Monday, August 31, 2009

What I Read This Week

Flash: Rebirth #4 -- The first salvo is fired in what may be the ultimate showdown of the Flash and the Reverse-Flash!  Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, love em or hate em, have a definite plan in place for the Flash Family and I think we are just starting to get a glimpse of it here.  Some big time "OH NO THEY DINNIT!" moments mixed with some wonderfully loopy Silver Age science produces one heck of a ride.

Red Circle: The Shield #1 -- When an American soldier in Afghanistan is cut down in the middle of an ambush, the Department of Defense takes him and turns him into a better, faster, stronger soldier!  But what connection does The Shield have to the rest of the so-called "red circle?"  I didn't pick up any of the other Red Circle specials but I am glad I got this one.  JMS and Scott McDaniel are not going to be on the on-going, but they have piqued my interest enough to check it out.  All I have to say is Shield vs Citizen Steel!  Make it happen, DC!

Wednesday Comics #8 -- More broadsheeted goodness.  I feel lame reviewing these each week because I have nothing but good things to say each week!  All I will add is that those who were complaining about the lack of action in the Superman strip should be happy now.  

Guardians of the Galaxy #17 -- With the War of Kings in the record books, things have gone from "bad" to "immeasureably worse," with a rift in time and space called The Fault growing at an alarming rate!  Any comic book which features a conversation between Maximus the Mad and Groot is worth the cover price.  Lots of fun as we start up the next direction in the Guardians title.  

Nova #28 -- Richard Rider takes on Praetorian and has to deal with King Blaastar before deciding just how the heck is he going to handle the new Nova Corps.  Ironically, I am seriously considering using this issue of Nova (along with GotG) as "jumping off points," not for quality, but rather for monetary considerations so I can better afford some less-exposed titles, such as the new Doom Patrol, but I doubt I will actually go through with it.

Phantom: Generations #4 -- The Fourth Phantom runs across a descendant of the original pirate who's skull he (and his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather) swore their oath upon!  I like how each one of these stories has had a different tone and really nicely mixed up the action from one to the next.  I look forward to when these are all released, because I am seriously considering binding them (with a purple cover, natch).

The Pick Of The Pile is Flash: Rebirth, as we get a re-introduction of my favorite Flash badguy in a manner which made this Flash-fanboy very happy.

So, what did YOU read this week?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Panel, One Question: Icon #1

Man, how often do you see superheroes give advice about fiscal responsibility?

We could use Icon in Washington these days... along with some early Milestone reprints, DC!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

4 Color Cinema: G. I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

My wife and I enjoy going to the movies.  When we were in school together, we used to make the trip to Anderson to hit the Starlight, or make the trek downtown to the Astro Triple.  But as we got older, and costs continued to rise, we started cutting down our trips to the theater, relying more and more on Netflix to catch up on movies.  And now, with our son kicking around, it's hard for us to even get out once or twice a season.  So this summer we decided to split things up -- my wife got to see Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince while I babysat, and in return I got to go see the movie we are talking about today, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Let me say that I am very happy with the film I chose to make "my" movie for the summer, because as a Joe fan since I was (very) young, I was very satisfied with this big-screen adaption of the venerable Real American Hero crew.

Our story revolves around a new cyber-weapon called nanomites, developed by James McCullen, CEO of Military Arms Research Syndicate (aka MARS), which is being transported to a US military base by an Army convoy.  When the convoy is ambushed by a strangely armed group, sporting insane weaponry and armor, the convoy is decimated and only Maj. Conrad Hauser and Master Sgt. Wallace Weems are left alive.  Into this firefight swoops a highly trained special mission force, who prevent the theft of the nanomites and escort Hauser and Weems back "The Pit," where they meet General Hawk and are introduced to the GI Joe team.

Keep in mind that this summarizes essentially the first twenty minutes or so of the movie, and things only get more breakneck and hectic from there.  Director Stephen Sommers, who is best known for his work on the first two Brandon Fraser Mummy films and the monster mash Van Helsing, seems very well-suited to juggling all the different characters, plotlines, and action sequences.  And there are plenty of characters -- the Joes featured include Scarlett, Snake-Eyes, Breaker, Heavy Duty and Cover Girl, while the Enemy is represented with Destro, The Baroness, Storm Shadow, "the Doctor," and others -- and a nearly non-stop array of action sequences.

Don't be fooled by the TV commercials which only seem to show the absolutely insane chase through the streets of Paris, because this film goes all out with one show-stopping setpiece after another.  By the time the final credits roll began, I thought to myself, 'what the heck can they do to top this?!'  Since a sequel is all but a sure thing, we'll find out sooner or later.

The cast for the most part, sinks their teeth into their roles and bring them admirably to life.  Channing Tatum, who plays Duke, is not the most emotive actor ever, but I think that is kind of the point -- Duke is the top shirt, a professional soldier, and to this end Tatum is very strong.  Sienna Miller may look (as my brother would say) "slammin'" as The Baroness, but she also brings real depth and cruelty to a character who could have been just fetish eye-candy.  Similarly, Christopher Ecclestein takes a role which could have been over-the-top and silly and instead creates a memorable turn as Destro.  Dennis Quaid is darn-near-perfect as General Hawk, and Ray Park as Snake-Eyes is an inspired piece of casting if I ever heard one.  Joseph Gordon Levitt is absolutely inspired as the maniacal Doctor.  Even Marlon Wayans, more known for comedy than action, acquits himself nicely as Ripcord.  Several of Sommers regulars pop up, including Fraser, Arnold Vosloo, and Kevin J. O'Conner, in roles of varying size and importance.

The Rise Of Cobra is not pretending to be anything that it isn't.  This is an unabashedly fun popcorn-muncher of an action movie.  Sitting in a parked, darkened theater with a box of Gobstoppers and a Mountain Dew, this was a perfect way to spend an August afternoon.  As a Joe fan, it was an easy "thumbs up," and now I begin the two fold challenge of 1) waiting for the DVD release and 2) not dropping a few hundred bucks on toys.

What Looks Good?

Things are crazier than ever at home, but just because I am running around all day and most of the evening doesn't mean I can't eek some sort of enjoyment out of being busy.

I Heart Creepy T-Shirt -- Not going to buy this, but man, that's amusing.

Flash: Rebirth #4 -- Barry Allen discovered who was screwing with him last issue, and for me this wait has been brutal!

Red Circle: The Shield #1 -- Of all the Red Circle characters, this was the one I was most interested in checking out.  Hope he's played straight, if you get my drift.

Showcase Presents: Eclipso -- Mini-Showcase AND a series starring a supervillain?  Sounds like a plan to me.

Wednesday Comics #8 -- Hard to believe this series is already in the back half!

History of the DCU Black Lightning Toy -- 70s, hoooooo!

Guardians of the Galaxy #17 -- With the War of Kings done, what does the Fault mean for the Guardians?

Nova #28 -- Meanwhile, Nova's got his own problems!

Phantom: Generations #4 -- More illustrated prose as we meet the men who were previously the Ghost-Who-Walks.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Read This Week

Outsiders #21 -- The Outsiders return to Gotham City to find Arkham Asylum destroyed, the city ashambles, the Batcave closed and Alfred in a secure location.  Their new mission: split up and track down the most dangerous escapees, starting with Black Lightning and Owlman heading to Alaska to capture Mr. Freeze!  Oh man oh man, this comic is a total throwback -- in a really good way!  We get a complete story with Black Lightning and Owlman, but we also get teases of the next adventure, a tie-in to the overall craziness going on in the Bat Titles, reflections on what happened in the previous arc, and some snappy banter. This is much more appealing to me than just getting the obvious first 22 pages of a 140 page story.  It hit pretty much everything I was looking for in a superhero team book.  I really hope Tomasi keeps this trend up and goes for smaller stories building to a larger overall storyarc, as it is a storytelling style extremely well-suited to superhero comics.  Plus, Pasarin plays to his strengths with a lot of action, although some of his panel layouts are a little odd, it is never too distracting.  Awesome little comic all around.

Tiny Titans #19 -- It's the All-Like, All-The-Time issue!  Plasmus and Bumblebee find each other one rainy day, and suddenly it's all sunshine and rainbows!  But what about M. Mallah and the Brain?  And why are the ranks of the Ape Club dwindling?  Easily the most adorable comic book I will read this month, with Plasmus and Bumblebee's "deep in like" antics being very heartwarming.  It's fun to note that Baltazar and Franco have worked in a little continuity here, because if you remember, Bumblebee was one of the girls who shared ice cream with Plasmus many months back.  And no, I cannot believe I just typed that sentence.

Wednesday Comics #7 -- Things continue to boil as various stories build up, including Hawkman discovering that he may have landed on the worst possible island he could have chose.  Also, hey DC Direct, make us a "clamshell" style phone like the one Aquaman uses in the Supergirl strip!

The Pick Of The Pile this week is a tough call, but I have to hand it to Outsiders.  The mix of Bronze Age sensibility with modern storylines makes a tough nut to crack for this reader.  Although the super-mushy Tiny Titans and the consistantly excellent Wednesday Comics made this a very good week, especially for such a light one.

So, what did YOU read this week?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

If you haven't been to Not Blog X in a while, boy, are you in for a surprise... Cowabunga!

Doug shows off some pencils and finishes of Elasti-Woman from the new Doom Patrol book.

Shag presents some, ahem, puzzling items from the old Warner Brothers Store.

Frank showcases this awesome JLA commision by Paul Smith, featuring... well... most everyone but Aquaman.

Speaking of which... awww!  An Aquaman pop-up book!  (Thanks to rob!)

Finally, check out this awesome cover to Batman and Robin #5, as well as pages from The Shield #1.

Two Panels, Two Questions -- Beowulf, Dragon Slayer #6

And who can forget that time when Grendel murdered and overthrew Satan as the Overlord of Hell?

Gail Simone teased Grendel hanging out in the "real world" at the end of the Wonder Woman story which featured him and Beowulf a while back, but we haven't seen him since.  Cmon, DC, when are we going to get our GRENDEL on?!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Looks Good?

School starts today in my home county, but don't worry kids -- there's still some fun to be had even though summer vacation is over.

Outsiders #21 -- After the explosive finale to the first storyline, the Outsiders have to pick up the pieces and keep fighting the good fight, and we get to reap the benefits by reading about it!

Tiny Titans #19 -- Cuteness... too... strong!  Blacking... out... oooooooh!  (With apologies to Stan Lee.)

Wednesday Comics #7 -- Hooked and hooked.  Let me echo once more that DC make this an annual summer event.

(Wow, another DC week...)

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Read This Week

Batman #689 -- With Dick Grayson finding his footing and style as the Dark Knight, the two competing bosses for Gotham City find themselves faced with a new dilemma to overcome: how to dispose of this somehow changed Batman?  Two-Face decides that the best defense is a good offense and goes on the attack!  I am digging Winnick and Bagely's take on Batman and his cast, especially the way that Two-Face and Penguin are handled.  Bagely's art is a good match to the story style Winnick is going for -- although take a look at the thug Two-Face brings in and tell me it's not Eddie Brock!  I guess there's only so many ways to draw big dudes with blondish hair in a crew cut, but that one made me laugh.  Still, very enjoyable (and straightforward -- do with that comment as you please) Bat-comic.

Blackest Night #2 -- More dead heroes begin to rise, including a few which I doubt many would have predicted.  At Mercy Reef, things take a nasty turn as the Black Lantern Aquaman and his subjects wreak havoc on Mera and Garth.  But the worst is still yet to come for the DCU!  A page-turning, eye-popping good time, even if the subject matter is gruesome and the story about six shades removed from being "fun."  Johns and Reis are on full throttle here, introducing new mysteries and ending on a cliffhanger which I don't think many readers can resist.  Once more I must complain that I have to wait a whole month for the next issue.

Red Robin #3 -- Tim Drake continues his galavanting across Europe, but now he has Ra's Al Ghul in his earpiece while doing it.  That doesn't help much when he runs into the Wild Huntsman while running down a lead, though!  This issue suffers a bit from being a "build up" chapter as things are slightly less crazy, but there is still some solid action and an interesting plot development.  And the subplot about the League of Assassians being attacked is getting more interesting.  Overall I am enjoying this new take on the former Robin.

Wednesday Comics #6 -- More old timey fun from the wide and vaired crew working on this project.  Don't know what I can say that I haven't said before about how awesome this is save that instead of "Iris West" in all of it's Zip-a-tone glory, we instead get the some Kubertian "Gorilla Grodd" as our second feature in "Flash Comics!"

The Pick of the Pile is Blackest Night, barely edging out Wednesday Comics.  Wow, all DC this week!  Although I did end up getting my books from the week before, so it was not a true "sweep," but still!

So, what did YOU read this week?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One Page, One Comment

"Each of us, at some time in our lives, turns to someone... a father, a brother... a god... and asks 'Why am I here?  What was I meant to be?'  V'ger hopes to touch its Creator... to find answers."

"Is this all that I am?  Is there nothing more?"

This is in relation to an extra-cirricular project I have coming up... once I have more information, I'll let you all know, but for now, enjoy this awesome page from the Marvel adaption of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Looks Good?

I've been out of it a bit this week, what with driving back to South Carolina from New York on Sunday night into Monday morning, then moving to a new building at work.  I'm going to get myself back into the swing of things with that easiest of posts, the one where I talk about the comics coming out this week -- won't you please indulge me?

Batman #689 -- Dick Grayson is getting acclimated to the cape and cowl, but Two-Face knows something is up!

Blackest Night #2 -- The Dead Will Continue To Rise!  Will we see the Black Lanternized Winged Wonders this time out?

Red Robin #3 -- I know a lot of young people like to tromp around Europe these days, but this is ridiculous.

Showcase Presents: The Flash v.3 -- Need to, ya know, get volume 2 first, but hey, its The Flash!

Wednesday Comics #6 -- The halfway point for the innovative summer series and I am still super-psyched.

Whew, a little lighter this week after the massive pile last time I was at the shop!  And, oddly, all DC titles.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Looks Good?

I'm going to go buy my comics today, but I won't have time to read them -- or last weeks! -- because I am heading to New York tonight!  Yikes!

Doom Patrol #1 -- Ooooh, Doomy AND Metally!

House of Mystery #16 -- What new strangeness awaits inside the House of Cain?

Red Circle: The Hangman #1 -- Tempted by these one-shots... I'll give it a flip-through.

Strange Adventures #6 -- Our heroes are in Weirdtown!

Warlord #5 -- S&S the way you like it -- written by Mike Grell!

Wednesday Comics #5 -- Broooooooaaaadsheet!

Invincible Iron Man #16 -- "Worlds's Most Wanted."  Again.

Iron Man and the Armor Wars #1 -- All-Ages armored action, baby!

War Machine #8 -- Not quite All-Ages armored action, baby!



Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks #4 -- Old Jungle Saying: Don't Mess With The Phantom.

For the love of Hashut that's a lot of comics!