Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back...

I know, it's a bit late to do a "year in review" type post but oh well, it's my blog right. ;)

Comics of the Year (in no particular order):
Elephantmen -- Despite some delays in the main series Elephantmen continues to hit the mark for me. And the War Toys series (which technically started December 2007) was superb to say the least.

Fables -- Every time I try and explain this series to people they look at me like I'm crazy but I don't care, I love it. From the unique take on the various fairy tale characters to the constant emotional ups and downs, this series is simply amazing.

Invincible -- I started picking up the TPBs of this series pretty late in the game but it very quickly became a must read for me. I've been sticking with the TPB route but it's tough to wait, avoiding spoilers, until the next TPB comes out.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- To be honest, I was tempted just to give this series an "honourable mention" but c'mon, it's Buffy. For the most part, I think it's made itself a worthy continuation of the series (perhaps even surpassing the last season of the show in my mind).

Honourable mention goes out to She-Hulk. I've really enjoyed this series. I know Dan Slott fans were turned off by Peter David's take on the character but I think he said it best, if he tried to mimic Dan Slott's take on the series then people would complain about that. He had to write to his strengths and I think he succeeded. Though I think the art hasn't been as good as it could be. I'll be sorry to see it go.

Regarding Webcomics:
To be honest, I was hoping to list my webcomics of the year but it would be way too limitted to Zuda comics. There'd be Bayou, High Moon, Celadore, all of which are on Zuda and Araknid Kid which got its start there. The main problem is that I tend to stick to places I know which seem to be mostly DrunkDuck and Zuda. And on DrunkDuck, the comics I like tend to disappear, either because the creators stop or because they move around and I can't be bothered to track them down so I can keep checking for updates. So I've listed what webcomics I read, how about I leave the rest to you. Comment and let me know what webcomics you'd put as the webcomics of the year (and no, they shouldn't be your own).

Through my life I've pretty much always been a Marvel fan (I don't think I'd go so far as to say "zombie" butyou might). Lately, and this year in particular, I've seen my Marvel count dwindle. I avoided the events of both Marvel and DC, and even dropped the Hulk (which was a big deal for me personally). Instead, I've branched off more into the non-mainstream books (though I'll admit, I haven't strayed too far). So what do I see for 2009? Well, with the cancellation of She-Hulk, Dark Reign taking over most of Marvel, and promises to bring the X-Men more into the Marvel Universe events/storylines I don't see myself going back. I'll be keeping up with a few like Runaways and Skaar for now but there doesn't seem to be much to draw me back to other books, I'm just not part of Marvel's target audience any more.

I also continue to see my monthly book purchases going down while my TPB/graphic novel purchases go up. The reasons are plenty and perhaps the analysis can wait for another post but to be honest, I don't see this changing. Books like Ex Machina, Fables, Invincible, and others I find more enjoyable when read in TPB form.

And I'll probably find at least one Manga series to try out in 2009, whether it be an old series or something new (new to North America at least). This year was Monster and Akira.

In the end:
Despite some disappointments, 2008 has been a great comic year for me. I've found enough enjoyable books to keep me busy, some new, some old. And I think the outlook is pretty positive, whether it's in the field of printed comic or web/digital comics. To be honest, I don't know what the future holds exactly so I won't bother trying to come up with a prediction but with some great talent putting out some wonderful books I think it's looking pretty good at the moment.

And in conclusion:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Comic Reviews -- For many weeks

How is this for great customer service, due to the transit strike I haven't been able to get downtown to pick up my comics (or anywhere else for that matter). So Dave, a friend who works at the shop I go to, offered to pick up my books and drive them out to me. I was a little reluctant as I'm pretty far out of the city but eventually I took him up on his offer. So I'm now caught up (almost). And since there is a whackload of reviews I'm going to be lazy and make these extra short. Sorry.

Hulk Family: Green Genes -- Yeah, I'm still looking for my Hulk fix since dropping the Hulk series. I wasn't expecting much from this book but it was actually decent. The art wasn't top notch or anything but it was pretty strong in comparison to similar one shots I've seen. And the stories were pretty good as well. I was a little surprised that She-Hulk didn't recognize the Hulk in his gray form and a little disappointed that we didn't get more of a conclusion on the Scorpion story but overall, it was a good book.

Iron Man/The Incredible Hulk/Nick Fury -- This was a movie tie in and I thought it was pretty good. The Iron Man portion didn't have as much Iron Man as I was expecting but it fit the mood of the movie well and was a good tale. The Hulk part at least had the Hulk in it briefly but I liked the Nick Fury connection. And the last story was sort of your typical Nick Fury story. Overall, it was a pretty decent book to read. Not sure it's worth picking up but if you're looking for something to read it's worth a look.

Elephantmen #14 -- The "Spore Wars" continue with the conclusion coming up in the next issue. And I'm on the edge of my seat, I didn't see the ending coming to be honest. We learn more about the virus at the heart of this story and a bit more about the Elephantmen's back story. Solid writing and great artwork keep this book on my recommended reading list.

Echo #8 -- The action picks up with this issue, that's for sure. Yet somehow, this book still feels rather... short. After finishing each issue I seem to ask "that's it?" I don't know why that is. It's still a great story and the art is wonderful. I just have to decide soon whether to keep up with it or perhaps go the TPB route for a while.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #20 -- Hey, Angel makes an appearance! This little interlude is actually a nice departure I think. The show often had episodes that didn't necessarily focus on the main storyline of the season (though perhaps it had little tidbits connecting it to the storyline) but had great character moments. I felt this was like that. It was a nice little Buffy story. And the use of the two art styles (one being extra cartoony) was a nice touch.

Skaar Son of Hulk #6 -- First up, I think they made strong improvements on the art front with this issue. It doesn't seem to be as extremely sketchy as the previous issues. It looks like more work was put into cleaning it up. There's some promise with this issue that things are going to pick up big time really soon with a few surprise appearances and the Skaar's quest for the old power seemingly reaching its climax. I kinda hope things do pick up, we're six issues in already. So I'm seeing improvements here but it's still not quite enough to put me over with this series.

Runaways #5 -- The art continues to not really work for me here. I still find some stuff just too over the top in terms of cartoony-ness or just not quite clear enough in the story telling aspect. I seem to be spending too much time trying to figure out what's being shown in some panels and it's making the book a bit too much of a chore to read. I also find the story to be dragging on a bit at this point. It's not like I'll be dropping the series but it's a bit of a disappointment at the moment for me.

She-Hulk #36 -- Peter David has never really been one to pull any punches when it comes to pushing heroes to the brink. Quite a few questions are left lingering, never to be fully answered. And in the end, we're reminded that these real world situations don't have the simple answer sometimes presented by superheroes in costumes. So yeah, it's a deep story. On a lighter note, the art was a bit of hit or miss with me. Still, I'll be sorry to see this series go.

Angel After the Fall #15 -- Yeah, still not liking the art that much. Just had to get that out of the way. I felt a little let down with the events of this book, or at least one event that I don't want to spoil. I don't know what it was but it just didn't seem to fit with the book. With so much emotion being spent on other characters in this book, this character's situation just seemed to get washed over by everything else. Still, it sets the stage for the final two issues.

Angel: Smile Time #1 -- This one was a bit of a booboo as I wasn't really interested in picking it up but oh well. It's a nice adaptation of the episode with pretty solid artwork. But in the end, I think I'd just rather go re-watch the episode than read this series.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster -- I was happy to finally be able to finish this 18 volume epic. Things wrapped up very well in this final volume. There were a few twists and turns, some of which I expected, some I didn't. It's a pretty amazing series all things considered.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

Hopefully one of these days the transit strike will end or I'll find some way to get downtown for my comics so I can get back to reviewing. But until then...




Friday, December 12, 2008

Yep, no reviews again this week

Due to the current transit strike and me not owning a car my focus has been more on getting in to work (thank you Carl, Michelle, and Nicole) than on getting downtown to pick up my comics. So I'm not sure when I'll be getting back to comic reviews.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I've Been Better

It hasn't been a great couple of days. On Saturday I ended up slipping on some icy steps outside my condo. Fortunately, nothing was broken or anything but I have a few sore areas (mostly in the arms from the wrists up to the shoulders, my lower back, and my ankle). Of course, ball hockey yesterday didn't help. But if anyone was watching I'm sure they got a chuckle out of seeing me fly down the stairs. My power went out early this morning (most likely due to the crappy weather) so I had to get ready by candlelight. And then my bus was 30 minutes late, he said he broke down and had to wait for a new bus. Hopefully I put all the negative energy behind me when I head off to a conference tomorrow.

Which reminds me, there will be no reviews this week as I will be out of town until the weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekly Comic Review for November 26th, 2008

Woohoo! I have comics to review. Actually, this was a pretty busy week in comparison to most weeks. I had a whopping 5 books come out.

She-Hulk #35 -- First off, let me just say that I'm going to miss this series. I usually find that even a not-so-good issue of She-Hulk more enjoyable than most other books I see coming out of the big two companies right now. Having said that, I didn't find this issue to be one of the stronger issues of Peter David's run. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good. The story was a pretty solid Peter David story (and I say "Peter David story" because the blending of superheroes with real world problems in this issue seemed similar to the stories he did in the Hulk or Captain Marvel) and despite She-Hulk and friends taking the moral high ground you have to give credit that the Red Guardian wasn't portrayed too poorly given the stance he was forced to take. But I found the problems I had with the issue were mostly in the art/story telling side of things. There were a few panels that I thought were rather weak in terms of anatomy and such but I could get by those, but there were moments where the art just didn't feel right. It didn't seem to be telling the story very well. The part with Crimson Dynamo seemingly putting Thundra to sleep with no dialogue seemed weird, almost as though the dialogue was missing or the art just wasn't portraying what was actually happening. And there were quite a few times where the expressions and body language just didn't match with what was going on. It was too bad, I think this issue could have been a lot better.

Skaar Son of Hulk #5 -- This may have been the strongest issue of this series in my opinion. The art was less distracting to me (though I still had some problems with the overall sketchiness of it and it being hard to figure out who's who at times) but more importantly, I felt this issue flowed a bit better and when combined with the second story presented, I finally feel like I understand what's going on. I hope this is a sign that the series is on track (at least for me). I'm looking forward to the next issue more so than I have in the past for this series.

Runaways #4 -- This issue was a bit weird for me. I did like parts of it but after I was done reading it I felt a bit let down that really the story didn't seem to progress very far. There was some reinforcement that the team's disfunction is due to her spell as they battle a big green ball of snot (okay, it wasn't snot but still) but that was about it. And I felt let down by the art at times as I couldn't quite tell what was going on, especially during the afore mentioned battle with the snot. Maybe I'm just getting too used to reading TPBs where this would just be one part of the story and I could keep reading to the next part and now, reading it monthly, it feels like I'm only getting a small portion of the story and it just wasn't enough for me. Having said that, I'm still interested to see where things go.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19 -- This issue had some pretty huge moments (at least for me, and no, I won't spoil it by saying what those moments are) but some moments I had to go back and forth to figure out and it was a little distracting. Early on there was a scene I had to flip back and forth from page to page to see if maybe I missed something (like a full page or two). And for the reveal of Twilight's latest ally, I had to go back to the start of this storyline to see what he was referring to and to see if there were any clues as to who he was (some people recognized him from the art, I didn't, I guessed based on what we knew and from what I've read online afterwards it looks like I was right). And Xander's story felt like it was just getting in the way here as it ended rather abruptly. The ending felt a little weird at first as more questions are raised and only a few are answered but once it settled in it felt like a good chapter of an ongoing story. So overall, it felt like a good important chapter of a bigger story but the execution maybe could have been better.

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #4 (of 6) -- It actually didn't take me too long to get back into the story. With the delay, I was expecting it to be worse. Though I did forget that one of the mice was a female. :) The art is really amazing here and there is a surprising amount of story to be absorbed in this one issue. I just hope the wait for the next issue isn't as long as the wait for this one. This really is a great series and well worth checking out. Though I think I'll go back to reading the collected versions with the next series. Oh yeah, I forgot about the Millennium Falcon being hidden in the cover. So keep an eye out for it.

My reading pile just grew a huge amount. A friend lent me the first two volumes of Akira while another friend keeps wanting to lend me non-comic stuff to read thinking it's stuff I may be interested in. I don't mind having a decent reading pile but I hate it when it's filled with loaned books because I tend to be a slow reader.

And I don't know when I'll be posting next week's reviews. I'm flying out on Tuesday for a conference and won't be back until Friday. So I may not get a chance to pick up my books until the following week.

Take care!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inside joke and quick review

So I dropped by my usual comic shop on Saturday which is somewhat unusual for me, I usually go on Thursdays. But I was downtown and figured why not. This would be the shop I've been going to for about 8 or 9 years now. And upon entering the manager looks at me and yells "CARL!!!"


As for the review, volume 11 of Fables was awesome in my opinion. And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for November 19th, 2008

A whopping one book for me this week. Though I did order a few TPBs including a few more volumes of Conan and the first volume of Powers. But as for this week's book...

Angel: After the Fall #14 -- I felt this issue did resolve a few things that I've been trying to figure out and moved the story on but I still feel this series is lacking for some reason. I just can't seem to get into it, it doesn't seem to have any energy to it. I can't get into the dialogue nor the art and a lot of things seem disjoint. I know a lot of people are loving this series and overall I think there's a solid story in there somewhere, but I just don't like the execution of it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for November 12th, 2008

Woohoo! I bought some comics this week. Okay, it was one regular comic and the latest volume of the Manga series Monster. And to make it sadder, the comic was Mice Templar and I'm probably going to drop it. *sigh*

Mice Templar #6 -- From what I can remember of the first 5 issues (it's been a while) I think this was my favourite so far. It was a pretty easy book to read with good storytelling and good resolution to some of the storylines while introducing new stuff along the way. I didn't find myself fighting through it as I did previous issues. I still had a bit of trouble knowing who's who in the book but it seemed a bit better here. But unfortunately, I just don't think this book is for me. Maybe down the road I'll go back and pick up the TPBs but as it is, it's just not keeping my interest. When the first TPB comes out it may be worth picking up as I think the series has some potential and could connect well with some readers, it just isn't for me.

Monster Volume 17 -- I know, I don't normally do reviews of TPBs or the Manga stuff I pick up but I need to do something on this blog don't I? So I'll keep this short. I think this series has dragged on a little too long for my liking. At least with this issue we're starting to reach the climax of the story but I felt a bit let down as most of the plot twists were pretty obvious several volumes ago. There are still a few surprises or twists along the way but I think it could have been shortened a bit. I still think it's a pretty good series, I just think it drags on from time to time.

Anyone see ER last night? I wasn't expecting the cameos and they were a very, very pleasant surprise. I haven't been liking the show all that muchh for a while now but I did like last night's episode.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for November 5th, 2008

PSYCHE!!! Another week of no new comics for me. I know, it's getting really sad that I have this blog yet I don't seem to even be buying comics anymore. Though I am still buying TPBs and I really should be reviewing some of those. But for today I'll just have to find other stuff to talk about...

First up we have the shake up on Heroes with Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander being released from the writing and executive producing duties. My opinion, they need to change things up, at least for me. Although this season has been a step up from last season (which I thought was a mess) I still find it lacking in comparison to the first season. Though there have been some great portions to it (I kinda like Parkman's initial storyline and his relationship with the speedster, Noah's interaction with Sylar, Hiro and Ando's initial stuff, and a few other things) I find myself disliking the main storyline with the Petrelli's and the battle of the companies. I liked how in the initial season every character was important and had a role to play. Now, it seems if you aren't one of the uber-powers (especially the mind-control or power stealing/borrowing ones) you just don't have a place. I really do hope things turn around though.

Zuda celebrated it's one year anniversary a short while ago. Things seem to be going well over there and I'm happy about that. It's a great platform for new talent to get their work out there and to attract readers to some different book ideas.

Hmm... I know there was more I wanted to talk about but it's not coming to me at the moment. And now I have to get back to work. Oh well, I can always post again later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 29th, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Like usual for me, it was a slow week with only two books. I'm going to have to start reviewing other stuff just to give me something to post about. :) Oh well, there's always TV shows or I really should start reviewing the TPBs I'm picking up (just got the latest Ex Machina TPB as well as two Conan TPBs).

Spike: After the Fall #4 -- I think this series ended on a positive note. I haven't been a huge fan of this series so it was a bit of a surprise. Most of it was the Ilyria/Fred stuff that's going on. I kinda wish the Angel series focussed a bit more on this element (though from the cover to the next Angel book, perhaps they will). The art didn't blow me away or anything and I kept trying to figure out who was who between Connor and the other regular guy in this book. But all around, it was a pretty strong finish for a series that I wasn't all that into. Perhaps it'll work well in TPB form.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #4 -- I know I'm in the minority here but things still seem off with this book. I really want to enjoy it, it seems to have some interesting stuff going on, but the execution still seems off to me. One thing I find myself needing is a character key in the front of the book. Half the time I don't have a clue who anyone is. I think part of that is the art to me, it seems so rushed that I don't find the characters to be easily identifiable. With the conclusion of this issue I have hopes that the next issue will answer a lot of questions so hopefully it'll help settle things for me.

Huh, I'm starting to feel that too many of my reviews are turning towards the negative. That worries me a bit. Though on the positive side of things, I am enjoying catching up on Dark Horse's Conan series and the latest Ex Machina TPB looks pretty good (though I've only read the first issue from it so far). So perhaps it's just my tastes changing or something.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Will $1 make a difference?

Thanks to a comment by Joe Quesada about comics (Marvel ones in particular) inevitably going up in price there seems to be a lot of discussion about what the reaction of the readers will be. Many publishers are already at the $3.50/$3.99 mark but Marvel and DC have been able to hold many of their books at $2.99. So I've been thinking quite a bit about what it would mean for me.

Financially, I could probably afford the extra dollar on the Marvel books I'm currently reading but it helps that I'm not collecting very many Marvel books. Definitely not as much as some people. But I do find it a bit of a tipping point for me. It's making me re-evaluate a few books I'm collecting that I'm not really feeling are worth it. The funny thing is that they aren't necessarily the Marvel books but the independent ones that are already at the $3.50/$3.99 mark. They're the books I've talked about dropping for a while now and spending the extra buck on the Marvel books I buy may just give me one more excuse to do drop them.

But I also find myself in a different situation in that quite a few of the books I buy are limited series. So for these I'll probably keep buying them but the question becomes whether I'll add anything else to replace them. Looking ahead as far as I can I don't really see anything on either the Marvel or DC side that catches my eye. Though honestly, I haven't looked too hard on the DC side of things. But "Dark Reign" looks like just another "Marvel event" that I'm rather tired of.

So will the $1 make a difference? I can't say it's going to be the one thing that makes me drop stuff but it may be another straw that's breaking this camel's back. It's one more thing that makes me think "is this really worth spending the money on?" But the bigger picture is just lack of interest in the books being put out.

Oh well, there's always free webcomics on Zuda, DrunkDuck, and other places right? Well, free for now at least. Who knows what will happen there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 22nd, 2008 -- Some Spoilers

After a few slow weeks I finally had a decent week with 4 books coming out. But before I get to the reviews, here's what not to say while applying for a passport. As they were looking through my application the guy asked "So, you've known John for at least 2 years?" To which I replied "Who?" He pointed at my application and said "John". Stupid me, it was early in the morning and I forgot that my reference's first name was John as he always goes by his middle name. I laughed about it after the fact but it's probably a sure fire way to get my application flagged as a possible problem. :)

She-Hulk vol.2 #34 -- I was a little surprised to see this book begin to tackle a problem that is reflected very closely in the real world. It even singles out Russia and China as two countries that are enabling the fictional dictator in a fictional land. I wonder how much negative responses Marvel gets for that. There is also quite a bit of humour in this issue, possibly to counter the serious side of the story. But there's not much action as we mostly get set up in this issue. But enough about that, I do like that it's touching on a real world like problem while still keeping things a little light. And I got a few chuckles out of it. The art was solid (though the Red Guardian looked a little off to me on that last page). Overall, the series still gets a recommend from me.

Echo #7 -- I know I've talked about dropping this series due to the pace but I just haven't bothered to yet. I think the next issue will be it for me though as it'll bring me to the end of the second TPB. It's still a somewhat interesting story with good characters but it's just going a bit too slowly for me. I may pick up the TPBs eventually but we'll have to wait and see.

Runaways vol.3 #3 -- This issue seemed off while I was reading it. It was fun and all seeing the Runaways interact but it felt off somehow. Then the last page hits and wow, I didn't see that coming. After reading so many books that seem off and being told by the writers to just give it time, with this book you're hit with it right away. The art seems to be growing on me slightly though I still have some issues with it here and there. Not much action though so it was a little lengthy to read through but all around a decent issue. I'm eager to see what happens next and I still recommend this series.

Angel: After the Fall #13 -- Again, I like the storyline, I just don't like the execution. I found the art was a little better in this issue but I still find I'm reading this in a fog, where I don't really get what's going on and it's hurting my caring for the characters. And it's not just the art, I just can't get into a flow with it. It's a bit of a disappointment really. I couldn't recommend this series to anyone but Angel fans and even that I'd be hesitant to do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Following up on Thor #11

Since I mentioned the delay with this book in an earlier post I feel I should acknowledge that in an interview with Newsarama JMS takes the blame for the delay. I'm glad someone acknowledged it but I still feel Marvel's been a bit too easy going with the delays that have been happening, at least in terms of being open and upfront with their readers. It would have been nice if someone would have acknowledged it a while back instead of just quietly pushing the date back periodically on their website.

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 15th, 2008

Wow! I actually have books to review this week. A whopping two of them. I had completely forgotten about the Tek Jansen series so it was a pleasant surprise to find it in my box yesterday. So here goes...

Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #3 (of 5) -- The last issue of this came out in July so it took me a minute to try to figure out where we were story wise (and in the end I just gave up and just started reading). I have to admit, this one was a little disappointing to me. It just didn't seem to have as clever a story or dialogue as the first two issues. And the art seemed a little disappointing. Even Tek looked off to me, a little too bulky I think. And in the second story, the huge amount of body hair that seems to be multiplying to the point where Tek looks more like a squiggly black blob just seemed weird. I know it's supposed to be a fun book and you can't take anything seriously but it just seemed off to me. So overall, a pretty disappointing issue.

Hulk Monster Size Special #1 -- I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it was great to see the Hulk paired up with Frankenstein's creature (with Banner even commenting on their similar stories thanks to Frankenstein's creature being an influence on the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). On the other hand, it did kinda seem forced at times (which I guess is understandable but could have been improved on a bit). At least the writer of the story made a point of having Banner acknowledge how out of character it is for him to just jump right in and try to resurrect the creature. But once that's done, it's a good story albeit somewhat too short. The werewolf story was a bit more of a miss for me. There was a lot of build up that I don't think was too effective and then a fight that just didn't seem to live up to it for me. Overall, the art in these first two stories effectively told the story and fit the mood well. The little two page cartoon was kinda fun and I had no real problems with it. I thought it was pretty comical. And lastly, the Peter David story with Dracula... I haven't read it yet. I didn't get around to my comics until late in the evening due to some visiting family so by the time I got to this part I knew I was just too tired to concentrate enough on it. So overall, it's an interesting book to pick up if you're a Hulk fan but not really required reading and I think it's pretty skippable.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Me and the Internets

You know what I'm liking about this blog? Nobody talks back to me... Partly because nobody but me talks (more or less). In the last week I find I've been talked down to, told I "just don't understand" how "things work", had the links I took the time to research and share be labelled as "nonsense" and hogwash by someone who refused to read them, and had my personal opinion of a comic dismissed as not important and told that I should buy it anyways. I know, it's the Internet and you just have to let these things slide and all that, and I really should because in the end does it really matter that a couple people feel the need to look down on someone they don't even know? Not really. I guess I just find it rather hard when the more important things in my life seem to be in a slump right now. Even my escapes seem to be dumping on me.

Oh well, I get to add two more forums to the list of sites I used to frequent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A couple things

Well, one election down and not much has changed really. Of course, as a Canadian, I can't vote in the American election but I'm still following it pretty closely due to the effects it may have on Canada.

Scott Allie posted a message to Buffy fans concerning the delay in issue #19. Of course he doesn't point fingers at any individuals and I'm happy for that but he does recognize the lateness of the book and apologizes. I've said on this blog several times that I find all the delays that seem to be happening in comics to be getting all too common and I do find it can ruin my enjoyment of the series at times. But really, this is what I'm looking for. An acknowledgement that they were late, that they do take it seriously, that they're working hard on getting it out there, and a simple apology. I don't need to single any one person out for the reasons, just an acknowledgement that "hey, we kinda messed up and we appreciate your patience as we sort things out" is great. On the other hand, Thor #11 got pushed back an extra week to October 29th while issue 10 came out on July 30th and I haven't really heard anything other than speculation on the forums as to why and the usual calls to fire Straczynski and/or Coipel.

And over on CBR we have talk of The Cartoon Network execs talking with DC Comics about animating some Zuda comics (starting with Night Owls). That sounds awesome for the creators there and I hope things work out, I'd love to see that.

As for the Marvel movie stuff, the Keneth Branagh directing Thor rumours seem to be more than just rumours and I think that would be a great choice. I think he can really bring something special to the character. And as for Terrence Howard being replaced in Iron Man, I like him as an actor (I don't know him otherwise of course), I thought he was good in Iron Man, and I'm sure he would have done a great job in Iron Man 2 but on the other hand, I think Don Cheadle is an awesome actor and look forward to seeing what he brings to the role. So it kinda evens out for me.

Well, back to work I go.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 8th, 2008

Another incredibly slow week for me with only one book coming out and it was Marvel Adventures Hulk.

Marvel Adventures Hulk #16 -- I was pretty excited at the idea of the Abomination appearing and getting a good ol' slobberknocker in this issue. And I liked it for the most part. It was an easy read, good for all ages, but the art seemed a tad inconsistent to me. The shot of the Hulk and Abomination rushing to slide under a closing blast door was a little hard to follow I thought and seemed kinda odd for the characters to do at first. Most of the time the Hulk would just assume he'd be able to pound his way through a door rather than doing the Indiana Jones slide underneath it. But I guess it could have Banner's influence since pounding through the door would mean many people being exposed to radiation or a possible meltdown. But anywho, it was a pretty good issue over all.

I have to admit, on the way to the comic shop last night I got to thinking what books I could live without (partly due to a survey being conducted on Occasional Superheroine). And it doesn't look good, at least for my monthly buys. There are the TPBs I'd really miss (Fables, Ex Machina, Invincible, and the Walking Dead) so I'd probably still pick those up. But in terms of other books I have ones that I'm currently buying but are somewhat on the chopping block anyways (Mouse Guard, Mice Templar, Echo, and Marvel Adventures Hulk is inching onto this list), I have books that I'd rather not drop (She-Hulk, Runaways, and Skaar), and then I have the books I'm not likely to drop (Elephantmen, Buffy, Angel, and Spike). Though oddly enough 3 of those last ones are limited series anyways.

Which kinda makes me wonder if perhaps my weekly trips to the comic shop may be coming to an end, to be replaced with TPB purchasing for the few books I really want to keep up with. After all, it's easier to just wait and order those online then to make a trip to the comic shop for an issue or two now and then (especially with the constant delays and sporadic schedule for some of the books I read).

Or perhaps I'm just being pessimistic, it's been a rough couple of weeks for me. :)

Oh well, go check out the October competition on Zuda. There are some beautiful looking comics this month. And yes, I know I never did get around to reviewing last month's entries. Sorry about that.

Friday, October 03, 2008


I completely forgot to mention the Araknid Kid over on Sugary Serials as well as Tastes Like Chicken on Josh Alves' blog as two other webcomics I've been keeping up with.

My apologies.

Weekly Comic Reviews for October 1st, 2008

SURPRISE!!! I had no new comics come out this week. Kinda sad isn't it? Oh well, it left me with time to watch the debates last night. Yeah, I should have been watching the Canadian debate but I was curious to see the US VP one. But enough about that.

I guess instead of doing reviews I'll just ramble about a few things I've been reading. On the webcomic front, I'm still keeping up with Bayou, High Moon, Pray for Death, and Celadore on Zuda. Though to be honest, with a couple of them I may start waiting for the individual chapters to finish before reading them as I find I enjoy them better that way than reading 4 pages every week or few weeks. I'm also hearing a lot of good things about Night Owls. Maybe once my home computer is back up and running I may spend an evening reading that. And Manifestations on DrunkDuck recently ended and looks really interesting. So that's also on my list.

On the TPB front, I've recently read Superman: Red Son, Conan Volume 2: The God In The Bowl And Other Stories, and the first volume of the Astounding Wolf-Man. I though Red Son was really interesting and a good read though it wasn't really what I was expecting. I thought it was just a "What if Superman landed in Russia" but the "What if's" went beyond that. Still, I really enjoyed it. I thought the second volume of Conan was better than the first (not that the first was bad or anything). I really hope the movie is as good. As for the Astounding Wolf-Man, I picked this up knowing about the crossover with Invincible (which I haven't got to yet due to reading the TPBs). I thought there were a few leaps the reader has to take and not question as things happen rather quickly in the first few issues but by the end of this volume you're really starting to establish a connection with the characters and what they're going through. And it does have me wondering what happens next.

On the non-comic (though still comic related) front, I read Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko. I won't go into a lengthy review at the moment but it was a fascinating read for me. As someone who grew up reading comics (though I'm young enough to have only read Ditko's more memorable work in reprints or back issues I've picked up over the years) I find myself really wanting to understand the story behind the story. Obviously, getting the stories second hand through books like this and Kirby: King of Comics isn't perfect as people's memories fade and such but it's all we got. And it's interesting to see how the industry evolved on the backs of legends like Ditko, Kirby, Lee, Eisner, and far too many others to name. I think they all deserve to have their stories told.

I guess that's it for my "comic reviews" for this week. See ya!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bad karma?

Well, let's see what has happened since my comic review post. First up, the power supply in my home computer went bye-bye and I haven't been able to get it back up and running yet. On Sunday morning I ended up playing in 3 ball-hockey games instead of my usual 1. So I ended up spending the rest of Sunday passed out on my bed. Though it could have been worse, I was actually asked to play in two additional games but said no as that would have meant playing in 5 straight games. And I guess I should be flattered that I was asked to play but still, I was pretty dead afterwards and my Sunday was killed because of it. Work continues to stress me out but I think that's all I'll say about that.

Then last night I got into a worse mood. I decided to pick up the Iron Man DVD at Zellers despite having a history of bad experiences with them (especially at this store in particular). I look at their display and see a sign that lists the "Iron Man DVD" (no other specs) on sale for one day, regular price $25.98 on sale for $19.98. I look at the regular version and see it listed as $23.98 while the two disc version is $25.98. This doesn't make much sense to me, I suspect it should be normal version that is $19.98 but the sign seems to indicate that it's the one that is regularly $25.98. I want the two disc version anyways so I take it to the cash. The cashier rings it in and it comes up $27.98. I point out the sticker on the box says $25.98 and the sign seems to even indicate $19.98 but the cashier says there's nothing he can do and says I'd have to pay for it and then go to customer service to get my money back. So I pay and head over to Customer Service where I wait in line behind a woman who'd been waiting. But unfortunately for us, nobody is working the Customer Service counter. After standing there for a while two employees finally stroll over, no apology for keeping us waiting or anything. So I show them my receipt and one of the employees says it's supposed to be $27.98. I say that not only is the price tag on it $25.98 but the sign seems to indicate $19.98. He says that's only the one disc version and when I go to explain to him how the sign lists the $25.98 version he clearly ignores me. So when I try to explain it again he actually turns his back to me and walks away.

Yes, Customer Service simply ignored a customer with a complaint. No "We'll look into that", no "Sorry, for the confusion", nothing. I did end up getting my $2 back but no apology for that mistake either. So yeah, I'm even more upset with Zellers than before. My brother, who was also buying the DVD and witnessed all this, just decided he'd seen enough so he returned the DVD and went to HMV instead. I was avoiding Zellers as much as I could before the incident, I'll be avoiding them even more now.

I think the other thing pushing me over the edge is the election stuff going on in both Canada and the US. I refuse to get political on here but the ads coming out from all (or at least most) parties in both countries are just infuriating. It seems nobody can put out anything but an attack ad that either bends the truth, distorts the fact, or flat out lies. And of course all these snippets get repeated over and over by their loyal followers until they somehow become fact.

"So give me something to sing about. Please give me something..." -- Buffy Summers

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for Sept. 24th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

No smalltalk this week...

Hulk #6 -- Okay, I'll admit it, I went into this issue knowing I wasn't going to be happy given the first 5 issues and I wasn't disappointed. I'd like to use the phrase "steaming pile of poo" but I'll refrain. Oops, too late. The writing continues to be horrible in my opinion. You gather a team of heavy hitters to end issue 5 and they do absolutely nothing but take up pages bickering at the beginning of issue 6? Garbage. Everyone just leaves this uber-Rulk lying in the desert to continue rampaging? Crap. And speaking of uber-Rulk, this big tough guy goes down that easily? I can't think of a good word to use. And the "humour" in this book, the only time I laughed was when the Rulk started lecturing the Hulk on going to hell instead of heaven given that in issue 5 he said he didn't believe in gods. I know, minor detail there. This book was just painful for me to read and Hulk's dialogue... everyone's dialogue for that matter, was just horrible. Looking at what's to come in this series, they seem to be pushing "Ooh, buy this issue so you can see Frank Cho draw hot chicks!" and that doesn't sell me on a Hulk book. I like Art Adams' artwork but it ain't enough. So for the first time in about 20 years I'm dropping the Hulk. I know it means nothing to Marvel since they are making a killing on this book already but it means something to me.

Ultimates #5 of 5 -- Well, wasn't this a kick in the nards. I bought this series expecting an Ultimates series not some lame 5 issue teaser to Ultimatum. It seemed like every page just kept getting more and more painful. When Cap's asked why he's dressing up as the Black Panther and he says they'll talk about it later it felt like a slap in the face. It's not how you set up a mysterious element to the story. I'm done ranting about this book, it's not worth my time. Even the art seemed disappointing to me. I won't be picking up Ultimatum and unless a miracle happens, I won't be picking up Ultimate Avengers even though Millar is coming back. All this just leaves too nasty a taste in my mouth.

She-Hulk #33 -- Finally, a bit of good news. I liked this issue. She-Hulk was well written, good dialogue, good story, and pretty solid art. We get Jazinda's story and why the Super-Skrull is so determined to kill her. Now perhaps it's not exactly a new story but it has enough twists and emotion to work. Overall, despite some ups and downs I'm liking this series as a whole. But maybe it's because I need some Hulk stuff to fill the void.

Runaways #2 -- We fill in a lot of the story here so that's good. And it's still done in a light hearted, fun way so it's enjoyable. It wasn't an overwhelmingly good second issue and maybe not a great follow up to the previous issue but it was an enjoyable read. The art was a bit more of a miss with me in this issue though as I couldn't really get what was happening in the beginning (a lot of smallish panels with a lot going on, cluttering them up in my opinion) and characters looking a little too cartoony and contorted at times, almost making it more challenging to recognize who is who. But overall, I can look past all that and still enjoy it for the most part.

Skaar: Son of Hulk Presents - Savage World of Sakaar #1 -- And the longest title award goes to... Ok, getting past the title now. At times, this book fails for me in the same way much of Pak's Hulk and Skaar stuff do, I just can't quite follow it at times. The whole vines thing for instance, I had no clue what that was about. And I have to say, the art for the Caiera/Princess story was really REALLY bad. And I'm not quite sure how this fits because I though they'd established that Skaar could talk and wasn't an idiot in the last issue, yet they do so again here? Or maybe I'm missing something. So yeah, overall I'm still liking the series but it's not really making my "recommended reading list" (should such a list ever be created).

So that's it for the reviews. I'll try to get around to posting other stuff soon. I have a few rants and such I'd like to do. I just need to find the time to do them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quantum of Solace trailer and guns

Okay, I think I'm going a little whacko. While watching House last week the Quantum of Solace trailer came on and when the scene comes up near the end where he points the gun at the camera I quickly remembered the deal that was made about the Watchmen trailer and how a gun had to be removed/replaced due to MPAA guidelines. So, thanks to my PVR, I was able to rewind and pause it and I was sure the gun was removed here too. But now I'm looking at the trailer online and, although it's a little blurry depending on what version of the trailer you view and when you pause it, the gun is still there. Not only that, earlier in the trailer you actually see a gun pointed at the camera go off (albeit really quickly).

So first off, was I seeing things during House (which would be quite the coincidence wouldn't it)? And why didn't the MPAA step in on the Quantum of Solace trailer?

Yeah, I know that nobody reading this blog will have the answers but it's bugging me so I thought I'd put it out there.

Quick update: I double checked and sure enough, the gun was still there in the commercial during House. I'm guessing that it's just not on screen for long enough for the MPAA to make a fuss about.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for September 17th, 2008

A whopping 2 books this week...

Echo #6 -- I think I should have dropped this from my monthly list and went to TPBs, I just don't find it moving enough for me to enjoy in small monthly snippets. I still might. The art is solid, the story is an interesting one, and the characters are all great. But I get through each issue wondering "That's it?" A lot of the time I just don't even feel like anything happened in the book. The first TPB is out and collects the first 5 issues so it may be worthwhile for anyone curious to check that out. I think I'll have to get back to you on whether I'll keep picking this up. But with Hulk on the chopping block too, my monthly books are really dwindling.

Spike: After the Fall #3 -- I didn't find the art so bad this issue. On a technical level I thought it was better and it conveyed the story better than in previous issues (and in the Angel series). I am finding the story a bit week though. Having read the Angel series, it just seems like we've seen a lot of this already. Gunn's attitude, "vision" talk, and slayer killing just seems like "been there, done that." And the whole reveal of Connor at the end didn't really seem to be a strong end to the issue. I had been hoping for more answers surrounding the Fred/Ilyria situation but I don't seem to be getting them. So overall, I'm a little disappointed with this series.

Huh, two fairly negative reviews, that bites. It's really weird actually, with all the attention comics are getting from outside (movies, tv shows, etc) and all the excitement people seem to have for certain mainstream events (Secret Invasion, Final Crisis, etc) or books (Hulk, Thor, etc) I thought I'd be on a comic high right now. Instead, I seem to be moving away from looking forward to the weekly comic pickup and looking more at older TPBs or independent TPBs. Oh well, c'est la vie I guess.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for September 10th, 2008

I only had two books this week. I guess I'm saving quite a bit of money by cutting back on the books I collect but a lot of it is disappearing into Trade Paperbacks. Oh well. Zuda reviews are still to come but you should check out this month's contenders, there's some good stuff there.

Secret Invasion Young Avengers/Runaways #3 (of 3) -- In terms of a single issue, the writing was pretty good (though there were times I felt the dialogue was a little off or confusing) and the art was fairly solid (I thought it was a bit better this issue but could have been better than that). So all around, it wasn't a bad issue. As for the series as a whole, it was for the most part your standard big event tie in. Little impact on the main story (so that those reading the main Invasion series don't miss anything) and little impact on the characters (so those not reading this series won't be confused). There is a bit of character development with the two skrulls on these teams but not essential reading by any means. So it wasn't a bad series, it was fairly enjoyable to read, but it didn't knock me over. I'll be happy to get back to just reading the Runaways series. And was I the only one who thought it was weird how they kept referring to Xavin as "she" in the opening thing and then having stay in his male skrull form throughout the issue?

Marvel Adventures Hulk #15 -- Yeah, I'm still getting my Hulk fix from this series. It's kinda funny that with all the "Hulk smash" dialogue that has been thrust on him throughout the years, I now find it weird when he actually speaks somewhat coherently from time to time like in this book. But anywho, it was a pretty simple issue to introduce the Leader to the Marvel Adventures line. Obviously, his plan to just enter the UN and declare himself the leader of the world wouldn't work as a storyline anywhere but the Marvel Adventures books but that's to be expected. It was a fun issue with plenty of Hulk action and some funny bits thrown in. And the art was pretty solid and fitting for this book. I still think Marvel is doing well with this series and I hope it sticks around.

On the TPB front, I'm still buying more than I should. Three I've read are Criminal: The Dead and the Dying, Conan: The Frost Giant's Daughter and Other Stories and The Goon: Nothin' But Misery. They were pretty good but I'm not sure if I'll be continuing with them. Probably not Criminal but Conan and the Goon are possibilities. I also decided to pick up The Killing Joke deluxe edition as I had never owned it myself. Still an interesting read and you can see the inspiration it had on the Dark Knight.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for September 3rd, 2008

It was a very Joss Whedon week for me with only two books coming out, Buffy and Angel. So...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #18 -- I found that we have the usual "penultimate lull" with this book. That's not to say it's a bad book, but it's clearly just there to set things up for the final issue. There are some pretty big twists and such so it's definitely an engaging read but it didn't exactly blow me away. The Xander/Dawn stuff was so quick that it almost seemed like an after thought which is too bad. The art was solid for the most part though there were a few shots where Fray and Buffy looked a little off, a little too thin perhaps. So overall, a solid issue but not the best of the series.

Angel: After the Fall #12 -- I'm just repeating myself over and over again with this book. I like the overall story and at the end of each issue I'm thinking "Wow, this is really cool and I can't wait to see where it goes" and yet I really dislike the execution. The art seemed messy at times and inconsistent to me. The narrative wasn't as bad as it has been but wasn't great. One thing that seemed weird was having Angel out of his body talking while his body still seemed to be moving (at one point it looked like it was sitting next to the wall with a leg bent up and his arm resting on the leg, it looked like a very relaxed pose for someone in his condition). Maybe reading the series in its entirety when it's done will be better but right now, I just wish the issues were being done better.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 27th, 2008

A whopping three books to review this week...

She-Hulk #32 -- We continue the Secret Invasion story here, without X-Factor. It was a good start to the next part of this storyline but there were a few moments that felt out of place or forced. Two scenes inserted for comedic purposes come to mind that just didn't seem to fit well for me. Either I'm getting used to the art or something has changed a bit but it seemed a bit better here. The outlines around the characters (from not using a black ink line) didn't seem to be as distracting for me. Overall, it was a fun and interesting issue but wasn't exactly a home run. I still recommend checking out this series.

Runaways #1 -- The series gets re-started with Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos taking over on writing and art respectively. It took a bit for me into the new writing with new dialogue and character designs. I had to remind myself who was who. But after just a few pages it felt good to be back to basic Runaways goodness. There are a couple new stories being introduced but they are presented well, without being too daunting and I'm eager to see where each goes. The art was interesting. I think there were a few times where it didn't really work for me completely, either because of a weird looking neck or a dark scene involving gym equipment that took me a bit to figure out what was going on, but overall it fits well with this book. I'm already thinking that I may enjoy this run more than Whedon's. Blasphemy I know. :) Hopefully the quality remains this high throughout their run.

Skaar Son of Hulk #3 -- Art-wise, I'm still not a big fan of the no-inking style here. It just looks too "muddy" and not in a good/barbarian story kind of way. I didn't really find this to be the strongest issue of the story with the weird back and forth between Skaar and the Princess. They're fighting, they're not, they're fighting, they're not.... Between this and the little story at the end we do get to learn a bit more of Sakaar, the Princess, and Skaar (which was a bit of a surprise for me) but like I've said about much of Pak's Hulk stuff, the story is interesting but I'm not always the biggest fan when it comes to the storytelling portion of things. I'm still interested to see where things go but it's tough for me to say for sure that I'll be sticking around for the long haul.

And in other news, over on Zuda High Moon is now updating weekly. I'm glad to hear this. Though I enjoyed season 1 I enjoyed it more in a second reading after it was posted in its entirety. I thought it flowed better that way than in the 4 page chunks every two weeks. So getting more pages faster seems like a good idea to me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zuda August Competition Winner

Congratulations to the Gulch team for winning the August Zuda competition. I had Gulch fairly high on my list even though I didn't vote for it. I felt the 8 pages didn't really draw me in to a story but I'll wait and see what the next few pages offer up.

And feel free to let me know if any of the other competitors are continuing their comics on other sites. I'd like to see them continue.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Science Doesn't Belong in Comic Books? (And other story telling mediums)

Being the Hulk fan I am, I often lurk around the Incredible Hulk message boards and such. Because of this I have spent the last little while thinking way too much about "zero gravity". The discussion comes about from Hulk #5 obviously and just how the Red Hulk was able to wield Mjolnir. But the question I've been asking myself is "does science belong in comic books?" Should we care whether the Flash could truly run up a building? (I recommend "The Physics of Superheroes" by James Kakalios for the answer to that question and many others, some of which I might mention here) Should we wonder whether the Atom would be able to breath after shrinking down? About the only answer I can come up with is "That's entirely up to the individual reader."

What a cop out huh? But really, who am I to say what readers should be looking for in comic books? So it's entirely up to you. As for me, I have my own take on it. I like talking about these things, I tend to have a weird facination with this sort of triva. So does this mean I look at every comic looking for instances that heroes defy science? Obviously not. I think I'd go insane to try that even for a month. But that doesn't mean I won't take a second look at things just out of curiousity. Now does this mean I'll be critical of a book (or tv show or movie or whatever) that doesn't match? That depends.

On one hand, if it's clear the science isn't important to the story then I just chalk it up to random trivia. It doesn't effect my view of the story so I'm able to look beyond it. I'd put stuff like the original Star Wars trilogy and Firefly/Serenity into this category. Lucas and Whedon didn't want to be bogged down by the science of it all so they chose to keep it out. Whedon even had Captain Reynolds break down one situation as something like "Without this ship don't go?" while holding up ... something. Whedon clearly didn't want to get bogged down in the specifics of it all. So I can appreciate a good conversation of things they may have gotten wrong but it won't change my appreciation of the movies/tv shows/comics.

On the other hand, you have the writers who choose to use science. You more likely to see this in something like Star Trek (the Next Generation and such). With this sort of thing the writers often introduce something scientific as part of the show. They use science to explain why something is impossible or how they get around a difficult situation. And this is where things differ for me from the first scenario. If you are going to introduce a solution to a problem or situation based on science then you should work on getting your facts straight. Now obviously there are some things they'll never be able to explain and I understand that. And sometimes you just have to believe someone along the way invented a doohicky device that solves a problem we currently don't know how to solve but if they get basic stuff wrong then I do get disappointed. That hits me as being a bit lazy, using a solution to your story that we already know is incorrect.

So what is the Hulk example for me? I'd put it in the latter. Loeb wanted to come up with some way for the Red Hulk to wield Mjolnir and he decided to have him do it in space. After all, Iron Man has done it. And it gets explained as "zero gravity" or as Quesada saying "once in space, void of gravity". But then it becomes a problem because they are clearly not understanding that there is gravity in space. At this point they appear to be using their own misconceptions to explain something and yes, I will be critical of that because they are making it a point of the story. If they had have left it at pseudoscience or up to the interpretation of the readers then fine. But if I see them say something wrong, I want to call them on it.

Now I can understand why a lot of people don't like this approach. They just want to sit back and enjoy their comics without putting so much thought into it. They just want to take it as fact that the Red Hulk can do this because of "0 gravity" and because, let's face it, he did it. And that's fine. I might be a little disappointed that these people don't have the same curiousity to understand how things work that I do but really, when is a very basic understanding of space travel going to help me in life? But I really can't change who I am. So for me, yes, science belongs in comic books but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

Oh who am I kidding, I probably will lose sleep wondering if it's possible for the Flash to jump up and touch a ceiling fast enough that people won't notice or some other useless trivia. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 20th, 2008

It was a pretty slow week for me with only one book coming out. But I also picked up volume 16 of the manga series "Monster" so I had enough reading last night.

X-Factor #34 -- This issue seemed to go by at an unbelievably quick pace and I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, it had that feel of urgency you'd expect from an alien invasion. But on the other hand, certain character points seemed rushed or glossed over and slow scenes (such as the farewells at the end) seemed out of place and weird. And the start seemed a little choppy to me. The art also wasn't really my cup of tea but perhaps I was more prepared for it after last issue and it didn't seem so distracting to me. And it did convey alot of the action and intensity well. Having said all that, I did really enjoy this crossover. I think Peter David may be my favourite writer for giving reader satisfaction with every issue rather than taking 5 or 6 issues before getting anywhere. And yet he still can put together a great 5 or 6 issue storyline of good individual issues. So overall, I recommend it. I have no idea how well it fits in with the whole Secret Invasion stuff but I enjoyed the crossover. But no, I will not be picking up X-Factor despite it looking like a great read.

I won't do a full review of Monster volume 16 but I'm glad this series is starting to wind down and answer some questions. It's been a good series but there's just been so much built up and so many things to keep track of that I think it may have gone on a bit too long. I think I see at least one twist coming up but I'll have to wait and see.

I also read the first volume of the Goon (or should I say "Volume 0"). Powell writes how this first book wasn't the best work of his and how things improved since the beginning but I think that's to be expected in most books. And I didn't find it as bad as he claims. I think I'll try out at least the first real volume before saying for sure but it looks like a fun book to read.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Zuda August Competition

Well, one more day of vacation for me and then it's back to work. Here are some quick thoughts I have on Zuda's August competitors...

Furiku Buredu -- Didn't really seem like a very novel idea from the 8 page introduction. Art had an interesting style that looked nice in some places but didn't really convey action very well to me.

Gulch -- Nice art but it seems to be lacking a bit in the action shots (hard to tell the motion happening, page 7 had too many shots that appeared stationary). The 8 pages didn't really draw me in.

Junk -- Though the art style wasn't really my usual taste it fit the mood well. And the idea seems interesting and novel, and the 8 pages presented it well. I'd put this one pretty high on my list.

Rhandom Escape -- The idea seems okay but the main character came across a little too "cool" for me and I didn't really care for him. The art was effective and had some really great settings on display.

Shock Effect -- Although the write-up presents an invasion, the characters felt a little too "ho hum" for my taste. Too much whitty banter and not enough concern in them. I just wasn't feeling the emotions I felt was appropriate. As a result, I immediately have a dislike for the two main characters taking off on the soldiers when the situation didn't seem to be so serious (at least according to their apparent attitudes). The art was solid but that could be because it fits my general taste a bit more than other web-comics.

The Adventures of Rocki Gibraltar -- Though it's not entirely a novel idea I did like the writing and presentation for this book. I thought the characters were well presented for the most part. The fitting of a chunk of story per page (meaning no big splash pages or anything) somewhat limits the feel of the action but it still moves along at a good pace. I rather liked this one.

The Harvest War -- The 8 pages showed some serious action and interesting character designs but not much of a story. I also found it a little difficult to follow along at some points. Though there is some serious talent behind it, I just think it needs to be re-worked a bit.

The Stuffed Animal Sagas -- I thought this one had a nice combination of cute and horror. It seems like a lot of creative ideas that almost reminds me of Fables (the twisting of things like dust bunnies being similar to some of the twisting that goes on in Fables sometimes). The art was a different style but I thought it fit the story well. I'd be interested in seeing more of this story.

To The Red Country -- To be honest, this one didn't really do it for me. Though there were flashes of something interesting I just didn't find the writing and art flowed well throughout. And the story just seemed to be jumping about so I didn't really get a clear idea of what was going on. The art was also a little too simple looking for my liking.

Vic Boone -- Though I'm not entirely sold on the idea behind this one, the execution was really good for the most part (the transition from page 2 to 3 being a low part for me). It flowed well (other than that previous gripe of mine), the art was nice and conveyed the action and tone of the story well. The 8 pages gave you an idea of the setting, the character, and a little of what you can expect from more of this book. It's definitely a contender for my vote.

New instant winner: The Imaginary Boys -- I think this is an interesting idea with an interesting art style that fits it but I'm not entirely sold on the execution yet. Some of the parts and dialogue come across as choppy or forced and didn't really flow well. I might stick around to see how it goes beyond these initial 8 pages but at the moment, I don't see myself sticking around too long.

Overall, a pretty wide variety of story ideas and styles which I think is great. I know, I put a lot of "not my style" and such in my reviews but I do appreciate the different approaches even though not all of them will appeal to me in particular. So go check them out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 13th, 2008

Still on vacation. :) I took two weeks off as well as next Monday so I still have a few days to make the most of. And here I am doing comic reviews. :)

Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #2 -- Since the only Secret Invasion stuff I'm reading is this series and the She-Hulk/X-Factor crossover, I don't know where this fits in. And I find myself asking that but I quickly had to put it aside. With a fair amount happening with several characters who seem to start the issue quite split up, it seemed rather hard to keep track but things settled in eventually. The art was a bit more hit or miss with me this issue. Hulkling and others (though Hulkling comes to mind) seemed off in terms of proportions from time to time. But all in all, a solid second parter and I'm looking forward to seeing where this story goes (mostly for the sake of the Runaways). But if you aren't a fan of either of these teams, you should probably not bother.

Angel: After the Fall #11 -- This series continues to disappoint me, both in storytelling and in art. Though the overall story seems somewhat compelling. I find myself getting more and more interested in Gunn's story. But I'm sorry, I just can't get past the bad execution in my mind. There are some panels where I have no clue what's going on. And the big climactic finish could have been a lot clearer.

Marvel Adventures Hulk #14 -- I found the art kinda lacking in parts here too. Though it mostly was limited to Banner for me. The overall storytelling aspect of the art was good. Banner just looked off. In some panels he seemed his usual scrawny self and in others he looked like he'd tacked on 50 pounds of fat. But Peter David's writing fits this book well and it's another solid effort for younger readers or weird people like me. :)

One other book I thought I should mention is "Who Will Save Us Now: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories" that I finally finished. The stories feature quirky superheroes/villains (though that label "super" doesn't really apply for some) or quirky situations usually with serious undertones (at least in the stories that are coming to mind at the moment and just how "serious" they get also varies). It's quite an interesting collection that was entertaining. I have to admit that it's not all the cheery optimistic superhero stuff that many might think of but the collection does feature a wide range of stories that I find you take out of what you put in. Two things that came to mind when reading this book were the Great Lakes Avengers and Mystery Men (though I'm sure there are many more to compare it to). So overall, yeah, I enjoyed it and I recommend checking it out if you're looking for a little different take on the superhero genre.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for August 6th, 2008 -- Here be SPOILERS

Yeah, I want to avoid the spoilers but when it comes to the latest issue of the Hulk, I just can't. So, in an effort to getting back to doing nothing on my vacation, let's get to some quick reviews. :)

Hulk #5 -- A lot of people seem to be loving this series. And I can understand it, I really can. You have dynamic art and this new "kick-arse" red Hulk that is doing all this crazy stuff you never thought you'd see (or at least very impressive stuff). But for me, it's just ... bad. I can't stand this book. In its attempt to elevate the Red Hulk it seems to be making a mockery of everything in its path. Grabbing the hammer as he leaps into space while Thor just holds on for the ride? Give me a break. Wielding the hammer because you're in "0 gravity"? As if the Gods would allow such a loophole. I know, people who are enjoying this series are justifying it in several ways but to me, this just reeks of bad storytelling. Loeb seems to be ripping things apart just because the fans slobber for more. It's like the uber-Superman who has every super-power you can think of and can juggle planets. Or the Batman that can beat God with "enough prep-time". Sure, have the Red Hulk beat Thor to move up his threat level. Even have him come up with a clever way to do it. This was not that way. So as much as people seem to be loving it, Hulk is very close to being removed from my subscription. And I'll hate to do it, I've been reading the Hulk since I was able to read. I was looking at the pictures before that. And as for Jeph Loeb's comment at Comic-Con that fans should just trust him because he always has a plan and reasons for writing everything he does, we're 5 issues in and I've seen nothing to justify such trust. And a writer shouldn't be resting on some boast of what he's done in the past, I think it's about time he puts his money where his mouth is on this series. You'll notice that I don't really talk about the overall story much for issue 5, that's because it really doesn't move the story along too much. And why is She-Hulk back with Iron Man anyways? I thought the last we saw of her she went off on her own to recruit a team? But enough about that...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #17 -- I'll try to avoid the spoilers on this one as one of my readers hasn't gotten his copy yet. But I saw this one coming. That's not to say it was bad or anything. I was a little taken aback by the jumps in time (not the time travelling Buffy's doing but the going back and forth with Fray's storyline) but I settled in eventually. Other than that, it's more of the same when it comes to Buffy. Fun dialog, interesting story developing, humourous situations, etc, etc. I'm finding it kinda tough to repeatedly say how much I'm enjoying this series overall. Oh, and the art was good here too. :)

Spike: After the Fall #2 -- This issue actually gets a thumbs up from me. I haven't been the biggest fan of the Angel series so far but I enjoyed this issue for the most part. There were times where I thought the writing could have been tighter or the art could have been a bit better but overall, it was one of the more enjoyable issues of the "After the Fall" books.

Echo #5 -- This series continues to be too slow moving for me, at least for the monthly comic format. A lot of scenes are drawn out adding to the feeling that it's moving at a snail's pace. That's not to say it's not good. The overall story is interesting, the characters are engaging (the decompression of the story is a big reason for that), and I still think it's a well done book. But for me, I think I'd be better off waiting for the trades and reading it in bigger chunks so I feel a bit more closure with each book I read. Because the monthly issues just aren't giving that to me. With the first trade advertised for September I believe, it may be worth you checking it out for yourself there.

So that's it, time to get back to vacationing. ;)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 30th, 2008

First up, congrats to the Re-Evolution team for winning the Zuda Invitational. Though to be honest, I was hoping for the Araknid Kid or Spudman. Oh well. :)

Four books to review this week including X-Factor from a couple weeks back and last week's She-Hulk. So let's get to it.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #2 -- I still find Pak's writing a little choppy at times where I have to go back and forth between some panels to see how we jump from one scene to another. And Garney's art, the no ink style at least, still isn't working perfectly for me (it seems to work sometimes but other times I think it needs to be cleaner). I'm still enjoying the overall story but I just think the execution could be a little cleaner. I recommend checking it out but I'm not entirely sold on it just yet.

X-Factor #33 -- I really liked Peter David's writing here, he seems to be right in his element. The flow was good, the dialogue seemed bang on, and despite not having read this series before I was able to jump right in for the most part. On the downside, the art really didn't work for me. Some characters just look too distorted and when She-Hulk makes her appearance she's way too "jagged", it looks like she has claws. But still a fun book and it really got me hooked for the crossover.

She-Hulk #31 -- It's odd but I actually thought Peter David's writing was stronger in the X-Factor issue. Not that this one was bad or anything, I just thought X-Factor was the better written of the two. Though I don't think the flashing back and forth to bring readers up to speed on what exactly was going on helped too much here. The art was a bit of a mix for me. I thought it was nicely drawn but I don't know if I liked the light inking/outlines of the characters, for some of them it made it seem like they had a glow about them. And is it just me or did it seem like Multiple Man was shrinking when he multiplied to tackle She-Hulk? He looked smaller than her leg. It was an enjoyable issue but not the strongest of this crossover.

Comic Book Comics #2 -- I don't really have much to say on this one. It's a fun glossing over of the history of comics. Obviously there will be stuff that is missed and people's recollection of events change but for comic fans it's interesting to see how some things tie together. And with the next issue we get into the Dr Wertham/Comics Code Authority stuff. If you know your comic history there won't be much new but it's still an interesting book if you're looking for something to read.

So that's it for this week. Today is my last day of work before a two week vacation. I'm looking forward to getting some non-comic book reading done over those two weeks (as well as some more comic book reading of course). But I won't be going anywhere so the blog posts will continue (at least as much as they currently continue).


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zuda Invitational Ending

Today is the last full day of voting for the Zuda Invitational so if you haven't done so already, go vote. I know, I didn't get up my reviews for this one. It's a long story that I touched on in my last post. But hopefully you can decide on your own what you want to vote for. ;)

So go already.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comic-Con and stuff

Yeah, I know that I've been pretty quiet as of late. I've had a lot going on as of late but it's mostly stuff I'd rather not blog about. Personal stuff and all that. Kinda weird huh, most people love to blog about their personal lives, I tend to keep it out of my blog.

So some random stuff from Comic-Con or wherever...

I was a little surprised reading Robert Kirkman's comments about becoming a partner at Image, mainly the ones aimed at Marvel and DC (not that I don't agree with some of the stuff he has to say, like the "event" led direction that Marvel and DC seem to be following). I do like a lot of the creator owned stuff coming out now or recently (Ex Machina, Y the Last Man,...) including some of Kirkman's (Invincible, the Walking Dead,...) so I'll be interested to see where Image goes.

Boom! Studios signing on to do a Muppet comic as well as Pixar Comics? Love it actually. I love news stories like this, where it's clear that the industry cares about attracting young readers into the mix. And with Pixar riding high, it seems like a great idea.

Supposedly Louis Letterier said that Edward Norton would be in the Avengers movie and Kevin Feige either said we haven't seen the last of the Hulk in movies or that we'll be seeing Incredible Hulk 2 (depending on what media outlet you believe). I liked the Incredible Hulk and whether it's Hulk 2 or Avengers, I'll be looking forward to some more Hulk action. I'd actually love for the first half (or maybe less) of the Avengers movie to be the team trying to take out the Hulk. Cap, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Thor VS the Hulk on the big screen? Gotta love that!

I saw the low quality version of the Wolverine footage online. It looks cool but I hope it's not too overloaded with such a huge cast of mutants.

The news about a Cloak and Dagger series by Valerie d'Orazio (of Occasional Superheroine/Friends of Lulu/several-other-things fame) was leaked just prior to Comic-Con. I've often been impressed by Valerie's passion for and knowledge of comics. So I'm happy for her to get this opportunity. I haven't really been a fan of Cloak and Dagger in the past. I didn't dislike them but I didn't buy any of their books either. But I'll be checking this one out.

And High Moon gets a second season on Zuda. I'm really looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

I'm also happy to hear about a second series for the Umbrella Academy. I enjoyed the first one much more than I thought I would.

And less of a news item and more of a personal item, I was sent a copy of "Who Can Save Us Now?: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories". I think it's supposed to be waiting for me when I get home today and I'm looking forward to checking it out. Of course, I'll let you know what I thought of it.

Yeah, there was a lot more going on but that's my initial brain dump. We'll see if I can get a second one done sometime this week. Feel free to share what you thought the big news stories were from Comic-Con.

Oh, and sorry about not providing links in the above. I'm feeling a little lazy. Let me know if there's something you can't find via google. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekly Comic Review -- July 23rd, 2008

I just have to laugh when a driver takes the time to roll down his window to apologize to me as he almost runs me over. It happened yesterday on my way to the comic store.

Anywho, I only had two books this week and unfortunately, I've only read one. I'm holding off on reading She-Hulk until I can track down a copy of the X-Factor book I missed. I didn't realize the crossover had already started. So it's just Elephantmen #13 this week.

Elephantmen #13 -- If you've read my last few reviews of this series you'll know that I'm pretty happy we've moved back to Hip, Ebony, et al. and the investigation of that meteor that crashed I don't know how many months ago (months our time, not comic book time). I liked this issue. I don't think it was their strongest but it started off this storyline strong. There were a few times where a panel didn't really hit me as too strong or the flow of the story or the narration got a bit choppy but it wasn't too jarring. And the ending made me eager to read the next issue. So all in all, a solid outing.

I'm trying to keep an eye on all the Comic-Con news as well, I was surprised by quite a few things and it'll be interesting to see where things go from here for individual comics and the industry as a whole. I was also happy to hear Umbrella Academy volume 2 is in the works as I just recently read volume 1 and enjoyed it.

But I guess that's it for now. Time to get back to work after spending lunch at the nearby mall thanks to yet another fire in the building.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 16th, 2008

Only two books this week, Mice Templar #5 and Spike: After the Fall #1.

Mice Templar #5 -- I think this series has a great story and some great art but for some reason, I find it missing the mark for me. I think there are a few issues I have when reading it. One is that I'm having a hard time keeping things straight. Perhaps this is due to the gaps between issues, I forget what was happening previously. Or perhaps it's the character designs, I still find it hard to identify who's who at times. They show a group of mice and I have no idea who they are or if I should even know them. And perhaps it's the ever shifting story which is good but in combination to the above makes me start to wonder "wait, who's the good guy now?" I know this can be a good thing but right now I'm just feeling more and more lost. Now a lot of this probably just has to do with me and my own issues, so it might be a great book for you. For me, I may be better off waiting for the story to finish (with the next issue) and read it all at once. I still think this series is good and definitely worth checking out, I just don't know if I'll be picking it up after next issue. I may wait to see if there are TPBs forthcoming.

Spike: After the Fall #1 -- Considering I haven't been the biggest fan of the Angel series, I didn't have high hopes for this one. I found the art a little better here, some of that may be due to the series centering on Spike and Ilyria/Fred (fewer characters to keep track of and such). But I still don't like the flow of the book. Too choppy and hard to follow with narrative telling us that should be shown. There were a few bright spots in the dialogue with Spike but one thing I didn't really like was having him narrate. I don't know, I kinda like not knowing what Spike is thinking and trying to infer from his body language and such. So far, I didn't find all that much to the story that I didn't already know but I guess that's good for people who aren't reading the Angel series (though I highly doubt there are many people picking this up who aren't already reading Angel). I'm still a little curious about the Ilyria/Fred thing and that's my main reason for picking up this series. I hope I'm not disappointed. As for recommending this book, I'm on the fence. I may have to wait and see how it plays out and recommend (or not) the TPB.

So that's it for the monthlies. I started reading Volume 10 of Fables and I'm really glad I read the 1001 Nights of Snowfall just prior to this. I think this one might be a tough book for me to get through as a fan of a particular character. But I won't spoil anything (and I hope nobody decides to spoil it for me with bad comments).

And one last thing, I won a sketch of the Araknid Kid by Josh Alves. I rock! Okay, all I did was sign up for his newsletter so I don't really rock but it's a cool sketch so I'm happy. And remember to vote for the Zuda Invitational.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr Horrible online and available!!!

Yay! The legal issues were figured out and Dr. Horrible is available outside the US! Act 1 is up but I'll have to wait until later to watch it. Stupid meetings. >:(

Monday, July 14, 2008

Invincible on iTunes, MTV2, etc.

Checked out the preview clip here:

Invincible will be making an official jump from comic book to iTunes (among other outlets). I've been catching up on Invincible via TPBs and I'm really enjoying it but watching the video, I'm not entirely impressed. Trying to mash the comic panels into an animation seems to kill the flow of the story somewhat especially when everything seems to be going at a frantic pace, scenes that are meant to be drawn out are just rushed through. You lose that part of the narration. And sometimes it's hard to tell what's going on with the panels flying around. But it does kinda remind me of the old Marvel cartoons.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 9th, 2008

It was a really slow week for me with only one book coming out, Marvel Adventures Hulk #13. So let's get to it shall we...

Marvel Adventures Hulk #13 -- I found it rather fitting that issue #13 deals with something "supernatural", in this case having all the Marvel characters turned into mummies. First up, I liked the art. Sure, it was cartoony at times but it fit the fun nature of the book. And there was one panel that really made me happy but I don't want to spoil it by saying what it was. And for the most part, it was a fun story with some humorous moments. The Hulk's moment of brilliance (deducing a way to stop the villain even though I don't know how he overheard the villain's explanation of his power given the scenario) seemed rather odd given his low level of intelligence earlier but I guess that was just the Banner part shining through. All in all, a fun issue.

One thing I found funny was that it took me a minute before I got my head into "Marvel Adventures" mode. So when I first saw Cap and Thor I thought "Hey, Cap's dead!" and "Hey, Thor has a new costume!" It took me second before I smacked myself upside the head. I guess I was just really tired last night. :)

So yep, that's all the monthlies I bought yesterday. As for other reading, I got volume 8 of The Walking Dead on Monday and WOW! I did not see all that coming. I really do like that series but I think I'll stick to the TPBs as it doesn't seem to have a good schedule to it and the story is so decompressed I think I'd go crazy between issues, waiting to be able to read the full storyline. It's the same with Kirkman's other series, Invincible (did I mention a while back that I read volume 9 of that and enjoyed it? If not, I am now). I'm just finishing up "Kirby: King of Comics" and planning on getting "Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko".

I also have a stack of other non-comics to get through and I just started a political book (but I'll avoid going into politics here). If only work didn't get in the way of things. :)

And now I'm off to order more books (Fables volume 10 for instance).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Zuda and Other Stuff

In case you missed it, the Zuda Invitational has started so check it out and vote. I checked out the Araknid Kid and Spudman updates right away and they look great. I'll be taking a look at all of them and giving my reviews soon (I hope).

Also, check back later tonight for the next installment of High Moon, is it the end? I hope not, it's my second favourite ongoing Zuda comic (sorry David, I just love Bayou too much).

And lastly, with the Zuda Invitational started Josh decided to see how the Araknid Kid would look in his own animated TV show. So go over to his blog, check it out, and say hello.

As for the "other stuff" I mentioned in the title, I've recently been looking at Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog and the upcoming Heroes Webisodes and I'm a little disappointed that these will start off by only being available inside the U.S. Yeah, I'm sure everyone will find a way around it and I'm also sure there is a whole heck of legal issues that surround why they are only available inside the U.S. but it still kinda bugs me. First up, I don't really want to have to work around it. I want to support these people by going to their official sites and watching it there as they intended. Secondly, I hate it when things on the Internet are restricted based on your location. It just seems contrary to how I perceive the World Wide Web. Now I'm sure someone can go through all the legal stuff and explain to me why it's not possible but that won't change the fact that I just don't like it.

And oh yeah, I still love how I can view the ads before the Heroes Webisode trailer only to have the message come up after the ads telling me I can't watch the actual video. Thanks for wasting my time NBC.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 2nd, 2008 -- SPOILERS

First up, Happy 4th of July to my American neighbours to the south. :)

Secondly, I'm going to try and keep spoilers to a minimum in my reviews from now on. I know that sometimes I'll break that rule (especially when I feel compelled to explain something I disliked in a book) but I want to try to be better about it. I want people looking for reviews so they can decide whether they want to read the book to not have the book ruined by my reviews.

And it was another busy week for me with 6 books. Two were final issues though.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16 -- I thought this issue was a strong start to a new storyline. I strongly suggest Buffy fans new to comics pick up the Fray TPB to catch up (plus, I really liked it). But you don't need to before reading this issue. It sets up things well. The dialogue is your usual Whedon stuff though sometimes I found myself going over certain parts a few times to try to understand some lines, those crazy kids and their lingo. The art was pretty solid though some of the characters seemed a little too thin or stretched out in some panels. All in all, I liked it a lot and I'm really looking forward to this storyline as well as the ongoing storylines that popped up nicely here.

Angel After the Fall #10 -- I remain somewhat disappointed with this series. I like a lot of the main storyline elements but I just think it's not being handled as well as it could have. Some of it is the writing for me and some of it is the art (though this issue was not drawn by Franco Urru, it still has some problems for me). This was one of the stronger issues for me but I still had problems with it. Some of it is simple artistic stuff like the layout of panels on one page in particular not being easy to follow. I'm eager to see how things tie up as we finish out the series but I'm hesitant to recommend it to others.

Echo #4 -- This series continues to go on at what seems like a snail's pace for me. I really do like pretty much every aspect of the book. The art is solid, the characters are interesting, the dialogue and storytelling are great. Yet every time I finish an issue I think "that's it???" And it's weird because I think back now and there actually was a fair amount thrown into this book but I don't know how much really pushed the story or the characters along. This book is actually getting dangerously close to falling off my monthly purchase list. It may be something I'll wait for TPBs for (if they even make them) so I can read more of a full story than what I'm getting every month.

Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #2 (of 5) -- To be honest I didn't remember much of the first issue so I'm glad Tek gave a very brief recap. And it turns out, it wasn't even all that necessary. But this was a fun issue. Yes, it's probably more geared towards fans of his show. Or at the very least, you should "get" Colbert in order to "get" Tek Jansen. But overall, I really enjoyed this book including the secondary story.

American Splendor Season 2 #4 (of 4) -- Season 2 comes to a close with more "excitement" as we spend some more time in Harvey Pekar's world. We have a visit to the doctor (including having to jump start his car again), taxes, organizing his recods, and trying to remember ideas for this comic. American Splendor isn't for everyone but I find it very addictive. Most of all, I love how Harvey has shown comics can be so much more than muscle men in tights and busty women in ... well, almost nothing. For people looking for something very different I recommend picking up the "American Splendor: Another Day" TPB or the American Splendor film.

Dark Tower: Long Road Home #5 (of 5) -- This was a pretty good concluding issue to this series. It had a lot of the usual "issues" for me that I've talked about too much I think. Overall, this series had some interesting stuff to it and some pretty artwork to look at. But I think this is the end of the road for me. I'll keep an eye on the next series and maybe pick up the TPB at the end but I just don't think it's for me. Though I think it's definitely a solid book that you might want to check out.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Zuda Winner for June, 2008

Congratulations to Michael for winning June's Zuda competition. In case you haven't already, check out the comic here or the Dual blog here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Michael Turner

I don't really know what to say, he was taken far too early from this world. My condolences to his family and loved ones. Aspen is encouraging anyone wishing to make a charitable donation to send them to Michael Turner's requested charities:
The American Cancer Society
The Make-A-Wish Foundation

And I hope it's not out of place but being Canadian I'd also like to encourage other Canadians to consider donating to or getting involved with:
The Canadian Cancer Society
Make-A-Wish Canada

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 25th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

Another "busy" week for me comic-wise, what's up with that? :) A whopping 5 books to review so let's get to it.

Hulk #4 -- Yes, I'm one of those crazy comic fans who will continue to buy a series with my favourite character despite not liking it. And I continue to not like this series. A lot. The Watcher scene at the beginning? I guess some fanboys will enjoy it but I thought it was a joke and not in a good way. I thought it was childish and a bad idea on Loeb's part. I've heard that this idea of having the Hulk punch out the Watcher was one of the first things Loeb thought up when he was looking at writing a Hulk book. I think he should have left it as a thought or put it in some cartoon somewhere. Then we have the fight, not much writing there so it was going okay for a while. Then it happened, the Red Hulk wins by breaking the Green Hulk's arm. REALLY? The Hulk, who has been disembowled by Speedfreak, who had 2/3rds of his body mass ripped away by Vector, who had a hole cut open in his chest by Wolverine, passes out from a broken arm. And not only that, the Red Hulk has to carry him around as he remains unconcious or semi-concious and keep shaking him so he won't turn back into Banner. Please tell me that there's more to it, that the Red Hulk is somehow absorbing the Green Hulk's strength or something because that just seemed pathetic. The art was pretty to look at for the most part but it doesn't make up for just how bad I think the writing is here. The issue supposedly sold out so people are buying it but personally, I don't recommend it. Though in two months we get to see how Thor does against the Red Hulk. As I already said to Carl, I'm half-expecting that fight to end with Red Hulk beating Thor by kicking him in the shins.

She-Hulk #30 -- I like Peter David's work for the most part, I really do. And I think this was a solid issue. It had fun moments, it tied up some story elements well while leading to more, and it was well paced. So I'm trying to figure out why it felt a little hollow. I can't really pinpoint anything wrong with it but it didn't really make me go "wow" like some of Peter David's other work or Dan Slott's stuff (I know, I have to stop going back to the "not Slott" factor). I think the overall story just didn't have the "oomph" it needed to go on this long. For those thinking of checking the series out, this probably isn't the issue for you. But with a new art team and an X-Factor crossover in the next issue (and a Secret Invasion tie in) that might be a book you'll want to check out.

Ultimates 3 #4 -- More Jeph Loeb "fun". Honestly, I'm losing track of what's going on and I don't really care. With the Savage Land we get flashbacks that I felt were poorly executed and made reading this book even more of a chore. We have the whole "who is the Black Panther?" thing (hmm, where's Cap?), does everything need to be confusing and a mystery with Loeb? And then we get the robot Ultimates at the end who actually appear like the Ultimates during Millar and Hitch's run (ie. Thor looks like his hippy self) but seem to have two Captain Americas (one who looked like the Cap from the first few issues of this Ultimates run and one in his World War 2 getup). And that "vibrator" line, that stuck out like a sore thumb. Is that Loeb's attempt at making this book "mature"? By making 30 year old guys with the maturity of a 12 year old giggle? And it was the wrong time for a line like that, how can we be worried about a villain who equates himself to a vibrator? The best part? That there's only one more issue and then I'm done. I do have to say that just like the Hulk, the art was pretty to look at in this issue.

Runaways #30 -- Whedon's run on this book has kinda been in decline for me. I can see some of it being from the delays which made reading it really challenging, especially with the large number of characters and story elements that were thrown in with the last few issues. But mostly it's just that last part. The story quickly became a tangle of I don't know how many characters being introduced as quickly as you can and then fighting and me losing track of who's who or who I should be cheering for. Having said that, this issue actually tied up a lot of it without me needing to go back and plot out who came from where. But the real character moments that Vaughan had used to make the series great, scenes where they were just hanging out in their hide out or shopping or whatever, disappeared. Maybe for some people that may have worked but not so much for me. It was still a decent story and maybe it's better to pick it up now, without the constant delays spreading the story so many months. But I'm actually looking forward to the re-start by Terry Moore and as a Whedon fan, it hurts me to say that.

Runaways/Young Avengers Secret Invasion #1 -- It was funny how this book started with what I felt was missing from Whedon's run, a simple moment of the Runaways going out into the streets and talking. It's a good moment that gets cut short when the invasion kicks in. I was extremely curious to see how Xavin and Hulkling react and I'm happy to see neither of them turning evil (at least not yet) as I like them both. But it was also interesting to see the two reactions and how each approached it differently. The art was a cartoony style and maybe didn't fit the seriousness of the story at parts yet in some ways, it fits the Runaways and still works for me (though probably not for everyone). I do wonder if there will be some overlap in story elements with the She-Hulk/X-Factor SI crossover (it just felt similar with a "special" Skrull that's been on earth and a plan by the invading Skrulls to kill them off) but I think there's enough difference that it won't be too much of a factor. It's just funny that those will be the only two Secret Invasion stories I'll be reading. Now I can't say how important this issue will be for Secret Invasion fans (how big Hulkling's role might be or whether it's explained in the Secret Invasion series remains to be seen) but it's important for Runaways and Young Avengers fans. And I recommend picking it up if you're a fan of either of those teams. Secret Invasion fans? You may be a little disappointed, especially in the art area, that this book might not fit the tone of other Secret Invasion books.

So that's it for this week. And in case I don't get around to posting on the weekend, Happy Canada Day to my fellow canuckleheads out there.