Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 6/23/10

Pretty big pile this week with eleven books so lets jump right in and get to the reviews.

First up we have this week's Brightest Day tie-ins, Green Lantern Corps #49 and Justice League Generation Lost #4. Green Lantern Corps bring us Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns Part 2. We see more of what they have been doing behind the scenes and the major villain who might be pulling the strings (Hint: He is one of my favorite GL villains.) Great issue both art and writing are hitting it out of the park. My lone complaint with the issue is it being tied to Brightest Day. While it does feature one scene related to a recent issue of the Brightest Day main book it felt like a forced tie-in aspect to put the banner on there, although it could relate more to the book in the future and this is just a little set up for a future story. Looking forward to the next issue and possibly a new Alpha Lantern?

Generation Lost #4 features Russians a plenty with a our little group of heroes caught in the middle. The art doesn't feel like the best I have seen from Joe Bennett (although every suit of armor looks pretty good) but it is still descent. The writing/story continues to be great and the humor keeps you chuckling through out the almost issue long battle sequence. Put that all together with a great cliff hanger and this book keeps the title I gave it of the best part of Brightest Day.

Jumping over to DC's Vertigo imprint we have Joe The Barbarian # 6. I am pretty sure the Vertigo label has some sort of subliminal message because every Vertigo book I end up reading is awesome and Joe is no different. For those of you who haven't checked it out yet the premise is a teenage boy is mysteriously transported to a universe where all his toys are alive and waging a war against King Death to bring back the light. The story is magnificent and the art fits it so well, I might have to check if Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy have partnered up before. Since its a limited series at issue six of eight, you might just want to wait for the forthcoming collection at this point.

Over at Marvel we have one of my few remaining interests in the Ultimate Universe, Ultimate Avengers 2 #4. Punisher vs. Ghost Rider get us started a beautiful scene while Nerd Hulk and Black Widow look to The Spider for info on their flaming skulled foe. I really like where this story is going and enjoyed the modern update to Ghost Rider's origin (a character I never really cared for in the normal universe.) If you picking up only one Ultimate book (if any), I certainly hope its this one.

Hopping over to the normal Marve U, we have one tie in and one chapter of Second Coming this week. X-Factor #206 brings some levity to Second Coming whether its Longshot's luck issuing the call for reinforcements or their final battle being against a robot spider with rotating blades. Not really a big fan of the art in the book but the characters and tie in element to Second Coming kept me coming back for more. With this being the final tie in issue it remains to be seen whether I will add it to my regular pickups but if the humor and good writing keeps up I think I will as well.

X-Men Legacy #237 (Chapter 12 of Second Coming), brings up a little closer the conclusion of the cross-over. Our merry mutants are struggling to keep up with the sentinels while the team in the future pulls the trigger on their secret weapon. Some great scenes most notable being Magneto reminding us he built Asteroid M and a spectacular splash page showing the multiple battles happening. I really can't say enough good things (that I haven't already said) about this crossover, a must for any X-fan!

Now to add some much needed indy cred I picked up The Schizophrenic #1 from the new comic publisher Zip Comics. Hadn't heard anything about this title put the cover got me to pick up the book and feeling the more old-fashioned type of comic paper got me to bring the book home. Over all I thought it was ok, the story was good while the art wasn't all that appealing but fit with the narrative. The book is about a man named Sam who is a schizophrenic and in this issue experiences hallucinations of being a superhero. Not a huge fan of the $3.99 price tag especially from a new company but you might want to to give it a chance. I would probably pass on the second issue but after doing research I see Sam's hallucinations are going to be based around a different comic genre every issue, an idea I love so I will have to at least check out the second issue.

Next up we have a book I have been meaning to get my hands on for quite a while, Stealth #1 part of Top Cow's pilot season. Its been out for a while I just keep forgetting about or not seeing it at the store. The premise is a young man is trying to deal with taking care of his father who is experiencing Alzheimer's, the rub- his father is one of the world's greatest super heroes Stealth. Love the story idea but since this is equivalent to a tv pilot it does feel a little rough (both in art and the quick pace of the story.) I haven't read any of the other pilots but I really hope this one goes through since the premise is awesome and a bit out there.

Another late pickup this week (came out last week I believe) is Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #1 from Image. My first foray in to the Hack/Slash universe was brought about from the guys over and Burnt Wieners (an awesome comic book podcast) talking it up quite a bit and it lived up to it. Fanatic art (with an attractive cover to boot) couple with a great intro to the character of Cassandra Hack makes me think I might have been missing out on by never reading Hack/Slash. Didn't feel lost at all while reading this but it did make me want to pick up the volumes of the regular series, something I see happening in the near future. If you enjoy slasher flicks and hot chicks this book should be right up your alley.

Heading back over to Vertigo we have American Vampire #4. This was a book I didn't really think about picking up at first but has become another staple in my monthly pull (just like the other Vertigo titles I read). The stories (its a split narrative book featuring two writers) shows us vampires can still be well written and interesting (eat it Twlight fans, although I seriously doubt anyone who read that would read this.) On top of that the book features some spectacular art perfectly showcasing the late 19th and early 20th century. This alone should sell the book but if you still have doubts, Stephen King is writing one of the stories (although Scott Snyder's may be a bit better.) Go pick it up if you love America or Vampires or hate either of those things or hate just one.

Lastly we have my pick of the week 7 Psychopaths #2 of 3. Would have been my pick even if I just went by covers but once you read through it you will certainly be looking to put a ring on it. If you missed my comments on the first issue the basic story idea is that seven psychopaths are gathered together to assassinate Hitler. In this issue we meet the final psychos and the mission gets underway. This comic is all kinds of awesome and even if your not into comics it has a very cinematic feel to it which you might enjoy. The only bad part is that it is a three issue miniseries, but its going to be one hell of a ride.

That is it for my weekly books but I did make a few other purchases this week:

First up is 45 written by Andi Ewington with art by a horde of artists. The book is full of fictional interviews with super powered individuals and their families being conducted by a man who is an expecting father and wondering what its going to be like if his child is super. I am only a couple interviews in and so far its awesome, hoping to get a full review up at some point. Next is Blur for the Xbox 360. While I am not usually a huge racing game fan I really enjoyed the demo of this game and since Best Buy had it on sale for $40 and there were two coupons out for it I ended up getting it for $10 and tax, quite a deal for a pretty recent game. The deal is only going till the end of the week but if you need instructions on it let me know. Lastly, we have The Boys vol.1. I have been thinking about pulling the trigger on this purchase for quite a while and finally decided to do it. Look forward to checking it out and post a review.

That is it for this week. Usual deal any comments/suggestions/critiques/anonymous Internet hate speech can be posted below and I really encourage and appreciate the first three. I know I said I would try and get some other stuff up last weekend and didn't so I am making that same commitment this week, hopefully with different results. Spoiler: Probably going to be the same results.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 6/16/10

That time of the week again, to discuss my weekly pickups. As usual spoilers might be in here although I try to avoid anything major. You have been warned.

Smaller week than most but still a pretty good one. First off we have Brightest Day #4 from DC. The tales of those resurrected after Blackest Night continue with the Hawks taking a little trip, the hero formerly known as Deadman visiting another set of birds, a strange occurrence in the Bermuda triangle, and Ronnie Raymond experiencing an interesting "nocturnal emission". The art on this is awesome with the highlight being a splash page of Hawkman and Hawkgirl's previous lives. Once again the story just seems to be moving at a snail's pace. I am enjoying most of the stories, but in the end I think it is going to read a lot better collected in a trade paperback. So if you haven't picked up any yet I would really recommend waiting for the TPB.

Next up we have Ultimate X from Marvel. Following Ultimatum the X-Men have disbanded and mutants are required to register but more than a few are still trying to live lives outside the law. After being introduced to Jimmy Hudson and "Karen Grant" in the first two issues, we next meet Derek Morgan their first potential recruit. Arthur Adams art is descent but doesn't keep me craving issues, although he did handle drawing Chicago quite well so it was pretty recognizable. Jeph Loeb's story is just barely keeping me reading, mainly to see where he takes these characters. I am not to optimistic after Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum but maybe he will surprise us. I would pass on this unless your really interested in the Ultimate-verse mutants. Next issue we find out where Liz Allen ended up, so I will be sticking around for that issue at least.

Going back to the Distinguished Competition, we have Joker's Asylum: The Mad Hatter one shot. Didn't exactly plan on picking this up till glancing at the cover (take a look yourself, its awesome) and flipping through it at the store but it is an awesome one shot. The Mad Hatter has always been one of the bat villains I was interested in (going back to the animated series of the 90s) but never saw to much of. In this tale Jervis Tetch, The Mad Hatter who is trying to reform, is writing a story while staying away from the hats and the tea. Little by little we see him breaking down and eventually giving into his demons resulting in a story that is a great combination of sad, interesting, and humorous (this tale is told by the Joker after all). The art compliments the story quite well, being a bit rough and bizarre. I recommend this to everyone even if you never really liked The Mad Hatter, this just might change your mind.

Final pick from the big two is New Mutants #14: Second Coming Chapter 11 from Marvel. Our mutant friends our fighting for their lives against Bastion/Nimrod's never ending waves of future sentinels while X-Force is getting closer to taking down the source. Cyclops pulls one ace of his sleeve resulting in a Legion to help battle the sentinels while another big gun is finally going to join the fight next issue despite being barley able to stand. I have said it before and I will say it again "Second Coming is awesome and the way a crossover should be done." The story has just been compelling and keeping wanting more every week with great art to boot. This is the kind of stuff that makes it worth putting up with "Austen years", well almost. :)

Last and just the opposite of least, we have my pick of the week Crossed: Family Values #2 from the smaller but awesome publishing company Avatar (no relation to the movie). Before I go on be warned Crossed is most definitely only for adults, and further more only adults who can stomach vile depictions of sex acts, murder, and mutilation that are spectacularly drawn. That said I loved every issue of the original Crossed series and am loving Family Values even more, which probably speaks volumes about me but whatever. Most will just pass the book of as a gore and nudity fest but if you take a deeper look you will see the interesting observations and critiques of society it shows, with Family Values going even further and looking at religion and incest. It is somewhat reminiscent of George A. Romero's zombie films that observe society through a zombie apocalypse, these "zombies" just happen to retain all functions and become amoral. So if you feel up to it, I highly recommend the book but completely understand why people would not want to read it.

That is it for comic this week but I did manage to make a few more gaming pick ups.

A 7-11 near me is clearing out their games some of their games and I managed to pick these two up for ten bucks each. Terminator: Salvation has received terrible reviews but I still kind of wanted to try it since I enjoyed the film. Street Fighter 4 is actually the first Street Fighter game I have ever purchased (always been more of a Mortal Kombat guy) but I though for ten I would give it a chance. Might get around to writing more about them eventually but not anytime soon since I have so many games on my plate right now.

That's all for now but I am hoping to have a game review and movie review up this weekend so keep an eye out for those. Thanks for reading, tell your nerdy friends, and comment are always appreciated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

REVIEWFLIX - Mystery Team (2009)

(My latest film from netflix, title links to it there if you are interested in adding it to your queue.)

"I'm getting too old for this s***!" - Sergeant Roger Murtaugh

This is the first feature film from Derrick Comedy, who acquired their fame from various internet videos, like this one:

And just like this short, laughs erupt in the first moments of Mystery Team and do not stop.

Mystery Team focuses on the coming of age of three kid detectives who maybe be a little old to be kids and a little young to be serious detectives. Long gone are the days when they were respected for solving the case of the missing lunch money and in a few short weeks they will be finishing high school. Right on the cusp of adult hood they are hired for the biggest case yet, an actual murder!

This independent comedy delivers on all fronts. Donald Glover, DC Pierson, and Dominic Dierkes all turn in great performances with Donald stealing just a bit more of the lime light. Other members of Derrick Comedy also appear in smaller roles with Bobby Moynihan being my personal favorite as a grocery store clerk. Technical aspects were also pretty outstanding for a smaller film.

Donald Glover pulls double duties as he also composed the impressive score for the film. It delivers the right amount of childlike-mystery nostalgia and compliments the humor nicely. The camera is wielded brilliantly, particularly in the baseball field scene. Instead of relying on just the comedy to hold the viewer in their seat, we are treated to some expert shots utilizing both spacing and movement.

While I know some are really hesitant to give indy comedies a chance and would much rather see the latest film being compared to The Hangover, but I implore you to give this one a chance. Another 4 stars out of 5 in my book, and hopefully yours as well when you watch it. If you decided not to watch it, well we could always hang out. Maybe you would like to play some Gamecube and enjoy a refreshing natty lite?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 6/9/10

As many of you know Wednesday is new comic book day so the title is pretty self explanatory, here are quick reviews of my most recent comic pickups. Video games and dvds will also be thrown in here when applicable such as today. I will try and avoid spoilers but consider yourself warned just in case.

First up, we have Seven Psychopaths #1 of 3 put out by Boom! Studios. A comic that is a few weeks old that I finally got after my local shop tracked it down for me. How do you kill the most well protected man in the world? Simple, send people who are just crazy enough to not realize its a suicide mission. That is the premise of this three issue mini-series where one British general and one "crazy" professor begin to assemble their crack team to assassinate Hitler. The story and art of the issue have both assured I will be picking up the rest of it. The Psychos each bring their own brand of crazy to the table, assuring an entertaining and thrilling ride even if this one turns out like the history books.

Next up is Ultimate Avenges 2 #3 from Marvel. With our crew of shady characters assembled they go out looking for their target, the ultimate spirit of vengeance. While I really enjoyed the first two issues of this volume, this one was just ok. The art boasted some cool visuals and their were a few lines that gave me a chuckle but overall it didn't grab me. The next issue is probably going to be all out action so we will see if I keep going after that. (Probably)

Brightest Day: Justice League Generation Lost from DC is up next and in my opinion is the best thing to come out of Blackest Night. A quick recap of events so far is Maxwell Lord, former hero gatherer turned anti-metahuman villain, recently raised from the dead wipes himself from the memories of everyone on the planet except for Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom. As they go about trying tell everyone about Max, he secretly discredits them with various manipulations. In this issue Fire goes to discover why she was terminated from Checkmate while the rest of the gang answers a distress call that is coming from the former Blue Beetle's (who Max Killed) specialized line. This title has it all! Great art, action, comedy, and some interesting drama thrown-in for good measure will keep me on this title for quite a while.

Speaking of the greatest hero you never heard of Booster Gold #33 also dropped this week. In a plot line cross over Booster goes looking for evidence of Max in the one place a man with a time machine would go, the past. Wasn't sure I was going to keep on this title after its recent creative team change since that was a such a fitting end but I am glad I did. Booster's reaction to being scolded by Cyborg was worth the price of admission alone. I am skeptical of how far the two men and a baby plot line is going to go, with Booster and Rip Hunter taking care of the child the former rescued from the future, but it was well handled in this issue with Skeets constantly trying to curb Booster's foul language. A solid read if you have become a fan of the character over the past few years, as I have.

Next up is Nemesis #2 put out by the Marvel imprint Icon. For those of you who didn't read the first issue, or have forgotten it since it was released in March, this comic was billed as "What if Batman was The Joker?" A wealthy manical, genius goes across the world slaughtering cops in complicated fashion till he gets to Washington DC where he captures the president and declares the time and date he will kill the chief of police. In this issue we find out a little Nemesis' back story as well as what his grudge with the chief of police is. Overall the title is just ok, the art is good and the story is somewhat appealing but the lengthy delays between issues is probably going to stop me from picking up the third issue.

Going from evil Batmanesque villain to a tale of 3 Batmen, we have Batman #700 from DC. This anniversary issue features one story spanning 3 different Batman eras (Bruce, Dick, and Damien) and features spectacular art with some of the industries top talent contributing. The Bruce portion really reminds me how much I miss regularly seeing Tony Daniel's art in the books I read, while the Dick one pays a fitting end to Frank Quitley's run on Batman and Robin. Not the greatest bat story I have ever read but it is short and self contained making it a decent one shot.

Moving on we come to out Second Coming double feature. In Revelations: Hellbound #2 of 3 we witness the continued efforts of Cannonball's team to find and rescue Magick from Limbo, and as typical nothing ever goes according to plan in Limbo. Based on the cover alone we can see the Remy has taken a back seat to the horsemen persona of Death. I am one of the few people who never really liked Gambit but over the last few years he has developed into quite an interesting character. While this story isn't necessarily vital to the happenings in the core Second Coming crossover it is certainly a story I am enjoying.

This brings us to Uncanny X-Men #525 (Second Coming Chapter 10). For those of you not keeping up with our band of merry mutants, Second Coming is an X-Men brand crossover. Hope is back from the future and the X-men are fighting to defend her as well as themselves from Bastion-Nimrod and his mutant extinction agenda. Last issue Cyclops was forced to throw up a hail mary and send X-Force along with Cable and Cypher into the future to shut down Bastion's sentinels at their core plant leaving the rest of the X-men to defend the encased San Francisco area as well as Utopia. In this issue the X-men are being worn down by Bastion's forces while the Fantastic Four and the Avengers are having no luck breaking into the orb which has isolated the mutants as well as innocent civilians from the rest of the world. Since I this it the first time I posting about this crossover, I have to take some time and gush about how much I am loving it. Its been a while since a cross-over has delivered on all fronts; great story and art across all books, Keeping the main story in the four associated books (while giving you a little extra in the tie-ins if you desire it), and lets the rest of the universe in without causing the event to go brand wide. If you have ever been an X-men fan I highly recommend giving Second Coming a look, although you might want to wait for the trades now since it is 10 issues in. On any other week this would have been my pick of the week but it happens to be contending with my two favorite titles, the epic Vertigo double feature.

First up is The Unwritten #14. Premise of the series is a young man named Tom Taylor is famous for the Harry Poteresque stories his dad wrote and tacked his name on to but all of a sudden his world his turned upside down when some of these magical beings and items end up being real. This book has had me hooked since day one. An enchanting story the begs the question what if there stories were real or the characters existed to some degree? How would a regular guy react? In this issue we are getting closer and closer to the release of the "fourteenth Tommy Taylor novel" while both Tom and the cabal are anxiously awaiting to see if Wilson, Tom's father, is alive and shows up. The art is great as always and the way modern media is portrayed is worthy of comparison to Dracula (the novel, not the character). If your still skeptical about trying out this book the first issue retailed at a dollar, and is probably even cheaper! If you can't find the first issue let me know, I think I have few extra.

This brings me to my last book, which also happens to be my pick of the week, Daytripper #7. Daytripper is a series where each issue focuses on a particularly important time of our protaganist's (Bras de Olivia Domingos) life. In this issue titled "38" Bras deals with the concept of friendship as he receives a postcard from his best friend, Jorge, who he hasn't seen in five years ever since Jorge left his life behind and went out in search of something else. One of my few reads that has nothing to do with magic or superheroes, it focuses more on a continuing slice of life narrative. A perfect comic to give to anyone that still thinks comics can't be serious or more adult like literature and just like The Unwritten the first issue retailed at a buck.

That is it for comics this week but I do have a few more picks ups to take a look at:

After reading an article about the film The Weathered Underground (pictured bottom middle) in Moviermaker Magazine I had to go pick it up. It is supposed to be a Choose Your Own Adventure type story in film, and I am really looking forward to checking it out. Hoping to get a reiview up for that some time this weekend. Surrounding the film is the various pieces of the Bioshock 2 Collector's Edition. While I am only a few hours into the first game, and already have a stack of games I still need to get to, I am in love with the world of Rapture and could not pass up the sequel for $40. Well that is it for this week comment below about your pick ups, opinions of the items featured, or random anecdotes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

REVIEWFLIX - The Box (2009)

(Note: Reviewflix posts are going to be my attempts at reviewing my recent viewing exploits from netflix, whether they be viewed instantly through my 360 or delivered to my door. For those of you with a netlfix account the title of this post also links to this films entry on there. Also, this just in I sold out to netflix, now on with the review.)

What’s in the box?” - Detective David Mills

When I first read the premise of “The Box” and saw the trailer for it I thought there goes another film I won’t check out in theaters but will someday check out in the comfort of my own home. Fast forward a short seven months later and here we are me just having completed the film and kicking myself for not having seen it in the theater. I let things like Cameron Diaz starring and the sub-par trailer push the film to the back burner while conveniently forgetting the items of note that should have forced me to see it day one, namely Richard Kelly writing and directing as well as it being based on a short story by Richard Matheson. (Kelly wrote and directed two other films I really enjoyed “Donnie Darko” and “Southland Tales” while Matheson wrote the novel version of “I Am Legend” and some other cool short stories.) But enough about when and why I checked out the film lets get to the heart of the matter.

The Box has a relatively simple premise. There is a husband and wife who are presented with a unique box containing a button. Should they push the button, someone they don’t know will die and they will receive 1 million dollars; Should they not push the button, nothing will happen. There you go, a premise almost as simple as pushing a button. (I somewhat specialize in lame jokes.) While it might not initially sound like the most thrilling film, consider for a moment two things, Reasons and Consequences. Why am I being given this choice? Who are the people making this offer? Will I be the same person whether I push the button, and am somewhat responsible for someone’s death, or don’t push the button, and now have the knowledge that this choice is available to other people? Ponder these questions while viewing and I think you might just be glued to your seat like I was. I don’t want to go much more into the story suffice to say that it is an enjoyable psychological thriller in the truest sense, which almost always means the less you know about it going in the better.

The technical aspects of the films also do not disappoint. The camera draws the eye right where it needs to be and leaves you distant and wondering at all the appropriate moments. Pacing is near perfect with not lingering to long any one scene with out a purpose behind it, and while the almost two hour length of the film sounds like to much for the story it ends up being just right. The effects may not be the greatest but are believable and suffice for the film. All of which are becoming staples in Kelly’s works, leaving me anxiously awaiting his next work. There were some flaws to the film however.

Most of the actors in this film were great in their roles, the only problem was that the two main actors were not. James Marsden as the Husband was just ok. Some of his emotional scenes were a bit weaker than I would have liked but he still held his, Cameron Diaz on the other hand did not. My pre-conceptions could be leaking in here but I haven’t thought Cameron Diaz was really good in any role since “The Mask”. Her emotions seemed so forced and her look and attempted accent really seemed to clash with other aspects of the film but even this could not lower the film to much.

If you get the chance I highly recommend checking out The Box, it might just surprise you. So add it your netflix queue, borrow it from that friend who has a ton of movies, or keep and eye out for it in the bargain bin. Overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars (going with the netflix system, since I am most used to it). Agree/Disagree? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Constructive criticism on the blog in general is also welcomed and encouraged.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Greeting from Sector 2814

So to anyone who is reading this thanks for checking out my blog. It is new so there isn't much to see yet but I plan on there soon being quite a bit. I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite a while, mainly being inspired by some of the blogs I read and podcasts I listen to. These posts will range from the gambit of my interests, covering comics, movies, video games, books (occasionally I read ones without pictures), and maybe even some other random stuff if I get around to it. To hold you over till I get some content up, I revised the Green Lantern Corps Oath for the blog, enjoy.

"In strangest browser, in font never aligned right,
No lame posts or topics shall escape my sight
Let those who worship thought ballons' might,
Beware my power... Geek Lantern's light!"