Friday, May 27, 2011

Two Reviews on Broken Frontier: Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #6 and Hellraiser #2

Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #6

Spider-Man and Wolverine have been on a time traveling adventure culminating with Wolverine using a Phoenix Gun to destroy a planet-sized Dr. Doom, which has subsequently transformed Wolverine into the Dark Phoenix. Seeing Marvel's number one mutant as the Dark Phoenix makes for undeniable fan service, but Aaron spends a surprisingly short time wrapping up that conflict and focuses on a heartfelt dénouement in the spirit of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Read the rest at Broken Frontier!

Hellraiser #2

Kristy Cotton and her group of Harrowers investigate the whereabouts of a carousel toy that ends up being just like the infamous puzzle box. Hellraiser has been absent from comics for over five years, and now that Pinhead has returned with a plan to escape Hell, Barker aims to refresh his signature brand while attempting to offer up a new spin on the franchise.

Keep reading at Broken Frontier!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Check Out My Article on - Why Marvel Should CANCEL the Ultimate Comics Line

Check out my article here. It will explain this horrific picture:
Why Marvel Should CANCEL the Ultimate Comics Line

Good O'l Reviews: Namor: The First Mutant Annual #1

Namor SMASH!

Written by James Asmus
Art by Max Fiumara
May 18, 2011

Trapped in the Negative Zone, Steve Rogers and Cyclops attempt to save the injured Hope while fending off Namor, who is suffering from a dehydration-induced rage fit. And Blastaar wants to destroy them, too.

The synergy between Rogers and Cyclops, who are both team leaders and amazing tacticians, creates a fluid, action-packed encounter. Asmus serves up a truly geek-gasmic rumble: Namor cracks Roger’s elbow over his shoulder, Roger returns with a shield jab to his throat, and Cyclops stares down Namor before tearing off his visor to unleash a brilliant beam of red energy.

The action takes place as Dr. Nemesis races to secure a way back home before time runs out, which adds a hint of humor to the proceedings as he tricks Blastaar’s lackeys into helping the heroes out. Another highlight occurs when Hope begins to crumble in self-doubt, but Rogers lifts her spirits by offering some truly inspiring advice about what it means to care about your teammates. Hope is still a new character to the Marvel Universe, so this character-defining moment makes for a real treat.

Fiumara knocks the art out of the park by using his unique style of over-emphasized chests and expressive eyes that make each character come alive on the page. After nailing such high-energy action scenes, he expertly switches gears to wrap up the issue with a quiet, endearing group shot that perfectly expresses each character’s personality and their different relationships as teammates, friends, and lovers.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Featured on IGN!

Two of my reviews were featured on!

Check out my reviews for Formic Wars: Burning Earth #5 and The Stand #4! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good O'l Reviews: The Stand #4

The Stand #4

In order to save the rest of us, you all have to die.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Mike Perkins

May 11, 2011

After a deadly plague, 99% of the world is dead, leaving behind small communities trying desperately to rebuild the human race. With life suddenly so rare and precious, it is a wonder how Harold has it in him to denote a bomb in a house full of his neighbors. Stephen King’s chilling novel of the same name is faithfully adapted, but the caption descriptions, character dialog, and detailed art have a hard time amounting to more than the sum of their parts.

Pregnant Frannie has a grave look in her eyes during a tense conversation; a group of people crowd together to discuss the traitorous Harold in a living room that looks not unlike so many White House war room photos; and Nadine, always the confident blond bombshell, finally cracks in wake of Harold’s devious actions. All of these moments are given great emotional weight by Perkins’s heavy shadowed pencils, but the consistently drab panel layout creates an agonizingly snail-like pace.

Likewise, inner character thoughts and setting descriptions are lifted almost verbatim from the novel, but end up competing with the visuals instead of adding to them. Elegantly saying a “fire-rose bloomed” hardly syncs up to the horrific image of a house exploding with people still inside.

Reading this, I am reminded of how the Watchmen movie was an incredibly faithful adaption, but somehow managed to lose the magic between the pages.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Good O'l Reviews: Punisher Max #13

Punisher Max #13

A man punishes himself for trying to be happy.

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Steve Dillon
May 11, 2009

Frank Castle's run as the Punisher comes to an end as he is wounded and put in prison, surrounded by numerous inmates who would love to put him down for good. The story also continues to delve into how he was the Punisher long before his family’s brutal murder.

Dillon is charged with repeatedly drawing head shots as the narrative constantly switches back and forth from Castle's past with his family and his current predicament in jail. Any other artist might have turned in a boring pile of mug shots, but Dillon nails each panel by showing Castle's wide eyes devoid of enthusiasm and human life. Castle feels like a fish out of water playing house instead of shooting up criminals, and it is the constant dull look in his eyes that sells how true that sentiment is.

Returning home from war, he sees his kids, has sex with his wife, and gets a job in the meat packing district, but he cannot find happiness. Aaron crafts a beautifully twisted moment where for one instant Castle feels joy: his asshole boss gets his hand stuck in a meat grinder. Aaron's ability to dive into his main character's brain and emerge with gloriously grizzly material to show the reader is uncanny, if not somewhat unsettling. 

Aaron was once asked how he can write about the military without ever having fired a gun himself, and he replied, "Well, I haven't raped anyone either, but that's never stopped me from writing about that."

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Monday, May 9, 2011

Good O'l Reviews: Formic Wars: Burning Earth #5

Formic Wars: Burning Earth #5

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and avenge these whales. And I'm all outta bubblegum."

Written by Aaron Johnston
Art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo 
May 11, 2009

Formic Wars takes place in the early days of the Ender's Game universe created by Orson Scott Card. The Formics, nasty alien insect creatures wielding biological weapons, are invading and Mazer must repel them despite increasingly worsening odds. This issue suffers from campy dialog and confusing fight sequences, but still manages to be a fun adventure from start to finish.

Caracuzzo creates shots of once-fertile terrain stripped away to make a barren wasteland, while also showing Mazer's face, weary and tired, during a rare moment of silence by the campfire. With such beautiful pencils throughout, it is a wonder how Caracuzzo makes an odd misstep during a fight on page 14. Mazer cuts down several Formics with a samurai sword, drops his weapon and cries out in pain for an unspecified reason, and then the next page he's standing tall drowning the last insectoid. A few missing beats turn an awesome fight into a confusing romp that ruins the otherwise stellar pacing of the story.

Then there’s the dialog. There are hits, such as when Danwan rescues Mazer and tells him the aliens are peeling away Earth's resources like a skin, which leads into the thoughtful story of a boy who lost his parents. And there are misses: soldiers rally after hearing what the aliens have done to their planet, and one burly commando cries out, "They're killing the whales, too? That's it. Now I'm royally pissed." It's a moment where laughing or raising an eyebrow are equally acceptable reader reactions.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Reviews in 140: Moon Knight, Fear Itself, and more!

Week of 5/5/2011

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!

Moon Knight (#1) - 8/10
Despite the overuse of Logan, Cap, and Spidey, this makes the character feel fresh and exciting.

X-Men: Prelude to Schism (#1) - 8/10
A thoughtful look back at Scott and Prof X and how they've learned from each other since the beginning. Aww.

Fear Itself (#2) - 5/10
A mess of captions and word balloons fail to add flavor to a splintered narrative. So unfocused that a reader would have trouble deciding who to care about, if anyone at all.

Ozma of Oz (#6) - 6.5/10
Ozma is given a fleetingly interesting game to play. This issue fails to capitalize on what could have been a suspenseful ending.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thor Movie Review: Great Odin's Raven, This is Fun!

The least plausible of all Marvel super heroes hammers home a fun tale full of humor, spectacle, and Frost Giants. Set in the realistic world set up by the Iron Man and Hulk movies, director Kenneth Brandagh does his best to sell Thor as an alien from another spacial plane called Asgard, with technology so advanced it can only be explained to us as magic. There's also a gatekeeper with golden armor, space horses, and a pulsating rainbow bridge that stretches out into the cosmos. If the Asgardians are so advanced, why not abandon all of the superfluous armor and swords for something a little more high tech?

But that might ruin the fun. And fun is the number one trait this movie has going for it. Numerous jokes about Thor's godly abs and Norse mythology stop the movie from taking itself too seriously. If a plot point or character seems ridiculous, Darcy (Kat Dennings) chimes in to help the audience out. As a quirky young college student, she is full of spot-on one-liners that help to sell the more other-worldly ideas to the audience. Just wait until you hear her call Thor's magical hammer Mjlonir "meow-meow" and try not to laugh.

The script becomes a bit bloated with jokes and silly reaction shots that it feels like sometimes even Thor is not taking himself seriously.Which is unfortunate, because the movie is rife with superb performances. Anthony Hopkins's Odin has limited presence in the movie after succumbing to a plot device that takes him out of the action called the Odin Sleep, but every deeply resonating line he utters holds the same perfect balance of authority, seriousness, and fatherly love. Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston and he does a more than capable job of twisting his words to manipulate his friends and foes into helping him achieve a secret goal that strikes an unexpected heart chord. Loki's character arc ends up being multi-layered and much more than it appears to be from the start. Special note must also be given to Idris Elba's unforgettable Heimdall. With such a commanding physical presence and a voice deep enough to give Darth Vader pause, superstar status seems almost guaranteed.

Being surrounded by such stellar actors with much more interesting characters, Chris Hemsworth's Thor barely comes off as interesting. Don't get me wrong, it is entertaining watching him use his raw physicality to take down a base full of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents; quip back and forth with romantic interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman); and be forced to change from arrogant Asgardian to humble human like a billionaire forced to live as a poor man in order to understand life from the other side. Hemsworth does an adequate job at playing the God of Thunder, and it is not his fault that Thor is not as dynamic, intriguing, and inherently interesting as his supporting cast.

The characters preach and plot and interact in Asgard, a vast city made up of towering structures that look both classical and futuristic - some even float and oscillate in the sky just because - that all pale in comparison to the humongous gaudy golden palace where a good deal of the story takes place. When living in such a beautiful city with unique architecture where every window could open up to a view of spiraling galaxies and dazzling space anomalies, it's a wonder why most of the action had to take place in a sealed off golden room.

The inevitable one-on-one fight between Thor and Loki takes place in the gateway chamber, a wondrous spinning room atop the rainbow bridge. After battling Frost Giants and Gort's cousin The Destroyer, the bar was set high for a dynamic battle making full use of the movie's insanely large special effects budget, but the brawl manages to disappoint. Instead of an epic clash of brother Gods, the brawl feels more like two actors trying hard to sell the fight but not damage the expensive costumes and props.

Anti-climatic ending aside, Thor makes for a solid movie that won't leave the audience wanting when it comes to great summer movie fun. In addition to setting up future adventures in Asgard, it laid important groundwork for the Marvel universe. Blink-and-you-missed it references to Hulk, Iron Man, and Hawkeye satisfyingly tease the upcoming Avengers movie. Stay after the credits for an unusually plot-heavy snippet setting up the premise for the battle Earth's Mightiest Heroes will have to fight next summer.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Irredeemable #25 Review was Featured on IGN!

My Irredeemable #25 Review was featured on!

Scroll down, take a look, leave a comment!

Sixth week in a row being featured! =)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good O'l Reviews: Irredeemable

Irredeemable #25 Review

His fist splits atoms. Literally.

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Peter Krause
May 4, 2011

The Plutonian, a man with Superman's power set, was the world's greatest hero until he cracked and went rogue. If that doesn't sound bad enough, this issue provides a huge revelation about the nature of the Plutonian's powers that make his switch to bad guy all the more worrisome. 

It turns out his powers are not of a physical nature, but are based around subconsciously manipulating molecules to simulate laser beams, icy breath, etc. His super strength is not strength; rather he is hardening his fists to diamonds while softening the molecules of whoever he is punching. 

Making up science to explain powers can oft be confusing and a hinder to the plot (we don't care why he can burn an army of tree-men to ash, we just want to see him do it), but Waid crafts the conversation in a way that adds an extra layer of tension to the whole story. The Plutonian is no longer just a man gone wrong with Superman's powers, he is a man gone wrong with the powers of Dr. Manhattan and he doesn't even know it. Uh-oh!

Special note has to be given to the prison made up of layers of increasingly dangerous dimensions. An extraordinary captive demands an extraordinary cell, and Krause draws a haunting cave where the blackness seems endless, a forest of seemingly innumerable killer trees, and two characters walk a bridge spiraling into space, framed in a way that winks unashamedly at 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10