Tag Archives: superman

The work of Brian Azzarello Part 2 FUNSIZE reviews

Let’s get into it:

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Spaceman (2011-2012)

This is a weird one that a lot of folks did not seem to enjoy. I recall being in the monitory in my gaggle of comic buddies when it came to praising Spaceman. I actually thought this miniseries was a well thought out story with some really great ideas. I don’t remember Azzarello ever tackling science fiction before (as long as you don’t count Superman) and I thought he pretty much knocked it out of the park. The characters were great. The unreliable timeline was compelling. I only wish this book had lasted longer.

Final Grade: A-

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Superman: For Tomorrow (2004 -2005)

This one felt like a cash-grab. I don’t direct that toward the creators. No, no, no. That missile is aimed steadily at DC. Jim Lee was hot off of Batman: Hush and this book felt like the publisher wanted to simply capitalize on having such a superstar artist in their ranks. It’s not godawful, but fuck me, it ain’t great. I will say that the scene where Superman basically threatens the Earth was fantastic. Otherwise, this is a forgettable comic, and it makes me sad.

Final Grade: C-

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Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach (2012)

You know what. It’s fine. Not great, not terrible. Just fine. Move along.

Final Grade: Whatever.

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Joker (2008)

Goddammit, I really wanted to love this book. I remember picking the hardback up after the Dark Knight was released. Again, this sort of felt like DC just cashing in on an already established story. There were some interesting aspects to Joker, but overall, the book was more grotesque (which I’m not against, mind you) than compelling. However, the strip club scene is this graphic novel was great. It was absolutely disgusting, but great (see? I’m not a prude).

Final Grade: C+

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The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2015 – present)

To say this series thus far has been a mixed bag would be a gross understatement. Every time Azzarello and Miller and Co. seem to add something worthwhile to the Dark Knight Universe, things just up and stall the fuck out. Look, so far, this comic is leaps and bounds better that Frank Miller’s abysmal The Dark Knight Strikes Back, but that ain’t saying much. Getting your scrotum pierced with a batarang would be a better time than rereading that fucking nightmare. Maybe Azzarello’s writing is helping elevate what should be a complete goddamn train wreck.

Final Grade: Who fucking knows?

 

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Mark Millar’s World Part 2: The Burning Clog FUN SIZE REVIEWS

I feel like I might have come off a bit too harsh on the creator-owned comics in the first part of my Mark Millar retrospect. I totally shat on both Kick-Ass and Nemesis, but they deserve it. Millar is a great story teller, but not every tale he tells is woven equally tight. Sometimes, great artists create crap. But I am a firm believer you should judge an artist by their best work, so I am more than willing to ignore some speed bumps. With that being said, let’s dive into one of my favorite creator-owned stories by Millar…

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Wanted (2003 – 2005)

This book simply rocks. It’s a nasty little Arthurian style “you are the chosen one” story where the chosen one happens to be the bad guy.  Wanted follows the exploits Wesley Gibson (modeled after rapper Eminem; no seriously) who goes from being a loser with a cheating girlfriend and shit job to a badass super villain with an endless supply of wealth and hedonistic, ball-draining activities at his disposal. J.G. Jones artwork is stellar. The pacing of his panels make the action pop, and Millar’s biting dialogue has never been so hilarious. As for the plot, it’s pretty basic (no spoilers), but the simplest stories often work the best. The story beats are familiar (and even somewhat predictable), but it doesn’t detract by how much damn fun Wanted is. Go. Read. Now.

Final Grade: A

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Superman: Red Son (2003)

Believe me when I say this: “I DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT SUPERMAN.” Like, not even a little bit, but holy hell, this is one Superman story I can get behind.  Red Son is simply a “what if…?” story that asks “What if Kal El landed in Moscow instead of Smallville?” The answer to that question makes for a compelling vision of the world’s most popular superhero. This book is definitely political, but not necessarily  in a red vs blue sort of way. The story of Red Son shows that greatness can be achieved under any circumstances, good or bad. It also says a lot about rival philosophies and how even some radical world views have their merit and can be shaped into something almost universally appreciated…Also, Batman is a badass anarchist who terrorizes Superman. It’s rad.

Final Grade: A-

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Jupiter’s Legacy (2013 – present)

This is another one I wanted to love. The concept is solid: Superheros have become so strong in numbers, villains stand no chance against them (there’s a really cool scene early on where a pack of heroes give some random baddy a good ol’ blanket party, only to comment on how it wasn’t the most noble of battles). With the lack of actual villainy to combat, the super-offspring of these heroes don’t know what to do with themselves and slip into lives of being celebutantes (think Paris Hilton, but if she could fly and had heat vision and wasn’t completely awful). All of this makes for some really interesting characters, but not all of their motivations were strong enough to justify their actions. But to be completely fair, I’ve only read Book 1 of the series, which covers the first 5 issues. I’m hoping that the second half of this series turns things around and really tries to have fun with the world it has built.

Final Grade: B-

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The Ultimates (2002)

Hey, nerd! Do you love all those fun superhero movies Marvel Studios keeps cranking out? Do you get a big boner knowing that you’ll get two every year for the rest of your natural life or at least until they start bombing at the box office? Ya do? Well then, you should pucker up and kiss Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates’ big, fat ass, because without this book, those movies might not have been worth a damn. I feel it’s impossible not to give this book a great deal of credit for, if nothing else, giving Marvel Studios some solid groundwork to build The Avengers on. A lot of the story beats and character traits (e.g. Sam Jackson Fury) from The Ultimates have been translated to the big screen and most of it works really well. I suggest reading this book if you haven’t, and it’s good (but not quite as great) follow up (but not the third one by Jeff Loeb; that one’s not so good).

Final Grade: A-

 

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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.
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