Monday, March 26, 2007

Here Comes the Boom! -Part 3

....So it turned into a two week event, thanks to this lousy Georgia spring weather (read: pollen, and lots of it). Spent the end of last week knocked out by allergy meds.

To start things off, I found this review of the GN 10, published by Boom! awhile back, but I don't recall ever posting it, so here ya go:


Written by Keith Giffen, Drawn by Andy Kuhn

Everyone’s heard the old saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” Well, never judge a comic by its solicitation either. Before I opened this book to the first page I’d already written it off as just a clone of 100 Bullets. Of course with Giffen and Kuhn’s name on it I knew it would be well written and probably gorgeous, but I had almost no interest in the story.

I didn’t read it so much as devour it. Plot wise it may seem very similar to Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets, but the action and pacing make it more akin to an episode of 24. Ten people are given ten guns with ten bullets, nine of them are given the name of one other person with a gun, and the tenth is given a list of all the contestants. The last man standing wins.

The claustrophobic plot lends a lot to its success. Instead of having a story stretched out over dozens of issues we’ve got just this one. The fat has been trimmed; you don’t know anything you don’t need to know. And what you need to know is never what you want to know. The only character that gets any kind of development is Graham Meachum, the book’s main character. Even then we’re only given a small window into his life before everything comes crashing in on him.

Much of the story is told in the art, and Kuhn is well up to the task. The violence is very stylized, but no overly glamorous. Most books would fall into the trap of wanting it to feel real, ending up with more of a gross appeal, but here it is what it is. It all moves so quick that you have little time to think about the blood. And he does a great job of pulling the focus in, adding to the claustrophobia.

Giffen’s dialogue is great, and almost seems like an afterthought. He knows that Kuhn is capable of telling the story and allows him to do so. There’s no need for explanations or long speeches, often it’s just short and to the point. There are occasional bits of humor here too. It’s definitely darker than Giffen’s more recent output.

It’s a menacing look at humanity in the face of adversity. It’s not as twisted and disturbing as it could have been, or maybe even should have been, and leaves more questions than it answers. Still though, 10 is an interesting look into what people are capable of under the most extreme circumstance.

X Isle #1-3

Written by Andrew Cosby & Michael Alan Nelson, Drawn by Greg Scott

Yet another instance of a Boom! team taking an old idea (stranded on an island) and turning it on its head. The character development is pretty swift, and with the exception of one instance (a forced racism remark, felt awkward and unnecessary in this type of story) it all seems natural. I mentioned before about Talent being compared to Lost, funny that this one wasn't. The island here seems far mor dangerous however, with plants that will eat you alive and bugs bigger than your head. But, the story has been primarily focused on the characters (much like Lost), only here you never really care where they are, just about they're survival. I can't wait to see how they wrap this up.

Pirate Tales #1

Written and Drawn by a hell of a lot of people.

Of all the books I've read by Boom!, these Tales books have been among my favorites, and this one was no different. They make for excellent on-the-go reading, the art here is excellent in every story, suiting the tales nicely. The writing is what really shines for me, ranging from the excitingly goofy to the surprisingly romantic, with a few standards thrown in for good measure. As with most Tales books though it comes down to the source material, which makes them almost review proof. So, if you like pirates, then why the hell haven't you read this yet?

Stick around, there's more to come!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here Comes the Boom!- Part Two

Part Two of this week long look at all things Boom! falls on a book that I was really sad to find out was a miniseries:

Talent #1-4

Written by Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski with art by Azaceta.

If I remember correctly this was originally billed as being similar to 'Lost', or 'Lost' meets...whatever. Anyway, this is NOTHING like 'Lost'. Well, there is a plane crash. It's infinitely more similar to Unbreakable.

Talent is the story of a teacher, Nicholas Dane, the lone survivor of a plane crash. Dane was found twelve hours after the plane crashed into the ocean, drowning. When he wakes up in the hospital he's hailed as both a miracle and a terrorist, and when a man tries to kill him he goes on the run. Dane finds himself engulfed in a bizarre conspiracy involving a force called The Balance. Dane also finds himself in possession of the talents of the many people that died in the plane crash. Boxing, origami, even deadlier arts; he's also taken on (unwillingly of course) the unfinished business of those people.

If Talent was a TV show it would make for damn fine viewing. Of course, it would probably have been canceled six weeks in. Thank God for comics.

The writing here is top notch. Once again Boom! produces a book that's more than the sum of its parts, a mish-mash of ideas from The Bourne Identity, Unbreakable, The DaVinci Code, and so many more. The art is great, though it did take some getting used to, but it fits the tone of the story nicely.

Like I said, I was pretty shocked to see it come to an end in issue four, Dane's story looks to be far from over with so many loose ends to tie up. Not to mention the mystery of the people after him.

I can only hope that it has one more similarity to 'Lost', this is just one of many seasons to come, and that unlike 'Lost' the story doesn't become so damn mundane that I can't be bothered to tune in anymore. But based on what I've read the latter isn't likely to happen, I'll keep hoping for the former.

There ya go, short and sweet.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Here Comes the Boom!- Part One

In what will likely be a weeklong event, I'm going to discuss comics I've read in the last seven months or so, all provided by Boom! Studios. So, here it is:

The Savage Bros. #1-2

Written by Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes, with art by Rafael Albuquerque, The Savage Bros. is the story of, well, two brothers, who, in a post apocalyptic world hunt down the zombified remains of anyone, as long as the price is right. When they're sent into Atlanta to find a pretty important zombie, they stumble across a virgin stripper about to be sacrificed by a disembodied head. Action and hilarity ensue.

The writing is pretty good, and the art is great, even if it occasionally looks a little fuzzy. What makes it all work is the fact that it's not a high concept book with a message, but just a high concept book that will give you quite a few chuckles.

The Stardust Kid #3-4

Written by J.M. DeMatteis with art by Mike Ploog, The Stardus kid is the story of a group of kids who must rescue a fantasy realm from the clutches of an evil witch. It has a very "been-there-done-that" feel to it plot wise, but what it lacks in originality Ploog's art more than makes up for.

Probably the best thing I can say about this book is that even after reading the final two issues of the story I want to track down the first two. The characters feel very realistic and grounded, even though, as I said, I missed all the introductions. The narration is pretty hokey, but no more than, say, the narration of The Princess Bride (well, maybe a little hokier than that).

It's pretty hard to come up with any originality when it comes to fantasy tales. This book is a good example of that, but it also shows why and how illustration can (and usually is, even if it's only in your head) a very important part of establishing great fantasy.

Warhammer 40,000: Damnation Crusade #1-2

Written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edgington, art by Lui Atonio (#1) and Greg Boychuck (#2).

I wouldn't even know where to begin describing the story here. The books have a little Warhammer history lesson and dictionary in the back, and thankfully so. Not that it was a confusing read, not at all, there's just so much you need to know. It's a pretty great hodgepodge of tons of sci-fi elements. The switch on art is a little jarring, but the styles are somewhat similar. I'd have liked to seen a little bit more of Raclaw's journey, but I suppose it needed to be shortned to get to the bigger battles. Great story, great art, but it can be confusing for anyone not already heavily into sci-fi.

So, there you go, Part One of my big Boom! review project. Short, for sure, but none of these books are the type to entice any soul searching, just books that are fun to read.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the Meantime...

Since I'm still reading/ re-reading a few Boom Comics, and since I just watched this, I figured I'd go ahead and talk about it first, excuse me if I'm a little rusty, it HAS been awhile-


One of the things that has always irked me about biopics like this are the liberties they take with the truth. But, while Hollywoodland did stretch some of the facts it didn't draw its own conclusions.

It reminded me a little of Auto Focus, and much more recently (actually, I think they came out at about the same time) The Black Dahlia. The exception being that Auto Focus and Hollywoodland are pretty good films, despite their liberties, and that The Black Dahlia was about as entertaining as a pile of manure, probably because of its liberties.

For those who don't know, Hollywoodland is the story of George Reeves' supposed suicide. The story is told in flashbacks, most of which come from the mind of Louis Simo (played by Adrienne Brody), a private detective who was hired by Reeves' mother to investigate the suicide. Simo collects facts about the case, and as he uncovers more pieces he begins to imagine scenarios that may or may not have happened.

Reeves is played by Ben Affleck, a man who takes a lot of abuse over his acting, something he and Reeves had in common. Affleck got a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actor for the film, a well deserved one I think. Diane Lane stars as Toni Mannix, Reeves' lover and wife of studio exec Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins). The scenes between the two of them play very much like a love story straight out of the '50s, sometimes stiff and awkward, and most assuredly melodramatic. But, when you consider that these snippets aren't being presented as fact, but as the conclusions Simo has drawn from his investigation it's easy to see why they play out that way.

Going back to Simo; a large portion of the film is spent examining his life, parralelling it to Reeves. It seems the more he uncovers about the actor the more truthfully he begins to see his situation. They are both men who desperately want to succeed, but they measure they're success by how much exposure they have, both find comfort in the arms of younger women and alcohol. For them fame equals happiness, and in the end, when it doesn't come, both are left sitting alone, looking back at the pieces.

The movie captures the feel of the era perfectly, right down to Reeves pinky ring and automobile. Occasionally the dialogue can be a little punchy, sounding like something out of The Maltese Falcon, but it never takes you out of the movie. The music, on the other hand gets to be a bit too much, especially in the more dramatic scenes. I remember reading once, the best musical scores are the ones that evoke emotion without ever making you awarre of it, but here the music is predictable and mostly uninspired.

Overall, it's at least an entertaining film, but those who know the story of Reeves' death certainly won't find anything new here.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

What the Hell

Just because I recently stumbled on this and decided to make it my background, here's a shiny pic to enjoy:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Not Dead Yet

I'm still alive and kicking...well alive at least.

Almost seven months since my last post, and one week from gloriously depressing birthday #28, today marks my official return into the blogging universe. If there still is such a thing. Sadly, I've neglected just about everything web related in the last seven months. I've occasionally checked my email, but when I have it's been so full of junk that I just delete it all. So, apologies to all those sites out there I've shunned. I'll try and make it up to you.

So, what's the first order of business? I'm thinking, get The House in order, just in case I actually do get some people stopping by. I'm gonna check the blogroll, clean up the side bar, test out some of the new Blogger features...

Coming up after that- The Gigantic Boom Studios Review Session.

Keep your eyes peeled.