Comix…..not this week (or at least later on this week)!

Spent all day cleaning my house in preparation for the family that will be staying with us for Thanksgiving. I picked up my mighty stack of comics….and promptly did not read them. I can’t promise anything, but I “might” have the article done for Thursday Night/Friday Morning. Sorry for the inconvenience.In the meanwhile, please look at this artistic rendering of Robocop on a Unicorn.

What is best in life? … not this.

I love Conan the Barbarian. The original Robert E. Howard stories are required reading in my home. The comics are superb and the Arnold Schwarzenegger film (first one at least) is one of my favorite films.

Arnold became a superstar thanks to this great film by John Milius. Everyone can quote it, and most of us love it. In recent years, I have come to be a huge Jason Momoa fan. I first saw him Stargate: Atlantis, and he absolutely rocked my socks as Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

When I heard that Momoa would be cast as Conan, I was very happy. Physically he is a very good match for the literary Conan, and based on his Drogo performance, we knew he could pull of the role. Sadly, the finished product was nowhere near the quality that he could deliver.

Right from the start, this movie was bad…and I literally mean the start. The opening scene devolved into utter nonsense as Conan is born on a battlefield as his father cuts him from his mother’s stomach. He then hefts the infant above his head and lets loose a battle scream. I nearly turned off the dvd player at this point. I thought twice, and continued.

The biggest problem with this film is that there is no barbarism. Conan and his cohorts are far too trusting and honorable. Conan is supposed to be a thief at this point in his life…a lying cheating, whoring, barbarian. Here he is the noble savage, who stays true to his friends. There is nothing wrong with that, and Conan has certainly done this before, but he is literally giving his full trust to people he just meets in this film. The “Mcguffin” is not used at all. A magical mask that can raise the dead and control demons….which really does none of that in the course of the film.

Steven Lang is not a bad villain, but honestly it should have been his daughter Rose McGowan. In the end, she dies and he fights Conan to the death. She should have killed her father and used these awesome demonic powers to make a REAL threat to Conan in this. Instead, we bumble from one action set piece to another, with absolutely no gravitas or substance on screen.

I really hope that Momoa gets another shot at Conan, but they need to write a film that is worthy of the name Conan.

My Tattoo is done and some SWTOR goodness!

I was one of the chosen 1/4 million who got to participate in the SWTOR beta last week, and I must say that the game is awesomely awesome. No lie. I rolled (played) each character type (Smuggler, Trooper, Jedi, Consular, Warrior, Agent, Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter) up to about level 5. I wanted to get a little taste of what each class offered to aid in my final decisions at game launch. As a gamer that is big on Lore, SWTOR does not dissapoint. Each class seems to have its own quest lines and there was so much effort put into the story of this game world that one cannot help but be sucked in. I am in this weekend’s final beta as well!

Today was the day I finished my tattoo. Bob at Federal Hill Tattoo in Providence is simply the best. Here is the finished product:

Comix This Week! 11-16-2011

Greetings Program!

Welcome to another edition of “Comix this week!” and a fine week it was. On to the goodies:

Worst of the week

Nightwing #3: While hardly a “bad” comic, when examined in the group of comics I purchased this week, it was clearly the weakest. With no action, this third issue of the rebooted Nightwing focuses on character as Dick attends the funeral of Mr Haley (of the Haley’s circus that Dick grew up in), tries to find out what “secret” Haley died to protect, all while nurturing another romantic attatchment. I had hopes for this title, but it has definitely moved down a few pegs this month. I will probably give it one more issue before I make a decision to keep/drop.

Average of the Week

Captain America #4: Brubaker delivers a mind bending episode as Cap is trapped in Johnny Jupiter’s alternate dimension as he sees what Codename Bravo went through as he lived in the dimension for 70 years. Not the best, but its all leading up to the finale of this first arc. Good stuff.

Fearless #3: Bunn delivers another knockout issue of this Fear Itself follow up. Is it bad that I like this more that the series it spawned from?? Valkrie fights the Secret Avengers and Vampires to continue her quest to collect the Magical Hammers, as SIN devises the ultimate doomsday weapon.

Green Lantern Corps 3: From a title that was not impressing me, I must admit I am impressed. Guy, John, and other Green Lanterns are stuck on a planet fighting some strange Alien army,  who are nearly immune to their Rings! Some awesome cross-galaxy warping, and some battling later, we get John and others stranded and taken as POW’s to this alien threat.

Supergirl 3: Denying the truth about Krypton, Kara tries to track down the Space Pod that brought her to Earth, only to discover that it was stolen by and taken to an orbital space station, where she is tested in various attacks to see how powerful she is. By issue’s end, the is introduced to a little something called “Kryptonite”.

Best of the Week

X-Men 21: The border dispute, between the Eastern European nations who’s fictitious names I forget, heats up as a whole army of drone Sentinels are taught to kill regular humans in addition to mutants. War Machine jumps into the fray as the race to take out the Sentinels continues.

Avengers 19: This is it, one of those great moments where the world is introduced to the latest line-up of the Avengers! As Steve assembles his team, adding Storm and a rebuilt Vision, their great press conference is interrupted by Fugitive Norman Osborn! What he wants: Due process over his imprisonment without trial! Unexpected, and awesome.

Amazing Spider-Man 674: The cover says it all! The Vulture is back! Now operating a sort of Mob boss who is setting up a whole team of Vultures to carry out his crimes! For some inexplicable reason, Vulture is my favorite Spidey villain. i’ve always hoped they would cast Stan Lee as the Vulture in a cameo.

Incredible Hulk 2: Jason Aaron delivers again as this issue shows us how Bruce Banner dealt with being physically separated from the Hulk…going batshit crazy and creating his own Island of Dr Moreau! Hulk is enlisted to stop Banner, but he wants nothing to do with it, and jumps away- Just as 2 of Banner’s wild boar monsters break into the underground city Hulk has been living in, and starts killing the residents- to hurt Hulk’s friends. Great stuff.

Runners up of the week

Justice League 3: Johns and Lee deliver another terrific issue of the Justice League! As Darkseid’s Parademons invade the Earth “For Darkseid!”, Green Lantern, Flash, Superman and Batman are joined by Wonder Woman and Aquaman to face this threat! WW centric, we see a bit of what Diana did upon traveling to America for the first time, and it is great to see that Steve Trevor is still a part of that origin. This also presents us with the construction of the Hero we will come to know as Cyborg! A great issue.

Batman #3: This was a tough choice. I was inclined to make this my #1 comic this week, but it narrowly lost out. In the previous issues, we have seen a mysterious Owl assassin trying to kill Bruce Wayne. The killer supposedly works for a mythic secret society known as the Court of Owls. Batman thinks they are just a myth…until he discovers that hidden in the 13th floor(the hidden floor in buildings) of a whole series of skyscrapers in Gotham are hideouts for the Court! In them are weapons, suits, and photos dating back over 150 years! It blows our minds, and actually blows Batman mind too. A rare instance of seeing Batman a little scared that there could be this big giant secret in Gotham that he never knew of. Snyder is a great writer, and Capullo is perfectly suited to drawing this title.

Pick of the Week!

Wonder Woman #3: By Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang.

So few writers can do Wonder Woman well…Brian Azzarello is one of these chosen few. I have always enjoyed WW, but there were just no great stories that sucked me into the character, not for years. Azzarello gets it. In this issue, we get some expert storytelling as the Amazons prepare to have a funeral for the Amazons killed in the last issue. Diana has a talk with her mother over the revelation made by The Goddess Strife. Hippolyta admits that Strife IS Diana’s sister. She and (ZEUS!) were lovers and Diana came from that union. The whole backstory of Diana being fashioned from Clay and turned to life was revealed to be just a cover story to keep Hera from killing her. Diana swears off her alleigance to Paradise Island and lives now only known as Wonder Woman. Cliff Chiang does an outstanding job with the artistic duties on this issue. He brings a great Indie feel to the comic that to me is reminiscent of a lot of stuff I was reading about 10 years ago in the small press publishers. Now if they could only make a decent WW movie…

 

The Quest for Loremaster!

After playing World of Warcrack for many years, I am very close to the ultimate achievement! I, Dubiel (my character), shall become LOREMASTER!

Loremaster is given when you have completed all the quests in every zone of the game (minus a few optional ones). We are talking about thousands of quests, across 3 continents and 2 planets. It is a great moment for Dub, and I cannot wait to share the screenshot with all of you!

Dubiel: Level 85 Human Warlock

Dub was created one rainy day when I was very bored. I was about to quit playing the game, when i decided to have some fun and model a character after my pal Pete Dubiel.

As you can see, he was quite happy with the idea…

Comix this week! 11-9-11

Welcome phantom readers!

I present for your edification, the latest edition of my weekly report on the newest comic offerings to be found at your local retailer or through digital download! As always, I direct interested parties to The Time Capsule: Route 6 in Seekonk Mass (next door to the speedway) to get their fix! Tell Jeff that Mike Ponte sent you! He will promptly reply with a healthy slap to your face and order you to get out before he sticks the dogs on you and calls the cops.

I apologize for the lack of uniformity in the images, I just grabbed what I could find on the interwebs.

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Worst of the Week:

This is the last week for the “Stink” category. I may have finally found a good balance of titles to read, that has completely (for now) eradicated the garbage.

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Acceptable of the Week

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 3:

 

“Season 9” of Buffy continues as she finds herself wanted by the Police for murdering Vampires…yup. Vamps are now “pop icons” in the Buffy-verse. Of course, there is always a catch, as a new villain called “The Siphon” is after Buffy and her powers. It appears that when Buffy destroyed “The seed”: Source of all magic and power in the Earth (which miraculously is also central to the Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force: covered below), she did something that makes all new Vampires into Zombies…Zompires as Xander so eloquently put it. Another “OK” issue, but I cannot help but wonder if the magic of Buffy is wearing off a bit (correlations of the preceding statement to the events of Season 8 are totally intentional).

Superboy 3:

Superboy is out in the world, and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. wants him back! I hope that made sense. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is a shadowy group that is the creator of Superboy.  The future “Connor Kent” (if he will use that name in the DCnU) is getting his first taste of the real world, and his introduction to normal humans. Of course he happens across some sort of alien fire monster who conveniently reveals to him that he is a clone, containing both Kryptonian and Human DNA.  Overall, a decent issue, but I think this, and Teen Titans, are in danger of becoming very boring…very quickly. They are both essentially covering the same ground- N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and it’s desire to control all of the young Meta-Humans, and the few teen heroes that stand against them.

Resurrection Man #3

The story of the undying “Mitch” continues, as the two sexy assassins fail in kidnapping him from the Nursing home! hehe. That was a funny sentence to write. “Resurrection Man”, the guy who rises from death, each time with a new superpower, is being hunted! Last issue, two beautiful women were dispatched to find and retrieve him. This issue shows the remainder of their epic battle, as Mitch discovers that these two girls have a very Wolverine-like Healing factor! Just when he thinks these sexy babes have him licked, a senile old man puts on a super-suit and prepares to fight them! hehe. This comic is funny.

Batman and Robin #3

Tomasi delivers another great issue of Bruce/Damian awesomeness. Bruce is worried about this “Morgan” character coming after him, and his bat-family. He orders Damian to stay home and play with their new dog, but as Damian is an ass, he disobeys his father (never do that, especially if your dad is the goddamn Batman), and is promptly left helpless at the hands of Morgan. By the end of the story, we have a good old fashioned “Same bat-time, same bat-channel” cliffhanger, where the dynamic duo are strapped into a convertible, in a field, and a drive-in movie is about to start. Methinks the next issue will be a lot of exposition… good stuff though. The characterizations are there, and it all flows well. Of special interest is that great Chess scene where Alfred the Butler shows child Genius Robin, just why Batman keeps him around.

Deathstroke #3:

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This issue finds Slade attacked by a strange Green and Purple suited assassin- pictured on the cover. This new villain. “Legacy”, seems solid enough as a recurring foil, but the cover could use some work. I guess I am just picky. The story inside the cover was another great tale. Following the slaughterfest of issue 2, Slade now finds himself back in the public eye as the “Go-to” Assassin. After dispatching Legacy, he goes off to Colorado to kill an arms manufacturer and meets…Legacy?! He kills him…again, but is beaten to the punch as someone else kills his mark. This was another solid issue from this surprisingly readable comic. I have a feeling that sales will get it cancelled in the next few months, but I will enjoy the blood soaked rise while it lasts.

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Now that we have the standard issues out of the way, it’s time for:

Best of the week!

Magneto: Not a Hero #1:

Whoa nelly! This mini series could be a great one. The story starts with an anti mutant rally in NY. Magneto (who has been an X-Men member for a while) walks in and kills everyone in attendance. The President of the US pretty much rips Steve “Cpt America” Rogers a new asshole, and demands Magneto be brought to justice. He and Iron Man end up meeting with Cyclops and Magneto over it. The catch: Magneto did not do it. Using a type of Cerebro, he discovers the culprit is his clone: Joseph! apparently flanked by his children: Wanda and Quicksilver! Not sure how that will play out, but I like this start. I kinda suspect that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were a sort of hallucination, or subconscious prodding that Joe is gonna try to take Daddy’s place as leader of some sort of new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. We’ll see.

Batgirl #3:

As Barbara adjusts to her new life back as Batgirl, we take a pause in the action to get some character development. Barbara is still mentally suffering from her “miracle” recovery from paralysis. Over the course of this story, she feels great anger and resentment in the idea that all of her friends and family see her not as the strong willed woman persona she had while in the wheelchair, but as a weak fragile girl to be protected from all harm and unnecessary exertion. This is a tough thing for her to wrap her mind around, and I applaud Simone for telling this story. There was so much fear and anger over the end of the “Oracle” character, that I am happy to see Gail delve into the mental instability in such a change (as opposed to “YAY! I can walk! Let’s never mention the wheelchair again!”).  It culminates with Babs, and Nightwing (former, and possibly future paramour- Dick Grayson) slugging it out over her belief that he and Batman don’t think she is up to the task of being Batgirl.  Overall, a great comic. We also get some reference points as it is told that her shooting was three years in the past. I loves me some reference.

The New Avengers 18:

Well, well, well. My favorite run of Avengers from the last several years has returned! Following “Secret Invasion”, Norman “Green Goblin” Osborne  became the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and made his own team of evil Avengers- the Dark Avengers. Newly escaped from prison, Norman (Looking suspiciously like Tommy Lee Jones), is now leading H.A.M.M.E.R., and has teamed up with Hydra, The Hand, and A.I.M. to create a new Dark Avenger team!  Yup, Norman is getting the band back together! The kicker- they have the “Clone Thor” from Civil War in their arsenal. Outstanding.Well played Bendis…well played.

Green Lantern #3:

The lackluster first 2 issues begin to pay off a bit in this issue of Green Lantern. Now that Sinestro has cajoled Hal into helping him free his home planet of Korugar from the Sinestro Corps, they head off to get the job done. Things go instantly fubar, and Hal is disintegrated?!! That’s not even the coolest part of the comic. The Guardians, who began to show signs of going apeshit crazy when they lobotomized fellow Guardian Ganthet (for having emotions), have decided to make a move. First came the Manhunter robots, who were flawed. The Guardians shut them down and created the Green Lantern Corps. Now, they being emotional sentient beings are not perfect either. So the Guardians are gonna scrap them all and create a THIRD ARMY! Some do not like Geoff Johns, but his run on these comics has been terrific. The concept of some new Corps of Robots/Machines/whatever trying to replace the GL Corps is very cool. I look forward to it playing out.

Avenging Spider-Man #1:

The first issue of the new Spidey title! I was a bit wary of this, but after some thinking, decided to give it a shot. Despite the title, this is essentially  the new “Marvel Team-up” comic. Back in the day, “team-up” was always Spider-Man having adventures with the hero of the week.  This time, we see Spidey and the Red Hulk team up to fight the Moloids, and discover that the Mole man has been defeated! Those stories were always some of my favorite Spider-Man adventures back in the day. I welcome it back with open arms. In addition, this comic comes polybagged with a code to download a free digital edition of the comic! My first “same day as print” comic! This title looks to be a keeper.

Demon Knights #3:

Best of the Awesomesauce titles. The only thing keeping this out of the top tier this month was the lack of Vandal Savage eating dinosaur for the first time in millenniums. That scene was the essence of fantastic. This month, the story of the Medieval superhero team continues as they prepare for an attack by The Horde on the small village they have decided to protect. Demons, flying horses, Vandal Savage, evil sorceresses, Mechanical Dragons, Walls of flame, and crispy demon-burnt priests all come together to form  a stunning story by Paul Cornell. I do not know where in his ass he pulled this comic out of, but I hope it runs forever.

Marvel Point One

While not the cover to this issue, it pretty much sums it up. Point One is a special one shot comic that drops several cool things in our laps. The idea is this: make a comic that will tease all of the big 2012 comic events. Holy crap did they do just that. The skeleton of this title is a couple of spacemen have sneaked into Uatu the Watcher’s house to download some information on the future! Of the things covered: Ultron taking over the Earth in Avengers, Doctor Strange leading the Defenders, The rise of X-Terminated- an Age of Apoocalypse story, Kaine becoming the new Scarlet Spider in his own title, AND…..

The return of the fucking Phoenix. Phoenix destroys an entire planet in this particular vignette and is tearing its way across the universe (presumably heading to earth, because…that’s where all these alien things head for some reason.) They also drop a thread that these 2 guys stealing Uatu’s information have a plan- to kill him! Marvel in 2012 is looking very very good.

Runner up of the week


Batwoman #3: by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

This is quite the comic. The writing is near perfection, and the art is breathtaking. Looking at the cover, you get the sense that this is a special style of comic. What many do not understand is that while a cover is frequently more dynamic that the interior art (to make you buy it), this comic’s interiors frequently match or EXCEED the covers. Williams is a master of his craft. The art here is the best I have ever seen in a comic. He makes it his own, and never looks back. This is a title that people will be talking about for many years as a prime example of what the comics art medium can accomplish.

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and now….

Pick of the Week!

Uncanny X-Force 17: by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña

Simply perfection. Selecting this title as the pick of 11-9-11 was a no brainer. Rick Remender is on a tear in this title that I cannot believe. 17 issues in 12 months… SEVENTEEN!

Right from the start, he has made this new iteration of the X-Force something amazing to behold. The Mutant Hit Squad concept was very weak, and I had zero interest in the previous iteration of this team. He took that team, added Deadpool and Fantomex (who has become one of my favorite X-Men) and gave us the best comic produced by Marvel.

The Dark Angel Saga reaches it’s penultimate issue as Psylocke is transformed into the new Horseman of Death! Archangel prepares to use “The Seed” (same idea from Buffy really) to wipe out all life on Earth and remake it in a Mutant Utopian image. The team manage to turn Psylocke back to normal just in time to face off against Warren in a final battle. The last damn thing we needed was another Age of Apocalypse storyline where one of the heroes gets possessed by the power of Apocalypse and tries to take over the Earth. Its been done… a lot. Remender wisely takes this comic on another course, one with tremendous power, great twists, and possibly the best story Angel/Archangel has ever had.

The art is exceptional, as we have come to expect from Jerome Opeña. The story is easily best X-story since Grant Morrison’s  work on New X-Men, and possibly further back. Remender has joined Jason Aaron, and Cullen Bunn as my favorite writers of the past year. I was aware of them, and their work, but this is the year I really jumped into their stuff. I have no doubt that this run on Uncanny X-Force will be looked back on by future readers as one of the best in the history of X-Men…and that is saying quite a bit.