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Caesar’s Film Disappointments of 2010

Posted by film On January - 21 - 2011

Legion stinks like a flaming bag of something left on a doorstep.

By Caesar Martini

1. Legion
Technically not a disappointment because I saw the previews and thought, “Wow, looks like crap,” and it was indeed crap. In fact, it exceeded my estimations of crap. The whole movie was just one bad decision after another, punctuated by bad dialogue, ridiculous plot directions, and questionable acting. Horrible.

2. The Last Airbender
This was particularly disappointing because 1) I liked M Knight Shyamalan once and would like to again, and 2) the TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender is such a good cartoon and rich source of material that it’s a tragedy to see it mishandled so badly. If The Last Airbender was a child, Shyamalan dropped it on its head, accidentally stepped on it with hobnailed boots and kicked it into a pile of razor blades and then picked it up hastily and proudly showed it off to the world. “Isn’t she beautiful?” No, M Knight. No she is not. She is horrid and needs medical attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Film’s Greatest Disappointments of 2009

Posted by film On January - 19 - 2010

By Sean Kelly, Caesar Martini, and Shane McNeil

Caesar’s Disappointments

1. Halloween 2
I wasn’t expecting excellence going into this movie. I was expecting decent-ness, but what I got was an hour and a half of poorly directed gore scenes in between extreme close ups of talking heads, punctuated by a girl screeching directly into my ear like a Banshee taking a bath in acid.

2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This movie had so much potential. Wolverine, arguably one of the coolest and most badass characters ever in comics, played by Hugh Jackman, who somehow manages to be an amazing embodiment of the character despite being Australian and starring in way too many musicals.

How do you cock it up? Read the rest of this entry »

Where the Wild Things Are Reviewed

Posted by film On November - 6 - 2009

wtwtaWhere The Wild Things Are
Director: Spike Jonze
Warner Bros Pictures

By Caesar Martini

Where The Wild Things Are (WWTA) is a movie adaptation of a much-beloved book by Maurice Sendak; a book so popular and beloved that I am apparently the only person in North America who has not read it. I found this somewhat confusing; in short order, I discovered that every single person I know, even people I’ve grown up with, have intimate knowledge and fondness for something I barely knew existed. It’s like every child got a copy of this book for their third birthday except me, because my parents were swarthy foreigners and books won’t stitch up those wallets, boy. The extent of my knowledge of this story previous to my seeing the movie is that I knew it was about a place, possibly where some wild things might be.

But I digress. First, let’s get all the boring praise out of the way: Wild Things looks great. It’s filmed beautifully, with great backgrounds and scenery, and the monsters in it all look fantastically realistic while managing to strongly resemble the creatures that Sendak drew in the original story. There’s a sense of real care and attention on the part of the filmmakers, who demonstrate they wanted to do justice to something they felt was meaningful. And that’s it. There’s not much more I feel I can say about Wild Things that’s positive, except that all the Wild Things look like higher budget versions of Sweetums from The Muppet Show. Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 2 - 2009

badlieutenantBad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Directed by Werner Herzog
Edward R. Pressman Film / Millenium Films

By Rachel West

I love Nicolas Cage. If you’ve read my review of Knowing, you’ll remember that I am the one person who enjoyed Bangkok Dangerous, paid money to see Next, and will line up to see Kick-Ass in 2010. My love for Nicolas Cage doesn’t stem from his resume of work, because, let’s face it, he hasn’t been in a good movie since 2002’s Adaptation. I love Nicolas Cage because you never know what you’re going to get from him. He’s often over-the-top and crazy with his dead-eye gaze, spouting one liners in a halting manner, frequently while wielding a gun. Cage seems to perfect this persona in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans since it has all of that and more.

A remake in name only, Bad Lieutenant is a wild ride through the seedy underbelly of post-Katrina New Orleans, and Cage is our tour guide, steering us through crime, guns, drugs, and bad cops. Promoted to lieutenant for acts of bravery during Hurricane Katrina, Terrence (Cage) is seemingly a rather bad cop — he snorts cocaine on the job, steals from the seized inventory locker at the police station, takes sexual bribes, dates a prostitute, and deals drugs with thugs. All of this and yet you can’t help but like the guy and even empathize with him. As he and partner Stevie (Val Kilmer) investigate the drug related murders of a family of fresh immigrants, Terrence begins to spiral more deeply into his drug addiction. At a roadblock with suspects, Terrence begins to befriend them for financial gain to pay off his crippling gambling debts. Through a series of plot turns, Terrence has the chance to redeem himself and become one of the good guys, and the crux of the film hangs on his decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #14: August 5, 2009

Posted by Comics On August - 6 - 2009

asm601Amazing Spider-Man #601
Mark Waid (w), Mario Alberti (a), Andres Mossa (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a lot of weird stuff going on with this issue. It’s ALMOST the first time Mary Jane has made her reappearance, but they couldn’t really give us the actual conversation between that meeting except in a brief flashback. Much like her first appearance, it’s an event that can’t possibly live up to it’s own hype. The drunken hook up with Michelle Gonzales, who Peter Parker doesn’t generally get along with, let alone anything else, is the kind of stuff that Peter would be torturing himself about later, but he’s so completely thrown for a loop by Mary Jane that he doesn’t focus on it at all. Kind of out of character — he’s supposed to worry about the consequences of all his actions! I didn’t say it was healthy, just that that’s in his character. And am I the only one disturbed by the use of the word “deets”? A sweet back-up by Bendis and Quesada is a nice surprise. Really, I wouldn’t have expected it. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5
Owen’s rating: 3 out of 5

AgentsofAtlasAgents of Atlas #9
Jeff Parker (w), Dan Panosian (a), Elizabeth Dismang (c). Marvel Comics.

Oh, apparently I missed an issue of Agents of Atlas while I was on vacation. No matter, at least there’s a recap page so that I’m not totally lost on this issue. Thanks, Marvel, I’ll go back and pick up the other one because you weren’t jerks about picking up every issue. Anyway, I wasn’t totally taken with this issue of Agents of Atlas, largely based on the art. I looked up Panosian, mistaking him for a newcomer to comics, and was shocked to learn that he has a 20-year career under his belt. Probably not the best sign. It’s inconsistent and overly lined. But I like the direction the title is following; there’s some nice pay off to some flashbacks introduced in the first issues of the series. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics’ Books of the Month for July 2009

Posted by Comics On August - 4 - 2009

amazingspidey600Isaac’s Book of the Month

Amazing Spider-Man #600
Dan Slott (w), John Romita Jr. (p), Klaus Janson (i), Dean White (c). Marvel Comics.

What the guys creating Amazing Spider-Man have done so well in the past 19 months is to tell their stories while subtly introducing the threads of stories to come. The result creates stories that we actually care about. But it’s a delicate balance: if you wait too long, the audience will get sick of being strung along. Eventually, you have to provide some answers to pulse-pounding questions like “Who was that man in the shadows on page seven?”

In this context, the big thing Spider-Man #600 accomplishes is the resurgence of Doctor Octopus, with a complete adventure of Spidey versus Doc Ock, and then Octopus escaping, vowing his vengeance, and tantalizing us with his imminent return in the future. To contain all of that in a single issue is already something special. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #13: July 29, 2009

Posted by Comics On July - 30 - 2009

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3
For Isaac’s review of Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1, check out our Crossover Corner at the bottom of the page.

thehood3Dark Reign: The Hood #3
Jeff Parker (w), Kyle Hotz (a), Frank Martin (c). Marvel Comics.

Yep. Still good. If you’re a fan of the original The Hood miniseries you should be picking up this title. That said, I wish Parker was doing more with The Hood’s girlfriend. Even in the original Brian K. Vaughan miniseries she was underdeveloped and mostly served as easy motivation for The Hood. Her role has been to nag The Hood and be oblivious to his criminal actions — though it looks like next issue she might get to be the damsel in distress! I hope Parker surprises me with something more original and interesting. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dark Reign Young Avengers #3Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3
Paul Cornell (w), Mark Brooks (p), Mark Morales & Walden Wong (i), Marvel Comics

This is a sort of strange issue where the new Young Avengers and the old Young Avengers hang out together in groups of two or so. You don’t quite get a feel for the new guys since it’s implied that they’re not totally being honest, but in these short scenes there is a lot of fun interchange. The cliffhanger isn’t that surprising but it is clearly logical so it’s hard to really fault it. This is definitely a pretty good issue, but a little disappointing since I loved the first two issues. — Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #8: June 24, 2009

Posted by Comics On June - 24 - 2009

astonishingAstonishing X-Men #30
Warren Ellis (w), Simone Bianchi (p), various. Marvel Comics.

If a team takes two years to put out six issues (I’m counting the announcement at San Diego Comicon 2007 as when the creators started work) you’d at least hope they’d be good. Bianchi is perhaps one of the worst artists to attempt to make a coming in the medium’s history. It’s not that he can’t draw — his figures are fine, even if they are making strange and goofy poses in every panel — it’s that he can’t compose a page. He’s trying really hard with these complicated layouts that fall dead flat. Why? Because there’s no fucking purpose to them. He’s losing out on emotive details because he’s adding angles and semi-circle panels. Then there is Ellis’ mishandling of the characters. He gets the occasional moment right, but then so many so wrong, like Wolverine saying that he’s “Old enough to spank the front o’ your brain with one o’ my claws, Summers.” “‘o”? Since when is Wolverine a character from Treasure fucking Island? If you liked Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, pretend they cancelled the title. — Miles Baker Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #1: May 6, 2009

Posted by Comics On May - 8 - 2009

agentsAgents of Atlas #4
Jeff Parker (w), Gabriel Hardman (a), Elizabet Dismang (c). Marvel Comics.

Just when I thought I didn’t really dig this issue of Agents of Atlas, it has to pull out a final page that makes me go, “ah, that’s clever. Too bad the solicitation ruined this a few months ago.” But I guess that’s my fault for reading solicitations. I think praise should be given to Gabriel Hardman who works in two separate styles: one for the present and one for flashbacks. Both work really well but the flashback style reminds me a lot of Michael Lark, and I love Michael Lark, so I prefer it. It’s a good series, but you do have to read a wikipedia page to know what’s really going on for background, which is my problem with it, and why my rating isn’t higher. — Miles Baker

Miles’ Ranking: 3.5 out of 5

ultimatecollection01-smallAlias Ultimate Edition vol 1
Brian Michael Bendis (w) , Michael Gaydos (a) . Marvel Comics.

The first time the word “fuck” ever appeared in a Marvel Comic was on page one, issue one of Alias. It was the bold statement that Alias was not going to be your regular, everyday, 7-11-friendly comic from Marvel. It was dark in tone and in art, adult in theme and content, and intelligent on every level. This collection handles the first half of what is one of my favourite series of all times. It centres on Jessica Jones, a former superhero turned private eye and how she intersects with the Marvel Universe. Along the way she encounters Captain America, becomes Daredevil’s bodygaurd, helps out Rick Jones, and begins dating Ant Man while flirting with Luke Cage. This was the beginning of a lot of story threads that are still being played out in the pages of the New Avengers. If you haven’t read this series, buy it today and you won’t be sorry. — Miles Baker

Miles’ Ranking: 5 out of 5

spider-manThe Amazing Spider-Man #593
Mark Waid (w), Mike Mikone (p), Andy Lanning and Karl Kessel (i), Jeromy Cox (c). Marvel Comics.

This issue has the return of a Spider-man device that I have missed: just when Spidey thinks he’s defeated the bad guy, a whole new one shows up that is much scarier. We also get Peter being really nice to Aunt May, something else I have missed in the past. And a Spidey that’s more than a little mischevious and enjoying his powers for once. These are the reasons I don’t care that Peter made a deal with the devil to make it all happen. These comics are just so much better now. There’s also a little beefcake Peter on the first page for those of you out there that are into that. — Miles Baker

Miles’ Ranking: 4 out of 5
Isaac’s Ranking: 2.5 out of 5

791605-001_superBatman: Battle for the Cowl the Network #1
Fabian Nicieza (w), Don Kramer and J. Calafiore (p) . DC Comics

An incredibly busy comic results in a lot of cameos and very little actually gets accomplished. A handy roll call lists a lot of characters, many of which don’t actually appear, and that’s very emblematic of what’s wrong with this book. It’s a lack of focus. What’s important about the story is the interaction between Batgirl and Huntress, but without enough time devoted to them it becomes a case of “angry girl fights with level headed girl.” There are a couple of points where the art isn’t clearing things up and you need the dialogue to get it together. I have no problem with that, it’s common with golden age comics, but they also had the dialogue and captions to back up that kind of presentation. However, Batgirl hasn’t been written this much in character in years, so that’s a big plus. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Ranking: 2 out of 5

buffy25-2Buffy The Vampire Slayer #25
Doug Petrie (w), Geogres Jeanty (p), Andy Owens (i), Michelle Madsen (c). Dark Horse.

It’s funny, for all my excitement when “Buffy Season 8″ was first coming out it seems like it’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely psyched for an issue. Personally, I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like the plot has moved forward that much since the issues in the early teens. I liked this issue more than most of the Buffy issues of the last year, largely because it wrapped one of the subplots up (the long-standing Dawn plotline). The writing was witty and Georges Jeanty did some great creature-design work. It was a pretty good issue, but remember that Big Bad that was lurking around? I think it’s time to get back to him. — Owen K. Craig

Owen’s Ranking: 3 out of 5
Miles’ Ranking: 3 out of 5

cableCable #14
Duane Swierczynski (w), Ariel Olivetti (a). Marvel Comics.

The character assassination of Bishop continues in the latest issue of Cable. For the last 18 months, Marvel has taken one of the very few strong African American characters they have and turned him into a disgusting child killer — oh, but he’s justified or some crap like that. Yeah, whatever. Couldn’t they have picked a different time traveling character for this? They have a lot of them. Anyway, this issue is  a part of the “Messiah War” crossover and I loved the “Messiah Complex” crossover but this is nowhere near as good. So far the plot has barely advanced and I feel like this is going to be one of those crossovers that doesn’t matter. That said, I did like a few of the lines, I am still going to be following the series, and I think Olivetti is showing improvement as an artist. — Miles Baker

Miles’ Ranking: 2.5 out of 5.

dd-noirDaredevil Noir #2 of 4
Alexander Irvine (w), Tomm Coker (a), Daniel Freedman (c). Marvel Comics

The first time I heard of this, I thought, “If Daredevil was any more noir, there’d be nothing but shadows to look at.” Set in the Prohibition era, Hell’s Kitchen is in middle of a war between the King Pin and Orville Halloran, and Daredevil is tangled within the mess. To make matters worse, a mysterious third party Bullseye appears to stir up some trouble. Oh, did I forget to mention the alluringly mysterious Eliza? If there’s anything I love more about Daredevil than Daredevil himself, it’s his uncanny ability to have some of the sexiest encounters with the leading ladies. There’s just nothing that beats a good ol’ fashioned, slightly racy hand-to-face interaction between a blind man and a beautiful lady. It gives me shivers.

My only problem is that Daredevil is already very noir. It seems that the only difference between this and the regular storyline is that he’s in the 1930s and with a new costume, equipped with a sleeveless shirt and fancy dinner gloves. That being said, the art is absolutely stunning and definitely works with the theme. It’s worth a gander, even if it’s just for the art or the hunky Daredevil. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Ranking: 3.5 out of 5

deadpool10_superDeadpool #10
Daniel Way (w), Paco Medina (p), Juan Vlasco (i), Marte Gracia (c). Marvel Comics.

In this issue, Norman Osborn decides to send out Dark Hawkeye (a.k.a. Bullseye) after Deadpool after discovering, in a very hilarious way, that he somehow survived his encounter with the Thunderbolts. I’ve never really ever been disappointed with an issue of Deadpool… well, there was that Thunderbolts crossover, but we’ll forget that for now. Deadpool’s new assignment in this issue leads us to raise a few eyebrows, but it showcases the fact that he isn’t the typical “good guy”. Way has really brought some life into Deadpool and this time shows that although he’s been known to mingle with the supes, he still leads a mercenary life. The story does however take a little too long for Deadpool to actually fight Hawkeye, but in the end leaves you wanting more. It’s very frustrating, but it works.

The art is great. The team of Medina, Vlasco, and Gracia have really been able to create a style that works with the dialogue. In typical Deadpool fashion, he stands in an epic pose, while saying something ridiculous like, “This besmirchment will not stand!” This series is still fairly new and, with the new Wolverine movie, I’m sure Deadpool will become even more popular. He’s always the choice for a good laugh. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Ranking: 3.5 out of 5

789923-flash_rebirth_no2__2009__superFlash Rebirth #2 (OF 5)
Geoff Johns (w), Ethan Van Sciver (a). DC Comics.

When Hal Jordan returned in the Green Lantern: Rebirth series, it was the first step in a major revitalization of the franchise. It’s a revitalization that the Flash never needed… until they decided to revitalize him anyway. As Barry thinks in the issue, “Before I came back everything was fine.” What we’re given is a story driven by the addition of a new element, Barry, and how all the older figures react to it. It’s brilliantly done, adding a great deal of fun detail to Barry’s life with a mystery that’s just kicking into gear. The cliffhanger is an old school cherry on top. Highly recommended. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Ranking: 4 out of 5

imvincibleironThe Invincible Iron Man #13
Matt Fraction (w), Salvador Larroca (a). Marvel Comics

Once more, Matt Fraction has done something I didn’t think was possible: he has made me like Maria Hill. This was a supporting character I hated. She drove me crazy, but with this issue I found myself cheering her on. So there you have it, a perfect microcosm of what Fraction is doing here: he’s doing the impossible. He’s taking aspects of comics that I don’t usually care for and making them into something awesome. — Owen K. Craig

Owen’s Ranking: 4 out of 5

791573-prv2531_cov_superIrredeemable #2
Mark Waid (w), Peter Krause (a), Andrew Dalhouse (c). Boom Studios

It’s always a good sign when I don’t realize that I’ve finished the issue, keep flipping for more, and realize that I’m reading the preview for another comic. Mark Waid really did a good job setting up the premise of this series in the first issue by simply asking the question: What if the world’s greatest superhero, became its greatest villain?

This second issue was a long time coming and definitely does not disappoint. We start to slowly uncover the mystery and story behind the Plutonian. The focus is on his love life with a woman named Alana Patel. The storyline mirrors that of Lois Lane and Superman, which I think is something Waid is trying to do. The Plutonian is very much like Superman, but unlike him, the Plutonian kills babies when he’s mad. Although the story focuses on the relationship and its role in the Plutonian’s fall from grace, you also get a glimpse of one of his archenemies and are left with a taste of what is to come.

The art is really great as well, and does an effective job in contrasting the bright past with the dark present. Overall, this is a solid start for what is starting to become my favourite 2009 series. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Ranking: 4.5 out of 5

jurseygodsJersey Gods #4
Glen Brunswick (w), Dan McDaid (a) . Dark Horse Comics

This book is awesome. The characters are fun, the fights are crazy and I can’t wait to see what happens next, but as it goes on I’m getting tired of the main character being off-planet so much. I want to see more of his relationship with the female lead. The battle the titular Gods have got going on is neat and all (it takes an interesting turn this issue), but I think keeping him apart from his romantic interest for the bulk of the first storyline was not the best move. I’m assigning the book 4 out of 5, as I really enjoyed this issue a lot, but we need to see the two leads together again. Soon. — Owen K. Craig

Owen’s Ranking: 4 out of 5

marvelzombies42_superMarvel Zombies 4 #2 of 4
Fred Van Lente (w), Kev Walker (a), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (c). Marvel Comics

I’ve never read any of the previous Marvel Zombies series, so this run has been my first exposure and it’s been great. I know I’m holding gold, when there are non-stop laughs and page turning moments that keep me wanting more. The severed head of Zombie Deadpool is on the loose thanks to Marvel zombie Simon Garth and is being delivered to Black Talon. Black Talon decides to sell the head to The Hood, who despite the advice of his henchmen wishes to make the purchase. If that wasn’t enough, the new Midnight Sons come head to head with The Hood’s own monstrous team, The Night Shift in a pretty epic battle. It’s a big convoluted mess of over-the-top action, fun, gore, and zombies, with some definite twists and turns that keep the storyline moving. — Sandra Yao

Sandra’s Ranking: 4 out of 5

791977-002f8de2_ffea_4ae1_8046_fb1d108a8dd7_superNew Mutants #1
Zeb Wells (w), Diogenes Neves (p). Marvel Comics

Though I don’t take it personally when the cover artist isn’t the same as the interior (I’ve met some guys that just didn’t get it), I do feel lied to by this cover. It’s the classic New Mutants line up wearing some iconic uniforms, and I’m pretty sure the kid next to Warlock is dead. That being the case, I was excited to see how they’d bring him back and get everyone together for their new adventure. Instead, Cannonball is “too cool” and yells at the Young X-Men for not liking Magik. Look Magik, I don’t care if you were with the New Mutants back in the day, if you eat a piece of a person’s soul you lose your free pass. At least pretend to be nice. Asking for help while acting suspicious doesn’t make me like you or the comic. It is a great cover though… — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s Ranking: 2.5 out of 5

powergirlPower Girl #1
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (w),  Amanda Conner (a). DC Comics

Amanda Conner makes everything better. I tend to be more of a writer-focused comic fan, but she is one of the few artists that can get me to buy anything she draws. In a business that is filled with way to many artists who just draw generic sexy female forms (artists who are eerily popular, by the way. Ugh) it’s great to see an artist who gives these (still sexy) females a personality. Conner’s characters are expressive, distinct, and emote beautifully. I’m not normally a Power Girl fan, but the story itself is quite good. Gray and Palmiotti are setting up a life outside of superheroing for Power Girl, and an old villain returns. I’m interested to see where the story goes, but there’s no doubt about it… I wouldn’t have bought the comic in the first place if it weren’t for Amanda Conner. — Owen K. Craig

Owen’s Ranking: 3 out of 5
Sandra’s Ranking: 3 out of 5

supermanSuperman: World of New Krypton #3
James Robinson and Greg Rucka (w), Pete Woods (a). DC Comics

The first issue of this new Superman book (or maxiseries, I guess) caught my attention. I was intrigued by the idea of not only getting a glimpse into the way of life on Krypton, but also getting to see Superman have to deal with his own perceptions of their way of life. The second issue built on that nicely. But now… the third issue didn’t do a whole lot for me. There was a logical conclusion to the incident at the end of issue 2 (which nicely demonstrated why Superman is more than just a guy with powers), a fairly uneventful fight and a cliff-hanger that is not at all surprising if you’ve seen the cover of issue 3 online. I like this series, and I’m going to keep buying it, but this issue was a bit of a letdown. — Owen K. Craig

Owen’s Ranking: 2 out of 5
Sandra’s Ranking: 4 out of 5

kick_ass_6Sandra’s Book

Kick-Ass #6
Written by Mark Millar
Art by John Romita Jr.
Icon, 2009

It was very hard to say, “No,” to a picture of a smiling girl covered in blood that was clearly not her own. In her hands were two swords still dripping fresh blood from the severed bodies that lay at her feet. As I finished the last page, there was a sudden fury of questions that flooded to mind, such as “Why have I not read this before? What hole have I been in? Why is Hit-Girl’s head so big?”

This latest issue of Mark Millar’s Kick-Assfocuses on a duo comprised of a Punisher-esque father and his daughter, Hit-Girl. In the issue, Hit-Girl tells the story of the their “secret origin,” which essentially is about a good cop who refused to be bought by the bad guys, and one day, in order to teach him a lesson, the bad guys went after his family, murdering his wife. He’s left running away with his baby girl in arms, swearing to one day avenge the death of his wife. Ever since then, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl have been killing every bad man in town, living up to the promise he made. I mean, I thought about it, and if Frank Castle had a daughter, I could see him taking her along on his missions, shooting her in the chest as part of her training, and, as a reward, going out for an ice cream sundae. I know, I know -before you cry and throw your hands up and cause a big kerfuffle, she was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Come on, the safety of children is still the number one priority around here. Why else would you ever teach your daughter to shank a junkie in the nuts if he pulls a gun on you? It’s to keep her safe, of course.

I can’t really say anything about the series in general, since the main character David Lizewski barely even shows up in this issue. However, from what I know of it, it seems like an interesting concept. What if one day we decide that superheroes shouldn’t be contained to only the fictional pages of a comic book and instead be part of reality? What if, with superpowers or not, we decide to don a clearly unflattering body suit and create our own justice? That’s what David Lizewski did, or at least, that’s what I get the sense of. However, being that the main focus was on the story behind Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, I felt that it was well-written, and I was touched by their relationship. I mean, he’s a dad trying to do what he feels is best to protect his daughter, and that’s by teaching her how to kick ass. Yes, it’s very violent, and yes, she’s only ten, and yes, maybe this is taking it too far, but for her, this is the only life she knows, and as far as I’m concerned, she loves her father and he loves her. That’s good enough for me.

John Romita Jr.’s cartoony style helps to subdue the violent and graphic nature of the comic; it would be a very different story if someone like Steven Dillon got ahold of this.  Overall, this was a great story, and I want to see what happens next. I want to see how they get out of the mess they’re in. Makes me feel nostalgic for the days when Dad used to take me people-hunting. Maybe I should give him a call…

buckrogersMiles’ Book

Buck Rogers #0
Written by Scott Beatty
Art by Carlos Rafael
Coloured by Carlos Lopez
Dynamite Entertainment, 2009

I fear that with only twelve pages of story that it will take longer to read this review than to actually read Buck Rogers #0. Priced at 25 cents, this issue is designed to whet your appetite for the further adventures of Buck Rogers that will start in June.  And when judged by that criterion, this book succeeds, but doesn’t accomplish much else.

Scott Beatty does a good job getting us into Rogers’ head. He’s a likable and resourceful guy that you want to know better.  However, reading some of the captions and dialogue was like riding a seesaw of quality: sometimes they were really good, and sometimes really bad. The best of example of how quickly the book can turn from bad to good is this scene where Rogers is fighting large, gelatinous creature:

Ganymedian alien: INGESTION
Buck Rogers: Would you settle for — INDIGESTION! [Shoots his gun three times into the alien to no effect]
Caption: That’s what you get for bringing a gun to a slime fight, Buck.

What a bad action hero comeback, and what a great thought. You see why I waffle.

The new costume looks really cool, although it looks a lot like Havok from Uncanny X-Men.  I don’t really have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with the cheek pieces.  From a lot of angles, the shape of Rogers’ skullcap betrays Rafael’s art because it looks like he has drawn his characters with massive cheekbones. I think it looks awesome on the cover, but it’s not a practical choice.

I think it was a smart decision not to release this as a free comic at Free Comic Book Day, because it might have got lost in the shuffle, and this book does deserve a look through.

mightyavengersIsaac’s Book

Mighty Avengers #24
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Rafa Sandoval
Marvel Comics, 2009

I was down on this new Avengers team because there are tons of Avengers teams right now. This isn’t news.  But you know what I found when I cracked open this tome? The JLA.

Okay, let me clarify that statement: when Grant Morrison started up the Justice League as the book JLA, maybe you didn’t like the characters, maybe some of the plots were hard to follow, but you have to (have to) admit those were epic adventures. Suddenly you could see why you’d need a gathering of Earth’s mightiest heroes when you’ve got things like thought-beasts from the googleplex dimension threatening to erase reality through their own breathing showing up every week. Or you know, something else suitably grandiose.

Now for me, the Avengers have never been able to measure up to that standard, which is understandable. The current Justice Leaguebook also fails to reach those heights, so it’s not a DC versus Marvel thing that I’m talking about. But the New Avengers just hang out in an apartment and watch TV while having stilted conversations among themselves. Obviously the Dark Avengers are bad guys, so they lose points with me there (though the time travelling villainess from their first story arc was pretty good, if temporally problematic. Not as problematic as some say, however.) And then there’s the Mighty Avengers.

The Mighty Avengers! These guys spend the whole issue fighting giants monsters, first a larger-tha- life Swarm (the Nazi whose body is made of millions of bees), and then some big old C’thulu-like looking guy, with some other stops along the way. A reporter says “by our count, this is the tenth superhuman crisis you’ve averted today.”

“That sounds about right.”

See, I’m sorry, but if this kind of thing happens, there shouldn’t be time for a superhero civil war. It’s a fun story, don’t get me wrong, but there’s other stuff to be doing out there.

For a story titled “Chasing Ghosts” you know Quicksilver is going to feature prominently. He’s got a sweet new outfit that is a clever redesign of his original, but I guess that’s not important. I like it though. Anyways, Quicksilver spends most of the issue chasing after the Mighty Avengers based off whatever news he has handy, so he can join up and chill out with his sister again, but the main group always ditches him and teleports to the next disaster. It’s pretty hilarious, but don’t worry: he eventually gets accepted. Speaking of hilarious, Quicksilver goes on TV and says that all the jerk stuff he’d done recently was the work of a Skrull and not him at all. Jarvis and Hank Pym know that’s untrue, but figure second chances are a good thing.

Well, Pym says second chances are a good thing; Jarvis, on the other hand, thought this Quicksilver claim was important enough to interrupt Jocasta, who was about to let Pym know that their secret base had its tether to reality cut, and that, given enough time, they’d be stranded outside of space and time forever. Priorities, Jarvis!

Watchmen (and its Fans) Reviewed

Posted by film On March - 17 - 2009
It's never enough for you fans, is it?

It's never enough for you fans, is it?

Watchmen
Directed by Zack Snyder
Warner Bros. Pictures

By Srdjan Milosavljevic

For years I have been puzzled by the anguished cries made by comic book fans once they learn that their bible will be made into film. Upon the initial announcement, everyone rejoices. Excited fan boys and girls crowd Internet chat rooms and blogs talking about possible cast members, villains, plot lines, or directors.

For a while it almost feels as if magic, not information, is exchanged through the Internet. All it takes to ruin that feeling is a single quote — and it doesn’t even have to be attributed to anyone. A five year-old in Nantucket could post “Clint Howard in talks to play Batman”, which would send ripples through the Internet and tremors across the world that even the biggest earthquake couldn’t equal. Fans will start boycotting the studio. Some will burn effigies of anyone or anything that bears the offending name. Ron Howard will be on fire, Clint Howard, Clint Eastwood, Terrence Howard — even fictional characters like Mo Howard and Howard the Duck will be burnt. (Although “Howard The Duck” has been in a constant state of burning since that disaster came out.)

I’m a different story completely, however. I never read the comics. I enjoy reading novels and watching movies. Were a movie to come out based on my book (yes upon reading it, I would take ownership of it), I would be excited and a little scared, but not mortified. Because no matter how badly they muck it up, I will still have my novel to read. Plus, even if it’s shit, there are probably three more Sherlock Holmes’ in the works. I very recently learned that this is not the case with comics fans.

After leafing through Watchmen (which I did not read; I wanted to not know what happens for 2 hours and 40 minutes), I noticed the specificity of the vision that the Yeti-like writer Alan Moore had put down on paper. Looking through it made me nervous. “This was a long one”, I thought. “This is visually stunning. This will not be made for under 100 million dollars. This will not be attempted again.” Then I looked at the poster for Watchmen under which three pale gentlemen were getting into a heated debate over the actual size of Dr. Manhattan’s penis, and I remembered thinking, “Zack Snyder, good luck.”

"It's not like I've measured it."

"It's not like I've measured it."

I saw the movie in IMAX, the way it should be seen — and it was spectacular. Being a big fan of the 50s and an American history buff, I found that part of Watchmen to be very well thought-out, supporting as many realities as a movie such as this could. Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, and Richard Nixon are some of the more recognizable faces of the era that were represented in this film. Noticing that some of the “aged” jokes did not land, I really think that people should see it again and pay closer attention. In fact, everyone ought to have a return viewing of Watchmen for a whole plethora of reasons.

The performances were excellent. Who thought the pedophile from Little Children could be such a bad ass? Who knew the pedophile from Hard Candy could be so awesome? Hmm. Perhaps I should leave this train of thought.

The characters conflicted, the story was nonlinear, the women were gorgeous, and the bad guys were indistinguishable from the good; one could argue that the difference was non-existent.

Watchmen’s story is intertwined with history and it gives you a very credible but simultaneously fantastic what-if scenario, reminiscent of the one in Dr. Strangelove. Don’t get me wrong: this is not Strangelove, not even close. But it has a similar feel, and when a superhero movie can do that, it’s alright by me.

For this review, I decided not to go into specifics about the characters, their motivations, or their brutal/innocent natures. I will leave that to discover for yourself. The Dark Knight was something else — I did not think another comic-book movie of that calibre would come out… ever. And yet, it did, not even a year later. Back to Internet rumours, I am kind of worried about Sherlock Holmes and what Guy Ritchie may do to him. Hope you comic book guys are content for now…

P.S. – I heard they got Fabio to play THOR.

Random Comics of the Week: Chucky

Posted by Comics On March - 6 - 2009

Ew.Miles’ Book

Chucky #1
Written by Jason Burns
Art by Christopher Provencher
Colours by Nick Deschenes
Devils Due Publishing, 2009

If there is one thing that’s less interesting than watching reality television, it’s reading a parody of one. I’ve spent more time reading send ups of reality television than I’ve spent watching them on television. I’m sick of making fun of reality television. There’s nothing funny about it except the title (Bro)mance. That’s just so funny on so many levels.

I’ve never seen any of the Child’s Play movies, so I can’t really judge if this is a faithful adaptation. I do, however, know that Chucky is from Child’s Play without looking on Wikipedia, so that’s something.

Anyway, yeah, I hate this comic. It’s terrible in every way.

The art is especially bad. This guy has no idea how to ink a comic, and neither he nor the colourist can seem to pick an angle for light to come from. And, like, why  have a an establishing shot that sets the placement of the characters if you’re going to ignore it on the same page. I had to go back and check the colours of their shirts because I thought I’d made a mistake; but, no, it was the artist.

The dick joke to page ratio in this comic is astounding. Like, two to one.  I’m not sure anyone over the age of 15 thinks that these are funny. Even marginally funny. They’re not even clever dick jokes. It’s just gross. Especially — even though it’s not a dick joke — a line where Chucky calls an aroused woman a fresh wound.

Just.

God.

Really?

This is your title character? Do people hope he’ll say stuff like this? Do people cheer for Chucky?

Off topic, one thing I just will never get, is why is it okay to show Chucky stabbing a man through the neck with a large needle and it’s not okay to show breasts. If you’re going to have gratuitous violence, why not just have gratuitous boobs. It’s not like a no-nudity clause is written into her contract.

To sum it up, don’t buy this comic.

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