Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 11/10/10

Its that time of week once again, where one can enter their local comic shoppe and be treated to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes(?) of new comics. Here are the books that I checked out from last week that you might be interested in: (Yeah, they are one week old but their still so cute at that age)

First up, we have Marvel's Avengers: The Children's Crusade #3 of 9. Continuing the quest of Scarlet Witch's possibly re-incarnated children (the two Young Avengers Wiccan and Speed) to find her, this issue finds Quicksilver and Magneto jockeying for leadership and trust of the children and reveals where Wanda is. Still really enjoying this limited series. While the presentation of Wolverine seems a bit over the top, everyone else is spot on especially Quicksilver and Magneto. Allan Heinberg (the writer) and Jim Cheung (the penciler) are truly showing they can handle the rest of the Marvel Universe with the same skilled that have handled the Young Avengers.

Jumping over to the Ultimate Marvel U, we have Ultimate Thor #2. Continuing to unveil the history of the Norse god, this issue sees the Asguardians celebrating their victory over the Frost Giants in ancient times with gladiatorial games and the beginning of the Frost Giant's revenge (led by Zemo) years later during WWII. I'm enjoying the triple narrative in this title, even if it gets a bit confusing here and there. Judging by the ending of this one, some epic battles will be taking place next issue that should be a spectacular sight to see.

Heading over to DC, we have one of my favorite comic double features of Justice League: Generation Lost and Booster Gold. In JL:GL #13 Magog and Captain Atom mix it up in a battle that's sure to leave a mark on the city while Max Lord continues to pull the puppet strings. Said it many times before but I'm really digging this book. The art, story, and humor are doing it for me on all levels and I feel like I can never wait for the next issue. Judd Winick and friends are keeping this one of my favorite team books.

Over in Booster Gold #38 (the tie-in for those not in the know is that Booster is a member of JL:GL) Booster is taking care of business and knocking out Nazis! Rani, the young girl Booster saved from the distant future a few issues back) steals a time machine and goes back in time to WWII with a special mission in mind. Another fantastic issue from the team of Griffen, DeMatteis, Batista, and Perrotta. If your looking for a fun super hero book with hi-jinks and hilarity you can't go wrong with either of these two.

Next up is Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #5 of 5, finally the final issue. While the initial issue showed a lot of promise, the mini-series quickly deteriorated into length jokes that didn't pay off and the occasional one-liner that barley got a ha. The issue wraps up this sorted tale of course revealing the not so final fate of our favorite Android's Dungeon shop owner. If you were waiting for a collection of this, I highly recommend you just skip it all together.

Heading into the Vertigo books we have The Unwritten #19. Tommy and crew begin their search for their own personal white whale while Mr. Pullman drafts a new recruit in his quest to end Tommy's story once and for all. Another solid issue of this comic and Mike Carey and Peter Gross show no signs of letting up. If your still not reading this series do your self a favor and pick up the first trade paperback collection.

Taking a trip out to the early days, and also from Vertigo, we have American Vampire #8. Police Chief Cash McCogan finds out exactly who his visiting federal agents while tracking down the dying off investor's in the dam and Pearl Jones, back in California, is visited by similar agents. Scott Snyder (the writer) and Rafael Albuquerque (the artist) consistently present an awesome vampire story that doubles as a great period piece.

Lastly and pick of the week, we head back to DC for Red Robin #17. An epilogue to "The Hit List" arc, this issue follows Red Robin as he touches base with various allies. This issue does a great job of showing who Tim Drake has become since donning the Red Robin persona, in how he deal with the aloof former Batgirl Cassandra, the part temptress/possible enemy Lynx, and his mentor Batman back in action. Hint Hint: With this chapter coming to a close Issue #18 would be a great spot to jump on the title.

That's it for this week. Usual routine, comments of any kind are appreciated below. Now to get to reading this week's books (I actually already started you can look forward to an interesting creation of Holy Water.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 11/3/10

After last week's double post, this one is going to take a step back with only six books. The good news, however, is that all six were quality comics and well worth your money so lets get right to them.

First up is Marvel's first and my favorite avenging son, Namor: The First Mutant #3. Going on the offensive this issue, Namor and his Royal Guard take the battle to the Aqeuos (basically vampires under the sea, fun fact: they first appeared in deleted scenes from The Little Mermaid.) Their plan to ultimately deal with the vermin hits a snag however when a familiar face shows up. All in all, another solid issue of this series. Like I've said before I am really digging the way Stuart Moore is writing Namor as not just an eternally pissed off ruler. In perfect compliment, is the art from Ariel (resisting a second little mermaid reference only because this dude's art rocks) Olivetti and a few pages from Fernando Blanco. If your not reading this book, at least give it a flip through at the shop to see how awesome they handle drawing an underwater world.

Sticking with Marvel we have the final issue of a series I hope returns soon, Hawkeye & Mockingbird #6. When we last left this Bonnie and Clydesque couple they had decided to call it quits and head there separate ways; this issue goes into why they made that decision and whether it was the right one. Another book I've talked about in length here before, I just wish it didn't have to end so soon. Jim McCann (writer) and David Lopez (penciler) were really hitting a nice stride with the characters. Originally they were going to continue the series with #7 and #8 crossing over with Black Widow but it appears that was changed to both titles pausing for a mini-series titled Widowmaker. Not entirely sold on picking it up yet, but if McCann is writing I probably will.

Moving over to the distinguished competition, we have DC's Brightest Day #13. Now I know I harped on this book last issue for focusing on only one story line, hoping they would go back to spreading the panel time, but this issue really pulled it off in my opinion. Staying off world, like of Mars last issue, this time Hawkworld is the location with Hawkman and Hawkgirl taking center stage. Its probably just because I care about the main characters a bit more than Martian Manhunter, but this issue definitely brought me back into the book. Looking forward to next issue, with the possibility of certain caped crusader donning a white ring!

Speaking of caped crusaders, next up is Batman and Robin #16. Bruce is back, Dick has been shot in the head (giggle), Damien is still tearing sh*t up, and the final mysteries of Doctor Hurt's past are revealed! Everything Grant Morrison has been working to so far pays off leading into the next era of Batman, he's plans to go corporate and my resume is already in the mail. Art was great as well this issue with Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham, and Frazer Irving all turning in pages; Irving's art was a lot more enjoyable in a smaller portions than running the length of the issue as in the past few. While I won't be picking up to many Batman Incorporated titles, I will be staying on Batman and Robin for a while to see what's in store for Dick and Damien.

Next up is America's favorite, new, red headed, rebel with a cause; Scarlet #3. Picking up right where she left off, Scarlet plans to further expose the corrupt police responsible for her lover's young life cut short. Her handy work from last issue has been found and the powers that be are looking to speak with her, but they might want to be careful what they wish for. Think I've said it previously, but I'm loving this latest Icon title from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. The story and art just flow so smoothly and always leave one craving more. Still early in the series so I highly recommend you jump on this wild ride. It would have been my pick of the week but it was narrowly beat out by a comic that is no stranger to the top spot.

Pick of the week, even if I went by just covers, is Avatar Press' Crossed: Family Values #5. After the run in with the other beings that are still people, and I use the word lightly, last issue; the group holds up in a hospital for Hannah and Kate to each give birth. Still worried about their other brother Joesph, Addy and Matt head out to see if they can reach him before he gets to the hell that is New Paradise. I've said it before, I love this book even though most people would lose their lunch from viewing some of the images it contains. David Lapham (writer) and Javier Barreno (artist) continue to amaze me with this beautifully grotesque comic, not just with the unique ways of showing blood and guts but the way it examines humanity. I can't rightfully recommend this to every one, I would probably lose a lot of friends if I did, but if you think you can handle it, give it or the Crossed Vol.1 TPB a try. Just keep one thing in your mind while reading it, the Crossed do nothing humans haven't already done or still do.

That wraps another week of funny (or not so funny) pages goodness. Comments, critiques, and suggestions are all welcomed below. Now if you'll excuse me I hear some comics podcast calling my name. Check out Burnt Weiners and The Pull List, two awesome comics podcast. It's sort of like reading this blog except they're a lot funnier, more knowledgeable about the subject, and have crossed into the world of sound!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Circle of Trust #3: I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (2009)

If this is your first foray into this series, the gist of it is these are my reviews of the films distributed through Oscilloscope Laboratories and which I receive by being a member of the Circle of Trust. Here is a link to my first review to see what they're all about. This time I'm taking a look at I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale.

I first heard about I Knew It Was You shortly before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last year and have been looking forward to seeing it ever since. I've really enjoyed Cazale's work ever since the first time I saw The Godfather. By the the time I saw The Godfather Part 2, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter, and The Conversation he had become one of my favorite actors. Due to the extremely niche market of the film, I knew I was in for a long wait for the film to make its way to me. Thanks to the awesome people at Oscilloscope that wait has ended and come tomorrow (11/9/10) this film while be available for purchase, but as a Circle of Trust member my wait ended last week.

I Knew It Was You tells the about the career of cult-favorite actor John Cazale, better known to the world as Fredo Corleone from The Godfather, through interviews with the phenomenal talent he worked with, the modern actors he has inspired, and the loved ones he spent his time with. Shedding the normal bio-documentary take of telling one's life story, this film shows the effect John had on everything he touched and is as personal and sweet as he himself is usually described. This fitting tribute to Mr. Cazale continues on into the bonus features on this DVD.

Starting us off is an audio commentary for the film done by the director Richard Shepard. If you have any question about the film, its pretty much answered in here from why he started the project to why someone isn't interviewed in the film. Next, is two extended interviews of which excerpts were shown in the film. The first is with Al Pacino, in which he tells few more personal stories, and the second is with Israel Horowitz, a playwright who often cast John which contains the full eulogy he wrote for him. Last and probably most hilarious are two shorts John worked on in the sixties, The American Way (which he acted in) and The Box (which he shot), both I had never seen before and plan to revisit often.

Another solid pick up from Oscilloscope, I give this film (and DVD) 4 out of 5 stars. Some might justify it as only a rental, complaining of its length (another issue addressed in the audio commentary) but its a must own for any John Cazale fan. As previously mentioned, it officially goes on sale tomorrow. Below are a few links to make sure you don't miss out on it.

The synopsis of I Knew It Was You on Oscilloscope's site (You should also be able to purchase it from here soon)

Add I Knew It Was You to your Netflix Queue

Win a copy of this DVD from the A.V. Club

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 10/20/10 & 10/27/10

Are you ready to experience possibly the most comics ever reviewed in one post? If not, I recommend you come back at a later date with your favorite drink and snack item because reading this post will challenge you right down to your soul! Or you could just skim it and read about the series you care about. With out further ado, here is my thoughts on 19 recent comics most coming out in the last two weeks.

Books from 10/20/10

We start off in the DCU with Batman and Robin #15. Still enjoying Grant Morrison story and the way he handles Dick, Damien, and the Joker. Frazer Irving's art has continued to grow on me and while it certainly is my favorite, I can see its value to the way this story is being told and respect its use. A lot of his panels almost seem perfect for a poster but at the same time that some times distracts from them fluidly moving the story. If you enjoy Morrison's stuff and are interested in the new Batman and Robin, this book won't disappoint.

Staying with in the Bat-family but skipping a number of years into its possible future we have Batman Beyond #5 of 6. Can't say much about this book I haven't already. Really enjoying both Adam Beechen's writing and Ryan Benjamin's pencils. It may be a bit formulaic, with this penultimate issue answering most questions to prepare for the action packed finale but that doesn't make it any less fun. Definitely a must read for any fans of the TV series but still accessible to those that haven't seen an episode.

From the shadows of current and future Gotham City, we move over to Brightest Day #12. Not the best issue, in my opinion, mainly due to focusing to much on just Martian Manhunter. I don't hate the character but usually find it some what of a task to read a comic mostly about him. Art is still great and the other bits of story were good, just hope they return to a more balanced act in future issues.

Also under the Brightest Day banner this week we have Green Lantern Corps#53. This issue starts a new arc, The Weaponer, and looks to be a good jumping on point for the series. I am big fan of the book, mainly due to getting my Kyle Rayner GL fix from it, and this looks to be the start of something good. The combined efforts of Tyler Kirkham's pencils, Batt's inks, and Nei Ruffino's colors work wonder's in a Green Lantern color scheme. I do have one slight reservation that the story might try and undermine one of my favorite character's development over the years. Hopefully I end up worrying for nothing but I don't know how any GL fan could say no to next issue anyway, with it looking to be an all out battle between Kyle and Sinestro.

Moving over to Marvel books we have Ultimate New Ultimates #4 (I hate typing that title.) Thor's return to the mortal world breathes a little life into this story that has relied on senseless action and Frank Cho's fantastic art to get it off the shelves. Definitely more interested in checking out the next issue of this series more than I have been for the last few, but that isn't saying much. Can't recommend any new readers jump on but you can wait for when they inevitably either launch Ultimate New Ultimates 2 #1 or try to come up with a stupider title.

Hopping over to the regular Marvel Universe we have New Mutants #18. Another book where I have little to say about because I've said it all before. Love the characters, love the story, and love the art! Zeb Wells (on writing duties) and Leonard Kirk (providing the art) are consistently knocking it out of the park and if it weren't for a certain special that got pick of the week this would have easily beaten the rest of the field.

Heading over to Marvel's imprint Icon, we have Superior #1. While Superior didn't come out this week, its the first chance I had to pick it up and take a look. Written by Mark Millar with pencils by Leinil Yu, Superior follows young teen Simon Pooni. After having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, life hasn't been easy for him but that all changes one night when he visited by a magical monkey from space. Magic space monkey, Ormon, tells he he has been selected out of every one on the planet to receive the magic wish and before Simon can respond he is transformed into his favorite fictional hero, Superior. Overall, I enjoyed the book but still am not sure if I am going to pick it up regularly, or as regularly as an Icon book comes out. Leinil Yu is another artist whose work I don't like a whole lot, although I did feel it had some brilliant moments in this first issue. So for now, the jury is still out on this book.

Sitting snugly between my Icon books this week is Image's latest title Skull Kickers #2. Picking up right where the #1 leaves off this issue treats us to even more action, humor, and brilliantly lettered sound effects by Marshall Dillon. This title is perfect for anyone who enjoys a little bit of guns and guts mixed in with their medieval mayhem. Also, I believe this series is the first I've seen of both Jim Zubkavich (the writer) and Edwin Huang (the artist) and I am looking forward to more from this delightful duo.

Next up is my other pick up from Icon, Kick-Ass 2 #1. Still not exactly how I feel about this book as it left me quite torn. Part of me really enjoys some of the humor and the super hero team aspect of which this book is approaching while the other half dreadfully feels like it is just a vehicle for the powers at be to make a sequel to the film based on the first Kick-Ass. Probably going to end up grabbing the second issue but if I'm still getting the same vibe will end up dropping it.

Last up for books from the 20th is the pick of the week, Vertigo Resurrected #1. This is a 100-page anthology of short stories previously put out by Vertigo in other books, and it is stocked full of awesomeness. The talent on this one alone should be enough to get people to pick it up; including the like of Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Garth Ennis, and Peter Milligan just to name a few. Its honest been quite a while since I have picked up a comic containing short stories and thoroughly enjoyed each one. If by some chance of luck this is still on the shelves at your local shop make sure to pick it up, provided you can handle the adult nature of some of the stories.

Books from 10/27/10

Starting off with Marvel this time we have Ultimate Avengers 3 #3. Just above the other Ultimates book, in both content and ridiculousness of title, I have been mildly enjoying this book. Not sure if it is exactly what the creators were going for but it has a cheesy horror film vibe to it coming from both the cartoonish art style of Steve Dillion and the fact that every one is turning into a blood sucker. If your looking for pure comics gold like the first two volumes of The Ultimates, you won't find it here but this is an entertaining story set in that world.

Next up is Secret Avengers #6 by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato. Now this is one Avengers books I am thoroughly enjoying. This issue kicks off a new arc, Eyes of the Dragon, and brings another recruit to the team Shang Chi. A covert team of heroes plot line-check, spectacular ninja fight scenes-check, bodacious heroines in skin tight and/or revealing clothing-check; this one has it all. If your not already picking up this book, I suggest you give this issue a try and you might just find yourself hooked.

Last book from Marvel this week is Uncanny X-Men #529. While I am still not crazy about Whilce Portacio's art it is serviceable and Matt Fraction's writing along with Terry and Rachel Dodson's covers are what is really keeping me in the book. Looking forward to the next issue to see how the book handles (presumably) the loss of the Hope storyline to the new Generation Hope series starting today.

Stepping away from the "House of Ideas", from Slave Labor Graphics we have The Royal Historian of Oz #2. For those not familiar with the title the cliff notes version is that its about a boy whose father desires to be the foremost authority on all things Oz, despite being ostracized by other "experts" on the subject. As it turns out, he travels to Oz and steals proof of its existence but needless to say this doesn't leave every one there to happy. This issue pick up from there with Ozites (sure, I'll call them Ozites) coming to our world. Still really enjoying the concept, story, and art of this book. It actually came out a few weeks back but my store didn't get theirs in until now, so hopefully I am preaching to the choir on this one.

Venturing back into the $1 trial books, I picked up the reprint of Hack/Slash #1. Not really a trial for me, since I have been getting into that world as of late but definitely a solid read for anyone interesting in checking out the title. Plus, who doesn't love a $1 price tag?

Rounding out the lesser known titles this week is Kill Shakespeare #6 from IDW. I will spare you all me going on again about how much I like this book, but just know that I do. The unique world Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Belanger have created borrowing some of The Bard's old favorites it truly fantastic. Also, for those waiting for collected editions I believe the first TPB of the series came out today, so be on the look out. A definite contender for pick of the week but it was just barley nudged out by another favorite I will get to later.

Starting of a stellar set of DC books this week is Teen Titans #88. This issue brings the much anticipated (from me at least) creative team change to J.T. Krul writing and Nicola Scott on pencils, and I think they knocked it out of the park. It reminds me a bit of Johns run which I really enjoyed but I can tell its going to have its own flair with Ravager and "Robin" joining the team. Also, think I am in love with the way Nicola, along with Doug Hazlewood (the inker) and Jason Wright (the colorist), give each location its own unique feel. I don't have one bad word to say about this book, looks like Teen Titans will remain on the pull list for the foreseeable future.

Next up is Bruce Wayne: The Road Home-Ra's al Ghul one-shot. Picked this up for two reason the first being that I enjoy Ra's as a character and the second was too see how it tied in to and/or stood on its own from the other BW:TRH one-shot I read. Have to say it was a success on all fronts. It tells an interesting Ra's tale that could be read with out any other books but also ties into what Bruce Wayne is coming back to. Reading this one is really getting me thinking about picking up some of the other one shots in the series.

Last, and certainly not least, is the pick of the week; Justice League: Generation Lost #12. Those familiar with my blog should see it as no surprise since I have gushed about almost every issue of the series on here. This issue focuses on Ice, adding a bit of her past into the current story line. While I have never been her biggest fan, I love the way Judd Winick gives some of her history in brief to newer readers, of which he did the same for Captain Atom in an earlier issue. I know he as a writer is real hit or miss for some readers, but I think he has only brought his A-game to this book.

Whew! Well that is all for the last two weeks of comics. Be sure to leave comments with what you thought on these books or others I didn't check out and don't be afraid to make a recommendation if you think I might like something based on these reviews. Next week looks to be short on issues but I hoping to check out some graphic novels and get those up on here. *fingers crossed*