Thursday, June 30, 2011

Game of Thrones Comic

The Wonderful folks at Comics Alliance have posted some promo art for the freshly announced Game of Thrones comic from Dynamite Comics.

Sexy Alex Ross covers. Winter is coming.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DC Reboot: Batman and Kevin Smith

My least favourite Batman comic and my least favourite Kevin Smith work will remain in continuity in the DC Universe following the DC reboot.

Why? I cannot explain. It makes me sad, actually.

Thanks to Keith for bringing me this heartbreaking news.

Movie: X-Men: First Class

Risa and I went to see "X-Men: First Class" last night. Cheapie Tuesday movies, for the win.

The quick review; it was very good. As good as X2 in my opinion, and Risa liked it even better than that.

Spoilers may follow from this point on, so be warned, all ye who enter.

First off, director Matthew Vaughn has yet to direct a movie I don't like. His first three flicks were "Layer Cake" (which essentially got Daniel Craig the role as James Bond), "Stardust" and "Kick Ass". Are you asking how to make action movies that have strong characters and compelling drama? Talk to Matt Vaughn (I'm looking at you Michael Bay and Gavin Hood). The movie looks great, and is set in 1962 without it constantly beating you over the head with "Hey, it's 1962, folks! Look at those wacky 60's!" (The one part where that does happen is when Charles tells a woman her eyes are "groovy" while trying to pick her up in a bar, but it works.) The action scenes are bombastic, and are (thankfully) not riddled with "shakey-cam" so the viewer can actually appreciate what's going on.

The casting was pretty great for this movie. I was pleasantly surprised at this because I was not all that enthused as the casting was announced during pre-production. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did great work as Charles Xavier and Magneto, and I both believed their friendship and their routes to different paths. Nicholas Hoult was Hank McCoy, and he looked picture perfect as a young and non-furry Beast, and really, I have no complaints about the rest of the team. They looked the part, and played it well enough for me. I did find it odd that they added Havok to the team, as he is supposed to be Cyclops' younger brother, and making him a teen in 1962 would but him well in his 60's now, but that's neither here nor there, and is mostly the fanboy in me being nitpicky. Mystique was also well played, and handled the development of being a self-loathing mutant with much more delicacy than the way it had previously been done with Rogue in the first trilogy.

Moving on.

The villains are headed up by Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, who does play a menacing and evil character quite well. The rest of the Hellfire Club have the look, but don't add much more than their powers to the movie. Even January Jones, who I found took a choice role in Emma Frost and made her bland and a one-note character, losing her clever and catty dialogue and leaving behind only a hot body in revealing clothing. That's really a shame, but it doesn't take too much away from the overall experience. Azazel and Riptide also both looks cool, and get in on the action scenes, but don't really drive the movie forward. One thing Azazel does do, however, is show how bad-ass a demonic-looking teleporter assaulting a government institution could be. Oh wait...

If you don't know where Azazel comes from, his moronic origins were quite nicely explained over at Robot 6 last week. He's better in the movie than in the comics, it should be stated.

Look for a few great cameos/easter eggs during the film. They deliver. Also, the closing credits Saul Bass-esque design was wonderful. But there is nothing after the credits, so you don't have to sit there until the end. And lastly, this film was decidedly missing a Stan Lee cameo. *tsk*

To summarize, the movie is well written, well directed, and well acted. It was worth seeing, and is one of the better super hero movies made thus far. It exceeded my expectations, and I say, go see it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Skottie Young's Daily Warm-Ups

Skottie Young is one of my favorite artists. I bought a whole run of Cable and Deadpool just because he was doing the covers. Over on his blog, he regularly posts a selection of his daily warm up sketches, and they're pretty damned cool.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

So cool.

Movie: Conan The Barbarian Trailer

Grabbed this from Superhero Hype. I wasn't super sure about this, but seeing "A Game of Thrones" on HBO has helped win me over to Jason Momoa's side, and I think he can play a great barbarian warrior.

The Conan movie is slated for an August 19th release.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kids are Weird

I was in a restaurant a few weeks ago with my honey. It was past 10pm.

Two kids walked into the place. They were about 10 years old. They walked in the door, through the isle to the back of the place, and then back to the front door, leaving the place. The staff and clients were all left in awe, and it was obvious that no one knew what had just happened.

The kids were in costume, for no discernible reason.

One was dressed as Superman wearing a bunny mask and ears.

The other was dressed as Darth Vader Spider-man. Spider-suit, but with a full Vader helmet and chest piece. The chest-plate was making the heavy breathing sound effect.

These were the coolest kids ever.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Is Best in Life? X-Men Arcade Game

Comics Alliance delivers this news to me today:

The 1992 X-Men Arcade game will be available for android devices.

"The arcade game's been available on gaming consoles for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade since the end of 2010, but the mobile version should be handy for those who game on the move. Android and iOS features include drop-in multiplayer via Wi-Fi for up to four mutants (all six of the original characters: Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Dazzler), plus custom button placement on your device of choice's touch screen. Lefty's rejoice!"

Just as I'm about to begin shopping for a new phone, too.

Top Cow: First Look - Part 1

I picked up "Top Cow: First Look" last week, based on it's cover alone. The art didn't do much for me, but a 4.99 price tag was enough to entice me to give it a whirl. Actually, the rest of the cover design does leave something to be desired. It looks pretty lazily done, especially considering the goal of this book would be to entice new readers and sell them on what a great job Top Cow is doing.

The quick review: Top Cow is sort of doing okay, but not always.

I'll talk about the first three issues in the collection today, and save the next three for later.

First up is "Genius". Described by Top Cow:

"The Pilot Season 2008 winning team of Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman (The Authority) and Afua Richardson (Cyblade) returns with Genius-a story of a young African-American military genius taking over LA's gangs."

It sounds liek a silly concept, but it was a fun read with bits of cleverness peppered throughout (even if some of those clever bits illustrated how to be a better domestic terrorist). The concept is basically a young woman, raised in South Central Los Angeles, has risen to take over and unify the gangs in her city, and declares war on the oppressors of her people, the LAPD.

Bernardin and Freeman obviously take a lot of their influences from "Boyz n the Hood" and N.W.A., and the dialogue feels like it's trying to be authentic, without it actually being authentic. The plotting is solid, however, and the Origin tale of a modern day Sun Tzu is compelling.

Richardson's art is pop-y and looks good on the page, but sometimes he makes strange decisions and the storytelling breaks down. Odd halos around characters, silhouettes, and confusing camera angles made me, at times, have to go back and reread the page to try and figure out what was going on.

"Genius" was a fun, but sometimes sloppy, read.


Next up is "Sunset", tagged by the publisher as:
"Sunset by Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) and Jorge Lucas (The Darkness) tells the tale of an old Vegas enforcer on a quest for revenge in his twilight years."

I know Christos Gage from his work on IDW's GI Joe books, and I quite like the slow burn drama he's able to build. This one starts off very similarly to Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino", but there's a good twist at the end that stops it from being a heartwarming tale of the redemption of a cranky old man.

I hadn't really run across Jorge Lucas prior to this, but his art is serviceable, with similarities to Alex Maleev. I think he uses a bit too much digital processing, and it could benefit from a little more economy of the lines.

The set up was good, and I'm interested to see where Gage is taking the character, so this one was a pretty good preview. The benign beginning of the story is contrasted by the shock of the "ol' uber-violence" that jumps in at the end.

Comic Book Resources has an archived preview of the book here, if you wanna check it out.


Lastly, for today, is Mysterious Ways, which Top Cow describes thusly:

"Jason Rubin (The Iron Saint) and Tyler Kirkham (Green Lantern Corps) unveil the supernatural murder-mystery Mysterious Ways."

It's hard sometimes, I find, to review comics. This is usually true when I find a comic that I really do not like, and such is the case with "Mysterious Ways".

Right off the bat, Kirkham's art rubs me the wrong way, as it gave me a 1992 "Extreme Studios"/ Rob Liefeld vibe. Too many lines, too sketchy, and... an interesting take on the study of anatomy.

Once the art leaves me cold, it's very hard for a writer to bring me back into the fold, and in this case, Jason Rubin was not up to the task. The story, about an ex-con/former cop turned alcoholic who is possibly framed for a grisly murder is seemed in "Spawn"-like melodrama and lacks any real emotional content. The min character spends nearly the entire book drunk and that prevents the reader from ever getting a chance to relate to or engage him, and the mystery just sort of falls flat because there's no one to care about.


That's it for now. I'll review the other 3 issues in the book sometime later.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DC Do-over?

It is being reported that DC Comics is... starting over.

All of it.

Everything you've read since Crisis in '86. That's done. Story over.DC comics will publish 52 #1 issues in September, rebooting their entire universe. I guess Superman can be an American again, now.

I dunno what to make of this. I am a huge fan of continuity, but at the same time, this isn't selective changing of the past, this is a fresh start for the entire line, and I think that can be a little bit interesting.

I'm sure I'll have more on this as my brain adjusts.