Author Archives: jwdubbya

SDCC 2017 Wrap Up!

imagesAnother year, another San Diego Comic Con. Just like any other year, there were a ton of awesome reveals and surprises at this year’s comic con, from an awesome WB panel that revealed surprisingly cool DC movies coming up; to Netflix revealing Stranger Things. With so much revealed, what were the top things to pay attention to? Well, lucky for you I kept an eye on everything this weekend (much to the chagrin of my girlfriend), and have prepared this article just for you! Read on for all the cool stuff to impress your friends with! Read the rest of this entry

Comic Reviews: Astonishing X-Men and Nightwing!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!! 

Astonishing_X-Men_1_Cover.jpgAstonishing X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)

Not content with just two X-Men series for ResurrXion (three if you count Weapon X), Marvel’s putting out a brand new edition of Astonishing X-Men, the series that achieved instant classic status thanks to Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, only to then be watered down by Marvel trying everything and anything to make that magic work again. This time though, they’ve tasked Charles Soule, the writer of about 15 other comics (give or take) with coming up with new adventures for the team of mutants, and are pairing Soule with a different artist each issue, which is kind of brilliant when you think about how inconsistent Marvel is with keeping artists on a series. With Jim Cheung as the first artist on deck, there’s a lot of hype around this new version of Astonishing, and while it doesn’t live up to it, there’s still great potential for this series.

While walking around London, Psylocke is attacked by the Shadow King. Desperate for help, she sends out a psychic distress call to members of the X-Men that she’s worked with in the past, which conveniently gives us the team you see on the cover. After helping Psylocke subdue the carnage around her and regain her control, she realizes that Shadow King has not only grown in power, but is attempting to create a “web” of psychics that he can use to completely overtake the planet. With this new team assembled, the X-Men prepare to jump into the Astral Plane to take on Shadow King.

While Charles Soule’s script is a lot of set up, the one thing where Astonishing shines is characterization. Often times writers have trouble writing the X-Men simply because it’s such a large team. With so many characters, there’s bound to be some that either don’t sound like they should or are completely written out of the series. But with Astonishing’s opening issue, every character gets a moment to shine in some pretty great introductory pages. Soule is able to give succinct back stories for the characters on this team, and even teases at adventures that are going on just prior to this series that I really want to see (especially Gambit and Fantomex).

If you’re going to open a series with an excellent artist, you could do no better than Jim Cheung. Cheung’s style is expertly utilized here, and he sets the bar extremely high for the next artist. The devastation in London is drawn incredibly, and Cheung’s even able to nail some pretty intricate emotions and facial ticks on the characters. There’s a few odd panels here and there (Fantomex’s arms look a little thin at times), but I pity the artist who has to jump in on issue two.  These are quite the shoes to fill.

Astonishing X-Men may not leave the same impression as the Whedon and Cassaday run that came before it, but it’s still a solid set up issue that actually serves as a pretty good jumping on point for new and lapsed X-fans. Soule has crafted a really interesting team filled with dynamic personalities. Really the only thing that has me worried is the different artists for each issue gimmick that Marvel is putting out on this series. If done poorly, it could give the series an identity crisis. But for now, this issue was pretty damn great, and worth a read for X-Men fans.

 

 

Nightwing #25 (DC Comics) NTW_Cv25_ds.indd

While Batman has been fighting Bane and proposing to Catwoman, Dick Grayson has been building a nice life for himself in Bludhaven. He’s got a new girlfriend, some sweet job prospects, and things seem to be settling down for him. Until this issue, where Tim Seeley and Minkyu Jung really put ol’ Dick through the wringer. As the finale for the “Blockbuster” story arc, Nightwing #25 uses its extra pages to really bring in the emotional gut punches and set up some pretty interesting ideas for future issues.

Tim Seeley’s storylines for the past few months have involved Dick Grayson trying to come to terms with if he wants to be Nightwing for the rest of his life. After settling in with his girlfriend, he seems like he’s ready to put it all behind him, but all that changes in this issue, as old foe Blockbuster (who’s actually the brother of the original Blockbuster) pushes Dick to the brink. Surrounded by enemies on a boat with a ticking time bomb, Nightwing seemingly has no choice but to let the bad guys blow up. Or does he?

Seeley’s script wraps up this cliffhanger from last month fairly quickly, but he makes up for it with a surprisingly emotional element that comes later in the issue and a pretty cool spin on what Dick Grayson will be doing for employment in the upcoming months to come. By putting a focus on the personal side of Nightwing, he’s really invigorated this series and made the character a lot more personal. Dick Grayson is struggling with growing up, and as he watches his friends grow and change, he wonders if it’s time for him to do the same.

Minkyu Jung does a great a job of fitting in with the typical “Nightwing style” that fans will come to expect. While he doesn’t do anything that really makes his art stick out, that’s clearly what DC is going for with a lot of their DC Rebirth titles. There are plenty of excellent action and fight scenes, but like Seeley’s emotional beats, the real surprise here is the quieter moments. Jung‘s pages are able to bring the emotions in Seeley’s script out even more with some stunning and stark pages by the issue’s end.

Nightwing has a been a series that’s been flying under the radar since Dick Grayson returned to his costumed ways, but it’s been a very solid and fun superhero book since the first issue. While this issue probably isn’t the best one to jump onto, all signs are pointing towards issue 26 being a pretty interesting place to check in on the first Robin. Honestly there couldn’t be a better time to check this character out.

Video Game Review: Injustice 2

indexInjustice 2 (2017)

Developer: Netherrealm Studios

Consoles: PS4, Xbox ONE

In nearly every sense of the word, Injustice 2 is an improvement. From the graphics, to the game play, to the sheer depth of things to do, Injustice 2 absolutely changes and updates everything that was great about the original game (which was quite a lot). The new “loot system” customization options for characters is both overwhelming and addictive, and ensures that you’ll never be able to stop saying “okay, just one more match” whenever you fire it up. Read the rest of this entry

Comic Reviews: Dark Days: The Casting and Spider-Men II!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

0qj7k1c13cqyDark Days: The Casting #1 (DC Comics)

Dark Days: The Forge brought up a whole lot of questions for the upcoming Metal event from DC. From showing a new back-story for Hawkman, to revealing that Batman has one of the “tuning forks” the Monitor used to try and reconcile the multiple universes in Crisis on the Infinite Earths, The Forge had a lot of crazy reveals, but not a lot of context for them. With The Casting, it falls on Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and their trio of artists (Jim Lee, John Romita Jr, and Andy Kubert) to maybe, just maybe start making some connections to the upcoming Metal event. Read the rest of this entry

2017: An Embarrassment of (Nerd) Riches

2017-superhero-movies-slice-600x200We are in a golden age of comic book movies. Sure, that’s not a huge statement to make, since Marvel Studios and other production companies have been pumping out movies for ten plus years now. But has there ever been a wide variety of GOOD comic book movies like we’ve had in 2017? Starting with Logan in March, every single comic book film released so far this year has been a hit both commercially and critically. But it’s not just the box office that’s making me think back and write this column. No, it’s what these films are saying that makes them so important. Read the rest of this entry

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming!

MV5BNTk4ODQ1MzgzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTMyMzM4MTI@._V1_UY1200_CR80,0,630,1200_AL_Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

Starring: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton

Directed By: Jon Watts

MINOR SPOILERS

To say my expectations for Spider-Man Homecoming were high would be an understatement. After sitting through Amazing Spider-Man 2 and seeing Sony attempt to create their own cinematic universe and fail, the one thing I could hope for was Marvel Studios coming in and making some sort of deal with Sony to either buy the character, or take control of him and work him into their existing universe. And it happened. Now that Spidey had made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, it’s time for him to take center stage (again) in the second reboot of the character in the fifteen years he’s been on the big screen. Spider-Man Homecoming, the first movie to be made in collaboration with Sony and Marvel Studios, has a pretty daunting task ahead of it: can you get the public interested in yet another Spider-Man movie, so soon after the last one?

When it’s as good as this is, yes. Read the rest of this entry

Comic Review: Babyteeth #2!

COMIC REVIEWS!!

book_BABYTEETH_02Babyteeth #2 (Aftershock Comics)

The opening issue of Babyteeh sure had a lot of potential. Despite the usual “girl gives birth to the Antichrist” trope, Donny Cates and Garry Brown’s series had an interesting narrative system and compelling lead character to help set up the story. But one thing that was missing was the fleshing out of the world around Sadie. While we got to meet her, her child, and her immediate family, there wasn’t enough of the larger story to really make an impact. Luckily for us, Cates and Brown address that in issue two, and bring in some truly fantastic world building to the Babyteeth story. Read the rest of this entry

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_4_29_Textless.jpgAmazing Spider-Man #29 (Marvel Comics)

Not even The Amazing Spider-Man is free from the grasp of Marvel’s Secret Empire event. Unlike most event tie-ins though, Amazing Spider-Man #29 feels like a natural continuation of the stories Dan Slott has been building up in his run that just happens to dovetail nicely into the latest Marvel mega event. In fact, with this issue being the return of Doctor Octopus, I was looking forward more to this storyline than any other aspect of Secret Empire. Luckily writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage, with artist Stuart Immonen, do not disappoint in the slightest. Read the rest of this entry

A Legacy We Don’t Need

MarvelLegacy_001_BrooksVariant-720x668After much hype and anticipation, Marvel has finally announced their plans for “Marvel Legacy”, the next relaunch that THIS TIME is going to count. Many had suspected that Marvel would copy DC’s Rebirth initiative in hopes that it would be just as successful for them.

Well, they didn’t. In fact, it seems like Marvel didn’t even get the gist of what made DC’s relaunch such a success.  Whereas that company took a good hard look at what went wrong with the New 52 and “DCYou” and fixed it, Marvel seems to just be trucking along, business as usual. And it’s going to cause them to fall on their face. Read the rest of this entry

Comic Reviews: Batman and Shirtless Bear Fighter!

COMIC REVIEWS!

BATMAN-25-600x910Batman #25 (DC Comics)

Tom King’s run on Batman has been pretty stellar so far. From introducing new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl, to showcasing one of the bloodiest Batman vs. Bane fights in years, to Batman proposing to Catwoman, King has pretty much solidified his place as one of the best writers to work on the character. But with the latest arc, “The War of Jokes and Riddles”, he may have outdone himself. There’s a fair amount of hype surrounding this issue, and amazingly the Mikel Janin drawn issue exceeded my expectations.  While you won’t get any definite resolution to Batman’s proposal to Catwoman at the end of the last issue, Batman #25 is still one of the best issues in King’s run. Read the rest of this entry