Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Week's (Gamechanging) Comics

On this, quite possibly the most hyped up day of new comic book releases, both Marvel and their Distinguished Competitors have gone with a publication plan I am not used to seeing either of them employ: restraint.

And yet in a week of limited titles being put on the shelves, we get summer events continuing, alternate universes revisited, classic creators starting on popular books, the end of a story and a universe in one issue, and then the birth of an entirely new one.

This is the week the DC we've known our whole lives ends, and the New DC 52 begins. Not too dramatic, eh? Let's hope their marketing pays off and the stores are as packed as an open call for new Avengers members. As for their trusty fanbase, well, of course I'm already on board.


Flashpoint #5 of 5:  It all ends here. The battle to change the Flashpoint universe back to our own, and (SPOILERS) it doesn't work out exactly as hoped. Flash vs. Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash. Aquaman vs. Wonder Woman. Batman vs. Redeye. Everything you've ever regularly spent money on and invested your emotions in is gone in a flash.

Justice League #1: A new League for a new universe. Younger, fitter, and better looking, it's all our favorite big time superheroes of the DC universe banding together under the pen of Geoff Johns and the pencil of Jim Lee (who is quite familiar with bright, young, fit, new team books premiering at #1 to high sales numbers.) The characters are familiar and beloved...except for Cyborg and Aquaman, respectively...and Johns is a proven success in the big moments. I'm not expecting spectacular comics here, but it should really be fun.


Amazing Spider-Man #668:  Spider Island continues. Which means almost all NYC civilians have spider powers. And Peter Parker isn't special anymore. Or is he? Does he have great responsibility now that....yada yada yada. Kinda thought this would be moving faster. Also I really don't enjoy the slightly-anime cartoon style of Humberto Ramos...I remember when he ruined an entire run of X-Men for me (of course there was a team that had Lady Mastermind, Mystique, and Karima Shapandar on it, so it wasn't stellar to begin with.)

Secret Avengers #16:  Goodbye Ed Brubaker, hello Warren Ellis. Ellis takes over Secret Avengers here, beginning a new, fairly anticipated run. It never felt like Brubaker nailed this title; his storylines were too obscure or seemingly irrelevant. I have hopes for Ellis but I'm also pretty confused: what happened to Fear Itself? This title has been purely tie-ins, and now they have a separate adventure? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Uncanny X-Force #14: The Dark Angel Saga chugs along, and our team is back in their home reality with some of their new AofA refugee X-friends, but it seems they took too long and Warren's gotten his evil evolution on. This book is aesthetically pleasing, dense, seriously well-written, catered to continuity fans, original, and comfortingly regular. Buy it.


Angel & Faith #1:  As previewed yesterday, the new Buffy in-continuity comics start today, with the spinoff featuring, obviously, Angel and Faith premiering first. The most recent preview pages reveal some independent adventures of Giles in England and his documentation of his exploits; now with Faith and Angel living in his home and with access to his library, they are following his leads, taking care of his unfinished business, heeding his warnings, and generally trying to redeem themselves as ever. Not a bad premise, being guided by the Watcher from Beyond.

So it's a big week and small week, if you get what I'm saying. Top story is the DC game-changing comics out today. However you feel about it, it's pretty much history, so let's all try and give Jim Lee a new record-breaker.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buffy Season 9: News & Previews on Buffy's Return and Angel & Faith #1

No one loves Buffy more than me. No one. So the period of time that included Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible, and Buffy Season 8 comics involving the Big Bad Twilight, was a real rough time for me. I didn't think it was possible to tarnish that gleaming gold place in my heart reserved for Buffy and Joss, but a little soot and rust crept in. Now with Joss on the Avengers and Sarah coming back to TV in a couple weeks, I just had to grow up, against my will I might add, and gain some new perspective.

So it is with lowered expectations, room-temperature excitement (as opposed to fever pitch) and a sideways, dubious, skeptical, eyebrow-cocked position that I await the return of Buffy comics. Click for previews of the new comics and excerpts from an interview with co-writer Andrew Chambliss.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doctor Who's Let's Kill Hitler Was Completely Mental

As in, totally bonkers. Batshit crazy. Cor' Blimey.

Damn good stuff.

For this humble fan's opinion on Hitler's BBC cameo, the Doctor's sentimental death scene, Rory and Amy's lifelong best friend, lilliputian time cops inside a robot and, in the words of Matt Smith, "Alex Kingston at her finest" click for more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Biggest Not-So-Natural Disasters in Comics

It's hard to be a New Yorker and not look for deeper meaning in having an earthquake and a serious hurricane strike our humble metropolis in one week. And by deeper meaning I obviously mean 'There's probably a supervillain trying to get to me by attacking my city.' It's rather merciless to be cursed with my powers of logic, but there it is.

To take my mind off of my inevitable showdown on a rainsoaked roof, cape billowing in the furious Irene winds, one man against spectacular odds, fighting for survival and Judeo-Christian values, lamenting the lack of superhero protective underwear budget, I've decided to take a look at some of the biggest comic book storylines to feature natural disasters.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Doctor Who News

After a painfully slow three month hiatus, the sixth season (or 'series' if you're all British) of Doctor Who returns this Saturday evening with the much anticipated episode "Let's Kill Hitler." As the hours go by and life brings us ever closer to this midseason premiere, I find myself increasingly excited and thus devouring any Doctor-related news that I can find on the internet.

I've found some teasers, future plans, a couple blasts from the past and the official episode descriptions, and I'm here to share and bring you comfort in your time of fevered anticipation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

X-Men: First Class Review

I'm well aware that I am rather late to the game with this particular review, but considering that the past few months saw me heartily enjoying Thor and Captain America, I was reluctant to spoil the taste of successful superhero film adaptations.

Which is not to say that X-Men: First Class was some horrible, stinking, ludicrous, insulting, deranged mixture of special effects and terrible writing like its predecessor X3: The Last Stand. Few things can rival that monstrosity, the removal of which from my memory banks I would pay good money for (if I knew I wouldn't give in and watch it on FX some lazy Sunday afternoon.) Indeed, First Class attempted something completely unique in the superhero genre; it tried to make its own story.

Independent of any direct source material, borrowing characters from different eras of the beloved mutant comics, manufacturing new conflicts and motivations and in effect changing a sacred history, the (many) writers of X-Men: First Class decided to make an historical action film that just happens to borrow heavily from Marvel's biggest franchise. In using these characters, and a world where these genetic mutations exist, the film plays far less with the allegory of prejudice and the outsider than it does with power and the struggle between conviction and mercy.

Despite their best attempts, and the creators were certainly ambitious, it doesn't always work. (Some mild spoilers.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Havok Returns to X-Factor!

As part of Marvel's almost-daily teasers showing what the X-titles will look like after Schism (dubbed Regenesis) we are shown that Peter David's X-Factor will not only continue, but bring about a reunion of David's classic run by bringing back Havok and Polaris.

This is pretty frakkin' sweet. It also appears that Havok and the team will be on Wolverine's side once the dust settles in the current team conflict. I can't wait to read how David reorganizes the team. Is Madrox still in charge? Is Rachel going to join X-Factor? Will Quicksilver or Val Cooper make an appearance to complete the set? The current cast is already rather large, but I honestly don't want anyone to be let go (except maybe Pip.) Regardless, it's very possible no one has written Alex Summers as well as PAD. Best. News. Ever.

This Week's Comics

It appears to be a relatively light list this week, fortunately for my bank account. However I have been known to be a complete sucker for $1 comic bins and chotchkis by the counter (got my eye on a sweet Mjolnir keychain.)

Take a jump for my picks of the week.

Avengers News: Bendis Interview and New Movie Pictures

Over at Comic Book Resources, there's a decent little interview with Avengers architect and all around fanboy Brian Michael Bendis about his upcoming plans for his New Avengers, including their upcoming war with a newly formed, supercharged H.A.M.M.E.R., the Wonder Man-led Revengers team, and Daredevil getting tapped for membership.

Click on the link or just hit the jump for some preview pages and excerpts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Veronica Mars Revisited Part 2

In Part 1 of my glowing look back at the fantastic TV series Veronica Mars I cast some mild aspersions on the last two seasons of the show, stating that the level of interest and quality dropped slightly. Now I am here to rebuke myself and make amends by examining more closely the evolution of the characters and stories that came after the conclusion of season 1's epic Lily Kane murder mystery.

X-Men Previews and Teasers

Click on the full post for previews of Uncanny X-Force #13, X-Men Legacy #254 and some new teasers and leaked artwork featuring our favorite band of mutant heroes.

To whet your greedy appetites, have a look at this artwork from the next installment of Young Avengers: Childrens Crusade which, if keeping to schedule, will come out sometime in the next four years.

Let's be honest, it's completely worth the wait.
The X-Men finally show up and it seems they didn't come for discourse. What'll happen when they see Rictor's powers restored? Are Tommy and Billy technically mutants? Can Storm join the Avengers already? All this and more.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Look Back at TV: Veronica Mars Revisited

This week I was compelled (for obvious reasons, among them an appreciation for snark, ownage, and good writing, not to mention a considerable lack of such quality on air currently) to revisit the heavily lauded and now defunct legend that was Veronica Mars.

In rewatching the first season, for probably the third time since it aired back in 2004, all my respect and love for this show remained untouched. Despite originally intending just to entertain myself, and produce a few victory noises to celebrate Veronica's inevitable triumphs, I realized I should take any opportunity to promote awareness of this gem of a program. Hence, this look back, which I've done before with Harper's Island.

That was about a television experiment with genre. This goes beyond genre, this is Veronica Mars. Unique, unprecedented, unsurpassed, it's a shockingly elaborate mix of soap, noir, mystery, suspense, drama and comedy.

Hit the jump to read more. And maybe if you're not a fan yet, you will be. And then you'll buy the DVD. And then DVD sales will skyrocket, And then....can anyone say Serenity?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rose Tyler, Donna Noble and Martha Jones are Returning to the TARDIS!!

I know, I can't believe it either. Apparently they are just brief appearances in the first episode airing next Saturday, but it's said to open up the opportunity for more in the future.

Hit the jump for a brief description of their unexpected, insanely awesome return with a quote from BBC and some pictures from the upcoming premiere.

Welcome to the Avengers Daredevil, Hope you...oh wait, wrong team.

So Daredevil is joining the Avengers. Or, to be specific, the New Avengers, a team that works out of the old mansion and consists of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, Wolverine, Mockingbird, the Thing, and good ol' Iron Fist, who once filled in as Daredevil when Matt Murdock's cover was mostly blown. Talk about a buddy.

Honestly, it seems like a rather strange addition. Between Fist and Wolvie, and even Mockingbird, the hand-to-hand martial arts fighting is covered. And as for the full red spandex body suit, I think it works better on New York skyscrapers in the middle of the night than in a superhero team lineup at noon in Central Park.

Still, it fits with the latest Matt Murdock comics being released. Between Waid and Bendis, and the event-style global horrors of Fraction, The Man Without Fear may just become the most upbeat, optimistic hero in the universe.

Read on for info on DD's impending recruitment and a review of Daredevil #2 by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

X-Men Teasers, Doctor Who Clip & Avengers Movie Pictures

Marvel continues to release more X-Men teasers for this Fall's post-Schism world, Chris Evans looks as dreamy as ever playing Steve Rogers (but what's up with those silver shoulder bands?) and the Doctor screens his calls.

All this and more, after the jump.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Luther Review

In general British television, unlike all other aspects of society and culture and government, is often better than American television. For example, where we make Game of Thrones, they'll make Downton Abbey. They have a better handle on period pieces and adaptations and if that's your cup of tea, and yes clearly it's my travel mug of iced coffee, they'll impress your socks off.

However when it comes to police dramas and crime shows, they are unsurprisingly lacking. I say unsurprising because where England has impressive levels of violent crime they have a remarkably incapable police force, as most of the world witnessed recently, but more on that later. Aside from Prime Suspect (and God only knows why NBC has remade a Helen Mirren show with Maria Bello) which was groundbreaking and successful and very well written, BBC and the other few stations they have over there with original programming have only recently begun producing mysteries and procedurals based on crimefighters that are actually enjoyable.

Their most recent attempt at creating an iconic, troubled, engrossing detective is Idris Elba's DCI John Luther. Hit the jump for a review of both seasons and some mild spoilers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This Week's Comics

What follows is a list of the comics I shall buy this week...or rather, specifically, the brand new comics that I shall buy upon their Wednesday release. You see, it's rainy, dark, damp and depressing here in NYC, which causes several reactions in me, among which are overeating, strange sleeping habits, and randomly going to comic stores and spending $60 on back issues instead of waiting for back issues at New York Comic Con (for which I got a frakkin' press pass if you haven't heard.) Anyway, these are the new ones, which means they're not $8 a pop, generally, and no one knows what happens in them yet. Except the creators, and remotely savvy fans (someone dies.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Old DC: Red Robin #26 (the finale) Review

I remember not too long ago when Fabien Nicieza wrote the final Robin solo issue, which as a title lasted far longer than 26 issues. It was around Batman R.I.P. when Tim acquitted himself fairly well, but also didn't have a huge role to play in the end. He dealt with Batman going crazy then disappearing then apparently dying, the return to the land of the living by Stephanie Brown and the discovery of her deceit, and the extent of his personal ambitions and tactical ruthlessness when it came to fighting crime.

Thus they set-up a brilliant new series that focused on Tim finding a similar yet new identity to inhabit, one in which he would have the freedom and independence he required to accomplish his goals. Starting out with a clear purpose, Red Robin may have lost it's way a bit, but it never forgot what it wanted to do: show Tim Drake all grown up, the character that resulted from the combination of his loving, tragically killed parents, his adopted father and mentor Bruce Wayne, his big brother and best friend Dick Grayson, and a young life filled with years of hardship, joy, and superheroics.

Hit the jump for a review of the final issue in this underrated series.

Bendis Spills Avengers News

Comic Book Resources had a nice little interview yesterday with Avengers mastermind Brian Michael Bendis, in which he provided a sketch of the next few months of Avengers storylines. There's some fairly juicy tidbits, pretty pictures, and elaboration on previously teased events, after the jump.

Looks like Cap's picking out a new team. (Storm Please!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Covert Affairs Season 2 Finale Review

It's no secret that I love this show, and if it is, I haven't kept it very well. The premise is pleasing, the stories are excitingly ambitious and relevant yet contained, the message is hopeful, moral and patriotic, and the cast is fantastic. In particular, naturally, the work of Piper Perabo as main character Annie Walker has been terrific.

Tuesday night saw the finale of the all-too-brief second season and showed us Covert Affairs in peak form; a CIA mission that deals with a legitimate, contemporary geopolitical issue, and a personal upheaval in the life of Annie and her loved ones.

Read a full review after the jump, but before proceeding verify that you are classified as a Level 4 CIA operative and thus are able to view full spoilers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Return of Johnny Storm

So, after half a week of vague Fantastic Four teases, it looks we get verification that issue #600 will see the return of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. Who knew? Well, everybody I guess, but most of us thought it would take longer. via Bleeding cool

Goodnight Stephanie Brown, and Good Luck: The Final Batgirl Issue

This week sees the release of Batgirl #24 and the end of Stephanie Brown's (brief) era as the titular heroine. Proving herself to be a legitimate hero, Stephanie matured into her new role considerably, making friends, reconnecting with former mentors, discovering herself, and triumphing over villainy with a solid right hook and hilarious wit. Similarly, Bryan Q. Miller proved himself to be one of the most consistent and entertaining writers in the comic book industry, and it's a crying shame this title has been relaunched in favor of the original Barbara Gordon's return in next months DC Relaunch.

Mr. Miller himself gave an exit interview over at CBR in which he expressed his love for Stephanie, his modest chagrin at the cancellation of the title, and some preview pages of the ultimate issue.

New Avengers Annual #1 Preview

I saw an advertisement for this in last week's X-Factor and got rather excited. Featuring a ticked off Wonder Man on the cover and the tagline "The Revengers" it seems as if the dramatic, betrayal-by-one-of-their-own plot line featuring Wonder Man that was foreshadowed back in the Avengers #1 relaunches is finally coming to fruition. Not sure how this effects the Wonder Man currently in Avengers: Childrens Crusade, but that amazing little miniseries doesn't seem to be directly effecting anything at all just yet. Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Smells Like Captain America...

...that is to say, "an explosive, oriental, woody and leathery masculine scent."

With help from Bryan Hitch, at least in the box design I assume, Diesel has released a Captain America fragrance called "Only the Brave."

This is ludicrous, ugly, nonsensical, completely insane, and I want it very badly.

Marvel Teasers: A Glimpse of the new Uncanny Lineup & Johnny Storm to Return?

Marvel loves their teasers and, to be honest, I find myself rather excited by them as well. Although it gets a bit annoying when the release only shadowy figures and leave you guessing.

First up is a teaser for Fantastic Four. Speculation abounds that the return of the classic team logo means a return of recently dead (or just lost in the negative zone to the hordes of Annihilus) Johnny Storm. However Jonathan Hickman has gone on record that the Human Torch will not come back while he's a writer. So either that's misdirection, or someone new is joining the main line-up. Ostensibly it wouldn't be Spidey. Perhaps Franklin or Val, all powered up? Certainly it seems that the Future Foundation won't last much longer.

I love Leinil Yu's art, so that should be fun.
As for the Uncanny teaser, we get a look at the new team post-Schism, led by Cyclops. Emma's sticking with her man, and judging from the shadows, Magneto stays on and post-Fear Itself Juggernaut will be joining the team. Who's on the Left though?


Two new teasers released today, concerning again the Fantastic Four (this time mainly just the Future Foundation, so maybe Spidey will stick around) and the X-Men, albeit the second post-schism title of Wolverine and the X-Men.

Honestly can't tell who's shadowed out in this one. Is the spikey stuff Iceman? Flying girl could be Hope maybe? Or perhaps the returned Rachel Grey-Summers. And doesn't that look like Havok's power signature on the left?

As for the FF, take a look at Rich Lovatt's blog for a great roundup of the best Fantastic Four runs ever.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Week's Comics

A list of comics coming out this week that I intend to spend my limited funds on, regardless of cover price.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What I Never Knew About Avengers History and Janet Van Dyne

I consider myself a pretty big Avengers fan. Sure, there's a lot of holes in my team/continuity expertise, but I'd fare pretty well in any trivia challenges. One of my best NY Comic Con moments was finding the entire Under Siege story arc, where the Masters of Evil attack the Mansion. Pretty good stuff.

And naturally I knew the origin story; Loki tries to mess with Thor, Rick Jones uses his nifty teen radio skills to assemble some heroes, they realize the whole team thing is a pretty cool idea, and then a couple issues later they discover Captain America frozen in ice and BLAMMO! they're an enduring, essential entity in the Marvel Universe.

What I didn't know was how they got their name.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comics Controversy: Captain Israel, Black Spider-Man & More

From Superman (temporarily) renouncing his US citizenship and becoming a "citizen of the world" (there's a phrase you should always beware of), to Barbara Gordon's miraculous paralysis recovery and the lack of female creators in DC's Relaunch, to this week's unveiled half-black, half-hispanic Ultimate Spider-Man, the comics world has had its fair share of controversy this summer. Some have been overlooked, others are silly and overhyped, and most are entertaining to talk about, especially in an industry with weekly stories, daily previews and interviews, and hourly press releases.

One of the recent news items that has come out of San Diego Comic Con, but has been circulating prior to that, and is my personal favorite controversial comic story, is the existence of Captain Israel and his recent verbal bludgeoning of Forsekin Man.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New York Comic Con

The New Justice League! Congrats Cyborg. Flashpoint really worked out for you.

Can't afford plane tickets, hotels, and con tickets for San Diego, but I've been to NYCC for past couple years. True, I mostly just hang around the tables that sell stuff and buy tons of (really awesome) back issues, but this year I might even stand in a line or two and see a panel. I don't know about dressing up. Perhaps I'll be The Escapist--easy costume, awesome hero. Also it has the added benefit that people will probably talk to me, unlike that one unfortunate, lonely year when I dressed like The Hanged Man from Astro City.

I'm even trying to get a press pass :-) but we'll see how that works out. Otherwise, I'll try and get tickets relatively early and avoid any price hikes. Anyone else going? I'm not the most social butterfly in the nerd bush, but perhaps a comic geek event that involves alcohol could be recommended.

In the meanwhile I'll work on my list of missing back-issues to find. So far I've got old Uncanny X-Mens where the whole Brood Queen debacle goes down and they all get infected, and perhaps some classic Emma Frost ones. And some old Avengers, like Assault on Olympus or maybe even some West Coast stuff that features Wanda. Always a fun way to blow some money :-)

X-Men News

By far my favorite feature at Comic Book Resources (despite the fact that their re-designed website now crashes my old work browser) is X-position, in which they take reader questions and get either the writer of a specific X-title or one of the X-editors to answer them.

This week, as usual, not much is revealed, but there are hints, some advanced art previews, couple questions of my own and some damn good fan ideas. For a little list click the jump...or just go read it yourself, I guess.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Recommended Reading: OSC's Enchantment, Jonathan Ames, & More

In order to lend some weight to the complimentary rumour (that I began spreading) concerning the fact that I read actual books and not just stories with brightly drawn, remarkably fit superheroes, I give you another installment of Recommended Reading wherein I recommend something good to read that I have recently completely and, in a new, unexpected, thrilling twist, do the exact opposite by warning you off certain books that have proven to be intolerable. Suck it Michiko Kakutani.

Hit the Jump.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dark Knight Rises: Pics of Batman vs. Bane

Just wanted to post a few pics of Batman vs. Bane as taken on set of The Dark Knight Rises in Philadelphia last week. Apparently the scene is in front of a courthouse, with a mob of prisoners fighting the police, and Batman fighting Bane. Also there's a snow machine involved.

This Week's Comics

On account of a rather insistent sunburn, I'm not feeling super creative today. So in lieu of some opinion or regurgitation of a significant event in pop/culture, I'm just gonna do my comic list for this week a little early. It's actually a very light week, which I don't think I enjoy and may have to pad with some trade paperback purchases. Suggestions?

Read on for the list.