Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men #0 Preview

Preview pages for the big Avengers vs. X-Men event prologue are now online. Feast your eyes as the stage gets set for the Phoenix to hit the fan and Earth's mightiest hated and feared heroes go after each other.

Novak for President

A little late, reporting-wise, but I'm not really a journalist and fans can be forgiven. On Sunday Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in their third straight Grand Slam Final meeting, winning the Australian Open in what was the longest final in Grand Slam history. The score was 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nole Sends Ratface Back To Glasgow

Well, as of just a few minutes ago, Novak Djokovic advanced to the Championship round of the Australian Open, defeating Murray as expected.

However, the fashion in which he triumphed was less expected. The semi-final match between the world no. 1 and the world no. 4 went 5 sets and lasted a few minutes shy of 5 hours. (It also screwed up my commute. How can you get up at 330am and still end up late for work?)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Alas, Poor Roger

As of 7:30am, we have at least one of the finalists for Sunday's Australian Open championship round, and his name is Rafael Nadal. (And in my opinion, his opponent is guaranteed to be Djokovic.)

Extending his career record over Federer to stunning 18-9, this modern legend of a rivalry has become painfully one-sided. As several commentators pointed out this morning, playing Roger brings out the best in Nadal, but for some unknown reason has the opposite effect on Federer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Week's Comics - 1/24/12

Reading habits always suffer during the second week of a Grand Slam, and while the Australian Open may take a bit more out of a fan (marquis matches airing at 330am start wearing you down by the Semifinals) the Live feed of Melbourne time gives one several opens for catching up on comics.

Fortunately it's a pretty thin week, with even those reliable titles that seem to ship three times a month (X-Factor, Amazing Spider-Man, etc.) taking a little break, and the general status quo of both universes falling somewhere in the calm spot between major events. With all the talk of Avengers vs. X-Men, and even the Batman line crossover, this will surely not last for long.

Hit jump, peruse listage. And don't miss Nadal v. Federer at 330 ET tonight/tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Artsy Avengers Variants

Just in time for the movie's premiere, May 4th 2012, Marvel is releasing a slew of variants in April to honor the Avengers team in a slightly more artistic way. Over a dozen various titles will be released with a variant featuring the movie-cast of the team in unusual, rarely seen ways. And it's really rather lovely.

Despite not loving the line-up (Black Widow? Really?) I love when they do stuff like this. And thanks to Bleeding Cool, I've got all the covers up here. Check 'em out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Recommended Reading

I'm always reading a book. At any given moment in life there is a book I have begun, either sitting in my pocket eagerly waiting for a subway ride or a less amenable opportunity to rejoin the story, or else sitting on my nightstand, dutifully awaiting the mandatory five minutes of reading endurance that precedes slumber. As with most things, the intensity and commitment ebbs and flows. Quite frankly I have plenty of dry spells that involve keeping an unfinished book in my bag while devouring comics and television for weeks.

However, I happen to be in a voracious reading phase. Or coming out of one, at least. I was going slow but steady a few weeks ago with some Dumas, and then Hunger Games happened. I'd heard of it from The Sister (that's not some weird thing, I just like capitalizing my family's roles) and finally got around to putting it on my Hold list at the library.

Cut to 24 hours later, 7 spent in sleep, the rest in barrelling through Suzanne Collins' trilogy. It was scary, intense, fast-paced, and FUN. I hadn't had that kind of stay-up-till-3am-reading fun in months. And, as usually happens, I was desperate to recreate the situation. These are the hits and misses of my post-Hunger Games Reading fortnight.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Iron Phoenix Fist Force

UPDATED: Two new AvX covers, released today, are posted at the bottom.

Despite being months away, it seems that every new day of 2012 brings us new images from the Avengers vs. X-Men event. Three more covers stand revealed, and while two are standard, aesthetically pleasing, expected and fun, the other is just...yeahbuhwha??!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This Week's Comics - 1/18/12

It's a mercifully light week, with only 5 Marvels and 2 DCs making the cut. The problem with light weeks is that once you're done selecting new comics, your stack neatly assembled, waiting on a small line for the cashier, that's when you notice the bargain bins.

Vintage Uncanny X-Men issues for 50% off sticker price. Alternate universe hardcovers marked down 70% from retail price. That semi-new indie comic everyone's been talking about, collected and released at a manageable price. Hell, even the Thor and Captain America keychains suddenly look like the most beautiful man-made creations in the history of human artistry.

In moments such as this, moments of savage trial and epic temptation, I encourage you to breathe, to return your gaze to your eagerly assembled original comics stack, and attempt to put on blinders. You must block out the strangely illuminated treasure that fills up the counter space of a comic store. You must be strong, and brave, and pay for your comics as quickly as possible. Once cash or credit has changed hands, you can reopen your peripheral vision and even safely converse with employees, as the chances of 2nd round chotchky/back issue buying are far less.

Good luck to you, bold traveller. Hit the jump for my list.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SMG & Piper Perabo at Globes

In an otherwise frightfully long, dull, pointless, awkward awards show, this recent Golden Globes had one moment of excitement for me; when Sarah Michelle Gellar and Piper Perabo walked out together to present an award.

Granted, SMG has meant more to me in the past than Piper, but seeing them together was a bit of a thrill; the more underrated but personally esteemed actresses in the room.

Yes, unfortunately, their dresses were both pretty awful, and I can't get behind that bouffant hair bump that women are doing lately, but who cares? It's SMG and Piper. I just like to think that they're best friends now. (Step aside, Lena Headey.) And besides, Sarah let her daughter pick the dress. That's both an excuse, kind parenting, and a small fuck-you to the fame obsessed hordes that put together such a painfully irrelevant schlockfest as the Globes.

Now, if only they'd given her a globe for Buffy back in the day, I might actually begin to think about respecting them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 Cover

via CBR

It's pretty much what you would expect, save for two small things. A) They're referring to it as Round One as opposed to Issue One, which is rather fun, and B) Beast and Wolverine both appear to start off the series on the Avengers side. That's obviously not confirmed, but whatever confusion or final decisions they have to face, I believe they'll end up firmly on the X-Men side, aka the "Let's not kill that little girl named Hope" side, which I assume is their team name.

As I've said, I'm excited either way. Wish I had more for you rabid comic news junkies this morning, but it seems everyone else got the day off for MLK Jr. day and decided to stay in bed, avoiding both work of any kind and the 14 degree weather. Lucky bastards.

Also the Australian Open has begun. There are four grand slams a year, four fortnights in which I can expect a lot of late nights given up in dedication to watching a great tennis tournament. The fact that it's in Melbourne makes it a bit tricky, but espn2 and a fresh pot of coffee help.

I haven't seen much yet, but I'm betting Novak is still the best bet. He loves winning down under. But I want to see Roger in action as well, see how he's looking. It could be the year he gets back on top, I think. Tomic, the young Australian, had a fantastic match last night, bringing down Verdasco in 5-sets. Played with maturity and grace and mental fortitude and he's only 19 or something insane like that. Gotta love this sport.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Marvel Previews for Next Week's Comics

I'm too happy it's Friday to think of anything very good to blog about. Hopefully I'll get around to discussing some recent sci/fi/fantasy reads, or my progress through Mike Carey's Unwritten series. But until then, let's just look at some pretty pictures.

Hit the jump for some previews of next week's new Marvel comics. Or go see 'em all at CBR.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men: One-on-One Battles Revealed

While many things remain uncertain (elections, olympics, apocalypse) some things are very clear; 2012 is the year of Avengers vs. X-Men. And with that comes, as promised, the tie-in title Versus, the grudge-match showdowns, the stage for the one-on-one battles that we have all imagined and argued over throughout our adolescence.

As the publishers and marketers begin to tease us, and reveal, little by little, news and information for this epic upcoming event, we start to get a look at the line-up. It's a fun thing to behold.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Week's Comics

This week brings me my mostly standard Marvel fare, with the notable plot excitement coming in X-Factor #230; this title seems to ship far more often than any other, and I truly appreciate that. After several months of teases and solicits and speculation, Havok and Polaris make their X-Factor return/debut today. Even without Jamie dying slash stuck on a roller coaster of dimensional Dupe-Death hopping, or seeing Layla grieve, or Monet dealing with Guido's missing soul, or Rictor and Shatterstar doing...just about anything, Lorna and Alex coming back makes it my Pick of the Week.

X-Factor #230: POTW

 Other points of interest include the first X-Men Legacy written by Christos Gage and taking place in the Jean Grey School, as well as a slow but heartfelt search for Unwritten back issues. I need my Mike Carey fix and it turns out all the critics were right; this comic is amazing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HELP: Great Sci/Fi & Fantasy Titles Needed

On a bit of a kick these days, and I need your help to keep it going. I've been reading a lot of sci fi/fantasy novels lately and I want to find some more this afternoon.

I recently devoured the Hunger Games trilogy, and naturally anything that gripping and fast-paced, the kind to inspire all-night reading, would be ideal. I also did the City of Ember books, which were torn through at a similar pace though with less fervor. And Michael Chabon's fantastic (as if his writing needed complimentary descriptive terms anymore) Summerland novel.

Granted most of these are pretty firmly placed in the Young Adult category, but I have no problem with that. Some of the best stories are, and I am in fact trying to learn some fundamentals about how to write these stories.

A couple wider attempts have failed; I stalled pretty early on in Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. I was also more of CS Lewis guy than a Tolkien one (Ballet over Opera, Crunchy over Creamy) and Jordan's dense mythology and languages and worlds whittled away at my interest about a third of the way (much like Lord of the Rings.)

So with all that information, and with the revelation of other all-time favorites--Narnia, Lewis' Space Trilogy, LeGuin (Earthsea), Orson Scott Card (Ender AND Maker,) Roald Dahl, etc.---does anyone have any choice suggestions?

Any recommendations would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.

Avengers vs. X-Men: The Tie-In

So after a lot of talk about next year's big Avengers vs X-Men event being entirely self-contained and staying within the confines of its own major, relevant titles, it seems we will have a tie-in after all. But you won't find any complaints here.

And why is that? Because the tie-in comic is called, quite simply, "Versus." Every battle in AvX, every one-on-one grudge match that they can't spare pages on in the main story, goes down in "Versus."

Magneto vs. Iron Man. Namor vs. The Thing. Brawlers and Earth-shakers. And less potent fighters as well, such as Pixie vs. Squirrel Girl, or ancient grudge/new mutiny personal fights, such as Ms. Marvel vs. Rogue.

'Awesome' is the watch-word. Final enticing tidbits include the hope for Jessica Jones to slip in somewhere, a background Ben Urich/Trish Tilby reporter fight, the divided loyalties of certain characters with ties to both teams, and last, but certainly not least, a Storm fight of her very own.

Coverage of the announcement here and here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Marvel Previews for Next Week's Comics

Friday's are wonderful already, but as an added bonus to break-up the final work day of the week, Comic Book Resources always posts previews of new Marvel comics being released next week.

And I shamelessly repost them. 'Cause they're pretty to look at and 7 days is surprisingly long to wait for my new comic fix. What can I say, I'm a superhero junkie.

Hit the jump for previews of: Wolverine & the X-Men #4, X-Men Legacy #260.1, X-Factor #230 and New Avengers #20.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sci Fi / Fantasy Poll

I'm not looking for what you consider the best writing, or the best characters, but which premise, spawned in the writer's head before a word had been written, is most attractive, interesting and hard to put down.

Which sci fi/fantasy novel has the most engrossing premise?
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Hunger Games
Wizard of Earthsea
Stranger in a Strange Land
Ender's Game
= see results =

Peter David on X-Factor's Changes

Comic Book Resources has another fun X-Position installment with Peter David, writer of X-Factor, answering fan questions about various topics and specifically the upcoming return of Havok and Polaris to the team.

Hit the jump for some choice tidbits, insights, and pictures. Or just go read it yourself.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Week's Comics - 1/4/12

It's the first Pull List of the New Year, and it seems my selection matches the new sales charts that are out; Marvel takes the cake.

Yes, folks, not a single DC title gets on my list this week, nor any indies or semi-mainstream companies or the one created by the guy who owns the comic store. This week is entirely Marvel.

Avengers Annual #1

Bright colors. Skin tight costumes. Loud, destructive powers. It's like they read all my New Year's Resolutions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Baker Street Irregulars Come to Comics

Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood have written/drawn (respectively) a series of graphic novels about the Baker Street Irregulars, Sherlock Holmes' amateur crime fighting force of enterprising orphans and bold yet obedient street kids. This seems like a rather obviously brilliant publishing move and I'm surprised no one has announced a TV show with the same premise yet. Considering the success of recent Sherlock adaptations, and I am a big fan of both the movie and the BBC show (though I have yet to see their newest incarnations) Lee's new stories seems destined to be a big hit.

The comic will take place after Sherlock's apparent death at Reichenbach Falls, and will see the Baker Street Irregulars stepping in to assume the mystery-solving/crime-fighting workload that Holmes once carried singlehandedly. They are not alone, however, as both Mr. Watson and Irene Adler act as support.

Here's an original little New Year's promotional strip that was published in The Times (the London one) just yesterday. And then hit the jump if you want to see some pages from the upcoming series as well as a few details on some of these new Irregulars.