Thursday, September 30, 2010

Movie Review: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

So Here’s What The Film Is About…
So here we are, yet again in the midst of another DC animated movie release.  This one once again brings the caped crusader and the Man of steel back together for a showdown with one of DC’s most powerful villains, Darkseid.  (Does anyone else think that name is corny and stupid?)  However, an additional player in thrown into the mix, Kara Zor-El, otherwise known as Supergirl, who finds herself unable to speak English and unable to remember who she is.

With the help of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of her Amazonian sisters, Kara learns the native language (because English is the native tongue in the world of comics right?) and begins her journey to discover what it means to be an Earth Girl.  While Kara ventures out on this journey of self-discovery and reuniting with her cousin Kal, Darkseid watches over this Kara Zor-El very closely and decides that she is the perfect leader for his furies on Apocalypse. 

A few punches and brawls later, Kara is kidnapped and manipulated into thinking Darkseid is her only chance at a normal life, pitting her against Superman and the rest of his gang.  Now the challenge begins of bringing Kara back and defeating Darkseid, throwing him back in the fiery pit of a planet he calls home. What will happen?  I’m sure you can figure it out.

And Here’s What I Thought About It…
You know, I DID like the film, but it has a lot of minor problems which pop up numerous times that gave me an inconsistent feeling as a viewer.  I wasn’t expecting much anyway as I wasn’t a huge fan of the arc in the comics to begin with, but it felt even MORE contrived than it did a few years ago when I read it the first time.  The choices made to push this story forward were very poor and hurt the story more than it should. 

The Doomsday fight between superman and the rest of the trinity pack felt very unnecessary, even if it did lead to a diversion in kidnapping Kara.  But having clones that don’t bleed but aren’t robots came off more comical than dramatic to me.  Likewise, Kara and her shopping spree felt very late 80’s/early 90’s; it felt as if I was watching an episode of that horrid show, Jem and the Holograms.  You remember it don’t ya?...
It was very out of place and made me look around to see if anyone else was thinking the same thing I was. 

Casting, overall, was very well done.  Having Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy return as the voices of both Superman and Batman was a great choice.  Even after 15 years of voicing these heroes, they still seem to enjoy it.  And bringing in Edward Asner to once again voice Granny Goodness was a stroke of genius; it gives us a strange sense of awkwardness resulting in a sexual identity crisis.  But Summer Glau was disappointing as Supergirl.  I expected her to be a little more riveting being a huge fan of her performance in Firefly.  But then again she didn’t really say a whole lot in that series huh?  She played the character off as a girl with little emotional attachments and even less livelihood.  Now that could be what the director was going for, but I would imagine Kara to show a little more excitement in the new world she’s become apart of.  There seemed to be a huge disconnect from what Summer was verbalizing vs. what was being displayed on Kara’s face.

The animation was an incredible, a lot better than I thought it was going to be.  I am glad it moved past the clumsy and unappealing style that was portrayed in Public Enemies and gave each hero a proportional body structure.  The fight scenes were quite detailed, even with the incredibly dull Doomsday battle.  Wonder Woman and Barda is probably the best animated battle scene I’ve seen from DC thus far.  I did find Superman to be a little odd to look at as he resembled a combination of an American boy, a Chinese male, and a feminine man all in one.  And as far as Batman is concerned, I wondered how often I was going to have scenes where his entire body was covered by his massively black cape and cowl, only showing his chin and mouth.

That final battle between Supergirl and Superman was pretty epic and kept my attention the whole way through.  The usage of different camera angles, light and detail in that ten minutes was intense and the best part of the entire film from an action standpoint.

While the story in and of itself isn’t particularly great, it still presents an interesting viewpoint to consider.  Sure, Superman was born on Krypton but raised as a regular human being who later discovered his destiny.  But here, we have Kara Zor-El who was raised as an alien knowing full well what her potential was coming to Earth.  What does one do when they are born as a superhero?  Kara must now face something that Clark never did, embrace a society 100% different from that of her now deceased planet of Krypton.  And while the choices made to make this sentiment happen in the film wasn’t as good as it could have been, it’s still an interesting and creative idea.

This film is worth the purchase from my end of things.  However, it may not be a worthy purchase for everyone.  I would recommend Under the Red Hood to anyone, comic book fan or not.  But with this film, you might want to rent it…or no wait, Blockbusters going down under…you might want to Netflix it and see what you think first.

And for your consideration, the official trailer for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Flash #5

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Manapul & Buccellato

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Where does Geoff John’s heart lie? (Other than with Green Lantern…) Why, with The Flash of course!  Johns seems to be luckier any other writer on the planet because he always lands the titles he cares about the most.  The Flash has been a delight to read from beginning to now; and with only five issues in the run, it’s still showing more potential and gusto than I could have hoped for.

The story has so much going on that Johns is justified in stretching the arc out as far as it has.  Most arcs we find today are prolonged for the sake of making it six to twelve issues long.  Johns is giving this Flash story so much meat that it leaves you wanting more.  Barry Allen is presented with the ultimate minority report, (Thanks Spielberg!)  going to jail for a crime he didn’t commit, or allow the inevitable to occur which results in the death of a human life.  And with Barry’s wife in jeopardy, Captain Boomerang on the loose, and the dilemma with the Rogues and Renegades, this Flash installment is nothing but pure excitement and thrills.

Speaking of thrills, Manapul certainly takes us on a roller coaster ride of sparks, flashes, and lighting bolt trails.  The structure and maturity in his artistry and talent is beginning to stick out as an unmatched quality among the comic book gods of art.  Even the depth, presented by colorist Cipriano, is so immensely defined and intense that Ed Benes could be challenged to the ump-teenth degree.

I do have some complaints about how much this title is tying in with Blackest Night and Brightest Day.  I really wanted the Flash to start off fresh and be able to stand on it’s own without referring back to Geoff John’s incredible hit mini-series.  Continuity is important, but can become a bit cumbersome in the midst of a fantastic story.

And of course, how many times have we seen a superhero go on trial by a futuristic police force, or an intergalactic alien government, leaving the hero clueless to the accusations. (That damned trial of Superman back from my childhood really left a bad taste in my mouth.)  And I really do wish we could move past the whole time paradox that exists within our comic books.  I understand it comes along with the territory of science fiction, but honestly, it seems to pop up more often than it should.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Apart from some minor gripes, this issue is a fantastic read and I recommend it to all.  Now with Iris in danger and the Flash on trial for something he hasn’t done yet, I can’t help but wait with great anticipation on what will happen next.  I wish comics didn’t have to be limited to 22 pages.

Rating: 9.66 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 9

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finally Freed Up!

So I've been super busy these last two weeks with my chorus preparing for contest and a lot of other things involving my new job with Sprint.  But things have finally calmed down and I can get back to my blog more consistently.

My chorus, The Sound of the Rockies, won our district contest this weekend with a scoring average of 90.8% which is a record high for us in districts.  It is lower than our scoring average at internationals in July where we scored a 92.3, but this contest was merely so we could qualify for next years international contest.

We also had a good turn out in the quartet contest where the top ten quartets were almost nothing but quartets from the Denver area, all of which had membership with Sound of the Rockies.  The first place winning quartet was from out of state, but 2nd, 3rd, and 5th place went to Denver quartets.  I've posted some videos below from the contest of some the quartets that competed this weekend.  Enjoy!  These are videos I took from my tiny little digital camcorder....

I'll be posting comic related stuff like reviews, news, etc first thing tomorrow!

2nd place quartet, Revolution

Genetic Harmony.  These guys weren't actually competing.  The lead and bass are the current international champions in another quartet and decided to just put together a "just for fun" quartet and sing for evaluation only.  But it turns out they posted a score that would have given them a 3rd place finish.  the baritone is the father of the lead and the tenor is the son of the bass.

Storm Front!  These guys are the current international champion quartet and they are from our district.  The lead sing in the chorus and the baritone is our director.  They are, without a doubt, one of the funniest quartets in the history of the barbershop harmony society.  Since they are the current international champs who won in July, the district decided to give them a special spot in the show after the contest was done.  If you are familiar with barbershoppers, you'll relate to this video very well...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blog Delay...will it ever stop?!?!?

Hey guys, so I've been CRAZY busy with my chorus getting ready for competition and all the extra rehearsals, which is why there have been no updates for a few days.  I'm super sorry about that.

I'm going to Layton Utah for the competition and my chorus will win most likely, but after this weekend I'll have more time to dedicate to writing and posting.  In the mean time, enjoy this pretty awesome video by my favorite youtuber, itsjustsamerandomguy putting an ad up for the New York Comic Con...

Monday, September 20, 2010

1967 Wonder Woman Screen Test

I'm so glad they picked Linda Carter.  Although this girl could be a great model for the young girls of today huh? (blah!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rorshach's Journal: September 18, 2010...Sorry For The Delay

It's been slow this week, I know.  I have been kind of busy lately with being on-call with my job, having two chorus rehearsals a week and also attempting to get a quartet put together.  My time has been limited, and even when I have time to write, I use that time to sleep or read.  I hope you guys can forgive me and once this weekend is over, I should be able to get right back on track!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rorchach's Journal: September 16, 2010

So I've been getting a little frustrated with the subscription service provided by DC lately.  I recently moved and my comics have been coming out later and later.  I received Batman #702 the day #703 came out!  A little frustrating since I like to be in the loop so discussion with my fellow comic book junkies in Facebook aren't hindered by my lack of knowledge.  I think I'll always stick with subscribing to my favorite titles since I saving a lot of money by doing it, but it does cause a lot of frustration on my part.

Lately, though, my comics have been coming to me damaged.  I just received Justice League of America #48 last night and the spine had torn from the top all the way down to the top of the first staple.  Ugh!  I can deal with a bent corner or a creased cover, but the spinal damage irks the hell out of me.  I feel like I'm reading lesser quality comics, which is partly true when it comes to James Robinson.  What is it, do the mailmen/mailwomen just toss it in their box with considering it's delicacy?  Does DC not understand how travel can put a lot of stress on paper products to think having two pieces of stiff paper on each side is good enough protection?  I'm very tempted to call up Camby West and ask for better protection of my comics.  (Good luck there Jimmy.)

In the mean time, I'm going to post some "catch up" reviews, which will be shorter than my regular a lot, just to get back up to date with myself and my writing.  I've got Legion, Batman and JLA to write about, all of which disappointed me, but you'll read more of my thoughts soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Comic Book Review: Green Hornet #7

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Kevin Smith
Breakdowns: Phil Hester
Pencils: Jonathan Lau
Colors: Ivan Nunes
Letters: Troy Peteri

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
It looks like there are two rich, bratty kids who needs a good spanking!  Both Brit Reid and Hirohito Juuma are both out for revenge towards the other for actions perpetrated by the father.  It’s a hectic and intense storyline where all Hell breaks loose and the only thing for us to do is wait and see who strikes first!

It’s a story that’s been told over and over as the good guy has an evil doppelganger, and both of these characters want the other’s head on a platter.  It’s all very familiar; Superman’s evil counterpart, Green Hulk vs. Red Hulk, the JLA going head to head against the Crime Syndicate, the yellow and red kings of speed always running circles around the other, it’s hard not to find a superhero that doesn’t undergo the good and bad version of the same persona.  So the questions remains, can Kevin Smith make this utterly repetitive and overused plot device seem different and unique in comparison to all the other titles? 

Well…not so much…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining to read.

It’s always fun have the main character, the hero of the story, be put in his place by someone he views as his lesser half.  Both Kato senior and junior provide some wonderful humor when ripping into the new Green Hornet, even when Brit seems to be on top of his game. 

What makes this issue so entertaining is the artistic interpretation of Smith’s storyline.  Apart from the very out-of-proportion triumphant stance of Brit Reid on the second page, there’s so much going on visually that popped out for me so much that I can’t help but read page after page in complete awe.  How artistically intelligent it was to leave certain panels in the sketched out look with no application of color, giving the affect of intensity and tension so much more power and control over the emotional impact of the story.  Likewise, the Nunes shows how much the angelic white light can be used in a dark and manipulative sense as Brit blackmails Mr. Tiggiot with his militaristic ventures.

It’s obvious that Smith is trying to push Brit Reid forward into that intimidating stature.  The opening scene shows a very terrified and stunned group of criminals, and I was almost sold on the whole fear factor thing…that is until Reid let’s out a mood killing roar, letting everyone know he had beaten the bad guys and was ready to take on the entire mob, by saying…

“Kung-Fu Bitches!” 

Yeah, that was enough for me to conclude that this new superhero is really going to get under my nerves with his idiotic one liners and victorious verbal jargon.  It’s fun the first few times, but this could get really old, really fast!

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This issue was so much better than I thought.  Being someone who likes originality over rehashed plot lines, my expectations for this series are always lower than what actually comes out.  Take time out of your busy schedules to start reading this series if you haven’t.  Go back to issue one and work your way up to number seven, it will be well worth it.

Rating: 9.33 out of 10
Writing: 9
Art: 10
Themes: 9

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #892

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artists: Pete Woods & Pere Perez
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Art: David Finch, Joe Weems, Peter Steigerwald

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Again I say, it’s the bad guy comics that are making a huge statement in the comic book world.  Cornell’s Lex Luthor within the pages of Action Comics is the best characterization of the brilliant billionaire tyrant since Superman: Birthright.  Cornell is bringing us a redefined Lex Luthor, one that has a strange sense of insecurity and a lack of self control.  The events of Blackest Night have seem to really put things into perspective for Luthor and now he hopes to achieve all of his selfish goals without loosing himself again.

Cornell is doing a fantastic job with this new string of Action Comics, and being on the verge of hitting that proverbial 900th issue, this is exactly the type of new direction this title needs.  As Luthor tries with all his might to use his noggin’ before jumping into a situation seems to be a rather difficult thing for him to accomplish.  It’s interesting to see how Lex deals with these character changes and how humbling it seems to be for him.  I even saw Lex as a good guy in certain moments of this issue.  That is, until Slade Wilson lost his marbles and went rushing after Luthor with murderous intentions, then the familiar Luthor came out with a smiling vengeance.  It was fun to see Luthor bounce back and forth from utter confidence to uncertainty.  DC seems to be going on a redefining shopping spree; Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, now Lex Luthor, they all are being recast and reformatted for a new generation, and it looks as if Cornell is right on track in giving us a new Lex Luthor.

Great storytelling and new literary direction can’t be the only thing that makes a comic great as you all know.  The layout of the book could have certainly used more planning and thought as the bulk of the panel transitions left me wondering what the hell was happening.  If it wasn’t for the dialogue, I would have been unsure as to what was transpiring.  I didn’t realize Slade Wilson had gone off the deep end until a few panels after his charge towards Lex Luthor.  This type of formatting continues through 50% of this book and is less than appealing. 

The art itself is very good; Pete Woods has always been a terrific character and scenic artist, and every action sequence can be described as top notch.  And that cover is an incredible piece of work.  Points to the artist team who worked on that!

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I needn’t say it again, but this version of Lex Luthor is a wonderful new direction that Cornell is bringing to the table.  Action Comics is becoming a force to be reckoned with amongst DC Comics.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 9
Themes: 5

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comic Book Review: Power Girl #15

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Sami Basri
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Art: Sami Basri

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
You know what makes Power Girl so great?  It’s because it can be nothing more than an alien slug fest and still feel like there’s a story behind it.  The Russian Mobster, turned Parasite look-a-like on steroids, finds that he likes this new purpley state of being and begins to accept his programming as a destructive force on Earth.  Power Girl pulls out all the stops in putting an end to her new enemy’s chaos and mayhem and almost wins!  Until her unfamiliar friend, Maxwell Lord, comes through in his kryptonite boom tube saving his new friend at the last moment.

If it wasn’t for the hilarious conversation Power Girl and her assistant Nico have via earring phone, I’m not sure this Power Girl installment would have been worth it $2.99 price tag.  Threatening Nico, however, with jail time for not helping her was a bit out of character for PeeGeein my opinion.  But I guess Nico has some dirt on his boss now which I’m sure will work out for the better in the end, but right now Winick gives off the illusion that power Girl is in a serious pickle.

I was very annoyed that Winick chose to go the Spider-Man route.  You know, Peter Parker being the best bud of the web crawler, now Karen Starr’s best girlfriend is the alien cousin of Superman.  It’s very disappointing to say the least.

Maxies goof up was another interesting move on Winick’s part.  What was the point of making everyone forget about him if he’s to be careless enough to come through the green boom tube for all the world to see?  I guess one of the smartest men on Earth isn’t as bright as we all thought.

Despite Basri’s anime style, his art is working quite well with this title.  The maturity and how well defined each character turns out to be is talent I hope to achieve some day.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
There isn’t much to this issue that needs critiquing.  It was used merely to boost forward into the situation of Nico and Maxwell Lord.  It’s fun none-the-less.

Rating: 9.33 out of 10
Writing: 9
Art: 10
Themes: 9

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Comic Book Review: Wonder Woman #602

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Don Kramer & Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Jay Leisten, Michael Babinski & Ruy Jose
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Kramer & Babinski with Sinclair

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
So in this issue, Wonder Woman flies in and splits some serious wigs in trying to defend her fellow Amazonian sisters.  JMS brings the fighting Simone style Wonder Woman to the open pages of issue #602 in full force.  But JMS seems to have gone back a few steps and purposefully detracted the work Gail Simone put into Wonder Woman.  Instead of a Wonder Woman, we seem to now have a Wonder Girl.  While most fans have made up there mind about the quality of this change in Diana’s character and what they think of it, my mind is still up in the air.

What isn’t clear to me is Straczynski’s purpose and goal for Wonder Woman.  JMS gives Wonder Woman a look of what’s to come but uses both new and old material to boost her forward.  The new image and costume seem to suggest that Wonder Woman is heading in a new direction, but by trailing back into a much more “girlish” demeanor.  She no longer seems wise, just more inquisitive, much like Gates’ Supergirl; she’s dead set on saving everyone, but is unsure about life in general.  This works for Supergirl, But Wonder Woman is an established adult who always had a much better handle on life than, well, any other superhero in comics.  Now JMS has given her a semblance of a teenaged girl who has more questions than answers and allows that to dictate her mood and maturity level.  While I’m a little disappointed by this literary decision on the part of JMS, the purpose behind this change has yet to be revealed, and I’m willing to give JMS a chance to explain everything in hope that it will make (awesome) sense.

JMS is still retaining some of that attitude we all loved about Wonder Woman pre #600 as she gives the gods (or the voices in her head) a fierce reprimand.  Wonder Woman has always been great at telling the gods when their stupidity is overpowering their intelligence and it’s nice to see that JMS is keeping that aspect of the new Wonder Woman around.

I was very unimpressed by the art this month.  Kramer and Pansica did such an amazing job in August that I was expecting at least an equally entertaining job for #602.  But nothing like that happened.

I did enjoy the moment Diana strip off her jacket to reveal the full extent of her new costume.  I don’t know what it is that fans don’t like about the new costume but I feel it’s appropriate and not out of touch with her character.  But now, seeing what was to behold underneath her leathery covering, it now feels even more in tune with the Amazonian comic book hero.  The starry, armored underwear has been replaced with the black leggings, and her bustier has a much more solid look.  I do questioned the number of straps going from her shoulders down to her elbow, but other than that, the costume itself seems so much more consistent with the modern standard that Wonder Woman has become to fans.

My biggest irk with this book however is with the cover.  No, it’s not because I think it’s poorly drawn or because it looks cartoonish, I find it to be quite artistic in fact.  What irks me about it the most is the unoriginality of it.  How many times have we seen this pose used in comics?  Hmmmmm, let me think…

I understand why, but honestly, do we have to use this bullets and bracelets image every time Wonder Woman goes under some drastic change in her character?

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This is a conflicting issue, no lie.  JMS certainly has a lot of “Splainin” to do.  Biggest question in my mind…what will stick and when will we see the real Diana come back to us?

Rating: 7.67 out of 10
Writing: 7.5
Art: 7
Themes:  8.5

Saturdays With Karen Alloy #4

Tis true, tis very true....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrie Fischer Roasts George Lucas...Hilarious!

Wonder Woman Wednesday #4

This piece of art is too good not to post!  I saw this posted by a fellow facebooker and needed to own it and post it on my blog for everyone to see.

As I'm sure most of you are aware, the new comics will not be coming out until tomorrow due to Labor Day.  I understand allowing DC employees time off for the holidays, but I still don't have to like it right?  grrr.

But it's actually ok because any titles I would get are all delivered to me by mail.  I'll still stop into my local comic shop for the mere sake of conversing with fellow nerds about the latest arc and shit, but it's nice not to have to spend money too.

Happy Wednesday!
Happy New Comic Book Day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Last Family of Krypton #2

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Cary Bates
Artist: Renato Arlem
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Art: Felipe Massafera

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Superman Origin stories have become a constant publication within DC Comics, it seems there’s no end to a writer’s take on the Man of Steel’s beginnings.  However, when it comes to writer Cary Bates, Superman embarks on a beginning unlike any other.

We see a matured Clark Kent going through the normal high school routine, dating Lana Lang, fighting to fit in, etc etc.  But what makes everything different is that Superman’s parents are around.  We are finally able to see what exactly Jor-El would have thought of his Son’s flying heroic deeds.  It was tough enough that Kal was forced to live away from his parents, now he has chosen a life style in which his father disapproves of.  This is clearly a story of how a father and a son fight with each other’s difference of opinions and ideals.  But what’s even more interesting, I get the feeling that Bates is making an argument that this Superman story should never have happened.

While Superman is still fully Kryptonian, he is also fully Earthling too.  His life may have begun on his alien homeworld, but his childhood and lifestyle all formed on Earth.  Superman was able to develop an understanding for Earth’s needs and decided to answer that call.  Like he said, he has walked in their shoes and lived among them as if he were one of them.  (Which, really, he is.  Let’s be honest.)  With his family always taking care of the major disasters, Kal was never quite sure what his purpose was.  And then, after his gift of red, blue and yellow, he found himself helping the people of earth on a much smaller scale, finally discovering his calling here on Earth.  But his father made it clear that the publicity his son was getting, and the El family crest’s meaning changing for the people of Earth, the beginning of the end for this father and son could very well be around the corner.  How will this change how Superman behaves?  Will he retaliate against his father or vice versa?

I do appreciate that Bates is keeping this Elseworlds story very low key with the addition of popular characters.  Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and a team of terrorists who share the same name as an alien monster whom killed Superman over a decade ago all make an appearance, but it isn’t overbearing.  Many Superman Origin stories, Red Son for example, bring in established characters for the mere sake of bringing them in.  Cary Bates utilizes these added characters intelligently and with purpose, but never making them the center of attention.

Renato Arlem is pretty great with his Superman artistry.  I’m a little “iffy” about his style of shading, but I guess I’m more partial to the dark and gloomy side of comic book art.  Otherwise, Arlem certainly has a style unique to himself.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I’ll respect your opinion if your waiting for this to come out in trade paperback, but honestly…you’re going to hate yourself for waiting so long.

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

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Comic Book Review: Supergirl #55

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: John Dell, Marc, Richard Friend
Colorist: Jamie Grant, Jim Devlin
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Art: Amy Reeder, Friend & Guy Mayor

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Supergirl wins again!  The title I mean.  Well, I guess I can’t say that yet as there are many other comics I’ve received this month that have totally blown me away.  But Supergirl #55 certainly continues the awesome tradition that Sterling Gates has established with this title by giving it both drama and humor all in one.

The book opens up in a sepia toned flashback of how Bizarrogirl came to be on Earth fighting the girl of steel.  Our dark colored, cracked skinned anti-hero continually makes references of trying to have a party and something about a Godship; clearly something is happening in the world of the Bizarro’s that is yet to be revealed.  Supergirl, being the persistent and caring person she is, seems determined to go to her clone’s home world and discover what exactly is threatening her and her kind.

One thing I can be certain of is how much Sterling Gates loves Supergirl.  So much heart and personality is put into every page of every issue ever since he came on board with this title.  Much like with Gail Simone and Wonder Woman, Gates has managed to create a Supergirl we can love, connect with, and have respect for that will linger on for years to come.  Gates keeps Supergirl as she is, a teenaged girl who constantly goes back and forth in her levels of maturity; she always has her heart in the right place, but she doesn’t always go about it in the right way.  And just like a teenaged girl, she’s very flaky and indecisive.  Granted, I would rather put my trust in this high schooler than, well, any other high schooler in the world, but she still has that teenaged mentality which is always bouncing back and forth.  The entire fight with Bizarrogirl showed us a Supergirl who was bound and determined to stop her clone from creating any more havoc, but at the last second she decides to punch her friend in the face and travel with Bizarrogirl to her home world because of how much Kara cares for living creatures.

Bizarrogirl is a delight to have around.  The Bizarro epidemic has been a repetitive and monotonous event every since the first Bizarro first showed up on the pages of Superman.  Yet Gates finds a way of making this Bizarro run-in seem fresh and vibrant, never dragging the story down with the overplayed nature of Bizarro.  Bizarrogirl, or “Arak” as Mart calls her in his blog “It’s Too Dangerous For A Girl”, (Just think about it for a sec, you’ll get it) not only has new powers that the original Bizarro doesn’t have, but they seem to be much more reflective of the opposite characteristics that both of the super beings share.  (I know, sharing ‘opposites’ doesn’t exactly makes sense, but in the context of the story, it actually does.)

Jamal Igle never wavers in his attention to detail; giving every hand gesture, footstep, facial expression, hair wave, fist punch, and paper wrinkle a realistic flavor to it.  There are moments where I wonder how the Hell Supergirl has survived so long without Igle’s artistic touch.  This is the way Supergirl needs to stay and not as some sex icon that she was made out to be when this series first began.  Igle keeps Supergirl and all of its characters as realistic as need be.

I was a bit distracted with some of the awfully corny lines Supergirl delivered, such as “That’s what I call a close encounter” and what not, (Will Smith, I love you, but man you’ve been a bad influence on the modern “cool” culture) but Igle certainly makes it reasonable and not out of place with the story and character.  And besides, it’s always fun to call back to the hokey days of comics right?

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Igle is definitely building up for his final days as the writer of Supergirl.  Why he would leave this title I’ll never know, but all the best to him.  I just can’t imagine anyone taking over where Sterling left off, but I guess I said the same thing about Gail Simone huh?

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

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Comic Book Review: Secret Six #25

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: J. Calafiore
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Daniel Luvisi

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Question: What’s the difference between “good guy” comics and “bad guy comics? 
Answer: The bad guys have A LOT more fun!

There are certain rules that good guys have to follow in order to be consider superheroes right?  Otherwise they wouldn’t be heroes at all.  Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, they all hold up a certain moral code in their heroism which boosts them up on this victorious pedestal that shines angelically and gloriously for the entire world to see.  But with the bad guys, writers no longer have to follow the “rules” and dive into a whole new world of comic book storytelling; giving the readers a new take on the villains’ mindset an motivation.

All the rules change with the Secret six.  If you were to ask yourself, “What would Superman do?” take the answer to that question and think the exact  opposite; Mr. Adrian dies along with his hired guns, Deadshot has absolutely no problem with lying to Black Alice about her cancer infesting ways, and Catman’s value of animal life over human life is nothing short of strange.  Even the giant gryphon defense brigade was handled a lot differently than had it been the JLA who invaded the nest of these protective mothers.  The incredibly construed value of life is what makes this issue so interesting and I can’t wait to see where this story arc goes for the next three months.

The characters themselves are given their own unique voice, not surprisingly.  But what stuck out even more so was the humor that each character brought to the story.  The first few pages had so much dark humor in it I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or be mortified.  Mr. Adrian’s gunmen took Bane’s rather humorous, yet terrifying warning quite seriously, but the scene was intensified even more when King Shark took time to assure everyone that his appearance is not as scary as it may seem.  Simone not only has the ability to give each character a differentiating voice, but also their own defining humor that is unique to them in every way.

I was rather disappointed with the non-continuation of last month’s stellar alternate universe storyline.  The potential story I saw in the issue was beyond description.  But I shouldn’t complain as it was still a good issue by itself, but I was rather sad that Simone decided to leave last month as a loner comic and not flesh out the whole mystery behind the story.

The cover to #25 is fantastic!  It’s creative and artistic, recreating the classic Mortal Kombat, figting arcade game title screen.  And within, the art gets even better.  Jeanette’s wonderful “WTF” face makes me laugh every time as does Deadshot’s “fuck you, I’m the boss of every living soul on the planet Earth” stature.  I was thrown off for one sec on the first page however, since Mr. Adrian’s blonde lotion girl looked a lot like Jeanette, minus the white hair and Victorian wardrobe.

One thing that the newer, less experienced comic book fans might be confused by is the sudden addition of already established villains; Dwarfstar, King Shark, and Giganta, to the ignorant I can see this becoming very vexing and weird.  So for you newbies, this issue will have some added villains that you may not know, but trust me that they have been around for some time…just not in the Secret Six.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Like always, the Secret Six wins high marks for this month.  What will happen if Simone ever decides to leave this title?  How many fans will stick with the title and how many will drop it out of protest?  I’m still thinking about that one.

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