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