Archive for September, 2008

The weekend is here!

Posted in Stuff on September 26, 2008 by thebigsmoke

Have a good one.


Comic Book Round-up

Posted in Comics on September 20, 2008 by thebigsmoke

I’m in the mood, so here’s a summary of my comic book purchases for this week.

Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge 2 (of 3)
By Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins

I have said it before, but I find some of the spin-offs of Final Crisis much more exciting than the main event. For me, this is by far the best of the bunch.

It’s written by Geoff Johns, who I think is a more reliable writer of comics than Grant Morrison. Morrison has his flashes of brilliance, but you can always depend upon Johns to put out a high quality read. What I like about this particular series is its links to Final Crisis are actually pretty tenuous and Johns is clearly just having fun with the Rogues, for whom he has a particular affection. He can’t resist elevating the bunch of criminal losers into complex, sympathetic characters. Personally, I love it. Much better than all that Spear of Destiny bollocks.

Final Crisis: Revelations 2 (of 5)
By Greg Rucka and Philip Tan

Another Final Crisis spin-off, but this one just isn’t as good as Rogues’ Revenge. I’m not sure where the story is going, and worse, I don’t really care.

I despise pretty much everything about 52 and everything that came out of it. That includes the new Question and Batwoman. Since this book has featured both characters and a number of other 52 references, I’m starting to get irritated by it.

All-Star Superman 12 (of 12)
By Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Grant Morrison’s “All-Star” title finishes with a whimper rather than a bang, which is a bit of a shame.

The writing always had a certain “classic Superman” feel to it that I associated with great Superman stories like Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” It’s hard to put it into words, but it is really great qualiy and that (coupled with Frank Quitely’s amazing art) kept me excited about this comic for the duration.

Action Comics 849
By Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

Recent issues of Action Comic have been some of the very best Superman stories you will ever read. I can’t get enough.

Green Lantern 34
By Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

This is the sixth part of the “Secret Origins” storyline and God, what a waste of time. For me, Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern origin was definitively told in Emerald Dawn. I don’t understand this re-telling. I can see that an attempt is being made to bring the origin into line with other aspects of the current Green Lantern universe, but I don’t see the point. I’d rather read fresh stories, but hey, I’m sure this will make a nice trade paperback when they’re done.

Green Lantern Corps 28
By Peter Tomasi and Luke Ross

I really like Tomasi’s writing on Green Lantern Corps, but I can’t say this is his best. Feels like the Green Lantern titles are treading water until “Blackest Night”.

Justice Society of America 18
By Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham

I am enjoying the Kingdom Come connection (fanboys will have spotted that the cover of this comic is a version of Ross’ cover for Kingdom Come 4). Justice Society of America is probably DC’s most consistent title, although the roster has become a bit overcrowded.

Secret Invasion 6 (of 8)
By Brian Bendis and Lenil Yu

Marvel continues to piss all over DC in the multi-part crossover event stakes. It is embarrassing how much Secret Invasion is better than Final Crisis.

On a side note, it looks like Bendis has learned a trick or two from The Ultimates with the huge battle scenes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The New Avengers 44
By Brian Bendis and Billy Tan

The latest issue of The New Avengers tells the story of how the Skrulls discovered a way to go undetected on Earth. There are some great twists and I particularly enjoyed the unrelenting Reed Richards clone who refuses to cooperate with the Skrulls even when they threaten him with the death of his family.

The Mighty Avengers 17
By Brian Bendis and Khoi Pham

Another solid Bendis tale, giving some background on the Skrull Hank Pym. Bendis excels at these one-offs. He’s written a ton during the course of “Secret Invasion” and they’re all fairly solid.

The Mighty Avengers 18
By Brian Bendis and Stefano Caselli

This one is a bit of a treat for Nick Fury fans, and if you’re not a fan then this might convert you. I’d like to see more of his Secret Warriors when “Secret Invasion” is done with.

Uncanny X-Men 501
By Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Greg Land

I picked up issue 500 of Uncanny X-Men on a whim and am now tentatively giving it a go. It helps that Greg Land’s pencils are so tidy, but there were some good reasons why I stopped reading the X-Men titles.

Chief among those reasons was probably that X-Men comics tend to be overly involved; they usually require quite a bit of reading over multiple titles. They were also aimed at teenagers and frankly I am no longer interested in comics that try to be hip.

This current run is pretty self-contained and I think that perhaps Marvel has learned from the success of both the X-Men movie and also Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men. The order of the day seems to be slightly more realistic, fairly mature stories. The team is small, so there’s more room for character development.

Something that has always annoyed me about the X-Men titles is the way mutants make such an unwieldy substitutes for gays and ethnic minorities. No writer can resist making laboured analogies, not even Fraction or Brubaker.

Uncanny X-Men 502
By Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Greg Land

One thing I didn’t say about issue 501 was that there’s a peculiar amount of S & M involved. I’m not talking about the White Queen looking like a dominatrix, I mean actual proper S & M, with whips and chains and shit. Issue 502 continues that trend and there’s some other sexual stuff thrown in for good measure. It’s kind of weird, but it just might be enough to keep me reading for a few more issues. Hopefully they’ll take it to ridiculous levels and in the next issue Wolverine teabags Jean Grey while Cyclops looks on wearing a full leather gimp costume.

Miami Vice

Posted in Television on September 18, 2008 by thebigsmoke

Project Superpowers

Posted in Comics on September 13, 2008 by thebigsmoke

Following on from my last post, I thought I should write a few words about Project Superpowers, which I have been closely following since inception.

Jim Krueger and Alex Ross are at the helm again, ably assisted by Stephen Sadowski. This time it’s a reimagining of a number of obscure Golden Age superheroes. They’re often very generic, usurped by better, more interesting heroes owned by larger publishing houses. Some of them are truly hopeless.

A major problem with Ross and Krueger’s concept is that the characters are so painfully out of place in the modern world. Ross and Krueger’s effort to reintroduce them are generally clumsy. In the end it feels a bit like something a couple of kids would write, trying to squeeze in appearances from all their favourites. You can tell the creators are genuinely enamoured with these old characters, and I do appreciate they have a great deal of charm. I actually went straight onto eBay after reading the first issue of Project Superpowers and started looking for Black Terror, Green Lama and Fighting Yank comics.

So yeah, I love what Ross and Krueger are trying to do. It’s just, you know, a proper storyline and some character development would be nice.


Posted in Comics on September 13, 2008 by thebigsmoke

I recently finished wading through this series and I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I actually prefer Alex Ross’ painted art over Doug Braithwaite’s pencils (somehow, I think Braithwaite manages to make the characters look a little darker). The comics are stunning to look at, they really are. It’s just the story that’s a bit of a let down and if it weren’t for the breathtaking art, I’m not sure I’d even have bothered to finish reading. Thinking back, the story didn’t quite live up to the hype in Marvels or Kingdom Come either, but I think both were a little better than Justice.

Justice is written by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, who worked together on Earth X, Universe X and Paradise X. The pair are currently working on Project Superpowers and Avengers/Invaders. I like their nostalgic approach, which gives their comics a classic, golden age feel. It’s just a shame it’s not backed up with a little more substance.

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