Tag Archives: comics

Who will watch the Watchmen?

So news (or a rumor?) has recently emerged that Lost and The Leftovers co-creator/show-runner, Damon Lindelof has been tapped to adapt Alan Moore & David Gibbon’s iconic comic series, Watchmen into a television show for HBO, and…I have mixed feelings…

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Look, if you’ve read just about any entry in this blog or if you’ve broken into my house and seen my graphic novel collection (yes, I said, “graphic novel” because I am a fancy man and I like fancy things), or if you’ve talked to me for more than like, five minutes about comic books, you’ll know I’m a pretty big fan of Alan Moore, and while I don’t really have any issues with movie studios adapting his work to film as long as they’re good (shit, adapt anything as long as it’s good), I don’t know if we need another Watchmen adaptation. But then again, do we need any comic adaptation?

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Yes, yes we do.     

Real talk: I like Zack Snyder’s 2009 film quite a bit. I’ve watched the 4 hour director’s cut a few times and despite some issues I have with it (notably Ozymandias’ portrayal and that sex scene that really pumps the brakes on the whole film) I feel like it’s about as good of a Watchmen adaption I ever thought we’d get.

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Oh you know, Adrian…he’s a very compl-

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But, he had a good reason for-

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Fine.

But can it be done better?

Maybe? I like most of Lindelof’s work. I loved Lost (even the ending, which I could write a 10 page dissertation about) and The Leftovers is amazing, so if anyone is going to tackle this property, he seems like the right guy to do it.

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Drink if Jack cries dies.

As long as he can bring in the more cerebral aspects of the book and refrains from boiling down the characters to their most palatable and bring forth their complexities in a mature manner, then I think it might outshine the movie.

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Me again…so…are you sure we shouldn’t explore-

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Honestly, my biggest fear is that this might be a cash grab since now the Watchmen universe is starting to bleed over into the DC comic universe (a decision that has been met with mixed emotions from the comic community at large).

But as long as Lindelof and Co. treat the material with the respect it deserves, I’m sure it’ll be great. Is it necessary? Nah. But fuck it. It might be cool.

Also, I wouldn’t be terribly upset if they left out this guy:

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Is that  your…oh, never mind. 

 

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2016 Superhero Movie Reviews!

So this dumpster fire of a year is coming to a close, which means it’s time for lists! Yes, the Internet loves best of and worst of lists and year end retrospectives and whatnot as much as it loves cats, pornography, and gorillas (for some fucking reason). So I figured I would toss my hat in the ring and give you my thoughts on all the comic book movies that were theatrically released this year (chronologically) and grade them.  Let us begin:

February 12th

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Deadpool

It’s pretty good…

Sorry, I’m not going to jump this movie’s bones like the rest of the Internet. Yes, I thought Ryan Reynolds was perfect casting. And yes, there were some fantastic jokes that landed so hard they made me short of breathe from laughter. And yes, the big action sequences (both of them) were outstanding considering the budget the filmmakers were working with. But just like the titular character’s comic counterpart, Deadpool got on my nerves after a while.

I’ve been a longtime reader of Deadpool comics and the character is always more interesting when he’s playing second fiddle to just about anyone else (i.e. Cable and Deadpool; Deadpool vs. Hawkeye). I’ve always felt like there isn’t enough well-defined pathos to really make you give a shit about Wade Wilson enough, let alone watch him carry a film by himself. But despite that sentiment, Deadpool worked and was surprisingly energetic with a romance story that didn’t make me want to bash my face against the wall of a Hallmark Greeting Cards store.

Hopefully Deadpool 2 will do a great job with Cable. I feel like that groundwork for that relationship has already been laid with all the bits featuring Colossus. So…more of that, please.

Final Grade: B+

 

March 25th

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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

No. Just no.

Every inane “plot point” in this superhero abortion has been argued over by smarter men than I. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of what I think about BvS, get a few beers in me and tell me you actually liked.

This movie sucks on a level I never knew existed.

Final Grade: F

 

May 6th

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Captain America: Civil war

I already touched on this movie before, and dammit, I like it. I the introduction of both Black Panther and Spider-Man felt natural and while the latter character’s presence was by no means necessary, it didn’t detract from the film. If anything, Spidey popping up felt like a nice little reprieve from the looming chaos that was about to ensue.

I don’t think this is my favorite Marvel flick thus far (that honor still belongs to Guardians of the Galaxy), but it’s definitely in the top 5. Also this cover…

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…it became real. And it was breathtaking.

Final Grade: A

 

May 27th

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X-Men: Apocalypse

Unlike most critics and the majority of my friends, I didn’t hate this movie. I actually kinda dug it. All the silly shit that made me love the ‘90s X-Men animated series as a kid was there: goofy costumes, bad jokes, lasers and shit, etc. X-Men: Apocalypse did what I never thought the X-Men movies would do, and it embraced the absolute absurdity of this franchise. But it did so without this…or this… I’m not going to say this a perfect film. Hell, there were a lot of things that were flat out dumb, but this one felt like a real deal X-Men team film and that final shot-

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Yeah that one – made me squeal in the theater. JUST LOOK AT THOSE COSTUMES! I enjoyed this movie so much, I even wrote an op-ed on it.

Final Grade: B

 

June 3rd

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

You know, as a man in my early 30s who grew up on Ninja Turtles, I was super excited to see this movie. The first film in this franchise didn’t do much for me(aside from a badass Splinter & Shredder brawl), but the trailers for this sequel promised a movie that should have knocked it out of the park.

I was getting a “live action” Boobop, Rocksteady, and Krang (fucking KRANG!) for the first time ever, Casey Jones was popping up, and the Shredder looked like he was going to be an actual character instead of some random guy who jumps inside of a giant robot. Well, TMNT: OOTS (by the way, this movie will forever be known as Oots) delivered on those promises in the same way an alcoholic parent promises to get you a new bike for Christmas but instead they bring home a Radio Flyer missing a couple wheels that they fished out of dumpster behind a TGI Fridays and they force you to take it out for a spin on Christmas morning (there’s eggnog to drink and they don’t need to be bothered by your constant crying).

Look, what I’m trying to say is this movie sucked.

Final Grade: D

 

July 25th

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Batman: The Killing Joke

This one hurt. I am a HUGE Alan Moore fan, and while I think The Killing Joke is one of his lesser works, it is an important piece of Batman history.

But do we need an adaptation? Not now, we don’t. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, adapting this very slim one-shot graphic novella into a half hour TV special would have make a huge splash and shocked audiences, but padding it out to feature length with an awkward sex scene and a boring B plot regarding gangsters Batgirl is investigating just make the whole thing a big mess that is equal parts tiring and trite. What saddens me further is that one of my favorite comic writers working today, Mr. Brian Azzarello, wrote the screenplay. I know he can write Batman well. I seen’t it!

Final Grade: D-

 

August 5th

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Suicide Squad

“Hey, Mike, was Jared Leto any good as the Joker?’

Why don’t you ask him yourself?

“Hey Jared, how do you think your Joker turned out on the big screen?”

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That’s because he was barely in the damn movie. And look, before you cry foul and tell me, “this isn’t Joker’s movie,” I know. I know. I know. I fucking KNOW. But don’t parade around a character so prominently in your ad campaign and not feature him in your movie. I don’t recall Rogue One doing that with Vader, and guess what, IT WORKED.

This movie was garbage. Not offensive-make-me-wanna-kill-myself garbage. Just uninspired, boring, dumb garbage, which is something I can deal with if it didn’t take itself so seriously.

Final Grade: D

 

November 4th

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Doctor Strange

Full disclosure: I know fuck all about Doctor Strange. With that being said, it’s hard for me to judge this on the source material (even though I am privy to the fact the character of The Ancient One was whitewashed like middle school American history text book). But I will say that as a standalone movie, I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was basically a mystical rehash of the first Iron Man film, but who cares? If a movie feels like a comfortable pair of pajama pants, you might as well wear them (guys, I’m bad at metaphors). Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the way Benedict Cumberbatch is great in everything (even when he’s playing “Kahn” in a shitty Star Trek movie).

Final Grade B+

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Updates and Such

Sorry for being absent for so long. I didn’t know if I was going to stick to this thing when I first started it, and I kinda dropped the ball. In my defense, I’ve been working a few projects over the last month or so (one of them including a manuscript for a potentially ridiculous book).

Things don’t seem to be winding down anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a moment to praise over and bitch about comic-related news and whathaveyou.

So let’s do this bullet point style:

  • Fuck Suicide Squad. It wasn’t the garbage fire that BvS was, but it was insultingly bland and could have easily been the DC Expanded Universe’s chance to fix its bullshit.
  • Speaking of DCEU, that Wonder Woman trailer looks fucking rad.
  • JLA…not so much.
  • Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are teaming up for a new comic series called Moonshine. This excites me very, very much.
  • I picked up Alan Moore’s new novel, Jerusalem. It’s heavy and could easily kill a toddler if you dropped it on said toddler’s head. I’ll be ready to get up in its guts once I finish a few other books ahead of it. The girth of this tome doesn’t really bother me too much. After all, I did read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. But don’t expect any feedback anytime soon. That fucker’ll take some time.
  • Speaking of Alan Moore. He’s retiring from comics! What? I mean, I guess that’s fine. The man doesn’t really owe us anything else.
  • So Frank Miller’s TDK3: The Master Race is running 9 issues. Great. Guess I’ll have to wait longer to buy the trade.
  • Fuck that Watchmen hardback individual issue thing DC is releasing.
  • I’m finally getting around to reading Kell Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios’ Pretty Deadly and I love it to pieces. Sometimes it’s okay to show up late to the party because the pretty girl is there waiting for you no matter what.
  • I read Alan Moore’s Crossed + 100. I dug it. Not much more than that. There were some really cool ideas but Moore does horror best when his subject matter is rooted in the occult.
  • Luke Cage is coming! Get pumped!

I think that’s about it. I’m still contributing to http://www.boundingintocomics.com from time to time but not with the same frequency I once was. 

Until next time: Kill your TV. Read comics.

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The work of Brian Azzarello Part 1 FUNSIZE REVIEWS

Even if Alan Moore would shun me for doing so, I’m finally getting around to reading some of the Before Watchmen titles, namely The Comedian and Rorschach mini-series, both of which were penned by one of my favorite writers in the graphic medium, Mr. Brian Azzarello. So I figured it’d be fun to touch on some of the books from his career that have made a lasting impression on me, good or bad. Here we go:

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Loveless (2005 – 2008)

Fuck, I loved this book. I was really bummed when DC/Vertigo pulled the plug on it. And they did it right when what started out as a western comic about assholes doing asshole things to each other was evolving into a vast, century-spanning epic about America (which would basically be a historical comic about assholes doing asshole things to each other). This comic is pretty much what Quentin Tarantino is trying to do in his movies now a days. Loveless holds up a mirror to American history’s ugly mug and makes it take a long, hard look at the horrors hiding behind its visage.

Final Grade: A-

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100 Bullets (1999 – 2009)

For ten years, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso created one of the greatest crime stories ever told. This comic is staggering in its execution (pun totally intended). Every single character is well-realized. The dialogue pops with authenticity, and the stories the series tells range from insanely intimate to monstrously epic in scale. There is no stone unturned in 100 Bullets. This is one of my go-to recommendations for my friends who don’t read comics. I tell them that if this doesn’t do it for them, I’m not sure what will (maybe Preacher?).

Final Grade: fuckin’ A+

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El Diablo (2001)

This mini-series felt like a dry run for Loveless. There are certainly some cool elements in this comic, but ultimately it just feels bland. What made things worse for me, is that I read it after reading Loveless. I can only assume it would have had more of an impact on me if I had read it before. Oh, well. All’s fair in loveless and war (thank you, thank you; I’ll be here all week).

Final Grade: D+

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Batman: Broken City (2003-2004)

You know, some people shit on this comic, and I can understand why. Killer Croc is a pimp with some sort of crazy psoriasis; The Riddler is a car thief; things are not what they should be. But that’s what I dug about it. Teaming up with Risso again, Azzarello pretty much gave Detective Comics the 100 Bullets treatment and didn’t give a fuck about continuity or staying true the already established Gotham. They knew you were familar with these characters, but why not try a little something different with them?

Final Grade: B

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Wonder Woman (2011 – 2014)

Goddammit, was Azzarello’s run on this book amazing. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if Brian’s departure from Wonder Woman was the reason DC decided to bail on the New 52 and hit the reset button again. I mean, besides Jeff Lemire’s tenure as Animal Man writer and Scott Snyder & Capullo’s Batman, I don’t think there was another title with such a high caliber among the New 52. Azzarello took a character that the entire world was familiar with and injected her story with a brand new mythos, one that worked well in the grand scheme of the DC universe and produced a cast of great supporting characters to root for. This book is fantastic. I was never a big WW fan before this, and I don’t know if I ever will be again. Azzarello may have ruined the character for me by being too damn good at writing her.

Final Grade: A

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Bitch Planet Vol. 1 REVIEW

Note: This review covers the first fives issues of Bitch Planet.

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How can you not open a comic with the name Bitch Planet without a grin on your face?

The title alone would grab even the most jaded comic fan’s attention and make them pluck if from a store shelf and thumb through the pages. It’s a pretty clever sales tactic (maybe?). Now, I’m not sure Bitch Planet’s salacious title was necessarily intended to draw fanboys in, but it’s still a good call on Image’s behalf to give writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro free reign on this thing (at least, I assume so).

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*Badassery*

From the eye-grabbing title to the ’70s exploitation pastiche of the cover design; and from the punk-rock, feminist, sci-fi tale that’s part The Longest Yard and part Caged Heat to the hectic, yet smooth as a baby’s ass art style, this book feels like a singular vision with very little intrusive fuckery from an editor or a publisher in culling much material.

Bitch Planet is set in far flung (yet not so far-fetched) future where women have become objectified to the nth degree. There is a protocol for every female on earth to be pretty, subservient, and silent. And women who do not conform might just find themselves spirited away to a prison planet, where the guards are fascist perverts and the warden is a steely bitch who parades around as mother mercy to lull weaker inmates into a false sense of security.

But there are those who rise above this sexist reality and will risk it all to take shit down from the inside, bars be damned.

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*I mean, she makes a valid point here…*

The surface story is simple and well-told. But what makes Bitch Planet special (and I mean special in the way that there is nothing else like this on the newsstand) is its biting satire of patriarchal society and its amazing characters.

Each woman in this book has an agenda. They each have unique, strong voices and vastly different personalities. There are not stock characters in this thing. Female characters this strong can be a rare thing to find in a predominantly male-driven industry. So it’s refreshing when you get a character like Penny Rolle, a character who essentially holds up a mirror to all the jumpsuit, leather-clad female comic characters and says, “you ain’t tough, bitch. Look at ya!” Penny is tough. I’m talking eat rebar and shit nails tough.

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*She fucking rules.*

This book is smart, engaging, and dangerous. This comic isn’t for the masses, but it should be. DeConnick’s writing is razor sharp and De Landro’s art matches the tone wonderfully.

The only complaint I have about this book is simply the delays in its release (Bitch Planet seems to be on that six issues a year schedule that Saga has been rocking). I’d read this comic every goddamn day if given the opportunity.

But for now, I’ll take what I can get. Bitch Planet rocks.

Final Grade: A

**All images are from Image Comics. They own them and shit. 

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Providence Act 1: REVIEW

Note: This review covers issues 1 – 4 of Providence.

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DISCLAIMER: I am dumb and often times, Alan Moore makes me feel dumber. Now on to the review.

Like many of my fellow comic nerds, I absolutely love the work of Alan Moore. Now, I’ll be first to say that not everything he puts out is golden. But this should not detract from how brilliant the man is, nor should it lessen his importance to the graphic medium.

I’m of the opinion that we should judge an artist based on their strongest works (hence why Francis Ford Coppola is still riding that Godfather/Conversation/Apocalypse Now wave; we all saw Jack; fuck that movie). But Moore doesn’t rest on his 1980s DC laurels. If anything, Moore has grown as a writer since the days of Watchmen and Swamp Thing.

Being that he’s bit of an elusive writer, Moore belongs to an echelon of comic creators that actually make me excited when I hear announcements for new work. Guys like Brain Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, and Scott Snyder always have several stokes in the fire at any given time, which makes them far more accessible, but that’s not to detract from their talents.

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*Best resume ever!*

That’s why when I first heard Avatar Press was going to publish another Lovecraftian horror comic scripted by Moore and drawn by my favorite horror/shock artist, Jacen Burrows, I had to physically wrestle my erection into submission.

I thoroughly enjoyed (but didn’t love) their earlier collaboration, Neonomicon, and thought it had a lot of potential to be great, but was bogged down with Moore’s own fetishism of monster sex/rape.

I pre-ordered Providence Act 1 in Hardback the day its release was announced, and I immediately cracked its spine the day it was delivered, and about halfway through the first issue, I set the book down and walked away, wondering if I would be able to produce the energy to finish it…

This was not good. I had never had that sort of experience with Alan Moore’s work.

You see, usually with Moore’s stuff, I can’t wait to see what’s next (even in the case of Promethea where things were super entertaining at first, but ended super fucking weird). But Providence initially bored me to tears. I mean, all the elements were there: a quasi-detective story about a journalist named Robert Black researching occult stories throughout New England for a “Great American Novel” he intends to write, all the while a looming horror is just behind every door. This is a really cool setup for a story, but the book just didn’t click with me early on.

I did pick Providence Act 1 back up and powered through it, trying my damnedest to be engaged, and by the end of it, I came to two realizations:

  1. I like Lovecraftain stories way more than actual Lovecraft stories. Now, this is a Moore book, but the man is using such thick Lovecraft mythos to convey it, it reads like H.P.’s greatest hits, more so than Neonomicon. I think you can create a Lovecraftian story without relying so heavily on the source material (i.e. Revival by Stephen King, John Dies at the End by David Wong, True Detective Season 1 etc.) and make is stand on its own.
  2. Alan Moore is simply not a “grab you by the collar” sort of writer any more. I doubt very much we’ll see many “a comedian was murdered in New York” openings in future work, which I have mixed feelings about.

Look, Providence is not bad, okay. Not every aspect was a chore and some of those aspects are quite remarkable: The dialogue in this book is some of Moore’s strongest in years; every conversation was well-conceived and felt real; Jacen Burrows’ art is fantastic and disturbing (the street vendor splash page gave me chills); and some of the diary entries were really entertaining and insightful.

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**Good Stuff…**

I’m not giving up on Providence. Eight issues have been released, which means Act 2 should be out soon (this is a 12 issue mini-series, by the way). This book does not tarnish Moore’s image in my eyes. There was enough here to pique my interest for future installments. I just hope they have a little less dreary pacing issues and a little more of this:

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**”Hi, I’m not in this comic.”

Is this shallow criticism? You bet your ass it is. But what can I say? I love monsters. Give me more of them, Mr. Moore.

Final Grade: C-

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Batman: Earth One REVIEW

Note: This review covers Batman: Earth One volumes 1 and 2.

 

Let’s talk about Batman.        

It’s pretty much an inarguable fact that superheroes, especially heroes like the Dark Knight and Superman, are so omnipresent in pop culture and that they have become humanity’s New Greek Mythos. Hell, several writers of comics and film utilize this in their storytelling to the point to where it’s downright annoying.

These characters are more than just their names. They are symbols. They represent the best (and worst) in us. People across the globe know their origins and back stories. They know their weaknesses and victories. They know their deaths and rebirths. These heroes have been dissected to pieces by children, comic nerds, and academics alike (in some cases, this is the same person in different periods of their life). It’s amazing how something as simple as a guy in a cape or a woman with a magic lasso can wiggle their way into the mindscape of the general populous and stay there for the better part of a century.

But of all the titans that have made such a splash, the one hero of our pop culture pantheon that is truly immortal, both within their own fictional universe and in the real world, is Batman.

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*See? Everyone loves this dude.*

Hear me out. Batman is truly a symbol… yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’ve heard that one before. And I’m well aware other heroes are symbols, too, but here’s the thing:

If you kill Clark Kent, guess what? No more Superman.

You kill Diana Prince? Adios, Wonder Woman.

But if you kill Bruce Wayne? Fuck it! Who cares? We got a backup Batman, son!

Oh, and if you kill Dick Grayson? No worries, we got another one, yo…and another one after that and another after that, because it doesn’t matter who is under the cape and cowl; it just matters that there is a cape and cowl.

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#squadgoals 

Now, I know that comics have toyed with this exact character principal in the past (i.e. Danny Rand as Daredevil, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson as Cap, etc.), but I feel like no one has been able to reach on the same levels of overbearing iconography as ol’ Bats (maybe it’s just because he’s been around longer, I don’t know).  But Batman is important. Not Bruce Wayne. BATMAN.

Everyone agree? Good. So now with that being established, the question is how many times can we retell the origin of Batman before the audience gets completely fucking sick of it? The answer to that probably varies depending on your age. I know, I’m tired of it.

I’m in my 30s and I grew up watching the Tim Burton Batman movies, which led to Batman the Animated Series, then those god awful Schumacher flicks, followed by Jeph Loeb’s comic work, then Frank Miller’s Goddamn Batman, then Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and finally the utter shitfest that was BVS. All told, I’ve must have seen Martha and Thomas Wayne get gunned down in an alley followed by a training montage dozens of times.

Gunshot! Pearls! Crying! Training! Crime fighting! We get it!

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**This old chestnut**

That’s why I find it impressive when a comic book can make that tragic story interesting again. Enter: Batman Earth One.

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*WEEEEEE! OW! Fuck!*

This is a simple retelling of the Batman mythos that blends previous incarnations of the caped crusader and then homogenizes him to the bare essentials of what makes Batman Batman.

Writer, Geoff Johns and artist, Gary Frank present a Batman tale that exploits the shortcomings of the beloved character and humanize Bruce Wayne in a way very few writers have done before (at least not as affecting). Bruce isn’t likable in this story, but he’s not supposed to be. He’s a goddamn nut job. And with the help of the coolest version of Alfred ever, his nuttiness is cultivated into a weapon, one that doesn’t work in every situation.

This version of Batman is kind of a dipshit, too. He’s self-righteous. He’s overzealous. He makes bad calls. He’s the most believable on-page version of Batman I’ve read since Batman: Year One.

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*What a dummy…*

But what makes Earth One work is the remix of supporting characters: all the faces are familiar, but their stories and motivations differ from what we’re used to, and it’s quite refreshing.

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*Some things never change.*

There are elements that don’t always sing, however. There’s a interesting character gender swap that sort of petters out. And the Earth One version of Jim Gordon is basically standard Jimbo. Nothing really new or appealing, .

I don’t know if Johns and Franks have plans for a third graphic novel. Volume 2 ended rather abruptly with a lot still on the plate. I’ve never been this hungry to learn more about an already established character, but when the preparation is so fresh and unique (while not diverging from what makes the character work in the first place) it whets my comic palate like a son of a bitch.

These books are worth your time, especially if you’re a Batman fan (I mean, who isn’t?).

Final Grade: B+

 

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Black Science REVIEW

**Note: This review covers the first three trade paper backs of Black Science (issues 1 – 16)**

What a time to be alive. Just take a look around you (hopefully you’re surrounded by the abundance of stellar science fiction comics that are being published these days).

Things are good, you guys. Like, really good. If you don’t believe me, or you’re not surrounded by the aforementioned stacks on stacks, I want you to conduct a little experiment: go to your local comic shop and ask the clerk for some currently ongoing sci-fi comic recommendations. The clerk should quickly drop several books in your arms. If they do not, leave that store and never come back, because that place is run by idiots.

Now, if your local comic store clerk is literate and/or clinically sane and they have indeed loaded you up with myriad exciting titles, there’s a damn good chance that some of these books, if not most of them, are written by His Royal Majesty Rick Remender, our lord and savior. BOW YOUR HEAD! Gaze upon your hypothetical stack of comics! Behold! Atop it lies Black Science!

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This comic is unequivocal proof that Remender just might be the best living science fiction writer out there right now…and I don’t relegate that statement to just comics, I’m talking about the genre across the board.

I know that might seem a smidge hypocritical considering my lukewarm review of Tokyo Ghost, but that book is just getting started. Since I don’t review individual issues, my tune can change on a series. Just like a good TV show, a comics need time to evolve.

Black Science, however, does not need much time to get things rolling. The set-up of the book circles around a former member of a gonzo troupe of science folk known as The Anarchist Order of Scientists (yes, for-fucking-real: The Anarchist Order of Scientists) named Grant McKay, who has found a way to punch holes through our reality into other dimensions.

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**This is not one of the good dimensions**

With his gang of Dimensionauts (which includes McKay’s kids, his mistress, the asshole bankrolling his project and his assistant, a badass ex-military dude, and a young scientist who is arguably the most likable character in the book) McKay runs into doppelgangers of everyone on the crew and strange worlds of would could be and what technically are…just not here…or there…or wherever. Look, guts, the plot gets pretty twisted up.

Basically, the book is what if Harlan Ellison wrote Gilligan’s Island.

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**Gilligan’s doppelganger would have totally nailed Ginger**

Much like Remender’s previous masterpiece, Fear Agent, Black Science perfectly blends classic sci-fi tropes aped from works like Lost in Space and Flash Gordon with gallows humor and high concept social and moral challenging ideas.

At times, it feels like the comic is about to leave you in its dust, like it’s being difficult to follow for the sake of being difficult to follow, but things always come around full circle. There are several “oh, I see what you did there” moments in Black Science. The comic is constantly pushing the reader to their breaking point of fathoming the narrative but then rewarding with great pulpy twists and fantastic action.

Italian artist, Matteo Scalera’s work is wonderful and it truly feels at home with the hectic nature of the story. I’d like to see more from him. Follow him on twitter, by the way (@ScaleraMatteo). He’s always posting cool shit he’s working on. He reminds me of a more hyper-kinetic version of Sean Murphy.

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**Look at this craziness!**

Black Science is probably the best true blue science fiction comic out there (I’m not talking about science fantasy like Saga, which is wonderful, too) and it’s being written by probably the best sci-fi writer on the block.

Volume 4 TBP comes out next month, so now is the perfect time to get caught up.

Go consume this.

Final Grade: A

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Orc Stain REVIEW

*Note: This review covers the first TPB of Orc Stain, which collects issues #1-5.

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Every pop culture nerd has that one cancelled-too-early television show they just can’t shut up about it and feel the need to tell you why it’s an outright crime it’s no longer with us, as if the show was some young medical genius with the cure for cancer in his head and just as he was about to write it down, he was murdered in the streets (for me, that show is Carnrivale, by the way).

But rarely do we (we, as in the collective Internet nerd herd/fandom) bitch about early cancellations or (even worse) absent issues that leave loose ends never to be resolved when it comes of comics. But the medium falls victim to early goodbyes as much, if not more so, as TV shows.

Comic books are filled with half realized stories. Look at Battle Chasers or Scud: The Disposable Assassin (Yes, I know Rob wrapped things up, but it took over a decade to do it) or Loveless or whatever the fuck Kevin Smith does with Batman and Daredevil half the time. Hell, I’ve been on the production end of unfinished comics. I published one issue of a crime comic before my finances dried up and my artist caught bigger fish. Of the hundred or so people who read it, I’m sure some of them would like to have known what would happen next (just email me, I’ll send you the scripts).

Now if I were to carry a torch for any one comic book with the same passionate flame I burn for Carnivale or Terriers (seriously, go watch that show), it would be James Stokoe’s Orc Stain.

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*Just look at this shit! Tell me you’re not into this…*

I recommend this book to my friends all the time, and when I tell them what it’s about, they look at me like I’m completely nuts. It must be the same expression I gave the clerk at my local comic shop when he recommended it to me.

But just like the clerk  after he made his recommendation to me, I explain that the comic is indeed filled with orcs, and they use dried up dicks as currency, and the hero is an orc named One Eye, because, guess what? he has one eye, and he has a hammer that can break anything (including mountains and other orcs’ dicks), and none if makes any sense, and then I punctuate my ramblings with the simple words: “…and it’s pretty fucking rad.”

After convincing people to read this book, I have have to give them the bad news: there are only 7 issues of Orc Stain, and we haven’t had a new one in four years. Then when the look of sadness slides across their faces, I tell them about how they use dicks as currency, and I win them back over.

James Stokoe is a madman. His art is as manic as his storytelling, and Orc Stain is the best work he’s ever done .

Final Grade: A+

Note: Gronches are what they call dicks… Yes, Gronch. Go ahead and adopt that into your vocabulary now.

 

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Wytches Volume 1 REVIEW

Pledged is pledged…

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Before I picked up this trade, I’d had very little experience with Scott Snyder’s work. In fact, the reason I gravitated to this book was Jock’s cover art (hypocritical, I know; art is always second place for me when it comes to scooping up comics). I flipped through the first few pages, read the synopsis and few quick Amazon reviews on my phone, and purchased it at my local brick and mortar. The first trade is $9.99 MSRP, and let me tell you, (besides subscribing to Heavy Metal magazine) page-for-page, this book might have been the best bang for the buck I’ve ever spent on comics, for two reasons.

Reason 1: The story is quite good. Hell, I’d even call it great.

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Wytches be scary, yo.

The story starts out simple enough: a troubled teenage girl is trying to adjust to a tough living situation and ever growing family strife while a bunch of supernatural crazy shit turns her world completely upside down. The new witch folklore this book presents is refreshing and turns what is usually fodder for young adult fiction or crappy CW shows into truly terrifying creatures. The only issue I had with Wytches was how quickly the resolution in the final issue (#6) came about and the giant information dump near the end to make for a (mostly) nice, clean ending. I wonder if Snyder and Jock were worried the book wouldn’t get picked back up (luckily, all signs point to issue 7 coming out sometime this year). But these nitpicks can be overlooked.

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“GAH! Nitpick! I said, nitpick! Not fucking nosepick!”

Reason 2: This book opened my eyes to how damn good Scott Snyder is as a writer. I mean, really good. Shortly after reading Wytches, I plowed through his run on Batman and The Wake, both of which are amazingly good. This guy is the real deal. Not since I first read Jason Aaron’s Scalped have I been so head over heels for a comic scribe. I’d read this guy’s grocery list (I bet there’s something creepy on it).

If you’re horror fan, read Wytches immediately. It rocks.

Final Grade: A-

**images from imagecomics.com and comicbookresources.com**

 

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