Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Full review of a few comics (11/30/10)

From now on, I'll give my short reviews on twitter, but I will also give full reviews of everything I read. Like on twitter, some will be late as I have subscriptions through the mail. Here are the first of the full reviews:

Avengers #7: Wow, Marvel wasn't kidding when they said ever arc of this series was going to matter. Nothing like the Hood getting his hands on two Infinity Gems. I would have liked to know how he got out of jail and one billion dollars, but I'll let it slide for now. Bendis cuts down on his usual dialogue of pop culture things, but Thor's dialogue seems a little to Norse for it's own good. Fraction is doing fine without it in "Thor." The Red Hulk doesn't really join the Avengers in this issue though. He just so happens to be thrown into Avengers tower. I can see Spidey making a joke about how everything seems to fall in their lap eventually.

John Romita JR. has been doing a stand up job on "Avengers," while a different person on colors and inks might be needed. His pencils are great as usual, but need to accented like they were back during his run on "Amazing Spider-Man" with JMS. They popped off the page and were beautiful. I wish Klaus Janson and Dean White would finish an issue as well.

Avengers #7 gets a 4/5

Deadpool #29: Yeah, there are a lot of Deadpool books, but that doesn't mean you should read one. The main book, "Deadpool," is easily the best and funniest of the bunch. While "Deadpool" was a tad sub par while in Las Vegas, Daniel Way seems to be back on track with the recent arc. Way is getting a run for his money as best writer for Deadpool with Rick Remender over on "Uncanny X-Force," but issues like this show he is still the king of Deadpool. It was nice to see Deadpool's past come back in the form of Doctor Bong. While having Deadpool fight vampires next seems a little unoriginal considering the "Curse of the Mutants" mini-event is about to finish, I'll give it a shot. The Merc with a Mouth will no doubt make numerous "Twilight" jokes.

Carlos Barberi does his usual this month. Nothing spectacular, but nothing wrong either. The only complaint I have, and this is more of a style choice, is how Barberi draws women. He has his moments where they look great, but then they look suddenly misshapen. He has gotten a lot better at being consistent for male figures though

Deadpool #29 gets a 5/5.

Fantastic Four #585: Jonathan Hickman is writing his heart out with his run on "Fantastic Four." I'm sad that it's over half way over. With #585, we continue with the saga that will kill off one of the family members. While at the present time, it looks like Ben or Reed will be getting killed, it is really up in the air. Namor makes a bold move that I hope will reverberate into "Uncanny X-Men" and "Namor: The First Mutant." The quick emotional scene between Johnny and Ben was perfectly written and I see that conversation to come up again or be an intricate plot latter on in the arc or the book itself. Did need a bit of knowledge of back history with the Fantastic Four that I did not have. Had to wikipedia what Reed was talking about, but not that big of a deal. Would have appreciated an editors note so I could have found the info faster, but I'm not going to go nuts about that.

Steve Epting is one of those artists who can draw whatever you tell him too. His pencils aren't as good as they were when he was on "Captain America," but they are still damn good. His style fits the mood of the book, although a different penciler with brighter atmosphere should take over after "Three." Or he could stay around with the family while they grieve.

Fantastic Four #585 gets a 4/5

Saturday, November 27, 2010

No Oridnary Family

With the recent news that Marvel will be producing three new TV shows based on Marvel characters, some are forgetting there is already a great show on TV about super heroes...."No Ordinary Family."

If you ever wondered what a real life Fantastic Four would be like, the show perfectly shows how it would work. It seems like the producers looked at the Fantastic family and tried to ground them even more. While the how they got their powers was a tad out there, everything else has worked perfectly. It's fun to see the family not only use their powers for good, but in unique ways that isn't just busting muggings. While the mother, Stephanie Powell (Julie Benz), seems like a Flash copy, she is using her brains to help the family. Jim (Michael Chiklis) is acting like the Thing and doing traditional superhero work. The son JJ (Jimmy Bennett) is using his superior brain to tutor kids who are having trouble in math. While the daughter Daphne (Kay Panabaker) has used her powers to catch a home invader, she is mostly using her powers for personal gain. While clearly not right, it's good to see both sides of using your powers for personal gain while everyone else is using their to help others.

The big conspiracy that is taking place hasn't been laid out yet, so it's mostly about the family. Hopefully the show will get a real chance unlike "Heroes," which crapped out after one season.

Thankfully the producers have looked to comic book writers for help when making the show. Marc Guggenheim ("Amazing Spider-Man"," Wolverine") has been a supervisor and has written an episode.

Like any good piece of media that involves people going through life with powers, there have been some social commentary. The most blatant of this is JJ's problem with his teacher who thinks he is cheating. As someone who is learning to become a teacher, it's interesting to see the commentary on teachers not caring for the students as they should or listening to them. I commend the actor who has been the annoying teacher, as he has really made it easy to hate him, which is his job on the show.

Final note, watch the show. It's a great show that comic book fans and non comic book fans can love

Monday, November 22, 2010

Keeping up with digital comics

So I am the person who has whole heartily embraced digital comics. I buy them quite often on the Marvel and ComiXology app and occasionally on the DC app. It's been good to discover and catch up on comics like "The Walking Dead" and "Captain Britain and MI13."

But unlike Marvel and ComiXology, DC can't seem to keep their store updated. While they do release new comics every Wednesday, their free section is atrocious. Marvel releases a lot of free comics and it's a great way to give series a chance if you are on the border. DC just gives 10 page previews and one page recaps for characters. The app also crashes 9 times out of 10 when opening it on my iPhone 3G. I have yet to talk to a person who has the app on their iPhone 4 to test out how good the app works. I know ComiXology crashes just as often, but at least they have a lot of good stuff. It may be that I have a slightly older phone, but come on. It gets to the point sometimes where I just want to delete the app. I have also not used the apps on the iPad

Friday, November 19, 2010

Different Types of Comic Book Readers

We are having some technical difficulties with the opinions section of The Suffolk Voice, so I won't keep my loyal readers waiting. Here is this weeks column:

After a few weeks of straight reporting and being opinionated, it’s time for some levity. We all ready comic books differently. Some like to spoil the ending for the ending, some like to keep everything a suspense until the reach the end. And some are jerks and scan pages and post them on the internet. Here are the categories:

The Purist

This person never EVER jumps up a page. No matter how tantalizing the scenario gets, they can never jump ahead one panel to see what happens. This person will also buy issues and not read them if continuity will be messed up by them reading that issue. Fun to dangle the ending in front of them. Easy to blackmail.

The Observes the High Holidays

This reader is mostly “The Purist” but decides to skip ahead a panel or page when they just can’t help it anymore, like in the final issue of an event. Won’t give away the ending, but might hint at it to tease “The Purist.”

The Accidental Jerk

Person who talks about an event recently after, but thinks it has been long enough that he can talk about big changes when not everyone has necessarily read the arc. Doesn’t mean to be a jerk, but dislocate his knee just to be safe, so he/she learns their lesson.

The A-Hole

I despise this person. This is the person that scans the final few pages of a big comic and posts them on the internet without warning. There is a special spot in hell reserved for them......with child molesters and people who talk at the movie theater. Have any one from the other categories read that thread and watch hilarity/insanity ensue.

Movie Time

“The Walking Dead” is tearing up the ratings for AMC (or should I say noming.....) and has been renewed for a second season

A photo of a HYRDA tank appeared, which will be in “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Thank you British comic book fans for being so diligent.

Martin Sheen will be playing Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man reboot. Sally Field will be playing Aunt May. Looks like Sony is going to the way of the Ultimate Universe.

Speaking of Spider-Man, the musical based on the wall-crawler has been postponed till next year.

There will be no “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD” in the new Superman movie. Zach Snyder says Zod is not the villain.

Disney has hired the writers of “Zombieland,” Paul Wemick and Rhett Reese, to write a screenplay of the Image comics series “Cowboy Ninja Viking.”

Trade/Series for Newcomers

It’s one of Marvel’s biggest series, but right now is a great jumping on point. “Amazing Spider-Man” is ending the Brand New Day, 3x a month thing and going to Big Time. It looks to have Peter Parker finally have some good luck. The title will be released twice a month.

Highlights for 11/17

-Batman Incorporated #1: Grant Morrison’s new ongoing for the Bat, it looks to franchise the Batman and Robin archetype

-The Flash #6: With the big Flash-centric event “Flashpoint” coming up, it would be good to start reading. It also helps it’s one of DC’s best ongoings.

-Deadpool MAX #2: The first issue was so vulgar, I can’t describe it without getting censored. It’s the type of book Deadpool was born for, so pick it up.

-Thunderbolts #150: Crossbones vs Steve Rogers? Ghost vs Iron Man? Holy crap, I can’ wait to get this issue. Lots of grudges will be brought up and look for a big battle

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Superman: Earth One Review

J. Michael Straczynski is one of those great comic book writers who, upon seeing his name, gives the average comic book buyer a reason to buy the book. The guy has had a knack in recent years of imagining characters or making drastic overhauls with the continuity, while still keeping the original feel for the character. This has never been more evident with his recent original graphic novel "Superman: Earth One."

The story starts off with Clark leaving Smallville after the passing of Pa Kent. Clark applies to a good amount of jobs, with all of them wanting to hire Clark. His last stop for employment is the Daily Planet, where we meet Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson. After applying to all the numerous jobs, Clark flies back to Smallville and talks to his fathers grave about what he should do with his life.

Straczynski gives a refreshing take on Superman, while still keeping some of the aspects of the main continuity and Richard Donner movies. The beginning with Clark taking the train into Metropolis is a nice touch that mirrors his current "Grounded" arc in the Superman ongoing. What was a little disappointing was the lack of development of Lois and Jimmy. While this may be reserved for future volumes, Lois blends to much into the background for how important of a character she is destined to be. Jimmy gets more time than Lois, as the fearless photographer who won't back down in the face of the villain. Speaking of the villain, the guy looks menacing. But after that, the guy doesn't seem that much like a threat. He doesn't seem like that much of a villain on par with Superman. While he may come back and be more menacing, he is easily the weakest point of "Superman: Earth One."

The ending is also a refreshing take on the Superman mythos. Without giving away any plot points, it's an angle that should have been explored a while ago for the character.

Shane Davis does a stand up job pencaling the novel. There are a few points where the panel angles get a little muddy. Same with the panel transitions during the final battle.

Overall, "Superman: Earth One" is a great re-imagining of Superman, and I look forward to future volumes.

"Superman: Earth One" gets a 4/5

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Changes in the number of books

New column is up. I talk about the decrease in books at Marvel: http://www.thesuffolkvoice.net/opinion/changes-in-the-marvel-universe-1.1750136

Women in Comics

So this originated from an inebriated conversation from my girlfriend and her room mate and her boyfriend. What is the role of women in comics? Or to be specific, what is the role of feminism in comics?

I'm going to admit right away that this is a topic that could have a dissertation written about it. The role of women in comics is debated often and the topic can take many different routes dependent on what your views on the role of women are. I'm hoping if your reading this your sounding off in my comments section below this column as it is a topic that needs input.

Whats the main demographic of comic books? That's right, men are the main demographic. So naturally, all women should be big breasted and have huge asses. Well, as much as I love that, it's not true. I'm going to use Ms. Marvel as the main example of my argument, as I personally think she is the best example of feminism in comics in today's market.

Looking in past arcs, Ms. Marvel has been a strong character. She is one that many of the male characters look up to and hope they can be a hero like. Even when showing her feminine side, like when dating Spider-Man, she showed that she is comfortable in her own skin while showing she is a woman. While weird to the normal comic buying public, it was amazing to read the man be the weaker person. While many people are use to seeing Peter Parker like this in general, it was refreshing to see the man be uncomfortable while the woman plays the cooler head. The only way this could get better is if the person writing the scripts was a woman (Gail Simone anyone?). Men (besides Joss Whedon and occasionally Brian Reed) have a problem writing strong women. Even if Brian Michael Bendis tries to focus an issue on a woman, there is still some occasional stereotypical woman dialogue that undermines what is going on. Now don't get me wrong, Bendis is one of my favorite current writers and helps the feminist movement in comics, just not as much as he could. I sight the Spider-Woman ongoing as my example. Although he has shown growth in his "Scarlet" creator owned ongoing.

If I'm trying to give advice to comic book writers, make sure to acknowledge women as just as important as men while showcasing their differences. That's feminism as it's best.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take a number and your favorite comic will be released when your called

Ok, so I know the title is kinda lame, but I couldn't think of anything funnier. I was recently looking through the solicits of DC and Marvel as I do, and I noticed a real problem with DC ones compared to Marvel. DC can not stay on schedule to save their lives.

Marvel isn't without blame. Need I bring up "Captain America: Reborn"? I think not. But why isn't anyone going batty (hehe, I went there) when it comes to the scheduling sin that DC is doing with "Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne." Due to the massive delays of "Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne" and "Batman & Robin," the story of how Bruce is getting back has been completely messed up. I know many people who will wait to read #16 before the final issue of the miniseries gets released, but DC should still fix this. Thankfully with Captain America, Steve Rogers only appeared in one or two comics. The whole Bruce thing has had him appear in two issues of "Batman & Robin" and had a slew of one-shots dedicated to him. Crappy one-shots at that

Speaking of delays, "Batman: The Dark Knight" is already being delayed. It's suppose to be a montly comic, so why the delay? Wasn't David Finch given a head start? I don't mind if it's going to be a bimonthly, but at least give the readership something to go on. "S.H.I.E.L.D." has never lied to be a monthly, and neither has "Ultimate X," two great ongoings at Marvel. I don't mind if books are going to be bimonthly, just let the buyers know so we can expect how to be spending our money.