Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heroes Season Finale -- SPOILERS

Yeah, I recorded it to watch it later so I'm a little behind.

Wow! I can't be the only one who was severely disappointed by that episode. I was really disappointed with the first half of this season and I felt the second half was only slightly better. But this episode sort of blind sided me. The battle with Sylar was ridiculous. I know they're under a budget and everything but the extended shots of Claire peeking through and then pacing around just annoyed me. And the number of things that seemed to just happen so easily to get from point A to point Z, well, I couldn't even keep count. I felt like I wasn't being told a story but getting the cliff's notes. The sudden "We need Nathan alive" stuff for example. Yes, they did end up explaining it quickly but only after they'd already come to the conclusion to do it. At first, it just seemed like it was plucked out of nowhere.

Even the stuff left open for next season doesn't catch me. Sylar still peeking out from under the Nathan blanket? Who didn't see that coming? Tracy back hunting down the people from building 26? Yippee. And Hiro suddenly saying he had to go home and nobody saying anything? He's there with people who know him, one of which is a doctor, another that's a Senator, and the Senator's mother who still has lots of power. Why would he leave and why would they let him? Unless they already know something (ie. he's dying).

Overall, the finale left me with questions but not in a good way. I don't even know if I'm going to be back to watch it next season, that's one question I have.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 22, 2009 -- SPOILERS

Let's get right to it shall we...

Elephantmen #18 -- This was a powerful issue. The story was pretty simple and the art wasn't overly complex in its detail which fit well. The reader is presented the story in its most raw form without interference from a preaching narrative. In usual "Elephantmen" fashion, it concentrates on the characters while giving the reader a glimpse into a larger story. I think reaction will vary depending on the reader's beliefs and feelings toward the subject matter but it's done extremely well. I'm probably starting to repeat myself with my reviews of this book but it's just been so good.

Detective Comics #853 -- In case you were wondering why I'm reviewing this, it was the second part to the Neil Gaiman story. This was a pretty weird storyline, which I probably should of expected of Neil Gaiman. After the first issue I tried to explain it to my brother and was having a pretty hard time. I don't think I'm any better off after this one. It's something you'd have to read to get it and to be honest, I'm not sure I do exactly. But that's not necessarily a bad thing here. For me, it left me with a fantastic story about what it is to "be Batman". Though I'm sure everyone else who reads it would read that last line and go "What? Did he read the same thing I did?" And if Neil Gaiman ever saw this review (yeah, I know he won't but just go with me here) he'd probably say "This guy just didn't get it" and hope I never review his work in the future. But in the end, I really think it's worth checking out, it's a pretty amazing two issues. And who knows, maybe you'll be able to come back and tell me what it's "really" about. :) Oh yeah, my favourite line had to be the "retire and golf" line. I laughed at that and now I'm curious, if Batman can put so much into his belt imagine what he could do with a golf bag.

Angel #20 -- I've been enjoying this series more with the new creative team but this issue felt a little bit like a let down. It wasn't that bad but there were parts that I thought could have been done better. It seemed like the story jumped a bit at times and things weren't exactly clear. Things seemed to jump between panels or pages and it was a bit disorientating. One example that comes to mind is when the character transforms into a rampaging animal only to be unconcious in the next panel. Maybe we're supposed to surmise what happened but it didn't feel right to me. And there were other parts, like when Angel says "Mine is defective" (or something like that), I didn't know what he was refering to. I'm guessing he was talking about his sword not working on a demon but I felt that could have been more clear in the art. And around that time, it looked like Angel had large claws (his fingers were large and to a point), that seemed odd. It was just a lot of these little things that seemed to take me out of the story a bit. The overall storylines I'm interested in, I just don't think the execution is where it needs to be.

So that's it for this week. And yes, I'm now twittering. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 15th, 2009

Wow, busy day today and I almost forgot to do my weekly reviews. That could also be due to only getting one book this week. So without further ado...

Mysterius the Unfathomable #4 (of 6) -- First off, I think Tom Fowler's art has been working well with this series. I think it's hitting the right tone and it works well in this issue with all the weird and "wonderful" creatures. Unfortunately though, I found this issue to run on a bit too long at too slow a pace. Maybe it's just that it didn't seem to keep up the tempo of the previous issues or we've just hit a lull in the 6 issue storyline (or, and this is a definite possibility, it was just me) but it seemed like too much of a chore to make it through. And maybe the dialogue (the rhyming) didn't help too much. Fortunately, we end on a cliffhanger with promise of some excitement in the next issue. Not a bad issue but not one of the better ones of this series.

And that's it. Kinda sad huh? Oh well, next week promises to be busy comic-wise for me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #1 preview

Newsarama has some preview pages here but just so you know, they try to blur certain body parts out but it may not be safe for some work environments. Anyways, I enjoyed the first two volumes but I wasn't a big fan of the Black Dossier. This looks to be more along the lines of the first two. So now the question, pick it up individually or wait for a TPB/hardcover version to put on my shelf with the other LoEG?

Wow! I seem to have a lot of things I want to blog about today... Perhaps I shouldn't have deleted my twitter account after all. :)

Very late but oh well...

I didn't realize this until now but despite Marvel's article talking about Rey Mysterio using Marvel characters as inspiration for his masks what character did he go with for Wrestlemania? None other than the Joker. Though I'm pretty sure it's not the first time he's gone DC, I think I recall a Flash one. But I do find the timing of it (with that article) pretty funny.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 8th, 2009 -- SPOILERS

Well, I had hoped to get this review in on the weekend but I had a busy couple of days. I only had the one book last week, Ultimate Wolverine VS Hulk #4, so let's get to it shall we. And SPOILERS abound!

Ultimate Wolverine VS Hulk #4 -- I have to be honest, I found this issue somewhat lacking. Right from the start it seemed obvious to me that Betty would be She-Hulk in this universe so the issue felt like it dragged as they try to point to it being Jen Walters. It may also have to do with the time shifting as we are once again taken back into the past to see how it all came about, leaving the ending to this issue just moments after the ending to last issue. It just doesn't feel like anything is progressing. I'm pretty confident that will change with issue 5 since I can't see any reason to go back again (but I could be wrong). And all this is weird for me because I really think I should be getting into this book. The art is great, the dialogue smooth and witty, and the story is an intriguing one, but something about the execution of it just isn't hooking me. I wonder if it would be any different had I waited for the TPB.

I also had the opportunity to read Valerie d'Orazio's Memoirs of an Occasional Superheroine. I'm honestly still digesting it, going over and over a lot of thoughts and feelings that it's brought up for me. Right from the start, it's raw, it's powerful, and it's heart wrenching. I can't put into words just how much I admire Valerie's strength, to go through what she's gone through and be where she's at now, both personally and professionally.

The thing that has me thinking the most is that I'm opening my eyes more fully to the people I've associated with, some as friends and some as no more than acquaintances who shopped at the same comic store. Now I'd like to say that none of them came close to the people Val writes about but the truth is, I don't know. There was and always will be the rumours about one guy or another but that's all I ever heard, rumours. Heck, I've had several rumours spread about me, some from people I considered my closest friends. But I do know that I see bits and pieces that connect those people and the ones Val writes about, from the somewhat socially inept to the downright creepy. I'd have to admit to putting myself somewhere in the "somewhat socially challenged" category. And I still wonder about that guy who I saw at some conventions with the store name "Kool Kards and Komics" (the K's were always in big letters).

Perhaps one day I'll have some more coherent thoughts on this and I'll come up with something clever and insightful but that's all I have for now.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Zuda April Competition Reviews

Wow, it's been a long time since I did a Zuda review. And to be honest, I wasn't really planning on it this time (my comment about weekly reviews was about print comics) but since Ryan and Tim are looking forward to them... :)

In alphabetical order:
Cancer Troop 4 -- I thought this one was well done (though on a nitpicky note I thought the first few pages could have been a bit clearer as to what was going on). The art was unique, especially when it comes to the colour choices, and the characters were more interesting than I expected going in. And the pacing of the last few pages was excellent. But unfortunately, I just didn't feel there was anything in these first 8 pages that would make me want to vote for it. I'd like to see it continue just to see where it's going but that's not always enough to get the vote (especially when there are other books I really want to see more of).

Earthbuilders -- This is definitely a high quality book with solid writing and art. Perhaps if it wasn't constrained to 8 pages I would have liked the action to be a bit bigger (larger panels and a bit more pacing) but with more pages you have more room for storytelling. But unfortunately the story just didn't grab me, there just wasn't anything there I felt was "new". Perhaps if it were to continue and more of the story was flushed out I'd go for it but these 8 pages weren't enough for me.

Intergalactic Law: Grey Squad -- I actually had a hard time reading this one. There is some definite talent there but the story and pacing just seemed all over the place. It jumped ahead with no warning and we just kept getting snippets. The art was sort of hit or miss with me with some panels/characters seeming a little too sloppy for me. Even the talk balloons seemed a bit off at times either with too many or just drawn out kind of weirdly. It was pretty unique though and had a lot of potential. But unfortunately "potential" won't get my vote this month.

Mecha-Simian -- Maybe I just have Stephen Colbert on the brain for some reason but this one sort of reminded me of Tek Jansen in some ways. But that's neither here nor there. The art was pretty solid (though given time I think there's some room for improvement), good pacing, and there was enough story there to get the general idea across and engage the reader. I guess my only issue with this book was that the main character felt a little too "done before" with the only difference being this one is a monkey. But since we don't see any other good guys this doesn't feel too out there, I mean we also have robots and a talking ship already. So unfortunately I think this one falls just short for me.

Myth -- At first I thought this one was going to be a miss for me as the first few pages just didn't grab me but then the fifth page knocked me over. The art has a nice style to it and the writing is good. I generally skip the intro paragraph and go mostly by the 8 pages but in this case, the 8 pages left me slightly wanting and it was the intro paragraph that gave me a better idea of what to expect from this book. I think this is a bit of a negative on one hand (that the 8 pages just didn't feel like enough) but on the other hand, they were enough to make me check out the intro to see what it is that I just read. I could definitely see myself coming back to check this book out, especially if it keeps up this level of quality. And with more pages to work with I think it could really be good. So it remains on my short list of potential vote getters.

Pirate Eye -- I think the first thing that stood out for me on this book was the art and not necessarily in a good way. It's of a fairly high quality but too static. I just didn't feel any emotion or movement to the characters. Even a guy getting shot in the leg doesn't really seem to be reacting. And that scene could have been much more dynamic in its perspective. And I'm not sure if the writing really helped. Though the general idea seems like a decent one these 8 pages just didn't have any "oomph" to them, nothing that made me think "Wow!" It just felt like we were getting from point A to point B in a pretty straight line. So unfortunately I just don't think there's enough there for my vote.

Spy6teen -- Again, we have another high quality comic here. The art was great (though at times I thought the inking could have been a bit smoother) and the writing was well done with great pacing (combined with good layouts) and an interesting character. I'm already wanting to learn more about her backstory as well as see where things go from here. I really can't think of much in the negative category for this one. Perhaps I would have liked a bit more info about how/why a 16 year-old is a government spy but you could see that there was a story there and it's just something you'll have to wait to find out. And perhaps one could say we've seen similar stories to this but considering the high quality of these 8 pages again, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that once we get into the story it'll evolve into something different. This one is currently sitting as the favourite for my vote but I like to mull it over before I make my final decision. It really did get off to a great start.

The Daemon Brethren: Advent of Chaos -- You can tell that a lot of work went into this one, especially artistically, but I think it falters for me. First up, I think the brothers could have been a bit more distinct in their faces from each other. Some of the pages involving the action came across as a little confusing as to what was going on. Perhaps too much was just crammed into too little a space. And there were a few times where the art style seemed to differ so a bit more consistency in the art could be needed. Unfortunately, the story didn't really catch with me and when I read the intro paragraph I got even more confused. The story just didn't seem to flow and needed a bit more polish. That last page had me confused briefly as we move to Chicago suddenly and yet we have someone talking. It took a second before I realized that this was the conversation from the previous page continuing. I think that could have been executed better. So while there's some definite talent there, I just don't see myself following this book.

The Kind You Don't Bring Home to Mother -- Right off the bat I was pretty hooked into this story. It seemed pretty unique and the characters started to grow on me right away. The parents were great and I found myself chuckling at them the most. The art was solid and well laid out. The pacing was well done and the dialogue was great. Overall, I really don't have much negative to say about this one either. To be honest, after re-reading it for this review I think it's right up there beside Spy6teen. I'm not sure which one I will eventually go with and who knows, Myth might make a comeback over the weekend. :) I'm so indecisive, but at least it's a positive that there are a few books this month I'd like to see continue.

The Rise and Fall of the Penguin -- I think every book has an audience it reaches out to, I'm just not part of that audience for this book. I'd say I'm far from it. I didn't find it funny nor did the story really interest me at all. And the art really doesn't work for me either. I'm really not even sure there's much else I can say about it.

So that's it, I'm currently going back and forth between Spy6teen and The Kind You Don't Bring Home to Mother (which I think I'll call TKYDBHTM) with Myth still in the running.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Quick update on the reviews

I just wanted to mention that my weekly reviews will be delayed this week, possibly until the weekend due to a doctor's appointment tonight and my mother's birthday get together tomorrow.

Also, High Moon, Celadore, Bayou, and several others have update on Zuda and the April contest is under way. I haven't decided who I'll be voting for but after a first read through them I think Myth, Spy6teen, and The Kind You Don't Bring Home to Mother are the three frontrunners for my vote.

And I really need to organize my reading better as I'm currently trying to read 4 books at once including re-reading Watchmen, The 10-Cent Plague by David Hajdu, Valerie D'Orazio's Memoirs of an Occasional Superheroine, and still making my way through the Hulk Omnibus. Hopefully the long weekend will help.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Len Wein

I just wanted to comment on the news regarding Len Wein's house fire. My thoughts are with him and his family during this troubling time and my condolences on the loss of their dog, Sheba. I hope someone steps up and helps out a man who has contributed so much to the world of comics and beyond.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 1st, 2009

I only picked up one book this week so this shouldn't take long. :)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #24 -- We have a Faith one shot here with her following through on her decision to help the slayers who have nobody to help them, she quickly learns about the "Slayer Sanctuary" and the action quickly picks up. Overall I thought this was a pretty good issue though it felt a little choppy at parts (more so in the beginning I think where things just seem to quickly fall into place in order to get Faith and Giles from point A to point B). Overall the story may feel a little "done before" but we do get to see a few character moments for Faith and the new slayer. So I enjoyed it but it didn't necessarily blow me away.

On the webcomic front, the latest update for Bayou contains some incredibly beautiful art and I really love this series. And I finally read through the Night Owls, and it really is well done. Sometimes the jokes or characters seem like something I've seem several times before but it's written intelligently enough to bring a new twist to it. So I'll be keeping an eye on that one as well.

And that's it for this week's reviews. Anything I missed?