Friday, April 30, 2004

A few more logs in the fire

Or, a few more reviews added to the pile.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #5 $2.25

It should be called the Fantastic Three, as there is no sign of the Invisible Woman in these pages.

Get it? Good.

Okay, jokes aside, this is one of the best mainstream books currently hitting shelves, and everyone should be picking it up. Bendis and Millar write the FF better than almost anyone ever has, and their improvements on the origins of the group make me want to travel back in time, smack Stan Lee in the head and say "This is how it SHOULD be done!" However, Kubert is no Kirby, and his art is only slightly better than serviceable here. The dialogue and character interaction is where this books shines. Believe me, the fact that it's taking two of the best writers in the biz to craft the tale isn't lost on me, but it's worth whatever Marvel's paying them, and at $2.25 this book's a steal. All you TPB collectors take note, you will not want to miss this one when it hits.

Batman: Harley and Ivy #1 $2.50

There are a few thing in this book that make me think it's not EXACTLY aimed at a younger audience, the cover price is the first. On top of that there are a few innuendos that seem to pop up in the dialogie. However, the fact that Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are on creative duties should give this book a ton of credibility. They may be the best two things to ever happen to the Batman franchise, with the possible exception of Loeb and Sale. Anyone who didn'tpick this up, you made a mistake. Wonderful art, great dialogue, witty, filled with action, and it's actually about the two characters it featureson the cover. This will likely be the best story in the Bat Universe this year, and it's not really IN the Bat Universe.

That's all for now, but has a new Comicscape column up, it's always worth a look!


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Damn this Web!

Spidey's Tangled Web, that is.

A review, short and sweet!

Spider-Man's Tangled Web #19 $2.99

Long title, amazing results! (An in joke, forgive me.)

I picked this baby up for a mere fitty cent! (Isn't that how it's said these days, fitty?) at the recent convention I attended, and finally got a chance to look it over. The story is pretty simple, Grizzly (a man who dresses like a bear) gets out of prison and seeks to start a new life for himself. Unfortunately his new neighbor is the Rhino, who wants to kick it old school. (Gotta love that slang!) Well, Rhino becomes a bigger and bigger thorn in the side of the attempting-to-reform Grizzly, and eventually his anger gets the best of him. After Spidey breaks up their little snafu, the two become friends once more, and even attempt to find love. Someone should've told them that when you internet date, always be gender specific. Yes, they end up setting a date with eachother, and the story ends a little bittersweet and definitely humorous. There were a few problems I had with the story, the main one being the use of the Rhino. Perhaps it was because very few people would recognize Grizzly, but even at that it seemed a bit much. Most of Spidey's villians are two-bit, but Rhino is in the upper part of the group, and it would've been funnier had it been someone farther down the totem pole. But, all in all it's a very funny tale, borrowing heavily from a few sitcom plots, but the art (by the ever-talented Jim Mahfood) is perfect for the story, and the dialogue is spot on. Robbie Morrison handled writing chores, and the name doesn't ring a bell, but he's definitely got talent, so it's a name I'll have to remember!


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Other times...

I go for days without posting. Heh.

Here's the list of DVD's headed your way!

Big Fish

Hit-or-miss director Tim Burton's latest film. I'll be checking it out soon.

The Cooler

Brilliant character actor William H. Macy stars in a film about a down on his luck guy who falls in love. Another one that's definitely worth a look.

ER: The Complete Second Season

When the show was actually good!

Like Father, Like Son

One of many "trading places" films that came along in the 80's, this one isn't that awful, and has a few funny moments ta boot!

Love Actually

One if the best "love" stories to come along in ages. It's wickedly funny.

Profiler: Season 3

I'm sure someone watches it, but I don't, sorry.

Saved By The Bell: Seasons 3 & 4

For those who want to remember how awful TV can be.

Stuck On You

A Farrelly Bros. comedy. Take what you will from that.

Vice Versa

One of many "trading places" films that came along in the 80's, this one isn't that awful, and has a few funny moments ta boot!

Hey, I like to recycle!

That's all folks!


Thursday, April 22, 2004

A promise kept

See, sometimes I do exactly what I say I will...

New Mutants (Vol. 2) #11-12 $2.99 (each)

The series ends with a big bust, as nothing that has happened over the last few issues has any lasting effect on the chracters. I really liked the book when it started, but the last four or five issues have brought almost nothing to the table. I wish the creators luck with the relaunch, and hope that readers get something better than this.

X-Men Unlimited #41 $2.99

Another issue of the former anthology (now apparently relaunched) I picked up for a pair of quarters. This time it was in fact for the Chuck Austen story. I've heard good things about his Exiles, but if this is any example, I won't be picking it up. It's not bad necessarily, more pointless than anything else. His Wolverine seems pretty good, but it is a Wolvie from an alternate dimension, so it's not really an issue. The only Exiles that show up are Blink and Nocturne, and the story is sometimes hard to follow. It feels like the middle of a bigger story and you're just left guessing at what happened before and after. Sometimes that's a good thing, but not here. However, Skottie Young provides the art, which I loved, I'll definitely have to look into more by him.

The second story in the book is a X-Statix tale by Nick Derrington (another name that doesn't ring a bell ) and Mike Allred. Now, I haven't read that book in sometime, but the portrayal of the characters in this story seem way off. They seem almsot too laid back, as if they're on some sort of drug that just magically made them get along. Maybe it's just me, but it was disappointing.

The last story is one about a mutant who can make people feel the same way he does and uses the power to give himself a little fame and fortune. It also deal with what happens when you reach exceeds your grasp. A good moral in the story, but it's overshadowed by bad writing and serviceable art.

This was a waste of fifty cents, and that's just sad.


I definitely need a spiffy name for the little reviews I do. Got any suggestions? Send 'em to me!

Just a few things on the agenda for today, one of which is a book from a few months ago...actually well over a year ago. I picked it up at the Atlanta Comicon this past Sunday for a mere 50 cents, and found myself pleasently surprised.

X-Men Unlimited #40 $3.50

I mainly picked it up because the first story was by Mr. Steven Grant. There's a link to his blog (Permanent Damage) to the right of this page, I suggest you stop by there now and again. The art is done by the very talented and IMO underworked David Finch. First, the story focuses on Sabertooth, who's living in the wild. Seems there's a hunter who's managed to track him dowm and come up with a plan to actually kill him. Honestly, that's the only flaw. We're left to wonder just who the hunter is, and why he would go to such lengths, and just how he managed to track him down. That aside Grant has crafted on the the BEST 'Tooth stories I've ever read. His characterization of Creed is spot on, yet in the end it's surprising enough that it actually makes the story that much better. Does that even make sense? Maybe not. The art is suitable for the story, nothing completely fantastic, yet better than most of the stuff we've seen in the X books lately. Like I said, Finch is underworked, IMO.

Next up is another Sabes story by the man readers love to hate, Chuck Austen, with art by Clayton Henry. I'll address the art first and just say it's okay, nothing remotely fantastic, and kind of awkward for the chracters used, but it's clear enough that you know who's who, etc. However, the story fails miserably. It's funny how not two pages before we have a truly excellent tale of Victor Creed, and here we have what may very well be the absolute worst Creed story ever. What Austen tried to do was tell how Creed and Mystique met, sort of dive into their history. What he does is totally break who and what the characters are, making them seem like one dimensional actors playing their parts in the soap opera they seem to be starring in. Creed comes off as a lovesick idiot who gets played for a fool by this woman who seemed to have it planned out all along. Huh? What happened to two of the most mysterious and not to mention dangerous people in the X Universe? Granted, Mystique does come off as dangerous, but much more in that over-the-top Disney way than the sexy-sleek-super spy kind of portrayl she'shad in the past.

Steve, it's truly ashame that this guy has a continued place in the X-Pantheon of writers and you don't

Finally, we have a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants story by the uber talened (and before this, never heard of) team of Nick Bertozzi and illustrater Dean Haspiel. This is one of the funniest stories I've read in a long time, at least as far as the Marvel Universe is concerned. Juggernaut is determined to finish a poem to woo a girl at a poetry contest, all the while Toad is bound a determined to set him back on the path of evil. Funny, funny stuff. Anyone know anything else these guys have done? Let me know, it's something I'd be willing to check out.

Fantastic Four #512 $2.25

Mssrs. Waid and Wieringo deliver another solid issue of this Marvel staple. This issue has the Torch trying to deal with the fact that the FF are no longer idols in the public eye. So, where does he turn? Why to good Ol' Spidey of course! Torch goes to Spidey to find out how to deal with being a loser, and Spidey takes him to the park...where they run into Hydro Man. Hilarity ensues. There's also a small backup story where Sue attempts to show Reed the error of his way by making him jealous. Who's the one person that can do that? Namor of course! Both stories are continued into the next ish, and I for one can't wait. Waid and 'Ringo have become THE definitive FF storytellers, IMO, and it's nice to see a little light heartedness in the pages, especially considering all the religious overtones in the previous arc. Great stuff.

Cable & Deadpool #2

Seems comedy is the order of the day, as this is another book that at least attempts to tickle the funny bone. Fabe Nic is one of my all time faves, and wrot some of Cable's best stories over the years, but this book still has nothing but a slight sentimentality to it for me. Fabes Deadpool is great, and it makes me wish this were a solo title, as his Cable brings almost nothing to the table. Sigh...seems the house of ideas is moving backwards for the most part these days. Recommended for fans of the characters only.

That's it for now, I'll be back tomorrow with a few more.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Short List Part 2

Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World

This Russel Crowe flik sees it's much anticipated release. Heard great things, so I'll definitely check it out.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!

Teen comedy that all but flopped at the box office. It doesn't look awful, so it may be worth renting.

Return of Avoid like the plague!

The Haunted Mansion

There isn't a word that describes the horridness of this film.

Well, maybe it's not THAT bad, but it's pretty unwatchable.

More apologies

I had tons of stuff I wanted to get to last week, and even more this week. Sadly work is building up, and I haven't had much time. However....

I did see the Punisher today.

Man, how friggin' sweet. They nailed it. I mean NAILED it. Next to the Crow and X2, this is one of the best of the latest comic book bunch. Well, the Crow is hardly partof that group, but anyway. The essence of Ennis' first run was captured brilliantly. It's not without it's flaws, but all in all it is an excellent film, capturing the character very well. Not one for the kiddies, but it's a great action film, and highly recommended.


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Those darn funny books

Ironically, none of them are actually funny.

Punisher: The End $4.50

Garth Ennis and Richard Corben team up to bring us the tale of Frank Castle's death. Frankly (heh) I couldn't have wished for a better creative team for this book. Ennis has become THE definitive Punisher writer, and should be given a lifetime contract to write every Punisher story that will ever exist. Yeah, it sounds a little fanboyish, but he's that damn good at it. This book was great. Of course, it's got some very mature content, and should be avoided by those under age. The rest of you may revel in the violent beauty that is this book.

Thanos #9 $2.99

Thanos faces the Beyonder. Guess who wins? You're probably wrong...especially if you said Thanos.

Supreme Power #9 $2.99

Hyperion seeks answers about himself and his past, and will do whatever it takes to get them. Unfortunately for him General Casey is determined to destroy him, instead he just pisses him off.

Y, The Last Man #21 $2.99

Yorick and Co. discover a dead road crew, and a group of women who rule a certain stretch of highway they need to cross. What will the good ol' Doc do to get them past these women? Guess will find out next issue.

30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow #1 $3.99

Niles and Templesmith continue to churn out there excellent vampire series, this time focusing on the new Sherriff of Barrow, who happens to be related to one of the victims from the attack years ago. Great, great stuff.

Also, for more comic book stuff, check out Tony Whitt's new Comicscape column over at, he's also got a new review up. As always, the link's to the right.


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The short, short list

It's Tuesday, which means DVD's, unfortunately there's not many...

Babylon 5: The Complete Fifth Season

This wraps up that show, and you can even buy the entire series as aset.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

One of the most disappointing films of last year!


Has there ever been a good adaption of a Crichton book? Well, aside from the first Jurassic Park.

See, told ya!

More reviews

I only watched one other movie:

Brother Bear

Is it me, or does every traditionally animated feature Disney releases now seem like some kind of variation on the Lion King? Well, Lilo & Stitch aside. This movie has it's heart in the right place, but falls short of what it tries to achieve. The animation itself is beautiful, and the comedy is definitely there (in the form of Bob & Doug McKenzie no less...I may have spelled that wrong) but the message seems to fall flat, and is fairly obvious from the beginning. Thankfully the singing is toned down, as Phil Collins doesn't rank as one of my favorite songwriters. All in all, not a bad movie, and there's a commentrak with the Brothers, for you SCTV fans, that's pretty funny itself. If you've got kids, it may be worth the rental price, but a classic it is not.

The Producers

No, not the movie. No, not the Broderick/Lane Broadway production either. It was the travelling production however, and it was fantastic. Max, played by Lewis J. Stalden, and Leo, played by Alan Ruck (yes, the guy from Ferris Bueller and Spin City) have never been funnier. This is a must see, espcially if you're a Mel Brooks fan. So, if it plays anywhere near you, drop the bucks and check it out. Be warned, it is a bit racy, so don't take the kids.

Man, I'm lazy

Not really. Life has been busy lately, and with me trying to pay my car off, work has been keeping me away from home for the most part. So, apologies for the lack of updates, but I assure you I have a ton o' stuff to throw on you.

There's a few comics that I've been meaning to weigh in on, along with a few movies, and quite a few interesting columns I've discovered.

I think I'll talk movies first, starting with a film that's fresh in my mind:


Man, wasn't Ron Perlman perfect for this part?

Yes, yes he was.

There may be some spoilers coming up, so be advised.....

Okay, I'll start at the beginning. It (the beginning) was goofy as hell, and it immediately looked as if the movie were going to be a letdown. The biggest problem at the start? The Nazis don't speak German. Yeah. What the hell? But, it can be forgiven, unfortuantely the "origin" of Hellboy comes off as one cheesy sequence of events, and just lets you down.

Cut to the present day, and fortunately it gets better. The revelation that Broom is dying seemd cliched, and in the end, completely unimportant, not to mention pointless. Not exactly sure why it was left in, but it can be ovelooked. John Hurt gives a great performance overall, and it's truly ashame he wasn't around longer.

From here we meet Agent Myers, played splendidly by Rupert Evans. Now, I see why and how this character was meant to be important to the plot. He's the new guy, the outsider, and as such is the viewers eyes and ears into the world of the B.P.R.D. Unfortunately, like alot of the movie, this isn't achieved well. Mostly, like some of the audience, Myers gets completely lost in the story, and seems to spend a good portion of it confused.

Now, Myers was brought in as Hellboy's new "caretaker" since Broom is dying (yeah, I know that's why that info was left in, but I'm still not sure why the scenes explaining it were.) and his introduction and subsequent reaction to Big Red is obviously meant to mirror our own feelings, unfortunately, for me at least, it didn't.

I think the fact that Hellboy is mentally still a child wasn't played up enough in the film, as it definitely would've made the audience understand alot of his actions more. There are a few really good moments between Myers and HB at the beginning, and while the one liners may come off a bit cheesy, I kept in mind that that's kind of what a fourteen year old would say to his new "step-father" and in that context I think it works out fine.

Now, as for Abe Sapien, (who Myers meets first, oddly enough) his character came off without a hitch. He was vulnerable, yet you stil felt like he was heroic. Despite knowing he was indeed weak, Abe still strove to do the right thing, and take whatever good or bad came his way. This was not played up enough in the film. I think an audience could really connect on an emotional level with a character like this, and sadly he doesn't get near enough screen time.

I think Meyers reaction to Abe was much more accurate than his towards Hellboy. Abe is quite scary when you think about it. He knows everything, he's smarter than you'll ever be, his origins and motivations are a mystery for the most part, and he can read your mind. On top of all that he's a walking, talking fish. Yeah, imagine meeting someone like that, and you would be a bit scared.

Fortunately, unlike Myers, the audience does get a bit more bonding time with Abe, but not nearly enough.

Moving on...

Ah, the villians. What can be said about the villians? Not much unfortunately. Frome head to toe, a complete cliche, and outside of Kroenen, not interesting in the least. This could've been rectified, but it would've added much more length to the film, which I'm sure the studio wouldn't accept. Ladislov Beran plays Kroenen to a T, and like Perlman, was perfect for the part. Unfortunately he follows in Abe's footsteps and has too little screen time. (Side not, he reminded me of Ray Park's Darth Maul. A villian that ends up being one of the coolest aspects of the movie, only to get shafted on screen time, and dispatched entirely too easy.)

Rasputin is every madman who's ever tried his hand at world domination, and Ilsa is his beloved, who will follow him to the ends of the Earth, and to Hell and back. Why are they doing this? We don't know. Now, the mystical villians they are trying to conjure are quite cool, but downplayed alot, and aside from a few mentions of who they are, they never get explained.

This is definitely the weakest aspect of the film, in my opinion. The most important thing to remember about villians is that they never think they are the villian(s). Look at M. Night's Unbreakable. That's how a villian should be written. But, they serve their purpose, like most action movie/sci-fi bad guys, and just give the heroe(s) someone to beat up.

The other major character, Liz Sherman, played by the oddly semi-attractive Selma Blair, is quite possibly the most pointless addition to a cast since Storm in the first X-Men film. Liz could very well have been a great character, even with someone as untalented as Blair playing the part, but much like the villians, she lacks the emotinal depth one needs to really connect with her.

Like most female parts in action films, she's there to give the hero someone to love and rescue. Cliche, cliche, cliche. This movie suffers from many of them. I did think that Big Red's feeling towards her came off fantastic, and Perlman played it perfectly. Remember what it was like to be in love at 14? When you practically stalked the girl, and thought every guy she talked to was her next boyfriend. Yeah, it came off perfectly, and quite frankly, funny as hell.

Jeffrey Tambor gives a hell (no pun intended) of a performance as Dr. Manning, who basically oversees the B.P.R.D. His scenes with Hellboy are fantastic and just flat out funny. Their love/hate relationship plays out great, and it was a true surprise in the film.

The plot itself was a bit off, in my opinion. However, I did like Hellboys point of view, or attitude towards most of it. He's a kid who's practically invinceable, and he knows it. He'll throw himself off building, wrestle monsters, punch cars, endanger bystanders, all to get the job done. IUn the end, that's the way he sees it. This is his job, this is what he does. Everyday is the end of the world for him, and he doesn't treat this particular case with any kind of awe or amazement. It's just another day. He's 14, and he's certain there will be a tomorrow. After all, he's invinceable.

I think alot of people didn't understand that for the most part. The movie doesn't come off as important in the scheme of things, and aside from the fact that Rasputin is out to ruin HB's life and take out a few of his friends, it really isn't. It's just like every other day (or week/month, etc.) of his life, and he treats it as such.

To wrap it up, all in all, Hellboy is a standard action/sci-fi flick. Enjoyable for the most part, lacking in alot of areas though. A few solid performances make it worthwhile, and I honestly hope there's a sequel. Remember how much X-Men sucked compared to it's successor? Not every film can be a masterpiece, sometimes you just have to settle for getting your point across, and I for one think Del Toro and company did a decent enough job that we should applaud their bullseye's and accept their misses for what they are, and not beat them over the head with them.

Wow, that was lengthy, and it's well past my bedtime. More tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Hitting the Links has some interesting articles up, including their weekly Comicscape and Vidiocy columns. They also report that Barbershop director Tim Story has signed to direct the upcoming Fantastic Four film. Tons of other things too, check it out.

Steven Grant should have a new Permanent Damage up later today, so do yourself a favor and read that as well.

Mike Sterling has a few interesting things to say over at Progressive Ruin, most of them about the first two Superman films and Hellboy, which he has yet to see. Always worth a look.

Neilalien has an interesting link about Brian M. Bendis' indy comic hit, Powers.

Finally, Patch Drury has an interesting little tidbit about forming a modern day League of Extraordinary Gentlmen, using real people as opposed to fictional characters. You'll have to click the blog link on his main page and scroll down a bit, but it's worth it.

As always, the links are to the right!

The Reviews!

There are actually only two books that I read this past week. So, here's some short opinions on both of them.

JLA/Avengers #4 $5.95

A disappointing end to a disappointing series. The only saving grace to the entire thing was the Perez artwork, which still wasn't his finest hour. The cover was damn cool though. Here's hoping I can hock 'em on eBay for some spare cash.

Punisher #4 $2.99

Frank Castle has never been written as well as Garth Ennis writes him. The issues move a little slow for my taste, but they're still worth the price of admission. If only the movie were going to be as good...

A day late

Here's Tuesdays regular DVD list arriving early Wednesday.

Charade (Widescreen)

Buy it. It's got a great cast and a better plot. Just friggin buy it. Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn, and extras that sweeten the pot. Like I said, just friggin' buy it.

Charlie's Angels: Season 2

Like the movies, I'm sure this show has its fans, of which I am not.

Cheaper By The Dozen

Steve Martin comedy that earned a few bucks over Christmas. It may be worth a look.

Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series

A series that has gained a huge cult following. It's one I've been wanting to see for quite sometime, and it has great extras. As soon as I get the cash, I'm buying it immediately.

Friends: The Complete Seventh Season

This one focused mainly on Monica and Chandlers wedding, the show had already jumped the shark by this season, IMO.

The Greatest Show On Earth

Chuck Heston leads the worlds greatest circus. I've seen it, and found it disappointing.

The Matrix Revolutions

The end of the trilogy-with-the-most-potential-other-than-the-Star Wars-prequels. Yeah, I can't be funny all the time.

Meet Me In St. Louis (Special Edition)

A classic gets some classy DVD treatment.

The Pink Panther Film Collection (Collector's Box Set)

Collecting the best films of the series, an excellent buy for fans. Side note: the series is soon to be remade with Steve Martin as the infamous Inspector, and Jean Reno as his sidekick.

Police Academy: The Complete Collection (Gift Set)

Collecting the entire series, also available in single releases. Only three of them were worth watching.

That about does it, I'll be back tomorrow with a few reviews.


Monday, April 05, 2004

Crapfest '04

Yesterdays convention outing was a complete bust. There was one, count it, ONE table with any sort of comic books, and a majority of those were overpriced Spider-Man issues. Most of the dealers were there selling various gaming products (Magic, Heroclix, etc.) and toys. Now, I'm a huge toy fan, but most of what these guys had was well over my monetary limits. It was cool to see some things I know I'll never be able to afford though. I did find a guy that had a few bins full of toys, all out of package, most missing parts, that he was selling for $2 & $3 a pop. So, I spent most of the hour or so that I was there digging through those. I came away with a few things that only someone like me would love.

I picked up two of the Ninja Turtles figures from the old cartoon (Krang & Roboturtle, at least, I think that's what his name was) and a very large Sabretooth from the now-canceeled X-Men Evolution line. No comics though, which saddens me, I was greatly looking forward to some new reading.

With the leftover money I caught up on last weeks books. So, as soon as I get around to reading them, I'll throw some opinions around.


Friday, April 02, 2004

A Fond (Hopefully Not Permanent) Farewell

Though I have never met the man in person, I consider Alan David Doane to be a friend, and I hope that he thinks the same of me. His blog is on hiatus, and looks to be for quite sometime. I'm hoping beyond hope that it isn't permanent. If it is, it was great while it lasted, and I hope that the site stays up, along with his forum, for the forseeable future.

I miss Comic Book Galaxy, as I'm sure most of Alan's followers/stalkers do, but to me the best part about that site was always Alan's blog. Now, I will miss Alan's blog. You'd think that in his wake I would've stepped up my posts, as it's likely (and hopeful) traffic here will increase, but I didn't.

For that, I apologize. It's a bit disconcerting when things change, be it for the better or for the worse, and often times I find myself losing my motivation. Not that I spend my entire day upset at Alan's hiatus, but just that my web presence didn't seem quite as much fun as it had been.

Mind you, this never lasts for long, and with me hitting two conventions in the next three weeks, you're likely to get more comic book posts than normal. So, if it's opinions and information you'relooking for, check back with me on Monday and I'll likely have something interesting to talk about.

For now though, consider the next few days a moment of silence on my part for the "passing" so to speak, of the best damn comics blog on the web. Alan raised the bar, in my opinion, and personally pushed me (whether he knew it or not) to try new things, and to make better my little corner of the web. Or, to at least try and make it better. So, here's to you Alan, and to hoping your return won't be far off, as the comic book community as a whole is a much sadder place without you.