Tag Archives: humor

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…

watchmen_comedian

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?

wonder-woman-gal-gadot-ultimate-edition-1024x681

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.

Ozymandias-watchmen-20830522-2000-1339

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

evil

But, he had a good reason for-

evil

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.

800px-jackdieswithvincent

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.

Ozymandias-watchmen-20830522-2000-1339

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

evil

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:

Alienmonster

Is that  your…oh, never mind. 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

deadpool

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

bvs

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

ca_cw

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…

Civil_War_7

…it became real. And it was breathtaking.

Final Grade: A

 

May 27th

xmen

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-

apocalypse-180759

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

teenage_mutant_ninja_turtles_out_of_the_shadows_poster

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

killing

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

suicide_squad_film_poster

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?”

maxresdefault

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

images

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+

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The work of Alan Moore Part 1 FUNSIZE reviews

The fact that I love the work of Alan Moore is no secret. I talk about the guy constantly; I bought his massive tome of a novel; hell, I even ran a Top 5 list of the author’s comic work over at Bounding into Comics. However, that list didn’t really reflect my own opinion since it was polled by the other writers on the site.So I feel like this blog would be the best place to really tackle Mr. Moore’s body of work.

Let’s get to it (you know how this works: things’ll be graded on an A+ – F scale). But before we do, keep in mind that there are a few things out there by Moore I haven’t read, so if something isn’t on this list, it’s because I haven’t gotten up in its guts yet, or I’ve already touched on it on this blog before…

One last note: I am not going to grade these in any sort of order, chronologically, quantifyingly, or otherwise. Don’t look for a method to the madness; just go with it, bruh.

 

complete-alan-moore-future-shocks-sc-350x485

Future Shocks (1980 – 1983)

Alan Moore spent most of his fledgling years cranking out stories for 2000 AD, particularly for one of the magazine’s flagship strips, Tharg’s Future Shocks, which are fun, short little sci-fi tales with twist endings. Honestly, they were very hit or miss, but the raw talent Moore possessed was undeniable in those little nuggets. Unfortunately, for every great (dare I say fucking brilliant) short story Moore ran, there were two or three ho-hum entries.

Final Grade: C-

 

fromhell_cover_lg

From Hell (1986 – 1996)

It rules. Read it. This is arguably Moore’s best work. That is all.

Final Grade: A+

 

2466979-spawn__1992__008_

Spawn # 8, 32, & 37, Spawn: Blood Feud, Violator, Violator vs Badrock (1993 – 1997ish)

Image Comics was weird as shit in the ’90s. The company was producing some of the best artwork of the decade, but didn’t have a stable of great writers (sorry Jim Lee, but, no*) to elevate the material. Luckily Todd McFarlane and co. decided to hire some writers work a shit, and suddenly guys like Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Moore were writing Wild C.A.T.S., The Maxx (which, in my opinion, never needed a writer to step in; that book was fucking great), and,of course Spawn (a comic that all four of the aforementioned writers took a stab at). Moore was the biggest contributor to the Image line up, writing for all these books and more. Ultimately his contribution to Spawn was very scatter-shot (as it was with all the Image titles he worked on). His Violator titles were pretty fun and issue #8 of Spawn actually introduced me to the work of Alan Moore and is a story that might be the best thing to ever come out of ’90s era Image…but the rest of it? Not so much. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a huge nostalgic soft spot for these comics, but in the end, you could tell Moore enjoyed playing with someone else’s toys, but his heart wasn’t completely in it.

Finale Grade: C+ (except Spawn #8. That gets an A)

*Yes, I know Jim Lee didn’t write the scripts for the early WildC.A.T.S. comics, but they were his creation and he was credited with “story by.” Now, fuck off, nerd. 

 

neonomicon_cover

Neonomicon (2010 – 2011)

Look, I’m a sucker for Lovecraftian horror…like a big sucker for it. If I ask you what a work of fiction is like, and you say the words “Lovecraftian” or “Cthulhu-esque,” the chance of me consuming said piece of fiction significantly increases (by the way, the work of David Foster Wallace is not Lovecraftian and my English major brother is a lying asshole). Now when  you tell me that there’s an Alan Moore comic that is directly tapping into H.P. Lovecraft’s world but is eschewing and/or satirizing all the horribly racist and sexist overtones, I’m gonna read that goddamn comic. Maybe I went into Neonomicon with inflated hopes, but it didn’t hit me with the level of elation I was hoping for. It’s not bad. Hell, it’s actually a pretty easy read (if you can stomach some pretty grotesque shit which may or may not include some non-consensual fish-monster-man on girl action), but it was certainly not on par with Moore’s usually caliber. The only think that really made this even remotely worthwhile is the tight dialogue and pretty interesting characters.  I guess I should probably grade this on a curve.

Final Grade: B- (but like a 71/100 as a weighted score)

 

miracle3

Marvelman/Miracleman (1982 – 1984)

The issues Moore scripted for this series did two things: 1. it set an amazing tone for what would follow (and is still in the works) by succeeding writer Neil Gaiman, and 2. it basically acts as a dry-run for Moore’s quintessential superhero deconstruction comic, Watchmen. I feel that this is arguably one of Moore’s most important works and really displays his prowess as a writer, running the gamut of what comics can offer. From action-packed super brawls to trippy sci-fi conspiracies to introspective poetry about the sorrows of humanity, Miracleman kinda does it all. This series is rarely discussed among comic fans, but it is often imitated (just go watch Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel; it basically shares the same plot beats as Moore’s initial arc). With all that being said, there are a few drawbacks to the book: some of the pop culture references are dated, and the third act drags a bit. But ultimately this is good, good shit, you guys. Go read it.

Final score: B+

 

Okay, so that about does it for now. I’ll be back with more Moore (see what I did there?) reviews soon. In the meantime, what do you guys think. Talk shit below. Am I right about From Hell? Pfffft…of course, I am.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Bitch Planet Vol. 1 REVIEW

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

BitchPlanet_vol1-1

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).

MTI4NDU1ODU0MzUyNTM2ODUw

*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.

de-landro-bitch-planet-tits

*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.

bitchplanet3pg

*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. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Providence Act 1: REVIEW

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

PROVIDENCE-LTD-HC-ACT-01

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.

alan-moore

*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.

providence12

**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:

providence03pantheon_dagon-color

**”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-

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lumberjanes REVIEW

Note: This review covers Volumes 1 & 2 of Lumberjanes (Issues 1 – 8)

Lumberjanes_Cover

**Friendship to the max!**

Lumberjanes is the story about a quintet of best friends (Molly, Mal, Jo, April, and Ripley [my favorite character]) and the adventures they go on during their stay at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where things are not what they seem. That is the only way I could pitch this book to someone without robbing them of the sheer delight that comes from reading each page.

What Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Noelle Stevenson have done is created the comic book equivalent to a Pixar movie. They have produced an all-ages intellectual property filled it with rich characters, heartwarming relationships(Mol + Mal 4ever), and fun adventures that only the coldest of hearts would not enjoy.

Lumberjanes-11-2-18-15.png

*Oh, did I mention Molly has a pet raccoon that doubles as a hat?*

There’s so much warmth and humanity dripping from each page. The art is fluid and the creature designs are fun and often very inventive. This comic should be animated right now. I want to know who at Cartoon Network needs to get punched in the throat for not bidding on this property with enough money.

Janes03

*Yeah, that’s Ripley, my spirit animal* 

I can honestly say that Lumberjanes is the best “cartoon book” Ive ready since Jeff Smith’s Bone.

Lumberjanes is a goddamn delightful comic. If you don’t have a big, dumb smile plastered across your face while you read each page, you are dead inside. This is the truth. Do not argue. Go read it. Buy a copy and give it to your daughter. Buy it for your Father. Buy it for your friends who don’tread comics. There is no excuse not to love this one.

I plan to continue reading this book. I feel like this review may have been a little premature since I’ve only gotten through a third of the issues that are out, but I just had to write about it. I adore this book. And if issues 9 – 24 are half as charming as the first 8, this series is gonna be just fine.

Final Grade: A

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

batmanga-1-sfcover

*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.

the-batman-family-on-film-who-we-ve-seen-and-who-we-d-like-to-see-the-batman-family-604915.jpg

#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!

Batman_origin_1940_02

**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.

earthone-616x468

*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.

earthonebatman_ff.jpg

*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.

BME1-v2-(page-074-075)_900_55516db44f24a6.17856705

*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+

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wytches Volume 1 REVIEW

Pledged is pledged…

Wytches_Vol1-1

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.

Wytches-Wytches

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.

pax-romana-115555

“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**

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

40 Bullets: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice **SPOILERS!**

I’m just going to come out and say it: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was an unbridled pile of shit that made me want to burn every DC comic I own. Now, there are a FEW things I did like about the film (see if you can pick them out below), but overall, the movie was an incoherent mess. Here are 40 random thoughts about the film.  SPOILERS! Lots and lots of SPOILERS! If you actually want to see this train wreck without being tainted by “plot” details of the film, stop here…or don’t. Save your $10 and go to Chipotle or something instead.

  1. Who was that in Wayne Tower in Metropolis at the beginning of the film? It sounded like Bruce was calling him “Dad” or “Jack.” I couldn’t tell. Does Bruce have a step-dad? If not, why should we care about him?
  2. Why did it take a phone call from Bruce to evacuate the building? Um, hello…Kryptonian slug fest happening outside: GET THE FUCK OUT!
  3. What was with all the horses in this movie?
  4. So, wait, does Superman kill people now? He totally killed the mercenary dude by flying him through a brick wall. Does Superman not understand how humans work? Was this some sort of flesh bag durability trial he was conducting?
  5. Why was the whole Lexcorp bullet thing so important? Was it just a dumb plot device to give Lois Lane something to do?
  6. Wait, was that Jimmy Olsen as the CIA operative? Holy shit, it was. What?
  7. So is Lex just mad because he’s not Superman? Seems petty for a villain who is supposed to be cool and calculating.
  8. I am not okay with this Lex Luthor. I kept trying to convince myself that Jesse Eisenberg was doing a good job…but I’m not sure he was. Maybe he just went nuts without any sort of direction. It just goes to show that Zack Snyder sucks at making compelling villains. He even fucked up Ozymandias in Watchmen, a character that should have been insanely easy to bring to life. Snyder only thinks in absolutes when it comes to antagonists.
  9. What does Lexcorp do? I mean, I get the whole weapons thing, but the office looks like something you’d see in HBO’s Silicon Valley. What is Lexcorp’s front?
  10. Batman kills people. Like, a lot of people. I’m actually okay with this. He has become Frank Miller’s “The Goddamn Batman” (or just Michael Keaton’s Batman, who killed SO MANY people; seriously, go back and watch Batman and Batman Returns).
  11. I actually like this 20-year veteran Batman not giving a shit about mutilating and murdering criminals. Honestly, I feel like this would be the natural progression of Batman.
  12. Why was the “bat brand” a mark for death in prison? That was not explained at all.
  13. I like drunk Alfred.
  14. So I guess Alfred is playing the Lucius Fox role, too. Okay…why?
  15. Batman is pretty dumb for being the world’s greatest detective.
  16. How did Bruce not know Lex was sending him all the nastygrams?
  17. Is Bruce Wayne that easily shaken that he’d go to war with a god because someone was being mean to him?
  18. Why didn’t Bruce follow the whole “oh, wow this Diana Prince lady is over a 100 years old” thing further? You’d think it’d be important for Batman to know what her deal was before picking a fight with Supes.
  19. Hey Chris Pine was in the 1918 Wonder Woman picture. Cool.
  20. What the fuck was the Flash saying to Bruce in the Batcave? “Am I too early?” What does that mean?
  21. That dream sequence Bruce had was kinda cool, but I had no idea what was going on.
  22. What happened to Wayne Manor? Why was it burned to a crisp?
  23. Jeremy Irons voice is amazing…this has nothing to do with the movie, but I just wanted to comment on it.
  24. Lex’s plan was incredibly dumb…so was his backup plan. If Batman didn’t kill Superman, Lex was going to let Doomsday off his chain, right? Okay…then who would take out Doomsday? Even if Batman did slay The Man of Steel, would Doomsday still be let out of his weird birthing sack? It seemed like Lex was planning to execute these two schemes concurrently, which made no damn sense at all.
  25. Wonder Woman looked cool and I like how she fought. But that was about it. They did fuck all with her character.
  26. The Justice League cameos were laughably out of place.
  27. However, Aquaman looked pretty rad.
  28. Why aren’t these movies playing into the DC TV shows?
  29. We get it: Superman is Jesus and the Kryptonite spear is the Spear of Destiny. Yes, he’s the messiah…he had to be a martyr, yadda yadda. If that shit was any more ham-fisted, they would have buried Superman in a cave and then had a title card read “three days later.” Subtext should never be TEXT.
  30. The actual Batman/Superman fight was boring (just like most of this movie).
  31. “Martha!” Fuck off… That was the single dumbest way to bury the hatchet between rivals I have ever seen.
  32. Doomsday looked terrible. Like, really bad.
  33. It seemed like Wonder Woman would have eventually taken care of Doomsday by herself.
  34. Doomsday had no dick. Maybe this was why he (she?) was so angry.
  35. The Zod/Luthor hybrid/test-tube love child backstory of Doomsday works for the sake of movie continuity, but it was still pretty dumb. Doomsday had a badass backstory in the comics (which, honestly, was the only interesting thing about his character). Batman rescuing Martha Kent was pretty awesome. The way he fought a room full of people was exhilarating to watch, but it was too little, too late.
  36. Batman really had nothing to do during the last fight.
  37. Why didn’t Wonder Woman impale Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear? Oh, right…Superjesus had to do it.
  38. Wonder Woman questioning Bruce about why they should form the Justice League was the only rational thing any character in this movie said.
  39. Superman’s coffin was pretty.
  40. And finally, fuck this movie.
Tagged , , ,

The Devil in the Details: Thoughts on Season 2 of Daredevil **SPOILERS**

Note: there will be massive Spoilers in this post. If you have not watched the first two seasons of Netflix’s Daredevil and don’t want things ruined, stop reading now

.

.

.

Are they gone? Good.

So I just finished Daredevil season 2, and much like the first season, I had mixed feeling after the finale’s credits rolled but ultimately found the 13 hour viewing experience enjoyable. Here’s the good, the bad, and the stupid from this season:

 

  • Jon Bernthal’s Punisher is awesome. I know just about everyone on the Internet is raving about his performance to the point where it might sound a little hyperbolic to say he was born to play Frank Castle, but it’s true. Every single good thing written about Bernthal’s portrayal and the Punisher’s story arc (especially in the first four episodes) is absolutely true. The character truly comes to life and Bernthal deserves every scrap of praise he’s getting. He makes the Punisher not just a badass vigilante, but a badass vigilante with complex emotions and a relatable drive for what he’s doing.
  • Charlie Cox seems way more comfortable in his role this season, but I can’t help but laugh every time he turns his head to listen to something. I know his mannerisms makes complete sense based on Matt’s handicap/power, but it just reminds me of a dog listening to its owner’s voice on an answering machine.
  • DD’s costume looks way less goofy this season.
  • Elodie Yung’s Elektra is cool and all, but it’s a far cry from the character’s comic counterpart. I really like her as an actress and she’s sultry and fierce enough to bring Elektra to life, but the writers sorta dropped the ball on this one. This is not the Elektra you know and love. If you can get over that, then you will probably enjoy her screen presence.
  • Speaking of Elektra, the Black Sky stuff did not work for me. It seemed shoehorned in at the end of season 1 and felt really cheesy in season 2. I’m totally on board for magic-apocalypse-cult-ninjas, but I felt like The Hand never seemed menacing enough.
  • However, those exsanguinated kids were creepy as shit.
  • Foggy was great this season. The Punisher court scenes were amazingly well-constructed and really gave Elden Henson the opportunity to prove he could be the standout in an episode. More Foggy, please.
  • I’m sure you’re going to see a ton of “One batch, two batch, penny and dime” memes very, very soon.
  • I didn’t realize how much I missed Vincnet D’Onofrio until Fisk showed up in the second half of the season.
  • Fisk vs. Castle = awesome.
  • Fisk vs. Murdock = hilarious
  • Holy shit, dat episode 3 stairwell fight, tho…
  • This season did a much better job at balancing the action and court drama than the first season did. There was very little slog in this season.
  • Nobu was badass, but his face should have been in way worse condition after his immolation in season 1.
  • I wanted the fight between Nobu, Daredevil, and Elektra to have a little more gravitas. It felt kinda cheap after some of the earlier fights in the season (e.g. the stairwell fight).
  • How Nobu was killed was also badass.
  • Which brings me to Stick being badass. Scott Glen is great and I was very pleased to see more of him this season.
  • Karen seemed to have more story arcs in this season than anyone else. It seemed like she was always getting into things that never involved her.
  • I liked Matt and Karen’s romance.
  • I liked Matt and Elektra’s sick obsessiveness over each other more.
  • “Hi, Finn Cooley!”
  • “Bye, Finn Cooley!”
  • But for real, is Cooley really dead? I mean he took a shotgun blast to the face, but if there’s going to be a Punisher spin-off (which Marvel would be nuts not to do one) Cooley showing back up (sans face) as a Punisher villain would be awesome and would play into the Ennis’ era lunacy of the comics.
  • Any dialogue between Frank and Matt was great.
  • Any dialogue between Frank and Karen was even better!
  • Why the hell did Karen get a job at the New York Bulletin? Is it because she’s good at sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong? But can she write? Didn’t make sense to me.
  • Big props to the make-up artists this season. I love how Frank’s bruises in episode 6 gave him this whole skull-faced monster look in low light. Very nice touch. A bit heavy-handed, but still nice.
  • “See ya around, Red…” Jeez, I hope so.
  • I missed Ben Urich.
  • I honestly didn’t see that whole Blacksmith reveal coming. I wished there was more to that story, though. It felt only half realized, but of course, this is Daredevil’s show, not the Punisher’s (but it probably should be the Punisher’s; just sayin’).
  • Frank stabbing that guy in the guts with a butcher knife made me cringe.
  • Stick getting tortured via bamboo shoots under his fingernails made me cringe even more.
  • I could have used more Frank during the second half of the season (but then again: not Punisher’s show).
  • I loved all the little cameos and nods to the bigger Daredevil universe, but…
  • WHERE THE FUCK IS BULLSEYE?
  • The teaser for Luke Cage after the finale was great.
  • Bottom Line: I felt this season was just as good as the first. Fisk being gone didn’t hurt the series as bad as I thought it would have. The Punisher more than made up for most of this season’s short comings. And for better or worse, no one character consumed too much screen time. If anything, you want to see more of certain characters. I recommend Daredevil for fans of the character or anyone looking for a good binge watch. 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,