Saturday, October 31, 2009

Movie News: Anthony Hopkins to Play Odin in Upcoming Thor Fim

Thor 2011
According to Variety magazine, Anthony Hopkins has been officially cast in Marvel's upcoming movie, Thor. The movie is slated to begin production in January.

Hopkins will play the part of Odin, the King of Asgard and father of both Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddelston).

Hopkins has made his career off of films like Meet Joe Black, Titus, Dracula, The Elephant Man, and most notably as the intelligently sinister Hannibal Lector in the Silence of the Lambs series of films.
The Avengers 2012
It is also rumored that the 2012 upcoming “Avengers” film will be returning Mr. Olympia to the role of The Incredible Hulk. Yes, Lou Ferrigno is being considered as the voice of the Hulk. Now fans needn’t worry, Edward Norton will be returning to the role of Bruce Banner, but once he mutants into the lean green smashing machine, it’s possible we could be hearing the voice of the original Hulk.
fOf course fans are going to be a little “iffy” about this choice, and many of them say a “qualified” actor is needed for this to be successful. But I think many of us in the world can agree that Lou’s face will not be seen, nor will his acting ability. All he will be doing is yelling, grunting and screaming right?
That’s all for now. I can only hope that more news in the DC film developments will reveal itself and I can start join the rest of the crowd and….well…blog about it right? I hope the pick a good actress to play Wonder Woman.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Comic Book Review: Batman #692

Plot: As the new Arkham Asylum is being built, we find Batman teaming up with Catwoman to hunt down and stop The Black Mask and his clan of “False Face” henchmen. However, Batman discovers a familiar crime family returning from years of silence back onto the crime scene. We end of this issue with the Black Mask reviving an old alley, who he hopes will assist him in the defeat of Batman

My Thoughts: Tony Daniels has always impressed me with his abilities as a writer and as an artist. And even though I enjoy his art more than his story-telling talents, I’m very happy with the way he is approaching this first issue in his Batman resume since the Battle for the Cowl arc.

In this book, Batman and Catwoman team up to track down the Penguin and Black Mask. Now this would have worked fine with Bruce Wayne calling the shots, but with Dick taking his turn at Dark Knight Detection, Selena Kyle may not be the best team mate Grayson could have chosen for this task. Dick will always be fighting a constant battle in showing his allies and enemies that his way of continuing the Batman legacy will not necessarily equal Wayne’s vision. Selena Kyle, who still seems to be secretly in love with Bruce Wayne, shows her resentment and defiant behavior towards Dick, and he in turn shoves it right back into her face. One thing I had not thought about was the relationship adjustments Dick will have to make with Batman’s enemies, and especially with Selena Kyle. I’m excited to see if this will go downhill fast, or if Catwoman and the new Batman will become close as she and Bruce Wayne were.

I’m not a huge fan of the Black Mask, but I never have been in the first place. However, with DC bringing back villains from the golden age of comics, a team up of Dr. Death and the Black Mask has the potential to be very gripping and angst driven.

The art felt like true film noir, “detective” art. With the black and grey, gothic looking color choices, fused with the New York mobster atmosphere, I felt as if I was reading a batman comic that had a hint of film noir permeating throughout all of its pages. Being a fan of film noir, I can appreciate this as a wonderful shout-out to classic detective stories with the hero giving the audience (or in our case, readers) the narration of the events as they unfold.

Overall: This is a decent start for Tony Daniel in his return to Batman. It’s an interesting take and has the potential to be a great story. We’ll have to see if this follows through and Daniel’s give us mind boggling stories.

3 out of 5 stars

Next Month: Batman #693
Pandemonium breaks out at the inaugural ceremony of the new Arkham Asylum. Will the combined forces of Oracle, Huntress and Catwoman be enough help for Batman? Plus, the debuts of both the Gotham Shield Committee and Black Mask's Ministry of Death!

Comic Book Review: Blackest Night #4 (of 8)

Plot: Atom, Mera and the Flash find themselves amongst a barrage of risen Black Lanterns in a fight for their lives. As they escape the immediate threat, they go on a search for someone who can help them in their time of need. With Hal Jordan gone, off somewhere in space with members of the Indigo Tribe, the three are desperate to find someone who can duke it out with the Black Lanterns and who better than someone with the ability to blow stuff up, and burn up corpses? However, fate is not on the three heroes’ side, and they arrive a smidge too late. Now, with the power levels at reaching 100%, the unknown Black Lantern leader rises and makes himself known…and if you haven’t been keeping up with the gossip, who’ll be shocked and alarmed at who it is!

My Thoughts: There is something to be said about writers with the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat with intelligently written horror stories. Geoff Johns shows off his shocking story with a huge surprise…the death of Damage! WHOA!! Talk about your unexpected plot twists!! I see no way of getting around this one. With a Black Lantern punching right through Damages back all the way to front, ripping out his heart, I see no other alternative than he being completely and utterly dead. How will this play out in the Justice Society of America title? Damage is such a great character; it’s hard to see the JSA without him. There has to be something up Johns sleeve with this turn of events.

I find it frustrating that I haven’t learned why Black Hand is carrying Bruce Wayne’s skull around yet. As DC announced not too long ago, Bruce will be coming back, (which is frustrating enough) so of course we know that there is some significance with this, but the question is “what?” Why Black Hand? Why did he choose to dig up Bruce Wayne’s grave just to carry his skull around? For the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

The art is, once again, spectacular. Ivan Reis is perfect for the job of drawing disturbing and gross images of dead corpses bring ripped apart. And the image of Nekron finally rising is gorgeously done. Two enthusiastic thumbs up to Reis and his team of artists.

There are so many mysteries in this story; it leads me wonder if the ending will be sufficient. Having Nekron as the Black Lantern leader makes so much sense that it’s almost disappointing. (But not quite, wink) But with all the other unanswered questions, how in the world is this going to end in only eight issues? What’s the importance of Bruce Wayne in the story? How will the Black Lanterns be stopped? What is Hal Jordan’s role in the bigger picture? What is the purpose driving the Black Lanterns? The list goes on and I have no idea how this is going to pane out.

Overall: A good issue to help continue the Blackest night story. However this installment does not stick out as a one of the better ones for October. I think readers will enjoy every page, but it’s nothing more than fun, disturbing entertainment. The only jaw dropping moment I had was when Damage was brutally murdered. I think issue #5, however is going to blow our minds!

4 out of 5 stars

Next Month: Blackest Night #5 (of 8)
The moment you've hungered for finally arrives! Who controls death in the DC Universe? NEKRON - Lord of the Undead! The dark being behind the undead Black Lanterns makes his presence and purpose known, and our heroes discover they're not only fighting for their lives, but their after-lives as well. Don't miss this game-changing issue from superstar writer Geoff Johns and stellar artist Ivan Reis!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comic Book Review: Superman Secret Origin #2

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
Covers by Gary Frank

Plot: The second installment of Writer Geoff Johns’ retelling of the Superman origin story brings us the initial meeting of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Clark Kent begins his journey as the world’s greatest super hero by exploring and utilizing his powers which come as a blessing and as a curse. But with the support of his adopted parents and the help of the Legion of Super-Heroes (much to the dismay of Brainiac 5), Superboy (later known as Superman) discovers the incredible influence he will have on the world.

Back in the present, Lex Luthor begins his journey as well…

My Thoughts: Not having a real in-depth knowledge of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I came into this issue wondering if I would come to any new realizations of Superman and his relationship with the futuristic Super-Hero team. Thankfully, I do!

From what I recall, the Silver Age tale shows Clark Kent having to prove himself to the future and to the Legion as a worthy adversary and cunning hero. Here, Johns shows Clark Kent more as an outcast and making the meeting of the Legion a dream come true. I think we, who have felt like outcasts, can relate to this story where Superboy feels secluded because of how different he feels, to suddenly finds himself in the company of people that are like him. I think this effectively depicts Clark’s developmental years in a much more human and sympathetic light.

What I found most intriguing was Johns reasoning behind Clark’s “nerdiness.” In issue one, we find Clark playing football with some friends which results in Clark severely injuring one of them. We can assume that this leads to Clark’s fear of hurting more people as years roll on, where he makes excuses of why he doesn’t want to play with his friends. In this issue we see evidence of that where Clark uses his super-hearing to eaves-drop on fellow students making fun of him and his excuses…

“He doesn’t want to get shoved to the ground, the kids afraid of getting hurt.”
“You ever notice he how he jumps out of people ways, like he doesn’t dare bump into them?”
“He’s afraid of everything, especially girls.”

Along with this, we find his timid nature towards Lana Lang who obviously wants nothing more than to be with Clark, but he resists her out of fear. Clark is experiencing one of the more common, yet underestimated human realizations, fear of one’s self. Clark, even though he is using his powers on a daily basis and learning to harness them, he still does not quite understand what is happening to him and fears what he is capable of and who he could hurt. Unfortunately, to Clark this means refusing Lana’s affection and out casting himself from “normal” social privileges and desires.

In addition, we learn a lot about Clark and his relationship with his adoptive parents in relation to Luthor’s father. The twisted and dark way Luthor praises the fact that his father died is terrifyingly menacing. It will be interesting to see how Johns uses this to further the plot and how it ties into the remaining four issues.

Concerning the art, Gary Frank received a lot of criticism for using Christopher Reeves as inspiration for his Superman. And as I can see the critics point, I disagree that it’s been ineffective. Gary Frank does an excellent job at making Reeves very young looking and age appropriate. I also love how expressive he makes all his characters. I would love to see Frank go back to the regular Superman title as I find his artwork most worthy for it.

Overall: A near perfect issue. I had an exceptional amount of trouble looking for flaws and inconsistencies, but was unable to. I think Johns is being very careful in how he tackles this title as well as Gary Frank. I even TRIED to find flaws but honestly couldn’t. I’m excited to see how this title might tie in with Superman: World of New Krypton and/or Blackest Night.

5 out of 5 stars!!

Next Month: Superman Secret Origin #3
So long, Smallville; hello, Metropolis! Join Geoff Johns and Gary Frank as they explore a very different Metropolis from the one we currently know – one that has yet to experience life with Superman as its protector. Witness the transformative power one person can have on a city as young Clark Kent joins The Daily Planet, and Superman takes to the skies and gives everyone a reason to look up. Over the years, Superman has come to mean everything to Metropolis, but be here to learn why Metropolis means everything to Superman!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Movie Review: Fantastic Planet (1973)

Plot: Imagine a world, surreal and terrifying, with a vast number a species, plants, and animals. One species in particular, which are the “civilized” and governing race of “Fantastic Planet”, are the Draags, a humanoid race with fish-like characteristics. The Draags live luxurious, meditative lives that resemble a religious and peaceful state of mind. The Draags are also the giants of the planet who stand somewhere around 100 meters.

Among the Draags lives another, very small race of creatures, known as Oms that resemble humans on Earth, but much more “savage” in appearance. The Oms are kept as pets and are at the mercy and torment of the Draags. The Oms decide they no longer wish to be slaves and pets and plan an uprising to put an end to Om enslavement. The Draags decide to exterminate the Oms like insects, in which case war between the two species begins.

My Thoughts: As much as I enjoy the unending possibilities of the human imagination, I find the random and chaotic nature of 1970’s sci-fi films a bit overwhelming. With its numerous use of color schemes and eerie synthesized sound effects, Fantastic Planet inflicts sore eyeballs and many headaches throughout the 60 minute animated feature.

Going along with the 1970’s chaotic, over-the-top feel, we as audience members find ourselves immersed in a world of hundreds of animal species that seem to be there more for the sake of being strange and weird rather than to serve the plot of the film. The chaos continues more so when the Draags begin to shape shift into numerous shapes and deformities, which also seem very random and unnecessary.

To a certain extent, I appreciate the films attempt at commenting on the evils of abusive slavery and the necessity of peace among sentient life. The terrifying look of Fantastic Planet does help to amplify the films argument about the evils of slavery. However, this concept weakens as the film progresses towards the end. The attempt at using absurdity (to the degree that this film takes it at least) to illustrate a point poorly demonstrates the evils of slavery. We find this within much of the media during the 70’s. The 1970’s TV show Wonder Woman showed Nazi Germany as the most evil force in the world, in which case Wonder Woman came and saved the innocent from the oppression of Nazi rule. This is an absurdity and is unable to maintain itself as a TV show. Fantastic Planet, in the same degree, is unable to maintain its story in an effective way and dwindles off into a plethora of absurdities that become more confusing than moralizing.

The ending of the film came rather abruptly. The Draags decided they could not defeat that Oms and made peace with them. The Oms obtained rights and privileges, and at a drop of a hat, the narrator made this statement of peace between the two races, and the credits rolled on. This may have been due to budget constraints, time limitations, or both. In any case, the ending was exceptionally unsatisfying and lacked taste.

The animation was intriguing, but eventually became dull and boring. The creepy aspect and feel of the film was effectively done, but the animation reminded me of the quality that Hana-Barbera brought to television audiences worldwide.

Overall: A very poorly made film. The story had a lot of potential, but it was lost in the chaotic and over done world of René Laloux. I found it boring and to a certain degree, taxing. I would only recommend this film to people who enjoy 1970’s sci-fi, over-the-top, chaotic films.

1 out of 5 stars

Here is the film trailor

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jimmy's Pull List for 10/28/09

Once again, Wednesday approaches and I'm gearing up for my trip to the comic store.  I'm very much looking forward a new writer for Batman, Geoff Johns continuing his great writing in Super Secret Origin, and seeing further development in Blackest Night.  Anyways, here it is....

Wednesday, 10/28/09
Batman #692
Blackest Night #4 (of 8)
Justice Society of America #32
Superman: Secret Origin #2 (of 6)

Coming By Mail In Two Weeks
Green Lantern #47
Superman #693
Wonder Woman #37

Most Excited For....
Wonder Woman #47
Well of course I'm most excited for this title.  Gail Simone is my favorite comic book writer right now, and Wonder Woman is my dream girl!  This is a no brainer.  but with a lot of pregnancies going on on Paradise Island and Diana stuck in the middle of a war, it's getting pretty intense right now.  Maybe she will get back together with Tom?  I hope so!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Best of 2009 Is Coming!!!

Besides actually reading and talking about comics, my favorite thing to do is RANK comics. I've been talking about this forever and we are finally at that point of the year where I rank the "best of 2009!"

The ranking categories are as follows for the Best of  2009 (in no specific order)....

Best Comic
Best Artist
Best Writer
Best Cover
Best Story
Best Villain
Best Hero
Best Monthly Series
Best Mini Series

I will also be making a list of the WORST for 2009 as well which will be the opposie of the list you see above you.

* Fort any of these to qualify, it has to be a publication in the year 2009.  DO NOT pay attention to the date on the cover, go with the actual publication date.

* Mini-series can only qualify if it ENDS in 2009.  It can start in 2008, but must end in 2009.

* For a regular on going title to qualify, it must run for at least 6 months of the 2009 year.  again, go with ACTUAL publication date and not what is printed on the cover.

Feel free to nominate your best and worst!  thanks!

Why I like DC more than Marvel

Many of my friends, sadly, are not comic book readers. And even if they are, they have no idea what the difference between a Marvel or a DC. So to help out with that little, ahem, problem that they have, here's a video to help explain the difference.... I was recently asked to explain why I prefer DC over Marvel. My friends can't see the difference between the two, which in turn means they don't understand my bias or capitalist nature towards DC.
First let me explain that I don't actually HATE Marvel, I just joke around that I do. Whenever walking into a comic book shop, I tend to create this invisible force field that will keep the stench of the Marvel Comics isle off of me, blah! I also growl or sneer at anyone holding or buying anything that has any relation to Marvel comics. But it's mainly just an act. The main reason why I am biased towards DC is due to the fact that I grew up on it. The first comic I ever picked up was a DC comic, and I just continued to grow up reading DC. It wasn't until I was in my middle school years where I started to become aware that the comics I was reading came from two different publishing companies. But I also discovered that I was following DC comics storylines more consistently than I was Marvel. I think as I grew up, the stories in DC comics, as well as the art, appealed to me more. While living in Crane Texas, I remember picking up my very first comic book in a convenient store of a gas station, Justice League of America #61 from the 1987 run of the Justice League. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world! And of course my mom embraced the fact that I was actually reading something! She would buy me random comics and I would read them even if I didn't understand the storyline. I followed this monthly series for about 4 to 5 months before we moved to Budapest Hungary for two years After coming back to the States, I began reading my first real comic book title on a monthly basis, The Batman Adventures, which was based on the animated TV show from the early 90's. I enjoyed the art that was reminiscent of the classic comic art style in the 50's and 60's. This comic helped me to understand the value of a good story, even though I was still young and didn't quite get what a GOOD story was. And of course, this comic caused me to get hooked on the animated show. This is what caused me to think Batman was the coolest hero ever!
I began to follow the DC titles because, if Batman is a DC, that means DC is the best! I slowly began to put Marvel comics away and ultimately stopped picking up Marvel comics all together by the time we moved to Orange City, Iowa. As time went on, I went from reading comics a lot, to not reading them, to reading them a lot again, to not reading again, and so on and so forth. My life consisted of high drama, girls, sports, school, and other related things and I had to prioritize. (Sports came first because chicks dig sweaty males after a long hard game of…whatever it is I was doing on the football field) It always saddened me, but such is life. But after thinking about it, my upbringing, my values, what interests me, etc etc, I think I have a better idea about why I prefer DC over Marvel.
I had a facebook conversation with a friend about the differences between the two companies. What he explained to me as the fundamental differences made perfect sense. It had to do with Mythology. I grew up with a real fascination with stories that were centered in mythology. Mom would read stories that contained mythological characters and storylines (Beowolf, Dracula) and I loved them. My favorite topic in middle school English class was the mythology unit. Anything dealing with mythology or the supernatural would spark my interest and grab my full attention. There was nothing else that excited me more! I didn't want to watch films dealing with "real" issue, or that were "realistic" in content. As a young adult just starting high school, whenever my friends invited me to come watch a film, I would secretly hope they were films like Hook, The Labyrinth, or Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. These are all films dealing with mythological themes or ideas. Why is a boy able to fly by having fairy dust sprinkled on him? How does a young girl travel to another dimension simply because she made a wish? And how do four turtles and a rat mutate into giant, human-like creatures that can walk and talk due to exposure to some ooze? The answer....there is no answer! None of it makes sense! This is a mythological way of telling a story. It's what I love. So when asking me why I prefer DC over Marvel, it really goes down to my love for a mythologically based story.
Places Let's first take Marvel Comics. Nearly everything in Marvel comics is based in reality. You have a lot of Hero's getting their start, or were born in New York City, Manhattan, Kansas, etc etc. They are all real places that you can actually touch, live in, and be successful in. There are of course a few exceptions such as Thor and the Silver Surfer who did not start on Earth at all. But other than that, unless im forgetting something or Marvel has taken new directions, It's based in a reality we know today. DC is almost strictly made up! Gotham City, Metropolis, Coast City, Paradise Island, etc., all made up. Now I recently learned that there is an actual Metropolis in the state of Illinois, but bares no resemblance to that of Superman's Metropolis found in the comics. And what's cooler is, these made up places are apart of the world we know today, as if they have existed in the real world since the creation of dominions, cities and states. These fictional places help to enhance the fact that this is mythology at it's best.
Powers and Origins
The biggest and most notable difference for me is how the hero's got their powers and abilities. First I'll tackle the Marvel hero's.... Marvel With the exception of Thor and Silver Surfer, all of the Marvel hero's achieved their super human abilities through the same means. Spider-Man, how did he achieve his Spider like abilities? When bitten by a radio active Spider. Bruce Banner, he becomes a menacing hulk which is triggered by his anger. This was caused by an accident where he was shot by gamma rays. X-Men, mutation, causes them to have super natural abilities. Daredevil, whose loss of sight caused his other senses to enhance and give him incredible acrobatic skills. Iron-Man, a no brainer! He built machines which enables him to, well, do whatever he wants. The fantastic four, some anomaly gives them the powers they have now. What do all of these origins have in common? They are all scientific. They may not be the most realistic or believable, but they are scientific. They help give an explanation for why these hero's are able to do these incredible acts of heroism. Why does someone bitten by a radio active Spider give them spider like abilities, I don't know! But it does help the readers to have something that they can grasp or hold onto to help make sense of this weird phenomenon. DC (Detective Comics) Now when it comes to DC heroes, we have reached a whole new level of origin stories. Not necessarily better, just significantly different.... Superman, when exposed to the rays of a yellow sun, he becomes Earths mightiest mortal. Green Lantern, who was given a ring that is considered the most powerful weapon in the universe. Wonder Woman, an Amazon, is given the strength and power of the gods. The Flash, who is able to travel at speeds approaching the speed of light from an unknown power called the speed force. Captain Marvel, who shouts the name "Shazam" and is magically transformed into a hero whose power is equal to Superman. (I think you get the picture.) All have one thing in common, they all are unexplained origins. Meaning there is no science involved. How in the world is Superman able to fly, have heat and x-ray vision, super breath, contain ungodly strength, and super speed...all from exposure to a yellow sun? How does a ring, that possesses unimaginable power, give one man the ability to fly into outer space and fight all sorts of alien species? And how does a woman, who grew up on an imaginary island, have the abilities that closely resemble Superman's? There is no science or logic behind it is there? Now I don't mean to say that DC doesn't use science or Marvel is not mythological. As I explained before, Marvel has hero's (Thor, Silver Surfer) that are all based in mythology. And DC's Batman is purely a scientifically created hero, despite his mythological enemies. But it seems that the main congregation of hero's of DC and Marvel consistently stick to a theme of origin which I feel defines and differentiates the two publishing companies. Praise for Marvel???
Now even though I do love DC Comics, I do wish that DC could adopt some traits and practices or Marvel Comics. Marvel had Stan Lee for goodness sakes! DC doesn't have an icon that stands alone by himself.
Marvel is its own entity. It is not owned by any corporation or is a subsidiary of anyone but itself. DC, on the other hand, is partnered and owned by Warner Bros. now Warner Bros. does give DC a lot a lot of room to do what they want in the creative process, but if DC decides to go a certain route, Warner Bros. can put their thumbs down and say no. Ultimate decisions are made by Warner Bros.
When DC decided to kill off Batman, Warner Bros. told them "no" at the last second. This in turn hurt DC's plans and they had to quickly change everything since Warner also owns anything under the DC label. In the case of the Watchmen film, Alan Moore owns no rights of distribution, and despite the fact that Alan Moore objected to making both Watchmen and V for Vendetta into films, Warner Bros. went ahead with the film projects. This can cause for a stressful, and irritation work environment for DC employees and DC's freelance writers. Since Marvel is an independant company, they have no authority above them except themselves. Marvel is also the start of "comics" in my opinion. It began the whole superhero craze and the comic collecting faze. DC has done a lot of copying and mimicking of Marvel as far as how they market themselves. "WHAT?!?! Marvel is using word balloons on their covers? Well, we'll do that too and be better at it!!!" (inside joke for those of you comic books fanatics.) Other Reasons Why I prefer DC It's For Kids Now I do have other reasons why I feel DC is superior. Firstly, Marvel Comics seems too kiddish for me. If you look at the old Marvel logo, it makes me think as if I'm picking up a child's magazine. Now they have since changed this logo to look much more mature and adult oriented, but it still has that the semblance of the old logo. And it doesn't help that Spider-man is their marketing mascot who seems to be at the fore front of anything Marvel. And Spider-Man has never felt like an adult comic to me. It has adult themes within it, but it comes off as being a child's book. Even the Spider-Man films, that are purposefully campy, keep the child-like feel that Marvel has always had. DC has at their disposal Superman and Batman, which they always market towards the much more mature readers. What DC has done lately is created a whole new branch of the DC publishing company called "DC Kids." These comics are marketed for kids using the popular superhero's we know from the DC universe, but are not concerned with continuity. This helps to keep kids reading comics, and allow the adults to get their violent, sexual, and angst driven storylines. Vertigo I am sorry but there really is no contest here. Even the die - hard Marvel Comics fans will tell you Vertigo produces better comics as far as the stories are concerned in the history of the medium. Vertigo has produced amazing stories like V for Vendetta, Y the Last Man, Fables, The Sandman series, and many others. Vertigo is an imprint of the American comic book publisher DC Comics. Its books are marketed to a late-teen and adult audience, and may contain graphic violence, substance abuse, frank (but not explicit) depictions of sexuality, profanity, and controversial subjects. Although many of its releases are in the horror and fantasy genres, it also publishes works dealing with crime, social satire, speculative fiction, and biography. Each issue's cover carries the advisory label "Suggested for mature readers". When I first discovered Vertigo, I was hooked! The very first Vertigo book I ever read was V for Vendetta and I was amazed at its literary complexity. Some of the best written stories I have ever read have come from Vertigo comics. Writers such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore have made their mark writing for Vertigo. I truly believe that the type of story telling found in Vertigo comics is among the very best writing America has to offer. Marvel's only answer to Vertigo Comics would be the "Marvel Knights" publishing name. But it's technically no different from the regular comics under the original Marvel Comics brand name. Writers On the DC Comics and Marvel Comics facebook groups, a question was presented asking "who has the better writers, Marvel or DC?" The majority of answers from both groups were that DC has the better writers. You had some biased people of course who couldn't get past the favorite publisher, but it was almost unanimous that DC Comics has the better writers over all. Writers like Brad Meltzer, Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, Alan Moore, Sarah Conner and Will Eisner, all writers who work for the DC label. Now some of these writers have done work for both companies and more, but they have typically been very faithful to DC comics. Kevin Smith for example has written for both DC and Marvel comics and has delivered stellar stories. Conclusion All in all, both companies have redeeming qualities, and aspects about them that suck majorly! But it ultimately comes down to what I grew up on. Had I grown up on Marvel Comics, I might have become personally biased towards them and found other reasons about why Marvel is superior DC. It's a question of nature vs. nurture. It's what I grew up on, it's what I trust, what I enjoy, it's what I'll go with and I'll stick too. Perhaps one day everyone will see the light and become DC followers like myself....
And just for the heck of it.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comic Book Review: Blackest Night - Superman #3 (of 3)

Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Eddy Barrows and Ruy José
Variant cover by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope

Plot: Superman and Superboy Prime work together to defeat Superman of Earth-22 and the Psycho- Pirate. In defeating Psycho-Pirate, Superboy makes in incredible discovery, the emotional control that the pirate has over people is quite effective against Black Lantern corpses. As we learned in a previous issue of Green Lantern, the more each emotion of the spectrum combines, the weaker a black Lantern becomes. So now, the question is, how do the good guys get members of the Red and Orange Lantern Corps to come together and win the battle against The Blackest Night?

My Thoughts: A lot better than I thought this was going to be. Robinson does a bang up job at bringing the story to an awesome conclusion. Now we already knew that combining powers from each emotional spectrum causes the Black Lanterns to weaken, however with the attack Superboy made on Psycho Pirate, it seems that there’s more to their weaknesses than I had anticipated. Granted, the telekinesis helped I’m sure, but we saw a number of emotions running through Superboy once he made his final blow on the Pirate. Maybe I’m over analyzing the situation but it seems to me that the end to Blackest Night will come down to something more than just getting all the Lantern Corps to work together.

As far as New Krypton being in Lock Down to keep Black Lanterns from invading the planet, I wonder how this will change things for Superman in the “World of New Krypton” series. Seeing as how we have 5 issues left in that mini, something has to change in order for Superman to get back on New Krypton.

Another aspect of this issue I need to applaud is its terrifying look and feel. The Black Lanterns in this issue creep me out! Lois Lane of Earth-22 and Zor-El seriously make you wonder what the artists are using as models! And the feeling of angst as Alura rescues her daughter from the clutches of risen Zor-El is so high that I wondered if Supergirl was going to die and DC just canceled the Supergirl title with this issue! Every page of this book is absolutely horrifying, yet you’re compelled to continually read on in anticipation for what may happen next.

The art was spectacular. The scene with Superboy bringing in his “fatality” blow to the Psycho-Pirate was gorgeously drawn and painted. But my favorite panel of art was the scene of risen Lois Lane from Earth-22 walking through the wall of fire. That is such a terrifying scene I almost jumped as I turned the paged.

Overall: A great issue. I honestly have no gripes at all. It was terrifying and gripping. Definitely one of the better issues out this month thus far.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin #5

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and variant cover by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Cover by Frank Quietly

Plot: Two dynamic duos’ now patrol the city. One pair fights crime and brings criminals to justice, where the other two hunt criminals down like prey. Whose right and who’s wrong? The City of Gotham seems to side with Red hood and Scarlet in their “eye for and eye” crime fighting method. How will the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder defeat a pair of villains who have no problem with obliterating any who get in their way of “justice?”

My Thoughts: Again, I have always said the best stories are the ones that make you feel sick to your stomach and filled with violence, sex and murder. Grant Morrison takes this to the next level and gives us a horror story that has goes beyond the typical blood and guts storyline. However, I wouldn’t allow that to diswayed you into reading this issue. The violence is disturbing but it’s given to us in small, gradual doses that help to escalate the story further.

With the history that The Red Hood shares with Dick Grayson, The choices that Dick must make in this issue are vital if he is to succeed as Batman. Morrison is literally torturing Grayson by throwing everything he could at him that will mess with Dick’s head. We have the old Robin under the guise of The Red Hood fighting Batman, Bruce’s son fighting along side Batman as Robin the Boy Wonder, and the fact that Dick is still trying to grasp the whole idea and concept that is “The Batman.”

One thing I am having a little trouble with is the whole idea of having an “evil” dynamic duo. So many stories have done this, where they take the hero, and made their evil counter-parts battle to the death. This story-telling tactic has been used so often and beaten to death that it is slightly distracting. However, I think Morrison is handling this well by giving us that incredibly terrifying back story with Scarlet, WOW! I had chills running up my spine I was so disturbed. But even with that, I raise an eyebrow wondering if Morrison could have gone a different route with this issue.

Overall: Could hardly ask for anything better, best book of the month thus far. Morrison left us with a great cliff hanger as Batman and Robin lay on the ground beaten, and the Red Hood and Scarlet caught by the villains we have all been waiting to see.

5 out of 5 stars.

Next Month: Batman and Robin #6
In the startling conclusion to "The Revenge of the Red Hood," Gotham's new "protector" reveals
his identity to Batman – and surprisingly poses a heart-stopping question to Dick Grayson about the future of Bruce Wayne! Plus, Robin at the mercy of Scarlet!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Comic Book Review: Blackest Night - Batman #3 (of 3)

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Adrian Syaf and Nei Ruffino
Lettering by John J. Hill

Plot: Blackest Night in Batman’s city comes to a close as Dick and Tim face off with their risen parents. As they relive their tragic past and are forced to fight their parents, Dick and Tim find some weaknesses within the Black Lantern Corps as well as discover some interesting facts that may help fight all of the risen heroes. With the help of Deadman and DC favorite Etrigan, Batman and Red Robin decide to inform their allies and put an end to Black Lanterns.

My Thoughts: I’m a little conflicted with the ending of this issue. I can’t seem to decide whether or not I enjoyed it or not. There are many different aspects to this issue I enjoyed, and many I thought were weak. Even with having a week to process my thoughts on this book, I’m still not sure what to think.

It’s obvious that facing ones parents is hard enough; let alone facing them as a zombie-like corpse that continually mutters guilt-tripping dialogue. Thank God Dick was there to help Tim come back to reality and do what was necessary to survive. But even with Dick having a good head on his shoulders, he became lost in the moment with his parents embracing him in their arms, swinging around on the trapeze.

Now I must have missed something, but how in the world did freezing each other allow them to escape the Black Lanterns? Each corpse hovered above both Tim and Dick as if they weren’t there. And for the life of me, after going back again and again, I can’t figure out how they knew this would work and why it worked. If someone can enlighten me, please do!

The artwork is fine, but not great. The artwork in the previous two issues truly grabbed me, but with this third and final issue, I wasn’t taken in by it.

Overall: The ending felt to dwindle away into nothingness. Yes, new things were discovered, but nothing big happened. This is where I become conflicted. But I guess the ending to this Blackest Night story has only just begun, and the climactic ending is still light years away.

3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best And Worst for September

Well here it is again, a little late, but still here. The Best And Worst for the month of September. And it’s the women that get the top 3 for this month. Wonder Woman, Power girl and Supergirl all take the top spots unquestionably. Justice League really gets a kick in the junk for pure stupidity, while Geoff Johns does a bang up job spots 4, 5 and 6 and truly showing the world that he is one of the better writers in comics right now.

18. Justice League 80 Paged Giant
I wish I could take back this wasted time in my life. There was no point to the story and continuity was not existent as well. This issue literally pissed me off! Worst book of the year in my opinion!

17. Batman #690
Winick should not be writing for Batman…sorry!

16. Superman #692
Why call it Superman when Superman isn’t even in the book? Plus, stop making the characters stupid and annoying! I’m sorry Robinson, you just aren’t doing this book any justice.

15. Green Lantern Corps #40
There is some semblance of a plot, but it’s too crunch up into 22 pages for it to make sense and worthwhile.

14. Blackest Night: Superman #2
Just a little too random and disconjointed. I still enjoyed reading it, but wouldn’t consider it a great read.

13. Action Comics #881
The first part of The “Hunt for Reactron” story arc starts here! Wait, they already had that one didn’t they?

12. Justice League: A Cry For Justice #3
A definite step up from issue one and two. However, Robinson seems to be dwelling a little too much on the “torture” part of the story and not pushing forward and transitioning into his time on Justice League.

11. Justice League #37
Great Job Wein! Nothing spectacular like Brad Meltzers duration on the JLA title, but a nice way to transition into the “new team.”

10. Blackest Night: Batman #2
Solid Artwork and a solid story! A lot of fun.

9. Batman & Robin #4
Morrison is doing a fine job with the title. However, he’s starting to follow his typical trend of starting out great, and plummeting downwards. I wonder how long he plans on sticking out with this title?

8. Supergirl #45
This title is probably the most emotionally draining title being published right now. It has gone from being “eh, s’allright” to “WOW! I can’t wait til next month!”

7. Superman: World of New Krypton #7
Superman is very alone, no allies, no friends, only enemies. Lois Lane is the only thing he look forward to see once he returns. This was such a tear jerking issue! So great!

6. Superman: Secret Origin #1
Geoff Johns, mapping the DC universe. Dan Didio is doing something right for a change!

5. Green Lantern #46
Wow……what a great issue! Sinestro doesn’t hold anything back! Geoff Johns is a genius.

4. Blackest Night #3
Blackest Night finally takes off with new realizations and plot twists. While we learn so much, we still have so many questions. Oh man it’s like I’m watching Lost!

3. Wonder Woman #36
I look forward to this title more than any other on a monthly basis. If Gail Simone leaves this title, I think I’ll shoot myself! Please stay with Wonder Woman Gail! Don’t leave me!

2. Power Girl #5
What’s the only thing better than porn? A comic that makes fun of porn! A great read; completely over the top and corny as hell…that’s why I like it!

1. Supergirl Annual #1
Supergirl makes it to the top! Gates shows how truly remarkable a female superhero can be by revealing the biggest flaws in human nature. With commentaries on prejudice, shallowness, fear, ignorance, violence and human imperfection, we as readers are given the opportunity to look within ourselves and see our own flaws and our own imperfect tendencies.

Like I always say, the best stories are the ones that make us question our upbringing and the values we have lived with for so many years. Supergirl makes many mistakes in this issue and wonders how has made matters worse. The people around her, trapped in the bank, act as if everyone else is the enemy and stop at nothing to behave like beasts in order to get what they want.

This issue will definitely be going on my list of the top ten comics of 2009 which I will post sometime in January.

Comic Book Review: Batman #691

Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley and Rob Hunter
Cover by Tony Daniel

Plot: Two-Face, unable to accept the fact that the man running around Gotham in the cape and cowl is the Batman he has fought for so many years, breaks into the Bat-cave and beats Dick Grayson (while still in costume) to a bloody pulp. As Two-Face spills his guts while attacking Batman, he is attacked by, to his surprise, Batman!

After this weird twist in events brings Two-Face down, we find Dick Grayson making a very earth shattering discovery. As Dick and Alfred clean up the Bat-Cave, Dick stumbles upon an old case file involving the murder of two people very close to him…The Flying Grayson’s!

My Thoughts: For as long as Judd Winick has been on this title since Grant Morrison’s pathetic storyline R.I.P., I have neither been impressed with Winick’s writing and his storytelling abilities. However, I must say this issue was a complete 180, but not for the reasons you might think.

Villains these days seem to give their arch nemesis a certain amount of respect, almost like a twisted sense of friendship. It was interesting to watch Two-Face almost whimper at the fact that the Batman he knew was gone and someone was trying to take his place. I almost felt sorry for Dent when he said, “Lots of things change. Cultures, the tides, land masses, and people…people change. But not Batman. He’s one of the few constants in the universe. Batman does NOT change.” Two-Face continually stated this to Dick Grayson as he beat him to death, that he was not Batman. And he said it with such fury and hatred that I had trouble telling if Dent was truly convinced that Grayson was not Batman, or if Dent was just trying to convince himself of it. And that would make sense to seeing as how he was determined to break into the Bat-Cave and beat THIS Batman. This is a testament to most villains these days and how much they, in a twisted kind of way, show a lot of respect towards the heroes they hate so much.

This was a much needed chapter in the Dick Grayson era of Batman, for it established Dick Grayson as the one true Batman in the eyes of villains, and within himself. And even with the knowledge that Bruce Wayne will return from the dead, this was also a great book to help show that Dick Grayson can and will be a great Batman for future issues to come. I think now we can move on from the terrible tragedy that was Bruce Wayne’s death and morning his passing, and start progressing forward into the new era of the Batman storyline.

Overall: Fantastic! Definitely worthy of top marks for this month. Winick put a lot of effort into this conclusion of “The Long Shadows” story arc. Next month should be interesting as we find out more about the mystery revolving around Grayson’s parent death and how Dick will cope with that.

4 out of 5 stars.

This Month: Batman #692
BATMAN double-ships this month with Tony Daniel returning to the series as the new writer and artist after his best-selling BATTLE FOR THE COWL miniseries! With Batman pounding the pavement in search of Black Mask, Penguin on the run, and the completion of the new Arkham Asylum looming close, Gotham City has reached a boiling point! Guest-starring Catwoman and the Huntress and featuring the return of Gotham City's most notorious crime family!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comic Book Review: Superman #692

Written by James Robinson
Art by Fernando Dagnino and Raúl Fernandez
Cover by CAFU

Plot: Tragedy strikes in Metropolis!  Mon-El is perceived dead, Superman has no human allies any longer, and villains are running loose with the Guardian as Metropolis’ only line of defense.  We are left seeing Mon-El, in a tank of water with cables lodged into his neck and body, with a very unpleasant look on his face,

My Thoughts: Why is this book called Superman?  It was bad enough without the actual Superman IN the pages of his own book, but now Mon-El is nowhere to be seen except the first and last pages.  The Guardian, however, is plastered all over this issue fighting crime and partying with his special police units.  Maybe the fact that the title “Superman” has no sign of the ACTUAL Superman anywhere is dictating how I view the story of this book and I allow myself to forget to enjoy the story within.  But it does seem a bit too distracting for me.

I am slowly becoming a fan of Mirabai.  I hope to see Mirabi, after the “world against Superman” and “New Krypton” arcs, more and more.  I can’t actually decide if she’s a good guy or bad guy.  She seemed uneasy about dealing with General Lane, but seems menacing and evil in this issue.  I can’t wait to hear more of her story.

Speaking of awesome characters, The Guardian is definitely NOT included in the awesome characters roster.  Yeah he’s got cool abilities, but lacks a quality (or more) that allows me to relate and grow on me effectively.  Maybe he just reminds me too much of Booster Gold (who I think is one of the dumbest mainline superheroes in DC right now) with his pretty boy look and golden blonde hair and bright color armor which is causes my dislike for Guardian.  Or maybe it’s just this issue makes him out to be so much of a pretty boy that he seems ugly and dumb. I don’t know!   But I do know that I don’t like him and it makes me sad I subscribed to the Superman title and all I’m getting is bad stories and stupid characters.

The art really doesn’t impress me that much either.  It’s not bad, but I would have appreciated a little less of the “cartoony” feel to it and more of a serious tone.  Some of the action scenes are fantastic, but overall it wasn’t really that great.

Overall: Below average.  The story is too weak, the characters honestly suck, (with the exception of Mirabi) and the artwork didn’t enhance the issue either.

2 out of 5 stars

This Month: Superman #693
It's a special issue set entirely within General Lane's Project 7734 headquarters! Learn more about the mysterious Mirabai, Codename: Assassin and Atlas, and witness Lane ply information out of his latest…acquisition. All this plus revelations about Lex Luthor and Brainiac!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Comic Book Review: Wonder Woman #36

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan
Cover by Aaron Lopresti

Plot: As most people do after dramatically loosing someone with whom they care about so deeply that they are willing to give themselves unconditionally to that person, Wonder Woman finds a way to cope with the situation.  And as luck would have it, Giganta was not a very hard person to find and take her (Wonder Woman) anger out on.  However, an odd bond between the princess and the gigantus arch enemy form as they both find themselves without the ones they care about.  This, in turn, leads to the common bond…how much they hate men.

As Wonder Woman spills her guts to one of her most hated enemies, we find ourselves (the readers) going through flashbacks of the heart-cringing break-up between Dianna and Tom.  

We are then reminded of the vow Wonder Woman makes to face Achilles and his army of “Manazons” and goes out to fight them along with Giganta.  Wonder Women seems victorious and attempts to make a truce with Achilles and pleads for him to defy Zeus and his rule over the Amazonian territory.  But we are left with a cliffhanger that not even Wonder Woman saw coming.

My Thoughts: Gail Simone is nothing if not a great emotional storyteller.  The flashback scenes of her and Tom having the conversation concerning their “future” were an amazing piece of work.  To show Wonder Woman in this incredibly vulnerable state is not a common occurrence and gives so much life to the story.  Even she, the Amazon Princess, displays a sense of timidness and has difficulty-showing Tom how much she truly cares for him.   This gives Wonder Woman a “human” side to her that we as readers needed to see.  But even after that Oscar worthy bit of oratory, Tom can’t see himself with Diana any longer.  And the moment Tom walks away from Diana, and how she quietly stands there watching him walk away, was almost unbearable.

In keeping with this “human-side of Wonder Woman” theme going, Wonder Woman’s plea to Achilles almost equaled the break-up sequence.  To be honest, I think Achilles is just as honorable and likeable as Wonder Woman.  He has this human side to him that says to me he wants to do good and is completely sincere about it.  Whether you agree with his choice of allegiance is beside the point, he truly is Wonder Woman’s equal in almost every way.  It makes me wonder where Simone going with this?  They both (Wonder Woman and Achilles) have a great deal of respect for one another, and it’s displayed in the way they communicate to one another.  Could Simone be leading Wonder Woman into a new relationship with Achilles?  They do seem to be made for one another don’t they?

Lopresti is, again amazing.  I say it all the time, but I can’t stop saying it.  Lopresti is an amazing artist who gives each of his characters a filled out look.  No one ever looks disproportionate, nor do they ever seem to be out of place within the art of the book.  I can’t complain at all.

Overall:  A great issue.  Again, I think Wonder Woman will be making the top three for this month’s publications.

5 out of 5 stars

This Month: Wonder Woman #37
It's a civil war – and the world hangs in the balance! Zeus has made Achilles ruler of the Amazons, and Diana finds herself in battle against the people she loves most! And what is the secret behind the sudden rash of pregnancies on Paradise Island?