Saturday, April 30, 2011

Venom #2 - Review

The Hunter Stalks the Symbiote!


This issue picks up in mid-action as Flash is stalked by Kraven The Hunter. His original mission to destroy a mine is side-tracked as Kraven stalks him relentlessly, thinking that he's the real Spider-Man. Kraven wants to be killed at the hands of his most powerful prey, and as long as Flash AKA Venom sports a spider on his chest, he's a moving target. He'll have to use his combined military training and the symbiote if he hopes to evade Kraven and finish his mission.

I was a little put off that the story just dropped me right in the middle of another mission, just like the first issue did, but it wasn't anything that ruined the book. It was fun to see a new spider character take on one of Spider-Man's old enemies, and to see how the symbiote would react when it's new host was in danger.

The relationship between Flash and the symbiote is one of the focal points of the story, as well as Flash's relationship with Betty Brant, his girlfriend. Since he can't tell her what he's doing for the government, or anyone for that matter, she simply thinks he's running around on her. Flash has taken the responsibilities of Spider-Man to their full extent, including the heartache that goes with leading two lives.

The thing that really surprises me is the ending, which I won't ruin, but does shed some light on the status of Flash and the Venom creature for future books. The symbiote often magnifies the personality of someone who wears it, and Flash's personality might have the effect that the Marvel Universe needs in order to turn the creature around.

It's a good issue, just feels a bit off in terms of where to start and end a story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Warp Whistle - Podcast

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've started a podcast with two friends of mine where we discuss movies, TV, music, and all other forms of media. We also discuss writing and our everyday lives.

Check us out!


iTunes Link

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Lantern #65 (War of the Green Lanterns Pt. 4) - Review

Pick Your Poison!


The renegade Guardian of the Universe named Krona has taken control of all of the Green Lantern Corps, turning the members into slaves by an infected power battery. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and John Stewart are on the run from every non-human member of the Corps, stuck on planet Oa with no means of escape. Jordan has one solution in order to fight back -- use the Power Rings of the missing Lantern Corps leaders of the Sinestro Corps (Yellow - Fear), Red Lantern Corps (Rage), Indigo Tribe (Compassion), Blue Lantern Corps (Hope), Orange Lantern (Avarice), and Star Sapphire Corps (Pink - Love). They all decide that they need to pick the ring they can be best in tune with. Jordan picks Sinestro's ring, having been the host of the evil Parallax in the past. Kyle picks the Blue Lantern ring, because he has hope for the future. Guy picks the Red Lantern Ring, because he thrives on his rage. And John is given the Indigo ring by the others, who claim him to be the most compassionate of the group. They're transformed into Lanterns of completely different colors, having to use powers they've never had before to stop their former Corps members and save the universe from total takeover.

This is what big and epic science fiction is all about. The moment they decide to put on the rings of the different Lantern Corps feels like a scene from a huge blockbuster movie. The action in this series and any Green Lantern story is beyond what you'd expect from a comic book title, and it's always action with a purpose behind it.

Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Doug Mahnke, this issue is the next powerful chapter in the War of the Green Lanterns Saga, and it hits a home run right off the bat.

The best thing about the four human Green Lanterns is that even though they're often working together, they're not the best of teammates. They all think and strategize very differently, and having to work together without their normal powers puts them in character situations that push the story forward in brilliant ways. It's not often that these four guys get to be in the same room, and all of them kind of feel as if they're the best that there is when it comes to being a Lantern. Whenever they do put their differences aside, they're an unstoppable force. I've been waiting for a moment like this again since the Sinestro Corps War years back.

Stop reading this review and start reading Green Lantern. The movie will be out soon and you'll get a much bigger grasp. I suggest starting out with Green Lantern: Secret Origin by Johns.

Red Robin #22 - Review

Tim Drake Faces Foes and Himself


When the Angels of Death threaten to burn the city down to the ground unless they can find a single person who is without sin, Red Robin swings into action with Batman (Dick Grayson) and Catwoman to try and stop them. Drake doesn't agree with the Angels of Death and their religious motives, and if he's going to pass their tests he's going to have to push his body to the limit to face them. But when he passes the test of sin and fails the test of faith, the Angels of Death decide that Gotham isn't worth existing. Can Drake, Grayson, and Selina stop them? Or will Gotham be a city of ash like Sodom and Gomorra?

Written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Freddie E. Williams II, this issue of Red Robin was interesting to read because it took an aspect of crime fighters that isn't often covered -- religion. The Bat-Family has faced religious fanatics before, but none of them have ever had to come face-to-face with their beliefs in order to stop an entire city from being destroyed.

The great thing about Tim Drake as a character is that he's someone who rose from a life of hardships to become someone greater, never lying to himself or others. When it comes time for him to save the city, he has the choice to lie and save everyone the easy way, or be honest and do it the hard way. It happens as a knee-jerk reaction, and he almost blames himself for telling the truth. I think that it's a great commentary on how people should be, trying to do the right thing with out even thinking about it.

The adventures of Tim Drake are proving that a Robin character can carry a book by himself, and the work that Nicieza and Williams are doing is spectacular. I feel like I missed out by jumping on this train a little late in the game. I always thought Tim Drake was a great Robin, and I'm excited to see where he goes with his new identity.

My only complaint is that my subscription to this title didn't provide me with the first issue, and that it's spread over a couple of different series. But hey, that's more my fault than anything else.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Doctor Who: Series 6 - The Impossible Astronaut - Review

The Series Amps it Up


Last night the series premiere of Doctor Who took the world by storm and kicked off what will be a very interesting and intriguing series. The stakes have never been higher, the show has never looked better, and Matt Smith's Doctor has finally come into his own. Set in America in 1969, The Doctor, River, Amy, and Rory are confronted with a creature that is forgotten every time you turn away from it. These creatures have built a complex set of tunnels all over the world, and seem to know a little too much about what's going on with the Doctor. They also have an eerily familiar space craft, and there's a ticking clock as to when the Doctor's future is going to catch up with him.


This episode made me scream like a little girl after seeing it. I really wish that I could disclose what happens, but I think it's better for fans of the show to see it themselves. Stephen Moffat has crafted a new version of the cult science fiction series that has miniature adventures inside of one overlying arch to the series. It's very much like the 12 issue arcs of comic books over an entire year. The dialogue in this episode is a treat, because it feels like Moffat finally found a voice for Smith's Doctor, being unsure, witty, and often snappy with people when he doesn't get his way. He's the perfect mixture of a very old man in a young man's body. The new creatures, who have yet to be named, are terrifying. They act very much in the same vein as the Weeping Angels in terms of their method of attack, but have a bigger scheme behind their giant heads. It's also cool to see them because they're obviously the origin of the little green/gray men from popular Roswell mythos.


The thing that sets this first episode apart are the locations. Shot in Utah, the Doctor and company are out of their usual element and in the fantastic landscapes of the US. They go from a lake in Utah to the White House to Florida, all following the cryptic messages of things to come. There's guests from history, a new character who is a retired FBI agent, and an ominous Astronaut that will decide the Doctor's future.

Another great aspect of the show is the permanent addition of River Song to the cast. She and the Doctor have a very Batman and Catwoman relationship right now, with her being on the wrong side of the law and both of them not being able to resist each other. There's some great witty banter between the two of them, and some very well placed flirting.



I can only say that I haven't been this excited about something in a long time. I'll be reviewing every episode as it comes out and keeping Who fans up to date on the developments. That being said, go see it already!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Darker Than Black - Review

Superpowers Will Never Be The Same




In the near future, a collision with two meteors sends the world into a panic. One of the meteors lands in South America, dubbed Heaven Gate, and one in Japan, Hell's Gate. Inside the Gates the laws of physics no longer apply, and supernatural occurrences seem to kill anyone who steps inside of them. Stranger still, the night sky has been replaced, with brand new starts reflecting the lives of Contractors - supernatural assassins that have appeared as a result of the Gates. Hei, a Contractor and operative for the shadowy Syndicate, searches for her sister, whom he lost during the War for Heaven's Gate. As Hei searches for his missing sister, he encounters deadly Contractors and a plot to change the face of humanity once and for all. Partnered with a body-switching Contractor stuck in the body of a cat, a Doll, who is a personality-less medium, and a hard as nails Syndicate member, Hei must overcome the strange nature of his powers and make a decision for the future of humanity.

Hei AKA BK-201 AKA The Black Reaper

I was introduced to this series by a friend and was hooked instantly. I watched every episode in about three days, captivated by the storytelling and incredible characters. The nature of the Contractor's powers is very unique and well executed. When a Contractor uses his or her powers, they have to perform a remuneration, which is a payment for having their ability. These range from breaking one's own fingers to eating a hard boiled egg every time the ability is used. The payments are strange and varied, which adds to the unique aspects of each character.

The music is done by Yoko Kanno, who did the soundtrack to Cowboy Bebop. The addition to the 70's style jazz beats in a supernatural crime noir is welcomed, and the soundtrack itself is incredible. The animation and style of the show looks standard on the surface, but there are little details, cinematography, and choices with direction that set it apart from other series. At no point does the show feel like it was slapped together on the fly, and that's something that often happens to a series when it's been around for a while.

If you're a fan of Cowboy Bebop and stories about people with supernatural abilities, this crime noir take on the genre is one of the best that's out there. The DVD set is well worth the time, and it's a shame that it hasn't been released on Blu Ray yet here in the US.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Batman & Robin #22 - Review

The White Knight makes his Final Move!


In the conclusion of the three-issue story by writer Peter Tomasi, Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne) must stop the maniacal White Knight from killing all of the inmates of Arkham Asylum as well as their relatives. The White Knight believes in preemptive crime fighting by killing those who would pose the most threat down the line. This means murdering anyone remotely related to any super villain that has done a stint in Gotham's prisons. Batman and Robin must stop the White Knight's plot to make multiple people leap to their deaths through brainwashing, and stop the inmates from drowning in glowing white liquid in their cells.

This new villain and story arc has been one of my favorite things to read in a Batman title, and in any other comic this year. The White Knight is the perfect example of how someone who has been tainted by the villains of Gotham City can take it upon themselves to not only rid the citizens of the current villains, but prevent any others. Dick Grayson takes this very personally, and he and Damian have many words about nature vs. nurture in terms of Gotham's heroes and villains. Damian, who was raised to be a villain, made the choice to do good instead. Of course he's still learning to be less violent, which is showcased as he debates whether or not to stop the Arkham inmates from drowning and carves up Victor Zsasz with his batarangs a little.

Tomasi's work on this series is taking it to new heights, and I'm sure that it's making Grant Morrison proud. We're getting to see a whole new set of villains introduced that reflect Dick Grayson's Batman, and that's what Batman villains are all about. Dick's need to prevent bad things from happening is reflected in the actions of the White Knight, who eventually falls prey to his own designs. The artwork is beautiful, the pacing is incredible, and I've found myself cheering for the Batman & Robin of the next generation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ghostbusters TV Spec Script - By Me

So I've decided to write a spec script for a Ghostbusters TV show to add to my portfolio. I don't know the rights to the franchise at all, but would like to show that I can take an existing concept and retool it for a different medium, which is an important part of franchises nowadays. I also just love Ghostbusters and feel like I can do a strong piece of writing in order to show off my skills to prospective clients.

I used the AMC logo because it would naturally be the place for the show to air, since they do some of the best One-Hour-Dramas out there right now. Whether Sony has a deal with them or not isn't really relevant, I just think it's a good idea to make promo images to promote your writing.

THIS IS STRICTLY FOR USE IN MY PORTFOLIO, IT IS NOT REAL:


Here's the info for my spec script:

TITLE: GHOSTBUSTERS INC.

PREMISE:

Ten years after the events of the video game, a new group of Ghostbusters have taken over the firehouse and continue the contract work of the original boys in grey. When a renovation company with strange ties to the Ghostbusters' past starts having problems all around town with haunting spirits, it's up to scientists Kurt Gardner, Walt Nowicki, and Abraham Baar to don the packs and save the world from the forces of the paranormal. But what sinister plans are festering beneath the city? And what is the meaning of the strange symbols that keep sprouting up on the city's buildings?

Basically I've moved on from the original Ghostbusters to a whole new set. I know that it isn't what people really want, but it's the only way to take the story. By making it a TV series about a different group, it allows the movies to stay in tact and be kept separate from adding to the mythos and creating new characters and situations to have horror and comedy combine into one. The real spirit of the show was the comedic take on the supernatural and horrific things going on, and while the members of the team embody the original characters, they have their own motivations and drives. I also leave it open for the original characters to come back at any point, as they now work as the chairmen of the company and keep in email and phone contact with the current team.

Again, this is just for my portfolio. I thought it would be fun to write and it would showcase my ability to transfer mediums and continue franchises. Plus, it's Ghostbusters, who doesn't love that?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Doctor Who: Series 5 - Review

Matt Smith takes on the Mantle of The Doctor




If there's one pop culture saying that I've found universally true, it's that you never forget your first Doctor. I don't mean your family's physician or your dentist, I mean your first incarnation of The Doctor from Doctor Who, which will stick with you the entire time you watch the show. It's almost a curse, because you'll be comparing your favorite Doctor to the one who will eventually take his place (there's been 11 Doctors so far). My first Doctor was arguably the greatest one to ever pilot the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), David Tennant. Tennant was The Doctor from Series 2 - 4, and also did four TV movies leading up to his regeneration to the newest Time Lord, Matt Smith. Many fans of Tennant were worried that Smith wasn't going to be up to the task of filling the shoes of one of the most popular incarnations of the character, but Producer/Writer/Director Stephen Moffat believed in him. The consensus -- he was right to.


The 5th Series starts where the last TV movie, The End of Time Pt. 2, leaves off, with The Doctor newly regenerated and crashing onto Earth. Right off the bat, the series has a whole different feel than the past few incarnations. It has more of a film feeling and less of a TV feeling in terms of tone and storytelling. Each episode is handled like a mini-movie that has a beginning, middle, and end, adding to the overall arc of the series' story line. Which is another addition -- one straight story line. The past series have all had threads hidden here and there, but this was the first series where every episode, no matter how far off it might seem, was part of a whole in terms of the end of the series. There's wonderful hidden time travel bits strewn throughout it, and watching it a second time reveals moments that make way more sense after seeing the climatic ending.


Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan, is The Doctor's new traveling companion, and much like more recent incarnations of female leads in the show, she's a very tough young lady. In fact, she might be the feistiest companion The Doctor has ever had, and the only one who can trap him in a corner metaphorically and physically. She plays an essential part in The Doctor's life, one that he can't even see the whole picture of, and her character is never a bore to watch. She often takes things into her own hands and often saves the day when The Doctor falls short of an idea.


The villains range from Doctor Who classics like the Daleks, who, as pictured above, have been upgraded and revamped, to the newly formed Weeping Angels, who are absolutely terrifying in very respect. The mystery of who is really behind all of the trouble in the 5th series, with the universe breaking and forming cracks across time and space, is well plotted and comes to a mysterious conclusion, leaving it open for the 6th Series, which premiers on April 23 of this year.


One of my favorite episodes was the arc where they're trapped in the maze with the Weeping Angels, pictured above. They're ancient killers who can only move when you're not looking at them or when you blink. The concept sounds harmless, but trust me, it's nothing compared to seeing them in action. These episodes also hint towards the finale, and if you look closely you can see a clue in The Doctor's apparel that gives it away.

Overall the new series is awesome. The look of the show is amazing, the writing is lean and tight, and Matt Smith is developing his own version of The Doctor that isn't as sure and commanding as the previous incarnations. He's making his stamp as an old man in a young man's body, trying to atone for the sins of his past. If you've been a long time Doctor Who fan, this is a great addition to your library. If you're new to the series, this is a great jumping off point because it's a new Doctor, new format, and new sassy companion. Those who don't care for The Doctor, will be ExTeRmInAtEd!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man #658 - Review

The Fantastic Spider-Man Swings Into Action!


Peter Parker is just about to take his relationship with Ms. Charlie Cooper are about to "seal the deal" in their relationship when both are called away, Charlie by her job as a C.S.I. and Parker by the Future Foundation. When he shows up late at the Baxter Building, the former Fantastic Four harass him for wearing a costume stylized after their original color scheme. Since the death of The Human Torch, they've dropped the name Fantastic Four and have become The Future Foundation or FF instead, with Spider-Man as their fourth member. A series of rips through space and time are threatening reality, and it's up to the FF to try and stop it. The real problem that rises out of this evening isn't the shattering of reality, but the realization by Charlie that her boyfriend has been lying to her about where he goes at night.

Written by Dan Slott and drawn by Javier Pulido, this issue has a very nostalgic atmosphere and art style that reminds me of a Darwyn Cooke comic. The artwork is a mixture of modern and 1960's style use of line and color, and the villains feel like they were plucked right out of an old Jack Kirby book. The characters are well fleshed out and very believable, and the story is pretty fun as well. It kind of works as a bridge for people who didn't read FF #1, treating it like the web slinger's first adventure with the new team.

There was a lovely moment where Parker started complaining about his new suit, which does as he points out look like Anti-Venom, but all in all it's a pretty spiffy getup. The concept of Spider-Man trying to find his place on a team he's been friends with his entire superhero career seems like it would be easy, but Slott uses the opportunity to show that Parker was always more of a guest star, and that taking on a full time position isn't as easy as they all thought it would be. It's a great way to show how loss can affect a family/team so deeply, even when their friends are there to support them.

At the end of the book is a great short comic featuring Ghost Rider, where he and Spider-Man stop to have a drink in a bar. It leaves off with a cliffhanger, which I actually found to be pretty entertaining.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy Ep. 1 - Review

Web Series! Round One! FIGHT!


Based on the web trailer that hit the net about a year ago, Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a series that takes a more realistic approach on the MK Universe. It starts Jax Briggs (Michael Jai White) and Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan) as they investigate the strange underworld threats that are appearing in the city. This first episode deals with them hunting down the notorious Kano, who killed Blade's partner and is using stolen technology for sinister means. There's quite a bit of allusion to future characters, as the robotic parts are clearly the Cyber Ninjas that will eventually be built to hunt down Sub Zero. Kano even picks up a laser eye and studies it, hinting that he'll probably be wearing it soon enough.

Kano studying the laser eye.

Jax and Kurtis Stryker discussing their plans to raid Kano's warehouse.

Overall the episode wasn't bad. The story was lean, fast paced, and well produced. It felt like a one hour action TV show and it didn't look cheesy at any parts. The characters do go a bit over the top sometimes, but they're based on video game characters. If anything, this is a way more fleshed out version of the MK Universe than any of the movies. It may prove to be a cool thing to pick up on DVD and Blu Ray after all the episodes are released. I'd recommend checking it out if you ever mashed the buttons of a Super NES or Sega Genesis while trying to take on Outworld's worst villains.

I did see this image, which I can only assume is coming up in the next episode:


Sub Zero perhaps?

X-Men #9 Review

The Mysteries of the Lizard Army are Revealed!


The search through New York City's sewers for the army of Lizard Creatures continues as the X-Men and Spider-Man struggle to rescue the outcast teens that the monsters are targeting. The truth about the one behind it all is revealed, and instead of being Dr. Connors behind the curtain, it turns out to be one of the X-Men's former foes instead! The heroes soon find themselves surrounded by scaly nightmares under the streets of Manhattan, and in way over their head when they underestimate the power of the new Lizard creation process.

If there's one thing that sticks out to me about this new run of X-Men, it's the covers. They're awesome. I'd love to have the past few issues hung up on my wall as posters. I'm also a big fan of the new logo for the series. It has that retro and modern flair that says it's going to go back to the root of the stories as well as progress the characters.

But enough oozing over the look of the cover and series, lets get down to brass tacks.

Written by Victor Gischler, this installment continues the story arch from issue #7, where the Lizard creatures have been luring unsuspecting teens from internet chat sites to their lairs in the sewers, only to turn them into monsters themselves. The writing is fast paced and witty, especially in banter between Spider-Man and Wolverine. The villain is someone I'm not familiar with since I'm new to MARVEL after a long stint of only reading DC, but I'm sure a quick look on the wiki page will let me know who this fella is. I'm not going to say who it is, because it's sort of an important reveal in the issue.

The panel pacing is very well done, and the artwork is good too, though I liked the artwork of the first issue of this arc a little better. This issue and the one before it have an art style that's a little more over the top and expressive, much like some Japanese comics. It's not bad, I just wish it would have been constant through the arc. It definitely works for Wolverine when it comes to hacking and slashing through baddies.

Overall I'm enjoying this series very much, and paired with Uncanny X-Men, I feel like I'm getting my money's worth in a MARVEL subscription. This is definitely one of the publisher's best titles out there right now, and I suggest getting into it if you've been an X-Men fan looking for a series to follow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adventure Time: Season One - Review

Mathematical!


Adventure Time follows the outrageous adventures of Finn, a 12-year-old boy, and Jake, a 28-year-old magic dog, as they fight monsters, save princesses, and hang out for reals in the land of Ooo. The two are quick to answer any cry for help and wail on anything that's even remotely evil. There's action, danger, and more adventure than you can shake a billion swords at.

As a young man who grew up with the insane shows that Nickelodeon aired during the nineties, I felt like modern kids shows were being too safe and were uninteresting to older people who loved good old fashioned animated entertainment. That's when I found Adventure Time. Much like the cartoons of my day that pushed the envelope, shows like Rocko's Modern Life or Ren and Stimpy, Adventure Time goes for the younger audience through it's appearance, but the older audience through it's jokes and sense of humor. The comedic timing and one liners from the show are on from start to finish, and the voice actors hit their mark with the characters they play so much that it's almost scary.


The episodes vary in terms of structure, and that's something that really helps the show instead of hurting it. You never know what you're going to get, and it only adds to the craziness that they can amp up in an episode. One of my favorites was an episode where Finn and Jake are throwing bottles of magical potions at a wall for fun and end up hitting Princess Bubblegum (Jake's love interest) in the head with a balding potion. Jake's line: "Check this one out! It looks STUPID!" made me laugh till I cried. The way he delivered it with such commitment and excitement is just the way a kid would act.


The wonderful thing about the show is that even though it doesn't really have any morals at the end, and often jokes about it, the underlying theme is that kids should aspire to help people and do the right thing at the drop of a hat because it's cool to do so. Instead of using an adult figure to drill it into kid's brains, Finn and Jake do it by showing how fun and righteous it can be.

If you're a fan of the classic Nickelodeon cartoons of the 90's, or the shows from Adult Swim's Golden Age (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, etc.) then this is the show for you. It's something that I enjoy on many levels, and it's something that I'd also love for my kids to watch someday. That is, if I ever have kids.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #534 - Review

Shaw and Frost Duke it Out!


This issue of Uncanny X-Men concludes a story arc revolving around a virus that weakens and takes away mutant powers. Cyclops has lost his ability to shoot optic blasts, Logan has lost his healing factor and is now suffering from adamantium poisoning, and very few X-Men still have their powers. When the X-Men confront the man who has created the virus, they discover that he's sold a different version of the virus to normal humans in order to sell rich people the X-Men's powers. It's a group of powerless X-Men against a whole building full of faux mutants, and the team gets it's chance to prove that there's more to being a member of the X-Men than mutant powers. Meanwhile, Emma Frost takes on Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club. She decides that she's tired of her past catching up with her and attempts to erase herself and many of Shaw's past deeds from his memory. It's a battle of brains and brawn as Emma the telepath takes on Shaw the kinetic.

This was a really fun issue. I often judge things on how they're written, paced, drawn, and put together. All of those aspects are wonderful in this book. Kieron Gillen writes an awesome story and Greg Land draws an action packed issue. But what's really fun in this story is the concept of powerless X-Men taking on people who have stolen their skills. Wolverine is covered with kitchen knives and blades, Cyclops is decked out with a huge laser canon, and Emma's battle gets me revved up about the upcoming X-Men: First Class movie, which features Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw.

There are many X-Men titles out right now, but this one and the classic title are my two favorites. They always have snappy writing and really exciting concepts to have the world's favorite mutants fight through physically and emotionally. In fact, it was the new take on the X-Men stories that made me decide to start reading MARVEL COMICS again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Over 100 Posts!

I'd just like to thank everyone who reads my blog and enjoys the reviews and articles that I write and post. I had started this as something fun to do in my spare time and it's become something more than that.

It really is incredible how, if you do something you love, it resonates with other people. I heard Kevin Smith talk on the Nerdist podcast about doing what it is you want until other people realize that it's something authentic that deserves their attention. That isn't word for word of course, but it sums up the fact that you should do what you love no matter what.

In celebration of my 100 and counting posts, I'd like to take the time to tell everyone that Free Comic Book Day is approaching and will be here on May 7th. I plan on doing a web video promoting the event, as well as talk about the importance of reading in our culture.


If you don't read comics or would like to get into them, this is the perfect day to get out and start!

Irredeemable Vol. 2 - Review

The World's Darkness gets a Glimmer of Hope




The Paradigm is struggling to find a way to stop The Plutonian's rampage and rule over the planet Earth, but the team is having problems trusting each other when so many dark secrets revolve around The Plutonian snapping. While Qubit tries to use android versions of The Plutonian's most feared enemy, Modeus, to find the whereabouts of the real villain, Volt and the others try and console Cary, who has lost his twin brother in The Plutonian's last attack. The real questions that loom over The Paradigm aren't HOW they're going to stop The Plutonian, but WHY he's destroying the world he swore to protect? Why is he kidnapping and dressing women up like his former teammate Bette Noir? What does he have to do with a horrible alien virus that killed hundreds of children years earlier? As the truth is revealed, the motivations of the world's once powerful hero come to the surface, and it's darker than expected.

Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Peter Krause, this collection of Chapters 4 - 8 was just as delightful to read as the first volume. The characters that Waid and Krause have crafted feel like they've been around for decades, and tight writing paired with Krause's panels kept me going until I finished the trade paper back in a single sitting. There was a very specific panel where The Plutonian is trying to blast Cary on the last page of Chapter 7 that is absolutely beautiful. The use of line, color, and lighting made me feel as if I was watching a Hollywood blockbuster and not just having coffee at a table in a shop downtown.

I'm doing my best to catch up in time for the newest issues to be released, and I'm excited to see where the story is going to go. I've said it before and I'll say it again: BOOM! STUDIOS has some of the most edgy and well written titles out there right now. If you're looking for a new take on the superhero genre, this is what you've been waiting for. As someone who loves comics, writing, and is producing their own books, this is a great example to other aspiring creators that you can do what you think makes a great story without working with the tried and true characters of the medium.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Detective Comics #875 - Review

Gordon Chases the Peter Pan Killer


Commissioner Gordon finds himself trailing an old lead when his son James Jr. comes to town claiming to have been rehabilitated. Flashbacks to the night when everyone lost faith in James Jr.'s innocence seem to have something to do with a man who runs a cleaning company in Gotham. As the snow falls down on the city, Gordon follows the footprints of the company's owner, and learns shocking things about his own past and judgements.

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Francesco Francavilla, this issue of Detective Comics is one of the best comics I've read in a long time. Synder's run on this title is turning out to be better and better with every issue, and I can say with confidence that it's the best Batman title on the stands right now. Francavilla's artwork is beautiful and haunting as he paints a portrait of a Gotham City that looks like it's been taken right out of an old film noir detective picture. Since the series is called Detective Comics, I'm glad to see that kind of spin put back on a Batman title. People sometimes forget The Dark Knight's routes in the world of crime.

The only thing that might turn some readers off is that this is a Batman-lite issue, with Gordon taking the reigns. I for one love issues like this, and I think that Gordon is finally getting more credit as a character who can solve problems on his own. I think many readers pass him off as a character that just stands around in the background and lets other people do his job. If anything, I think Gordon is just as much of an important part of Batman Incorporated as any of the masked members.

The writing is excellent, the artwork is beautiful, and if you haven't been reading this title, you're a loser.

Batman Beyond #4 - Review

The Return of Nightwing!


A reporter is selling information to the media outlets that Dick Grayson was once the crime fighter called Nightwing, and Bruce and Terry take it upon themselves to try and stage events to fake Nightwing's return to the Gotham of the future. Terry puts on some aging makeup and the old Nightwing outfit and takes to the streets to show up in the public eye. But the plan goes awry when someone takes the problem into their own hands. Meanwhile, Max's computer is hacked by an organization called Undercloud that wants her to join their ranks. In order to protect her family and the identity of Batman, she takes steps to be her own breed of crime fighter in order to uphold the integrity of being "Batman's Best Friend."

Written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Edvardo Pansica, this issue takes the role of Max and puts her in the spotlight in terms of her role in the DC Universe. The writing is tight, lean, and at no point feels forced or hokey. It's wonderful. The pacing and artwork is just as good,and the book isn't afraid to use panel in panel artwork to tell the story. It's something that not every book does, but when done well it feels right on the page.

If there's something that DC is doing very well, it's building their female characters and making them something more than minor additions to the burgeoning cast. Max is a character strong enough to go off, on her own, and investigate villains without the help of Batman or Bruce Wayne. The fact that she can make decisions and take action on her own is something to be considered when some comics still show women as nothing but sex objects. To make it short, it's been a breath of fresh air.

I've always enjoyed the story of Batman Beyond, and this new series is really exploring territory that didn't get addressed in the TV show. Keep reading it, because I have a feeling that it's only going to get better. As someone who is writing and producing their own comic book series, this is a book that can be used as an example of a wonderful collaborative effort.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Doctor Who: Series 1 - Review

Eccleston is In




In 2005 one of the greatest science fiction shows in the history of television returned after a 16 year absence and shook the television world upside down. Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, was a daring new take on the series that made it a little more dark, humorous, and action-packed. The beginning of the series has The Doctor on his own, and the feeling you get from Eccleston's presence is that it's been that way for sometime, probably the whole 16 years no one has seen him. When he meets Rose, the spitfire shop girl, the two instantly form a connection through the loneliness that they've suffered in their lives. It's no surprise that the two of them would eventually start traveling around together through time and space, but the fact that the girl actually had more of a backstory and personality was a huge change from some of the past incarnations of the franchise.

The real thing that set Russell T. Davies version apart from the others was making the Doctor a very tortured soul who is trying to make up for a horrible event from his past. The gap from the 16 years he wasn't on the air is explained through a Time War in which the Time Lords took on their mortal enemies The Daleks. It's revealed in the show that it was The Doctor who destroyed both sides in order to save the universe, and that he has the blood of entire star systems on his hands.

Eccleston's Doctor was sort of the suave leather jacket type, often acting a little goofy when meeting people, but trying to have the presence of a "Doctor of the year 2000" feel to him. It wasn't a bad vibe, just not my personal favorite. I will say that his emotional scenes, especially the ones where he reveals his true feelings about The Daleks and the war, were astounding. You can feel the emotional pressure pushing through the TV screen as the Doctor watches the resurrected Dalek rip through the security members in the underground base in Utah.

The series on a whole was about the developing relationship between Rose and The Doctor, who really didn't know how they felt about each other until 3/4's of the way through. There was always the hint at something romantic, but it was unsure whether it was something more than a crush.

The verdict on this series is that though it didn't have the biggest budget or the best special effects, it was groundbreaking in the way that it tried to "regenerate" the franchise and bring back everyone's favorite TARDIS jacking Time Lord. It also paved the way for the David Tennant years, which would redefine the Doctor again and bring a whole new atmosphere to it's universe.

If you're looking for a science fiction show that can combine wit, action, drama, horror, suspense, and thrills, this is the only one I've ever seen that can fit the bill.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wolverine and the X-Men: Season One - Review

Logan is the Leader


Professor X is in a coma, Jean Grey is missing, and the X-Men are no more. But when Professor X contacts Wolverine from 20 years in the future, he reveals that The Sentinels have taken over all life on Earth, and that the planet has become a barren waste land. The only hope -- reassemble the X-Men and make Logan the leader. Now, with a team that doesn't know whether or not they can trust him, Wolverine must bring the old team back together in order to stop the future from coming to pass.

This series was an amalgamation of the comics universe and the movie universe. You can tell from the characters, designs, and locations that the movies were a big influence, but it takes the origins and characters from their original source material. This combination lets newcomers align themselves with whichever medium they're used to seeing the most popular mutants in.

The mutants themselves have a pretty big cast. There's alot of cameos from characters that don't normally show up in X-Men stories nowadays. I really enjoyed the major additions of Magneto's children into the story. Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch play large roles in the movement of the story, and it was interesting to see them battle each other emotionally and physically when it comes to the future of the mutant race.

Wolverine's character is set to grow as a leader, and the transformation from loner to hero is fairly well done. There are episodes that stray from the main story, but they don't take away from the overall plot. It also does well to setup a second season and a much more threatening villain.

Overall I'd say it was a great X-Men cartoon. The animation wasn't bad, but it was pretty standard. The voice acting was superb however, and there were no times when I thought it was over the top or goofy.

Pick it up and watch it if you want to see a mix of past X-Men lore in a contemporary setting.

Batgirl #19 - Review

Ms. Brown Cleans up the Town!


Written by Bryan Q. Miller and drawn by Dustin Nguyen, Batgirl follows the adventures of Stephanie Brown as she tries to balance college life and crime fighting in the hectic world of the DC Universe. In this month's issue Stephanie goes toe-to-toe with a villain called Slipstream, who is using an anti-friction suit to move faster than normal and tag various amounts of money to be stolen later. With a little help from Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne, Stephanie now has a full setup via Batman Incorporated to help her fight the forces of evil and expand the reach of the Bat Family.

I had never read an issue of Batgirl until now, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it actually is. It's definitely a much more light-hearted Batman title, but in no way does that hinder the actual characters or plots of the young Stephanie Brown. She's another example of women in comics that can kick ass without being an overly sexed-up mistress of action and adventure. Not that she couldn't pull it off, it's just not her style.

The artwork has the Nguyen flair of being crisp, clean, and well paced, and the writing lets new readers jump right in and understand where the character is coming from. I didn't have to worry at all about not having read any other issues, and anything I didn't know I just had to check out on wikipedia and the DC webpage to get more info.

This is a wonderful title for young women who would like to start reading comics, but it's also good for long standing fans of DC to see new blood take on the dark streets of the fictional universe.

The Internet Scare of 2011!

Someone hacked my Google account and it looked like I had lost my blog forever. Thankfully, due to the healing power of the Wolverine-like internet, it was saved. Long live Sequential Review!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Green Arrow #10 - Review

The Emerald Archer battles Physical and Mental Demons


Jason Blood has held the Demon Etrigan inside of him for centuries, using it to transform and protect the innocent at a moments notice. Now, inside Star City Forest, Jason and Etrigan have separated, and Etrigan is on a warpath from Hell. But the real battle going on in this issue is inside Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), who is still wrestling with his horrible decisions and actions leading up to and including The Blackest Night (when the undead Black Lanterns attacked the universe, as foretold in the Green Lantern Oath). Ollie has been protecting the forest, which sprouted with White Lantern symbols outside of Star City when they drove back the Black Lantern hordes, and has done his best to thwart any evil that was found lurking in the trees. Now he comes face-to-face with that evil, that's been residing in the ground below his feet.

Written by J.T. Krull and illustrated by Diogenes Neves, this issue was a fun read and has some great guest appearances from fan favorite DC characters. It is a little too fantastical for me when it comes to a Green Arrow book, though I have always loved seeing the DC Universe crime fighters without powers tackling the villains who do have them.

The added backstory of the mysterious man who claims to be Sir Galahad from King Arthur's Round Table is revealed as well, and though his origins aren't what he thought, it doesn't take away his heroic drive to protect the forest and all of those in it.

I've always though Green Arrow was an underrated character, and from what I've been reading in forums and in the back of Green Arrow issues, it seems he's picking up steam. I had heard musings about a movie where he breaks out of Super Max Prison, but I'm not sure if it's still happening.

To wrap up on this issue, it's pretty good, but it's deep into a story arc, so I would recommend reading 1-9 first.

Green Lantern Wondercon Trailer/Footage

Consider me Completely Excited


When I saw the original trailer that was released for Warner Bros. upcoming Green Lantern movie, I wasn't impressed. In fact, I was mortified. The trailer tried to play it off as another Ryan Reynolds comedy in which he says snappy lines at women. Don't get me wrong, Reynolds is a cool dude and it's something he's good at, I just didn't want that to be the attitude taken to one of my favorite science fiction franchises and characters.

I had planned to see the movie no matter what, just so that I could see how good or how bad it was going to be. I had my mind made up that it was going to be another throw-away superhero movie.

And then I saw this:



I WAS WRONG!

Something in the back of my mind kept telling me that the first trailer was trying to just get in the general audiences, the people who have no idea who Hal Jordan or the Green Lantern Corps are or what they do. I was hoping that when a new trailer came out that it would portray the movie as the space epic I had heard it was through all of the script reviews a year ago. Thank God it didn't disappoint.

Reynolds may still have a bit of sarcastic charm in the trailer, but it's nothing that Hal Jordan doesn't have. The effects (which aren't even done yet) look stylistic and fit the tone of the Green Lantern mythos. The electric bolts of light jumping from his mask and costume make it feel like an actual construct, instead of just a tight suit of actual material.

I can understand Warner Bros. wanting to go for the mass audience at first, but I feel like it kind of alienated the people who were looking forward to what Hal Jordan and his story is all about -- Intergalactic Power and the Fear it produces.

Parallax looks a little different than I would have anticipated, but it is more menacing that I have ever seen it. The yellow entity is consuming and destroying everything in its path, and I'm sure it'll be a formidable foe for the Corps, who can be seen cheering against it on Oa during Sinestro's powerful speech.

I can't wait for June 17th!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 - Review

A "Blood" Oath has been Taken


Honor Guard Lantern Guy Gardner has made a pact with Atrocitus (Red Lantern) and Ganthet (former Guardian turned Green Lantern) to stand against the oncoming doom of The War of the Green Lanterns. After nabbing a group of interstellar criminals, Guy Gardner records a message explaining his hidden motives in case things go wrong. He gets approval from the Guardians to patrol the unknown sectors of space to look for any threats before they can strike first, and the strange bleeding lip and color in Gardner's eyes have flashes of red all about them.

Written by Peter J. Tomasi and drawn by Fernando Pasarin, this is the beginning of Guy Gardner's own series about doing what's right for the universe as the "warrior" of the Green Lantern Corps. The pacing and writing in this series is really wonderful, and I expect nothing less from one of DC's flagship franchises. Guy Gardner was once a joke in comics, but has earned his place through new versions of his character as one of DC's greatest heroes and most brave brawlers. Seeing him get a bit more political when it comes to the safety of the universe is a welcomed character development, and I'm interested to see how his mission differs from Hal Jordan's in the coming war, and what will drive them to battle as foretold in the Book of Black.

The artwork by Pasarin makes wonderful use of ring constructs and mood through chaotic battles and loads of beautiful space backgrounds. If there's one thing I love about Green Lantern titles, it's the settings.

This book is about eight issues in at this point, and it's been a wonderful read so far.