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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Next Crotch-Panic Preview
So, there's this Avengers/Invaders book coming out. And it looks like it might be okay. Kind of fun, and it's get Steve Sadowski on art.
But, lately, a certain number of funs have been getting antsy over any suggestion of males with external genitalia in comics Alex Ross is involved in... And, honestly, given the sorts of things they're complaining about, it's quite clear that they don't know what the hell they're talking about.
Luckily, the free preview of Avengers/Invaders you can pick up at your local comic book shop does feature some drawings of super-heroes with bulges that actually, you know, bulge.
It was as an ordinary secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation
First, a little something from Class Comics:
I always kind of wonder, given the general nerd reaction to anything resembling "teh ghey", how retailers react to the usually prominent ads Class puts into Previews. The only one who's convenient to ask is Mike, and his response is always "Oh, something Dorian is going to want." (And, yes, "Redneck Farm"...I'll be wanting that.)
Dynamite has published enough Army of Darkness comics to justify six trade paper-backs? That feels like more of a trade presence than a cheesy horror property really warrants, somehow.
Oh, Hack/Slash, just when I'm just about talked into checking you out, you go and do this:
Teaming with a self-important porn site? No, thanks, but no. I'll go read something else.
Love and Rockets: New Stories features a serialized super-hero story by Jaime Hernandez. I know a few art-comix snobs whose heads will likely explode when they read that.
Dear Viz, You've been doing your ads for new titles like this for a couple of months now:
Please stop. Seriously. The real solicitations for manga titles are usually vague enough without the ads trying to be "cute." I need to know what the damn book is about so that I can determine whether or not it's worth ordering for the store. At this rate, these ads are approaching TokyoPop levels of uselessness. Love, Dorian
Okay, I'd wear it. I'm not proud of that.
So this set of Super Hero Squad figurines features The Sentry, a character no kid in America has ever heard of, the Punisher, a mass-murder, and the Red Skull, a freaking Nazi. They're not marketing this line to children anymore, are they?
Thank you, Japan, for once again classing up Previews
I do my best to temper my fannish enthusiasm for Doctor Who with a reasonable step back in an attempt to view it objectively. But, even when doing so, I'm inclined to call the fourth season opener, "Partners In Crime," one of the best episodes of the new series, and one of the better Who episodes overall. The new series of Who has always had its own, distinctive voice, and in this episode that voice now feels both matured and self-confident enough in itself to play around with the expected format. New Who has done comedic episodes before, but it's never felt as if the comedy was as integrated into the script as it is here. This is a Who that is willing to laugh with the audience a little bit more.
A lot of this is down to the very sharp interactions between Catherine Tate and David Tennant as returning companion Donna Noble and the Doctor. Donna is a more mature companion than either Rose or Martha, and she retains the wide-eyed sense of joy and thrill at exploring space and time that is necessary in a companion, but without the hero-worship of the Doctor, or worse, the goo-goo eyes, that Rose and Martha, more often than was probably necessary to get the point across, frequently exhibited. It's also telling that, unlike Rose and Martha, who in their introductory episodes were presented as running away from their old lives, in this Donna is quite consciously choosing to run towards something. It's a very subtle distinction, but it's an important one. Rose and Martha entered the TARDIS almost entirely on whims, at highly emotional moments. Donna is seeking it out, actively pursuing a new way of life.
Tennant is also remarkable in this, and he's not often praised for the quality of his acting, as he inhabits the character of the Doctor so easily and effortlessly. It's already very hard to think of the character, to my mind, without thinking of his portrayal. But he does a terrific job here of emphasizing the loneliness of the Doctor, his separation from the rest of the world, and his desperate need, not to have someone to be clever at, but to have someone to share the universe with. And as strong as his performances with Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman, his performance with Catherine Tate is I think even stronger. They play off each other in a rapid-fire manner, and Tennant is frequently placed in the uncharacteristic role of the straight man. In terms of character development, it's also worth noting that the Doctor has matured enough, after 900 years or so, to recognize when he has been in the wrong, with both his past actions and in his treatment of his companions, particularly Martha.
The plot is fairly low-stakes by Who standards. There is no big, menacing threat that endangers the whole world; instead, the "evil" is infinitely more banal, an exploitation of human weakness for alien ends that, were it not for the amoral practicality of the Doctor's opponent wouldn't even be that big a deal, as even the Doctor reluctantly acknowledges. That this plot leads to the creation of what are, easily, the most irresistibly cuddly alien monsters the show has ever seen, leading to one of the most sublimely ridiculous "aliens march on London" sequences ever shown.
Plot Threads To Watch For Missing bees Missing planets ATMOS The girl in the jacket
It is time, after too long a break, to unfairly evaluate whether or not a film looks worth bothering with based on nothing more substantial than...well, than the primary method the film's producers use to convince an audience that the film is worth bothering with.
As is the usual method, the films are divided into three categories. Those that fill me with an urgent need to see the film are deemed worthy of Full Price Admission. Those that look interesting, or entertaining, but not quite up to the first category are Netflixable. And the rest are the ones where, if you find yourself paralyzed and stuck on your couch with the television tuned to a film-showing cable channel are probably better than Willing Your Head To Explode. Maybe.
Full Price Admission
Chaos Theory: So, even if we discount the beefcake factor of having Ryan Reynolds and Stuart Townsend in the same movie, the story of a man giving his life over to random chance has a strong appeal. I like that Apollonian/Dionysian conflict in my narrative fiction, and so few writers really seem willing to go there.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: There's a horribly over-entitled fanboy buried within me, screaming at the idea of aliens being introduced into his favorite pulp adventure series, even though intellectually he understands that aliens are perfectly thematically appropriate for the period the film takes place in. I'm doing my best to smother him, as I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to give a damn one way or another how good the film is. It's not like it can be worse than Temple of Doom anyway. And damn, when did Shia LeBeouf turn into a hottie?
Speed Racer: Beautiful, gorgeous eye-candy. The film is probably going to prove to be critic proof, as there's simply nothing else out there that looks like it, people will go for the experience. I'm, surprisingly, really looking forward to it. The Warchowski's aren't bad film-makers, but they're more miss than hit, and this time it seems like they've found a property where their aesthetic and approach to film-making actually fits.
The Fall: A meta fictional fantasy about an addict telling a little girl a story in exchange for drugs? The trailer gives us amazing visuals and an evocative setting, and the "real life" drama looks as compelling as the fantasy story sounds brilliant. Now to hope it actually plays somewhere near me.
Mamma Mia!: It's a jukebox musical with Abba songs. I think they revoke my Gay Card if I don't go see it.
Iron Man: It's taken long enough, but it looks like there might finally be a second good Marvel movie. Almost all of this is down to the cast. Downey Jr is almost pitch-perfect casting for Tony Stark. He's oozing charisma in the trailers, and there looks to be lots of appropriate big iron suit action to make any weaknesses in the plot fade away.
Anamorph: I'm so very picky about my serial killer thrillers. I like the idea of the genre, but the actual films tend to bog down in cliche and stereotype, most of them are unwatchable. But the notion of a killer using a little known artistic technique as part of his tableau, well, it's very giallo-esque, so I'm going to have to search this out.
The Incredible Hulk: I'm one of the few people who actually enjoyed the last Hulk movie. Well, the first two-thirds of it or so. And while this doesn't look bad, not really, it also doesn't look like anything to be excited about. I'm informed by Peter, however, that because Edward Norton is in it, we WILL be seeing this. So there's that.
Get Smart: I'm not so jaded that I can't be persuaded by silly, stupid fun. And a good-natured, unambitious comedy with good casting sounds very appealing right about now.
Wall E: I tend to dislike more Pixar films than I like, but this one is oh so very pretty, and there's a real "sensawundah" feel to some of the sequences in the trailer. I cringe, more than a little, at the narration over the trailers, as I was led to understand the film would be mostly dialogue free, and the presence of a narrator suggests either that's been changed, or the studio doesn't want to scare people away from a film without snappy animated thingies saying funny things.
The Visitor: You guys pretty much had me at "from the director of The Station Agent"...
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanomo Bay: I didn't expect to like the first film, and it turned out to be one of the freshest and most original comedies I'd seen in years, with an actual interesting point of view about race in America without glossing over uncomfortable truths or playing After School Special. And it looks like the follow-up is going to take that same approach to the politics of fear. I'm there. This is stupid comedy for smart people, a rare genre, and one worth paying attention to.
Mister Lonely: A film about a colony of celebrity impersonators and flying nuns? I'm pretty sure I don't need to know the plot; just those little details on their own are enough to convince me that, at some point, I must lay my eyes on this film. It will either be good, or appalling, but it will be sublimely so either way.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army: I wasn't terribly impressed with the first film, and the original comics are ones that I feel like I should like, but they just leave me cold. And while this looks visually interesting, I've learned the hard lesson the del Toro's films usually look good...and that's about it.
Mongol: A biography of Genghis Khan sounds like one of those objectively good films I should probably see to be a well-rounded and well informed movie viewer. The test will be if my usual boredom with biographical films can be defeated by my curiosity over the subject matter and approach.
Tropic Thunder: I'm pretty sure I've already seen this basic plot (stupid person thinks a real thing is a fake thing) too many times, and there's something still very unsettling about the Robert Downey Jr in black-face role, even though they go to pains to explain it in the trailer, but still, something about this whole thing feels off. Maybe Stiller and Jack Black just need to go away for awhile, and give us a chance to remember why we liked them in the first place. This looks watchable, maybe, but not something I want to be seen going to by anyone I might know.
Deception: A good cast makes a hell of a lot of difference, it can't be said often enough. I've got no interest in "erotic thrillers" at all, as they are always neither, but you put actors of the caliber of Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor in one? And yeah, okay, you got me.
Chapter 27: This has "Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan are now serious actors" written all over it. And despite the silliness of how that sounds, in this film at least it looks like it might be true. I'm not seeing anything here that compels me to seek the movie out, but it looks like the sort of thing that, again, is worth seeing at least once just to be a well rounded film viewer.
The Tracey Fragments: There's still something to be said for formal experimentation in film, and a film told with split screen has a curiosity value alone. That the story, of a girl looking for her lost brother, maybe, at least that's what she says she's doing, draws me to it as well is a good sign, too. Plus, I'd finally get to see if Ellen Page really is as good as everyone says she is, without having to watch something that feels like it's going to annoy my sense of politics.
Righteous Kill: At what precise moment did Pacino and DeNiro become caricatures of themselves? Because I'm watching this, and it looks like it's a touch cops movie, and then it becomes a serial killer film, about a killer killing people who get away with crimes (shades of Dexter!) and, honestly, I kept waiting for the joke. Because I fully expected this to be a comedy. And no, it's serious. I'm fairly certain that wasn't the reaction they were hoping for.
Wanted: Nice stunts. But even if this turns out to be one of the lousiest films ever made, it'll still be better than that shitty, shitty comic it's based on.
Mister Foe: A semi-Oedipal loner skulks the rooftops of Edinburgh looking for love. I guess. This definitely has the feel of "throw it in the queue, I'll watch it when I'm bored" and still feel like it was a good use of my time.
The Grand: I was just about to say "Dear God, please no more poker movies" and then Werner Herzog strolled onto the screen. So it's a silly thing to make a film watchable, but it does anyway.
The Happening: I'm a little torn here. So far, every other Shyamalan film has been...watchable. Lady in the Water was dreadful. In theory, then, this should be a...watchable film. On the other hand, this looks very, very similar to Signs. Which is one of the very few films I actually hate. With a passionate intensity. My tongue hurts, remembering how hard I was biting it to keep from screaming at the stupid, asinine film I was watching. The only other film that reaches that intensity of loathing in me is The Three Amigos. My tongue hurts watching this trailer...
Amusement: It looks like a torture porn anthology film with the old "spooky asylum" as the framing sequence. I'd have to know more before decided if this is the right rating for the film, or if it should be moved up or down, but oops, the producers don't want to give me any clues whatsoever about what the film is about in the trailer. I see an evil truck and an evil clown, and while I can concoct all kinds of scenarios connecting those elements, I'm getting a Jeepers Creepers vibe off the two mostly, and that's not a good sign.
Not Worth Dying Over
The Strangers: What's this? An R-rated horror movie that seems to build it's scares on atmosphere and dread rather than gore and misogyny? Dare I hope? Oh, wait, it's just psychos in masks and "based on a true story" posturing? AND it has Liv Tyler in it? Never mind then.
Who's Your Monkey: With a title like that, certain expectations are created in me. Not one of those expectations is "over-grown man-children having comic misadventures trying to dispose of a body."
Bangkok Dangerous: Nicholas Cage, in yet another bad wig, playing a hitman with a heart of gold.Yeah, that's skippable.
Zombie Strippers: So, that's one ticket for Chris Sims and? Anyone else? This is the sort of thing you'd watch half of on Up All Night, and hope that it isn't one of those nights Gilbert Gottfried was hosting to screech at you before the commercial. I have a lot of patience for bad horror movies, but there's just no way in hell this is going to be watchable.
The Deal: Shannon Elizabeth playing a hooker seems...really familiar for some reason. But the rest of this just screams "white kid with daddy issues" and no, thank you, we've got too much of that crap in the entertainment industry as it is.
Step Brothers: Will Ferrell needs to go away for a little while now, too. The brain-dead man-child routine has been done just a few times too many now, and it's worn out its welcome.
Pineapple Express: A stoner comedy that's trying far too hard. And, I hate to say it, but Seth Rogen has joined the "go away for awhile" club now as well. Still, at least Rogen has more than one emotive style, that gives me some hope he can still do something worth watching and move beyond the gross-out humor for 18-25 year olds market.
Redbelt: Even if Mamet hadn't gone a bit cuckoo recently, a film about a martial artist trapped in the sinister underbelly of Hollywood, done as a serious drama, wasn't going to interest me at all.
The Love Guru: This shit wasn't funny when Peter Sellers was doing it. And Mike Myers is no Peter Sellers.
The Hammer: Adam Carolla as a loser who becomes a boxer. It's rare that I actually feel embarrassed on behalf of the people in a film...
Postal: I've never actually seen an Uwe Boll movie. I doubt I'm going to start with this. Again, I've got a lot of patience for bad movies sometimes, but this looks like it would tax even my endurance.
Walking down the dank dungeon corridor, the hall splits into right-hand and left-hand passages. 1. If you want to go down the right hand passage, turn to page 13. 2. If you want to go down the left hand passage, turn to page 27.
PAGE 13 Walking down the passage, you clumsily trigger a trap. Poisoned spikes spring out of the wall and crush you to death. THE END "Well, fuck that! What's on page 27?"
PAGE 27 Walking down the passage, a huge orc leaps from the shadows and impales you with on a spear. You die, but not before your last vision is of the orc ripping off your legs and devouring them. THE END
"These books aren't as fun as I remember them being..."
DC's are up, and there's actually stuff here worth commenting on.
I'm just not feeling the Final Crisis trade dress yet. You've got your choice between the "sliver" image and the "iconic" image, and the allegedly iconic images frankly bore me, and the "sliver" design...it's just not working for me. I'll probably end up going with the "sliver" design because, frankly, they tie into the narrative, and I like my covers to represent what's in the book.
Final Crisis: Requiem A very special FINAL CRISIS one-shot honoring the passing of a great hero who’s been a staple in the DC Universe for years. All that remains is one final memory that the League experiences together as they must fulfill his last wishes or die trying! This is the solicited cover:
So, if you had any hopes of the Martian Manhunter making it out of this cross-over alive, well... (Right now, on scans_daily, someone just became the world's biggest Martian Manhunter fan...)
On the "vaguely ties into ongoing plot threads" scene, Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge and Reign in Hell look like they have the most potential to be entertaining, Rann/Thanagar: Holy War will be okay, but under-appreciated, and Ambush Bug: Year None will be brilliant and wildly hated for making fun of the wrong things, instead of feeding the confirmation biases of most super-hero fans.
I'm sure the five Joker's Asylum one-shots aren't just a shameless attempt to have as much Batman and Joker branded comics on the shelves in time for the movie to come out, oh no... (And while I like the idea of Two-Face: Year One, it seems to be part of the same impulse.)
I'm actually disappointed that Catwoman and The All New Atom are cancelled, as I was enjoying those. Will Pfeifer's run on Catwoman was good enough his next book gets an automatic look from me (and, oh man, am I ever hoping that it's not yet another Avengers or X-Men spin-off). But I'm always annoyed that books I like get cancelled and books that are simply terrible live on. Like Robin.
Blue Beetle gets a new writers, and as nervous as I was about John Rogers ending his tenure on the book, Matthew Sturges, from what I've seen so far, should do quite well as well. Like the also recently returned Manhunter, this is one of the books you really should be reading for good super-hero adventure stories.
Oh, my, that's a lot of implied penis on the cover for Justice Society of America Annual #1...I hope the fanboys can take it without having panic attacks...
Long forgotten, and in one case, probably deservedly so, cross-overs Millennium and Invasion! finally get trade collections. AT $20 and $25 dollars, they seem a little pricey, but given that Millennium alone had about 500 cross-overs, those are bargain prices. I'm sure showing other publishers that DC already did those stories never factored into the decision to put these out at this point in time...
At the kid-friendlier DC line, Mike Kunkel's Shazam series starts, the surprisingly better than you thought it would be Super Friends continues, and look who shows up in Tiny Titans:
(Wait...is Arm Fall Off Boy seriously appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century? Really?)
Okay, so Christos Gage hasn't done me wrong yet, and that whole Armageddon/Revelations/Number of the Beast story-arc in the Wildstorm books has proven to be pretty good...I'm still reluctant to pick up a new Wildcats book.
G'Nort action figure:
The world just got a little bit better.
Another World of Warcraft action figure gets solicited, and I only have three words to say:
I was really looking forward to this new Booster Gold comic that DC is putting out, "Showcase Presents Booster Gold" because I thought, finally DC had seen the error of their ways and given us a new Booster Gold comic instead of the horrible character assasination Geoff Johns is putting out.
And it's not DC, under that ragime of Didiot, has once again spit on the face of one of the most imporant and vital characters in comic book history. In this new comic, which is stupidly thick, it's more like some sort of weird manga type book instead of a real comic, Booster is once again portrayed as a selfish, vain, egotistical man instead of the selfless and noble hero that all true Booster fans know him to be.
I've selected a few choice and particularly egregiious panels to show you what I mean, since I CANNOT in good conscience suggest to any of the Booster fans that they waste their hard earned money on this trash!
Booster would never place ahigher priorty on the value of property than on a human life. HIS SISTER DIED! Do you really think he'd be so callous?
Booster would never be so sexist as to demean women by making Black Canary lingerie. I don't even know what that is, and I don't want to know, probably another sick fetish of Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison that they forced the other DC writers to include in this book.
I agree with what Booster is saying her, because Superman is a moral failure as a character for failing to take the VERY REAL threat of terrorism seriously and deal with it, but the problem I have here is that Booster would never be so ungracious to another hero as to criticise them in public.
BOOSTER IS A FRIEND TO THE LITTLE GUY! He is a supporter of working Americans and would not do anything that would stop them from having the American dream and that includes owning an AMERICAN_MADE car.
Booster would never have anything to do with the corrupt American film industry an dtheir unpatriotic ways. he's not some wrong coast Hollyweird elitist scumbag who hates average working Americans. He was a football player, for gosh sake.
I have saved the worst for last
This is just sick. This is some kind of sick caricature of G. Gordon Liddy, another true American hero, and here he is being made to say these awful, not true things about Booster. It's vile and sick and everyone associated with this book should be arrested if there was any justice in this country.
Something has really gone wrong at DC. This is really just a symptom of a larger problem. What DC needs to do is take the advice of people like my friend who used to work as the assistant to the mail room manager at DC before they fired him because it's people like him who really know what the problem is which is the free reign given to character disrespecting writers like Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison and it's all the fault of the incompetent clods in upper management like Levitz and Didio.
This book is just one more disgrace. I have no idea who this Dan Jurgens is who wrote and drew this book, but he owes the creator of Booster Gold an apology!!!