Monday, November 29, 2010

Comic Book Review: Power Girl #18

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Sami Basri
Inker: Sami Basri
Colorist: Sunny Gho & Jessica Kholinne
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Art: Basri & Gho
Editor: Mike Carlin

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
What?  A relative of Superman is cloned?  I’m completely and utterly shocked!  Never in a million lifetimes would I have guessed Power Girl would be cloned!  Very nice Winick, very…very…nice…

Ok, seriously, I actually don’t mind the whole “cloning” driven plot, but when will DC get it through their heads?  Cloning is WAY overdone in the superhero world.  And thanks to Superman dying all those years ago, it has only gotten worse.  But it extends further than cloning doesn’t it?  What with the Crime Syndicate and other alter-egos of superheroes from alternate dimensions.  Clones, alternate versions of heroes, doppelgangers, whatever!  It’s time to move past this and invent something new.

Excuse me, let me exit from this negative and ill-favored room and enter into a much more prestigious and uplifting room where I’m allowed to discuss what I loved about Power Girl #18. 

This story ties two very significant plotlines together; the story of Donna’s mysterious disappearance and the whole Maxwell Lord fiasco, both of which were exceptionally interesting.  It shouldn’t take anyone too long to read (unless you’re like me and read while gazing at the artwork as well.) as the bulk of it focuses on the brawl that Power girl has with her evil, black haired twin.  To be honest, I never would have thought Basri had this level of intensity within his artwork in him.  I’m sure most of you would agree that Basri’s characters always seem rather stiff and wooden, which isn’t a negative criticism, but it does leave little room for an expansive visual appeal.  This issue never faltered and delivered some fantastic action sequences that I haven’t seen from Power Girl since this series began a year and a half ago.

I’m having a little difficulty figuring out Nico’s purpose.  Sure, he’s a genius, but he always seems to point out the obvious to Power Girl; always a smidge too late and getting the information PG needs after she’s taken one too many hits to the face.  Nico will either become a very funny running gag, or a ridiculous addition to an awesome series. 

Power Girl is a total badass in this issue!  (Not that she wasn’t already.) It’s a shame that the outcome being that of a Power Girl clone brought the impact down a bit.  Sure, it’s cool as first, but with the whole “compare and contrast” motif that’s been so overplayed, I had trouble getting into the story as much as I would have liked.  Even Basri, who soared above what he normally does, copped out with the obvious visual statement of White is good, therefore black must mean bad. (Do you get it?  Power Girl’s suit is white, evil Power Girl’s suit is black.)

Maxwell Lord is building up quite nicely I must say.  I’m not following the JLA: Generation Lost series so I’m lost (no pun intended) as too what’s going on with Maxy for the most part, but it’s interesting to see how easy it was for Power Girl to get her memory of Mr. Lord back.  Funny how we haven’t seen anything dealing with ol’ Maxy in Brightest Day huh?

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Despite what I say, the issue is still fun and enjoyable to read.  Even I, the person who scolds stories with overly predictable plots, still enjoyed it.  It’s Power Girl, you can’t go wrong with Power Girl.

Rating: 7.33 out of 10
Writing: 7
Art: 9
Themes: 6

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Buys

So my local comic book store had some really sweet deals yesterday during Black Friday.  50% off all trade paperbacks with a 30% discount on all hardcovers.  In addition, the back issue section had been reduced to $1.00 price marks, with many other great discounts on statues and other comic related material.  (No discounts on supplies though, sniff.)

I immediately went to the back issue sections for DC, list of what I need in hand and began running through their selections.  It's not the most plentiful selection ever, but still very big none-the-less.  But much to my dismay, any back issue they had that I wanted I already owned.  sad times indeed.  However, I did notice that the Great Ten miniseries was all there in individual issues.  After confirming that a TPB wasn't in the works, I grabbed all nine issues and tucked them underneath my arm.

After another 15 minutes scrummaging through back issues, I then migrated towards the TPB section and picking up the Batman: Nightfall series.  You know, when Batman's back was broken by the infamous Bane?  I already know how the story ends, but I never actually read it since my Batman fix was being satisfied by the Batman adventures at the time.  I figured i should own the entire run from that arc since it's such an important part of Batman's life.

Once I decided my Black Friday Shopping was done, I purchased my items and left...right as a HORDE of mom's with their little boys came rushing into the store!  As I waited for every mother and child to come through the door, I then had to wait for another large group of comic fans, all dressed in in shirts bearing the top superheroes of comics to date.  As i left the store, i looked back and saw that it was just as crowded as any other store you might find at the mall on black Friday.  Glad I got there earlier rather than later!

Well, that was the extent of my Black Friday shopping experience...and I don't think i will ever want anything more strenuous.  For the rest of you shoppers out there, please be careful and don't allow your love of material possessions put your life in danger!  For those of you are sitting at home reading this blog and toggling back and forth from internet fun to comic book reading craziness, here's handful of some of my favorite Batman photos and art.  Enjoy!

Comic Book Review: Batwoman #0

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Penciller: Amy Reeder & J.H. Williams III
Inker: Richard Friend
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Art: J.H. Williams III
Editor: Mike Marts

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Question for DC Comics…how does slapping a “zero” on the cover make an issue anymore important than if it were to just start as #1?

Don’t worry, I get it.  The “zero” helps to signify an introduction to a new title, allowing readers to know that the series hasn’t actually started yet.  But it helps to satisfy the awesome nerdgasms you hope your readers receive just by owning issue #0.  Well, Batwoman #0 does just that, but cuts off way to early for my tastes.

The story gives us no dialog between characters and relies on a motif of Bruce Wayne’s observational log as a way of following the mysterious Batwoman and her method of crime fighting.  As Batman stays hidden in the Gotham City sidelines, he attempts to discover the true identity of Batwoman.

Everything Katie Kane does, as far as her social life and crime fighting endeavors are concerned, is almost irrelevant to the inevitable conclusion.  I think we all knew that Kate is Batwoman just as easily as we knew Bruce Wayne was going to figure it out before the end of the 16 pages.  Interestingly enough, in taking on this task, Bruce displays one of his most defining attributes…his unrelenting need to protect the city of Gotham.  (He’s a good daddy.)  Surprising, though, is Wayne’s respect for the young woman’s tactile and hand-to-hand combat skills. 

I don’t pick up Detective Comics so I haven’t been following the vampiric looking, pale-faced bat during her time in said title, but I gathered a general impression that I think flows through into #0 very well which began with what had been established in Detective Comics.  Thanks to the writer-artist talents of Williams III and Amy Reeder, a mystical aura flushes rapidly through the pages and sets cleanly on my literary and artistic pallet.  The design of her costume, with the consistent toggle between color and black and white backgrounds helps with this feel and gives it, in many ways, a “Sin City” look.  While we are faced with a problem of knowing whose doing what with the art, and it being fairly confusing, a refreshing balance occurs when the styles switch from one artist to the next.  But the most visually appealing aspect of this book is the cover by J.H. Williams, and might very well be one of the best covers of 2010.

The big question I had in my mind throughout the entire prose was why Batman felt the need to uncover Batwoman’s identity, and more importantly, why he needed to know if it was Kate Kane or not.  The conclusion I came to was Bruce Wayne is just that type of superhero; making sure he knows everything about everyone, even if it means sitting behind while Batwoman gets her clock cleaned by a flock of the Religion of Crime gang.  (Which she walked away from without a scratch or bruise.  I know this negates the description of getting her “clock cleaned,” but I just wanted to use those two words in a sentence.  He he!)  This is neither a negative or positive aspect of the book, it’s just who Bruce Wayne is.

My biggest gripe about this issue is how I reached the middle of the book (you know, where the staples are visible?) and the story was over!  The comic then proceeds to give me a black and white preview of issue #1, which I hear isn’t due until February.  Not only that, but the first few pages of Detective Comics also trails at the end just like it has been doing in all the other comics coming out.  Why would I want to pay $2.99 for a comic that is only 16 pages long, contains a quarter of a comic I’ll most likely be paying either $2.99 or $3.99 for in February, and has a silly preview for Detective Comics at the end?  Very disappointing indeed.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This new title shows promise.  I do hope the writing and artistry solidify into a much more focused and non-toggled appeal, but this is just me.  Batwoman certainly has become a hero to look for the future, hopefully Williams III can fling her into a fantastic beginning.

Rating: 8.66 out of 10
Writing: 7
Art: 9
Themes: 10 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From The Heretic's Blog

Happy Thanksgiving!  Go see your family, friends, or whomever and eat lots of food...get some rest...and eat some more food!

I probably wont have any reviews or other posts out today or tomorrow due to, 1) Thanksgiving, and 2) me being on call through the weekend.  So don't expect to much from this blog for the next few days.

But now, in recognition of the holiday, and one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century, Mr. Norman Rockwell, here is DC Comics way of wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman The Return #1 - One Shot

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: David Finch
Colorist: Peter Steigerwald
Inker: Batt & Ryan Wynn
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Art: David Finch & Gene Ha
Editor: Mike Marts

Batman Created By Bob Kane

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
So there I was, sitting in bed ready to open up Morrison’s Batman: The Return one shot, and immediately negative vibes ran through my body.  I already hate the idea of bringing Bruce Wayne back just because fans are unable to deal with Bruce Wayne dying, but I also hate the idea which is the focus of this issue…A Batman Justice League.

Batman has gone through a plethora of changes for the last decade and a half.  Identity Crisis changed him into a cold hearted bastard, Infinite Crisis made him a lot more likeable, 52 gave him a complete make-over for the worst, and then R.I.P completely shattered everything decent that batman had become up to that point.  Now the next stage within the life of Batman has occurred, and I can’t convince myself that this is a good thing,

The issue itself is quite good; allowing Bruce Wayne to finally enjoy being the Caped Crusader and giving new direction for the entire Batman family.  In fact this one shot introduces a new addition to the Bat-villain line-up; The Leviathan.  Morrison presents this mysterious team as terrifyingly hideous and grotesque, even though we haven’t actually seen the leader’s face.  This only added to the dark and gothic nature of the book which appeals to my literary taste buds.

I’m sure Morrison also has to deal with the DC hierarchy as well as I’m sure the numerous Bat-titles are, for the most part, being forced upon DC’s writers regardless of what they think.  But what is clear in this issue is Morrison’s undeniable vision he’s had for Batman since he began writing R.I.P.  And, no doubt, much of what’s happening with Batman currently is due to the drugged-up mind of Grant Morrison.  While the writing of this issue, in and of itself is great, the thematic prose that the Incorporated Batman team presents is only appealing in theory and disregards everything Batman has become to fans everywhere. 

In addition, having Batman in charge of one team makes it very difficult for him to continue on with the JLA.  But I guess if Green Lantern can serve on two teams, why not Bruce Wayne right?

However, I must give the writer props for giving Batman a very focus and deliberate storyline that has been severely lacking in Morrison’s comic book work for the last few years.  The beginning of two new events starts here; the Batman Incorporated and the Leviathan, and it’s all very focused and not wavering in its intentions.

The beginning of this comic was fantastic but confusing, I’m sure for those who did not read Return of Bruce Wayne.  But it fits this “new beginning” which Batman is undergoing right now in probably the best way to start the issue.

David Finch does a great job with the panels and makes it fit right in with Morrison’s story telling.  The new Bat suit design is top notch and seems to be a lot more realistic with the seams and stitching.  And I actually enjoy having the Yellow emblem back on the breast of Batman.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
The issue itself is fine and well written but will potentially presents many problems in continuity and in keeping true with the Batman mentality.

Rating: 6.33 out of 10
Writing: 8
Art: 9
Themes: 2

Monday, November 22, 2010

IGN's #1 Comic Book Movie Of All Time

I Completely Agree

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #14

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Colorist: Aspen MLT’s Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: Rob Clark Jr.
Cover Art: David Finch
Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Brightest Day has been a fantastic flop since issue one.  It wasn’t until two weeks ago when #13 was published when writer Johns and Tomasi finally delivered a quality issue.  Likewise, this edition of Brightest Day is so focused on a single plot line that we, as readers, can relax in the fact that we don’t have to make such mind-boggling transitions from plotline to plotline.

So much is going on in Brightest Day that it tends to have a DaVinci Code mentality; constantly pummeling through the massively confusing and hectic plot, never giving the readers a chance to comprehend what’s going on.  This issue allows us to focus in on a part of the story that hasn’t made much sense until now.  But even with that, I’m still up in the air as to what exactly is going on.

Deadman took the Bat signal as a sign that the prodigal “White Lantern” was in fact Batman.  Now, with all the work DC has put into bringing Bruce Wayne back from the dead, it was very unlikely that he would be permanently dubbed as the ring bearing hero. Johns was merely using the fact that Batman is such a hot topic within the DC titles right now, and it was simply convenient to do so.  The focus mainly deals with Deadman and his past as an acrobat and the terrible choices he made as such.  It’s obvious that Deadman isn’t the “chosen one,” but there is definitely something that connects him with the white light which will make a difference once the prodigal is revealed.

But even with this rather interesting flashback and emotional roller coaster ride into Boston Brand’s past, the issue really didn’t make sense of Deadman’s part in all this.  We learned that he was a selfish jerk face who made some bad decisions and treated everyone else like shit, but how this explains everything is beyond me.  I reckon this issue was the “character development” issue, delving more into the psyche of Boston Brand and to present a conflict of maintaining the burden of bearing the ring,  (Oh God, I made a Lord of the Rings reference.  Sorry everyone!) but that’s all.  Nothing helps to explain why Deadman is so important, and being halfway through this series, I would think something would have come to light.  But no dice.

Art wise, I can’t complain.  The duo of Reis and Prado works very well and leaves little too complain about.  Both have a knack for excellent muscular definition and wonderfully emotional expressions within the characters faces.  We all know Deadman is no longer dead thanks to the white light, but Reis finds it appropriate to maintain Brand’s dead looking face while jumping and leaping acrobatically through the night sky.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
In and of itself, this issue is great.  However, I’m confused at how this helps to push the Brightest Day story forward.  Fingers crossed that things will make sense sooner rather than later.

Rating: 8.33 out of 10 stars
Writing: 8
Art: 10
Themes: 7

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One

Release Date: November 19, 2010 (conventional theaters and IMAX) 
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures 
Director: David Yates 
Screenwriter: Steve Kloves 
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Brendan Gleeson, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Jamie Campbell Bower, Richard Griffiths, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Fiona Shaw, Helen McCrory, David O'Hara, Natalia Tena 
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy 
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images) 
Official Website:

So Here’s What The Film Is About…
This is the penultimate, cinematic excursion for all Harry Potter fans as it begins the terrifying mission of Harry, Hermione, and Ron to destroy the secret of Voldemort’s immortality: The dreaded horcruxes.  But what are the objects and how do they find them?  The clues are not easy to find and the young magical trifecta must go on this search without an ounce of help from their wizarding mentors.

While the three continue on this search, the wizarding world has become an exceptionally dangerous place to live as Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts.  Bringing torment and death to all muggle-borns and “traitors” to the magical world, Voldemort still seeks he’s ultimate prize; the boy who lived, Harry Potter.  And with the discovery of a very powerful piece of magic called the Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends must hurry to find all three pieces of this magic before Voldemort does or this could be the end of Mr. Potter and the wizarding world as we know it.

And Here’s What I Thought About It…
I wonder how many young readers who bought The Sorcerer’s Stone over 10 years ago are calling back on their childhood memories while waiting in the massively long lines at their local movie theater with great anticipation and nostalgic reminiscing?  In the literary landscape of great novels, the Harry Potter Series has been one of the most successful franchises in not only compelling young men and women to read, but adults too.  What I’m sure seems like a lifetime away for the young readers, and probably only yesterday for their parents, the memories of those first books have come back for fans everywhere.  And as I waited (first in line I might add) to enter the theater, I could hear both young and old fans talking about their experiences reading the books and how it changed their viewpoints about what children’s literature is.

So here we are, the premier is over and thousands of nostalgic viewers have walked out of the theater, and likely to bring in many other like-minded people.  And with David Yates, who directed both this and the previous film, taking charge of the this final, two-part installment of the Harry Potter film franchise, they are likely to be satisfied, but with a bitter taste in their mouths.

This is the filmatic chapter (yes, I made up a word.  My blog, my rules…deal with it!) embraces the independence that is forcibly pushed onto Harry, Ron and Hermione as they venture on alone with no supervision or mutual friends to help them.  Even with the consistent humor floating all throughout this film, the dark and scary tone of the story, with the added flavor of isolation thrown into the mix takes central focus, leaving you with very little hope that the three of them will succeed.  However, David Yates, intelligently using the characterizations created by J.K. Rowling of Harry, Ron and Hermione, give us a ray of hope that the ability to rely on one another will pay off in the end.  But make no doubt, these three are truly on their own.

And let’s face it, the loneliness extends further than the pact these three have created as friends; individual loneliness exists as well.  Ron, while obviously the moodiest one of the three, feels very neglected in his often bumbling ways and begins to take it out on his friends.  Likewise, Hermione finds herself in a somber state when she truly has no one to fall back on, especially after obliviated her parents’ memories as a means of keeping them safe from the muggle-born hunters.  But or course there is Harry, whose sense of alienation is the most predominant.  Not only does he hate risking the lives of those he loves, constantly dealing with his friends complete misunderstanding of his condition, and having never met his parents, he must also live with a consistent, yet random barrage of images burrowing into his brain of Voldemort torturing and killing people with whom he has, or did have, a deep connection with.  The last connection to the magical world is the one he wants nothing to do with.

I think most people would agree that this is not your typical children’s film.  Unlike the first four films, which maintained a very hollywoodish feel of happy endings and gumdrop smiles, this film is quite slow and depressing.  At the very least, five major players in the story either die or are tortured, with no censorship on the creepy and sinister feel which comes along with it.  The idea that Children’s literature should be uplifting and happy is debunked with this 7th film as the ending shows the bad guys winning and the good guys loosing.  Parents who wish to alienate their children from all things unhappy and sad should be wary of the Deathly Hallows.  It’s not going to make you smile, nor will it uphold anything that you’ve probably been trying to teach your kids.  (good triumphs over evil, witchcraft is a bad thing, etc.  You get the idea.)  However, if you want your kids to be damn sure that being on their own will be tough and exceptionally scary and that they should rely on you and never leave home again, please, pay the ticket price and show them the light.  But do keep in mind that this is the first part, and the second will come in July.  And most likely your fears will be relinquished with the story’s resolution.

Speaking of scary, if you’re easily startled by dark and horrific films, then pack an extra skin suit because your skeleton might just jump away from you during a few scenes.  One in particular, Nagini vs. Harry Potter.  The fight was scary enough, but tension was built up to an all time high as the terrifying Bagshot disguised snake made me want to shut my eyes and hold my wife until it was over!

Very disappointing is the lack of familiar faces such as Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton and Michael Gambon, but clearly the film’s ownership was with the story’s protagonists.  David Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have shown their acting maturity in their masterful performances in this 7th film.  Even at such a young age, they have proven themselves to be masters at their craft. 

The film has the overbearing task of explaining everything in preparation for the second half of the story without making itself 10 hours long.  Many worries were a float amongst fans as to how exactly Yates and company were going to accomplish this.  While there’s still a lot of craziness thrown at us with all the Horcrux and Voldemort jargon, Yates still finds an opportunity to give us a vividly imaginative animated scene explaining the back story behind the Deathly Hallows.  In and of itself, it’s an amazing experience and didn’t have a disconnected feel from the story itself.  Likewise, the entire film, while being a slower paced film as a way of delving into the whiney and moping emotions of the characters, presents many exciting and fun scenes that keep the film moving and enjoyable to watch.  The action is incredible and never wavers, but isn’t overwhelming. 

In comparison with the book, I honestly didn’t feel as though I was missing something.  Sure, we don’t get the touching moment of “fond farewell” with the Dursleys, and none of the extensive conversations between numerous characters are given full attention, but everything important was hit upon without sacrificing the story’s meaning or forgetting the characters personalities.  I will always consider the book immensely better, but the film’s quality should never be in question. 

I enjoyed this film very much and consider it to be the best of the Harry Potter cinematic franchise.  Does it match up with the book?  Of course not.  But in and of itself, it is an incredibly executed film that doesn’t revert to Hollywood stupidity of dumbing down the story purely to satisfy the needs of those who haven’t read the books.  I suspect that the majority of film goers who embark on this Potter journey will leave happy and anxious for the final part.
Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Saturday, November 20, 2010

For My Birthday, I Want To Meet Gail Simone!

But it probably won't happen, snif snif.  But if I could meet her, I would tell her how awesome she is and how I hope she never dies, and that I divorce my wife for her!  (Not really though.)

Today I'm going to going out to a brewery and meadery and pretend I like beer.  But so far I've gotten to see Harry Potter (review out soon) and my wife got me the Indiana Jones collection and Doubt, and my mom sent me volume 4 and 5 of Sin City.  It's been great so far!

Now, just for fun, here are some funny images.....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter Hits Theaters Today!!!

Well, it actually hit midnight on Thursday, but that's not what's important.  What IS important is that I have tickets to see the film with my lovely wife and two other friends.  Fandango is my friend!

I've been super excited for this movie since I first saw the trailer.  I don't know why though since my excitement will only end in torture since the second part of this film wont come for another six months!  Ugh, why must they do this to me.

The Deathly Hallows comes to us as probably THE most anticipated film of the year.  I was actually becoming a little over anxious due to the lack of really good films that have come out at this point in the year.  "We need something spectacular" I kept thinking to myself, but the wait kept on a-goin' and the movies kept getting lamer and lamer.  but now that it's finally here, I can rest easy and watch it with much rejoicing.

So here's my checklist for things I will do my best to do while watching the film....

1. I will keep an open mind.  This isn't the novel, which means things could be changed or altered slightly to help serve the the story as a film.  I must be concerned with the film IN and OF ITSELF!

2. Take into consideration that the director has a vision for the film and it may or may not line up EXACTLY with J.K. Rowling's vision.  As long as the film works, I'll be happy.

It will be hard for us hardcore "bookies" who like films based on novels to be exactly like the novel, but film can't work that way.  It's a different medium and must be treated as such.  So I implore everyone to keep an open mind for the first part in the last story of Mr. Potter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Flash #6

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Manapul & Buccellato
Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Do you know why stories dealing in time travel are so hard to write?  Because no matter how hard you try there will always be that paradox causing confusion within the storyline.  Very few books that use time travel as the plot base work fluidly and prevent headaches from occurring.  The guiltiest culprits of poorly written time travel stories are comic book writers, who taken advantage of this sci-fi genre, going a little over board and loosing track of the story in the midst of the excitement of jumping back and forth through time.  The exception to this crowd, however, is Mr. Geoff Johns.

The plot involves Flash calling the Renegades out in their methods and motivation. Flash manages to escape the futuristic police force and proves once again that he is the greatest Flash of all time.  Barry goes back to his own time to save the women he loves and clear his name.  But can he make it back in time before Top accomplishes his deed?  (I’m sure you can figure this one out right?)

Johns still has much to deal with, what with the same paradoxical issues that string along with this arc, but he manages to address those issues in elegant form and style.

First, as stated above, time travel stories face confusion and continuity problems; always deviating from reality and providing conclusions to the story that makes readers slap their hands against their foreheads in disgust.  Bill and Ted is one of the more successful plots involving time travel.  But here, Johns takes these unrealistic and confusing aspects of time travel storytelling and makes sense out of it, putting all the fault on the renegades and showing how they were the ones making the bad time traveling decisions.  This gives off the realistic vibe that trying to change the past really can’t succeed in the way you want it too.

Secondly, the tie-in with what’s currently going on in many of the DC titles helps to solidify that fact that the time stream in the DCU truly is having problems, which is why the Renegades made such awful mistakes to begin with.  Wonder Woman, Bruce Wayne, Brightest Day, etc, it all ties-in to this specific story in “The Flash,” but helps explain some things that many fans, I’m sure, have been severely disappointed in.  (Wonder Woman guys, Wonder Woman!)

As readers, we are tied between the uncertainty of the justice system in the future and wanting crime to be done away with using this type of enforcement.  We aren’t left with any easy answers and Johns does a good job in ending this issue very ambiguously; we still have a fairly happy ending, but both sides of the argument are presented in both positive and negative lights.  Even the villain, Top, wasn’t completely bad.  Living under a system such as this could drive anyone to committing a crime to clear his or her name.  The point is, you can’t put blame on any single person or group as everyone has done something a little sketchy.

How is it Francis Manapul continuously improves the quality of his art as the months push on I have no idea.  I’m beginning to like his style so much that I almost prefer it over the cleaned up, inked-to-hell look.  This sketched out look gives it a very fresh feel that forces the art to stick out, begging to be noticed and praised. 

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Though Brightest Day is having a lot of trouble standing on its own, Johns is making the tie-in with the Flash fantastic.  But even if you aren’t following Brightest Day, the Flash #6 will still stand on its own and doesn’t RELY on the major DC event for excellence.  The Flash is a great book and you NEED to pick it up if you haven’t already.

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Lantern Movie Trailer

And another trailer.  I'm sold!

With that said, well, The trailer gives off a comedic vibe that I'm sure won't exactly come off as strong in the film.  I always have to remind myself that Hal Jordan was kind of an ASS in the beginning.  But I still hope the movie comes off with much more substance than the trailer makes it out to be.

But this is still a great trailer!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pixar's Cars 2 - Official Movie Trailer

First off, let me start off by saying I'm SUPER excited for this.  Pixar has always delivered great movies, and to push forward with an incredible story that was "Cars" is fantastic!

But secondly, I know for a fact that many fans are going to tilt their heads in a cynical way because it is a sequel to Cars.  I remember mentioning it to a group of friends, and their response was, "What?  a sequel to Cars?  I have trouble believing that's going to do well."  And it may be true!  Cars 2 may flop on its face.  But remember this, many people thought Toy Story 2 wasn't going to be as good, and similar reactions went toward Toy Story 3...and look how successful that franchise has become.  I say, don't knock it til you've seen it.  Pixar has never let us down before, I don't see why we should think an differently of them now.

Must Reads: Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 1

If you haven't picked this up yet, you should!  To be honest, I'm very close at putting this into my "favorite books" list.  It takes fun and clever story lines to a whole new level.  Sure, Shakespeare has gone through many transformations with modernization within film and literature, but this is unlike anything I've seen before.

The story takes all of Shakespeare's characters and jams them all into the same story, which can seem strange at first considering most of his stories have at least one king in them.  I wont go into the plot more than that since I've already posted a review for the first four issues.  Click HERE to read it!

But now, with the first six issues collected into one single, volumized trade, the graphic novel format gives the story a much more appealing aspect, especially for those who don't typically read comics.  There are no superheroes, just famous characters used in new and exciting ways.  Please take time to go to your local comic book store and pick up a copy.  If you don't like it, I give you permission to "flog" me...that or just bite your thumb at me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 (of 6)

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Lee Garrett & Pere Perez
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Inker: Alejandro Sicat & Walden Wong
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz
Editor: Mike Marts

Batman created by Bob Kane

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
There’s a lot of meat in this issue and it compels me to say something I don’t very often say.  There is a moment in everyone’s life where they have to own up to the fact that even the people they hate the most can accomplish something worth while.  It doesn’t pain me at all to say that Grant Morrison truly did bring us an issue worth the price you pay for it.

Morrison fans defend the writer to the utmost ends, always spurting out bits of rhetoric explaining why he is one of the best writers in comics to date.  But what these fans fail to realize is Morrison’s inability to bring a story together in a comprehensive fashion and leaving room for the future potential of a character to shine indefinitely.  Again I state, Morrison has shown he actually does have the ability to write a story with real depth and meaning to it.

The book opens up with Wayne lying on the archivist’s floor, ripped cloths, lingering flames and all from a gruesome trip back from the past.  Darkseid seems to have just as much ingenuity and cleverness that the Dark Knight has as everything that has transpired is an apparent plot to destroy Earth.  Through as series of flashbacks and events, we are not only giving a story to end the destructive conflict that began with Final Crisis, but we are also shown why Bruce Wayne will always remain the greatest fictional hero the world has ever seen.

This entire series has been nothing more than a huge disappointment.  Why?  Because, like I said in the beginning, Morrison is unable of bringing stories to understandable conclusions.  I’ve never understood why people like his writing so much, and the Return of Bruce Wayne was showing that same typical pattern that I hate of Morrison’s writing.  But what a pleasant surprise it was to see Grant finally make sense of the cluster fuck!  I don’t want to give anything away but each individual issue, as boring and horribly written as they were, truly does tie into this Batman installment.  It never occurred to me that the first five issues were mere explorations of Bruce Wayne’s qualities that make him who he is; a warrior, a fighter of the super-natural evils, a deceptive thief, masked avenger, and the greatest detective of all time.  This culmination of everything that Bruce Wayne is leads to this final, climactic issue where Bruce, once again, defeats evil with his cunning and never failing intellect.  I’m sorry Chuck Norris, but you officially have nothing on Batman

To give away the details of how and why Darkseid planned this all out would be a disservice to you as a reader, but keep in mind it’s something I think you all will enjoy.  But I was more impressed with the way Morrison handled Bruce’s amnesia.  I never quite understood how, when Bruce had no idea who he was, was still capable of leaving clues for his friends to find him.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought even Bruce could have outwitted the bad guy at this degree.  But now a question still lingers in my head…Is Darkseid still alive in some capacity, and will he return?

You have to be completely invested in this issue in order to see where the questions raised in this series come to light.  Morrison has never been one to simply give you the answers, you have to look for them.  Unlike most of his work, the answers are ACTUALLY there and make sense!  But this is no easy read.  You might even have to go back for a second reading, maybe even a third in order to understand all the clues and how they tie into this final chapter of Bruce Wayne’s return.  But make no mistake, this issue does bring everything together.

The action never stops!  From page one to the end you will always be grasping the pages waiting for the next thing to occur.  Not only can we thank Morrison in this effort, but also artists Garbett and Perez.  While not being the greatest artists in the world, there is certainly a quality that can’t be denied as beautiful and story-aiding.  There is no laziness or “rushed” feelings here, it’s all very seemless and detailed, and that’s all I can ask of any comic book artist.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Morrison really does outdo himself here, and I’m finally glad to see him write a story that is as captivating as the ads make it out to be.  I still think this miniseries is overall one of the worst that DC has put out, (with Brightest Day making that list as well) but #6 of 6 is a fantastic piece of work I’m glad to own. 

Now, how is Morrison going to keep this momentum up with Bruce Wayne being the “funder” of Batman?  Ugh, with every one good thing Morrison does, there are at least 50 bad things he does in return. 

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10
+ 2 incentive points