Sunday, September 30, 2007

Detective Comics #215

Regarding Batman #667
Because I know that all of you are clamoring for the original story, I managed to dig these scans up. Enjoy!

I hope that makes you happy. And I hope I don't get sued.

Batman #667

More information found from Barbelith. This was posted by J.H. Williams explaining his stylistic choices for each of the heroes.

okay here is run of style influnces for these characters and the reasons why. all of these choices were made with one sketch and feelings as i drew them for the first time...

cheif man of bats-- sort of a steve rude influence. i wanted something clean and a little goofy retro in this idea and thats what came out first shot. rude's stuff always has this sort of 50's 60's nostalgic feeling to me and i wanted that for this character. but he needed to feel like the feelings you get when you look at those old silver age comics. charming in ways but also a little silly.

raven red-- a very loose influence of basic 70's early 80's superhro comics with an almost generic quality to the costume. cheesy amd redundent. been there done that sort of feeling when you look at him.

gaucho-- chaykin. for that rough around the edges feel and machismo that all of his characters have. his outfit is definitely not based on traditional gaucho clothing. instead i went for the el mariachi desperado films look. again to enhance his macho attiude.

wingman-- very loosely based on gibbons from watchmen era. i wanted the costume to look as if this character could've existed in the watchman reality. it fits well with his attitude and feelings of being original but not really. sort of an interesting comment since watchmen was a very groundbreaking and original concept but used characters that had existed in a different form previously. make sense?

musketeer-- is influenced by mid to late 80's superhero ideas. maybe a little bit alan davis in there too. hence the simple color techniques with smooth grads for a sense of rendering.

legionary-- i wanted to convey the sort of humorous but cynical qualities of some of the comics of the early 90's. with maybe a little hint of kelly jones exaggeration in the mix. particularly with his death scene.

knight and squire-- mcguinness influence. just because i loved the way he handled them previously and i wanted them to sync up to that.

dark ranger-- definitely sprouse. i think that influence came out of the early sketch because the character really needed to feel vastly updated and different from his past appearance. and so he needed to feel really modern.

batman and robin-- no influence here just me.

the only other thing that was necessary for this story was that all of the club characters needed to feel off as well. as if they reached for these ideals that are present in the influences but fall a little short. none of them are quite up to snuff and they know it deep inside and thats why they still are awed by batman. he surpasses them on every level, hence him and robin's more rendered and dimensional quality, deeper. this was taken into consideration as well when i did the first sketches of them.

the whole idea here was to convey characters that have had real history that we haven't been privy to. they were seen a very long time ago and that was pretty much it really. and grant wrote them as if they've been having lives and adventures all along and i wanted to see if i could make them seem as if they had stepped out of their own comics and into this one. so i imagined what those comics might currently look like but none of us have seen or read them. comics from another world? these clubbers needed to have distinct character traits immediately understandable becasue of the way the story moves with them. so i thought it would be an intersting challenge to see what affect 'styles" would have on their personalities as i drew them. a nice experiment i think, which has produced interesting results. as i drew them i felt as if they were fully realized right away. they came alive.

hope this all makes some sort of sense in an exsistential sort of way. and the other reason for doing this sort of thing is because its just plain fun and allows to sort of comment about comics within the frame work of a comic itself.

Batman #667 - #669

Batman #667 - #669

This three issue arc was exactly what I'd expected from Morrison since he first took the reins on this title. So why were all the issues prior to #666 so CRAPpy?

Rating the issues issue by issue, #667 was merely GOOD. Why only GOOD? Because the entire issue was predicated on the reader having been familiar with Detective Comics #215 from January of 1955 and World's Finest Comics #89 from July-August of 1957, which actually featured characters introduced in Batman #65 (1951) and Batman #86 (1954). If you hadn't read those issues, then you'd pretty much feel lost in this one. Add to that the additional requirement of reading Morrison's arc in JLA Classified #1-#3 (2005), which in and of itself was based on characters introduced in an arc from his JLA #24-#26 (from 1999), and you'll begin to realize that the first issue of this story is entirely mired in obscure references and Morrisonian continuity.

Little Raven growing up to be Red Raven is a very cute touch though, with a nod to Robin's adult persona in Kingdom Come.

The art in this book is absolutely fantastic. J.H. Williams III gives each and every member of the Club their own uniqely distinctive look, even if one of them seems to look exactly like "V" from V for Vendetta.
Perhaps it's a conscious homage. Perhaps not. Regardless, even the page and panel layouts are inspired and truly elevate this book to something special. Unfortunately, I had to do a lot of research to comprehend the issue and its characters, so it merely scores a GOOD.

Issue #668, however, was EXCELLENT. Decades old continuity is hardly referenced, except when Morrison's just making it up. And when he is making it up, he has Williams show it to us. Williams uses a pointillistic style for these sequences which is reminiscent of older comics and their archaic printing methods. This clarifies a problem that readers often have with Morrison's writing: since he tends not to specify when events shown are flashbacks (or flash forwards), this unique style tells us immediately that what we are reading occurred in the distant past.

The issue plays out similar to one of those classic Sleuth movies (formost among them being Sleuth), where a group of individuals are trapped in a mansion knowing that one of them, or some unseen foe, is out to do them in. A more recent version of this genre would be the movie Clue!. The plot also displays similar similarities to Agatha Christie's novel Ten Little Indians. So the chills and drama and terrors feel real, punctuated with a few eerily drawn full page images of Batman. It's some of the finest work I've ever seen, in fact.

Issue #669 features the conclusion to the mystery, which feels like a bit of a cheat. Although I had suspected who the killer was from the first, it was for two altogether different reasons, which were entirely stylistic rather than logic-based. The clues that Batman points to were never evident in the story, nor was the manner by which he arrived at his deduction made clear. Additionally, since Batman has been shown to be able to determine when someone is trying to modify their voice, and is gifted with a audiographic (Is that even a word? It is now!) memory when it comes to identifying voices, why was he unable to identify the killer before more members of the Club were murdered? Also, given the eventual identity of the killer, there's something in the first issue that makes no sense. I won't give it away, but suffice it to say it's a fairly major flaw.

The death trap is a cute touch though, as it employs drowning, pirhanas, and wasps. However, it remains unclear as to how the rescuing member of the Club escaped what appeared to be his certain demise earlier in the story.
This leads into my next point. The artwork is confusing. It's not clear where Robin and Squire actually are or what they are intended to be doing, nor how they got there. Also, since the resolution feels a bit rushed, and employs several bits of disembodied dialogue which even upon rereading remain obscure as to their source, the artwork doesn't portray the actual events very well, as it flips between scenes much too rapidly - compared to the pace of the rest of the issue - and does not provide us with enough detail to truly appreciate the outcome much beyond the included text. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the artwork in this issue is the very antithesis of what made the art from the first two issues so incredible. It begins to fail on the seventh page of this issue. Still, the illustrations from the first six pages are lovely.

At the end of the issue, I felt as if I had been cheated out of both a logical deductive process and out of a clear and comprehensible resolution, all the more important since so much of this storyline was shrouded in mystery. The first six pages of the story are very clear and well done. Unfortunately, the subsequent pages leave something to be desired and thus drag the entire issue down to a rating of OKAY.

When taking the arc together as a whole, it's easier to overlook the flaws. Sure, they're there. And you'll definitely notice them. However, the artwork makes up for most of it, and the strong second issue clears the palate of any sour taste left from the obscure references of the first issue, and carries its flavor over into the last issue as well. Plus, it's nice to finally see Grant Morrison doing a good story using Batman. As opposed to creating ill-advised retcons, introducing annoying characters, playing with metatext, or having us waste our money on a prose issue. Also, the replacement of Kubert with Williams does wonders for the ambience that a Batman tale truly requires. Kubert is a wonderful artist. But his mood isn't dark enough for Batman,
nor is his style inventive enough for Morrison. Thus, all in all, this arc was at the highest end of GOOD. I hope that the best aspects of this arc will be retained throughout the rest of Grant Morrison's run, but I doubt that he'll really be able to correct those aspects of the story which failed. It's just not his style.

Which is fine. I completely understand. But until Morrison stops taking the easy way out of his stories, pays closer attention to the rigid dictums of logic, and gives us the detail that we deserve, the stories will remain merely GOOD.

A less critical review of this story, although no less comprehensive, can be found here. However, be warned! Spoilers abound!

Trials of SHAZAM! #8

Trials of SHAZAM! #8
Um, OKAY, I guess, but really, when is this finally going to be over? How long has it been delayed for, now? It's lost any sort of forward momentum that it could have possibly had, and it's just barely keeping from sliding back down the drain into the land of mixed metaphors, like I just did.

Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #34

Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #34
Some of the most godawful ugly-ass art I've ever seen in comics is paired with a story with actual forward momentum. The only problem is, the art is so unbelievably atrocious, you hardly notice that there's even a plot.
The search for Cos' continues, but we get a two-parter here starring the All-New, All-Different Wildfire. It's kind of interesting. I'm just not sure that I care any more.

All-Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder #7

All-Star GODDAMN Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder #7
For the first time, I'm tempted to say this issue is actually GOOD. Since it's started coming out regularly once again, it's gained some little bit of forward momentum, and in this issue there's some actual furtherance of the main plot - all but forgotten by now - of the murder of Dick Grayson's family.
Plus, the GODDAMN BATMAN knocks boots - and other things - with Black Canary, who doesn't have an atrocious pseudo Irish brogue phoneticized by Miller - merely a mention by the GODDAMN BATMAN that he can pinpoint her place of origin from her accent.
Also, Dick actually does something, for the first time.
And the GODDAMN BATMAN actually talks to another human being - even though he mostly tells her to shut up.
And Dick gets given a choice: Avenger or Detective? He chooses Detective and we finally get our plot furtherance. It's creepy.
I love the Frank Miller covers. I want to see Miller doing this entire thing. Especially the last page.

Completely incongruous, however, is the DC Nation page which peddles kiddie books.
What's the subtext there?
Do the editors even care?

Flash #232

Flash #232
This time, on "When Giant Vaginas Attack!!!" Yeah, this book still makes no sense. Sure, the art's pretty, but that's just not enough. Next issue features a JLA crossover. Anyone else want to take a stab at figuring out what is really going on here? And tell me why, in a book about speed, there's so little forward motion on the plot? EH.

Zombie Proof #1

Zombie Proof #1
This book is actually VERY GOOD! I must admit, the premise was quite intriguing, and even though after reading this book it turns out to be a fairly standard "small town deals with zombie crisis" story (think Jericho meets Day of the Dead), it's very competently executed. And it's in color! And the artwork is beautiful. I haven't heard of Vincent Spencer before, but I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for future works by him, as he's a very talented artist.
Sure, it's got a $3.50 price tag, but let's face it, more than any other zombie story running right now (sorry K-man), this one would make the best movie or television drama. Sure, zombies may have been done to death already, pun intended, but this is still extremely competent. And besides, any book lettered by a man credited as "Marshall Dillon" deserves a read, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New X-Men #42

New X-Men #42
Well, now. That's really really bad. Besides the fact that this issue makes no sense, IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE! I read it and had NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK WAS GOING ON!! Why should the kids care about which of them is the youngest? (Why should anyone care?) And why don't some of them count? The Cuckoos? Beak's kid? Mollie Hayes? Franklin Richards? What the FUCK does this matter anyways? The only good thing about this issue is Skottie Young's cover. So here's a scan. Now you don't have to waste your money. AWFUL.

JLA / Hitman #1

JLA / Hitman #1
I'm ashamed to admit it. I missed Hitman the first time around. Sure, I own every godawful Bloodlines annual. And I own the Loose Cannon miniseries too. But I just never got into Hitman. I wasn't really buying comics anymore at that point.
Well, that stops here. As I read this issue, I followed each and every editor's note back to the referenced issues, read them, then continued with the story, and I've gotta say, boy did I miss out. With the notable exception of involving the Bloodlines aliens in this story, it's actually pretty GOOD. To bring an outsider into the Justice League for one particular mission, especially if that outsider is a killer, takes a unique set of circumstances. So Ennis comes up with them.
Unfortunately, since Hitman died in issue #60 of the original series, this story must, by necessity, take place in the past. And thus, nothing that happens herein can possibly be of any imprtance. Which merely leaves us with the entertainment value. Like watching a movie that you know the ending to, just to see what will happen along the way. Similar to watching Lord of the Rings.
It's fun. I've got to say that. If you're looking for a fun book this month, look no further. Buy this book.

My only exception to the writing is the characterization of Wally West. Why is he such a colossal dick towards Kyle? I thought they were supposed to be best friends!?

Most diappointing is the fact that this story, which was originally supposed to have been a four issue arc in JLA Classified, and was then compacted to a three issue miniseries, is now only two parts. Why?

Irredeemable Ant-Man #12

Irredeemable Ant-Man #12
Again, I cried during this book. Several times. And smiled wistfully throughout the rest. It's been an EXCELLENT run, and I'm sorry to see it end. Now I'll actually have to start reading The Initiative. At least I got my letter published in last issue's lettercol. I was really hoping it would be there, I was really proud of it. And there it was! Obviously, Kirkman knows quality. Obviously, Marvel doesn't. They didn't push this book. They just let it fail. Hopefully the inevitable trade will sell through the roof, sales of The Initiative may pick up, and Marvel will be forced to reevaluate their decision to cancel this wonderful little book...

Birds of Prey #110

Birds of Prey #110
Um, yeah, I'm still not feeling it. Although this issue is OKAY, I can't see how Bedard is going to manage this type of issue every month. Hell, this issue is only OKAY because it focuses on one Bird in particular. Which makes this type of story antithetical to a team book. Which means that this can't last. Which means that I miss Gail Simone even more.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax #1

Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax #1
That's actually not bad. It's just a one-shot where Kyle talks with and fights Parallax in the prison of his own mind. And then there's a twist at the end which rekindle's Kyle's sense of hope. Problem is, since his prison is one constructed by his own mind, or if not by him then by Parallax, why would such a detail even exist there in the first place? Unless Kyle subconsciously knew it to be the truth the whole time. I'm not going to ruin it, because this issue's pretty GOOD, and you should have the enjoyment of reading it for yourself. Even though nothing happens. If you're just in it for the continuation of the Sinestro Cops War, then I'm sorry, you've bought the wrong book. This book is a vignette. Nothing more. Sure, it takes place during the events of SCW, but it doesn't change anything. It doesn't even have any internal journey...except that of Kyle from despair to hope. And if that's not good enough for you, then, well, at least you know what to expect from this issue now, right?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Un-Men #2

Un-Men #2
Although I still have little or no idea what's actually going on in this title, I find myself strangely and inconceivably intrigued. I truly have no idea why. It's not that the characters are compelling, although, in a way, they are. It's not that the story is all that great, because I really don't understand any of what's been happening. It's not that the writing is excellent, although it's certainly competent. I'm still not quite sure what to make of this, but I am sure about one thing. It'll read much better in the trade. OKAY.

Booster Gold #2

Bster Gold #2
Well, I was expecting to enjoy this issue, and I did. A LOT. It seems that the focus of this series is basically going to be doing what 52 said it was going to do, yet never delivered upon, namely, giving us a tour of the DC Universe, although with Booster, Skeets, and Rip as our guides. Even if each issue involves Booster insinuating himself into past events in much the same way as Jack Knight did in Starman #51.
And you know what? I've absolutely no problem with that. Because if the fun and the writing are on the same level as this issue, then it's bound to be a great series. VERY GOOD.

Monday, September 17, 2007

X-Factor #23 / X-Men: Endangered Species #11

X-Factor #23
Another VERY GOOD issue, as PAD brings all the storylines since the beginning of this series together. Singularity investigations, X-Cell, Quicksilver, it's all here, and it's all starting to make sense. This is the kind of writing that keeps me coming back every month. I'm still a bit confused about the identity of the villain - is he a mutant? Is he a somehow resurrected Mimic? Who is he really, and where was he before M day? Is Peter David already creating new superpowered mutant nemeses as foils for our friends? And if so, what does that say about the future of the editorial "extinction agenda"? Regardless, it's good stuff, and so is the backup story.

X-Men: Endangered Species #11
Although I find it difficult to believe that Beast would have a hissy fit and go trashing Forge's lab and asskicking Forge to boot, just because some machine told him that there were no longer any mutants in the Age of Apocalypse, Nimrod, or XSE future timelines. And Beast is right. The science is rather shaky. But still - I've never seen him lose it like this. I like where this story is going though, as it seems poised to make Beast the Mr. Sinister of the 21st century. It's quite an intriguing idea, since the two characters have always been two sides of the same coin: ethical versus non-ethical mutant experimentation. It seems that this event will be the necessary catalyst to push Beast over the moral line. I look forward to the rest of the story. VERY GOOD.

Ultimate X-Men #86

Ultimate X-Men #86
This book has been good lately, but there's really nothing special about it in any way. In fact, I'll bet that once we get the final two issues of this arc, it'll be unnecessary in hindsight. And also, the story probably won't end, but will, instead, segue into another story and another, until the end of time. Okay, maybe that's overexaggerating a tiny bit, but you see what I'm saying, right? That said, it's OKAY. No more, but definitely no less.

Heroes for Hire #13

Heroes for Hire #13
Tentacle Rape!!! And Humbug wants to get it on with the Brood Queen! Ewwwww. Plus, a fairly nonsensical backup story featuring Paladin and The Scorpion. All in all, even with the extra pages, this issue's completely unnecessary CRAP. It's not necessary to read this in order to fully enjoy World War Hulk, and in fact, I would advise against reading it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Black Canary Wedding Planner #1

Black Canary Wedding Planner #1
Oh my god, was that unbelievably AWFUL. First of all, there was absolutely no point, nor any need, for this book to have ever been made. It was a waste of everyone's time and money, not just ours.
What the hell is going on with the illustrations in this book? I have never seen Black Canary and Green Arrow looking less like Black Canary and Green Arrow. Especially Green Arrow. I mean, hasn't he always been blonde? Why is he suddenly a redhead? With a beard that's even more atrocious than normal? And I have never seen comic book women look as unsexy as they do in the scene where Dinah, Mari, and Diana are trying on lingerie. I mean, they couldn't have gotten Adam Hughes for that page or something? What the FUCK? That's on top of the fact that any other characters in this book look less like humans than, I don't know...Plastic Man? What does it say about this book when the best pages are the faux magazine ads and covers and the Jill Thompson-style manga-style page? Ugh.
And does Stephanie Roux think that Dinah is African American? Because you'd think it if you knew nothing about the character and took a look at her facial features on the cover.

The story? There is no story. There's a one line joke that isn't really a joke repeated ad infinitum throughout the entire book. Ollie won't leave Dinah alone with the wedding plans. Then says "I told you so" when her plans fall apart.
First of all, when was the date of their wedding ever specified apart from editorial mandate? Why couldn't they have a normal engagement period like most couples? Two months is a bit drastic. In fact, even if Dinah had gotten a wedding planner as Ollie keep insisting she should have, odds are that the end of the summer would still be booked with only two months notice! No wonder they're getting married in the cave. But wait - which cave? The Bat cave or the Justice cave? Geez, don't actually expect any answers in this book, that's sooooo not the point. The point of this book is silly gags that consistently fall flat, like Diana's spin changing abilities - please tell me WHY THE FUCK that's even in continuity? And the book has a secondary point of allowing artists with no talent to draw the primaries, and having a colorist who has apparently never seen a Green Arrow comic.

This fucking thing is just a big fucking mess. Hell, it's worse than AWFUL, it's ASS. Because, really, it's insulting that DC has foisted this book upon us merely to make a buck or three without even trying to give us anything even resembling quality.

Detective Comics #835 - #836

Detective Comics #835 - #836
Wow. This story was genuinely more terifying than the Joker story, primarily because, while we know that the Joker's a psychopathic serial killer, the Riddler has never been a murderer on that scale. Until now. And if the riddler can do it, how much longer can it be before the rest of Batman's rogues start trying the same thing? Say, Two-Face making everyone in Gotham fear that their neighbor, friend, partner, boss, co-worker is out to get them? You know, "two-faced"? Seriously, The Scarecrow brought Gotham to its knees, to a standstill.
And there's another brilliant point about this story - it gives a showcase to the reactions of the citizens of Gotham, through the device of Bruce's new girlfriend, Kay. And by doing so, it turns this tale from merely a tale of the Bat, into a genuinely horrific tale for us as well.
It's also notable for humanizing Bruce quite a bit, especially when that change is highlighted through Robin's comments when he reverts to his former type.

Midnighter #11

Midnighter #11
VERY GOOD. Midnighter goes to a town where fishyness is occurring, takes on the identity of a returning son, and gets balls deep in intrigue. Giffen's doing a good job on this title. Is he going to be its new regular writer? I hope so. While it's true that most writers have done an okay job with this series, the character seems to be gaining some forward momentum under Giffen's pen.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Infinity Inc. #1

Infinity Inc. #1
I don't know, I really just don't get this. First of all, the 52 era Infinitors were sooooo long ago that I have no clue who had what power. I'm not even sure what their names are/were - even after I'm told! That's how unmemorable they are as characters. The only one I recall at all is Everyman, and that's more because of his supervillain creds than any time he may have spent in Infinity Inc. So tell me, is this a superhero book? Because to me, it seems like a sit on a shrink's couch. And, in fact, three of the characters are featured doing just that, and one more talks about it. And those who don't, they merely just talk a lot. Do these people have superpowers? Or are they messed up without them? I'm not quite sure I get the point. I'll give next issue a try, because I'm feeling generous, but really, you know, EH.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Y The Last Man #58

Y The Last Man #58
I certainly didn't see the last page development of this issue coming, nor can I exactly understand it. Is Alter a bad shot? Did somebody move? I don't understand.
Plus, is it just me, or does it seem like this story is slowing down as it nears the end? With so much potential left for storytelling, this should not be the case. Regardless, it's an OKAY issue. Not as good as many of those that came before, because it feels like a lot happened between issues, but perhaps that's just me, and it really seems that more should have happened in this issue, but again, maybe that's just me.

White Tiger #6

White Tiger #6
WTF? Why has it taken so long for this series to be released? It's killed any possible forward momentum that might have been developed in the story. And has squandered any chance of this character and her writer, Tamora Pierce, being picked up for an ongoing series. Actually, judging from this single issue, an ongoing series wouldn't have been such a bad idea. White Tiger has developed relationships throughout the first five books in this series, many of which come to fruition in this issue. Unfortunately, in the larger scope of things, it matters not. After all, this entire series takes place before Civil War reared its ugly editorial head up to throw a monkey wrench into the works and spoil any positive plots being developed in favor of plot hammering.
Even though I hardly recall the previous issues, the recap page in this issue tells me all that I need to know. And this issue is nearly a complete tale in and of itself, something which I always appreciate. I guess it wraps up plot threads from the rest of the series, but I really couldn't tell you. The only problem is, for such an action centered climax, the art by Alvaro Rio, Ronaldo Adriano Silva, and Don Hillsman really doesn't work. Although it's clean, there's too much going on in each panel, and too few of the critical events being shown clearly to make it work. Without the dialogue, I'd have no idea what was going on here. And even with the dialogue, I had to reread several pages in order to figure it out. And I hate doing that.
An okay end to this miniseries, but at the end I'm left with an overwhelming feeling of EH. And what's this? The trade paperback comes out in less than a month? So why should ANYBODY buy this particular issue? Way to stab yourselves in the foot, Marvel. Good job.

Supergirl #21

Supergirl #21
Even saddled with a crossover from a book that sucks ASS, this issue still manages to be GOOD in and of itself, and to put the lie to the claim that Countdown is required reading, as it certainly seems that nothing relevant has really happened in that series that isn't explained herein. Likewise with Amazons Attack!. (I feel silly and slightly dirty every time I write that.) Supergirl suffers from some reality something: Why didn't she remember the Legionnaires? Why don't they remember her? Are these Legionnaires the same ones? Are they earlier iterations? Are they from earlier in the timeline than SLOSH? Have their minds been wiped? These internal questions overwhelm Kara, and she collapses. Which actually seems like a much more sensible course of action than trying to figure out the answers to these questions by reading MORE DC comics. Because either the writers don't know the answers to these questions either, or they've decided to leave the questions dangling for as long as possible without any resolutions. Excellent characterizations by Tony Bedard and excellent artwork by Renato Guedes with an assist from Jose Wilson Magalhaes on inks.

Outsiders #50

Outsiders #50
Actually, that's not half bad. It's much better than any issue of this title since OYL, which, granted, isn't saying much. It's also better than any of the five of a kind issues, except for the Aquaman, which again, isn't saying much. However, it is saying much for me to admit that this iteration of the team might actually have some potential, if Bedard plays it right, and not as heavy handedly as he did in the last five weeks. Plus, it seems that, no matter what Batman's intentions, some heroes may be joining this team regardless of what he might have to say about it. But wasn't Bats' Matches Malone persona publicly offed? Anyways, this issue is solidly OKAY, and I'm thinking now that I may give the new title a shot. Plus, the old Captain Atom villain, Bolt!

Metal Men #2

Metal Men #2
Although it's got some cute touches, this is the last issue of this series that I'll be reading. I have no idea what's supposed to be happening in this book. None. Whatsoever. I don't understand. It's filled with words, sure, but the particular order in which they are strung together doesn't really make a hell of a lot of sense. Sure, the phrase "Death Metal Men" is really cute. But it doesn't mean anything. Sure, it's nice to see L-Ron. Unfortunately, he's being played against type. Why is he a villain? Where are his snarky remarks? Sure, it's cute when the Metal Men show up to give us chemistry lessons. But it doesn't help the story. Whatever. This issue is a load of dren. CRAP.

Exiles #98

Exiles #98
As usual, this issue is no good. The art by Ronan Cliquet is so jam packed with strange perspectives, and the story by Chris Claremont is, well, just so incredibly sucky. This story is entirely forced. Seriously, it makes no sense. Not that it has since Claremont took over this title. Unfortunately, the longer he stays on this title, the worse it gets, and the closer it comes, I fear, to cancellation. Does anybody think this is good anymore? The only good part of this issue is its cover by Tomm Coker which features Spider-Man 2099 in place of the classic pose of Spider-Man mourning the death of Gwen Stacy. The cover is cool. The story and interior artwork is CRAP. And why is Thunderbird running around again? And wasn't he dead? Whatever.
As an additional note, apparently the fact that since returning to comics Claremont's work has gotten worse and worse has been noted editorially. He's officially been booted from New Excalibur, following the next issue. Please, Marvel! Do the same for Exiles!

Action Comics #855

Action Comics #855
What in the hell was that? This issue made even less sense than when Jeph Loeb was writing Bizarro. And that story was pretty Bizarre. And pretty stupid. What the hell is this? ASS CRAP.

Monday, September 03, 2007

This has to suck.

Reeves? What were they thinking? "Klaatu barada whoa!"

Reeves To Stand Still

Twentieth Century Fox has set Keanu Reeves to star in The Day the Earth Stood Still, its re-imagining of the 1951 Robert Wise-directed SF classic movie, Variety reported.

Reeves committed over the weekend to play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily armed robot and a warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar.

Erwin Stoff is producing, with Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directing from a script by David Scarpa. Reeves' commitment puts the picture on track for a late fall or early 2008 production start.

The Klaatu role was originated by Michael Rennie. The 1951 film's premise, a response to the rise of the Cold War after World War II, is being updated, and the film will use advances in visual effects.

It also returns the Matrix star to his strong suit in the SF realm.

Also from SciFi News...

Heroes Mockumentary Online

A mock documentary, Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint, which gives the fictional backstory of a historical character on NBC's Heroes, has begun streaming on the Yamagato Fellowship Web site, a fake site set up to promote the hit show.

Narrated by John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), the series unfolds in three- to four-minute installments and follows the swordsman as he takes on a number of Herculean labors in order to find and slay White Beard, a Genghis Khan wannabe who is trying to conquer Japan, TV Guide reported. The stories are the same as those told to Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) as a child by his father, the powerful Kaito Nakamura (George Takei).

In the upcoming second season of Heroes, Kensei will be played by former Alias star David Anders; the fact that he is decidedly not Japanese will reportedly be explained early on. Heroes returns at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Sept. 24. (NBC is owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.)

Yet another Comic Book film...

Shazam! Will Mix Action, Comedy (from SciFi News)

John August, who is writing the script for the upcoming Shazam! movie, told the MTV Movie Blog that the DC Comics adaptation will be an action comedy. Shazam! is "very different" from all "the other flying-people-in-tights movies," August told the site. "It's not Spider-Man plus jokes. There's really good comic potential there."

The movie is based on the venerable comic series about 13-year-old Billy Batson, who turns into an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, when he utters the magic word "Shazam." August is just about finished with his draft of the screenplay, he said.

"I knew what I was getting into," August said. "In a sense, even with a character that doesn't have the giant spotlight on him like Superman or Batman, there's a tremendously loyal fanbase who have very clear expectations about what they think a Captain Marvel movie should be. What people tend to really forget is that I'm just pushing words around on paper and doing the best job I can. But it's weird that there's such a spotlight on a movie that's just now 119 pages of 12-point Courier."

This is going to be SO good!

Yahoo! Movies has posted the first theatrical trailer for Stephen King's The Mist, director Frank Darabont's latest adaptation of one of the horrormeister's stories.

The Mist stars Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, Amin Act Joseph and Toby Jones in a movie about residents of a small Maine town who find themselves trapped in a supermarket when a mysterious storm envelops the village in a cloud of mist that holds horrific, otherworldly creatures. The Mist opens Nov. 21.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Countdown to Adventure #1

Countdown to Adventure #1
I didn't expect to enjoy this at all. What with the fact that it's basically a spinoff of the CRAPtacular Countdown, which is a spinoff of 52 which is a spinoff of Infinite Crisis which is a spinoff of DC Countdown which is a spinoff of Identity Crisis which occurs following Zero Hour which is essentially the parent story for Infinite Crisis and a spinoff of Crisis on Infinite Earths which is a spinoff of all the old JLA/JSA teamups, well, I wasn't expecting good things. Is it just me, or does it seem that most of the current crop of DC books are mired in stupid crossovers lately?
That said, this is actually really GOOD.

The main story by Adam Beechen is essentially two smaller stories, one for each of the active principles in 52's outer space adventure. Firestar spends most of the issue sleeping it off in Buddy's house, so she doesn't really have much story yet, but it's actually looking pretty good. Ellen Baker is upset because Buddy has his beautiful, exotic, superpowered alien princess coworker sleeping in their spare bedroom, and seems to be extremely good friends with her when she finally wakes up. Buddy is currently making a living as a stuntman, his son is going through puberty, his wife is anxious because she basically hadn't seen her husband for a year - and then he returned home with a hot alien chick in tow, who prefers to sleep in the nude. Sure, it's not like it's immediately relatable, but what married coouple hasn't experienced some tension when a spouse's friends of the opposite sex seem to be getting to close for comfort?
Actually, upon consideration of the Animal Man and Koriand'r plot, and talking it over with my wife, I'm convinced that this story is actually VERY GOOD.

Then there's an interesting backup story by Justin Gray which essentially details the origin of the Forerunners. It's not particularly interesting, but it's extremely well-told, which I believe makes all the difference between eh and OKAY, which is what I'm ranking it at. What's really sad is that one backup strip did more for Forerunner's character than all her appearances in Countdown combined. In fact, you could, like I have, completely ignore any of her appearances in Countdown, and still understand this story. It's a credit to Justin Gray, and simultaneously shows just how bad the writing on Countdown is - that it couldn't even provide a decent backstory for a character it introduced, and instead has had her wandering around doing, um, something.
I'm not too keen on Captain Atom as Monarch, since really, that's the story that never happened, but as long as he remains on the side of angels, I can deal with it. It'd have been better if they could've come up with a different name and costume as opposed to recycling an old one, but no matter, he's an entirely different character. Until, that is, some new writer makes the mistake of not being able to differentiate between the two Monarchs. And then I'll get very pissed. But for now, I can deal with it.

It occurs to me that I'm skipping any discussion of the Adam Strange story, so here it is in brief: on Rann, Adam Strange has always been a hero who stood out of the crowd. It's obvious to him though, and to those who know and love him, that on Earth he would be just another hero. So imagine his chagrin when he discovers that his father-in-law has recruited a brash young man as a replacement for him in the role of Rann's protector. Imagine even more, when it becomes clear to him that this young man is all about brawn, with no brains whatsoever. See, if you've read any of the old DC Archives Adam Strange books, you'll note that what set his adventures apart from those of other heroes was the way that many of the problems he solved were done so through use of his intellect, as opposed to the use of brute force. So you can see the about face being done here.
Even worse, the Rannians strip Adam of his uniform and jetpack so ungraciously and humiliatingly. What is a man to do?
It sucks. And you can identify with this story as well. Many people have gone through the trial of being replaced by a younger model, and Adam Strange acts as a representative of all those people who have suffered similar indignities. His story is VERY GOOD as well.