Revenge of the BLOG

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

House of M vs Infinite Crisis

This sorta thing happens every decade or so. Simply telling regular ongoing stories isn't enough for the two major superhero companies, there needs to be a big event where all the characters come together and something enormous in scale goes down. For Marvel, it's a single event called House of M that leads to many other smaller events. For DC, its many events that lead to a singular one, Infinite Crisis, the true nature of which has yet to be revealed.

Of the 2 events, DC's is far more focused and single-minded. I'd imagine that if you're someone who is reading all these mini events that lead to Infinite Crisis, it feels like a lot of puzzle pieces falling into place. If you're not following all the "Countdown" miniseries, Infinite Crisis is like getting only a few puzzle pieces, and only a few of them fit together. Still, the scope of what is happening is not lost on the new reader; it just feels like coming into the Star Wars saga midway into Empire Strikes Back. House of M, on the other hand, is far less focused. It has a singular idea, that the world has changed and many of the heroes are living dream lives, and lets all these individual mini's build on it independently of one another. You can read the main House of M miniseries by itself and feel as though you've got the whole story without reading all the others. If you read every HoM book there is, to use the puzzle analogy again, you've got all these pieces and it's left up to you to put them together, and this is a really hard puzzle.

It's hard to say which storytelling method is better. For the casual fan, I'd say that House of M works better, but for the hardcore fan, Infinite Crisis is a huge payoff. This week, House of M begins to wrap up, while Infinite Crisis begins. Personally, I am a casual fan. I didn't buy any of the Countdown minis, and I didn't buy any of the HoM minis. Only the main miniseries' for me, which is sure to color my reactions to both events. Also, I'm much more of a Marvel guy, I don’t know why, but I tend to gravitate to the Marvel Universe. I know a decent amount about the DC universe, most of which I've picked up through osmosis online. I also never read the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, but I pretty much get the gist of it, and I trust the Geoff Johns' tendency to give an explanation for EVERYTHING will make Infinite Crisis a little easier to take in.

So here's what went down this week:
The first question that comes to mind, in House of M #7, is when's the last time a surprise was actually a surprise? Have we as an audience become so smart, so good at guessing plot outcomes that nothing surprises us anymore? Personally, I can't remember the last time a comic book actually surprised me in a significant way. That's really the big question for us, the readers. Onto the issue.

Issue opens and BOOM, big fight. Really, it's a splash page that lets you know that a battle is happening. As it stands, the fight is pretty meaningless. You can't punch things until the world reverts back to normal, and beating up a bunch of Genoshan guards isn't gonna effect the outcome of the story. The thing with Bendis is that he knows how to script a fight scene, I've seen many very good fight scenes that he scripted, so he's not writing these big chaotic battles to avoid writing a fight scene, he's writing them this way because the real drama of the issue isn't a physical battle but a mental one. But yeah, one wonders if Bendis scripts stories where fights are fairly meaningless to avoid scripting fights. I've got no answer there.

But yeah, the fight is happening, and it goes down like this: After a big splash page, Rogue grabs Genis-Vell and steals his powers, making her all sparkley so she can go off and kick more ass. Over in the magnetic shield that Polaris has put up, Pietro is holding a downed Wanda, but all of a sudden, she literally falls into a million pieces. Tetris pieces, by the looks of it. Pietro takes off running, but gets his ass knocked to the ground by a supercharged Rogue, who just stands there and acts southern.

Before I move to the Doctor Strange scene, I’d like to point out that in the panel where Cyclops tells Nightcrawler to watch people's backs, Cyclops is literally shooting the ground. Is he blind when his beams shoot? Kinda funny.

So, Doctor strange notices a light on, up in one of the towers, and goes to investigate. Because, like, investigating people who leave lights on is WAY more important than the battle at hand. And hey, it's Wanda in there, playing with those damn creepy kids. Wanda recognizes him. It appears that her mind is part in the house of M, and part in the real world. She knows who he is, and knows that he delivered her kids, but doesn't know why he's there. The Wanda that fell apart was a construct, and it seems that she's been making a lot of constructs recently, and it is hinted that the Magneto we've seen recently is a construct as well. Of course, we don't know WHICH one was real and which was made by Wanda, but I prefer to think that Magneto died in New X-men #115, and every Magneto since then was a creation of Wanda's that represented the different sides of Magneto that she knows. Sorta makes sense, right? Of course, this invalidates Grant Morrison's Magneto in Planet X, which I really LIKED, but making him a Magneto that Wanda created is much better than plainly calling him an "imposter" while the "real" Magneto is a nice guy. This way, both Pro-Morrison people and those against Morrison are equally wrong. Magneto really died a while ago, and both nice guy and crazy guy are equally fake.

But anyway, Strange informs her of the fighting outside, and then we learn why things are the way they are. We flashback to HoM #1, the scene between Pietro and Magneto. After Magneto leaves, Wanda wakes up and consoles her brother. She's accepted her fate, but Pietro doesn't want to lose her. He devises a plan. She could use Xavier’s powers and hers, and make the world perfect. She could make the world so everyone would be happy, everyone would have what they want, even Magneto. It's either that or she dies. It wasn't Magneto that set this all in motion, it was Pietro.

Apparently, Doctor Strange is surprised by this revelation. I think he might be the only one. Strange continues the questions that Emma Frost telepathically tells him to ask, but before she can tell him where Xavier is, Wanda takes an arrow to the back. Before Emma can figure out what is going on, Magneto appears before her. Layla does the mind thingee on Magneto, and before we can see what happens, we cut back to the bedroom, where Hawkeye is back, making good on his promise to put an arrow in Wanda. Hawkeye is understandably pissed for, y'know, being dead. Wanda counters with the fact that she DID bring him back, but before any more could be said, that little toothless bastard kid of Wanda’s throws a fit and Hawkeye falls into Tetris pieces, just like the construct of Wanda did earlier. Man, I hate these kids. Wanda keels over, and she's just as crazy as ever. She can't control her powers now, which doesn't sound good.

Back in the battle, Pietro is causing a lot of damage, as evidenced by a lot of speed lines and small panels of heroes getting their heads hit, but then BOOM, Magneto starts yelling and he is pissed. He literally restrains every single hero in pieces of metal, and has them floating, he then brings Pietro up in the center, right in front and starts chewing him out. Magneto is none too pleased with what Pietro has done in his name, and sends these giant balls of scrap metal colliding into Pietro's exposed head. Personally, I love stuff like this, because it really puts on display just how goddamn powerful Magneto is. Of course, Wanda doesn't love stuff like this, because she explodes out of her tower, cancels out Magneto's hold on all the heroes, and literally erases his mouth so he can't tell her to stop. She moves over to the clearly dead Pietro and either restores him to life, or cleans off his corpse, I can't tell which. She then really calls Magneto on all his bullshit. Mostly his arrogance is what she can't stand, and the fact that he chose his quest for mutant superiority over his own kids. She doesn't buy into the idea that mutants are the next step in human evolution, but instead thinks that they're all freaks. And if he believes in mutant superiority so much, well guess what? "No more mutants" Wanda tells him, and things start to light up. Doctor Strange puts up some kind of magical barrier, but even then, the world burns white, and the issue ends.

Personally, I thought it was pretty cool. Pietro being behind it was kind of a "no duh" moment, but really it was 50/50 between him being behind it all or magneto. Really though, Wanda actually takes some blame, because she knew what she was doing. It was a satisfying climax, I thought, and there is still one issue to go. Easily the biggest strength is the family drama aspect of it, and these issues with the children that Magneto abandoned coming to a head. It'll be interesting to see what the specific changes are after the white glow goes away.

Over on the DC side of things, we're thrust into the aftermath of the OMAC, Day of Vengeance, the Rann/Thanagar War, and Villains United minis, as well as various tie-ins from the regular books like JLA. The JLA Watchtower has exploded, tying both IC and HoM as two events that take something Grant Morrison created (and I love) and say "enh, guess not." I'm not bitter though, oh no, I've got the GENIUS of Seven Soldiers to sustain me. Anyway, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman survey the wreckage and basically talk a lot of shit to each other. The Martian Manhunter is "gone" which means he died or got out to whereabouts unknown. Batman has this black box recorder, and while it might reveal who teleported in and blew up the watchtower, it mostly serves to make Batman look like a paranoid crazy person. Superman acts like a man without a dick, while Batman talks down to him. Lemme say this right now: I hate this wishy-washy pussy version of Superman. While I'm not 100% sure how Superman SHOULD act, this version that basically scolds Batman for being over the top crazy rather than DOING anything about it simply isn't my thing. But then Wonder Woman shows up, and she actually kills people now, so Superman directs his scolding energy at her. It's clear why Batman and Superman are there, but it seems like the only reason Wonder Woman showed up was so that scene could happen. Apparently, images of Wonder Woman killing Max Lord have been beamed to every TV on the planet, so everyone in the world knows that Wonder Woman killed some dude in a polo shirt, the context of which is completely up in the air.

Watching this broadcast is Superboy. For the uninformed, Superboy, is a clone of Superman that has DNA from both Superman AND Lex Luthor. Recently, Luthor activated something in Superboy that made him go nuts and beat up the Teen Titans, he's since been afraid to do anything, not trusting the Luthor side of his genes. So there he sits, in the Kent farm, scared to take any action.

Now, throughout this, there is this omnipresent narration from a group of people who appear to be watching everything unfold, and then we SEE these people in shadow, literally watching everything unfold. Can you guess who they are?

Back on earth, in Bludhaven, Nightwing's city of choice, Donna Troy is preparing to take a group of heroes to some other galaxy to fight some.. thing or something. Honestly, the only people I recognize in this scene are Nightwing, Supergirl and Starfire. Starfire simply because she's on the Teen Titans cartoon. I didn't read the Return of Donna Troy mini, so I honestly don't care what she's about to do. I will say though, that Starfire's hair is insane. Nightwing leaps off the building, while meanwhile, some homeless dude turns into an OMAC! He blasts some 3rd rate villain, and then notices Nightwing nearby. The OMAC's directive changes to "truth and justice", whatever that means, and all of a sudden, around a million of them fly up into the sky. I'm guessing that "truth and justice" doesn't mean "kill", because Nightwing looks pretty calm.

Meanwhile, the Rann/Thanagar war is raging, and the only Green Lantern that I give a shit about, Kyle Rayner, sees what appears to be a black hole, but it really isn't. It's a manifestation of... something or other. His ring can't figure it out, and the Guardians can only identify it as a tear in reality. Or something.

Fulfilling the "Day of Vengeance" recap requirement is some giant rock exploding over Gotham City. In maybe the oddest cameo of the year, 2 members of the cast of Gotham Central appear to witness this explosion, and then see Captain Marvel hit the car in front of them, getting knocked out. Apparently, the Spectre has killed the wizard Shazam, and then the rock exploded, and then a bunch of magical creatures fill the streets of Gotham. Again, this makes no sense to me, but I get the general idea of what happened, just not WHY it happened.

Over in... Somewhere else, the Freedom Fighters are investigating where some supervillain meeting went down. Of these guys, I only recognize the Ray and Uncle Sam. Because he's... Uncle Sam. So, they open up this wherehouse door and BOOM, this condor guy takes a shot right through the gut and drops. The Freedom Fighters have discovered the hideout of Luthor's team of villains, the society (of supervillains). Doctor Polaris, Doctor Light, Professor Zoom, Black Adam, Psycho Pirate, Sinestro, Bizarro, and the Cheetah all look pretty impressive and scary and stuff….

But back to the bombed out Watchtower. Superman only SAYS that Wonder Woman will have to answer for what she did, and continues to act like a pussy who’s girlfriend is cheating on him instead of taking any sort of action. This standing and pouting gives MONGUL the perfect opportunity to POUND THE FUCK OUT OF SUPERMAN’S HEAD. Superman goes flying… and we’re back to seeing the Freedom Fighters get their asses kicked. Professor Zoom knocks out damage, and sadly, Phantom Lady gets a spear through her chest… but back to the moon, as Wonder Woman takes her new magical sword and slashes at Mongul, who only gets pissed and knocks her away. He then proceeds to grab Batman, who really can’t do a thing about it besides do an impression of a pirate… but back to the Freedom Fighters getting slaughtered! The Human Bomb learns that Phantom Lady just got impaled, so he freaks the fuck out and blows himself and Doctor Polaris up. Bizarro shows up and, bizarrely, pounds on the Human Bomb until he’s dead.

Quick aside here: How fucking wrong is it to have BIZARRO kill someone? When I think of Bizarro, I think of this big goofy guy who talks funny. Not someone who kills people with his bare hands. That was pretty unsettling for me.

But back to the moon! Superman comes back to pound the shit out of Mongul, and downs him in 3 hits. This gives Wonder Woman the chance to try to fucking KILL him! How fucked up is that? She gets one kill in and all of a sudden she’s the Punisher. Superman stops her, of course, and gives the very lame line “I don’t know who you are anymore”… just like a guy who’s girlfriend is cheating on him. This gives Mongul the chance to run away, far away from the crazy Amazon with the sword.

And finally, the end of the Freedom Fighters. Uncle Sam gets the shit kicked out of him, and the Ray gets dragged away because Luthor “needs” him for something. Sinestro gets the killing blow to Sam, and that’s that.

Back to the moon, where the big three act like teenagers. Superman and Batman are mad that Wonder Woman killed the guy, Batman is mad at both of them because he got his mind wiped, Wonder Woman and Superman are mad at Batman for judging everyone, and Wonder Woman and Batman are mad at Superman for being a pussy. Apparently, Superman is the only person on the planet who isn’t aware of who he is and what he means to people. But NOOOOO, Superman doesn’t want to be in charge of anything, he doesn’t feel it’s his place to inspire anyone, which allows Batman to give the line of the century: “The last time you really inspired anyone… was when you were dead.” And with that, they all go their separate ways, they’ve given up.

This doesn’t sit too well with the 4 mystery people who are watching it all. They feel that they have to save the world now, so the leader starts beating on the screen they were watching everything from; he smashes it down, and reveals himself to be Superman… of Earth 2. Issue ends on that note.

Ok, so what the fuck? Superman of Earth 2? If I wasn’t vaguely aware of what happened in the first Crisis, I’d be totally confused. All you need to know is that Earth 2 Superman is older, and from an Earth a lot like golden age DC, I think. Back in the “pre-crisis” DCU days, there were all these parallel earths, with different versions of the superheroes. These earths were all collapsed together in the crisis, but before it happened, Earth 2 Superman, the original Superboy, Lois Lane Kent, and good guy Alex Luthor escaped into a paradise dimension… and now they’re back.

OK, so which is better? I have to admit that House of M made a lot more sense to me than Infinite Crisis did, but the huge scope of Infinite Crisis beats out House of M by miles. Of course, when your story has Superman and the goddamn Batman (no, not THAT goddamn Batman) as major players, the enormity of the event is inherently larger than anything where Wolverine is a key player. Sorry Marvel, but it’s true. I did enjoy both of them. I do enjoy these epic stories, and I'm not one to get angry with a comic book company because of the storytelling direction they've chosen to take. I don't really think that any of the characters are sacred, nor should they be, and I do respect that they are taking chances with their stories. I do, however, wonder if the rampant killing going on in DC is the right way to go. I'll admit that they do have a LOT of boring characters, but it might be smarter to just leave them in limbo than to have Bizarro beat them to death. Then again, how else are you gonna show that these villains are worth a damn when you have 50 or so years built up of these guys continually getting their asses kicked. They seem kinda toothless if you don't show them winning every once in a while. Infinite Crisis also suffers because the threat isn't made clear in the first issue. You're given this idea that the multiverse is opening up, and you see an army of OMACS and demons and Supervillains, but is that really what this mini is going to be about? All these different threats? Perhaps it being unclear is part of the point. We'll see.

Over on the Marvel side of things, the problem is that nothing is surprising anymore. Every move is telegraphed a mile ahead, and far too many things are reliant upon the X-Corner of the Marvel Universe. Of course, given how things are looking, that corner is going to be a lot smaller in a few months, but really, this is how many events now where the cause originated from mutants? Perhaps that's the nature of the Marvel Universe. All the compelling characters are all so human and earth-bound that they simply aren't convincing in these epic cosmic struggles... and the characters that belong in epic cosmic struggles are all too boring to read about. I mean, I love Daredevil, but I don't think he's the right person to be saving the universe.

That being said, I think both are successes, and I liked both for differing reasons. In the end, I think Infinite Crisis will be the sales leader, simply due to the massive hype and the fact that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are front and center. Still, as a fan, I'm looking forward to each story unfolding, and writing even more about each.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ultra mega badass blowjob comic book reviews

Last weeks and this weeks comic book purchases. Lets do this, motherfuckers.

(in no particular order)

Shining Knight #4
HOLY SHIT BIG FIGHTS! AND JUSTIN IS A GIRL! These sheeda things are pretty cool little bastards, and we're seeing them show up all over the Seven Soldiers books. The art in this one is especially good, and Morrison is Morrison. Buy this.

Ghost Rider #1
Uh. Where's Ghost Rider? I get that a character with continuity as fucked up as GR needs some intro, but I'd sort of like to SEE him in a comic that bears his name. The angels and demonic rednecks do prove to be complete douchebags completely deserving of an ass kicking courtesy of the Spirit of Vengeance, so props to Ennis in that regard. Wasn't a fan of the art.

New Avengers #9
I wrote a pretty lengthy review/deconstruction of the issue over on the CBR boards, so all I'll say is this: At first glance, this is an average comic. Read it twice, read it 3 times even and you'll begin to grasp what Bendis is trying to do here. It's pretty awesome. And the art is insane. Whoever put together that 2 page spread of the sentry's memories is a genius.

Gotham Central #35
"Dead Robin" heh. This comic wins points for such a genius story title. The story comes together nicely with some HOLY SHIT revalations at the end. NOW I understand why the dude wouldn't give up his source. This Kano guy is doing an awesome job keeping up the tone that Michael Lark set. My only regret is that once this story is over, Brubaker's involvement with the book will end. Sad.

JLA Classified #11
So, a bunch of stuff blows up and individual JLA members investigate. They all find similar tablets with glowing glyphs on them. Ellis said that he set up this story so each character got an introduction that would be helpful for first time readers. I love the interaction between Clark and Lois. All of a sudden Clark Kent isn't a pussy. Best Justice League book in quite a while.

Amazing Spider-Man #523
Why am I still picking up this book? I'm not even thinking when I lay down money for it. It's not that I dislike it, its just that this book does absolutely nothing for me. I'm totally indifferent. I don't care for the art, so there's a strike against the book. I'd like it if JRJR came back. It's just so... blah. I'd rather read about the Spidey in New Avengers. And this isn't that Spidey.

Ex Machina #14
Yet another awesome issue of Ex Machina. And the second part of a 2-part story to boot! The Jury duty plot ends on a sad note, and the new great machine gets unmasked. All cool. But direct your attention to the cover. I didn't notice this at first, but it's the cityscape in Ex Machina, with the one surviving World Trade Center tower. What an eerie image.

Fell #1
Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith doing single-issue detective stories for 2 bucks a hit? I'm fuckin' in! Although, at the moment where Detecive Fell figures out the cause of the murder, I figured it out as well... because Ellis posted a link to the real world version of this story on his web site months ago! It's the sherry enema story except with scotch. Talk about ripped from the headlines. The dialogue between Fell and the Chief made up for everything though. I dig this book.

Daredevil: Father #2
What the hell? This book? I honestly picked up this book on accident. I was in kind of a rush last week and simply grabbed it because it had daredevil on the cover. This book ain't that good. It's not I'm pissed about the lateness. I'd have to WANT to read the book to be pissed about it being late. I just don't care about a Daredevil story that isn't written by either Bendis or Miller.

Runaways #7
This is a fun little series. Victor La Mancha has been successfully integrated into the team. I'm not thrilled about the fill-in art, but at least it's someone who has a grasp on the characters. Reading the excellent Runaways hardcover gave me a new appreciation for this team. If I never read the hardcover, I'd be complaining about the lack of Excelsior in this issue.

Powers #12
So like, they catch the bad guy and Deena has a flashback. This book is so late that I forgot what the story was about. I should probably read the arc again. If I feel like it. I don't right now.

The Punisher #25
GOD DAMN, Ennis knows how to set up a compelling story. He sets up who all the supporting characters are gonnna be, the enemy, and the Punisher's mission. This is one of the best comics Marvel puts out and no one seems to notice. Nice to see that Fernandez is the regular artist. I love his stuff.

Ultimate Spider-Man #82
Bendis has his best arc in years going here. I love the street level Spidey stories. And I've noticed a trend: Whatever Bendis writes, if it has the Kingpin in it, it's awesome. This is a rule. But forget Kingpin, what about Black Cat! Every 15 year old male's fantasy comes true as the busty Black Cat totally comes on to Spider-Man. She has no idea how old he is, and completely throws herself at him. Naturally, Spidey has no idea what to do and runs away. Moon Knight shows up and all his multiple personalities are in full effect. Such a fun comic.

Astonishing X-Men #12
The "Dangerous" arc thuds to a stop. So uh, I'll just come right out and say it. This book is a serious misstep. Whedon has an OPPURTUNITY here to write a definitive X-Men run. Instead he's had the X-Men fighting boring aliens and plot devise robots. "Danger" has the plot devise.. ERRRR ability to give robots sentience, which then makes plausable the retarded idea of Kitty Pryde guilt tripping the megasentinel into going away. Of course, she has to go into the WILD, MACHINE-GROWN SENTINEL to find a CHAIR, KEYBOARD, AND A BANK OF MONITORS INSIDE. Sweet holy fuck this is bad. Whedon isn't even trying anymore. At least the Cassaday art is pretty, and that last page has the potential for a cool future story.

Supreme Power #18
Guess what! This is the LAST ISSUE of Supreme Power on the MAX line of books. It's a slow burn, this series. The superheroes in the real world concept is a cool one, but I'm not sure that I'll follow the book to the MK line. I think that something might be lost with the absence of the graphic violence the book is known for.

Young Avengers #6
Sigh. Iron Lad goes away. I liked him. But the team is in place with slightly worse code names. What was wrong with Asgardian? Titan sounded way cooler than Stature. Anywho, I dig this book because of the fun the team seems to be having. I knew this bool would be cool, and no one believed me. I like always being right.

The Manhattan Guardian #4
No Guardian action this issue, but it involves the newsboy army and the Sheeda... so that equals good comic. The Kirby/ Marvel Universe parallels in the giant baby publisher were pretty evident, and it'll be fun to pick apart the kids in the Newsboy Army and all the uses of the number 7. This entire Seven Soldiers series is just begging to be read in one sitting.

Captain America #9
What a cool story. Cap and Fury confront Lukin and discover that he has some powerful friends. They'll fight another day. Brubaker seems to do no wrong in this book, but allow me to nitpick for a little bit. I liked that the two artists, Epting and Lark had logical reasons for working on the book. Epting handled sequences in current day and Lark handled flashback sequences I really dug that. Now Lark is handling a full issue set in present day, and Epting is doing flashback sequences as well as present day sequences last issue. I'm not a fan of that.... but the writing is so good I'm willing to overlook the problems.

House of M #6
I love this mini. There, I said it. I love the concept, I love the execution, I love the characters, I love their interactions. The complaint concerning this series is the seeming lack of plot progression. Plot does not define story. Plot is the framework within which ideas are explored and personalities and relationships are unfolded. If all you want is plot, go and read a Tom Clancy novel. This is a good story, and that makes for a good comic.

Wha... Huh?
Not as funny as the 7 month wait would lead you to belive, but some good jokes exist in the book. Half the fun is finding all the cool easter eggs that Mahfood threw in. Funny stuff.

And that wraps up my comic book purchases of the last 2 weeks. I'll post again if i find something I want to write about.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Comic reviews, August 24

I'll be doing comic reviews somewhat differently than I used to. While I was on my blogging break, I'd write fairly long comic book reviews and post them on the very cool CBR message boards. They'd usually start off discussion threads and I got a fairly positive reaction from people.

Now, because I'm lazy, I won't be writing long reviews here. Mostly because I could only bang out long reviews for 2 books a week, max. And I'll be posting the long ones on CBR. Here, I'll just give general observations and stuff. No more cover images to go with the reviews. Those were a bitch to track down, resize and host elsewhere.

Now then, what came out this week?

Ultimate X-Men Annual #1.
I dug this book. Basically a Gambit and Rogue side story where they fight Juggernaut. The cool thing is that GAMBIT DIES IN THE END. Rogue permantly absorbs his powers and memories before he dies, so he end up with one less shitty character and a slightly more interesting Rogue. The REAL weird thing with this book is Tom Raney's art. I've got all these STORMWATCH back issues, and his art today is better by leaps and bounds. It's nice to see an artist improve.

Daredevil #76
Begins the Murdock Papers story. Bendis and Maleev are on point once again in what is their last arc. We see positve stuff happening for Daredevil. He's become the most popular superhero in New York City, the public doesn't seem to care about the rumors of his true identity, and Milla is back in his life. So, with everything going good, things will take a turn for the worse for sure. This happens when the Kingpin spills all his secrets concerning Daredevil to Ben Urich to get his freedom. My issue with this is why would Urich write the story that is sure to ruin his friend Murdock? Doesn't make sense. Then again, this arc is just starting, so in true Bendis fashion, all will be revealed.

Daredevil VS Punisher #3
More Daredevil fun from David Lapham. This story looks rooted in 70's Marvel, but that might just be the art. Wondering where a story fits in continuity is a pretty stupid thing to do, so it's better to just enjoy the story. And it's a fun read. Some clever uses of supervillains, which is odd. We're getting more Supervillans here than in their 2 respective books, and this one is written AND drawn by Lapham.

Jack Cross #1
I LOVE this book. Then again, I tend to LOVE Warren Ellis books. And then, I tend to LOVE torture/interrogation sequences. And then, I tend to LOVE spy/espionage stories. This has everything I LOVE in one package, except for boobies. It is my goal to one day become a Warren Ellis character.

Wolverine #31
The end of Millar's Enemy of the state/Agent of SHIELD mega-arc. Wolverine basically kicks ass the entire issue, as he did for the entire arc. The way he offs the Gorgon is pretty cool as well, with some cool dialogue. This kind of story really can't sustain itself for more than 12 issues before it looks like a big joke, so Millar chose the right length to tell the story. Fun stuff.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Anonymity + competition = douchebaggery

Yeah, I've been on a break for quite a while. School demanded a lot of time and attention, and once I wasn't blogging for a while, I lost the feeling that I should. School went well, good grades all around, and then summer hit. I really enjoyed myself as I spent days at a time doing nothing, but after a month went by I started going nuts. I spent more time working, and I bought myself a subscription to Xbox Live.

Lemme tell you about Xbox Live. Xbox Live is an online service where after plugging your xbox into your cable modem, you can play games over the internet. Without a keyboard and mouse, player to player communication is handled via a headset. This is where the real fun is, listening to the INSANE trash talking that occurs during the course of a game.

The thing about trash talking is this: without any sort of physical proximity to the people one is playing against, one could turn into the worlds largest douchebag. Take my experience in Halo 2 for example. Before any single game, you are put in the pre-game lobby, where you wait while everyone loads the map or you wait for additional players. Here's where the initial trash talking begins. Expect to be called a bitch a few times, expect to be labeled a fag more than once, expect to be informed of your forthcoming "rape" eventually, and every once in a while, someone will call you some racial slur that can in no way be identified with your race. This is all before the game begins. Take away the actual threat of a physical confrontation and everyone becomes a tough guy. Not just a tough guy, but one with a middle school vocabulary. In the time between the pre-game lobby and the post-game stats, there is no single more important thing than the game. It is the measure of your manhood, your heterosexuality, your dick length, etc. Never have I felt more disconnected from youth culture than the moment I realized what everyone else my age and under were up to on Xbox Live.

So it's annoying and borderline offensive. It's like being back in high school all of a sudden. So take off the headset you say? I say thee NAY! This is all part of the experience. Play enough and you start to give yourself over to the experience, the game becomes THAT important. Now, I'm not calling anyone a fag or anything, but few things are sweeter than sticking the trash talking weilder of an energy sword with a plasma grenade, and knowing that even if they manage to kill you, their death is only seconds behind. Then you respawn and do the whole thing over again. It's an experience. It sure is.

After 24 days I'm a level 16 in Rumble Pit. I'm also a 17 in Team Slayer. My gamertag is IantistarI . Look me up sometime. I promise I won't call you a fag.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Oh snap

Yeah, I'm doing the blog thing again.

The Ultimates 2 Annual #1
This is really an issue all about Nick Fury. Although, he doesn't appear in it that often, we're shown glimpses of all the things accross the Ultimate Universe that he has his hands in. From new Ultimates recruits to assassins.

So, the Ultimates kick the crap out of some terrorists attempting to hijack an airplane. This scene is really set up to give us our first glimpse of the focus of the issue; the new recruits. We see the Rocketmen, piloting some older versions of the Iron Tech armor, they manage to save the lives of the terrorists after the Black Widow flings them out of the plane. Continuing the new recruits, we see a page that profiles all of them. There are five Goliaths, each with the power to get really big. A squad called the four seasons, with nondescript powers that come from their very colorful costumes. Thunderbolt and Intangi-Girl, who's name's decribe what they do. Finally, there is a guy named Lieberman, who's been injected with the new Super Soldier Serum. The thing with these characters is that they're not really fleshed out in way that makes them more than just jarheads with powers. Lieberman especially comes off like the most annoying jock you'll ever meet. I'm sure that's intentional, but he's the only one of them that gets anything that resembles a personality. Maybe this is some subtext dealing with how Millar feels about the American military, maybe he just can't be bothered with making us care about these new nobodies, whatever the case, these guys are boring.

Now comes the plot with the assassin. Some General, presumably a Russian one, gets on Fury's ass for using the Ultimates on foreign soil against a sovereign nation. Fury isn't having any of that shit, and basically tells him to fuck off. From there, we're led to believe that the general hires this aged assassin, Mr. Nix, to off Fury. It's all so obvious that it has to be a red herring.

After some complaining from Summer, one of the asshole Four Seasons, we get perhaps the coolest moment of the book. Confirmation that the Hulk is alive and smashing things in the Himalayas. It isn't even commented on, but it's Millar's way of hammering the point home for those too dumb to get the ending of #3.

Another cool moment is the appearance of the Defenders. Seems they've recruited a guy in a wheelchair. This gives Millar the oppurtunity to make lots of handicapped jokes. It's all very funny in a slightly guilty way. We also can infer from the narration boxes that Damian Hellstorm is on the team with the sole purpose of monitoring Hank Pym, who doesn't even bother to show up for the meeting.

Now another action sequence, shown from the perspective of the new recruits that don't really do any fighting. The team beats up some giant sand monster while the Four Seasons act like assholes. There IS a humourous bit though, commenting on how no one really knows what Scarlet Witches powers do.

After a pretty forgettable scene with Mr. Nix, we find out what the deal is with Lieberman. Turns out that he's gonna be the reserve Captain America in the event that Steve Rogers goes down. Makes a certain ammount of sense. But, of course, this doesn't last long, cuz on a night on the town, Lieberman tries to do the superhero thing and save the residents of a burning building. He's actually successful, but in the end the SSS fries his entire central nervous system. Fury comments that they should put his body with the OTHERS. Ugh, they've been killing a lot of people with this new SSS.

Finally, Nix attempts to make his hit, but Fury caps him instead. Turns out that Fury is the one who made the hire, all to catch a notorious assassin. Yeah, sure, didn't see that coming.

So what was the point of it all? Fury is a bastard. He does some sneaky, underhanded, fucked up things, but does so because he believes what he's doing is right. He's doing it for our safety... or something. Millar likes to write assholes, he's good at crafting situations where people are bastards, and this is no exception. I'm not that big a fan of Fury, but then, I'm not a fan of anyone who takes who they are and what they do THAT seriously. Like the Jack Nicholson character in A Few Good Men, he's guy on the wall that you and I don't know exists. And he'll put a bullet in the head of an innocent person to keep the world ignorant of that wall. He's got absolute power, and you know where that goes... right to hell on the pavement of good intentions. (wow, that's a lot of cliches.)

Monday, February 28, 2005

Well, that didn't last long

So, I know I haven't been posting a lot lately. It's actually very disappointing to me that I haven't been able to do what I thought I'd do, but sometimes other stuff is just a higher priority. That being said, I'm gonna try to update this thing more often. A real effort to do what I intended to do. Obviously, with my school workload being what it is, I can't update this thing every day, so I'm gonna try to do regular 24 reviews and comic reviews, as well as cd reviews when I get them.

Tomorrow (today, actually) I'll post a 24 review. Tuesday will be last weeks comic reviews. Wednesday will be this weeks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Doing an all-nighter/essay writing.

I took notes for this weeks comic reviews, but they'll have to wait til tomorrow.

In the meantime, look at this: