Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Comic Book Review: Green Arrow #3

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: J.T. Krul
Penciller: Diogenes Neves
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Art: Mauro Cascioli

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
May I just start off by praising Cascioli for one of the best covers I’ve seen this year?  Why can’t DC just hire him to do more art work for DC’s books?  He and Alex Ross are pure masterminds within the comic book genre.

Ok, now onto the story.  My hopes that this book will rise up to become one of DC’s more popular titles has not waivered in the least, but this issue was not what I was hoping for it to be.  The idea is interesting and I can see where Krul is going with the whole story, but the execution was very weak.

We start where we left off last month, with Green Arrow lying on the ground with an arrow smack dab in the middle of his forehead.  But by some miracle, an archer by the same name as a knight of the round table dunks our anti-hero into a forest pool which acts as a Lazarus pit, reviving Ollie to full strength.  During his time submerged, Ollie recalls on his life as a negligent father and husband and goes through what could be equated as a religious journey into his subconscious. 

I’m not sure what I think of the art this month.  Half it is very impressive, and the other half felt lazy.  The scenes I was most unimpressed with were with our main character and Galahad in the heart of the forest surprisingly enough.  When the story went other places outside of the forest, and dealing with back stories of other characters involved, that’s when my eyes perked up and became much more visually involved.

I found the addition of Galahad to be odd and out of place, even though I’m sure that’s what Krul is going for huh?  But also to discover that Galahad wasn’t Green Arrow’s attacker was even more daunting.  That and his random bit of oratory seemed very contrived and preachy.  I certainly hope that Galahad becomes a little more useful then a mere “all knowing” presence in this section of Green Arrows life.

And speaking of out of place plot devices, where the fuck did those dogs come from?  If Galahad and Ollie are the only ones in the forest, then who is the rightful owner of the rabid K-9’s? 

I certainly enjoyed the idea behind issue #3, making this about Green Arrow’s fight against himself.  It was hard to determine what the hell Ollie was shooting at until the outline of the arrow and hood on the shadowy figure became much more defined and clear.  However, the idea that Ollie is going to have to fight his evil, inner demon (at least that’s what I deduced from that last page) is a little too hokey for my tastes.  But it is creative none-the-less.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
A good idea does not always equal a great story.  And while the “battling of one’s self” is a proven effective plot progression, the execution within this issue of that idea was not successfully planned out.  There are still many interesting parts of this title that keep its potential strong, such as the mysterious woman who has taken over Queen Industries, so my fingers are still crossed!

Rating: 6.66 out of 10
Writing: 7
Art: 7
Themes: 6

Monday, August 30, 2010

Comic Book Review: Gotham City Sirens #15

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Andres Guinaldo
Inker: Lorenzo Ruggiero
Colorist: JD Smith
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Art: Guillem March

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
This is the type of storyline I like to see coming out of the Gotham City Sirens; it’s bold, fresh, and separate from all the other titles, meaning you don’t have to rely on plot from other comics in order to understand this one.  It’s such a shame to see such a good idea fall short of its intended customer satisfaction.  That’s not too say this issue isn’t fun to read, there are simply a few unexplained details and uncharacteristic events that go all through out #15.

Ivy has become an unknowing slave-agent to her new flora boyfriend from another world.  Harley and Catwoman make a daring attempt to save their friend, but Ivy’s powerful green thumb (Or in this case purple) is more than the Siren duo can handle.  It takes Harley crawling on her stomach towards Ivy, pleading for her to remember they are friends and that this plant-guy is merely using her to progress his own personal goal.  Ivy comes to her senses and tricks her seducer into kissing her, killing him off almost immediately.

My problem with this issue comes in many small increments.  Overall the issue is fun to read and very creative, but there are a few aspects from Ivy and Catwoman that seem very uncharacteristic.

Catwoman has given Batman a run for his money numerous times and has held her own against some of the most powerful creatures in the universe.  Yet when it comes to plant beings from another world, she becomes as delicate as a little kitten.  Yes, there is a moment where Selina is able to slip in a significant attack which throws Ivy off guard, but overall I felt Catwoman was way off her game.  Now this could be to give Harley and Ivy that meaningful exchange as a way of reminding us that the clown and the plant have been best friends for more than a decade, in which case it makes sense.  But I’d prefer to have a stronger Catwoman that has, from time and time again, shown she is just as resilient and intelligent as Batman.

Likewise, I find it interesting that one of most villainous and diabolical characters in the Batman world is so easily manipulated.  This is Ivy’s forte, the ability to manipulate men into doing what she wants them to do, yet she immediately falls for this homely alien plant-man at the drop of a hat.  I would have at least been happy if Ivy stayed a little more cautious about her new boyfriend’s intentions.  I was ecstatic to see Ivy finally figure it all out after Harley’s groveling and put an end to the manipulative alien.

One question is wandering through my head though, is this alien’s queen actually on her way to Earth or not.  It seemed to me that she was already summoned and her arrival was inevitable.  So are we going to see this come up again later on, or is Bedard hoping we forget about that little fact?

Artistically I was not impressed, but it is very hard to move on to anything else after Guillem March has set the bar so high.  It’s nice to see he’s still doing the covers, but the pages within do not speak to the high level of artistic maturity that the cover establishes.  I say this knowing that Guinaldo is talented and has a better eye for art than most artists in the field, but the problem comes mainly with how stiff the characters seem to be.  I felt coloring Ivy in a shade of purple to help establish this “change” of heart she had gone through was a strange and poor choice to make.  I understand why it was done, but there are better colorization choices that could have been made to show Ivy’s evil side.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Gotham City Sirens has been a delight to read ever since #1.  #15 does not boast well for the future.  Ever since Dini left, the quality of storylines has gone down and isn’t getting better.  But keep in mind the Sirens are still fun too read, but don’t expect anything spectacular or thought provoking.  Only pick up this issue if you just want something extra to read.

Rating: 5.67 out of 10
Writing: 7
Art: 5
Themes: 5

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bloggers Of Note: It's A Dan's World

You know, almost everyday I wake and look at the blog updates in my Blogger reader and I have to be honest, the one I look forward to reading the most is "It's A Dan's World."

Living in New Zealand, it's hard for Dan to keep up to date with the rest of American comic readers since shipping priorities keep the U.S.A at the top of the list.  But that doesn't stop Dan from staying faithful to the genre and trying to keep his readers up to date with the latest bit of news for the geeks of the world to read up on.

His writing quality is equal to any other professional journalist in the field and could very well pluck out a story in the comic book field that would be greatly accepted and remembered by fans everywhere.  The ability to produce clear and excellent journalistic posts on his blog that are fun and informative is a talent any writer could strive for.

So if you haven't already, favorite or follow "It's A Dan's World" right now and enjoy a great blog.

Comic Book Review: Superman#702

Literary & Artistic Credits

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: J.P. Mayer
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Art: John Cassaday & David Baron

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
I loved Superman #702, no doubt about it.  But can I just say if I were a non comic book reader, that the cover of this issue would have turned me off completely?  Holy shit!  Please DC, higher me instead of Cassaday and Baron; I can deliver a cover worth looking at.

Ok, sorry, I had to vent.  Typically, comic book company attempts to make the cover the most appealing visual aspect of any comic book they publish, which is why this cover vexes me in ways I’ve never experienced.  I think my gag reflex is about to initiate!  This is one moment where I can truly say my talent level far surpasses what was displayed on this issues cover.

Artistic frustrations aside, #702 finds the Man of Steel still on his walk across America in hopes to “find” himself.  With some unique encounters on the way, like a team of miscreant high schoolers playing basketball, an alien family in hiding, and a tired older man whose level of obliviousness surpasses my own, Superman displays both his need to help those in need, and his condescending inferiority complex in fine form.

Straczynski hits the nail right on the head with his depiction of Superman as a caring person whose conservative outlook on life can make him look like a complete asshole!  Was Mark Miller right with his Red Son storyline from Elseworlds?  If the circumstances were changed, would Superman have become an evil dictator?  #702 certainly causes me to ponder on that very fact.  His boastful attitude as he basically tells the aliens that they have no right to live on American soil without contributing to their community in some way definitely set off my ASS alarm.  I certainly wish the alien family had been more assertive towards the Man of Steel in explaining why he’s an arrogant, pompous prick, but that is the Superhero enigma isn’t it?  Every superhero must go through this guilt trip of knowing they are expected to help the people of the world since they do, in fact, have the ability to stop evil.  Like Ben Parker continually stated before receiving a bullet to the chest, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  I don’t like it any better than the next guy, but when you know you can do something to help, it’s hard not to feel compelled to do so. 

Now while I understand Superman’s motives, I can’t agree with his methods of persuasion.  “Look here, I have a dead man in my arms!  If you don’t help him, you have no moral standing.”  Thanks for the guilt trip Man of Steel, your rhetoric is impeccable.  I guess I felt like Superman was suffering from a “high and mighty” complex which sickened me a bit, especially after how Superman has grown as a character in the last few years.

It was nice to see that Superman and Lois are still making time for each other.  I still think that if I were Lois, I would have put my foot down and told him to forget about it, but it seems they have a genuine respect and love each other enough to fight through this stage of life Superman is going through.  And can I just say that I love that the aliens attitude towards the series finale of Lost mirrors my own?  Straczynski definitely won some points with me...

Apart from the horrendously awful cover, everything seen within is gorgeous.  The alien armored suit flying down into the basement layer of the alien’s home was so good I might have to find a way at blowing this up and making it a poster for my already cluttered office at home.  I was wondering how in the world this could happen without the rest of the world knowing.  But then we see the boys wondering if there was an earthquake happening in their own backyard which quenched my inquisitive feelings towards the whole situation.  And Superman’s basketball game where he plays against the entire band of young adults was wonderfully impressive, even if he broke the rules of not using powers just a tad.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this month’s Superman edition.  It’s hard to imagine taking on a project like this without worrying how it will be received by its readers.  I am happy with how things are going but I do wonder, if this indeed is a 12 month arc, how this is all going to end up on the road ahead.  Oh well, gotta keep my fingers crossed.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Writing: 9
Art: 6 (That cover just killed this rating)
Themes: 9

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman Secret Origin #6

Literary & Artistic Credits

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Art: Frank and Anderson

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Certainly we all can recognize the corny foundation that Superman was built on, correct?  When a hero is created as a warrior for the American people, always claiming he’s here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, and sporting an outfit that greatly resembles out American flag, you can’t help but think corn and cheese.  Within the last few years, however, Superman has evolved into a much more sophisticated character with writers delving into his darker side, having him question himself and the people he saves.  Once “Superman: For Tomorrow” came out, I’ve continually said that it IS the best Superman Story in history.  However, what Geoff Johns has done with Superman: Secret Origin could possibly kick For Tomorrow off the “Greatest Superman Story” bookshelf and replace it with this latest edition in the Superman folklore.

I can only assume that the reason for this timely delay in publication of this issue is due to the remapping of the DC Universe Johns is currently doing.  So knowing that, I can forgive DC for making me wait so long for the proverbial sixth and final issue of this series.  But good grief!  Please, don’t make us wait that long ever again!

The most appealing aspect of this comic for me was how Johns gave Superman that corny edge but not forget about the more serious character that has been established today.  Too many times I think fans forget that Superman is here to protect the people within the comic book world and simply think of him as an awesome, all powerful superhero.  Johns reminds us that Superman, among all his cheesy and corny inspirational speeches, has chosen to protect the people because he can.  Interestingly enough, Superman isn’t taking all of this punishment to save his own life, but rather for the people since General Lane and John Corbin decided that causalities among the Metropolis inhabitants is a minor concern next to killing Superman for the sake of national security.  And it’s within this fight that we see the people of metropolis come to a new realization of Superman; they don’t just accept Superman right off the bat, but they do recognize they have a hero among them and are willing to embrace that and give Superman a chance at their trust.

Like I’ve always said, Gary Frank is THE artist for Superman.  He researched the bright and chipper feel that was in the old, campy Richard Donner Superman films.  But Frank takes an extra step in reminding us of what Superman looked like when fighting after being dragged through dirt and hiding in a sewer system.  The level of detail put into this series on the part of Frank was an incredible achievement.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I couldn’t help but ask myself at the end of #6, “What was the secret?”  Nothing really very new was revealed except the addition of General Sam Lane in the story.  What I think Johns was going for with this series was to reestablish Superman with very little things; There’s a reason for Clark being a stumbling mild mannered reporter, Metropolis seems to be a REAL big and congested city with rude citizens, and the relationship Superman developed in the early years seem much more rooted in realistic terms.  But with that I can’t seem to wonder if “Secret Origin” was a weak title for this fantastic series.  I was anticipating some extraordinary secret to be revealed that would cause us to look at Superman in a new light, possibly bringing in new readers and showing the world that Superman isn’t just corn and cheese.  But sadly, that did not occur.  However, this series was a great success and I may have to purchase this when it comes out in TPB.

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10
Incentive Points: 2

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sketch Project: Batman Jumps The Joker, Part 1

I've decided upon my next sketch project, and it's one I'm really excited about.  While searching the internet for crazy cool nerd stuff, I stumbled on this image...
It's a rather epic piece with that dark, twisted appeal that I love so much.  I was recently asked by a fellow blogger that I should update my followers with the progress of a sketch, simply to show the different stages a sketch of mine goes through until it's finished.  I kind of like this idea and thought I could give it a shot.  But instead of taking a picture, posting it, and then waiting to post another, I will simply put all photos of each sketch stage in one posting.  That way, you can see the progression of this sketch project all in one shot.

Anyways, that's all.  See you guys later!

Wonder Woman Wednesday #3

This photo makes me want to curl up into a little ball and fear for my life!  I have absolutely no idea who did did or where it came from, Google seems to have plenty of WW photos out there.  (Hopefully I don'y a nasty e-mail from someone later about misuse.)

Wonder Woman #602 does actually come out today which will be mailed to me in two weeks.  (sigh)  But Green Arrow and the Sirens are two comics I'll be picking up today, which I'm pretty excited about.  Both had very conflicting endings, one of which left a hero on the ground with an arrow stuck in the middle of his forehead, and the other saw a plant team-up ready to take over the world!  WOO HOO!!!  Comic book excitement at its best I tell ya!

So what are you picking up today?  What is about your titles that you enjoy so much?  please answer in a comment..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #8

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Pencillers: Patrick Gleeson, Ivan Reis & Ardian Syaf
Inkers: Vicente Cifuentes, Rebecca Buchman, Mark Irwin & Ivan Reis
Colorists: Aspen MLT’s Peter Steigerwald with John Starr
Letterer: Rob Clark Jr.
Cover Art: David Finch, Scott Williams & Steigerwald

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
I’ve decided that this story is so compact that, no matter how it ends, I’m going to be so overwhelmed that I’ll never want to read it again.  There’s enough mystery and enough at stake to keep me interested, but I’ll never understand why Johns and Tomasi felt it so necessary to make Brightest Day so busy to begin with.  What a relief it was for me to find that the focus of this issue was more on Hawkworld that our two winged avengers have found themselves trapped on.  Martian Manhunter is given a spotlight, but truly, this issue gave us a chance to slow down, breathe, and take in one story without worrying about everything else going on.

Martian Manhunter sees a glimpse of what happened to M’Gann and who her attacker was.  But at the center of this whole fiasco is, of course, (We all saw it coming!) the forested Star City.  But nothing more is revealed other than the red eyed, bald-headed, poorly dressed alien flying downwards into the heart of the forest itself.

Hawkman goes on the search for Hawkgirl but runs into what seems like a religious calling in the eyes of the Hawkworld inhabitants.  But Hawkman need not worry about his beloved too much since she’s drop kicking everyone’s ass that gets in her way of escaping.  That is until her (gasp) mother shows up!  Despite a mere distraction on her part which caused her to not mind her surroundings, Hawkgirl just showed us that the “girl” portion of her name really doesn’t apply to her womanly personality.  If Hawkgirl ever gets her own series, sign me up as a regular subscriber!

I won’t go to heavily into the art as most of you who read my blog consistently already know what my thoughts are.  But I’ll give it to DC, this issue was tremendously smoother in the artist transition.  If my scanner didn’t FINALLY kill over, I would have scanned in Hawkgirl’s triumphant and exciting burst towards us, the readers.  The intensity in that scene, along with all of the other events happening on Hawkworld was spectacular.  If only Syaf could have stayed out of this issue, I would have given the art a 10!

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Brightest Day is slowly kicking off into a much more solid and comprehensive story, enough so to keep me reading it to the very end.  But to be honest, I don’t know how in the world the series is going to end without giving all of its readers an aneurism.  There’s way too much going on and I don’t think this series is going to be as successful as Johns and Tomasi hope it to be.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Writing: 8
Art: 8
Themes: 8

Monday, August 23, 2010

Comic Book Review: Kill Shakespeare #1 - 4

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Anthony Del Col, Conner McCreery
Penciller and Inker: Andy Belanger
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Robbie Robbins

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Kill Shakespeare had entered into my ears the first time by way of NPR, when writer Anthony Del Col had been interviewed on one of the stations many shows, Talk Of The Nation.  While the concept sounded interesting, I threw this comic book endeavor by the writer as nothing more than an unintelligent spoof of Shakespeare’s classic stories and a cheap way of earning a few extra bucks.  I mean really, how can many people take a title like “Kill Shakespeare” seriously?  When I first heard of the title, the initial response that popped out in my head was “Oh, so subtract ‘Bill’ and insert ‘Shakespeare’ and you have an uncreative title for an unintelligent plot base.”  Needless to say, I was unimpressed and had no desire to pick up Kill Shakespeare. 

A few weeks later I received an e-mail from Anthony Del Col himself, requesting that I read his comics and review them on my blog.  (Who knew my blog was read by anyone important huh?)  As an incentive, he sent me the first four issues of the series via e-mail in PDF format absolutely free. (The fourth issue hadn’t been released at the time I received the e-mail by the way.)  I responded with a positive response to Mr. Del Col agreeing to read and review his comics with the assurance that I will be completely and utterly honest with my opinions of his work.  Having no second thoughts on the part of Del Col, I read the first four issues the very next day.  And, believe it or not, this series might actually become one of my favorites!

Del Col surprised me by keeping the comedy to a minimum and the drama strong and fierce.  Even more so, Del Col not only gives this series a depth beyond expectations, but continues in the literary quality that Shakespeare established in his day.  The plot is that the characters from all of Shakespeare’s stories have come to the realization that some wizard with the same name as their creator has a power beyond recognition, a power hidden within his quill.  King Richard the 3rd requests the assistance of Hamlet in a quest to not only attain the quill, but also kill its owner.  But with the help of famous characters like Juliet, Othello, and Falstaff, Hamlet soon discovers that not everything is as it seems.

Del Col does an amazing job at making an entirely new story with these classic characters; keeping true to what their individual stories make them out to be as characters while still making them new and vibrant all at the same time.  I was shocked to see how creative the story is.  I was expecting a comedy, but instead I discovered a piece of literary work that would equal the intense and vivacious nature that Shakespeare had brought into his stories centuries ago. 

Most pleasing was how Del Col used the original characterizations for each character that Shakespeare had established when he wrote them, but there was no shout outs and copied dialogue that dulled or dumbed down the story.  Rather, the dialogue and literary components felt new and fresh even though it still felt as if I was reading one of Shakespeare’s actual plays. 

But what made this read most pleasing was the fact that it IS a comic book.  How many times did we read Shakespeare in high school with no visual counterpart?  Teachers constantly expected their students to read the plays without playing a video of one of the productions.  (At least that was my experience.) Kill Shakespeare allows us to read a Shakespearean style story in the way it was intended…by seeing it!

Andy Belanger, having never heard of him before, is an amazing artist.  His style is very reminiscent of Amanda Conner’s with her work on Power Girl.  The cartoonish style did not detract from the story in the least.  In fact, it enhanced it.  It allows us to read a very serious story with the understanding that this is supposed to be a fun and refreshing read.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I agree with what Del Col said about the idea behind the story, and hopefully people CAN become excited about reading Shakespeare after reading these comics.  This was such a good idea and I’m glad Del Col and McCreery turned this into a comic book rather than a video game.  Hopefully, after this arc is over, the literary duo will continue with this series as the potential for Kill Shakespeare to be one of the best comic book titles to come around in a long time is HUGE!

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10 (issues 1-4)
Art: 10 (issues 1-4)
Themes: 10 (issues 1-4)

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the trailer for the series…

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back - The Silent Film

I can't put into words how incredibly awesome and appropriate this is for Star Wars, especially with this scene!  Go on youtube and you can find a lot more where this came from!  Or just wait for the video to finish and open up one of the related videos.  Enjoy!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Top 10 Comic Titles Of 2010

I know it's only August, but I think at this point, if a comic book title hasn't popped out as significantly different from all the rest, it's probably not going to happen now.  And even with only four months to go, having four really GREAT issues of the entire year really doesn't make the title itself one of the best.

The criteria I use to determine the top ten overall titles is mainly writing and artistic qualities.  other aspects can come into play as well, but what sticks out for me the most when choosing what to pick up and read is the story and art.

Keep in mind that this list does not include miniseries, only on going titles that have consistently been publishing every month of the year.  This list, while does not include anything dealing with Marvel Comics, is not excluding anything outside the DC realm.  However, since I mostly read DC, you won't find much anything else besides DC books on this list.  So, without further delay, here is my top ten best comic book titles of 2010....

10. Green Lantern Corps
Amazingly, the Corps constantly brought amazing stories to the table.  Peter J. Tomasi has an incredible talent for keeping a compact and busy comic book alive and interesting.
9. Green Hornet
I've enjoyed every issue of the Green Hornet thus far.  It's only downfall is it's predictability.  I love Kevin Smith and how he's trying to bring this title back, but the story is following a typical Hollywoodish style where nothing is surprising and everything is formulaic.  However, despite it's predictability, it's still a fun adventure story of a son discovering his father's secret past and how it's affecting him in the long him.  And the art might very well be the best this year.  (I still have to think about that though.
8. Superman
James Robinson ruined Superman like no other, but watching the character endure such a bad 12 months last year and James Robinson finally delivering better stories towards the end of his time writing, I can't help but put this title in the number 8 slot.  And now with JMS calling the shots, the potential the comic has to grow back from it's awful state is astronomical.
7. Justice Society of America
Bill Willingham did a fantastic job with his Fatherland story arc, but overall this series has been an absolute joy to read.  DC has taken full advantage of this classic team and the interesting stories it's culminates.
6. Green Lantern
This is without a doubt Geoff Johns baby.  Having been writing the title since issue #1, Johns has put so much sweat and hard work into making this title one of DC's best of all time.  This year, with the events of Blackest Night, Green Lantern has put out some of the most climactic stories within comics in the last ten years.
5. Supergirl
Sterling Gates took a character that was heavily unfavored by fans and boost her up into DC Comics stardom.  As with all the titles in my top five, Supergirl is one of my more anticipated titles.  Supergirl has grown in maturity so very steadily as a reader, I've been privileged to seen this growth and how Gates has appropriately given her the proper treatment needed to be successful.
4. Wonder Woman
If there is a superhero that is underestimated in how great she truly is, it's Wonder Woman.  With a corny name and outfit, it's hard for the uneducated to become excited about the Amazon Princess.  But thanks to Gail Simone, Wonder Woman continually impressed readers and become much more respected within the genre, so much that fans demanded a re-establishing of the old issue numbering for her 600th issue.  With artist extraordinarily Aaron Lopresti, he and Simone took Wonder Woman to place worthy of noting in the archives of DC Comics.
3. Action Comics
I was never a huge fan of Actions Comics until about two years ago when it was decided that Superman DIDN'T have to be the central focus of the book.  Currently Lex Luthor has taken center stage, but recently it has given room for the newest super duo Flamebird and Nightwing.  It was a nice refreshing change and gave other characters a chance to shine in what was consider a Superman book.
2. Power Girl 
Words can't describe how incredibly awesome Power Girl has been been.  The excitement for this series to begin from fans was not overpowered by the series continual excellence all the way up to #14.  Judd Winick will serve the title well, but nothing will ever top what Palimotti, Grey, and Conner brought to this title.

Best Comic Title Of 2010
The Secret Six
Secret Six has been nothing but perfection in my opinion.  I have not read an issue yet since #1 that has not excited me beyond my expectations.  Every month I pick up Secret Six, and every month I'm blown away with only one issue that I can remember that only partially impressed me.  Gail Simone has put her heart and soul into this title and it has paid off exceptionally well.  The idea of making a band of villains the focus of an on going series is one that must be handled carefully.  Simone has given this band twisted metas a unique sense of morality while still being immoral.  It's clever, funny, intelligent, wonderfully drawn and perfect in every way.

Saturdays With Karen Alloy #2

I think Karen is fabulous, hilarious, witty and down right outspoken.  I love her videos...

I heard about this  same type of thing from a friend via facebook.  Apparently a women sat her baby down on same table that he was sitting at.  The child was screaming at the top of his lungs, kicking and knocked over over drinking glass.  When he asked the woman (calmly) if she could find some other place to set her baby while she looked through her purse, she became snippy with him, saying he should be polite enough to make room for children.  It's hard to believe how rude people can be sometimes right?

Please Be Patient With Me

Hey guys, sorry to announce that I can't blog for the next couple of days.  I have some things to attend to and my wife's parents are in town.  This probably means my comic blog elite status will plummet, but I'll survive.  In the meantime, enjoy a Nice punch in the face from the Caped Crusader.  (What?  Are you saying if Batman punched you in the face you wouldn't go tell your friends about it?)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Give Me Moore Comics...

Recently I've been catching up on my love for Alan Moore.There's something about his writing that really gets me.  What I've been concentrating on the most are his stories within America's Best Comics, almost finishing up the entire Tom Strong and Promethea Series.  Once I finish book six of Tom Strong, and Books four and five of Promethea, I'll begin knocking out "Top Ten" which about a world where EVERYONE has superpowers and a secret identity.

Terra Obscura is also on my "To Read" list, but but it's more towards the bottom.  I still need to read his infamous piece of work From Hell, a story about Jack the Ripper, and Lost Girls, depicting Alice, Snow White, Cinderella, and a lot of other fairy tale women in pornographic situations.  Seeing as how those two books are fairly hefty of in content, I'll need time before tackling anything else Moore has written.  Graphic novels such as Terra Obscura, Swamp Thing, and his novel Voice of the Fire are all on my list for the Lost Girls after math.

It really is too bad that Moore has stopped writing for DC, he's been such an influence on the comic world.  I have been unable to figure out what his next literary endeavor is going to be, if he has any at all.  (Which I'm sure he does.)  In any case, Watchmen is still on my bookshelf, needing to be reread.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

History of Batman

A very nicely put together video on the history of Batman.  Video by Dominique Agri from Comics Period.

Batman from Dominique Agri on Vimeo.

Wonder Woman Wednesday #2

It's new comic book day!  But since it's Wednesday, we pay homage to the Amazon Princess, who may or may not be a princess any more.  This cover comes from Wonder Woman #602 and the new back story that she's under going.  You have to wonder, do the bracelets still represent the Amazons time in slavery, or has that concept been dropped?

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed with this new storyline JMS, I think it has a lot of potential.  But part of me wants the old Wonder Woman to come back, even only after one issue of the new and "improved" one.  Oh well, in any case, I'll survive and continually read this classic comic book.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Comic Book Review: Birds of Prey #4

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ed Benes, Adriana Melo
Inker: Ed Benes, J.P. Mayer
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Swands
Cover Art: Alina Urusov

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
I feel like some great revelation was given away in this issue, somehow letting us know who the White Canary is.  Do you feel the same way?  Black Canary was so sure she knew the identity of her white counterpart, and the conversation they had during their dual made me believe I should have known it as well.  It all connects to the flash back introduction of course, the baby whose father wanted her thrown into a river grew up to be the judo chopping assassin.  I’ve gone through Birds of Prey #4 seven times but for the life of me, I still can’t figure out who the White Canary is!  Did I miss it somehow or am I still sane?

The hectic nature of the story certainly comes off effectively.  Gail Simone presents three different plotlines, all of which are completely separate from each other but put all of the birds in life threatening situations.  Simone’s ability to keep readers at the edge of the seats is masterful. 

Each storyline continually bounces back and forth never truly giving the readers time to comprehend the situation before the next panel.  This is a similar theme from last month, but Simone steps it up a notch this month.  With this fast paced toggling, the sense of urgency in the story is heightened and intensified.  In that sense, the story glows with literary certitude that Simone has a plan for the Bird’s that will blow us away.  Yet, despite the intense story telling, I can’t help but feel that this issue left me in an empty state.

Simone is my favorite writer in comics right now and could very well write a story that would equal the impact that Alan Moore’s Watchmen had on the comic book genre.  However, the end of issue #4 felt very unsatisfactory and empty, as if Simone was forced to keep the suspense going when it wasn’t merited.  The story led me to believe that some climactic and surprising truth would be revealed on the last page, but nothing of the sort happened.  Now you may be saying to yourself, “What?!?  Jimmy, c’mon!  White Canary just allied herself with Black Canary!  This is a twist a comic book lover dreams of right?”  But I would argue that White Canaries sudden change in tactic is very contrived, or at least feels that way.  I know Simone planed this from the start, but it could have been approached much more effectively. 

Again, artist toggling is not my favorite way of reading a comic.  Benes and Melo’s artistic styles are like night and day, so different that with each page turn you feel like they tore out one page from 22 different comic books and bound them together to form Birds of Prey #4.  Benes is an amazing artist, and Melo is above average.  If I were to read a comic where Melo did the art on every page, I would be just fine since, in and of itself, both artists are very capable and talented.  But with the terribly jaunting difference in styles, it’s hard to not feel like my eyeballs continually take a hard whack to the retinas tearing away at the cell structure.

But I must say, Ed Benes certainly knows how to make his characters look evil and possessed…

Now, to say the art was less than satisfactory should not speak towards the incredible detail of the cover.  Alina Urusov did unspeakably well and gave us a cover that pops out at us and spares no expense in detail.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
So White Canary has been discovered, even though we don’t really know who this is yet.  I wonder, once her identity and terrible tragedy is revealed, if White Canary will reform and be welcome as apart of the team.  What do you think?

Rating: 8.17 out of 10
Writing: 9
Art: 7
Themes: 8.5

Monday, August 16, 2010

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #891

Literary & Artistic Credits

Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Pete Woods
Inker: Woods & Bit
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Art: David Finch & Peter Steigerwald

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
If you were to ask me who the greatest comic book villain in history is, I would say the Joker; pretty obvious answer right?  But if you were to ask me who’s the most intelligent of all comic villains, Lex Luthor would definitely take the top spot.  Superman is one of the few superheroes whose arch enemy is a mere mortal with no super powers, just a rich business tycoon who has a very developed brain.  And that’s one of the most interesting aspects about Luthor isn’t it?  He’s consistently been a thorn in Superman’s side and has come so very close to defeating the Man of Steel.  The obsessive love-hate relationship with Superman is one of the more interesting character traits of Luthor; his lust for power is immense, but will never be quenched until he has reached a level that surpasses Superman.  #891 of Action Comics brings us an interesting character study of the most intelligent villains in comic book history, displaying how Luthor’s confidence and doubt in himself are always at odds, and the catalyst that sets him over the edge is the Man of Steel.

The book takes us not so much on journey through history, but more so on a fantastic trek through the mind of Luthor.  The oversized larva known as Mr. Mind is keeping Luthor’s brain secluded as a way of digging deeper into the thought process of Superman’s arch enemy.  While Mr. Mind is in control of where Luthor’s imagination ends up, these worlds within his mind are obviously situations Luthor has either dreamt about or fits into his mode of thinking, all of which post him in positions of power and glory; the hero of a clan, a creator of life, and the town sheriff saving the day from the evil outlaw.  (Who has a striking resemblance to the hero of Metropolis.)  Mr. Mind’s purpose is to keep Luthor contained within his own fantasies while the amazingly cute caterpillar attempts some sort of scientific investigation.  But Luthor proves to be a little more of a challenge than the larva Telly-Tubby can handle as Luthor consistently takes control over his dreams, ultimately defeating the worm.

Despite the complexity and interesting nature of this comic, the story does seem to run rather quickly.  This would have been better served as a two issue arc which would allow Cornell to flesh Luthor out even more.

With this minor defect, the story overall is very enjoyable, providing us within insight into three states of Luthor’s mind, all of which allow Luthor to display positive and negative aspects of his life.  But within all of his positive and negative energy, he is able to harness them into one explosive moment where he combines his hatred and love for Superman to deliver the Coup De Grace on Mr. Mind.  It’s interesting to see Lex Luthor call upon the image of his most hated rival, showing that with all his hatred for Superman, he still wishes to be as much like him as possible.

Who the hell is CAFU?  Is it a company, and alias for someone’s name, what?  It’s so confusing.  Pete Woods I do know of, however, and love his artwork.  It took some time for it to grow on me, but I now love to see his name on the cover of any comic.  While the stylization of all the characters remained similar per Woods style, the different sceneries were very much in tune with its known culture.  I was a bit confused about the opening sequence; I couldn’t figure out if this was ancient, mythological Greece or some type of Viking Clan.  It probably doesn’t matter, but it did stick out none-the-less.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I won’t lie, Luthor has been smartly taken advantage of and fleshed out numerous times, usually for the better.  But I’m not sure a comic has ever taken advantage of a character as well as #891 did.  It displayed his dark side well enough, but also brought out the confidence Luthor has in himself too.  So far, the Luthor-based Actions Comics is coming along very well.

Rating: 8.83
Writing: 8.5
Themes: 9
Art: 9

The Reality Of Becoming A Superhero

Click To Hear Broadcast  ---> This American Life: Superpowers

National Public Radio always intrigues me with the the types of stories they broadcast.  They seem to be the only radio station around anymore that actually cares about the value of the good story.  With shows like Talk of the Nation and A Prairie Home Companion, NPR delivers some of the most entertaining shows in radio today.  But one show I never had the desire to listen to was This American Life.

a few days ago, I listened to a broadcast titled "Godless America."  I loved every minute of it and decided to listen to the show more frequently.  How astonished was I when I discovered the next broadcast was all about Superheroes and the people who try to become them!  My wife and I, while doing other things, decided to stream the broadcast and see what it was all about.

If you've ever wondered if you would rather have the super power of flight or invisibility, this broadcast may help you in your decision.  Enjoy!

Click To Hear Broadcast  ---> This American Life: Superpowers

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Sketch: Bullets and Braclets

I finished another Wonder Woman Sketch.  Can you guess where my inspiration came from?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comic Book Review: Supergirl #54

Book Information
Written by Sterling Gates
Penciled by Jamal Igle
Inked by Jon Sibal
Colored by Jamie Grant
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover by Shane Davis & Grant

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
WHOA!  When did Olsen become a heart-throbbin’ biker boy?  Maybe I missed something by not following his two issue mini-series two years ago, but this was a complete shocker to me regardless.  This could quite possibly be the GREATEST entrance a comic book character has ever made in the history of the genre.  Olsen saving a kid from a fiery explosion while poppin’ a wheelie on his motorcycle, sheer awesomeness!  And he’s pretty swave while doing it too.  Does this mean Jimmy is actually going to start being cool?  Like...Fonzy cool?  say it ain't so!  But, I guess with that brown leather jacket and his greaser hair-do, he does have a little dreamy look to him...

Oh Jimmy, so dreamy...

Wait, what was I supposed to do?...Oh yeah, review Supergirl #54.  Gates once again brings everything to the table and holds nothing back, throwing every little plot twist, curve ball, and kick to the crotch he can think of.  Bizarrogirl, just like in the final page of last month’s issue, is terrifyingly freaky, even more so than the Bizarro Superman.  (Thanks Jamal Igle!)  There is a certain “mummified” quality to her; with the pale crackling skin, red lifeless eyes, and disgustingly black rotting teeth, it’s almost as if a gentle breeze would knock her on the ground, shattering her into bits.  Until, of course, you see her blow one big wholesome breath of hot air at Supergirl scorching the end of her cape.  Gates gave Bizarrogirl all the characteristics of Bizarro, but added a much more fierce and violent nature to her, making her exceptionally scary.

Oh Jimmy, So dreamy…

Now as much as I appreciate the fact that they aren’t drawing out this “I am Supergirl…no more” phase in Kara’s life, I found it odd that Kara missed flying around in her red and blue suit so much even though she’s only been “NOT” Supergirl for less than a day…if that.  But it did lead into a very interesting and identity revealing conversation between Lana and Kara over the phone.  I guess Cat Grant has found her way of getting even for that very rude moment Supergirl called the illustrious reporter’s boobs fake huh?  Oh the hassle of being a hot news reporter, and speaking of hot…

Oh Jimmy, so dreamy…

Remember when this run of Supergirl began, and Kara looked like a thirteen year old slut?  Yeah, Jamal Igle’s treatment of Supergirl is much more appealing.  If you like slutty looking girls, that’s fine, to each his own.  But Igle is perfect in making Kara cute and innocent looking while still giving her that sexy appeal.  I guess it’s true, nerd girls are the hottest girls in town.  Speaking of hot nerds…

Oh Jimmy, so dreamy…

Aside from Supergirl’s nerd sex appeal, Igle and Sibal’s team-up creates a genuinely seemless display of art that truly captures your attention.  It’s an incredible thing to make stunning pieces of art, it’s another for the art to make you feel exactly what the characters feel; I could sense the pain coming from Lana Lang and her bruised body, I could feel Bizarrogirl’s hand pushing up against Jimmy’s face keeping him silent, and I could taste the wind flowing through Supergirl’s cape while in the air.  Igle and Sibal have just pushed themselves up into the running for best comic book artists of 2010.

My Awesomely Climactic Conclusion
I was a little worried about the quickly dismissed new lifestyle that Kara wanted so badly for herself, but the bulk of the issue was so well done, that minor distraction didn’t affect me at all.  I loved this issue.  It was fun, tense, angst driven, and full of life.  Now all I have to do is dream of Jimmy…

Writing: 10
Themes: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10 out of 10
+ 3 Incentive Points