Revenge of the BLOG

Monday, January 31, 2005

24 day four, 1:00pm-2:00pm

While last episode was the big action set-piece, this one was far more rewarding for someone like me, who's been watching since season one.

First, the scope of the nuclear power plant threat has been toned down immensely, which is better in the long run. The geek Edgar gets his cool scene, and talk soup girl lurks around and doesn’t do much.

The middle-eastern kid who killed the other dude with the shovel acts all panicky, and calls his mom for help, she decides to help him by going against her husband, and gets shot in the arm as a result. The husband in turn, goes to the even bigger bad guy, the guy who played the Mummy in the Mummy movies a few years ago. Now that we know who the big bad guy is, I expect the lower level baddie, the husband to get killed pretty soon.

Audrey's sniveling limey husband acts like a pussy all episode, which is sure to lead somewhere that isn't good for Jack, and Driscoll's nut job daughter freaks out some more. Apparently, someone switched her charts so she got a medication she was allergic to. I expect this to go somewhere, because they wouldn't keep a lame plot like this going this long without some eventual payoff.

Speaking of lame plots, they let the Secretary of Defense's son go free. I guess they weren’t sure what to do with him, so they dropped his character. Too bad, I thought it was going somewhere.

But finally, we get the moment we've been waiting for. Jack comes under fire, and he can't trust anyone at CTU because he thinks there's a mole there (because there is), so he calls "the one person I can trust". We don’t find out who he calls until Jack is about to get shot, and then TONY saves the day.

YAY! TONY! Suddenly TONY is an action hero, he guns down all these thugs and Jack, Audrey and him take off. This raises some questions. First, I thought TONY was gonna go to prison at the end of last season. Now that he obviously ISN'T in prison, where is Michelle? And how long did Jack know he wasn't in prison? Questions that are probably gonna get answered next week. I can't wait.


The line-up for this years coachella is up today, and its BETTER than I thought it would be.

Night one has Coldplay, Weezer, The Chemical Brothers, Rilo Kiley, Mercury Rev, The Secret Machines, MF Doom, Josh Wink, and lots more.

Night two is even better. NINE INCH NAILS, New Order, Bright Eyes, THE PRODIGY, The Arcade Fire, The Firey Furnaces, Autolux, The Bravery, and lots more.

I'm buying tickets as soon as I can, my friend has Pre-Sale hook-ups, and I'm booking my hotel room asap.

Tune in later for tonights 24 review.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I <3 The Chemical Brothers

Maybe because I've got a new surround sound system, or I got a good system in my car, or the new album kicked my ass so hard, but I've been listening to the Chemical Brothers a lot lately. I've been going to the gym a lot lately, another thing I do every day, and their albums are what I've been listening to on my iPod. I've always been looking for the perfect type of music to listen to while I'm doing half an hour on a freaking treadmill. It can't be slow, or have weird slow moments, lots of rock music does that for some reason, and it doesn't make for a quality sweating experience.

So, after listening to "Push the Button" a few times at the gym, I loaded their other albums on the iPod, and they work great. I listened to "Dig your own hole" last night and plan on trying "Surrender" tonight. After getting on a big getting healthy kick, I buy music according to what sounds good while I'm working out, and the Chemical Brothers are right up my alley.

Not to say that electronic music is perfect working out music, 90% of electronic is unfit for human ears, but the Chems manage to be inventive, experimental, psychedelic, and ROCKING at the same time.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

More music news

I have it on good authority that Nine Inch Nails, as well as like 50 other bands that are better than your favorite are going to be playing at this years Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival out in Indio California. It's April 30th and May 1st this year, and I am going because I have ticket hook-ups.

This will no doubt fuck up my bloging schedule, so I'll have to do double entries on one day or a few days, depending on how long I'm gone.

Also, the first single from NIN's new album is going to be entitled "The hand that feeds" Look for it in March.

Friday, January 28, 2005


Avengers Disassembled

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Frank D'Armata

I never gave a shit about the Avengers. I looked at that book and saw, as Warren Ellis puts it, “Adventures From Dad Mansion.” The concept just bored me to tears. What the fuck is the Avengers charter? Why should I care? It felt like a stuffy fraternity or boring old men. It was a comic that grown men in their 40’s read, or virgin 20-somethings that acted like they were in their 40’s. This was not a fun comic, aside from a few main players, this was a team of cookie-cutter B and C list characters, written and drawn for the most part by B and C list talent.

So, maybe because of all this, I was intrigued at the idea of killing/ending the team. When I learned that the creative team behind the final story was A-list, I was even more intrigued. I was expecting a huge body count, and for the Avengers to be thoroughly decimated, going out with a bang, if you will.

I didn’t get what I expected.

Avengers Disassembled ended up being probably the third most hated story arc of 2004. Third behind Identity Crisis and Sin’s Past, or first depending on whom you ask. The trend I noticed in these books was that they were all about deconstruction, and each featured something really bad happening to a beloved character. I couldn’t figure out why exactly they were hated so much at first, I thought that surely comics like the new Alpha Flight and X-Force were deserving of more hate, but what it comes down to is that these top three hated comics fucked with the status quo. And fanboys LOVE the status quo. Not to imply that these comic’s weren’t without their share of problems. Identity Crisis had possibly the most disappointing last issue I’ve ever read, and Sins Past was really just another iteration of the Spidey/Gwen/Green Goblin story. It’s just that the majority of the criticisms I read never really mentioned those points.

I can understand some of the criticisms of Disassembled. If I had a favorite book and it was ripped out from under me, I’d be understandably pissed, but at the same time I don’t really care about 40 year olds getting their enjoyment from the adventures from dad mansion. This could just be my youthful nihilism speaking, but on some level, I reveled in the idea of people much older than me having their toys snatched away from them. Yes, I had a bias. But again, I’m not saying that this story was free of flaws, it had its share.

It opened with my stereotypical view of the Avengers, costumed heroes hanging out in a mansion. The fraternal order of boring superheroes having breakfast. In full costume. That right there is the reason I never cared about the Avengers, thankfully, the huge explodo happens and the story begins. 2 heroes go down immediately, the kinda already dead Jack of Hearts, and the second Ant-Man. Rest in peace, lame characters. The team assembles at the crater the explosion caused, and finally the very lame Vision shows up, operating under an as-yet unseen influence. Vision basically decomposes in front of the team while producing five Ultron robots. I’d call this a pretty cool scene if it wasn’t for some of the dialogue. As much as I hate them for it, the Avengers are stuffy professional superheroes, and they simply weren’t talking like it. Beyond that, it was a perfectly acceptable action scene. The Ultrons are dispatched, but this leads to She-Hulk freaking out. After reading the script for the issue, I noted that there should have been an indication that some outside force was making her hulk out; unfortunately the art did not reflect this. Ultimately, the she-hulk freak out scene didn’t mean anything because Iron Man shows up to knock her out. The team gets a chance to breathe and treat it’s injured, and at least put away it’s dead. Within this stretch is the Hank and Jan scene that apparently is the worst characterization of Hank ever. I’ve never cared about Hank Pym ever in my entire life, nor have I knowingly read anything featuring him, so the hatred of this scene kind of flies over my head. Ok oldies, you hate it, I’ll take your word for it, but you know what Bendis? you can shit on Pym all you want. He never meant a thing to me.

Following the gross mischaracterization is a big conversation scene, which Bendis is basically famous for. Again, this scene falls flat because they just don’t sound like themselves. Bendis is famous for the naturalistic way he writes dialogue. Unfortunately, these characters don’t lend themselves to a naturalistic, conversational tone. Maybe Hawkeye does, and perhaps Falcon, but Iron Man and Hank Pym are professionals and rather stuffy and boring, they probably wouldn’t sound like regular people. Thankfully, Captain America doesn’t say much, so I think that characterization is right on the money.

Following that scene is the giant mass of superheroes. It’s just a big mess of characters just standing there. I’m convinced that this scene exists in order for the solicitations to read, “featuring EVERY AVENGER EVER!!!” A scene like this could be problematic for Bendis because he’s never written most of these characters; this is a scene that is just begging for fanboys to tear to shreds for inconsistencies and mischaracterizations. Thankfully, only a few characters talk, and what they say is pretty mundane, so the scene ends up working,

The big meeting is cut short by the next big action scene, and the scene where much of the hatred is focused upon. Apparently, hundreds of Kree warships descend upon the still-burning Avengers Mansion, looking for a fight. The action commences, and it very clearly isn’t making a whole lot of sense. Why are the Kree showing up? Why at that moment? Stuff like that. Hawkeye shows up with like 50 quivers full of arrows, and we’re treated to perhaps the most confusing death scene in modern comics history.

It goes like this: Hawkeye gets shot in the back by some energy beam, it lights his arrows in fire, so he decides to grab a Kree soldier and use his jetpack to fly into the exhaust of the Kree mothership, killing them both.

Now, what the fuck?

Hawkeye offs himself because of that? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. So, for the first time ever, I’ll be doing my own comic writing, hopefully improving the existing scene.

Page 15
Panel 1
Shot from behind Hawkeye aiming his arrow at a group of Kree soldiers

Panel 2
Hawkeye leaps over the group, kicking one in the head while avoiding blasts coming from the mother ship. These blasts are huge, maybe disintegrating some hapless Kree soldier behind him.

Panel 3
BOOM! Hawkeye is hit from behind by a HUGE blast to his lower back and legs. One of his quivers instantly explodes setting fire to the rest of them. This looks REALLY PAINFUL
Hawkeye: AAGHH!

Panel 4
Shot from above Hawkeye, he’s sprawled out on the ground, face down. His legs are noticeable broken, bloody and burnt. There’s no way he’ll be walking for a while. The fire on his back should be slightly larger than in panel 3

Panel 5
Close up of Captain America as he’s fighting some Kree soldier. He just saw what happened to Hawkeye
Captain America: HAWKEYE!!

Panel 6
Close-up as Hawkeye weakly looks up. Blood is coming from his mouth and nose, his left arm is broken. Clearly, he’s never been this messed up before. The fire on his quiver should still be visible.

Panel 7
Close up on Captain America, he swats away another Kree soldier, and hasn’t taken his eyes off Hawkeye.

Panel 8
Wide shot of Hawkeye lying on the ground, propped up by his good arm, looking up to see a smiling Kree soldier standing over him. The soldier is pointing his gun straight at Hawkeye’s face. The fire on the quiver should be burning still.
Kree soldier: (random threatening Kree language)

Page 16
Panel 1
Tight shot of Hawkeye’s face as he looks at the ground. Still bloody, he thinks that this is the end.
Hawkeye: (muttering faintly) not like this…

Panel 2
Shot from behind Hawkeye’s head as it quickly lifts back up. The Kree soldier looks worried.

Panel 3
In one last act of desperation, Hawkeye lunges at the Kree Soldier’s gun, grabbing his arm, and pulling the Kree soldier in closer.
Hawkeye: LIKE THIS!!!!

Panel 4
Hawkeye is holding the Kree soldier in close with his broken arm, and using his good arm to grab the control to the Kree soldier’s jetpack.

Panel 5
Hawkeye and the Kree soldier lift off, flying away very quickly.

Panel 6
Big panel, should take up half the page. Wide shot of the Kree Mothership, two figures fly into the exhaust port of the ship, leaving a trail of smoke behind. The ground should still be visible, and we can make out Captain America futilely running after them.
Captain America: HAWKEYE!! NO!!!

Page 17
Full page shot. View is from behind the heroes as they witness the Kree Mothership EXPLODING from the inside.
Captain America: NOOOOO!!!!!

And scene.

So there, I feel as though I did a better job. At least a clearer job. Anyhow, after Hawkeye dies, the “Kree soldiers” retreat or teleport away. And the Avengers are left with a lot of questions. Thankfully, Doctor Strange shows up to EXPLAIN THE PLOT.

Turns out that it was all Scarlet Witches doing, she’s been nuts for a long time, or at least been going nuts for a while, and her powers have been making reality all wonky. Her powers get a new definition as well, but it only serves to make the story more confusing. Doctor Strange explains the plot some more, and the big group of heroes just stands there and struggles to believe it. Wonder Man refusing to believe it was a nice touch, but I suppose he comes around when they all make a field trip to some house that Wanda is being crazy in. She finally acts crazy and creates all these illusions of what the heroes fear the most. Spidey fighting his clones was cool, but the fight basically only lasted one panel. Doctor Strange saves the day by turning Wanda into a vegetable, and then the Avengers all act like complete morons as they hand her over to freaking MAGNETO, who when last seen was turning Manhattan into a death camp. Maybe Wanda caused that too. Who knows?

It just doesn’t make any sense. For starters, what’s the deal with Magneto showing up? It’s just a continuity nightmare, and I normally don’t care about continuity. Luckily, I guess, Bendis has turned Wanda into a living plot devise. She can be the explanation for EVERY continuity mishap and mischaracterization in the last decade, and be used at a later date to fix all the future problems. Yes, this is fucking retarded, but it has a function.

Because of all this, the Avengers disband. At least some of them, and the rest are just forced to go solo. In Avengers Finale, the team reminisces about their past exploits, triumphs and tragedies. It was a good issue, but fell flat for me because I never read any of those comics, but it served its purpose.

In the end, whether you liked it or not, was Disassembled a success? I think so. What this led into was a huge surge in sales. Bendis came on Avengers, and the sales doubled. They doubled again when New Avengers started. Sales also spiked for the re-launches of Iron Man and Captain America, and are going stronger than they have been for a while. There is a belief that positive change can only come from destroying the old status quo, and I believe Disassembled is an example of that. No, the story wasn’t that good, but it wasn’t terrible either. It didn’t use rape as a trivial plot devise or exhume a played out story to get a mediocre one. Yes, it could have been better. Yes, there are mischaracterizations and plot holes, but beyond all that, it succeeded in it’s mission to get more people to give a shit about the Avengers. It made me a fan, it made me care, it made me buy the books, and I think that’s what counts.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning

OK, between work and class and homework and my addiction to crack - er comics, I didn't get a chance to listen to Digital Ash in a Digital Urn all the way through. I listened the shit out of this one though.

Bright Eyes
I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
Saddle Creek, 2005

I have a weird relationship with Bright Eyes. It's one of those bands/persons/projects that I really dig, but find my self increasingly annoyed by it's fans. You know the type, the girls would rather stare at Conor Oberst than listen to what he has to say or appreciate the layers to his music. It just bugs me. I'll never be able to go to a bright eyes show, I'd just want to hurt everyone in there. Bright Eyes also holds a soft spot in my heart because it was introduced to me 4 years ago by my girlfriend at the time. The music recalls good times.


I was expecting to hate this. The first single released through iTunes, Lua, I barely paid attention to. I gave it like half a listen, and hearing only a weakly played acoustic guitar and faint singing, I decided that the upcoming album would be basically a collection of what I hated most about Lifted. I was wrong. I listened to this the whole way through holding the lyric booklet, reading what he was singing while he was singing it, I found that this made me enjoy it more, or at least sing along a little more effectively. I won't be analyzing the lyrics, because I feel their meaning is left to the listener, and I honestly need to listen to it more. Instead, I'll just talk about how it sounds and what it evokes in me.

At the Bottom of Everything opens in a way similar way to "the Big Picture", without any actual music, but soon explodes into a up tempo acoustic folksy song. Instantly it becomes something I absolutely fell in love with. It's a song that you want to sing along to, preferably with a lot of other people.

We Are Nowhere and it's Now slows the tempo a bit and features backing vocals from Emmylou Harris which sound incredible. Once again, I want to sing along, and learn to play the guitar parts. Just a beautiful song.

Keeping the same tempo is Old Soul Song (for the new world order). Again, it sounds absolutely beautiful, the drumming especially evokes a feeling that you've heard it a million times before and loved it every time.

Slowing the tempo even more is the song I was worried about, Lua. I was so wrong about this song, it's just absolutely heartbreaking what he describes. Yes, the structure of the song is rather repetitive, but that doesn't matter, this is a song that lives through it's lyrics. It must be listened to while reading the lyrics. Absolutely perfect.

Train Under Water feels like a piece of perfect Americana. The soundtrack of driving through some Midwest interstate at night and stopping at some roadside something. These songs are powerful.

First Day of my Life is another (mostly) pure acoustic guitar song. I actually didn't find anything all that remarkable about this song. Just good.

I absolutely adore Another Travelin' Song. It makes me want to go out with my friends to this trucker bar that we found last summer and get plastered. Pure fun.

Land Locked Blues is my favorite guest appearance by Emmylou Harris. Her vocals really enhance this mostly vocal based song. Instruments come in at exactly the right moment. This song owes it's beauty to her voice, its beautiful.

Poison Oak is another mostly acoustic song with huge instrumental parts coming in at the exact right time. Another beautiful song. I really don't want to say too much about these songs because I'm afraid I can't accurately describe them. Mostly, all I can say is 'WOW'.

The album closes with Road to Joy. It's obviously patterned after Ode to Joy, but it works. The entire song feels as though it's building to something, and then slows down, then builds, slows down, and finally builds to a huge climax of wild instruments, crashing drums, blaring horns, and then Oberst repeats the song's first line, and it's just perfect.

absolutely a 10/10 album. You must buy it, or at least listen to it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Comic reviews, January 26th

Big week this week. 2 Grant Morrison books, 2 Warren Ellis books, a continuation of Sleeper, and 2 mediocre superhero books. I'll tackle them semi-alphabetically.

"Skin Deep" continues in Amazing Spider-Man #516
So, I just don't care about this story. I don't care about the villain, I really dislike the art for some reason, and there is this really lame flashback that kills the story for me. So, this dork gets caught in a lab accident and gets covered with this metal flesh suit, he comes to Peter to help him, and he conveniently goes insane. That's it. I wasn't given one reason to care, besides that by the end of the story, Peter will move into the Avengers Tower when he officially joins the New Avengers. Mike Deodato's art just ain't doing it for me. It's way too dark, too sketchy, and everyone looks way too photo-referenced. I liked his art on Incredible Hulk back when that book was readable, but it seems like he's rushing himself. Thumbs down, this book is getting dropped.

On a completely different note is JLA: Classified #3
Holy shit this book is awesome. Grant Morrison at his silver-age-loving finest, he's the best writer in comics BY FAR. Each member gets their chance to shine, even the John Stewart Green Lantern, which I don't think Morrison ever wrote before. I could go on and on about how I love this book, but my words wouldn't do it justice. This is the JLA book that every other writer wishes they could write, this is the superhero book that every book wishes it could be. Absolutely perfect from beginning to end.

Continuing with the awesome is Planetary #22
Continuing with the single-issue genre stories, is the Torture of William Leather. If you recall, Leather is the Human Torch analogue of the Four, the evil Fantastic Four that plagues the Planetary team. Back in #18, they captured Leather and I guess he has been strapped to a table ever since. Leather tells of his family, it's one part western comic, one part an analogue of the Shadow. Ellis continues his comic book history lesson, and the main plot creeps forward. The ending is especially chilling; it both reaffirms what Snow learned last issue, but makes you hate Leather even more. Torture was never so fun.

Now, the very interesting Sleeper: Season two #8
This issue does it's best to get you to hate Miss Misery, she kills a bunch of innocent people, beats the shit out of Holden's ex, and she seeming betrays Holden for Tao. I still like her though, go figure. At the heart of it all, she really cares about Holden, but her need to do horrible things to stay healthy really complicates things. People are quadruple-crossing each other at this point. Another awesome comic.

Speaking of awesome, We3 #3
Hands down, the miniseries of the year, and only one issue is out this year. Morrison's animal commandos make their great escape, and it looks absolutely beautiful. Quitely's art combined with his innovative panel designs makes for a simply stunning comic, and Morrison's minimalist dialogue still beats 90% of modern comics. Even if it's a dog and cat talking. And finally, a happy ending for two of our heroes, I was fully expecting a sad, tragic ending, but the fact that this ended on a high note makes it even better. I couldn't recommend this any higher.

Month after month, this comic is far more imaginative than its MU counterpart, proven here in Ultimate Fantastic Four #15
The team pilots the Awesome in the N-zone, and witnesses some incredible sights. Not much happens in the book, but that's not the point. If a comic were judged by how much stuff happens in it, I'd stop reading. The sheer amount of sci-fi in the book is staggering, and none of it is at all unbelievable. So, finally the team discovers an alien space station, and are just about to come aboard, but we see something scary on the inside of the station. Highly recommended.

Last but not least is Ultimate X-Men #55
So, Longshot, Arcade, some fighting, some talking, and then Spiral. There, I saved you the trouble of buying the comic. I found this to be pretty boring, but that might be because it has been available online for a few weeks. This was so-so.

Tomorrow! I attempt to review "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" and "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" by Bright Eyes. I said I’d attempt.

Later this week, I'll review the trade of Avengers Disassembled. It's not what you've heard.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button

First, I thought I could review all three CD's today. Whoo boy, I overestimated my abilities.

Between Best buy only having one of the Bright Eyes albums and not the other two, Circuit City having NONE of them, and Tower charging me $18.99 for the Chemical Brothers CD, writing my first music review has been tougher than I thought it would be. It's now 6:30 and I haven't listened to the Bright Eyes albums yet. I did listen to the whole Chems album over the course of the day. I loaded it on my iPod mini and listened to it while at the gym. The Bright Eyes albums will have to wait til Thursday to be reviewed because tomorrow is new comics day. Moving on...

The Chemical Brothers
Push the Button
Astralwerks, 2005

First off, I love the Chemical Brothers. The first time I ever cared about modern music was around 1996-1997, when I bought a Playstation game called Wipeout XL. The game had a soundtrack featuring real techno/electronic/dance music artists. This exposed me to the Prodigy and the Chems. I then spent my allowance immersing myself in British techno. My tastes have branched out since, but I always come back to what got me to love music.

The album opens with the first single, Galvanize. Huge beats and some middle-eastern flavor make this an instantly danceable song. The rapper Q-tip provides the words that really don't seem to mean much, but that's not the point, the song sounds both old school and fully modern at the same time. Incredible album-opener.

Anthony Burgess adds vocals to The Boxer, but he sounds a lot like the lead singer of Jameriquai. This is a pretty straightforward track, built around a playful hook that leads into...

Track 3, Believe. I found this to be fairly similar to "Out of Control" from the Surrender album. Words are provided by Kele Okereke, but it's mostly just the same line repeated over and over, which is pretty standard for the Chems. I'm not complaining. Huge beats, fun song.

Switching gears is Hold Tight London, with vocals from Anna-Lynne Williams, who has a beautiful voice. The song is slower, with a more spiritual, earthy sound. This is music for when you are havin' sex. It'll be used some time this week.

Come Inside opens with what sounds like a sample from "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash, with beats that build until the true song opens. Some vaguely 80's sounding synths accompany the androgynous sounding "would you like to come inside?" vocal samples. There is even cowbell in this song. Awesome.

The Big Jump is a fairly minimalist sounding, beat-heavy track, built around a kraftwerk sounding synth line. Good but not great.

Left Right is basically a rap song with some incredible backing beats. Both the beats and synths sound vaguely blaxploitation era, with vocals from Anwar. This song's political content recalls Eminem's "Mosh” except this sounds leagues better.

After the last track's machismo, Close Your Eyes sounds ethereal and feminine, with vocals from The Magic Numbers, whoever they are. Not a huge sounding dance song, but something more introspective, with an acoustic guitar even. I dig.

The shortest song on the album, Shake Break Bounce sounds more like an intro for the next song, or perhaps to bridge the gap. Nothing spectacular, but it serves it's purpose.

Marvo Ging recalls 1997's, Better Living Through Chemistry-era Fatboy Slim at first, but then gives way to familiar synth string sounds of Exit Planet Dust-era Chems. Fun if not repetitive song.

Closing the album is Surface to Air, which seems to fuse each and every element from the rest of the album into one awesome song. Familiar synths, ethereal soundscapes, minimalist blips, and then big beats end the album.

All in all, I found this to be their most enjoyable album. It sounds as though they've dialed back their self-indulgent tendencies and produced what I think is their best album yet.


Monday, January 24, 2005

24 day four, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Holy shit.

Usually, they wait like 12 episodes into the season to do the big action shoot-out. Usually, they wait until the episode after the shoot-out to completely change the plot. This season, they waited 6 episodes. I like the change.

So, stuff blows up real good, Jack snaps necks, and blows terrorists the fuck away, even the Secretary of Defense manages to kill some baddies. Jack manages to save everyone, and he does it within the first 15 minutes. This means that the show needs to end on something bigger this week, and it does.

Finally, Berus, the son in the terrorist family gets his hero turn. After learning about how his parents plan to have him killed, he beats the shit out of his would-be killer, but like a moron, he leaves the body of his girlfriend, the body of the guy he beat the shit out of, and the freaking gun. What a moron.

And so, finally the real terrorist plot is revealed. Using some weird weaponary, they plan to remotely hack into every nuclear power plant in the country and remotely cause a meltdown. This could all be changed though, it's still the first half of the season.

Back on the "reusing old plots" front, this seasons threat feels like a combination of the first 2 seasons. The assassination plot is foiled, so the nuclear plot begins, except it has been stepped up considerably.

And once again, there is a mole inside CTU. Previously, it was Nina, or last season's Gaiel fake-out, and now it's the talk soup chick. I forget her name, but she was the last host of E!'s Talk Soup, and was the first and last black person to ever guest star on Friends.

Tomorrow I'll be doing my first ever new music reviews. 3 big albums come out, the Chemical Brothers "Push the Button" and two new albums from Bright Eyes. It'll be fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday, bloody sunday

I've got nothing to say today because the Steelers lost.

I refuse to post as a form of protest.

I may return with a review of tonights Arrested Development if the mood strikes me.

I am not happy.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Music news UPDATE!

Nine Inch Nails has confirmed what I heard, Aaron Icarus is the new guitar player for NIN.

And the album comes out May 3rd.

I am happy.

Breaking music news that only me and 5 other people really really care about!

I just got word from a pretty reliable source that Aaron Icarus (Aaron North) from LA's best band, the Icarus Line, is gonna be the new guitarist for NINE INCH NAILS!!!

Being a big fan of both bands, I'm pretty excited. One thing that concerns me is that this might lend crediblilty to the rumor that the Icarus Line has broken up. Still, I'd rather have him in NIN than a band that he doesn't want to be part of. This is big news.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Buddyhead's best and worst list of 2004

Buddyhead released their best and worst music list of 2004 today. I was thinking of making up my own, but it would probably have just looked like their list too much, so I'll just post theirs instead, it's worth reading.

The 20 best records of 2004

Future Perfect
An exceptional debut from this Los Angeles trio that sounds kinda like My Bloody Valentine meets Sonic Youth (to clarify: the Sonic Youth records where they actually play SONGS, not the ones where they record vacuum cleaners and bang spoons together). They're also kinda like that band Medicine (remember them?) but 10 years later. If that's not enough alone to get your panties moist, then you might find it interesting that their bass player/singer, Eugene, is in the Guns N' Roses "November Rain" video playing violin. No shit. Plus, (let's get a smidge misogynistic right now) their drummer is probably the best female drummer you'll ever see. EVER. Let's just hope they really don't pull some Sonic Youth shit on their sophomore album and record their babies eating boogers and sounds like that kid in the retard class made with the yellow sweat stained "Delaware - The First State" t-shirt that he rocked tight enough you could see the man titties... cause retards are usually fat too if you haven't noticed. Fat and retarded. Why we're bringing this up, we have no idea, but we think the "fat and retarded" reference comes into play below in the "worst of" section where we mention My Chemical Romance. Just giving you the heads up.

The Duke Spirit
Lion Rip / Roll, Spirit, Roll
The best new band from England hands down. The "Roll, Spirit, Roll" ep came out in 2004 properly and blew us away, but the "Lion Rip" album that we've been listening to for quite some time (but doesn't "officially" come out until 2005) is even more amazing. Like The Jesus and Mary Chain fronted by Nico if she figured out how to not sound half retarded when she sang. Nico, by the way, was an exception to the "fat and retarded" rule. Nico was just "hot and retarded". Or whatever, just a fuckin' foreigner. Retarded, foreigner... same thing.

Ta Det Lugnt
Yeah, the vocals on this are in some weirdo Euro foreigner language that nobody can understand, but the music is THE SHIT. Just ignore the freaky indecipherable lyrics if they scare you. Foreigners dude... foreigners.

Elliot Smith
From A Basement On The Hill
No metaphors here. Life is fucked, and so are you. And it only gets worse the older you get, so buckle up kiddies. The most important singer-songwriter of our generation's post-mortem masterpiece. Who knew the sound of everything falling apart could be so beautiful?

Two Lone Swordsmen
From The Double Gone Chapel
Dark and sexy. Like the black dudes Tom likes to bang in the shitter. These guys bridge the gap between electronica and the punkabilly swagger of the Cramps.

Devendra Banhart
Rejoicing In The Hands/Nino Rojo
Can you say mushrooms? Only 23 years old, this kid already has a slew of fine recordings under his belt. Prolific indeed! He even released two full-length albums this year alone. They're both so terrific that we couldn't pick a favorite, so we've included them both on this here list. Something both adults and children on hallucinogenic drugs can enjoy. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this youngster doesn't party too hard and become an acid casualty like Syd Barrett, and then write a bunch of songs about bugs, tree bark, and body parts and shit. Oh wait... he already did that.

Big Business
Head For The Shallow
Two guys crafting a heavier sound than most full bands. One dude from Karp and another dude from Murder City Devils. You won't find too many females at their shows, so if you're looking for dick and an in depth conversation about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you'll be stoked.

Paul Westerberg
Honestly, this one wasn't that amazing, but homeboy sang for The fuckin' Replacements, so he makes it onto the list automatically.

For a second we thought these guys were telepathically connected to us, and made a concept album centered around that time Tom somehow tricked his hot neighbor (who used to be really buff and one of the American Gladiators) into spending the night, and after making a map of Hawaii on her back, she referred to him as "The Milkman" from then on when they passed each other on the street. Or maybe we just got a little too into the Devendra records and were shrooming a smidge too much too think these guys were reading our minds, or maybe not. Either way, this album rules.

Brian Wilson
Mr. Wilson is claiming that this one is even better than Pet Sounds. It's good, but not that good gramps. Lace your parents, throw this on, and see how fucking weird shit gets around your house. This is the coolest fat guy we can think of.

Comets On Fire
Blue Cathedral
Another one of those "...On Fire" bands, these guys edged out all the other flamers with this noisy slab of freakout rock. All they gotta do now is figure out what to do about the hair farmer who plays all the boxes with knobs and does the hair-whip the entire show. Knock it off dude. Only band members with guitars strapped on are allowed to do that shit.

Team America: World Police
"America, Fuck Yeah!" Hands down, single of the year. "Everyone Has AIDS" is a close runner-up though.

Mark Lanegan
Mark has made yet another solid record, and hot damn that whisky drenched voice sounds better than ever. You'd better agree too, cos if you even glance at this dude cross-eyed, he will beat the life from you. Duff & Izzy from GNR, Josh & Nick from QOTSA, and Polly Jean Harvey all appear on here as well. It's enough alone to make you wanna relapse.

The Hunches
Hobo Sunrise
Proof that the Northwest is still pissed off! Listen to that feedback whine! FUCK YES! This is the sound of a band beating the shit out of rock n' roll, garage, and punk with squealing guitars, pounding drums, and howling vocals. The Hunches will drag you across the floor kicking and screaming and you'll end up liking it, kinda like when Travis' mom comes to town.

Iron & Wine
Our Endless Numbered Days/Woman King
Even more hippy folk shit making our list. This dude is from Florida, has a huge beard, and finger picks. Sounds like something we'd frown upon, but this stuff is as undeniable as Michael Jackson's sexual preference.

Iann Brown
Even though this dude hasn't sung in key in concert in his entire life, he's still got it figured out in the studio somehow. This is Iann's best post Stone Roses release by far. He even enlisted the help of Noel from Oasis on the single "Keep What Ya Got", so you know Liam's pissed. We hung out with Iann one day this year, and after he talked at us for a couple hours in his thick Manchester accent, Aaron thought the whole conversation was about tractor farming, and Travis thought it was about hot boxing bollweevils or something.

Magnetic Fields
Gay love songs. No, really... songs about homosexual love affairs done so well, even you straight dudes after hearing this will want these Magnetic Fields dudes to raw dog you and then bust on your stomach.

Sunn o)))
Ex-straight edge dudes in robes playing guitars tuned down to Z and bumming EVERYBODY out in a seriously epic way. A really good way to either piss off your neighbors, or talk to whales.

All Night Radio
All Night Radio
The good bands never fucking last do they? All Night Radio made such an awesome, fucked up, psych-pop album that they couldn't even ride it out til the end of the year. They even disbanded via our website in their last interview ever. Too much white heat or maybe it was too much white light. All Night Radio member Jimmy Hey was also playing drums live earlier this year for another best of 2004 listee, Devendra Banhart, and was KILLING IT on the skins. Tune in, turn on and tune out man.

Hot Snakes
Audit In Progress
These hot dudes always manage to snake their way onto our list (editors note: worst pun attempted by Buddyhead... ever). This is the first Hot Snakes album featuring Mario Rubalcaba on drums. This dude was in Clikatat Ikatowi, Black Heart Procession, etc etc, and on this album the drums get pummeled harder than a 6-year-old's asshole at the Neverland Ranch after an all night session of "doctor".

The 20 worst records of 2004

My Chemical Romance
Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
How did this geek squad fronted by a porker wearing red eye makeup trick a nation of bedwetting pre-pubescent mall rats and dickriding "music journalists" into thinking that their shitty pop punk band was a real band? Much less a "band to be watched in 2005". So is this like evil Thursday or something? What exactly is going on here? And what's with the kid with the afro doing the solo in that throwaway Blink182 concept video? That kid looks like he could be on some Maury Povich, "I had sex with an Orangutang, and now I have a son" episodes or something. Bizarre.

Gene Simmons
Not only is this one of the worst albums of the year, but it could possibly be one of the worst of the millennium. Grandpa covers Prodigy's "Firestarter" here, and it's a lot like that time you accidentally hung out with your dad at a karaoke bar, he got really drunk, and tried to prove he could hang with the young guns by attempting "Paradise City" but sang it in the wrong key, fucked up all the words, and dismembered the song beyond recognition. Not to mention Dave Navarro plays guest guitar on the song, which ups the Hollywood dickhead factor even more. I'll bet a tenner homeboy tracked the fucker with his shirt off. I'll give another tenner to the first one of you out there that spots Dave in public with his shirt on. Hey Dave, PUT YOUR FUCKIN SHIRT ON.

The Datsuns
Outta Sight/Outta Mind
2004 was the year of the sophomore slump for every grossly over-rated band that was shoved down your throat the last 2 years by NME. They all signed their 6 figure record deals, and recorded their "big budget major label debut". These guys did too, and shit the bed worse than your grandma after swallowing 20 bean burritos laced with ex-lax. Possibly the most unmemorable listening experience of the decade so far. Not to mention the old one looks like that Donna that's a lesbian, meets the 60-year-old freakshow guitar player with the stiff back in Motley Crue. By the way, anybody finding themselves at a Motley Crue reunion show falls into one of two categories: old and fat whore, or mongoloid with a snot/saliva problem that smells like salami.

The Greatest Songs Ever Written By Us
2004 was a funny year. One of the funniest things was witnessing Nofx and their crusade to "get Bush out of office". These guys thought they were gonna get every lemming at the Warped Tour to register to vote, and they'd spearhead a political revolution. Hey guess what dudes? Too little too late! After 20 years of being the "everything is goofy, skateboarding, fart noises, PARTY" band, you decided this year you finally have a point of view on something besides which Tony Hawk video game was the "sickest", and that all the borderline retarded peckerwood idiots who run in circles to your band in dust fields in Oklahoma were actually going to vote? That's about as likely as you has-been-never-beens knowing when you're too old to be dying your hair and wearing shorts outside. Guess what? The majority of those farmboy lemmings that dig on your Disney punk who did vote, and all hate "sand niggers" and "city folk", probably voted for Bush! Ha! We had to make an exception to the "no compilations" rule of our list for this one. It just struck us as severely funny that a "best of" album would include an hours worth of music spanning 20 years that all sounded EXACTLY THE SAME.

The Libertines
The Libertines
You'd have to smoke crack for this to sound good. Obviously, to the one crackhead prat in the band, they must sound reaaaaally great. This shirtlifter just gets high and breaks into his bandmate's houses when he needs more rock. What a great idea. If only there was a way to ensure that every one of these overhyped, NME, Strokes wannabe bands had a crackhead in it that fucked the band up. We'd all be better off.

Death Before Musick
This is some 40-year-old trust fund dude dressed up like he's in The Exploited or something who just can't LET IT GO. Dude, you've gone through 567 lineup changes, your music sounds like the screams of a virgin getting raped by gorilla dick, and NOBODY CARES. LET IT GO. THE ONLY REASON ANYBODY WE KNOW TALKS TO YOU IS TO SCAM PILLS OFF YOU, YOU FUCKING POSER. We know Kerrang convinced a few dozen 15-year-old limeys with bad zits in Slipknot shirts that you're "GG Allin meets Iggy meets Jello Biafra", but everybody else knows better. Now, get a real job, put some fucking pants on that don't have cheetah print and zippers all over them, and leave us the fuck alone.

Colonel Claypool's Bucket Of Bernie Brains
The Big Eyeball In The Sky
This is Les Claypool, Buckethead, some 60-year-old dude playing synth, and that dude "Brain" on drums "jamming out". No, we're not making this up. People actually like this. Primus was like the Tupperware of the 90's. Millions of people woke up one morning and thought, "Hey... why the fuck do I own all this shit?" Admit it... you owned some Primus records. At least one. How millions of kids everywhere were tricked into liking some goofball hippies playing splash cymbals and 6 string fretless bass is a modern miracle only the cure for cancer could rival. Apparently there's a few thousand people out there who haven't snapped out of it cuz these guys still tour.

Ashlee Simpson
Watching people listen to this and enjoy it looks exactly the same as this to us. Click HERE

Juliette and the Licks
Like A Bolt of Lightning
Juliette Lewis has played lots of different characters over the course of her acting career. She's played Audrey Griswold in "Christmas Vacation", Mallory Knox in "Natural Born Killers", and Lexie in "My Stepmother Is An Alien!" Now in her most farfetched role yet, she's playing a female front woman who thinks she's Iggy Pop! Backed by Warped Tour band rejects no less. Fucking weak.

The Mooney Suzuki
Alive & Amplified
So we busted these fools for being old and lying about their age, but this time they're not even trying to hide the fact that they can't even write their own songs! They even brought "The Matrix" in on this one... yeah... the songwriting team behind the audio bile that is that little sword-swallowing poser Avril Lavigne. Yeah, these guys are perpetually stuck in the 2002 timewarp where people who hung out at Starbucks, and a couple fruitcakes from Williamsburg that jerk off to Kevin Bacon in "Footloose", actually cared for a second about middle aged geeks making goofy faces onstage in their shitty cover band. These guys are so deep in denial that after they get dropped, you'll still see them wearing sunglasses indoors and making goofy faces while they ask you, "You want relish with that" while working the counter at your local wiener stand. Supersize me bitch!

Tegan & Sara
So Jealous
Are these chicks twins too? Do we have to deal with another sibling duo band here? FUCK. Next thing you know, the Olsen slores are gonna have a band too. As for Tegan & Sara, one of them plays power chords (ala Green Day) while the other one sings like Alvin & The Chipmunks over it. Yeah, you guessed right, they're Canadian.

Size Matters
All this record did was make us realize that Helmet probably sucked all along, we just weren't paying close enough attention. This is the reformed Helmet with Page and 3 other washed up metal dudes, who you can catch on the upcoming 2005 "Sno Core" (aka Bro Core) tour with a horde of other shitty short haired nu-metal bands that think of Helmet like most normal people think of the Beatles or Led Zeppelin.

Flogging Molly
Within A Mile Of Home
This is one of those blatant Pogues rip-off bands that people who are too old to be spotted at the Warped Tour, but still think Rancid is "sick" listen to at bars to pretend like they're grownups now in front of their friends. Fuck this goofy Irish shit. Do I look like I wanna dance a jig? Every time I hear this crap I feel like I'm stuck in a Lucky Charms commercial, but instead of a cartoon leprechaun, it's all fat pasty-faced drunk micks speaking in an accent that annoys even deaf people.

Head Automatica
Wow, and you thought Glassjaw sucked. This puff took it to a new level with this shit. A mixture of emo, mascara, tight flashy homo shirts, and dancing around pretending to be "on drugs", runs the gamut on this turd. Newsflash diaper boy, what you're doing here is extremely removed from Squeeze, Primal Scream or any of that other shit you're name dropping. Stick to screaming about beating up bitches and straight edge in between trips to the crapper.

The Von Bondies
Pawn Shoppe Heart
We all know the story here... Jack White produces their first album, spends money OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET to fly the band overseas for their first Euro tour, bends over backwards to help them out, and then the sissy boy singer starts talking shit about Jack, only to eventually get called on it via having the piss beat out of him. Not that we're advocates of any kind of tough guy business, but seeing the aftermath of this smug little shit's face getting burgered up didn't really bug us too much. Especially when they used the incident as some kind of publicity stunt to sell more of these terrible nerd-garage rock albums.

Northern State
All City
White chicks... that rap. We've hit the proverbial wall on this one. It was just a matter of time till this plan was put into action. Some scumsucking label guy with a boner for Eminem made this shit happen, and now we're getting the brunt of it. Total poser, white suburban princess talent show shit. We're hoping these girls meet up with DMX soon so he can show them that rap is really about smoking crack, posse anal gangbangs, stealing cars, and breeding pitbulls.

Good Charlotte - The Chronicles of Life & Death
Sum 41 - Chuck
The Used - In Love & Death
Taking Back Sunday - Where You Want To Be
The term "punk rock" was raped harder in 2004 than a kid toucher in jail. Mall Punk has infected the musical landscape in a major way folks. Here's the rundown for those of you who were smart enough to stay away from MTV and the radio: Good Charlotte put out the worst song EVER WRITTEN followed by the worst video EVER MADE in that "I Just Want To Live" song. These dudes are confused: the "goth" one wants to make fruity dance music, but you know, the "punk" one is pissed cause he just got the new Casualties record and that shit is totally blowing his mind, but the singer dude got stoked cause he's on the Warped Tour with all the emo bands so now he's all about sweater vests. And the fat dude in the band is thinking about the destruction he's going to lay on the $5.99 Chinese buffet that's coming up on his hourly "to do list". Yeah, confused. We'll probably get beat up for this shit, but whatever, these guys had to go and write that song and subject us all to it, so fair is fair, you hurt us first. Then we have Sum 41 who are striving to be the pop punk Hatebreed or something. Again, another confused band. Leave the jock metal to dudes that aren't 40 pound citizens of Cana-duh guys. On to the Used, aka "Sickest band on Warped Tour brah". These dudes need to shut the fuck up about how crazy Bert is, cause Bert is just a poser from Utah who just happened to have cable growing up and saw two Nirvana videos. These dudes jock Goldfinger like they're the Stones. ENOUGH FUCKING SAID. Finally, we finish up with the biggest wieners of all of these bands: Taking Back Sunday. These clowns sold 170,000 records in one week, and we were shocked that there were that many crybabies and fat emo girls out there that could convince their parents to give them a ride to the local Wal-Mart so they could buy this garbage.

This Type Of Thinking Could Do Us In
Tool is to Chevelle like Nirvana is to Puddle of Mudd. Misinformed nu-metal apes thinking they're really onto something and pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. Not. This record is as memorable as an early morning piss, and about as enjoyable as an early morning piss full of gonorrhea blood.

The Killers - Hot Fuss
Moving Units - Dangerous Dreams
Bloc Party - S/T
Chinese Stars - A Rare Sensation
The Faint - Wet From Birth
2004 was for "disco-punk" like 1997 was for "ska-punk". You couldn't go to a show without one of the band's drummers doing that uber fruity "disco shuffle" on his hi-hats. Not to sound like a party pooper here, but guess what? I DON'T LIKE DISCO, AND NEITHER DOES ANYBODY ELSE I KNOW. Save that shit for those dudes in West Hollywood who shave their legs and pop viagra and hang around the piss stalls trying to steal a glimpse of your johnce.

The Curse
Wow, this is another one of those bands that have made us wonder if music is inherently a bad thing. Rip off some Maiden riffs, mix it with some Hatebreed and AFI, sprinkle in a bit of mascara, bi-curious experimentation and anal lube, and you have the FRUITIEST BAND SINCE MANOWAR. Yeah dude, this shit is fruitier than George Michael eating a bowl of dick snot soup. Like Right Said Fred if Right Said Fred grew up in Orange County, discovered AFI, and painted their finger nails black. We feel dirty just hearing this shit. This is the new breed of Warped Tour bands, and it's spreading like a bad case of herpes. But these days, instead of the bands wearing board shorts and hanging around Nofx and Pennywise's busses trying to stick their tongues up their asses, this new breed of wankers look like Hot Topic shopping spree winners, and fight each other over who gets to hold the umbrella over Davey Havok's head next in hopes that he'll give up the asspussy.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Face front true believer! A bunch of comics have been released on the internet WEEKS ahead of their on sale date in the MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!! Actually it's only like 4 of them that I give a shit about, so I'll go over those.

Lets start with the biggest of the releases, The Ultimates 2 #3
This book keeps getting better with every issue. The whole issue is devoted to the Trial of the Hulk, and it moves at a pretty brisk pace. Matt Murdock is his attorney, and does the best job he can to save the life of Bruce Banner, but it just isn't enough. The jury wants the punish the monster who killed those hundreds of people, so an elaborate execution is set up. Banner is drugged by Pym to sleep through the NUCLEAR BLAST designed to kill him while he's left on an abandoned aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific ocean. When you think the deed is done, Pym gets a call from a scruffy haired drifter, somewhere in Miami or LA, it seems, thanking him. So, HOORAY! The Hulk lives!

So, I really liked this issue, even reading it off the computer screen. Just a solid one issue story with a very satisfying ending. This is the reason I love comics.

Going back into the regular Marvel Universe is Captain America #3
I'm thinking that this is the best book Marvel puts out. And while yesterday, I said that Brubaker is becoming one of my favorite writers, today he cracked the top 3. International forces begin to take down the other WMD's that the Red Skull planned on setting off to fuel the cosmic cube. Union Jack discovers the London site has already been taken out by AIM agents, and Cap shows up just in time to catch them as they were escaping. This makes for a very cool CAP BEATING ASS scene, where he actually uses something in his utility belt (!!!) and then kicks ass some more. Afterwards, Cap and Sharon Carter enjoy some time off in Paris, while S.H.I.E.L.D. searches for the other bomb. Cap has been noticing lately that his memories are getting jumbled together, he isn't remembering things like he used to, and is having false memories pop up at weird times. I'm sure this will all eventually go somewhere important, but now its just something intriguing going on the background. Finally, an ending that is perhaps more shocking than #1, because it has almost no set-up, but it works because it is so shocking. I won't say what happens, but I'm sure it will have eventual importance. This is maybe my favorite comic being put out currently.

Also coming out in several weeks is MK Spider-Man #11
Remember when I said that shit was really gonna get good with this issue? Well, I was only semi-right. There is an excellent fight scene in the book, but it's not the HUGE fight against the sinister twelve that I thought would be there. Spidey finally gets some support, as the Avengers (pre-disassembled), Fantastic Four, and Daredevil show up to kick the shit out of the baddies. This leaves Spidey with an opportunity to go after the Goblin. What slows him down is Mac Gargan AKA the Scorpion in the Venom costume. I'm not entirely sure what to call him, but they have a big ol' fight, and Spidey drops a building on him. Finally, Spidey confronts the Goblin on the top of the same bridge where he killed Gwen Stacy (and the same bridge where he confronted Gwen's kids, but continuity is screwy these days, so I don't mind) except this time he's got Mary Jane. Next issue promises a big Spidey/Goblin fight that should be very cool. I like.

Finally, is the partial issue of Young Avengers #1, so I'll only give a partial review.
So, I liked this book. I think it spent too long with Jessica Jones at the beginning, but that's alright, I like her. I like the team's interactions with eachother, I like how heroic they are, and there is just the smallest indication that something is up with these kids that makes them not quite what they seem. Of course, Marvel decides not to include the last 3 or so pages, so we're without the big reveal at the end, but I really like what I see. Thumbs up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Comic reviews, January 19th

This was a solid week, and I tried one new comic. It was an X-men comic though, so it's not like I'm trying a new drug or anything. Anyhoo, let's get to it.

Peter Milligan begins his run on X-Men #166.
Well, compared to what came before, this is fucking incredible. But compared to all the other comics I read, this was kinda shitty. So, some Morlock type mutants hole themselves up in Antarctica for some reason that isn't apparent in this issue. The X-Men investigate and find some dead, some in a catatonic state, and some violently insane. Fights ensue. So, I did not dig this. Why did mutants choose the South Pole instead of some dudes basement? Why does Havok give a shit that Iceman and Polaris are hooking up? Why is Rogue the only person Emma has a psi-link with? How did Emma suddenly show up there at the end when she was just in the mansion? Even if there are eventually answers to all these questions, it can't just change the fact that I don't give a shit about anyone on this team. Havok is boring, Polaris is boring and crazy, Iceman is boring and annoying, I hate Gambit and I think I hate Rogue more. I just don't care, and Pete Milligan can't change that. Larocca is vastly overrated as well.

On a more positive note is Powers #8
Well, the plot thickens with this issue. Blackguard is dead, except it isn't the real Blackguard; he’s a kid who bought the original blackguard's power jewel off eBay. He was killed on accident by a cop. But why was a cop at that place at that time? Who made the 911 call and alerted the cops to the kid's location? Who took the jewel from the dead kid? And who killed Blackguard's nemesis the Joke? There is a very well crafted mystery going on here, and it's interwoven with Deena hiding her new powers and Walker hiding the fact that he's training the new Retro Girl. I really like this book.

Bendis' hits just keep on coming with Daredevil #69
"the Golden Age" is coming together like puzzle pieces. We know that somehow, Bont has got the Gladiator to kick Murdock's ass, Bont is on MGH, and he was put away by Daredevil back when he was wearing the yellow costume. Now, a new wrinkle presents it's self with Special Agent Del Toro coming into possession of the White Tiger amulets. The scene where Daredevil begins to train her in how to use them puts a huge smile on my face, but I think it's gonna be short lived. Over in another Bendis comic, The New Avengers, there is a mystery member in a yellow and green suit. There is a rumor that this new member is gonna be Iron Fist, which is cool, except Iron Fist doesn't look like that, and I recently discovered that he lost his powers. So here's how I think it will go down: Del Toro is gonna get killed by Bont, in her dying breath, she tells Daredevil to give the amulet to someone who can use it well, and DD chooses Danny Rand, Iron Fist. Rand's experience coupled with the power of the white tiger make him quite formidable, and he eventually joins the New Avengers. As for DD #69, I loved it, gave me a big stupid grin.

Proving that Bendis can't make hits all the time is Ultimate Spider-Man #71
This book was depressing. This is all about Peter's guilt, and don't get me wrong, it makes sense that he has a lot of it, it makes sense that he blames himself for Uncle Ben's death and Gwen's. It’s just getting to be a bit much now. Spidey is supposed to get in wacky adventures and make punchy with the bad guys. Yes, some soul searching is important for his character development, but after coming out of the Carnage arc that was such a bummer, Peter going right back to guilt is kinda hard to take. I still love the book, but lets make with the happy a little more often, alright?

"Enemy of the State" continues with Wolverine #24
I love issue-long fight scenes. So, I loved this comic. This is what Wolverine should be, it should just be nonstop action, and this issue delivers. Wolverine, brainwashed and controlled by the Hand and Hydra is down in Matt Murdock's apartment as part of Hydra's plan to kill, reanimate, brainwash and control superheroes. Of course, the Hand has had their eye on Daredevil for quite some time, but in this case, it was just a ploy to lure out Elektra, who the hand has wanted back for a very long time. Now, some might think, "Elektra controlled by the Hand again???" But really this makes perfect sense. The hand has ALWAYS been after Elektra, so this is just a continuation of that running subplot. Anyways, I especially loved this issue for this quote: "S.H.I.E.L.D. Thinks it's all about the POWERS but it's SKILLS that count. They underestimate the street types. Don't give them enough respect and didn't give them enough protection. But it's the street guys that HAVE to be the best. No FANCY ARMOR or MAGIC HAMMERS keeping them alive out there." I'll take this as a major FUCK YOU to all the douchebags who complain about the New Avengers lineup. I've been in defense of the street guys for YEARS. Thumbs up.

Wanted #6 brings to a close Millar's "supervillain Watchmen."
It's a talkie issue, where Wesley's dad, the original Killer explains the plot to us. Well, alright, it's clever, he wanted to groom his son to be a supervillain so he could be killed with some dignity instead of being taken out by some punk because he's getting old. "Ahhhh, good one" I said while reading it, and I got pretty involved with it while reading the very human emotions the original killer reveals as he's talking to Wesley. I dunno why, but I got kinda emotional, because I can so relate to the very human story between a father and son, not that I can relate to any other part of the story, but a part of me wishes that I could have that same conversation with my own dad. So I'm like, unable to give a review that isn't clouded by emotion, this is the first comic I read that really affected me like this; does it say something about me that the comic in question is Wanted??

Finally, the continuing adventures of my favorite superhero team, in The AUTHORITY: Revolution #4
First, I need to get over the initial shock of an Authority story that takes more than 4 issues to complete. After that, this is a pretty damn good story. The Authority kicks the shit out of the patriots for pretty much the whole issue, which is enough to make it my favorite book of the week, but what puts it over the top is the creative team. Ed Brubaker is fast becoming my favorite writer, and Dustin Nguyen is one of my favorite artists, and a hell of a nice guy to boot. The Authority wins the fight, but their cloaked enemy (I predict The Doctor from the future!), in his own Carrier, turns off the youth of the patriots, making them all unstable and senile, which equals a freaking nuclear explosion right on the lawn of the White House. The Authority is miraculously saved by little Jenny Quantum, after seeing a vision from her past self, Jenny Sparks. As always, the plot thickens, and I'm really digging the direction this book is heading in.

TOMORROW! I'll have BONUS REVIEWS of NEW COMICS that won't come out for WEEKS! HOORAY!!! HUZZAH!!!

P.S. To whoever reads this; could you please just write ANYTHING in the comments? I'd like to figure out if it's just me who reads this or not. So far I counted like 3 people besides me who have read an entry, and I'd like to figure out if there's any more.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Mars Volta - "The Widow"

So, "the widow" is availible for download from the iTunes music store. I waited to buy it this way because stuff just sounds better when it's official. Now, this is interesting, they are releasing a sort of a proper single before they release their second album, Frances the Mute. This feels like a shorter, more condensed version of "Televators" from De-loused in the Comatorium, it's kinda slow with big instrumental flourishes as the song goes on.

Whats really interesting is that it sounds like a proper single, but the album is supposed to be like one big 77 minute song, if rumors are to be believed. So, what's the deal here? Either the idea that the album will be a contnuous song is crap, or "the widow" that we've heard so far is really an edited down "single version". If it's the latter, than it looks like this album is gonna get a proper treatment by their label. They've obviously heard it, and have maybe come to the conclusion that it might be more radio-friendly than their first album, which is a good thing for the success of the band.

Though, that could be a bad thing. You remember what happened the last time Cedric Bixler and Omar Lopez got a taste of success.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Nine Inch Nails With Teeth?

As I said before, Nine Inch Nails is putting out their/his fourth LP sometime early this year, right now the release date is May 3rd, but before that, they are doing a tour. Great news, right? Wrong.

The shockingly surreal news that Nine Inch Nails will be performing in front of an audience again in this lifetime did not come without a catch. That catch is, the performances will be in London, England , while I am in the United States . It's like being told you've won ten million dollars, but the money is in the back of a burning truck that's currently plummeting off a cliff. And since that money is now fish food, I can't afford to pack up and fly out there to witness firsthand the tour.

Then again, one could argue that NIN is attempting to make up for the Lost Weekend debacle, in which thousands of fans were left high and dry after Jerome got sick. Hopefully Jerome's explosive diarrhea will not make an encore appearance. Assuming things actually go as planned and NIN performs brand new material in front of a live audience, I expect bootlegs to be placed directly onto the Internet, it’s like a consolation prize.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I <3 Arrested Development

I was pretty late to the game on this show. I never watched the first season, but I heard good things. Then, while lurking on the Bendis Board, I noticed all these signature pictures of screen caps from the show with dialogue bits over them. So then everyone on the board was talking the show up, so I caved one day and watched an episode. I thought it was funny, but I didn't understand everything that was going on, so I bought the first season on DVD.

It's maybe the funniest show I've seen in a decade. But then again, a decade ago I was 12. I dunno, I just think saying something is the best whatever in a decade just sounds cool.

Anyway, it's all documentary style, but the camera is never acknowledged by the characters. People cuss but it gets bleeped out, there are second-long flashbacks that make for huge laughs, the characters are all nuts, but based in reality enough that they aren't too weird to relate to.

Plus, my favorite comedian ever, David Cross is a castmember.

Don't get much better than that.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sweet holy fuck, Resident Evil 4 is awesome!

A few months back, I was ready to call Halo 2 the best game I've ever played. I guess I spoke too soon. Now it's a toss-up between the two, I really can't decide.

In Halo 2, I feel like I'm the lead in the best action movie I've ever seen. In Resident Evil 4, I feel as though I'm in the tensest horror movie ever, with every moment full of dread, every door I open could lead to a chainsaw-wielding maniac or a scythe swinging cult member.

Suits of armor come alive and Spanish speaking townspeople attack me all at once, I've never played anything this intense before. I've fought 2 enormous trolls (called Los Dos Gigantes) and faced off with a giant salamander while stuck in a tiny boat, armed only with hand-thrown harpoons. It's quite an experience. I'm glad I bought a gamecube, in fact, I's say that this game is reason enough to buy a gamecube if you don't have one already.

The graphics are probably the best I've seen on a console game, the animations are fluid, and the character models are simply incredible. The Dolby Pro Logic II sound is second only to the Dolby Digital 5.1 of the X-Box, but it sounds incredible on my surround system. The control is much like the classic resident evil games, but faster and more intuitive. Finally, the menu system has been streamlined yet expanded, with one large place for weapons, ammo and health items, and another for story items like keys and whatever else that opens doors. There's a lot less back tracking, as you're constantly in new areas, rarely going back into places you've already explored. It's the best Resident Evil game ever.

I highly recommend it to anyone who's got a gamecube, and anyone who doesn't yet wants to play a great game.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm not like them, am I?

I like comic books. I like reading them, I like following the creators on their different projects, I like some of the characters enough to be interested in their continued adventures, I even notice things like continuity, which are really a hindrance to good storytelling, and never really was any kind of big deal at all until the last decade or so, but anyway.

I like comics, but I intensely dislike about 90% of the people who read them. My position on this matter was solidified earlier today when I came across this thread on a message board I frequent.

This concerns a new character that was conceived out of a poll that ran a month or so ago. They asked what existing character name would the readers like to see given the hero treatment and then introduced in their new Amazing Fantasy comic. Basically, what existing motif would the fans want to see reinterpreted as a hero, kind of like the new Arana character that was previously introduced.

Now, in this thread, the fans were complaining, apparently oblivious that this is EXACTLY what they said they wanted. It became clear to me that only fanboys can find it within themselves to complain , bitch, and moan about Marvel giving them EXACTLY WHAT THEY ASKED FOR. In this instant, I had an epiphany; I hate the people I associate with. I don't tell casual acquaintances that I read comics for fear that I'll be lumped in with THEM. I'm embarrassed to have common interests with the ever-complaining fanboys, it effects me deeply. This can't be healthy.

When I buy my comics each week, I look around the shop at the mostly 30-40-something overweight guys on their lunchbreaks, and I'm afraid that I will be them someday. Something will change inside of me and I will decide to pay money each and every week for stuff that I barely read and dislike most of the time. I'll eagerly buy the latest issue of underwear-on-the-outside-of-the-pants-man and then rush home to bitch about it on the internet. This is a true fear of mine.

I've discovered that those who follow specific writers and artists are generally more happy and well adjusted with what they buy, and far less likely to complain about meaningless continuity minutiae than those who buy the fucking X-Men every month simply because its what they've always done. I think I'm on the right path. I still love comics because they are the most immediate way for a writer to get their pure vision out to their audience, but every once in a while, I ask myself if I'm the same as all those people I dislike.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Warren Ellis' Apparat Singles

I was gonna review The Pulse and Gotham Central, but frankly, fuck those books. They were NOT entertaining and the art was awful. I think I'm gonna be dropping Gotham Central, and I'll pick up the Pulse again after Michael Lark starts on it. Brent Anderson just ain't doing it for me.

Now then, Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers, and he's famously been trying to do new things with comics, which is a good thing. He had this idea of "what would comics look like if superheroes never happened?" A good idea, and one worth exploring, so he wrote 4 issues of 4 imaginary comics and gave them to some pretty competent artists, so here they are.

Frank Ironwine is a detective story.
Frank is a supersmart detective modeled after the persona that Ellis gives himself over the Internet. I have no idea if Ellis really drinks like he claims to, or has the ill-defined medical problems that he complains about, but Frank Ironwine is this persona, uh, personified. Anyway, he solves a case involving a dead man, and a dead woman. The murders are related, but not how you'd think. Frank solves the case, and acts just as crabby as 90% of all the other characters Ellis creates. This is not a complaint, I like these characters. The art is by Carla Speed McNeil, and is instantly reminiscent of the art by David Mazzucchelli in Batman: Year one. Thumbs up.

In a similar vein is Simon Spector.
Simon is a private investigator, it seems, and the book has a somewhat sci-fi bent because it clearly happens in the future. Simon takes a missing person case very seriously, so seriously that he puts himself in incredible danger. This is the only one of the Apparat books that appears to be just a piece of a larger serialized narrative. Simon has a back-story that is alluded to, and encounters a villain that he has a very dark history with. This book reminded me a lot of another book Ellis wrote called Scars, not just because Jacen Burrows did the art here as well, but because the plot involves the lead character takes on a case that eventually becomes very personal to him and in the end, receives some closure he's been lacking. I really dug this book, and wouldn't mind seeing a Simon Spector ongoing series.

Next up is Quit City, which really needs to be read to be understood.
Unlike the other books where you could use the cover to figure out what they're about, the plot really doesn't become apparent until about midway through the book. Emma Pierson is a former pilot adventurer; former because she just quit today for reasons that sound believable enough, but you know there has to be more to it. She returns to her hometown and hooks back up with her old friends, but soon discovers that she has unresolved issues with a former boyfriend. This really isn't about flying in planes and dogfighting and being a hero; it's about being a person and having the strength to be better than what you used to be. The art is by Laurenn McCubbin, who Ellis sings the praises of almost weekly on his various blogs. This is my first taste of her art, and I really dig it, I'll look out for her stuff in the future.

Finally, is the truly fucked up Angel Stomp Future.
First, I need to mention that the art is fucking incredible. Some of the most insanely detailed art I’ve ever seen, and will probably ever see unless I find everything else Juan Jose Ryp did. Doctor Angel Antimony is out narrator in this tour of a particularly twisted future where everyone augments themselves with industrial parts and animal noises and nose jobs are what kids do to themselves at Christmas with their toys. Yes, the future looks fucked up, but humanity is still the same, they just have way more options in how they fuck themselves up. I guess that's the message; humanity is humanity no matter what year it is, the outside may change but the insides are imprinted on us forever. I have to admit that I was kinda grossed out by some of what I saw in here, but I suspect that was the intention.

So, there they are. I liked them for the most part, though the $3.50 price tag is kind of steep. Ellis should do this kind of stuff more often.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Comic reviews, January 12th (part 1)

I got a bunch of books today, and I haven't read them all, so I'll do half tomorrow and half today.

This hasn't been a very inspiring week for comics. Yeah, most of the ones I bought were well written, but the overwhelming message I got from the books was "OH BOY, THINGS ARE GONNA GET GOOD NEXT ISSUE!" Which, is a compelling reason to continue to buy the books, but it really doesn't make you feel too great about the comics already in your hands.

I'll start with my favorite ongoing book, The Ultimates 2 #2
For starters, there's no action. At all. No Cap kicking ass, no super badass moments of any kind. Sigh. What there is, is plot advancement, sort of. We see our first hints that The United States isn’t the only ones putting together a super-team. The European Union is putting together a fairly formidable team, but they require the help of Tony Stark in a new suit of Iron Man armor to move a nuclear submarine to safety. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch continue their really creepy relationship on board a gondola in Venice, but get called into action when word gets around that someone leaked the true identity of the Hulk. Their first suspect is Thor, so Cap takes a trip to see if what they believe is true. Cap learns that it probably wasn't Thor, and also discovers that he isn't beloved around the country like he thinks he is. Bruce Banner gets a visit from Charles Xavier, but these therapy sessions really don't amount to much because he IS going on trial for all the people he killed as the Hulk, and he WILL get the death penalty. It was a cool scene either way. Finally, the most important part of the issue, where everything gets turned on its head. Hank Pym reveals the eventual plans for the Ultimates; what began as a collection of playboy billionaires and eccentric geniuses is changing into a front for the Military creating a collection of regular soldiers with super-powers.

This development kicked my ass. The Ultimates has always been pretty cynical, but it was always flag-waving, patriotic, and pretty much neo-conservative in its depictions of heroism. In the span of one page, it has got me questioning its authority, and has turned Nick Fury into something of a villain. Mark Millar has always been pretty left leaning, and all of a sudden, his top book is reflecting it. Can't wait for next issue.

Continuing the thread of "shit is gonna get good soon!" is JLA #110
The Crime Syndicate of Amerika is loose on earth, looking for the thing that destroyed and rebuilt their reality in Avengers/JLA. Not much happens besides Ultraman trying and failing to get the Government to cooperate with his efforts, Superwoman and Owl Man trying and failing to have sex, and Power Ring and Johnny Quick trying and eventually succeeding in kicking the ass of Computron and the Rainbow Raiders. Next issue promises the eventual meeting of the CSA and the JLA, but this issue, the League barely appears. If you want a good JLA/CSA story, go check out JLA: Earth 2, it's way better and cheaper than this.

"The Last Stand" continues in MK Spider-Man #10
Once again this week, this issue is all set-up for a fight next issue. Spidey and the Black Cat break Norman Osborn out of prison in order to save Aunt May, but on their way out, they get separated and then ambushed. Osborn has put together a sinister twelve, which looks like it consists of himself the Green Goblin, the Shocker, Hydro-man, Sandman, the Lizard, Electro, the Vulture, Boomerang, 3 people I can't seem to name, and the newly augmented Scorpion. Ya see, Scorpion has been bonded with Spidey's former symbiotic costume, or the alien half of Venom, after Eddie Brock killed himself. Anyway, next issue promises a big fight, which will probably look really cool.

Finally today is MAX Punisher #16
This comic never disappoints. Frank is down at the bottom of an abandoned nuclear missile silo, with the mission of getting a Russian girl out of there so S.H.I.E.L.D. can extract a weaponized virus from her. Only problem is the combination of terrorists and Russian military that want the girl too. Frank expertly kills a whole lot of people in an elevator shaft, but one of Garth Ennis' one-word creations, the Mongolian, sneaks in via the backpack of one very dead fat Russian, and kicks the holy hell out of Frank. Once again, the plot will become more coherent next issue, and we'll probably find out what the hell the purpose of the Islamic terrorists was.

Tomorrow, I'll go over The Pulse #7, Gotham Central #27, and all four of Warren Ellis' Apparat Singles.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The new alternative

I'm fucking sick of KROQ.

I'm sick of Nirvana.

I'm sick of Sublime.

I'm sick of Social Distortion.

I'm sick of Papa Roach.

I'm sick of 90% of what KROQ plays, absolutely tired of it.

I'm sick of fucking Stryker pretending that goddamn Hoobastank and fucking Good Charlotte are worth listening to.

I'm sick of hearing the same song I've heard a million times before getting played yet again.

Yes, Billy, you are still just a rat in a cage, stop whining about it.

Yes, Bradley and Kurt, you do a lot of drugs and sing about the pain, but I thought you were fucking dead, so when are we allowed to stop caring?

I'm tired of the stupid steakhead rock of the Offspring and Pennywise, I'm tired of hearing the manufactured emotions and rebellion they try to make sound genuine, I'm sick of all of it.

I've had enough of the pretty boy mall emo of Yellowcard, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and all the other bands that sound exactly like them, I don't care if they never got laid in high school, I don't want to hear about it.

I'll get violent if I hear fucking Brass Monkey played for the millionth time, or something from the early days of the worthless 311.

Yes, I listen to "indie" 103 now. Yes, I know it's a retarded name. Yes, I know Steve Jones is a worthless prick. Yes, I know they are partially run by clear channel. No, I don't care.

What makes all their negatives invisible to me? The fact that on any given day, I can turn on their station and hear a song that I've NEVER HEARD BEFORE, and when I flip over to KROQ, I hear a song I've heard a MILLION TIMES BEFORE. It's that simple. When KROQ expands their playlist and fires the retarded chucklehead Stryker, I may begin listening again. But it will always be the last resort after Indie 103 and my iPod.

Fuck KROQ.

Monday, January 10, 2005

24 day four, 9:00am-11:00am

Formulas repeat themselves again. Inner office politics reappear when an outsider enters CTU and blackmails one of the analysts, just like in season 2 when Michelle got blackmailed for helping Jack. An analyst helping Jack while keeping it secret from the superiors is an old 24 trick, and used just as effectively as it always was this time around.

The family connected to terrorism is once again very interesting to watch. Even though they creep me out, I was glad to see the little Mandy Moore clone go down. The son disappointed me, though I suppose he'll have his hero moment later.

The new boss' schizoid daughter is the mountain lion/Michelle's brother/Chase's daughter plot of this season, and I'm glad to see they're getting it out of the way so early, but they could surprise me and have it actually go somewhere.

Jack once again is at odds with local law enforcement, like last season and the first season, and the convenience store hold-up is taken from the second season.

Not to bash it or anything. I still think it's the best hour-long show on TV, but when you've been watching it since day one hour one, you pick up on plot similarities.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The return of the Jack Bauer Power Hour

Fox premiered the first 2 hours if it's best show, 24, tonight. 24 is a show about a government agent, Jack Bauer, and the season takes place over the course of one day while he tries to foil a terrorist plot.

Jack has foiled assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, bioterrorism, Mexican organized crime, and has even prevented a global war. This season seems to have a lot to do with the first season; his boss and his girlfriend have been kidnapped like in the first season, but like the second season, the terrorists are Middle Eastern. Jack must overcome inner-office politics and personal vendettas in order to save the kidnapped secretary of defense from the threat that has remained vague so far.

It was a very good show tonight; it filled in all the requisite moments. Jack got to maim someone, the teenager character that doesn't know how important he is to the plot gets introduced, and the main threat is vaguely revealed.

There are a lot of new characters this season, in fact, besides Jack and two others that had small roles only last season, the entire cast is new. I miss the old cast, I miss Tony the most, there was something very cool about him even though he never kicked any ass, I miss Michelle, who did actually kick some ass last season and proved very capable in a leadership role. I miss Chase, Jack's right hand man, who got beaten really badly last season, even got his hand chopped off. I miss President Palmer, and hope that this new President won't get the large roll that the old one did. I even miss Kim, Jack's moronic daughter, who actually got useful last season.

Anyway, the new cast looks sorta promising. There is a new boss who seems to hate Jack for unknown reasons, this new second in command guy who seems to be filling Tony's role, a computer girl who's filling Kim's role from last season, and some weird fat guy who is maybe filling Adam's role from last season, or maybe Gael’s.

Jack is dating the secretary of defense's daughter, and working for the guy at the same time, a situation like Chase and Kim were in last season. This situation blends into a situation from the first season when the secretary of defense and his daughter get kidnapped.

There is also a middle-eastern family with ties to the unnamed terrorist plot, much like the family in the second season, but then the ties were much less explicit.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the season so far feels pretty familiar, which makes it appealing to an old viewer, yet has given a new coat of paint to the familiar elements. People could complain that it's just recycling elements from past seasons, but I'd argue that they're just using what works, and freshening it up for whatever new viewers they might get.

Besides, about halfway through the season, the plot twists into something completely new anyway. But I guess that's part of the formula too.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Fighting over the internet is really fucking stupid

But every once in a while, over the sound of the chest-thumping, the truth emerges.

The truth can be a feeling, an emotion, a belief or a core value, but this truth is the heart of any argument. When this truth is revealed, it almost makes the geekiest exercise one can do worth it.

But not really, it's still really fucking stupid to argue over the internet, even if it results in a mutual understanding. Would you agree, Brian?

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's Saturday night and I've got parties to crash.