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Monday, November 26, 2012 01:37 PM
(Last updated on Monday, November 26, 2012 02:53 PM)
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Advertising (Not), Animals (Not), Animated GIFs (Not), Art (Not), Buffy (Not), Cartoons (Not), Comedy (Not), Comic books (Not), Commercials (Not), Craft (Not), Dogs (Not), Gadgets (Not), Holiday (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), News (Not), Painting (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Science (Not), Space (Not), Star Wars (Not), Superman (Not), Technology (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Weather (Not)
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Friday, December 23, 2011 12:03 PM
(Last updated on Friday, December 23, 2011 02:20 PM)
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.


UPDATE:
Tagged (?): Alan Moore (Not), Aliens (Not), Animals (Not), Art (Not), Buffy (Not), Children (Not), Comedy (Not), Comic books (Not), Dinosaurs (Not), Game of Thrones (Not), Holiday (Not), LEGO (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), News (Not), Parenting (Not), Products (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Science (Not), Star Wars (Not), The Hobbit (Not), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Not), Tolkien (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Web comics (Not), Wolverine (Not), Zelda (Not)
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010 11:39 AM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Art (Not), Buffy (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Craft (Not), Harry Potter (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), LEGO (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Sherlock Holmes (Not), Star Wars (Not), Terriers (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Wolverine (Not)
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Monday, September 13, 2010 03:49 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 9/1. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #36
Another jump back in time, and another attempt to explain Angel's recent actions. This time they do a pretty decent job. We also get to see how Angel and Spike dropped in from the IDW comic book universe. It was a pretty sudden and violent process! Next the book sets up the upcoming storyline - which will apparently involve returning to Sunnydale, fighting the Master again (he's still around??), and digging up something called the Seed of Wonder. Then it threatens us with a future storyline involving the universe that Buffy and Angel created and then abandoned when they had ultra-sex.

Meeeeh. I just don't know about Buffy anymore. I'm still annoyed by the resolution of the previous storyline, despite their attempts to explain it away. I'll probably stick around for now, though, if only to see what this Seed of Wonder is all about.
Thumbs Sideways

Hellboy: The Storm #3
Hellboy once again rejects his destiny - he's good at that! He gives up his army and his sword. I very much like the parallel to Arthurian mythology here, where Hellboy asks his loyal retainer to throw his sword into a pond or a river, because "that seems like the thing to do." She doesn't want to at first, but finally agrees. Then there's the image of the grail on the inn's sign post. Interestingly, Hellboy says after this is all over, he wants to go back to the Bureau, and also live in America with his new girlfriend. Cool! But Hellboy's got a lot of hard work ahead of him before that can happen. He has an interesting confrontation with the guy I take to be Merlin, who again offers him the army of Hell to command - but Hellboy made his choice as far as that's concerned a long time ago. Then Baba Yaga shows up again to make him a different offer: if she can have one of his eyes, she can get him past Nimue's army so he can face her one on one. But deals with Baba Yaga are never a good idea, and this one may very well have brought about Nimue's final and most terrible transformation - the one the beast warned Hellboy about an issue or two ago. By the end of this comic, it looks like she has become - against her will, even - what Hellboy refused to be. The seven Old Ones have awoken again! That is not good news.

This has been a fantastic series, and I'm excited and a little terrified to see what comes next.
Thumbs Up

Incorruptible #9
We learn more details about Alana Patel's past, and about her connection to Max Damage. But it turns out she might be more pissed at Jailbait than at Max. Which is bad, because the new, vulnerable Jailbait just landed right in front of her. Meanwhile, it looks like the white supremacists want revenge on Max in a big way. I know I keep saying this every month, but I'm really disappointed in this book anymore. The art is poor and inappropriate, and the writing is pretty weak. It's still a must-buy in my head, but I don't know how much longer that's going to be true if it keeps on this way. Especially if the next week it comes out, there are five other books I'd rather read.
Thumbs Sideways

Wolverine #1
Jason Aaron has a new ongoing Wolverine title! Which is something I would have been way more excited about back before I read his other Wolverine title and couldn't get into it at all. I decided to give this new one a try anyway, but sadly I don't think I'm going to be able to get into it, either. I did learn a couple of interesting things in this issue: Wolverine has a love interest, and she appears to be that reporter from the other Wolverine title Aaron was writing. Also, Mystique is alive again (not that I ever really expected her latest death to stick), and despite the way Wolverine treated her last time I read about them hanging out together, she's now helping him by saving his girlfriend. Huh. I would not have expected that. Anyway, the story involves some kind of evil presence inhabiting Wolverine's body and wandering about doing mischief on Earth while his soul is tortured in Hell. I guess it's kind of a vaguely intriguing premise? But mostly I find it boring and off-putting. It seems like all the comic book heroes are going to hell lately. Really, the whole book is cliches. Wolverine's life is finally settling down, and he's got a girlfriend, and things are looking up, so of course everything's going to go horribly wrong and a gang of killers is going to try to murder his girlfriend. The problem is, it's hard to care about Wolverine, because c'mon, he'll be fine, and it's even harder to care about his girlfriend, because she's just the generic comic book reporter girlfriend and I don't care about her at all. Maybe Aaron has more exciting things planned down the line in future issues, but I'm just not sure I'm willing to hang in there and find out.
Thumbs Sideways

X-Men: Smoke and Blood - Curse of the Mutants #1
You know what nobody's telling stories about lately? Vampires! Thank goodness Marvel is here to remedy that! Ha ha ha- oh, screw it. Anyway, apparently the latest X-Drama revolves around those mystical blood-sucking entities that one hears about so rarely these days, and this awkwardly titled one-shot is writer Simon Spurrier's contribution to the story. I follow Spurrier on Twitter (@sispurrier), and I've enjoyed his work in the past, so I thought I'd pick it up. The book is... okay. The vampire portrayed here is actually more like a Xenomorph from the Alien movies than your traditional be-caped seducer, and the story proceeds like one of those movies, with a small group of people trapped in a small area with the monster, being killed off one by one in true sci-fi/horror thriller fashion, despite all their technology. I'm not sure I quite follow the solution to the mystery of how the vampire works (when Emma asked, "What the $&#% just happened?" near the end, I sympathized with her a great deal), but that's okay. The dialog is clever to the point of sometimes being too clever - it occasionally totters towards feeling contrived and over-composed. But it's also legitimately funny and smart a reasonable portion of the time. Like I said, the book is okay.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Hellboy (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), Simon Spurrier (Not), The Take (Not), Vampires (Not), Wolverine (Not), X-Men (Not)
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Thursday, August 26, 2010 01:59 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 8/18, plus one or two back issues. Beware spoilers!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight - Riley
I didn't expect much from a one-shot about Riley (yuck), but this is surprisingly good. A large reason why is probably the fact that it's written by Jane Espenson, a talented lady who wrote a lot of the original Buffy TV episodes, and is continuing to write great television even as we speak (she's also got a pretty fun Twitter feed at @JaneEspenson). The issue fills us in on what Riley was doing before he joined up with Twilight, and also explains a little better exactly what Twilight's motives were and how it was that Riley ended up joining him. These explanations nearly fix the recent, terrible story arc by Brad Meltzer, and nearly make Angel's actions throughout all this make sense. Nearly. Anyway, it's fun, clever, funny, and effective.
Thumbs Up

New Mutants #16
This issue of New Mutants doesn't actually involve the New Mutants at all! Instead, it focuses entirely on the group of soldiers who literally went to Hell and back, and spends most of its pages on flashbacks explaining what they were doing in Hell and what happened to them there. The final page surprise reveal is a bit of a cliche in comics, but the one at the end of this book is legitimately surprising. It's also not contrived; it advances the story in an interesting and unexpected way; and it introduces a bunch of new characters about whom I can't wait to find out more. This here is a crazy fantastic comic - chilling, thrilling, exciting, imaginative, and even funny. My favorite moment combines pretty much all of that: a new recruit who foolishly failed to follow the rules suddenly gets carried off by a demon and General Ulysses responds by saying, "Yep. That will happen."
Thumbs Up

Secret Avengers #3 & #4
I think I decided after I read the first issue of this book that I wouldn't read any more... but I came in under budget this week, and I was curious to see where the evil magic crown storyline would go, so... here we are. #3 opens with an unexpected flashback to the Wild West. Apparently the guy who runs the mysterious Shadow Council is pretty old! I'm curious to see more of the Wild West storyline, but we don't get back to it in these two issues. The backstory on the crowns turns out to be unbelievably epic, spanning all the way back to before the beginning of the universe as we know it, one-upping even the Celestials and Galactus in age and grandeur.

I have to say, I really enjoy the new Ant-Man as a character. Comic book characters, even the more interesting ones, are generally divided into the heroic good guys and the villainous bad guys, but here's a dude who's just a selfish coward trying to survive. He's pretty hilarious. His best moment is when he mans up and takes out a troop of suicide bombers by causing a nuclear chain reaction. He runs for it, accompanied by narrative boxes reading "Oh God Oh God Oh God," and when he successfully escapes, he screams, "YES! ALIVE!" Issue #4 also includes Nova-powered Steve Rogers, which is a crazy bad-ass concept. It's incredibly fun seeing him duke it out with a crown-possessed Nova. The story arc ends with Steve learning the bad news that Nick Fury is part of the Shadow Council. This should be interesting!
Thumbs Up

Spitfire #1
It's just a one-shot, but it's still pretty fun getting to watch Paul Cornell play with the MI:13 characters again. The focus here is mostly on Spitfire, obviously, as she feels out her new relationship with Blade, and learns how to live with being a vampire - or at least, a part vampire. It kind of cracked me up that the first page of the book - usually reserved for a short summary of what's been going on recently, so you can pick up the story easily - is covered with text from top to bottom. Spitfire's story is just that complicated! The issue itself has some cheesy dialog moments, but is overall entertaining, insightful, and funny.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Paul Cornell (Not), The Take (Not), Vampires (Not), X-Men (Not), Zeb Wells (Not)
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 12:03 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 5/5. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1
This is the start of a six-issue limited series by Jason Aaron, with art by Adam Kubert. It's rather an odd story in which Wolverine and Spider-Man are sent back in time, apparently by accident, to just before the extinction of the dinosaurs. The time travel happens in the middle of a bank heist - a heist, I might add, being pulled off by The Orb and his gang; it's nice that Aaron is giving work to the weird old Ghost Rider villains he recently resurrected. Anyway, after some time in the past - long enough to seriously screw things up and come face to face with various other strange mysteries - our heroes jump in time again, this time to a twisted future ruled over by war-like people riding Devil Dinosaur robots. Whoops. Obviously there are some cool ideas in here, but for whatever reason - maybe the tons of narration and the depressing apocalyptic tone - the book just didn't grab me. I don't think I'll be collecting the rest of the issues.
Thumbs Sideways

Batman and Robin #12
Good lord, I love Grant Morrison. In this issue, Dick Grayson and Slade Wilson fight both face-to-face, and across a distance with Damian as the go-between. Wayne Manor is discovered to be a bat signal sent across time. The crazy, cold-as-ice Talia Al Ghul reveals she has had a backup Damian all ready to go, just in case he should choose to betray him. And indeed he does, choosing to remain as Robin and side with Batman. She tells him he is now an enemy of the House of Al Ghul, and he responds, "I hope I can be a worthy one, mother." Awesome. Meanwhile, Dick seems close to working out the riddle of Bruce's adventure through time. And, the big shocker: Oberon Sexton turns out to be, not Bruce Wayne, but the Joker! I did not see that coming at all. I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense, either, as Sexton is a pretty serious guy, and a good fighter. But then again, the Joker has been through a lot lately, and maybe Morrison will explain further in the next issue. Regardless, fun!
Thumbs Up

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #35
You can pretty much take my review of #34, copy it in here, and apply it to this issue, as well. One good thing about this issue: at least the decision that Buffy and Angel make at the end feels right and fits their characters, even if almost nothing else they've done recently in this story arc has been true to character. Of course they would give up any hope of peace in an eternal paradise where they're ultimately powerful in order to return to Earth and help their friends in a hopeless fight against hordes of monsters. That's what they always do. As Buffy says, "I never do what I'm meant for." But that still doesn't explain why Angel became Twilight and did all this crap in the first place. I guess we're still going with the dumb excuse that "the Universe" made him do it. Ugh.
Thumbs Down

Hellboy in Mexcio
Mike Mignola and Richard Corben team up again for another amazing Hellboy one-shot. This one has a frame story set in 1982 Mexico. While Abe and Hellboy are waiting for pickup, babysitting a mysterious monster locked in a suitcase, Hellboy tells Abe a sad and wonderful story about the last time he was in Mexico, back in 1956, when he joined a trio of Mexican wrestler brothers in fighting a bunch of local demons, and then ultimately ended up wrestling for the soul of one of the brothers. There's the suggestion that he spent a couple of months after that doing some professional wrestling himself. It's a classic Hellboy story, funny and subtle and moving and creative, fantastically illustrated by Corben.
Thumbs Up

Incorruptible #5
Looks like this title just got a new artist. His name is Horacio Domingues, and sadly I don't think his exaggerated, cartoonish style really fits the serious tone of the book. That being said, this issue is still pretty interesting. A new character is introduced, and Max's protective feelings for Jailbait become better defined even as she gets herself into greater danger.
Thumbs Sideways

Irredeemable #13
Hey, there was a new issue of each of Mark Waid's one-word-title-that-starts-with-an-I books this week! This one's useful in that it goes back and better explains some of the more recent plot twists, but mostly it just feels like filler, and a pause in the action. Which is slightly disappointing.
Thumbs Sideways

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Holy crap did I love this comic. It's an epic, thrilling, and creative reimagining of what S.H.I.E.L.D. is. It turns the organization into an ancient secret society that's existed since the beginning of civilization. The strongest and wisest men of each generation have been members, and have acted to protect the world from various alien invasions. The rather disturbing part is that they seem to be only postponing the destruction of Earth - preparing the planet for some other mysterious final doom. The writing is wonderful, with fantastically over-the-top dialog, and I love how famous historical figures are tied into the story, and shown using impossible inventions and weapons to fight infamous Marvel space villains. Then there's the unexpected appearance of Agent Richards and Agent Stark, not to mention Leonardo da Vinci. They're building a really interesting mythology here, and the fascinating diagram of "The Human Machine" in the back of the comic only adds to the mystique. Excellent stuff! I will definitely be collecting the rest of this series.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Grant Morrison (Not), Hellboy (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), S.H.I.E.L.D. (Not), Spider-Man (Not), The Take (Not), Wolverine (Not)
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Monday, May 31, 2010 08:13 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 4/28, new releases from Free Comic Book Day, and also a bunch of old stuff the comic shop wanted to get rid of and therefore put up for grabs on Free Comic Book Day. It was quite a pile of books, and I've been a bit busy lately, so I'm afraid it took me longer to get through them and write them up than usual. I can't say when or if I'll be able to catch up on all the other books that came after these, either. But I'll do my best!

As usual, beware spoilers!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #34
Wow. I was a little surprised at first when I started reading this Buffy arc by Brad Meltzer and it wasn't terrible, given how much I've disliked Meltzer's work in the past, but now his awfulness has finally reared its ugly head, and in spectacular fashion. Then again, I'm not sure how much of this I can really blame on him, as I assume the general shape of the story was already laid out for him by Joss and company, and it's mostly the story itself that's bad. I mean, Angel and Buffy having graphic sex for an entire comic? It's kind of gross. And what the hell are they doing having sex in the middle of everything anyway, when Buffy should by all rights be kicking Angel's ass, seeing as how he's been a villain committing MASS MURDER for the entire Season? And why the hell was Angel committing doing that anyway? I still need answers to these questions!! But instead they just throw a lot of really lame bullcrap at us about "the Universe" and how it has manipulated everyone and everything in some really hand-wavy fashion, and manufactured this entire plot line (in fact, very possibly the entire history of reality so far) just so that Buffy and Angel will have sex and thus elevate themselves to some new level of existence, destroying the old one in the process. That's lame. Seriously, seriously lame. It sounds like Angel actually had some inkling this is what was going to happen. But why would Angel ever be so selfish as to deliberately kill thousands of people and possibly destroy an entire universe just so he can get lucky with his ex and have some peace and quiet for a change? I just don't buy it.
Thumbs Down

Captain America #605
A fun and slightly sad conclusion to the Captain America vs. the Tea Party storyline, ending with a classic comic book fight on top of the Hoover Dam. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of crazy '50s Cap. (I didn't even bother reading the Nomad backup story; that shit is terrible.)
Thumbs Up

New Avengers #64
Now we get to see the events leading up to the Fall of Asgard from the perspective of The Hood. So I guess we're going to get to see the same events from the perspective of every single character in the Marvel Universe eventually. Sigh. Anyway, what we learn in this run-through is that Loki pulled a literal deus ex machina, took The Hood gang's power away from them, and gave it to the good guys. I'm not sure why that happened, or why I haven't already read about it in some other, more important comic book (like Siege #3 or something). It's a confusing twist, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel when I look at the final panel of this comic, which is a picture of The Hood's girlfriend's gold mask with The Hood's face reflected in it. I can't say I find either of these characters all that interesting anymore. I mean, The Hood's story so far has been that he got magic power, and then he lost it, and then he got magic power again, and then he lost it again. Yawn.
Thumbs Sideways

Siege: Secret Warriors #1
This is a pretty cool one-shot revealing what Phobos, the God of Fear, did when he learned of the death of his father, Ares. Basically, he flips out, kills a lot of Secret Service agents, and then drops a really bitter, angry, well-written letter on the President's desk. In between, there is a truly hilarious and fantastic scene in which Nick Fury and Steve Rogers - the two bad-ass old campaigners - have a casual conversation about hanging out in the middle of the Siege of Asgard. I loved this scene so much I can't even tell you. It's ridiculous and warm and funny and hardcore all at once, and really wonderfully illuminates these two characters. Surprisingly good one-shot!
Thumbs Up

The Terminator: 2029 #2
We open with a gigantic firefight, and then we get to meet an interesting new faction of humanity: a lone wolf pack who don't follow John Connor, but just go roaming around the wilderness hunting machines. It's a different philosophy of the post-apocalypse than we've seen before, and brings up some interesting questions. Do you take the risk of settling down - building families and making connections - or do you go off on your own, avoid connections, and fend for yourself as best you can? The same conflict of philosophies is on display between Paige and Ben - Paige wants to shut herself off from everyone, because she's afraid to be hurt again and lose someone else who matters to her. But Ben is willing to take the risk. And finally Paige takes it with him. But then something unexpected interrupts them: the old man Reese saved from a machine outpost turns out to be a future version of himself, who asks for Ben by name! Woah. Clearly this Reese is from some other timeline than the one we know. Either that or he's just some crazy guy. Either way, I'm intrigued! This is good writing, and an exciting story.
Thumbs Up

Thor #609
Lots of exciting action and god-fighting in this one. Plus Loki gets some good lines: "I am Loki, the fire that burns. And why does the fire burn? I know not. But I am he." He admits to having fashioned the plot that led to the Fall of Asgard, but claims he didn't think it would go this far. Balder gets all bad-ass, and exiles Loki, but in fact it looks like that may have been part of Loki's plan all along. That tricky guy. There are some corny moments in this issue, but all-in-all it's pretty entertaining.
Thumbs Sideways

FCBD new releases
Bongo Comics Free-For-All!
Despite the title, which would seem to suggest that this is a sampler of various comic titles put out by Bongo, it's actually just a handful of Simpsons stories. They're all mildly amusing, with one or two decent gags, but there's none of the true comic brilliance from the show's heyday.
Thumbs Sideways

DC Kids Mega Sampler 2010
Yep, these are some DC kids comics. Nothing very exciting. I like Art Baltazar's exaggerated art style, and Batman has some fun lines about his desire to punch things in the final story, but that's about it.
Thumbs Sideways

Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom/Magnus: Robot Fighter
These are previews of two new titles from Dark Horse Comics, both written by Jim Shooter. The first is simply awful. Incredibly cheesy writing, totally lacking in subtlety, and a story that's entirely unimaginative. It's reminiscent of every superhero origin story ever, but the character is probably most similar to a really boring version of Doctor Manhattan. Robot Fighter is slightly more interesting, as it has a quirky sense of humor instead of just being painfully earnest. Plus, the story's not as dull and lacking in creativity as Doctor Solar; here we've got a human being who's somehow strong enough to fight rogue robots, but he also has a robot friend, and can interface with the robots in a limited way. That's not to say this is a really good comic; the relationship between the main character and the story's only woman is the classic contentious, they-hate-each-other, they-love-each-other dynamic. And the plot ends up being pretty dull. You can bet I won't be collecting these comics when they start asking you to pay for them.
Thumbs Down

Green Hornet
This book contains previews of most, if not all, of Dynamite's many Green Hornet-related titles. First up is part of Kevin Smith's awful Green Hornet book, which I already read and hated, so I skipped over that. Next up is Green Hornet: Year One, which has some nice art by Aaron Campbell, but pretty ho-hum dialog and story from Matt Wagner. Then there's The Green Hornet Strikes! There's not really enough of this one to get a good feel for it, and there's even less of Kato Origins and Kato (the former has color but no dialog; the latter is black and white and doesn't even have ink, let alone dialog). I doubt there's any reason to buy any of these. The last one, after all, is just a spin-off of Kevin Smith's story, focusing on the hot Kato with large boobs, so it's almost certainly awful.
Thumbs Down

Incorruptible/Irredeemable
This is just a book containing reprints of the first issue of each of Mark Waid's great new series. A good way to get into them for anybody who hasn't yet. Anybody want my copy?
Thumbs Up

Iron Man/Nova
It's Iron Man and Nova versus a team of super apes! Except one of the apes defects and helps them, in return for candy. Pretty cute and fun. In the back is a goofy Superhero Squad short about Iron Man trying to find a way to repair all the damage from Hulk's constant smashing, but Hulk points out that prevention would be the better course. Also kind of cute.
Thumbs Sideways

Iron Man/Thor
The opening image of this one - Thor standing with his hammer in front of a giant oncoming wave and ordering it to yield - is a really powerful one. But it's not the prelude to a surreal, philosophical comic. In fact the story is about some folks who have stolen one of Tony Stark's inventions and are using it to make the moon habitable and the Earth inhabitable. Iron Man and Thor team up to stop them. I'm kind of surprised these two are willing to work together, after the bad blood that's passed between them lately, but whatever. There's some fun banter, Romita provides his usual excellent artwork, and the story is reasonably exciting.
Thumbs Sideways

Kizoic Presents
This book has two Penguins of Madagascar stories on one side and two Shrek stories on the other. The one Shrek story about Donkey and Shrek getting sick and being quarantined together is oddly pointless and never goes anywhere, but the rest are all pretty standard kids' comic stories - mildly entertaining, but not very exciting, and not terribly imaginative either. I wanted to like the Penguins stories more than I did, since I enjoy the cartoon, but they're just okay.
Thumbs Sideways

The Library of American Comics
This is little more than a long ad for collections of old newspaper strips. It includes a bunch of samples of what the company has to offer, including really early Archie, Blondie, and Li'l Abner. Mostly it just convinced me that, yes, some comics do eventually become hopelessly dated.
Thumbs Sideways

Toy Story
It's disappointing to me that nearly every Toy Story story has the same format: a new toy arrives, and the other toys react to it with fear and suspicion, but usually end up embracing it in the end. This story is no exception. The only wrinkle is that this time the new toy is another Buzz Lightyear, which Andy receives by mistake, and which his Mom promises to exchange for a new, better toy. But the new Buzz gets switched with the old Buzz, and is about to be taken back to the store when the comic ends. The book has its moments, but there's nothing so exciting here that it makes me want to start collecting this series again.
Thumbs Sideways

War of the Supermen #0
I've been avoiding all the Superman titles lately because they're all being written by authors whose work I've disliked in the past. This free zero issue convinced me I've been making the right decision. It's just lots of cheesy, overwrought, melodramatic dialog and narration. Plus, Superman comes off as self-righteous and preachy. There's nobody in the book you can like or identify with. Even the villains just stand around and spout the standard villain cliches.
Thumbs Down

Worlds of Aspen 2010
I was not familiar with any Aspen comics before I looked at this sampler, but it seems clear now that all of their books are about boobs. There's some sad attempts at dialog and story attached to the boobs, but they're clearly an afterthought. The only exception is Dellec. The sadly extremely short preview for this book is actually pretty funny, as it involves a gang of big guys dressed as apes who call themselves The Kongs.
Thumbs Down

FCBD back issues and old data
Charlemagne #1
This is a book put out by a publishing company called Defiant in the early '90s. It's an absolutely awful story which opens up in the '70s with a young boy worrying about his soldier brother, who's overseas in Vietnam. He ends up getting over there somehow and trying to save his brother, only to fail at the last moment. Then he goes into a coma for many years and somehow develops super strength. I couldn't even read the entire thing, the dialog and narration were so poorly written; I just skimmed the last three quarters or so. It's melodramatic and overwrought and cheesy and just bad in every way that writing can be bad. The credits reveal that it was plotted by five different people working together, which is not a good sign; too many cooks in the kitchen, clearly. Apparently the actual writing was done by only one guy, though: D.G. Chichester. I'll have to make sure to avoid his work in the future - assuming it even comes up.
Thumbs Down

Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men #2
Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men #3

These are two issues from the middle of a four-issue miniseries published in the mid-'80s. They're written by Chris Claremont, so they're exceedingly over-narrated and seriously lacking in subtlety. Plus, Franklin Richards baby-speak dialog makes me want to punch somebody. That being said, it's a surprisingly effective story, which finds the X-Men so desperate to save Shadowcat from an odd medical condition that they are even willing to fight the Fantastic Four when Reed refuses to help them, and accept the assistance of Doctor Doom when he offers it. But the FF is going through its own issues, as it turns out Sue has recently discovered a book that appears to be Reed's diary, and which states plainly that he knew what would happen on the fateful flight that turned them all into superheroes (and Ben into a freakish monster), and that he planned it deliberately. The book is a lie, but that doesn't stop it from briefly tearing the FF apart. Despite how melodramatic the story gets, it never feels unbelievable, and Claremont treats the characters well. Maybe it's because I'm a new father and therefore vulnerable to this sort of thing, but the tender moment between Reed and Franklin put a lump in my throat. As a final note, it's hilarious how incredibly inaccurate and sensationalized the covers of each of these comics are. The scenes they depict have absolutely nothing to do with what actually happens inside the books.
Thumbs Up

Fantasy Masterpieces #2
This book, from January of 1980, finds an extremely emo Silver Surfer (the opening panel features him lying stretched out on his board with one arm flung over his eyes in classic Victorian-lady-with-the-vapors style) protecting the Earth from invisible alien invaders, despite the fact that the humans constantly misinterpret his actions and repay his selfless acts of kindness with only hatred and violence. The writing, because it's by Stan "The Man" Lee, is really rather ridiculous. But, because it's by Stan "The Man" Lee, it's also reasonably fun and entertaining.
Thumbs Sideways

The Incredible Hulk #315
This book, from January 1986, actually documents a pretty important moment in the history of the Hulk, wherein Doc Samson manages to split the Hulk and Bruce Banner into two physically and mentally separate beings, only discovering after he's succeeded what a terrible and dangerous thing he's done. The writing and art are both by John Byrne, whose work I've enjoyed in the past, and he delivers a pretty entertaining comic here, although the opening metaphorical chase between Bruce and the Hulk is a bit overdone, and there's maybe a bit more exposition - and talking in general - than there really needs to be.
Thumbs Sideways

JLA: Paradise Lost #2
The middle issue of a three-part miniseries by Mark Millar, with art by Ariel Olivetti. I hardly need the first and third issues to understand the story, however, as it's a really old one about guardian angels who forsook their places in heaven for the love of mortal women, and another angel who's rebelling and plans to overthrow God. The fact that the Archangel Michael turns out to be a tattooed smoker is kind of amusing, and it's both entertaining and embarrassing to note that this was during the period where Superman didn't have the cape, and instead wore a ridiculous blue and white jumpsuit, and even had purple skin for some reason. This book also features one of the (apparently many) times that the Martian Manhunter died. It doesn't have a lot of that over-the-top, Millar charm, but he does get to show the evil angel burning some people alive and throwing a boat around, so there's that.
Thumbs Sideways

Will to Power #8
This is a short, 16-page book from the mid-'90s about a young, snot-nosed super team and their far more experienced boss facing off against a guy who appears to be a sort of Superman-gone-wild. We're clearly coming in at the middle of the story here, and what with that and the fact that there are so few pages, it's hard to get a feel even for who's meant to be the heroes and who's meant to be the villains. Luckily none of the characters are particularly interesting or fresh, so it doesn't really matter.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Buffy (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Fantastic Four (Not), Free Comic Book Day (Not), Green Hornet (Not), Hulk (Not), Iron Man (Not), Kieron Gillen (Not), Mark Millar (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Nova (Not), Pixar (Not), Siege (Not), Simpsons (Not), Superman (Not), Terminator (Not), The Take (Not), Thor (Not), X-Men (Not), Zack Whedon (Not)
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Friday, April 2, 2010 10:50 AM
(Last updated on Friday, April 2, 2010 12:39 PM)
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Angel (Not), Buffy (Not), Captain America (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Dollhouse (Not), Firefly (Not), Food (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not)
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Monday, March 8, 2010 03:09 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 3/3, which was sadly the worst week for comics in recent memory. Beware spoilers! And bitterness!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #33
It's an interesting moment when the vampire slayer realizes that, metaphorically at least, she has now become a vampire herself. But this is followed up by a patented Scooby gang pep talk from Xander, and Buffy's soon up and fighting again. There's a weird thing that only lasts a handful of panels where Andrew somehow gets his hands on a whole bunch of geeky gear and uses it to try to fight Twilight. I don't know where that came from or how it makes sense.

Of course, the big deal about this issue is that it includes the long-awaited reveal of Twilight's secret identity, a reveal that fails entirely to have any power or suspense because anybody who goes online has known the secret for weeks now, thanks to Dark Horse doing a really poor job on information control. Twilight's true identity originally leaked thanks to the cover art for a future issue hitting the internet too early. I'd forgive them that - who can keep stuff like that from leaking out these days? - except that they then assumed that everyone knew the secret, and started talking about it openly on Twitter and Facebook, thus ruining it for everyone else, including people like myself who hadn't even known anything about the leaked cover, and wouldn't have looked at it even if they had. Sigh.

But anyway, the point is, the reveal doesn't make a lot of sense, even in context. I don't see why this character would become a villain all of the sudden, and his explanation of why he let a bunch of innocent people die is not sufficient. I just don't see him ever doing the kinds of things that Twilight has done. Buffy's reaction to the reveal doesn't make any sense, either. I mean, she's made poor decisions as far as romance is concerned as long as we've known her, but to stop in the middle of a fight and just start having sex with someone who is essentially a mass murderer? Really? And what the hell is with her and Twilight glowing, and Twilight talking about them being some kind of fated pair, and Giles being all doom and gloom? Meltzer has some serious explaining to do in the next couple issues!
Thumbs Sideways

First Wave #1
All the prequels and previews of this series that I've seen so far have been crappy, but I decided to give this first issue a try anyway, maybe because there were so few other interesting books on the stands this week. Unsurprisingly, it's mediocre. There's way too much narration, none of which is terribly well written, and none of the subplots that get initiated here are really grabbing me. Boring characters, boring dialog, boring, boring, boring.
Thumbs Sideways

Girl Comics #1
This is the first of a three-issue anthology miniseries from Marvel consisting of short stories by all women comic book creators. It's all part of the company's new "Women of Marvel" initiative, highlighting and celebrating all the female talent in the field. It's a cool idea, but as with most anthology books, this one is really hit-and-miss - mostly miss. The introductory bit by Colleen Coover is cute and inspiring, but the Cabaret-style Nightcrawler story is a real yawner (even if the art is intriguing and unique). Trina Robbins' Venus short is perhaps even more dull. Interspersed with the stories are "spotlight" prose pieces which consist of short bios of particularly important women in the comics field. These are a nice idea, and are reasonably interesting. Valerie D'Orazio's Punisher story is pretty amusing, even if, as others have pointed out, the ending is a foregone conclusion from page one. The She-Hulk pin-up is nice. The goofy Doctor Octopus two-pager is probably my favorite story in here, because it's just pure cutesy fun. Robyn Furth and Agnes Garbowska's fairy tale-inspired Franklin & Valeria Richards' story is interminable, and packed full of completely unnecessary text. You should never need this many words to tell a story in a visual medium like comic books, especially when the words are this boring. "Head Space," which focuses on the complex Cyclops-Jean Grey-Wolverine love triangle, has a fascinatingly surreal story-telling format, but it's not saying anything we haven't already heard a million times before. I doubt I'll pick up another issue of this book, unless something really sticks out when I flip through it in the store.
Thumbs Sideways

Green Hornet #1
I realized after his latest Batman series that I really disliked the way Kevin Smith writes comics, but I was interested enough in this Green Hornet comic that I decided to give it a chance anyway. Mistake! It's terrible. Seriously. So formulaic and awful. All the characters speak that same Kevin Smith language we all know so well, but Smith is even less inspired here than usual, and is just churning out all the usual stereotypical junk. The jokes are incredibly cheesy and cliche and unfunny. The characters are all smug and unlikable. There's even a slacker whose girlfriend leaves him because he's so much of a lazy, uncaring jerk. It's pretty hard to blame her.

The comic is full of ads for the seemingly hundreds of other Green Hornet-related series that Dynamite is launching, but after reading this example of their work, I think I'll skip the rest.
Thumbs Down

Ultimate Avengers #5
It feels like I may have missed an issue of this, but maybe the mild confusion I'm feeling as to why all these people are where they are, and what it is exactly that they're talking about, has more to do with how long it's been since I read the previous issue. Anyway, the series is getting really... Millary now. I find that with pretty much all of Mark Millar's stuff, eventually it crosses a line and I stop liking it. It just gets too dark and thoughtless and disgusting and offensive and I lose my taste for it. I think this series might have hit that point for me now. The Ultimate Red Skull is just such a ridiculously awful creature, what with the baby-killing and the gang-raping. And there's a scene in here where poor Nerd Hulk vomits just because Millar thinks it'd be funny for that character to vomit and be shamed in front of the other characters. And you know what? Not funny. Then Millar makes fun of the French for no real good reason, and that's not particularly funny either; it's just a boring cliche. And there's plenty more lame dialog where that came from. Yeah, I think I'm done with this book.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Kevin Smith (Not), Mark Millar (Not), The Take (Not), Ultimate Comics (Not)
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Thursday, February 11, 2010 08:39 AM
(Last updated on Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:20 AM)
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 2/3. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #32
This issue had multiple covers, but I got the best one: it retitles the book Buffy Comics and the illustration is a parody of the famous cover of Action Comics #1, with Buffy standing in for Superman. Also, I'm pretty sure that's Joss Whedon playing the screaming man in the bottom left corner. They didn't do this just for the fun of it, either; the issue is about Buffy gaining super powers, way above anything she ever had before, and is loaded with references to other super-powered characters from throughout the history of popular culture, especially Superman. There's something particularly funny about the references to Kitty Pryde, and Buffy's dislike of the character, given that Whedon wrote an arc of Astonishing X-Men in which Kitty was the central character. A lot of the story is quite funny, really, especially how Xander just totally geeks out over Buffy's powers. I also rather like the Superman II reference, when Buffy, standing in the air with her arms folded, says, "General... would you care to step outside?"

I was a little worried about this issue, because it was written by Brad Meltzer, whose work I've really disliked in the past, and indeed some of the dialog is a bit awkward and odd, but overall I was pleasantly surprised. It's a pretty good issue - fast-paced, exciting, funny - and it moves the overarching plot forward in fascinating ways. The revelation about the origin of Buffy's new powers is not particularly shocking, but it's still an interesting development. Hopefully Meltzer can keep up the good work.

In the back of the book is a preview of Zack Whedon's upcoming Terminator series. I was going to buy the first issue of this sight unseen because I love Terminator and I love anybody named Whedon, but this preview seals the deal. Fun dialog, interesting characters, and a sense of impending doom. Good stuff!
Thumbs Up

Criminal: The Sinners #4
Another great issue. One of the killer kids realizes it's not all black and white, and that some of the bad guys aren't so bad that they deserve to get executed. He makes a fateful decision, and Lawless solves the murder mystery. That doesn't get Lawless out of any trouble, though; in fact, he's making brand new enemies, and now his fellow employees know about him and the boss's wife. Yay for dark and evil noir!

In the back of the book is a really amazing essay by Joe Hill called "Real, True Damage." On the surface it's an appreciation of a Charles Bronson movie called Mr. Majestyk, but underneath that it's really a powerful, insightful memoir about life and human nature. I think I might have to start reading more stuff by Joe Hill.
Thumbs Up

Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #6
Finally, the epic conclusion to Jason Aaron's run on Ghost Rider! Sadly, the pacing of the opening is a bit off; almost before we realize Johnny and Danny's first fight with Zadkiel is over, they're going back to face him again, with no real indication of where everybody went in the meantime. Still, the rest of the book pretty easily makes up for this, as the next sequence features every Ghost Rider ever rising up to pull Zadkiel down, and then, when they're done with that, utterly destroying the invading armies of hell. It's pretty awesome, especially the huge two-page spread of the entire Ghost Rider army. Then there's tiny Knuckles O'Shaugnessy spitting out ridiculous slang, and a Wild West Ghost Rider saying, "Bring it on, you sumbitches!" and a Ghost Rider on a giant shark tearing into people, and... yeah, it's fantastic. Later there's a handful of fun epilogue panels, including one where the giant zealot guy is stuck paralyzed in a hospital room with eyeball guy, who is just talking and talking in the most annoying way and it's hilarious. The very end is also excellent, with our three heroes riding off into the sunset, in search of new adventures. Danny: "Where the hell are we going?" Johnny: "I don't know. But I'll race ya." Yep, that pretty much sums it up! Aaron's Ghost Rider arc had its bumpy moments, but overall it was a lot of fun, and this conclusion was pretty much everything I could have hoped for.

There's not much to say about the reprint, in the back of the book, of the final part of the origin story of the Son of Satan, except that it's pretty ridiculous.
Thumbs Up

Marvel Heart-Breakers #1
I'm not really sure why I felt I had to pick up this one-shot anthology. I guess it was the inclusion of a character from Nextwave (Tabitha Smith) that pulled me in. I believe the book is meant to be Marvel's celebration of Valentine's Day, so the focus is, stereotypically, on the women of the Marvel universe and their love lives. There's a goofy Spider-Man story that looks like it's going to be about Gwen Stacy vs. MJ, but then ends up mostly being about Spider-Man vs. an ill-conceived science project. It's vaguely amusing, but nothing to write home about. The next story, "Superboys!", is funnier, if also a bit uneven. It features Tabitha Smith and Elsa Bloodstone waiting around to beat up Bloodstone's ex. While they're sitting there, they share stories about relationships gone awry. I particularly like Elsa's story about how her Dad chucked her into the water with sharks to celebrate her womanhood. Tabitha points out that this is a continuity problem, but Elsa retorts, "Who are you, Uatu the Watcher?" Heh. The gossip about the other men of the Marvel U is also pretty amusing. The next story centers on the Beast and Dazzler, and it's kind of sweet, but also kind of corny, and also... Dazzler. Dazzler is lame. The last story, about Snowbird, is dull and melodramatic. Then there's a cute page of art with a bunch of the Marvel women hanging out with white outfits on that show off their boobs. Classy.

I really have to stop getting these anthology books. They're always mediocre.
Thumbs Sideways

Siege #2
I'm really enjoying Olivier Coipel's epic art on this title, which is set off by Mark Morales' fine inks and Laura Martin's wonderful colors. In the opening of this issue, Ares learns the truth: that Osborn has lied to him to trick him into fighting against his brother Gods. This is clearly an important plot point, but unfortunately it's a pretty weak hinge for the story to swing on. I mean, the lie was a transparent one that Ares was bound to see through eventually. Why didn't Osborn come up with something a little more believable? Why didn't Ares bother doing some research first? It's kind of lame. It is totally fun, however, when Maria Hill drives in on the back of a beat-up truck and shoots Osborn with a missile launcher, and then follows that up by covering the rest of the Avengers with machine gun fire while her new buddy tries to drag the injured Thor to safety. Meanwhile, Steve Rogers pulls pretty much every other hero in the Marvel U together to help him stop Osborn, which is awesome. Then it's time for a huge, brutal fight between the Sentry and Ares that ends with... well, with the Sentry ripping Ares in half with his bare hands. Sigh. Have I mentioned lately that I hate what Bendis is doing with the Sentry? However, I was ready to forgive pretty much all of this comic's flaws when I got to the last page, a page so great it made me pump my fist in celebration. It's just four panels of Osborn staring up while we watch the reflection of Cap's shield getting closer and closer in his armor's faceplate. Hilarious and fantastic and a thrilling preview of the epic battle to come.
Thumbs Up

Siege: Embedded #2
I'm enjoying this series more than I thought I would. The characters are strong and interesting - Volstagg is particularly fun - and it's good to see somebody taking jabs at Fox News and our media-obsessed culture. There's even some exciting action. In the back is a preview for a Jeph Loeb Ultimate title which is predictably bad.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Criminal (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Ghost Rider (Not), Jason Aaron (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Siege (Not), Superman (Not), Terminator (Not), The Take (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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