Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beta Vs. DC Reboot: Part Two

Batman: Back to the Well #1
The New DC Universe starts today.  Regardless of mine or anyone’s feelings this is happening and it will affect the state of DC Comics for the foreseeable future possibly for the better, possibly for the worse.   I’m sure by the end of the year we’ll know have a better idea which way things are leaning.  Yesterday I ran through about half of the upcoming DC titles.  Today we’ll look at the other half.

I will mention one thing before I get into it.  It has been announced (Via Twitter? Groan) that Stephanie Brown will be appearing in the New DCU as The Spoiler.  We already knew her tenure of Batgirl is over but I assumed she was going on the shelf along several other characters DC can’t seem to decide where they fit into all of this.  I’m torn on this. As you may recall I love The Spoiler but I was warming up to Steph as Batgirl. I think I’ll be happy that she’ll be around but I’d be lot happier if she was starring in an ongoing feature.  How about a Black Bat/Spoiler team up book?  I’d buy the hell out of that.

Still no answers about whether she was ever Robin or even Batgirl in this new universe.  Oh well, we’ll see soon enough.

More Reboot Titles after the jump.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beta Vs. DC Reboot: Part One

Because fans have been demanding a low-powered, t-shirt wearing Supeman for years
So back in June I first brought up the 2011 DC Reboot.  It had only recently been announced, there were a lot of questions and a lot of hot emotions flying around that had to be reined in due to the risk of making knee jerk reactions.   But it’s been a few months now and I know a lot more about what DC has in store for us and a lot of questions have been answered.  Right now I feel I have a much better grasp of everything and that I can give a more thought out opinion on the matter. *Ahem*

Goddamn it all to hell!

Look, there are a lot of positives about the reboot.  And it is indeed a reboot.  We now know that this is a new universe with a new continuity where superheroes have only existed five years at most (That’s not one of the good things).  Titles in general will indeed be more accessible for “new readers”; this being a new universe, albeit one that shares similarities to the one that it’s replacement, that is basically starting from scratch could in theory bring in a whole new generation of readers.   Characters that didn’t have ongoing titles will be receiving them shortly and several of them are black which is damn cool.  I’ve also changed my tune about WildStorm being incorporated into the universe.  The way I see it (Now) a lot of story possibilities are opened up if these characters are part of this new universe, and there’s something kind of neat about books like WildC.A.T.s or Gen¹³ being a part of the DCU proper.  Plus if comic book characters like Captain Atom, Plastic Man, The Question, Static and, of course, Captain Marvel can be incorporated into DC’s main continuity then why not Jenny Quantum?

Despite all this I still feel like the cons outweigh the pros.  With this change I still feel like DC is telling me “We don’t really care about your business, so stay if you like but we won’t miss you if you leave.”  Still it’s impossible to really say too much about all this because even if a lot of the ideas on paper look incredibly stupid and insulting in practice DC may come out with a lot of winners writing wise.  After all they do have a lot of talented guys (And mostly guys, sadly) working on these books so there could be great stories being written and technically that’s the most important thing.

In a possible futile gesture to give DC a chance to keep me from turning my back on them and becoming Marvel exclusive I’ve decided to check out a number of these books.  And since I have a blog where I review stuff I figure I might as well write up what I thought about them.  Starting this week DC will release Justice League #1 and as I understand it will take place in the past, unlike most of the other comics coming out.  As I look at the list of comics I know for sure I’m not going to buy them all as most of them I’m not all that interested in.  Some of those I won’t be reading for political reasons.  But there are a few that I am super interested in buying, possibly thousands of times over.  So let’s take look at where I stand with these individual books.

More after the jump.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Fright Night (2011)

Full disclosure, guys: I don’t give a crap about Fright Night.  Why would I, really?  I never even heard of the original until a few months ago and frankly I had no interest in watching a vampire movie.   Sure I’ve said on this blog that vampires are basically really cool and I continue to stand by that statement today but I don’t really have any love for the current portrayal of vampires in Hollywood (Thanks a lot Twilight) nor do I appreciate the sheer number of vampire films they constantly make (Again, thanks a lot Twilight).  I wasn’t planning on watching it but The Lady insisted we go because of one reason and one reason only: David Tenant.  Who is David Tennant you ask?  Let me answer your question with a question: does it make you feel like a big man since you’re obviously not a nerd?  How’d that NFL lockout work out for you?  FOOTBALL!

Anyway David Tennant plays the main character, The Doctor, on the extremely popular and long running British television program Doctor Who.  Specifically he played “The Tenth Doctor” (We’re not getting into it today, folks) for about five years which made him the most well known person to play the role for the younger generation of fans (Though Tom Baker, aka “The Fourth Doctor”, is still the most well known for older fans certainly). As such I imagine that many fans of that show checked out this movie due to their love of that actor.   Fair enough.  As a Star Trek fan I can’t but notice that “New ChekovAnton Yelchin stars in this film. So from the point of view of a huge nerd, such as me, this film boils down to The Doctor, drunk and down on his luck, recruiting Chekov to be his new companion as they battle a vampire horde running loose in Las Vegas.  There are a lot of worse plots than that, my friends.

So this film was directed by Craig Gillespie who I guess also directed Lars and the Real Girl, a very different kind of movie.  The screenplay was written by Marti Noxon who was one of the main writers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which does kind of explain a lot.  Fright Night is a remake, I should mention, of a 1985 film adding further evidence that Hollywood is incapable of coming up with new ideas.  Seriously, how close to the bottom of the creative barrel do you have to be to remake cult films from the 80s?   What’s next?  Howard the Duck 2012?  I never saw the original film so I have to take this one on its own merits rather than compare it to it’s predecessor.

Full review after the jump.

Friday, August 26, 2011

SMCS Companion Piece #18: Hey Arnold!

This past weekend on the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show we watched Hey Arnold!

As I’m sure most of us are aware Nickelodeon was once the place to watch cool and unique cartoons on basic cable.  Nicktoons, as they were and probably still are called, featured a wide variety of comedy shows that included the bizarre to the mundane…though mostly it was the bizarre.  The originals ones of course were Doug, Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy.  They were all pretty darn popular so it was inevitable that Nickelodeon would have to produce more shows.  In 1996, five years after the original Nicktoons were aired, Hey Arnold! premiered.  Despite its tendency to get a bit wacky, especially with gadgets and technology, Hey Arnold! was probably the most sane and down to earth animated show the channel had ever produced (And looking at the list of Nicktoons I’m not sure they’ve produced many sane cartoons since then either).

Arnold was originally a comic book character that was created in 1986 and has appeared in such publications as Simpsons Illustrated.   He was created by Craig Bartlett who pitched his character as a cartoons series to Nickelodeon in 1993 but the series wouldn’t air properly until 1996.  The show was a hit and lasted until 2004 although by then episodes had been extremely sporadic as the network had pretty much stopped giving a shit about the show or its fans by this point (SpongeBob Squarepants was in full force by then. Coincidence or something…sinister?).  Which is weird because supposedly they were gearing up for this series to be a giant franchise with spin-off shows and movies.  But that didn’t happen.  And, all things considered, Hey Arnold!, was one of the best cartoons Nickelodeon ever produced.  So how is it that the dream came crashing down.

More on Hey Arnold! after the jump.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Here we have a film that reunites beloved characters James Bond and Indiana Jones for the first time since their epic crossover Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the two battled Nazis.  In this time traveling sequel Jones and Bond are trapped in the 19th Century and must put aside their differences once more as they try to stop an alien invasion-

What’s that?  This isn’t a James Bond/Indiana Jones crossover?  And neither was The Last Crusade?  Huh.  That’s lame.

In reality Cowboys & Aliens is the latest Hollywood film based on a comic book no one has ever heard of.   Apparently the story behind this property is a long and possibly scandalous one full of gambles and big payoffs but to put it simply, as I understand it, the comic was originally just a name and loose concept by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg that he hoped to sell as a film property based on a “still in development graphic novel”.  When it didn’t immediately happen he went ahead and made the comic in 2006 where soon afterward it finally caught Hollywood’s attention.  Now I know that this isn’t the first time people in the comic book industry have created comics for the sole purpose of taking advantage of Hollywood’s unstoppable hunger for adaptations (Mark Millar supposedly did something similar with Kick-Ass) but at the end of the day I’m a bit annoyed by that trend.   I guess I just prefer the idea of comic books being written for comic book fans and/or art as opposed to comic books being written as bait for a high priced licensing deals.  Anyway this film is directed by Jon Favreau, the man behind Iron Man and more embarrassingly Iron Man 2.  It seems to be written by a ton of different dudes but the two names that stand out to me are Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the men who wrote the first two live-action Transformers fiascoes films and also the Star Trek reboot film form 2009.  However strangely it seems that this is more of a loose adaptation than anything else.   I never read the original comic but as I can see the flick takes a lot of liberties with its source material to the point where its strongest connection to the comics was that they both feature cowboys fighting an alien invasion.  Though technically only Harrison Ford’s character and his lot can really be considered cowboys since they were the only people in this film involved in the cattle business, but to be fair that’s the type of nitpicking that explains why I don’t get invited to parties very often.

It's basically this except with aliens and their ages reversed
 Full review after the jump.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #2

Before we get into the comic review today I’d like to discuss something I noticed this past week: promotional art for Uncanny X-Men #1 and Wolverine and the X-Men #1.  It’s one of those deals where Marvel releases a group shot of silhouettes and every once and a while a character is revealed.  As the first reveal for Wolverine’s team was Logan himself and the Uncanny team’s first reveal was of Emma Frost there are some people worried that this might imply Cyclops won’t survive Schism.   Now I haven’t seen any other promos as of this writing so I’m not sure that it’s the right time to make assumptions.  There have been some people on the internet making knee jerk reactions to this, angry at Marvel for killing of such an iconic character…despite the fact they haven’t done anything yet (Though I should mention there are a lot of people calling for Wolverine to murder Cyclops, to which I offer the rebuttal of “Piss Off”).  I’m trying not to be worried yet and instead wait and see how it goes, but it is true that Marvel Comics seems to love killing off characters for no really good reason lately.  Just ask Bucky who just got killed off despite only returning to comics six years ago.  I will say this: should the evolution of Cyclops’ character into the morally questionable douchebag who we’ve seen in recent years simply end with his being killed off I’m going to have to call “Bad Storytelling/Bullshit” on Marvel and might not bother buying Uncanny #1 in November as I planned.  We’ll see how the story unfolds.

Ominous sign or rabid fanboy fuel?
Anywho X-Men: Schism #2 again features Jason Aaron as writer but features a whole new art team in Frank Cho (Artist) and Jason Keith (Colorist). Strangely this comic came out a week (I think) after the last issue but for the rest of the series the issues should come out monthly. The cover I have to this issue prominently features Rogue but sadly in the issue itself she only appears on one panel which seems like false advertising to me. First strike for this comic and we haven’t even started.

Full review after the jump.

[Warning: Spoilers, most likely. Be warned.]

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #1

(For those of you who care The Lady, whom I've been spending lots of time with the past few months, has finally updated her blog. Go check it out. DO IT!!!)

As promised here’s the review of X-Men: Schism #1.  But before that I’d like to mention X-Men: Prelude to Schism, the supposed prologue leading up to the miniseries.  Now I did try to read this four issue series but frankly it was boring as shit and as far as I can tell didn’t really have anything to do with the forthcoming storyline.  It came off as one big suck-up to Cyclops and wasn’t all that intriguing or revealing.  Issue 1 was about Professor X reminiscing about Cyclops as a young man and how far he's come and issue #2 was Magneto retelling his origin again and this time he inwardly says how much Cyclops reminds him of his dead father who he greatly looked up to.  Really, Magneto?  Everything I read in those issues felt phony and forced and was a real chore and reading comics should never be a chore.  So I opted not to bother with the final two issues.

Anyway this comic was written by Jason Aaron, who has a lot of expience writing for Wolverine and will in fact be writing for Wolverine and the X-Men starting this fall.   It features art from Carlos Pacheco (Penciler), Cam Smith (Inker) and Frank D’Armata (Colorist).  Now as this is the first part of series we can’t judge too harshly but take in mind that often the first issue of a series sets the tone for the whole book.  Then again the first issue of Secret Invasion was awesome and then every issue after that was more terrible than the last.

Review after the jump.

[Warning: There will likely be full spoilers here, so be warned.]

Monday, August 8, 2011

X-Men: Civil War or Whatever

This bodes ill for Cyclops
As you well know by now I am a pretty big X-Men fan and have been for the majority of my life (And wrote approximately 10,000 blogs on the subject a few months ago).   However despite this I haven’t been able to get into the X-Men comic books in a few years; not since Joss Whedon left Astonishing X-Men.   It’s partly because I just didn’t get around to picking up X-Men titles but it’s mostly because I have not been interested in the darker direction the books have been taken for the most part since House of M and especially since Messiah Complex.  But now for the first time in years Marvel Comics has come out with an X-storyline that grabbed my attention.  Called “X-Men: Schism” the books is promised to feature a dramatic split in the X-Men where leader Cyclops and his second-in-command-by-proxy Wolverine will have a violent separation due to an as of yet unknown disagreement which will lead into two different X-Books: Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men (Oh for Christ sakes…).  Now this isn’t original storytelling; Marvel just did near the exact same storyline on a wider scale during the aftermath of Civil War.  It’s not like I’m impressed with the storyline but the promise of being able to read an X-Men title without the dreaded Wolverine is so appealing to me that I decided to give the series a chance.  The problem is that I’m so far gone from the X-Men titles that I barely recognize anyone in the them anymore, which sucks and is pretty embarrassing.  In any event I’ll be reading and reviewing all five issues of X-Men: Schism and possibly the issues of Generation Hope that I’m told tie-in to the main story.  

However X-Men books are fairly complex and this specific crossover is the result of storylines reaching back almost ten years.   So for those of you who don’t know anything about X-Men (And frankly I’m not that much better off) I’ll give a brief run down on what lead up to Cyclops and Wolverine finally ending their relationship.

Comic book nerdiness after the jump.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Anime Review: Spice and Wolf

So it took me forever to finish Spice and Wolf but it wasn’t because it was mind numbingly dull like El Cazador de la Bruja or anything like that.  It took me so long mainly because of lack of stability in my living situation and the fact that I’ve been hanging out with "The Lady" for a while now.  So in any event I’m trying to play catch up with the blog in general, but even more so with my anime watching schedule.  By the way I’m still having trouble getting through Suzuka.  Should I ever finish it might not be the most positive review.

Anyway Spice and Wolf is based on a popular light novel series that only just reached its conclusion this past month (And the first few volumes have amazingly been translated into English).  How many of these shows have I watched that turned out to be based on a light novel?  Forty-seven?  The anime was produced by Imagin, the studio also responsible for Eureka Seven, and aired in 2008.   It was licensed by FUNimation in late 2009.   In truth I have long since been aware of this show as FUNimtion trailers have been trying to trick me into watching it for a year but I finally decided to check it out since it was only thirteen episodes and I figured I could bang it out in a week (So much for that plan).  So the question is whether this show was worth all the time it took to get through it.

Full review after the jump.
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