Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Limbo

Much too busy with the holidays to get to the LCS proper. Sometime after the new year and when the finanaces rebound a bit, I will return. For no, I must content myself with the JLU DVD I received for Christmas. I've watched two episodes so far, which may have overwhelmed the nerd relays in my brain.

We did manage to get to a movie on Christmas day. K's mom is a big fan of schlocky, b-grade sci-fi/fantasy, so naturally we saw Eragon. This would be a cool movie if I were an 8-year-old boy, but it had little to offer an adult. I found myself conducting an impromptu MST3K-like commentary throughout, which can be entertaining in and of itself.

It's pretty bad: Bad dialogue, lazy exposition, schlocky performances, unearned sentiment and a kind of cynical allusion that there will be sequels to come along and tie up the sloppy loose ends. Also, there are many scenes that seem to be cribbed (at least visually) from various superior genre movies (Star Wars, Lord of the Ring... ) and even not-so-superior ones (At one point, I thought Podo and Kodo were going to show up and lend a hand... plus Malkovich puts on a performance equal to Rip Torn's in Beastmaster)

The good?: The CGI dragon is very well done and Jeremy Irons lends the whole enterprise an undeserved sense of diginity.

I've seen it; I can't unsee it.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Quick Reviews

Fantastic Four: The End #1 - I like the way David just plunges you into this future world. At first, I thought it was going to be another distoipian take on the future, but it looks like the opposite. Reed has finally transformed the world into a paradise, but at what cost?

I get a funky feeling, though, and not to be too spoilerly, I'm reminded of the old Reed/Doom mind switch story. I'm just sayin'...

JSA #1 - Fun issue, generally. The team is getting some new/old blood. I really like the continuing development of the JSA as a legacy group, that the older heroes feel responsible to the younger ones.

The only thing that marred this issue for me were Ross' comments about Obsidian last week. The comments, taken at face value, don't necessarily point to the man being a homophobe, but they do underscore how he's kind of stuck in the past. His worries about new writers making changes to characters without the consultation of their originators seems kind of backward.

Manhunter #26 - Good kickoff to it's second life/final arc. Kate Spencer is probably one of my favorite heroes right now. It's probably not a good sign that Andreyko is referencing another series that ended before its time, but I appreciate the gesture. Glad I tracked down those issues of Chase a while back.

Newuniversal #1 - I am waiting for my mind to be blown.

I was really anticipating this one, probably as much as the younger version of myself anticipated the original New Universe. Might be a bad sign of letdowns to come.

The Spirit #1 - Fun. Huge fan of Cooke's art, and am so excited to see him on a regular series. It felt a little funny to see someone else helming a Spirit story besides Eisner, but I don't think the man would be disappointed.


Secret Santa

Greeting from Latveria!

Image done as part of the Secret Santa exchange on the CGS Forum, organized by Bluemeanie. The exchange consisted of sending along three floppies you wouldn't miss and a sketch, no matter the state of your drawing talents. I drew Sqroot443556, who asked for a Dr. Doom sketch.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Catching Up

When I'm not buying new comics, I'm catching up on old comics that I missed the first time around. This is a lot easier these days, what with the proliferation of the trade paperback form. The drawback is, and maybe it's just me, the thrill of the hunt is gone. To me, half the fun of reading comics when I was a kid was trying to find a crucial back issue to fill a hole in one's collection. Now I derive my fun by discovering great series I missed in convenient trade form, prepackaged to go on my shelf with other works of literature.

I've been getting caught up on Brian K. Vaughan's and Tony Harris' Ex Machina through the trades lately. I've been a fan of Harris' work since his time on Starman. I don't know why I missed this series when it first came out. I can probably chalk it up to one of my dark periods, where I was only coming into the LCS every three of four months, not really buying anything.

I read the first Ex Machina trade a while ago, and was a bit underwhelmed at parts of it. I decided to give it another try; there just seemed to be too much potential there to go wasted.

The series definitely smoothes out in the second trade, so much so that after finishing it, I went out and got the third one right away. It's a compelling story with snappy dialogue and powerful themes.

I think the main appeal is context. We're at a point in our pop culture where we're feeling the weight and stress of tragedy. A lot of genre themes explored in the wake of 9/11 have centered on the dead that cannot rest (zombies, ghosts) and the abilty to change or discover the past (time travel, flashback-based reveals). One of the main conceits of Ex Machina is that Mitch Hundred was able to prevent at least one of the Twin Towers from falling on 9/11, though that doesn't necessarily mean that events that follow are drastically changed. The fictional world pretty much hews to the course of the real one.

I'm looking forward to some of the developing mysteries, mainly: Where does Hundred get his powers from, and what does that mean? The second trade was particularly creepy in it's implications. Not that it gave me nightmares, but I did read it late at night and found ot hard to sleep after.

Also, a while ago, I managed to pick up a near-complete run of Robert Morales' and Kyle Baker's Truth. I had bought the first issue when it first came out, and really looked forward to the rest, but somehow I missed out. I believe it may have been a combination of my LCS not bothering to carry it, and I simply forgot to look for it.

After finishing it, I have a number of mixed feelings about it. Don't get me wrong, I loved it... it's probably the fact that it left me a bit churned up inside that makes me love it.

In summary, the story proposes to tell the true story of the development of Marvel's super-soldier serum. You know, the one that gave birth to Captain America. Grafting real-world incidents like the Tuskegee syphillis experiment into the story, Truth shows that Steve Rogers wasn't the only guinea pig, but he was the only willing one.

It's a thought-provoking story. It tarnishes Cap's origin story slightly, but adds complexity to the Marvel U. I'm not sure if it's entirely in canon, but it should be. Honestly, Cap needs it. He's a great character, but so often is a cardboard cutout. This retcon of his origin underscores everything he should stand for.