Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Uncanny X-Men #2 (Vol. 3)

Uncanny X-Men #1 is in the books so let’s take a look at Uncanny X-Men #2. I was going to do this a little later and maybe throw in some non-comic book related posts first but I realized that my 250th blog is coming in within the next four posts and I needed to pump out something ASAP. So this post then another review of…“something” and then a two part blog to coincide with the 250th post.

Anyway like the previous title Uncanny X-Men #2 is written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Chris Bachalo. The last issue was a pretty enjoyable read and a good attention grabber. Can the book keep that going here?

Full review after the jump.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Uncanny X-Men #1 (Vol. 3)

It took me a while to get my hands on the new Uncanny X-Men #1 written by Brian Michael Bendis and artwork by Chris Bachalo. It contains the further adventures of Cyclops and what’s left of his inner circle following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. I’m a little behind on this but I’ll be playing catch-up over the next few weeks. Now it’s important to note that you need to have at least a basic knowledge of what exactly happened during the AvX crossover but since I covered that series extensively last year I don’t want to go too in-depth with it here. However if you don’t want to shuffle through twelve reviews I’ll summarize as brief as I can:

The Phoenix Force came back to Earth to possess Hope Summers. Cyclops believed Hope could use it to restore mutantkind (99% of mutants lost their powers previously) but Captain America believed it might destroy the planet and their two teams clashed. Eventually Iron Man accidentally split the Phoenix into five parts which possessed Cyclops and his inner circle who used their new-found godhood to make fix all the world’s problem. Eventually the Avengers (and even the X-Men) kept picking off the group until Cyclops, now fully possessed by the Phoenix, basically went insane and killed Prossefor X. He was defeated, Hope gained the Phoenix Force and used it to restore mutantkind...just as Cyclops said would happen from the beginning. For his crimes Cyclops was imprisoned.

And I'm happy to debate with anyone who disagrees
I haven’t kept up with Marvel following the crossover and unfortunately this book does a piss poor job of explaining what happened between then and now so I had to do research. Basically Cyclops was content to stay in prison for the rest of his life and pay for the death of his mentor until a fellow mutant inmate was murdered. This convinced him to have his still at large Extinction Team break him out of prison where he then became the public face of a new mutant revolution. He decides to take his team to find and train the new mutants emerging in the world all while being on the run from SHIELD. Man, this is a lot backstory for one issue. I think we found out first Con and we haven’t even started the goddamn review yet.

One last thing before we get into it: I hate this trend of publishers restarting the numbering of classic comics. This is the second time in two years that Marvel has canceled Uncanny X-Men and re-started with a new numbering and from a historic perspective it really, really makes me sad. Marvel does this kind of thing all the time as does DC (DCnU, anyone?) and it always seems to be a ploy to bring in these elusive and possibly imaginary “new readers” who would be put off the higher number. But I, and many other people, would love to see one of these decades old books naturally reach #1000 but it seems that the people who are making the comics (or at least publishing them) don’t share the sentiment. It’s just a bummer.

Enough of this “Intro” stuff; full review after the jump.

[WARNING: This review spoils the final twist of this issue. However since this issue came out some time ago it's should be public knowledge by now. Still, avoid if you don't want it spoiled.]

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

So here we are again with another film based on a fairy tale/storybook directed by someone who is famous for directing superhero films. In this case it’s Oz the Great and Powerful, which is of course derived from The Wonderful World of Oz (and The Land of Oz books in general) by L. Frank Baum and is directed by Sam Rami who is probably best known for his Spider-Man film trilogy. So this film, by default, is pretty much something of a companion piece to Jack the Giant Slayer but this film is also obviously Disney’s follow-up to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Now since I didn’t like Jack the Giant Slayer and was pretty “Take it or Leave it” with Alice in Wonderland I’m a bit cautious going into this film.

It’s important to note that this flick is NOT a prequel to the Wonderful World of Oz like interviews have suggested and instead it’s clearly a prequel to the MGM Wizard of Oz film from 1939. Now I’m pretty sure they can’t legally admit this but the references and homages suggest that it is. Add the fact that Glinda the Good Witch seems to again be an amalgamation of the Good Witches of the North and South (though that can be debated) and the fact the munchkins are played by little people like in the MGM film it’s pretty clear they were far more connected to that classic movie than the original novel. Is this a problem? Well if you’re a huge fan of the books it will probably be annoying but if you’re one of those folk who didn’t even know there was more than one book and are more familiar with movie anyway then I doubt you’ll care. For this review we’ll try to judge it on its merits as a standalone film.

Also, before I forget, this movie is not Wicked (the book or the stage play). This is something that I think way too many people were confused by (possibly because they didn’t read the book or see the play). It’s a prequel, yes, but it’s a completely different story than Wicked. For example the Wizard in this film is just an asshole as opposed to the genocidal dictator he was kind of portrayed in the musical. A slight difference.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some minor spoilers in this review.]

Monday, March 18, 2013

Anime Review: Needless

So funny story (but not so much funny “haha”): I was watching an anime called Chrome Shelled Regios on Netflix a few months back that I was fully intending to review for the blog so I can get more of that sweet, sweet anime fandom traffic on the blog. It wasn’t exactly a great show, and I had a hell of a lot of stuff to say about it, but it was pretty decent. Then out of nowhere Neflix removed something like thirty-five anime titles off their online streaming service. Why? I have no goddamn clue, but as a result I suddenly didn’t have access to the show I was watching despite being in the last five episodes of the series. To make matters worse I tried to rent the DVD from Netflix’s mail service but they didn’t have the last DVD of the series, the only DVD I needed, in stock (they had the rest of the series though). You f**ked me, Netflix.

So Chrome Shelled Regios was off the table, as was the vast majority of the shows I was planning on getting around to at some point. But as luck would have it I came across Needless. In fact I actually started watching Chrome Shelled Regios on accident because I thought I was watching Needless (I got their cover art mixed up). So maybe I got f**ked but, at the time, I figured it would all work out the way it was meant to.

We’ll get to how well that worked out in just a minute.

In any event Needless is based on a manga by Kami Imai. It was adapted into an anime by Madhouse in 2009 and licensed for North America in 2011 by our pals at Sentai Filmworks. Like most of the anime I review I knew pretty much nothing about this show going into it. It’s been referred to as “s-CRY-ed meets Gurren Lagann” and those are two of my favorite anime ever. That’s a good sign, right? Right? Hello?

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some spoilers in this review so read at your own risk]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

If you follow me on Twitter than you know that I tend to talk (i.e. “snark”) a lot about the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, the next film in the disjointed X-Men film series. There’s a lot of opinions on the various news that flow around on the internet but the one that everyone seems to agree is very good news in that Bryan Singer is returning to direct…except me. I’m not saying I don’t want him back but I feel that a lot of fans are assuming he’s still the man for the job fourteen years after he first took the spot. I don’t know that he isn’t but I do know I’m pretty bitter about Superman Returns, the film Singer originally passed up X-Men 3 for…and also the movie wasn’t great….or even all that good. If only I had some reassurance that Singer is still a great director?

Which brings us to Jack the Giant Slayer. If I recall correctly Singer was tapped to direct X-Men: First Class but handed the reins to Mathew Vaughn so he could concentrate on this film. This is probably obvious but this flick is based on the classic story Jack and the Beanstalk. Much like Snow White and the Huntsman (and to a lesser extent Alice in Wonderland) it’s another movie in this trend of reimagining classic storybook tales as films with modern sensibilities (i.e. as Lord of the Rings). A lot of people think this trend is really stupid but I’m willing to give the films a shot. Really, who cares where the idea came from if the film is good. But is Jack the Giant Slayer actually “good”?

Find out after the jump.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kickstarter Weeknds: Sweethearts of the Galaxy, Warhawks, This is Normal

It’s been a short while since our last Kickstarter Weekend. I ended up sacrificing February due to having spent a week in Chicago hanging out with my best friends and a fear of breaking up the flow of my Black Superheroes write-ups. Which, believe me, really sucks because I ended up missing a ton of awesome projects during that time. But we’re back and we have a few new Kickstarter projects and, for the first time ever, an Indiegogo project. I haven’t looked into an Indiegogo project on this blog before, mainly because I spend way, way more time browsing Kickstarter, but today it’s a special project that I feel I absolutely need to share. Who knows: maybe if I keep coming across non-Kickstarter crowd funding projects I’ll have to re-name this segment “Crowd Funding Weekends”. But it’s not as catchy.

Anyway before we check out the new projects we need to look back and see how the previous efforts did.

Nightwing the Series: Funding Successful!

Final Earnings: $34,495 ($20,000 Goal)

Last time we talked crowd funding Ismahawk’s fan film project was still active. I can now report that they managed to succeed…which isn’t surprising, they’d had met the goal well before the deadline. I love Nightwing and I can’t wait to check this film when it’s finished.

TOY by Kawehi: Funding Succesful!

Final Earnings: $9,448 ($3,000 Goal)

Once again Kawehi Wight successfully utilized Kickstarter to its fullest potential. She gave me props for helping her out but I can promise you I wasn’t totally star struck or anything…okay, that’s a lie, I’m pretty sure I made a fool of myself but that’s cool.

On a personal note I’d like to point out that I’ve become obsessed with her previous album VOX and Kawehi in general has greatly inspired me lately to try harder with my own music career. Maybe one day we’ll share a stage (where I anticipate I’d then make a fool of myself…again).

Enter the Bluebird: Funding Successful!

Final Earnings: $3,715 ($3,000 Goal)

A win for Young Adult Novels everywhere it appears that the "Superhero Noir" themed book is now on its way, having gotten the cash it needed. Happily Brendan Halpin thanked me for helping spread the word and now we’re totally following each other on Twitter…I think; I actually still don’t know how Twitter works.

So unlike last time every project went made their goal, which is col as it’s always nice to see people succeed. But it’s time to on to the next round.

Three new projects after the jump.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bandora Music Video

I'm well aware that a lot of readers on this blog aren't really all that interested in my music, judging by the lack of response.  But even so I'm compelled to share this anyway. So about a year ago my band, Zombie Apocalypse NOW!, released an EP called "Bandora's Box" and the best received track was "Bandora" a song I wrote about the Green Ranger and Rita Repulsa. Yeah, from Power Rangers. Did I mention I'm a nerd?

Anyway I always thought it'd be neat if a music video for Bandora using footage from Power Rangers was made and a shot while ago the put my extremely amateur editing skills to the task and did just that. I don't know, maybe with some visuals to go along with the music it will make it a little more appealing. We'll see.

If you like the music (and the video too I guess) please do my a favor and share it with your friends/family/co-workers/strangers.