Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So why'd you call?

I get these annoying phone calls from Bell which start off with them saying "Hi, I am so-and-so calling on behalf of Bell and we were just wondering if you're happy with your current Bell services." Usually I just say no, they go quiet for a while not expecting that answer and then I say good-bye and hang up. The reason for my loathing is a rant for another day but some of the highlights are: 11 appointments they told me to be home for (some time between 8 and 5) none of which anyone showed up for, 3 unscheduled appointments where they sent someone who ended up asking me to explain how the phone wiring worked, countless hours arguing with them on the phone, a couple threats by them to send a collection agency after me to force me to pay for a phone that wasn't working, one woman threatening that if I went to Sprint/Rogers for my set up that it would take longer the reason being that even they have to go through Bell at some point (almost seems like a threat that they would make sure it took longer if I went to the competition, that seems somewhat illegal), laughter (directed towards me) when I told them their automated phone service hangs up on me whenever I try to register a complaint (they said it's a known problem with their phone system... you're Bell!! If anyone should have a working phone system shouldn't it be you???), etc, etc. But I did get $5 of gift certificates at Tim Horton's from them. Yippee!!!

Anywho, the guy last night decides to ask me what's wrong and I say to just look at my file. Turns out, he doesn't have access to my file. So I give him a few of the highlights and he says he can patch me through so I can complain to someone who does have access to my file. I tell him I've spent enough time arguing and complaining and I'm not going to waste any more of my time with it. They should have a record of it, the Better Business Bureau does. So we say our good-bye's but here's the thing, if you start by saying you want to know if I'm happy with Bell's service then at least have access to my file so you can register complaints or see my history of complaints. Otherwise be honest, you're calling to try and sell me on other services. You don't care if I'm happy, you just want to sign me up for more crap!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I had to

Which superhero are you? You know I had to try it. I'm not sure how Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Catwoman got on the list, must have been the question about wearing a thong. :)

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
The Flash
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Weekly comics review - spoilers

Yet again, only one book to review and it's She-Hulk. So here goes...

She-Hulk: Unfortunately this issue kinda let me down. To get the art critique out of the way, it was good for the most part but there were a few panels that seemed off (like one of John Jameson and some engineers and he looked absolutely tiny in comparison to them). As for the story, we have Doc Samson getting help from Dr Strange to lift the spell that Scarlett Witch cast on She-Hulk (the one that says that anybody who wants to harm She-Hulk can't see her in her Jennifer Walters form)... follow all that? Anyhow, it seems that this was part of the reason for She-Hulk's recent issues (unable to transform, weaker than usual, etc, etc). Of course we know that this doesn't solve all her problems (too easy to dismiss an important storyline element in the first two pages of the issue and Doc Samson confirms that there's more to it) but that'll have to wait for another issue for rest of that story. Then Jennifer Walters is visitted by two New Warriors who are upset about a website that's giving away the secret identities of the group (set up after the Marvel: Civil War incident) and promoting violence against them. They bring up one of the obvious cons for the registration in that the last time someone had a list of the New Warrior's identities a few of them lost family members when they became targets of the supervillains. Despite She-Hulk coming out pro-registration it seems Jen argues against it (taking a few shots at Iron Man in the process) or at least part of it. Captain America shows up to talk to John (who's also busy testing out a new aircraft the military is building to hunt down low flying small vehicles... aka superheroes) and see if he can get a feel for what side She-Hulk will side on. In the end, the website was set up by a New Warrior who, after the events of Civil War, wanted the New Warriors to just end and go away because he didn't want to be associated with that event. And we end with John Jameson proposing to She-Hulk (ring and all).

What I felt was off in this book, the humour was taken out. This meant some of the fun supporting characters (Pug and Awesome Andy) had to be non-existant while the adults talked. And the twist that it was a New Warrior running the website felt more like a Great Lakes Avengers (a comedy book) element rather than something in a serious book. As well, it almost felt to me that Slott was trying to recover from what other writers have done. He had Iron Man refer to the Hulk's destruction of Las Vegas but no mention of deaths. This almost felt like Slott was trying to go against Bendis' take on the Hulk as a killer because obviously Iron Man would have focussed more on the deaths the Hulk caused (if he had caused deaths) rather than the destruction of property. Then She-Hulk seems to have to back pedal concerning things Millar had her say in Civil War. It almost seemed like Millar had decided on his own that She-Hulk would just go pro-registration and then when word got to Slott (who had been planning to have her more conflicted) he had to tweak things to try and make them fit. I have no evidence of that happening but it's how it felt to me.

So it wasn't a terrible issue, just not one of the better ones in this series.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Comic reviews

It was another really slow week for me comic-wise but don't worry, I'm looking at picking up the Elephantmen series that's starting up as well as the Mouse Guard TPB when it's out. And maybe Hip Flask too so I might have more to share in the upcoming months. But as for this week, none of my usual books came out so I decided to give Wolverine: Origins one more try with issue #2. So here goes...

Wolverine: Origins #2 -- Meh. This book just ain't living up to the original Origin series. Nowhere close. It's nothing special, it could probably be thrown into his regular ongoing series and people would be just as bored (but we wouldn't have two ongoing Wolverine titles at least). The writing, Daniel Way does not deserve the hype he's been getting. Every book I've read of his has disappointed me. His Nighthawk series was just a bunch of ripoffs of Batman stories (a lot from the most recent movie) and was extremely dull. And the more they integrate Wolverine into the US military the more I want to slap someone at Marvel. At least Jenkins had the guts to keep him Canadian in Origin but I guess that's too much to ask. In the end, it's badly done. The art, rather bland. I know I've taken some slack for criticizing Dillion's work but I just find it meh. He's not a bad artist, he's got a lot more talent than I have but he just seems to be going through the motions. No real dynamic angles to give emotion to his art. In comic books, if you want the reader to be drawn into a scene like Nuke being electrocuted you play with the angles, you contort his body in ways it shouldn't be contorting, you make it look like Zeus himself is sending lightning bolts through his body. Instead, we have a guy who looks like he's in some mild discomfort but has a nice blue glow about him. *yawn* Definitely won't be picking up issue 3 even if that means going home empty handed.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Comic Reviews -- Spoilers

Two books this week (not counting the Wizard magazine). She-Hulk and Ares. So let's get right to it.

She-Hulk: Civil War tie in. Starfox is on trial for sexually assaulting a woman. She claims he used his powers (he's able to manipulate people's brains in the area of their pleasure centre and uses this to persuade them to do stuff and to lose their inhibitions) to get her to sleep with him. So of course, Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) is defending him. Like in the last few issues we see evidence that Starfox's powers may be having an effect on those around him and making them act strange (women who were going to testify against him switch their stories once they're in the same room as him). We also learn that She-Hulk even at one point came onto Starfox and had a little "fun". After a series of events She-Hulk starts to reason that this fling was also the result of Starfox using his powers on her. She goes berzerk and despite recently having her powers diminishing for some reason she gets a temporary power boost and pummels Starfox (finishing with a very mighty kick to the nads). But Starfox's father teleports him out before any more justice can be done.

Art wise it wasn't the strongest issue. It was mildly ok for the most part but a few panels just looked awful. I saw some complaints on forums that the art didn't match the comedic aspects of the book... really? This issue was comedic to people? Sure there was a few mild light hearted scenes (like the kick to the nads or Awesome Andy's comment that he doesn't have lips to kiss and the male Hydra guard who fell in love with Starfox and wanted his wife to wear a Starfox costume) but this issue is basically portraying an Avenger as a rapist who even seemed to have used his powers on his own teammates. If any issue of this series required more serious artwork it was this one.

Story wise I'm kinda hung up on this issue. In terms of Civil War it really pushes the need for superhero registration. Over all it's well written. It's tough to combine the comedy of the book with the very serious storyline they are going with and Slott does a reasonable job but I'm not sure he should have gone this serious with it. The plus side is that supposedly Slott has said there's more to the Starfox story than what we've seen so far and I really hope this is true. Because although Starfox has had a very sordid history the idea of him crossing this line kills him as a character. He can no longer be a hero nor can he become a supervillain (not that sexually assaulting characters doesn't make him a villain but because that wouldn't make him a good comic book villain). So I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Ares: I'll make this one shorter and with milder spoilers for Carl's sake (so no recap of the issue). I found the art was a little more lacking in places in this issue than previous ones but it wasn't bad. The lack of backgrounds kinda makes it look a little amateurish. Part of the grandeur of reading books about gods like Thor is the settings and having them always be in a blank background kinda takes away from that. The writing wasn't bad although this issue seemed to be more of a tension builder to the final issue without really doing too much (which is to be expected, calm things down a bit before the final storm). My only gripe was the "5 years later". What the??? I definitely didn't see that coming. I know they wanted to portray a long battle (and have Ares' son get older) but now I've lost track of when this happened (or will happen) as I don't know any time where Hercules was gone for 5 years. It mentions the recent destruction of Asgaard throughout so I thought it was recent so are we jumping 5 years from now? And Asgaard hasn't returned (even though it definitely appears as though Thor will be)? It just threw me a bit and raised some questions that I know they won't cover.

As for Ares, we start seeing a slightly softer side. I'm slightly disappointed in this but it's only slightly softer and it's mostly directed towards his son. I kinda like this Ares. Yeah, you could kinda say he's the stereotypical badboy hero but he's Ares, God of War. If anyone is supposed to be a badboy it's him. And the fact that they made him so over the top bad is kinda funny (like his opinion of women and such). So overall I'm still enjoying this series despite it's shortcomings.

That's all for this week. So go enjoy the 7 minute preview of X-Men 3 or the new Superman trailer or TV clip. I'm not sure which way I'm leaning. Pictures from Superman haven't impressed me but the clips have. X-Men 3 pictures look pretty standard but I don't like what I'm hearing story-wise or seeing of the dialog and directing in those clips. And I'm more of an X-Men fan anyways. And don't get me started on Halle Berry. :) Oh well, I'll see both and buy the DVDs no matter what.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Weekly comic reviews

Three books this week but boy were they doozies (at least two of them). We have the start of Marvel's Civil War, the end of DC's Infinite Crisis, and Exiles. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum (you're welcome Carl) and more complete details and spoilers will be sent to only those who I think want them (you're welcome Jason). And now, in the order I read them (based on what I was most keen on reading):

Civil War: Despite some fans claims that this storyline just wouldn't have the emotional impact of a major comic event I think the intensity in this issue was built up well. Heroes are picking sides on the registration act and already people are not happy and emotions are running high nation wide. And in the midst of all the babble Captain America gets to kick some butt. The art was great for the most part. But of course I found myself not liking how some characters ended up being depicted. Maybe it's just me though as I haven't followed some of these characters as religiously as I have the Hulk (who of course is off planet during all this). Which leads me to the issues I have with the Hulk comments, Goliath brings up Hulk destroying Vegas with She-Hulk right there but she doesn't stand up for her cousin. Nobody does. Nobody points out "Hey, it was SHIELD sending the Hulk to neutralize a gamma bomb that started that whole mess." Even the Thing, who was beaten almost to death during that fight and let the Hulk go after a nice chat with him, said nothing. But that's the comic fanboy part of me talking. Put that part of me into a jar and this issue really kicked up the series with a bang (literally).

Exiles (extra spoilers in here since I know Carl and Jason don't read this anyways): We conclude their adventures in the land of the Maestro. Maestro pummels the Exiles, Blink accidentally teleports Sabretooth into space (but for some reason he doesn't go pop, just freezes), and Proteus recovers and, possibly thanks to his reality warping powers and the 2099 Hulk's great strength, he breaks Maestro's neck. Kinda funny, his dialog is similar to the Maestro's when he broke the Hulk's neck in Future Imperfect. I guess that's where he got the idea. In the end, Proteus punches the metal shard out of Morph's head and takes over his body. Then he jumps to the next universe (the Heroes Reborn universe). But I guess that wasn't much of a surprise as this issue has Morph narrating and giving his bio to the reader which in the Exiles is an indication that that character is about to go bye bye. It was still good to see the Maestro (even if he does get his butt kicked). And as for Blink's comment about teleporting his baton (can't remember the word she used but baton seems to work with Maestro), sure it would be painful but with the Hulk it would all grow back in no time anyways. :) A good book but as the Exiles leave this universe I think I'll be done with the book.

Infinite Crisis: Reminder, I'm not a DC fan. Well, this series ends with a bang. Actually, a few big bangs. It's hard to talk about the art as the issue had a variety of artists work on it but for the most part they did a decent job with a few issues. Right off the bat, the splash page opening the book has a few characters in the front properly coloured but most of the page is just red. Why? It looks like the colourist looked at the page, started colouring and said the heck with this and starting slathering red over everything. There's no real reason I can see but perhaps I'm missing something. Maybe it was just supposed to symbolize the battle that was going on but it just looked bad. In the end, a few more people die, Doomsday is stopped in a two page spread (gee, I thought the mighty Doomsday was going to do something impressive), and the Universe is saved (how isn't exactly clear as I didn't think Superboy was vulnerable to the red sun or kryptonite). And the main three characters go their separate ways but are ok with one another. The problems (other than continuity or inconsistencies), many of the death scenes were done in small panels. I guess that minimizes the impact considering how gory they were but it also diminishes it as a death scene. I had to go back and confirm that Superboy was cutting someone in half with his heat vision. They were almost treated like an aside. And some of the things that happen were a little lost on me but again, not a DC fan here. Overall it was definitely the best issue of the series and had some emotion to it. But I still think it could have been presented better. And now I'm done with DC for a while. On to waiting for the Mouse Guard TPB.

And oh yeah, have to mention Lucasfilm's announcement of the original Star Wars Trilogy (un-altered) on DVD! WOOHOO!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Ok, it's not like it's all comics will be free that day. It's only certain ones (and generally ones I'm not terribly interested in) but they're FREE! To find out more check out http://www.freecomicbookday.com/ and to see a list of comics from the "gold sponsors" we have http://www.freecomicbookday.com/sponsors_gold.asp

Personally, if Silver Snail is restricting it to one per customer then I might forego my usual Marvel choice and go with the Conan/Star Wars book.

(teehee, the spell checker wanted to change "Conan" to "Cowman")

PS. The day in question is May 6th, in case you were wondering.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I hurt

Well, my hockey team's chase for the Bubba Cup is over. The best we can do now is 7th (I originally put 6th but I've corrected it now) place by winning the B-Pool in the playoffs which would give us the Mini-Bubba... but that ain't gonna happen. At least we made it respectable by scoring with 16 seconds left to make it 5 to 4 against the team that finished first in the regular season.

But the real pain is that I hurt my wrist early in the game. I guess it's a little bit of a sprain as it hurts when I twist it or put weight on it and there's a tiny bit of swelling. So I'm now nursing a sore ankle and a sore wrist. The wrist is a bit more of a pain as it makes typing a little tougher and I had been hoping to get moving on my online comic but drawing is going to be a lot tougher.