moments we have with Darth Vader. Chris D’Anda (the artist for the Batman: Arkham City miniseries), delivers some truly awesome art that somehow fits into the “Star Wars” mold, but is still uniquely his own.  While it’s hard to get excited for more Star Wars anything, this is something that should not be passed up. Highly, highly recommended.

2013….A Look Ahead

All right, so the “Best of 2012” and “Worst of 2012” are out of the way. You’ve all had time to digest my rants and raves of the year that’s gone by, and probably commented on how wrong I was. Regardless, it’s time to put all of that behind us and look ahead to 2013, and the awesome nerd things that will be coming our way!

 

 

mos_poster2Man Of Steel
Man Of Steel was a project I was very optimistic about, but it wasn’t until I saw the second trailer that I started to get really excited for it. Zack Snyder’s involvement will guarantee action, and Nolan’s producer tag will hopefully ensure a quality project. I’ve watched the trailer at least 7 times now, and every time I’m filled with hope for an awesome movie that will give us a Superman that we need.


2668653-2668648-jim_20lee_20snyder

But Man Of Steel isn’t just going to be hitting the theaters! This summer, to coincide with the
release of the film, DC will be launching Man Of Steel by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee. Now, I’ve never been one who could follow the adventures of the Last Son Of Krypton every month, but if there’s anyone who could get me to pick up a monthly Superman book, it’s Scott Snyder. Couple that with art from the always-awesome Jim Lee, and DC already has my money.

 
The Wake the-wake-cropped
Scott Snyder. Sean Murphy. That should be enough to pique your interest in this upcoming Vertigo mini. Not much is known about the story, but one can imagine from their previous collaboration (the American Vampire mini Lord of Nightmares) one can expect something that will keep you up at night. Snyder continues to dominate the racks with Batman and Swamp Thing, and Murphy is hot off his masterpiece Punk Rock Jesus. These are two creators at the top of the game, which can only mean one thing: this book has the potential to be the top release of the year.

 

 

 
GA_Cv17Green Arrow
Green Arrow has been one of the worst books of the DC reboot. This is unfortunate, because I really want to read the adventures of Oliver Queen, thanks in large part to CW’s Arrow series. Hopefully this all changes in February, when Animal Man scribe Jeff Lemire takes over the title. Coupled with I, Vampire artist Andrea Sorrentino, Lemire has stated that he wants to make Green Arrow “a hunter again”, and bring a more street-level approach to the character, a take that should hopefully lift the title from the bottom of the New 52 barrel.

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Man 3Official-Iron-Man-3-Poster-570x844
The first Marvel movie since The Avengers, Iron Man 3 will see the aftermath of Loki’s attack on New York, and finally introduce movie goers to the Mandarin. While it’s been stated that Tony Stark won’t have any help from his fellow Avengers in this film, I’d be very surprised if we don’t see at least one member show up for a quick cameo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superior_spiderman_1Superior Spider-Man
Yeah, I may not be entirely on board for Doc Ock in Spidey’s body, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not intrigued by it. While some of his more recent stories haven’t been sticking the landing, Dan Slott does seem to have something up his sleeve that I want to see, and Ryan Stegman’s art will make the book worth being on my pull list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The WolverineThe-Wolverine-691x1024
Hugh Jackman will probably be shirtless at some point in this movie. That’s all that needs to be said.

2012: The WORST Nerd Things of The Year!

Last week was my favorite nerd things of the year, so of course, here are my absolute LEAST favorite things that occurred over the year of our lord 2012. Now, just because these are my least favorite things doesn’t mean that they are completely awful.  These are my opinions, and mine only. So, without further ado, here’s my bottom of the barrel for nerd events in 2012!

 

amazingspiderman_693_cover_02“Alpha”

By and large, Amazing Spider-man had a pretty solid year, with one big, blonde haired exception: Andy Maguire, aka Alpha.  Introduced as Spider-man’s sidekick, Alpha was one overlong example of what Peter Parker would be like without the sense of responsibility. The “Poochie” of the Marvel universe, Alpha’s story arc lasted a merciful three issues (shorter than I expected, but longer than it ever needed to be) before being depowered by Spider-Man, an act that seemed uncharacteristically mean for Spidey. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the last of Alpha yet, as he’s due for a mini series in February. Get ready.

 

 

 

 

 

Justice League  JGL Batman movie rumorsjoseph-gordon-levitt-batman

I’m not the biggest fan of Warner Bros.’ decision to rush a Justice League film for 2015, it seems to me like they’re trying to mimic Marvel’s success with The Avengers. Of course, what made Avengers work so well was the fact that each member had their own movie to introduce them to movie audiences. Warner, on the other hand, wants to do the reverse of that, and spin out individual movies after the big team-up. While this annoys me, it pales in comparison to the rumor of Joseph Gordon-Leavitt’s John Blake appearing as Batman in the film. While I’m not surprised that WB would want to incorporate Justice League into the same realm as their most profitable franchise, but come on: Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Bruce Wayne needs to be in the Justice League film. Anyone who disagrees is wrong.

 

 

unnamedThe Quality of Marvel’s Paper Stock

Hey Marvel, if you’re going to charge me $3.99 for a book, stop printing it on glorified toilet paper. It was bad enough that you started doing it on the $2.99 titles, but to start using it on your $3.99 books is shameful.  Where is that $4 going? Cause it’s certainly not going into putting a quality looking and feeling product in my hands.  Fix it. Now.  And while we’re talking about your books….

 

Marvel Double/Triple/Quadruple Shippingall-new-xmen-329x500

Some books I want to read right away and not wait for the next issue. But you know what? Part of the greatness of comics is waiting for that next issue, building up in your head what could happen, and discussing those possibilities with your buddies at the shop. Marvel has decided to double ship many of their titles, and in some cases like All New X-Men and Wolverine and The X-Men ship them on a nearly weekly basis. That would be all well and good, if said books didn’t cost $3.99.  While Marvel is putting out a lot of quality material right now, they’re losing to the distinguished competition when it comes to thinking of their fans’ wallets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

christian-bale-joseph-gordon-levitt-the-dark-knight-rises-03The Dark Knight Rises

Yes, I love Nolan’s swan song to Batman. But the more I watch it, the more glaring some of the negative parts are to me. While (like all of the Nolan Batman films) there are forgivable plot holes, there’s one that for some reason I can’t disregard: when John Blake tells Bruce Wayne that he not only knows he’s Batman, but that he knew from when Wayne visited his orphanage as a child. I completely understand that Blake has to figure out who Batman really is for the finale of the movie to work, but I find it very hard to believe that Nolan couldn’t come up with a better way of getting us from point A to point B.

Comic Reviews: Punk Rock Jesus, Teen Titans, and Morbius!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

OCT120300Punk Rock Jesus #6 (0f 6)

Sean Murphy, you magnificent bastard. The finale of Punk Rock Jesus does not disappoint, and like all good stories, gives us a satisfying conclusion but also leaves us wanting more.  Opening with a shattering revelation in Thomas’ pre-J2 life, we get even more illumination into the backstory of one of the best new characters of the year, which leads to a very heartbreaking moment later in the book when Thomas must question how far he’ll go to protect Chris.

Much of the book plays out in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Those hoping to see Chris and the Flak Jackets take the stage in Jerusalem may be disappointed, but the way it all plays out is much better than I could’ve hoped for. It certainly ups the stakes and shows how easily religion can make fanatics, and give us a chance to see Thomas kick ass and take names. There are huge revelations this issue that I won’t spoil here, but I will say that while you may have been able to predict some aspects of it, you definitely won’t be able to guess all of it.

As always, Murphy’s storytelling is impeccable. In fact, I strongly believe that this issue is his finest work on the title. Not only does he easily stick the landing, but he’s created some sequences here that will stay with me forever.  Everything from the art to the story hits perfectly and resonates with you on a personal level, because Murphy took the time to make us care about all of the characters.

Punk Rock Jesus will now go down as one of the top  comics I’ll lend out to people who are wondering what to read. It’s smart, heartfelt, and surprisingly moving. Murphy took on themes in this book that others wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole and made the story completely engaging and relatable.  This was the best miniseries of 2012. Stop what you are doing and buy the issues. Don’t even wait for the hardcover. Get it now.

 

Teen Titans #15tt_cv15_02

Red Robin and the Teen Titans finally cross paths with the Joker in Teen Titans #15, a book that’s unfortunately light on the Joker and Tim Drake, and heavy on the other members of the team. Unlike Red Hood and The Outlaws (which ties into this book, and will carry the story from here in it’s next issue), this “Death of the Family” tie in focuses more on Red Robin’s teammates on a mission to find him and less on the Joker’s manipulations of the third Robin. Writer Scott Lobdell (who gets a “dialogue assist” from Fabian Ncieza, whatever that means) focuses too much on the team contacting Batgirl and setting up their searches than on what I really wanted: more Joker.

However, when we do see Mr. J, he’s really awesome. Playing up the fact that he knows all there is to know about the Bat-Family, he even drops that a hint that he knows Tim Drake’s real name. No, not that he’s Tim Drake. He knows that “Tim Drake” is a fake name given to him to protect his family (see Teen Titans #0). Lobdell/Ncieza play up Drake’s disbelief, but having Joker repeat back the thought’s we’re reading from Drake was really fun, and did a very effective job of showing how much power Joker seemingly has in this story.

Brett Booth handles the art, and while he’s great, he’s a little too “clean” for this new version of the Clown Prince Of Crime. Maybe I’m spoiled from seeing Greg Capullo and Patrick Gleason’s horrific clown Leatherface depiction, but there were times where it barely looked like the Joker had rotting flesh attached to his face. While it does contain The Joker, those expecting to see a more Tim Drake-centered issue will be disappointed with this tie-in.

 

morbius-01Morbius: The Living Vampire #1

Morbius has a new series! Why? I don’t know. But it’s pretty good, so that’s cool! Right?

Written by Hell Yeah’s Joe Keating, Morbius: The Living Vampire picks up almost exactly where Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 left off a few months ago. Recently escaped from The Raft prison, Morbius is now wandering the streets, trying his best to do good and not drink the blood of innocent people. I was very surprised by Keating’s script, which found a lot of humorous ways to explain Morbius’ powers and motivations in a way that wasn’t tedious or boring. In many ways, it reminded me of Zombieland’s rules of the Zombie Apocalypse, or a supernatural take on Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye.  Richard Elson’s art is very good, and fits the tone of the book perfectly. I’ll have to research him later.

As pleasantly surprised as I was with this book, not a whole lot happens in it. In fact, for a guy who’s a “un-vampire”, he sure does get beat up a lot. If you’re a die hard Morbius fan, or looking for something different, you could do worse this week than picking this guy up.