Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Obligatory Flashpoint Reaction

So... apparently the DCU is doing a semi hard reboot of their universe come September as a result of the Flash-centric, alternate reality shenanigans that is Flashpoint. Honestly, I don't know what to think about this one.

On the one hand, good for them for trying something drastic to get readers. For too long, the DCU has been hip deep in a strange, labyrinthine continuity (says the guy who loves the Marvel U) with an unclear focus. Perhaps doing this crazy reset will help them get over the hump, clear everything up like they've been trying to do since Infinite Crisis and put them in a great position for the massive readership that may result from the Green Lantern movie. Kudos to them for that.


On the other, this doesn't seem like a very good idea. I may be a simple blogger, but giving your readers an opportunity to jump ship is never a smart thing to do. It's one thing to restart a few books here and there, or to focus on some undeveloped heroes for a bit, but a whole-sale restart in this day and age might result in more readers leaving, then would jump back in the fray. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, to say the least.

And then there's the other huge bomb in that announcement: Digital day-and-date sales. It seems whatever sales DC were to pick up wouldn't be shared with the retailers, and that's a real game changer. They've been talking about the death of the direct market for as long as I've been reading comics, and honestly today is the day that I think I can see the sky falling.

The next six months are going to be fun to watch...

Saturday, May 28, 2011


It's Saturday afternoon and, if you're anything like me, you're looking for something to watch this beautiful Memorial Day saturday while you're busy nursing that hangover from the night before. In that case, I have the perfect movie for you, the beautiful horribleness that is RAIDERS OF THE LIVING DEAD.

This is the kind of bad movie that I love. Between the bad plotting, shoddy storytelling, and ridiculous scripting, this one is just begging for a full on group screening with plenty of booze and quippy one liners. It's like The Room kind of bad, and that's what makes it so awesome.

By far and away, the best thing about this movie is the kid hero (who's name escapes me, but whatever) and all of his scenes. From his first appearance where he tries to do his homework while his grandfather rambles about his boring ass life to his experiments with his homemade laser beam, the kid is pure gold. Oh yeah, did I mention that he makes a laser gun out of laserdisc player and then subsequently kills his hamster with it? Yeah. It's amazing! Totally worth the price of admission right there.

The best thing about this movie? You can watch it RIGHT NOW! FOR FREE! Youtube for the win! If you're still not convinced at how awesome this movie is, then check out the trailer. And if that doesn't do it for you, man I don't know what to do with you. If a free movie doesn't get you excited, maybe you need to reexamine your priorities in life. I'm just saying...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bill May 25, 2011

In my head, disappointing books are almost worse than straight up bad books. A bad book you don't have any expectations for, and will totally surprise you every once in a while. But those disappointing books, they've done something to earn that title. More often than not, they've squandered some kind of inherent good will in the premise and that just makes me sad.

What could I possibly be talking about? Come check me out after the banner to find out.

Just Disappointing...:

Power Man and Iron Fist # 5
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Wellington Alves

This book should be off the charts with awesomeness. It's a great creator with fabulous characters and a fantastic set up, but in the end it just sits there... being a shadow of what it could be.

It's strange, the series as a whole feels both rushed and padded at the same time. And that's never a good sign. I found myself, as I was reading this, wondering what the deal was with the Commedia del'muerte and worse, not really caring what the answer was. Don't even get me started on the whole "Who is Noir" reveal at the end, the less said about that the better.

I dunno, this series was just... not good. For all the promise (and the Don of the Dead appearance), this series was very lackluster. That said, I like everything involved so I'd totally be on board for a second series, but that one I'd only stick with if it kicks things up a notch.

Probably two...

Not As Good As It Should Be:

Amazing Spider-Man #662
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Reilly Brown

There's nothing to not like about this book (well, aside from the post-OMD Spider-man, but that's a discussion for a different day), but for some reason it's just not working for me.

As a quick done-in-two, Marvel Team Up style adventure between Spidey and Avengers Academy, it should be firing on all cylinders and be nothing but great. Instead, I found it kind of lacking. It's tough because I can't really pinpoint what my problem is.

I keep thinking that it's because the kids were not totally in synch with their character, but that can't be because Gage is writing. You know, it might just be the throwaway nature of the adventure that's holding me up. The fact that these kids aren't having major turning points in their side adventure with Spidey is a good thing, but I think that's what I expect from those characters because that's what happens in their book every month.

See, there you go: expectations not met = disappointment. You can't fight that kind of math...

And there you go, a bit of disappointment to balance out the lovefest that was last week. Hopefully next week I can achieve some kind of balance in the article... yeah, that'd be kinda nice...

Monday, May 23, 2011

And Now, A Moment With Volstagg...

Volstagg flaunts his 'Worst Houseguest EVER' status in The Mighty Thor 341 from the hospitable mind of Walt Simonson.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Matinee: I COME IN PEACE

It's Sunday afternoon and, if you're anything like me, you're wishing the weekend was at least a week longer because seriously this 'working five days in a row' thing is for the birds. Alas, with only one day before the grind starts up again in earnest, the only solution to making a weekend epic is an epic movie. And to me, nothing fits the bill this weekend better than the 1990 Dolph Lundgren classic, I COME IN PEACE!

I'll never forget the tagline for this movie: I come in peace... you leave in pieces. For years it stuck with me, even though I didn't see the movie until relatively recently. It was one of those trailers that was attached to some VHS I had, you know the ones, but never could seem to find at the video store. Between this and Step Kids (which changed it's title...), most of my childhood was spent hunting videos that I was convinced existed only to taunt me.

Anyway, it's probably a good thing I didn't see this one when I was eight. Dolph Lundgren plays a cop on the trail of a series of drug related murders, forced ODs, which finds himself in the path of an angry, pale, vaguely European space alien. The alien as it turns out, is trying to harvest his own drug, by forcing his victims to OD on heroin. Sounds like the best drug ever!

Between the wanton ODs, there are plenty of crazy action scenes involving everyone's favorite action chemist and this pasty, well armed alien. But honestly, that's pretty standard fare when it comes to my weekend matinee movies, so you should be expecting that already. But if you forgot, this week's clip will be happy to remind you. Here's Dolph beating up a buncha dudes. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bill May 18, 2011

You remember last week when I was all sad because I had no new books that came out? Well it seems that the comic gods wanted to right that mistake by raining down a metric butt-ton of books upon me this week. What's more, they were all generally pretty good! Dammit, what am I supposed to write about if I like everything? I feel like I should turn in my blogger card....

Unless, of course, we keep this as our little secret. Come an indulge me this week, I promise all kinds of snark next week*.

Written Just For Me:

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt # 1
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Mike Norton

Okay, so technically this came out last week, but I missed it so I'm just going to pretend it came out this week. Besides, with a cast like this - Prodigy, Gravity, Stunt Master - , I can't not write about this one. Plus it's written by Sean McKeever, who's been nothing but awesome in his return to Marvel (even if his one big book was cancelled).

This issue follows the fallen, occasionally drunken leader of The Slingers (Marvel's most underrated superteam!), Prodigy, as he's tasked with creating a giant team of young heroes to help quell the rising fear from... well, Fear Itself. It's fun, in that kind of "Oh right, we have heroes other than Spider-Man and Iron Man to handle all these giant battles" kind of way.

But really, anything that brings more Slingers-tinged, Gravity-involving action is welcome to my addiction. I can only hope this spurs a new team book in six months starring at least those two.

And that hopefully it'll last longer than five months...

Now With Extra Pulp:

Rocketeer Adventures # 1
Writer: John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek
Artist: John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Michael Kaluta

Just going to prove that I don't ALWAYS buy Marvel, I picked up this charming anthology from IDW today and couldn't be happier with it. Like most people (I suspect) my introduction to The Rocketeer came with the movie and didn't go much farther than that. However, there is something about a guy in a jet pack fighting nazis that's impossible to not like.

Anyway, enter this book, and it's fantastic short adventures featuring everyone's favorite rocket propelled pulp hero. It's fast, funny, and heartfelt with enough action that it never lets you down. The kind of stories that you always want your pulp heroes to inhabit.

My personal favorite was the John Cassaday story to kick off the book, if only because it had the most action per capita, also the most John Cassaday art per capita. Fun times all around, you should totes check it out!

Okay, enough gushing! I promise I'll try harder to be snarkier next week and be extra mean with everything.* Until then!

*This may or may not be true

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Matinee: THE ELIMINATORS

It's Saturday afternoon and if you're anything like me, you're so incredibly bummed out that the PSN network is still down and you can't watch check out the Netflix streaming. It sucks man. What am I supposed to do, watch it off my computer like a schlub? How am I supposed to surf the internet and watch a movie then! ugh.

Anyway, for those of you with the means to find your awesome movies elsewhere, may I suggest the 1986 classic: THE ELIMINATORS!

This is one of those genre classics that doesn't get nearly the amount of attention it deserves. While not truly the movie that the poster describes, it does follow the Mandroid (I'll give you one guess which one that is) as he tries to stop an evil madman, with help from Tasha Yar, a Han Solo knock-off, and a ninja. It's a match made in 80s heaven.

This is the kind of movie that I always wanted to see when I was a kid, that for some reason alluded me. Thank the gods for the internet and fellow genre fans that turned me on to this, because it's a doozy. Sure, it's slow in parts, but I can't really stay angry at a movie that involves a cyborg that's half tank, hillbillies riding suped up ATVs, a fight with Cro-Magnons, and the ninja son of a scientist (it's like a stereotype squared). It's got something for everyone.

Just check out this compilation of awesomeness and try holding yourself back from rushing out to find this one.

Love it! PROTIP: This would make an excellent double feature with MEGAFORCE, for that perfect "this is what I wish GI JOE Rise of Cobra was like" marathon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Bill May 11, 2011

It doesn't happen very often, but from time to time I have weeks like this one: I got nothing. Not in a creatively devoid kind of way, rather a I-had-no-books-come-out-this-week kind of way. It was a very sad Wednesday indeed.

Have no fear though, I won't let a silly thing like a slow wednesday ruin a good time. I'm sure I got something around here to review. Meet me after the banner, and let's see what I can dig up.

The Best of FCBD:

Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers
Writer: Roger Langridge
Artist: Chris Samnee

In what should be a desperate cash grab (or, I guess, 'desperate bid for attention'), we get what essentially amounts to a lost issue from one of the greatest, but shortest, Thor series ever. And boy, do they make it a doozy.

This issue follows the Thunder God as he's teleported through time with Captain America into Camelot where they're forced to battle Loki for the belt of Merlin. Now, if you're not impressed by that sentence (both in terms of content and construction, because come on, that's crazy!) I think you might be reading the wrong comic reviews. If you're like the rest of us, and you're interest is at all peaked, you need to make it your business to get this book. You won't be disappointed.

As a side, I want to say how impressed I am with Marvel when it comes to Free Comic Book Day. In an era where everyone is claiming the death of the comic industry is right around the corner (for realz this time!), there's Marvel putting their best foot forward on the day that really counts. Where some other companies **couDCgh**only put out crummy reprints, it's great to see someone out there is taking the initiative to publish something high quality and special to bring in new readers. Kudos to you, Marvel!


Stay in the Quarter Bin:

Punisher 2099 # 7
Writer: Pat Mills and Tony Skinner
Artist: Tom Morgan

I recently found myself in possession of the first ten issues of this futuristic tale of vengeance, and figured I'd be in store for some awesomely crazy 90s antics.

Oh how wrong I was.

Man, Punisher 2099 is THE WORST! The art is frightening, the story is incomprehensible at times, and all the big ideas that are introduced are squandered. Nothing proves this point more than issue 7.

To me, this was the turning point of the entire series, where things went from potentially interesting to definitely disappointing. It was the issue that promised Future Ninjas, but instead delivered Construction Workers in Black Pajamas. The issue where The Punisher's alter ego successfully seduced his psychiatrist by proving that she was right about her hunch that he was a psychopath. I can read bad comics, but I got to have something that keeps me intrigued in it, this was just complete nonsense for 22 pages. Or rather, for ten issues.

I don't know if this series picked up at all as Doom took over the world and P2099 here became his security officer, but from what I've read, I'm totally okay not finding out.

And that's how it's done. What to look out for, and what to seek out. I wish I could do this every week. Hey, now there's an idea....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Venom is a Slut Part 7

Okay, so it might not be canon, but whatever I still wanted to post it.

Found over at Rampaged Reality amongst all kinds of sweet, fan made images.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


It's Saturday afternoon and if you're anything like me, you're in the mood for something awesome to go along with all the free comics you got today. You're in luck, because I got just the thing: Andy Sidaris' 1987 masterpiece, HARD TICKET TO HAWAII.

It's weird, I didn't see this movie until fairly recently, but everything about it felt familiar. It's as if they took all of the cliche's of an 80s action movie, boiled them all down to their base components and fused them back together. The result is nothing less than pure, uncut awesome.

This is, hands down, one of the craziest movies I've ever seen. It's as if every scene was a made on a dare to out do the previous scene, and to keep pushing the bounds of good taste without totally devolving into a Troma-esque parody of itself. A total crowd pleaser, Hard Ticket to Hawaii needs to be a part of your collection, like, yesterday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Platypus Robot Primer: The Mighty Thor

I figure with a big fancy movie coming up, y'all might have some questions on who this blonde, hammer wielding hero is, what his deal is, and just generally if he's the hero for you. Well, here I am to answer some of your questions with this:

Hold on to your butts, it's about to get real.

Thor is unassumingly complicated. While at his core he's a dude who smashes trolls with a hammer, in practice he gets mired in psuedo-mythology VERY quickly. Call me crazy, but once characters' names have a string of 5 or more consonants, I kinda fall out of the story. But before we get to all that craziness, let's talk fundamentals.

The Basics

Who: Thor

The Basic Origin:

Thor, as presented in the Marvel Comics, is the blond, blue eyed, hammer slinging son of Odin. At his best, Thor wields his mighty hammer Mjolnir to bring the pain (and plenty of lightning) on those that would dare threaten his Godly home of Asgard. Alas, troll smiting is a rare affair which results in Thor's other attributes to reveal themselves and get the God of Thunder in trouble.

That is to say, he pisses his dad off... a lot.

Left without options, the angry Odin does what most pissed dads would do and kicks Thor out of the house, but you know, with a godly twist. Not trusting that Thor could learn his lesson by being cut off, Odin goes the extra mile by sending the young god to Earth (or Midgard) to be humbled by people like us.

Not helping matters any is Thor's adopted brother, and master mischief maker, Loki influencing said punishable offenses. Throughout the years, Loki's manipulations have resulted in everything from Thor becoming a frog to causing Ragnarok and everywhere in between. He is as cunning as Thor is brash, with a silver tongue that allows him to get away with everything... at least for a while.

Since his creation at the hands of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, this has been Thor's general state of being. Sure, sometimes he's returned to Asgard - Hell, he's even taken over Odin's throne once or twice - but ultimately he always does something to end up being punished and forced to live his life on Earth.

Got all that? Good. Let's go dig a bit deeper.

Things to Remember:

In my experience, Thor fans are among the more fanatical side of fandom. If you find yourself in a conversation with one of these fine, overly impassioned people, it's best to remember these three thing:

Thor is a Hero of Many Faces,
Most of the time, when Thor is being humiliated by his father, he becomes bonded to a human host. In a relationship that's much more Captain Marvel (the Shazam one, not the starry faced one) than a Venomous one, of course.

Over the course of his history Thor has been bonded to: Dr. Don Blake, an unassuming slightly crippled doctor; Eric Masterson, a blue collar living architect; and Jake Olson (kind of), a New York EMT. And if anyone asks, you favorite is Don Blake. He's the original alter ego, the current alter ego, and in my experience, the less you mention Dan Jurgens or Tom Defalco, the better. It just makes it easier on everyone.

Only Thor is Worth to Wield Mjolnir
"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor," reads the inscription on Mjolnir. Thor is Thor because he wields that crazy uru hammer and if he were to do something totally dishonorable, he wouldn't be able to lift it. You could argue that this is why Odin's favorite warrior son doesn't make a habit of punting babies into adjoining zipcodes and why he's dedicated his life to being a hero. Occasionally though, he loses his hammer or someone else is forced to pick it up and big Thor fans tend to freak out a bit.

Other heroes have been able to pick up the hammer (Captain America, Storm, Superman [best not to mention that one though...]), but typically only for a short time and not without a strong examining from the fans. Thor fans don't like it when their man isn't holding his hammer, so be prepared for that if you ever get in a conversation with a Thorite and want to argue why it'd be awesome for Iron Fist to pick up the hammer.

Uncle Walt is the Greatest Thor Writer Ever
Walt Simonson was one of the finest, and craziest, writers from the 80s and 90s, with some of his finest working coming on Thor. Talk to any fan that's been around for a while and they'll tell you how amazing Walt's stuff was, and why everything else pales in comparison. I can not confirm, nor deny, the veracity of this statement, but I'm always a little suspect of calls for a classic creator to come back to his (or her) signature book. I'd much rather they move on, but that's just me.

Everything still making sense? Fantastic. Let's put that knowledge to work.

Where To Start

When it comes to the big man, finding a place to start is kind of rough. I mean, there are boatloads of one off stories with this guy, but rare are the one's of any great significance or general mainstream appeal. With that in mind, I've really tried to craft a list of Thor recommendations that appeal to a wide swath of tastes. Let's see which book is for you:

General: Thor: The Mighty Avenger (2010; Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee)
Hands down, this is the greatest version of Thor that I've read. As told in it's own continuity (that is to say, you can just read this and nothing else and not miss a thing), this book tells the quintessential Thor story. From his arrival to his journey to discover what he did wrong, this book finally made Thor a real person for me. Fantastic writing combined with whimsical art make this one a must for anyone interested in just getting a taste of what Thor's like.

Classic: Thor Visionaries - Walter Simonson Vol. 1 (1983; Walter Simonson)
If whimsy and non-canonical tales aren't your fancy, then perhaps you should turn to the aforementioned greatest Thor writer and his classic run. Ol' Uncle Walt wastes no time, leaping into an adventure of epic proportions with plenty of troll-brawling, God-Fighting, and even a few aliens for good measure. If you're looking for something to show you how huge in scope Thor can be, this book is for you.

Modern: Thor Vol 1 (2007; J. Michael Straczynski and Oliver Coipel)
Of course, some of us prefer quiet introspection to violent noise, and for you I would suggest the start of J. Michael Straczynski's run. Changing the focus from a distant Asgard and it's denizens, JMS brings about Thor's rebirth in the most unexpected of places: Broxton, Oklahoma. What follows is a tale of discovery as Thor rediscovers his place in the world, as he helps to rebuild his hometown. If some of this sounds familiar, it's because this was the basis of the movie. It's a great place to start if you want to see Thor's place in the larger context of the modern Marvel Universe.

Current: Thor: The World Eaters (2010; Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry)
Finally, we have the most current trade as of May 2011 to help usher you into the books. Here, Modern Awesomist Matt Fraction takes the reigns and infuses Thor with a bit of science fiction as he brings back the epic storytelling Uncle Walt was so fond of. I don't know too much about this one, except that it involves other worlds like Asgard that were previously unknown. However, as the start of a new creative team, it's the perfect place for someone who wants to read the book for the long term to start.


In the end, Thor can overly confusing or incredibly satisfying, depending on the story you read of his. My advice on Thor is to start small. If you haven't read comics before, test the waters a bit with Thor: The MIghty Avenger where the excess is stripped away, before attempting to leap into The World Eaters.

Whatever you do, just remember one last thing: Leave what you know about Norse Mythology at the door. Stan used all those old stories as a jumping off point, and created his own little pantheon free of the original's continuity.

Now, get out there and start reading!

Come back to let me know what you think, and in the meantime I'll start cooking up my next Primer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bill May 4, 2011

This week's haul was so huge, I haven't even gotten a chance to finish them all yet! But I wouldn't let something as trivial as that keep me from writing a review or two for you fine folks. Let's see what I did get around to reading...

A Fresh and New Number One:

Gladstone's School for World Conquerors # 1
Writer: Mark A. Smith
Artist: Armand Villavert

If there's one cliche in comics that will never get old with me it's the comically, over-villainous uh... SuperVillain. As I'm sure you can tell, this one was clearly written just for me. And I couldn't be happier about it.

From the fun history lesson explaining the hysterically tragic beginnings of the school, to the big schoolyard fight, this book was firing on all cylinders. The writing was deft and quippy, while the art was fun and full of energy, resulting in the perfect indie balance to my current favorite corporate book, Avengers Academy. Add in the intriguing twist at the end, and you have a series that officially holds my interests.

Also, while we're on the subject of Image Comics (even just tangentially so), can I just say how remarkable all their recent number ones have been? Between this, Jake Ellis, and Morning Glories, not to mention Skullkickers, Blue Estate (apparently), and Nonplayer (which I still can't find), it seems as though Image is going through a bit of a renaissance. Kudos to them for putting out so many fantastic and vastly different titles.

But I digress...

So Good It Hurts:

Moon Knight # 1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

On the flip side of things, we have this most recent reboot of Marvel's answer to Gotham's dark defender. And it's... meh.

Actually, let me clarify that: It's an interesting take on the character, but the twist has been spoiled for months resulting in this reader not really caring about the first issue. Had Bendis not been so excited to talk about this crazy new take on Moonie, it probably would have been a decent first issue. Instead, I find that it all builds to a reveal that I already knew was coming. I might as well just come in with issue two.

Reveals aside, Moon Knight suffers from a little overexposure. If this was the first Moon Knight series I had seen in five to ten years, it'd be great. However, in the context of it being yet another issue one in a series of failed restarts, and a constant presence on the newsstand since 2005, I find myself bored with it being more of the same.

I think I'm gonna skip on this series. Lemme know if he starts fighting werewolves again because that's a character reboot that I wanna see.

And that's all I really had time to read. Well, not REALLY, but pretty much. Give me a day or so and I can yammer on about Herc or Avengers Academy for you if you so desire. Or I guess we could talk about Fear Itself, but I don't really know if y'all are into that...

Until then, May the Fourth be with you. (I just had to do it!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Worst Babysitter EVER.

At least I'd know the kids wouldn't get shot. Oh... wait.

For the record: this is the most inaccurate cover ever. I desperately want to read the story depicted on this cover. What do I get instead? A lame ass child kidnapping/selling story in which Frank Castle struggles to beat up what appears to be a mid-40s Puerto Rican woman. Sigh. I guess I'll have to stick with Nomad for all my vigilante baby stories...

Sunday, May 1, 2011


It's Sunday afternoon, and if you're anything like me, you're thinking "Hey, isn't this normally a Saturday thing?" Well, yes it should be, but a combination of work, the PSN network being down, and general life distractions have kept me from it. Have no fear though, because today we're back with a sure-fire classic that will make your Sunday the greatest Funday ever! Say hello to the 1972 classic: THE THING THAT HAD TWO HEADS!

Really, when you get right down to it, there's nothing finer than a two headed, half-racist convict on a dirtbike to chase away any blues you might have.

I don't feel like I need to say much about this one that isn't already on display on the poster. If you like heavy handed 70s racism (don't worry, that guy gets his comeuppance), two-headed gorillas, and flimsy science, then this one has it all. If you're looking for Oscar worthy performances and positive portrayals of two-headed gorillas, well then maybe you should skip this week.

For the rest of you, if you enjoy those big 'Awesome' works that are the fad these days, then this one is a must see. Grab a brewski, some buds, and get ready for the ride of your life. Don't believe me quite yet? Check the trailer:

You know it'll be awesome when the trailer starts with the phrase "It seemed like a good idea at the time..."