Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 28th, 2008 -- Major SPOILERS

Well, I'm sick with an annoying summer cold so let's get to it shall we. I've got three books to review this week with She-Hulk #29, Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, and King Size Hulk #1.

Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1 -- After the last issue I think it was pretty clear that Kitty would be the one who doesn't return. Not to mention the fact that this book got delayed so much that we've seen all the other X-Men running around in other books. But throughout this book I just kept thinking "Don't do it Joss." This was in part due to the fact that I like the character and I've really enjoyed how Joss has written her but I also felt that it was falling into his usual story, two people who have had feelings for one another for a while get together and you squash the romance by eliminating one of the characters (often by killing one of them). So as much as I felt the emotion of the scene it also rubbed me the wrong way given just how often it seems Joss does this. Now obviously she's not "dead" so there's always the possibility but still. As for the book itself, despite what I felt were a few hiccups in the storytelling or dialogue it was well written and I felt the story lived up to the expected big conclusion. There were a few things that I felt were left dangling (such as the Danger Room who only made a brief appearance here) and were a bit rushed (like the Beast/Agent Brand stuff) but that can be dealt with later by other writers and doesn't really hurt this book too much. The art seemed slightly rushed in a few panels and I didn't really care for Cassaday's take on the Thing but other shots (such as the Spidey over New York ones) were pretty amazing. So in the end, I felt it lived up to my expectations but didn't really exceed them. Joss' run on the X-Men will go down as one of my favourites and I recommend picking up the TPBs if you haven't been reading the monthlys. In some ways you'll be better off, you won't have to deal with the lengthy delays.

King Size Hulk #1 -- With the movie coming out we're bound to see more and more Hulk related stuff. For a Hulk fan such as me, this can be a very good thing (though bad for my wallet). It also can be hit or miss as to the quality of said "stuff". This book will go down as a "miss" for me. To start, we get Banner looking over files on the Red Hulk and picking out one encounter with a Wendigo. A few points are brought up such as the Red Hulk getting hotter as he gets angry but overall, I was actually rather bored by this part of the story. And the introduction of a group of Wendigos and the hint that the Red Hulk has made them into enemies that will come after him just doesn't seem to mesh well with the overall story, with all the confusion currently going on do we really need to start wondering who these Wendigos are and where they fit in? Art wise I like Art Adams' Red Hulk but his Wendigo was... different. I did wonder about the Hulk's size as when he's eating the deer it appears to be smaller than his head. And where did he get a machete that big??? But in the end, the story didn't really do much for me. Next up was She-Hulk getting her butt kicked as we see what happened between her and the Hulk on the SHIELD helicarrier. Not much here either. She says this Hulk is more brutal than Bruce ever way, is that really a shock for readers? That's been a thing with the Hulk for a while now, he's always been reigned in by Banner. Then we have Ross going over the Abomination's history. Since the Abomination is supposedly dead it seems odd to do this now unless you're setting something up (such as Blonsky being alive or Ross being the Red Hulk). Or perhaps it was just to tie into the movie but that also seems wrong since they are going with a very different Abomination origin for the movie. It also seemed weird that he talked about the time the Hulk got shrunk down and became the Abomination "conscience" and then mentioned the Abomination getting disfigured in nuclear waste considering that was out of order (the nuclear waste incident happened first and as Trimpe's art shows, the Abomination was disfigured during that other story). So again, I felt a little let down here. Then came the "extras". We get another reprint of The Incredible Hulk #180 and 181. I'm guessing it was to tie in with the new Wendigo story but I thought it was poorly thought out considering those issues are remembered more as the first appearance of Wolverine and not for the Wendigo appearance. Not to mention that I feel these isssues have been re-printed enough already. Next up was an Avengers book with the Lady Liberators. This book really seemed out of place as it didn't seem to tie in with the Hulk at all. But I've read that maybe She-Hulk is going to assemble her own "Lady Liberators" team to go after the Hulk. That just seems silly to me but I'll wait to read it before I criticize it too much. But including this issue here just seemed more confusing for people avoiding reading spoilers online and was a bad move in my opinion. So yeah, this book was a general disappointment for me.

She-Hulk #29 -- This book had the unfortunate situation of being read after King Size Hulk when I was already tired from my cold and having a general feeling of disappointment with the Hulk book. Here, we get to see what got Jen Walters/She-Hulk disbarred. It's a decent story but it almost felt like a letdown in some ways. Since Peter David took over this book we've had the question looming of just what happened to get her disbarred. It's been brought up a few times and put aside, teasing fans. So finally getting the story it almost felt like it had been hyped. And as I said, it's decent but not a story worth hyping in my opinion. I am intrigued that there's someone pulling the strings from behind the scenes so there's that. The art wasn't as solid as it could have been. And I felt in some parts that the gratuitous shots of She-Hulk's chest bursting out of her clothes seemed a little unnecessary (given the search terms that bring some people to my blog I'm sure this sentence will bring a couple more... *sigh*). But don't get me wrong, I still think that this was a good comic and moved the story along well but I wasn't blown away by it. I think Peter David has done better and most likely will in the upcoming issues. So I think the series is still worth checking out.

I guess that's it for me. So if you'll excuse me I'm off to make myself another hot cup of tea and hope the fog currently engulfing my head clears a bit because it sure would be nice to be able to breath normally again.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My take on the Tales of the Black Freighter DVD

I've had a few days to ponder this article by the New York Times discussing the release of a "Tales of the Black Freighter" DVD which will hit stores five days after the Watchmen movie hits theatres. My initial reaction, this is exactly why I have been buying fewer and fewer DVDs. I know that this will be eventually packaged up with the Watchmen DVD into a "special collector's limitted platinum buy it now or else" edition (though I hope they release this at the same time as the regular DVD and not 6 months later) so instead of paying some over inflated price for this DVD which isn't critical to enjoying the movie I'll end up just having to wait for the above mentioned edition. In fact, wait a couple months after that edition's release and I'll probably be able to pick it up in the 2 DVDs for $30 pile when the newer, better version comes out.

Personally, I like it when a movie comes out with two versions on DVD at the same time and that's it. A slimmed downed version for people who just want the movie and a special multi-disc somewhat more expensive version with the special features, director's cut, etc. And that's it. Because I don't want to buy some "deluxe edition" only to have a newer version come out with some more interesting stuff, smacking me in the face for having the nerve to buy the first deluxe edition. And I suspect those who buy the Black Freighter right away (as the article says, this will most likely be the "uberfans") will feel the same way, when the deluxe edition comes out there will be special features that they'll want too (such as the "webisodes" that the article mentions) and the purchase of the Black Freighter DVD will be a bit of a waste. They'll be stuck with an extra DVD in their collection.

Maybe I'm missing something and some fans may be happy about this. Personally, it feels like the studios are throwing more and more crap at me and wondering why I'm not buying it all up. When what I really want is for them to reduce the quantity of the crap and look at improving the quality. Give me something to buy that I feel good about and not something I'll regret in 5 months when the newer/better version comes out.

And I won't even go into how I feel that DVDs seem to be getting more and more expensive while offering less and less.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekly Recap... Sorta

I was trying to come up with what I wanted to talk about in my weekly recap but then I realized I don't really have much to talk about and listing comic news just for the sake of doing so seems kinda pointless. So instead, I'll do something equally pointless by listing off what I have been or will be reading in the TPB or webcomic or novel/other books front.

On the TPB front I polished off another volume of Fables (volume 4). I'm slowly getting more and more interested in this series. I enjoyed it from the start but wasn't sure I wanted to stick with it. I'll be picking up at least volume 5 and maybe 6. It's not in my "must read" territory yet but who knows. Right now I'm reading Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, Invincible, and the Walking Dead in TPB format but with the first two being limitted, Fables may get added to the list. I finished the first two volumes of Criminal, it was really good as well but I don't think I'll be sticking with it. As good as it is it's just not my cup of tea. Though if I'm really looking for something to read I might go back for another taste. I just started Bone, the one volume edition. I think I'm going to break it up into chunks though, read 100 or so pages and then wait a week before going back for the next 100 pages. Because at 1300+ pages it's a bit of a beast. I'm considering picking up "Black Hole" after noticing it in Chapters so if you have any opinions on it let me know.

As far as webcomics go, I'm still rather hoping Celadore wins the Zuda Competition. As far as Zuda comics go I'm only reading Bayou and High Moon regularly and Pray for Death semi-regularly so I'd like to add Celadore to that list. One of the latest DrunkDuck comics to make it to my "favorites" list is AHAB, mostly because of the distinctive art and storytelling.

And last but not least, the non-comic books I'm reading or will be reading. I'm slowly making my way through "When Science Goes Wrong" by Simon LeVay. I think the title is somewhat misleading and it's pretty weird reading stories about people who lost their lives in these tragedies, I don't know what it says about me to be doing so. But they are interesting stories. After that I have "Kirby: The King of Comics", "The Incredible Hulk" novelization (which I will be waiting until after seeing the movie before reading), and "The Children of Hurin". I haven't decided the order yet.

So much reading, so little time. :) At least my Sunday ball hockey is done for the summer (my team ended up finishing in last place) so I'll have a bit more time on my hands. Feel free to let me know what you're reading or what you think I should be.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 23rd, 2008

A whopping two books for me this week. But that's okay because my latest batch of TPBs and such came in the mail and it included volume 4, Bone (the one volume edition), and Kirby: King of Comics. Okay, that last one isn't a TPB but anyways.

As for the reviews...

Echo #3 -- I love the characters, I love the art, every scene is well played out, and yet I'm losing interest. I just wish the main story was moving along a little quicker instead of bringing up more vague backstory stuff. The whole issue I was waiting for something to move the story of the suit along and it didn't seem to happen until the cliff hanger ending. I'm on the cusp of dropping this as a monthly purchase and just waiting for the TPBs. Hopefully then I'd feel like things were moving along a bit better.

World of Warcraft #7 -- I've been pretty hard on this series and I went into this issue expecting it to be my last one. I have to say though that this issue felt a bit better in terms of art and how it told the story even if the story felt a little forced here. In the end though, I was expecting something a bit more conclusive given that the solicitation read that this was the end of the first story arc but that may just be me. And overall, I felt it was too little too late. If you're enjoying this series then this was probably a good issue but for me, it just wasn't enough to get me back on board. So I guess this is where the story ends for me.

As an aside, I read that in the latest Maxim Shannon Elizabeth says guys don't ask her out. Hmm... okay, this is me officially asking Shannon Elizabeth out.

It's worth a try right??? :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Weekly Recap

Well, I'm trying to enjoy my day off but it hasn't gotten off to a very good start. But that's because of a personal matter that I won't rant about here so that's all I'll say about that. So let's talk comics...

Iron Man continues to thrive at the box office. I'm only mildly surprised by just how well it's doing. At first I thought the character wouldn't be able to match Spider-Man or Superman numbers but I think they went the right route by advertising the heck out of it. Even people who had no idea who Iron Man was were becoming interested in the movie. Plus, it's simply a well done movie. Great actors who really want to do the movie and a director who's passionate about the character.

And now the advertising for the Incredible Hulk is starting to get a bit more aggressive with actual TV shots popping up. You can already see that footage is still being worked on as clips from the first trailer have already been tweeked (such as the shot of the Hulk roaring before confronting the Abomination, he now has the remains of a shirt still wrapped around him). As a Hulk fan I'm really looking forward to this but I also have reservations over just how well it will be received. The first Hulk movie (which I actually enjoyed but understand what people didn't like about it) left a bad taste in many people's mouths. But at least they've given the fans one thing they wanted, a good ol' Hulk fight with another (bigger) monster.

The reviews for Indiana Jones don't seem all that promising. Many of the reviews I've seen make it out to be just a ho-hum movie. To be honest, that's all I'm expecting and I don't know why that is.

Going back to one of my previous rants about comic delays, I guess someone brought this up with Dan Didio at a convention and Didio used the audience to show that the majority of fans are against using fill in teams of artists and/or writers to keep a book monthly. I do agree to a point here. For many stories I do prefer the continuity of a writer/artist team. I'm glad that Marvel didn't throw in another artist for Civil War or for the Ultimates. But on the other hand, that doesn't really excuse the problem in my mind. It still often boils down to poor planning on their part. These major storylines should be planned out well in advance and given adequate time to finish. Then, when the schedule is set and announced you should stick to it or at least be open with fans as to why instead of quietly pushing back dates. Don't sluff it off and say "Oh, we don't want to disrupt the flow of the story" or whatever. Don't let it get that far and you won't have to worry about disrupting anything.

I guess that's all I have to rant about for this week (for now at least). Now I'm off to relax a bit more and hopefully get some more drawing done. Cheers!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Zuda May Competition Reviews

Let's get to it shall we...

"E" -- The description on this one is vague and the first 8 pages are just as vague. The art is nice and quirky, and the book seems to have some humour to it (though the last page made me groan out loud). But there wasn't really enough there to capture my attention or make me want more.

Action, Ohio -- I found the premise to this one to be sorta ho-hum but maybe that's because I just recently read Wanted. I wasn't sure if this was aiming to be serious (if it was it missed it needs to flush out the story and reasoning more) or fun (then the ending and the general mood didn't really fit). Either way, it probably wouldn't get my vote.

Captain Luck -- A somewhat more cartoony style (almost "Archie"-ish) for what seems to be a an old "hero adventure" style story that you'd see in old comic superhero serials. Unfortunately it's not quite my "thing" and I found the 8 pages didn't really flow as a story for me. I didn't really feel drawn into any of it and the abrupt ending just made me shrug and move on.

Celadore -- As much as I don't want to make the comparison it's gotta be said, with a young woman fighting vampires the first thing you're bound to think of is Buffy. But after reading it I'd have to say there's more to it than being another Buffy rip. I am curious to see where this goes, I already have an interest in the characters (though I do wonder if being a Buffy fan had something to do with that), and I do think there's some originality there that can be explored. This one is looking like it might be getting my vote.

Children of Bighand -- I have to say that this one takes the King Kong/Mighty Joe Young thing to the extreme. Personally, I felt the art, story, and narration was rather weak. It won't be getting my vote.

Colonel MacTagart -- I saw where this cartoon was going pretty much from the start and yet it took 8 pages to get there. And in the end, I just didn't find it all that funny. But perhaps that boils down somewhat to personal taste. I don't think this one deserves 10th place but it's not on the top of my list.

Golden -- Unfortunately, I just have a hard time getting into samurai stories and the like. I do think this one has decent art, an interesting idea, and some good story telling. Honestly, it ranks fairly high on my list for this month despite my own personal preferences.

Hannibal Goes to Rome -- Having a little fun with history here, it adds some humour to a story that typically wouldn't have it. This one succeeds on several fronts but probably isn't something I'd read on a regular basis. Still very good work though.

Robodeath -- Big transforming robot machinery and zombies with guns, a marriage made in heaven. Add to the mix a gun toting woman in a skirt and there you go. There does seem to be the hint at something more to this story but I really couldn't get past the machinery and zombies and such. And there was nothing in those first 7 pages to help with that.

The Mean Model -- I was expecting eight pages of Paris Hilton jokes but fortunately there was a bit more to it. Unfortunately, it didn't really seem like all that much more for me. I didn't really find it funny and it used a lot of the standard jokes. I didn't really think it was anything new. I won't be voting for this one.

So after going through that it seems Celadore is the front runner for my vote. Golden and Hannibal Goes to Rome round out the top 3 for me.

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 16th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

I only had three books this week and no friends were moving so I was able to get them all read last night. I'll try to get my latest batch of Zuda reviews up later today. Which reminds me, don't forget to take a look at the Zuda 2008 Invitational and vote. As for this week's comic reviews, we have Serenity #3, Marvel Adventures Hulk #11, and Giant Sized Incredible Hulk #1.

Serenity #3 -- This book had a lot of pluses and minuses for me. The first minus is that it had a lot crammed in. After the relatively slow pace of the last issue it felt that too much was shoved in here. I know you want the big climax but it felt choppy as there never seemed to be time taken for scenes to develop and play out. You just had to go from panel to panel and fill in a lot of the in between as you went. The series also played out as an episode with several questions being raised and left unanswered. It also expands the Mal/Inara relationship as well as the Mal/Simon feud. It just makes me want to see more. I can see all that as a good thing but I wasn't expecting it and it kinda made the main story of this series seem so inconsequential. Heck, the resolution of it seemed rather abrupt with everyone just seemingly walking away a little too quickly. I think this series is a must-read for Serenity fans but I think it could have been worked out a little better.

Giant Sized Incredible Hulk #1 -- This was another book that made me go "meh". I like seeing characters from the Hulk's past brought back into the spotlight but this story seemed like it's already been done. The interviewing of other people who have crossed the Hulk's path, for good or for bad, didn't seem all that intriguing to me. The only interview I was interested in was the head of security on the day of the gamma bomb test as he was around during a pivotal time. The others? I don't even remember them as they were pretty much standard Hulk tales only with even less Hulk action. Ok, now that I'm thinking of it there are a few things I remember from them such as the one where he scares off a bear... and that's pretty much it, or the one where he jumps by and a guy gets into an accident while watching the Hulk and the accident eventually ruins his life... That one made me shake my head. All in all, it made for a pretty unimpressive comic. The reprint of the Hulk Annual (#7 I believe) was okay I guess. Marvel touts it as a "hard to find" book so maybe it's good that it's being reprinted but personally, I didn't really see much point to it. I like it when they include a reprint of a book that actually ties in with the current storyline (like when they reprinted an old encounter betwee Reed Richards and the Hulk just prior to World War Hulk) but this one didn't really mean much to me. So yeah, I don't think this one is worth the money. I didn't find it terrible but it's also nothing really new or anything. With the movie coming out they really need to put out some quality Hulk material and this just isn't it.

Marvel Adventures Hulk #11 -- Well at least we get plenty of Hulk action here. Bruce, Rick and monkey visit the FF but unfortunately on Ben is at home. And it just so happens that Doom decides to visit at the same time and invites his Doombots too. It was a pretty fun issue. I don't know how kids will react to it but there seems to be a little bit of everything for everyone. You get a decently long fight involving the Hulk, you get some personal moments (Ben's quest to become normal mirroring Bruce's), and some fun with monkey again. You have to kinda shrug off a few things but it's still a fun read. To be honest, I'm still just glad that Marvel is doing this line of books for young readers... Which makes it kinda sad that I'm reading them. :) My only real gripe is with the cover art again. I just don't find that style matches the book very well.

So that's it for this week. On the TPB front after finishing up American Splendor: Our Movie Year (which I enjoyed up for the most part with the musical discussions being not really up my alley), I polished off the first three volumes of Fables and I enjoyed them quite a bit and am picking up volume 4 but I'm hesitant to go gung ho just yet. I also read Wanted which I didn't really enjoy as much. Oh, and I did see Iron Man and enjoyed it. There's also a funny story behind me seeing it but I'm not sure my blog is the place for it. So I'll let your imaginations take over. :)

Now to get started on my Zuda reviews.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 7th, 2008 -- Part 2... Plus a weekly recap

Oops, I accidentally posted this with no text. My apologies to those of you who get an extra email or whatnot.

First up, my two remaining reviews which I will try to be quick with.

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #3 (of 5) -- I felt this issue had more substance to it than the last but I still feel it's just going on a bit too long. It almost seemed to be spread out to have an excuse to have Jae Lee and Richard Isanove do up big pretty pictures and there doesn't seem to be as much going on in getting the story telling portion right. It is pretty and the story is okay but I'm losing interest in it. I'll be finishing up this series but it's mostly because that's just he way I am, I hate not finishing off a series I start to read. I highly doubt I'll be back for the next... Maybe I'll look at the TPB if/when it comes out.

House of Mystery #1 -- A rather weird and creepy book here and I'm not quite sure what I think of it just yet. For a first issue it has a lot to whet the appetite and leave you a little intrigued yet at the same time I didn't really get a connection to the characters that appear to be the main ones. I may check out issue 2 but I'm not looking to add it to my pull list just yet.

So a few extra tidbits from the week. I finally saw Iron Man on Saturday. I really enjoyed it and thought they did a fantastic job on it yet, somehow it felt "simple" to me. Mostly because I know the story already and nothing really came out of left field or surprised me (other than a few funny moments that weren't in the trailers). So I always knew where they were going with it. But perhaps I just knew too much. It didn't ruin it for me though, as I said, I still enjoyed it a lot. And I'm really interested to see what Marvel has planned with their upcoming movies: Ant-Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers.

A new batch of webcomics are up for the latest Zuda competition so go check them out. I'm going to hold off on saying who my front runners are for the moment.

I saw an article posted on Newsarama about Action Comics Annual #11 and thought "Hmm, it's been a long time since I first heard about Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Adam Kubert doing Action, what's up with that?" and after reading the comments I see it was yet another delayed book. Now I'm not even going to try and say which company, Marvel or DC, is worse because I don't really care (and I also just read today that the next issue of Thor will be delayed). And there is also the issue of independent books being late (which I find more excusable personally but still not good) but whatever. It just seems that so many books are not hitting their scheduled release date. Typically, the readers' anger gets focused on the artist and probably a lot of the time the artist is the slow one. But other times it's the writer (I know JMS has been late on some of his Thor scripts and Mark Millar was late on some of his during the whole Civil War/Ultimates problems). And so I don't even want to single them out without knowing the details as to why. I've heard it all, companies don't want to play with the "integrity" of the story by getting fill in artists/writers. Watchmen was late when it shipped (and going so far as comparing your stories to Watchmen is, many times, laughable). It's just a comic book. It's not the end of the world. Etc, etc.

No, it's not the end of the world and I can see it happening from time to time with some books. Either an artist or writer gets sick or falls behind but really, Marvel and DC have to do a better job at this. It hurts their stories to have 2, 3, 6, or 12 months pass between issues. Readers lose the flow of the story, they stop caring, or the stories get spoiled by other books. Which also leads to the question of delaying other books to wait for the delayed book (as Marvel did with Civil War). I'm not enough of an insider to know how to fix this, whether writers and artists are just too busy doing the appearances and cons or other projects, or that comics nowadays are just too ambitious to get together in just a month (or bi-monthly if that's what they aim for). Whatever the case may be, it's becoming one of my biggest pet peeves. If you tell me the book is coming out monthly, then I'll expect a montly book. If you say bi-monthly, fine. But just silently pushing the date back again and again makes it feel like the company is saying "We'll put it out whenever we get around to finishing it." Which is another issue, inform the readers. Have the big head haunchos like Quesada step up and say "Yeah, we screwed up and this book is late." At least acknowledge to the fans that you care enough to try and meet your own schedule.

Hmm, that rant kinda had no direction to it did it? Okay, here were the points I had wanted to make at the start:
- The number of constantly delayed books is getting too high in my opinion.
- Constant delays can hurt a storyline just as a change in artist/writer can.
- It's not always the artist who's at fault.
- I think Marvel and DC (and whoever else) should look into fixing it and be more up front with their fans instead of excusing it with "Well Watchmen..."
- I have no answers and I just wanted to vent. :)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 7th, 2008 Part 1 -- MAJOR SPOILERS

Yep, this is only part 1 of my reviews. It was a pretty big week for me comic-wise and I was a bit busy helping a friend move last night so I wasn't able to read them all just yet. So I'll be reviewing Buffy, Angel, American Splendor, and Logan now, and hopefully I'll get Dark Tower and House of Mystery reviewed on the weekend.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #14 -- I'm not quite sure what to make of this issue just yet. On the one hand, we have a good overall story of Buffy facing a war with a very dangerous foe. Buffy's adversaries haven't always been the smartest tools in the shed so it's interesting to see one that's staying one step ahead of her. And I'm curious to see where Buffy goes as a character as the war and the story beyond the war escalates. The Buffy/Satsu relationship is brought up rather briefly and again, I'm eager to see where it goes. But it's the book's climax that irked me suddenly. My initial reaction was a little bit of "NO" and disbelief. Looking back, I should have seen it coming. There were signs that her and Xander would actually make a go of it and that's always a sign of death in the Buffyverse. And that's the issue I have with it, it felt cheap because it's been done with these characters over and over. I know, it's war, people have to die, etc, etc. But with the initial death from last issue and the notion that these vampires could depower the slayers I felt the tension had already been mounting. Maybe I'm just disappointed because I like that character but now I just feel like "oh no, not again." And I mean that in two ways, "not again" as in a character I like is dying and "not again" because it felt briefly like we are taking the same path with these characters that we've taken before. I'm really hoping for a conclusion to the story that will turn things around for me.

Angel: After the Fall #7 -- To be honest, it took me a second to remember we were still covering the story of the first night in hell here. Oops! :) Getting past that, I guess this story just isn't meeting my expectations of it. The Wesley story was interesting and ties in to the whole "lies" theme but I felt the Connor part was pretty weak. I liked seeing Kate back though it took a little while before I knew who she was. I couldn't remember the character names so at first I thought she was either the police officer friend of Angel from the first two seasons (which she is) or Gunn's friend from the shelter turned Rambo (which she's not). But as nice as it was to see her, the whole tie in with Connor's story, appearing just when he needs her, having her impart Angel's wisdom, etc. seemed a little contrived. It's like they are trying to work in every character from the show now no matter what. And I'm still not a big fan of having different artists for each character's story. So yeah, overall, I wasn't particularly loving this issue. I was pretty intrigued by the initial glimpse of Gunn's story though and I hope this storyline has a strong conclusion with the next issue. And then I'll be happy to get back to the main storyline of the series.

Logan #3 (of 3) -- I had hoped that the conclusion to this series would turn things around for me but unfortunately, it didn't. I wouldn't classify it as a bad series but it didn't really impress me either and it felt like it's been done before. Maybe I'm missing elements such as why ripping out Logan's heart and eating it somehow made the guy whole again and Logan able to kill him, that whole part made me shake my head and go "yeah, whatever". So feel free to clue me in but on my first pass I just thought "meh". Looking back, I probably should have passed on this series as I didn't really feel it was all that strong. But hey, if you love the "Logan in Japan during WWII" stories where he meets and Asian woman who he immediately falls in love with and has her immediately fall in love with him only to have her killed shortly thereafter so he can avenge her death, knock yourself out.

American Splendor Season 2 #2 (of 4) -- I'll keep this one short, it's your standard Harvey Pekar stories drawn by an assortment of talented artists. I'm enjoying it but really, what more can I say? Either you're a Harvey Pekar/American Splendor fan or you're not.

And no, I still haven't seen Iron Man. Hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Weekly Recap

The biggest story for the week would have to be the release of Iron Man and the big money it's bringing in. But unfortunately I haven't seen it yet so I'll have to wait to comment on it. I have heard a lot of good things about it. And make sure you wait until the end of the credits before leaving.

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day so I decided to make an extra visit to my comic shop this week. Sales seemed to be good and the store seemed to have a few extra customers visiting (I could tell they were new because they had to ask where everything was and didn't know about the store selling at US prices). I got there fairly late (about 1-ish) and there wasn't a lot of selection left with the Free Comics though they still had a big pile of Superman and Hellboy. So I grabbed those two and the Marvel Adventures Iron Man (which was running low). I think the nice thing was that there was a father there with his two children looking for books for them. I always like to see that as it was my father and brother that got me started in comics. The downside was that his daughter wanted a Wonder Woman comic but was too young for the regular title. She had to settle for some Justice League books that were aimed at kids.

I also decided to drop by two other comic shops to see what they had going on (no, I did not go in to snag more free comics though visiting the second one allowed me to quickly flip through a few of the books that my regular store didn't have). Anyhow, one store was really amped up with employees dressed in Star Wars costumes (I guess that's all they had handy or something, but the kids seemed to like it) and one guy in a Spider-Man costume. They seemed to be busier than my usual store. The other store I visited, and it's the store I used to shop at, had pretty much nothing going on. They had a whackload of the free comics but only one employee working and no real presence. And they're in a mall with families walking by constantly. That one was disappointing.

I found it interesting that an anonymous donor gave the Library of Congress the original artwork from Amazing Fantasy #15. Considering Marvel's history of losing or accidentally destroying artwork I didn't even think that these pages were still around much less in the hands of one person. And a thumbs up to the donor for donating it so it can hopefully be enjoyed by future generations.

Marvel also announced a Captain America movie as well as an Avengers movie for 2011. Hopefully it doesn't go the way of the Justice League movie. And with Captain American, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and the Hulk all having movies out by then, it should be interesting what line up they go with. I'm guessing Spider-Man will be off limits. Not sure about Wolverine though.

And the New York post spoiled a DC storyline (obviously with DC's approval). The weird thing is that they said it spoiled something for DC Universe #0 but from what I gather (I haven't read the book yet) the spoiler is for an upcoming issue as the big reveal wasn't even done in DC Universe #0. Either way, this seems to be following in Marvel's footsteps where they spoiled the unmasking of Spidey or the death of Captain America in mainstream media the day of (or before) the issue coming out. Though, to be fair, DC also did it a while back with the death of a certain character... What's his name again? ;) As a regular comic book reader it seems to be a kick in the crotch for the companies to do this but it's probably effective marketting. They're aiming at non-regular comic readers, most likely people who did at one time read comics, to come in to the local shops to pick up these books and hopefully stick around. And if they waited a week and said "Oh by the way, Spider-Man unmasked in last week's issue" then these fans would probably not go rushing to their comic shops not to mention that the issue would probably have been picked over by then anyways. But DC's big story doesn't seem to work for me. It's only effective on a small amount of potential readers, for the most part, those who read DC 20+ years ago. So I just don't see much benefit for DC.

I could ramble on about that for a while but I think it's time to get back to work. So for one last little comment, I watched the American Splendor movie on the weekend and really enjoyed it. It's really different. I also watched some of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica. I'm not a huge fan but my brother is. I'm kinda curious to see how it all ends though.

So that's it for the week. Feel free to let me know what you thought the big stories of the week were.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh yeah.. I almost forgot Free Comic Book Day

I almost forgot to remind you all that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. No, this does not mean that all comics are free. ;) So take a look at the comics that will be given out free that day and make sure you visit your local comic shop (assuming they are taking part). My local shop limits it to one or two per customer (which I understand completely) so I'll probably be torn between the Hellboy one, All Star Superman (just because I'm curious to see how good it really is), and the Marvel Adventures book. I'm also curious to see Wizard's How To Draw free comic but I'm assuming it's stuff I already have given that I bought the first few of their TPBs.

But there's also a lot of books aimed at the young ones and some of the more independant books that are worth checking out.

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 30th, 2008 -- SPOILERS

A pretty slow week for me with only two comics coming out plus a Wizard magazine. I really liked the first part of Wizard's 200th issue that came out a couple weeks back. I know Wizard takes some heat from some people including myself but it was still fun to look back over the years at some of the history they've witnessed. This second part wasn't quite as strong but still had some interesting parts to it. As a Hulk fan and a huge fan of the Peter David/Dale Keown run it was interesting to see that team listed as one of the top team ups. I'm actually such a fan of Keown's that I still check every now and then to see if we might still see the 4 issue Darkness/Pitt series he was supposed to do (issue 1 was supposedly done back in 2005/2006). How sad is that? :)

Anyways, on to the comics...

Ultimate Human #4 (of 4) -- Not much dialogue or story here and it's all pretty much front loaded. Not that this is a problem, I think readers had enough of the talky talky in the previous issues and wanted to see some action. And they really deliver. Maybe one of the downsides of it is that you don't get to see Iron Man physically do anything (though Tony has a few key moments). It's pretty much all Hulk. Not that I'm complaining. :) It really was a well crafted series with an interesting take on the characters (especially the Hulk). If you're looking for 616 Hulk/Iron Man, it ain't here but if you're open to a sort of "Elseworlds" that takes certain aspects of the characters and runs with it (such as the Hulk's ability to adapt) then it really is an engaging story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I thought the art style lent itself well to it. I highly recommend the series.

Elephantmen: War Toys #3 (of 3) -- I've made no attempt to hide my love of all things Elephantmen so of course I was really looking forward to this book. And I wasn't disappointed. The depth of character that Starkings continues to bring to the table is incredible. The combination of the narration describing the Elephantmen as Mappo's "war toys" while the visual story shows one simple young woman breaking down that image works on many levels. It's a book you can simply enjoy for the story it is or spend much time examining the characters and the paths that they are on. And artistically, I felt this may have been one of the stronger issues of the series and that's saying a lot. I hate repeating myself and this is only my opinion but I really love this book and it continues to make my recommended reading list.

So that's it, two great books in my opinion. So overall, a good week despite the low numbers. On the TPB front, I've sorta been slowed down by going outside the comic medium for a bit. But I've also added the first volume of Fables to my reading list which leaves us with... American Splendor: Our Movie Year (currently ongoing), Wanted (must read before seeing movie), Criminal volumes 1 and 2, and Fables volume 1. And come June I'll be adding even more. Yeah, I'm spending way too much on comic books right now. :)

Oh yeah, congratulations go out to Ilias Kyriazis whose comic Melody won this month's Zuda Comics competition. And while you're visitting Zuda you might want to check out some of the other ongoing books (such as Bayou, High Moon, or Pray For Death) and remember that the deadline for submitting your list for the Zuda Comics 2008 Invitational is May 23rd so start assembling your list soon.