Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Echoes #5 Review was Featured on IGN!

My Echoes #5 Review was featured on IGN.com!


Scroll down, take a look, leave a comment!

Fifth week in a row being featured! =)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reviews in 140: Green Lantern, Venom, and more!

Week of 4/27/2011

Reviews in 140
are comic reviews in 140 characters or less; done this way to satisfy a world of Twitter-fied readers who want a quick overview of a comic and a rating so they can decide if it’s worth buying at the store.

Book of the Week! 
FF (#2) – 9/10 
Breathtaking art makes Doom look more bad ass than usual, exciting twists, and heart-wrenching focus on the family.













Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors (#9) 8/10
Another solid round of emotinal introspection and laser action as the colored quartet decide on whether to tackle the central power battery or Mogo.










Venom (#2) – 7/10 
A solid step forward into the psychology of host and symbiote, but it echoes too much of past Venom stories to feel new.














Incredible Hulks (#627) – 8/10 
Bond-style twists, turns, and humor make for another entertaining romp in this upbeat arc.

Good O'l Reviews: The Finale of "Echoes"


Echoes #5 Review

Is there an echo in here or is it just my murderous alter-ego?

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Rahsan Ekedal
April 27, 2011

Leading up to this final issue, Brian discovers he might unknowingly be a killer responsible for filling a chest with dolls made from murdered children. Towards the end, a gloriously gruesome splash page summarizes the story using imagery so perfectly that it could go down as Ekedal’s masterpiece. In it, Brian’s wife is told “he’s having a psychotic episode” as if that somehow encompasses her husband’s recent horrific mental tortures.

But that’s the genius: Brian is shown writhing on the floor seemingly unharmed while in another set of panels his body is being eaten by his father, little dead girls, and that guy who was just a helpful cop only a few issues ago. The sickening detail of his slimy organs and his leg bones freshly relieved of their meat make a gruesome display, but the drawings in the background provide the real brilliance.

Immersed in the deep blacks and grays of the page are a haunting silhouette of his father’s face, the faintest impression of a doll with stitches for eyes, and the merest apparition of his pregnant wife. It’s like they are submersed in the gray matter of Brian’s brain. And that has been the question all along: is this all in his head?

The story ends in a twist that will inspire Inception-level debate, and if this indie book catches fire like Fialkov’s past works (Elk’s Run and Tumor), then the debate will set the Internet ablaze with accusations of writer cruelty against enraptured readers.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Also check out my interview with Fialkov himself!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Creator Spotlight: Mark Waid - Is He The Plutonian?!


Known for “Kingdom Come” and his work on The Flash, Superman, and Captain America, Mark Waid remains hard at work with his current ongoing series “Irredeemable” at BOOM! Studios, based on an original idea he had.
“How do you survive as a superhero in the 21st century with the media scrutiny that everybody goes through?” Waid mused in reference to his main character, the Plutonian. “The idea that you could be loved and revered by the whole world is a very antiquated notion in this world of TMZ and paparazzi everywhere. You read memoirs of child stars and what it’s like growing up as a member of a boy band and you’re under scrutiny the whole time. Well, what is it like if you’re a super hero?”

Issue 1 of Irredeemable by Mark Waid

Waid said he created the Plutonian as a character who became a hero for the wrong reasons.
“He became a super hero because he wanted people to love him. Here’s a guy who was invulnerable at an early age. He couldn’t be touched, he couldn’t feel anything, and externally he’s like stone, so the only way you can get to him is through his heart. If you can’t be touched, then you’re hungry for emotional contact and you’re desperate for emotional approval. You want to be accepted,” Waid said. “Unfortunately, being a super hero is not the way to do it because there’s always going to be people who think you’re a jerk no matter what. It just eats away at him until finally he just snaps one day with that idea of, ‘Look at all I’ve done. Look at all I’ve done to save you. Look at all the sacrifice I’ve made and it’s still not enough. Well, screw you.’ “
                Being the former Editor-in-chief at BOOM! Studios was a unique credential that allowed Waid to get “Irredeemable” published, whereas most creator-owned comics require a pitch to an editor with no guarantee of being accepted.
                “It wasn’t so much that I had to pitch it. It’s just ‘Mark, what do you want to do?’ I was very lucky there.  Most of my work at BOOM! was ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got a hole in the schedule. We need to fill it pretty quickly.’ So when you’re Editor-in-chief, nobody can fire you,” Waid said.



All writers are subject to criticism from people on the Internet, and Waid used the first issue of “Irredeemable” to send a message to those critics.
                “I’ll be honest, at one throw-away moment in the first issue where [the Plutonian] overhears somebody making fun of him and he gets dark over that – yes, that was right off, ‘Man, you guys on the Internet are jerks.’ But I hope that people who read past issue one see that it’s so much more than that. It’s not just a matter of Mark Waid lashing out against the Internet. That would be pretty one note pretty soon. There is a lot of me in the Plutonian, but it’s a lot weirder and deeper than that, especially all the sex robots I have around,” Waid joked.
                Despite his disdain for harsh critics on the Internet, Waid has embraced the digital format as the future of comics – even though he loves the printed format.
                “I love comics. I love paper comics. I love great paperbacks. I love comic stores. I love having all this stuff in my hands. But while there will always be an audience for that, look at how many iPads they’ve sold. That’s the newsstand now. That’s our audience and we have to find a way to rope them in.
                “You don’t do that with interminable superhero stories that involve years of continuity that is impenetrable. You don’t do that with comics that are priced at $1.99 or $2.99 or $3.99,” said Waid. “You do what I’m doing,  which is you get your best friends together, and you create an umbrella on the web, and you do comics for free or next to free and you make your money on trade paperback sales and you make your money on ancillary products,” Waid said.
                Waid expresses doubt that the printed format will sustain the current amount of comic retailers.
                “We [comic creators] are held hostage by 3000 retailers. Half of them are amazing retailers. Half of them are some of the most forward thinking shop owners I can imagine, more than half, and I respect them enormously. These guys here at A Comic Shop [in Orlando, Fla.] are right at the forefront of that.
“On the other hand, there’s a subset of comic stores who are going to be a Quizno’s in a year and a half anyway because print is dying and the monthly periodical business is dying away. I’m not saying it’s going to be gone next month or next year, but I’d be surprised if we’re still in the periodical monthly comic business 5 years from now,” Waid said.

Is this the sad, toasty fate of over a thousand comic retailers?

                While he says comic retailers will suffer a loss of sales, Waid finds the digital format to be a boon to comic creators.
                “What we will be in is the business of opening up the medium to a wider audience. I love the fact that the web is the ultimate democratization of that because it means that everybody’s got a footing. Your web comic has the same potential as my web comic and as the next guy’s web comic,” Waid said. “A lot of them will suck and some of them will be good, but it no longer costs you anything as a creator to print up your own comics and go out there and hope that you sell enough to make the next issue. You’ve taken the print cost out of it now; that’s a huge part of the impediment. So I wish everybody the best of luck. Nothing would make me happier than to see 10,000 web comics next year.”
                Being the former Editor-in-chief at BOOM! let Waid write what he wanted, but the extreme violence in “Irredeemable” could have been denied by his publisher.
                “Technically Ross Richie, the publisher, could have said no but he chose not to. I surprised him. I surprised myself with that. I didn’t think we’d go that extreme, vaporizing a baby on page four. What I learned early on is once I sank Singapore into ocean, in terms of acts of violence against humanity, that pretty much hit a peak for me. I remember sitting there with issue five thinking what I could do to top that in terms of violence, in terms of spectacle, and I realized I don’t want to write that,” Waid said.

Is this the Plutonian or Mark Waid? You decide.

Waid realized that violence for the sake of violence was not as good as creating a truly evil character.
                “What’s interesting to me is not violence. What’s interesting to me is evil, and they’re two different things,” Waid said. “Watching the Plutonian do smaller evil things in issue five, like use his x-ray vision and tell somebody they had cancer and laugh about it, that’s a lot more interesting to me. I think the evil disturbed [publisher Ross Richie] more than the violence, but that’s okay. So far nobody has said, ‘This is too much.’ “    
                Personal experiences throughout his life helped Waid shape the Plutonian’s character.
                “I would be lying if I said that my own personal experience was not [an influence]. Growing up, my personal experience was that people would only love you if they didn’t know who you really were. In my experience – and again it’s skewed and I had a bunch of personal relationships and I had a bunch of screwy parental stuff – but sort of the corrupt take away I took as a kid was if they know who you really are, they will stop loving you. That’s what I was working out with the Plutonian; the notion of always trying to keep a fa├žade up, always trying to be somebody that you’re not, and always trying to be the perfect little boy, because if you’re not, they will stop loving you.
“That’s a very childish way of looking at it. It’s a very simplistic way of looking at it, but I kind of like writing Plutonian from that point of view because it shows how emotionally crippled he is. He’s the most powerful human being on the planet, yet his guiding philosophy is such an infantile and screwed up and wrong-headed way of looking at the world,” Waid said.
                In addition to more issues of “Irredeemable,” Waid also has another series at BOOM! Studios called “Incorruptible,” digital comics that he produces on the side, a limited series called “Ruse” and “Daredevil” at Marvel.
                “[Daredevil is] a dangerous assignment because it’s been a good comic for a long time and it ain’t broken, but I’m really looking forward to diving into that,” Waid said.

My Superman/Batman #83 Review was Featured on IGN!

Check out my Superman/Batman #83 review featured on IGN.com!

Scroll down, take a look, leave a comment! =)


This is the fourth week in a row I have been featured! Yeah bay-bee!

Good O'l Review: Superman/Batman #83

Superman/Batman #83 Review

In the year two-thousaaaaaand: Superman wields a magic sword.

Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Chriscross

This magical foray into the future was fun and inventive during its first two installments, but this third issue stumbles right before the finish line. Throughout the issue, Superman carries around a large sword constantly crackling with magical blue energy, a confusing sight considering his physical weakness and personal dislike of magic. Superman's opening narrative lines are equally disconcerting for the character: he says his new magic powers "feel as if they belong." Yikes.

For an arc titled "Sorcerer Kings," one does expect fantasy elements, but pushing Superman so out of character makes the story feel wrong. Batman flying a great dragon through the sky - that's something I buy, but Superman dabbling in magic blatantly goes against what makes him who he is.

To make matters worse, the editors of this book (Matt Idelson and Wil Moss) dropped the ball on page 12 when a word balloon comes from Superman's mouth instead of Batman's during a conversation about Lois. Little need be said about how awkward that made the conversation.

Only the art provides a saving grace for this book. A rune-inscribed disc the size of a football stadium erupts with fiery chaotic magic; the Hall of Doom makes an eerie cameo; Teekl transforms into a monsterous lion with glowing blood-red eyes; Klarion bounces about each panel in humorous form; and numerous spells "ZZ-ZARK" and "SSHAKKOW" all over the page in brilliant yellows and purples. Now if only someone would cast a spell to make Superman behave correctly.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Reviews in 140: Green Lantern, Avengers, and more!

Week of 4/20/2011

Reviews in 140
are comic reviews in 140 characters or less; done this way to satisfy a world of Twitter-fied readers who want a quick overview of a comic and a rating so they can decide if it’s worth buying at the store.



Book of the Week! 
Avengers (#12) – 8.5/10 
Absolutely breathtaking art; each page a Picasso. But the story ends up kicking itself in the ass.











Iron Man 2.0 (#4) – 7/10 
The whole issue is talking heads. They're interesting talking heads, but it does leave one wanting more.









Green Lantern (#65) – 8/10 
Hal makes a homo joke with Guy - and it's hilarious. Lots of fan service, action figure potential, and fun.















Green Lantern Corps (#59) – 8/10 
Green explosions explode while the Earth-GLs try to make their new rings work, with little success.

 

Generation Hope (#6) – 7.5/10 
Great chemistry between this new team along with some gross powers make for an interesting mystery.

Fear Itself: Sin's Past (#1) – 6.5/10 
No real new content here, just reprintings of Cap's past encounters with Sin. I would have preferred more new content.

Sigil (#2) – 8/10 
Solid storytelling at a quick, fun pace. Focus on Sam instead of the Sigil keeps the revelations interesting and character-based.







Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Review for The Unwritten #27 was Featured on IGN.com!

My review for The Unwritten #27 was featured on IGN.com's MyIGN Reviews! This makes the third week in a row! =)

After you click the link, scroll down to The Unwritten #27 and leave a comment! =)

http://comics.ign.com/articles/116/1161804p1.html



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good O'l Reviews: Infinite Vacation, Unwritten!

Week of 4/13/11

The Unwritten #24 Review

Bugs Bunny + Tourette's syndrome = Pauly Brukner

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross

Taking a break from the literature-intruding adventures of Tom and the gang, this issue heralds the return of foul-mouthed fan-favorite character Mr. Bun, aka Pauly Bruckner! Pauly stumbles upon a group of cutesy talking animals ascending a seemingly endless staircase that acts as a gateway between worlds.

Last we saw Pauly, he was aware that he was a character in a children’s story and wanted nothing more than to “get the f*** out.” Now he has the means to escape as he tricks the caravan of animals into making him their leader and continues up the stairs. He’s like a crazy Moses leading a pack of Looney Toons.

Carey finds a way to make every conversation with Pauly rife with hilarity. When Pauly needs to convince the group that a voice from The Golden Door told him to leave the old and infirmed behind, it’s hard not to laugh at his delivery despite the cruelty of his decision. It’s the bombastic flourishes of Pauly’s dialog, adorned heavily with curse words, that make this issue such a joy.

Gross’s pencils bring out the dizziness of the spiraling staircase on which battles are epically staged along the banisters and up multiple flights. Pauly also invades other worlds and comes across all manner of monster, including a fantastically drawn gigantic spider whose hairy body threatens to jump off the page.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 

Infinite Vacation #2 Review

What to do when your worst enemy is you?

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Christian Ward

Issue one was a high-concept mind romp into a world where infinite alternate realities can be accessed via phone app. But when average user Mark gets the strange feeling that someone is killing his alternate versions, his door gets kicked in by a redneck-Mark who accuses him of being the murderer.

If that makes sense, you’re ready for issue two where Mark finds himself hidden away by a group of alternate-Marks searching for who is killing them by the trillions. An important question from readers of the first issue was “If there are infinite Marks, then why do we care about this one?” and Spencer offers a titillating answer: someone is after Mark because, of all his infinite copies, he is somehow unique. Spencer uses Mark as an everyman who explains the oft-confusing rules of his universe, but he now has a more interesting purpose.

Another anchor to the story is Claire, who Mark falls for, despite her being a Singularist – someone who refuses to use Infinite Vacation. Normally talking heads are a bore, but when she shares a touching story about why she doesn’t use the app, Ward allows her profile to dance across the page in a whimsical flourish of purples, pinks, and greens. The art is stylized, yes, but intricacies like tears sticking to her eyelashes are a nice touch not gone unnoticed.

Spencer has managed to enhance his intriguing world with unexpected twists, flavorful versions of Mark, and, most importantly, he has managed to give it heart.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Reviews in 140: X-Force, Avengers, Hulks!

Week of 4/13/2011

Reviews in 140
are comic reviews in 140 characters or less; done this way to satisfy a world of Twitter-fied readers who want a quick overview of a comic and a rating so they can decide if it’s worth buying at the store each week.



Book of the Week! 
Uncanny X-Force (#3) – 8/10 
Remender amazingly digs into Deadpool's motivation for being a hero while making sure he is still funny as hell.


 




Incredible Hulks (#626) – 8/10 
Hulk as Bond? Hell yes.














Iron Man 2.0 (#3) – 7/10 
Stark hilariously rips apart Rhodes's armor, but all he did was make him a black and silver Iron Man.













Onslaught Unleashed (#3) – 5/10 
Uninspired art. Confusing plot developments. Onslaught seems more an annoyance than an awesome villain.






 
Ultimate Avengers vs New Ultimates (#3) – 6.5/10 
The story gets hung up on everyone's opinion about Nick Fury.












X-Men Legacy - Age of X (#246) – 6/10 
The big reveal. Not only was it predictable, but also uninteresting.














 
Carbon Grey (#2) – 5/10 
This book was clearly written for half-naked steam punk girl enthusiasts and not much else.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good O'l Reviews: Nonplayer, Ozma of Oz, Carnage, and more!

Good O'l Reviews are regular long-form reviews that I do in addition to my regular, shorter Reviews in 140.

Nonplayer (#1)
She’s a warrior in the game and a delivery girl in reality, but what life is she really living?

Written by Nate Simpson
Art by Nate Simpson

Video game designer Nate Simpson is the writer and artist of this new miniseries. A one-man show is rare in the comic industry, even more so when it’s a creator’s first ever comic. Pulling double duty, Simpson has his work cut out for him in what at first seems like a frantic foray into a world of high fantasy.

And what a world it is. It would have been easy to first show a bloody action scene, but Simpson starts on a tall green tree twisting its long arms up towards the sky in gorgeous detail. You can count the knots. What follows is an intricately laid out battle scene involving the red-headed heroine, Dana, that throws the reader into a flurry of panels while never treading close to losing focus on the crisp action. A muted color palette combines with numerous dark shadows falling over massive-bodied lizards; the furrowed brow of a grieving soldier; and an endless army marching through a wooded valley.

It turns out Dana is playing in an online video game. She appears apathetic to reality where she has to put up with her mother’s nagging, pop pimples off her chin, and work at a dead-end job. That’s when another twist shows that the world of the game does not have to end when it’s time to clock in.

Simpson could have put his high-caliber artwork into a tried-and-true fantasy adventure, but what he turns out is thoughtful, engaging, and ripe with potential for out-there ideas.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10



Ozma of Oz (#5)

Fun characters faced with a boring predicament.

Written by Eric Shanower
Art by Skottie Young

It seems odd that great dialog could make for better spectacle than magical items and a treacherous environment, but that proves to be the case as Ozma and the gang continue their journey to find the Nome King, who is holding the royal family in his underground lair.

Young’s ability to create a sense of scale serves him well as the characters travel through chasms within a mountain and come across a sky scraper-sized robot with an equally enormous hammer. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger are mere ink blots on the bottom of the page. Having such a huge threat presented makes it all the more fun to watch Dorthy and Co. scramble across while avoiding the earth-shaking hammer blows.

This exercise quickly gets old and the issue suffers for it. Not until the Nome King finally makes an appearance does the story up the stakes and offer a real sense of tension. Ozma, a princess, and Dorthy, just a girl from Kansas, provide for each other a great foil, and this issue’s best moments come from seeing how each girl tries to handle a sensitive situation.

Rating: 7 out of 10


Reviews in 140

Carnage (#4) - 6/10
An interesting twist on Carnage is abandoned for what I can only surmise is a chance to make cool action figures.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
The Avengers: Children's Crusade (#5) - 7/10
We don't get to really see Magneto vs Doom. We don't get to see Billy and Teddy kiss. What's the point?














Fear Itself (#1) - 7/10
Amazing artwork is a plus, but Odin's rage seems unprovoked, making for a confusing yet mildly interesting start to this major event.

 
 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Ozma of Oz #5 Review was Featured on IGN.com!

My review for Ozma of Oz #5 was featured on IGN.com's Reader Reviews! This makes the second time in a row! =)

After you click the link, scroll down to Ozma of Oz #5 and leave a comment!
http://comics.ign.com/articles/116/1160088p4.html

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Green Lantern Ring Official Movie Prop Replica!

Apparently they made only 100 of these Green Lantern ring official movie prop replicas, and one just happened to find it's way onto my finger. It's just too cool not to share!


From what I understand, this is just a preview ring and they are going to mass produce them and sell them on DC Direct, so I imagine the wait won't be long once the movie hits!